Meet Glinda

Otherwise known as "Gahlinda", "The Good Witch", and "Glinda the Good - officially!

 I told you she was "pop-u-lar."  

"I know about popular..."

The girls and I are working on making puppets from Wicked.  My oldest and I went to see the musical two years ago when it was in San Francisco.  It is returning to the city in January and my husband and I plan on taking our two older girls.  Cannot wait!

Needless to say, like so many Wicked fans out there, we love the soundtrack.  Love it!  We listen to it often.  All three girls know the songs quite well.

Several months ago, while listening to the CD in the minivan, we started talking about putting on a puppet-show performance of Wicked.  Just a hallway performance for family...nothing fancy (though the girls are dreaming up a menu of green food to offer during intermission, etc.).

I was tasked with three of the puppets:  Glinda, Elphaba (she's almost done), and Fiyero.  I already had two discarded puppet heads, so it was easy to get started.  The girls are responsible for all of the other characters.  And the scenery/backdrops.  I'll work with them on the doorway puppet theater.  

The puppets are in various stages of completion.  Several still need a lot of work...

Madame Morrible's head in progress.

While we were shopping for green fabric for Elphaba at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley, we came across some beautiful, bright pink ruffle fabric.  It reminded my oldest and me of the dress that Glinda wears during "Popular".  

We bought some and knew we had the perfect fabric for Glinda's simple puppet body.  (The Instagram filter makes the pink look crazy bright in these photos...and I pinned the flower on the wrong side of her hair in these photos, too.  Oops).

It works...but I also wanted to make Glinda look like her more recognizable self - you know with the crown and wand?  As my girls would say, "sparkly"...

 Source: www.broadway.com

I considered making a removable dress/puppet body.  But I opted for just sewing a simple cape that could be securely fastened around her neck with velcro, sort of masking her dress underneath.

"That's why...I couldn't be happier
No, I couldn't be happier
Though it is, I admit
The tiniest bit
Unlike I anticipated"

Her crown and wand were made using pipe cleaners and some plastic Christmas ornaments.  Lucky, super inexpensive finds that seem to work perfectly here, don't you think?

Elphaba is on the worktable this week...

I should add that the puppet head and body patterns are included in my book (and instructions on this hairstyle)!  The hand puppet set in the book is not Glinda (more about the puppets in the book later).  But this just shows how easily a basic hand puppet pattern can be adapted to become so many characters....anything you or your little one(s) dream of!


How to sew a doll dress (a how-to for kids!)

If you and/or your child are new to sewing doll clothes and you're looking for a quick, easy method that kids can eventually do on their own, try this one out!  It's rudimentary, but it's a method that my oldest has used many times over the past few years, including here, here, here, here, and here.

So when she got the urge to make a "witch" outfit for her doll yesterday during our Sunday lessons, she went to work on the pattern.  Below, you'll see her model placed on a sheet of freezer paper. 

I drew the two perpendicular lines/right angle for her to follow.  The vertical line runs from the center of the doll's neck down the center of the doll's body.  The horizontal line marks the top of the sleeve, with the arm extended out to the side.  She marks how long she wants the sleeve and how long she wants the dress.  Since she was using a scrap of black fleece fabric, there was no need to add extra length (no hemming planned/required).  At this point, she knows to give more than enough space for the arm and the side of the dress.

I still help her with ironing.  First, I fold the fabric lengthwise.

Then I fold the fabric widthwise.  There are now 4 layers of fabric (one big fold on top and two on the side).

I iron the pattern in place and then pin it (again, to hold the four layers together).

After your shirt/dress/nightgown is cut out, unfold the fabric (I forgot to take a photo of this) and then refold again along the shoulder/sleeve, placing right-sides together*, and you'll have this below.

At this point, you can either cut all the way down the front or back of one side of the fabric (for a front or back opening), depending on your personal preference. If using fabric that will fray, the raw edges can be finished with a small hem or bias tape, etc.  This step could also be finished after the sides are sewn - but it is easy to do here while the freezer paper is still attached.  Since my daughter was going for "quick and easy", she just cut a few inches down the back of the dress (eventually finishing the back with a hook-and-eye closure).  

I pinned the sides for her.  Notice, she only has to sew under the arms and sides of the dress.  Easy!  She sewed these by hand using a backstitch.

And there you have it!  A super easy doll dress that a kid could make.  I topped off the outfit with a floppy, kinda ridiculous, over-sized witch hat.  She's all ready for Halloween.

*In full-disclosure, I didn't pay attention to the fleece, and even after my daughter told me I pinned the fabric wrong-sides together, I told her to "just sew...it's fleece...there isn't a right or wrong with that fabric".  Well, after she sewed up the sides, I took a look at it and noticed that, yes, there actually was a "right side".  Yikes!  I had her turn it wrong-side out, sew it again, making french seams.  So the dress has extra bulky french seams.  It's a little wonky.  Lucky for me, she made the pattern extra roomy and she isn't a perfectionist.  I should definitely listen to her a little more closely.  *Ahem*, lesson learned.


Guess who?

Her face is complete.

Now on to her puppet body and hair.

She is Pop-u-lar...


A Velveteen Bunny

Well, not actually "velveteen".  This little bunny above is made of super soft, cuddly minky fabric.  He is such a squishy, snuggly toy!  I made him last month as part of a baby shower gift for a very dear friend.  We were asked to bring our favorite children's book for the baby.  I chose The Velveteen Rabbit and decided to make a toy to go along with it.

If you're looking for a stuffed bunny pattern, you'll find this pattern included in my book!  It is one of the easier projects and one of my favorites.  Even better - it's a quick project!  You can sew up a bunny or two in an evening - no problem!

I've mentioned before my fondness for rabbits.  

Me and my husband and my bunny...many years ago.

So when sketching out what toys I wanted to design for this book, a bunny was a MUST.  I decided on a simple design.  And I'm so happy with the result.  A lot of little kids in my family will be receiving some stuffed bunnies in their Christmas stockings this year.

The bunny below was one of the "final drafts" of this toy, "claimed" almost immediately by my youngest daughter (it's been slept upon many nights).  I used cotton velour and cream organic cotton sherpa fabric.  He is stuffed lightly with wool and is so warm and cuddly. 

My youngest's stuffed bunny perched on her pillow in the dim, Pink Room.

Here is a better photo.  I love this pattern!  I hope some of you love it, too!


Puppet heads

As I mentioned before, we're working on a little production over here.  Nothing too exciting.  Just something fun for the girls and I to work on together - a puppet show.  We're making all kids of puppets...stick puppets, sock puppets, you name it...

I've been able put a few of my discarded/wonky puppet heads to use.  I have a bin of random doll and toy parts leftover from the book and I hate to see them just sit there...

This head above will be getting an embroidered face today.

And that is a whole lot easier to do with these ladies off to school everyday.  They started back last Tuesday after a long, fun summer.

Hopefully, I'll be back with a finished face or puppet soon.