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The Crafting Continues

November 1, 2010

First of all, let me say, “Congratulations!”, to the The Mayor Of Crazy Town, winner of the Sanguine Gryphon earrings!

Next up, Miniature Goodies!

Here are some close-ups of the kitchen hutch, by Michael Mortimer.

Pewter tankards are from Swan House Miniatures.  The blue “spatter ware”, small baskets, cookie tin, jar of orange balls, tray and glass punch bowl are all from my childhood.  A few new additions to the kitchen are:

This delicious apple pie.  Looks good enough to eat, doesn’t it!

These amazing brotchen for the little people’s breakfast from After Dark!

How about this tasty spread for dinner from After Dark?  In Germany, lunch is the main meal of the day, served hot.  Dinner is usually cold cuts, cheese and fruits.  In my opinion, this is a much healthier way of eating, but my husband could not imagine foregoing a hot dinner!

Germans really love pickles!

And sausages!  The delicatessen’s in Europe have many more varieties of sausages than we do here in the U.S, and they are all delicious!

Next blog you’ll get a peek into the bathroom, and don’t worry, I’ll clean up before you arrive! 😉

Book Corner

A friend loaned me this book, Dropped Dead Stitch, by Maggie Sefton.


I don’t usually like mysteries, but I enjoyed this book despite myself.  Knitting was involved, as was mention of lots of yummy food and coffee, but the main focus was the mystery.  A charming mystery, and a fun, easy read.  Looking forward to reading some more books by this author.

Baby Jackets

Today I am posting 2 new baby jackets in my second shop Enchanted 123.

Heath and Heather, a cloud soft 100% baby alpaca cardigan, size 1, with a simple silk ribbon neck closure.$45.00

And Airstream, a reversible 100% cashmere baby jacket size 2-3T, featuring a designer fabric, and hand carved buttons. $85.00


Fiber Doings

Last weekend I went to a fiber retreat hosted by Studio 49 up in the mountains of Sonora.  Two friends went with me, and I have to say, we had so much fun!

There were speakers, and demonstrations, as well as a dying workshop.  Here you see two looms being demonstrated.  There must have been at least 100 people in attendance.  Never have I seen so many spinners in one place!  The retreat also hosted vendors from Shaggy Bear, Dreamy Goat Designs, and more.  Naturally I had to buy a little fiber.  Um, maybe a bit more than a little!

And of course I found a little friend for Amalie to take home.  100% Alpaca, from Peru.

Check out this display by Dreamy Goat.  Don’t you wish you could buy it all up?

The retreat also presents a High Tea, hosted by 3 lovely members of Studio 49.  They make all the table settings, and you get to take home your own hand-made place matt!  Home made goodies by the ladies and their spouses are nibbled during the “Show and Tell”, and raffle.  Of course I never win a thing!  I am beginning to wonder if my bad luck is rubbing off on my friends, because they didn’t win anything either.

However, so much fun was had by all that it really didn’t seem to matter.  Angela, whom I greatly admire for her clear headed-ness and amazing spinning skills (She won 2 awards at the Dixon Lambtown Festival), is putting her Spin-o-lution Bee spinning wheel through its paces.  Angela knit the lovely cardigan she is wearing.  The pattern is called Que Sera, available on Ravelry.

Ana Lena, blows away my mind with her color work, is an up and coming designer. She also won 2 awards at Dixion Lamb Town Festival.  Her first pattern will be released in Interweave Knits, due out this Wednesday!  Look for more designs from Ana Lena in the future.  She knit the sweater she is wearing from the book Poetry In Stitches. Amazing!

That’s all for now, have a craftastic week!

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Is Anyone Ever Really Finished?

October 12, 2010

I certainly am not!  But I am getting closer.

I present to you, The Bavarian Doll Haus!

As you can see, the base is incomplete.  But other parts are finished. The fresco.  Shown here larger than Real Life.  The cattle are smaller than the head of a pin.

