Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ready to Go!

If I had to pick my favorite fabric in the whole wide world it would have to be gingham! It's the perfect accent to almost any other fabric, comes in not only a variety of colors but also check sizes, and it's sure to put a smile on your face. I imagine the perfect gardening uniform would begin with a gingham jumper, topped by a floral apron with pockets, a straw hat, and of course those wellies! The sight of these little drawstring bags therefore makes my heart all aflutter. . . I've had such a good time making them I almost forgot what's inside. . .

. . . Peek- a -boo. . .

. . . it's the first set of Pick-a-Lilies!

Of course I couldn't let well enough alone. . . so after the bags I wrote a little ditty. It was so much fun I wanted to share it and why not? Especially when I had some gingham paper!!! In the end I have to say I'm quite proud of myself but not, as might be expected, for the Pick-a-Lilies, the bags, or the poem. No, a far greater achievement in my book is the fact that I accomplished all of those things AND kept up with the enormous amounts of laundry that seem to be created in this house! Not once in the past two weeks has anyone called out for clean socks or underwear, nor have they stood wrapped in a towel in the laundry room waiting for their jeans to dry. Job well done if I don't say so myself!

Just in case you didn't get a chance to meet earlier. . . this is Lily Sue . . .

. . . and this is Lily Jane. I'm especially fond of her lace up bodice. My husband and I have been obsessively watching the John Adams mini series with Paul Giamatti. I've always admired Abigail Adams, and to see her so beautifully portrayed by Laura Linney was a real treat, and I'm sure, the inspiration behind Lily Jane's bodice! I shall have to be very careful to moniter my movie viewing while making the next batch of Lilies. . . who knows what could come out of a Hell Boy/Iron Man marathon!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


One of the bi products of creating YO-YO Flower Pincushions is a lot of fabric scraps! If they are bigger than an inch I absolutely cannot bring myself to throw them out. I used to toss them in a basket for future rummaging but found the time it took to locate the exact piece I was looking for to be exorbitant. I decided to be a bit more organized this time around by using a kitchen tray to collect my mini scraps into a color wheel of sorts. As it turns out, I love this system . In working from the tray, however, I began to associate it more so with a painting palette. Just like those long ago days of college painting classes I began to hold the tray in one hand, while with the other, dabs of color would be picked up and applied to my canvas. I have to say the cheery red gingham "canvas" of my ironing board is much less intimidating than those big blank gesso covered ones that used to stare me down! As one thing always does seem to lead to another around here, these painterly reflections reminded me of something awaiting my attention. . . . .

. . . . . a very unusual "canvas" and in the third dimension no less. I cannot tell you how scared I was to actually perform this next step in the doll kit. That first brush stroke was really hard to do but within a few moments I was enjoying the results. So much so, in fact, that I went a little "paint happy" in areas I was not supposed to. The directions show the Basic Doll is to have only her upper torso painted and the Doll's Doll only half her legs. I on the other hand painted it all...oops! I also think my button placement on the shoes is incorrect but that's what makes her mine! And now that she's mine it's definitely time to name her. . . . . so let me take a moment here to introduce you to Nellie and her wee doll Sally Anne.

Having recently received a sweet rosebud mouth Nellie was quite anxious to put it to use. It was from this source, in fact, that I heard tell of Lily Red and a possible painting project in the works. I headed over to make inquiries but found Wayside Cottage deserted for the day. Paint swatches and sketches were scattered about and her pencil roll left unfurled. Perhaps the sunshine outside her window was just to tempting. . . . .

. . . . . and Lily Red was out greeting some early spring shoots!

My jaunt over to the cottage was not in vain, however, for my brief peek inside was enough to inspire a bit of planning for my own humble abode. Does anyone remember the fabric I ordered form the T-Party? It arrived way back in January and ever since then I've been collecting bits and bobs to coordinate with it. Putting it all together in a pile helps me to visualize the next steps. I've got some big plans to make a very small room something special. To be honest, anything will be a vast improvement over the space's current condition and I'm not saying anything more than that until it's all done! Oftentimes, when I talk too much about a work in progress the end result suffers terribly. I like the excitement of not knowing exactly how things will evolve and in most cases it's very different than I initially envisioned. When I share my early plans with someone, I tend to confine myself to the boundaries of those descriptions. And so, as you might imagine, I've got numerous project plans going on at any given moment. Some are acted on immediately, others take years, and most will never see the light of day.

