Monday, December 28, 2015

The best news is that the Japanese post office found Kamiko and were good enough to return her - when they found out someone was looking for her. I had shipped her out at the end of August and all this time she has lived in this box. We had a good cuddle and rocking session in the chair to get reacquainted. But when I put her in the box for this photo she started to worry that her fate was to stay in the box forever. Tomorrow, if I can, I want to box her up again. Machiko sent me her address partly in Japanese so I am hoping that will assure that Kami will be brought to the right house this time.
Customs had opened the box, kept it for 3 weeks and then sealed it back up with Amazon's tape so it would look as if they hadn't peeked. Everything was back in the box but the blanket was folded around Kami in a way different from the way I do it. She refused to talk about what had gone on while she was under their investigation. However she seemed to enjoy looking around the studio. I think she wondered if anything had changed since she had been here,
This morning I did take down the kids' Christmas tree and put it back in the closet. All the packages and mail that was supposed to arrive on Christmas came today. In the one package were the 5 inch babies I had ordered to go into the crocheted cradles. I was eager to see if they fit even though I had made a couple with no doll to measure. To my joy they are perfect.

And also we have. . .

And this one that created its own lighting without me knowing what was happening.

While I was doing this I heard smothered giggling coming from the area in the room where the boys' swing is. I peeked and then remembered that in my haste to get my arms unloaded from putting things away, I had slipped Annie in the swing, too.

I think the boys were figuring out new ways to keep warm on the nights when the studio cools off so much. I took pity on Annie, and the look on her face, to return her to the safety of the crowd on the display rack.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Pig, being pig, needed a snack before I even got all his strings cut and glued. He really does well with the bottle already. Everything about him was easy today. He went together quickly and easily with no problems with his body.
Soon I had him on the photo table, which was very dark because a storm was moving in and the studio was already too cold to open the big door. So I moved on to finishing Kameko and finally got her into some jammies. I worried about her being naked in the cold last night. Thank goodness my hands warmed up enough I could paint her face. I wanted to put her with the other older babies around the tree but she said "no" because she felt shy. I asked her if she wanted to be alone tonight to acclimate but she started whispering, "pig, pig, pig" so I let her sit with him on the photo table. Evidently while sitting in the trays waiting to get their bodies, Kameko and the pig started a friendship. What is not on a photo is how she pulled on him so his head was under her chin. I was so shocked that this delicate little being loved a pig that I could not point a camera at them.

 When I went to work on the monkey, Chez, I discovered that yesterday I had neglected to sew his body. Because it is brown and every one else has white thread on their bodies, I laid it aside to re-thread the brown thread with more light and then I forgot about it lying on the desk. Today however, I came in, happy to get warm, and just then the clouds open up for enough rays of sun for me to see the eye on the sewing machine needle. I sewed the first seam and ran out of bobbin thread. Usually that makes me huff and snort, but I was so happy to be where it was warm I patiently re-wound that and even dusted out the inside of the machine.
Those good vibes stayed with the monkey body so I soon had him together.

 Then I saw that tiny place showing on his neck that indicated it was not fitting in. Within seconds of checking the connection to see if it was secure Chaz looked like this.

Even he was shocked to feel his head lifting off of his body. I tried and tried to get that knot at his neck to be tight enough to hold his head on but the cold and my tiredness of the day would not give my fingers the strength to tie the knot properly. Taking this as a sign to quit, I picked up my new baby from China and we both came in the house already at 4 o'clock.
I wanted to see if the Sony camera would take a better picture of her and the tree than the little Canon camera did yesterday with Jenny Wren. You decide. First here is the China baby, so new she does not yet have a name.

And yesterday's attempt with Jenny Wren.

They are worlds apart and tonight I cannot decide which one I prefer. The cameras certainly see my world differently. I am on a mission to have sharper photos and now I am not sure I can handle the clarity!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

I have made the mistake of thinking that Christmas was over for us and I could go back to work in the same old way of making dolls. In the morning I got away with this idea and was able to make a blue body for Kameko, a brown furry one for the monkey and a cow-colored one for the pig. Those jobs went so easily I was sure I could get these three into their bodies in the afternoon. Not so. Suddenly there were several emails to answer and then telephone calls. I barely got Kameko into her body and it was dark. I quit because of the dark, not the cold, today. Even though our lawn was white with frost this morning, the sun warmed the studio and outdoors so quickly that it did not seem like winter in the afternoon.  In the morning I was glad to stay in the house to sew.
This way I can count on an easy morning tomorrow since I will not have to stop to cut and sew bodies. The photo, sorry, chopped off the view of the bodies on the trays, but they are there. I am hoping the morning light will help me to see where to paint Kameko's face. I had such delightful job assembling her this afternoon I wondered if I should hold back on making the animals. I really do love and enjoy the babies more than animals. I guess I never would have made a good zoo-keeper.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Because WR is German and it is hard to teach old dogs new tricks, we open our Christmas gifts all on the 24th. Not only do we have to wait a day less, we can really enjoy Christmas with all the anxiety of "is my gift right for them?" already over. I already know what is in all the packages so there are no surprises there. But I did have a great day enjoying the holiday.

I had Jenny Wren in the house already taking care of me, keeping the lonelies away and not more than an arm's length away so she was there for a quick reassuring squeeze any time I needed it in the past few days. Here she is in the window tonight so the tree is reflected behind her, Also you can see the dolls that are on our tree instead of the usual Christmas decorations. This came about in a lovely way 6 - 7 years ago. Vicki and Tom decorated trees each year and donated them to Gualala Arts for their Festival of Tree celebration the day after Thanksgiving. That year, after the event, Vicki had to go to Point Arena so was stopping by here, surely to pick up more beads. As we walked to her car I noticed a decorated tree in the backseat and asked what was up with it. "It didn't sell yesterday so I am going to see if I can sell it in Point Arena at the Christmas sale in the old arts building. As I looked at the tree I simply fell in love with it. It was old-fashioned, with faded colors and covered with dolls and lace and baskets of flowers. At the time I was deep into haiku and not really interested in the dolls but they added such a comfy old timey feeling of Christmas, so I bought the tree and saved Vicki a trip to town. Over the years, we get it out again and forego having a live one. I added more dolls, more examples of crocheted snowmen, things the great-grand-kids in Germany made. It is very full [and interesting now].

Jenny Wren also had to see the creche that I still put up out of habit. I made all the creatures out of clay slip over ten years ago when I still had the kiln. Her face gets a very merry glow when she looks at it. She wants desperately to touch the figures and hold them but again this year she has been told she is too young.
After playing with her and the tree I felt sorry for the gang out in the studio so went out to turn on the lights on their tree.

It was already so dark one can only see the smile on Nolan's face. The pig and puppy are there and you can barely see at the bottom is one of the dolls in the cradle purse.

When I turned on the lights to catch the expression on Peanut's face you could not see the lights on the tree which are so very tiny. At least she had her bottle ready for night.

Actually I am reporting this day backwards. Later this morning after getting the house back in order and all the colorful paper carried out to the trash, I started a new crew of babies. Actually I started this a week ago before Christmas swept me away. I wanted to show you I have my feet under me again and am eager to get back to making babies.

That is Chaz on the left [he is best monkey BB has]. Then comes Kameko. The one from Japan still has not come through the mail. When I made a claim about her they said that if she was not back in 4 weeks I could claim. Now they have sent another form letter asking for another 4 weeks for me to wait until I can claim. In my eagerness to see Kameko again, I have started her sister. And we have a pig again, the last one I hope. Tomorrow they get their bodies so we are all excited.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

All the babies and I wish everyone
a very Merry Christmas! Jingle Bells!

Friday, December 18, 2015

I have been 'busy' adding the ruffles to the cradle purses. Now they are all done except the yellow one which seems perfectly good without the ruffle. I do love the additional base the ruffle gives when it is in cradle mode. This shows the under side.

I really did not need to take any more photos but for some reason I was so proud of these, and the lights from Caran, that I found myself aiming a camera at them again and again.

This looks as if it was taken at night but it actually was around noon. It is raining so we get the dark corners. There was no way I was opening the garage doors just for a bit of light. At least this lighting gives the little lights shine out with a shout.

Also in Caran's box of love was this reindeer doll. What you cannot see in the photo, that which really makes it weird, are the protrusion of orchids overhead. I think this is everything I said yesterday so I will have to get a new day tomorrow in order to have something new for you.

Here is Holly showing off her beautiful hands. The look in her eyes tells you her goal is to simply show off her hand. She smiles a bit to think that is all you  are interested in about her. Holly is another of the brave, smart kids from the family. She initiated the photo table even though it was raining and we could not open the door for more light, but there was enough for her very bright jammies.

Kendal wanted to follow her example but as you can tell his heart was not in showing off his hands. What he really wants is to find someone to comfort. That is what he is looking for. Someone who is lonely and will spend all the hours he has holding him that his little poly-fill heart needs.

Molly was much more relaxed this morning than she was last night when she got her jammies. Being with the older kids evidently was what she needed. She too wanted to show off her hands and then I clipped the view of them with the shot. She may not ever forgive me. It felt really good to have the photo table by the weighing in station so I could lay each baby in the proper place as I worked.

In the background you can see the photo setup and in the foreground the babies waiting to be registered. They had to wait extra long because I got involved with the cradle purses again. I found a new way to make them more stable and to look more secure. I add a full ruffle at the bottom (top of the purse). I am so pleased with the addition that I have gone back to add the ruffle to the others. It takes forever because it is very full. Because it was so cold in the studio (it got colder as the day advanced and the rain drew nearer) I took the the cradles in the house where I can crochet in the living room and it is warmer there.
We opened the gifts from Caran and found these marvelous lights made of shining hearts. Perfect for the babies.

I am eager to make new photos showing how good the addition of ruffles is, and with the lights. This was just a quick snapshot while we were fooling around. Werner had the idea of using them as a necklace.

I am shocked how tired I look. It was afternoon and I was trying to be good - which always wears one out. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

I thought that if I redid the blanket for the pink cradle (which I had used in the blue one) I would be done with this series. I was delighted to get the idea of using butterflies I had made a couple months ago and glad to find two in pink ones with which I could decorate the new blanket. You cannot see that I corrected the hot pink around the edge and put a butterfly out there, also (which I failed to photograph).

I forgot that I spent the largest portion of the morning in the house taking care of holiday mail and I even got all the packages wrapped. Having that done made me feel I was already for Christmas. I had wanted to display the beaded scene with the tin boxes in the kitchen and even dusted off a section of the shelves. However I found the smallness of the scene made it get lost among all the stuff already there so I dusted off another tin to use as base.

Then I went to the studio and fiddled with the pink cradle until I was ready to take on the job of making the last baby in this week's crew. It was tiny Molly. Somehow putting her together extended into the afternoon. At first the pajamas we picked were too short in the sleeves. We both meditated on the problem and came up with a pair that fit her.

Here she took her place with Holly and Kendal. She looks as if she is not totally sure of where she is or what she is doing. Maybe by morning she will be more comfortable. Now that the photo-table is in the garage, it is morning light that is best and it is taking me awhile to turn my days around from knowing the best light was after 3:30.  I am eager to have a photo session with this gang as they each have beautiful hands and I want to emphasize that.
Now I must also admit that I started another cradle purse. I thought I measured it properly but it is too big by 9 stitches on each side. Does that mean I will have to do another one? As much as I enjoy the cradles I don't think that will be too cruel.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

I had planned to make a cradle purse for one of the animals and thought I was making it big enough. When it all came together this afternoon none of them fitted into it. On the shelves of the old dolls was this rubber doll from Germany bought in the 70s. She fit so she got the bed.

I started it late yesterday afternoon and by 3:30 it looked like this. I started a blanket for it but decided the blue and white granny square on the  pink cradle would look good here. I added another row of blue and it fit. I am thinking I will go to BB's forum and post some photos as there are other doll makers who have backed off of making babies because the holidays are breaking up their days.

Yesterday's cradle-purse with a naked storybook doll keeping warm in it. I am pleased with the daisy on the blanket. My color scheme was built on the idea of a daisy so it was a good idea to put one on the blanket. I did not have a very good assortment of yellows but I was able to use these together.

With the sunshine, I could open the door and also make these photos.

The process.
Almost hidden.
Complete. Almost! I see I need to finish adding the bright hot pink to the cradle edge that shows through.
I could not rest last night until I started a much bigger one. It needs several more rows added to the skirt to make a proper relationship to the bottom. I do not know for which doll this one is being made. I am hoping that when the cradle is finished, the proper-sized doll will be found.
If anyone seeing this wants the instructions to make one yourself, you can go to YouTube, search for crochet and cradle purse. There are three videos by BobWilson123 that are easy to follow.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Catching up with yesterday to begin with. I cut out and sewed the three bodies in three different sizes and planned to get the babies into them after lunch. Somehow, when I sat down to rest and crochet after lunch I got started on the little purse-cradle and could not get myself to stop until I got it made. I had to see if it worked and if I was smart enough to follow a video to make it. That is one of our Stachman bisque babies doing the modeling honors.

