Saturday, November 27, 2010


It's that time of the year when I find myself hunkered down and working in production line fashion on special orders for the upcoming holiday season. A fair majority of them are based on previous creations which gives a familiar "old hat" feel to the process. The bits and pieces here, for example, went into making dear little. . . . .

. . . . . Lily Beth, a brown-eyed version of Lily Olive. Lily Olive is actually the only Pick-a-Lily doll I have kept for myself. Having been lucky enough to have herself featured in the pages of Art Doll Quarterly last spring, however, has made her the inspiration behind several requests for such kissing cousin versions.

Other times special orders lead me to discover new frontiers. A request for a "Pick-a-Kitty" inspired me to purchase my very first package of paperclay from which I'm now attempting to sculpt the perfect head for the job.

The stuff is actually quite fun and has me pondering a plethora of possible paperclay projects for the future!

Often times the receipt of something special inspires me into action. This sweet mini quilt and coaster set, gifted to me by my dear quilt swap buddy over at Humble Needle, was the motivation behind. . . . .

. . . . .the hosting of an Autumnal Tea Party!

And this purchase of a vintage address book, in such perfect condition only its lack of notation columns for cell phones and e-mail addresses shows its age. . . . .

. . . . . is proving to be a wonderful incentive to get my Christmas cards out on time this year!

One of my favorite spots to visit for inspiration is over Flutterby Patch's way. She has always got something creative up her sleeve and is such a dear to share all the delightful details of her endeavours with us. Most recently she offered up a free pattern for a wee topsy turvey doll. Being that she designed it with the beginning knitter in mind and that I happened to have both the yarn and the needles required. . . . .

. . . . . how could I resist giving it a go? And with a bit more perseverance. . . . .

. . . . . I have no doubt I'll soon have a new dolly to hold up in my hands as well!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Painting in Progress.....

. . . . . .of one sort. . . . .

. . . . . .and another!

Friday, October 15, 2010


My favorite poem of all time is most definitely "The Lady of Shallot" by Tennyson. During my college years I took a class in Victorian poetry where this was but one of many that we dissected into bits and pieces. Lucky for me all that dreadful analyzing failed to burst the romantic bubble I'd created in my own mind concerning this piece. I first saw reference to it in the pages of "Anne of Green Gables." Then, several years later, when Keven Sullivan's adaptation of the book came out I was giddy with delight to see he chose to have Anne reading the poem in the opening scene. What a great job Megan Follows did in this role!

All romantic notions aside, however, I do believe it is the aspect of weaving in "The Lady of Shallot" that has made the most indelible mark on me. Now aside from childhood hours spent with my potholder loom and loops kit I have never in my life actually woven anything. I've drooled a lot though. . . . . especially in school where my adviser's office was at the back of the textile room. Walking through that sea of floor looms to meet with her made my head spin. Needless to say, when it came time to sit down and plan out the direction of my own future my focus was shot. For five years I floated through the studies of graphic design, illustration, and art education before finally settling myself in the field of art history. But not once did I ever consider Textile Design. And so I don't weave. . . . . but I love anything woven. . . . .things like gingham and baskets especially. Which must explain why I head directly to the pile of baskets first off at each and every yard sale I attend.

It's quite good when you find one to your liking with a handle because then you have the perfect tote for all the other goodies soon to be discovered.

Goodies like these for the making of a tea time get together. . . .

. . . . or these for the making of some dolly's wee wearable.

This item, however, stumped me. Being a basket, of course I loved it, but the color was what made it a must have! Unfortunately I was having difficultly reasoning out it's find a way to weave it into the fabric of my days if you will.

And then I found treasure!

Now I really didn't need another sewing machine but oh that color! Combined with the fact that. . . . . .

. . . . it was made in England. . . . .

. . . . . in the year I was born. . . . . and cost only $25. . . . .SOLD!!!

In my excitement I made the purchase without a thought as to it's working condition. Once home, however, I set up shop only to discover it performed beautifully! I've since named her Bluebell and can't wait to dress up that little basket into a pincushion for her.

Maybe it's a good thing I'm not a weaver. Squeezing another Singer in the sewing nook is one thing, a floor loom on the other hand. . . . . I'd be hard pressed to even squeeze it into the house!
And so I'll stitch by night and day
A magic quilt of colors gay.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Farmer's Wife Follow Up.....

