Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Another shopping day at Aubrey's Mind

I wanted to just say that started off strong. Even though I needed stuff I declined to go shopping today. Funds are tight this week, and even though I wanted stuff there was nothing I really needed. Everything on my list would certainly be there next week, so I decided to stay away from temptation and stay home. I though that I was done staying strong when my day set off today. Famous last words. When he came back a only short time later I thought it was weird that it was so quick, but sometimes he gets things done faster than I though possible, maybe I make shopping trips longer than they should be. This was not one of those times, turns out he hadn't gone grocery shopping yet. When I was asked if I wanted to go a third time I couldn't hold out any longer, I'm only human after all. I printed off two copies of the 40 percent coupon and headed out.
At Hobby Lobby I first headed off to the jewelry section. I wanted to try and find some charm for a necklace for Vanessa. You see, I have something that I'm finally working on for her, but I'll share that in time. I also needed to get some seed pearls. I finished off the ones that I had earlier in the week. Pearls are the only beads that I constantly use up. Right now there's ten dolls wearing pearls in the collection. That's not including the number of things I've made that aren't being used. Most of those dolls are vintage type dolls, I'm just a sucker for a gal in pearls. It's my Mom's favorite type of jewelry, so I think that I got it from her. So a bag of that went right into my basket. Then I started looking at charms for Vanessa. Sale items and clearance take priority, I'm a cheapskate. Unless I found something that I loved then I'd use one of my 40 percent off coupons. Luckily everything I found in that section was already on sale. For Vanessa's project I found these Swarovski Crystal charms for 1.79 for two. Now I'm getting fancy and spoiling Vanessa, poor Charlotte gets plastic, Vanessa gets name brand crystal. But Vanessa's been waiting to get dressed for a while, so she should get a special treat. Not sure what to use the other one for, but it will be nice to have handy for whatever thing I find for it. I also found a little pewter crown charm. It's a bit out of scale for Barbie (a tad small), but for 88 cents I couldn't pass it by. It's just too cute! I decided to leave the little attachment loop on the back so I can use it to affix it to a dolls head. Like I said not sure what to use it for, but for something that cute I'll find a use for it. I promise!
After that I went to the fabric section. I was there looking for several projects. I needed to get some red calico, I needed to find a fabric for another project, and I needed to get some trim, and other stuff. I started off with the trim since it's the thing I knew what I wanted right off the bat. Ribbon on the roll was half off, so for my Christmas plans I got some green ribbon. I hope that I don't have to use it all for Christmas and can keep some for my own projects. I also needed some trim, originally I was going to look at the ribbon by the yard (not on sale), but I managed to find a spool that I loved. Since it fell under the on the roll sale, this freed up one of the 40 percent off coupons I had. With my trim needs satisfied it was time for the red calico. You may remember that I bought some red calico a few weeks ago, and while I still haven't used all of that, I needed a different shade of red. The one I had was a maroon and I needed a more true red. They had this color a few weeks ago, but for some odd reason it was 5.99 a yard, compared to the 2.99 a yard other solid colors were, like the Maroon, which is why I bought it way back when. Since I needed it for Charlotte's Halloween costume, I was going to bite the bullet and get at least a half yard. But, happy news! They had restocked! They were in fact in the middle of a restock when I was there! New calico! Bear with me, this is exciting stuff! They had red calico at 2.99! They also had Black! Did you read that? Black! I couldn't in good conscience leave the store without that. Since I was just complaining about them not having any. So you might see some earlier projects being remade, to replace the items I made in black broadcloth, but we'll see. I also picked up a yard of light purple, for another project that I have slated. I have so many projects, I do know that I'm only on person, right?
With those in my hand, I set off looking for another fabric. I have another super secret project in the works. I didn't know what I wanted, but I certainly knew what I didn't want. I knew that I didn't want to make it out of anything that I had, but I couldn't find anything that really went with my vision. I would have loved to find something cotton, since that's all that I'm really confident with sewing, but nothing there really inspired me. I looked at all the other fabrics, and even toyed with the idea of getting some gold lame, but I really wasn't feeling that at all. I could see that it was fraying on the spool, and I knew that in my hands it would be the bane of my existence, so I kept on walking. I did however add it to the mental maybe pile. I thought about calling my mother to ask her opinion when I found it. It was in the remnant section. It was a 1/3 yard of black fake snakeskin. When I saw it I froze. It was perfect for what I wanted to make. The shiny black color was perfect. And since it's plastic I won't have a frayed mess on my hands. I remember seeing it the last time I was there, I was looking for fake fur and it was in the fur section. It was still on the spool then, and it was gone this time, so thank you to whoever bought the rest. My project thanks you too!
By that time my father caught up with me. He dropped me off earlier and went shopping elsewhere. I still hadn't gotten the fabric cut yet. He asked me if the 40 percent off coupon he had was going to go to some more chocolate. I told him both coupons could go to that. I was going to use mine on the trim, but didn't need it since the one I bought was on the spool and on sale. I asked him if he could get the fabric cut out and I would go get the candy. (I was bad, but I just hate, hate, hate talking to the people who cut out the fabrics. It's not them, it's my terrible shyness.) Since he said he could, I just booked it off to the candy section. There I was met with another employee who asked me "Can I help you?" Not expecting to have someone ask me that I dumbly responded, "Nooooo." and yes, I said that many "Os". They still were out of white chocolate, which was a big part of Christmas plans, so I sucked it up and asked the woman who was still there. She told me that they had gotten some bigger bags in the most recent truck, but she hadn't put them out yet. Kindly, she went to get one for me to show me. When she came back she had a 2.5 pound bag. She also explained why they didn't have that much chocolate in stock. Turns out that the trucks get too hot to travel with that stuff during the warmer months. It was pretty interesting to know, although I hope they get cool enough to bring more in before November 6th, because after that I won't need it. Although I hope that I have enough now. Right now we have three pounds of milk chocolate and 2.5 pounds of white.
Checking out was fine, my father went though first using his coupon, then me using mine. It was just a hair under 20 bucks. Honestly I didn't think that I spent that much, but I guess the little things really add up!
No Hobby Lobby next week, I promise. I need to finish these projects before I start adding another one to the mess.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

When you look good on the Outside, you feel good on the inside!

