Friday, October 4, 2013

Bring on the weekend!

What  week!  I am so happy it is Friday and the weekend looms ahead.

I have been spinning my wheels trying to get caught up at work, a task that I think I might actually have accomplished for once, but I am not fooled into believing that is will last for long.

The wheels have been turning at home as well.  I have such a mess in my craft room that I can barely find the chair or table in there.  Once again I have a zillion things started, a couple of things finished, and a mind full of ideas yet to start.  I have to get this under control  - I really do!

I have managed to finish 4 doll sweaters - they now need hats to complete the sets.  And perhaps a bit of embellishments as well  - after all they are for dolls...  I know they won't last long so I am knitting more so I can get a head start on them.

Last night at choir practice I was reading the upcoming bulletin and saw the church is having a tea and craft sale in December - news to me...

And what do you think my brain is doing today - would you believe me if I said - thinking about getting a table?  You know me too well!

Speaking of choir practice - it went well - and we sound fantastic - so much so that we have been asked to sing for a wedding on October 19th.  How exciting is that!  We will be doing Jesu Joy - which personally is not one of my favourites - but we do it well, so the bride and groom will be happy.  I hope to sneak my ipod into a practice so I can record a couple of pieces for you.

Tomorrow is going to be cabbage roll making time.  I have to buy my ingredients tonight, and plan to spend the morning in the kitchen.  Maybe I'll do a little baking as well - it has been awhile since I have had any baking in the freezer.

So on we go - have a safe and productive weekend everyone!


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

BOO!

Yesterday was a gorgeous fall day here.  The weather turned warm, the colors are vibrant on the trees and also on the ground as the leaves are falling.  My favourite time of the year, finally is here!

I have another contest coming up in the Chatty group.  This one is to have a fall picture with a Chatty in it, and the only other thing that the picture must have is the word BOO.. somewhere.  It has to be posted on Oct 5th on the Chatty group site - and of course there is a prize for the best picture.

I knew right away what I wanted to do, but for this project I decided a smaller Chatty would have to be used as Cathy is pretty heavy.  I crocheted the letters BOO in black and glued them to a lollipop stick.  Then I dressed my doll - this is one that really needs to be restored - but I haven't tackled it yet.

So here are the two pictures I came up with.

What do you think?



Basically the same picture, one is just a little closer than the other.  Think I will use the second one.
Cute or what?

So wish me luck - maybe I'll win the prize!

There is also another prize to be won at the Masquerade at the end of the month.  For this one a Chatty has to be in a costume.  I haven't made one yet, but I do know what I will make.

In the meantime, I have been trying to make some things for my Etsy shop.  I'd really like to get it up and running within the next week or two - so stay tuned for more on that.

And last but not least - a big (((HUG))) for my nephew Leigh this morning - today he starts a new journey as he sets up housekeeping in his first apartment.  Good Luck Leigh!



Monday, September 30, 2013

Designing a Weekend!

Hope no one is rushing here this morning to see what I created or "Designed" on the weekend.  Don't be terribly disappointed in me when I tell you I created not one thing, nor did I design anything.

My weekend flew by, in typical weekend fashion leaving me dissatisfied with myself for accomplishing  - well - not much at all.

Who said we have to be productive every minute anyway?  I am very productive all week at work - I work hard and accomplish an awful lot - so perhaps weekends should be resting up and doing nothing time?

Well anyway - if life was so perfect we'd all be a lot different than we are.  Thank goodness it's not perfect - it is more interesting that way!

I did get my laundry done - and I did get to the thrift store - which I had not been to in about a month.  I found a real piano lamp there - you know the brass kind that can be adjusted in two places... I have wanted one of these on my piano for a long time.  You can adjust them to shine right down on the music with less shine in the eyes, and because my old piano is an upright I needed a light that could be lowered down the front of the box.  This one is perfect.

And because of that one 6.99 purchase at the thrift store, my plans for the weekend changed.  I realized I had been neglecting one of my other talents so I sat at the piano and played - and played - and played.   What a wonderful way to while away a rainy afternoon!

I also spent some time next door with my neighbour, Elaine.  It's been 4 months since her husband Gordon passed away  - and she has been doing very well - but yesterday was Gordon's birthday - it was a hard day for her, and a week ago she had to put down her beloved Sparky, so she was feeling quite sad.  She needed to talk and she needed to hear how well she is doing, and that there are people who love her...

She made her cheese scones, we had coffee, we talked, we cried and we laughed... mainly due to this little fellow...

Meet Minty!


Minty is the new addition to her home.  He will never replace Sparky, but already he has healed some of her broken heart.  He is 8 wks old, already trained and a very loving and good little guy.  He is exactly what Elaine has needed.

Katie, is not quite sure yet how she feels about this young brat - but at least she is no longer hissing and spitting at him.


So how was my weekend?

I'd say, it was rather Blessed!

Friday, September 27, 2013

It's time!

It's time for a little "Designing" time for myself.  I joined a very large Chatty Cathy group and they have several events coming up for Chatty that require some special outfits.  One is a Halloween Masquerade party.  I have already decided what I want to dress my doll up as - but now I have to create the outfit.  I am going to crochet it (somehow) and I am going to use some of the stash of hand-spun wool my neighbor gave me to make it...  That is this weekend's goal.

