Tuesday, November 13, 2012


It looks as though I manage to get around to updating this blog about once a month.  This month I am happy to state that my doll last posted won first place and Best in Show at the NC State Fair.  I was very surprised about the Best in Show and of course very pleased as well.  My other two gourd entries received second place ribbons.  I need to try a little harder next year I think. 
At this point in time my once a month Christmas craft party has turned into every Monday night and we are busy making Christmas ornaments to give as gifts.  Seeing what others do to the same craft is very inspiring.  We have so far made my favorite (and my sister's favorite too!) ornament the egg gourd bird house.
I grow the egg gourds and the roof of the birdhouse is basically pieces of mulch.  The bird came from Hobby Lobby as did the 'snow'.    I think I will keep this one as it is my favorite one so far.

We have also made little Reindeer from bottle corks.

The model my daughter lent to me had legs made of jute cording.  But I used cinammon sticks.  The little hooves are beads.    Here is another one.

I made jointed cinnamon stick legs but it did not seem to make much difference and was harder.  So back to the plain legs.  While I was crafting with the corks I got the bright idea to make a train engine...  Here is the result.

There is a jingle bell for a smoke stack and the front grill piece (which you can't really see in this picture) has sequins and beads for lights.  Sort of small.  But cute.

I also made something outside of the Christmas craft parties that is rather smart.  I saw one that my sister Melody had made and since I had been needing one anyway... well,,  there you go.   It is a watchband made of elastic and covered with buttons and beads.

Although the first picture is a little blurry, hopefully you can still see the result.  I also crocheted a little border on either side of the elastic. I really like it and I received a lot of compliments on it when I wore it.  But I used button and carpet thread to attach the embelishments and once the band got wet (oops) the buttons started coming off when they were snagged.  I am going to have to start replacing them with 100% nylon upholstery thread as that will not break!  And that was a lot of work to have it start unraveling.  In fact, I was at a party and was chewing a grape when I bit into something hard.  Thinking it was a piece of a grape seed I spit it out. But it was a little amber bead.  Oops.    Yea, time to remake that thing.  I bought a couple more watches at a yard sale and want to make a couple more from another color beads.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Happy October

It's been a long time since I last posted.  Life goes on.  I love my grandchildren and I have lots of opportunities to be with them.  I guess it just really keeps me busy.  However, I still seem to have had time to make a few creations which I put into the NC State Fair.  I was also able to help my 9 year old granddaughter make some things which she put into the fair. 

This is the doll I made. It comes from a pattern I found in the Soft Dolls and Animals magazine dated 2007 and created by Darlene Rausch.  Darlene is a yahoo group friend and is very talented.  The came close to looking as sweet as Darlene's but maybe a couple more tries and I'll actually get it right.  She won a blue first place ribbon as well as a great big Best of Show ribbon.   I think the Best of Show is intended for the toys and handcrafts category under the "SEwing " heading.   It's hard to know really.  But I was pleased.
She is wearing a wig so I made everything but her hair and socks.
The next  picture is of the gourd creation I made which went into the category of "Gourd Creature".  It won a red ribbon. 

It is made from an egg gourd with paper clay ears, nose, feet and tail.
The last pic is of the gourd singing lady.  I seem to do at least one of these every year.  This is not one of the best I have made.  But I procrastinated and then had to hurry to finish.

She has some endearing qualities though.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Flowers From My Yard

All summer I have been saving flowers picked from around my yard.  Some are flowers that most people would not consider drying as they shrink up pretty badly.  But I saved them for their colors.  I even saved some wildflowers.  They laid on a tray on my table for months.  I'm sure my husband thought I was crazy.  But I had a purpose.  Finally I felt like I had enough to make an impression.  so I cut a ring from cardboard and hot glued the flowers to it.
I started with the longest stems because once you start hot gluing you can't just stick the stem in wherever you might want it.   Then the largest flowers and fill in the spaces with the small ones.  You can even glue flowers on top of flowers.  It is now hanging on my grandchildrens playroom door.
And just to prove that you can use just about anything from outside, the 'real' floral stuff in this arrangement is just overgrown grass.  I guess fescue is really just wheat?  Anyway.  I picked a bunch of it and put some in a glass jar and some I hung on a wall.  This is after one month.

Sorry this is blurry.  But you get the idea.

New Old Kitchen Cupboard

I finally finished a project that I have been slowly working on for 6 months.   I purchased an entertainment center for $50 at a thrift store to turn into a free standing pantry for my kitchen. It was a good purchase as the center was real wood and had electrical wiring for the upper and middle part of the cabinet.  The upper part has a built in light and glass doors.
I had already taken off the doors and hardware before I remembered to take a picture.  So this is what it looked like before.
I painted it a dark green and was going to paint over with white and then distress it.  But I liked the green so much I decided to use the green as the primary color and distress that.  So after adding the black to the interior and red pattern to the doors I could not decide on what color to paint the back inside.  Green would have hidden the plants i planned to put in there and black seemed to dark.  So I ended up painting it like the textured faux venetian wall.  It looks so much like the wall (even without the texture) that you can't tell.  It looks like it has no back panel.  I'm not sure I like that but for now it will have to do.  Last was to put in the gallery glass paint for the faux stained glass doors.  I ran out of paint at one time and had to order more off of ebay as I could not find it at any of the craft stores.  Putting the doors back on was no easy matter either, but it is done and I really like it.  This is what people see when they come in the door.
See what I mean about the back panel looking like the wall?  I had the light on in the top cabinet when I took the picture
.  The trim and molding that I added make a huge difference in how the cabinet looks.  I took the clunky molding off to replace it with dental molding which I had painted black. I painted the cabinet red under beneath the molding.  You can just see the  molding under the top and bottom cabinet. The top molding has small dentals and I painted a line of red under it to match the other dental molding.  

Here is a before and after picture of the spot where I put the cabinet.
I put the tree outside for now.  We received it as a gift for our 25th wedding anniversary and there is no way that i would get rid of it. So I will have to come up with a place for it. I moved the wreath over and got rid of the cheap wire rack on which the plants sit.  I think the bottom doors are a little too much and may distress them more. You can't see it in the pictures but I distressed the doors so that some of the natural wood comes through which matches the door knobs.  I still may decide to paint the back panel black or green or maybe the color of the interior of the top cabinet which is just a mild yellow color.  It holds  a LOT of stuff.  I  have my canned good (as in stuff that I canned) in the top and the colors are nice through the glass.  I still need to order a glass shelf for the inside.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sewing Again!!

Yipee!!   My little precious granddaughter is now in day care and I have found myself missing her dreadfully but nonetheless, I am beginning to appreciate greatly the hours I now have to be creative again.  I even feel that maybe by Christmas I will have numerous old and unfinished projects completed.  In fact, I was able to complete one of those such projects this week.
A friend from one of my doll clubs had asked me almost a year ago if i would make a doll for him.  He had purchased the pattern on ebay and said that it was like a doll he had received as a child.  I hate that it took me so long but that is just how things go.  However, I had the pleasure of making the doll and gifting it to him this week.  The doll pattern was very fragile although not THAT old.  The picture on the front was one that turned me away from ever wanting a doll like that.
As you can see, especially in the photo below, The doll body and even head shape was a very common pattern for the 1950s - 1970s.   The embroidered features and yarn hair was as common, and varied in quality according to the maker.  A lot of the dolls you will find had no pupils in their eyes.  Just the colored Iris.   Below is a close up of the face of the doll on the pattern. 

I'm sorry,  but I have said before that i just don't like to make ugly dolls.  And although she is rather endearing she is not what I would consider as pretty.  
The pattern was fragile and I traced it carefully.  The instructions were horrible and if I had not already made many dolls i would have been unable to make this one.  The dress was too small and I had make the bodice a second time and then enlarge even that one.   I fully lined the dress, which was not in the instructions but I wanted it to be made nicely.  He wanted Blonde hair and so this is what he got.
Although I do not do it often, I enjoy embroidering and I think I am pretty good at it.  I did however, add pupils to this doll.  And I gave her little white highlights in her eyes with paint.   She came out rather cute.

