Monday, December 26, 2016

Wow That was Fast Cowl - Another CAL pattern

This is the last pattern posted in the 2016 Holiday Stashdown Crochet-a-long, but I have not kept up on all the patterns this year... I could still enter whatever I might finish by January 9 for their draws! 

The directions for the Wow That was Fast Cowl calls for jumbo yarn, making it a VERY fast project, but I used weights 5 and 6, so I had more stitches, more rows, but still completed it in an evening. Quick and easy!
This is some of the yarn I won in the 2015 Stashdown CAL from Red Heart.  They coordinate nicely, and work together in this stitch, even though they are different weights. The "Twilight" has a nice sparkle in it!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Monday, November 28, 2016

Stashdown CAL: Mug Cozy

Here is my Pico Drops Mug Cozy!

It attaches to the mug by simple chain loops over the handle from each direction!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Hadiya, "Gift"

This was my first Moxie rescue. 

During.  I braided her entire head in tiny braids like these, then poured boiling water over, to set the hair.  I left the front braids, but the rest of the hair is now very wavy. All the frizzy ends were trimmed off.

After.   She needs one more layer of shine on her eyes (varnish) still.

Her face is a combination of acrylic paint and Rembrandt Polycolor coloured pencils. I crocheted her sweater, and her reversible dress (awesome fabric thanks to my quilting friend!) is adapted from a pattern.

Notice that her feet are not visible!  They are not completed yet!  She will also have a few more accessories added to her wardrobe before she is gifted!

Fall Challenge Doll

I entered a fall challenge with other doll rescuers, motivating me to COMPLETE a doll, including the shoes...  (always my biggest challenge)
Here is "before"

With very glittery lips and eyelids!
"After" The boots won a prize for "best shoe solution"!
A few more pics from her photo shoot.

Her face was a combination of acrylic paint and Rembrandt Polycolor coloured pencils. I crocheted the sweater, made the leggings from a ladies' sock, the purse from a doll skirt, and the boots from a cut-down pair of Bratz boots, built up with Fimo clay, and covered with faux suede fabric from a thrift store jacket, and felt.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Another teacher gone

Rodger Alexander was my violin teacher, both at school and privately, for the two years before I learned that the cello was what I REALLY wanted to play.  He also directed my high school orchestra and string ensemble my last year of high school.

When I began to teach cello, one of my first thoughts was, "How did Mr. Alexander teach when I first learned the violin at the age of 9?"  The answer was, he made it FUN!  I've tried to make sure that informed my own teaching of children.  I'm sure I'll never forget the swinging arm trick. 

I went to visit his orchestra class 20 years after I graduated.  His students all wanted to know... did he really used to have red hair?  Oh yes! Too bad the memorial video here with his obituary had all his younger-days pictures in black and white!

More memories can be found at this Facebook page.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Holiday Stashdown CAL: Snowy Marble Infinity Scarf

The original name for the pattern is Berries Jubilee Infinity Scarf, but mine in no way resembles berries.  Instead I named it for the buttons I added.  It can be worn as a single or double loop, or the buttons can be used to pull a single loop more tightly around the neck!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Holiday CAL: Jewels in the Grass

Here is my adapted "Sky and Sunshine" bag, child-sized!  I call it "Jewels in the Grass."
Made to coordinate with the earwarmer from my last post, they will travel together in a shoebox!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Holiday Stashdown CAL: Stronger Together Earwarmer

It's been a long time! Long story short (maybe another blog post) hand surgery kept me from crafting for a while.

I won't be able to complete all the patterns like I did last fall, but here is the first one completed for Fall 2016:a child sized Stronger Together Earwarmer 
 I love the stained glass effect!
  I added a single crochet edging to cover up the color changes which I just carried up the side.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Video of the Week: Goshu!

Find yourself an hour to enjoy this one!  The young kids will need someone to read the English subtitles, unless they know Japanese!

Here is the story of Goshu the Cellist, struggling to learn his Beethoven symphony part - the best cartoon cellist I've ever seen! Watch how the animals help him practice..

BONUS question for students: Which Beethoven Symphony are they playing? Answering this gets you TWO ENTRIES for our draw June 18! (Yes, write it on two slips of paper!)

And it's not too late to go back and watch any videos you missed and enter with answers from those!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Video of the Week: Dvorak Humoresque

This was a piece I didn't like much when I learned to play it on violin.  The parent of one of my cello students voiced that she was really looking forward to their daughter learning it, they loved that piece!  ???  Well, okay, I guess we all have our own tastes.  I don't have any recordings of my violin playing, and I suspect I was pushed through the repertoire at the speed at which I could learn the notes, never mind my other skills.  I know I never mastered violin vibrato, and my bow skills were probably still pretty limited when I learned it, I guess, so there was no gracefulness, just an odd staccato melody... so what was to like about Humoresque?

