Thursday, November 23, 2017

My Dear Violet

If you have a love of all things crafty and you are wondering what to do with those bits of scrap, and strings, and things. Maybe you will like to attempt  to make a doll like, My Dear Violet. Now to begin with I don't have any pictures of the makings for her head, which I do apologize for. It was something I was making one day, that I wasn't at all satisfied with, so I had set it aside where it had languished in various locations in my shop for months.

Well yesterday I saw the sad little head, lying there in a corner, and decided it was high time I got to it and finished her. As all of my creations evolve as I go, usually, I thought this time I would determine what she would be by the yarn that I found for her hair. Now as I have a rather large stash of yarns, I was not limited in my choices. I have my daughter to thank for this, and also my dearly departed mother in-law, Maryann, who tho she has passed away, still remains near to my heart. Both of them loved, and the former still loves, all thing yarny and sheepish, and tho I don't knit, I too love the soft fluffy feel of a delightful ball of yarn.
First of all I assembled what I call my kit. This is an array of materials I feel I will need for my project. In this case I was drawn to contrasting colors of yellows and purple's, and you will soon see why.
 I found a bit of wire, a couple of old bamboo chopsticks, a couple of plastic beads, and a used up spool to be just the thing to make the body for Violet, and proceeded to make it along the same lines as I did my Spool Gypsy's, only using the bamboo chopsticks instead of cording.
 Then I looked through my yarn stash and found this lovely purple hand-spun fat yarn. It was just perfect for my needs and really determined my color palette.
 I stitched it carefully in place, making a halo around her head like that of an old-time monk only cuter. I knew I was going to make her a bonnet so I didn't bother covering her entire head with my precious yarn.
 Instead, I cut a 5" circle of fabric, basted and gathered it 1/4 " from the edge, stuffed a bit of polyfil under it, and sewed it down over the yarn.
The spool and bamboo was easy to drill with my husbands small battery powered drill. He is good that way about sharing it with me. It just took a trip to his garage to get it done. At this point I got tired of stopping at each stage to take pictures. A fault of mine, I know. I just so want to get on with the project, and I get so involved I forget to stop and record the steps.
Here is My Dear Violet completed. Like my Spool Gypsies I gave her wool felt boots, this time purple in color tho, instead of black.
None of the things I used had to be purchased, as I was fortunate to have everything I needed right in my stash of goodies. All those years of hoarding up left over scraps of things really paid off.
 Even her eyes are some tiny green glass beads that were leftovers from a Christmas project years ago.
 As you can see from this view, I was able to put on some tiny ribbon to hide my stitches on her bonnet. It is actually from a lovely ball of deliciousness made in Italy and distributed by Cascade Yarns. It is called Malizia. The minute I saw it, it was love at first sight, and I had to have a couple of balls of it. Now I am so glad that I had it, for it was perfect for Violets bonnet, and trim for her outfit.
 Even some scraps of sheer flat ribbon came in handy. I stitched it up and it made the perfect pantaloons for Violet. I have made her blush tho showing you her undergarment. She is a very modest personage.
I think the thing I love the most about this project is how quickly it came together, and because she is small, just under 10" in length, it took very little fabric to complete. I would tell you her skirt lengths and such but since spools are of different sizes, I will leave it to you to determine those things. Just like the Spool Gypsy's I used a bit of cord for her arms, but not liking the bright green look of it I sewed a small scrap of the ribbon yarn over it, to make it look more like she might be wearing long gloves. After all My Dear Violet is a lady of refinement.
 I was equally delighted to remember that in my collection of fake flowers were some Violets, which lets face it, the Violet fabric was the inspiration for Violets name, as well as the purple yarn for her hair. She is a lover of all things violet.

A light dusting of blush for her cheeks and face and My Dear Violet was ready for the garden party.
Here she sits waiting for her cup of tea, and holding her violet blossom very carefully in her lap.
She is such a sweet doll and also a homage I pay to my grandmothers sister, Violet, seen here in this picture, who was one of my favorite grt. aunts. In fact this little doll reminds me of her, as she was always cheerful and full of smiles whenever I saw her.

