Saturday, November 22, 2008

Creating Dolls

As you probably know, I made my own version of Waldorf Dolls which I also sell on my website. Waldorf dolls are made with all natural materials, (Cotton, wool etc). They are designed to enhance imaginative play instead of narrowing down play into one sector. For instance, if you have a themed doll, a child's play is often restricted to that one type of play. However, Waldorf dolls are meant to be open ended. The child can pretend a history for the doll that can change minute by minute if the child wishes because there are no pre-set parameters of though surrounding them.

I am so pleased to have had a week of making dolls. I am making one for a little girl's Christmas present, and I am making 4 to go into a shop. I really hope they do well for the shop owner.

It is amazing. I use the same pattern for each doll, but I have noticed that each doll takes on it's own personality as I make him or her. There are always slight variations in size. Some come out plumb like babies, and one came out super model skinny! I always cut the fabric on the same grain and use the same seam allowance. The only explanation I have is that there is a hidden doll in each yard of my fabric. Or perhaps my subconscious has an image of how the doll should be and that guides my hands. Either way I feel like each one of these dolls is unique.

I decided to start sewing the eyes a bit differently. I really like combining 2 colors of embroidery floss to achieve a multicolored, multidimensional look. Even the stitching pattern is a bit different. It might take longer, but I think it gives a really nice effect over all.

I hope to be able to take some pictures soon!

And now I get to go back to one of the funnest parts- sewing pretty clothes in miniature for the dolls!

Such a Little Thing...

Yesterday we had to take Nora to the ER. She's okay. But at the time we thought she had a sprained wrist or even had broken something.

So I went to lay down. It's that time of the month and without my normal remedy (a long soak in a hot hot tub) I am suffering from exhaustion and cramps. Nora decided she wanted to climb up and take her nap with me. So she started to climb up on the the bed, and was reaching for the blanket to use as a hand hold. Thinking to help her, I help out my hands and was slightly pulling her up, when her little foot slipped. Suddenly she was crying and saying "Ouch Ouch Ouch." I got her comforted and we were laying together when I realized she wasn't moving her left arm at all. Any time I touched her arm she would cry out in pain.

So Doug and I rushed her to the ER where we were informed this is a very common injury and not to worry. (Don't worry? My kid is crying in pain and you say don't worry?!)

Luckily with a gentle twist (Even though this hurt Nora) he was able to fix her arm. It's called Nursemaid Elbow which is literally a dislocation of part of the elbow. It can happen up to age 5 in children by any tugging motion on the arm because of stretchy ligaments.

Within 2 minutes she was using her arm again and not showing any indication of pain. Today she was climbing all over things again and acting like her self again. I feel even more exhausted now than I did before. It was such a trauma and a scare. I am so grateful that she wasn't hurt more and that it was such an easy fix.

I have so much more sympathy for my poor parents who had to suffer through me having a broken bone at 3 different times and smashing up my face badly in a bike wreck. I don't think that anyone can quite comprehend fear that a parent feels until your child is hurt and you can't fix it. I am so thankful that we live in an area where a doctor is only minutes away.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Updated My post about my swaps/ Finishing Projects

I have made huge progress in the swaps I signed up for. This week I mailed out the Christmas Ornaments, the tea towels, and am about to mail out one set of the pillowcases.

I have two doll orders that I am working on. The first one is a custom order that I hope to finish the doll part tonight, possibly even the doll clothes! I figure I will be able to get all my doll orders mailed by this weekend.

I have been feeling really bad about how long it has been taking me to get my swaps done. So having them all start coming together and getting mailed out feels great! Watch the mail ladies! Packages are coming your way!

Thank You

I wanted to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has been reading my blog and who have been visiting my Store website- AWarmheart.

If I am reading the information correctly, the more hits you get, the higher in the search engine results you site is listed. My AWarmheart has been showing more hits in the past week, and I am hoping to be able to offer my goods to people in time for the holidays.

Yes, by selling my items it does help my family, but for every ounce of lotion, cream, or soap I sell, and for every doll I sell that hopefully one less item being bought that was made in a chemical laboratory somewhere or one less toy made of possibly toxic materials.

So, Thank you all very much. I highly appreciate it!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Making Soap

There is something magical about making soap. I have always loved making mixes and potions. Just ask my mom. I think I drove her to whits end sometimes. She would go in to clean the bathroom and there would be some smear of something or another when I was trying to create a powder lotion (Lotion plus baby powder... little did I know I was way ahead of my time. Lots of companies and even cosmetics have a cream to powder line now!) Or when I saw the commercials for products that had the "Shampoo and Conditioner in one" and I decided I should just combine my two.

