Tag Archives: Plastic Canvas

The Mad Woman in the Attic

Hello everybody! I am so glad to be back in the swing of things. I have been making good progress on the Ood shirt. I adore the look of Sticka till Barbie pattern #913, and thus far it has been smooth sailing. We will see how I feel when it is time to stitch it up, but for now I am making steady progress with it. Luckily, this isn’t what today’s post is about. Today’s post is about some of the neat things we’ve found while visiting family.

In the first installment in a series I lovingly call ‘stuff we found at grandma’s house’, I bring to you a cool cache of doll patterns. My mother is an avid crafter, and growing up she made us girls a myriad of doll clothes and accessories. During those years, she accumulated a bunch of patterns in books. For those of you who are too young to remember a time before the internet, we used to be limited to the patterns we could find in books at the local craft store or library. My mom amassed quite the collection over the years, and she still uses them to this day. Under the bed in the guest room, tucked inside a plastic container, I sorted trough various crochet, knit, and plastic canvas patterns to find all of the patterns designed for Barb- *ahem* fashion – dolls. I was not disappointed! Here are pictures of everything I found.

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The Needlecraft Shop Plastic Canvas Fashion Doll Carry & Play Craft Room

The Needlecraft Shop Plastic Canvas Fashion Doll Carry & Play Wedding Chapel

The Needlecraft Shop Plastic Canvas Fashion Doll Carry & Play Floor & Tote

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Plastic Canvas Fashion Doll Beauty Salon 3104

Plastic Canvas Fashion Doll Living Room 3085

Plastic Canvas Fashion Doll Hearts ‘n’ Flowers Bedroom 3140

Plastic Canvas Fashion Doll Country Kitchen 3083

Crochet Fashion Doll Ruffles & Ribbons Bedroom

Fashion Doll Family Room

Plastic Canvas Fashion Doll Nursery 3095

Fashion Doll Playhouse

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Plastic Canvas Fashion Doll Vanity Boxes

Crochet Collection Costume Volume 1

Fashion Doll Moments in Time Edwardian Era Garden Stroll

College & Career Fashion Doll Wardrobe

Crochet Fashion Doll Tooth Fairies

Fashion Doll Birthday Belles Vol. 1

Crochet Fashion Doll Southern Belle Trinket Boxes

Fashion Doll Birthday Belles Vol. 2

Unbelievable, non? I am so lucky to have a mom who kept these over the years. We haven’t decided exactly how we will share them, but I am confident that we’ll work something out. I am just so excited about the new possibilities these patterns open. With internet patterns, it is hit or miss on whether they are well written. You generally have much better luck with printed patterns, so I am all the more motivated to finish the Ood dolls so I can dive into some of these.

The pattern I am most excited about is the College & Career Fashion Doll Wardrobe. It has 17 patterns that cover everything from nurse to Victorian era lady. I can think of several episodes of Doctor Who that tie back into the patterns in this book, and chances are good that I will choose one of them once I finish the Ood dolls.

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I absolutely adore the details on the last doll’s blouse. It reminds me of the movie Pollyanna. I also think that the winter ensemble is lovely.

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That nurse outfit is right up my alley! I am trying to remember whether or not there was a nurse in the Empty Child episode. That episode was amazing in so many ways. I loved the costume design and the overall story. If I can find more children and teenage dolls, I may have to try my hand at making characters from that story.

I am also excited by the plastic canvas patterns. I plan on making a few Ood accessories from what is in there. It is just a matter of deciding which one is the most fitting. Ood at the beauty parlor? Ood getting married? So many delightful possibilities.

The wedding chapel would be awesome to make to go with the first episode of New Who to make me cry, Father’s Day. Call me an old softie, but it was such a touching story. If I can find a good ginger Ken to be Pete, I will have a go at it. I could make the entire wedding party! It would be extravagant and crazy and just my style. Or Donna! I’ve wanted to do Donna’s wedding since the beginning of the year. Either would make for a fun set.

I also like the larger ‘birthday belle’ dresses. I know my mom made one or two of them for my birthday in the 90’s. I keep hoping we’ll find a box with a few more dolls and they’ll pop up. I remember she did one in a peach color, and it was such a lovely dress. There is one more location where they may be hiding, so fingers crossed that I have a bit of luck finding them.

