Tag Archives: Children

Doll Project

Doll pattern and fabric.

Doll pattern and fabric.

 

One thing I love to do is make doll patterns and dolls. It suddenly dawned on me that fox girl had not received her doll. I know she is more an animal person than a doll person and she has dozens of dolls, whole collections of Bratz, Barbies, Monster High, Disney Princes, all in multiple sizes plus lots of Polly Pockets, and miniature dolls that go with bugs and animals of all sizes. The one thing she didn’t need was yet another doll. But on the other hand she couldn’t be the only one of my girls not to have a soft, handmade doll. After the panic to get the fox dress done, nothing would do but I would burn the midnight oil to made a doll for her.

Since she had spent hours sitting in my lap “helping” and watching while I did all the drawings for my book, I thought it was time Lexi came to life. It was a huge gamble that she wouldn’t care, but for me I love to make dolls and this was a great excuse to make another one.

So I dug out my pattern, the fabric and I was off and running. Sweet Hubs was just shaking his head in disbelief that I would take on such a project with so little time available and I only had ten days to do it. That is ten days that were all fill to overflowing with work, housework, decorating, cookie making parties, dinners, guests, etc. Oh and let’s not forget a daily photo blog commitment plus and occasional post here and wanting to keep up with all of your blogs.

Parts growing.

Parts growing.

Unfortunately, I didn’t even think about taking many progress photos. So you will see in the next photo that I did get the parts cut, sewn, stuffed and mostly together.

A doll in progress.

The headless doll is nearly ready for her head.

And she needed a bit more stuffing before the head was attached.

Doll has her head attached.

Head attached.

The next three steps are to add her face and give her a haircut and make underwear before the next photo.

The doll has a face and underwear.

Meet Lexi. I hope you recognize her from my blog icon.

Here is Lexi waiting for her new clothes.

The doll is named Lexi and she is finished.

Lexi is finished.

Now to make a dress and shoes for her. If only I had been able to take Monday off work, but I couldn’t and I realized that Lexi would likely not have shoes.

The doll has a dress that matches the young girl's dress.

Lexi in her Fox dress.

No shoes but a dress just like the girl’s dress. And in case you are wondering, while managing to applique a fox on a child’s dress was time-consuming and tedious, the smaller the applique the harder they are to do. To say this doll dress took hours would be accurate.

Wish I could tell you that my granddaughter loved it all, but that would be stretching the truth. Oh, she was sweet and gracious and would never hurt my feelings intentionally. She did not like the denim because it was shiny with silver threads, she doesn’t like dolls nearly as much a foxes. She knows it’s special, but I could tell it’s not really her thing, now. I had a ton of fun making it. Maybe she’ll let me borrow it.

Little girl with doll.

My sweet granddaughter with Lexi on New Year’s eve.

Little Granddaughter’s pajamas just happened to coordinate with Lexi’s new dress. The new black boots were too small.

My Christmas present was a NEW SEWING & EMBROIDERY machine!!! So some new clothes for Lexi was a great way to try it out. It’s my first computerized sewing machine and it takes a bit of a learning curve, but I LOVE it!! No excuses now not to get some projects finished up.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year. Thank you dear friends for sharing yourselves with me through this past year. It is wonderful to have friends all over the world.

Cheers to new friendships,

Shez

 

 

 

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Filed under Children, Crafts, Do It Yourself, Holiday, Random, Sewing

The Fox Girl’s Dress

My youngest granddaughter is in love with foxes. All kinds of foxes, fox books, fox photos, fox YouTube videos and fox toys. She lives and breathes foxes. In October my lovely daughter-in-law  sent me a message, “wouldn’t Greta love this dress? Could you make it for her for Christmas?” There was a photo attached of a little girl’s dress with a fox applique. My reply, “Absolutely! I’m on it.”

Finding the time was a challenge plus there were no patterns. So right after Thanksgiving I dashed to the store and bought fabric. Since my granddaughter loves blue, I decided on a blue sparkle denim for the dress, orange fleece with black velveteen for legs and white fur for the face, tummy and tip of the tail.

I sketched a rough drawing of a fox on my computer and printed it, jiggly lines and all. Shaped it up with felt pen, created pattern pieces and plunged in. Here are some of the photos of the process.

