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Paint a pineapple pot

Have you ever grown a pineapple?

I have to admit, the notion had never crossed my mind until reading a fantastic little book that I found in the library this past spring. I enjoyed this book so much that I even bought a copy for myself.

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Yeah, I know it says it’s for grandmas and I am a long ways off from being one. But the ideas in here are so fun, I didn’t feel like waiting around when I can do them with my own kids. There are so many sweet ideas, many of them somehow related to gardening or the outdoors. Rana and Granota have had a lot of fun building a variety of fairy houses all summer out of pieces of bark, moss, acorns and whatever else they can find in the yard. I really love how the book encourages creativity and an appreciation for nature.

One of the long term projects is growing a pineapple plant. You start with a fresh pineapple from the store which, of course, you get to eat, so even if your plant goes kaput, you really haven’t lost anything. Before slicing into your pineapple, however, the first thing you need to do is carefully twist off the top bunch of leaves. It’s surprisingly easy to do. Remove a few of the lower leaves until you can see little brown dots in the nub of flesh; those brown dots are where the new roots will sprout! Then stick your pineapple top into a jar of water, making sure those little brown dots are always submerged. After a few weeks, you’ll have some healthy pineapple roots swirling around in the water.

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At this point, the plant needs a permanent dirt home. I bought a large terra cotta pot for the job, but far be it from me to just leave it plain. I dithered around for awhile, trying to decide how I wanted to decorate my pot. Finally, I got inspiration from an iron-on transfer book I have (does anyone still use those?). Obviously, there will be no ironing on a terra cotta pot, so I got my pencil and freehand drew the pictures I wanted based on the ones in the book. It was a nice way to spend a hot summer day, sitting out on the porch, soaking up the vitamin D and being artsy.

The painting itself took place over the next week or so. Believe it or not, four kids provide plenty of interruptions. Who knew, right? Sometimes I sat out on the porch, sometimes I moved in to my sewing room if it was too hot, but all the while surrounded by my brushes and paints. Those were happy moments.

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There are two large flowers and two birds encircling the pot

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Flower #1 didn’t turn out quite as I had envisioned, but I like the colors

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This side is my favorite

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Now my pineapple has a fun and pretty place to call home. And now you want to go buy a pineapple.

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I heart craigslist, part 2

You probably thought I had forgotten about this, too, huh? Never fear! It was just waiting in the wings.

In part 1, I showed you our table’s amazing transformation and noted at the end the hodge-podge of chairs around it. I like the hodge-podge. One little nugget of wisdom that I took from years of watching “What Not to Wear” was “It doesn’t have to match, it just has to go.” And that suits me just fine. Too much matchy-matchy and it begins to feel a little sterile, a little cold, whether that be outfits or furniture. So in that spirit of “going” versus “matching,” Mr. Gren and I have been keeping our eyes peeled for old wooden chairs on craigslist. Our entire criteria consists of: must be wood, preferably unfinished, $10 or less. There are certain styles I just don’t like, so I’m not falling all over myself for every wood chair that hits the ads. This chair set the tone for our hunt:

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This chair has been a part of my life for 26 years. It had been left in the shed of the house my family moved to when I was in 3rd grade, and, other than the gouge mark I made in it when using it as a sawhorse at the age of 12, it has always looked like this, even down to the paint flecks on the leather seat. I don’t know what its history was before it became part of our family, but I’m glad it was forgotten so that I could adopt it.

Chairs number 2 and 3, each found on craigslist for ten bucks, are as follows:

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The first one obviously needs a new seat cover. I haven’t decided yet what I want to do about that. See, there’s this issue of children. Either I choose something indestructible, or else I have to make peace with the kids putting their own, ahem, “special touch” on it. Having to re-upholster it more than once is a distinct possibility in that scenario.

