Thursday, March 28, 2013

Heed the Warning!


I love this - and it is so true too!

I have been making doll shoes all week.  I have shoes all over my work room in various stages of completion.

My biggest shoe problem has always been Chatty Cathy.  She has horribly big feet for a doll her size, and shoes for her are very rare.  I have seen some on eBay - real Chatty shoes - but I refuse to pay as much for shoes as I would for the doll herself.  So I have been making my own.  I tried sewing them - but that is way too fiddly.  So next I tried crocheting them... that worked better - but they always looked like slippers... cute slippers.  I even tried making some from plastic canvas covered with material - well those weren't terrible, but they weren't all that great either.

So back to crocheting went I.

I found a baby shoe pattern (Mary Jane style) that when crocheted with a fingering weight cotton, and a size 3 steel almost fit Cathy's foot.  But they still looked like a slipper to me.

Then I had a thought - what if I used some Stiffy and turned them into a real solid shoe?  So I wrapped the dolls feet in clear wrap, dipped my finished shoe and used her foot as a mold...

Bingo!

A perfectly fitted shoe!  They turned out great, until I tried to put socks on the foot along with shoes.  No go!  So back to the hook make the shoe just a wee bit larger - put socks on the dolls feet, wrap in clear wrap and dip and mold and...

Viola - a perfectly fitted shoe - finally!

So now all my shoe-less dolls ( and I have a few) will get shoes custom made to go with their outfits.

Next I want to try some sneakers...

Oh I do love this doll business... it's just so fun!


On a completely different subject.  This will be my last post for a week or so.  I am off on vacation as of tomorrow, and I have promised myself some down time from the computer.  I hope to have some new thoughts, some great projects and ideas and some new fresh images to share with you when I get back.

In the meantime, I wish each and everyone of my readers a  Blessed Easter. 

Stay safe, and I'll see you back here on April 8th...

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Daughter's Tears!

Today is a sad day...  29 yrs ago today, I lost my Mom.  She was just 61 yrs, old when she passed away,  I was 28 yrs old.  I was not ready for her death - none of us were - we never are.  She was there - and then she was gone.

She is never far from my mind for so many reasons, and there have been so many times in the past 29 yrs I have so needed to talk to her - about my life, my family - our family - my health.  She was that one person we all turned to when we needed help.  She was always there, no matter what.

She was the best Mother she could be - I wish I was half as good a mother as she was.  She was fair, sometimes tough, always loving... but she wasn't afraid to let you have it when she knew you needed it.

 Mom's family has fallen apart in the years since she has been gone.  She was the glue that held us together, without her we have disintegrated as a family.  It is sad, and it one of the things I grieve for almost as much as I grieve for my mother.

So today I will be sad for our loss, but at the same time I will think about happier days when Mom walked among us.  She would want that...

I miss you Mom..

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

YOU ARE AWESOME!

A friend of mine who is a crocheter and knitter considers herself and others who crochet, knit, spin, weave, etc to be Fiber Artists.

Do you consider yourself so?  I balked at the description at first - but having had time to think about it a bit I realize that she is 100% right.  We are Fiber Artists!

Think about it.  We take a length of fiber - be it wool, cotton, synthetic fiber, and we twist it and knot it using a tool or a set of tools until it becomes a piece of fabric or a garment - at the very least - an object of some kind.  Pretty awesome, don't you think?

Makes me wonder who ever started this overwhelming addiction...  Seriously!

I have been watching the mini series  THE BIBLE on the History Channel.  I am way behind everyone else, because I am watching it on the PVR.  I was particularly drawn to the scene on Noah's Arc.  There was the Arc pitching dangerously on the sea the animals were scared, the humans were scared, and for just a tiny wee moment - my writers mind departed from the story I was watching and imagined another story.

It was about fiber - sheep's wool to be exact.  The sheep were in a tightly confined area so they were constantly rubbing up to the timber of the ship. While the boat was pitching wildly, Noah's wife was thrown to and fro.  She braced herself on one of these timbers and felt something soft under her hand.  It was a piece of the sheep's fleece. 

She was so afraid - for her children, for the animals, for Noah, and for herself.  She was sure that they would all perish in the sea.  She didn't even realize it, but as she worried she twisted and turned the piece of fleece she held in her hand.  It wasn't until the seas had calmed and all was quiet that she remembered the fleece.  She opened her hand, and there inside lay a perfectly spun length of yarn.

Well something like that, anyway...

But in the show - all the humans have clothes on - so guess that blows that theory!

