Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I had planned a good day in the studio making bodies for the dogs with the new fabric called "cow" that arrived yesterday.  Instead I spent the whole morning and part of the afternoon trying to settle the several situations in the AHAforum. It was almost two o'clock before I got near the sewing machine. I kept telling myself I should be happy working with such lovely and appropriate fabric but all the words and arguments swirled in my head. I needed bulldog energy! This little puppy gave it to me.

While trying to find background fabric for the photos I found some animal print  in the utility room that would have been adequate for dog bodies and I would not have had to wait a week. However, I am very happy with the 'cow' fabric on the dog.  I brought one of the monkeys in from the studio and decided to use the new old  fabric for their bodies. So maybe tomorrow I can make monkey bodies with a happy heart!

I tried to make the pug into a fur-baby by adding a diaper cover.   He is cute, but he is lucky I did not bite him with the mood I was in. Seeing his raised paw, I feel he is saying, "Peace be with you!"

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Today, with only Eliza to be born or finished, made her an only child so she really gloried in the honor. You can see how nicely she posed on the position-checking bench. She kept this pleasant expression on her face as I tried on several sleepers which were all too small for her. She, being 22 inches long, and weighing in at 3 pounds and 8 ounces, only fit in one of the two sleepers I had in a size 6 months. Fortunately it was one of my favorites that  I had been saving back for Candy. So we were both happy with the sleepers. The wig was another issue. So many girls have bloomed with the blonde wigs, I first put one on her. She kept looking at me as if I was a ignoramus. Obviously she was not made to be a blonde. The one other wig I had in her size was this brown Johnny style wig. I thought it was too thick and would need to be thinned before it would look right, but to my surprise it matched her brown eyes and was absolutely perfect as it was. Again we were both happy!

As she was posing, I offered her all the Halloween decorations I had on hand, but none of them suited her and she pushed them on the floor. She kept saying, "upache." which sounded so Arabic I wondered if I had another bilingual child on my hands. It was only after her repeating this word constantly with increasing volume that I caught on that she wanted a cupcake to match those on her sleeper. Thank goodness I still had one left from the bunch I had crocheted last winter. With the cupcake in her lap (she only licked a bit of the frosting), she sat up very straight and smiled her most beguiling smile. She is sweet faced child and very easy to love. As we were doing the cuddle quiz she grabbed my watch and would not let go. "Mii, mii, mii! she insisted. I tried to explain to her that she was a child, that I loved her very much, and would give her anything I could. But a watch was not something she should have at this age. We seemed at a Mexican standoff until I began to sing to her. Suddenly she relaxed into my arms and I pulled her closer to me. With a barely audible sigh I heard her give in to accept my view of gifts. As I rocked her I sang to her my thanks for being the loving little child she was. Suddenly she did not need a watch but grabbed a handful of my t-shirt.
With the mail came to cow fabric and I think it is going to be good for pug dogs; bodies. I filled the legs of two of them with glass beads and stuffed with cotton so they are all ready for tomorrow.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Pink is the new orange when you raise therapy babies. Today was the perfect day for photographs so I wanted to crochet a pumpkin to add a bit of Halloween to the set-ups. Orange has long been missing from my selection of yarns so I tried pink instead. No one was fooled.

Raine caught me trying to cover up her purple hair ribbon with the big black witch's hat so she pushed it aside so everyone would know Halloween was still a month away. We are still debating whether her sleepers are orange or bright pink. I think her Hello Kitty will help her convince us.
With cloudy skies today I saved enough energy to photograph everyone. While waiting for me Eddie leaned forward  so far he fell off the bench of un-shot photos. I picked him up to find his sleepers have the label "my first Christmas" on the chest. Heck, I was still gathering up Halloween decorations and blowing the dust off of them. Now I to switch to Christmas already and those things were all upstairs. I looked deep into Eddie's eyes and read his thought "girls." That gave me the idea to look in the tiny dollies for a Christmas girl. There she was. How did he know?

