Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Sophia is my latest doll, taking sweet wishes to my swap partner Anita.  She has arrived safely, so now I can show you some pix.


Doesn't she look sweet and demure?  I just fell in love with her!  I made her for the Valentine's doll swap on Stitchin' Fingers.










51yiIm-jQiL__SS500_  I started working on her at this month's doll club meeting.  We were making dolls using directions in Ray Slater's latest book, "cloth dolls for textile artists".  This is the same technique as I used for Jan a couple of months ago.

There are very clear directions in the book, but here is a brief recap for those who might be interested.wire2

Step one is to build an armature by bending a length of wire following Ray's instructions (or sort of - my best intentions don't always follow through, proportion-wise!).  

PB140001Then, wrap the wire form with strips of batting and wrap, wrap, wrap until you have built up a body shape you are happy with.  I stitched the batting into place as I went along since I was adding additional "padding" in strategic areas, if you know what I mean!PB140004

At this point it is best to add the head and hands.  I always have a few "spare" heads lying around and find it easy to grab one and enhance the face to suit the doll.  Sometimes I also have hands already made up.  If you don't have a parts supply like this, there are patterns and good directions in the book.

Then you're ready to wrap again, using your chosen fabric this time.  Ray suggest using a stretchy knit - and that is all I've tried so far - but I can see using a woven perhaps cut on the bias.  It's your doll and you can try anything!

The fun part is last - embellishing!  I put skirts on both of mine, but that is not all you can add.  Ray has some excellent samples using couched fibers and threads.  Ribbons are always fun.  And a scattering of beads is almost a requirement! 

I had so much fun with Sophia and Jan.  I have to admit, that when I saw Sophia all curled up in her box ready to leave, I felt a lump in my throat.  So sweet!  I didn't want to part with her.  Anita, you are so lucky I was brave and sent her to her new home!


Monday, January 26, 2009

Wing Thing Part 2

A while back I told you about this "issue" I was having with angels and their wings.  By mutual agreement, we decided to give it a rest and get on with other things.

I'm pleased to report that a brief R&R was quite helpful.  On the left below is the picture I showed earlier, with the paper pattern wings pinned onto Serafina.  On the right is Serafina with her "real" wings.  Doesn't she look happy, now?











All I really needed to do was to lengthen the wings a bit, and I angled them so they point outwards slightly.  I used a base of heavy interfacing and stitched layers of white lace on both sides.  A zigzag edging with gold thread provided just the right touch. 

P1140009My angels appreciate a touch of elegance, but they certainly would not be happy if they looked like all the other angels.  They are definitely independent thinkers!


I am quite happy with the finished doll.  I think she's pretty happy with me, too!  I do think it's a good idea to get along with your guardian angel, don't you?  Just think of all the trouble it saves!

As I said in the previous post, this angel is from Deanna Hogan's pattern.  I actually followed the pattern quite closely (except for wings!) which is a bit unusual for me.  Don't worry.  The next doll I made is ALL Liz!  But she is a swap and I can't show pictures until she arrives at her new home.  Soon . . .

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Where Have You Been?

As I checked my e-mail, I wondered . . . where is everyone?  It's been awhile since I heard from close friends, some family, even blog buddies.  Hmmm.  Blog - let me check that.  OMG!!  It's been two weeks since I posted anything!!  No wonder I'm not hearing from anyone . . . they are not hearing from me!  Well, we need to fix that!

So, you are asking yourself, why haven't you been seeing any posts from Liz?  Well, I have been pretty busy (more about that later), but right here is the main reason:

groggThis is Barney and he just turned five months old!  You'll notice he looks a bit groggy in this pic.  This is the only sitting still shot I've been able to get so far!  He has two states of existence - (1) moving and (2) grogging or asleep!

chewbone   santa-tired






That makes it hard for me to show you his wonderful, liquid eyes!  He does have such a cute little face.  It's been quite awhile since we had a puppy in this household, and we are all having quite a time making the adjustment!  Jake, included!  Most of the time he tries to ignore the squirt, but he has been quite patient about sharing a water bowl and the occasional lap.  We make sure he gets his own "special" times, 'cause I think losing the lap would be pushing the limits!!

threebears   And, yes, there is room for two on this particular lap.  This is the only photo we have that shows the contrast in size between the two pugglies.  Jake is exactly twice Barney's weight - something that is definitely noticeable when I have them both aboard!