I guess this gives me yet another project to research.  Lucky for me, research is the best part of writing.  I almost enjoy the research more than the writing - but often it fills my head with so many other things I want to research that I get off track very quickly.  I can so see that happening here...

In any event - we ARE  Fiber Artists.  I believe that now - some more than others - but we are all creating something from very little... That's Awesome.

Congratulations Fiber Artists - YOU ARE AWESOME!


Monday, March 25, 2013

A simple THANK YOU!

I want to start this post today saying a very heart-felt thank you to all my readers, wherever you may be.  Friday was an awesome day for my blog - I had the largest number of visitors ever - 256!  I am still numb thinking about that... it's awesome - THANK YOU!

Hope everyone had a good weekend.  Is spring progressing where you are?

Even though it has yet to reach temps above freezing here - it is melting.  I guess the sun in strong and warm enough.  I have noticed that the snow in the yard that was reaching the top of the fence a couple of weeks ago, is down a couple of inches.  Some of the snow piles do look smaller, and there is a lot of ice standing on the roads in the morning - so melting IS taking place.

The birds were extremely noisy and busy near my home on the weekend, and as I sat in my sun room trying to design a shoe for a doll, I watched a big fluffy looking Red squirrel hop from limb to limb on the big Elm tree outside my window.  He dug around in the V of the tree for awhile, sat and chewed on something he had probably stored there last fall and then stretched out on his belly on the limb and went to sleep.  It was the funniest thing I had seen in a long time.  It was like he was saying.. "Yes - sun, heat... finally!"

I have really had food on my mind the past few weeks.  I see a recipe and I want to make it.  Not that I have actually made anything I have seen - but I've thought about it!

There have been a few really nice recipes come my way of late, so I thought I would share them here - maybe someone else will make them, and enjoy them for me.

So here you go - enjoy!

This one can be used for anyone on Weight Watchers...

 
FROZEN BERRY COBBLER.







Frozen berries, dry cake mix, and 1 can of sprite. yummy cobbler. It sounds so easy - and it is good and weight watcher friendly! Ingredients
Two 12-oz bags frozen mixed berries
1 box white cake mix (no pudding)
1 can of diet 7-up or sierra mist (clear soda)

Instructions
Place frozen fruit in a 9x13 baking dish. Add dry cake mix over the top. Pour soda slowly over cake mix. DO NOT stir the cake mix and the pop - this will give you a 'crust'. If you stir the two, you will have a cake like topping.

Bake 350 for 45-50 min.

You may be able to use frozen peaches instead of mixed berries.

Serves 16; 4 PointsPlus



Breakfast Cookies.



These amazing breakfast cookies contain no flour, no sugar, no dairy.

1.5 cups of oats, 2-3 super ripened bananas ,1 cup of unsweetened applesauce, a handful of craisins, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Just throw everything together, mix it up pretty well, throw it on a baking sheet at 350 for 35 minutes.


ENJOY!

Friday, March 22, 2013

My Kind of Town!

Have you ever dreamed of living a quiet life in the country?  You know, somewhere where you don't hear sirens every 15 minutes, where horns are not constantly honking for rude reasons, where your neighbour actually knows you, AND likes you?

A Mayberry kind of place  -

All my life I have longed for such a place.  I believe that is because all my life I have been exposed to just such a place.  Our family roots are firmly entrenched in just such a place, and now in my almost-retiring years we are seriously contemplating relocating to our little slice of Mayberry.

Why?

Why not?

Why would we not want to move somewhere peaceful, quiet, wholesome, friendly, beautiful, fresh, pure, wonderful?

Do we not deserve such a reward after working all our lives to get this far?  Do we not deserve that which makes us HAPPY?

Our slice of Mayberry is called Plumas, Manitoba.  Plumas is a little village located a little over 2 hours West of Winnipeg, located in the Central Plains region of Manitoba, 40 km West of Lake Manitoba.  There is approx 280 people living in this small farm community - many have lived there all their lives - some have relocated there from other places.

Properties are large, gardens are lush.  There is plenty of sunshine in the summer months, and plenty of snow in the winter.  It is not idyllic - as with any town or city there are some issues... it is not perfect - but depending on where you are coming from - what place, what stage in your life, what circumstance, it could be a perfect fit  - if you want it to be.

I am a firm believer that your life is what you make it.  If you have every excuse under the sun why something is not right - it will never be right.  On the other hand if you make up your mind that it will be right - and you give it your all - then it will be right - for you!

