Thursday, March 31, 2016

I had a good dolly day! The sun shone, all the babies cooperated; every step went by like flying. I am especially proud of  Grace. the second from the left. She arrived the same color as Gabriel and Gracie, on the far left and right. Her facial features however were very African-American so I got out my BabyX colors and started adding the layers of color. Yesterday, when Kyra arrived I could compare her color to Gracie's and to my joy found I was already pretty close to the factory color. Kyra is the second from the right. She is from Bountiful Baby, as are Gracie, a new baby for them too, and Gabe from 2013 on the ends. 

Here the crew is with all their limbs and heads stuffed and ready for bodies tomorrow, It looks as if they will all take the same sized body so that should make things a bit easier.
Instead of crocheting diapers or Peace Pals when I finished with the above, I turned to making more of the notepad for the Thanks Books exhibit. Ling-Yen had come by for a visit and because there is an opening tomorrow night at Gualala Arts and Jon has a piece in it, she got a load of notebooks to distribute. I was very aware that I needed to get on the ball and get more ready. So I turned on my story I am listening to on the computer - Outlander by Diane Gabaldon, and worked on these until suppertime.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Having sewn the bodies on Monday I had more time for getting everyone into their right bodies. I think my eye is getting better. I can look at a head and know which of the five body sizes will the right one. I do know I can better judge which jammies will fit which body.

I started with Baby Mine (he had no name that came with him). I love his sweet face and felt that seeing such a receptive attitude made working on him even easier. He looks as if he is shy about his still-new to him body.

Again, because he was such a tiny babe, I photographed him lying down for his portrait.

Next on the list was Sir Prise - another baby who came with no name. I felt he earned the name with his charming face. Here he is with Baby Mine. He looks always as if he is just ready to say something.

And his portrait taken in the afternoon.

Last, and the most patient baby, was Lollipop. She, I know, was made by Pat Secrist although she no longer runs the company that sells her doll kits.

And her portrait.

She got to hold roses because I had no lollipops in the house. I think I slipped a few notches in her esteem because of it. She looks as if she is asking, "Why am I holding roses when my name is Lollipop?" I gave them to her to match the flowers on her sleeper. She is not accepting anything I say anymore.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Half of the day was taken up with redoing WR's book and getting it into a pdf and sent off to Create Space. We spent 3 hours trying to get the two columns of table of contents to line up right and finally had to accept the idea that he had to retype it all to get rid of some weird formatting. Finally everything worked, we checked all the other pages and sent the file off in time to celebrate with lunch.

It was still rather chilly in the studio so I was thankful to stay in the house sewing baby bodies. I got all three done but I am not sure they are the right sizes but tomorrow will tell us. Before I got back to the studio WR came downstairs to tell me I was right. "Juice" is spelled with a 'c'. The one English word in the whole book and we argued how to spell it. He won the debate, because it is his book, so the file went off with juice spelled 'juise.' I am saying 'leave it' but he wants that one word changed. I hope it doesn't take long. I need the soothing work of getting babies into their bodies to smooth my ruffled feathers.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

For breakfast we had eggs. It is Easter and yesterday we colored some by pressing flowers to the eggs and boiling them in cinnamon water with a little curry added. You can see this is a doll-maker's house when you notice that instead of green waxed paper Easter grass in our bowl (we could not find it) is filled with dolly stuffing. At least I can recycle it tomorrow if I get to make bodies.
In the afternoon I went to the studio, unable to settle down to working on babies, but able to make peace pals, which seemed a good occupation for the holiday. I discovered that the tiniest spot of glue on the top of the heart/shoes held them perfectly in place. Now I am eager to go back through the basket of peace pals to make sure their shoes fit correctly with my new good idea.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

All of us, babies too, are wishing you a
Happy Easter with blessings from the Holy Season.

Friday, March 25, 2016

These are the three babies in this week's crew. They are all from Dolls by Sandie and the ones on the end are both call "Baby."  One the packaging the middle one had the name Lollipop and I remember reading somewhere that baby was made by Pat Secrist. The two Babies had the too small holes in the limbs but they were very easy to cut out. I think because the studio was warmer, so was the vinyl. I am willing to make that correction in order to save $80 - 90. I did all the parts stuffed today but do not know if I can get to the bodies before Easter.

