toadstools : a retrospective

hand stitched mushroom pattern

hand stitched mushroom pattern

Sometimes you know. You know you have no hustle in you. You’re all hustled out.I guess the natsubate has kicked in a little early this year. And the warm months are always a simmering and percolating time for me, thinking, experimenting, and meandering explorations. I feel a strong spiritual (irresistible) directive to be exceptionally lazy for a couple days.  For me that means reading and very slow hand stitching. I’m reading about the middle ages and starting some mini toadstools to travel with me. In about a week I’m headed for France to teach and explore again.

mini hand sewn toadstools

I like having lots of little things already begun to work on in the in between times, airports etc. And I love having enchanted toadstools to plop down somewhere new for a photo. It’s the intersection I love, that fairytale, soundstage place where real meets pretend.

hand sewn toadstools in moss

hand stitched mushrooms

When you travel with an enchanted toadstool in your pocket the shift in perspective is remarkable. All sorts of opportunities for magic appear. I can’t get enough of it.

mushroom sewing pattern and wool

easy doll clothes patterns and a free mini straw hat diy

easy doll clothes

A tiny summer top! Who would  have guessed she’d reveal even a hint of midriff. But there it is. Scandalous. You just never know about someone…

easy doll dress, top and hat sewing patterns

A new sewing pattern! And a free tutorial too!

Use your scraps to make adorable dresses and tops for your tiny ladies. She can wear the dress frontwards or backwards for a variety of looks (it would also make a sweet nightgown made from eyelet or a vintage handkerchief).

easy doll clothes sewing patterns

The dress, top and hat are quick and easy to make. I spent a ton of time working out a tiny dress pattern that does not require lots of  hems and has no fasteners. You could use the simple technique to create all sorts of little garments. They are just the right size for the tiny rag doll and the pattern scales well for other rag dolls.

easy doll clothes sewing patterns

easy doll dress sewing pattern

The tiny rag doll needed a summer wardrobe.  She is headed for the French countryside soon so a big sun hat was a must.  The hat is included in the pdf and I’ve shared it below too.

easy doll dress pattern

get the pattern

make a mini straw hat:

free min straw hat diy

A couple material notes – I used cheese cloth – it’s cheap and easy to find. You can also experiment with any very light weight, gauzy, open weave cotton or linen fabric for different effects.

The nail polish bottle is used for forming the hat crown – any similar glass or plastic container can be used. The bottle I’m using made a hat that’s just the right size for the tiny rag doll – it is 5/8th inches across.

I’m using elmer’s glue

Paint – I used acrylic craft paint – mixing shades of brown, ochre and white for a straw shade.

I finished the hat with a mini silk ribbon. I love these ribbons and you can find them here. They are great for lots of tiny details and embroidery too (fyi – the miss thistle society gets a small commission if you purchase through the link).

mini straw hat making suplies

1. Cut a piece of cheesecloth about 5 inches by 5 inches. Cheese cloth has 4 layers and we will use them all.

2. Mix a straw shade of paint and add white glue (about 4 parts glue to 1 part paint). Paint the top 1/4 inch of the cap. Optional – I’m mixing glue into the paint but if you prefer you can just use glue and paint later or leave unpainted.

3. Center the cheesecloth over the cap and pull it tightly over it.

4. Hold the cheesecloth tight with an elastic.  Paint a thin layer of glue or the glue paint mixture on the cheesecloth. Let this dry completely.

5. Remove the rubber band and remove the cheesecloth from the bottle and spread it flat on wax paper.

6. Paint the cheese cloth with a thin coat glue or the glue mixture a little wider than you would like the brim. Brush firmly out from the center. Let this dry completely.

