Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dressy Jessie

I managed to make a shirt and tutu for Jessie today. And her hair got braided. That was the extent of it. But she looks much better so I thought I'd show the final product. Maybe someday I'll do shoes and angel/fairy wings ... when my sidekick says I can. ;)

P.S. I was three quarters through making dinner last night when Miss E pointed at me and said, accusingly, "Mommy, you not wearing your apron!" She then handed me her dish towel that she uses for her play kitchen and instructed me to "put it on." I did. And she made sure I wore it to fix lunch today, too. See, it's addictive!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I found another excellent book on Friday night, so on Saturday afternoon, I started on a doll. I don't exactly love the doll in the book, but if you ignore the oddities, the pattern works. I made her at about 75% of the recommended size, partly because I didn't want a big doll, and partly because the printer/copier only goes so big here. (I need to go to a copy shop if I want big stuff that I don't have to piece together.)

Anyway, I know now why dolls cost so much. They are definitely time-consuming. Mom has struggled her way through five Santa dolls over the last 40 years, and now I see the labor pains. (Her Santa she made for Miss E, sans jacket and boots, is shown here.) I ended up redoing the arms due to the fact that after an hour of so of play, they already were tearing apart (the fabric, near the seams). I decided they were overstuffed, stuffed with the wrong material, and needed to be replaced. I took the whole doll apart when Miss E went to bed, made new arms (with three seams where there was previously just one; better reinforced), and the next day put her together again. She is much softer, stuffed with bamboo fiber, and very snuggly, according to Miss E. She's based on the ballerina in the book, so her arms and legs are patterned like a leotard. Her girlie boxer shorts match. (I left the casing open on the legs in case we decide they'd make better undies.)

She was bald as a new baby for the first day, then I got one row of hair added in about 35 minutes. It's definitely a slow process, much like latch-hooking (remember those rugs we made in the 70s?!). Today while Miss E napped, I added a second row of long strands behind the first, and then bangs in the front. I got them trimmed up just in time for Miss E to wake up, and she was ... yes, quite pleased!

Now, I still need to get her more clothes. We found a beautiful remnant that is rose-colored silk, and it will make a perfect dress for her (with sequins!). She needs angel wings, according to Miss E, since she is supposed to be a fairy angel. And she's supposed to have a tutu and ballet slippers. Essentially, a full wardrobe. Once I master the clothes for her, though, they can be made in different sizes for the rest of Miss E's dolls, and that will be fun.

Ah, and speaking of most amazing and lush inspirations, for the last three or four weeks, my Texas Star Hibiscus has been lavishing me (okay, all of us) with bright red flowers. It has popped about one every three or four days on average, and I counted six spent heads this morning. However, today was a huge surprise. In my morning fog, I didn't even realize just what I was looking at until I walked around the back side and got ready to take another picture ... Today is TWIN blooms! Mother Nature has been very good to me. :)

Monday, July 28, 2008

My first apron

Finally I'm posting this! Here are the pics of my first apron and Miss E's first apron. Both are from gorgeous Amy Butler fabrics. Mine is based on patterns from two books: In Stitches (Amy Butler) and Bend-the-Rules Sewing (Amy Karol). Both books are fabulous and you can expect many more projects from them. Hers is from this excellent tutorial: The Sarah Apron

Here they are, first mine, then Miss E's (*NOT* a cat toy, Miss O!). Oh, and for grins, see what happens when you get 5-inch fabric squares mixed with a creative 2-yr-old?

Getting addicted to aprons? They are so fun! What have I missed out on all these years?!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

She who dies with the most fabric wins

That was on a mug we gave my grandma in the 80s. She was a professional seamstress, who at 19 wanted to go to NYC to be a fashion designer. She would have been amazing, but I'm happy with who she was because it meant fabulous handmade clothes and things for me. I have felt like she was sitting right here next to me for the past month or so, as I've discovered two extremely talented fabric designers. Today, I purchased several of the brand new prints from Heather Bailey. Lovely, I say. Just lovely! Over the past couple of weeks, I got several small samples and half yards of Amy Butler fabrics. I've been oohing and aahing ever since.

