Wednesday, March 31, 2021

An Arm and a Leg

I have a bit of a fetish for miniature dolls. Even just parts will do. I recently sorted and consolidated all the bits and pieces which were stashed in various boxes and drawers. Instead of putting them away again, I decided to display my collection where I can enjoy it. What better way to exhibit body parts than in specimen jars?! 

So far, I've received a few eye rolls and a 'no comment'. I guess not everyone has their head screwed on the same way, ha ha.

Wishing you a peaceful Easter weekend. If it's spring in your part of the world, enjoy the sunshine. If it's autumn, pick up a few colourful leaves.


Monday, March 29, 2021

Hello Everyone Just a quickie to let you know that Henning is home and all is well. Now we're trying to get his third, and hopefully last, surgery scheduled ASAP, before the next wave of Corona infections cause the hospitals to close their operating theatres again. I'm abusing the situation here by alternating betweeen napping and sitting on the bed next to him working on a crochet blanket. Not much real work going on and nothing to tell unless you want to know about the boring routine of a nurse/cook/ laundry attendant. Thank you for your kind thoughts and wishing you a wonderful week!

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Before and After


Several years ago, I started making a crochet blanket while sitting next to a hospital bed. It was a really unhappy time in my life. Sadness was woven into the blanket together with the yarn. Also, the colours were much too busy for the design and being a beginner at crochet, I made many, many mistakes while trying to count the rows and figure out the complicated stitches. Whenever I worked at this blanket it felt wrong but being stubborn, I continued with it off and on between other projects.
No, I don't have the captions the wrong way around. Over the last few weeks, I've been slowly frogging the entire thing and this is what remains. A project that won't end up as a UFO. I have a basket of yarn neatly wound into balls. Plus, I am making a different blanket that uses some of the same colours so the yarn will go directly there.

Rather than feeling guilt at my destructiveness, ripping out the stitches was therapeutic and just what I needed as I once again go through a time of extreme stress and hospital visits. I'm very concerned about Henning and what lies ahead for us this week. All I can do is believe in a positive outcome, and try not to worry about things that might never happen.

We had a lovely bike ride to the river this afternoon, probably our last for a long while. The harvest is in and wildflowers have taken over the edges of the fields. And yeah, we kept one eye on the sky all the way ;-)

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Never Pee Against a Witch's Door

Today I have a naughty treat for you. Remember when I was complaining at the start of lockdown exactly a year ago that I didn't have the right bits and pieces to make a birdbath? Well, while I was confined to the house, I had lots of time to mutter to myself and scratch around until I was able to make something that fit my mood.

My personal version of Mannekin Pis. The original lives in Brussels and has been making a statement since the 15th century. Legend has it that a little boy had a pee against a witch's door and when she caught him in the act, the furious crone froze him in place forever. Totally sounds like something I would do...

My Mannekin had humble beginnings. A plastic charm, a metal bead cap, and a pie crust from Barbie play food, here already painted grey. Assembling the birdbath was a simple matter of glue and paint. The water however, made me scratch my head for quite a while.

After watching some Youtube videos, I decided that the best course of action would be to use nylon thread to guide the flow of resin 'water'. I drilled a small hole in the strategic spot and glued several strands of filament in place.

Initially, he overshot the mark by quite a bit but after adjusting for flow pressure and wind force, I managed to glue the strands down where I wanted them. I mixed up a batch of clear resin, let become sticky in the measuring cup, then sculpted it into place over the thread and into the basin. 

At the same time, I worked on a birdbath that my friend Cheryl printed for me using a 3D printer. This being in the middle of lockdown, friends were not allowed to visit one another at home and the police could stop you on the road and ask your business. We arranged a clandestine meeting at a petrol station, fully masked and gloved. I walked past her car and threw some homemade fudge through the window. She walked past mine and tossed my printed goodies in the back seat. We never made eye contact and drove off in different directions like spies, mission accomplished.

My Cheryl-printed birdbath, also mounted on a bead cap. And below are some more views. Resin printers allow for minute detail. How I wish I had one too.

We are in this for a year already and some days it's hard to find a ray of light. Wishing you a blessed week my friends. And whatever you do, remember the consequences when you pee against a door!

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Sometimes life is just the same old, same old. Nothing to report here. I did finish painting a battalion of tiny (23mm, 1 inch) teddy bears. Wishing you a great week!


P.S. Sherrill just drew my attention to the battalion of bears currently invading Paris. You can read about their antics daily on Facebook.

Monday, March 1, 2021

The Tray


I woke up with a start at half past midnight and thought, Kuki. Not as in cookies and milk for a midnight snack. And I knew just where to find it.

Seven years ago, I put down a tray of unfinished teddy bears for a few minutes. Where did the time go? I must not have had it back then either, because the teddies in the tray need only small things still to be finished. When I woke up in the night with thoughts of Kuki, I immediately realized that I must find that tray. Not that I could have told you about one thing that was in there. When I unpacked it, I rediscovered many teddies that I would never have recalled if they didn't whisper to my subconscious mind while I slept. 

I designed the Kuki Needle Keeper teddy bear in 2007 in honour of a bear maker and quilter, Kitty, who is a friend. At a time when I needed an extra pair of hands, she was a tremendous help in my studio. Kitty is practical and organized, serene and funny, and I think Kuki portrays those qualities beautifully.

During the next three years, I used the Kuki pattern to teach teddy bear making at a craft fair and over 600 students became the proud owners of their own teddy needle keepers. Kuki was so popular that I decided to publish the pattern so that bear makers all over the world could make their own.

As you can imagine, my original pattern sample soon started looking a bit worse for wear with all the passing from hand to hand in workshops. I started making a new one but like most things, once the novelty of figuring out the process is over, I become bored with it and I'm ready to move on to a new challenge. Kuki was consigned to 'The Tray' in this condition.

She only needed a pair of eyes and her insides. Once I dusted her off and took out my pattern templates to cut the missing pieces, I felt inspired to create and I made her a collar, not part of the original design.

Soon she was assembled and ready to lead a long, useful life.

Magnets in her hands can hold your scissors, and keep the needle book closed when not in use.

She opens up to reveal that at heart, she's a sharp cookie, ha ha.

 Here's the new Kuki, together with the original.

While I was at it, I revamped the pattern sheets, rewrote the instructions, and added some fresh images. The pattern is available to download in my Etsy store, and on my new website.

Now that I've rediscovered The Tray, I might dive in there and finish a few more teddies.