Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Fairy Princess Pumpkin House--part 1: Inspiration

I love all things miniature.  Always have!  Several years ago, I went to a miniatures show, and purchased an undressed old woman with green skin...a witch!  ("A Witch!  A Witch!  Burn the Witch!  She's a Witch!" ...for all you Monty Python fans)  That single purchase inspired me to create a witch house in miniature, and even spawned the idea for a novel.  The novel is in progress (very slow...don't often get time for writing!), and I've been collecting things for the Witch house for years. 

Recently, I took out the box with all my witch stuff, and the kit for the house, and got inspired to start working on it.  But then...I got a little sidetracked.  I was looking online for ideas and inspiration, and came across a tutorial for making a Halloween house out of a "funkin"--those styrofoam/molded pumpkins the craft stores sell.  I was worried that doing a whole house would be too big a project to start now (it probably is), and loved the idea of making a house out of a found object (I love the miniature book "Miniature Worlds in 1/12 Scale"--they make houses out of teapots, etc!).  So the wheels in my brain began spinning, and pretty soon, I was sketching out plans to make my daughter a dollhouse out of a Fun-Kin. 

Part of the idea is to make Halloween fun--my daughter has developed a fear of the "scary" things at the craft store, and has claimed that Halloween scares her.  So, I'm planning a bunch of things to make Halloween fun and not scary.  I thought that a Halloween-themed dollhouse would be a great idea!  I've designed it to be the perfect size for her little Princess and Polly Pocket dolls...the "Fairy Princess Pumpkin House", complete with furniture.

I thought it would be an inexpensive project, but going to the craft store means inevitably purchasing about a gazillion other things, far, it would be far more inexpensive to buy her a play dollhouse. wouldn't be as unique, special, or nearly as fun to create!

I will post progress on the house as I go along.  Last night, I began carving (after cleaning up work space in my room!) and fitted the floors.  I have an order for a beaded bracelet, and I need to work on that, too, so... priorities!

Look for the next installment soon!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ice Cream Sandwiches for Ben

Several months ago, I began crocheting and knitting play food for my daughter.  A few of my friends had come over to visit, and saw the food, thinking it was cool (and that I needed to get a life).  Later, I e-mailed one of them, and asked if there was something specific her son would like, as he was particularly taken with the toys.  So she asked him what he'd like, and I decided to make them for him for his birthday.  One of the items he wanted was his favorite frozen treat, ice cream sandwiches.  So I browsed Ravelry to see what was there, but unfortunately, I didn't find what I was looking for.  A challenge!  Aha!!  So... I made my own pattern.  Not that it was particularly difficult--it is all flat crochet--but I'm rather tickled that it turned out so nicely.  I made him three so that he could share sandwiches with his parents, and then I thought that it needed special presentation, so I also made up a box for them.  Yeah, I'm geeky that way.

Anyway, here are Ben's Ice Cream Sandwiches, a free pattern I share with anyone who likes them!


  • Worsted weight yarn in white/cream and dark brown.  I don't know the quantities, but it was not a lot--remnants, leftover bits, etc.  I know I used Vanna's Choice yarns, however.  I like their loft and lack of "squeak" when you use them.
  • Size E hook (3.5mm)
  • 1" foam (I used a pre-cut chair pad foam from Jo-Ann's) cut into 3 1/2" x 1 3/4" rectangles
Sandwich cookie top and bottom: (make two for each sandwich)

With brown yarn, chain 14

1.  Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each sc across.  Ch 1, turn (13 sts).
2-5.  Sc in each sc across, ch 1, turn (13).
6. sc in next 12 sc, 3 sc in 13th sc, do not chain or turn.  Continue sc across ends of the other rows, spacing 4 sc across, 3 sc in corner stitch, then sc in each ch across.  3 sc in first ch, space 4 sc across row ends, 3 sc in last stitch, 1 sc in each of the next 13 sc.  Tie off, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Ice Cream Filling: (make one for each sandwich)

With white yarn, chain 5

1. Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each sc across.  Ch 1, turn (4)
2-48.  Sc in each sc across, ch 1, turn (4).
49.  Sc in each sc across, tie off, leaving an 8" tail for sewing.


