Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Do you see what I see?

I'm not a photographer by any means. I love achieving a beautiful photograph but rarely ever do so. It's a talent, one I do not possess, but one I do covet. In an effort to acquire that talent (if that's even possible) I began a few months ago carrying my camera with me whenever I could. It was always within arms reach in the house, I took it into the yard when I went with Mina outside to play, I took it when I walked the boys to school . . . needless to say I had quite a few photographs on my memory card. I finally got around to downloading them onto my computer the other day. As I scrolled through the photos I noticed something about a few of them, each taken months apart. I put the photos side by side, transfered them into grayscale, played with contrast and exposure (I love photo editing software) and so I ask, do you see what I see?


ennie Lynn

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Tattered Suitor

He's a scraggly little man, dingy and worn.
His heart (along with some of his stuffing) is bare for his love to see.
Perhaps not the most striking suitor to be seen, but adorable nonetheless.
We can only hope the object of his affection agrees.

This is a very simple pattern. My original idea was much more . . . elaborate. On days I feel particularly creative all my ideas get jumbled up with one another and I have a tendency to focus them all on a single project. Once I get to working, though, I am always drawn to the simplest expressions. The single appliqued heart said exactly what I wanted to say in the plainest way possible and when it comes to prim isn't that always best?

I'm offering the doll pattern to you as a free pattern. It's a design that lends itself well to virtually any embellishment for any occasion. If you're interested in the free pattern you can download it from my Free Pattern page. If you have any trouble downloading the pattern in the newer format let me know and I'll be happy to e-mail you the pattern as a PDF attachment.

Feel free to use the pattern any way you like and be sure to share with me your finishes. I hope you enjoy him and I can't wait to see what you come up with.


Jennie Lynn

Sewing machines and cocktail dresses . . .

There's some sewing going on in my home today, which means I have completely taken over our dining room table. As I took out my sewing machine my husband hastily removed his coffee from the table and sought refuge in the living room.

There's osnaburg, some scraps of wool, a few rusted safety pins, bits of twine, even a twig or two (I love crafting supplies I can find in my own yard). At the risk of sounding arrogant, I have faith in my stitching ability. When I sit down to work on a piece I'm relatively sure I'll be happy with the end result. I have no such faith when it comes to sewing. I always have butterflies in my stomach as I run the fabric through the machine. There's always a moment of panic as I turn right side out and begin to stuff whatever I've sewn. I wonder if it will turn out at all as I had intended it to.

For me, stitching is a comfy pair of pajamas whereas sewing is more akin to the cocktail dress that while I do like wearing am always checking to see how big my backside looks in it.

I'm never quite sure what the finished product will be when I sew, but whatever it ends up being, I'll be sharing it with you soon.


Jennie Lynn

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Valentine's Heart Garland

I've been promising a tutorial and I've finally finished it up this afternoon so here goes . . .

sheet music, book pages, or make your own
watercolor paper (if you're making your own pages)
coffee stain (if you're making your own pages)
heart punch or template for cutting
hole punch or a large eye needle
twine, ribbon, string for hanging

Here are the instructions for my Heart Garland made of "faux" antique music paper. I did try real antique music paper but the sheets I had were too thin and didn't take well to being sewn together so I had to come up with an alternative. I decided to use watercolor paper which worked quite well. It was thick enough to withstand having the twine pulled through it but not quite as thick as cardstock would have been. It also has a lovely texture to it, especially when aged. I simply sprayed both sides with a coffee mixture using a spray bottle and then "baked" each sheet in the oven for a minute or two. I then printed "The Wedding March" onto each sheet, front and back. You can download the sheet music I used here. I used a heart punch to cut out each individual heart but I've also included a template you can use to cut out your own.

I then layered three hearts together, making little "sandwiches) held with a paperclip. I used a small hole punch about every quarter of an inch down the center of the heart and then "sewed" the three hearts together using twine. I left about three inches between each heart as I strung them together and a tail on either end for hanging. You can also sew without pre-punched holes using a large eye needle though I would suggest using something thinner like ribbon to string the hearts. Fold the two hearts on the outside of the "sandwiches" away from the center to open the hearts and then hang.


You can string as long a garland as you would like but if you'd like to make a garland more then five feet long I would suggest working in segments no longer than five feet. Any longer and the whole thing becomes unwieldy.

Cut the tip of your string or twine on the diagonal to create a nice point for threading through your hearts and then dip the edge into some white glue and let it dry. It will stop your twine from fraying.

You can also create a page of romantic poetry or verse to print out and cut into hearts. You can make every few words red and then print in color so each of your hearts have a little red in them. You can also use images of antique Valentine's Cards or intersperse a few hearts of images on a strand with sheet music or poetry. I think that will be my next garland.

Here's a closeup of my heart garland hanging under one of the shelves in the living room.

This is my first tutorial so I hope everyone enjoys it and that it was easy enough to understand. It's hard to believe Valentine's Day is already less than a month away. I still have so many things I want to finish to display around the house. I better get busy. Hopefully, I'll have more to share with all of you soon.


Jennie Lynn

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Retro Brights

This is a little peak at what I've been working at this past week. It's a small alphabet sampler I designed quite awhile ago. It was designed using a single shade of brown, which is what I tend to do when I haven't yet decided on a color scheme. I can spend hours fussing with color selection. I've found it's better at times to simply allow inspiration to operate on its own schedule and trust that whatever is missing will present itself in time.

