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Sunday, November 30, 2014

November Sewing Projects

I thought I would take a few minutes to tell you about the doll sewing projects I have been doing this month. With the Thanksgiving holiday I only had so much time and decided to concentrate on the projects for my doll sewing group's Sew-along theme. This month was coats, and I had been wanting to work on a couple of coats so I did as many as I could!

One pattern I had been wanting to re-visit was Simplicity 5733, I had made it a couple of years ago and although it had turned out cute I wasn't totally happy with it. The fit was pretty good but I had used the quilted cotton fabric like the pattern suggested and I just felt the resulting coat was too bulky and didn't hang well on the doll. This time I decided to just use a corduroy on the outside since the coat is lined I felt it would work just right. I chose a brown corduroy and a pale pink lining fabric, I just love that combination together. I had also picked up some pink/white/& brown yarn a while back and had knitted a doll size scarf and this would give that a place to go. I was going to have the fur trim around the hood like the pattern calls for but totally forgot to pick it up when I was at the store. It wasn't until I started to sew that I realized that I had forgotten it. I decided to just skip it and I think it looks fine with out it.

 I love how this pattern came out this way and with the lighter weight of the fabric it hangs really well. The fit in the shoulders is very nice and as a bonus there is also room to put a heavier weight sweater under it.

The second coat I made was really more just a jacket. I raided that wonderful wool fabric I had picked up at the Pendleton store and used a piece of that to make the Liberty Jane Cropped Jacket pattern. As soon as I saw this pattern I knew I wanted to make it up and I had to do the eyelets down both sides of the front. I knew that if my daughter had found that jacket in her size as a teen she would have worn it a lot so I wanted to make the doll size version.

The week before Thanksgiving I was contacted by Steph at Many Small Friends (see wonderful blog her here) because I had volunteered to be a pattern tester. She had a coat pattern that needed to be tested. I jumped at the chance to make this adorable Wrap Coat pattern, it was a dream to sew and I absolutely love the coat on Molly. I will try to remember to let you all know when the pattern is finally available for sale. I had intended to use some fabric from my stash but I when I went to the store to get the fabric for the color I fell in love with this brown suede that was on sale so I decided to use it instead. I think it is perfect for this pattern, don't you?

The last coat I got done this month was the Liberty Jane Bomber Jacket, I had purchased the fabric and all the rest of the stuff I needed for it a couple of months ago but just had never gotten around to even cutting it out. I decided that it was my Saturday project this weekend so it would be done in time to count for the Sew-Along! I think it looks really cute on Micheal and fits him really well. I did try it on one of my AG dolls and it was a bit snug on that doll size. I think if I make this again I will be adjusting the fit a bit to give a bit bigger.

So that was the sewing I got done in November, now I think I am ready for December hopefully I will have time to get at least a few things made next month to show you.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Fabric Score!!!

my haul!

This has been a very long week for a variety of reasons most of which are way toooo boring to mention here. I will say that if the weather this last week is an indicator I think we are in for a very nasty winter.

Anyway I decided that on Friday since I had to make 3 trips to town I was going to at least do something fun on one of those trips.

Since the sewing theme this month for my doll sewing group sew-along is coats I decided this would be a good time to visit the Pendleton Wool store. If you aren't familiar with this company they make beautiful wool items of many kinds and are an iconic Oregon company. They have a store that is fairly close to my destination on Friday so I decided it was time to make a visit.

The front of the store is filled with many of their wonderful items and they have tables with yard goods that start at around $20 a yard and go way higher.

I knew what I was looking for would be further back in the store and I was right. In the back of the store they have a line of bins on wheels and these bins are filled with some wonderful things. Two or three of the bins were of paricular interest to me because they contained what the sign refered to as either Blanket ends or blanket headers (I can't remember the exact name) Basically these are pieces of fabric that are the ends left when the clothing and blankets the company makes are cut out. There were pieces of all types of the wonderful wool fabric in many weights. Some were too heavy for doll clothes or had designs that were too large to use. But I grabbed one of the large plastic bags and proceeded to dig through the bins. I was able to find 8 pieces that will work wonderfully for various doll clothing. Oh, did I mention the price?? These bins are priced at $5 per pound! My bag of wooly goodness only cost me $15.95! I can get at least a garment out of each piece and most the of the pieces will make more than one so that is a true bargain.

