Thursday, December 20, 2007

They May Be Wet and Dirty, But....

The socks are wet and dirty when he comes running in like a herd of wild buffalo, but his feet aren't getting cut anymore. The baby socks are working.

It really is the funniest thing to see when my little guy (our cairn terrier) goes outside to do his business. When I first put the socks on his paws he stands there like a frozen statue and then lifts each paw up as if to say, "What the .... are these doing on me?" Then, he walks a few steps (or should I say prances a few steps) and then decides "okay, they don't feel so bad." Off he goes to do his business.

Now mind you, he isn't outside more than 3-5 minutes when he comes bounding (and I do mean bounding) into our family room and kitchen running 100 miles per hour. He runs right past me, does a jump in the air and turns around facing me with a look of "Did you miss me, Mom? Did you miss me?" Of course, I have to make a big deal out of his being outside and missing him - albeit it was only 3-5 minutes! Maybe for him it was an eternity.

In any event, when he comes bounding in it's almost as if he's flying and jumping at the same time. He jumps from rug to rug like a bunny rabbit. It's the cutest thing to see.

So, the good news is the socks are working. The bad news is they get so wet and dirty I have to dry them for the next time he goes out during the day. I definitely need to buy more. I can't be doing laundry 5 times a day - even if he is a "king."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My Little Guys Feet Are Getting Cut!

My Linda's Blog is filled with references to my baby - our cairn terrier. He's the king of our house and very demanding. And, he's very spoiled.

I've also complained a lot about the snow.

During the last week we had two snowstorms that dropped a combined 20" of snow on the ground - and it's not even winter yet. The last snow storm was a 'Nor'easter which dropped freezing rain. So, everything that was on the ground turned to ice.

Hubby always clears a path in our backyard with the snowblower for our "baby" to have a place to do his business. In doing so the freezing rain turned the grass into glass spikes which hurt my little guys paws. He couldn't walk on it and just kept lifting his paws up each time he took a step. And, because of this he wouldn't do his business. He turned right around and bolted for the house.

I was afraid his little feet would get cut and was concerned about his not doing his business. I'm understanding when it comes to my little guy, but business is done outside and not in the house.

So, I needed a solution for his walking on the grass and came up with the idea of using tiny baby socks. They fit his tiny little paws, prevent the grass spikes from hurting his feet and keep his paws warm for the time he's outside. They get filthy and have to be washed and dried which means I need to buy more socks to last the winter, but "my little guys feet aren't getting cut and he can do his BUSINESS!"

Mom's happy, Dad's happy, and "The King" prances around in the snow now.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

My Christmas Pin For 2007

If you're a reader of my Linda's Blog then you know that I've been writing a series of Christmas Tradition articles.

In light of that I just wanted to share with you once again a wonderful, sentimental Christmas tradition that my Dad started a long time ago.

My Dad wanted to give "his girls" meaning my Mother, myself, and my sister something special for Christmas. Back then the term "his girls" did not imply the possessive chauvinistic implications that it does today. To my Dad it was nothing more than a term of endearment. One that separated us from "his boys", my brothers.

So my Dad decided to buy each of "his girls" a special Christmas pin to wear during the holidays. He bought us pins the first year, and then the second, and so on and so on and so on. My wonderful husband decided to carry my Dad's tradition on after he passed away. So, every year he gives me a Christmas pin. Sometimes he can't decide which one he likes best so I get two special Christmas pins. That's okay with me as I cherish each and every one of them.

Every year I take them all out and look at them. What always amazes me is how they have changed in design from the first pin I received (the little Bambi deer shown in the picture to the right) to my latest (the green Christmas bells shown above). Last year it was silver and red candy canes.

And, believe it or not, I don't have any duplicates. Also (and I know this will be hard to believe), I don't have any "dollies." So, a heartfelt thanks to you Dad for starting this tradition and a heartfelt and sentimental thanks to my husband for continuing his pin tradition.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Means Presents! Doesn't It?

"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more." - Dr. Seuss

If you ask any child, "What does Christmas Mean?" they'd probably reply, "Christmas Means Presents!" But, is that really true? Besides the religious significance of Christmas, what does Christmas really mean? Where did all the Christmas traditions come from?

Christmas Day didn't become official until 354 when Pope Gregory proclaimed December 25th as the date of the Nativity. Pope Gregory was following an early church policy of absorbing pagan rituals into Christian beliefs. So, he incorporated the December 19th Roman Saturnalia celebration of the winter solstice and the coming of spring and the winter festival of Yule into the Christian Church. The Roman Saturnalia honored the God of Harvest and had seven days of riotous merrymaking and feasting. The Yule celebration incorporated giant logs, trimmed with greenery & ribbons, which were burnt in honor of the Gods so the sun would shine brightly.

In the Middle Ages, the Christian Church added the Nativity Crib and Christmas Carols to its customs. Lavish feasting was the highlight of the festivities. However, all the celebration came to an abrupt end in 1652 when the Puritans banned Christmas in England, which was followed seven years later in Massachusetts. Christmas returned to England in 1660, but a lot of the traditions didn't return until they were revived by the Victorians. The Victorians turned what was once a riotous free-for-all celebration into a family-oriented celebration. So, we can thank the Victorians for a lot of the Christmas family traditions that we have today. Not all of them, but a lot of them.

So, I thought it would be fun between now and Christmas to post some articles on my Linda Walsh Originals - Linda's Blog about the various Christmas traditions and where they came from. So, let's start with one of my favorites "The Christmas Tree":

Christmas trees originated in Germany from an ancient pagan custom of bringing evergreens into your home. Evergreens were a symbol of life. It is said that Dr. Martin Luther (1483-1546)was the first to use the Christmas Tree as a home decoration in Germany. While on a walk one Christmas Eve he noticed an evergreen tree shining in the moonlight. He couldn't forget this beautiful picture so he cut the tree down and returned home with it an decorated it with candles. He told his children that the tree should remind them of the brightness of Christmas and its message of the Savior's birth.

In Germany and in ancient northern cultures, after the December festivities, the branches of the evergreen were removed and the trunk was decorated on May 1st as a May Pole, celebrating a rebirth of spring. The tree was then cut up and the largest log was used the next December as the "Yule Log."

The Christmas Tree was introduced into England in the in 1841 by Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, who brought one into his house for his family. The tradition soon spread throughout England and then to America. However, as with a lot of traditions, the use of Christmas trees also caused an uproar. Some thought it was pagan idol. Eventually, it became acceptable to all.

So, it became fashionable to set up a large tree at Christmas and decorate it with lighted candles (far too dangerous today), candies, and fancy cakes hung from the branches by ribbons and paper chains. Just think, the ants and/or rats would have a field day if we did this today. All of the earliest Christmas tree ornaments were handmade.

The kinds of trees the Victorians chose would surprise you. They were not the fat, wonderfully full trees that we think of today. The first trees were small trees that could be placed on tabletops with a lot of room between the branches. Personally, I think this is kind of nice. In fact, I decided this year to forego the big 7' tree in favor of a 4' pre-lit tree that I'm going to place on a small table covered with a tree skirt. Hopefully, I'll like this smaller tradition and will continue it for years to come.

Most of the early Victorian ornaments were homemade. Homemade paper cornucopias filled with sweets, nuts and popcorn hung on many Victorian Christmas trees. Gingerbread men, popcorn strings (you remember those don't you), gilded nuts, paper ornaments, Paper chains (you remember those, too, don't you) and ribbons. Handmade paper toys and dolls hung from the branches.

Glass ornaments made their appearance in the 1860's, primarily in the homes of German immigrants. Other early ornaments were made of lead, like stars and crosses. Around 1870 "store bought" Christmas ornaments began to replace the homemade decorations. From the 1870's to the 1890's Victorian Christmas trees were trimmed with little dolls (my favorites), wax ornaments, shaped like angels or children. Cotton and wool ornaments were also used and decorated with paper faces, buttons, and paper wings.

In the 1890's technology and consumerism greatly contributed to the way in which Christmas trees were decorated. Many families still used handmade ornaments and made it a tradition with their children to make ornaments every year (a lovely tradition which some families still do today.) In 1903 the first strings of electric lights were invented and in the 1960's the artificial Christmas tree came to be.

For me, I prefer the smell of a real Christmas tree and homemade ornaments. However, real trees are far too dangerous (and too much work) and I too succumbed to using an artificial Christmas tree (very nice, but still artificial.) My ornaments, on the other hand, are all handmade. And, guess what? Yes, (this will come as a surprise to most of you) they are mainly dolls or florals. So, enjoy your Christmas tree however you decorate it and remember the words of these famous quotes:

"I have been looking on, this evening, at a merry company of children assembled round that pretty German toy, a Christmas Tree. The tree was planted in the middle of a great round table, and towered high above their heads. It was brilliantly lighted by a multitude of little tapers; and everywhere sparkled and glittered with bright objects." - Charles Dickens

"Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall." Larry Wilde

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

"Blue To You Santa" - A BIG Favorite Is Blue!

