Friday, 14 June 2019

Today's Post is Brought to You by the Letter P

Why am I talking about the letter p? Because my recent content incidentally starts with the letter P. Such as paper doll... pom pom... and even pony.

Let's get into it so I can take you on a creative journey.

{My Poppet}
You will find my printable paper doll design over at My Poppet. For those who remember and loved paper dolls will appreciate this free printable.

Head on over to Kidspot. There you will find my hilarious Pom Pom Shoes DIY.

{this blog}
Then head back to my blog and you will find a sewing tutorial for a flying pony. It comes complete with instructions, and a video (should the instructions make no sense whatsoever ;)).

Saturday, 8 June 2019

Sew a Flying Pony

I have create a sewing project for you to try.  With the supporting content video and instructions you can make your very own Flying Pony. How neat is that?

Collect some materials, biscuits and a friend (or two), and get started making this cute flying pony. FYI, the wings can be moved.

You will need:
  • 3 felt sheets (different colours)
  • 4 buttons
  • Pen
  • Thread
  • Needle
  • Hobby fill
  • Dressmaker pins
  • Haemostat or chopstick
  • Craft scissors


1. Copy and print the below template, and cut out the pattern pieces.

2. Place the pattern pieces on felt. Draw outlines of the pattern pieces onto the felt.
Felt 1 – body, ears.
Felt 2 – tail, mane, fringe.
Felt 3 – wing.

3. Cut out the drawn felt pieces.

4. Pin the fringe, ears and mane to the top of a body piece, as per the body pattern reference markers and plain stitch together.

5. Roll up the tail piece along the length, pin it and plain stitch closed.

6. Pin together the two body pieces, with the fringe/ears/mane sandwiched between.

7. Sew along the body perimeter, 3-5mm from the edge. Keep the horse bottom open.

8. Stuff the body with hobby fill.

9. Slip the tail into the bottom opening and pin into position. Sew closed the bottom opening, making sure to stitch into the tail.

10. Stitch one button into either side of the horse’s head, as per the reference marker. The easiest way to do this is to feed the needle from one side of the body to the other, through the holes in the buttons.

11. Layer and pin each pair of wings. Plain stitch lines into each wing piece, as per the reference markers.

12. Position and pin the wings onto either side of the horse’s middle, as per the reference marker. Stitch one button into either side of the wing, as per the reference marker. Do this by feeding the needle from one side of the body to the other, through the holes in the buttons. You now have your very own flying horse.

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

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?

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Bonus: 10 Min Drawing + Weird Wonders

{My Poppet link}
Welcome to the Bonus blog update. Some things dropped into my 'get excited' box, and I really couldn't wait till next Friday to mention them. So let's get to it, shall we?

A while back I created and wrote about a Drawing Project, which you can at last read about, over at My Poppet.

Previously, my youngest made some weird wonders, which I took the liberty of photographing for posterity. I enjoy watching her sewing development.

Friday, 18 January 2019

Looking for Meaning in a Button Box

© Melissa Gaggiano
It has been a week of lost contemplation. I'm between projects. Figuratively speaking of kicking the tires and making sure I'm on the right track for 2019.

While I am double checking my course path, the week has not been without it's creative bursts.

I produced a short photographic essay on my tog blog.

I enabled the kids in their making. The eldest has been crafting paper decorations for her birthday. The youngest made a fluffy dog toy, and for the first time she had a go at using the sewing machine.

I had a little drawing spark, and came up with this doll concept. No matter how much paper I have I always run out of room for the legs. I end up drawing my doll figures with bent knees.
© Melissa Gaggiano

Friday, 11 January 2019

Turtle + Other Good Stuff

© Melissa Gaggiano

In the week that has been I have finished making a sweet, fabric sculpted turtle. The turtle is 34cm tall and has a wire armature frame (being a poser is no longer a dirty word). The turtle is available for AUD $250.


© Melissa Gaggiano
I participated in a #drawinyourownstyle activity, playing along with Illustrator, Mel Stringer's Challenge. Aptly hashtagged as #melstringerdrawchallenge.  I had a lot of fun recreating Mel's illustration in my own way.

© Melissa Gaggiano
To recap the week just gone, I have entered my 2018 Sloth Project in Frankie Good Stuff Awards. Simply entering into these awards is a pat on my own back. It's a reward to myself and therefore worth mentioning, again. To find out more about the sloths, go here.

For those interested in making a smaller version of these sloths, there is a tutorial available on Etsy. To buy it simply go here.