Here is a closer look at the individual pieces I got:

Piece #1 is brown and a medium weight, I would say about the thickness polar fleece. I think it was probably a used for coats or blankets. The piece I got has a usable section of at least 27” by 36” plus a bit more on the edges.This one is cut oddly on both sides as you can see in the photos.

Piece #2 is a cream/ off white color (absolutely gorgeous) and is the same weight as the first piece. The usable area is a bit over 23” by 32”

Piece #3 is the same fabric as #2 but is a completely straight piece that measures 9 ½” by 96”!

Piece #4 is black and a bit lighter weight I would say about the same thickness as the felt that comes in the squares at the craft store. It (and the remaining pieces) has an interesting shape. It is overall a rectangle but with a chunk cut out. I have a feeling all these pieces were used to make the same type of garment and this explains the shape. The shape gives 2 very usable pieces plus a small bit over the chunk that is cut out. I only measured the larger pieces on each side. This one has a piece that is 10” by 35” and a piece that is 10” by 13”.

Piece #5 is black and in what I would refer to as a suit-weight the two usable pieces are 14” by 35” and 14” by 18” plus of course the bit in the middle.

Piece #6 is brown and also a suit-weight with the sides being 17” by 15” and 17” by 35”

Piece #7 is a red suit-weight fabric with the usable areas being 13” by 28” and 13” by 18”.

And finally #8 is a blue suit-weight that has usable areas measuring 9” by 18” and 9” by 29”

So you can see there is a lot of fabric that I can use for doll clothes. Now all I need is the time actually sit down and sew.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Gingerbread House

I had been kind in a bit of a slump when it came to making doll stuff. I got a few projects done but none of which I was really feeling if you know what I mean. That is until a while back when I was reading my weekly newsletter from Paper Minis. I had glanced at her contest area a couple of times but this time it really caught my eye. I read what Anne had written about this year's Gingerbread House contest and for the next day or so it just kept coming back to my mind.

completed house

One really cool thing this year is she is opening the contest up to multiple scales. Normally I think she has just done 1/12th scale which is the size I do for my dollhouse projects. This year she is also inviting projects in 1/6th scale- that is for dolls like Barbie, Monster High and all their friends and most exciting for this blog 1/3rd scale- for the 18” doll community.

Anyway I would love to see all of you join the fun. All you have to do is go to her website (right here) and sign up for her newsletter. When you get the newsletter you will find the contest rules and the link to download the PDF of the gingerbread house.

When you go to print your house be sure to have your printer set to print the pages border-less and at 100% on all pages. If you skip this step things might not fit correctly.

You can use almost any medium to decorate your house: glue, pens, paints, clay, fabric, gems, really whatever you can think of!

For my house I am approaching this as a polymer clay project. I spent a day or so thinking about how I wanted to do this. I have in the past made a few gingerbread houses in 1/12th scale but the main problem I always had was getting the structure together and straight. Now that I think about it that was the same problem I had the one time I tried to make a real gingerbread house with my kids..... Anyway I got to thinking about how having the paper house from the PDF as the base structure for my house would solve this problem.

This meant that my first step was to print off all 4 pages first on a tan color card stock which would be the base of my house. I then printed the first 2 pages again on plain printer paper to use a patterns for my clay.

I cut my plain paper patterns out carefully and set them aside. Next I cut out the card stock set and after cutting out the window openings I glued in some acetate pieces that I had colored with yellow markers behind those window openings. This will help to let out just the right amount of light. Next I glued the card stock house together and set it aside to dry. I also used the pattern for the base to cut out a piece of foamcore. I then decided where on the base the house would sit and cut a hole out for one of those little battery operated tea lights to be inserted from the bottom. Next I covered this base with some aluminum foil and set it aside.