7. When it’s dry lift it off the wax paper.

8. Trim the brim to whatever size you like.

free straw doll hat diy

To finish you can add ribbon or a mini flower or stitch a detail on the brim or crown with embroidery thread. I used 4mm silk ribbon (affiliate link – meaning the miss thistle gets a tiny commission if you purchase through this link).

doll hat diy

I hope you make tiny hats! share your photos with the tiny rag doll community by using  #annwoodpattern and #missthistlesociety on instagram.

mini straw hat diy

new fall 2019 workshops

antique paper ship workshop

paper ship workshop

French paper ships, edwardian birds, stitched beetles and toadstools and a sweet needle book. I’m headed back to LA in October for a big week of workshops.  And I’m still trying to squeeze a couple more in for 2019 (east coasters stay tuned – how would you feel about Connecticut?). If you’d like to suggest someplace near you that might like to offer a workshop with me let me know.

french paper ships

antique paper ship workshop

They glow like the moon and twirl in the breeze. Spend two days making romantic paper vessels with billowy sails. You will learn my top secret paper layering techniques and create your ship hull from antique and handmade papers. The stitched linen and cotton sails will be finished with antique fabrics and garment fragments.

All tools and materials are supplied for this workshop including specialty handmade papers and a collection of antique french paper for finishing, sail fabrics and embellishments and antique buttons and rigging. If you have fabrics or papers that are meaningful to you, you are welcome to bring them, but it is not required. The finished ship measures approximately 13 inches by 18 inches.

Are you traveling? Your ship disassembles and folds flat for travel. It’s magic.

All materials are provided for this workshop. Coffee/tea, lunch and aperos served.

details and registration

edwardian birds

edwardian bird workshop

Working with antique garments we will create a creature inspired by ravens and crows. A dark bird with a mysterious and intelligent presence.

You will learn to stitch and sculpt the body shape, create intricate layers of feathers, sculpt talons and carve the beak.

The antique Edwardian mourning garments we will work with provide interesting textures, colors and detail that will be unique to your bird. We will be stitching by hand and machine. The finished bird is 8-9 inches tall.

All materials are provided for this workshop. Coffee/tea, lunch and aperos served.

details and registration

stitched beetles

stitched beetle workshop

Spend and evening stitching a sweet beetle with me. We will work with vintage and antique fabrics, lace, wire and a couple secret ingredients to create these whimsical little creatures that fit in the palm of your hand. The finished beetle is approximately 4 inches long (excluding his darling antennae).

All materials are provided for this workshop. Aperos served.

details and registration

stitched mushrooms

stitched mushroom workshop

Make magical toadstools! We will spend an evening stitching enchanted fungi. You will work with vintage and antique scraps to create caps and stems and you’ll learn the top secret method for making a concave cap underside.

All materials are provided for this workshop. The finished mushroom is 4-6 inches long. Aperos served.

details and registration

needle book

needle book

Stitch a little book for your needles and notions and the scraps you can’t part with.

Spend an evening slow stitching with me. We will embellish and personalize pre- sewn pages to create a mini 6 page booklet plus cover and center heart. There will be exquisite antique buttons and fabric and lace scraps to choose from. You will learn to assemble the book, add details, embroidery and create spaces for your notions. The finished book is approximately 3 and ½ by 5 inches.

All materials are provided for this workshop. Aperos served.

details and registraion

a misbehaving beetle, homemade spray starch and 4 more little joys

a guilty little beetle up to no good

a guilty little beetle up to no good

He’s done something. I’m sure of it. It’s all over his face.  More about this naughty little beetle  in a minute. First I want to tell you about some simple things that are bringing me joy this spring. Since you found your way here they might be up your alley too:

sewing in bed

1. sewing in bed

It’s always on the joy list, such a gentle way to wake up. Get something ready to sew the night before and there is nothing at all to think about. Just start sewing. My current bed sewing is sails and needle books (I can’t stop making those little pages). Simple, meditative stitching.

 

tiny rag doll gardening

tiny rag doll sewing pattern

2. the adventures of althea

This is sweet, and beautiful and funny. Dawn Smith has created a magic world for her tiny rag doll  and she photographs Althea’s adventures daily.

Follow her while she has tea and visit friends and gardens. It’s awesome.

 

lilacs in my studio

3. lilacs

It’s such a glorious smell and gone so quickly. When I wake up to the cool spring lilac air I have no choice but to sew in bed. It’s the only responsible thing to do.

 

how to make laundry spray starch

4. homemade spray starch

It’s easy to make, cheap, works beautifully and it is non-aerosol and packaging free. Most importantly I did not have to leave my apartment when I ran out of spray starch for my sails.

