Monday, May 31, 2010

Metal Mermaid Tutorial

I REALLY enjoyed trying a whole new material for this months Year Of Enchantment ornament-the mermaid. I thought I'd share how I did it since I kinda made it up as I went along. I always start my monthly ornament idea by researching. I Googled and Etsy searched mermaids and found a few inspiring websites and other crafty goodness out there. I found a paper mermaid doll website with a free pattern which is the one I used for my mermaid. I found another paper mermaid doll here that had both mermaids and fairies. A metal fairy could be fun!! And if you REALLY want variety, here is a third paper mermaid doll pattern. Okay, so here we go...

What you'll need:

Printed paper mermaid doll pattern.
Rusty old thin sheet of metal
New sheet of metal (flashing)
Tin snips or Fiskars heavy duty craft scissors
Leather gloves
Metal file
Hammer and small nail
Scrapbooking brads
E6000 (or other adhesive that will work on metal)
18 Ga. craft wire (I used copper)
small pearl beads
needle and thread

What to do:
1. BODY: Cut out paper doll pieces from the printed paper and trace onto the sheet metal.
2. Wearing the leather gloves, cut out the metal doll pieces using tin snips. I found that these were good to start the cutting or to cut out the general shape, but I finished up with the Fiskars heavy duty scissors. Because I was cutting small pieces and tight corners, the Fiskars performed better. File all edges and make sure their are no sharp pointy areas that could easily cut.

3. Arrange pieces so that you have a general idea of what body part is going to be above/below another when you layer them for hinging. I started out with both upper arms in front of the torso, but moved the left arm to be behind. With the hammer and nail, hammer all the hing holes. I tried to keep the nail hole centered on each area (a few slipped) and I hammered the two layered parts at the same time. For example, if the upper left arm is going to be behind the left torso shoulder, then I nailed through the torso and upper arm together. Make sense?? I think I'll leave it at that. Carrying on...

4. Once all the holes have been hammered in, insert a small scrapbooking brad into each hole.

YAY! You have a basic metal mermaid doll!! Sitting...

Swimming...Dancing...haha...that was fun...Now for the hair, I was inspired by this website here. Go check them out...Are those not the FUNNEST mermaid wall art pieces!! I REALLY want one, but where would I put it? That's my rule for house decor, must have a place in mind for before it can be purchased.

5. HAIR: I wanted her to have the shiny wet hair look...she's a mermaid after all, her hair will be wet. So I used some new flashing that we had in our garage. I first traced one side of her head to create a matching curve, then from the top and bottom of that curve I cut straight across to basically create a rectangle, except the one side was curved. Remember, I made this up as I went so I hope it makes sense. The longer the rectangle, the longer the hair will be. I think mine was about 6 inches. With a pencil, I trace the rest of the shape of her head to give myself a reference point of where to stop cutting. I then cut thin strip, anywhere from an 1/8" to 1/4" wide, from the straight end of the rectangle to the reference point just drawn.
6. I then used the pencil to start curling the hair. I laid the pencil on the top of the metal, held one end to it and rolled it towards the head so the curls curled inward towards the face. Just curl tightly as possible without tearing the metal. I realized my 1/4" wide strips were a little too wide, so I went back and cut all my strips into two. See the difference?
More curling...I thought the pencil was a bit big, so I went to a screwdriver that was slightly smaller.
LAST curl...whew!
7. After all that curling, I placed her hair piece back behind her head and started stretching them all out into a desirable shape. You can see the three on the bottom are stretched. I wanted her to have a flowing watery look, so I stretched them out the the right.
I figured she needed bangs, so I trimmed a few on top. It was also to help cover up the top forehead.
More pulling and placing of curls...
Once you're done primping, follow the instructions on the E6000 for gluing, allow to dry for a day or two and your done! YAY, you have a metal mermaid doll with hair!
8. EMBELLISHING: This part stumped me...the challenge was to use paper...I tried MANY ways...I just couldn't do it. So I pulled out more metal; metal wire, metal buttons, metal beads, metal rings...and of course pearls. A mermaid has got to have pearls. The pic below shows her with two metal buttons for a brazierre. Of course that was not was she ended up with.
I beaded a pearl necklace and pearl bracelet onto her. The bracelet was with thread, the necklace was on a small gauged wire so that I could shape it around her neck. Using the 18 Ga. wire, I spiral wired a different brazierre which looped behind her neck and back down to the other side, also being a spiral shape. Surprisingly I did not take any pics of my mermaid by herself before sending her off to her new home. This was the best I had, a cropped photo.
I hope this all made sense! One thing I thought of but did not have the tools to follow through with it was to texture her tail fin with scales. My dad had a metal alphabet set for stamping into metals, we couldn't find it. I wanted to use the parenthesis symbol to create tons of crescent shapes all the way down her tail like they were scales. This would have created a fun texture, I think, but I guess we'll never know.