Chair number 3 garnered a lot of love from the kids who dubbed it The Potty Seat and pretended to flush each other down the gaping hole in the center of the seat. (C’mon, if you fit through that hole, you totally would have done the same thing). When we first saw this chair on craigslist, I hadn’t noticed the groove about 1/2″ all the way around the hole. I was thinking of upholstering a small board to fit and nailing it all together. When we got it home, I realized that the hole had previously been covered by caning. You know the type — I think everybody’s grandma has at least one item of caned furniture.

But where does one get replacement caning? What a silly question. Amazon, of course! Amazon has everything. For $25, we got a complete kit with easy-to-follow instructions. Slightly annoyed that we could have bought another two and a half chairs for that, but weighing that with the option of having a worthless chair on hand is what made us decide to go for it. Besides, I watched YouTube videos on the process, so I’m an expert now.

This isn’t going to be a real how-to or tutorial because the videos (of which there are many) do a good job of explaining how this works. I’m just going to show our work. No need to reinvent the wheel here!

To start with, we lucked out that someone had already removed the old caning and spline; from what I learned, that is the hardest part of the job.

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I guess I skipped the part where we painted the chair. Look, we painted the chair!

After soaking the sheet of caning and the spline in the bathtub for a half hour or so, it was time to start applying it to the chair. This is definitely a two person job, so if you foresee caning in your future, grab a buddy. And if you need to photograph the process, a 6 year old will do.

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First, I laid the sheet of caning over the hole, trying to keep the grain as straight as possible.

 

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Then, using those little wooden wedges pictured above (they are included in the kit), Mr. Gren pounded the caning into the groove. That sounds easy, and really, it’s not difficult, but it was a little bit fiddly. The caning had a tendency to pop out on the side opposite of where Mr. Gren was pounding it in. That’s why it’s good to have two sets of hands working on this to help hold things down that don’t want to stay down.

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Once the caning was pounded in sufficiently enough that it wouldn’t pop out, we removed the wedges. Now it was time to carefully lay the spline (a long, flexible whip of wood). We chose a center point at the back of the seat to begin and end the spline. Putting the spline in involved more wedges and pounding and popping out and pounding. Granota got bored and found another subject to photograph.

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Meanwhile, Mr. Gren and I are still working in the background. So it’s not a completely gratuitous picture of my adorable baby.

Finally, the spline was in and nothing was popping out! Now came perhaps the hardest task of the whole process: cutting off the extra caning.

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We probably could have stood to replace the blade in our box cutter for one thing. I’m not sure that would have helped immensely, though. There’s just no way to make one long, clean slice through all the extra caning. Mr. Gren had to cut through each of those little strips all while trying not to nick the paint (we did end up having to do some touch-up afterwards, so anyone attempting this should probably just count on that). The uber-frustrating part of cutting the caning off was that, because of the angle of some of the woven strips, they would pull up and threaten to pull out the whole strip. Holding the little wooden wedge in helped with that and gave Mr. Gren something to cut against.

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We ran a bead of wood glue over the spline and trimmed any little stragglers poking up. A little wipe down and the job was done! You have to let the seat dry and tighten up for a day or so before using it. We were a little nervous when the time came for the inaugural sitting… but it has held Mr. Gren for the past four months, so I think it’s safe to say we did it right!

IMG_5782 Here’s where we’re at so far! Somehow, I don’t have a “before” picture of chair #4, so… surprise! We have four chairs! We’d like to get four more, plus we need to do the seats on chairs #1 and 2. You will see more chairs here eventually! And they won’t have to match; they just have to go.

Happy Rockin’ Birthday!

It has been too quiet around here and I’m sorry for that. I don’t like it. Especially the last couple of weeks when I actually have produced a few things, but haven’t had the opportunity to photograph them. It makes me nervous for how things are going to be when the new baby comes in a few weeks. Having done this three times before, I know that I’m going to be doing good just to stay afloat for a month or so before we all settle into a rhythm (full disclosure: I had to type that three times before hitting on the right spelling). Sigh. Them might just be the breaks, peeps.

