17.4.17

peg doll skipping rope


There is this thing which sometimes happens to me.  A friend casually says, "Have you ever thought of making Halloween bats?"  "Pilgrims?"  "Turkeys?!"  "A doll house and furniture for peg dolls?" "A mermaid grotto?"  "Sushi!"  "Wouldn't that be cute?"  My immediate response is to put my hands over my ears and shout, "NO NO NO! Why did you say that!!? I don't have time for this project right now!!!" Then I say words which are not suitable for reprint here on my blog.  Because, inevitably, the idea gets stuck in my head and I will not rest until the concept is brought to life.

And so it was that, a few weeks ago, my friend Heather said, "How about a jump rope with peg doll handles?!"  I muttered some rude words (not suitable for saying in front of children), but you know what happened next..


If you are inclined to make a peg doll jump rope for a very lucky child (or yourself), my tutorial for making skipping ropes can be found HERE.  And large size peg dolls are available for purchase HERE and HERE.


Thank you, Heather, for the truly lovely and wonderfully inspired idea!!  (Please let's set a date this summer for you to bring your girls over to make skipping rope handles, and we can all skip rope together...)

16.4.17

... and speaking of skipping ropes


Andy Spandy Sugardy Candy
French Almond Rock!
Bread and Butter for your Supper's
All Your Mother's GOT!

My son & I have been skipping rope and you can read about how we made our own skipping ropes HERE. Our new favorite book is Elsie Piddock Skips in her Sleep by Eleanor Farjeon, because what could be more delightful than a story about a little girl who skips rope with the fairies? We love the rhyme Elsie Piddock sings about Andy Spandy -- did you know that Andy Spandy is the Fairy Skipping-Master? Plus, in the story, there is another special skipping song taught to Elsie by the fairies...


And then a few weeks ago I came across another magical book about skipping rope... The Fox Wish by Kimiko Aman.



What were your favorite skipping rope rhymes as a child?  I'd love to know about them in any comments you'd care to leave below!

14.4.17

tutorial :: skipping rope


I'm always trying to think of new ways for my bouncy boy to spend time outdoors, and our new favorite activity is skipping rope.  I searched online to buy a jump rope for each of us, and wasn't excited by what I saw, so decided it would be fun to make our own.

I was able to find most of the supplies for these skipping ropes in our garage, and picked up a few other odds & ends (such as the claw clasp swivel clips) from a local hardware store.  Our skipping ropes turned out so lovely that I'm thinking of making a few extra as birthday gifts for friends.

SUPPLIES
-- an old broomstick or a 1 in. (2 cm) diameter dowel
-- braided cotton clothesline, 9-10 ft. (3 m) per jump rope
-- split metal key rings
-- swivel eye snap hooks (or claw clasp swivel clips)
    (you can buy sets of snap hooks + key rings HERE)
-- 1 1/8 in. (2.9 cm) eye screws
-- a pencil
-- small handsaw
-- hand drill
-- clamp to hold wood
-- sand paper
-- paint + paint brush
-- beeswax wood polish (optional)


STEP 1 :: Use a pencil to mark off 7 in. (18 cm) lengths on your old broom handle or dowel. Clamp your broomstick/dowel to a work bench or sawhorse and use a small handsaw to cut 7 in. (18 cm) pieces of wood.

STEP 2 :: Secure dowel pieces with a clamp, and drill small holes into one end of each piece (see photos below).


STEP 3 :: Use sand paper to smooth the ends of the dowel pieces, and if you've used an old broom stick, you can also apply the sandpaper to smooth the weathered exterior of the wood.


 STEP 4 :: Twist eye screws into the ends of your dowel pieces where you drilled the small holes.


STEP 5 :: Paint your dowels any pretty color your heart desires.  If you use watercolors to paint the dowels, you might want to rub them with beeswax polish once the paint is dry.  My recipe for beeswax polish can be found HERE.


 STEP 6 :: Add split metal key rings to the eye screws at the ends of your dowels.


