miniature paper hens : free tutorial

dollhouse hen diy

miniature hen tutorial

Let’s make tiny chickens! So little and just the right size for tiny rag doll world. They are quick and easy to make and it’s fun to work on a bunch at once. I’m using crepe paper from a roll. Streamers work too but I think crepe paper from rolls and sheets is easier to work with. 

The hens are truly tiny, only about 2 inches from tail to beak. If you require a bigger little chicken I think it would be easy to scale them up.

lets’s make tiny paper hens!

miniature chicken tutorial

*This post contains affiliate links – meaning I get a small commission of you purchase though the links. The affiliate links are marked with an asterisk.

download the template here

You will also need:

  • one inch *styrofoam ball
  • *crepe paper – sheets or streamers – sheets are easy to work with I think
  • glue stick – I love the *uhu stick for paper
  • scissors
  • optional – manicure scissors – super helpful for making little cuts
  • acrylic paint and brushes
  • white glue – elmer’s is good
  • a fine tip black marker

1. Cut out and trace the two tiny template pieces onto cardboard.

2. Cut two triangles into the flat top of the head to make the comb.

3. Push the pointed bottom of the head piece into the ball.

4. Push it in until the bottom corners are inside the ball.

5. On the opposite side of the ball push the pointed bottom of the tail into the ball.

6. Push it in until the corners are inside the ball. Your piece should look like this. Paint a little white glue along the edge where the cardboard meets the ball. Let this dry.

7. Paint the cardboard the same color as your crepe paper.  After the base paint is dry paint the comb area with red and the beak with yellow. It’s already pretty chickeny isn’t it.

8. Stretch your crepe paper – streamers aren’t that stretchy but sheets and rolls of crepe paper are. Cut two strips – one inch wide and about nine inches long each.

9. Fold each strip matching up the edges – the folded piece should be about two inches long.

10. Clip into one side with your scissors creating pointy fringe.

11. Unfold the strips and cut off a two inch piece.

crepe paper hen tutorial

12. Apply glue stick to the tail and wrap the two inch fringe piece around it. Use a little more glue to tack down the end of the paper.

13. Let that dry for a few minutes. While it’s drying cut 8 one inch pieces and 6 half inch pieces.

Read More

july is tiny rag doll month and sweet things made by customers

tiny rag doll sewing patterns

Pack up a few supplies, find a shady spot and spend a peaceful afternoon sewing. You will also need some lemonade and blueberries. Maybe bring some picnic bugs too, just to be nice.

tiny rag doll sewing patterns

Tiny rag dolls are great little projects to take with you.  And there are tons of free patterns and tutorials for her in The Miss Thistle Society. It’s such a deal – for example get the digital doll and wardrobe pattern and you’ve got  a doll, bloomers, a reversible pinafore, dress and camisole plus all the free patterns too. Hours and hours of fun for $6.75.

The super sweet tiny dolls below are made by customers.  You can checkout lots more on instagram and share yours using #missthistlesociety and #annwoodpattern – there are tons of great ideas.

Links to the makers:

paper hen

PS – I hear you and a tiny chicken tutorial is coming soon – it’s super easy to make.

so long new york city

ann wood's brooklyn apartment

ann wood's brooklyn apartment

After 24 years I’ve said goodbye to New York City and my creaky old place. And because of the current situation I didn’t even see the new place until I arrived with movers and all my worldly possessions. It was an extra big adventure.

guilford town green

The last few weeks have been consumed with all the moving chores and writing giant checks. So not fun. Yesterday I took a break and made my Inaugural Guilford Connecticut pot of soup (spring vegetable) and took a walk around my new neighborhood, it has awesome old trees. I especially love the giant droopy old pines – they have been appearing in my paintings for  the last year or so. Prophetic maybe.

guilford ct

I’d only ever been here once for about 15 minutes. Apparently it made an impression. I did have a truly excellent artisanal donut that day so there’s that. Ever since the move my thinker has been being a stinker. Can’t focus and I spin my wheels a lot. And it is also the longest I have gone without making something or even stitching in 10 plus years. Over the holiday weekend I sat by a friend’s pool and mended and made hexies.

mending jeans and sewing hexies

I think it helped, I guess hexies really are necessary to my mental health #hexiesforsanity. Also as I sift through the chaos here and get unpacked more of the fog lifts. I hope to be smart again by August.

