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.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sailing away in a shoe box

Have you seen the Priority Mail Shoe boxes? I didn't realize there was such a size. Oh, I'm getting ahead of myself. Someone bought Lily! Yippee! You can't see it, but I'm doing a happy dance right now... or more of a happy fanny wiggle, since I'm sitting in an office chair. Today I went to send her to sunny CA where her new family is and wasn't sure what box to put her in. I didn't really want to pay for one of the large Priority boxes, but wasn't going to smash her into one of the boxes that's only 3 1/2 inches deep. Owie nose! I asked the postmaster if I could try various boxes to see what would work best and he showed me this perfect one. Well, it's slightly shorter than she is, so she is hugging her knees a little. But overall, I think she'll be quite comfortable on her trip. She's in a sweet little drawstring bag I made (which happens to match her cute, ruffly pants), so that will keep her cozy, too. I'm sad though, because I meant to take a picture of her bon voyage at the Post Office, but then I totally spaced it. Imagine that.

So just in case you haven't seen these groovy boxes, just perfect for a lovely new dolly, here's a pic. Not nearly as cute as Lily in her darling pink bag but maybe it'll help you out when you're looking for just the right box. Oh, and it was just $7.95 to send (if you don't get insurance and tracking like I did). Bonus!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Can I introduce you to my newest little Darling? I'm so thrilled with the sweet personality that this newest little one seems to have. She is absolutely charming everyone she meets! She had great fun at her photo shoot with Princess Sydney. Now I must explain that I'm not the greatest photographer in the world, but we did luck into some very pretty sunlight streaming through the trees and I think their photos turned out just lovely.

I've put Lily on Etsy, in case you're interested in welcoming her to your house for tea parties and sleepovers.A couple of closeups...
And her cute dress and pants...
I knit her sweater and crocheted her cloche and shoes of matching wool, and sewed her little cotton dress, pants and undies (not shown, for modesty :) ).

And I love how my new Etsy banner turned out, so I thought I'd show it off, too...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dolly siblings

Spencer was so cute loving on my first doll, I just had to make him one of his own. I finished "baby" (that's as original a name as he has come up with... not bad for only 23 months old, I guess) last week, but for awhile all he had was a hat. I figured some modesty was in order, so today I sewed him some clothes. What a pain in the patooty! Serging and doing a coverstitch (on my regular sewing machine) in those skinny little arms surely tested my patience. And while I was mumbling under my breath about how tiny they were, it turned out to be big and baggy on Baby. Oh well, it's his style, I guess, and goes with the baggy jeans I made him. Baby's hat is sewn on, which seemed like the best idea for Spencer. I really love his hair peeking out from under it.

It's really cute to see Spencer hugging and kissing his doll, making Daddy hug the doll and pointing out various body parts (but no, it's not anatomically correct, haha).

Since he had his first photo shoot today, I figured he needed some with his "big sister." So here's the two of them together...
And a closeup of the two cuties...She just didn't want to look at the camera.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

I'm in love

It's been awhile coming on. And honestly, you might think I was a bit old for this kind of love affair. I stumbled onto Waldorf dolls years ago, thinking they were darling but not putting much more thought into it. About a year ago, I found them again and fell madly in love. I started following doll makers on FB, hearting them on Etsy and reading everything I could find about making them. Supplies aren't exactly inexpensive, though. They're made with all natural supplies, lovely cotton skin, beautiful wool inside, wonderful wool yarn for hair. I bought a book a couple of months ago, Making Waldorf Dolls, and read through it a couple of times.

My favorite dolls are the larger limbed ones. Each doll maker does them a little differently, but they have similar aspects to them. Sage has latched onto my new little obsession and wanted to make one, too. So we decided to make this part of her schooling... feed the obsession, learn some skills, win-win situation. We bought enough for both of us to make dolls, and a little left over. I thought I might want to make more than one (yeah, I was right). I've been working on this little darling on and off for a couple of weeks. I've taken it slow, wanting to get it right. I also made a few mistakes and took things out. And when I was at the kids swim lessons or my fingers were tired from tiny needles, I'd grab my knitting needles and have made 3 or 4 doll sweaters.