This little town has a lot to offer to the right people, but as with many small towns, there is a constant struggle to keep business open and running.  The lure of the bigger centers with more commerce and better prices is ever present in small town life.  Many would rather travel a distance to get a better price, than support their local businesses.  It is a common practice - and it is also what is killing a lot of small towns.

There is a terrific business opportunity in Plumas at the moment.  The Plumas Inn/Cafe and Lounge is currently for sale.  It is a much needed establishment for this little town.  This is a wonderful opportunity for the right persons... if you know anyone who would be looking for such an opportunity - please pass this on..

http://manitoba.kijiji.ca/c-ViewAd?AdId=443061869

And I'll leave you with a little slice of lunacy from my house last evening...


Have a great weekend...












Thursday, March 21, 2013

Go Crocodile!

Well I promised you pictures of Bob when he was finished.  I thought I'd also put his before picture up so you could see the real change in the doll.  I am very happy with the way he turned out, and the short time Bob has been with us, he has become a family favorite.


Before:

After:


I knit his little outfit, which I think suits him perfectly.  The sock monkey is the one I mentioned in my last post.  Made in the 1970's by Aunt Margaret Vick - made from miniature socks.

Okay on to the next post....

If you are a serious crocheter you will already know that March is Crochet month - yeah I know - I'm a little late in acknowledging that fact - but better late than never at all!  There are many great book giveaways and draws online this month honoring Crochet Month.  Most Yarn stores are participating, so if you are interested in that sort of thing - check it out.  Personally I never win those things, so I don't even bother trying anymore!

I thought I'd wow you crocheters with a stitch that perhaps some of you have not heard of - or tried.

It is not for the fickle - I'll warn you right now but if you manage to get it right - it is amazing amazing...

I am talking about the Crocodile Stitch.

I had seen projects done in this stitch and never knew what it was called.  Once I did some investigating I found many sites that offer tutorials and how-two's.

Here is one of the best ones on the net...  really good tutorials on how to do this stitch as well as links to free patterns using this stitch.
http://www.mooglyblog.com/free-crocodile-stitch-crochet-patterns/

I am working through an idea on using this stitch in a flapper dress I am designing (for a doll) using #10 crochet cotton and a size 7 needle.

I'll let you know how it turns out...

Good luck - and let me know how you made out with this!

Happy Crocheting!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Monkey Business!

I have been dressing Bob - remember him - the little 1940's era boy doll that someone decided to turn into a girl doll?  I decided to dress Bob as a boy in the 40's would have been dressed.  So I knit him a button down shirt, and a pair of overalls, and I am finishing the outfit with a baseball -type cap and some socks until I can come up with some boots/shoes for him.

The next problem I had with Bob is finding him something to hold.  I like my dolls to have toys that are fitting to their character.  What would a 1940's boy play with?  And it had to be the proper size for a doll!

To the craft-room and into my stash of "stuff".

Wouldn't you know, I found the perfect thing.  A tiny sock- monkey,  made years and years ago by my Aunt Margaret out of real - yes, real miniature socks.  I can't wait to show it to you.

Somehow one thing led to another - as often is the case with my wandering mind, and the next thing you know I was deeply involved in Monkey business.

Have you noticed that monkeys are back in popularity?  No?  I just happened to notice that the latest Sears Catalogue has a whole bedroom ensemble - in Monkeys - totally cute it is!

All of a sudden - every place I routinely visit on the net has monkeys.

So I thought I would quit monkeying around and share some of these great Monkey projects with you.

This one is a adorable sewn Monkey doll - Molly Monkey.  The designer has kindly provided us with a wonderfully easy pattern to follow... you'll want to make this for all the little monkeys in your life...

http://mmmcrafts.blogspot.com.au/2008/07/drum-roll-pleasemolly-monkey-pattern.html

here is a free crochet sock-monkey pattern and a child's hat too...

http://www.redheart.com/free-patterns/sock-monkey-and-baby-hat

Ravelry has so many monkey patterns you will not be able to choose just one, so I have included a couple that really are totally adorable.

This one is for purchase, but it is so adorable - who could resist!

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/monkey-huggy-blanket


http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sock-monkey-softie-large


I almost forgot, with all my monkeying around to wish you all Happy First Day of Spring!

 - Somewhere -

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Edited Joy!

Happiness - Yes, Scott - you are right - I chose Happiness for my Year Word!  So I will revise my post from yesterday.

My readers - I am delighted to share photos of the events of the past 48 hrs here in WinterPeg.  We are the winter capital of the world - and we are proud and happy to be considered so!

