Monday, July 29, 2013

Bees - A Buzzing!

I think I am going to start to wail!  I just looked at the calendar and I only have 5 more Friday's off before it's back to a a 5 day working week.  How depressing is that?  But I'll try to get that number out of my head because really 5 more weeks is nothing to gripe about.

Am I enjoying having every Friday off?  You bet I am!  Do I wish I could work 4 days forever?  Yes, for sure!  Am I getting lots of stuff done at home?  Not at all.  Am I getting some rest?  I'll say!  Am I maybe turning the corner to laziness?  Perhaps!  Would I change a thing?  Not a chance!

So far we have done nothing special, gone nowhere, and I have accomplished very little - but isn't that the joy of summer?  Isn't it supposed to be a lazy, hazy time?  Should we not be sitting in the shade, drinking Mint Juleps and fanning ourselves?

I find myself with no more ambition than to sit in the garden and pull weeks, or to sit on the front step and watch the flowers grow, or the bees buzz, or listen to the cat purr.

Didn't know I had a cat, did you?   Well I do.  Her name is "Little Gray Cat", and she is a darling... little Gray cat.  Not really mine, but she thinks she is...

She actually lives down the street, but she spends her whole day sitting in the sun on my front steps.  She won't leave no matter how many times I shoo her home.  So I guess we have adopted each other.  I can't have a cat  - Gary is allergic to them, so I take advantage of my time with Little Gray Cat whenever I can.  She's my summer cat - and she is just as lazy as I am.

Our weather has been much cooler than normal, it's made me think of fall, beautiful wonderful fall with it's fresh air and beautiful colors of orange, gold, and brown.  Soon it will be time to think about fall decorating inside and out, I will be making cabbage rolls, and cabbage buns, bread, and if my garden co-operates - pickles!  Laziness will be over for another year...

So, I think I'll allow myself this indulgence for 5 more weeks.  I'm gonna sit on my step with Little Gray Cat, and enjoy the flowers growing and the bees buzzing - and the cat purring... while I can!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Small treasures - Big Memories!

A couple of days ago when I was at the thrift store I happened on a real great find.  It was a little Wedgewood Jasperware (the real one not the imitation) soap dish.  I knew it was real before I even turned it over to read the bottom, because the real Wedgewood, always had a sort of rough feel to it.  It was not shiny or smooth and always felt like it needed to be fired one last time.  When I turned it over - sure enough - it was the real deal. Whoever priced it obviously did not know what it was.  I bought it for .99!

Every time I see this pattern I think of my Mom.  She LOVED Wedgewood especially the Jasperware - but she never owned a piece.  I think it was the one thing she truly would have loved to be surprised by - but it was something that was not affordable to her so therefore was unavailable as well.

It's funny the things you can remember about your childhood - but I do have a memory of a visit to one of my Dad's old maiden aunts in Iowa.  I was about 6 or so.  Mom had looked this woman up, as she was always interested in finding family - and so my parents decided that we should go and pay this old aunt a visit.

When we got there, the old gal was delighted to meet a nephew she had only heard of.  I remember the house as being small, and the old woman as being small, and she was dressed all in black.  She was nice though, and invited us to stay for lunch.

When it came time for lunch she led us into a very small dining room, and my Mother actually swooned.  Yes she did!

The old Aunt had a massive collection of Wedgewood China - all Jasperware  both the blue and the green.  She had more than even the Birks store in Winnipeg had.

Mom leaned down and whispered that the china was Wedgewood, and I'll never forget her voice as she said that, because she said it with so much emotion, that for a minute I was confused as to why she was upset.

It took me years to realize just what that much Wedgewood in one room did to Mom's emotions.  As an adult with a passion for Dolls - I can certainly identify those emotions now.

So I picked up that little soap dish - for Mom.  She's not here - but she knows I have it - I will enjoy it knowing she would have enjoyed it.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Off to 'The Village"!

When I got home from work last night, Gary asked me if I was tired.  I replied "Not too bad" then he asked if I wanted to go to the "Village" after supper.

The "Village" is the thrift store I check out for dolls.  I had been thinking all day about how I could convince him to head there.... not that I can't go myself - I can - but it's just so much more fun when he's along!

I wasn't really looking for dolls this trip  - good thing because there were none anyway!  What I did want to check out is the Little Golden Books in the Children's book section.

The Baby Dear I am restoring for my friend actually was created from a story written by Esther Wilkin.  The doll was designed by Ester's sister Eloise Wilkin, who also did the illustrations for the book.   The book was first published as a Little Golden Book in 1962 as Baby Dear - and later re-released with a New title "The New Baby" in 1990.  I had seen it on the Internet, and thought it would be really fun to find it for my friend.

