Archie

My adoring fans have reminded me that it’s been a long time since I’ve blogged. And she is they are right.

As I mentioned a while back, I’ve been participating in the Sewing Buddy Challenge at Whipstitch.

Our first challenge wrapped up this month, and my partner and I won 2nd place! We were to collaborate to make a pair of boy/girl projects, which works out perfectly since I have Dexter and Elisabeth has her baby daughter, Cate. We made these precious little dolls from Wee Wonderfuls called Olive and Archie.

This pattern was absolutely worth the money. I only had one problem with it, which I will go into later. But, for your $15, you get the patterns for both Olive and Archie, plus all sorts of clothes, and accessories including backpacks, sleeping bags, and a cat pal.

Elisabeth and I chose a color palette, using Moda’s A Walk in the Woods line as our inspiration. I would have loved to just get some of that fabric, because it is PRECIOUS, but I’m trying to stash-bust. So I had to bring that vibe to my doll while keeping down extra purchases.

I created a few sketches, with three major goals in mind:

1. Use what I have as much as I can.

2. Stick to the color palatte/theme we chose.

3. Make the little guy look as much like Dexter as possible.

I easily found a felt in color similar to Dexter’s hair. I ended up getting a blend because I was trying to keep costs down. I can tell that it’s pilled a bit, but overall I think it’s fine.

But finding a skin tone nearly drove me crazy. I shopped at Joann Fabrics, which I normally really like. But they had a whopping total of two fabrics that could possibly work for skintone. One of them was too orange (we are an extremely pale family) and the other was thinner and weirder looking than I’d like. I made the smart choice and went with thin and weird.

I started stitching my hair on. So far so good. Except in this photo, you can see straight through to the paper under the fabric. But surely that won’t be a problem, right? Right??

I’m 99% certain I washed my fabric before cutting. But I really can’t remember now. After sewing all my hair on and starting to assemble the body, I ironed some seams, and suddenly the weirdness of the fabric became an actual problem.

The fabric melted/shrunk. The photo above shows the difference between the pattern piece and how much shrinkage occurred. In retrospect, desperation to find the right color may have caused me to get something partially synthetic. But I will never know, because when I went back to Joann for a replacement, I couldn’t find the mystery fabric.

So I came some with the too-orange fabric, washed it… and then realized under our lights that it was yellow.

Long story short, I went to Hobby Lobby and found an acceptable fabric. The twist: A few days after I submitted my doll, I found my own stash of fleshtone fabric. Sigh.

Aside from that, the pattern started out ridiculously easy. But there comes a point when the creator tells you that you will be cursing her name, and she was not wrong. I didn’t curse *her* per se, but I nearly lost it several times. The problem is that wretched bottom panel. If you’ve made this pattern before, I’m sure you know what I am talking about. If you haven’t and plan to, you *will* know what i’m talking about! I Googled and searched and pleaded to the internet fairies to give me the answer and I never found it.

In the end I just had to wing it. So Archie has a funky butt.

I thought it might bother me that my handstitching is so awful, but I’m just glad that part is over. And as with childbirth, I’ve almost forgotten the pain and would do totally do it all over again.

The eyes where my only other creative difficulty, because I wanted Archie to look like Dexter, but Dex has hazel eyes that are difficult to replicate.

I almost settled for these plain dark eyes, which I love, but I just really wanted light eyes, even if they were still wrong. So I chose to do a circle of charcoal gray with pale blue on top to create irises.

I stuck on all the features, subbing felt scraps for the mouth and nose, to get the correct placement and shapes. Then I just stitched on the face.

I made a little red jacket last minute using the hoodie pattern included in the set. I didn’t finish the seams, because I was running out of time. But I really wanted that pop of color to complete the look I was going for. It was then that I realized that I didn’t like the placement of the arms, beause with the jacket on, things look a little weird and the jacket actually doesn’t want to stay on.

But, I was extremely happy with how he turned out!

