Tag Archives: sewing

Creativity: Back to the Drawing Board

This morning I reworked my new doll pattern. It turned out much better by leaving the legs separate from the body. Now my stuffing hole is back in the bottom, instead of the head. The canvas doll shown in the first photo didn’t make it through the stuffing process. Another case of seams being to close to the edge. Another doll scrapped. Bummer.

doll pieces using new pattern

Two dolls using the new pattern

The Daisy doll on the other hand is turning out just right. I changed the leg shape, no more chicken legs! I sewed a seam for the shoulder joint since the arms are now connected to the body. It was a bit stiff before I made the joint in the shoulder.

New Daisy doll almost done!

New Daisy doll almost done!

I’m just about out of time for making stuff and blogging today. This evening, my  band Sunlight is heading into the recording studio to start work on our second CD! I cannot wait to share these new songs, it’s going to be great! I’m grateful I get to live my dreams on a daily basis. If I can do it, anybody can. Never give up!

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Creativity: Disappointment

New doll pattern cut out of linen canvas material

New doll pattern cut out of linen canvas material

Today I was working on a new doll pattern. This exploration has given me the opportunity to share a piece of the artist’s life with my readers. Not everything comes out the way you hope it will. I have experienced disappointment before. I’m used to it. For those young (or young at art), beginning artists out there, you are not alone! Even seasoned artists have to face disappointment from time to time. All you can do is try, and try again.

I wanted to cut some of the steps in my pattern, so today I drew up a new pattern with the arms and legs connected from the beginning. My other pattern had to be sewn piece by piece with the arms and legs connected to the body after they were sewn and stuffed. I am not thrilled with the result. The legs kinda look like chicken drumsticks!

New pattern, sewn and turned, you can see the holes in the leg seam

New pattern, sewn and turned, you can see the holes in the leg seam

One issue I hadn’t considered, is having to sew up the doll at the top of the head instead of at the bottom where the legs are connected. The head is rounded, which makes it really difficult to hand sew it shut. There is a reason the pattern was made the way it is.

The first doll I started today didn’t work out because I stitched the seams too close to the edge. I ended up with holes in the seam. The linen canvas I used was also a bit too stiff, hard to turn right side out after sewing. The red cotton fabric was easier to work with, but I still have the issue of sewing up the head. I may still be able to salvage that one, we shall see.

New pattern using the red cotton fabric, this one may still be salvageable.

New pattern using the red cotton fabric, this one may still be salvageable.

Another problem I discovered was putting the body together from the beginning was not a good use of my fabric. I had to use a much bigger piece to get the whole body cut out. When the arms and legs are detached, I can use more scrap pieces and less fabric overall.

I learned my lesson today. Back to the drawing board for another idea. Next time, I think I will keep the arms connected to the body, but leave the legs detached so I can sew them to the flat bottom and then sew up the body from there.

Both unfinished dolls, with stuffing the legs look even more like a chicken drumstick! LOL!

Both unfinished dolls, with stuffing the legs look even more like a chicken drumstick! LOL!

I hope to have something more interesting to share with y’all on Thursday. Today? It’s a wash, I will chalk it up to a learning experience and move on.

Creativity: Daisy Sunshine Hippie Girl Doll, DONE!

I worked on her for a few days, but she is finally done! My first Love doll made with my own custom art fabric. Daisy Sunshine was made using my Yellow Daisy fabric design.

She is just as I imagined her, I hope you love her too!

Daisy Sunshine Hippie Love Doll

Daisy Sunshine Hippie Love Doll 🙂

My next creativity project will be another painting! I must admit, I’ve missed my daily painting sessions. I also need to make more dolls, they are much more popular than I thought they could be. I’m so grateful to all the people who have adopted my sweet babies! It’s time for some new fabric designs as well. I have so much work to do, I guess I’d better get to it! Have a fantastic rest of your day! Please subscribe to my blog up in the upper right corner. Thank you! 🙂

Creativity: Daisy Sunshine Hippie Girl

Daisy Sunshine Hippie Girl with hand drawn eyes

Daisy Sunshine Hippie Girl with hand drawn eyes

Working on a new doll today. Using my custom art Daisy fabric. I’m also trying something a bit different with her face. Using fabric markers to draw her features. What do you think? My previous dolls had embroidered faces, but the fabric on this one left the center of the daisies in the perfect spot for eyes. I considered leaving them alone, after looking long and hard at her face I decided she needed eyes. Unfortunately, I had already sewn up her body which makes it more difficult to embroider the face. Solution? Use my fabric markers to draw her cute little face on! I’m calling her a hippie girl, so she will have rainbow yarn hair. She is going to be adorable when finished! Stay tuned for more pics of the finished doll in my Thursday Creativity post. 🙂

Daisy Sunshine Hippie Girl before face, kicking back on one of my heart pillows

Daisy Sunshine Hippie Girl before face, kicking back on one of my heart pillows

 

Creativity: Art Pillows Galore!

