Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The First Quilt

I made this quilt 9 years ago. The pattern is titled "Oh, My Stars" and its worked from the center block out. Each boarder is added on to the next boarder. A friend of mine who is an expert quilt maker, gave a quilting class. She charged $2 for a 4 hour class every 2 weeks. It was fun. A bunch of ladies together, laughing, looking at fabric, matching fabric, eating lunch together...ya it was fun.
I made these next two quilt blocks a couple of years ago. In hind sight I think I should have used 3 different fabrics, It would bring the center block out and make it more of a focal point if I had used a different fabric instead of the yellow floral.

I like these Victorian fabrics. Pretty and feminine.

I'm thinking about making a dolly quilt. I helped Livia make one a few years ago for her dollies. I have a bunch of fabric scraps in a bag that I am thinking about cutting up into squares. I think I'll work on that today. :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Apron Strings and Things

Aprons are one of my favorite sewing projects. I have over the last 5 or 6 years made ??? I've lost count of how many. I've been involved in several apron exchanges, made them for friends, give them at bridal showers and when my own daughter was married, I made a bunch of aprons to give away as prizes at her bridal shower.

My favorite pattern is this Kwik Sew apron pattern. View A. This apron can be made for as little as $5 if you make your own bias tape. $10 if you buy the bias tape. I've done both, but mostly bought bias tape for the sake of time and convenience. I will say though that I think an apron much improved with self bias tape.

I've been wanting to make an apron for a friend for awhile. I finally got down to business yesterday and after we finished school, laundry was caught up and I cut out 8 doll dresses and 9 doll pinafores, I cut an apron out and sewed it up. This pattern only takes me about 15 minutes to cut out and an hour to sew up. It is simple for a beginner and once how the pattern is assembled is understood, all subsequent aprons go together even quicker and easier.

I've also embellished this apron with a cute ruffle and sometimes a double ruffle. Excuse the photos...they were taken several years ago back before I knew one thing about cropping and editing and taking pictures in general.

I love cherry fabric.

I wish I could find this fabric again. It was so cute with little peeps scratching around. Oh to have 2 more yards of it!

More cherries....

This pattern is a Simplicity...I don't remember which one off the top of my head. Livia also has a some culottes made out of this fabric.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Simple Womans Daybook

For Today
August 24, 2011

Outside my window...just starting to get light.

I am thinking...that I need to call the well man. My well isn't working.

I am thankful for...grace, mercy and the promises of God.

From the learning rooms....We started back to school this week. Yippee!

From the kitchen....tuna casserole for supper tonight.

I am excited...about my daughter having a baby in Feb.

I am t shirt and khaki skirt. Must put on shoes.

I am creating...aprons

I am church tonight and I have to also go to the store at some point this week.

I am reading...Big Smoke Mountain by Lewis B. Miller, aloud to my children.

I am hoping...the well man shows up early.

I am hearing...a very quiet house with the hum of a fan.

Things I want to accomplish, laundry and possible put a couple of dolls together.

Around the house...the yard needs mowed.

One of my favorite things...holding my grand babies.

A few plans for the rest of the, laundry, dolls and cleaning up my sewing area.

A picture thought I am sharing...Some of the counselors down at Camp Joy. My husband is the one in the big white bib. They played the ketchup game. A gross game involving blindfolded campers, counselors laying on the ground with a cup taped to their forehead and a big bottle of ketchup. Hence the bib and the sunglasses.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Confessions of a Pattern Junkie

This pattern should be titled....Sunday Go Meetin'. That is what I think when I look at the designs. Somebody knew how to dress a little girl. I confess that what grabbed me and drew me into this sweet little number is the whole dress. There is not one line, button or cut that I find fault with. Nothing in me says....I would change this or that. The collar, the tailored look the buttons give, the puffy, little sleeve, the waist yoke, full gathered skirt, big yummy bow...what is not to like? The only thing that could possibly be lamented is that more little girls are not dressed in frocks like this ones.