NOTE :: We found that, if we just used the split metal key rings between the eye screws & ropes, the ropes would sometimes twirl up the handles as we jumped.   Adding swivel eye snap hooks (also called lobster/claw clasp swivel clips) prevented this problem. The skipping rope will work without the swivel clips, but if you have a problem with the rope getting wound up the handles, you might want to pick up a few swivel clips at the hardware store.  You can also order swivel clips (sold as a set along with split metal key rings) HERE.


STEP 7 :: Now it's time to add rope to your wooden handles!  I was surprised to discover that it's easier to skip with a rope which seems much too long.  Originally, I cut 8 1/2 feet of rope for my son. After allowing 6 in. at either end for knots, the length of the rope between his handles was approx. 7 1/2 feet long; however he kept complaining that it was too short.  I finally cut a new piece of rope for him which measured 9 feet (again, allowing 6 in. on either side for knotting).  I think my rope measured 10 or 10 1/2 ft. before knotting.  And never mind if you cut your rope too long and then need to shorten it; it's better to start with a longer rope and trim it down then to cut it too short to begin with.

If the ends of your rope begin to fray, you can wrap a small piece of cellophane sticky tape around the tips.


Here are a few traditional jump rope rhymes to get you started:

Down by the river,
Down by the sea.
Mama went fishing
With Papa & me.
How many fish did Mama get?
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7...

Bubblegum, bubblegum, in a dish
How many pieces do you wish?
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7...

What shall I name my little pup?
I'll have to think a good one up.
A, B, C, D, E, F, G...
(when the jumper misses, make up a 
name beginning with that letter.)

ABC's and vegetable goop.
What will I find in my alphabet soup?
 A, B, C, D, E, F, G...
(when the jumper misses, make up 
something silly beginning with that letter)

Mabel, Mabel set the table,
Just as fast as you are able.
Don't forget the salt, sugar, vinegar, mustard,
and RED HOT PEPPER!

Mama sent me to the store.
This is what she sent me for:
To get some coffee, tea & RED HOT PEPPER!
(note: after saying the word PEPPER, the jumper 
speeds up the rope and jumps as fast as possible!)

12.4.17

peg dolls march for science



The MARCH FOR SCIENCE will occur on April 22nd, 2017 on the National Mall in Washington DC and in over 425 other locations world wide.  I cannot be there in person, but my dolls and I stand in solidarity.  The information below is excerpted from the MARCH FOR SCIENCE website:

WHY
Science, scientists, and evidence-based policymaking are under attack. Budget cuts, censorship of researchers, disappearing datasets, and threats to dismantle government agencies harm us all, putting our health, food, air, water, climate, and jobs at risk. It is time for people who support science to take a public stand and be counted.

WHAT
The March for Science is the first step of a global movement to defend the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economies, and governments.

HOW
We are building a broad, nonpartisan, and diverse coalition of organizations and individuals who stand up for science. We are advocating for evidence-based policymaking, science education, research funding, and inclusive and accessible science. All with your support!

WHO
People who value science. Science advocates, science educators, scientists, and concerned citizens. More than 170 partner organizations and counting. And you!

WHERE
The National Mall in Washington, DC and 425+ satellite marches around the world. For DC, event details here, and info on buses here.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

NOTE: Three of the signs held by dolls in the image above were designed by katrinawaffles.  You can see more of her work and purchase t-shirts & posters HERE on her RED BUBBLE store front.  Thank you, Katrina, for your kind permission to feature your work on my blog!

11.4.17

roots


Dear lovely readers -- You may (or may not) have noticed that there has been a pause on my blog.  Things have been difficult around here and it's not easy for me to explain the whys and wherefores.  Please know that things with my children & husband are fine.  For all intents and purposes, I am fine... but in truth, things are not okay. There are occurrences right now in my life which, in some ways and some moments, leave me feeling paralyzed with grief.  I am not ready to disclose anything further, but please know that, when I am able, I will share what I can.

