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Emily and Edwin make their first appearance

Meet Emily, Max Bailey‘s and my latest one-of-a-kind, original, folk art ginger tabby cat doll.

Emily’s elephant friend is named Edwin. Emily is hand sculpted from paperclay on 100% cotton cloth, and is button jointed at her shoulders. Edwin is made of wood. Both are hand painted in acrylic paints and varnished with matte varnish.

As the story seems to go of late, Emily is still waiting for the rest of her outfit to be sewn. Edwin is just waiting for his wheels to start rolling. He’s very patient, which is good, because they don’t actually roll. Fortunately, he has a string to help pull him along.

We managed to re-photograph Max’s three new kitty figurines this afternoon. After some photo editing, color-correcting, cropping, etc, we’ll get to work on their web pages over on the Ruffing’s site. The figurines will eventually appear on the art doll figurines page, and Emily and Edwin will find their way over to the jointed cloth and paperclay dolls page of our online doll gallery…after Emily gets some clothes on.

I got this fun book in the mail, Stray Sock Sewing by an artist named Daniel. I’m crazy about it. It’s full of the cutest original sock creatures I think I’ve seen. There are plenty of sewing tips, and even instructions for making a few of your own. I’m getting so many ideas. I drew out some sketches when I got up this morning. I had a bunch of designs I had drawn, while waiting for my mom at the dentist’s, a few months ago, but I wasn’t entirely sure how best to construct them. So, this is great. Definitely enough information for me to spring off in my own directions. The eight creatures he shows you how to make would make super gifts too. So adorable. Love it.

The book is published by North Light Books, which has put out very nice art instruction books for years. I have quite a few painting and drawing books from them as well. I just read that the book club they’ve had for as long as I can remember is closing, but it sounds like they will still be offering their books through some special offers, in addition to still offering them through retailers. I got my copy of Stray Sock Sewing through Crafter’s Choice Book Club. They have some good deals sometimes, but I have trouble remembering to tell them not to send that monthly selection, even with an email reminder. I’m happy with the books I’ve gotten from them though, and I was glad to find they had this one.

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Art toys and strawberries

I finally put these fuzzy slugs up for adoption in my Etsy shop. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with my soft dolls and toys, with the CPSIA legislation still unresolved, but given they are still working to sort out the details, I thought I’d post my slugs. From what I understand, you are safe if you say, “safe for children over 12,” which I will do, if necessary. It’s hard to understand the rules, or how toys made from materials already on the shelves of retail stores, like Polyfil, which is advertised to be 100% non-allergenic, or 100% polyester fleece, or 100% cotton fabric could ever possibly end up being considered an issue for anyone, but hopefully, they will come up with a list of “okay’d” materials, rather than make a blanket law that requires every children’s item to be tested for lead and phthalates. I believe they’ve already given libraries a reprieve by not insisting each of their children’s books be tested, and I think they’ve made allowances for thrift shops so they can continue to offer items for children. The law seems appropriate for companies that use raw materials to manufacture parts, but the way it is written, it seems to include just about anything.

My tummy and head haven’t felt too great the past couple of days. This morning, I couldn’t think of anything I could eat except a cookie, tea, and strawberries, which didn’t sound like a proper breakfast at all. I remarked that it sounded more like a breakfast a storybook mouse might eat. A friend told me that sounded about right for me, and when I thought about it, I agreed. So, that’s what I had and I did actually feel better.

I’m also reading my way through the last of my E M Forster novels, Maurice. And contrary to what you might guess, they did sneak Helena Bonham-Carter into the film adaptation too!

Other than that, I’ve been watching an eclectic assortment of arty films on IFC, and occasionally slipping over to Chiller, where I caught Killer Klowns from Outer Space. That sounds about right for me too.

Update: According to this Storque article on the CPSIA, dyed and undyed textiles, fabric and non-metallic thread and trim, are included on the okay list and can be used to make children’s items.

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I saved a Beanie Baby

Yesterday, I was working on my list of loose ends again, exchanging a wrong item I grabbed at the store, picking up things I meant to pick up and didn’t, finally ordering a pair of pants and a sweater since the ones I wear all the time are getting too shabby. On the way home from the stores, I saw one more little loose end. I have driven past this poor Beanie Baby for maybe two weeks now. He was lying on the road, all wet from the rain. At first we thought his kid might come back for him, but yesterday, I could stand it no longer. It was just too sad. I pulled over and wrapped him in some paper (he was gritty and grimy). I took him home and gave him a good washing in some warm water and Tide Free.

I sewed up his shoulder seam using some thread I had just picked up. It, oddly enough, matched his fur. I set him to dry, and then combed his ears. I looked him up online, and found out his name is “Spunky”, born January 14, 1997. I don’t know what he has been up to since then, but now he is a new man. I’ve never had a Beanie Baby before, but, like Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree, he needed me.

I’m having a sick day today, and since I can’t do much for now, I thought I’d share two of my Christmas present books. Crocheting on the Edge by Nicky Epstein is a book of crocheted edgings that you can add to anything you like, in the size and yarn of your choice. So far, I’m fantasizing more than I am experimenting. I’m thinking of lace collars on sweaters for our art dolls.

Alphonse Mucha: The Spirit of Art Nouveau by Victor Arwas is another loose end of sorts. I had wanted it when I first saw it, and I decided I’d get my own copy at some point. I picked it out with a gift certificate a friend gave me for Christmas. I’ve been fantasizing too about making some Art Nouveau-inspired original art quilts, and more Art Nouveau-inspired floral watercolor paintings and fairy art.

Primrose and Quill (1899-1900) color lithographs by Alphonse Mucha
Study for a Decorative Panel 1902 by Alphonse Mucha

As I’ve been in bed part of the day, I was watching some TV too. I don’t know why seeing these crocheted creatures searching for love tickled me, but it did: