Friday, 24 May 2019

Running with the Horses

Book: Running with the Horses by Alison Lester
Softie: Horse craft by Melissa Gaggiano
 It happens sometimes that a book will draw to you. It's pull is like a delicate spider's thread. While knowing nothing about the book, you just know that it owns you, and you have no choice but to take it home to read.

This is what happened when I borrowed Running with the Horses, a library book by Alison Lester.

I sat with the kids and together we read the book. Each of us taking a turn in reading through the story to one another. It was a sort of magic that 'reading together' creates. Story time is like the foundation for our memories. But it's more than that. With a story like Running with the Horses we feel and experience something so totally different from the life we know.

The textile artist in me was so moved. Inspired by one of Alison's illustrations I created a softie horse, based on the 'little blue horse' belonging to Nina. The felt designed softie has stitched spirals just like Nina's horse.

Book: Running with the Horses by Alison Lester
Softie: Horse craft by Melissa Gaggiano

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Recipe: Rosemary + Garlic Toast

© Melissa Gaggiano

I had a moment of inspiration and very mild hunger. Needing to eat a little something, and not feeling a whole lot hungry I quickly pulled together garlic, rosemary and bread (some of my favorite ingredients). So happy with the recipe it was an accepted fact that I'd be making this again, very soon. And since the recipe was such a winner, I also decided to share it with you.

Rosemary & Garlic Toast

Splash of olive oil
1 slice of bread
1 garlic clove, finely sliced
1 sprig of rosemary, plucked
Pinch of salt
© Melissa Gaggiano

1.    Pour a splash of olive oil in fry pan, and warm up on low heat for half a minute.
2.    Sprinkle the finely sliced garlic and rosemary pieces onto fry pan, roughly in the space that the bread will go.
3.    Place the slice of bread on fry pan, covering the garlic and rosemary. Let this fry together for 1 minute.
4.    Flip the bread over, and swirl it around the fry pan. In doing so the bread absorbs the remainder olive oil. Fry for roughly 1 minute.
5.    Remove the now toast like slice from fry pan, and place on a plate. Grind a pinch of salt onto the toast. Now eat! Yes, you’ll want another slice.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Kidspot Will Have You Charmed This Mother's Day

The past few days I have been in full project mode. Those are the best times – producing work that is both pleasurable and challenging. As an added bonus, the creation process is a form of renewable energy as it feeds both my drive and imagination.

So what have I been working on lately? It is charming! It is lovely! It is a Kidspot – Mother's Day craft project. Head on over to Kidspot to find out how to make this sweet charm.

What else is happening in the land of Melissa. There's lots of brainstorming, chats with the little one about making a fairy village in the garden. We've already got a miniature prayer statue back there, so there really needs to be a village to go with it.

Catching up with an old friend, sparked an idea for a 'date night' outfit. Think twin flamingo shades, pom-pom shirt, with matching wedge sandals and toe nail polish. If the outfit makes your date turn and run, I say it wasn't meant to be.

Monday, 29 April 2019

An Accidental Journey Into Mindfulness

© Melissa Gaggiano
We had a true Autumn weekend. The world was grayish and we mostly stayed indoors. It was not a lost weekend, as we happily disappeared into the land of clay sculpting.

Inspired by the Japanese stories we've been following (Spirited Away, TotoroKamisama Kiss and even the game Breath of the Wild) we made prayer statues. It wasn't something that we planned on. It was one of those activities that happened organically.

The books we read, and films we watch have a way of reaching into our creative hearts. In turn the things we make reflect those ideas and images. It's a beautiful process.

Now we have a number of prayer statues around the home. There is even one in the garden. The youngest visited her prayer statue, right before school started, and I watched her passionately say a silent prayer. It was then my realization that this clay project quite by accident became a journey into mindfulness.

Friday, 26 April 2019

Play Clay, Hey!

© Melissa Gaggiano

The past six months we have been composting, and fantastically it really has cut back so much garbage waste. To give you an idea: before composting, on average we were going through 2-3 bin bags a week; Now we are averaging 1 bin bag a week.

In lots of tiny little things we find ways to save and reuse materials which would otherwise make it's way to the bin. For instance, the Big Bunny has recently been visiting and done his annual dump... of foil covered chocolate eggs. I have this funny habit of balling up the foil while eating said chocolate. And wouldn't you know it, I got the idea that these balls/cubes of foil could be used for beading. So guess what we're saving from the rubbish pile this year.

We love playing with felt. As materials go it's perfect for everyone regardless of what you're sewing skills are. It doesn't fray, is generally speaking tough stuff, and comes in so many cheery, bright colors.

My youngest will often be in the mood for sewing. Out comes the felt box and off she goes whipping together a jacket and pants (pictured above: I wish this came in my size.).

A huge part of the creative construction in my home has been centered on what can be done with paper and fabric. For some time my youngest has wanted to get more into clay exploration. So this week we finally made that happen with air drying clay (bought from Riot Art).

Our approach to clay play is the same for any other craft medium, which is fairly unstructured: Make what you want to make. If it doesn't work, try a different approach. If it still doesn't work, we'll superglue the broken bits later. I find the kids are more likely to persist if someone's not critiquing the crap out of their development. Having said that, some of the things that the kids want to make can turn into a collaborative event – this is when they want/need a little guidance. It's good for me too, just sitting with them, crafting away at something. We're creating memories together.

