Learning to Sew: American Girl Sewing Camp

Yesterday I wrapped up my last summer sewing camp.
We had a blast making all sorts of great things for our dolls and what a sweet group of girls I had to teach!

Sewing camp 2015. American girl doll 

Here’s a recap of our week.

 

Day One: A Sleepover

We made sleeping bags (tutorial here) for our dolls, repurposed onesies as nightgowns, crafted donuts etc out of clay (because every sleepover ends with donuts right?) and even some little pillows for our dolls.

Sewing camp 2015. American girl doll

How to repurpose a onesie for your doll:

First up, get your hands on a newborn or size 3 month onesie (newborn works best).
Starting at the ribbing part where the legs go through, cut straight across to the other side. (some of the girls thought these made great panties for your dolls if you leave the snaps snapped!)
Next, put the onesie on your doll and see where you need to cut the sleeves. Make your sleeves short or long depending on how short you cut them.
Then take off your onesie, add some felt flowers, stars, buttons, hearts or anything else you want to add a little bling to your nightgown.
Put it on your doll and kiss her goodnight.

 

Day Two: School Days

Today we made pillowcase dresses (tutorial here), mini clipboards, desks with stools and mini totebags.

Sewing camp 2015. American girl doll

How to Make a Desk for your Doll

Grab a couple of wooden letters from your local craft store. While you are there, also get a piece of wood that measures roughly 5×12 and a box for your stool. Use a little hot glue (or wood glue) and glue the top to the letters. Decorate your wood top with paint, washi tape, sharpies and stickers. Do the same with your little box and voila! A desk for your doll!

Day Three: Career Day

We made aprons (tutorial here), oven mitts, hospital gowns (tutorial here), felt stethocopes and “frosted” cookies.

American girl camp 2015

How to Make Frosted Cookies
You will need some small wooden hearts, circles and/or stars (you can find these in the unfinished wood aisle of most craft stores), some white puffy paint and some seed beads. Take your puffy paint and paint some “icing” on the top of your wooden cookies. Sprinkle the beads on top of your wet paint for sprinkles and let dry for at least 24 hours.

Day Four: The Great Outdoors

We made hammocks (with these rockin’ stands made by my husband – coming to etsy soon!), s’mores, beach blankets, a sand pail and a beach bag made from recycled capri suns.

American girl camp 2015

How to sew a s’more

Cut out 2 small squares from tan felt for the graham crackers. Cut out 2 smaller square from dark brown felt for the chocolate. Get a little puff of fiberfill stuffing for the marshmallow. Now you need some brown embroidery thread and a chenille 22 needle (these are the best bet for little hands) Stack your s’more like this: tan square + dark brown square + fiberfill stuffing + tan square. Then take your needle and make some little running stitches through all the layers of your s’more (these are called “seed stitches”) and enjoy!

Day Five: Brrrr!

We made toboggans (great tutorial here), mittens, scarves and mini Olaf’s

American girl sewing camp 2015American girl sewing camp 2015

 

 

And that was a wrap! What a great week we had!

p.s. (Check out my pinterest page for lots of other great AG doll craft ideas!)

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extravagant love

Jesus Storybook Bible quote ... Always and forever love 2015 version in turquoise

It’s been a tumultuous few mornings in our house. Lots of tears, fussing, fighting and lots of hard parenting.
But today, after a foot stomping, fussing and complaining walk to school – a friend is there waiting.
A friend who never walks to school.
Like he dropped out of the sky like a gift.
I wish I would have had my camera to take a picture of this boy – eagerly waiting for my boy – with this big grin on his face.
And it stopped my boy in his tracks.

And then it hit me – this is how God loves us.

Even in the midst of our foot stomping and crying and fussing and trying everything possible to get our way – He still gifts us with amazing things.

He drops smiling faces out of the sky and into our days and into our fits and shows us His extravagant love.

Thou art all my good in times of peace, my only support in days of trouble,
my one sufficiency when life shall end.
Help me to see how good thy will is in all,
and even when it crosses mine teach me to be pleased with it.
Grant me to feel thee in fire, and food and every providence,
and to see that thy many gifts and creatures are but thy hands and fingers taking hold of me.
Thy bottomless fountain of all good, I give myself to thee out of love, for all I have is thine…
from Valley of Vision

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on fasting from social media

The end of my 40 days is near and it’s been an interesting 40 days. If you are new to this space, I turned 40 back on April 2nd and in celebration of my 40th birthday made a list of 40 things I want to do before I turn 41. At the top of that list was a 40 day fast from social media and a break from my etsy shop.

dragonfly @ urban threads WIP

 

I spent the first week finishing up open orders and completing a few other projects that were on a deadline. I have had some other projects that I’ve had to do with a time crunch during these 40 days, but for the most part I’ve spent these days with lots of space. As this time comes to a close, I felt like reflecting on a few of the things I’ve experienced and learned.

1. Fasting from social media (or even just saying no to things and reducing your commitments) is not a magic bullet to clarity. I truly had this expectation that when I removed some of these temptations I would automatically feel refreshed. So not true. Silencing all this extra “noise” in my life was truly refreshing at first, but it hasn’t been until the last week or so that I’ve really started to feel (and I hesitate to use the world feel) some clearing in my mind.

