Tag Archive | doll

Putting the plan into place

Happy New Year! We’ve been in the new house for two months now, baby Sprinkaan is 6 weeks old, we made it through the holidays and life is beginning to settle into a more predictable routine, which means I can — fingers crossed — get back on here on a more regular basis. Earlier last week, I began going through my sewing room in an attempt to bring some order to the chaos. I’ve still got more work to do to get it organized to where I can find things easily, but in that process, I made a shocking discovery. Shocking, I tell you! Ok, maybe only to me.

A room of my very own!

A room of my very own!

Whilst cleaning, I came across several UFOs. That’s right, the dreaded UnFinished Object. I’m not surprised that these UFOs exist (I am a procrastinator, after all), just that there are so many of them. I found things I had completely forgotten about. So, in the interest of accountability, I’m posting them all here. Well, I say all; there may yet be undiscovered specimens.

Here's the story of a lovely lady who can't seem to finish what she starts

Here’s the story of a lovely lady who can’t seem to finish what she starts

From the top, going left to right:

  1. Rag rug. I even posted about this back when I started it and then promptly got bored of it and stashed it away. It’s wound into an oval purely for visual purposes because it’s much easier to see it as a rug this way than as the mile-long fabric braid that it actually is. The braiding is complete, as far as I’m concerned, now it’s just the awful task of hand-sewing all that mess together.
  2. Crochet gingerbread house. It doesn’t look like much, but all the actual house pieces are there: roof, front, back, and sides. I just need to finish all the candy features and assemble the thing.
  3. Beige peasant blouse. I started this last spring with the intention of it being a sort of transitional maternity top. That was effective. Again, all the pieces are there, I just need to finish the embroidery on the yoke and sew it up.
  4. Rainbow granny afghan. This is probably the biggest undertaking out of all these projects. I hate weaving in ends and granny squares produce a lot of ends to weave. Multi-colored granny squares make me question my sanity for deciding to embark on this in the first place.
  5. Front of a sweater. This sweater has a name — it’s from my knitting board book, but I can’t find the book yet and I don’t remember the name. At any rate, the front of a sweater doesn’t do me a lot of good without the back and sleeves.
  6. Axl doll. Another naked Axl. I started out all gung-ho on this after I finished the dolls for the girls, but then was struck with ennui when it came to sewing more tiny clothes. The thing is, I did all the hard work the first time and made little patterns so that any subsequent dolls wouldn’t be such a pain, but, eh.
  7. Knitting loom sock. Remember when I made Konik the little striped socks that he loved and wouldn’t take off for three days? Immediately after that, I began making a sock for myself. And then more interesting things came along… I actually haven’t gotten very far on this one at all and, to tell the truth, can’t remember which pattern I was using. I may end up taking it off and doing something else. We’ll see.
  8. Bunny dress. Rana and I had started a little sewing project together to make her favorite stuffed bunny a pretty little dress. We were on a roll and then we missed a few days and a few days turned into a few months.
  9. Embroidered baby booties. You want to know how shameful my UFOs are? I began these booties when I was pregnant with Konik. He’s 4. I need to get a move on if any of my own children are going to actually wear these. Sprinkaan, you are our last hope.

So here’s my New Year’s Resolution of sorts: for the next year, I will choose one of these projects each month and bust it out. Originally I was just going to randomly pull one from a jar, but obviously, some of these have a little more urgency than others, like the booties for example. That one will have to be the first… just as soon as I finish the little sweater I’m knitting for Sprinkaan. Maybe after that I’ll go with the jar idea. For some reason, it feels more likely that I’ll actually do these if I feel like it’s a surprise and not an assignment. I will (again, fingers crossed) be making other things during the next nine months. These items are, with the exception of the doll clothes, my “armchair crafts” — the things that I can work on in the evenings after I’ve put the kids to bed and just want to sit quietly. Even with the new baby, I’ll make time for daytime projects. So, when I begin one of these UFOs, I’ll post about it and you all can pester me hold me accountable throughout that month to make sure I finish it! Deal? Deal.

Falilla gets a makeover

Well, hi howdy hey, look who’s back. It’s only been {cough, cough} a month. But, uh, nevermind that, let’s look at nice pictures!

Many of you may remember Falilla, the fairy doll I made for Granota’s 4th birthday. I gave Falilla lovely recycled Barbie hair which creeped Granota out to such an extent that she threw the doll across the room. They warmed up to each other, though, and became good friends. Falilla got carted all over the place and slowly, ever so slowly, began losing hair. It finally reached the point this spring where poor Falilla was actually hideous to look at.



