Another completed Alabama Chanin style piece (and a sneak peek of what’s in progress now.)

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I finished this a few weeks ago but couldn’t post about it until I’d presented it to the recipient, so first I’ll ramble a bit about the other pieces that I’ve begun since and will be posting about:

Yesterday I traced out and drafted a little bodysuit pattern for Mini in her current size.  It has spaghetti strap shoulders for the upcoming hot weather, the usual onesie shape, and an optional overskirt.  It was based off a sleeveless bodysuit that I really like but without a ruffle flutter sleeve, and then I added the overskirt from another dress waiting in her closet.   I began a 12-18m size too, but then I thought I better test the smaller pattern first.  If it looks good then I might do another pattern adding to the chest area and giving it long raglan sleeves?  With the overskirt it takes a very large T-shirt to fit all the pieces, so I couldn’t use the first pretty colour I hoped to… or the next seven.  Oops.  Finally I found a large enough shirt in a colour that made me happy and cut out all the pieces.

 

 

Before that I’d been sewing a little every day to make a Mini sized test version of my wrap dress.  I wish so badly that I could already dress in all the things I plan to make.  If only I could!  There are long, elaborate, and flattering A.C. dresses and skirts; full linen skirts topped by slim singlets or flowing tunics; cloak-coats; layers of harem pants or skirts with draping hems of wrap tunics and scarves; long wrap dresses…  I want to dress like this and feel comfortable, but alas it would take ages to complete (especially any elaborate and long A.C. clothes!)  Instead I can make a piece or two for Mini each month.  Eventually I hope to make a few of my wrap dresses in knit, but I need to test the pattern first to make sure it doesn’t need to be altered for the difference in fabric type.  Making a little dress is so much faster, less a waste of material, and as a lonely bonus leaves a nice dress for Mini to wear!  Wonderful!

For several days now that little dress has been entirely done… except that I still need to fell one long seam.  It is ridiculously close, but I’ve chosen to begin other things when I had a little time for sewing.  Today or tomorrow I’ll complete it.  I’m very pleased with the way it turned out, but it is probably too large for her to wear yet?  Oh, and I used the leftovers of a T-shirt from the project I’m supposed to be writing about now.  I only purchased pink for that reason, but I actually like it now and may look out for more.

 

 

 

On to what I meant to post about: One of the first things that I thought to make when I was getting the hang of A.C. techniques was a little gift for a friend who owns our favourite local pub.  She encourages the arts and has a lot of cool artwork displayed and decorating the place, and I’ve never had anything that I could contribute until I thought of making a tapestry piece.  Perhaps I could have been more imaginative, but I simply copied the bar logo and carefully made stencils from it.  (I just cut bits out of the paper with an Xacto knife and trace with Sharpies.)

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I went to the thrift store to find the right colours in men’s t-shirts, and it was lucky there were any left at all in greens unfortunately, because it was at Saint Patrick’s.  Oops.  I did find two in about the right shade though.  I only needed a tiny piece of pink for the nose, so I had plenty for that little dress.  There is a bunch of mustard yellow to use too, so I had better begin to like it better heh!

A bigger stencil would have been far better for all the detail and stitching, but I couldn’t enlarge it any more on one piece of paper.   T size of the t-shirts also limited the dimensions of the square besides.  I started by determining that base size on the white and black under layers, basting at the eventual cutting point, and basting around the area to stitch.  Then I used a silver Sharpie to trace out the words before stitching them.  The logo has a little green around the letters, so I used green thread, but you can barely tell it isn’t black.  I decided to embrace the knottiness throughout the piece (except in a few details later.)  At first I was going to have a white background like the actual logo, but I didn’t like how that would look with fabric or to think it may eventually turn dingy.

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Then I cut the green layers and appliquéd them.  The yellow layer was next, but I decided to unpick the green a little to allow placement behind rather than over as I’d first planned to.  I switched to black thread to mimic the logo.

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Then it was time to cut away and reveal the white!  I traced out the teeth with chalk, but it didn’t wash away even after a few rounds.  Shoot!  I had to leave off the knots in the teeth and select other portions of the backstitched details to keep it from looking like a mess.

 

 

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Getting there!  Time to make circles…

 

 

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… and to finish with a blanket stitch and DONE!  It took forever and a day (late March until June!)

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Clip Clop the Wonder Horse is done!

