the girl news

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These girls are slow! This photo above was my desk yesterday morning. The 4 little girls all currently have something to wear but…

These girls are a re-designed pattern. That means that I am making new patterns for all the clothing. It ends up being a slow and sometimes frustrating process. Some of the clothing that the girls are currently wearing will have to be remade or at least fixed since they don’t fit quite right. I was hoping to have something finished by the end of this past week but that didn’t happen. I am going to move on to some other dolls for a while and maybe get back to these friends after the holiday season. I want to do them right, not just get them done. So, back to the shelf and being patient!

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and some more Mimi news

I haven’t been spending much time here because I haven’t finished anything! That is very frustrating but I figured I’d check in anyway. I have been busy and distracted. This is where I am with the girls-

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There are maybe 5 more that are stuffed and put together but no faces or hair yet. And then a bunch more, sewed but not assembled. All the girls are currently patiently waiting because I am working on ornament prototypes for West Elm Holiday 2016 (yes already!). Hopefully I will be back to the girls soon.

So, speaking of ornaments, my 2015 line for West Elm is now available. These final designs ended up pretty far from my original designs but that’s the way it works with licensing. There is a racoon couple and a fox couple. It is always a fascinating process.

The other things that have kept me busy or have proved to be distracting? We got a new car to replace our 1997 Honda Civic, probably about time. We are now a Prius family. I went down to New York for Columbus Day weekend and saw Ronnie Burkett’s amazing puppets. Also went to some museums. I think my next post will be things I took photos of at the Met. Work is being done on the house, some of which is to repair damage from last winter. Hopefully it will all be done before winter comes again! It is tough to concentrate on my work with the noise and interruptions. And, the chiropractor. Yeah, my back is messed up again. So, probably too much information. On the inspiring side of life, we’ve been watching the Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries which are great fun and fantastic costumes. I’ve listened to all the audio versions of the books and the shows are obviously not the same but lots of fun anyway. (well, yes, I think the books are better- am I a snob?!)

Fall is in full swing and the weather and fall colors have been great. I love Autumn.

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what I’ve been working on

I have been wanting to get back to making some girl dolls for quite a while. There always seems to be something else that makes it to the top of the “what’s next” list though. Back last winter, I pulled out various patterns of mine and experimented with making some in cotton. I came up with nothing that satisfied me and everything went into a shopping bag and got stuck in a corner.

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I recently emptied that bag back onto my work table and have gone back to work, this time using wool. Much better!

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I am working on tweaking my original girl pattern and also making a little girl design. These are the 2 I am currently moving forward on.

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Next, as I sorted through my fabrics for a variety of skin shades, I found I was low on the peachy colors. I had a range of pinks, but they were too pinky-pink for my taste. So, time for the dye pots.

I had 4 shades of pink that I was aiming to tone down and/or get closer to a peach flesh color-

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I pulled out my dyes and picked a variety. I usually use Cushing Dye for wool but I also did 2 tests with Rit. This was what I got out of a morning’s work-

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The bottom row, second from the left is the 4 original, un-dyed fabrics. I experimented with- Cushing Apricot, Aqualon Yellow, Tan, Nugget Gold, Maize, Orange (2 times since one was too bright), Lemon, and Rit Tan and Taupe. From my samples, I was able to make some educated guesses about what would work. I was very happy with the results! I put a swatch of the original color with the new, over-dyed color.

9-26-dyes - 1 (1)The one that says 3 (left most) is the subtlest. I used Rit Taupe and it just toned the color down a bit. #2 was Cushing Aqualon Yellow. #1 and #4 Cushing Maize. I am really pleased with my results! I had an excellent dyeing day; well, except when the towel caught on fire… but yeah, not too much damage ;-)

Now, time to start cutting out some girls!

ornaments on the horizon

I know it has been pretty quiet over here. It has not been quiet in my life! I am making great progress on my ornament patterns and hope to publish 5 designs in mid-July, when I get back from Portland, Oregon.

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And, I took another trip down to Brooklyn for some West Elm business- that made the 3rd trip to NY in 5 weeks! I stopped in Connecticut to see family. I’ve spent some time making new clothes- I really ought to do a post about that. But, mostly I have been concentrating on pattern writing and photo taking.

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And, wow, is my desk messy. Lots and lots of tiny bits of paper and thread and felt.

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And samples and more samples.

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I’m hoping to be back to the regular making schedule once I am back from my trip and the patterns are ready.

goings on

There is lots going on around here. This morning, I packed up two orders, walked to the post office, then the bank, then the library and back home. And somehow, since I haven’t done any sewing, I feel like I haven’t gotten anything done! So, now I am writing a blog post. Last week I took a super-fast, overnight trip to Brooklyn to see the year-end show at the NYU Game Center where one son is getting his MFA. Next week, I will probably go back again for Mister Finch‘s show. Busy, busy!