That is everything for today! I hope you enjoyed seeing these because I certainly enjoyed sharing them. It is always fun to have a blast from the past, and these are very nostalgic for me. I suppose much of Doctor Who gets me that way, too. The mix of new stories and nostalgic throw-backs has always kept me intrigued, even if it takes me a while to warm up to a new Doctor. Until next time, I hope you have a fantastic week.

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Peri’s Plants

Ever since deciding to do a Peri doll, I was hard pressed to find a fun accessory to go with her. Cofelia has her Adipose, so I had to find something similarly iconic for Peri. My biggest problem was finding something that is not a piece of clothing. Nothing really stood out, even after watching a few episodes, so I decided to look at her entry on the Doctor Who Wiki to see if that would spark anything. Thankfully it did! I read that she was an American botany student. Botany is all about the study of plants, so I decided to make a few plants to go along with the Peri doll.

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To create the plants, I searched Pinterest for plastic canvas plant patterns. I am not keen on buying fake plastic plants from craft stores because I am going for a different aesthetic. I like to think of fake plants as being in the uncanny valley of plants – they look kinda real but not quite, so it makes me uneasy. I briefly considered using something dried, but it would be much too fragile for a child to play with. A big part of Barbie Who? is to create something that my daughter can play with, and I do my best to keep that goal present when creating items. Another aspect I considered when looking for plant options was how I wanted to make something myself. After searching Pinterest for inspiration, I was lucky enough to find some plant patterns in plastic canvas. It took several hours of searching to find the free patterns I used to create these plants. The website that hosts the scanned pages is not in English (Spanish or Portuguese, maybe?), and that made it a challenge to search through their blog posts. Luckily, the scanned pages are in English, so I was able to make them with little trouble. The first pattern I created is a cactus in a round planter.

This pattern comes from the Labores de Esther todo para Barbie blog. This blogger has posted many awesome vintage patterns, including this one for a condo and snowmobile set you can create in 7 count plastic canvas. One part of this set is a plastic canvas cactus. I used the pictures template to create my cactus, but I ad-libbed the flowers. When drawing the outline of the cactus on the plastic canvas, I tried a new tip that I read about on Pinterest. I used a dry erase marker to trace the outline on the plastic before I did any actual cutting. It worked great! I didn’t make any cutting mistakes for either side of the cactus. I remember making mistakes when I was cutting things out of plastic canvas as a child, and I wish I had known this trick back then. I did have to run the canvas under running water to get all of the marker off afterwards (a wet cloth didn’t get the bits in the holes), but it was a small price to pay for the perfect cut. Little things like this are why I love Pinterest.

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Once they were cut out, I used some leftover worsted weight yarn to fill it in. The green yarn was some wool that I purchased at a thrift store. I used about half of what I had bought on a baby hat, and the rest was in my remnant yarn bag. I felt a bit weird using wool for a plastic canvas project, but the only other shade of green I had available was a bright, neon color that would look rather unnatural for a cactus. They’re desert plants, and in my mind they are a darker shade of green. In the end, using the green wool worked out very well on all counts. I added a few pink flowers at the end before whip stitching the two sides together. When I finished, I asked my husband how it looked. He just looked at me like I was crazy and said it looked okay for a weird cactus thing. It was recognizable, so I took that as a win and started on its planter.

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I created my own design for the planter. I used the same dimensions as the one pictured on the original pattern, but I created my own pattern for the outside of it using Microsoft Excel. I just used simple shapes to create stitches of different lengths, and I played around with it until I found something I liked. I decided that using the colors of the TARDIS would be the most appropriate thing for this planter, and I tried to make a pattern vaguely reminiscent of a police box. This is what my finished pattern looked like in Excel.

Circular Planter

From there, I just stitched it onto the plastic canvas. It stitched very quickly; the planter only took a few hours to finish. After finishing the design, I whip stitched the sides together to create the round shape. For the bottom, I used a piece of circular plastic canvas I bought at the hobby shop. I cut it down to the proper length, put a few dummy stitches around the edge to keep it evenly spaced, and stitched everything together. It is a bit hard to see the black stripe in the finished planter, but I don’t mind that too much. It is the price you pay when you work with rich colors. Overall, I am very happy with how the design turned out! It fits the cactus very well.

