Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Artist Grandmother, Part 2

Genevieve June Donner, my grandma
My own grandmother was very artistic. Even though I was still little when she died, I remember how she always encouraged my artistic efforts. And when she was finally able to have the time, she starting making art and craft pieces for the sheer enjoyment of it. She was the only grandparent I knew, and I absolutely adored her, even though I only saw her a few times a year.

Now that I am a grandmother three times over, I cherish the time I am able to spend with my grandchildren. I enjoy stepping away from my work to make special things for them, as well. In fact, with two granddaughters, the hardest part is not making everything for them! Designing for them lets me play, and make outs thast would be just too intricate and detailed for retail selling. 

Spring is again around the corner, and that calls for Easter outfits all across the world. This one has a cute spring jacket over a reversible dress. Yes, I said the dress is completely reversible!
Miss M showing one side of the reversible Easter Dress.
She told me she didn't like this one! Don't you love
the sheer honesty of children?

In a gallery display, the other side of the Easter Dress with
the matching Garden Coat.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Artist Grandmother, Part 1

 Since becoming a grandmother, I was inspired to make baby clothes again. When my own children were babies and my husband was still in college, I had to make do with what we had. I recycled sweaters, coats and usable cottons to make all of their clothes before the concept of "upcycling" was in vogue. I started making quilts in earnest about the same time. The first Christmas we were married, I got my first sewing machine, a $99 Singer. I still have it. It's the machine I use now to stitch paper.

When I was still living at home, I learned to sew on my grandmother's converted treadle machine. Having come very close to getting kicked out of Home Ec. in Junior High for making a bikini instead of an apron, it should have already been clear to anyone who knew me that I was going to follow my own path.

When my first granddaughter was born, I was thrilled. Although I have sewn several things for my darling grandson, I admit that making fancy baby dresses for little girls is a lot more fun than a Thomas the Train pillowcase. I designed and made her this cute party dress just for fun. I now own more baby patterns than I ever had when my own children were small. Of course, I never follow the pattern instructions. I prefer to use them as a suggestion, and proceed as I do when making my artwork: do something, respond, do something else; collage and layers upon layers.

My Lena wearing my Frenchy Girl design

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Busy Is As Busy Does

What have you been doing this week? I hope it involved some pleasurable activities, even if it involved working for money. I have been busy working for money, and with deadlines looming, I haven't had much play time lately.

The little outfit pictured here is part of my Little Frenchy line. I post new little dresses, skirts, overalls and jackets as I finish them in my Magic Baby shop on etsy. I am so partial to these patchwork creations, because they are the first designs I created for my Magic Baby line, and because they are FUN to make, like creating little collages. I am looking forward to making a whole batch of new ones for the coming Spring, so stay tuned. Oh, and thanks for stopping by my blog!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Back in the Saddle

Ahhh, it's good to be back!

Wow, is fall coming quickly in my part of the world. I have been away for awhile, as you may have noticed. After months of intensive physical therapy on my hands, I am finally "back in the saddle", and happy to be back!

I was productive while I was healing my hands. I reorganized my sewing studio, and am still in the process of spiffing up my office area. I still have a few storage items to hang on the wall.

Wild Child outfit...what a cutie!
I was sidetracked from my office organization by the sudden illness and subsequent death a week later of one of my brothers. It was a difficult and sad time, lightened only by the amazing love of family and friends, and the opportunity to be a part of the "team" of family members who cared for him in his last week of life. In memory of him, 20% of any Magic Baby Designs sales will be donated to We've Got Your Back Bob, a memorial fund set up after his passing. Thank you in advance!

Miss E looks darling in her Frenchy Girl outfit

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Winter and the Holidays

Lena's sweatshirt swing dress, perfect
for winter weather.
Thanksgiving is over already, and December lurks around the corner. On the North Coast winter can't be far away. It's always a busy time of year, as cooking, baking, shopping and making, as in making by hand, come into the forefront.

I am so grateful to be able to make by hand. An idea comes into my mind, and I go into my studio and bring the fleeting thought into reality. There is nothing more fulfilling! I have been busy cards, hand stitched journals, stationary, gift tags. I have also created several new Magic Baby Designs for holiday and cold weather wear. Hope you like them! Everything in my shop is on sale through midnight on Cyber Monday, so please stop by. Watch for Small Shop Saturday specials all through December.

Girl's Party Jacket. Yes, it's reversible!

Boy's Christmas Overalls, reversible and adjustable
Baby Sailor Boy Sweater with holiday collar
Hurrah, It's a Party. These reversible overalls in
piped velveteen (on the front side) and matching
shirt were a custom order. I love custom orders!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Magic Baby Snuggle Jackets

When I began designing baby clothes years ago, I found that the process was similar to how I approach making art. In this case, inspired by a new grandbaby, I pulled out flannel scraps left over from making Magic Baby Snuggle Blankies. I have always been frugal in most aspects of my life; needless to say, I was not going to let those exquisite scraps go to waste, especially when baby clothing requires so little fabric. My first step was to cut off any selvedges from the scraps, then rotary cut them into strips and squares, which were stacked together in a box. Piecing the strips together, I could make matching snuggly, cuddly reversible jackets for the Snuggle Blankies. It was easy to add little tags of ribbon into the seams, keeping everything very soft, and snippets of trim to the fold-up cuffs. After turning the jacket right side out, I inserted a scrap of pre-gathered satin pink ruffle into the bottom edge.

Magic Baby Cuddle Jacket Prototype, front
The biggest challenge in this design, as is the case in many of my designs, is coming up with a unique closure that is also functional. For the jacket, I inserted a piece of medium gauge, round elastic into bias tape, gathered it and measured the length before inserting it in between the front and reverse jacket sections. Next, since I don't want to be buying tons of buttons, and because buttons can pop off, I created a "soft" button using ribbon blanket trim satin stitched over a cut-down cosmetic sponge, and stitched in place with an "X" of embroidery floss.

This design was fast, easy, and, in my mind, a complete success. I have the pattern worked out from NB to 4T, and plan to make jackets that also match my reversible dresses. 

I am still working on prototypes for my "story clothes", finishing up my new holiday designs (the boy's overalls are finished, and ready to ship!),  and completing three custom orders from the show last weekend.

I am an artist, so why am I spending so much time designing baby clothes? There are several answers to this question: a) I need to earn a regular income, and baby clothes sell faster than artwork b) I am a grandmother, and like making things for babies c) It's fun and challenging. Granted, I have had to put my current book project on hold, and don't have as much time in the studio to make artwork. I do, however, make time for art. Can't live without it!
My new granddaughter wearing her MagicBaby Cuddle Jacket.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

First of all, let me say that I am happy to be posting again. There have been some problems with blogger, and I couldn't post or leave comments. Hurrrah, Magic Baby Designs blog is back in action!

I am thrilled to be participating in my first boutique with Magic Baby Designs this coming Sunday. I hope to see some of you there! By the way, order your holiday custom order outfits now. I have several choices in my etsy shop, will have some new designs on Sunday, and more to come. Happy Fall!