Sunday, September 30, 2012

Finished Butternut Dolls

I have several dolls
I will be listing at
Early Work Mercantile
 late this evening.

Little Pity Butternut
In Calico

Little Missouri

Alma Jane Butternut 

Double Ended Sawdust Doll
Stop by and see all
the wonderful creations!
Xmas will soon be here!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Missouri Ornate Box Turtle

I work in a small bank at the edge of a small town.
Directly across the road is Lake Taneycomo, and
behind the bank is woods. It's not unusual to have
the "odd" critter make it's way through our
drive-thru.  Over the years I've seen deer, raccoon,
geese, ducks, a rooster, giant beetles, creepy
spiders, birds and an endless variety of kittens
and dogs.  Today, it was a little ornate box turtle. 
We brought him inside the bank until we had
a chance to take him to the edge of the woods. 
I am only 5ft. 1in. tall & have a very small hand.
 (Great for hand sewing in tiny places!)  As you
can see this is a small turtle. 
Lucky for us, he did
not leave a deposit!

Ornate Box Turtle

Terrapene ornata ornata
Emydidae (basking, marsh and box turtles) in the order Testudines (turtles)

This small, colorful turtle has a domed upper shell and a hinged lower shell. The upper shell is usually smooth or flattened along the top, without a ridge, and is normally brown with numerous yellow lines radiating from the center of each individual plate. A yellow stripe often runs down the top. The lower shell is brown with distinct yellow spots and blotches. The head and limbs are brown or black with yellow spots and blotches. There are normally four toes on each hind leg.
Similar species: The three-toed box turtle usually has three toes on each hind leg, a ridge along the center of the top shell and the top shell is usually olive or olive-brown with faint yellow or orange lines radiating from the center of each plate. It is more of a woodland species than the ornate box turtle and is found statewide except for extreme northern and northwestern portions.
Upper shell length: 4-5 inches (adult).
Habitat and conservation:
This species is a fairly common resident of Missouri’s native prairies and grasslands, including pastures, open woods and glades. Thousands of box turtles are killed on roads by vehicles. Overwintering burrows can prove inadequate during hard winters, and many turtles are starved or killed by humans trying to keep them as pets. Leave turtles in the wild, follow the speed limit and keep your eyes on the road.
Although 90 percent of this turtle’s diet is composed of insects, particularly grasshoppers, beetles and caterpillars, ornate box turtles also eat a small amount of plant matter, especially berries and tender shoots.
Distribution in Missouri:
Statewide, except for the southeastern corner of the state, and is more common in the western and northern parts of Missouri.
Turtles have been generally declining statewide, mainly due to loss of habitat.
Life cycle:
Ornate box turtles become active in late March. Courtship and mating are most common in the spring; it tapers off in summer and can resume in early autumn. The females lays eggs in exposed areas with loose soil or sand, digging a shallow hole with her hind limbs and depositing her eggs. A clutch is usually 2–8 eggs, which hatch 2-3 months later. There are 1-2 clutches per season. Box turtles dig into leaf litter and soil and go dormant to survive winter.
Human connections:
Of all the reptiles, turtles are the most admired by humans for their symbolic characteristics of slow, steady progress, longevity and resilience as well as for their unique body form. They can live to be 50, perhaps even 80, years old.
Ecosystem connections:
Even though adult box turtles are defended by their shells, the eggs and young provide food for many predators. Hatchlings are only about 1 inch long and are especially vulnerable.
From the Missouri Department of Conservation

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Making Sawdust Doll Bodies

I've been making doll bodies
stuffed with cedar shavings.
I got the shavings from Louis Allen,
a local wood worker.  He is well known
for his wagon making skills, full scale
and miniature, like the one below. 
 He also makes presentation boxes and
small cedar barrel banks for Copper Run
Distillery.  The first "legal" moonshine
distillery in the Ozark Mountains since
the prohibition ended in 1933. 
These cedar shavings are the remnants of
the little cedar banks.  They are soft curls
and smell soooo nice!  Just perfect for
little dolls.  Thank you kindly Allen!
Check to see if your local wood worker
will save you sawdust, or try the local
pet store for cedar bedding.
I started by drawing my body and arms on
a cotton utility cloth.  It's heavier than
muslin, not as heavy as canvas and has a
dense tight weave.  Nice and sturdy for
stuffing and packing the sawdust.
I use a mechanical pencil.  The lines are
thin and the stitching covers it up.
I then sewed on the drawn lines.
I made a second row of stitching on the
outside of the curves of the neck and
underarms for added strength. 
For the legs I sewed black and a very bold
red and white striped cotton together.
I folded the right sides together and
drew the legs and shoes.  I stitched
on the drawn lines.
I cut out the pieces leaving a seam
 allowance of about 1/4 inch, then turned
 them to the right side.  I used a pair of
tweezers to grab the inside of the small parts.
At this point I lightly aged the pieces 
with a brew of PG Tips tea. 
I stuffed my doll bodies while they were 
slightly damp.  I keep a small
spritzer bottle filled with water handy.
When the parts are damp they have
a little stretch, when they dry, everything
is firm and tight.  I also lightly sprayed
 the sawdust when it became unruly!
I used a wooden knitting needle and a
wooden chop stick for stuffing. The
knitting needle has a flat bunt end I
use for tamping the shavings firmly.  The
 end of the chop stick is blunt so it doesn't
 poke a hole through the fabric.
I use the same tools and technique
when stuffing with wool.
 The key is to firmly pack the body parts!
 I stuffed the arms and head first.
I turned to the inside, the edge
of the arm holes.
 I inserted the arms inside the arm holes
and pinned the arms in place.
I used a heavy button hole thread
 and a large needle,
to sew the arms in place.
I stuffed the legs and part way
down the body, then turned under
the bottom edge of the body.
I pinned the legs in place.
I made sure the legs were pointing
the same direction!
I sewed the legs on, leaving the
middle section open. I finished stuffing
the body section then sewed the center
part closed.
Triplets with striped stockings, a
popular 1800's fashion.
I made 2 or 3 large stitches
just below the neckline, this 
 helps to keep the stuffing up
 in the neck of the doll, so
she doesn't get bobble head! 
 Simple little Ozark sawdust pancake dolls
ready for faces and clothing.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sawdust Double Ended or Topsy Turvy Doll