When my first son was three months old, I explained to a very wise friend how difficult it was for me to put all my work and creative projects aside to care for this one small person.  As much as I loved my little son, I was intensely frustrated by not being able to progress creatively.  My wonderfully wise friend explained that it might be helpful if I imagined my creativity as a flower bulb, planted underground in wintertime.  The bulb is hidden where no one can see it, and yet it is there, putting out roots (which no one can see).  These roots create a vast network to draw in nourishment for the bulb, and when the proper time arrives, the bulb will produce flowers.  It's difficult to be patient while the bulb lies hidden underground putting out roots, because none of this is visible.  But if one has patience and faith, the blossoms will appear.

So, I am trying to be patient with myself.  And patient with things over which I have no control.  And patient with life as it unspools and unfolds.

Meanwhile, on days I've been able to focus, I've picked away (in a rather desultory fashion) at some new blog posts. You will hopefully see them here over the next week or two.
xo
mb

2.3.17

fairy garden








A friend assembled a fairy garden kit for my younger son as a holiday gift.  We've been waiting for a break in the cold, rainy days to create our fairy haven -- so yesterday, when the sun broke through the clouds, we pulled out our gardening gloves and seized the moment.

The kit our friend gave us included three small wooden houses, a fairy-sized bucket & gardening tools, tiny pots & pans, little striped flags to create a festive bunting, many sorts of seashells for decorative paving stones, and of course, the essential jar of fairy glitter.  My son was overjoyed with this project, and since the garden's completion, has been checking frequently for signs that the fairies have accepted his invitation to take up residence.  Thank you dear E. for this marvelous gift.

Spring is almost here...

12.2.17

sweethearts



Who can take a rainbow,
Wrap it in a sigh,
Soak it in the sun 
and make a groovy lemon pie?
The Candy Man...

The Candy Man can
'Cause he mixes it with love
And makes the world taste good.
lyrics: Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley



10.2.17

tutorial :: valentine heart stamps


A little tutorial on making tiny Valentine cards from peg doll heart stamps (reposted from February 1st, 2016...) xo


SUPPLIES FOR MAKING A PEG DOLL STAMP

-- 1 sheet of craft-foam (this stuff)

-- Larger size peg dolls, at least
    2 3/8 in tall (6 cm) like these

-- water color paint

-- beeswax polish (tutorial HERE)

-- Scissors & glue


INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING A PEG DOLL STAMP

STEP 1 :: Cut a shape from craft foam.  The shape you cut should be smaller than the diameter of the peg doll base.

STEP 2 :: Glue your foam shape to the bottom of the peg doll and allow the glue to dry for at least an hour or two.

STEP 3 :: Have fun using your stamp!

Note: If you use water soluble glue, be careful washing your stamp.  I find it's best to clean these stamps by dampening a paper towel and gently wiping off ink residue.


SUPPLIES FOR MAKING A STAMPED CARD

-- 1 peg doll stamp (see instructions above)

--  Colorful ink pads & a black ink pen

-- Card stock paper

-- Scissors or a paper-cutter


INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING A STAMPED CARD

STEP 1 :: Cut your card stock paper to desired size. My card stock was
 2 in (5 cm) by 3 1/2 in (9 cm). After cutting paper to size, fold it in half.

STEP 2 ::  Use ink pad to apply ink and then stamp your card(s).

STEP 3 ::  Use a black pen to write little messages on your card(s).


Happy (almost) Valentine's Day!

7.2.17

i carry your heart mitts :: knitting pattern

 
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)
-- ee cummings


For the past two years, I've had several knitting projects in mind which I've hoped to document and share with you -- but I haven't had the time.  For me, knitting projects are more time consuming than all others; however, last week, it suddenly felt urgent to share this project with you in time for Valentine's Day.

The materials you need for these mitts are basic: worsted yarn plus some lace weight (or 2-3 plies separated from a length of 6-ply DMC embroidery floss).