But anyways…

Rana celebrated her 8th birthday this week! Granota was completely in awe of this milestone and repeatedly asked me if I could even believe that I had an 8 year old. As a sort of birthday present/sort of just because, I painted t-shirts for the girls (I know it always seems that Konik gets short shrift, but Michael’s didn’t have any t-shirts in his size; I’ll get him taken care of later). As might be expected if you know us at all, Axl Rose was the subject this time. Both girls had mentioned in the past wanting Guns N’ Roses shirts. Besides the fact that they generally don’t come in tiny sizes, they’d probably get sent home from school for wearing anything with a picture of a gun on it. A portait of Axl was the safer choice.

I used the same technique that I did on Rana’s bunny shirt, but the portraits were much more complicated than a simple little cartoon. There was a LOT of cutting involved with these and it kind of fried my brain. Once that was out of the way, I got to the fun part of painting. Again, three coats of paint seem to do the job. I applied each one in a different direction to be sure to cover any exposed fabric. And as you can see from the in-progress photos, I didn’t care one bit about painting “within the lines.”

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After the girls were asleep, I put the finished shirts on their beds for them to find in the morning. That next morning I heard gasps and squealing and excited chatter. I always like that reaction.

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Rockin’ her rockstar t-shirt

Even though it was Rana's birthday, I couldn't leave out the one who started it all

Even though it was Rana’s birthday, I couldn’t leave out the one who started it all

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Watch out, elementary school

 

The mother of invention

It’s been quite a week here in Frogland. We had two first days of school, a kindergarten parent-teacher conference, and said kindergartener’s 6th birthday. Whew! All that stuff takes planning and preparation leaving me not much time to do anything crafty last week. But I did squeak one thing in…

Rana has an aqua-colored t-shirt that is in fine shape other than the very dark purple and obvious popsicle drip right on the front. I really try hard not to send my kids to school in stained clothing and we really needed her to have this shirt in her clothing rotation (anyone who hasn’t been following awhile should know that our financial circumstances are… well, let’s just say you’d be surprised at what this family of 5 lives on). What to do? Somehow we needed to camouflage that stain. What better solution than painting over it?

Not a big stain, but it's hard to miss

Not a big stain, but it’s hard to miss

T-shirt painting is a lot of fun to do and I love the results I get from a method I found several years ago. It’s a multi-step process, but in the end it looks screen-printed rather than the t-shirt painting you are probably envisioning from your junior high years. No neon puff paint here, my friends. Unless that’s your thing, in which case, by all means, puff paint away.

First order of business is to choose your design. You don’t want anything overly complicated unless you’re a whiz with an X-acto knife. Line drawings tend to be the easiest to work with. You can do a little photo editing on a real picture if you want or, as I did this time, just go straight to clip art. I found a cute little bunny that I knew would make Rana’s heart melt and printed it out in three different sizes. If you are not lazy like me, you could probably measure your available painting space and then size the picture accordingly. But darn, if that t-shirt wasn’t all the way across the cabin and I didn’t want to walk over there to measure it. Besides, I tell myself, that sheet of paper was going to get printed one way or another; may as well fill it up.

Next is time to gather your supplies. (Note: If you don’t already have these items, this wouldn’t necessarily be a frugal solution to hiding a stain. If I had had to buy all these things just for this project, I’d have been better off just buying a new shirt. As it is, though, this was a great way to make use of things I already had)

  • your picture
  • craft knife
  • freezer paper
  • masking tape
  • cardboard or some other surface you can cut on safely
  • fabric paint and small paint brush
  • iron
Freezer paper is NOT the same as wax paper or parchment paper, although it should be found in the same general vicinity

Freezer paper is NOT the same as wax paper or parchment paper, although it should be found in the same general vicinity

Rip off a piece of freezer paper just slightly bigger than your printed design. With the masking tape, tape your design onto the matte side of the freezer paper (that means the shiny side is down, folks). Slide the cardboard underneath and begin carefully cutting out your design. Here is where a little forethought comes into play. You need to decide if your final painted picture is going to be merely the outlines or a filled in picture. This makes a huge difference in where you cut. Whatever you cut out is what the end product is going to be. In my case, I wanted just the outline of the bunny, so I had to cut out the line; that also included the dots for the eyes and the little nose and mouth.

