Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Box Full of Memories.

Once again it's been a week since my last post.  Is it just me, or are the weeks getting busier?  Seems no matter how hard I try I just can't keep up with everything.

I am busy trying to finish up Christmas gifts that I am making.  Some days I don't feel as if I am going to get it all done.  I had planned to spend the weekend in my craft room for the past 2 weeks, but for some reason instead I have spent most of the weekends doing big cleaning projects.  Last weekend it was our bedroom.  I woke up on Saturday morning and decided it needed to have a complete clean and makeover.  So that is what I did all day Saturday... and so went the weekend.

You all know how I love to collect dolls.  Well I replied to an add on our local Kijiji last week.  A lady was selling a lot (box of 15) dolls. Last evening I went to look at these dolls and yup - I bought them, but better than that was the box lot that I did not buy.  It turns out that the lady who sold the dolls is the owner of the Doll Museum near here.  It is the largest doll museum in Western Canada.  Apparently she has a storage  area full of dolls which have been in storage for a long time.  Dolls, who were bought with the intention of displaying in the museum but have actually never made it there, because of lack of space.

http://vgross.webs.com

Can you imagine the size of my smile! 

I really want the box I left behind - it is full of larger 50's dolls... all in relatively good shape, but needing baths and spa days and some clothing repair or replacement.  These are dolls I grew up with... these are the ones I love the best.  So I am going to work hard to try and get them before someone else does.  She is not asking a lot for the box, but I don't use "our" money for my dolls.  I only use my own crafting money which is low at the moment because I have not been crafting.  I might have to sell a few of the dolls I just bought to buy the box I left behind.

So here are the beauties from yesterday's box.


I see a lot of spa days ahead!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Operation Christmas Child.

Are you looking for a good charity for Christmas?  There are so many Christmas Charities every year that it is difficult to choose one, and certainly you can do more than one.

This year at work we decided to do Operation Christmas Child.  For years we did hampers for the Christmas Cheer Board which went to local families in need. Then for several years we bought Christmas Dinners for the homeless at shelters in the city. Last year we filled warm socks with items for the homeless.


How does it work?
You choose a boy or a girl within a specific age group, and you pack a shoebox (provided by the organization) full of items for that child.


Since 1993 more than 94 million boys and girls from 130 countries have been joyful recipients of shoe box gifts. This year they are hoping that number will reach 100 million boys and girls.   You include such items as school supplies, such as pens, pencils, crayons, note pads and picture books.  Hygiene items such as a bar of soap.  Toys and other gifts such as stuffed animals, small musical instruments, hair clips, tshirts, socks, hard candy.  You can include a personal note or a photo in the shoebox as well.   So I chose a 10-14 yr old boy.  In my shoebox to him was some pencils, a notebook, a pencil case.  A small puzzle, a recorder, a watch, a bar of soap, 2 bags of hard candy and a pack of erasers.  I included a snowman card with a little story about how Canadian children build snowmen.   My box is on it's way to the depot to be shipped with thousands of other boxes to Children half-way across the world.   For November collection dates and locations please visit.   samaritanspurse.ca/packboxes   or call 1.800.303.1269   You will be happy you did...





Saturday, November 17, 2012

Saying Thanks

I don't usually post on the weekend.  Weekends are my family time - I try to stay off the computer and away from the electronic world as much as I can.

But this Saturday is the first Saturday in a long time that I have actually felt well.  No headache, no booming, no dizziness - it is wonderful... and I hope it lasts.

Thank you all who have been praying for my friends and family.  Some of our prayers have been answered already.  My cousin Elaine did very well with her breast cancer surgery - the tumor was small and early and so the surgery was not as invasive as expected.  She is resting and recovering, and in very good spirits with her good news.

My friend Sharon has decided to stay here in Winnipeg and start her treatments.  She has a long haul ahead of her but she is surrounded by family and friends and has much love and support to get her through this.  We hope and pray that her husband can sell their property in Alberta very soon so he too can finally move here.

