Cookie baking day…and not a dolly in the kitchen…

I wasn’t a very good dolly blogger today… Rebecca and I decided it was time to do our Christmas baking and it took every bit of concentration to make sure we were doing things right. I guess I could have gotten a few dolls and posed them so you could see that they were “good helpers” but they don’t have any clothes… so who wants to see naked dolls stirring cookie batter…didn’t think so! Besides my hand mixer’s motor must have been about ready to burst into flames… we could smell it was a goner… :o( I sure didn’t want to chance a dolls hair catching on fire!

We got a lot accomplished and will probably be able to finish tomorrow… I think we had one of everything from Kroger…

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Rebecca wanted to try 2 new recipes… a Red Velvet Cookie with a hugs or a cordial cherry kiss on top… pretty tasty!

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This is the Red Velvet Fudge… but I tasted it and it’s TOO sweet… I think I might microwave it down and pour it over some angel food cake…

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I made 2 batches of Candied Pecans… yummy!

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… Chocolate Chip cookies…

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…Chocolate Mint Cookie Bark…

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…Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars…

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Rebecca started bagging them up. It looks like we’re having a bake sale…

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I’m so sugared out… someone PLEASE… give me a piece of broccoli!!!

See you tomorrow, hopefully with a doll in my post!
Blessings, Jeanne

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My mantle mirror up close and personal…

I guess I’m finished sewing for the year, so I’ll have to see what kind of things I can “post” to still keep you all interested. I had hoped to get 2 more doll dresses finished, but with baking to be done, house cleaning, family coming in, and other obligations, it’s just not gonna happen! I still have a few “dolly” posts up my sleeve but will spread them out while I’m not “sewing like usual” right now…

I did a Christmas-y post yesterday showing my hubby’s many Nutcrackers we have on display… (here’s that post) and the smallest of the nutcrackers were on a ledge just below my mantle mirror.

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Someone asked me if it was old and could they see a close up of it. I know this isn’t a “dolly” related post, but I thought you still might enjoy seeing it.

It IS an old mirror, probably from the 1920’s and was in horrible condition when I bought it. The wood on the back was practically falling apart and I didn’t know if it would make it to the car if it was picked up. I spotted it on Craigslist and waited 3 days before I even told my hubby about wanting it. It was about a 20 minute drive to where it was and I wasn’t sure he’d be on board if he saw how sad it looked. I never showed him the pictures but eventually did talk him into going to see it. I was right…when he saw it, he gave me that sort of puzzled look like, “we just drove 20 minutes for this?” I knew immediately I wanted it, so I paid the lady the $15…yes $15 for it! It was so heavy I could barely lift it…so my hubby obliged and I was thrilled with my new treasure in the back seat of our car.

When I got it home and cleaned off all the dirt and dust I could see I had my work cut out for me… It had lots of missing pieces and in some places even huge hunks were gone, but I loved it…especially the etched design in the mirror. Two sections were in pretty decent condition but the left side is pretty fuzzy like. The mirror frame was what’s called “gesso,” which actually means “chalk.” These mirrors are usually a carved or molded relief frame. If you have a fancy ornate, usually gold frame, you probably have a gesso mirror. If you study the history of gesso, you’ll find that it was extremely popular in ancient times. It’s found in the tombs of ancient Egypt as paintings on the panels and sarcophagus, but probably most identified with the country of Italy. (sorry… a little history lesson…)

Please note: If you click on my pictures, they will enlarge…so you can see more details…

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Not to be outdone and not to let $15 go to waste, I got out some spackling and got to work chipping away the broken pieces and filling the empty spaces with spackle.

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Some parts on the corners were almost completely gone so I had to build up the spackle and sort of carve a new design in it. It took lots of time letting it dry, sanding it and then building it up each time. Then when I was all done, and it was as good as I thought I could get it, I primed it and then was ready to paint it.

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When I got it painted, it all seemed a bit too stark white, so I distressed it somewhat and love it now…

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I have lower than normal ceilings in my living room and they are plank wood ones which make them seem even lower. This little section of wood above my fireplace was the perfect spot for a long narrow mirror and works well. I think it sort of balances the wall area.

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So…that’s the story of how my mantle mirror came to be! Hope you enjoyed this, even though no dolls were shown…

See you tomorrow,
Blessings and Merry Christmas, Jeanne

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My hubby’s Nutcrackers vs. My Dolls… who wins?

