Sunday, September 13, 2015

Boho Core Spun Art Yarn

 I look back on my spinning adventure and smile realizing how far I have come in such a short amount of time!

 When I first began to figure out making yarn, I started out with a drop spindle, then graduated to a wheel and made lace weight to fingering weight yarn with my own dyed and blended batch. But I needed to graduate to something more... Art yarn.

 My itty bitty flyer could barely take worsted weight, and i'd barely make atleast a 150 yards 2 plied! So making any kind of thick art yarn on the flyer I had, I would maybe make 50 yards if I was lucky!

My amazing husband saw my struggle (the struggle is real with us spinners too, people.) and blessed me as an early anniversary gift a Super Flyer! When I received it in the mail (I ordered from an amazing lady on Etsy! I have to give a shout out to her shop, she was an absolute BLESSING! Check her out - ) I right away set it up... well my husband set it up, I watched. ;)

 The hardest thing about creating art yarn is to literally lose all control and just go with it However the wool wants to be spun and to not force anything. This was an amazing thing for me to learn, because I was so used to being extremely specific when I spun my yarn to make it as even as possible, that when I first began to spin my first yarn, I got discouraged because I was fighting the art itself!

 It was also an amazing lesson in my life. Before I got married, I was care free and responsible yes, but I allowed life to throw things my way and I shrugged it off and went with it, I was a boho girl not only in dress but in personality! After I got married, I felt a huge sense of responsibility as a wife and one day a future mother. I slowly began to train myself to have more control and that is good but I wasn't balanced, I began to teach myself to be more in control of what I could control and in that I lost that sense of freedom and shrugging certain things to the side and the result was stress!

My husband would tell me, "Elisa! Be you! Be care free and the lively gal you once were! This isn't you!". Boy, was he right! I loved that he would say, "I am your husband, allow me to carry the burden... delight me with your joy and creative personality. That is all I want.", with those words I began to return back to the gal I used to be!

Spinning my yarn was a great example of letting go, I began to just enjoy being artsy with it! My first time using my Super Flyer I taught myself how to core spin... I absolutely loved the colors I blended and how it came out, I didn't have a heart to list it onto my shop... I kept it for myself! Tee-hee!

When I first carded, dyed and blended my wool, I got a beautiful Autumn like look that in my head I thought would look like a Fall/outdoorsy look, but boy was I wrong! Again, when I lost control and just went with how the wool wanted to be spun, my creative instincts turned on and I just went crazy with it!

As I was core spinning I realized that what I thought would be an "Autumn" look, came out looking like a bohemian kind of yarn! I was thoroughly surprised and very pleased! As I said before, I went with it! I went to my yarn stash that was leftover from when I spun the very first time and were either very uneven or didn't have the look I liked. I kept them because I knew I wanted to incorporate them when I made art yarn...

Core spun art yarn with auto wrapped recycled handspun yarn and coiled "bee hives" made with merino wine colored wool

After figuring out how the yarn was going to end up looking like, I decided to go online and figure out a way how to make coiled bee hives. I found some incredible tutorials that I had to try and it worked splendidly, my favorite video is called: Corespinning cloud coils by Wool Wench (I have absolutely no idea why I can't upload the video straight on here from youtube. So just go to youtube and look it up!) It was so easy to try it her way that I had to share by photo (and then maybe you can see it broken down instead of pausing if that is how you soak it in to learn!)

 I didn't have my husband at that time to help take pictures, so I decided to take photos of each step I took to make this gorgeous beehive look!

beginning auto wrap in the middle of my core spinning
I didn't want to auto wrap the whole time I was core spinning. So as not too waste my recycled yarn: When I was ready to auto wrap, I tucked my recycled alongside my core and wrapped for a good few inches so it would not slip out.

When I was ready to drop my recycled yarn, I simply seperated it from my core and dropped it close to the orifice and kept spinning! When I was ready to take off auto wrap, I simply united the recycled yarn with my core for a couple inches to secure it and cut off.

