Monday, 24 August 2020

Exploding Gifts, Keyrings + Matchbox Craft

In my latest news batch you'll find all sorts of fun stuff. Some of it new (exploding gift boxes) and some of it harking back to some old school activities (for those who used to play with matchboxes), and other things that fall somewhere in between (the keyrings). So, let's just get into it!

{My Poppet: DIY Exploding Gift Box}

I produced an exploding gift box for My Poppet. Now 'exploding' – not as disturbing as it sounds. In fact your heart will utterly kvell when you see this. You'll want to make one for someone dear to you. You'll want someone dear to you to make one for you.

{Kidspot: Matchbox Doll Craft}

Over at Kidspot I have two offerings for you. There's the super cute, and very simple 'growing matchbox children'. Also if you're into watch things shrink then you'll get a kick out of my keyring project. Get your hands on shrink plastic sheets from art-craft stores and you'll just want to spend your entire day shrinking your drawings. Think of the potential.

{Kidspot: DIY Shrink Plastic Keyring}

{Eiffel Tower softie tutorial}

If can't get enough of all things Parisian then you just may fall in love with this little Eiffel Tower softie tutorial. Who would have thought something so pointy could be so... soft.

Thursday, 23 July 2020

DIY Face Mask

{Kidspot: DIY Face Mask}

If you're looking for a quality DIY alternative, and might I say, stylish face mask head over to Kidspot. I've created a sewing process for this face mask design further simplifies the steps involved for making a mask, without compromise to quality. This design is makable for people with little and lots of sewing experience. It is also comfortable to wear, durable and washable. Head over to Kidspot and get your mask making on. Then, if you must step out, put on that mask gear.

Be safe.

Friday, 17 July 2020

Eiffel Tower Softie


G is well on her way toward being a Francophile, with her passion for The Miraculous Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir. By extension of this passion she has a developing curiosity for anything connected to Paris.

A few weeks ago G produced a few Parisian structures using graph paper, tape and colouring pens. One of those structures, the Eiffel Tower, now sits on my computer workstation, a gift from G. My kids are a source of inspiration and wanting to do something for Sew a Softie in July 2020, I found myself staring at G's paper Eiffel Tower wondering what I would do. Then it struck me, I could make an Eiffel Tower softie based on G's Eiffel Tower.


What is Sew a Softie? For me, in a nutshell, it’s for people who believe they ‘can’t’. Sew a Softie is an open, friendly, supportive forum for absolutely everyone. There are no rules in making softies, except perhaps to say ‘there are no rules’. To make it more clear read about it in Trixi’s (founder of Sew a Softie) own words


Sew your own Eiffel Tower softie


You will need:

·    Felt: light blue, grey, light green; yellow

·    Thread

·    Hobby fill

·    Pen

·    Needle

·    Scissors: Paper and fabric, or craft



When you're figuring out stuff there’s no right or wrong. There’s your way and my way, and neither are wrong. You can use any colour material and any type of thread. Use what’s available to you. Mix it up and have fun. If some materials are not available to you such as thread or hobby fill, there are alternatives to finishing the softie. Such as using rice or other dry grains to replace hobby fill. Or using glue instead of a needle and thread.


How to:


1/ Print the template at 100%.


2/ Cut out the template pieces with paper scissors.


3/ Place the template pieces onto felt fabric. Then trace around the pieces.


4/ Cut out the felt pieces with fabric or craft scissors. Cut mid length strips into the grass pieces. Cut out the middle section in the tower pieces.


5/ Place the grass piece onto the background piece, lining up the bottoms. Sew together, with a plain stitch across the bottom.


6/ Place the tower piece onto the background piece, lining up the bottoms. Sew together, using a plain stitch.


7/ Sew the frame piece over the tower just above the arch. Stitch together, with a plain stitch.


8/ Repeat Steps 5-7 for remainder three grass, background, tower and frame pieces.


9/ Sew the side edges of the four backgrounds together.


10/ Sew three of the base sides to the bottom edges of the background pieces.


11/ Stuff the Eiffel Tower with hobby fill.


12/ Sew closed the fourth side of the base to the background piece. Voila! You are done.


Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Keeping You Craft Busy

Depending on where you are you're still in iso, on holiday, or you're returning to iso. But as always us craft designers have you covered for fallout. Let's take a look at what I have put together for you.

{My Poppet: Round Drawstring Bag Sewing Pattern}

Last week My Poppet launched my flowery looking drawstring bag design. Now this is no ordinary drawstring bag, for when you open it there are hidden pockets inside. How neat is that?

