Nisse in the making!

For years I have designed a little tree for our hospital’s Festival of Trees and it is one of the few volunteer activities I still love to do! The festival is now called the WinterGala and I am designing another little tree. My theme this year is inspired by Scandinavian aesthetics and it’s a mix of mainly Swedish and Norwegian. I always strive to handcraft at least one element of my tree and this year I have a few: Nisse and Heart paper baskets.

I’m working on my little nisse right now! Although I really prefer to crochet, the size of my project looks best knitted so I have dusted off my knitting needles and turned my house upside down looking for the book on how to bind off! Sooo simple yet I always forget :-)

I’m using Loops & Threads Woolike Super Fine in Red, Clover Bamboo Circular Knitting Needles No. 1 (2.25mm), and a little wooden spool. Very simple cast on of 25 stitches and then plain old Stockinette stitch (knit, purl, knit, purl …. ). I have some other colors to add in when I start on the hats!

Here’s to the start of the holiday season! God Jul!!

knitting needles for nisse  nisse body

Miss Elli in bag

My sewing assistant hard at work!

Introductions are in order!

“In October of 2014, Ballet Theatre of Washington will debut two new ballets: The Princess Who Couldn’t Dance & Peter and The Wolf. Both of the productions will be presented in one show that will be perfect for the family.” This is a direct quote from the website:

Ok, time for some introductions! Today you will meet characters (from my sketchbook): Elements

The elements:

  • Fairy of Happiness: Hooded cloak, silver bodice & romantic length tutu, large sparkly headpiece
  • Her two minions (they are actually called little fairies on the cast list): little tutus, little leos, little tiaras …. so cute and little!
  • Creek: Blue leos, Blue basques (waistband) with attached panels of blue and white
  • Sunbeams: Yellow leos, Yellow basques with yellow, gold and red panels
  • South Wind: Pink one-shouldered leo with attached silk chiffon skirt (soon to be hand painted by yours truly!) and White poet’s shirt with gray tights. (This is a pair dancing)
  • Sea Waves: White leos with an attached neckline representing sea foam (still working this out) and “water” leos used last year in Sorcerer’s Apprentice.


On my inspiration board I have the creek’s tutu panels (along with a court lady bodice). Since the fabric frays easily I have decided to edge them and give them a slight wavy finish. I do one “set” of 8 panels at a sitting and then move on to other work so I don’t go cross-eyed! I’ll try to figure out how to capture video on this edging for anyone interested.

My inspiration and work board

My inspiration and work board

That’s it for this post! Now it’s time for me to get busy!! Enjoy your day!

My sewing assistant keeping an eye on me!

My sewing assistant keeping an eye on me!

New directions

It’s been forever since my last post! The last year and a half has involved a tremendous amount of soul searching and refocusing. After closing several chapters of volunteerism, I am now able to refocus my energy on what truly makes my heart sing! I will continue to focus and move forward on this new journey I have chosen.

Both my kids are passionately involved in performing arts, mainly classical ballet and I have fallen hard for this beautiful form of art! In the past I dabbled with the costuming but have now taken on the role of costume mistress for a new nonprofit – Ballet Theatre of Washington. I have loved the creative process involved with developing a costume plot and bringing my sketches to life!

I’ll post soon some of the works in progress … but for now I’m off to sew!

My sewing assistant hard at work!

My sewing assistant hard at work!

Birthday Celebration!

Every year I make a cake for my sister – and this year was no different! Except this time I asked my SIL for some help with decorations! She has everything you could possibly think of to make awesome cakes (and some things I didn’t know even existed) … I just needed something simple for a beginner like me! ;-) So thank you Solveig for the quick lesson and goodies to make my sister’s cake the best one I’ve created thus far!!

Julie loves my handmade jewelry and I’m always trying to come up with something new for her! I thought she would look beautiful in copper so I’m very happy with the final results of her pendant and earrings! I was right – she looks beautiful in copper!! So Happy Birthday to my beautiful sister Julie! I hope her year is full of joy and wonderful things! Love you sis!! -Melinda


New work

I am working on a new piece that could be for ARTrails. Usually I work up to a certain point …. wait …. move a few things around …. wait …. and then make a final decision. An artist friend of mine showed me some of her 3d work – coming out of a frame! It was cool b/c it can hang on the wall … which is not the case with 3d work most of the time. Especially with dolls – they tend not to look good ‘hanging’ off the wall (unless they are flat). So – with her encouragement – thanks Joan! – I picked up a shadowbox and scaled a doll to fit within …. I have two more boxes to play with and can’t wait to get started! I haven’t been too inspired lately and this was just what I needed!

In the past year I have been playing with painting directly on cloth with acrylics – I liked the outcome but it was a rough surface – making it difficult to work with pencils for the faces. I’ve also been experimenting with paperclay – even that is toothy after sanding.  So I finally picked up some gesso …. yep! it’s wonderful on cloth!!! This little lady I’m working on right now is my first attempt on cloth with just the gesso as a primer! Two coats with a sanding in between …. smooth baby!! My pencils flowed and my acrylic paints worked beautifully! She feels so soft even with all the paint on her!

So now I’m working details .. maybe some additional washes of color and shadowing. Still need to finish her boots. Lots to do! The shadowbox is her hangout and I’m working on her ‘story’ to go with the wings! I’ll try to remember and post soon ;-) 

Gluten free breads, pancakes, pizza crust …..

Ok, so I am doing my research … why not start with a company I’m already familiar with — Bob’s Red Mill. I’ve only just scratched the surface of the site! I’ve used Bob’s black beans, red lentils, quinoa, gf flour and a couple other things – all very good! And yes – there is a pancake mix!!! ;-)

Here is a link to the site: Bob’s Red Mill

I’m going to try the pancakes as soon as I get some mix! I will be using amber agave for syrup! In the meantime – I’m going to create my wishlist on Bob’s site! There are cookbooks, groups of mixes, …. I’d love to try it all!!! Shop-n-Kart carries the Bob’s Red Mill brand so I will begin there! During my detox I was so focused on specific things I didn’t look at the HUGE selection right under my nose! Love that I can shop local!!


A new challenge – healthy pancakes!

We love pancakes with syrup at our house! Only now after eating whole foods and no sugar, gluten or dairy for an entire month, I want to continue eating healthy and what is good for my body (I can’t tolerate dairy very well and from what I discovered during the detox – gluten is another one!) So I am searching for some new ways to bake, cook, etc. There must be a wonderful recipe for gluten free, and possibly even dairy free pancakes!! I have the amber agave to replace regular syrup ….

I need to get the name of that cookbook again from my stamping friend! …

Soooooo, I had my first cup of coffee this morning … not exactly what I was expecting … didn’t taste good or smell good. I ended up making a fruit smoothie for everyone and then we had some red lentil soup for lunch (and my dinner). I ended up drinking tea and water the rest of the day. I feel kind of in limbo …. not really sure what direction to go! I don’t want to eat the things I was eating before and I want to explore some new things beyond the last four weeks. So I think I will just slowly build up new recipes.

I didn’t look up any recipes for pancakes … yet. I will get there! My rehearsals are winding up as we prepare for opening weekend in 2 weeks! Lots of details to finish up and costumes to finalize! It’s a crazy time at the theatre! I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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