Saturday, March 31, 2012


"The March wind roars
Like a lion in the sky,
And makes us shiver
As it passes by.
When winds are soft,
And the days are warm and clear,
Just like a gentle lamb,
 We know spring is here."
                                                 Author Unknown

You will need: copy of printie on bright white paper  +  water color pencils to match the two colors of the lion and black for the lamb  +  Fimo: white for lamb & yellow, orange, caramel for the lion  +  1/8” thick stripwood  +  sheet glass or ceramic tile of a size to fit in your toaster over  +  toaster oven (it is a good idea to have one that is dedicated to Fimo use…a simple, small model can be had quite inexpensively)  + acrylic craft paints in colors to match the lion’s mane, the lion’s body, the lamb’s body and black, green or your choice of colors for the bases  +  very thin wire for lion’s tail (use printie for a guide to thickness and length)  +  small, round, metallic gold bead in a size to match up with the bell hanging from the lamb’s neck  +  stripwood ¼” x 3/32” for bases  +  a 3/16” and a 1/16” round paper punch  +  scraps of matboard  +  straight pins  +  brass/gold or silver colored ¼” long bugle beads  +  buttonhole thread  +  seed beads  +  wire cutters  +  safety glasses

Click on image to enlarge.  Click to copy and save to your computer
Set to print at exact/actual size or 6.40"w x 2.47"j
Print onto bright white paper at best settings

Make copies of mirror images of lion & lamb.  Carefully cut the images out.  Use damp watercolor pencils to carefully color match the very edges of the cutouts.

LION: Using Fimo, make a mixture of mostly yellow with approx. ¼ that amount of orange and 1/8 that of caramel to match as closely as possible the color of the lion’s body.  Knead the Fimo until it is soft and pliable.  Place it on a piece of glass or ceramic tile.  Place a strip of 1/8” stripwood on either side of the Fimo…these will act as a guide to make your Fimo 1/8” thick.  Using a small rolling pen or something similar, with its edges resting on the stripwood, roll over the Fimo, in one direction, until it is smooth & the same thickness (1/8”) as the wood.  Carefully lift the Fimo from the glass and then lay it back down on the glass again.

Glue one of the Lion cut-outs smoothly to the surface of the Fimo.  Using a sharp knife blade roughly cut out the lion shape from the Fimo.  Using the knife and other tools of your choice, refine the shape.  Make sure to keep the cuts perpendicular to the glass.  Carefully lift the Lion from the glass and turn it over.  Glue 2nd lion cut-out to this side of the Fimo, lining it up as closely as possible.  Make adjustments to the Fimo as needed for a good alignment and matching sides.  Using a whole lion printie as a guide, make a hole in the rear of the body to take a wire tail.  With the piece still on the glass bake it in a toaster over set to about 250 degrees for approx. 8 minutes.  Let it cool.  At this point you can make any refinements necessary to the Fimo.
Paint the area of the Fimo around the mane in a color to match the mane. 
Cut out the dark tips of the tail from the printies.  Glue them, back to back over the end of the wire tail.  Paint the rest of the tail to match the lion color. Shape tail to match the printie and insert it into rear of lion with glue. 
LAMB:  Proceed as for Lion using white Fimo.  After the Lamb is cool you may choose to leave the Fimo white or add a tiny dot of light pink to white acrylic to match the actual “white” of the lamb.  Use this to paint over the white Fimo on the matching areas of the cut-out.  Paint the edges of the legs black.  Paint black across the top and bottom of the ear to match the two sides of the ears.  Glue a tiny round metallic gold bead under the lamb’s neck, centered side to side.

BASES:  From ¼” x 3/32” stripwood cut out bases to lengths desired….3/4” long is a good size.  Paint as desired.  For each pull toy make two wheel assemblies.  Each assembly consists of two, 3/16” punched rounds of matboard for wheels; two 1/16” rounds punched from computer paper for hubs; a straight pin and bugle bead for axle.  Poke or drill a hole thru center of the two wheels, large enough to take a straight pin snugly.

Glue the wheel assemblies to the underside of the base, set in about 1/8” from each end. Put on safety glasses (the cut pieces can fly across a room and you don’t want ending up with one in your eye) and then cut the head off of a straight pin.  Insert it into the hole in the wheel so one end is flush with the outside of the wheel.  Blue a hub over the hole on the outside of the wheel. Add a tiny dot of Krazy glue where the pin touches the wheel on the inside.  Insert a bugle bead on the straight pin  and then push the end of the straight pin into a 2nd  wheel and push it in until the whole wheel assembly is approx.. 3.8” across…put the safety glasses back on and nip off the excess pin.  Glue a hub on the outside of this wheel.  Make two of these assemblies for each toy.  

