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Cats without clothes

Well, Heidi, the tabby cat folk art doll, does have clothes, as you’ve already seen. Loretta, the Siamese is still in need. These are the first two folk art cat doll collaborations between myself and Max Bailey. We did a sunflower fairy way back when. That was our first joint art doll venture, aside from the trading of tips, and my sculpting lessons. We have a bunny and a Maine Coon cat in the works next.

Max gave Loretta and Heidi amazing painted eyes.

I knitted Loretta a sweater and planned to sew a skirt to match. I adapted a Fuzzy Mitten knitting pattern, and it came out really cute. I’m learning as I go with the knitting and crocheting. So, I guess I shouldn’t be too upset that my sweater came out to be too large! I thought I had it right, but it was too bulky for poor Loretta, who looked like she was swimming in it. It wasn’t a happy moment 🙁

But…I did manage to knit a sweater. I’d only ever made a scarf before. It does fit a larger doll I never finished. I have a small pile of those. Sometimes I want to make all the things I started and am not sure how to finish disappear, because I hate to let anything go to waste and the clutter starts to annoy me. There are times when you just have to move on though, or you spend more time, get more frustrated, and never end up with something you are satisfied with.

I am rethinking Loretta’s outfit now. I’m not even sure of my fabric choice anymore, since the sweater isn’t involved. Could it be an excuse to visit a quilting shop? Maybe it’s better not to add to the clutter!

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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:

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Pre-birthday syndrome

My mom and I went out today. My birthday is in less than a few days, and I tried to find something I would like as a gift. I’m being such a big baby this time around. Every year I resolve to take my birthday well, but this year I must have the birthday equivalent of PMS…PBS? It’s so embarrassing, and definitely not my norm. Everything reduces me to having a sob fest. Boo-hooing while at the mall, while walking down the street, while reading my email. I’m hoping that I will become philosophical about it within a few days, or that this will just pass. I can remember, back in high school, my French teacher turning red, wiping away her tears, and trying not to cry in front of us over her birthday. I felt bad for her but I didn’t really understand back then. It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time.

So, I wasn’t a good shopper today, but I did get a new book on crocheting, the crochet version of the knitting book I just got and liked, 200 Crochet Tips, Techniques, and Trade Secrets by Jan Eaton. Unfortunately, I also tried to get a “rain” check for a date I had tonight, earlier, by email, because I felt too awkward for a phone call and wasn’t sure of the details, but he called later from the coffee shop where he thought we were meeting, having never gotten my message. I’m glad he didn’t sound angry, and I’m glad I didn’t cry! Hopefully, tomorrow I will enter a cry-free zone and things will be normal again. I don’t want to become like Holly Hunter’s character in Raising Arizona. It’s too ridiculous.

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Knitting, crocheting, and sewing

This is a cat doll-sized sweater I have been knitting. I might try to crochet on a collar. I adapted the pattern from a Fuzzy Mitten cardigan pattern. Barbara Prime has so many adorable knit animal toy patterns. My knitting skills are very basic, and so I also got myself a helpful book, 200 Knitting Tips, Techniques, and Trade Secrets by Betty Barden.

I had a couple of knitting and needlework books that just had drawings in them, and some of the techniques just weren’t clicking for me. The photos in this book helped me compare what I was doing to what I was supposed to be doing.

My Grandma G. was an avid crocheter. I had wanted to learn how to knit and crochet when I was younger, but I was too shy to ask her to show me. That’s her above with my dad and my aunt. You can see she had her hands full with them back then.

Grandma G. used to crochet, and possibly knit (I’m not even sure), ponchos for me, like these two. That’s me above in a ship my dad made for me from a refrigerator box. I’m searching for land with my kaleidoscope-telescope. My mom made the hat.

One time when Grandma G. was babysitting me, she secretly took several of my dolls who had lost their outfits. The next time she came over, she replaced them on their shelf wearing all new crocheted dresses, while I wasn’t looking. She never said a word about it either. I just discovered them there.

These are both of my grandmothers at Christmas time. When my Grandma F., on the right, used to babysit for me at her house, we would sew. I learned to sew from my mom mostly, and a little from Grandma F. too. Grandma F. and I would make doll clothes together.

She would use her sewing machine, and I would try to sew on her tiny antique Singer sewing machine. It didn’t work very well, and I would usually end up sewing my doll clothes by hand. She gave it to me before I moved here. I just unwrapped it to photograph it and it still smells just like her attic, where we used to sew.

This is Grandma F. with my grandpa. Grandma F. is still doing pretty well. She’s become more lucid since she’s moved to the home, where they can regulate her diet for type 2 diabetes. My grandparents had all been incorrigible sugar fiends. Grandma and Grandpa F. would eat like little birds at meals, and then they’d snack on cake and brownies with gingerale. Grandma G. would keep a bag of candy in her purse.

Anyway, Grandma F. is doing better. Last week, while talking to me on the phone, she asked me how Liz was. She had just confused me with my mom who had just talked to her, but I felt good that she was asking about me. She says it’s nothing special where she is, but she has friends to talk to and she is doing well. I have been trying to get someone to make the trip to see her with me by car for a very long time now, and I am still hopeful that I will make it up there some time soon. I had a little hope a few months ago when the guy I was dating was going to a college reunion across the river from where my grandma is. He took a scrapbook I made to her, and he took some photos, but, unfortunately, he didn’t want to take me. I’ve been trying to talk my mom into driving (she doesn’t) so we could spell each other. It’s just something I’d like to do with some company.