I have some priceless memories of my grandmother teaching me to hand stitch quilt pieces when I was a girl. I've been intrigued and inspired by women who have the ability to create beauty out of simple fabric ever since.
With that in mind, you can imagine how excited I was when my mother-in-law gave me a sewing machine last Christmas. Excited...and completely overwhelmed. So overwhelmed, in fact, that I didn't touch my machine for the first 6 months that I owned it.
One day last summer, I got fed up with my whimpy-ness and decided to do something about it. With the help of some very patient friends, I managed to make this nursing cover:
Finally, one random day in November, I got an amazing idea: a stroke of genius. I decided that I would make dolls for Avery and Charlie for Christmas. Dolls like my Great-grandmother made for me when I was a little girl...sweet, pretty, handmade dolls.
What better way to learn to sew than by making something that your children could enjoy for years to come, right?
I could just picture Avery ripping open the wrapping paper to reveal her lovingly hand-made doll. Her big brown eyes would well up with tears, she would wrap her sweet little arms around my neck and whisper, "Oh thank you, Mothah... It's the loveliest doll I've ever seen. I am the luckiest girl in the whole, wide, world."
It was going to be awesome.
I wasn't quite sure how I was going to make the dolls happen, but they were definitely happening.
I found Bit of Whimsy Dolls on etsy - the dolls were adorable and just perfect for my little guys, and each pattern came with step by step directions.
I took my doll patterns, my tiny sewing machine, and my delusions of grandeur to Craft Club for some tutorage from my more experienced girlfriends.
That night, I made half of a doll.
In 5 hours.
If you're doing the math, that's some seriously slow sewing.
Some seriously slow, seriously pitiful sewing.
In fact, I'm pretty sure that I ripped more seams than I actually sewed that night.
My doll looked like Flat Stanley after a fight with Edward Scissorhands.
Not pretty and definitely not whimsical.
I took my little Mutant doll and went home feeling a little tired and slightly disillusioned.
That's when I realized that my expectations may have been a little high.
But here's the deal: If there's one thing I am it's stubborn.
The dolls were happening.
They may be horribly disfigured, but the dolls were happening. Period.
So I tried again.
It started to get a little easier.
Until I got to the legs.
Then the doll looked like this for a week.
That's when I started to think that maybe the dolls weren't happening.
It took a pep talk or two from friends, but eventually, I got back to work.
After way longer than any doll in history was ever taken to create, Avery's doll turned out like this:
After I finished Avery's doll, I started feeling confident... and if I'm honest, pretty darn proud of myself.
But pride goes before the fall, people...and I have the photo to prove it.
What I do know is that jamming a needle through your finger hurts.
Thankfully, my pal Scooby Doo helped me avoid hemmoraging to death.
I have to say, the image of my finger with the needle going in one side and out the other is one that I may carry with me to the grave.
It haunts me.
Dispite my horrifying needle experience, I managed to finish Charlie's doll just in time for Christmas (I told you I was stubborn).
Giving Avery her doll turned out to be a little different than I thought it would be. It went something like this:
"Oh. My Doll. She has bony tails (a.k.a. pony tails)".
Then she put it down.
That's right, SHE PUT IT DOWN.
And went on playing with her other toys.
Isn't that just about right?
I did manage to get a picture of her pretending to love it for the camera. She named it "Princess Daisy" and insisted on wearing her own "bony tail" for the photo session.
He hugs and pats his baby regularly and with vigor.
A fact that makes stabbing my finger almost worth it.
Thankfully, making the dress was much easier than making the doll itself.
Could I have bought a doll and saved myself a lot of blood, sweat, and tears?
But I did it.
I may do it again, too.
In like 20 years.