Once I was ready to begin my beehive coils (I call it beehive), I took already made long stripped shaped roving (or cigar shape as Wool Wench calls it heehee) and placed it under my core...

Before I added the roving, I made sure to have a good length of my wool unwrapped as I need this to secure my long strip of roving...

Forgive the over sharpness of this photo. I have no idea how this happened.

I placed the roving underneath the core and began to spin (clock wise, of course!).

After I wrapped it in place I stopped pedaling and began to twist the roving away from me...

As you see in the photo above. I am twisting the roving "away" from me and once the twist is at the tightness I prefer, I slowly begin to pedal...

At the same time I am pedaling (SLOWLY), I am also twisting and wrapping the coil around my core...

At the end of the coiled roving, I push it up as much as I can to give it a beehive look. To secure it, I simply took what I am core spinning with and begin to restart core spinning right onto the end of the coil and proceeded my core spinning!

This is how it looks when secured!

Finished result of my core spun boho art yarn with recycled handspun yarn auto wrapped within! Beautiful!!!

I wish all of the beehives were much more consistent (like what you see in the video that Wool Wench uploaded) but I will admit... some of the inconsistent shapes added a lot of fun and charm and amazing texture.

Click on photo to be redirected to this listing: Boho Core Spun Art Yarn

Saturday, August 15, 2015

We're having a baby, my baby and me!

It's been a journey to get to this point in our lives! 

My beloved and I have been desiring to start a family (we would love to have many children!) since our Wedding! We left all that to the Lord and I even hoped for a honeymoon baby (would that have not been the sweetest?), but nothing have happened...

Last February I went to my doctor to see what was happening, and he (teaming up with my Obgyn) told me that conceiving was not impossible for me, but it would be hard as I had PCOS, but there was no fear I wouldn't have children, but that I had to be more healthy for not just my sake but the sake of having children!

I went home upset and guess what I did? I bought a cherry coke and a bag of chocolate donuts and a small bag of doritos, went home, put on a sad movie and cried my eyes out. Oh ya, that REALLY helped the situation. 

 There was a symptom from the PCOS that made me physically suffer 24 hours and 7 days a week for a year and a half. Oh yes, you heard me right.

Before moving to Tennessee, I just gave up on my health completely. I was in denial, "Eh, i'm ok with not having children for a few more years. I have so much to do so children isn't in my heart right now." Amazing the lies we tell ourselves!

 My beloved had enough of seeing me sulk and in physical pain (because after I heard how hard it would be to conceive, I just gave up.) and sat me down saying, "Baby, I miss you. I miss the vibrant and joyful girl who loved to be creative and always full of laughter. You're hurting yourself." He then went and got my Trim Healthy Mama book and said, "I missed you when you were applying what Trim Healthy Mama taught. You were so full of life with the food you ate! Please go back to it." I just shrugged my shoulders.

He then said, "I want to watch a documentary with you. It's called Food Inc. , it's on Netflix (it still is) so we are watching it right now."

I almost threw a tantrum. I just knocked my head back with a HUGE sigh and groaned, "A documentary? Babe, they are so boooorrriinnngggg!!!! Can't we watch a comedy? It's not going to change me magically."

He didn't heed my complaints, he put it on, and I sat there on the sofa with my legs and arms crossed, making sure he knew I wasn't going to listen to it.

By the end of the documentary, I had my elbows on my crossed knees and holding my chin up listening and watching attentively not wanting to miss one thing... When it finished, I looked at Dustin with tears in my eyes and said, "Enough." Not only was the documentary very entertaining but it grasped my attention and my heart and convicted me so DEEPLY! What was I doing with myself? Why was I doing this? 

 It took me a while to change some habits but change I did... but with that change did not come easy times... no... my PCOS symptoms hit me with all the force it could muster that I was confused, "But, i'm making changes! Why am I not getting better?" Then I realized that in order to get something, one must go through high waters to get there or have it!

When we arrived in Tennessee, I had made some changes but I wasn't 100% committed, thus my body was confused and hurting even more.

