AAHH! One more week left of school and it’s summer! Usually by this point, I’ve been sewing for a couple months and the summer sew-along is ready to begin, but this year it’s been delayed by masks and working at home and general stress of life. Anyway…here are your choices:
Vote today!! This is a 1-day poll I’m closing tomorrow morning as soon as I wake up so I can start drafting patterns tomorrow! The SSA will begin as soon as I can get things ready, maybe partway through June?
Lottie has been really busy in my imagination, although sadly I can’t figure out a way to get those images onto the blog LOL. So, to relax, she is staying at a ryokan at an onsen this week. Ryokan are traditional Japanese inns and onsen are hot springs. They are popular weekend destinations for the Japanese, and a “must-do” for tourists. Depending what your price range is (we’re assuming Lottie’s budget is unlimited for this fake-cation 😊) you can bathe in the hot spring and then retire to your private room to have a multi-course Japanese meal served to you at a low table in your tatami room. At bedtime, staff will even come to lay out your futon for you. These places traditionally provide a yukata (unlined, informal kimono) for guests to wear to sleep and walk to and from the hot springs. At hot springs, these are worn with a simple tie like a western bathrobe, instead of the more formal obi – see a guide here: https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2029_dress.html I did baste in a fold at the waist, which is done for kimono because the fold helps it to hang better, but you could eliminate that and hem shorter instead.
So where are the cute Lottie pix? Um…let’s use our imaginations…she’s sitting under a huge, old cherry tree in full bloom on an adorable little sashiko quilt in a pale blue dress with tiny pink flowers. Spread out on the quilt between her and her bunny sidekick is an itty-bitty bento box with some little sushi made from fimo and a thermos of green tea. Bunny is leaning back enjoying the sun on her face, and looking up at the pale pink petals softly drifting down onto the quilt.
[Beginning of some rambling…just scroll down to the bottom for the quilt pattern!]
You know that little girl in the Annie movie that always said, “Oh my goodness, oh my goodness!”? That’s how I’m feeling right now! Working at home is proving much more challenging and time-consuming than I had anticipated. In case you don’t know, I’m a school-based speech-language pathologist, and with the schools closed am having to provide services virtually. Every single one of my students has different needs and I’m working with families to provide services in a way that works best for them while they deal with the challenges of kids off school and interacting via technology. Another major obstacle for me is that we don’t really have a home office/guest room anymore because we have a doll storage room ☹ Yes, it’s that bad. So when my husband’s company ordered everyone to work at home a few weeks ago, he took over the table in the craft room and is there from 8-5 or 7 or midnight every single day. I’m not allowed in when he’s in meetings, which appears to be much of the day, so it was stressful to say the least being on spring break while being sick and having him here in the house, but not interacting with me in a “normal” way (I’m at work, leave me alone!) and, worst of all, blocking access to my craft stuff!
Because I commute around 2 hours per day, depending on traffic, I was thinking that with virtual speech services, I’d have that extra 2 hours a day to work on projects, and the Lottie in Japan would be fun and easy but it’s not exactly working out that way. When your work computer is sitting in your kitchen staring at you, it’s really easy to just turn it on and start responding to email, and when your house becomes your workplace, it’s hard to separate your thinking about home vs. work things. Yes, I’ve got an extra hour in the morning that I don’t spend driving, and that’s great, but it’s hard to focus on something novel and creative, like the next thing Lottie needs, when I know I’ll need to stop at a certain time and I’m simultaneously worrying about what homework pages need to be uploaded for which kids, whether my wifi will cooperate for the meeting coming up, and just how exactly this new model of service delivery is going to work with each individual student.
So, during this time I’m learning that shorter projects, are actually harder for me to do than longer-term projects like weaving, spinning, knitting, hand embroidery, etc. Once a weaving project is planned and on the loom, you can just sit down for a few minutes or an hour and work on something, and with a few minutes here and there, my mother-in-law’s new towels are almost done!
This week’s Lottie quilt will take time if you want it to, or can be a quick/easy/kid-friendly project too! I haven’t actually gotten to it yet, but that’s no reason for you not to!
