Tag Archives: crafts

A ballet costume for Bean’s doll

Last June I took Bean to see her cousins dance in their dress rehearsal performance. For weeks afterwards (actually it still occasionally happens), Bean and Sprout would pretend that her dark closet was the dark theater complete with an old adult Halloween costume that served as the curtains. The two of them would “dance in the theater” and clap for the performances. I managed to convince Stephen to sign her up for her first dance class soon after. This year Bean will get to dance in her first ballet performance along with her cousins and some friends of ours that are at the same studio. She is soooooooo excited and so am I.

They recently posted the costume photos for each class. Around this time, Bean was on a big “doll and me” kick that started just before Christmas. The doll has to do everything she does. It’s kind of cute, but has also led to some frustrations when “Lanie” isn’t ready to go when we are and there isn’t enough time to get her ready. Lanie even has her own ballet gear and has been to ballet class with us (thanks Aunt Ruth).

So, at some point I decided that I was either going to find someone on Etsy to make a copy of Bean’s costume or I was going to do it myself. I asked a few sellers that did American Girl clothes, but none said they were able to do it. So I did it myself. My original plan was to make the outfit in secret and then give it to her right before the recital, but Bean has been tagging along over my shoulder every step of the way. I may still put it away tonight after she goes to bed. Not sure.

Anyway, I finished it. So super excited about it and so is Bean.

After a couple failed attempts at using the official American Girl leotard as a template for Lanie’s costume, I wound up just pinning fabric directly onto her soft body. It freaked Bean out a little bit. She was afraid I was hurting her.



I completed the leotard first and then added the tutu.


Then I attached the pleated ribbon and rhinestones to the edge.


Finally I added some embroidery to the bodice.




Bean’s doll and the photo of the costume she’ll be wearing in the show. I originally planned to do the straps too, but I ran out of ribbon and I figured it would be easier for her to get on and off of her doll without them.

So happy and excited!

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Bean gets a room all her own

Well with a third on the way we were not going to be cramming all three kids into one room just so we could maintain a craft and guest room. Especially since we use the guest room for guests about five times a year at the max.

So we got rid of the queen bed in there (given to some friends about to become newly weds) moved in a full size futon we got from Stephen’s sister to become Bean’s new bed and room.

My friends came Thursday to pick up the bed and they moved the futon up there too. Bean had to take a nap in there that afternoon as soon as it was in place. She was so excited about her new big bed!

We did some rearranging that night when Stephen got home, he was pretty inspired and ready to get going at this point. The bulk of the purging, reorganizing and rearranging was done yesterday.

I also made up some art for Bean’s room based on some that I saw at Target. Only this uses scrap fabric from her quilt and so coordinates perfectly with her bedding. The sheets we got also came in a little matching fabric bag so I was able to cut that up and incorporate it into the art too.

I cut fabric into shapes to make up larger objects like the owls and trees and I also cut out flowers and birds from the quilt fabrics to use in the art.

I covered some canvasses I already was using as decor in that room with quilt batting (so the old design wouldn’t show thru) and then the fabric. I’ve always thought of hot gluing things as kind of half assed (sorry for the language, but that really is the best way to put it), but I think in the case of something like this where in a few years she will out grow it and something that isn’t going to get a lot of wear and tear being up out of reach on the wall, it is fine for. Plus I just wanted to get it done and really couldn’t think of a better way.

I printed up a page of inspiration images including old blog logos and screen captures of the art that Target had.

This is about midway thru the project. Bean and I worked on this one together after her nap one day. In the upper left corner you can see what the old canvasses looked like.

So excited about her new room.

The owls which are pretty much a rip off of the Target piece. I even traced the owls from her Target Pillow to do them.

I made this one last night while Bean was asleep. This morning she came out of her room and said, “There’s a tree with apples in my new room!” The apples are from apple fabric I used in her quilt, the birds are also from her quilt fabric, and the flowers too.

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The dog ate my daughter’s doll…

So, if you have been following this blog for awhile, there has been quite the saga with a certain knitted friend.

Here she is bright and shiny the first day I made her:

Bean wasn’t always thrilled with her, but she did grow to love her.

Isn’t little Bean so cute at a mere 56 weeks (Weeks? God, I was just a little anal, don’t you think? I would totally convert this into the month approximation, but I am lazy and hate math.):

Or how about this one from 15 weeks, look at those chub cheeks:

And then the knitted friend got lost when my husband and Bean spent the day together in Bakersfield. I was kind of upset. But then I made a new and improved version. Bean loved her just the same:

One day Bean fell down in the garden, scraped her knee and needed a band-aid. She decided that her dolly needed one too:

Other than that little boo-boo, things were going fine and dandy for our knitted friend until Thanksgiving when we were staying at my in-laws. Bean misplaced the doll and left her there. My in-law’s Shetland Sheepdog, Bodie, found her.

