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a blue a lavender

When I was little there was always a hankie in my pocket.  My mother put them there.  And on the days I got to buy lunch in school she tied 15 cents into the corner.  I remember struggling to get the knot out so I could pay for my lunch.  Another memory from 4th grade was going to the “lavatory” and washing our hankies and taking them back to the classroom to dry them on the radiators.  It didn’t take much to entertain us in those days.

Yesterday Ted and I stopped at a garage sale and on the way in I ran into a friend who knows I love fabric and textiles.  She told me there was a pile of hankies inside, for sale for ten cents each.  I enjoyed going through them and picking out a few to add to my collection.  Some are really beautiful and I marvel at the tiny stitches and the patience it took to create them. Even those made by machine are charming.   It make me sad that they are only valued at “ten cents.”

a pink  a yellow

a tatteda pink print

a red

I also bought some hand crocheted and stitched pillow cases.  I love to sleep on old cotton pillow cases.   They were 25 cents each.   Our house is full of treasures like these.   I love and use old things.

a pillow 2

Pillow cases

a pillow

Life has just shifted for me.  I have taken a job with the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe as the ”Elder and Youth Healthy Relationship Mentoring Program Coordinator.”  That is a hefty title, but what I do is plan activates for elders and youth with the goal of helping them develop relationships that will help both groups in overcoming abuse and abusive situations.  We will be starting with Native crafts, beading, basket making and so forth.  I think it will be interesting and fun and I am enjoying the people I am working with.

I am not sure what this will mean for my blogging.  For now I’ll keep my spot on the internet just blog less often.  I know readership drops off when blogging becomes irregular, so I’ll see if I can keep up!!

merrrily wl little doll


Anyone who knows me knows of my love for dolls. I have a large collection and Ted and I once had a doll shop. I still buy and sell dolls at shows and online. But my favorite part of doll collecting is the doll collecting friends I have made over the years.

One such friend is Melissa, who collects dolls but is also a miniaturist, she creates and recreates costumes for dolls, often based on famous illustrations and including accessories. See her blog here.   I was thrilled when she told me, after reading my recent blog, that she wanted to make a little “Merrily” doll that would represent the Merrily doll in the illustration of the cartoon character that gave me my name. I found a doll in my collection that I thought looked like the picture of “Merrily” and sent her to Melissa to recreate.

Melissa said, “As with all my creations, they take time and careful study of the subject matter.  For Merrily it was the shape of the sleeves on the dress, the stripe in the socks, the French braids in her hair, her little Jap doll.  I’d been looking at the illustration time and again since you posted it.  One of the things I knew might be a challenge, was blending, or concealing her wooden leg color.  I chose a pair child’s ballet pink tights to create leg covers, so the deep yellow undertone of the wood might blend with the pink for a more natural look.”

Melissa thinks of every detail. This doll has a wooden body, arms and legs, which allow her to be posed but creates a bit of a problem when the doll wears a short skirt as Melissa mentioned.   And I love it that the little red band on the socks in the illustration matches the band on the dolls socks.

This doll is a special treasure and I am placing her by my desk where I can see her and enjoy the pleasure of her company.

Internet groups are a popular way for doll collectors to get to know each other and to share information about their dolls. One such group, known as the is for collectors of dolls made by Wendy Lawton, and members from across the country have become friends as a result of their love of these special dolls.   See some of my favorite Wendy Lawton dolls below.

Melissa and I met in this internet  group “on-line” but it was later that we first met in person. I had a booth at a doll show and one of the items I had for sale was a rare and much sought after doll called Mignonette and her Malle du Voyage.   Melissa came into my booth and spotted the doll and I thought she was going to go into shock she was so excited. I was asking a fair price and we quickly sealed the deal, and Mignonette went home with Melissa.

Be sure to see some of Melissa’s other creations, check her blog at House of Missy Mouse.

A special friend and a special doll, I am so lucky!


wl min

Mignonette, this is my doll but similar to the one Melissa bought from me years ago.




