Sunday, August 31, 2008


Originally uploaded by Corgipants
Thanks to Mary Ellen for alerting me to another one of my pictures featured on the Craftzine blog! You can see the chairs all painted and finished here. I made these for last year's Club Little House and I am so excited to see that Amy is planning for the next one! I already know what I'm making since last year I couldn't decide between two projects and bought the materials to make both but choose the popsicle stick and toothpick chairs over the.....secret project!!

P.S. This picture here shows the distressing/crackle finish on the chair better.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Nails in the walls

Now that we own our own house, I feel the pull to explode my crafty and creative side all OVER it! This weekend, I've been adding some more wall art including these four paintings I finished months ago for the living room but hadn't gotten around to hanging. These are above the dining table now and I like them much better hanging than sitting on the floor!

I found this lovely owl cut paper art this morning at a garage sale for ten cents! I put it in this frame that had been hanging around, waiting for something to put in it and now it's brightening the hallway.

I also found this expanding peg rack, something I'd been keeping an eye out for to put in my craft room! Now it's waiting to be filled with all sorts of fun creations!

I have a really cute yarn painting I got at a garage sale a while ago that I just can't find the wall space for! Need to rearrange! (You can see it even still has the price tag on it.)

When we moved in, we painted just about every room, and not limp beige or eggshell. Ok, so the living room is a bit of a beige (Bagel, actually) but we paired it with a rich brown! The bedroom is Halcyon Green, Mike's office is smoky blue and my studio in Afternoon.

After all that painting, I was done for a while. It's been a couple of months (We've lived here 6 months now!) and I think I can paint again. I've chosen a small project, the bulkhead in the kitchen. Right now, it's a bland tan color. Putty? Dried mud? Whatever it is, it doesn't inspire me!

So, I'm thinking green since I have a lot of retro green dishware/bread box/appliances. These two are top picks, I'm looking for a green with a lot of yellow.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Take the plunge, update your own blog!

Several people have commented and emailed, curious about how I did what I did. So I'm going to give you some tips and websites. But I will preface this by saying this was my first time doing any major changes and I may not have done everything super-correctly! We will see if CorgiPants falls to shreds in the days to come, so far so good! (Sorry if this is way boring for those who either don't care or know way more than this!)

I started off with a free 3-column template from Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates and tweaked it a bunch. She also has some great tutorials so check her out!

I made my own background image in photoshop using those awesome free fabric texture brushes I saw posted on Craftzine. Here's a little info on using an image as a background.

I made my own header in photoshop too, using from digital scrapbooking thingies like ribbon. Those stripes? I used the Random Stripe Generator, did a screen capture and then edited it in photoshop.

Bloggerbuster and Tips For New Bloggers are two great resources for tutorials.

My tips are:
Save your widgets before you do anything else. That Simply Fabulous lady mentioned previously has a tutorial on how to do this! Don't be surprised (be happy!) when some of them are able to transfer over automatically.

Make a test blog, perfect your code and then copy it all over and delete the test blog. Do not try things out on your actual blog, too much can go horribly wrong! Not that anything went wrong with CorgiPants, I made a test blog that started out looking really horrible and finished up like this! Ta da!

I was inspired by Colleen and her new blog, FreshBlogTips! I have a couple of other new things planned, including a weekly feature that involves a diary from the 40s!

A new pair of pants!

As Mary Ellen was quick to notice, CorgiPants has a fresh new look! How do you like it?

It went from "I need to freshen up, I'll make a new header image."

to "For a small fee, I could have someone make me a whole new template."

to "Heck, I can do that myself with a little research!!"

So here it is, 3 columns just like all the grown-ups! Please let me know if anything is amiss like text/link colors being a little weird or something out of place. New additions to the sidebars include an updated blogroll (please peruse and meet the neighbors), SwapDex button is now clickable (duh, why didn't I do that originally?) and a group profile widget for our new My Friend Dolls flickr group!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A big Thank You!

pinnie in action
Originally uploaded by Corgipants
Thank you to everyone who has posted some linky love for my free patterns! And thank you to everyone who has made a purchase from the Make-Do Mercantile! There will be new items this week, a new pattern is in the works (one perfect for fall and winter coming up!) and a couple of really special sets for those who love your Fisher Price My Friend dolls. I can't believe how many Jennys and Mandys I am seeing pop up on blogs! I'd love to hear from anyone who loves them as much as I do. Maybe we could start a flickr group? Ok, I went ahead of created a flickr group: My Friend, what a doll!

