I'm so excited about my new design wall. After moving things around in my sewing room, I discovered there was a space for this behind the door. It's taken me ages to find time to make one, but if I'd known how really simple it was I would've done it sooner. I still can't believe this all came together in about an hour. The Mister came to my rescue and helped me out this weekend by providing a 4 x 4 piece of lightweight board that he mounted to the wall. Basically I padded it with thick polyester batting and covered it with white flannel. I used a hot-glue gun to secure the edges on the back. I'm not making anything in particular here. Just couldn't wait to put something up and test it out. Works like a charm as you can see. I couldn't be happier with it! Click HERE to see more detail.
I've been so excited about all the other Club Little House swap goodies that I've forgotten to share what "we" made.
Donuts! For the doll with a sweet tooth. Actually, I have to confess: all credit goes to daughter Grace this time. Maybe you already guessed. Because I could never even hope to make anything like this, you need very nimble fingers and oodles of time. Not to mention the willpower not to eat everything! No, these are not edible (it's sculpey silly) but I'm drooling just looking at them, aren't you?
So anyway, when the CLH swap came up, I thought of her instantly because she's been making miniatures like this for quite awhile now and really had the desire to do it. The first time I saw what she was doing I swooned. Her cakes are amazing too. Next time around though, we'll both be contributing things we've made. I already have lots of ideas in mind so I'm really looking forward to it again.
And like most crafters, we always seem to make more stuff than we know what to do with, so I finally got around to stocking the Etsy shop with this overflow of goodness. All the profits will go to Grace to help fund her projects, but also validate what she's doing. Which is important too. I know you creative types understand this. Quantities are limited, some are one of a kind. Grace pretty much makes the things she likes...we can't exactly turn her into a doll donut factory, although she did say that she wouldn't be opposed to taking a special order now and then. So there you have it. Basically everything is offered on a first come, first serve basis. If you want to purchase something but don't have an etsy account, shoot me an email and we can work something out.
Yesterday was the summer solstice marking the longest day of the year, and summer seems to have arrived right on cue because it's been absolutely beautiful here. There's a nice breeze coming in through the open windows this morning and the trees are full of birdsong. All this makes it easier to face the mess I'm making in the sewing room. But look! I found Thursday in that pile with some other UFO's that I may get to finishing soon. I'm also making much more progress on the Flower Pots quilt than I ever thought I would and am actually seeing light at the end of the tunnel. I'll post a work in progress again tomorrow.
(And for those who asked, you can find the transfer pattern for the Prissy Poodle towels is here.)
But before I get back to the 'Unfinished Objects' pile, I want to share some of the delightful dollhouse doings around here. As I've shown you, dollhouses can take many forms. They can be as simple as a twig & moss structure from the garden (for fairies of coarse), fashioned from a wardrobe cabinet, or made from a kit like this Victorian dollhouse that I'd previously shared about here.
This seemed like the perfect setting for a few more of our Club Little House swap goodies. Here is the sweet china cupboard that Aliciamade, which you can see fits just perfectly in our little kitchen here. How nice is that? We love it! And all the plates and things are so cute too. Plus we finally have a place to put this tiny toaster, which I love. Grace made the scrumptious cake. Upstairs the bedroom got a make-over and the yellow bed was replaced with the pink bed to match this adorable little night stand with drawers, that actually open, made by Alice. I couldn't be more pleased with how these fit right in here. It's all so wonderful.
In an old house in Paris, all covered with vines, Pepito and friends celebrate good times.
Another Birthday! It seems the fun and games just never stop around here. This time it's Pepito who is celebrating with his friends in the dollhouse kitchen. The adorable party favors are compliments of Club Little House Member Janet. Thank you for such a sweet surprise! We love everything and so do the dolls! And again, thank you Amy for getting all this together so beautifully and without a hitch. Here's a bigger view of the "old house in Paris", our largest doll house. This DYI media/clothes closet was the solution for keeping all the little bits up off the floor. The dolls essentially live upstairs above the bakery/toy shop. How very lucky and convenient for them, eh? The two drawers are perfect for storing more accessories. We've found that the 8-inch Madeline dolls are the perfect scale for this, and Barbie furniture works well for them. More dollhouses and Club Little House swap goodies to come.
The porch needs sweeping and the flower beds could use a little sprucing up, but before I go and get busy with all my little chores this morning, I want to share this cute bundle of love from Dawn. She makes the most beautiful things and when I saw this adorable sock monkey, "Arabella", on her blog I fell in love with it instantly. By coincidence, Sarah had been asking me if I could make her another monkey after we gave GUY away to this good cause organized by Shanna. But since I didn't have another pair of red-heel socks on hand, and no quick source for them, I purchase this for her instead. Now I can cross that off my to-do list. And needless to say, Sarah was absolutely thrilled. Her dress is made from a vintage quilt, a crochet piece was fashioned into a vest, and those felt mary-janes are so cute I almost can't stand it! There's also a little yo-yo flower tucked behind one ear. Simply charming isn't she?
