Thursday, July 10, 2014

Looking....

 Looking Back...
 
It has recently come to my attention that I failed to ever post the follow up photos to last summer's portion of Project Cottage Quest. Tackled at that time were the kids' rooms which, small as they are, created quite a mess everywhere. It wasn't until September that things all fell back in place but when they did everyone was pleased as punch with the results.
 
 Dear daughter's room was cleared of so much stuff. She was downright brutal in the decluttering process but as a result was very successful in creating the crisp, clean setting she wanted.
 
 The boys on the other hand like their collections around them. Having the shelves has been a great way for them to create rotating displays of whatever the current super robot alien action blockbuster movie happens to be.
 
 Even the living room eventually became functional again!
 
 Looking Forward however....
 
The writing is literally on the wall and it's time to paint!
 
We found oodles of notations behind the bookshelves that were removed. Archeological evidence of my insistence that dear hubby bolt every single piece of furniture into a wall when the kids were much younger and toddling around. 
 
 Looking Down....
 
I'm thinking those floors could do with some brush strokes as well. Of course that means clearing out the carpet first. Not my favorite job in the world but if it means I can have at the floors with a swish of the broom as opposed to dragging that monster of a vacuum around I'll put all my muscle into getting the job done.
 
 Looking Up.....
 
I realize I'm going to need some new curtains. Plan is to revisit my patchwork plans from several summers ago. Maybe this will be the year I get them done?!!
 
 And finally,
Looking On The Bright Side....
 
The pollen is gone and creative endeavours are back in play.
 
I've even had a few break throughs in the velvet cushion department.
Stayed tuned.....


Friday, June 13, 2014

Detours

 All was going well in the sun room studio.
 Even a bit of progress had been made in the velvet cushion department.
But then...
THIS ARRIVED!!!
 
Yellow pollen is in abundance this year and it's either keep the windows closed and simmer away in the heat or open them and find a layer of this on everything you touch. Eventually I had to put my painting and sewing away until it passes as no Lucy wants a yellow stained pinafore and velvet  proved to be a literal pollen magnet!
 
 So the question arose...what to do with my time?
The domestic goddess answer would have been to dust and vacuum 24/7 in an attempt to keep ahead of the yellow plague but let me tell you that gets old fast!
Luckily I received a request for something that involved a mess of a different sort.
 
The jumble you see above was a project from way last fall. I had spent a couple days taking photos and notes of all the steps involved in making pincushions and pin toppers. It was actually a lot of fun to do and turning a discombobulated work space like the one above...
 
 ...into this kind of an arrangement is the type of cleaning up that makes me smile.
 
 And I even got some goodies made in the process!
 
The plan was to then take all those notes and photos and turn them into tutorials. Sounded good at the time but the nitty gritty of it once I got on the computer was way beyond my capability! It was much easier to just pretend I had never even started.
 
 But then this week I got a request.
Did I have a pattern for the yo-yo pincushions?
 
Well, yup I did...sort of.
My notes were still fairly organized, my computer had a mass of photos ready to go, and if I wasn't mistaken a spark of motivation was making itself known. That combined with free time on my hands led me to spend my week with this as my view.
 
 Organizing the images and the text really wasn't that difficult in the end.
 
 Gathering the skills together to put it all into PDF formats on the other hand, was another story and one which, were it not for the generous assistance provided to me by dear hubby and child #1,
 would not have been told.
 
Oodles of thanks!!!
I promise to make you guys as many cookies as you want.
 
The really good news, however, is that it rained today.
 
Buckets in fact.
And as it poured down
and puddled at the end of the road
   so too did the pollen!
 
Looks like could be work as usual next week...
 
 


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Trial, Error, and Distractions

 With the beginning of each new month I like to plan out some goals I want to accomplish in the weeks ahead. The first step in this process is to take a few minutes to review where I stand at the end of the previous month's work. Today what I found to my credit was a lot of trial, error, and distraction! 
 
During May I made my first attempt at binding together a larger, more people
friendly version of Attic Days.
 
 In the process I discovered the order in which I had the pages arranged and printed was all mixed up. I fudged it a bit but ultimately that little shiny disk dear hubby created for me to take to the printers will have to be altered. Whoops!
 