The sun peeked out from behind the clouds today. It was the first time it's done that in a few days. The rain's been holding on as long as it could. Although I don't mind it, we needed some rain. Apparently we were close to drought weather. Hopefully this slow and steady rain will catch us up some. I do miss sunlight, especially when I'm trying to take pictures. The light in my room is terrible, it's still not 100 percent, so that's why the pictures are terribly fuzzy today.
I continued to avoid the blue box. It spotted me in the hallway, but I pretended I didn't see it and kept on walking. It waved, I pretended to check my cell phone. I wasn't so lucky with the sewing chest. It dove in front of me, narrowly missing my toes. With it blocking my path I wasn't able to successfully skirt it. So I picked it up, dusted it off, and did some work on it.
However, I did nothing about cataloging the inside drawers. That post is coming though, you will just have to be patient to get it. The second part of drawer one has been photo edited, so I just need to get around to actually writing the blog post. Today instead I worked on the outside of the sewing chest. I've been wanting to do this since I got it. Since it's an older wooden piece it's gotten a variety of scratches in it, not to mention the sticker someone slapped on it for the estate sale. My father took most of it off when he got it, but part of it was still attached to the top. I did some research online about removing stickers from wood, since that was the most offensive part about it. The scratches, however unattractive, do add some character. What I learned is that the adhesive from stickers could actually pit the wood. I most certainly did not want that! There was a bit of issue with finding out what I should use to get rid of the sticker, no site said the same thing. Also a lot of them warned about things that could in fact damage the wood. I didn't want to do some harebrained scheme that would not only not work, but would actually ruin the piece. A lot of sites recommended testing the product on a small part of the wood that couldn't be easily seen. Since this was on the top there really wasn't any part that wasn't easily seen. It was pretty frustrating.
I did ask my parents for help, they recommended walnuts. It's an old trick. If you rub walnuts over the scratches in the wood they just disappear (not really), it really just darkens them to match the finish. It's something to do with the oils that are in the walnuts. My Grandmother's been using this method for a while, so I wasn't to worried about any long lasting issues. But, try this at your own risk, it might not work for everyone. I started off with rubbing them all over the top. I really saturated the sticker in the oil. When I was waiting for it to do it's job I worked over each scratch, my brother helped too (Did you know I have a brother? I have a sister too, but she doesn't live with us). Basically coloring in each one. It's a bit amazing the way the scratches just disappear. They're still there, it's not magic, but it really masks the damage. Looking over at it now it's still amazing the change between before and after. I ended up pulling it away from the wall and doing it to the back too. I had to take it out anyway and sweep up all the walnut pieces that fell underneath. You're really grinding down the nuts as you do this. (No crude jokes please, I've been making enough of them on my own.)
I left the oil to soak into the sticker, so it would be easier to peel. Even after letting it sit, I still had to use some muscle to get it off. And, and, and in the process I added a tiny little scratch to it. Although, I was being really careful too. I guess I was just adding just enough pressure with my fingernail. I used more walnuts and you can barely see it anymore, thankfully. There's still some spots that I need to do again, and I'd really love to find some polish to use on it, but that's for another time. Right now it looks so much better than before, the walnuts really did wonders for it. I love this cabinet! It gets prettier every day, I still can't believe it's mine. I'm a lucky boy!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Halloween takes a different path here at Aubrey's Mind.

I didn't get a lot done today in terms of projects that I should be working on, but that's nothing new or anything. If that information surprised you, then this is your first day reading this blog. While I do put the time into them, each day it's a little more of a struggle to make myself do it. Some days I can't even force myself into doing it. Today was one of those days. Instead I worked on some doll designs. I have a bunch of dolls that need to be dressed, or in some cases, dressed for the first time. It's a total brain drain to work with each one individually, so I got some note cards. On each one I wrote the name of a doll that I needed to make an outfit for. And then I just draw and sketch to my hearts content on each card. And since there's a variety of cards when I get stuck with one doll I'm able to flip on to someone else.
Using that method I made a new discovery, I wanted to do something else for Charlotte's Halloween costume. I knew I wasn't happy with what I had planned even up to the point when I was actually sewing it (and I actually did get a lot of it sewn.) I was so unhappy with it, that I even made a note card for it, labeled "Charlotte Halloween". While sketching I made something that I really liked. It was something much more exciting than the last one. The new costume is still a secret, but since I'm not doing the old one anymore I can tell you what it was. Charlotte was going to be a Playboy Bunny for Halloween. I decided on that because it was a testament to that new bodice that I've been using a lot. Last year's costume used the older bodice, this year it used the newer one, sort of a "look what I can do" kind of thing. But I never was really in love with it. It was more of a "I can do this" mentality than a "I want to do this." Also the overt sexuality was something I've was never really comfortable with. I did get to a point where I did the machine sewing for the cuffs, and did the entire bathing suit, but stopped before I added the final snap. Since then I've been more than willing to ignore it. That's a telling sign where not only do I not want to do something, I don't even feel guilty enough to finish it. Especially when it's for Charlotte, whom I do anything for.
With this new costume I'm super excited about. Although in a typical fashion I need to get materials for it. I need to get some red calico and some trim for it. Calling Hobby Lobby! I'm going to be secretive about this new outfit, but you will certainly see it when it's finished. Today I've worked on a mock up of it, trying to see how it will look at the end. I even sewed something in it of a similar color to see how it looks. I hope it comes out as cute as the mock up is looking! Fingers crossed people!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Guess who got some sewing done today?

And I don't mean that shoddy sewing where I'm just churning out dress after dress in order to clothe those donated dolls. I actually got to sit down at the machine and do something creative, and it felt so good. Now that I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel that is the Blue box of doom, I'm finally able to put my mind onto other projects. Don't think that I'm finished with the blue box yet, we still have a ways to go, but I am making progress. But now I'm thinking about projects that I actually want to do. I think this break from sewing that I did has actually helped me. Before I was just sewing to just say that I did something with my day. Now that there's other projects that time up my free time, I get to take a small break and get to sew things that I actually want to sew. When I woke up this morning I decided I wanted to sew something for me, and for Charlotte. She needed a new dress, she's been so neglected lately.
I already had a project in mind as soon as I decided to sew something for fun. Remember that pink fabric that I purchased from Hobby Lobby a few weeks ago? When I purchased it I already had a project in mind for it, but then life got in the way and I shelved it. Now that things are starting to get somewhat back to normal I was able to go back to it. I've been thinking about this ever since I saw that fabric in store. There was just something about it that just spoke, "50's sundress" to me, but I ignored it. The next time it spoke firmly, "50's sundress". And I still ignored it, last time I was there it yelled, "50's SUNDRESS!" Finally I admitted defeat and got a quarter yard. I figured it would be simple since I already had a pattern to use. It was the dress pattern from the "Barbie in Japan" book. You should be familiar with it by now since I've used it a lot, especially the bodice. This time I was going to follow the pattern pretty much like how it is in the book, not tweaking it all over like I usually do. This time I was going to change the straps, since they are a little dressier than I was planning for. I was just going to use straight halter neck straps on it. Very similar to Stacey's dress from way back when. When I find something that works I tend to use it over and over again, until I'm sick of it. I just hope you're all not sick if it yet, because I'm not. With that in mind I jumped into the project, hoping it would come out how it was looking in my head.
First I cut it out, I used one pair of the new to me scissors. They cut decently, but they could stand a sharpening. Although, I will say this, they are heavy! Eventually I had to go back to my older scissors, to give my arm a break. I'm such a baby sometimes. The initial sewing of the bodice was pretty easy. It should since I've been making enough of them. But since I was getting so comfortable with making them, I decided to toss a kink into the works. This time I had to deal with an actual pattern. Since this fabric is striped I had to deal with that. Before I started cutting I decided that I was going to make the pattern go vertical. I know enough about design that horizontal stripes are a no-no. I ended up putting one of the solid pink stripes in the center part of the bodice. It looked pretty good. When I was cutting out the skirt, I decided that I wanted to continue that line into the skirt, since it looked nice. So when I attached it I made sure that it lined up correctly, holding it with a pin. It came out well, the first time. A lot of the time I have issues with the gathers slipping below the sewing line, and you can see them at the waist. Meaning I have to tear part of the skirt out and sew it again, and again, and again. I hate when that happens! Luckily it didn't happen this time. Although, I do think I added the skirt too low on the hip, but it's too late to fix that now. It doesn't look too bad, it just affects some of the fit. With that done, I had the basic construction of my dress done! And so far it was looking pretty nice. I hadn't fallen into any of the pitfalls that sometimes happens! Success!
After that it's mostly hand sewing. I also made the shoulder straps on the machine, but hand sewed them to the dress. I certainly don't trust the machine to do something so small, and visible. After I did those I was able to turn off the sewing machine. The straps also match the vertical lines of the pattern. I would like to say that I planned that, but I just hoped for the best when I was working with it, although I did try to get them to line up when I was cutting them out. After I attached them it was time to look at the overall look of the dress. I was at a point where I could visualize how it would look fully finished. I also added some gathers at the bust line. I wanted to do this to add some embellishments to the dress, but when I was looking at it, the dress looked so plain. It's such a bold and interesting fabric the few minor decorative touches I was doing, just were lost on it. So I added a little bit more dazzle, still keeping in mind my 50's time era. I snagged my pearl beads from the bead container. I added three of them to the dress at the bust gathers. It instantly added some nice embellishments, but was still classy. I love pearls. Adding some snaps was pretty much all I had to do after that and then I was finished!
And now I must admit, it got a bit murky. After I finished I put it on Charlotte to admire her in her new dress. She was in it for less that a minute before I was tearing it off her to give it to someone else. It's not a glamorous job being my muse. I wanted to put it on a Vintage doll, but the issue is, they're all dressed how I want! That's never happened before, I guess that means I need another Vintage Barbie. (wink, wink!) I ended up putting it on my ponytail reproduction. She needed to change clothes anyway. It also helped that she was already wearing shoes that worked with it. For styling I made her a pearl necklace, and bracelet. They look really classic, but it effectively finished up my supply of pearl beads.
I'm not going to lie, I really like how this came out. You can tell I really like something when I take it from Charlotte and find someone else to wear it in the collection. I love Charlotte, but she changes clothes so often! Most of the other dolls rarely change clothes, especially after they find the outfit that I thing really suits them. I think this dress is going to be displayed for a long time.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Sewing Cabinet Catalog, Drawer One, Part One.

