Category Archives: Toys

Christmas making 2010 – Part 1 – La La


Since my layoff in October, I’ve been working on Christmas gifts for my daughter and her cousins.  This post is a roundup of what I made for La La. 

Since turning two this year, I’ve noticed, and her teachers at day care have also observed that she’s been enjoying being a little mommy to her baby dolls. Her teacher has sent photos of her giving her baby a bath with the other kids and here she is way back in March helping her baby to go to sleep. 


At home too, I’ve observed her putting her babies in my shoes like little cradles, putting her babies to sleep on pillows and patting them to sleep, and leaving the room with the white noise machine on and some music so they will fall asleep easily.  (This is her routine, white noise and nature sounds, although recently she switched to music instead). 


She then tells daddy and me to be quiet so her babies can sleep. Yia Yia gave her a bottle for the baby she gave her last Christmas, and she plays with that a lot too. 

Since she has been such the little mommy, I thought I’d give her some tools to help in her play. 

I found this great tutorial for making all kinds of pretend-play toys and this set was perfect:  a diaper bag, wipes, and diapers, sized for the baby doll she got for Christmas last year from Yia Yia.  I actually didn’t make the diapers exactly the same, but used her pattern as a guide for cutting the fabric.  I also didn’t make her doll bassinet and changing pad, because I already had a bassinet of my own in the works and I also made a quilt for the doll, and I didn’t want to go crazy with all the other stuff I was making. 

So, here’s the diaper bag.


And the wipes.  So clever, you can fold them so they pop up!  I used blue felt because all of our wipes come from Costco and come in blue packages, so it’s more realistic.


Here’s the quilt.  It looks like I pieced the whole thing, but it was actually a cheater with space between the 2.5" squares.  I had bought the fabric thinking it would be perfect for 1" hexagons, but I used a little bit for this quilt.  I used the method described here, but of course without the interfacing. 

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Here’s the bassinet.  I started this back in July.  It’s all hand stitched and hand quilted.  I had to figure out how to make it curve at the ends, which I did by using hexagons, pentagons and diamonds.  It’s lined with white cotton over a piece of batting I got in a sampler at the quilt festival over the summer. 

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I really learned a lot while doing the hand quilting – though mainly I learned that it’s a slow process and you really can make better progress when you have the right tools.  I broke one embroidery hoop before I ended up buying a quilting hoop, and tried several different needles before settling on the smallest ones I could find, size 12. 

In addition to that stuff, the mom of one of her cousins asked for new clothes for the dolls I made them last Christmas because they really enjoy playing with the dolls.  So I made clothes for all the dolls, including La La’s. 

I made this top and skirt with fabric that has all these "T" words, describing two year olds.  I only have a year to use the fabric, so now’s the time. 


I also used that fabric to bind her quilt, since it matched the purple nicely.


I made this t-shirt, and a jumper out of corduroy.  I haven’t really sewn with knits before, and discovered that the right tools make all the difference again – mainly the right needle for knits really helped. 


Next up is a pair of pajamas made of flannel, with coordinating cuffs.


Also, I forgot to photograph them, but I made her baby some new shoes out of vinyl, so they look like brown leather shoes. 

Over all, I think La La really liked everything, but the things I see her playing with most are the wipes and the bassinet, which she seems to think is a changing pad.  That’s ok, as long as she has fun playing with it, that’s all that matters to me. 


She got the same baby this year from her Grammy, and was very excited to have two of the same baby – "Sisters!" she said.  So now she has two diapers to change whenever one of them ‘poops’ as she likes to tell me.  🙂

Long overdue Christmas update (photo heavy)

I mentioned I’d update after Christmas with the presents I made for my daughter and her cousins. 

I’m finally getting around to it. 

Some shoes:  DSC_2266

Some bodies:  DSC_2267

Some clothes:  DSC_2268 

Some more:  DSC_2270 DSC_2271 DSC_2272 DSC_2273 DSC_2274 DSC_2275  DSC_2277 DSC_2278

All for these little guys and gals: 


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Green eyes for La La:


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Special violet eyes for Ms. A. 


Brother and sister pairs:




The boy cousins:


The girl cousins:


The pattern is from Wee Wonderfuls, called Kit, Chloe and Louise.

But the pattern is for three girl dolls, which was fine, but I also needed two boy dolls.  Yikes!  How do I do the boys hair? 