At Christmas the doll was returned to us. She wasn’t as pretty. As Bean said, “Bodie got my dolly.”

A torn dress:

Mangled and missing pig tail braids:

We talked about the importance of taking care of our things and not leaving them out when we are done with them. Especially at Grandma and Grandpa’s house where Bodie can get them.

The knitted friend was temporarily relocated to my craft to-do basket. Except I didn’t feel like doing anything. So she sat, and sat, and sat.

Really, I was making a mountain out of a mole hill. I knew I could fix her up during an afternoon nap. I just didn’t feel like doing it.

Well, I was getting all my craft stuff organized for our big trip today and I was almost going to stick the doll in the to-go bag, but then I just decided that instead of doing more graph paper coloring or more crochet medalions or starting any new projects, I should probably use all my crafty inspiration and energy and finally get around to fixing the doll. So I did.

I also decided that I wanted her to have better hair. So I Googled “doll hair tutorial” and found a ton of stuff. The doll got a makeover:

Bean was super excited that I was finished when she woke up from her nap:

And she was so in love with the made-over version that the dolly had to go with us to the Farmer’s Market to enjoy some Oxnard strawberries:

So the adventures of this girl and her doll continue…

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Designer crochet scarf

Next week our family and the families of some of our best friends are going to be holed up together in Park City, UT in a “cabin” (more like luxury home). Last time we went I started and finished an entire sweater for my sister-in-law.

I have not felt at all craft since my post-holiday and beginning of pregnancy burn-out.

And then the lovely Kara posted this on her blog and I just about died. The kids woke up from their naps early (actually I later figured out that Bean didn’t nap at all, the little stinker was “awake reading books”) and I took them straight to JoAnn’s to get crochet thread and a minuscule crochet hook. Crochet was my first craft love (my friend Latisha and I rocked the 6th grade class making, selling, and wearing crochet scrunchies, oh heck yes!) so it is appropriate that this should be my first project back.

All I have to go off of is the picture she posted, but I don’t really ever use a pattern anyway and I am not so good at reading crochet ones. So I’m just winging it. Here are a couple shots of my progress so far:

I am so super excited about this project!


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Christmas presents for one of my favorite little families

Finally, I can blog about and reveal some of the things I’ve been working on.

I definitely overcommited myself on the handmade gift list this year. So, a lot of it got scrapped. I gave first priority to people that I knew would actually appreciate handmade gifts. The second priority is keeping it real and knowing what I’ll actually be able to finish in time.

Anyway, last night one of our favorite little families held a Christmas gathering for all our friends and I gave away their gifts. Yesterday kind of turned into the day from H-E-double hockey sticks though so I was completely lame and showed up with my gifts in a slightly tangled pile in my arms, not even wrapped. Life happens. And a lot of life happening has been happening around here lately. It’s just that way. I know Cara understands and that is why we can be friends.

Oh, and I forgot to take photos of these gifts. So, Cara had to do that for me too. Here goes…

Here is sweet William, the cutest Beatles fan ever and one of Bean’s best friends, sporting his new airplane shirt. It is just a simple thermal from Old Navy that I added the vinyl airplane and script to. Actually, Sprout has the same shirt, sans embroidery.

This scarf I made with fleece for Cara’s husband John. I got the basic idea for it from Scandinavian Needlecraft and had actually planned to go in a slightly different direction with it, but Stephen helped me out with a concept and I went with it instead. Oh and John, Stephen says if you do not want your scarf, he will gladly take it off your hands.

Then for Cara I made these embroidered dish towels. I bought the towels at Target and the embroidery templates are from Doodle Stitching: The Motif Collection. There are so many cute ideas in that book that are all so very Cara that it was hard to narrow down what I was going to do. I decided to make her some dish towels because she was very much in love with the woodland animals onesies that I made for a few friends. I told her that I would make some for her next babe, but that could be awhile. She needed some cuteness now.

Alright, hi-ho, hi-ho, back to Santa’s workshop I go…

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Darn those buns!

Recently, Megan’s mom, Susan, was completely smitten with the knitted diaper covers featured on this photography blog. She of course had visions of her sweet granddaughter in a girly blush pink knitted diaper cover. So, she asked if it would be possible for me to knit one for little Miss Kate. Seeing as I have not knit anything for Kate yet (I knit Christian a blanket way back when I first started knitting), I was all too happy to oblige her.