He did seem happier when I put her in his lap. She is not a toy for a baby but that is my problem now. How to get her away from him without his special brand of loud howling. Even when Camryn tried to borrow her, (her colors match his sleepers) I met the first resistance in a cry. Then I only got her away from Camryn when I retrieved an owl from a abandoned beading adventure to offer him a trade

Camryn switched from howling about the loss of the cute doll to howling because he wanted the owl to sit on him. No owl was going to sit on anything howling that loud and the poor bird tried to run away. I finally got Eddie content with the doll (and I accepted that I might lose her to his baby handling of her), explained to Camryn owls only like quiet so he had to be shhhh!

Just as we got this far, with the owl on his shoulder, Camryn began giggling in delight and the moment flew away to a safe hiding spot I still have not discovered. When I picked up Gabriel (who had gone to sleep) to do a re-shoot and he thought that all the howling was a fight over his hat. He was not ready to trust me again but he tried very hard to be good.

Phillip remembers his Daddy and when someone cries he thinks of his Dad and joins in with his very own heartbreak. It is impossible to take a good photo of baby with his face swollen from tears and too upset to sit up. So we tried to show what a doll he is lying down

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Last night my plan was to take about a 1 inch tuck all around Phillip's body so the length of it fit with his head size. Sometime in the night I realized I needed more bodies sewn for today and at least one of them was this size the Phillip was trying on. So this morning I cut Phil a new body the proper length for him. When I finished explaining it all to him, he agreed and easily got out of this too big body. Here he is in the made-for-him body. I still feel his arms and legs are too small for his head. If we find someone he could trade limbs with, we may do that.

First though we need his official photo. I had three babies left over from the last week to finish.

So I distributed bodies and then separated them on to their individual wooden trays. Right to left we have Eliza, Canryn and an unnamed kit I am calling Eddie because of the initials EH on the back of his neck. This crew all have smiles and open hands - my kind of babies!

Now you can see  them on their own trays and it is Camryn who gets Phil's body there on the left.

As the babies got into their bodies I found out I have a bunch of sleepers in gray (ugly!), more in pink (for small girls, and nothing for boys. I dug into the Christmas pile and found three soft woolly sleepers. In the afternoon I got Canryn into his new night clothes, but did not take the time to make him sit up correctly. More lessons tomorrow. I need to paint Eliza and help Eddie into his nightie. Should be a good day.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Again I started my day at the sewing machine. Having cut out 5 bodies yesterday allowed me to get 4 of the bodies ready to go today before the morning disappeared.
I started by getting Lefty's head on his body. You can see he is pointing to the problem hand hidden in the sleeper sleeve. I will keep an eye on offered kits to see if I can match him to an offering to find where I got him. There is always the option of buying a new pair of arms for his size baby and replacing both so we can expose his hand. Then I might change his name to Lexi.
Thought maybe I should show the doll joints I use on all the babies so they are completely pose-able.
I've ordered them from Amazon and from Dolls by Sandie but I am finding I like Sandie's the best but Amazon offers one size smaller which works best on the arms.

Here you can see them installed on the body. Raine is first on my list and thankfully she fits perfectly into this body. I really love her attitude. She is such a can-do girl.

Then I worked on Gabriel. I love his name and his expression is very sweet. I bypassed a photo op in the studio and went directly to the set-up in the living room. I put some effort into trying to decorate for Halloween so I am not yet happy with my aim as I was getting tired at this point and it transferred to Gabe.

I took the time to crochet a witch's hat and one was too small but it fit Lefty perfectly so he got in the photos before I even planned how I wanted him to look. He did great! I have the feeling he knows his left arm is wrong and tries even harder to give me what I want with what he has.