I am looking forward to being able to create more dolls and such as the year goes on.  I am really ready to do a  doll with a sculpted face.  But I have a Maggie Bessie in the works that has been hanging from my "limb tree" for a while.  Maybe pics of her will come soon.  In the meantime I am almost done with my Kitchen Cupboard and am really happy with it.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Cupboard Pantry

I had wished for a long time that I had a pantry in my kitchen.  Even though I am married to a Contractor I knew I would not be getting one built.  So I purchased a wooden entertainment center and took the doors and hardware off.  Then I had my husband put on molding on the top and I painted the entire thing.  I also add new dental molding to the front.   It did not come out like I had originally planned but I like it.
I still have the top cabinet doors to put on.  But first I am doing the faux stained glass on them with Gallery Glass.  I have the design on one of the doors.
Now I just have to add the color.  I'm having trouble deciding what colors to use as I want some of it to be clear so that you can see the canned goods inside.  But I want red to match the doors and trim.  I'll post a finished photo as well as the before photo once I am done.


Saturday, June 30, 2012

Just saw a cool 'app' for the computer.  f'or all you interior decorators (or artists) out there. 
Sherwin Williams has a button for finding out what colors are in pictures that match their paint colors.  They also have a contest to win $1000 visa card.
Go here
to see the demonstration and get the color chipit button for your toolbar.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Queen for a Day

I attended a workshop taught by Christine Shively recently that was really wonderful.  I had the best host (Rose Gibbons) and the teacher was so enthusiastic and giving.  In the music realm where I teach hammered dulcimer I have had the adjective "effervescent" attached to my name.  Well Christine has that effervescent quality herself and truly seemed to enjoy helping us to "get" each new technique and idea.  Her dolls are fun and creative and very inspiring for me.
I think I was the only one to finish the doll, but I had the opportunity to work even after the workshop was over because I was staying at the workshop house.

The dolls have neat little shoes that we made from paper and wire.  The shoes have heels with long needles inside the heels. There is about 1.5" of the needles exposed that fit into tiny holes in the base.  This allows the doll to stand 'freely'.

I learned a new beading technique that I couldn't quit doing so she has picot beading around her stomacher, sleeves and underskirt.

I also added a lace 'collar' to make her look more like the pictures I had seen.  I think she came out really nice.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Just for the holiday.
Created a new wreath for the Easter holiday.   Made with yellow plastic bags, cut and tied around a wire hanger.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Making Time

It seems that I have been finding time to work on creative endevors. I now have two days of the week free that I did not have before and I have been taking time to work on and finish some projects that have been hanging over my head for years.
I finally finished the pattern for the Lithograph doll and the romper.  I purchased the doll on ebay thinking that i would be able to make a pattern for her and sell the pattern to reimburse the cost of the doll.  But it took me too long to finally offer the pattern and the people who had originally they would purchase the doll have not done so. 
I have the doll pattern now availalbe in four sizes.  The original 24" doll, 18", 12" and 8".
You can see them here

The doll looks like this
This is the prototype doll made from my pattern.  She is wearing the romper that came on the original doll.
All the years of working and drawing and sewing.  I am happy to have finally finished the project and to have it available. I think though I am learning that trying to make money by designing, making and selling dolls or patterns is just not worth it.  From now on I plan to make dolls or patterns because I want to. Then if I happen to make some money from it then that will just be icing on the cake.
I am also working on some Christmas Carolers I started before Christmas in 2010.  I have one finished and will post pictures soon.   I am also enjoying making "Spool Birds".  They are not made from spools, but come from the Spool Sewing website.   I'll post pics of them and the site.
I am having horrible problems at this time working on my posts.  It seems that my browser is no longer supported by Blogger and so parts of Blogger will not work.  Blogger wants me to try another browser, basically- Google Chrome.   A nasty way to make people switch if you ask me.  So I'll be researching the ways to get around this.