Friday, September 10, 2021

When We Die

My sister and brother and I have been clearing out our Father's home, since he can no longer safely live there alone.  Dismanteling a lifetime of love, laughter, tears, and grief.  Our Mother died seven years ago, and our Father is dying by degrees, losing his memory, and having his liberty robbed from him by dementia, and those who love him.

These thoughts have been swirling around in my head and finally came together as this:

Lately I've given Death a lot of thought:
What comes before, what awaits after.
Are we consigned to a pit of fire and flame
Or absolute oblivion?
Or to wander, silent and unseen?

There was a Man, years ago, who knew
To where we go.
The Kingdom of God is within, he said,
There is no kingdom of the dead.
When my Mother died, she did not depart

To some far country, but remains in my heart.
When I die I will go to that place
Where what was done poorly, is forgiven;
What was done well, will be celebrated;
And I will dwell within this Kingdom forever.


Tuesday, April 6, 2021

This post is a test of the Follow function


Happy Spring!  Tulips in the Garfield Park Conservatory.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Raman Noodle Room Boxes

 This is the easiest room box you will ever make!  Especially if you like Raman noodles like I do.  I made it for dolls that are about 5 1/2 inches tall; you can see one of them sitting on the bed.

All you need for this project is a Raman Noodle box, some colored Duck Tape (or for the purist among us, Duct Tape), box cutters, fabric, fusible interfacing, and glue.  If you want join several boxes to make a simple doll house like above, some large pieces of cardboard will be necessary.

First thing to do is even up the edges of your box with the box cutters, then with the duck tape, tape around each edge.  I do this for strength as well as aesthetics - I don't like the raw edge of the box to show.

Next, measure the box for your wallpaper, which is the fabric you chose with fusible interfacing backing it.  I only 'papered' the back and side walls, and left the ceiling and floor with the cardboard exposed.  Cut your fabric slightly larger than your measurements; you can always trim it to fit.

My chosen fabric (making a library here) and the interfacing.  Apply the interfacing to the BACK side of the fabric per the interfacing instructions.  Always use a damp cloth when applying interfacing so you don't scorch the fabric.

Interfacing applied to the back, and what it looks like from the front.  This will keep the edges from raveling and gives you a stiff, but not too stiff, material to work with for your wallpaper.

Next thing to do is to fit your wallpaper to the sides and back of the box.  With the edges covered by duck tape, you don't have to make the fabric perfectly flush with the edges.  In fact, I let about 1/2 inch of tape show.  I hold it in place with clothespins, and measure what needs to be trimmed off.

After you have cut the wallpaper to fit the inside of the box, glue it in place.  I do this by using clothespins to hold one side of the fabric to the edge of the box, fit the fabric into the box and crease the corners with the end of a paintbrush.  Then, pull back the side of the fabric that is not secured to the box with clothepins and smear glue over the back and sides.  I use an old paintbrush after I've applied to glue to spread it thinly but evenly over the surface.  Carefully press the fabric into the glue, creasing the corner and making sure you get right to the edge of the fabric on the side wall.  Use clothespins to secure the glued section to the side wall, turn the box around and repeat on the opposite side

One side pinned with clothespins, all glued in and ready to pin the other side.

I made three boxes, a library...

a bedroom,...

and a parlor (more like a window seat), then glued them together to make a simple dollhouse.  To do this, I placed the library and parlor together and duck taped them on the bottom, back, and top where they joined.  I then cut a pieces of cardboard to fit the joined bottom and top and glued this in place.

I added the bedroom to the top of this assembly, glued it to the top and taped it along the back joining.

Once this glue was dry, I cut a larger piece of cardboard to cover the entire back side of the dollhouse and glued it in place.

Back side of the dollhouse

Front side of the dollhouse!

The bedroom has a small closet with four hangers, made from clothespins taken apart and cup hooks

Once the dollhouse or roombox is finished, then you get to decorate!  I used two inch foam for the window seat, and just covered it with denim from an old pair of jeans.  The rug in the library is crocheted from size 10 cotton; the bed crocheted from sportweight yarn, and the chair in the library from a tutorial on this blog somewhere (this might link you to the tutorial)  Any bits of fabric, foam and stuffing can make some easy furniture.  

Enjoy your new home!

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Dollmaking away the New Year


What have YOU been doing since the start of the year?  I've been obsessed creating dolls from Sandy Nordwall Eggers' Puddin pattern.  The doll pattern is freely available on Ravelry, and the clothing for this doll is either free or very inexpensive.

The doll is easy to crochet.  And also easy to make minor modifications to.  As you can see, some of these dolls have longer arms and legs...just add rows.  I made several to look like Raggedy Ann and some of her friends...use buttons for eyes (the best size I found was a 3/8 inche button for the iris and a 1/2 inch button for the whites.  Use black crochet cotton to sew to the head and you have the pupil!)

Most of the clothing on these dolls is either Sandy's exact pattern, or modified slightly.