 The names here are Lollipop, Baby and Baby 3. I am happy with this bunch!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

I had an interesting experience today. All morning I worked to get my bank stuff in order and reported. By noon I was sick of numbers and sitting up at the desk so I literally ran to the studio with the new Nikon in my hand. Raspberry was sitting where I had left her on the photo-shoot table so it was good to use her as a comparison between the Sony and the Nikon. Here she is today!

Looking at her I still felt badly about her having to wear these old faded jammies, so she and I went on a hunt for new clothes. The little black patent leather shoes were too small. What a bad beginning for her.  Because they did not fit I needed something with feet in them and than found the very pink tutu skirt and leggings were too big for her. That put both of us into a good mood. We had to try on a couple of t-shirts before we found the best one. Still in the make-over mood I found a new wig that fit her perfectly.

 She is a new person, but she looks a bit bashful after trying on so many clothes. I doubt she will ever be the girl that struts her stuff unless I find some new outfits that thrill her.
Elsie, or is she turning into another Elijah? was next on the tabke wearing  what she wore yesterday. I am beginning to plan another calendar so was suddenly thankful for the sleeper with shamrocks even though I had been too busy to get this photo out in time for the green day. I promise I will crop off that black corner.

Then I remembered I wanted Kay Dance to be lying down for her photo so got out one of the hospital receiving blankets hoping the print on it would not be too busy for her little face. I don't think it is.

Then I was exhausted and everything I owned began to hurt. I could hardly drag myself into the house. Then WR came home from the post office with a box from Dolls by Sandie. I was able to pry it open and in it I found three new babies. The idea of making three babies new to me excited me so much I forgot all about my aches and pains, ate some chocolate and dove into joy. The three pairs of eyes (a refund from Sandie for overpaying for postage) fit perfectly into the new babies and with the late afternoon sun I was able to whiten the nails quickly and professionally. Everything was working except I forgot to take photos of the new crew. You can meet them tomorrow.

Before I get further behind I wanted to record yesterday. What beautiful weather we are having! During the two recent weeks of rain the temperatures have warmed enough to make being in the studio a real joy when the sun shines.
Yesterday in the morning I finished crocheting the bunny outfit. It took longer than I thought it would however my oldest Samantha agreed, again, to model it for me. It feels so right to have an orange carrot! And I like having her on the graduated backdrop instead of the too-busy white fur.

When the kids, who had gotten their bodies the day before, saw me photographing there was so much wiggling in the steel rack I feared it was going to come apart or wobble across the floor to step on my heels. I had no choice but to move Samantha aside and let them shine.

Elsie fit into the St. Paddy's Day jammies so I started with the green blanket. I love how her fingers fold so easily into a prayerful attitude. Maybe she has become St. Patrick, and all the snakes are gone leaving more frogs!

Little Kaydance is so tiny she looks unnatural sitting up. I tried laying her on her tummy but I was too tired, the day was too far gone, and to do her justice I must try again with the newer camera.

The only sleeper that fit Raspberry was this very blah pair, not fit for a photograph, so she got a cute hat and the best of the bibs. In her hand is my new silver rattle of a doll. She was so pleased with it that she stopped making her raspberry sound that blows spit all over everything.  Now with her size she looks old enough to be sitting up but I am unhappy with how the white satin has gone grey behind her.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

To begin with, just think of today as yesterday as I catch up with myself and the kids. Yesterday I finished Samantha's fine tuning. I started by giving her new hair hoping that would make her more lovable to S. and her Mother.

The photo adds a reddish tint that I did not see in real life. Samantha was very eager to get into the box even though her face blanched a bit when she saw it, and to get on her way. WR took her to the post office after I could not get the to print out a mailing label. I was not surprised that I had perhaps made a mistake because after lunch  I found myself storing the cheese in the plastic bag drawer. I do get wacky when babies leave.
With Samantha gone there was nothing to do but get the next crew into their bodies - into being real babies.

Elsie was very happy when I finally got around to helping her into her new body and she was as relieved as I was that it was the right one for her. Kay's was perfect too so they both got to sit together on the trial bench. I was tired but Raspberry was wiggling and making little noises so I did her too.

