Back to the Routine

This is the first blogging I've done in several days.  Some of you who have visited my giveaway might be surprised to know that; but actually, the giveaway post was written earlier in the week.  Speaking of the giveaway, honestly, you all live in the most interesting places!  Reading all your giveaway comments has given me some ideas about future travel destinations!  And, I thank you for all your kind comments congratulating me on my blogoversary.

Here's what I've been up to while I've been away:  I have just spent four incredible days with my friend Lisa from California.  You may recall that I made doll quilts for Lisa's granddaughters last year.  This time it was Lisa's turn to visit me.  She decided to make her trip into an adventure by taking the train from Southern California to Portland.  I picked her up at the train station on Wednesday.  Taking the train that distance is a multi-day journey, and so I gave her the afternoon and evening on Wednesday to rest up for the events of the next few days.

Lisa and I have known one another since the 7th grade, and another of our friends from high school also lives in Portland.  We decided to meet up with our friend Carla for lunch on Thursday.  Carla is just freshly back from a fellowship teaching English as a second language to university students in Georgia--that's Georgia, the country, not the state.  (You can read about Carla's adventures on the blog she kept right here if you're interested.)  We had a wonderful time gabbing and catching up...oh yes, and the food was delicious too.

That's Lisa on the left, Carla in the middle, and some photobomber woman on the right.  (I don't know how she's always ending up in my pictures.  She might be stalking me.)

On the way home, we stopped in and picked up some "Duck tape" at Michael's because we have been planning to make some little "take along dolls" for Lisa's youngest granddaughters.  (I'm using Lisa's grandchildren as surrogates until I have some of my own.  Somebody has to be a target for my children's sewing.)  

I first got the idea for the take along dolls from the Closet Crafter blog.  You can click on that link to see how she made hers.  There was no tutorial, and so we were winging it, putting together different ideas.  They are little dolls that fit into Altoids tins.  We considered different options for covering the tins, and finally decided that "Duck tape" was the best choice.  We used an X-Acto knife to cut the tape to fit on the box top and bottom.  There were lots of choices of colors for the tape, but we settled on this black gingham/cherry one. 

We used a doll template I found in a book on my shelf by Cathy Gaubert, entitled Pretty in Patchwork Doll Quilts.

We chose fabrics and then settled on a method to make them.  Here, Lisa is embroidering the little details onto her doll.  

The original idea had just one doll with her head on a pillow and a little blanket.  Lisa liked the idea of doing a little teddy bear instead of a pillow, and so that's what we did.  This is the one Lisa did.

This is the one I did.

We considered different ways to make the hair and the face.  In the end, we decided on cutting the hair and the "clothes" for the doll, sewing them together, then appliqueing the face over the hair.  It worked out great. 

We embroidered on the details once they were sewn together, but before finishing the machine sewing and stuffing them.  The bear's tummy is appliqued on as well, and his arms and legs were stitched after he was stuffed, so that he has a little bit of a 3-D appearance.  As we were working, I suggested flannel for the blankets, and that turned out to be a good choice.  Here they both are together.   

I'm not sure if these will end up in the hands of the little girls, or the purses of their moms.  It seems a good toy to pull out of a purse in case of emergency!  So whaddaya' say?  Can Lisa and I get a Whoop Whoop?

And since this project is new to me, I'm going to link up to:

We worked on the little dolls over the course of two days.  Friday morning, we walked the Fanno Creek trail that my friend Sue and I like to walk on Fridays.  Along the way I was telling Lisa about the variety of wildlife we have seen along the trail, including the little ducklings we see occasionally.  We walked past the usual duck pond area and saw just one duck standing on the trail.  When we came back, we saw several, including this mama and her two ducklings.  What a nice surprise!

Mama was wary of us, but she let us get surprisingly close in order to photograph them.  

Saturday afternoon, Mike took us out on the boat for a cruise on the Willamette River in downtown Portland.  It's kind of fun to see the city from that perspective.