I confess that I think most little girl dresses would be cute in blue gingham...but this one would be really cute in blue gingham. Maybe some red rick rack around the skirt. I would do covered buttons in blue gingham too. OH, I just thought that some daisy trim around the skirt would be even cuter than the red rick rack....I alway default to red rick rack first....because there is just something about rick rack, especially if its red.

I've been looking at the hair style on the little girl in the yellow dress. (view 2) I thinking, thinking, thinking on how to get that hair style on a doll. I'm sure if I think on it long enough I'll figure it out. :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Jane, Jane and More Jane

Austen that is....

I am a huge Jane Austen fan. Mansfield Park is one of my favorites.

I've taken lately to listening to audio books at LibriVox.

I've listened to The Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorn.

North and South by Elisabeth Gaskill.

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen.

Next I will be listening to Persuasion by Jane Austen.

I discovered an excellent reader who volunteers her time and voice to LibriVox. Her name is Karen Savage. LibriVox has a search options for readers....because when you find one as good as Karen want to listen to everything you might possible be interested in by that reader. She reads with great tone and inflection in her voice, does character voices well and rarely, if ever makes a mistake in her reading. You can find her LibriVox recordings here and she blogs here.

Check out LibriVox if you have time. Its a great website. Any book that is in the public domain can be read and uploaded there. They do no advertising and run on a donation type basis.

Oh and I'm not being paid to write any of this. LibriVox has no idea who I am. I just really, really, really like their site and what they are doing and I really, really, really like listening to Karen Savage read.

Monday, August 15, 2011

How much Life Changes

This picture was taken not quite a year ago when the children and I were in Alabama visiting relatives. My husband had worked for 6 months WAY down south in Venice, Louisiana with the BP Oil Spill and the children and I would go down every so often and stay in a camper that was set up next door to the Responders Village. One one such visit I got a wild hair and decided that on the way home we would go up through Alabama (a beautiful state) and visit my brother and sister inlaw and from there go on up into Tennessee and visit my sister and her family. I was really stretching my wings to drive that far, through 5 big cities, mountains, narrow dams, and awful bridges with 9 children. My older children were a real help to me. My oldest daughter sat in front and watched all the signs through the cities and kept me in the right lane. One son read directions and another helped me navigate the lanes when it came time to switch.

Autumn is married now. Donnie is graduated high school. Husband is home. I'm a grandma twice and soon to be again.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Stayed up late tonight and watched a movie with my husband. Stayed up later and talked.

Talked about our children.

Talked about the early years of our marriage.

Talked of people we used to know.

It seems strange to be able to say..."20 years ago" but here we are, able to say it.

We talked about what we would name a little girl if we were ever to have another baby.

Talked of grandchildren.

Talked of our dear church family....what did we ever do before we had them?

Talked of our sons, growing so quickly into men.

Talked of the new kitchen I'm dreaming of...well, I talked of the new kitchen.

Talked of work and school.

It was a good night.

I'm thankful for my husband. Life gets busy. It was nice to reconnect this evening.

Her Name is Rio

Monday, August 8, 2011

Adrianne, Katie Beth and Her Dress

Adrianne was one of the first 12" dolls I made. She and Katie Beth were originally intended to be the first dolls in my shop. After looking at them for awhile I decided I needed to improve as a doll maker before attempting to sell a doll. I love this little doll. In my eyes she is perfect. She ended up being gifted to a special set of sisters who still love her and make doll clothes for her out of all their moms fabric scraps.

Katie Beth is the other first 12" doll I made. When I first made her she had mohair ponytails. I used her a lot to model doll clothes for my shop.

My little Livia, played and played with her. One day my older daughter decided she needed new hair and made her some wool yarn hair. She has sat in my window, keeping me company as I sew and work on different projects. A few days ago I thought she needed a bit of gussying up so I got into the top drawer of my fabric dresser, where I store what I consider to be my knitting or sewing goofs that aren't up to my standards to sell but are good enough to keep for some other suitable reason.

