Monday, December 26, 2016

On the First Day of Christmas....

The only crafting I got done on Christmas was cooking.

Here's our Lohipirakka (salmon pie), our traditional Finnish Christmas Eve dish. We asked Daphne if she knew what a salmon was. Her answer? "A fish that migrates." We were all impressed.

 DD's two children had menorahs sent to them by their other grandparents. Zachary's was a little train, and Daphne's was a row of ballet slippers.

Christmas morning was a happy zoo. The children all received presents they liked. The dolls and doll clothes were a big hit. Zachary is thrilled to have his own doll, so he doesn't have to play with Sister's dolls.

 Soren was especially happy when he saw that he was getting the same doll as Zachary's.

Johan enjoyed playing with his brother and older cousins.

By Christmas night, I realized I was coming down with something. Today is my birthday. Why do I always get sick for my birthday? I just hope I don't give it to anyone.

On a brighter note, I hope everyone has a wonderful 2017!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Holiday Preparations

Raggedy Andy's jammies are done.

I got out my Featherweight on Saturday and found a pattern here for a one-piece suit for 15" Raggedy Andy.j The only changes I made were to make it out of all one fabric, line the shirt instead of using facing, putting buttons down the front and add the "drawstring" tie. Andy was so tired from fittings he couldn't stand on his own for the photo, so I had to use a doll stand. Good thing he had his jammies on, because he took a nap as soon as the photo shoot was over.

I found small tool bags for the boys' doll clothes, and a tapestry bag (purse) for Hannah's clothes. The bag for Johan's Raggedy Andy didn't have much in it, but he can use it to hold other small toys, along with Raggedy Andy himself.

I got back to working on folding my quilting fabric and finished all but the homespuns, flannels and children's fabrics. The batiks, solids, '30s reproduction fabrics and 19th Century reproduction fabrics each have their own section, with 1/2-yd. and larger pieces folded the depth of the shelves and smaller pieces, like fat quarters and fat eighths, folded all more or less the same size. Strips, squares, triangles and odd pieces still big enough to use are on the top right-hand shelf in baskets and boxes. It should be much easier for me to "shop" for fabrics for a quilt now.

My yarn stash is also tidied up and put away, but it isn't as pretty. The Palette is organized by color, but the rest is just arranged by type of yarn, with a separate section for kits or packages of enough yarn for sweaters. I have all my yarn in plastic zipper bags now, ever since my bad experience with moths. (For a while, they were all inviting their Facebook friends to come and enjoy the best place to eat in all of Utah.) The plastic bags sit in upcycled plastic lettuce green boxes (minus the tops), which keeps them from falling out of the cabinets.

I finished cleaning my fiber studio, the tree is up, and all I have to do before family arrives is make the beds, vacuum and cook. (Oh, and wrap presents. Lots of little presents, because all of the kiddos will be celebrating Hanukkah together as well as Christmas morning with stockings from Santa.)

I can't believe I'll be seeing these sweetie-pies and their cousins in just a few days!

The Park City Singers Holiday Concerts went well. The party last night was fun, too. Just Christmas Eve left to prepare music for.

The next blog post will be after Christmas, so I should have some interesting photos. Until then, I wish you all a blessed holiday season, with peace and time with loved ones.

What's on my needles: Still the “So-not-my-palette Cardigan,” more progress on the second sleeve. I really want to get done with Christmas preparations, so I can relax in front of the fire with my knitting.

What's on my Featherweight: Put away, now that Andy's jammies are done.

What's on my wheel: Still put away for now.

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Christmas music, and Still listening to An Irish Country Christmas by Patrick Taylor, not very far yet. Finished reading  The Cryptographer by Alice Wallis Eton. It was an interesting story, but I have to mention that is some very descriptive sex, which I always find off-putting. Now reading A Lady in Hiding by Amy Corwin.

What's in my wine glass: The Bota Box Shiraz. Surprisingly good.

What's my tip of the week: If you're training a new puppy after having raised puppies before, and you get advice from "experts," don't let them talk you into changing the wording you've always used for commands. Sometimes you can't wait to remember the new command. It's better if the first thing out of your mouth is the command you want to use. A few years back, dog trainers tried to "simplify" commands to one word each. "Lie down" became "down," so, of course, "down," meaning don't jump on someone, had to change and became "off." I've never had a dog that couldn't tell the difference between "down" and "lie down." I tried to change the commands, but in the excitement of puppy doing something naughty, I couldn't remember the right command. Our dogs have learned "no!" or "ah-ah" for stop whatever they're doing. We use "leave it" for "don't touch that," but they also respond to "not yours," because I had to learn to use that when Sunny and I were visiting clients for pet therapy. As they grow up, dogs will learn others' commands, too, if they are different from yours. They even learn some words if we spell them (e.g. w-a-l-k or t-r-e-a-t) or use another language (jalan-jalan, which is Indonesian for walk). The point is, puppy needs to feel that you're in charge. If he/she doesn't get that message, you're in for trouble.