So back to soap making. I started making soap several years ago after being inspired by Susan Dahlem- The Soap Maven who I met through MaryJane's Farm. There is something amazing in all the many varied chemical reactions that go into making that simple bar of soap.

First you have to know a little about what you are doing. You have to respect the Lye. Lye can be dangerous if treated cavalierly, but overall it isn't as dangerous as some things that are in most houses- like battery acid. I will take lye over battery acid any day.

The first amazing thing about soap making is how the combination of liquid and lye can take a liquid that is at freezing temperatures to well over 130 degrees in a matter of less than a minute. It is very very important to not use warm or room temperature water with lye. This can cause rapid boil which means drops of caustic liquid flung in random directions.

Then by combining warm oils with the lye, you can watch the soap form! In fact, you get soap bubble almost immediately!

I also love how you can make an infinite variety of soaps depending on the oils you use. Some oils make hard soaps, some make moisturizing soaps, some make lather, and others don't. And the best thing is that even if you don't get the exact product you were hoping for, you can usually still use your product!

I made a fun soap today that brings back wonderful memories of biting into a fresh cinnamon roll. The soap is called "Baked Cinnamon". And the best part? All of the ingredients in it are organic and the scent is from an essential oil. I think that is the thing I love the best about homemade soap. I know exactly what is in it, and there aren't long lists of questionable, unpronounceable ingredients and the dubious listing of "Fragrance."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Frugal Living Tip

I love my Costco card. Costco saves me lots of money each month and allows us (Doug) to have a few extras (Mountain Dew). I am really pleased that they have so many organic choices now and some of them are hardly more expensive than the conventional product right next to it.

Now, not all organics are made equal. Some companies are certified Organic, and while they use and process their foods in an organic nature, they aren't living up to the Spirit of the movement. However, when I am standing in the store and I can choose a product that was grown with lots of fertilizer, pest and weed chemical control, or I can pick one that was grown without all that? I will choose the organic product every time.

So I feel great about frugally buying Organic at Costco. Their gasoline also runs about 4-10 cents cheaper per gallon which in of itself just about pays for our membership each year. So Costco gets a huge Frugal Vote Yes.

Another thing that I am finding very frugal is to shop my local Organic food Stores. Organic bananas for $.49 a pound? Yes please! Sure, they need to be eaten or baked into banana bread that day because they are at peak ripeness. But you won't hear me complaining! Also look for (especially in Montana) Milk that is about to pass it's "Sell By" Date. Usually the store will mark these down for quick sale because they lose money if the product doesn't sell. I have seen ORGANIC _GALLONS_ of relatively local milk on sale for only $4.99! Yup! That is what I call a bargain!

Strong Baby Nora

Today we had to run a few errands. At the store, Nora was happy to be pushed around until just till the end. I asked her if she wanted to get down. She nodded yes and held her arm up to be picked up. I showed her how she could push the cart by grabbing the bars. Away we went! I just straightened her path when she was veering off course. She pushed that cart all the way to check out and then from check out back to the cart station. She even walked all the way to the car.

Now, Nora has been walking since before she was even a year old, but of course, being a first time mom, I get a bit over protective when we are out an about. She is so fast and so small (relatively) that I fear that unless I keep her mind occupied, she will wander off to occupy it herself! The world is an awfully big place, and so interesting to young inquisitive minds.

But I think I learned something today. There is a time to carry and restrict movement, and there is a time when you have to realize the baby you are carrying isn't quite a baby any more, and it is time to let them spread their wings just a bit.

Now we have to work on enforcing that she has to come when called. It is so easy to make it a game of chase, but I don't really want to play games when we have to make a trip to a store!

I am going to make another batch of soap tomorrow. What can I say... I am addicted to soap. At least it is a healthy addiction! I also found out that some of the materials I need to make the dolls that have been ordered are on sale! Serendipity! I love sales!

I spent all day working on homework. I really need to get more of this done during the week!! I hate wasting a full day on it. Okay, it's not wasted, but you know what I mean! What is really frustrating, is that I can't do part of my assignment for my Research class since I am supposed to find reference material in our Library in certain locations, and the library has let me down. Hopefully my teacher will have some good suggestions.

I am looking forward to the end of the semester. I will have passed my classes, registered for new classes, and then I get a blissful month off to relax and rejuvenate! Bliss!

My Beautiful Nora Girl

Nora's Musings