Tuesday, 4 February 2014

New Patterns

Hello everyone, I know it's a bit late but a happy healthy and productive new year to you all.
I know it's been a long time again but just thought I would let you know about some new patterns from last year and this. I am trying to keep busy sewing and designing, sometimes I think my head works faster than my finger.
I now have a new agent who is selling my patterns, it's Karen Kirk from The stitching Post in Katoomba. Her and her husband Bren have been very keen to help me which is wonderful and I'm looking forward to a new business partnership with them.
If you don't know Karen's shop it's in the heart of the Blue Mountains  N.S.W. She has a fabulous shop, it's an old house with lots of different rooms and each room is stacked full with all sorts of goodies. She has one of the best selection of patterns I've ever seen, also Karen has a wonderful eye for colour and stocks some amazing fabrics, I just love going there. My favourite room is the Christmas Room because of course that's my favourite topic of design.If you can't manage to get to Karen's shop you can see all of these patterns and more on her website..www.thestitchingpost.com.au or you can phone Karen on (02) 47825809 she also does wholesale if anyone wants to buy for their business.

 I just loved making these little pixie dolls, her name is "Trixie Pixie" and they're very addictive, I couldn't stop at just one, I just kept wanting to see what she looked like in other fabrics. Of course you don't have to make her in Christmas fabric she would look nice as a spring pixie with flowers instead of holly and tisel.

These two cuties are "Hoot and Toot" the colours that you could use for these two is unlimited, they look good in bright bold or soft pastel colours for a softer look. They are very easy to make too and I thnk even a beginner could make these.

This one is so sweet her name is "Baby Bug" although I like to think of her more of a baby butterly. Once again I've used bright colours but she would look good in soft pastels. She would be so cute to give to a new born baby
 I seem to be into cute lately for some reason, it could be that I've just got my first girl grandchild after three boys so it's wonderful to think of things for a baby girl..... This cute bunny is called of course "Bunny Love"
I know this is a bit early for Christmas but it is only 334 !!! days till the next one and before you know it it's here again.I really enjoyed designing these, they are quite similar to the designs I did for Jingly Dangly Things but they are different.You probably can't see from the photo but each section has been quilted in a different way. You could also extend the pattern at the top to fit in a child's name.
A few more Trixe Pixie's, I told you they were addictive.
The other thing that I've become addicted to is "Pinterest' it's absolutely endles the stuff that you can find on there. I try not to look but as you're walking past the computer I'll say "I'll just have a litte look and before you know it two hours have gone by, no wonder the house looks a mess. I have a Pinterest page if you would like to look it up, if you just type Country Keepsake Dolls by Annie Smith you should find my page....
Anyway Bye for now keep sewing, have fun and best wishes .....Annie

Sunday, 10 February 2013

You are probably wondering

What has happened to me for nearly a year. Well in general it was a pretty horrid year.
The prostate cancer that my darling husband had been battling with for over ten years finally took a strong hold of him and after a short illness he passed away last August. We'd been married for twenty one years and he simply was my best friend and the love of my life, I am totally lost without him.
On top of all that happening we had our house up for sale which would you believe sold the day before he died. I didn't know what to do as we had been trying to sell it for four months. So I accepted the offer and then had to turn around pack the house up and find somewhere else to live.
So I have been trying to come to terms with a total upheaval of everything I've ever known.
When I started this blog I didn't intend it to ever be personal I just wanted to showcase any new projects that I had been working on, but felt that I needed to explain my absence to those nice ladies who have been enquiring as to what has happened to me.
I would like to say a special thanks to my e- friend Desley Boland who has been encouraging me all the way through this bad time. Also the ladies in my sewing group, I couldn't have managed without them,everyone has been absolutely marvellous, there is nothing like the friendship that a mutual interest in sewing brings
Anyway I seem to be getting a bit of my mojo back and have been fiddling with some new dollies which I thought you might like to see.

