Monday, September 26, 2016

Legends of the Fall...and Falling

Ah, fall colors. Colors for outfits...

That's the T-shirt that didn't fit the boy twins, Buddy and Dude. I managed, in spite of an insane week, to get some knitting done for Hannah. As part of the KAL in two of the doll groups on Ravelry, I've been knitting clothes in fall colors for back-to-school outfits for the dolls we're giving as Christmas presents to the grandkids this year. The skirt is from Jacqueline Gibb's Girly Tank Top Set for 18inch Dolls, which I made for Daphne Jr. The jacket is the February Doll Sweater, based on Elizabeth Zimmermann's February Ladies Sweater. The doll version is really for a smaller doll, but someone had made it in heavier yarn for an 18" doll, so that's what I did. I'm happy with the result, but I wasn't crazy about working with the yarn. It split, frizzed, caught on my fingernails and made it hard to see what I was doing.

Speaking of fall colors, I'm glad I snapped this photo of the maple tree in our yard before the heavy rains came, this one a fine example. The leaves are now on the ground.

Leaves aren't all that have been falling this week. Daphne lost her first baby tooth and wrote this note to the tooth fairy. I guess she has decided to keep her first lost tooth.

Dusty has been losing baby teeth, too. This was one we managed to find. We're wondering what the tooth fairy will bring him...besides permanent teeth, that is.

Fall weather usually means mud in these parts. We thought we might get some snow, but all we got were heavy rains. I shouldn't have washed my kitchen floor. This is what my back door looks like.

Dusty doesn't know what to think about the cold rain. He was born in southern Nevada the beginning of May, and the coldest he has been was in air conditioning. For several days, he came in soaking wet.

When it's warm enough, he has been carrying on an archeological dig in our backyard. Here are some of the relics he has unearthed. He also found a dog's tie-out line. None of this stuff came from us during our 13 years in this house. I sense a story in each item.

Leaves and teeth fall...and pups can, too. Rocky took a tumble last Sunday night when he changed his mind about climbing up onto our bed using the new dog stairs we bought for the pups. He jumped while he was turning and landed on the hardwood floor, slipping and dislocating his hip. Monday afternoon, the vet was doing X-rays, and it popped back in. She says he will be prone to dislocation, but the chances of avoiding surgery are better if we can keep his quiet for two weeks. No walks, no climbing on furniture, no playing with Dusty. The first 24 hours are the most dangerous. We are almost at a week now, and we're doing OK, but it hasn't been easy. First we kept Rocky in the play yard. Then we learned that he could walk pretty well on the deck, so we switched the pups and put Dusty in the play yard and let Rocky have the run of the deck, as they were used to.

We have our fingers crossed that it will do the trick.

With all the rain falling, they had to stay indoors a lot. We ended up having to watch Rocky in the living room and let Dusty fend for himself in the kitchen.

Dusty, in the meantime, is still gaining weight. He is now over 14 lbs., more than half Rocky's weight.

Vintage Stitchers was cancelled this week.

What's on my needles: A dress for Hannah. The “So-not-my-palette Cardigan” is still on hold while I work on doll clothes. Still waiting for the second sleeve.

What's on my Featherweight: Doll clothes. No sewing this week because it's hard to sew and watch the pups at the same time.

What's on my wheel: Put away for now.

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Still no audiobook in action, but I'm listening to practice music for the Park City Singers' Holiday Concert. Still reading Corinna: A Sweet & Clean Historical Romance by Lauren Royal. I'm still liking it.

What's in my wine glass: Crane Lake Malbec, 2013, always a nice choice.

What's my tip of the week: If you need to know how much yarn a project took, you can weigh what you have left and subtract from what you had to start with, or you can weigh the completed project, before adding buttons and other items, adding the tails you cut off to the project on the scale. This is especially useful if you want to make another of the same thing with the same material and want to know if you have enough yarn.

Note: This blog post was produced on the iPad and the MacBook, using the iPhone for some photos and some photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. No animals were harmed during the production of this blog post.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Bright Ideas, Bright Pups, Bright Dolls, Bright Power

Well, I did get some sewing in this week. Well, one seam.