How could I almost forget another one of my favorite BIG Santa's.

And, this one is wearing an outfit with my favorite color blue.


The "dollies" were ready to chop my head off. My "Blue To You Santa" was very upset and told the other "dollies" so. And, of course, I heard about it. How careless and uncaring was I. But, what "Blue To You Santa" wants most to know is "HOW" I could forget him. After all, he wears his special blue outfit just for me.

I'm not sure what to tell him. He really is one of my favorites. I just kind of forget. With 1,796 dolls in my household - can you really blame me if I forgot one?

So, I made amends. I told him that he has the most "special" place in my household at Christmas and that is in the corner of my kitchen. That's where I can see him each and every day and where I put my most "favorite" BIG dolls. I think he accepted my apology and is happy with me know. I sure hope so. Christmas is a hectic time of the year and not a time to get the "dollies" all riled up. Disaster averted - at least this time.

"Blue To You Santa" stands 40" tall and was made based upon a Tenderberry Stitches design. He is a wood and cloth doll with dowels for legs.

He is wearing his favorite blue Christmas outfit with embroidered hearts adorning the lower band of his jacket. The nightcap he is wearing is one of his favorite as it's a very long one and he likes that for the cold winter nights. He can wrap it around his neck to stay warm. He sports a full beard, socks, and big stuffed boots.

"Blue To You Santa" is holding his "TOYS" bag and has a sled at his feet. It just wouldn't fit in his bag. The teddy bear just wouldn't move over. Like Santa couldn't make him! Not one to rattle the "dollies" like me he chose not to make a fuss.

I hope you like my "Blue To You Santa" and I sincerely apologize to him, once again, for forgetting him.

Alright already.

How many times do I need to apologize. Gees.....

Saturday, December 01, 2007

We're Snow Big! My Favorite Big Snowmen Scene

I know I've told you many times how much I love decorating with BIG floral arrangements and BIG  dolls.

And, I know I've mentioned that I like to change the decorations in my dining room fireplace for the different seasons or holidays. Well, I decided this year that it was time to create a big floral arrangement to cover the winter season.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Pay It Forward

Come join in the fun and make the world a happier place.

So this is how it goes...

It’s the Pay It Forward Exchange.

It’s based of the concept of the movie “Pay it Forward” where acts or deeds of kindness are done without expecting something in return, just passing it on, with hope that the recipients of the acts of kindness are passed on.

So here’s how it works:

I will make and send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment to this post on my blog requesting to join this Pay It Forward exchange. I do not know what that gift will be yet, and it won’t be sent this month. I'll probably send it next month or the month after. It will definitely be sent (within 6 months) and that’s a promise! More than likely I'll get it made after Christmas and sent out early in the New Year.

What YOU have to do in return, then, is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog to 3 different people. Unfortunately this is only possible for those of who have a blog.

So the first 3 people to comment to this post on my Linda's Blog and join in will get a handmade gift from me....

Ready, Set, GO!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Snow, Snow! Go Away! Don't Return Another Day!

It's hard to believe that we are already at the time of year when it will be snowing once again. In fact, it has already snowed an inch here and they are predicting snow for Thanksgiving Day. The good news is that it will melt quickly. The bad news is we're just at the start of the season. Oh, joy!

Something has happened to me over the years. Aging has definitely changed my attitude towards snow. When I was a kid I LOVED the snow, mainly because it meant no school. I loved playing in it, making snowangels all over the lawn, building forts at the end of our driveway, making snowmen, throwing snowballs, etc. To me there was always something magical and mystical about snowflakes and snow.

Of course, snow also meant shoveling the driveway, which I hated. It wasn't the act of shoveling that bothered me. It was the fact that I had to help my brother shovel the driveway when his chores were outside and mine were inside the house. This was a long time ago when women had household chores inside the house and the men had household chores outside the house. My brother didn't help me with the laundry, dusting, washing the dishes, etc. Why did I have to help him shovel, rake the leaves, mow the lawn, etc.?

When I questioned this , my Mother would say, "Just help your brother!" I'd reply, "Aw, MA!!!" She'd look at me with one of those Mother looks (you know what I mean) and say, "Linda, just do it!" So, being the dutiful daughter that I was, I did it. However, just because I did it, it didn't mean I liked it or agreed with it.

I'm always getting side tracked, aren't I? In any event, back to the aging! I think that as you get older, and older, and older (like me) you prefer looking at pictures of snow in a magazine, not at snowflakes falling on your lawn, or on your driveway. An accumulation of 189" of snowflakes in a winters season can change ones childhood view of snowflakes being magical and mystical. With age snow becomes much more of a nuisance. It's hard to walk in, hard to drive in, and, most certainly, a pain to shovel. Isn't aging grand? To quote Doug Larson, "The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball."


But, it's not just what I have to do with the snow, it's even annoying with regards to my wonderful dog. Don't get me wrong. He just loves the snow. In fact his middle name is "Snow Doggie!" He just loves to run and jump in it. He could stay out for hours. It's baffling that he just loves the snow, for he HATES the rain with a passion. That is truly mystifying because in both instances he gets wet. What's the difference between being wet with snow and wet with rain?Must be a doggie thing!

In any event, the problem with the snow is that after he's had all his fun he comes back in the house with snowballs all frozen and caught in his fur. The snowballs get all over the floor and the furniture. Ah, man! You have to drag out the "doggie blow-dryer" (of course he has his own blow dryer!) to melt the snowballs and dry his fur (which, of course, he just LOVES!!!) And, all the time all you can think about is "Snow, snow! Go away! Don't return another day!"

So, given that aging has dampered my childhood love of snow, you might wonder how can I possibly love snowmen and snowladies as much as I do? Why would you want to design a doll based on something that, in it's natural state, is so annoying to me? Well, possibly because snowmen and snowladies are dolls (which we all know I love) and as dolls they don't make a mess. They can't melt all over your floor. You don't have to shovel them and throw your back out. They just sit there very lovely, allowing you to enjoy them, and to recall your wonderful childhood memories of mystical snowflakes and magical snowmen, snowangels, and snow castles.

So, like most crafters I just adore making snowmen and snowladies. Why? Because you can do so much with them. They can be Victorian, primitive, modern, grungy, raggedy, shabby chic, etc. They can be made of cloth, Styrofoam, Warm & Natural, felt, wool, terry cloth, cotton, corduroy, wood, clay, terra cotta, etc. Just about anything. They can be happy. They can be sad. They can be partially melting or three levels full. They can be skinny or fat. Large or small. Ornaments or full size dolls. They can be added to wreaths or hung from garland. The possibilities are endless. How could you not love them so?

If you've never made a snowman, you should. They're so enjoyable to make and such a pleasure to display. You can display just one or a whole bunch together, or various clusters all around the house. Just let you imagination be your guide. Display them inside, all around, or upside down. Put then on your door, on your walls, on your shelves. Put them inside, put them outside, put them anywhere. Make them, decorate them, and then relax and enjoy them. For to be sure. In a few short weeks they may be watching you as you bend your knees, lift and throw (there goes my back!) all that snow. SNOW, SNOW! GO AWAY! DON'T RETURN ANOTHER DAY!

Here's a few "snowman" riddles for you:

Q. What is a snowman's favorite lunch?
A. An Iceberger!

Q. What does a snowman take when he's sick?
A. A Chill Pill!

Q. What kind of hat does a snowman wear?
A. An Ice Cap!

Q. What do you call a snow party?
A. A Snow Ball!

And the best snowman riddle:

Q. What happened when the snowlady got angry at the snowman?
A. She gave him the cold shoulder!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

My Favorite BIG Christmas Dolls and Wood Crafts

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas at our house without all the holiday decorations.

While we have decorations out during all the other holidays and seasons none takes the cake next to our Christmas decorations. Each and every doll or wood craft has their particular place in my Christmas home decor and each and every year they go to the same place.

My grandchildren have gotten really good at reminding me which decoration goes where. After awhile with so many I tend to forget. Either that or I just love seeing if the grandchildren are paying attention. Most times they are.

In any event three of my favorite Christmas decorations are guess what?

You got it - BIG dolls and wood crafts.

One is an olde fashioned wood Santa and another is a Santa and Mrs. Claus pair of wood and cloth dolls.