She took up the whole bench herself and I began to worry that I did not have any jammies in her size. I kept my mouth shut because I did not want to make her self-conscious about her size as I was all through my childhood. It worked! She still has that smile on her face. But so did I. (Spoiler: I did find one pair in 3 - 6 months size today.)
When the mail came the ball of orange yarn arrived from Amazon. I took that to be a sign from the Universe that I should remake the bunny outfit. So while I rested I crocheted the diaper cover and over 1/2 the carrot.

Monday, March 21, 2016

I had my morning all planned. I was to put Sleepy Sam into her box and get it on its way to Petaluma, but first I always do my email ~ while my brain is fresh and ready to work. S had changed her choice of babies and had picked another Samantha. I was overjoyed as I felt she now had the better Samantha. This one has softer skin and body and is more huggable. Also, instead of tucking a baby into a box I had the joy of holding her in my lap to check her out. It was good that I did that as her toes tucked into a sleeper covered up the fact I had forgotten to apply toe nail polish on one foot. I wondered how I could have missed that but was thankful I got a chance to correct my error. She is so cuddly, the rain was coming down so hard, and the studio was so cold that I was very thankful to be inside with her. She did not want to sit around in her birthday suit waiting on the glue on her strings to dry so was very happy to be with me inside. I put her in the kitchen to dry her glue and polish.

I had drawn light brown hair on her but I knew S. had like the blonde curls on Sleepy Sam so I went through my bag of wigs to see if I could  find one that fit her. I wanted a photo of her with the wig but she kept jumping around on the cupboard so it looks a bit wonky on her. If S. really wants the wig Samantha agreed to settle down tomorrow and let me attach it more securely and give it a proper brushing.

She looks more like a little girl, but I will let S. make the final decision. I prepared her box out the studio (which was warm enough if one kept moving around) and will see if WR will take her box to town tomorrow.
I also got an email from T. in LA that the babies had arrived. Good that I had prepared his bill this morning. I am looking forward to helping this week's crew into their new bodies tomorrow. There was some whining that I never got around to it today. They are as eager as I am to see them do the magic to turn the trays of parts into babies.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Yesterday, with the combination of Mary's cleaning and a whole hour visit from S & K, I was left in shambles this morning. Still, I felt the only thing that would cure my nausea and malaise would be to work on dolls so I emailed H. calling off our visit and stocked up on pills. For the past two days, in odd moments I had tried to rewind the bobbin on the new machine and created big tangled messes of thread. I was really thinking maybe I had made a wrong decision to get the new machine and should have just been more patient to wait to get the old Singer fixed. Today I did, to my surprise, find the complete instructions and was slow enough to follow them step by step. To my delight I was able to get the bobbin wound perfectly without a mishap. Wow, what a difference following instructions makes. The universe does want me to make baby bodies! In all my screwing around with the bobbin I had dislodged the thread to the needle so I had to again, with one finger, follow the instructions to redo it. Normally I use one spool of thread for bobbin winding and the other spool I can leave in place in the needle. Today I was able to re-thread the needle and  everything worked; the machine sewed beautifully. As I sewed body after body, thankfully I had cut out the exact three sizes I needed for this crew, my soul recovered and by the time there was a knock on the door, I was together enough for a visit, I think. I still need to make the arm and leg caps for Kaydance, but the other two bodies are ready to be assembled. The morning's downpour got all the water out of it's system and by afternoon the sun was shining outdoors and in my soul. My first job in the morning is to get Sleepy Sam into her box so WR can take her to the post office.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

I did a little remodeling in the studio. I saw I needed a way of hanging the painted parts so they could dry without touching something. Finally discovered a length of small chain. I had the idea of using the small hooks I used to hang my stuff on in the gallery, but the chain links were too small so I moved down a class or two to use paper clips. The electrician who came to fix our heater in the afternoon found it slight macabre and was unwilling to duck under this to get in, but his good sense overcame him and he hastily scooted under and out  of the studio into the house.
By tonight everyone on this week's crew was weighted and stuffed and ready for bodies tomorrow.

