Tuesday, August 29

Orange danish...the breakfast of champions

Today was our second day back to homeschooling. The kids looked so cute eating their breakfast, with their school bins on the table ready to go, that I had to take a picture of them. I promise, Mason does not actually have yellow skin.

Nothing much to show as far as crafties go. I've stitched up a unicorn and a dragon (also for the giant order) but they aren't stuffed and they look so sad in their deflated state that I couldn't bear to take their pictures.

I've also slowed down due to a flare-up of my fibromyalgia. It's generally well controlled due to my wonderful rheumatologist. But the weather has done a major flop here (gone from summer to autumn-ish and rainy) and things like that spur on a flare. If I had seen it coming I would have delayed starting school for another week. The weather is supposed to flop back to summer so my funk shouldn't last too long. But I expect I'll be a bit on the slow side for the next couple of days.

The mailman brought me some wonderful books today, thanks to Book Closeouts. I got The Dollhouse Book, Dollhouse Decor, The Dolls' House Shopkeeper, Embroidered Treasures for Children, Folk Art Gifts, and The Forgotten Arts-Wall Stenciling. I need more shelves.

Sunday, August 27

So far today I've finished up some more bendies. And I've got more in the works. But I think tonight I'll get the animals I need to make cut out before I finish up any more bendies.

I also snuck a bit of fall into the household decor just a bit early. I couldn't help myself.

Oooh! And I just remembered something cool I made last winter for this fall! I went through a big phase of drying orange peels. Well, I guess it was clementine peels because it all happened when the grocery store was selling the crates of clementines. At first I was just snipping the peels into strips. Then I got the nifty idea to use mini leaf cookie cutters on the peels. And when they dried, they curled a bit just like a real leaf. A few got a bit browned on the edges. They're just wonderful, I think.

I'm going to have to get ahold of some autumn-ish scented fragrance oils soon :-) I feel a potpourri party coming on...

so I didn't go to bed yet...

Yes, I'm wasting time browsing the net. And I happenned upon this picture here

I ask you, what is wrong with this picture? Things like this make me crazy. If it jumps out at me like a sore thumb, certainly the people in charge of a magazine named Craft should notice such a glaring error. Although I suppose "crochet happens" isn't nearly so catchy.

Saturday, August 26

Time for bed but I had to sneak in a quick picture

I did manage to get a little something finished tonight...a couple princes and a wee family. These were close to being completed...just needed some finishing touches. They range in size from 1.5" to 2.5" tall.

browsing the little shops and some thrifting...

That's what Isabelle and I did today.

We were having a lazy morning and then Isabelle got the brilliant idea to go poking around the little shops on Main Street in St. Charles. We had to buy some Sassafras Tea because it smells just like root beer. I have a pot steeping as I type so we'll see if it tastes like root beer too.

the verdict: sassafras tea smells better than it tastes.

new Monday morning verdict: I had made it twice as strong as it should be last time. Read the directions this time LOL! It's yummy :-)

I had a hard time picking my jaw up off the floor when I happened upon a shop called Rock*Paper*Scissors. It was filled with glorious handmade papers and all sorts of artsy-craftsy goodies. I picked up some amazing watercolor paints. Sixteen different colors. They're so gorgeous, I couldn't help myself. They shimmer like eye shadow...or fairy wings. I cannot wait to play!! But I'm going to behave and finish this big order first. I'm getting so close to being finished with it. So this will be my beautiful, shimmering light at the end of the tunnel. ;-)

I just found out that people may have encountered difficulty when attempting to leave a comment here. I'm relieved to find out there was a glitch. I was beginning to get a bit paranoid. I thought maybe I was being a bit too honest and my dorkiness wasn't being appreciated. LOL! It turns out that my blog was set so that a new window popped up for commenting. And most people block pop-ups, right? I know I do. So I changed that. So feel free to comment to your heart's content.

edited to add...apparently I needed to *approve* comments. (I changed this so now commenting should be easy peasy and they should appear immediately...sorry I'm a dingus) I swear, I'm an idiot when it comes to the computer. There was something like 20 comments sitting in limbo and I didn't even know it. Off to go read comments (you do love me...you really do :snort:)

Oh...and the thrifting! I never get the hearty haul that I see other people scoring. But I do always manage to find at least one basket I need. And I also found this little pottery crock dealie. I don't know what I'm going to do with it but I liked the locking mechanism. And I'm so very ready for fall. And it's brown. I know, that only makes sense in my head. I just thought it looked kind of cute...like perhaps a gnome might have owned it. Still only making sense in my head, huh? Anyway, I only spent 50 cents each. I don't have to make sense for $1, right?

