Monday, 15 January 2018

Making a modelling clay figure

Before Christmas I spent some time revamping a character in a book I wrote a few years back.  It occurred to me that to help me with the drawing it would be good if I could have a model to work from.  I always struggle with profiles and obscure angles of the head. 
Now my modelling skills do have a lot to be desired, I do like to give these things a go however, so here is my little tutorial for making a 3d figure.

So I'd like you to meet Pigley!  A cute toddler who is discovering new and exciting things about her world.

So how to start creating her???  Well first off I got some wire and bent it into a vaguely stick figure shape.  (really thought I had a pic of this ageist but apparently not.)  for the head I just made a loop shape.  Make sure your arms and legs are the same length as each other and that each end has a loop of metal. You can see the feet in this image are just loops.
Now get out the foil!  I found the heap foil I had was a bit useless... Actually it was very useless all round.  But I had some proper stuff and this worked far better.  You want to compactly wrap the wire structure to flesh out the bones as it were. 

Here you can see my little person now looks more person than stick!  Why bother?? Well if I made the head completely out of clay it would 1, be very very heavy and 2, very expensive!  This way you don't waste materials.

Next step was to get some flesh coloured clay and create the head shape. Because you make a loop in the wire at the beginning you will find the head should twist around or fall off!

Now bake you clay for about 15 minutes.  This is something I hadn't thought to do before but it made a huge difference.  The key thing to remember is to make sure you have all the facial features you want.  You don't even need to add hair.  If you wish to you could also add flesh to the hands and feet or anything else that will be exposed.

Once baked I allowed to cool and then started work on the rest of her, adding clothes and hair.  I also added a stand so she wouldn't fall over.

Lastly, into the oven she goes (I felt like the wicked witch then lol)
Baked on 130 for 25 minutes (from a cold oven)  In future I would pop a mug behind as she did tumble back at one point and the back of her hair caught slightly.

And here she is all finished.  There is lots I'm not that happy about but I still love her.  My first partially successful attempt at modelling a figure.

Why not have a go yourself!  I'd love to see what you create!

I am popping by Handmade Monday again, so why not pop by and say hi!

Jen xx

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Personlised colouring books

Last year I had an idea! (March to be exact)  Well I had a few but time really didn't help on getting many done! Well my idea was to create personlised colouring sheets which would combine my portraits and my illustrations.  So over the rest of the year I created a variety of different images, each containing a child.  The children on the pages were headless!  I'm sorry, yes that sound a bit brutal! But it was a necessity!

So why headless?  Well I needed to be able to draw the heads on seperatly so that all the children in the colouring book would be the same child!  (hence the personlised bit!)

So I can now create colouring books where the child is the focus of every picture, they are exploring and enjoying all sorts of environments from deep sea diving to  riding giraffes.

I really have had lots of fun with this project and I can now offer these colouring books for £20.
Fancy a look in one I was commissioned to complete for Christmas?  This one only has 16 images and also has 20 plain sheets at the back.

If the video doesn't work here is the link.

Here are a few other images.

If you want to order one of these books then please pop me a message.  I havn't got these live on my site yet.

Well I will be popping by Handmade Monday to see what other crafty bloggers have been up to, I do hope you will pop by and have a look too!

Jen xx

Friday, 5 January 2018

Parenting the crafty way #6

Well Hello there.  I don't know about you but sometimes children totally confound me.  I have worked with children for over 10 years before I stopped to extend my family.  I have had the pleasure to work with children from 2 to 18 and what have I found?  They are all totally different.

Now I thought all that practise would make parenting a doddle!  In fact my eldest was pretty easy going on the whole, and she has so far survived to see 16, not taken drugs, had a boyfriend or become a smoking obsessed alcoholic!  YAY!  (huge win)  So when it came to child number 2 I thought, 'hey man, I totally got this!'
OMG how wrong was I!

Well on the plus side not only has number 2 reached 5 years old and started school in one piece but we also went on to have a number 3!

Now I don't want to go into too many details, but to say that the last few years with number 2 has been very difficult for me is a little bit of an understatment.  I've had to deal with impressive tantrums and child who is so stubborn she will deny herself things she is desperate for just so she can be in charge or right!

As parents it is so easy to blame yourself for being a bad parent, that we did something wrong.  This isn't true!  At least I know this isn't true but I find I blame myself for so much.  We have been on a few different courses and spoken to several professionals to help us be the best we can, but still things have been a bit off.

All my other crafty parenting posts have been as a result of these courses.  I had been trying to create environments for my young ones that promotes praise and pride in their achievements as well as a way to express emotions and explore their world.  Now generally these things have been positive and we still utalise a few, especially the wow wall (although this has had a make over, so more about that another time!)

