A Very Special Doll - Pattern Testers Required

November 20, 2014

Meet Fleur, the little lady who has been keeping me company these last few weeks.  She gives the appearance of being quite prim and proper but she loves to sneak into the garden and have her feet in the dirt.  Strawberries are a favourite, although we do have to remind her to only pick the red ones!  Her little hands are just the right size to help wind the new pea shoots onto the trellis so they can grow tall and strong.

Of course she loves flowers too, hence her name.  Despite her disposition for being outside in the dirt, when she comes inside her first stop is to make a nice cup of tea for her friends.  There is nothing more civilised than a well made and freshly poured cup of tea she tells me.

Fleur is a 15 inch cloth doll.  She wears a sweet kimono crossover dress with puffed sleeves, trimmed with vintage ricrac.  Underneath she sports a pair of sweet wee French knickers with a tiny bow.  Flours shoes are made of felt, although she only likes to wear them for best:)  Fleur's hair is a braided up-do which was inspired by my great grandma Mabel who used to always wear her hair this way, she was also a keen gardener.

Fleur is my very first cloth doll pattern and I am so proud of her.  The basic doll body pattern itself is a copyright free vintage pattern which I have carefully digitised and modified to accommodate my personal preference.  I don't claim to have created her, just given her a tweak here and there!  My work lies mostly in the comprehensive tutorial for her construction, how to create her facial features, detailed hair instructions and of course her little clothes.

The pattern for Fleur is ready to be tested.  I am looking for both beginner and more experienced sewers to help me with this.  You can fill in the testing application form here if you would like to test her.  She is suitable for someone who has used a sewing machine before and is willing to pay careful attention to details such as lining things up perfectly and taking the time to enjoy making her.  Embroidery experience is not required as everything is covered in the tutorial.  She is not a whip-it-up-in-an-evening project, although there are lots of elements which can be done in a spare fifteen minutes here and there so she does come together nicely.

She will make an utterly magical Christmas gift for a special little one in your life.

If you would like to test her please fill in this form, and you will be notified via email by Friday evening (21st Nov) with an invitation to a private Facebook group.  Testing will take place in four stages: doll body, facial features, hair and clothes.  The entire doll needs to be completed by Monday 8th December which is about two and a half weeks. Please only apply if you can complete within this timeframe.

I truly believe that when it comes to dolls for children, being handmade with love is totally where it is at.  I can't tell you how excited I am to share these delightful dolls with you - I hope they fill you with as much joy as they do me!


A Return to Doll Making

November 19, 2014

I made my first dolls when I was about eight and fell in l.o.v.e with doll making.  They were knitted dolls, a boy and a girl in little winter outfits.  I discovered them recently when my parents delivered the last of my boxes which had been lurking in their garage.

But you know how it goes - sometimes it takes a while to rediscover your passion for something.  A few years ago when our little girl was just a baby I embarked on a doll making journey which gave me so much pleasure - a vintage style cloth doll with embroidered features.  I was in the earlier years of recovering from a severe hand injury and every stitch was a concerted effort.  It was a slow and sometimes painful process, but oh my, when that little doll's personality began to shine through, I proved to myself once again that hand stitching truly is such a wonderful therapy - I could create something beautiful from my heart and with my hands given perseverance and patience.  I was hooked.  You can read about her here.

Since then I have made a bunch of dolls.  A few in a similar style, and also some traditional Waldorf-Steiner dolls which I love for their beautiful simplicity and tactile nature. 

I have played with doll hair - making crochet wigs, stitched hair and even wefted hair (that was a steep learning curve!)  Doll making is something that our little girl loves to be a part of too.  I often find her fossicking in my button jar or choosing wool for hair.  She tells me about the dresses she would like for them and more recently is coming up with wonderful names and stories.  It has been so much fun experimenting and I have learnt so much along the way.

Although I do fully intend to take things easy for the next wee while, dolls for me are a completely different story.  The allure of being able to pick up a wee doll and work for a few minutes here and there is very appealing.  Gently hand stitching facial features in-between little tasks throughout the day, stuffing limbs while watching a little tele in the evening - now that I can do!

After my original blog series on the doll I made, I received a bunch of emails requesting advice and information.  It seems the instructions on vintage doll patterns are notoriously scant, assuming considerable sewing knowledge and experience.  Often less than half a page of the doll body, face, hair and clothes instructions combined!  So over the years I have been making notes of what I have learned along the way.

This has led to the creation of "Fleur", my very first cloth doll tutorial.  She has literally been years in the works, and I am very proud, somewhat nervous, but mostly very excited to share her with you soon...

I'll be looking for pattern testers - so stay tuned!


Flower Decorating

November 17, 2014

Daddy took our little girl for a stroll down the lane to give me a little quiet time.  Happily they set off, with her basket swinging and spirits high.  The house was deliciously quiet.  So quiet it almost felt loud.

A short nap later the troops arrived back again with all manner of roadside flowers.  Such beauty growing wild (with the odd one from plucked from an unsuspecting front garden I imagine).

"We are spring decorating mama! Spring means flowers, doesn't it mama?!"  Flowers are carefully arranged one by one into many, many jars.  Decorating with flowers serious business for this beauty loving girl.  I love how flowers make her so happy.  I guess they make us all happy don't they.


50 Years

November 14, 2014

Thanks so much for both your comments on my last post, and the lovely emails you sent.  They really meant a lot - it sure is lovely to be back.

My parents have been staying with us on and off to help look after me and our little girl (and help my Honey), and whilst here they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  50 years of being married!  Hard to get your head around really.  I remember my grandparents 50th anniversary and they seemed so old at the time, but I guess they were about the same age.  Time is an interesting thing.

