2/29/16

Yard Work

We finally finished up the simple patio cover over the lagoon area in my backyard. It was a slow undertaking as I really couldn't tolerate working out in the cold this past winter... but now that it is done and the weather is getting somewhat warmer.... need I say it? I have started to undertake another new project in my backyard. Why, oh WHY do I do this?.... eiy-eiy-eiy... the things I get myself into. This area had a large planter with lush tropical plants in it... but, I decided to make the planter area smaller so that I could make more usable space in the actual lagoon. For the most part this area was basically a breezeway between two areas. Now it is going to serve more as a seating area.

 I dug up all the plants, then up came all of the retaining stones and lastly, massive amounts of dirt had to be dug up... Where I'm going to be putting all that dirt is giving me nightmares! In my mind, I thought it was going to be a lot less dirt... in this photo it doesn't look like much, but it is a pile of dirt about three feet wide by 20 feet long... I reworked the planter on the side of the lagoon, I even added a few more rows of the retaining stones to this planter so I could actually use up some of the dirt. It didn't make the dent in the dirt pile like I had imagined... nuts. 
 Along the fence line, I've been toying with the idea of making a counter using barrels. I may opt for a narrower counter just to keep the area as big as possible. I tacked up my collection of gold embossed plates.. they may or may not stay there, who knows.
 Here is another view. It will be fabulous when it is all finished-- but in the mean time, it is a little bit overwhelming to have such a huge mess a.k.a. "the dirt pile." I need another twenty to thirty retaining stones to create the small retaining wall that is needed so I can keep going. Right now everything is at a stand still.... All in all I think I've added another three feet of usable space. Hooray! Just enough room for a nice comfy chair for me to sit in.
Oh, who am I kidding... sitting doing nothing would drive me nuts. *wink*
big hugs,

2/18/16

Repurposed Antique Photo Album

I few weeks ago, I bought an old antique photo album at the swap meet for a dollar. I had to have it. Inside the front of the cover written in pencil it reads, "Mabel Johnson Latham Age 11. December 25, 1811. Kansas. Wow... that makes it two hundred and five years old. There were no photos inside... but that didn't deter me from wanting to buy it. I immediately thought it would make a super cute photo album to put some of the photos from our yearly pirate party. The paper mats on each page that originally held old photos in place were extremely brittle and they were not going to be able to be used at all...
I used a razor blade to cut out the old paper and then went over the edges with sandpaper to clean it up a little more.
Once the pages were cleaned up, I made a paper pattern that closely resembled the original paper mats so that I could mass produce each paper mat needed for the album. This photo album measures 16" tall. Luckily, I had a tall book of maps to pull from to use as the albums new photo mats. To reinforce each new photo mat, I used contact paper on both the front and backs of each page from the book of maps. The backside I used faux wood grain contact paper... and obviously on the front I used clear.
In the original photo album I noticed there was a sheet of paper that would have been sandwiched in between each photo... I replaced those sheets as well. I used black paper which I think looks fabulous with the maps right now while the photo album is empty.
To clean up the front of the album, I rubbed a little bit of black acrylic paint over the cut work in the cover to highlight it a little better.
 After the paint had set, I wiped away the excess with a baby wipe.
There were a few chips in the celluloid cover of the album. But seeing how it was over two hundred years old... it is in remarkable shape. I filled in the missing pieces with some older looking pieces of map which I aged slightly with some black paint. I think it really ties in nicely with the aged look of the entire album.
 Here is another newly patched area...
I am pretty happy with the way the photo album turned out. It will eventually hold thirty-two photos of my grand kids enjoying themselves pretending to be pirates... aarrrrgggghhh~
I've linked up to "My Salvaged Treasures" Talk of the Town.
big hugs,

2/12/16

Handmade Birthday Gift

I've been working non-stop on making doll clothing for my grand daughter's birthday... I'm glad to say... I've now got a huge stack of clothing finished. Hooray! It took a long time to make the patterns to fit these dolls before sewing the clothing. Just when I thought I had a pattern made that would fit the doll... I'd whip it up only to find it was either to big-- to tight--- or way to small. I wasted a lot of beautiful fabric in the process... live and learn right? This past weekend, I got two more animator dolls. The little cutie below is Anna. I got her and Tinkerbell (shown further down) for only $5.00 for the pair. I just can't resist their cute little faces~

I'm going to be taking my dolls to my grand daughter's birthday party... so of course, I had to make some birthday party hats to fit the dolls!I bought two dollar store guitars and crocheted some guitar straps for them.
I managed to whip up several pairs of shoes. Again, I couldn't find any patterns that would fit the Disney Animator dolls feet, so I had to make my own pattern. I'm pretty happy with how they turned out.
I also crocheted some slippers, and some tall button up  boots. I love the bunny slippers...

I made fourteen t-shirts. They look large in the photo, but they are quite small.

Twelve pairs of pants....

Four baby-doll dresses with matching bloomers...
Seven sleeveless dresses with matching bloomers....
Two long dresses and five pair of shorts...
 I made another scarf, hat and gloves set....

 A leopard jacket and of course, Pom-poms...

 Here is everything I've made... so far... *wink*
To hold all of the clothing I've made, I purchased a large-ish basket with handles on the sides to hold it all. I loved it, but thought it looked a little stark... so I made a liner for it.

Then, I got an idea to make a mattress and pillow for the top of the baskets lid..... Then of course, I had to make a fitted sheet, pillow case and a matching blanket. Ah, much better. I pulled the fitted sheet over the lid of the basket so it looks like a mattress on top of a box spring. The basket is wide enough to hold two of these dolls laying side by side.

Here are my Disney Animator dolls... All of these dolls were rescued dolls. I can look past the dirt and over brushed hair to see the beauty in dolls.
I've only paid a grand total of $9.00 for all four of these dolls. After this party the clothing they are wearing will go to my grand daughter... so I'll have to whip up some new outfits for them to wear. Which should be easy peasy now that I have patterns that fit the dolls. Ah, who am I kidding, they will be laying around naked for weeks because *IT IS WARM OUTSIDE* woot-woot... I'm going outside to play. A.K.A. working in my pirate yard. Aaaarrrggghhhhh~
big hugs,

2/8/16

Owl be your Valentine

I'm still plugging away at sewing doll clothing for my grand daughter's doll.... I just about forgot about Valentines day coming up. I wanted to make my grand kids some Valentines for their classrooms.... I whipped up two class sets of owl containers that hold some candy and small toys for my grand kids classmates. I printed out "Owl be your Valentine" and stuck it to the front of each owl. The first 10 were so fun to make.... I thought they would whip up fast. I was wrong. It. Took. Forever. to get them finished.
Or maybe it just felt like that because I wanted to get back to my sewing machine! Here is one of the outfits I just finished.
I not only made the dress, but the Minnie Mouse ears...
bloomers, tights and matching shoes.
Merida approves.
 Taking her picture all the time has made her somewhat of a diva. She is now calling herself a model....
I have five more days left before I am going to be bundling up all of the doll clothing I've made and gift it to my grand daughter. Every day I ask my daughter, "Is she still playing with that doll?" Every day, I am relieved to hear, "Yes." Back to the sewing machine.
big hugs,