{Kidspot: Nappy Cake}

Next on the agenda is a Nappy Cake tutorial, produced for Kidspot. As Baby Shower gifts go, it may seem frivolous, but I tell you, when it comes to babies, you can never have too many nappies. The baby host will thank you one hundredfold for this gift.

{My Poppet project list}

If that's not enough to keep you busy, then check out my two massive lists of My Poppet and Kidspot projects.

{Kidspot project list}

Friday, 5 June 2020

Lights Camera Fashion – Kanari Pinku

The day has arrived, and it's been a long wait. What am I talking about? I'm talking about Lights Camera Fashion, a group exhibit hosted by incube8r. This exhibit has been in the itinerary for near on six months. The doll took a few months to make, and social distancing delayed things along the way. But we got through that alright, and incube8r is now able to open their doors for exhibits (Yay!). 

The theme of this exhibit is fashion, and the artists involved were invited to use art to intepret the fashion industry. My play on fashion came from multiple sources. I'd been reading books about Akira Isogawa and Romance Was Born, which became a mental visual source of inspiration for me. I also had the film Pretty in Pink heavily on the brain. If you're not familiar with this story – girl on wrong side of the tracks makes good with her rags, but chooses wrong boy from right side of the tracks (Yeah! I'm a Duckette – if this confuses you, you'll need to watch the film to be 'un' confused). I named the doll Kanari Pinku, which basically translates to Pretty Pink.

I've made a one off fashion art doll for this exhibit. Materials include fabric, clay, wire, thread, paint, yarn, acetate, and hobby fill. The doll is truly a one of a kind as her clay face has no mould. I've used a variety of techniques to make this doll. She has wire armature inside. Her clothes have been embroidered and spray painted. Her synthetic weft hair has been hand stitched and styled (and spray painted). Plus the doll comes with her own star stand (also spray painted). My proudest point of this doll is her kimono which is also a hoodie. Now I only wish this kimono came in my size.

If you're about Melbourne I recommend visiting incube8r, not only to check out Lights Camera Fashion, but to also explore the onsite shop offerings from local artists. Make a day of it in Fitzroy.

Friday, 22 May 2020

Hacky sack + Heart Pillow + Freddie Prinze Jr

Life is not linear. Have you noticed? You zig zag from place to place. Memories can drag you backward. You shuttle toward the future pulled along by anxiety. Then just when you think your head might completely spin off you're dropped into a lull-less ocean, completely devoid of ebb and flow. From there you have a choice – float and wait things out, or... you can cup your hands and gently begin swimming in some direction.

I used to be a floater. I still am to some degree, but only when I'm fatigued. When I feel I've floated long enough, I choose a direction, any direction, and I begin to swim. Very rarely do I hit an island, but that doesn't seem to matter. The important thing is that I'm swimming. It's important to balance these things out – rest and swim, rest and swim.

'Cup your hands' and 'swimming' are my metaphors for the work I do, whether that be Content Creation, Illustration, Photography, Design and Doll Making. These jobs are the peg that anchor me in today.

Do you ever feel this way? Do you have an anchor? What activities make you feel whole?

With restrictions beginning to ease, I am once again excited to spruik on about my entry into the incube8r exhibit Lights Camera Fashion. The show date was pushed back to later in the year, and now here we are. This particular exhibit will not have an opening night, but it will be open for a glorious four weeks.

This week on My Poppet Makes I have created for you a 'no sew' heart pillow project. It's super easy and fun for everyone. Head on over to My Poppet Makes to access the template and instructions.

So, who remembers hacky sacks? They've been around for decades in one form or another. Balloon hacky sacks and Freddie Prinze Jr were on trend when I was in high school. And now we can get them back on trend again (Hacky sacks, I mean.). Head over to Kidspot to find out how to make these juggling projectiles.

And here's a little nostalgic appreciation for hacky sacks, abstract performance art and a certain nineties teen crush:

Friday, 8 May 2020

Felt Art + Marbling Design + Learning

Are your running out of craft ideas? Not to fret, as I've got you covered with another two projects. 

Kidspot: DIY Felt Art Set

Head over to Kidspot to get your hands on a Felt Art Template set I created. This set is the perfect starter kit for creating felt images. This activity is perfect for isolation, or travel (life after isolation).

My Poppet: DIY Marble Design Hat

In My Poppet land, I have shown how simple and easy it is to marble a three dimensional blank canvas. 