Today though I felt I really had to share my latest idea.  I realised earlier this week that when little 2 has a tantrum and hits out she really isn't happy about it, in fact she is in such torment with her emotions that a tantrum is exhausting and traumatic for her.  I've tried many different systems and theories to help her but nothing really seems to work.  So thinking cap on, this is what I did!

The calm spot

Yesterday I bought lots of exciting goodies which I popped in a new bag.  The bag contained items I felt might help her feel calm, safe and distract her.  There was a squeezy  ball, a fidget spinner and a fidget ring, a bendy snake thing, a mirror (not glass) and a really soft owl.  I didn't get anything that was either easy to break or would cause damage if thrown)

I introduced the bag to her by taking her to a little corner in my wardrobe and telling her that when we send her to time out it isn't because we are cross with her but to help her calm down.  I followed by telling her that I could see how upsetting her being cross was for her and thought maybe, instead of a time out she could have a clam down place, somewhere special for her to hide and calm herself down.

So, keen on this idea she helped me decorate the space and get it all ready.  She has cushions and a blanket to lie on, fairy lights on the ceiling and we hung the mirror up so she can see her face and check if she looks calm or not.

I also thought I would get her some ear muffs as sound sometimes bothers her as well as something to blow.  I wondered about the traditional whoopy cushions but they are full of foam now and self inflate!  (why?  well taking deep breaths is a good way to try to calm down and I thought by inflating a whoopy cushion she would need deep breaths and then there is a payoff of sitting on it and making a funny noise!)

Well so far she has been to her calm spot twice and I have to say she has enjoyed her space.  Fingers crossed it helps her.  Will keep you up to date!

Do you have any tantrum related good tips?

Next post will be something crafty but really wanted to share this with you.  If you got to the end congratulations... sorry it was a bit wordier than usual!

Jen xx

Monday, 6 November 2017

Being a little creative!

Well, I know it has been a while!  The last year really has been manic.  Juggling work and children (don't actually juggle children, it's very frowned on).
In order to escape a little from all the various pressures I have forced myself to get creative! 
I was finding it so hard to find time to just do.  So in order to try to retain what little sanity I had left (not a lot!) I got making and I thought you, or at least those that are still around to read my musings, would like to see what I have been up to!

So I have been working on a lot of illustrating projects recently and it reminded me that I had a book I had written but I wasn't at all happy with the illustrations.  I have drawn and redrawn this little character so many times and this is the latest version.  she has gone from a baby to a preschooler! Why? Well, apparently , you should use characters the same age as the audience you are targeting.  Makes a lot of sense, I mean no preschooler wants to be outdone by a baby do they!
This little girl is called Pigley. (we used to call my second little one Pigley when she was little).  Pigley is the perfect age to explore the world an in the first book she is learning all about apples and how trees grow. 

Here you can see various different versions I have tried in the past.

Once I had settled on a illustration for her I decided to give modelling a go.  Now this is not something I will be repeating, at least not commercially.  I have never been able to model very well but I have to say I am rather pleased with her.  What do you think?

I have also been working on a colouring book for children.  Once these are released they will actually be personlised to the child so they can in effect colour themselves in lots of different environments!  I will also be doing a generic one which will be cheaper. More about this in the new year but until then I thought you might like a sneaky peek at one of the illustrations.

In other illustration news I have nearly finished a really exciting project for a local poet! This image is for a poem all about the torture of car journeys with siblings!I really love this illustration and the whole book is coming along amazingly!  This book of nonsense poems will be available to buy after Christmas so I will keep you posted!  

Lastly, for now!  (don't want to bore you!) I have been brushing up on my illustrating skill with an online course and this is one of my pieces of homework!  I'm so thrilled with this one!  I wonder if I should make him into a greeting card?

So, for now, I will say byeeeeee.  
I will be stopping by Handmade Monday to say hi as it really is my fav bloggy place to hang out on a Monday!

Hope you have a fantastic week and fingers crossed I will have new and exciting things to sho you next time!  Maybe a tutorial of how I did the model?

Jen xx

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Introducing Jendoris

Sometimes I am very surprised at the directions my craftyness takes me.  I have been really getting into planning this year and I currently have 3 different planners, healthy eating, business and everyday.  My everyday has been particularly fun and has led to my latest product!  Jendori!

So what is a Jendori?  Well it's my personal take on the Travelers Notebook system.  I'm not sure that answered the question right?  

A travelers notebook, or in my case the Jendori is basically a cover with elastics inside.  You can then add whatever inserts you wish to fill it up.  

So what's so different about mine?  Well each of my Jendoris are A6, fabric, trifold and quilted in my own swirly pattern.  I also make inserts and can customise them to the colour scheme of the cover!
Each Jendori comes will added elastics and a metal charm. 