Cutting out the black line itself

Cutting out the black line itself

If you are cutting the outline, save all the little pieces from the interior of the design because you will need these to reconstruct the picture. For me, that meant hanging onto the little feet and tail, body, and the head (minus the eyes and nose). You will also need the “frame” of freezer paper around the design. I guess I should clarify there — you won’t need to save any of the printer paper (unless you want it for reference); it’s the freezer paper pieces that you need to hang onto.

Alright, once your design is cut out, carefully reconstruct it on the t-shirt, again with the shiny side down. That’s important! Check that you’ve got it placed right where you want it. You can undo it if you have to, but it’s better just to get it right the first time. Since the whole purpose of me painting this shirt was to hide the stain, I strategically placed the bunny so that its soon-to-be-painted ear would cover the popsicle drip.

Purple stain will be hidden in the line of the bunny's ear. Little feet pieces carefully placed.

Purple stain will be hidden in the line of the bunny’s ear. Little feet pieces carefully placed.

Now, you’ll need your iron. I turn mine on to “3” which is the setting just below where the steam kicks in, so whatever that corresponds to on yours. Once the iron is heated, carefully lower it straight down onto the freezer paper design, being careful not to fold over any edges or shift any of the little pieces. If your design is bigger than your iron plate, you’ll want to carefully lift and set down in any areas that weren’t covered. It only takes a few seconds for the freezer paper to adhere to the fabric. Once the pieces are stuck on, you can do a couple quick swipes of the iron to make sure that all the edges are really pressed down; you don’t want paint leaking under the edge.

Just prior to ironing -- you can see how the pieces don't quite lie flat, but they will once the iron hits 'em!

Just prior to ironing — you can see how the pieces don’t quite lie flat, but they will once the iron hits ’em!

After all that, NOW you are ready to paint! For painting, I really recommend the “soft” fabric paint. It will stay flexible with the fabric and won’t peel or chip off, even after several washings. Case in point: a t-shirt I made for Mr. Gren several years ago. He wears this every week, so it has seen the washer many, many times. Still looks great!

That there's a movie quote.

That there’s a movie quote.

I used three thin coats of paint to get good saturation and color for this little bunny. I didn’t wait the “recommended drying time” — just a couple hours in between. I did, however, wait a full day between the last coat of paint and removing the freezer paper. I didn’t want to take any chances that late in the game. The paper removal is very satisfying. The larger pieces rip up without any problems whatsoever. The tiny pieces may require the use of tweezers, but once you’ve grabbed a hold of them, they come right off, too. Genius. I don’t know who to credit for the freezer paper method, but it’s brilliant.

Peel away

Peel away

One cute bunny t-shirt where before was a stained t-shirt!

As far as she's concerned, this is a major improvement

As far as she’s concerned, this is a major improvement — bunny trumps plain shirt any day.

And just for bonus fun, did you know that you can bake a cake in a bread machine? We’ve had many interesting iterations of birthday cake since we moved to the cabin (no oven, peeps) as I’ve experimented with different ways to conjure up something that the kids would accept as suitable birthday cakeness. I used a regular cake recipe, removed the mixing paddle from my bread machine, and poured the batter in. It seems like a lot, but it does all fit and it doesn’t overflow during the baking process. My bread machine is an Oster — nothing fancy — but it does have a 1 hour “bake” setting (supposedly to set jam? Dunno). The cake took two hours to bake, which wasn’t a big deal other than I didn’t start early enough and had to stay up til midnight to babysit it. Of course, it comes out in loaf shape, but the taste and texture are great.

Loaf o' cake. Beautiful pink frosting achieved via beet puree.

Loaf o’ cake. Beautiful pink frosting achieved via beet puree. Mr. Gren took this mid-way through the icing process, so forgive the unevenness.

