A BOUQUET IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WEEK – Marilyn Armstrong

BOUQUET – FOTD – O2/19/2019

I needed that bouquet. Sometimes, a bunch of flowers really helps. Not always, but sometimes. This was one of the times it helped.

Of course, I took pictures.

These aren’t flowers I can grow in my garden, but it’s a pleasure to enjoy them in my living room.

Bouquet
Chrysanthemums
Beautiful pink rose in a beautiful bouquet

MORE SNOWY BIRDS – Marilyn Armstrong

The red finches (House Finch) are back. I’ve heard them called both Red Finches and House Finches and be interested to know if both are accurate or red is just one of many colors for the House Finch.

Regardless, they are back. There were a couple of them a few weeks ago and quite a gaggle of them now. Can finches be gaggled?

I’m still in a ridiculous battle to get some more pictures of the cardinal. He comes by every day. I see him, head for the camera and he is gone when I turn around. It’s definitely personal!

This is a Purple Finch even though he isn’t purple.
Junco and a House Finch. I looked them up. The one in the earlier picture is a different bird. Red Head notwithstanding, this is probably a regular House Finch.

And then, there are woodpeckers. We live in the woods, so I don’t know why I’m surprised we have so many woodpeckers.

Lots of trees. Lots of woodpeckers.

By size, I THINK this is a Downy Woodpecker, but it can be very hard to tell.
And a feathery farewell.

THE RESTORATION OF ANA McGUFFEY – Marilyn Armstrong

I collected dolls for years. Collecting is easy. Restoring is more of a challenge. Before I gave up collecting, I learned to restore my old dolls.

Portrait of an old doll.

Up front, let me say that I’m not crafty. I can’t sew, crochet, knit, or carve. I can’t change the cartridges in my printer. I can write and I can take pictures. I can draw a bit. And I can cook. Otherwise, I’m pretty much a washout as a craftsperson. But I collected dolls for years. If you collect, there are things you need to do yourself because even if you have lots of money, finding someone else to do them is difficult … maybe impossible. I learned because I had no choice.

This is the best work I did. After Ana McGuffey, I pretty much stopped collecting and promptly forgot everything I ever knew. Use it or lose it.


Composition was the material favored by quality dollmakers such as American Character and Madame Alexander before the 1940s when hard injected plastic became the material of choice. The changeover from composition to hard plastic was gradual. Some composition dolls were produced as late as the 1950s, though not many.

Ana McGuffey – 1946 – Mme. Alexander – Doll’s faces are intended to embody the “adorable” factor of real toddlers.

Composition is basically sawdust, glue, varnish, and paint.  It is a very good molding material, but it disintegrates over time. Dampness rots it. Excessive heat will destroy it. Time will have its way with it. Many dolls I love are old composition dolls. Finding these dolls in pristine condition can be impossible. If available, they are costly. Lacking money, I decided to learn to fix them. Old composition dolls in a state of deterioration are not difficult to acquire. If you can repair them yourself, you can get rare dolls for short money … but you will invest many long hours of yourself.

Ana McGuffey 4

Ana McGuffey (of the reader of the same name) was one of Madame Alexander’s most popular character dolls for decades, from the 1910s through the 1940s. Although her face changed with the times, she always had her hair in braids. She wore a pinafore with a floral print dress. Stocking and buttoned shoes.

I finally got a 20″ Ana McGuffey. Half of each foot was rotted away. The paint on her face was chipped and faded and her wig and clothing were gone. She was in pieces and needed restringing.

I replaced her feet by modeling them using a clay-like epoxy material. This stuff is used for modeling all kinds of stuff. It’s difficult to use but forms a very hard, resin-like substance when it dries.

I restrung her, repainted her face — many failed attempts before I got it sort of right. I found a wig that looked like her original, though not the same material.

Her original wig was made of mohair. While you can get mohair wigs for restoring dolls, they are frightfully expensive and not particularly durable. I also don’t like the way they look, so I went with modern polyurethane. I made the dress and pinafore. This is not an area in which I excel, but no one was making clothing for this doll. It was me or no dress. I could easily get dresses that would fit her, but they wouldn’t look like her original clothing. I wanted Ana to look close to her original.

Ana McGuffey – 1948 by Madame Alexander

She also needed a flowery straw hat and I’d gotten pretty good at buying plain hats and decorating them. I found the stocking and shoes that sufficed, though they weren’t quite what I wanted. I haven’t mastered making shoes, but all things considered, I’m proud of this piece of work.

This is Ana McGuffey, Madame Alexander, circa 1930 – 1940. Restored by me.

TEXTURE: CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Texture

Fluffy is a texture, right?
Old bricks on Beacon Hill
Feathery
Woolly
Leaves on the deck

HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW? – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Tuesday: Garden

I used to be a more enthusiastic gardener but my outdoor gardening days have become pretty limited. I manage to get into the garden once a year and clip everything back and pull out all the dead stuff from the previous year, but that’s pretty much “it” for me.

I love my indoor garden. It’s not huge, but it’s pretty and I can manage it … which is a powerful reason to love it. I look daily at my soon-to-be blooming Christmas cactus and the shoot of upcoming orchids.

Orchids
Orchids

One macro orchid

WORLD SHARING – Marilyn Armstrong

Share Your World 2-18-19

House Finches in red
QUESTIONS:

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?

Pretty much what I already do. If I didn’t have to sleep AND I had more money, it would be a different question with more entertaining answers.

What job would you be terrible at?

I was the worst secretary of all time. I was really bad. I resented taking orders, resented being treated like a “second-rate” worker — and I quit after less than two weeks. I’m sure they were deeply grateful. Lord knows I was.

When was the last time you climbed a tree?

I wasn’t much of a tree climber even when I was a kid. The only time I remember, I stepped in a hornet’s nest which reduced my tree climbing enthusiasm by %150.

Do you count your steps? 

No.

Bonus question (just because it’s really silly)   What’s the dumbest way you’ve injured yourself?

Mostly by chopping off the tip of a finger while cutting up vegetables. I’ve done it SO MANY TIMES that I’m sure my house is full of traces of my blood. For a while, no one would let me hold a sharp object.

“PUT DOWN THAT KNIFE AND BACK AWAY FROM THE COUNTER!”

I have also slammed my finger in my desk drawer, car door, front door, and one really BIG fire door at school. There are lots more. I just can’t remember them all.

AND THE COLOR IS PINK! A PHOTO A WEEK CHALLENGE – Marilyn Armstrong

A Photo a Week Challenge: Pink

I have a particular favorite color of pink for clothing and it’s the only color pink I wear that isn’t a nightgown or underwear.

Hot pink.

I use to wear black and put a hot pink blazer over it. It looked great. Red works too, but hot pink has class. Otherwise, you won’t find pink in my furniture or even my sheets. I admit a few doll dresses are pink, but with dolls, you can’t entirely avoid pink. It’s a doll color.

And then there are flowers: