Thursday, September 27, 2012

RAIN...Day Three.....

      Yes, my lovelies, it's been raining here for three days now. I am tempted to post pictures of our grumpy wet hens, but they look so pathetic it might spoil your appetite. Not that they were thrilled with the drought this summer either, but they seem to like the steady downpour even less. 

     Instead I will post pictures of an old friend. I cannot remember when it was that we got Blue Bunny for Daniel, but he has been getting alternately chewed and resewn, patched and repatched for several years now. He is starting to look like art. Recently he was found by Silly Puppy and somehow lost his eye and a good portion of his face. Luckily my scrap basket is always at the ready and I recently received a box from Smallest Child that held the perfect stuffing for dolls and creatures.  (Thank you Dollbaby!)

    When she is not busy being an adoring wife and affectionate kitty-mama or dressing up as a young man and firing cannons at historical reinactments, or lindy hopping in the street with her mister, Smallest Child is New Orleans finest shop girl, and she sells shoes among other things, (Check out Trashy Diva online for vintage inspired adorableness.)  In the shoe shop they use little nylon footie stockings for trying-on, and on account of germs they're used once and thrown away.   Smallest sweetly installed a bag for collecting them for me. Queen Dorothy (my father's sister) often used her old worn out stockings to stuff rag dolls, and now I've got a fine collection of them to use myself. They're much nicer to work with than that nasty fiber-fluff stuff that is sold for stuffing things. Stockings can be packed in firmly which makes a much less floppy creature and that is most important if the doll is going to be embroidered and otherwise embellished or the creature is going to be hauled all around the house and out into the forest by rough and tumbly dogs.

Here's bunny with his face patch, and I'm putting in footie stockings to fill out the shape of his face and replace the original fluff (which was all over the lawn). Does the fabric I'm patching his face with look familiar?


When Professor B.  designed his series of three dimensional angels he hired me to hand sew the fabric panels he printed onto the welded frames.  The blue one is just behind me, you can see the wing over my right shoulder. Naturally I saved the scraps because the fabric he made is so interesting, based on a scan of a pile of glistening glass shards.  While I think it would be unethical to use another artists art to make my own art..... I figure it's ok to use it for a patch on something that will only be seen here at home.  It's a very sturdily woven cloth, so the patch may outlast the rest of the bunny.

Looking better, but needs a smile.

That's better!

All spruced up and ready to face the world again.  His eye is needle tatted, his neck is Grandpa's old chambray work shirt and his ear is a scrap from Grandma's old muu muu.  It looks better on the bunny.

While I'm thinking blue, here's the lovely yogurt cups the Manimal brought back from Paris. We use them to drink out of, which is something you wouldn't want to do with American yogurt cups.

This is the afghan I'm making for Onlyest Son.  His old one was wearing out (I think I made it a decade ago).  I happily crocheted the squares on my lunch breaks all summer, then procrastinated putting them together. In a drought with temps above 100 it is too hot to have a lot of afghan on your lap stitching it together. Three days of gray, chilly rain has been perfect for stitching all the squares together. I'm working on the edging now and hope to mail it this weekend.  He's probably not reading this, so don't tell him ; )

The Manimal leaves for London on Saturday morning very early.  I'll be working my usual three day weekend, but come Tuesday I'll be up in the loft sorting and packing joyously.  I'll return and report!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Here Lately....

  My darling Middle Child is a splendid essayist (find her at and her bloggery is a continual delight to me. I look forward to her thought-provoking analytical musings.
   I, on the other hand, am more of a catch-up-on-the-news blogger.  I live in an isolated valley far from my dear ones, and this is how I let them know I'm still alive.  Here's what's been going on in the valley the last couple of weeks:

I've packed a good many boxes of stuff in the loft. (I wish I could rotate this picture for you)

I've loaded up the pickup truck and hauled the boxes off to Goodwill.  For a long time I was stuck in the decluttering process because I kept remembering how much was spent on my heaps of un-needed things. Shouldn't I sell them to get some of the money back?  Shouldn't I personally give each and every item to someone I know will take good care of it?  Then I began studying Ebay and other online sales venues. There's an awful lot of stuff in the world and most of what gets listed never sells. Things I don't want to keep other people probably don't want to pay auction price plus postage for. And I honestly don't want to have the troublesome task of listing, selling, packing and hauling things item by item to the post office.    Finally, I hit upon my new mantra: That money is Already Gone.  I repeat this to myself often as I pack stuff to be given away.  Yes, I've given the thrift shops a lot of things that are "actually worth  money."But isn't that the point of thrift shops? I estimate this summer I've saved YEARS of time by giving things away by the boxful and truckload instead of trying to sell them or personally find adoptive homes for them.  The way I see it, I've spent half a century accumulating these things, and it could easily take that long to get rid of them if I do it one item at a time.  I feel I haven't another half-century to waste on the same darn stuff.

Here's a pretty sight--empty floorspace in the loft. It makes my little heart sing.
And look! There's some in the other direction too!

I've also been stitching up a doll.    She's number ten in a series of embroidered and embellished cloth dolls made in the 1940's-50's and every one of them start out really showing their age.  When I get them they look like this--generally stained and with some holes where the 60-70 year old cloth has worn out or been  moth bitten.   Sometimes they have limbs missing.

Mouth stains are very common, children like to feed their babies. 

The hair is usually moth nibbled as it's made of wool yarn which is apparently delicious to moths. It also is generally wonky looking.
There is a  secret to making good looking rag doll hair, and this secret is unknown to most home sewers, so wide  and crooked parts and bald spots are par for the course. Not a problem to me since I'm going to take the hair off anyway.

As you can see, she's got an odd torso. Not sure why her head is bowed like this.

A trip through the washer will take off a lot of the staining and eliminate any musty smells. This girl wants to float, so I had to pin a heavy bath towel around her neck to drag her underwater.

Once she was through the wash I found three holes in her, two in her neck where the seams are and one on her forehead where her hair was stitched in.  I had open her up and  empty out her raw cotton stuffing in order to get her dry. While she was gutless I patched her gaps with some pink gingham from Grandma's old bedroom comforter. It doesn't match her skin very well, but for my purposes that matters not a pins worth! When I put her back together I added a dowel inside her to strengthen her neck. Cloth doll necks so often become floppy, which weakens the seams.

Here she is with a bit of her embellishment done.  There's a lot more stitching to do before I put her back together.  I'll get back to her next week.

This week I've been busy stitching up some clothes for First Granddaughter's Lalaoopsy doll.  For sewing enthusiasts interested in decluttering their fabric stash I must warn that making doll clothes for grandchildren's dolls is the slowest way of getting fabric scraps out of the house.
 A box and a truck is much quicker.