Crazy (about) Cat Lady

I’ve finally put all of my dolls on display! I’m not going to share photos until they’re dressed and have shoes on (>_< I know. Shame on me). The cats have been pretty much running my life (moreso than before). 

I know kittens are adorable, but there’s something to be said about how chill older cats are. My older kitty is now the unwilling mom of the kitten, and she has no where she can escape to without the kitten managing to follow her (there is one place, in the cabinet where my kitten hasn’t figured out how to climb, but for some reason the older cat won’t go there.).

I’ve made a couple of things for my cats! First off, I’m growing grass for them ^^. 

This is wheat grass, grown in a ceramic tiny bowl in some wet paper towels (yay DIY! Yay no dirt!). My older cat loves chewing on grass (and then puking it up).

I’ve also crocheted a mouse and a ball for my friend who has a cat.

To be completely honest, having a kitten is nothing like I imagined. I didn’t realize how hyperactive the kitten would be and how annoyingly in the way she would be to both me and my older cat. I’m hoping the kitten will learn to leave my older cat alone soon, because she’s near 8 years old and an unwilling participant in kitten motherhood. I’ve become a huge fan of older cats lol, and an advocate of adopting kittens in pairs. 

For all I complain though, Nimby is so stinking cute. 

Hello, it’s me.

Yes, it’s been a while. I’m in my new apartment (it’s so teeny tiny), and I’m settling in. 

I kind of wish the walls are a different color, but I can’t be bothered to paint them, and then repaint them should I move. I did however go to Lowe’s and pick up some Valstar plastic paint and Plaster of Paris to make some chalk paint! I’m pleased with the results ^^. The small table I bought from Craigslist for $5. 

My small space is feeling more homey. 

Which has led to me being in the mood for redressing Prisma! Her name before was Antoinette, and I think it’s kind of fitting. 

Yarn, yarn, and some more yarn

My Knitpicks order came! I ordered quite a bit more than I expected too in order to reach the $50 free shipping. 

By far, way nicer yarn than I have used in a while. Everything in my stash before this haul was purchased from Michaels, and either cotton or acrylic. For my Knitpicks order, I ordered two Bare skeins for dyeing, 6 skeins of sock yarn (stroll I think), 1 skein of lace weight mohair, and 1 skein of alpaca yarn if I remember correctly (I might be wrong XD). I already dyed one of the bare yarns yesterday, along with the other half of the practice yarn I purchased from Michaels. Behold!


By the way, winding the pink/yellow skein was a nightmare. I literally stood over a table for three hours trying to wind the yarn into a ball without ending up with a tangled mess. I’m quite pleased with my results for this round of dyeing! This time I used food coloring and kool aid powder. I found that the kool aid powder is especially good for getting a speckle effect. 

The blue/green practice yarn has become a part of a pair of slippers and a merit badge. ^^ The slippers are kind of ugly but soooo comfortable and easy to make. The merit badge is quite cute! I have it hanging as a charm on one of my purses.

(don’t mind my feet plz D:)

I’m really happy with how the blue/green skein came out! For my other bare yarn skein, I might try to recreate the effect. I was a bit reserved with my pink/yellow skein because I was worried I’d end up with a rainbow tiedye skein again. 

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

Clearly obsessed with yarn

This week has been a bit spendy for me, what with birthdays, bad days which called for retail therapy, and this crafty mood I’ve been in. ^^ I’m currently waiting on my Knitpicks order, which is set to deliver tomorrow, and I recently went to the Lion Brand Studio and picked up some items. 


I picked up two sets of Hiya Hiya Sharp double pointed needles in size 0 and 1. The needles I currently own were all purchased from Michaels, and are either Boye or Clover brand. The Boye, I think are made of aluminum, and the DPNs that I use the most (size 1) are all bent! I decided to invest in nicer needles, and I’m so glad I did. I noticed that the Hiya Hiyas are easier to get into stitches and smoother. I also picked up the needle measuring thingamabob, because I have some needles purchased way back when I was learning to knit in elementary school of unknown size. 


I also think I’m ready to try a new pattern XD. I’ve made a sleeveless version of the Blythe Raglan x-long sleeve sweater by Kimberly Kwon about six times with varying success (that’s the pattern in the background that I printed out and kind of worked off of). I’ve yet to really sit down and tackle sleeves, because I hate trying to pick up stitches onto a needle again.

