Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Catching Up

December was a kind of blur.
There were 9 concerts (seven sung, one conducted, one facilitated with 20 piano students), one radio appearance (with The Singers), 1 dollhouse rehabbed, 10 Christmas stockings, half a mitten and a hat knitted, one birthday party (12 years old on 12/12, we celebrated with a dozen sprays of roses, and a dozen donuts)

One long-overdue Christmas present of a back porch mural at my parents' house.

 Two Christmas Eve services, between which we had a little pre-Christmas gifting.

Christmas morning, and lots of family time.

A terrifying performance of Mozart's Laudamus Te at church (morning service, woke up with the sneezies, low A, high C, what could go wrong? It was actually fine, but I was pretty nervous about it!)
And as a capper on it all, I am teaching two kids' sewing camps this week.
I'm so very lucky to be surrounded by art and music and loved ones, I wish the same for you.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Home Improvements, Continued

After a week of knitting stockings I finally had some time to work on my little house today.
First I gave everything a quick coat of paint, there was some very 1980s wallpaper in some of the rooms, and the others were mere primed, so they needed some sprucing up.
Then I took scrapbook paper and wallpapered the walls and a couple of the floors.
Yesterday, I saw some cool puck lights that operate wirelessly to a remote, but they were out of them when I went back to Target this morning.
Then, I saw these and I knew they'd work perfectly.

I hot-glued them in place, and it seems to be working so far.

Once the interior was finished I started on the furniture.
I had a pack of balsa pieces from Michael's, and I built this quick sofa with three pieces and some hot glue.

Next I made some futon-like cushions with some batting and some fabric scraps.
I will admit to hot-gluing those too. I was on a roll...
I made a couple of beds too, but didn't get a photo, apparently.

It was so fun wallpapering these tiny rooms. They're not perfect, but The Youngest won't really care.
We got a family of dolls from Lakeshore Learning, and I think we're almost done.
I saw a tutorial for dollhouse decor that included printing out appliances for the kitchen walls, and I will say that I am tempted, but I think I'll refrain from any further fussing with the house.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Home Improvements

Well, the house has been calling me in the late hours of the evening.
Last night I painted the bulk of the exterior.

There are still a few spots that need some touch up. Also, I don't know how I am going to wash those windows from the inside, those rooms are really deep. 
The chimneys need some attention; many of the bricks have fallen off and the side of this chimney was the worst. I removed the remaining bricks from this section and I'll use them for patches elsewhere. I went to Michaels and picked up some sculpey to make one big patch, but the colors weren't right so I got some help at the local art shop and came back and got to work.
First, I found some furniture pads that were about the same width of the original bricks, and rolled out the sculpey between them so it all came out the same width.

Then I evened up the edges, and added in lines with my high-tech tools a ruler and a butter knife.
Since the bricks are a little uneven on the house, I didn't worry too much about keeping them perfect.
I baked the sculpey, and once it cooled I painted it and I am pretty pleased with it, It's a little darker than the original bricks but way better than the hot pink.
I tried to hot glue the patch into place, but it was just too cold in my basement, so I used some other super stinky adhesive, and then you have to hold it in place with tape.
Now, we wait...
I'm trying not to become obsessed with this project, but it's pretty fun!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Photo Shoot

This morning in my Wednesday Job we did a little photo shoot with the kids.
We like to have a group shot for the kiddos for Christmas.
I got a couple of keepers of The Youngest, I love my new camera so far.

In other news, she got a haircut. I can't decide if I love it, but she certainly does.
Be safe out there, all you wonderful people.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Christmas Prep

I got a stocking order last week for a friend's family. All of them were to have the same background pattern and then personalized tops. As it happened, I had a whirlwind trip to Chicago this weekend with The Singers MCA, which included 12 hours of bus riding. Since I wanted to maximize my productivity, I worked on all three in a long tube. I worked the foot portion and added in holder yarn for an afterthought heel, then when I had enough length I broke the yarn and worked one row of extra yarn so I could come back later and work the remainder of the stocking. 
(Christmas came early, I got a new camera, but I hit a snag. Funny story: we have two usb ports on the computer, but I need the camera, the mouse and the Wi-Fi connections to upload photos... I'll put my tech support on it when he gets home) 

 Once I got home I pulled out the extra yarn and was able to knit the toe and heel. Then I added the mushrooms (so sweet) and the name (which is hidden, lest the recipient is reading) and a loop for hanging.
 (The Wiz was a perfect accompaniment to knitting)
One down, two to go.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


So many ends to weave in.
Otherwise entitled - How I Spent My Tuesday Evening

Monday, November 30, 2015

A Welcome Distraction

So, Saturday morning I saw a message on our neighborhood email list that there was a free dollhouse available.
It just so happens that The Youngest asked for a dollhouse for Christmas, so I said yes!
I ran over to get it (I had been warned that we'd need two people to carry it, so I brought the Hubby along) and was a little super excited when I saw this-

I had also been warned that it needed a little love, which wasn't an exaggeration.
There was a broken tread on the stairs, so I pulled it out and used some veneer I had lying around to build a new one.

