My Mystery Baby

A while back, I found a treasure on ebay late one evening, freshly listed as a Buy It Now. I argued with myself (admittedly briefly) about spending the money at that point, but this doll was unlike any I’d ever seen, with the popular “Dream Baby” type face and a toddler body, and I do so love the all-bisques.  The fact that I’d not see one like this anywhere, nor could I find an example in a quick perusal of my most reliable doll books, pushed me right over the edge into adoption. When he arrived here (I really think it looks like a boy…), I spent several hours doing a more thorough search, but I’ve turned up precisely no information anywhere. I’m admittedly grinning to think I’ve stumbled upon a fairly rare doll, but its a little frustrating to not be able to find even the tiniest shred of information. I thought I’d had a stroke of genius when I wrote to a well-known expert in the doll world, but am now even more baffled, as she’s never seen a doll like mine either, nor does she recognize the maker’s mark. So, here’s my baby, with the hopes that posting him will help uncover more information about the little tyke.

Baby (as yet unnamed) is 6″ tall, a five piece, elastic strung all-bisque with head and torso molded as one piece, and has painted blue eyes. He arrived in a cute little velvet romper, which very much appears as if it is contemporary to him, and a little crocheted hat which most definitely is. One string is gone from the little cap, which bears the feeling of the outfits I’ve seen in old catalogue pictures as coming with the dolls, so perhaps it is original.

The back is very clearly incised “DGP 518. Germany”, and the limbs are marked “18” and match perfectly, so I have no doubt they are original.

The arms are at slightly different positions from each other, hands dimpled and nicely detailed, and the big toes are cocked up a bit like Kestner toes. Bisque is nice quality, wash very nice, painting appealing – though not absolutely perfect. He’s a nice enough quality doll to be a Kestner.

Don’t you just love that pudgy little body? How do toddlers get away with that and look so cute in the process?

If you have any information whatsoever on this wee laddie, I’d be much obliged if you would leave a comment here on my blog. If you don’t see a comment box as you are reading this, click on the title of this post. You will be taken to a page which will display just this post and a comment box. If you’ve not left a comment here before, it will take a few hours for me to notice and approve your message, so please be patient. I’m really looking forward to having to finding out more information!

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Spoiling Me: Part the Second

Well, I didn’t quite plan it this way, but my birthday stashing took on a life of its own! I got two boxes in the mail, and they were both stash – both extremely good i’net finds during the last couple of weeks, and both had the decency to exhibit perfect timing… well… at least perfect timing to make me feel just a wee bit guilty. However, I think I’ll get over that soon enough. ;o)

First there was this spectacular buy on some more Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool. I already had four skeins of this color, but how could I resist 16 skeins of the same dye lot for just $4 a skein and free shipping? I have no idea what this is going to become, but I’ll work on it. I’m sure it will let me know in good time. This isn’t the same as the Petrol I bought at the yarn sale; it’s color 28, and Petrol is 35. This is a little more turquoise, I think.

The other box held something that, if I didn’t already have enough to do so, would keep me out of trouble for the next few years pretty easily. This is not a little bag; it’s grocery bag sized, and its jammed full of 42 ( ! ) balls of cotton crochet/tatting thread in various shades of white and ecru, very old to fairly new, and marked sizes are every number from 10 through 70. It’s a marvelous selection of thread, and since much of it has a very notable age patina, it’s the sort of thing I love to use for my antique dolls. Anything made from thread like that looks instantly and very naturally old – and honestly, it is old, just recently made. It just looks so much nicer on the dolls that I have problems using anything else for them. It also allows me to custom make doilies and lace pieces that look as if they have history – a nice touch in a Victorian home, and one to employ when the perfect size or shape of antique frillery can’t be found. Besides, often it’s more fun making it than just buying it. :o)

As for the rest of my birthday, it was perfectly lovely – though I’m sure there are more than a few people who would think I’m a little strange for saying so. I was awakened by an unexpected and totally delightful birthday call from a friend in France, and with a start like that, I just had to have a good rest of the day. I was offered dinner out, but turned it down because of all that still needs to happen here. DH surprised me by baking a birthday cake before I was out of bed – coconut with lemon icing – yum! He worked extremely diligently and uncharacteristically cheerfully on the remodeling to do list. And he ran out to Subway for supper sandwiches for us – a favorite and a real treat! Biggest accomplishment of the day is that the wallpaper liner is entirely up in the bay – YIPPEE!!!! (And was that ever a project! I most certainly do not like hanging wallpaper horizontally.) I was going to take a picture, but from anything more than 3 feet away, it looks just like it did before – white! But just you wait until Wednesday! If all this wasn’t enough, I also sold a book on Amazon and got an order for 97 (no, not a misprint!) books from my website! I have so much empty sale shelf space now it’s unbelievable, and other than the problem of time over the next week or so, I no longer have any excuse not to pull more books off my shelves and list them. I will get this library culled to a point that the books fit on my shelves… I will, I will, I WILL! Anyway, I’ve never had a birthday that made me this terribly exhausted, but it was absolutely wonderful, and I’ll definitely remember it for years to come. :o)

