Sunday, December 30, 2007

In Which Samantha Becomes a Travel Doll

On December 22nd, I was permitted to embark on a great adventure - being a travel doll! Up until now, I had only ventured outside the house to nearby parks in the area. This time, I got to go on a vacation for a week! We crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and drove down the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. When we neared the mainland side, we stopped at the "visitor's center" island and shopped in the gift shop. Some people were brave enough to venture out onto the fishing pier, but it was threatening to rain and was pretty chilly, so we only took a photograph of it. A large freighter was leaving the Chesapeake Bay as we watched.
It seemed like the bridge went on and on for a very long time. It even has 2 spans of tunnels, under the shipping channels. There were a lot of gulls landing on the bridge. Here's a view of the parking lot on the island and the bridge.
Little birds were used to all of the people who stopped on the man made island/visitors' center, and would walk right up to our cars!
On our first day in Jacksonville, North Carolina, we went to the grocery store and an electronics store to get a few things. On the way, we stopped at the Beirut Memorial. Because Camp Lejuene is in Jacksonville, the community treasures their fallen heroes. There are 273 names and the words "THEY CAME IN PEACE" engraved on the walls of the Memorial. In addition to the inscribed names of those who died in Beirut and those who have died since of injuries from that blast, there are the names of three Marine pilots from the community who were killed in Grenada.
The two broken walls, which depict the crumbled walls of the bombed headquarters building, flank a soldier cast in bronze that wears real dog tags. It was a very moving memorial to see.

On the same site was a beam from one of the Twin Towers and a memorial to those who worked to rescue victims on September 11th.
On Christmas Eve, it was very warm day, so we headed to the Wilmington beaches. We went to Ft. Fisher. The Civil War's Ft. Fisher vistors' center was closed because it was always closed on Monday - I bet the people who work there were glad that they didn't have to work on Christmas Eve! We stopped at the fountain outside of the Ft. Fisher aquarium for some photo opportunities. I found a shrub with bright red berries that seemed very Christmas-y.
Here I am in front of the aquarium. Jen has been to 3 of the North Carolina aquariums now, and she says that they all have similar fountains. We didn't pay to go inside this one - everyone had already seen the inside of other 2 NC aquariums they'd visited on other trips, and they were very similar. We wanted more time to see the beach.
When I first saw the Atlantic Ocean, I was stunned by the vastness of it. It is hard to imagine how big it really is.
I got to sit on a sand dune and watch the beach-goers activities.
It was a bit chilly, but some people still ventured along the shores to collect sea shells or just walk in the sand. There was even a surfer, but he was wearing a wet suit. I could not imagine being in the ocean in December, even if we were in North Carolina.
It was really surprisingly warm - in the low 70's. It was just the gray sky that makes it look so much colder in the pictures. The wind blew pretty steadily, and that put a slight chill in the air.
Here I am, standing on the beach for a photograph.
There was a boardwalk through the dunes to the rangers' station. The rails along the boardwalk seemed just the right size for a person of my stature.

The wind-torn trees in the background were intriguing to look at. We could see even more of them from the road, and wondered just what they are.
On the way back towards home, we stopped at a beach shop, where I got to pick out a Christmas present/souvenir. I now have a Carolina Beach guitar that is just my size. It even came with a stand! Here I am back at home in Maryland with my new guitar.
The rest of our trip was pretty uneventful. We mostly just hung out at the grandmother's house with occasional trips to visit other relatives or to pick up odds and ends at the store to fix special dishes for dinner. It was a great time. I hope I get to be a travel doll again someday.

- Samantha

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Gifts

It is almost Christmas Day. The house is decorated, carols are playing and cookies are baking. The television blasts commercials for last minute "holiday" shopping. The email inbox is full of advertisements that tell us it isn't too late to order, if we do so right away. We are bombarded with messages about the "spirit of giving" and how it is better to give than to receive. People fret about what is under their Christmas tree: did I get the perfect gift for so-and-so? Will the kids be disappointed? What is inside that box that has my name on it?

