Free Sparky The Dog Pattern

I think it was a year ago that I created this pattern to make a Jack Russell Terrier out of fleece fabric. I had it on my old blog as a free pattern to download for anyone who wanted to give it a try. I’m putting it up again…..just click on the Sparky Pattern link below, enjoy, and let me know how it comes out!


Make your own Buttons Tutorial

When my husband  John built us a new platform bed I wanted to make some pillow shams to reflect the contemporary style.  I really like the look of big buttons something like this pillow with buttons

Looking for oversized buttons at JoAnn’s gave me a case of sticker shock. pillow with buttonsAt nearly $3. a button it would have cost me $36 for the 12 buttons I wanted to make my pillow covers, a great motivator to try to do it myself.

Using Fimo clay was the way to go, so I assembled some tools

button making tools

button making tools

  • A roller
  • Scraps of various colors of clay, didn’t have brown and I know from painting that adding everything together well get a brown.
  • A slicer tool to mix these pieces up
  • The Fimo box, for baking instructions
  • (not sure why I grabbed a ruler)

Slice and mush and roll clay together until mixed to a nice brownclay for buttons

Than roll out until you get a nice button thicknessgather circles for buttons

Now walk around the house and gather things that could be a possible die cutter for your buttons. I decided on the clear plastic pill bottle on the lower left. I used the thread spool next to it for the inner circle stamp.stamp out your buttons

Just like making cookies, after you stamp them out roll out the remaining  clay and stamp some more.buttons stamped out

Here they are all cut out and ready for the holes

buttons, ready to be baked

I used the birthday cake candle holder to make the holes in the center. On the foil lined cookie sheet and ready for the 230 degree oven for 30 minutes.

buttons, sewn onto my pillow shams

finished button, sewn onto my pillow shams

The finished buttons on pillows

The finished buttons on pillows


Ramping up for the Craft Fair

It’s been quite a while since John and I entered the 13th Summerlin Art Festival. That’s right I said entered, I never knew there was such a stringent selection process to entering one of these craft fairs. I thought all of those crafters and artists just paid some fee and got a space, we’ve since found out that’s not the case, so when we heard in early September that we were accepted, it was a reason to celebrate. So this is what we’ve accomplished up to this point.

On Memorial Day weekend we bought a 10′ x 10′ white tent at Big 5 Sporting Goods.Screen Shot 2013-09-15 at 12.47.58 PM

I bought canvas drop clothes and sewed together two side walls and table covers for our tent.Screen Shot 2013-09-15 at 12.51.53 PM

Had two banners printed with our logos and names, Woodworks By John and Rag Dolls Rising.

my banner

my banner

Set the whole thing up in our living room. The weather was bad so we  set it up inside, we looked like nomads for about 3 weeks. We took photos of the set-up and us doing our work to send.

Made the submission online, and waited….Screen Shot 2013-09-15 at 12.58.46 PM

Now what do we need to do?

Make an inventory of  all the rag dolls for the fair, number and price them. John needs to do the same with his boxes.

We are learning about the Pay Here program from Paypal that will enable us to take any type of payment with a cell phone.Screen Shot 2013-09-15 at 12.54.17 PM

John still needs to make some cement filed pipe weights for the tent. I think that’s all….. but probably not. On Oct 12 & 13 we will see how it all comes together to experience our first craft show!

A new puppy-

I mentioned our new addition in my last post, but how did it all begin?

If you know John and I than you know about Ali our cat. Ali has undying devotion to John and is casual friends with me. Despite the fact that I love Ali very much I have felt a little like an outsider so I decided to get a dog.

Here's Ali, our cat

Here’s Ali, our cat

Everyone has their own set of situations at home and what kind of dog I choose was because of ours. First and foremost the dog must like Ali and Ali must tolerate the dog so that harmony with be left intact. So a small dog which was young enough to not have any preconceived notions about cats was the choice. A Yorkie.

I admire my friends who have adopted rescue pets with success but my history with pets from questionable sources Hasn’t been good. Chronic health problems, surgeries because of weak joints etc. was more my experience. I didn’t love these past pets any less, but I wanted to get started on the best footing I could with this one.

Finding that special puppy, meant trolling the internet for breeders within 300 miles or so. Checking for breeders that didn’t sell to pet shops and who had years of experience with this breed. I really felt sure I had the right breeder when I talked with her on the phone. Pam from Noble Star Yorkies had lots of information about the dogs and was very concerned about their welfare including the character of potential owners.