Now go...make a metal mermaid (or fairy) and enjoy!

Friday, May 28, 2010

I spy Friday...

I spy with my little eye...a few creatures at the seaside. (Beach next to Ivars Restaurant in Mukilteo, WA).

We didn't see the starfish on the beach, someone was fishing and actually caught it and reeled it in from the pier. Big starfish eh??

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


I've fallen of the Destash-Along 2010 bandwagon!! I need help back on!! AAHHH!!! explain's a pic of my alternate dress fabric for the Frock by Friday going on NOW over at Grosgrain's blog. I LOVE this fabric! I made a nursing cover out of it (which I ended up giving away) and found it again this past weekend on my trip to the Seattle area. I bought 4 yards of the floral, 3 yards of a creamy solid to line it, and the 1/2 yard of the polka dot to contrast (which is really a chocolaty brown, not black). It was a large was an unnecessary purchase....but I LOVE IT!! I also bought a couple yards each of the fabrics below...

yeah.......they were on clearance at another quilt store. I liked them and thought they were a good price. I was thinking I could use them as a skirt like these two Mod Cloth ones...
(Skirt pics via ModCloth)

I don't know...I'm open to suggestions. But yeah...I've fallen of the Destash-Along bandwagon. Having done that has given me the idea to go through my fabric stash and take photos of the pieces that are good for apparel. Those are soon to may take a few weeks, but it's on my to-do list. :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Today's Life Lesson

Don't put off your morning shower because you need to change the litter box and want to shower after all that litter dust billows up at you and clings to you, but before you get to that you decide to super vaccuum the house for a few hours then before you know it, it's lunch time, so you pause to eat and realize you're running late for a playdate, but squeeze in a trip to the library and ALL THE WHILE you're doing laundry (which are several loads of bedding), so you're washing on hot-hot-hot and extra rinse (I don't like crunchy sheets from left over detergent) before you know it, it's dinnertime so you eat, but it was a warm day so you water the garden and a few other plants, THEN you realize that you still need to change the litter box and do so THEN you finally take your morning shower only you've been doing laundry on hot-hot all day so it's not so warm shower. >:/

Friday, May 21, 2010

I Spy Friday...and a tutorial!

I spy with my little eye...Mount Adams in the distance...can you see it? Baaarreeelly?? Right in the middle where the hills meet the sky...a pale white bump. Well, I do.
As promised, here's my super quick and easy baby blankets that I make for many new moms now, they've become my staple shower gift, along with nursing cover. They were made for me for my first born and they ended up being my FAVORITE blanket out of all the ones I received. Maybe it's because they were made just for me, maybe it's because they are the perfect size for almost everything you do with a newborn to toddler...I don't know.
What you'll need:
1 yard cotton fabric (like quilting cotton)
1 yard cotton flannel fabric
thread (matching or contrasting)
sewing machine

What you'll do:
1. Because it's a baby blanket, I prewash all fabrics. Just regular machine wash and dry. If they're too wrinkly, use an iron on cotton setting.
2. Place fabrics right side together, if desired, pin together. Sew 1/4" to 1/2" around edge, because of the prewash and shrinkage, they might not line up perfectly, especially along the long edge, the quilt cottons tend to be 2" longer than the flannels. Leave about an 8" opening on one side, but not at a corner.
3. Cut edges down and clip corners. Turn right side out.
4. Iron. I like to iron the edges flat, it makes the next step easier.
5. Sew a straight stitch either an 1/8" or 1/4" in all the way around the edge. This is both decorative and stitches the opening shut. Sometimes I'll also do a narrow zigzag at just the opening.
6. Pick a decorative stitch and practice size and width on a scrap piece of fabric. My sewing machine has a "stretch" setting that does a few stitches that appear more decorative on non-stretch fabrics. You can see the vine/feather looking stitch just below the monkeys head in the pic above. Once settings are established, sew all the way around about 4-5" in from the edge.
7. Sometimes I do a second round of straight stitch either just above or just below the decorative stitch, depends on my mood and really how much thread I have left. I also will change the top thread color and the bobbin color to match each side. You can match the fabric closely or pick a contrasting color to stand out, that's the great thing about this blanket, you don't have to match thread colors.
8. Fold, gift wrap, throw in a pair of baby shoes made from StardustShoes tutorial with matching fabric, give them all away, and enjoy watching someone receive the perfect sized baby blanket and baby shoes made with love!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Post 100...