My brain is spinning with all the possibilities of what to make. I just made my first apron in two sittings. No, never worn one. I don't know why. Grandma used to make them for everyone, and my mom still has hers in the closet. Dad probably still wears his when he cooks. Mom says she's even got Gramm's pattern tucked away if I want it. (Duh. Yeah!) I'm hooked, though, and plan to make one for Miss E, who just found some at her BFF's house the other day and loved wearing them around. So cute!

Miss E has discovered fabrics, too. I finally realized yesterday that when she finds one she likes, I'm not supposed to create anything with it. She found one on Sunday at the fabric store (a pretty brown, pink, blue and green retro-looking floral), and told me she wanted to make a robot out of it. Monday, when I laid it out and talked about what I was going to do, she got mad and screamed, "No, Mommy! *I* make flower bot!" The light clicked on. Oh, right. SHE is going to make a robot out of it, not me. So she happily plays with her fat quarter and 5-inch samples and any other scraps, ribbons, felt, embroidery floss, pompoms and whatever I've given her. She makes robots, cats, and bears. Or so she tells me. She's a very creative 28-month-old. The quilting squares are doll dresses, tank tops, skirts, pants, diapers, towels, blankets, hats ... you name it. She can play for 2 hours at a time with her box of goodies, which is fabulous because it means I can sew.

I need to get pics off the camera. I'll post apron pics soon. I may end up ripping out the seam and re-doing the waistband. Debating that, since it's not perfect, and that may drive me batty. But it's gorgeous and it makes me feel so fancy, like when Miss E puts on her party princess tutu. But cooler.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I heart cupcakes

Yum. Who doesn't love a felt cupcake?! I fell in love with these and found lots of inspiration on and a few other craft sites. Actually, I first saw them in fabrics at Pottery Barn Kids, but since they no longer sell them, it started a whole series of events that led me to creating some for Miss E. Every two-year-old needs some for a tea party!

I moved on to ice cream cones, cookies, and a strawberry, even Aunt Hooty the owl!
... but then ... By luck, a friend gave me her old sewing machine, and things have escalated. Long story short, once I got the sewing machine set up and some fabric pieces ordered, I whipped up a lovely pillowcase for Miss E's bed. No, she doesn't use a pillow yet, but it looks cute in her room, and she loves it. I probably should have made one more tie for it, or done an envelope pillowcase, but it's cute and it works and the seams are straight!

Next came the robots. Initially, I was going to make a dinosaur, but that didn't pan out, and Miss E thought robots looked funny, so we made one of those for a gift. I'm not telling WHO is getting it, but it will be delivered or mailed in the next couple of weeks, and then you'll know. :) However, Miss E doesn't like to share toys, so I ended up making a chick bot the following day. Her name is Benny. Cuz Miss E said so.

And today I finally made the pillowcase dress I've been talking about. In about two hours, I put the whole thing together, and it was adorable. Unfortunately, the directions were for a bigger size (3T-5T) and though it matched in size to the existing pillowcase dress we have, the armholes did NOT match. I didn't pay too much attention to that, figuring I'd be folding down enough material that it would work out fine. I expected a tad bit big, but ... Um. Whoops, looks like mama has a new shirt instead! Heck, solves the problem of what to wear, AND it really looks stylish and cute! I woulda never believed that I'd look good in a pillowcase top, but I do!

Here's the pattern. It rocks -- super easy to follow. Just keep in mind the armhole size of the recipient when cutting!
Simple Pillowcase Dress

So that's the beginning of the story. Let's see where it takes me next!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Got my game on

Or got my groove back. Whatever you want to call it, the inspiration has hit, and I'm back in the game. It's been 20 years probably, but who's counting? I'll be documenting my artistic whims du jour, whether they be felt goodies, pillowcases, robots, new plants, a fantastic recipe ...