I love to iron.  I’ve been sorting through sail fabric for ships, ironing it and making neat little piles. This is also called procrastination.  Productive procrastination but still…  Anyway the homemade laundry starch adds even a little more joy to the ironing party.

recreational ironing

The starch is just cornstarch and water. Add a couple drops of lavender oil (or whatever you like) for a glorious fresh laundry smell. Laundry is right up there with lilacs for me smell wise. Plus I feel super thrifty and oldschool.

make some laundry starch:

  • Whisk 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch into 2 and ½ cups water. You’re already almost done.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, boil for about a minute while stirring.
  • Remove from the heat and let is cool to room temperature, add a couple drops of scent if you like and pour it through a strainer into a spray bottle.

 

5 sketchbook

My daily painting and drawings. It’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times, such a huge pain in the a**  when I’m super busy.  But the joy wins. And it makes me a better thinker.

 

yogi tea

and a little bonus joy:

I love this tea! I drink buckets of it all day long. You can find it in most grocery stores I think.

 

what’s on my work table this week

hand stitched beetle

You have met the guilty beetle, the naughty little fellow is regretting his mischief.  He is made from gorgeous and very old French scraps. I’m working on lots of misbehaving little french anthropods.

so long little beetle

And ships. I love living with them and have been without a personal fleet for too long. This one has a final layer of old paper collage. Come make beetles and paper ships with me this October – I’m teaching several workshops in LA at French General – find info and registration here.

paper mache ship collaged with antique paper

PS – What are you working on? Have you made a doll bed? What smell transports you?

homemade laundry starch

make a quick and easy mini quilt from scraps

easy doll quilt tutorial

miniature quilts made from scraps

Make a whole stack of them, they’re just the right size for the clothespin doll bed and super quick and fun to make.

easy doll quilt tutorial

These little quilts are the sort I imagine the Sock’s family has mountains of in their big black house in Woebegone Pines. Haphazard, make-do sorts of things, accidentally charming pieced together leftovers, all thread bare from keeping generations of mischievous Socks offspring cozy.

miniature doll quilts

To make your little quilt print the template and gather cotton scraps. Start freestyle piecing them together.

The template makes a doll quilt that is 6 and 1/2 inches X 7 and 1/2 inches. Exactly the right size for the clothespin bed.

You can stitch by hand or machine (I like to use the machine for this). When you’ve got something bigger than the template pin the patchwork to a backing fabric with the right sides together and cut out. Save the patchwork scraps after cutting – you can stitch those together too. You can add a layer of lightweight cotton flannel inside if you like. I prefer the way the quilt drapes without it.

doll quilt diy

Tip: If you are making a few quilts make one big piece of patchwork and cut them all out. It goes quickly and I think it makes the most interesting compositions.

doll house size quilt tutorial
Stitch the patchwork and backing together. Leave a little opening at one end for turning and clip off the corners.

doll quilt diy

 

Turn it right side out and use a chopstick to poke out the corners. Press it and whipstitch the opening. You can quilt through it or not. I mostly went with not but did add some sweet red ties to one quilt.

To make the quilt drape nicely over the bed  arrange it and then press it on the bed with a hot iron along the curves and folds.

doll house bed and quiltmr. socks doll in pajamas

It’s all ready for mr. socks. I made him pajamas too (using the free little pants pattern) for an even cozier situation but he refused to wear them. You know how mr. socks is…

mr. socks in a sweet doll bed

doll quilt from scraps free tutorial

doll house bed tutorial – part 2 : making the mattress

doll mattress sewing tutorial

free doll mattress tutorial

This tufted doll mattress and pillow fit the clothespin dollhouse bed perfectly. It’s quick and easy to make and perfect for the tiny rag doll.

how to make a tufted doll mattress

You will need:

doll mattress sewing tutorial

1

1. Cut out the mattress from cotton fabric, pin with right sides together and stitch as shown.

2.  Pull the fabric sides apart at the corners

3. Open the seam allowance with your fingers and press the seams together. Stitch across at 1/4 inch. Do this for all 4 corners.

doll mattress sewing tutorial

4

4. With all four corners sewn the mattress should look like this.

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how to make a doll house bed from clothespins – part one

make a doll house wood bed

Do you know somebody very little who needs a bed? A tiny rag doll perhaps? I’ve made you a tutorial for a sweet wooden dollhouse size bed made from clothespins and craft sticks. It is perhaps my greatest gift to humanity. Also, I had an unbelievably good time figuring it out and making it. So obsessed…

It is the latest Miss Thistle Society project, the quest to fully outfit the tiny rag doll’s world. Of course she needs a super cozy bed. The epic instructions for the bed are below and find the instructions for an easy tufted doll mattress here.

I hope you make sweet little beds! Tag your posts on instragram with #annwoodpattern and #missthistlesociety.

how to make a doll house bed from clothespins

note : It is very helpful to read through the directions completely before beginning.

doll bed from clothespins materials

*This post contains affiliate links – if you purchase supplies through some of these links The Miss Thistle Society gets a small commission.

Materials:

  • 6 clip clothespins and a few extra for clamping – I’m using these.
  • 11 jumbo craft sticks – The sticks are 6 inches by 3/4 inch – available in most craft stores or you can find them here.
  • small bamboo skewers – 1 or 2 depending on the length – I’m using these.
  • paint

Tools

  • wood glue
  • wax paper
  • scissors
  • wire cutter
  • ruler
  • exacto knife
  • paintbrushes
  • OPTIONAL – spackle, sandpaper

doll house bed diy - parts

Cut:

  • 8 – 3 and 3/4 inch craft sticks
  • 2 – 4 and 3/4 inch craft sticks
  • 2 – 4 and 1/2 inch bamboo skewers
  • 6 – split clip clothespins
  • And 1 whole craft stick

Separate the clothes pins by twisting. I used old but sturdy scissors to cut the craft sticks and wire cutters to snip the skewers.

cut parts for doll bed tutorial

Accurate measuring is very important to all of this fitting together.  And cut your craft sticks as straight as you can.

1. Make a mark on one side of 4 clothespin halves 1/8th inch from the notch on the flatside.

2. Apply wood glue to the end of one of the 3 and 3/4 inch craft stick pieces.

doll bed how to step 3

3

3. Working with wax paper underneath press the craft stick against the clothespin -as shown-  at the mark. The stick should be at a right angle to the clothespin.

doll bed diy

4

4. Repeat the previous step so you have two glued sets. Let these dry undisturbed on the wax paper until thoroughly set.

doll bed diy

5

5. Make 2 more sets and add a second stick to each. Add the second stick next to the first – closer to the tapered end of the clothespin. Let these dry as well. You should now have 4 glued sets of sticks and clothespin halves.

dollhouse bed tutorial

6.

6. You can use a ruler to check that your sticks are at a right angle to the clothespin.

7. When the glue is dry gently peel your pieces from the wax paper. Begin with the single stick pieces. They will be fragile so handle them gently. You will also need 2 more clothespin halves and one of your 4 and 1/2 inch skewers.

8. Flip one clothespin and stick set over so the flat side of the clothespin with the notch is facing you. Apply glue to one end of a the skewer.

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fabric markers, the best adhesive in the world and stitched botanicals

dot tipped fabric markers

stitched botanical experiments

Did you know fabric markers are a thing? I had no idea but happened upon a giant display of them in a big art supply store. They are fantastic and a perfect tool for the botanical classes I taught last week in LA.

dot tipped fabric markers

I’m always on the lookout for easy ways to make organic looking marks on fabric (there is a whole post about how to do that with bleach printing here). These markers are perfect. There were lots of different sizes and tips to choose from. My favorites were the brush and dot tips. I love a slightly imperfect dot.

fbric marker for lines on leaves

The olive marker is a beautiful translucent shade of green. Perfect for adding leaf details to fabric that was dyed olive green. So easy. And you can spritz with water to bleed and smudge and blend the colors. So many possibilities.

fabric markers and dye

*Some links below are affiliate links meaning I get a small commission if you purchase through the link.

If you’d like to try the markers: the brush tip marker is a Marvy Uchida Fabric Marker. The big dot tips are Tee Juice Fabric Markers and the thinner brush tips are Fabrico markers.

By the way I dip my green fabric twice. First in Olive green Dylon Dye (my favorite brand of dye- you can find it at Joann) and then in a light solution of orange dye (Dylon Goldfish is a great orange) to make it brighter, a more acid tone and a little variegated.

Check out a few of the marvelous botanical experiments from the workshop below.

botanical workshop images

While we are talking about supplies…

small jar of acid free paste

I’ll share my new favorite adhesive too. I love everything about Nori Paste. I even love the container. It’s great for collage, easy to work with, extremely smooth and the papers never wrinkle.

antique paper collage - beetle

Not even a little and I’m using very old, thin and fragile papers. I also tried it on a whispery thin bit of fabric for the bug wings thinking it would fail but the result was perfect. I painted a thin layer of paste to the paper and pressed the fabric into it. Get a10 oz. jar here.  It’s so good.    And fyi I get a tiny commission if you purchase through this link.

PS – Beetles are on my mind lately. So are ghostly ships and green birds and owls. Stay tuned and  have a lovely weekend – ann

extreme mending, sledding lambs and the 100 day project

patched and mended sleeves

patched and mended sleeves

Extreme mending, that’s what happens when you can’t let go. I can’t let go of this giant flannel shirt. I got it for a quarter at the Herkimer NY Goodwill in 2010. I started mending it a couple years ago, mostly just worn edges. Last winter it had some major sleeve blowouts and other serious issues. It was barely a shirt anymore but I remain too attached to part with it. I spent my 3 hour train ride to Vermont (more on that in a minute) stabilizing it. And now I’m plugging leaks. Besides my ridiculous attachment to it I like the process of this kind of meandering mending. And I like the result, the unexpected layers and combinations that turn up.

I’m mending my linen smock too where I have worn it thin, keeping it mostly pale. I’ll never part with it either and it will eventually be all patches. I’m good with that.

pale patches on a linen smock

100 days of creativity

The Hundred Day Project starts on Tuesday April 2. It’s a free art project that takes place online. Every spring, people all around the world commit to 100 days of creativity. Are you participating? I sort of am. I do a little painting or drawing everyday anyway so I think that counts. All you need to do is commit to a project (big or small or very small) and tag your instagram posts with #The100DayProject. You can do anything, You could mend something if you like.


This blog started with a similar experiment. It was a little different, I committed to making 100 cardboard horses. I made one Monday through Friday and gave myself the weekend off.  Much like my daily practice now, somedays I loved it and some days I most certainly did not. But I know now I need it.

If you decide to participate I can offer you some of what I’ve learned:

* Be realistic about time. The amount of time you commit can be very small and still have lots of benefits.

* Have a plan for the bad days, a minimal but acceptable effort. And accept the bad days. Everybody will have lots of them. I have some very bad days and post some real stinkers.

* It’s helpful to do it around the same time everyday. Your subconscious gets on board after a while and shows up with ideas.

* Think of it as an opportunity to listen to yourself and maybe get glimpses into your singular and powerful imagination that you would not otherwise get. Plus new instagram friends.

And if you feel like making your daily art a cardboard horse feel free – there is a whole tutorial here. And as an added bonus when you’re done you have a stampede.

Back to Vermont.

I took the train up to Warm Brook Barn in Vermont to teach at their Maple Harvest retreat with French General. The group was lovely and intensely creative. We made silk necklaces, talismans, beeswax candles, wax seals and lambs in pants. There was a beautiful snowstorm of almost exactly the right duration and intensity and It was all generally a blast. And I loved exploring all the fabulous details of the old houses.

fabulous dresser at warmbook barn

PS- If you’d like to make a little sled it’s super easy – I found a tutorial here.

And PPS – A rare occurrence – I’m usually like a ninja, a lamb in pants making stealthy ninja. I was captured in the wild in Vermont, caught in the act, sneaking up on a sledding lamb in pants for a photo.

caught in the act

easy to make rag doll shoes : a free tutorial

doll shoe tutorial

doll shoe diy

Easy to make and elegant. I love an expressive foot. Who doesn’t. Most of the dolls I make wear shoes,  even when they are otherwise nude,  and I usually sew them on like the elegant slippers above.

felt doll shoe diy

If you prefer something removable  you can make these sweet felt lace up shoes. Both are easy and will work for any doll with a simple, straight rag doll foot. I’ll show you how to make the stitched on shoe first.