I scoured Ravelry for some patterns. I was not too impressed (seriously people choose some really ugly yarns sometimes and it really ruins the whole vision of the project for me), but passed my findings along to Susan to see if something appealed to her or offered to come up with my own design using Bean as a model.

Well Susan really liked a super girly, ruffle-legged diaper cover pattern I found. Despite the weird tie-die blue and green yarn the person chose for it, she was able to do more than me and envision it in a beautiful solid pink hue that would highlight all the right features of the pattern. However, I cast on and discovered that not only would the thing be way too huge, but that it was using up way too much yarn for something so tiny. I scrapped the pattern and came up with my own using some of the ideas from the other pattern and used a pair of fabric bloomers from Bean’s closet to approximate sizing.

Pattern: My own that I did not write down.
Made for: Kate
Needles: US 8 rosewood straights, US 6 bamboo DPNs
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Pure Cotton in Rose, 1 skein
Started: August 26, 2009
Completed: August 26, 2009

It was so quick and fun that I decided to make a second pair that was more like one of the ones featured on the photography blog with some different yarn.

Pattern: My own that I did not write down.
Made for: Kate
Needles: US 8 rosewood straights, US 15 plastic straights
Yarn: Lion Brand Homespun in Boston Rose, less than one skein
Started: August 26, 2009
Completed: August 27, 2009

I love the results and can’t wait to see Miss Kate in them. For now though, I’m satisfied with these photos I got of Bean modeling them prior to shipment:


By the way, I’ve been absolutely DYING over here waiting to show off these photos and the projects ever since completion. I am seriously horrible at keeping secrets and this was very, very hard for me.

Oh and the title of this post is something Megan used to say all. the. time. I felt it was appropriate. 🙂


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My first FO of 2009

For those of you not in the “know” of the craft world, FO stands for “finished object”. And yes, despite all my crazy craft lady prowess, this is actually the very first one of 2009. I have started plenty of projects, but finishing anything did not happen until now.

So I got to Mammoth with all the good intention of actually finishing the knitting part of the boy blanket I had recently re-started. However, I also brought up two other projects I’ve been working on this year and the bird button sweater just struck my fancy once again. However…

Problem #1: I had been making up my own pattern for this sweater and did not document what the heck I was doing, which is normally fine because I have a fairly decent memory.

Problem #2: Insert pregnancy brain.

Problem #3: Entire body of sweater was done in seed stitch making it really hard to detect the exact pattern of decreases used on the armholes.

Problem #4: The sleeves have to have the same decrease pattern as the armholes on the body in order to fit together properly.

So. I ripped it. Again. For the fourth time. I frantically searched Ravelry for ideas and then I saw it. A pattern I’ve been wanting to knit since last year’s Tour de France/Tour de Fleece: Cherry. Every single finished version of this cardigan looked fantastic and that is important when choosing a knitting pattern. I got super inspired and cast on immediately.

Here are pictures and specs of my Cherry:

The entire finished product. Definitely looks better on someone than just hung up. But even though it was knit in my “normal” size, it definitely isn’t my pregnant size. So no modeling was possible. I did try it on, but I looked like a sausage.

Ribbon and button detail.

Stitch definition and button detail.

All pictures were taken with the new camera, but I’m still trying to figure it all out so definitely not my best work.

Pattern: Cherry by Anna Bella
Needles: US 2 and 5 circs
Yarn: Knit Picks Telemark 100% Peruvian Highland Wool (apparently Peruvian Highland sheep are a cross between cashmere sheep and some sheep that make really warm wool) in the color Fjord Heather.
Started: July 21, 2009 (if you don’t count all the other rips and restarts)
Completed: August 2, 2009 (that would be 12 days total)
For: Originally this was going to be for me. However, I’m pregnant and won’t be able to wear it for another year which with something this cute is just a crying shame. My friend Megan’s birthday is coming up and I decided that this would be perfect for her when it is sweltering in the Bakersfield heat, but 30 below in the newsroom. Now I just need to make it to the post office and get it shipped!


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Something happier…

I wish I was getting married again so I could have these:

From Jamball on Etsy.

From Rainsend on Etsy.

Oh and an amazing video like this from our friend John.

I love weddings. Luckily I’m going to one next week.


