Pin It

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Baking Dough Dollies

Set of Two I made!

I spent another crafty afternoon with 8 ladies at church mixing and rolling dough into cute fancy dolls! The finished Dough Dollies will be baked on the upper rack for 4 hours at 250F to be dried thoroughly (start checking after 3 hours). Finish with a generous layer of regular or craft varnish. This project is most suitable for adults though probably a child over 12 would be able to focus long enough to do it.  Smaller children might like to make farm animals or something with fewer methodical steps.
 The instructor showed us her first dolly that she made for her infant daughter now 21 years old! I tried to write out the measurements; the quantities were very precise for a boy and girl pair without too much leftover.

Dough and white paint
Measurements for the White Dough
Part = 1/4 cup
2 parts flour, no rising
1 part flour salt.
Note: This is a very fine grain salt and is a highly specialized item that is ordered in bulk from limited suppliers.

Using the 1/4 cup as a total portion of liquid
Make 2/3 of it water
1/3 of it White tempra paint.
Mix these together in a small cup before combining with the flour and salt. Knead it together, adding flour and 10mL water as needed to achieve the right consistency: smooth without sticking to your hands, and not cracking.

After making White dough, you can use the same measurements and cups to make blue, peach, pink or green dough. Add a squirt of coloured poster paints to the White tempra mixture and stir well with a paintbrush.

If you had made the coloured dough first, you'll have to wash your hands and all the bowls and mats to avoid contaminating white!

The flour salt is a specialty baking item that has to be ordered in bulk quanties from a special store in Toronto, like 50 pounds for $200 or so. You can't use the regular table salt because your dolly face will not be flawless and smooth.

You need the White paint in the dough to have a white dough effect.  Otherwise without the paint, after baking your project will have the colour of baked bread which is not what you want.

The measurements should be generally precise by pressing the dough firmly into a measuring spoon. You could be off by mL but the quantities are pretty tight. You don't want to run out!

1. Body: 40 mL blue (or 3x 15mL tablespoon), roll to a ball then to a teardrop shape
2. Untwist a paperclip and form it into a long loop for hanging; insert into the neck of the doll. Hint: Add a piece of tin foil so that the hook won't be baked hard into the head of the doll. It gets hard to remove!
3. Shoes: Roll a 5mL of white dough into one shoe. Use the blunt side of a knife to form a T mark that makes the shoe like a sneaker. Lightly brush water to the bottom of blue body and gently press the shoes close together.
4. Head: 25 mL. Gently roll into a round ball, delicately. Too much pressure will affect the "complexion" of the face.  Apply water with a brush to the top of the neck, pick up the ball gently and attack it to the top of the neck in the same plane. See below.
5. Face: Gently place the eyes nearer to the bottom third of the face looking downwards. Eyes could be small black beads or cracked peppers. Cut a drinking straw to make the perfect smile shape to press into the dough.

Make the Boy's body, face, legs and shoes etc concurrently.

BOY: Body - 30mL, Each Leg - 30mL, Each shoe blue - 7.5 mL, make an apron (blue). Each arm - 7.5 mL white, the chef's hat (blue or white) is a hefty 30mL oval slab.
6. Roll out a white piece of dough to make a long rectangle to form the "lacy" part of the dress underlayer. Place it on the waist of the doll to cover the lower part of the body, folding creases outward from the waist.
7. Make the boy's arms (white), apron (blue) etc.
8. Roll out a blue piece of dough to make and cut a long rectangle about 15cm long and 7cm wide or so. Layer this on top of the white dress.
9. Arms: Roll two 5 mL balls into a long tear shape to form the bell sleeves. Brush the sides of the body with water to attach the arms. Bend one arm slightly to let the doll hold a bread or baquette.
10. Use an oval cutter or free hand to create a blue bonnet.
11. Fill a garlic press with a small piece of white dough to make the hair. Brush the top of the head with water and place a the "hair" on the head, making rounded curls or long side ponytail as desired. Make a small tuft to tuck under the boy's chef hat.
11. Cover the girl's hair with the bonnet. Place a blue cap on the bonnet unless you want it to look like a witch hat.
Ready to bake

Hints: I found it easier to make the layer the dress and the apron before attaching the arms. You can precut the small hat band piece for the chef's hat and the thin pieces for the apron bow and necktie while rolling and trimming the other blue pieces. Check the side view of the face for a good hairstyle. I noticed that my doll looks great from the front, but I could've added more hair on the side ponytail.

