It is official: I’ve decided on Belle’s birthday present.
Long ago and far away I began to try to make a decision regarding a specific doll type to focus on for Belle. As she’s our only girl chit, she tends to get extremely girly presents. However, I wanted an option that wouldn’t only be girly but could be expanded into a whole doll world where she could have any type of doll-life. As Craftster is where I go to drool over amazing talent, I obviously stopped off there first.
I saw Blythe.
And I saw Pullip.
Dals, Minis, American Girls, the list goes on and on.
I sighed a little and dreamed of the day when I’d be willing to throw over $100 at one doll, that was likely to experience an untimely death at the hands of the chits.
Then the skies opened and showed me…
These aren’t even all of my favorites, there are so many options!
Poppet gave me exactly what I wanted. A doll with endless options. It is a super cute pattern and all the reviews that I’ve read say that it is relatively easy. I can see how poppets could easily take $100 to make, but I feel that would be $100 well spent. Whereas if I bought a Blythe or Pullip, I’d have to settle on only one, with Poppet, I can easily make as many as I’d like, once I figure out how to do so!
The Poppet pattern is available on ghilie’s blog Good Cookie Creations. You can also find the pattern for Punkin on the same page.
There are many tutes on how to do the trickier parts of the Poppet.
So while looking through patterns and projects trying to get an idea of what I wanted to make for Belle for her birthday I came to the realization that nothing was what I wanted because I already knew exactly what I wanted. (How’s that for a run-on sentence?) I want to make a Poppet. They are so cute and great and I know that Belle will flip for it. Or, so I hope. I’m going to spend what looks like a LOT of time making this doll so I’m hoping that she’ll flip out.
I’ve decided to go with purple fleece (as I have some in my stash) for the body. I’m most likely making a fairy poppet but I’ve yet to make a firm decision on that. I have to order a few supplies which I’m going to express ship and then I can get started. The poppets that most catch my eye are those with multi-colored hair so that’s what I’m going with in shades of blue, pink, and purple. Possibly a bit of orange as I just can’t seem to get enough orange.
Meanwhile I’m still reading “The Constant Princess” (I don’t know where I thought I was going to get those extra hours in the day to finish the book yesterday when I’m still only in the first half) and working on completing two baby hats. Luckily I’m going to get a little break as I don’t have any birthdays/holidays that I’ll want to craft for until Easter.
I’ve frogged the baby hat I was working on. It was almost done but I didn’t like the bunching of a hat that started out as a square. Now I’m going to make a round baby hat. I’m also working on narrowing down a birthday present for Belle. Some ideas bumping around in my brain:
I’m going to get started on my Christmas gifts. I realize it is only May but December comes around very quickly when you are making presents.
The first project on the list is a puppet theater and some puppets. Though I would like to do something in the size of a small playhouse, I don’t have the room or storage space for that. Also, I want it to be relatively portable so I’ve decided to do one of the doorway hanging types. I don’t think I’ll buy a pattern though, not when there are plenty of free options for puppets/puppet theaters. Last Christmas I made a puppet each for Fin and Dul which were a big hit.
For the theater itself, I want it to be fairly elaborate, kind of like this paper doll puppet theater from Altered Artifacts on Etsy. Of course, it will be fabric, not paper, and will be a bit larger than the one pictured but I like the detail and the type of theater pictured in that link. I’m not big on circus themes as I don’t like circuses themselves (animal cruelty, etc.) and I don’t like the bold, contrasting colors. I’m thinking more along the lines of a theater that one might find in Medieval times (or the stereotypical type found in movies depicting that time).
I also want the kids to be able to take it down and put it up easily. I’m thinking of some type of hooks on the doorways, or perhaps something that can be pinned up in some (safe) way. I’m still working on that part of the idea.
I want there to be some sort of shelf-type thing where the kids can put up props and such. I also want there to be an option to change out the background scenery, thus enabling them to be creative and make their own backdrops. Another idea that I’ll have to look into a bit further.
As for the puppets themselves, I want to make a lot. Farm animals, sea animals, exotic animals, basically, if there is an animal, I want to make it. People of all types, from historic characters to present day occupations (mailman, etc.) are also on my list. Dragons and other fantastical creatures are on my list as well. I’ll buy some patterns such as these pond puppets from Rainbow Valley on Etsy.
