Monday, February 29, 2016

Lester in his box, which is in the car for the trip to the post office to begin his journey to V. on the other side of the continent. I think he is trying to wave good-bye to me here but he hasn't understood that one must open the hand to do it right. I will leave it up to V. to teach him that, and everything else.

And tiny Elsie. This photo was taken just before she spent her last night her on the photo-table. She rang her little bell so much the owl flew in to protest her disturbing his sleep but she just kept smiling. S.K.G. she is in her box, also in the car, headed for Gualala. The USPS website had a hussy-fit and would not print a label so we are making an end-run around them and going directly to the postmaster. I am finding that if I make a typing error the form will decide I am unreal and not the person I logged in as, and refuses to do what it is supposed to do. Modern times in a computer ruled by Google and its suspicious ways.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Yesterday (I am doing catch up this morning) was a very special and busy day at the Seaside Orphanage. First of all, Blonde Blaze arrived at Carol's farm and she already sent photos of herself holding Blaze. Now I am paid in full. She also showed where they are hanging Blaze's stork nest. It is right next to the filmy white curtains by the window. I can already imagine Blaze twisting around so she can see the milking cows in the meadow from her perch. She looked a little wobbly in her photo as if it had been a long journey, clear across the continent, but she was also beginning to smile. I think she liked Carol's room, and the lovely things around her and is eager to settle down. She will meet the grandnieces and grandnephews soon and then the family will be complete.

This is Blaze on her last day with me. She looks so ready for an adventure.

Susan and I had been trying to find the right baby for her to give to her Mom in a nursing home. They both had picked a Rieki, but she is already out being a therapy baby. I tried to find someone I had on hand with the same gentle smile since I never know how long my body will last and if I have time to order a new one from Germany. Susan looked at Eliza but didn't like her brown eyes. I looked and all my Eliza babies had brown eyes except one.  While Susan was thinking about her, I went back to work in the studio. I kept hearing a peeping sound. As I walked by the babies I realized the sound was coming from Elsie trying to say "me me me." As I looked at her I realized she too had a smile very much like Reiki's, so I sent her photo to Susan.

Bingo, Elsie was right! She was the right baby for Susan so she will be made ready today for her trip. She is smaller than Eliza so a better size for that family.  I get to give her hair and many final hugs and squeezes before she gets into her box.
Also almost ready for his box is Lester going to Vanessa. The other day, when I was having such a bad day with the fibro, I picked up a doll I thought was Lester and started to finalize his strings. When I got to his name on the identification bracelet on his ankle I saw I had picked up Glenn. Then I put my head on straight and found Lester. It was as if Lester made sure he was not Glenn and that I got his message right. He knew he was meant to go to Vanessa.

Oh, and the shoes came for the Peace Pals. Aren't these great? The top tips of the hearts, when sewn in place, look like a pair of feet in little wooden shoes.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Meet Fay, the baby from yesterday, with shoulder problems that I neglected to  photograph. Today because I went through the same process trying to decide which shoulders were right for her, I remembered to photograph her in each reincarnation. Here she is in the wide screen version of a tiny baby that weighs less than a couple of pounds with football shoulders. Look at the width if her biceps - a few too many steroids  even in preemie size in her formula. . .
Then I took off the shortened big doll body to squeeze her back into the small baby body. Her one leg was still too big but I made a cut in the leg cap and was able to get it in place and the strings tightened around it. Now I need to do some hand sewing magic to fix that change of mind that one can only see when she is in her birthday suit.

