“Rosy Soft Spring” for the Little Darlings and My Lilacs

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This new ensemble that I just completed for the Little Darlings was meant to go with this lace shrug that I started last week.  Here it is in progess.

wip 5-14-15 349And here it is finished.  I love it so much.  Lace knitting takes a lot of concentration, but the stitches are so pretty.  I couldn’t wait to get a dress made to show off this brand new shrug.

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lace shrug 478Are you wondering why Gina isn’t wearing the shrug with her new dress???

rosy soft spring 507I picked out a simple fabric and spent time embroidering a motif on the bodice and skirt, but when put together I found that the pure white shrug did not go with this fabric that has an off white ground.

Back to the drawing board or knitting needles.  *Sigh*.

I reworked my cardigan pattern to make it into a wide open bolero style sweater so that the embroidered bodice would still be front and center and Gina’s shoulders would stay cozy.

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rosy soft spring 490Gina always looks pretty in pink.

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So, now I will have to find something else to go with the white lace shrug.  I have something in mind.  I hope it works out this time.

Our second variety of lilacs are finally in bloom.  They can be seen from our family room window.  These blossoms are very pale lilac in color and the sprays are quite miniature.

lilacs 465However, their scent is not miniature!  They perfumed my sewing room all week long.  Aren’t they pretty?  I finally discovered the way to make cut lilacs last for days in a vase.  Here’s what worked for me:  shave off the bark that will be in water.  (I used a steak knife on these thin stems.)  I put very hot tap water in the vase and as soon as the bark was removed I put the stem in the water.  I don’t know how many years I have been trying to get lilacs to stay fresh in a vase.  I think I tried everything from hammering the stems to recutting the stems under running water, nothing worked except this…finally.

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I hope you all had a great week!

For more information on Gina’s “Rosy Soft Spring” ensemble visit my “Available for Sale” page on cindyricedesigns.com .

A Little Bit of “Vintage Flair”

Patience has a cozy and sweet ensemble to show you today.  It is made with a fabric that I HAD to order when I saw it.  (Once in awhile I find a fabric that I love this much.)  Everything about it appealed to me from the way it reminded me of a Liberty of London print with a 1970s vibe to the beautiful pink and blue colors in my favorite shades.

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vintage flair 413I incorporated the print into a band for the crocheted hat.

vintage flair 400I loved embroidering this sweater as I got to use yummy colors.

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After Patience and I were finished with the photo shoot Izzy wanted to pose for a couple of pictures with her twin big sis.  They are both Wilde Imagination’s girls and they both have long red hair.  Aren’t they cute together?

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“Summer Flowers for You” Modeled by Millie

My Kaye Wiggs Millie has a bouquet of summer flowers just for you.  She is all ready for summer and all the fun it brings.  Her new ensemble is filled with red, white, and blue flowers on a background of light reddish pink.  Her blonde hair, blue eyes and sunkissed skin tone complete the summery look.

summer flowers for you 303Will you accept Millie’s bouquet of flowers?

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Millie’s cropped cardigan sweater is knit with pure white bamboo and embroidered to coordinate with the flowers and colors in her dress.

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For more information on Millie’s new summertime ensemble please visit my “Available for Sale” page on cindyricedesigns.com .


This Past Week’s Odds & Ends

Mother’s Day came and went so fast.  Weather-wise, we had a doozy of a day:  cold, damp, dark, and foggy—the entire day.  No one wanted to do anything.  I didn’t even feel like creating for my dolls, and that hardly ever happens.  I guess that’s what those kind of days can do to you.

My husband and daughter secretly bought flowers and planted a large planter and two hanging baskets for me.  They are so sweet.  They remembered my absolute favorite flower for planters as well, lobelias.  I love these tiny trailing flowers so much.  Lobelias are the white and dark purple tiny blossoms.  They also planted trailing tiny petunias, moss roses, and snapdragons in a rainbow of colors.