The olde fashioned Santa stands 45" tall and is made our of 3/4" pine wood. I named him "Kristopher" and he was made based upon a "From My Heart To Yours" design.

He is a "sponge" painted Santa and was painted a deep burgundy red for an "olde fashioned" appearance. The fur along the bottom of his outfit, along his shoulders, and on the edge of his hat are all "sponge" painted with ocean sponges. His pompom is "sponge" painted as well. And there is blue, black, white, and red "sponge" painting all along his edges.

Kristopher is carrying a "sponge" painted sign that says "An Olde Fashion Christmas" and is carrying a medal bell.

Hi beard and moustaches are painted with multiple colors and applied using "wispy" strokes.

He proudly stands in his place in our sun room during the Christmas holiday season and everyone who goes into our sun room makes sure they say "hello!" to him.

My BIG Santa and Mrs. Claus wood and cloth dolls were actually made to decorate the area just outside my mother's apartment.

When my mother lived in an apartment building for senior citizens each and every year my mother and I would decorate an area just outside her apartment for Christmas. She loved it as did all her neighbors. Many of them commented to her about how much they loved our display. She no longer lives there so now they have their respective places in my house.

Santa is wearing his favorite pair of jeans, his favorite green striped shirt, and his favorite embroidered vest. He has multi-colored buttons on his shirt, white socks, and 1" pine painted black for his shoes. Rope is glued to the tops of his shoes for ties. He has a full beard, glasses, and is wearing a Christmas cap.

He is carrying a candy cane tucked into the waistband of his pants. You never know when he might get hungry, so he wants to be prepared.

Mrs. Claus is a wood and cloth doll that stands 36" tall and was made based on a Sharri's Country Classics design.

Mrs. Claus is wearing her favorite lace decorated Christmas dress and favorite coordinating apron with a pocket. She has to have the pocket as she never knows when she may need to carry something and one only has two hands. That is - unless they have pocket. She also has her favorite Christmas shawl wrapped around her shoulders and is wearing her favorite white Christmas socks.

Mrs. Claus has a wire ribbon bow just under her chin and cloth bows on the tops of her feet. She has a full head of white hair and is wearing her favorite Christmas bonnet.

Because she never knows when she has to drop everything she's doing to bake Christmas cookies for the elves she is carrying the cookie molds around with her.

Santa and Mrs. Clause have their place in our dining room at Christmas time. Sometimes Mrs. Claus even helps me bake the Christmas cookies. Never Santa. He's too tired.....

I hope you like my favorite BIG Christmas dolls and wood crafts.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Nice Matters Award

I haven't really had a chance to tell all of you that my wonderful friend, Kat Lees, nominated me for the "Nice Matters" award.

I had just come home from visiting my Mom in the hospital and decided to unwind by reading a few of my favorite blogs.

When I started reading Kats "Designs By Kat Lees" blog I was totally taken by surprise. And, what a wonderful surprise it was. Kat had nominated me for a "Nice Matters" award. I was truly touched, honored, and humbled. She had turned what had been a difficult day into a wonderful day and I am grateful to her for having done so. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Kat.

So, now I need to nominate 5 people who qualify for being nice to other people. All of my choices are caring, loving, and very creative individuals and I hope you will agree that they, too, deserve the "Nice Matters" award. I hope you get a chance to visit their websites and/or blogs.

My Mom "Joy" - I have to deviate a little from the rules of the award and nominate my mom. She doesn't have a website or blog, but she is the one who told me that you should always treat everyone as you wish to be treated. To be kind, caring, loving, compassionate, and always willing to lend a hand is the way you should be. I hope I've met her expectations.

Annie Kelly - In A Pickle Web Design, Folkart Square, and Pattern Central

Annie is one of the kindest, most compassionate, loving and giving people that I know. She has been so helpful and instrumental in offering me advice, suggestions, and ideas for my online business that I cannot thank her enough. Whenever I had a question or needed advice Annie was always there to lend a hand or offer a suggestion. Annie is truly "the BEST" when it comes to helping her family, friends, and her customers.

Her "In A Pickle Web Design" is a full service "Web Design & Development" website offering design services, hosting services, a la carte graphics, and marketing tools.

Folkart Square is an online marketplace for folkart and primitive lovers.

Pattern Central offers e-patterns, print patterns, and craft supplies from some of the best crafters on the web.

Denise Bailey (aka NeeNee - The Krazy Kraft Lady) - KKL Primitives, The Krazy Kraft Lady Blog, KKL Kreations, KKL Kreations Blog, KKL Primitives Blog, KKL Graphics

Neenee is a wonderful, wonderful lady. She is loving, caring, and always gives from her heart. Neenee is a true friend and has been there to help support and encourage me during the last few difficult weeks with my Mom's hospitalization. I am truly blessed to have Neenee as a friend.

She is also a very talented graphic artist, doll maker, primitive crafter, blogger, and now a craft pattern designer. Neenee may just surpass me in the number of blogs and websites that she has created. I may just have to turn my "Blogging Queen" crown over to her.

KKL Primitives is Neenee's main website and sells raggedies, nodders, shelfsitters, ornies, make-dos, prim shutters and more -all made by Neenee.

KKL Kreations is Neenee's graphics website. Here she sells primitive & country style graphics for personal and for business use.

Neenee's latest ventures include "personalized graphics" and primitive e-patterns. I am Neenee's #1 fan and ordered some of the most wonderful "personalized graphics" for some of my dolls and as gifts for my grandchildren this Christmas.

Rochelle - Cinna-Minnies, Cinna-minnies Blog

I just met Rochelle a few weeks ago, but in those few weeks she has been so kind, loving, and compassionate that I feel she truly deserves this award. She and Neenee have lent me unbelievable support and encouragement during the last few weeks with my Mother's hospitalization. I cannot thank Rochelle enough.

Rochelle and her husband, John, have run Cinna-Minnies since August of 2001. According to Rochelle: "I have purposely kept my business small so that I can maintain the quality of our Cinna-Minnies™ Collectibles. Part of the charm and attraction to our customers is the fact that all of our dolls, ornaments and home decor items are handmade by a real Mom and Pop operation . . . truly a dying breed these day." I couldn't agree more, Rochelle.

Joanne FaJack (aka Josie and/or Silly Goose) - My Primitive Home

She is known as Joanne, but I call her Josie. I met Josie a few years ago in one of my online forums. Josie is one of the most thoughtful, kind, caring, and compassionate people that I have met. She is always concerned for everyone else and ALWAYS willing to help whenever she can.

Life has been tough for Josie and her family, but she has always handled every curve ball with love, compassion, and a strong will to overcome whatever has been thrown at her. Josie is an inspiration to everyone and is truly deserving of this award.

Josie is a very talented primitive crafter and designs beautiful primitive hooked rugs. She sells her rugs and other primitive items on her "My Primitive Home" website.

To all of the "ladies" above I say "thank-you." Thanks for being the wonderful, caring, helpful, loving, and "beautiful" women that you all are.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

What Could Be Better Than Handcrafted Books? Linda's Review of Creating Handmade Books by Alisa Golden

When I first saw Creating Handmade Books I immediately thought about books for my grandchildren. After all, I'm a HUGE proponent of reading. If you're familiar with my blogs you know that I always buy books for the grandchildren for Christmas. To me there is nothing better than reading and improving one's mind.

So, when I saw "Creating Handmade Books" I was intrigued. According to the back page "take one piece of paper...a pair of scissors...and you have the tools to make a book! Now how much fun would that be to create a book. And, talk about family heirlooms. I decided that I definitely had to find the time to make some of these.

In the preface Lisa gives us a little insight into her background and experience in the field of book arts. I found her journey fascinating and especially loved her sentence, "In 1997 Michael and I had a son, Ezra. He currently eats books."

The introduction outlines basic tools, sizes, and terms that you need to know. After that Alisa provides step-by-step instructions and illustrations for making cut & folded books, simple sewn structures, simple adhesive structures, intermediate compound structures, multiple signatures or thick sewn books, Jacob's ladders, soft and hard covers, portfolios and boxes, easy ways of decorating paper, and portable books.

The cut and folded books section shows you how to make a hidden book, simple accordion, simple accordion with tunnel, twist card, house card, palm leaf book, venetian blind book, simple pop-up card, fan book, and slot & tab book.

In simple sewn structures we learn a few basics and then are shown how to make a ledger hanging book, utilize stick binding, make a side-bound book, utilize single signature binding, make a two-sewn-as-one book, and make a tea bag book.

With simple adhesive structures we learn about making a flower fold, album-flutterbook, concertina with tabs, endless accordion, tunnel book, accordion-fold book, circle accordion, hand scroll, and hanging scroll.