After having made yarn hair for the Axl Rose dolls, I thought we might have better luck going that route. So Granota and I went to Michael’s and I let her choose new hair for Falilla and she settled on Patons Grace in a light lavender (I’d have to look to find the exact color name). It took one evening with a seam ripper to remove the wads of hair still on Falilla’s head. Then we had a hideous bald fairy doll. It took another couple of days to get all the hair wefts sewn together and then sewn on to her head. Granota was rather patient, considering.



Falilla is looking much better these days with her magical purple hair. All ready for new adventures with Granota and Axl. Oh, didn’t you know? They’re friends, too.


Off the hook!

Ever since I completed my Axl Rose afghan (or, well before I finished it, actually), the girls have been reminding me that they want one of their own. I thought that would be a good “big” Christmas present for them. We give them only three gifts (we like to keep things simple and not get too hung up on the “stuff”), one of which is something big and special, left unwrapped under the tree with a giant nametag on it. They love to run downstairs and see what it is. So, in a perfect world, the afghans would have made great “big” presents. Now that my French tutoring has started up again, I’ve come back into crafting funds (hurray!), but I’m realizing that it was too late for afghans.

Oh sure, I was optimistic and bought a little yarn (not all of it, thank goodness) and began Rana’s blanket. At that point in time, I calculated that if I finished five rows everyday, I could have it done in three weeks, leaving enough time to weave in ends and four more weeks to do the whole thing over again for Granota’s.

But then I missed a couple of days. Five rows had to be bumped to seven. And then nudged up to ten. And eleven. At which point I admitted to myself that this wasn’t going to happen. I was attempting to get my crocheting done in secret which meant only during naptime and after the kids were in bed. It sounds good in theory. Usually I am much more pessimistic realistic about things, but I guess crafting clouds my judgment or something. What was I thinking?! My kids don’t go to bed! Psh! My kids are the life-size version of Whack-a-Mole at Chuck E. Cheese. Three kids each finding some lame excuse to get up times three equals me getting up nine times to put them back in bed. Rana is notorious for lying quietly in her bed for half an hour, then, just when we think she’s asleep and it’s ok to turn on a grown-up TV show or get out secret craft projects, all of a sudden she materializes in the living room declaring in her most lonesome puppy dog voice, “I can’t sleep,” while her eyes scan for snacks that Mr. Gren may have gotten out or the last swallow of tea in my cup (Yes, Mom & Dad, I know where she gets that from).

Obviously that’s a problem. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do until Granota gave me an out.

We were cleaning house (cabin) on Saturday and Granota forlornly showed me her paper Axl doll. He’s a little crumpled; we’ve had to tape each of his legs back on; he’s looking a little worse for wear. But considering the life he’s had — created 6 months ago, getting slept on in a preschooler’s bed, buried and resurrected from the clothes drawer numerous times, and eventually hung from the curtain rod — he has survived surprisingly well.

But even a 5 yr old knows that a paper doll’s lifespan isn’t forever. So, as she cradled her little paper doll, she said wistfully, “I wish I had a real life Axl doll.” I knew what she meant, but I prodded her a little. “A real life doll?” “Yes, like Falilla [the fairy doll]. A soft one!” Rana was listening to this conversation and immediately piped up, “Me, too! I want one, too!” Just to verify, I asked her, “Want one of what?” “An Axl doll! I want an Axl doll, too!” To which Granota stated, “But they have to look different!”

Your wish is my command! I can do dolls in the time I have left before Christmas! No sweat! And that saves me from the ridiculous pace and long nights it was going to take to complete those afghans. I was considering just working on them at a leisurely pace throughout this next year, but I know myself too well. If I take things too slowly, I get bored and will never finish. Besides, Axl dolls and Axl afghans? Even for 1991 that might be a little… excessive (although as I was writing this, Granota was up in her room with “November Rain” on repeat, so that may be a moot point).

Soon to be replaced by a “real life” doll. But this one is so cute, I’m going to save it.

Now I’ve got to decide what to do with that yarn.

Yee ha!

Sunday was Rana’s 6th birthday! She has been telling us for weeks that she wanted all kinds of cowboy-related things, including a cowgirl doll. If you remember from Granota’s birthday, my original intention was to make them both fairy dolls, but I was willing to switch gears. I used a slightly different doll pattern because a cowgirl and a fairy shouldn’t look the same. Somewhat ironically, the pattern I used for both the doll and the shirt were for an Indian girl. Hmm. Maybe someday the cowgirl will have an Indian friend. I don’t know if it will be anytime soon, though; I’m a little burnt out on doll-making. So many fiddly little bits!

I never want to sew a cuff that tiny again.

For the most part, the doll went together pretty well. Sewing the tiny little clothes was kind of a hassle. Then I started running into bigger hassles. About the time the doll was ready for hair, I checked local thrift stores and ended up going to four before finding one with a donor Barbie head. I was feeling a little desperate, but should have checked more closely: this was a knock-off Barbie which didn’t have nearly as much hair as the one I had used for Granota’s fairy. Even though the cowgirl doll’s head was smaller than the Barbie, she has some painfully obvious bald spots. Suddenly, a cowgirl hat was no longer just an accessory, but a necessity! “Here, sweetie, I made you a doll! Also, she has mange.” And right there, your birthday party is over.

