April 30, 2010

Lil' Blondie

This little doll and (her teddy bear) are for my colleague, Cherry, to gift. I started with a pattern from keep it simple, silly, but then adapted it to suit my preferences. Interested parties can read all about those changes on Ravelry.

She's about 8" high

I didn’t crochet her “naked”, but rather gave her a 3/4 sleeve blue undershirt and white/orange striped leggings. Since this is for a little girl, I didn’t think that she’d be successful at keeping a bunch of outfits or accessories together, but I wanted to give her a lot of color. This way there’s only one removable clothing piece: the dress. The dress is very simple, with a little ruffle hem and a boatneck top.

I made the hair using Hempathy yarn because it has a little brown mixed with the yellow, and is very thin, but strong. I ended up with a lot of hair - next time I'll crochet a "hair cap" first, and then attach the individual yarn strands to that.

Enjoy the doll, little-unknown-girl-who-will-receive-this-gift!

April 28, 2010


Last Saturday, at the suggestion* of some friends, Mike and I ventured under the Morrison Bridge to partake in EAT MOBILE. As you can see above, this is Portland's Food Cart Festival.
$8 buys you a wrist band, and a whole lot of food samples.

For an additional $2 you can wrap your hands around a tall boy (we did).

There were lots of wonderful food choices, and the sample sizes varied considerably. Above, Mike is eating the largest sample that we got, which was a curry/rice dish. The smallest sample we saw was a tiny little scoop of Red Bull ice cream. Amazingly this line was the longest we saw (Red Bull isn't even a food cart - they borrowed a truck for the event and taped white paper over the side and put up a red paper logo). I couldn't see the appeal of waiting for such a small scoop, so we passed it by (we also ended the evening over at Staccato Gelato on NE 28th, where the scoops are significantly larger).

There were a lot of people here, and some pretty long lines, but for the most part the lines moved quickly, and everybody we encountered was friendly and respectful. Neither Mike nor I are much for crowds or lines, but neither of us came close to a melt-down, so I consider it pretty successful.

We only sampled about half of the options available, as we had the good sense to stop ourselves before our stomach-aches became too severe (there were a lot of cuisines mixing around down there). The one thing that I would suggest for future Food Cart Festivals is that they could cut down on the plastic utensil waste by handing out a spoon or spork with every admission, which each patron could keep through the whole event (many food carts handed out a spoon or fork with every sample).

In honor of our backyard pizza oven: a mobile variation

The whole event was a lot of fun, and was a nice introduction to some of the city's food carts. It's unlikely that we'll visit many of them again, as I think of the carts as a lunch option, and the Pearl District is not a hot spot for them. But who knows, maybe we'll swing by some of the North Portland carts on our bikes this summer - on the way to the bar.
For those who are enamored by food carts, check out www.portlandfoodcartsbook.com, for information on a book due out this September.

*by "suggestion" I mean that our dear friends invited us, but then forgot to buy their own tickets. We definitely had fun, but it would have been more fun with them. Oh well, there's always next year.

April 23, 2010


A new project! I'm a multi-tasker; must have more than a dozen projects going at one time.

This one I blame on my mother; she introduced me to the world of needle-felting last year when she bought a needle-felting machine and began creating amazing textile works of art. Very awesome, but it didn't seem like my medium, until... miniature needle-felted animals arrived on the scene! During our birthday celebration weekend Mom set me up with everything I needed to get started: needles, wool roving, pipe cleaners, foam pad and book full of beautiful felted animals.

This puppy is my first needled-felted project - It was not as fast as crocheting amigurumi, but the finished product is much smaller than I could achieve with crochet. I hope to be able to combine the two crafts in a future project.

Needle-felting is very sculptural; I started with a pipe cleaner wire frame, then just added wool roving and needled the f*ck out of it.

Roople's a big fan of the new puppy, too.

April 21, 2010

Cob Pizza Oven: Day Two

The Cob Oven Project continues! Day 2 happened this last Sunday.
It started out with mud, ended with mud and in between there was a little mud.