Well, you'd think being my 100th post I'd have something fancy to say or to reminisce about or possibly a giveaway...perhaps if I had thought of that ahead of time...but I didn't. Now that I think about it, a few statistics...this is my 100th post, I've blogged for one year, six months and twenty-eight days, and I've managed to post only one pic of me and my son and another 1/2 pic of me, the rest have been crafty related pics. Interesting, eh? Okay, so having said all that, all I have for you today are a few crafty updates.First latest purchase of fabric for my next Frock by Friday sew-along hosted by Kathleen at Grosgrain. (I know, I know...I joined the Destash-Along 2010...this purchase is a step back in my destash-recovery process...hahaha...I make it sound like I'm a recovering alcoholic or something...fabric is an addiction I am working on THAT bit). We were going to start this past Monday, but now we're starting this coming Monday which works out perfect for me. And on a side note, I played with my camera settings and this pic was the most accurate for portraying the lime green and teal colors and yet they are STILL not accurate. The teal is a richer, darker teal and the lime green is...well, better that what's on screen. Anyways...Next up...a few baby blankets for a friends shower this weekend. And yes...the fabric combos are confused...she's not finding out what the baby will be, so I made them both with a boyish and girlish fabric so that no matter what she has, she can still use both. Here's a close up of one...hmmm...idea popped into my head. Want to know how I made them? I'll blog that tomorrow with the I spy Friday. See ya then!

Friday, May 14, 2010

I spy Friday...

I spy with my little eye...a few mermaids that chose to live with me...
This third pretty lady has a merman hanging a few inches below her...and I didn't dig out my mermaid ornaments...hoo-dawgy!! So many!! (This months Year of Enchantment ornament theme is mermaids. I just LOVE mermaids!!! So I thought I'd share a few that I already live with.) This last one is my most recent addition...welcome to our home pretty mermaid!! You are surrounded by many friends!
Happy Friday!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

This day in 1914...

...the US celebrated it's first Mother's Day as a national holiday (woohoo...that's 96 years ago). President Woodrow Wilson passed it into law as an official holiday and since then we've escalated in our celebration of it. Anna Jarvis coined the phrase "Mother's Day" so that we would celebrate one's own mother versus what was widely known as Mothers' Day, or the celebration of all mothers. Seven years after the passing of this day into a major holiday, it had become so commercialized that Anna Jarvis then fought the idea of it as a major holiday for the rest of her life. She criticized the idea of sending a card because she saw it as a sign of being too lazy to write a personal letter.

My message for you today is...WRITE YOUR MOTHER A LETTER. Over the past five or so years my dislike of cards has grown for various reason I won't go into. The internet has allowed us to be in contact with friends and family in an instant...but what about the joy of receiving a bit of mail from the postman?? For me, it is still more exciting to find something in the mail than it is to find an email in my inbox. You know time and thought went into writing that letter or putting together that package and it makes you feel loved and special. I admit, I am guilty of Christmas Cards, but I'm not discussing that holiday today. :) Remember...write your mother a letter.

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY to all you mothers out there!

Friday, May 7, 2010

I Spy Friday...

I spy with my little eye some the grass???

HAHA!! My aunt and uncle didn't clean their shoes after they sprayed weed killer near their garden. You can see the whole area of dead grass before they go walking to the garage. Cracked me up!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Happy Cinco de Mayo!!! I don't recall the true reason behind the day, but it's been one that has been celebrated all around me since I was born...due to where I grew up. I grew up in an area that has a very large hispanic population. Now that I think about it, I find it funny that a few of my favorite drinks are actually margaritas and mojitos!! haha!

I FINALLY decided on an Amy Butler sewing was a toss up between this one and her Sophia carry-all. I finally decided that I didn't want to deal with any piping around the edge, so I went with this:It even comes with a diaper changing pad pattern! Woohoo! I have enough of anything in my stash to make it?? The outside takes over a yard and the lining is over three yards!! YOWZA!! Hmmm...I guess I'll have to save that answer for another day...a day I can dig through my stash.I also bought some REALLY COOL laminated fabric to make more diaper covers!!! Yeeheee!!! However, it's already after sunset so I don't have good picture light....again, maybe another day.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Destash Along #9

(I've joined the Destash-Along 2010 over at Crafting With Cat Hair)
Align CenterBaby shoes made from Stardustshoes free baby shoe pattern and tutorial. They were pretty easy to make, I just don't recommend a thick interfacing like I used. It made them stiff. Next attempt will be with a lighter weight iron-on interfacing. I think these will be my new baby shower gift. :) These two pairs are already for two special babies! I would say they fit between 6-12 months. My baby is now 8 months and they are a little big still. I used suede for the soles too, it's pretty soft. Suprisingly I didn't have 1/8" elastic, so they are only 95% destash stuff. But now that I have elastic, I'll be making many more pairs for many more babies I know.