The sun was shining today, and even thought the temps were on the cold side, seeing the sun was so uplifting after a month of gloomy cloudy weather.

So this Saturday we have much to be thankful for.

It feels like a perfect evening to knit.  I'm going to make a pot of tea, put some nice soft music on and knit.

Have an enjoyable evening everyone.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Prayerful Day!

My heart is so heavy this month.  You wouldn't know it by my seemingly upbeat posts about snow, dolls and Christmas  - but I have used those happier thoughts to cover the darker ones that lurk just below the surface of my psyche.

Life can be so cruel and painful.  We all know this, we all experience it at some time in our lives.  Pain is pain - whether it be physical, mental or emotional makes no difference - the result is mostly the same.

This month has been fraught with pain for so many that I love.  Friends and family alike are in pain this month, and so I ask you to help me pray for these who are suffering.

My cousin Elaine, is right at this moment being prepped for surgery for breast cancer.  I have been trying to walk her through this process because I can.  I hope I have helped her in some way... today, I pray for strength and healing for Elaine and for the surgeons who will be operating on her.  I shared this beautiful picture with her - it was a comfort to me going into surgery, and I know it will be to her as well.




Yesterday my friend Carol and her family laid her granddaughter's husband to rest.  He died suddenly leaving a young wife, and three small children behind.  I pray for Ashley and her children and all their family members who face a terrible struggle as they try to move forward from this day on.

My dearest friend, Sharon has just been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  This after surviving double mastectomy for breast cancer.  Sharon just moved back to Winnipeg, her husband Al isn't even here yet, she started a new job a week ago, and they bought a new house.  Within a week - their whole life changed.  I pray for Sharon and Al as they face the many challenges they are going to have during the next weeks and months.  I pray for Sharon's safe return to good health, wherever she may choose to have her treatment.

My neighbour, Gordon who has been battling cancer for 5 years now, had a accident last week which has affected him greatly.  Gordon was told there will be nothing further done for him and his cancer this spring.  He and his wife have been dealing with their affairs remarkably well.  Gordon even began to look better, and feel better, and then he fell off a city bus while leaving the bus.  He has deteriorated considerably.  I pray for both my friends as they travel through this new area of gray.

Young Michelle, who was involved in that senseless car crash in September is still suffering.  After 2 months she remains in daily rehab for her injuries, and she continues to receive home care at home.  Michelle is in pain, and she is frustrated and she is struggling with so many issues related to her accident and beyond.  I pray for her healing, and her acceptance of her limitations at this time of her life. 

I have been feeling ill for a few months.  I have been dizzy, lightheaded, and have had a headache for well over a month.  My blood pressure is elevated, and so far none of the medication changes have worked.  Some days I feel like a stroke about to happen, some days I wish it just would already - you know - like get it over with and lets get on with it....

But I don't want to have a stroke, neither do I want to feel the way I do... so I pray for myself.  For patience, for healing and for understanding why so many around me are in pain.

If you are a person who prays - please add these special people to your prayers.

Thank you.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Baking or Decorating?

Have you been baking?  I intended to bake on the weekend, just like I said I would, but when I crawled up to my top shelf to get my cookie cookbook, I was appalled at the grease on the shelf.  So much so in fact, that right there and then I decided to wash down my whole kitchen instead of baking.

Everything came out of the cupboards, out came the soap and water and clean rags and I cleaned.  I have to tell you it took me 2 days to clean up the mess I made, but it was worth it.  Wow, my kitchen is sparkling clean now.

And we did get that snow storm too - not quite as much as they had predicted, but still enough to get people stuck in the alleys.  This was 11pm Saturday night - halfway through the storm.  It was snowing pretty heavily, but we really didn't get much blowing, which is a really good thing.

The snow really put me in the "Christmas mood."  I want to decorate, and bake and cook, and decorate, and decorate.  Did I mentions I really want to decorate?   LOL!

I decided it would be okay to start putting a few things up in the windows - you know bobbles and things... oh heck, somewhere along the way that thought went out the window too -  and here is what I ended up doing...