It was quite windy and the water was rather choppy, so we didn't go very far north on the river.  Lisa didn't think she was ever going to be able to get a comb through her hair again.  Despite the wind, the weather was lovely, and the temperatures was very comfortable.

We had planned to have lunch at the Newport Bay restaurant where we could tie up the boat and hop off. We were sitting under a covered patio, but you can see some of the other diners here.  Our boat is tied up just beyond them almost dead center in this next image.

We had so much fun that Mike and I wondered why we hadn't done this before.  In general, when we are boating, we are on a different part of the river farther south, but I think possibly this will become a regular boating event for us.  Here are Lisa and the boat captain yucking it up.

After lunch, we headed south on the river and into a cove where some pretty darned fancy floating homes are tied up.  They look like regular homes, except more luxurious, and bobbing up and down.

This one has a spiral staircase leading to a hot tub.  Wouldn't that be a nice place to sit under the stars?

After giving the residents a good once-over, we headed south as far as we could go to Willamette Falls. There are some locks to get to the river above the falls, but one must be in a larger craft to use them.

There were a lot of sturgeon fishermen on the water on this day.  That was just one of the many boats we saw with fishing lines in the water.  I'm sure they appreciated us motoring through and scaring the fish.

Here are the boat captain and first mate:

This morning, I put Lisa on a plane for home.  I just now heard a text message come in on my phone, and while I haven't checked it yet, I suspect it's Lisa letting me know she's safely home in Southern California now.

We had a wonderful visit, and now I'm going to endeavor to get back to some sort of routine, if only temporarily.  The summer is turning out to be kind of busy.  We have dinner guests coming two out of the next three weekends, and then I talked Carla into coming up to spend a weekend with us in about a month. Carla has been wanting to learn to quilt, and she and I are going to make a doll quilt together.

As for today, I'm off now to water my flower pots and then get going on a NewFO.  I've had a wonderful several days visiting with my friend, and it's been good to take a bit of a break from daily blog posts.  Still, I've missed blogging, sewing, and all of you.

Life is good!  I hope all of you are doing well and enjoying your summer as well.


WoolenSails said...

What an amazing place to visit and that house would be fun to vacation in. Love the little carry along dolls, cute idea.


Lyndsey said...

That sounds like a great visit. Love the carry along dolls and I want some of that cute duck tape. Great photos as ever Barbara. I'm looking forward to getting back into sewing and blogging. Neither have happened since 27th June due to marking. All finished today, Yipee.

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

What a great visit you gals had!

quiltzyx said...

Looks like you had a great visit, and a good time for recharging the batteries too.
The Take-Along Dolls are too cute, love the idea of using the "fancy" Duck Tape to cover the tins. I'll have to keep an eye out for that.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

A lovely break, Oh, love that duck tape and the little doll/tins look like a fun project.

Dana Gaffney said...

It looks like you had a wonderful visit, nice to take a break from the norm. I like that project, it makes me think how much I would have loved that as a kid, little secret things.

Dar said...

Thanks for the tour via boat of your area. I have never seen "floating homes" that look like these. We have large docks on our big lake (about 2 1/2 hours away)but I don't think they allow real house structures to float on this lake. Will have to look into it. We do have boats that are large enough to live on that tie up in quiet coves around the lake.

Your take-a-long dolls are a clever and cute idea. Thanks for sharing.

Diane Wild said...

I've never seen floating houses before. Is it a house boat or just a large raft with a house on it? Hmm. Looks like it was a great break from the norm and fun with a good friend.

Teresa in Music City said...

It sounds like such a lovely visit with your friend! So glad the weather and even the ducks joined in the welcoming spirit of the thing :*)

Kate said...

Looks like you had a wonderful time together. Love the little dolls with their stuffed bears. Too cute! I missed your blog-a-versary, congratulations on 3 years.

Jessica Hadden said...

Yes, a Whoop Whoop! and Go You! I want to visit Portland with a tiny doll in tote! :)

Anonymous said...

Aww I love the cute little dolls they are awesome. You look like you had an amazing time on your trip!