Monday, December 29, 2014

American Girl doll Motorcycle Jacket

What do you do when you have a pattern for an American Girl doll Motorcycle Jacket that you snagged on a Pixie Faire Freebie Friday giveaway, plus some leftover faux leather from making a tote bag? I don't know about you, but I couldn't resist the temptation to make said jacket out of that faux leather. And THAT is what took up way more time than I anticipated before Christmas. BUT, I'm soooo happy with the result! Here it is:

And on my little model, Kit (it's really brown, like above, not black like it appears on her):

Up close:

It even has functioning WELT pockets... very LITTLE pockets,

and elbow patches on the sleeves.

It has tiny belt loops, and eyelets and a buckle in the belt.

It is fully lined, too.

It also has some imperfections that bug me, but they're really not that bad, all things considered. I blame them on the pleather.

If you're not familiar with the size of American Girl dolls, here's Kit on a real full-size motorcycle. Compare her smallness with the back rest or the saddlebag.

Yep, that's a very small jacket, with lots of tiny details! And lots of pieces - like 37(?) pieces plus zipper, eyelets and buckle! I found it a challenge to sew, although mainly because the faux leather was a bit too thick. It also couldn't be ironed into folds. I could press it with a press cloth, but it was springy and wouldn't begin to stay folded. So anything that needed pressed folds ended up being fold-as-you-sew... like that strip that made the quarter-folded belt loops... the belt loops that started out as a 1" wide strip and ended up being ¼" wide when finished. Yup... they were a challenge, to say the least.

Each time I made it through one difficult part, I'd think the worst was over. NOT! I think the hardest part of all was the very last part (not counting the belt, whose eyelets were a new experience for me)... hemming those tiny little sleeves. This pressed sleeve lining...

... had to go inside this outer sleeve that, yes, needed to be folded inward.

Wonder Clips were ever-so-helpful in this project...

... but they just seemed to get in the way here. I then found a forceps to be invaluable! I used it to pull the lining into place as I sewed, because my fingers were too big to work in that small space and hold things at the same time.

Yeah, that's a seam ripper in that photo. I had to make use of that a few times, too, unfortunately. But, I managed to get the project done... and in time for Christmas! So what if nobody got Christmas cards from us this year, right? ;)

What next? Umm... these canvas shoes somehow don't look right with the jacket:

Maybe something like this would be more appropriate, in some matching faux leather?

(Image from

That pattern can be found here. Can I do it? I have plenty of eyelets and pleather. They really can't be any harder than the jacket! Can they???

Here's Miss Courtney on Christmas Eve, giving you another little size comparison of the jacket. It's actually about 6" across.

She was lucky enough to get another AG doll for Christmas! Will I make another jacket for that one, too? Maybe. But it won't be out of the same faux leather. Cute as it turned out, I just won't do it again. The pattern suggested micro suede, which I think would work considerably better. We'll see......

Friday, December 26, 2014

The end

No, not the end of the blog, although you may have wondered, what with my lack of posting much lately. Instead a photo of the lovely note our Christmas celebration ended on Christmas Eve.

We had a yummy meal and then fun opening gifts with Courtney and her mom and dad. Jess and Alex went the other direction to be with his family, but although we missed them here, at least we'd just seen them at Thanksgiving.

I'll show you lots more next week, especially the project that kept me from blogging much. I just wanted to let you know I'm still alive and kickin'. And sleepy (as I write this Christmas evening). I hope you all had a wonderful time with family and/or special people in your lives this week.

Seeya next week!

Monday, December 22, 2014


"Should I?"

5 minutes later....
"Nope, Santa says I'd better be good."

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas decorating

We might have a white Christmas... or not. It's white enough for me right now, with just enough snow to cover the ground. However, with above-freezing temps predicted for this weekend, it could disappear. Never fear, though... there's snow in the forecast for next week, just how much remains to be seen.

We had some freezing rain on Monday, so the trees are coated with ice yet. I took these photos on Wednesday... when we actually had some sunshine for a while, making it a glittery world... to show you the "decorations". Click any pic to enlarge it.

The above photos were taken in the morning. Late in the afternoon I took some more when the sun was close to setting. You can see the color difference in these below.

I really should finish my decorating! The tree is up, and it has lights on it, but that's all. I was planning to have my little helper assist me with the tree on Monday, but due to the freezing rain, school closed early and she went to daycare instead. Since then I've been sewing... and I'd better get back to it!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Takeoff Tote

Ahh... I get to show you the results of some of my sewing busy-ness! Would you believe it's from another Erin Erickson pattern? Only this one isn't even out yet. I got to test it for her! Yay! It's called the "Takeoff Tote", and it will be released very soon! I got the pattern last Saturday morning, set aside everything else, and actually made the tote in only 3 days!

I've had a couple yards of Jessica Jones's Outside Oslo Wildflower print here for a long time, and I just never knew what to make out of it. Well, this tote seemed to be the perfect thing. Here it is:

It's a good-sized bag - 16" wide x 5½" deep x 13" tall, so it will hold a lot of 'stuff'. It has a zippered pocket on the front...