I photographed it this morning in heavy rains with the power off. I could not open the garage door to get more light so I did not also photograph the purse part of this. Sorry! Later in the afternoon, when the power came back on I forgot about it. Thank goodness assembling babies needs no electricity and not more light than comes in the patio door. However when I got Kendal together, and rocked and blessed, I felt it was too cold to make him sit on the bench in just his birthday suit for a photo. So I immediately found a sleeper for him to keep him warm on such a cold day. You can almost see his gums (no teeth yet) chattering as he tried to pose.

I am amazed that he looks as warm as he does! The studio was very chilly. Then I helped Holly into her body. You can see how much smaller she is than Kendal. I love how her eyes are positioned - just a bit to one side. She avoids that straight on stare that the kids so easily get.
I was thinking again today what a special day it is when the babies get their bodies. How they go from being parts and all at once, when the head goes on, the child in them emerges. Suddenly I "know" them and can relate to them. Because of the cold we spent longer on the cuddle quiz as we both got warmed.

As they sat together on the bench their cuteness overtook me and I could not stop myself from making another photo. I feel one can already see so much personality in their faces.

As I was leaving the studio, which never got warm all day, I noticed Jenny Wren had tucked her toes under the very edge of the bear skin rug while she watched over the dormitory shelf  of the smaller babies in order to be warm all night. She may pull even more of it over her but then she would uncover the sleeping kids, they would wake and cry all night so she would never get any sleep. Her decision.

Friday, December 11, 2015

When I sat down to work with this on my desk I felt so very happy I wondered why I had put off doing dolls on some days when I don't feel so good. Then as I began to stuff the limbs of Kendal, I began to know why. It is, for me, hard work. It seems I do not just stuff with my fingers but use my shoulders, chest and even back muscles. And I feel it tonight. However the good news is that I have all three babies ready for their bodies tomorrow. In this photo you can see the puffs of poly-fill which means I have put the glass beads in the limbs and am ready to stuff them. You can also see the beanie baby packets, all are still in the plastic pouches which have never been opened, that will go in their heads (so they have good things to think about and someone to talk to when no one else is around. Also there, near Holly's head, are the little organza bags filled with heavier beads and polished stones.

Here is little Molly Morgan just waiting for a body to jump into to let her be a real baby. I have the feeling she expects me to work overtime tonight to get that body out to her. I love the shape of her hands and fingers. You will notice everyone in this crew has open hands. No tight-fisted babies here.

Kendal seems slightly more patient with me as he waits behind his legs and arms. Is it the bad lighting or do I have his lips colored too lightly? Oh, well, it is easier to add more color than to have too much. We will see what the light of the new day shows us!
Oh yesterday I had a call from Jody and she was telling me about a meeting she attended at RCMS for the Meals on Wheels people and there was one woman who held a baby to her chest the whole time. Jody recognized it as one of the babies I had given to the Point Arena senior citizens. She wanted to ask the lady about the doll but did not know how meaningful it was to her or how she would take the questions or attention. I take my pleasure in knowing here is a person who feels a doll is that helpful for her she will even take it to a public meeting.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

I had babies to stuff and paint today but I got pulled off course yesterday reading the BB forum news that Camryn was to be discontinued. I had been waiting for December and the news that he was now available in the new vinyl color. Instead I see he is on the discontinued list! My first impulse was to write to BB with a begging plea that they continue making him. I would love to have more of his brothers to reborn along with the Candy, Holly, Eden, Eliza, Samantha, and Punkin dolls but as I got used to the news I realized that the Camryn I had was now even more valuable - at least to me if they were the last. Dolls are not a good investment!

 I sat and held him a long time and then finally dug out a stork nest for him. I wish I had one this size in plain white. Anyhow, since I had the great photo-shoot already in place just across the room I hung him to take photos of the stork nest.

It does work better having this plane black background behind the thing. I do like the basket-feeling of the bottom and the way he sinks down into such a secure position. I need to keep this pattern before me if I do do any more. I also put eyelashes on him and redrew in his eye brows. Then I hung him as close to me as possible on the steel rack.

Another smiling face to keep my spirits up all winter. And winter did arrive in a brief but strong hail/rain storm in the afternoon. After taking care of all the mail I had no energy left for babies so only crocheted booties and diapers the rest of the afternoon.

I should not quit my day job!