Wednesday, June 15, 2011

You Too Can Be A Dinosaur

I think it would probably be much more practical to sew clothes, but I tried that when I was a teenager and it was always a horrible disaster.  And besides it is much more fun to sew things like dolls and dinosaur tails.  I had intended to make this for my favorite 4-year-old's birthday (admittedly, I don't know a lot of 4-year-olds so it is easy to be my favorite).  But, as usual, I didn't get around to it for a couple of months.

I presented it to him yesterday along with a pretty cool little dinosaur book that I picked up at Tuesday Morning (have you ever checked out the books there?).  I think it was a hit!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Beginning

This is what I have been wanting to do....make dolls.  And I have to start somewhere.  This is Emily Martin's Black Apple Doll.  This was the second try.  The first doll had a creepy arm.  But I learned a couple of lessons, salvaged the legs, and moved on.

I can see lots of possibilities, pigtails, dress sleeves...
I think I will try a few more before I move on to something more difficult.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The William H. Johnson Dolls

William H. Johnson (1901-1970) was one America's most important African American painters.  I admire his work immensely.  I have this in my office/upstairs hall.

A number of years ago...maybe a gift shop in the neighborhood, I found these dolls.

I do not know the craftman's name but I do remember that she modeled her dolls after William H. Johnson characters.  They are special.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sewing Project-Part V

Back in the fall I was taking an online sewing class.  I got other projects, by Thanksgiving, by Christmas, by tax returns, by being lazy.  I even got a new sewing machine for Christmas.  It took me three months to even take it out of the box.  And then a few more to try it out.

But Friday I decided to do something.  I cut out 3 projects.  One was a Black Apple Doll.  One was a dinosaur tale, and one was an ironing board cover from the Home Ec sewing class...everybody needs a little variety in their life.

Yesterday afternoon I started the doll...but had to learn how to wind the bobbin, thread the bobbin, thread the machine.  By the time I got through with all that I only had time to sew up the arms and legs before heading out to watch the roller derby bout.

It was a dreary day in Richmond today...a good day for sewing.  I finished the doll but she is not worthy of a picture.  One arm points the wrong way and she has a lump in her body.  I think that I will salvage her legs and start over. 

But the ironing board cover is finished!!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Crazy Quilt

A labor of love...and a lot of work.  This quilt was a long time in the making.  My great-grandmother, Mary Allen, pieced it sometime around 1940.  I'm not sure how my mom knew when she made it.  She never shared that.  But somehow it came into her possession and was stored in her cedar chest for as long as I can remember.  We used to take it out and admire it from time to time.  But Mom finally decided to finish it.

It is mostly made from scraps of satin, but evidently Mary ran out of that and finished it with cotton scraps.  Mom embellished it with embroidery and, in some cases, scraps of lace, etc.  I know that she had great fun finding the right patterns to use...and I think she designed some of them herself.

My mom was an amazing seamstress and did beautiful handwork.  This was her last big project.  Soon after she finished it, and probably before that, she started getting pretty forgetful and confused...making it all the more special.