Sunday, March 29, 2015

While I worked on the sleeping child (is there a name for this one?) I tucked Blaze into My Heidi's lap but she does not look very happy babysitting. I think she thinks the job is beneath her capabilities. Blaze is such a contented child she is happy no matter she is placed. I see now her hair did not do what I wanted it to. So as a hair stylist I am a dud also!
I regained my afternoon composure by moving back to the pocket peace pals. They certainly bring me peace so I have hopes that they can do that for the children who adopt them. The big shipment of brown yarn (6 big balls of Sugar N' Cream) came so I finally have enough backlog that I am not constantly checking to see if I have enough yarn for the next doll. It makes nice brown hair. You can see that I rebelled against all that dark brown by giving the doll on the right such a light, bright dress. It is easier to sew the hair on when hair and scalp are the same color. Getting a straight part in the hair is not in my skill set. Since one can make dolls in a smaller size I have taken that to mean I can let the dolls be any size they want to be. No more counting rows!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

I added another ball of yarn to my wrap and then did not show it even though it felt good to have the extra fabric to use. Working with this doll I again found the body too fat and cut wrong. All I could think about was how to take it in and how much better it would be. I am really more interested in making a good dolly than photographing it, I guess. I did order a piece of artificial sheep fur (I know I can be allergic to the real thing) from Amazon so we will see if that inspires better dolly photos.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Well I got the wrap finished and had about 3 seconds of light to find this arrangement. I needed a deeper well of rugs, which I will gather up and take more time with it all tomorrow. Maybe by then I will have more wrap made. I begin to see the importance of curves in AnaMarie's work and how she uses fabric to make them.

I took my courage in hand yesterday and began to draw the hair on Samantha. She sits up very straight because I put a wooden spatula in her back and will now be mine as one can feel its end in her end - there needs to be more fluff under it on the edge. Werner said he thought there should be more hair on her as she sits and does look to be about 6 months old and not a new born. So I will add more today. I have eyelash materials coming and she will be my guinea pig for that process too. I also have a lovely tiny wig for her in case the hair job gets out of hand.
Here she is with Blaze who I got together today. Her hair, done by the factory people, is a mess and I plan to condition and brush it out today. Let's hope this is a  good hair day for all of us.
I am loving the pleasant expression on Blaze's face. I find myself smiling back at her and that is good for both of us. The triplets more sober faces make me wonder what is bothering them and what can I do to make them happier.
On eBay someone offered a kit for Cookie so I researched her and found another doll with a happy expression that pleases me. It is cheaper to order Cookie from Bountiful Baby. . . Hm. I have promised myself not to order any more dolls until I get made up all the kits I now have.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I decided to follow instructions and construct a cap or beanie for the pocket peace pal but still I missed giving her long hair. There were moments I thought of making a boy but at the last moment she was female. I wanted a yellow pom-pom to be the sun on top of her head. She will be a star, I hope.
In addition to working on her while enjoying the comfort of my recliner, I also worked on Blaze in the afternoon. I started filling the limbs with beads and ran out. I have a several pounds ordered on eBay but they are not here so I raided my bead stash. Tonight the glue is drying and I hope I can get her together tomorrow. I hope I can walk tomorrow! I have been watching photographers on YouTube and may try out some of their tricks for Blaze's baby photos.
I decided this blog should carry one photo of the new rugs which Werner and I put down this morning (which accounts for the pain I am in tonight).