A sketch of a fox.

Jiggly rough sketch.

I told you it was rough, you probably didn’t think this rough, but this is where I started.

Pattern pieces were created from the sketch.

Fox smoothed out and pattern pieces for the three fabrics were created.

It’s quite amazing how smoothing the lines with felt pen and then making a pattern piece for each color shows there is promise in this fox.

Fabric pieces for the dress and the fox applique.

Here are the fabrics I chose to make this little dress.

You can see this fox will be fuzzy and soft and close to the right colors of a red fox.

wFoxDress-AppliquedThe fox appliqued onto the dress piece.

Blue denim dress with a red fox applique.

The blue denim dress with one fox appliqued onto it.

Since I couldn’t find a black or orange or white tee-shirt with 3/4 length or long sleeves in a size six and the only simple tee was in hot pink, I added bright pink facings, and appliqued pink flowers with orange centers by the foxes feet. On the bodice I added a bright pink butterfly with a fuzzy orange body. I also found a three pack of leggings any one of them would be adorable with the dress. I was set for Christmas.

I was sure she would love it. But then I knew she also needed a hand-made doll wearing the matching dress, something I had done for each of my daughters and my oldest granddaughter. It was one week before Christmas. It is year-end at work. The pressure was on. My priorities shifted, no Facebook, no blogging, just make the doll and dress, in the evenings, after dinner.

Once I knew I had to do it, I wouldn’t sleep if I didn’t get started. As it turned out, I didn’t sleep, much.

Cheers,

Shez

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Filed under Children, Crafts, Decorating, Do It Yourself, Family, Sewing

The Baker

On Wednesday my grandson wanted to come over and hang out in the evening. I told him he could, but he had to help me cook for Thanksgiving Dinner which was the following day. He thought about it and said he would help. This came as a shock to everyone, he never wants to help. But Wednesday evening when he got there, he was ready to work.

His job? Make bread sticks from scratch.

His experience? None.

So we began by a discussion of measuring, he got it. He scooped, he measure and the ingredients began to fill the mixing bowl. We heated milk and butter, he added it to the bowl. He cracked his first egg into an empty cup, we fished out some shell, he added it to the bowl. I showed him how to turn on the mixer. From there on he would stick his arms out to guard the bowl because, “I can do it.”

When it was ready to turn onto the board to knead is when I remembered to grab my camera to document this event.

Dusting the bread board.

Dusting the bread board, concentration on getting it just right is evident by his tongue.

Kneading the dough.

Kneading the dough, gently squash it down, turn and fold.

The dough was put in an oiled bowl, covered with a towel and placed in a slightly warm oven to rise. While we waited we moved on to peeling potatoes.

Peeling potatoes

A pan for scraps, a large bowl filled with ice water for the potatoes.

His enthusiasm for peeling waned fairly quickly but he hung in there working until the bread had risen to the top of the bowl and was ready for the next step.

Punching the dough down.

Turned out on the floured board, Hayden punches down the dough.

He was so surprised at how soft and tender the dough was. Again a lot of concentration as he flattened the dough.

Folding and turning the dough

Folding and turning.

Marking the sections into even amounts

Marking the sections into equal sizes for cutting and shaping.

The first half of the dough is cut, shaped and ready for the baking pan.

The first half of the dough is cut, shaped and ready for the baking pan.

A Ta Da moment for Hayden. He wanted a commemorative photo of the event.

Laying them on the pan.

Laying the bread stick dough onto the pan.

The second half of the dough has been measured, cut and shaped and is on the pan.

The second half of the dough has been measured, cut and shaped and is on the baking pan. Hayden is brushing melted butter on the top of each bread stick.

Adding a sprinkle of salt.

Adding a sprinkle of salt.

Into the oven they go.

Into the hot oven they go.

Our young baker had no confidence in pot holders keeping him safe.

Our young baker had no confidence in pot holders keeping him safe. At this point he set it on the door of the oven and told me to put them in.

Done!

Done!

Next time we will not do gluten-free. He will be experienced and not intimidated by getting them smooth. I was so proud of his enthusiasm and his “I CAN DO IT” attitude, I simply let him roll.

They are awesome!

Thanks, Hayden for your help.

