It's finally here! Well, for me that sentence is relevant because I have been waiting like a child at Christmas for my turn on the Apple Farm Blog Hop... is that crazy or what? I'm going to say 'it's what' because the day the Apple Farm Fabric collection arrived in my mail box, I was excited and overwhelmed all at once. This fabric collection by Elea Lutz is *potentially* (and I say potentially very cautiously because let's face it, everything she designs is Ah-mazing.) my favourite collection so far.
Apple Farm is everything you dream a perfect-storybook-Enid-Blyton-wrote-it farm to look like.
It really is! True to Elea style, this line has quite a vintage feel to it, with sweet florals, ginghams and plaids in a beautiful blend of pastel and bright colours! I particularly love the apple print, which I used before the blog hop (sneaky I know!) on this quilt binding. The main prints feature the most adorable little bears, picking apples, eating apples and carrying apples off into the sunset - presumably to make into the most glorious apple pie! I mean, if I could live in a fabric collection, Apple Farm would be a definite candidate!
Prepare your eyes ladies (and any gentlemen!), fetch your tea/cake/apple pie and settle in for a journey to Apple Farm. (this post is loaded with lots of photos....you have been officially warned.)
The day Apple Farm arrived. Oh it was such a nice day! And fabric worth it's thread count must endure an obligatory 'look how pretty I am' photo shoot within days (or even hours!) of it's arrival. It's typical of a millennial fabric line, you see, it must simply show off on Instagram with a range of shameless selfies. #fabricselfie - there I just made it a thing. Around here it's almost like some kind of strange initiation ceremony for fabric...no fabric gets a free pass straight to the shelf. And for the sake of reality (because 'fabric selfies' are totally a legit thing) above is my first 'fabric wheel' photo...I don't know how you people get it in a circle..maybe you have some secret template that is whipped out before the photo is taken but all I can say is...putting a cute crate in the middle with more fabric and apples totally covers a multitude of non-circly sins!
After the aforementioned business was taken care of, Apple Farm sat in the sewing room so I could procrastinate as to what to do with this very, very pretty line of fabrics. I had no idea!!! But I had to do it justice. And then, the thought came to me, something that could use all the fabrics in one project (because I REALLY wanted to do that!) something that was different to what I had done before and something that would be just right - projects have to sit well with me or it's not going to happen.
So what did Goldilocks decide to do?
I decided, to make a Princess and the Pea. That's logical you say (it isn't, it isn't)
Well my dears, it actually is because who else do we know that requires such a ridiculous amount of bedding that would allow me to fully flex my fat quarter bundle's potential?
I present to you, the Princess and the Pea or as I have dubbed her,
The Princess & the Pom Pom!
I know a picture says a thousand words, but as any good Dolly Henry reader will know so does the author of this blog (ha!) so you will get a little bit of ramble to accompany her, but as a proud doll mother, I have eleventy billion photos for you to binge on. You're quite welcome.
Shall we start with the design process? Well, I've actually designed and made a Princess and the Pea set before, but it was quite a few years ago now. And you know how when there is a project you want to revisit, because you know you could do it just so much better than you did the first time?
This was one of those projects!
P&P had been on the radar for a while and then Apple Farm happened, and it was love at first sight. Secondly, I jumped onto Pinterest with a notebook and pencil - which sounds totally 'designer-ish' doesn't it? I almost never do anything that organized-ly. But that is what I did, and as I perused and sketched I thought hey - why not take inspiration from real life bedding and interior decor? Jot, jot, jot. The piece of paper with all my design notes then sat on the shelf for a week or two which I was eternally grateful for, because by the time I actually started this project, I'd forgotten all my plans. Notebooks are for classy designers and forgetful Dori fish, of which I am the latter.
It was never on the cards for this doll to be a typical Princess, and after all, that does kind of go with the story, does it not? Except my girl is a more modern version. You see, instead of internet dating, she inspects potential suitors by checking out their taste in home decor. Too bad if the potential mum-in-law decides to shove a pea under the mattresses, right? I mean, seriously, some people don't like to eat their greens, but isn't it a little unusual to hide them under your house-guests bed? Talk about awkward!
