URL: http://api.my.yahoo.com/rss/ping Parameter(s): u= HTTP method: GET Mama's Doodles: November 2006



I interrupt the crafting that is not happening over here to announce the following (which will likely halt the crafting all-together). I'm double posting this to both my blogs, but the subsequent posts will only be posted on Kenzie's Doodles:

Thanks everybody who posted comments on their own family traditions, and those of you who emailed me privately as well. I think I've got this "tradition" thing comfortably analyzed and confidently ready to implement. YEAH!

So...tomorrow is Dec. 1. Poor girl keeps saying "I dunno when Christmas will get here?"
Since she has no idea when Christmas will actually get here - I came up with the following idea:

Today, Kenzie and I will make a paper chain. I'll list a single activity on each chain-link. Each day when Doug gets home from work, and as an incentive to finish and expedite eating dinner:
she'll pull off a link, and watch the chain get smaller... We'll do the silly activity on the link we remove each day. I'll take pictures, of course. Hopefully, this will build excitement and understanding for our 2.5 year old - about WHEN the holiday will -actually- arrive.

I'm calling it an advent chain - as advent means:
• arrival that has been awaited (especially of something momentous)
• the season including the four Sundays preceding Christmas

Activities (one a day & in no particular order, except the last few):
Take annual photo of family reflected in Christmas ball (I'm envisioning this for our Christmas cards, but we'll see...)
Paint everyone’s toenails Christmas colors
Have hot chocolate with candy cane stirs
Star gazing at night (with hot chocolate, blankets, and heavy clothes)
Plant paper-white bulbs in handmade christmas vase.
Have a picnic under the Christmas tree
Write letters to Santa
Play Daddy's drums to some Christmas music
Wrap a toy and take it to a charity christmas tree
Dance like crazy to Christmas music
Watch a Christmas movie with popcorn
Take a drive to see Christmas lights
Make a snowman out of paper (or snow)
Learn how to say Merry Christmas in sign language
Hang paper snowflakes from the staircase bannister garland.
Make peanut butter pinecones to feed birds.
Paint Kenzie's face like Rudolph.
Make a Santa Claus.
Color Christmas pictures for the grandparents & cousins.
Pick & wrap present for our pets.
Make an Elf out of paper.
Make art from our Christmas cards
Make Christmas Candy or cookies.
Read a Christmas story, open one gift, and leave out milk and cookies for Santa. (Christmas Eve).

I think this will be fun for her. And then...I think this is how the real deal is going to go down:
We'll open one gift on Christmas Eve, the rest to be opened on Christmas morning after Santa has visited. She'll get a stuffed stocking and a big ticket item from Santa (in addition to some small stuff, because I've already purchased a plethora of gifts. I am however, one of those parents, who doesn't wish to make the event overwhelming and overstimulating. So, we haven't gone too overboard on the gift purchasing).

After opening presents, we'll make a special Christmas breakfast of Moon Eggs (a recipe from a friend). After breakfast - we'll head to Nana & Poppy's for their shenanigans. We'll have an early Christmas on the 16th with my side of the family to get things kickstarted...and escalate the wrestling match over leaving the current gifts under the Christmas tree.

And, as I was typing this - I glanced over to see the first flurries fluttering to the ground. It's officially snowing. The gal's asleep so we'll head out to play in it once she awakes. This however, was her in the freezing rain (a.k.a. sleet) that was plummeting us last night... The snow is becoming more significant, quickly.

Ah, sweet, sweet, Kansas. We're not in California anymore Toto....



Stocking caps

In preparation to the severe weather changes coming TODAY, I had this grand idea about making some stocking caps out of old sweaters. I destroyed my least favorite of the sweaters to test-drive the idea. I envision these heavily embellished of course. Obviously, they haven't quite reached that stage yet. :)
Our weather is dropping from the balmy upper 60's.. to the freezing rain and low 20's (with possible snow), by the way.

Living in California for the last several years means we don't have a stockpile of winter clothing. We've gotten some fabulous hand-me-downs for the kidlet, but I don't have too many warm & stylish hats. These were designed with the kid in mind, but they also stretch just enough to fit my head. (not that I'm going to be wearing hats with pom-pom poofy elements to them though!)

