Monday, 15 January 2018

Heart Doll Comforter

Hi Everyone
Happy New Year!

My new year has started well with a De Witte Engel soft toy show on Hochanda TV with Leonie...

The dolls we had on the show proved very popular too, including this little heart doll...

Made with 100% pure woollen stuffing and beautifully soft flannel this little doll comes in three colourways and is so easy to make. There are instructions in the kit (drawings and written) for how to make the doll and it also tells how, if I mother keeps the doll near her skin (eg overnight), the doll will take on her odour making it even more of a comforter for her baby. The finished doll can be machine washed at 30º on a wool wash or hand washed and then left to dry face up to avoid any watermarks appearing on the face.

You can embroider the doll how you wish eg with a baby's name or hearts etc, but if you'd like to embroider flowers you could do them like this...

1. Attach the embroidery thread to the flannel where you want to create your flower centre. To do this you can just make a couple of tiny stitches or tie a small knot.

2. To make the first French Knot wrap the thread 3 times around the needle.

3. Take the needle back down through the thread-securing knot and up where you want to position the second French Knot. Pull the thread tight to create the first knot.

4. Wrap the thread around the needle three times and go back down beside where you came up and out again where you want the third French Knot (making a triangle of knots).

5. Wrap the thread three times around the needle one last time and again take the needle back down right beside where you came up. This time bring the needle up at the base of where you want your first petal eg. a few millimetres from the first knot.

6. Trim the ends of any threads sticking up in the first knot, leaving you with three neat French Knots.

7. Decide on the length you want your petal to be. Take the needle down beside where you came up and up where you want the tip of your petal to be.

8. Pull the thread, leaving a loose loop. Take the needle  back down beside where you came up, making sure that you have trapped the top of the loop by passing the thread over the top of it. Bring the needle out at the base of the second petal beside another French Knot.

9. Repeat Step 7 to create the next petal.

10. Repeat Step 8 bringing the needle out beside the last French Knot.

11. Repeat Steps 7 and 8 to create a third petal, this time bringing the needle up on the opposite site of the French Knots halfway between the other two petals.

12. Create another petal and bring the needle up between two other petals.

13. Create another two petals so that you end up with a total of six petals (three petals in between the first three).

14. When finishing the last petal bring the needle up close to where your thread comes out, to lock the petal in place.

15. Pass the needle through the loop created by the thread before pulling the thread tight to secure it.

16. Take the needle down through the doll and out through the back, cutting the excess so the end is hidden inside the doll.

I embroidered three flowers on this little heart doll but you can repeat the steps as many times as you like to create as many flowers as you want. 

nb. If embroidering more than one flower you can 'daisy-chain' them by bringing the thread up in the centre of the second flower when locking the last petal of the first flower in place instead of tying off the thread and trimming the excess.

I think this little doll kit would make a fabulous present for a expectant mum or new baby or how about giving a kit to both 'soon-to-be' Grannies with the request that they return the finished dolls on the due date as a way of announcing the happy event. One thing I would highly recommend is that if you do decide to make one that you go for two instead as, speaking from bitter experience, if the little one gets attached to the doll and won't sleep without it it can be a nightmare so it's wise to have a backup in case the first doll gets lost or needs to be washed!

Happy sewing! :)

Friday, 8 December 2017

Dreaming of a Wight Christmas...

Hi Everyone

Efco Pappart can be decorated in a variety of ways, whether it be with paints, decoupage papers and mediums or pastes.

It's been simply ages since I got my Jo Sonja paints and brushes out so I couldn't resist having a play with this little fellow to see if I could remember what I learnt about dry brushing all those years ago...