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flower planter 350The feral cat that hangs around was patiently waiting for breakfast while I took pictures this morning.

kitty 357We cannot touch this kitty; if we put our hand out she will bat (and scratch) us, but she will get fairly close to us.  When we moved into this house 7 years ago, she wouldn’t let us even look at her.  She comes around most days and has someplace to go when the weather is bad.  We know this because the fur on her back gets trimmed by something she climbs under.  It must be a tight fit.  Since she has a corner of her ear clipped off, she probably was trapped and taken in for spaying years ago.  There is a feral cat colony that a couple of ladies take care of down the block.  We think that this kitty may not have gotten along with them and went out on her own.

crabapple tree 372Our crab apple tree is in its glory right now.  Isn’t it beautiful?  Our magnolia that I showed you (here) now is all leaves and the tiny honeysuckle to the right of it only has a few blossoms left.  We still have a set of lilac bushes yet to bloom and another bush that blooms with light pink flowers.  I don’t know what it is.  I will share a photo of it and maybe someone can help me identify it.  :)

magnolia 378Earlier in the week I went to reorder my bamboo thread and discovered that it is being discontinued.  What???!!!  There is nothing else out there to substitute for it, and it is the perfect weight and fiber for summery sweaters and dresses.

Well, I searched for what I needed (and lots more to make sure that I would never ever run out), and placed a couple of orders.  This is what arrived!  My husband asked me if I was opening a store.  LOL!

Does this make me a hoarder?

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wip 5-14-15 349What I’ve been working on this week… yesterday’s photo.

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And today, I embroidered the cardigan.  Any guesses as to who this is for?  (The piece of lace knitting doesn’t go with the dress, hat, or cardigan set.)

I didn’t have the right color of ribbon or fabric for this ensemble, so I dyed rayon ribbon and some Lycra knit tonight.  I hope to get this outfit finished up this weekend, I hope…

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You all have a fabulous weekend!

Another Springtime Sweater Dress for the Little Darlings

I loved the last sweater dress that I made for the Little Darlings so much that I immediately started on another one.  This one is in pink and also has 10,000+ stitches.

As I was working on the embroidery for this dress I felt as if I were drawing (or painting) with a needle and thread.  The first half of the top motif and the first half of the waistline motif (the second half is mirrored) went bit by bit as I was trying to achieve good color balance and a pleasing floral composition.  Sometimes my motifs take longer to work out and this one did indeed take longer.

The embroidery may have been painstaking, but I am very pleased with the end result.  The motifs are feminine, colorful, balanced and flow smoothly along the waistline, so mission accomplished.

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so pretty in pink 267so pretty in pink 261For more information on Gina’s “So Pretty in Pink” sweater dress ensemble please visit my “Available for Sale” page on cindyricedesigns.com .

Puki’s Playtime

My little Pukipuki and I had a playful and fun photo shoot this week.  I love working with this little one.  She has never had a tantrum and takes direction very well.  Of course, she was all smiles when I brought out the teddy bears and the huggable pillow puppy.  And…she always loves sitting on the little twig bench that I bought for the fairies who visit our garden.

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puki's playtime 197Bye for now!  Love, Sugar!  <3

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For more information on Sugar’s “Puki’s Playtime” set please visit my “Available for Sale” page at cindyricedesigns.com .

Jeanne is a Sweetie

No, I am not writing about a doll today, but a real live person.  I am talking about Jeanne from the blog I Dream of Jeanne Marie.  Today she has featured me as a guest blogger.  It’s a first for me and very exciting!  Thanks so much, Jeanne!

Jeanne is a fellow blogger, doll clothes creator, and I consider her an online friend.  We both reside in Illinois, but at opposite ends—Jeanne lives in southwestern Illinois and I live in northeastern Illinois.  I visit her blog daily.  Yes, she blogs every day, amazing, I know.  Jeanne writes not only about her dolls and what she makes for them, but lots more interesting life happenings.

Visiting  Jeanne’s blog is a great way to start the day.  I encourage you to click on the link above to visit her blog, maybe become a follower, and add a comment now and then.  Jeanne’s comments to her readers’ comments are always so positive and friendly that I will even go back later in the day to read those.

So, go ahead and pop on over to visit Jeanne’s blog.  Here is the link again.

This Past Week In & Out

I managed to capture a few highlights of the week in my studio and outside the house.

