Mysterious Botanicals

You might remember, way back in September when Jen (of Sewn Natural) and I launched a brooch swap?  Well, the brooches I created for the swap have landed on the doorsteps of their recipients, so I can finally reveal my work...

The swap was intended to be 1:1, however, because we had an uneven number of participants, I took the opportunity to swap with 2 participants.  The first person with whom I swapped is Laura Sheppard.  She has an etsy shop called sheppardhandmade where she sells hand spun yarns and ceramic buttons -- mostly ceramic buttons.  You must see her buttons!  They drive me a little bit crazy, they are so sweet, and in the most delicate of colors and tones.  The brooches pictured above were loosely inspired by some of her buttons; soft tones, circular and symmetrical.

The second person with whom I swapped was Jen's very own mother (such an honor!)  Jen's mother is an accomplished designer and, as I sat down to stitch, my imagination spun towards the botanical.  I started in a garden, alive with the buzzing of bees and the song of birds...

And ended up someplace a bit more wild.  These tiny canvasses of felt were strangely addictive to stitch, and I found myself creating one after another.

As I stitched, I imagined what might happen were I to inhale the aroma of one of these mysterious blossoms.  Would I perhaps fall into a swoon, to awaken surrounded by lush jungle beneath the gaze of seven enchanted tigers?  If I pricked my finger on a thorn, would I turn into a little green lizard?  If my tears should fall upon the roots, would the plant magically transform into a fat, pink baby -- the abducted prince from the lost kingdom of Gondal, so well hidden that no one has been able to find him for a year and a day?

And are you, my dear friends, now wondering what I have added to my coffee this morning?  Nothing but almond milk, I assure you (plus a good serving of rampant imagination on the side...)  Also, before you give me too much credit for dreaming up these botanical designs all on my own, please know that some of my design ideas were blatantly purloined from here.

Come back soon for a brooch swap wrap-up, where I will be posting photos of brooches made by several other participants!


Pinecone Gnomes: a repost

Yesterday, while heading back uphill after walking little Mr. down to school, my wee Bloom and I passed a great big tree with lovely little pinecones strewn about beneath.  It made me think of this project.

Of course we had to stop...
And pick up more pinecones!

I left the sack of pinecones in the kitchen, and look who came out to visit with our new pinecone friends!?

In honor of this happy pinecone day, I am re-posting this pinecone gnome tutorial, just for you!


I was walking through the garden with my wee Bloom this morning and heard a small rustling of leaves.  Our attention was drawn down to the roots of a great pine tree.

Nestled among the roots, pine needles and fallen leaves were these two little fellows, doing their best disguise themselves among the pinecones.

The two little gnomes squeaked in terror when they realized they'd been spotted, but after my wee Bloom and I knelt down and assured them we meant no harm, they invited a third friend to join them.  Introductions were made with a "How do you do, and a how do you do, and a how do you do, again..." (the gnomes in my garden are, apparently, very formal little fellows!)  We talked about the weather, the fallen leaves and the migrating birds. Then our new friends said they must be on their way to help the local squirrels hunt a few last acorns, so we parted ways with a very formal "Hope to see you, and a hope to see you, and a hope to see you again soon!"  And I'm sure we shall...

If you would like to see some pine-cone gnomes in your garden, you'll want to find some smallish pinecones and 1-inch wooden beads with 3/8th inch holes like these.

As you can see, I made a simple pattern for the hats out of newsprint...  These hats are about 2 1/2 inches high.

To help the little gnomes balance, you may want to cut some feet from matching felt and glue them to the bottoms of the pine-cones.  One of my pine-cones was still a little wobbly so I reinforced the felt base with a piece of cardboard (and if your pine-cones are really wobbly, you can add some weight by gluing a penny to the base...)

If you want your gnomes to have mittens, you can cut 3 inch lengths of pipe-cleaner, run a line of glue along the center 2 inches and then place it in among the bristles through the middle of your pine-cone.  Leave an inch, or so, of the ends of your pipe cleaner sticking out in front to form two arms.


Then glue your bead to the top of the pine-cone, glue the hat to the top of the wooden bead and mittens to the ends of the pipe-cleaner arms.  Finally, if you wish, you can paint or draw little faces.  For these gnomes I used colored pencils to draw the faces, and I think it worked out nicely.  Don't you?

Dear Readers: Did you know that, even if you "Like" we bloom here and/or Making Peg Dolls on Facebook, you may not be seeing updates and messages from me in your Facebook feed?  Did you know that you might be missing tutorials for lovely, quick-to-whip-up gifts? Missing information about the upcoming blog tour? About book give-aways, and other give-aways?

Here's what you can do so you don't miss anything: once you’ve liked the we bloom here and/or the Making Peg Dolls page (thank you!), use the dropdown menu right under the “liked” button to select “get notifications,”  or "see first" in your news feed.  This lets Facebook know, going forward, that you really do want to know when I've posted a new tutorial, give-away, and other assorted nonsense.

Another way you can hear from me is to have a look at the right-hand sidebar of this blog, and find the widget which allows you to "follow by email."  Once you've typed in your email, you will get notifications delivered directly to your inbox.  I don't have access to information about who signs up for email through my blog, so there is no way I could add you to some list and send you junk-mail (not that I would ever consider doing such an annoying thing anyhow, I promise).

Thanks for visiting! Please say "hi" any time -- I love hearing from you. xo mb


Give it Away

A little bit of joyful sweetness for you today from Renee and Jeremy...


It's Here!

Hello!  Hello!  Look what arrived in the mail today... A real, live copy of my book! (Thank you Hawthorn Press and thank you once again.) Around here, we have nicknamed it "The Big Book of Tiny Dolls" -- clocking in at 192 pages, it's a hefty little tome.  There's been quite a lot of happy hopping up and down in our house this evening, and the pages have been turned over and over.  We can hardly believe our eyes.  These are images we've seen so many times while working on the book, but it seems very different once it's been printed on paper, all tidy and bound.

 This little person had fun looking at the photo of himself in the book...

 And he also loved looking at the "dollies."

The final word on the release date for Making Peg Dolls is January 31st, however, if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and want a copy, send me an email.  A few local shops will have copies in December.

The bad news is that the book will not be widely available until after the winter holidays.  The good news is that the book will be available in time for creating Valentines Day peg dolls, and certainly in time for Easter crafting, too. Peg doll bunnies? Tiny, yellow peg doll chickies?  Oh, yes!

Stay tuned -- there will be a blog tour and book give-aways in early February.  I know it seems a long way off, but planning is already underway...

Thanks for all your excitement and support  -- I can't wait for you to see the book, too!




Look!  We have "maggots" on our refrigerator!
(I love toddler-speak... don't you?)