Hugs,

Grams (Shez to the rest of you)

PS When he arrived the next day the first thing he wanted to know was had I posted the photoz to prove to everyone he had actually “made the bread sticks all by myself.” So here you go Hayden, proof you actually made them all by himself. You Rock, Buddy.

(No I do not call him Buddy, I call him Sweetheart, but at 12 and in middle school, it’s not cool to call him that in public.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Children, Do It Yourself, Family, Food, Holiday, Random

Where’s Waldo?

Halloween Costumes

Halloween Costumes

Okay I apologize, but I had to post this photo of my daughter-in-law the mama fox and my granddaughter the fox kit. They look so cute in their little costumes and the great face paint. But the big question here is this: Were you able to find Waldo?

A close up of Waldo, the mother fox and the fox kit.

A close up of Waldo, the mother fox and the fox kit.

I thought perhaps a close up would help you find my grandson aka Waldo.

We turned the page on the calendar and that means Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here before we blink. What is it with time rushing by so fast?

We have much to be thankful for simply because of where we live. I do worry about everyone one on the east coast that was affected by Hurricane Sandy. Such devastation, where are the people whose homes and everything they own are gone, going to spend the night? Will they be warm? Will they be fed? Who is there to help them tonight? How can I help them?

Until we meet again, be thankful,

Shez

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The Wake

It seems like there are days that life just throws a lot of curve balls and I can deal with that, it’s when they are grouped together and become weeks, overlapping weeks that it becomes a challenge. That’s when even finding time to write down the fun blog I want to post never arrives. A few other things pop up and by the time there is time, nothing fun or funny comes to mind. A family event is taking a bit more of my time than I seem to have but is something I want to share. First a little history is needed.

My mother and her sisters were very close. They chatted on the phone often and visited each other at least monthly.  After they all retired, they got together often for Mexican Train Dominoes. They mistakenly believed that none of their children (we cousins) ever got together and with our growing families; we admit we didn’t often have the chance, but we thought about it a lot. So to thwart their lazy children,  they (the sisters) decided that an annual family picnic was the way to force all of the cousins and all their children, baby and kid paraphernalia, diapers, food, bottles into our cars and drive to a designated spot to have lunch.

Of course the Annual Picnic was hatched well before they retired, and the rules were laid down when our little ones were babes in arms. As they got older the Annual Picnic took on new meaning and became a driving force for them.

The oldest member of the family at 89 is so happy to meet the youngest.

Mom always adored babies. What fun for her to meet the latest addition to our family.

They thought of nothing else, taking a whole year to plan. We had to eat precisely at Noon. Not a second later.  (That makes for a stressful Saturday morning for families because not only were we to be packed and there but we also had to bring food, dishes and silverware, drinks, etc.) Interestingly the sisters decided “pot luck” might produce a once yearly unbalanced meal so they assigned all the descendants of each sister to a food category. Main dishes, salads, deserts. These rotated by sister each year. Somewhere along the line the sisters decided it could not be a real picnic without Un-named to Protect the Guilty Large Grocery Deli’s fried chicken. Not to pick on said Un-named to Protect the Guilty Large Grocery Deli’s chicken, but even fresh at the deli, it is not that good. Several hours after pick up it is horrible.

Family Reunion Picnic 2011

Two Nieces, a Sister-in-Law and Great-great-Nephew Greet Granny

As the sisters got even older and there were only two left they decided to turn it over to the cousins to plan. Oh we were thrilled. Actually none of us objected to that what we did object to was the phone calls.  They were always the same: “Have you girls set the date and place for the reunion yet?”  They began the nagging in March. As they got older the phones calls got earlier. At some point we cousins actually started betting to see which of us would get the first phone call reminding us of the Annual Picnic and had we set the date and place? Trust me with a houseful of kids, animals, sports, school and holidays, were we even thinking of a picnic in February? Not on your life. We were trying to find snow boots for their feet.

I won that bet one year not because mom was the only one left, but because she knew my cousins and I were taking a weekend trip in October and she decided we must set the date while we were all together.  She called every day for six weeks to remind me. I found out she also called all the cousins at least once a week to remind them as well. Over dinner one night we cousins did set the date. First Saturday in August, just like it had been the previous dozen or so years, at the standard beach location. We decided on Pot Luck because what if everyone brought the same thing? As one very wise cousin put it, “So what is the down side of 20 different chocolate cakes?”