January 2015 came and I began to read Trim Healthy Mama  again, but this time I was desperate, I knew this symptom was going to land me in the hospital if I didnt get serious. So I committed for the first time 100%.

It wasn't easy, but I stayed the course... Late March/early April, my beloved and I were at our home church (our pastor's home), and the Lord told pastor to pray over us... He also told him to have a very sweet friend of mine to pray over my womb. My sweet friend laid her hand on my tummy and prayed for life to come now and children to come forth, when she prayed that, I felt a soft "boom" deep inside my tummy which shocked me and I felt a warmth spread to every part of my body.

 That night, my husband said, "I should have been praying over your body and womb a long time ago... As the Patriarch and protector of this home and marriage, I failed in that area. But no more." He then laid his hands on my tummy and prayed... he felt the vibration of a bigger "Boom" and he looked at me shocked and said, "Did I feel that?", there was a physical rearranging happening inside of me for the better.

 2 weeks later, the symptoms that I was suffering with for the last year and a half ceased completely. I woke up and realized, "I'm healed!" Not only did Trim Healthy Mama come through, but prayer moved this mountain that was standing in my way! He is Able!

 I stuck with my improving health, taking care of the body that God lovingly created, and Dustin took care of both of us by planting a garden!

With the help of our neighbor (who is a professional gardener), my beloved made the most beautiful garden! Cucumbers, radishes, tomato's, watermelon, pumpkins (in the Fall will be ready to harvest), green beans and herbs! He was determined to help me pursue total health so that we may be able to have children, and he is very passionate when it comes to natural food!

 My husband has a very good career in IT, but he doesn't really care for it, he does it to take care of his family... but his dream is to have a small farm and farm sheep (as a side business for me as well). He is slowly working and studying his way to make that dream become a reality for our family and for our children to be raised in the country (like I was raised as well). Look how handsome and content my husband is after picking green beans he grew from his garden!

My husband also has a worm farm and uses the compost for his garden... because of that, look how wonderful it looks!!! My husband is a blessing, he not only protects us financially but health wise, he is no stumbling block when it comes to my health!

After eating correctly and as natural as we could for the next 4 months, something happened...

Each month i'd be hoping for a missed cycle, and each month I have been disappointed. There were times I think i'd miss a cycle and i'd take a test and nothing... only to have my cycle play games with me and arrive the next day. Each month we were hoping that I would be blessed with a pregnancy, but no. 

Nevertheless, I trusted in the Lord and told Him, "Lord, into your hands we commit our trust. Your ways are better than our ways, and your thoughts are higher than ours. Visit us with children, open my womb and let life come forth, children are your heritage and the fruit of the womb is your reward, we receive that promise and claim it as our own."

In July I was so busy with my Etsy shop and making yarn and getting inspiration for Christmas ornaments I will be listing and incredibly occupied with my prim doll  that for the first time, I was not even thinking about getting pregnant... to be honest, I was completely preoccupied that I forgot!

As the date of my cycle was approaching, I felt some symptoms that also equate with symptoms of a period, so I automatically thought "ahhh, of course! 2 days before it begins, that's why i'm feeling funny."

The 2 days came and went and nothing happened. I wasn't at all concerned, I just shrugged and knew my cycle was sometimes a few days late or early, so I told my husband, "I bet it's going to come next weekend."

The next weekend came and went, and nothing happened. This time I was worried. My first thoughts were, "Oh no... my PCOS is flaring up... This happened a month before our Anniversary a year and a half ago (our anniversary is in September), and for that year and a half after I was in pain physically! Please... no."

 My husband was the positive one, he said, "Baby, you could be pregnant!" I responded with, "Nope, no way. I feel absolutely normal." But I was ignoring some signs that I heard about and thought they were just little aches and pains from something else.

Another huge sign was our labrador, Sadie. She began to act extremely strange 2 weeks prior to my completely missed period. She began to nuzzle my tummy, sniff it a bit, want to be as close to me as possible (she HAD to always be touching me in some way), which was endearing but also very annoying as she was constantly underfoot. She also did one thing she never did, which made my husband and I go, "Hmmmm."

