Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Finished! Hansel and Gretel Completed

It took much longer than I intended, but I'm very happy with the results.

I had planned to make a hat for Hansel, but my heart just wasn't in it! I couldn't bear to cover up his hair. It's the first "boy" hair I've done with yarn, and I'm amused by the side swept bangs. He sort of looks like an emo kid, eh?

I have also started work on my next project. I am making a big batch of little brown boy dolls for a drive I found out about for dolls for orphans in Haiti! I found a link to this blog, Dolly Donations while searching for other doll-maker blogs one day, and was so impressed with Sarah and her program. Look at those pictures from her last drive!

I can't wait to mail these to the collection site! I will post pictures of those before I send them off.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Work In Progress: Hansel and Gretel

Well, since finishing the  Amelie doll a few months ago, I have been itching to work on another costume/art doll. I had kind of forgotten that I'd started Hansel and Gretel even a few months before Amelie.

I tucked them away because I just wasn't feeling inspired or motivated to work further on them. Well, I've been working on them this week. I squealed with delight last night when I finished Hansel's tiny lederhosen! (pencil for scale)

And this afternoon I finished Gretel's little apron and am equally delighted.

Isn't it funny how inspiration and creative energy ebb and flow? I'm looking forward to making their little boots (using the skills I gained from making Amelie's), and a little Alpine hat with feathers for Hansel! And of course hair and faces. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Few Recent Features

I've been lucky enough to snag a few features here and there for my creations! The first one came as a featured item on a Storque post (Etsy's blog) about Earth Day. My recycled iPod armband was featured.

Then, Ann Gorman, writer of the fantastic blog Where People Create contacted me and interviewed me about my craft room! Her blog is gorgeous, check it out.

By the way, these are some of my newest dolls! Several of them are available at the Idaho Indie Works boutique, and some will be up for sale soon on my Etsy shop. I have been wanting to make a Little Red Riding Hood for the longest time. And Alice in Wonderland was another long-time vision come to fruition. Other new items coming soon!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

In honor of the holiday, here are some of my favorite pictures from the trip to the British Isles Nate and I took in October 2006. Enjoy!

At St. Johns Gogarty's in Temple Bar, Dublin
Glendalough, County Wicklow

Also at Glendalough

In the Wicklow Mountains on the way to Glendalough

Some buskers in Dublin

Erin go Braugh!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The New Idaho Indie Works Shop!

Well, things have been quiet here on the Hen and Chick blog because I have been crazy  busy with my latest big venture! The amazing crafters from the local Etsy street team that I have been participating in for about a year, Idaho Indie Works, has just opened an actual brick and mortar store in downtown Boise!

Ask any of us, and you'll find we're quite astounded to be where we are right now. At the end of January, our president Millie Hilgert sent out an email saying, hmmm, what if we opened a store? So many people were hip to the idea that we started talking about it seriously, looking in earnest at locations, and were knocked-on-our-butts thrilled to find an affordable location available in the Pioneer Tent Building! Yes, THAT Pioneer Tent Building, the one where we throw a craft fair every first Thursday of the month, where all of our loyal followers already know where to find us! At 6th and Main in downtown Boise.
So we painted walls, painted furniture, bought shelving, and put our wares on those shelves. Sara McClaran, Aimee Nord, and many more really put in the hours and the muscle. (See the Idaho Indie Works blog for a full list of members!)

Here are a few pictures of my own items in the shop (taken by and used with permission of Crissie McDowell):
My red-headed doll, and red velvet owl.
One of my lovely baby slings made from recycled materials.

Our first day open for business was for First Thursday, March 4th. But don't worry, you didn't miss out. That was our soft opening. And though we are going at full swing, we will be having our grand opening celebration on First Thursday, April 1st! In addition to the boutique, there will be dozens of artists showing and selling their amazing creations, including members of Idaho Indie Works who are participating in the boutique, as well as those who aren't. Talk about a variety of arts and crafts! We will have music, food, wine, and a raffle. It will seriously be the place to be on April Fool's Night. So come check out the Little Team Who Could, and see what can happen in 40 days when 21 amazingly creative people get an idea and bring it to fruition!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Vintage Quilts

There is just something about sleeping under a handmade quilt. All of the care and love that went into making it somehow soothes the soul and lulls you into the sweetest sleep.

I have an amazing handmade quilt that my husband and I have had on our bed for a few months now. It is a quilt that my paternal grandmother bought in the town of Orderville, Utah as a tourist because she thought it was beautiful. She then later gave it to my mom, only to find out that Orderville was where my mom's Grandma's folks were from! Here it is on my bed.

I love to just lay on my bed and explore the different scraps that were used. 
On a recent trip to Iowa to visit my husband's parents, I talked to his mom about some lovely quilts on the guest bed. Turns out they were handmade by my husband's paternal grandmother. This first one is a "postage stamp" quilt. The little squares are literally the size of postage stamps. I just can't fathom doing this entire quilt by hand. 

And this one was in the same guest room as an extra blanket in case we were cold. It is hand quilted and cross-stitched. 
Needless to say, I sleep well when I'm in Iowa. Something about all those hours of loving dedication make for long hours of peaceful slumber. Do you have any favorite quilts?

Monday, February 15, 2010

House Thinking

I just finished reading a really great book called House Thinking: A Room-by-room Look at How We Live by Winifred Gallagher. It's a book I casually picked up at the library, never thinking it would hit me the way it did. Certainly not thinking it would be a book that would inspire me to blog about it. But it turned out to be so fascinating that I read it from cover to cover, dog-earring certain pages to come back to (sorry, local library). It changed my way of thinking about my home. The best way to describe it in a sentence is: an interesting combination of the anthropology of and evolution of the common home, and research findings of environmental psychology, explaining how our homes shape who we are.