Friday, September 25, 2015

I had my day all planned. I cut out five bodies hoping to get the right sizes made  for the babies waiting on the trays. I got the smallest body sewn first so tried it on Phillip.
The body seemed to fit perfectly, until I added the head. It was obvious now the body was way too small. I tried to get back to sewing bodies but then came lunch, the mail, the ICO, a rest and the day was slipping away. I did have the energy to get Phillip out of his too small body so I would not cramp his style overnight. As I was carrying the limp body around the studio, I was wondering where I could put it so I remembered I had it when I notice another wooden tray on the shelf.
Ah things were working out! I had set this babe aside because I needed smaller eyes for it and today a tiny package of eyes had surprisingly arrived from China. The Universe wanted this baby done today. I was on the right track. The new eyes slipped in so quickly I had the feeling someone else was putting this one together. That meant I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. Good feeling. Onward toward new babies.

Here is the result of replacing the eyes 5 times. Every time I wiggled the head the left eye would move into a new unwanted place. I would take out most of the stuffing and replace the eye and use my finger to stick it where I thought it belonged. One time I actually lost the eyeball in the head and had to take out even more stuffing just to find it! Finally I wised up, straightened the eyes, wiped off the excess glue to set it aside in a still place to dry and hopefully stay in place.
Since there was still some day left over I tried putting this baby's limbs into Phillip's 'old' body. All was going great. The afternoon was cool, there was still diet ginger ale in the can, and I was able to find the perfect fit for the body. And then.
I thought I took a photo but was evidently too upset to record the problem. The baby had two right arms! It has made in China, I do not remember when I got it and had no idea of who the seller was or the name or number of the doll. Used to adversary, I found a tiny sleeper with the mittens sewn on. With that one cannot tell the left arm is pointing the wrong way. Eager to see how the head  looked I put it on only to find the jiggling had moved the left eye again. Calmly I untied the head, took out the stuffing, and re-positioned the eyes. I have no idea why the head seems to tilt. . . And I see I forgot to draw in the eyebrows! This seems a good place to end the day.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Well this week it has been very hard on the baby-making business. The Moving-out  Babies Effort (Operation Adoption Harmony calls it) is going splendidly thanks to Harmony's super efforts. However, I am finding that I am not good with both jobs at once. Plus there is a blow-up in my forum that I have to keep a kind eye on and a continuous stream of comments.  Again today I was not able to go forward with making any of the babies on any of the trays stacked around the studio because it is Mary's cleaning day.
Yesterday late in the afternoon, in desperation to be making babies but not concentrated enough to do new dolls, I got down this porcelain doll I had made 12 - 13 years ago. Calling on all I have learned from reborning reborns I was able to change this poor child  from the above into this. She even has blue eyes but you can hardly see them in this photo.
Still no help today so I am inclined to want  to take this baby back into  my arms to do her nails. I am hoping that tomorrow peace will again reign in the house, and in my poetry forum, and I will  have the coolness, strength and energy to return to baby-making. Looking at these photos I feel I have a lot to thank the world of reborns. I also see that so many years ago I loved open-mouthed babies.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Meet the new crew for the week. On the far right is the head from a very old kit of Camryn I got on eBay, then an unmarked kit that I have no idea of where I found it, and Eliza from a Bountiful Baby sale. I had not realized she was so much bigger than the other two until I laid out the limbs. Everyone got their finger- and toe-nails manicured and painted this morning. I was even able to get the eyes in with no trouble after lunch. Then the studio got too warm in the afternoon to paint  so I had to come in the house to keep cool. It was cooler here but Google had its foot on the internet so I tried to get interested in sewing for Christmas. It was not that cool in the house and too soon the sun was all over the living room.
The only photo for today would be one of me at the computer SHOPPING on Amazon and no one finds that attractive. I did want to start on the dog kit yesterday but in my shopping spree I found some fabric of short fake fur called 'cow' but has all the colors of a pug puppy. So I ordered that and now must wait until it comes to see if it will work as body fabric for the dogs and the monkeys. Somehow making them a blue body as the dolls have did not seem right. If the Universe wants to be very good to me it will make the fake fur fabric look so good I will not have to cover it up with a onesie. The onesies are mostly too long for the monkeys so I have thought of making onesies out of preemie t-shirts by putting gripper snaps in the crotch. So I also ordered the tool to clamp them together. Thus I wait.
I did take Jeffrey all apart and was able to sew in his tummy-tuck on the machine. He looks a lot better now. It was strange. When I finished re-attaching his head I ended up holding him
like a baby in my arms. It felt so good I just sat there enjoying the moment. I had the feeling he was thanking me for fixing his tummy to make him more attractive and less of a joke. I really enjoyed holding him and feeling his gratitude. Call me crazy but it felt very good.