Right now I've got the clay pieces fast drying on heater vents. The clay will be ready to paint when school is out.

Monday, 22 April 2019

Bunny + Egg = Buggy

© Melissa Gaggiano

The Easter weekend arrived, and there were some last minute crafting activities.

I blew an egg, and turned it into a bunny. The knack is to not pop your eardrums in the process. The kids loved the result, and wanted to make their own.

We had a grand plan to attend a public Easter egg hunt, but holy bunny-egg, you should have seen the queue. The kids were a bit disappointed that didn't happen, but when we got home I hid the chocolate merchandise so they could find it 'again'.

For the egg hunt I made the kids Easter baguettes. I used felt, craft glue, needle, thread, scissors and a sewing machine. Technically these bags were a draft. Got it on the first go! 

© Melissa Gaggiano
© Melissa Gaggiano
© Melissa Gaggiano

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Cardcaptor Sakura Bunny Slippers + Other Wee Wonders

Yesterday afternoon the Autumn sun shone through the canopy with her golden highlights. This time of year it feels like golden hour all day.

Taking advantage of the sunshine window, the little one and I set up our craft gear outside. And we had a... crafternoon!

The little one made bunny faces, a fish, and a flower.

While I made a miniature bear slipper. I was inspired by Sakura's bedroom slippers, from Cardcaptor Sakura.
Cardcaptor Sakura

I had recently had an extended break from 'making' as my back muscles were not coping. I was experiencing chronic shoulder and neck issues. I'm recovering, and doing exercises to develop the back muscles. And yesterday marked the first time I had sewn something since my issues became chronic. It was physically difficult, but good for the soul.

This morning I made a second slipper so the Sakura bear slippers are now a pair. I also made a pattern, so that I can make more of these in future. The slippers would make cute charms, and they'd be perfect for dolls feet.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Bunny Craft + Green Bean Baby + Jay Stelling

{My Poppet}

In the week that 'was' and 'is'. I have been feeling quite a bit ill. But I'm slowly recharging.

In more interesting news, I'm proud to announce a new sewing tutorial is now live on My Poppet. It's a cute little hand sewn bunny to add to your Easter fun. Even if you don't celebrate Easter, it's still a fun project to do.

{Green Bean Baby}
While I've been in rest mode, I've kept my fingers busy with a bit of therapy embroidery. I bought a digital embroidery pattern from the amazing Ellia of Green Bean Baby. If you like doing embroidery, check out Ellia's Etsy store to see more of her digital patterns, as well as a few other wee wonders the lady crafts and designs.

{Jay Stelling: Whistle-Stop Thistle}
Before signing off, I'd like to share one final interesting tid-bit with you. Doll artist, Jay Stelling, makes some of the sweetest lil' fairy folk that I've ever seen. I honestly love the baby belly bods of Jay's small people.

Jay is working hard to bring her lil' people to more people, by way of an illustrative-photographic book – Whistle-Stop Thistle. To find out more about this, head over to Jay's Kickstarter page.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Candyland + Color Bleed Art + Kid Designer

{Buy this Digital Print}
Quietly now, I tread. My journey into 2019 was slower, more contemplative than the previous years. In January I took a couple of weeks off, to recover my sense of centre. Those few weeks have turned into a couple of months. Sure, I've been making, creating and producing. But it's with a sense that I'm simply treading water, rather than catching an actual wave. It's not so much that I'm lost. Just, waiting.

On that note, let's get stuck into my latest endeavors.

This week I created a fine art digital print (as pictured above) titled I Finished Off the Cake, which you can buy from my Red Bubble store.

{My Poppet art tutorial}
This week my latest craft project for My Poppet has gone live. So heave on over there and read all about it.

This week my youngest is exploring the world of clothing design. Basically I give the kids free rein to supplies around the home. I have a looooooooot (not a typo) of fabric, and I am happy to see the kids experimenting and making what ever comes to mind from the stash. 

In the past year the kids have made outfits that required no stitching (this blew me away). This week the little one draped fabric on herself to make the above pictured outfit. I assisted her in only two things – pinning the seams, and helping her use the sewing machine.

We made a team using the sewing machine. The little one controlled the foot pedal and the reverse stitch button, while I fed the fabric under the needle.

On a final note here's a look at my needle felted doll. I've needle felted small bits in the past. But this doll is two thirds needle felted. So, 'A' for effort and giving it a go.

Friday, 25 January 2019

A Fashionable Sloth

This week has been topsy turvy. I have been busy, exhilarated, a bit broken, resting, contemplative, patient, and figuring things out. Isn't this normal, for all of us really?

© Melissa Gaggiano
My fashionably attired, felt crafted, armature sloth doll is available in my Big Cartel store. She is a worthy addition to your doll collection.

© Melissa Gaggiano

I have been in development mode. 
Developing what? 
Developing stuff. Some of which you'll have to wait and see, but other things I can tell you about now. For instance I am having a go at needle felting a huuuuuuuuu-ge doll. It's a new direction for me. So I've got to be patient and not worry about the result.

I ordered felting wool from Highland Felting & Fibre Supplies. I'm so excited about working with these wonderful colours. Some of which will go toward making the above mentioned doll.

My youngest has been inspired by what I do. This week she has crafted a Sailor Moon mask, a hot dog, and an Easter egg. How neat is that?