garden

And I’ve got a tiny garden. A life long dream realized. So simple and happy. It’s kind of a haphazard mess but I love it. I’ll share more as it develops but the big news today is my beets have sprouted. The universe truly is magic.

doll overalls : a free sewing pattern

doll overalls free sewing pattern

doll overalls free sewing pattern

Of course the tiny rag doll need overalls. And they come in mr. socks size too cause I’m nice like that. They’re easy and quick to make and you could scale the pattern up for larger dolls. Sew them completely by hand or some seams can be done on machine if you like.

tiny rag doll sewing pattern

 

Find the tiny rag doll pattern here.

doll overalls free sewing pattern

You will need :

the template – get the doll template here and the mr. socks template here.

light weight cotton fabric

a basic sewing kit

and optional – tiny buttons and little scraps for patches

doll overalls free sewing pattern

1. Pin the strap fabric to single piece of fabric. Pin the overalls pattern to a doubled piece with the right sides together.  Pin the lining to a single piece of fabric – you can use a contrasting fabric or the same as the overalls.

Note – I’m using a print from the French General new lawn cottons. The prints are all super sweet and great for small dolls.

2. Mark the seam line lightly in pencil on the wrong side of the lining piece and both overall pieces.  It’s also helpful to mark the front and back on the overall pieces as indicated on the pattern.

3. With the right sides of the fabric together sew just the front seam of the overalls  as shown in red above – stopping at the end of the curve.

4. Clip a couple little notches in the seam allowance at the curve. Be careful not to clip the seam.

5. Press the straight part of the seam open.

6. Press the top seam allowance over – wrong sides together – on the lining and overalls.

7. Place the lining on the overalls with the right sides together and pin. Stitch only the curved seams as shown above.  Clip little notches into the seam allowance.

Read More

the new plan for scraps : filed by color

sorting quilting scraps by color

sorting quilting scraps by color

The organizing was a huge idea generator. It shifted something – seeing everything grouped that way, it was somehow thrilling and I got tons of new ideas. There was also a big editing process, I just kept the stuff I loved.

It took forever and was hugely fun and satisfying to do. I haven’t figured out how to store them yet plus I love looking at them so for now they’ll stay where they are, just hanging out on a table.

sorting quilting scraps by color

The idea was to organize some little groups of scraps for my hexie quilt project. It snowballed into sorting through every single little cotton quilting weight scrap I have and organizing them by color. How do you sort your fabric scraps? Historically my scraps have been sorted mostly by project – owl scraps, doll scraps etc. but the hexie project uses all the scraps plus I’m experimenting with color transitions.

sorting quilting scraps by color

I found little scrap treasures I’d forgotten, and the original miss thistle turned up too – she’s been missing for years (her dress is still missing).

original tiny rag doll

hexie quilt made from scraps

It’s perfect for the hexie quilt – I’m working from the pale neutral pile now. And it does help immensely to have things pre-sorted by color. All the sorting and organizing led to more sorting and organizing, you know how that goes, and I think my plan for the remainder of this odd spring will be to organize and edit all my possessions.

How do you store your scraps? Have you tried sorting by color? Share in the comments if you like and check out out lots of awesome #hexiesforsanity projects here.

how to make salt clay

making dolls and mini dishes from salt clay

salt clay diy

It’s also called Victorian Salt Clay, I even love the sound of it. The question was “ What if you want to make tiny dishes but don’t have paper clay?” I wondered if a homemade, air-dry clay could work and the answer is yes. It was a fun experiment plus I love the way it smells – I was immediately 11 again.

Salt is the main ingredient. It produces a clay that is a little more textured than paper clay. It takes a while to dry – a day or two. You shouldn’t bake it but you can put it someplace warm to speed up the process. My oven has a pilot so it’s always a little warm and I put my pieces in it overnight. The small things were dry but the larger pieces needed another day. It’s very hard when dry and can be sanded and painted – I have tips for that below. First let’s make the clay.

You will need:

1 cup of salt
⅓ cup water
½ cup cornstarch
¼ cup cold water

!. Mix 1 cup of table salt with ⅓ cup of water. Heat in a small pan over medium heat, stirring constantly for 4 minutes. Do not let it boil. Remove from heat.

