Makin' Babies

I knew the title would grab your attention : )

I've always loved primitive dolls and crafts, but I've never attempted to make anything.  Until now that is.  I am having a blast making all these new things, but the rest of the household (all male *sigh*) isn't quite as enthused. 

Actually, it's been quite funny (from a female perspective) because they got all excited seeing me in the kitchen holding a baking pan in the middle of the day.  I generally don't spend much time in the kitchen unless I have to.  I'm a horrible cook and I don't think I inherited any baking skills either.  Anway, the guys weren't impressed at all when they opened the oven door to see what smelled so good and found this:

Cole said, "can we eat it?"
"Well then why are you wasting propane?"
Good question, huh?

Nonetheless, I was on a Baby Makin' mission and the best directions I can give you about making a cloth doll is:  buy a pattern.  I tried to draw my own pattern for a simple rag doll and it was so horrible it ended up in the trash.  What I can tell you is how to antique rag dolls so they look like they have been around for decades.

2 cups of hot, hot, hot water
1 cup of Instant Coffee
1 Tablespoon each of Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Vanilla.

(Note:  you'll have plenty left over - just refrigerate it until next time.  You don't have to reheat it, the hot water is used to dissolve the instant coffee)

Mix it all up and paint your doll with it.  I used a sponge brush and it worked great.  Then you pop your baby in the oven and bake her for 10 minutes on each side at 175 - 200 degrees.  If she isn't fairly dry to the touch, keep flipping over and baking for 2 - 5 minutes at a time, checking often so you don't burn the house down.

She'll come out looking like she's been played with, left out in the rain and drug through the dirt for 50 years or more.

The longer you leave her in there and the dryer she becomes, the greater the distortion.

Here's one that I took out a little earlier than recommended:

She's still antiqued, just lightly and probably what most people would prefer.  (I'm forever over-baking things!)

The face details had me scratchin' my head.  I like the looks of sculpted noses, but as you can see, I need some more practice.  You lightly pencil draw the nose then it's in through the top of the head with a needle and out at the top of one side of the nose.  Dig in and poke the needle out to the other penciled line.  Tiny stich down on the same side, dig and poke out on the opposite penciled line repeat, repeat, repeat.  Obviously I don't know what to do once you get to the nostrils, so I won't try to explain - lol.

After looking at that I thought maybe I should sculpt the nose before baking.


Sculpting the nose first made this one turn out looking like the brown-noser I used to work with!  

How about NO nose?

Naw.  Makes it look like I don't know how to make noses.

So, my new style is:

No nostrils!

Now, my next step will be to take the babies shopping with me so I can buy thread that matches the color of their baked skin and all will be well : )

I made the little dresses for them too. They are baked separately using the same process as the dolls.  The first ones of them also ended up in the trash.  But persistence and practice does eventually pay off : )  My babies aren't perfect, they have faces only a mother could love, but they are special because they're my first attempts.  

 May Lou and Mable



When (IF) I get better at this, I'll link them up to some parties : )


Ditty Bags

Oh my goodness have I been busy!  I don't know how I was bitten by the sewing bug, but I've been stitching up a bunch of goodies.  This little Ditty Bag is the one that has me the most excited... and it's sooooooooo simple!

I think my excitement comes from learning how to print my creations on fabric.  I am no good at stenciling, stamping OR painting on fabric so I searched the web for instructions on how to print my creations with my ink jet printer.  I was elated to find information from hp (Hewlett Packard) as I have a hp Photosmart ink jet printer.  The following is how I did it, which isn't exactly what I learned here.

You start by cutting freezer paper into 8.5 x 11 sheets, obviously the same size as a standard sheet of paper that will fit in the printer.

Then you take a piece of COTTON material that you've ironed nice and smooth  - on the cotton setting, and don't use steam when you iron it.  Lay the freezer paper on the material and cut the material a little larger than 8.5 x 11.  You definitely do not want your piece of fabric smaller than your sheet of freezer paper.

Lay the freezer paper on the ironing board plastic side up.
Lay your piece of fabric on top of the freezer paper, right side of material face up.
Iron to fuse the fabric to the paper.
Flip over and iron the paper side to give it good adhesion.

Now it's time to trim the extra fabric from all the sides.  You might be tempted to pull the loose strings on the edges....DON'T DO IT!  Just snip them off.  If you pull them, you'll end up with raveled loose edges on your paper that could damage your printer.

The next step calls for an ink fixative.  You can purchase such products, but since I live in the middle of nowhere I have to improvise if I want to get anything accomplished.

