Monday 25 January 2016

Meet The Maker: Jess of Babi a Fi

The best thing about hosting a new crafter every week for #MeetTheMaker is the variety of handmade loveliness we get to oogle. This week, Jess of Babi a Fi is sharing something we haven't seen before on the feature! I'm already intrigued....

Hi Jess. I literally cannot wait to find out about your handmade item but first we need to set the scene for our nattering! What would normally be on the agenda if you were catching up with friend? 
Ideally, we’d go out for coffee or, even better, cocktails. In reality it’s more likely to be a cup of tea at home, complete with constant interruptions!

Do you like how I totally just claimed myself to be a friend ha ha? Over the dining table with constant interruptions sounds a familiar scenario to me. Let's go for 'we're enjoying a cocktail' instead. So tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name’s Jess and I’m from Cwmbran, South Wales, where I still live along with a grumpy Dr Who obsessive (the other half) and an evil genius intent on world domination (our baby daughter). For my day job I’m an elected councillor for Torfaen County Borough Council, but out of work I love being more creative by writing, blogging, and crafting.

Ooo fab. Your job sounds interesting! I won't get into that though, we have crafts to talk about. Tell us about the handmade item you are sharing with us.
I’m sharing what we call the ‘Lollipop House’. It started life as a Chad Valley Design-a-Boutique playset, but I wanted to turn it into something fun and colourful. I bought some brightly coloured lollipop sticks on eBay and used them to shingle the front and back of the roof. The sides were covered in buttons of different colours, sizes and shapes. I used doll house brick cladding paper for the outside walls, and orange and black plastic tiles for the outdoor area and the inside walls. The left over middle sections of the lollipop sticks were put to use as multi-coloured floorboards inside. It was great fun to do and is now making a good home for my 1/12 scale Frankie Stein doll.

It is so bright! I love it. With regards to the crafts and techniques you have used, how and when did you learn these skills?
It was actually the first time I’d tried lollipop stick shingling. I knew the gist of the thing, but it did take some trial and error - and prising off glued down sticks - along the way. I’ve been into miniatures all my life, and began making lots of questionable furniture from the age of about seven or eight.

In the world of crafting, what inspires and motivates you?
Flickr and Pinterest. I love browsing through other people’s creations for inspiration, and the determination to try and create something even better.

Where do you like to craft?
All of my craft stuff is kept in the spare room. But when I’m using it I like to drag it all down to the sitting room because it’s more comfortable, and I can keep an eye on things.

Ha ha, I know that feeling. So what is your favourite craft?
I love making miniature paper items like packaging (cereal boxes are my current fave) and ephemera - for example, I spent way too much time last year cutting, sticking and laminating a deck of 1/6 scale Pokemon cards. I enjoy hand sewing too, but I never seem to find time to actually finish anything.

I also know that feeling ha ha. I am pretty sure I have more incomplete projects that handmade things. Do you have any crafting tips?
Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. If it all goes wrong, nobody even need know about it.

I have far too many 'gone wrong' secrets! Good advice. 
Where can the Crafty Bs find you online? 

Fab. Any big plans for the next 12 months?
I’m being really ambitious this year and hoping to complete two big miniature projects, for all that sounds like a contradiction in terms. First, I’m working on a 1/6 scale toy and sweet shop setting which will mean lots of paper craft to make packaging, and general decorating. Once that’s done I’ve splashed out on a Mountfield 1/12 scale doll house kit. It will be the first time I’ve put together a big kit myself, and I want to decorate it in retro period style (1973-83 is the time frame) to look as realistic as possible. Wish me luck!

That actually sounds amazing. I reckon the #CraftyBs online group would love to see updates from you on the group page. They are always on the look out to try new things and this sounds pretty inspiring. Keep us posted. Ok, last up; a quick fire round...

Your favourite crafty tool?
Glue. Gloopy liquids to the trusty old Pritt Stick, hardly anything I make would get created without it.

Your crafting hero?
Mitchy Moo Miniatures. All of their projects are amazing - I just look on in awe!

You're working on a project, what is on in the background?
Prides. They’re a Glaswegian synth-pop band I’m completely blown away by. It’s as though they set out to make music exactly suited to my personal taste.

Favourite dessert?
I wish I could say it was something cool and sophisticated, but I just love trifle.

Crafting refreshments?
Tea and Jaffa Cakes. I’m somewhat addicted!

Your favourite handmade item?
A tiny little 1/12 scale friendship bracelet. I bought it years ago from a girl on the Den of Angels doll forum who made them, and it still blows my mind how tiny and intricate it is. (ooo can you post a picture for us? Sounds cool.) 

Your favourite place?
My bed. It’s so comfortable and, since becoming a mum, I value sleep more than ever.

Three things that make you happy?
My daughter, my partner, and sleep.

Your biggest achievement?
Getting into Cambridge University and sticking it out. I almost quit so many times.

Thanks so much for letting us have have a nosy into your world. I am totally going to be following your blog. Who the heck doesn't love miniature?! Look forward to seeing more from you Jess! 
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  1. This is fantastic - I'm fascinated by miniature items, can't wait to see the dolls house when it's finished!

    1. I don't know why we find it so fascinating but we do! (Almost) everything is better miniature. Not cake!