The bun and baguette pieces were created separately from scrap pieces of dough without white paint. When baked separately with a previous batch of dolls they will turn bread colour.

Next steps:
After baking for half an hour at 250F, add the small hands and the bread or baquette.  Total baking time: low temperature 250 for about 3-4 hours. Start checking it after 3 hours. If the back of the dough is hardened, then it is done. Do not put on the lowest rack because it will burn easily.

Apply the finishing touches - cute lower eyelashes, a little powder blush for the cheeks, flower dots for the dress, apron and sleeves.  Varnished with "EnviroxTex Lite" from  Michaels or most hardware stores.

 Created by Instructor Valerie

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Psanky Ukranian Easter Egg Painting

A productive afternoon of Psanky while sipping zavarka samovar. I was very lucky to spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon with our gracious host and six crafty ladies. We have accomplished something extra-ordinary. Psanky takes a bit of planning and designing, and lot of faith. Note that these are completely raw eggs, and the making of one egg took about 3 hours! To preserve the egg entirely, one should shellac the egg and then blow out the egg. Daring!

The finished masterpieces.
A good egg.

Start with a white raw egg, sketch the design lightly in pencil. Apply the first lines of wax with the kiska tool to mask the areas that will remain white. Think of fine white lines, do not cover up too much area, number one rookie mistake!

Progressive layers of colour, lightest to darkest.

I dip the egg in yellow. Think of a reverse mask; whatever is covered with wax black) shall remain white. Next I the wax to draw the lines of wheat, the bee, and yellow parts of the flower etc. Then I dip the egg in orange, masking more parts of the flower and other designs to preserve orange.
Orange dye. Red is next.

I have an intermediate step different than the other ladies. I use a q-tip to apply green to the leaves, sparingly instead of dipping the whole egg in green. Guess what I have to do preserve the green? I should've done the stems green as well, but I had masked those in the first step. Then I dip in the egg in red and this is the final part of the design.I apply extra red hearts to keep more red!

A different way to segment the egg.

This is Kathia's egg. The deer symbolize hunting. She refers to her Nordic ancestry. The handiwork of an Engineer, look at that precision and symmetry!
Synthetic dyes.

Jars of dye. Traditional dyes were made from natural materials like onion skin, berries, soot etc using secret family recipes.
The ultimate reveal...

I dip the egg in black dye and I let it steep for a deep dark black. The last step is to melt the wax and wipe away the wax with tissues. We used vanilla scented candles as the open flame. The host also provided a blow torch which is a traditional method for the brave I suppose. Imagine the damage!

The last step before the final reveal. This is symbolic to me. The egg is so icky looking and lumpy and black, like the part when Jesus dies on the cross and they take him down to bury. For three days he is in Hades, the belly of Jonah's whale, in North America preaching to native Indians or in China doing the same, whatever. But on Easter Sunday, He is the Risen one; glorious and victorious.
White daisies turned out well.

The documentation identifies 10 ways to divide the egg in terms of variety of basic designs. It appears that  Brenda and Eleanor have made a gated design, when the lines are drawn from the top to bottom of the egg in segments.  The gated design represents the gates of heaven and this type of egg is normally given to older people. I see it must be a mindset or underlying preference. What does it all mean?

Apparently, I made a Vinochok, popular style of Psanky that comes from the word Vinky for poetry expressing a girl's wish for freedom.   I used a simple three garland design, the three circles represent three parts of human existence - the hopes in birth marriage and life. This is a traditional style of an egg for a younger girl.

Bee. A symbolizes hard work and pleasantness, providing honey, wax and pollination of plants. I chose a bee in my design because Deborah means "industrious bee" in Hebrew.

Wheat. A plentiful harvest.  For many centuries, the wheat symbolized the life's work of a Ukrainian peasant.

Flower. Represents beauty and children. Apparently flowers have little mystical significance.

Sun. The source of life, it's radiant beams. The solar design can appear as a circle, a flower, spiral or star-like. I didn't mean to do it or maybe I did, by coincidence. Can you see my sun inside the center of the flower?