Bury starting tail of ice cream filling.  Using the tail at the end of the stitching, sew the short ends of the filling together, creating a loop (be careful not to twist the stitching!).  Bury the tail and set aside.

Bury starting tail of sandwich cookie top and bottom.  Before stitching the filling and the sandwich cookies together, I made a stitch in the next sc top loops to make a smooth finish on the cookie edge.  To do this, I thread the yarn through a tapestry needle and then pass the needle under the top loops of the next crochet stitch.  I then take the needle back down into the same place that I started, making it look like the rest of the top loops.  I also like to take a little tack stitch unobtrusively in the crocheted fabric as a kind of "knot", securing the tension of that little stitch, and ensuring I won't pull it too much when I start the regular stitching.  Anyway, bring your needle up to the nearest corner and set it aside.

At this point, I put the foam rectangles in the loop of filling stitches, aligning the stitched corner with a corner of the foam, and keep it there.  It gives me a better idea of how the stitches need to be aligned as I sew it.  Place the cookie part on top, and whipstitch the edge of the cookie to the top edge of the filling.  After you finish stitching, tie off and hide the tail.

The tricky part is getting the top and bottom pieces to line up properly, which just means paying close attention to how things are lined up.  My first sandwich was just a bit off, and the sides looked a little wonky as a result.  The second two turned out better.  I found that I was expecting the second corners to end further than they really did, so I needed to start the corner stitching a stitch or two sooner.  If that makes ANY sense...  These were fun, quick, and easy!  Now my daughter wants some...  Sigh....

I also have the file for the box, if anyone wants that.  I completely made it up in Publisher.  :)  Just print it on cardstock, cut it out, fold and tape/glue the sides. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Creative Brain at Work

Yes, it is almost 2 am.  Why am I still up?

I've had a flurry of creative energy the last few days, and made a bunch of jewelry.  Today I photographed a large number of the items, and then spent my evening cropping and fixing photos in Photoshop, then listing a few of them on Etsy.

Here are a few of the goodies I've made:


Strange that I can't seem to put those side-by-side...grrr...

Anyway...I also took a picture of a work in progress that I really like:

This is a pendant!  I found the inspiration on Fusion Beads' website: 
Of course, I have a vast quantity of flower beads, so...without reading the instructions, I went to work.  Later, I read the instructions to see how they did it.  I used crimp beads under the flower heads, while they used G-S Hypo Cement to glue the beads in place.  Oh.  Oh, well.  I did just about everything else the same way, except that I had trouble getting enough of the flowers in the "vase" I improvised.  I inserted several flower stems into the vase without securing them to a jump ring or the loop inside the vase--it was too bulky.  So I just tucked them in, arranged them the way I liked them, and dribbled some Diamond Glaze into the bottom. 

Oops--it dribbled out a bit, so I had to do some emergency cleanup there, and to keep the whole thing sitting upright, I used a spool of thread as a stabilizer.  After the initial application of glue, I figured the bottom was now sealed, so I added some more Diamond Glaze to the interior of the vase, which glued the flower stems in position (they were a bit floppy).  Now that they've had time to set, the pendant is really cool!  I'll have to take a finished photo of it later.

While I had my camera out, I took a picture of another work in progress...or rather, several.  I make crocheted necklaces, and after I've done the thread work, I then stitch clasps into the ends, and then seal them with Fray Check.  While they dry, I hang them over the crook arm of my Ott-Lite.  I just liked the play of light on the curtain of beads, so I took a picture:

Next on the list is photographing these necklaces and getting those up on Etsy--they are my best sellers!  :)

Ok...I'm tired now.  Well, I was before, but now I'm REALLY tired.  I hope I don't have another school dream/nightmare again!!

I got this in a recent e-mail:  "I don't think of them as chin hairs, they are misplaced Eyebrows"....

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Baby fun

Several weeks ago, I made my sister some hats and booties for the new baby, my nephew Milo.  Today she posted the cutest pictures of him in one of the outfits...I had to share:


Too bad the pattern was only for an infant size!!  Isn't he a cutie?  Well, in a grumpy-old-man kind of way...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sewing, Anyone?