Thursday, August 24

I finished this wee girly while watching the movie. Such a good movie. Got a bit slowed down by tears from time to time. But it all worked out in the end.

The color is a bit off in the photos. Her velour body is a silvery sage, without the yellow undertones.

Sneaking in a cutie picture

I finished up one of those little pincushion ring cakes so I snapped a picture really quickly before packing it up to mail. Stinkin' cute, huh? :-) Now if I can just get my husband to remember to save his soda bottle caps...

Isabelle and I are going to watch 3 hours of Anne of Green Gables right now. I'll definitely have something to take a picture of at the end of the movie.

Oh! I almost forgot. Here's the end result of the floss and pearle cotton dyeing. I packed up some of the floss to send off to someone so some is missing from the picture. But I made extra spools so I expect I'll be doing some more dyeing before long.

Wednesday, August 23

Sorry to disappoint, but no creating went on here today. (well unless eyebrow waxing and cutting some bangs into my hair count as creating...a bit of a stretch, huh?)

Our day was spent with friends at the St. Louis Science Center. We spent time at the planetarium, saw Adrenaline Rush at the IMax theater, and poked around at various exhibits.

A wonderful day was had by all. My children didn't even fuss at bedtime tonight. They were wiped out. I'm beyond tired. I fell asleep in front of the tv around 7:30 (I never do this...this is my husband's job ;-) and am headed back there in a few minutes.

Lots of crafting to do tomorrow though. Pictures will follow :-)

Monday, August 21

The results of yesterday's dyefest

Well, the threads turned out great, I think. I can't wait to try a bit of embroidery with them and see how they look.

The velour came out a lovely shade of celedon. I really like it. But it's not sage. So I have another piece of velour soaking in dye right now. When I mixed up the dye yesterday I couldn't remember if I added ecru to the light mixture of olive dye to get sage. It would seem I did. So now I know if I want celedon I only need to use a little olive dye alone.

I'm quite pleased with the silks.

The felt looks great too. The green isn't as dark as I'd hoped but it's a really pretty color. The yellow isn't nearly as dark as it appears in the picture. In reality it's about the color of corn.

On today's agenda: sage velour, label making for bendy doll packaging, and back to the bendy doll assembly line :-)

Sunday, August 20

Prognosis: I'm dyeing

My children get great pleasure out of proclaiming, "Momma's dyeing!!" whenever I pull out the dyes. Oh, the drama!

There's wool felt and a silk going blue, wool felt and a silk going pink, a rosy silk with a touch of blue, felt going yellow, velour going sage, and some felt I mixed different greens, yellow, and blue. I'm hoping for good dragon skin there. The floss and pearle cotton are soaking in soda ash. I'll dye them later on tonight.

a lot of progress but not much to show

I'm in the midst of working on a lot of little bendy dolls at the same time. I've got a mini assembly line going. So even though I accomplished quite a bit today, I don't have much in the way of finished goods to show for it. These folks are 100% completely finished. The first off the line. But there are many more in various stages of nakedness and headlessness.

Can I just say that I am absolutely loving having a quilting frame. It is just so much more user-friendly than a hoop (and I had even upgraded to a q-snap hoop, which was way better than the wooden circular hoop). The fact that it's just waiting for me is going to be huge as far as actually finishing the quilting. I can just feel it. I've been quilting a square here and there since it arrived. I'll sit in the rocker with my morning coffee and next thing I know another square is quilted.

Last night Isabelle and I went fabric shopping. I needed more white wool felt as well as some autumn colored leaf prints for a quilt swap at Amity's I had planned to do some silk dyeing (and a lil' piece of velour) Friday but I held off so I could get some white felt. I am so glad I didn't get around to it today because just a few minutes ago I ran across the best idea ever here (all the way down...last thing-a-ma-bobbin on the page). And I happen to have white pearle cotton and white floss handy. Lots of it. :-D I may just need to make a dowel and candle cup run on Monday if all goes well.

Why is it that I am picturing this gaggle of bobbins in a jar? What is it with me and jars lately?!? I'm beginning to scare myself. Oooh...and I know the perfect jar too. It came with the melty nacho cheese. Short...wide mouth...perfect.

You know, I would have been really scary if I had been around back when (depression era) they were handing out bits of glassware with purchase.

