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Saturday, 19 April 2014

Feliz party dress

At the beginning of the year, former Sasha collector Trish posted on Sasha Mart that she had some Mary Engelbreit fabric fat quarters for sale.  I was lucky enough to acquire 4 pieces from her (4 different patterns but thankfully ones which work well together).  At Christmas I was given a book called 'Sewing Clothes Kids Love' by Nancy Langdon and Sabine Pollehn and was keen to sew something from this book for my younger girl before she outgrew the desire to wear quirky styled children's clothes (my elder girl would often say in her early teens that she hated the fashions for teens and wanted to stay in her age 10/11 clothes as they were much more fun and funky).  After studying the patterns and pictures in the book for some time and weighing up the various fabric remnants I had and the fat quarters from Trish, I chose the Feliz party dress on page 123.

It was quite a complex dress to sew, there were various stages which absolutely had to be followed in order otherwise the dress would not have worked, and it took me some time of studying the pattern and instructions before I had worked out what to do.  I had the added complexity of working out which fabric combinations would work together best and how much of each pattern or plain fabric I actually had available.  The dress is 2 layered - it has a full underskirt and an apron/pinafore type skirt (using the same pattern pieces) over the top.  My photos don't show that it has a bow at the back of the bodice.  I made the underskirt all in the same fabric and the overskirt was decorated with three of the Mary Engelbreit fabrics and a decorative ribbon.  The shoulder straps were meant to be cut to shape fabric however I opted to use the same wide golden coloured ribbon I used for the bow.

The bottom of each skirt is decorated with gathered fabric frills one of which I edged using a scallop stitch (I love my new sewing machine, it has so many decorative stitch choices).

The skirt is the kind of cut that floats out when spun around, much to my daughter's delight.

My girl wore the dress to church on Mothering Sunday which is when these photos were taken, however I have been entirely occupied in the evenings with a major voluntary project so have only just had time to edit the photos and write this post 3 weeks later.
Feliz party dress with Mary Engelbreit fabric
close up of the outer skirt (the inner skirt is pale yellow)

Sunday, 13 April 2014

A small green dragon

My girl was so delighted with Clemence the Bramber bear sent to her by Dee and the Village Clan when Laura returned home that she decided to make them a doll-sized glove puppet.  This was inspired by the large collection of finger puppets (and stage) we have gathered over the years since my elder daughter was small.  I showed her how to design the puppet and how to stitch it, she did all the making herself, with a tiny bit of help from me.
Sewing around the basic shape, Clemence and Laura watch
Most of the finger puppets we have in the collection,
spot the one which inspired the puppet for Dee
Trimming around the edges after sewing
Stitching the eyes 
Laura shows off the glove puppet
You can read what Mossy and Ginny thought in Small, green and bossy - we thought this was hilarious.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Laura visits Sasha Village

Last year Dee of Sasha Village ran a mini competition for her followers to volunteer one of their dolls to visit the Village and take part in solving a mystery.  Laura volunteered to go and was amazed to win, along with Kristie from the USA.

Arrangements were made and soon after I had finished making Laura a new classic yoke dress of Liberty fabric, she took her rucksack (containing waterbottle, apple, notepad and pencil), her pet owl and a chocolate gift for the Villagers and set off on her adventure.

Laura and owl all ready for visiting Hattie and co 
The note my younger daughter wrote to the Sasha Village clan
She featured in no less than 8 posts on Dee's blog:

On Thursday she travelled home and arrived safely on Friday much to my younger daughter's relief, who had missed her and keenly asked every day if there was a new post for her to read with her breakfast.  None of the others had the heart to play or go outside while Laura was away so they had big plans for her return.

She brought some very generous gifts home with her from Hattie, Dee and all the others in the Sasha Village.

Today our Sasha's held a tea party to celebrate Laura's return.  The weather wasn't kind enough for this to take place outside (sunshine and showers), so they used our dining room table and sat picnic style to enjoy the feast, when they were joined by a new member of the family:

Laura's owl perched on her head, in the hope of cake crumbs
Miranda was determined to dress for spring
A little fuzzy creature arrived...
... and peered longingly at the tea and cakes
he sidled onto the table and smiled at everyone
before making his way to Laura and her cup of tea
which he tried to pick up
Florence almost forgot her own tea in her surprise at the new bear
Laura introduced him to everyone
"This is Clemence, he came with me from the Sasha Village
and is going to live with us"
Reuben regarded the new bear with interest
while Leo and Mabel leaned forward as they held their bears and the
owl came down for a closer look as his travelling companion
Clemence snuggled up to Laura while the owl looked on 
Everyone welcomed Clemence and Laura and Owl's return with tea and cakes
My girl was thrilled with her new bear, who is a OOAK Bramber Bear, he has already proved a reliable mascot at a local quiz night on Saturday (my younger girl's team did quite well).  In addition to this lovely gift Dee also sent a fold out paper sheep (which made us watch Shaun the Sheep on Friday evening) and a bunny tin filled with chocolate eggs for Easter.  Thank you Dee for such generous gifts and for inviting Laura to participate in adventures at the Sasha Village.