Please note: for me, knitting is a calming meditation, but I don't find it relaxing to hold the tension between DPN's as I switch from needle to needle.  Hence these instructions are written for the mitts to be knit flat and then seamed up the side, however, this project may easily be converted to be knit in the round with DPN's.  Please feel free to convert it if that's your preference!



i carry your heart mitts

MATERIALS REQUIRED
For this project you will need worsted weight and lace weight yarn.  I knit two pairs of these mitts using Berrocco Ultra Alpaca and a third pair using Knit Picks Wool of the Andes (combined with a strand of Knit Picks Aloft for extra color and dimension).  For the embroidery, I combined one strand of Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud with a strand of Knit Picks Aloft.  If you don’t have lace weight yarn on hand, you might substitute 2-3 plies separated from a 6-ply strand of DMC embroidery floss.

NEEDLE SIZE
US size 7 (4.5mm)

STITCHES USED
Stockinette Stitch: knit (RS), purl (WS)
Ribbed Stitch 1: k3, p1 (RS)/ p3, k1 (WS)
Ribbed Stitch 2: k1, p1 (RS)/p1, k1 (WS)

GUAGE
9 st/14 rows = 2 in stockinette

FINISHED SIZE
3.25 (8 cm) wide (after seaming)
6.25 inches(16 cm)  long

NOTES
This pattern is designed to knit flat and seam up the side, however the pattern can easily be converted to knit with DPN’s in the round.  To knit in the round, CO 32 (to complete ribbing pattern) and proceed.



DIRECTIONS
CO 31 st (leave long tail for seaming)
Odd # rows 1-15: (k3, p1)* repeat until last 3 st, k3
Even # rows 2-16: (p3, k1)* repeat until last 3 st, p3

Odd # rows 17-35: k across row
Even # rows 18-36: p across row

Row 37: (k1, p1) repeat across row (ending on k st)
Row 38: (p1, k1) repeat across row (ending on p st)
Cast off in 1x1 ribbing pattern. Leave long tail for seaming.

placing markers to indicate the bottom tip of the heart


EMBROIDERY DIRECTIONS
First mitt: From left edge, count 8st. From bottom edge, count up 20 rows (or count up 4 rows from 1st row of stockinet section). Place a marker.  This marker indicates the bottom point of the heart.  You will find instructions for doing cross-stitch on hand knit fabric and a diagram for embroidering cross-stitch heart below.

Second mitt: From right edge, count 8st. From bottom edge, count up 20 rows (or count up 4 rows from 1st row of stockinet section). Place a marker.  This marker indicates the bottom point of the heart.  Use diagram for embroidering cross-stitch heart.  You will find instructions for doing cross-stitch on hand knit fabric and a diagram for embroidering cross-stitch heart below.

Note: if you are not sure regarding placement of markers to indicate bottom points of the hearts, please refer to above photo showing the markers.  

cross-stitch

CROSS STITCH 
Thread a tapestry needle with 2 strands of lace-weight yarn; you can use a strand of two different types of lace weight for various effects and texture, or two strands of the same type of yarn – you may also substitute 2-3 plies DMC embroidery floss.  Please refer to diagram for stitching the heart, plus instructions below and/or photo indicating method for cross-stitch on hand knit fabric.

The following instructions are from Knitted Embellishments by Nicky Epstein (Interweave Press, 1999):

For the best appearance, the top strand of all cross-stitches should be worked in the same direction.

Bring threaded needle out from back to front at lower left edge of the knitted stitch you want to cover.  Working from left to right, *insert the needle at the upper right edge of the same stitch and bring it back out at the lower edge of the adjacent stitch, directly below and in line with the insertion point.  Repeat from * to form one half of the X.  Then work from right to left in the same manner to work the other half of the cross-stitch.





SEAMING
Fold mitt in half so that 1x1 ribbing is across the top.  Thread tapestry needle with tail of yarn left over from binding off.  Sew edges together 1.5 inches (4 cm) using mattress stitch. Make a discreet knot and weave in end. Instructions for mattress stitch can be found here and here.

Thread tapestry needle with tail from casting on.  Sew up side of mitt from the bottom, until the opening for thumb is 1.75 inches (4.5 cm).  Make a discreet knot and weave in end.


* If you enjoyed this project, I hope you will post a photo of your own work on the Ravelry page here.