I’ve got a table full of foxes waiting for me.


But, I’ve gotten distracted by ornaments.


When I was asked to design some ornaments for West Elm, I needed to come up with a lot of ideas and then they picked what they wanted. The thing is, I liked all of them! It has been tickling the back of my conscious brain ever since that I should move forward with these others and make patterns. I even got started a few times but ended up getting flooded with ideas and then feeling overwhelmed. This time, I said I would teach a class to make ornaments. That is the way I finish things- commit to someone else. So, moving forward! So far I have a fish, a whale, robot, and a long list, drawings, and first try prototypes of lots of other things. I will keep you informed as they move forward.

What else? I am taking a class to make the Cooper bag. I know, busman’s holiday, but I knew I wouldn’t get to it if I didn’t schedule a time. Hopefully it will be done on Wednesday evening and then I can show you.

I am going to Portland, Oregon in July (8- 13). So excited!

I’m not sure if I mentioned it before, but a reminder since I’m making a list here- I am not planning on doing any shows this year. It doesn’t look like that will slow down my traveling though!


next up- Washington DC

The next event on my schedule is Crafty Bastards in Washington DC. There are lots of terrific vendors and super nice crafty people so it will be a great time! You can get tickets ahead of time here.


I’ve got a lots of new pieces in progress- assorted piles of foxes, tattooed ladies and lumberjacks, all in various states of completion. Hopefully I will have some finished pieces to show in the next few days.

lots and lots and lots

So much going on and nothing getting finished- yet.

I posted here about first steps of tattooed people and fish, moving along with the foxes. That is still happening.

A week ago I spent a day dyeing.

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I started out with some prints that I over-dye for hair.

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Then ALL those tattooed bodies.

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It was many pots worth. I was very tired by the end of the day. Then, next day I ironed them all and put them back in their bin. Soon I will start cutting out all the rest of their pieces.

I sewed faces on 9 foxes-


and started in on the clothes-

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But I got a bit distracted trying to choose fabrics for dresses. I ended up spending a morning sorting through all my fabric drawers, pulling things out that called to me and in another pile, to get rid of.

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Then, somehow, not really sure how this happens, I started sewing the fish mentioned in that link above. And now, 2 1/2 days later, all 29 are sewed up and waiting to be finished.

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They will trickle out a few at a time over this year.

And lastly, Sweet Paul was in town last week and had a signing for his new book- so fun to meet up in my neck of the woods!


Of course I bought my very own copy of his new book- Sweet Paul Eat and Make: Charming Recipes and Kitchen Crafts You Will Love and had it signed. I need an occasion to make the World’s Best Cake! Anyway, I’m keeping very busy and soon lots of finished pieces will start to appear!

lots and lots of WIPs

My etsy shop is bare and I am trying to get my inventory back up before show season. I’ve started working on many, many new pieces. Step one, cut out the parts. With the tattooed dolls this means the pieces that need to be dyed- the “skin” parts.

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I cut and cut and kept cutting. I now have a LOT of bodies, ready for the next step- dyeing.

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After I have these all dyed, then I cut out all the other pieces. Then construction starts.

Next I pulled out all my bins of wool and my fish pattern-

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and now there are 29 fish cut out and ready to move forward.

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And I am moving forward on foxes, already sewn. I’m stuffing them and next come the faces.

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And I’m sewing up some pugs. Yep, I’m all over the place. That’s why nothing is getting finished but things are moving forward all over the place. Hopefully something will get done this week.

it’s been quiet here

But not so quiet in my actual life. Since my last post, I finished my prototypes for West Elm and sent them off. Fingers crossed that all proceeds smoothly from here! Then I started prepping for a class that I taught at Gather Here over the weekend. I was having a hard time staying focused on that task and did a lot of cleaning, sorting, picking through, inventory-ing before I’d have to give myself a stern talking to and get back on track. It’s a January kind of activity. Anyway, the class was terrific!

1:15:class1Everyone worked hard and made some wonderful worlds.




And on Saturday night, I started a quilt. Because, you know, it’s January!


I booked a trip to Chicago in February- Hurray! Now to look into all the fun stuff since it will not be a working trip…. hmm- how does one do that?

September fish

Step by step. These photos are from my phone- sorry about the bad focus on some.

17 fish- all the pieces cut out and piled.

Step 2- 10 are sewed up and ready to be turned. 7 are bagged and put into the fish bin for later.

Step 3- turned right-side out.

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Step 4- stuffed and finished!

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And there will be more fish tomorrow!