If I had written this post on Sunday night, it would have been titled "Frustration", or perhaps worse. This weekend I had HOURS of uninterrupted sewing time. My husband graciously took the three girls on various outings both Saturday and Sunday. And yet all I could seem to do was make a complete mess of everything I tried to sew. I was so frustrated.

One of the things I've repeatedly stressed to my oldest daughter as I'm teaching her to sew is, "if you're feeling frustrated and/or don't feel like sewing, put it down." Yet, I couldn't follow my own advice because how often do I get whole mornings to sew? Never! I felt compelled to make something work. And the harder I tried, the more mistakes I made, the more frustrated I became, the more determined I was to sew...it was this vicious cycle. I should have just given up on Saturday afternoon. Treated myself to a pedicure. Taken a nap. Tackled the laundry. Maybe it wasn't the best time to test out a new pattern I'm drafting. Maybe I need to look at what I did accomplish as a "prototype"(a prototype I can't even look at right now). But at least I know where I need to make improvements. I'll try again later...

Anyways, I went to bed really early on Sunday night and woke up yesterday feeling much more invigorated. I knew better than to go anywhere near my sewing machine and instead looked to my giant pile of unfinished projects and decided to finish up something that would be relatively easy/head-ache free.

I started this project a few weeks ago on our roadtrip down to San Diego. I had with me the new Wee Wonderfuls book and I was lamenting the fact that I haven't yet made the sleeping bag project, especially because it would have been perfect to take on the trip. My girls always like to bring a small stuffed companion with them whenever we go out of town. In fact, it would be perfect for dolls like the Annabelle doll I made a few months ago.

Anyways, I was then flipping through a catalog from Kata Golda that I had picked up from her stall at the Renegade Fair. And I saw these little guys...

How cute are they?

Luckily, because I always bring along a tote containing a stack of wool felt, yarn, knitting needles, and notions with me on roadtrips (you all do this, too, right?), I was able to pull out some scraps of felt and started to work on this project making a little Kata Golda-style sleeping case/stuffed companions. Again, how great for trips?!? Each of my girls gets a little mouse which they can tuck into their little sleeping bag/bed on those nights we're away. Plus, this little set fits nicely in the pocket of a suitcase/tote. And we don't have to worry about leaving their beloved stuffed animals/dolls behind at anyone's home/hotel rooms, either.

I permanently sewed a little pillow and "toy mouse" for each of the mice companions that will fit into these little sleeping bags/pockets. Because I didn't bring any wool with me, I tore apart 100% cotton squares that were in my toiletry bag and used those for stuffing.

I still have to finish the larger (2 inch! they're tiny!) brown and tan mice. I love hand-sewing, so these will be great simple projects to take along with me as I sit around in the minivan waiting at school pick-ups this week.

If you're looking for your own little set of these guys, Kata Golda has them for sale in her shop here. Mice or bunnies! And all her stuff is so cute. Her book is also adorable. Take a look around her shop :).


In My Creative Space...

Two new doll patterns/designs! Well...actually, they are still works in progress. One is just a sketch (but it's a final sketch!) and the other is being tested using some cheap muslin. I'm excited about both of them. Hopefully, when two of my three girls are back in school next week, I'll have a bit more time to finish up these patterns. Maybe I'll have a sneak peek or two by the month's end. My goal is to actually have a few dolls up for sale sometime this Fall.

That picture above has nothing to do with this post, but it was in my flickr stream and it makes me smile :-). More creative spaces here.


Mary Frances Nightgown

My daughter has just completed Project #4 in the Mary Frances Sewing Book. It is a nightgown for her new doll, made of white lawn and sewn entirely by hand. Needless to say, this one took her awhile.

As you might expect, I helped with some key parts along the way. I cut the fabric (it's just one piece of fabric, folded over - super easy) and did all the ironing and basting in between steps. I also drew lines with an air erasable marker for her to sew along. She did the running stitch first along the seams and then we flipped the gown inside out and she did a back-stitch. Here is a close-up of the inside of the dress and the resulting French seams. Sweet tiny crooked stitches.

The neck and arm holes required us to make small slashes which you then press to the right side of the fabric. Around these openings, my daughter then sewed beading lace (over the "turned back goods"...I love the language in this book) and another lace trim after that. I basted the beading lace, the lace trim, and the bottom hem for her and even drew "dots" for her to follow so she could hem/overcast with much easier success. It took her many days, but she did pretty well. And the fact that the neck and arm openings gather once the baby ribbon is threaded through the beading lace...well, it looks almost perfect for a 7-year old! The sleeves actually are even...I just didn't adjust them correctly for these pictures. Nor did I bother to iron as you can see. *Ahem*.

She's pretty happy and eager to keep sewing. Before our camping trip last weekend, she hand-sewed this little Alice doll sent to us a few months back by Ricebabies. Again, I drew a line for her to follow with the air erasable marker.

And now she thinks she's in business :). I've shown her how there are sellers on ETSY who make stuffed little dolls out of the Paper Doll fabric by Windham for $15/doll (her jaw literally dropped when she heard this). We have some yardage of that fabric, as well as the new line for Christmas. I like the Christmas line much better than the original.

Anyways, I told her to keep practicing. She's going to make some dolls from the Christmas doll line for presents this year.

Oh, and here is a poorly-taken picture of the completed doll handkerchief (Project #3). Now she's onto Project #5 - a hand-sewn bathrobe. Project #6 introduces Ma Chine (another character in the book), so things should move along more quickly after she gets to start using a sewing machine.


Art for My Sewing Space

This past weekend, I snuck away from a camping trip and rushed up to San Francisco's Renegade Craft Fair. I missed last year's festivities and I wasn't about to miss it again, even if I couldn't stay long.

My first stop was Emily Martin's booth. Her work is amazing. She is so incredibly talented and creative. I love the variety of items she offers - from buttons to dolls, notebooks, paintings, prints...all of it, simply beautiful. I bought the paper doll set to use as art for my sewing space. One doll has already found a place on the wall.

It faces this mounted poster, which has been up forever.

As you might imagine, my sewing space looks more like a doll factory these days. The girls love to draw pictures of their dolls. A few of their masterpieces are up on my inspiration board, too.

See? Emily's dolls fit right in :). And I think they add a bit of needed sophistication. I need to find frames and wall spaces for these two.

Oh, and though this won't go in the sewing/office/guest room, I also bought this print for my little blond, brown-eyed daughter. She tagged along for the trip and slept in her stroller the whole time I rushed around the fair. I think this will go in the girls' room eventually.

I love this print. It's timeless. The girls won't "outgrow" it. Plus, the elephant reminds me so much of an elephant I sketched and had screen-printed back in junior high.

Back to finishing up a few more Oliver + S Ice Cream dresses...