Pocket Dolls Part 3: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

This week I’m back to posting my Pocket Dolls that will be on sale at FanExpo Vancouver in November – next up, Star Wars: The Force Awakens! I’ve made tiny versions of Rey, Finn, Poe, and Kylo Ren, check them out below the cut.

Rey

The biggest challenge for Rey was the hair, and I obsessed for awhile over how I wanted to do it. I thought about sewing individual strands to her head and then forming them into buns, which I did for a larger Rey I made (I’ll post pictures of her, too!), but that ended up being hell to work with and it just fell apart unless I sewed it all in place. I ended up crocheting a base of brown directly into her head (so her head is half flesh/half hair). Then I crocheted three flat pieces that are wider in the middle (started with single crochet then worked up from half double to double to triple crochet for the middle couple of stitches, then back towards single) and sewed them into loops that I then sewed on to her head. I think it worked ok. 🙂

The staff has a pipe cleaner down the middle to keep it from being too floppy, while avoiding using actual wire that could poke out (especially if a child buys it). I’m desperately hoping that a tiny Rey cosplayer will buy her so I can take a picture of Tiny Rey with Pocket Rey. There are lots of little girls dressing up as her at cons (which I love!), so fingers crossed.

Finn

Finn was actually the first of the SW Pocket Dolls I made. Don’t have much to say about him; I think he’s cute. 🙂

 

Poe

Poe came second (I was putting off making Rey because of her hair…), so Finn wouldn’t get lonely. I’ve added a couple of details to his flightsuit but I think I might add some more, still. It’s hard to get much detail when they’re small, though. Even so, he’s recognizable especially when paired with the others.
 

 

Stormpilot feels. <3 Cuddling up together.

but uh oh… someone’s coming to ruin it all…

Kylo Ren

On my concept sketch for Kylo Ren, I just wrote ‘MORE EMO’ and ‘bigger ears’ lol. He does in fact have slightly bigger ears than the others; I added one extra stitch. Could probably be more emo, though. He needs a Hot Topic tee shirt. 😉

 

 Fight, fight, fight! Go Rey!

 Our new Trio. 🙂

That’s it for now – more coming soon!

Introducing the Pocket Dolls! Part 1: Captain America, Bucky, and Iron Man

Sorry to everyone for the long delay between posts! I’m making a pact with myself to post once a week from now on, and will try to start building this blog more. My only excuse is that I’ve been hard at work making lots of dolls for FanExpo Vancouver in November! To that end, I’m going to start sharing pictures (and eventually patterns in some cases) for the dolls that I’ll be selling at the convention. If you’re going to be in town, come check out our booth. We’ll post more details & our booth number closer to the event once we have that information. Erika’s been working hard too, making lots of awesome and adorable cross stitch buttons for the event (hint: some of them may involve a certain little orange & white droid…).

First up, I want to begin sharing my newest creations: Pocket Dolls. These little guys are now taking over my life and will feature heavily at our booth, because they are both quick(ish) to make and cute. Today I’m sharing the story of how they began and posting pictures of my first three – Captain America, Bucky, and Iron Man.

I feel like this picture is basically the storyline of CA: Civil War… “My Bucky!” “No, my Bucky!”. And poor Bucky in the middle…


It all began 2 days before I was due to see Captain America: Civil War with a big group of friends. On Thursday night I decided out of the blue, “I need a pocket sized Bucky to cuddle during this movie.” Especially since I planned to wear my Captain America hoodie, so of course I needed a little Bucky to go in my pocket! The only flaw in this plan was that it was 10pm on Thursday night, I knew I’d be working all day Friday followed by an office party, and Saturday I had more work stuff in the morning followed by about 4 free hours before I’d have to head out to the movie. And I didn’t have a design or a pattern beyond “small and cute and Bucky”.

Prototype Pocket!Bucky was pretty rough, but I got him done. Head & body were done Thursday night and probably Friday morning before work. After the Saturday work stuff downtown I knew I wouldn’t have time to go home, so I sat in a green space near the Vancouver waterfront and made Bucky’s arms and legs and started assembly & details. Transited out to the theatre to meet friends from dinner, and sat in A&W frantically attaching hair. Stood in the lineup to get into the theatre STILL attaching hair. He was kind of lopsided and his hair was a mess, but he was finished! After the movie I tore out his hair and re-did it to look nicer, and gave him to my friend for her birthday.

Just for fun – Pocket!Bucky 1.0 in progress. Sitting outside of the theatre starting the hair. And yes, that’s Captain America in my backpack, sitting on top of a bag of stuffing. 😉

Completed Pocket!Bucky 1.0, after I fixed the hair.

That done, I started refining the pattern and making Pocket!Bucky 2.0. I decided that I wanted the head to be a bit smaller and the arms to be a bit bigger and more exaggerated. Starting with Captain America, I also began crocheting the hair colour right into the head – even for long haired characters, since that way I could avoid the flesh-coloured gaps between hair strands. I’m still fiddling with the pattern, and no matter what I seem to do each one comes out a slightly different size. Some sit up better than others. Some are just more polished looking than others. But I’m having fun with them and overall am happy with the look!

Since Bucky, I’ve made Pocket Captain America & Iron Man, who I’ve shared below, and a whack of other Pocket dolls that I’ll be sharing in upcoming posts. Patterns are coming as well.

Short male hair styles has always been one of my biggest frustrations, so this time I decided to just crochet the hair colour right into the head and then do a ridge of slip stitches along the colour change line.

I decided to make Cap’s shield on his back this time, in part to give him more stability (he kept falling backwards otherwise) and in part just for a change of pace. My other Captain Americas all were holding their shield. The shield is secured by straps and can be taken off. 🙂

I added a few higher stitches in the front of Tony’s hair, to give his hair a bit of height.

And for some bonus fun, check out these side by side pictures of Pocket!Cap and Pocket!Iron Man versus the little Cap and Iron Man that I made years ago when I was just starting to crochet. I was trying to go for a sort of beanie baby look and instead it just looked like Cap had really let himself go lol. And Tony’s body is weirdly… elongated… It’s nice to see that I’ve progressed since then! Still lots to learn and improve on, but I’m definitely getting there.

That’s it for now! Coming soon: Star Wars, Justice League, more Marvel, and various others…

Guest Post: Plastic Canvas Dollhouse by Mel Dawn

We’re excited to announce our first guest blog post by our friend Mel Dawn! Mel is a writer and crafter based in New Westminster BC, with a love of cats, Doctor Who, and a passion for creating unique pieces with plastic canvas. Below Mel shares with us one of her plastic canvas projects, a custom made dollhouse!

Don’t Turn Away, Don’t Look Back, and Don’t Blink: You Don’t Want to Miss This Craft Project!
by Mel Dawn

Many people collect action figures from the Doctor Who, Marvel, and DC Comics universes, but then are puzzled as how to display them. A collection should never be stuffed to the back of the closet. Over time, you may think you’re imagining the words, “We must escape the bat cave! Exterminate! Resistance is futile!” and loads of other phrases to guilt you into unpacking your geek collection.

Perhaps it’s time to help your lonely action figures find a home. But with a quick scan of eBay, you realize you can’t afford the Tenth Doctor’s TARDIS interior and console room. But you can afford to make your own action figure dollhouse.

It took me two years to make this miniature dollhouse from plastic canvas and yarn. It was actually a Mary Maxim kit, but you can buy plastic canvas from most dollar and craft stores. It doesn’t take a lot of yarn to make—you can use your yarn scraps from finished knitting projects.

Before I started, I didn’t have any specific dollhouse in mind. You can create an idea from Dollhouse, Doctor Who—the house from Blink, a haunted house, or headquarters from Deadpool.

I actually kitbashed my dollhouse. Finished, it’s 14 inches wide by 17 inches tall, but originally the pattern called for it to be around 12 inches by 12 inches. I wanted it to fit not only my action figures, but my Dawn Dolls too. These toys are about six inches tall, though I do have a smaller scale of action figure—Melanie from Doctor Who—who is about four inches tall—in the living room of my dollhouse, as well as a red Dalek. But David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor and the Weeping Angel—made by Nick Norris on his 3D printer—stand about six inches tall.

I decided to make the rooms wider, and taller. I actually had to buy extra plastic canvas as the kit didn’t contain enough. I also didn’t follow the guidelines for yarn colours. I kept the colours of the kit in the bathroom and kitchen/dining room areas, but I changed the bedroom to mauve, and the living room to burgundy and red. I also had to use my own yarn as there wasn’t enough in the kit to create the new size of walls.

Plastic canvas is a lot like cross stitch, but you work your stitches on a rigid form of canvas instead of flexible canvas material. You also need to use yarn, though there are smaller gauges of plastic canvas that can be worked with embroidery floss. I worked with the Darice seven count plastic canvas (7 holes to one inch), the largest scale I’m aware of. These come in rectangular sheets, but you can buy other shapes and sizes such as hearts, circles, and squares too.

The stitches are worked a lot like on cross stitch, but instead of creating an X, you create only a row of //////s. You can work a variety of different stitches with your pattern, much like cross stitch, but with my dollhouse it was most //////s.

You can see in this photo where I have first done all the stitching for the front panel of the house. I have also added the brown overhang. The windows are stitched with yarn, but can be cut out.

In the next photo you can see the inside panel of the walls, as well as the left wall attached, and one short inner wall between living room and kitchen. I also made a rug for the living room. This was a pattern I found online. That’s one nice thing about making a project—you can constantly add to it over the years.

Here is the finished inside of the dollhouse. If I did this project a second time I would have added a sturdier form of plastic canvas between the floors and the walls, because you can see it sagging a bit in the photo. Or, you can accept it as the nature of the materials you are working with.

You can see how much fun it is to add your own action figures to the scene. The pattern I had also came with instructions for making the furniture. Again, I had to modify the pattern so the furniture fit the scale of the action figures. I also found patterns online to make other furniture, such as the burgundy chair in the living room.

The dollhouse even has an attic. I made a pirate’s trunk to fit up here. I added a rod to the closet, and made the bathroom cabinet open up.

In this photo you can have a better look at the burgundy chair that I made from a smaller scale of canvas mesh (ten count), so there are more stitches per square inch.

I found a clock pattern, so the kitchen has a clock above the fridge. The kitchen is a bit crowded, and I never made all the furniture that the dollhouse was supposed to have. I also eliminated a third room on the second story, a nursery. In hindsight, I should have made a cat room.

This project took me about two years to make, but others may work it faster if they have no other projects on the go. I still have other patterns I want to make, such as a dining room hutch. The playing options are endless, and gamers can even think up ways to incorporate the house into a game.

Plastic canvas is about 99 cents per sheet. You can buy special plastic canvas needles, scissors, and yarn, to make your plastic canvas crafts easier to make. Patterns and kits can be expensive, but you can create your own patterns and designs. Most people who try the hobby get hooked after the first few weeks. If you’re like me, you’ll end up having several folders of project ideas on your computer.

Thanks again to Mel for sharing her dollhouse with us! If you want to see more projects made by Mel or learn about her writing services, please visit her blog website.

Happy Deadpool Day! Celebrate with a FREE cross stitch pattern!

I suppose I could start off my apologizing for being a bad blogger and not posting anything in a very, very long time. I could do that… but I think I’d rather celebrate the new Deadpool movie that opens today. The film has been getting good reviews so far, and I’m really excited to go see it tomorrow! It doesn’t hurt that it was filmed locally in beautiful Vancouver and stars beautiful (and equally Vancouver-ful) Ryan Reynolds.

I especially loved all of the marketing leading up to the release of this movie. Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool tweets, passing it off as a Valentine’s ‘date’ movie, and of course the ridiculous and brilliant use of emojis to spell out ‘Deadpool’.

Ah, the good old ‘Skull-Poop-L’. A friend suggested this would make a great cross stitch pattern, and I agree! So I put a little something together and am offering it as a free download so everyone can get their Deadpool fix!

Stitch up your very own Skull-Poop-L to hang on your wall and cherish forever. Yes, it’s that special.

> Click here to download the pattern

To view the pattern, you will need a pdf reader. I like Adobe acrobat reader, but there are many programs that will open a pdf document. The pattern is a single page, so it’s ideal for displaying on a tablet or computer and for zooming in to see the chart closeup. If you do want to print this pattern out, I would recommend using a colour printer to ensure the chart symbols are as easy to read as possible.

I hope you enjoy this pattern! I’d love to see what you create with it, so tag me on Instagram or send me a Tweet! Please keep in mind the pattern is free for personal use only. Items made with this pattern can be given as gifts, but not sold for profit (online or elsewhere). Thank you and happy stitching!