Here are the beginnings of one such "secret" project with origins stretching back way over a year ago. Can you guess what it is? Of course, by now the wooden pieces are highly recognizable as the main components of those clothespin dolls that are all the rage. When I discovered a lone packet of these pins and beads I was desperate for a wooden doll of some sort. Not feeling confident enough to carve my own I saw these as a great alternative! My only disappointment was in the fact that the legs could not bend. The "secret" project to amend that situation is still under wraps but in the mean time I found an alternative use for the upper body. The donut shaped mutant next to them is a key element and also was a real booger. You don't even want to know how many failed attempts I made trying to perfect a method for creating what is really nothing more than a stuffed "O" . . . . at least I did them all in muslin first! Thank goodness for all those YO-YO Flowers because that is when real inspiration struck. Believe it or not, what you see here was actually a great revelation and only a few steps away from success.

Once again painting was involved only this time with real paints and palette.

Referencing scribbled doll ideas in an old sketchbook made painting the faces really quick and easy. . . of course that's not counting the hours of doodle time put in over the years!

And so in the end, what began as my desire for a little wooden doll has materialized into this. . . the creation of a "Pick-a-Lily" Pincushion. She will soon be joined by others in my shop where each will be thoughtfully named and the picking may be done.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I do believe it's in response to this snowy, snowy winter (another 12" this weekend past!) that I have begun making these YO-YO Flower Pincushions. Initially I made a few only to replace what had sold in my Etsy shop. They were such a cheery sight, however, that I decided to make another...and another...and another. I might not be able to get out in my wellies yet but there's nothing stopping me from creating a cottage garden of blooms right here in my sewing nook!

So far this one is my favorite. I call it "Hitty Red." Somewhere, in my recent obsession with Hitty dolls, I stumbled upon an image of one wearing a dress made from this very same print. Being that I already had a stash of this fabric squirreled away for some future project, I took it as a definite sign that I must get myself one of those dolls...and create a wardrobe for her!

In amongst my obsession with the YO-YO Flowers I received a request for more of these patchwork pin pillows. These are always fun to create, especially if I can get my hands on a new fabric with images small enough to for the center charm pieces. My exciting new addition to the collection is the gardening girl with a watering can. Someone else also make it into the batch . . . .

. . . Little Bo Peep! Some of you may recall hearing tell of her most unfortunate accident with a rotary cutter last October. I'll have you know, when it became necessary to size up her patchwork block this time around, scissors and a steady hand were carefully employed.
While working on those pin pillows I thought quite a bit about the recipient of them. She is a pincushion collector. How very strange that I had never considered collecting these items myself...until now that is! I've got oodles of them scattered about but they exist for me in a purely functional manner. I've still got this first one I ever purchased. I think it came from the dollar bin at Jo-ann Fabrics and boy does it look it! It's long since been retired to the back of my sewing drawer, pins and all.
Yes, I've become a pin snob. I absolutely love the longer version with the shiny colored balls on top. Not only does the bigger size make them easier to work with (and find when dropped on the floor!), but they add a happy sparkle to everything they touch. Most days you can find an entire forest of them here in what is probably my most used pin keeping device . . . .

. . . . this doll's chair is a favorite of mine (and yes I do have a collection of these too!) It was a consignment shop find several years ago and found its way to my sewing table from pure aesthetic taste. Then one day, having failed to set out a pincushion before sewing I randomly jabbed a pin into it's cushion and the habit was born.
By the way, I must tell you, that's my beloved Emma sitting in the chair. She's a Sewing Star creation that I purchased at a Back Road Event teddy bear show. It was great fun and the artist's creations were amazing. I bet you think I'm going to say I have a teddy bear collection too. Not so unfortunately, therefore explaining why I purchased a pink elephant at a bear show.

It is with this piece that my pin cushion collection will start. It is actually the only one I have that serves a purely decorative purpose. I originally bought it because of the three little pastel pins which I thought were so darling and such a perfect match. I'll be keeping my eyes open for some "friends" to join him. Believe it or not flea market season is only a few months away and I can only imagine what treasure I'll find!