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Contest winner, another recipe and Hotel Wuertz/Craftopia Headquarters

Thanks to everyone who entered my little contest. I had 8 entries. I didn’t feel like searching the web for a randomizer so I just did it the old fashioned way. Names on paper in a hat. So drum roll please…

Bean was my special little helper for picking the winner.

Names in the hat.

Mixing up the entries.

Yep, she’s teething folks, so of course she used her mouth to pick the winner.

And the winner is Morgan, aka Mrs. Priss.

Congrats Morgan. I’ll be e-mailing you for your address by the end of the day.

Moving right along…

I am loving, loving, loving Filo dough and all the stuff you can do with it. I’ve seen it and premade puff pastry dough used all the time on cooking shows, but could never find the stuff in Bakersfield. Last night I made a pot pie of sorts that I’d like to share with you because it was super yummy.

Filo Chicken Pot Pie
-1/2 large onion, chopped
-1/2 cup chicken broth
-1 small bag frozen peas and carrots
-tips from 1 bunch of asparagus
-1 large chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces
-1 can cream of celery soup, not condensed
-1/4 cup heavy cream
-2 tbsp all purpose flour
-salt and better to taste
-Filo dough
-2 tbsp olive oil, divided

Preheat oven to 400.

In a small stock pot saute onion in olive oil until translucent. Stir in peas and carrots and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer until peas and carrots are defrosted and tender.

Meanwhile, salt and pepper chicken and then brown in frying pan. Reduce heat and continue cooking until insides are no longer pink and juices run clear.

Mix heavy cream and flour together. If you are having trouble getting the flour to dissolve add a little of the soup to the mixture. Add soup, cream mixture, and asparagus tips to the stock pot. Bring to a boil and continue cooking until mixture thickens. Add cooked chicken to the stock pot and mix in well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour mixture into high rimmed baking dish. Crumble Filo over the top of the pie filling. Reduce oven heat to 375 and put dish into oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until Filo is golden brown on top.

Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes. Serve.

And if my cooking isn’t enough temptation to bring visitors, perhaps our guestroom, aka Hotel Wuertz/Craftopia Headquarters will be…

I probably won’t leave the iron and so much craft stuff out when we have actual visitors, but this is what it looks like on a normal, day-to-day basis.

My workspace, although sometimes this shifts to the kitchen table downstairs for really big projects.

That entire dresser is filled with all my sewing stuff now. It used to house sewing, scrapbooking and knitting stuff, but the sewing stuff is taking over!

Knitting and ribbons got shifted to this little end table. Scrabooking stuff is in a plastic drawer thingy in the closet now.

Another cute lamp from IKEA and the sweet view of the pool and trees outside.

Hope you’ll visit soon!


Filed under Craftopia, Family, Gourmet Lisa, Homemade

The crafty bug

OK, we still don’t technically have Internet. Well we might have already had it if I had been home yesterday when UPS tried to deliver our goods from Verizon. Oops. But if I hold my computer at just the right angle I can get connected on an unsecured network here in the apartment complex.

The craft bug hit yesterday and since then I have accomplished three, yes three, little projects. So I thought I’d share.

First, here’s my take on the Anthro bird display…

I’m still not sure if I completely like it. The whole thing is pretty easily removed though, so I’m not worried. Right now I’m just trying to let it grow on me. Stephen’s response to the “art” on the walls? “I think we can get away with it because we have kids. I think they’re fun. They’re pretty girly.”

Anyway, the way I did it was I purchased one of those scrapbook stacks (Talia’s idea), made four templates, traced and cut them out then used Scotch brand removable foam mounting squares (Ruth’s idea) to attach them to the wall. I did try the more clustered look that the window display had going on, but I really didn’t like it.

After my art project, I decided to make a couple of jingly blocks for Bean with some of the leftover quilt squares, polyfill and bells I had…

Then this morning I finally finished Olive so she joined her best friend Archie for a picture on the chair in the livingroom…

Of course we all know that Olive and Archie can’t resist a good playground, so they are pretty happy about the fact that there is one just a few feet from our front door…

(I’m sure my neighbors all think I’m crazy now for taking pictures of dolls on playground equipment)

Bean loves all the toys I’ve just made her, but she’s being a bit of a grump today and so I have her down for her second nap right now. I’m hoping she’s a little more cheery the next time she wakes up.

Oh and Bean’s new room is just about finished. I just need to hang up her name shelf. I did find some pretty sweet wall decals at Target though so I applied them yesterday. Here’s a peak at her room…

That lamp and shade were procured in my first IKEA experience.

I can’t wait to unpack Bean’s books and fill that little built-in shelving unit.


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