I'm going to have to split the drawers posts up into parts. There is way too many items in each drawer to have just one blog per drawer. If I did it in one full shot, the posts would drag on forever. I'm not even joking when I say there's a lot of stuff in each drawer. Most of them are jam packed with stuff. Also, in order to get this posted, I had to switch back into the old editor. The new one wouldn't allow me to move the pictures around the blog. It if had it's way every photo would be jammed at the top of the post. I hope they can figure that out before the old editor goes away, otherwise I'm going to have to get creative with my posts.
For our first photo, here's the drawer before I started organizing. Although it's not exactly as it was when I got it. I couldn't resist digging around in it when I first got it. I was so excited, I dragged my Mom into the living room and showed it to her. This gift was an absolute shock and surprise to me. Not much has changed from its initial look, basically that row of thread was kicking around lose in the drawer before I put it back onto it's holder. Speaking of that, let me explain it. Originally in the drawer there were these metal rods, that had some spools of thread on it. I really wasn't sure as to what it was until I emptied out the drawer. Attached in the front of the drawer are two pieces of wood on each side, you can see them in the photo. One side has a hole, the other a slot. You put your thread on the metal bar, put one end onto the hole, and slide the other end into the slot. It keeps your thread from rolling around and getting tangled up. Very cool, and proved that this was built to be used for sewing. I was wondering if it was just something that was appropriated for sewing. Here's a photo with the two rods set into place;
After taking these photos I stuck as much thread as I could on each rod. I got a lot on, but there's still a lot of loose spools still kicking around in the drawer. The picture also shows how the drawer looks when empty. Enjoy that look since I doubt that's ever going to happen again in my lifetime. Maybe someday when I'm dead my heirs will look thorough this cabinet and wonder, "Why did he keep all this crap?" Although I can imagine them saying that about most of my stuff anyway.
Originally I started off with just pulling everything I could out of the drawer until it was empty. After that I started to group things together. There's no reason showing 5 different pictures of one type of item, when one picture will suffice. One of the first big things I found was scissors. They were the easiest to find, since they're so large, and I certainly know what they are. I couldn't believe how many I found. Six pairs! And here I thought I was getting spoiled when I had two pairs. These are all silver, with markings of Italy and Germany, and still pretty sharp. Where they're made from is notable, since I'm finding a lot of items marked "Made in USA". I've tested them on a piece of paper, and each one cuts cleanly, although I'm sure they could all do with a sharpening, I know my Fisker's certainly could. I haven't tried any of them out on fabric yet. Eventually when I'm back to sewing I'll give them a go. Originally when I was sorting though I found five, and was impressed. I took the photo of them all... them promptly found another pair. Thank goodness retakes are so simple!
Next is a bunch of little wooden spools of white thread. They're all unmarked, and I'm not seeing any residue like they used to have stickers or anything. Also the wood at the ends aren't flat, so there was no real room for stickers, so I doubt they originally had anything like that. Some are pretty used up, while others are untouched. I'm not too shocked that I found a lot of white thread, I know it's the color that I go though the most when I'm sewing. It is interesting however, that even though that they are all the same color, and spool size there's some noticeable differences with the gauge of the thread. Some of it's really thin, and other time it's kind of thick. I wonder if it's different gauges for different types sewing, or that was the wide variety you got back then. Production must have been a lot less automated then, so there must have been greater variety in the type of thread from each spool. But, I do not know.
And now on to the colored thread in the drawer. This drawer had ten different colored spools. Although, one of them was white, it was just on a different spool to warrant it not belonging in the previews pile, since it was obviously a different purchase. These spools are mostly wooden, but there's one that's Styrofoam. Not one plastic spool in the bunch. Most of them have stickers on the ends, but two of them just have the company details pressed into the wood itself. Lots of them are Coats label, which I assume is part of Coats and Clark, and that's who I get my thread from, so they're still making thread. One of them says American Thread Co.. I looked them up online and I found out that their NYC building is still standing, but is apartments now. How cool would it be to live there? Maybe it's just me but I think it would be a total kick. I took photos of these spools from the sides, top, and bottom to show you each side, since sometimes it's different. Each spool is in the same spot in each photo, just for your information.Top Sides Bottom

Next we have something unusual. I'm really not really sure what these are for, and why they came into existence. Here's four little flower shaped pieces of beige fabric. They have blanket stitches around each one. I'm not sure if they are beige because they were originally that way, or they became discolored over time. They certainly look and feel very old. Originally they were all held together with pins, in no real order, just as a pincushion. But it really wasn't much of a pincushion. Other drawers have much better pincushions. I took all the pins out of this and they just came apart, there were no stitches or anything holding them together. They're not going back into the sewing cabinet. I plan to re-purpose them to my one great love, Barbie. Next time you see them they might be doilies. They looked to be the right size and shape, although they don't match any of the doll furniture that I have. But I can certainly hold on to them until I do. I do however have to repair and wash them, and be very careful when doing so. I'm not sure how or if they will even hold up to any sort of repair work. If they are too fragile to do that I will certainly just use them as the pattern to make some modern replications of them. So either way, you're going to be seeing these again at some point, just not in the sewing cabinet.
Next is a bunch of plastic rings (although one is metal). We've come up to our first thing that I have no clue what it's for. I'm pretty sure that people still use stuff like this. I think I've seen packages of this for sale at Hobby Lobby. Next time I'm there I'll look at the sewing wall to see if I can spot the packages of it. When I do I'll update this page, unless someone knows what it is, and comments on it before I find out. Feel free to do that if you know what it is. Inform me people!

And now on to out final picture of this post. (Thankfully, since this post is literally like a week in the making..) This one is just a composite photo of some random stuff that was in the drawer. Some if I know, some of it I don't. From left to right; 1. It's a sewing machine brush. It's about 4-5 inches, made of metal with white bristles. It's got "Singer" pressed into it. Which means we now know the machine that the person who originally used the cabinet sewed with. It's good to have since I don't have one for either machine I have. I'm thinking that my Kenmore will be swiping this, since I put the Brother away in the closet. 2. I have no clue what this is. It's some sort of giant needle. It had a large eye and the pointed tip is curved. I have no idea what it's used for, the two theories are that it could be used when making carpets, or when working with leather. All I know is that I would not want to be on the receiving end of that thing. 3. Not sure what this is, looks just like a slim metal rod. I think this might be the case of what it looks like, is what it is. I'll keep it around and maybe I'll find a use for it. 4. This is a piece of elastic. Not sure what I'm going to do with it, but it certainly needed to be cataloged like the rest of it. 5. Another thing I'm not sure of what it is. It's some sort of clear plastic clamp. One again, not really sure what it is, but I feel like I've seen it before somewhere. It's another thing to look for when I'm at Hobby Lobby this week. Hopefully somehow I'll find out what these things are. Feel free to click the photo to see is all larger.
I hope everyone enjoyed out first jump into the sewing cabinet drawers. Stay tuned for the second part of the first drawer. Even more confusing things await! And please if you see something that I don't have labeled, or have labeled incorrectly please tell me. I want to know what these things are, and what they were used for. Thank you.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Some Local Related Doll Stuff