Here are  of my favorite dolls by Wendy Lawton.   “Merrily” was originally a Wendy Lawton doll, redressed by Melissa.                    we african safarie - Copy

African Safari comes with a trunk full of clothing



wl anneke - Copy




wl little women

Little Women


wl more dolls

Two more favorites


wl four dolls - Copy

Three of these dolls represent illustrations from children’s books





joy quilt hand sewingg

Sun Bonnet Sue Quilt Club, the quilt club I belong to, has a wonderful project going. Members make small quilts, less the two feet square, and small stuffed animals or dolls are wrapped inside. These little bundles are then given to police and social workers who come into contact with traumatized children.  They have a small gift the can give the child to comfort and distract in the time of stress.   Recently more and more of the little bundles have been requested. Our local hospital has purchased a device that can sanitize toys and blankets and they are now requesting them.  Some of the foster children placed in our home have arrived carrying a small stuffed animal wrapped in a quilt.

So, I decided to join the group that is making the little quilts. My goal was 10 quilts for the month.

I had fun going through my scraps and choosing fabrics with themes children would like.  Each quilt is different

The group of my very oldest friends, some from 4th grade, came together for a retreat  a couple of weeks ago and I got some of them to help. I ended up with a colorful group of quits that I hope will be a comfort to some children.

joy bindings - Copy

Preparing the bindings

joy abc - Copy

joy frog - Copy
joy frog small - Copy

joy elaine - Copy

Made by my friend Elaine

joy barb - Copy

Made by my friend Barb

joy finished - Copy

joy doll - Copy

Ready to go!

joy peanutsp

joy wrapped and ready




My grandmother used to tease me, saying I was named for a character in a comic strip.   I remember asking my dad about it and he confirmed, saying there was a cute little girl with brown pigtails that appeared for a short time in a popular strip at the time I was born. It was called Terry and the Pirates.

I have met only a few women who share the name “Merrily.” In talking with them I have learned that we are all about the same age and most were aware that they too had been named after this fictional little girl.

I did some research, but was never able to find pictures of the little girl, she appeared for only a short time in the strip.

Last week there was a new member at our quilt club and I was excited when I was told that her name is “Merrily.” We greeted each other like long lost friends and soon learned that we had been born in the same month two days apart and were both born in Seattle. When we began discussing where our name came from, she told me that her parents had written to the creator of the comic strip, Milton Caniff, shortly after she was born. He was so touched that he wrote a letter back and send a drawing of “Merrily.”

She has it framed and hanging in her home and she sent me a photo of the drawing. So, now I can see the cute little girl that my parents envisioned.

It is very exciting to find this new friend and we share many things in common, it is almost like finding a long lost sister!

The drawing is extra special for me because, the little girl is holds a rag doll with an Asian face. During my career in adoption I helped hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Asian children from Korea, China, and Vietnam join adoptive parents here in the U.S. I traveled extensively in those countries and love being in Asia. That this drawing has a tie to Asia makes it even more special to me. I never did have brown pigtails though, my mom always kept my hair short.


Source: Weaving



When I heard that Heather Johnson-Bork, a talented artist and weaver from the neighboring Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, was going to be teaching weaving at the Lower Elwha I knew I wanted to attend. I took a weaving class a few months ago and really enjoyed it. But Heather was going to be teaching a four evening “advanced” class. I wasn’t exactly advanced and as always, Elwha Klallam people had first preference, but I signed up and kept my fingers crossed.

The day the class was to begin, I called, and was told that the class was full, but if I wanted to come down and see if someone didn’t show up, I could do that. It is a 30 mile trip, but one I make often and I was excited as I drove down. Sure enough, there was a spot left for me.