Intermediate compound structures introduces an accordion with signatures, pocket book, flag book, and piano hinge with skewers.

Multiple signatures or Thick Sewn Books shows you knots for multiple signatures, western multiple signatures, multiple signature onto a ribbon, exposed stitch, and chain stitch.

The Jacob's ladder section introduces two panel with (or without) cards, and a six-panel book with boards and ribbon.

Soft and hard covers introduces information on working with glue, soft wrap cover, open spine soft cover, open spine with ribbon, wrapped hard cover, hard covers, insetting a title, and backing cloth. Projects include covering separate boards, split boards, hard cover:side-bound, hard cover: single signature, hard cover:multiple signature, hard cover: with ribbon, hard cover: accordion/signature combination of hinged cover, and hard cover: ribbons at spine.

Portfolios and boxes shows you how to make a folded envelope, pocket folder, paper portfolio, painted slipcase, covered slipcase, hardcover portfolio with ribbon tie, hardcover portfolio with envelope pocket, postcard portfolio, two-piece box, and clamshell or presentation box.

Easy ways of decorating paper introduces you to stenciling, carving rubber stamps, and painting with acrylics.

All throughout her book Alisa takes you on a journey of her life and her creations. She also provides you with tips and how-to's she's learned based upon her experience. Her book is a filled to the brim with everything you need to know to create a handmade book.

If you are looking for a challenge and looking for something that is truly unique then you should try your hand at making one of these elegant and romantic creations.

I haven't quite decided which book I'll choose for my grandchildren. Knowing me I'll probably choose several. Since I have no experience with book arts I think I'd better start at the beginning of Alisa's book and make my way to the back. By the time I finish following Alisa's step-by-step instructions I should have some wonderful heirlooms for my grandchildren.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Linda's Review of Origami Flowers by Hiromi Hayashi

Last time I was out shopping with my Mother at one of our local bookstores one book in particular caught my eye and I just had to buy it. It was called "Origami Flowers: Popular Blossoms and Creative Bouquets."

What drew me to this book was that it involved paper florals. Paper crafts and floral crafts. Not quilling, but still involving shaping paper to form floral bouquets. It couldn't get any better than that as far as I was concerned. Then again, I love everything. So, of course, I showed the book to my Mother. She was intrigued so we started to browse through it.

If you are a reader of my Linda's Blog you know that not only do I love dolls, doll making, crafts, and craft making, but I am also a floral designer. I love creating silk floral arrangements, pinecone baskets, dried floral arrangements, floral trees, just about anything floral. So, of course, paper floral bouquets piqued my curiosity. I suspect my Mother wasn't surprised by this.

"Qrigami Flowers" shows you how to take square origami paper and shape, bend, fold, and twist it into beautiful flowers. I was doubly thrilled when I looked down the list of flowers in the table of contents. My all time favorite natural flower was there - a dahlia. My sister and I have had a fascination with dahlia's since we were both little and love to grow them in our gardens.

In any event, 29 different types of flowers are shown including my second all time favorite flower - the Japanese Iris. Hiromi has included a rose, hyacinth, stock, tulip, carnation, violet, pansy, narcissus, dokudami, cineraria, polyanthus Primrose, gerbera, zinnia, Japanese iris, hollyhock, hydrangea, blue star, morning glory, begonia, sunflower, dahlia, clematis, lily, orchid, spray mum, cornflower, cosmos, balloon flower, and cyclamen.

The beginning of the book includes large colorful pictures of each floral creation. That is followed by definitions of origami symbols and shapes. Following this are the step-by-step instructions for creating each of the flowers. On paper it doesn't quite look as difficult as I'm sure it is. The instructions are very detailed and look like they'd be easy to follow. Hiromi also includes the paper supplies needed for each flower and any other materials that are required. Actual size leaf patterns are also included in the back of the book.

Besides the dahlia and Japanese iris I would like to try my hand at the violet, cineraria, zinnia, gerbera, sunflower, clematis, cornflower, and balloon flower. I just love the looks of each of them. Maybe I could get so good at creating paper floral creations that no one will be able to tell my paper floral creations from my real plants.

When I mentioned this to my Mother she just said, "Sure, honey." Translation - you can try it, but there is no way paper is ever going to look as good as the real thing. My Mother, of course, unlike me was born with a green thumb. She's had some of her plants for over 50 years.

So I said, "They might not be the real thing, but they sure would be colorful creations. And, best of all they are maintenance free. No watering, no fertilizing, no bug-spray. What could be better than that. Year round, maintenance free plants. I love it."

She said, "Just buy the book honey and let's go!" So I did.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

An Obsession With Paper? Or Quilling?

I suspect that I am not unlike a lot of crafter's out there. I love and want to try everything. The problem is there are not enough hours in the day to try everything I want to try. I literally could spend 24 hours every day and always be learning some new craft. Not practical I know, but one can dream.

Several years ago I made a Christmas present for my niece that involved quilling from a kit that I had bought. I had never heard of quilling and was intrigued by this kit and wanted to give it a try.

If you don't know what quilling is it is cutting, rolling and twisting paper to form decorative pieces. My particular present was a miniature garden picture (see photo above) where I cut and quilled the paper to look like various plants. I enclosed it in an 8x10 shadowbox to give it a three dimensional appearance. She loved it which certainly made me happy. Even my brother loved it - which is an accomplishment all unto itself.

In any event I became interested in paper and paper crafts from that point onward. This was just before paper, scrapbooking, and altered art became such a phenomenal success. When the latter happened I, of course, was thrilled as I loved seeing the hundreds of paper projects and availability of supplies that they were creating for the masses. I, of course, wanted to try everything, which I know would be impossible.

So, I decided to try another quilling project. This one involved quilling the paper to look like various types of herbs. It came out alright and I decided to enclose this one in an 8x10" frame with a solid blue mat.

From time to time when I'm out book shopping or browsing through the local craft stores I look to see if there are any books or kits on quilling. Most of the time there aren't any. Quilling still hasn't quite caught on here. I don't know why because paper crafts have become such a phenomenal success. I can't quite understand why quilling hasn't.

Who can resist learning how to decorate everything from jewelry to home accessories with quilling designs? Certainly not me.

I've got my eye on three quilling books for my wishlist. If I get them I'll be sure to write a review of them for you.

Maybe I've piqued your curiosity as to what quilling is. Maybe you'll give it a try. If you do please be sure to let us know how you liked it. I hope you find it as intriguing as I did.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Linda's Review of Creating Romantic Purses by Marilyn Green & Carole Cree

Creating Romantic Purses: Patterns & Instructions for Unique Handbags was a perfect choice for the 3rd book to be reviewed for books about handbags, purses, and totes as nothing could be more Victorian looking than romantic purses.

What drew me to this book, once again, was the picture of the two purses on the front cover. They are both romantic and Victorian looking in nature. And readers of my Linda's Blog know how I love anything and everything Victorian.

"Creating Romantic Purses" contains patterns and instructions for making 40 elegant creations that according to the book, "can be worn night and day." And, elegant they all are.

I was intrigued so I began to browse through this book. I didn't need to go any further than the first purse to know that I was going to love this book.

The first purse is in Chapter two which is entitled " Hold History In Your Hand" and is a crazy quilt purse from the Victorian era. History and the Victorian era - I was enthralled. This is definitely a purse that I want to make. It is a Victorian Vignette and is an exquisitely beautiful creation. And, of course, there is all the history surrounding it and Queen Victoria.

Each purse within the book contains information on the materials needed to make the purse, embellishments, patterns and instructions. The patterns and instructions are shown in detail in the back of the book as some of the same patterns and instructions are used to make several different purses in this book.

Flipping through this book I found purse after purse after purse that were just so beautiful to look at. Each and every one of them was a beautiful creation all unto it's own. Almost like masterpieces. I wanted them all. However, one can't make 40 different purses now can they? And, where would I store all of them? Knowing me I'd make them just to look at them.

In any event, I do have my favorites and they would be the "Victorian Vignette" on page 12, the "Timeless Classic" on page 22, "Polka Dance" on page 42, "Fringe Benefits" on page 44, "Tussy Mussy" on page 58, "Beaded Beauty" on page 60, and "Vintage Nosegay" on page 76.

Seven purses that I would love to make. That's not to say that I don't want to make all of them. I do. It's just you need to start somewhere and here is where I would start.

If you are looking for a challenge and looking for something that is truly unique then you should try your hand at making one of these elegant and romantic creations.