I got to thinking the other day that it is something I am very unlikely to celebrate myself.  Not because of the difference in generations in terms of divorce etc, but simply because we will most likely be in mid nineties before we would reach that milestone!

Anyway, it's certainly rather special and definitely something to celebrate.  We knew they wouldn't get to throw the bash they probably intended to, as they were here looking after me.   Long story short - once again I'm so grateful for amazing friends who, knowing I wasn't even slightly capable of doing it myself, made them a sweet decorated cake and bought round bunches of balloons for a lovely morning tea.

It truly made their day, and mine.
.. and there was a certain little someone who was pretty happy about the balloons and cake too :)

Congratulations Mum and Dad!


A Welcome Return

November 10, 2014


For the first time in months I have started to see things again.  You know, a tiny little detail which has made me smile, or something which has made me want to pick up my camera and take a picture.  I can barely begin to tell you how good that makes me feel.  Like the days of grey have been infused with delicious snippets of colour once again.  I'm beginning to feel a bit more like me again, and it is so wonderful.

Without going into detail right now, I have been ill.  Miserably so.  Spending the last few months either in bed or at one medical facility or another and trying to hold it all together.  Today is not the day for that long, long story, but let me say that it is not all bad news.  Lots has happened, and at the same time, so much hasn't happened.  But anyway, I'd love to share with you a few things which are feeling so good to me right now.

Parents.  Both mine and my Honey's who have given so much time, energy and love to help us out, and travelling long distances to be with us during this tough period.  I am so grateful for their support.

Knowing that even though the garden is a complete mess, there is much beauty within the chaos if I choose to look at the bits which make me happy  Slowly, over time it will get cleared up and everything will feel so much sweeter knowing I have appreciated even the weeds.

Toast.  There is nothing like plain toast when you just can't stomach anything, and even if it comes right back out, it isn't all that bad.  Especially when that toast is from a loaf that your girlfriend hand made for you and bought round still warm in a tea towel, then left swiftly because she knew you couldn't cope with a conversation.  Seriously, I have the best friends.

Sunshine. Spring sunshine. Warm, but not too hot.  My Honey recently laid out some pillows under a quilt on the deck which I flopped upon and It. Was. So. Good.   I almost cried.  It felt like a little present.

So, there is my "feel good" list for the day!

I'm hoping to be here in this space again soon, all going well.  Although instead of sharing my usual crafting adventures, it is more likely to be some simple snippets of my quieter days.


Pixie Pants - A Giveaway!

September 23, 2014

Welcome to the Pixie Pants and Shorts Giveaway!

I hope you enjoyed seeing and "meeting" some new bloggers and makers from around the world, and seeing what they did with the patterns.  This last pic is from Viki,  who made the Pixie Shorts version.  Viki doesn't have a blog so is doing a little guest post here instead.

"I'm a mum to three little ones and live in a rural town in NZ, and in a cottage with a big over-grown garden. I like to bake cakes, take photos, and sew. I'm too nervous to sew for myself (!) but I love to sew for the kids, and use recycled fabric where possible. I came across Lisa'a etsy store when I was searching for a coat to sew for Maggie, and I loved what I saw! I made her the pixie coat and it turned out beautifully.

The pixie shorts I sewed for Maggie were easy and satisfying to make. I liked the fact that I could print out the pattern on my home printer, and stick the pattern pieces together (rather than having to enlarge on a fancy photocopier). The instructions and were clear and concise, and each step was explained thoroughly. I especially appreciated all the photos along the way too. Before long, I had myself a cute little pair of shorts, full of character and quirkiness. 

The best thing about the pattern is it's going to last a while, with sizes ranging from 6 months through to 10 years. There are also many options  you can sew these up, you can use light weight fabric for summer, or thicker fabric for winter, over tights. 

Maggie's shorts are made from an old linen skirt belonging to her great grandmother, and the pockets are made from an old top of hers. I will definitely be making more!"

Thanks Viki, I love the charcoal colour with the fun print pocket - understated yet fun and great for all seasons :)

So without further ado - lets get on to the giveaway!
Simply enter your details into the rafflecopter below to win either a copy of the Pixie Pants pattern, or the Pixie Shorts pattern.

The winner will be drawn at noon on Monday 29th September 2014.
You can also enter the giveaway on my Facebook page here.  (The rafflecopter may take a moment to load so just breathe for a moment and contemplate how wonderful life is!).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pixie Pants Blog Tour - Day 7

September 22, 2014

Today is the last day of the Pixie Pants Blog Tour before returning for the giveaway!

Hungary is our destination, where we are visiting the very talented Orsolya.   Last week she dyed her own yarn and fabric with wild buckthorn berries to knit herself a hat and make a matching scarf in the most beautiful natural greens... I am so inspired.

Orsolya loves to make soft toys and cute things like this pencil case shark, and even makes wonderful fabric pots like this one - using freehand machine stitching, so beautiful.

The Pixie Pants Orsolya made were for her daughter, which she made in a light denim for summer, which can be worn with socks and long sleeved shirt for autumn, or tights and a coat for winter.

Her beautiful photos can be found here - capturing the lazy days at the end of summer of perfectly :)  They make me long for the warmer days around the corner!

Be sure to stop by tomorrow for the last day of the tour - I will be giving away a FREE copy of the Pixie Pants pattern AND the Pixie Shorts pattern!

You can purchase the Pixie Pants pattern here and the Pixie Shorts pattern here.
Use the code PIXIEPANTS15 to receive 15% off pattern/s at checkout.
This code is active until Tuesday 23 September.