Welcome to My Bag of Tricks

This is a blog to share the things I discover, create and love. I have a passion for creating interesting things, and an equal passion for sharing how it's done! Join me on my journey, and watch what I'll pull out of my bag of tricks!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Princess dresses in production

I've been trying with all my might to get my little AG doll clothing business going which means sewing,sewing,sewing....buuuutttttt.....life sometimes has other ideas for me. I get lots of requests for my presence and help and I do appreciate that I'm needed and loved, but I need a bit of time here people!
I've learned to make shoes, real shoes for the dolls which I'm quite proud of, and I did get this dress sewed up....almost. I still need to finish the back opening.  I love princess dresses......that's because I'm a princess....well maybe a Queen now.

Please excuse the background chaos, I'm in the middle of a creative frenzy.  I'll wave my magic wand later and poof....back to normal.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Snow Suits and Re-Purposing.....

My most adorable niece lives near me, and has an 18" doll named Martha. Martha is very special and a dear companion to said niece. I understand, I had cherished dolls too, in fact two of those dolls sit in my room always, and when I move, they don't go in a box, they travel with me and are set out immediately.  I had many dolls as a child, but these two are most beloved. Anyway, I digress.  Since I understand this love of dolls and since I LOVE  to sew anything doll related, Martha has a wardrobe to make any Hollywood starlet jealous.  But, she didn't have a snow suit!  My niece was worried about this because Martha goes everywhere with her and she was getting cold.  With her huge eyes and charming little face, she once again came to me and shyly asked if I could make Martha a Snow Suit!!! A Snow Suit?! Ummmmmm, I slept on it, and pondered it and finally decided I would re-purpose an old coat!  This also meant making a pattern for a pair of snow pants and a coat. I visited the Salvation Army thrift store in Cortez, Colorado and picked up a nice coat for just a couple dollars and went home and de-constructed it.......( aka: cut it all up!)  Theresa, I'll be coming to your store soon for more coats! 

You can see I'm cutting off the sleeve here.
Then I designed a pattern. I use paper towels to do pattern designing because you can try it on the doll as you go. It acts like fabric, and if needed, you can even sew it.
This is the snow pants pattern I finally decided was right.
Coats have filling, that's what keeps you warm and makes them puffy so you have to sew carefully.
Yes, I'm still using the antique!
I used the rib knit cuff material from the coat to make the cuffs on the  little coat, and waistband and collars on the pants and coat.  It all worked quite nicely.
Here are the snow pants.....
And here's the whole outfit with coat!
I decided since the coat had a label, I'd add said label to the outfit.....so I did......

I now know how to make snow suits, and I have enough coat left over to make one maybe two more. And, I know more what I'm doing so the next one should be even better.   Martha always gets the prototype!
FYI, I'm diving into this 18" doll clothes market, so keep your eyes out for my soon to be coming Etsy site!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Latest Creations.....Made on the Antique!

I think I'm in Love with this antique machine.  It is the smoothest, consistent sewing machine I've ever used.  It's so nice that instead of just finishing the little t-shirt/jeans outfit, I made two and another little jumper dress with blouse. I looked at my clock and it was 3 am!!!! Wow!!! I didn't even hear my bed calling me.  See what love does to you! 
Here are the two little t-shirt/jeans outfits I whipped out, please excuse how dark the picture is, I'm not all together that late or early depending on whether you're getting in or out of your bed.
I'm thinking I'm going to sew me a few more little outfits......I know some wonderful little girls who have dolls!
Now I'm off to Las Vegas to listen to my niece sing in a big performance! Plus I get to see my sister and my own sweet song bird, Jennifer!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

More Tales of a Sewing Machine.....Oh My!

So I borrowed a sewing machine from my church. The sweet lady in charge of that dropped it off at my house while I was at work.  I had sewed on our church's sewing machine before, it's a lovely older Bernina, kind of like mine, so I was prepared for a relaxed evening of sewing.
I carried the sewing machine in its case to my room and set it lovingly on the table, Oh what a night I was going to have.....Little did I know exactly what a night I was going to have!!!!!!!
I opened the case and............Oh My!!!
This is an antique!  This is something I'm not sure I can do!  I drove quickly to the church and looked in all the cupboards for that elusive Bernina....it was NOT there....Who took the Bernina?  Really?
By this point I was feeling a little panicky, but a little voice in my head said, "Pull it together girl, your Mom sewed on one of these once, your Grandmama and your Great Gran, you can do this, you come from a long line of amazing women."  I went home ready to tackle the unknown.  I sat down to thread it and was completely baffled, everything was there, but it didn't thread the way anything I've ever used threaded.  And again that little voice said....."You have the internet!"  Duh!!! YouTube saved the day, they had a video with just this same machine and how to thread it, put the bobbin in and even wind a bobbin.  I fiddled around with sewing different stitch lengths and discovered reverse and I was on my way.  The only thing this machine doesn't do that I kind of need is zigzag.  I love this machine, it's so smooth and sews like a dream.  After too much time had elapsed, I actually completed an outfit and a half! I'll show you the other one when I finish it.