There actually were not a lot of Little Golden books at "The Village" -  I pulled them out from between other books - an easy task due to their tell-tale spines (no pun intended).  Do you know the third book I pulled out turned out to be "The New Baby" in really great shape, no writing in the cover or anything.  I was so excited - I just had to go and find Gary and show him!

What are the odds I should find the one book I was really looking for - with an old story about an old doll from the 60's?

I poked around for a bit, and found another book - a novel - called "The Doll People."  Well what can I say - I had to have it.

The synopsis:

A family of porcelain dolls that has lived in the same house for one hundred years is taken aback when a new family of plastic dolls arrives and doesn't follow THE DOLL CODE of HONOR.

I am between books at the moment  - perfect timing, don't you think?

Happy -

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Taking you back -

Working on my paper/fabric dresses this past weekend really got me thinking about my childhood - in particular, the things that were popular when I was a child.

A few things immediately come to my mind.

Annette Funicello - the Mickey Mouse Club, Black Beauty - of course they were all part of the same thing really.

The Mickey Mouse club was the MOST important TV show for a young girl to watch.  The teens on there (Annette and co.) were the epitome of everything popular for teens at the time, and being a pre-teen at the time, I was all eyes and ears for anything they wore, how they danced, how they smiled, the words they used.

Then there was Janet Lennon.  Remember her?  She was one of the Lennon Sisters who were a popular singing group when I was growing up.  Janet was the sweetest little heart-throb, and every young girl wanted to be just like her.

Patty Duke Austin was another young girl who was a favourite.

All these teen stars had story books where they were the feature character in all kinds of adventures.



This last one (Sierra Summer) was my personal favorite story book - I wore it out reading it over and over again.

  There were also Coloring books with these stars in them...

And Paper Dolls.


Paper Dolls were an affordable way to entertain a young girl and were something that my generation of girls played with a lot.  It was one of the front-step activities the girls on my street occupied their summers with.  It was much easier to transport a book or in some cases a cardboard box of paper dolls down the street than it was to haul real dolls.

But of course if you had the book you would want to take it along.  Because when you opened the book and once the paper dolls were removed, the inside of the book was usually a scene of the stars home, or some adventure she had been in.  Those scenes were as exciting as the dolls themselves.

I remember travelling in the car with my family as a child.  Because room in the car was scarce with all the children, it was these books and dolls that I was allowed to pack for our trips.

Looking at these images, makes me wonder whatever happened to my books and dolls.  I wish I had them today -  they might be worth something in markets such as Ebay or Rubylane... but for me the value in these books are the memories of simpler times when all a girl need worry about when they got up in the morning was which doll to play with that day.

Awesome memories - from Awesome times! 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Anyone need a Gown?

Well here we are, Monday again... but much cooler this Monday morning than the last few!  We had a ton of rain last evening, and lots of thunder and lightening.  One jolt pretty much knocked me off the rocking chair - it certainly scared me out of it, and right out of the sun room down to the basement.  I am the first to admit that I am a real chicken in thunderstorms.  I was trying to be brave last eve by sitting out there watching it - it's not where I usually would be found in a storm.

I had a busy weekend doing what must would say is nothing... but I was busy at it anyway!  I spent pretty much the entire weekend in my craft room.  YEAH!   Something I have been wanting to do for a very long time, but just haven't gotten there.  I took a break from my usual activities and tried something new (for me).

I designed and created embellishments for card making, scrap booking, tag making - whatever making, I guess.  This after walking up and down the isles at Michael's looking at all the embellishments for sale for just this activity.  Some are awful -  don't know why anyone would buy them, some are good, and some are great... but it occurred to me because of the size of the isle that these embellishments were a huge selling feature of the paper section.  The second thought that came to mind was why don't people just make their own embellishments?  They certainly could save themselves a lot of money if they did...

So I decided to try and design some shabby chic-type dresses for this type of craft.  Here is what I came up with.

My very first effort is this one...

I had trouble with the silk fabric with this one, but have since figured out how to get the edges to stay clean and crisp.

My second effort was this one - which I hate... see I do show you my rejects - this one hit the trash almost before the glue was dried...

Then my personal favorite
and then

and finally....

The last three I am happy with, not so much the first two.

I have a bunch more cut out , but there is yet another idea running around my empty head, that I want to try next...

But in the meantime, I need to get working on a baby doll this week and actually make some progress with her....

So this too will be continued!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Vintage Friends...

After a hideous day at the office, last evening (spent with some out-of-town friends) was a much appreciated diversion.

