Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Winter Day

The new year has come and gone, and Winter has shrugged her grey and icy blanket over all.  If you look carefully, you can see the Christmas lights and some of our ornaments reflected in the window.

After dark, the tree glows in reflection...

The tree is down now for another year; the stockings removed from the mantle, and the days becoming almost imperceptibly longer.  Good days to read a book from the library, or start a new project.

Allegra is my hint of spring in the bleak midwinter.  May we all find something to cheer us :-)

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas 2016

We wish you a Merry Christmas,
We wish you a Merry Christmas,
We wish you a Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 16, 2016

First Fall

I could stay in this cocoon
And hibernate the winter through;
Never rise till after noon
Snug against the warmth of you.

We had our first snowfall of the year on Wednesday; then the temperature plummeted to single digit territory.  It was a beautiful fall of snow...as long as you didn't have to drive in it!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

...but most days are like this!

Some days, a very few days, are blue days.  But thanks to friends, and shared enthusiasms, most days are filled with joy.

Georgia and Pearl finally are fully dressed!  Georgia's outfit of pinafore and gathered dress is from one of Hillary Lang's Make-Along patterns, and so is Pearl's dress.  Pearl's sweater is a sized down version of a sweater I made for a Lalaylala doll.  I used size 0 (2mm) needles instead of size 2 (2.75mm) and Knit Picks Stroll sock yarn.

Both of my girls are sized down to 60% of the original pattern.  The clothing patterns are sized down to 70%; then use the cutting lines as the sewing lines, and add the seam allowance when  cutting out the fabric.  Both dolls and dresses are hand stitched, so I can sit in my favorite chair and create these dear dolls :-)

The sweater pattern can be found here:  Miranda's Knit Cardigan.  Remember, use the smaller kniting needles to fit this smaller cloth doll.

Here is hoping that the spirit of the season chases all your blues away.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Friday, November 25, 2016

White Friday 2016

The Friday after Thanksgiving.  White Friday.  On this day I try make something special for someone; today it was apple gingerbread bars for a dear friend and her oldest daughter :-)  My friend had moved several states away earlier this spring, and this is the first we have seen each other since.  It was great!  The South agrees with her, and our friendship is as deep and true as ever.

After our visit, I began working on these delightful dolls by Hillary Lang.  The pattern is the Make-Along Doll, a very simple and sweet cloth doll with a years worth of wardrobe.  At this point Hillary is at nine patterns and counting up to 12.

The pattern makes a doll 16 inches tall, but this was a bit bigger than I wanted.  It is easy to reduce a pattern, so these dolls, reduced to 60% of the original size, are between 10 and 11 inches tall.  Also, I chose to hand stitch the dolls, instead of machine stitch them.

You notice they are different sizes and proportions.  No change was made to the pattern; this is the result of placing the patterns on the fabric either along the straight grain (parallel to the selvage edge) or on the cross grain (perpendicular to the selvage edge).

Believe it or not, woven fabric has a stretch to it.  If you take your fabric and pull it parallel to the selvage, you will find very little if any stretch.  Pull it perpendicular, and there will be a noticeable stretch to the fabric.   Cloth dolls are stuffed very firmly, and will distort the doll in the direction of maximum stretch.

So, if you want a slender bodied doll, place your doll body pattern pieces perpendicular to the selvage edge.  If you want a shorter and plumper look, place the pieces parallel to the selvage.  There is no right or wrong way, just whatever way you like best!

As you can see, there is a good inch difference in the height of the doll, and the shorter girl has a rounder face and plumper body.  Both are adorable; which do you like best?

I love making patterns from other dollmakers; there is always something new to learn.  Hillary uses a ladder stitch to attach the limbs to the body.  I've used ladder stitching to close openings, but never to attach arms and legs.  I really like the way it looks.  And, she has a unique way of making hair that is worth a try.

So,  I hope your White Friday was a good one.   A gift of handmade is a gift of your time, a piece of yourself, and a very precious offering.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

You're safe with me

A quiet statement of caring, to remind you that regardless of what the media reports, innumerable acts of kindness occur in our country every day.

Food pantries run by small churches that serve all, without asking their political or religious affiliation.  Groups making items for the homeless as winter sets her sights on us.   Crafters creating scarves for deployed military and caps for premature babies.  Red Cross donations during disasters for people who are perfect strangers to us.

We are not defined by hatefulness.  Wear a safety pin, so all will know they are safe with you.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

A walk in the woods

I see the path in front of me
Curve, and now it's out of sight.
Dusty leaves beneath my feet;
The trees play games with shade and light.

Mostly leafless, then the sun
Flames a tree of brilliant gold
Alone amongst the barren limbs
And rooted in the autumn mold.

Where to find the soul's ease of a walk in the wood in the 13th largest city in the U.S.?   We found such a place at Fort Harrison State Park, on the northeast side of Indianapolis.  Over 1700 acres of undeveloped land, threaded with hiking and biking trails.  

No better way to spend the day.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The morning after

image from pinterest

Somehow, it seems appropriate today...sadly, in five years it may.

Update 11/11/2016:  I've received several negative comments to this post, which isn't troubling except they are from people who do not comment on my blog.  So, I am disabling comments for this post.