Thursday, May 30, 2013

Only Her Hairdresser Knows


Before this girl gets a hairdo, she needed earrings  - and that means ears!  I’m not sure why, but I love this picture!  Don’t worry, those ears will get pulled back closer to her head.  And of course there must be hair.  I have the loveliest, most luscious mohair “cap” ready for her.


You got to see the “wild” do earlier (on this post), but now it is time for some style.  The cool thing about mohair is that is – well – HAIR!  I dab of styling mousse and some improvised rollers and she’s set.


This picture is a little blurry, but doesn’t she look better with curls?


A sweet little braid will keep the hair on top from falling into her face.  She’s almost ready for her debut.  Next step: accessories!


This is starting to become a trend.  You would think that I would be able to remember to post twice a week, but once again I’ve forgotten!  Feeling pretty dumb about it too.  Sheesh!  I mean, sure – I’ve been a little distracted.  Anyone who has watched the news and/or national weather reports knows that Kansas has been pretty active this past week or so.

Nothing bad has happened in my neighborhood, but we’ve been watching each storm closely.  All the emergency supplies have been replenished.  An overnight bag is partially packed and ready to go if necessary.  So far so good.

Except it’s been raining.

A lot.


Before anyone gets too concerned, this river is about four miles from our place.  See that hill in the distance?  There are at least two of them before you get to my neighborhood.  So, we are good.


Just for those who would like to know – this is the Delaware River where it crosses Highway K-9.  Normally the water would be at least 25 feet below this bridge and only a few feet across.  Normally.  Because not only has it been raining here, but it’s coming down in buckets upstream from here.  Oh my.


No crop this year for this field!

So, yeah, I’ve been a little distracted.  I do have some craft projects to show you later on, and I really will try to get back into the schedule of posting – at least to remember WOW and Serendipity! 

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Serendipity Sunday–Clematis

Ever get that nagging feeling you’ve forgotten something?  I stitched today’s serendipity flower.  Check.  Took pictures and downloaded to computer.  Check.  Posted pix to my online class and made some comments.  Check.  Cleared out two days of e-mails.  Check.  Hmmm.  What’s missing?

Er, posting the serendipity flower?  Doh!


It’s such a pretty flower, and easy to make.  Each petal is made of white voile with a piece of bright pink slipped inside.  Gather the six petals and glue a silk flower to the center and you’re done!


I may need to make a couple more for my bouquet.  It’s looking very cheerful, isn’t it?  There’s one more flower in this book, so this project is getting closer to completion.  Yay!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wednesday WOW–May 22


I was able to complete these blocks today.  I’m all ready for the next month’s instructions.  I’ll have to wait a couple of weeks, but that’s OK.  I have plenty of other projects to work on!

When you use the “sew and flip” method of adding that brown corner piece, you end up with a lot of triangles that get trimmed off.  So they became these":


I’m sure I’ll be able to use them some time and they are all pressed and ready to go!  While I still had the scraps out . . . .


The hexies are one-inch and this will become a pincushion.  I do enjoy sewing the hexagons once in awhile.

With that project all done for this month, I had time to start on another fairy tale quilt.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of the progress on that!  But I did take a picture of the fabrics I’m using in it.


I got about four blocks done so there will be plenty to show next week.  This pattern goes really fast, especially when I mis-cut my strips.  The pattern is very forgiving, though.  I think the blocks will just be a little bigger, and as long as I cut the rest of the strips the same size, it will be fine. . . . she said expansively.  Winking smile

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Day at the Dressmaker

More like three or four, actually.  But the doll is now clothed and quite well, if I say so myself!


Unless I am using a pattern, I tend to follow the same steps a (human) clothing designer might follow.  It starts with draping – paper towel in this case.  One trick I use that I hope a real designer would not is to stick a pin into the body at center and side seams.  Ouch!


Sometimes it takes multiple test fittings to get it just right.  You can see here where I am fine tuning the curve over the shoulder.


Once I’ve got something I think will work, I transfer it to paper.  I’ll add seam allowances and grain lines, as well as mark centers or darts.  That way if I want to make this garment again, I’ll have a starting point.  Now we are ready for fabric!


For some items, however, it needs to be plain muslin first.  On the skirt I wanted to test the drapability and also take a practice run at the ruffled seams.  No need to cut into the actual fabric until I’ve answered all my questions.  But I think we are ready at last!



What do you think?  Was it worth all those fittings?  If you’ve seen this year’s Hoffman Challenge fabric, you’ll recognize where this doll will be heading.  After she gets a few more things, of course.  Like – oh, arms maybe – and a head!  That’s coming soon.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Serendipity Sunday–Darling Dahlias

Today’s flower is a dahlia and I couldn’t resist borrowing the title of Susan Wittig Albert’s books for this post (I hope she won’t mind!).


The process was fairly simple – just stitching zig zags along a length of folded fabric.  When the thread was pulled up, it became this:


I’m soooo glad I decided not to make the full projects in this book, because that would have required me to do this six times . . . on about 57” of fabric each!  With my short attention span I could not have made it in one sitting!