Now onto the clay. I had picked up some tan Sculpey III on sale the other day so I mixed a block of that with an equal amount of Fimo Caramel. This gave me a nice gingerbready color. I divided this clay into 6 pieces that were roughly the same size and worked with each piece separately. Using the thickest setting on my pasta machine I rolled these pieces out to form a sheets of clay. I wanted to try a method I had seen on a video a few months back of texturing the clay with ground cinnamon. It is an interesting technique and I plan to play with it some more in the future. Basically all you do is sprinkle some ground cinnamon onto the rolled out clay and use your fingers to rub the surface with it. It both colors the clay and gives it a texture that does resemble a baked cookie. I am a bit concerned about the cinnamon deteriorating over time or drawing bugs to the project. Only time with tell. Anyway after the texturing I used my paper patterns to cut the needed pieces for the roof (2 pieces) and walls (4 pieces) I used some of my scraps to cut out two little tiny gingerbread men and some little tree shaped cookies. For these I used some little tiny cookie cutters I had picked up on a sale last year. They are each about 1” tall, I am pretty sure you will be seeing these on another project if not this year then next year.

I baked all the pieces at the recommended temperature for about 10 minutes and allowed them to cool completely before working with them.

While these were baking and cooling I also used the windows from my pattern pieces to cut some window frames out of white clay so those got baked next. I plan to cover them with “frosting” later.

I used my normal 527 multipurpose glue to attach the walls and roof pieces to their card stock counterparts. I did the walls one wall at a time so that I could give the glue time to set before moving them. Next the window frames went on and then the roof structure was glued to the top of the house.

Now it was time to think about candy to decorate with.

I spent some time looking at a few gingerbread houses online to get some ideas. There are so many beautiful ones that it was hard to pick what I wanted to do.

little disk shaped candies, kind of like Necco wafers
I ended up deciding to make something that resembled Necco Wafers for the roof since I didn't have the real thing to look at I did the best I could looking at pictures online. I am really not sure what colors they really come in since I think I have only had them once in my whole life but I just picked colors that I wanted to use. To make these I rolled out the various colors of clay on the 4th setting on my pasta machine and cut out many circles using my ¼” circle cutter. I tossed these little pieces with some cornstarch so they wouldn't stick together too badly and then baked them.

the gumdrops and the mold I created to form them
For the roof line I wanted gumdrops so I made a small mold out of mold putty using one of my ball stylus tools for the shape. I then used some translucent colors of clay (Translucent Green- Fimo, Translucent – Fimo and mix of Fimo Translucent and Premo Pomegranate) to form them in the mold. After baking they were tossed with some glue and then some very fine iridescent glitter.

I made 4 candy sticks for the corners of the house using some pearl Fimo and some same red clay mixed with translucent clay. These were also baked off and allowed to cool.

For the cookies I used some 3-D fabric paints as frosting to decorate them and sprinkled the trees with some mixed color micro no hole beads.

All of the above was day 1, yeah all that in one day. I also spent a long while gluing those “necco wafer” like candies to the roof.

how the windows look
In the evening I also did something that I almost wished I hadn't done. I decided that the windows were still letting out too much light so I set the house on one side and put some Glossy Accents into the window to kind of cover the plastic. I was trying to make the plastic windows look more like hard candy. Well, three hours later that stuff was still not dry. I was really worried when I went to bed that I had ruined the window. At least it was just one side and I figured I could put a tree or something in front of it if I needed to. I really didn't have to worry so much because by morning it looked just the way I wanted. I do know now that I need to do this step and just walk away for several hours.

So let's talk about day 2.

When I came into my work room and checked the window I was really pleased.

Then I took a better look at my roof. I really just didn't like how it looked. I really wished I had added some “frosting” to the roof before all those shingles. So after some thinking about it I decided that I just would not be happy until I re-did the roof. I sat down with a couple of sharp tools and picked all those little circles of candy off the roof. I even managed to save most of the pieces of candy.

the finished roof
Then I spread a nice coat of white Latex caulk over one side of the roof and then put the roof back on one piece of candy at a time. This was repeated on side two also. Then I ran a bead of the caulk down the peak of the roof where the two sides meet and added a line of the little bitty gumdrops I had made yesterday. After all this was in place I sprinkled on a pinch or two of no hole beads and some iridescent glitter over the top.

