365 Days Handmade

Making life a better place, one day at a time

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Day 242/365: In Which I Tell You About Dolly

You may or may not be familiar with the pop surrealist artists Mark Ryden and Marion Peck and their body of work.  In 2008, they collaborated on a short film called Sweet Wishes.  (Go ahead and click on the link to watch the film.  It’s less than two and a half minutes long.)  The film features Dolly, Baby, and Bear, and it’s a story of what happens when the three of them get what they wish for.

Ryden and Peck also released a hardcover book based on the short film.  Even though both Sean and I are fans of Ryden’s work and have even been to a couple of his art shows in Los Angeles, we were unaware of the film and the book until just a few months ago when we stopped to browse the Kinokuniya Bookstore in L.A. before heading out to a Galaxy game.  I spotted the book on the sale rack and quickly snatched it up.


Sean wanted to make sure that we got to the Galaxy game in plenty of time, so we left the bookstore shortly afterwards and headed out to the Stub Hub Center.  Once there and safely ensconced in a parking spot, we realized we’d made it with plenty of time to spare, so I pulled out the book and we sat in the car and looked through the pages together.  I never laughed so hard at a picture book as I did with this one.  We went through it quickly, and then I had to go through the book a second time, enjoying it all over again.

Fast forward to last week, when Sean and I were walking to the Golden Egg Café in Ventura for Sunday morning brunch.  A few doors before the Golden Egg is a thrift store.  I always stop to check out the display in the window if something catches my eye.  This time, something definitely made me stop.



Unfortunately, it was Sunday, and the thrift store wasn’t open on Sundays.  I wanted to make sure that this doll was the same Dolly from Sweet Wishes, so I stood in front of the window with my phone and snapped a bunch of close-up photos of the doll’s face.  Then Sean and I went on to the Golden Egg.

I forgot all about Dolly until I returned to Morro Bay the following day.  As soon as I remembered, I went downstairs and pulled my hardcover copy of Sweet Wishes off the bookshelf and compared my photos to the ones in the book.  Sure enough, the two dolls were the same make and model.

“Sean,” I said that night when we were talking on the phone.  “That doll was Dolly!  And I didn’t buy her.  Someone else probably will.”

“Aw, I doubt it,” Sean said.  “That doll will still be there.  You can go back and get her when you come home this weekend.”

The week passed, and on Friday Sean caught the train from Ventura to Morro Bay.  We drove back down to Ventura late Saturday afternoon and stopped for dinner and then groceries, so we didn’t get back home until almost 9 PM.  Sean was still unloading the car, so I got to the door first and let myself in.  Guess who was propped on the coffee table?  Sean had gone back to the thrift store on Thursday and purchased her for me as an early birthday surprise.

I did a little bit of online research and found out that she is a vintage doll from the late 1960s.  She’s in pretty good condition, considering her age.  She was made in the USA by the Ideal Toy Company just a few years before I was born, and speaking of birthdays, I told Sean that his purchase of Dolly was all the birthday gift that I needed this weekend.



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Day 213/365: Quilted Placemat #3, So Close to Done!

We’re at the Ventura homestead this weekend, and once again, the problem with keeping two residences has reared its ugly head.  I was hand-sewing the binding on my third quilted placemat, and I ran out of thread.  I hadn’t thought to bring more thread with me, and all of my sewing notions are up in the Morro Bay house.  So I can’t finish the placemat until we drive back to Morro Bay tomorrow.

This isn’t the first time that Sean and I have been at one place and realized that something we needed was sitting at the other place, 150 miles and two counties away.  Last week Sean brought his computer up to Morro Bay and discovered that he’d left the power cord back in Ventura.

But there are worse problems in the world.

In the meantime, I have this:


So close to done!


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Day 212/365: First Haircut All Year

I took Friday off from work today because I had a dental appointment and a hair appointment in Ventura.  After breakfast, Sean and I got into The Rental and he drove while I tried to hand-sew the binding on the third quilted placemat in the set of three that I’m making for my cousin.  Unfortunately, we hit a lot of traffic and the stop-and-go movement was making me carsick, so I set the placemat aside to finish later.