Well, I got some instant gratification sewing done in the last two days.  Last summer, I cut out six or seven dresses and a couple of nightgowns for my daughter, and then left them in a pile in my sewing room, unstitched.  Worried that she may have outgrown them, I checked the pattern measurements, but to my relief, they were still the right size.  I guess I was thinking ahead last year!  Anyway, I decided to actually sew them up this weekend.  Yesterday, I worked on and finished a nightgown for her.  The fabric had, of course, a Disney princess on it--Ariel, with friends, printed with a tropical feel in teal, red and yellow.  Bright, but for bedtime, perfect.  The way it worked up, it reminds me of a Hawaaiian muumuu!  However, little girl loved it, even though it was too big in the neckline and kept falling off her shoulders.  I corrected that by running a 1/8" red ribbon through the neckline (it had a narrow bias facing) and tying it in front with a bow.  Now it fits perfectly, and she's thrilled.  Wore it all morning!

Today, I didn't know where to begin, so I asked Ella to pick which dress I should make.  The one she chose was white pique embroidered with a pink and green floral border that I purchased a few years ago from Farmhouse Fabrics on clearance.  I got a second one, but I'll make that up later.  The pattern was very simple, the sleeveless sundress pattern from Kari Mecca's Sewing With Whimsy.  It worked up so fast (no hem!) that I had time to get halfway through a second, similar dress.  Ella absolutely loved this dress, and couldn't get it on fast enough.  She danced all over in it, and wouldn't take it off until bedtime.  I consider that a pretty good indicator that she liked it.  In fact, I had a hard time making her stand still long enough to photograph her in it!  You can see that she's got plenty of room in it, and the hem hits her at about mid-calf.  The camera angle is a little high, so it looks long.

The second dress I'm working on is sooooo cute!!  I got the fabric at JoAnn's one day...a mother and her mother were getting some fabric cut out, and I thought the print was cute, so after she was done with it, I got it from her!  I'm using the same basic sundress pattern, but I'm also using some wide ric-rac on the neckline, armscye, and as detail trim on the bodice.  The skirt uses three different patterns, tiered.  I'm very excited to finish it, because I know that Ella's going to love it. 

Well, going to go downstairs to play a little Lego Star Wars with the husband...if he's in the mood. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

July 3 quickie

Sigh...why do people set off fireworks before the 4th??  My husband's theory is that they are people who have never had pets or kids.  I'm inclined to agree.  I believe it is inconsiderate to set off fireworks prior to the 4th, especially at night, when kids are going to bed, etc.  Yes, it is a Sunday and tomorrow's a holiday, but it doesn't it for the actual holiday, willya??

Working on a cap-sleeve cardigan for my daughter.  I'm about halfway through with it.  I sat out on the patio knitting while she played with the dog, bubbles and the sandbox.  For once, my husband had the time to sit out there and relax with us.  I have many things to do, of course, but... somehow, cleaning house just isn't something I felt like doing today.  Tomorrow, we'll have to pick up the downstairs...Ella has been making it her usual state of chaos again.  Then we'll need to vacuum, and I'll have to clean the bathroom.  My mother-in-law is coming, so...better have it looking tidy! 

I really want to sew and do more embroidery, but...other stuff keeps getting in the way.

The good news is that Wednesday, I'm dropping the barnacle off at daycare/preschool while my MIL and I run down to Vancouver to go to Fabric Depot--or, as I call it, Fabric Mecca!  With so many JoAnn's around here, there is just no variety.  Nor any good quality, to be honest.  And since they are having 30 % off everything...I can't NOT go! 

Another rocket just went off next to my house...grrr....many curses running through my head.  My favorite for the day:  "May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits!"

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bleuette has cold feet

Ok...just a quick one, because I want to go to bed before midnight.

A few weeks ago, I was prowling through my Yahoo boards, and found a few knit/crochet patterns on my Bleuette Sewing Board that I thought I'd try.  The first one was a slipper--the same kind of slipper I had as a kid!  So...I had to make up a pair. 


(I really need to de-clutter my sewing table when I take pictures...)

