Monday, April 25, 2011

Hey There Little Red Riding Hood: Another Matchbox Doll

I made another matchbox doll for a Fairy Tale Boxed tag swap on swap-bot. Here are links to the first doll and the second one I completed. I am sort of addicted to making these little scenes now. I keep coming up with ideas for them. I wish I could create them as fast as I can think of them! Little Red is at her new home now so I can share pictures without ruining anyone's surprise.  If you click on the photos it should enlarge them if you want to see details.

 Her box 'home'. 

Close up of front. I knit her little cape before anything else. It was my inspiration for this doll actually, the idea of a itty bitty red riding hood cape. I used crochet thread and super small metal sock needles to knit with.

 Close up on back.

Size perspective because these macro shots make her seem much bigger than she really is. She fits inside a 32 count matchbox bed, though she can't actually go in the bed I made her because of a design flaw that almost ruined her. I mistakenly painted the matchbox inside, so when I put her inside to test it out it turned most of her face and some of her hair green! I almost cried.

After I calmed down I was able to repaint her face and ended up liking it better the second time around. So - happy accident then. But she has to lay on top of her bed like everyone else now. She can just store all of her stuff in the bed drawer now instead of  herself (which was sort of creepy anyway if you think about it too much). I guess that means she is just a matchbox doll in name only though. 

 Alone in the woods...

 Yeah, she can actually carry her huge basket. She takes lots of things to grandma.

Her loot. Her books are Little Red Riding Hood and Favorite Fairy Tales. She has a little bundle of letters from her grandma that are on the table. This shot also shows the back of her cape which I like a lot. The hood has a long a pointy sort of tail to it, which you can also see better here.

 Close up of home. I knit her little comforter too.

 Ditto, with more side detail. Notice the wolf picture on the right side. :0)

Size perspective for the whole thing.

So that's my interpretation of Little Red Riding Hood in matchbox doll form. She was a blast to make. I love knitting little tiny things because they only take a few days to make verses weeks or months for normal sized things.

My family is still very under the weather. In fact my kids are in the cough all night phase of the bug. They are in that in-between point when it might just decide to take root in their chest with a secondary infection. I am trying to balance hovering/freaked-out mommy with relaxed/let's-eat-popsicles mommy with 'if I have to endure one more Sponge Bob Square Pants episode I might stab myself in my ears' mommy. It is a toss up which one will come out on top at this point. I might end up making an army of these dolls just so I can keep getting lost in their tiny worlds. I'm sure my kids wouldn't mind at this point.

Between the weather and the illness we've been inside WAY too much lately, which is contributing big time to the discomfort for us all. We have had lots of quiet games, movies and crafting which has been nice. My daughter has made some lovely things that have brightened my days a lot, and I'm planning a post to share them soon. However, we can't wait to run around outside in the sun, filling our lungs with fresh air and not coughing. Not one tiny wheeze. Soon! I hope!

Hope everyone has a wonderful and healthy week!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Kryptonite to my Mom Powers

"Don't make me use it," said my son as he pulled 'the lip'. Please ignore his Vicks stained shirt. I should have cropped it out but I figured it goes with his dark circles and acts as a 'picture worth 1000 words' testament to our recent bout of illness. Or more accurately, I'm lazy. That would require the opening of programs and mousing. It is ever so much easier to just type. I blame recent illness. This is my excuse for the laundry pile too. Hey, we use what we have around here.

He wanted a bath instead of a shower and I had been resisting. That incredible pouty lip and the big sad brown eyes are his secret weapons. Gifts he was born with.

See? He started this early on. He's a quick study.
Lip pops out. Eyes get sad. And I'm undone.

So by now there is as much nurture involved in this behavior as the nature. The kid just melts this stubborn old mommy heart and helps me see when maybe I am being a bit unreasonable. Yeah, he got the bath. And he held still while I snapped a picture of his manipulation in action. That way we both got something out of the deal. Hey, he learned it from somewhere.

Happy Earth Day, TGIF and Good Friday. Celebrate it as you will. We are all feeling better, wit is returning, and the sun is trying to shine. Celebrate we shall! Starting with baths* instead of showers.

*Not overly full, or overly hot baths... As it is Earth Day and all.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What a week!

A neighbor bird, perhaps a bit confused with the quick weather change.

This week started with paying taxes. Then spring disappeared behind 30 mph winds and under a few inches of snow. Then yesterday my whole family woke up with sore throats. Uh oh. Yep. Pretty quickly we moved up to popsicles, headaches and puke buckets as we all succumbed to an ugly spring bug. Not very fun. Nope.

BUT... Today the snow is mostly melted and the sun is out. We are on the mend. AND!

I won a blog contest! Here. Yay! I believe this is the first time I won a blog contest. It was a contest held by the Green Bag Lady, and cosponsored by Whisker Graphics and Janet Setter Jewelry. I feel like a little kid. I am so excited about winning. The bag, the twine sampler, and the Janet Setter necklace! I mean, it is fun to win anything, but especially when it is something that really 'fits' me. I saw the pendant on the blog and fell in love, and I have a long standing love for Whisker Graphics twine, and am so inspired by the Green Bag Lady. So yay!

