Watermelon (the doll)

Just two weeks before Bea’s birthday last July, Adeline decided she wanted to sew her the ragdoll from Sewing for Children.  But oddly enough, two weeks wasn’t quite enough time to get it finished.  She kept working at it though (with much help from Mama), on and off through summer and fall.  But somewhere along the line, Adeline decided that since she hadn’t finished it in time for Bea’s birthday, maybe she could keep it for her herself.  And make Bea another one later.  Riiiiight.

So this is Watermelon.  There are plans to make more clothes for her, of course.  And the book has patterns for shoes and a jacket, too.  I can’t recommend this book highly enough.  We’ve had it for a couple years and made several projects from it, though none of the others have made it to the pages of this blog.  It has plenty of projects that even the littlest sewists can help with.   Adeline is currently working on the applique pillow project.  She says it’s going to be a gift for Bea . . .

family tree

This idea spent a couple years in my head and then a couple more in various stages of completion, and is now finally residing on our living room wall.  The inspiration was originally provided by the family tree in Alicia Paulson’s Stitched in Time, with further prompting from the tree project in Amanda Soule’s Handmade Home.

I think I started this just after I finished our coasters (using fabric from the same bundle) — which means that it only took me two years to complete!  Now, on to the living room quilt, using up the rest of the AMH fabric.  Two or three more years ought to do it!

stockings were sewn

Some stockings were sewn and hung with great care (to temporarily, at least, distract me from our very untidy bookshelves).  The green and red ones, Jake’s and mine, I made last year (they were the prototypes for my tutorial).  This year I made Bea’s (also using my tutorial) from one of my old sweaters — one of the oldest articles of clothing I owned (since my high school days ordering from the Delia’s catalog!  I was a little amazed to learn that Delia’s still exists).  It was quite happy to take on new life as this stocking.  The flowers were an attempt to recreate the ones in this tutorial, but I don’t think I need to go into the atrociousness of my hand-sewing yet again.  Adeline’s was made with help from this tutorial, using the last unstained and un-holey bits of the blanket I used for the back of this quilt.  She loves the pom-pom holly berries.

I don’t know if I’ll be back in this space for a while, so a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone!

beach blanket

Way back in June I misplaced our green-and-white checked beach blanket.  I still have hopes that we’ll find it when we eventually move (one of only two good things I can think of about moving: you find stuff you’ve lost — though usually you lose stuff, too).  But it’s gone for now.  This impelled me to finally sew the beach blanket from Handmade Home.

The quilt top is all thrifted vintage sheets and pillowcases.  I had planned to follow the pattern in the book, except I wanted to make it a little bit bigger.  But somehow my measurements went wrong and it ended up way too large, so I just started cutting and cutting and re-piecing it together, which is why it ended up not looking like the one in the book at all.

The back is an old white chenille blanket which my parents used as a drop cloth for painting; when I asked my mom if I could have it she looked at me sideways but said nothing, as she is so good and tolerant of my sometimes unconventional ways.  Really the only reason I wanted it was for the awesome bobble fringe, which I painstakingly cut from the original blanket, then sewed around the edge of the new quilt.  It almost killed my sewing machine, but I was not going to give up on that fringe.

So now we have a new beach blanket … and it’s autumn, so it will have to wait a whole winter before it actually gets to go to the beach.  Until then, it gets to spend some time out in the yard and on the living room floor, which it likes just fine.

Word up! It’s…

I could speak at length here about my feelings toward Halloween, DIY costumes, the strange dearth of long-sleeved blue t-shirts in this community, my (and my daughter’s) perfectionist tendencies (and the stress produced by them), the dangers of sugar and genetically modified foods, the curious differences between my two girls (like the way one squirreled away all her candy and the other ate half a bucketful — I’ll let you figure out who did which), and my quest for balance.

But I’m pretty sure I’d sound completely neurotic (and I really don’t need written evidence of that) and honestly we’re still all pretty exhausted from all the excitement of yesterday.  So these pictures of Word Girl and her loyal, sticky-mouthed sidekick Captain Huggy Face will have to suffice on their own. ;-)

sleepover pals

I’ve recently come to terms with the fact that deadline sewing is just not something I should attempt at this season in my life.   Every time I try to finish a project in time for birthday/Christmas/what-have-you, it causes great stress and anguish and ultimately is not finished on time anyway.  So for now I’m giving myself a break in the handmade gift department — gifts will still be made and given, but not on any schedule except my own (i.e., whenever I get around to finishing it).

