Strolling Through the Garden with Patience

On a beautiful spring day it is hard to resist Mother Nature.  She beckons to us with her warm sun, gentle breezes, and surprises blooming outside.  It was a day like this for us in northern Illinois on Friday.  As much as I wanted to stay inside and work, work, work, I couldn’t resist.  I had a lovely walk soaking up the warm sun and discovering all of the new things growing outside.

Patience loves to get outside on a spring day too.  I took her picture in front of our pink magnolia tree that is in bloom.  I didn’t plan it, but the ensemble that I just completed for her was perfect for photos.

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For more information on Patience’s “A Stroll in the Garden” ensemble please visit my “Available for Sale” page on cindyricedesigns.com .

 

 

This Past Week

Here are a couple of shots from inside my studio this past week.  My desk photo shows my two projects that I had going on towards the end of the week.  Patience’s outfit is finished, but I am still knitting the dress for the Little Darlings; lots of stitches in this one.  Amelia Thimble and Izzy have been hanging out with Bella (my Bo Bergemann Dream Doll).  She is happy to have the little ones to keep her company.

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bella amelia izzy 736This weather this past week in northern Illinois was quite perfect.  Some days were a bit warmer than others, but all were sunny!  Since yesterday felt like summer I had to get out for a nice long walk.  I brought along my iPhone to capture spring’s progress out and about.

weeping willow budding 1699This weeping willow looked so pretty with its yellow green buds against the blue sky.  I found clumps of squill growing along the side of the road; they’re so tiny and blue.

squill 1704These are our daffodils in full bloom.

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white magnolia 1692Our largest magnolia tree looks snowy when in bloom.

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I love our pink magnolia tree, the blossom’s colors are gorgeous.  Today I finished Patience’s outfit and thought the tree would be the perfect backdrop for a couple of photos.

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Hope you enjoy the rest of the weekend!

My Princess in Pink

I want to share with you an ensemble that I just finished for Dianna Effner’s Little Darlings.  It is pure pink princessy-ness;  a color that all (well, most) little princesses love.

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Gina loves her crocheted purse with fun dangles to hold her tiny treasures.

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For more information on Gina’s “My Princess in Pink” ensemble please visit my “Available for Sale” page on cindyricedesigns.com .

How’s Spring Shaping Up?

It is coming along very nicely here in northern Illinois.  Although most trees are still look pretty bare, our magnolia trees have started blooming.  We have a few white blossoming trees in the front of our house and a magnolia tree that produces pink blossoms in the back around our deck.  These blossoms are short-lived so I’ve been cutting  branches to bring inside to enjoy them more.

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Also, today while driving, I noticed clumps of yellow daffodils blooming along the sides of a two lane road.  These clumps appeared quite frequently for a mile or two.  They were a wonderful surprise!  I couldn’t help but wonder who would have planted them there as they didn’t seem to be on private property.  I wanted to stop and pick a bunch, but of course I didn’t.  I picked up a bunch at Trader Joe’s instead.

How is spring shaping up by you?

This Past Week & A New Dress for Millie

I’m so glad that last week has passed.  Here in northern Illinois, we had such dreary weather practically the whole week and then horrible storms Thursday night.  Mother Nature even managed to deliver more rain to us yesterday.  I felt my mood going downhill with each progressing day last week, and it was affecting my creativity.  I felt like I was going through the motions of creating without any excitement towards my work.  Today was a blessing, warm and sunny…*sigh*.   Finally!!!

I got outside today to see how spring is progressing around our house.  It is slow, but there are some new things to see.  Most notable is the color of the grass—a beautiful emerald green—thanks to all of the rain we got this past week.  Other lovely happenings outside include the magnolia trees starting to bloom, the crocuses finishing their blooming, the daffodils starting to bloom, and the teeny tiny buds becoming visible on the bushes.  It’s a wonder to observe the changing seasons.

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I love knit dresses, even in the warmer weather.  This past week, I adapted Millie’s wool dress pattern for knitting with a lighter weight bamboo.  The first try came out too long and not flared enough, so I made some small changes and tried again.  This time I got it right; it fits her shape perfectly.  She is such a cutie pie!  I finished her outfit today and took the pictures.  Since I still had Izzy and Amelia Thimble’s rose garden dresses, I was able to get the three BJD girls together for some photos, and boy, do they look precious together!

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spring's sweetheart 583For more information on Millie’s “Spring’s Sweetheart” ensemble, please visit my “Available for Sale” page on cindyricedesigns.com (after 7:00pm CST on Sunday, April 12).  Amelia Thimble and Izzy’s sets are available for sale right now on my “Available for Sale” page.