Have you heard of the Green Bag Lady and what she does on her blog? Here is a link to her inspiring story. I discovered her blog through Whisker Graphics blog (which I stalk due to my insatiable love of her twine) and am so glad that I did. The Green Bag Lady gives away fabric bags in exchange for a promise to use it instead of plastic. At the time of writing this post she had given away 15,312 bags. Wow! Right? I love the idea of art changing the world, making a true difference. Theresa, the Green Bag Lady and her team of Bagettes is the ultimate example of this in action. Perfectly inspiring and timely story as Earth Day is tomorrow.

This is such a pick me up. It took me two hours to finish this blog post with all the soothing, ginger-ale bringing, head-cooling and popsicle fetching (not to mention the more disgusting things, blech) and I am still feeling punky too - So every bit helps right now. The sun outside promises that spring was just hiding briefly, and my boy is improved enough that I know the rest of us will follow suit soon. Winning the contest helped slap me out of the paying-our-taxes blues. There is a flip side to everything, isn't there? It is good to remember that.

So right now I am going to indulge in my favorite coconut frozen pops that my husband picked up for me this morning. My sore throat (and my taste buds) hanker for one. See? No guilt treats. A bright side to illness.

Onward to a weekend that promises to be busy. A sort of kick off to a whole season that promises to be busy. Staring with Earth Day/Good Friday, Easter and we might even have a piano lesson thrown in there for good measure. Maybe. We might end up with a quiet on-the-mend sort of weekend if things don't improve around here quickly. And that would be fine too.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy weekend filled with the bright side of things!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Stuffed animals and how to control them...

Yesterday was tax day here. Tax day means something entirely different to us now that we are business owners. Oh, the good old tax days of yore, when we were employees and someone else's pain in the tax. Well, we have done our civic duty folks. Go forth government and build ye roads, schools and bridges! Whatever. I like to imagine that our bank account is drained for useful reasons. It soothes.

"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."
Ben Franklin. True, Ben. You speak true. Right?

Oh wait, I know another certainty, at least if you have children... Stuffed Animals. You know, those somewhat creepy, non-blinking creatures that seem to multiply when you don't look? Those dust mite covered, dubiously constructed, money sucking, anthropomorphic space invaders? Ask me how I really feel, huh? But the kids tend to frown on my desire to donate, toss and set them on fire - so they remain. (Oh, and I feel the need to point out that I do not mean handmade lovies and softies. No, no, no. Those are a delightful art, and I love them.)

And I do like the usual big-box-store-bought variety of stuffed animal a tiny bit more than I like taxes. And our relationship used to be worse. It improved once I found a way to contain the masses. See, we have a few:

Here my dog is keeping the animals in line I believe.

What's up here, other than it is way past lunch time and my kids are still in their pjs? (Hey, it is tax day. We ate chocolate too. Whatever works.) Oh, the animals are voting for their next president. My kids are the official vote talliers it appears.

Webby, the otter, held an election speech that I happened to catch. His stance was something along the lines of, "If I become president, nobody will have to pay taxes and everyone will be rich!" Okay, caught my interest. I asked how things like roads will get built. Webby (voiced by my son) said that the government will do it. One would think that maybe he didn't have an accurate grasp on politics. However when I asked where the government will get money from. He said the people. Ahhh, campaign promises dashed... so taxes then, Webby? Sounds like Webby is a career politician and that my son might know more about the reality of politics after all.

I am happy to report that Webby didn't win. Clover puppy did. I think the populace was going for the luck angle. I don't blame them. While I am not overly superstitious, I wouldn't mind some luck on tax day.

Now that is a voter turnout. However, many animals did not choose to exercise their right to vote on this day and stayed home. Where is home? Let me show you! This little animal containment idea has been a life changer.

This is how we organize stuffed animals: Pantry racks!

The kind that screw to the back of a door. They were about $13 each at Home Depot, which isn't super cheap, but after using them for months have proven well worth their expense. We just threw a few up on a wall and it is shocking how many of the little dust catchers can roost there. I've hesitated to share this tip before as doing so keeps me honest about how many stuffed animals live in my home. It is ridiculous. I know. They breed you know, when we aren't looking. The scamps.

But the kids do play with them constantly, and often save their money to buy them on their own. So I needed to find a way that I could tolerate them existing in our space. For a long time they lived in collapsible laundry bins, which was less than ideal for many reasons. This on the wall method has saved both my sanity and the existence of the animals themselves. Because I was so ready for them to go.

Here is where the idea started. My daughter's little room. Her space is very limited, so we had to think of ways to put a lot in without making it feel too cluttered. This picture shows how nicely the pantry rack keeps the animals against the wall. And I love how sturdy they are. I had purchased the green plant holders at the top of the picture on super clearance as the original stuffed animal holders for her room. They look cute but they don't hold enough and the kids can't access them very easily.

You can see I still have to finish her tree wall murals. My ongoing projects of late are all about finishing wall murals. I'm starting to question why I begin them in the first place! But much like I pay taxes, I grudgingly persist. It is just part of the process. I will finish the trees with scrapbook paper leaves that I plan to mod podge to the wall like I did in my room with our fake headboard. Which I never actually blogged about when it was done. Wow, what a slacker blogger I've been lately! I'll get to it. But that means I need to make my bed. So yeah. Later.

And my daughter wants fairies among the trees made from photoshopped pictures like she did here, and I did here. (Scroll down past the scary pictures of the kid in the cage to the fairy invite.) So yeah, we'll see if this ever gets done.

The tree that floats in air!

Actually, I was working on painting the trees when I took these photos. I am happy to report that the painting part is almost complete. Bring on the leaves and the photoshop fairies! Maybe I'll actually blog about it when I finish this time. 

Well, I am happy to report that today is the day after tax day and we all survived! Woohoo! Happy NOT tax day, everyone! Go ye forth and corral your stuffed animals!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Color Returns!

My kids with my camera again. I love this shot with their reflection in the toaster. They adore this little guy I received from the amazing sunnyblueskies in the Grrr... Little Monster swap on swap-bot. My son named him Billy. His removable top hat just slays me. So cute! And check out Billy's curly tail in the toaster reflection. I could eat him up I love him so.

Billy in top hat, sitting on his Grrrr... bag. This is seriously cute stuff.

I can't photograph the monster I made for the swap because my partner doesn't have it yet. And I shouldn't even put this picture up because it is also for an ongoing swap, but I couldn't help it. These pictures cracked me up. I won't post pictures of her finished in her home until my partner gets her.

I actually have a backlog of swap related crafty things I've made but never blogged about. To post or not to post? Some of them were cool swaps, but it feels weird digging back to months past too. Guess, I'll just wait and see where the mood takes me.

Don't fall in Little Red!

Counting bear, block combo pictures. This is a sort of constant theme for my kids I think. Thank goodness for digital cameras. The shots would be way less cute if I were paying for film on hundreds of shots of counting bears.

My daughter has a special affinity for counting bears. She calls them Wooshies and has a whole society based around them. I don't know. I try to stay out of it. Wooshie life is riddled with rules and I'm a more laid back sort of person. I stay out of their way and they stay out of mine. Though occasionally one ends up underfoot in the shower and then I've been known to banish a Wooshie or two.

Guard duty? Hey, napping Wooshie! Get back to work!

All in a row.

Bow before your royal highness.

Wooshies of the round table.

Wooshies most high.

He's not in focus in this picture, but I included it because
WOW! When did he grow up?

Okay I took the next series of photos and they aren't very beautiful. Spring just started here and we've been outside trying to make things happen. First thing I did was rip out a giant, eye piercing rose bush. I did leave a bit but I imagine I likely killed it as I was tearing out roots pretty savagely. My husband is partial to this rose, but it is a lot of thorns for two days of blooms. I won't cry if I have to rip the rest out next year.
I had a nice smooth ground until the local outdoor cats started digging. Sigh... I have a love/hate thing going on with a few of the neighborhood cats. We're allergic, so the ones that have adopted us as their outdoor family are sort of like distant pets. We have names for them, not sure what their actual names are, but they will come to their adopted names. We have a fondness for one in particular that we call Mr. Blik after the black cat from the cartoon Cat Scratch. However, I'll fall out of like really fast if he keeps on digging up stuff I plant.

What I found under the massive piles of rose bushes and mulch. Daffodils! Yay!

Obligatory pic of the first spring flowers scattered in the winter-scarred grass.

My next project.

One of our neighbors offered me her old patio set. Cool, huh? It is nice and heavy which is lovely because we get some WIND around here. Two of the chairs are in rough shape, but I think I can salvage them with some glue, wood screws and love. The rest just needs sanding and some paint. I started sanding as you can see in the photos. Easy! Comes right off. Yay for projects that turn out easier than expected!

Just waiting for a still, dry day to sand and paint these. I'm really impatient to start because I have big plans. Plans that involve our horrid garage that I won't even photograph because its ugliness with shatter my camera lens. However, my plan involves the garage, this patio set, paint, trellis, a new actual patio, and a sail shade that I already bought in the cart before the horse sort of way that I tend to embrace. Big plans. Just need the weather to cooperate and stop blowing at 25-30 mph. Mama needs to get her spray paint on.

Can't seem to include a post without a picture of my favorite tree lately.
Here she is in her early spring glory.

Oh, look. There is a smudge on my lens. Wonder how that got there?

I'm pretty sure it was the Wooshies.

Ah well, camera lenses wipe off, right? The winds die down. Spring comes eventually and the color always returns. And it makes me so happy! Wishing everyone a weekend full of bright colors and calm breezes.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011