It's not what you gather, but what you scatter, that tells what kind of a life you have lived.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It's a hard life, but good.

Life is hard. After not working for over 3 months, my husband has finally gone back to work, and that's a good thing, but.....he's not making enough for us to get out of debt. We will be absolutely broke for the next year, if not longer, and that will cause havoc with his depression. It's a catch-22. But at least he IS working, so we can try to make some headway.

My grandson, Cameron, had his Cub Scout Pinewood Derby in March. His car wasn't very fast, but he had a good time, and that's all that matters. My oldest granddaughter, Cydney, also got the cutest little black puppy while we were there. Some people were in the parking lot with a box full of puppies, knowing full well that where there's kids there will be a better chance to get rid of them. Anyway, her step-mother wouldn't let her keep it, so guess what? I have a new puppy!

The one at the back is Cameron's. Its a worm on a roller skate. When my boys were
 in Cubs, we always made their derby cars different. We had a stick of Big Red gum
once, and a Cub Scout driving a hot dog, and a few other crazy things like that.
 My son is following in my footsteps.
A couple of weekends ago was the Clark County Fair and Rodeo, and I spent some time with my friend Bev in the Humanitarian Aid booth. We knitted hats for the newborns at the county hospital, we tied quilts for the humanitarian aid program of the church, we taught others to knit and tie quilts, and we re-acquainted ourselves with each other. (You can see pictures of the booth at the Bev's Blog link at the right.) She is a good person with a heart of gold, and she is constantly doing something for others. I am glad to call her my friend. She put a few things into perspective for me while we visited, and it was a good few days.

Now I am busy trying to finish three little flower-girl dresses for the wedding of my daughter's best friend's sister-in-law. How's that for a mouthful? The wedding is taking place in Georgia in about 2 1/2 weeks. The dresses are black, and hot pink with black polka dots. They will be really cute, I think. Basically, the only black will be the bodice and the polka dots, and the trim on the bottom of the sleeves. If I remember, I will take a photo and post it. Two of the little girls live here in town, and the other one lives in Georgia. It's a pretty simple pattern, so it won't take long to get them done, I just have to get started! To me, the worst part of sewing is the cutting out. I hate cutting out. Once that's done, its a breeze from there. I'm in the middle of that dreaded part right now, so I will start the actual sewing tomorrow. I enjoy that part.

I am working on that other cute pattern I told you I had for you. That's technically a lie. It's not one pattern, but a series of patterns. It's an alphabet book for little ones, and it's personalized for each one. I made one for my grandson and he really likes it. I'm making the one you will see pictured for another grandson...actually two grandsons. I'm trying to get the pages photographed and all the patterns made, then we'll do one or two pages per post. I think that will work. If not, we'll step it up a little.
Well, that's all for now. I need to get to bed and get some rest. I also am making a quilt top for the same wedding as the dresses, so I will be busy for a while. See you back at the farm. 'Night. Gramma G.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Quiet Dolls

Well, the move has been made and we are back in Nevada again. I really didn't want to leave Montana. I was really happy there, except for the lack of work. We have been here for 3 months without any work, but Chuck finally went to work last week. Hopefully we will be able to get back on our feet soon. Everything just came to a standstill in my life for a while. Thank heaven for family. Our kids have helped us as they could, and my husband's brother and his wife took us in and gave us a place to stay, otherwise, we would be out on the street! We are now the proud buyers (notice I did not say owners) of a 36 ft. travel trailer, and I love it! It has a nice, large slide-out in the living room, so there is a lot of room. From now on, if we have to move, we just take our home with us! I'm slowly getting things put away. I have a lot of STUFF that won't fit, so I am sorting and getting rid of things, and trying to find room for what I really want to keep. We went back to Montana and had a big moving sale at the storage unit, then brought what didn't sell down here and had a yard sale. We will be having another one this weekend, weather permitting, and then what's left will go to the thrift store. This has been really hard for me. I feel sometimes like I'm watching my life go to strangers. I know it's just things, and things aren't that important in the big picture, but I get really attached to my THINGS. And my children don't have the same interest in the things of the past, like family heirlooms, that I do, so things that I've hung on to for years they don't really want, and it's hard to watch those things go to someone else. But maybe they will be better off not being burdened with the things of the past. I don't know.