One of the windows.  They actually open! I hand painted the Bavarian motifs.

Close up of the geraniums.  I made them from a kit.  They are paper, and I had to use tweezers, as each is slightly larger than the head of a pin.

I love the English style light over the front door!  My daughter can turn them on and off via a switch.

I’ve decided to show you only one room at a time. Today, I give you (drum roll) the Kitchen!  Based on the old Nuremberg style of kitchen, with the tile floor, and dutch tile wall.  The Bonnie Glo stove is left over from my childhood, and although not at all German style, I decided to keep it for nostalgic reasons. The sink is a porcelain sink from Doll House Collectibles. Above the sink is a hand painted plate by Amanda Skinner.

The table and hutch are hand-made by Michael Mortimer [Google his name and you will find various places that sell his work], and I adore how the furniture has that heavy dark Tudor style that I remember being so prevalent in Europe. The apple basket is handmade by Richard Johnson, purchased from Swan House Miniatures.  The chair is an inexpensive Besqua (available at almost any place that sells miniatures) ladder back chair, with a “rush” woven seat.  The pie tin and rolling-pin are left over from my childhood.

The tiny real hand forged copper pots  and ladle are from Lara Copper.  They make life-sized copper items as well!  The tea kettle, and the iron pot rack/shelf are from there as well.  I think I will stain the shelf walnut (remember the title of this post is about never being finished).  The three spice containers, and the two wall hung salt and pepper containers are made by Reutter, an old German brand, and have the words for cinnamon, sage and hazelnut printed on them in German.

This handmade copper pot was purchased from Swan Miniatures.  It is hand hammered, and has tiny brass handles, by Jason Getzan.

German kitchens always had these copper molds hanging on the wall. These two are by Matthias Matthes, from Germany.  In the wonderful hutch made by Michael Mortimer, I have 3 pewter tankards.  Very German!  There is also a set of blue a white “spatter” ware left over from my childhood.  The set is now 35 years old…does that make it vintage? Also a set of baskets, cookie trays and a pewter muffin tin are from my childhood, and a glass historically incorrect punch bowl!  Still on the hunt for some realistic butter and jelly/jam pots.  My German relatives really like butter and jam with their fresh morning brotchen!  The dear little curtains that I made aren’t quite ready, and I will show them off as well as how I made them next post. I also need to make some kitchen towels.  And how about a tiny white apron, to drape over the chair?

Fiber Delights

Although my knitting has been put on the back burner, I have still worked on my UFO at least once a week, thanks to my local Stitch N’ Bitch Group.  And yes that’s what it is really called, to my husband’s sniggering delight.   The Henley by Ann Hanson is fantastic, as is the Sundara Yarn that I am using for it.

Close up of the clever lace rib pattern.

I am currently working on the front (this is the back). I just know it’s going to turn out well!

Book Corner

Those that can’t knit enjoy reading about knitting (or at least I do)!  I recently received the new book by Miriam Felton, and it’s wonderful!  I purchased both the e book (gotta love that!) and a hard copy. 

Note: for a wonderful splurge or a holiday Wish List Item, get the hand bound limited edition copy!

The wonderful thing about these patterns is that they are specifically designed for luxury or hand spun yarns. Apparently, Miriam is unaware that I sell hand spun yarn and would have been happy to provide her with enough for one of her projects!

Another new release that I really love is Brave New Knits by Julie Turjoman.

Not only is it chock full of wonderful projects, but the concept is unique.  The designers featured are all bloggers as well as designers.  Each designer has two or more pages dedicated to their history, and this isn’t information cobbled together from their blogs, but fresh new insightful comments.  The only flaw, if one could call it that, is each blogger credits Ravelry with making huge changes in their design careers.  Now, I think Ravelry is amazing, but reading how wonderful Ravelry is 26 times in one book is a bit…repetitious, dare I say? (ducks rotten tomatoes)

Despite my lack of time for knitting and spinning, I can’t resist the occasional yarn goody.  Lurking in my mailbox:

Fiber from the Bee Mice Elf Club, and

BFL yarn from the Sanguin Gryphon. Pretty, pretty, pretty!