Gabi (a Tonner My Imagination doll) is modeling the fleece hat and scarf I made for Lauren, the Habitat Girl. I'll be handing these items over this week. You may remember that Lauren (a Creatology doll from Michael's) has been outfitted by some of us and will be auctioned off at Habitat for Humanity's Overall Ball in Park City in October. Lauren has already moved in with someone from Habitat who is training and grooming her for the big day. I got the pattern for the hat and scarf here, but I made some changes. First of all, I didn't think the hem was needed because fleece doesn't ravel, and I didn't want to get out my zigzag machine for that little bit, so I cut the rectangle 1" narrower, the amount of the hem. The other thing I did that was different was I didn't make a pattern and cut it out with scissors. I figured might as well get some use out of my quilting notions, so I used my rotary cutter, rulers and mat for cutting out the three pieces needed. One seam and some additional cutting to make fringe for the top of the hat and the ends of the scarf, and I was done. All while Dusty was napping.

Some knitting happened this week, too, too. I managed to make two sweaters and two hats. True, they were doll-size, but still. (I'm glad I have to do this retrospective of my week, because I didn't think I had done anything crafty this week, with all that was going on.)

Here are Dude (left) and Buddy (both My Sibling Dolls), showing off their new sweaters and hats. I used the same pattern for both boys. Dude is wearing his with the buttons in back, which, as it turns out, is how you make a pullover for a doll. His hat has a tassel on top. Buddy's sweater is a cardigan, and his hat has a pompon on top.

Here's a look at Dude's tassel (Dude's real name is Dudley, but don't tell him I told you):

I had ordered some T-shirts and pajamas for the boys. They arrived this week from Home Sew.

Here's Buddy in his PJs. It said "Deer" on the package, but based on the shape of the head, I think they are moose with stylized racks.

Unfortunately, the T-shirts didn't fit the boys. They have very broad, manly shoulders. I could get them on, but they looked like something out of a '70s sitcom, so I'm making T-shirts for them instead. On the other hand, the T-shirts fit the girls just fine. (Please pardon the undies.) I'm working on a skirt for Hannah, now that I've made two things each for each of the boys. I hope to be able to show it off next week. Maybe with a sweater or top to go with it.

In the meantime, Tuesday found us with a man on the roof. 

Our new solar panels were installed Tuesday and Wednesday.

Additional disclaimer: I did NOT get up on the roof to take the photo below.)

This is pretty much the view from our living room, but we have to look at it through deck rails. The new solar panels are supposed to provide 50% of our current power usage. It may do better, now that DGD1 is no longer living with us. The power company will buy back anything we produce but don't use.

Typical weather for here in the Utah mountains this time of year: chilly nights and pleasantly warm days, unless it rains. Tuesday, DH was busy with the solar installers, so I took the pups up to the firebreak road. I had Dusty on a long leash, so if any bicyclists came by, and he tried to chase them, I could play a trick on him and teach him a lesson. I tried to get the pups to pose for a photo with the nice view in the background. I told them both "sit" and "stay. "Here's their individual interpretations of "stay." (That's Dusty on the left, at the end of the leash, and Rocky on the right.)

Dusty ended up right next to me. Oh, well. There are other lessons to learn first.

Like chasing bicycles. I've never had a dog who chased bicycles or cars before, so this was a new thing for me. On the advice of two vets and Dusty's breeder, we took him out with a very long leash. It was a chore to carry. As you can see from the photo, we had a choke collar on him. (It doesn't hurt the dog, just startles him.) The leash is heavy. I hauled it all along the trail and back without seeing any bicycles. When we were almost back to our car, we came across a bicyclist just getting ready to ride. (I think it might have been the same guy Dusty ran after the week before.) I asked him if he would help me teach Dusty not to chase bicycles, and he agreed. As he took off, very slowly, I kept telling Dusty, "leave it." He just watched. I suggested the bicyclist ride faster, and when he did, "leave it" only worked for a second, and Dusty was off after the bicycle. I had the end of the leash in my grip and just let the rest of it go. Wham! The little guy's feet went out from under him, and he was down. I thanked the bicyclist, and Dusty came back to me, none the worse, but hopefully a bit wiser. The bicyclist asked if that was enough, and I replied that it was a good first lesson.

Common Threads met at Karan's last week. There were only three of us. It was pleasant, though Karan was hand-quilting, and Lynda and I were knitting.

Happy 75th birthday to my own DH, Charlie!

What's on my needles: A skirt for Hannah. The “So-not-my-palette Cardigan” is sort of on hold while I work on doll clothes. Still on the second sleeve.
What's on my Featherweight: Doll clothes.
What's on my wheel: Put away for now.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Still no audiobook in action, but I'm listening to practice music for the Park City Singers' Holiday Concert. Still reading Corinna: A Sweet & Clean Historical Romance by Lauren Royal. I'm still liking it.
What's in my wine glass: Trader Joe's Charles Shaw "Two-buck Chuck" Merlot. Always a favorite, even though we had to pay $3 for it.
What's my tip of the week: Beans are high in fiber and protein, but they cause intestinal distress in some people. Your body gets used to it if you eat beans frequently, but to, drain and rinse beans after cooking. If you're using canned beans, drain and rinse the beans before using them in a recipe.