Doesn't she seem to be smiling more in this photo? Look at the distance from the sleeve seam to the outside of her arm and you can see how much smaller her biceps are. I got this far before it became afternoon, the stars moved into alignment and three different people stopped by to visit. That is all the folks I really know so that meant everyone came by with a different objective but none of them were involved in getting a better photo of Fay.
Werner had gone to Santa Rosa to take the car in for its yearly check up but got home before all the visits were over. He napped until dinner time and he too, was not interested in Fay's photo. So all of that is now put off until tomorrow.
In the mail I got the buttons to make shoes for the Peace Pals that work beautifully and which I can only promise to show you tomorrow because the day ended too soon after the trials.
Oh, now I remember back to morning when I was unhappy with the slowness of the Nikon to download its photos so I got out the old Sony, recharged its batteries to make comparison photos. The upper photo was taken with the Nikon and the lower one with the older Sony. I am feeling a case of buyer's regret coming on. . .
I owe the USPS an apology. They were right. I did have Carol's address wrong. In the morning I woke up with the thought that I should check it. I looked in the Tanka Society of America's mailing list and found they had changed the house number. So I was finally able to create the mailing label and print it out. Before Werner could drive to Gualala, I already had an email from Carol that the box was being tracked. Now that is service.
With the good sunshine of yesterday I was able to photograph Lilly who is seeming more like an Allan as I work with her.

It was good to have the car out of the way. I worked longer on the photographs. Then I put together Fay, the tiny fairy-fay baby. The first body was way too big so at lunch time I made one of the smallest patterns and that was too small. The Goldilocks syndrome. I wish I had taken pictures of her in each body but I didn't. I am getting very unhappy with the way photos are managed by the new Nikon. They are stored wrong (they do pop into the file) so I have to do a search to find them and only later, do they appear where I want them to be. I love the little camera, but the fight to find the photos is making me reluctant to use the camera.
So today I am recharging the old Sony to see if I can be happier with it.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The past couple of days have been spent getting Blaze ready for her journey. We had a big debate about sleepers. I like the looks of the newborn size on her but she thought they made her look fat so refused to wear them by throwing them on the floor. I think these pull across the hips but she likes the look and the feel. She is very cuddly and folds very neatly into the crook of the arm. I will give by saying the feet on these sleepers fit her better so maybe she is right.
This morning the storm was really over so I could get a good shot of her in her stork nest. I decided that since Carol said her room was small it may be lacking in flat surfaces so I would include, without checking with her, a stork nest. I wanted to show that to her before she finds this weird crocheted thing wrapped around Blaze in the box. So Carol here is how she will look in the stork nest. I hope there is an extra nail in your wall where you can hang her. I hope the little dream catcher, made by a Lakota Indian, keeps away bad dreams for her and for you.

I found a comfortable chair so I had a good time wrapping all the little gifts for the nieces. I hope they will enjoy them. When I send babies to nursing homes I never get to enclose bottles and bibs, hair conditioner and extra outfits along with some diapers. So I had a ball this morning getting it all ready and making it pretty.

Blaze is wrapped in her blanket and underneath the packages which are all lightweight and filling the rest of the box. At noon I tried to create the mailing label and one button on the form would not allow me to choose when to mail it. With a few unkind words for the post office I left my dismay lying on the keyboard and returned to the studio to work on Lilly. She came together beautifully and I had a good time giving her the cuddle quiz and just enjoying my newest baby. As it got darker, I came into the house and decided to try once more with USPS. This time the button was working and I got even farther into their maze of details before they informed that this address is not valid. I have only used it for well over 20 years and now it is not valid? Suddenly I understand what "going postal" means. A couple sticks of sugar-free black licorice evened out my mood. Food to my emotional rescue.

Friday, February 19, 2016

I got a doll order so my juices are flowing again. Happy, happy, happy. Carol P. wrote that she would love to have one of my dolls to entertain her (she is in an iron lung) and her nieces who come to visit her. So I went to the studio to ask who wanted to go live with Carol and her family. Lilly was the loudest and nearly fell off the shelf trying to get my attention. I love her face and thought Carol would also. Thinking of children holding her I wanted to make her more interesting so I found a wig for her but then heard another voice from the other side of the rack. Blonde Blaze! Her hair was rooted in and would be a lot more fun to comb and style. So I asked her if she would like to go where little girls were. "Yes!," she squeaked, "but you have to fix my arms." She knew I had not been happy with the way her full-length arms fit to her body so this was an excellent time to fix them and make her child-safe at the same time. She was very patient sitting on my little table, playing with the peace pals, while I waited the glue on her neck to dry.

Here you can see the problem with her shoulders. She does not look very happy having to wait on me even though she seemed to enjoy the peace pals.
Later I was able to work on her limbs and did find the long dolly-making needle to carry a string from one arm to the other. The idea worked. Here she is on the test bench with her shoulders looking a lot better to me. They are certainly much more secure.

