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 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 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

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Christmas is just around the corner

Well it's been awhile since I last posted anything. Since then I've been pretty busy, although I had a couple of weeks doing nothing travelling up to Queensland to visit my son and his family, it was so lovely to catch up with them, I miss seeing my grandson growing up but they seem to have a better life up there so I suppose we have to let them go at some stage. The beaches up there are incredible, why would anyone want to travel anywhere else in the world when we have all of this on our doorstep.

For all of you that have been enquiring about the pattern for the Christmas fairy, I've finally finished writing it up so she is now available. Her name is 'Wishes do come true "
I haven't worked out how to put links on this thing yet but at the moment she is available from

Continuing in the Christmas mood which I always get into about this time of year I've also designed a Santa and a Snowman. They are all designed on the same theme, they have a round body and head, which I think is sooo easy, no fiddly legs and arms or dresses and the pieces are easily put together.
The santa's name is "Dear Santa" and he has a fabric body and hat, the jacket is made out of felt. I used the new Christmas range of Lynette Anderson which I just love. I only used the snowflake print as I didn't want anything too busy. He holds a wooden staff which is just a piece of painted dowling with a wooden bead on top, it's wrapped around with some Ming Garland and has rusty bells hanging from the top. He has a little tag hanging off his wrist which says " And I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight. The picture I have posted I used sheeps wool for his beard but you might find that a bit hard to get hold of. I did make another one with boucle knitting wool for a beard and he turned out really nice. I love his hooded eyes which is something different for me and the huge ric rac is great on his jacket.

The snowman who I have called "White Christmas " is made on the same theme, a rounded body and head. I made him out of plain old Osnaburg, get a nice quality one if you can as some of it can be a bit too open in the weave. Although I backed it with weaveline backing fabric to stabilise it as I find with Osnaburg that it pulls and the seams can pull open. He has a battered top hat which is fun and really messy to make but I love getting messy. He holds a Christmas tree which is made of a piece of dowling and branches of pine garland wrapped with sprays of pip berries. The branches hang with rusty bells,stars, little snowflakes and little labels with sentiments written on them. He also has a little tag with a poem on it

I built a snowman round and fat
and on his head I put a hat
he stood out in the sun all day
untill he'd melted all away
But I know just where he sat
because he didn't take his hat

I would just like to thank all of you lovely ladies that have posted such nice comments on my blog, I'm glad that you are all liking my designs, hope I can keep coming up with more that will appeal to you.
Hope not to take as long with my next post. 

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Sunday 17th July

A bit late in catching up with my news I'm afraid, it's taking me a while to get used to this blogging, unfortunately I'm in the that age group where computers were'nt on the agenda at school so I'm a bit of a techno phobe where it comes to computers. The pictures below where of a class that I did way back in June, doll of the moment was Totti one of my new designs, it was a good day and hopefully all had fun!!!!!!!!
 Its hard not to want to dress the dolls before they're finished !!! I apologise for this boo boo I somehow have put this photo on twice and now I can't get rid of one of them !!!!! a total techno phobe.
 This lady was a lovely English lady who we had a few laughs with, maybe we've got the same sense of humour as I'm English too
 This is Wendy who travels all the way from Eugowra in N.S.W. to come to my class. I'm very honoured that she thinks it's worth while to travel so far, she comes to nearly all of my classes.
 These were two new ladies in the class, hope they had a good time, I think they did.
 And this is the famous Anni Downs of Hatched and Patched and owner of HomePatch, she came in to check out what we were up to, must get her in to a class one day.
This was also a can't wait to dress my dolly moment I think !!!!

I've also been really busy designing, a cute rabbit for next years Easter Homespun has given me a lot of new ideas.   The first one was this darling Christmas Fairy called wishes do come true. I used French General fabrics from Moda. I always love the French General range

The other project I've been working on was Kelli Wulsohn's Big Top Theatre for my grandson Archie. I made him a whole set of my puppet designs and when I saw the puppet theatre I thought it would go with my puppets so well. Not a project for the faint hearted I must admit but I haven;t done a lot of raw edge applique up till now but I'm keen to do some more now. Don't you just love Kellie's designs 

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Hi my name is Annie Smith, I design and create dolls to sell as sewing patterns.
I will endeavour to keep you posted on anything new or interesting  that I am working on.
here are some of the  designs I have been working on lately.

 These are in a set of puppet patterns that I created initially for my grandson and now are making into patterns. The pair above are Klanky and Spanners two really cute robots.
 And to frighten any child is Viktor and Frankie
 So cute is Princess Fiona and Pirate Jack, I think she's just longing to be rescued by the handsome pirate.
 Just for Christmas is Holly, she's quite tiny but a doll to cherish for the holiday season. She's made of  felt with a blue and red floral bodice.Her hat is decorated with handmade holly and berries also made of felt
 Butterfly Dreams, I had so much fun making these, I've lost count of how many I've made but I never get sick of making them. Everyone turns out differently, there are so many beautiful bright fabrics out there thet the design possibilities are endless. Perfect for that new baby as agift or any cute little girl that you know.
This is Totti, such a diminutive little girl, she has a round head which is sooooooo easy to make and I think gives the doll a lot more character. She has fabric striped legs and painted shoes. Her body is weighted with sand which givees her a nice feel, you won't want to put her down.