A Couple of Thoughts For a Healthier You

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A year from now you will wish you had started today on your road to a healthier you.

I started over a year ago trying to get healthier. I walked the dog. I moved more. But I really wasn’t losing any weight or inches.

Then I began using My Fitness Pal to monitor my food intake. It was eye opening to say the least. I realized I was eating way more than I needed and most of it was not healthy. So now I watch what I eat. No food is taboo, but some foods are better choices than others.

I also began using the Couch to 5K free app for my phone. I hit a few bumps along the way….shin splints, knee injury. Now I have advanced to the 10K trainer.

Am I slim and trim? No….not yet. You see I’m older and it takes more effort on my part to increase my metabolism. Is it hard? Yes, I force myself every day to get on the treadmill and then take my dog for a walk. Have I noticed any changes? Yes!! I move without fear of falling. I can sit on a low sofa and get up by myself without my knees buckling under me. I have greater endurance and I’m stronger. My blood pressure has gone down and so has my average heart rate. I am breathing better. I can bend over and tie my shoes without becoming short of breath. I’ve lost a few inches, so I can wear clothes I couldn’t get into before.

So folks, get up and get moving. You will be glad you did.

These Guys Are Everywhere!

For the last few weeks these guys have been everywhere. I can’t walk out into the back yard without running into one or several at a time. They buzz around landing on odd objects and sit there for awhile. Then they’re off again, flying around, sometimes a little to closely for comfort. But they do offer a photo opportunity.

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Oh, BTW, they are supposed to be good luck. So who knows, maybe I’ll win the Lottery this week.


I have been on a doll kick lately. Just making dolls. I enjoy it, especially the finished product. I could probably knit or crochet some dolls, but yarn tends to stretch way too much for my liking. I much prefer to sew them.

Anyway, thought I’d show you a few pictures of some dolls/animals I have made.

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These are just a few I have made over time.

Thinking Ahead to Halloween

And what better story than the Legend of Sleepy Hollow brings to mind ghosts and ghouls and everything Halloween.

I found this pattern on eBay while browsing the primitive doll pattern section. I had never seen a pattern for the Headless Horseman until now. So, of course, I had to get it and make it.

This is the pattern and it can be purchased on eBay.

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What you will see below is my interpretation of the above pattern. I didn’t particularly care for the post in the horse’s stomach or the Sleepy Hollow banner. I also felt the jack-o-lantern’s face needed to be more menacing. Anyway, here is my interpretation.

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Oh, and the book is fake. It’s a box that I painted, filled with pellets for weight and applied labels indicating the story name and author.

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It was fun to work on this doll/decoration. Can’t wait for Halloween. :-)

Oh, BTW, the whole thing measures approximately 20 inches by 20 inches.

My Raggedy Ann Doll Tutorial (Part 2)

Now it is time to begin stuffing our doll parts. Open up your bag of fiberfill and grab you hemostats. Let’s start with the legs. Fill up the leg about half way. This is where your “knee” joint is going to be. Align your seams and sew across this area. Make sure your knee joint bends perpendicular to your foot….wouldn’t want a wonky bend in the leg.

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Fill up the rest of the leg leaving about 1/4 inch at the top. Sew the top closed using a 1/4 inch seam.

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Repeat for the second leg. Then set them aside.

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Pick up one of the arms and begin stuffing it firmly, making sure the “thumb” is filled out. Fill up about half way or where you think the “elbow” join should be. Align the seams and sew across this area. Fill up the rest of the arm. Hand sew the opening closed with upholstery thread and microscopic stitches. Repeat for second arm.

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Set the arms aside. Start stuffing the head of the doll. Try to get it firmly stuffed. Insert the dowel, pointed end towards top of head and work it in about 2 inches. Fill around the dowel firmly. This will keep the head from falling over.

Continue stuffing the body of the doll. Make sure you are stuffing the doll firmly. Fold the bottom of the doll in about 1/4 inch. With upholstery thread sew a few stitches in the center crotch area. Do not cut the thread. Make sure that your doll’s body is not twisted. You don’t want the side seams out of kilter to the rest of the doll.

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Insert one leg into one of the openings and pin in place. Make sure your foot is pointed in the right direction. You don’t want the face one way and the feet another. That would look just weird.
Sew in place, front and back, with microscopic stitches.

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Repeat for second leg.

Now for the face. Using matching thread, hand sew your eyes, nose and cheeks to the doll. I used a blanket stitch, but you can use whatever stitch you prefer. Then using a permanent marker, add eyebrows, zigzags and mouth.

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Next up we are going to attach the arms. Take your long doll needle and thread with a double strand of upholstery thread. This should be really, really long. You want to be able to pass the needle through the doll several times.

Beginning at one shoulder, pass the needle through to the other shoulder. Check to see if it is even before you pull it completely through. Pass it through one of the doll’s arms, making sure the “thumb” is pointing up. Now pass the needle through a button. Go back through the other hole of the button, through the arm and through the body and exit where the second arm should be. Attach the second arm and button, making sure the two arms look even to you from the front. If they do, pass the needle through the arms and body 1 or 2 more times and secure, making sure you hide your knots. You want this to be snug/tight. Sometimes this is a little difficult, but with patience and perseverance you can do this.