Now you can see her beginning to smile, though she complained about it being cold without her jammies. I also found a couple of outfits I had been given that therapy babies normally do not wear to send along with the bottle or milk and hair conditioner, toys and hair clips. Today I will see which pair of jammies fits her best and make a going home photo. I am thinking that since Carol said her room is small that I will include a 'stork nest' so Blonde can be hung on the wall and out of the way.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

I'm here to report success! The new machine arrived yesterday afternoon. I felt it would be so different because it has a small computer in it. I had gone through such hell with my new computer 2 years ago that I still carry the scars on my brain. I made myself read the complete instruction booklet (see it lying to the left) before I even took the machine into the house. By then I was so worked up the sweat was pouring from me, my stomach was upset, my fibro enjoyed acting as if I was having a heart attack and stroke at once. Still I pressed forward and got the bobbin wound and inserted. Discovering the new threading path was so upsetting I, at some level, stopped operating at an intelligent level and simply did what seemed to work and be right. That seemed to set me somewhat more at ease and I was able to sew a sample.

This machine works so much better than my dear old, old Singer. I do not have to turn the wheel by hand to get it to start and when I stop, I was able to set it so the needle stays up. So much less work for my arms and shoulders!
Today I went back, found I had forgotten nothing and was able to calmly sew a couple of bodies. The longer I sewed (naturally) the more control I had over the speed. My foot knew how hard to press for slower speed I wanted. I could reach for the pressure foot lever without looking. The machine purred like a new kitten. I could do it! I am very happy today. I feel as if I have someone by my side doing these old jobs.

Yesterday while WR was in town picking up the package, I could see my photo table and thus wanted to show it to you. This too looks like one of my associates or helpers. All I can say, "thank goodness for Amazon boxes." Now I have bodies to assemble so will disappear into our foggy mist to go to my studio.

Monday, February 15, 2016

It is better to sublimate than whine about missing a sewing machine. So I cut out 8 bodies at once, which I never do. I usually cut out only the number of bodies the crew needs but with all this time on my shoulders I cut up all the fabric Harmony had given me. At the end of the year she told me she had been running a contest to see who could write down the most things for which one was thankful. She mentioned the contest to me at the end of November and I set for myself the goal of 2016 thanks by New Year's Eve. I made it. And I won Harmony's contest. You can see her write up of it on her blog which even shows the booklets. The prize was a bolt of any of the fabrics she has created. Since I had picked "vein" as the fabric for the dolls I requested that as my prize.

Here the roll stands at the entrance of my closet and makes me feel so rich every time I open the door. The next time I need to cut out baby bodies, the fabric will come off of this roll. Not only have I earned this roll, I have found a life-altering habit that brightens my days and shines in the dark of sleepless nights. It truly does change the way one views life's happening and daily occurrences. I thank Harmony for the fabric and also for changing my life. I will never be as I was.
Unable to sew the bodies I got caught up on all my email. I would love to show you a photo from Caitlin of Everett but. . . you know. Any how I was so impressed by her photo that I got out my version of Everett and copied her. They say the sincerest compliment is imitation.

The idea of laying the wedding rings on the baby's feet really appealed to me. Caitlin got a better angle on the rings and Ev's little thighs are already fatter.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Probably no one can discern why this photo struck fear in my heart today After all I was given a sewed and assembled body without any extra work on my part and it fit Dean perfectly this morning.