On another note, Isabelle managed to twist my arm (that's my story and I'm stickin' to it) to get me to stop in Barnes&Noble after our fabric expedition. Yes, I bought a book. :-) I couldn't help myself. I got The Embroiderer's Handbook. It's an awesome book! And it's way cheaper at Amazon, I see.

For years I've had this book. It's wonderful. It clearly illustrates all the basic stitches plus some I hadn't seen elsewhere. But the new book seems to pick up where this one leaves off. It barely touches on basic stitches and it really goes into great detail on complex things that The Encyclopendia of Needlework doesn't even touch on. Beautiful and glorious things. Things that make me want to buy silk floss (which I've so far managed to avoid).

Hmmm...it seems I can be a bit chatty at 1am after drinking a quart of tea.

Thursday, August 17

popping in real quickly

just to toss up this picture of the toadstool ring pin cushion :)

What? That old thing?

Those are the very words uttered by my husband when he walked in the door this afternoon and caught an eyeful of this:

(See, Dominique, Emma's quilt is coming along nicely!)

Mason, my 5 year old, thinks it's a marvelous fort.

Perched on top of the quilt is this cutie set I made recently:

All of the fobs have a loop that buttons around the pincushion's button. I'm really good at losing my stuff so hopefully this will help.

Time to pull dinner out of the oven. Gotta run...

In my spare time...

Spare time? As if :)

Right now I am working on a rather large order. Because of this I'm keeping my whims to a minimum. I told Isabelle we'd work on the dollhouses for a little bit every day...30 minutes or so...while I'm working on this order.

Yesterday we went down to the basement and set up a work table. I opened the box to her dollhouse and tried to at least formulate a plan. I felt very overwhelmed. But we read the instructions and looked at all the pieces. We gathered the first few pieces we'll need and began sanding them.

I'm not sure how we're going to tackle this project. I'm a little stuck on wondering when the best time to paint is. We plan to electrify the houses so I know I need to leave some of the painting/wallpapering until the end. I am tempted to put the entire thing together and then deal with decorating. What to do...what to do...

I also have another bit of inspiration rattling around in my head. If this idea works it will be absolutely adorable!! First I saw this. Then I saw this and this. Which reminded me about this. See where I'm going with this? :-D

Tuesday, August 15

Our dollhouse kits just arrived! Between them and the quilting frame (which should be here any day now) I'm just about set for winter projects. Well, and add in the yarn stash I've been building and knitting books I've been collecting.

I'm getting so itchy for fall to arrive. Autumn is my absolute favorite season. I love the rich colors, the crisp mornings, the need for cushy socks. I miss my down comforter. I miss hot pots of tea. (hot tea just doesn't do it for me in the summer. I love iced tea but it's not the same...) (mental note: must make a tea cozy!!) I find myself feeling the desire to scent our home with orange, cinnamon, and cloves. I miss baking muffins in the morning just to warm the house.

I have nothing on my front door at the moment. This is so totally not like me. But my husband repainted the door recently and so I couldn't put the old wreath back. A new paint job needs something new. If I can just hold off a bit longer though, I can make something that is marvelously fall. When is the acceptable beginning of fall decor? ...after labor day? ...the equinox? ...when public school begins? (which is tomorrow! We, however, aren't quite ready to start a new year of homeschooling for at least another week or so.)

OH! I have a site to share. I came across this while googling and there are some awesome directions for making pincushions and sewing accessories here. Enjoy!

I think I hear a pile of bendy bodies calling me...

Monday, August 14

So far today...

I've managed to get the house sort of put back together from the weekend. And I've make my sister, Dominique's, necklace that she'll wear in her wedding. It's next week so I'm going to have this on its way today.

It's made with sterling silver beads, faceted rose quartz beads, and Swarovski crystals in clear and light rose (both with an aurora borealis finish). So sparkly and princess-like.

I've also been working on bendy dolls like a madwoman. Most are for an order but I'm going to eek out a couple for the fundraiser for Patsy over at Midday Faire. I made some teeny stationery sets to go with. What child wouldn't be delighted to receive a letter from a fairy or their favorite doll? And an older child would enjoy facilitating correspondence between the fairies or dolls, I think. :) Of course, I'll make an Autumn Fairy bendy doll to go with the autumn card and teeny leaf confetti. I made the envelope with the punch that came in the mail the other day. The wee envelopes are just precious! They're all of 1" tall and 1.5" wide!

