Monday, January 31, 2011

'Man overboard! Save the blanket.'

We just watched a new movie last night --- well, "new" to us. It's a movie from 1940, but most of us had never seen it! It's called It's a Date starring Deanna Durbin and Walter Pidgeon. Wow!

If you've never seen it --- then see it! And if the title of this blog post doesn't make sense to you, then definitely see it! Walter Pidgeon is hilarious in this one as "The Pineapple King". The man who makes three cents every time anybody eats a pineapple. Deanna is the daughter of a famous actress, and she's even better than her mother. So she says. The supporting cast is great with Henry Stevenson, Eugene Pallette and Cecilia Loftus. Not to be missed.

Other than selling some stuff on eBay, we haven't been up to much lately. Buddy and Kay were over for a visit today, and we're hoping to make it down to their place in the next week or so! Elizabeth actually bought something on eBay. It's a sheet music book of the six songs from the 1940s film Rachel and the Stranger. Believe it or not, they are all sung (in the film) by Robert Mitchum, and he actually recorded them on record. They're gorgeous songs, and we're thrilled to get the music. Now, on to the practicing. :)

We were snowed in again this weekend and didn't even make it to church. That makes three in a row! It's supposed to stay in the cold temps for another few days. Summer . . . how much do I love you? Let me count the ways.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pop's Fabulous Fly Tying

It all started because of Foyle's War. Well, that's where it started for the three of us girls. We saw the first episode where Foyle ties a "classic iron blue", and we were totally convinced that Pop should take this up as his full-time hobby. It took a long time to convince Pop, but he finally succumbed. He's even taken up fly-fishing. He says that it gives him a good reason to tie the flies.

As with anything that he decides to put his mind to . . . he's marvelous. Elizabeth seems to have inherited the same skill, which is quite lovely. They decide to do something, and poof! they are perfect at it! Wow. Pop's been working at his flies for the last week or so. I think that his Maytime fishing trip is seeming close. ;)

Well, he tied a beauty of a Jock Scott pattern the other night. It was from a pattern originally made in the 1800s and actually took him three hours to make, so he says it's only for display --- not fishing. His whole table looked so . . . professional. Just like a set in a movie or something, so I had to take a picture of it to post here! You should see his collection of colored feathers. He's always going through craft stores for bags of them, and our cousin even gave him some feathers from his little parakeet named "Pita".

Friday, January 14, 2011

Thoughts on Mohair and Wool Doll Hair for Felting

I ordered some doll hair online last week, and it arrived yesterday. Some of it is really nice, and with that all added to the other colors that I had . . . it's a pretty good collection! Mom picked up a bag full of several kinds and colors of natural doll hair at a thrift store several years ago. This was before I was even felting, but she figured it would come in handy. It sure did. We used it on the little felt dolls that we made (pipe cleaner bodies wound in embroidery floss with wool felt heads and clothes). These dolls were all about three inches tall, so they didn't use too much hair. We ordered two more colors online, but that was the end of it . . . we thought.

The majority of the hair was 100% wool from a company called All Cooped Up. It comes in "braids" around a piece of string. As soon as you pull on the end of the wool it comes off of the string and you have what looks like wavy hair. This stuff is really nice, and the colors really look like human hair (except for their "blond").

There was one long piece that was not wool, but we weren't sure what it was. Turns out that it is mohair. I used that for the first time on the Posey Hornbeam doll, and it really looked like real hair. Mom was sold, and it did look great. She and I were on the hunt for more at the fiber shows, but nobody seems to sell hair colored fiber at the shows. Although, we were able to get two packages of Mohair locks. Those are really nice, and I was able to use the darker color on the Mrs. Hood doll.

So, we thought that we would look up some places online that sold mohair doll hair. We found a place and ordered some straight black mohair and a 36" braid of honey blond hair. I can't wait to try it. I also ordered some new wool braids, and those look great. As beautiful as the mohair is . . . I still like the wool the best!

Mom and Elizabeth have talked me into making a set of dolls based on antique figurines of the Commedia Dell'Arte characters. This is actually pretty fun, as I love the novel Scaramouche, and have wanted to make some of the characters anyway. The first one is going to be Pierette. She's started right now, but she would be way too embarrassed if I posted any pictures of her as she appears in her present state!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wednesday Night Auction Deals

Last night was the weekly auction at the local auction house. It was snowing a lot yesterday, but Mom and I decided to brave the weather in the truck. We just made it, but it was sure worth it! We came home with a bunch of stuff (Mom got about seven boxes of craft stuff for $2.00!), but there were two real "deals" for the night. First, a whole stack of nineteen pieces of feedsack fabric for only $15.00! We were pretty happy about that, as she's always wanted just one feedsack, but it was a bit out of our budget. Here's a picture of the stack:

The other deal was a complete setting for eight of dishes made in Occupied Japan! Mom collected Occupied Japan figurines for years (before we were born), but had never been able to afford a set of dishes. She was sure that she wouldn't get them, but in the end she actually got the whole set for only $10.00! They are still wrapped in newspaper at the moment, but I'll hope to get a picture of them soon. We've got to decide where to put them . . .

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

This will be a date to remember!


Now that's a date to remember! This only happens once every decade. Well, the date may be interesting, but we've had a nice nondescript day. I got a new computer game yesterday, and as lazy as it sounds . . . I spent a couple hours playing it! It's called Westward Kingdoms, so I'm a traveling prince out to save four kingdoms! Wow.

