Author Archives: Cindy Rice

About Cindy Rice

My wonderful husband, my beautiful daughter, and I live in northeastern Illinois with our sweet chihuahua boy. For as long as I can remember I have loved dolls and making things. I got my first Barbie when I was only three years old! My mom sewed for my Barbie dolls and taught me how to use her sewing machine when I was only seven. I cannot believe she let me near that needle, but she did. Not having enough money for my clothes habit in high school and college led me to start sewing all of my own clothes. There were so many fabric stores around back then and fabric was so inexpensive. I would wait for the 99 cent pattern sale and go crazy. Sewing for myself continued well into my 30’s. (I even made my wedding gown and bridesmaid dresses.) Shortly after I got married I left my full time graphic design position and started designing cross stitch patterns. I called my company “The Lilac Studio” and sold my botanical patterns at trade shows, through distributors which sold to retail shops, and mail order. My most popular pattern, “A Bouquet of Pansies” sold 5000 copies and won a J&P Coats Golden Needle Award! I was also featured in various cross stitch magazines and designed special projects for the magazines. When my daughter was born I didn’t have the time needed to cross stitch and design patterns all day long so I let my pattern design business slip away. And then I started discovering dolls again and I now had an excuse to start buying them. The only problem was that they were for my daughter and not for me. I soon discovered all of the adult collectors out there and decided I would be one of them. I started small at first, collecting Mattel Kelly dolls. Soon I collected over 100 Kelly dolls! After Kelly, I discovered Helen Kish’s Riley and Tonner’s Ann Estelle. I have since learned to knit doll sweaters and love an excuse to knit so most of my doll outfits include a sweater and/or hat. I love creating miniature outfits for dolls and enjoy sharing them with others. Currently I create doll ensembles for the Kish Chrysalis series (I love Bethany), Dianna Effner's Little Darlings, and Wilde Imagination's teeny tiny Amelia. I am adding a Bo Bergemann Designer Dream Doll to my collection soon and so look forward to costuming her!

September

Hello, September!  And hello, my friends!  How are you?

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It was a stormy day yesterday, Saturday, and a thunderstorm-y rumbly Saturday night/Sunday morning.  At times the rain came down so hard that I wondered where it would go (yes, the storms woke me up).  I was up very early Saturday morning and caught this fleeting yet beautiful sunrise before it got dark and then rainy.  Aren’t the colors gorgeous?

Yesterday I finished up Ann Estelle’s ensemble, “Tiny Dancer”.  Well, almost, I just need to make her a pair of tights.  Here’s a quick photo I took of her.  I think she loves it judging by her happy expression.  Little girls love pink and lilac—big girls too.  These two colors were my grandmother’s favorites.

Ann’s cardigan was knit from my “Light Cardigan” pattern for Patsy and Ann.  I used Knit Picks Aloft in Pennyroyal.  For embellishment, I added some delicate beadwork to the cardigan.  Ann’s dress was made with the teensiest ballerinas that I’ve ever seen.  It’s part of Lecien’s Minny Muu collection.  Ann wears a beaded crocheted headband and holds a tiny crocheted drawstring bag.

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I told you about the dyeing I did last weekend.  This past week I started knitting a Simple Yet Effective Cowl designed by Tin Can Knits.  I like long cowls and needed two skeins of DK for this one, so am combining the two blue skeins I dyed.  I am alternating between the two skeins every three rows for a sort of stripey look.  I’m not sure if I’ll like it; it looks very masculine to me, but I will finish it; it just may make a nice basic when the cold weather is here.

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Here’s the yarn before I started knitting with it.  It looks so much more colorful.  Something I’ve learned after dyeing a number of skeins is that knitting blends the yarn together so that it looks more muted.  I’ve seen this happen every time.

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These are the other three skeins I dyed last week to make the Jodi Shawl by Joji Locatelli.  I want the border to be considerably brighter than the rest, however, I’m thinking this peach won’t be bright enough.  Maybe it will go back in the dye pot for some pink and warm red speckles or splotches.

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Oh, and I mentioned trying out avocado pit dyeing.  The tank top sat in the pot for a short time and most of the dye washed right out.  I did want it pastel though.  I’m curious as to how it will wash.  I saved the dye to use again; the shade of pink is a favorite of mine.

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Well, that’s all the goings on from around here.  I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to this past week. ❤

 

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This and That

Hello to you all, my friends.  How are you?  I’m doing great, staying busy.

Today I spent the day doing something I’ve been wanting to do, but yet, kept putting off because I couldn’t decide on colors.  What I did today was dye yarn, and I decided to simply start and let the colors speak for themselves, which they seemed to do just fine.  I dyed 5 skeins and was so into what I was doing that I forgot to take pictures.

I’ve also been saving avocado pits for dyeing, so I also dyed a cotton tank.  It ended up being the palest shade of mauve-y rose.  I think it will make a nice neutral layering piece.  Once again, I forgot to take photos, sorry.  I will share later, I promise.

