Strumpet Barbie

A friend bought Moon Munkie a Barbie-esque dolly back from her holidays. I feel ambiguous about these toys. On the one hand pretty dollies are a mainstay of childhood. They encourage imaginative play; life skills like hair brushing, face washing and getting dressed; they assist with development of fine motor skills as tiny fingers learn to dress and undress, do up and undo; and generally they make little ones happy. One the other hand, they seem to promote a type of beauty that is unachievable for most women; reinforce an unhealthy focus on appearance, hair, clothes and weight; and I feel that they encourage a materialistic and consumer-orientated approach to life too.

So here’s my dilemma. As a kid I wanted a Sindy so badly. I asked for one for months. My Mum eventually capitulated. I was so excited as I opened my Christmas present, knowing there would be a dolly in it for me.
And there was. A freckled Sindy with long chestnut hair. And a trench coat… A long, toad-green, trench coat.

Here’s a cracking photo of me, having just opened it, before I got my “polite face” on, holding the dolly with an expression that clearly says, “What the Dickens is that? ” Of course, in my 4 year old naivety, I hadn’t specified that I wanted a dolly with a pretty dress, it just seemed obvious.

[Edit: Having re read this, I'm concerned that I sound like I'm whingeing. Really, I'm not. With hindsight my Mum probably had similar ambivalence towards the pointy-plastic-breasted ones as I have now. My life was not ruined. I am not emotionally scarred! I learned to sew in order to make new clothes for her. It's just a funny story.]


That’s part one of the dilemma. I wanted one, so badly that I don’t want to say no out of hand. Part two is that Moon Munkie fell instantly in love with what I’ve come to call Strumpet Barbie. Of course she did. She’s a dolly with blonde hair to her knees and a “pretty” [read: slutty] gold and red dress. With gold metallic decoration. What’s not to love when you’re 2 and a half?
Anyway, I’ve decided not to make too much of a fuss for now.  Trollop Barbie can stay, although I’ve made her a new princess dress which is altogether more demure and  pleasing. I got a lovely and very easy tutorial from Miss B Couture. Given that I think she’s writing in her second language, this tutorial was easy to follow and easy to adjust to a slightly different doll. Also, I wanted it to be a long dress right to the floor.

It was a quick make, just a couple of hours. The top fabric was sheer and hard to work with. I was toying with making Moon Munkie the same costume. But I don’t  know if I physically could. I’m not good with slippy fabrics.

And that should be the end of the story. But after I’d taken the photos for this post, I presented Princess Barbie to Moon Munkie, full of motherly pride and creative joy at having made something so lovely for her. She gave me a look reminiscent of trench coats and said, “I want red one.”

*sigh*

Streetwalker Barbie is back.

Guilty.

I seem to have lost my Makery Mojo somewhat recently. Just lacking in inspiration, and creativity. I think I’ve probably contracted some rare tropical disease because I’ve been focusing on cleanery and laundery(!) rather than makery. For people that know me, this is serious… I’ve never met a duster I liked.

So my house is sparkly but my sewing machine is gathering dust. Along with the dust, once nebulous feelings of craft guilt are starting to coagulate in a thick patina on the inside of my skull. And this post is a shameless attempt to break through. So here is the list of things I’m feeling guilty about right now.

- Not posting about the Mystery Makery that is going on world wide. It’s taken off well. I just haven’t been keeping up with it.

-Not completing my own Mystery Makes from the Seek Speak (who is doing a very cool giveaway at the moment!) and Modern Vintage Cupcakes (go and see how cute she is with her baby bump, it will make your day.)

-The incomplete cardigan I started at Christmas for Moon Munkie. Just one sleeve left. Why can’t I pick it up?

-The large bag of dress making fabric bought at a whim and stroked lovingly many times. But as of yet uncut.

-Map bunting for my classroom

-Final hemming of the hallway curtains.

-Blackout curtains for Moon Munkie’s new bedroom

-I haven’t written in Moon Munkie’s journal for a couple of months either. Which isn’t officially makery, but it comes from the same bit of me that isn’t working at the moment. Wish I could locate that spot and give it a prod.