Well, enough of that. I have some cute patterns for you coming up. We will start with a set of quiet dolls that I first made when my children were little, and they now range from 29 to 35 years old, so this pattern has been around for a long time. I got the pattern in a Relief Society meeting(the women's meeting of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), and I have no idea who brought it to the meeting, but a big Thank You goes out to whoever it was, because I've been making these for 30 years for all the toddlers in our family, and that's quite a few. Plus I've shared this pattern with too many people to count. So Thanks, whoever you are!

The dolls are made of felt and they all fit inside one another. The littlest one is a finger puppet, the next one snaps, the next one buttons, the next on ties and the biggest one has a zipper. Use nice bright colors and be sure to sew your decorations on, so that little ones can't get them off and choke on them. The new felt is totally washable, so the dolls are too. Great, huh? All the little ones that I have given these to really liked them, and in my family, I kept these for play at church only, so they were a kind of treat, too. Since they only got to play with them on Sunday, they didn't get old as quickly as those toys they played with everyday.
Enlarge the pattern to fit on a piece of copy paper and they will be the right size. Of course, you can make them any size you want to, but that's the size I make them. Have a good time with these. If you have kids that are a little bit older, they like to help make them, too. And they have some pretty good ideas for how to decorate them, too. I got the idea for a hula dancer from my oldest daughter, who was about 8 at the time, and doing a report on Hawaii. Any chance you get to work with your kids, take it!! Not only does it build a relationship between you, but it also develops an appreciation for all things handmade.

Trace and cut individual patterns from cardboard. Use these as your patterns to trace onto the felt. Cut two of each size from the same bright color of felt. One piece will be the front and one piece will be the back. The backs of numbers 2, 3, 4 and 5 will be cut right up the middle. Leave the back of #1 whole. You will also need to cut 1 strip - 1"x4" for number 2 and 2 strips for number 3. (The dolls in the photos only have one strip each.)

Next comes the fun part. Decorate the front of each any way you want. I usually like to take into consideration the likes and interests of the child I'm giving them to. Make each one different and unique, and use lots of bright colors. At the right are some ideas to help you get going. Draw the faces with permanent markers or paint pens and let dry.

Now it's time to put them together. Start sewing with number one. Put wrong side to wrong side and start at one of the marks at the bottom of the pattern. Sew up and around to the other mark, leaving an opening at the bottom. This one is the fingerpuppet.
Next, take the strips you cut for #2 and #3 and fold them in half to make tabs 1"x2". Sew them to the left side of the back pieces on the center edge. (Illustration #1.) The tabs for #3 need to have buttonholes in them to fit whatever buttons you choose. (Big buttons are better for little fingers.) The tab for #2 will have a snap. Match up the two halves of both and sew the buttons on the right half of #3 and the other half of the snap on #2. (Illustration #2.) Number 4 gets two ties. These can be made out of ribbon, or 27" shoelaces, cut in half. If using ribbon, you need 2 27" pieces cut in half. Stitch two halves to each side of #4, leaving an inch at the outside edge to tuck into the seam. Make sure the tip of the shoelace is toward the middle. (Illustration #3.)
Number 5 gets the zipper. Trim 1/4" off each side at the center edge, and stitch in the zipper. A contrasting color of zipper is nice. Now that all the pieces are in place, stitch the other four dolls together. Place front and back together, right sides out, and stitich all the way around. Be sure to tuck the ends of the shoelaces or ribbons around to the wrong side and into the seams.
That's it! You now have a cute and unique set of quiet dolls that will all fit inside one another. They will keep your child occupied for quite some time while helping them learn to tie, button, zip and snap, along with learning their colors. Have fun teaching your child how to use this toy.
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