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Now I know again why I was procrastinating starting this job. It seemed every thing I needed I had to get up off the stool to hunt it down. I was amazed how much stuff needed to be gathered up even for my simple way of stuffing the dolls. The coldness of the studio meant that glue dried more slowly so I would do a bit and then have to lay it aside to dry. I did not seem to have the ability to work on more than one part at a time so there was nothing to do but walk away and wait for something to dry. It was good I had the pocket peace dolls to work on while I waiting.
In the afternoon I heard a big truck drive in, and I saw it was Fed ex bringing the second shipment of my rugs/floor covering. I had not expected this until tomorrow but it is here now. Before I quit for the day I took photos of the rugs as I am hoping tomorrow will be fine and I can lay the new flooring.
A view from the cupboards
and a shot from the doorway. You can see the small rug which arrived yesterday. It has plastic on the back side with little grippers so it doesn't slide on such a slippery floor. Early to bed tonight.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Here is Adam, still slightly in shock from his tummy-tuck  operation, but the tiger is watching over him. You can see that he already sits up straighter. I found the reason his chin was falling into his chest was because his tummy stuck out so much that stuffing in his upper chest had moved down to fill out his tummy. When the extra fabric there was sewn up his chin drop was able to be fixed without adding more support inside. In two of the dolls I had inserted wooden spoons to hold the head up but now see that losing the tummy is a much more natural way to fix this problem in the baby. Putting on diapers, and pulling them very tight, can make minor corrections but resewing the body is a more permanent solution.
Afterwards I did Samantha's toe nails and here she is waiting on the polish to dry. She actually seems to hold her toes as if she knows the polish is wet.
I have debated about bringing my sewing machine out to the studio but I have so little space and do not have a table for it there. I am thinking I will set up the machine in the living room and do my sewing there. I never did drag out the basket of fabric so it is still in the closet - a fact that makes this seem a good solution. I think that before I do the other dolls I will make the corrections in the body sleeves before using them. I basically would sew straight down from chin to pubic area. That is all.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Adam and his tiger sat all day and discussed what they were seeing outside. I am feeling that the tummy on Adam's body sleeve is too rounded out and it makes his body look too fat for his little arms and legs. One of my jobs for today was to give him a tummy tuck and even some liposuction. I feel his head needs a bit more support so that when he sits his chin does not fall into his chest. I was not up to solving so many problems today but hopefully I will be better tomorrow and can make the changes he needs in his body. I was comparing current body sleeve patterns with what I was using ten years ago and I see the belly bulge comes with it. Without that curve he would weigh less. . . Here I am thinking of how to fix the situation again. It has been helpful to be living with the dolls so I can discover what I feel needs to be changed - and I am not talking about diapers

Friday, March 20, 2015

Well, what a gift I got yesterday. Yes the box from Bountiful Baby arrived and I was delighted with the baby parts I had bought. But that was not the best part. Enclosed was a ROSE advertisement for workshops and show so suddenly I had a name and a mission for what I have been doing and feeling.
Cuddle Therapy!

That explains it! When Bu Kitty died I missed him so much but Werner and I had agreed not to get another cat. I thought a lot about what I missed (the last months with his failing health  were not easy) and then I figured out it was holding him in my lap and patting him that made me feel good. In October I discovered reborn dolls on YouTube and after many marvelous evenings of searching the offers on eBay I ordered one doll "Giggles" because she looked so much like my firstborn - Heidi. I asked Heidi to name her to keep the connection and she chose Jenny Wren, a nickname my mother had called me. For a while just holding her, dressing her, placing her in my studio was enough comfort for me.
Then after Christmas I began to buy boo-boo babies I felt I had the ability, as old retired doll-maker, to fix or remedy many so Jenny acquired a small family. I had talked to a few people about finding a way to get some of these babies to local Alzheimer's victims as I knew what loving a reborn had done for me  (without having to have Alzheimer's!) and I could imagine passing  along the good feeling.
Then from Bountiful Baby came the connection to others who are doing Cuddle Therapy and the explanation of what they are doing and needing!  I have a purpose again doing what I love! Putting together reborn babies at a price I can afford without going into a business! I am so excited! My joy has spilled over to Adam and Tiger his nanny.
Here you can see all three are now looking out the window (in reality it is behind you) so the world is suddenly beautiful and open with excitement and a smile is creeping on to Adam's face.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

A new day with new work from yesterday. My first work in the new studio. Yes, these dolls are standing alone thanks to ruffle on the skirt!
You see I have gone back to the non-messy hair choice with the black yarn since I have cleaned the studio so much I could not stand the eyelash yarn getting brown threads all over my clean (but not mopped) floor. I am getting these instructions imprinted in my mind so I can make one without having to follow the words on the paper with my finger.
There is a reborn dolly laid out on my new work table and plans spinning in my head.
This was the view into the studio this morning. Front and center is the vacuum cleaner. I was able to get most of the remaining dirt cleaned up by sitting on a rolling stool and pushing the nozzle as far as I could reach. I disturbed a spider in the wheel of the stool and when that appeared I stopped doing the floor and cleaned out the stool instead of mopping the floor.
By afternoon I was weeping at the thought that the place looked like a 12-year-old's Wendy House after she had been grounded and

lost her allowance. I've seen the reborn nurseries of 11 year old girls on YouTube and they are better furnished, look a part of a real house and are full of new things they are buying daily. Most of their nurseries are better stocked than the best shop in Gualala. I will NOT be posting any more studio photos since, frankly, I am ashamed of it and myself. That I do not have the will and the self esteem to demand a better place to display my dolls upsets me deeply. Maybe I am just very tired and discouraged tonight due to the pain and my attempts to get off the codeine I have used the past several days in order to get as much done as I have.Well this is another mess but one that is not allowing me to clean up so I will post it as it is. I am learning to live with existing messes!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A photo so you can share the chaos. This is what greeted Mary when she came in the morning.