Friday, September 18, 2015

I finished up preparing the babies for Michigan this afternoon right on schedule. Am rather proud of myself for estimating the time to do the job and was able to stick to it. I put them in plastic to keep them clean. From the filled bags I would guess we can get only 10 into Harmony's suitcase, but I am relieved that I have the two extra just in case more will fit in. I felt so good finishing these that I am considering continuing the process with the rest of the babies. I do have the dog kits from BB that are barking at me about working on them but I try to ignore them. We will see how it goes tomorrow and I will let that decide what I do. I finish registering the three babies on the photo stand and added them to the pile and sent one to Michigan.
I got a huge piece of fake fur in a beautiful white today from Amazon for $12. I paid $20 for the fake fur rug from Ikea that had such cutouts (imitating legs) that I was always having to crop the photos to get rid of the black background. Now I have enough fabric to stretch out the babies and still have only fur in the photo. The sun shone today after our first rain thus the air was so clean and clear that the urge to photograph followed me around.
Here is a photo of the gang before I put them in the bag. I like to think of them like this instead of remembering all faded and blurry being encased in plastic. It is sure hard to say good-bye these. It is amazing how I could sell and give away beaded jewelry so easily but the babies have each embedded it in my heart. For those of you who count, yes, there are more babies to the left that got left out.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

On Monday when Harmony was here she got the idea of the possibility of using a suitcase to take a load of babies to Michigan on her flight. Tuesday she wrote that extra luggage could weigh up to 41 pounds and cost $21. That is so much cheaper than shipping by post and it is good to know the babies are with Harmony all the way. It is a lot more work for her so I am very grateful to her for taking on the job - and even suggesting it!
So all week I have been selecting babies to go to Michigan. I undress each one, make sure I am happy with the body, have all the threads snipped and shoulders and hips are correctly placed. Everyone gets a new diaper and diaper cover and an extra spritz of baby powder. Those who have missed getting their hand-drawn hair are in for that treat. Then they get back into their clothes for one last hug and cuddle session. I should have smiled more for this photo, but I was sad to know each baby was going so far away that I look rather too sober. This was Bunny, one of the biggest babies I will send. I do love the ones in this size - they are so easy to cuddle.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

That is Milo (MIHI) and Samantha in their new bodies. Milo (only brother to Nolan - our Dolly Lama) still looks a bit blindsided by the day and the activities which is a lot the way I feel. I wish I was as merry and accepting of the day as Samantha is. All day it was as cloudy as if it was a fixin' to rain, but by 4:30 (too late for the light on the photo table) the sun has come out and I do not know what to do with it! I should be picking a new crew but I noticed today that Amazon will not even try to send the new stemmed eyeball until October 7th! And what shall I do in the meantime?
Well, I am glad to report that both small babies kept their eyes in the right place all night but when I stuffed the head of one of them the left eye went wonky. I decided to wait for smaller eyes to try again. Thus I was stuck with Joey as my baby of the day. The one small body I had made the last time, and didn't  use, did fit Joey perfectly. As I worked with him, his protruding bottom lip did not bother me so much as it had the day before and I notice that during the stuffing I had forced it outward a bit because it was split. He still does not exhibit my favorite expression but it is not as bad as it was. Who could design a baby with such an expression? - someone not happy with her life.

