In the interest of catching up on things I haven’t managed to post about this summer, here is a look back at the Cool Britannia swap I did in June.
This theme was really easy to work with! London and the UK are iconic and places that many people like to travel, and with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee happening just before this swap, I had a lot of material and inspiration to work with.
I found this Corgi cross stitch pattern online and decided it would be perfect for this swap. I shrank it quite a bit, using very small cross stitch fabric, and then sewed it into a Blythe-size stuffed animal.
I created a Union flag mini-dress, which turned out a little big (the prototype I made turned out a little small – next time I make it, it’ll be just right):
As well as a skirt and sweater set:
Here are all the items I sent. I made a Cool Britannia wallpaper wrapped box, and included a variety of items including stickers, a notebook, Keep Calm ribbon, charms, and a knitted Dalek finger puppet that I made.
Wrapped and ready to be sent:
And Liz sent me a great package, too!
A totally neat card:
And a ton of goodies!
Is this not the most adorable tea cup ever? Handmade and so cute! With commemorative Jubilee tea, no less.
And a gown fit for royalty, modeled here by Ash.
As ever, I’m so pleased and feel so lucky to be part of this great Blythe swap community.
One of my most awesome intarwebs friends is Carrie Anne of the Little Big Blog and the Little Big Vintage Shop. She is a kickass thrifter, mom, cook, crafter, and wrangler of cats. One of her cats is known lovingly by the nickname of Lumpus (he’s kind of a big guy) and one day we were chatting on twitter and she reminded me that, if nothing else, one should always remember that Lumpus loves you. This inspired me to make a cross stitch that she could hang on the wall.
I used a free online service to translate the photo to a cross stitch pattern, and though it came out with slightly darker colors than I probably would’ve chosen otherwise, I think it turned out pretty well.
When I was finished stitching, I trimmed the fabric to just a bit larger than the hoop:
Then I cut a circle of cardboard that would fit almost snugly inside the hoop and covered it with a layer of fleece and a layer of cute kitty fabric I happened to have on hand. I sewed this together to draw it tight around the cardboard:
Here you can see the fleece under the fabric:
Here it is all stitched up and ready to use:
At this point I realized that if I left the flap of cross stitch fabric overlapping underneath, it would show through, so I trimmed it very carefully and glued it to the hoop:
I cut another circle of white fleece to go inside so that it would help the design stand out well:
And then popped the fabric-covered circle into the back of the hoop:
And voila! A finished product:
Carrie Anne was pleased with it, and so am I. I haven’t done much cross stitch in years (decades!) and it has been fun to get back into it a little.
Our July theme for the Blythe Swap group was Slumber Party. It was a bit of a challenging theme for me, since it’s been many years since I attended one, and there are so many possibilities that no one thing really screams the theme.
My partner ended up being the perfect person to make things for. Each of her five Blythes have a distinct personality, as well as favorite colors, animals, and other helpful things. I found a paperboard suitcase at The Lob and embellished it with scrapbook paper and good ol’ Mod Podge.
I made individual packages for each of Kate’s five girls.
I made up a pattern for some pajamas (now I know how to make shorts!), and one for an overnight bag. I also made some stuffed animals to go with each set.
For Cherry Kim, who likes red and dogs:
For Lizzie Jane, who likes brown and pale yellow and nature:
For Charlotte, who likes pale blue and green:
For James, who likes bright colors:
I couldn’t resist embellishing her pajama top with a googly eye:
And for Annie Mesmer, who likes black and ravens:
I had so much fun putting this package together. And it was also really fun to see what Kate had put together for me!
She used some super neat wrapping paper and included a hilarious and awesome frog card:
So many goodies!
I just adore this fabric. I can’t wait to figure out what I’ll make with it:
This outfit seemed perfect for Dahlia, and it suits her so well:
All in all, a perfect slumber party!
Some friends are having a baby soon, and I got inspired when I heard that they were expecting. I haven’t made a quilt before, but I thought – why not? I have solid sewing skills and it was a fun challenge to learn techniques specifically associated with quilting. In typical me fashion, I made up a pattern and jumped right in.
I picked out some fabrics that I thought would go well together and would suit the jungle theme their nursery already has, and started cutting out squares.
Then I started sewing them together into squares and then pairs and then rows.
(Note: since taking the photo above I have learned that in quilting, you press the seams to one side rather than to both sides like in garment sewing.)
Until finally I had the entire quilt top put together:
I was quite pleased with how well it turned out. Not every seam is exactly perfect, but generally speaking things lined up well.
Then I put together the quilt sandwich, with the backing fabric and batting. I chose to use the dark brown/white polka dot fabric for the backing so that it would not be prone to showing wear/spills/etc. It’s important to me that it actually be usable.