And there were more surprises inside the box that I wasn't expecting, a flower pincushion, with cute handmade decorated pins, angel ornaments for the girls, and an array of vintage buttons along with a darling little pouch made from an embroidered linen napkin. So nice! Dawn's shop is often full of wonderful handmade things so take a look when you have a spare moment. And, oh. I almost forgot. We found out that Arabella was expecting and had a little baby named "Gus" when no one was looking.
We finally made it out to the field to pick strawberries at one of the local farms just a few miles down the road. It turned out to be a beautiful morning for it and we brought the Mister along with us (for his amusement), kicking off our Father's Day weekend on a "sweet" note. With four of us picking our baskets were full in no time despite all the tasting.
There's nothing quite like that first taste of ripe tart strawberries picked fresh from the field. Oh, and they do wonders for your complexion too, so absolutely no guilt if you accidentally eat too many.
Our package from Club Little House had arrived by the time we got home. (Thank You again Amy for organizing this fun swap!) Grace and I went wild opening all the beautifully wrapped little packages and wasted no time adding our new treasures to the dollhouse. There will be pictures soon. We should wait for everyone else to get their packages so as not to spoil any surprises.
On Friday, I got around to doing something with these raggedy pants that Sarah handed me two weeks ago, requesting that I make patches for them. Actually, I'd already patched one knee, and these were way beyond patching. I would've tossed them, but this was not an option since she apparently adores them. A LOT. And they still fit. So I did what I could with them, which was to cut them off above the knees and add a new hem with a little flourish. Not exactly a new trick or Sunday go-to-meeting, but fine for play and most importantly she's really happy with them. The "belt" on the khaki pair is serged to the side seam and has a little bit of velcro to hold the ties closed, so there's no fussing with ties. I just used scrap materials for these, so there was zero cost. The only downside, is that Sarah now believes her mother can work magic and this morning, I found a broken rubber flip-flop next to my sewing machine. Hmmm...not sure what to do about that!
I'm pretty happy with this garden smock. It's for a blog-pal swap; Lauren is making me a little art piece in exchange. Lauren's blog (Alice Lands) is no more, boo-hoo...but hopefully she'll resume things once she's found more time for it. These blog updates do take time.
There's a big pocket on one side. Which you can see is empty. But not for long...I will be including a little surprise inside it now that I outted this!
Due to the nature of my pattern business I get a lot of email, but nothing like this past week and it's been amazing. Thank you everyone who jumped on board and helped spread the word about Finish What You Have. From all the enthusiastic responses I'd say this project may continue indefinitely.
I also hear that some of you are feeling overwhelmed with the enormity of the task. My advice to that is: baby steps. Start small. You might want to set a goal of only finishing one or two little projects this month and work up to bigger ones later if you are motivated to do so.
Now, having said that, I also have to tell you there's no rule that says you can't start anything new. In fact, anticipation can be a fun motivating factor. For instance there are things I need to do like summer sewing for myself and the girls, gifts, swaps, etc. But at the same time I'm also making the commitment to dust off and finish a few old projects. I'm talking about discipline and balance. Not throwing oneself on the alter or anything. Heavens no. Craft, thrift, spend your mad money, just finish it, whatever it is.
I'm hugging myself because I've already got my Flower Pots quilt laid out on the dining room table with the batting and the backing ready for basting. My least favorite thing to do btw is b-a-s-t-i-n-g. But the saving grace is, I'll be using one of those old wooden table frames to quilt this so a minimal amount of stitching is enough to provide adequate reinforcement as I handle it the first few times. This quilt project will most likely last throughout the summer. But I do plan on finishing some smaller projects in between.
Like these towels...um... what happened to the rest of the week anyway? I might have seen Thursday in that pile over there, but wait, there's definitely a long weekend missing. . . better get on that.
This was basically my view for most of the weekend. Sleeping cat and all. I started out using the ottoman to support the quilt I was working on, only to have Lily nudge it out of the way eventually. I can't believe how much a cat can sleep sometimes. I stitched on this binding for hours on end and she never opened her eyes once. Maybe that says something about both of us! Even so, all that time spent in the chair paid off. I finished this! And I'm feeling very very happy about that. It turned out lovely and little Sarah is thrilled that it's finally done and it's all her very own now.
I'd thought of giving the quilts to the girls later, but that meant keeping secrets and having to do the sewing late at night when they were asleep. In the long run though I think it worked out better this way, because they could see all the work and love that went into making them. Plus there will be these "fond memories"of the making.
I've been looking high and low for the pattern I used for this but so far I haven't had any luck finding it. It was something I modified from an older pattern I found in a quilting pamphlet or maybe it was from an old workbasket magazine, or Aunt Martha's----I honestly can't remember. That was...um, some years ago and no telling what ever happened to it. I usually keep that kind of stuff but for some reason it wasn't where I thought it was, so it remains a mystery for now.
Each one of the Dutch Kids is different. Sarah likes looking at them. I'm sure she will have given them all names by the end of the day. I think designing all the outfits was the most fun. And of coarse, the finishing touch was the label applique on the back. I made this one into a heart, using this same freezer paper method. I love the polka dots and Grace said she thought the embroidery looked like pink icing. It does look yummy.