The actual bricks on the chimneys look pretty rough,

so I went to Michael's and grabbed some Sculpey to make some new bricks.
I did look in at the hobby shop for some pre-made bricks, but their selection of doll house stuff was, frankly, terrible. It was more of a miniature railroad type of a place...

I also got a pad of scrapbook paper for rugs and wallpaper.
(I like this one the best)

Now I need to get some paint, the all over gray look isn't quite doing it for me.

There are 4 weeks until Christmas, but I also have four Christmas stockings to knit, so the hours are looking awfully limited.

After all the practice we got painting everything in our last house, the Hubby got to be really good at it, we can collaborate on that piece of the puzzle.

I know for sure that this kind project is just a distraction from the horrible things going on all around. I weep for the people lost and injured in the past few weeks all over the world to terrorism. We have white supremacists attacking protesters here in town (who were themselves protesting the death of another unarmed black citizen at the hands of police), the attacks on Paris, Colorado. I don't know how to offer any help out there, so I will, instead, remodel a tiny house. Something I can easily control, and that will bring joy to my daughter.

Be safe, be kind, be well

Monday, November 9, 2015


Was it a reaction against the violence of The Walking Dead last night? Perhaps.
I must give Meg idea credit. I was so inspired by her beautiful painting of her daughter that she posted last week.
Whatever the motivation, I started this sketch of The Youngest last night.
She saw it this morning and requested a puppy on her shirt.
It's still a little rough, I haven't decided on the background yet.
When I draw I usually get bogged down in the details, so this time I'm wondering whether to leave the background a wash of color.
My next step (which feels a little like cheating) is to make some copies and experiment with the background.
The Youngest decided that she needs to be the one to paint it, so she'll get a few copies for herself.
Update -

The Youngest did a great job on her portrait. The bar has been set very high...

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Trip to the Forest

As much as I like to think that we made an instant and seamless transition to our new house, I haven't really felt like doing much more than nesting for a while. 
It hasn't been all that helpful that we've been in workerland for a while. 
Last week it was a plumber (for preventative maintenance) and a tree crew taking down a nearly hollow apple tree.
This week, however, we've been getting out almost every day. 
The weather is truly un-November-like and, though I feel nervous for the future of the planet, I am loving the sun and the blue skies.
Monday we visited a new park in a neighboring city - Reservoir Woods.
It was our first visit, but not our last.
There were lots of opportunities for climbing and building and swinging. 
We went with a crowd of pre-schoolers, and there was some great imaginative play going on.

This grumpy face was that we had to leave.
I felt similarly, we'll definitely be back soon.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Craft Update

I sang two concerts this weekend, and with a concert comes a little down time during intermission.
I had time to cast on and get some progress made on a new mitten.
Part of the Seven Skeins Club membership is a collection of exclusive patterns from Kate Davies.
The first one didn't interest me, it was house slippers, but the second was mittens: Kokkeluri.
Kate's Buachaille yarn is lovely. It's very springy, and the colors are wonderful.
I don't love the pattern. The thumb increases a little sharply for me and I find that thumbs on the side seam are not quite as comfortable. Also, I like a border on the chart so the picture can be a little more defined, but those are picky things.
Overall I can see these becoming my go-to mittens (if they don't get stolen by The Elder)
Speaking of The Elder, I finished up her Fluttershy costume last week. I didn't get a photo of her in it, but she looked pretty ponyesque.
I made up a circle skirt from some fleece and the ears I made from this tutorial.

What's on your creative plate today?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Fluttershy, Step One

Happy Tuesday! It so happens that this week is Kid's Clothing Week Challenge, and I actually have something to contribute this time. The theme is disguise.
The Elder has decided to be Fluttershy for Halloween. I don't know how many of you are Pegasisters or Bronies, but just in case you're not into the show: the ponies travel through a mystic portal and instead of looking like this-
now they look like this-

I looked around for a pattern, and found this tutorial, which was great but I made one change - I used polar fleece instead of felt squares. 
Now, you know me, I love felt, but I wanted a larger field than small rectangles would afford.
So I started by drawing a pattern on a cereal box, but I couldn't find my paper scissors so I drew it freehand on the fleece. 

I drew it on the fold, so I had two pieces like this-
The Youngest helped me with the sewing again, it's so nice to have a team.

Last night I finished the construction, watch the tutorial to see about the wires.
Photos before one leaves for the bus sometimes elicit grimaces.
All that's left is the detail painting around the edges, and the wings will be complete.
Joining Nicole for KCCO,
and the fine folks at KCWC.