Note: This blog post was produced on the iPad and the MacBook, using the iPhone for some photos and some photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. No animals were harmed during the production of this blog post.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Back to School

Finally something for the quilters. Vintage Stitchers met this week.

Carol was putting the binding on this great table runner/wall hanging to go with a bed quilt using similar fabrics and design. 

Julie has made progress on her afghan from Building in Color by Michelle Hunter. Soon she will be ready to sew the strips together.

Rebecca has picked up a BOM kit using flannels.

It came from this company: Hat Creek Quilts.

Remember Brenda's kitty blocks from a few weeks ago? She has the put together in this great quilt top:

Rebecca has finished this simple but smashing quilt top.

In the meantime, I managed to pick up some undies for the two boy dolls, Buddy and Dude. (Someone asked me if Dude was really his name, but I told them the truth: Dude is a nickname. He didn't want anyone calling him Dudley.) I found these at a little Etsy shop, UpcountryCrafts3. I bought two packages, so each boy could have three pairs.

I started on Hannah's sweater dress, the "Back-to-school Dress," from the pattern by Deb Denair, "Color Me Fall." If you plan to make a doll dress from this pattern, please note that the one I used is for slim dolls. like Götz Hannah or Happy Kidz. If you have an American Girl-size doll you're dressing, you will need the plumper version, Fall Back
I finished the dress Friday night and tried it on Hannah.

She walked to school Saturday morning for her book group, which meets at the school. It's nice she can take a shortcut through the woods.

Just for some cuteness, here are a couple of photos of our boys.

(I found them like this in the back seat of the car when we arrived home after the Therapy Animals of Utah Wags and Kisses Volunteer Appreciation Picnic and Fundraiser. I have no idea what they were doing back there.)

Dusty is now 13.4 lbs. Less than two pounds, and his weight will be in the miniature range. His height is already solidly in the mini range. I hope he doesn't get too much bigger. The little rascal is a handful! We have been working on various skills. He just did his first "sit up" on Sunday. (We're still working on "leave it.") At least he was relatively well behaved at the picnic. Rocky was perfect. Good boys.

Rocky gets his stitches out this afternoon.

What's on my needles: Hannah’s back to school dress finished and Dude's Cardigan started. The “So-not-my-palette Cardigan” now on the second sleeve, no progress this week. 

What's on my Featherweight: Ready to sew doll clothes.

What's on my wheel: Put away for now.

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished A Posse of Princesses by Sherwood Smith. It turned out to be more complicated than I expected, and an enjoyable read. I've bounced around this week trying to decide on an audiobook, but haven't really had time to sit and listen. On my Kindle app, I have Corinna: A Sweet & Clean Historical Romance by Lauren Royal. Good so far

What's in my wine glass: Frontera Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2015. The big bottle.

What's my tip of the week: If you use the same perfume every day, you won't smell it as much, so go easy on it. Other people will smell it far more than you do. We get used to smells we live with, just like people. The same goes for salt and sugar. If you use it all the time, you won't taste it as much. If you cut back for a while, you'll notice the difference.

Note: This blog post was produced on the iPad and the MacBook, using the iPhone for some photos and some photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. No animals were harmed during the production of this blog post.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Family Members

Most of my week was devoted to puppies and knitting. I finished the first sleeve of my “So-not-my-palette” Cardigan.

I cast on the first cardigan for the My Sibling twins on Thursday at Common Threads and finished it Saturday.

The dolls are identical, but not all their clothes will be the same. They’re going to be separated at Christmastime. (They will be living with four-year-old cousins and can still stay in touch using FaceTime.)

Hannah, The Götz doll, arrived from Germany by way of Amsterdam this week. (They're out-of-stock in the US.) She already is friends with her foster sisters, Gabi and Dolly... well as with the twins. Here she is showing Buddy around the school grounds.

I will be knitting for Hannah as well as the twins, and will be sewing for all of them and Daphne Jr. for Christmas. I've started on a back-to-school dress for Hannah using this pattern.