When Mary and Bob left (we had to call in some muscle) all the big chunks were in place and we had killed a lot of black widow spiders. I never used to have them but evidently they have moved in the last year. My mind is whirling this morning with plans to encourage them to go back to wild outdoors. It is hard to plan "cozy" with the memory of them lurking in every corner.
When planning my spaces in the studio I made an error. I knew the garage was 24 x 42 and had used those dimensions on my plans. Duh! I have 1/2 the garage for my studio so the car gets its half leaving me with a section 12 feet x 42. That has made me revamp my plans! The walls are very bare! As yet I do not see a solution in my mind.

The dollies were finding their new homes.My-Heidi is standing by Jenny's stroller trying to comfort her. Even the tiger nanny is concerned about her anger, sorrow and sense of dislocation. I do have my good chair here (the old one stayed in the living room.) I hope to return to crocheting here today but it is very cold in the studio yet this morning. Yesterday it did not seem that cold. I may have to vacuum the floor again just to get warm.

Monday, March 16, 2015

A quick snapshot of the studio mess as I begin so you can appreciate what I am facing. That was yesterday and I am still working on it. More plans for today Thank goodness my body allows the time and energy to do this. It goes better when my heart is all for the changes.

A shot from the other direction!  In spite of all the work in the studio I have continued to make some new Peace Pal dollies while I rest as you can see from the mess on my indoor table. I also found a way to make the dolls stand alone by adding a ruffle to the skirt which gives the dolly the balance it needs. I could, if I want, add these ruffles so even older doll models will stand without pins in their feet. The package of felt hearts arrived last week so now I put those in the chest area and flowers in the heads so the dolly has good thoughts. The computer brings me the audible stories. I am still listening to Diana Gabadon's Outlander series.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

I only got this doll done today. I was pleased to be able to devise the old cork coaster into a stand to hold these small, soft dolls  upright with only a display pin through it. I love this eyelash yarn for hair but working with it leaves little brown threads sticking to every thing everywhere. I may go back to ordinary yarn hair.
We suddenly had lots going on to occupy my brain. Werner tells me he cannot stand the smell of the vinyl on the several new dollies I did this week and we decide they must move out of the living room. That set this old hound on the idea of cleaning out the studio, storing away the bead stuff  properly and making those shelves into a place for all my dolls. It will be a job but Mary said she could come on Tuesday and would help me. I find this very exciting as nothing excites my spirits as organizing new spaces. I have a plan drawn up so the only open question is if I have enough energy to follow my heart.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Finally the eyelash yarn arrived (see the brown hair on two dolls) along with a ball of tan yarn (see the faces on three of them) so I can go ahead with this family. These are experiments into the Peace Pocket Dolls. In the back row are what I did while waiting on the proper yarns. We cannot use white or black yarns. The one with the yellow face looks cheery as if she is made of sunshine and I like that. Still we speak of the "yellow race" and I did not want to fall into that racist trap. I used the white cotton yarn I use for my other dolls and felt that I had to make it into a bunny. I tried using the "keep the parts flat and crocheted in one piece" for the ears, too but they do not look like ears enough. Maybe I need to redesign them. I did make the bunny into a male version of the doll and aside from not being able to sew the bib to the overalls in the middle, that works too. That rabbit looks rather unhappy. . . I see the doll with the brown skirt also has just a circle for lips and again she, too, looks less that happy. I have to remember what works and what does not.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Angie with her new hairdo! By putting the curls into pigtails (and they are curly!) the wig is as young as she is. I feel we are coming close to a final stage of her dressing and figuring out who she is. She still clings to the lamb her maker, Cyndi, gave her

I just had a call from Werner who stayed overnight in Santa Rosa to get a new water pump put on the car and he asked how the new doll, My Heidi, was getting along with the others. He had no idea that I made taken this photo of them yesterday squashed together in the recliner !