The color inspiration for this piece came from these wonderful retro fabrics. I was rummaging through my craft room looking for my quilting scissors when I came across them. I'd purchased them years ago to make a sewing basket for my daughter. Though not entirely my taste I have always been drawn to these 30's and 40's reproduction prints. The resulting colors in the sampler are much brighter than I'm used to working with but every once and while it's good to take a less traveled path.

My computer is slowly getting back to her old self again. Just one or two more programs to install and several hundred files to move over from the backup drive . . . but at least she's working. I know I'll have to replace her sooner or later as she's getting on in years (in computer years, anyway) but the longer I can postpone that day the better. I've become rather attached to her.

I'd every intention of starting in on some Valentine's crafts to share with you but fixing up this old girl has taken most all of my free time. Hopefully in the coming weeks I'll have some finishes to share, projects to post, and hopefully a few tutorials as well.

Until then I hope everyone enjoys the chilly Winter weekend.


Jennie Lynn

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A fresh start . . .

So this is how it was explained to me. The hardrive on a computer is like rows and rows of filing cabinets filled with files, each and every one of them necessary for the computer to operate. Now a couple of the files from my hardrive were "misplaced". As a matter of fact they were gone all together. They had been checked out and never returned and it was impossible to tell which two files were missing. As a result my computer refused to boot up and the only way to repair it was to reinstall the operating sytem.

My husband, my hero, my champion (do I ever owe him one) spent all day yesterday bringing my computer back to life. In a way my computer has been reborn, and is naked as a jay bird. There isn't a single thing on here. Not Microsoft Office Suite, not my photo editing software, not my design program, none of my files or photos . . . I need to stop now before I depress myself. Thankfully, all of my files are backed up regularly (again thanks to my husband). I just have to put everything back together again. I have chosen to look at it as a fresh start. Hopefully, it will result in a less cluttered computer. It will most certainly require several days worth of Mina's naps and perhaps a few late nights but my husband has promised to keep me in cups of tea.

Sooner begun, sooner done, so I better get to it. Wish me luck!


Jennie Lynn

Friday, January 6, 2012

Mercy Sampler

Teach me to feel anothers woe
To hide the faults I see
That mercy I too others show
That mercy show to me

I think this is a lovely sentiment to begin the New Year. I enjoyed stitching this sampler immensely and not only because the verse is so appealing to me personally. It's just such a simple sampler. It's small, measuring only 8 1/2 inches square and was so easy to stitch in hand. It also uses only two thread colors which meant much fewer tangled threads in me sewing box.

The colors came so easily, as well. The moment I saw Gentle Arts Portabella I instantly fell in love with the color. It was such an elegant blue-grey and so beautifully variegated. I stitched this sampler during the holiday season, and with so much frenzy around me and such an udemanding sampler as this was a blessing.

As soon as the sampler is framed it will hang with "Mercy" doll. When I chose the fabric for her dress I wanted a pattern that was simple but the colors of this particular fabric were too bright, black and what looked to aqua. I bleached it in an attempt to lighten the colors some and to my surprise the little flowers became brown and blue, almost identical to the colors in the sampler. Obviously these two pieces were meant to be . . .

I'm putting needle and thread away this weekend and working on a little paper project. As all the holiday decorations begin to come down my house is feeling empty and I'm already looking forward to St. Valentine's Day. Hopefully I'll be able to share that with you next week. Perhaps it will be my first tutorial to share with all of you.


Jennie Lynn

Edit: Mercy Sampler and "Mercy" Doll are now both available as e-patterns for purchase on My Designs page or feel free to e-mail me.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

"Mercy" Doll

For someone (me) who says that she does not like sewing I have spent the last few days doing just that. Thanks to my wonderful husband who (while still on his vacation) has stepped up and taken over so many of my household responsibilities I have had the time to finally sew up this little doll that's been inhabiting my imagination for weeks now.

Meet "Mercy"

I just put the finishing touches on her and was so anxious to share her that I braved taking photos on a cloudy day. The idea for her came just before I began stitching on my latest sampler. Oh how I was torn. The comfort and ease of stitching on my sofa under a fluffy blanket or the anxiety of digging around in my chilly basement for my sewing machine, relearning how to thread the darn bobbin and then wrestling with seam allowances, pleats, and pattern measurements. Did I mention I don't really like sewing? It just doesn't come as easily to me as stitching and causes me so much anxiety. This little doll would just not stop nagging me, though, until I made her real.

I've seen dolls such as her before but I had to make one of my own with my own unique touches. She measures about 18 inches to the bottom of her skirt. She's a stump doll; there are no legs hiding under that dress. Neither the top of the bodice nor the bottom of the skirt are hemmed, just the frayed fabric ends. The skirt is attached to the bodice with pleating, so the skirt flares a bit from her body. She hangs from a sting attached to a rusty safety pin at her back and has the sweetest twigs for arms. I have to say that's my favorite feature; it's so perfectly prim.

Mercy had to wait so very long to be made because I was busy working on a sampler, also called "Mercy". The entire time I was stitching the sampler this little doll kept distracting me and I couldn't resist naming her after the sampler. With any luck you'll see photos of that finish tomorrow.

Until then I wish you all a peaceful winter's evening.


Jennie Lynn