Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Beaut new book.

I couldn't resist this lovely book. I found it in one of those catalogs that come in the mail and sent away for it. 99 Granny squares. How could I resist? Being mathmetically challenged I haven't even tried to calculate how long I'll have to live in order to make a rug from each pattern but just looking at the pictures is a treat. Of course I needed another craft book like needed an extra head but next to being a compulsive yarn buyer I'm a compulsive book buyer - totally addicted. I've tried aversion therapy - you know that's where you swamp yourself with your addiction until you can't bear the sight of them and I've got to tell you it doesn't work. So now I'm off to swim in them, wade through them, roll in them, breathe them in. And when I'm totally intoxicated I'll pick up a crochet hook and try out some of those pretty granny squares. Bye for now until next time.

Monday, September 28, 2009

One of the wee folk?

Bob, one of the woodworkers, gave me this funny little man. Bob likes to make wooden toys that move and has made some very cute little working models. This little one was intended to be a tiny puppet but Bob was not happy with it and, rather than throw it away, handed it over to me. Bob suggested that I should paint it but I'm not so sure. I rather like its natural look.
Here is a little doll that I made for my first grandson when he was a baby. At age 15 and over 6 feet tall, he is well over baby toys and dolly found her way back to my place several years ago. If I can work out how to do it I'd like to make her the header of my page. Wish me luck. She is knitting a patch on her shoe.
Its absolutely freezing here today, as it was over the weekend also. In a few months I'll be whinging because it is so hot. Some of us are never satisfied.
Bye for now, until next time.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

New Shoes

Perfick!! I'm really pleased with these little shoes. The doll that was given to me to restore came wearing only one little vinyl shoe, the other having been lost many years ago. I pulled the shoe apart and used the pieces as a pattern for the new ones. I used a scrap of damask that I found in my stash and lined them with some taffeta. If I'd had some vinyl handy it would have been a lot less work but I'm happy with the way they look anyway.
If you think that strap was too difficult to get under the foot of my machine to sew a buttonhole you're right. I used press studs instead. So dolly got new shoes and since I enjoyed making them so much, so did a couple of other barefoot babies in my collection (yes, Grandma plays with dolls). I'll keep this pattern because it was easy to make.
Raining like mad here at the moment. Wonderful! We really need it.
Hope you have a lovely weekend. Bye for now, until next time.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ready for Home

Here is dolly, ready to go home. Her owner got a wee bit teary when she saw her as dolly had been a gift from her Dad, on his return home from a long trip away, when she was a little girl of six. Dolly is now to be saved in case my friend should happen to become a Grandma.
Dropped into Woodies today. What a hive of industry. Kits for 150 roll-top bread boxes being cut to take out to a local Special School for the children to make up with our help. Didn't have my camera with me, wouldn't it? I'll be sure to take it with me next time.
Making those dinky little shoes was so much fun I'm off to make some more.
Bye for now, until next time.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Storm disaster

This is all that is left of our lovely wattle tree, cut down in all its golden glory one night by the wind storms that we had here a couple of weeks ago. Only the day before, I had been admiring it. Wattle always me feel good. Can you believe that I walked across our front yard next morning, head down against the wind, right past the fallen tree and didn't see it until I opened the gate and turned to walk back to the car. The tree completely blocked out driveway and half of it lay across our neighbour's hayshed.
Our neighbour, the farmer that owns the hayshed, trotted out one of his big machines and lifted the whole mess back into our yard, clearing the way for us to drive out. The man of the house has been busy with the chain saw, reducing the poor tree to a tidy pile of logs, and stuffing the council green-waste bin with the fine branches. Of course we will plant another. Our garden will be pretty gloomy at the end of winter without that lovely sunny tree.
Bye for now, until next time.

Busy Weekend

Considering that I live by Murphy's law I thought I would surely get this wrong but it turned out OK after all. Normally the prams and cots that we make at woodworkers are dressed by the lovely members of a local patchworkers group who turn out 60 sets a year for us. That's 60 mattresses, pillows and quilts but occasionally, for a one off special, I put a set together. (well I'm the only female in the toy group you see) My patchworking talents are definitely in the novice category so I stick to basic squares and pretty colours. Folk art is only something I do once a year to brighten up the prams so I never get enough practice to become proficient at that either. Thank goodness for bright colours that save the day every time. Only another eleven prams to go but there's no rush to do them and thankfully I can let the patchwork experts take care of the bedding for those.
Back to finishing off dolly. Hope your weekend was a nice one. Bye for now until next time.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Holding Breath & Gasping.

I know you can't hold your breath and gasp at the same time but I'm trying not to smell the air in our living room. Some poor creature has died somewhere in either wall, ceiling or under floor and the smell is awful. Last time this happened - just last year, the smell hung about for about two weeks. I'm really hoping it doesn't last that long again. The problem is that ours is a 90 year old farmhouse and those spots are pretty well inaccessible. So we can't get at it to remove the poor thing and just have to wait it out. Darn! We wanted to invite a neighbour along our road to dinner as his wife is visiting family in the U.S. and he is batching.
I have spent the morning, well just an hour or so really but it feels like more, painting flowers on one of the little prams that the woodworkers make for our favourite charities. Not the miniature size but a proper doll's pram. This one is a special 'one off' for Breast Cancer Research to use as a fund raiser. I wanted to do my best and, of course, that's when you make all the mistakes possible. Anyway, done now and I can relax and get on with making the bedding for it. Gotta go now, the sewing machine awaits. Bye for now until next time.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Move over Elle.