 I also found striped fabric was too hard to work with. It shows every little pull out of alignment and drives me crazy! Next time I'll try a calico print and hope it's much more forgiving.
 
 Strange but true, my biggest obstacle turned out to be this....possibly the best Doll News ever! Every article was amazing. Most were directly related to Tasha Tudor in some way but those that weren't still made me think of her because of their focus on doll play.
 
Until every word was devoured it was a huge distraction to creative work of any sort. At first I said to myself I would read one article with every teatime break I took. Trouble was I found myself taking tea far too often. Eventually my stomach ached something terrible and so I had to put down both the cuppas and the companion cookies I was gobbling up.
 
 And then there was this old friend and bane of my existence....
Lucy's velvet pincushion!
 
 I do believe I've spent more time taking out stitches than putting them in.
I just can't seem to get it to look the way I want.
But then again, sometimes I don't even know what I want!
 
 What I do know is that I love this book upon which the cushion sits. It's called Cape Random and is the most amazing story set in nineteenth century Newfoundland. Reading about the hardscrabble life those early settlers had makes the trials and tribulations of a velvet cushion seem positively trifling!
 
 Anyone remember the little "Spool" quilt block I put in the book?
 
 Well I had a go at making one up last week and goodness were my patchwork skills lacking.
I loved working with the floral fabrics however...
 
...so much so in fact I couldn't help but head outside.
Talk about distractions, there were about a million things needing attention out there and most of them were weeds!
 
But June is here now and with it a whole new round of days to try things out and hopefully find some success to share along the way....
 
 


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Eminent Domain

 I've laid permanent claim to the sun room. 
Come June two of the kiddos will be official teenagers and the third a young adult of twenty so I figured their summer time use of the space as a playroom is a thing of the past. The remaining toys and collections I found squirrel away in drawers and baskets were cleared out and I moved in.
 
 I can't tell you how amazing it is to have a desk area set up with everything I need to construct the little books within arms reach.
 
 Ditto to my painting station on the other wall.
 
 Supplies fit easily into the baskets...
 
 ...and the drawers I freed up.
In this one room at least I finally feel organized.
 
 Each night I do my best to tidy up...
 
 ...but when I do have a project in the works now I don't have to worry about cleaning it up in time for dinner or homework. What a great feeling!
 
Creating Lucys and mini books in a sunny studio space is making for a delightful May. My most recent batch is visible in it's early stages here and for those of you with eagle eyes you may notice I had four little dolls in the works this time around. This is my new plan of action as I've got plans to host a table at the Southern New Hampshire Doll Show and Sale next September and need to slowly build my inventory for it. I figure "one for me and three for you" ought to do the trick for the time being which means...
 
there are three new Lucy's and mini books ready to go! 
Numbers 12, 14, and 15 will be available in the shop this coming Thursday, May 22nd
between the hours of  5 and 7 PM.
 
Looking ahead a bit more I wanted to let you know June will kick off a summer full of Lucy goodies to come. New Patchwork Tale products will arrive each month. There's even an itty bitty clue for one of them in the photo above! 
 
In addition, the reset of my sun room studio has me back in the Cottage Quest frame of mind and trudging through the rest of our house I see oodles of items that will need to go. I figure a good portion of those can be either destashed or offered up as Attic Treasures
 in the shop as well.
 It's going to be a fun and busy summer!
 


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Forgot Me Not

 A wonderful surprise awaited me in the mailbox today...
 
...many thanks to you dear "Lucy," you made my heart smile!
 
 


Thursday, May 8, 2014

It's a Date!

 
This week's batch of Lucys and books will be available in the shop on Friday, May 9th.
I will be listing them between one and three in the afternoon EST.
 
And just in case you can't make it then....I'll have another batch ready the following week!
 
 
 


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Passing the Time...

 
Thank you, thank you , thank you EVERYONE!!! Popping on here to read all your delightful comments is just as much fun as painting Lucys. I've got three little girlies in the paint drying line as I type and if all goes well should have them ready to list come Friday. I'll let you know for sure tomorrow!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Painting By Numbers

 Oh where, oh where have my little Lucys gone....
 
