Friday, September 29, 2006

Editor's note

That's me! Editor In Chief. I just wanted to say that I posted about the living room, but since it was a saved post, it's in the wrong place. It's down there, under the Cissette post. Thanks!

My Precious

Hello, my name is Bettsi and I am in love with a plastic doll. How scary am I? Okay, I'm not in love, but my little Cissette pleases me so much! This is her big debut on the blog. I know that I mentioned her before, but I've never been able to show her because she was.....(ssshhh)....naked! That just would have been wrong. And...because I am such a geek, I couldn't give her a dress until she had proper undergarments! Which, of course, you will never see because she is such a lady. (But they're pretty- lace trimmed pink organdy!) Anyway, she would still be naked if it weren't for my nice new friend, Kathleen. She's the one who found my mention of Cissette and scanned and emailed this pattern to me:

You know how commercial patterns are- tons of tissue! But she scanned every last piece! Such a nice thing to do and I know that Cissette, especially, is grateful. It's not nearly as nice as the original Madame Alexander outfits or as well done as the outfits done by this seamstress, but I'm pretty darn happy with it. I think the next thing will be a little bolero style cardigan to wear with the dress.

I grew up with Barbie. I never even knew Madame Alexander dolls. Now that I've discovered them, I feel slightly cheated! (Geez, Mom, when I get to heaven we'll have to have a talk about this!) They are all so lovely. The one I am now quite hungry for is the darling little Wendykin. I only want a vintage one, of course. Like Cissette, the vintage Wendykins look so much sweeter to me. Here's a very cute one from a past catalog at Lia Sargent's site:

That website is serious eye candy for MA lovers! Drool city! I'm trying to snag a less than perfect girl from ebay, but everyone snipes me at the last minute. In January, I will be going to my first doll show! It's going to be right here near me in Roseville, California. Can I just tell you how exciting this is to me? And just in case any of you are worried that I've stopped loving cloth dolls, let me assure that is not the case! There is a little EFA girl in my head right now that is begging to be born.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Living Room Post

A year ago, this was what my living room looked like. Well, this was the best corner of the living room, anyway. On the opposite wall I had my grandmother's old and very worn sofa and facing the armoire in an "L" to the sofa were a pair of recliners that I regretted buying the minute I did it. You know, they say that you should really live in a house for a while before you invest a lot of time and money into decorating it. They're right! I decorated this room before I even lived in the house! We knew we hated everything the previous owners had done, so we were only too happy to put our own stamp on the place. The carpet needed replacing and we had lived with apartment beige for a long time with children. We wanted something that would hide the occasional spill. Hmm, royal blue. What can I say? I'll just claim momentary insanity! It hides spills alright, but it shows every speck of dust and every pet hair. There's a reason apartments have beige, I guess! Not to mention it's just plain ugly!

Anyway, point being, when we refinanced last November, we know we wanted to make some changes. Here's what we have so far:

An area rug to cover the blue carpet. My mother's "moderne" hope chest that I love. Same armoire. Cool asian print that was also Mom's. I wish I knew more about it because it's really pretty. And the biggest change- new paint. Above is the accent wall in Khaki by Ralph Lauren. Below are the remaing three walls in a custom color. I think originally it was Toast by Dutch Boy, but I hated the formulation of the paint and had it made in a Ralph Lauren formula. They are all satin finish.

Here's Buddy modeling the rug! The chairs I snagged for free outside a closed chiropractic office. They'd been in the same location since the early sixties and these chairs just might be that old. I love them, but want to reupholster them in the same fabric of the curtains which is a heavy chenille. Strange choice, but this room is south facing and needs the light blocking quality of chenille. (BTW, I hate sewing drapes, but I'm too cheap to pay for custom.) The paint looks very yellow in this photo. It's a little more true in the pictures below.

The sectional. It's actually a subtle tweedy plaid. I chose the throw pillow fabric in order to relate to the carpet and rug a little more, but I think I'll keep looking for something more subtle. This is where some input is needed. Also, the wall above the couch is so bare! I have a couple of options that cost nothing. One is a dark wood mirror, but I'm worried about the glare from the sun. The other is that asian print. It's a little small so I was thinking about painting a larger rectangle of the khaki paint to act as a kind of frame that would give it more importance. Also, where on the wall do I hang it? Center over the length of the entire sectional, I guess? This seems like the obvious answer, but when I'm in the room, I experience the sectional as two love seats placed in an ell. Then it seems like my art should hang centered over the two end sections. That's probably just weird, but if I am going to paint a rectangle on the wall, I better be sure about where to do it! The gorgeous clock is going to be relocated elsewhere in the house, but I'm not sure where. Mom brought that back from Holland and I love it.

