Tuesday, August 31, 2010

late summer visitors

the lavendar plant is really popular with the bumble bees and butterflies! i should probably try to take cuttings, it's huge now and i don't know how long a plant lasts?
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Friday, August 27, 2010

control freak boyfriend

Oh, scary, I'm just watching Oprah, and they are talking about violent relationships. They are describing how violent relationships start, what patterns are telltale warning signs, 'red flags', and it's like a step by step account of my last relationship before I moved to Ireland! The flatteringly persistent guy, eager to move the relationship on quickly, always wanting to know where I was, hating if I spended time with my friends or family and always making me feel guilty about it, really jealous und untrusting (with no reason!), trying to control every aspect of our life, down to the way I washed the dishes... I am so glad I got out when I did (even that took a while because he wasn't taking no for an answer and hassled me, and then, when I moved away, my parents...)! The women in the program were later hit by their husbands, seriously injured, and some nearly killed...

Only got about 3 hours of interrupted sleep last night, better go and get some more while the little one naps!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

more work on 'Puppe'

She got a pair of trousers to go with her top/very short dress, and I put her felt hair into pig tails. There was more minor surgery to her hands to get rid of the lobster look.

I also looked my pattern over and made some adjustments, mainly to the hands and shoulders. Will have to make another doll to see if the changes worked! But, as you can see from the photos, we're having an unusually sunny day, so I'll be off to the Grange with Emm and my friend Cath, for some coffee and cake and sunshine, and then maybe for a little dip in the sea! Just waiting for Emm to wake up!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

link to a wonderful blanket in progress


Isn't it just gorgeous? I love the colours... and the idea of different textures!

News here, i felt the baby kick for the first time last friday (18w). I felt it, and told P, and he put his hand on my belly and said 'you know it's very unlikely that I'll be able to - ooooooooh!' and he could feel it, too! I love it, it makes it so much more real, for both of us... And soon for Emm!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The second rag doll

I've made a second doll! She's as of yet unnamed, she goes by 'Dollie' or 'Puppe' so far. I really like her, she's so much better than the last. Here she is:
I meant to post as I go on making it, but my sister being over to visit meant that I didn't spend much time on the computer! I did however get time to do some stitching as we were sitting and chatting. I don't have photos of all the steps but I have some:

 This is my amended pattern (I used the one from before as a base): I added a neck and a dart to the head, rounded the shoulders and made the bottom narrower for the body. I made a different back body pattern by adding darts and increasing the width and length so that it would still match up. I added a foot shape to the leg and made it much wider,and  I added a hand shape (mitten style) to the arm and made it much wider, too. I got the idea for the hands and feet and the head dart. from the hop skip jump dolls, I just love her dolls! I know I could have bought the pattern, and be done with it, but I like the challenge of making my own, and changing it a little which each doll (I already have lots of amendments for the next doll planned!).

I cut all my body pieces from pale pink baby cord, and sewed the darts, neck and limbs with the machine. After turning and stuffing the limbs I basted them to the body pieces and handsewed them on. At this point I realised that I wouldn't just be able to tuck the limbs into the body while sewing all around it! Instead I turned the body, I thought I'd never manage it!

oh dear...very hard work!


I hand sewed the body and what was left of the head, and stuffed with some more pillow fiber. This sounds like I was nearly done at this point... But then I attached a lot of wool hair, strand by strand, decided I hated it, removed it, tried to fix the angle of the arms (which looked nothing like the above once the body was stuffed), gave up on that and ripped the seams and handsewed the arms back on. All this over the course of a week or so! 

After the woolly hair disaster I decided to go for felt hair instead, and found a great instructions in this purl bee felt doll tutorial :

 as i wasn't happy with the head shape

 i stuffed the 'felt wig' with some more of the polyester filling

 and then tried it on and whip stitched it in place.

I embroidered the face and M played with the naked doll for the afternoon. 

Here the two dollies are having a rest on the window sill. 

Emm's main demand was a nappy for the doll, and 'anziehen' (getting dressed), so in the evening I made some quick white knickers, and in the morning a simple sleeveless dress, held together with elastic at the neckline. Which brings us back to the first photo of this post!