I hand basted it using thread in a contrasting color so it would stay neat and not get any puckers or folds:
I chose to do a very basic stitch-in-the-ditch machine quilting. It worked well and thanks to my careful basting, I didn’t have any folds or other faults:
Then I removed the basting threads and attached the binding by machine-sewing right-side-to-right-side on the front of the quilt. I finished the binding on the back by hand-stitching an invisible stitch.
And here we have the finished product!
I’m just so pleased with it. I’ve presented it to our friends and they like it, too, so to me, that’s success!
I end up with a lot of small scraps of yarn from my various knitting projects. I hate to waste them, and I read somewhere that birds like that sort of thing for making nests – an opportunity to re-use!
I wondered how to make the yarn available to the birds and came up with the idea of stuffing it into hole-y containers that could hang from a tree. I found a few such hole-y containers at Pier One.
I used a spare chopstick to poke the yarn scraps into the balls.
Voila! Yarny balls!
Here they are hanging in the red maple out front. As you can see, some yarn scraps hitched a ride and got caught on the tree bark. I’ll pick them off eventually but I’m not bothered by them. You can also see that I have a larger, suet cage type thing as well. It’s less pretty but it holds a lot of yarn and it a little easier for the birds to get at.
I love the concept of reusing old stuff to create garden art, but I hardly ever happen upon the materials to do so. Perhaps I ought to indulge my yen for garage sales? I do like many of the projects in this book, though, especially those that don’t require a perfectly patinaed hunk of metal. My favorite may be the Homemade Fireflies, which are made from LED bulbs, magnets, and shepherd’s crooks. My post at CPL has a bit more about this book.
Okay, not really. More like gone AWESOME!
The most recent Blythe Swap theme was fairytales, and my partner and I both chose LRRH as our theme for our packages.
I created a dress, underskirt, cape, and basket LRRH outfit for Lauren. Here’s Ash modeling before I packed them up:
You can’t see it too well here, but the cape is lined with the same fabric that the dress is made from. I also used a fancy stitch on my sewing machine to do a leaf/vine embellishment on the cape.
I also made a mini-album, inspired by the awesome one Heather sent to me for the Vintage Valentine Swap!
This mini-album is about two inches square. I used a couple of stickers, but most of the things in here I cut out by hand. Which was a lot more tedious than I expected, but since I was only doing a few things it wasn’t that bad.
For the cover, I used a toilet paper roll! Gotta reuse things around the house when you can, right?
For the interior pages, I sewed them together at the spine. It’s really not difficult when you only have a few pages. I did two sheets of pages (so that’s four pages total) this time, since I wasn’t sure how much content I had to fill it up. Next time I do a mini-album, I’ll definitely add more pages, though, since I probably could have filled another few in this one.
Awhile back I purchased a big notebook of scrapbooking paper to use for whatever, and I was so pleased that, among the random options included there, I found perfect choices for this project.
I also used a scrap of old cloth book-binding tape that I had lying around (hoarding scraps from the library garbage bin isn’t so crazy after all, right?) to hold the book together.
Because I couldn’t resist making a few things that fit Lauren’s other likes for color and style, I also made her a couple of skirts.
Here’s the package contents I sent to Lauren:
And here’s her Enid playing LRRH:
I’m so pleased with how this swap package came together!
And now on to the awesomeness that Lauren sent to me!
Wow! What a great lot of goodies! Peppermint Ghirardelli, English tea, an original piece of LRRH artwork, a capelet, puppets, and bucket, and a classic vintage edition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales!
Check out the LRRH illustration from inside:
I love it!
And here’s the capelet Lauren knit. I love that it can be worn with the arms through or underneath – so flexible!
And did you see those puppets?! I cannot overstate how much I adore them. They’re so cute, and so perfect!
I feel like I made out like a bandit on this swap! Thanks, Lauren!
More quilt-admiring from the girl who hasn’t yet undertaken a quilting project (not counting my Rash award). My post at CPL has more about this book.
Who doesn’t love an ugly/cute monster? This book has 13 ideas you can make from the clothes you’re not wearing anymore, and surely the sky is the limit from there – you could make any number of permutations! My post over at CPL has more.
You can’t go wrong with zombies. And these zombies are so cute! I haven’t done nearly as much crafting with felt as I’d like to (yet another item on my crafty to-do list) and this would be a perfect place to start. Like Blythe clothing, I’m continually impressed by how big an impact the tiniest of details can make. The Thrilla zombie on the cover is a great example: notice the strands of hair, the color scheme, and the jaunty angle of the arms? Works perfectly! My post over at CPL has more on this book.