Here you can still see it but the bottom lip and top lip match in protrusion. I did not feel good all day (actually took a nap in the morning) so I did not get the two larger bodies finished on the machine. Today I am much better and I feel I can accomplish both the larger babies today.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

No photos from yesterday. On Thursday afternoon when I wiped down the week's crew I noticed the new auction kit had the head with booby eye sockets but thought since I had done a head recently with the stemmed eyes from Amazon, this would be no problem. Boy was I wrong. I worked the rest of the afternoon on those eyes. One section of the socket was so thin it would not hold the eyeball in place. I would get it in right and then watch inside the head to see the thin vinyl bend and slowly give way so the eyeball would slide out.
I thought that with new energy on Friday morning the job would be "a piece of cake." It turned out to be devil's food. After an hour I gave up to search out a new head. I found Milo, the brother to the Dolly Lama and his eyes went in without trouble. It does pay to be related to the spiritual. But when I got to the next doll it was as if there was an eye disease because these eyes too would not go in and stay. I knew they were a size too big but in the past I have used eyes of a bit more generous nature and could get them to stay put. I did not want to hold up the whole crew to wait for the proper size eyes so I got out a similar sized head - Joey's. I do not like the sculpt's inward bottom lip so cut his lips open so I could put in a pacifier to cover up that fault. I worked and worked with the eyes but what had failed to inform me was that a similar size head would need the smaller eyeballs of the other one. Joey's eyes did not fit properly and his neck, like the one on the other smaller doll, was so tiny I could not use my tools and see what I was doing. I would put glue in around the sockets and sit to watch the eyeballs slide out of arrangement. It was almost spooky. I stuffed limbs while waiting for the glue to firm up. I finally wore out the glue from moving it so much that I had to add more. I stuffed in the cottony poly-fill time and time again they would move. When I would retract the stuffer stick out would come the whole mass of sticky cotton-like stuff. Finally at 6:00, with so little done I set the eyes properly, leaned the heads so when the eyes slipped it would be in the right direction, and came inside for dinner.
So my first job this morning will be to see where everyone's eyes are or what they have been looking at all night!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

 Werner painted his side of the garage and I was so proud of the way the floor looked that I wanted to show you even though these photos will not mean much to you. This is the view as one steps into the garage from the house. You can see that my studio is full of stuff. That's me.

This is the view from the opened garage door. You can see how fairly we have divided the garage! Except I  have a row of my boxes at the end. The paint he used was brand new so it had no smell.  I was able to continue working all day on my side thanks to this feature. I got the three new babies into their new bodies. It was only on the third try that I got Jeffrey's body to be the one that suited his personality.
Here you see he was already making a move on sweet little Autumn Blaze. She seems quite undisturbed by his action so he continued to plead his cause until we got the sleepers down to see who got to wear which one. Only this morning was I able to get the official portraits.

Jeffrey wanted balloons floating around him as his portrait (to match his jammies) but I had none and definitely nothing that I could find floated. I found these feathers and gave them to him as substitute and you can see him here saying, "What do you mean these float LIKE a balloon?" Later he added, "Are you nuts?" and he seemed to have the answer to his question. To shut him up I put Autumn before the camera.
She looks so dreamy I wondered what she was thinking about, but too kind to ask her. She is such a tiny baby but I really enjoyed holding her while I waited on Jeffrey to settle down.

Next is a baby you have not met. His name is Marley but I keep expecting someone to shorten it down to Bob. When you look into his eyes you can see this boy is very street-smart. If I were walking down a dark street I would want him by my side. Still when you glance at him when he is thinking of something else you can see his naked loneliness and I love him with a rush of feelings. He picked the perfect sleeper. It has bold enough colors to stand up to his vivid personality.
See that tiny smile at the corners of his mouth? This boy is ready for love!

