It's not what you gather, but what you scatter, that tells what kind of a life you have lived.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

12 Days of Christmas 2014 - Day Eleven

Wow! Time flies and it's already day 11! For the 12th day, I always do something to do with the nativity, but this year it's the last 2 days. And both are angels. I seem to be on an angel kick this year.  I cut a picture from a magazine, probably 35 years ago, of some cute little angels, and I've been trying to get around to making them ever since! I decided this is the year! I made mine with soft-sculpture faces, little pear-shaped bodies, jute arms and legs, and button hands and feet. So, let's get started.

Start by cutting a square of a nylon or knee high stocking.The square should be about 3" square. They stretch a LOT so it doesn't need to be any bigger than that. Take a ball of stuffing about the size of your fist, and roll it up into a ball.

Place it in the middle of the nylon square and pull up the corners and then the sides, making sure that there is no stuffing showing any where.

Tie  it up really tight. You need to use something really strong so that you can tug on it pretty good. I used embroidery floss in the photo so you could see it, but I usually use heavy button and carpet thread.

Then trim off the excess stocking and string.

Now do the same thing again, only make the ball the size of a pea.

Next, you need a fairly long needle and some brown thread. Once you draw up the face, the thread won't show, but believe you me, it will if it's white! Thread you needle and tie a large knot in the ends. With the knot at the back, start by poking the needle from the back to the front left dot on the diagram above. If you take it through the thickness of the knot, it won't pull through.

 Now take a stitch and go under the cheek and back out at the first stitch of the mouth. Stitch around the mouth, go under the cheek, take a stitch and go back out the back. Pull on the thread and draw up the stitches so that the cheeks and mouth puff out a little. Tie a good knot, then come back out the front where the nose is attached. Got through the back of the nose where it's tied and then go back out the back of the head. Pull on the thread so that the nose is pulled into the face and tie it off good again. Clip your thread, but not too close, otherwise you take a chance on the knot coming undone. Glue on two little black seed beads for eyes and blush the cheeks, mouth and nose.

Now you're ready to make the angel's body. Cut two pieces of fabric 4" wide and 4 1/2" long. Fold them in half and cut a kind of pear shape with a flat top. You will also need two pieces of jute 10" long. Tie knots is both ends of the jute pieces..

Lay one body piece right side up and lay the jute pieces on top of it  in the position for the arms and legs. Then lay the other body piece over them, right side down and stitch around the body, leaving the top open.

Turn the body right side out and stuff lightly. Turn the top down 1/8" and run a gathering stitch around it. Gather the edge up a little and tie of your thread. Cut the jute pieces in the middle and wrap a little piece of scotch tape around each end. Roll the tape as tightly as possible and cut the end at an angle, making a kind of needle.

String 3 buttons for each foot onto the leg jute. I used red, green and white buttons. and I mixed them up. I wanted a kind of whimsical look. String white buttons on for the hands. I made my angels into a string-o-angels, so my hands are connected. I think if I ever make another string of these, I would do the arms separately and then tie the hands together.

The wings are two pieces of muslin, 4"" by 3 1/2" with some cotton batting sandwiched in between. I made mine kind of butterfly shaped. Draw your pattern on the top piece of muslin and stitch around the wings on the lines. Cut them out with pinking shears 1/8" from the stitching.

Now it's time to put her all together! Glue some hair of your choice to her head. Lay the wings down first, then lay the head where you like it and the body under the head. Glue it all in place with hot glue. Be sure to glue the front of the dress/body to the chin of the face.

 You can give each a different hair-do and color, or make them all match. I'm not a match-y match-y kind of person, so mine are all over the map!

True to my commitment not to spend much this year, I used embroidery floss for all the bows because I'm out of tiny red and green ribbon.

I have 7 angels altogether in my string-o-angels, and they look so cute! When I was storing them until it was time for this post, I folded them up like and accordion and stuffed them into a gallon Ziplock bag. That is a good way to pack them and keep them clean from year to year.

I hope you like these little angels and will give them a try. They sound a lot more complicated than they really are! I enjoyed making their little faces and seeing the character that came out of each one. I used to do soft-sculpture a lot and that was always my favorite part.
Tomorrow will be our 12th and last day for this year, and I think the angels for tomorrow are beautiful. Come back and find out if you agree. I leave you with one of my favorite quotes by an unknown writer:  "Live in such a way that those who know you but don't know God will come to know God because they know you."
Until tomorrow.....

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