Sunday, 30 September 2012

Sergio the Christmas Snowman

Sergio The Christmas Snowman Felted Character With Red Tinsel Codpiece G-String

Hey ladies, Sergio here, you wanna go on a date with the best dressed snowman in New York? Sure ya do! I sure could melt your heart with my tinsel codpiece G-string and shapely butt.

How YOU doin?

I may be made outta fluff but I sure can boogie!

If you want Sergio, he's on Etsy: Sergio the Snowman by Mrs Plop's Shoppe

My cod piece is better than yours, damn right, it's better than yours.

Whose Cod-piece is better? Mr Word Up's? Or Sergio's? No contest :)
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Saturday, 29 September 2012

Making Vera, the vintage felted mouse landlady

Like many people these days, I can't afford the luxury of owning my own house. I do live in a lovely cottage in the Somerset countryside, with my husband, but our cottage is rented. Before I met my husband, I lived in London, and the only places I could afford to live in on my own were rented rooms, and I've lived in more of them than I care to admit, even to myself!

But the experience got me to thinking about bedsits and living in lodgings in general, and how different the experience is today, compared to what it must have been like back in the day.

Today if you need to rent a room, you have two choices; you can either rent a room in a house-share with a bunch of other people who you may or may not like, they'll be 'professionals', students or just generally, people who can't afford to buy a house, so that narrows it down! Option number two: You can pay an extortionate amount of money per week for the privilege of living in a lonely, grim bedsit, with only a miserable looking two ring baby belling cooker for company, and a plank of chipboard to prepare your vegetables on. Not very inspiring is it?

In days gone by, when people rented rooms,  it was called lodgings. The landlady actually lived in the house, and would  provide meals too! More than likely a plate of bread and dripping, or a vat of lard, but still, you know what I mean. This is a good example of the fact that we, as a nation, (no, scrap that) as a species, have been steadily becoming more and more separate from each-other, with less community spirit.

Vintage films and books show mostly young, single men living in lodgings, with a landlady who always seems to be portrayed as just a little bit nosey, and mainly always spends her time hovering about at the bottom of the stairs. The vintage landlady is a no-nonsense, rather imposing presence,  who loves to keep everything ship shape..Very house proud, or mouse proud, in my little felted mouse's case.

Catherine Tate, the brilliant British comedian, did a hilarious sketch of a vintage landlady and life in the 1950s, from the third series of The Catherine Tate Show, in which a modern day police officer gets knocked off his motorbike,  and somehow wakes up in 1950s Britain.

Anyway, back to my little mouse, Vera.....Inspired by this theme, I decided I wanted to make a felted vintage landlady mouse, with a miniature vacuum cleaner. I could picture her in my mind's eye, but I had no idea what she was going to turn out like....

For Vera's body and hair, I used a gorgeous Beige coloured Shetland wool. Vera's hair was made with a fantastically soft Fawn Alpaca wool silk.

Vera took about 3 days to make, and I knew that was going to be the easiest part. The hard part was going to be making a dress for her. Mostly because I can't sew! I decided to ignore that fact, and just go with it anyway, I'd cross that bridge when I came to it! Hmm, I thought, that could be a bit of a major issue! I decided maybe I would buy an ready made outfit for her, but then I realised it would be far better to just face the challenge and get past it. I can felt, but I can't sew. I wasn't going to let that stop me though....

I stomped around the local charity shops looking for vintage fabrics and came back empty handed. I eventually found some reclaimed vintage fabric online that I liked the look of. I have to say,  I know absolutely nothing about which fabric is good for which project, I do know what looks lovely, and is obviously good quality.

Right, so I had the things that I thought people who do sewing would need; fabric, needles, cotton, scissors. I don't have a sewing machine, but after battling with Vera's dress, I think now is a good time to invest in one! I've never actually sewn anything in my life, apart from a button on a pair of jeans, and even that was definitely not in the right place. So with a deep breath and the thought 'why don't I just buy a dress' in my mind, I struggled on....