When I had to go to the bathroom, she came inside (she never was allowed to do that, only wait outside) and would sit at my feet watching me intently. Sometimes so intently I would wonder, "What are you trying to say to me, Sadie girl?"

Finally, on a Saturday, my beloved couldn't take it. He said, "Please take a pregnancy test." I was afraid to take one, not only to feel disappointed but that he too would feel disappointed as well, so I said, "No no no, I may have just missed a cycle and next month it will come back. It's normal.", he gently kept coaxing me to take one, I finally gave in.

We had two pregnancy test, from just a month before, left. I took one and laid it down for the 2 minutes and fully expected to see nothing (like I was used to 100's of times before), after 2 minutes I sighed and looked down ready to toss it to the trash and holler to my husband waiting in anticipation, "I told you I wasn't pregnant!"

I looked down and froze.

The most dimmest line showed up. So dim you would think, "It's just an evaporation line", but i've taken so many tests and seen what negative really looked like that my eyes were trained to see only negative... for the very first time, I saw something I never saw before, the faintest line you could imagine.

 I yelled, "BABE! COME HERE!" He come running and I asked him to look. He saw the faintest line, and we were completely unsure. I then made my mind up that I wasn't pregnant and that was just a fluke test with a bad test strip. Not my beloved! He said, "Nope, you are pregnant."

We decided to wait for the following weekend to buy some tests and try again.

That whole week was horrible for me and hopeful for him! It was horrible because I was (unfortunately) anticipating bad news. I didn't want to give myself false hope, but yet, my spirit was fighting for hope!

In the middle of the week I dreamed such a vivid dream that I woke up with tears in my eyes.

I dreamed of a white baby with dark brown hair and bluish eyes, and chubby and rosy cheeked cuddling in my arms. Then an older gentleman who looked like half lumberjack and half santa clause took my baby and tossed him gently in the air, tickled the baby and cuddled the baby lovingly... then he handed the baby back to me and said, "Take good care of this baby... Do not neglect your duty." As he walked away I called out to him, "But... what if others tell me to stop? What if they tell me to do this or do that? What should I say to them?", he paused in his tracks, turned around half way (I only saw the profile of his face) and quoted from the book of Nehemiah, 

"Tell them... I  have a great work, I can not come down."

Then I woke up!

That following friday, I joined my home church to a mini prayer service, praying for the state of Tennessee when during one of the prayers, the guest speaker spoke the name of our child! My head shot up when I heard the name being used in prayer, by a person i've never met, and right there and then I knew... I'm pregnant.

This name was given to me when we were living in California last year. We were driving home at night and I was just gazing out the window when I heard the Lord tell me, "Your baby shall be named ..." (We want to keep the name a secret until the birth), I went home and looked up the name and studied on it and showed it to my husband.

Going back to the prayer meeting, this gentleman said the exact name while praying! I was overwhelmed with excitement, but yet my mind still wanted to fight the hope with negativity... I told it to be still, this time I was going to live and believe by faith, and not by sight or senses.

The next morning I decided to take the last test...

 No denying it! I was pregnant! Dustin just stared at me and said, "I always knew it.", it didn't hit me, I was in a daze... inside my soul... my spirit I was screaming and jumping up and down in pure joy! But in my physical, I looked as if it was just another day! I was so shocked!

I called my parents right there and then and straight out said, "I'm pregnant."

I heard my dad laughing and crying and my mom said, "DON'T PLAY WITH US! REALLY?", they told me that the weekend before they felt that I was pregnant and began to thank the Lord about this little one growing inside of me.

After that we told his family and they were thrilled, because it seems (after some searching) that my husband may be the last one to carry on the Edberg name! No pressure, right? Ha ha! My mam-in-love was so happy and his grandmother on his father's side was thrilled to be a great grandmother for the very first time!

 To be extra sure this wasn't a false positive, we decided to purchase 5 more tests (one was a digital) and try the next morning...