Thank you everyone for your kind comments after last week’s post! Yes, I’m still sick but getting better. 🙂
This week’s bunny doll project poses with an activity that’s keeping me calm and happy… (Spindle by Tracy Eichheim – his spindles are among my favorites. They have excellent craftsmanship and spin an AMAZINGLY long time. I’ve gotten them in person at wool markets but he has a website here: http://www.woollydesigns.com/spindles/)
So, we had planned to go to Japan last summer, but had to delay it for family reasons. Then we were absolutely positively going to go this summer…or now probably not… ☹
You might remember a few years ago when I took Lottie to Korea: (sorry, wordpress won’t post the link, but if you search “Lottie Korea” in the search box at right you’ll find it. This year I had been planning to take either her or Jossie/Usaggie (below) to Japan, and was planning the summer sew-along to be a wardrobe for for them for the trip, but instead of getting new clothes, they are stuck in the craft room making socks for me on the knitting machine instead:
If you are an aficionado of Japanese doll magazines, you are aware of the existence of Petworks Odeco and Nikki, and a few minutes on Instagram or your favorite picture hosting site will give you even more Odeco/Nikki pix that people have taken of them in various locations in all kinds of cute outfits. My favorite is the artwork here: http://p.booklog.jp/users/petworksdoll?p=3 Although I do have a Nikki, I find Usaggie easier to pose due to her head being more in-proportion with her body.
Even if the Petworks dolls are new to you, readers of this blog are certainly aware of Lottie, who’s about the same size! If your vacation plans have also been postponed, there’s a FABULOUS new series coming for you! Best of all, it uses a tiny doll that you can sew/craft for with tiny scraps of things from your stash so you don’t even need to leave the house. It’s Lottie’s (virtual) Spring Break in Japan! 🥳 And to kick it off, we’re going to make her a sidekick (or you might need to just make the bunny if you don’t have a Lottie and Amazon’s estimated delivery date for the one you ordered last week is April 30th) Best of all, being an animal doll, it can be an anthropomorphic girl or boy or just a bunny.
Last year, Ruby Red Galleria came out with a new, larger bodied doll than their normal small sizes. The series was called “Girls of the Orient” and they were named and costumed along a theme. I was SO excited because of the great poseability that Ten Ping and the 12” Girls in Motion have, and also the lovely face. The face mold fits in well with the Ten Ping family as well as the 12″ YuMa. Unlike the smaller dolls, however, who have hard plastic bodies and sophisticated joints, this body seems to be all the same type of hard vinyl, with simple stringing and articulation at the elbows and knees, much like the Girl for all Time dolls. It’s possible mine is defective or maybe they did something special for their promo pix (below), but mine does not pose her arms in quite the same way.
[BTW, my Kadinana’s original, unworn costume and shoes pictured above are for sale for $60 plus actual shipping – contact me if you’re interested]. The same body was used again for a brand-new line with a face sculpt by Dianna Effner in (I think) late fall of last year. These new ones are called Fashion Friends and at $129 have a somewhat friendlier price point than the $179 MSRP of the GotO.
I’ve gotten a few requests/questions about the FF dolls, and they are VERY difficult to get ahold of right now, so here is a comparison of my Kadinana to other dolls of similar sizes you might be more familiar with.
In case you’re wondering…yes, there are patterns in the works eventually. I actually started sewing for Kadinana in October when I got her, but none of her lovely creations have made it to the blog yet. 🙂 She’s pretty much the same size as the MIM and Kish Chrysalis dolls and I was able to use the patterns from the infinity dress collection here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/235471701/infinity-dress-pattern-for-dolls-from-10
Speaking of 14” dolls…if you’re looking to use your sewing skills to contribute to a worthy cause, check out Stitchin’ for Kids. They create wardrobes for 14” Hearts for Hearts dolls to give to children experiencing long hospital stays. More info here: https://www.stitchinforkids.org/
Sew your bunny or find your Lottie, her “vacation” posts start next week!
I find the dentist stressful under the best of situations, and recently had a more-stressful-than-normal visit. I tried to help my mind go to a “happy place,” like a favorite hiking spot, but strangely enough, where it went was…lazy daisy stitches. Yep, that’s a weird, random thing, especially for someone that doesn’t do a whole lot of hand embroidery, but as strange as it was, seeing the needle pulling thread through the fabric and forming each little flower petal in my mind was completely absorbing and I could ignore everything else.
I came home and started a project, based on a 1930s Patsy dress, and this morning, when our school district announced a two-week closure, I sat down and focused on nothing but lazy daisies and French knots and finished it.
If you are stressed right now, maybe this will help you too.
Go find a scrap of white/solid-color fabric in your stash and a few yards of embroidery floss and get started embroidering this collar. Make sure to leave enough extra fabric around the design to cut out the collar later – maybe about 4″ all around measuring from the center of the biggest flower. We’ll make the rest of the dress (to fit 18” dolls) and there will be a more complete post next week!
The tutorial details how to use cricut holographic film to create snowflake designs like I did, but note that even though I followed the package instructions to the letter, a couple of the snowflakes started peeling off at the edges a few hours later. ☹ I’d probably use freezer paper stencils and fabric paint if I were doing it over again, even though the sparkle effect is so cute.