Once I'd decided to make another doll I did lots of image googling, scanning through the pictures and checking any websites with those that I liked, this especially worked when I was looking for hair inspiration and tutorials! There are lots of great doll making resources out there, and photos for inspiration! 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I made a doll

She's a bit weird, something went wrong when I printed the pattern, I'm pretty sure the body and head turned out wider, and the arms and legs narrower! I started her last winter and stopped the work when I realised how skinny the arms and legs were. This weekend I took her out again and finished her today. I didn't want to invest too much more time in a wonky doll, so she just got a single layer of hair and a quickly embroidered face.. My mind is already on modifying the pattern to get more shape to the head. And bum, so she'll sit. And obviously fatter arms and legs! Emm seems to like her anyways, she's reading her 'Owl Babies' at the moment.

The pattern I used was from make-baby-stuff.com , I think it's a great and easy pattern, just be smarter than me and check your printer settings before you print!
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Friday, August 6, 2010

djeco fishing game

The little one got this gorgeous fishing game from a friend who just returned from her french holiday! Isn't it lovely? (took me ages to find a link to the right version of the game, she definitely got the cutest of them all!). I tried the amazon associates link, but it can't find it even though they have it:  http://www.amazon.com/Djeco-Magnetic-Tropical-Fishing-Toy/dp/B003ATO1NA . Not sure how it works, I thought it would be a handy gadget to find links to stuff, but it still seems to have bugs...

Anyhow, she thinks the flying fish is a rabbit, and starts singing 'twinkle twinkle' whenever she gets a hold of the star fish.

I have to stay away from the big toy shops here and constantly remind myself that toys don't have to be garish and plastickey! This game is such a nice example of beautiful design, colours and materials. We're just back from the house of a friend, who's boy's plastic toys were all over the place, and I'd just started wondering if I'm depriving my child because her toys mainly fit into 2 big boxes, and a lot of them are wooden or fabric. Then I remembered that she seems happy, and always finds something to do! And that I'm much happier in a halfway calm looking house! Trying to only get beautiful things for her also stops me from spending too much money, because I think three times before I buy anything!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

making gnocchi (a fairly colourless post)

I made gnocchi today. I figured it was time to have potatoes as we haven't all week, but fancied something different! The Silver Spoon had a recipe, it's basically a kilo of spuds, a fifth of that in flour, a pinch of salt and an egg, quite simple! I steamed the peeled potatoes (Queens), mashed them and mixed them with the flour, salt and egg (make sure the mix isn't too hot when the egg goes in!). This mix is kneaded until you have a flexible dough.

I divided it up in two batches, as 600+g seemed quite enough for the three of us! One half I put aside, for Kartoffelklösse tomorrow.

The other half I divided up again, and rolled into thin sausages.

Those I cut up with a pairing knife, into little pillows.

The pillows were rolled into little balls

 ...lots of them! You can see how I started to flatten them a little with the fork (I think too much, I was looking up some other recipes and you're supposed to hold the ball in your hand while pushing on it with the fork, but I left them on the plate! The Silver Spoon says to push them against the underside of a grater.). The other half of the dough I made into 7 Klösse (or Knödel) which I wrapped in cling film.

Emm was fascinated with the process, she probably thought it was playdough! I gave her a little piece to play with, but she immediately tried to eat it, and with the raw egg I reckoned that wouldn't be a good idea!

I didn't get to take pictures of cooking them, as I was too busy cooking them! You put them in small batches (I did seven or eight at a time) into salted boiling water, and when they start to float to the top you take them out with a slotted spoon.

I made a spinach and philadelphia sauce, improvised, to go with it, with some of the perpetual spinach from the garden. (I fried some garlic and chili in a bit of olive oil and butter, and removed them as soon as the garlic started to get golden. I added the washed and chopped spinach and put the lid on, for about 5 minutes. Then I added cream cheese and tomato cubes and seasoned with nutmeg, salt and pepper.)

I know, it doesn't look too appetizing in the photo, but trust me, it was delicious! They were light, soft and kept their shape and didn't disintegrate or dissolve! All in all a quite colourless dish, it could have done without the philly, but I tend to not think much before I throw something together! I might serve the gnocchi with a tomato sauce the next time, or with sage butter and a mixed salad!

By the way, Gnocchi is pronounced something like [n'yog-kee] rather than [g'nok-chee] or [g'no-chee[ as you might often hear, to the confusion or despair of Italian waiters wordwide, depending on the level of their experience!