I always have trouble photographing stuff like this. It looks lifeless laying on a table or floor. But, I nearly had to duct-tape my daughter to the floor to take these shots. And, then, I only caught one photo before it was yanked of her head - and she proclaimed: "THERE. DONE!!" And the shots aren't terribly good either.

These are two hats. One with a poof on top. One with piggie-tail type poofs on the sides. Both are fairly cute in real life and demonstrate that the hat idea wasn't totally absurd. The photographing a child in a hat idea -was- absolutely aburd. But, the making hats (and even mittens) out of cool stripey, fuzzy, warm (hand-me-down or thrifted) sweaters is not.

Yet, another way that I've found to recycle and reinvent clothing. Why? I dunno.



Christmas has puked on my house!!

..and it's something I'm so excited about..that I'll write this post for the third friggin' time. The entire post keeps magically disappearing when I try to preview it. Silly me - is not even going to glance at the preview button this time....

I absolutely love Thanksgiving, but I think that most of my passion for that holiday is born of our tradition to decorate for Christmas the very next day. Kenzie and I were up bright and early on Friday tearing apart the house - in order to do this to it. My little family has moved every two years. From Kansas City, MO to Fresno, CA; to San Diego, CA; and back to the Midwest again (all in a four year span). And with the sale of three houses, they've always been on the market during the holiday season. So, I have not been able to give my Christmas decor the full gusto each of those years.

This year, Christmas has truly puked on my house. It looks gorgeous, despite the fact that we haven't yet gotten new paint on {more than} several walls. Because I can't preview this post (see above) and I have no idea which pictures fell where... so a summary of them is:
1. The mantle in our great room. Disregard the TV. Disregard the Husband watching the TV. If it hadn't been the "game of the year" I WOULD have made him shut it off, adjust the lighting, start a fire, and straighten the room a bit more. :) I still have a Santa collection which needs to nestle on the mantle.
2. Collections. I guess I should speak of them a bit. Somehow, I've managed to collect a great many Christmas things due to my mom and mom-in-law's generosity. I have Santa Clause collections, snow man ones, snow globes, nutcrackers, etc. I tend to sit everything with the rest of it's collection - on top of garland strung with lights, pinecones, fakey cranberry things, and silver glass balls. They are everywhere! So, here are just a few peaks at some of my favorite spots. I forgot to photo the dining room and the stairway banister which is garnished to the hilt. Heck, we even have Christmas in the bathroom!!!

I think I'm most excited about this pending holiday since Kenzie is 2.5, and this is the first year where she really, really "gets" things like this. She "oooohed and aaaaahed" so many times amidst the decorating extravaganza, and actually can keep her mitts off of the decorations that I tell her to leave alone. We did take a few spare decorations into her room even. We have lots of kid friendly things that she is able to play with all she wants though.

This year is important to me. We've got to do everything right now that she's formally paying attention. Like: the timing of the gift opening (Xmas Eve, Xmas morn?), the presents (does Santa wrap his gifts? Does he bring many? Or just one really special one?), etc. Finally, we're in the midst of memory making years and I find it humbling and horribly important to do things in a way that she'll be proud and excited about. Doug and I went shopping tonight and bought a decent load of gifts for the girl. We also had a nice dinner to ourselves, where we talked about our immediate family traditions and realized that we grew up doing things differently. Completely differently. So, we'll have to mix and mingle the traditions we both love best and design our own approach.

How do YOU do things? What are your favorite traditions? And, thanks in advance to anyone who offers insights.
Merry holiday decorating to you!!!




I've joined the bandwagon and ordered these Moo Mini cards. For the price, it's a great value. I'm going to attach them by cord to my handmade goods for sale. Love these cards. I'm going to concentrate on better photos of my product for the future batches of them. I had a hard time fitting my stuffs into the printable frame..and many things that I would have preferred to include (clothes, etc.) didn't fit in the frames in way that didn't ruin their effect.

I've also been playing around with my camera. I take A LOT of pictures of my daughter. I have also recently been asked to photograph my nephew as he passes through milestones. I'm going to take his Christmas photos this year - and would love to do a great one of Kenzie this year too. Has everyone noticed Soule Mama's great photos lately -- with blurring around the edges. I love that. I spent some time researching it and learned it's all about Depth of Field (DOF). I'm playing with my Portraiture setting, and hoping to catch some of the Christmas shots with this technique. I can set my camera manually or use the automatic settings. I'm too timid to use the manual settings on important photos. Practice, practice, practice. It's really a lot of pressure catching these special shots for other people. I'd hate to memorialize the little guy's first Christmas with a terrible picture. Fortunately, he's a cutie and easy on the photographer.

