Sunday, September 29, 2019

You CAN take it with you...dollmaking, that is.

A magic box!  All the needful things to make button and spool dolls.

Painted head beads, some tea dyed beads, spools, scads of buttons (someone went to Michaels....), stringing material.  Just need to remember to take some scissors.

And Christmas is just around the corner...honestly!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Happy Halloween!

Sweet Hemlock and Caspar the cat wish you a Happy Halloween.

The cat is from the Tiny Window Cat pattern on Ravelry, the rest came out of my head :-)  The pumpkins are just wood beads with a dowel stuck in them to look like a stem, then painted as pumpkins.

The stand was made in the post before, with a little preserved moss glued to it.

And Hemlock is a Spool and Button doll in a witchy outfit.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Fun hacks for your button and spool dolls

A couple of fun hacks for your button and spool dolls.  The first is a simple stand, since these girls are a bit wobbly on their feet.  You need some 20-22 gauge wire and a wood disk or plaque.  These were purchased from Michaels.  In a pinch you could use cardboard.  If using cardboard, cut a couple pieces and glue them together for added sturdiness, then when done you could cover it with felt.

This plaque is about 2 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick.  Take a pair of pliers and make a spiral at one end of the wire, about 3/4 of an inch in diameter, then cut the wire leaving a long straight piece 2 inches long.  Bend this straight piece up perpendicular to the spiral.  Put a puddle of glue in the middle of your wood plaque, then put the spiral base in the puddle and let it dry.

When dry, you can decorate the plaque with more buttons, little toys, ribbon, flowers, whatever!

Hack number two...did you know you can tea dye wood?  The bead on the right was dunked in VERY strong black tea for about an hour (along with the wood spools to make the doll), and this is the color it turned, as compared to the natural wood.  I love this, as I don't really like painting or staining these tiny parts.

And so my brigade of button and spool dolls continues to grow!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Spool and button doll fun

One idea seems to lead to another, and suddenly I'm making spool dolls again!  Ages ago, I bought a kit from Magic Cabin Dolls (the kit no longer available, sadly) for making a very cute doll from wood spools and beads.  I made one, then it got modified slightly, and before I knew it there was a small army of spool dolls all over the house.  That was at least two decades ago.

Fast forward to today and Pinterest and the addition of buttons and suddenly, I want to make these dolls again.  I found one simple set of free directions at this link:

Cotton Reel Creations

which is very like the Magic Cabin Spool doll.  Simple and a bit rustic and quite adorable.

I also worked up my own pattern that incorporates buttons, and different hair:

Spoolie and Button dolls

Here is a quick peak at what these dolls look like:

Ingredients and beginning stringing

All strung up!

Lots of options!

I like all the dolls I make to be dress-able, so the pattern includes a crochet bodice that you can either continue crocheting a skirt to, or add a fabric skirt to it.  If you'd rather, you can gather a fabric skirt to the doll and attach it permanently and put the crochet bodice over this.

You can make these dolls any size, depending on the spools and beads you use.  Mine are about 3 3/4 inches tall.  You can use buttons, or not, the same with the pony beads.  I like the beads and buttons as they add a bit of bling to the doll, but if you prefer a more rustic look you can stay with just the wood beads and spools.

Our Grandmothers and Great Grandmothers probably made simple dolls like these for their girls, from used cotton thread reels and buttons from worn out shirts.  I love the idea of walking in these women's footsteps.


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Crooked Cottage

I spent the better part of August working on this little cottage for the tiny bead dolls.  Amazing how insistent a tiny doll can be!

I love using cardboard, partly because my woodcrafting skills are nill, and partly because there is so much of it around for free.  And, making dollhouses keeps it out of the landfill.

This wee house was made from one cardboard box, with a couple of strips of cardboard glued to the side to make a ledge for the second floor.

There is always an incredible mess when I start playing with cardboard and glue and paper and paint.  This is laid out on the floor, and you can see the basic doll house shape already done.  I painted the entire thing with gesso, then used scrapbook papers to paper the inside walls, and sponge painted a fern green to the outside walls.  The floors are carpeted with felt, and the roof is shingled with old dollhouse shingles I've had for decades.

You can see the sponge painting on the sides; striving for a look of moss on stucco, and the shingles glued to the roof.  I tried to glue long twigs to finish the raw edges of the house, but the glue wouldn't hold.  In desperation, I looked around for another way to fasten the twigs to the house, and found some waxed linen used for macrame jewelry that I could tie the twigs to the raw edges.  I used a pinvise to drill tiny holes in the cardboard and threaded the cord through these and around the twigs.  If you look at the picture below, you can see what I mean (better than my trying to describe it).

A bit crooked, but sweet.  And quite a mess!

Tiny furniture for our tiny house; chairs and a bench from wooden blocks and twigs; table from spools and wood cut-out; quilt on a bed from spools, twigs, and a piece of cardboard.

Something to hang on the walls!

Living room, furnished.

Bedroom furnished.

A bit cozy, but we're happy.  And so is the owl in the attic!

And looking a bit spooky with some camera manipulation.

I just grabbed and box and started playing.  Bet you have plenty of boxes to play with as well.  The wood bits are easy to find at the craft store, and the twigs came from our own tree trimmings ( a brush pile is a wonderful thing).  It is great fun to make something from nothing!