Sunday, 4 October 2015

Making the Most of Late Summer Rays...

Here is a picture post for you... Some of the pretty things I have been getting my mitts on...

Revamping corset potential...

To do list at the moment (it is still growing...)

Embroidering/darning this stunning fabric I salvaged from an old chair. 

Enjoying the last of the sun on my epically tiny balcony in Paris. Aren't I lucky??

Stitching an antique lace collar on this mustard sweater. Goes perfectly with my DM Mary Janes and vintage bag I found in Le Marais.

I took this a couple of weeks ago... I find the colours very inspiring. I shall be updating my other blog soon so take a peek if you are interested. 

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Mouse Making: Muscgot Pelouse and Ava Marie

One rather dull afternoon I was perusing the internet, I stumbled across Mister Finch's truly stunning creatures and fell in love. Specifically with the mice... Anyone who knows me, knows that I share certain infinities with mices (yes I mean mices not mice!) and thought heck, I can make a mouse too! So I decided to have a go and make my own ragdoll mice, only mine would be vintage circus mice. Eventually I will make a little tutu and waistcoat to clothe them but I have not had the time yet.....

(Above: Mister Finch's truly gorgeous mice, see his blog and work here)

And here are my mice, obviously very different, they have the OrchidsHeart touch, but I am very happy with how they turned out as I had zero experience in creature construction when I started this process. It was not as hard as I expected but a great deal of trial and error was involved...

 First of all I drew some little sketches of how I envisioned them. Long limbed and a little bit creepy but also with a delicate vintage feel. I also started going through my collection of antique and vintage fabrics putting things aside for the project, but as I had no idea how to construct them I acquired a huge piece of thick fabric to practice on (turns out the thickness of the fabric was problematic).

I sketched out what I thought the shapes would look like and cut them out of the fabric, trying to keep the stripes in mind.

After I had all my pieces (except for the tails which I would make from dusty pink velvet), I cut them out and laid them out.

I decided the head was way too small and made another.

The problem with this fabric was turning the limbs out once I had sewn them up, it was a nightmare in places. I was carrying all these limbs around in my bag with a chopstick and spent too many a commute trying to get them the right way out. So I figured I needed a fabric with more give for sure....

After a lot of fiddling I ended up with this fellow, due to the lack of tail I made him a rabbit and added a little waistcoat and gave him to a very special little boy I know. But I was not that happy with it so I made some alterations.

First off a three panel head rather than two.

I gave this one mouse ears to work out the ear proportions as I was much more pleased with its head shape.

She ended up looking like this. I named her Molly Mouse and gave her to my niece.

As Molly Mouse looked much better I decided to start on the real mice! So I dyed an old pillow case in some rose black tea (purely because it was the only old black tea I had hanging around).

My lace and fabrics drying after their dye.

And set about cutting out the pieces for two circus mice.

The faux velvet was from a truly ugly top I found in a flea market, some kind of 90s lingerie I think. I stitched up all the limbs, cutting into all the curves to turn them out better and leaving a small gap in each for stuffing.

Next came the joints, I did not bother jointing the others but I wanted these to be pose-able so bought some off ebay. I put them in so that the plastic screw faced into the body. You have to slot the washer on first then the cap.

Et voila, a body with two arms. A bit creepy I know.

This shows a close up of a tail, I put some pipe cleaners into it to make it bendy and pad it out a bit.

A whole pile of mouse pieces.... Frankenstein's lab comes to mind...

The legs were all made separately. These are the legs for Ava. I painted the stripes on so that they would follow the curves of the legs (unlike if I had cut them out from stripey fabric). Muscgot's legs were to be made from embroidered fabric as he would not be wearing a dress so they were not painted.

Once I had the body shells I started stuffing and stitching up, starting with the body, then legs, then arms. This was so that other parts did not get in the way.

Also I made the ears and sewed a channel around the edge to push more pipe cleaners through to make them stand up. 

Most of the hand sewing, stuffing etc I did on the go in various metro stations and trains. I made a portable sewing kit and just whipped it out whenever I had the chance. This is me working off my knees on a platform in Chatillion. 

Woop, the bodies and legs and A tail! And my handknitted (by my grandmother) socked feet.
I finished the heads and I was done.