All last week I had the feeling my sewing machine needed to cared for, cleaned and oiled and had been discussing with Werner how we could get the machine to Santa Rosa and back again. I had even called one ad in the yellow pages and checked on prices and turn-around times. When I heard they would need to keep the machine for 6 weeks I began to think maybe now was not the time to do this and if I turned my head I could not see the stitches were no exact.
Shortly after taking this photo of Dean I went to the living room to sew a body for whoever it would fit. The machine made two stitches and a small black snake flew into my lap. It was 'only' the rubber belt. After all these years it had finally broken down completely. This encouraged my efforts to find a repair man. Mary, here to clean, saw my distress and promised to take the machine to Santa Rosa herself next week. I began calling around to find the best place so send her. One place, instead of helping me get into the repair shop they ran, worked to sell me, sight unseen one of their machines on sale for $199. No thanks! The offer did, however, set up the idea that perhaps I could buy a new machine (I have never bought a new sewing machine in my life - always used ones) for slightly more than the cost of repairs. I had been warned that my old machine (made in England in 1953) would probably need some new parts (it was treadle machine that had been rewired for electricity) and those would be expensive. Werner and I talked it over and he was all for getting the old one repaired no matter what it cost. Before I made a decision, I asked to look online. I really hated the trips to SR I would be asking others to do for me and I really hated not having a machine for weeks.
It only took about ten minutes to find a Brother sewing machine, made in England!, for only $138. The selling point for me was that it had a self threading attachment. That blinded me to all other considerations. The machine was designed for beginners so it was simple to operate and even had two needles. All the reviews on Amazon were excellent for it. So I sat at the bottom of the stairs and hollered up to Werner what I really wanted. He was eager to get back to his book of poetry and gave in without a struggle. Now neither Mary, nor Werner, will have to make a trip to Santa Rosa lugging my old dear in and out of a shop. A new one is already on its way to me. Following Mary's good example, I think I will clean until it gets here, after I rest up from all the excitement of today.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Today was Kay Dance's day to shine. She has had her strings retied and glued. We even found a sleeper that fits her better than the blue one in which she had her portrait taken. You can see by this photo why I have sworn off photographing the kids in these patterned white sleepers. I love them and feel this is the best combination of colors for kids, but as long as I am stuck using a white background, these sleepers simply do not show up the baby body. Tonight Kay is taped into her box along with her papers and the new blanket and ribbons and bows. I tried to make out the paid address label and found out the USPS site is down until noon tomorrow while they "fix" it. I have too little faith in unknown guys revamping computer programs and having them immediately work better. All day I have hassled with programs trying to download and use a new photo manager from Nikon. I am still not certain that I did all the right things to the right options. I did find the camera had a blinking red light on it after trying to use the new program. Thanks so much! The only thing I could figure out was when I first used the camera I ignored the instructions to set the time and date (because I did not want THAT to appear on the photos) but evidently it needs that info inside in order to file the photos. That is my theory which I may have to change tomorrow.
While whining about things not working, I can move on to the postal scale in the studio. For weeks the electrical adapter has had a bare wire loose. I was able to get it to work by holding the wire in place until the lights lit up, but today nothing I tried with that wire worked. I tried to purchase a new adapter from Amazon but I could only find new postal scales. So I went wild and purchased a pink one that also uses batteries. I came inside to try to weigh Kay's box on the bathroom scales and it would not register anything when I set the box on it. So I held the box in my arms and stepped on the scales. Then I set the box aside and did the math to find it weighed exactly 3 pounds. Then I tried again and the scales had me weighing 2 pounds more but the box was  right on the button with 3 pounds. Now how could I gain 2 pounds in two minutes but the box weighed perfectly the same both times?  Time to make new babies and turn my back on all of that!
It seems I am behind with the blog again but I have a great excuse. I have been lugging babies back into the out-back studio. We have had two very warm days so I have felt confident about the babies being home again. I didn't take photos for two reasons. One, every thing looks very much the same except the white floors have no rugs. That is not an improvement but a protective move on my part. If water comes in again it is easier to mop up around the legs of furniture rather then lugging tables and chairs across the room to take up dripping rugs and then have to find a way to dry them.
I found, by re-reading the instruction booklet that the images are easier to get out of the Nikon if I download their software. Something has to be done since as things are now, it is such a battle. So I decided to follow instructions, but when I got on the web site their program has a different number than it has in the book, so I am hesitant to download the wrong one.
I am thinking this is not the day to do it as the computer has been nothing but a problem this morning. With Microsoft guys messing in my computer while trying to do my mail, someone overriding the printer, and Adobe showing up where I do not want to see it, I think it is better if I go sweep floors or something.
 I do have Kay to prepare for shipment to Oregon and that is fun to do. Someone ordered her even though I do not have her listed in any of the outlets. At least God does not charge a sale-fee for guiding someone to her.