But here is the most important message of all: Christmas isn't about decorations, parties or even the gifts you give - it is about the gift you have already received!

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. (KJV - Luke 2)


For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (KJV - John 3:16-17)


May the Peace and Blessings of this wonderful gift touch your heart and bring you Joy this Christmas-time!

-Jen and Samantha

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Nutcracker

Jen: Hi Samantha, what are you and the root beer girls doing?

Samantha: Well, Amy and Wendy were telling me about how last year at Christmas time, you and W. went with your uncle to see the Nutcracker ballet at the Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore, and I've read about a friend who helped costume dancers in the Nutcracker in Georgia, so we were wondering what it's all about. We went downstairs and found the book, and I told them I'd read it to them.

Jen: Oh, the Nutcracker is a great story. M. was reading another version of the story in a library book from school. It's so nice of you to read to the little ones. Well, enjoy it!

Samantha: Thanks, Jen. We will. "Clara started cheering on her beloved nutcracker and the wooden soldiers. They fought valiantly, but the mice outnumbered them. As Clara watched , her brave nutcracker raised his sword, ready to attack the mouse king...."

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Samantha's First Snow

It snowed all day yesterday. Jen was at work and it took her a long time to get home because everyone drove so slowly - it was very dark. Today, I got to go out and see the snow before she went to work. It was very cold, and I wished I had some boots! At least I have a nice, thick sweater to keep me warm. The whole world was coated with white frosting - it was all so pretty and magical to see. The weatherman says this won't last very long - it is supposed to rain tomorrow and be in the 50's this weekend.

I'm glad I got to see the snow before Christmas! Now I can sing along with "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas..."


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Cold and Dreary

Somedays, when it is cold and dreary outside, you just want to put on some comfy clothes and lay down in your favorite comfy spot, and just be quiet with your special friends. I'm beginning to dream about what my first Christmas here will be like. How about you?

- Samantha

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

"Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations."

Psalm 100

"When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you."
Deuteronomy 8:10

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Fall: Sweaters and Pumpkins

It rained almost all week. It finally stopped this afternoon, but the sun was only out for a few minutes. It is starting to get a little cooler, but my new sweater seemed a little too warm. Even when the temperature is in the upper 60's, if there's a lot of humidity, it feels very warm.

This is my new sweater. It is from Faith & Friends. Jen said it was hard to get the wrists over my hands, but we think the colors are nice for this time of year.

I found a couple little pumpkins out front. It must be Fall.

- Samantha

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fall flowers and tailgating

Today was a very sunny Sunday. There wasn't a cloud in the sky. It has been such a warm fall, that the black-eyed susans are still blooming! The plants are getting healthy and strong. Putting a weed barrier down and rocks around them to keep away the competing weeds really helped them this summer. Samantha got a new Friends to Be Made outfit at the Build A Bear store a few weeks ago, and with the temps in the upper 70's, it is still warm enough to wear short sleeves, capris and sandals during the day. The nights are getting cooler, so we know that fall is coming.

Another sign of fall is football season. Noah, a little bear and our house, had a tailgate picnic with his friends, Edgar, Allan and Poe, before today's Ravens game. The Swedish chef packed the picnic basket with some goodies, and they took their radio outside to listen to the pre-game show. I guess we should have told Noah that most people do their tailgating at the football game, not in their driveways!

Edgar, Allan and Poe are official Ravens mascots. Did you know that Edgar Allan Poe is buried in Baltimore?

It was a good day for everyone (except the Ravens, they lost).

- Jen and Samantha

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Walk in the Park

There was no excitement here this weekend, so I thought I would share some photos of my trip to the park a few weekends ago. Our first stop was at the park ranger's office. They have nice gardens planted around the building. Inside, they have exhibits about the plants and animals that live in our region.

