Sunday, August 10, 2008


I took a break from watching the Olympics 24/7 with my husband today to reupholster my piano bench. Over the last 20 years or so it had gotten pretty abused looking. I'm really not surprised that it got so bad looking since it's moved about 5 times and 3 states in the last 20 years. So here it is - before and after. I think it looks pretty good!

Today I also pressed the fabric for the piece I'm working on as a Christmas gift this year and got it attached to it's stretcher bars. I was going to see if I couldn't copy the design of this piece since I think it would look very nice done in soft colors as a shabby chic piece, or even in more earthy tones for my taste. Alas - I'm not sure if it's possible to copy this piece so it might just be a one of a kind in my repertoire of handcrafts.

This week I spent some time purchasing some fabric. I'm kinda in the quilting mood again. Actually, I'm more in the piecing mood and less in the quilting part. Lol. It might be possible to talk my husband into a quilting machine - but I'm not going to work that yet...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Presently Again

So I finally got this cross-stitch in the mail and off to Jim! This is the piece I finished about 2 months ago...I was going to send it for Halloween, but I love giving gifts (almost as much as I love getting gifts) so I couldn't wait to send it. Then I found out that Jim's birthday was this month...perfect reason to send it! So, here it is!

I haven't gotten very much done this month. Maybe I have too many things going at once - but I haven't worked on any of them so that's not really an excuse for not finishing anything. lol. So, I guess I need to decide to work on something and focus on that for a little while.

Funny thing - me talking about having too many things going on at once because I'm thinking about learning how to play the viola da gamba. I play the viola - and no they're not that much alike despite the similarities in their names. Now I have to find someone in the area that may be able to help me. I understand that there was a woman that played the viola da gamba in the area before Katrina - but everyone I've talked to recently isn't sure if she's even around any longer. I've got a couple of numbers to see if I can't track someone down, so I guess I'll make that my next project - finding someone that can help me learn how to play the viola da gamba.

Friday, July 4, 2008


Independence Day 2008 is a sad day for my family. My husband's aunt passed away from cancer this morning. She was very loved by family and friends, of which there are many. May you be happier where you are now, Ginger.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Early Holiday

Bran and I had the day off today. Nothing like a four day weekend to get you all caught up on sleep and laundry! Ok, so I didn't do much sleeping, but I am doing laundry and I spent some time reading. I used to LOVE to read! I still do, I just don't read as much as I used to.

Also completed today was patching Diane's doll! Yay! She's completely patched and cleaned. Next step is undies and stockings. I'm still planning on making the corset/stand that I wrote about last post.

Speaking of dolls, I got to thinking this morning about all the green ware in my garage. I need to start cleaning and firing some porcelain. I so hate cleaning green ware though, and I'm too OC to let someone else do it for me. Guess I'll have to suffer through and get to cleaning. I've got a couple of Santa's I started cleaning last year. Maybe I'll pull those guys out and see how much work is left on them. Getting started on Santa now isn't such a bad idea - then he'll be done by Christmas time. At least that's the plan.

Earlier this morning I spent some more time scanning and posting family photographs to Flickr. The one posted to this blog entry is of my grandmother, taken in 1923, when she was 18 years old. Isn't she a cutie? There are some beautiful photographs of her. Of course I think all photographs of her are beautiful. Have I ever mentioned that she is one of my favorite people? Thinking about her makes me smile. Not to leave other friends and family out, I love them all, but there was some special bond between my grandmother Spore and me.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Working Hard and Hardly Working

You know when you feel worked, but don't feel like you've accomplished anything? That's how I feel, almost all the time. I know I accomplish things because I get plenty done, I guess having a million things going on at once will do that to you. I started this blog hoping to show myself that I do accomplish things. So far it's working, but they're still slow in coming.

Today I scanned and posted some more photographs on Flickr. The photograph included in this post is one I took before I started scanning photos. See the teddy bear? He's holding a photograph of himself and my grandmother. It amazes me that I have these things. It makes history so much more tangible.

The doll on the left was my grandmother's as well. My grandmother gave me this doll when I was 11 or 12. At the time the doll needed some work done. The composition body needed some repair, the doll had no clothes, and no wig. Grandma took me with her to the doll hospital (one in Hayward, CA) so that I could help decide how I wanted the doll to look. Back then I thought antique dolls should have ringlets of hair. I'm sure the woman at the hospital was trying to talk us out of it - at least she should have been. Grandma gave me what I wanted though. Now that I know more about antique dolls I know this little girl should have very short hair because she's got a baby's body. So, what do I do now? Do I keep her the way my grandmother had her done for me? Or do I redo her myself, restoring her back to what she would have been in the early 20th century? Ugh.

Work on Diane's doll is slow as well. Her body is almost completely patched and I've got her face cleaned. I'll need to search my mohair wigs and see if I have one that will fit her. Otherwise I'll need to either order some mohair and make one, or ordered a finished one. My last issue of Gildebrief had and article on making a corset/stand. I'm going to see if I can't do something along those lines for Diane's doll. Guess that's next after putting her arm back on.