When you walk in my front door this is the first thing you see. We bought a console table to keep children from vaulting over the back of the couch, but it does tend to be a clutter collector. We also have the ugly smelly shoe basket there. On your right as you walk in there is this homemade coat rail:
That white door to the furnace is now painted brown as is the front door. This is where I'd like to hang the mirror. These things aren't pretty at all and I would love to train everyone to put shoes and garments away properly, but I've lived with my family long enought to know that that's never going to happen! So I'll just do my best to keep it tidy.

I love this scotty dog doorstop, but I always feel guilty when I look at it. Doesn't it seem like something Jenny should own? Well, you know, McComb is a Scottish family so I guess I do have some right to it! We bought the console table, the much-too-big coffee table and this end table all together. So far the console has held up fine, but on this end table, the veneer is chipping away. And now there's a little spot on the coffee table. To tell the truth, I'd love to get rid of the coffee table, but Earl's not ready to admit the mistake yet. Anyway, did we do this? We're not super-fastidious about coasters. I try, but there are kids in my house when I'm not there. I can't be on coaster patrol all the time. But it's really bugging me. Shouldn't it be more durable than this? We bought them 9 months ago? Should I contact the furniture store? Your help on this will be appreciated.
So, whew! That's a lot of typing! One more thing: lamps. Sandra gave me the lamp on the end table and the standing lamp. I don't hate them and I'm grateful for them, but I think I should look at some other options. The room is sort of casual traditional, I think. Where can I improve it? It seems somewhat lacking to me. Any and all opinions are welcome! Thank you, Friends!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Vintage Pretty

So last night I was leaving my sons' room and the bathroom caught my eye with its prettiness! That seems so strange doesn't it? Well, two weeks ago I found a pretty organdy shower curtain at Goodwill for $5 and it inspired me to get in there and do some fixin' up. It's not a great bathroom. See the original pink tub? I wouldn't mind it if the other fixtures were still there, but in the 70's someone did some updating and it's not very well done.

I especially don't like the homemade vanity with the beige formica counter. We added the medicine cabinet and the cabinet above the toilet. We also added the faucets and a new light fixture and towel bars. So now it's a funky mix of 50's, 70's and faux vintage!

The things I did were purely cosmetic, but they did make a pleasant change. I decided to play up the vintage look and spiff things up a bit while I was there. I replaced the old tension shower rod that was peeling the paint right off the wall with a screw in type and I re-hung the towel bar that my husband had hung neck high(!). I patched up the paint which made a huge difference! I took out all of Earl's "nautical" decor and put in my blue and white things. I love my plates. The one on top is from Goodwill and is, I think, very old. The two on the bottom are ones that my mother brought back from England. I also love my little milkglass hobnail lamp. I usually only keep the lower half lit- it's a wonderful nightlight. I think it was the glow of the lamp that drew me in to take these pictures! Anyway, it's funny how a few little changes can make you like a space. And since the rest of the house feels like it will never get done, it's nice to have one room that I enjoy!

P.S. I do have a saved post concerning the living room and if I can talk Blogger into uploading the pictures, I might actually post it someday! It's mostly a plea for help!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Have I shown this before?

This is the Santa I made last year. Or I should say "am still making" because he still needs a bit of work. This was for a VCD challenge and in my web research, I stumbled across the work of Conni Jenkins here. I love the look of her sweet Santy Clauses and decided to try that direction. I don't have a lot of experience with needlesculpting, but this turned out really well. He just needs a better coat and a stand and then he'll be something that I want to put out on display. I remember now that I was trying to make something to keep. Something that my kids could argue over after my death. As it is now, it is just another unfinished project!