Above photos property of Noble Star Yorkies

Two weeks ago John and I drove to Phelan, a little town in Southern California and picked up Rocky! Having a puppy in the house is fun and frustrating. The fun part is when he greets me first thing in the morning with so much excitement I think he may explode in a little ball of fluff! I am teaching him some tricks; sit, lay, he’s caught on, which tells me he understands more than I think.

2 lbs. of Rocky

2 lbs. of Rocky

A little frustrating when I turn my back and he wets on the floor, I clean up him and the floor then turn around again to see he’s shredded his potty pad. What can you do – just get on the floor and let him jump all over you and lick your face…..yes…puppies…

Kentucky, Yard Sales and Shakers

We returned from our trip to Kentucky about a week ago but it has taken this much time to catch up and write this blog. Why did we go to Kentucky? The World’s Longest Yard Sale of course.

On the first weekend of August every year thousands of people descend on Highway 127 between Alabama and Michigan. That’s 690 miles of baby furniture, antique ironing boards, rusted bird cages and grandma’s old jewelry. Sound enticing? It really was. Getting caught up walking through old barns and fields, talking with the local folks was the priceless part.

What did we get? There were many candidates for the trunk and back seat of our rented car, but each selection had to be weighed against, can I find a box to ship this thing and how much will it cost? I ended up with some things that would fit in my suitcase. Two Cosmopolitan magazines from the 1930’s, one which had an article by Frank Lloyd Wright about the future of housing. I couldn’t pass up a 1906 book “The Christy Girl” with wonderful illustrations by Randolph Christy. A folding yard stick circa 1920 and some other do dads rounded out our purchases.

Book from 1906 with some great illustrations

Book from 1906 with some great illustrations

The highlight of the trip was a toss up between visiting the city of Berea Kentucky and the Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill.

John picking out his new Dulcimer at Berea

John picking out his new Dulcimer at Berea

Berea contains the Berea College where many of the local Appalachian craft artists either attended or taught. Lining the quant streets were  many small shops where broom makers, weavers, jewelry makers and dulcimer creators demonstrated their talents. John and I felt right at home here, the thought that their were many more folks out there who were passionate about what they did and spend most of there time doing it, even if for a very modest income was somehow comforting.

The Shaker Village was inspiring. The simple but powerful and very popular furniture they developed was fascinating placed in their natural surroundings of the huge old brick dormitories where the men, women and children were separated to achieve purity and harmony. But how where there children if everyone was celibate? They took in orphans and converted families who already had them. But they couldn’t sustain the flock, so it ended.

We were lucky to visit on a day on which they were holding a Appalachian craft fair, pottery, Shaker boxes, wooden spoons and woven baskets galore! This was the place to stuff our carry on luggage with goodies!

Three days after returning home we picked a new puppy- time consuming and adorable- more about him later!

New Group of Cowgirl Rag Dolls always exciting!

First sketch ideas

First sketch ideas

I begin each new group of Rag Dolls in the same way, but it never gets old. The very first part is what I’m picturing in my head. When I’m out window shopping or just driving around, something like a fabric pattern or even the way someone is dressed will light the spark. While at the Christmas Goose, my favorite local fabric shop, I was picking up a small amount of fabric to finish off a custom order when a few paisley and plaid patterns crept into view.They were just screaming Cowgirl Rag Dolls!

Next I sit down with the fabrics, colored pencils and sketch pad. I like to keep each doll different but keep a cohesive group for three reasons.

  1. They look cohesive when displayed together on my Etsy store or on a craft fair shelf.
  2. Keeps thread color changes down to a minimum, so I’m spending more time on sewing and less on threading needles.
  3. It just feels “Zen” to have a common bond in the group.

Next is putting it all together, which could take from 1 to 2 weeks. Taking the pictures for my online store is always fun! We decided to take some inside and a few outside because the weather has been so nice, 110 wonderful degrees, (we love the desert)!

I let them choose where they would like to pose and of course they all wanted to have the Cholla Cactus in the background.

I warned them about the cactus, the “Jumping Cholla” called that because even lightly touched, it will release it’s sharp needles. Things were going along very well- when it happened…..Dixie slipped out of her doll stand into the Cholla……

Dixie posing near the cactus

Dixie, attacked by the cactus

Luckily I had a pair of tweezers standing by and Dixie was very brave about the whole thing, but after that we all agreed to moved to another location to finish up the photo shoot.