Saturday, August 14, 2010

Dr. Seuss Fabrics!

Given my limited budget for fabrics, I spend a lot of time searching for the cutest prints and the best deals.
Getting a new batch of fabrics in is like Christmas morning for me. A stack of brand new fabrics waiting to be pre-washed, cut and sewn makes me so happy.

When I received an email from one of my favorite online fabric stores, The Fabric Fairy, about a pre-order special they were having on the new Robert Kaufman line of Dr. Seuss fabrics, I knew I had to have some. I put in a pre-order for seven different prints, but I'm sure I'll be back for more. The hardest part was deciding which prints to order; they're all so cute!

Here's just a sampling of some of the prints in the collection.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Owls and Cowls

Owls are so ubiquitous on Etsy that it's something of an inside joke amongst sellers; incorporate an owl into your work and you just might have it featured in one of the coveted Front Page slots.

Or maybe the owl craze has died down a bit...

Given the ubiquity of plush owls, I was surprised when I received a request from a potential customer to make one.
Well, a sale's a sale I guess. Here's what I came up with:

Turns out the request came from a someone who likes owls and is a Spankers' fan. That made a lot more sense.
I do like the way the little owl turned out. Maybe I'll make a few more and see how they do in the shop.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Yard Sale Score!

It's Sunday, so I didn't really expect there to be an abundance of garage sales today, but I checked Craigslist and there was one on the way to the grocery store, and I needed to pick up a few things anyway, so I put the kids in the car and we went to check it out.


I'd been wanting an armoire or some sort of shelving for this spot. I desperately needed a place where I could organize my craft and sewing supplies, which have so far been stored in bins and boxes around the house and out in our detached office/storage building. I was wasting so much time searching for the things I needed and having to sort through a huge plastic bin of fabric every time I needed a particular one. A lot of stuff was stored in the baby's closet (the only closet with any space in it), so if I needed something from there and he was sleeping, I'd just have to wait.
Now I have almost everything I need within arms' reach of the kitchen table, where I do most of my sewing and crafting, and I can easily tell what fabrics I have and how much. My sewing machine fits in the bottom part easily so it's a breeze to put everything away if we want to use the table for say, eating. The best part; it was only $30! I also walked away with a couple of wool sweaters that are felting in the washer right now. I'm not sure what I'm going to make out of them yet, but I'm pretty sure they want to be turned into plush toys of some sort.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

More Handmade Gifts

In a few days we're headed to Louisiana to visit the in-laws, and then off to my sister's new home near Mobile, AL.
There we will be celebrating three birthday's; my middle son's, my niece Madison's and my other niece, Breanna's.
I made a Waldorf-style doll for Madison, so decided to make Breanna's gifts as well.

I found the cutest little free purse pattern here. The first one I made, I reduced the size of the pattern to accommodate the fabric I was using since I didn't have enough for the full-size purse. The result was cute, but so tiny I decided it would be better as a little play purse for Madison (who's turning two), so now I had two gifts for Maddy and still nothing for Breanna.

The next purse seemed like a the perfect size for a nine-year old girl. The pattern is easy to use and these little purses can be whipped up in about an hour's time. I might have to make a couple for myself, although I would probably lengthen the strap a little.

I also made some polymer clay charm jewelry for Breanna. This was a foray into two previously unexplored crafts; polymer clay and jewelry making. Seriously, hats off to anyone who works in either of these mediums, because you need to have some serious patience and good eyes for this stuff. I think they turned out pretty cute, and given that the charms are tiny, I have a TON of clay leftover for future crafts.
I made her a strawberry earrings and necklace set:

Another earring/necklace set with cupcakes:

And a little charm bracelet with various treats:

I'm really looking forward to our trip. Hope the girls like their gifts!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Adventures in Doll Making

I decided I wanted to make a doll for my niece's 2nd birthday, and have been really enchanted with Waldorf style dolls lately, so I set out to make my own.

Since the traditional Waldorf dolls are made with all natural materials like wool roving for stuffing, cotton interlock for the "skin" and mohair yarn for the hair, and because those materials can be very expensive, I decided I would make a "practice" doll with materials I had around the house.

I didn't have any wool roving on hand, but there's usually a giant bag of polyfill around so I decided to use that. And instead of the gauze tubing I used a knee-high stocking to form the head.

There are a few different tutorials on the internet that show how the head is constructed. I consulted this one and this one.

The skin colored cotton interlock that most doll makers recommend for these style dolls is extremely pricey, so my next improvisation was to use some bamboo velour I had leftover from making cloth diapers. It seemed like the perfect choice as it was a close approximation to a skin tone, and it's so soft. I wrapped my shaped head tightly in the velour and hand stitched it in place, then embroidered the facial features. One more improvisation; traditionally these dolls' cheek color is applied using a beeswax crayon, one more thing I didn't have. A regular old Crayola brand worked just fine. Now I had something that was actually starting to look like a doll!

The hair was definitely a challenge. I used a bulky acrylic yarn that I had picked up at a flea market, and I really wanted to make a her wig using the crocheted cap method detailed in this tutorial, but ultimately found this yarn too ungainly to crochet with, so instead I used this tutorial.
I couldn't manage to sew the hair on with a length of yarn as instructed. The yarn was just too thick to pull through the head fabric, but I sewed it on with thread and it seems like it's tacked down pretty good. I anticipate that she may be carried around by the hair a bit since she's a gift for a toddler, so I really sewed the hair down.
I think her hair may be my favorite part of her!

I'm not thrilled with her body; she's a bit long in the torso, and I should have curved her arms, so I guess it's back to the drawing board to make a new body pattern, or I might just break down and purchase one, but all in all I'm pleased with how she turned out. I made her a little cotton dress with matching bloomers. I had to put her out of sight from Lennon, because he really loves her and I don't want him to get too attached; she started out as a practice doll, but she's definitely going to my niece, and I guess the next doll I make will be for Lennon.

I wonder what Maddy will name her? She looks like an Emily to me, but I'll let Maddy decide.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

This ain't my first rodeo, kid.

Your diaper is dry. Your belly is full. And the doctor has given you a clean bill of health.

I know you're faking it because there are no tears, you keep casting sideways glances at me to see if I'm watching you, and if I were to pick you up the crying would cease instantly.

Not being allowed to pull every CD off the shelf is not going to kill you or cause you any harm at all, so get over it and go play with your toys.

I refuse to be manipulated by a 14 month old. You're STILL crying? Wow, you really have stamina! No, you cannot play with the CDs. I can block out your fake crying; it doesn't bother me at all! It just blends in with the other household noises like the refrigerator's hum or the AC kicking on.

That's almost 5 minutes now! I like how you wind it up to a fevered pitch, then go into the pathetic sobbing for a bit, then wind it right back up. One has to admire your dramatic range! But no, CDs are not for babies to play with.

Here! You want to play in the tupperware cabinet? I'll unlatch it for you. No? Not even the prospect of being able to scatter plastic bowls all over the place has any appeal? You really want to play with those CDs, huh? And you're still crying. Doesn't that hurt your throat after a while? Well, I'm sorry, but CDs are not for...

you know what kid? Knock yourself out! They're all backed up on the computer anyway. Take 'em all off the shelf, open 'em up and spill their contents. I don't care anymore.

Just please stop crying.