Of course, if I had my way I'd make all of these purses and all of the purses from the other two books I recently reviewed. Hundreds of purses. I can hear "hubby" now. "Where are you going to put all of those and where are you going that you would need them?" Ah, but one can dream. And, what's better than dreaming or inspiring to make such beautiful creations?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Linda's Review of Making Vintage Bags by Emma Brennan

Making Vintage Bags: 20 Original Sewing Patterns for Vintage Bags and Purses is a wonderful choice for the 2ND book to be reviewed in my handbags, purses, and totes craft book review.

I have to tell you that what drew me to this book initially was that it concerned vintage bags from the 1920's through the 1950's. According to Emma Brennan's foreword, "A handbag can make a statement as well as being a practical means of carrying your essential possessions around. This book gives you patterns and ideas for making your own special bag, influenced by vintage styles but perfect for modern living."

I couldn't agree more. Whenever I leave the house I am lost without my handbag. It is an essential part of me outside my home and when I am without it something just seems to be missing. The handbag I use all the time weighs a ton with all the stuff I have in it and my Mother is forever telling me to lighten the load. She thinks it's putting a dent in my shoulder and will cause me back problems down the road. Well, after 40 years of carrying around a bag I think I'm used to the weight. Besides whenever I go through my bag nothing is thrown out. Everything seems to be essential - or at least I think it's essential.

So, I always promise myself that I'm going to reduce some of the clutter so I can change bags more often and, maybe, carry some smaller bags. The bags of the 1920's to 1950's were definitely smaller and I would, indeed, need to reduce some of my essentials in order to utilize some of them.

They may have been smaller, but they were adorable and Emma's "Making Vintage Bags" is a wonderful pictorial for making 5 bags each from the 1920's, 1930's, 1940's, and 1950's.

The beginning of the book is an introduction to the materials and techniques needed to make her bags. She starts with general information on basic stitches, fabrics to use, base materials, piece preparation, interfacing, handles, fasteners, magnetic snaps, lining, zip fasteners, making matching purses, embellishments, applique, and photo print bags.

The rest of the book is divided into 4 time periods starting with the 1920's with each era covering 5 bags to make. The 1920's has Clara - two tone art deco pocket bag, Lucille - mini evening bag with ribbon rose, Virginia - mini clutch with tassel and ribbon rose, Dorothy - asymmetric bow flap clutch bag, and Evelyn - asymmetric clutch with vintage buttons.

Each purse section contains step-by-step pictorials of constructing the purses, as well as materials needed, dimensions, suggested fabrics for the bag and the lining, and sewing tips. The actual pattern pieces for each bag are in the back of the book and need to be enlarged by 165% to use. I would have preferred for the pattern pieces to be actual size.

The 1930's has Doris - the handle bag with rose corsage, Nancy - ring handle bag with felt flower applique and matching purse, Lois - bag with draped buckle trim, Rita - pleat bag with silk rose trim, and Marion - semi-circle two-tone bag.

The 1940's has Martha - flounce bag with sausage dog, Veronica - tapestry bag with butterfly trim and matching purse, Grace - wool leaf applique bag, Patricia - autumn bow crescent bag, and Rose - nautical rose crescent bag.

The 1950's has Audrey - gathered bag with felt corsage, Vivien - small bowbelle bag, Shirley - two-tone flower trim small bag, Peggy - striped bow bag with straight handle, and Gloria - picture bag with rope handle.

I just loved the fact that Emma named all her bags and I do have a few favorites that I would love to try. I love the adorable looking Doris - tie handle bag with rose corsage form the 1930's. She is just so "pretty" to look at.

I also love Martha - flounce bag with sausage dog from the 1940's. The reason for this one is a sentimental one. You see when I was a little girl I used to love to stand and look through all the clothes in my Mother's closet. Back then she had a genuine "poodle skirt" that I just loved. Of course, I was too small to wear it, but I wanted one when I was big enough to do so. This bag reminds me of those times.

I also happen to love Veronica - tapestry bag with butterfly trim and matching purse from the 1940's. The reason for this is I tend to favor anything tapestry. In fact, I used to have a tapestry blazer that I wore everywhere until it fell apart.

Shirley - two-tone flower trim small bag is another one of my favorites. I'd love to make it just to look at it as I'm not sure it would be big enough to carry a lot of my "essentials." But, it sure is a cute looking bag.

Last, but not least, there's my favorite bag from this book. Her name is Gloria and she is a picture bag with a rope handle. The reason she is my favorite is because the bag is big enough to carry most of my "essentials" and because it contains a cut-out picture of a vintage shoe. And, I love shoes. Plus, I love the simple yet elegant designs of this bag.

If you love vintage bags and purses and would love to try your hand at making some then this book has a lot to offer you. I know that I would love to try my hand at a few, starting with Gloria. Now, if I could just find some more time......

Linda's Review of The Decorated Bag by Genevieve A. Sterbenz

I thought that I might start the review of handbag, purse, and totes books with The Decorated Bag: Creating Designer Handbags, Purses, and Totes Using Embellishments.

I have to tell you that what drew me to this book initially was the embellished purse on the front cover and then when I was flipping through the book all the pictorials caught my eye. If there is anything I love in a craft and craft making book it's pictorials. You might find this unusual for a crafter and a reader, but I hate to read the text. I'd much rather look at the pictures and follow them. Now that's not to say I don't read the text. I do if I have to, but I'd rather learn from the pictures. I suspect that I'm not the only one in that regard. I'm sure many, many crafters out there are the same way.

The Decorated Bag has 26 designs ranging from bejeweled evening bags to a Victorian Straw tote to an urban cowgirl saddle bag. There's a folkart bucket bag, Marabou mini bag, springtime pull string bag, girly weekender, mod print tote, and "Miss Kitty" tote. There's even a big-city bowling bag and Hollywood hatbox.

Don't forget the American beauty bag, the blue suede portfolio, tropical demi, blue-boots tote, and buttoned-up hobo bag. And, there's the swingtime shoulder bag, lush leopard hatbox, snow-flurry lipstick purse, and vintage rhinestone purse.

Last but not least, we have the midnight feather clutch, beaded ballerina bag, silver moon satin clutch, pave polka dot purse, tottenham tweed clutch and mini travel valise.

26 bags in total all with wonderful step-by-step pictorials. Some of my favorites were as follows:

1) Bejeweled Evening Bag - This bag just looks so pretty. I'd love to try and make it. Not only does this book tell you how to decorate the bag, it also gives you step-by-step pictorials for making the bag starting on page 114. The pattern is on page 128. Definitely one I want to try.

2) American Beauty Bag - I love to make ribbon flowers and this bag is right up my alley with its folded ribbon roses. It just looks so beautiful and so delicate. It would be a wonderful compliment to a fancy dress. Pictorial step-by-step instructions are given on page 34 and 35 for making all the ribbon roses.

3) Blue-Boots Tote - This bag takes a graphic from page 133 that you scan in to the computer and then re-size and print on transfer paper and then add to the patchwork toe. This method allows you to add any image you want, not just the image they have nicely provided.

There are patterns and instructions in the back of the book for making the bejeweled evening bag, urban cowgirl saddle bag, and springtime pull-string bag. There are also some illustrations and helpful tips for some of the other bags as well.

For all the rest of the bags "The Decorated Bag" provides you with the step-by-step pictorials for converting existing bags. Each bag has a section on materials needed to embellish it, tools required, what the featured bag is, as well as design tips, and a variation illustration.

If you love purses and love to embellish them then this is a great book. There is a lot of variety in the selection of the purses with one sure to please everyone.

I can hardly wait to start my bag. The only problem is which one to choose. There are so many that I just love.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

A Love Of Books About Purses and Handbags!

I know that you've heard me say that I love books about dolls and all different kinds of crafts. Usually it's some kind of floral craft or paper craft. Well, lately, I've found myself fascinated with books about making purses, handbags, totes, etc.


Who knows! It's today's crafting whim. Next week it might be something else.

But, with everything I do I want loads and loads of books about it so I can experiment. And, there are loads of books to choose from on the subject of purses, handbags, and totes.

Here's the three I chose:

1) The Decorated Bag: Creating Designer Handbags, Purses, and Totes Using Embellishments

2) Making Vintage Bags: 20 Original Sewing Patterns for Vintage Bags and Purses

3) Creating Romantic Purses: Patterns & Instructions for Unique Handbags

I could have bought more, but then I'd had to endure the looks from my Mother and my darling husband. Translation - "Don't you already have enough books!" Well, NO!!!!!!! One can NEVER have enough books as far as I'm concerned. Or dolls, or floral......the list goes on and on.

So, I thought my next three posts should be about the 3 purse books that I bought. I hope you enjoy my reviews.

The first ones looks like it might have some terrific patchwork purses in it and the second one is right up my alley. A history book of purses from the 1600's to 2005. If you're a reader of my Linda's Blog then you know how I just love history books. So, if I get that book I'll be in heaven.

Don't worry. I'll post a review about them if I decide to buy them this year. That is, if I can do so without my Mother or darling husband finding out. Ya right, Linda! That's just about impossible. Hmmm...maybe not!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The BIG Woodland Dolls and Wood Crafts

I've been telling you about the BIG dolls and wood crafts that I love. Well, this post is about the BIG woodland type dolls and wood crafts that I love. One decorates my house during different times of the year and some have been made as gifts for my sister.

My sister and her husband are into hunting. Actually, I need to clarify that. My brother-in-law is into hunting - my sister is married to a "hunter!" So they like log cabin homes and woodland style decorations. As a result I'm always looking for woodland style dolls like moose, deer, brown bears, etc. that I can make for her.

This year I have a surprise for her and I hope she doesn't read this post. While my sister does love woodland style things she also happens to like "Victorian" dolls. Talk about different ends of the spectrum. The two could not be more opposite.

In any event, two of my new doll and doll pattern designs for this year were a Victorian moose gentleman, and a Victorian moose lady. I designed them specifically with my sister in mind and will hopefully have the patterns ready in the coming months. I made two of each doll - two male moose and two female moose. One to support the pattern and the other to sell or, in this case, give to my sister. I know she will like them.

But, being the mean sister that I am I'm going to show them to her, but make her wait for them. I figure a couple of years of waiting and then maybe I'll give them to her. What a nice sister I am!!!!! Tease, tease, tease. Sisters must tease each other!!! Not to worry. She'll get back at me - I know!

So, one of my favorite BIG woodland wood crafts was a painted wooden moose that I made for my sister for Christmas one year. I named him "Karl Me Moose!" and her stands 32" tall. He was made based on a TLC Crafters design. He holds a sign that sells "Welcome" and I thought she'd love that for the front door area of her home.

He was made using 1" pine wood and painted in my sister's favorite color - blue. His shirt I painted to look like a blue plaid shirt, and his antlers were "sponged." Decorative stitching was added all along his edges and he is wearing a blue striped flannel bandanna.

My favorite part of him was his boots. They just came out so realistic to workman's boots that I just loved them.

His welcome sign was "sponge" painted and a bronze bear and bronze goose were added as decorative accents. My sister loved him.

The year before I had given her a woodsy wreath (see picture to the left) that I had made from a TLC Crafters pattern design. She absolutely loved it and the wreath was a compliment to my "Karl Me Moose" so I was pretty sure she'd like him, too. Luckily, she did.

The BIG woodland wood craft that decorates my home is a 29" painted wooden bear that I named "Homer."

He, too, has a welcome sign to greet guests to my home and was made based on a TLC Crafters design.

"Homer", too, was painted using an "ocean sponge" effect for his Welcome sign and for the big evergreen tree that he's leaning against.

He, too has workman's boots and I just love how they turned out.

"Homer's" shirt was painted to look like a plaid flannel shirt and his bear fur was painted to make it look lumpy. You can;t really tell that from his picture, but the paint is lumpy so it looks like fur.

Decorative floral were glued to the base around his feet and the base of the evergreen tree. The evergreen tree was also painted to make it look lumpy and white paint was "sponged" on to make it look like snow.

I had intended to give this to my sister as a Christmas present for her home, but "Homer" sent me a message one day asking for me to come talk to him. Well, I had to find out what that was all about so I went to speak to him.

He told me that while he understood that he was meant as a present for my sister that he would much rather stay with me. She already had a moose Welcome and a woodsy wreath and, well, truth be told, he'd rather be with all the "Victorian" dolls. They were so fancy and so beautiful and, well, he was so honored to be in their presence that he wanted to stay here. He figured they were so dainty that they needed a BIG bear to protect them. So, I acquiesced and told him he could stay.

Just don't let my sister know that he was intended for her. She wouldn't care that she already had a moose or two or three or four, she'd want "Homer", too. He could protect the one "Victorian" doll that I had made for her. After all, she needed protection. She was surrounded by moose. And that could be perilous, indeed!!

So "fork Homer over", sis! He's mine!!! YIKES!!! Poor "Homer."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Webkinz World - Who Knew!

I got indoctrinated into Webkinz World last weekend by my 7 year old grandson.

I asked him what he wanted for his birthday and he said Webkinz.

I, of course, being an old bat had no idea what he was talking about.

He said, "You know, Nana. on the computer."

To which I replied, "HUH!"

So, he said, "I'll show you," and off to my computer we went. Well, was I surprised when this whole involved website came up with a billion things for the kids to do. It was really quite fascinating seeing everything they had for the kids and their concept.

If you haven't heard about Webkinz then you'd be surprised to hear they are "plush pets" that the kids buy from select stores or on eBay and which they adopt. Each pet comes with a SECRET code that you input into your membership account and which allows you to set-up a room for your pet on Webkinz World to take care of them and to play with them.

According to my Grandson Webkinz are very BIG amongst his peers. They reminded me of the "beanie baby" craze of years ago.

Here's what Webkinz World says about their website:

What are Webkinz pets?

Webkinz pets are lovable plush pets that each come with a unique Secret Code that lets you enter Webkinz World and play with a virtual version of your pet.

What are all the cool things I can do in Webkinz World?

Where do we start? First, you adopt your pet and name it. Then you can custom design a room for it. You can play games in the Arcade, or compete against other players in tournaments. You can answer quizzes in Quizzy's Question Corner and enter contests, too. All of these things earn you KinzCash, which you can use to go shopping for your pet in our W Shop, where you can buy toys, furniture and clothes. There are stories to read and fun daily activities. The best part is that we add things to Webkinz World frequently, so it's always getting bigger and better.

How did you come up with Webkinz World?
GANZ Inc. has loved stuffed animals for a very long time. So we thought, wouldn't it be great to have a place where your stuffed animal came to life so that you could care for it like a real pet? To make the pet more real, we decided it could be happy or sad, healthy or sick, hungry or full. Taking care of your pet matters! Of course we wanted it to be as fun as possible so we added games and trivia and lots of fun items that we thought Webkinz owners would enjoy working for to purchase for their pet! Webkinz World will continue to grow and expand so that fans like you can enjoy your pet to the fullest.

It is really quite ingenious and quite involved as to everything you can do on Webkinz World. I was fascinated and immediately went to look-up where we could buy Webkinz for my Grandson in my area. When we found out there were three stores in my area off we went to hunt for Webkinz.

My Grandson had a particular Webkinz in mind and wanted to get that for his birthday. Unfortunately, the first stores selections weren't that great and he didn't like any of them. The next store had a much better selection and we bought three - none of which was the one he really wanted. For that, I surmised we'd have to hunt for it on eBay.

I, of course, had to buy one for myself as my Grandson wanted to be able to communicate with me in Webkinz World. So, for that I needed an account. I bought a bullfrog which I named after my Grandson's nickname and which I made into a "girl" frog. He named one of his new pets which was a dog after me and had turned it into a "boy." It's a long story. Suffice to say he's a girl in Webkinz World and I'm a boy in Webkinz World - the exact opposite of what we really are.

So, I set-up my account and printed my pet's "official adoption papers" and set about adding things to my pet's room. Well, to do that you need to "buy" virtual things with Webkinz cash. For buying and registering a Webkinz pet you earn so many thousand Webkinz dollars which you can use to start to furnish your room. The initial amounts don't go far as the furnishings can be pricey. So, of course, I was out of Webkinz cash very quickly.

So, I said to my Grandson," What now? I need more things for her room."

He said, "Well, Nana, you have to earn more Webkinz cash."

To which I replied, "How do I do that?"

He, of course, gave me the look that only a seven year old can give you when they are incredulous that you don't know!

Then he said, "You go to the wishing well and make 5 wishes. Then go to the cash cow video game and play it. That way you can earn Webkinz dollars which you can use to buy more things. Or, you can sell something you already bought and buy something else."

So, I earned some more Webkinz cash and was going to buy some more things for my pet's room when my Grandson asked if I was going to send him anything in Webkinz World. Of course, they have Webkinz email and Webkinz presents. Here you can send pre-defined email messages to "friends" on your list or send them up to 3 "presents" per day.

So, we each added each other as "friends" on our accounts so that we could send each other presents and email and I sent him some presents and he sent me some presents. We each sent each other a few pre-defined email messages.

On Monday I got a call from my Grandson telling me that he had sent me "something" in Webkinz World to help me furnish my pets room and asked if I had sent him anything. I told him that I hadn't had a chance to do so yet, but I would do it this afternoon or early this evening. He also told me he had sent me several Webkinz emails.