However - I was really tired.  I had worked through lunch (and I never take coffee break) and when I got home I had things to do like bake a cake, clean up the house - so I didn't get my after work nap.

I made coffee - served it, all the while we continued to visit. But in my over-tired state of whatever, I completely forgot to serve the cake!  After they left I was carrying the cups to the kitchen and there sitting as pretty as you please under my glass-domed cake dish was my special banana cake with the fancy drizzle.  I am mortified!  What was I thinking?

I wasn't...

And why didn't Gary say something?

He said he didn't want to embarrass me.

Shoot - I really wish he would have...

We had a great visit and Laurie brought me a couple of projects to work on.

One a Baby Face Doll from the 1960's

This baby needs a new body, a really good bath and her hair needs fixing.  These dolls are valuable and sought-after so I'll get her in great shape so Laurie can someday pass her down to a grand daughter.

The other project is this guy...

This also is a valuable piece.  He is 1950's - either Mr. Bim made by Columbia Toy Company

or  Zip from the Howdy Doody show - made by Rushton Company. 

He has been altered with new fur and stuffing, but Laurie says he originally had yellow suspenders, with red buttons, and a striped blue shirt.

As soon as I saw him, I had a memory of someone having one of these... I remembered his rubber shoes.

I am hoping that once I take him apart some of the original material will still be inside him and I will be able to better identify him.

In the meantime, he too needs a bath and some body work.

Both are real super vintage dolls, and because the original owner has kept them and looked after them all these years makes them all  that much more valuable.

It will be a joy to restore them for my friend.


Before I take them apart tonight - I will have that nap!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Doll for a Doll...

I am beginning to really dislike Mondays!  And Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays!  The rest of the week, however is just fine!

More than disliking the days - I dislike the stress that goes along with those days.

I made up my mind on Sunday, that I would return to work on Monday with a refreshed attitude to just go to work, do my job, not get caught up in the politics and stresses, and to let go that which I could not change or control.

Well that lasted all of 20 minutes - until the system kept crashing, until I really waded through my in-basket - until 2 new doctors were added to our roster, until we were told that yet another new doctor would be added in September - until, until, until...  And then the eye twitch that had all but disappeared on the weekend  returned with a vengeance.

After work I went home determined to put it all out of my mind, so I picked up the hook and thread and finished the outfit for a little cheapo doll I found.  She has no value what-so-ever, but she reminds me of someone, and I think she's terribly cute.  She is essentially a doll - for a doll...

Then it was off to do errands after supper, with a stop at WalMart.  I was waiting for the pharmacy to fill and prescription so I spent time in the magazine isle -something I have not done in years.  Checked out the crochet, knitting, and quilting magazines, and a few of the decorating ones - then went to the craft/yarn/fabric section.  Well there really is no such thing anymore in the Canadian stores.  Blah, blah to WalMart Canada!  I was looking for a fine-tipped mini glue gun - Nadda!

And back to the twitching eye!

Tonight an old school friend who lives out of town is dropping by with her husband for a visit, and she is bringing me her childhood doll to restore.  Can't wait to see her - and to have a new project to work on.  Tonight is going to be a much better evening than last evening - but first we have to get through the day - 

Twitch, Twitch!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Strawberries and Roller Blades!

I can't believe how quickly 3 days off can go.  I have all kinds of things I want to do and then "Poof"  the weekend is gone.

I did not accomplish near what I wanted to this past weekend, mostly because the first two days I was off I wasn't feeling up to snuff.  So pretty much everything waited for the last day.

Sunday I was up early, doing laundry, cleaning the house, and then right in the middle of all that I decided to make some Strawberry freezer jam from some strawberries I had picked up from the store on Thursday.  What a panic!

It's been several years since I made jam, wasn't even sure if I even still had jars, so I went looking.  Found the jars way up on the top shelf in the back of my kitchen cupboards... but no lids or rings.  Down to the basement and through the son's very messy room to the storage closet.  Well half of the closet is Jons' closet and the other half is my storage - or it's supposed to be.  Someone has been moving things around my side to make room for more of his junk from his side!

Anyway, after much digging, and muttering under my breath I did locate lids, and rings for my little jam jars so off I went to make my jam.

From 4 cups of fruit, I got 10 jars of jam... wonderfull!

And it only took about and hour from start to finish - minus washing up afterward - not bad at all.

So then it was back to laundry and house cleaning.

Yeah, well laundry and house cleaning are boring, so I decided to take a break and play around with a doll I found last week at the thrift store.  She was very dirty, her hair was a mess, but she was only a 1.99, so I bought her, not even knowing if she would work.

