Photos at last.

I promised photos from June, but decided to just include those in with the more current ones. I’ve been creating items for my craft business as fast as I can (considering I’ve had two surgeries in two months) and I’m happy with what’s been completed so far. One of my favorite things is what I like to call “Felt Peeps,” because that’s what everyone thinks they look like. I’ve made literally dozens of them and will probably do more, because they are handmade from start to finish and I can completely make one sitting in my recliner, from the tracing and cutting, to the stuffing and stitching. They are totally hand stitched from high quality wool blend felt (not the acrylic craft stuff.)

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This simple little rag-type doll will be dressed in jumper, apron, pantaloons, bonnet and shoes and I plan to make quite a few of them in different hair and eye colors.

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She’s about 12″ tall and has embroidered facial details and yarn hair.

The smaller version of this doll, which is meant to be “her” doll, but will actually be sold as a separate item is here.

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And for scale:

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She’s only a bit less than 4″ tall and entirely hand made and painted. She will also have a dress, apron, pantaloons and bonnet. I can’t wait to make these tiny clothes!

Here’s just a small sampling of the tiny felt folk I intend to make.

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For scale:

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These are made from pipe cleaners, embroidery floss, wool felt, wool roving (for hair), hand painted (by me) wooden beads and real acorn caps for caps. The skirts and wings are from deconstructed silk flowers. I plan to make lots of fairies of various sizes, plus family groups of “regular” people, as well as a king, queen, princess, wizard, etc. These are very detailed, but fun when I’m in the proper mood. They are made in stages, so I do maybe 8-10 at a time and work a rather slow assembly line process.

I don’t see these as children’s toys, because of their delicate nature, but more as collectibles.

And last, but not least, and probably my favorite up to this point, are my Baby Dumplings. Approximately 10″ tall and made from flannelette, poly stretch knit, and craft fur, the faces are hand painted and needle sculpted for a more realistic shape. I love these sweet babies and made (and sold) dozens of them years ago. I hope they sell well, because they are a joy for me to make. They are toys, but probably for the 3 years and up set, due to noses and ribbons possibly being able to be removed by a rough toddler.

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I think the back is almost as cute as the front:

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Well, there’s a sneak peak at my progress, as it stands. I obviously have lots more to do and haven’t even begun clothing the poor little naked ones, but I’ve made a tiny drop in a big bucket for my future business. I’m loving it all.

I haven’t begun my “main attraction,” which will be my Waldorf dolls, and I’m still tweaking my paper doll, which is based on the Waldorf dolls. I also plan to do some clothespin dolls, if time permits, so I will have some more small, inexpensive items. And then, there are the American Girl doll clothes, too.

I haven’t pictured them here, but I also have made a ton of fabric Easter eggs. My first show is just a few weeks before Easter next year, so I’m thinking the eggs and the felt chicks will do well as moms are shopping for tiny things to add to Easter baskets. I can proudly proclaim that mine or sugar free, fat free and gluten free 😉

Whew!

SPOILER ALERT!!!   If you haven’t watched last night’s episode of Project Runway yet (Episode 12) please skip this post.  If you have (or you don’t care)  scroll down……

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simply because I’m not on Facebook anymore, I’m going to have to say this here:   I was totally holding my breath last night, hoping against hope that Ken wouldn’t make a gorgeous dress that would make the judges have to keep him.  And I let out a big, loud “YES!”  to my empty living room when they said he was going home.  I don’t care how good he is, he doesn’t deserve to win.

I have no idea what’s in the contracts for these contestants, but there certainly should be something about this kind of behavior (Alessandro, too!) getting you disqualified from the competition.  People competing in a true contest of abilities shouldn’t have to deal with this kind of crap.   I don’t handle that kind of hate and anger being spewed at me and if I were competing, I wouldn’t be able to focus on my own project.  I’d be curled up in a corner somewhere, crying like someone hit me.  It’s an unfair thing to do to the contestants to expect them to continue, week after week, with that kind of vitriol all around.  So when I say, “Whew!”  I’m saying it for myself (cause now I can actually enjoy the designing competition for the remainder of the episodes) and for the other contestants, because it seems like it will be more just.  

I just had to say it 🙂

Tools and ‘quipment

I am so lucky that I have a husband who understands the need for the proper tools for the job, and not just in home repair and construction, but in any kind of production. If I say I need it, he says, “get it.” However, in this case I said, “You can make this, can’t you?” and he said, “Yes!”

This is a reversible ironing board used for sewing doll clothes. I saw one for sale online and thought that the price was reasonable, but why buy it when he can make it with scrap wood and I can certainly sew the covers myself. So here is what we made:

Doll clothes ironing board

This is going to make pressing in those small spaces so much easier and I won’t have to keep the larger ironing board set up during the construction.