I've been looking into some more local doll related stuff, since I'm here, and the dolls are certainly a big part of my life. I've always wanted to belong to a doll club, but I've never been able to find one semi-local. Plus I'm a different type of collector, I like playing more than putting them away on a shelf. Maybe in time I'll find a group, but right now I've found some local doll related things, and I wanted to share.
There's a doll museum in North Carolina, it's in High Point. Their website is a little lacking, but I think it's a new addition that will get better as they work on it. I would certainly like to give it a go and look at it sometime, anybody ever been there?
High Point Doll Museum

Next is a doll event in Greensboro. It's at the Doll Market, which boasts that it's the Largest Doll Shop in the USA. I've been there once before, I bought three Kaiser stands, and two pairs of shoes for Chatty Cathy. It's interesting being there. It's a huge space full of dolls. I loved seeing all the dolls that up to that point I'd only seen in photos, but being in a room that you are literally surrounded by dolls is kind of creepy. Especially since I was the only person there. Their prices are a little out of my range, but you know me, I'm poor. I like looking at their sales page, some good prices there. Although they don't sell much for Barbie. They are having a Ball Jointed Doll Party on Tuesday September 28th. Raffles, prizes, contests for BJD. I don't have a BJD, the closest thing I have is Charlotte, so I'm not invited. I think BJDs are cute, but not for me. They're super expensive and fragile. I need a doll that bounces, I'm clumsy. Also some BJD owners are a little... intense, and that's a little much for me. Here's the link to the event page, and their selling website;
The Doll Market

Here's a doll show in Winston-Salem, Doll and Teddy Expo 2010. It's happening October 1-3. Their website seems very informative, lots to poke around there.
Doll & Teddy Expo 2010

There's another doll convention in Winston-Salem from September 29th to October 2nd 2010. Modern Doll Collector Convention. I find their website a little difficult to navigate, but there's certainly some interesting stuff going on there. Here's the link;
Modern Doll Collectors

There's a lot going on here in NC for doll collectors, although I doubt I'll be going to any of those conventions. Money's tight, and I doubt I'd find anyone in my family who wanted to go. I might be able to force someone to go to the doll museum, but that's a maybe.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Quick Update on the Blue Box

No new post on the sewing cabinet today, I've been working on the post, but with the new blogger update I'm having an insane time putting photos where I want them. Hopefully they will fix that.
The dolls completed from the blue box hit number 41 today. I'd say I'm maybe 3/5 of the way done? Yesterday I pushed through and made four dresses, finishing them last night during Hell's Kitchen. Today I made three pairs of pants, and I finished two of them during Project Runway. While I hate, hate, hate this project I'll be super happy when it's done.

Did I mention I hate it?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sewing Cabinet Catalog, part one

I did show off my lovely sewing cabinet yesterday, but the best part is what is holds. Inside is a compleate treasure trove full of sewing stuff from yesteryear. Before I go and start putting my modern day sewing things in it, I want to go though it all and catalog each find. There's a lot of stuff inside, and a lot of it I have no idea what it even is (like I constantly say I'm a beginner sewer.) So, let's start showing off my new toy!.
Here is the photo from yesterday. It's a wooden piece with three drawers. The top two are the same size, and the bottom one is bigger, about the size of the top two combined. It has glass handles, with the bottom right one no longer attached. The white spot on top is part of the sale sticker that they put on at the estate sale. My father peeled it off as completely as he could, but it still left that spot. Eventually I will remove it, and work in the scratches in it. Nothing too invasive, but certainly something to restore it.
You'll notice the breaks on the top of the cabinet, one on each side. Those are in fact hinges. Both sides of it fold upward, and each side in in fact a long storage space. My Dad says that it's for fabric storage, I'll believe that until I hear otherwise. One of the hinges on the left side is broken, so you have to be careful when you open it. Eventually I'll get that fixed, but it's certainly not an issue right now. I'm thinking about moving my Jersey knit fabric into it, but I'm not sure, I may just leave it empty for a while and see what happens. I'm a little hesitant about moving my tacky 21st century sewing gear into this lovely piece of furniture. Here's photos of both side panels lifted up, showing you how it looks when open, and how deep they are. I didn't even realize how scratched up they were until I took the picture. That's some actual use damage there. This wasn't a decorative item, you used this, and you used it good.
You can see that there's something in the right one. The left one was empty. There was a backscratcher, a his and her DSW shoehorn, and a piece of paper that had been used as a safety pin storage, with one safety pin. The shoe horn was the newest thing I've seen in here, and by several decades. The pre-printed writing on the paper was so old it didn't even include an area code, although I do know that that is a fairly modern necessity. I added a photo of it at the bottom, don't know if they're still around, but I wouldn't recommend calling them. My brother took the backscratcher (I offered) and my Dad took the shoehorn (I made him) and I threw out the piece of paper, but I did reclaim the safety pin. I also took a picture of all that just to document for posterity. Here is is. That's all that was in the front section. Stay tuned for the first drawer. I promise it's going to be a doozy, although, it's not as bad as the second or third drawer. I may have to split the following posts into sections since there's so many photos and details to share. And please, please, if you see something that I don't identify, or have identified wrong, please tell me. With a lot of this things I literally have no clue what they're for.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

This arrived yesterday, although it's not something from storage it's something completely new, and a complete surprise for me. When my dad was planning on getting stuff from storage, one of the items he wanted to get was a table that had belonged to his mother. It had come from her family estate of Needwood (in Maryland). I was trying to remember it, it had been in the Dining room at their house. It had been in storage since 2003 when my Grandfather died so I couldn't remember it. When I was unpacking the truck I saw this, and couldn't place it. I just assumed it was the table and that I had simply forgotten how it looked. I also noticed that it was missing the lower knob. I got a little freaked out that my Dad was going to be mad that it happened. So I just went about my business getting other stuff out of the truck, bringing something to my Mother, where I ended up talking for a few minutes.
When I went back outside to the garage I found my father on the breezeway. He had it with him, he put it down and started explaining it to me. I listened because it's family history and that's interesting to me. He mentioned it was a sewing cabinet. Which was cool, my Grandmother did sew. Then he pulled out the top drawer and it was full of a bunch of sewing stuff. But wait! He wasn't saying that this was from my Grandmother, this was NEW. He had stopped at an estate sale in CT and found this. Haggling with the guy he had gotten it for a decent price. He bought it for me. My Dad bought me this beautiful sewing cabinet that was full of sewing stuff, really old sewing stuff, stuff I've never even seen before. Just the fact that he thought of me like that made me tear up. I have such a great dad.
I put it in the living room and just looked through it. It's mind boggling the amount of really old sewing stuff is in it. I'm going to go though and catalog the stuff that's in there. Bear with me, it's going to be a long process with lots of pictures. Hopefully I'll be able to date some of the stuff, I would guess it's stuff from the 40's or earlier, but that's just a rough guess. It's just so cool to have, and it's such a beautiful piece of furniture. Even if it was empty I'd still think it's really pretty. It's my first real piece of furniture. Today I lugged it upstairs to put it into my room. I keep looking over to it, still amazed that I own this.

Okay, deep breaths, deep breaths...

