Category Archives: Uncategorized

Dolls

Jo and Jim dolls
Jo and Jim dolls

My much adored daughter recently moved to New York City to pursue her acting career.  Jim and I won’t be able to attend all her plays now, so we decided to make dolls, resembling ourselves, to send to her.  She can take them to the theater!

The pattern is one we found online:

http://www.weewonderfuls.com/wee_wonderfuls/store/make-a-long-1.html

We altered the hairline for Jim (!), and gave each of the dolls our own hair and eye colors.  Mine has a green bead on one side to represent the one green earring I wear, and an orange bead on the left hand to represent the fire opal ring that is always with me.  The pattern includes a jumper, which I made in colors that I wear.

Jim made glasses for his doll out of pipecleaners. His shirt features one of our rune patches!  If we were the kind of people who sent out Christmas cards, this year would feature these fetching little dolls!

Cloth Books for Short People!

I am lucky enough to have five small children in my life at the moment.  Two are my granddaughters, and three are a set of triplets belonging to a friend.  My youngest granddaughter and the triplets are all just about to turn 2 years old.

So I have made two cloth books, one for my own granddaughter,  Mikayla, and one for the triplets to fight over.  They are held together by grommets on each page, and big key rings.    Here are some of the pages.

shoe smaller Here is a tiny shoe with laces.  I bought a small pair of shoes at a resale shop, washed them, and then cut off the sole.  The shoe is attached to the page by putting seam binding all around the edges, and the laces are sewn in so short people can’t pull them out.  The triplets in particular have been fascinated by my shoelaces when I go to visit.

 

 

 

colors and shapes smallerThis idea came from Mikayla’s nanny.  It has little pieces of colored fabrics, in certain colors, that have specific shapes and fit into specific pockets.  Mikayla in particular likes to play with my wallet, taking out credit cards and sliding them back into the slots.

 

 

zizpper smallerNext, a zipper.  The triplets are also fascinated with any zippers I have on my clothing when I visit.  So here is a page with a zipper they can zip and unzip to their little hearts’ content!

 

 

 

 

 

hands smallerThis one is Mikayla’s favorite.  Hands that have grippers at the tips of each finger.  The fingers are also numbered, and the hands are labelled with RIGHT and LEFT.  I had to work with the grippers to make sure they weren’t either too tight, or too loose.  If too tight, I’d lightly pound the tip of a screwdriver into the hole in the gripper.  If I went too far with that, and the gripper became loose, I’d use pliers to squeeze it together again!

 

 

velcro smallerAnd of course some Velcro to pull off and push back on.  For each “disk” with Velcro, I put an applique on some fabric, put batting between that and a backing, sewed the Velcro to the back, and then did a satin stitch applique around the edges.  The triplets’ Mom asked that I actually attach the pieces to the page somehow so they wouldn’t get lost, so that is a valuable addition.

 

 

 

Don’t ask me to make any more of these!  Three years ago I made one for Lexie, my older granddaughter, and I think I am finished with them.  They are a marvelous gift, but also a lot of work.

Circular Jewelry Bag

Jewelry Bag closed
Jewelry Bag closed

My friend Pam asked me to make her a circular jewelry bag for carrying earrings when she travels.  She described it so well that it was easy to make.

It is comprised of two circles of fabric, each one lined with something silky so jewelry won’t catch on it.  The larger circle (cut out at 12″ in diameter) has a casing around the top for a cord to pull it closed.  The inner circle (cut at 8″ in diameter) is placed on the inside surface of the outer circle, and then stitched in such a way that there are 8 compartments, shallow enough to be able to dig out pairs of earrings.  The very middle can hold necklaces.

Jewelry bag compartments
Jewelry bag compartments

I am quite pleased with the outcome of this lovely bag, as is Pam.

Car Seat Side Pocket

Car Seat Side Pocket
Car Seat Side Pocket

Lexie, 4 years old, likes to have things to keep her entertained in the car – a book, paper, crayons.  The car seat already has Velcro on the side arms, for some reason, so it was easy to make her this pocket that attaches so easily.

The tote is 12″ wide and almost 14″ tall, bound all around the edges with bias seam tape.  The back piece is quilted with some batting, and the front pocket is just doubled over.  Hope it helps keep her happy to have some fun things to do at hand.

