Since we got back from our trip, I’ve been working on a few projects here and there. I’m not a prolific sewer, but when inspiration strikes, I enjoy the creative process. Here’s a round-up of what I’ve been working on.

1. Buckwheat pillow for Tig

Tig has been a buckwheat pillow fan since I met him, but his pillow could use some refreshing. So I refilled it with some organic buckwheat hulls and sewed a new cover for him. Here’s a close-up of the fabric.


Of course I picked nautical-termed fabric for my boat-captain husband. Unfortunately, you can’t see this cover because of the pillowcases that go over it. But that’s my little secret.


2. A pair of stripey pillows

I got the idea to make some applique striped pillows from Justina Blakeney‘s book The New Bohemians. (and I love her jungalow style, too). They sit on our futon in the living room. Here’s the first pillow I made.


I bound the edges with yellow bias tape.


I used different fabric for the second pillow (except for the green). Here they are together. I’m pretty happy with the results.



3. A pair of silk-screened pillows

Fun fact: I took some textile classes and costume design classes in college. For one of my textiles classes, I learned how to make silkscreen, batik and shibori fabrics.

I kept two of the silkscreened prints in my portfolio and carried it around with me throughout the years. This spring, I decided that they #sparkedjoy and deserved to be seen everyday. So I made them into pillows.


The screenprint was a two part process with a black design and a color block*. The fabric itself is the third design element. For the blue print, I used a contrasting yellow border and turquoise fabric.


For the red and black print, I chose a green contrasting border and pink fabric. The fabrics are from  Fiddlehead Artisan Supply in mid-coast Maine.


The two pillow are by far my favorites, as are these two munchkins.


I knew I had a couple of winners when they started claiming the pillows for themselves.

*Screenprint design copyright 1999 © Serena Li


4. Stockings for me and Tig

The kiddos have a pair of red stockings which I up-cycled from a thrift-store sweater three years ago. They designed and decorated the snowmen, and I sewed them on. This year I decided that Tig and I ought to have stockings, too.


I made these two from knit shirts that the kids outgrew. They were the just the right color and pattern for my project. I added some pom-pom trim and felt shapes to make it more festive (and to the hide food stains that wouldn’t come out in the wash).


I really enjoy the creative process of using what we have. Next year, I might go back and add some more details to the kids’ stockings. So far the kids are having a great time stuffing our stockings with little tissue-wrapped treasures.


5. A pair of slipper socks

A couple years ago, a friend gave V a pair of colorful socks. Holes and thin patches appeared, so I cut out the bottoms and sewed on some leather soles. V wore them for a while and this year, they’ve passed down to O. I have a very hard time keeping anything on my children’s feet indoors. Normally, this isn’t an issue in warm weather, but the floors can get cold in the winter. They don’t like clunky slippers, and socks are too slippery on the wood floors. So these slipper socks are a good compromise.


The soles are so thin, they’re practically barefoot. The leather keeps them from sliding and their feet don’t get as cold.


This year, I made V another pair using Smartwool socks. I sewed on a couple of leather patches to help keep her from sliding. Here she’s agreed to do Savasana (Corpse Pose) so that I can get a shot of the bottom.


So far so good.



6. Bell, a handmade doll

Bell is an older, slightly more sophisticated version of Bluebell who I made years ago and is now falling apart. I’ve been very fortunate that V has not asked for an American Girl doll or an expensive Waldorf doll. She has seen them and wasn’t interested. Instead, V requested that I make her one for her birthday. And so I did.


Bell is super simple. Her skin is an organic cotton knit fabric. I made up a pattern, taking care not to make her head too big–I wanted her to look more like an older girl than a toddler. V specified the size she wanted–I think Bell turned out to be 10 or 11″ tall.


Her hair is brown wool yarn which I hand-sewed onto her head. I kept her embroidered face simple in the Waldorf tradition. She even sports earrings from V’s bead collection.


She wears Bluebell’s apron dress and skirt. I haven’t gotten around to making her new clothes yet. Someday…


I’ve been very luck in that V treasures my handmade dolls. I know that is not always the case with other children, but I’m very grateful that she does.


7. Bathroom vanity skirt

The vanity skirt was the last piece in our bathroom project. In fact, Tig had been bugging me to finish that up so I could post the reveal. Since I’m at home with the kids all the time, sewing is relegated to slips of time when the kids are playing or when Tig can take them out for a while. Here’s how the process looks when the kids are around.


Notice a Lego project creeping in?


They’ve boxed me in.


They don’t even hide the fact that they’re taking over…


But I perservered, and it got done. Tig was happy. The skirt is simply velcroed to the table. It hides the wastebasket and cleaning supplies under the sink.


That’s how all my projects get done. A bit here and there normally, one fell swoop if I’m lucky.