Spring is progressing quite nicely here in northern Illinois.  For the most part the trees are looking leafy green now except for a couple of varieties.  Just today our honeysuckle bushes have started blooming.  I brought a few branches in the house; their scent is heavenly.

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Our lilac bush which has deep red violet blossoms is just starting to bloom as well, but the lilac bushes that we have around the house still have the tiniest beginnings of flower buds on their branches.

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phlox 154The forget-me-nots self sow every year.  During the week I picked a few sprigs of phlox and forget-me-nots to put in a tiny vase in the house and they are still looking fresh.

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One of the fabrics that I had in my online shopping cart was almost sold out, so I finally placed an order for more, yes more, fabric.  Also, Knit Picks was offering a free skein of Lindy Chain and I had been wanting to try it, so I placed an order for yarn too.  It’s always a bit like Christmas when a box of yummy supplies is delivered, and this week I had two of them.

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fabric 089I’ve no idea yet what the above panel will be for.  I will probably (someday) use it for a quilt throw.  It was too cute to pass up.

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yarn 120Lindy Chain is a pima cotton/linen blend yarn.  Instead of the plies of yarn being twisted they are chained together.  It is a very interesting yarn, but the reviews I read a while back made it sound like it would be hard to work with especially if you need to rip back.  Has anyone tried knitting with this yarn?

yarn 118I also just received my first skein of Diadem.  It is so, so, so soft and silky!  The fiber content is baby alpaca and mulberry silk, and it is a single ply yarn which I have never tried,  so I have another “something new” to work with.

Even though nothing out of the ordinary happened this week, it FLEW by so very fast!  Did you notice the same thing?

“You Are My Sunshine”

My sweet and sunny Talyssa is here to show you her new springtime outfit and I’m hoping that she is bringing the sunshine with her too.  We can never have too much sunshine, can we?

My Talyssa is a fair skinned Kaye Wiggs doll and I must say that these colors look beautiful on her.  As soon as I put this piece of fabric next to her face I knew that this print would be for her.  She looks the best in warm and bright colors.  Oh, what a cutie pie she is!you are my sunshine title 048I made Talyssa a little basket where she can put the tiny blossoms that she finds while out and about.  It’s no secret that my dolls love to collect flowers, is it?

you are my sunshine 060Her light and airy crocheted hat keeps the bright sun out of her eyes.

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While I was taking these pictures of her I was reminded of Anne of Green Gables.

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you are my sunshine 057For more information on Talyssa’s “You Are My Sunshine” ensemble please visit my “Available for Sale” page on cindyricedesigns.com .

On Making Sweater Dresses

Oh, how I wish I were a faster knitter!  My favorite things to make for dolls are sweater dresses and out of all of the pieces I knit, sew, and crochet they take the longest.  So, so many stitches, and the finer the gauge the more stitches that are needed to complete the dress.

I could probably knit 3-4 sweaters in the time it takes to knit ONE dress, oh, but I LOVE them so.  Who knows why!  A beautiful doll in a hand knit and embroidered dress is the sweetest sight to me.

This bamboo dress I just made for the Little Darlings is knit on smaller needles than what I normally use for my bamboo sweaters.  I thought it would need a tighter gauge to keep all of these stitches in shape.  Anyway, it took “awhile” to knit so I quickly counted up my stitches, 10,000+.  That’s a lot of knitting!

Once I had (finally) finished knitting the sweater dress it wasn’t time to celebrate even though I felt that I should.  I had a blank canvas staring at me.  Unlike embroidering a sweater to coordinate with a dress I had nothing to go on, only my imagination and a lot of real estate.  Where to put the embroidery?  What colors to use?  I was tempted to procrastinate as I wasn’t really sure where to start.  But, no, nothing gets done then, except maybe a lot of snacking and who needs that?

Start with what you know has become my mantra whenever I feel like a little procrastination and snacking is in order.  I knew I wanted pink roses centered on the front bodice so I embroidered those on first.  After embroidering the pink roses under the neckline, the rest of the design and color palette came together quickly.  :)  It’s funny how the hardest part is starting something where the end result is unknown.

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For more information, on Gina’s “Springtime Roses” ensemble please visit my “Available for Sale” page on cindyricedesigns.com .