For those who purchased the Pillowcase Pinnie Pattern or are new members of the Make-Do Marigolds, I would LOVE to see pictures of any project you make using my patterns! Please let me know of any you post so I can enjoy them and link back to them!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Buttons, buttons, who's got the buttons?

So, did I get the swap apron done in time to go to the giant rummage sale with my lovely mother? No, I cheated and still went, though still following my self-imposed rule because my lovely mother informed me she was ill and I had to go alone. Didn't get much, an accent chair for the master bedroom, some ikea curtains (most likely to be used for sewing, not curtains) and some wrapping paper and crochet cotton. But at a yard sale following the big rummage sale, I hit the jackpot!

I forgot to take pictures of them but my big find were vintage hats! I have a wedding to go to in October and am making a dress but need a hat to go with it and I found several to choose from!

I also found jars of vintage buttons, somewhat color-coded, but each jar has neutrals in addition to whatever color the jar is based on. There were 10 jars but I only bought 6. Do any of you do this? When I find something great, a big stash of something neat, I always feel bad buying it all up. I almost never buy it all because I like that feeling and want others to be able to find their own special something too!
Here are some of my favorites! A lot of them have rhinestones and there are multiples of most buttons.
And I got a large bag of vintage doll clothes, all needing a good wash and press. Here is what I found:

Baby-doll clothes, which I really have no use for. Do you? I have no baby dolls as I've never really liked them, much to my mother's chagrin.

These are all a little large for my needs, they would fit maybe 18-20" dolls. Some very cute things! Mostly hand-sewn, but all have wear and some have rips. I just have to show you this one up close. We all have favorites, right? Did you have a favorite dress to put on your dolls? Well, this must have been a particular favorite of someone because it has been worn nearly transparent. You can see the pattern it used to be on the edge of the collar, a blue and white flower print. But the fabric is nearly see-through now.

And these are JUST what I needed! They are for a project that I just thought of last week so it is especially fortuitous that I found them this weekend! A hint-they fit My Friend Mandy dolls! All need some repair but they deserve it!
My felt pancakes from quite a while ago got a little airtime in the Craftzine. Thanks guys!

Chicken Scratch Pattern #10

We've come to the last day of patterns. If you liked the free patterns, I encourage you to visit the Make-Do Mercantile and purchase the summer issue of the Make-Do Mail which contains a pattern for a complete chicken scratch apron, among other wonderful things!

The very last pattern in the series is another border. (Can you tell I like borders?) This one is a little different from all the rest as it uses straight stitches and cross stitches.

Chicken Scratch Pattern #9

It's lazy Sunday here at the Z. household. That means we stay in pajamas all day, eat pancakes, watch what's on the tivo and generally laze about. I am going to cheat a bit and do some work because I have LOTS of ironing to do. But I don't mind ironing, especially when it's vintage doll clothes I snagged at garage sales yesterday! (more on that later today when I snap some pictures.)

Today's first pattern is a sweet little hearts border.
This pattern is, of course, for your own personal use only. And just in case someone has come upon these on the very last day, please see the very first day's post for link to how-to's and more info on chicken scratch.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Chicken Scratch Pattern #8

Saturday's second pattern has GOT to be one of my favorites! Fall is coming up sooner than I'd like to think and this one is just perfect for scattering around any fall decorations you're making. Think brown or orange gingham! Or maybe dark green with yellow and orange floss? Too cute!This pattern is for you own personal use only.

I've been busy in the garden all day! I got a new flower bed mulched and ready for planting next spring and my new compost pile fenced off and started with some grass clippings that my husband provided by mowing the front lawn. Boy, was it a hot one today!

Chicken Scratch Pattern #7

Happy Saturday! I got caught up in apron-making yesterday and forgot to post Friday's second pattern so here it is! Another great border. This one's a cute little skinny border but with an interesting shape.

This pattern is for your own personal use only. And I don't think I've said this before but click on the picture to get a larger printable version of the patterns. I kind of thought that was a given but now that I think about, maybe some people don't know.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Chicken Scratch Pattern #6

Good morning! I am under the wire to get my Vintage Apron Swap Apron done! My very gracious partner has said don't worry, no problem, take your time, it's all good! But if I, keeper of the SwapDex and type A personality extraordinaire, don't get my package out in time I think I may be forced down into a swap-shame spiral! So this is a public warning to my butt to get it in gear! Butt, it must be done before you are allowed to go to the giant garage sale tomorrow with your lovely mother!

