A few new dolls

My latest batch of dolls were made for my cousins’ kids. I had a lot of fun with this group, designing some new outfit styles, crochet and felt shoes and hairstyles. I am particularly excited about the little lavender jumper on Kaia’s doll, which is fully reversible, and the hair on Tayshaun’s doll, which I tediously wound around a pen to make the curls then hand stitched in place. Lots of love stitched into these guys :)

sisters Sydney and Kaia

Kaia

Arriana

Sydney

Tayshaun

I am thinking about making a batch of dolls to try to sell on Etsy now that I have several under my belt and am becoming more confident. We’ll see. I definitely see more dolls in my future!

A St. Patricks Day sweater and an afternoon drive in the country

It wasn’t intentional that this sweater would be finished just in time for St. Patricks Day. Or that it would be so green. I have a bad habit of being distracted by pretty little skeins yarn and not really invisioning what it will look like all knitted up in a big sweater… surely I’m not only one? Oh, and did I mention it was on clearance?

Other than my less than ideal yarn choice (verigated for a sweater? really, Jodean?) and some color pooling in a few places, I am very pleased with how this sweater turned out. The pattern is the Trust Pullover from Kristen TenDyke’s Finish-Free Knits that I checked out from our local library (which has been rocking the new aquisitions lately, btw!). The patterns in ths book are wonderful, all but eliminating the dreaded “seaming up” and all the bulky, weird seams I invariably end up with in knitting more traditional patterns. I over-lengthened the arms just a tad, but better that than too short, I always say :) A very classic, well fitting pattern that I may just have to revisit someday with a more subdued yarn. Thanks to my husband, Stephen for helping me photograph it.

Details on my Ravelry Page.

These photos were all taken on a Sunday afternoon drive (sort of a tradition for Stephen and me; we fell in love over long Sunday afternoon-drive conversations many years ago. Now, the kids nap, and we drive, and talk, and enjoy the scenery of this breathtaking little corner of the world (aka Arkansas) we are lucky enough to call home.)

Bridge at the Baptist Ford church north of West Fork, AR. On of my very favorite magic-light spots

See that little house at the top of the mountain? Ahhh, what I would give to live there…

One lane bridge south of West Fork, AR.

Projects

— I mentioned the other day that I uploaded a bunch of pictures from my camera. Fair warning! ;)

Winter is the time for making stuff around here, and while I certainly feel like this winter has been less productive than usual, I realize as I reflect and look back through pictures that I really have been working on a lot of projects. Soon the days will be longer. We will be headed outside more and more, gardening, hiking, playing, soaking up the every increasing (and very welcome) sunlight. There will be fewer opportunities to sit for a quiet minute and knit or sew. As I regain some of my energy (and free time after the boys are in bed!) I have been in somewhat of a making frenzy, attempting to make up for lost time. Here are a few of the things that have been on my needles/at the sewing machine/in my hands this winter:


We have been in desperate need of a few “replacement” diaper covers lately, and looky at this cute PUL fabric I got on sale at Joann’s! A quick an very practical project done! (I blogged a tutorial for diaper covers with gussets years ago, and plan to update it soon. I have gained a lot of CD experience since I wrote it, and these new covers are really, well, no comparison! Size adjustable, snaps instead of velcro, and of course, cute PUL fabric.)


Not really a made project, but these two very random thrifting finds (a pretty, old muffin tin, and someone’s rock/seashell collection) accidentally turned into hours of educational entertainment for Miles so I thought it was worth mentioning. We got home around lunch time, so I just dumped all of our thrift store finds on the table while I fixed lunch. I came back to find that my new muffin tin had become a sorting tray for Miles’s rocks and shells, and he was happily categorizing, small shells, smooth rocks, corals, etc… It has lived on the table (with the addition. Of a small magnifying glass and sketch pad) since, where it is visited regularly. Thrift score!


Bringing a bit of nature in with terrariums.


Weave in ends, check! (Yes, I am one of “those” knitters who gets to this final step and jumps ahead to a new project. I think one of these projects was started in 2010…)
Top to bottom: tacky but fun handwarmers (practicing fair-isle), Soda Shop hoodlet, scarf that became a neckwarmer when I ran out of yarn, and a very, very green sweater . (Yarn was on clearance, what can I say?)

Zeke’s Owlie that ended up fitting Miles instead (one of these days I will actually knit a gauge swatch before I start a project!)

the dollies look a little bit creepy at this stage…

and speaking of dollies, it occured to me that I never posted any pictures of these girls (finished in December). I am loving the handspun, hand-dyed hair on this one!

currently on the needles: Hitchhiker scarf in Knitpicks stroll, thunderhead.

And last but not least, one of Stephen’s projects (I’m rubbing off on him!)

What are you working on?

Gnarled Oak Cardi- finished!

I finished knitting my Gnarled Oak cardi at the beginning of the summer, and finally got around to weaving ends/adding buttons/ blocking etc… In August (so I could enter it in the county fair. It won a blue ribbon:) )

So, the middle of a heat wave is not the best time to finish a cozy, warm alpaca sweater, but this past weekend it actually cooled off enough to get it out and wear it for the first time. Woo hoo! Here it is:

Details:
Pattern: Gnarled Oak Cardigan by Alana Dakos from the book Coastal Knits
Yarn: Knitpicks Andean Treasure in Prairie Heather (mmmmm, baby alpaca! so soft!)
Modifications: almost none. I did lengthen the sleeves by a couple of inches since most patterns tend to run a bit short on my arms.

I love how it turned out! The stockintte stitch knit up fast, and the leaf pattern on the yoke was a lot of fun and just enough of a challenge to keep it interesting. This one will get a lot of wear this fall, for sure!

A beautiful day for a quilt fair, and other randomness

Last Saturday was the annual Ozark Quilt Fair at the Shiloh museum. We have gone every year since we discovered it a few years ago, but this was the first year that I actually entered a quilt. I was a little nervous displaying my work with so many seasoned quilters around -this was only my second quilt after all! It was a lot of fun though, and I got some great feedback. I just love the folksy, laid-back atmosphere, and it is always inspiring to see so many beautiful quilts (I especially loved the vintage quilts!)


Zeke knows how to take full advantage of a cozy quilt!

LOVED the music by Shout LuLu! After listening to them play all morning, I briefly considered adding “learn to play banjo” to my list of things to do before I turn 30. That list is growing short on time though, and is still rather long on things to check off. I think I’ll save the banjo for 31. ;)

And the weather?!? We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful weekend! It was actually cool enough in the morning to break out my oak leaf cardigan for the first time since I finished it (horrible timing to finish a sweater during a record-setting summer heatwave!) It really does deserve a post of its own after all that work, but I’ll throw in a little sneak-peak:

This time of year is always so busy, and while I love this season and all the activities it brings I know it is also important to balance the craziness with plenty of intentionally quiet family moments too. We have been trying to make a point to do just that, and Labor Day weekend was a refreshing break for all of us (I know, I know, I’m all out of order here!). Time off work is a rare treat for Stephen lately (have I mentioned lately how much I appreciate my amazing, hard working man? ‘Cause I do!) so we decided to make the most of it with some much needed down time at home. We just hung out- I did some lovely sitting and quilting while Stephen and Miles worked on one of their guy projects in the garage, and Zeke was content to scoot his way around the house getting into all manner of mischeif (yes, he’s army-crawling now, and he’s into everything! Apparently realizing there is a dish of cat food and water on the floor in the kitchen was all the motivation he needed to get moving!) We finished out the weekend with an impromptu picnic and swim at Lake Wedington, so I leave you with a few pictures of our weekend:


On the move!


what better way to finish out the summer than with an ice-cold glass of homemade lemonade?


sharing. makes my heart happy:)


Zeke LOVED the water! I don’t think I have ever seen him so excited!

Hey, I’m almost caught up on posts now ;)

Finished!!!

Just in time for the Ozark Quilt Fair, Miles’s airplane quilt is finally finished! It took several late nights quilting and binding, but I was determined to have it done. The pattern is from a 1987 Better Homes and Gardens Patchwork Quilting book my Grandma picked up at an auction with a bunch of old books and magazines, with the only change being the single red airplane block that I added. The plan is to give it to Miles when he graduates to a “big-boy” bed, probably around his 4th birthday in February. He has seen me working on it though and is pretty excited about snuggling up with his quilt, so we shall see if I can wait that long ;)

A few projects…


a refurbished $5 yardsale bookcase for the boys’ room (and don’t you just love Miles’s art wire?!? I love my little artist :) )


I told you I just had to make the Oliver & S penguin backpack! Just in time too, as Miles’s latest animal fascination happens to be with penguins!


I came up with this idea for a growth chart that can move with us (did I mention we are hoping to sell our house now that Stephen has a new job? YAY!) based on one I saw here. I like mine better though;) It will, btw, eventually hang 1′ off the ground.


it’s about time I had a decent pincushion! bonus: I can show off my vintage wooden spools of gorgeous silk thread that have just been sitting in my sewing cabinet

Jocelyn

I recently finished my first commissioned doll. Meet Jocelyn:

She’s a soft, cozy, Waldorf style doll made with natural cotton and wool. I worked out patterns for a few different outfits for her as well: a sundress, jeans and shirt, pj’s, and undies. I am getting much better at assembling the heads and bodies and was particularly excited at how well the neck area turned out on this one. No “ghost neck” at all. Woo hoo!

I hope the real Jocelyn enjoys her very much :)

A seat cover for Zeke

We recently got Zeke a Bumbo seat after his physical therapist recommended it to help him sit upright and stregthen his core muscles. Soon after getting the Bumbo, I decided that I must come up with a cover- both to make it a little more comfortable for my sweetie in the sticky, hot summer weather, and because it is, well, ugly and purple.

I do love the internet :) A quick google search landed me on this free tutorial for a foam baby seat cover. My first attempt (with the cute fabric I picked out) unfortunately ended up in the scrap-quilt pile, but I was determined to figure it out, even if it meant sacrificing a couple of old flannel receiving blankets!

A little pattern tweaking was involved (It was probably my mistake in tracing/cutting the pattern, but my first try at the base piece did not fit the seat). I decided that with something intended to fit so snuggly, it was probably better to cut the pieces a little big, then assemble them one at a time with lots of trying on, trimming, and pinning in between.

And so, Zeke’s foam baby seat cover came together:


{please excuse the poor lighting in the photos, I was to excited that it actually turned out to wait for better light! I mean, this thing has curves, and weird angles, and strange sticking-up parts… and it fits!}


{the original pattern doesn’t have a seam in the front- the blankets I used just weren’t wide enough to cut the base in one piece}


{I could just eat up those baby toes!}


{side view}

Bucket hat fever!

I love the sunshine. I really do. I try to make sure that the boys and I spend at least a few minutes outside every day and I can’t handle more than a couple of gray, rainy days in a row without starting to feel a bit blue.

That being said, my boys and I are some of the whitest folks you will meet, and we have to be careful about sun exposure or we will burn in about 5 minutes flat (okay, I exaggerate a little) Our favorite parks and outdoor spots have lots of trees, we try to go out in the morning or evening when we can (and even after dark sometimes for a moonlight walk!), we wear sensible clothing and use sunscreen when we are going to be in direct sunlight, and hats and sunglasses are diaper diaper bag essentials. I’m always looking for cute hats for the boys, so when I found this Oliver and S bucket hat pattern in a book at the library (Little Things to Sew) I got a little giddy. I have since discovered that the pattern is also available for free! on the Oliver & S website for anyone who is interested.


Zeke’s hat, size small, made with Michael Miller Frog Chow fabric


detail of my hat, adapted from the pattern to fit an adult, made with salvaged fabric (outside) and teal linen inside


Miles’s hat, size medium, tree fabric from JoAnn’s outside, yellow cotton inside. This, btw, is Miles’s “stop taking pictures of me, Mom!” face…

You can see, I have had a bit of bucket hat fever going on ever since I got home from the library with my new book. I even altered the pattern to make a hat for me. Who says grownups can’t wear bucket hats? I think Stephen is actually a little jealous that he didn’t get one.


finished just in time for our camping trip!

Hats are such a great little project for using up little bits of leftover favorite fabrics, and even if you buy new, designer materials you only need a tiny bit. According to the pattern, these hats take 1/3 yard each for the lining and outside. I gaurantee you I didn’t use that much though ;) I had to get a bit creative with my pattern layout on Miles’s hat, but by golly, I was going to make the scraps I had on hand work! They are also quick (I spent one evening per hat, after the boys were in bed) and fun, with just enough curves and easing to keep things interesting. I already am itching to make some more, maybe with some Children at Play fabrics? And a strap to keep it on little heads on a windy day? Hmmm… Add hat maker to my list of things I want to be when I grow up!


isn’t this fabric the cutest?!?

The hats are completely reversible, by the way, it just so happened that mine all have fairly plain fabrics on the inside (using what I had!) so the will probably be worn fancy-side out most of the time.

As far as the pattern goes, it is very well written and, for me at least, went together without a hitch. I will say that it takes patience, careful pinning, clipping, and stitching to sew the curved seams without puckering, but it can be done. I also omitted the hand stitching to attach the lining cap and instead very carefully pinned it in place and topstitched the two halves together. It only looks slightly wonky in one place on the lining of Miles’s hat (another reason to wear it fancy-side out!) but worked perfectly on the other two.

On a side note, I just noticed that my 5 year blogiversary is coming up! Oh my, has it been five years?!? Stay tuned, I just might have to do some sort of giveaway to celebrate the occaision!

Oh, and another side note for those familiar with the book, the penguin backpack simply must be the next project in my queue!