I have a few pairs of jeans that are comfortable and still have life, but they are worn thin on the upper leg area, so I decided to give "extreme mending" a go. This is where you make very obvious patches and use embroidery or darning techniques to strengthen and decorate the area. I think mine may have slid into the area of "altered couture" but that's okay. It was great fun and quite relaxing to do while watching t.v. The only downside is that every time I look at them, I think of the old song, "Cover of the Rolling Stone"......."I gotta freaky old lady name of "Cocaine Katy" who embroiders all my jeans. I got my poor ol' grey-haired daddy drivin' my limousine."
After making the decision (my last blog entry) to continue my crafting and send in the vendor fees for the craft show in October, things got serious with my health issues. My hip is giving me constant pain and really messing with my quality of life, so just a few weeks ago I made the decision to have hip replacement surgery sometime this fall after my son's wedding. This meant cancelling my craft show in late October, but they totally understood and were very nice about it. I was within the limit for getting a full refund, so that was a relief as well.
Since I don't need to worry about creating more inventory till NEXT October's show, I have been concentrating on making items for the upcoming wedding. Future DIL has chosen brown and orange as her colors for her fall wedding and I've been going hard on this for her. I made the bridesmaids gifts (can't talk about that yet because they are a secret) and the bride liked them so much I made one for her, as well. Then there were decorated grapevine wreathes for the church doors (4) and table numbers from brown burlap covered wood, using pearl beads for the numerals. If you ask me for tips concerning how to work with burlap, I could give you a few, but the biggest one I'm still feeling right now is "DON'T." I'm laughing about it because I offered to do this and I'm not sorry I did it because I love the bride and it made her happy, but I won't be volunteering to do it again for anyone else. I did learn a lot.
I've made a few more items for the bride that she doesn't know about and I'm decorating a special burlap tablecloth to be used at the rehearsal dinner. I get to make the groom's cake- in this case two of them- because there maybe about 30 people at the dinner. Looking forward to all of it and hoping these two will be very happy together.
I sat down and made a list of Christmas gifts to make and I'm also aiming for a few charity items that I'd like to get done before my surgery. I don't think I'll be sitting at the sewing machine for several weeks after surgery, so I'm trying to get that stuff done ahead of it and then maybe have some hand work (embroidery or yo-yos) to keep me distracted from pain and such as I heal.
So things are moving along, just not in a business way. I kind of like the feeling of freedom to do what I feel like doing, but as soon as that happens, I go into "list" mode and get myself locked into a schedule of my own making. What's wrong with me? I don't have to make anyone gifts for Christmas, but when I find something that inspires me, I just have to do it, ya know? It will obviously be after Christmas before I can post any photos of the handmade gifts here, or even discuss what they are, despite being totally excited about it. However, if I can get some of the charity work done, I will put some photos up and as soon as the wedding takes place, I will post photos of those things I made as well.
I'm probably going to made a Cross-body bag or two for Liberty Jane's campaign for girls in Africa and then I'm set to make a few pillowcases, probably for something local (Life Crisis or maybe Christian Shelter.) I always have flannel around and try to slip in a receiving blanket or two whenever I get the urge. They go to our local health department to get to whoever needs them.
So if you are reading this (anyone, anyone??) you may not hear from me again till October, but know that I'm fine and busy making stuff.....always making stuff because I just can't help myself :)
Ever since my craft show in February, I've been on the fence about what my next move will be for my business. I've been weighing options, since the show didn't do very well (I didn't even pay for my booth in sales.) So. Decisions.
There is the extreme end, where I would just quit making things for sale....no more shows, no selling online, no making dolls that aren't for myself or gifts to loved ones. I don't think I could go that route, as I still have dolls that want to be made and I think there are children (and adults) out there who want them. Deciding to sell online involves some new steps that I haven't been ready to take yet. Paypal, credit cards, shipping, etc.
If I'm to do more shows, I need to (like right now!) commit to a huge local craft show that comes next October. I think, even if I do sell online, I need this show to kick start things and I need to start making lots of dolls (as many as I can fit in) for that show. Since I do feel the need to make more dolls, (I have several in my head right now) I'm thinking that I WILL commit to that show and just keep right on making dolls. Sometime over the next few months, I WILL get arrangements made for credit cards, as that will be useful for the big show, and Paypal, as that would be useful for future online sales, which may be the only way I sell my dolls after the big show.