Make a knot in one end of the buttonhole thread.  Wipe a tad of glue on it and cut off any excess thread on one side of the knot.  Insert a seed bead onto the thread, snugging it up to the knot and tie another knot right next to the other side of the bead.  Decide on the length you want you pull cord to be and make a knot at this point.  Add a tad of glue to the knot to hold and cut off excess thread beyond it.  Glue this knot, centered on the front edge of the base.  

There you have it, the perfect toys to celebrate the end of Winter and the start of Spring.  Of course this year in my part of the world, the Pacific Northwest of the USA, the "lamb" has not shown up yet...wind and rain greet still greet us everyday and it is still snowing in the  mountains.  I hope things warm up her soon as I want to get a start on a herb garden planted in a pocket-shoe bag, as seen on ...a great idea!.  If you haven't been to this site, take a is full of ever-changing, interesting things for just about all tastes...crafts, recipes, pithy sayings, home decor, etc., etc., etc..  Be forewarned, it is very addicted.

See you soon....   Joann


Sunday, March 25, 2012


I saw you toss the kites on high
And blow the birds around the sky;
And all around I heard you pass
Like ladies skirts across the grass-
O wind, a-blowing all day long.
O wind that sings so lond a sound!

-from The Wind by Robert Louis Stevenson


Set to print a actual/exact size or 7.13"w x 3..89"h
Print onto matte presintation paper
You will need:  2 copies of pattern/diagram  +  thin slivers of bamboo, a scant 1/16” wide x approx.. 1/32” thick (pieces may be sanded or scraped to desired thickness).  Bamboo is used here because of its flexibility and strength.  You may cut the slivers from bamboo skewers or pieces from bamboo place mats or Asian designed calendars.  These may be found fairly inexpensively in import shops, $ stores and quite often in 2nd hand stores   + Tacky glue  +  cyanoacrylate glue (Crazy/Super etc.)  +  cotton sewing thread  +  color copies of kite designs  +  ¼” round paper punch  +  buttonhole thread  +  round toothpick  +  asst. colors of 1/8” silk ribbon (Note: To add to your colors of ribbon you can use permanent marker pens to dye them) 
Using an uncut pattern as a guide, cut the spar (wooden cross piece) and the spine (wooden lengthwise piece) pieces of bamboo using the pattern as a guide for lengths.  Using pattern as a guide mark their centers and glue one over the other with Crafters Pick Incredibly Tacky glue and a tiny dot of cyanoacrylate glue, making sure they are squared-up to each other.  When glue has set tie a piece sewing thread around joint to secure; add a dab of tacky glue to knot to hold and cut off excess thread. 
Using the diagram as a guide mark the spine where it touches the bottom of the kite. Glue a end of a length of thread to the side of the spine where you have marked it; let glue set.  Put a dab of glue on the tip of a spar and bring the thread tautly up to & on it; let glue set.   Continue in this manner to the tip of the top of the spine and then to the tip of the 2nd spar and on down to the other side of the marked area on the bottom of the spine.  Make sure to keep the spar/spine at right angles to each other as you work.  You may find this part easier by taping a piece of waxed paper or clear plastic wrap over the kite diagram and then using this as a guide while gluing the framing thread in place….the glue will not stick to the covering.

Cut out the 2nd kite pattern.  Cut out a square of a kite design.  Center pattern over design, clip to hold & cut out kite. 
With pattern still clipped to kite, use a straight edge (great use for those pesky, plastic credit cards that come in the mail) and a pointed stylus to heavily score around the marked seam line on pattern, which will transfer to kite.  Remove clips and carefully crease and fold seams to inside.