If anyone wants to buy one of these, I can’t help you because the Etsy seller who originally had them, no longer has any up for sale. So glad I could at least still find the picture in her gallery so we could model ours the same. If I had it to do over again, I’d make it shorter….less space between the boards…but it’s still fine. I’d say the larger board is about 15″ long and the smaller one about 12″ Both boards are covered in several thin layers of cotton batting (like you would use for quilting) and then a double layer of muslin with a drawstring to hold it on tightly.

We are going to the camper on Thursday (yay!) and after we return on June 2, I can get started on making some American Girl doll clothes for my craft business. I. Can’t. Wait. For both things–the camping vacation AND the doll clothes making.

One thing and another, and maybe one more.

I have still not finished the reorganization of my sewing space, but progress has been made. I do have both of my large cabinets in place and I’m still loading them up and adjusting things on shelves. The rest of the room is gradually getting better. I didn’t get the second cabinet painted, but I needed it desperately and decided to decoupage it later. I can do that while it’s loaded and in place and not have to move it.

I did make a new tablecloth for my dining room, using some fabric that my son gave me that goes perfectly.
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And then…and THEN (she says with emphasis)…I finally began some crafting for next year’s shows. I have painted many, many little teensy faces on wooden beads, which is the beginning of some Wee Folk of Felt. I am loaded up with pipe cleaners, faux flower petals and good quality wool felt and embroidery floss to make the wee people and fairies. I found I’m not so excellent at painting the beads that are smaller than one inch, and most especially, the ones that are one half inch. I think the one-inch ones turned out well, though, so unless I get a lot better at the smallest ones, I’ll stick to the larger people and fairies in the future.

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I do think these look better in person than they appear in these photos….maybe it’s my camera? Or the photographer who knows nothing about photography??

I will soon be painting some clothespins in preparation for clothespin dolls. I want to have the painting on these things mostly done before my first camper trip of the season, so I won’t have to be painting while I’m there. I’d rather just have faces done and get to work on clothing and hair, and in the case of the Wee Folk, embroidery floss wrapping.

I tried my hand at polymer clay, making some simple buttons. My inexpensive thrift store toaster oven scorched them, despite my best efforts at controlling the temp and even using an oven thermometer. I also decided that, without purchasing a $70 pasta roller, this type of clay work is too hard on my arthritic hands. The purchase of said roller would be a risky one when I don’t know if these things would sell or if I can even get the temp control problem fixed, so I decided to let that particular craft idea go. I hadn’t spent a lot of money on it up to this point, so I don’t feel too badly about cutting my losses now. Live and learn….if you don’t try, how will you know if you can do something?

Just tonight I have been working on woodburning some bamboo kitchen spoons for gifts. This. Is. Fun. Simple, rustic, free-form, design-as-I-go. Can’t say who these will be for, but I think they will be well received. I think I’ll buy another woodburning tip or two, so I can add some more designs. It’s one of those times when less is NOT more, MORE is more! If I wanted less, I’d just leave them plain in the first place 🙂

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These are not finished; I do plan to add more designs to them, but it gives an idea of what I’m talking about.

Oh! And my birthday present this year is an American Girl doll, Marie Grace. She’s of the historical time period of New Orleans 1863 and comes in the appropriate clothing and shoes. I’ve always wanted an A.G. doll for my collection, but never wanted to spend the $100+ for one. However, since I plan to make and sell A.G. clothing, then not only do I NEED at least one doll for fitting purposes, but the cost will be deductible when it’s time to pay taxes on my earnings. Win-win, right?

Getting to the point of counting down the weeks till my retirement….at this time a little over 38 weeks. It’s kind of surreal and reminds me of my senior year of high school. I’ll be happy to be putting 8-5 days behind me and dealing with the public in the way that I currently do, but jumping off into the future and leaving behind all that’s familiar does cause some anxiety, too. So, I’m excited (a lot!) and apprehensive (a little.) Doing my best to be prepared financially and not have any unpleasant and expensive surprises, of course.

Thrifted treasure

Sometimes thrifting adventures come up empty, but on my last trip to the camper I found a few great things.  I found a full-sized tablecloth that matches some yard sale napkins I bought a year ago.  It is all pastel squares with a raised twill plaid stripe running across it in about 2 inch squares.  I won’t likely use this for a tablecloth because the colors just don’t suit me. (It is just too feminine for most of the family dinners I host) but it will make great fabric for future projects.  I’m thinking purses, tote bags, clutches, etc., or maybe the lining of something.  It’s quite sturdy.  And only cost me $2.00!