The one thing I can’t believe, though, is that since Thanksgiving, I’ve missed only one day knitting, with the exception of the time I was in Honduras. I’m a little chagrined that as of today, I’ve now missed two, especially since I woke up intending to glut on knitting. I will need to be atoning for this at my earliest possible convenience, but for now, I believe sleep is very much in order…

Spoiling Me

Okay, just a short post right now… I just wanted to share what I did to spoil myself. :o) Today is my birthday, but since it’s the weekend and DH is home and ready to work, I ran away from home yesterday to celebrate a day early. My favorite yarn store (closest I have to an LYS) is an hour away, and with gas prices as they are, it’s a bit extravagant to go, but she’s having a sale, and I’m having a birthday… ;o) I thought I was being reasonably careful, but other than the fact that I need more yarn like I need another of those proverbial holes in my head, I realized I came home with yarn for 4 new, mostly big, projects – and narrowly averted a fifth by looking at the total she’d already tallied for me! Anyway, here’s my happy birthday to me stash enhancement…

I’ve never done entrelac, and this shawl was SO pretty! She had 12 of 16 possible colorways all bagged up and ready to take home – and I bit… including the pattern… That would be 12 balls of yarn, in the ever enticing Jojoland Rhythm…

Then there was this fascinating pattern… I looked at it and though “Ugh! I love the look, but I hate anything that involves making and sewing motifs.” Then she has to go and tell me that it’s not done like that, but rather is worked by picking up stitches. I’ve not examined the pattern yet, but that was enough to get me to buy the pattern – and 10 balls of yarn, since I wanted mine a good bit larger than the pattern makes it. Jojoland scores another hit, just because they produced an intriguing pattern – this time with Rhythm. I think this is going to be particularly fun since the color appears more varied in these skeins than in the first shawl (for which I chose a very subtle colorway).

This was the one “easy” thing – a single ball of yarn to make an airy scarf. It even came with a free pattern! (Be sure to enlarge this one, as the colors don’t show very well at all in the thumbnail, and it’s actually quite pretty, despite looking so dark.) This is Crystal Palace Kid Merino, and the basket full of these at the store makes me think of a bowl full of Christmas hardtack.

Next, I happened upon the Hempathy – and by this point should have stopped looking, but… Well, I just hadn’t gotten around to trying any of it yet, and I so love all the other Elsebeth Lavold yarn I have, and then I started thinking it would be nice to make a summer weight shawl… I narrowly avoided bringing home two colors, as I had a miserable time deciding between the gold and a pale green, but I finally decided that this sunny color felt like summer and might be a little more versatile. Ten more balls in the bag. :o)

And last, but not least, I actually had a legitimate need. I’m working on a gift and was clearly running short of yarn, so I was glad to find the same color, and though a different dye lot, it matches – apparently perfectly – so I’m back in business. 4 skeins of my beloved Silky Wool in the incredibly awesome “Petrol” colorway – totally legal purchase. :o)

And eventually, sale or not, I’m going to be heading back for the yarn for that entrelac vest, but first I suppose I need to figure out where I’m going to stash this while I finish my Little River Wrap and my socks and that gift I have started and…

Four and Counting…

I have just four days left to work before my favorite paper hanger arrives. I’m beyond trying to guess how successful I’m going to be in regards to preparedness, but I’m feeling more positive than I was a week ago. Now the crunch looks more as if it will involve the second wall. I’m not sure how far I can hope to extend a miracle.

Lots has happened since my last entry, though almost everything has been in the sewing room, due to the impending deadline. A continued push through the clutter has finally demolished Mouse Mountain, gruesome task that it was, freeing the dresser. Ironically, it seems that the worst damage in the room may well have occurred to those items which were properly sorted and stored, as there appears to have been a merry frolic through my drawers, leaving my rather substantial stash of evenweave fabric with unsavory decorations and the formerly mint condition boxes holding my my dainty English porcelain jars with stitchery ready tops much the worse for wear. I decided I’d close the drawers and deal with it later, as I have to take everything out to refinish the dresser at some point anyway.