I struggled with it for a few hours, then came up with this idea: 


I made 2" wide strips of cardboard and wrapped the yarn the short way around.  Then I sewed up the middle and used that line of stitching to anchor the hair to the top of their heads.  Whew!  I think it looks pretty good for a hack.  DSC_2305

Then I needed some clothes for the boy dolls.  The shirts were ok, I just used one of the girl shirts in boyish fabric. 


And then I needed some pants.  And shorts.  I used up quite a bit of muslin making test pairs, and finally came up with a decent pants pattern, which I then shortened for shorts.  Pretty nice!

If I sound a bit proud of myself, I am.  I haven’t really sewn in 20 years, since home ec in middle school, really.  And while I was doing this project, which I started Nov 1 and finished on Dec 26th(!!!) I realized I really enjoy sewing and want to get back into it.

I bought a new sewing machine just before starting because I thought I needed an update from my old Kenmore.  I picked up an (relatively) inexpensive Brother from Costco.  Great price, great machine and it was perfect.  And I gifted the old machine to Ms. A’s mom, who was in need of a new machine since hers broke and she has a little girl in need of doll clothes!

I also bid on and was able to get a pattern to make clothes for my daughter’s Groovy Girls dolls, which is pretty cools because Ms. A has some of them too, and I can try that for birthdays and such until they outgrow them. 

The pattern for these dolls was well written, although there were a few mistakes that I fixed along the way.  And also, I wanted to make dresses for all the dolls but just couldn’t wrap my head around the instructions for the pintucks and ran out of time before Christmas.  So I ended up with two outfits for each doll instead of three for the girl dolls.   The girls got undersuits but the boys didn’t, since the girls were in dresses and the boys had shorts or pants. 

I would definitely recommend the pattern if you are looking for a really cute ragdoll.  My daughter plays with her quite a lot, which surprised me because she wasn’t really into dolls for a long time.  She calls the doll "baby". 

I used assorted fabrics that I don’t even know the names of, I just bought stuff online that looked cute.  The hair though, was great.  It’s a tonal ombre from Lamb’s Pride and it really gave a great hair effect, I thought. 

So there it is, the long overdue update.  Up next, the next sewing project. 

Knitting Machines

I know there’s more than one of you out there in blogland who couldn’t resist the idea of that JoAnns 50% off coupon (or 40% lately) and spent it on your very own Knitting Machine! Yeah, I did to, and soon was disappointed to discover that it was a stockinette machine, loud and kinda picky. Mine didn’t even come with the ball of example yarn. But anyway, I have used it for some things, only with wool though, because with cotton or Red Heart or something – it’s not quite workable for me.
At Christmas, with another coupon, I also picked up one of those I-cord knitters with the crank, and that one came without the needle that is specially designed to be able to fiddle with the yarn when you get all excited and go too fast and end up jumping ship. I have bad luck with the BOND products, I tell ya. But otherwise, using a Sports weight or DK yarn with this puppy is way cool, I knitted up the example yarn in about 10 minutes and that’s what this thing is for. I love it.
When I was a child, I had that ugly brown Mattel knitting machine that knits tubes, and while it was about as fiddly as the USM, I was a kid and lots of things were hard so I didn’t know any better. Last November, while in Costco, I spotted the latest incarnation, which is all pink and girly and strangely oriented on an angle. I tried using it with Worsted weight yarn, since the example yarn was sort of… crunchy… . It didn’t work. I was told by someone at Stitches West, who had a booth with the thing in it showing off her yarns or something (I was blinded by the machine and the how do you get that darn thing to work, woman?) that you have to use thinner yarns. Cool, I got thinner, I am all about the DK and the Sport.
A few weekends ago, there was an estate sale of a local fiber artist who had passed away. She was a weaver, knitter and spinner. I picked up a few books and was about to leave when something caught my eye. There were two knitting machines, in what appeared to be near-perfect condition, but missing some of their parts. One is a Brother KH-230, and the other a Superba S46, a finer gauge double-bed machine. I am so excited to get it up and running, but have been working on my Knitting Bag Jacket and had some other issues that kept me from knitting at all for a few weeks. I’ve got a few cones of fingering and thinner yarns, and really look forward to trying out the Superba. The Brother is a 9mm, I think, and I don’t really have a use for it right now, and I am not sure it has all it’s parts. The Superba has all of it’s manuals, parts, and even an electronic charting box that uses light and Mylar sheets or something. I haven’t figured that all out yet. I found a great blog with lots of info that will help me get going on it.
I have one more project that I’ve committed myself to do before I get to set up the new toys and try them out.