After some serious soap and water, and de-knotting of the hair, she looks pretty good.  But does she work?

She's a little skittish on some surfaces, but really seems to have taken to my kitchen table.

Another neat find...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Welcome to my Neighbourhood!

My sweet little yellow house was on the news last night.  Granted, we weren't the feature presentation - but we were there all the same.

The feature was about a developer who has been buying up homes in our neighbourhood, tearing them down and putting up huge condos which absolutely do not fit into the neighbourhood.

He is doing this because of the proximity to a bustling major street which is less than a block away.

Our area is one of the oldest in the city, most of the homes are circa, 1900 or so.  Most have been renovated, some quite beautifully, and yes there are a few that really need some work and a couple that most of the residents of this area would gladly see go - BUT those are not necessarily the homes he is tearing down.

Recently he bought a home in the middle of the block which was just re-done, inside and out.  He tore it down and is building one of his ugly grey monsters right smack dab in the middle between two century old homes.  He builds from the city sidewalks at the front -  right to the lane at the back - effectively blocking any view/light etc for the two homes on either side of his development.

Here is the clip that was on the news...  click on the smaller box to the right for the video...

You will see for yourself how these buildings clash with the other homes in the area.  My home is the cute little yellow one you can see beyond the fountain, and again behind the man being interviewed.

These condos would look so much better in a new housing development - but I believe the developer is hoping they will sell better in our neighbourhood - because it is a popular area.  Most of us believe it is a popular area because of the character of the older homes.

The fight is ongoing - but to watch this video - one would assume this developer is winning this race... perhaps he is - but long after he as moved off to another area - we will still be here, in our beautiful older homes enjoying our neighbourhood - in spite of him ruining the view.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Square!

I wish I were talking about Berkley Square - but in actual fact I am only talking about an afghan square.  Remember I was talking about making an afghan for a graduate student... I was planning on making a flower loom afghan to be exact - well I still am making an afghan - but as often happens with me and my grand ideas - well lets just say that plan didn't work out well at all.

The loom flowers are nice and all ...

But the joining of them leaves me - well - feeling not very accomplished!

So my next idea was to do a Granny Hexagon.  You know a 5-sided granny square!

Here's the funny thing - all my life I thought a Hexagon was 5 sided - seriously - I know for a fact that the Winnipeg School Division taught this in the 1960's or 70's.  There is no way I got it wrong!

So here I was trying to get a 5-sided granny square designed that would fit together and wondering why it was not working....

What did we ever do before the Internet?

After a very brief  research, don't you know I discovered the 6-sided Hexagon - which works out well in a Granny Square, and goes together perfectly!

Here is what I came up with...

 I really like these but I am kind bugged that I can't use the flowers so I'm toying with the idea of doing this, somehow...

Perhaps I will do a bright color around the flowers, in a 6-sided Hexagon and insert 1 flower in the middle of 6 granny's.

Well that is an idea, yet to be tried.

However I put this together I am guessing it will be very colorful and bright when it's done - and best of all - I'm using up a lot of my stash of yarn that would otherwise be taking up space in my yarn totes.

To be Continued...

Monday, July 8, 2013

Lazy Days of Summer!

I seem to be hit and miss with my posting of late.  I can blame it on being in the summer mode of things.  Even though I am not really taking vacation, other than Fridays, my mind is definitely on vacation - in more ways than one.

I have no more ambition than to sit out on the patio and read, or knit or crochet or just sit and watch the birds in the trees.  That is until the mosquitoes start biting - then my ambition for patio sitting leaves me in favour of sitting in my air conditioned sun room, where I have much easier access to the fridge - and ice tea; the TV; a comfy chair to nap in... well you get my drift!

Like I said - basically no ambition, at all!

I have worked on the crocheted afghan I am making - somewhat.  More about that project tomorrow.

I did start a crochet outfit for a cute little 8" red-headed doll, which I can't wait to finish.

I have read a couple of novels by Sandra Dallas... "The Bride's House", and "Prayers for Sale"... I enjoyed them both.  Sandra is a quilter, so there is a fair amount of quilting in some of her books... which I really like - and her books are Historical Fiction - which I like even more!

I have discovered Tune-In-Radio on the Net.  If you love music and have an IPAD or IPOD - you have to download the Tune-In-Radio App.  I have been listening to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville;  also some amazing light Jazz and Swing stations; a Theater Organ Station, A Baroque station, and hope to check out some Classical stations this week.  Ah... life can be so good when you let it....

So forgive me my little absences - I am enjoying my summer doing - well not very much, but loving every minute of the inactivity...