I finished the sawdust (cedar shavings)
 double ended dolly.  This doll is the
traditional black-white doll inspired by
photos of antique dolls.  On one side the 
doll is wearing the "icky green" dress, with
a mop day cap. There are 3 tiny antique 
white glass doll buttons on the front and 3
small antique white pie crust buttons on
the back.  She has brown wool hair with a
touch of gray!!
On the other end the doll is wearing a
red dress with 2 antique china buttons
on the front & 3 antique glass shoe buttons
on the back.  Her black trim is antique,
possibly silk or rayon.   She has wool hair,
and black shoe button eyes.   

It was interesting to make this type
of doll, I had to take into consideration
that the arms needed to move freely 
when turned upside down.  Also, to
make sure the doll underneath
 remains totally hidden.  The clothing
is sewn on the dolls and not removable.
That is a disappointment to me as
I do love a dolls under garments!  I
also had to put the wooden "Make
Do Doll" tag on the back of the red
dress.  I must say it was a lot of hand
sewing for just one doll! 
I made this doll for the MAIDA
doll group for submission to Art
I have also been busy making dolls
for Early Work Mercantile.
Christmas is not that far away!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

More Bats In The Belfry

I did an earlier post about the little 
brown bat that has been coming to the cabin
for the last three years during the summer
months.  He makes his home between the
 floor joist underneath our back deck, always
 choosing the very same spot.

He doesn't bother us and we don't
bother him.
To our surprise, the bat population
underneath the deck is growing.  He now
shares his spot with several of his friends.
This bat has taken up residence
at the other end of the deck,
  plus this one,
 and these two.  Oh my!

Bats of Missouri: Information for Homeowners

Robert A. Pierce II
Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences
Richard L. Clawson
Missouri Department of Conservation
Bats are unique and interesting animals. Because of their nocturnal nature and widespread misconceptions about them, they are the subject of myths and folklore that make them one of the most mysterious and misunderstood mammals. The presence of a bat in a house causes more alarm than does any other wildlife species.
These fears are unwarranted. Contrary to what you may have heard:
  • Very few bats become rabid (less than half of 1 percent).
  • Bat droppings in buildings usually are not a source of histoplasmosis.
  • Bats are not filthy and will not infest homes with dangerous parasites.
  • Bats are not aggressive and will not attack people or pets.
  • Missouri bats do not feed on blood. (Vampire bats, which do feed on blood, live in Latin America.)
Like all wildlife, bats have their place in the natural world and should not be killed indiscriminately. This publication provides some answers for Missouri homeowners on managing bat problems. It also provides information on how to attract bats to your property.
All wildlife species are protected by Missouri law; it is illegal to kill any bat in Missouri unless it is damaging your property. Two Missouri bats are classified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as endangered species and need protection to survive environmental disturbances caused by humans. Nonlethal controls are recommended for managing bat problems in a house.

Little Brown Bat

Myotis lucifugus
Vespertilionidae (evening bats) in the order Chiroptera
The little brown bat is a small (less than 4-inch) bat that usually roosts in caves in groups of 20, has dark glossy brown fur on its back, and has ears 5/8 inch long or less that are narrow, naked, with bluntly rounded tips. The back fur is two-toned: blackish or dark gray at the base and brown toward the tips. The wing and tail membranes and the ears are glossy dark brown. There are 6 species of Myotis in Missouri, and they require close examination to be distinguished from each other.
Total length: 3–3¾ inches; tail length: 1¼–1¾ inches; weight: ¼ ounce.
Habitat and conservation:
When feeding, they prefer borders between open areas and denser cover where flying insects are plentiful. Winter hibernation is in limestone caves and mines, mostly in the Ozark Highland. In spring they disperse up to 620 miles. In spring and summer the females live in nursery colonies in cliff crevices and hollow trees, under loose bark, in attics and other undisturbed retreats. Males are solitary or live in colonies up to 20 in similar protected sites, including under siding and shingles.
Only insects are eaten, particularly winged adult forms in flight: mayflies, mosquitoes, beetles, flies, caddis flies, lacewings, stone flies, and moths. Little brown bats feed heavily, consuming half their body weight in a night.
Distribution in Missouri:
Widely distributed throughout the state but no longer common in any one place.
No longer common in any one place; populations are declining.
Life cycle:
In this species, mating is in fall before hibernation, during winter if bats become active and in spring after hibernation. The ovum undergoes no change during winter, even if the female has mated, but after hibernation ends, it is shed from the ovary and fertilization follows. Only one egg matures per year, so only a single young can be produced annually. Most young are born by mid-June and are weaned in about 6 weeks. Young are most vulnerable during the first few weeks of life.
Human connections:
Bats help control insects, some of which are agricultural pests or are annoying to man (such as mosquitoes). Bats have contributed much to human knowledge through scientific studies of their echolocation, biology and physiology. Bats are protected by both state and federal laws.
Ecosystem connections:
As predators, bats help to hold insect populations in balance; also, many forms of cave-dwelling life depend on the nutrients brought in by bats and released from their guano (feces).