The weather is sunny and warm in the afternoons, but I will be glad to stay inside in the morning at the sewing machine. This is always an exciting day as these parts propped on trays will magically turn into babies with personalities.
Speaking of personalities, I prepared Sleepy Sam for a new mommy. All day she laid on my table as I tied off her strings, finally painted some blush on her cheeks, knees and elbows. As the studio began to cool in the evening I did put her sleeper back on, covering up her matching diaper which I had just made for her,  Something felt wrong. As I sat in the chair I looked over at blind Robin and realized he was missing the one who has cared for him all these months.

So I put her back in her accustomed place to make him happy. Sleepy Samantha was wide awake as she checked him out to make sure he still had his puppy pacifier in reach.

I got Morgan ready for his trip to Germany. He seems to be here asking how far away it is. I do hope he will arrive before Easter. What you cannot see, is his red-blond hair that really makes him cute. I was working on him in the house so did not think to photograph him until I took him to the studio to be wrapped in his blanket and he already had the cap on. Sorry.
As usual the only thing I could want to do once he was in his box was to start a new crew. So by noon I had the babies in these two pictures going.

On the left is Raspberry a bigger baby from Secrist, a tiny Kay Dance and Elsie from Bountiful Baby. I love the humor of Raspberry. I do miss humor and happy faces from the babies from BB. You see I already got the eyes in them all by noon. I will say this, it is easier to get the eyes in BB babies. Though Raspberry is a big head he took only 20 mm eyes. I tried 24 mm eyes at first and they were way too big. Elsie ended up loaning him her 20 mm eyes so she got some new gray ones Sandie had sent to me as a free gift to make up for the computer charging me too much shipping.

I got the nails all done and dried in the afternoon and another peace pal crocheted during my rest time. That could account for being too tired in the evening to do the blog.
I did get a new order for a baby to adopt - Sleepy Sam, which I rather hate to see go. I have depended on her fiery nature to keep me going when I was down. I do hope her new Mommy will appreciate her.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Today we got our promised sunshine, I have a credit card and I know how to use it, and two babies are ready for their final portraits. I feel magical as everything is suddenly working out right and going my way without effort or incantations.
Here is little Bobbie with his early Easter present. He is so serious. I love the way his big eyes seem to fasten onto mine as he attempts to understand what I am saying to him. You can feel his whole concentration beaming in your direction. It is as if he gets closer to you if he tries harder.

I asked if he minded that his sleeper had polka dots and he answered, "I wuv 'em." I think he meant he loved the bunny and had not even noticed the polka dots.

Natalie also got a bunny rabbit but she was more concerned about sitting up straight, holding her head still and trying just to look good. She is such a good baby! Perhaps it is because she tries so hard that just one look at her and the word "good" floats into your mind.
I wanted to start painting Gracie but too many little things and jobs have floated into my day.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

My perfect solution to the sadness of seeing babies leaving my care - make new ones. The new kids never replace the ones on their way out the door, but they do exercise my heart in new ways that keeps me from dwelling on the sadness I feel.
Here we have Bobbie, the little one, and Natalie who is a bit older and bigger on the body bench. I had to bring it in from the studio because Natalie refused to go out in the cold in her birthday suit even for just a trial. To please her, she is a sweeter girl than she looks in this quick photo I made the trip to the studio. Bobbie got very bored while waiting on me to get the bench and then he refused to sit on it as it was still very cold on his little bare po. He, too has a cuter expression but you can see how he is squeezing his toes that he is cold and not happy. Natalie is trying not to complain, because she got her way, but she too is feeling the chill. I will leave them in the house all night with the hope they will warm up and be happier by morning. I want to photograph these two in new jammies, if I have some left.
The sun is supposed to shine all week according to Google. I hope it does for Gracie's sake. I want to do her painting in the studio (no carpeting) but she has gotten very acclimated to a warm house. Also, as part of my therapy, I ordered more new kids from Bountiful Baby. See Mr. T, I am working on more racial diversity in the orphanage.

Both boxes of babies for UCLA are packed and labelled to leave Gualala tomorrow. I still don't have a workable credit card so I cannot make the postage-paid labels but will do the mailing in the old way over the post office. Oh I  just realized I forgot to include the care and instructions. At least I can email them (if I remember!), someone remind me!
This leaves me free to make bodies for the crew I started last week today. I think I will only work on two of them as Gracie, in her mold, is inclined to looked African-American. Next week is supposed to be sunny all week so I can get her coats of color on and dried so perhaps I can finish her up at the end of the week. It is a good day to sew bodies as we are still in our rainy period.