Well that and the usual house cleaning- cooking-laundry stuff that usually goes on.  I also am ready to tackle my first re-root (hair) on a doll.  I have been too busy to tackle it before now, but it's time.  I will try and take some pictures along the way  - if I do an okay job, you'll see them - if I don't - you won't!

I really would like to make my cabbage rolls but I think that can wait one more week - not really in the mood for that this weekend.  I usually make many dozen at this time of the year and then again before Christmas.

I am finding being back to working a 5-day week is really tiring.  But I have a week off following Thanksgiving so that should refresh me somewhat... I hope!

So have a great weekend everyone - get out and enjoy the wonderful colors of fall if you can.  We are supposed to have a rainy weekend, so it might be a bit wet for that here - but we won't complain - we really need the rain very badly around these parts.

Talk to you next week!


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bye Bye Sweet Friend!

This is a re-post from a couple of years back.  It is a poem I wrote about my neighbor's cat Sparky after cat-sitting both him and young Katie for a month while his people were away.

Sparky was the sweetest old fellow, and he passed away last Friday.  He will be so missed by Elaine, his owner, and by me too - his surrogate owner.  He leaves behind a very sad a lonely Katie... who just can't quite understand why her best friend has not come home.

RIP Sparky!




SPLENDID SPARKY SPEAKS
Sparky was a splendid cat,
Refined, mature and wise.
He’d been around the world a time or two,
You could see it in his eyes.
He’d hunted rabbits in the wild,
When New Zealand was his home;
He’d been all around the globe,
Except perhaps, to Rome.
His humans were a caring sort,
And sought a friend for him,
The cat they bought to give him joy
Believed the house a gym.

She was a very active gal,
Naughty, more to truth;
It could have been her nature,
But he thought it was her youth.

Mishaps became the normal day,
He had to struggle through.
She listened to no cat advice,
No, not a single mew.
Soon he became complacent,
Or maybe he was bored;
For after all his humans knew
That really, he was Lord.

A tune up was what he’d suggest,
If ever they would ask;
He could even offer them,
Assistance to the task.
Ah, Sparky was a splendid cat,
Refined mature and wise;
Yup, he’d sure welcome any chance,
To cut her down to size.
2010
Dale Graumann

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Another "Little Thing"

Speaking of little things - is there anything nicer than receiving a plant - or flowers - unexpectedly?

I don't think so.

I has been a particularly difficult four months at work - with a new billing program topping off a slew of computer related problems and issues.  Downtime has been rampant - work time has been frustrating, even without having more doctors added to my work load.  Most of the physician's I bill for (17 of them) don't bother to even ask how it's going - you'd think they would - after all it is their income...

But there is one who has asked each and every time he steps in the room, and he has shown genuine interest and empathy when we needed to vent or rant or rave.

Yesterday he brought this to the office - just to say thanks for all we do...


A  "Little Token" , says he - 

"Goes a long way", says me...

It's a little thing (according to him) but it has given us joy, and it will continue to do so for a long time to come...

Thank You Dr. R!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Pay attention to the little things!

Who knew I would miss sitting down every evening to write a blurb for my blog... It has become something I do right after I get the supper dishes done - I write my blog for the next day.  In a way it is a good way for me to think about what has gone on in my life - it makes me remember the little things that one tends to set aside as non-important.  Everything is life is important however - the older you get the more true that becomes.

Little things can take one down a very long path.  It happens to me all the time, and I will admit I did not always pay attention to the detail of the path - but I do now.  I don't know why I do - but I do.

It happened yesterday.  I was walking to church in the morning - it's a nice long walk through an older well-established neighborhood that dates back to the very early 1900's.  I love looking at the big old houses as I meander along.  I got to one corner and noticed that there were a lot of oak leaves on the ground, then I noticed the acorns, also on the ground.  Suddenly I was 8 yrs old, and I could almost see myself with a brown paper bag in my hand, down at the end of our street collecting acorns for my grandfather's pigs.  It got me to thinking... my Grandpa lived on a farm with hundreds of oak trees all around.  Whatever prompted me to fill bag after bag of acorns from one oak tree down the street?  I really don't know - but I did every fall.

Funnier yet  - my Dad packed them in the trunk of the car and we drove over 2 hours to see Grandpa and deliver them to the pigs.  My Grandpa was not an easy man to get to know - but it says much about him to me now, when I remember him being delighted that I had brought the acorns, and making a big show of helping me feed them to his pigs, who I'm sure were well fed on grain and chop...

That one little moment eased my heart somewhat, especially since I had spent a large part of my weekend being sad, knowing a sibling of mine was in town, and knowing he would not be contacting me.

A little thing like an acorn laying on the sidewalk - turned out to be not such a little thing at all - AND I got to write about it here, which made it all make sense somehow.

Profound!

May the little things bring you joy in your life...






Friday, September 20, 2013

Just checking in to say HI

Just popping in to say a quick  HI!  Hope everyone is doing fine.

I have been very busy since I decided to take my break.  In the short time I have been away a lot has happened.