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The second and third plants come from the same blog: Labores de Esther todo para Barbie. On this post, she has scans from a patio set that includes two leafy plants. I really fell in love with this pattern, but it did pose more problems than the first. The pattern called for green 10 count plastic canvas. Finding 10 count canvas isn’t hard, but finding 10 count in a green color is nearly impossible. I couldn’t even find the stuff online! It was so, so frustrating. I had two options: I can either use a Sharpie to color some clear plastic canvas the color I need or buy 7 count plastic canvas and call it a giant species. I went with the latter. It looked to be within the proper scale after outlining the patterns, so I roll on with making these giant plants.

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2015/01/img_7483.jpgCutting these plants out was harder than the cactus. Both were much more intricate, and it had multiple thin areas between the leaves. Luckily, plastic canvas is fairly durable and I was able to get through it without cutting myself or ruining the piece. I also chose to deviate from the pattern by sewing the edges with green crochet thread. I used the deep, emerald green thread I bought at a thrift store a few weeks ago for one plant and a lighter green that I purchased from a thrift store ages ago for the second. I like how the thread edging softens up the edges, but it took about an hour to sew around each leaf. I really prefer the more polished look, so it was worth the extra effort. The crochet thread I used looks like size 10, and it took three to seven stitches in each square of plastic canvas to get good coverage around the edges.

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For their planters, I decided that I wanted to do something different. The pattern on the website called for another circular planter, but for visual appeal I decided to create my a square planter of my own design. I went with TARDIS colors once again, and these are the patterns I created in Excel for them. In addition to these four sides, I cut out a fifth side for the bottom that I filled in with simple diagonal stitches. I whip stitched the edges together, and added the plants.

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I know that you can design patterns for plastic canvas in paper or with other software, but I find that this helps me visually see how to stitch the plastic canvas. I am very visual when I am doing these patterns, and sometimes the square-based patterns are hard for me to work with. Each design took about an hour for me to create. Much of that time was researching different stitches and textures; each side of the second square planter has a different texture. The first one also has a small tribute to the two doctors who had Peri as a companion with by using roman numerals. I thought it would be a fun touch to an otherwise simple design.

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The planters took two to three hours to stitch and assemble. I used worsted weight yarn leftover from a Doctor Who themed commissioned hat I made last year. The worsted weight yarn was much easier to work with than the size 10 crochet thread. It tangled much less than the thread, and it was easier to work in the ends once I had finished using a piece of it. Still, it was interesting to work with different yarns while making these. I now have a better grasp of the limitations different yarns have when I work with plastic canvas in the future.

With all three plants, I anchored them in their planters with a square of brown felt. I had originally planned on using rice or a small rock to anchor the plants into the planters, but the felt was able to keep the plants in place without needing the extra weight. I took a standard sheet of felt and quartered it. I put one quarter into each planter, then folded the extra bits in on itself. This left the perfect spot in the middle to place the plants. It was an easy way to simulate dirt without making a giant mess. Win-Win!

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Overall, this was a fun way for me to work with plastic canvas. It is an interesting medium to work with, and I hope to use more of it as I continue crafting for the blog. The hardest part of using plastic canvas was finding the perfect length of yarn/thread to use when stitching. I found 18″ was a good length for worsted weight yarn. Any longer and the yarn would unwind and be more frayed towards the end, and anything shorter wouldn’t last very long (it is frustrating when you feel like you’re changing yarn every three minutes). The thread was a but hardier; it tended to be hardier than the yarn, but it would tangle more if it was too long. I used 24″ lengths without running into big problems, and I had to change string about four times for each leaf.

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With these plants, Peri is complete! I will do a quick write-up for her and then choose a new subject over the next few entries. This should be an eventful week! I hope this little project was worth the wait, and I will see you all shortly.

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Post-Holiday Shopping

I finally managed to dig my car out of the snowdrift it has been encased in this last two weeks, and to celebrate we drove into the city! Yay! We mainly went there so that my husband could go to the library, but I did manage to stop at a few thrift stores and the local craft shop while we were out. It was a very long and productive day.

Remember that mismatched doll from last post? The one that was packaged with a Merida doll who had vinyl head and plastic body? Well, her head may have been meant for that weird, hollow body after all. I found seven more dolls just like her at the same thrift store (sorry that I didn’t have the presence of mind to take a picture). Well, not just like her; each one was dressed as a different Disney princess. There were variations on hair, but the head molds and face paint were identical on all of them. To steal a Simpsons joke, we’ll call them Diz-Nee Princesses. They are dolls, they vaguely look like Disney Princesses, and they are much lower quality than the real thing. I was tempted to buy one of them for her dress, but I decided that I really shouldn’t buy a doll just for its clothes. Even if I just donate the doll back afterwards, the dress is likely the same quality as the doll and not worth my money. I will leave them for whomever thought that cruddy Aladdin doll was worth buying. Seriously. He was gone, so somebody mush have bought him in all of his broken, sharpie-covered glory. I can only imagine why they thought he was worth buying.

