Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Dreaming Of A Craftier Life

I've been crafty and creative my entire life.  From making macrame planters from the twine my father brought home from the post office, to painted dough Christmas ornaments, to beaded eggs (made with real, hollowed out eggs) for Easter, to sewing costumes for Halloween.

For a while, I worked for a woman who was a cloth doll maker.  She got me into it and even allowed me to participate, through the doll makers group she was a founder of, in a doll exchange with doll makers in Canberra, Australia.  Our doll group made dolls for them, their doll group made dolls for us, and we shipped them to each other.  She even went to Canberra to meet the women in the other group and brought back fabric for me that was emblazoned with kangaroos.  I still have it.

She made all kinds of dolls, amazing dolls.  She was extremely creative and had such varied ideas, and introduced me to all kinds of well-known doll makers in the industry, like Patti Medaris Culea, who was one of my favorites.  

Of the dolls I made, the pattern for the one above became one of my favorites.  I don't remember who I adapted the pattern from, but I used it many times and it got popular among my friends.  I sort of got sucked into making several of them because people I knew saw them and wanted to buy them from me.  I would ask color preferences and then put together a doll using whatever fabric I had that fit their request.  Before I knew it, I was spending my evenings sewing and stuffing.

I should have taken more pictures of the ones I made, but these are the only ones I can find.  I wasn't as good with the camera then as I am now, so the pictures aren't the best quality and I can't even tweak them to make them better, but at least you can see the different fabrics.  Not everyone loved the dolls - some thought the faces were creepy.  Clearly, those people didn't get one of my masterpieces. 

A guy I knew wanted me to make Crash Test Dummy dolls.  These are the two I did, and the only photos that exist of them.  I did a rush job, using black and yellow fabric paint to decorate them, and although they were very crudely sewn - with a very uneven stuffing job since he insisted on helping me make them - I still think they're kind of cute.
Every once in a while out on the road, I crave doing something crafty.  I have a sewing machine with me, I have a glue gun and Popsicle sticks from one of my past projects, and beads and wire earring posts from some other things I made.

I often think about jobs I'd like to have - working from a loft in a cool city, or living in a barn in the country - making a living from selling the things I make.  Here are ten items I'd like to attempt:

I envision natural ingredient soaps, in large chunky bars, wrapped in glassine paper and tied with rustic or colorful string.

Chèvre, Burrata, Ricotta, Gruyère, Asiago...oh, the list is so, so long.

Sterling silver, hammered metals, glass beads, unusual stones. etc.  I see the magazines in Barnes and Noble all the time and dream about starting the minute I get back to the truck.  Never happens.

Just bread.  Not a bakery with all kinds of bakes items, only bread.  The desire for this becomes stronger when I'm in a place like Beyond Bread or a local bakery and the smell of it baking makes its way to my nose.

Knitted  or Crocheted pieces
I don't know that I'd want to wear these pieces myself, because I'm always hot and don't see the need for a sweater-like item, but I have seen some really awesome pieces that I would love to create or expand on.  When I was in Montréal with Marlaina, out and about on our spa day, we went to a store called Myco Anna.  They had hats and scarves and gloves that were a creative mix of knits and fabric.  I loved them.

Stuffed animals and toys
There are so many really great stuffed items, mostly for kids, but also for adults that are unique and fabulous.  I see them in boutiques or unique shops in small towns and always say to myself, "I have to make something like that."  Some people just have incredible imaginations.

Up-cycled clothing using items you already own, or items found in thrift stores
This comes from a place of wanting something unusual.  No matter where you shop, there's always the chance someone else will be wearing what you are.  My grandmother used to say "you see yourself coming and going" when girls all shopped in the same store, buying the same stuff.  Of course we have online shopping now, which takes some of that away, but I've seen a few movies where the characters in them made a clothing item from other clothing items, creating something you'll never find anywhere else.

Along the lines of the ones in these pictures, meaning cloth, but more like these creative examples.

I actually looked into this about eighteen years ago.  My friend and I did a lot of research and I gathered a lot of information on pillow making.  It seemed to be an easy endeavor and after seeing pillows in stores that costs hundreds of dollars, I was sure it was going to make me rich.  I did not get rich from pillows.  Damn my doubts!

Gourmet foods.  Jellies, candies, breadsticks, chutneys, olive oils, spice rubs, etc.  Anything and everything to enhance a food experience.

How on earth am I going to fit everything into one life??

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2013: A Surprise In The Park
2012: A Little Red Water Never Killed Anyone
2011: Instantly Sexy
2010: Natural Light In Waterloo
2009: So, What Brings You To My Neck Of The Blogospher?
2008: Eternity Is Going To Be SO. MUCH. FUN.
2007: I’ve Been Everywhere Sunday
2006: That Eddie Guy
2005: Pee Bum Head


Belledog said...

I LOVE that you made crash test dummy dolls.

It does not surprise me one iota.

How perfect is that? Now you need one to prop in the passenger seat when one of you is sleeping.

If I hear that you have a centrifuge on the truck and are performing medical research in your spare time, I am going to say "Eh. That is how Salena rolls."

Must admit I did not care so much for the dolls with the lips, but you had me at crash test dummies. (mmm mmm mmm mmm)

PS: FWIW: I want goats. They're appealing. We should talk, re soaps and cheese. In our fantasy lives.

The Daily Rant said...

BELLEDOG: I like the crash test dummies too - even better than the flower dolls, I think. They're unique.

As for the medical research - well, I am pretty savvy, and I have the room in here for few bunsen burners and a rack of test tubes. LOL

I like the goat idea too - for the soap and cheese aspect - but the ones I've met (a friend used to have some) have spelled repulsive. And god forbid you touch them - the smell stays on you for days. Vomit.

Belledog said...

Odorific and can't spell either. What a combo. Too much like the co-driver from hell.

I shall have to check out that aspect of goat-owning. Maybe they have hybrid breeds now.

There's got to be a reason goats and raccoons are not housepets, despite their winsomeness. What could it be, what could it be? ....

Decorina said...

Denver just approved the keeping of pygmy goats. They smell terrible, but they sure are cute.

Salena, check out this lady's website for some cool crafts: http://www.amazon.com/Bad-Influence-October-2013-Dead/dp/1490458379/ref=la_B00HGEYNWE_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1405534566&sr=1-1

This is the Amazon site for one of her books. Her own website is Ten two studios. A couple of years ago she had breast cancer and dropped some of her sites, but the best remain.

I like the dolls, but love me the crash test dolls.