Friday, November 27, 2015

White Friday 2015

Hard to believe that Christmas is less than a month away!  Today is our traditional White Friday, where instead of standing in long lines for the latest gift that will be forgotten shortly after it is unwrapped, we fix ourselves a hot beverage, get out the hooks or needles, and make something special for those we love.

It could be a scarf, a shawl, a doll, a toy...a piece of jewelry crocheted in fingering weight yarns, a cowl knit in bulky weight yarns, anything made with love.

There are literally thousands of free crochet and knit patterns available on the Internet.  You can find many toy and doll patterns right here on my blog; just scroll down the left sidebar until you find a pattern that speaks to you.  Other great toy patterns can be found in the 'Links I Love' section toward the bottom of the blog on the left sidebar.

For great free wearable patterns, there is,, and have extensive free pattern libraries.   I think they all require registration, but it is free and well worth it.

And to set the mood, here is a crochet pattern for making tiny Hellebore flowers (the Christmas Rose), Ivy leaves, and a tiny wreath.  You can use the wreath for Christmas tree ornaments, to decorate your doll house, or to wear as a brooch.

The Christmas Cabin is coming along beautifully.  I have the outside decorated, as can be seen in the image at the top of the page.  The Christmas Tree is done and decorated, and now I am working on chairs for the living room :-)  But today, I will make three wreath brooches for my sister and sister-in-law, and be thankful for quiet time and the skills my Grandmother taught me when she taught me to crochet.

Have a lovely White Friday!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Crochet a Christmas Cabin

When it comes to making dollhouses, my favorite power tool is my crochet hook!  I cannot saw a straight line, and hammers mash my fingers as often as they hit the nails.  But a crochet hook is a marvelous tool, and you really can make a dollhouse with one!

Here is a picture tutorial on Flickr on how to construct your own.  It is mostly guidelines, so you can make a house any shape you want, as long as you can cut cardboard and cover it with crochet.

The Christmas Cottage is made with acrylic worsted yarn and a size H hook.  Sturdy cardboard is used to stiffen the walls and floors.

This house is sized sweetly for Nancy Ann, or my Forget-Me-Knot kids, or a downsized version of Simply Ami.  I've finished the basic house, now all it wants is decorating for Christmas (trees, wreaths, stockings, etc...) and some furnishings (sleeping palettes, chairs, etc...).

Make plan for your dollhouse, stitch and block the blocks, cut the cardboard (about a 1/4 inch larger than your blocks), and stitch the house together!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Peace for Paris; peace for us all.

"The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater"    ...J.R.R. Tolkien.  

Image by Jean Jullien

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

More dolls, more fun!

Jeanette is a hard plastic Nancy Ann with a painted face and jointed arms and legs.  I'm always amazed at how beautifully these dolls are constructed and painted.  All they need is a little cleaning, most times a new wig, and some pretty outfits to make them special indeed.

Jeanette's dress and hat are another outfit designed by Helga Kraft for Kelly dolls.  I end up adding two or three stitches to the waist line, to better fit Nancy Ann, and make the dresses a bit longer.  Otherwise, the fit is quite good.

Jeanette's shoes are from an Annie Potter Presents leaflet entitled Victorian Darlings.  I've used this leaflet for many outfits for these dolls.  I crochet the dresses using size 20 crochet cotton (or size 8 perle) and a size 9 hook.  However, for the shoes I crochet them with the thread and hook recommended.

Jeanette's raglan sweater is my own design, which I am happy to share!

Nancy Ann Raglan Sweater

And remember, most of the outfits I designed for the Forget-Me-Knot kids, here on this blog, will fit Nancy Ann as well.

Nancy Ann projects in the wings include these three Nancy Ann's from the 50's, with hard plastic bodies and sleep eyes:

I've removed their wigs and cleaned and blushed them.  All ready for new wigs and outfits!

For a real treat, check out Carolyn's blog and see what she has done with her rescued Nancy Ann's:

Carolyn's Creative Workshop

Her face painting is extraordinary!  And if you look around, you will be amazed at this dollmakers creativity and generosity. 

I hope you are enjoying the day.  Only 23 more days until White Friday!  Are you ready to knit, crochet, sew, or otherwise hand make someone a special gift for Christmas?  This is what White Friday is all about :-)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Happy Halloween!!

Minerva Wormwood is my latest Nancy Ann remake, one of the dear dolls sent to me by my good friend Tomi :-)  The time of the year just begged for a Halloween doll, so Minerva was born.

Minerva's outfit is a purchased pattern written for Mattel's Kelly doll (Barbie's very little sister), from Helga Kraft.  I tweaked it ever so slightly to fit a slightly taller and slightly pudgier doll.  However, I can share with you Minerva's Halloween mask, which should fit similarly sized dolls like small BJD's, Riley, and others.

