Hi there, everyone! I hope you're hanging in there during the Pandemic. We had a wake-up call a couple weeks ago when my brother-in-law (who works in sports) had contact with the first NBA player to test positive so he and my niece and nephews were told to self-isolate and the same day we heard our neighbors and friends had been exposed and were symptomatic awaiting testing. We hadn't been near any of these people recently but it really hit home that the reason we weren't hearing about cases in our area was a lack of testing, not a lack of the virus. Since our diabetic son is in the high risk category we locked down earlier than everyone else. It's a weird combination of extreme fear and boredom but thankfully nowadays we have technology to help us cope. We are learning about video-conferencing as our kids' lessons went online this week and this afternoon my son and nephew were face-timing using some filter that gave them giant Ron Swanson mustaches. I decided my readers might like a project to keep their minds off things, so I wrote this tutorial to show you how to make your own custom doll by re-painting an existing doll.
I'm using a Blythe doll such as those shown above as the base. I bought some Basaak and Tomy Blythes to customize but you can also buy just the blank face shell from online to paint. This method will work for pretty much any plastic or vinyl doll. You start by removing any existing paint and, in the case of Blythe, the shiny surface.
Because Blythe faces have a shiny surface they won't take paint well. I use a three or four-sided nail buffer to sand off the shine. Then because I was re-sculpting this doll as well as re-painting I used rough sandpaper to sand off the lip paint. As I did so I re-shaped the lips some. Start the sanding process with the roughest surface and repeat using progressively finer sandpaper or nail buffers until you get to the smoothest one. If you don't need to sand the paint off, like if you're doing a Barbie face, you can remove the paint using Goof Off (not Goo Gone) or paint thinner. Make sure to wash the face with soap and water afterwards to remove all the paint thinner.
My Blythe still had a tiny bit of shine and dust from sanding which I removed with alcohol. Since alcohol is in such short supply right now you can just use plain water or white vinegar.
When I was finished removing as much shine and paint as possible I continued sculpting the face some more. Blythe has a hard plastic face but it's still soft enough I was able to mainly use a straight pin with the sandpaper and buffer to reshape the eyes, nose, and mouth. After sculpting I cleaned off the dust again with a damp cloth.
I use a combination of pigments on my custom dolls. I started with water-soluble oils and acrylics to countour the face. Then I moved on to pastels. I crush the pastels into powder and then apply them with dry or wet brushes, depending on how sharp an edge I want. You can use human eyeshadow and blush and any powdered makeup this way as well.
I just layer paint and powdered pigments, building up until I get the look I want. I let the layers dry in between and sometimes I also spray Mr. Super Clear matte spray in between the layers. Using varnish in between the layers allows light to shine through the pigments, making the paint more lifelike.
When I was happy with the finished face I applied Mr. Super Clear UV Cut Flat spray to the face. When that dried I applied gloss varnish to the lips because I wanted them to be shiny.
I "tried out" wigs and hairstyles with the paint by just setting the eyes in the face and putting the pieces together like a puzzle. Then I just set the wig in place to see how I liked it. I ended up using a different wig in the end but this one was my second favorite. When your doll face is all finished and dry you can replace it on the body (if you removed it). I was already converting the Blythe eyes to sleep so I had the head off for that reason. It's just easier to keep the sanding dust out of the eyes and stuff if you remove the head. But a doll such as Barbie wouldn't have these issues. You can look back over my blog posts to see more tutorials on replacing doll eyelashes and eyes and other projects. I have a large number of nude dolls of all types available in my shops (link from the Home page), perfect to customize, as well as doll making supplies. It's a fun project while you're stuck at home and you can get an early start on your holiday gifts!
I don't have any Blythe dolls left in stock as mine are sold out so I hope to finish some more, as well as some Pullip dolls while on the break. I am having the opposite problem of so many people, as I am used to working from home alone and now the entire family is here. I'm working most often with one of the kids sitting next to me endlessly talking or asking for homework help and it's distracting! Dolls are fun to work on for me and it keeps me from worrying every time I sneeze or cough (it's allergy season here). I hope you're able to stay positive and busy as well.
Today I'm going to show you one of my least-favorite repairs in the hopes you will be able to fix your dolls yourself and not send them to me for this problem! While some cloth-body dolls have limbs that attach to the body using a channel and drawstring, most have vinyl limbs sewn to the body. Because play dolls tend to be carried by one arm or leg that particular limb will often tear away from the body. Today we have a doll named Ayla whose shoulder was almost completely torn away. In cases like these you should first determine whether you need to replace the entire body or if the one limb can be re-attached. Since Ayla is a play doll with a young mother and her body is made of logo-print cloth I decided to just re-attach the torn arm. The factory stitching is done with industrial machines and it is strong, whereas the re-attachment is hand-sewn. It is strong but for play I trust the factory stitching more. I also don't like to replace a logo body with a plain one. And, since right now I charge $50 plus return shipping for a total body replacement it is cheaper to just repair the problem area.
