Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Despicable Halloween

It all started with Sydney. When we watched Despicable Me, everyone kept saying how much Sydney was like Edith. So I told her I'd make her a hat if she wanted to be Edith for Halloween. Then I got the idea for a Minion hat for Spencer and it just steamrolled from there. The hardest to convince was Trey. He didn't want to be nerdy Vector. But we finally sold him on it.

Then the costumes had to come together. As I said, it started with Sydney's hat.
... But I actually finished Spencer's Minion hat first. I didn't use a pattern, just made it up as I went, taking the goggles out a couple times until I was happy with how they looked. I found a yellow shirt (don't mind the butterfly) that's actually Sabrina's size but we rolled up the sleeves, to help him appear slightly more twinkie-like.
Edith... The funny thing about Sydney's costume is that I actually did everything in duplicate for her... so even after Halloween, she and Sabrina can dress like the twins they are (Sabrina's hat is almost done). I sewed the skirts from cord I just happened to have, because I have a fabric stash the size of Rhode Island.
Gru... I knit a scarf for Gru, er, Adam... who can do a spot on imitation of Gru talking about Kyle, his dog. We bought some skinny black jeans for him (and tucked a pillow up behind his shoulders under his shirt and jacket). And the day of Halloween, we buzzed his head. He wasn't quite up for going completely bald. Not a method actor, my son.
Agnes... Sabrina was the easy one. We found a striped shirt and some overalls. I bought some black hairspray from Walmart and put a red bow in her hair. We do have a red scrunchy like in the movie, but it somehow went missing. Her hair actually stuck straight up at first, just like in the movie, but ended up flopping over.
Edith... The most spendy, thanks to those pesky Chuck T's. I think the thought of getting herself a pair of red Chuck T's was actually the selling point of joining the DM cast for Sage. I sewed her a skirt that a drafted following a tutorial from the wonderful Ikat Bag. But I actually ironed down and then topstitched both the inside and outside folds of each pleat. I figured that way she could more easily iron it for wearing after trick or treating. No point in sending her to the loony bin young, since I know first-hand that ironing pleats can make you a crazy person. We found her a jacket at Goodwill, and the glasses were reading glasses from the dollar store that we popped the lenses out of.
Vector... Isn't he vastly cuter than the real guy? And he's not nearly so obnoxious! I sewed him that groovy yellow/orange outfit (from a couple different Ottobre patterns) that may never get worn again. C'est la vie. He had the fanny pack, all ready to go with a first aid kit. And we got his amazingly groovy glasses at the dollar store, too. And since we were surprisingly short of piranhas at our house, he crafted his own mini-shark gun.

I think this is the most fun I've had putting together Halloween costumes in ages.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A little ketchup... er, catch up

Do you remember when it used to be spelled Catsup? Ok, word nerd that I am I had to go look it up. It started as ketchup, got screwed up by Jonathan Swift and others and has since sort of come back to being ketchup. And want to know something else weird? It didn't start out being tomato based. "It was more usual to base the condiment on mushrooms, or sometimes walnuts." Ew! Mushroom ketchup. Ew!

Ok, all that from me just being silly. But on to my main point.

I like doing the zentangle challenges, but don't always do them when she posts them. And even if I do, I don't necessarily get them scanned. So here are a few...

This is actually this last week's challenge #41. I don't totally love it, but actually like it more than I thought I would. I did it yesterday while my children and I gathered around the computer in the dining room to watch General Conference. I love General Conference weekend twice/year! And it sounds a little funny, but sitting doing the challenge helps keep my mind from wandering, or from focusing on irrelevant things about how someone is dressed or what the flowers look like or whatever. Thanks Diva!This is from challenge 38 a few weeks ago, one I did then but didn't get scanned. It's one of my very favorites that I've done!And here's another I had in my little notebook that I rather like.
And just in case someone wondered, I have those quilt tops I was moaning a little about almost done. And I have Sydney's Edith hat for Halloween almost finished (it was the other thing I worked on during Conference yesterday). Now I just have to wrap those up and do Adam's Gru scarf and I can get back to dolls without any guilt. Yay!!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Challenged, and it worked

I think the Zentangle thing is getting my brain going in more creative ways. I've felt sort of "off my game" so to speak, in the creating business lately. Partly because my hands have been a bit out of whack... first the thumb on my right hand, then this week my left thumb went all haywire. Plus, I have these quilts hanging over my head that I need to get going on. I'm doing a swap with our wonderful piano teacher... I'll sew 2 quilts for her, and she's taught my kids' piano lessons all summer. With Girl's Camp thrown into the mix last month, I was just overwhelmed. And like all good procrastinator's, I just didn't do anything. But the little bit of tangling seems to have gotten my brain back to normal, and I'm just raring to go on so many things. I've got the quilts going (though with still lots to do on them) and I'm excited to get back to my darling dollies!!!

Anyway, here's my take on The Diva's Challenge #35. I didn't have good paper handy, so I did it on a post-it note. Not my favorite, but it's ok.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Inspired by Zenspirations

After popping my challenge piece for Challenge #34 on my blog this week, I went tangle-surfing and came across a video of Joanne Fink, doing the most wonderful tangle-esque monograms. Oh my goodness!