I don't think you'll be surprised to learn I used Mod Podge spray sealer (matte finish) instead of traveling 90 miles to find an ink fixative.  Oh how I love Mod Podge!  Just a light spray twice over works just fine and only takes a few short minutes to dry.  The corners curled a bit, but I had an easy solution for that too...

When dry, load it in your printer according to printer specific directions to make sure your print comes out on the fabric, not the paper.  For mine, I laid it fabric side down.  It's also a good idea not to have any other paper in the printer paper tray.

Here's a screen shot of how I laid out my creation in Print Shop.  The design is centered horizontally with vertical margins about 4.5 inches from the top and 1.5 inches from the bottom.

I set the print quality on "Best" and tweaked the ink volume (in advanced settings) from the default setting to reduce the amount of ink saturation.  I don't know if messing with the ink volume is necessary.  I did it because I didn't want it a deep black.  I wanted the finished project NOT to look brand new.

(The default setting is halfway between "Light" and "Heavy".  I slid it to the left so it was half way between "Light" and the default setting.

And here's how it comes out - Beautiful!

Peel the paper from the fabric and you're done!  Well, you're done printing any way.  The rest of this story is about how I sewed it together.  CAUTION:  I AM NOT A SEAMSTRESS and probably did things the hard way, but hey, it worked!

After cutting another 8.5 x 11 piece of fabric for the back, I pressed all of the edges about 1/8" from the outside.  Then I zig-zagged all the way around all the edges.

Then I folded and pressed about 1.5" from the top of the pieces...laying the fabric right side down on the ironing board.  

I pinned the pieces together (rights sides together) and marked - with disappearing ink : ) - the spots where I needed to stop in order to leave an opening for the drawstring.  I sewed as close as possible (for this crooked sewer) to the zig-zagged seams.  Once the sides were all sewed up, I opened up the top and sewed two seams all the way around the top for the drawstring.

Then it was a simple matter of turning it right-side-out and stringing the drawstring ribbon through the openings.

I was real, REAL pleased with the finished product : )
It measures approximately 8.5" tall by 7" wide.

I might add that I have more designs lying in wait to be created.  You see, the one pictured above is all about being a perfect little gift for my granddaughter.  I found an old picture that somewhat resembles Marlee in an antique sort of way and made up a business name (had to include something about a crow, of course : ) and I placed that fictitious business in "Marlee, Iowa".  Here's a peek at the graphic for her brother... it's from "Nolan", Iowa.

And there's more - when I get them finished - for Ethan, Iowa, Chandler, Iowa and Lauren, Iowa : )
But right now, Grandma needs a nap.

Linking up with all the other cool crafters at:


(Thanks for much for the feature Stephanie!)



Halloween Trickery

My husband made the mistake of leaving me home alone last weekend while he went to Kansas City with his buddies.  I didn't want to go with him or anything.  Believe me, I was happy for the no cooking, do what I want, snore-free nights his little trip awarded : )  His mistake was not being around to save the surroundings to which he has become accustomed.

It's Halloween and a girl just has to have a little fun, right?

The first thing I did was pull this $3 portrait I got at Dollar General from the closet.

I was attracted to it because in a maybe-it's-an-ancestor sort of way, this guy kinda looks like Glen.

I also went to Wal-Mart and spent a whopping $79 on a Brother sewing machine and made a couple of stockings to hang on the mantle.  It took me longer to figure out how to thread the dang thing than it did to make the stockings - and I even read the directions!

I have to confess my reason for making these Hallowing stockings.  For the first time in 34 years, I do not have any little kids to take trick-or-treating Halloween night and I want candy!  I figured maybe the Great Pumpkin would visit us Halloween Eve.  (I'll let you know how that turns out)

While I had the burlap out, I made a couple little pumpkins.

Then I got brave.  

I took down the $300 dog picture Glen purchased at an auction and put up what I thought looked much better hanging above the mantle : )

Let me tell you, the chain from one of my outdoor hanging plants worked GREAT for a broom holder!  A couple of old wood sewing thread spools Gorilla glued to a little pine crate serve very well for a place to hang the stockings.

While I was at it, I carelessly wrapped my $1 Dollar General feather boa around an old grapevine wreath that was headed for the trash can.  I needed a place to hang the beauty, so I swiped the master's fireplace tool stand and exclaimed, "this is good!"

I was also able to finish my second set of Halloween blocks (can you believe my mom HAD to have the first ones!?  Who can say no to Mom??) - see tutorial how to make them here.

But before I knew it, and before I was done with my Halloween display (it still isn't done) Glen came home and as you can about imagine....

He was a bit shocked to discover that I know how to sew : )

Have a great rest of the week!