I'm feeling better today. Yesterday I just had another huge pile added on top of the already huge pile that I was already dealing with. It's just really hard to try and find places for all the things, when everything's so out of sorts. I have about 100 projects that I'm working on, and I keep starting one things, then switching to something else, and nothing was getting done. And that was bothersome, and really wears away at my resolve. So I had to make some changes. Right now blogging has taken a back seat, and all theme days are on hold. That's just too much work for me right now, especially when I'm running all over the house putting stuff away, or doing my fourth load of laundry that day. Last night I took a break and just organized the bookshelf, putting everyone away, and dressing those that needed it. (Charlotte's been naked for like, forever.) Getting that in order helped. So I may be a bit spotty in my reporting, but I will come back, I just need to have some slack with this.
I have some new things to report, so the blog's going to take a change in it. The dolls are taking the back seat for a while. I have some vintage stuff to share with you all, so if you dislike that feel free to tune out, if that's your cup of tea, welcome, have a cup.
Yesterday my Father and I unloaded the back of the truck, filled with more stuff from storage in CT. He handed me this round canister. It was dark in the garage, so I really couldn't see what it was. Taking it into the light I could read that it was a tin full of biscuit cutters. It turns out that it was my Grandmothers. She had it before she married my Grandfather. I don't have much memory of my Grandmother, she passed away when I was almost 3. But there was some odd feeling I had when I was holding it. It was nothing really special, just a kitchen tool, but it was something she used casually, there was just a feeling about how normal it all was. I don't really know how to explain it. I asked my father where he wanted to put it, and said that it probably shouldn't go into the kitchen. Eventually it was decided that I was going to hold onto it. I put it on my bookshelf, the built in, not the doll one. There's just something so... familiar about it.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Ok, I just wanted to tell all you bloggers out there that I'm going to have to take a break from blogging for a bit. My parents came back from CT, and brought another truck-full of items for the house. So today I've been running around putting things away that I don't have a space for yet, on top of all my projects.

I have a lot to tell you, believe me, I just don't have the time or the energy to write updates on here. I promise that I'll get back into the swing of things, but it's going to take a bit to let things settle back down from this chaotic mess that I'm living in right now.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Blue Box Day Three

I didn't get as much done as I would have liked, it was more of a day of mental relaxation. I did however get all caught up on some blog items that needed to be finished. Although at this point I'm back to being behind with it. I did get my three dolls done for the day as well. I also got the next three washed and set aside to dry so I can work on them tomorrow. I'm not shirking my duty on those. The sooner I get those done, the sooner I get my floor cleaned again. And I can't wait for that day. I didn't however get much done with sewing. I went most of the day without turning the machine on, in the evening I got around to making a pair of pants for a doll that's to be donated. That's all the sewing I got done. Although I did get them completely done, including a snap, so that's good.
Just becasue I wasn't sewing didn't mean I was just loafing around the house all day. I also took the time to evaluate the maybe pile on the floor. I haven't really looked at it since I originally set it aside. I've been focusing on the donate pile trying to get whittle it down. It's still the biggest pile. I was able to take three dolls from the maybe pile and put them into the donate pile. All the other dolls I'm still on the fence as to deciding to keep them or not. I'm not going to force myself to decide on the dolls that I'm still thinking about, there's no real need to decide at this exact moment.
The keep pile wasn't left alone today either. I also made some decisions with it too. This morning it had six dolls in it. A Kelly doll, 3 Penny Brites, and 2 Rainbow Brite dolls. Today I decided that I'm going to donate the Rainbow Brite dolls. It pains me to have to do that, but they really are unattractive dolls. You should know that I love, love, love Rainbow Brite, it's one of my favorite shows, so I was so happy that they were making new dolls, back in 2005, I think. I bought Rainbow first followed by Canary Yellow, since she was my favorite color kid. But we never bonded. The doll sculpts are not very appealing. They just look freaky. I wanted to keep them around because they were expensive, but I shouldn't keep a doll for that reason. I'm going to keep their clothes and redress them and donate them. If I did buy another Rainbow Brite doll, I'd get a vintage one from the 80's. I used to have one, she was my first favorite doll, before Barbie was even on the scene. I miss her. But I can't recapture that magic with these newer dolls, so they get to try and find another home where they can be loved like they should.
And my work continues onward!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Finish it up Friday continues, even in spite of the blue box!

It's Friday, so it's time for another "Finish it Up Friday"! And I actually got it done, I guess it's more popular than Set is aside Sunday... odd. I had hoped to use this week to get some of the older items out of the box, but though my clearing out of the blue box I found some items to add to the fix pile. But I did pull take out something from the box that's been there a while (and I did throw something out from it too), so it's a blend of old and new. So let's stop with the salad and get into the meat of this post.

First up here is this gigantic underskirt. This is an item from the blue box. It's huge, I can think of only one dress that I have that needs an underskirt that big, it's still cool to have. It's going to be paired with this big Princess Diana-y wedding dress. I think the dress might be the one Charlotte came with way back in the day. This wasn't a very difficult mend, the back seam had given out, so I just had to do a line of stitching up the back, maybe about an inch in length? Not really too stressful. Could you imagine trying to walk in that thing? Madness. I'd break my neck.

Next on my list is a skirt, another item taken from the blue box. This was actually started out a dress earlier today. Some child (not me) had mangled the top. It was beyond something I could repair, but it was just a tacky sundress, so not a real big loss. I could have just thrown it away, but I liked the geometric design of the pattern. So I did some modification of it. I tore out the back stitching, folded over the top, and sewed it down. Originally I wanted to make a waistband for the new skirt, but I didn't have enough leftover fabric from the top to do it. I could have made one out of non-matching fabric, but I felt that would take away from the general look of the skirt. So it's a simple A-line skirt. With that done I sewed up the back and added a snap. I'm not sure how I like it now that I'm finished, so it might end up on a donated doll. I'm letting it sit, so see where I stand on it. Maybe if I find a cute top it'll stay. Who knows, all that matters is that it's finished.

Now here is a dress, this is one that I made three of yesterday. Technically it's not someone I should finish on Friday, but I make the rules, so here we go. I needed it for the doll, so that's why it got added to the mix of today. This one is different than usual because I used Velcro to close it in the back (Velcro that I had because I took if off a messed up piece of clothing I was tossing.). I don't like using Velcro, it's a pain to sew on. Maybe with experience it'll get easier, but I just prefer using snaps in general for my projects. It's just looks nicer in my opinion. With that sewed on all I had to was reinforce the seams in the bust. This one is definitely going on a donate doll. The one in the picture actually. And I've used two of these dresses that I made yesterday already, so be prepared to see this type of dress again, and again, and again... and again.

Here's something different, something actually from the box that's been there for a while. Progress people, progress. I made this skirt a while back, it was an experiment in piping. Originally I had piping along the hem, thinking that if I used that I could avoid hemming it, and the added weight would keep it down. Boy was that a wrong idea. It looked terrible, and I shouldn't be using piping for something other than it's intended use. Ick. So I just tossed it into the box and walked away. I took it out today and decided to take off the piping hem. My stitches were terrible, and not really doing anything. Instead I used some ribbon as the hem. It's much cuter, but certainly nothing I'd want to dress someone in. I also added a waistband, and a snap, completing it. I'm glad it's out of the box, but I'm certainly not going to go into the collection. Yellow works better as a top compared to a skirt, so I'm not a fan. Maybe I'll find a circle skirt patterns that I like in time, I just know that it's not this one.

And for our final finished project we're back to the blue box. I've had this skirt for a while, not sure where it came from, it's an older cheaply made clone skirt. I really like this skirt for it's bold coloring and pattern, but it had gotten stained, which is why I never brought it down. All this week I've been treating it with stain remover. The stain faded, but I don't think it will ever come out, but I'm fine with that. Some of the stitching had come undone, so today I fixed it. There was also a spot that was worn out. Since I can't patch it, I put a piece of white calico at the back and Elmer's glued it in. Basically I reinforced the area that was worn. It's a tad noticeable, but certainly does the job. I'm not usually a bold pattern/bright color kind of guy, but there's something just about this skirt that screams, love me. And I do, yummy right?

So that's all for this "Finish it up Friday". Even with this I still got my three dolls done for the day. Hopefully I can keep this momentum!

Friday is Pink Friday on In the Pink!

