Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Happy New Year

I think New Year is my most favourite time of the year. Each new year is filled with new possibilities and endless opportunities. Like the mantra of Anne of Greengables, tomorrow is fresh with no mistakes.

 I love thinking of what I want to achieve and do and for some reason I feel there is no barriers or hindrances, the world is my oyster, and I have complete faith the next year will be better. Of course as the year goes on, more often than not the reality of life bites and I soon discover I don't have 48 hours in a day. So my ability to be able to make a huge amount of dolls and bears, keep a clean house, be the best most attentive mother, wife, daughter, niece, friend, or to train and concentrate on my fitness and only eat organic, clean healthy food soon gives way to the bare reality there is only so many hours in a day. But alas.

We worship the clock on new years, count the minutes down to the final second of the past year and rejoice that time has been reset and is finally on our side. For me, I am innately optimistic, I still believe in new years resolutions as much as I believe in fairies in the garden and that behind all the bleakness and fear of this modern world we are all going to work it out and live happily ever after.

Each New Year, like most people,  I try to simplify my life into what is important. Kindness, health, relationships and remembering simple pleasures are truly what makes the world go round. I hope 2015 rekindles the true beauty in all our lives and we are able to take one step away from the modern mayhem that surrounds us and closer to embracing simpler lives! Lets take a leap of faith into future!

Happy New Year!!!

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Dolly Picnic Time

A few weeks ago I spent a some time immersing myself in creating a dolly picnic basket fit for the most special of dollies. In fact it was a blessed few days to which my family thought I was absolutely crazy!!! I am fascinated with the ever so tiny, though this set is more Waldorf dolly size than true scale miniature. Nevertheless, whenever I have my 0.75 mm crochet hook out my husband and older girls always approach me with the same puzzled look, the shaking of heads and the verbalising of... "you're crazy!!"
The little basket was crocheted in merino yarn and embroidered with Mogear mohair thread, it was also finished with vintage lace and antique mother of pearl buttons.

The little food was crocheted from cotton thread; a tiny cupcake, cream pie and strawberries.


I'm hoping to get some time over the next few weeks to make another set... I just had the best time creating this.

Mel xx

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Introducing Becky Bear

This little bear is named Becky and has been occupying my crochet basket over the last week or so. It has felt so lovely getting a little Miss Molly work done, and although I haven't had a huge amount of time to myself this week.... what little time I have had I have dedicated to dear little Becky.

 I have to say as well.... I have absolutely loved working in pink, for sure one of my Miss Molly favourites. She became such a girly bear as I worked away, I think her personality is quite sweet and gentle.

All of my crochet bears are made free hand. I literally grab some wool  and my hook and just see what little personality forms. I never use a pattern, which is always problematic when I have days in between working on limbs and trying to remember how many stitches on the other side.

 I always begin with the head and face.... probably because I am just so impatient to see who will look back at me. I then create the body, for Becky I shaped a little pot belly. I then work on the legs and feet. I love them a little oversized.... I think because as a child I had a bear named Honey Bear who had such substantial feet, I now have a lifelong love of thumpy feet. And finally the arms are finished, created with a slight curve to give lovely bear hugs.

I hand shade each bear to emphasise their features. For Becky I worked with soft browns and pinks. I brush on colour fast pigment and slowly build up layers, adding some embroidery stitches to the nose and paws.

The final stages is playing with laces and flowers to costume each bear. I have box of small pieces of antique laces and netting tulle and really I just fiddle with them. I think the bear will tell you what they want or don't want to wear, you just have to listen.

My love for creating these little crochet bears has really started me rethinking Miss Molly's Dolls, perhaps a name change is in order. For although I will always make and adore creating dollies, I have a new found obsession in crocheting bears. Is it wrong that I am now thinking Miss Molly's Dolls & Bears????

Mel xx

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Oh Christmas Tree

Apologies for not posting anything over the last month or so. My Mum was in an accident in October and life in my already quite chaotic home has been topsy turvy dealing with Mum's injuries. She has ultimately had to come and live with us as she's slotted into that quite uncomfortable state, of not being sick enough to stay in hospital, but not being well enough to go home. So my Miss Molly corner of the world needed to packed away so my daughter could move into it, and my Mum into my daughters room. Miss Molly is now in a corner of my own bedroom..... a corner now filled with boxes stacked almost to the roof, a desk and a set of draws. But in the end you really have to think what is more important.... and definitely, for me, family comes first.

So as Christmas is fast approaching, I am now reminded that no matter what path you think you may be on, you really have very little control. All you do have is the love and commitment of family and friends.... because I guess that is the only real truth in this world, all the rest is really just illusion.

This morning was my first opportunity to really pick up the crochet needle and do some work. Although I do have a bear I am working on, but given that is a very very tiny bear.... using a 2 ply baby angora thread, I am tending to only work on her in bits and bobs because my eyes ache if I work for to long. I have true admiration for tiny thread bear artists, or working in any kind of miniature.... oh my such talent! Anyway, back to this mornings creation.

As the Christmas tree is now overtaking our already quite small lounge room.... I felt a real sense of Christmas inspiration. I mean, you would think that given the amount of people living in my shoebox of a house, I would have scaled the tree to the room. But no, I have the biggest tree I can find, because I figure the bigger the tree the more people can enjoy trimming it! So this morning I set out to create a little vintage Christmas tree decoration, because at the end of the day, you can never have a tree to big... and you can NEVER have enough decorations!!!

This little tree is the simplest of projects... VERY easy!!! I thought I would share with you all how to make it, just in case you share the same belief as me, that you can never have enough Christmas decorations.

Miss Molly's Christmas Tree

I began this tree using some vintage DMC crochet cotton in size 5. But really you can make it out of anything you fancy or have on hand, just adjust your hook size. For the DMC 5 I used 1.75 mm hook.

Chain 18.

Turn, and single crochet in the last stitch, through to the beginning of your original first chain. 

Single crochet back and forth till you only have 1 stitch left.

(Now because you aren't doing a single crochet chain at the beginning of each row, the piece will gradually slope inward from both outside edges.)

Chain 1.

Inserting your hook into the outside stitches, single crochet along the outside, picking up the stitch at the beginning/end of each row. Continue in this fashion until you have gone all the way round you tree and you are back to the top with a single stitch remaining. A single crochet chain around the edge of your tree will finish it nicely as well as providing some stability so it doesn't roll in on itself.

Chain 18. Slip stitch into the back of the stitch at the top of the tree. This will give you a little loop to hang it.

I used some Rococo silk trim to finish one of my trees. I did make another which was slightly bigger and finished it with buttons and a hand stitched crochet chain garland. For the stump I used a piece of antique lace, rolled in and stitched down. For the star I used a vintage millinery flower.

You can make these trees as big or as small as you like, depending on how many chains you start with. The bigger one is begun with a chain of 24.

You can also have a huge amount of fun going through your ribbon & button stash to come up with all manner of tree trimmings.

Enjoy your tree decorating!!!

Mel xx