I searched online for a tutorial video, for what seemed like aeons, but I couldn't find one that didn't seem to assume the viewer had at least some knowledge of how to make something out of fabric. I finally found a tutorial in photographs, for Barbie (or similar) dolls:

I won't tell you how many 'patterns' (if that's what you could call them) that I made and threw away, because it's just embarassing, I can almost hear the sewers among you giggling at my sewing genius ;)

After I'd pulled most of my hair out in frustration, I had this. Ok, don't laugh too loudly...

Um, what is it?

Then I pinned it to Vera. She turned her back on me and said....

You've got to be kidding me, right?

Well, no actually, I wasn’t kidding. Here you go Vera, here’s your dress….One very unimpressed mouse.

You seriously expect me to wear this?

I had ordered a teeny tiny vacuum cleaner from a doll's house accessories shop on Ebay. I wasn't about to start wondering around my local shops asking if anyone, by chance, had a miniature hoover they could sell me. I already have a reputation in my neighbourhood for being a bit odd ;) The problem with buying doll's house accessories, as I found out, is that most of them are scale 1/12, bigger than Vera, who stands at about 3". An upright modern, but vintage looking mini hoover would have been far too big, so I went for a genuinely vintage vacuum cleaner. It cost more, but at least it's the right size and it is genuine vintage. Although from a later time than Vera is from, but that's just getting picky.

The mini vacuum cleaner arrives!
How cute is that?

Time to do Vera’s hair and I thought a snood would be very fitting for her. I found a really sweet crocheted vintage doily in my local charity shop that was perfect for Vera’s snood.

Vera's vintage snood material

I rolled the fawn Alpaca wool & silk onto needle felted ‘rollers’ and felted them into place…

Watch the hair lady, I still haven't forgiven you for this dress.

Rollers all in, now for the snood….

Yes, lovely dear, but when are you taking these rollers out?

Phew! Finally finished – Ok, so I kind of covered up the messy bits on the dress, but for a first time tiny dress, I’m giving myself that!
Vera is happy with the way she looks, but she’s still a little bit grumpy about the fact that the rollers are going to be in her hair forever….

Where to buy the best dog ID tags in the whole world!

Heidy Clark, Birdie Road Creations
Birdy Road Creations Shop On Etsy

Heidy Clark, the lady who made this dog ID tag for our boy, Dillon, is exceptional. She has a ton of rescue dogs and parrots and she is such a kind, sweet lady :)

I wanted to buy something lovely for my husband, Anthony, and as his most favourite thing in the world is our boy Dillon, (and yep, sometimes I think more favourite to him than I am lol!) I wanted to get him something that Dillon could wear, and as Dillon is getting on in years and has Addisons disease, he’s not going to be around forever :( So I wanted something that Anthony could wear too, something that had belonged to Dillon after he’s gone to the rainbow bridge.

I found this wonderful shop called Birdie Road Creations on Etsy. The lady who runs it is called Heidy and she makes the most gorgeous dog tags and pendants for people too.

I ordered this tag for Dillon, with Dillon’s name engraved on it. Heidy will make whatever you want, engraved with whatever you want too. Music Speaks Pendant Tag

I chose this one because my husband is a musician, but take a look at Heidy’s shop, she’s got lots of lovely ones to choose from! Like these  for instance…

Here’s Dillon wearing his tag, and a link to the tag at Heidy’s shop. This is the photo I sent Heidy of Dillon wearing his tag, and Heidy edited the photo to give it lovely soft edges, then she featured Dillon wearing his tag in her shop! Famous Dillon lol! :)

Not only did Heidy put her heart and soul into making Dillon’s tag, she also made me a beautiful pendant and necklace with my name on it, to thank me for my work rescuing dogs. Bless you Heidy! Anthony and Dillon LOVED their present, and I love mine! xx
So if anyone wants a special pressie from a special lady, go and visit Heidy at Birdie Road Creations :) Heidy ships to the UK and all over the world. The service she gives is fantastic, with such attention to detail.