This set of sleepover pals was supposed to be Adeline’s Epiphany present last year, and the dolls were indeed mostly finished on time.  But then there was the little matter of every single one of their hair and arm balls coming loose and needing to be re-sewn.   And what fun are sleepover pals without their sleeping bag?  None of this was very difficult, but for several reasons (analysis paralysis, mostly, along with the fact that I’m fearful of hand-sewing) it took me until September to get the sleeping bag finished and all the little details completed.

The pattern for these dolls is in Wee Wonderfuls, which we love, and they are not difficult, but I wasn’t thrilled with how they turned out, since so much of the hand-sewing is visible (unlike on Edith), and, as I may have mentioned a million times here before, my hand-sewing is not what it should be.  I simplified the sleeping bag; rather than making flaps that fold down to tuck the dolls into, they each just have their own little pocket.

Adeline was thrilled and played with them non-stop for about three days . . . and then like everything else, they just ended up on her shelf.  Bea loves them, though of course Adeline shrieks whenever Bea tries to play with them.  She will try to get Bea to play with Edith (who also spends a lot of time on the shelf), but Bea does love to aggravate her sister…

See that smug look on Bea’s face?  She loves to get a rise out of Adeline (and it is unfortunately easy to do).

The doll is returned to its rightful owner, which of course leads to this face:

Every time I finish a doll, I think it will be my last. . . but it never is.  There is another one in the works right now, though it is mostly Adeline’s project.  I’ll share more when we finish it.

gratitude wrap

This is the second gratitude wrap I’ve made from Amanda Soule’s pattern.  I think it makes a good graduation gift, although I sometimes wonder if those young ones write letters anymore.   Anyhow, they should, so I’ll persist in giving these.  They’re fun and quick to make.

finished bits

This hat has been finished for a while.  It is this pattern made with Brown Sheep Serendipity Tweed — probably not the right yarn choice; the cotton makes it a bit less elastic-y.  Also I made it too big, so overall it was rather loose until I washed and dried it a bit, and now it pretty much fits.  Some day I will knit him a hat that’s the right size.  (I even checked my gauge!  I’m going to believe it was mostly due to bad yarn choice.)

My friend Prairey is super-sweet and artistic and a constant source of inspiration to me.  Plus she makes a mean birthday mix CD.  So I made her some cowboy coasters for her birthday (only they got in the mail about 4 months late . . . that’s how I roll).  They were made mostly from old Western-style men’s shirts, and from one brown plaid one that belonged to my grandfather.

We had some new additions to our extended family recently — the perfect chance to try out this birth announcement wall hanging idea.

chalk cloth puppet theater

After a good friend of mine saw our puppet theater, she sort of commissioned me to make one for her kids.

By that time, I’d bought the book Oliver + S Little Things to Sew, and wanted to try out the doorway puppet theater project, which is a lot better constructed than my by-the-seat-of-my-pants felt theater.

The project has a very cute fabric house on the front (you can find a picture of it here) and I struggled with the choice of fabric, or whether I should leave it off entirely.  Then I had a flash of brilliance — chalk cloth!  Or perhaps it was not really so brilliant, as it made the theater sort of bulky and hard to sew.  However, I think it also stayed in place better than a fabric “house” would have, making a few less wrinkles in the end.

So anyway, now they have a fully customizable puppet theater/store/restaurant/house/whatever!  And we can’t wait to come over and play! ;-)

 

coffee & corduroy coasters

After I made myself these coasters, I promised my friend Gi I’d make her some, too.  For her birthday.  In 2010.

Well.  First I had a case of fabric-related indecision.  Finally I settled on this idea: coffee & corduroy, a play on the name of her blog.

I am a super-procrastinator when it comes to hand-stitching.  I’m not sure why, because once I finally force myself to sit down and do it, it’s never that painful, and it never takes very long.  But it’s pretty obvious that I don’t practice much, because my hand work is still atrocious.  I tell myself it looks more folky that way.  Anyway, I’m sure Gi will understand, since she is the person who pointed me to this Wendell Berry quotation:

“The body characterizes everything it touches. What it makes it traces over with the marks of its pulses and breathings, its excitements, hesitations, flaws, and mistakes. On its good work, it leaves the marks of skill, care, and love persisting through hesitations, flaws, and mistakes. And to those of us who love and honor the life of the body in this world, these marks are precious things, necessities of life.”

So, here they finally are, only one year late, the Coffee & Corduroy Coasters.  Love ya, Gi!!