Everything in the large half of the room has moved at least once, and all the carpet in that section is gone. The wallpaper is stripped, the mantle has been toted outside, walls cleaned as needed, and much primer and paint has been applied to walls, woodwork, and ceiling. Tonight I decided that at least a third of the ceiling has been done, and all but a tiny corner I can’t reach in the bay has been primed, as has the woodwork in the area to be papered first. I’ve also finished painting the wall in the dresser area leading to the first bay window, and it awaits only a new register and quarter round molding for me to call it finished. As for the mantle… discussion of that little project will have to wait for another night, as it’s a story all its own…

So, here are a few pix of the metamorphosis, so far as it’s gone.

This is the wall behind the dresser when I started. It was an odd sort of green when we moved in, but I’d managed to get this far with my painting the first time, so it’s an extremely pale gold here. The hodgepodge on the wall reflects a frightening transitional stage between who I was 15 years ago and who I am now. Trust me, this will most certainly be dealt with!

I have to confess that it looked tremendously better just removing the stuff from the wall, but the addition of fresh paint to that wall and primer to the main part of the window frame and bay wall was pretty exciting. Yes, this is the same wall, just a different angle, so it looks a lot shorter.

One of the fun things DH got to do was fill the mouse hole and a very large hole that appeared beside the window frame when my scraper went right through the plaster. I’d researched a bit online and decided to try something called Great Stuff, which mice supposedly don’t find tasty. The instructions say to fill holes just halfway, as it expands. DH didn’t quite trust them, and we had a pretty good laugh when we walked back into the room an hour later! It sort of reminded me of the blight I was so scared of when I was a kid shucking corn. He trimmed it off with his flush saw, and now that it’s primed, it blends right in. I will add that the stuff is fun to play with once it’s hard. :o)

So, from back at the doorway, the current look into the bay area has changed somewhat this week. I can’t call these before and after shots; how about before and during? No matter what you call it, it looks like “better” to me already!

Now, do I hear any volunteers to come paint windows? Nah… didn’t figure as much…

Published in: on June 27, 2008 at 9:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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Three Ring Circus

No, the paint fumes didn’t finish me off – yet – and both DH and I are still alive, despite some rocky days at sweat equity central. Thanks to those who have written worried, though. I’ve not posted lately for two reasons. One is that it was getting a bit depressing to have such tiny changes to show for so much work, and the other is that now I can legally claim that this place has turned into a three ring circus. Yes, there are now three very active, moderately big, totally unrelated remodeling projects happening simultaneously, despite the fact that we are but two people, and beyond that, I have this strange desire to do things like eat, sleep, and check my email…

So, what’s happening around here at the moment? Well, the nook is still creeping slowly forward. There are actually four cupboard doors hanging, though one is coming down again so DH can see if he can get it to be hanging in a more acceptable fashion. Rather a shame to mount a new door only to have it look precisely as if it’s hung there for the last 150 years warping. :o(

3 of 4 doors, waiting for latches. Also have the right lower door hung. We are officially out of hinges, so I have to order the last couple pair – soon!

I’ve yet to resolve the hardware crisis, the only logical choices not being anything like what I love and have visualized from the start. However, if I don’t buy something tonight, I believe lack of metal will officially shut down progress. Not good. Yesterday I applied sanded texturizing paint (a first for me) to the only big wall panel that is removable. It looks great – only complaint being that I did a more artistic job than the people who did the real walls, so it isn’t a perfect blend. I think I can get away with it once it’s painted. Besides, it’s inside a cupboard, so who will be looking?

The second ring of our circus is the resuscitation of the laundry room project, which laid dormant for about 6 months after I had to quit working due to all the traveling I did at the end of last year. Since I’m to a part that isn’t so much fun for me, and I’ve had more than enough to occupy my time anyway, it wasn’t particularly easy to get back on task. However, I finally reached a point where I just couldn’t bear having the deep freeze out of place and in the middle of everything any longer, so I sealed the first section of tile, we moved the freezer, and I set up for the next segment. Tiling a floor this way is the pits. I’d sure love to be able to do the whole thing in one sitting, but there is just no way to move all those appliances out of there. Besides, I think my body would never forgive me. ;o) This past weekend, I laid the second section of tile, carefully planned to allow passage through the room, which is a major thoroughfare.

28 new tiles ready to be cleaned & sealed. Note the necessity of hiding the old, stained floor…

The mortar seems to be set, so next step is to clean up a couple days of fur accumulation and seal the terracotta before grouting. The new adhesive worked far better than the original stuff, which took about 2 weeks to dry, so despite the fact that it is harder to work with and a pain to clean up, I guess it was a good move.