2. Removing something from your life truly makes you realize how often you run to it. Removing the mindlessness of facebook and even instagram I realized how much I went to it just to veg out. It was shocking to me how many times I would be working (like truly working) on the computer and find myself done with that I was working on and start to check out facebook or blogs. While the clarity didn’t come right away, the extra time in my day to find other ways to relax came on day one.

 

Dragonfly WIP - menagerie #3

3. I had to admit completely that I got a lot of good feelings (think the Norweigian dude from Frozen – “lutefisk for gud feelings?” only in my case say “social media for gud feelings?) from checking instagram and facebook for likes and comments. I really think I was in this place where I was sewing, stitching, creating etc merely because I was using it as a means to making myself feel good. And it led to a very quick burnout and creative depression.

 

Dragonfly WIP - menagerie #3

 

4. Take a break is a good thing. I really do think I was in a horrible creative depression. While I found myself able to design things as people were bringing ideas to me – there was little happening in the way of just my own open expression. I have to say that I’ve had such an amazing break and putting my shop on vacation for these 40 days has been so good for me. There has been great clarity and free-ness of mind when it has come to seeing art in the world around me and being able to express that. I really don’t think that would have happened if I hadn’t taken a break. Everyone finds a slump in their work at periods of time no matter what their work is. That’s the whole reason we have a Sabbath! A weekly point of rest for us. It’s why vacations are so refreshing at times.

 

dragonfly @ urban threads WIP

 

5. Social media isn’t all bad – there is community there. I have to say that I have missed my stitching community on instagram so much. I’ve missed seeing what other people are stitching, having conversations with other makers and just the encouragement that I do find there. I’m super excited to jump back in and the same for facebook. There are people on there that I don’t ever get to see and I do love seeing their faces and I’ve missed that. I guess ultimately it’s all a matter of using it wisely and with balance.

 

dragonfly - Flying Menagerie @ Urban Threads

 

I’ve been in a book study these last few months reading Tara Owen’s book Embracing the Body. I’m still wrestling through my thoughts on it, but in essence it’s about being awake to the world around us. Probably my favorite part of this book so far is what she wrote about creativity and making.

creation is the act that declares the physical world and can bear the weight of glory – glory expressed through us, in us and with us. Glory manifest through beauty…{the idea that} simple threads can be redeemed to physically bear messages of goodness and kindness.

Last year at this time I was really wrestling with being real. With taking a jump and being brave. I had read a  speech that Roosevelt had given about stepping into the arena. Not just being a spectator, but being brave and taking that jump. I’ve been amazingly blessed and I’m so glad that I did take the jump last year. But now, I am moving more towards being alive and aware of why I’m creating and for whom. There is nothing I love more than running my hands over something that I’ve just stitched up. I am always amazed that simple threads can be combined with stitches to make a picture of something. And I want the work of my hands to be nothing more than a message of goodness and kindness.

**photos are of a dragonfly embroidery I just finished. Pattern is from Urban Threads and it will be available in the shop soon!

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product announcement {new bookmarks!}

I saw a photo a while back on Pinterest of this stack of books and these dangling bookmarks made with vintage jewelry. About the same time, Ms Sonia of dandelyne mini hoops fame introduced a smaller size of her round wooden hoops and also some oval ones. Immediately a new product came to mind – dangling bookmarks with some little hoops hanging!

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I bought up some fat quarters of some fabrics I had fallen in love with and got to sketching and stitching and I absolutely love how they turned out.

Here’s each one that is up for purchase coming in May.

First up this fun balloon fabric by Sarah Jane’s Children at Play

 

It’s a Bird’s Life by Heather Rosas

 

 

Snapshots by Riley Blake

 

Mustang Arrows by Cotton and Steel

 

Playful Memory by Cotton and Steel

 

Distrik Greenway by Erin McMorris

 

 

And here they are all stacked up!

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custom wedding vows

Last year I was approached via email by a husband wishing to gift his wife with a custom embroidery of his wedding vows to her. There was a catch to it – they had been married in front of this amazing tapestry that hung from the ceiling behind them in Adelaide, Australia. He wanted this design to incorporate portions of the tapestry.

tapestryphoto

It was such a joy to create this embroidery for him to gift his wife with on their anniversary last year.

Custom wedding vows - tapestry inspiration

 

Then something so lovely happened – his wife approached me in December asking if I would create the same sort of embroidery for her with her vows to him for their half-annivesary. I can’t tell you what it means to have a customer come back and request another embroidery. So humbling and amazing.

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We decided to keep the design pretty much the same, but had to work around the fact that her vows were a little bit longer than his. She also wanted to incorporate portions of the tapestry, but we decided to use different squares and I ended up adding this one wavy portion to the top.

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I had such fun crafting these tapestry squares and working on my satin stitching skills!

And I pray an amazing half-annivesary to them both.

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I’m currently not taking any custom embroidery orders while I’m having a little bit of a break. But please check back or contact me concerning future custom availability.

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