I could go on, but it’s not really helping. I’m just feeling worse. So I’m going to post a picture of the only makery I’ve been up to in a fortnight. Some small eco-systems for my classroom. The little growing plants make me happy.  I hope that Year 8 are happy too when they make theirs. I’m especially fond of the tall one which has a pond eco sytem at the bottom linked to a soil eco system at the top. I found the idea here.  I love it but I couldn’t bring myself to introduce live animals and insects to such a small environment. No point in starting my own version of the Hunger Games.  

Moon Munkie has planted a whole trough of her own plants too. She came running inan hour later to see if they’d grown and her little sad face broke my heart. A hard life lesson to learn there.

Moon Munkie Mystery Make Update.

Oh, look! The MoonMunkie Mystery Make!

Outer Cover - Moon Munkie Mystery

JMdayis super talented all round. Is there anything she can’t turn a hand to? I doubt it. And inspite of not loving the colour combinations I’d sent, she still managed to produce a fabulous book cover. It’s gorgeous. Look at the way she cut the fabric and restitched it to turn straight lines to zigzags! I want to make one just the same for my Bible, with a little pocket to put my notice sheets in. 

 And Seek Speak is working on several smaller projects using Moon Munkie Mystery Make materials. She’s designing pretty things for a baby shower in May. I love both of her projects so far. These little sweetpea blossoms are amazing. What an imagination that lady has. I’m also loving the twisted vine lettering. Lucky mummy-to-be!

And now a confession. I haven’t started my own mystery make project which I reveived from SeekSpeak. And even worse – I received surprise packet from Modern Vintage Cupcakes. I really wasn’t expecting it at all. It was full of awesome stuff. And I haven’t even had time to photograph it all yet, let alone begin making anything. I’m so sorry. Maybe this week…. maybe next week.

And I should also confess now, while I’m on a roll, that the pretty booties I made for the babies last week ARE TOO SMALL!! For both babies! I have no idea what happened. Perhaps the babies of Cardiff have anomolously large feet, although they both looked perfectly proportioned all over to me. More likely my tension was bad and chopped necessary milimetres off the length of the booties. Better try harder next time.

Complete Surprise

I received an complete surprise in the mail yesterday.  I had 100% forgotten that I was one of 5 winners of Seek Speak’s  Moon Munkie Mystery Make. And yesteday a wonderful packet arrived. It was HUGE! And crammed full of goodies, all wrapped in a gorgeous brown scarf. I don’t think I’m going to be able to cut that. It might just have to be worn as it is.

Here’s what was inside.

  • A beautiful blue vest top with a beaded top.
  • A length of the softest pink gingham with a floral motif
  • A length of white lace curtain
  • A piece of batik in browns
  • A suns and stars fabric in blue and bright yellow
  • 5 gorgeous origami papers and a heart cut out of a similar design
  • A metre or more of 1 inch elastic in pwder blue
  • A metre or more of a dainty lace trim n yellow and white
  • And my favourite item: a dress pattern. It’s a lovely long dress and even better, it has the words EASY across the top. So I might even be able to make something I can wear.
  • A white plastic grid thingy (bottom left of the photo). I have no idea what this is. It’s divided into small squares and they are sectioned off in larger squares. It’s very flexible. Maybe for a tapestry? If you know what it is, do let me know!

Oh, how exciting. I have 420 ideas just now, but I don’t know where I’ll eventually go. Do please give me your ideas in the comments

Can’t stop thinking about pyjamas

Since the end of my self-imposed embargo of new projects during February, March has been a bit of a whirlwind. Ideas that were backing up for the whole of February have been fighting amongst themselves for my attention. I just can’t stop thinking about making a set of matching pyjama trousers for Moon Munkie and myself. I would make some for Mr Munkie too, but I don’t think he’d approve. Yellow and white stripes would be perfect. Ideally I’d like to make the out of upcycled sheets or a duvet cover. Having trawled every charity shop between here and the Arctic Circle, I’m coming up empty handed. So keep your eyes peeled for funky yellow and white striped fabric and let me know.

