As you all know I love taking online arts & crafts classes. I literally could spend 24/7 just doing that.
I have been taking online classes at Artful Gathering
since 2012 and have loved every one of the eleven classes I've taken. Each year the selection gets better and better making it almost impossible to decide which class to take. So far I've taken crazy quilting, mixed media art dolls, needle felting, cloth art dolls and paper-clay art doll making classes.
I have to admit I'm a little partial to any classes being offered for doll making and have taken several of those. Four have them have been taught by Hally Levesque who is an exceptional art doll artist and instructor who has a passion for historic, primitive, and mixed media art dolls.
Hally's classes are always filled with historical tidbits, multiple projects, and very detailed instructions on the making of each of the class projects.
The class I took in Session One this year was the 11th class I've taken at Artful Gathering and, once again, it didn't disappoint. It was another of Hally's art doll classes and was for making 3 different kinds of 1900 - 1920 art deco or art nouveau tassel half art dolls.
Hally's classes are always filled with historical tidbits and this class was dedicated to some of the more famous women of the 1900's like Mata Hari, Lillian, Gish and Theda Vamp.
Like all the other classes I've taken my projects don't always end up looking like the finished class projects. This class was no exception.
No matter how hard I try my dolls always seem to have a tiny Victorian slant to them. Even if they are supposed to be vamps. What can I say - I love everything Victorian. In this instance I gave them a Victorian type hairstyle versus and vamp hair style.
Since the class was about creating butterfly type art dolls I decided to look at real pictures of butterflies. I saw so many beautiful pictures of butterflies with beautiful colors I couldn't decide which color I liked best so I decided to make 5 dolls instead of 3. I know, I can never do anything in moderation.
I saw a beautiful picture of a multicolored blue dragonfly that I liked, a black and orange monarch butterfly, a blue and yellow tiger swallow butterfly, and a blue morpho teal butterfly. One of the projects was for creating a luna moth and I loved the lime green colors of the doll so I decided to make her as well.
I'm not just partial to everything Victorian, but when I paint I always end up sponge painting parts of it. So, this time was no exception. Their wings, bodices, and gloves were all sponge painted. Here's my results:
My multi blue colored dragonfly.
My blue and yellow tiger swallow butterfly.
My black and orange monarch butterfly.
My blue morpho butterfly.
My luna moth.
Each of the dolls has a little bit of sentimentality attached to it with regards to their hair, clothes and accessories. All have my mother's pierced earrings and most have a necklace or two of hers.
Many, many years ago my sister-in-law asked me if I could use some old lace and ric rac trims she had that she was going to throw away. I, of course, hate to throw away sewing and craft supplies that could be useful so I said I'd take them figuring she had just a handful. Well, a handful turned into a ton of trims which I put into two large containers which I had saved over the years. I could never bring myself to throw them away. You never know when you're going to use something and the tassels would put many of them to use - which I did.
Each of the dolls hair is also from some of the beautiful hand dyed alpaca roving my sister gave me. She and my brother-in-law are alpaca farmers and the owners of Rock Garden Alpacas
. She sells her alpaca fiber products at her Rock Garden Alpacas Etsy
The multi blue colored dragon fly is my mothers favorite royal blue color and has her gold and blue dangle pierced earrings. Her beautiful blue and black hair is a some of my sister's hand dyed alpaca roving that I combined and twisted for a curly Victorian effect and her breastplate buttons are from an old business suit of mine. Most of the tassel trims were from the ton of various blue colored ric rac and lace trims my sister-in-law gave me as well as other royal blue mixed media trim pieces and ribbons I had in my stash.
My sister had given me a picture of a monarch butterfly she had taken years ago. I liked the orange and black colors so I decided to make one of those. Her black drop dangle pierced earrings came from my mother. Her beautiful orange and black hair is a some of my sister's hand dyed alpaca roving that I combined and twisted for a curly Victorian effect and her breastplate buttons are from another old business suit of mine. Some of the tassel trims were from the ton of ric rac and lace trims my sister-in-law gave me as well as other mixed media trim pieces I had in my stash.
The blue and yellow tiger swallow butterfly above also has my mother's gold dangle pierced earrings and one of her gold and pearl drop necklaces. Her beautiful blue and yellow hair is a some of my sister's hand dyed alpaca roving that I combined and twisted for a curly Victorian effect. Some of the blue and yellow tassel trims were from the ton of ric rac and lace trims my sister-in-law gave me as well as other mixed media trim pieces I had in my stash.