I've finally reached this point. I started doing with with the hopes of being more active on the "In the Pink" Barbie forum. I wanted to do a photo shoot per week, going down the days in descending order. Friday is the last one (Weekends are free for anything) and here we are. This one is the most difficult because I tend to really avoid pink in general. It's a little cliche and girly... says the boy who plays with dolls. I do have limits though. It's all about where you draw the line in the sand. Right now only eight dolls in the collection are wearing anything with pink in it. Those are some pretty low numbers.
Anyway here's Rebbecca in an Integrity Toys play line Pink Dress (which I love!), sometimes Pink does do it for me. I made the fur shawl, and her necklace. Her gloves are from the Bubblecut reproduction. (Sorry about the wrinkles, Barbie needs to invest in an steam iron.)

50 Days Until Christmas! Kind of...

Okay, not exactly. There's still many more days until the Traditional Christmas date, but only 50 until my family's Christmas celebration. (Hope I didn't scare anybody!)
Our Christmas date is always up in the air, since my Grandparents spend the winter in Florida. They used to drive up for the month of December, and do Christmas up north, and then go home, but they've decided that's just too muck work and hassle. I don't blame them, that's a lot of traveling for them. So it's become this cloud over everyone's head. Nobody knows what's going on with Christmas, and nobody wants to mention it since it's such a headache planning a date that works for everyone. Everyone has such a tricky schedule.
But this week my Sister made everyone come up with a date, since she needed to take time off from work. So it's been decided November 6th. Thankfully she took that bull by the horns.
Now pray tell, what does this mean to you? It means that I'm going to have to step back from my personal projects for a time, don't worry, I'm still going to be going through the blue box. That project is getting done even if it kills me. Since it's Christmas we're going to have to be doing the whole presents thing, so I'm going to have to switch gears. We're going to be doing tins of home made candy, which we've done before. But it's a lot of work, so be prepared to have less sewing, and more updates on cooking.
Just figured I should keep everyone in the loop. That is all, back to your routines.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Blue Box Day Two

I started off the day with some sewing. Nothing fun, so don't get too excited. I don't have any whirlwind projects like the Steampunk outfit slated for a while, the blue box takes precedence. I just made some dresses for the dolls that I'm going to donate. I didn't think that I had so many before they got here, so my supply of clothing that I was going to dress them in isn't going to hold out. Also I'm have some parting issues with company made clothing. I don't want to get rid of it, just in case one day I need it, even though I've never used some of it. It's weird I know, but I'm working on it. So if I make the clothes, I can easily make them again if I really wanted to. So I took out some blue broadcloth that I've had forever and churned out three dresses. I used the Vintage Barbie bodice and skirt. I didn't bother adding straps, they don't need it. Today I also went though my fabric pile and pulled out some fabrics that I'll never use for one reason or another to "get rid" of them on this project. Every fabric pile should have some trash fabrics that you can use on any old project. I also made a pair of Ken pants, also destined for a donated doll. I've decided that Ken's are only going to get pants. If Mattel can sell Ken shirtless, I can certainly donate him that way too. Also making shirts is the worst! So time consuming. The pants go together pretty quick, I made it out of some linen that I got a long long time ago. They're older to me than the sewing machine. I got it because they were dark blue, and I needed the color. It was before I knew the term Calico or broadcloth. I really dislike that fabric, so I'm hoping to use it all up on these projects. Wish me luck I'll need it!

So I have something to confess... I did end up going shopping this week. I tried to be good, and declined going on Wednesday. I wasn't feeling the best when asked, plus I was still trying to sort out the big mess that is the blue box. But Thursday rolled around and I was itching to go out and get away from the blue box. It didn't hurt that my dust allergies was flaring up and the clear air would do me wonders. I had seen the Hobby Lobby Specials, and I needed to get some stuff there. I knew if I let that weeks sales lapse, I'd be kicking myself for it. Even though Hobby Lobby was the main reason for going, we went to many other places first. We needed to get a Birthday present for my Grandfather. It's tricky because the man literally has everything. He's the go to man when you need anything. So you want to get him something he'll use, but everything he needs, he either has, or has some igneous system to get around it. So we decided to look at the second hand stored (and one military surplus store) in the hopes of finding that one odd/weird/unique gift that he could use, even if it was just a gag gift. We missed out at all the usual spots, nothing to be found. I... however... did manage to get something... At the Christian outreach center, I did look for that box with the dawn doll and Marie. The box was gone, so I figured my chance was gone. But I did something from the box in one of the bins. Searching the bin resulted in finding Marie. I couldn't find the Dawn doll. I did look, but it's probably for the best that I never found her. She's not really my thing. I took her up to the register, and it turns out toys were half off. I got Marie for a dollar, plus tax. Just FYI, looking at her at home she looks sooooo much better than my original. There's just something about her that looks so much more like Marie Osmond compared to the first one I got. I'll share pics eventually. I did eventually get to Hobby Lobby. I used the 40 percent off coupon to get some baking chocolate. I'm going to need it for the Holidays, you'll hear more about that later. I also got some thread. Hobby Lobby's thread is actually more expensive than Walmart thread, but this week they were half off. I've never seen them on sale like that, so I knew I had to go. I got four spools all together. White and Black (obviously, I go though them the most.) and I also picked up light blue and pink. I'm trying to flesh out my colored thread slowly. I had light blue before, but used it all up, and pink is a color that I've wish I've had for a while. So happy I got them. Eventually I want to phase out those annoying little spools you get 100 for a dollar. They work, but the thread quality is terrible.
Three more dolls down, prepping three more for tomorrow! New Marie is naked, and she's going to be that way for a while, she picked a bad time to join the family!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Blue Box of Doom, Day One.

Today has been a day where I'm chipping away at the piles and piles of stuff that arrived yesterday. Even though it's nowhere near done, it's good that it's at least starting to get under control.
Progress has been slow because there's not a lot of free space in my room and whenever I move something, it ends up on top of something else. Although I think I've created a decent enough system. It's not pretty, but it certainly gives me a fighting chance to actually tackle this mess. I just hope the Queen holds off on her visit until I get things back into some sort of order.
I started off with separating the doll pile. It was still just in one big pile from last nights clear out of the box in general. It was so daunting as this massive glut of dolls. So I wanted to trim it down to something smaller and more manageable. I also wanted to see how much I wanted to keep from the box, while I got the majority of the dolls I wanted, there were a few that slipped through the cracks. I split the pile up into three smaller categories; dolls I'm keeping, dolls I maybe keep, and dolls I'm going to donate. As of right now there's six dolls I definitely want to keep (three of them are my Vintage Penny Brite doll collection), around twelve or so in the maybe pile, and thirty in the donate pile. I knew that there was a lot in that box, I just wasn't thinking it was that much! Now I know that there's a lot of dolls in the maybe pile, but I know that when I'm going through them I'll weedle them down. When I was sorting, any doll that I had reservations about getting rid of I just put in the maybe pile. I didn't want to second guess myself so early in the process.
With that done I was able to survey the lay of the land. I was looking over my room and harly seeing any flat surface that was free of something. I needed to do some serious room changes in order to get anything done with this pile. You may remember me pulling out some spare dolls to donate a few days ago before this group arrived. Today I got them all set to donate. It was easier since they didn't need to be washed, they just needed their hair brushed and to be dressed. I ended up adding snaps to about three dresses. I was originally going to use velcro, but I didn't have any. I used the dollar store snaps, since they're pretty cheap, so I'm not out much for that. I think I got about six dolls done today, which was all the ones that I had from before this box. I was able to put a box in the hall closet to store them in, allowing me to get them out of the room, and out of my mind when they're done.
I have a clear plastic set of drawers that I use for fabric storage, jersey knit and calico/broadcloth since I use that most of the time. On top I have my old boyscout neckerchief on top of it (I was a boyscout for like a week). It's mainly up there for decoration, and it's nothing I'm really in love with. Usually whatever fabric I'm working with gets dumped on top before I get around to putting it back away where it belongs. So I cleared it off, putting the neckerchief away. I've been using it as a holding place for dolls after I wash them. With it's plastic top and slightly lowered inset lid, it's perfect for dealing with wet dolls. It can hold about three dolls, so that's the magic number that I've been working on. Today I got Victoria Beckham, A holiday Barbie, and Pretty in Plaid Barbie cleaned up, dressed, and put away. It's weird that I still remember these dolls even though it's been years since I looked at them last.
Right now other dolls are on the drawers drying. They're tomorrow's agenda. Each day I get closer to finishing this mess!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

More busy work gets added to the pile. Will I ever see sunlight again?