Here is dolly modelling her new underwear. Unfortunately she will have to wait a bit now as I have a rush job to do for the woodworkers. So much to do, so little time. Mum used to say (when someone asked her how she managed to find time for the fun things she did) "I make time." That was the one thing she didn't teach me. How to make time. If I ever learn how to do that I'll start a course in it. I think I'll have every busy person on my doorstep wanting lessons. On the other hand maybe someone has already started a course and I've missed it. Gotta go, so much to know the rest. Bye for now until next time.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Breakfast for two.

I've never tried to tame Mr. & Mrs. Magpie, so this is as close as I can get. Actually, I think I can now call them Ma & Pa Magpie as I think they are hearing the patter of little whatever-it-is-that-patters-in-birdland. For the past few days Mrs Magpie (that's her on the right) has been gobbling her breakfast very quickly then taking off for the paddock next door, where I think the nest is. Probably she has had eggs to keep warm. Mr. Magpie hangs about a bit, reads the morning newpaper, goes for a walk in the garden, you know the sort of thing. However, this morning they both grabbed beakfulls of breakfast and flew off with it, in the direction of said suspected nest. So it looks like the big event has occurred. Ah, Spring.
Here is a picture of my neglected garden. I know I'm not supposed to like these weeds (Oxalis) but I have decided that, since I can't get rid of them, I might as well enjoy them. They are pretty. Each year I pull out great handfulls of the stuff but it still comes back. As I said before, "Ah, Spring."
Must be off now, I'm planning to cut out some little shoes for dolly today. Bye for now, until next time.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Busy Saturday.

Well little Pepper went home yesterday. I must say it wasn't very flattering to see the excitement with which he made his exit - after all those walks, chasing games and ball throwing.
Today I'm tackling a pattern for some little wooden trains that are cut out on the band saw. I'll let you see them when they're done. Although I'm terrified of it the bandsaw is my favourite tool in the workshop. I must always remember that I'm handling something that could do me a lot of damage if I'm not careful, but I have had a lot of fun making doll's house furniture. Here is a little pram that I made. The dolls are made from wood too but turned on a lathe (the limit of my lathe capability) Their arms and legs are cut out with a scroll saw and held on with hat elastic threaded through the body. The nice little turned bowls with lids are made by the man of the house who is much better at lathe work that I am.
That's my African violet in the pot. I start them off by planting one of the leaves in some soil and keeping it damp but not wet. It's fun to watch a new plant slowly come into being. For me this is more interesting than dividing the crowns, though I do that also.
Mr. & Mrs. Magpie were back this morning for their free breakfast. I think the strong winds we have had damaged their tree and that is why they have moved house.
Hope all is well in your part of the world. Bye for now, until next time.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Frantic Friday.

All go today. Received an enthusiastic awakening this morning from little Pepper who doesn't believe in letting sleeping humans lie. No he didn't sleep with us - the man of the house let him in while I was grabbing that lovely last 40 winks. After a quick game of chasey-round-the-diningroom-table, he is off into the garden to check up on all the new smells.
M.O.H. (man of house) has gone to pick up some goodies that have been donated to the woodworkers club. We're fortunate in that respect, often receiving generous donations from those who want to help us with our toys.
I thought you might like to see this clock that was made from bicycle parts, by last year's club president. I know it isn't woodwork but Jack has already made a couple of wooden clocks and decided on a change. Of course it has attracted all sorts of clever comments about going faster down hill and pedaling to wind it up etc.
I'm off to sew some panties & petticoat for the doll and later Pepper's young master is coming to take him home. As I said before, "All go today." Hope you all have a great weekend. Bye for now, until next time.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Dog Training

This is Pepper who is always on the wrong side of a door. Either outside wanting in or inside wanting out. Pepper is the beloved pet of my grandson and is reputed to be a small poodle but we suspect that his mother may have had a clandestine relationship with a Bedlington terrier. He is a dear little fellow, affectionate, sweet natured and the light of my grandson's life. We are taking care of Pepper for a day or two and he sees to it that we keep up our ball-throwing practice though he hasn't quite mastered the bringing it back thing yet. Pepper also ensures that we get our daily walk which we all enjoy though I must say I can't work up the same interest in the things he likes to investigate. After all, when you've seen one lamp post, you've seen them all - haven't you?
The real estate in our garden seems to be undergoing a change, with the magpies moving house. They usually come back to the same nest each year but this year they appear to have taken a fancy to a des. res. in another paddock. I do hope they will bring their babies to visit.
Must go now as it's time for that walk. Hope your day is turning out well. Bye for now until next time.
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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Buried Treasure.