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, December 12, 2016

Raggedys to Riches

Raggedy Andy arrived Monday. I started on his cardigan right way.

I reworked the pattern I used for the Bitty Twins to accommodate R. Andy's smaller size. He's 15", same as the Bitty Twins, but he's smaller around and has shorter arms. I published it as a free download in my "Ravelry Story" under the name "Raggedy Andy Keeps Warm." Raggedy Andy came from the Etsy Shop Roszanna's Dolls. He was made in the US (very nicely) by hand, and his face is hand-embroidered. They have all sizes of Raggedy Anns and Andys along with extra clothes. I plan to make him some PJs or a nightshirt.

To keep the boys from getting mixed up, I tattooed the names of their "owners" on their little fat bottoms. This will help prevent confusion, since the two dolls are virtually identical. I used a 5mm archival permanent marker. I used the children's names rather than the dolls' because they may get new names. I will leave that up to Zachary and Soren.

I packed Hannah, Buddy and Dude away in their boxes. The boys were easy to pack and went right to sleep, probably to dream of their new best pals, Zachary and Soren. Here's what they looked like before I cushioned them with tissue paper.

The boy dolls came from My Sibling Doll Company. They are groomed and dressed in a sheltered workshop for young people and adults with disabilities. They came with perfectly nice clothes, but more casual. Dude and Buddy wanted to dress up to meet the boys. They should be comfortable in their boxes until Christmas.

Hannah was another matter. She comes with a lot of beauty-parlor equipment, and restraints to protect her from suffering any damage in case the box gets dropped. I replaced the restraints, leaving only her arms free, so she would be comfortable. One lock of hair had been sewn gently to her jacket when she arrived here. I had to cut that to get her clothes off, so I replaced the stitches with a safety pin when I put her back. (The safety pin has the added benefit of letting other, dolls...know she will stand with them against bullying if they encounter it. Daphne will like that.) 

Hannah's eyes don't close. I didn't want her to have to just lie there and stare at the inside of her box until Christmas Day, so I gave her the sleep mask I made for Gabi. I will have to make Gabi another.

I removed all the catalogs from the box. I will give those to Daphne's mother to use as she sees fit. Daphne is a loving, sweet and generous child, but she's normal, and I could see that she would want everything in the catalogs. They can get expensive when shipped from Europe, so better let Mom take care of the catalogs.

I posted these photos in one of the doll groups on Ravelry, and someone commented, "They look so sweet and innocent when they're asleep." Ha!

I spent a lot of time early in the week cleaning and moving furniture around upstairs, which is our main living level. Our sturdy coffee table became a sitting bench with the addition of a cushion I made for it several years ago. The tree will go on the trunk we had in the bedroom, and I put the dogs' crates in the bedroom. We have two beaten-up Finnish chairs, which you can't see in the photo, but with the bean bags for some of the kiddos, we should have plenty of seating area. As you can see, the pups are enjoying the new couch location. (That black puddle on the left end of the couch is Rocky.)

We had postponed Thanksgiving dinner when I got sick, but we were able to reschedule and have it on Wednesday. DH's brother came, as did our next-door neighbor, who lives alone. I had it all cooked and in the freezer, so all I had to do was clean up the upstairs, heat up the food and set the table.

I started cleaning downstairs on Thursday. So far, I managed to get the laundry room and the downstairs bathroom clean, and made a little progress on the guest room. I'll have to finish the guest room and clean my fiber studio this week. It will be a busy week, because we have two performances of the Park City Singers Holiday Concert. I'm doing the descant (alone) for The Star Carol, so I've been practicing for that, too.

Saturday, we went to see Oliver! at the Pioneer Theater in Salt Lake City. Since I had finished Raggedy Andy's cardigan, I tool my So-not-my-palette Cardigan along to work on. As you can see, the second sleeve is coming along. I'm getting excited to get to the button/buttonhole and neck bands, and the pockets.

During intermission some ladies came over to see what I was working on. They were amazed that an ordinary person could do this kind of thing by hand. "All those colors! How do you keep them straight...", etc. I explained that there are only two colors in any round, and that I was always working on the right side, so I could see the pattern. When I explained that I had cut it open, one lady said it should come apart, but I showed her how I sewed down the length of the steeks before cutting (then I had to explain what steeks were). Eating an elephant is one bite at a time, so a knitting project is one stitch at a time. We also talked about the yarn shops I like to go to, and where they were. I wonder if they will get started knitting, too. I hope so.

The show was a matinee, and it was raining down in Salt Lake City. By the time we got home early evening, it was starting to snow at our place. This greeted me at 7:00 AM Sunday morning.

It was nearly a foot by the time DH got out the snowblower at 8:15. I didn't get to leave for 9:00 AM choir practice until 8:45, so I was a couple of minutes late. I was especially glad to be there, because the children were putting on their annual Christmas pageant. They were adorable!

Also adorable (if you can stand more) is DS2 and his family in this photo taken at the Scan Fair. It was December 3rd, I think. DDIL2 is Swedish/Norwegian, and our son is 1/4 Finnish. Johan is named after DH's Finnish grandfather. The other grandmother was taking the photo.