More importantly, Dexter is extremely happy with him. I wish I could have captured how thrilled he was initially. I gave him the choice of whether he wanted to change the name and he really liked “Archie”. Or “Artsy”, as he calls him.
And he sleeps with Archie every single day.
Even if I didn’t win anything in the challenge, this would have been enough!
But I won’t say no to the 1/2 yard bundle of fabric 2nd place gets :-P.

Tiny Dresses and Bees

Dexter and I had a lovely evening at the park today. He was thrilled to find the entire area swarming with bumblebees. It was actually quite relaxing to watch them go about their buzzy business.

My mind has been preoccupied with lots of different types of bees lately… Particularly quilting bees.

I never manage to catch the beginning of a quilting bee, I just see blocks showing up on blogs I follow. So I’m toying with the idea of starting my own, although I honestly don’t know if I could come up with 12 interested quilters.

*If* I do this, these are the things I’m mulling over:

I’d definitely want it to be continental US only, because of shipping. During my research I saw some people say that there are 2 ways of doing things. You can either mail out fabric so you can control what goes into your quilt, or you can agree to use your own stash to create blocks for each quilt. The first option will be pricier. I am open to suggestions on that point.

I’ll also judge by interest whether to do a year long bee or a 6 month bee.

And I will be thinking about how many blocks each person should make, depending on the number of people interested and the agreement of quilt size and block number and size. (A typical bee consists of 12 members, 12 months, 1 block per person per month.)

So leave a comment if you’re interested in something like this. I will continue to update the status of the potential quilting bee when I have more info!

And for my followers who may not know about virtual quilting bees and really just keep up with my blog because you love me, tell me if you want more info. I didn’t go into what a quilting be really is because it’s getting late and I still want to watch TV with Alex :).

Finally, I made some dresses for my sister’s baby (Full disclosure, I may be more excited about this baby than any other baby besides my own. I LOVE the dickens out of all my nephews. But I’m really REALLY excited about this little girl person!) and I wanted to give a heads up that I will be putting out a tutorial and pattern for them very soon!

 

 

Felt Food Frenzy

This year my Dexter’s Christmas gift was a beautiful play kitchen. So I went crazy making accessories for myself him.  
 
It was so much fun coming up with ideas for mildly 3-dimensional foods. I also found a lot of great inspiration online. I didn’t want to have to put a lot of thought into it or sculpt something magnificent. I just wanted to throw together a lot of fun little pieces to spark some imaginative play.  
 

 
 

The hardest things to create were the teeny tiny oven mitts, but I hand-sewed binding for the first time, and I’m excited to take that to the next level on a quilt soon!  

Eventually I will compile some links and upload patterns/templates/tutorials (don’t hold your breath, I’m not super great at adding actual patterns…), but for now, I want to showcase my work!  

 

 

 
 
 
 

What NOT To Do When You’re Quilting (Or: Destroying The Owl Quilt)

This is the sort of post that I never ever ever want to make. But SOMEONE (me) thought it would be a good idea to sign the Process Pledge, so I guess I have to chronicle this.

I started quilting my sister’s owl quilt. I was super excited to be finalizing the project. I looked into having a pro quilt it for me, but, partially to save money and partially for bragging rights, I decided to just quilt it myself.
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It was going way better than I expected. The top was a little more poofy than I expected, but ok, no problem.
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The stitching wasn’t *great*, but it was waaaaaaay better than my first attempt at free-motion quilting! I’ll just admit… I was pretty proud of myself.

Until I turned my quilt over.

Here’s what I have to “brag” about:
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Don’t really see a problem? Let’s look a little closer, shall we?
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Oh yeah. That’s a foot-long fold in my backing. And it’s not the only one, there are little folds all over the place, this is just the worst of it. I can fit my finger through the tunnel, so I know I’ve got a good two inches folded over. I’m pretty disappointed.

So, the only option I really have is to take out ALL… THOSE… STITCHES. And do it all over again. This is a problem for a few reasons. 1. That’s a lot of work. 2. I’m going to have HOLES all over my quilt. 3. I don’t want to do it.