I like the storage case that was made with this puppet theater. With as much work as I’m putting into this idea, I want to ensure that I have proper storage so it doesn’t get ruined just laying around.
Over at Craftster they are hosting a thread called Toybox Tuesday. I’m going to use that as my goal marker. The idea is that each Tuesday another thread will be started wherein people post pictures of toys they’ve completed over the past week. It seems like a cool idea and one that will help me keep on track.
I finally finished! I’m so proud of this purse, even the mistakes. In a few places the stitches are kind of wonky and I’m not the best at hand-sewing but still, I made a PURSE!
First of all, let me say that laughing purple goldfish designs‘ Easy Peasy Crochet Bag is the best pattern ever! It was easy to follow and I love all the accompanying pictures. I was able to make the bag the size I wanted without having to do math (math hates me and the feeling is mutual) and with relative ease. No, not even relative. This bag was incredibly easy to crochet. Her tutorial on how to line a bag was essential in the making of Belle’s purse.
To make the size I wanted, I just crocheted a rectangle until I felt it was big enough. Once the purse started taking shape, I thought it was too big and wanted to rip it out. The Husband, knowing my flakiness, suggested that I just continue on. I often get frustrated when I rip something out and start over and then I never finish the project. So I followed his advice and continued on, with misgivings. At that point I hated the yarn I (*ahem* I mean Belle) had chosen, I didn’t like the shape of the bag, and the stitches looked too plain. This being my first purse and for my little girl at that, I wanted it to be perfect. However, I soldiered on and I’m glad I did.
As I got to the top of the bag, I began to think of the edging. I liked the frilly edging on the bag that laughing purple goldfish had made but I wanted something different. After a little thought I decided to crochet an alternating pattern of front post and back post stitches. It turned out beautifully and I’m definitely going to edge another bag that way.
After I finished crocheting the purse, I weaved a little of the crochet ribbon through the bottom of the posts on the edging. Again, I messed up a little as part of the yarn bunched together and I couldn’t get it straight. Frustrated, I left it as it was and moved on. Perfection was not my goal, I was just trying to make something beautiful for my Belle.
For the lining, I used some tie dye material that I’d bought awhile back for diapers. I believe it is flannel though it is smooth and not the pilly kind. I followed laughing purple goldfish’s directions on measuring it, meaning that I didn’t. I just put the bag on top of the fabric and cut around it, leaving a bit extra on all sides. In retrospect, I should have used a little less on the sides as the fabric was too big, something I didn’t notice until I was halfway through handstitching it inside the purse. It’s ok though, I just folded the fabric over a bit and stitched it in. I sewed the lining together using my machine after starting to sew it by hand and realizing that it was going to take a long time. For the pocket, I just cut a piece of fabric into the size I wanted, leaving a little extra to fold over and stitch through, like a hem. I attached the pocket to the lining before sewing the lining together.
The stitching on the pocket is a bit wonky as again, I’m not very good at sewing by hand. But I love it all the same, in fact probably a little more than if I’d used my machine to sew it in.
After sewing the lining in, I decided to dive in and give it a zipper. I’d been wavering on that as I wasn’t sure if I could do it and I didn’t want to ruin the purse. But after the lining was in, my sister told me that it looked like a basket. At that point I figured that I wouldn’t be happy with the purse if there wasn’t a zipper so I dove in. I wasn’t able to find a tutorial on sewing in a zipper. I think I found one awhile back but I didn’t want to waste time digging through my bookmarks in an attempt to find it so I just stitched it in by hand, much the same as I did the lining. I matched it up with the edge of the lining and sewed through that and the front loop of the top of the purse’s edging. I like the way it turned out.
Finally I made the straps. I’d meant to do them prior to putting in the lining but I forgot and didn’t remember until it was too late and the lining was already mostly in the bag. So I improvised. If you remember, I’d been debating having fabric straps to give it some stability. However, I don’t have a fabric that I felt complimented the bag in the way I envisioned so instead I used two strands of yarn and crocheted them together. One was the yarn I’d used to crochet the bag’s body and one was the crochet ribbon that I’d just purchased (75% off!!). I ripped out and redid it many times as I wasn’t sure of the stitches I wanted or how to place them. I also kept changing my mind on whether or not I wanted the ribbon included on the straps in this way or if I wanted to just weave it through, like on the body of the purse. I ended up chaining six, then skipping a couple stitches and crocheting the rest in double crochet. Each row was four stitches, with the turning chain of three stitches counting as the first stitch on the next row. I skipped the first stitch and ended the rows by crocheting into the turning stitch of the row below.