Meet Clover Charlotte.
She is a woodland princess, she loves to wear pinafores and flower crowns. Her only hint that she could be of royal origin, is tiny gold Mary-Jane shoes. She rides a deer, instead of a horse, her favourite food is Apple pie and she is currently studying to become a florist. Her Mother and Father were also King and Queen so she officially is titled Princess Clover Charlotte, but as she would rather spend her days with her adorable woodland friends, she tends to drop the pretentious Princess stuff. It's totally not her thing. And she collects pompoms.
One fine day, because Clover Charlotte isn't silly enough to take her deer out on a *wild and stormy night*, she came across a rather enchanting castle to the north of the woods. Ever hopeful of meeting Mr. Right (CC is a romantic at heart!) she knocked on the door, only to be greeted by a rather interesting looking old lady. (you'll find out about her odd habits later!) Clover Charlotte asked if she was letting out any rooms for the weekend, as she was in the area to tour the many amazing apple orchards, when coming down the drive, dressed as a white horse, was the lady's son - Sir Appleby. The old lady explained that her son had just returned from a costume party, and would have to check the bookings to see if there was a room available.
Clover Charlotte could see that Sir Appleby was rather handsome, so she was delighted to find she would be able to lodge there that weekend. The old lady eyed CC suspiciously and before our sweet Princess could even utter a shy "hello" to Sir Appleby, his Mother whisked her upstairs to her room.
Clover Charlotte shut the door behind her, and gasped in amazement at the room before her...
the linen and decor was everything she had dreamed of! Could this be true love???
Clover Charlotte, tired from her day's journey, quickly made herself at home among the many layers of mattresses, quilts and a cute cloud cushion called Cedric. Surely this would be the most comfortable, most wonderful sleep of her life! Never had CC seen SO many mattresses and snuggled under such squishy quilts...
If only she had thought to ask Cedric a few questions..she would have found out that Sir Appleby's mother had a rather peculiar habit. You see, no matter HOW Sir Appleby disguised his mother's greens, she just would not eat them. (fussy eaters!) He even tried promising dessert but the old lady outwitted her son and so had her cake and ate it too. When Sir Appleby wasn't looking, his mother would sneak peas into her apron pockets...and then stow them in the guest room, under the bed where he wouldn't find them. But unbeknownst to her, they had a Princess under the roof that night, and Lady Appleby's secret was about to be exposed....
Clover Charlotte tossed and turned. Her frown grew deeper as she wondered, why on earth she could not get comfortable. This would not do! She had a full day of Apple farm tours in the morning, and she must simply get some sleep. Finally after several hours, CC climbed down from her supposedly squishy stack and looked under the bed. There she saw a pea. "Ah-ha!" said the Princess. "I know this old trick!" Rubbing her back, she tossed the pea aside and pulling the mattresses down, she made herself one big happy pile of blankets and pillows on the floor. She would sleep soundly tonight! And in the morning, Sir Appleby and his mother were in for a surprise.
Clover Charlotte emerged from her room, bright and early. In the breakfast room, where Sir Appleby and his mother sat enjoying a bit of Apple porridge, she walked over, cleared her throat and plonked the pea on the table. Sir Appleby looked at her in surprise and his mother turned pale. Once Clover Charlotte explained the situation and threatened to leave a bad review about their B&B, Sir Appleby apologised profusely and glaring at his mother, offered to refund the cost of her stay. Clover Charlotte, still rather liking the look of Sir Appleby, who was now wearing stately clothing and NOT a white horse costume, told him that if he accompanied her on the Apple farm tour, she wouldn't give it another moment's thought.
And what happened next? Well after a brief courtship, the pair were married and lived happily ever after....and Sir Appleby's mother? Well she hasn't enjoyed a meal since.