The puppy (mis)adventures continue. Dusty received his first Lepto and rabies shots on Tuesday. He tipped the scales at 12.4 lbs, well over twice what he was when we picked him up on July 1st and almost half what Rocky weighs. The next day, the pups went to the “spa” and had the full treatment. They looked incredibly cute when I picked them up.

You can really start to see the grey on Dusty's face and legs now.

All of that was pleasant. Then Thursday afternoon we decided to go for a walk with the dogs. We got a couple of blocks from our home when Rocky got a little too close to one of our native grasses and inhaled a foxtail. I call the vet, who said to bring him right in. She had to flush his sinuses, and for that she had to knock him out. Since he never needs dental cleaning since we have been brushing his teeth every night, I thought this was a good time to get his adenomas removed (benign sebaceous tumors). They interfere with grooming and can grow to be large enough to attract the dog’s attention, thus becoming a problem. He had three: two on the back of his head and one on his side.

He will have more, but at least these are gone. The Little Dude has been no trouble this week. He seems to be growing up (i.e. maturing) before our eyes. He is able to stay on the deck or in the backyard alone or with Rocky without getting upset or in trouble. While he has peed on the back deck a few times, we haven’t had any “accidents” in the house for a couple of weeks. He prefers to go out in back to do his business, or in front on the leash. He has stopped biting me, although he still gives DH a bite every once in a while. We’re working on that. We’ve also worked every day on “leave it,” given his history, the most important lesson. He knows not to chew our shoes, although I wouldn’t trust him out of my sight yet, and he digs in the backyard, something we probably will never be able to prevent, since it's full of small critters, and most poodles still think they're hunting dogs. 

The biggest news, however, is that we have turned DGD1 loose on the world. She has moved out of our house and back to California. She can only do what she wants to do in California (unless she went to the other coast): fashion photography. She has started her old photography business up again, and we feel comfortable about letting her go. She learned some important life lessons while she was with us. We think it was worth the investment. She’s also very appreciative, which is nice.

Fall comes early to the mountains of Utah. Here’s a look at our view out the front window.

What's on my needles: The “So-not-my-palette Cardigan” now on the second sleeve. Hannah’s back-to-school dress.
What's on my Featherweight: Getting ready to sew doll clothes.
What's on my wheel: Put away for now.
What's on my iPad/iPhone: Finished Ashes of Roses by Christine Pope from Audible. Also finished Ella: An Everland Ever After Tale by Caroline Lee on the Kindle app. Both are Cinderella stories. (I liked the Kindle one better.) Then I listened to Jodi Taylor’s What Could Possibly Go Wrong?, the continuation of the Chronicles of St. Mary’s. I have enjoyed every book in the series so far. Now listening to A Posse of Princesses by Sherwood Smith. Written for young people, but an interesting story so far. On my Kindle app, I have Corinna: A Sweet & Clean Historical Romance by Lauren Royal. (Yes, it really is called that. It had better live up to its billing.) 
What's in my wine glass: Frontera Carmenere by Concha y Toro, vintage 2014. Nice.
What's my tip of the week: If you plan to keep your smart phone or tablet longer than two or three years, it’s better not to leave it plugged in overnight unless you have to. The battery will wear out faster if it’s fully charged and continues to receive a charge. That’s because it has some kind of gizmo (technical term) that keeps the battery from overcharging. (I wish they had that gizmo in stores and service offices.) If it’s continually working, it wears out. You don’t need to wait until the battery runs down completely to plug it in, but just watch it and let it charge only until 100%, then unplug. If you’re among the majority of people who switch out their device every two years (the average time), you don’t need to worry about it. I keep my old iPhone 4S as an extra iPod and as a phone in the house if my new iPhone is in a different room, so it’s nice the battery is still good.

Note: This blog post was produced on the iPad and the MacBook, using the iPhone for some photos and some photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. No animals were harmed during the production of this blog post.

Monday, August 29, 2016

All Dolled Up

It’s always busy with a puppy in the house. However, I did get a little knitting done and some Christmas shopping.

I ordered two boy dolls for our older grandsons, both four years old. The dolls came from My Sibling and My Pal Dolls. They are identical. I’ll be dressing them both. I’m calling them Buddy and Dude for now.
It’s an interesting company. They have a sheltered workshop setting to employ disabled people and to help them get work experience.

Here’s a look at the boy doll alongside Dolly. (Buddy was happy to strip to the altogether, but Dolly insisted on keeping her panties on.)