First a real sweet and good, long-time friend of ours has passed away.  I have known Rick for thirty-some years or more.  He passed away last week and his funeral is tomorrow.  My love to his wife Donna, and their children, Graham and Hailey.  Rick was one of those people who gave, gave, gave - he was funny and kind, always there when you needed him... a real good friend...and he cooked a mean turkey.  Love you Rick - rest in peace, my friend...

I made a 18 minute you-tube video on how to make bread-dough clay... if you are interested you can watch it here...
http://youtu.be/s5BCG07Wvb8

I will be following it up soon with another video on what and how to create things from the clay...

I finished the afghan for my great-niece who has started college away from home...


I inherited more yarn - real hand spun wool (on the floor) this time from my neighbor Elaine.  So now my stash looks like this...


Looks like a lot but believe it or not - not enough of any one thing to make a human sweater.  However there is more than enough to do many doll outfits!

And speaking of dolls... I made new pj's for my Cathy's so they could participate in the first ever Chatty Cathy PJ Party on Facebook.  It was awesome - we all had a blast - and my photo was one of the top 5 chosen ( out of hundreds) so I am pretty happy about that.



Next Up?

Still trying to get outfits done to open my Etsy shop... there is a Halloween Masquerade Party coming up next month for the Cathy's... I already know what I'm dressing one up as...

Choir is great this year - I am enjoying being back singing again...

The fall weather is upon us - much cooler - yeah - the leaves are starting to turn, and every morning I hear the geese flying south.

Winter is just around the corner...

It's all good...


Till next time - take care everyone!

Isn't this the cutest girl you ever saw?




Monday, September 9, 2013

Taking a Break!

Happy Monday morning everyone!

I apologize for not updating the "Cathy" story as I promised.  I have pretty much had to start from the beginning on the story as my computer issues have pretty much shut me out of my document - and of course I had not backed up most of it - so there you go.

I do know better than to do these things, but my mind has been preoccupied with so much of late, that I am thinking that perhaps now is not the ideal time to be writing this in the first place!

I am really struggling to accomplish way more than I should even be attempting, and so for this reason I have decided to take a little time away from here so I can get myself back on track.  I have re-evaluated my priorities to some degree and I realize that although I do have a handful of faith-full followers, this blog is hit and miss at the best of times.

The reality is that is takes a lot of time, to plan and write a daily blog - even a weekly blog.  What takes the reader minutes to read -  takes me an hour or more to write (on a good day).  Right now I just don't have the time I need to devote to this project.

Also I have some reservations as to who is reading my blog.  When I set this site up I made the decision to leave it open so it would be available to everyone.  That will most certainly change when and if I start to blog again.  There are some who don't want to communicate with me, who don't want to be part of my life, but they don't mind reading all about what is going on in my life - here.  You know who you are, and all I can say is - Sorry to spoil your fun!

So for now I am going to take a break from blogging... while I concentrate on some other important things in my life.

God willing, we will chat again soon -



Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Cathy's story. Chapter 3

It is a beautiful, if not somewhat cool morning here in Winnipeg this morning.  Our overnight temps plummeted down into the 40's overnight.  No wind this morning, just a cool calm morning.

How lucky for me that I just happened to have my camera with me this morning as I spotted one of my most favorite things on my way to work this morning.


I didn't feel nearly so bad about having to get up early after seeing this... and no I was not driving... so I could monkey around the sap on the windshield to get this nice shot.

On a different note - 

I had forgotten what a formatting nightmare Blogger can be.  It does not convert a word document well at all, that is why you may notice that each chapter looks a bit different.  The original document looks as it should - please forgive the way it is looking here.

But I will continue on  - formatting woes and all.

The story continues...


Chapter Three

LOOKING BACK


I wish I could show you pictures of my early life with Wendy.  Back then most families only had one camera, and most often it was a box camera that only took black and white still pictures. 

Wendy’s family did have a movie camera, and it was used at special times such as Christmas, weddings and family reunions, but I was never captured on the movie camera, and even if I had been, no one could remember where those films ended up –so they are forever lost.

Still nothing can remove the happy memories of my time spent with Wendy.

Except maybe, the day I am about to tell you about.

It was a Saturday, everyone was home that day.  Wendy’s Mom was baking cookies, her Dad was mowing the lawn and Wendy and I were playing quietly in her bedroom.  Wendy had just changed my outfit and was fixing my hair when she pulled my string.

“Grrrr, grrrrr…. I….grrrr…. you!”  I couldn’t believe that had come from my record –something was horribly wrong!

“What’s the matter with you, Cathy?”  Wendy whispered and pulled again.

“Do you want to play with me?”  Whew, must have been the humidity in the air, I thought - what a relief, my voice was fine!

She giggled and shook her finger at me.  “Naughty Cathy, don’t do that again!”

But the next day the same thing happened, not once but several times in a row.  I was devastated, scared and sad that I could not tell my girl I loved her.  Wendy was beside herself and immediately blamed her sister for breaking my record.

Wendy’s father could fix just about anything, he promised us both that he could fix me too, so the next day he took me down to his workshop to do just that.

He asked Wendy’s mom to undress me.  Whoa – not happening, I thought to myself – not that I had any control over such things.  Within minutes I was bare plastic for anyone to see… how crushed I was to be so in front of a man!

“Well Cathy, lets see what is going on with you.”  He picked me up and turned me this way and that way over and over as if he was looking for something.