The Doll - Clover Charlotte was the first piece I made in the project. I wanted to make sure I knew what size doll I would be making for the bedding. She is handmade using gorgeous linen, and I embroidered her face on free-style - I wasn't game to draw on her face after all the work I had done!! She has a bit of an "Elsa braid" with so much yarn on her head, she could successfully apply for a "Rapunzel" position. I have dubbed her the 'thousand dollar doll' due to the amount of hours spent on her alone, let alone all her accessories! Her shoes, socks, blouse (with teeny tiny peter pan collar!) and pinafore are all removable. Sarah from Say! Little Hen designed and hand-knitted both her adorable pom-pom capelet and sleeping cap - inspired by an actual vintage women's pattern! Sarah has made these available as a pattern here.
The Quilt - I had sooooo much fun creating this mini quilt! I fussy cut 3" squares using the entire Apple Farm line (except for one, it was a tough choice but I didn't have enough room in the design), I decided on a linen border, as I thought binding straight onto such a 'busy' design would be too much, and I was very happy with this decision. I must confess, I rather enjoyed the quilting process too, everything in miniature is just so much cuter, and after making a quilt, I now *love* binding... the binding process is just so fun! The floral I used for the binding is my personal favourite from the collection. That floral and the white apple print come at a VERY close tie for me. Tiny details are also a must, so a row of hand stitching around the border finished it off. And because I'm always looking to do the unexpected, and because they are so much fun, I made pom-poms for the four corners....at risk of bragging too much about my own work (gulp!) I really, really love how my quilt came out! It's so nice when an idea in your head comes out better than planned, do you not think?
The Bedding - Five puffy mattresses for the Princess! Each features a different print on either side and a different detail. Some I quilted after stuffing, some are more 'stuffed' than others, one has pom-poms and a scalloped edging and one I quilted using a 'yarn' tie method which is so cute, and texturally I think kids would love it! I was inspired to kind of modernise the bed further by going with 'designer' cushions, so I created five random pillows for her bed. One is a practical sleep on it cushion and the other four are very much 'decor' items - gold 'leather' look cushion included. I also felt, that though the Princess had a beautiful quilt, she needed a top sheet so I used the main print in the pink colour way for this, backed with the brown/floral gingham.
The Pea etc - Last time I made this set, I went to the painstaking effort of trying to make the pea, which I did successfully but as times have changed, I ordered some cute felt pom poms to use as my 'pea'. I'm very glad I did, because by the time I got through messing around with all the other details in this project, I think time would have been a little short to figure out the other 'lead' role in this small and quirky production. So you see, with pom-poms on Princess, bedding and as the pea, this is why I changed the story title a little. The last and slightly over the top detail I added to this already over the top set, was the crocheted rug. Because a girl needs something to keep her toes from catching cold, doesn't she? (I know you are saying 'isn't that what the socks were for??') Therefore, I sat up way too late one night and designed as I crocheted her a rug.
The Pyjamas - I had the opportunity to work with some of the Apple Farm Knit fabric, and it is sooo super soft and sweet, I can tell you! Clover Charlotte needed a set of Pyjamas and this was just perfect. Also it might be slightly insane to make my first time sewing a knit outfit almost a barbie sized one, but I did it....even with gritted teeth at one point I must admit on a pair of teeny tiny leg hems! This knit overall was really lovely to work with and it would be amazing for a set of pyjamas for child or um, even, me. And clearly, because this entire set was very much made from the child at heart in me (if that makes any sense!) I had to make her an eye mask - because dolls that are supposed to be asleep but with open eyes are a very annoying thing when one is little...and my sewing skills aren't quite up to mastering the eye that opens and closes yet...that's what they made plastic for.....eye masks are much more chic, yes?
And we all lived happily ever after!
Congratulations if you made it to the end of this blog post, I applaud you for being such an avid reader. I do hope you enjoyed it, as much as I did bringing this project to life.
Make sure you head on over to see what these two gorgeous girls have in store!