Crafty Day & Even More Dolls & What the hell was I thinking – again?

When I last posted a couple of weeks ago I alluded to a 12 hour craft day that I attended with Little Orphan Skein at our local cancer center. 1st I have to tell you that Little Orphan Skein is not an actual orphan, but she does have a tendency to adopt all sorts of unloved, single, lonely, apparently orphaned skeins of yarn hence the blog name. Anyway, when she asked me to go with her my 1st thought was hell yeah I wanna do that, then I thought what am I thinking – 12 hours??? I can’t do ANYTHING for 12 hours! Since I had already committed and didn’t want to admit that I might be too old to SIT FOR 12 HOURS, I bit the bullet and started packing. You’d think I was actually packing for a trip to the ends of the earth with no crafty stuff available for all the crap I stuffed into a large rolling suitcase. I also took: an iron, ironing board, sewing machine, aspirin, band-aids, pepsi, hard candy, and a large dose of optimism. There were quite a few women already there when we arrived. Since they knew I was a sewer I had a very large area to myself because apparently they knew I’d fill it up within just a few minutes. My crap does tend to expand into any free space available. I’d show you a picture of my sewing studio – but my pride won’t let me, and our insurance rates would probably skyrocket to say nothing of the possibility of “hoarders” film crew showing up at the front door. Anyway, back to the crafty day – I’ve never been in a room with so many women – that were so damn quiet! It was spooky…My fantastic fiber art group (  which consists of about 8 or so regulars is about 5000 times noisier than this group of around 20 – 25 very serious scrapbookers. I don’t know if scrapbooking is a very serious occupation or if this was just a fluke, but it was really odd. They spoke in very quiet tones about animals, vacations, and children at various stages of life and what kind of background and stickers they needed, had, used, and/or wanted. Various types of glue and scissors are involved too. There was 1 other sewer and she made the most beautiful quilt top during the day. Of course I have no pictures of any of it, but if Little Orphan Skein wishes to post her picture of our spaces, she is welcome – hint, hint… We had a great time and even won a few prizes. I came in 3rd in the bra decorating contest and Little Orphan Skein won a carriage ride along with wine & cheese tasting just in time for her wedding anniversary! Score!!

Apparently the doll making thing is still running rampant through my mind because I read a little blurb in the home section of a newspaper during my lunch break on Friday that had to do with African Inspired Wrap Dolls and that was all I could think of for the rest of the day. In fact I even contemplated leaving work early to go home and make dolls, but I really couldn’t come up with a believable excuse. I tried: sick, too hot in the office, shoes hurt, bad hair afternoon, whining, sulking, too cold in the office, bored, overworked, too stressed, weather, wrong outfit, didn’t wanna drive home in the holiday traffic, and everything else I could think of…I stayed all day – sigh… When I got home I was itching to make dolls but it had to be put off until late evening because for some reason the world doesn’t just stop because I wanna make dolls dammit! Finally I was able to start ripping and wrapping and these are the new additions to the troupe:

This is the 1st one. She looks better in real life.

This is #2. I’m not sure what happened to her arms. They turned into little stumpy wads. Hmmm.

This is #3. I think she’s the most successful so far. There is a #4, but she’s too new for pictures.

These girls were very easy and I can see where I may end up with quite a few more. They have a wonderful “feel” to them when they’re done. If I know me-  and I think I do, they’ll probably end up tarted up somewhere down the line. Which brings me to a question for my 1 or 2 loyal readers. Have you ever had an idea that you thought was so spectacular and fantastic that you couldn’t hardly wait to create it – only to find out that it looks like a big steaming pile of cat crap when it actually is finished? Just this weekend I finished a lampshade that I thought would be the best thing since chocolate cake for breakfast, but turned out to be the aforementioned cat crap. Sorry, no picture yet available….. If you tell me about your cat crap creation I may just be persuaded to post a picture….


Firefighter found!

I finally found the missing pictures. Somehow a file got stuck inside another file with the same name. I have absolutely no idea how or why that happened or actually how any of the computer magic works, but hopefully I can get them to post now.

This is his casual look.

A little more buttoned down. Just so you know, the stripe is actually straight in real life but I didn’t notice the crookedness it before the picture was posted….Sigh…

Back view

Back view with the coat and helmet off and showing off the red suspenders. The helmet also has the required face shield but it’s hard to see in the pictures.