The next morning I had butterflies in my tummy, I was afraid this was a false positive and was giving everyone false news. I was so worried!!!

All five came out positive and the digital not only says that i'm pregnant but I was about 1 - 2 weeks from conception. Of course I won't know until I see my midwife (I want to have a home birth naturally) and see how far along I really am!

After finding out that I was officially pregnant (6... almost 7 positives don't lie!), Dustin began to spoil me immensely and treating me as if I was an extremely fragile doll. He began to harvest from the garden as quick as he could to allow me to snack on,

 and wanted me to have a craving to go buy snacks for me (healthy snacks)! He began to daily pray over the baby and consecrate this little one to the Lord, and each day would talk to my tummy to the little one and talking to him/her about Jesus and how much his/her daddy loves him/her! I absolutely love this side of Dustin i've never seen before!

He blessed me by purchasing (at the most incredibly red tag price) a leather reclining sofa so I would be comfortable.

He also right away took my rocking chair that was gathering dust, dusted it off and cleaned it so I could use it inside and he said, "well when the baby is born, you can rock the baby to sleep!"

And Sadie girl has been just as affectionate... it was because of her sensing my pregnancy that made us realize that we needed to test!

Here she is lying on my tummy after we found out we are expecting our first baby! She has a look that says, "Wait... i'm not going to be the baby anymore?"

We are thrilled, we are excited and we are so thankful to the Lord for visiting us!

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.

Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth.

Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
    when they contend with their opponents in court. - Psalm 127:3-5


Saturday, August 1, 2015

My First Prim Doll... Violet!


  There is something about being getting married.

 When I was a  child to young teen years, I was quite a tomboy. I disliked craft making, I hated to cook, and I only wanted to play soccer. Soccer was my idol at that time and I only wore pants and t-shirts, you wouldn't catch skirts or dresses on me!

 My mama was (and still is) extremely creative! She made dolls, sewed clothes, decorated our home in the most cozy fashion that any time someone came into our home they would pause and drink in the atmosphere she created with their eyes, nose (her home always smelled of fresh from the field lavender in the spring and summer, and pumpkin and cinnamon in the fall and winter), and spirit/soul! I always had a deep admiration for my mother's creativity... and little did I know that I had that same creativity.

 I didn't allow my creativity to flow because I was somewhat shy with it and didn't think it was much... How I wish I could go back in time and slap myself for not allowing myself to be all that I can be... no not in the Army, i'm too much of a wimp to be yelled at in bootcamp. Heehee!

I think I would react like that spoiled man child in the hilarious skit (video) by Abbott and Costello if I ever had to join the Army! I'd react like he did at 5:45 and 6:12 (minute mark) if I was ever yelled at by a drill sergeant! This video is VERY low, so please turn up your volume! Whenever I watch these type of videos I remember fondly my brother and I would re-enact their skits down to the dot!

 Anyways, at around turning 18 I went from a tomboy to complete femininity over night! I wore makeup, made my hair look nice and I wore girly clothes and my confidence boosted higher and higher... but still, my creativity was at an ultimate low.

 Little by little I realized I had a very strong sense of creating something out of "nothing" whether it be a skit, a song, playing music on my guitar by ear (I didn't know how to read notes), scrap booking, etc... I did have times where my creativity scared me, because I didn't know how strong I had it!

 It was after I got married that I decided to allow my creative juices to flow freely!

 I decorated our first apartment together (In Hawaii) in a Moroccan/Safari style. That apartment was extremely tiny and it looked like an asylum when it was empty, very cold and not very cozy! After I finished decorating we invited a friend over who brought a coworker to visit for a short while, and when she came in, she paused at our front door and looked around slowly and said, "You can tell a woman lives here. There is such warmth and beauty here." That made me smile so big!

My first home as a married woman leaving my parents home that I decorated myself!
I loved this small area! I felt like I was in Africa!

  That was a first for me,to decorate my own home as the Lady of the Home! That wasn't a first, I learned shortly after to crochet, and caught on very quickly that immediately I began to crochet my own designs:

Fingerless glove I crocheted with my own pattern

Another first for me is spinning my own yarn!