Les Miserables Crochet Dolls – Valjean and Javert

 Recently I learned that a friend of mine has never seen Les Miserables, either on stage or the movie version, and as a big fan of the play I had to take it upon myself to fix that. So this afternoon a few of us got together at my place, made pancakes for brunch, and watched Les Mis! She enjoyed the movie and I kept my word and didn’t sing along (out loud), and I came away from it feeling inspired to A. make this blog post about the Les Mis dolls I made for my friend Elizabeth last year, and B. read a lot of fic…

Javert is either trying to punch Valjean or hold his hand. Possibly both. Their relationship is complicated. 😉

I blame my getting into Les Mis on a few things: my cousin Laura, Elizabeth, someone on my old Livejournal, and everyone in Dartmouth, NS who went to see Skyfall of December 26th, 2012. Which sounds strange, I realize, but bear with me. We were visiting family in Halifax that Christmas, and on Boxing Day we decided to head to the movies. My cousin Laura is a big theatre fan (and a theatre director herself!), and she along with most of my family were going to Les Mis. She was super excited about it, but I didn’t know anything about it (beyond vague knowledge that it’s a Broadway musical about historical France) and had little interest. So Dad and I were going to go see Skyfall, but when we got to the theatre it was sold out and we decided to tag along to Les Mis.

I know these stories usually end in “I came out of the theatre in love and was instantly a huge fan”, but it’s not really true. I enjoyed the movie a lot and was glad I went, but then I mostly forgot about it until one year later when someone on my LJ randomly posted about the movie and linked to some Valjean/Javert fic. I ended up rewatching the movie, reading a TON of fic over New Years 2013/14 (I think I read around 200,000 words over the course of a few days), and getting completely hooked.

Since then I’ve seen it live on the London stage (approximately five hours after my plane landed after a 9-hour overnight flight from Vancouver, I was very tired), live in Vancouver last summer, and have listened to the 10th Anniversary Concert soundtrack approximately a billion times (or at least certain songs). Seeing it on the London stage utterly blew me away, even though I almost fell asleep during “I Dreamed a Dream” (I was really tired ok). You could have heard a pin drop in the audience during “Stars”, it was mesmerizing.

Anyway, the reason I blame Elizabeth although she wasn’t involved in me originally getting into it, is because she’s my main Les Mis fan friend and totally helped to enable my growing obsession 2 years ago. 😉 As thanks, I made her these little Valjean and Javert dolls for her birthday last year! They’re based on the stage version rather than the movie version, mainly the Wilkinson & Quast versions. I do still enjoy the movie, but after seeing it on stage and listening to the 10th Anniversary Concert soundtrack so much, I find it hard to listen to Russell Crowe… I do think he does a good job of acting the part and bringing emotion to the role, but his singing voice just isn’t that strong. Nothing can really compare to Quast’s version of “Stars”, though!

Yes I embroidered 24601 to his chest. Because I could. 🙂
 
I had a lot of fun with the hair and sideburns, I must say

I want to make some for myself now – I may have to! It was hard giving them away, although I do get to see them when I visit her. 🙂

 And as a bonus, check out below what she made for me in return last month for my birthday! So cute!!

Cross stitched pixel art of Valjean and Javert, I love it!

Ok that’s all from me tonight – coming soon, the much overdue Baby Groot in Naramata post!

Baby Groot Around Vancouver #2 – Groot’s First Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season. I’ve spent the last few days at my parents’ house on Bowen Island hanging out with family, playing board games, and eating far too much. It was Groot’s first Christmas and he had fun getting to know our Christmas tree (a fellow tree for him to talk to in monosyllabic speech!):
 

Christmas Eve – Groot awaits Santa Claus…

Groot also made another new friend – Groot pillow! My cousin bought this for me at a craft fair in Kingston, Ontario and I have no idea who the artist is unfortunately. I tried Googling ‘Groot pillow’ but didn’t have any luck. If by some miracle the artist ever finds their way to this page, please send me an email and I’ll add a link to your website! It’s super cute and I love it. 🙂 
Groot and Groot pillow! We are Groot!

The last weekend before Christmas was our NerdHQ annual Christmas dinner – tons of Italian food, lots of friends and fun, and Groot.. had a bit too much to drink. Oh dear.

Groot with the holiday Groot Funko Pop – and a bottle of beer.
Too much beer, can’t move now.
Groot found wine! No, Groot, drinking wine is not a good cure for being drunk on beer…

Groot did perk up later, though, to enjoy a screening of the sublimely ridiculous Canadian short film Treevenge partway through dinner. A NerdHQ Christmas tradition now, Treevenge is… well, pretty much exactly how it sounds. Christmas trees come to life and exact bloody, bloody revenge on the humans who cut them down and decked them out in ornaments in tinsel. There is a lot of blood and silliness. I am slightly concerned that Groot enjoyed this film so much, quite frankly. Especially since he was plotting with my Christmas tree just a few days later… uh oh.
 