I used size 3 crochet cotton, which is available as Aunt Lydia's Fashion 3 or Knit Picks Curio 3.  100 grams are 280 to 300 yards, so it is like a light dk weight yarn.  With this thread I used a 2.25mm hook (B), and used the same yarn for most of the outfits.  My dolls turned out between 5 1/2 and 6 inches tall.  Knit Picks has a wonderful selection of colors, and Aunt Lydia a great selection of skin tones:  Chocolate, Copper, Natural and Bridal White.  You can sometimes find size 3 crochet cotton at Thread Art...they have a very pale pink that works well for skin tone.

Puddin Pattern on Ravelry

Enjoy looking through Sandy's wonderful collection of dolls, doll clothing, and other delights!

Enjoy the day, and enjoy the crochet!

Friday, November 27, 2020

The Friday After: toys to crochet for girls and boys


The Friday after Thanksgiving is always a tremendous shopping day.  Having never liked crowds, and perfering to hand make gifts, I've never been a 'black Friday' participant.  In fact, I got to calling it white Friday, as a day to stay home and make something.

Today, black and white take on meanings and nuances that probably have always been with us, so I am going to change it up and refer to today as The Friday After...a day to stay home and make.  So, here are a few patterns from the past that make up quickly and will give you the satisfaction of giving a gift of your hands and heart.  And best of all, the patterns are FREE!

Lets start with Whoever Welcomes a Child, the pattern for the doll shown above.  She comes with a set of clothing, and is a mere 3 1/2 inches tall if made with size 10 crochet cotton.  You can size her up, just remeber to use a size smaller thread for her clothing.

One of my favorite patterns is Simply Ami's, which you can crochet in two sizes with light worsted yarn.  There are several clothing patterns for this doll which you can find on the left side menu of this blog.

If you have boys on your list, here are some cute puppie patterns that make up withy worsted yarn:




German Shepard

Border Collie

and I will sneak in some Kitties as well.

Of course, girls will like them too!

And maybe your intended child would like a wee mousie in their Christmas Stocking!

And last but not least, three owls to crochet:  A Snowy Owl, and Northern Saw-Whet owl, and a Collard Scopes Owl.

All of these patterns, and many, many, more are listed along the left sidebar of this blog.  I hope you enjoy your time making these, and may we work to keep ourselves and our neighbors safe this holiday season.

Enjoy the day, and enjoy the crochet!

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Sweet Ella, Ivy, and Ann


The last couple of months I have been making dolls by two dollmakers:  Carla Vigliucci and LuluCompotine.  Their dolls are similar, and both have extensive, and different, wardrobes.  Both designers use constructions techniques that create beautiful doll bodies.   You can find their patterns here:

Carla Vigliucci on Ravelry

LuluCompotine on Etsy

Since I enjoy 'Frankensteining,' I have taken the techniques I like the most from both of these designers to make Ella, Ivy, and Ann, the three dolls above.  In their bare feet, they are 9 1/4 inches tall.  I used Knit Picks Curio 3 crochet cotton for the dolls and most of their clothing, with mohair and wool yarn for their hair.

These simple dresses are from LuluCompotine, with shoes from Carla Vigliucci.  The sweater is my own design.

The girls wanted nightgowns, so I knit them some.  Thank you to Dawn Smith for the inspiration  to use to the 'long tail cast on,' which creates a much neater neckline, and for the cap sleeve version of the nightgown (Anne in blue is wearing this).  If you are unfamiliar with the long tail cast-on, check out Google and watch some video's.  Once you get the hang of it, it will be your go-to cast-on.

Pattern for the knit nightgowns can be found here...caveat, they have not been pattern tested, so their may be some goofs (almost guaranteed!)

Knit Nightgowns for Ella, Ivy, and Anne

As always, enjoy the day and enjoy the crochet!

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Make America Kind Again.

A lot confronts us.  Lets remember to be kind.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Doll designs by Carla Vigliucci


For the last few weeks I have been making dolls from the patterns of Carla Vigliucci, which can be found on Ravelry, and Etsy.  Each of her patterns include a doll, anywhere from 7 to 11 inches tall, and at least one if not more simple outfits for her to wear, and a beautiful hair design.

Carla has some unique dollmaking techniques, and I always love learning something new.  How to make a sturdy one piece head/torso, how to eliminate that tiny gap under the arms when crocheting arms into the body, how to make a TERRIFIC pair of shoes.  These are just a few techniques.  And if you are like me and do NOT like sewing parts, these are the patterns for you.

The dolls all have very similar builds, so most of the clothing is interchange-able, or will work with just minor tweaking.  I used size 3 crochet cotton (primarily Aunt Lydia's Fashion 3  and Knit PIcks Curio 3), and a B hook (2.25mm) to make the doll, and a B or C hook for the clothing.

Two other tips to 'up' your dollmaking game.  The Yarn Under Single Crochet: this blog post by Earl Grey Crochet explains this better than any I have found on the internet.  Your crochet fabric will be tighter, and little if no fiberfill will show through.  

The other is the Invisible Single Crochet decrease.  This blog post by Planet June explains the invisible decrease, and it really is!

Here are some of the lovely outfits I made for Elinor, above, who is a combination of Carla's Ema patten, for the body, and Alys pattern, for her hair.

As always, enjoy the day, and enjoy the crochet!

Friday, September 18, 2020

A bad year just got worse.

Your wisdom and integrity have blessed our country for decades.  Rest in peace, Justice Ginsburg.