***Little aside here, wool yarn is NOT cheap. I found some fun stuff on clearance at fabric.com, but needed more. Have I mentioned that this might be turning into a slight obsession? So I went to Goodwill and found 4 or 5 wool sweaters which I've been taking apart. Bonus! The day I went all sweaters were 50% off. So I paid about $15 for probably $200 worth of yarn or more. It is a bit of a sneezy, eye-itching job to take them apart, but I figure it's well worth my time.***

As I've been working on her, Spencer has fallen in love, too. He hugs her and kisses her, it's pretty adorable. He's not as thrilled with her now that she has long hair, though. I'm thinking I need to make him a little boy version. And Sabrina is completely smitten with my sweet dolly, she carried her around all day yesterday.

I finally finished her. She's not perfect, I'm not exactly thrilled with her neck and her arms are a little on the long side. But then again, she has personality and she gives really good hugs. She has a sweet little sweater I knit mostly from this sweet pattern, and a frilly little skirt I just made up. She could use a blouse under the sweater and maybe some undies and shoes. But I couldn't wait to take her on a little photo shoot! After all that, you wanna see? I know you do! Here you go...

Tada! (She does still need a name. Any suggestions? Fred calls her Hippy Baby because she has pink hair.)And in case you wondered, dolly #2 is well underway... with a head made, face embroidered, and arms, belly and legs sewn and stuffed. Now I just need to put it together and decide if it'll be a boy or girl baby.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I'm awesome, Leah says so!

After I decided to quit designing, I was looking forward to being on Inspiration Lane's site CT. But Jen decided to close up shop suddenly, and I suddenly had no digi "home" so to speak. I started doing challenges at Catscrap and SugarHill Co. (a fairly new-to-me shop with some fabulous designers). Then a couple of weeks ago I was super excited to see that Leah Riordan was designing there and was forming a new CT. She took a break from designing and is back again. I have liked her designs forever! This cute LO I did 4 years ago was with a super cute kit from her (don't laugh at my shadowing or anything, it was FOUR years ago)...

So anyway, OF COURSE I applied to her call. And YIPPEE, she picked me!!! One of the basic requirements, in addition to that normal stuff of scrapping pages with her fabulous designs, is to daily recite the mantra, I am awesome. So there, one thing to check off on my daily to-do list. I'm awesome, Leah says so.

Here's my first LO with her rockin' , new kit Rockabilly,


about my equally awesome sweetheart...


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Yay for challenges!

I'm having a ball with scrapbooking again! But sometimes it helps to have an incentive. When I was on a CT or two, I'd have the kits or templates to push me to scrap. I don't have that right now, so I'm playing with challenges from a couple of sites. I discovered a fun shop I wasn't really familiar with, Sugarhill Co. and they have some fun challenges and a great point system where you can earn $ to their shop. Plus, they had a Valentine's scavenger hunt with a great kit, that I was able to use to get started... then of course I bought a couple of darling kits, too. I also really like the challenges and wonderful designers at Catscrap. A couple of LOs I posted before were from those challenges. Here's the couple I've done most recently...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I'm scrapping, I'm really scrapping

It's working. One of the benefits of choosing to not design anymore was that I could scrap more. I often wouldn't do any scrapping because I was either designing or feeling guilty about not designing. So I really didn't get very much done. Since deciding to quit designing, I've not only had more time, but I've felt the freedom to spend the time on scrapbooking. Want to see? Here are some I've done in the last 6 weeks... (click for credits)



New Bike





I'm scrapping, I'm really scrapping

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Retiring young

A Steal of a Deal! Buy My Store
You're only as old as you feel, but in the designing world, I guess I feel kind of old. I've been designing scrapbook supplies for 4 years now. Much less than some, but longer than so many. I have loved so much of designing. When it all comes together, there is just so much satisfaction for me. Still, I'm feeling like it's time to go a different way. Soooooo, I'm putting my entire shop on sale for the month of January. Everything is 25-66% or more off!!! And if you want an even better deal, you can buy my whole shop for just $25. It's a steal of a deal, a $145 value!!!

I'm staying on at Inspiration Lane as part of their site CT, and continuing to run the quote challenge each month. That will help me get back to scrapping all the photos that have been piling up. And I'm excited about heading in new directions, doing more sewing and pattern design, maybe designing fabric. Thanks so much to everyone who's supported me and loved my designs!