I found a lightweight cotton dress for a couple of dollars that has lots of fabric for doll sewing or charitable baby sewing.  It’s a pale yellow with tiny white flowers.  $2.

The big treasure, though, was this cotton velveteen Old Navy jacket for $4.00.

The shape is pure ME….too bad it is not my size….and look at the sleeve detail!…..

and the rhinestone buttons!  The buttons alone would be worth at least $10 purchased new.  Look at the lovely welted pocket.

I even liked the classy, silky lining, even though it is a synthetic fabric.

I bought this blazer for the velveteen fabric and the buttons.  I once made a suit with the exact same fabric for the collar and button flaps.  But I am faced with a dilemna: I am having trouble cutting it up.  I know, I know, I said I bought it for the fabric.  But it’s a gorgeous jacket, made to be worn by someone who will love it as much as I do.  My daughter might fit it, but it is not her style.  I think I know someone who will fit the size and style perfectly, so I’m going to check that out before I take scissors or seam ripper to it.

The person I have in mind probably doesn’t care for the rhinestone buttons and would want to replace them with more natural materials, maybe even wooden ones, but that’s fine, too, ’cause it means I can keep my buttons 🙂

This little blazer is making me very happy.  Right now, I’m just looking at it, but when I get the chance to check out the situation, it might make someone else happy, as well.  And that’s pretty good for $4.00.

ADDENDUM:  My pretty blazer found a home today, which made me happy all over again 🙂  11/24/2012

Almost three months!

I can’t believe I haven’t posted on here since July 4th!  My sewing room organization came to a standstill due to health issues and then vacations.  Two of them (the vacations, that is.)  We were away for 11 days in August and we have just returned from 9 days away again.  We do love our time at the camper but we are home now till next May. 

I have not been totally without projects, though.  I did finish my curtains for the camper, finally!  I forgot to take photos of them while there, so that will have to wait till next spring.  I also felt the need to make simple, square coasters while there, too.  I got tired of my wood/cork ones sticking to the bottom of the glass and then letting all the water fall on the table, anyway, getting our playing cards, papers, etc., wet.  Not helpful.  Anyhow, I bought some lovely flannel (1/4 yard made 8 coasters!) and I left 4 of them at the camper, bringing the other 4 home. 

These are actually a MUCH darker blue, but it doesn’t matter.  They are functional and washable.  They don’t clink, clunk, stick to my glass or drip water everywhere.  And they were fun and EASY.

After laundry, shopping and a doctor’s appointment Monday, then it was back to my job for the rest of the week.  I actually have two more Md. appointments this week and then next week I begin one month of jury duty.  Not excited about that, but the government doesn’t care.  So how come it’s my second time (last one being over 25 years ago) and my husband, who is nearly 70, has never been called??? Hmmmmm????  How does that happen?

Maybe this weekend I can work some more on the sewing room.  I need to pull nearly everything out and then figure out where to put the two (I hope I can use both) cabinets.  Then put stuff back in the best order I can arrange.  I think some things are going to be edited and some are going back in the “other sewing room.” (don’t ask 😉

I will come back with updates on all of that. 

I did manage to score some lovely things at the Goodwill in Wytheville, though, and will have some photos of that, too.   Coming soon…!

Organization of the sewing room—the very beginning

The first thing I needed to do was to get all my ribbons in some semblance of size and type.  I don’t have so many that they need to be organized by color, as long as I can see them all and they are not a tangled mess–which some of the skinniest ones were because I bought them in a bag of “end cuts.”  Cheap, but a mess.

I bought some large storage jars at Target and the largest one holds two gallons.  I have placed everything in there that is at least 1/4″ wide.  I purchased old fashioned, one-piece wooden clothespins from the craft store.  You used to be able to get these in the Dollar General for a buck or two, but now the craft stores know they are being used for crafts and they jack up the price to about $9 for the same amount of pins 😦    Any ribbon that wasn’t already on a spool or in a package got wound neatly on a clothespin and taped to keep it from unwinding.  All of them fit in the large jar with room to spare for more in the future.  It’s still wild, but not tangled, and I can search easily through them when I’m looking for a color. 

Then I wound all the smaller ones (approximately 1/8″ or less) on more clothespins and put them in a one gallon jar.  I have clothespins leftover and plenty of room for more ribbons.

Step One is complete.  I may put these in my cabinets (I’m still working on the large plastic cabinets) but if I don’t they are still okay to leave out on my workspace or on an open shelf.  They are all together and won’t gather dust in the jars.  

Yay!  Back to painting and repairing the cabinet 😦

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