On a separate note, I have been growing my hair out for Locks of Love.  I plan to donate at least ten inches, but I’m currently a couple inches shy of my goal.  In the meantime, I still needed to get the scraggly ends trimmed, so I scheduled to get this haircut today.  It’s the first one I’ve had all year, and I’m pretty happy with it.  I asked Sean to take a photo so I could text it to my hairstylist to thank her, and this one was my favorite.  Even though it’s a blurry action shot, you can tell I am stoked.



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Day 187/365: Week 3 of Allergy Testing

After last night’s Women’s World Cup game, Sean and I still had to make the 150-mile drive back down to Ventura so that I could make my morning appointment for allergy testing in Oxnard.  I knew that I would be getting shots in the arm this week, but I didn’t realize how many there would be until the nurse came into the room with this tray.


“Am I getting a shot of each one of those?” I asked her, just to be clear.

“No, only the ones with the brown dots on the caps,” she told me.

Needless to say, it was not a pleasant experience and after about the first five or six shots, I couldn’t help whimpering.  Truthfully, I wanted to cry a little bit, but I told myself that it would be over pretty soon and then there would only be one more day of testing next week.  In case you were curious, I had an allergic reaction to each and every single one of those shots, and when I asked the nurse what they were, she simply replied, “Mold.”

After my appointment, Sean and I had a few errands to run– stuff like going to the credit union and to the post office and getting an oil change for the car– and then we had to drive back up to Morro Bay.  I started knitting a new sock over the weekend and I also did some sewing, but I’ll share those projects with you later, because now I’m wiped out and it’s pretty much time to go to bed.

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Day 180/365: Allergy Testing Day, Week 2

Today’s appointment at the allergist’s office was just like last week’s appointment.  It involved being pricked all over my back with various samples of allergens.  Then the nurse set the timer to fifteen minutes.  Last week, I only had a couple of small allergic reactions, but today was different.  Within a minute, I could feel my back becoming incredibly itchy.  The nurse returned to the room to check on me and got started right away with taking notes and measurements of the red areas.  Just as she was finishing up, the timer dinged.  I was glad that she didn’t wait the full fifteen minutes before starting the process of noting the allergic reactions on my back, because she would have come in to find me scratching like crazy.

When I got home, I wanted Sean to take a look at my back.  He was not interested one bit.

“You’re not even looking,” I said.  “See how bad my allergic reaction was?”

“Yeah,” he said.  “I’m hungry and I want to go to lunch.  I kind of don’t want to ruin my appetite.”

Some husband.  Now I know where he draws the line.

Anyway, I knit a few more rows on the orange sock today.  I thought about taking a photo of that, but then I thought you would be more interested in seeing a photo of why Sean didn’t want to ruin his appetite, instead.


Mmmm… Sean had the chirashi bowl.

Luckily, I am not allergic to raw fish.


Salmon, yellowtail, and mackerel sashimi. It helps that we are on the half marathon training plan.

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Day 179/365: 150 Miles in the Car, Plus 5.62+ Miles on Foot

I can’t remember if I mentioned that Sean and I are now back on the half marathon training plan.  The schedule called for a 4-mile run today.  So after breakfast this morning, we headed out for our run.  One and .62 miles into it (according to my Garmin wristwatch), the arches of my feet ached and I was thirsty and tired.  I realized that I hadn’t had enough to drink that morning.  Also, I’d chosen to wear a new pair of compression socks, and they were hurting rather than helping me.  I stopped running, and Sean and I walked the rest of the way home.

Since I had another appointment for allergy testing on Monday morning in Oxnard, today’s schedule also called for me and Sean to drive down to Ventura.  After we walked back home, we packed up our stuff and started the 150-mile drive from Morro Bay to Ventura.  We stopped at Los Olivos for lunch.  I made sure to drink a lot of water and iced tea on the drive down, because I was determined to get my 4 miles in today and stick to the training schedule.

We didn’t get back to Ventura until nearly 5 PM, so we didn’t start our run until after 6 PM.  And rather than count this morning’s 1.62 miles, I stuck to 4 miles this evening, which explains why I’m late posting today’s entry and why I am going to be so sore tomorrow.


Look– the heel is turned!