More hanky-panky in my computer. I am fairly sure I had all these landscape photos up-ended into portrait mode but this morning they are all back to landscape. I am either losing my mind or the MS guys are back in the computer. If you never hear from me again you can blame the Nikon program which I am determined to get working.

Monday, February 8, 2016

On Werner's trip to town for shopping he stopped by Gualala Arts Center to snap this photo from the Surreal Exhibit. That little-bitty doll on the foreground pedestal is mine.

Seen up close and personal it looks like this.

I'll bet the Chinese never suspected their big-selling doll would end up like this. Got lots of nice compliments on the work. Was glad I still had the ceramic block with baby arms to add to it.
At home I started to put the babies into their new bodies I had sewed yesterday. First off I find all the leg caps are too small and must be re-cut and sewn again before starting. While doing that I got the idea to make Eliza's body out of the next size up. That meant more cutting and sewing. But as I put her into it she and I both had the feeling that this was right. Because Werner had the new Nikon in town with him, I forgot to get a picture of Eliza in her new body. Here she is in her official portrait however. What a sweetie!

 In the afternoon, which got very open-every-window warm, I was able to finish the other two and get their photos taken. What you may not realize is that the babies are sitting on a home-made boppy pillow. Caitlin said her doctor recommended she get one for Everett (I had looked at them on Amazon but figured it was such a necessity that she would surely have one.) I could make mine out of a big bath sheet because my babies do not squirm like hers will.

Last, but not least was Rina. I love her tiny open mouth but the rest of her face looks very wary which is why I put her eyes in with the side ward glance.

It is interesting that both Ling-yen and Harmony, my two most frequent visitors have no tolerance for cranky babies. As soon as they spot one I get a small lecture on being more discerning in my choice of kits.
I love my new Nikon camera except tonight my printer refuses to find and print photos it took. Thus I had to pick these photos, not from print outs, but by seeing them only on the computer screen. Old dog with new tricks struggling this evening.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

This photo from yesterday shows what I worked on all morning but it is not the photo I wanted to show you. I love my new camera but my computer has hidden all the photos I just downloaded out of it.

[I found out how to find these photos from yesterday. Now you can see the heart notepads and the pencils.]

So I will explain with what I have. Harmony and I had the idea of giving away notebooks with the idea of asking the receiver to use the notepad to write down things for which they are thankful. We are hoping that by the time they have filled the notepad they will be inspired to use other thicker booklets for their thanks. Next Saturday at the Upstairs Gallery in Gualala, Jane Head is giving away ceramic hearts she has made to all visitors and she invited other artists to join her in the project of sharing art hearts. This morning I made 17 little packages of notebooks with pink 1/2 pencils and felt hearts in cellophane bags. The printed out notes on the left above were then pasted on the backs and fronts of the pads inviting the finder to join us. The unfound photo is better as it shows the heart-shaped notepads which are really appropriate. These were just the extra ones.
In the afternoon I started to stuff the three babies. Again all I can show you is a photo made yesterday. Tomorrow I hope to give everyone a painted face and a new body.  I am not so sure I can show you the babies in their new bodies unless I find a way to access the pictures from the new camera. All of this reminds me that when I started this blog in the spring I had the same complaint. Somehow the computer learned to put the pictures where I could find them. May it do so again. It did it right yesterday but today. . .

[The photo I wanted to show you. That is Rina standing upside down as the glue dries in her head.]

In the outback studio I cleared off more shelves to accommodate the boxes of babies. So far the only response on Etsy has been from children. Time-wasters we call them. They get off on asking dumb questions to see if we will answer. They do not realize the proper way to get us to respond is to send money.

As bonus and thanks for finding these, here is timid Tim still trying to get Sleepy Sam to let the pig go without any more kisses. The things that go on in the nursery.