And now! On to this morning's pattern! This cute little flower could easily adorn a pocket (on an apron, what else?), the corner of a napkin or string them together and form a flowery border.This pattern is for your personal use only. And if you're just joining us, please see the first post for some background info on chicken scratch and be sure and visit my Brand Spanking New Etsy store, the reason I'm posting these patterns.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Chicken Scratch Pattern #5

Here is the pattern for today, a butterfly flitting away! That dot? Has nothing to do with the pattern and all to do with my photoshop skills. I think I erased a layer there or something. This pattern is for your own personal use only.

Exclusive Chicken Scratch Pattern!

Today's exclusive pattern can be found at CraftGossip! It's an awesome border pattern that would make a nice gathered curtain, tea towel or, you guessed it, apron. A big thanks to Denise for posting such a nice blurb to spread the word!

Stay tuned today for another pattern posted here at CorgiPants. I got a little excited this morning planning my new compost bin and didn't get a new pattern posted before I left for work! But lunchtime will see me posting a new pattern.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Shine, Chicken Scratch, Shine!

Boy, chicken scratch is really having its day in the sun! Via CraftGossip and the most awesome Pip Stitch (who also has a lot fo chicken scratch goodness), Lace 'n' Ribbon Roses has all sorts of great chicken scratch things! How in the world did I miss this site in my internet ramblings for chicken scratch anything and everything? Well, miss it I won't anymore, I've got it on my list of web reads!

With my comliments

As far as I can tell, no one but my super-typo-sniffer-outer husband noticed my typo in the patterns. And yet here I am, airing my dirty typo laundry for all to read. (Does Photoshop even have a spellchecker? I wouldn't know since I learned to use Photoshop by mashing my fists into the keyboard and seeing what came up on the screen.) Not to worry, it is not anything that will affect your embroidery, just a silly missing 'p'! And those of you who saved the originally posted versions have special "limited edition" chicken scratch patterns. You may want to print it out, dip it in resin and preserve it for your grand kids. My comliments to the pattern-maker!

Am I embarrassed? No, way, I'm too cool for that! Ok, maybe a little. People like to read embarrassing stories though, right? So! For your entertainment, I will now post one of the most embarrassing moments in my life:

Once there was a young girl who had a VERY active imagination and a habit of getting into places she wasn't supposed to. She liked to climb into the cat condo known affectionately as "the cat house" and pretend she was a squirrel. Or sometimes she'd stuff some toys in there and pretend she was a mother fox in her den with little babies. Sometimes the cat house was a wigwam. Sometimes a bear's cave. All the while she would narrate her adventures in third person,

"It was nearly winter so the squirrel gathered nuts (acorns) and seeds (toothpicks) and made her nest (blankets) for the cold months. She settled in and slept for it was very cold out."

And like all young mammals, the girl grew. She grew a little each day so she didn't really notice. Until one day something happened that made her realize her size. She got stuck in the cat house. She poked her head out but her shoulders, she didn't remember them being this broad. She started to struggle and there was pain coming from her feet. It was those damn acorns and toothpicks. Why, WHY had she gathered toothpicks!?

The girl's parents came, laughed, snapped a picture and talked her out of the cat house.

"No, duck down and shoot one leg out of the hole....oh, wow, that's not going to work."

"Can you get one arm out and then shinny your shoulders?"

There may have been some loosening of panels with a crowbar and some olive oil involved but the girl was free of the cat house in time. Now she knew why her mom had told her to stop putting toothpicks in the cat house. No, it wasn't to keep the cats from eating them and getting intestinal torsion. It was so that one day, when she got stuck in the cat house, she wouldn't get toothpicks stuck in her feet trying to free herself. Mothers are wise.

Now, about that picture. I know there exists a picture. I suspect my sister has stolen it to blackmail me in the future! But the joke's on her, I have grown to love this story! Yes, I was an odd child. Yes, I probably was a little old to be playing squirrel in the cat house. But that's just who I am. So, sadly, I couldn't find the picture but I do have some to help illustrate.

Imagine this girl:

Inside of this luxuriously upholstered cat condo:

Note in the first picture you can see the cat to gauge relative size. But no, that's not the position I was in in the cat box. And I was most likely wearing at least ears if not a tail to complete the whole squirrel effect. Like this:

That is a goat named Sebastian I am feeding.

Windmill Wednesday! -Chicken Scratch Pattern #4

Oooh, this is a cute one! Windmills, an exceedingly vintage design! It's flanked by a pair of tulips and includes an optional border to go under it.
This pattern is for your own personal use. For more on Chicken Scratch, see this first post which has some tips and links.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Exclusive Chicken Scratch Pattern!