Paint like Pollack

If you want to have some fun, go here. When you get there, start moving your mouse around. Try clicking your mouse. Have fun!
Tuesday, September 19, 2006


I had the funniest experience last week! I got a nice email from a lady named Caroline who saw my post about my Grandma's Dressmaster sewing machine. She had googled "Dressmaster sewing machine manual". Anyway, she was looking for a manual as am I. I wasn't much help to her except that I could tell her that the manufacturer was White. She showed me a photo of her Dressmaster and I sent back a photo of mine. Hers was a really cool fifties looking machine so I didn't feel I could be much help. Well, mine looks exactly like the Domestic Rotary Electric she just purchased complete with manual for $20! Here's a link to her blog post.
The funny thing about her Domestic was that the company was bought by White in 1924 and apparently they just kept on making the same machines but with new name plates. Well, okay, that's not funny. What's funny is that my machine, which looks exactly like hers (except for the name plates), is twenty years newer than hers. So I decided to do a little looking and it seems to be the same way across the board. From the first electric machines which I guess would be the 1920's right up to about 1950, the machines were all heavy cast iron (as were the treadle machines before that). I'm guessing that the development of stable plastics during WWII brought the change about. The same thing can be seen with dolls. Composition was the material for dolls from 1900 to 1950. Once plastics were adopted, it became the universal standard. Now, I'm not saying plastic is a bad thing. After all, this sewing machine weighs a ton! And composition dolls cracked and peeled, but it does seem a shame that there's nothing being made new with these old materials. I mean, we still make bisque dolls and that's an old material. Oh well, I guess it just means that we need to treasure what is left from the older eras. And this machine is a dream. It is just so smooth and solid. Oh, and Caroline has the manual! And she is going to copy it and send it to me! Yay! Thank you so much, Caroline!

Thank you, Princess Nimble-Thimble!

I ordered some of Danielle's wonderful autumn potpourri and she got it to me lickety split! This stuff is amazing! First, it smells wonderful and second, it looks beautiful! Check this out.

Unfortunately, I have to link you over to flickr because blogger is such a stupid butt-head. I've been trying to upload all morning and it won't do it! Anyway, it's a cute shot so I hope you'll go see it. Earl and Eric helped me set up a cute display of the potpourri on our dining room table. I also have a big bowlful on the coffee table. Danielle is generous with her portions!

I was going to give you a link to her etsy shop, but she sold out! Well, you just have to trust me on this one- it is divine. Keep your eye on her blog because if she makes any more available, you need to have it!
Thursday, September 07, 2006

Look! See!

Silly mama!
See her rise before the sun!
See her get ready for the day in only thirty minutes!
See her spend the next two hours getting her family ready for the day!
What is she thinking? Is she a human doormat? Is she crippling her loved ones by not letting them take care of themselves?
Silly mama!

And in a side note: Mama wishes she had more body in her hair and less body in her body!
Friday, September 01, 2006

Here I am!

Can't you see me? I'm the one here behind the monitor still blogging, believe it or not! Well, okay, mostly reading blogs, but I did start a lovely post two days ago that I had to save for later. I wanted to show off pictures from our little vacation, but realized that I should get permission from my sister-in-law before plastering her darling children's faces all over the internet! So, once I hear from her, you might see the full version or the slightly edited version of our road trip to southern California. Suffice it to say, I had a great time. We've never been able to afford to do much in the way of travel and this trip was definitely "on the cheap", but it will be a happy memory to last me for many years!

I have really been enjoying my bloglines lately and have found two new blogs that I love. The first is Princess Nimble-Thimble. She makes darling things that I can only describe as Good. As in virtuous. They have an elegant sturdiness to them and there is no irony, just honest goodness. I hope you will pop over and see her beautiful work. She also sells her handcrafts and that's awfully good too!

The other good blog I have recently found is Simply Green by author Danny Seo. He is very inspiring! I found him via Alicia at Posie Gets Cozy who is also very inspiring. Between the two of them and this magazine I picked up today,
I am wanting to play decorator very badly! I don't think I've ever mentioned this before, but since I was eleven, I've always dreamed of being an interior designer. As is my way, I talked myself out of it, but I still love to design and decorate beautiful rooms in my head (and sometimes on paper). This is how I rock myself to sleep at night!

Needless to say, I've been watching HGTV's DesignStar very closely! If anyone else is as nerdy as me: aren't you glad Temple is finally gone?! Me too!