It's going to be an interesting Christmas week with those two boys in the house. Plus yet another boy. Yikes!

What's on my needles: Back to the “So-not-my-palette Cardigan,” progress on the second sleeve. I'm getting excited to do the neck, buttonhole and button bands, and the pockets.

What's on my Featherweight: Set up to make Andy's PJs.

What's on my wheel: Still put away for now.

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Christmas music, and Still listening to An Irish Country Christmas by Patrick Taylor, not very far yet. Finished reading A Rose Before Dying by Amy Corwin on the Kendall app. It was good, and the author gave me a free eBook in exchange for finding the typos. Now reading The Cryptographer by Alice Wallis Eton. Good so far (although it has nothing to do with crypts).

What's in my wine glass: Gato Negro Malbec, 2015, in the big bottle. It will take a few days to finish it.

What's my tip of the week: If you are working on a knitting project where you decrease every few rows/rounds until you have a certain number of stitches on the needle(s), you can count those off when you start that piece and place a marker that's different from any you have placed to indicate the beginning/end of a pattern repeat. I started this sleeve by picking up stitches around the armhole steek. I've been decreasing at the beginning and the end of every third round. The orange stitch marker indicates the end of the decreases. The marker with the dangly bead marks the end of the pattern repeat. I have two more decrease rounds before I just work straight without decreasing the rest of the way to the cuff. This saves having to count each time if I think I'm getting close. This works for sock heels and toes, also.

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, December 5, 2016

Time To Wrap

Hannah's Winter Day Dress is finished.

We have lots of snow, so it was easy to do a photo shoot with her in realistic surroundings. The hardest part was finding a place where the snow wasn't up to her waist. She liked this place under a fir tree. Hannah is very photogenic, and her older-girl shape compliments the design...or the design compliments her figure.

The pattern is Camelot by Deb Denair. It buttons down the back and is knit flat. The only seams are on the sleeves. I used Palette in Pool and Fog. 

Hannah is a Götz doll. Dolly is a Madame Alexander, with a cloth body and a little plumper. I tried the dress on her to see if alterations might be needed if someone wanted to make it for a different doll. Here's how it looks on her:

The sleeves are a little long for her, but otherwise it fits, although her figure doesn't show off the lines of the design quite as well. Dolly is a bit slimmer than American Girl dolls, I think, so I suggest going up a needle size if making the dress for an AG doll. 

The dolls who live with me will be losing their clothes at Christmas, so I ordered some "Jeggings," leggings that look like very stylish jeans. The company, that makes and sells the the Jeggings on eBay, Pixies1952, makes them in AG size and Götz, as well as to fit a few other popular dolls. Dolly and Gabi are modeling the AG size.

I really, really don't like having naked dolls standing around in my house. It makes me want to knit or sew them something right away, and then I end up giving the clothes away. I ordered four pairs, so I can send some home with Hannah, too.

I'm ready to pack the dolls away in their boxes so I can wrap them for Christmas. I can't bear thinking of Hannah staring at the inside of her box until December 25th (her eyes don't close), so I'm going to pack her wearing a sleep mask.

Buddy and Dude are almost ready to wrap as well. I just need to tattoo the children's names on their bums, so they don't get mixed up. All four kids are getting dolls this year. Johan is getting this Raggedy Andy, who is on his way to me now.

He's handmade in the US. I found him on Etsy at Roszanna's Dolls. I plan to make him something, maybe a jacket and a scarf. Johan is a little young to dress and undress a doll by himself.

I was reminded recently of the iBand concert I found back in 2010 put on by North Point Community Church. I thought it might be fun to share again.

Here are the apps used (and the names of the performers).

Not much quilting going on right now, but I'm back to pressing and folding my fabrics, in between cleaning house and cooking. I'll try to get a photo of the reorganization effort when there is more to show.

DD's family of four will arrive about December 23rd, assuming the weather holds (they're driving) and DS2's family of four will fly in Christmas Eve. DGD1 is driving from her new home in California on December 26th. The families with little kids will leave New Year's Eve and January 3rd, and later that week we expect DS1, although his plans aren't set yet. 

What's on my needles: Back to the “So-not-my-palette Cardigan” second sleeve is coming along. 

What's on my Featherweight: Waiting for the next project.

What's on my wheel: Still put away for now.

What's on my iPad/iPhone: Listening to An Irish Country Christmas by Patrick Taylor. Still reading A Rose Before Dying by Amy Corwin on the Kendall app.

What's in my wine glass: Frontera Merlot by Concha y Toro.

What's my tip of the week: Liquid hand soap often is so thick it clogs the pump. You can avoid this by diluting the soap. I like to fill another bottle about halfway with warm weather. Then I empty about half of the bottle of soap into the bottle with the water. You can just add warm water to the original bottle, but it mixes better if you use a third bottle. If you aren't using it right away, it will mix on its own. I think this wastes less soap, too.

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.