Sunday, November 26, 2006

I won't be posting any photos for a while, because we returned from a weekend at my inlaws in Pennsylvania to discover someone had broken into the house and stolen my daughter's computer, the camera, the DVD player and my husband's electric razor (that one baffles me). At least they left my computer, probably because it was too big to easily cart out. This is the second time we've been broken into in the past six months and it's making our decision to move a lot easier.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Dolls' Dressmaking

Look what arrived in the mail today!

Dolls' Dressmaking by Winifred Butler, c. 1962
I found it in the school library when I was about 8 and I didn't quite yet have the sewing skills I needed to create the outfits. Later the book disappeared from the library and I would search for it every time I got a chance, but it never resurfaced. I don't know if it was lost, or simply discarded because it was an older book. I actually found it again back when I first started selling books, but decided to sell it, certain that it would turn up again at a library sale but it never did. Fortunately it was fairly easy to find a copy online, it's just when I was attending library sales all the time it was more fun to try and hunt down books there rather than just ordering them.

I love that pink coatt--I had a similar one of my own in yellow that my grandmother made me for easter one year. There are even instructions for making the little button boots.

Very 1960's! These dolls would have been quite fashionable.
Another project for the neverending to-do list!

Doll book and felt bento

Thanks to Mollychicken I was reminded of one of my favorite doll making books.

I remember finding it at the library when I was in high school and experimenting with different types of dollmaking. I made my sister an African doll with a baby on her back--I have no idea what happened to it, I had actually forgotten making it until I saw the picture in the book. Thanks to our great interlibrary loan system, I was able to find a copy, but I think I may have to purchase a copy of my own.

This is another great crafting book from my youth. Some of the projects are a little too eighties for my tastes (despite growing up in that era, I truly have very little nostalgia for it) but there is so much in it that I am able to find things I like.

And to add to my list of things I want to make, mr. monkeysuit linked to this wonderful website and now I want to make Ivy a felt bento.

Monday, November 20, 2006

I think I resolved the issues with Ivy's dress. A big part of the problem was one of the fabrics I chose just wasn't working with the rest of the dress. I really wanted to use it, but I wasn't happy with the results. Another problem is that Ivy has a narrow torso, her ribcage and shoulders are about a size smaller than the rest of her, due to surgery when she was born for a large omphalocele. So I need to make the larger size to accomodate her height, but size the bodice down. This was a more fitted dress than I usually make, so I needed to be sure the measurements were correct. I have to confess that in general I am a sloppy seamstress, I am more excited about the outcome than the actual process so I tend to sort of try and fix sewing problems without actually taking out seams and redoing anything. This time that wouldn't work, and I had to redo the whole bodice. I'm happy with the results and Ivy likes the dress so I guess I was successful. Here it is before hemming and finishing the lining. I cannot ever get facings to lie flat, so I almost always line bodices--which gives a nicer finish anyway, I think

This started out three years ago as a skirt for Miranda, based on the beautiful skirts the women of Lapland create. There are strips of colored flannel and flowered ribbon trim. It never looked quite right to me and has been sitting on my fabric shelf. As I am packing and sorting things, it occured to me it would make a warm pair of pants for Ivy.
Please pardon the poor quality of this picture, I don't know why my pictures are sometimes great and sometimes lousy when I swear I do the same thing everytime.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I am trying to pack a few boxes every day (well, every other day or so) and it just doesn't seem to be making any difference. I am however, finding cool things I had completely forgotten I owned, such as this silver thimble

I can't even remember where I got this. It's a bit bent so that it makes more of an oval than a circle, so I wonder if it might have been at the bottom of a box of books I bought somewhere. It has a number 7 and a silver crown on it. Unfortunately it's too small for my finger.

I made up some felted drawer mice and a hedgehog for my Etsy shop. I rolled lavender up in the wool before needle felting, they smell wonderful. They are supposed to be drawer sachets.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Man, I am having a bad crafting day and it's making me grouchy and mean. I started a Christmas dress for Ivy using one of my Japanese books, and it's not coming out right at all. It's far too wide in the bodice and the sleeves don't hang right. I'm finding this book a lot more difficult to navigate than the other one I have, and it's really frustrating me. At this point I don't think what I've done so far is salvable, and I'm not that crazy about the print combination I chose either. But I really hate feeling as though I have wasted fabric. I suppose I will end up using it for something, but I am quite annoyed right now and taking a break from the machine.

I also am a bit disappointed in Craftivity . I almost hesitate to post this, since it's gotten such glowing reviews blogwide, which is why I ordered it in the first place. I think if I had looked through it first (I bought it off of Amazon) I probably wouldn't have bought it. The projects are fine, but I didn't see very many I thought I would ever do.

And it took me forever to get decent pictures of the newest items I wanted to put on Etsy. And I really don't like how the new Etsy looks.

Needle Felting

I felted two little mice for the girls, something simple to get started. I tend to want to do something really impressive right away, this was just the right project to figure out the technique. I am going to try and felt some with lavender in the middle to use as drawer sachets.

