I haven’t crafted anything in weeks.

Cancer has ravaged my life, and everyone’s lives around me.

Two friends, both dead in the course of one terrible week.

I desperately need to create…something.

Anything.

dolly-bed-box

My daughter turned 11 last December, and at some point last year I realized she was quickly outgrowing the dolly age. It had been number one on her list for years, and I admit, I panicked at the thought of it never making an appearance on that list again. So I splurged and bought her an American Girl doll.

annabelle

While I was kinda-sorta okay with spending so much money on a doll (that I got on sale and during a promotion in which a doll was given to a girl in a hospital for each doll sold)… the dozens of accessories and clothing were not only out of my budget, but completely against my frugal (read: poor) nature.

So I stocked up on some quilting precuts and raided my fabric stash to make doll clothes. Once I finished up a cute collection of basic tshirts, pants, and skirts, I turned my attention to making a more substantial doll bed. Aralyn had been using the box the doll came in as a makeshift bed with some stuffing and a scrap of fabric tucked in. Classy.

I started by making a basic quilt out of fabric strips, but I didn’t take any pictures of that process, or even the finished project. Oops.

I had an old wooden basket that needed some repairs but was the perfect size for a dolly bed. I glued as many of the side pieces that I could find back together and painted it with a glossy white paint I had used for my kitchen cabinets. I don’t have any pictures of this process either, but here’s a finished shot of the box:

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Once the box itself was done, I moved on to designing the pattern for the mattress.

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I measured the inside of the box and mapped out the pieces on grid paper. I cut the sides and bottom from quilt backing, and then I used turquoise and white polka dotted cotton to mimic the look of a fitted sheet on top.

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I scavenged the foam from an old seat cushion I wasn’t using and I layered two pieces for the base of the mattress.

I had no idea how to cut the foam and it ended up pretty messy.

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That’s okay though, it fit fine and I layered some polyfill on top for a pillow-top. I had grand plans to sew buttons on to secure the layers but I built this while the kiddo was in school and I was running out of time before she got home.

Too bad, it would’ve gone a long way in finishing the mattress.

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I made a pillow by folding over a scrap of fabric wrong sides together and sewing a 1/4″ seam. I started the seam about an inch from the corner on the long end and followed it around, leaving a 2″ gap in the middle of the long end where I started. I turned it right side out, and top-stitched (leaving the gap open) two lines along the outside to mimic the look of a pillow sham. I loosely stuffed it and finished the seam.

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Well now isn’t that adorable? But it still needed something…

Pillows. More pillows.

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AND MOAR PILLOWS!!!!!!

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I made the little throw pillows out of quilters squares, and used a different pattern on each side so they would be reversible and give Aralyn and her new best friend a little variety.

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All done. Heck yeah.

thumbs-upSince I used things I had lying around the house for most of the materials I needed for this project, and using the quilting precuts was a cheap way to use a variety of patterns. Altogether, I spent less then $8 dollars on this project.

happiness

It’s been quite a long while since I blogged, so please forgive the cobwebs that are hanging from my words.

That was before…

I’ve blogged publicly on and off since I was 13, and “blog” wasn’t a word yet. (I also walked uphill both ways in the snowy rain to school every day so get off my lawn.)

Honestly, I don’t think I was ever very good at blogging. My posts tended to be short, infrequent, and generally pretty dull with either no point at all or a bitchy rant about nothing.

I’m an introvert and I tend to be antisocial both online and off.

Who would’ve thought the hermit lifestyle wouldn’t lend itself to riveting writing material? *sigh*

Eventually, I stopped writing blog posts altogether, and closed up shop, focusing on my career as a freelance designer. My design blog never found it’s footing, and for the past few years the only time I would write was during National Novel Writing Month. Last year I didn’t even participate at all.

It took me a minute to even remember why I skipped the 2015 NaNo…

fallout-is-why

I didn’t even like Fallout 4 enough to justify breaking my seven year consecutive NaNo losing streak. (And I love Fallout.)

But enough about why I stopped writing. Let’s talk about my officially failed WordPress theme business.

Most of my twenties were spent dreaming of building a website that helped female entrepreneurs build their own websites and helped them dig into the technical side of blogging. Once the mystique about how websites work is gone, it’s easy to build an attractive, easy to use website.

I launched the Whimsy Framework (a free theme for WordPress, it’s what I’m using it here), and I spent all of 2015 pouring my time almost exclusively into developing child themes for Whimsy. A good 90% of which are sitting in development limbo because I completely burned myself out on making websites. I’ve designed and developed websites professionally for most of my life, and at this point I am… completely creatively spent.

At least in that medium.

… and this is now.

I’ve spent a lot of time considering my life in general since the end of last year, and I came to the very hard realization that I’d invested a great deal of time into building a company that I no longer had any interest in running.

Fundamentally, I am that same person who wants to help other women build successful businesses. Aside from my failed theme shop, I have been self-employed since high school (full transparency: sometimes self-employment means taking part-time work at McDonalds). It allowed me to stay home and raise my daughter, even as a single parent, and that is incredible.

hermione

But today I’m stepping away from technical side of things, and away from web and graphic design and I’m stepping forward.

A new decade (for me, I turned 30), a new direction.

I’ve always loved to create and to craft, and I think that it’s a pretty natural evolution to take my design talent and knowledge in a new direction: blogging about diy and crafting.

To start with, I want to document my projects. I want to take pretty pictures of pretty things that I’ve made. And to satisfy the annoying little entrepreneur in my heart I also have fun plans for an etsy shop full of handmade goodies.

My goals for 2016

  • Write (and publish) multiple times a week. At least 2.
  • Open Etsy shop for my handmade goodies.
  • Be more social. Online and off.
  • Use manual camera settings 95% of the time.
  • Expand my sewing skill set.

You made it through all that navel-gazing? Have a present!

Like the happiness quote in my featured image at the top? Download the 8×10 printable!