Friday, February 5, 2016

This is the new crew and I hope the last one I will do in the living room studio. We have Eliza on the left, then Blaze and then a rather cranky-looking Rina who came to us over eBay. There was some splitting on the inside of her head near the eye which I suspect was the reason she was offered so cheaply. Thank goodness there is no splitting on the face. I was surprised that her eyes went in and immediately slipped to the corners, but seeing her lips I feel their placement is exactly right for who she is. She certainly looks as if she thinks she is not in the right place with us and is looking for a way out. I hope Blaze and Eliza will sweeten her a bit as we go along.
When WR brought the mail home at lunchtime the new camera was also there. I had been so disappointed with the Canon I bought before Christmas to replace my old one, I kept a lid on my enthusiasm in case this was also an item to return. However, I have loved everything I have tried with it. It's size is perfect, I love having more lens area, the variance of exposures are so easy to find and set. I even had a crocheted bag it fits into already. It feels like MYCAMERA. Werner said it was my Valentine's Day gift so I asked if I could use it before. He gives me that long to learn it. Punkin/Everett was eager to pose for me so here he is.

That was interesting. First the computer hid the file and when I forced it to open it it downloaded so slowly as if checking it for virus. Any how this photo does not have adjusted exposure so you can compare the skin tones with the photo above of the crew taken with the Sony above. This is a Nikon, which I have never had before, but I am very happy with it. No wonder it was listed as Amazon's #1 best-seller in cameras.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

I got all three babies - the whole crew - into their bodies today and they are ready to be photographed if the sun shines tomorrow. My biggest joy was in the first baby. I could not wait to see Punkin in his blonde wig. I cut his hair the way Everett's was in one of his pictures. Punkin has a little more above his forehead but Everett may catch up with him when he is 4 months old.

The longer I looked at him, the more he became the four month old Everett. I was just head over heels in love with him.

I am sure it was my joy in him that caused me to make so many mistakes in Blonde Blaze. I got her into her body all backwards. I was so upset with myself having such a huge senior moment that I actually had the thought that I would just leave her be as she was. After a nap I had the courage and energy to take all her limbs off and retie them on right.

I am thinking of ways to pull her shoulders into her body more. As they are, the arms are too long and stick out too far. Maybe when she is wearing sleepers it will not be so noticeable. I gave her a hair cut and curled hair so she has to sit in the chair all night waiting on it to dry.
It was late in the afternoon and I wondered if I could or should finish the unpainted Blaze. By going very slowly and checking myself at every new part of the assembling I was able to get this Blaze together right.

This Blaze is bigger than the factory-painted Blaze and I like the fact she has only 3/4 arms and legs so her arms and shoulders are more realistic.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

This was the crew this morning after I put in the weights in the limbs and joined the limbs with the heads in their own trays. It took me all morning to stuff everything and everyone. I had some hopes of getting the bodies sewn in the afternoon but in the mail came the blog2print books for Beads N Jane and Janes Therapy Reborns. I admit I simply sat in the sun and enjoyed the day and read my words of two years ago.
Oh, I wanted to share my beautiful experience from this morning. Caitlin sent a bunch more photos of Everett and I could see he had two dimples - one on each side of his mouth. I began running the images of available kits through my mind to see if I could remember a kit with dimples. When I started to work in the morning I picked up Punkin because I love him most. To my surprise he has two dimples! My favorite boy baby and he looks (in my mind) most like Everett. I stopped all my inclinations to make babies to dig out a blond wig for him and then I just sat and stared at him.

Later in the afternoon I did get the 3 bodies cut out but when I tried to start sewing them I recognized there was not enough energy to do a good job. I would love to show you the real Everett but I still cannot move the photo from email to here. It is not easy to be so dumb.

Here is Blaze watching over the body pieces so no one tries to help themselves to one that is not finished in their eagerness to become real babies.

Monday, February 1, 2016

This is the crew that awaited me this morning, There was Blaze with her limbs already painted and hair rooted. Best of all she had her eyes in. Yesterday when I started two kits had troubles with their eyes. One needed 18 mm eyes and I had none and the other one surprised me by needed stemmed eyes, also small. Instead of waiting for a new order of eyes, I picked the Blaze kit because her eyes were in. Pumkin. on the right helped me put his eyes in. Even though I placed them poorly, with a little pressure they jumped into position. But the reason I got no farther on these today was because
Caitlin had our great grandchild - Everett Greyson on Friday. Hans sent photos but I cannot get any of them into the blog to show you what a cutie he is with lots of wavy blond hair. Curses.