My very first blended roving made on a blending hackle my husband and my dad made for me!

my very first yarn I ever spun from my roving from the picture above!

There is always a first for everything, especially if it's something you are so interested in! I love anything country, rustic, Americana, handmade with love and warmth and a touch of country pride and American made! So I began to fall in love with Prim Dolls! It has that charm that I absolutely adore! How dearly I wanted one, and would sigh and think, "I wish I could make one."

Wait a minute... why can't I?

I have a sewing machine... it was gathering dust. I tried to be interested in clothes making, but I lost interest extremely quicky, and I only sewed if I needed to hem something up... like a button.
 But I sincerely wanted to make a doll... and so I went to the back room and brought out the sewing machine, blew off the dust, stared at it and stared at dolls like the photo below I would gaze at in admiration on Pinterest and wondered... what now?

 Before I start anything full on, I have to know what i'm doing by going on youtube, pinterest, blogs and watch/read as many tutorials as I can. Because if I just jump in something without even a clue on how to begin, I get frustrated and toss the whole project to the side and move on to the next thing!

 So I watched and read as much as I could take in and understand. I made a list on what I needed to make the body of my doll and away I went to Joann's to shop for some muslin fabric... I was in luck! The fabric I got was pure white and extremely cheap per yard! I already had black alpaca wool doing nothing but taking up room in the back room to stuff the doll, so I got what I needed and when I arrived home I began.

Of course I had no idea what I was doing, so I wanted to be as simple as possible and create from the heart... Just like food, if you create while anxious, uptight, upset, with a negative or worrisome attitude, it will come out in what you are creating! No matter how my doll would come out, I was going to start it out with love, patience, warmth, gentleness and kindly work with my fabric!

I traced out a simple body, with two legs, and two arms. I already knew what she looked like in my mind, but drawing it down took me a very long time. I first drew her on paper (it took me a LOT of paper to finally get the body right). I cut out the tracings and traced her again on the muslin  (double layered) with a simple pencil I had.

I then pinned the tracings down before I cut the patterns (not perfectly as I was just going to sew the patterns together and once done turn them inside out.

The doll isn't stuffed or sewed together in this photo, I just placed the patterns together to see how it would look.

After I sewed the parts, I got some leftover coffee and soaked the fabric in it for a good 5 - 8 minutes. After soaking, I wrung it out and put in microwave on high for 1 minute (keeping an eye on it so the fabric wouldn't burn) for the coffee to permanently stain the fabric.

After that happened and everything was completely dried, I began to stuff the doll. Not too tight and not too loose, just enough! I used raw alpaca wool as it doesn't have any lanolin, so it's not greasy at all (or else I would have washed it beforehand), it's just dusty (which I dusted off beforehand) and extremely soft... and there was something comforting and country that I like about the smell of raw alpaca wool! How primitive can one get? HeeHee!

After stuffing as much as I could, I sewed up the doll (the arms I did by hand) and I absolutely loved my doll already!!! I was searching around online for ideas on the eyes and nose (the mouth I left for later) and found many ideas,so I incorporated ideas with a tiny bit of mine and began to practice drawing eyes and noses on scrap paper to see what matched her.

You have no idea how much scrap paper I have tossed! But it was so much fun and it built my confidence to start designing her face... because Lord knows how completely scared I was to start directly on the doll and mess up!!!! So before I began designing, I took more muslin fabric, made a quick circle, sewed it, stuffed it and sewed it up tight to practice on it as if it was my dolls face!

I practiced on both sides of the practice doll to get different ideas... I didnt want a completely flat face, I wanted an almost 3D nose. So I began to study on needle sculpting online! After getting the idea I took a simple sewing needle (I didn't have a doll needle) and fishing line (as you need a strong thread. I didn't have crochet thread, or quilting thread, but I did have a thin fishing wire that would disappear into the fabric!