“Looks like I am going to have to crack her chest open, Bonnie,” he said to his wife,  “Might be a good idea to keep Wendy occupied away from here until I have the doll back together.”

He took a pocket knife and sliced along my side seam, but he could not cut through the plastic.  Then he took a hammer and tapped on the end of the knife until the blade went through my plastic. 

“Sorry Cathy,” he mumbled as he repeated poking holes along my seam from my hip to my neck, then he ran the blade between the holes until one side was open.

My arm began to feel loose and as he turned me over and started to work on my other side seam, I began to feel like I was falling apart. 

I was falling apart.  Piece by piece I landed on his work table.  First one arm fell and then the other.  My head was next, and then my legs, until the only part of me he held was my chest.  I heard a crack and then that too fell open.

My life was over!  There I lay in pieces and all I could think of was that I hadn’t told Chatty goodbye.  Poor Chatty – who was going to watch over her if I wasn’t there?  And my poor girl, Wendy -  I’d never see her again.  Despair hit me like a cement floor.  My head rolled to the side and my eyes closed. 


I have no idea how long I lay on that work table, I didn’t count the days or even the weeks, but one day Wendy’s Dad came back into the room with a determined look on his face.

“Cathy, I have to fix you today, either that or forever be looked upon as a monster by my little girl.”  He picked up half of my chest and pulled my string.

“Grrrrrr…. I…. grrrrrr….. grrrrr.”

“You don’t say?” he chuckled and pulled again.
“Grrrrr….. grrrrr….”

I heard a snap and my record player was open.

“Look at this little record,”  I heard him say quietly, “Everything looks good here.”

He worked on my record player for a long time, and finally he stopped trying.  No matter what he did, the results were always the same when he pulled the string.

“Looks like you won’t ever talk again, Cathy,” he said sadly.

He reassembled my chest put my arms and legs back and my head on, and then wrapped a wide piece of tape around my middle.  I would never have a sealed body again, nor would I ever speak another word. 


I was devastated as was Wendy who cried herself asleep that night and several nights after that.  The worst had happened.  I had lost my voice.  I knew it would only be a short time before Wendy would no longer want me as her friend

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Some more Cathy Story.

My four-day weekend went by much too quickly, and that was the last of my Friday's off for the summer.  Now it's back to a regular work week, and I'm feeling more than a little sorry for myself.

In a way I am looking forward to getting back to a routine of sorts.  I am starting back to choir this week, so every Sunday will be spent singing until next May.  In a month or so we will already be deep into the practices for our big Advent and Christmas events.  I can't wait to see what music we will be singing this year...

In the meantime, I have signed up for a couple of fun events on a Chatty Cathy group on FB that I belong to.   We are having a Chatty Cathy Pajama party in September.  There will be Cathy's there from all over the globe - how fun is that!  All 4 of my Cathy's are involved so this past weekend I had to make some PJ's.  I am happy to say I make PJ's much better than dresses - they turned out great!

Now I will set up a photo shoot with the dolls in a PJ party theme, and these images will be shared with the other group members on the Pajama party day- how fun is that!

We are also having an outfit exchange and I decided to knit a couple of outfits.  Actually one sweater/skirt combo and a coat and hat and scarf combo.  Not sure yet which set I'll send, I'll have to wait and see how they turn out first.

I tried to do some writing on the weekend as well, and I did get some more the Cathy's story done.

So here is the next bit...

Enjoy!

Chapter two

LET THE FUN BEGIN.


Life with Wendy was exactly how I imagined it would be.  Wendy and I spent every moment we could together and when Wendy had to be away from me, I still had my friend Chatty to hang out with.  

The only place I was not allowed to go with Wendy was to her school, except for show and tell day, but that didn’t work out too well because all the other little girls brought their Chatty Cathy’s to school that day too.

When Wendy went visiting to her cousin’s home - I went too.  When Wendy went to piano lessons, I went along and sat in on the big lumpy davenport in the teachers parlor, listening to Wendy trying to learn the piano.  

I went to swimming lessons, girl guides, skating lessons, and even once to a movie theater to see Cinderella.  That was fun - I had never been to a movie before.  We went to the park often where we would play for hours on the swings, slides and teeter-totters, and in the winter time I even went sledding for real... not pretend like the dolls in the Easton’s store window.

Yes, my life was good.

Both Chatty and I got new outfits often, but I never did get the red coat with the white fur collar.  One of the dolls down the street did though - and she wore it every time I saw her - I think she did it on purpose just because she knew I wanted one so badly!

Wendy’s family moved around a lot, her father was in the Air Force.  Sometimes it seemed we would just start to know other girls and their dolls and then we would be moving again.  Moving so often, upset my Wendy - but she always had me to help her feel better once we got to the new house.

We went on a lot of family vacations.  The car was always crammed with kids and toys, it was a noisy time, but it was usually fun. 

Chatty and I never were left behind, we and some favorite outfits were always packed in a bag and set on the floor of the back seat of the car for the trip - unlike the other toys, like the coloring books and the old-maid cards that had to travel in the trailer behind the car.