See the finished quilt over here on the flickr group Finish What You Have. A few finished projects are already rolling in...so now I guess it's time to start on Grace's Flower Pots quilt. Move over Lily!
It's a bit soggy here this morning with more spring showers. I went outside between downpours and found this little corner of the yard looking so pretty. The daisies planted themselves here with the clematis and next to the lupine. They've popped up all over the yard and even make the weedy patches look presentable.
The Mister's been cooking all the meals this whole entire weekend and I couldn't be happier about that. (His idea and gift to me!) He usually makes breakfast on the weekends and in fact is making French Toast as we speak. The kids all got their first kitchen experience from him. As soon as they were old enough to stand on a stool and hold a spatula they were at his side flipping pancakes or stirring the waffle batter every Saturday & Sunday morning. It's great when the whole family participates together and makes a contribution toward bringing food to the table, whether it's the planning, shopping, cooking or clean-up, with the acknowledgment that it's not just one person's "job". I do the bulk of it without too much whining, but it's really nice to have supportive helpers.
Not having to think about meals really frees up my time for other things... like um...driving all over town yesterday to find enough bias binding for this quilt. I only needed four little packages for heavens sake. Resources are often limited in a small town and that can make it near impossible to find all you need in one place. A simple outing turned into a quest. I ended up with two packages from Joann's, one from a local craft store and one from the drug store. The last two weren't from the same dye lot and didn't match, but I bought it anyway because by that time I just wanted to get home. No wonder I have such a hard time finishing things--ha!
And speaking of that, I'm pleased so many of you are getting into the race with 'Finish What You Have'. I'm setting up a flickr group over here so we can share the projects we've dug out. Seeing what others are doing will help inspire us. A big thank-you to Justine for making a button for this. Actually, I think her hubby made it which explains the racing flags thing. I would've never thought of that, but he did and I think it's very clever. I love the colors! Feel free to use it on your blog. I'll be adding it to my sidebar once I figure out how to do this again. (I have the code, but it doesn't seem to be working, nor is my email to Justine going through to Australia, so if you happen to be reading this dear...help! ) This should be fun, I don't want anyone to feel like they're under a deadline or anything though. Quilts for instance, may probably take longer than a month to complete. And we all know life happens. The main idea is just getting the stuff out again and committing to finishing it. I'll most likely start a new project here and there in between, even though I'm still pushing to get my older projects to the finish line.
I'm back after a 24-hour marathon sewing fest and happy to report that progress is being made over here. I must say too, that I was pleased (but not really surprised) by such an enthusiastic response to the Finish What You Have challenge for June. I'm happy that so many have joined up! Thank you all for your wonderful supportive comments and a shout out to Whip Up for making mention of it too. I also just found out that a similar project was happening last month and I apologize if this is redundant for those that may have already started down this path. Apparently many of us still have lots of unfinished projects and need additional motivation! I know I do.
So no turning back. Currently, I have two large quilts that need to be finished and they are now my number one craft-priority. Naturally there are lots of other things too, but I'm really feeling the need to finish these first. I started them both within a few years of each other (obviously going through a crazy applique phase) but got side-tracked and never got back around to finishing either of them.
The Dutch Kids & Tulips quilt is further along than the other one even though I started it second, only a mere (ahem) *seven* years ago. It's already been quilted, all by hand too, (sorry I couldn't help boasting about that.) Well, except for the border. I had the bright idea of quilting windmill motifs all along the edge, one in each scallop. Please someone talk sense to me if I ever come up with an idea like that again, OK? I had about eight more to go which I actually did get done even though it took most of the day. All I need to do now is sew on the estimated ten yards of binding. Will need a good night's sleep before I tackle that.
I also got the rest of the sashing cut out and pieced the rest of the blocks together on the Flower Pots quilt. I'll pick up some batting tomorrow so I can get started on the quilting as soon as I finish binding the other one. I don't want to lose my momentum this time. Oh, I do believe I am seeing a little light at the end of the tunnel.
After my last few posts about re-claiming and working on unfinished projects, I've heard from many of you out there in the craft community (online and otherwise) about how many unfinished projects are collecting dust underneath beds and behind closed doors. This seems to be a problem for most crafters in general. We often start something with lots of enthusiasm only to abandon it somewhere down the line because we run out of time, materials, or patience. Or there's an illness in the family or a crisis. Maybe a new baby. Sometimes we just loose motivation.
Well, here it is. The motivation part. As I was sipping my tea and staring off into space this morning I was thinking about that, and what it accomplished for me personally, and it inspired this challenge.
I'dlike to suggest this June as Finish What You Have month. Find something that needs buttons, or stitches or stuffing or seam-ripping or whatever, and finish it. This can be *anything* you started over a month ago or twenty years ago that was abandoned and forgotten for some reason. Share what inspired you to start the project and what stopped you from finishing it if you desire. Finish one project or a dozen. Personally, I could take the challenge for the rest of the year and never run out of things to show and tell about!And I know I'm not the only one. Anyone else up for it?