So it sounds like my decision is made: MORE DOLLS!!! One big show, Paypal and credit cards. Now I'd like to share some of my recent inspiration.
This yarn I found yesterday in a local yarn shop for an amazing price ($3/skein)
It is much whiter in real life and very, very soft. It will be the hair for my next doll, "Snow Drop," who is a little girl of the north (think Norway, Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland, etc.) She will have this white hair and suntan skin and clothes suitable for a very cold climate. My hands are itching to get started on Snow Drop.
After that, I have in mind an African American doll with fairly short hair made from black boucle mohair. I think her name is Mia and she is waiting in the wings for her turn to come alive. :)
Lately, I've seen some vintage photos of little ones that are also inspiring me. I would love to make a doll based on this one:
And this one:
This adorable Dolly Dingle paperdoll:
I can't wait to try my hand at a version of that hat!
And then this little one right here:
Isn't she the sweetest thing? So there, just right off the top of my head, I have six dolls that are making my fingers itchy to start "making." Oh.....I forgot!!!....I want to make a Waldorf baby, too. Little fat arms and bent legs in baby clothes, diaper, bonnet and booties. So that's seven! That should keep me occupied for quite awhile, and I'd also like to make some felt crowns for young children: birthday crowns, royalty crowns, flower faery crowns. I might work on those while I'm away at the camper this summer. Also, some embellished felt clutches/wallets and more Acorn people.
Looks like decisions are made and I just need to get busy....as soon as I clean out two rooms in preparation for future guests and also hem 6 (!) pairs of pants for hubby. Sigh. "Real life."
Hide and Seek, Hopscotch, Go Fish! Annabelle loves to play games!
[By the way......the hair (cat? Jim's?) seems to have been on the camera lens, not on the doll.]
Belle loves bright colors and mixing them all up in one outfit makes her very happy. Brown shoes make her sad, so she talked mommy into sewing purple "buckles" on them. :)
Annabelle has her brown mohair hair braided and comes in a bright, multicolored cotton dress with pink tights and brown crocheted shoes with purple buttons. She has crocheted ties on her braids to match her tights. At some point, Annabelle might get a grey wool knitted sweater....or maybe a woven wool jacket. If not, there will be a hand made purse to carry her special "stuff." Decisions still to be made.
Funny, the latest doll I've completed becomes my favorite. I do love playing with my little "Chickies."
Annabelle says, "Bye bye for now. See you later!"
My little Ellie is named for her because of her curly blonde braids.
She is so sweet and is my favorite doll so far. She is a bit over 18" tall, with soft, fuzzy blonde mohair hair and blue eyes. She is wearing her favorite pink corduroy overalls with the birdie print, darker pink long sleeved T-shirt, soft grey crochet Mary Jane shoes with buttons and a grey woolen crochet cap with a button flower.
Ellie is a very quiet girl, but she loves to watch the birds and birdsong is her favorite sound. I'm really going to have trouble letting this one go when the time comes.
An old friend of mine from many years ago used to use the phrase, "She's a tulip!" to describe a small child (hers!) with a fun personality. I decided there was no better name for my new doll than "Tulip." So here she is!
Tulip is probably going to have a few freckles (when I find just the perfect pen or paint to apply them that isn't too dark and won't smear or rub off) to go with that red wool hair, green eyes, and fair skin. She's quite the busy little girl, never stopping till she falls asleep (wherever she happens to be at the time) with her natural cotton velvet blankie. She takes it everywhere.
Her busy-little-bee personality is the reason why her hair only has a few braids (no patience to wait for mommy to do all that) and why her hair isn't done up perfectly.
Tulip is about 18" tall and dressed in a loose cotton top and pants with white trim, panties, and white crochet "boots." She's ready for a new mama in February!
Apologies for a couple of the blurrier photos...still working on that. I think I need a tripod....wait a minute...I think we have one around here somewhere....
I've been working on my first full-sized Waldorf doll and she is finished, but waiting for clothes! I am so excited by her personality and can't wait to get started on her clothing. She is not a very patient tot and if she had toes, she'd be tapping them, saying, "Come on, would you. I'm freezing!" She has masses of carrot-colored hair, green eyes and freckles. She loves to tumble and play, but has no patience for mommy to braid her hair, so it gets braided a little and then pinned up and when it starts to fall, Tulip doesn't care. She just keeps on playing as hard as she can go. Stay tuned for a day or two for new photos of Tulip in her play clothes.