So, today I worked on my writing like I said yesterday. I ended up getting about a page done. I'm proud that I got that much done since it's been such a chore to write lately. Most of the time all I do I open the document, then close it again without getting anything done. I'm thinking that Tuesday is going to be the day that I write each week. That way I have it planned and I will actually write. Also this way I'm not beating myself up over not getting anything done on it week after week.
Also today my father came back from CT. He was alone since my mother is staying a few days more with her mother. With my father came a load of stuff from the old house, including the blue box of misc stuff I asked for. He also found a few more boxes that he thought I might like and added them to it. So I have my work cut out for me. I honestly forgot how much junk was in there. Once I had it up in my room I started splitting the box up into workable piles. Dolls, doll parts, clothes, and accessories. I think there were at least 40 dolls altogether in the box. Ick, I know! Looking through them I think that I want to keep about ten of them, but that's a rough estimate. I wish I could part with all of them, but then I found my Penny Brite collection, and I just can't get rid of those. There's some other dolls that I think I should hold on to.
But I can decide who stays and who goes later. Right now I have to go though them all and clean them. Most of them have been sitting in storage for three years, and who knows how clean they were before then. All of them also need some sort of hair treatment, and to be dressed before they get donated. I think I'll work on a doll a day in the evening, and at least get them cleaned and get their hair somewhat manageable. There's so many of them, that it might be a long term project.
I also got the clothes that were in the box washed. I did it all in a tub by hand. You had no idea what color the water ended up being. I wish I could say that part of it was dye, but I don't think it was. They're all set out drying on the table downstairs. Tomorrow when they're dry I'm going to go though and evaluate what I have, what's needs to be washed again, what needs to be repaired, what needs to be thrown out, and what I can use to dress the dolls I'm going to donate. Hopefully I'll actually find some clothes that I want to keep. I saw a lot of lemons in that pile.
Today I got one doll cleaned, and three more worked on. I'm working on it!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Just some updates for today

I've been super tired today. Yesterday was full of terrible excitement, so it really shot my sleep pattern to heck. Although, I did manage to drag myself over to the sewing machine and force myself to turn it on. I did a few things, and managed to not sew my finger. Although with my Sunday I wouldn't have been surprised if I did. Now, I didn't manage to finish anything today, but I did make some sizable contributions to some projects. Projects that might actually have something come out of it.
I started off today working with Skipper. She needs to be dressed, and since she's such not Barbie, I have to make it. She's been wearing that skirt that I finished on Friday. I just never got around to changing her, so it's time to get off my keister and get into gear. I've already decided on what I'm going to make for her. It's basically the same outfit I had in mind for Set is Aside Sunday, but now I'm changing the colors. Originally she was going to wear a white shirt, with a red pleated skirt, and red knee socks. Tricky thing is, I didn't have any matching red fabrics. I've since decided it's going to have a blue pleated skirt, and added a red bow at the collar to tie the red socks in. I already have the red socks done, I was able to use that from the original plan. Today I did the start of the pleated skirt. I'm letting it dry overnight before I add the waistband and take out the stitches I use to hold the pleats when it's drying. I also made the shell for the shirt. I added a collar on it, but couldn't get it to fit, so I had to tear it out. I did that again before I gave up for the night. I'm going to have to do something differently for that. I also made the bow for the neck. Hopefully soon I'll get more of it done, and finished. Skipper needs herself some clothes!

I also worked on Charlotte's Halloween costume. I'm not going to tell you what it is yet, but today I got the main part of it done today. It seems that each year I make her a costume that celebrates what I've learned with sewing. Last year it was the Vintage bodice pattern, this year it's the corset pattern. I did have some issues with the fit today, I kept having to take it in at the back. Very annoying. I might change Charlotte's costume. I'm still not totally happy with what I'm making yet, any suggestions anybody? All that's left is adding snaps, and some minor petty details. I'm glad that I got this started, and stopped stalling.

Here's something I wanted to share. I think I've figured out why we've had such an influx of naked doll. It's because I'm more confident thinking about what I can sew for them, compared to just looking though the bag of what I have to see what I can get "make do" until later. I leave them naked becasue I know I'll get to them eventually, and why put something on them that I don't like? So they remain naked until I get to them. Right now in the collection of 92 dolls, 49 of them are wearing something I made for them. I never though I would ever get to the point where I would be making stuff for them, especially the times where I've dressed them competently. I really am getting better in my sewing, I dare say so myself.
No photos today, and no blogging tomorrow. I'm taking a break from sewing, and working on my writing. I'm thinking that Tuesday is the day that I work on my book. I'm so close to finishing the first draft, and I'm having a terrible time with it. I just don't think my writing it at the level it was before. And I just want to finish it. I want to give the character's their ending, I owe it to them. So on Tuesday I will leave the sewing machine alone, and write, write, write. That way I have it planned, and don't feel guilty about not getting anything done on it.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

No Set is Aside Sunday today

I'm taking a break from Set it Aside Sunday. I'm beginning to think that it'll be an every other week kind of thing. All today I've been doing lots of things to avoid sewing, plus I can't decide who to work with today. I have a few dolls that SHOULD be slated, but none that I WANT to do. I'll put some thought into this during the week, and get back to you all.
I've been doing stuff around the house today. My parents are in CT, for my Uncle's funeral. So I'm taking over their hously duties. Basically it means take care of the animals, and make sure the place doesn't burn down. So far so good. So far, I've done some organizing in the kitchen, laundry, and actually did some cleaning in my own room. I'm trying to keep the house in just as good of a condition as when they left.
I've also been doing some doll related organizations. This doesn't really relate to anybody you've met before. If you're a collector (or player) of Barbie, I'm sure you've amassed a pile of dolls. Dolls that you don't like or want. Ones that came with clothes you wanted, in bagged lots with others, were well intended presents, or just given to you. Dolls that you have no real attachment to, but keep anyway. Since I restarted my collection only a year or so ago I've been able to keep this at a low. But today I pulled out the shoe box of misc dolls and looked though them. I took out eight. Those eight are going to get their hair brushed, styled (ponytails), dressed, then donated. There's no need for me to be holding on to these dolls that I don't really want, and can't ever imagine using. This way I'll be able to pass them on to someone who wants them, and help a charitable organization as I do it.
I've decided that I'm going to dress the dolls. I always feel bad when I see a lot of nude dolls at a store. So I'm going to dress them before I give them away. Now before you start calling me noble, or declaring I should win some award, I'm just dressing them in clothing I've made that I don't like. There might be some issues with it, but at least they won't be nude. They don't get shoes though. I draw the line at that, I can't afford to give away any shoes. I'm not that much of a saint.
Now there is a bit of an underlying reason as to why I'm doing this. When my father comes back he's going to be bringing a load of stuff back from the CT house. I bit the bullet and asked him to bring back my blue box of misc dolls. This box is sort of a doll grave yard. It's a place where I was able to store my dolls, especially ones that I never liked but had. It's a big, dirty, icky box full of the dolly glut of childhood. In my travels too and from CT I've picked out the ones that I actually used or cared about, leaving the rest. Now I'm going to take the entire box. My goal is to dig though it, pulling out the dolls that can be saved, fixing them up and donating them. I will also throw out the broken ones. My ideal goal is to be able to completely clear out the entire box.
I guess this means I'm growing up!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Underpants, Thank you please!