I needle pointed 3 type of 3D noses: on the top left is just simple line you would expect on a prim doll, below that was a "W" nose that I kept the base open to have a slight line go up toward the eyes... and after that I closed up the base to have just a button nose (top right). I liked the "W" design better.... so I got to work... I took a very deep slow breath, and prayed (I did really. haha I was that nervous!) and very slowly and lovingly got to work!

It came out PERFECTLY!!!!!After I did the nose, I then extremely carefully traced out the eyes on the doll and look! This was the exact face I wanted!!!! I showed my beloved and he said "Awwwww! It's so oochie-boochie-boo-boo!" That is what I say when I see something cute or a darling baby! Ha ha I rubbed off on him!

Then it was making the dress time...dun dun dun duuuuuuuuunnnnn...

I kept looking online for some ideas or free patterns. The only pattern I found that was simple enough to be on a "How to make a prim doll dress pattern for dummies" was literally just something like this:

After staring at my paper traced dress, I decided to brave it and take out my fabric. It was an old bed sheet (washed of course) I purchased from Goodwill for only $2. So away I traced (with a pencil) on my fabric with the help of the pattern on paper.

It looks simple enough right? All I have to do is sew on the wrong side of the fabric and slip the doll in. I did that, and it did work... but I didn't like it. I realized that we may not notice it, but when someone takes their time and carefully and lovingly sew something like a dolls dress, they don't do things the "easy" way (like sewing the dress in one smooth motion), they sew the bodice then the sleeves seperately. So I decided to take my time and separately sew the bodice from the sleeves.

What an amazing difference!!!!! After I took my time tracing the bodice and sewing it, it fit my doll beautifully with no baggy or too snug spots. I very gently fashioned the sleeves to add some very small flairs and sewed them.

Majority of the time I used my sewing machine, and when needed I sewed by hand. You may find this hard to believe, but i've never hand or machine sewn anything creative. I only sewed by hand when fixing a clothing item or needing to add a button. And on the machine I knew how to sew a straight line seam if I REALLY had to, which was never.

 My mama taught me how to use the sewing machine as a child to teenager, but she literally had to make me sit still and sew. Like I said before, if I could avoid it (back then) I would! My mom finally gave up because I had absolutely no interest, but not without instilling in me knowledge on how to use a machine, because she knew... my mom knew I would need all that teaching one day. Isn't she wise?

Shout out to you, Mami!

 After the dress, I decided to make mini dress samples and an apron sample and add crochet border to the hem and see how it would look coffee stained.
I used two yarns: a 50/50 merino/mohair and a simple crochet thread.

Before staining.

After staining
Obviously, the crochet thread dyed much better than the mohair, but I just wanted to see how it came out out of curiosity.
After I saw which yarn looked better with a coffee dyed dress, I began to add a scallop border to my dress with a picot to add some classic flair to it.

Then it was time to make the apron, now that was very easy! But still, I wanted to take my time and measure and make sure it looked even!

 Making the apron strings was super easy to sew! I just sewed on the wrong side in a straight line and bam, was done... oh... wait... I have to turn it wrong side in. Dang it.

Ok no problem, it won't be too hard, right? Ha!

So I tried just trying to use my fingers, and that didn't work, I tried using a pen... nope. I tried using my crochet hook... It was mocking me... So I  tried slapping it on everything I saw and choked it with all my might and threatened it that I would feed it to Sadie girl if it didn't cooperate (which Sadie's ears was perked up with a look that said, "You serious? Don't play.")... That also didn't work, for some odd reason.

 I sat there and finally came with a brilliant idea! It was so brilliant that I had those strings wrong side very quick! All I needed was the fabric i'm working on, tapestry needle, crochet thread, and tweezers:

I took my tapestry needle and tied a knot at one end:

I then went through (on one end) the string with the needle:

I then pulled the thread until I hit the fabric. then with tail end of the needle facing down, I pushed the needle all the way to the opposite end of the string:

Then once I took away my needle, and with my tweezers I  pulled the fabric all the way down the tweezers (looks like a scrunchy):

  Until I reached the very end, and grabbed with my tweezers the crochet thread at that end and began to slowly and gently pull it while folding the rest of the fabric over it:

Then once I can see the crochet string (about 1/4 after folding inward) I just grabbed the string and pulled and helping fold the fabric along the way, and it pulled itself inside out!