This book goes beyond simple home decorating.  It talks about the history, for example, of the dining room and how when homes first had dining rooms, it was a very formal place where the family's very finest articles were displayed prominently to assert their wealth and influence to their guests. But since then, very few new homes have a formal dining room, having instead evolved into the "great room," a wide, multi-use room for dining, spending time together, watching TV, reading, and an open wall to the kitchen, so whoever is cooking can be included in the fray. I love how the author talks about the benefits and pitfalls of this great room set up. Sure it's nice to have a place where the whole family can do their individual activities near each other. But is this quality time? And how can one family member read or study, if another is watching a movie or playing video games? In a lot of ways, the great room defeats its own purpose. 

The book breaks the home down by room: the bathroom, the bedroom, the child's room, the basement, etc. One of the sections that I enjoyed the most talked about the neighborhood, and how suburban sprawl and poor developmental planning has essentially destroyed the sense of community our ancestors enjoyed with their neighbors. One reason for the decline is that we are forced to drive everywhere because there aren't little corner shops or cafes in a lot of suburbs, and we just drive our cars straight into our garages and never even see our neighbors.

This book made me think of my home and community, not to mention how I live within them, in a whole new way.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Dutch Fabric and Snow Day

I'm currently in love with dutch-style fabric. You know, the fabric with the bold, bright flowers, little people or animals swirled all over it. Here are some favorites from my own stash:

The pink one with the little ladies, I recently used as the dress for a doll. Isn't she sweet?

Here are a few dutch fabrics I love from other Etsy shops:

From, in a knitting project bag usings this adorable fabric.

So cute!

Also, yesterday we had some nice, soggy snow. Hopefully the last of the season. But Nate and Blake and I made the most of it, building a snowman, having a snowball fight, and having a tiny taste. 


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Amelie Finished!

I am so tickled; I finished my Amelie doll last night, putting the final touches on her Doc Marten's boot's shoelaces and finishing her garden gnome.

I was really intimidated at first  by the shoes. I have never done boots before and didn't really know where to start. I was just going to do little ballet flats for her, but in the movie she wears the boots and I wanted to be as authentic as possible. So I took the plunge and after several trials and errors, came up with these. Aren't the little tongues funny? And anyone who has seen the movie knows that Amelie isn't complete without her father's garden gnome. My version is a little finger puppet!

My favorite part of making a doll is always painting the face. I usually just jump in and see what personality emerges. But with Amelie, I needed to make sure several features were present: her big black doe eyes, and her little pursed, humble smile. I sketched it out beforehand to get the feel, and I'm sorry to say the final product wasn't quite as good as the sketch, but I think it's quite nice after all.

For her little outfit, I wanted a pretty red skirt, and I've been dying to use this pretty, wide, red lingerie lace I bought at a thrift store. Instead of an A-line skirt, I went with a pencil skirt with a ruffle. And for her top, I used a fabric with the reds, blues, and greens of the movie, and I even think the pattern has a bit of French flair to it. 

Complete with her little green sweater (with blue button), I think she turned out quite nice! Now maybe, just maybe, I can stop obsessing and watch a different movie.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Itching for Spring and Latest Project

The weather this week in Boise has been beautiful, sunny and in the 40s-50s, despite rain being forecast for the whole week. Today it looks like the forecasts will come true, but Blake and I enjoyed lots of time playing in the backyard in the spring-like weather this week. I saw some early signs of spring: a lady bug curled up in a dead leaf on my raspberry bushes, and some tiny green spikes pushing through the dirt in my tiger lily patch. It's January, for goodness sake! But still it sent a little thrill through me to know spring will arrive someday. Blake enjoyed bouncing on the trampoline, and running his Percy train up and down the apple tree trunk, perfectly content to be running around on gray grass.

I've also been feeling more inspired this week, and have gotten to work in earnest on a doll I've had in mind for quite a while. It is Amelie from the eponymous French movie. I had wrestled for quite a while on what direction to go with her hair (yarn, thread, paint, felt, etc.) since her hair is so iconic to her look. I finally implemented a 3 dimensional felt method, which I have to say I am very proud of.  I am also excited about the little tiny sweater I crocheted for her in the pretty deep green color that is all over the movie.

(Side view of the doll. Here, the "wig" is just pinned to her head.) I'll post more as I progress. I plan to paint her face soon, which is my absolute favorite part, and to make her pretty little red skirt today. I also have to figure out what to do for shoes...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Fabulous Tutorial and Fabric Finds

Need a new dress, but strapped for cash? Well, if you have an old tee shirt, a bit of yardage, and some scraps here or there, Alexis from My Mama Made It can show you how to make one. Isn't it fantastic? See her beautiful tutorial for step by step instructions with TONS of helpful pictures.

I've been doing a lot of thrift store scouring lately with some fantastic results in the fabric finds department. Here are just a few in browns that looks so pretty together. The first one is just a brown cotton, but with a teeny tiny, old-fashioned little flower pattern on it. The second is a pretty buttery brown vinyl (I see some little brown doll boots in my future!). And the third is a pretty brown corduroy with teal and purple daisies. The print on this one is a little large for doll clothes, so I'm not sure what it will become. Any suggestions?

Speaking of fabric, you know about, right? It is an amazing site where you can make your own custom fabric. Or browse and buy other's custom made fabric. My sister Shannon and I made the fabric for my tiny dollhouses using Spoonflower, which was such a fun project. Anyway, this week, Spoonflower is having a toile contest. Here is my favorite, the Alice in Wonderland Toile by Star Primm. Check out the other contenders here. Which on is your favorite?