 Mark with a pencil dot on the inside & outside of the kite where the spine & spar cross & for strength, glue a punched round of paper, centered over the inside mark.
Lay the stringed frame on the back side of the kite and glue the kite edges over it, holding it in place.
Optional: If you would like your kite to be a bowed style rather than a flat one, attach with knot and glue a length of string from spar tip to spar tip, gently pulling it taunt until the kite is slightly bowed. 
To bridle (the bridle is the string that is attached to the front of the kite that the flying string is attached to) the kite cut an approx. 10” length of sewing thread and tie an approx. 1/8” loop in the center of it.  The loop will be used to attach the flying line.  Tie a knot 1” away from the loop on one end of the tread and another knot 2 ¼” away from the loop on the other end of the thread..  Insert the thread that is past the knot in the 1” section onto a needle and poke it thru the marked dot on the front of the kite.  Pull the thread thru using the knot as a stop on the outside. A dab of glue may be used to hold knot in place. Tie the extending thread inside the kite around the spine joint and add a dot of glue to hold; cut off excess thread.  Glue the other knot in the brindle thread to the top of the end of the spine.  Add a dab of glue to the knot to hold and cut off excess thread.  
Use buttonhole thread for the flying line.  For the thread reel cut a ¾” length of round toothpick and round of both ends with sandpaper.  Starting with a dab of glue, wrap the thread around and around the center of the reel, holding with glue where you stop….do not cut off the thread yet.  Decide on how much flying thread you want between the reel and the kite…this will depend on how you plan on using/displaying it.  Tie the other end of the flying thread to the loop in the brindle.  Put glue on the knot to hold and cut off any excess. 
For the tail cut a length of 1/8” wide silk ribbon.  Tie a knot in one end and cut off any excess behind knot.  Glue knot over brindle knot on bottom of spine.  Cut 1” lengths of ribbon in same or contrasting color and tie around tail spacing them approx. ½” apart.
Now for fun…if you have been careful in making your kite and if the wind blows just right or if you run at just the right pace, your mini kite will fly.  Neighbors my blink a few times but what the heck, we are miniaturist!
Set to print at actual/exact size or 6.95"w x 7.71"h
Print onto bright white paper with printer set to best settings

Set to print at actual/exact size or 7.72"w x 8.54"h
Print on to bright white paper using best printer settings

Have fun with this little project to celebrate the winds of March.  Kites are an interesting additon to a toy shop or a child's room.....or how about caught up in a tree in your landscaping?
Do let me know how the project goes for you.
P.S. Beware, cats can confuse mini-kites with butterflies and your hard work could end up dangling from a very pleased, furry mouth….don’t ask how I know.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


The Shamrock is a traditional symbol of Ireland &  thought to bring good luck.  It is a three-leafed clover that can be seen, world-wide, in many forms, as a decoration to help celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  In the United States the shamrock plant shows up for sale in grocery stores and garden centers in March, to be used as house or garden plants. You may choose to use a miniature version of the shamrock plant inside or outside of a dollhouse or mini setting.  Its simplicity makes it a perfect, easy and fast, miniature project for you or for a group

You will need:  lightweight light green paper + shamrock green acrylic or water color paint + 1/8” heart paper punch  +  small or medium round stylus (or dry ball-point pen)  +  miniature clay pot-wood or terra cotta (available inexpensively in craft & miniature shops)  +  brown Fimo +  #30 green cloth covered floral wire  (Hanky Panky  e:mail  +  Incredibly Tacky glue by Crafter’s Pick  +  fine pointed tweezers +  optional: lightweight green foil or a green permanent marker pen and lightweight aluminum foil    

Use a sponge of large brush to coat both sides of the colored paper with a wash of water color or watered down acrylic paint. This process will add a slightly mottled look to the green color for more natural leaves.  Let dry and if necessary iron flat.
Use the heart punch to punch out 3 hearts for each clover…it takes quite a few.  Lay the hearts in the palm of your hand and “draw” over them from point up with the stylus causing them to cup- up a bit.  Set aside.

Fill a clay pot almost to the top with brown Fimo…do not bake. 

Cut floral wire in varied lengths, the longest to extend out of your pot approx. ¾”.  It will take at least 25 stems for a full plant.  Poke the stems firmly into the Fimo and then arrange them as desired, bending some down and over the edge of the pot.

On waxed paper make a puddle of Incredibly Tacky glue.  Pick up a prepared heart with tweezers by the fat end, dip the pointed end in glue to pick up just the tiniest of dabs.  Apply the heart to the side of the very top of a stem.  Add 2 more hearts to the stem in the same manner, spacing them fairly evenly around the stem.  For ease in applying leaves start with the lower stems and work around pot and them up.

You may choose to add a decorative foil covering to the outside of your pot, such as the type that comes from florists etc.  Green is the best color here but if you don’t have green on hand use a Green Sharpie permanent marker pen to color lightweight aluminum foil. 

I have given you a couple of printie cutouts if you would like to display them as I did with the Shamrock plant.  Simply print them onto cardstock at best printer settings and carefully cut out.  Use colored pens to touch up the cut edges for a finished look.
Copy and paste images to your computer.
Set to print at actual/exact size or 1.90"w x 1.40"h
Print onto matte presentation paper using best printer settings.

Happy St. Patrick's Day and Gook Luck with this project!