Let me start off explaining this posting. Yesterday I was finally using that red ribbon that I bought a while back. It was kicking around my work station, since I can't be bothered to put anything away. Spotting Akikio then seeing the ribbon made me wanted to try something with it. You all know that she has a red ribbon on her hair, but I wanted to try a different kind. The ribbon she had was a very wide ribbon, and while it was very cute, I wanted to give this new one a shot. I kept the new ribbon very long, it's just not as wide as the old one. She's just testing it out right now, so she may go back to the older one. It all depends on how I feel after some time.
Since she was off the bookshelf I decided to look at the Momoko behind her. My first Momoko, named Momoko. She's wearing a Velma costume (and I love, love, love it!).
Eep! I always forget how dusty it gets over there on the bookshelf. Probably doesn't help that she's been in the same spot since I moved back home. Akikio is my go to girl when working with sizing for the Momoko dolls. So I took her out and "refreshed her". Basically it's just redoing her hair, and taking off her clothes and dusting her. I changed her hair bands to some thinner ones, the older ones were very thick, but all that I had. Eventually I'm going to have to do a downy dunk to the ends of her hair. It's very dry and damaged. And this isn't my fault! Nariko has that issue too. And it's weird because they really haven't had that much hair brushing. I've had older dolls that never had that problem, but these two do. But enough about hair. It was during the redress that I decided that I hated her underwear.
She's been wearing them as long as she's been wearing the Velma costume. The dress flares out at the skirt, and there's no underwear under there. Momoko came with some pantaloons, but they were too long for the skirt. At the time I found a pair of orange Barbie swimsuit bottoms that I stuck on her. They weren't too terrible, they did the job, and you really couldn't see them. But now I realized that I didn't like them. They were way too bulky on Momoko's small frame, and looked pretty ugly. I know nobody will ever (hopefully) see her underwear, but it's my opinion. I remembered the underwear pattern that I had, and the fact that if I made them out of calico than jersey knit, I would end up with a pair of boy shorts that fits Momoko.
So that's what I ended up doing. I needed a pair for Momoko, but then I saw Nariko and felt she needed a replacement pair too. She was wearing a pair of Silkstone underwear. If I made one for her, it would allow that pair to go back to a Silkstone, so I added her name to the list. Then looking at Akikio I felt she needed a pair too. She ended up with the Momoko pantaloons, I just had to push the legs up since they were longer than the skirt. I figured making her underwear might help get rid of the bulk from her skirt. Cosette didn't need a pair, since she's wearing pants right now, but that's going to change. So a pair for her too. This way I make her a pair, and don't have to do it later, nobody is left out. Since they are all getting their own underwear, I decided to monogram their initial into their pair, so that way we don't mix them up. And if someone looses a pair, I know who's is missing.
After I finished the underwear (and I really mean finished, snaps and all) I went about making some out of jersey knit for the bigger dolls. But I wasn't enjoying it. I made two pair before I decided I was done sewing for the day. Nobody really needed underwear, and making four complete pairs was enough busy work for today. No photos of them on the dolls (that's a bit pervy) but here's the pairs I made before the dolls claimed them. Pretty cute, huh?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Our second Finish is Up Friday

I wanted to take my mind off things today with our second "Finish it up Friday". Although I must admit a lot of the things I finished today were things that I added to the box earlier in the week. While it's not chipping away at the things that have been in the box for weeks, it certainly keeps what's added to the box at a lull. Hopefully I will get around to the rest in due time.
So enough chit chat, let's get into it.

I'll let everyone in on a secret. Last Set it Aside Sunday's original doll pick was Skipper. It wasn't until I made her a few things that I decided I just wasn't feeling it, and moved on. So all the items I made that day ended up in the Finish it up Friday box. So it was on the top of the pile and easiest to grab. First up was this skirt. It's a fake pleated skirt. Only the front three panels are pleated. I originally made it completely pleated, but it ended up being too short to get around her waist. So I had to take most of them out. When I did that I just wasn't happy with how it looked, so that's why it went into the box and I switched dolls. Today I took it out, reinforced the seams and added a snap. Not loving it still, but the skippers need all the clothing options they can get. Not sure if it can fit Momoko, but I will certainly try it on them. Updates to follow.

Before giving up on the skirt, I also made some socks for Skipper. In my mind I wanted wanted them to match the skirt. Unfortunately the skirt fabric is a maroon color, and the red jersey knit I have is fire engine red, but I still gave it a go. I drafted the pattern for Skipper, these are the first thing made from them. Looking at them with the skirt, they were just too bold of a color, so I just threw them into the box. This was obviously before I gave up altogether. Today I reinforced the seams at the back and at the toe, and ripped out the stabilizer I use to sew them. I'm kind of liking these, so you might see a Skipper in these sometime soon. Also, the socks do fit Barbie, but I don't think she'll ever wear them. They're probably remain Skipper sized doll exclusive.

When I discarded those, I tried the socks in another color. This is more of a rust colored fabric. It's actually a cut away from one of my t-shirts that I took in. So Skipper and I can match sometimes! This had the opposite deal with the other pair. Those were too bright for the skirt color, these were too dark, so into the box they went. I fixed them the same as with the other pair. Other than that not a whole lot to say about these.

Here's a pair of Ken shorts that were in the box for a while. They date all the way back to the first Set it aside Sunday. So, I am working with things that have been there for a while, it's progress. These are made from the actual Ken short patterns. I found out I had one, so I made a go of it, using the actual directions. Never doing that again. They close in the front. And if you know anything about my closures, they always look terrible. There's some odd bunching going on at the front. Also the snap had to be really far over in order to get it to fit. I just had to reinforce the seams and add a snap. I finished it, although I don't think anyone will ever wear them. I have a better way to make shorts, and this ain't it.

This is another pair of Ken shorts. On Set is Aside Sunday I made three pairs of shorts. The one described above is pair one, this is pair two. I went back to the pattern I normally do, but was trying to make a cuff on the pants. But when I did it I didn't do it right, so the cuffs didn't stick and looked terrible. So I ended up making another pair, setting these aside. Today I took them again and tore out a lot of the stitching. Instead of a cuff, I just hemmed them. With that done I re-sewed the inseam. I also reinforced the seams, and added a snap. These are better than the other ones, but I don't really need that many pairs of black shorts. But these will go into the Ken clothes bag. You never know if I'll find a use for them.

The final thing for today is another pair of socks, but these are designed for Barbie. They're also really long. I designed them to replicate the look of tights. I don't know how to make tights, so these would give the illusion of tights. Same as earlier, reinforce the seams, and rip out stabilizer. Not sure if they will work for what I planned them for, but they might find a use somewhere. At this rate, I'm going to need a bag just to store all the socks I have. Never thought that day would come!

And that's out second "Finish is up Friday" here's hoping that next week I have more successes and less new additions to the box, so I can keep chipping away at what's been in there a while!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Some sad news

I was doing some sewing work today when I got some terrible news. My Great-uncle passed away today. He had been sick, and in the hospital, but recently his heath just deteriorated. While I'm feeling sorrow for his family, I feel even worse for my Grandmother. He was her only sibling. The funeral is on Monday in Connecticut. That's where most of my family lives, myself included until 2008. My parents are going, and I'm staying behind to take care of the animals and the house.

After that news my creativity was shot, and I spent most of the day with my family.
Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tomorrow is Vintage Thursday at "In the Pink"

And that's the day I'm posing for this week. I took pictures of my almost perfect Francie in my one Francie outfit. I recently got some of the stains out of it, and it looks amazing. Since I knew I'd be dragging my feet to post the pictures I took them today. That means you get to see them before they do, enjoy!