Now I shall have to get with it and make the other sisters as they were all named for flowers too. My grandma was Lillie, her eldest sister was Rosa, whom we all called Rosie. The other of the four sisters was Daisy. They had a brother too, but his name wasn't so floral nor whimsical, it was just Lemuel Russell, which always reminded me of a name you would call a horse or a mule. I never knew him, as he moved away to California when I was but a wee child.
I think, My Dear Violet, also looks like my grt. grandmother, whose name was Flossie Jane, and was above all others my very favorite person. I loved going to her house. She was the funnest sweetest grt. grandma a girl could ever have. She died too young at 75, but I will always remember her cheerfulness and love of adventure, as well as that plate of rabbit she had on her kitchen table, that my twin sister and I at three years of age enjoyed so hugely. But as I believe I have told that story before, I will desist from telling it again.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Another Little Sheep

Here I am again with another little sheep. I was in deep discussions with my sister about the last one and had to agree with her that it really did look more like a boy sheep, which is why I renamed my first sheep, Hammish. Since in this pasture the sheep are liberated, Hammish will keep the last name of Ewe. I then decided I had better make a nice girl sheep, even tho the process is rather time consuming. There are 22 little pieces to deal with and I almost stopped at one sheep because of it. You have 18 pieces of fabric, 2 pieces of felt, and 2 little round felt eyeballs. All of which must be carefully measured, cut, and sewn together. Not to mention stuffing. However, I couldn't leave Hammish in limbo all alone in the pasture, so thus was born a new sheep, which I named Beulah Ewe. A fitting companion for Hammish, if I do say so myself.

Here is sweet Beulah Ewe, she is a real scrappy sheep, and won't take much sitting down. She really had me in stitches most of this morning.

I had such small leftovers of my Mary Engelbright fabrics, that I had to find another type of fabric to complete her legs. Beulah was pretty jazzed about it, and helped me pick out just the right one.
 She is so sunny and delightful, seeing her hanging around cheers me up no end. Beulah loves flowers and can always be seen covered in them.
I just love my little sheep, and my sister does too. She thinks I should make a whole flock of them. I'm not so sure?! My fingers will have to recover first. Working with things this small got my fingers pricked by the needles. Yes  I did mean needles. This time to make things go faster I threaded up needles for each leg, the body, the ears, tail, and head. That way once I had sewn and stuffed them, I was able to quickly assemble the sheep and finish stitching it all together, without constantly re-threading, knotting, and clipping for each tiny piece.
Even from the back Beulah looks so cute, and I am very happy with how both of my sheep turned out. I even remembered to pre-mark the hooves this time. YAY!!!
Here is the whole gang, hanging out on a 8" x 10" sheet of paper, which gives you some idea as to their size. However their exact sizes are; the mice 3", the cat 3 3/4" x 3 3/4" and the sheep 5". Just the perfect size to hang on my Christmas tree.

So what shall I make next...a chicken...a cow...a pig?!   ...hmmm...

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Feeling A Bit Sheepish

I think I am still a bit stuck on the farmyard theme this year, or at least this week. I have always wanted to try my hand at making a little sheep and so I set myself the task of figuring out just what type of sheep I wanted. You can get all kinds of idea's from looking at sheep online and their are innumerable versions in ever shape, color, and style. None of them quite fit what I was looking for tho, so I decided I would have to come up with a little sheep of my own.