2. Quickly stir the ½ cup cornstarch into ¼ cup cold water. It’s very important that you sprinkle the cornstarch a little at a time stirring constantly or it won’t mix properly.

3. Put the salt mixture back on low heat and add the cornstarch mixture stirring constantly. The mixture will begin to thicken. Keep stirring until it becomes dough like – this happens pretty quickly.

4. Scoop it out onto a plate and let it cool. When it’s cool enough to handle, knead it into a smooth ball. It’s ready to use – you can roll it like cookie dough or sculpt it. Left over clay can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container. I did find it a little crumbly when I took it out of the fridge the next day but after I kneaded it again it was sculpt-able.

making dolls and mini dishes from salt clay

salt clay miniature teacup

I tried making some plates and cups from the tiny dish tutorial and got good results. When I formed it over things it was looser than the paper clay but it still worked. And in the plate tutorial I recommend letting it dry about halfway before cutting the shapes. With the salt clay you can’t do that – it becomes too brittle. It’s a pretty stiff clay though so easy to cut.

dollhouse dish tutorial

 

Over-all I was pleased with the results – not as fine as the paper clay but still charming and I definitely value heart over perfection in tiny dish making.

Plus it’s fun to make the clay!

 

 

I sanded the pieces and painted with watercolor, acrylic craft paint and finished some with nail-polish. Use quick multiple coats of paint. I found if I overworked the paint it would lift.

miniature cast iron pan

The handle on the tiny cast iron frying pan broke when I sanded it but I glued it back on and painted it with black nail polish. The teacup got painted with black nail polish too. The soup kettle was made by forming the clay over a handle – similar to the process for creating the teacup in the dish tutorial.

salt clay diy - pots and pans

salt clay diy

mini doll parts made form salt clay

Parts for a little doll experiment showed up too. Such a funny little lady, I love her. I’ll post a photo when she’s finished.

magic stones made form victorian salt clay

And magic stones.

I made them, that’s how I know for sure they’re magic. They are painted with watercolor and acrylic and finished with a layer of nail polish. The clay and stones would be a fun project to do with little folks and a magic rock in your pocket can’t hurt.

I hope you make victorian salt clay!

the somewhat weekly newsletter

Do you get my free weekly-ish newsletter? There are tips and tricks, ideas, stuff to try, all the latest news and blogposts and extra stuff, just for subscribers, delivered mostly on Friday. Pretty much.


the elegant rag doll sewing pattern and a free and easy doll skirt pattern

elegant rag doll sewing pattern

elegant rag doll sewing pattern

get the elegant rag doll pattern!

Elegantly dressed, or quite nude. It’s your choice. The finished doll is 16 inches tall. The pattern includes instructions for both versions. And there are sweet details like earrings and a fancy hairdo.

elegant rag doll sewing pattern

This pattern took forever to make. You may have noticed… It was mostly because I kept changing my mind about how to make and stuff the head. I’m super happy with the solution I finally settled on, I love the result and it’s simple to do. The other good news is I’m shipping wool again – it’s the ideal stuffing for the elegant dolls. 

And I’ve included the doll skirt pattern for you below. It’s a super easy way to make a doll skirt and you could easily scale it to fit any doll.

nude rag doll sewing pattern

I hope you make elegant dolls! If you do I’d love to see – please use #annwoodpattern on instagram or send an email to info at ann wood handmade dot com.

rag doll slipper diy

There is a free tutorial for the slippers too – find it right here.

 

rag doll sewing pattern

Find the skirt pattern and directions below. And to add the bustle detail like the skirts above gather a little section in the front and add a little button.

download the skirt pattern

You will need:

  • a 16 X 9 inch piece of  cotton fabric
  • one yard ribbon or string
  • large safety pin
  • basic sewing kit

easy doll skirt diy

1. Down load the skirt pattern and pin it along the fold of your doubled fabric – right sides together – and cut out. Clip out the triangles.

2. With the wrong side of the fabric facing you fold over and press the side fabric between the triangle clips.Stitch them in place with a small, neat straight stitch.