I was tickled with how these turned out, and immediately made a pair to send to my mom.  The yarn I used here is "Willow Tweed" by Louisa Harding Yarns...lovely stuff:  40% Alpaca, 40% Merino, and 20% silk.  This is kind of a light greenish-teal/fern with cream-colored slubs/nubbies.  I have planned a robe and nightgown around some beautiful fine cotton shirting I got at Fabric Depot (aka Fabric Mecca) in Vancouver, Wa.  It has a pretty striped pattern in fine lines of fern green and white.  So...the nightgown is the 1915 Chemise de Nuit (pictured below), in white swiss batiste with coordinating feather stitching details (as the pattern shows) .  I was going to do the bathrobe Robe de Chambre 1911, but the pattern I have is missing the belt, and the collar doesn't fit the back of the robe properly as written, so I need to do some tweaking before I make that up.  The robe would be in the stripe, with white collar and cuffs with the chain-stitch embroidery indicated.  (I just checked the original pattern...and discovered that the belt is not a pattern, but simply instructions to embroider a particular length of fabric with the wavy pattern and stitch it into a belt...I guess it would help to read the pattern, huh?  Then again, it is in French, and I only know French sewing terms, not the language itself!)


There is a prettier robe de chambre later, in the 20's I think, that I may do instead.  I don't know...most of the early dressing gowns were pretty utilitarian.  And the embroidery on the collar and cuffs is a pain in the thimble, let me tell you!!  I have embroidered three sets of them so far (one for my mom's Christmas Bleuette Trousseau, and two to sell), and it is some finicky work.  I did it on batiste with a single strand of 6-strand DMC floss...will have to post pictures of the embroidery sometime.  Hmm...  Maybe that will be my next post--embroidery for dolls.  I like it! the little slippers...will definitely have to make more. 

Until later...

Getting in Gear, part Deux

Soo...not having to get up at the butt-crack of dawn turns me into a night owl.  I've spent far too many hours lately poring over patterns online, especially at Ravelry...I just joined, and WOW!  I love it! 

Anyway...I'm always on the lookout for nice doll patterns, so I browsed the doll section.  I had NO idea so many American Girl patterns were out there!!  When Ella gets old enough and wants one, I'm set for life!  But I sew for smaller dolls, so I had to weed through all the big ones to find the kind of thing I wanted.  I stumbled across a pattern called "Lati Yellow Dress" by Shelley Sellwood.  I don't have a lot of BJDs, and the smallest one I have is about 7" tall, and the La Ti Yellow dolls are 10 cm tall!!  (4" for us Yanks)  But...Kish's Riley has a narrow torso, and Ellery is only 5 inches tall, so I thought I could try the pattern and see if it could work...or if I could tweak it to make it work for slightly larger dolls. 

This thing knitted up so fast--it was adorable!!  My box of fingering and sock yarns is buried in my sewing room closet, so I used what I had on hand downstairs, which was Cascade Yarn Heritage in a rich wine red.  The pattern calls for 4 ply yarn, which I think is fingering in the UK, and 2.5mm needles, which, of course, I don't have...I have 2.25, and 2.75, but not 2.5.  Considering all the little knitting I do, you'd think I would have that!  But...I used the 2.75, because the yarn is more of a sock weight.  I found a few things to tweak...the neck was too loose for my taste, and I needed to run a line of yarn through the cast-on stitches to cinch it up a bit.  I think I cast on maybe a little too loosely...not sure on that one.  But I made some adjustments, and shortened it, and Voila! 

The red one is my first attempt at the top/dress.  I love it!  This is on an 8" Wendy (Madame Alexander).  The blue-green one is my second attempt, in which I tried to correct some of the things that bothered me on my first workup.  This time, I used a size 0 needle to cast on and do the first row, then switched to a size 1 for the second row, and a 2 for the rest of it.  The fit of the neck was much better.  However, this time, I also used a different yarn, which worked up smaller and shorter.  I forget what the yarn is (the label is downstairs, and I'm not going to go get it now), but it was definitely a fingering yarn, a smaller diameter than the Cascade Heritage yarn.  I wouldn't say it was a lace yarn...a little too big for that.  All my lace yarns are finer.  But it is a lovely graduated marled yarn, and not all the colorways show on the ball.  The tail I pulled out of the center was green marled with a hint of lavender/purple, and as I knit, it got more and more purple.  I LOVE the color graduation!  I need to make more with this stuff!

Riley is lying down so that the color graduation shows up better!

In my next post, I'll talk Bleuette....stay tuned!  (oh, wait...nobody reads this.  Sigh.)

