Sunday, July 28, 2013

fern and sparkle (don't ask...)

Still obsessed with this book, I looked for what seemed to be the easiest larger doll and landed on the Tag-a-Long. She's made with flannel, which is so soft and delicious I will definitely be making more dolls from this material. I also used one of Bun's old baby dresses for the doll's dress. (Don't mind Fifi. She insisted on being in the picture...)

Bun and I had been reading Charlotte's Web as I made her, so she got dubbed Fern. Which I love. I'm really happy with how she turned out. Well...except for the ponytails. I think I placed them too high, so they kind of look like ears. ("Is she an elf," my mom asked?) And I apparently didn't quite construct them right as they are always flopping over. I'm thinking it might be best to cut them off all together and replace them with my beloved Princess Leia buns... But there are too many other new dolls to make before that happens.

But I'm still super happy with Fern. Mainly because of action like this. Whenever I see Bun playing with a doll (or anything) that I make, it makes me feel like I'm doing something right. Y'know?

Is there anything better?! Nope. 

Buoyed by my (partial) success with Fern, I ordered the PDF from Wee Wonderfuls for Kit, Chloe and Louise. This was my first time making a doll (or anything) with a gusset. I was afraid. Surely this wouldn't end well... but it did! It ended up fine. It ended with this cute little one named ...Sparkle. (I'm not sure where that one came from, but it kind of makes me long for the days of French girl names...)

Anyway, Sparkle was also my first attempt at yarn hair. I learned a lot with this first try. Like, don't let the yarn somehow get all tangled up into a gigantic mess before you even get the center part sewn. Yeah, things like that. And also, when you do sew that center part, make sure that it's, like, in the center. (Pay no attention to the lopsided buns.)

But I still love her. I even dressed her in another of Bun's old baby dresses - a little corduroy jumper - and stitched on some of the flowered details with a messy straight stitch. (Yes, I did save a lot of baby clothes.)

For the shoes, I went with yellowish felt for contrast with the dress. I also didn't have any matching thread so I went with a darker thread for contrast. It would seem that yellowish felt + darker thread = moccasins! I went with it and tied a few French knots to stand in for little beads.

All in all, success! In fact, I'm already eyeing several more projects from the book...

Speaking of eyes... I'm almost finished with the w.i.p. I'm just working on the eyes. Eyes are tough. What are you favorite ways to make eyes? Hopefully I'll have an update on the eyeless weenie soon...

Friday, July 19, 2013

w.i.p. (weenie in progress)

Inspired by the cuter than cute little creatures over here, I decided to try and see if I could make my own? Can you guess what it'll be?

How about now?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Fifi and Delphi

I'm not sure how I ended up on the Wee Wonderfuls site, but as soon as I did I ordered the book. I mean, how cute are those dolls? Given my beginning sewing skills, I picked the doll I thought looked like the most straight-forward to make. So I chose the little one, who Bun named Fifi, below.

 The instructions were very easy to follow, and I really love how the book was photographed. (Jen Gotch is so good!) But my favorite part about the book, and the reason I go back to it again and again for ideas is that there is so much variety. Each doll is made with different construction techniques, which once you learn, you can apply them in any number of ways. (Like the little buns on Fifi that I put on Gigi.)

I also made the little mermaid from the book. I used a pair of Bun's outgrown corduroy pants to make her bright red hair, and picked a fabric that looked like a rippling ocean for her fin. We'd been reading this book a lot while I made her, so her name - Delphi!

So glad I found this book. So much inspiration!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

little buds for the little bun

Despite the fact that my daughter is very warm-blooded and never gets cold, and we live in Southern California, where the temperature is usually in the 70s when it's not in the 90s, I can't stop myself from knitting her sweaters. Or trying to knit her sweaters. I've been knitting on-and-off for several years, and have never really ventured past scarfs, ponchos, purses, the occasional hat and other variations on the rectangle.

But I kept seeing this cute little sweater pop up - like here and here - and decided to give it a try. I'm so glad I did, because it was really fun and just challenging enough. And although there are a few mistakes character-lending flaws, I'm still super happy with how it came out.

Now if only I hadn't of finished it during the summertime... will have to work on my timing...

The Bun went with me to the fabric store and picked the buttons (pink flowers, of course) herself.