Thursday, March 12, 2015

I have a new doll! The Universe took charge of my buying practices and this is what I got. While scanning eBay I saw this 22" doll offered for $100. After looking at the prices on the reborns, I felt this was a real bargain at this size and in this costume. Surely someone would want her. I made a bid at the lowest price, mostly to get others started. Only later, while thinking without seeing the doll, I realized this was for a DOLL and not a toddler reborn (which usually run over $500). Still I was happy when I won the auction and thought of the doll as "My Heidi." Yesterday she arrived and I found out she was made here in California (9 out of 2,500) by Golden Keepsakes. I looked her up on the Internet and found out she sells for $90. new! So my eBay bargain cost me $10.! I am very happy to have her no matter how I got her. This is the size doll/reborn I love! I gave her my amber necklace after removing an ugly wooden scrap on a string. Otherwise, as you can see the costume is marvelous! She is very German! which eased her reception here when Werner found out what I had gotten.

I introduced her to Glorianna and Esteranna and they too were happy to see  another older baby in the collection. They both find babies boring. . .

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Even though there was not enough sun for a good photo these two were fighting over the cupcakes so I had to show you the battleground. In the meantime (and I mean mean time) these oldies have new names. The blonde in the blue dress and satin slippers is Glorianna and in pink we have her sister Esteranna. She feels she is too old and sedate for fighting but she is not above stealing a cupcake or two. I am waiting for a new purchase from my Doll Heaven (eBay) to finish up the one remaining baby. In spite of it being nearly the middle of March our nights are still pretty cool so I am finishing the other afghan. 
Barbara Fast stopped by with a check from the gallery and picked up Portrait of my Neighbor for the gallery. I also got her loaded up the two new rabbit dollies to help the gallery celebrate Easter. She looked over the new doll family and asked what I was going to do with them. . .

Monday, March 9, 2015

This is how the living room studio looked this morning when I got my computer and email stuff done. You can see on the end table that I had left over puff flower afghan squares. This afternoon I am putting the last four together in a small pillow.

This was the view across the desk with Bonnie and Annie's arms and legs all over the top. This afternoon all is cleared away and back in a new order of bags and boxes. You can see the packages of Ty bears. I started putting one in each head as part of the stuffing.

It was at this point I almost gave up trying to do anything. I was tempted to put the mess away but stuck with it until lunch time. Angie is still enjoying her curls and the warmth of the afghan.

At the last minute I realized the two new babies from yesterday were not included so got a shot of this chair. You can see the porcelain doll (I have got to get a name for her) wearing the wig that was so wrong for Angie but seems right for her. You can see she prefers cupcakes to even pets! So now you have had the tour! Applause!

By the time I got to the studio (i.e. the living room) I found Angie had a new hairstyle ( she ripped the brown wig off one of the porcelain dolls). She looks a lot better with it and I am thinking of letting her keep it. It lengthens her body making her taller and not fat at all. Evidently her legs and bare feet got cold so she pulled this afghan over her. I think she looks now like a woman I would love to meet. I am trying to finish off both afghans that I started last week.

Annie, even so new, insisted on wearing one of the headbands so I plopped a curly wig on her so there were curls to curtail. As the morning wore on  I liked that wig on her more and more. Luckily it fits her head exactly right. She is wearing Jenny's sleepers which cover up the great body sleeve with all the joints movable and so easy to tie off. That made finishing her this morning very fast and easy. I even thought I had time to do another one. The beaded giraffe is amazed at the animals on the sleeper. He hasn't figured them out yet.

Bonnie's body bag caused me all kinds of trouble. For a while I could not tell the back from front. I felt the head flopped too far forward so I put a  wooden spoon in her body with the handle in her head. Then I could tell the front from the back and discovered I had the limbs facing the wrong direction. Also when I got to the last cable tie the cogs would not catch in the end piece. I tried both sides and it would slip out with the least bit of pressure. That convinced me to put in strings. That decision allowed me to cut out the other three cables and put the arms and legs in the right direction. Thank goodness her head would twist back around so now, 2 hours later, her body has all its parts going in the same direction. She is wearing Angie's second pair of sleepers. Those naked little feet are crying for socks. I looked on Amazon last night and could not find any that were tiny enough. More shopping!

While crocheting and resting up from my morning I heard this unnamed porcelain doll eating cupcakes as she sat in the chair only in her body suit. Then I got her moan of a message, She is big and the cupcake outfit that came on Angie.  I loved it but thought at 6 months size was a bit big for her. Since this clay doll had given Angie the long brown curls (and this cap of curls that made Angie look fat fit her bald head perfectly). So I put Angie's coming home outfit on her, including the hand crocheted booties and cap, and she looks so cute! Then I remembered that since I have had her out, each day I have given her the crocheted cupcakes to play with. I knew a week ago that this outfit was right for her. I may even try out painting dolls and using her as my proving ground.

