Category Archives: crafts

He makes us stitch and sing.

I have an assortment of things to share, which I beliP1100820 Ps 23 hanging by Geve all flow from people’s creative impulses. So I’ll make that my theme.

When I was sorting and sifting with Kate I found some crafty things I did when money was tight. If you make presents for your parents you might inherit those same things after a while.

This was the case with wall-hangings I made 40 years ago, which came back a few years ago, but then got buried again until last month. This one speaks to me now, so I hung it over a knob near where I am typing at the moment. The scraps of fabric I used remind me of dresses I made for myself in high school anP1100628d college.

Another sort of scrap art is this large design in cloth that I found last month on the wall of a hospital corridor, when I was walking up and down with a post-surgical patient. That hospital has really nice art on the walls, and I kept thinking I should go on a picture-taking tour, but I didn’t. A close-up of this one shows the close quilting. P1100629

I have to cregum art pastoraledit Chel at Sweetbriar Dreams for introducing me to Ben Wilson via her blog. This man paints miniature works of art on chewing gum that has been rudely and antisocially discarded on the streets of London. Igum art isle of wight liked this BBC video about him.

The art at right includes mention of the Isle of Wight, which reminds me that I didn’t tell you about the birthday party we had for Mr. Glad last month.

 

gum art bbc w hand

Our small group of friends and family sat around singing to guitars songs such as Dylan’s “Forever Young” and the Beatles’ “When I’m 64,” which gives you a clue as to which birthday my husband celebrated. Ever since then I can’t get that song out of my mind, including the stanza that goes:

Every summer we can rent a cottage in the Isle of Wight
If it’s not too dear.
We shall scrimp and save.
Grandchildren on your knee:
Vera, Chuck & Dave.

P1100900

P1100897crp At least I got a break during church this morning when other music pushed the torture aside. I went with Mr. Glad to his church which was meeting for the first time in a new place, and I took a few pictures of the window shades which I thought much better than a lot of modern church art I’ve seen. I of course prefer icons, but these images feel light and joyful, and are reminiscent of stained glass.

The last one shows the Alpha and Omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, a reference to Christ from the book of Revelation. He is “The Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.” As all our arts begin with gifts God has given us, may their ends also be for His glory and in His praise.

Lavender Baby goes home.

Back in August I posted this picture of yummy fabric I had bought to use sewing the Waldorf doll I wanted to give to granddaughter Ivy for her first birthday at the end of September.

I managed to do it! As it was my first time assembling this kind of head and body and sewing a face, I decided to make two dolls so as to get extra practice. I was so glad I did, because very quickly it became obvious that two very different little dollie girls were taking shape.

It wasn’t just that one had brown hair and one had yellow. The expressions on their faces and even the shape of the heads gave them different personalities.

I knew early on that I liked the brown-haired dollie much better than her blond friend. The blonde  — I hate to say it — looked like the neighborhood girl no one wants to play with.

Why was that? My friend Myriah agreed that she wasn’t very likeable, but she thought I should try to fix her. So when I was up at the cabin in early September I tried to brighten her up a bit.

Both her eyes and her mouth were problematic. I guess I had learned how hard it is to make short and precise stitches in such a way that they form at least vaguely even features, when the instructions are to use only two stitches per feature. The mouth looked pinched, and the eyes squinty.

Before

Not only the position of the features and the meagerness of them were unappealing, but the color was lacking. The eyes were pale blue, the mouth pale pink, and as I had already sewn a light color of hair on her head, the total effect was washed out.

On a rainy afternoon up there in the mountains I set to work, and added bright aqua embroidery thread to her eyes, and darker pink to her mouth. After just a couple more stitches in these more intense tones, her disposition and her IQ improved dramatically.

After

Her jaw is still a bit too prominent, shall we say, but maybe that will not be too bad when she gets her hood on. I’m just happy that she is calmer and more agreeable. I still haven’t finished Blondie, because I knew I wanted to give the sweeter baby to Ivy.

The thrill of seeing the two dollies come almost to life was not something I expected. Immediately I had the urge to start forming a new creature right away, just to find out what sort of character he or she might turn out be. Other things have taken my attention and prevented me, but my materials are at the ready whenever I find the block of time to take the next first step.