Getting into gear

Now that I'm off for the summer, I have been working on multiple little projects, kind of getting myself primed for bigger projects later.  We're going on a trip to Idaho in 2 1/2 weeks, so I don't want to get too involved with any big projects. 

SO, with that in are some things I've made in the last few days...

I love Bleuette dolls, and have recently purchased a doll bed for my girls.  I thought I'd make the bedspread/blanket published in La Semaine de Suzette in both 1906 and 1917.  The translated instructions did not give me any guidance regarding yarn size or hook, so...I had some lovely rose-colored Cascade Yarns Heritage sock/fingering yarn, and used a size 3 steel hook (although a US C hook would have worked, it seemed a bit large for the yarn).  I happily crocheted away, and when I got about halfway through the main part of the blanket, I realized that there was no way this would be long enough for my doll bed, let alone be useful for a Bleuette.  Sigh...  Me and wanting things to be delicate and not "hurky".  But rather than give up and toss it, I finished it (although I made it longer than the pattern calls was just too short), and decided to see if it might work on one of my other doll beds:

And it does!  This is a Strombecker doll bed (actually half of a bunk bed set) that has no bedding on it.  I keep meaning to make bedding for it...hmm...  Maybe this is the excuse I need?  I thought I'd make the second bed's blanket in cream (I have that colorway in the same yarn), and then run ecru/cream ribbon through the pink blanket, and pink ribbon through the cream blanket.  Not matching, but coordinated. 

Here is the original pattern image: 

And here is my finished blanket:

I have not yet blocked the blanket--I will do that soon.  I've got too much crap on my ironing board at the moment to do that.

As for my Bleuette bed, is a double-sized bed, so the blanket looked completely ridiculous on it!  I think I'll find a nice DK yarn ( excuse to go yarn shopping!) and maybe enlarge the central section of the blanket to fit the bed's dimensions.  The Strombecker furniture is for 8" dolls, like Wendy, Ginny, and all my little Kish girlies. 

Sigh...must clean up the sewing room...I've got too much stuff in disarray again...

Yessss! Vacation!

I don't entirely feel like I'm on vacation yet, but...I'm enjoying the opportunity to keep whatever hours I want.  Although the little barnacle does wake me up earlier than I'd her mind, she's letting me sleep in!  She's happier, too...I think she got pretty worn out by the end of the school year.  In fact, the first thing she did was come down with a cold.  She was a little clingy cough machine yesterday, but has improved today.  She's been able to play all day and not have to go anywhere, and that makes her happy.

I've been able to do some organizing of patterns, and play around with yarns, etc.  I made a little sleeveless top in size 10 crochet cotton for an 8" doll using a pattern from Knit and Crochet for Small Dolls by Marjory Fainges.  Too cute!  It is the yellow/orange top you see on the cover:

I've started the pair of jodphurs, too.  My mom wants those!  This is a great little book--although I think some of the patterns are a bit more involved than I'd like for small dolls--lots of tails to weave in a small space.  I don't mind seaming, but I do mind tails. 
Anyway, I made the top in white DMC Baroque crochet cotton, size 10.  It was my first attempt at making a scalloped edging, too, and I'm so thrilled with it that I want to make more!  It turned out pretty cute.  I'm going to make a little tiered skirt to go with it:

I didn't intend to show dolly nudity, here...just wanted to show the top.  I'm considering a skirt in the peachy floral, and capris out of the blue-green print.  The peach floral is a pima cotton print from Farmhouse Fabrics, and the blue/green floral is a printed cotton pique I picked up at the Sewing Expo from Genevieve's many years ago.  I haven't seen Genevieve in a while...I think she may have retired.  But I bought some beautiful fabrics from her...and I still hoard them!  The piles of stuff stacked around my table is pretty standard for my working area--multiple projects in the works!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Summer SUMMER Summer VACATION!!!