The fire is out and he’s safe and sound, so he’s back to just the t-shirt and jeans. I had a person ask why I was putting him in a t-shirt and jeans if I was also putting him in full gear. I told her that I’d never seen a firefighter go out without his pants – but today I found out that apparently there are at least 2 that showed up to a fire like that and were really sorry when they overheated and didn’t have anything under their bunker pants except skivvies. Firefighters can be ruthless in the teasing/harassment area.

I’m pretty happy with how this guy turned out and hopefully we’ve solved the problem of the mysterious disappearing and reappearing pictures forever…

Edna and the Fireman

A few weeks ago I had yet another birthday. It seems that these are coming around faster and faster every year. This year it happened to fall on a Saturday, which is a day I usually sleep in if at all possible and I will do just about anything to make sleeping in possible. I happen to be part vampire on my Mothers side. Anyway,  when I got up and started the trudge downstairs to the coffee pot, I looked out the window (the entire south end of the house is windows)  into the back yard as I do every morning. Most mornings the view is pretty dark since I still have to get up and go to stupid work. This particular morning the view was a bit different than normal. First of all it was daylight! Then imagine my surprise to see that we had been invaded by flamingos during the night!

Ok I have to confess, this particular pic is not the back yard. That picture is missing at this very moment. This is a picture of the flamingos milling about the sideish (the front of the house actually faces the side of the property) yard. So who the hell is Edna you’re asking – well, Edna is the slightly cranky and difficult one in the middle with with her back to you. Edna does not like to be moved all over the damn yard and everytime you pick her up she sheds at least one, usually both legs. She’s very bossy and will just kick her legs off anytime you grab her and try to make her move so you don’t run her silly ass over with the lawn mower. Sigh, I had no idea flamingos could be so childish. These 24 flamingos are in addition to the 2 in the back yard under the metal birdhouse tree, the skeleton one that lives in a flowerbed, oh, and the 3 or 4 other ones lurking about the property. As soon as the spillway drys up a little more, I think they’ll live over by the river for a while.  If you think this is crazy, you should’ve seen what we did when we had a flock of around 3o pottery/fiber sheep…Now that was fun!

Today is the annual spagetti dinner for my tiny (very, very, tiny) hometown fire department. As part of the festivities they hold a raffle of sorts. This year they have around 150 items that will be raffled off. They sell tickets and you place it in the lunch sack in front of the item that you’re hoping to win. I decided that since I’m still in the doll making mood, I’d make a firefighter all dressed up in his turnout gear. First I made a generic doll like most of the ones I’ve been doing lately. This gives me a blank “canvas” to build on. This guy is wearing a pair of jeans and t-shirt made from real jeans and t-shirt that were in the stash. His turnout gear is made from my old spring coat and some dollar store ribbon that was EXACTLY the color I needed. I’ve had the coat that I cannabilized  for around 15 years and decided that if I didn’t cut it up and use it for something else, I’d never get rid of it. I hate clothes shopping and would never do it if at all possible. Anyway, he is as detailed as I could make him. He has hair, boots, bunker pants, red suspenders, his turnout coat, and a helmet that was a huge pain in the ass to make. I had to make a couple of versions of the helmet before I was happy. Everything, with the exception of the insignia on his helmet was made by my hands. The stand was made by my hubby. I came up with a slightly different way of displaying a doll on a stand without having to have that damn ring around the waist that really takes away from the outfit. This is the fireman I made with love to honor my dad, brothers, nephew, uncle, and all active and retired firefighters:

This isn’t the pictue that I was going to post, but I can’t find the one I wanted. I seem to be quite photo challenged lately… I will post better picture when I find them because I am quite proud of this guy and this really doesn’t do him justice.  I hope he makes a lot of money for the firefighters.

Just wait till I tell you about the 12 hour(!) craft day I had with Little Orphan Skein. It was at the local cancer center, of which I am quite fond, since I’ve spent many, many, many hours hanging around while my Mom was getting her chemo. What a long but fun day and I may (fingers crossed) have picked up a commission!  More on that soon…

Ta-Da Secret Squirrel Project

A while ago I alluded to a Secret Squirrel Project (SSP) that I was working on and at that time it still wasn’t finished. Well, I finally got it (them actually) done and delivered to my intended targets/recipients. These are the SSP photos:

This is my oldest brother, R and his fantastic wife S. As you can probably see, R is wearing some unusual headgear, it’s not a fashion statement, it’s a halo actually. He and S were in a terrible car accident on Dec 8 in another state as they were on their way to visit their son and his family for christmas. R has a broken neck and S had/has terrible deep bruising and now she has rather severe back issues. The good thing is that they weren’t killed. If you saw the photos of the vehicle, you wouldn’t believe they survived. Anyway, this is my representation of them.  His halo is made from a piece of plastic milk carton, plumbing thing, screws, and skewers. I put some silver thread in S’s beautiful red hair and people asked if she would be offended, she knows she has some silver hair so it really wasn’t that much of a surprise to her. Which brings us to:

Brother #2, another R and fantastic S, (different names but same initials – we’re not quite that redneck). R has longish hair on the back of his head only. The top is very shiny but since he wears a hat all the time it’s always a surprise to people that he’s pretty much bald. S has long lovely brown hair also with streaks of silver and again, she knows it’s there and not at all offended. S is known around our little bitty (as in 2 stop signs, on for eastbound and one for westbound on the only crossroad) for wearing her nightgown up to the only store in town when she needs to make a quick trip early in the day, so that’s why she’s wearing a nighty. Which brings us to:

Brother #3, yet again another R, but he’s known as B, so this is B and our fantastic C. B and C are very tall and thin which you really can’t tell from these pictures, but trust me, they can’t cast a shadow on a July afternoon. B also has kinda long hair – in the back – not so much uptop. He wanted to know if I ran out of hair when I was making him, but I just said he ran out of hair growing up. Much laughter… C has long long gorgeous legs and wears shorts all summer long. If I had her legs, I’d probably just wear panties and skip the shorts so I could show ’em off.  This is a family portrait – minus me and the hubby:

These are the people that I know will have my back and I theirs, thru thick or thin, feast or famine, or anything the world can toss our way. If you knew my family you’d know that we are a force of nature. We will feed you, hug you, house you, teach you, learn from you, mourn with you,  or kick your ass depending on what is necessary. The past few months have been a bit trying for all of us with accidents, illnesses, and aging parents, but we all are in it together no matter what. I also need to mention that the boys are all firefighters and I’m so very proud of them! My dad is a retired firefighter too. Flames run in their veins.  This concludes my very uncharacteristic soul bearing…

I was very surprised that so many people questioned if these were voodoo dolls or if they would be offended by the halo, silver threads in the girls hair, the boys’ baldness, and the nightgown thing. I didn’t think the dolls were weird at all and the family apparently like them so I guess it’s ok.

I finally decided what I was going to make for my 2012 (yeah, I know were almost 5 months into 2012) blogsite address giveaway. Last year I made little tiny babies and left them around various locations  for people to find. They all had my blog address on a little label and I was hoping that the finders would update me with baby news, where they were found,  where they live now, if they were named, or just to say “hey, I found one of your stupid little dolls” but alas, the only one that responded was my daughter and her cat was using it as a toy, sigh… but, again I digress, this year I’m making fridge magnets out of little leftover scraps of fabric, lace, and buttons. I’ll be leaving them around and if you happen to find one, please let me know – please…. I’m begging you, just a little note, you don’t have to say much and I promise I’ll never stalk you.

On another note, the tie bag pictures that I mentioned a while ago have finally show up so here’s a quick look:

This is the tie and assorted background crap. I cut it up and 5 minutes (hahahaha) later I had this:

These bags are fun, easy, and cheap – just like me!

This is all for now. We’ll talk again soon…

Dolls & Stuff

I’ve been on a doll making kick lately. My current project is still a secret squirrel (old cartoon reference) project so I can’t show you any pictures yet, but here are some of the more recent non-secret squirrel projects.Image

This is a kinda bizarre wire and bead chick with a push mold face made of paper clay. Her hair is just wads of thread ends and angelina glued to her head (I think that’s what I did anyway). I save all my thread ends in a beautiful glass pitcher that I picked up at a junk sale and you’d be surprised how often I dig use them in some project.  She currently hangs out on the fridge and slightly freaks out the grandkids.