I was busy over the weekend getting my Christmas tree set up and decorated and then I moved onto other areas in my living room and dining room. One place I especially like to decorate is our fireplace. It’s this big old monstrosity of a thing that used to be really ugly. It might look okay in my picture, but in person it was horribly dirty, it had cracks and there were several random red bricks that just stood out like a sore thumb!

Please note: If you click on any of my pictures, they will enlarge somewhat…

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My sister (who is incredibly good at decorating!!!) convinced me to convince my hubby to paint it white and it’s been “heaven” ever since.. no more ugliness here! When Cindy came to visit me and we started the project, we noticed the walls above the fireplace were sort of bowed out…

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“No problem,” said my sister… “we’ll just take the paneling off and see what’s underneath” … Well it turned out to be some really old carside trim underneath and she, being the good decorator told us to paint it… almost the same color as it was… a bluish gray. So we did!

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The nice thing about being the “photographer” is you miss out on doing a lot of the work! :o)

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And finished…

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The new painted fireplace makes a great place to display my hubby’s collection of nutcrackers. He’s been collecting… (rather, I should say, “we’ve” been buying for him) them for years and years and now has 36 in his collection… and see that package under my tree… 3 guesses as to what it is…you got it!

I know my Christmas-y living room is more colorful than lots of people like, but it makes my hubby happy to see all his “guys” displayed and remember the stories associated with them.

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Starting down on the right side of my hearth, we have these guys…

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On top of the stove are 4 more… the 3rd one is a veterinarian nutcracker that my mom gave him years and years ago…

The 2nd one is a doctor one he got last year after making it through his bladder cancer treatments and then getting 2 great reports from the pathologist!

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The ones on the left side of the stove…

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In the beginning when “he” first started “collecting” them, we just got him ordinary ones, but as his collection began to grow, we started looking for the ones that were more distinct looking.

Okay…now onto the top of the mantle…

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The BIG guy on the far left was given to him by my sister and it’s a real German nutcracker. He’s got “papers” and is very heavy. He’s pouring a little “bubbly” and has a neat face!

The littlest ones go under my mantle mirror and are just as fun…

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Okay…now you’ve seen his nutcrackers… how about my dolls?

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Hmmmm… I have 17… he has 36 (plus)… something doesn’t seem right here! Of course I guess if you figure how much my dolls cost compared to the price of his nutcrackers, it evens out…or I’m guessing I’m still in the lead!

Thanks for letting me share with you HIS lovelies and MY lovelies…we are both happy with our collections!

(…and just a quick reminder… the red plaid dress on Rebecca ends on Tuesday evening…click here to see it.)

See you tomorrow,
Blessings and Merry Christmas,
~ Jeanne

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High Fashion vs. Knock Offs…can you tell the difference?

I got my tree all decorated and my living room back in order, and wanted to share some pictures with you, but I realized it was too dark, so it will have to wait for another day or two. I know not everyone is interested in my home decorating since this blog is supposed to be about dolly stuff but it’s hard to not show “holiday-ish” things right now…

However, I decided to do something totally out of the blue for this post. It dates back to the 70’s…and it’s not about a Julie doll! I went to college and majored in Apparel Design but never realized years down the road the designing I’d be doing would be for dolls. I love what I’m doing now and can’t imagine doing it for people clothes…NAH!!!

Fortunately I saved a lot of my things from my college classes… you’ll see what I mean. We had a project in one of my design classes where we were learning about “high-fashion vs. knock-offs.” Do you know the difference? High fashion has all the details and the special little effects that set it apart and usually makes the price much higher. Knock offs, on the other hand, are items that are “copied” from the high fashion items but are missing the extra details or they are mimicked in a way that it “sort of shows them but not quite!”

In this project, we had to design and draw 5 children’s outfits and show the high fashion designs in one drawing and the knock offs in the other drawing. I’m not an artist, so overlook my strange looking faces and just look at the fashions…if you please! My drawings were just in a soft pencil, but when I transferred them to Picasa they look like they are done in pen and ink…they’re just in pencil…

See if you can spot the differences in the pictures below. The first picture is the high fashion one…

If you click on the pictures they enlarge and it’s easier to see the details.

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Now here are the knock-offs… notice how the “details” are missing? No pockets, no double topstitching, no trim on the coat, etc….

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It’s the differences like you’d find in Macy’s vs. K-Mart…

Then we had to pick one of our high-fashion designs and find a piece of fabric that we would make our design out of and color the picture with colored pencils. I picked the little girls coat and used a piece of purple corduroy for my idea.

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So, now you know the differences… wasn’t that fun?

See you tomorrow,
Blessings and Merry Christmas,
~ Jeanne

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