To get another of my free chicken scratch patterns, visit Whipup! This one is a fun one, exclusive to Whipup, not to be found anywhere else!

Chicken Scratch Pattern #3

This one has GOT to be one of my favorites! I love snowflakes, I decorate extensively with them at holiday time (I don't like Santa or religious themes so snowflakes and snowmen it is!) Scatter it about on a pillow? Make some potholders as a gift with a snowflake centered on each one? Of course, it would look lovely on an apron! What wouldn't?
This pattern is for your own personal use only.

For something else that would make a lovely gift for those who enjoy their time in the kitchen, check out the Make-Do Mercantile! Like how I can work that in just about anywhere?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Chicken Scratch Pattern #2

Ok, I just couldn't wait a whole day! So there will be two patterns today! This one is a more traditional border that would look lovely at the bottom of an apron, around a skirt or maybe around a tablecloth! If it's too wide, you could just do a section of it since it's made up of three different sections. It's like three patterns in one!

This pattern is for your own personal use only. And, of course, if you want a pattern for a complete chicken scratch apron, check out the summer issue of the Make-Do Mail!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I just couldn't wait! Chicken Scratch Pattern #1

So, yes, it's a few hours before Monday officially but I just couldn't wait to post my very first in my week-long series of chicken scratch patterns!

Of course, the reason I'm so excited is that I have opened up my new etsy shop,
The Make-Do Mercantile!

You can get my very first drafted-by-me pattern for a pinnie you can make from a vintage pillowcase!

And the very first educational pamphlet and badge set for the Make-Do Marigolds mail club! Which brings us to why I have drawn up these free patterns. In this summer issue of the Make-Do Mail, the craft project is a chicken scratch apron and while I love the pattern I put into the booklet, there are so many cute ones an there don't seem to be a lot available online.

So here is the very first in a week-long series of free patterns. Check back each day for a new pattern! I can see a couple of these birds flying across an apron. Or curtains, wouldn't that look great?

This pattern is for your own personal use.

A bit about chicken scratch
Chicken Scratch is cross stitch (and other simple stitches) done on gingham using the squares as a grid. It is also sometimes called cross stitch on gingham, Amish lace or snowflaking. Although not as well known as cross stitch or needlepoint, you can find more info on the web about chicken scratch then about some of the more obscure needlecrafts like huck weaving and hardanger embroidery. It seems to be enjoying a small revival!

All the patterns I will post this week can either be worked in cross stitches or double cross stitches. I think this one would look great in double cross stitches since it's kind of a loose pattern but it would show up well worked in single cross stitches on a light fabric done in dark floss. The number of strands of floss you use will depend on the width of gingham you use (meaning the width of each square) and your personal preference. I like to use eighth inch gingham and 2 strands of floss for most of my aprons.

Some further reading on chicken scratch:
PDF from West Virginia University Extension Service
Crafttown's pattern for a little tree has three little printable patterns
PDF from University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service
Instructions and heart pattern from Pegasus Originals
Primrose Design's chicken scratch tutorial

Thursday, August 14, 2008


After seeing Martha's packbasket on the Martha Blog, I officially need one! What would I do with it? I envision myself taking the dog on walks with the packbasket in tow to pick up litter. Or perfect for toting garage sale treasures! Flea markets! Strap on the basket! I've never really been into Adirondack style anything so I'm not sure what's drawing my to these baskets.

They're kind of pricey so I am tempted to buy this kit and make my own so I could use non-leather and a prettier color scheme. But like I don't have enough going on!

Wow, looking through that website really inspires me! Must resist urge to take up new hobby! Maybe I can settle on making this library tote!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

So much for Monday

So, anyone waiting with baited breath for the surprise yesterday was of course disappointed. But not to despair! The surprise has been postponed until next Monday. Here's a hint:

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Make-Do is Done!

It's done, it's done!! The complimentary copies are on their way to the fine ladies who replied to my emails! And it's up on Etsy!

I'm so excited! I have a special surprise for you next week to celebrate the debut of the Make-Do Mail! Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

New project

Have a mentioned here that I am drafting a pattern which I hope will eventually be available for purchase on Etsy? It's my very first pattern that I have perfected to a point where I would allow others to use it. :) I am at the testing and tweaking stage and I am almost getting tired of the resulting garment. I say almost because if it weren't so cute and darn fun to wear, I would be tired of it but I love each one I make more than the last! I can't wait till I can show you all! I know, kind of a tease but I just had to blog about it because I'm that excited! Now, back to sewing!