Materials used:

Efco Pappart Figurine Christmas Wight

Jo Sonja Acrylics: 
Galaxy Blue Background Colour
Carbon Black
Nimbus Grey
Warm White
Skin Tone Base
Pine Green
Yellow Green
Napthol Crimson
Napthol Red Light
Jo Sonja All Purpose Sealer

Jo Sonja Brushes:
½ Sure Touch 1315 Possibilities Brush
¼ Sure Touch 1315 Possibilities Brush
2 Sure Touch 2010 Oval Dry Brush

Flat brush for basecoating
Mixing Palette (I use old individual coffee filter lids)
Palette Paper sheet (or you could use deli paper)

1. Mix All Purpose Sealer with Galaxy Blue Background Colour 1:1.

2. Paint the Pappart Christmas Wight figurine with the mix, making sure no Pappart brown shows through. Leave to dry.

3. Mix a touch of the Galaxy Blue Background Colour in with some Carbon Black on the palette paper.

4. Use the ¼ brush to dry brush the boots. 

5. Mix a little more of the Background Colour in and dry brush the boots again, this time painting a smaller area and not covering the whole boot. Focus on the areas you want to highlight such as the tops of the boots and the heels.

6. Mix a touch of the Background Colour in with some Napthol Crimson.

7. Use the ½ brush to dry brush the body of the Wight with the mix, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies.

8. Add some Napthol Red Light to the mix and use the ¼ brush to dry brush over the red, focusing on the areas you want to highlight to give more depth.

9. Mix some Nimbus Grey with a touch of Carbon Black and Background Colour. Use this to dry brush the Wight's beard with the ¼ brush. Then add some Warm White to the mix and dry brush the highlights of the beard.

10. Mix a touch of Background Colour and a touch of Naphol Red Light in with some Skin Tone Base and use the oval dry brush to colour the nose. Add a touch more Skin Tone Base and add a little highlight on the end of the nose across the top.

11. Mix a touch of Background Colour in with some Pine Green. Dry brush the Christmas tree with the ¼ brush. Use the oval dry brush if needed to get into all the nooks and crannies. Add some Yellow Green to the mix and dry brush highlights on the top and edges of the tree tiers with the oval dry brush.

12. Add a touch more Warm White to the beard highlight mix and use the ¼ brush to stipple a furry edge around the bottom of the trousers and sleeve cuffs.

13. Add a touch of Background Colour to some Napthol Crimson and use it to dry brush the hat. Add some Napthol Red Light to the mix and dry brush highlights where you think the light would catch the hat i.e. on the tip of the hat, across the top of the bumps and around the bottom edge.

14. Use more of the mix from Step 12 to stipple a furry edge to the hat.

15. Use the same mix to add a hint of a shine to the tips of the boots with the oval dry brush. Leave to dry.

If you want you can apply a couple of coats of Matt Varnish to protect your Wight or leave him 'au naturel'!

For a downloadable version of this project go to

Happy Christmas to one and all!

Monday, 27 November 2017

Efcolor Enamelling for Beginners

Hi Everyone

I thought I had done a post on enamelling for beginners all about the basics and the 'dos and don'ts' but I've just realised that I never did, so here goes...

The most common mistake crafters make when first starting to enamel is to not put enough Efcolor powder on their blanks.

This is not a problem as all you need to do is cover your blank with another layer of Efcolor and reheat it.

You want to cover your blank with a thick layer of Efcolor (approx 1mm thick and as smoothly as possible). 
Top tip: You shouldn't be able to see any of the copper showing through. To make sure of it you need to look at your blank from different angles as your room lighting can make you miss a gap.

If you don't hold your Efcolor tube high enough and so have a bumpy layer of powder you will get a bumpy enamelled surface when the powder melts.

This is not a problem as you can leave it on the stove a little longer to level out or add another layer of powder and reheat it. Ideally you need to hold your Efcolor tube 10cm or more above your blank - that way you'll find it easier to get a smooth layer. (You do need to work in a draft free environment as otherwise you might find your powder ends up anywhere but on your blank!)

If you cover your blank with an even thick layer of Efcolor you should end up with a super smooth glossy finish...

To heat your blanks you can use the Efcolor Tealight Stove which I think is by far the best way to fire the enamel. With just three tea lights the top of the stove reaches 150ºC, the perfect temperature for firing Efcolor powders. By using the stove you have more control in as far as you can see your blank more easily (and so know when it's time to remove it from the heat) and you can also work on your blank whilst it is still being heated e.g. swirling the enamel. 