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Skirt time! (no, not hair time..that comes later). Take your leftover piece of print fabric. Cut a 1 inch wide strip from the long side. This will be the ties for the hair. Set it aside. Measure and trim your larger piece of fabric. It should measure 8 inches x 20 inches. With right sides together, sew the short sides with 1/4 inch seam, creating a tube. Iron this seam open. Fold over the top and bottoms of the tube about 1/4 inch and iron or finger press. Sew these hems. Add a trim to the bottom of the skirt and sew it on beginning and ending at the back seam.

With upholstery thread, do a running stitch at the top of the skirt. Put the skirt on the doll and gather the skirt. Make sure the gathers are evenly spaced. Sew the skit in place.

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Now for the hair. You will need a piece of cardboard that is about 11 inches wide. Begin wrapping the yarn around this cardboard, trying to lay the yarn strands next to each other and not so much on top of each other. This does not have to be exact.

Once you have most of the yarn wrapped on the card board, apply some clear packing tape across it. Press down on the tape several times so that each strand of yarn is stuck to the tape. Carefully remove the yarn from the cardboard. Sew, lengthwise down the center of this tape, using matching thread. (remove tape after) I used white for teaching purposes and later colored it in. Cut other end. The ends will not be even once it is in place, but you are going to trim it later.

Pin in place to doll’s head. Hand sew in place. Cut a few strands in the front for bangs. Bring each side up about to doll’s eye level and secure with a rubber band. Sew a few stitches to secure the pigtail remains where you want it. Repeat for other side.

Take the 1 inch wide strip you cut earlier and cut it in half. Tie one to each pigtail. You tie a knot in each “ribbon”, not a bow. Trim to desired length. Then trim the “hair” to just above her shoulders.

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Now for the apron. From the white fat quarter, cut 2 lengthwise strips 2.5 inches wide. From one end of one of those strips cut a 2.5 inch square. Finger press or iron 1/4 inch hem all around. Fold your strips in half lengthwise and iron. Then fold outer edges to the center and iron. When done, your strip will measure about 1/2 inch wide.

Now cut a 4.5 inch square from the remainder of the fat quarter. Finger press or iron 1/4 inch hem all around.

Sew the hems down on all four sides of the 4.5 inch square and the 2.5 inch square. Sew the strips up one side and down the other. Add trim to the square, as pictured, if you desire.

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Make 3 small pleats at the top of the 4.5 inch square and sew to secure. Place the smaller square on top of the pleated area and sew to secure. Take the longer strip and center it over this area. Sew in place. Take the shorter strip and cut in half. Sew each half to the top of the smaller square. Tie apron to doll.

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There you have it! You are finished with your Raggedy Ann Doll.

My Raggedy Ann Doll Tutorial (Part 1)

I’ve always wanted to make a Raggedy Ann Doll of a sort. But buying a pattern to make such a common doll seemed like a waste of money. So I decided to draw my own and go from there.

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I took lots of pictures during the process so that I could offer this free pattern to any one who also wanted to make a Raggedy Ann Doll. I will try to be as explicit as possible with the instructions.

Let’s start with a Materials List.

1/4 yard muslin
1/4 yard print fabric
1/4 yard striped fabric
1/4 yard white fabric
1/4 yard black fabric
small amounts of pink, black and red felt
Thread to match felt colors
1 50g skein of red yarn
small amount of trim
6 inch dowel with one end sharpened
5-7 inch doll needle
two small buttons that the eye of the doll needle will fit thru
hand sewing needles
sewing machine (set your stitch length to teeny tiny-I set mine to “1”)
cotton thread
upholstery thread
pinking shears (optional)
polyester fiberfill (stuffing)
printer for printing pattern
colored pencil (color will depend on your fabric colors)
straight pins

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The pattern itself is 2 pages. You will need to right click on each photo and save it to your pictures folder. Then from there you can enlarge it to 8.5 x 11 and print it out. You will need to print at least two copies of the first page.

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The drawn lines are stitching lines. You will cut out the pieces and trace them onto doubled fabric. You will stitch the fabric pieces before you cut them out. I used pinking shears and cut close to the stitching line.

First sew the long sides of the muslin fat quarter and the print fat quarter together, right sides together, using 1/4 inch seam. Iron the seam down. Then sew the long sides of the striped fat quarter and the black fat quarter together. Iron the seam down.

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Make sure your striped fabric is horizontal to the black fabric.

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Cut your pattern pieces out. Tape upper and lower body pieces together. Fold sewn fat quarters lengthwise, making sure seam lines match up and place pattern pieces on fabric as indicated in the photos. Trace around pattern pieces with pencils.

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Trim the top and bottom the fabric so that you are not having a large amount of fabric to deal with. Then stitch just inside the lines leaving the area open as indicated on the pattern. Cut apart with pinking shears, cutting close to, but not thru the stitched lines. REMEMBER to use a very small stitch length.

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Turn pieces right sides out.

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Take your second copy of page 1 of the pattern and cut out the eyes, nose and cheeks. Place them on the doll’s face in a pleasing manner to you. Trace around them. Now place them on doubled felt and cut them out…eyes on black felt, nose on red felt, cheeks on pink felt. Set them aside until later.

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Take the leg pattern piece and place on the lengthwise folded black/striped fabric (right sides together) and trace around it two times. Pin the fabric, matching the seams. Sew just inside the traced line. Cut out with pinking shears and turn right side out.

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Okay I’m getting a little tired here. So I will continue this tomorrow (or the next day). See you back here later.