Piano window #1.

Now that was so much fun I just have to continue!  I guess the dolls are going to be my feature this year  How fun is that!

So at the moment we are dressing for our parts.
Here is a pretty Chatty Cathy all ready for the holidays.



Window #2 - here I come!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Bake and Visit...

I got my Festive edition of Kraft foods, "What's cooking" in the mail yesterday.  I love this little magazine and look forward to receiving it every other month or so - but the Festive - or Holiday - dare I say "Christmas" edition is always a real treat (no pun there)!

As usual it is full of yummy meals and desserts and as online editions get more popular than paper - there are many many links to good recipes on the Kraft site.   http://www.Kraftcanada.com

I found many recipes I want to try, but for sure I wanted to tell you about the  big-batch Kris Kringle cookies.  The recipe makes 66 cookies - perfect kick-start to your holiday baking, if you do that sort of thing.



http://www.kraftcanada.com/en/recipes/big-batch-kris-kringle-cookies-83743.aspx

Do you still do a lot of baking for the holidays?  Remember the days when Christmas baking was started in November?  Does anyone do this anymore?

I think that was done because years ago people would visit around at 'Christmas".  Sundays were a visiting day and the holidays were also a special time for more visiting.  One had to have a lot of baking on hand to feed your guests.

Sadly we don't visit friends and family like we used to.  We have become, lazy, too busy, and too connected with the cyber world to actually get in the car and go and do weekly visiting.  I remember my parents always went to visit someone on a Sunday afternoon, and if they didn't it was because someone was visiting us.  It wasn't just them that went either - if they were visiting, then the rest of us were too.  It was a family effort, and no one was allowed to stay home for any reason.

One elderly couple that we visited a couple of times a month were living in a tiny little run down apartment in the inner city.  They were of French descent - he, right from France french, and she a French Canadian.  They had no children of their own, and my dad had known Mr Cousin for years as they had hunted together with my grandfather.  We would go and sit in the cramped little living room, the men would talk hunting (of course) and little Mrs. Cousin and my mom would talk about family.  Mrs. Cousin would want to know all about all our family, and then she would want to know all about what we kids were learning at school, and what activities we were doing.  About 9 pm she would get up and put the tea on.  We would all shuffle into the little kitchen and she would serve ham sandwiches - always ham sandwiches on store bought white bread. I think she made the sandwhiches early in the day, because the bread was always dry.  Mr. Cousin would pour some rye in his and my dad's tea and we would have a wee meal compete with Girl Guide cookies for dessert.

It is a cherished memory of my youth... and I wonder - will anyone have such a memory of a visit to my home years down the line?  I rather doubt it, because this was a regular and frequent visit, and we just don't do that anymore.


Maybe it's time to change that.... I'm going to start by making some of these cookies....



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Let it Snow!

There is a very good possibility that we are going to get our first big snowfall of the season this weekend.  The predictions at the beginning of the week were for 30cm or more, but now that has dropped to 15cm.  Darn and Drat!

It has been awhile since Winnipeg had a significant blizzard, and I for one, are in a mood to be house-bound for a few days.

I love the snow, everyone rolls their eyes at me, but I do love the snow.  Just to clarify - I'm not crazy about severe cold weather - I just love snow.  So 15 cm sounds good - 30 would be even better!

My craft room has a huge big window which is never covered because there are dolls all over the sill and a bunch standing on a trunk looking out.  I love this window, because even though I look out to the house next door, what I really see is a pretty garden in the summer, and beautiful clean white, undisturbed snow in the winter.

Neither my neighbour nor us use that area between the houses in the winter so it stays so pretty all winter long.  The snow piles naturally in the garden.  The birds are often sitting in the shrubs and plants that are left sticking out of the snow, and it is so peaceful and so very pretty to look at.  The other night I was in there and it was snowing huge big fat flakes that were coming down and catching on the plants.  They melted right away but they were all glittery as they fell, and it was so pretty to watch.

So that's what I want for this weekend.  I am inclined to be more creative when Mother Nature gives me a firm nudge. 