Minerva's Halloween Mask

The nifty doll stand is a brilliant design by my friend Joyce, who has an easy to follow visual tutorial for it here:

Small doll stand

Have a frightfully fun Halloween!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Playing with dolls

For the last several weeks I have been engrossed in buying and re-making distressesd Nancy Ann dolls.  These are vintage dolls that were made from the late 1930's through the 1960's.  The earlier dolls were bisque; in 1948 production shifted to hard plastic dolls.  They are small and endearing, and a great way to play with dolls :-)

I also love, absolutely love, presentation boxes for dolls.  So I scrounged around in my work room for some cigar boxes I had purchased many moons ago, and they looked to be a nice size to present these dear dolls.  With scrap book papers I had on hand (for another project that never materialized), and cardboard that I save like it is going out of production, I made the little box above for one of my Nancy Ann's. 

The scrapbook paper was easy to work with...generally I am a mess when it comes to gluing anything!  I just sort of winged it with measurements, using the box mostly and creasing the paper to make the cutting lines. 

I cut two seperate pieces of cardboard to fit the top of the box, with the ribbon wrapped around it to hold various outfits for the doll, and for the bottom of the box, to thread the ribbon through to hold the doll in place.  These covered pieces of cardboard also make a nice finish to the box and hide the edges of the scrap book papers that line the outside and inside of the box.

Another great box to use for this purpose are the photo storage boxes that Michael's carries.  That will be my next project :-)

I am also still restoring Nancy Ann's.  This darling girl came to me from a dear friend, who rescued several disheveled dolls and sweetly thought to send them to me!  They have been so much fun to re-create.  This is Jane Ann, named not only for my cousin (of the same name) but for my friend and also myself.  Her outfit is crocheted in perle cotton 8 with a size 9 steel hook, from the Annie's Attic leaflet Victorian Darlings.  Except for the length of sleeve and skirt, the outfit was crocheted to the pattern, with the finer thread and smaller needle.

Three more dolls waiting to be!  A hard plastic, frozen leg bisque, and jointed bisque with legs borrowed from a headless doll.  We can't wait!

Friday, September 25, 2015

New life for distressed dolls

I've always been drawn to the old Nancy Ann Storybook dolls; several years ago I bought a plastic one and used her for a template to create the Forget-Me-Knot crochet dolls.  Produced in bisque from 1936 to 1948, and in plastic from 1948 to the 1960's, they are small (4 1/2 inches to 7 inches) and have simple and endearing faces.

But, I like making dolls more than buying them!  So here is the neat part: my friend Joyce started re-making distressed Nancy Ann's.  Dolls that had been loved very nearly to death, and looked it.  These are not collectibles, and can be found fairly inexpensively on Etsy or Ebay.  Joyce hooked me (literally!) into the world of re-make for these sweet dolls.

So above you have a 7 inch Nancy Ann, who came to me with a broken hip and competely unstrung.  I mended her hip with glue and fabric, and restrung her with stretchy beading cord, as below:

The idea to use glue-soaked fabric to strengthen the break at the hip came from another Flickr friend.  It appears to work quite well.

I removed what little hair she had left and crocheted her a wig cap from boucle mohair yarn, available here:

Weir Craft Boucle Yarn

And crocheted her undies with size 20 crochet cotton, size 8 perle cotton, and a size 9 steel hook.  The pattern is a slight modification to the undies pattern for the Forget-Me-Knot kids.

I now have nearly a dozen urchins waiting patiently for a new life, and a new opportunity to bring joy to someone special.

The two on the left are bisque, the three on the right are hard plastic, and all are charming.

Before leaving, let me introduce you to Charlotte, a very special Southern Belle made especially for me by Joyce :-)  I couldn't ask for a better friend, or a sweeter gift.  Joyce's crochet skills, and her imagination, are amazing!

Charlotte, by Joyce Yearsly

Monday, September 7, 2015

Field Of Flags 2015

Field of Flags installation at the Minnetrista center in Muncie, Indiana.  Honoring Veterans the week of Labor day.  Our family, and especially my Dad, are all involved in this tribute.

Friday, August 28, 2015

LOTR Crochet goodness

A crocheted item with the name Goblin Cleaver was bound to catch my attention!  This pattern is available on Ravelry, and makes a wonderful asymetrical shawl/scarf.  It is crocheted with fingering weight yarn (I used Knit Picks Stroll in Raven colorway) with a G hook, which gives this crochet a wonderful drape.

To go along with this awesome scarf, I used some of the leftover yarn to make Strider's Cuff

The charm with the saying came from Michaels, and I used size 8 seed beads from my stash.  Christmas for my sister, who is every bit as much a Hobbit as I am :-)