Sunday, June 30, 2013

In which the rain rain won't go away....

No, it's not twilight - or at least, it's not supposed to be. It's just about to rain yet again...

And to think that a month and a half ago they were fretting about our being almost a foot behind on precipitation for the year. Not the case anymore.

This is from earlier today. The picture is deceptive. It's not that light out there at all. In fact, it was pouring.

Since we couldn't do what we'd originally planned - the Walkway Over The Hudson - Maddy took Leonora to the ASPCA to pick out a dog instead. She's really been wanting one ever since before she came here. They'd named her Snowflake but Leonora renamed her Scully. I don't think it's bad luck to rename a dog like it is a ship.....

John-John and Shel brought home a cat - I should say, another cat. This is Mindy. They also have a large and very camera-shy Maine Coon Cat named Dexter.

Plushie pets don't need walking for the reasons non-plushie pets do, but they do need exercise. It's been a little tough on Coco having to stay inside so much the past week or so. Samantha likes having a dog to play with, though. Coco's good with everyone. He wouldn't hurt a fly. Maddy, on the other hand, is currently stalking the room with a flyswatter. She thinks the flies may be coming down out of the attic via a hole in the downstairs ceiling that the guy who installed the new chimney a few years back didn't quite fully patch. It's a little creepy. It reminds me of this one story in Pete Townshend's book Horse's Neck, where the narrator keeps finding flies in the house in the dead of winter. Maddy said that where she used to work down in Westchester County, the same thing happened one winter, except with ladybugs. Those I wouldn't mind so much...

Robin looks quite, ahem, pretty in pink herself, doesn't she? Leonora, like Maddy, prefers dark colors. (They have almost the same hair and complexion, BTW.) And this is Skye, the little bird we rescued in Stockbridge. She's had her first restful nights of sleep in awhile now that she doesn't have to worry about the wolf and the two bobcats going after her. Mindy and Dexter don't bother birds and Coco and Scully just want to play.

And I just have to show off my new dress. Isn't it awesome? I love how the two prints go together, don't you?

Not sure what this week will bring - I'd say it's going to be highly dependent on the weather, which hasn't been entirely cooperative. Oh well. I'll take this over possibly breaking the all-time record high temperature ever recorded on the planet.... *waves to everyone out in Death Valley.*

Saturday, June 29, 2013

In which I try to get organized....

Okay, I think I've tracked down most of my dresses - Evangeline, our resident Pullip, is borrowing my pink circle-skirted sundress and I have no idea where my pink butterfly dress got to. I'm not concerned, though. It's around here somewhere....

As for John-John and Shel back there, they're watching Wipeout. I have no idea what it is that they like so much about that show. I have a theory, but I'm trying to keep this PG - well, PG-13, maybe...

John-John: "It's because they started talking politics on CNN again." He, Shel and Maddy are alike - when the subject turns political, they're out of there. (They all have opinions, obviously, but none of them like to discuss them. Maddy says that no one ever changes anyone's mind and everyone goes home all ticked off.  Then again, they've all been through a presidential election year and I haven't yet.)

"Hey, Maddy? Is this one mine? I don't remember it."

She looked. "Oh heck no. That's the first Hitty dress I ever tried to make. It's a total hot mess."

"What's wrong with it?" It didn't look that bad to me.

"Everything. The sleeves are so tight at the armhole that nobody can get an arm in them, the opening at the back is too short for anyone to really be able to get into it and even if you could, the neckline would be at your chin. Plus the skirt is coming off." She took it. "I usually remake or get rid of my mistakes, but this one I kept. Hopefully to look back at someday and marvel at how much better I've gotten."

This is my latest dress, completed this afternoon, so I think she's getting there already. She said that I'm going to need a chemise with a much fuller underskirt if I'm going to wear such full dresses. I think she said the skirt on this one was twelve and a half inches before she gathered it. (You can't see it so much in this photo because I was trying to keep the breeze from turning it into a sail and blowing me off the porch...)

Maddy: 'There's one thing that sewing book from the fifties got right - if you're going to make a full skirt, make it very full."

