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Friday, June 27, 2014

Root-Haired Dolls:

When pulling up a weed in my backyard, I noticed that it looked just like hair, and so I made this doll.  I called him "Earth Man" because his hair had come out of the earth:
This is how he looked before I dressed him:

There;s not a lot to him. His head is DAS paper clay and his body is made of chenille stems; I wrapped his hands and legs in pearl cotton. Usually I use embroidery floss but I didn't have any the right color.

I took him to doll club in Puyallup and all the ladies wanted to make one, so I began saving roots from the hay I was pulling up in the garden (see Gardeningbyhand.blogspot.com).

Here is one "group" picture of the dolls they came up with:
Here is another:
And two more: one howling and one looking inscrutable:

And another group:

                                                            And this smiling person:
This one is a bit scary:

While this one is serene:
And two more-- one singing and one listening:
I can't wait to see how they'll all look when finished!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dolls by Quilt Barn Doll Club Members, Puyallup, WA

 We meet on the third Wednesday of most months (not November or December) at The Quilt Barn in Puyallup. Here are some of the club members' latest creations:

This first one is "Shorty," by Kathleen McCloed; she used a pattern by Ute Vasina:

This is what I call a "scrap doll," made from very small amounts of fabric and no pattern:

This is an "altered Barbie" by Stephanie Block:

These are a couple of my "Earth Men"; they have dried roots for hair:

The picture below is "Tree Lady" by Stephanie Block. We all made this project. Mine is a Tree Guy, and I left him on the front porch all winter! I still have him, though, and I'm sure he will get a revamp in the future:


One of our newer members made this cute doll pin, but I forget who made it!!

This cute little elephant was also made by Stephanie, but I don't remember whose pattern she used for this:

 This dancing couple is felted and made by Stephanie as well. Next month, we are all going to felt something:

These are dolls Kathleen made:


This is a funny little sock doll I made to give away with The Toy Society: 

These are "reborn" dolls made by Stephanie:

These dolls were made by Doreen:


The little dolls below are Kathleen's:

These two dolls were made by Karla and the elephant, too:

If I'm not mistaken, I belive this is Doreen's fish, but Kathleen made some, too, so I might have them mixed up. Either way, this fish is very handsome.


I wish I remembered whose pin doll this is!! Several of us made them, and I know it's not mine!!
I believe this is Karla's giraffe, but again, I'm not sure as about four people made this muslin giraffe. This one is ready to be painted.

I KNOW this is Karla's wooden chef!!

Stephanie's "steam punk" walrus:


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Fixing Jeri's Doll in 2006-2007

Today I am posting about a doll I worked on in 2006, and finally finished in January of 2007 when the picture below was taken. I hate to confess that I had this doll in my possesion, waiting for attention, for almost four years. Luckily Jeri wasn't in a hurry--if she had pressed me, I would have finished it sooner, I know. I also add that I am not in the business of repairing dolls; it is just something I do now and then for friends that care a lot about an old doll they have.

This doll belonged to my friend Jeri when she was a child. The doll’s body and limbs were made of what I call “stuffed rubber” which is a very thin rubber (latex?) skin stuffed with cotton or a cotton-like material. This rubber skin did not last very long on these dolls; it degraded quickly, over just a few years, in my experience. I had a boy doll very similar to this one, which is how I know. First the skin became sticky, and then it developed holes in it, and soon it was just a big mess and your parents threw it out. I wished I'd have kept my doll's head, but we moved several times during my childhood and things that were "no good" were tossed. Had I realized I could have made a new body for my doll in the future, I would have kept it, like Jeri kept hers.

As mentioned above, I had Jeri’s doll for a LONG time before I fixed it and returned it to her. I know she probably gave it to me in 2003. I finished it in January of 2007, as that was the date on the picture above.  One reason I often keep my friends' dolls so long before I begin to work on them is that I always have to figure out what to do with them, and this requires the problem to "simmer" in my mind for quite awhile sometimes. This makes me feel pretty guilty, but I felt better about this when I learned how long Ella Smith had a neighbor child's doll that was brought for her for repair:  See http://lcweb2.loc.gov/diglib/legacies/AL/200002658.html for more of Ella's story and how the idea she finally came up with lead to a career.  
So, to get on with MY story, when Jeri gave me her doll,  in a brown paper grocery bag, only its head was good--the rest had that thin rubber skin which had degraded--it went in the trash.. I found a vinyl thrift store (second hand) doll whose limbs were the size that Jeri's doll required. Then I made her doll a cloth body to which I attached the original head and the new limbs.
I was happy with the way the doll turned out, and Jeri was, as well. I have dolls that I bought about 15 years ago that need much the same kind of fixing that Jeri's doll required, although mine are composition dolls who have dirty cloth bodies that need repairing, and often a damaged head and missing limbs, as well. The one in the picture below belonged to a friend, but mine are quite similar.
My dolls are patiently waiting, quietly, for me to tend to them, and I will, when I get the time.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Some Hitty Stuff and Other Unrelated Musings


Life is very unfair! How come when you misspell "Barb" you get "Barf, Barn, and Barg(e)? How unfair is THAT, that any misspelling is so unflattering?! Of course, I could also get "Bard or Bark",  but I'm most likely to get the first three I mentioned.