Here's a fun fact about the marbling ink (Bokuundo) used in this project. I bought the marbling ink from an art store fifteen years ago, and it's still good to use. 

WC Digital Portrait © Melissa Gaggiano

I have signed up for a swag of short art courses. I've completed a portraiture course that combines water colour with digital elements. The other courses I'm working through include BJD making, Art Toy Design, and Pop-up Book Making.

Saturday, 25 April 2020

Time to Repair, Make, Reflect

In this time of social distancing, which can make a messy cocktail of loneliness and boredom, it makes all the difference having activities to keep your mind busy and engaged in a healthy way. Here I've put together a bunch of new projects that can help you in this slightly new found hermit existence.

Have you got a pile of holey socks which, apart from the unravelling blackholes, could be perfectly fine. Rather than throwing out those holey socks, head over to My Poppet and try a simple darning tutorial. A few things I love about this activity – it's easy, basic sewing; it'll add colour to your otherwise humdrum socks; it doesn't take long to repair the holes, and will extend the life of said socks.

A loss of routine and uncertainty can produce distress. The act of working with your hands can help calm the mind, whether it be through sewing, drawing, baking, or really any form of creation. If you or your family members are feeling lost and out of sorts during social distancing, try making a worry doll. I have produced my own version of a worry doll for Kidspot, in a very easy to follow video tutorial.

Did you know worry dolls originate from a Guatemalan legend? It is a Mayan tradition to present children with a worry doll to free them of their nightmares. Before going to bed a child can whisper their worries to the doll. The doll is placed under the pillow, and the next day the child wakes worry free. Exploring deeper into the origin of the worry doll the tradition is connected to the legend of  Princess Lxmucane, who received the gift of problem solving from the sun god.

Kidspot: Stationery Caddy

Another recent Kidspot craft tutorial I recommend checking out is a DIY Stationery Caddy. You'll laugh when you see what I used to make this. While home based learning is in progress, having an easy to carry stationery container can be the perfect item, and craft activity, for the kids' temporary school space.

One last item in my activity round up, if you have a love of paper craft, mobiles, cherry blossom, and Japanese culture, then I have something for you. It is a DIY Paper Cherry Blossom Mobile. That's a mouthful! You can decorate your home with one of these mobiles. Or make a handful of them for a garden party. 

An amazing plus to this project – if you own a Cricut cutting machine, there is an SVG file version of the flower template. Having a Cricut will save you so much time and energy in cutting out these intricate flower designs.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Paper Craft Cherry Blossom Mobile Lantern

{My Poppet Makes link}
The past couple of months I've had an amazing paper craft project in the works. It's been a while coming, and I'm so thrilled to announce that it is finally... finally live at My Poppet Makes. Happy clap!

I take immeasurable delight in flowers, culture and ornamentation. So it was an absolute passion project producing this Japanese inspired cherry blossom mobile, which doubles as a lantern.

In you're looking for other crafty projects here's a list of other recently produced tutorials:
Kidspot: Bunny Pop
Kidspot: Jewellery Frame

My Poppet: Collage Made Stationery Set
For more craft, and lifestyle based articles I recommend you visit the following:
Perhaps look at ordering a craft book or two. I can recommend:

Make in a Day by Cintia Gonzalez-Pell (the mastermind behind My Poppet), which is also available as an e-book.

Dover: Make in a Day

In closing I just want to say: 
Stay safe
Stay sane
Be calm
Be sensible
There are solutions
Use this time to run self care
Text your friends and loved ones
Read a book
Craft stuff
We'll get through this


Don't Panic

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Busy as Ants and Bees

I've been spending a lot more time in the garden. It takes effort and care to tend to a garden, but it's the kind of work that has a calming affect on the mind. If you're feeling overwhelmed, lost, or even without momentum, taking care of the nature that surrounds you can help your mental health.

In between trying to make things grow in the backyard, I have busily been creating content, and preparing for an art exhibit. There will be more information about the exhibit down the track. For now I wanted to draw to your attention other works of the past couple of months. Such as the...

My Poppet Bookmark, celebrating the Chinese New Year. It's now the year of the Rat, don't you know.
{My Poppet link}

I produced a Kidspot craft video, showing how to make a 'Dummy' Fairy Home.
{Kidspot link}

My pride and joy, for the Christmas period, was the My Poppet – Santa Face Pin. How adorable is this?
{My Poppet link}