Fiber?  Crafts?  Why, yes, I do still have time for that!  In fact, I have a couple of finished projects to share with you in the next few days.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Take It Further - a December finish

Or, should that say - a finished December? 'Cause that's what I have finally.

Sharon's TIF challenge for December was to ask what is the idea of generosity to you.

When I thought about what Generosity is, I concluded that it is a form of Love. One must have love for others, and themselves, in order to be truly generous. But, love is not any easier to represent graphically than generosity. Then I came across this quote:

"If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give."

-- George MacDonald

That quote says almost exactly how I feel about love and generosity. So, an angel was just what I wanted. Now, I talked a bit about angels in my last post. There are quite a few of them around these days. I hope it's a good sign!


After fussing over the wing problem a bit, I have decided that she is finished. From a distance, her wings are still fading out, but I plan to make all the TIF works into a fiber book which means she will be viewed close up. And I think her wings are just fine that way!

P1120016 I have at least one month's TIF project that did not get finished. I put it aside for later work and did another, quick piece for that month (can't remember which one now, tho!). I will plan to finish that one before binding all the pages together. But, here is a picture of the fourteen (14) pages I did in 2008.

P1120020That is pretty impressive laid out all together like this!

I want to state that this was a very interesting and enjoyable project. Sharon did a great job of choosing challenging topics. I had to do a lot of thinking and - sometimes - soul searching to decide what each of the topics mean to me. This is something that I have not done in a long time. Evaluating how you feel about something is only half way, though. Deciding how to interpret that feeling or thought into a fiber art work adds a whole dimension of difficulty, frustration, and satisfaction. Many thanks to Sharon - and to fellow bloggers and TIF-ers who shared their work and their reactions to my work.

What an amazing year it's been!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

It's a Wing Thing

No . . . not wing ding . . . Wing Thing.  As in, a fascination with, or having issues with . . . that kind of Thing!

Lately I have been dealing with a lot of angels in my creative work.  It wasn't on purpose.  And some of it had to do with Christmas - which brings out the angels in everyone, eh?  But, my creative ideas keep coming around to angels.  Nothing wrong with that.  Well, except for the wings, of course.

The wings, you see, won't cooperate!  Or maybe it is because angels are very particular about their wings.  They will not accept just any set of wings!  Perhaps they really do have to work hard to earn them.  That would explain it.

Anyway, let me show you:

PB260011I made this angel for a Christmas doll swap on Stitchin' Fingers.  She is made from a pattern by Pamela Hastings.  We got along just fine until she saw the wings I had picked out!  They are purchased wings- very simple.  Just wire with a white mesh stretched over.  She wasn't at all happy!  Insisted I find just the right trim to stitch around the edges.  Since both trim and wings are mostly transparent, she would not accept anything but perfect, tiny, delicate stitches.  Not my best area!  BUT, at least this angel got finished and sent off to her new home.

PC290004This lovely lady is from Deanna Hogan's "Serafina" pattern.  Her problem with her wings is that they cannot be seen!   wings


Here is a side view with the wing pattern piece pinned on.  Clearly they are too small. . . or she is too wide?  OK, not something to discuss with an angel!  Anyway, I resisted drawing new wings.  Deanna did such a wonderful job with this pattern, I hate to fiddle with it.  So, we have had a time out, while we both think over the wing issue.  Perhaps we can come up with a compromise?


So I started working on another piece.  Guess what?  Another angel!!  What was I thinking?

phase01Well, to be fair, I started this before Serafina's wings became a problem.  This is for my December Take It Further piece and the picture was taken when I thought she might be finished.  I tacked her up on the wall and let the notion "process."

This is one of those rare cases when the photograph actually looks better than the piece in person.  The trouble with this angel's wings is that they have disappeared into the background!  From even a medium distance, those wings just faded away.  I was so concerned about ensuring there was sufficient contrast between the angel's dress and the background - those beautiful wings are lost among the stars!  Literally!!

Well, so Serafina and the TIF angel have been on my mind a lot.  I even dreamed about them!  You know things are getting bad when that happens!  I have been working quite a bit on the TIF angel and I think I may have finished her today.  I've learned my lesson, though.  She will hang on the wall again before I declare her complete.  I've worked on a couple of other items - while the ideas were simmering - so I will have some things to blog about over the next few days.