Friday, March 11, 2016

In spite of the rain adding to my melancholy spirits (ten babies are getting ready to leave me!) I was able to get these four ready today due to the good luck that three of them already had their stings tied down. Due to Mr. T's. pleas for a racially diverse group I did sneak in one Kameko. Oh, I should tell you their names. L-r we have Kendal, then Raine (whose name I am sure should be pronounced Renee in stead of rainy), then sweet Kameko and then my all-time love - Eliza. Raine is one from the times I was trying out various colors for bodies before I settled on the blue fabric from Harmony Arts. Most dementia patients will never see their adopted babies without sleepers and will never know they mostly are 'blue-bloods.' Finding Eliza already had a purple diaper cover took the pressure off the situation of having ten babies to go and only nine diapers made up. I also decided that since some of these babies may be on display I would swaddle them in the real hospital receiving blankets instead of the more gaudy fleece blankets. If I do not get my new credit card soon (I still cannot shop!) I may have to use some of the fleece blankets in the near future.
It is becoming more and more clear to me which babies I can donate and which I need to charge for. I still have about 7 babies that I have made because I ordered them hoping for a certain look or they were on sale and gave me something happy and new to work with. I do feel that when nursing homes, or individuals want certain babies with specific attributes, that I will charge for them for the baby. It is only $100 post-paid, so my prices are among the lowest on the market. It is amazing how if I am only following my heart in choosing to make a baby, I feel the freedom to donate it in exchange for postage. But when I have to take my heart in the leather reins to make a baby the way someone else wants it to be, my heart becomes mercenary.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The choosing process for the UCLA order has begun and here are the first four babies sitting in the kitchen on the counter where they can watch us get dinner and be warm enough to dry the new glue on their strings. Their jammies are lying beside them so I don't misplace anything. The babies are, l-r: Asher, then Rina, Cricket and Lilly with brown hair. Without their clothes you can see the difference in sizes. I use a pattern I made but I am always altering it as I cut and sew so the babies get a body to reflect their personalities.
Oh, after putting dinner in the oven I brought in two more babies and checked them over and retied their strings and drew on their hair.

Here are Dean and Lilly with black hair. You can see she was sneaking her hand into the cup of candy canes with the hope I would not notice her. That is why she is so intensely interested in something across the room - hoping to get me to follow her eyes while she lifts out the candy. Dean is smaller but above such things as stealing old Christmas candy. The photo of a mother and baby on the bulletin board is of one of our German granddaughters with her 3 month old boy.
So tomorrow has only four babies to prepare for their trip. Everything is happening in good time. Oh! tonight I had a lovely call from Ann! which sweetened the evening.
Another OH! I did rephotograph the bunny suit baby.

I don't know if the photo is better, but it is different. Another rabbit was attracted by the big yellow carrot which thrilled Samantha even more.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

This put me in  a good mood today. I finished the bunny outfit while there was enough light, between raindrops, to shoot a photo. I had started it yesterday and by afternoon had found the two balls of brown yarn were not the same. The finishing touch was finding, in all my piles of yarn there was no orange for a carrot. I admit to a case of the blahs. With my credit card destroyed, trying to remove the hands of someone bent on emptying my account, there as no way to send off an order to Amazon so I substituted yellow for orange. I know how to do this. At Halloween I crocheted pink pumpkins for the lack of orange in my life.
Can you see the bunny tail against the white? I took the photo rather quickly, the light was going, so did not change the background. I was just eager to see how the outfit looked. I see I did not scrunch up the legs into the baby position which is a lot cuter. Does it bother you that  you can see the edge of the fur and the backdrop?

There! I ran back out into the studio, opened the door and turned on the lights, and was able to get the emphasis on the tail. I pushed the legs up under the babies, a pose I never use. Now looking at the photo I think the legs need to be bent even more to put the knees closer to the belly. I want to try that soon.
Tomorrow is already taken with choosing ten babies to go to UCLA's geriatric department. That means Samantha will not be in with that crowd. I need her body-colored body for this pose. Also the scene really needs an orange carrot. Who do I know who would make a trip to town to the fabric store for me. . .? BTW, that little yellow spot on her shoulder is a butterfly trying to peek out around her.