3. Fold over the top edge at 1/4 inch and press.

Read More

paintings to stitch, the hexie quilt and nude rag doll news

painting sampler - teacup

stitch painting embroidery

Every day starts with stitching owls and castles and swans etc. and making scrap hexies. I chose a few images from the daily paintings to print on linen and stitch and I love stitching them, I find it hypnotic. It’s a free style situation – choosing lines or details to highlight and embellish. I’ve only been using 3 stitches – back stitch, satin and french knots.

a cozy sewing situation

You can find the stitch paintings in the shop.

When I finish these I’ll keep them in the hoops and hang them in a little group –  I’ll show you how to do that soon. I’m using DMC floss – the six strand stuff – separating one, two or three strands. 

painting sampler - teacup

embroider a blue bug

I love this blue bug gentleman, where is he going? Who are those flowers for? And I love the little french knot flowers for his bouquet.  I used two strands of thread for these. 

french knots:

Bring the needle through the fabric where you would like the knot.  Hold the thread tight about and inch from the fabric with your other hand. Place your needle in front of the tight floss – be sure it’s in front – not behind. 

Wind the floss around the needle twice (or once for a tiny knot),  Don’t twirl the needle to wind the floss – wind it around the needle with your non-needle hand,

Keep the tension of the floss and put the needle back in right next to (not in the same hole – but very close to it) where you began. Keep the thread tight with your non-needle hand and pull the coil downward towards your fabric. Pull the needle through to finish the knot.

hexie update:

I add a few every day- I’m moving from the multicolor scrap area into a pale section and starting a  dark blue group too, Lots of people are making hexies! Check out #hexiesforsanity to see. And I found a printable sheet of templates here.

 making a hexie quilt from scraps

embroidering a doll face

Scandalous doll pattern update: Just about there and it is awesome. The hard part for me was the head – I changed my mind over and over but finally settled on a solution I’m super happy with.  Stay tuned.  And get some fabric – muslin or any light cotton.

What are you working on?  Come across any cool projects, recipes, awesome books  or ideas you’d like to share? Please leave them in the comments.

the hexie project

hexie scrap sewing project

hexie scrap sewing project

It’s a perfect plan, here’s why: You can do it in bed, all you need are some scraps, the most basic sewing ability and paper. Plus it has a calming effect, for me anyway. The first thought was to use only pale, small prints. But then the idea of playing with scale and color was appealing – using large prints in these little hexies. That dissolved into abandoning all constraints and going with a fully random assemblage – no planning, no thought, inviting serendipity.

I also didn’t really have a plan for what they would become, that evolved too. At first I thought I’d patch a quilt with them- I love it when hexies or groups of them just turn up somewhere. And I used a few in my mending.

mending a linen smock with hexies

I like making them so much though I want a legit hexie project. The current plan is to just keep going and going. Instead of a fully random situation I’ve begun to plan some color transitions and shapes and lines, still taking a meandering, “yes and approach” and  not laying out a design beforehand.

The idea of approaching a hexie project in a painterly and abstract way is super duper appealing to me. It’s also super duper appealing that it will take an immense amount of time over days, months, years…

hexie scrap sewing project

They are simple to make.  There are tons of detailed hexie (english paper piecing) methods, tutorials, tips and ideas on the interwebs to explore, I’ll give you some basics on my process  here. I started with template paper that was precut and later made my own paper templates using magazine pages. My shape is 2 inches at the widest point. Place the paper on your fabric and cut about  3/8th of an inch from the edge.

Fold one side over the edge and finger press the fold.

Fold an adjacent side down, finger press the edge and stitch through the fold to hold it in place. Don’t stitch through the paper.

Keep your needle attached and fold down the next side and finger press the edge.

Stitch that fold and continue around until all 6 sides are basted.

hexie project

After I get a bunch I press them. To stitch them together place 2 with the right sides together and whip stitch the edge. Keep adding hexies stitching one edge at a time.

hexie scrap sewing project

After a bunch are assembled I’ve been pressing the whole thing and taking the paper out to use again – snipping out a couple stitches and using my needle to lift out the paper. This may be controversial…. I think you’re supposed to leave them in until it’s finished.  Feel free to share your opinion.

I’m working on it every morning, marking these strange moments with hexies. I so recommend it. If you’d like to join me use #hexiesforsanity on instagram. Make something small, make something big, make a design or go free form or both – that could be awesome. I’ll be updating you regularly on my progress.

Onward,
ann

PS – if the idea appeals to you but you’re not on instagram let me know in the comments – I’ll try to put together another sharing option.