Now I will admit the long funny face of Shawn the Sheep was a source for my inspiration, which is the same shaped face as the Serta Sheep too. I just didn't want it to be the same ol' black and white that everyone else does, so I thought I would use the same method as I used on my Mouseberry's. I think she came out very nicely, even if she did take me the better part of a day to figure her pattern out exactly.
 Here is my selection of novelty prints I had to chose from. I like going to the fabric store and buying fat quarters for my quick projects. This particular batch was lovely in that they all could be mixed and matched, and were a nice small print.
 I gave my sheep the name of, Hammish Ewe, which is a sheep's way of saying, "I miss you!" Doesn't he look sorta sad and sheepish?! When I first showed him to my husband he said he looked like a dog. A DOG?! How could you mistake this for a dog?! I was flummoxed! This I told him is a sheep! Notice the long face, floppy ears, and the sheep printed very clearly on his chest and back?! Maybe if I had remembered the very last detail he wouldn't have been so confused?!
 After looking Hammish over closer he had to admit, it could be a sheep. Be-roth-er! Have you ever seen a dog with a fat tail like that?!
 I actually patterned Hammish Ewe after the Awassi fat tailed sheep of Saudi Arabia. One, I've always thought the breed rather interesting, and two, it enables Hammish to be able to sit up.
Hammish was very easy to make for the most part, just stuffing his skinny little legs was a challenge. I think the bamboo chopstick worked really well for that, as well as a pair of my long blunt tipped scissors.
 I padded everything but his ears, as I wanted them to just lay flat. I used a bit of white felt to accent his eyes and used the tiny felt balls, like I had with the Mouseberry's.

Here's Hammish Ewe with the rest of the gang. As I saw him sitting there, I thought, "Maybe I've forgotten something?!" You know, sometimes making something cute, is even better if you don't forget the fine details. Can you think what I may have forgotten?! If you did you are brilliant!

It was hooves! I forgot his hooves! What is a sheep without little black hooves?! Right?! If I had thought of this sooner, I would have marked his hooves before sewing his legs, as it would have been much easier. As it was I used an indelible marker, which worked, but a fabric pen would have been nicer. If I had put on his hooves before showing my husband, he probably wouldn't have thought Hammish was a dog either, because dogs obviously don't have hooves.

Hammish was pretty happy to have hooves and kicked up his heels and danced a little jig. He is delighted to hang out with the gang on my Christmas tree this year too.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Cat & Mouse Quick Crafts for Christmas

Here it is, that time of year again, when the holidays are fast approaching. I always like to take a bit of time to think about what Christmas ornaments I can make for my tree. I love whimsical things, and I love to make ornaments that are fun and easy, so I set myself the task of coming up with something I hadn't done before. Staying with the up-cycle theme, I used a bit of cloth scraps and felt, and came up with these cute mice and kitty cat.

While making these I was reminded of a time long ago, in my teen years, when we lived on a big wheat and dairy cattle ranch. There was a huge barn on the place that held hay for the cows for the winter and also had a feeding area for the cows. In the feeding area we had large troughs we would fill up with corn and feed pellets.

In the barn lived a giant yellow cat. Its job was to eat the mice that lived among the hay bales. However, this cat loved to get down into the feed troughs and eat the hormone enriched feed pellets for the cows instead. This caused the cat to grow far above its proper size. (In those days they didn't know growth hormones were a bad thing, they just wanted the cows to grow faster.) This yellow cat was the king of his domain, and all of the other barn cats were afraid of him.