Then I saw (and heard) this recording!  No doubt it was this gracefulness, inflection, and singing which Dvorak intended, not the beginner violin sound!  So!  Students, work on those bowing skills to be able to make MUSIC of this and enjoy it as much as I do now!

Students:  How do you say this composer's name and in which of these categories does the music belong - Modern, Romantic, Classical, Baroque?

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Video of the Week: Vivaldi for Siblings

Well, no, there's no evidence that Antonio Vivaldi wrote his Concerto for Two Cellos in G minor for siblings, but with so many siblings in our cello studio, I just thought I would dream of each set playing this together some day!  You can start now by listening!  :-) Not too far away for the Chan brothers!

Students: The music would fall into which of these categories - Modern, Romantic, Classical, Baroque?

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Video of the Week: Legato String Crossing Technique

Okay folks, time for a teaching video again!  Here is Paul Katz of CelloBello.

Students: Try this at home and show me at your lesson! Scroll over and read the Learn Think Feel Listen points, or print and read the pdf, and write one point from there that you find helpful on a slip of paper as your entry for the Cello Bello bag and pencils!

Take some time to read "How to use the lessons", look at the other lessons, interviews, etcetera while you're at CelloBello.  Paul Katz has been very generous to share all this with us, just for donations, let's not let it go to waste!

Thursday, May 5, 2016


Bratz Boy Hair Rescue

 Premature balding?
Asymmetrical attitude?
Here he is with his new face, and hair combed forward pre-haircut.  Now the last time I cut a doll's hair, I was about 12, and it wasn't really pretty.  Cured me for a long time!  But in the mean time I have several years' experience with my own boys... granted, human hair grows out if you mess it up...  But I was ready to tackle this guy.  I had already soaked his head in fabric softener, and rubbed off the remaining flocking so that it wasn't patchy.  
I cut his left side it to be more symmetrical with the right, but without copying it exactly, as I wasn't really enamored with that part of his hair, either. 

 I think he'll be keeping this cap on most of the time...
 Either backwards...
Or forwards...
 It much improves this back view, too! 
Just waiting for his wardrobe to be completed now.  Another doll lady suggested some dolls need T shirts that say, "I cut my own hair!" :-) #rescueddoll

Glue head!

I've been hearing about glue head amongst the other doll rescuers (#rescueddolls), and now I have had my first experience.  This Ever After High doll, purchased at our thrift store, came home with very waxy hair.

You can see how it separates at the roots with a very oily look.  It is not wet with water.

What to do?  A regular shampoo and conditioner didn't help.  I've heard of people using Goo Gone, but I didn't happen to have any of that.  Some people cut the hair out and re-root with new hair.  Too much work! YouTube said I could use baby powder, but the closest thing I had was corn starch. 

After the corn starch has been rubbed into the hair and had a chance to absorb the oily/waxy glue residue, it was washed again in cool water...
 ...and hung to dry.
The results?  Better, but not great.
Repeated the treatment.  Better yet, but still slightly oily.  No longer leaves a waxy feel on my fingers, so this might be as good as it gets in my hands. 

No longer separating and looking wet. 

What did I NOT do?  A boil wash.  Rumor has it that only melts the glue in the head and lets more seep out.  All washing was with cool water.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Video of the Week: Bach 2nd Cello Suite

Come see Zuill Bailey play 3 movements of Bach's Cello Suite #2 in D minor!

Students, explain why the ornate rosette on his cello is hidden under the fingerboard.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Video of the week: Use your body

Some of my students tend to be stiff in their bow elbows, and I thought this video with Amit Peled would be helpful!  Please give his directions a try!  Be a tree!

Students: What should your arms be like?

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Mock Bobbles Cowl

The March Holiday Stashdown CAL pattern is the Mock Bobbles Cowl, found HERE.  Nice texture!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Video of the Week: Travel in time for a cello lesson with Leonard Rose

Back to 1978!   41 minutes if you can make time to watch it all - a good lesson!

Watch his smooth bow change early in the video.  Much good advice here - he covers a lot of ground! 

Students: What instruction on this video did you find the most helpful?

2016 Stashdown CAL ... Bootcuffs

Here are the boot cuffs which were our Stashdown February pattern (found HERE).  Not without some difficulties, but they turned out okay.  I omitted the last two rows due to yarn shortage! (No mention of leg shortage needed. :-))

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Video of the Week: Softness is Strength

I probably shared this one before.  But it's good to have the reminder frequently!

Students: How did Mr. Katz's Tai Chi instructor know he was weak?  Think about this when you practice this week! 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Youngest in my Half-Way Home

It's a Bratz Kidz!  With too much lipstick and glittery eye shadow.  First, her hair...

It fell out in alarming amounts while being washed.  You can see a lot of kinking from her braids.
So, time for a boil wash!
Losing more hair with the dip and brush!  But it seems she still has enough when it has dried the next morning.

She is still waiting for feet and clothing, and having her pigtails put in, but here is the first re-paint before and after.  First?  I'm on the fence about re-doing...