I'm thinking I've had enough of angels for awhile.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Book

First I want to thank you all for the encouraging comments on my last post about 2009 goals.  Oh my gosh!  People are watching!!!!  Nothing like a little pressure, huh?

So, for the last little while I've been teasing you with pictures of the memory book I was working on.  Now for the finished work as promised. . . I do try to keep my promises.

Here is how it all came about:

My Dad died this spring, at the age of 90.  We went through so many pictures in preparation for his service that I wanted to do something to preserve the memories they invoked.  So I decided to make a memory book for my Mom. 

PC230001In true Liz-fashion, I started gathering pictures, fabric, and ideas - but no deadline!  I even drew up a mud map and had the cover completed (one side) in June. 


Now, for most people, if they say they have been working on something for six months, you would think that they have done a bit of work on a monthly or weekly basis and steadily accumulated completed pieces.  Liz doesn't work that way!  Oh no!  I did the cover, then several months later I cut out more pages.  Then I scanned photos.  Then, well, there is always something else to do - "I'll just finish this up first."  You know how that works?  Hint:  it doesn't! 

Fast forward to December.  I now enter into a sewing marathon hoping to have a finished book for Christmas day.  If you have been reading this blog, you noticed that I did not post an awful lot last month - only the aforementioned teasers really.

But I made it!  So, Mom has the book - and I got some wonderful hugs and kisses - and now it is time to share it with the blog world.   There were 18 pages - NOT necessarily in the order shown below (blogger/wordpress and I don't always get along!):

 pp2-7 pp14-18pp8-13

I wish you could see it in person.  Photographs do not do it justice of course, and there are too many details to share effectively or efficiently on the net. 

I learned some things that may or may not help me in future projects:

  • Preparing a sketch ahead of time really helps!  The "mud map" is what allowed me to do the stitching and fusing in the short time I ended up with.
  • It would be easier to plan ahead when choosing thread colors so that you can stitch everything using that thread at the same time.  I must have changed thread six times per page - at least!  And I never exaggerate!!
  • Fusing photos and cheap, meltable ribbon on the same page is a bad idea!
  • Hand embroidery is fun and a nice touch, but you need to have more time for that.  There's that PLAN word again!
  • My Dad would have gotten a kick out of some of the pages.  Wish I'd started a lot sooner.

This project was both fun and stressful.  I worked through some grief and had a lot of happy memories.  I loved experimenting with my sewing stitches and new ways to display the photos.  I would love to make more of this type of book - but not yet!  I have a huge backlog of projects and work to get through now!!!  Not to mention my 6 tasks in 6 weeks list . . .

Friday, January 2, 2009

2009 Goals

Welcome to


A coupe of days ago I reviewed the process and progress made when I set goals for 2008.  There was just enough success that I think I will continue with the general idea.  We will track my progress in 2009 together.  Aren't you the lucky ones!

Last year I posted about the difference between resolutions and goals and how a long-term target is achieved by setting specific goals.  The resolution - or target - from last year is still valid:  "To develop my design and hand embellishment skills."  This year I will add " and explore new techniques." 

This year I will continue to explore and develop.  But I think I will agendatry a different approach to the goal setting.  This year I will use the 6-week review more like a To Do list.  I will set a task list for each 6-week period and then review that list and add or subtract items as appropriate for the time and where I am in my life.

I've chosen to use Focus areas as a change in the process as well.  This does not mean that I will be doing only Focus work, but that when I am deciding on a direction - or a new project - the Focus area will be looked at first. 

I seem to have a short attention span and am easily distracted.  By breaking the year down into 6-week periods, I can better stay on track.  And I've selected three Focus areas to allow for distractions.  I hope.

The three Focus areas are (drumroll, please):

Dolls, Quilts, and Embroidery.

Here is my task list for the period January 2 through February 13:

  1. Make a box for my 2008 daily planner.
  2. Continue working on Take It Further pieces and bind them all into a fabric book.
  3. Take part in Valentine swap on Stitchin Fingers cloth doll group
  4. Finish one or more UFOs (also for Stitchin Fingers)
  5. Prepare for and begin the Stitch Explorer challenge on PinTangle.
  6. Begin working on Flapette

I like to point out that this list was originally somewhat longer (and has been through about five editions!).  Why do I get carried away like that?  So I'm adding a new "rule."  There can be no more than six items on the list.  We're talking six weeks, people!  There's only so many hours in a day!

And we're off!