I have secretly dreamed of being a calligrapher for most of my life. I literally have pages of calligraphy letters I wrote when I was probably 10 or 11 (ok, yeah, I'm a packrat), with some of those inexpensive calligraphy markers. I have fountain pens and a number of books on calligraphy and I've given it a go so many times, but never with enough practice to actually get good at it... plus, I'm much better at learning from someone showing me, than from a book when it comes to hands-on activities.

So anyway, Joanne's little video was fabulous! Not quite calligraphy, but elegant and funky and fun all wrapped together, and there she is showing it to me... perfect! And though I've just started playing with the Zentangle thing, I think I'm not too bad at it. So I got out some paper... one of those extra little squares I had cut on Tuesday. My name starts with a D, so that seemed the logical place to start. My first one isn't perfect, and there are a couple spots that I'm critical of. But like a little pimple on your nose, I'm hoping no one else will notice if I don't actually point it out. Overall, I'm happy with it. Want to see?
Well, that was fun! But why stop there? So I decided to get a little more adventurous and do an entire word. THIS time I'm in love with it. Which is exactly the word I did...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tangled... not the movie

I've been a long-time doodler. Case in point...
Those silly things came from a variety of notebooks covering maybe 4 years (up to about 20 years ago). For at least 5 years, I carried a steno notebook or little journal with me almost everywhere I went. It started with a collaged journal made for me by my wonderfully talented friend, Vicki. I was already a pretty great journaler, and fairly prolific doodler, but that notebook led to me making maybe a dozen more, which were my journals and doodling pads for years. Not great doodles, mind you, just something to keep my mind from wandering during boring college lectures, various church meetings and such. But I had a family, lapsed some in my journaling (doing most of it now on the computer), and rarely found time or reason to sit and doodle.

Then recently I stumbled on Zentagle. Or was it Mom that did and told me about it? At first I thought it looked fun, but a little pretentious. Only on little specifically sized squares? Names for the "tangles?" Copyright? But it reminded me that I actually used to really like doing that kind of thing. And I've done some doodly drawing in the last few years for my scrapbook designs... but mostly in Photoshop. I started reading their website, checked out a couple books, glanced through them, rolled my eyes just a little, and didn't do any doodling. I was still hung up on it being too scripted.

But then Mom and Dad came for a lovely week-long visit. She brought notebooks for me and the children, to do a quilting unit study she found. But the first activity was to get inspiration from the Zentangle books and fill our notebook covers with our names and lines... all shapes and sizes of lines. I was hooked! Here's mine. I spent a few lovely hours doing it and was totally surprised at how relaxed I felt. I started to get the "zen" part of Zentangle.

So I checked out their blog, found a few other blogs and today I found a challenge. A challenge! I love scrapbooking challenges, and do them fairly regularly. A tangle challenge? Right up my alley! So I got some drawing paper and cut it into a 3.5" square.... well, 6 of them actually. I'll be needing some more, I'm sure. I got out my Micron pen (it's what they recommend, and actually I really have loved those pens for a very long time), and I went for it. Challenge #34, it turns out. Lovely! 20+ minutes of calm, even with the kids bustling around me getting lunch, chattering about what they'd been doing and asking for this, that and the other.

I don't think I'll be sticking this in an art gallery anytime soon. But somehow taking a few minutes to make deliberate strokes on a little, tiny square, put me in a lovely frame of mind... even to deal with a very whiny 5 year old who had to get a filling at the dentist today and apparently left all her smiles behind with the laughing gas. Ok, maybe I'm hooked.

Monday, June 27, 2011


The cool, summer morning woke us with a few glistening rays of sunshine peeking and shimmering through the drizzling rain. We hoped for a warm day at the park, but Mother Nature finally made up her mind and settled on wet. Still, that didn't keep Poppy from wanting to go play. The flowers look just a little prettier with the sparkle from rain. And after all, if you have a lovely summer sweater and hat to wear there's just no reason not to go on a nature walk.

Now Poppy is on Etsy, ready to come to a new home.

And I had fun creating the patterns for her little dress and bloomers. I'm working on putting together the pattern and a tutorial for making them that I'll post on here in the next couple of days. I thought it would be fun to share it, since I have benefited from so many wonderful doll creators and knitting designers who shared their wealth of knowledge. So keep a watch out.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ow, my achin' thumb

I don't know what happened, but I did something awful to my thumb a couple of weeks ago. Fred said it was all the knitting doll clothes. It started by jamming my thumb a few months ago, but something (maybe the knitting) really did a number on it about 2 weeks ago and I was almost in tears it hurt so much. I ended up buying a thumb brace... I hadn't even known such a thing existed until I went looking for something to help. And resting it for a week or so did the trick. It still hurts if I bump it wrong, but at least I can use my hand. The bad thing was that it was my right thumb and I'm right handed. What a pain in the, well, thumb.

But the good thing is that I'm functioning like a reasonably normal person now, and have a couple of dollies, a number of sweaters and quite a few sets of clothing in various stages of completion. Last night when I was working on doll heads, one slipped off my lap and bounced across the carpet. I boomed in my best doomsday, catastrophic sounding voice, "Heads will roll!!!" Fred burst out laughing... turns out he was just about to say the same thing.

Here are a couple of disembodied heads waiting patiently (well really, what choice do they have) for torsos, arms, and the works.