Now I am working on a home for our gnomes based on these

Sage Dream Design

The thing I love about needle felting something like this is that it's very hard to mess it up, mistakes just become part of the "landscape". I'd like to finish it as a gift to Miranda and Ivy on the Solstice. I always intend to do a proper seasonal celebration, but Winter Solstice often gets lost in Christmas preparations.

Over the past four years, I have been somewhat obsessed with making wool boots. I tried the techniques here and Here but numerous attempts only led to lumps of wool in a vague boot form. I then tried knitting boots that were then felted and had some success with a flat pattern (I hate double-pointed needles, mostly because I can't master them) and made quite a few of those for various people and now I am thinking of attempting to needle felt a pair of baby boots. The knitted ones I felt are great, but several years ago I saw a pair of boots at a fair, they were red and pointy toed and the workmanship was just lovely, more delicate than the ones I knit, but still substantial enough to be footwear. So I may try again.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Amigurumi Friends

Here is an assortment of animal buddies sitting around my computer desk, waiting for Etsy to finish the upgrade so I can put them in the shop. I crocheted these from Sugar and Cream cotton, my hands were hurting from crocheting so tightly, but you can still see spaces between the stitches. Maybe I am stuffing them too tightly? I like how they turned out, especially the bunny and the monkey, but I don't know if I will make any more. I was looking for a project I could work on while watching television and this suited that purpose, but I don't enjoy the look of crocheted stuffed animals as much as fabric ones. I was trying to make something from cotton yarn that a baby could potentially chew on. I made the arms and legs long on some of them and didn't stuff the limbs so they are floppy. They might also be a good project for car trips, or visits with my in-laws.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Books, Fabric and Wool

What's the best thing to do when you can't walk through your house without stumbling over a box and you are trying to figure out how you got so much stuff anyway and how will you ever pack it up? Buy more stuff!

Bento book ISBN 4056043116. I was slightly disappointed only because someone had posted some great pictures in a bento box community, I asked her for the ISBN and she must have had several books because this one is different. The one she posted had really great lunches for kids with animal characters made out of food. I do still like this one, it's just not what I thought it would be.

Guri to Gura aiueo book ISBN 4834017958. I already have a set of Guri to Gura Iroha Karuta cards so I thought this might be fun for Ivy, who is showing far more interest in learning Japanese than Miranda.

And something for me to practice reading. I've read it in English so I am already familiar with the story. Azumanga Daioh ISBN 4840221286

A wonderful selection of wool from A Child's Dream Come True. Aren't the colors glorious? Now to teach myself needlefelting...I made a small snow leopard for Miranda a while ago.

I am not sure I will ever be at this skill level!
I am fairly certain I read somewhere that these dolls are needlefelted, although I could be wrong. They are amazing!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Moving Chaos

This is what my dining room looks like right now

You may be able to see my sewing machine on the dining room table. This is the room I do all my crafting and sewing in, there is barely enough space right now to change the bobbin. I've just about given up on the idea of hand-made gifts for my sister-in-laws shower and will probably just pull stuff from my Etsy shop, which is a somewhat reasonable substitution. But I had wanted to make Ivy a dress for a wedding at the beginning of December, and that might be a bit of a challenge. I am not sure what is worse--trying to work amidst this chaos, or just giving up on it for a while and losing that creative outlet. I have been working on some amigurumi for my shop, since that is something I can do at my desk while watching my lastest jdrama, Kekkon Dekinai Otoko.

And I finished two of the toddler backpacks/knapsacks, they are for sale at my Etsy shop.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

New House

We are first time homeowners of a lovely old house. I am not sure if it's Victorian, but it's at least 1920's. Beautiful woodwork, wood floors, gas fireplace. And a wonderful large kitchen. It was all rather sudden, at least to me, and I am walking around in a bit of a daze thinking good god we have a lot of stuff to pack up. We close at the end of November, there is a bit of work that needs to be done before we can move in so we are hoping to be settled by the middle of December. I am not looking forward to doing this right before the holidays, but I figure the girls aren't going to care if everything is still in boxes, as long as there is a tree and stockings. This does put sort of a rush on making Christmas gifts. Fortunately I've been doing rather well the past few days finishing up projects, the toddler knapsacks are just about done and the pajamas only need elastic in the waistbands. I am so relieved the pajamas are done. I really didn't like the material Miranda picked up, monkeys with bright blue eyeshadow and red lipstick, and the words sweet.
It really made me rather grumpy to work with it. And this was the first time I've worked with a print that very obviously had a right side to it and I was careless cutting pieces out, so Ivy's top is upside down. I figure it will look right side up when she is looking down at herself and left it that way. Besides, they are pajamas, we are the only ones who will ever see them. Or perhaps not, because as homeschoolers Miranda has a penchant for wearing her pajamas in public, much to her dad's dismay.

Let's see, packing, baby shower gift, packing, Christmas gifts--and more packing. Need to get started!