Maddy's note: Most of Caroline's dresses are made from either Paulette Morrissey's Hitty Dress pattern or her Multi-Dress pattern (see the Links if you're interested in them - her prices are really good and the patterns are, too. Easy to follow and easy to make. I highly recommend them to anyone who's just learning to sew for someone so small, like I am.) Julie Old Crow's sundress pattern is the other one I use frequently - I adapted it for Caroline's chemise, as well as for her pink sundress and her Woodstock dress.)


We're thinking of a couple of possible day trips, but nothing's been Google-mapped yet. Stay tuned....

Thursday, June 27, 2013

In which I get a new look...

The last day or so has not been good....

That "broken thread" turned out to be my face falling apart all on its own. One of the hazards of being a doll, I guess. So, long story short, I ended up having to go under the knife for some major reconstructive surgery....

Me before, after a last-ditch effort to glue my face back together....

Me now, after getting my new face.

I don't know about you, but I like the new me. Not that I didn't like the old me, but the new me looks - well, pretty darn good. Even if I do say so myself...

The incredibly-talented and totally sweet John-John Kilburne putting the finishing touches on my new 'do. I wouldn't trust just anyone with those scissors!

Maddy wanted to get my picture with the Japanese iris that are blooming before the three to four inches of rain we're supposed to get wrecks them.

Not that it's doing anything now. In fact, right now it's a really nice evening.


"Caroline, sweetie, I bought you some boxes for just your stuff - hey, what's all this?"

"I picked them out while you were looking for the gloves. The guy at the counter said they were free..."

"They are. They want you to take them. What were you thinking of painting?"

"My bookcase apartment - when we find the right bookcase."

"Are these low VOC?" Maddy picked one up. "We have to make sure we get the kind of paint that doesn't have fumes. If not, we can find something that is in the right colors."

"I picked out some for you, too." I know she said something about maybe painting her bedroom, and I know she likes turquoise.

"Thanks, sweetie. There are great." (Maddy's note - I would paint the room some actual color if I wasn't too lazy to move out all the furniture....)

I love these awesome boxes, too. I'm the luckiest Hitty......

In which Caroline gets a makover...

Maddy here....

It wasn't something I planned on, but it was neccessary. That 'broken thread" in the bridge of her nose turned out to be the fabric coming apart around the seam. I'm not sure what caused it; maybe a small flaw in the material? Whatever it was, her face was starting to come apart at the center seam, and my attempts to fix it ended up not helping at all. Talk about losing face....

So, I made her a new head.
I tried not to change her look too much, and I don't think I did. Her eyes are a slightly deeper blue (as well as both looking the same way this time!), but that's about it. Most of the goth-chick eyeliner effect is the purple fabric marker I used to mark out her features before I inked them in permanently. The purple along the center seam and around her mouth will also fade - probably fairly quickly, considering how humid it is here.

As for Caroline, she's quite pleased with her new look - if I'm lucky, she may even let me have my mirror back sometime before next week....

And this time the center seam is double-sewn on a very tiny stitch (0.8 on my Singer) so it should hold. 

You live and you learn. I'm just glad I could fix it. She may not be a typical Hitty, but I adore her. I fully intend to let her keep talking me into new adventures for a long time to come....

(If I can get her away from the mirror and we don't get slammed by thunderstorms later, I'll let her tell you all about our trip to Hobby Lobby and Lowe's. Little did I know that while I was looking for nitrile gloves in the paint department, she was busy picking out paint chips...)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

In which we visit Stockbridge, MA....

"Caroline, if you want to go see your ancestor Hitty, today is going to be the best day to do it," Maddy said. She has a bunch of local errands that need to happen sometime this week, and I know Thursday and Friday could be pretty stormy/wet. So, today was the day!

We live in southeastern New York, about fifteen miles from the Connecticut border, so we'd both been pretty surprised when we Google-mapped Stockbridge and found out it was just under a two hours' drive. Straight up the Taconic State Parkway to Route 7 to Great Barrington and then to Stockbridge. (I included the link because the story of the Taconic is kind of interesting.)

We weren't sure about parking, but once again Squat, the Great and Awesome Goddess of Urban Parking Spaces (according to Maddy, anyway) was with us - or at the very least, the urban planners in Stockbridge, at any rate. The red one down at the far end is Maddy's. From that spot, she even had a clear view to back into the street - important with her Rogue, which is a bit lacking in rear window space.