I have one more doll to assemble but need more beads, have no more clothes, and will have to thread in strings on the body suit. Actually I have four heads all alike. One could say I have quintuplets except the big body suits I bought on eBay and my leftover wigs make them into small children.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

While I was working on sleeping Samantha, and the tiger nanny was watching over her, I found my hands straying to Adam, a preemie. While I was still waiting glue to dry on Samantha, Adam put himself together perfectly.
I looked up from the job of stuffing more of Samantha's limbs and there was Adam already seated on the photo setup, with his new pet dog. It was very amazing how every thing that was going wrong with the putting together of Samantha, did itself correctly for Adam. Even the new preemie sleeper I had gotten for Angie (but was too small) was perfect for him. I like the look of quiet calm assurance on his face and thank the lady who practiced on him learning her skill.

When I finally got Samantha done I took another photo of her.
Isn't she a beautiful baby? Someone even gave her perfect eyebrows. I should have put a cap on her but I was rushing to get things done and missed my chance.

Angie started howling that she wanted to show off her new sandals. When I picked her up the new wig fell off and I could not get on right. Then I remembered in my reading of placing wigs that one can stick a pin through the wig and into the scalp to hold it in  place. It seemed very cruel but I am hoping that in a few days I will have all the wigs sorted out and properly distributed so I can attach them permanently. As I sat in my chair looking at her and starting to crochet a new rabbit, I felt the curls around her face made her look fat. Suddenly she looked about 45 sitting on a park bench in Missouri on a hot afternoon with an argument with the butcher on her mind.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Jenny offered to let Angie try on the dress she was given when she was a dolly. The dress is not out of recycled baby clothes and has no size in it but it certainly fit Angie perfectly. Now Jenny wants the dress back for summer so Angie is again naked or in her sleepers. I had misplaced one of the yellow sandal slippers so Angie had to wear the bright blue ones which made her very cranky. I made her a yellow pair after the sun set and there was not enough light for a photo but she is wearing the sandals to bed tonight.  I also tried a smaller curly wig on her and it makes her face look fat and round. Another reason for her to be grumpy with me. I do love the look and size of her legs and told her Cyndi Marie did a great job on them but by that time she was not speaking to me. Maybe she will wake up in a better mood.
I did take the time to lay out the five dolls I got in a lot sale on eBay for $40. altogether and I am hoping that by tomorrow I will get them put together so I can introduce them to you. I want to reread the chapter in the doll book on stuffing their bodies so I can do it as good as possible. It has been over 10 years and now the experts do then differently so the reborn feels like a real child. Angie is perfectly weighted and I am thrilled every time I pick her up. Now to give that feeling to my new babies.
Angie in her not so girly outfit. This is a preemie sized sleeper. I found out by shopping for used baby clothes that preemie and newborn sized clothes are mostly knit sleepers (makes sense that's what babies wear!) However the little girly dresses that I want mostly start at a 3 months size. Those are too big for Angie. I had the feeling that this preemie was too small for her. Tomorrow we will try on one of Jenny's dresses. She said we could borrow it. I ran out of daylight yesterday so am saving the surprise for the weekend.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Just as the sunlight started to fade, I got the rabbit finished. In fact I had to put a box under the board the background balances so it reached up higher and still in the sunlight. I had sworn not to push myself so much today but to just keep working at a steady pace. However, as I saw the shadows getting lower and lower I was determined to get one shot of the bunny. With two soles and an ear out of the picture means that I was shooting in the bright sun and was not really able see the image in the camera. At least it is done and I am well pleased. It took the best part of 4 days. Perhaps the next one will go faster.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Angie is still barefoot. The sandals, made for the little slender feet of young girl dolls, were much too narrow. The dress, though I love it, is a 3 month size and therefore a bit too big for her. Still I love her as a grown up girl. Will I continue to search for tinier dresses?  The wig is actually too big for her also so a lot of what looked interesting yesterday need to be rethought today.

I had to take a close-up of this face and hair because I delight in it all so much. I am okay with everything going wrong on this project as I feel that what will be revealed will be the best in the end.

Having such great sunshine made me turn around to the recliner to catch this group. I still do not know what to do with my unfinished porcelain dolls except talk to them and keep their spirits up.

Yesterday Mary Rose told me about this project of making simple dolls dolls to give away. Last night I started this and was surprised how long it took me today to get her this far. I am unhappy with that big mouth  and will take that out and do a tiny round one. I do love not having to make arms and legs that match and need to be sewn on. You cannot see her tiny feet in this shot. They want the dolls made only in tans and brown skin colors (no white or black!) but I had so little I could not waste it on a trial attempt.