I haven't blocked the sweater yet, which supposedly really helps even everything out. I just couldn't resist getting it off the needles and onto her, like, immediately. It's also a little short because I got tired of doing row after row of stockinette stitch. (See: previously stated short attention span. )

You can find a link to the pattern on my ravelry page, here, if you'd like to try it yourself!

For other knitting ideas, check out KCCO, which I linked up to here!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

fairy wands and spider webs

Sunday mornings are usually very lazy mornings around our house. I love that about Sunday mornings. But in an effort to try a new craft with Bun, I did a quick search on the interwebs and found some new sites with really inspiring - and simple-looking - craft ideas.

I'm really drawn to all of the handwork emphasized in the Waldorf schools, so that's where my search began and it ended on this site, which somehow connected me with this one.

Fairy wands! Such a great idea, and seemed perfect for a three-year-old with a somewhat limited attention span and developing motor skills.

We picked out a sturdy branch, some multicolored yarn and some beads. Then she sat in my lap and wound the yard around the branch, adding a bead here and there as she went.

I just helped guide things along, but it was really the perfect craft for her. Creative and quick with magical results!

For a slightly more ambitious project, we tried to make a woven sun, like the one here. We cut off six branches of equal length from our apple tree, and then laid them out like a star.

The weaving bit wasn't complicated (just over and under the branches around in a circle), but a little too much for the little one. So she picked out the colors of yarn and cut them for me. Then she picked out the tree where we should hang our "spider web."

She's right. It does look more like a spider web... and a colorful one! The whole project was also really quick and satisfying and looks really pretty guarding over our vegetable garden.

 I'm newly inspired by the sites I found this morning. Especially this one. Can a fairy garden be far behind...?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

an attempt at a Black Apple...

Since my first two attempts at dolls turned out, well, doll-like, I tried making one from a pattern this time. I found this one from The Black Apple (so super cute) through Martha Stewart (of course).

The instructions seemed simple enough so I gave it a go...

It came together pretty easily. The only part that was a little tricky was after you sew and stuff the arms and legs, you are supposed to sew them inside the two body pieces. I had trouble keeping them stuffed inside and squooshed down enough to sew the body. (Has anyone else had this problem?) So, I kind of just held my breath, smooshed everything down and went for it. It seemed to hold (if not perfectly aligned), so I was happy. Her head may also be a tad pointy around the top edges, but that is probably because of my lack of sewing skills tendency to sew super fast and veer off the lines a skosh...

Then I painted on her sweet little face and knit her a tiny scarf. Bun named her Bebe. She turned out so well I wanted to make another.

THAT is when I had my BIG idea!

I realize most of you experienced sewers probably also had this BIG idea, but to me it was BIG. When looking for fabrics, I realized that I had a ton of fabric in the form of Bun's old baby clothes that I couldn't bear to part with. What better way to preserve them than in the form of a dolly!

I grabbed this sweet corduroy jumper that she wore as a dress, then as a tunic, then as a short tunic until it was finally retired. I loved how traditional it felt and the sunny fabric and definitely wasn't ready to let it go. So it became...

Gigi! (Yes, apparently all of our dolls get French girl names.) I used the plain parts to make her body and then cut out the little butterfly decorations and hand-sewed them and one of the buttons on with embroidery thread. (I'm sure there is a more correct way to do this, so don't look too closely at my stitching!)

A little butterfly even landed around back!

For her legs, I used one of Bun's old plaid tunics that she had also grown out of. I love the little patch of yellow that accidentally ended up on her toes.

Gigi got little Princess Leia buns... from this book. Which is up next...!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

meet Coco and Kiki

Here she is! This is Coco. My first doll attempt. Obviously, not an exact match with the inspiration, but a doll nonetheless! And one that my little Bun was very happy with. I painted on her eyes and little heart mouth and made a very crude dress by essentially sewing a tube with arm holes. No hems, clearly, and then I threaded some yarn through the fabric to gather around the neck and waist.

For my second attempt, I tried to stay a little more true to the original. This time, I embroidered her "star" eyes and sewed on her little felt heart-shaped mouth. The pom-pom might be my favorite addition. Makes me want to figure out a way to incorporate pom-poms into my wardrobe...

I knit her a little shawl (a basic rectangle really) to keep her warm. Her name? Kiki, of course

Best of friends.

Next up... I give the Black Apple pattern a try...
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