Birdie Road Creations Shop On Etsy

Friday, 28 September 2012

Mrs Plop on Etsy!

Well, I couldn't wait anymore! Even though I only have 3 items for sale, Mrs Plop's Shoppe is now open! :D hooray!

Mrs Plop's Etsy Shoppe

Lazy Fresno!

I tries to get up....

I not bother to get up....

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Cruelty free felted fairground goldfish

I made this little goldfish today. I remember wining goldfish at the fairground when I was child, and I also remember feeling really sorry for them, as they were all lined up in little plastic see-through bags, waiting to be won and released into hopefully a better and bigger space. Whenever the fair came to town, I'd always win a goldfish, and no matter how well I looked after it, it would always die. It was so sad. This little fish is in my Etsy shop - Mrs Plop's Shoppe

#1 That's not my dog! My most embarrassing dog moments

Please tell me your most embarrassing dog moment (or as many moments as you like!) by leaving a comment on this post. I would love to read about them!
Happy dog owning! Not in any particular order, here are a couple of mine...

1. Look! I left you a turd!

hehe! The dining table looks purty!
Some years ago, my better half and I fostered a little Cairn Terrier called Betty. I rescued her from an abusive owner and we found her a lovely home on a farm. She was the sweetest of sweet dogs, a tiny wiry haired bundle of silliness, but she had no etiquette whatsoever.

One day, we were expecting visitors. They were travelling down to us by train, and we decided we'd both meet them at the train station, as we thought it would be nice if both of us met them. We had really gone for it with the dining table; posh table cloth, cutlery, flowers, the whole bit. We met our visitors at the station and returned home.

I walked into the dining room feeling pleased with my hosting skills and beautifully dressed table, but then I noticed everyone had gone a bit quiet and no one was smiling. You ungrateful gits, I couldn't stop myself from thinking, why aren't you saying how fab everything is?! I was the only one who hadn't noticed that sitting right in the centre of the table, next to my lovely flowers, was a big turd. How Betty managed to get onto the table, deposit a turd, and get down again without disrupting a single knife or fork, I'll never know. We all kind of lost our appetites after that.

2. Motel hell - I'd like to check out now please.

When I was in my late teens, my Father took me, my dog Honey, and his dog, Cindy, to the Lake District for a mini holiday. One night we stayed at a motel, I think it was a Travelodge. Hopefully no-one who worked there at that time will ever read this, they probably still haven't got over it!

We got our belongings together to check out the next morning, got to the top of the stairs leading to the lobby, and at that moment, my Dad's dog, Cindy, decided to have an attack of diarrhoea. Fantastic! What perfect timing! It started at the top of the stairs, and my Dad had no option but to get her to the exit as soon as possible, and there was only one way down. Yep, the stairs. My poor Father had to drag a reluctant dog who was leaving a vast river of poo, all the way down the stairs, into the lobby, all the way across the lobby - still depositing poo - and out through the front doors. The lobby was full of people, of course. Staff and guests watched in horror as my Dad and his pooing dog made their way out of the door. I followed him out. No way was I staying in the lobby with the all those people, and all that poo!

So what happened? Did my Dad clean up the poo? Did I? No. I'm afraid to say that my Dad was so mortified by the whole experience, he couldn't get out of there quick enough. We went back into the lobby to pay for the room, apologising, smiling nervously and trying not to pass out from the smell. I've never seen my Dad pay for anything so quickly! And the next thing I knew we seemed to have driven 50 miles in a matter of minutes. Haha! I did (and still do) feel very sorry for the staff member who was given the task of cleaning up the mess though, that's more than anybody's 'Jobs' worth :D

Coming soon - 'That's not my Dog!' Post #2