Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hazel Hornbeam: Another Little Gnome Doll

Last night marked the completion of another little gnome doll. Her name is Hazel Hornbeam, and she is the daughter of Posey Hornbeam (one of the other gnomes that I've made). She stands 5-3/4 inches tall (including her hat) and her weight is yet to be determined as I forgot to weigh her last night. She took about twenty-eight hours to complete and is 100% felted wool made with size 38, 40 and 42 needles.

This makes five gnomes for the diorama that are finished! Only thirteen more to go, right?! I took them all out this morning for a group photo, just to see what a bunch of them looked like together. I'll be starting another "adult-sized" doll this afternoon, but I haven't decided for sure which one it will be.

Hazel and her family will be in the Winter section of the diorama, so she has boots, a coat and a fur hat on to keep her warm! She will also be holding something, but we haven't decided just what it will be yet, so her hands are free right now.

If you would like to see more pictures of Hazel, then click here or on the entry title above to see her photo album.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

On the Good Ship Lollipop . . .

Over the past weekend Elizabeth and I decided to have a "Shirley Temple Fest". It all started because we tried to watch our trusty, old VHS tape of The Little Princess, only to find that there was no sound left on the tape and that the top of picture appeared on the bottom part of screen while the bottom part of the picture appeared on the top part of the screen! To put it blunty, the tape was broken.

Disappointed, but not to be discouraged, we decided to check out a "few" DVDs from the library. In the end, we checked out ten . . . and watched them all! I've always loved Shirley Temple, but Elizabeth wasn't into those "depressing" movies like The Little Princess. Well, her opinion has changed. We have a bunch more DVDs coming into the local library and are looking forward to seeing them next week. Our Aunt has always loved Shirley Temple movies. She watched them on TV when she was growing up and she still watches them, so I guess it runs in the family!

Curly Top was always our favorite Shirley film when we were little and still was . . . until we saw Stowaway! Wow, that was great. It stars Robert Young and Alice Faye alongside an eight-year-old Shirley which makes for a great film. Shirley's song You Gotta S-M-I-L-E to Be H-A-double P-Y is a must see! To see an adorable young Shirley (her first starring year) then you've got to watch Baby Take a Bow and Bright Eyes. You'll want a little "mistletoe kiss", too! For some fabulous dances with Shirley and Bill Robinson (Bojangles) then try The Little Colonel, Just Around the Corner, and The Littlest Rebel. You can understand why there's never been another child actor like her! She's a one-time find, and it's so cool that she was captured on film.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Beanie-Baby Princess Bear After 13 Years!

It's been almost thirteen years since Princess Di was killed in a car crash. We were arriving in Washington D.C. at the time, having driven there with our grandparents for a ten-day vacation to our nation's Capitol!

As we pulled into the R.V. park Grampa bought a newspaper and found the front page news about the car crash. We spent most of the evening watching the news and listening to the radio. Days later we watched the funeral on television and drove past Embassy Row which was so filled with flowers and presents in honor of Princess Di that they actually closed the road off. Grampa went home and bought one of the commemorative Beanie Baby Bears called "Princess", in honor of Diana. He payed a pretty penny for his and kept it under a little dome on a shelf.

For years Elizabeth and I thought about that bear and admired it when we visited their house. We've always wanted one, just because it is one of the few "major" events that we've actually seen on the news in "real" time, but it wasn't very likely to happen.

Thirteen years may seem like an awfully long wait, but in the last few months we've actually gotten two! One for each of us! We found the first one at a thrift store for a dollar, still with the tag and plastic cover in tact. Elizabeth found that one, so she's had it decorating her bunk bed for a few months. Amazingly, we found another one at a sale yesterday for only fifty cents! So cool!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Roy Rogers is Finally on a Postage Stamp

Hooray! Roy Rogers, the King of the Cowboys, finally has his own postage stamp. We honor the Lunar New Year and "Abstract Expressionists" on postage stamps, but we've never honored those good old American Icons: cowboys! Finally, they've decided to make a set of stamps for the "Cowboys of the Silver Screen". They aren't the prettiest things ever, but it's certainly a step in the right direction. I mean, no other country has ever had cowboys (not our kind), it's a totally American thing, so why aren't we proud of that instead of "abstract expressionism" which looks like art class projects?! Well, that was my soap-box for the day . . . got it out of my system!

We went to up to the "shopping district" today and to the chiropractor and were absolutely amazed at the amount of leaves and flowers that are popping out. The yards all over are filled with dandelions (shouldn't be out for another month at least), but the flowering trees are all in full bloom. So, you're driving down the road looking at a Spring-time, pink-flowering tree with a Summer green lawn full of dandelions below. Very strange looking. Below are pics of the cherry tree, one of the lilac bushes and some daffodils. Click on them to enlarge.