This is what the base of the flower looks like.  I added just a bit of stuffing and moved it out into the petals.  Things go together much easier when the center is flatter.


Here it is – one flower and one bud.  Looks good.


And here it is pinned up with the roses.  Looks even better!  I may have to make a vase full of a mixed bouquet one of these days.  And yet another flower is on the schedule for next week.  I wonder what it will be.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wednesday WOW–May 15

Another day at the quilt shop and another quilt top FINISHED!


This isn’t a very big quilt – 43 inches by about 48 inches.  It will make a nice crib quilt or receiving blanker.  No, not for my family!!!!  This is destined for charity and I have enough of the fairy tale prints to make another.  Might even stretch a third from it before I’m done!


But before starting on number 2, I cut these fabrics.  Month one of a Block of the Month program that I’ve been watching and waiting for.  One advantage to a sewing day at the shop is that we get to see what fun projects they are planning before everyone else.  One disadvantage is that we still have to wait to get started – and it can be a long wait!


But this one has finally started and here are the first blocks off the assembly line.  Just wait until you see what’s coming up! 

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Letter to Anonymous

About five years ago now, I posted a nonsense piece about sending party invitations by butterfly.  It was titled “Never Trust A Butterfly” and was pure silliness!  For some reason, this post attracted spammers like crazy – averaging 50 or more daily!  They were entertaining at first so I delayed turning off comments, but really, when is enough?!  I imagethought my regular readers (all 3 of you!) might enjoy some of the silliness as well.

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for your interest in my blog, particularly in my vast knowledge of butterfly behavior.  Since you have not signed your comments, I cannot answer your questions directly, but will attempt to answer in this post.  I hope my answers will provide for further enlightenment.


  • It's great that you've taken the effort and time to aid those out there who are looking for resources within this area.

Thank you.  Although my knowledge is limited to the butterflies I know personally, it’s nice imageto know my efforts are appreciated.

  • Thanks for every other informative web site. Where else may I get that kind of information written in such a perfect means? I've a project that I am simply now operating on, and I have been at the look out for such info.

I’m sorry to say that I do not know of any other resources on the internet.  Perhaps if you ask around your local butterfly community they can direct you.  Good luck on your project.

  • Good way of telling, and good article to obtain information regarding my
    presentation subject, which i am going to deliver in university.

Excellent!  It’s past time academia addressed this important topic.  Perhaps more information will become easier to find soon.  Too bad I cannot direct the second commenter to you, though.  Good luck.

  • Thanks , I've just been looking for information about this topic for a while and yours is the best I have found out so far. However, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you positive about the supply?

imageMy conclusion is that butterflies do not make reliable long-distance messengers.  Short range, however, they should be an adequate means of getting the word out.  My experience has been that the supply is more sufficient during warmer weather, although not to be counted on in cold seasons.




  • An inteгеsting disсussіοn is definitely worth commеnt. Ӏ thinκ that you ought to write moгe abοut this topic, it may not be a taboo matteг but generally
    folks ԁon't speak about such issues. To the next! Best wishes!!

Yes, I have noticed that this issue is not generally spoken about.  Perhaps most people are simply not interested.  On the other hand, see below: 

  • Hi! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a team of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on. You have done a wonderful job!

How wonderful to hear that others are interested in the same issues.  Let me know how your community responds.

  • It's nearly impossible to find knowledgeable people on this topic, however, you seem like you know what you're talking about!

Yes, it seems that there are not many butterfly behaviorists about.  However, these comments seem to suggest there are many more than we imagine!

  • May I simply say what a сomfоrt to uncοvеr an individual ωho genuіnely knows what they are talking about οnline.  You cеrtainly know hοw to bгing a ρrοblem tο light and make it impoгtant. A lot more pеορle should look at this аnd undeгstand this side of yоuг stоry.

Thank you.  I believe this really is an important issue that merits more discussimageion.  In my opinion, too many important messages are going astray simply because people have not carefully considered how they are sending.  Think of all the misunderstandings that could have been prevented!

[This one is my favorite!]

  • I almost never comment, however i did a few searching and wound up here "Never Trust A Butterfly!".  And I do have a few questions for you if it's allright. Could it be simply me or does it appear like a few of the remarks come across as if they are left by brain dead individuals? :-P

While I don’t feel it is my place to remark on my commenter’s intelligence, I must say I have wondered if perhaps many have misunderstood the intent of this post.  It also occurs to me that maybe – just maybe – these readers are not actually reading this blog but really trying to direct readers to their own web sites.  What do you think?



Wishing you well,

The Butterfly Whisperer

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Serendipity Sunday–Coming Up Roses

Like roses usually are in the Spring, these roses are mostly buds. 


These buds are made by simply folding a square – very similar to some of the folded inserts from earlier experiments.  But I did catch one rose in full bloom!