Ava Marie

The lace on her head is inspired by the 1920s.

Muscgot Pelouse

He has one painted eye to look like face paint, you can't see easily in the picture but the eye is embroidered in like the others.

I am quite pleased. Though they are not perfect, as I had no clue what I was doing I think it was a success. Next time I will make a fox...!

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Creature Creation Part I (Meet Percy)

So last week I started moving, from one side of my bedroom wall to the other (at the request of my landlady) which coincided with me buying a new to me sewing  machine. Moving stresses me out, even packing to go home for a few days stresses me out so inevitably I decided to add another project to the on the go list whilst I move (makes sense doesn't it??). And because it made even more sense to me I decided it would be a mouse. A mouse became a couple of mice, which became a whole host of potential creatures. I blame pinterest.

I started collecting ideas, techniques, shapes, clothing ideas etc (you can see the whole board here) and came up with the designs below. 

They are circus mice, they will be made entirely from thrifted materials and look a bit shabby (on purpose). I want them to look like they have been in the circus for a while and getting a bit grubby around the edges. 

"He" has a name now, Muscgo Pelouse, don't ask, I have my reasons. "She" has no name yet. I am still plotting that.

Problem was I had never made a creature before, well anything beyond a bean shape with ears. So I had to draft all the patterns from scratch. That is how Percy came about. He is the practice for my later mice, Muscgo Pelouse and Mademoiselle Souris (Miss Mouse in French, her name for the moment).

I drafted a pattern which was wayy too small to start with, so this is kind of attempt 1.5. He was going to be a mouse but his arms were too long and the body looked more like a rabbit so he had a species change.

Now I am pleased in that I have never made a creature before, but he is not as elaborate and elegant as I hope the mices and mouses to be. He has a ticket around his neck because a little French boy I know took a great interest in the mouse drawings and it is his birthday this weekend, so Percy is going to be left on his doorstep whilst he is at school for him to find when he returns-- don't worry they live in a secure apartment block, Percy will not get stolen.

A great deal of Percy was made on the go, in the metro, in the park... This shot was taken whilst I was sat in the park. The kids found him very intriguing.

Attached to his train ticket is a little note explaining that he is Percy, that he got lost in England and somehow ended up in Paris and is looking for a home. That he loves blackberries, tea (he IS English!) and playing hide and seek

He has a little waistcoat too.

And very long legs for running!

For the mouse I will shorten the arms and put in real joints so the limbs move, obviously alter the ears and add a third panel in the head and body. I think. And make from a thinner fabric which will get stained and painted. I am excited to get started!

Oh and yes I did manage to finish moving....

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Take a Peek into the Crafty Space of OrchidsHeart...

I spend a lot of time looking on pinterest for inspiration or fantasizing about moving into my own place. Though I strongly believe that dreaming and fantasizing IS healthy, it can become unhealthy when you don't appreciate what you have. So rather than spending ALL my time thinking about the place I don't have, today I am enjoying what I do have (whilst I have it, soon I have to move into a darker and smaller room next door, a minor set-back...).

I am a major thrifter, upcycler and always looking out for things. Whether I find them on the street, my friend digs them up or I find it in a market-- and sometimes just mysteriously acquire. There are not many things I believe in spending money on, maybe my boots, but even then I think I am going to convert to buying vintage second hand DMs on ebay as my shoes were such as success (and massively cheaper).

So here I am going to share with you some ideas of how to decorate a space with virtually no money, a huge dose of creative love and bohemian spirit. 

As well as being a little bit of an oddity hoarder, I also obsessively take pictures on instagram (find me here) which can be printed using a variety of companies to produce faux Polaroids (I used Origrami). I have tons of these dotted all over my room as little tokens of memorable moments from living here in Paris. And yes the Eiffel Tower is not really present... Instead I have a pic of la petite ceinture and a dead bird. 

I also have a few things that I have found along the way, a picture of a boy, a bird skull I made into a mini terrarium from an old ratatouille jar and some old tins. I like old things...