So what do cake and t-shirt have in common? It all goes back to that saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” If we had a more substantial cash flow ’round these parts, I wouldn’t have been forced to come up with creative solutions to everyday “problems.” Have you ever been forced into creativity out of necessity? How did it turn out?

Sweet child(ren) in Paradise City

There was squealing. There was yelling. There was jumping up and down, hugging, twirling, grinning, and thank yous. And then a little bit of singing. Granota and Rana were so thrilled to find their dolls sitting under the tree when they ran down the stairs Christmas morning. That made the past several weeks worth it. But I am not sad at all that I won’t have to continue to hide those things anymore! It was beginning to be more and more of a challenge with snoopy little people asking way too many questions for their own good.

One good challenge was having several different tasks required to make the dolls. Machine sewing, hand sewing (blech), embroidery, pattern drafting, free-hand drawing, painting, failures, successes. Once again, I used my Joan Russell doll-making book and used the Indian girl pattern, which is the same I used for Rana’s cowgirl doll last year. Also, the Guns N’ Roses Photographic History book that I had received for my birthday became a sort of textbook for me, studying Axl’s features, tattoos, and clothing. All of the doll body pieces were easy to crank out one morning while Mr. Gren kept the kids occupied with a movie. I sew so often, that the kids rarely bat an eye when they hear the machine going. They did yell at me a couple of times because it was too loud and they couldn’t hear the movie that they’ve seen 3487 times.

First, heads were attached to bodies, then faces embroidered on heads. I traced Axl’s eyes, nose, and mouth from the photos in the book, trying to determine what exactly about his features makes him look like… him. The mouths were hard. See, Real Life Axl (RLA) has full and, uh, shapely lips (for lack of a better description). On a soft doll face, full lips look awfully girly, then combined with the long hair… It just wasn’t going to be good. I actually had to undo a top lip which was a little nerve-wracking; I was afraid that the phantom embroidery line would leave holes in the fabric, but it recovered quite nicely. Whew!

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So on the second doll, I just made the mouth a straight line. Kind of boring, but no illusions of girliness (After all the gifts were opened, Granota noticed that the mouths were different and asked that I make her doll have an “open” mouth. Close enough. A quick fix and she was happy).

A little Christmas morning embroidery got him right.

A little Christmas morning embroidery got him right.

Next, I painted on the tattoos which you’ve already seen on dismembered arms. There was no way I wanted to do that with them flopping around on a doll body that would constantly want to roll over and probably end up with paint in places where it shouldn’t be. Post-tattooing, the arms were quick to sew on, followed by the legs. I settled on yarn hair this time which turned out to be infinitely easier to sew into wefts than the doll hair that I used on the fairy and cowgirl dolls. It didn’t slip out as I was sewing and it seems resistant to shedding. Both good things! This time, instead of making several wefts and sewing them at different levels around the heads, I followed an online tutorial to sew the part onto the head and then make a line of stitching around, to hold the bottom layer of hair down and cover any bald spots. Then a second layer is added on top and sewn at the part and allowed to fall loose. I cut a few strands into bangs to poke out over the top of the bandanas.

The fabric choices for the clothing are one of the things I’m most proud of. Granota had requested an Axl dressed like RLA in the “Sweet Child” video. Leather jacket, leather pants, black t-shirt, cowboy boots and a blue bandana. For the jacket and the boots, I found a costume leather that seemed to have a realistic-looking full grain. The look is great, but I am a little bit concerned about the durability of this stuff. I guess time will tell.

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For the leather pants, I found a dance knit that had a leathery look.  The stretch was nice and made the pants fit nice and snug!

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The t-shirt was another dance knit and was quite thin; my machine hated this stuff and tried to eat it at every opportunity. All together, the effect comes off right!

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Rana had settled on the clothing that RLA wore in the “Paradise City” video, the one exception being she preferred his sneakers to the white cowboy boots. I did notice the other day that he does wear these sneakers in another part of the video — just not when he’s dressed in all white — so I don’t feel completely inauthentic. White leather jacket, black t-shirt, white spandex pants. I couldn’t find any faux leather in white, so I went with a heavy bottomweight cotton to give it enough stiffness. It also made painting on the logo easier since the paint probably would have smeared off a smooth fabric.