One time we went camping to a lake for a week.  The family had a tiny little pull trailer where everyone stayed and slept in.  It was fun, but very crowded.  At night all the girls and their dolls would pile in the same bed. I always ended up on the floor in the middle of the night because there wasn’t enough room for us all.  I had a sore back for days after that that trip.

One day Wendy decided I should go swimming in the lake.  I was afraid it would ruin my voice box so I really didn’t want to go, Chatty didn’t want to go either because she was afraid she would drown in the lake.

Wendy put me under her arm and headed off towards the water.  I could just feel the sweat breaking out on my back.  What if I got all wet and then my voice wouldn’t work anymore?  What if I couldn’t say “I love you” anymore?

Wendy was in the water up to her waist and I could feel my feet getting wet.  I didn’t know what to do so I just clung on for dear life.  Suddenly Wendy looked down into the water and gave a loud shriek.

“Daddy, there are leeches in the water,” she yelled so loud she almost made me dizzy and then she almost dropped me in her hurry to get out of the water.  She ran as fast as she could back to shore and almost dropped me twice in the process, but finally we were safely out of the water.  

“Wendy you can’t take Cathy in the water,” her dad said as he lifted us both up into his arms and examined her feet.  “No leeches on you,”  he said with a grin.

“What about Cathy?  Check her feet too, okay!”

He ran his hands across my feet.  “No leeches on Cathy, either.  Now you two better sit and play in the sand.”  He put us down and handed us the sand pails and shovels.

For the rest of the afternoon we made sand castles, although Wendy’s brother kept smashing them to bits.  I felt like booting him one in rear for pestering us all day, but finally he decided to bug someone else and we were able to play together for the rest of the day.  It was the most perfect day, ever; and I never had to go swimming again.


While my life was almost perfect, Chatty’s was anything but.  Wendy’s sister, Ursula, was not always a nice girl, like my Wendy.  Ursula was a brat - plain and simple.  She was spoiled rotten and for some reason she never seemed to get into trouble for the mean things she did.

We all shared the same bedroom.  I always slept in Wendy’s bed at night with my head on her pillow and the blankets pulled up to my chin, but Chatty always spent the night face down on the carpet - sometimes even under the bed!

When the girls went off to school Chatty and I talked.

“Are you okay, Chatty?”  I asked one morning just after the girls had left the house.  Chatty was lying on her back on the floor, her right arm bent back behind her head.  Her dress was torn where the buttons had come off and her hair had not been combed in weeks.

“Oh Cathy, I wish Wendy was my girl.  She looks after you so good.  Look at you, in your pretty pink dress and shoes.  Your hair is always nice, you always have ribbons in your hair!”  Chatty sighed loudly,  “I’m sorry Cathy, I shouldn’t say those things, but sometimes I get jealous of you.”

“I know, Chatty.  I feel bad that Ursula is so mean to you.”

“She never loved me the way your Wendy loves you - never!”

“I heard Wendy ask her mother if she could give us a bath tonight, that would be nice wouldn’t it Chatty?"

“Yes, but she won’t bath me because I’m not her doll.  Oh Cathy I wish Ursula would lose me and some other little girl would pick me up and take me home.”

“You don’t mean that, Chatty!”

“I sure do.  I know just the house I’d like to live in too.  That Maureen down the street is a really nice girl.  She has a Chatty Baby and some big rubber dolls, and they are all very happy there.”

“Is that the girl who has the pretty green doll stroller?”

“Yes, isn’t it something?  The rubber doll that rides in it always has the brightest smile on her face!  She told me the other day that her girl has asked for the new type of doll to play with.  It's a fashion doll, whatever that is!”

“You mean Barbie?”

“That’s the one.  They say she will me more popular than we ever were.  Do you think that’s possible, Cathy?”

“I doubt it.  There will never be a doll as good as us ever again.  You remember that while you are lying down there, Chatty.”

“Don’t get mad at me, Cathy, I’m just telling you what the rubber doll said.”  Chatty closed her eyes and I knew our conversation was over.


“I’m not mad at you Chatty, I just don’t believe any new doll will someday replace us.”  I sure hoped not, I didn’t want to think of the day when my Wendy no longer wanted me.


Friday, August 30, 2013

Cathy's Story Chapter 1

Here is the first Chapter of my new story.  I am pretty much writing this story as I go, it is not finished, I'm not even sure where the story is going - guess we will find out together.  This is the first draft - I'll try not to make it too "first-draft-ish"  but just the same please remember first drafts need many re-writes to actually make a good book.  Hope you enjoy my story!



Have a Safe and Happy Labour Day Weekend everyone - talk to you on Tuesday!





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 such things.
  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 couple 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.
 “Yeah, that would have been nice,”  I whispered back as we hurriedly moved towards the store entrance.
 And that was the last time we ever saw the T Eaton& Co, store in downtown Winnipeg.


 The temperature was twenty-nine below freezing that night outside of the store.  We bounced along in the shopping cart across the frozen sidewalks and rutty streets until we got to our new owner’s car.  Grumbling under his breath that he ought to have his head examined he carelessly tossed us into the trunk of the car and then slammed down the trunk lid.