The blue morpho butterfly above also has my mother's pearl drop dangle pierced earrings and one of her white bead necklaces that I took apart. Her beautiful teal and blue/green hair is a some of my sister's hand dyed alpaca roving that I twisted for a curly Victorian effect. Most of the teal and white tassel trims were from the ton of ric rac and lace trims my sister-in-law gave me as well as other teal and white mixed media trim pieces and ribbonsI had in my stash.
My mother had a white and teal drop costume jewelry necklace that I loved and wanted to use for this project and thought it would be a good addition to my luna moth. The luna moth above also has my mother's silver dangle pierced earrings. Her beautiful lime green hair is a some of my sister's hand dyed alpaca roving that I twisted for a curly Victorian effect. Most of the tassel trims were from the ton of ric rac and lace trims my sister-in-law gave me as well as other lime green mixed media trim pieces I had in my stash.
I had a lot fun making these dolls. It took me a long time to gather all the supplies and accessories I would need for them and also took a long time to put all the extra supplies away. If you're a crafter you know what I mean by this. I had craft containers organized by type of supply all over my living room and the extra supplies I didn't use had to, of course, be returned to their container. So, as you can imagine, it took awhile.
Despite the fact that my hand still shakes when I try to paint the faces I was pleased, overall, with the way my dolls came out.
Once again, Hally's class was exceptional. She's an amazing doll artist and provides all the detailed instructions in her videos that you need to make one of her dolls. Her video's are well thought out, easy to follow, and entertaining. If you love dolls and get a chance to take one of her classes you won't be disappointed. I certainly haven't been.
If you'd like to learn more about Hally and her beautiful art dolls please visit her Creative Doll Works
My family is a family of crafters. We're sewers, painters, woodworkers, knitters, crafters, designers, etc. and we all learned as small children. If you love to craft with kids I hope you find these tutorials, patterns, video's, and how-to's helpful.
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When I look at different cross-stitch or needlework kits I might like to do I'm always drawn to pictures or ornaments that have the word "joy" in them or have "doggies" in them. The ones with "joy" always remind me of my beloved mother as that was her name and the "doggies" remind me of my beloved cairn terrier.
So, when I saw the Country Welcome - Button & Beads Mill Hill Cross-stitch Kit with the little "doggie" in it I knew I wanted to make it. The dog button doesn't look anything like a cairn terrier but it's a "doggie" nonetheless.
The Country Welcome Beaded Counted Cross Stitch Kit Mill Hill Buttons & Beads Autumn Series MH14-7206 pattern uses full counted cross-stitch and straight stitch highlighting as well as beads of various sizes for emphasis and depth. The pattern also calls for certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched as the background. In this case they were leaving sections of the brown perforated paper background untouched.
A lot of the cross-stitch 5" by 5" pictures I have made were finished in small 6 1/2" by 6 1/2" shadowbox frames with 5" by 5" openings that I had gotten at Michaels when they went on sale on year. I used up all the shadowbox frames I had gotten that year and have been looking for them ever since and haven't found them again.
So, when I saw that Michaels had small 6' by 6" shadowbox frames on sale again I bought a few figuring they'd work okay. I thought they would be like the previous frames I had bought by they actually were bigger. They were 7 1/2" by 7 1/2" shadowbox frames with a 5 1/2" opening. I didn't realize when I had bought these that a lot more of the cross-stitch picture would be showing.
I also decided to once again utilize the rectangular wood frame jig that my darling husband built for me that I could tape the edges of my perforated paper to. The wood frame jig is a rectangular embroidery hoop of sorts, but without bending the perforated paper. He had made it out of 1/2" x 1" pine wood strips with an adjustable center strip that I used for this 5 x 5 square design.
I had learned from previous mistakes that I needed to draw diagonal lines to locate the exact center of the perforated paper as in the last perforated paper cross-stitch picture I had done was slightly off center by a few holes which caused a problem with inserting the needles in the holes along one of the edges of my frame. So, I lightly drew a diagonal line across each corner with a pencil to get the center point of the perforated paper.
The pattern called for a white/gold wooden frame and certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched as the background like the picture shown below:
However, I don't like seeing the different perforated sections in the background and since a lot more of it would be exposed with this frame I opted instead to finish the ground with a medium gray DMC embroidery floss and the rest of the background with a light brown DMC embroidery floss color sewn as a half cross-stitch using two strands of the floss.
I had decided to square the edges of my picture and also decided to add as many rows of the light brown and medium gray floss around all the edges to make sure the perforated paper would not be visible once my cross stitch picture was inserted into the wooden frame.