Bobby and Mike mix clay and sawdust in the barrow....

Then use their feet to finish the job.

The mixture was used to cement glass bottles in the center of the keystone base to provide heat insulation.

On top of the bottles, sand was spread.

And leveled.

And scored.

Then fire bricks were soaked in water before being laid out on the base.

A precise affair, as they were laid out several times to get it just right. Hard to tell if they were wrong to begin with, or if we were just working with two men who like to get everything just right.

The circular dimension of the oven was drawn out.

Then the mold was constructed out of sand. The mold represents the negative space of the oven and will later be removed. Imagine a pizza baking where that sand is... mmm, crunchy.

The next layer was damp newspaper over the sand. This will help facilitate the removal of the sand once all the outer layers are dry.

Time for more mud!

Constructing the next layer of clay and sand was the hardest layer to get right. We had to mix many, many batches, as it kept slumping. It was a long process of scraping, patting and hoping it would stay in one place. As you can see I jumped in to help on this layer, as the end of the day was quickly approaching and we were desperate to finish.

Covered, and waiting for another dry day. It'll have to wait for a month or so while Bobby is back east teaching a cob workshop on Martha's Vineyard. Til then!

April 18, 2010

Trike Bike

We had a brief, but great visit with Pa and Sharon on Friday night, as they stopped over en route to California. Sharon is on her way to a stone sculpting symposium on the coast, south of San Jose, and Pa is driving down with her so that he can start biking North (as far as he can get before Sharon's symposium is finished. As you may recall from Mike and Pa's biking adventures last year, he has taken to riding a recumbent bike. But that was so last year - this year he's moved onto a new "steed" - the trike bike.

Since he plans on leaving the recumbent with us for Mike to try out, Pa gave him a quick lesson on it's workings.

Of course we had to try our hand at the Trike as well.

I loved it.

Anja and Lilly came home just in time to try it out as well.
Lilly had a few reservations about the whole idea.

But took control of the situation pretty quickly.

She was happier to be on her feet though.

And happiest in her Mom's arms.

April 14, 2010

More paintin', more plantin'

Mike has been working, working, working. I felt like I had to step up the game last weekend and be very productive while he was at the office.

Double-coat of paint on the siding - halfway done!
Lots of lavendar, salvia and various grasses planted.
Should smell lovely soon!

April 11, 2010

Forest Friends Baby Mobile

A baby mobile to spark the imagination of Lincoln, the 3-month old son of Susanna's friend Heidi. The gnome is at the center of the forest, surrounded by his friends: snail, mushroom, bluebird and owl.

The Gnome-y and his "friends" are attached to the hanging mobile with jump rings. The idea being that once Lincoln is too old for a mobile, the toys could easily be removed and played with.

The pattern for the leaves is from Crochet Bouquet (plain vein leaf pattern). I used two colors, and adapted the pattern to make a smaller size leaf as well. Since the leaves were curling a bit, I also used a little spray starch to get them to lie flatter.

This is my second hard-working gnome, and I've made a few changes from Mr. Gnome, #1:
- Added ears and changed the hat shape.
- made the overalls higher, in the hopes that it would make his belly look fatter.
- made his feet more pronounced, and made the pants legs a little differently.

This little dotted mushroom is also my own design. Sure wish I'd taken notes.

This was a great pattern from Leslie Robinson Stone. It is the best bird pattern I've made so far, and is available on Ravelry (called Amigurumi Dove).
(there were a couple of mistakes in the pattern, though: rounds 16 & 17 should repeat 3 times, not 2 times. And there are actually a total of 24 rounds in the head/body/tail portion, not 23).

I improvised this owl pretty quickly. Next time I'll take notes on this one too.

This happy snail is from Ana Paula Rimoli's Amigurumi World. It's the second time I've followed this pattern, and it's one of the quickest and easiest.

The word from Susanna is that the mobile was well-received.
Happy 3 months, Lincoln!
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