A pile of soft wool

wool heather

Heather separates the wool into useful sized pieces


Heather spins the wool into yarn using a whorl, as was done by the ancestors


winding yarn

Heather winds the wool into balls

We each started with a pile of soft brown wool. She showed us how to separate it into smaller piles suitable for spinning. Then she demonstrated how to spin, using a whorl, in the traditional Native way. Not easy! Fortunately she had some wool that had already been spun and we were able to begin the weaving without spinning enough for our entire projects.

With looms the size available she told us we could make a small blanket, about 20 x 40 inches, or we could make something smaller. I decided to go for it, and make a small blanket. With help, I set up a loom.

at the loom

Setting up the loom



Harmony at work



Ashley setting up her loom

My aching back

My back is aching already!

The weaving style, called Coast Salish, and involves going over and under two threads at a time,then  alternating them, so a diagonal design is created. You can alternate which way the diagonal faces but I opted to keep it simple.

It seems so simple, two over, two under, but somehow I got confused a lot, especially in the beginning. But finally the design became clear.


Now you can see the pattern

When the class finished, four days later, I had about six inches of weaving done, 34 to go. We were given the looms to take home, so it is now in our family room, where I can sit for a minute and do a row or two.   I have now finished 23 inches, past the half way point.

loom home

Loom set up at home

weaving for blog

Hard at work


I love the feeling of accomplishment

I am so grateful for this experience. It is fun and relaxing and I love the feel of the soft wool. It makes me appreciate the patience and dedication it takes to create even a small simple project.

Here are some images I found.

Image result for coast salish weavingImage result for coast salish weavingImage result for coast salish weavingImage result for coast salish weavingImage result for coast salish weavingImage result for coast salish weaving



Seneca is dressed for a party!

Last night was the Christmas party for foster families. Even our older kids look forward to this party.

vego snacks

Food was colorful and plentyful

There was turkey and ham and all of the trimmings, but the big event, of course, was the visit from Santa.

Even Raven was willing to chat with Santa for a moment. Santa asked about his interests: art? No. music? No, sports: Yes!

r with santa

Raven chats with Santa

Each child is given a stocking when they have finished talking with Santa. Sunbonnet Sue Quit Club members sew stockings each year and they are varied, fun and colorful. And each is filled with goodies and surprises. Headphones, mittens, gum, deodorant, and jacks were among the favorite items for Seneca and Raven.

stockings two

Stocking waiting to be delivered to eager kids


For us it is an opportunity to see children who were in our foster home in the past, as we typically care for children when they first come into care until a more permanent placement can be found for them. We found six children who had stayed with us and there were many hugs as the kids reconnected.

mittens 1

She loved her mittens!!

anna with gwenanna with toys

This event is put on by the North Olympic foster Parent Association. Many thanks folks.


fish 1

There was no school on Thursday so we decided to take the family for a visit to the Seattle Aquarium. I remember visiting the Aquarium when I was small, with my Grandmother. Then it was dark and the floor was wet, it smelled strongly of dead fish and you couldn’t see the fish very well. That building was replaced years ago and the place is now a delight, bright and beautiful.

Seneca enjoyed the “tide pools” where she could put her hands in the water and touch the creatures.  raven measured himself to compare with a shark.

Seneca tide poolraven measure

My favorite was the colorful displays of tropical fish.   Could I make a quilt like this?  fish 6

fish 3 fish 4 fish 5

After we had seen everything we walked along the Waterfront to Ivar’s Fish Bar. This restaurant specializes in clams and is a Seattle tradition. In fact, Ted and I ate clams there the first time we went out together, 56 years ago.   We ate outside despite the drizzle, after all, we were in Seattle.

regal sea gull

This regal sea gull is actually a real begger!


Raven and Seneca  raven   Seneca

I was able to take a few snaps of the kids.

Our next stop was a visit to our grandson Aidan. He is Tad’s son and after Tad died, his wife went to live near relatives in Maine. We are pleased that Aidan has returned to Washington to go to Evergreen State College in Olympia. It was evening by the time we got there, but we had a nice visit and he posed with Seneca and Raven in front of the Long House.