My sewing room is the third act – both the oldest and newest project. When we moved in 25 years ago, the whole house was starting to look quite tired of itself. It had been decorated very much in the style of the 1970’s – approximately 100 years out of character – and even then I wasn’t fond of the look – or the tastes of the previous owners. What I claimed as my sewing room was one of the two worst, though. The layout of the room is odd, giving it eight walls. One end has a three wall bay, and the other end has a corner cut out for the doorway. (I’m just telling you that so you don’t start adding up the numbers and thinking I’m nuts.) The bay was wallpapered in a flocked paper with an overall striped look, golden yellow, deep cream, and gray. Three walls were painted a light green leaning slightly toward the blue side of the spectrum, and all the woodwork was painted a substantially darker version of the same. The remaining two walls, including the longest wall in the room, were covered with a dark brown, very fake looking wood paneling. Add carpet that is perhaps avocado gold and a window treatment of crisp, very white, Cape Cod curtains, and reddish brown, natural wood shutters, and it ends up being a cacophony of color that offended my senses enough to make me brave my first ever attempt at redecorating.

Remnants of original paint and wallpaper with replaced curtains.

I removed the Cape Cods to my daughter’s bedroom directly above, which had been fitted with heavy, dark, drapes, definitely not fitting for a baby’s room, and put creamy lace curtains in the sewing room – one less color and such a relief! After a couple years of nagging didn’t convince DH to paint, I decided I surely could do that myself, so bought a bucket of paint that matched the lightest stripe in the wallpaper, and set to work removing a second color – the green walls and woodwork. In the process, about halfway through the project, I threw my back out, and wasn’t able to finish – or for that matter, move normally for quite a few years. By the time I could have done anything, I’d lived here long enough to start feeling what the house wanted to be, so had totally reformulated my plans for the room. (Okay, and I learned how to wallpaper, so had a whole new realm of possibilities!) I bought paper I adored about 6-7 years ago, and it’s been waiting in a box ever since, looking for the day that I could have a good helper…

Enter, DD#1… She’ll be home on furlough in a couple of weeks, and in discussing plans for her brief visit, I commented that it would be fun to do a special project and would she like to hang some wallpaper. She grabbed eagerly to the idea, saying it would be fun. Fifteen minutes later, I found myself looking at my sewing room wondering what I’d done.

This is where I’m starting – avoiding showing 99% of the clutter

Since it has one of the few doors in the house, it had become a repository for things that need protected from the cats, and “sewing room” had drifted to more of a title of habit than reality. The fact that the cats didn’t have access was not wasted on the mice who invaded the house a few years ago when DD#2 proved to be an apt hostess by providing a never ending feast in her bedroom. Between the mountains of stored clutter and mouse mess and destruction, I was facing a disaster area. Even worse, with the nook project recently reborn and the laundry room still torn up, and the lack of safe zones for breakables, there just wasn’t a reasonable way to approach a clean up – very overwhelming!

However… I really want that room, so as the days before her furlough started vanishing, I ditched “reasonable” and just started picking at the project, hoping that I would receive bits of enlightenment along the way. It quickly became obvious that pulling out the carpet was mandatory – even though it can only be done a few square feet at a time.

The first patch of bare floor – yippee!!!!

I’ve been slowly working a path through the room, clearing sections of carpet to remove, rearranging all the stuff I can’t take out in an attempt to buy space. Last night the bay was cleared out, and I took the frightening, but decisive step of yanking down as much wallpaper as I could access. It came off easily, revealing an extremely ugly wall, blotched in several areas with mold, which was a bit of a surprise, but I think is old history.

Looks like it’s straight out of a This Old House makeover article!

I also found the mouse hole – which, of course, wasn’t nearly so cute as the ones in the Tom & Jerry cartoons…

Grrrr!!! I don’t mind them chewing the carpet so much, but did they have to eat the molding?

I look at the room and count the 12 days until my helper arrives, and I find myself a little overwhelmed by all that needs to be done. The mantle (retro-mounted by us a few years ago, and hanging over a large portion of the wallpaper) needs to be taken out, mold needs to be removed, the walls washed, patched, and primed, areas adjacent to the area to be papered should be painted – including two big windows, 3 high shelves on the long paneled wall must be unloaded and come down, along with all their hardware, the paneling needs to be scuff sanded, washed and primed – all this with the room filled to the gills with stuff that currently has no place to go. (Did I mention the big possum belly baking cupboard and the loaded steel shelving unit that are in the way?) I have no idea how this is all going to happen, but I suspect it would help if I had a “crew” and/or the body and stamina I had when I was 25…

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