This shot, however, was one I took yesterday and I actually like of myself. WHY? I'm not so sure...but you might recognize the shirt in the shot as the recent reconstruction posting. Very little of me is caught in the shot...Perhaps that's why I like it. It's a mystery...


{Imaginary} Crafting with Kenzie

Today's imaginative play took a twist it never has before. Kenzie got all dressed up (choosing her shoes VERY carefully):

At this point, I was taking pictures because she was so cute. But, I had no idea where this was heading. She grabs a purse, which - I did not know - contained a blob of doll stuffing.

She then says: "Mama, I'm making a doll!"

Now, I make a lot of things, but that generally happens when she's asleep so she never witnesses the process. However, I will sometimes stuff doll bits (and I've made a good several dolls lately) after she wakes up. I'll narrate the process, making it as interesting as it can be for a 2.5 year old. Apparently, she WAS paying attention:

"Take the doll and stuff her."

"Skwooooosh it...and Moooosh it..and Smaaaaash it....and put the stuff in."

"Mama, I need some glue and that thing that can hurt you." (a needle). I remind her that those are not things that she can play with.


Ah, of course, this warms my crafty-mama heart and soul....!!



Under RE-construction

I have always enjoyed those self-portrait bloggers out there who take amazing shots of themselves. I've even tried it a few times and failed. I, historically, hate myself in pictures. The camera does add 10 lbs. after all. :) I'd love to participate in the Self Portrait challenges, but not until I figure out how to take a decent photo of myself.

To humor myself, I'll add my most recent attempts to document a shirt that has been ..reborn. The shirt is difficult to photograph, both on and off the body apparently. It's pretty funky now, and will look great dressed up and down.

Somehow, I always manage to look like a deer in the headlights, miss myself entirely, not notice that a mirror is REALLY, very dirty, or have a pimple showcased in the shot. I look really mad, really bored...or just really dumb. I look really old, or really young. In some of these, I look really shiny. "I" just never seem to truly make an appearance in the pictures. I mean - WHO is this girl??

Heck, in this one - I even look busty. I am NOT busty. Darn it.

Anyway, I got an edgy new haircut this past weekend, which always puts me in the mood for new funky clothes. I lost a gift certificate that I got for my birthday - so rather than buying something new - I ventured into my closet and into those items that I don't wear. Originally, this shirt had three buttons across the chest and hung open through the mid-section. I closed up the mid-section and 86'd the original buttons, adding this assortment of funky vintage ones. Although, I layered it on top of what I was wearing (and accidentally matching!) - I'll layer it differently when I really wear it. I like the changes...and I'm thrilled that it's no longer in the section of undesirables. Well, actually, they are "desirable" clothes. Just a bit snug on that crazy woman in the photos above. Oh, and the hair. I didn't even style it today, but I am happy with the cut. Not bad for air-dried hair, eh?

When taking these photos, I also noticed the tag. I like the irony. The brand name is even more relevant than it was previously!

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The old Lady....

We really enjoy the story of the Little old "lady who swallowed a fly"... and it's gazillion versions. Our favorite version will follow, at the end of this post. Recently, we were at the library for story hour listening to another rendition of the story and my daughter loved it. I was hit (thunk!!!) over the head with idea for this doll and merrily started making it a week or so ago. I thought I was so clever with the design - her mouth opens and there is a little pouch for the things she "eats." She upchucks them at the end, with the puppeteer pushing everything out of the pouch and through the mouth. She's cute in her own way...but rather disturbing looking really. :)

Apparently, someone beat me to this idea - as I saw a doll designed in a similar fashion in the most recent edition of Signal's catalogue (that I received a few days after I started this doll). I hate it when that happens. This doll looks so different from Signal's version. But, still - I like it best when I think an idea is truly original. :) I still need to make the felt critters that she'll feast on....

As promised: Our favorite story version:
There was an old woman who swallowed a fly,
I don't know why she swallowed a fly…Perhaps she'll cry.