 “Are you okay, Cathy?”  Chatty sounded like she was about to cry.  “I feel like my speaker has rattled loose.”  She whispered desperately.
 “I’m sure it is fine, Chatty.  We won’t be here long, I’m sure.  Soon we will be somewhere safe and warm… I just know it!”
 Of course I knew nothing of the sort, but Chatty was a sensitive doll.  She had been fearful since the day we had left the factory, and I made it my goal to try and be the best friend to her in the absence of a “real girl” friend.
 “Close your eyes and pretend you are sledding in the window scene,”  I said.  “You are dressed in that pretty red coat with the white fur collar and hat.  Some nice store clerk has tucked some thick warm blankets around you on the sled.  You fly down the hill, all the way to the bottom, and when you stop, there is a little girl standing watching you from the other side of the window.  She places her mittened hands on the window and smiles, then waves hello.   You can’t wave back but you can wish that she is the little girl who will be your girl forever more. ”
 “That’s a nice thought, Cathy.  Thanks for helping me feel better,”  Chatty said quietly.

The car finally stopped moving.  Good, soon they would be in a nice warm building again, the two dolls couldn’t wait to get out of the cold.
 “I think we should leave the dolls in the trunk, Bonnie.  That way the girls won’t stumble upon them somewhere in the house,”  the man said as he began to get out of the car.  His wife agreed, but she was in a hurry to get out of the cold, so she left the task of hiding us to her husband.  He grabbed a couple of old car blankets from the work bench in the garage and tossed them over our boxes.  The light overhead went out and we were left alone.

 “Oh Cathy, it’s so cold out here.  C-c-can’t you just feel your front teeth chattering?” 
 “Yes, Chatty.  I wish they would have taken us inside where it is warm; I hope they don’t leave us out here too long, our limbs might crack in this cold!”
 “I wonder what the girls are like that are going to get us for Christmas?”  Chatty sounded like she was about to cry again.
 “I think we should concentrate on thinking about the nice little girls who will give us so much love, maybe then it will not seem so cold.”  Chatty was right, my teeth were really chattering!”

 In the end, we both fell asleep.  We spent several days waiting in the cold trunk of the car before the man returned and moved us into the house. 
 Once we were carried into the house they wrapped our boxes in thick Christmas wrapping paper.  My paper was covered with funny little snowmen; Chatty had  jolly big Santa’s all over hers.  They placed our boxes under the tree almost all the way to the back.  My box sat right under a nice fat tree bulb so I was kept warm, Chatty was quiet, so I knew she was asleep.  All night long I waited for Christmas morning to arrive. 

 I had just started to doze off to sleep when I heard some excited children’s voices.
 “Santa was here!”  squealed one voice.
 “Hurry, go get Mom and Dad up,” yelled another.
  I could hear parcels being rattled, I could even hear the odd tear of paper, and then someone hollered,   “Don’t open anything until Dad gets here!”

 Finally my box was lifted, I was airborne for a moment and then plunked down on the floor.  I heard the Dad's familiar voice as he said,  “This says to Wendy, from Santa.”

 “For me?  Replied a young child’s voice.

Wendy!  My child’s name is Wendy, and that is her voice!  I closed my eyes and sighed.  Now I too was excited to have the paper removed, I so wanted to see Wendy.  My box shook and rattled, the paper was torn away and forgotten and then I saw her.

There she was; Wendy - my new friend - my girl!  She had dark hair just like mine and she wore glasses.  She squinted at me, and I tried not to smile too brightly, but I was so happy to see her!  She was opening the box - Yes! Finally I was getting out!

She lifted me out of the box with little hands that shook with excitement.  Her little fingers went right for my pull string behind my neck.  She pulled…

“I Love You, “  I said. 

I have no control on the order of my words, but my first words seemed to please her because she hugged me close and told me she loved me back.


I knew then that everything would be okay.







Thursday, August 29, 2013

Introducing a New Story!

I am going to be sharing a new book with you - one that I haven't finished writing, but will write as I go, so to speak.  I thought I would do a little background to the story.

This is a departure from the familiar form of writing for me.  I am not sure what Genre this book will be, but I'm gonna write it anyway - because I have to!

By now you all know how much I love the doll Chatty Cathy!  I may have even alluded as to why I love her so much, but I'll refresh your memory anyway.

I was a young child when Chatty Cathy came to be.  I was the only girl in my family, with three older brothers, and a baby brother.  My mom was a housewife, and Dad worked in a factory.  My parents didn't have a lot of money and growing up that never really concerned me over much - until the Christmas that Chatty Cathy came out.

We had just gotten our first television the fall before that Christmas so I, along with every other little girl on our street had seen the Chatty Cathy commercial over and over again.  Seeing a doll who could actually talk was big - real big - and we all wanted one.

That Christmas when we went to Eaton's store to see Santa (this was the REAL Santa) I told him I wanted a Chatty Cathy doll.  But Christmas morning came and there was no doll.

Isn't it amazing how clear a  childhood recollection can be?  I remember running out to the living room Christmas morning, and there sitting under the tree were three of my rubber dolls, re-dressed.  One was dressed as a bride doll with a veil and everything and the other two were her bridesmaids.  In front of them were three doll suitcases (these were new and each case had a key attached to it).  I opened the suitcases and inside were more outfits for the three dolls - one case full for each.

But there was no Chatty Cathy anywhere to be seen.

My friends and cousins all got one - but I didn't.  I asked again the next year - and again I didn't get one.