There are so many fun fabrics to choose from. Here are just a few that have been made and sent out to their new forever homes recently.

I have created all sorts of inserts so far.  These have included address books, diaries, habit trackers, plain and squared inserts and also bill trackers.  So if you fancy having your own, unique Jendori then pop by my Facebook page or pop me a message.  I will have everything listed on the website soon but it is currently being redone and it's taking me a while to add everything.

I will leave you with a video unveiling on one of my recent orders.  

I will be popping my Handmade Monday to have a browse to do pop by to say hi and meet some wonderful crafters!

Monday, 17 April 2017

Heat Embossing

Wow! look at this, two posts in less than two weeks!  Have I got my blogging mojo back????

I don't know about you, but whenever I have lots to do there is always something else I'd like to try. Recently inspiration has been popping up at odd times! Yesterday, my inspiration led me to my recently made Travelers Notebook.  I say made, it's actually a bit of a work in progress and I am adapting it as I go along.  I will share my notebook with you soon once I have a little more in it. Until then I would love to show you an insert I made.

I created an insert to wrap around one of my books. I wanted extra pockets.  I decided to use a lovely pad of paper from First Editions called 'Isabelle'  ( an old pad now unfortunately) 

The patterns are so beautiful and full of pinks, greens and browns.  This particular paper had lots of white so I thought I would use heat embossing to decorate it.  You can see the difference here between the areas that I have decorated and those I have left.

This experiment led me to have another go and produce a video tutorial for you all.  So I do hope you enjoy it. 

I have also created a video on my Facebook page on how to use the same techniques to enhance your lettering!  To watch it click here.

I am expecting supplies this week and I will have a couple of kits available to buy so you can try this at home.  I can also sell the items individually.
Total kit price is £25 (£30rrp so a fab saving!)  postage is £3

I'm linking up with Handmade Monday so do pop by and link up too if you have a blog or to come and find some wonderful blogs to read.

Jenny xx

Monday, 10 April 2017

6 Whole Months!

6 months! 6 whole  months.... I'm so sorry!
Actually those 6 months since my last post have flown by, lots of news and things to show you all but I don't think I should write an essay for my first post in such a long while!

So what's new I hear you ask..... (that is if you are shouting really loud!)
Well I had some very big decisions to make and I closed down Crafty What Nots before Christmas.  Life had got so stressful and the boxes were adding to the pressure and it started to become a chore rather than pleasure.  I think that's always the point where you should stop, but it is often very hard to know when that time is. You don't want to give up too early but you also can't run at a loss and be miserable. So choices were made and I closed down my page and website.  Oh my! what a difference that made.  I found the pressure instantly lift and I started to find my crafting mojo again!  I will still design boxes on request and I do produce kit boxes but now they are all under the name of Jennysis (so much easier to deal with one page rather than 2)
Here is a box I recently made up for someone.

So what have I been up so since??

Well my portraits and illustrating really started to take off and I became really busy designing logos too.  I never thought I could really make a living from my creative endeavours but the last few months have shown how possible it can be! (It does take a lot of hard work tho.)

I have also been involved with some lovely collaborations and been asked to design custom illustrations for some lovely businesses!  I will share more about this next time.

I will leave you today to get on with another really exciting project but in the meantime I would love to share this collaboration with you. A little while back a friend shared a video about Kung-fu Tea.  this fantastic yet odd practise inspired me to draw some tea ninjas.  These developed into the Afternoon Tea Ninjas, ready to serve you a cream tea before you even know you want it!

Well the Ninjas escalated and I have now drawn various different types on Ninjas.  So far there are Clown Ninjas, cocktail Ninjas and Saturday night out Ninjas. I have loads more ideas though so there will be more very soon!  

Now what to do with these designs!  I hit a bit of a wall until a very good friend of mine asked if she could sew one of my illustration!  Jenny from Gecko Fabric Art created the most wonderful mug rug, perfect to rest your cuppa and a cake.

  I really thought a mug would be great too so I contacted the fab Edens Garden of Gifts and she printed up some mugs for me!
Look at these!  My Ninjas are everywhere!
You can now order a mug and mug rug of your very own!

This has been such a fun collaboration and it's been really sparking my creativity.  Ninjas to come will be 'Introvert Ninjas', 'Builder Ninjas', 'Accountant Ninjas' and  'craft Ninjas'.  What sort of Ninjas would you like to see?  Would you buy other items with Ninjas on? like notebooks, t shirts, placemats etc?

Well I ended up writing more than I intended so I really must go!
Have a lovely sunny day.

I will be linking up with some other lovely crafty pages over at Handmade Monday! Do pop by to check out some fantastic pages.

Jen xx