I dunno why, but with the two Blythe tops I’ve made, I felt compelled to make one in each color of yarn I have! I actually finished the skein of the thin yarn in the blue shade, which I’m super proud of. Rory is currently wearing the mustard yellow one I made.

One more thing:


Here is how the yarn I dyed looks after being crocheted! Look all the colors! This rectangle is going to become one slipper, and once I dye the second half of the practice skein, that will become the other slipper. 

Now I’m off to bed! Eta 2 days til Saturday.

Feeling that need to make things

I had a particularly hard week last week, made worse by a particularly terrible first session with a new counselor, who instead of helping me with my anxiety increased it by tenfold. I was relieved when the weekend came (but you know, also anxious because of how quickly time is passing by). Instead of falling into a stress-induced rut, I decided to get crafty.

So I made a big KnitPicks order (because that’s what I do when I’m feeling down- I eat and spend money), which includes two skeins of bare yarn for hand-dyeing! I was really inspired to attempt dyeing yarn after watching an episode of the podcast Knitting with Dolls. I did some more research and found these tutorials quite useful (KnitPicks, Chalklegs, Instructables).

Naturally, I decided I couldn’t wait for my order to arrive, so I went to Michaels and bought a skein of Patons worsted wool yarn and 4 bottles of food coloring (blue, pink, yellow, and red). I literally had no plan when I decided to attempt dyeing the yarn. Here is the result:

I was just like, ALRIGHT LET’S DO THIS. (/insert World of Warcraft reference here).

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I dyed a skein that reminds me of when I tie-dyed shirts as a kid. XD This wasn’t quite what I was going for, but I at least divided the skein into two hanks, so I can practice dyeing again before attempting it on the nicer skeins I purchased from KnitPicks. I need to figure out how to mix the four colors I have to make more colors, that are less neon. I’m not sure what to make with this…

I also made some more shrinky dinks (my sister asked for Neko Atsume ones) and some dish clothes (for my mom).

I really enjoyed making the dish cloths, and followed this pattern in order to achieve that waffle look. They’re a bit sloppy, but I made them with scrap yarn, and they’re not meant to last forever.

One more thing I want to mention – :3 I received the swap package I mentioned from my dolly friend. I was anticipating its arrival because I like to stalk my packages on the USPS website. I was ecstatic when I saw the contents of the package.

My friend and I did a swap – crocheted and knitted things for sewn things. I’m blown away by how well-made the shirts and the dress are, with all the tiny details (tinnnyyy buttons), and the adorable fabrics. She also made the kanzashi style hair clip. I don’t have enough shirts in my doll wardrobe, nor long dresses, so these are welcome additions. The package really brightened up my day. ^^ I put the two shirts on my girls, and haven’t decided who to put in the red dress (I’m torn between Finley and Rory).

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Reese is wearing the pink shirt and hairclip from the swap, a tutu from MINIJIJO, white tights, and pink shoes from QMagicDoll.

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Elowyn is wearing a beret I knitted, the green shirt from the swap, jeans, and stock shoes.

I hope everyone has an awesome (rest of) Sunday, and Monday flies by painlessly.

Mad Sewing Skillz

I’m kind of terrible at sewing. I realize that it’s the most cost and time efficient way to clothe my dolls, instead of scouring Etsy and Ebay or commissioning someone to make me a specific outfit, but it’s simply not a life skill that I’m good at. It’s all those tiny stitches, and that stupidly small eye of the needle, and all those pieces of tiny fabric! /sewing rage.

I found this pattern for a felt cape, and I thought it looked simple enough. At least the felt wouldn’t start coming to pieces and fraying from my handling it. Also, I figured since felt is thicker, it would be easier for me to sew too. The cape itself is really cute, and so seasonally appropriate ^^.

So I pulled out my craft felt and then this happened for a few minutes:

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She’s lucky she’s so darn cute. She can do no wrong.

And this is the finished cape:

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XD It’s like one of those pinterest memes that end in “Nailed it!” The felt looks a little tortured, and my stitches are so uneven and crooked. … I’m not going to lie though, I’m kind of proud of this cape. It’s actually the first thing I’ve successfully sewed for my dolls. I think I’ll practice making it a few more times to see if I can’t get it to look nicer. I definitely don’t have that many coats in my doll wardrobe, and I like the wool coat look of this cape ^^.