So far I’ve completed a pretty little dress for Moon Munkie and a dark green Melton wool poncho for myelf. There we are in the picture together trying to pretend it was warm. Ignore my hair, it’s the post-swimming look. The daffodils are just beginning to peep through, although given today’s temperature I think they’ll be regretting it! We found that little flower head on the floor and Moon Munkie crowed with joy because we’d had a long talk regarding Not Picking Flowers before we went. The dress was an impulse make last Tuesday. It’s made from quilting fabric I already had, using a free pattern by Made by Rae. I made it in the toddler size, but she also has the pattern for babies-  even for preemies. In fact, it’s called the Itty Bitty Baby Dress and she designed it because she wanted something to fit a newborn in a way that shop bought clothes never quite do. The dress took just 3 hours from cutting right through to hand stitching the lining. Perfect impulse make if you have a spare evening and some pretty fabric to hand.

Moon Munkie loves it because it’s got that princess-ballerina feel as you spin. “Dancing dress, dancing dress!” she sings happily to herself as she twirls.

          

I’ve also cut all the pieces to make 10 tiny mice and this evening I finally got brave enough to cut into my favourite jersey fabric in order to make a top for myself. I should perhaps note that until this month, March 2012, I have never sewn (sewed?) myself a single item of clothing. The thought terrifies me. But the poncho (photo right, don’t laugh at my weird fingers, I was nervous) was a success, if you don’t mind that I look like a Hobbit. It needs something to break up all of that green. I can’t decided between something elegant and grown up – a ruffle in the same moss green for example. Or something shabby chic – faux patches in a floral fabric and a blanket stitch edging maybe. Do let me know what you think in the comments. That collar needs interfacing too, as it has a life of its own at the moment.

Baby Blankets

 These were my most recent commission. And I’m quietly pleased with them. Twin baby girls, friends of a friend of a friend (catch that?) born 2 weeks ago.  The request was that they be very girly with their names on. So I went with pink and peppermint polka dots with a constrasting cream fleece.

Initially I thought that it would just be a square blanket with their names on, but as I started to sew I realised how easy it would be to put a contrasting fleece-lined hood onto the cream side. So the teeny-tiny twinnies will be cosy-warm and snug.

I don’t have an embroidery machine (yet… one day one will fall out of the sky as I’m walking past and beg me to carry it home…) so that limits my options a bit for putting names on.  I like applique, but  machine applique on tiny letters requires more skill than I possess. So I went for hand applique. It was ok, but I still prefer the smooth professional look that machine applique gives.

 

Just as a post script: Has this ever happened to anyone else? I managed to sew through my presser foot whilst making the baby quilts. Sometimes living with Noak (my Swedish-made trusty steed…) is like having a sulky teenager in the house. I select a straight stitch and he refuses and goes ahead with a zigzag. One day I’m going to come home from a weekend away and find he’s thrown a party in my absence. There’ll be a suspicious collection of sewing machine oil bottles in the recycling bin; a tell-tale strand of pink cotton where girl sewing machines have been going through my lipsticks; and on closer inspection I’ll find someone has thrown up behind the piano. But I’ll still love him anyway.

Moon Munkie Mystery Make Giveaway Experiment

*This competition is now closed. Winners will be announced soon.*

I so enjoyed taking part in Sew Thankful last week. It was great to be talking with people from all over the place who sew all kinds of things. It’s given me confidence to attempt an experiment which I’ve been wanting to try for a while. And here it is: the Moon Munkie Mystery Make. I have 4 mystery parcels. They are bursting at the seams with beautiful bits and pieces from my stash. The packages are almost identical in content: more than 20 items in each. Some vintage some more modern, with a colour theme running through. I want to give them away. Would you like one?

If you do, then read on and see the guidelines for the giveaway.

1) They need to go to people with sewing or crafting type blogs which are updated at least weekly. Regularly. Weekly is too hard when we’re all busy making.

2) From the date you receive the parcel, you have 4 weeks to create something inspired by the items in the parcel.

3) You may use all or some of the items in the parcel and you may add from your own stash or buy additional items.

5) At the end of the 4 weeks (or before if you’re quick!) you agree to blog about the item you made (with a link to Moon Munkie) and the processes you went through – with pictures of course!  You can also blog as you go along if you like.  A tutorial for making your item is not essential, but would be appreciated!

6) I will also blog about the challenge. I’ll link to your blog from mine and from my facebook page. So hopefully your blog will get lots of extra visits, too.

