Ruth: A Two Sided Doll

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On Reid’s birthday post, I mentioned I’d just received the beautiful book Wee Wonderfuls for my birthday. I jumped right into using it, sewing him Lumpy the Dragon and the Doxie Dog for a friend. But as I was choosing those projects, I fell head over heels for the vintage two sided doll, called Margot in the book. I knew I’d be making one for Grace for her birthday.

Asleep - braids and lace

Because my sewing stuff was already packed and shipped to our new home, I decided that she would be the perfect car project as we drove well over 1000 miles. She is nearly entirely hand sewn – the only thing done by machine is the white cotton body. Originally that was hand sewn too but the vintage pillow case I’d used ripped to shreds. I tried again with plain quilters cotton after we unpacked.

Awake - apron and buns

This is the most hand sewing I’ve done in a long time. I think I like it, though. Hand work is easier to pick up and set down than machine work, which always feels like if I can’t sew for an hour it isn’t worth my time. There is something gratifying about grabbing handwork for five minutes here and there. It feels so productive!

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All the fabric was scraps from my stash. I love seeing them used again. The apron is a dress of Grace’s; the chambray is always around; the green is from a new Sorbetto tank of mine; the lace was on Grace’s Christmas dress the years she was 3 and 4. The only thing I needed to purchase was a skein of yarn for the hair. For some reason all I have is neon or dishcloth yarn.

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Grace thinks this doll is pretty cool – she named her Ruth right away. Grace has a crib full of other dolls but Ruth is definitely unique. The others are all babies; Ruth is, according to Grace, 14.  She’s a big girl for my rapidly growing girl. She wears and apron and “loves to help work.” When all the work is done she goes to sleep in her beautiful night gown. (The original pattern has one side plain and  one fancy, but awake and asleep seemed better to me.)

Braided bun

I’m very pleased with how Ruth turned out. I’m even more pleased with watching Grace play with her – Ruth seems to be the perfect channel for all the Little House on the Prairie books we’ve been reading lately. It is an exciting season to be Grace’s mommy as she grows and becomes ever more complex. And now she has a doll suited for this next stage of playing.

Lumpy the Dragon

A year ago, the most incredible thing happened: I got to become mommy to another tiny human, this time a boy. Now, I’ve absolutely loved being a girl mommy. We snuggle and read and cook together and she picks pretty floral fabric to turn into dresses. I’ll be honest, I was a wee bit nervous when we found out #2 was a boy. But as he grows and starts showing me who he is, I’m learning that I’m going to really, really like being a boy mommy just as much.

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When Reid was about 6 months old, he declared war on the Tupperware cabinet. He is violent – no two lids will remain stacked together; no piece of plastic is to be within touching distance of the shelf. We started joking that the Tupperware cabinet was like a cave and he was hunting a dragon deep inside. And just like that, he became our Reidy the Dragon-Slayer. So it was only necessary that I make him a dragon for his birthday!

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This pattern is “Koji” found inside the new Wee Wonderfuls book by Hillary Lang. She’s got an adorable rag doll blog and Etsy shop; this book has a collection of 24 projects in her style to make yourself. I got it for my birthday and have poured over the beautiful photographs of charming creatures basically every day since then. I love the variety of shapes, sizes, and techniques included in the book. I could make a house full of dolls each completely unique. But first, a dragon.

She describes “koji” as both cute and creepy at the same time; I think I’d agree.

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The Dragon Slayer had to defend his city from the monstrous beast!

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The pattern is a little awkward with shaping, but sewed together alright with generous use of pins and patience. The bottom piece is too small though so I had to gather the back onto it. I also had a heck of a time stuffing the little arms and legs – I’m pretty sure that’s my own fault. The extremities fall a little flat and he can’t sit up without being propped. But as she says in the book, sometimes the imperfections of a toy are what makes us love it.

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My only modification was to embroider the mouth instead of use felt. The only other color felt I had was pink and that’s just not very boy like! This mouth is inspired by the Yeti project in the book Stitch Love (which I made my husband for Christmas).

Reid loves it. I love it. And I’m quite certain I’ll be back to this book repeatedly – in fact, Grace’s birthday present is another Wee Wonderful already in process! And thankfully, that one is almost entirely hand sewn which will come in handy (ahem…) during our cross country move. I’ve still got birthday outfits to finish and post but that might not happen until after; I do, after all, have to pack everything and get us there!

Bug’s Third Birthday {Kid’s Choice}

My sweet baby is THREE! When did that happen?! This year her birthday lined right up with the Kid’s Choice series hosted by Elegance & Elephants. Basically, the idea is to let your kid choose what she wants you to sew – pattern, fabric, embellishments, everything. So for this year’s birthday, Gracie got to choose.

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Let me tell you something about this sweet child. She has got a fashion OPINION. Her all time favorite outfit is a black and white polka dot dress decorated with neon butterflies. With floral tights underneath. She refuses to wear pants and t-shirts for some unknown reason. I wish I’d gotten a video of her excitement when I asked her what she wanted me to sew for her. “Lady bugs. RED ONES! And polka dots! And zig zags! And circle pockets! And LADY BUGS! And a dress! And and and and!” At which point she got distracted and wandered off singing something completely unrelated.