I thought this cat was the coolest thing and I always wished it was friendlier, but it preferred to stay among the bales and didn't come near enough to be petted. I don't know how many mice it actually ate because it was far too big to get down the holes between the bales. No doubt the mice ran circle's around him.
Inspired by my memories, here are my two cloth mice. I named them Farmer & Molly Mouseberry. They were just made of triangle's of cloth, with little felt ears. Easily sewn by hand, they use up some very small scraps. A bit of poly-fil plumps them right up. I used tiny felt balls for their eye's and a bit of yarn for their tails. This works as a loop to hang them on my tree too.
Just like in my memories, Farmer and his wife, Molly Mouseberry live on a farm. They love the smell of new mown hay and have a cozy little nest deep in the stack of hay bales, in the farthest-most corner of the Big Barn. They love to come out at night and snack on the wheat kernels in the grainery. They must however, keep a wary eye out for Kitty Goldenrod, because they think he is very fierce, even tho his name is so sweet.
Here is Kitty Goldenrod, he loves to laze in the sun, and isn't really much threat to the Mouseberry's, if they only knew it. He would rather mosey over to the dairy barn at milking time, to get free squirts of milk when I am milking. Or help himself to the cow feed. He really is a lazy cat.
Kitty Goldenrod turned around to get another squirt of milk, and the next thing he knew, the Mouseberry's appeared. It was not what he expected at all.
You might think they are playing Cat and Mouse, but in fact I caught this shot right before Kitty Goldenrod saw them and made a mad dash out the barn door. Seems Farmer and Molly Mouseberry had also been into the cow feed, and had grown as large as Kitty. Their sudden appearance nearly scared the liver out of him.
Here is Kitty Goldenrod right after the incident. He is trying to smile in spite of his shakes. He came to me to complain, tho not about the mice. Seems I had failed to give him the one thing that can insure a cats survival. Can you guess what it is? I felt so foolish, as I had forgotten to give them to the mice too.
                 Have you guessed it yet?! You Did?! You are so right! It was their whiskers!
                    Now they are all ready to come and stay on my tree this Christmas.
Tho Kitty Goldenrod has asked he be put on the far side, away from Farmer & Molly Mouseberry.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Spool Gypsy's Project

Have you ever wondered what to do with your excess scraps of yarn, buttons, string, fabrics, and bits of things?! I am always looking for ways to use my scraps from other projects, and those fun bits of stuff that are too nice to throw away. I also am a hoarder of old wooden spools and bits and bobs of this and that. Every once in a while I am hit by the creative bug, and so I search for ways to make something I have never tried before, out of my leftovers. These Spool Gypsy's are the result of that effort and turned out to be such fun. I think I will be making more of them in the future.
Here are a few things that got me started. I used a small wool yarn ball for her head, and teeny tiny yarn balls for her eyes. Some novelty yarn for her hair and neck collar. A few buttons, an old wooden spool, I painted purple. A worn out hemp and bead necklace, and a scrap of cloth from an old blouse. A pipe cleaner twisted around her head and stuffed down the spool holds her head in place. A small hole drilled through the spool, and a wire threaded through it and twisted into loops, held the hemp arms and gave me a tie off for the hemp hanging thread. A bit of fun with a bat button, a bit of hand sewing, and voila, a Spool Gypsy was born.
Meet Bethaelya Spewylle, she is of the Oakiyewn Gypsy's. They used to live in the lovely oaks near my old home. But now they have come to live with me here in Hawaii. I am truly delighted!
I thought at first that Bethaelya would like to stay barefooted, but she complained about her toes getting hurt, so I made her a pair of boots, and she was so grateful.
Her skirt is the trimmings off an old blouse, which was far too long for me. It made the perfect compliment to the net covered purple spool that forms her body. She is a bit shy, so turned away when I took her picture.
A bit of felt made up her boots and a bit of gold embroidery thread her laces. She adores them.
Soon she was joined by her friend Cylindra Hartseakre. She loves hearts and collects them wherever she goes. So look out fella's 'cause Cylindra thinks she is a real, "Blond Bombshell."
 A bit of beads left over from a lampshade trimming, was just the thing to give her a bit of bling. Cylindra loves all things that sparkle. Her skirt is also a bit from one of my old blouses.
She got embarrassed when I went to take her picture, blushed, and turned her back on me too. I think the yellow yarn worked great for her hair. She wanted boots just like Bethaelya's, so I was glad I still had a bit left of that scrap of felt. When I was done they fit her perfectly.