Even so, I am gaining some momentum without her nudge.  I finished another knitting project last night while listening to the Election Coverage.  I just might get that Christmas list completed in time this year.

I promise to take some pictures this weekend.

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Speedy Delivery!

Do you know how difficult it is to re-root a dolls head of hair?  I know, you don't really care, but I have to tell you - I spent a couple of hours these past few days watching YouTube videos, and really it is not something to consider doing unless you really want a good workout in frustration.

Even so - I went home after work, with the intention of at least attempting to remove my tiny Chatty's head.   To do this it has to be heated with a blow dryer to soften the plastic, because there is a neck flange inside that can break, if not done properly.  If the flange breaks - the head cannot be reattached.  So this was my intention... get the head off.

I got home, changed out of my work clothes into my sweats, was just heading into the craft room when I heard hubby say "Who is that guy walking out of our yard?"  Our doorbell is not working, but that makes no difference, as Molly always barks when someone or something comes into the yard.  She had not barked so we were surprised when we opened the front door and found a large flat parcel sitting on the steps.

I got terribly excited because a few weeks ago I had ordered a self-healing cutting mat set online from Joanne's Fabrics - and it was here!

I was like a kid at Christmas!  This was a Fiskar's set with a large cutting mat, ruler and rotary cutter.  The whole set cost less (shipping included) than one ruler would have cost me here. 

So doll forgotten I switched to quilting mode - just like that!  Out came the table runners I had started to make for Christmas and I was back in business.

I took a break for supper then decided to finish a knitting project, also for Christmas.

So this is the way it will be from now till Christmas? 

Seems so...

Happy Crafting!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

New Kid on the Block

Look who's come to stay at my house!

A Chatty Baby!

I have been looking for one of these for a long time, and then I got and email from my friend Eva in AZ saying she was bidding on a auction on Ebay for 2 Chatty Babies and 2 tiny Chatty babies - if she won them would I like to split them with her?

Well that was an offer I could not say no to. I got the better of the Chatty Babies, because Eva already has a nice one, and she got the better of the Tiny Chatty Babies because I already have a nice one.   So we each got 1 good doll and one fixer upper. 
Here is my fixer upper Tiny Chatty

I just can't stand a dirty doll so she got a shampoo and a bath and some warm clothes and now she is looking a little less sad.



She will need a complete re-rooting of her hair as it's been cut badly and what is left is just fuzz.  I want to crack her open and try my hands at working on the voice box, but now that she is clean, I am a little afraid to tear her apart.  But I will.

I had several boxes of stuff to take to the thrift store today and just in case there would be a good doll or two for sale I decided to pop in the store.  There were no dolls but all the Halloween stuff was on sale for 1.00.  One of the best things to use to re root dolls hair are the good Halloween wigs.  I grabbed several which were in the 20.00 range originally for 1.00 each, so now that I have the hair - I need to take the plunge and give it a try.

But first this little one has to beheaded and cracked open.  Wish me luck as I start this new venture.  I'll take pictures as I go along.



  

Friday, November 2, 2012

New Beginnings

Last post I told you that I have returned to my writing.  The last project I was working on before I went astray was a story about Chatty Cathy... by Cathy herself.  At the moment I am not really sure where this story is going.  I have some idea floating around my head for a chapter book, and then there is the idea for a picture book, and it seems somewhere along the way I have started writing a novel - so we'll just have to go with it and see where it takes me.

I have been taking some photos of scenes with my Chatty Cathy dolls, I have a lot more in mind and all that was in preparation for a picture book - well  - maybe I'll do one of each kind of book!

By now you all know of my love, maybe even obsession with this doll, so who better to write about?

I thought I'd share a little bit of the beginning of my story with you.

This is early days in this story - but I thought it might be fun to see what you think because this is a totally different style of writing for me. 

So here goes - hope you enjoy!



Chapter one



MERRY CHRISTMAS CATHY

It all started in 1963. There I was, in my box on the top shelf of the doll isle in The T Eaton & Co. store in downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Where is Winnipeg, you ask?