Alright, Baby. You ask, I deliver:

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The pattern is Simplicity 2269. I picked it up last year on one of Joann’s dollar sale days. It’s super cute! I love the neckline (though it was a little tricky to sew…). I made minor modifications: length (always…), rick rack trim on the sleeves (Grace’s request for zig zags), and plastic snaps instead of buttons on the back. Lately buttons have been catching her hair and that always leads to drama.

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(She’s smelling the tulip, if you couldn’t tell)

A dear friend and I were discussing age appropriate clothes a while back and we both mentioned how much we love this pattern. It’s so sweet and childlike; not miniature adult clothing. We’re toying with the idea of a sew along – the neckline can be a little tricky and photos would definitely help! Other than the neckline it’s a very easy sew, meaning even beginners could jump in. Next time I want to do the neat 2 part bubble sleeves. If you might be interested in a sew along of Simplicity 2269, would you please comment on this post?

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She’s thrilled. Even though I didn’t get circle pockets on, the rest of her requests made it on the dress. We were in the store for all of a minute before she zeroed in on the green lady bug fabric. I was glad to give her just what she wanted for her birthday.

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Oh, and the dolly! Her big gift from us this year was one Bitty Twin. I wanted the baby with hair, but American Girl only sells them as twins! Grace doesn’t need TWO expensive dolls (especially since she has no interest in a boy doll – I asked) so I split a set with a good friend. Now the girls have matching dolls 😀

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What kind of mommy would I be if the yet-unnamed dolly didn’t have a matching dress?! She’s super fashionable in the Tea Party Sundress from Little Things to Sew. The only modification was to switch the hem facing to the outside, to better match Grace’s dress. I’m one step closer to completing the challenge to sew through the book! I’m starting to think I might not make it all the way, but I’m not giving up yet.

I’m linking up to Kid’s Choice! You can see the other creations here!

Elegance & Elephants

Autumn Friends

Grace has hit the collecting stage. No matter where we go, she picks up little found objects to carry home as treasures. So it wasn’t surprising yesterday after spending two hours at the park that the stroller was completely full of bits and pieces that just HAD to come home with us:

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And as I was looking at this collection overrunning my counter, I decided to get crafty! For at least a year now, I’ve had my eyes on Waldorf-inspired toys on Pinterest. I’ve read a good bit of the philosophy and decided that Waldorf isn’t the right fit for our family. However, some of their perspective on toys is right up my alley! Simple and natural with a big emphasis on open-ended play. Open-ended toys can be played with in many ways and hope to inspire imagination. One of my favorite Waldorf-inspired toys is peg people. And so finally, Grace has her very own set:.

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It’s surprising how expressive 2 little dot eyes can be!

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This are ridiculously easy. I picked up some doll pins and doll pin stands at my local craft store. The paint I already had. The eyes are black permanent marker. And the acorn caps are collected! I forgot my coupons so I had to pay full price, but even still, the dolls cost about $0.40 each. If you remember your coupons they’re even cheaper.

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Grace painted one herself while I made the rainbow set:

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And I couldn’t leave the perfect acorns alone. They became little friends to join the party 🙂 (paint pen and permanent marker)

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I may have gotten carried away a little bit. But since everything was already in my house, why not? I turned a tray from a Melissa and Doug set into a doll house by slipping scrapbook paper in each side. It isn’t attached, just tucked in, so that the paper can be changed on a whim. The flowers are the garden of course!

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I have at least one or two more ideas for the collected bits, like an acorn cap matching game. There’s 23 doll pins left and I have already designed 4 more based on the characters from Grace’s favorite book series. I’m really loving these nearly-instant gratification craft projects! It’s a nice change from the weeks-long, hours of work, sewing projects I’ve been doing lately.

What are you crafting this fall? I’d love to see!

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Birthday Tulip Dress

What does a mama give her special two year old for her birthday? A dress of course! And one for Baby, too!

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I got brave – I finally conquered knit fabric! I’ve been putting it off for years, for no good reason. I think I’m afraid of it stretching funny and looking bad. But I’d purchased this Michael Miller print on impulse a few months ago and it was begging to be sewn up.

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The perfect pattern for it was the Birthday Party Dress from Lily Bird Studio. I’ve made the dress up twice now, and used elements from it (bodice and sleeves) on a couple other creations since purchasing it a few months ago. The simple pieces lend themselves well to the bold graphic print. I only changed 2 very minor things from the pattern – if you know me, and how I sew, this is absolutely shocking. First was to use 2 pink kam snaps on the back instead of buttons, since the buttonhole on my machine is acting funny and I don’t feel like trying to figure it out. The other was to reduce the fullness of the skirt and bottom ruffle to better work with the knit fabric.

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The bow is fold-over elastic not folded over (lol), stitched into a loop. 1″ wide strips of scrap fabric make the double loop bow. Couldn’t be easier!

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I drafted Baby’s dress using her original jammies and estimating the rest of the shapes. It turned out good enough. It’s completely open on the back and held with velcro – more toddler friendly than snaps.

My only disappointment was it ended up cold at Grace’s birthday party, so her birthday party dress had to be covered up! It was still cute and fantastic, though – she fit the flowers theme perfectly 🙂

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Details

My beautiful 2 year old

My beautiful 2 year old