Family Reunion 2011

Pictures from last family reunion show the way our family is: All Smiles.

My mom was exceptional, she started calling about the picnic in late September.  Unfortunately, it did little to stem the trickle flood of phone calls. By that time in her life, mom was having trouble remembering dates. So once or twice a week she would call, “Did you set the date for the picnic yet?” And each time I would sweetly (Honest, I was always sweet with her or at the least very patient. Really!) remind her it was same place, same time and the same date. As always it was the first Saturday in August and she would be riding with us.

Three of cousin Sue's Granddaughters

This little princess was not too happy to look at the camera but her sister and cousin were more than happy to strike a pose and pop smiles.

With the exception of a few of her cousins Mom was the last of her generation. She died  last October of pancreatic cancer, just a few weeks after her last Annual Picnic. Her service was a small family affair at the grave site where we spread some of her ashes. It was the first Saturday of November. The rest of her ashes have been interned in their double plot beside dad. The date marker of 2011 has been installed.

Next weekend is first Saturday in August, in honor of our mothers, we are having the family reunion at our house. It is a pot luck at about 1, stay as late as anyone can. If they can’t arrive at one, we will be here fixing dinner later. So not a problem.

The event is a Wake, rather than a Celebration of Life, or a Memorial. The reason is simple, mom’s favorite movie was Waking Ed Devine. We may actually  watch that this week, just to make sure we cover all bases.

Two pretty girls help clean up and get to keep the giant and very colorful paper flowers

These two were so happy to be awarded the beautiful paper flowers when the party was over and things were being picked up. Left of the brunette you can see Mom, still holding her great-great nephew.

I’m sorry, but if you are not a friend or relative of my mother you aren’t invited. If you are a friend or relative please join us. Can you bring a chocolate cake? Oh, wait, dang I can’t eat gluten. Guess I better get busy whipping up a GF Chocolate cake, or at I can whip up a batch of awesome GF Chocolate Brownies for desert. Either works for me. Maybe I should experiment with both GF and vegan. Just for fun.

Here is where mom and dad will always be: In my heart. Their remains and the marker that tells others they walked this earth is on the hillside just below the marble relief of the last supper.

A marble carving of the Last Supper

Marble relief of The Last Supper is at the top of the hill in the portion of the cemetery where Mom is buried.

Next weekend I hope she’ll be looking down from above with her sisters and they’ll all be smiling and saying, “Can you imagine, they actually got it together without a single phone call???” Then perhaps they’ll laugh and realize they did a good pretty job, we all turned out to be great group of people, with fantastic children and extraordinary grandchildren and we are a happy bunch.

Hugs,

Shez

PS The fist five photos were taken last year at the Annual Picnic. Mom’s last big picnic. Because of a surprise significant birthday incorporated into the day, the picnic was held in late July. It was a very good thing it was early. Mom was able to be there and love every minute of the day. She never realized the date had been changed. The last picture taken last Friday.

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Filed under Children, Family, Food, Humor, Random, The Great Outdoors

Whooping Cough: Not a Thing of the Past

…or why I’ll miss my deadline for the book illustrations.

We all grew up knowing the dangers of whooping cough. People broke their ribs coughing so hard, infants turned blue and died from it, small children often didn’t survive and the same was true with the elderly and frail among us.

Once there was a reliable vaccine available, everyone was inoculated. After a decade or two it was completely eradicated from the United States, as were Polio, measles, mumps and chicken pox. Our only job now is to love and protect the children.

A grandfather and his granddaughter sit on the bench and watch for ducks.

Love between this grandfather and his granddaughter is evident as she hugs his knee while they sit on a bench and watch for ducks.

Then this winter pertussis, which is the actual name that scientists and doctors use for this disease, broke out in Washington USA. A beautiful green state that sits on the west coast by the Pacific Ocean and boarders British Columbia, Canada on the north.  Suddenly hundreds of children were desperately ill and hospitalized, older children exhausted from the coughing and adults spending nights sitting up coughing because the coughing gets even worse when they lay down.