Sometime late Sunday we started to receive some new pristine white snow.  It was so beautiful as it slowly fell to the ground, blanketing all it touched with wondrous grace.  Can you imagine each flake's excitement as they left the sky, knowing they were destined for WinterPeg?  Indeed in a flake's life such an accomplishment is sought after.  And to be picked to fall in March AND St. Patricks' Day - well it would almost make a flake puff and double in size with pure pride alone!

They rushed to the portal with energy seldom seen of almost Spring flakes.  Cries and shouts of jubilation pierced the air as they threw their white bodies into the wind!

Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!



And then they landed...   shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...



Filling front properties to the top of  3 ft. fences.  No piling needed here, their eagerness to be seen was so strong they left no room for another.










But others came, and sought other spaces that needed filling.

They spilled over the three foot fence - four feet and beyond.  They covered the walkways, the driveways, the paths and the roads.
They even prevented a BBQ dinner from happening.


Flake strength at it's best!

Those who's dinner plans were ruined, rallied and shook their fists at the portal.  But the flakes ignored the angry protesters.  So Happy where they to be chosen to fly, they continued their journey all through the night and the day beyond.

And now they rest - their job done.  The excitement is gone, the cheering has stopped.  Soon they will disappear to huge ponds of valuable water.  They will provide countless hours more recreation for adults and children alike - and finally it will be Spring!

:)




Monday, March 18, 2013

More Snow!

Remember my desperately seeking spring post?

Well might as well forget spring here, for a long long time.

Why?

Because we are having yet another blizzard.

Am I fed up?

YES !

Yesterday as I watched the snow fall from the comfort of my warm house, I thought it was pretty.  I didn't think the same thing at 6:30 this morning when I had to put on my snow boots (which had made their way to the basement mat from the landing stairs) and trudge through the half a foot of snow to the gate, that wouldn't open against the snow that was piled up behind it -  out to a car who's wheels were buried completely in the snow.

You'd think in a city that calls itself "WinterPeg", there would have been some snow plowing somewhere in progress.

NADA!

We travel right through the heart of downtown to get to work and the roads were deep with snow, and getting lovely and polished with ice from the cars as the morning progressed.  Where are the plows?

Yeah, that would be the question a lot of WinterPeg people are voicing this morning - particularly after the announcement earlier this year that we are all getting a property tax hike for the privilege of living in this wonderful snowy city!

To say I am crabby this morning would be an understatement - but thankfully - I am not alone.

Everyone around me is feeling the same, so no need to pinch me - I'm still here...

Things will get better - and you may remind me of this moment in mid July when I am complaining about the hot weather - I HOPE!






Friday, March 15, 2013

What Happened To My Week?

Well here we are at Friday already, and I have not been around here at all this week. 

It's just been one of those weeks where time restraints have not permitted me to actually sit down and write some future posts.  I must admit - the mind has been a bit on the blank side as well, so not only could I not find the time to write, I couldn't find the subjects to write about.

We all  need recharging once in awhile, and so that's what I have been doing.  Hopefully I will be set to go again for awhile.

While I was recharging I did manage to really do a fantastic cleaning in my craft room.  I moved everything around (again) after experiencing a mini-meltdown while attempting to complete a sewing project a week or so ago.

Somehow the flow in my work space had disappeared.  Nothing was where it was supposed to be - common tools were missing and I just plain felt frustrated to the point it was either clean and re-organize or quit crafting!

Well that will never happen - so clean I did.  Now my work space is so nice and clean I am a bit afraid to actually go in there and work - but I will.  This weekend I plan to spend a considerable amount of time working on my newest Chatty Cathy - yes the arms finally arrived.  I am anxious to get her done so I can show her off to you... she is adorable - or she will be once she is put back together.

Have you ever tried Tunisian crochet?  There is a fantastic book give-away - called SHORT ROW TUNISIAN FASHION by Kim Guzman.  I have done Tunisian in the past - but not short row.  You can read all about it and sign up for the book giveaway here.
http://undergroundcrafter.com/blog/2013/03/12/natcromo13-book-review-and-giveaway-short-row-tunisian-fashion/#comment-32020

Do it today or tomorrow though - as the contest ends Sunday.  Good luck!

Okay - bring on the weekend - I'm ready!

Have a good and safe weekend everyone!



Thursday, March 7, 2013

Desperatly Seeking

SPRING!

I find myself spending hours and hours on gardening sites and places like Pinterest where there are endless images of gardens, flowers, patio's lawns... well you get it.