The Sanguin Gryphon sent me a free gift of earrings.  unfortunately, I have metal allergies, so my bad luck is your gain!

The 5th comment on this post will receive them FREE in the mail!

You will need to leave me a contact email so I can get your address and send it to you.

Happy crafting!

A Happy Birthday Wish

October 6, 2010
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

e.e.Cummings

5 Years.  I am so blessed.

Fresh out of the oven.

3 weeks.

3 months.

First Mother’s Day.

First trip, 9 months.

9 months

Two years.

2.5 years.

3 years.

3.5 years

4 years.

4.5 years.

Five sweet and precious years.  Five trying and exhausting years.  Five years of unforgettable memories. Wishing you the best of birthdays, with oh, so many more to come.

Love Mommy

The Looming Deadline

September 13, 2010

Three weeks.

That’s how much time I have to get the dollhouse finished.  And I am nowhere near finished!  The kitchen floor tiles are on order.  New ceiling beams must be picked up, stained and installed.  Every single wall and ceiling needs to be sanded and touched up. The wiring needs to be run.  The hardwood floors need to be installed.  The child doll is on back order.  The father doll needs to be wigged and clothing needs to be made for all the dolls.  The bedding needs to needs to be sewn, as well as the curtains.  The curtain rods need to be installed, and so does all the furniture.  I can see a lot of late nights in my future!

But, oh, it looks so real!  The very best idea I had, was to create the ceiling beams.  It adds a tremendous amount of miniature perspective.  The hardwood flooring looks spectacular due it it’s labor intensive finishing.  I found the technique in a marvelous book I recently purchased, Magnificent Miniatures: Inspiration and Technique for Grand Houses on a Small Scale. The book has stunning doll houses and furniture.  I also have The Doll House Book, featuring a more historical tour of doll houses, and that one taught me about Nuremburg kitchens, which I decided to copy in my doll house.

One thing I have learned is that renovating an existing doll house is a lot harder than decorating one that is unassembled.  I have to do everything in situ, that is, on site.  Trying to stick a paint brush into a room no wider than 5 inches is pretty challenging.  I created some special finished for my doll house that you might find useful, if you choose to make your own doll house.  Stucco, for the exterior, is a mixture of wood filler, a combo paint/primer, and wood glue.  Since my exterior was already painted I wanted to make certain the new coating would stick, thus the wood glue. Mix until it has a thick consistency, like icing, and apply with an artists painting knife.  The white stucco on the interior is  made from a combination of easy sand wall spackling, Tacky Glue, and white ,matte paint/primer combo.  A soft whip cream thickness is what you’re shooting for.  I applied it with a stiff brush, but the brush marks will need to be sanded off, and a few trowel marks will be added with the artists knife afterwards.  The reason behind all the texture is when the rooms are light with the miniature lamps, the texture will be amplified, and so will the illusion of reality.

All the beams were measured, cut and stained with a walnut stain/sealer before installation.  They were glued in place before the stucco was applied, but that was a real pain, since I had to mask off every beam.  Pretty hard to do since I couldn’t see the inward facing parts of the beam, and I had to apply the masking tape by feel!

The flooring is purchased unfinished doll house wood flooring.  I stained them with first an oak stain, then a walnut stain.  Sanded with 00 steel wool, another coat of oil based polyurethane, another sanding, then 2 coats of floor wax.

The bathroom has a “modern” hex tile floor.  It came as an all white sheet of plastic.  If you have ever seen this flooring in real life, you would know it has dark grey grout in between the tiles.  I added several coats of gray acrylic paint to the tiles, wiping of the top of the tiles. It looks satisfyingly realistic.  Just in case Amalie decides she wants to clean with water (God forbid!), I sealed the floor with a clear, gloss acrylic sealer.

