Friday, September 26, 2014

Birthday Poppies

I absolutely LOVE these poppy stamps from Hero Arts!  I typically stamp them with dye ink pads and then deepen some of the colors with colored pencils.  

Here, I made the top one first.  I needed another birthday card, and I had this poppy already stamped on a square of vellum, just sitting in my scrap drawer.  I tried layering it over this bright yellow patterned paper and immediately fell in love with the combination.  (I sponged the edges of the vellum first, using brown chalk ink.)  Alas, since it's an old pack, I don't have much of this particular yellow paper--just one more small square.  So..........

...I created this card, using a different poppy and layering the vellum over a more recent patterned paper.  I like it, but I wish it were a brighter yellow.  The colors just don't have the same pop, do they?

Which card do YOU like best?

Patterned Cardstock:  Songbird Duet stack (Momenta)
Sparkle Vellum (The Paper Studio)
Stamps:  H5904 Poppy (Hero Arts)
                Sweetheart Birthday set (
Dye Ink:  Ladybug Red, Bamboo Leaves, Rich Cocoa (Tsukineko)
Colored pencils:  red, dark brown (Prismacolor)
4 bronze brads (The Paper Studio)
Sponge dauber  

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

John 16:33

Here's my latest calligraphy for a good customer...

I did this on 8 x 10-inch antique-y gold parchment.  Haven't used this in a while.  It's pure joy.  My pen just glides along the surface, as I listen to Christmas music while writing.  Thanks to fellow calligrapher Margaret Shepard for this capital J design.

Want a verse like this for your very own?  Visit my shop at  I love doing custom orders!

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Seriously Study Hall

 Setting out to make a late-summer sheath dress, I started with a Butterick pattern and ended up having to throw my work in the trash and start over from scratch.  I was not pleased.

This Vogue 7241 sheath fits like a dream.   I cut it a wee bit shorter than the pattern for a true '60s look.  Don't try lining the whole dress with another fabric, as the instructions suggest.  Too bulky!   I lined the neck and armholes with tulle before putting in the darts.  

Darts in doll clothes, particularly full darts like these, used to be scary.  No more.  First I mark them with a pin prick, and then I mark each teeny tiny hole with wash-away marker.  Then sew with short stitches.

I call this "Seriously Study Hall," and it's available on my etsy shop at:

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Autumn is Coming!

Autumn is almost here!  Hooray!  I can feel it in the air.  And that means I feel like putting in my Christmas music--maybe just one CD to begin with.  

I created this autumn card for my big brother, Leo.  Of course this stamp of the man on the bicycle from made me think of him immediately, so I had to have it.  

I set if off with this favorite tree from Penny Black and a couple of leaves from Inkadinkado.  For the multicolored leaves on the tree and ground, I used a pencil eraser to make dots of green,ochre, orange and red.

I'm entering this in the Vintage Stamping Challenge

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Thursday, September 11, 2014


 I came home from our Sunday drive inspired to make more sunflower cards.

Here I have brown paper from Co'ordinations and deep yellow from Die Cuts With a View, which is slightly lighter on one side.  I used that to my advantage making these flowers.

With my Fiskars flower punch, I punched two flowers.  Use any 1-inch circle punch for a brown flower center.


Next, I put these sunflowers to use.

For the first card, I used Co'ordinations paper for blue sky and green grass, tearing the grass piece and sanding a few "clouds" into my sky.  

I love this second card, though it's very simple.  I used kraft paper for the card base.  The leaves I'd happened the cut from scrap when I was trying out my brand new Cuttlebug and dies.

I'm delighted with that purchase already!

Which card do YOU like best?

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Sunday Drive

We took a spur-of-the-moment drive yesterday, just heading out west with no particular destination in mind, ending up in Council Grove.  

We ate the buffet at Hays House.  Hays House, which opened in 1857, is the oldest continuously operating restaurant west of the Mississippi.  It was busy, but there was plenty of room.  Our waitress encouraged us to take a peek at the basement after eating and explore the upstairs as well.  I enjoyed the fresh peach pie (topped with homemade whipped cream) for dessert.  Yummy!

We drove around to see some of the houses around town and got out to walk a tiny bit of the Neosho Riverwalk before heading home.   It's lovely, but we were running out of time, since we'd gotten an awfully late start in the day. 

Wild sunflowers along the side of the road are profuse this year--bright yellow faces on tangled stalks.  Now and then was a purple blur of asters.  Even the goldenrod was beautiful from a safe distance!  Broom weed was just beginning to turn.  This September is very green and yellow.

Coming up soon.........I'll post cards inspired by this trip!

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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Verna Opal

Happy Birthday, Mammy!
September 7th, 1899-June 6, 1986

Happy Birthday, Mammy! Thank you for the boxes of doll clothes you made and sent so many years ago. I treasure them and all the happy memories they made. I miss you still. I always will.  

Friday, September 5, 2014

Custom Calligraphy Card

My latest client wanted a card with these lines from "Bagpipe Music" calligraphed on the front, along with an illustration of an old fashioned mercury barometer.  

It's always a fun surprise for me when I find I can actually do it!  After a few false starts, I did the barometer with watercolor pencils.  It doesn't really show up in a photograph, but I added a couple of touches with my new Twinkling H2Os.

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Two Looks

Good Morning!  It's another hot, sunny, windy day here, and I'll soon be headed up to make a custom card for a client.  First, I thought I'd share these two cards I made with my "Girl Jumping Rope" stamp from

All the papers I used were simply leftovers I had on hand.  (I'm partial to stripes and dots!)  Flowers are from K & Company.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Dolly Version of "Betsye Gray"

 I had fabric leftover from the little girl's sundress, so I decided to make her a dolly version of her own dress.

First, I adapted the smocking design for an 18-inch doll, eliminating the big flower with black center.

Smocking complete, I sewed the skirt to the yoke, sewed shoulder seams, then sewed the yoke to the lining at the neckline and armholes before turning. 
Many patterns will tell you this can't be done.  Sure it can!  It's a cinch!

After finishing the side and back seams, it's time for the tucks and hem.  I wanted two 1/4-inch tucks.  It's easy to hem and tuck at the same time.  
First, press up the seam allowance.  In my case, it was 1 1/2-inches.  Now, press up that same amount again.  (This did not make sense to me when I first read it.  I thought that meant I'd have to compensate by adding more length to the dress.  Nope.  It only dawned on me as I actually did it!)

Now stitch the tuck...

...and press it down.  Voila!  You've got a tuck with the raw hem edge up inside it.

I measured 5/8 from that stitching to press my second tuck.

Here they are!

If you want dolly's dress to have a sash, as mine did, here's an easy way, with no turning.  Narrow hem long edges.

Fold right sides together and stitch across one short end.

Trim the corner.

Turn the corner out and press flat.

I did include these sashes in the side seams.

Anyone interested in the pattern for this doll dress?  I'm thinking of offering patterns here.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Betsye Gray

 My client wanted a sundress for her daughter's portrait sitting.  She sent me this pale blue linen and asked that it be smocked with white and have black centers for the flowers.  At first I was alarmed.  Black centers?  On a little girl's dress?  But then my client showed me a picture of her own blouse she'd be wearing in the portrait.  It was made of black lace. 
Edgestitching the neckline
I came up with this smocking design.  It's quiet elegance kept me thinking of my great-great-great grandmother, Elizabeth "Betsye"  Gray, who is a bit of an enigma to us genealogists in the family.  

The dress is collar-less, with a big sash to tie in back.  I made two tucks at the hem, incorporating the hem into the bottom tuck.   I'll discuss how that was done in a future entry.

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