I know the matryoshka dolls have been done to death but I hadn't done one so thought I would have a go. Anyway this is my version I hope that mine are a little bit different, I really only felt like working on some small projects. These are very addictive to make and it seemed impossible to stop at one I couldn't wait to make them up again to see what they look like in different fabrics.
I couldn't make my mind up if I liked the shape of them or not so I did a different shape and I still can't make my mind up
This little fella is part of a pattern for Easter, there will be a little basket with a bunny stitchery to go with him. I've been branching out into some stitcheries lately and really enjoy doing them, the only trouble is they take a bit longer to get finished

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Hello at last !!!

I don't know where the year has gone, the other day on the 25th of June I thought to myself that it's only six months till Christmas Yikes !! half the year has gone already.
I'm not very good at this blogging, I always think my life is quite ordinary and don't have a lot to say.
I also started off the year with a bad bout of my Tinnitus, I've had it in my left ear for nine years now and it suddenly decided to start up in my right ear, so I went crazy for a few months there and didn't feel like doing anything, I was pretty low. Any of you ladies out there who suffer with tinnitus will know what I'm talking about, sometimes it's like having a jet engine in your head, not very pleasant and very debhilitating. Although I know a few people who have it and it doesn't bother them, it must just be us tempramental types. It's actually amazing how many people do suffer with it. I'm now going down to Sydney once a month to see a pschyologist for tinnitus re training therapy, they teach you not to listen to it, I hope ! Some one said to me the other day couldn't I have some nice classical music playing low, wouldn't that take my mind off it, I told her that I would need all of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra playing in my house to drown the tinnitus out !
The other stressful thing that's going on at the moment is we have our house up for sale and that's not for the faint hearted I can assure you, I'm dreading if it sells I'm going to have to start packing and I'm not looking forward to that
Anyway thank goodness for sewing, I don't know what I would do without it, be bored silly I think. I've had a few new design out since I last blogged, only two new doll patterns but I've branched out into designing stitcheries. So far I've only done Christmas designs so I think my capabilities in that department could be limited as I can't seem to come up with any other ideas, I do love Christmas things though.

This is Hunny Bun, she was in the Easter issue of Homespun in March and will be available as a pattern at the end of this month. She is holding a banner that says" Dream " which I think is very apt as she looks very dreamy, I think she's dreaming of carrot soup no doubt or a bit of peace and quiet from all those off springs!

Hello Dolly Daydream, hasn't she got the cutest face, she's one of my favorites. She has a round head that is sewn in four segments, very easy. Painted eyes and a stitched nose and mouth with a shawl collar and lovely big ric rac along the hem of her dress

It's never too early to start making your Christmas decorations. These "Jingly Dangly Things"  are just perfect for all of you ladies that are in a sewing group, these would make perfect little presents for your Kris Kringle or secret Santa. One can be made in an evening. Once the stitchery is complete the felt backing is very quick to make. 

and once you've made six you'll be sure to want to make some more so here is another six.
This is "More Jingly Dangly Things " so there are twelve designs in all. They would look great on your tree

Unfortunately you can't see very clearly on the photograph the three angels, they are all the same with the exception of the words on their dresses and the middle one holds a heart while the other two hold stars. This is called " Peace, Love, Joy "Once again very simple designs and very little patchwork involved, the five tags at the bottom have  a background circle of felt with a white felt snowflake on top of that, finished off with rusty bells. I decided to get away from the typical Christmas fabric and used a dark pink star fabric for the inner border and a lovely pink and dark red tulip design for the outer border.

Meet Snuggles, Huggles and Cuddles, this is a design for the baby or toddler in your life, they are mostly made of felt with bright fabric for the trim, the tummy patch and faces were machine blanket stitched on, which is a lot neater than my hand blanket stitching. There are no removable parts so are perfect for small children.
All of these patterns are available either from www.homepatch.com.au  www.marallycraft.com.au or
www.sewarmadillo.com.au  Both Home patch and Marally Craft have a wide range of good quality felt.
Also if Thereasa at Raggedy Station reads this, I am so impressed with the quality of your work, your dolls are just perfectly wonderful, what an amazing job you do.h
Once again the day seems to have flown by, I was supposed to do some baking for my sewing group who are at my house tomorrow and haven't even started, so it looks like a late night again.
And if anyone is interested in buying a house in a small peaceful country village I'm happy to hear from you !!
All Best Wishes and I'll try not to leave it so long again...........Annie