But Alex and I are going to watch some TV in bed, and I guess I’ll be curling up with my ruined quilt and my new best friend, Seam Ripper.

Dexter Turns 2!!!

We celebrated Dexter’s 2nd birthday last weekend, and it was such a nice day! We let the kids play at a park, everyone got a sugar buzz… What more could a kid want??

My theme was bugs, but I didn’t want to go with a bug cake. I saw a terribly cute idea in the last issue of Parents Magazine. They stacked wood rounds to make a cupcake stand, and then decorated their cupcakes as mushrooms. My sweet brother-in-law attempted to HAND SAW some rounds for me. But the wood and his hands wouldn’t quite cooperate, so he supplied me with a still-cool stump and a few rounds.

My INCREDIBLE husband took over (after I semi-destroyed both a batch of cupcakes and a batch of frosting) and made these precious little mushrooms! I did my part by playing Dance Central and cheering him on 🙂

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After we got everything set up, the table looked awesome! I wish we’d gotten a picture of the balloons. I picked red, orange, green, and cream, and they went perfectly with our theme.

We let the kids have cupcakes immediately. We didn’t really have a choice, as soon as we sat down about 30 grubby little hands started clawing at the table 🙂

Dexter was thrilled to sing happy birthday to himself, and I was surprised when he blew out the candle by himself without even being told to!

Then he proceeded to slather himself in icing. It was exceptionally cute 🙂

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Here are Ty and Micah getting down on some cupcakes. I think one of Deborah’s boys managed to snag 3 cupcakes by the time the party was over!

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Could this child be any cuter??

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Another big birthday thrill for Dex was getting to drink out of a real juice bottle. And to actually get to drink juice! He rarely gets it unless he’s sick!

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He was given a lot of sweet gifts, and he has loved playing with them for the whole week. It’s been a lot of fun watching him explore and interact with the new toys. After I put him to bed the other night, I was turning out all the lights and found that he’d nestled his tiny dump truck into his big dump truck. I really wanted to wake him up and squish him for that. But I didn’t. 

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I love you teeny-tiny-big-boy!!! Happy Birthday!!!

Mailbox Magic

Yesterday, I came home from a play date with my friend Stephanie, to a mailbox full of happiness!

First of all, I got my first copy of Parents Magazine. Who doesn’t love magazines, especially when you get a year’s subscription for $3? And I got a disc from Netflix to replace a broken DVD, which I’d been waiting on for almost a week.
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But the best thing of all was from The Curious Quilter!!!

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A tiny, wonderful package of tiny, wonderful 2 inch squares for my postage stamp quilt!

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I sat down right at the door and started playing with my new present 🙂 There were so many really awesome clippings, but I wanted to show off a few of my favorites!

Ok, geekery abounds in this house, so this could not have been a more perfect addition to my quilt 🙂

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I just loved this little polar bear!

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And I love gnomes!!! When we owned our own house, I wanted a garden gnome so much! But grumpy Alex told me no. I’ll wear him down at the next place 😉 Or who knows, gnomes have a way of just wandering in and making themselves at home…

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This square is just the sweetest!

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I really liked this one, especially since Mary calls these 2 inch treasures.

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How awesome is this set?? I had wanted to sneak some skulls into my quilt, but I didn’t think I wanted so many as to go buy a length of fabric. Two is the perfect amount 🙂 And I LOVE that star fabric.

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So after grouping those 4 together, I started thinking about other groupings. There were lots of little animals, which made me want to do a Critter Quilt for Dex. I LOVED the bee square, but felt really guilty about wanting to keep it because I know Dexter LOVES bees too. (We LOVE a lot in this house lol. We’re not very neutral people!)  But maybe I’ll trade him the polar bear for the bees…

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And then I have to decide if animal print is a fun girly addition to my quilt, or if it ultimately belongs in the Critter Quilt.

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And then I came across this “square”… made up of 2 tiny triangles. I’m saving that one. Because I’ve got a lot of scraps that are too small to make 2 inch squares, and I feel a Tiny Triangle Quilt may be in my future…