As I wrap up the walls and ceilings, I must think about lighting.  Lighting means electricity.  I’m scared of electricity!  When I was a child on a summer trip to Germany I had the bright idea to pet a cow.  I accidentally touched the wire fencing around the field and ZAP!  An invisible hammer slammed into my hand and my arm went numb up to the elbow.  Unlike the US, electric fences were common in Europe, and there were no warning signs.  Since then I have developed quite a fear of being electrocuted.  More to come on whether I overcome my little phobia…

School Daze

September 3, 2010

Summer.

A couple of months to cram in vacations,  appointments, organizing and of course, crafting.

DisneyLand

Freshly spun yarn.

A 3 ply merino silk from Bee Mice Elf.

A 4 ply alpaca silk from All Spun Up.

Progress has been made on the doll house renovations as well.

Completed projects;

Vesper

Air Stream

Alexandria

But I’m ready.  Ready for sharpened pencils, the bang of my class room door.  Ready to see the spanking new library. Ready for the freshly waxed sheen of the floors, the shuffle of high school kid’s feet.  Excited to introduce my two new classes, Fiber Arts and Jewelery Making. And of course, looking forward to some new projects

Renovations

May 17, 2010

Early Christmas morning in 1975 I snuck downstairs before anyone else was awake.

In the dim living room, the Christmas tree glittered and shone in quiet majesty. The sweet scent of candy stuffed stockings filled the air. Piles of mysterious wrapped gifts covered the carpeted floor.

And there, under the tree, sat a small, glowing house. Bavarian style, with an interior decorated just like my house! Tiny people sat in miniature chairs, pulled up to a wee little table. I was dumbstruck with joy. For many years, I played with my doll house. Bought a few furniture pieces with my carefully hoarded allowance, and wallpapered a couple of the rooms. Eventually, I grew up and moved away. The doll house was packed up, put away, and forgotten. Years passed.

One day, another little girl was born to the family. My father drove up to my house and dropped off a large heavy cardboard box. Inside was the Bavarian Doll House. The many years had left their mark. The decals were no longer crisp and fresh. The windows were yellowed and brittle. The classic 1970 interior was faded and outdated. My little girl is fast approaching her 5th birthday, and I would like to gift it to her. It is time for a renovation.

I knew I needed to replace the brittle windows, and damaged door. A Google search reveled that although there were several on line stores that sell replacement doors and windows in a 1/12 scale (which means 1 inch equals one foot in real life), none fit the openings in my doll house exactly. A sinking sensation filled my stomach. I began to suspect my father, a skilled craftsman, had not used a kit. He passed away last December, and I could not ask him to verify my suspicions. I did a search for Bavarian Style Doll House, and got one hit. Scotties Doll Haus Shop-Book. They had a kit that can be purchased, and a little booklet, that explained how to paint the doll house, and doll house furniture. I quickly purchased the book, since I had already planned on replacing the peeling decals with traditional hand painting.

At first glance I thought that the doll house on the cover was the same style as my doll house, but then I saw a number of differences. Scotties doll haus does not have functioning doors or real windows. Also the layout of mine is different on the interior. My doll house has a different balcony, and real shutters, and different trim. Perhaps my father purchased the plans, and made modifications. My doll house is made out of heavy duty plywood and pine planks. It certainly was made to last! But that doesn’t answer the question of where my father purchased the plastic window film and decals.

My father electrified my doll house with LED lighting, which in the 1970’s was revolutionary.I will be refreshing the lighting system as well. You can see where he labeled the rooms, in German of course!

Here are some photos of the original interior.

Here is a picture of the Scottie’s Doll Haus (named the Mier Haus) interior.