Well if you took a map of Canada and folded it in half matching the east coast to the west, then pressed a crease right down the middle – well you’d be close enough to Winnipeg to see the Golden Boy. But that’s another story; we were talking about the T Eaton store in downtown Winnipeg.

I wish you could have seen the store that year. It was ablaze with lights and decorations from the basement to the 9th floor. Christmas was everywhere. It was the main shopping destination for every man and woman and the toy section was every child’s dream come true.

The store windows on the street level were decked out with wonderful winter scenes. Each window was a different scene, filled with popular toys that were for sale in the store. Some windows were decorated with toys for boys to play with; others were only for the girls.

My favorite window was the one of a life –sized doll house complete with every piece of doll furniture available; the dolls even had a Christmas tree with presents beneath it. Oh it was grand! There were sleighs for the dolls to ride in, ponds for them to skate across, and piles of snow for them to toboggan down. A few of my friends got to spend the whole Christmas season, playing in the doll’s window scene.

The rest of us - me along with twenty-four other dolls just like me, stood in our boxes on shelves in the toy department on the fourth floor. Our days were spent watching moms and dads as they searched for the perfect Christmas present for their little girls.

We were the most sought-after doll that year. Chatty Cathy; the talking doll that said eleven different things.

“Just pull her ring; you never know what she’ll say next.” Every little girl knew the closing line in our TV Commercial. They had been watching that commercial for weeks now. What they didn’t know was how much we wanted to be taken home and played with by our own little girl.

I secretly wanted a girl of my own, but what I really wanted was the pretty red coat with the white collar that came as part of my wardrobe. If I could get a girl and a red coat, well I guess I would just about be the happiest doll ever!

One by one that Christmas season, the boxes of the other dolls started to leave the shelf. We had all been born in the same factory, so when a box left the shelf in the hands of a happy Mom or Dad we silently wished our sister farewell, along with a silent prayer that they would live in a happy home, with a nice girl to play with them.

As the days drew closer to Christmas I waited and waited. It seemed that every little girl this year wanted the yellow- haired doll with the blue dress and shoes. My hair was dark – they called me the brunette model, and my dress and shoes were red. I thought that went pretty well with the colors of Christmas, but I guess the little girls in 1963 didn’t care about that.

The doll in the box next to mine was getting sort of nervous that perhaps we would not be wanted at all. She too had darker hair – not as dark as mine, but not yellow either. Hers was more reddish, but she did have a blue dress and shoes, only her dress did not have a pinafore with it.

“Pssssssssst… Cathy, are you getting scared that we are going to be stuck in these boxes forever?” She whispered when the isle finally emptied of people.

“Not really, Chatty. Someone will want us, eventually.”

“But what if they don’t? Will that mean that we have to stay in these boxes forever?”

I didn’t get a chance to tell her that everything would be okay because a man and woman who had been walking up and down the isle for awhile had finally stopped right in front of our boxes and they were staring up at us.

“I don’t know, Walter; the girls really wanted blonde dolls. It doesn’t look like there are any left.” The lady said, her voice rising in frustration.

The man looked around him, “We could always go back and get the nurse kits or the baking sets.”

“No, they told Santa it had to be Chatty Cathy this year, we’ll just have to take what we can find.”

“I suppose I could ask a sales clerk, maybe they have more in the back somewhere.” The man pivoted on his heels and headed down the isle away from her.

The lady studied us and paced the floor while she waited. “I think you two are kind of cute,” she quietly told us. “If we don’t buy you, I’m afraid we won’t get a doll like you anywhere! Oh what to do, what to do?”

“The clerk said these are the last two, once they are gone they will be sold out.” The man was back. He reached forward and plucked my box off the shelf and threw it in the shopping cart. In went my friend’s box, smack dab on top of mine.

“He could have been more gentle,” Chatty hissed, as we whizzed down the isle towards the check out area.