Monday, 19 December 2011

Last minute Christmas hello

Wow !! I can't believe it's been two months since I last wrote anything, doesn't time fly when you're having fun, well I think I've been having fun, sometimes I wonder????? I must admit to getting a little bit stressed out at this time of year, there doesn;t seem to be much Christmas spirit about everybody seems stressed and angry, have you noticed that nobody wishes you  Merry Christmas anymore in the shops, the assistants are so frazzled I'm sure they're thinking there isn't too much to be merry about.
I've been making some last minute handmade gift tags to go with my handmade gifts, so I thought I would like to share them with you, very easy. I used scrapbooking paper of which there is a gorgeous selection. I'm very lucky that we have a fabulous scrapbooking shop in Bathurst and must admit to frequenting on a regular basis. Not that I'm a scrapbooker but I find that there is lots of things that I can incorporate into the doll designs. Anyway back to the tags, the measurements are on the photo below. I like to cut out all of my cardboard templates first, it makes it easier for when you want to make multiples of the same thing.
                                             Cut out all of the pieces in the desired papers
                                                Then glue them together in the order shown

 For the centre piece I just printed out multiples of Mery Christmas on the computer using two different fonts, one for each word, then I just put a few dots around the wording with a fine tip felt pen.
 Finally punch a hole in the top end of the tag and I tied a raffia bow around the outside of the tag and                                                                 made a bow at the front
 These are two different variations, one I've glued two rows of ric rac around the card and then glued a button on the join. The other one I've used some mini wire tinsel, wrapped it around the tag and sewn a pearl button on the join
Being such a techno phobe, this blog as taken me so long to get together and post, there must be an easier way!!!Has someone got a five year old to lend me so that they can show me how to work this thing. I have a lovely Christmas banner that I made but I now will have to do that in the next post. Best Wishes Annie

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Pet Hate

It is no great secret that one of my pet hates is old sewing machines, many ladies turn up to my classes very proudly with these wonderful forty year old sewing machines that belonged to an auntie or their grannie. I must agree that they do wonderful straight sewing and their longevity is a testimony to their stamina,which probably modern machines do not have. However I am always encouraging these said ladies to go out and invest in a new machine. I am openly a Janome fan and think that for value they are a good machine and for $500 to $600 you can get a really decent machine. I suppose making dolls is a little different to ordinary sewing, one minute you are sewing on the line to make a body and then swapping to a 1/4 in seam to sew the clothes. Most of these old machines don't posses a 1/4 in foot and are so old that the parts are no longer available. On my Janome I can either change the foot or move the needle width over to sew a 1/4 in seam which I mostly do, I only usually put the 1/4 in foot on when doing patchwork. The other little but important feature on the new machines is the needle up and needle down position, once again when sewing a doll body it is important for the needle to stay in the down position when you stop to sew around a fiddly body part, this way your sewing line won't go off. They also have a better range of decorative stitches and for me the totally best feature now that my eyes are not so good is that they thread themselves Yipee !!! I love that feature. The other part that is really important is an open toe or clear craft foot, this makes sewing on the line for doll body parts so easy and accurate, the old machines don't have these.The picture is an old Bernina that belongs to a lady that comes regulary to my class in Orange, the sewing machine has now become a joke between us as I constanly keep giving her brochures on new machines. So if her husband by any chance is reading this !!! Christmas is nearly here !!!!!!