Pattern: From Bees Knees Industries blog.

Finding Inspiration

It’s a three day weekend! Thank you, Christopher Columbus ^^. I’m not sure exactly what I did to pass today, but one of the things I managed to do was very spur-of-the-moment.

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I made a sort of blythe closet! I had a wooden box that I stored some odds and ends in, and it was kind of janky looking. After seeing The below video by Jane (aka Maidensuit) on youtube, I decided to repurpose the box. I painted the outside of the box (did not paint the back… too lazy I guess) white, and lined the inside with scrapbook paper measured and cut to fit. I used mod podge to glue the paper in. The wood is kind of like balsa wood – very thin and easy to puncture or dent, I made a hole on both sides of the box, and superglued screws into the holes (the screws have a ring at the top of the screw). I then tied the ends of a pink nylon cord to each screw, The hangers I purchased from the scrapbooking section in Michaels.

I’m pretty happy with how it came out! It looks pretty cute on my dolly shelf, filled with the pink and yellow Daiso clothes. I’m feeling particularly productive ^^.

My Protips for Crocheting Blythe Hats

I exaggerate when I say “protips.” I hope I haven’t raised any expectations too high >_<.
I’ve said many times before that I really enjoy crocheting for my dolls, particularly hats! They make for quick projects, and unless I am trying out a new pattern, I can make the doll hat by memory. There are many resources for crochet patterns for dolls, but even so, sometimes it’s hard to find a pattern for exactly what you are looking for in a hat. Although there are tons of hat styles for people (newsboy, baseball cap, bucket hat, beanie, tam, beret, skull cap, etc), not all of these have been translated to pattern or scaled down to fit Blythe dolls. I’m not an expert at crocheting, or pattern adjusting, but I do have a few tips that I think might be helpful for fellow blythe-loving crocheters. Most of my tips will have to do with playing around with gauge.

Technical definition for Gauge as provided by Lion Brand website

Gauge is usually defined in the pattern by a ratio of stitches and rows to a given measurement such as 16 stitches and 14 rows in single crochet = 4″. You should always work a swatch of fabric (approximately 4″ x 4″) in the stitch pattern of the piece you are making.

A pattern will instruct you to use a certain weight of yarn and a specific hook size to achieve a set size for the finished product. Sometimes, the pattern may recommend the user to create a swatch to make sure the correct gauge is achieved, and if not, the user should adjust their hook or yarn until the recommended gauge can be recreated.

Who has time for this???

My approach to achieving the gauge I want is more trial and error and may even cost me more time. Lol. Mostly, if the pattern I am using is for a hat that would be slightly too big for a blythe, I will use a smaller hook, or a smaller hook and slightly thinner yarn, as opposed to adjusting the number of stitches in the pattern. I find this to be more simple than dissecting the pattern and making changes to the stitches and rows. I want to reiterate that this type of adjusting works best on hat patterns that are slightly too big for blythe dolls. I wouldn’t try this on a hat pattern for an adult human, and expect it to fit my blythe doll (at least not without struggling first).

American Girl hat patterns will fit Blythe

I say this with relative certainty, though I believe that the circumference of American Girl doll heads are a bit bigger than Blythe heads. I’ve made several Blythe sized hats for a coworker’s daughter’s American Girl doll, and they fit well. The beauty of crocheted hats is that they have a good deal of stretch to them. When testing an American Girl doll hat pattern to create a Blythe sized hat, I might suggest a slightly smaller hook to achieve a snugger fit.

American Girl dolls are more prolific than Blythe dolls in America, and they have a stronger presence in the media, being very popular with kids and adult collectors. There are many hat patterns out there specifically for AG dolls.