I have to say I was more than a bit surprised at how quickly the cupboard was bare after listing the first batch of dolls and books in the shop yesterday. Thank you everyone for wanting to welcome Lucy into your homes and out of that "dim and drafty attic!" We are both so happy and have decided we will do everything we can to make everyone who did not have the opportunity to get a doll yesterday happy as well.
 
Remember the basket full of bells I acquired last February?
Well, there were 166 of them and every single one will be turned into dolls if need be. And beyond that, should the interest continue I do believe I have located a source from which to purchase even more bells. The only other thing needed, therefore, will be patience. Do to limited space in the house and time in the schedule I'll be keeping batches to a maximum of three. This will help me focus on each little dearie and give her the attention and care she deserves. It will also give me a little wiggle room to continue making the mini books and also figure out the lingering glitches in the velvet cushion, the bigger book, and some other surprise goodies I have coming up.
 
 Thinking of there being so many more Lucys in the future I decided to keep track of each one.
So I found myself a notebook and started listing them out by number, name, slight variations, and last but not least their eventual destination.
 
I also put a corresponding number on the bottoms starting with the first three I listed in the shop...
 numbers 6,7,and 8.
 
But what about the first five you ask?
 
Well numbers 4 and 5 belong to me and to my mom and dad who collectively received her as an Easter present although my mother continually refers to it as hers alone. Funny its the same thing with the house, the furniture, the Christmas decorations and just about anything else she has a fondness for. The lawn mower, the snow blower, and the old car on the other hand, those exclusively belong to my dad!
 
 

That of course leaves numbers 1, 2, and 3.
They were my first attempts and I like to call them my Three Muses.
In the purple is China Lucy since her colors were based on some old dishes, pretty on the dishes but not so much on a doll. In the middle is Poor Lucy due to the fact that she has most unfortunate arms in addition to a sad color palette. Finally I followed my youngest son's advice and created one in blue and ditched the yellow base. Success at last...or at least she was until I realized the ivory pinafore had a dingy cast to it and then she became Linen Lucy because it reminded me of trying to whiten old tablecloths and napkins.
 

Looking back it's fun to see what I learned from each one.
 
Looking forward on the other hand, it's time to move on and attend to 9, 10, and 11!
A batch a week can easily be completed and ready to list in the shop so that's the plan. I'll keep you posted here on the blog as to when they will arrived in the shop and this time I'll give both day and time! I felt so bad yesterday when I realized I had left the time aspect up in the air and people wondering...oops! I won't do that again, I promise!
 
 


Thursday, May 1, 2014

It's May Day!

 
Happy May Day Greetings One and All!
 
I just walked in the door so I'm a bit behind but have no fear.... I've got a batch of goodies ready to go! Give me a bit to put the kettle on for a cuppa and to ramp up the shop and I'll get down to business of making the listings. Today's batch will include some little Lucy dolls
and mini versions of Book #1. 
 
More of the same (and then some!) can be expected tomorrow and all throughout the month ahead!  
 


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Bitty Book is Bound

After quite a bit of trial and error I do believe I've got a system down by which a bitty book may be bound. A bit of color touch up gets the ball rolling...
 
 ...quickly followed a trimming of the pages.
 
 Folding goes fast and that is a very good thing indeed because by this time I can hardly wait to get to the next step.
 
 I have found I absolutely LOVE the process of stitching the pages together!
 
 It's so much fun to be able to turn the pages one by one.
 
 But before it can have a proper read through it does so need a front and back cover to keep it tidy!
 
 And so I gave it one!
 
Unfortunately, I soon noticed a slight problem being that little Lucy's pinafore took on quite the yellow cast once the two were paired up. Hmm....this would not do!
 
 Thus out came the paints again, only this time a "Bleached White" replaced the "Vintage White" I had previously thought perfection.
 
 Even Lucy agreed it was a much needed improvement.
 
Of course this is not the end of book binding adventures for me.
Being that this bitty one measures a tad under two inches square, reading it can be a wee bit of a challenge and so  I'll be working out the details of a more "handy" version next. The plan is to have an assortment of both book sizes and some little Lucy's ready to start making themselves available in the shop on May Day. Oh, and I haven't forgotten her velvet cushion either. That will follow soon after along with some other little goodies that I can't wait to start playing with!