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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Fancy Monkey Girl

Here is my latest sock doll, which I call Fancy Monkey Girl. She is at the gallery, for sale, and I'm sure her future owner will find a much more appropriate name for her, one suiting her unique, outgoing personality. I used up all my creativity MAKING her and so didn't have any left for naming her. Since I didn't intend to keep her, I tried not to bond with her much, thus the rather inpersonal moniker; I kept my distance.

I was lucky to find an American Girl doll at a rummage sale yesterday. Ivy Ling is her name and she is an Asian girl. The doll was very clean, and the only sign that she was ever around a mischievious child is the rather unique trim of her bangs; some little person-- not necessarily the owner-- got ahold of a pair of scissors, which is why my little grandgirls won't have an American Girl doll with hair, from me, at least, until they are older than the "getting wild with scissors" stage.

I've given our 4 year old granddaughter a Bitty Baby and soon I'll give her one year old sister one, too. They have smooth, hairless heads--the dolls, not the girls--so scissor play is not possible with these dolls.
Ivy Ling was actually the second American Girl doll I've found at a rummage/thrift sale; I found a Bitty Baby just like the one I gave to Granddaughter A a couple months ago at our local Salvation Army. Wouldn't you think, because these dolls are fairly pricey and so nicely made, that kids would want to keep them to hand down to their own kids, or to a younger cousin? I guess not, because there they are at rummage sales and thrift stores.
I guess people don't save things to hand down like they used to. I work at a local Clothing Bank, and we get wonderful handmade baby items that I know some great aunt or grandmother made for a special baby. I always wonder why those very special items weren't kept--it would seem like people would want to keep them, knowing they were made especially for their child by someone who cared enough to put in the time. My mother saved some of my baby clothes so I could put them on my big dolls and I was so happy to have them--two of the sweaters she had knit herself. To me, it was very special, to have my own big doll wearing the clothes I'd worn as a baby. It meant a lot to me, and perhaps that's part of why I value handmade things so much now.
I despise a throw-away culture. It seems wasteful and wanton to me, and it's also bad for the environment. Can you tell I'm not young (I hate to say "old" because I don't feel old; I just know that chronologically, I'm older than many people). Anyway, if you are reading this, leave me a comment so I know you are, and let me know how you feel about handmade baby items given to your baby; are you going to keep them, give them to a special friend, or toss them when you're done with them? Don't get me wrong; I give many clothing items away to the clothing bank. I just have a soft spot for baby items made by friends or relatives; those I like to keep.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

My Friend Annette's Alpacas Get Haircuts

It was their FIRST haircuts, by the way, and a crowd assembled to watch and help. Don't they look funny with their hair/fur/fleece gone? She says they won't come out of the barn now. I think they're embarrassed, but I guess they might be cold, too!!! I suggested she knit sweaters for them out of their own hair, to wear until it warms up!!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sixth Annual Girl Cousins' Reunion was so much fun!!

There were six of us this year, all of us within ten years of age of each other--I'm the oldest, my sister is the youngest. We had so much fun, again!! We rented the same beach house as last year. Cost us each $126 plus the food we brought--a very economical get-away for four days and three nights. The house is wonderful, has a view of the Pacific from the living room.

One cousin brought the movie Extraordinary Measures, which was filming last year when we were there (on the OR coast). We enjoyed watching it and were excited when the local scenes were shown.

It has taken us six years, but we have finally gotten the food down to a reasonable amount, so we are not lugging home huge quantities and yet still have more-than-ample amounts to graze on.

I had to wait in Lacey for my husband to fetch me, as he was doing Feed the Hungry and I didn't want my cousin and sister to have to delay their trip home just because I had to wait. So I loaded all my stuff into a Target grocery cart (see Screamer in the baby seat?) and made like a bag lady until he came to get me--about an hour and a half later. It was funny; I expected people to ask me what was up, but absolutely no one even made eye contact with me. I think they thought I was a real bag lady, or that I was crazy, or both!!! It felt weird to be ignored in plain site; I guess homeless people probably feel like that all the time--like they're invisible, nonpersons. Sad.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Table Picture

I'm sorry to say, I have no clean table picture to show you this week.... yet. I will try to have it ready for photographing tomorrow. I'm trying to keep it clean, but sometimes I fail.

In the meantime, to placate you, I'll show you a picture of my first "planned" watercolor (the "top" image, the bottom is the photo I took of them), of my friend Annette's alpacas--well, three of the seven alpacas. They are funny animals, and rather shy around strangers. You can see from the pictures that they like to stick together.

Introducing Wool Boy

I made this doll from parts of two recycled thrift store sweaters, one partly felted when I bought it. I like to buy them when they are 75% off, which makes them about 60 cents each. I wash them and then I turn my imagination loose.

Wool Boy was made in one sitting while I listened to a rerun of Part one of Ken Burn's The Civil War on PBS. (I was a hard working, very new first grade teacher when it was first shown in 1990 and didn't have the leisure to watch tv except on Fri and Sat nights, so it was new to me.)

I liked this film very much, and realized anew what sacrifices people during that time made to allow our country's government to survive. We take so much for granted, you know? We either don't know history, or we forget what we've learned. Kids taking history today are lucky they have access to such great programs. Seems like all we did in OUR history classes was memorize facts like dates of wars and treaties, etc. and never really had any understanding of how those wars, etc. affected the lives of average people. I like history from the bottom up, which is what this film tells. When you hear excerpts from the diaries/letters of ordinary people, you get a much more interesting view of history, and one that you tend to understand, relate to, and remember.