“Hey, now is our chance to check out the Santa’s Village that all the kids talk about as they pass by us,” My vision was blocked by Chatty’s box. “Can you see anything, Chatty, your box is in my way!”

“Yeah, I see where it is, but there are so many kids in the isle I can’t see what they are looking at. Oh, but Cathy – I can see Santa sitting there. Oh I wish you could see his pretty red suit.”

“Yeah, me too.” I tried not to let my disappointment ruin the excitement of finally leaving the store shelf. “What’s taking so long?”

“Shhh…, we’re next. It’s a real long line to the cash register.” Chatty whispered, and then her box was lifted and for a moment I could see everything.

“There can’t be many of these dolls left,” the cashier chatted with the man and woman who were taking us home.

The woman smiled brightly and nodded her head. “These two were the last on the shelves. Our little girls made it perfectly clear that they only wanted Chatty Cathy for Christmas, so we are so happy we could still find a couple of them. Oh, I forgot to get some outfits for the dolls, can we leave these here and come back for them?”

“I thought we were done,” grumbled the man. “You go get the outfits; I’ll wait here for you.” He crossed his arms across his chest and prepared to wait for his wife.

“Do you hear that Cathy, she is getting us some outfits! Oh, I am so excited.” Chatty was so happy her box was almost rattling.

“Just so long as I get a red coat. Oh Chatty, I really want that red coat so much.”

“I heard they were sold out of the red coat two days ago.” Chatty said quietly.

“I didn’t hear that,” I pouted. “Maybe you didn’t hear right, Chatty; they just have to have some left.”

“Maybe…”

“Okay, I’m back. Here we go,” the woman piled some clothing packs on the table and waited for the cashier to ring them through.

“What did she get?” I was desperate to see a red coat in the pile of garments.

“I see pink pjamma’s,” Chatty whispered. “ I like those.”

“Do you see the red coat?” Oh please let there be a red coat, I prayed silently.

“Wow, the lady at the till is fast – everything is in the shopping bag already. Guess we’ll have to wait until we get to our new house.” Chatty tried to cheer me.

We were airborne for a second and then landed again in the shopping cart. This time only the floor tiles were visible to me.

“Can you see anything now, Chatty?

“No,” her voice was muffled. “I’m face down over the shopping bag of clothes.”

I giggled quietly, “All I see is shoes and floor tiles.”



And that was the last we saw of the T Eaton & Co, store in downtown Winnipeg.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

OHhhh....

It seems I am really off-again, on-again with my blog writing of late.  I apologize for being so.  Actually my bogging mirrors my current frame of mind exactly.

For the past month or more, my world has been sitting on a little tilt - or at least that is how it feels to me.  But after watching the devastation brought about by Sandy to our friends down south - I think a quick slap up the side of the head is in order (for me).

My problems at work and my health concerns have been getting to me - but they are nothing like the problems of so many who have lost so much to Sandy.  My heart goes out to them all...  I cannot imagine the devastation that has occurred there, nor can I imagine the amount of time and money it is going to take to right that devastation.  It boggles the mind.

It just so happens that I ran in to an old dear friend.  Actually he is a physician I worked for for many years who now will be working on my unit once a month doing laser surgeries.  Imagine my surprise and utter delight when he walked into my office on Monday wearing his surgical greens and smiling from ear to ear.

We have seen each other occasionally over the 13 yrs since I have not worked for him, but it always seems we have been rushed and not able to catch up.  On Monday he was finished his procedures and too early to return to his office so "catch up" we did.

He was just the thing I needed.  We chatted about our families, our children, his grandchildren, our spouses, we reminisced, and we talked about the future, and then he said " How's the writing going?"

I told him I haven't written anything in a long time and he tsk, tsked me and said his customary "OHhhhhhh... in a way that said he disproved.  It was all I needed to hear.  That soft disappointed explanation was my slap up the side of the head.  Thank you Willie!

I dug out the last writing project I was working on and all of a sudden my mind is full, and my fingers are flying... and Voila! - just like that I feel better!

Amazing how that goes sometime...