Last night we watched a FUN movie. We finally got Lights of Old Santa Fe (with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans) on DVD. That means that instead of the cut version (52 minutes), we have the full version (77 minutes)! Boy, is it amazing. There were three songs cut and most of the plot advancing things. That was quite enjoyable. More later.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Autographs from Amanda Root

Another reply from one of our fan letters came today! This time it was from Amanda Root (she played "Anne" in the 1995 film of Jane Austen's Persuasion). We are so thrilled. She was one of the people that we were really hoping would reply, but no one had replies posted anywhere online. It took Elizabeth a couple weeks to find the address alone!

Not only did she send each of us a gorgeous photo, but she also sent a long letter, too! We've had several personal replies, and that is so nice. It makes the actors so "real". Something makes me think that the two of us are going to be working on our scrapbooks over the next couple of days!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hercule Poirot as a Needle Felted Doll

Mom has always been a nut about the Poirot TV shows. So, we decided that a little wool-felted Poirot doll would be a perfect Christmas present. This happened in March, as soon as I finished the first two gnomes. It took a couple of months for us to start working out the logistics. We sent for autographed pictures from David Suchet and Hugh Fraser (Poirot & Capt. Hastings in the TV shows), and with the help of a friend in the UK, managed to keep them a secret from Mom.

Added on Jan. 23, 2013:
We have now designed a miniature Poirot doll made of wool and wool felt.
These are available in our Etsy shop, and you can check them out by reading
THIS ENTRY here on my blog.

Added on May 12, 2013:

I have now made two more felted Poirot dolls (slightly larger than this one). To see pictures of them and to read their story, just see their entry by CLICKING HERE.

The next problem was the box. Elizabeth wanted a dark colored box (black or navy blue) with a velvet lining. Sounded good, but no amount of browsing at Hobby Lobby or any other store was supplying even one option. We were even open to covering over a box and making our own lining, but nothing was the right shape, size or feel. This one had to be perfect.

Then, in early June, we stopped in at a thrift store to drop off some stuff. While Elizabeth was looking through LPs, and Mom was looking through something unknown, I just kind of wandered around. All of a sudden . . . there it was! Sitting on a shelf with a bunch of picture frames was a thin, navy blue box. It was the perfect height for a doll. What was even cooler was the fact that it was velvet lined! God is amazing!

We decided to change things around now that we had this perfect box. It opened the wrong way, so Elizabeth sliced the velvet out and reversed the foam lining underneath. Once it was put back together she painted the logo on the top with a white gel pen. She's so talented. We spent a month working out the color and stance for the doll. We wanted the light gray suit, but I didn't have any light gray wool. That meant that we had to wait until the fiber show in September (not to mention telling a few fibs as to why we had to have light gray wool!). We looked high and low through the show, but no light gray was fine enough . . . until the last booth. Again, God is amazing!

Elizabeth decided that it would be really cool if we could put the autographed photo inside the box. The photo that we had was just not the right shape or size, no matter what we tried. So, we sent another photo to Mr. Suchet with a letter explaining what we were making and asking that he return it before Christmas. This was on the first of October, and his response time is usually about six weeks. No problem, except . . . he must have taken some time off, because he wasn't signing anything after September (that we could tell by the fan sites). We resigned ourselves to no autograph and figured that we'd print a plain picture to go in the box.

Work, work, work and the doll still wasn't quite finished on Christmas. Not to worry, though, since Elizabeth hadn't finished the Secondhand Lions toys either. We all voted to postpone out Christmas presents until the following Sunday (January 3). Some point in the middle of the week a #10 envelope arrived. Elizabeth didn't recognize it, so she threw it on Mom's desk with the other mail. I had an inkling of what was inside, so I snatched it up before Mom could see it and ran off to open it. It was! It was the picture with a gorgeous personalized autograph! It hadn't even been mailed through the agency, so Mr. Suchet actually had to do it personally. He had even mailed it before Christmas, and it just took a little while to arrive. We were on Cloud #9 for the rest of the day. God's timing really is perfect!

Elizabeth put the picture in the box with a black mat, and we were almost finished. Actually, we didn't put the finishing touch (the little purple flower in the lapel pin) on until we were actually wrapping up on the very day that we opened presents! Nothing like finishing in the nick of time.
Well, this entry is a lot longer than I had anticipated, so we'll get on to the statistics. Poirot is seven inches tall (including his hat), weighs two ounces and took about 28 hours to complete (felting time, that is). He was felted with a #40 and a #42 needle and is made of 100% Merino wool. His watch chain is actually sterling silver. Elizabeth made the chain and lapel pin with old jewelry parts that she had.

If you want to see more pictures of the Poirot Doll, CLICK HERE.

Monday, January 3, 2011

This is the BEST Present Ever!

What is more fitting for the first post of the year than pictures of the coolest present?! We just opened our Christmas presents yesterday (We didn't get the homemade presents done in time for Christmas day, so we waited a week!). This is a present from Elizabeth and Dad to me. Dad cut them out and put them together, and Elizabeth did all the painting. She is absolutely amazing!!

I'm just nuts about the movie Secondhand Lions --- particularly the cartoons that appear in Walter's workshop and the end credits. Elizabeth has painted two wall plaques and framed a pencil drawing of some of these cartoons. We've chosen another cartoon that, one day, she's going to paint as a mural on a wall in my baby's nursery. Pictures of that stuff to come.

This time she made a set of pull toys and a giraffe. They are all made of wood and she did all the painting! She's amazing. Walter is the leader of the pack and has a nice long rope with a big wooden bead for a handle. Then comes the cute little pig, followed by Jasmine the Lion! Of course, Walter can be pulled by himself or with either of his little friends, but who would want to leave any behind?! The giraffe is just too tall to be a pull toy, so Elizabeth says she'll make a table lamp out of him. All of the tails are made of painted cotton rope. This is definitely the best present ever!