PPS – If you have tips for making and assembling hexies please share in the comments.

Be sure to check the comments for great tips!

 

the somewhat weekly newsletter

Do you get my free weekly-ish newsletter? There are tips and tricks, ideas, stuff to try, all the latest news and blogposts and extra stuff, just for subscribers, delivered mostly on Friday. Pretty much.


the hexie project

ideas – for having ideas

People sure are getting extra creative lately. An interesting side effect of a nightmarish global pandemic, an imagination revolution.

I’ve gathered a few posts for you here on the subject of having ideas. The feeling of a percolating idea, rolling around a problem in my head is one of my most favorite things in life (for the record a couple other top spot holders are dogs and cats, plants, swimming and apparently homemade pizza… So many pizzas…).

I’m curious about thinking, imagination, creativity, ideas and inspiration, how it all works and how to make it work better. When I find something that helps, something that keeps my wheels turning and ideas flowing I love to share it.

deliberate daydreaming

deliberate daydreaming

Wouldn’t it be nice to have it all at your command, to be able to summon deep focus, motivation and drive, ingenuity, and sparkling original ideas as needed or desired.  But our minds don’t work like that. Our minds do what they like and so often just the opposite of what we’re looking for.  Practice, training and attention help though and I’m always on the look out for ways to improve – stuff to try – ways to reach the deepest parts of my imagination and creativity….keep reading

 

percolating ideas and macgyver

I’ve been thinking about some of the painful parts, the really not fun moments, that are part of creative work. The fear and panic I feel when inspiration or solutions aren’t appearing and a deadline is looming. I felt a lot of this during my fox project. The schedule was ambitious – they had to be photographed in mid November and I started designing from scratch in October. They are relatively large, they are jointed (this is brand new to me), they needed to be free standing (nightmarishly difficult for this kind of creature) and their posture and body language were important to the mood, the mood was everything and I wasn’t getting it…. keep reading

 

pick up a thread and follow it, small stitch experiments

Part of the day today was devoted to waking up the experimenter in me. It needs some encouragement so I gave it an assignment, an easy assignment. I’ve been filled with reasons why I can’t do things lately so it’s a baby steps approach: make something small, make something fun, start without knowing.

One thing leads to another, if you let it. But first you need to start. Sometimes without knowing where you are going. If the experimenter in you needs some encouragement too please join me in the little assignment….keep reading

 

30 minute figures : experimenting and generating ideas

Play generates ideas. And constraints make things interesting, they send you in new directions and bypass inhibitions. Find 30 minutes to play. Make a space, gather materials, scraps, paper, cardboard fabric, whatever is around, and tools – a glue stick, tape, paint, the basics. Make an appointment with yourself to show up and set a timer for thirty minutes….keep reading

 

my big creative year : good ideas

Sometimes ideas are like mosquitos – whispers that won’t leave you alone.  Sometimes they are slippery and hard to grasp. Sometimes they’re chaotic, tumbling over each other. Sometimes they are lurking in the shadows, maddeningly half revealed and sometimes they are frightening – too big to hold.

Whether they are big or little, scary, silly, sad, strange, embarrassing or brilliant they are in unlimited supply. You can’t run out.

And this is also true….keep reading

 

amulets stitched from antique textiles worn with a white smock

road sewing, feedback loops and accidental amulets

Life rewards action, give it a chance and it will show up with happy accidents. The minute you do something, take some action, a feedback loop begins. You get information. Begin, listen and respond. This week I accidentally made some necklaces or amulets or talismans or charms or pendants,  I’m not sure what to call them yet. I know I like making them and I like how they feel, I like looking at them and putting them on and I’m sure they are lucky.  And I know that continents and centuries collide in these saved and assembled scraps. They are a happy accident in lots of ways….keep reading

 

how to have good ideas

curating, focusing and finding your voice : practice every day

I consume tons of information – often via podcasts while stitching – a lot of it around creativity – and some around business and marketing – they often overlap and intertwine. There is a lot of discussion and advice, especially lately, around finding your voice, curating and focusing.