However, this time, when I measured the picture and frame I realized that I would need to add a lot more of the brown floss and medium gray around the edges as a lot more of the picture would be showing. Instead of using the brown floss and medium gray floss I decided to use ecru colored .25m floss sewn as one half cross-stitch that would make the picture look like it was matted..
While the end results of this design were wonderful some things in the kit and in the instructions could be improved upon so I'd like to offer the following constructive suggestions:
The cross-stitch chart was in black and white as was the floss color code and symbol key. Both were easy to read and very clear. While I had no problem with the chart and keys I did have a problem with the way the DMC floss was presented. All of the floss was tied together in one big knot so you had to separate the floss pieces yourself, sort them, and try to interpret which color belonged to which floss # and symbol key on the color chart.
If you only have a few colors to deal with this isn't a problem. However, if you have several different colors to choose from that are close in color then interpreting the chart can be tricky. You may assign the wrong color to the wrong symbol if the colors are too closely aligned like ecru and light beige. The key code chart should have contained the number of strands that were included in the kit so I would know how many strands I had for the different floss colors.
As I have done with other cross-stitch kits I've completed I had to design my own thread color sorter and symbol key. I took a piece of thin cardboard and cut a 1" x 9" long rectangular piece out to use as a thread sorter. I then punched holes in my cardboard strip in which to tie each of the different colors. Just above the hole I wrote the DMC floss # and just below the hole I added the respective cross-stitch symbol. I then inserted the floss threads that went with that # and symbol through the hole and tied them in a loose knot. This kit could be much improved if a thread sorter with respective #'s and symbols was provided.
The beads were contained within three small ziploc bags which was fine. The chart had footnote symbols to help distinguish which beads were within which bag.
The kit included a dog button that was to be sewn at the bottom of the picture. The button was okay except it was glued to a small piece of cardboard which did not easily come off and the glue used had hardened and extended over the sides of the button. I cut it with scissors and managed to make it presentable enough to use in my picture. I have found over time that the buttons used in the Mill Hill cross-stitch kits are usually of poor quality and the worst parts of the kits. Sometimes I use them sometimes I don't.
The wooden frame came with a 6" x 6" cardboard mounting board for the picture but had no back so I decided to cut a 6" x 6" white foam adhesive board to use to glue my picture to.
My results with the totally finished background, square edges, and frame is shown below:
Despite the relatively small issues I had encountered with the kit I was happy with the way my Country Welcome turned out.
It took me 26 hours to complete this picture including the framing. As always, my comments are meant to be constructive to enable future purchasers to benefit from my experience and to enhance their ability to create a wonderful little cross-stitch design.
I'm also a big fan of websites that offer 24/7 online classes that never expire. I have been buying Craftsy's
online classes when they go on sale for quite some time. They have so many wonderful classes to choose from.
However, I have a problem with them. My problem has always been lack of time and incentive. For Artful Gathering
you are given a specific time period to take their class which, as a result, forces me to take them during that specific period of time. For Craftsy
you can take them 24/7 without any expiration date. As a result I keep putting them off.
Despite this when I see a wonderful Craftsy class
that I might be interested in that is on sale I tend to purchase it. Since I never do anything in moderation you know I've bought a lot of them. I'm hoping over the spring and summer I can start some of the classes I've purchased.
Here's what I chose:
Crazy Quilts with Allie AllerClass Description -
Work with fancy fabrics like velvet and silk and play with hand-embroidered seam treatments to create richly textured, sumptuous blocks.
Heirloom Sewing with Susan StewartClass Description -
Replicate the look of vintage heirloom sewing with your home machine! Discover techniques for shaping and stitching lace trim, entredeux, pintucks and more.
Re-Piecing the Past: Civil War Blocks Then & NowClass Description -
Learn Kaye England's precise piecing methods and make 12 traditional blocks, inspired by the stories of strong women of the Civil War era.
Stumpwork: Raised Embroidery EssentialsClass Description -
Add gorgeous dimension to any embroidery project! Expand your needlework repertoire by learning how to create stunning, nature-inspired stumpwork designs.
Stupendous Stitching: Adventures in Surface DesignClass Description -
Set your sewing machine and imagination free in this fun exploration of embroidery designs, decorative sewing machine stitches, couching and binding.
Bead Embroidery: Beyond the Basics with Myra WoodClass Description -
Enhance any project with eye-catching beaded embroidery! Learn techniques for dimensional designs, elegant beaded fringe, embellished accessories and more.