Samwise is being really cute right now, and I just tried to take his picture, but he's not co-operating, so you'll just have to believe me that he's the cutest cat in the world!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

We Went Fabric Shopping!

There is nothing more fun than fabric shopping! Okay, maybe a trip to England would be better, but not much else, right? It is especially fun when we get to go to one of our favorite fabric shops in "Amish Country". It is quite a drive from our house, but well worth it as they have tons of different fabrics: flannel, cotton, corduroy, chenille and . . . minkee!

To coin a phrase, "too many fabrics and too little time". Not very original, I know, but still very true. We found all kinds of things that we couldn't live without, so it looks like the sewing machines will be coming out this week! Elizabeth and I have been collecting fabric to make all kinds of baby things for years. By the time we get married and have a baby, the nursery stuff will be all ready. Well, we got some more fabric, but this design was pretty original. It is a fabric called Hello Baby. It is "baby signs", as in American Sign Language words for baby!

(Click on pics to enlarge them.)
You can see a bunch of the material that we got in the picture of the whole stack of it above. That's not even all! Just the other day, Elizabeth and I were moaning over the fact that we'd never found Yogi Bear fabric, and just before we were ready to leave the store yesterday Elizabeth spotted Yogi fabric on the shelf. Wow, can you beat that? Elizabeth also got fabric to make a crib quilt for her baby, and the colors are gorgeous (it is the material at the top of the stack in the picture), but I'll wait until it's sewn to post pictures of that one. More later . . .

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Primrose: A Child-Sized Gnome

I finally finished the first child-sized needle-felted gnome doll! Her name is Primrose (she's based on the same books as the others) and she is Toby's granddaughter. She will appear in the "Autumn" section of the diorama, along with Toby, where she will be picking some mushrooms.

Primrose stands five inches tall (including the mushroom hat), weighs one ounce and tood about thirty hours to complete. She is solid wool felted with a size 40 and 42 felting needle (with an occasional poke from a size 36!). If you would like to see more pictures of Primrose, then you can click here or on the entry title above to see her photo album.

What today might bring . . .

I am trying to decide which gnome to start felting next, so far I think it will be another little girl. We've been planning some other projects, more along the sewing line, so we might be going out to our favorite fabric store out in "Amish Country" today!

This has been brought about by the fact that we've been browsing online through the new releases in fabric and it seems that this is a jackpot time. There are three lines of fabric all featuring gnomes, cool huh!? The buttons below are links to them if you're interested.

The garden is amazing all of a sudden. We went out there two days ago and there are actually flowers up already, not to mention that the lawn is full of blooming dandelions! That's over a month early for those, so it looks like it won't be long until we start mowing the grass. Hooray! It's still too difficult for me to walk on the uneven yard, so Elizabeth is going to take some photos of the garden and I'll post them soon. More later.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Rapid Growth of Elizabeth's Hobby Tree

Elizabeth has been "branching" out in her hobbies lately. Quite a statement since her hobbies are already the equivalent of a huge oak tree, so "branching out" means that pretty soon, her tree will be a sequoia! Just kidding. :)

It's amazing how small things can lead into such big things, the same with bad things leading into good things (It seems to me that this'd be a good time for a serious theological discussion, but Mom says not to get off track on all kinds of bunny trails!). Well, we got a movie from the library the other day, The Letter, with Bette Davis. Boy, was it a bad movie. Did I say it was bad? It was bad.

But one good thing did come out of it. Bette Davis' character in the film spends a lot of time crocheting lace, and that so inspired Elizabeth to teach herself how to crochet lace, that she's done it already! The picture above shows the results over the last few days. The largest piece is her first attempt and the cream colored one (also shown by itself) is the latest addition. It is made of 100% Bamboo thread! Just to show what a great sister she is, she is making a scarf for the top of my Victrola out of that 100% Bamboo thread! Wow! She's a real gem, I'm telling you.

As if all that crocheting wasn't enough fun, she also decided to try her hand at needle-felting. It seems that she's just great at everything new thing she tries! The brown chicken is her first project, followed by the white one. (The tag on the chicken is a joke from a computer game that we'd been playing that day.) The honey pot was a present for me. She says that it's to remind me of my real honey pot, my cat Samwise!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Thinking of Grandparents

Elizabeth and I have had the special blessing of knowing all of our grandparents. When we were little it was absolutely impossible to imagine them being anything but what they were: grandparents. We certainly could not imagine them as children. Had they been children? Mom and Dad had never been children, so how could gramma and grampa have been? That's what we thought anyway.