We decided to take a walk on the perimeter trail. We didn't walk the entire perimeter of the park. We walked around one edge and then back the main road to where the cars park. Maybe one and a half miles. This part of the trail is mostly wooded. There are places to stop and do exercises along the path. I found the trees more interesting than the work out equipment.

This would be a neat place for a gnome, troll or forest animal to live. I waited a while to see if anyone would come, but they didn't.

This was a great place to rest! Don't the trees look huge? I like spending time outside when I can be in the shade and it isn't too hot!

- Samantha

Sunday, September 30, 2007


Yesterday, the University of Maryland's unranked football team, the Terps, played number 10 Rutgers at an away game. We watched it on the television at home. It was a very exciting game, with MD winning 34- 24. Congratulations, Terps!

We love Testudo!

More about the game here:
More about our mascot here:


- Samantha

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Signs of Fall

Here are some of the first signs of Fall at our house. The Autumn Joy Sedum is changing from pale green to a rose-pink color. It will get darker as Fall progresses.

The bees were buzzing all around the flower heads.

Jen calls this flower a volunteer. We had these annuals in the garden last year, and a few volunteered to come back again. The tomato plants are gone, so these really stand out now!

It might not be a Fall flower, but it sure is a bright Fall color. Soon, we might be finding leaves these colors!

- Samantha

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A Bear Census?

Jen decided to join a new group on Yahoo! called Teddy Bears Picnic. She has been working on making a house for some tiny bears and furnishings that she is planning to make from some discontinued Gail Wilson kits that have been under her bed for a long time. She thought having some friends to talk bears with would be fun and might motivate her to keep playing with her bears.

I think Jen's OCD tendencies kicked in and she thought that it would be a good idea to see just what bears are living here. Bears are a lot like Hittys. You invite one to live with you, and before you know it, their family, friends and distant relatives are all coming to visit and never leave. I helped her begin her project to document all of the bears who live here. We didn't even finish taking photos of the hug living in the family room when the battery in the camera died. This project could take a while! We are only taking a census of bears. Hares, sheep, kittens and puppies are not going to be counted on grounds that it might incriminate us. I took a few pictures of my bears, even though I love my bunny the best! So, here are some photos from this afternoon.

This bear came with my plaid dress and sweater I was wearing in the last post:

This bear was given to me by Erica and Maggie when I came to live here. They are Sissel Skille girls. They received this bear in a swap. It was nice of them to share her with me.

Here I am with some of the bears who were waiting for their turn to get their picture taken.

It was a very nice day.

You can see the rest of the pictures we took in Jen's Picasa album, here:

- Samantha

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Getting Ready for Fall

Sometimes hard work pays off! We've been cleaning up, cleaning out and getting organized, and it has finally paid off for me with a little second-hand clothing find! Jen found this dress on an old teddy bear. The bear was not in very good condition, so she will be going in the charity bin, but the dress was pretty, if you could overlook the buttons with the worn off covers. Jen replaced the buttons and put a few darts in the back, and now it is perfect for this time of year when it is warm outside, but your mind is racing towards fall.

It looks very nice with my brown patent leather mary janes, too, don't ya think? Even better, the dress had a little sweater to go with it. Perfect for when those chilly morning and evenings come. Jen sewed a button and loop on it so that it wouldn't slip off my shoulders; it is a bit big for me, but it is soft and comfy.

I think this outfit would be perfect for going back to school!

- Samantha

Saturday, August 18, 2007


I am so tired, I think I must be exhausted. For some reason, August seems to be the month that this family works the hardest! They must realized that the kids will soon be back to school and put everything they've been putting off doing on their "to do" list. This month, I've seen walls washed, floors scrubbed and polished, the refrigerator and freezer cleaned out, curtains washed, and windows tinted with UV film! To top it off, today was spent cleaning out the basement. They aren't done yet, there is more work to do tomorrow. Sigh. I've tried to help by cleaning up my things, but I guess you might have noticed that there are a few things under my bed that still need to be put away. Don't tell Jen, okay? I'll take care of it...tomorrow.