Goldwork Embroidery with Lucy BarterClass Description -
Create elegant goldwork embroidery that catches light and captivates! Learn time-honored techniques for working with metallic threads, chips, spangles and more.
Bead Embroidery with Myra WoodClass Description -
Embroider with beads for eye-catching results! Create sparkling flowers, leaves and other stunning embellishments by hand.
Embroidering With RibbonClass Description -
Create stunning stitches and sophisticated ribbonwork with easy embroidery techniques!
Design It, Stitch It: Hand Embroidery with Jessica MarquezClass Description -
Learn how to hand embroider over 25 types of stitches with decorative flair!
Fusible Appliqué Secrets with Margie UlleryClass Description -
Achieve amazing appliqué projects, fast! Learn fun, versatile fusible web techniques youll use again and again.
Hand Appliqué Made Easy with Mimi Dietrich
Class Description -
Make your appliqué more portable and your projects more personalized. Learn essential hand-appliqué techniques, and bring playful imagery to life alongside Mimi Dietrich.
Embroidering Texture & Dimension by Hand with Sue SpargoClass Description -
Get creative with textured stitches that complement embroidery, appliqué, and more!
Stitch It With Wool: Crewel Embroidery with Kristin NicholasClass Description -
Build on basic stitches to create exquisite crewel embroidery that blossoms with color and texture!
Hand-Stitched Collage Quilts with Laura WasilowskiClass Description -
Step away from your sewing machine and cut straight (or wonky) to the fun of creating fused art quilts with hand-stitched embellishments. Laura Wasilowski will show you how!
Painted Pictorial Quilts with Annette KennedyClass Description -
Brushstroke by brushstroke, Annette Kennedy shows you how to use paint to bring your quilted landscapes to life with depth and richness.
10 Marvelous Mixed Media Techniques with Bonnie CuttsClass Description -
Bring new energy and interest to your work. Learn inspiring mixed media techniques for working with a variety of acrylic paints, mediums and dry materials.
40 Techniques Every Stamper Should Know with Carrie AveryClass Description -
Make the most of your stamping supplies! Learn trendy techniques, create incredible designs and get answers to all your stamp-related questions.
Inventive Ink: Colorful Mixed Media Effects with Marjie KemperClass Description -
Brighten up your paper crafts with a rainbow of mixed media techniques! Learn how to use Distress Inks, stains and sprays to banish boring paper for good.
Mix & Match Clutch Bag Techniques with Janelle MacKayClass Description -
Sew an assortment of chic, custom clutch bags by mixing and matching pattern pieces. Learn how to create professional-quality accessories for any occasion.
Sew Sturdy: The Ultimate Travel Bag with Annie UnreinClass Description -
Don't lug your luggage; love your luggage! Make a beautiful travel bag with durable structure, designer touches and professional construction details.
I'm hoping that this week I can start watching the video's for some of these classes. The problem is which to pick first. I'll let you know what I think so stay tuned.
As a pattern designer I'm always on the look out for great websites to sell my e-patterns and have been a big fan of Craftsy
since January 2012. In fact, I sell some of my e-patterns there. If you'd like to see my e-patterns shop at Craftsy please click here.
I love taking online arts & crafts classes. In fact, I could spend 24/7 just doing this. Unfortunately there are thousands of amazing e-classes out there and only so many hours in the day. So, I have to resort to choosing a few at a time.
In 2012 I discovered the Artful Gathering
online classes and fell in love with so many of them. They offer online art retreats that are taught in the Spring and Summer. They are taught by some of he most unbelievable artists whose creativity is beyond measure.
According to Artful Gathering
is as follows: Our mission is to provide a haven for inspirational self expression and artistic commercial free instruction via online guided video education and virtual social interaction for the art community.
Artful Gathering unites world wide instructors and students in order to facilitate inclusion and access to authentic creative environments and practical learning conditions.
We strive to bridge the gap between the financial and geographical barriers of brick and mortar gatherings and the application of cutting edge technology dedicating our professional leadership toward enriching lives.
So far I've taken 10 Artful Gathering e-classes and can hardly wait to take classes this spring and summer.
I've seen a preview of what's being offered and can tell you it's going to be hard to decide. For sure, decide I will.
Here's some of the Artful Gathering online classes I've taken followed by my finished pieces:
My Romantic Journey On Canvas Online Class at Artful Gathering by Debby Anderson
It's only a couple of weeks for Session one to begin and I can hardly wait.
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