Take advantage of baby hat patterns  
The two hats on the right were both made from baby hat patterns. The number of baby hat patterns dwarfs the number of Blythe hat patterns, no contest. Of course, a baby’s head will most likely be considerably bigger than a Blythe’s head, so this is where I suggest being experimental with gauge. To be quite honest, using smaller hooks or thinner yarn isn’t a guarantee that the baby hat pattern will translate well as a Blythe hat. I’ve run into quite a few problems with proportions, because let’s face it, I can’t think of any baby whose head is shaped remotely like a Blythe’s head (wide face, yet very flat head…). However, when the hat comes out to be a success, you have a pattern you can add to your repertoire! And, you’re able to add variety to your Blythe doll wardrobe.
Note that you may have to do some technical adjusting by shortening the hat (maybe cutting out some repeat rows in the middle of the hat). A Blythe’s head is not as long as a baby’s.


Subtopic protip – Preemie hats! 

Sometimes baby hat patterns will also offer instructions for several sizes. For preemie baby hat patterns, the pattern will often segregate the sizes by baby weight or by head circumference. Blythe dolls would fall into the 3-4lb baby sizing. This takes a lot of the guess work out of making adjustments.

Make sure to have a volunteer(s)

By this I mean, have one of your girls handy for intermittent fittings while crocheting. I usually place the would-be hat on my doll’s head after every row past the 4th or 5th row. I can generally tell if a hat is going to be too big, and sometimes I try salvaging my efforts by strategically placing some decreases. Also, the frequent modeling can help with determining hat length. 

   I hope this helps anyone looking to crochet hats for their Blythes. In my opinion, Blythe dolls’ heads are practically made for hats with how oversized they are compared to their bodies. Crocheting for my dolls is a big part of how I enjoy this hobby, and I know how frustrating it is to have limited pattern resources.
Happy crocheting ^^.

Giving Finley some charm

My first foray into customizing (not really, lol) – I charmed up Finley’s pull string! I decided to make my own pull charm, since I wasn’t having much luck finding a nice one at my nearby bead or craft stores. I wanted a white cat charm for Finley, a miniature sparrow (3d, and not a silhouette), a white maneki neko, or maybe an Adventure Time themed charm. I purchase some beads for the pull string, and I got working on crocheting a miniature amigurumi for the charm.

Kitty!

Kitty!

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The pull string.

😀 😀 😀 The amigurumi cat came out a LOT bigger than I thought it would… I almost didn’t attach it to the pull string it is so big. It kind of looks like Finley has a pet for a pull charm… which actually is kind of cute.

Finley and her cat

Finley and her cat

The cat is shyer than Finley.

The cat is shyer than Finley.

OHAI

OHAI

Silly cat.

Silly cat.

I see on a bunch of other dolly blogs that doll owners will give their dolls a backstory or develop a unique personality for them. This is something that’s slowly coming together for me :D. On the same subject, I really enjoy this post on one of the blogs I follow, where the blogger introduces each one of her girls.

By the way, the outfit that Finley is wearing is all brand new! I just got one of my clothing orders in the mail today. The shoes, stockings, and sweatshirt is from Coolcat-coolcat’s Ebay store. Everything I bought was very affordable. Dolly mail is so much fun!

As of now, I’m waiting for 4 more packages – two of which contain more doll clothes (… I need them!).

WiP: Amigurumi Cat charm

  

I’m almost done- I just need to make the kitty’s appendages. This will most likely hang this on Finley’s pull string. :3 I purchased some pretty beads at Michaels and Toho Shoji that I’m excited to coordinate. Lol, the cat’s mouth also kind of looks like a mustache if you stare at it too long…

I really love this cotton yarn! It’s soft and feels nice to crochet with. It’s on the more expensive (for me) end, retailing at $5 and change, but Michaels was having a 50% off one regular price item deal, so I convinced my entire family that we needed to go shopping and also stop by Michaels on the way :D. 

I originally was looking into a pull charm made of polymer clay (which I would probably purchase from etsy, rather than attempt to make one myself… I have too many crafty hobbies as it is at the moment.), but I was having trouble finding one that was both cute and the right size.

As for adding charms to pull strings, this is probably super obvious, but I just untie the end of the string tied to the pull ring and then add beads and what not, right? I don’t want to open up Finley’s head just yet, but if that’s the best way to go about doing this than I shall perform the surgery.

Before I go, some random thoughts:

  • Dear USPS – what are you doing with my packages??? My parcel arrived into my state, and then left only to show up two states away on tracking. I don’t even.
  • I may attempt a blog a day or a Blythe a day challenge.
  • Pixie Peaceful middie is so cute :(. What to do… 
  • I can’t wait for the weekend.