And then I look out the window, and all I see is white!  Huge mounds and mountains of white, topped with coverings of not so white, where the plows have scraped the sand and salt and snow and dumped it a top the piles.

Instead of the white diminishing, as you would expect it to at this time of the year - it seems to be growing daily - with every snow cloud that passes overhead comes more and more white!

Yes - I am desperately seeking this....






and  how about
this






Do you know where I can find some.... soon?


Monday, March 4, 2013

About Bob!


Meet Bob!



Bob is probably somewhere between 60-70 yrs old,  I would say.  He is about 17" tall.  Has rubber face, arms and legs and has a soft body.  The cloth of his body is very old, worn in some places and quite thin.  I can see the stuffing, and it looks like something that might have been left over from a sewing project - small bits of fabric and thread - that sort of thing.












Bob probably was adored by a little girl such as this,

Or maybe he was played with children such as these

He could have lived in a house like this
Or one like this





Being a Canadian made doll, he most likely spent a lot of time near this


But by the looks of him, he was very much loved by someone.





I first met Bob last November.

Can you pick him out of this lot of dolls?

No?

Look closer....He's there.

Oh but you might not recognize him because he looks like this 




Still can't find him?  Check out the doll at the front, right hand side.  That would be poor BOB.

Someone who must have had him many years later decided he should be a Barbara, I guess.  So they glued a very bad wig on his head.
  
I left this doll lying at the bottom of the box of dolls still to be cleaned until there were no more dolls to work on in the box.  There was just something not right with her.  She looked odd to me and I couldn't figure out why.  The wig was starting to come away from the head so I stuck my finger beneath it and started to peel it back.  Imagine my surprise when I found a rubber head that had molded hair in the rubber.  This original head had never had a wig on it, I am sure of it.

Bob has a crier inside his cloth body.  



These were common in dolls of this age.  It makes a bit of a sound when you tip him up, but not the Mamma sound that it would have made when he was new.

About the only thing I know for sure about this doll is that it is Canadian Made.  It is a Reliable doll, as were so many dolls of this era. 

I look at this little fellow, and I just want to know his history.  Oh if dolls could only talk!

Well some do, but that's not the kind of talk I mean.  Just think of the little hands who have touched this dolls, the little arms that have held it in sleep - the homes it has lived in, the families it has been part of....

I am honored to have him in my home now, and I think I'll keep BOB for a long time. 

So - do I restore Bob?  Do I take him apart, fix his crier, make him a new body?  Or do I leave him the fragile little doll he has grown to be.

I think I'll leave him... but I will make him some nice boy clothes to wear... knit ones I think - because chances are he had a knit outfit at some point.

What a nice way to end a box of dolls.....


Friday, March 1, 2013

My Word!

Someone very dear to me recently starting writing his own blog.  It took awhile for him to decide to take the plunge, but he did and he has, and I think he is hooked.

Yesterday he suggested we should define the year ahead with just one word... sort of a word to replace a resolution - so instead if trying to remember what you promised yourself for the year ahead, instead you  focus on the word you chose, and use that word as your focus.

The word he chose was Discipline!  Not an easy word by any means, it comes with limitations, expectations, and a challenge.  A strong word, for a strong man, who will do this word justice.

It got me to thinking.  What word I would like to define my year by?  One word, for someone who loves words is a difficult concept.  One word to define my whole year - really tough!

But I think I found the word I want to define my year.  Happiness!

You'd think this word should be an easy word - but in a lot of ways it might prove to be as much a challenge as Discipline.  Happiness is not easily acheived, but it is something I have tried to focus on for myself and my family.  It means changing much about my life.  Getting rid of stress, surrounding myself with things and people I love, rejecting things and people who bring me down.  To achieve my word I will most likely have to use rely on a few more single words, such as Selfishness and Stubborness - Happiness does not always present itself in our world today.  Unhappiness happens, bad things happen, and we learn to deal with them and move on - but for the moment they are with is - my word becomes ellusive.
If I want my word to define my year I must identify that which makes me Happy.  That is the easy part.  The difficult part is recruiting those things and convincing them to stick around.

So here is my challenge.  I think I have made a good start on my word already this year.  I hope to be able to continue my quest by being less concerned with what is around me in favour of what is within me.  I will try to ignore negativity in all it's forms.  I will try to be less sensitive to the opinionated, the pushy, and the miserable.  I will try and worry about the worrisome less often, and I will seek peace, calm and contentment wherever and whenever I can.

Happiness is my word - with a whole other words thrown in there for good measure!

What will your word be this year? 



Have a Happy weekend...