Although she didn't do so badly in a class at Marally Craft in Orange lately, making one of my designs Pip Berry, just think how good she would be with a new machine !!!
. This lady Leanne was really pleased with her finished doll it was "I bekieve" from Homespun Christmas in July issue
 Anyway that's enough of me being on my soapbox for today.
Still in Christmas mode and been making lots of Christmas goodies for the Homepatch shop in Bathurst. These Santa's are an adaption of a Simone Gooding pattern that was in Homespun Christmas in July issue last year Vol. 11 No.7. Its such a fun, quick and easy project and very addictive to make. I can never stop at one, they look really good when you get  away from the typical Christmas fabric

This is a Christmas version of my Hugs and Kisses angel that was in Septembers issue of Homespun. I reduced the pattern and chose a very bright Christmas themed fabric. For something different instead of sewing her wings I got some really lovely Christmas scrapbooking paper and glued the paper to either side of some stiff cardboard and cut them out and glued them to the back of the doll. Don't look at the stand I havent painted it yet.  Still in the Christmas theme I made up some Christmas angels using a cone shape, they have painted wooden bead heads and again the scrapbooking paper wings and  the bright fabrics.                                                                                                 

I recently got a new supply of doll hair from my favourite place Celtique.biz in Wales U.K The black wool that arrived was so long and curly, really soft too. I just had to design a black doll, well she's more brown than black. I made her with unwashed calico and then painted the fabric with a mid brown paint and then sanded it back with a very low grade sandpaper 320 grit. her nose is sewn around onto a double thickness of calico and a small slit was made in the back and filled with tiny pieces of filling, the lips are made out of felt and sewn on, the eyes are painted. The feet are sculpted, very easy and the whole thing was shaded with pastel pencils. I was very happy with her. I've called her Mae Belle
  I've done quite a few round headed dolls lately I really like them, they seem to have a much more realistic look to them. Anyway keeping in with that theme I've designed this doll, they are both the same doll just different hairstyles. My preference is the red haired one. She has such a dreamy look about her so I've called her " Dolly Daydream" I thought I would show you the picture of the two dolls so that you could see what a difference a different colouring in the hair and clothes can make to a doll, it looks totally different . I haven't made the patterns for these two last two designs yet as I'm concentrating on my Christmas stock at the moment but hopefully I'll have them soon. I'm also trying to get to visit my new grandson who is now a month old and I haven't seen him yet, I'd better get going or he'll be having his 21st soon the way the time is just flying by. Anyway hope I've given you some new ideas for your dolly making and I'll see you next time
.............Best Wishes   Annie                                      

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Butterfly Dreams

Well it was up early yesterday to get to Home Patch at Bathurst to teach a doll workshop.
The doll of the moment was Butterfly Dreams a nice little project to get finished in a day. This butterfly is something to let your imagination run wild. There are so many lovely bright fabrics out there now, that we're spoiled for choice. Anni also has a lovely selection of beautiful felt at the shop and many in lovely bright colours. These butterflies are pretty addictive as well, once you've made one it's hard to stop. They are perfect for little gifts and would look great hanging up "en masse"

This lady was going into mass production, she was making three at once !! She didn't want her photo taken though because she had cropped her hair short, but how lovely of her to do it, as it was in sympathy with her sister who was undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer.

These were two of the finished butterflies don't you just love the colours the ladies have chosen.
If anyone out here in the Central West is interested in joining any of the classes you can check the Home Patch web site for details or give them a call (63 31 5002 ) the girls in the shop are really helpful and will give you any information that you need.
Happy sewing Annie

Friday, 16 September 2011

Hugs and Kisses Angel

For those who haven't got a copy of this months issue of Homespun I thought you might like to see the Hugs and Kisses Angel design of mine (apologies for the photo it's not so good).
She is much easier to make than she looks and don't be frightened off by the free motion quilting, I find it such fun but you do have to do a bit of practise beforehand to get into a rhythm. For anybody that wants to make it, the bun foot was from Bunnings and a bigger hole needs to be drilled for the dowling to fit.
The dolls lovely hair was from Wales in the U.K. very easy to order on line and very cheap too. Its from Wensleydale sheep and is so soft and curly. The web site is www.celtique.biz they have a lovely range of colours.
So hope any of you that are interested will have a go at making her, and just to get you going how about making her in Christmas style fabrics and maybe holding a wreath instead of a heart and on her head you could make a green garland entwined with pip berries. Happy Sewing