Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sunday Gardener papier-mache doll

Just posting a picture of this one because I think she's pretty. She displays a lot of handwork: hand-crocheted lace and hand-worked beading on her blouse, for example, not to mention her sculpted paper-mache head. Her hair is natural golden brown llama wool. Her arms are painted cloth.

All the fabric used in this doll is recycled.

You can see a few more images of this doll at my Etsy shop (see link, above right).

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rag Mop

Picture #1: This is a close-up of a rag mop I made using the leftover button and buttonhole plackets, collars, collarbands, yokes and cuffs from the garments I cut up to recycle the fabric for my handmade dolls. Until now I've been throwing many of these cut-off pieces away; they're too small to be worth taking apart properly in order to use the pieces. I felt bad about wasting them, but they were also too small to be used as rags. UNTIL I thought of using them as the rag strips in a wet-mop.

Husband Peter went shopping for me and found a mop handle with a clamp at the end instead of a mop. Though one can also buy the replaceable mop heads, we decided to create our own, using these long, narrow rag strips.

I chose only cotton fabrics, for absorbency, and decided to use two cuffs as the top and bottom that would hold the other strips together (see picture #3--I canNOT get these pictures to appear in the order I want them) as they were just twice the length of the clamp. Having done some minor Internet research on making one's own rag mops, I discovered that 12" is a fairly good length for mop "strings," so I laid a double row of my narrow rag strips along one of the cuffs, making sure they crossed the cuff where they would be sewed on, and stuck out about 12" on either side of the cuff. I didn't want to make this part too thick, since even my strong sewing machine does have its limits--it can handle up to 9 layers of denim, but with some of these rags there were close to that many layers in the seam allowances. Then I laid another cuff piece over the strips and sewed several times down the middle to hold everything together.

Folding the newly-created mop head in half, I inserted it into the opened clamp and screwed it shut. Behold, a rag mop!

Then I decided to go back and loosen the clamp so I could wrap a few extra cuff pieces around the exposed part of the clamp (picture #2). I hate it when the hard part of a mop scrapes the floor while I'm mopping, don't you?

I believe two of these "mop heads" could be used together in the clamp at the same time for a thicker mop, but I haven't tried it yet. The advantage of a mop like this is that you can remove the head and throw it in the washing machine when it is dirty, thus avoiding the perpetually wet, smelly, mildewy and eventually rotting-out problems that can happen with non-removable mop heads. One could also rotate several heads, thus always having a clean one to use--or even designate different mop heads for different parts of the house (one for the kitchen, one for the bathroom, etc.) One could go farther and colour-code the heads (kitchen is warm colours; bathroom is cool colours...) but some might think this is carrying it a bit too far. I'm all for it, myself, and may use colour-coding for my next series of mop heads.

Haven't tried it out yet...but I wanted to get photos of it while it was still new and clean. Kind of like taking pictures of the kids in their fancy clothes BEFORE the pizza party.

Another bluegrass trio picture

I like this one better. It was done with aquarelle (water-colour) crayons and permanent fine-tip marker for the black outlines. By the way--I have prints of this one for sale!