Sunday, August 5, 2007

A Companion Doll of Another Kind

This story begins several months ago, in the Spring. When Gail Wilson had a sale earlier this year, I purchased "extra parts" to make 3 Hitty dolls -a second one for me, one for my daughter, and one for my mother (for her birthday). I decided not to keep my daughter in the dark, and actually let her help me make hers and my mother's (the basic painting and some of the sewing). I figured, while we were doing all that painting, I may as well get out another GW kit that I had for the Early American Companion Doll (a picture of Gail's doll is here: It involved similar painting and assembly, so why not? I enjoyed making this doll a lot, in fact, I was a lot less stressed about it than I can be sometimes when I'm making something from a new pattern or kit. I kept putting her aside to move other projects along. I got her pantalettes made, but didn't even finish her chemise because I was trying to get Hitty things made for gifts, and clothes for BJDs who were naked - she "borrowed" a dress that I had made using a Gail Wilson doll pattern for my Raikes Hope doll - the sleeves were long, but my daughter rolled up the cuffs and at least she was "decent." She'd been sitting on the GW EA bed on my dresser, patiently waiting until I could get back to making her chemise and her own dress, slip, pinafore and bonnet. I tried to name her Charlotte, a nice "old fashioned" name, but it didn't work. Last week, I decided to call her Elizabeth, because I had sold a doll named Elizabeth a few months ago, and I always liked that name and wanted to use the name again for a special doll.
Anyway, one night last week, while getting ready for bed, I saw her. She was glowing up at me under the light of an antique (electrified) oil lamp's pink glass shade. I've had that lamp since I was a very little girl, and always loved that rosy glow. She seemed to be saying "HEY! LOOK AT ME! I am a COMPANION doll, after all!" She took my heart and wrapped it around hers at that very moment. She's the one who's been happily riding along in my purse, just for the company. She is sure that someday soon I will get to making her her own dress, and maybe even take a picture of her. She is content to just be "mine." I think it might have something to do with her being something I created, but I've made many dolls. I love my resin and vinyl dolls, but I also love my antique doll, and my Hittys and my old fashioned cloth dolls. I grew up with The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie, and trips to Mount Vernon, Williamsburg, Ft. McHenry and Gettysburg. I think that some dolls are just dolls, some become friends, and some end up being more than that, a true companion. Maybe I have more than one companion doll after all.
Here's Elizabeth, where I "first saw her."

Here is another picture of her in more natural light.

Her head, lower arms and hands, and lower legs and shoes are made of painted paper mache. The rest of her is cloth stuffed with wool. She has a very nice feel in your hands. Her hair is simple - never a hair out of place. I am so glad that Gail Wilson created this kit, she is one of my favorites by Gail.


Saturday, August 4, 2007

Black Eyed Susans

It has been very, very hot here, and very dry. The grass is mostly tan and brown, except for an occasional green weed. Jen was afraid that she was going to loose her black eyed susans this year, since there have been fewer and fewer over the past few years. They don't look too bad now, do they? These flowers came from plants in Jen's mom's garden - and she got her original plants from her mother's garden. Pretty neat, huh? The black eyed susan is our state flower. I think they are nice and bright and sunny - just like a nice summer day.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Road Trip for Hannah

Earlier this month, Jen and her family went on a road trip for their family vacation. Hannah, Jen's DIM Sweet Eileen doll, got to go along because she was the only one who wanted to - she knew that once they reached their designation, she'd spend the entire trip in a hotel room. Jen had been working on a dress for her, and promised that she'd try to finish it.

They passed farms.

And drove through mountains.

And over bridges and rivers.

And across very flat farm country.

Hannah spent most of the time in the hotel room, but Jen did finish her new sundress.

On the way home, they saw wind turbines on a mountain. They looked gigantic!

Hannah enjoyed the road trip a lot, but was glad to get back home.