Hearts. Love, love, love.

Star. Represents success. Stars were usually drawn with even number of points for symmetry of design.

Fish. I suppose this could be a reference to the miracle of the multiplication of the fish and bread, two fish and five loaves of bread to be exact, that fed 5,000 men not counting the women and children.  In Chinese culture, two fish is a symbol of luck in terms of fate and destiny. The word fish sounds like the sort of luck you have when you meet "the one true love".

Helena's egg top left. Like circuitry!
Brenda and Eleanor choose geometric designs.

We are missing Dee's egg but her design contained a star or a snowflake, wheat and dots. Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Man of Few Words

The other day, Lincoln had his 18 month old check up with the doctor and one of the items on the Nipissing checklist is, does he say 20 words? Well I know he talks but I couldn't count 20 right off the bat because I simply didn't spend enough time to listen. So I just said no; I wanted to say, probably his nanny would know, but that would be a totally unacceptable response. So I went home and started to write down as many words as I could so now I have my answer!

The word and the pronounciation
By 16 months
Fish (chinese and english) - signs fish
Please - signs please, pwease
More - signs
Milk (chinese) - nye nye
Momma, Dadda (sooner)

By 17 months, if not sooner
I want it/ that (sounds whiny but that's what it sounds like)
I don't want it/ that
Brother (chinese) - Gogo, geh geh, AJ
Amen - a-men

By 18 months
Monster - mon-a Roooooar
Cat (chinese) - maeow
Dog (chinese) or four legged mammal  - woah woah
Duck - queck queck (with hands)
Water (chinese and english) - seu, wata
Give (chinese) - bay
Eye - points to eye, eye (even if you say "I")
Nose (chinese) - ba do
Sister (chinese) - ga tsa
Nanny - Tita
Ball - ball
Book - bo
Socks (chinese) - mut
Up - up
characters - WooDEE, Bu--, Elmoo, Mo-mo (Nemo)
Ready for Inspection Sir - Weady!
Pick me up (chinese) - por
Counting, with hints - Won, Tooo, eeeee, four, ive
Pee - pee, bee
Look! - loa
Open (chinese) - oi
Open the door - oi moon, oben doa
Airplane or flying (chinese) - fway

Brand new this week.
Butterfly - budda-fwy!
Singing or humming with the same sound - Brahm's lullaby with nah or hmmm.
Put it back - eee back
He cry
He hit/ bump/ hurt me - eee po
Monkey - money!
DO (C sound on the piano, 'This is the sound of Do Do Do") - DO DO DO DO!
I/ me (chinese) - ngoa
Spider - spid-O!

21 months
Water - Wa-doo
Milk - mewk
I do this
Singing, time to put the toys AWAY!
Singing, trying to follow along with the Alphabet song

I'm noticing a few new words a day since I started the post. I am also intrigued by the mix of languages. The Chinese words seem easier to say because a one syllable word represents a concept that takes more words to say in English. Like "Give it to me now!" is "bay".

I really shouldn't compare him with his older sister Maggie who was talking clearly in three to five word sentences at this age. I remember it being strange to see a young girl with a baby face, talking. Lincoln on the other hand speaks in long sentences with animated gestures and descriptive words, and if you pretend to understand him he keeps talking and talking, like speaking with someone in a foreign language and just pretending that you understand.

Counting by Tens

100 Beads for the 100 Days Necklace

When they're age 1, they can understand the quantity 2 because of body symmetry - 2 hands, 2 arms, 2 legs... two hands to grab a pair of shoes. Even Lincoln will shout TWO when you say one.

Then at age 2-3 they can begin to understand quantities, maybe up to six objects, especially if you line them up. They are understanding quantity by volume - a lane of four cars is more than a lane of two cars. They might be counting to 20, I remember maggie counting to 20 sometime between 18-24 months. However they don't really understand 20.

The sample above was a bracelet created by a friend's class for the 100-Day Celebration. There's a tag to mark every 10 beads though I don't know why there's no individual tag for 10, 20 and 30.

In the Montessori program they also use beads, the weight the touch and feel of 1, 10, 100 and 1000. Here is a summary of three short lessons.