By the way, if you are just learning to crochet or just need some tips, I love Crochet Kitten‘s site. The tutorial section is very easy to read and there are plenty of pictures to help you out.
At this point, Belle went to nap and I wasn’t able to measure the strap against her body. Because of this, I believe I made the strap too long. I won’t know until she wakes up and I can try it on her. Because she’s a toddler I decided that I wanted the strap to be long enough to put it across her shoulders like a messanger bag. Depending on how long it is, I might have to fix the length so we’ll see.
To attach the strap, I had a vision in my mind of how I wanted it to look. Basically I wanted to crochet it to the posts with the body of the purse easing up into the straps, seamlessly. However, that wasn’t what I got. I ended up crocheting it to the bottom of the posts on the edging using a double crochet across the bottom of the strap and then weaving the edges in. Not what I wanted but I still like it.
And finally, I am done. All in all, this purse was easy. I got bogged down in some of the details but it helped that I’d made some decisions (such as having a lining, a pocket, and a zipper) beforehand. Remaining flexible is what helped this purse to come into being as there were quite a few times when I would have given up in the past. I sewed the lining in wrong, the seams are not on the short ends of the rectangle which made the pocket be in a weird position. The strap is most likely too long and there are flaws that even a non-crafter can see. However, I think it is beautiful and I’m going to be so proud to give it to Belle. I’m already thinking of making another bag, slightly larger, as a Christmas gift for my sister.
And now, for some purse porn.
Taking a peek inside the bag to see the wonderful, wonderful lining.
All zipped up and ready to go.
The bag is floppy but stable, much like many of my purses. (Um, I may or may not have a purse addition.)
A little shrubbery in the shot to liven it up.
And of course…
The ever popular “Hey, I’m just a bag hanging here, minding my own business.” shot.
I’m working on finishing Belle’s purse. Now that I’ve dug into my fabric stash to make diapers, I’ve found more fabric that I can line the purse with. I’ve got a pattern that will go great with the color of the purse, so I’m excited again. I’m going to try to finish it today so look forward to pictures tomorrow.
I have a looong list of favorites on Ravelry. Each time I go peruse the list I debate with myself over the intelligence of including knitting patterns. I don’t knit. I bought knitting needles at one point and though I enjoyed the activity, I never got further than knitting a little block. So why include patterns on my favorites page just to torture myself?
I want to learn to knit. The overabundance of knitting patterns is a big draw. Also, I like the look of knit clothing better than that of crochet. However all the supplies, the fact that knitting isn’t something that you can set down at anytime like you can with crochet (a big drawback as the zoo of children residing in my household frequently require me to fling whatever is in my hands at the moment to the ground so as to properly pull a SuperMama move), and my own stubborn nature all keep me from attempting to learn.
Well, I’m finally putting all of that aside. I’ve decided to finally learn how to knit. I’ve decided that my first project will be a pair of Sucky Thumb Mitts for Belle. I love fingerless mitts and these look easy enough. Now to order the yarn and needles from KnitPicks… I think I’ll pay for the more expensive shipping this time as last time it took an extremely long time to get my delivery and I want to get started on these soon so they’ll be done for fall.
One of the presents we gave Belle for her birthday or Christmas (that’s what happens when celebrations are so close together, though at the time I put a bunch of effort into recognizing them distinctly, in the end they meld together in my mind) was a boom box. Yes, I am old and I call them boom boxes. Whatevs. I was a child in the 80s, grew up in the 90s, and guess what? They are boom boxes to me, forever. Anyway so this boom box (fine, radio) was the greatest investment ever. Every time she goes to sleep, we turn it on to a classical radio station and she sleeps so long. It is so beautiful. She sleeps through the entire night and it is all due to the beautiful, wonderful radio. When we first bought it she still woke up once a night and had a little party. The music keeps her sleeping soundly for the entire night. As I type, she is sleeping like a teenager (whoever coined the “baby” part of that phrase apparently never had children) on summer break. It is fantastic.