Pestalotiopsis microspora

Sunday, May 2nd, 2021

Pestalotiopsis is a genus of fungus that seems to be found, ya’ know, everywhere. As fungus is. Blights caused by varying species of this fungus are exacerbated by climate change.


For example, Pestalotiopsis microspora causes a wide range of symptoms on cedars and other conifers. It begins in the low dense shady area of the canopy in the warm parts of summer then will spread upward through the tree over a few years. Leaves and stems die. Trees are less vigorous. In addition, Pestalotiopsis microspora discovered in rubber plantations the early 1900s has recently reached epidemic proportions. Leaves get spots. Trees are less juicy and vigorous. No one likes a fungal infection.


Well, that’s not true. Pestalotiopsis microspora also eats polyurethane. That’s nice, isn’t it? In honor of its plastic-digesting prowess, I named the monster I sewed Akiva for his birthday after it. Akiva just calls him Pest.


A Dollhouse on the Shelf

Sunday, February 2nd, 2020

When I was little, I wanted a dollhouse in the bookshelf. I think it was because of the Dollhouse Place. There, they had glass-fronted display cases filled with little dollhouse dioramas. Sofas and chairs, a woman in a kitchen, a man in a bathtub— room after room of people. It was like looking into a glass-fronted apartment house, only one did not have to be afraid of one’s inclination to stare.


In this photograph you will see, on the shelves, the Fisher Price dollhouse. It needs to come off the shelves to be played with. The house opens wide, the garage door opens and closes, and the doorbell rings. To the right of the house is a whole basket full of accessories— a couple of bathroom sets, a few dozen people, six dogs, a knight, king and squire (which are, technically, people), some living room sets, a complete kitchen, a staircase, a handful of beds, some dining tables and chairs, and five cars. Iris used to play with that house a lot. Sadly, my photoblog entries are not indexed for dollhouses, or I could give at least one example. Currently, the accessories for it— especially the cars— are Akiva’s favorite bathtub toys. The Fisher Price houseboat and dinghy live in the bathroom.


In the red storage container to the right of the brown basket are the Creative Playthings wooden dollhouse accessories. In this scene, the papa and the boy are living in the house on the left, in front of Akiva; the mama and the girl are living in the house on the right, in front of Iris. This is my solution to dollhouse on a shelf, and I think it works quite well. There is a connecting door between the two houses and doors to go out the back and sides, but do not let these doors confuse you into thinking that the two apparently linked houses are one house. They are, as the rooms on the selves in the Dollhouse Place, separate apartments.


The Little People Go for a Drive in the Woods

Monday, August 13th, 2018

We walked through the woods and down to the island




carrying only a few essentials including water, cheese, and a small number of Little People.








The Little People liked it there!




They drove over hills




and under bridges,




guided by the demigod-like little hands




of children.




Putta putta putta putta up the mountain—








Phew. All’s well that ends well.




They drove to the scenic overlook,




guided by the demigod-like little hands




of children.




“Goodness! There’s a lot of trash here!”




“But you must admit, the scenery is beautiful.”





Sequencing & storyline by Iris & Akiva—








Photography & location management: Mama.



Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

“How to niddy-noddy,” says Iris, taking apart the device and putting it together.

“How to niddy-noddy,” and I don’t know whether it is a question or a statement.





My previous dye technique involved putting yarn in a pot, dying it,

then spending an extraordinary amount of time untying tangles.

So I* made a niddy-noddy for looping nice hanks.


Yarn Hanks-8163


Nice hanks!




*NOTE: Martin made the niddy-noddy. I told him where to cut the PVC & after he cut it he accidentally put it together. It took all of three seconds. But I took it apart & put it together, so I made it, too. Then I suppose because Iris took it apart & put it together, she made it, too.

Assembly Line Heads

Saturday, April 4th, 2015

I’m working on making a score of dollies. All their homes have been accounted for in advance. Although I am supposed to be making one per week, I have opted to try the assembly-line method of production. It’s really helpful, because I can refine my technique immediately when I did something I realize I can do better. It’s sort-of like lettering drills that elementary school teachers give their students: practice one thing lots and lots, move on to the next, then string it all together.



“I’ve got all my heads in a row—”

ten doll heads-8120

—I think that stems from a duck-hunting metaphor, which is rather morbid when one thinks about it.



“Don’t put all your heads in one basket—”

ten doll heads-8117

— I don’t know if that one’s any better.

Skinning the Head

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

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:



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.)










Sunday, January 18th, 2015

I made a doll.



Cash Register

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

These cash registers don’t sell so well on eBay. There are a dozen or so listed, with prices everywhere. The coins, however, may go for $5.00 or more each. The cash register was originally sold with six coins. A set of coins may go for nearly forty bucks. A cash register might go for ten. A set of coins with a cash register? Maybe $25.00. Hmm…





We have two, with six coins each.

Now & again, Mom finds an extra coin.

I need to ask where she puts them.