After I got off the phone I immediately went to the computer to see what my Grandson had sent me and read his emails. He had sent me several items that he didn't want for his room that I could sell to then buy some of the items I wanted for my pet's room. My room was bare so he sent me some things that I could sell. And, he had sent me emails that told me "We would be best friends FOREVER!" What a sweetheart! Music to a Nana's ears. How could I possibly love him anymore than I already did! If there was a way I would do so.

I then set about sending him some emails and some "gifts" that I could afford in my limited Webkinz budget as I hadn't earned any more Webkinz cash yet. I would, though, and would be sending my wonderful Grandson some more presents.

So, now each and every morning I check to see if my Grandson has sent me anything in Webkinz World. A couple of times he has and each and every time I am thrilled to see what it is he has sent or emailed.

It's an interesting concept and one that I like because it teaches kids the value of money (albeit virtual money). If they want to buy something they have to have enough Webkinz cash to do so or they have to earn more. Or, they have to sell something they already have.

There's a ton of things for the kids to do on the Webkinz website that I haven't quite explored yet. I'm sure my Grandson will tell me about them as I'm sure he's explored everything.

Hmmm.... I wonder if he sent me anything today. Off to Webkinz World I go.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Linda's Review of Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Faces

If you are a reader of my Linda's Blog you know that I admire artists who have mastered the art of drawing or painting. I try hard, but do not have a natural talent for it. I wish I did as I'd love to be able to paint faces on some of my dolls and paint beautiful images on some of my wood crafts.

But, I want to learn how to do it so every time I go bookstore shopping I look at all the various art, drawing and painting books to see if there are any that I might like and which can teach me a few things about drawing.

One of the books I bought this year and which I just LOVE was a skinny little book containing caricatures of faces. It's entitled "Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Faces (Repackaged) (Ed Emberley Drawing Books)" and is filled with not only caricatures of faces, but shows you there progression from the beginning of the drawing to the end. For someone who doesn't know how to draw and has a need for drawing caricatures this is a terrific little book.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Story Behind Denise Bailey's New FREE Primitive and Vintage Doll N' Crow Graphic

I just love graphics, especially doll graphics, and love showing them to you. I especially love it if there is a story behind them as very often there is a story behind my own doll creations.

Well, there is a story behind Denise Bailey's (aka Neenee's) new FREE doll graphic that I think you'll like.

Neenee has a wonderful new crafting forum that I am a member of called "The Crafter's Lounge" which I posted about in a previous post entitled "Free Forum- The Crafter's Lounge."

She has a section of her forum for showing off your creations. In a post showing one of her doll creations Neenee showed us all a picture of a 19" Primitive and Vintage Doll 'n Crow doll she had just made.

I, of course, loved it as I love everything Neenee makes, especially her graphics. So, in kidding I responded "Neenee, I love here. She's wonderful. Are you going to do a graphic of her? I bet she'd be adorable.Linda"

Little did I know that Neenee would actually take me up on that, but she did. She responded that since the doll was a pattern that she adapted from a doll she had made using a Stitch In Time pattern (# 252 Plain And Simple Annies) by Lisa Hansen she should ask Lisa if that was okay first. So she did.

Lisa responded that Neenee could create a graphic of her doll and so Neenee's NEW primitive and vintage doll n' crow graphic was created. She's the graphic to the left. Isn't she adorable? Neenee is so talented and I think she did a terrific job with the graphic. It looks just like the real doll clothes and all and I just LOVE it.

Neenee has posted her new doll graphic as a FREE graphic on her KKLGraphics blog.

Here are Neenee's Terms of Use for her FREE graphic - "Copyright © 2007 - All Rights Reserved — KKL Graphics - Created By Denise Bailey. This graphic is free for you to use for your own personal use. Please right click and save to your hard drive. You may make siggies, use on banners ( your own ), use as email signatures. If you have any questions re: usage, please email kklprimitives @ . Please do not offer this images for download anywhere else."
Now you might think that's the end of the story, but you'd be wrong. It turns out that another member of the forum just loved Neenees new graphic, too, and responded that she had a craft show she was doing in November and wanted to add Neenee's new FREE graphic to the fliers send to past visitors and wondered if under the terms of "personal use" she could do so.

Neenee being the wonderful and generous graphic artist that she is responded, "Yes, you may use her on your fliers. I'm tickled that you like her well enough to use her!!!

Personal use means you can use a graphic for things like your flyers, siggies, you can use them for your own personal websets, banners, logos.......what you cannot do is sell the graphic - you can't make someone else a banner with that image and sell it. But if someone asked you to make them a banner with it because they didn't know how and you made it for free......then you could.

Everyone's TOU (terms of use) are different so when they offer something for free personal use and you aren't sure, it's always best to come right out as ask."

So, Neenee's new doll graphic will be on her own flier. I'm sure all of Neenee's other doll graphics are going to be soooooo jealous when they hear that. Oh, well! That's what happens when you're an adorable doll graphic.

So, what do you all think? Didn't Neenee do a FABULOUS job creating the doll as a graphic? I think so, and I just love it. Then again, I'm a little biased as I just love all Neenee's graphics. I'm her #1 fan - or at least I like to think I am.

Monday, July 16, 2007

I Just Love To Go Bookstore Shopping!

For me there is nothing more relaxing than going bookstore shopping at our local bookstores with my Mom.

Not only is the time spent with my Mom thoroughly enjoyable, but we both love books. We can spend hours upon hours just walking up and down the aisles looking at the best sellers, the discount books, the magazine section, etc. My mother always goes to the "cooking" section first while I always go to the "dolls and crafts" section.

Now I wonder why that is????? Couldn't be because I love "dolls and crafts?" Nah!!!!

Why am I telling you this? Because during the last two months we've had the opportunity to go bookstore shopping several times. They have always been delightful trips and usually I come home with some new best sellers from some of my favorite "romance" authors. The last few times I've come home with a few "doll and craft" books to add to my collection.

However, I have to tell you that I've become a little disappointed in browsing through the local bookstores lately for "doll and craft" books. You might wonder "why" as I've just told you that I love shopping at my local bookstores.

Well, I've found that in browsing through my local bookstores during the past year that they just don't seen to be carrying a lot of "doll and craft" books in their stores anymore. As a result I always find when I'm looking for "doll and craft" books that I'd much rather shop online. I discovered Amazon a long time ago and found that I loved being able to search and sort for books to my hearts content. I could easily find the categories I wanted, the authors, best sellers, etc.

At Amazon I can browse by category, look at the new releases, scan the future releases, check out the magazines, etc. I don't have to get down on my knees (which at my age is no longer fun) and crane my neck to look for the "doll and craft" books on the bottom shelf. It's so much more enjoyable to sit in my chair and let my fingers do the walking.

I can spend hours and hours doing this as well. However, the one big drawback is that in sitting at my computer browsing through my online bookstore's is that I'm missing one of the ingredients that makes my local bookstore shopping experience so enjoyable - my Mom. Maybe I'll just have to buy another computer and another computer set-up so my Mom can sit right next to me and let her fingers do the walking.

I know what she'll say to that and it's a big resounding "ABSOLUTELY NOT!" She'll give me that look that only Mother's can that makes you feel like your 3 years old even though you're a grandmother yourself. Then she'll say," Linda, a little fresh air never hurt anyone. Besides you need the exercise!" And, more importantly, she loves getting out of the house and loves going to the local bookstores to shop.

So, we'll continue to spend some lazy afternoons at the local bookstores. I'll still check out the "dolls and crafts" section first, but I won't be disappointed anymore because I know I'll be coming home and letting my fingers do the walking. My Mother doesn't have to know. What could be better than that?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Blythe Dolls - Where Have I Been?

I used to think that I was really "cool" as I had owned a Barbie doll when they first came out in the early sixties. Mine had blond hair and a ponytail. And, I had owned one of the first Barbie's with the red short-bob haircut. Why, I was so cool I even had a Ken doll with a Barbie house and all.

Of course, my best friend had the Barbie car the year it came out. I didn't so I had to concede my "coolest" crown to her for awhile. We would sit and play "Barbie" in her room for hours upon hours upon hours. Those were wonderful times and memories I will always cherish.

I have to admit though - I am no longer "cool." "Fool" might be a better word. You see, if I still had the Barbie's they'd be worth a small fortune now. But, they were thrown out with the trash as I got older. A little insight back then might have been a good thing. Ya think!