Tutu for Short Person

Tutu for Short Person
Tutu for Short Person

For my youngest granddaughter, Mikayla, I have made a tutu as a Christmas gift!  She is not quite 18 months old, but has an older sister who is totally into ballet, and when the older sister and cousins dance, Mikayla sees that she, too, is meant to move her tiny body.

Voila!  I found a pattern for a child’s tutu, with many layers of colored tulle and Velcro at the waistband.  Funny that Mikayla’s waist isn’t much larger than that of this teddy bear!  And that she is only 6″ from waist to knee!  If nothing else, this should be high entertainment for parents and grandparents alike, as she wanders around the house with something fluffy around her little middle.

Gift for Mikayla

Faces for Mikayla
Faces for Mikayla

My youngest grand-daughter, Mikayla, is 16 months old.  I doubt she will read this blog entry, so it is safe to post her Christmas present for this year.

When her older sister, Lexie,  was this age, and beginning to talk, I made fabric postcards for her, each one featuring a photo of one of the VIP’s in her life – grandparents, nanny, parents, etc.

So I’d like Mikayla to have a similar gift.  This is a fabric Christmas tree panel, attached to a well padded, stretched canvas.  Each ornament (also fabric) has the face of someone she knows, and can be put on or pulled off, using the Velcro strips on the front of the tree, and the back of each ornament.  If nothing else, she will have 16 little round pieces of fabric to carry with her, chew on, loose, etc.  As she learns to say everyone’s name, she can point and  identify them with a photo.

So Maddy, if you are reading this, I made your face ornament wrong, and will fix that.  There is one more aunt and uncle couple who still need to be added, too.  Plenty of time for that.

Merry Christmas, Little Angel.

Singing with Flashback

Jim Jenz, Jim Lucas, Jo Mortland, Albert Thompson www.facebook.com/flashbackquartet
Jim Jenz, Jim Lucas, Jo Mortland, Albert Thompson
www.facebook.com/flashbackquartet

Today, our barbershop quartet, Flashback, has a performance.  We have been together for a little over two years now, four retirees having a lot of fun singing together.  Jim Lucas, our fearless leader, was the choral director at Northeastern Illinois University for 35 years, has written several original songs now that we perform.  He had them professionally arranged by Jay Giallombardo who liked them so much, he wishes to publish them on his website!

Jay’s website is:

http://www.gsbmedalmusic.com/cgi-bin/shop.pl/SID=1207666573.758/page=arranger.html/arranger=1

Our baritone is a fine gentleman named Jim Jenz,  so dedicated to singing the he drives about 50 miles round trip to rehearsals, and whose enthusiasm is palpable.  Albert Thompson sings bass, PERFECTLY, and likes to remind us that he is still the youngest in the group!  I sing the tenor part.

We have a variety of colors of vests now, which we wear with white shirts and black pants.  For some of our numbers, we even wear the straw hats so familiar in the barbershop world, with color coordinated hat bands.

So for this holiday season, we decided to get some red vests.  Men’s sweater vests don’t fit me well, so I made something of my own.  Since I am the only woman in the group, I get to dress a bit differently than the menfolk.  I chose a number of red fabrics that all coordinate with the men’s vests, but make for a unique garment, better suited to my coloring.  I think they will be dazzled when they see it for the first time!

Holiday Vest
Holiday Vest

Check us out at:

www.facebook.com/flashbackquartet

Runi Dreams Coming True

Some of our Contra Dance Rune dreams are coming true!  Not only has My Most Excellent Partner, Jim Ryan, put together this fun and creative web site, but I have also had some of the rune designs digitized for embroidery.

What does that mean?  It means that there is a program that tells a computer file how to talk to a sewing machine.  Then I put the file on a thumb drive, plug that in to my Fancy Schmancy embroidery machine, choose some colors and VOILA!

I LOVE working with colors, and the rayon threads are so shiny and gorgeous that I could to this all day.  Sometimes I DO do it all day.

These examples are patches to be put on jackets or dance bags.  More designs are coming, and they will be for sale soon.  These are about 4″ square.

Would you like one?  Contact me.

Ladies Chain

Do Si Do
Do Si Do