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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sock Rabbit

This is the sock rabbit we will be making in the March 27, class. Details will be announced soon and I will add them here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tree Man, in Progress

This is a project our doll club in Puyallup is working on. We are each making a Tree Doll--we started them at club last week; it will be interesting to see (next month) how they all turn out. I guarantee they will all be as different as the people making them are. I'll post pictures here of as many as I can.  Stay tuned.

Latest Sock Monkey

She's a sweetie!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

An Afghan for Hitty

I am crocheting an afghan for my Hitty dolls. I'm using a size 7 steel hook and am splitting sock yarn. Stay tuned.

Sunday, Day Two,Two Clean Steps and My Red Mailbox

I know, the cleaned steps don't look THAT great, but they DO look better in person and the cleaned ones do look better than the uncleaned ones.
This is a flag with wreath that I bought from Six Rivers Gallery (in Hoquiam, WA) awhile back. It was made by Sherryl Jackson, an artist in North River who works with wire.  I love it, and I love her other work, too; I will buy more when I can. I especially like a piece that is made from a tire jack; she's made it look like a playgroun merry-go-round with four wire kids on it. So original and so nice to have her at Six Rivers. Come buy when you can, and see what is there.
This is my newly painted mailbox. I had to paint it so the cute little decals would show up. And then I had to paint the surrounding territory, because the spray paint didn't behave. Or perhaps it was ME that didn't behave!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Step a Day

I decided that if I can't paint the steps right now, because of the weather, I can at least WASH one step a day. I'd have done all of them on this cold but sunny day, but I was already tired from painting the mailbox and before that, going on my first bike ride in about two years. So I washed the bottom step--hopefully you can tell the difference.

Tomorrow, I'll do the next one up. I think there's eight of them, so by a week from tomorrow, they should all look better, and I can quit feeling bad because they look so awful. I meant to restain them before winter, but unfortunately we had snow in fall and everything seemed to "hit the fan" after that first snow, and I was behind on my fall chores from then on.

The moral of my story is that if something is bugging you, making you feel bad,  and you can't fix it the RIGHT way right then, try to find another way to make it at least a little better. You'll feel better, too.

And here is one of my first crocuses today, opening to the sun. Isn't it pretty, and it promises spring will come.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Two Little Dolls for Africa

A big thank you to Stephanie and Doreen for making these little dolls. I want to send a bunch of these with the little dresses. I'm also collecting shorts for the boys and little cars.

First Crocus of the Year Blooms!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Little Advice from Me Concerning Journals

Want to keep a journal but don't have time? Me, too! I think everyone old enough to write should keep one. What I do is copy an email occasionally to My Journal (whatever year I'm writing) Not just any old email, but one in which I tell the person what I've been doing lately, and since I usually include pictures with such emails, I copy them into the journal page, too.

For instance, tonight I sent my 94 year old mom an email telling her about Audrey's party and the gifts I gave/made her. Mom doesn't have a computer, so she can't go to my blog and read, but she does have a electronic "mailbox" that allows her to receive emails and pictures from family and friends. This is the kind of email I like to copy into my journal.

When I started four years ago, I always made a hard copy of my journal pages and put them in a three ring binder. I've gotten rather lazy of late, and the last couple of years' journals are still just on the computer. But, hey! Even that is better than no journal at all. I find that I have a lot more to my journal now that I save emails. I tried to just sit down and write before, but I just didn't do that very often.

I'm a history buff and I like to read journals that people kept in the past--I'm interested in their daily life, what they thought and what they did. While your life may seem rather humdrum to you, a hundred years from now, your progeny will find it as interesting as we do Civil War journals now--hey, maybe your kids will find it interesting 20 years from now.

So, if you don't WANT to keep a journal, that's OK. Don't! But if you Do want to, and are just too pressed for time, consider doing it the way I do. And let me know how it goes.

My Little Seamstress, Audrey

Audrey is five now, as of today, and here she is with the shiny little Singer Spartan sewing machine I gave her. She loves to sew, and a Spartan, with its motor removed and a handcrank fitted on, makes the best sewing machine ever for a young child. Please do NOT buy any child a plastic (or metal, for that matter) "child's" sewing machine. Nothing will discourage them more. Find a Singer Spartan and go to TreadleOn and learn how to replace the motor with a handcrank mechanism. It's easy or, believe me, I couldn't do it!! Once you have the spoked handwheel and the crank, all it takes is a screwdriver and about five minutes of your time.
Audrey's machine was made in Kilbowie, Scotland in 1960. I found that out online. Of course, the K in its model number already told me it was made in Kilbowie. That's what the K stands for. Its serial number is what allowed me to find out when its batch was ordered.

The Doll I Couldn't Say No To

I got her for a very good price, and although I have other "Patsy" dolls, this one was three times as big as any of my others and in very good repair, too. She needs a little work, but not too much and her face is SO beautiful!! I LOVE her!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Audrey's Suitcase, Done

This is the first case I've done for a child, but I'm sure it won't be the last. It will be interesting to see how it holds up under a child's use.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Hitty House Gets Second Floor

Once I notch the other side, I can put the house on the bookcase where it will reside. Can't leave it on the kitchen table where it is now, and can't put it away till both sides are on!