Well, almost done.  I’d like to clear coat it after it dries and cures for a while.  Mode Podge seems like an excellent thing for the job, but I only have matte and semi-matte but figure this horse should stay shiny?

Today I wanted to work on it, but I still hadn’t settled on a plan.  I thought I’d start by using the paints that I have on hand and see how things went.  Obviously I made a decision or two, and it is done.  Gold isn’t really a tone I’m fond of, but my husband is even less keen on it.  It is classic though, and suddenly Clip Clop has been gilded!

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The handles needed a coat or two of something dark, and the eyes needed some life.  The other aim today was to add depth to the tail and mane.  By now I thought that the horse already looked splendid and wasn’t entirely sold on messing with it, but wouldn’t the hair look more alive with some shadows defining the moulded strands?  I had to just add a little of the dark iron paint in there…

 

Then I toyed with the dark and light silver metallics on the the saddle.  Impulsively squeezed out a bit of bright golden paint, dipped a brush into it, and painted the blanket stars.  Well, didn’t it need a bit more gold then?  I hesitated and pondered for a while not wanting to ruin what I liked.  Finally I went ahead and committed to a gilded saddle and bridle.  I didn’t start it timidly with a dull polish or anything.  No, it was to be a fully golden saddle for my little girl!

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It is actually a very true and less dull gold in real life.  I guess I need to change some settings on my camera to capture it, and my phone had trouble with the shine which led me to use the camera.  It seems I missed photographing the golden horseshoes, but Clip Clop has those now too!

I can tell you that she loves it.  Already she seems to know that this is her horsey and where to find it.  Although I’ve moved it a few times to different rooms for various reasons she has set off each morning on a rapid crawl directly to her horse.  Then she uses it to stand, slaps and bounces a bit, and smiles back at me.  I’ve lifted her into the saddle, and she surprised me by balancing without trouble and makes it bounce by whipping her torso ahead.  Obviously I’m there with hands waiting to catch her, and I don’t(didn’t) plan for this toy to be used for a while.  Anyway, I suspect she likes shiny things?  And Springs!

I can’t believe the difference Before and after:

During (and really good enough looking) vs done:

Details:

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In progress: painting a vintage Wonder Horse (Bouncing rocking horse)

Well, that was fast.

After posting this morning I managed to do some chores and spend time spraying the horse.  I started with medium grey (metallic) over the primer covering everything as a base.  Then I used the darkest grey (metallic) focussing on the muzzle, underbelly,  hind quarters and lower legs.  Finally I sprayed pearly white using cardboard scraps to mask the areas I wanted left dark.  Holes were cut to stay the dapples.

The dark layer went well and so did the white initially.  I was really happy with the dapples and look.  Then I thought “I’ll just add a little more…”

Shoot.  I did not take photos at the point, but just as well probably since it would only remind me.  I wasn’t pleased by the time I sprayed a little more.  Meanwhile my little one was getting sick of her play-pen inside, so I rushed on, took breaks, and rushed through.  I believe I’d have had different outcome if able to focus the way that I used to.  😉  Anyway, I left it to dry all afternoon and was somewhat more pleased when I saw it again.  Yes, the dapples were all but lost, but it still looks good if you didn’t know my original vision for it.  The white paint has turned into a very silver metallic that blends too much with the other two shades, and that is part of the dapple problem.  Again, it is pretty enough if you don’t know the intended look.  It seems that a rather aged and then polished iron kind of  style won out despite my plans!

During the afternoon I dug around the mess of our attic (my fault!) to find the little bottles of paint from the Borg Queen costume after not finding them in the basement paint storage area or in the sewing room.  They were in the attic, and I did find them eventually, and that is a win given a poor streak of luck I had the past few days.  (I wouldn’t have purchased more, because I already did that for the last Borg Queen when I couldn’t find the original paints!)  So next I’ll either enhance the details on the mane, tail, and tack with these paints and tiny brushes or I’ll detach the stand and spray that.  Tomorrow we’ll have some rain before clear weather again, so that and life may delay this.

Ideally I’d maybe like some blues or other colours in the saddle, but I have only copper, silver, black (spray,) and gold to work with.  Unless the project is delayed and I suddenly go shopping then those are all I’ll be using.  It already looks pretty nice as is and could certainly stay without any additional work.  Perhaps, but I don’t think I can leave well enough alone.  That would be too easy!  I still might mask off the horse fur area after today’s paint is cured and spray the saddle a flat black first?  I don’t know.

Here it is with the dark layer:

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and white:

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Dried later on and in different lighting:

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Closer:

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See how metallic silver it appears rather than pearlescent grey and white?  Notice that the neck area no longer shows the dappled paint I’d done?  Oh well, I suppose…

Let’s not forget before:

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In Progress: Reviving an ugly old “Wonder Horse” bouncing rocking horse

I’ve been working on many projects at once lately, and always the choice is between writing or making some progress (that and the treadmill of my normal chores.)  Tonight I could write about a few different things, but I’d like to take a break from sewing and feel inspired by a painting project that is only in the beginning stages.

When I was a child there was a toy that brought me hours of screeching glee.  Memories of playing with it stick out through the vague mists of about 30 years, and I decided months ago that my daughter simply had to have a springy-bouncy-horse like mine.  Marketed as “Clip Clop the Wonder Horse” in the mid ’80s I was a lucky kid to own this newest version of plastic horse (now with sound effects!) suspended by springs from a metal frame to bounce on merrily like other fortunate children since mid-century.  Mine was named Clippity Clop, and I loved him.

It seems Radioflyer still makes a similar Wonder Horse, but I wanted a fixer upper.  (Shocking, I know!)  After all, the ’80s or ’70s orange and browns of these horses is just not appealing to my design sense, and the new ones look about the same.  For a while I’d check out Craigslist whenever I remembered to but none of the listings grabbed me until a few weeks ago when there was a Wonder Horse from the ’70s offered at the lowest price I’d ever seen and decently nearby.  (When we moved here it was farther away from all the wonderful listings to be found on Long Island to a less popular and overpriced CL region.  sigh.)

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The model isn’t the same obviously, but sound certainly isn’t required.  I thought surely Clip Clop was bigger, because I was surprised at how small this horse was when I picked it up, but as a little kid everything seems bigger.  Googling shows that they measure the same.  The downside of the horse I’ve picked up is that it doesn’t have the stepping rail to get and off that mine had.  Perhaps I can add something for that?

I did some reading on painting plastic but ended up grabbing all-purpose spray paint from Home Depot instead of hunting down Krylon.  In the store I was undecided and selected a variety of paints to play with or return once I figured out what colours and effects to use.  Some ideas ran through my head.  First being to use chalk paint or a super matte in greys and whites (typical, I know.) My next thought while looking at a wall of spray paint options was to maybe dive into colour with a little soft sea foam or purple or something (woah!) accenting a pearly white horse.  There was a great selection of metallics, and I always have found hammered finish very forgiving so that was another direction…  Either hammered or a smooth aged iron kind of look blackened in the crevasses.  I still like that idea a lot.  A can of silver glitter paint made me consider that my little girl may think a glittery horse is fantastic, but I couldn’t make the leap.  Lastly is a dappled grey and white horse reserving the metallic for tack.  This is the plan right now; dapple grey and white with darker legs etc and salt and pepper tail/mane.  Honestly I’m a little tempted to do glitter after all, but I don’t have that paint now.  😀  Let’s see how things go when I get spraying…

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First I had to clean the horse, then sand, and prime everything.  Last week I did this.  I scoured the stand too and probably will try some paint on that also but done thinly and using dark metallic just to freshen it up.  The springs polished up nicely to look brushed and silvery.  The horse itself is full of imperfections in the casting.  I cut off some of the worst seams, but I’m not about to fill all the voids and air bubbles so had to quit worrying about it.  The original paint was peeling a bit, besides being a hideous colour choice, and it was very sloppily done.  I’ll have to try to emulate that vagueness to a degree since the detail of the plastic is so rough.  Anyway, I sanded it well and washed it all down before masking the frame and carefully priming on a warm and dry day.  The primer instructs to wait 5-7 days before painting if the object is plastic, so I have been patient.  She isn’t going to use this thing anytime soon anyway, and so I’ll be going slowly and letting layers cure well between work although I’d like to just have it out of the way soon.

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With the primer it already looks pretty good!  Almost good enough to be done, heh.

Today I’ll test out the first base layer in either pearly white or shimmering grey.  If it enhances every flaw and looks horrendous then I’ll reconsider glitter or something else.