Look what I found under all that grime. This is the part I love about restoring a too-well-loved doll. (my hobby). Some scrub up even better than I hoped. I used her old body as a pattern to cut the new one. I washed and dried her old stuffing and added some new as well. Her skin came clean with a cloth wrung out in soap suds though, for those paint spots, I had to use one of those magic sponge things that are sold in hardware shops and are designed for taking nasty marks off appliances that you don't want to damage. I never use solvents of any kind or anything greasy on a vinyl doll.
Her hair needed only a good shampoo and a tiny spot of conditioner. Then it had to be untangled very carefully before brushing as brushing before sorting out the tangles can turn the hair into a frizz something like wire wool.
I will dress her in blue to match her eyes. I think my friend will be pleased with her.
I'm working on the little fellow beside her too but as I plan to knit for him he won't put in an appearance for some time.
Hope your day was as much fun as mine. Bye for now until next time.

Monday, September 7, 2009

U.P. Day

That's Unfinished Projects Day. Today I'm being very firm with myself. I've counted eight in all. I won't bore you with the list but they include knitting, sewing, crochet and one poor naked doll awaiting some clothes. (restoring her for a friend) My house is a clutter-buster's paradise, so this is me, rolling up my sleeves and getting to work. Where to start is the question and does it count as work if I do something I really want to do. In that case, the doll wins hands down.
Here she is, poor thing, left in the shed for years and chewed by the dog. She's a bit of a challenge but a new body and filling, shampoo and a jolly good scrub will make all the difference. Can't wait to get started. I'll let you see the finished project.
Bye for now, until next time.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Woodworkers Monday

The man of the house and I spent a few hours at the Woodworkers Club today, up to our ears in sawdust and paint as we all worked on the toys that the club makes to give away every year. We still have a good bit of finishing to do.
It's great fun to watch the bits and pieces come together to become the old-fashioned wooden toys that we loved as kids and are still enjoyed by children today.
We're mostly up to the painting stage now and many of the members take their work home with them to finish in their own time. I couldn't do much more than hit a nail with a hammer when I joined up six years ago and I've learned a lot in that time. It's a good bit different from knitting but if you can use a sewing machine it definitely helps you to use a bandsaw (now there's a scarey machine) and a scroll saw. Here's a picture of some of the toys we gave away last year to local underprivileged children and to some of those who lost their home in our bushfires last February. Yay! I've just learned to click and drag a picture. Onward & upward. Bye for now, until next time.

Visiting Cranbourne Botanic Gardens

There's a gardening expert down here at Cranbourne's Australian Native Botanic Gardens who tells me that if we plant the native plants that are indigenous to our area we never need to water them (once they're established). I like that idea as in this parched corner of the driest continent on earth, we must ration our water carefully, most of us using only harvested rainwater or household grey water to keep our gardens healthy. I could concentrate on watering only my specimen pots of exotic plants that need a little more pampering.
The local woodworking club, to which the man of the house and I belong, was invited down here today to demonstrate our club's activities. Folk are always interested and we meet some lovely people. Often gain a new member or two as well.
Pictured is some of the work we do at the club. Bob, one of our members made the little apple cart, Alan, the lacey clock, and Rick, the little, turned bowls with lids. Sorry I haven't learned to move pictures about. That'll come next, I hope.
Hope your day was as nice as mine. Bye now until next time.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Fine Saturday.

Here is some accommodation for the wee folk in my garden. No I haven't met any but who knows? The sun is shining today - a chance to pull some weeds. I might make their acquaintance.
Only two magpies came this morning to enjoy the tit-bits that I put out for them. Just a snack, not a meal - a little chopped lean meat. (too much fat's bad for them too). It's nesting time again and they're very protective of their offspring so invaders of any kind are treated with considerable hostility. They have very sharp beaks. The snacks that I offer are my passport to my garden as they seem to recognise me as benign and leave me alone. I make no attempt to tame them as I don't believe they should trust humans. Last year's baby has finally got the message and flown off to other pastures. It was a big temptation to make him/her a pet when the parents were giving him/her such a rough time but that would have served no good purpose. So now I am looking forward to the new babies. Clowns of the bird world, baby magpies, tumbling about like bear cubs and curious about everything. Watching them learn is very entertaining.
Off to the garden now. Weeds and wee folk await. Bye for now.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Starting Off.

Well, here I am sitting looking at a blank page, with an equally blank mind. The last time I made a diary entry it read, "Today John Barns gave me his pencil. I wonder if he likes me?" Things like that are important when you are 11 years old.
New to this blogging thing - spent most of yesterday with dear, patient Melanie who showed me the ropes, and now I am learning as I go.
I named my blog 'One Pair of Hands' in honour of my mother, who, born with one hand damaged pre birth,with three fingers missing, nevertheless reared a sturdy brood of six, making all our clothes, cooking all our meals, and in her spare time (what spare time?) doing all the things in my profile and playing the piano to boot. So often I heard her say, when yet another demand was made of her, "You'll have to wait a bit, I've only got one pair of hands." In fact she had less than that. A hard act to follow. The word 'can't' came from another language for her; one she didn't understand.
So, if there's one thing I've learned from her and have always believed, its that you never know what you can do until you try and it's never too late to find out.
So here we go. Let's see how I get on.