You could also make your own set from beans and popsicle sticks. That would be great for teaching tens and ones.  Glue ten beans on a stick and have a few extra "ones" to build numbers.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I Will Dedicate My All

My brother sent me a youtube link for a SOBEM video featuring my ordinary parents in a story of extraordinary faith, from ordinary beginnings doing amazing things for God today through various career changes and living a life full of blessing and faith, doing something to further God's Kingdom.

The link below opens in a new window:
Showers of Blessings Evangelical Mission - Kathleen and David Story.

At the start of the video, I'm thinking, of course I know everything there is to know about my parents. I'll watch it cuz, ya know how often are parents on TV. SOBEM is a weekly Christian documentary featuring stories of people (usually Chinese because the show is Cantonese). It's aired Saturday afternoon 4pm on every Chinese TV station in Canada maybe beyond. It's a short episode less than 20 minutes. It's a simple story, a love story, some regular trials that couples go through, career changes etc. so it's encouraging because I got to see how God is a part of it through it all.

I'm so proud of my mom because she is the Senior Executive in Operations of a Chinese Christian Nursing Home called Wing Kei in Calgary. The Nursing Home is a huge building just outside downtown Calgary, home to lots of seniors in various stages of health or mobility, but there are Chinese speaking nurses and volunteers and they serve Chinese foood, and it's a happy place. You can see and feel God's presence, it's just awesome to see volunteers, well doing Jesus' work. Anyway what touches me the most is that although this is a multimillion dollar structure now with lots of funding from the Alberta government and all that, I actually remember my mom being part of the early beginnings of getting the whole project off the ground, from inception, to design, deployment (building) and expansion. In my eyes she started on the project as a volunteer, secretary or project planner, fundraiser all rolled into one and that was 16 years ago! When someone takes a shovel and they dig the first dirt for a new building, well there's just so much that happens before that ceremonial moment. Anyways that part is cool.

They also talk about my parents history in Hong Kong, how they met in the church as teenagers. My dad goes to Texas Christian University to study Geology and my mom goes to UT in Canada to study Computer Science. They get married, finish their Masters, move to Calgary,  have kids, my mom leaves her full time career in IT (that was pretty amazing at the time) to be a Stay at Home Mom. It's many years later and I'm 14 when my mom goes back to work in a different field as a medical secretary, very humble beginnings.

My dad's career as a Manager of Heavy Oil Development at Norcen Energy was a really big deal back then. So he's my age and he's like a "Director". Someone was very hardworking!  Of course with the boom and bust of the oil industry in the 80's my dad was part of the fall out. Imagine losing everything you ever worked for up until this point in your life. What do you do? Well he had to start over with new work to support the family. Of course we're kids, we don't know or understsand any of this. We still have everything we ever need, and God provides. Dad talks about his new job as the guy doing roof estimates for insurance claims. I actually remember it was a "good" year one year because of lots of hail damage. Later he was part of a start-up company that provided cheap long distance calling buying time from carriers (must be DSL). Then he found something more Geology related in doing oil field maps, but still in a very junior role given his previous senior rank. It`s been  16 years I suppose and he`s been at the Oil and Gas Inquirer, a premier oil industry publishing magazine selling expensive ad spaces to the oil industry suppliers. It`s a good magazine with lots of industry related articles. Anyway I`m so proud of my dad too because he just never gave up, he just kept getting back up no matter what. He was adaptable and willing to try really new things to provide for the family of four kids.  In the documentary, they interview his boss. It's kinda cool hearing the boss say nice things about my dad, and also seeing my dad wearing a suit, sitting tall at work.

They went through so much in their marriage. My siblings and I have seen alot of fighting. Don`t fight in front of the kids, well I guess my parents forgot to read that part in a parenting handbook LOL. Married for nearly 39 years now, I think they`ve been through everything. I`m just so happy seeing how happy they are now. They are living the life now, grandkids to visit, and taking cruises and tour vacations throughout the year.

It`s a simple story but when it`s the story about your own parents and see how God has been there this whole time, along with some amazing quotes from my little brother. It`s just such a good reminder that God is good. I hope to have that kind of encouraging story to tell my kids (not necessarily on TV) but a legacy of faith.