In the meantime, I finished the brown-haired lass up with a lavender suit, and posed her all over the house and yard in hopes of getting some good pictures to show you.

I was surprised at how much Bag there is to a Baggy Doll. The drawings in the book from which I got the pattern somehow don’t convey the pillow-like quality of the doll’s body, a shape they say toddlers love.

I pinked the edges of some fleecy fabric to make the first layer of “wrapping,” and then put her in a final layer of blue flannel that could also serve as a doll blanket in the future if the children get into the business of playing house and wrapping up dolls or stuffed animals.

They might not…they are outdoorsy kids whose own mother never cared much for dolls. But the dolly whom I now call Lavender Baby won’t mind if she sits on the sidelines or in a corner of the crib. Her hood and all her wool stuffing will keep her warm, and she lives in a house full of love and joy, to which she has already contributed just by being her happy and cuddly self.

Little Ivy didn’t waste any time getting familiar with her new doll and flopped her around contentedly.

Would she give away her green doll?

My sewing room is also my prayer room and ironing room, and where I keep a big tub of knitting supplies, and my secret packages before they are wrapped as presents. And my big gym bag for when I swim. Of course it has to accommodate all the piles of fabric I’ve saved, and old clothes that I’m saving to use for the fabric when I make doll clothes or quilts. Ha! I so seldom sew anymore, much of this is largely theoretical.

Sometimes I have the thought that I should give away everything having to do with needle arts and fabric. But that doesn’t feel right, and I keep saving patterns I find online, and pictures of the sort of quilt I would like to make, and tutorials for making Waldorf dolls.

My most recent investment in the sewingly creative side of me was some gorgeous fabric from Weir Crafts. They have all kinds of things one could want for dollmaking, and as soon as I picked out my favorite colors and received my order of cotton velour, I wanted to take its picture. At first I restrained myself, thinking I should actually sew something with the fabric and take a picture of that, but all it took was Frances posting a photo of pretty fabric to weaken my resolve.

In addition to these colors I have some green that I didn’t wash yet. It’s the most delicious stuff to handle, and will make a nice First Doll for Ivy. Ah, but which color shall I start with? I picked out a pattern for the doll, something appropriate for a first-birthday girl, and then in the chapter on “Soft Dolls” I read,

A young child just emerging from babyhood needs gentle colours: white, cream, pink, lilac or pale blue….

A doll made for an older toddler can be sewn from fabric with a colour which appeals to the child’s temperament and general mood….

An outgoing or strong willed child will respond to a red doll because red energises, stimulates and gives confidence.

Blue is relaxing and peaceful; it will be appreciated by a thoughtful boy or girl.

Green is a harmonious colour and can encourage giving and sharing, while pink or lilac is restful and calming.

Yellow often excites and animates children, which is not too good for a quiet bedtime.

My most favoritest colors

Thank the Lord I didn’t read this before ordering my fabric, or I’d still be deliberating over whether I should be choosing for a young or old toddler, or over which moods and behaviors I want to encourage in my grandchild. If I give her a green doll she might give it away, and then I would need to sew her another!

Mostly what I think about is that if Ivy likes the doll she ends up with — and I’m quite content knowing that she may not — it could get dragged around a lot, and I really can’t see sewing it in white or cream, which would soon be just dirty.

Lilac sounds safe, and I plan to use it for this first doll, called Baggy Doll in the book. Baggy Doll has a hat, which I hope to make from some recycled wool sweater material in a different color.

It’s a lot of creative effort I’m putting in just making these plans. There was no place in my super-cluttered sewing room to lay out all the possibilities with enough space for me to think, so I have temporarily taken over two other currently unused bedrooms, one for the doll decisions and materials, and one for the ironing and laundry. Just getting that sewing room in order is a project in itself, which may have to wait. But at least I will be able to uncover the sewing machine.

Susan at Sun Pours Down Like Honey posted a good thought today,  oh-so applicable to me and my stuff:

It’s not a group activity. It’s what you do or don’t do, what you do with your days, your time,
to move towards your goals.
Choose hourly, daily. It’s entirely your deal.
Discipline is remembering what you really want.

Wish me luck!