And then I guess I forgot about it.

But I always loved Cathy - even if it was from afar - my fascination with her never went away...

About 4 years ago, I was telling my brother about this - actually he was complaining about the road-race set that he didn't get.  He mentioned my story to his wife, who informed him that she and her sister both had received Cathy one year for Christmas.

Several months later my sister-in-law's mother was selling her house to move in to a seniors apartment.  My brother was helping her clean out things and decided to climb up into the top of one of the spare bedroom closets.  He reached up and pulled down two dolls.  His mother -in-law was surprised to see them and told him the dolls were her daughter's Chatty Cathy dolls - and immediately my story replayed in his head.  He was so excited he called me that night but he really couldn't understand my fascination with such a "ugly doll".

My SIL's doll's hair had been cut (not evenly of course) and she was dressed in her original dress, but it was in rather sad shape.  A few weeks later my sister in law brought the doll to me and declared it mine!

Finally I got my first Chatty Cathy... 53 yrs later!

I love her, she will forever be special to me.  And since I got her, I have acquired three more Cathy's, a Chatty Baby, 2 tiny Chatty Babies and a Singing Cathy.  All are mute - but I don't care - I love them anyway.

Chatty Cathy is so loved by so many women my age.  I belong to several groups of Cathy lovers... who knew there were so many, like me who love this doll.

Well I know that now - and this new story is for the all the Cathy lovers everywhere.

I hope you enjoy the story...

It starts tomorrow....


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bite-Back Recipe

It may be hotter than hot right now, but fall and much cooler weather is just around the corner here in Manitoba.  In a few weeks we will be pulling out our gardens and cleaning up our flower beds for the winter.

Every year I set a lot of my houseplants outside for the summer.  They love it, and do so well outside for a few months that I would never think not to put them out... but bringing them back in in fall, is always a pain.

Usually they don't fit the spot they were previously in - and worse - they almost always have bugs living either in the soil or on the plants themselves.

I found a great recipe for getting rid of these miserable bugs before they spread to other plants in the house.

Here is the House and Garden Bite-Back Recipe for Plants.

You need a one gallon jug.

Combine:
2 tablespoons dish soap (sunlight is the best)
1 tablespoon rubbing alcohol
a dash of Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon of Canola oil
and enough water to fill the jug.

Pour mixture in a spray bottle and apply as needed.

I wash my plants with sunlight soap and water and then apply one treatment of the Bite-Back prior to bringing them inside, and then repeat the treatment inside until all signs of bugs are gone.  This recipe works wonders on aphids and fruit flies too, keep some on hand to use on any new plants you bring into your house - your plants will love you for it!

Happy Gardening!

Monday, August 26, 2013

A plug for a another talented lady!



You don't have to be a doll person to appreciate this beautiful doll.  

This is  Chatty Cathy that has been restored and dressed by a friend of mine.  Anna Rhodes.

Anna is an amazing talented seamstress and doll restorer who has started her own restoration business.  She has her own page on Facebook -  AMR DESIGNS.

I love this doll - of course I do -  it's a Cathy and by now you all know she is my favorite doll... But Anna somehow has managed to put the expression back on this dolls face.

Here is what she looked like, prior to restoration.  What an amazing difference.

.


There are many steps involved in restoring a doll, but in Cathy's case there are many issues that can become very frustrating during the restoration.  Most restorers start by taking the doll completely apart so they can repair the talking mechanism inside.  I most cases Cathy can be made to talk again by replacing a little o ring in her record player.  The problem lies is taking the body apart.  Cathy's torso and neck are made from a very hard plastic, that given her age, breaks very badly when she is opened.  Often the neck flange is ruined to the point where the neck has to be rebuilt in order for her head to be able to go back on.

I have restored a couple of Cathy's - but I haven't gotten up enough nerve to tackle the player. 

Cathy's also suffer from a condition called green face.  Over time, and normal wear, weather etc, her skin turns from a pretty peachy skin color to a gray-green color.  If the whole doll is like that it is difficult for one to even see it, but after time she develops a "sick" look about her.  This condition takes awhile to fix, time and patience are required to get her skin looking peachy again.

The solution for this problem, is human acne cream.  Yup - the more expensive the cream the better it works, of course.  The active ingredient must be Benzol Peroxide.

Restorers can go through many tubes on one doll.  You rub in on the face or whatever area you are treating and leave it on for several days.  Some set the dolls in the sun to speed up the process, but I have never found that makes much of a difference.  The application is repeated over weeks and eventually you begin to see the green face disappear.

Here is one of my Cathy's who's green face is almost completely restored.  I don't know if you can see it, but look near the hair-line and around the ear, and you will see the skin has a  grayish purple hue to it.  I should have taken a picture earlier on when it was much darker.  A few more weeks it will be completely gone, and her face will look like it did when she was knew.  It has taken me most of the summer to get her this far.


Anna is a master at what she does, she re-roots hair, replaces teeth, and repaints lips, brows, freckles and she completes the dolls with a beautiful outfit, right down to the socks and shoes.

If you are interested in seeing more, check out her site... she sells her dolls, and her dresses and she will custom make any outfit to fit any doll.  Christmas is coming - if you have a young lady who loves dolls,  and you are on facebook - check out Anna's work.

