AMEN for vacation!!  What would I do without it??  I have three days left...three days of getting up at ungodly hours, dragging myself into the shower, dragging a reluctant 4-year-old out of bed and to preschool, and dragging reluctant high schoolers through the joys of English.  But no more!  My Seniors graduated last week, and all three classes of them have become my three new prep periods.  Yeah, baby!!  :)  What have I been doing with all this free time??  Let's see...I've graded the few papers I have left for my sophomores, filed my original copies back in their binders, filed extra copies of assignments, etc. in my filing cabinet, taken down my classroom decorations, put my books in my cabinet, inventoried my textbooks, sent miscellaneous leftover items away to the lost-and-found, and shopped for yarn online.  That was on Friday, when I was tired and feeling less than motivated to do anything. 

But the end is in sight, and I'm really energized by it.  Well, that and the delicious ability to catch up on lost sleep on the weekend.  Yesterday I was particularly lazy and shiftless, but today...I made my husband breakfast, cleaned the kitchen, did the dishes (normally his job on the weekend), and sent him off for a "man day" to himself.  I think that's probably a better gift for him than anything I can buy...guilt-free time to himself without any cling-ons, like a very loving but very demanding little girl, as well as a rather shaggy-looking puppy who wants to play.

So...the child is napping, the kitchen is clean (although the living room is not...I may be somewhat energized today, but tackling the kitchen was enough), and I have an hour and a quarter to myself. 

So...SUMMER:  I'm not a huge fan of hot weather, being rather round and having excess insulation, but I am a huge fan of vacation.  And I have been spinning all kinds of projects around in my head.  SO many things I want to do!  Knitting and crocheting and sewing and embroidery and painting and camping and playing and all that good stuff.  And since I've been able to come home guilt-free, I've been able to dedicate Ella's naptime to my projects. 

I've managed to finish cutting out the pile of Bleuette clothing I've stockpiled--can't wait to get started on some of those.  I also set aside some simple embroidery projects for Bleuette--aprons, nightgowns, underthings, blouses, and in a few hours yesterday and a few this morning, I've finished a set of underthings as well as a blouse--that one I did in a very fine shirting material I got at Fabric Depot about a year ago, and embroidered the scalloped edging in one strand of floss.  My first attempt at the neckline went a little wonky, but I picked it out and started over again after I'd done more of it.  The second one looks much nicer.  I will have to post pictures here soon....

I've also been obsessing over vests and tunics for my daughter.  I don't want to pay the money for the expensive sweaters I love at Gymboree and etc., and because she has a long waist, most of them end up too short on her before she really outgrows them.  She also doesn't seem to like bulk on her arms. solution is vests/tunics to keep her warm.  She's got somewhat sensitive skin, and already has KP (Keratosis Pilaris--commonly known as "chicken skin"--a form of eczema), and since I had bad eczema as a kid (and have not entirely outgrown it), I am careful about the fiber content of yarns for her.  Wool of course is warmest, itches.  I don't care how soft they say it is, even cashmere itches.  And cashmere is expensive.  I cannot wear wool--even the softest stuff starts to itch after an hour or two.  I have a sweater set that I love that is a wool blend, but I can't wear it more than half a day.  At that point, I'm ready to rip it off my body like The Hulk in a temper!  My husband also has eczema, so the poor kid is doomed.

The downside to non-wool fibers is that they don't always have a nice feel to them.  I hate the squeak--that squeaky noise that you get when you're working with acrylic/synthetic yarns.  Ugh!  So...I'm trying to find decently-priced alternatives to wool.  Fortunately, I'm only planning to have her wear the tunics/vests over a shirt/blouse, so a wool blend might be ok for her.  Knitpicks has some nice cottons...I may invest in some of those.  I love their Crayon DK cotton--SO soft!!  But boucle yarn has some limitations.  Still...I've got a rainbow stash of it, so I may end up making her some rainbow-striped things. 

I recently discovered Ravelry, and have been spending many hours poring over their offerings--WOW!  I think I'm in trouble.  I'm afraid to bring home more yarn, husband may not understand my obsession, and is generally supportive of all my creative endeavors, but...he does complain about the clutter and how we have too much stuff.  Hmm...he works during the day...and I'm on vacation, so....hmm...  :)

Well, gotta hop in the shower before it is time to wake up the munchkin for her bath and subsequent trip to the Ram for Father's Day dinner. 

Happy crafting!

Friday, May 27, 2011

I love the Internet!