Ilong Houseaidan

Now we are at Ocean Shores, experiencing a stormy weekend. We love it here!!!  However, yesterday two cars got swamped on the beach, must be careful!!


Photos: Dead batteries leave cars buried in Ocean Shores surf

cactus first    Cactus plants are fun to grow for those who are patient. With a little water every now and then, eventually they begin to grow. You can hardly notice but after a while, you will see that they have changed.

We were in Arizona a couple of years ago and our kids were fascinated by the huge cactus plants. They wanted to bring some home.

arizona cactus

Seneca and Raven really liked the cactus when we visited Arizona two years ago.

We told them that when we got home, we would get some small ones. We found that Home Depot had a great selection of small cactus plants and we bought a dozen or more for $10.

flowers at home depot

Small cactus plants at Home Depot, the flowers are fake!!

We arranged them in small pots. They looked lonely at first, but slowly, after months they began to grow and merge with each other. Eventually they crowded their pots and had to be cut back. One bloomed shortly after we planted it, a tiny blossom on a prickly base.

cactus 2

cactus 5

One cactus, one that is actually quite smooth and had little white tufts decorating it, developed a brown furry-looking nub a few weeks ago. The nub grew into a stem and then a bud emerged.

bloom bud 3

bloom bud 2

We watched carefully for several days, waiting for the flower to bloom. And when it did it was simply amazing, white with yellow toward the center and it smelled divine. It only lasted for a few hours before it faded.bloom

bloom full flower

So now we are waiting for the next event in our cactus gardens, and we are patient.

I know some of you read this blog simply to read news of Seneca and Raven. They have now been with us for seven years. Seneca is in 5th grade. She loves dancing and drumming with the Elwha Klallams and participates in the after school program where, among other things, they learn the Klallam language.Seneca first day of school_edited


Raven is 14 and in the 8th grade. He is playing football on the middle school team which has encouraged him to keep his grades up. He and Seneca went on a two week canoe trip into Canada last summer where they paddled to various villages along the coast of Coast of Vancouver Island. It was an adventure to remember.

canoes on Sandy shore

On the beach with the canoe on Vancouver Island

My computer has been out of commission for a couple of weeks, so I am late in posting this blog, I will get back on schedule!

on beach in port townsend

Dad and kids on the beach

Read the rest of this entry »

Fresh warm uchinni bread

Fresh warm zucchini bread


Blue Ribbon from the county fair


One thing I like about late summer is the food that is available now. Zucchini is a favorite and I am proud to say that I got a blue ribbon on the zucchini bread I entered in the county fair this year. I will share the recipe below. I have a friend who gifted me with several zucchini over the course of the summer, we have never had success growing them up here in the mountains.

bread and butter


I hadn’t made zucchini jam before but it is a treat! This is zucchini strawberry.


Strawberry Zucchini Jam

We love to eat fresh apples this time of year, but applesauce is another favorite and I make quarts of it. We look for farmers selling Gravenstein apples. They originated in Denmark in the sixteen hundreds and have great flavor. But they don’t keep well, so you seldom see them for sale.

Applesauce cooking

apple sauce

The trees in town have been loaded this year and Ted is not shy about asking owners if they are planning to use their apples and if not, well, he keeps a box handy. He has several boxes ready to make into cider with our old fashion cedar press. Can’t wait for this treat, we usually have it for Halloween.

apples for cidar

Boxes of apples Ted has collected

cider press

The old fashion cider press Ted rebuilt. With this we can make gallons pretty easily

And now for the Zucchini Bread Recipe:

Merrily’s Blue Ribbon Zucchini Bread

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup water
2 cups grated zucchini
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, cinnamon and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine oil, eggs, water, zucchini and lemon juice. Mix wet ingredients into dry, add nuts and fold in. Bake in 2 standard loaf pans, sprayed with nonstick spray, for 1 hour, or until a tester comes out clean. Alternately, bake in 5 mini loaf pans for about 45 minutes.