Alabama Baby's Ears No Longer White

And I touched up his face some, too. Hair needs more work and he needs limbs, of course. One of my friends always finishes the entire doll before doing the face, but I never do that. I always finish the face first, so I know who it is I'm working on.

He's sitting on the fireplace, drying. Is that doll abuse?!

Beginning my Hittys' house

It's being made of foamcore board. It's light and strong.

Here's the bottom with back and side walls notched together. No glue at this point; I want to be able to do wallpapering and painting to the inside surfaces before I glue the walls together.

Here's a corner; you can see the notches.

The Shillinger Hitty Family visits the "construction site" and approves.

One of Ella Smith's Original Alabama Babies

No two dolls were the same. I want one!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

It's a Boy! And Black Girl Doll Almost Dressed. And Another Suitcase

Well, once again the doll has its way! It decided it was a boy, not a little girl. That's Ok, I'm going to make him wear a Little Lord Fauntleroy suit!! Or maybe just a corduroy one. His ears are white because I just gessoed them--they are made separately and glued on. Tomorrow, they'll match his skin. I also sanded him some, so his face is rather battered looking. That is temporary; he'll look better soon. I still have to lengthen his torso, too.

This little girl is now dressed. All I need to do is sew snaps on the back of the dress. She'll be going to the gallery on Saturday, when I go to work the morning shift there. Finally!!! I started her in 2008!!!!!!

This is a small metal case I picked up at SA today for a dollar. I was half done covering it with canvas when I realized I had, yet again, forgotten to take a "before" photo of it. So this is the best I can do. Not sure how I will decorate this, or exactly where it is going, or what it is going to hold, but I don't have to decide that right now anyway. It's a nice size; bigger than a standard lunch box but not as big as a cosmetic case, or as heavy either.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Face Started

Worked on the face tonight for almost too long; I was beginning to get REALLY ANNOYED, which is never good. I get frustrated and start messing up things I should have left alone. She has no eyebrows yet and needs more work on the eyes. This is never a quick process for me; I spend a lot of time trying to get it right and doing paint overs. (sigh)  Someday perhaps I'll get so I can do this better and quicker. The face/head is the hardest part for me. I still have not decided whether I will paint the hair or add a wig--I think I'm leaning toward a wig, as I don't think her face is that of a baby's. I think she's a little girl. A friend of mine laughs because I tell her I have to wait for the doll to tell me who//what it is. I'm just not skilled enough to be able to control the outcome, and so I wait and see what I get and I go with that. I don't mind not being in control, as long as I like what I end up with.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Another Alabama Baby in Progress

It was too soon to draw a face on this doll, but I did it anyway, while waiting in the car while my DH went to his allergy doc. I could have gone in, but don't really like to sit in an allergist's office and be tortured by a looped video of dustmites playing over and over and over.....You get the picture.  
She looks quite charming with a plastic turban. I began to entertain thoughts of leaving her in black and white. However, when I showed her to a  friend and fellow doller, she pointed out to me that her face was a bit lopsided. I could see that she was right; funny how you can miss these things. I also wanted to fix her rather flattened nose.

So I added PaperClay to her right face and to her nose; I also put a little more on her mouth. I don't care what color of cotton knit I use, as it will be painted over. Often, I use old T shirts, but this time I used a scrap of yellow knit someone had given me.
Now the yellow knit is covered over with gesso. It will be lightly sanded and then another layer of gesso added. This will go on until I am satisfied with the smoothness of her head. I will add a little PaperClay to any seams that show or anything other imperfections that catch my eye. THEN, I can go back to drawing her eyes on again, and painting her. I haven't yet decided if she will have a painted baby head or a headful of hair (ie. a wig). I am also going to lengthen her torso, as it is a little short. She will probably be about 18-20" tall when finished.
     This is a surviving original "Alabama Indestructible Baby Doll," made between 1899 and 1922 in Roanoak, Alabama by Ella Smith; she could not patent her doll herself as women were not allowed to hold patents at that time. So her doll was patented by her husband.
     Ella set up a small factory that employed around 13 women; at first she painted all the dolls' faces herself, but later allowed some of her employees who were able, to paint some as well.
     In her sales brochure, she states: " My dolls are made from the best of goods. No dyes are used and they are all carefully handmade and can be washed like children. No cheap stuff used in the makeup of these dolls. They do not break from being dropped or thrown about. They have been tested by five years use. When they become worn and need new paint, they may be sent back to the shop and made (to) look like new again for a very small sum. Any of these dolls maybe provided with wigs, but most people like painted heads-they look neat- wigs become matted and tangled; but they may be taken off and the heads painted. These dolls are painted to represent all races of people. We try to please all people as nearly as we can. We want our dolls to give perfect satisfaction."
      Ella was an unusual woman in her day, being a business owner. She made wonderful dolls; I try to emulate her standards in the Alabama babies I make. I really enjoy making them--they are dolls I really love. Someday, I hope to own one of Ella's original babies.