I did try once more for a new shot of this bunny baby. You can see that the rabbit was attracted by the green on the yellow carrot. Here I feel Samantha looks as happy as I feel about this outfit.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Well while I am here, it is still Sunday, and there is now a new storm which could take out the internet again, I will post a post a report of today. I felt I had really wasted yesterday forenoon by messing with the tube dollies so I was determined to drag into the living whatever I needed to work on really babies for my own comfort and good  health.

I was glad I was organizing everything on the old bead trays so it was fairly easy to bring them in out of the cold. That is Grace on the left and Natalie on the right. These are dollkits from MacPearson's - the cheapest kits they offer (for kids!). You can see the holes in the limbs. They came with small holes you could barely get your little finger into. I cut away all the vinyl to get the holes this big so I could use my fingers and the wooden spoon to push down the filling.
(At this point Google refused to let me download anymore photos so it is now Monday morning and I will try to remember (not easy for me now!) what I wanted to post.)

Ah, as I had hoped, the photo helped me get back on track. Working in the house I found I missed having a table to lay things on as I moved from project to new idea so I took time out to make a table in two minutes. Underneath is a flat-topped wicker basket over which I laid a picture frame (with acrylic 'glass'). It is big enough to accommodate all my projects without blocking the walkway through the room. In the upper left is the magazine opened to the article on how to make a hanky doll. In the middle is the box with all the parts of the bell toys I have been making for the babies (I need to show you one of these.). On the left is the cone of cotton yarn for crocheting  the diapers, and then Bobby in his tray. When I got stopped way last Tues I had one of his eyes in but was really struggling with the second one. Today I calmly looked in his head, saw the tiny eye sockets and picked a new set of eyes for him. One try and the new eye slipped right in. I took out the other bigger one and again the smaller (correct) sized eye slipped into place. On the floor is the bag of poly-fill to finish filling his head which I did.
This morning everyone is stuffed and ready for a body. I am not sure about Gracie. She should be an AA baby to match her lips and nose and I am putting off painting her with the fear the rug may be the most changed.

The internet just was restored (Sunday afternoon) in our stormy area. It disappeared yesterday in a power outage that came back fairly quickly but the cable people were not so lucky. It was so cold and stormy I resisted all my urges to make "real" babies in order to stay in the house where heaters were keeping us warm. However I could not resist making a different kind of dolls. Renee had sent me two magazines and a book of historical dolls last week. In the one magazine were instructions for making a doll out of a hanky - an idea first published in 1949. Seeing it I had memories of making dolls out of a hanky in church during the sermon, but this one was different. I could not rest until I had tried it out to see how they made arms out of part of the tubes. I had no men's hankies so I cut out a 12" square of fabric. I chose the flannel thinking the surface would have more grab and so hold together better. Too much, too thick. Here was my first attempt. I did use old tablecloth for the head and saw how well that worked. She ended up a bit spooky looking so I set her as guardian angel over the tiny silicone baby in the cradle purse on the shelves. 

I had to try again with more of the tablecloth fabric from Mary. That worked much better but by then I was very tired and unable to position the head in the space between arms. Also while digging through the desk drawer I found in old porcelain doll face from years ago. I thought that would be more realistic but I see now that drawing a face on the doll, small and faint, was better. And this version needs a bonnet to cover up the head. I got so upset trying to thread a needle to make the necessary stitches that to preserve my sanity I had to give up and accept this half-ass attempt.

I did see that this was not the doll I remembered making in church. It had two babies in a cradle that could be rocked by swinging it between two hands. How to make that? I was amazed that as I started to line up the cloth square the instructions flowed into my head. Within seconds there it was. Instead of rolling the tubes on the straight of a square one rolled the diagonal corners of a triangle. This was the kind of dollies I had made in umpteen church sermons.

 The corner of my eye was still on the other doll instruction  (in Doll News 1990) in ways to add faces and I could not stop after all this success.

Maybe you can see the babies better in this picture with faces added to define them. Still to this day, swinging these little tube babies back and forth comforted me and changed all the nervousness I was feeling from the storm. I did not even care that the internet was gone and I could not post my great adventure so maybe one other person could share it.