Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Lucy Goes to the Doll Hospital

My daughter's doll Lucy goes everywhere with her. She is always by her side at night, and if ever she goes missing, there is chaos... tears, volcanoes erupting, tsunamis raging, fires blazing. It was love at first sight with these too. She has gone to school everyday of kindergarten and before that, everyday of preschool. She was the first thirteen inch doll that I ever made, and the knit fabric I bought proved to be a little too thin for so much love. She has had some bathes, here and there, but it has been hard to get this doll out of Oona's hands.

When her face began to rip this year, we gave her some stitches. And then there were more rips. She had another layer of skin underneath, so she wasn't losing any stuffing, but she was truly beginning to look like a rag doll, and I feared for the day when the second layer gave way or her embroidered face was lost. I started to talk to Oona about more serious surgery, but she wasn't ready, so I made some more quick fixes. The skin was now being pulled by the stitches creating more tension. I also didn't have anymore of the fabric that she was originally made from. I purchased some premium weight doll fabric close to the original skin color and told her that we'd have to send her to the doll hospital come the summer.  I knew that the best solution would be to give her an entire new layer of skin on both head and body to avoid more trauma.

The summer began, and she kept saying, "Maybe tomorrow". Finally, I realized she'd never be quite ready for this and I didn't want Lucy to be totally destroyed so I set some time aside. I knew I had to work fast and it would be best if the whole process could be completed in a day. I made the new outer skin (I left the old skin underneath) and when I knew I had enough time to finish, I took off her wig and began putting on the new layer. The hardest part was the face. There was no way to keep the original eyes and lips as the needed to be covered with the new skin, but I did use them as a guide. This was the part Oona feared the most... her face changing. I tried my best to make it like it was, but it proved very hard. Because I was stitching over old embroidery it was also difficult to the needle through her head. The head had also become more matted over time so the wool was difficult to work with. I also washed her hair and set it to dry on the clothesline before I started putting her new skin on.

I did worry that Oona might reject this new form of Lucy, and I would have ruined something beautiful. Her eyes somehow came out a little smaller, her hands and feet a little bigger, and her hairline went up a little. In short, it wasn't perfect. I think it was a little strange for all of us, but Oona hugged her with the knowledge that the same Lucy that had always been there was still under this new skin. She's still on a mission to make Lucy dirty again because as her kindergarten teacher told her often, "If you're not dirty, you're bored!". So I'm sure there will be many more adventures for these too, and I'm glad this friend will stay by her side for more days to come.

More about Lucy here.

Joining in with KCCO over at Frontier Dreams .

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summer Reading and Making

Summer is a time where it feels like you can move mountains. All those things you've said, "I'll do that in Summer" flood back to you, and it's time to go. Maybe it's the longer hours of daylight or maybe it's all that vitamin D giving you an energy boost, but it seems that a lot more actually can get done in the Summer. Of course, it's never all that you think you'll get done. Because there's always swimming and picnicking and trail walks and camping and all those other fun things to do that help fill the days. And for me, there's also long lists of Summer reading and Summer crafting that I also have to sneak in some how. So I don't forget, I'm going to share those lists with you today.

Summer Reading (most of these are with the kids):
- "Lost Merry-Go-Round" by Dorthy F. Lathrop (a vintage flea market find with amazing illustrations)
- "Herb Fairy"series (with the added bonus of getting to learn lots about practical herbs with the kids)
- "The Cats of Tanglewood"
- The last book in "The Wildwood Chronicles" I've been reading these on my own
-  "Radiance" Catherynne M. Valente... I haven't opened this one yet, but Jake said it was good. This one is Sci-fi.

*I'm sure I will be adding to this list. We're off to the library tomorrow!

Summer Crafting
- Shorts for all!
- garden smocks for the kids
- sun bonnets
- Fixing Lucy (Oona's favorite doll who has been loved to shreds)
-  three dresses for a wedding
- summer nightgowns for the girls
- quilts for the girls (or at least starting on them!)

*This list gets even bigger when 

I'd love to hear your reading suggestions, if you have any, for kids or grown ups or both. We read a lot of chapter books out loud as a family. I'd also love to hear what you're making, even if it's a recipe or story or something not quite crafty. I hope you're feeling the burst of energy of these first days of Summer.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Farmer's Market Summer

Happy Summer Solstice! Oona just got out of school yesterday, so today is both the first day of summer and the first day of summer vacation for us. I have been looking forward to summer break for months. It's just nice to get up a little later and throw away the schedule for a little bit. Though I know summer offers too many opportunities for fun and adventure to truly slow down. Oh, and there's lots of work in the garden to be done, too.

I have already gotten myself booked once a week for our local farmer's market. It's good motivation for me to make more crafts. And because it's on our local park, it's also great fun for the kids to run around with all the other children. Now, if only the rain would stop threatening on farmer's market day, I'd be a happier camper.

Joining in with KCCO over at Frontier Dreams .

Saturday, June 17, 2017

In the Garden: Chives and Tools

stir up hoe
baby pumpkins
sour cherry tree loaded with cherries this year
the beauty of flowering chives
kale that I transplanted under a cherry tree to make more room in the main garden and give it some shade

lupines finally blooming

St. John's Wort: pretty yellow flowers are still to come.

Peony which has since opened up
My gardening notebook
black cherry tomato plant... tape on ground was an attempt to catch flea beetles (didn't work very well)

 In the garden, things are changing faster than I can document. I've gotten almost everything planted, with the exception of a few transplants and wildflower seeds I want to throw on our hill. Of course, there's always Fall plantings, etc., but it feels good to have the toughest part done.

 I've added a few tools to my gardening game this year. One, that has proven to be very helpful with weed control, is called a stir up hoe. A gardener friend recommended it to me because it allows you to weed standing up. It works best on dried out soil. It feels a bit like vacuuming because you push it back and forth. It doesn't actually suck up weeds, but cuts them and helps loosen the soil before planting. I'm pretty much a minimalist when it comes to gardening tools, but this one is definitely a time saver. Another new "tool" is my gardening notebook. I've been meaning to start one for ages, but I just haven't gotten around to it. I also have a tiny notebook that I keep in the pocket for making daily notes about gardening: what I've planted, fertilized, harvested, etc. so I can use this info. in the future. In my bigger notebook, I have a page for each type of plant to take notes. I also have some pages in the front devoted to various organic gardening mixtures for fertilizing and pest control. It's very exciting for me to be this organized, and I'll be able to add more information to it in the winter months when I look back over it and see what when wrong.

If you're me, there's always something that goes wrong. This year, flea beetles have sounded their battle cry. I pick them off when I find them, but it's hard to catch them all. I've also tried using tape, sticky side up looped around and under the plants, but this hasn't done much to stop them. Even row cover on the ones I've managed to get it on hasn't helped much. I do use companion planting methods, but perhaps I need to figure out some different combinations. I made a rubbing alcohol and dish soap spray that I will try soon, if the problem persists. I hope there's no wars waging in your garden. Schools out soon, and I think I'll be stopping in here a bit more regularly.