There was an old woman who swallowed a spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed the fly….Perhaps she'll cry.
There was an old woman who swallowed a bird,
How absurd! to swallow a bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed the fly….Perhaps she'll cry.
There was an old woman who swallowed a cat,
Imagine that! to swallow a cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed the fly….Perhaps she'll cry.
There was an old woman who swallowed a dog,
What a hog! to swallow a dog,
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed the fly…. Perhaps she'll cry.
There was an old woman who swallowed a goat,
Just opened her throat! to swallow a goat,
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog,
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed the fly…. Perhaps she'll cry.
There was an old woman who swallowed a cow,
I don't know how she swallowed a cow!
She swallowed the cow to catch the goat,
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog,
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed the fly…Perhaps she'll cry.
There was an old woman who swallowed a horse,
& then….Well, she upchucked—of course!



Revisiting an old project

I've got another doll in the works. It's a rather labor intensive, creative, and multi-dimensional piece. I'm excited to see how she turns out. I came up with the idea at the library. Kenzie's gonna love her.

However, I've digressed from her production with the lovely weather we've had the past few days. Suddenly, I got the bug to finally empty my garage of the stacked chairs and get them fit for the breakfast nook. These chairs are now paired with the table that I refinished earlier this summer. It's late at night, and the chairs still need several layers of polyacrylic finish...but I'm so thrilled with them.

They are boring style, and were even a more boring color. Now they are antique RED stained, a color which doesn't quite show true in the picture - but they look great. They are an exact match (by accident) to a painting we have in the great room, which adjoins the nook and kitchen.

I still have another chair to go, but we're currently using Kenzie's toddler chair where it will go. I also have a table leaf that is partially done - to accomplish as well. Not to mention the layers of Poly-stuff which will give the chairs a wee bit of shine. Then, I loved the colored stain so well...I want to do a Gi-mongous cabinet that's also sitting in my garage...to be added to our dining room. Oh, if only there were a few weeks of lovely weather left. I'm just catching my second wind on this project and it'll be too cold to turn the kid loose and sand, sand, sand....

If you're the type to look closely - and notice the gawd awful wallpaper. Don't worry. It's gonna go. We're redoing the kitchen soon and I'll be tackling that then. :)

And that dolly -- she's gonna be "The old woman who swallowed a fly!" Stay tuned...

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Rag Dolls

Ah, what a great feeling. The dolls were a hit. I knew they were...but this drives it home. An email from my sis-in-law, which I do wish to remember:

From: ....
Date: November 8, 2006 9:44:31 PM CST
To: dinkels@...
Subject: Caroline's Doll

Caroline had the "show and tell" bag today for school.  She has to choose something to bring to school that is special to her.  They hide the something in the school provided backpack, and the other children ask yes/no questions of Caroline until they've guessed what's in the bag, or the teacher's tired of the questions.  Caroline packed the bag right after bringing it home on Monday so it would be ready for return to school today.  As we were headed out this a.m, I looked in the bag, and her doll you made was in the bag.  I asked her why she chose to bring it, and she said because Aunt Stacy made it special for her for her birthday.  I thought you might like to know that.  She's very silent about things in her life that are important to her, and obviously the doll made an impact on her.  They're all 3 still sleeping with their dolls.  Meredith's still too young to appreciate, I think. 



Birthday Skirt

Birthday Skirt
Originally uploaded by mama's doodles.
Today is my birthday (33!!!) and we're headed out to a celebratory dinner. I'm happy to report I've been very spoiled today and have a spa visit in my future! I smell good, I've got new clothes to wear, flowers on my counter, and I even slept in until 8:00. My husband whizzed Kenzie out for a donut before I even heard her awake. She came back a whirlwind of sugarified energy - but I'm not complaining.

To dinner, I have no idea what Mama is going to wear - but Kenzie is wearing this. It's another skirt, made of recycled bits of my clothing (and other fabrics). No pattern, only the imagination to follow. She'll be adorable in it, but is still snoozing away.

The back is a replica of the front, minus the sash bit. The button is a vintage button I've been hoarding for awhile. Guess I've got Fall colors on my mind lately....

Blogger wasn't cooperating today (imagine that), so I outsmarted it by going through flickr!!!

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