Well, as I said, Alexa needed a companion, so I drew out a bunny in wool felt and cut, stuffed (just a wee bit), sewed him up and embroidered facial details. He is sewn together by buttonhole stitch on the outside. He has pinkish ears and even whiskers and is only about 5 1/2" tall. Now Alexa has someone to cuddle with and keep her company until she has dolly friends or a new home with a mommy of her own.
The pink rickrack is not part of the bunny, but is attaching him to Alexa for display, so they don't get separated. The blue aqua embroidery floss ribbon/bow IS part of the bunny (and sewn on.) Alexa is very pleased to have a cuddly bunny friend.
My next project is a 15-16" doll that I am already working on. This first one involves some pattern drafting and tweaking around of sizes and parts, and then some more pattern drafting for clothes. I haven't purchased patterns for these dolls, but am trying to following the guidelines for Waldorf dolls, but be as original as I can. That goes for the clothing, too. It will be simple, but well-made and easy to change for the little ones.
I just completed my first Waldorf doll, and it was so much fun. I do see things I'd like to do differently (or better) in future dolls, but overall, I'm rather pleased with her. I had a name all picked out for her.....it was going to be "Holly" because, well, it IS December and I have lovely holly trees loaded with berries in my yard. However, when she was all done, she whispered (shyly and very politely) in my ear that her name was "Alexa..... please" which wasn't even a name I'd thought about or put on my list of future doll names to use. But there you have it. And so, without further ado, meet Alexa!
True to Waldorf tradition, Alexa is made from pure cotton knit "skin," 100% wool stuffing, and the softest alpaca hair. She wears a handmade (by me) cotton top and shorts, hand crocheted "boots," and a pink elastic hair ribbon. Her hair can be "finger combed" all day long and doesn't fuzz or pill. She stands about 13" tall and can pose, sitting, very nicely. Most of my Waldorf dolls will be more like 15"-16", but this was a good size with which to start. Alexa has the simplest of facial features, as the original Waldorf/Steiner dolls do, so the child can imagine all sorts of emotions for the doll. I prefer the original "no nose" design, both for its simplicity and the fact that, in the dolls of this sort that do have noses, that is the first place that they wear out. I'd rather not see a much-loved doll with a hole where it's nose used to be! That is just sad :(
I may also make some panties for Alexa, and then a small felt animal companion for her, so she won't be lonely waiting for her friends to come to life in my hands :) She needs a friend to whisper her little girl secrets to. ;)
I've spent a couple of weeks working on holiday gifts I can't discuss (or show) and a few things actually for myself. I found great men's long sleeved T-shirts in Kmart for about $10....nice heavyweight knit and well-constructed. Looked like they would be very durable and comfortable. Not being "girly" in either color or style, they needed a little help to make them more suitable for my taste, even though they are just casual tops to be worn with my jeans. I found a Pinterest idea that suited me perfectly and just went with it.
I cut out patch pockets from various scraps that coordinated with the shirts and just top stitched them right on to the left front. I now have four new, comfy casual tops for winter for $40. I figure the pockets were free as I already had the fabrics and the rest was just my time. I did these in an afternoon! Here's one example:
The color isn't showing well here, but this is actually a dark teal shirt with an aqua pocket. I made each pocket a little different in shape (I have a metal pocket template that really helps with different rounded corners), but what really made it easy was that I just cut out two of each pocket and sewed them right sides together all the way around, leaving just about a 1" opening to turn them right side out. This is much easier than trying to press them under. Then I pressed them well and top stitched across the top edge (for show.) Then I topstitched the other three edges right onto the shirts. Because of the lining, the pockets have plenty of body, too.
This is a fun, fast project for yourself, or maybe for a gift? Bet you know someone who'd appreciate one of these in their favorite colors or designs. Of course, you can make these with regular women's T-shirts.....or kid's shirts, too. How about a heart shaped pocket for a little girl? You could also add round or oval shapes in fabrics to match on the elbows of the sleeves. I think kids would especially like these. Have fun. :)