Hope you are enjoying your summer too...

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Take time to smell the flowers!

There is no better pick - me -up (er) than a pretty bouquet of flowers.  Fortunately for me I have a garden full of beautiful flowers at the moment.  I cut a armful a couple of days ago and brought them into the house to remind me to smile, be happy, take the time to smell the flowers.  It brightened my space and the perfume was incredible too - my living room  has been smelling like summer for a week now.

Even just sitting on the patio and looking at the pots of flowers I have everywhere is cheering...

Do you like my little water feature?  I designed it and made it myself using a punch bowl I had kicking around for the base, an old tea-pot that has lost it's lid, a small pot of plants and some pretty white stones.  I am going to sit a little fairy or doll in the opening of the teapot just to finish the look.  

And then there are the flowers in the yard itself...

So pretty...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Will Your Anchor Hold?

Will your anchor hold in the sea of life?

Do you remember this old Gospel Song?  It never was a favorite of mine, but I remember my Dad singing it from time to time, not because he was especially into Gospel music - but more so because it mentioned the sea and anchors - and if you know my Dad that is all the explanation needed.

We all need Anchors to survive this life.  I believe we also need a very strong rope to secure that Anchor.

Unfortunately there are many out there who have neither.

You might recall a post I made last fall about a friend of my son's who had been in a terrible car accident.  The post was called - A story - Michelle's Story.  You will find a label for it under my Label section that will take you right to the story - Please - read it again.

Michelle turned 25 yrs old on June 14th.  On Tuesday June 25th, Michelle's anchor failed her, and she was taken from this life - much much too soon,  It was a tragic loss, one that should never have happened, one that I believe could possibly have been prevented - but my Anchor stepped in when hers failed.

I believe this - because to believe anything else just plain hurts too much.

Michelle had demons - quite a few of them... I believe they wore the rope that connected her to her Anchor until her rope was thread-bare.

My heart breaks for Michelle, and for those she left behind.  This beautiful young woman should have had the world at her fingertips, but she had only torment and sorrow.  My heart breaks for Michelle's friends - my son one of them - who believe they have somehow failed their dear sweet friend.  My heart is breaking for her family and those that loved her - even if that love was not perfect, it was at times a very real part of Michelle's life.

I pray for Michelle's soul. I pray that finally she can find the peace that she has sought for so long.  I know she is in a far better place, and I know she is surrounded by the love she so deserves  - the love she needed and wanted here  - before her Anchor failed.

Rest In Eternal Peace, Michelle

Your time with us was short - but it DID count for oh so very much...

Goodbye, Dear One...

Monday, July 1, 2013

Happy Birthday Old Girl!

Happy Birthday Canada!

Hope every Canadian enjoys and celebrates our beautiful country today!  We are blessed to live in a beautiful, free land.   We take for granted the privileges we receive by being Canadian - we have much to be thankful for, we have much to be proud of - and we are...

I have been away from here for a week.  Last week was not my best week and so I decided to give myself a break and just concentrate on me and mine.  There is much about last week that will follow us into the weeks to come, but hopefully we will be better able to cope than we were last week.

I have had a extra long weekend this past weekend.  I had my Friday off and then today is a Holiday, so 4 days off from work really helped rejuvenate my spirit.  I decided to work on the very old and sad composition doll I picked up a week or so ago.

This doll is from somewhere around the 1920's-30's.  It is completely composition which is a bit unusual because most dolls of this era were compo head, hands and feet but the body was soft , stuffed with rags or sawdust.  This one had a compo body as well.  It was in pieces in a box when I bought it, so I knew I would need to re-string it to put it together.

It is very rough shape, but I have never tried restoring a composition doll and until I learn the correct method of doing that I decided to leave this baby just as it is.  Composition was made with glue and sawdust, and if restored correctly it can be beautiful once again, but if done incorrectly it can destroy the doll.

So off I went to Fabricland on Friday  - I bought the heaviest cord elastic I could find, and then I came home and started to string this babe together.

Thanks goodness for the Internet.  I was able to get some instructions as to how best to string a doll.  In this case I strung the head through the body to the legs, using one piece of cord and then strung the arms together through the body using 1 cord.

 It was fun fishing the cord through the closed body - good thing I have always been a good Fisher-woman....  It was no small feat getting the limbs tight to the body - I really should have called for help, another pair of hands to hold as I knotted would have been great, but there was no one around at the time.

After about an hour of hard work that was awfully fun I discovered that this doll is a boy!

And here he is - all ready for Canada Day!  What a beautiful old doll he is!