For the Fun of It

The fabric that I used to make Talyssa’s new dress is pure fun and sunshine.  Even the fabric has a fun name—Posy Swirl.  When I saw it, I knew immediately that I wanted to use it to create an ensemble for one of my girls (dolls).  I had my youthful and sweet Talyssa in mind right from the start.  When I showed her the fabric, she did indeed love it too.

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flowers for your spring garden 0544Talyssa’s cardigan is embroidered with bullion stitched tulips and daisy-like flowers to coordinate with the dress.  Her three crocheted flower ties range from light pink to deep magenta.  They can be arranged in endless ways and one can even be tied around Talyssa’s bouquet, if you so wish.

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flowers for your spring garden 530This sweater really brings out the green in Talyssa’s eyes.

flowers for your spring garden 519Oh, Talyssa, you have the sweetest face!

For more information on Talyssa’s “Flowers for Your Spring Garden” please visit my “Available for Sale” page on cindyricedesigns.com .

Tiny Dresses From My Imaginary Rose Garden

I’ve been in teeny tiny creative mode lately, and I seem to be hooked on pink roses.  Here are the latest ensembles to come from my studio: two dress/hat sets for Amelia Thimble and Izzy, and a new dress/hat set for Pukipuki.

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All three dresses ended up coordinating nicely together, so I took a group picture of my three tinies all dressed up.  Sorry about Amelia Thimble’s strange pose; she was in an animated mood during the photo shoot and refused to stand still unless I held her.  Izzy and Sugar behaved like tiny angels.

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For more information on these three dress/hats sets, please visit my “Available for Sale” page on cindyricedesigns.com .

After Easter

I hope all that celebrate Easter had a beautiful day yesterday.  As promised, here is a picture of a slice of the potica my daughter and I made for Easter breakfast.  The potica was delicious, but by partaking in this simple tradition something unexpected happened, it brought back many happy childhood memories of Easter Sundays gone by.  Traditions really do help us stay connected, don’t they?potica 478

An Easter Tradition

When I think back to holiday traditions that I remember growing up, Easter breakfast comes to mind first:  hard boiled eggs, the Easter eggs we decorated, of course, cold Polish sausage, shavings of horseradish root tossed on the eggs and sausage, and potica—pronounced (poh-TEET-sah).  Does anyone know what potica is?  My Slovenian grandmother made it every Easter without fail.  It is a yeast-raised dough rolled around a variety of fillings—sweet or savory.  I only knew one kind, a semi-sweet dough rolled around a not too sweet walnut honey filling.  Yum, yum, yum!  Did I say yum?  Oh, and when it is cut in slices, it reveals a pinwheel design—an added plus to this already delightful desert (or breakfast).

My daughter and husband also love potica, and since my brother, who has turned into the baker of the family, lives too far away for us to steal a piece, my daughter and I started making one on Good Friday afternoon.

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The dough is a basic, sweet, yeast dough.  It’s always nerve-wracking wondering if the bread will proof or not.  I used our trusty Minitemp thermometer to make sure the water was between 105° and 115° before mixing in the yeast, so I was feeling confident enough, but you still never know.  The dough chilled in the refrigerator overnight and was ready to be rolled out and baked in the morning.

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We finely ground a pound of walnuts in the food processor.  My grandmother would buy 2 lbs. of walnuts in the shell, shell them all with a nutcracker, then grind them in a hand grinder.  I must say, thank goodness for food processors and walnuts that can be purchased already shelled!

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The filling consists of scalded milk, butter, honey, sugar, walnuts, an egg yolk, vanilla, and an egg white folded into the mixture.  It is very thick, sticky, and a bit difficult to spread.

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My mom cuts this in half and puts each piece into a loaf pan.  I decided to bake it on a cookie sheet like my brother does.  I put the potica into a slightly warm oven to rise for a couple of hours.  We kept checking on it to make sure it was rising.

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And, it did!

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50 minutes later we had a freshly baked potica and a house filled with the smell of freshly baked bread.  What was the hardest part of making potica?

Waiting for Easter morning so we can taste it, of course.

I promise to show you what potica looks like when it’s sliced.

Happy Easter!

Is it too soon?

Is it too soon to be “Dreamin’ of Summer?”  Amelia Thimble doesn’t think so, and I agree with her.  Why not start dreaming, if only just a little bit, about lush flower gardens, picnics in the grass, outings to the beach, or catching some rays by the pool?

Tiny Amelia Thimble whispered in my ear that she is dreaming of a summer garden party, and she is awaiting her very first invitation of the season.  Being the life of every party, I am sure it will arrive soon.

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dreamin' of summer 331While Amelia Thimble is waiting for that first summer party invitation to arrive, she finds the Easter bunny hanging out in my studio.

dreamin' of summer 336What a cute pair they make!

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For more information on Amelia Thimble’s “Dreamin’ of Summer” dress/hat set please visit my “Available for Sale” page on cindyricedesigns.com .