Saturday, February 21st, 2015

Skinning the Head

Today I put skin on the head.

I think it was more interesting without skin.

But I’ll see where this is going.

Now I need to design some hair and a body.




Friday, February 20th, 2015


I’ve been wanting to design a small, relatively inexpensive, simple doll in the category of dolls that I’m interested in making (“Waldorf” or “Waldorf-inspired”), as I think that’s a relatively untapped market. I’ve been pretty lazy, what with Iris having a sinus infection then me having something resembling a cold. But today was the day. I was going to do it.


To prepare for doll-making, I need to clean the entire house, as Iris likes to take out all the batts of luscious fluffy wool and wrap herself up and roll in them: if there are any loose threads or gobs of dust, they get stuck in the wool. Then, as Iris anxiously waited for me to untie the wool bag, I did a bunch of geometry and came up with a simple pattern. And as Iris rolled herself in batts of wool and flopped around the living room, I tied a little woolen head, just the right size for my pattern.


Then I glanced at my newly-acquired felting needle. “Just a few pokes,” I said to myself. “I don’t have the correct size stockinette for such a small head, so I’ll just a do few pokes to firm up the wool.” Um. Well. I took a break after one hour of felting (lunch, nap, learn to use yet another new sewing machine, go for a walk) and resumed felting some time after five. Martin came home around six or so while Iris was on the toilet. I was sitting near her, poking away at the wool. Luckily there was plenty of left-over lasagna for dinner.


After about two hours (or so) of felting, the doll no longer fits into the category of “relatively inexpensive, simple doll.” I really have no idea where I am going with this. Although it is so tempting to attempt felt the entire doll body, I won’t. Not with this doll. Not yet. For this doll, I will just put some skin on the head, embroider the features, then design an appropriate body to go with it.


Here is the doll’s inner head, my second attempt at sculptural felting:


Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

How to tell when your house has no insulation:

The outlet in the “master” bedroom appears to be sweating.

This is not condensation;

this is due to the fact that the ice which formed over night is melting in the morning sun.

Note the water stains around the outlet.




The sun has not yet hit the outside wall so hard in Iris’ room, where this outlet is.

You can see little icicles forming at the bottom of the outlet cover.




This is the thickest formation of ice, on the southwest corner behind Iris’ curtain.

You can see a tiny bit of green where the curtain froze to the ice overnight.

During the day, the ice melts and forms puddles on the windowsill.




I try to appreciate the stained-glass effect of ice.






Sunday, February 15th, 2015

Uncle Dan’s Visit




Dan came to visit.





Even though he is done getting bigger and bigger—

and along the way got very big indeed—

he still speaks the language of Child.





Much to her delight, he played with Iris for hours—





on the floor—





where something can be special simply because it’s shiny—





and one thing easily becomes another.





Thank you, Dan.





We love you very much.







Friday, February 13th, 2015

My New Sewing Machine!


Monday, February 9th, 2015




I finished another dolly. I bought a rather expensive pattern because I wanted to learn how to felt-sculpt facial features. I had to alter the pattern a bit to make it work, and I’m still not quite happy with it, but I really loved felting the features. Sinead has soft cotton skin, fluffy wool stuffing, and a pebble-bag butt for weight.  Martin named her before the three-plus hours I spent crocheting her wig. Her wig is epic.


Way back in the early-mid 1990s, Cate went to Nepal and bought a yak-hair sweater. The average yak does not take weekly shampoo baths. The yak whose hair made said-sweater was no exception. The yak shearer also did not wash the yak’s hair. Nor did the yak-hair spinner. Nor did the yak-sweater-knitter. Nor did the knitted-yak-sweater-salesperson. Nor did said purchaser of said knitted-yak-sweater. The recipient of the sweater, however, was (an is) an exception to the rule. She washed the sweater.


Mom will have to come in here to comment and let us know how long it took her to clean, unravel, and wind that sweater into nice balls of yak-hair yarn. I’m thinking maybe twenty hours, minimum. Then she put it in a nice, transparent moth-proof bag and set it on a shelf to admire for 20 years. Before agreeing to give me the yarn, Mom made sure I was appreciative of her work. I am. The wool is absolutely perfect.


The yarn is a nice natural brown color, rather unevenly spun with occasional knots, and a bit curly toward the center of the ball. I used the outside of the ball to crochet a skull-cap for Sinead, then pulled from the inside to make her curls. It took at least three hours to make the wig. When she was finished, Martin said, “She looks like you.”


Sinead does not yet have clothes. However, she does have a fitted cloth diaper and a felted wool soaker complete with felted and embroidered kitty-cat applique on the butt. (To be updated with photo later.)









Friday, February 6th, 2015

“Mommy, why you taked off the fryweoo?”

I have been working on another doll. With two inches of sewing left to go before the remainder of the doll was to be hand-sewing, the flywheel on my machine seized. Panic! I called Mom, who said it’s come to the point where I obviously need more than one sewing machine around the house. She also said that if it was her, she would just find something to take apart. So I took her advice about taking the machine apart and was able to narrow the issue down to a very small area.


Iris said, “Mommy, why you taked the fryweeoo off?” and threw a tantrum because I would not let her clean my machine which told me (1) she needed a nap and (2) I must spend an awful lot of time sewing lately if my two-year-old is concerned about the flywheel.


Before nap we needed to eat. Unfortunately, I could not for the life of me understand what she was asking for. The word was not coming out right, so she was crying and covering her mouth, which made the whole understanding-bit even more difficult. Eventually we went to the fridge, but no, it was not in there. In the freezer. I opened it. Oh, aspic! She’d been saying aspic! But it was frozen. She had a little, then she had some leftover quiche and I had a burger and some green beans (followed by gobs of peanut butter and dark chocolate, but please pretend I did not mention the “followed by” part.)


Iris is nice and conversational while eating. At dinner, for example, she generally prefers that any conversation between Martin and I be conducted through her. It actually isn’t bad, as she is quite responsive to conversation, nodding and agreeing continually to show she is listening. She took some of my beans. “You put gorgonzola in there?” she asked. She had not seen me put the cheese in, but as a budding cheese-connoisseur, she’s come to enjoy it. I said that yes I did. “And hard cheese,” she added. Which, yes, I had. It was neither parmesan nor reggiano, but rather something more obscure whose hyphenated name even I have trouble pronouncing.


She went back to eating her quiche. “You going to fix your sewing machine?” she asked.

And I said, “Maybe.”

And she said, “—and maybe not.”





…then she continued her temper tantrum because I would not let her clean my machine before she took a nap.

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

A Walk on the River

I needed to get outside, so I asked Heather to go for a walk with me. I pulled the cargo sled with Iris & Joshua; Heather carried Leigha. We went through the field into the woods over the bridges then down to the river. Then we went along the river. And we went along and we went along, and we went along and we went along. Eventually we came up at the grocery store and went home by the road.



Iris & Joshua explore an ice bridge.