I’d like you to meet Steampunk(ish) Steve. He’s my 1st paperclay hand-sculpted guy. His face and torso are sculpted over wads of foil and I painted him with plain old fabric paint when the clay was dry.  I think he’s moderately successful for a 1st try. His clothes are made from the stabilizer from the inside of regular old guys ties.The stabilizer was just cut and hand-stitched on the body without any particular plan or thought. I use the actual outside of tie to make small bags – which I had planned on posting but for some reason, the pictures don’t want to show up….anyway, he has a powerpack filled with paper beads, on his back made from a plastic media storage thingy that would have been in the landfill. The eyeballs are from the infamous stash of eyeballs mentioned in a previous post. The potions bottle attached to his waist is a nitro bottle (empty- expired, not used) from my hubby and Steampunk(ish) Steve has a few small gears and doodads for extra power.  He was great fun and I can see myself exploring this further.


This is my loooong legged lady. She has wire bones and has been wrapped with batting and layers and layers of fabric strips with miles of handstitching holding the whole thing together. Her corset top was made by tons of free-motion stitching over piles of thread ends enclosed in water soluble stabilizer, which was mostly rinsed out. Her hands and face were made separately and attached after the body was completed. Her huge diamond is a REAL diamond – or maybe a rhinestone button. Her hair is some roving that was dyed and accidentally felted by my friend DebH ( – go look, I’ll wait here).   She is inspired by a doll in one of my books. I don’t know the name of the book at this point, but if anyone is interested let me know and I’ll be glad to post the info when I unearth it from the studio debris.

I have many, many more dolls  laying about my dwelling but I’ll save them for another day.

In the meantime, I’d like you to meet some of my sock monkeys. I was actually going to tell you about Fred (another cat -but don’t tell him, he thinks he’s my baby), but apparently his pictures are off in the interweb land with the tie bags…I blame sunspots…


Cookies, toilet paper & kitten

For some unknown reason, for the last 2 weeks I’ve been having a torrid affair with Oreo cookies. First of all – I am NOT PREGNANT! I’ve been out of the baby making mode for many, many, many years now and I’d have to carry it in my pocket since the traditional equipment has been removed (YAY). Anyway in the past 2 weeks I’ve managed to eat an entire bag of little tiny oreos (within 3 hours of bringing them home) and almost an entire bag of regular ole oreos. I’m blaming it on February. the shortest and ugliest month of the year. Since this is the 1st day of March I vow to break it off with the oreos and if you see me with one, please just smack it out of my hand. Thank you.

See this mess. This is what happens when you’re too lazy to take a roll of toilet paper all the way up to the bathroom. Wanna see who made the mess:

That would be Kitten. Yes, she is quite proud of her shredding abilities. She’s not really a kitten anymore but the name and bad behavior along with a superiority complex remains. The worst part about this is that I still haven’t learned to just take the damn toilet paper up to the bathroom. Sigh….

Flower Power

Quite a long time ago I had the opportunity to obtain a whole shitload of silk and fibery type flowers for a really really low price. These flower were pre-made into normal looking fake flowers but of course normal is not really anything I aspire too. I found myself spending a lot of time tearing apart and remaking them into something that was more to my liking. So, recently I decided to spend an afternoon dismantling the normal fake flowers and discarding the greenish plasticky innerds so I could make up my own non-standard looking flowers whenever the mood hit. This is what it looked like when I was done cannibalizing them:

Somehow I managed to get a picture without the cat faces. They will steal things if we don’t watch them, especially Barney, he REALLY likes flowers.

I now have a huge box of fake flower parts that I’d like to just curl up and nap in and just pretend that it’s spring.

I’ll gather up some of the ones that I’ve messed with over the last couple of years and post pictures someday.

On another note, just before christmas a friend contacted me and asked if I thought I could repair/resurrect an old stuffed frog that he stole from a friend around 40+ years ago. He found it when he was cleaning the garage and it fell out of a box or something. I told him I’d take a look at it and see what could be done. Well, poor froggy appeared to have been severely beaten, chewed on, and peed on by a band of bully mice. I think they were going after the rice stuffing, anyway he was just plain un-saveable.  I was pretty sure I could use him for a pattern to make a froggy 2.0 tho. Once I got over the pure revulsion of actually touching that raggaty ass-thing I was able to cut a fairly decent pattern. I tried to match the original fabrics as close as possible to come up with reasonable replacement. Froggy 2.0 was completed and stuffed with fish tank gravel to avoid any further run ins with bully mice.

If you don’t personally know me or my hubby, you wouldn’t know that we tend to take an idea and run it out as far as we can before it either gets so expensive or it becomes so ridiculous that it’s no longer feasible. Needless to say, we ran with this one. My hubby decided that froggy needed a coffin so we were able to find the perfect glass covered coffin at one of the local craft stores. He sanded and stained it while I worked on froggy 2.0 then I made a beautiful blue lining and placed froggy in for his final rest. We gave him an appropriate funeral complete with huge bouts of laughter and 3 feline mourners. Froggy and froggy 2.0 were returned to the thief so he could return them to the rightful owner. Froggy and froggy 2.0 were returned to the rightful owner last weekend and she was surprised and pleased. Well, come to find out the granny of the original owner made the original froggy special for the original owner so I was really happy to help the thief appease his conscience and replace a childhood memory as well as I could.

This is froggy 2.0 giving his final farewell to froggy just before the lid is place on for the final time.

Bird House Tree

I forgot I wanted to show you this birdhouse tree that my hubby made and put in our backyard. It’s about 8 feet tall and has 12 birdhouses that he made attached to the limbs. It’s made out of steel and welded together. Apparently steel and welding are just like fabric and sewing for guys. Isn’t it fantastic. It’s just so bright and happy looking. We are eagerly awaiting spring to see if the birds actually move in. I’m planning on putting out my thread and yarn scrap as soon as the real spring gets here so the little critters don’t have to work to hard to find nesting material.

My flamingos are the security guards.

What I did on my “snow day”

Yesterday I informed my co-workers that I would be snowed in today. My personal weatherman Chuck G. on Channel 4 guaranteed that there would be so much SNOW in my yard (up to 8″!!) that I probably wouldn’t be able to get out for DAYS!!! For those of you that don’t live in the great state of Michigan, our so called winter has been very very mild, so when my personal weatherman Chuck predicted SNOW, SNOW, and MORE SNOW I decided that it would be a good day to stay home. I’d much rather be SNOWED IN at home than 35 miles away at work. Well, as luck would have it, yeah, we got snow. It was a nice snow but not the SNOW that was supposed show up.  Sometimes my weatherman Chuck gets a little excited about weather. This is Michigan after all and snow is not that unusual in February – except this year.

So anyway I’m home for the day, I have a nice snow in the yard, I have some white fabric that really needs some color tossed on. What’s a girl to do but snow dye fabric! I spent the day gathering snow in the kitty litter bucket (glad we don’t have neighbors), piling snow and dye on fabric then staring/glaring at the fabric and sending melt faster dammit brainwaves to encourage faster melting so I can get to the washout and finished stage. It’s almost impossible for me to leave it alone and for some reason I need to go look at it approximately every 5 minutes to check the melting progress. You’d be surprised how little snow melts in 5 minutes! Eventhough I promise myself that I’ll leave it alone, I’m pretty sure I’m just lying to myself and out comes the heatgun to hurry the process…Eventually though it’s all dyed, washed, dried, and ironed – with varying degrees of success. It really is very exciting to see the final product because you just never know what’s gonna happen.

It is my understanding that normal people, when gifted with an extra day usually use it to do something called “housework” at least that’s what I think it’s called. They do something called dusting(?) and use a machine called a vacuum which apparently removes threads, pins, fabric shards, yarn fuzz, beads, feathers, cat hair, and general dirt from the floor. Also, I’ve heard that you can use your washer, dryer, and iron for something other than yards of flat fabric. Wonders never cease.

I also got together a donation pile for our local animal rescue fundraiser. My daughter made and donated a beautiful handmade lap afghan and I donated this mermaid doll that I made a couple of weeks ago along with a few other trinkets that I’ve made in the last year or so. I hope our donations make millions and millions for the animal rescue.

OMG I actually inserted a picture! I did it by myself! Yay Me!!!

So now that I think the picture thing is figured out, maybe this blog will be more interesting. I sure hope  you like cats.

Stand or Sit? What is the question?

Just a short note on a conversation between a happily married couple on a dreary late fall Sunday afternoon. 

Blah, blah, blah, …. discussion on a young man’s inability to talk to “beautiful” women. Blah, blah, blah….

Me: Hey, women – beautiful or not,  are just people.

Him: Yeah, you’re right.

Me: Really, the only difference I can see between men and women are that men stand to pee and women sit to pee.

Him: Believe me, the older you get the more you’re inclinded sit to pee.

Me: Funny, the older I get the more afraid I am that I’ll just stand and pee!

Both:  hahahahahahahahahahahaha

Much laughter in the hood!

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