I ordered some stretcher bars from eBay this week so I could get started on the Christmas present I'm working on. The DOW towel transfers and unbleached cotton towels came in last week, so I've been working on those. I know you're reading this, Brad, so I'm not posting photographs of the towels in progress until they are finished. Ha!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Pismo and Towels

Pismo Beach is one of my favorite places! When I've got enough money I'm going to buy myself a little beach house in Pismo... My brother bought this sticker for me at least a year ago. I've had it sitting around waiting to be put on my car since then. Today I finally did. I had some other things waiting to go out to my car, so I thought "why not while I'm out there?" Funny it looks so nice out in this photo, which I took about half an hour ago, now it's storming. Beautiful, wonderful, thunderstorms. Living so close to New Orleans does have benefits - great thunderstorms all summer! I could do without hurricanes, but hey - I moved from the San Francisco East Bay area, hurricanes come with warnings, earthquakes do not.

I've got alot on my plate to do today. Putting one sticker on my car isn't going to get it all done. Though I have already posted a couple more family photos to Flickr and finished my Tuesday Ironing tea towel. I've got to work some more on Diane's doll and get a piece together that I'm stitching for a friend as a Christmas gift. Speaking of DOW tea towels - starting the scottie dog towels got me thinking about doing a set for my friend Brad. I found THE PERFECT set of transfers for him on eBay this week. I got the transfers and I found unbleached cotton tea towels on-line. (Much better quality than the Wal-Mart ones.) So, when those come in I've got another present to work on.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Monday Washing

Like I don't have enough to do! I bought these embroidery transfers a while back and this week I bought a package of flour sack towels at Walmart. They were a fantastic buy, but the fabric is cheap cheap cheap. It doesn't matter since these little embroideries stitch up uber quick and, besides, I don't know what I'm doing... are you supposed to knot the end or not? I am knotting the ends, but the knots may be too small. So when I launder these they'll probably totally unravel or the floss may bleed. Whatever happens when I launder them it doesn't matter now because they're just too sweet! So far I've just completed this one and started Tuesday Ironing today. I'll probably finish that one up tomorrow. After that I've got a whole pack of kitten day of week transfers... The real question is though, do I keep these once they're finished? Or do I mail them off to a friend?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Dolls and Family

I spent some time this morning posting some more ancestrial family photos to my Flickr account. Everytime I dive into the stacks of photos left behind by my grandmother Spore I'm overwhelmed. There are just so many of them and she, for the most part, labeled them. I can make some connections based on what she wrote on them, but there are some that are just so cryptic to me that I'm not sure if I understand the family connection or not. The photo posted with this post is an example - I can tell you without a doubt who four of the family members are and how they're connected to me. But the others are a little hazy. I guess the next step after I get the photos posted is to make the family connections through real research. Oh, but that sounds like work. LOL.

The leather I ordered to repair Diane's doll came in this week. I ordered an "antique white" side with the thought that I can use the leather for other doll bodies and possible some doll shoes. I can't believe it, the color is perfect for this project! It's a perfect match in color to what the leather looks like on the doll now. Though, that may change because today I plan on cleaning and conditioning the doll's leather body today.

I was looking at costuming ideas for the doll since that's really my favorite part of doll making. The winning idea right now is a walking or promenade suit. That may be the best match for Diane if she decides to display the doll once I'm finished because it lends itself to fine materials without being "frilly". Though the more I look at the doll the more I'd like to make her an evening dress where I can show off her beautiful shoulders and neckline. Most dolls of her age had socket heads leaving an ugly gap between the shoulder plate and neck. But, this cutie has a one piece head and shoulder plate. It's just a shame to cover that up! I know if it was my doll she'd have a complete trousseau - but I love antique dolls and I can't subject the WHOLE world to my tastes. Or can I? LOL.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Doll Repair

At Thanksgiving of last year my husband's aunt asked if I would take a look at a doll she had. I took the doll home with me and after finally finishing up some other projects I'd been working on I took a look at her. She's in worse condition than I had remembered from the couple of minutes I spent looking at her at Diane's. Not only has her left arm fallen off but the leather body is torn at most of her joints. She looks as though she'd had some work done in the past, possibly in the 50's or 60's from the look, and the leather body had just been patched with what appears to be medical tape.

I removed her wig to take a look at any markings on her. She's simply marked with "10" both at the head and the bottom of the shoulder plate. The wig was synthetic, so obviously was replaced. When removing the small amount of clothes she had on I discovered that the over slip and socks were synthetic, again indicating they are not original to the doll. The underwear and the shoes both appear as though they may be original.

Diane's not a doll collector so I've decided to order some white kid leather and simply patch the leather body. Mohair wigs look so much nicer so I'll definitely replace the wig. My favorite part of making dolls is making the clothes - so this beautiful and lucky little lady will get a whole new wardrobe! She's going to receive new stockings, undergarments, corset, shoes, dress, and possibly a hat.

I'm so excited about this project!!! I can't wait for the leather to come in!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I finished my latest cross-stitch project today! The piece I did is still a big secret because it is a present...I'll post pictures after the package is received! woohoo!