Thursday, August 22, 2013

I found my MOJO!

I tell you it is very painful getting one's MoJo back.  Since last weekend I have been on rather a creative kick.  I'm happy about this, but it is starting to interfere with my daily life.

It all started with Fiona's challenge - Yeah - I'll blame Fiona!  LOL!

I thought I had that project done.  I DID have that project done - but I was not happy with the hanger portion of it - and when I am not happy with something I make, it won't let me rest.  For the past couple of days I have been thinking about this project and trying to come up with a reason why I hated the hanger, or a solution to fix it (even though it is already wrapped and ready to ship out).

So I unwrapped it, and set it on my work table where I could glance at it from time to time when I was working there.  Nothing came to mind - except that I still hated the hanger...

I worked on fairies for my Etsy shop all evening, had a wonderful time making them and by the end of the evening - still nothing came to me about the hanger.  So I made my lunch for work, fed and watered Chip, got ready for bed and then retired for the night.

And there I lay awake for 2 hours thinking about a stupid hanger!  Darn it all - I get up for work at 5:30 in the morning and I heard the clock gong midnight!

I was finally feeling like I could go to sleep - and the solution to fix the hanger came to me.  I was tempted to get out of bed and see if the solution would work, but I didn't.  I should have though, because it was another hour of thinking and imagining before I finally no longer heard the clock gong.

Fixing the hanger entailed possibly ruining the whole project, so I decided to get a second and third - maybe even a fourth opinion.  I took the project to work and showed it to a few people who all suggested I leave it alone.  Did they say that because they really liked it - or because they really like me... hmmm!

So I am leaving it alone - more because I am afraid of really wrecking it by taking it all apart...  It has been repackaged, and is going in the mail tomorrow morning.  Done -

And I promise I am moving on to a different subject!

But first I have some work bench cleaning to do...



And another thing - why is it that one works on a 3" square area of a work table that is 6 ft long and 3ft wide?  Anyone know the answer to that question?

Have a nice day - talk to you next week!


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

And So It Goes!

The pile of dolls I found buried in a drawer has been on my mind - of course it has!  I did keep one out to work on ( the dark Bilo Baby) and returned the others to the drawer.

One in particular is bugging me.

This blonde one.

She reminds me of my 3rd grade school teacher Miss Crab.  Seriously that was her name, can you imagine what the school kids said about her at recess every day?  But she was very nice - not crabby at all, but that didn't stop the kids from being little nasty snots.  My 5th grade teacher's name was Miss Cross - I kid you not - poor woman put up with so much.  Bless them both for the job they did - it couldn't have been easy!

Back to Miss Crab - she looked like this doll - pretty in a delicate sort of way.  She was probably in her 30's when I think of it now - but at the time I'm sure we all thought she was "OLD".  She dressed old - but that was how maiden schoolteachers dressed in the early 60's.  She always wore a dark blue suit.  Always.  Navy blue skirt with a jacket to match - it had shiny buttons - brass or gold - I did take notice of those sort of things back then because my Mom was a seamstress and I spent a lot of time sorting buttons for her.  Those were the days when sewers didn't buy buttons - they harvested them from any piece of clothing that came their way.  Mom had huge boxes of buttons  - I still have some of her buttons - though I must admit, I rarely use them...

So now I am tempted to retrieve Miss Crab from the drawer and make her an outfit.  Miss Crab wore those heavy black leather old lady shoes that looked like a boot - you can't see it on this picture, but this doll has those type of  shoes painted on her feet... it was meant to be - don't you think?

Ok, ok - so now I am going to have 2 dolls out to work on!  I think I will crochet Miss Crab's navy suit from cotton thread.  

Hmmm.... all of a sudden I feel the urge to find my #7 steel!

And so it goes!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I found a treasure!

I did manage to finish my "challenge" last night.  In the end I scrapped the really small hanger I had made and went with a medium-sized one I had also made.  I don't like the hanger at all - but it is what it is, and I can't change it now.  The project is done and wrapped and in a box and ready to be mailed.

I still haven't found my wire cutters and pliers - and believe me I have turned my work room upside down looking for them.

I get very huffy, when something goes missing from my workroom.  I am pretty organised, in a messy sort of way - but everything has it's place and when I am not using things they do go back into their place.  I don't remember when I last used my pliers and cutters, but I do know they would have been returned to the "Tool" drawer.  Well they are not there, and you can imagine the NOISE that was created on the weekend, because they were missing.

I did however find a forgotten treasure in one of the large drawers of my trolley.

Take a look...


Ha!  I'd forgotten about these !  Eight china doll-house dolls, and 4 other dolls.  Well I guess I have more dolls to work on ... some bodying, and a lot of dressing!  
Fun  - more sewing  :(
Or I could just knit or crochet all the clothes...  :)

Thing is I have kinda switched gears and was planning to do some quilting projects for awhile.

What to do, what to do?

Well I could always return them to the drawer they were in and put a label on the outside of the drawer - that would work!

I'll have to think about this for awhile.. - Okay - I'm done thinking - they will go back to the drawer as I am still working on the monkey, and then I have plans to re-open my Etsy shop in the next few weeks.

Yup - back to the drawer they go...

Sorry babes....