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Day 172/365: Father’s Day


We drove back to Ventura from L.A. today.  It was a long, traffic-filled drive because apparently everyone decided to go to the beach or just be out on the road for Father’s Day.  Tomorrow we head back up to Morro Bay, so that will be another two and a half hours in the car.  I may have a finished sock to show you for tomorrow night’s post.

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Day 138/365: The Day Sean Turned 45

Today was Sean’s 45th birthday.  Since he pretty much indulges my whims and obsessions during the other 364 days of the year, I let him choose what we would do and where we would eat today.  So after breakfast at a nice local café that had outdoor patio seating, we walked through downtown Ventura and up to Grant Park for an easy hike through the Ventura Botanical Gardens trail.


Compared to the peaks and trails that I hiked with Roberta in San Luis Obispo county, today’s trail was a leisurely walk.


Downtown Ventura, the pier, and the Pacific Ocean.

The view was no less beautiful than the others, though.


We have a home down there.  In a neighborhood to the left of downtown.

The other important thing about today is that it officially marks the beginning of summer for Sean.  He graded his students’ finals last week, and the university held its commencement exercises this past Saturday.  He won’t have to return to work until twelve weeks from now, in August.  So it’s been a pretty happy day for him altogether.


Sean says, “Bright summer ahead!”

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Day 53/365: Beach Striped Socks (4th Completed Pair for 2015)


A view of the Ventura Pier. That water is cold.

Today was overcast with sporadic rain, the kind of Sunday where you just stay inside and do things like read and knit and stay warm and dry.  At about 4:30 in the afternoon, Sean and I picked ourselves up off the couch and went down for a walk along the Promenade.


Meanwhile, Sean’s feet are nice and toasty in this 65-degree weather.

We didn’t have any real adventures, except on our way back home down a side street, when a little brown Chihuahua came running out of nowhere, yapping and barking and making a beeline for my ankles.  I thought it was going to sink its little teeth into me.  (As you’ve already probably figured out from this blog and my lifestyle, I don’t keep pets or children.  I can barely keep a plant alive.)  Luckily, the owner appeared and called for the dog to come back before any real damage could be done– to me or to the dog, depending on your perspective.


Interesting rock formation near the pier.


View from another angle. All I need now is a panoramic lens. And maybe a more expensive, professional camera.

I saved this photo for last.  If you click on it and look closely at the larger image, there’s a rainbow in the center of the photo, right above the pier.  It also occurred to me how much the colors of the socks work nicely with the overcast-day-at-the-beach thing going on here.  That’s some nice synchronicity.  Unlike me and the Chihuahua.


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Day 52/365: Luckily, Sean Has Big Feet


Almost done with the second sock!

Yesterday I realized that I’d left my sock knitting instructions back at the Morro Bay house, and I was pretty bummed out about that.  Then, last night I remembered:  Those same instructions were typed on a Word document that I’d saved on my laptop.  Hooray!  (It doesn’t take much to make me happy, apparently.)  So I was able to knit the gusset, turn the heel, and start the ribbing for the cuff on the second sock this morning.

When I’m in Morro Bay, I just take photos for the blog by staging my work-in-progress on the back deck or front porch, usually.  Since I’m at the Ventura homestead this weekend, I had to get creative with my photo shoot locations.  I took the above photo by placing the socks on a low hedge outside.  I also tried photographing the in-progress sock on the sidewalk.  I like the way this one came out, so I have to share it:


See? Pretty, right?

I originally started knitting this pair for my older brother, who may or may not be reading this right now.  As I was knitting the second sock this morning, I had a feeling that this pair might be a little too big for my big bro.  So I asked Sean to try it on.  My brother wears a size 9 men’s shoe.  Sean wears a size 11.  He pulled the sock onto his foot, and it fit him perfectly:


This photo tells you a lot about us. Skateboard. Dolls. Books. And I’ll admit that mess on the floor is all me. I’m too busy being creative to bother with cleaning.

So it looks like Sean just got himself another pair of socks.  Tomorrow I’m making him be a sock model again. (Remember the first time?)  I’m thinking the Ventura Promenade will make a nice backdrop.  Stay tuned.