While this was drying I made some little candies to look like M&Ms. For these I rolled my clay out to the thickest setting on my pasta machine and cut out a bunch of little circles with my smallest circle cutter. These were then all rolled into tiny little balls and slightly flattened with my fingertip to give a decent representation of the iconic candy. After baking and cooling these I coated them in some Future floor wax. This is one of my favorite finishes for clay when I want them to have a shiny but not too shiny coat.

the chocolate bar mold
I also decided to make some chocolate bars to use as the door and maybe somewhere else too. For this I just used some Chocolate color Sculpey III. In the end I decided it was so much work to actually get a candy bar that I liked I stopped and used the one I had made to make another mold form Amazing Mold putty. Next time I want to make a chocolate bar I can just press the clay into the mold and bake it.

When my house was dry enough to handle I set it on the base and traced around it so I would know where it was going to sit. Then I also drew on a little path leading to the house. I spread some more of the caulk in the area of the path and then placed a bunch of those M&M like candies into the wet caulk. I love how it turned out.

I used a bit more caulking to fasten on the candy sticks to the corners of the house.

I did notice that my roof pieces were not attached as well as I wanted them to be so I decided to give the roof a coat of Matte Mod Podge to act as a sealer. I also deiced to coat the path with it while I had it out. I really don't want to loose any of those little pieces that I worked so hard at making.

The last task for today was to coat a second window with the Glossy Accents and I will leave it to dry until tomorrow morning.

On day 3 I ended up just coating the last window with the Glossy Accents since I had a bunch of errands to do.

Day four I spent putting the rest of the project together.
I had been looking at more gingerbread houses online and had seen a candy that looked like a tree but was made of candy cane so I got out some more of the pearl, translucent and pomegranate clays and made a couple of them I also used some of this same clay group to make some “starlight mints”

I put a Wilton #14 star tip (the kind you use to decorate cakes with) to my tube of caulking. I use a narrow piece of duct tape to hold it on. I then piped a border of the caulking/frosting around the front edge of the roof, around the front door and along the candy sticks on the front. I then piped the all the areas on one of the sides of the house. I then had to let this set up a couple of hours. When this all set up I proceeded to do the piping on the remaining side and the back. I then cut the tip of the caulking tube closer to the tube so I had a larger opening and spread the what remained in the tube over the board. I went inside the lines where the house was to sit but not up to the light (I did add a bead of glue to hold the light in but I hope I can pop it out if need be in the future) The house was carefully placed on the board along with the cookies and the candy trees. I also put the starlight mints along the edges of the path. Then while the caulking was still wet I sprinkled on some more iridescent glitter over the everything.

When everything was dry I did decide that the chocolate bar door needed to have a coat of satin finish Mod Podge to make it look a bit more real.

So that is how this house was made.

Now do you want me to make some videos showing how I did make some of these elements like the candies?? If so let me know in the comments below and I will get some made for you to see.

In the meantime go to Ann's site and subscribe to her newsletter and join in the fun!!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Happy Day After Halloween!!!!!!!!!

Happy day after Halloween, I hope you all had as much fun as we did last night. Micheal and I have been begging mom and dad for months to let us go trick or treating by ourselves this year. They have always said that we were too young to go by ourselves but this year they not only let us they talked to Jeremy's parents and Molly's parents and they got to come over too. 
Molly arrived first wearing her new witch costume. I love her costume especially the spider design on the leggings she has to go with it. 

Next Jeremy got here, he and Michael are going as Star Fleet officers from the original Star Trek show. I think they have all the dialog of that show memorized as often as they watch it. LOL

I had found some nice big Halloween bags for each of us so we decided which one we each wanted. 

We did have a list of rules we had to follow but they were really good rules that we were going to do already. Things like staying together and having our flashlights stuff like that. They also made a list of the houses we could go to and gave us a time to be back. It was a little colder than we expected so we actually got home early.


Look at all the candy I got though in such a short time. 
I love M&M's what candy do you like the best?

Then after we changed we stayed up and watched all the scary movies we could find. We had all gathered up all the movies we had on hand then we also found some that were playing on the TV too. Then we watched a couple on Netflix too. I love scary movies, I think The Shining is my favorite, what's your favorite scary movie? Maybe we could watch it next time.

Molly and I fell asleep on the couch together before the boys did though. But that just meant we got up first and got to make ourselves some breakfast without them.

I hope the boys get up soon though because mom said that the new puppy we are getting is ready to come home. We are all going to go pick her up later today. I will try to post some pictures of her soon. Her name is Cocoa and she is a brown lab.

Talk to you later!