Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Mom's Quilt is Finished

I finished Mom's quilt.  Shhh!  Don't tell her - its a Christmas surprise. 

And I am really pleased with how it turned out.  Every square is different. There are a few things that I would like to have done differently, however, I'm not saying what they are - maybe no one will notice. 

Merry Christmas to all! 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Suggestions to Ellie

Some dolls that your granddaughter might like. 
                      Country Girl

Mei's Butterflies

Faerie in a faerie ring

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Steal of a Deal

And I am thrilled! 

After the Anita Goodesign workshop I attended last June, I have been looking at the large hoop embroidery machines.  Oh the things I could do!  But they are so very expensive.   I have been shopping on ebay for an older model when the large hoop machines first came out.....................
Then I found it!  A top of the line Husqvarna Viking Designer Diamond.  It is about 4 years old but has more than enough features to keep me busy for years and no one had bid on it.

I watched for several days.    Still no bids.  So I made the decision to bid.  The worst that could happen was I would get out bid and I would have to keep shopping.  One day before the auction was to expire I entered my bid at the starting amount.  When I checked back the next morning, alas, someone had out bid me by $50.  Stealthily I got on ebay ten minutes before the auction was to expire.............. still just the one other bid.  30 seconds before the auction was to end - I placed my bid.  And I was the WINNER!

The machine arrived and I am so pleased.  Oh the things I can do! 

I stitched a doll today and the auto lift foot is wonderful for the detail of hands and feet.  No more stopping, lifting the presser foot, shift fabric, putting down the presser foot, sew 2 stitches, stop, lift presser foot...   well you get the idea.  It works beautifully.  Not fast but surely a motion saver. 

I LOVE my steal of a deal.  And "oh the things I will do"

Saturday, October 12, 2013

More Dresses

Here are the six dresses I have completed for Mom's quilt so far. 

 I will make all of the dresses different.  No two will be alike. 

I am doing four different dress styles - the design right now is three across and four down, however, as I lay out the quilt, I may want to add another row across to get a good sized quilt.  I am thinking a lap quilt so it won't be huge but I don't want it to look like a scarf!   My "spacial"  challenge is visualizing the layout in my head,  I need to see it to figure out if the size is good.  Usually I plan and plan and then end up making changes when I actually see how it lays out. 

One more block completed today.  Had lots of problems so it was a slow go.  The next two should be easier now that I know the order of the embroidery colors. 

I am so excited to get this done!  Cannot wait to see it. 
And cannot wait to see Mom's face when she gets her quilt. 

The Start of Mom's Quilt

The idea for Mom's quilt has been rattling around in my mind for quite some time.  I have finally taken action to start!

The first one took a long time! 
Three needles, six broken threads and one temper tantrum.
Found out that I was using a needle that was too small - when the machine took a long pass it would pull on the needle and break it.  Whew!  That fixed most of the problems. 
It was smooth sailing.  Took all afternoon - I completed three dresses.  Two are shown here.
I remember Mom's green pantsuit with the  tweedy green top to match.  The red(orange) and blue I think was my youngest sister's.  As I recall it too was a pant suit.  Will have to check with Mom and write these memories down. 
 Perhaps in permanent ink on the panel or the back of the quilt!!!!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Not a Doll

My newest project is not a doll, although, I do need to make a doll for the October Dolls with Arty Attitudes challenge.   My newest project is somewhat of a challenge.  I need to make something meaningful with this...................  (and this is just a small portion of it)  

Mom's Stash
This is Mom's stash.  We went through her ALL her boxes of fabric (well not nearly as many as Dad indicated there were!)  Mom has saved every scrap and bit of fabric that she has used in the last 50 years!!!!    Some are awfully small.  I must confess that I don't save anything like Mom did.   She saved dresses that we girls made and wore in high school and college.  I had no idea.     That was a very long time ago. 
As I am leaving her house, Mom says   "That is my life."   So there you have it - a mission to help Dad clean out the store room turns to a different sort of mission. 
How do I preserve Mom's "life" without storing it in boxes at my house now that I have removed them from their store room? 
The solution!
A quilt that Mom can wrap up in and hold her "life" close. 
However, I am not a quilter and I have trouble seeing colors in a design - especially such a variety of colors that are not anywhere near my color palette.  What to do?

I  found the solution last June when I signed up for a machine embroidery workshop.  Anita Good Designs makes machine embroidery patterns for quilts.  This one is dresses using appliqued fabric.  How perfect!  I have done three and am loving the results.  The applique combinations are not as overwhelming as I was envisioning.  I cannot wait to do more. 
Maybe I will make quilts for all of us kids!  
Guess I had better see if I get the first one finished!!!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Masquerade Ball

"Incognito" is in the mail.  The Masquerade Ball is the 2013 theme for Treasures of the Gypsy. 
There was a lot of doubt whether I would get her finished!  I knew she would be wearing the mask I bought at Pier 1 Imports several years ago.  The colors I knew should be purple, turquoise, gold.  I received fabrics of green, red and gold!!!!  I did use the gold - very rich and very gypsy.  I ended up using a fabric from my Mom's stash with all of the right colors and some silks from my stash.   It took me a while to decide on the pattern.  I selected "Madame" by Arley Berryhill.  I love his dolls!  This is the first time I have used his pattern.  I did have to do a bigger nose for her to support the mask. 
Close up of Incognito
   She will be shown at the Houston Quilt Show in November with the Treasures of the Gypsies.. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Treasures of the Gypsy

The 2013 theme for Treasures of the Gypsy challenge is "The Masquerade Ball" which caught my eye because  several years ago I found a wonderful masquerade mask at Pier 1 Imports.

         It is doll size and I was sure there was a doll to be made to wear it.  Sure enough -        "The Masquerade Ball" challenge brought the opportunity.
I sent in my money and received a packet for Entry #52 with several fat quarters of shiny fabric - green, bold red and green brocade, gold sheer something, along with some trims of gold and green.    So ..... combined with things from Mom's stash-
This used to be a dress that either my sister or I made in high school!
The colors are so vivid and wonderful!
This is what I have so far.
She will be based on a pattern by Arley Berryhill called Madame and will be called "Incognito" because she will be attending the ball incognito behind the mask. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Hoffman Challenge 2013 Fan Dancer will be On the Road!

The results have been posted.................. Fan Dancer was selected to travel for the Hoffman Challenge 2013 in Trunk C!  I am so excited.  What an honor to have my doll seen around the country in the company of dolls by so many extremely talented artists.

The back view is where most of the Hoffman Challenge fabric can be seen.  The big leaves that make up her skirt and the small leaves that cover her shoulders are from the challenge fabric. 
 The fan is from one of the complementary fabrics.  It is so beautiful and covered most of her which gave me the idea "Fan Dancer".  I cut out the fan and glued it to a stiff interfacing sandwiched between another of the complementary fabrics on the back side of the fan.   She is dressed in tulle with only a little skirt to cover her assets.  Her shoes are beaded sandals with another small piece of the challenge fabric across the top.  She has an extra smaller fan beside her in case she needs extra coverage! 
The dark green in the base is a piece of upholstery fabric my Mom saved in her "stash"  from 1970-something.  I think I remember the chair she covered with it!!
I am so pleased that my doll was selected.   Gives me the encouragement to make more dolls and enter more challenges.
Next up this year is the Challenge of the Gypsy "Masquerade Ball".  I have started but really do need to get busy.  She is due in Texas in September.

Saturday, June 29, 2013


I had a very CREATIVE day today!  Fan Dancer finally came out so I can finish her for the 2013 Hoffman Challenge.  She has been very shy,.  Even after I had her name, I didn't know how to do her. 

The inspiration came from the complimentary fabric with the beautiful fans.  The challenge fabric has some wonderful leaves that make a perfect costume for a fan dancer.
Tomorrow is eye lashes, eyelids, hair, shoes and securing it all together.
I am so excited!  I love her!!!!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Embroidery Workshop

How time flies when you are trying to get projects done!

The first weekend of June I went to an Anita Goodesign machine embroidery "party".  My first one ever.  Oh my!  I learned so much!! 

I learned to do a trapunto technique, embroidered lace and machine quilting.  What fun!  

side note ............I recently assumed possession of my Mom's life savings of fabric ( 8 boxes of fabric) and her parting comment was ............ "but that is my life".  Oh the pressure!      What do I do with this fabric now? 

At the weekend workshop I figured out what I would do with Mom's fabric - make a quilt for her to wrap herself in her "life".  I am excited to make her quilt.  If this works, I will make one for each of my brothers and sisters for their share of Mom's "life". 

After spending a weekend learning machine embroidery techniques, I am working on several new dolls.  Piper was done in the nick of time.  And now I have to finish my Hoffman Challenge doll. 

She doesn't have to be there until July 19th!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Hoffman Challenge - Sneak Peek

The base is done except for final assembly which will happen after the doll is finished and ready to sit upon her throne.  No, she is not a queen! 

I do have to thank my Mom for saving her scraps of material and letting me have them at just the right time.  The bottom part of the base is covered with a fabric that Mom used to upholster a chair in 1960 - something.    It worked perfect for my color scheme to add texture.  Thanks Mom! 

The gold fabric is one to the Hoffman coordinating fabrics to the challenge fabric.    My doll will sit on the gold seat which will be attached to the upholstery base. 

I am SO jazzed - my idea is really coming together!!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

I Have It!

I finally know what my entry to the Hoffman Challenge will be this year!!!! 
Was concerned that I would not have an entry because I was not getting any ideas for the doll.  I had out five or six patterns that would possibly work ................ but what is the theme?   The fabric is beautiful, however, it was not 'speaking' to me.  

