Category Archives: dolls

Friends and Gifts

The garden is so appealing at this time of year. It’s satisfying to clean things up and trim bushes. I bought some chrysanthemums and snapdragons so I’ll be ready when the zinnias fade…but until then, I don’t know what to do with them. Maybe I was too hasty.

I spent quite a mantis 9-11-14while in the hot sun on Friday and Saturday, enjoying the pungent smell of the santolina that I was shearing down to stubs. It reminds me of the sagebrush of the desert or the bushes that grow at the beach. I met this mantis there. After I studied him and followed him for a while I had to get back to work, and I couldn’t notice if he went into the lavender or the rosemary, both of which had more hiding places remaining. I wonder which herby scent he likes best?

Mexican Evening Primrose

I cleaned up the bed where the Mexican Evening Primrose grows, hoping that it will look like this again next spring. It’s a great plant for dry California summers, only needing water a couple of times all summer long.

My friends and relations have been so good to me lately. I recently told you about Garden P1110326Doll who was a gift from my goddaughter. Last month another good friend went to South Carolina and brought me back an Appalachian story-telling doll, who is Little Red Riding Hood, the grandmother and the wolf all in one doll, if you just turn it upside down or switch the bonnet around. I can’t wait to show her/them to the little grandchildren.


My Dear Pennsylvania Cousin and I had been talking about Rumer Godden’s books, when she discovered this copy of The Mousewife on her shelf, and promptly mailed it to me. I read the story last night and — what a blessing! I may never have read that one otherwise, because the blurb I saw about the story made me think ill of the mousewife. Instead, I found her to be nothing less than a kindred spirit and an inspiring example.

Dolls and books, friends and flowers — sounds pretty typical for me, maybe. But no, each encounter has been a unique anP1110327d new treat. I guess I couldn’t tell you about all of the things I’m thankful for recently, or I’d be writing all day to do them justice. And I like to take some time to browse the good things in other blogs, too.

Which reminds me: I’m pretty sure there are people reading my blog who never comment, and maybe some of you have your own blogs that I don’t know about? If so, please tell me sometime! And to everyone: May your week be full of pleasant encounters with unique gifts.

Garden Doll and Summer

fennel and nasturtiums

Summer is not over! On this I heartily agree with Jody. I’m glad she wrote about late summer (and new potatoes) so eloquently, because she reminded me that I also wanted to reflect on this time of year. Perhaps we have a similar perspective because our years of homeschooling allowed us to flow with the feeling of the air around us, rather than to have our energies diverted away from the real and natural seasons of the earth.

In my micro-climate there is precious little summery feeling to begin with, and no matter what the high temperature of the day, if the thermometer drops below 60 at night, and we wake up to fog that hangs on until noon…well, it’s hard to be content with that.

P1110177moth crp lrgBUT if the tomatoes are coming  to the peak of production, and we get a day that starts out sunny and stays warm through the dinner hour — Praise God for SUMMER! That’s how today has been, and it’s very comforting.

My dear goddaughter gave me a present of her hippie Garden Doll. The story of this doll — why she was made and why she was given — is meaningful to the giver and me, but essentially unexplainable to anyone else. For that reason I didn’t plan to share her here. I didn’t want her to go where she might not be appreciated; she’s that special to me that I feel protective of her.

You will think I have been reading too many Rumer Godden books. Perhaps, but I think they have done me good. And I decided after all to show her picture because her face is like the sun, so appropriate for her theme, and makes her perfect for a summertime gift as well.

garden doll slant

Maybe Soldier son brought some heat with him from his home in the Sacramento area this morning. Did you know that people sometimes call our state capital SacraTomato? It’s a good place to grow tomatoes. He drove over to help us with various home maintenance projects, and afterward he suggested we have bacon-lettuce-and-tomato sandwiches for lunch. It was National Bacon DaP1030481(1)y after all. Just lucky the weather cooperated.

He helped pick the lovely red fruits I have been neglecting, and we assembled those sandwiches that are also a sign of summer. They are not worth eating if they don’t contain homegrown-quality tomatoes.

Just a few days ago Maggie told me, “Grandma, it smells like summer in your house.” Really?? Wow, what a surprise for me, and almost a rebuke for my discontent. We didn’t try to analyze that perception of hers that warmed my heart the way I was wishing summer would warm my body. I will just hold it in my mind’s treasure box along with the image of Garden Doll.

Just so you know, summer extends well into September in this place. So next month won’t be too late for me to tell you about The Summer Book and another one of Tove Jansson’s that tells a summer story. October will be soon enough to move on.

Would she give away her green doll?