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White spandex was also elusive, so I used a white poplin that had a little bit of a stretch for the pants. The sneakers are white vinyl or somesuch.

For the shirts and jackets, I used the various patterns out of the Joan Russell book, with a little tweaking to make them work for this particular doll. The jackets were tricky. Tiny collars, turning points, and having to line the darn things! Yikes! They didn’t turn out as flawlessly as I would have liked. I was really under the gun trying to get these sewn without Granota catching on. Inexplicably, she began developing a keen interest in what I was sewing as I worked on the white jacket. Without the sides sewn together and no sleeves, it didn’t look like anything recognizable to her, but she was still very, very curious. And when that happens, it’s time to close up shop. It happened a lot more often than I wanted, leaving me precious little time to sew. Then I’d get rushed and seams turn out a little pinched and ripping it out would have just set me way back. So I squash down my perfectionist nature, look at the miniature piece of clothing with a less critical eye and decide that it will have to do.

Painting the white jacket was really fun! It made me nervous, too, though. I suck at drawing guns. They usually turn out looking like mutant candy canes. And roses can easily veer into cinnamon roll territory. Candy canes and cinnamon rolls, while tasty, will probably never be the name of a rock band. Once again using my GNR photo book, I meticulously freehand drew the band logo on the back of the jacket and was pleasantly surprised at just how well it turned out. Painting it just made it that much better! I haven’t measured it, but I’m guessing it’s just slightly larger than a silver dollar. Not a lot of room for error, but I did manage to cram in quite a bit of detail.

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For the zippers, I used a silver embroidery thread. It was very stiff and hard to work with. I had meant to add on the little side zippers on the black jacket, but in my rush to get it sewn up, I had already attached the lining. Oh well.

Bandanas weren’t a big deal, although I did have to enlist some help from a math teacher friend to figure out how big to make the square of fabric because I am pathetic at math. Both bandanas were made from fat quarters; I really looked hard to find ones with a print that would match the scale of the dolls.

The footwear nearly sent me over the edge. I didn’t want a seam running up the front of the cowboy boots, but it took me several days and several botched attempts to come up with the solution that now seems so obvious. There is one piece that goes over the top of the foot and meets in the back from the heel to the ankle. The critical piece ended up being a simple tube that wrapped around the leg and was sewn to the top piece (is there a name for that?) across the ankle and then up the back. A little easy scissorwork produced the typical cowboy boot shape at the top of the boot finished off with a zigzag stitch. Finally the sole was sewn on. As Granota noted, Axl’s feet don’t reach to the end of the boots; I told her that RLA’s feet don’t go into a point either, so it’s realistic. ha! The soft boots do have a tendency to get mushed down in the toe and look a little funny. I may need to lightly stuff the toe just to hold its shape.

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The sneakers were even more of a headache. The stiffer fabric would not lay flat over the top of the foot, so I had to fold side seams into it in order to contour the piece. The unfinished edge at the top didn’t look good, so those had to be cuffed under. Last to figure out was the little tongue that reads AXL. This piece was no bigger than my thumbnail and was not easy to maneuver. It was the afternoon of Christmas Eve and I didn’t have much time at my disposal. I probably could make a better-looking shoe with more time, especially now that I have some clue of what to do. But you know what? Rana likes them, so I like them. A red Sharpie bought that night finished them off.

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The girls were pleased with all of their Christmas gifts, but I noticed that they never left their dolls unattended all day. Even at dinner, Axl was tucked in behind them while they ate. It was such an all-consuming project for me, but the payoff is great. I’m looking forward to hearing little impromptu concerts and eavesdropping on all of the adventures that the two Axls will have. But you shouldn’t have to hear about anything Axl-related for a long time (unless you read my other blog). Hoping to finish a monkey hat for Konik soon. That should be fun, right? Thanks for reading!

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Merry Christmas!

