Tag Archives: Crafts

It is Every Sock’s Dream to Become a Sock Doll

I found a book at Barnes and Noble about 4 years ago that had lessons on how to sew sock dolls (Stray Sock Sewing by Daniel).  Between that book (which is perfect for beginning sock doll sewers), a few other books, and the magazine Stuffed, I learned how to create sock dolls/softies.  I make them as gifts for friends, or just for something to do with my hands if I get the urge to create something.

I have a large collection of socks (I only sew with new socks), buttons, ribbons, bows, yarn, and fabrics.  I keep interesting fabrics, especially old shirts and dresses from my daughter.  I mostly sew with heavy duty thread, as you need to pull on it with some force sometimes.  Beverly’s is a great place to get specialty buttons, and other odds and ends like curtain pulls and letter beads.

Below is a gallery of dolls that I’ve made over the years.  I even managed to get one of our cats, Julius, to pose with the itty bitty kitty dolls.

Julius with itty bitty kitty dolls. I sew these from baby socks.

My version of a totoro, a Japanese ogre (from the Studio Ghibli film My Neighbor Totoro.

Sheevil, the evil big horned sheep, with her baby. She is cute and pink, but notice the crazy look in her eyes and those razor sharp fangs?  Still want to pat her on the head? I think not.

Medusa (yes it was tedious to sew eyes and a tongue on all her head snakes) and two ballerinas. She turns people to stone to create captive audiences for her two dancer friends.

Megg the chicken, slouchy guy, and a foot creature I made from a pair of stripy knee high toe socks.

Soccer sock monsters I made from Emma and Sam’s soccer socks. They each played one season       (Mia Hamm and David Beckham they are not).

Emma with Big Headed Baby. I sewed her from a small child’s sweater. She’s the baby sister Emma always wanted.

Three dogs. Nuff said.

The sea monster in the back was a request from Sam. It has no name. He doesn’t know why. The pigs are fun, and the pink ruffly socks on the outside two make them extra pink and piggy.

Another chicken, plus lots of eggs.  I made the eggs as a fundraiser for the kids’ school science team, so I tried to make them appealing to lots of different interests.



Filed under Arts/Crafts/Photography


I’ve always liked little things.  Small figurines and toys, bonzai, the pygmy maramosets at the zoo.  The idea for this post came from some small gardens I’ve made and wanted to share, but I’m also going to include some info on two books on the subject, as well as a poem by Billy Collins.  First a look at my shelf.  It is over my sink and has my favorite little things on it that I’ve collected over the years.

Microworlds in Books

The two books I wanted to share are Microworlds by Mark Valli and Margherita Dessanay and The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death by Corrine May Boltz.  A word of caution about sharing these books with kids.  The majority of Microworlds is kid friendly, though 3 or 4 pages are absolutely not.  The Nutshell Studies are small models of a actual crime scenes, complete with corpses and blood.  Emma and Sam have both looked at it, but some kids might find it too much.  The pictures I’ve included in my post are okay for kids.

I bought the Nutshell Studies after I saw a review in the San Diego Union Tribune.  It is the story of a series of models built over many years by Frances Glessner Lee, a wealthy widow.  She was fascinated with police and police work, and built the models for use as a forensic training tool for investigators.  There are 18 dollhouse style crime scenes based on real cases, built on a 1:12 scale.  Each scene is filled with meticulous details, down to hand knitted miniature socks and cabinets filled with food.  One of the most charming things about the vignettes for me is the glimpse into the houses and way of life in 1940’s and 1950’s America.

I found the book Microworlds at the San Diego Museum of Art.  The book describes the work of 27 artists, who all create and then photograph miniature worlds.  Many use small figures they purchase through companies that supply hobbyists or at garage sales/swap meets, and some create their own figures.  Some artists’ work is very whimsical, like posing small figures with eggs, which suddenly become mountains.  As I mentioned above, some of the themes are more adult.

Microworld Gardens

I enjoy growing plants, and our yard is stuffed with them.  They stay out all year round (San Diego weather!), and if you can afford the water, most things will thrive (though some do need to be moved to the shade in summer).  I, of course, like little succulents.  We have plenty of  sun here for them, and if you get the right ones (not jade plants), they grow slowly and maintain the feeling of a miniature world.  Below are some examples of microworld gardens I’ve done.

I made these a couple of years ago from old ceiling light fixtures. The kids surrounded the plants with special rocks, marbles, and small figures.

The kids made this (with some help!) for their dad for Father’s Day. The meditating baboon is from the Lion King.

I created this this past spring as a class gift for Mrs. B., Sam’s teacher. We glued glass stones around the top, and added fairies donated by Emma and a shell filled with the fairies’ treasures.

My friend Jeri had a corner of her patio that was filled with dirt and stones. We transformed it into a gnome garden, complete with lava rocks and birdhouses.

Bonsai, by Billy Collins

All it takes is one to throw a room
completely out of whack.
Over by the window
it looks hundreds of yards away,
a lone stark gesture of wood
on the distant cliff of a table.
Up close, it draws you in,
cuts everything down to size.
Look at it from the doorway,
and the world dilates and bloats.
The button lying next to it
is now a pearl wheel,
the book of matches is a raft,
and the coffee cup a cistern
to catch the same rain
that moistens its small plot of dark, mossy earth.
For it even carries its own weather,
leaning away from a fierce wind
that somehow blows
through the calm tropics of this room.
The way it bends inland at the elbow
makes me want to inch my way
to the very top of its spiky greenery,
hold on for dear life
and watch the sea storm rage,
hoping for a tiny whale to appear.
I want to see her plunging forward
through the troughs,
tunneling under the foam and spindrift
on her annual, thousand mile journey.


Filed under Arts/Crafts/Photography, Books, Gardens/Plants/Nature