I had to have her model the new dress beside the machine that made it!  Now comes the hilarious part...
Years and years and years ago, my Mom gave me an old sewing machine that had belonged to my Great Gran, I wanted it because it came in this amazing table that folds the machine inside so you can use the top. I use it as my nightstand.  As I was sewing along on the borrowed antique, I realized I have that same machine, sitting right beside my bed!!!!! Oh brother......When I return this sweetheart, I'm breaking out my Great Gran's machine until mine comes home from the doctor. Who knows, I may just keep sewing on it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tales of a Sewing Machine.....

As many of you know, I love to sew, especially for other people and especially for other people's dolls.  I got a request for some doll clothes for a birthday. I was so excited to get home and get to sewing.  I broke out the fabric stash and found just the right fabrics and cut them out. Then I pulled out my beloved sewing machine.  It has been acting strange lately, but it seemed ok. It turns itself off, and I know what it is, it's the plug for the power supply cord. But, it wasn't too annoying until last night. The sewing machine simply would not stay on!  You will laugh, but I even taped the cord down in just the right position but that gave out too.  Imagining myself a handyman I unscrewed the back panel and took it off. Hmmm......Greek to me! So after putting it back on, it wouldn't even pretend to come on.  Whoa is me....I LOVE my sewing machine. I bought it myself, I picked it out from the sewing machine store, it was the one that looked at me with big eyes and I was in love.
 Ok, so it doesn't have eyes, but I do love it.  Looks like it's making a trip to the Sewing Machine Doctor in Provo next week.  Thank goodness Jennifer is meeting us all in Vegas and can take it back.  In the meantime, I'm borrowing a machine to whip out a few little outfits.  I'll post pics when I'm finished.  

Monday, March 5, 2012

Beautiful Crafts from the Auto Parts Store! Really!

This week I'm going to make these cute little bracelets with the American Girl Doll Book Club. They are so cute and simple, and best of all......inexpensive!
I think I puzzle the men at our local auto/home supply store on a regular basis because I often go in to buy auto/hardware type things for crafting, not at all what they were made to do. Years ago I saw this wonderful clear plastic tubing on their shelves in the back and I've been trying to devise some way to play with it.  Well, this week I did!
To make these charming little bracelets, you will need about 8 inches of clear tubing with an inside diameter of 1/4 inch. This size is for little girls, to make a longer one, of course you'll need a bit more. You will most likely trim the 8" to fit the specific girl.
Also you will need to get some 3/8" inside diameter tubing. You'll only need  one inch per bracelet.
Gather up some tiny beads (ones that will fit in the bigger tube) and glitter if you want.
I used beads I had on hand in my stash.
Slide the little tube into one end of the big tube, like this...
Then fill the big tube with as many beads/glitter as you like.  I didn't use glitter because I didn't have the kind that would look good in it. I think larger glitter would be best.  Now.....fill the tube with water, leaving a bit empty so you get some movement. Be sure and block one end of the tube or you'll just send all the water out the other side. No, I didn't do that!  If you're not using glitter, I suppose you could skip the water, but water is so fun.
Slide the open end of the tube over the little tube as far as it will go and Voila'....A really cool bracelet.
The bracelets for all 12 girls cost less than $4!  How cool is that!
Get crafting.....

Thursday, March 1, 2012


I wish I knew why I had the anxiety when I start a new endevour. I know I can do it, but I just worry and beat myself up. Years ago when I started my porcelain doll business, I did the same thing.  Luckily I had a wonderful friend who also did dolls who helped me and directed me to the best way to be profitable.  She got me to teach all over Utah Valley in night classes, and in my home and I taught at the college. But when we would go to do Big doll shows, I would be a nervous wreck the whole time. I did ok, but my teaching always trumped my selling.  I love teaching and people aren't critiquing your wares.  I loved competition for some reason, and entered and did well in those, but for some reason people looking at my dolls for sale and deciding to buy was just too much judgement.  I guess with competitions there are specific criteria and I could meet those. (BTW, I'm a trained porcelain doll judge so I had a wee advantage) 
I've been looking on ebay and Etsy to get some ideas for what is selling and for how much.  Ebay is a little tawdry in my eyes for selling handmade things.  Kind of like a big ol' swap meet.  I'm leaning toward Etsy.  I suppose I should just jump in the water and quit dilly dallying on the sidelines. So, if you see me all pale and wan looking,  you'll know why. 
Onward.................and Upward.........wish me luck..............