Now that that's out of the way, on to the Hitty dolls. I am still waiting for my USB cord to arrive for my new camera, so I can't show pictures of them yet, but I can promise them to you. I have three Hittys I'm working on now: two are regular 6.5" size: one is all basswood and one is butter___ wood with a resin shoulder/head. One smaller one will be about 4" tall when assembled, I think, and one is a baby who will probably be 2" or so tall.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Dad Is Fat and a Short Treatis on the Sleeping Habits of Dogs vs Children


I just checked this book by Jim Gaffigan Dad Is Fat  out from the library. Well, no, that's not exactly true; my HUSBAND checked the book out. I owe the library $32.50, meaning I have a couple of their books hidden somewhere in this large 108 year old house, and I am being punished by not being allowed to check books out, so my husband checks them out for me.  This will continue until I PAY for the missing books, at which time I will FIND the missing books---but not until I PAY for them. It always happens this way, which is why I know this.

Gaffigan's book is about having children, and I was thinking: having dogs is a lot like having children. The reason I know this is that I have HAD children, and now I have dogs, and I can compare the two with my rational mind. I thought, having dogs IS like having children, except you get more sleep with dogs.

Then I remembered how our youngest dog Poki got up and barked at midnight last night because she heard a car being started in our neighborhood.  Then she got up again a few minutes later and barked because she heard a dog barking in our neighborhood--not her, although she WAS barking--another dog was barking and she was answering by barking. The two traded barks back and forth for what seemed like a long time. I yelled, "Poki, it's OK. Go back to bed." She continued barking and the other dog continued answering--or was it the other way around? Yes, it was. Poki was answering. Finally the other dog quit answering and Poki quit barking and all was again peaceful in our rather unpeaceful neighborhood.

Poki, the high strung one

                                                                 Grace, the "polite" one

Wiener, the HOT one

The sometime in the night, before it was light, I felt a bump and another of our three, Wiener,  sniggled under the covers next to my thigh. (A "sniggle" is a cross between a wiggle and a snuggle.) Now, in the winter, having him install himself against my thigh can be a welcome gesture, as it is cold in the winter and Wiener is very, very warm-- his natural body temperature is about 104 degrees--having him lie next to any part of you is like having a superwarm, slightly hairy pillow next to you. In winter, it's great!

That said, it isn't winter now, and it's not too great to have a small, 104 degree dog curl up next to you if you're already feeling too warm. Our bedroom temp lately has been between 70 and 74 degrees; we like it at about 65 degrees, so it's already a quite a bit hotter than we like, even with two windows open as wide as they go. When there's a breeze, it's quite comfortable, but ask anyone around here and they will tell you we've had more humid, calm days this summer than usual. So I am already too warm, and not overjoyed when the 104 degree hairy pillow, masquerading as a wiener dog, climbs into bed with me.

You see, HE'S cold. When you are a 104 degree wiener dog, 70 degrees feels like 30 degrees. Therefore, he's freezing and wants to be under the covers against my warm thigh, even if it IS cooler than he is. Go figure.  So he climbs in, waking me up and making me feel even warmer than I already am. I have two options. Push him out of the bed, and tell him to go back to his OWN bed (which I add, has not one but TWO wool blankets for him to burrow under); or two, let him stay, so I can go back to sleep, hopefully.

I am VERY lazy, and HATE to have to get out of bed in the middle of the night for anything, so I take option two and go back to sleep. However it isn't too long before I wake up feeling WAY too hot. I slide a bit of the sheet between the SuperHeated dog and I, hoping some of his heat will go some other direction than into my thigh. It works for awhile, and I go back to sleep. Then I wake up again, and noticing that the other person in the bed (my husband), has gotten up, leaving a space in the bed where I can go, hoping the HOTdog will not follow. So it is now my turn to sniggle stealthily, removing myself from the mobile heat source near my thigh.

I go back to sleep, and then wake up again. This time it is Grace, the small female wienerdog breathing in my face. She is not ordinarily a problem. She sleeps between her two owners all the time, and generally does not disrupt our sleep. However, she fancies herself "the man's dog" so when he gets up, she follows. This is so she can eat breakfast at the earliest possible time. After having her breakfast, she returns to the bed, climbing the little set of stairs bought so that she will not sit on the floor and whine to be lifted up. However, she seems to think it necessary to get "permission" to burrow under the blankets, which she does by breatheing in my face.

 So I am again awakened,  give my OK to her request, and go back to sleep, but not for long.  For the umpteenth time this "night" (which has now become day), I am again awakened. Downstairs, Poki is barking again--Poki does NOT go back to sleep after breakfast as Grace does. Did I mention Poki is high-strung and barks a LOT?  She is and she does.

I finally give up this wake/sleep routine and call it a night, telling the two dogs in my bed that we are getting up; this doesn't bother them at all. Unlike me, they are "morning persons" and are awake in an instant, leaping enthusiastically off the bed to wiggle happily and lick my toes. Me? I grumble and head for the shower, wondering why I feel so TIRED after "sleeping" for eight hours.

So. Who gets more sleep--people with children or me? Anyone want to guess? I don't expect sympathy, by the way. I have allowed my dogs to "train" me instead of the other way around. It's just the way I am--I take what seems like the easiest way out ("Oh, let this tiny puppy sleep with us--then we won't have to listen to her cry. It's just for one night.") and then I pay for it later. But we love our dogs just like we loved our children (some would say we love the dogs more because we didn't let our children get in bed with us, but there were six of them, so you can see the problem).