... and a slip pocket on the back. The slip pocket is actually meant to be left open at the bottom so if you're traveling, it can fit over the handle on your rolling carry-on luggage (thus the name "Takeoff Tote") and ride there, so you don't even have to carry it. I chose to sew mine shut, because I don't have any plans for going on an airplane anytime soon (ever?), and one can never have too many pockets, right?

It's nice and wide at the bottom,

opens wide at the top so it's easy to get at your stuff, and has a couple of slip pockets inside.

I'm very happy with this bag! The pattern was easy to follow, as are all of Erin's patterns. She just has a knack for explaining the how-to's and taking excellent photos that demonstrate them, with meticulous attention to every detail. She works hard to make sure every pattern is 'just right'!

Now I need to fill it up and go somewhere again, since it wasn't ready in time for our Thanksgiving trip to Cincinnati. Maybe somewhere south and warm, since our temp is supposed to get near zero tonight! So much for our lovely "spring" weather.

On a side note, I had no fabrics in my stash that matched the colors in that print, so I ordered some, hoping the colors would go together well. I ordered both the red and wine canvases from I really hit the jackpot when I ordered the red! Have you ever gotten one of these?

It meant an extra foot of fabric for me - hurray!

Update: The pattern has now been released! You can find it in Erin's pattern shop here for a discounted price until 12/25/14. Still enough time to make one for a Christmas gift! ;)

Monday, December 15, 2014


Update: We did get freezing drizzle, freezing rain, sleet, and it's snowing. Not a lot of anything, but enough to let school out at 1:00. It's also very windy, and our power flickers out once in a while. The temperature has also dropped about 35° so far from yesterday's high.

Also, I finished a sewing project that I CAN show you. But with it so cloudy and dark, good photos just aren't too be. Later.....

Our weather's been so crazy! We have had several days of warm, cloudy, foggy weather. This was our temperature at about 9:30 yesterday (Sunday) morning:

Yeah... 52°! That, after having already been below zero a couple weeks ago. It even got a bit warmer during the day. As I write this now (Sunday evening), we're under a Winter Storm Warning for all day Monday! Rain>freezing rain>snow. Interesting, huh?

I'm feeling a bit insane myself. I'm trying to get some major sewing done before Christmas. So the blog is gonna have to take the back seat for awhile. Sorry. I'll show you what I'm sewing when I can, but most of it will have to wait till after Christmas. ;)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ya gotta feel for 'em

Rushed time of year. Temporary drivers. Temporary trucks.

This is what showed up at our place about 10:30 a.m. yesterday:

It was UPS. Not our regular driver. The guy spent about 10 minutes sorting through stuff. Finally he brought a medium-size package into our garage. Then he brought it out with him again. He searched through boxes for another 5 minutes or so, like he was trying to find something. Then he grabbed a couple other packages and brought them into the garage... and left them. He searched some more, looking frustrated and talking to someone on his bluetooth headset. Then he grabbed up the first package again, closed the truck, got into the cab with the package and drove off hurriedly. I went out to see what he'd left me... and thankfully, they were the packages I was expecting. Hopefully the poor guy got things figured out and had a better rest-of-the day!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Thermos to lamp

What do you get when you take an old vintage thermos,

break out the glass and drill some holes,

stick in a cord,

and add a bulb at the top?

You get a lamp, of course! And if you're lucky, you found a pair of thermoses...

... and made TWO lamps to decorate your office with, like Jess did!

The perfect bulbs had just the right filaments to give the lamps an extra bit of interest!

Whodathunkit, huh? :)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Cincinnati trip highlights

We ate. A lot. :) Being there over Thanksgiving, we of course had turkey and all the trimmings. Just look at this bird! It was smoked on the Big Green Egg grill, and done to perfection. It was so juicy and delicious, I think the best turkey I've ever eaten!

We ate in their lovely "grand hotel" (so dubbed by me) dining room. So pretty!

There was, of course, dessert, too!

The toppings were each delicious on their own, but nearly overpowered the pumpkin pie. I ate my second piece (the next night) with only whipped cream. The cinnamon crumbly stuff was yummy for snacking, which we did plenty of (there was about twice that amount to begin with) because the recipe made a huge amount for just one pie! Grandpa decided on the addition of the grated chocolate.

We spent a lot of time in front of the fireplace which contained a brand new gas insert. Jess will probably want you to know that it's not finished yet. She's going to paint the rest of the bricks black (after the mortar cures) and add some 'stuff' around the base of the logs to make it look more realistic.

During our week there, this was my view quite a bit:

We drove around to many places, one of which was the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. Unfortunately, there were very few horses there at the time. No photos. It was also quite chilly walking around. We did, however, wander through the horse museum, which was nice and warm and also interesting. During our week, we also took in a distillery tour, a craft show, a couple of antique shops, did some other shopping, etc., etc.

Oh, yeah... we ate some more along the drive. :)

We purchased and put up the Christmas tree...

... which made for such a cozy scene in the parlor.

The outside lights were also hung...

... so their house is ready for Christmas! Now if only mine were. So much to do... so little time. Don't be surprised (or worried) if I don't blog a lot between now and Christmas.

We had a great time which went by much too fast. That's all the photos, except for one interesting project Jess and Grandpa worked on. I'll show you that later.