I ordered replacement parts from an online store called Doll House Collectibles. They have a extensive assortment of working doors and windows. The parts I selected were as close to the style of the originals I could find, but I was going to have to remove the existing trim and enlarge the openings. SCARY! My hands actually shook as I gingerly took a hammer and 5 in one tool to the trim. I tapped. I pried. No results. Finally I hammered with gusto. If we ever have an earthquake, I’m going to crawl inside that doll house, because it will surely make it through intact! At last I got the trim off with only minor splintering.

Inside, I had to remove the 1970’s carpeting and vinyl. Those were more difficult. I had to sand them down with an electric sander to get the underlayment off.

You can see from the window openings the cuts I had to make in order for the new windows to fit.  Next, I will have to fill in the little notches at the top with tiny bits of wood.

In my previous post I promised I would show you a picture of my Secret Spinning Project.  Here it is!

This 8 oz roving from Creatively dyed is a blend of merino, silk and cashmere fiber, and it was a real pleasure to spin.  As you can see the interesting colors blended beautifully, and the yarn is really soft and warm.  This yarn will be the color in my Top Secret Project.  Next I will dive into the 3.5 lbs of prepared Cormo that I have in my studio.  The natural white will be the other component of the Top Secret Project.  Never having spun any fiber prepared by Morrow Bay (that I am aware of), I am curious to find out if their reputation of being the top mill on the West Coast will meet my expectations.

🙂

Yarn Love

May 10, 2010

I have a new love to share with you. Don’t worry, I haven’t broken any vows. 😉

It’s a love of yarn. One particular yarn. Malabrigo Silky. Currently being worked into a ravishing cardigan from the Alexandria pattern from Connie Chang Chinchio, available for purchase through Ravelry. This pattern is stunning. The moment I saw it, I HAD to have it! I just happened to have a sweater’s worth of Malabrigo Silky in the Cape Cod Grey color way sitting around, and I knew it was a match made in heaven. A graceful rounded neckline and straight front, edged with a interesting textured knit lace band. The Malabrigo Silky, a 50/50 silk and merino wool blend is so soft and shiny, it really highlights the textures. I am just up to the arm holes, and I can already tell it will be a wardrobe essential. As a knitted project, it is easy, yet the band created interest, and so avoids boredom. The delicious yarn makes each stitch a pleasure. This is definately, my favorite spring project yet.

On the list of completed projects, the Gretal baby jacket is finally done. I had the knitted side done many months ago, but set it aside for Truckin’ Lizard. I resumed work on it last week, and I have to admit, I’m pretty pleased with the results. I spun the knitted side from 2 rovings, one from Poppy Flower Fibers in the Poison Apple color way, and the other was a silk/merino blend in the Blyth color way from Pigeonroof Studios. I loved the way the two color ways complimented one another.

The knitted fabric looked great with the small amount of antique French sateen I had in my stash. French sateen is a true sateen, with the warp composed out of cotton threads, and the weft composed of silk thread. The tightly woven fabric is lightweight with a slight sheen, that won’t wash out. It also takes color beautifully. The background is a mid value green, with a stylized ribbon and flower print in white, olive and brown. It is a bit remaniscent of a folk print, and blended with the olive and greens in the knitted fabric, while highlighting the whites and pinks. The folk lore theme brought to mind lace, and so I added antique ruffled eyelet lace sleeves, Juliet style. I think the lace may have been the edging on a pillow at one time! I make the fabric side by sewing a complete jacket, fit it into the knitted jacket, and hand sew the two sides together. I then add buttons to both sides. Available for purchase from my Etsy store, Enchanted 123, size 3-6 months.

Moving onto the spinning side of things, I just finished spinning and plying 8 oz. of a cashmere/silk/merino roving from Creatively Dyed. It was such a pleasure to spin, I was almost sad to have finished it up! After being “set”, it is currently air drying, and given the rainy state of our weather, it may take some time to dry. It is destined to be part of a secret project, so more about that next time!