What’s been going on

Yes I have been working but doing the (kinda) boring stuff. I pulled out all the man skin parts (wow- that sounds REALLY weird) that I dyed way back in January and got to work cutting out all the other pieces needed to sew them together. Then, stitching them up. This is what I’ve got so far-

A pile of fellows in old-fashioned bathing suits, some ready to get kilts, some farmers, and some greenmen. I think that pile is about 20 future tattooed men. Today I started sewing up a group of mermen. After the mermen are sewed up, I will put them all aside for a bit. I’m going away at the beginning of June and I will wait until I return to get back to work on them. Lots and lots of steps…

I have also been putting time into my garden because of course, it is May! It has been a beautiful Spring so far and the garden is bursting. I’ve gotten started planting my dahlias, all my potted plants have moved outside, and I am sprinkling some annual flower seeds around the yard. I love this time of year.

And this week, it’s mermen

Well, I got frustrated with the ornaments and not finishing anything and not enough time sewing and too much computer work and the state of the world… so, I’m taking a break on the ornament patterns. It’ll get done eventually but I need to be in a better/different head space.

Summer seems like the perfect time to make Mermen. I had body parts dyed so I’ve spent this last week putting them together. First, I pulled out a BIG pile of possible Merman colors and prints. Yeah, that’s not the half of it!

Sewing up some fins.

Also- OMG I got my scissors sharpened today- Bliss!!!

The fins, sewed and turned.

A little bit of stuffing before I top-stitch. Everything is organized in zip-lock bags.

All the fins finished.

Then, a Merman sandwich. All pinned up and ready to sew the tail side seams.

A pile, all sewed up. Now is time to clip the seams and turn right side out. I love that part!

And, tada! All the machine sewing is finished and now they are ready to be brought to life. I am really excited about the African wax print textiles I came into recently. As always I am very excited to find out who they will turn out to be.

Here is a pic from my desk- all the thread colors piling up as I was sewing.

Yes, I am all over the place these days. It has been rough . I hope I can get back to posting more because that’ll mean I’m making more so fingers crossed.

What have I been doing!

Sheesh, I had to put something up since it’s been a month of no posts. What have I been doing? Well, not too terribly much. I’ve been working in the garden quite a bit. Besides that though, nothing that has added up to much. I am working on making patterns for ornaments/little felt creatures. I decided to start with the ornaments I designed for West Elm back at least 5 years ago now? I thought that would be an easy place to start- silly me! Everything takes forever these days. Anyway, this is what I’ve been working on-

I’ve been playing with sizes and adjusting patterns pieces. Slowly I will get them done… There is a boy and girl fox, a boy and girl raccoon, a lady squirrel, a moose fellow, and a bear fellow.

As always, I have been a little more active on Instagram but it has mostly been pics of my garden. I hope you all are stay healthy, safe, and sane.

What Day is it again?

I don’t know about you but I have been feeling like I stepped into an episode of the Twilight Zone. Life is very strange these days. What has been happening here? Spring has arrived and the garden is happy.

My seeds are beginning to grow.

I made a baby blanket gift.

I learned something new. I had never heard about stack wound vs cross wound threads. I read/learned about it here. After reading this, I set up my sewing machine like this for when I use Gutermann threads-

I used the water cup for my iron because that was the closest thing at hand in my studio that worked. I will be keeping my eye out for something a bit more practical/permanent since I’ll have to use the water cup soon for it’s intended purpose! And here is the clip as suggested in the article.

So far it has been working great! At least half the thread I use is Coats & Clark which is stack wound so I don’t have to use this method for all my thread.

And lastly, I have been working on pugs. I haven’t made them for a long time! I don’t have any idea why all the sewing seems to be going at glacier speed, but little by little, hopefully I will get something finished. As of today, I have 8 sewed up and turned so hurray for that!

January Update

January is flying by and I haven’t finished a single doll yet! I’ve been working on another quilt; one that I started way back in August 2017. I had actually gotten most of the blocks done but couldn’t focus on how to put it together so I set it aside. I got in the mood to finish it once the kiddos had all gone back to their homes and Christmas was put away. So here is where I started up again, spreading it all out on the guest bed.

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This time I kept telling myself, Don’t over-think everything! Finish up the blocks and it will all come together. Sewing away.

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And the top is all finished!

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Next, figure out the backing. I had a bin in the attic with red and white toile items from my Mom’s house. There was a fabric sample, a sofa slipcover, and drapes. The slipcover was on our living room sofa from the mid-60’s to mid-70’s (?). It had worn spots, faded areas, and some holes, but there was still a ton of usable fabric. I took the slipcover apart and washed all the pieces. I used it to piece together the backing along with the fabric sample. I didn’t use any of the drapes so I still have loads left!

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And here we are, the quilt top is sandwiched with it’s batting and backing with a million safety pins and I’ve started to quilt.

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I’ve discovered that I love hand-quilting, now that I am over being worried about making it “perfect”. I’m in no rush, I can spend time here and there, listening to an audio book or podcast. It is very relaxing. I love how the stitching gives the blocks an added dimension.

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And now that the quilt is all set up for me to stitch when I feel like it, I have gone back to some doll work although I haven’t gotten very far yet. Kitties are waiting for their clothes.

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They will have to wait a little longer though. I am off on a trip to NYC this next week. I am looking forward to spending lots of time looking at art, eating good food, window shopping, people watching, and all the other fun vacation things. Got any recommendations for my trip? I’d love to hear!