 7) Optional You could then do the same sort of thing. Offer 4 packages from your stash to other crafters. I wonder how far it would spread?  I hope you will do this, but I don’t want to make it mandatory in case it puts people off joining in. [Edit: I didn't mean for people to do this until they're ready. It's not a condition for entering.]

So, if you think this would be fun grab the Moon Munkie Mystery Make button and show it on your blog, so other people can hear and take part. Then leave a comment below to tell me a bit about you. Put a link to your blog. I’ll leave the competition open until Tuesday 21st February and then I’ll use a random number generator to pick four people.

I do hope that lots of people want to take part. I’m thinking of making it a regular feature if it’s popular.

 

And the winner is…

I’m really pleased to announce that the winner of the Sew Thankful Week Giveaway is House of Pinheiro! And  I do recommend that you pop over there and have a look at her amazing blog. Is there anything the woman can’t do? She’s got a Valentine Giveaway going on all month, too. So well worth a visit. Thanks to everyone who took part and also to everyone else who did Sew Thankful Giveaways. It was such a fun week and I came across lots of cool makers out there in Internet Land.

In the same vein, I’m going to be starting another competition tomorrow. It’s called the Moon Munkie Mystery Make. I have 4 paper packages (tied up with string) containing a few of my favourite things. Pop back tomorrow to find out how to get your hands on one of them.

 

 

Finish-up February

I have too many projects on the go. I’m starting to feel guilty that some of them haven’t seen the light of day for months. Quite a lot of  months in some cases. Years even. I’m a starter. I get an idea and I begin and then I get another idea and I begin that. I lie awake at night wishing there were  more hours for Makery in a day. But even if there were, I’d probably use them up starting new projects and ignoring ones that have already begun.

So I’ve made a promise to myself that until the end of February I will just work on projects that are already started. And I’ll keep a notebook handy for writing down all the ideas that come during that time, so that I don’t forget them. No New Starting until March 1st. That’s only 17 days. I wonder how much I can get finished up in that time?

Here are some of the things that are on my finish-up list:

  • Sirdar Baby Crofter Fairisle Cardigan for Moon Munkie
  • Debbie Bliss Hooded Kaftan also for Moon Munkie (just needs to be stitched together, but I don’t know how yet!)
  • 2x fleecey baby blankets for twin newborns – friends of a friend of a friend. (finished 18/2/12)
  • 2x quilts made from baby clothes for twins who are friends with Moon Munkie – this is my biggest guilt trip as I began them more than a year ago. (done as much as possible, now waiting on a decision about backing from the twin’s Mama)
  • Felt tree with birds, leaves and weather bits and pieces for teaching Moon Munkie
  • Cabled scarf for a friend
  • Oven gloves I began on a course in November 2010. Just need binding and they’re done!
  • Wooden beading on Moon Munkie’s play table to hold the light table / mirror in place.
  • Set of bean bag fish  – I’ve even forgotten why I was making these, so I can’t see them getting finished now until I think of a reason.
  • Bibs – which the babies I began them for have now grown out of.
  • Baby kimonos from Amy Butler’s Little Stitches - see note on bibs.
  • Jelly roll quilt – I fell out of love with the colours soon after it was started and so it’s cut up but I’m reluctant to go back to it.

I know for sure that I won’t be able to get all of this done in 17 days, but I’m going to see if I can get some of the more important projects tidied away.  Let me know in the comments if you have the same issue! And don’t forget to enter the giveaway. 2 days left now.

Nappies for Baby dolly

 

Today Moon Munkie was playing with Baby. She wanted to change her nappy but the disposables I have were WAY too big for the 14″ dolly. She was having the best time, but the big girl nappies were less than satisfactory. When it was time for Moon Munkie to go to bed, we convinced her that Baby needed to stay downstairs tonight. And I spent a pleasurable hour stitching up 3 little reusables. They are so sweet and I managed to design the pattern, cut, stitch and finish off in about an hour and a half. So if your little one’s little one needs a clean bott, as we say in the Munkie Household, then grab the Reusable nappies for baby dollies template and photo tutorial.

 This is my first photo tutorial, so I’d be really grateful to hear what you think. If it’s not useful, how could I do better? If you decide to try, don’t forget to send me a picture and let me know how you get on!