I have struggled with all three – especially the focus and curating. I’m all over the place and I think there is validity to the argument that it’s easier to make progress if you focus your efforts narrowly. For example – I know I could grow the sewing and craft pattern business – my newest venture – much faster if I focused solely on that. Maybe I should. I also know there is a lot more to explore and experiment with in my own stitch-work and…keep reading

 

overwhelm

harnessing the power of your curiosity to get unstuck

Curiosity is an energetic place and you can apply your curiosity to stuckness with a very simple exercise: make a list of questions – at least ten.   To get started the questions can be small or absurd or silly – in fact absurdity can be good for waking up curiosity. And I have found the more questions I can come up with the better they get but the exercise is less about finding solutions ( although they may occur) and more about tapping into the energy of a massively powerful part of your mind….keep reading

house for a mouse : make mini chandeliers and a bed

mouse house diy projects

doll house diy

Making a cozy house for nice mice: part 2 – the bedroom

If you haven’t checked out Part 1 find it right here.

 

doll house furniture tutorials

mouse house tutorials

mouse house diy

The Admiral escorts Mrs. Croft off to bed.

 

doll or fairy bed diy

 

 

Of course they need a bedroom too, a cozy escape from the trials of the day.  The tutorial for their dear little wire bed is here.

 

 

 

dollhouse chandelier diy

*some links are affiliate links – meaning I get a tiny commission if you purchase through the links – they are marked with an asterisk

The fancy chandeliers are made from vintage beads and buttons and *24 gauge wire. Any wire small enough to fit through your beads will work. Improvise and work with what you’ve got – that is the spirit of the mouse house. I didn’t have a ton of beads – I gave most of them away a while ago – what was I thinking… So I took apart a couple vintage earrings, found a few glass buttons and beads and some tiny plastic seed beads.

I’ve got some tips below to get you started:

dollhouse chandelier diy

Make a circle of beads on your wire – whatever size you like. Twist 3 or four wires onto the ring – with a short end and a long end.

dollhouse chandelier diy

I used four wires – spaced out pretty evenly around the circle of beads.

dollhouse chandelier diy

Add a bead or button to the short ends and curl them up.

Read More

9 creative project ideas for big folks and little folks

terrarium

terrarium

1.

A terrarium  is an awesome project for big people or little people. There are a bunch of tutorials available in varying degrees of complexity – this one is specifically geared towards little people.   My advice would be to not get too locked in by details like the right kind of container or soil, or plants, adding charcoal etc. etc.. Improvise, work with what you’ve got and try stuff. Make a magical mini landscape.

2.

This wax paper specimen collecting journal is another great idea for backyard or park adventures. If you can’t get outside it could be for collecting words and ideas.

3.

Fabric scraps –  I love this sweet scrap bunting and  there are tons of fabric scrap ideas here and here and more here.

cardboard playhouse

4.

Cardboard castles  and playhouses – I sure do love cardboard. Use whatever you’ve got to build a ship or castle or playhouse.

5.

Fun kitchen projects for kids – the playhouse above is one of my most favorite projects of all time. I made it for Clare Crespo’s Yummy Fun Show.  So many cool kitchen projects to do with your little people. And super duper talented Clare has shared all the episodes right here.

paper mache teacups

6.

Paper mache teacups –  Have you got a cereal box and  paper? Make a sweet paper mache teacup.  And you can make your own wheat paste!

paper ship and boat installation

7.

Make an installation  – a cozy space for daydreams.  In the best of times I am obsessed with making things cozy. In the current deep uncertainty this impulse has gone into overdrive. Easy to make paper boats, simple and festive paper lanterns and scrap garland (plus twinkle lights if you’ve got them) could turn a corner into a magical space for daydreams.

8.

Homemade journals – there is a great tutorial for making a journal from brown bags here and another from junk mail envelopes here.  Besides the fun of making the journal it’s a great time to get into the habit of a small daily creative practice- maybe a journal page a day – collage, drawing, collecting – whatever you like. Showing up everyday for a small daily practice is as close to a magic formula as there is for growing creatively.

guick figure expeiments created with paper and fabric

9.

Play – You know what my most frequently asked question is lately- “ Where do you get your ideas? “ Such an interesting question.  Making a painting everyday has made a big difference in the quantity and quality of my ideas. And play is a huge part of it too. Messing around without being too concerned with the outcome. Try this 30 minute figure play session.

Check the free pattern page for even more ideas! And if you have a project or idea to share please leave it in the comments section.

onward!

ann