Girl Time

What have I been doing? Working on some girls! I am putting together 8 but plan to get 4 finished up for now- and by that I mean before my next show. Next show you ask? I will be returning to the Arts Providence Show this November 8- 10.

Working on faces-

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And 4 with hair-dos.

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While I work towards a show, I don’t usually put new things into my etsy shop. If you see something go by that you are interested in, email me and I can give you all the details.

It is really Autumn here now and I took the air conditioner out of my studio window today. There are frost warnings in the outer suburbs but it is unlikely to reach me. I hope to have lots more weeks of dahlias to enjoy!

And now it’s March

It is March and I am surrounded by piles. Piles and piles of materials and dolls in progress. I have been benefiting from everyone doing their New Years clear out. I found tons of goodies at the thrift store and several friends have donated beautiful fabrics to my supply pile. Here are the thrift store goodies, deconstructed and washed, waiting to get put away.

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I now have a whole pack of dogs waiting to get dressed. Here they are, stuffed and their noses and arms sewed on.

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Now with faces-

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And finally some are getting dressed. I am having to make all new patterns for their clothing which ends up being time consuming.

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On my desk this morning-

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Piles of fabrics (everywhere!) to audition.

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Besides the dogs, I’ve also cut out and sewed up a lot of kitties.

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Kitty pile-

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Both of which will be coming after I get the puppies finished. So busy times around here but no finished pieces yet although soon I hope.

 

February News

I haven’t had any finished pieces in a while but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working. I have spent so much time cutting and more cutting. I have cut out girls, lady pillow dolls, kitties, dogs, owls, and I can’t remember what else! Finally I am moving forward to sewing and finishing. First up, lady pillow dolls.

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And then I’m excited to make some dogs in removable clothing.

2-5-wip - 2 The main event that I am planning and working for is the Smithsonian Craft Show, April 24 – 28. I am so excited to be going back to Washington DC! I had such an amazing time last year.

I don’t have any other shows on the schedule as of now, but I’ve applied to several so hopefully I will have some in the Fall.

I have no teaching scheduled but if you’d like to organize something, let me know. My schedule is mostly open. I am happy to teach to small groups (4 minimum) at my house in the Boston area.

That’s all the news for now and hopefully I’ll be back soon with finished ladies!

September newsy post

I am trying hard to get back into the doll sewing groove after spending August working on other things. My garden is looking MUCH better after hours of weeding. Of course that job is never finished. The main thing I focused on during my doll break was this-

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Yes, I made (most of a) quilt! The way I ended up doing this is so classic me- I was doing some attic cleaning on one of the cool days (the weather in August was all over the place!). I came across a small plastic bin of wool triangles that I cut out when? Maybe early 80’s? I brought them downstairs to deal with- decide if I would move them along or what? I started playing with them and then… they caught me! I had been planning on working on the quilt I started last summer but, oops.

Here is the bin-

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Now that I’m done, I think I still have enough triangles to make another full size quilt! I didn’t use any of the darker greens and very few of the bright plaids. My entire plan was alternate rows of cool and warm colors, light and dark triangles. Pretty simple and it came together very smoothly. Here are my strips, laid out on the ironing board.

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Then laid out on the bed, sewing the strips together.

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I had to move down to the dining room table because I was causing destruction in my studio. My work space is not set up for large projects!

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And, the top, all sewed together with border.

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I sewed together a backing and sandwiched it with a wool batting. It is now all basted together and rolled up in my studio, ready for me to decide how I will quilt it. I am very happy with how it looks, and it was fun to work on something that was just about color. Kind of funny that what I did on my break was a different kind of sewing- a busman’s holiday, right?

Other things that happened- a day at the beach, a trip to Sturbridge, MA for the Vintage Fashion and Antique Textile Show where I found lots of great little buttons for my creations, freezing peaches, and not enough attic cleaning but really, who wants to do that anyway.

I am trying to get back to work. I’ve been fussing with a few designs- a mermaid that I had to put aside when I was so so busy. I made the mistake of not making a test design when I cut out pieces to dye. When i sewed up the first one, I was not at all happy with it so put all the pieces aside for later rework. Now is the time. Also, I have been thinking about a new way of making the lumberjacks so I wanted to test one before I start cutting out a pile. So far, so good! When I am prepping for a show it can be difficult to slow down and backup and figure out what is wrong. I am in a good head space for that right now.

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And 2 more things. My Etsy shop is chock full of all kinds of goodies so if you’ve been thinking you’d like a man or a fox or an owl, there are lots to choose from. Secondly, I am thinking about teaching 2 classes at my house this fall- tiny worlds and owls. I will post more in a separate post this week. Stay tuned :-)

quiet on the blog this month!

There isn’t going to be much posting this month. I am off to LA tomorrow and this month has mostly been preparing for it.

I am teaching 3 Tiny World classes plus an ornament class- that is approx. 70 students! I made samples and refreshed my memory of the patterns.

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I did some pre-work for the classes so hopefully people might finish their tiny worlds in 6 hours!

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I loaded up a TON of supplies and shipped them out to LA. I figured it was better to have too much than to run short, right? Also my tools which might be a little iffy getting onto the the airplane.

After the boxes were shipped, I was able to breathe a bit and did some sewing for things I will finish when I get back. Then, I made some clothes, because I always seem to feel a need for new clothes when I am going on a trip. Here is one of my new shirts, first try-on.

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That was earlier today. Now it is all hemmed up and has buttons and is packed in the suitcase. See you next month!