The following photos show what my younger girl did with Laura, her owl and her new bear on Friday evening at bedtime.
Laura and Clemence bear (in a glove)
Laura's owl snuggles in to Reuben's pyjamas
Clemence in the glove
On Saturday morning Clemence wanted to see what Laura had been doing at the Sasha Village so my younger girl re-read about Mr Mossy's safe return after Laura and Kristie went on a bear hunt.
Clemence reads about his cousin Mr Mossy and honey toast
Some of these photos are not great, taking photos on the dining room table with sunshine from the garden back-lighting the dolls wasn't easy, however at least we had sunshine!

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Thame Dolls House & Miniatures fair

For the first time in several years we've managed to attend a Dolls house and miniatures fair (the last time we went to one was Miniatura about 5 or 6 years ago).  I've not been able to give my half built Greenleaf Westville the attention it needs for completion as for many years I was studying while working, then we moved house and have had lots of decorating to do.  However now, with just a bit more full size house decorating still to do, I can at last justify turning my attention to miniature home building.

On Friday my younger daughter and I dusted and tidied the Westville.  Some of the furniture and the family were at home and my little girl loves to sneak into my room and rearrange the family and play with them (she is always careful).  I looked through all my furniture boxes to remind myself of what we have already for the house and had another think about the proposed/half built extension and whether to go ahead with it.  The jury is still out on that question, however I'm determined to make some inroads with the house in the coming months.

Yesterday we made the journey to the Thame Dollshouse and Miniatures Fair.  My husband enjoys miniatures so was willing to come (and drive) and my little girl was very keen (big girl stayed at home doing holiday homework). I had a strict fairly small budget as I mainly wanted to attend to get some inspiration and had a couple of particular stalls I wanted to visit.  My little girl had a small amount of birthday money and some pocket money to spend.  We agreed that we would look around the entire fair before buying anything and we stuck to this.  The organisers had very helpfully published the floor plan and list of stallholders in advance on their website, so I printed this out and had it with me when we arrived (they did have printed versions available and my girl used this so we had two floor plans).

I had a useful conversation with Celia of KT Miniatures. I showed her the earliest photo I have of my Triang dollshouse and asked her if she could identify the wooden piano - despite the darkness of the photo she was fairly convinced it was a Barton and that the china bath which I no longer have looked 1930s, the lead bath the dolls house now contains is apparently 1950s.  KT Miniatures had some vintage dolls houses for sale which we admired and some adorable jointed bisque German dolls of the 1930s.  I ended up buying one of them (she is only 2 5/16" (60 mm) tall.  I will make her some clothes and put her in my doll cabinet.  They didn't have a Barton piano unfortunately, however I shall keep looking.

My girl was enthralled by Sandra and Pamela's stall (Tower House Dolls - Diminutive Dolls & Toys) and decided that we would come back to them for her pocket money spend.  When we did my husband had a conversation with them about glue and the wheels on Pamela's tiny doll carriages while I took my time choosing which kit to buy.  In the end I bought a Wicker Toy pram kit and a mini baby for it which I will dress and my girl bought a tiny ballerina dressed in red which she has named 'Lily'.

I drooled over Little Trimmings wares but didn't buy anything - I've bought from them online and will do so in future, but it was lovely to see they stock some very fine ribbon, various kits and fabrics and miniature buckles.  I also loved the two stalls with miniature plants and flowers, I had bought a flower kit from one of them at Miniatura and as I haven't made it up yet, I couldn't justify buying another just yet.

We loved the wide choice of miniature books by Dateman Books - I'd seen their website online so was really pleased to see their tiny printed books properly.  They have 1/12th scale books and larger sizes for bigger dolls.  I bought 'Little Women' for the Sasha dolls.