Sunday, August 13

I made an executive decision today. :)

I have been really frustrated with trying to get my Handcrafted Home site up and running. I don't really have time to keep 2 sites stocked. And getting the cart to work properly has proved to be more than I can handle. So, it's going.

Instead I'm claiming my spot on Etsy. Much more sane choice, I think.

I *did* have something listed for sale in the Etsy shop but someone snapped it up lickety-split. Hopefully in the next couple days I can carve out a bit of time to take pictures of all the finished jewelry I have to sell so I can get it listed there. I'm in the midst of working on a large order at the moment so who knows if I'll find time or not. (not to mention a knitting project that has gone on far too long) We'll see...

Friday, August 11

Stumped about stumpwork

So I'm perusing the books over at Crafter's Choice and I'm seeing these books on stumpwork. What is stumpwork? It looks like crewel embroidery to me. Is it the same as crewel or is it something altogether different? I'd so appreciate it if anyone could fill me in. :)

By the way, Isabelle is home and she LOVES Annabelle!!

Happy mail in...happy mail out...

I've been stalking the mail carrier all week. Finally all that stalking paid off!

I got some stuff from Crafter's Choice, namely a book on painting watercolor fairies, a watercolor pencil kit, and the most stinkin' adorable mini-envelope punch. As soon as I get done here and do a bit of picking up I will be all over that cutie punch!

I also received some iron-on transfer embroidery patterns from Pattern Bee. One is a patterns for a redwork doll quilt. The other is 150 mini designs (all so vintage and cute!) which are slated to be part of doll clothing. There are many other patterns I'm coveting *cough*Raggedy*cough*Ann*cough* but I'm going to try to restrain myself at least a little bit. I emailed the owner to see if I could use the mini patterns on items I'm selling and she said yes! I am just over-the-moon thrilled about that. Remember the removable collar from the elf doll's dress? I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this ;)

And the beads for my sister's wedding necklace finally made it here. I ordered them from Art Beads. I was worried they wouldn't get here before the weekend. I need to get the necklace made and in the mail super fast. Everything is so pretty though...lots of sparkly Swarovski crystals.

And then! I got an ebay package. My daughter, Isabelle's, birthday was Wednesday. She's 11 now. And even though she's practically a teenager she still has a whole lot of imagination left. For her present we ordered this dollhouse. Well when I saw an auction for some vintage porcelain dollhouse dolls-one which is the spitting image of Annabelle from The Doll People (minus the green hair)- I *had* to get them! Here is "Annabelle" up close:

She's just perfect!! Isabelle is at Six Flags with a friend right now and I cannot wait for her to get home!

Oh, by the way, I had to order myself a dollhouse so I wouldn't get too bossy with Isabelle's. Before you laugh, I can tell you it has already proven to be a good thing (as Martha would say). Since she didn't have her dollhouse in time for her birthday I took her to Hobby Lobby to pick out a few things for inside. She picked bedroom furniture. But not the bedroom furniture *I* would have picked. I kept my mouth shut because I knew I'd just get that furniture for my own house. ;-) And I keep running across blogs of these Club Little House people. I'm completely enchanted!!

Now for the mail that went out today. There was a lot of that too!

A unicorn:

A bendy wizard and toadstool:

A lion (to whom I added a bit more mane under his chin after taking this picture):

And a pincushion with emery strawberry (which I couldn't help but scent "apricot vanilla"):

Also, the needlebook I made a couple days ago was mailed to its new home.

Today was just a busy, busy mail day!! Ah gotta love 'em!!

Tuesday, August 8

admitting defeat

Come on. Admit it. We all have our projects that were so cute in our head but they completely flop when executed.

Here is my most recent complete flop.

My daughter is attending a birthday party at the moment. (I know, hard to believe someone would schedule a birthday party for lunch time on a Tuesday, but it's true.) So last night I grabbed one on of these doll bodies with the intention of making a cute little doll to go along with the other gift. I really feel like I did all I could to make it cute but somewhere it took a very wrong turn.

Go ahead and say it. You won't hurt my feelings. Her head looks like a finger wearing a wig. Her arms look like she's related to Popeye. She seems to be retaining water in that left foot. Or maybe she stepped on a nail and popped her right foot. The proportions of the whole doll are so bizarre that even sparkly pink Mary Janes can't save her.

I did end up sending her along to the party. (She wasn't going to stay HERE! LOL!) But she was downgraded from an actual gift to just being a part of the bow on top.

