Knitting Patterns by Lyndell

Design-Your-Own Dress Recipe - free download now
Gumnut Hat in HandSpun for Blythe Dolls - free download now

Who? What? eh?

This is the blog of a constant crafter - a 'showcase' for some of the things I make, some hints for crafting & recylcing - lots of photos and some words. I hope it will inspire.
Please Note: all photos are Copyright.

My Blythe Dolls have their own blog where they are showing lots of photos from our holiday in France - it is here.


Monday, 30 January 2012

Putting up Preserves

Isn't that a wonderful old phrase?  Putting up preserves ...  not that I do much of that sort of thing as I'm not overly fond of cooking.  However, occasionally I make stuff that goes into jars and the warm glow of Successful Domesticity and knowing that I have jars of yummy goodness in the fridge - well it is worth the effort.  So a fortnight ago I made marmalade ...


 It certainly wouldn't win a ribbon at a Country Show but I'm rather eccentric about my marmalade ... I like it super chunky, very tart and with loads of ginger.

My last marmalade was a bit 'runny' so I cut right down on the amount of water ... this time I used 2kg oranges + 1 lemon and lots of sliced ginger, 3 cups water (just enough to cover those chunks) and an equal amount of sugar (3 cups).  The result is probably more 'cooked orange peel' than actual marmalade and it is tart enough to 'put hair on your chest'.  In other words - it's just about perfect :-)




Then this last weekend I made olive tapenade.  What a wonderful idea tapenade is - olives that you can spread on bread - perfection!
And so easy to make.  Take oodles of kalamata olives, chop & stone them into a blender, add a splash of olive oil, a generous amount of garlic and blend.  YUM!


And for a final dose of Domestic Bliss - a sleeping cat.  Our elderly Cornish Rex doing what she does best.


Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Beadiness

I admit to having something of a love / hate relationship with beads. 
Love what they do but strongly dislike sewing them on.  
Well, you can do a lot with beads ...
You can Knit with Beads

You can use them as Buttons on Dolls' Clothes


Again - beads to fasten a dolly coat

Beads as Bling on a pair of Shoes
Would you like to see more of these projects ? ??  The shoes are for ME the other items are for Blythes - yes those dolls are taking over this blog.

Over the Christmas / New Year season I organised another swap for the Knitting for Blythe group on Ravelry.  My swap recipient (the person whose dolls I was making for) lives in rural France, in Bourgogne which is one of my favourite parts of the world   sigh!     She customises most of her dolls - making them look quite elfin and other-worldly ... so I simply HAD to make fairy / pixie / elfin outfits.

The first evolved into a SnowDrop Fairy costume -  SnowDrop because that's the name of the lace stitch that I used for the top skirt.

There is a built in 'petticoat' layer too.  Two lace-weight yarns with white mohair yarn at the hem; one lace weight I dyed a very pale blue/grey - using 2 shades of white together creates depth.  Both lace-weights held together for the bodice with mirrored glass seed beads knitted in.  My first ever attempt at knitting with beads.
Lillian showing her petticoat

OK - pretty dress but this is a Fairy Costume and you simply cannot have a Fairy Costume without Fairy Wings!   
 
 Complex wee things to make - but rather fun too.  Remind me to do a 'workshop' blog to show you how I made them.
Violetta modeled the wings for me.

















The 2nd swap outfit evolved from memories of the forest in Bourgogne in winter 2007 (our 2nd ever overseas holiday).  
Artists and photographers talk about 'the quality of light' - the sunlight.  In France the sunlight has a softness, a hazyness - you can see why it was the birthplace of Impressionism and Pointillism!
 The colours of the forest( forĂȘt) in early December, late afternoon - all chestnut and antique mauve - the light definitely had a purple tint.  This is an outlying bit of the ForĂȘt de Champornot with the river Cure in the foreground.

I tried to reproduce those colours in a dolly outfit.  Again in lace-weight yarn - this time Touch Yarns hand-dyed in lovely soft browns and greys to which I added strands of embroidery thread in antique mauves.   Not quite right but getting there.  
A fitted coat with big 'romantic' sleeves, buttoning down the front with crystal glass beads.  Also made a hood, it is not snug about the face though it isn't quite as flatteringly / romantically loose as I planned.  Still it is cute with the frilly cape collar and pixie point.
I like the thought that although I cannot go and live in rural Bourgogne (Burgundy) at least some things that I've made can be there in my stead.






The last of the Blythe garments I'm going to show off today is a prototype.  Found this faux fur fabric last week - perfect for doll's clothes as the print is tiny and the fur is low pile (short - like a velvet).
As I mentioned in the last post, I'm toying with the idea of opening another Etsy shop - one with clothes & costumes for Blythe dolls.  Hence this prototype coat - the pattern needs some refinement but the idea - Glamour, Mod, MadMen Era - I think it works.

The beads - 2 real tiger-eye beads (nothing but the best for my Blythes!) with a thread loop for fastening under the chin. 

Lillian showing off the lining


I gave the coat orange satin lining - the alternatives, beige or black seemed just too boring.  Also included a special little inside pocket. 