I pulled out this little red dress that I knit last year. I was going to put it on a doll for my shop but I made a mistake on it. I had wanted the whole dress in stockinette but somehow or another the top came out garder stitch and the skirt was stockinette. AND when I turned it inside out it was the opposite hehehe.
Anyway I put the dress on Katie Beth and now she is a cheerful little girl in red with a snazzy blue polka dot ribbon around her waist.

Amazing what a change of clothes will do.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Dolls and Doll Clothes

I am in love with these polka dot dresses. I think I want one for myself. Red would be good but then so would the blue.

It was pure pleasure to sew them up and stack them on my ironing board. All bright in red, blue, hot pink, soft pink and orange. The colors are simply fantastic. I see more of these in different colors coming soon.

Deep Aqua blue
Hot Pink
and soft pink

And then these dolls. I wavered back and forth all week about pink hair. Now that Miss Paisley is all put together, I like the pink hair. I still lean with natural hair colors but I can see myself turning out a pink haired doll every now and then...maybe even deep purple too.

Miss Paisley is sporting a bishop style smocked dress, knitted long underwear, blue cardigan and Mary Jane shoes.
And meet Miss Lucy. In my mind I think of her as Lucy Maud. The red hair sort of reminds me of the fictional Anne Shirley aka Anne of Green Gables who was brought to life by Mrs. Lucy Maud Montgomery. Hence the Lucy Maud.

I love the yarn that I used to knit her cardigan. It comes from Madelinetosh Vintage is is the Mansfield Garden Party colorway. I think I'll be ordering another skein. It knits up beautifully. Lucy Maud's dress is knit out of wool/cotton blend from Spud & Chloe. I had knit the sweater and was wondering about the color for the dress when Livia pulled out this skein and declared it would be a perfect match. I think she was right. The colorway is "Popsicle.

The dolls and doll clothes will be in my shop at 5 pm today.

Oh and it rained! A nice steady, off and on sort of rain from early this morning until around noon. All the plants are standing up and smiling and the world looks new!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

This and That

Its been a busy, sad, creative week around here.

Our refrigerator decided to go on the fritz so it had to be cleaned out, the contents moved to the refrigerator in our camper, and a repairman called to come fix it.

Laundry has been mountainous! But I think I am finally getting back on top of it. When 4 guys come home from a great week a camp and dump a weeks worth of dirty laundry x 4 in the laundry room, things get out of whack fast. :)

The weather has been so hot. The kind of hot that almost takes your breath away.

Around midnight last Sunday evening, my son Donnie received a call that his good friend had been killed in an auto accident. A 17 year old young man, who never met a stranger and was every bodies friend went out into eternity. There have been lots of tears and good memories being talked of. So sad. I can't imagine getting a call like that.

I've been working on 2 dolls. I successfully came up with 2 new knitted underwear patterns and I'm feeling pretty accomplished over that.

The first will be for my dolls that have all knitted clothing. They are more like wool shorties but I like them and they cover well besides being cute and totally knit in the round.

The other pattern is for my dolls who will wear a smocked dress. I like these so much! I've been thinking about how to do long underwear for a week. I'm sure as I do more they will get easier and maybe I'll get a better idea about doing the straps at the arms but for now I am more than pleased with these "long" underwear.
They button at the shoulders. I still need to sew the buttons on. They are so cute! This pair is knit out of a bamboo/silk combo. Interesting yarn to work with. It is very soft and has a nice sheen to it. I thought it would be hard to knit with because the yarn fibers seemed to come apart easy but I didn't have any trouble at all and it knit up real nice. It has a nice drape to it too. I don't know where to get it again. I found it a year or so ago on the clearance shelf of my favorite yarn store and bought it thinking it would be nice for doll unders.

I made a pink haired doll this week and at first I couldn't make up my mind if I liked it or not. I'm more of a "natural hair color only" girl. But the more I've worked on this dolly, Paisley is her name, the more I like her with her pink hair. I'll still be doing mostly natural hair colors but the idea I had for her wouldn't go away. So, I had to bring my idea to life. Who knows there may be more pink haired girls hiding in the recesses.