Yes, I also collect glass jars. I have a stash under my bed. They are very handy for candles, flowers, jewelry... etc. Some of them I modge podged with patterned tissue paper as above so that they glow pretty colours when the candles are lit inside. So pretty! You can also spy in the middle one of my glass bottles that art for sale over on my Etsy, a piece of pottery I found on a dig with a dear friend (yes its broken... this is one of my quirks. I love broken pottery), a book full of more "Polaroids" and a pouch I made to store bits n bobs- made from fabric scraps. 

My little birds... And my memory mobile. The bark was from a special tree growing out of the grave of a witch in Pere Lachaise, a gentleman that specializes in vampire folklore gave it to me. The bones I found on a beach whilst I was at uni in England on the beaches of Whistable, the rose I found on a street in Lyon, the key in the French countryside, and the shells were from a fairy grotto in Canterbury. From Pere Lachaise to Lyon to the British Coast...

Crate storage units. I started running out of space a while back and needed some kind of shelves so I found these lying around and brought them home. They are not as good as my friend's brewery crates in England but hey, they work. More than I can say for DAB radios in France!

Absinthe spoon, homemade clay bowls (tutorial here), old French book found abandoned in the street, a glass vase I dug up in Wales. Oh and some camera batteries.

Jam jar storage for tea, another handmade pouch and another DIY tea light.

All of this was found. Both the suitcases I found in the street and upcycled, for the small one see here, and for the larger one see here. The top cushion was an old paisley scarf that was no longer worn and the bottom one was a piece of vintage bunting that I embroidered. Oh and there are some beautiful old bills there too. 

My latest project, my chair. I found him in the trash with a hole in it and totally re-did it for the price of two tester pots of paint, a piece of fabric and the trim. Have a look here if you are curious.

Find an ugly white crochet blanket? Dye it. I got this blanket for a euro, it had ugly stains all over it so I soaked it then dyed it a pale blue. Sorted.

Dream catcher from an embroidery hoop? Here is something else I made using scraps. I found it to be a good way to use odds and ends, whether it be paper based or yarny. 

Now I have a weird confession to make; I sleep upside down. This is the headboard but I don't use it as such. I just realized one night it was easier to sleep the wrong way up and it became a habit- and also quite useful for storing my headscarves.

And yes ALL my mirrors are surrounded by tidbits. Flowers, birthday crown, photos, postcards, tickets etc. I like to surround myself with these things, I find it inspiring.

My bed after a lazy morning. Piles of cushions, handmade and bought, my kantha quilt, my crochet quilt just poking out in the corner (both second hand) and of course the faithful ikea bedding.

I always find fairy lights brighten any room up. The last place I lived in apparently looked like the cross between a cell and a squat, until the lights went up! This door has been painted shut a long time ago...

My jewelry rack: a branch with nails in it. How cheap can you get?

Another mirror. My landlady loves mirrors. Too be honest there are too many for my taste. This is prob why they are all half covered up. Here is my friend too, his name changes depending on my mood. Right now its Timothy. 

Lots of blankets always add to coziness.

Another mirror on my wardrobe... More photos...

A random ticket I pulled out my pocket late the other night.

Creative clutter? A WIP mannequin body, my vintage DM shoes on my H and M rug (good for cheap faux vintage stuff), some ornate table legs I found and painted, my lace petticoat, my handbag with headphones and the contents just left on the floor (bad habit of mine). The notebook is one of my own from my Etsy store, I hand make them, custom order... hint hint. Anything you want! Just sayin'.

My dressing table. Here is a real ton of odds and ends. Books (Lolita is my favorite of all time), thrift store scarf (1E!!), jar lid magnet things, more tins and boxes. 

Covering tins with decoupage paper make great storage. 

Found things, china pigeon, feathers, pine cone, old tile...

And I will finish with this one. See the mayhem!

The "shelf" is just a piece of wood I found balanced on books and tins and edged with washi tape. 

I find that you really do not have to spend lots of money to make your space beautiful if you seek out thrift stores, ebay, gum tree, leboncoin (if in France) etc. |Or just look in skips. Or outside student properties on moving day. A bit of paint and love can fix all sorts. 

And remember, perfection is overrated. I know about the spelling mistake. 
This is going to be nailed up in my future studio, I am keeping it to remind me of my dream.