dressed for the weather

Lizzy’s favorite knitted cotton bunny — made for her by Mama for Easter a few years ago (where is that post?) — got some warm clothes thanks to a couple of old, mismatched wool socks. I’ve got to do a tutorial soon about doll clothes and odd socks. There are so many fun ways to transform your odd socks! In fact, this fall Bunny got the first clothes she’s ever had. I knitted her this white cotton nightgown, and a red “party” dress from the same pattern. Well, my winging-it design, which I’ll share here as soon as I manage to write it down. Hee.

Clothes have made a big difference in Lizzy and Bunny’s relationship. Lizzy plays with her so much more now that she’s got clothing.

And Emily, who you may remember from this post, got some cold weather gear as well, in the form of a hat, a poncho and some woolly leggings, also made from odd socks. She looks bundled up, doesn’t she? Boots are still needed, Lizzy told me.

So when the next odd sock comes out of the laundry — shout out, “Hurray! Time to make some doll clothes!”

Look for the step-by-step here soon.

pumpkin girl

May I introduce…Pumpkin Girl!

And the reveal? It’s you-know-who!

Lizzy’s been drawing and crafting furiously to get ready for Halloween. We have paper pumpkin girls, pumpkin kids, pumpkin cats and pumpkin puppets all over the house. Not to mention real pumpkins in every stage of decoration.

I’m feeling a bit like Pumpkin Girl myself, as I try to get us ready for Halloween (and I’m always last in line at Ye Olde Costume Shop, otherwise known as the upstairs craft room). I’ve made the costume for one girl and the other one — the labor-intensive, hand-stitched one — is well underway. Here is the sneak preview:

Can’t wait to show you! Good, really good.

By the way, does anyone happen to have costume suggestions for this last-minute Mommy? What are you planning to be for Halloween?

notes from the mending basket

I don’t know about you, but I do a fair amount of mending around here. The girls know where to find my mending basket and they fill it up on a regular basis.

We have plenty of clothes, enough so that I probably don’t need to mend things, but we seem to have a limited number of beloved, treasured, all-time-favorite clothes. Ones that are slept in, played in, worn day in, day out. These, indeed, are rare and they are carefully mended.

I tend to make the patches heart-shaped; it is a labor of love after all. What magic a few scraps of cotton and felt can work on an little rip or hole! The “mended” garment has more personality. It’s lively. It has a story: “That dress has a hole from where the cat scratched me.”

I love mending the kids’ clothes. I love the way they remind me over and over again — “Mama, my red heart dress is still in the mending basket!” And that is the catch — the mender needs to repair the things in her basket before the kids they belong to outgrow them.

Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do or Do Without

I don’t always live up to this motto, but I do love my mending basket.

making new friends…

{my new friend}

We’ve had a lot of sewing machine turnover around here lately. Machines lent, broken, replacements lent, broken. I’ve been doing some of the lending, some of the breaking — but not all. Yet with big birthday no. 7 coming up tomorrow, there needs to be some serious sewing in the next 24 hours. So I’ve gotten out the real racehorse sewing machine, that my friend lent to me — an antique Royal machine, with the engine of a thoroughbred and a frighteningly sharp needle. Wow!

So I’m making a new sewing machine friend, but cautiously. This is a much more powerful sewing machine than any I’ve used before. As old as it is, it can really move! It reminds me of wonderful grannies who run marathons in the oldest age group, or start rock bands at 91.

And it’s getting the job done. The quilt is coming together, hopefully in time for a breakfast delivery tomorrow morning.

How I remember bringing that lovely little baby home from the hospital, wrapped up against the bitter February weather! Even though that baby is turning 7 tomorrow, I still want her to have something to cuddle up with on cold February nights, with the warmth of Mama’s hug and the colors of the sunrise.

Ornament swap out the door!

Happy to say I got the ornaments for small fox‘s First Annual Ornament Swap out the door! So glad. I took such a long time deciding what to make┬áthat I was left with little time for the making — some would say the most important part. But the making did turn out to be delightful, my first bit of crafting for the holidays. I learned how to make Swedish paper hearts at the Swedish American Museum in Andersonville last year and since then I’ve been wanting to try it with felt. Well, it works great! I tweaked the pattern a bit, so that it would be flat and not a basket, but I’m sure it would work if you had enough felt.

{finished hearts with a little thank-you something for small fox}

And of course Lizzy watched me and asked a million questions, the first and most persistent of which was, “Can I make one?” Of course! So I got out the old red sweater I’d recently felted and we went to it. She made two ornaments, and a crown and did most of the stitching herself. She’s getting very handy. And doesn’t her crafty Mama love that!

meet emily

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{A finished Emily}

On Thursday, Lizzy said to me right after breakfast, “I want to make a doll.” And since it was yet another rainy Thursday, and I couldn’t think of any good reason why not, we went up the stairs to my studio hand in hand, and we spent the whole morning making her a doll. I don’t know how to make dolls. I’ve never made a doll, as far as I can remember, but it was so much fun to feel my way, with Lizzy’s help. First, she drew me a picture of the doll she wanted:

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{Emily –originally known as Suki}

Then, she helped me with every stage of design, often asking Emily her opinion. “You want brown hair or black hair? Both? You want blue eyes?” I couldn’t be more proud that the two of us managed to put together such a sweet, warm and lovely little doll person, with just a very small bit of sewing know-how, wool batting and fabric scraps. And now I’m in the doll business, it seems, because the next morning, after breakfast the first thing Lizzy said was, “Today I want to make Emily’s friend Jack.”

But doll making is a pretty good business to be in. I’m marveling at how far Lizzy and I have come, from her Goggle days, to now, when she can really work with me on a project that takes hours. Of course, those hours included lots of bead-spilling, yarn tangles, fabric cutting (whoa — not that fabric, please! “But Mommy, I making her a kerchief!”) Amazing. And so lovable.

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{Lizzy cutting wool batting for stuffing}

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{Lizzy winding the wool for Emily’s hair}

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{Emily’s underwear, made from a repurposed kid’s sock}

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And that sums up how we’re feeling about Emily, too — amazing and lovable.

the “wight now” purse

Little sisters so often feel that the world is passing them by — I don’t know this from personal experience, but only from watching our Little Sister here in agonies whenever it seems like Big Sister’s got something she doesn’t. We try not to play too much of “keep the piles even” but I knew just what she meant two days ago when Lizzy said, “Mommy, I want you to make me a purse of my own, wight now!” Big Sister has an allowance. Big Sister has a purse she made herself with Mommy’s help on the real sewing machine. Something had to be done.

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So we went, she and I, into the newly organized craft room. She picked out fabric, she picked out buttons, she threw out my initial suggestion and as happens in all good design teams, at a certain point, I said, “Just trust me. I think I know what you’ll like.”

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And here’s our creation. A purse of one’s own. It was re-fashioned out of a thrifted corduroy skirt and some thrifted pink fabric for the lining. And inspired by Amy’s awesome clutch from Bend the Rules Sewing. It’s a miniaturized version of the one on the cover. But I must admit that my design pal and I were in too much of a hurry to follow any directions or even crack open the book. We off-roaded it the whole way. There’s a vintage button clasp and pockets inside and outside, for treasures, as well as a corduroy flower embellishment. Pretty sweet, if I do say so myself.

And what did Little Sister think of it? “I love my new purse, Mommy!” she said, as she clutched it to her cheek.

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And what did Big Sister think? “Mama, could you make me one of those, too, please? Just like Lizzy’s.”