Like a virus, this bacteria can live on hard surfaces for several hours.  Because it is a bacteria there are three antibiotics that can be given within the first five days that will help the sick with it recover quickly. But it is a sneaky illness. Tracing it’s roots is very difficult. It has a ten-day incubation period from the time of exposure. And then it comes on like a minor cold.

On the second day I was in Colorado Springs I had a couple of small issues. A little shortness of breath surprised me, because in previous visits the high altitude did not bother me. A slight sore throat and a little dry hackie cough were chalked up to both the high altitude and the extreme dry air. Any other tiredness was of course due to being on the go so much and too busy with family, work, photos, blogs and squeezing in time to cook, clean and work on my book illustrations.

By about day seven, I became suspicious  that even though this seemed like a garden variety cold, something else was making life miserable. Most coughs I can be stifled and as we learned as kids when we wanted to stay home one more day, could be brought on with little effort. This cough was racking my body in sieges of all muscles from hips to armpits involuntarily squeezing my mid section with force strong enough to cause the intense coughing that causes light-headedness and dizziness. The contractions are not controllable and come with enough force to also squeeze out vomit. At the same time, you are gasping for air when the next one strikes, the next gasp for air brings with it a dreadful, un-humanly sound that scared the heck out of me. I wondered where that came from. My next cough and I realized it came from me. It was the third day of a three-day holiday.

I called the doctor the following morning. An internet search told me that if it is pertussis I would be contagious until the illness was gone. The anti-biotic should still be taken even though it might be too late to help me, after five days I would no longer be a carrier. I started antibiotics yesterday. Four more days.

A father hugs his little girl and his son.

Like fathers everywhere, protecting children is his primary concern. This man would walk through burning coals to save his children. His children have received all immunizations. 

How can something that no longer exists make a return? Many statistics would point to the fact that young parents do not realize the dangers of many of the horrible children’s disease that many of us lost family and friends to. They have never seen it, their children are super-human, healthy and besides the parents don’t want their children exposed to some possible toxins in the vaccine. Don’t forget to factor in parents will fight off dragons to keep their infant from even a tiny discomfort and a few fussy days following the shot.

My last vaccination was ten years ago. The particular dose I was given did not contain the pertussis vaccine, though everyone had it assumed it had. My next vaccination is scheduled for as soon as I am well. At that point I will probably already be immune.

I am posting this, not to gain sympathy, although a few “poor baby,”s would be acceptable. I am posting this as a reminder to every one of every age, check on your immunizations. Make sure you are covered. A few days of possible little fever and a sore arm are a small price to pay not just to stay healthy but to not be an unwilling accomplice to a nasty little bacterium.

An innocent little girl needs adults to protect them from harm.

This innocent little girl is protected from many severe illnesses by immunizations. It is the job of the parents around her to love and protect her from harm, especially scary monsters, even the ones under the bed.

Hugs (virtual only of course),

Shez

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Filed under Children, Family, Health, Random

Happy! Hoppy! and Humbled!

Many of you know I also am committed to the Post a Photo a Day Challenge that is initiated by Word Press. One of the blogs I follow is a Photo Contest where both amateur and professional photographers from around the world submit incredible photos from gorgeous and exotic places…

I will get back to that in a minute. But my Totally Random Happy thoughts want to share the Hoppy photo first.

I want you to know that I know where Easter Eggs really, truly come from. They are laid by an adorable pink girl bunny. In this photo she appears to be counting the eggs as she lays them. Here is the proof.

This is where Easter Eggs come from.

Now back to the rest of the story. In the many years of my passionate obsession with taking photos I have never submitted any of my work in any competition except once and it took second place.  I have not been anywhere exotic or out the country in a couple of years but had and idea for an interesting photo taken close to home. I sent it off, and pretty much forgot it.

Today when I opened my email I saw the title of the winning photo that was chosen for today.

You can check it out here: http://photolord.com/2012/04/06/1935-mercedes-kompressor/

And this is why I am HappyHoppy and very HUMBLED today.

Egg dying is at our house is tomorrow and two extremely excited grand-kids are coming. Sometime between work today and “eggs” tomorrow I have to clean the house and get the family dinner ready. I can’t wait for everyone to be here. I love any excuse to cook for everyone and for all of us to be together.

Wishing you all a blessed Easter.

Shez

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