Check out Treevenge here and prepare to be traumatized and never look at a Christmas tree the same way again.

Don’t get any ideas, Groot!

Groot also got to experience snow for the first time! December 17th was my 30th birthday, and a few of us went snowshoeing up on Cypress Mountain – so of course Groot had to come along. This was my first attempt at snowshoeing since I was about 8, which was not a pleasant memory (the snowshoes were practically as tall as me). Now the snowshoes are much smaller and it was way easier and more fun. It was snowing the entire time and very pretty walking through the snow-covered forest. We’re going to go up again on Grouse Mountain next weekend, so more Groot-in-snow photos are coming!

Getting ready to head up into the trails

So much snow!

Even more snow

We found a little tree hollow on the trail. Me and Groot hanging out in the snow.

Coming up next – Star Wars crochet!

Baby Groot Pattern

Hi everyone! Exciting news, I’ve finished my Baby Groot crochet pattern! It’s available at my Etsy Store . The pattern is $4, and includes 13 pages in PDF with instructions and photos. This is my first real pattern that I’ve written up, and I tried to take into account everything I’ve learned from reading patterns over the years so hopefully it’s clear and easy to follow. If you find any errors or have any questions please email me, I’m happy to help and to improve on the pattern.

Also, if you make a Baby Groot then I’d love to hear from you and see pictures! Please send them my way, or post them on your blog and send me the link – I would be so excited to see other people making my Groot. 🙂 And travel with Groot photos would be even more awesome – take a picture of him in your home city in front of a landmark! I have a few Baby Groot travel photo ops that I still need to post, I swear I will get those up shortly. And it’s only a few more months until Groot goes to Middle Earth, I mean New Zealand. There will definitely be pictures of Groot at Mt Doom. 🙂

You can download the pattern at my Etsy Store or on Ravelry. Thanks everyone!

Baby Groot Crochet Pattern

Julia’s Gallery Updates – Firefly

Another gallery update, here’s my Firefly dolls! All made for the Vancouver Can’t Stop the Serenity charity auctions on various years.

  

Mal, Kaylee, Jayne, and Zoe dolls made for the Can’t Stop the Serenity charity auction a few years back.  Using Pixelated Mushroom’s Doctor Who pattern as a base.

Mini!Mal,
Kaylee, Jayne, and Zoe dolls, for a different year’s Can’t Stop the
Serenity auction. Kaylee had a little tag with her that we got signed by
Jewel Staite before the auction!

I asked my friend who organizes the even to take a picture of Jewel holding the doll she just signed – and then I printed out the picture and took it to Phoenix Comic Con with me a few weeks later where I had Jewel sign the photo. Of her holding a doll that I made that she signed. Layers! It now lives on my fridge.

Minion!Mal,
Kaylee, and Jayne for this year’s Can’t Stop the Serenity auction.
Minion!Kaylee had a little tag signed by Jewel again. 🙂 Maybe one of these days I’ll see her at a con again and get her to sign this picture lol.



Julia’s Gallery Updates – Doctor Who

Continuing to get all my dolls posted on here… Doctor Who!

My first
crochet project – TARDIS! I didn’t really know what I was doing, ie. I
never flipped my work so that the good side was facing out, so the
entire thing is the wrong side. I didn’t even realize at the time that
there WAS a right vs wrong side. And the embroidery is… kinda special.

Another early project – an Ood! For a friend who really liked the Ood. I used a Cthulhu pattern as a base (this one from Cthulhu Crochet to be exact) and then kinda just winged it as I went.

Another early doll, the 11th Doctor using Pixelated Mushroom’s 11th Doctor pattern
 10th and 11th Doctors for FanExpo Vancouver 2014 (they were bought by two young sisters, it was super cute)
Smaller 11th Doctor for FanExpo Vancouver 2015

Smaller 10th Doctor for FanExpo Vancouver 2015
Larger
10th and 11th Doctors for FanExpo Vancouver 2015 (the design for these
is inspired by the Pixelated Mushroom ones, but they’re actually fairly
different when you see them in person – different shaped feet, and
they’re smaller and less cuddly/floppy. I wrote them up from scratch,
but since I’d made a few of her dolls before, the look was definitely
inspired by them)

Jack Harkness doll for FanExpo Vancouver 2015
Little TARDIS – made for a friend’s birthday
Sonic
Screwdriver – for my geeky friend’s baby shower! Because it’s never too
young to teach her daughter to be the next Doctor. Pattern from Louie’s Loops.