Last weekend my husband and I brought our daughter back to school.  Gosh, it feels like weeks have already gone by since she’s been home, not a week.  How does that happen?  Anyway, she is all moved in and has even started classes.  Her apartment is very nice this year.  The cluster of 3-story buildings are only about 6 years old.  Each apartment has a washer/dryer, two bathrooms, high ceilings, nice kitchen and living room.  She loves it, however, she is trying to adjust to the noise.  She is on the first floor and her window has gotten banged on early in the morning and she hears people outside on the sidewalk.  I suggested ear plugs. 🙂

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Here is a photo of her cute bed.  She made the two pillows in the front, and the braided garland and tassel garland hanging on the wall.  The doily on the front pillow was crocheted by her great great grandmother and the rosebud cross stitch picture is by me.  She brought another rosebud which wasn’t hung at the time this photo was taken.  I think it’s really nice how she has things at school made by her family.

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I also wanted to make something for my daughter as she started school this year.  This was my first pair of socks made with self striping yarn.  Even though I started each sock with yarn from the center of the skein the stripes are reversed.  Live and learn!  Luckily, the quirkiness of the pair is being embraced.  The yarn is Knit Picks Felici sock in the Golden Hour colorway.

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One evening while knitting these socks, as the golden hour was happening the sky actually looked golden and seemed to be lit from within.  It was magical.

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Good news!  I finished all of the dresses for my 2018 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.  There are 23 in all.  I’m a bit burned out, so this will be the extent of dress sewing for a little bit.  However, I love looking at my little dress shop when I am working in my sewing room.  They’ll be here until mid November.

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This past week I started an ensemble for Ann Estelle.  The fabric is a teeny tiny Japanese ballerina print.  Isn’t it adorable?  I am knitting a lilac mohair cardigan to accompany the dress and possibly a pearl headband.  After being away from doll sewing for about 6 months it is good to be back.  I’ve missed it.

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I’ll be back soon.  I hope you all have had a great ‘end of August’ weekend.  Wishing you a wonderful week ahead. ❤

 

Hello again!

Firstly, thank you all for your encouraging thoughts, prayers, and words.  I am truly touched by your thoughtfulness!  It means so much to me, really it does.  With every comment I’d read I could feel more and more love and hope filling my heart. ❤  Thank you!

So hello to you all!  Summer break is coming to a close and I am trying to hang onto these last days, but they refuse to slow down for me.  Time just seems to speed by faster and faster the more I am aware of its passing.  Do you find this to be true, also?

I haven’t been doing much sewing this summer, but my sewing room has been very busy.  My daughter got the sewing bug shortly after summer break started and has been in there morning, noon, and night!  Did you know there’s a whole new world of indie pattern makers out there who teach how to sew with their patterns?  There are also numerous tutorials on You Tube.  It’s now cool to make your own clothes.  I love it!

All I’ve been working on are these dozen dresses for my 2018 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. I am doing these batch style—all the pockets, back seams, binding all the armholes at once, etc.  I have only to hem the bottoms, sew the top casings and insert the ties, then these dozen are complete.

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So far, this is my completed “store” of dresses.  I think I need more closet room and more hangers…

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My daughter started a weaving project the other day which enabled me to get into my sewing room and work more on the dresses! 🙂

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Although I haven’t been sewing, I’ve been knitting quite a bit.  In addition to socks and cowls for us, I’ve knit a couple of toys for the shoeboxes.  Bonbon by Susan Claudino turned out super cute.  I knit her out of Knitpicks Stroll Tweed Sock Yarn in Oyster Heather.  The little rag doll was made from Knitted Babes by Claire Garland.  The Knitted Babes are supposed to be much larger, but I used a finer weight yarn (Knit Picks Palette).

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Both of these little toys took too many hours to make (IMO) and were quite fiddly, lots of little bits—don’t think I’ll be knitting anymore toys for awhile.  I’ve been looking for some easy toy patterns to charity sew though.  I like “easy” and “quick”—any ideas?

Other news—our northern Illinois summer started out with lots and lots of rain.  Past years of planting reseeded and produced some tiny flowers for me to find.  Violas in the grass and the tiniest forget-me-nots.

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For Mother’s Day my husband and daughter bought and planted hanging baskets and planters.  They did a great job picking out flowers in all shades from warm red to pink to violet.  I never tire of pinks which smell like carnations from the florist.

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The summer started out wet, but then we went without rain for weeks.  The grass got crispy and crunchy and very thirsty.  The other morning, however, the weather changed.  After a super loud thunderstorming kind of night, we woke to a rainy day .

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Today it is sunny once again, thank goodness.  I don’t know about you but after a couple of cloudy days I’ve had enough of them.  So now, for me, it is time for a walk and to enjoy this beautiful morning out-of-doors.  I snapped this photo of bee hives weeks ago on one of my walks.  Aren’t the colors fun?

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I wish you all a beautiful day!

What are you up to today?