More from the Underground Tattoo Parlor

Originally, I was going to post today about the little ornament that I crocheted for my friend. But I’m just too dang proud of myself and I have to show off my teeny tiny tattoos. They turned out pretty sweet if I do say so myself. And I do.

I finished drawing on the tattoos yesterday afternoon. Inexplicably, the tats on the second set of arms turned out larger than the first ones. Hm. I was in a little bit of hurry because the clock was counting down to the end of naptime and Granota was chomping at the bit to be released from her room. Apparently when I’m in a hurry I draw bigger.

Fine art. Literally.

Fine art. Literally.

To me, the second girl turned out better, but the first one’s not bad. The other tattoos are all comparable.

Yesterday evening, I worked on coloring them in. What really would have been nice would be fine-point pens in different colors besides the one black one I own. I was digging around in my drawer of craft paint and found some fabric markers that I had forgotten about. I made a little test scribble on a scrap of fabric and initially, it seemed like these might work, although the colors were limited. I started on the Victory or Death tattoo with the red marker and all seemed well, but ever so slowly, the red began seeping into the yellow. I didn’t take a photo of that one; it didn’t look so hot. Disappointing, but not the end of the world. Paint will right those wrongs.

I left that set of arms alone (the reason I made sets — which right now are attached together with thread — is because the hands didn’t all turn out the same due to variations in cutting the pattern) and pulled out the other one to paint with the miniscule tips of my new paintbrushes.

And it worked like a charm. Even my little GNR egg people look pretty good.

In living color.

In living color.

The cutest little rocker skulls you ever did see.

The cutest little rocker skulls you ever did see.

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Purple eyeshadow and semi-crossed eyes, just like the real thing. I’m really proud of that blue rose, though.

You better believe it.

You better believe it.

The cross tattoo is the largest measuring 1 1/4″. The smallest is the rose which is only 1/2″. The rest are all 7/8″. That’s little, folks. The hardest part was the thin yellow stripes on the cross; I had to do a little touch-up on those. They aren’t perfect, but it’s late and I figured I had better stop before I did any more damage.

If all goes well and children go to sleep on time tonight, I’ll be able to finish up the other arms and then get back to constructing the doll. I’m still trying to decide if I want to use embroidery floss or yarn for the hair. I did a few searches online and it seemed that the only doll hair that matched the color of Axl’s was either curly or only came in Barbie doll quantities. Besides, with the way Falilla the Fairy Doll has been shedding over the last year, I think I need something that I can sew on a little better. Any opinions? Yarn or floss?

Underground Tattoo Parlor

Don’t tell: I’m practicing tattooing without a license. No permanent damage to anyone so far. I’ve spelled everything right and my artwork is pretty close to what it should be. Good thing my client thus far is just a scrap of fabric.

Granota -- still clueless as to my intentions -- decided to add some doodles of her own.

Granota — still clueless as to my intentions — decided to add some doodles of her own.

I needed to test out my art-in-miniature skills before tattooing the tiny arms of the Axl dolls. I hadn’t quite decided on my medium yet. A ballpoint pen worked ok. An extremely fine point pen was the best for drawing the outlines and I was very glad to see that the ink doesn’t bleed. That was my biggest concern.

IMG_1368

Back when I bought all (most) of the supplies to make these dolls, I also bought uber-fine point paint brushes and I think the smallest one will do nicely to fill in the colored places on Axl’s tattoos. Seriously, this thing has like three bristles.

Right now, my biggest struggle is the Appetite for Destruction cross. I can draw the cross, but the skulls end up looking like itty bitty eggs with eyes. That may have to be close enough.

AFD

"If I wanted a tattoo of eggs with eyes, I'd have gotten it already."

“If I wanted a tattoo of eggs with eyes, I’d have gotten it already.”

The dolls are coming along. Last night I finished embroidering the faces. Embroidery is not my strong suit. It’s hard to say that they look like Axl right now without any hair, but they do have green eyes and orangey eyebrows (it’s hard to match embroidery floss to hair color).

Next up: Tiny rock star clothes!