The longest thing that is delaying from finishing my doll so far is embroidering. At first, I just wanted to keep the apron simple, maybe cut out a heart shape fabric and sew it on, but I dont want my doll to look extremely simple! I want her to look warm, sweet and complete! So I decided to embroider words onto it...

I've always loved the song "You are my Sunshine", and after getting married, my husband and I would randomly break out singing it together... it was our little way of showing each other love wherever we are! One day we saw a video of an older gentleman who was in so much pain in the hospital that he felt as if he should die from the pain he was feeling (thankfully, he is fine now from what i've read), so he asked his darling wife to come close to him and they both serenaded eachother "You are my Sunshine", it was the most intimate and precious thing I beheld! That this song became even more precious to me when my husband and I sing it to each other together, so I decided to embroider some of the words onto it to add a piece of our love onto the doll!

I'm still in the process of finishing it up, I still have to embroider "Away" but you get the idea!
After I finished the apron I decided to be courageous and paint her face. At first I thought embroidering her eyes and mouth would be much easier, but I wanted to challenge myself and do what i've never done, paint a doll's face and... just "painting" by itself was a first for me! Sure I've doodled, but that was about it... painting is not completely foreign to me, but it's definitely not something I can brag about!

Her dress and aprong all finished! I added  little heart on the apron.
Remember the eyes I traced onto her face? Well, now it was time to paint it in! After reading tutorials, I had the idea and said a little prayer (Lord knows I needed too. Ha Ha!), grabbed my acrylic paint I had lying around (Black, White and Violet), and a thin paint brush and went to work...

First I traced her eye lashes and outside of her eye with black:

Then moved the white's of her eyes (Guess which color I used for that? Hee hee):

I then decided to give her violet iris, and thus used violet for that part:

And then of course, gave her black pupils:

After that I added 2 dots on each eye towards the top to give her that sweet, dreamy and sparkling eyes!

The next day I spun 100% dark chocolate alpaca wool for her hair, I spun then soaked it in warm water to set the twists, while I was waiting for it to dry (which was pretty quick, as I didn't spin that much), I worked on giving her an over-sized hair bow.

It was very easy to do! I just cut two rectangles of her fabric I used to make the dress, sewed them together (right side in), then turned them inside out and hand sewed the rest of it. I then took two thin strips of the same fabric, and did the same... I then joined both ends together to make a circle and hand sewed it together.

I tucked in the large fabric into the circle and primped it up to  make a bow. I then  lightly sewed the larger fabric to the circular fabric so it would not slip out.

This is the side that was sewn onto the dolls head.

Before beginning her hair, I soaked her dress, apron and hair bow in dark coffee for 10 minutes and squeezed them out, then microwaved them on one of our dinner plates for 1 minute to stain them. Then dried.

Once my yarn dried I measured how much I wanted her to have. I wanted to have two pig tails. So I grabbed a nearby notebook and wound it around as close to "eachother" as I could. Once I got what I wanted I then cut one side and laid it on a leftover muslin fabric. I then used my sewing machine to sew the yarn down onto the muslin. After that I trimmed off the muslin that wasn't needed.

I  placed the wig on the center of her head and hand sewed on the top of her head and bottom to secure it.

To make pig tails, I used one piece of yarn to wrap  her hair around into a pig tail  and tied it down. I then sewed that part of the yarn into her head, and did the other side.

I left her mouth for last, because I wasn't sure  what I wanted her to express... either sweet and shy... or sweet and smiling. I left that for the end after  I put on her dress and applied  her bow (also sewing that to her head). I decided she needed to smile... I am so happy I did that! My mom said, "She looks like she's saying lovingly, "Thank you for creating me!"

Her name is Violet... and I created her with a lot of love and passion!!!