While browsing Farmhouse Fabrics' website, looking to buy enough stuff to earn a free Memorial Day gift, I looked for patterns to make a child's apron.  And I felt discouraged.  After all, a kid's apron isn't all that hard to make...why do I have to pay $10.00 for a pattern to make one??  So, knowing that there's all kinds of freebies and inspiration on the internet...I did a google search.  Bwahahahahaaaa...

What I got was an eye-opener.  And some MAJOR inspiration!  There are so many crafty, talented people out there, and I feel the need to spread the love (even though I know that there is nobody out there reading this).  Here are some cool things I found:  I love that the tutorial shows you how to make your own patterns...  I make my own doll patterns, but I've never made people patterns.  Guess I won't be on Project Runway any time soon.  another blogger with good tutorials.  Can't wait to try some of these!  I love that she makes these for her own children, so they are kid-friendly!  I am totally doing this in the fall.  I believe I have some nice sweaters she would LOVE to wear as a dress.... hmm....  I am definitely making a run to the thrift store this weekend.  This is adorable, and Ella will love it!  Ella has a long torso, and all of her shirts get too short before she outgrows them--I'm going to dig into the shirts I've set aside and have fun with this one!!  Although I think I'd make the skirt a bit more full...Ella's a twirler...

It's been a while!

It is amazing how fast time flies.  Even when you are experiencing the coldest Spring on record!  I think we have had maybe five days of real spring weather in two months.  Bleah.

The celebrations around our 4-year-old's birthday got us wiped out, but we have recovered, and my little Monkey is enjoying her new status and additional year.  If only she'd be less clingy!

Let's see...current projects:
  • Fairies for Lissy and Wendy dolls (12" and 8", respectively) for the 2011 Madame Alexander Doll Convention in Atlanta.  I can't go this year--school gets out on the 23rd of June (sigh...I love snow days, but they do ruin the end of the year), and I can't take time off in the last two weeks of school.  So...I'll make a few things and send them off.  Here are photos of finished Lissy fairies:

  • I'm still occasionally crocheting items, although I haven't done it in a while.  I've been tired a lot at night! 
  • My sewing room is much more organized, but I need to do a little more picking up and putting away...I had some bracelet orders to complete, so I have some bead stuff out, and I have all my fairy supplies laying around.

Things I want to do right now:
  • Sew some of the dresses I've cut out for my daughter
  • Make some Bleuette dresses (I'm on a Bleuette kick again)
  • Sew some crazy quilt squares so that I will have something different to work on in class
  • sleep

The oven is not working right now...waiting for a part to come in.  In the meantime, we're using the microwave, the toaster oven, and the portable gas camp burner (runs on propane).  We could also use the barbecue, I suppose.  We've gone out to eat the last two nights.  While I like not having to cook and do dishes, dining out will wear on us, and drain the budget considerably. 

Finally, because I'm a book geek (aren't all English teachers book geeks??), I'll share with you my current reading:  I'm currently listening to Elizabeth Peters' The Falcon at the Portal while I do hand work, and re-reading Elizabeth Gaskell's Wives and Daughters (because I watched the BBC production of it a month or so ago, and forgot what a good book it was).  Pretty soon, I'll be wanting some escapist reading (as I get closer and closer to vacation, I feel the need to get away from the chaos that is the end of the year at a public high school)...I've downloaded Sophie Kinsella's Can You Keep a Secret? in anticipation of this....

Until later, best wishes and happy crafting!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

New Ideas Keep Burning

Why is it that when you go to bed at night, your brain literally spins out new ideas and things you want to make and do, and yet, you are tired and want to go to sleep, but you can't because of all the stuff running through your head??  I hate that.  But I've been inspired by the works of others, and want to play with beads!!  I've been on a beading kick this week, and it is continuing through this week, I think. 