I had such high hopes of playing the roll of Farmer's Wife in our yard this year. Endless days of weeding, transplanting, harvesting vegetables, and decorating the house with flowers from the dooryard stretched before me. Then, however, the heat arrived. . . . . . . .and never left! The much anticipated summer rainstorms were few and far between so while I languished in the house like a limp rag everything outside burnt to a crisp. Apparently my endurance level is nowhere near on par with that of Willa Cather's Antonia Shimerda, although I've often wished it were so! But no, I'm afraid my gardening endeavours this year consisted in not much more than the creation of endless Bitty Blossom Pins while planting myself directly in front of the fan!

Looking back, the only task I actually completed was that of cleaning up the shed. (No comment on the red gingham curtains.)

Oh well, maybe I'm more of a "Cowboy's Wife" like Grace Snyder. Probably not but I'm still looking forward to hunkering down into the long winter months with a quilt project and a good book!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Treasure Hunting

I attended the Southern NH Doll Show and Sale today with my mom. We go every year and always discover the sweetest treasures to bring home. Today was no different. . . . . . just look at this amazing nursery rhyme cup and saucer from England! I'm still pinching myself to make sure I didn't dream up this lucky find.

My mom found quite a sweetheart in this wee wooden "paper dollie." I just love her sparkly eyes and rosy mouth. I also love the fact that mom gave her to me as an early birthday present!

And who could possibly resist a miniature village? Not me!

As if all this wasn't enough. . . . .

. . . . . there was even a bitty baby house just right for Lily Red!

Home Sweet Home!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Shop's Open.....

. . . . . and I'm celebrating the event throughout the entire month of September. If interested pop on over to my wee little nook of Etsy for a look see at some of the new goodies. In addition to the daily listings of these items I've also planned a few extra fun surprises along the way.

September 6th marks my two year anniversary at Etsy! In honor of the occasion I'll be re-posting some of my pieces from those early days. . . . . only this time at reduced SALE prices.

September 16th is my birthday! Yipee for me!!! Especially exciting is the fact that Lily Red has offered to take over the shop for the day in order to gift me with a holiday break. Rumor has it she's got something special to share with you as well!

September 26th brings with it the return of the Pick-a-Lilies! They have been enjoying an extended summer break around and about, picking up some new friends along the way. It sure will be good to see their little faces in the sewing nook once again.

As before, Friday Finds will be posted weekly. Thursdays, however, may prove to be more exciting for on those days I will reveal a "Newfangled Notion" or some other such needful thing never before seen in the shop!


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Miniature Quilt Exchange...for the Second Time!

After a week of great anticipation and excitement Karen and I have received our swap quilts from each other. My little package arrived on Friday and look what a treasure I found inside!

Do you recall the hint I told you about? Well, she also shared with me the fact that I would probably recognize the pattern of the little quilt once I set eyes on it. For the last few days before its arrival I racked my brain trying to guess what it could be, knowing it must be something quite familiar to me. Within minutes of having it in my hands, however, she was oh so right! In fact, I had only a quick trip to my bedside table to confirm my suspicion in the pages of Kathleen Tracy's delightful book, Prairie Children and their Quilts. Sure enough, there I discovered the vintage photo hint that had so haunted me as well as the Game Board Quilt I now had in my possession! Such a meticulous job she did in her fabric selections and placements one would have to do a double take to determine whether or not it was in fact the exact quilt featured in the book!
It wasn't until yesterday's photo shoot that I discovered this additional little tidbit of "coincidence?" For there, pictured on the back cover of Tracy's book I found not only my recently received Game Board Quilt but also an image of the Broken Dishes Quilt which inspired my piece to her last year! Have a look see for yourself!

And the similarities don't stop there. . . . . see this snippet of calico Karen placed in the corner here?

Well. . . . .in the early morning hours of those horrid, hot, and humid July days. . . . .

. . . . .as I sat down to my quilting and hoped for even the slightest breeze to pass through the window. . . . .

. . . . .I seem to recall a similar snippet in a corner awaiting my needle! Truth be told they both came from the same cut of fabric. I had found a bolt of it several years ago and fell in love! It was amazingly reminiscent of a favorite calico dress I'd worn to absolute shreds during college. I bought far more of the fabric than I needed and so eventually used up a good portion of it on quilt backings in some kits. When Karen caught sight of it in one such of these quilt kits she expressed a similar fondness for the print and asked if I might have some extra to spare, which of course I did! How funny that we both now re-shared the print with each other in our new quilts when it very easily could have turned out otherwise.
We first set up the terms and conditions of this second quilt swap in April. The following two months were abundant with false starts and numerous trips to the quilt store. While any excuse to buy fabric is most welcome I found I was unable to settle on a collection of prints or even a pattern to work with. I was becoming a Goldilocks of sorts. . . . .too bright, too dark. . . . . too abstract, too traditional. . . . . too disjointed, too much the same. And then, by chance I happened upon a reference to Russell H. Conwell and his most popular lecture, "Acres of Diamonds." Conwell retells the story of a farmer who, in his intense desire for riches, sells off his property and heads out in search of diamonds only to meet with misfortune and death in the end. Meanwhile, the man who purchased the farm from him spends his days tending to the work at hand in the fields and in doing so soon discovers his beloved acres are literally filled with diamonds.
Now, farm girl wannbe that I am, I took this "dig in your own backyard" philosophy to heart and promptly headed not to the store but to my fabric stash instead where numerous treasures were awaiting my discovery!

A sweet blue polka dot by Moda that so matched Lily Red's skirt that she promptly sent me right back to Candlelite to purchase two more yards of it just because we might need it someday!

My cherished "Red Daisy" print that arrived from who knows where but that I've carefully divvied up in order to have enough to someday complete a tiny hand stitched log cabin quilt featuring the blossoms in each center square.

The sage green and floral print fabrics used in the creation of Miss Lily Olive.

What I affectionately call "Periwinkle Rose" was acquired not from a bolt but by scavenging every last fat quarter from each of the three different Jo-ann Fabrics within driving distance of my house. I REALLY loved this print! You can imagine my excitement therefore when I purchased a bundle of vintage scraps off Etsy only to discover a small piece so similar I can't help but wonder if it wasn't the direct inspiration behind this newer version.

The green micro check was picked up long before I had received my Gail Wilson Hitty kit in hopes that it would someday serve as the perfect dress upon which an assortment of pinafores could be featured. Alas, almost a whole year has gone by since my birthday and poor Hitty is still awaiting my attention. Assortment of pinafores. . . . ha. . . . . the poor thing hasn't even got a body!

Along with collecting fabrics I've always enjoyed picking up bits and pieces of assorted dishware. After sorting through more than twenty boxes of the stuff stashed in the basement this week I have since decided I need to put a limit on this habit once and for all. Lids without sugar bowls, saucers with out cups, pitchers in duplicate (and I'm afraid to admit the occasional triplicate) have got to go. We are going to have one doozy of a yard sale next week! The one china pattern I won't be parting with is my Blue Willow, although I was more than happy to share a morsel of some matching fabric for Karen's quilt. I purchased a yard of it at the Lowell Quilt Festival more than seven years ago but can you believe this was the first cut I ever made into it!

I was amazed at how many fabric "gems" I found stashed away, more than enough for a miniature quilt. There was of course no question by this point as to the pattern choice and so the cutting the shape of diamonds of course!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Summer Stitching

As you may or may not have noticed from the sidebar I've decided to put my little Etsy shop on summer holiday. As a family we've dedicated the month of August to finally cleaning out our dungeon of a basement in hopes of creating a finished room down there for the kids. While I'll admit it's no small task (think Hoarders) we won't forget to throw in some fair weather fun as well. This, however, does not mean I intend to abandon my sewing nook. Instead I'm excited to use this time to work on some new projects and build up a bit of stock for a "Grand Re-Opening Celebration" come September when school starts up again.

The patchwork pincushion above is one such project. Do you recognize the fabrics from my pantry skirt? I loved working with them so much I put the scraps to good use! All that's left is to finish off the crochet picot trim and then I'll try some more cushions in different color schemes. Maybe something a little more cheery? I'm also debating trying out a bit of hand quilting across the patchwork tops . . . . . hmmm. . . . .could that be because. . . . .

. . . . .I've had such a good time quilting this! Unfortunately I can only show you this little snippet of the piece as it's currently en route to Karen from Humble Needle for our 2nd annual miniature quilt exchange. And since I imagine she might pop in here for a visit I want to keep it a surprise. I figure a little peek is ok, especially since she gave me this hint oh so long ago. I haven't the foggiest idea what to expect but I can't wait to see it!