I'm going to have to totally rethink those little doll bodies. I think they'll need to be a primitive style doll since they were apparently sewn by gorillas.

Sunday, August 6

Is it bedtime yet?

Yes, it is bedtime. But before I turn in I wanted to post a picture of the needlebook I made today. I now have 4 whole things for sale on my Handcrafted Home site. I have no real goal in mind with that site. It's just a place for me to sell things I feel compelled to make that aren't toys. If nothing ever sells I'll just keep it all or give it to friends.

Ok, off to bed....good night!

Ahhh! A nice, peaceful Sunday. The weather has cooled a bit (or maybe it's just not as humid) so the kids played outside. My husband spent the day off fishing. And after doing the bare minimum of housework, I spent the majority of my day right there on the couch. There's nothing better than sittin' back, with your feet up, while surrounded by baskets of supplies. Especially when orders are all caught up and I follow wherever inspiration leads.

The only thing that could make a Sunday afternoon better would be mail. I'm waiting on some good mail and it would have been a lovely day for poking through some new crafty books or putting together the quilt frame I ordered. How am I going to hide that from my husband, I wonder... It's not a fancy one. It's one of those made from pvc pipe. Somehow I don't think, "What? That old thing?" is going to cut it. :)

Oh! I'm also waiting for some beads to arrive. They might even come tomorrow. They're to make a necklace for my sister to wear during her wedding later this month. Lots of sparkly Swarovski crystals.

I did get some good mail the other day though. I got some emery sand. I've been wanting to make some pincushions and emery sand is what goes in the little strawberry. It sharpens and polishes pins and needles. So now I can make something cuter than the typical tomato/strawberry combo. Maybe I'll do that this evening, after dinner.

Saturday, August 5

Yay! My picture finally "stuck".

Here she is all finished. She's wearing:

-a white cotton pettiblouse (can be worn alone as a dress or nightgown) with removable embroidered collar

-white cotton pantalets

-a dark green, embroidered boiled-wool vest

-a homespun plaid skirt with rick-rack trim at the hem

-wool felt shoes that button closed

-and her elf hat

I was going for a sort of "Old World" look. I think I succeeded. :)

The reason a Christmas elf doll was ordered in August is this... (I'm guessing some might be wondering lol!) She (the elf) will come and go on her own accord...she'll still maintain her home at the North Pole :) She'll visit her chosen child from time to time. Sometimes she'll stay and visit a while (especially when her child needs her). Other times she'll just drop off a heartfelt note or small package. I am just enchanted by the concept and plan to create a few more elves with similar missions. What a marvelous way to keep the magic of Christmas alive all year!

So I changed the title of my blog today. My family informed me that "Dannielle's Arty-Party" sounded a bit flatulent. The thought hadn't occurred to me, but once it was in my head it wouldn't leave. So I stole one of my daughter's nicknames. She's has plenty and can certainly spare one for the cause ;)

The elf doll is finally totally finished and on her way to her new home. I did take a picture of her complete ensemble but blogger isn't being cooperative with photo-uploading at the moment. I'll try again later...after the house has gotten its share of my attention.

Friday, August 4

Just finished a set of math-themed bendy dolls with their friends (the wizard and jester). After my lunch break I'll be finishing up the elf doll's clothing so she can be mailed off today, too.

This means I'll have the weekend free from orders :D

My daughter, Isabelle, will be 11 in a couple days. The plan is to head up to Hobby Lobby tonight (or maybe tomorrow) and pick out a dollhouse kit for her. And I've been thinking I may get one for myself too so I don't get too bossy about her house.

Wednesday, August 2

another jewelry making day

I just love a jewelry making day :D This is also an order. Unfortunately my sad camera refuses to take a decent picture of pink jewerly.

Tuesday, August 1

pictures of the almost finished elf doll

She is almost finished! :) Her pantaloons just need to be hemmed. And her dark green boiled wool vest is in the midst of being stitched/embroidered. And she needs some shoes. At first I was thinking the typical pointy toes elf shoes but I'm not so sure anymore. She seems like the kind of girl who would wear Mary Janes. And I think black shoes would go nicely with her hair. And I suppose she must also have some sort of elf hat (she is supposed to be a Christmas elf) but I don't think she'll enjoy wearing it. I made her a little embroidered ponytail holder that she really likes. A hat would cover it up.

And just in case the Christmas look gets old for her, I made her an autumn collar (the Christmas collar is removable...made the same way).

It's going to be hard to mail her off.