Decided to use a Patti Culea pattern.  I have been quite successful with her patterns.  And then I was looking at the coordinating fabrics - I always get a small variety of the family of prints - and I got it!

Will wait until she is done to give out her name.

Here is what she looks like now.  Am waiting for the disappearing ink to disappear to finish putting her together.   If I turn her too soon, the ink may not disappear. 

This another hint
I am so excited now.................I know what I am doing. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Doll for Diane

I received Diane's bag of goodies for Dolls with Arty Attitudes latest challenge.  The theme of the goodies was  blue.  The scraps of fabrics and trims are blue.  With a lovely ivory piece that seemed to be a blouse.  And a straw hat!  She must be a little country gal.  I had a doll started from a pattern by Aisling D'Art, www.wildart dolls.com who seemed to be just right for this gal.  Here she is......

Used my rhinestone attaching tool to give her bling on her shoes. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

My New Living Doll

My new granddaughter Kodi Ann arrived Sunday.
She is as cute as can be and  just a bit of a thing.  It will be a little while before she grows into the dress I made for her.  She is already stylish with a daisy on her hat. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Reluctant Model

Ha Ha!  Finally got a smile!

Josie wanted to try on her new purple dress, however, she did not want to face the camera for a picture.  With a hand from her Mommy and a funny face from Papa we got one smile. 

I am so pleased that the dress fits and it looks so adorable!!!  Happy Grandma. 

Time to start a new one. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Easter Ruffles

Easter is coming and Josie's new dress is ready.  Lots of ruffley lace and ribbon fit for a princess.

The back has buttons and buttonholes.  Oh how I hate buttonholes!  They seem so simple, however, there is always one that gives me fits.   And it is usually the last one.  The alternative is a zipper and, well, let's just say I need more practice on zippers too.  I need to figure out how to do an invisible zipper with the bodice lining. 
Guess I had better get busy and practice on more zippers and buttonholes before my little princess isn't interested in ruffles and ribbon!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Not What I had Planned

...but better!  
I am so excited with this dress and how it turned out.  I love it!  It has machine embroidery, machine stitched daisy chain, trim in an alternate color and no button holes.  All that is left is the hand work and a zipper.  I must have a short, white zipper in my stash. 
My plan for the day was a cute, sheer dress.  Not too pink.  Not too purple. (It was fairly pink and purple)  It was cut out from a simple heirloom type layette pattern.  But it would not assemble!!!  I tried several times to do pin tucks to no avail.  All attempts were too crooked to pass my  quality control inspection.   So I folded the main dress pieces and the excess fabric and put it away for use on something else, some other time. 
The dotted fabrics were left over from a dress I made for Josie.  Her dress was a combination of  blue with white dots and white with blue dots for trim.   It was for her birthday last summer.   The embroidery pattern is the one I have used on Josie's birthday dresses since before she was born. 
Josie's 2nd Birthday Dress

Friday, February 1, 2013

Foundation of an Heirloom

Last weekend I started the new baby's first dress - the slip.  Lace and embroidery.  All that is left is sewing on the snaps. 

With all of my "stash of supplies" I never seem to have the right lace, so I was off to the fabric store for the lace for the arm holes and neck line. 

I also embroidered the bib with the same pattern as the slip.  Will use the lace that I used on the armholes and the neckline for the bib.  It will go around the cuerves better than the other lace - besides I am about 2 inches short of having enough! 

The bib after embroidery.
The dress will be my project for this coming weekend. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Having Fun!

The weekend passed way too quickly, however, I really had fun making this quilt for the new grandbaby that is expected in April. 

The fabric is a find from Portland's Fabric Depot.  I loved it from the moment I saw it without a clue what I would make with it.  Probably a quilt.  Maybe some pillows.  Or ...........hmmmmm.   I had Josie in mind when I bought the fabric since our new little miss was not dreamed of yet. 

I used the flower border decorative stitch on my sewing machine for the quilting.  I am very pleased with how it turned out.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Happy New Year!

This will be a happy new year! 

I have so much new in my life.  A thinner, healthier me.  A new job.  Soon a new grandbaby.  Many, many new projects to complete. 

Now that the Christmas season is over and decorations are put away, I can focus on sewing.  I make such a mess when I sew!  My 'stuff' escapes from the sewing room and ends up all over the house.   I cannot just sew in the sewing room.  And I need my 'stuff' with me where ever I am. 

I have many dolls in mind for this year.  Finish two online classes I started last year,  2013 Hoffman Challenge and Gypsy Challenge - Masquerade.   Plus our monthly Doll Club challenges. 

But first, I need to make a baby quilt and baby dress for the new granddaughter who will arrive in early April.  Another girl to make dresses for!  Hurray!!

May this be a happy, healthy, productive and CREATIVE year for all!