Monday, September 7, 2015

It is so hot in the studio I came inside to start my blog instead of working as I would prefer to do. Again someone at Google has changed all my bookmarks to completely lose this one. It takes me 5 minutes to find the blog over a search. Anyhow, here it this week's crew. Blaze, on the left is the only one with a name on the neck. The middle head had the boob-shaped eyeballs but I was able to get the blue stemmed ones from Amazon in. In all the heads I packed cotton around the sockets so the glue had something to run into instead of dripping out on the tray. They are all lying in the sun soaking up the glue-drying warmth.
I debated whether to start a batch of babies today because I know tomorrow is a non-dolly day because Mary is coming. We hope to do a big clean so that before the weekend when Heidi and Ashley and males come we can do just a touch up so I have plenty of time to be nervous about the visit. Nothing else is on the agenda for this week so I hope the babes can give me happiness all week long.
Yesterday I made the trip upstairs to get the dolls and teddy bears in the Christmas decoration closet. By evening I was almost unable to move from the pain but I was happy to have gotten those dolls on the shelves also. Here is the side I failed to include the top shelf yesterday. That woven straw doll on the far left was probably the first doll I bought for myself as an adult. My feeling this morning as I peeked into the living room was that I preferred to see doll faces rather than book backs. 

Here is the right side of the shelves. I see I cut the face off the tall doll on the top shelf. There below is the nativity scene I made with the porcelain dolls over 10 years ago. I used the trick of putting all the small dolls (the storybook dolls) in a low basket to help them all stand up. Last evening I found a doll repair online place and was able to get an assortment of elastic cords to fix the various dolls you see here in parts. I am very eager to restring the big baby doll. I have thought of ways to give her a soft body so she is cuddly but I think her limbs are too hard as composition not vinyl. Then there is the question of what to do with her body. We will see how trying her together goes. The new elastic is cotton covered so when the elastic rots away the cotton should still hold the doll together.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Remember last week when I showed you this photo of everyone being so  unhappy with their bodies that Ivy jumped off the bench and tried to run away? Now you can replace that view with this one taken yesterday.
I made new bodies with my pattern for these two and you can see that Candy sits and holds her arms perfectly and little Ivy (so I have named her) also can sit and show off her arms. The tiny doll in yellow on the floor in the first photo has been returned to parts department. This is the second time I have tried to make a 10 inch Claire and I simply cannot force myself to make her into a baby. She is too small and is 'just' a dolly toy to me - not worth making a proper body for her because she is too doll-like and not cuddly. I have found that is my decision point. If a baby fails the cuddle quiz it goes back into the box of parts. I delight in picking up a new baby and giving them a cuddle to see if they can pass my test. This is one test I love to give. I check how the body fits in my arm. where the limbs go during a squeeze, how the weight of the baby feels, how it is distributed against my body, how it feels to put the baby's head against my cheek, how the eyes focus when I talk to it. I even check how the doll responds to my singing a lullaby! The worst response was when a doll threw her head on the floor!
I was so happy to have these two new babies, I took their portraits and even that job went good. I was going to show you the best of those pictures but I cannot see them good enough on the computer. I have been printing out contact sheets and that works the best. I ran out of ink so both you and I are waiting on the Amazon order.
I did unpack the three boxes of dolls from Bambi. What a trip that was! She had wrapped each little doll and even parts of dolls in bubble wrap. I was very touched by the care she had taken and given to each doll. I was able to set them on the shelves (thank goodness I had gotten rid of so many books!).

Oops, I see I did not include the very top shelf in the photo! My bad. So there are dolls there for you to see in the official photo I will take with the other camera.

This is the other half of the shelves. On the bottom shelf  (in parts) is the life-sized composition baby I bought in an antique store in Hamburg. My first reborn?!? I remember that snowy December night so clearly as I sat in Dr. Antonavitches (an OBGyn) office with a real-looking (for those times - the 70s) baby in my arms and then seeing the stares from passengers on the U-bahn later on the way home with Bambi's Christmas present so proudly held in my arms. I do want to photograph the inside of her head before I put a new wig on her to record how the original doll-maker fixed her eyes in place with red wax - very interesting. Today I learn B. still has two more boxes to send so I have lots to look forward to! Happiness!