The library itself, where our ancestor Hitty lives, is bigger than we thought it would be. The Historical Room is downstairs. Unfortunately, photos aren't allowed inside.(But look here on Julie Old Crow's site for what we saw. Thanks, Tracy!)  Hitty's case was to the right, almost all the way to the back of the room. I must say, she's looking good for her age. Maddy was a bit surprised (and perhaps slightly envious!) at how dainty and narrow her feet were. We both wondered if she could actually stand on them like Emmaline and the others do. (I also think Maddy has some fabric very close to the reproduction dress she had on.) Her famous "library" dress with the circle/oval print was on display along with one that they think Dorothy Lathrop made for her, along with her famous summer quilt, her little peg wooden dolls and a little basket and chest. We also got a good look at the whale rug and decided that those are indeed fish around the border. I wish we cold have seen it before it faded. Maddy said that the older fabric dyes are pretty unstable and some of them, especially brown dyes, were made from stuff that eventually ate the fabric, which is why her original dresses are in such fragile shape. I'm glad I'm not made of that kind of fabric. (Me and my biiiiiiiiiiiigggggg mouth.....)

There were also a bunch of letters that kids had sent her - those were cool. (And I should point out that Maddy signed her name and mine in the guestbook! I wonder if I'm the only Hitty in there. Probably not....) 

I don't know if I'd want to be kept under glass like that - I mean, the Historic Room is really very nice (and there are a lot of interesting things to look at - not just Hitty) but I like to be out and about, seeing things and doing stuff and having John-John and Shel and Emmaline and the others around to give a hard time to ;-).

Sun was right on the lens when we took this.....

Stockbridge itself is pretty cool, too. I don't know what I was expecting - something a little old-fashioned and New-Englandly, I guess - but it actually reminded me more of Woodstock. There were a lot of interesting little shops and cute places to eat.

Speaking of which, I wonder if you can still get anything you want now that it's no longer Alice's Restaurant. (That probably won't make sense unless you click on the pic....)

Just some street views from around the area of the library...

Just before we got back to the Taconic, we saw a storm building. We pulled over into - something - just of of Route 7 to take some pictures. It looked more ominous than it was. Maddy joked that we might have to do a core punch (stormchaser-speak for driving right through the middle of a storm) on the Taconic, but we didn't.

Columbia County, NY....

Glad that's not my back end on this blog for all to see. I don't know whose space Maddy took. The lot was empty.


This postcard made all of us laugh, so we bought it. And we found the cutest little chick surrounded by two bobcats and a wolf (finger puppets all) in Stockbridge, so we adopted her and brought her home with us, where she'll be safe.

Maddy finally put up the other poster she got last week. She still needs a mat for the frame.

"No One Attending Will Ever Be The Same?" Maddy thinks that was probably true. I kind of like that idea, myself....

So until next time - peace, out :-)

Monday, June 24, 2013

In which it's feeling hot hot hot.....

"Hey girlfriend, what did you do to your hair?"

"John-John did it while you were out." I don't know if I mentioned it, but John-John's a hairstylist. That's the reason behind the confetti-colored streaks in his hair. He was strand-testing manic Panic - on himself.

"I like." Maddy nodded. "I like your hair a little wild. It suits you."

A little wild? Me like too.... ;-)

(And yes, that's a repair on my nose. I broke a couple of stitches. C'est la vie...)


By the way, the northeast is having a bit of a heatwave. It was ninety-five very humid degrees today. Maddy finally broke down and hauled out the air conditioner. She bought one of those floor units last year rather than trying to put one in a window.

"Is that why you took out the rug?" I was a little surprised to see it gone.

"Sort of..." Maddy looked sheepish.

"See that little black plug back there? That's for the water reservoir. I took it off when I put the thing up last fall so it wouldn't mildew or anything. Then - I forgot to put it back on when I hooked it back up this morning. Came back an hour or so later and half the room was a puddle. The rug is downstairs over the clothesline trying to dry out."

"I thought the water went up and out the hose." The thing most people don't know about these type of air conditioners is that you actually do need a window to run a pretty big vent hose out of for the unit to work. However, putting the hose in the window is a lot easier than trying to put an entire air conditioner in one...