I was obsessed with Barbie back then. I had to have everything relating to Barbie. Ask me what I wanted for Christmas and I'd say "Barbie." Birthday - "Barbie." Easter "Barbie." Buying a present for my Mom for Mother's Day - "Barbie." Buying a present for my Dad on Father's Day - "Barbie." I even tried to get my mother to give my older brother a "Ken" for his birthday. She wouldn't do it and he would have killed me. In any event, you get the idea - I loved Barbie.

Well, there has been an explosion going on during the last ten years or so amongst the doll hobbyists with a doll that I was unaware of until recently. I must have been asleep or comatose to have missed this.

She is BLYTHE and I am now in love with her. In fact, I think I could easily become obsessed with her. She is just so ADORABLE looking. With those huge eyes that change into 4 different colors. And, that HUGE head. It must account for half of her weight, alone!

I want her and I'm on the hunt for a BLYTHE of my own.

So, where can I find them? Well, according to Denise Van Patten, Your Guide to Doll Collecting.

The original Blythe dolls from 1972 were 11.5" or 12" tall. Some "miniature" modern Blythe dolls under 6" have also been produced since 2000 by Takara.

Companies That Have Produced Blythe Dolls: Kenner was the original company that produced Blythe. Unfortunately for Kenner, the doll was ahead of her time and only lasted on the market for one year--1972. With vintage Blythe's renewed popularity with collectors in the last few years, several companies including Hasbro, Takara and Ashton Drake have reproduced Blythe.

Years of Production of Blythe Dolls: The original vintage Blythe dolls were only produced in 1972. Modern reproductions have been made by Hasbro, Takara since 2001 and by Ashton Drake since 2004.

Of course if I want an original BLYTHE doll I'd better start saving. Originals can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars on eBay. YIKES!!! I'd better be really, really good to hubby this year. Maybe he'll buy me one for Christmas. Hmm.....But, which one would I want? They're all just so ADORABLE. I just have to have her. Am I obsessed? You decide.

Well, I can't be the only person obsessed with her. If I was there wouldn't be such a HUGE market for her. So, I not alone in my obsession. So, what is it about this doll that has everyone wanting her?

Original BLYTHE dolls were about 12" tall. The miniature are about 6" tall. All the dolls have HUGE plastic heads with vinyl torsos, arms, and legs. The dolls are bendable at the knee (like bendable Barbie) and can twist at the waist.

The dolls eyes are ENORMOUS - which I think is most of her appeal. If you pull the string attached to the back of her head the eyes close and then open again with a different color and different position. BLYTHE has 4 different eye colors and positions. So each time you pull the string she looks in a different position.

Given that I just love history and research I just had to find out more about BLYTHE!

Well, here's her history according to - The FREE Encyclopedia:

Blythe (pronounced "blithe" or like the 'bli' sound in "blind") is a doll created in 1972 by designer Allison Katzman with the now-defunct American toy company Kenner. Reportedly, she was modeled after drawings by Margaret Keane, similarly to many other dolls of the '60s and '70s. Her most unique and notable feature were blinkable eyes that changed color with the pull of a string attached to the back of her head. Blythe dolls were only sold for one year in the U.S. (produced in Hong Kong), during 1972. She was not very popular and faded from store shelves quickly.

Petite Blythe dolls are four inches tall and an economical and aesthetic alternative to Neo Blythes .

Thirty years after her first release date, Blythe regained popularity. In 1997, New York TV and video producer Gina Garan was given a 1972 Kenner Blythe by a friend and began using it to practice her photographic skills. She began taking her Blythe everywhere with her and took hundreds of photos. Then, in 1999, a chance encounter with CWC's Junko Wong brought Blythe to the attention of Parco and toy executives. In 2002, Gina published her first book of Blythe photography with Chronicle Books, This is Blythe.

Later that year, Hasbro (Kenner's successor) gave the rights to make Blythe dolls to Takara of Japan. Blythe was used in a television advertising campaign by the Parco department store in Japan and was an instant hit. Success in Japan led Blythe back to the U.S., where she become a niche product in a marginal market, selling largely to adults. In 2003 she was the subject in a segment on the popular VH1 special, I Love the 70s, where she was said to look like either "Barbie with elephantiasis" or "Christina Ricci" among other things. One panelist asked if she could take a doll home! In 2004, the Ashton-Drake Galleries began to produce their own Blythe replica dolls in the United States.

A vibrant Blythe subculture flourishes on the Internet, predominantly in forums and usergroups. There is a market network of hobbyist Blythe clothiers, designers, and customizers.

There are two types of Blythe dolls: the 28 cm version and the 11.2 cm "Petit Blythe." Only large dolls have color-changing eyes, which include the colors blue, green, orange, and pink (except for cases with limited-edition dolls). Newer releases of the Petit Blythe dolls have moveable eyelids and bendable bodies. A smaller Kubrick version of Blythe also exists. The measurements of Blythe: 4.17-2.76-3.89 (in inch) or 106-70-99 (in mm). The measurements of Petit Blythe: 1.77-1.18-16.5 (in inch) or 45-30-42 (in mm).

Unlike Barbie, Blythe does not have a boyfriend. She also does not advertise her professional life. Kenner is now owned by Hasbro.

So, according to - unlike Barbie - BLYTHE doesn't have a boyfriend. That's okay. As far as I'm concerned she doesn't need one. I love her just the way she is - minus boyfriend and all. And, I want one.

Will I become obsessed?

Probably. She is a doll after all and dolls are one of my many obsessions. I guess if I want one for Christmas I'd better start hunting for her now. If I can't find her at least I can read about her. I know I'll be buying the two books about her.

Wish me luck. I'm on the hunt for "BLYTHE."

Friday, June 29, 2007

A "Small" Obsession!

I'm beginning to think that besides having an obsession with dolls, crafts, genealogy, floral crafts, and books that I have an obsession with "things that are small."

Now you might wonder what I mean by that - well, I mean objects that are "miniature, tiny, and smaller than normal."

Why would I think this? Well, for example, I love dolls, especially "small" dolls. In fact I got bored with sewing clothes for myself and switched to "doll" clothes. Why? Because they were "small" and took less time.

My dog is "small" and I have always loved "small" dogs.

I have an obsession with shoes - especially "miniature" shoes. Why? because they're "small."

I love creating ornaments or "ornies!" Why? You guessed it - because they're "small."

I like the "tiny" post-its the best.

My cell phone has to be "small" as does my digital camera.

And, here's the best one, my husband is actually "smaller" than I am. I'm about 2 inches taller than he is.

So, am I "small" obsessed?

You might think so if you had been with my Mother and I the last time we went to the bookstore. I, of course, found lots of doll and craft books that I just had to add to my collection.

And, then I found the "small" display of 3 x 3 x 1 1/4" boxes. They were the cutest, most adorable, display of tiny little boxes filled with tiny books, craft projects, and other items. I was there for an hour just looking at them and laughing my head off. I can't imagine what everyone must have been thinking about this 5'10" woman laughing her head off about a display of "small" boxes and books.

Oh well, I had a grand time. That is, until my Mother came over and said, "Linda, that's enough - let's go!" Even though I'm well past the age when my Mother can tell me what to do - and I do mean well past the age - I dutifully said, "Yes, Mother!" So, I picked up the 3 little boxes that I wanted and went to find a register.

I hope you're wondering by now which 3 "small" boxes I chose. If you are, here's the ones I decided to buy and why.

Why do I like it? Because it has the cutest little gnome inside and a tiny little book all about gnomes. Now I know that some people can't stand garden gnomes and some people can't get enough of them. I, personally, just love the little gnome and gnome history book. Maybe he'll bring me good luck. I'll have to put him on the top of my monitor for good "gnome" luck.

Fairy Fancies contains a tiny little paper fairy with two sheets of clothing and accessories to dress your fairy by and a tiny little book on "fairy folklore." I was thinking of giving this to one of my granddaughters as she is "fairy obsessed" but have decided to keep it for me. It just the cutest little "paper fairy." Maybe I'll put her next to my gnome on the top of my monitor. Then I'll have "gnome and fairy" luck.

Now you might wonder why I wanted this little box about calligraphy. Well, I have loved calligraphy and have wanted to try it for a long time. I've just never had the time to so so. Add that to a long list of crafts I want to try. In any event, I was intrigued by the tiny little history of calligraphy book inside the box. It also contained a few sheets of paper, a tiny calligraphy pen, and a tiny bottle of ink. I thought, maybe I could read about the history of calligraphy and give it a "tiny" try. Hmmmm..... Maybe not! So, my tiny bottom of ink and calligraphy pen are sitting right next to my gnome and fairy.

Reminders of things I'd like to learn and my "small" obsession.

Oh, well. There are worse things in life than a "small" obsession. Now if I could just get my Mother to go to the bookstore again I could get some more "small" boxes.