I was so glad to finally get my, "Gay Philosopher", back from the frame shop, and was happy to introduce him to my Spool Gypsy's. He says, "Why Worry?!" I say, "Why Indeed?!"
The Spool Gypsy's love hanging out with the him, and my spooky pictures. They are very near my computer station, where I can see them every day. They are all just the right amount of quirky and fun, which I love. The Spool Gypsy's will no doubt be happy to hang out on my Christmas tree, come this Christmas too.

It's a good thing Cravynne the Raven is a friend. He made the Spool Gypsy's pretty nervous at first, but as he likes to fly them places, they look at him now as their special friend and guardian. The house on the right is their fun and funky house. That, and the other spooky pictures, were something I made with paper napkins, cut up, rearranged, and decoupaged onto canvas'. They were very fun and easy to do. Sorry the wind blew them a bit, which is why they are hanging crooked.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Sock Monsters

I finally finished the 18th century knee breeches I was making for a friend, as soon as I get some good pictures of them on him, I will be posting them up here for your enjoyment. They were a real challenge and I am happy to say, fit him to a tee.

For relaxation after all my hard work, I decided to try my hand at making my very own style of sock monsters. I had some socks, that for whatever reason the elastic failed at the top, so they wouldn't stay up for love nor money. You know the type, they slide off your ankle and under your heel and before you know it, you are walking on a bunched up sock under your arch. Very annoying and very uncomfortable.

Since moving to Hawaii I don't wear sock much anyhow, so I wondered what I could do with these socks?! I hit upon the idea of trying to make some sock monsters. Just because I had never tried to make one before was certainly no deterrent. I decided to just let the socks speak to me, and see where they took me. I know, you can laugh, but that is my process and it works for me.

One of the things I thought of right away, was to use some of my own funny face drawings. For some odd reason I like to draw faces. I used to doodle them a lot more than I do now, but will probably get back to it, now that I am making these monsters.

Here are a few of the faces I have drawn in the past that I used as inspiration.
As you will see the final result does not look exactly like these crazy sketches. I like to let the mood take me where it will, and sometimes what works on paper does not translate as well to clothe in three dimensions.
As you can see, I have a wide variety of silly socks, and my first order of business was to mix and match them in ways I thought would make a nice monster. All of these socks are ankle socks, except for the pink and white one at the top. I love that the socks are of different sizes, so it made smaller and larger monsters.

My very first attempt is a little monster I call Ratchet. His eyes are full of mischief and he loves to get into his mommies makeup and try it on. He especially loves the taste of her bubblegum pink lipstick. What she is going to do when she finds her makeup a mess is anyone's guess?! Naughty Monster!

My next little monster turned out just as fun as the first, and I named him Sprocket. He is older and more mature than Ratchet, but he does like a bit of fun too, and doesn't mind Rachet's mischief at all.
They are very good friends and liked each other the instant they met.

My third and last little monster, I have made so far, is something else. His name is Spigget, and he has a thing about frogs. I don't know at times if he is a frog in a monster suit, or a monster in a frog suit?! He does love to wrestle too, almost as much as Sprocket loves to ride bikes. The three hit it off immediately and have decided to start their very own monster club. What they are going to do in it they still aren't sure?! But I'm sure it will be full of fun and a great success.

These little monsters were quick and easy, with just a needle, thread, and imagination, they soon were here making me smile. So if you have some funny socks, and you don't know what to do with them?! Try making a sock monster. It only takes stuffing from old worn out poly filled pillows, (washed and dried of course), to stuff their little bodies with. A bit of felt in different colors, and some 10mm felt balls cut in half and stitched to make the bulging eyes, or just layered felt eyes like Sprocket. You could also just use buttons or whatever else inspires you. The skies the limit. A bit of stiff wired old Christmas 3-ply rope made their tails, covered in felt, it helps them sit up and adds a bit of a dragony feel which I truly like.

I found this a very fun project, which only took a few hours to do each one, and was very satisfied with the results. I stitched everything down, but I suppose if you wanted it go faster, hot glue would do. Happy monster making!