"Some of it does, I think. I'm not sure how it works, exactly. But it does cool the room."


Along with the heat, we had storms this afternoon....

Maddy said it was actually just one storm, but it kept just growing and building back on itself - for about three hours....

Shel was starting to get kind of panicked because he couldn't find John-John anywhere.

Maddy finally heard him whimpering. He was hiding under this pink striped thing she has, crying. He's scared to death of thunderstorms.

"Why did you hide from us if you were scared?" I said.

"I feel so silly being scared of them but I am. I can't help it...." He started crying again when a really loud bolt of lightning hit close by.

 I don't think it's silly - lightning kind of freaks me out, too. I think it does Maddy as well. Shel was just glad that his sweetie was all right.

By sunset everything was clearing out. I think it might be slightly more comfortable sleeping weather tonight...

Friday, June 21, 2013

In which we start to plan our next adventure and Maddy tries to adjust her camera....

So, after our totally awesome trip to Woodstock - where to next?

Something to ponder.....

We will definitely be visiting Woodstock again, though. Maybe even to stay someday....

In the meantime, Maddy Google-mapped Stockbridge, MA, just for the heck of it (for those who haven't heard, the Stockbridge Library is where our ancestor Hitty now lives) and found, to her surprise, that it's not much further than Woodstock. Turns out it's in the southwest corner of the state, almost at the NY border.

"We need to think about doing that trip soon, though, if we're going to. Like even next week," she cautioned. The (really) good news is that she's starting to get more and more job interviews now after a drought of almost two months - she has one for Monday again. However, this means that anything big we want to do in the meantime should probably happen soon...

Especially before we get behind one of these again. Two words you do not want to see on the back of anything with eighteen wheels - "Student Driver."

*Maddy's note - this was today on the way to the bookstore. I was stopped safely at a traffic light when I took this. Very stopped. By the time our intrepid student driver got the truck in gear and through the light, it was red again. Oh well...*

"We could also drive over to Beacon or do the Walkway over the Hudson for the blog," she said. "But not next week for the walkway." Part of next week is supposed to be hot and humid and the other part is supposed to be stormy.

"What's in Beacon?" I said.

"Paul Newman filmed a movie there in 1994," she said. "Nobody's Fool. It was actually filmed partly in Beacon and partly in Newburgh. I was working in Newburgh at a little weekly paper at the time and a woman from the crew stopped by the check out the building. They were thinking of using the upper floor for the construction company office, but the ceilings were too low for the lights they needed to use. But the little silver railroad-car diner in the movie is - or was - on Main Street in Beacon. And all the snow in the movie was totally real. We had seventeen ginormous snowstorms in eight weeks and two weeks straight when the temperature didn't get above zero, if I remember correctly. Not a fun winter. But a very good movie."

"Wasn't Beacon where they had the moose running around?" I said.

She nodded. "A friend of mine was living there at the time and said the police were all over the parking lot of her building looking for it."



"Okay, I really, really do not like the flash on this camera. Why can't it just show the room the way it is?" The room was quite nicely lit up from the sun at the moment - not that you can tell from this. It looks like twilight...

"What if we - no, not better..."

"What does that setting do? The little flash thingy in the circle?"

"I have no idea..."

"Okay, hold still, I - WAHCHOOOO!!!"

"Gesundheit..." Everyone tells Maddy she should take Claritan, but she insists it doesn't work for her. She needs longer-acting Benedryl.

"Thanks, I - oops. Well, it looks better, or would if I'd held the camera steady. Very Man Ray..."

Man Who?


 "Okay, places everyone. We're going to try a few settings. This is normal...."

"Vivid Color..."

Not really seeing a difference here, except that Maddy moved her hand....

"Black and White..."


aka "Everything Turns The Same Color As Shel's Hair..."

And Cyanotype.

John-John: "More like Fifty Shades of Gray."

Maddy: "Cyan is blue, sweetie."

Shel: "That doesn't look blue...."

Maddy said the good thing about a digital camera is that you know right away if you screwed up the photo or not. She's still not sure about this flash setting. It does wonders for the overexposure problem, but it looks a little blurry.....

So until next time.....

John-John: "Caroline, quit hogging the frame..."