Anyways, as I was looking at the Diz-Nee Princess dolls, an employee at the store brought a new bin of toys out from the sorting area. I was excited to see a few more dolls in it. One was another pack of Diz-Nee dolls, but the other was an awesome bag with three Barbie dolls in it. They cost only $3.00!

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The first doll is Jewel Hair Mermaid Barbie from 1995. She is missing her hair jewels and her fin, but her hair is in remarkable condition. She also has her top, crown, earrings, and ring. She is a really fantastic find! I remember this doll from when I was young. I believe my friend Katie owned this one. I remember that the hair jewels never stuck very well to her hair, but they always managed to get stuck to our clothes. Overall, she is a cool and nostalgic doll to add to the mix. I doubt she will be used for Barbie Who? because I am already quite attached to her as-is. I put her with the Dance Club Kayla doll where they can do their own thing.

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The other two dolls are Wedding Day Midge and Alan from 1990. Neither has their wedding attire (neither had any clothes; I put them in what I had on hand), which is a shame because those outfits are awesome. Check out those links above; I just love the polkadots on Midge’s dress. Alan needs some touch-up paint on his hair, but otherwise both are in very good condition. Midge even has rings on both fingers! She also has a earrings and a nail in her head (I assume it is where her veil attaches). Because of the wedding connection and her lovely red hair, Midge may have to become Donna Noble. Donna is one of my favorite companions, and this doll strikes me as her Barbie Who? counterpart. I also think that she and Cofelia would make a wicked pair together. I am already scouting out tasteful wedding attire if I decide to go that route for the next doll I create for the blog.

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I am excited that the knit pants also fit Alan well; his legs are a bit bulkier than Ken’s, but the pants have more than enough stretch to fit comfortably. Alan is much different than the previous Fashionista Cutie Ken doll I found. Ken’s body is much less substantial and isn’t nearly as muscular as the Alan doll. Ken’s body also seems to be hollow. I like the overall look of Alan more than that of Ken. However, Alan doesn’t strike me as anybody from the Whoniverse. This bothers me somewhat, but I am sure that I will watch an episode and the lightbulb will come on. I just need a bit of time to mull it over. Until then, I have plenty of dolls and inspiration to keep me busy.

After those amazing finds, I went to my favorite thrift store for happy hour. I didn’t find any cool dolls or toys, but I did find some yarn. I bought three skeins of size 10 yarn – blue, green, and gold. I bought the blue and green because I absolutely love the bright, vibrant color of them. It may not be sparkly, but it certainly is eye catching. I bought the gold because of the Jewel Hair Mermaid Barbie I found above. I can use it to make a tail that matches her top. I can also use the gold to create a belt and crown for the Merida doll (if I can ever find the time). It is nice to have a plan for the yarn I bought. The three skeins of yarn cost $2.00 total, which is a great because they have so much yarn on them.

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After that adventure, we made our final stop at the craft store. I spent way too much time browsing all of their cool stuff, but in the end I only bought a single sheet of green plastic canvas. Why? Great question! I want to create an accessory for Peri, and this sheet of plastic canvas is the key to my plans. I want to make some plants to be Peri’s accessory. It will be fun to see how it turns out. I haven’t use plastic canvas for crafting since I was a child. I have fond memories of making Loony Tunes coasters with my mom from a book she bought for us. It was always fun, and it taught me how to read patterns and use a needle. I look forward to working with it.

Well, that is everything for today. Peri’s outfit is coming alone quite well! I am almost finished with the body of it. If it fits the doll, I will just need to knit or crochet arms onto it and it will be finished. I wish I had more time to dedicate to it and knock it out, but sometimes life just gets in the way. This isn’t entirely a bad thing; my wrists aren’t complaining about the breaks. I am getting slightly better at working with the tiny needles, but I still need breaks every half hour to prevent wrist pain. I also realized that I spend more time working on these projects than I registered. I have already spent six hours working on this suit, and I’m sure that the sleeves will take an hour each to create. For my next big project, I may have to use the stop-watch function on my phone to get a more accurate number. Regardless, I will carry on and finish Peri’s outfit.

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