3.28.2010

Easter Crafts


The girls were busy working on their Easter egg dioramas today. Other than using too much flour in the paper mache mix, the project was definitely a success. The girls are proud. They also spent some time making small "eggs" out of wool roving and hot, soapy water. Those are buried somewhere under the paper grass above. And they sort of look like eggs :).

Watching them, however, got me thinking. I had one of those ideas that seems so brilliant and easy in your head. But then it doesn't turn out the way you envisioned. And it's taking more time than I hoped. Hmph. Here is a sneak peek. This chick must have escaped from one of the dioramas. Not sure what it's doing here.


Tomorrow morning, the girls and I are headed down to SoCal to see my parents and older sister/family. I'm bringing the project above and lots of wool felt. We'll see if I can make it work.

Otherwise, I'm also bringing the fabric below to make a simple tote bag for my oldest daughter; she desperately needs one for piano lessons. The adorable fabric alone assures me success with this project. And it will be an excuse to use my mom's fancy sewing machine.


Have a good week!

3.22.2010

Meet Beatrice


This little one is named Beatrice. She was a recent birthday present for a special family friend who just turned three. The doll has short blond curls and big brown eyes, just like the Birthday Girl.


I actually sewed this doll last summer, but as my first blog post described, I got stuck on her face. I fixed her up as best I could and made her a sweet pink dress. Then last month when I saw the Birthday Girl, she was wearing a sparkly red headband to hold back her curls. I decided her doll needed a headband, just the same.

And the Birthday Girl had on glittery red slippers. Her doll needed those, too.


The doll's hair was made using a bulky wool/cashmere yarn. It is so soft, but to be honest, I'm a bit worried about the fuzz-factor. The Birthday Girl's mom has assured me, though, that this doll will have a safe place up on a shelf for awhile, until her daughter is a bit older. Also, I don't have a problem re-doing the hair a few years down the line if it proves to be a problem.

Here is a close-up of her curls.


And here is Little Bea and Louisa :).

3.15.2010

Meet Lily

Wow. Nothing like an icky virus to knock us all out for far too long. It's like life was on pause there for awhile.

Luckily, this morning the windows are open, the washer and dryer are churning, the living room is tidied up (the bedrooms need lots of work), and most importantly, we are all on the mend! Now I'm trying to figure out what was going on in my sewing space. From the looks of all the fabric and patterns strewn about, I had a lot going on. I just don't know what.

As I figure this all out, here is another post about a doll I made last Fall. Meet Lily.



She is the first doll that I have made that is now "out there" in the world. Ok, not quite; she did go to a little girl at my daughter's preschool (the family who won the silent auction item for the custom doll). But still, this Fall my daughter will be off to Kindergarten and I won't see this family anymore. All my dolls and toys thus far have gone exclusively to family and a few good friends.

I loved making this doll. I loved the yarn I used and plan to use it for future dolls (some yarns hold up better than others...this is a really good yarn). The color is so rich and dark.

The dress is made from the same Vogue pattern I used for Louisa. She has lined corduroy shoes, thanks to an awesome doll shoe tutorial by one of my favorite dollmakers ever, Elise of zippypops. I wish she posted more (hint hint), because her work is so meticulous. She has some amazing tutorials on her site - for doll hair, a free teddy bear pattern, tea dying cloth dolls, and the one I use most often, her doll shoe tutorial. To be honest, making doll shoes is one of my least favorite things. Unless they are handsewn with wool felt, sewing little shoes on a machine can be a headache. But Elise's tutorial is so straight-forward and the lined shoes look so nice and polished when completed.

There are still a few alterations I need to make to the doll pattern. I have a few sewn bodies left to finish up (more trial and errors that I'm trying to make the most of). I'm really hoping that my next batch will look better.

And now, I think I'll take the younger girls on morning errands and then a quick visit to the park before preschool.

Happy Monday!

3.03.2010

Meet Louisa


This is Louisa. I made her last fall for the annual auction at my middle daughter's preschool. She was meant to be an example of my work (the highest bidder would win a "custom made doll") and I figured I would find someone to give this particular doll to after the auction was over.

Did that happen? Uh, no. I kept her for myself! She is the first (and so far, only) doll that is MINE. Not my girls'. They play heavily with their dolls. Their dolls are well-loved and it shows. I wanted a doll that would remain in "new" condition, that I could continue to refer to as an example of my work. Not that my daughters' dolls look bad, but they are slept with (or on) every night, carried around by an arm, accidentally stepped upon, etc.

Her dress is a Vogue pattern and I love it! In fact, it may just be a staple on dolls to come. I had to make some alterations, but it fits great! And my husband used our snap-press to put a few snaps on the back.


Above is sort of how we had the display set up at the auction. The auction went well and I'm glad I offered to make one. It was well worth my time :).

And this picture below is one that I sketched up, influenced by a picture in a book called Doctor Dan (?) that had a little blond girl holding a doll. So, not an original drawing at all. But it did allow me to play with my Copic markers, which I still don't know how to use very well :). I need more time to draw!!!

3.01.2010

Meet Annabelle


This was my I have to make this right now project this weekend. And actually, I made her for two very good reasons:

1. We're taking a trip soon and my middle daughter (the 4 1/2 year old) kept asking me which of her dolls she could bring with us and pack away in a suitcase. I thought I should just make her a simple flatdoll that could be squished like a pancake and would still maintain its shape :).

2. This same daughter is my Project Runway pal. We watch every episode together on Friday mornings, her day off from preschool. She tries to create outfits of her own for her dolls after the show is over (tying silk scarves around them). And so I thought, a simple flatdoll would be a perfect doll for her to start actually sewing doll clothes.

(And it is worth mentioning, I drafted this doll to be made with only ONE pattern piece. ONE!)

At first I was stumped on the mouth (see the picture in yesterday's post), but I just decided it was best to go with a smirk to match my daughter's.


(We used the scraps from the dress above for the Hope doll we made for the Dolly Donations drive!)

To make her clothes, I literally placed her on a sheet of freezer paper. With my daughter at my side, I drew a dress shape around half her body. Rudimentary...yes.


I sewed up her bloomers, and then we moved on to her dress.


I wanted my daughter to do the applique herself. But I did use a 1/16" craft punch to help her out (I sometimes do this to assist the girls with hand-sewing).




One of my daughter's favorite books is Fanny, a story about a little girl who initially wants the dolls that all her friends have (very Bratz-like looking dolls). Her mom says no. So, Fanny sets out to make her own doll.

So, of course, my daughter just loved this part. She really felt like she was part of everything from this point on.


Perched on my lap, she helped me sew the dress. I had my machine set on its slowest speed, and while I kept my foot on the pedal, she helped to guide the fabric. (I had drawn lines to help her follow).

And here is her finished "Annabelle" doll. The dress fits kinda funny, which I guess is to be expected :). Next time, I'm sure we'll do better. I am now working on a second doll for my oldest daughter. And then we'll be making little bags (using the fabric in the backdrop below) for the dolls to travel in.