Over the years it became easier to imagine our grandparents as children and young people. Mom's parents were lots easier as there were plenty of pictures in the house of them growing up. Dad's parents were different though. There was only one picture of his Mom as a child, about five years old, in a frame on the mantle and there were no pictures around of Grampa under the age of twenty-one.

Two years ago we went back to Miami to visit the family and decided to take the laptop with us. We visited all the aunts and uncles and spent days scanning any old pictures into the computer. Since they all came from Cuba in the 1960s there weren't a huge quantity of photos saved. But . . . we found one picture of Grampa when he was about two years old! How cool. Ever since then I've been able to totally imagine them as children.

Gramma and Grampa were very beautiful people, and they still are. How I wish that I looked just like Gramma! I'd have married Grampa myself, except that Gramma married him first . . . sigh. The first picture above is of the photo frames in my desk that have their "child" pictures in them. The next photos are their engagement photos from 1947. More later.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Believe it or not . . .

. . . there are days when my computer desk is clean! Here is a picture to prove it. I finally couldn't stand it any longer and decided to clean the desk out this morning. There were so many papers and "misplaced" items that it was getting hard to do anything on the computer at all! Even blogging was tough, and when that happens, you know it's serious. Click on the picture to see the full-size view.

Elizabeth and I are nuts about musicals, old musicals that is. We've seen a lot, and the ones that we haven't seen the whole of we've usually seen a part of them. Well, we actually got a musical this week that we hadn't even heard of and that is a fun thing!

The musical is called Deep in My Heart and is a bio-pic of operetta composer, Sigmund Romberg. That made the occasion twice as fun, since Romberg wrote a good portion of the songs that Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald were famous for singing. Not only that, every number was performed by a different guest star which always means high-quality numbers.

Stars included Helen Traubel, Gene and Fred Kelly (wow!), Vic Damone and Jane Powell and tons of others. Then came this number, almost at the end of the picture, and I just kind of forgot anything that had come before. It's Tony Martin singing Lover, Come Back to Me, in a way that you'll never hear again.

I always like to see any of my "princes" billed in a musical, and I don't think that any of their numbers have ever disappointed me, but this one was even better than I would have expected. He's got an amazing voice and is perfect for this song. That earns Mr. Martin five gold stars, considering that he's even singing a song that I heard sung by Nelson Eddy first! Hope you all enjoy the number as much as we did.

All in all, Deep in My Heart was a very enjoyable bio-pic. We also voted it a "tie" for best bio-pic ending along with I'll See You in My Dreams (the story of lyricist Gus Kahn). Romberg's Carnegie Hall performance and "impromptu" release of When I Grow Too Old to Dream is an ending not to be missed!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Lions & Tigers & . . . Jungle Babies! Oh My!

Jungle Babies here, Jungle Babies there, Jungle Babies everywhere! So, you're wondering what are "Jungle Babies"?! It is a line of fabric that came out this last year and is absolutely adorable. I've got all kinds of different fabric that I'm collecting for my "one day down the road" nursery. After all, it's always better to plan ahead!

Mom and Elizabeth took some of the Jungle Babies flannel, found more coordinating flannels and made a gorgeous quilt for my crib! The top and bottom have satin binding and Elizabeth sewed a blanket stitch along the sides. The back (and the light green squares on the front) are a fabric called "soft and cuddly" or something. That is an understatement. It's so soft and so cuddly, that your brain can barely take it in as you feel it!

Click on the picture to see a larger view. Once you click on it you can really see the patterns on the materials. The dinosaurs are special since the "theme" in my nursery will be Jungle Babies plus Dinosaurs! More on that later . . .

Monday, April 5, 2010

I got a "new" Nelson Eddy scrapbook!

Nelson Eddy. That's a name that really makes me grin. I'm a nut about him. Oh boy. Mom and Elizabeth have helped me out through the years with this "problem" by giving me a huge Nelson Eddy scrapbook from the '30s for Christmas. They even gave me a postcard with a genuine autograph on it. Alas, all this has succeeded in doing is making me even more crazy about him!

Very happily, I was able to aquire another Nelson Eddy scrapbook a couple weeks ago! This is not a very large scrapbook (42 double-sided pages in all), but it has something special in it. The girl who kept it actually saw him in person twice and saved both programs and one ticket stub! Cool, huh?!

The girl who kept it was named Adrienne Auerswald. She was actually a pretty famous voice teacher when she grew up and only just passed away. She lived in Tulsa at the time she was keeping this scrapbook and saw Nelson Eddy in 1936 and 1937. Wow! Just imagine. I guess I was just born about seventy years late . . . sigh.

These are just pictures of some of the things that I thought were especially cool. Just click on any of the pictures to enlarge them. Hope you enjoy them! After all, nothing can beat Nelson Eddy.