I'm blaming Deborah Roberti for my latest sleeplessness.  Her website and blog have got me wanting to play with my crystals and seed beads and make gorgeous bracelets and earrings!  It started with browsing free patterns on Sova's beading pattern website, where I found Deborah's free patterns for skinny bracelets.  Skinny Bracelet II really worked out great--I made one in pink, silver, and crystal as a wedding bracelet to sell on Etsy, but then I started playing with my bicones, and ended up making a full-color spectrum bracelet with gold seed beads.  I won't call it a rainbow, because it doesn't really look like one, but it uses every color I had (or almost...I didn't include brown or black), and instead of using bicones and 4mm firepolish crystals, I used all bicones.  It is gorgeous.  As soon as I take a pic, I'll post it.  (Not that anyone's reading this)

Bedtime looms.  Heartburn tickles my throat threateningly...tonight my husband made Indian chicken, using a Butter Curry Chicken package from Cost Plus, and Trader Joe's lentils as a side, and Jasmine rice.  And some garlic naan.  I have to confess that my favorites are the naan and the lentils.  I always end up with "mouth on fire" with the chicken.  And rice just isn't my fave.  But I eat it, because he loves it.  And now I'm paying the price.  Ugh.

Saw "Paul" today--loved it!  I created an alien-themed treasury on Etsy as a result:  Alien on Board!

Yeah, I'm a geek. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What I'm working on now!

Let's see...I just bought some crochet patterns on Etsy (I love CraftyAnna!) to make some toys for my daughter, and for my newest nephew, who hasn't arrived yet.  I also bought yarn to make some of the things I've already printed.  I've been on a bit of a yarn kick lately--crocheting things, mostly.  My grandma taught me to crochet when I was 8, so now, when I am in my early 40s, I can crochet "like the wind", so to speak.  I can knit, but it takes longer, and sometimes I get frustrated with it.  I like short-term knitting projects!  Hats, socks, that kind of thing. 

On my desk, I have a dish of beads, lucite flower beads in bags that I just took out of their shipping envelope, a collection of items I've recently made and need to be photographed and posted on Etsy, beads that I recently dug up and need to do something with, and a bunch of other stuff that I need to clean up and organize.  But...I'm tired and have a sinus headache, so...I'm going to take a shower and then go downstairs, plunk myself in my comfy chair, and break out the yarn--hmm...which project will I start today?  I'm thinking some baby shoes/booties for my sister's baby.  I downloaded an adorable free project for sea monster booties, and I think they'd be a hit!  I also bought a sock monkey hat and booties pattern, and want to start that, too.  Oh, the decisions!!  But it will be nice to put my feet up.

Spent the weekend with my parents.  My mom came out for the Sewing Expo in Puyallup this weekend, so we did a whirlwind afternoon tour of the show, and came home with tired feet and sore backs, but lots of goodies!  Maybe I'll post a list of them later.  On Saturday, I took my parents around for a drive through areas that are changing around here since they moved.  We went to Trader Joe's, had lunch at a local hole-in-the-wall Mexican food place (very good food), went grocery shopping, then mom and I had our hair cut.  THEN we went back out to a scrapbooking store that we had passed which had posted 50-70% off Going-out-of-Buisness sale (where I spent almost $100...but what a deal!!), followed by a trip to Michael's so that I could pick up some yarn for the patterns I'd bought.  It was 6 pm by the time we got home, exhausted. 

I spent most of the morning snoozing in my chair while my daughter played, the dog barked, and the husband took care of things.  He knew I was pooped!  :)  Maybe I can get him to take us out to dinner tonight?  Hmm....

Anyway, I think he's out of the shower now.  My turn!  Kidlet's still napping...woohoo!!

Let's try this again?

Here I sit, the rest of the house asleep.  Nothing but the hum of electronics and the ticking of the clock disturb the quiet.  Oh, except my neighbor, who is apparently dragging his garbage can down the entire alley.  Sigh.

I've tried blogging before, but have never really "got" how to make it work.  So I'm trying again.  Basically, I want to connect with people out there who are creatively-minded.  I'm a working mom, have a very precocious almost-4-year-old, and never have enough time to do all the things I want to do.  The "have-tos" get in the way sometimes...I have to go to the grocery store, I have to do laundry, I have to unload the dishwasher, etc. 

But my poor little head is so full of ideas and things I want to create that sometimes I have a hard time going to sleep at night.  And I want to know if there are others out there like me, who can't seem to get enough opportunity to make all the things you want.  I have come to a point in my life where I realize that I may never complete all the things I've bought patterns for, and that hoarding the supplies with which to make them might be a problem.

So...if your sewing space/craft space/office overflows with bits of thread, yarn, fabric, and your vacuum sounds like a rain stick when you clean that space, you are a kindred spirit!  Let's talk!