I messed around trying to sew a hat, but it looked more like a fez. Granted, it didn’t have a brim when I gave up on it, but I think even that wouldn’t have put it over into cowboy hat territory. Next step was to check around at craft stores for tiny little cowboy hats. Two craft stores, a pet store, a toy store, and a Build-a-Bear later, not to mention two hours of my time, I was still hatless. Back to the drawing board. I checked online for tiny crocheted cowboy hat patterns and still no luck. I did find a doll hat pattern that I thought might possibly work with a little bit of pinching and shaping. I was up until 11:00 Saturday night working on that, but ran out of steam before sewing it onto the doll’s head. And now I’m glad I did.

Sunday after church, I disappeared into my sewing room to finish this last step, except… I decided I didn’t like the crocheted hat anymore. It was slightly too big and seemed to lose its shape too easily. I attempted steam-shrinking felt, but just gunked up my iron on accident (note to self: clean iron before next project). Then, in my doll pattern book, I found a doll wearing a high-crowned hat. Think Pilgrims. I shortened it a little and tacked up the brim on the sides and lo and behold! A fair approximation of a cowboy hat! I like it much better than the crocheted version.

Corduroy cowboy hat

Rana had the best cowgirl birthday a 6 year old girl could hope for. She got all kinds of cowgirl stuff from family and then, the moment of truth…

She didn't fling it across the room, so already that's an improvement!

She likes the doll. She named her Jessie (after we vetoed “Lily” because just about everything else in the house is already named Lily). I think they’re going to have a good time together.

And, an update on Granota and the fairy: They are friends now. Granota named the fairy Falilla and has enjoyed playing with her very much since I assured her that I did not use human hair on the doll. Yes, that’s right. Granota was actually repulsed by the fairy because of the hair. Thankfully we got that all cleared up! I love walking by her bedroom at night and hear her whispering to Falilla. Exactly what I had hoped for.

I joined the Toy Society!

Sometime over a year ago, I came across The Toy Society. It was started by an Australian crafter named Bianca who wanted to bring a little joy to a stranger’s life through the unexpected gift of a toy left in a public place. The whole concept intrigued me and I wanted to be a part of this! I signed up last June to get all the information, and finally, finally I got around to making a toy! This may be a procrastination record. Although, I do plead a little bit of forgetfulness, too. And three children.

A couple of years ago, my mom got me the book 1-2-3 Skein Crochet and these stripey dolls caught my eye.

Aren't they fun?

As patterns go, this really wasn’t difficult, but it did turn out to be a little bit of a pain in the neck. Actually, in the fingers. My hands cramped up so badly making my own stripey doll! It uses a G hook with worsted weight yarn in single crochet. If you don’t crochet and have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s the translation: smallish hook + thick yarn + tight stitches = ouchie. That’s why I didn’t get it done yesterday. My poor hand needed a break! I sewed the little guy together this afternoon.

Yellow, orange, and pink, like Fruit Stripes Gum.

It bugged Rana to no end that I didn’t put a face on this doll. I actually kind of liked it plain; then you can imagine whatever face you want. I prepared the little tag and letter explaining what the toy was about and arranged it all in a ziploc bag. Rana and I scouted out a bus stop on a busy street, but there were already people there. Zut! She suggested that we hide behind a bush until the bus came and picked them up. I thought that might call undue attention to us and proposed just walking halfway down the block and waiting. She conceded, but I think she was still a little disappointed that we didn’t get to sit in a bush.

A few minutes later, the bus came, and we scurried back to the bus stop pole. As I tied the bag onto the pole, I had coaching from Rana: “Hurry! Don’t let anyone see you! There’s cars coming! Get it tied!”

Tied on the bus stop pole. And look! Blue sky!

Toy drop number one! We walked nonchalantly away. Ok, maybe not. We kept turning around to look at it. After dinner we went back by to see whether the stripey doll had been claimed, but alas, he was still hanging from the pole. The wind had blown the bag around against the bus route sign, hiding the “Take Me Home” tag. I repositioned the bag, so hopefully it is obvious that anyone can take it and that it wasn’t just forgotten. Y’know, tied to a bus stop.

I’m also hoping that it doesn’t get thrown away. I think, if we ever use a bus stop again, we’ll choose one without a trash can right there. We will go check in the morning to see what has become of our little stripey friend! I’m already scheming about the next toy to make. I’m thinking a little amigurumi kitty.

If you think this is a cool idea, you ought to check out some of the toys on the Toy Society blog and think about making one of your own to drop!