Alternatively, you can use a conventional kitchen oven (not fan as you don't want to enamel the inside of your oven!). When using an oven, if possible, it is best to set the heat to come from below as Efcolor prefers that. If it gets too hot, especially too much heat from above, the enamel can pull or roll back from the edges of your blank or end up looking like the surface of the moon.

This can be a great effect but might not necessary be what you were aiming for or intended.

When new to enamelling it's wise to place your blanks on a U-strip on the firing plate as you will find it easier placing your powdered blanks on the stove and lifting your hot enamelled blanks off again.

If you want to enamel both sides of your blank I would always advise that you enamel the back first. This is because when you enamel the second side you must place your blank on a stand. 

If you don't use a stand, when the blank heats up, the first side re-melts and becomes tacky, sticking to whatever it touches. 

The reason for enamelling the back first is so that, if you don't position your blank perfectly on the stand, it doesn't matter if one or more of the edges gets a teeny tiny nick in it - it's on the back so no-one will notice!

Don't forget to leave your blanks on the stand to cool too or else they will stick to your spatula. If you're doing more than one layer on the front e.g. adding more colours, stencilling or rubber stamping a design, you must remember to re-place the blank on the stand to re-heat it...

...and leave it there to cool.

I think that just about covers the basics. For more Efcolor inspiration check out the enamelling section on the website. If anyone has any questions on enamelling with Efcolor please do leave a comment below or contact me either through the Projects 4 Crafters website or the Facebook page.

Happy Crafting everyone!

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Red Glitter Enamelled Heart

Hi Everyone,

I've been having fun playing with Efcolor enamelling again...

Materials needed:
Copper Heart Pendant 27 x 27 mm (9919461)
Efcolor Stove (9371706)
Dark Red Efcolor Powder (9370029)
White Efcolor Powder (9370001)
Silver Glitter Efcolor Powder (9370391)
Transparent Red Efcolor Powder (9370128)
Silver-lined Dark Red Indian Beads ø2.2mm (1025429)
Flat Nosed Pliers (1802407)
Wire Cutters (1802405)
Copper Tiger Tail Beading Wire
Copper Jump Ring
Copper Clasp
(Efco Product Codes in brackets)

1. Lightly sand the copper heart and then cover it with a layer of dark red Efcolor powder. Place the blank on the stove until the powder has melted creating a smooth glossy enamelled surface.

2. When cool, cover the top edges with white Efcolor, fading out as you move down the heart.

3. Before reheating the blank, cover the white Efcolor with a little silver glitter Efcolor, again focusing most across the top of the heart allowing it to thin out towards the bottom.

4. Place the blank back on the tealight stove until the powder has melted leaving you with a concentration of silver glitter at the top with hints of white fading out towards dark red at the bottom.

5. When cool, cover the blank with a thin layer of transparent red Efcolor and replace on the stove to melt the powder.

6. Take two lengths of beading wire and thread them with the dark red Indian beads. Attach the clasp at the ends and use a jump ring to attach the pendant when cool.

I've also been playing with combining embossing crystals and powders with Efcolor too...

This heart has been enamelled with dark red Efcolor, then silver glitter Efcolor, then transparent red Efcolor. Finally a little Goldstone Wonder Embossing Crystals were added across the top of the heart.

I enamelled this donut with olive green Efcolor before adding some Red Aventurine Wonder Embossing Crystals around the inner edge.


I basecoated this pendant with ivory Efcolor before adding a some Arctic Lake Cosmic Shimmer Ultra Thick Embossing Powder with a little Lapis Pearl Lustre Cosmic Shimmer Embossing Powder around the edges.

Last but not least this pendant was enamelled with black Efcolor first before adding some Tropic Moss Blaze Cosmic Shimmer across the bottom, fading out to a few sprinkles higher up. It also has a light sprinkle of WOW! Metallic Gold Rich Ultra High Embossing Powder.

So as you can see you can combine various Efcolor powders and also Embossing powders to create some wonderful effects! :)

Happy Crafting Everyone!