I thought photographing against that yellow would show the red details better.  Looks like it overwhelmed it instead.  Perhaps it’s just as well, since I’m not quite satisfied with this yet.  The directions call for stuffing petals ‘lightly’ – something which apparently I cannot do!  I guess I’ve worked so much to learn to stuff doll parts full and hard that I’ve lost the light touch!  I’ve still got two more roses to stuff, so will try to keep it in mind.


Here is the bloom and a bud pinned against the leaves – a better photo but farther away.

About there only being one bloom today . . . as is usual for me, I decided to make some adjustments to the patterns and one of those was to reduce the size.  These are at about 65%.  Since some of the pieces are small to begin with, I had quite a time working with teensy bits and some of what should have gone quickly on a sewing machine had to be done by hand.  My bright ideas have a way of rebounding sometimes!  That’s me over in the corner.  The one with the black eye.  LOL!

Next week I’ll try another flower.  Maybe I’ll stick to the directions as written.  What do you think?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wednesday WOW–May 8

Off to sew at the quilt shop again today, where I made more blocks of the fairy tale fabric.



I’ve even started sewing rows.  This quilt is going SO MUCH faster than the last one!!  I needed something simple to cleanse the palate, so to speak.  These are fun blocks, too, so I’m enjoying the colors and reminders of favorite stories. 

In other news – Spring has finally shown it’s face in Northeast Kansas.  Yippeeeee!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Serendipity Sunday–But Not So Much

P4210002Continuing with this book I started preparing to make the second flower project.  I started with the layout of stems and leaves that will support this week’s flower – roses.


I also prepared and cut the fabric for the flowers.


Building the vase was fun.  I used some hand-dyed fabric I got from Vicki Welsh and some more of the gold print used in last week’s vase.  The vase is all assembled and tack-fused on release paper – a favorite Chicago School of Fusing technique.


As I zigzagged around all the leaves I had some time to think.  Sometimes it’s good to do a simple, mindless task and let your mind wander.  Sometimes it’s a dangerous thing, too, but we won’t go into that just now!

Anyhoo . . . .

It occurred to me that there is a lot of preparation for each of the projects in this book and one afternoon really is not enough time to finish.  So I asked myself what I’m really hoping to accomplish.  Especially in regard to Serendipity Sunday. 

Serendipity is defined (by Wikipedia) as “the accident of finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it.” I began these Sunday posts as an exploration of new and/or different techniques, choosing books from my craft library as guides.  Taking an adventure through the resources I’ve been collecting over the years and hoping to find some good/useful things along the way.

And I realized that, while enjoyable in themselves, fusing vases and zigzag stitching leaves is not at all different or new!  What a surprise!  LOL!  What I really want from this book is to learn some new flower making techniques. 

Therefore . . . .

Next week I will concentrate on actually making roses!  And in the following weeks I will go directly into constructing the flowers for each of the remaining projects.  I will focus on completing at least one of each flower – more if time allows.  The backgrounds, leaves, and vases can be completed at another time. 

Maybe someday when I’m caught up with all my other projects!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Getting Ahead

I always enjoy seeing a doll’s personality emerge and a major step in that direction is making the head.


I use a colored pencil to draw guidelines to follow when needle sculpting.  The light strokes of the pencil will rub off with a lot of handling.  Most of what’s left will be covered with color later anyway.  I like to use fishing line to sculpt!  It’s almost invisible.


Eyes and mouth are usually painted with acrylics, although sometimes a gel pen provides a perfect eye color.  Here I have outlined the painted areas with Sakura pen.


Colored pencils give the face shadows and highlights.  See how there’s a glimmer of who she is?  I LOVE this part!


Now, THAT’S attitude!  At this point the head and hair are just pinned in place.  I tend to leave hair for the last step since it can get in the way during costuming and such.  Once the wig is glued to her head, it won’t be quite as wild, but it’s fun to have this wild woman around for a few days.

Her arms are ready, but I need to make decisions about the costume first.  Some types of bodice are easier to fit without worrying about the arms getting in the way.  On the other hand, some bodice types can only be added after the arms.  So she will get a break while I work on clothing design.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Little Attitude


This doll got a body and some ‘attitude’ today.  A simple undergarment that does what we all ask of underwear – a little coverage and a little shaping! 

Next up – she needs a good head on those shoulders, don’t you think?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wednesday WOW–May 1

After several weeks away, I was finally able to get back to the quilt shop and work on the never ending purple project.  I had to look back through my photos to find when I started this project.  It was November!  Good grief!  But guess what?


IT’S FINISHED!!!!  Whew!  It’s a bed runner and is longer than the photo shows (I’m too short to pin it on the wall any higher!).  Of course, the next step will be this:


All that paper has to go somewhere.  I seem to be wearing a good bit of it.  LOL!

I did have some time to start on my next project, however. 


This cute fairy tale fabric will make a couple of baby quilts.  I have the first four blocks done.


Ha!  I just noticed how that corner block has a flower right in the center.  You know I could never have cut that on purpose!  Twelve more blocks to go.  Here’s hoping this one does NOT take five months to complete!