Pile of art pillows made by Paula Manning-Lewis

Pile of pillows currently in my studio and available for purchase!

Do you love soft things like I do? Then I have a sweet art pillow you may LOVE! I finished up a new heart pillow yesterday. It has stripes of green, yellow and red on one side and my daisy art fabric on the other side.

I really LOVE making these sweetheart pillows! They are the perfect size to take with you when traveling by car, bus, train or airplane. They make a great neck pillow! Plus, with a neck pillow like this, you will be the envy of your fellow travelers! Just fit the crook of the heart on the back of your neck. Perfect fit.

As with ALL of my pillow designs, you can have a custom pillow made, choosing your own favorite fabrics and colors. Contact me directly at plewis11@comcast.net for more information. Don’t forget, I also make “Memorial pillows” to help you remember your lost loved ones, using a favorite shirt or any piece of clothing.

I’m working on releasing some other fabric designs very soon. If you have any thoughts on any of my images you would love to see in fabric form, please let me know! I’m open to suggestions.

Next up, more peace sign pillows! Stay tuned or better yet, subscribe to my blog in the upper right hand corner of this page for automatic updates. Thank you so much for visiting my blog today! Have a glorious, love filled day!

 

Friday Funday: Artist Date!

 

Friday is Funday in my art studio. I like to put aside all the “business” stuff and have a day to play and enjoy being an artist. Julia Cameron, who wrote the book, “The Artist’s Way”, which I read for the first time almost 20 years ago, recommends taking yourself on an “Artist date”. This is something you do to feed your inner artist. Whether it be going to an art supply store and browsing supplies, or going to an art gallery or museum and looking at art for inspiration. You can do what I do and play in your studio or wherever you make your art.

I forget about this a lot of the time but it’s a great idea! Not just for artists either! EVERYONE should have self dates to feed their creativity or their spirit. You can go it alone or with a friend. Museums and galleries always fuel my inspiration. There is nothing quite like seeing what other artists are doing to light a fire deep inside me to create something new. I recently made a visit to the Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Santa Fe with some out of town visitors. Georgia’s work has always had a way of making me want to go out into the desert and paint a landscape. Even though it’s been YEARS since I painted a landscape!

This week, I decided to stay in the studio and paint. This would seem like a normal day in the studio for me but for Friday Funday it’s all about being free and not trying to control what I’m painting. No judgements, no mistakes, just FUN!

8 x 10" oil painting on canvas is a work in progress, "Abstract flower".

Playing with paint today this 8 x 10″ oil painting on canvas is a work in progress, “Abstract flower”.

Today, as everyday, I started with a 20 minute meditation. I had another painting show itself to me today (see above). Before this week, it had been about a year since I had taken out the paints and brushes. I just wasn’t feeling it. I was looking for something new to do. My thinking was I needed to make art that was functional. Something that would be used and not just hung on a wall or stuck in a closet.

It started last summer with creating an adult coloring book. Interactive art! I hand drew 20 mandalas and published my own book. Now available in printed and pdf format in my Etsy shop.

After the coloring book I was reminded of how much I enjoy sewing and pulled my dusty old sewing machine out of the closet, and had it cleaned up and serviced so it would work again! I found Spoonflower.com and designed my own custom fabric using my art. I started making dolls and art pillows using my custom art fabric.

Now that I’ve totally taken a tangent from my original topic, I will come back around to say it’s all related! Art and creativity is all about play! It’s about going with the flow and creating whatever comes to mind. Why be pigeonholed by painting? Painters can create in other mediums too. The coloring book project forced me to pull out pencils and markers to make line drawings. The sewing project took me completely out of my normal creation zone and back to being a kid who made dolls for the State Fair. Not to mention creating custom fabric bringing out the graphic designer in me to create designs in photoshop.

What I’ve learned from the whole process is sometimes it’s important to do things differently. When we feel like we are in a rut, shake things up! Get out of your comfort zone. Instead of painting, try your hand at ceramics or sewing! I still have an urge to make pottery, but haven’t gotten that far just yet. Have a wonderful weekend! 🙂

Memorial Pillows

memorial pillow

Memorial pillow, made from an embroidered jean jacket and a bathrobe.

I recently got a commission for a couple of “Memorial” pillows. In case you’ve never heard of this before, a memorial pillow is made using clothing items that have some sort of sentimental value to you. Usually, the items belonged to a loved one who has passed away.

raw materials for memorial pillows

Two jean jackets and a bathrobe I turned into two Memorial pillows

In this case, I used two denim jackets that were embroidered by my client’s mom. The backing was cut from her bathrobe.

cutting out the jacket back

First I cut the back panels out of each item

This is a great way to remember someone and upcycle items at the same time. You can use old concert tshirts or a favorite blanket.

Cut and ready to sew

The first pillow all cut out and ready to sew into a pillow

If you are interested in having your own Memorial pillow made, check out this custom listing in my Etsy shop.

memorial pillows before stuffing

Two Memorial pillows before being stuffed.