Here's what Buddy had to take off, besides the hoodie:

Dolly (a Madame Alexander doll) is a little better quality for less money, but I like supporting the work the My Sibling company does, and their boy dolls look like boys, not like girls with short hair. They are similar in size. Dolly has a slightly larger chest (like another Dolly we know) but narrower shoulders than Buddy. Dolly has longer legs and a shorter torso. Knitting patterns should be interchangeable, but some alterations may be needed for sewn garments. Like real kids.

Of course, Daphne should have a new doll for Christmas, so I’ve ordered her a Götz Hannah doll, and it should be here in the next couple of days. This is the one I ordered, the Hannah Loves Hairstyling.

She's coming from the European Union. I hope her passport and visa are in order. Last I heard, she had landed in San Francisco. I'm sure they're taking good care of her.

Speaking of dolls (we were, weren’t we?), one of my Ravelry friends from Canada made six outfits for Lauren the Habitat for Humanity doll and included some high-top sneakers. Here they are, modeled by Lauren by Creatology, sold at Michael's:

I handed Lauren and her wardrobe—now quite extensive—over to the person who “commissioned” me to make the outfits. She will be part of the silent auction for the Park City Habitat for Humanity’s Overall Ball in October. Dolly and Gabi have talked with her on the phone, and she is fine and looking forward to her permanent home.

Vintage Stitchers met at Marilyn’s on Saturday. We had a nice variety of stitching projects to look at. Julie had just received these great cross-stitch pieces back from the framer.

Janet has finished her Washington Park Shawl. This is the one I made last year. She found it challenging,  especially the lace border, but she did great!

Diane is working on this scarf, the Candleglow Scarf. She’s using Knit Picks Chroma fingering in “Vermont.”

As for quilting, we had a nice assortment to look at. Carol is planning on appliquéing yo-yos on this yellow-and-gray quilt.

Barbara has finished this dragon fused-appliqué quilt top.

She also finished two redwork quilt tops

Marilyn is getting a whole new kitchen because of a cracked sink and a fire on the stove...long story…and just because. Before we left, she had us add to her “artwork” on her old cabinets.

I can’t leave you without some puppy cuteness. We have started hiking/walking with Dusty, now that he should be fully immunized. Here is how he responds to “come.” (You can see Rocky is responding, but he isn't as fast.)

…and just to show, he may still have “accidents” on the kitchen floor (getting fewer all the time), he is reliable on the couch.

What's on my needles: The “So-not-my-palette Cardigan” still working on the first sleeve.

What's on my Featherweight: Getting ready to make doll clothes for two boys and a girl. The girl should arrive this week.

What's on my wheel: It’s hard to spin with a puppy underfoot….

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Listening to Ashes of Roses, from Tales of the Latter Kingdoms by Christine Pope from Audible. Not my favorite, but an interesting story nonetheless. Not sure I’ll listen to more by this author. It might be mostly the narrator, very stilted and overly dramatic, but I’m trying to pretend it’s an interpreter for a language in a kingdom far away. On the Kindle app I’m reading Ella: An Everland Ever After Tale. It was a little confusing at first listening to one Cinderella story and reading another at the same time, but they are different enough that I soon sorted them out. I like Ella fairly well. I really like that the “prince charming” character is a disabled person, an amputee. You don’t see that every day.

What's in my wine glass: Frontera Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot by Concha y Toro, vintage 2015 (can’t let it get stale). The big bottle.

What's my tip of the week: In knitting lace, lifelines are your friends. Diane has had trouble with having to rip out and pick up stitches on her Candleglow Scarf. Janet knew from her experience with the Washington Park Shawl that lifelines can be useful when knitting lace, so we had a discussion about lifelines. I know of two ways to make them:
  1. When you come to a row/round you think would be a good start-over place, you run a yarn needle with some contrast (preferably non-sticky) yarn through all the stitches on the needle. Leave some ends hanging out both ends or tie the ends together if working in the round.
  2. If you’re knitting with interchangeable needles that have a hole for the little key that allows you to tighten the needle tip to the cable, you can thread a heavy thread (button thread or even dental floss works well) through that hole, leaving a long enough tail to extend the length of your knitting. Knit the row, and then untie the end and leave some ends hanging out both ends or tie the ends together if working in the round.
If you find you've made a mistake and have to rip out, you can rip to the lifeline, pick up the stitches and you're off and running. (It's a good idea to make a note in your pattern indicating where you're placed a lifeline.

Note: This blog post was produced on the iPad and the MacBook, using the iPhone for some photos and some photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for, cleaned or broken. No animals were harmed during the production of this blog post.