(By the way I am working on larger rag doll patterns, stay tuned…)

stitched on doll shoes

Trace your doll’s feet onto doubled fabric (I’m using light cotton). Trace about 1/8 of an inch from the edge of the foot.

Stitch along the lines.  You can stitch by hand or machine but I think machine is better for this. Either way use very small stitches.

rag doll shoe tutorial

Cut out each shoe leaving a small seam allowance.

Clip notches around the toes.

Cut a slit down the middle – a little more than half way –  on one side  of each shoe. Turn them right side out.

doll shoe how to

Place the foot in the shoe and tuck each front side in.

easy to make doll shoe

Begin to whip stitch the folded edge of the shoe to the foot.  At the center make several neat little stitches close together to cover the bit of little raw edge at the center of the V.  You could also use a decorative stitch (like blanket stitch) and embroidery thread  here  to attach the shoe to the foot if you would like an extra fancy slipper.

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4 spring ideas to try

4 spring craft ideas

4 spring ideas to try

March! And daylight savings time! Two of my favorite things. I’ve gathered a few sweet spring projects to share with you:

1. Stitch up some paper treat packages. I may have shared this idea with you before. I love it. Quick and delightful. Find the paper bunnies on the Kreative blog.  (PS – Find more sweet and simple paper package here).

2. Nana Company has lots of great tutorials including this basket. I love her fabric choices. The raw linen and eyelet trim are simple and perfect.

3. Make a fabric egg (or a bunch!) – Retro Mama has a pattern and full tutorial.

4. Or stitch this bunny basket for somebody little. It’s made from an old sweater. Adorable.

handmade felt bunnies

And if you’ve got the very nice mice pattern you can add some long ears for bunnies. The sweet parade is by Elizabeth.

In other news:

ann wood handmade packages

Thanks so much to everybody who showed up for the anniversary sale. It was huge! And I am still shipping at a furious pace. So many paper cuts… If you have not gotten a shipping notification yet you should see one by Sunday.

Happy Daylight Savings Time!

little doll pants : a free sewing pattern

doll pants hand sewing project

The little pants are very, very easy and quick and could be resized to fit all sorts of dolls. It’s a fun hand sewing project or if you like you can sew them on the machine.  In case you want to make one million pairs of tiny pants.

doll clothes diy - pants

He looks so happy! Happy to be getting pants. Little pants, just for him. It’s time to make the lambs and get pants on them. I’ve made you a simple pattern for little pants. The lamb is made from the mr. socks sewing pattern with these modifications. Mr. socks could wear pants too if he felt like it (you know how cats are…) but you would need to leave an opening in the back seam to accommodate his tail.

doll pants sewing pattern

free doll pants sewing pattern

doll pants sewing pattern

Click here to download the template.

You will also need – cotton, a basic hand sewing kit, embroidery thread and needle and a little button.

doll pants diy

Cut 2 pants pieces, cut the top and bottom edges with pinking shears. Mark the seam lines lightly on one piece, pin right sides together and sew just the curved seams.

doll pants tutorial

Open the pants so the curved seams you just sewed are in the center. Pin the legs together and sew the straight leg seams.Trim the leg seam allowance with pinking shears.

doll clothes sewing tutorial

Fold the top edge over about 1/4 inch (try the pants on your doll for a perfect fit). Stitch the folded over top with small neat stitches. Fold up the leg bottoms and hem.

doll pants sewing tutorial

Add a draw string of embroidery thread – stitch through the top folded edge – leave the ends hanging. Add a button in the center. Pull the strings to gather and wind around the button clockwise to hold. You’ve got little pants!

doll clothes hand sewing project

Wearing pants and feeling good about it.

lamb in pants

Add the free felt jacket and free felt hat patterns (larger sizes for both) and you have a fully outfitted lamb!

Do you get my free weekly-ish newsletter? When you subscribe you can download the deluxe pants template with instructions.