My sewing room is also my prayer room and ironing room, and where I keep a big tub of knitting supplies, and my secret packages before they are wrapped as presents. And my big gym bag for when I swim. Of course it has to accommodate all the piles of fabric I’ve saved, and old clothes that I’m saving to use for the fabric when I make doll clothes or quilts. Ha! I so seldom sew anymore, much of this is largely theoretical.

Sometimes I have the thought that I should give away everything having to do with needle arts and fabric. But that doesn’t feel right, and I keep saving patterns I find online, and pictures of the sort of quilt I would like to make, and tutorials for making Waldorf dolls.

My most recent investment in the sewingly creative side of me was some gorgeous fabric from Weir Crafts. They have all kinds of things one could want for dollmaking, and as soon as I picked out my favorite colors and received my order of cotton velour, I wanted to take its picture. At first I restrained myself, thinking I should actually sew something with the fabric and take a picture of that, but all it took was Frances posting a photo of pretty fabric to weaken my resolve.

In addition to these colors I have some green that I didn’t wash yet. It’s the most delicious stuff to handle, and will make a nice First Doll for Ivy. Ah, but which color shall I start with? I picked out a pattern for the doll, something appropriate for a first-birthday girl, and then in the chapter on “Soft Dolls” I read,

A young child just emerging from babyhood needs gentle colours: white, cream, pink, lilac or pale blue….

A doll made for an older toddler can be sewn from fabric with a colour which appeals to the child’s temperament and general mood….

An outgoing or strong willed child will respond to a red doll because red energises, stimulates and gives confidence.

Blue is relaxing and peaceful; it will be appreciated by a thoughtful boy or girl.

Green is a harmonious colour and can encourage giving and sharing, while pink or lilac is restful and calming.

Yellow often excites and animates children, which is not too good for a quiet bedtime.

My most favoritest colors

Thank the Lord I didn’t read this before ordering my fabric, or I’d still be deliberating over whether I should be choosing for a young or old toddler, or over which moods and behaviors I want to encourage in my grandchild. If I give her a green doll she might give it away, and then I would need to sew her another!

Mostly what I think about is that if Ivy likes the doll she ends up with — and I’m quite content knowing that she may not — it could get dragged around a lot, and I really can’t see sewing it in white or cream, which would soon be just dirty.

Lilac sounds safe, and I plan to use it for this first doll, called Baggy Doll in the book. Baggy Doll has a hat, which I hope to make from some recycled wool sweater material in a different color.

It’s a lot of creative effort I’m putting in just making these plans. There was no place in my super-cluttered sewing room to lay out all the possibilities with enough space for me to think, so I have temporarily taken over two other currently unused bedrooms, one for the doll decisions and materials, and one for the ironing and laundry. Just getting that sewing room in order is a project in itself, which may have to wait. But at least I will be able to uncover the sewing machine.

Susan at Sun Pours Down Like Honey posted a good thought today,  oh-so applicable to me and my stuff:

It’s not a group activity. It’s what you do or don’t do, what you do with your days, your time,
to move towards your goals.
Choose hourly, daily. It’s entirely your deal.
Discipline is remembering what you really want.

Wish me luck!

Stages of Flowers

This evening I brought in a few stems of Cécile Brunner roses to decorate my windowsill. I notice that a couple of the roses have buds sprouting from the center of the flower, and I don’t think I’ve seen that phenomenon before.

Actually, this one seems to have two buds coming out.

My godmother is collecting rose petals for throwing at some point in her daughter’s upcoming wedding. As I have to be out of town and will miss the event, it made me happy to be able to contribute some petals, which I acquired by picking spent blooms from another friend’s prodigiously blooming bushes. It took me about a half hour to collect a couple of grocery bags full, and another hour to sift through and take out insects and stems. I set them to drying in an ice chest and a big tub, and while they sat in the sun the remainder of bugs seem to have departed. A few times a day I am stirring them.

The Patty’s Plum poppy that Pearl gave me years ago has three blooms this year! I may have already put up a photo of one. But this third flower is the prettiest yet. The plants stand about a yard tall.

Kate sent me a pot of Lily of the Valley bulbs for Mother’s Day. Less than a week later they are already a couple of inches high. I have Miss Grenadine keeping me company on the windowsill above the sink these days; she can help keep an eye on the shoots.

All over the garden I’ve been digging holes and putting in various other flowers: zinnias, mimulus, mixed colors of California poppies, African daisies, lobelia, morning glory. In a few weeks I should have more flowery pictures to show. I’ve been putting my tools away every night and have swept the patio. Everything is ready for you to come and visit my garden!