The displays of miniature scenes by the local club was very interesting, some lovely work.  I didn't take photos of any of them even though I had the camera with me (in fact I didn't take any photos at the event at all as I wasn't sure if stallholders would like it and I didn't see others taking photos).  We bought 2 raffle tickets (but didn't win anything) and my girl played the Tombola and won some miniature ice creams.

We admired the Mini Mundus kits stocked by Jennifer's of Walsall, the Grand Piano is amazing and I'd love to make this one.  We saw wood flooring at a couple of stalls at the fair, however I was keen on the Houseworks flooring Jennifer's of Walsall stocked, though they'd run out of the colour I wanted (so another online purchase in due course).

I spent ages at Jane Harrop's stall, she had so many lovely kits to choose from and it was hard to decide.  In the end I bought two kits, her book of children's toys (35 different things to make) and some tacky glue.  However I think I'll be buying online from her as well once I've made up my current collection of kits.

The Barrel horse kit (the Little Wooden horse) and a go cart kit from Jane Harrop
Glue, book and kits bought from Jane Harrop
Ballerina doll, Wicker pram kit and baby doll from Tower House Dolls
'Lily' the red ballerina and the miniature baby from Tower House Dolls

Sasha doll scaled book from Dateman Books
I had to buy 'Little Women' for the Sasha dolls
My tiny bisque 1930s German jointed doll bought from KT Miniatures
Now I need to get working on the Westville house...

Friday, 21 February 2014

Birthday gifts

My younger girl had her birthday during February.  We gave her a collection of all sorts of smaller gifts rather than a 'big' present, all wrapped up in 2 cardboard boxes.  Each box contained something doll-related, but she also got several books, a DVD, some lego and nano blocks.  She was delighted with all her gifts and so were the dolls, as the doll related gifts were a handmade classic yoke dress (Liberty fabric with lace trimmed collar & cuffs) I had made on my new sewing machine for Laura, another rocking chair (found in a local charity shop) and a Habitat model bicycle from Homebase.
Laura in her new classic yoke dress
Laura's beret is a 'Hattie hat'
Lace cuffs
close up of the lace trimmed collar (hence the blurred face)
I had bought the bike several months ago after seeing one at Dawn's Sasha gathering in June 2013.  It was the last one in the shop, I'd reserved it online and went to collect it but found it was shop soiled (paintwork a bit scratched) so managed to get 10% off the price.  The bicycle also needed some adjustments as it the wheels were not turning evenly and pedals were catching (another symptom of 'shop soiled/not set up properly when made) however my husband was up to the job of fixing it and did a fine job.  Our daughter's face when she took the bicycle out of the box was a picture of delight.  I pointed out the scratches and said I had an idea for a doll story for that, so watch this space.
Discovering the bike and rocking chair in the birthday box
Winding the bike pedals
Nicolas James and Laura with the new bicycle
The new bicycle and rocking chair (which doesn't rock)
Hopefully with improving weather and spring on the way the dolls, bicycle and scooter will venture outside again soon.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Trying out the scooter

Reuben and Nicholas James have been desperate to get outside and try out the scooter which my younger girl got for Christmas, however the weather has been so wet and dull it hasn't been possible to let them go outside.  Today dawned extremely frosty and clear however by the time the boys had got dressed into warm clothes it had clouded over, the frost had melted though was still very chilly.  So the boys and Laura ventured out for a quick try-out on the scooter.  My younger girl helped with this photo story.

Look Reuben, we can use the scooter outside today
Hi Laura, yes of course you can join us
I'm trying the scooter first
Its tricky getting my balance on the scooter
My turn now, I am using my foot to get some speed to help balance the scooter
May I have a go please, Reuben?
I may be stylish but I do like to have fun outdoors too
I don't want to wobble
Well done Laura, you've got the hang of the scooter
Reuben is wearing his oversized Gotz hoodie and hat which he brought with him when he arrived and his sweater he received for Christmas, Nicholas James is honouring Ronny's son in his 'Elliott hooded shirt' and skinny jeans (Passion for Sasha) and a Dollydoodles beany hat.  Laura is wearing her new (Chat n Snap) Sashapotomus top, her swap jacket from the 2012 Sasha Festival, the leggings from her Millie outfit, Ugg boots from Rosemarie S, and a Hattie Bonham Carter hat and scarf set.

The Radio Flyer scooter I bought from Caryn M who came to the UK for a couple of weeks in November and brought it with her (which meant I paid UK rather than international postage and the asking price).  It doesn't have its stand, so we improvised with a slotted block fitted to the back wheel and a block under a foot when needed.  I could have edited them out, but decided to leave them as they don't detract from the action.