Now for the one non-Blythe project - my Green Shoes.  I dyed these satin Ballerines late last year (see this post).  But what sort of design was I going to put on them?   Started off thinking very "lush & late Victorian"  but I really wanted to use those ultra-long gold bugle beads so a geometric design seemed more apt ...







Trial designs with pins & needles



Then I found myself having a 1980s moment -
Disco? Super Hero crossed with a Cup-Cake ???   I don't know really but I like it!

From past experience I know that shoes look slightly different when your foot is inside them - so I marked out that dramatic diagonal line with pins and inserted foot with care!

Some hours later all beads firmly stitched on and ...
Twinkle Toes!


Friday, 20 January 2012

What we did on our Holidays - part 3 - Melbourne

After the turquoise blues of Perth's beaches the grey/brown of Melbourne's came as a disappointment ... they say it is storm water run-off.   However, I had been knitting yet more cossies for Blythe dolls and BiBi did some modelling for me.
BiBis is my daughter's French Trench, she was the 1st Blythe in our family.  She has a classic beauty - rather posh & classy though her 'bed-hair' suggests that she likes to party ... on expensive champagne. 
BiBi has claimed this classic plain black one-piece swim suit.



The photo-shoot was at Brighton Beach with those wonderful beach sheds as the perfect back-drop. 
 

This cossie is more 'vintage' style with a modesty skirt - I'm thinking of opening another Etsy shop, to sell clothes etc for Blythes & this might just be the first item made for it. 



The dolls love going to Melbourne and catching up with their friends there ...
BiBi & Lillian enjoy nice long chats









Took the grandkids to the museum one day - the Melb museum has this wonderful whale-bone on display.  I've made reproduction corsets, I've handled real Victorian corsets and I've done a lot of research on corsetry - so to me, this is fascinating.  
The whalebone that was used in corsets and clothing is not really bone, it is the baleen.  The filter-feeder business in the mouths of the baleen whales that feed on krill.  And look - it is like compressed hair - this is why it was so strong yet flexible (so much better than the modern plastic boning and thinner than the spiral steels we use).  It is made of keratin - just like our hair & fingernails, also birds' feathers & beaks.  It is also practically black, though I have seen old 'whalebones' in vintage garments that were cream colour (also some very dark ones) not sure of the reason for such variation in the colour.
I also did some crafting with the grands - 
cheap little kits to make Chrissie Decorations but we'd lost some of the bits and so the children had do be imaginative ... I love what they came up with.
Penguin?
Naturally, we all did plenty of eating - and I realised that I'm constantly taking photos of my granddaughter eating - she does enjoy her food! 
Now for some random Melbournian photos - 
saw these pretty lead-light windows in a house not far from Brighton Beach.  Love that one window had green round the edges and the corner window had the pink...

I also finally managed to get a photo of The Hand at Flinders Street station - pointing the way to the correct platform for St Kilda ... wonderful old tiles!

Finally - some more Brighton Beach photos - the dolls didn't mind the E. Coli count!
Audrey made sand-castles...
   
   
While Lillian and BiBi went for a stroll and chatted away some more!


Violetta & BiBi play beach ball, despite the wind!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

What we did on our Holidays - part 2 - Perth

Mostly what we did was spend time with family and eat a lot of Christmas food ... my lovely niece & nephew decorated this Gingerbread House.

We didn't do much that was 'touristy' - though the dolls did spend a morning at the Stirling Gardens on St Georges Terrace where they met some bronze kangaroos!
Roos have big feet

and their Tails are very long indeed!
The kangaroos were created by Charles and Joan Walsh Smith in 1997. 
They were very friendly and took the dolls for a bit of a hop about the gardens ...
and the girls found a giant 'shish-kebab' made of rocks - (you can read about the 'Harmony of Minerals' here)
 

Let's see a little more of Perth's public art - this time from Kings Park.
 



A giant steel dragonfly on "Lycopod Island" (the pole has been made to look like a Lycopod trunk). 


This area of Kings Park also has life-size replica dinosaurs.

And our grand-daughter loved the newly hatched Baby Muttaburrasaurus (which I think looks a lot like ET) ...














There are also replica Stromatolites which the ducks find very convenient ...
Pacific Black Duck-lings




More ducklings - these 2 are Australian Wood Ducks.

But the State Emblem for WA is not a duck - it is the Black Swan and there are swans on many older buildings...

Let's see some more 'nature' - lovely hollyhocks & hoyas in my mum-in-law's garden




Violetta likes flowers that match her hair!
A large Preying Mantis who posed for a portrait ...




And some truly spectacular Sturt Desert Pea (Swainsona formosa)  in a Mosman Park garden

This amazing flower with its 'crescent moon' shape and shiny black centre is the Floral Emblem of South Australia.





Hmmm
2 state emblems in 1 post!





Well, let's leave Western Australia with a sunset.  From Leighton Beach, ships anchored in Gage Roads waiting to get into Fremantle or Kwinana harbour.