As I mentioned in my last post, you could just buy another doll of the same size and race from a thrift store or online and move the head to that body. In this case the owner might be too young to understand why the body looks different and this particular doll is an unusual size. So I repaired the limb. Start by finding material of the best possible match to your doll body. I found wide bias tape in an oyster shade was just the right color and size. I cleaned up the torn area, removing hanging threads. Then I poked a needle felting needle into all the holes I planned to sew to open them up a little more. You will need to use heavy-duty thread. I used hand quilting thread for this repair as it is very strong. If you're using bias tape, which I recommend as it's usually the easiest, line up the edge with the edge of the arm. Stitch through the vinyl using a whipstitch to attach it to the tape. You will need a metal thimble to help push the needle through the tiny holes.
A curved upholstery needle works best for this repair but all mine are lost right now so I'm just using a heavy-duty straight needle. If you get to a hole that's still too tight you can poke your needle felting tool into it again to widen it as shown below. The reason I hate this repair so much is I always manage to stab myself. Even with the thimble I stabbed my thumb today and had to wait for the bleeding to stop and I also stabbed myself in the stomach when my hand slipped. That's my own fault for sitting on the couch to do this instead of at a table. You have to push so hard on the needle at times that it will suddenly pop out and poke you unexpectedly.
Once you've attached the limb, open the bias tape and sew the folded edge to the doll's body, easing around any curves. I stitched over this two times to make sure it's sturdy enough for play, almost making a satin stitch.
Although this is a visible repair it's not terribly noticeable since the color is such a good match. The other shoulder doesn't have any logo print so that helps the new one blend in.
Ayla, as you can see, enjoys a full life. She had glitter on her head, highlighter-painted finger and toenails, makeup on her body, chocolate stuck in her mouth where her mother has been feeding her, and general dirt all over. I spot cleaned her cloth body (you could also remove the head and stuffing and run the body through the washing machine) and scrubbed her vinyl with Thieves Foaming Hand Soap (purchase from my Young Living link on the Home page) and a toothbrush.
Ayla is taking a nap while she dries after her bath. As soon as she's dry she will be ready to head home. I know her mother will be happy to see her! Of course you may send me any kind of doll repair, but now you know how to do this one yourself! You can use the Repair Form below to get an estimate for your doll repair and find out how to send your doll to my hospital.
Well, here we are again. My husband used someone else's office while on a business trip to Raleigh. A few days later he was sick and he found out the guy whose office he used was also out sick. Our youngest caught it and has been home from school again. And now today I am sneezing and coughing and achy and my eyes are running, so I'm pretty sure that despite all the Zicam and cod liver oil and all my other immunity supplements I am catching it. I've been cleaning the house daily too. The trouble is the weather, I think. Last week we had a little snow. Then three days later the temperature was 71 degrees. It's been raining like crazy and we've killed several mosquitoes in the house. Germs thrive just as well as mosquitoes in this kind of weather. We really just need a long period of below-freezing temperatures to kill everything off and we aren't getting it. So, chicken soup to the rescue. This is my Chicken and "Dumpling" keto soup recipe with a carnivore option for those who are continuing World Carnivore Month.
Chicken and "Dumpling" Soup
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
64 ounces chicken bone broth
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 quart water
3 tsp salt
2 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese, diced
Mix chicken broth and water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add onion and garlic and spices and cook until the onion is transparent and soft, about 15 minutes. Lower heat to medium-low. Add the chicken and sour cream and stir until the mixture is smooth, thick, and bubbly. Taste the soup and add any additional seasoning you desire. If you want a thinner soup you can add more water at this time. Add the cubes of cream cheese. Cook on low until the cream cheese is warm but not melted. These are the "dumplings". Serve, making sure each person has a mix of chicken and dumplings.
If you want a carnivore option of course you can leave out the onion and garlic and even the spices if you're a purist. In the case of trying to boost immunity I think it's a good idea to leave these in, as all have medicinal properties. This is just the ultimate comfort food, exactly what I want when I'm sick, and easy enough to make even for someone who isn't feeling well. I almost always have cooked chicken in the freezer to use for quick suppers and I usually have homemade bone broth as well as canned bone broth. Today I used a mixture of homemade and store-bought. Here's to chicken soup, and here's hoping we will soon all be well.
Pretty often my doll hospital patients are sent to me so I can repair just one of multiple issues. In the case of the doll above, I replaced the eyes but did not address anything else beyond cleaning the doll. This doll was found in the street by her new owner. Her eyes were broken and she had road rash. I replaced the doll's eyes and cleaned her. When I took the head off to repair the eyes I removed the stuffing and ran the body through the clothes washer. I cleaned the head and body vinyl with my go-to Young Living Thieves Foaming Hand Soap and a Mr. Clean Eraser. However, while these methods helped, they didn't remove all the tar from the road or scrapes and scars on the vinyl. These things could be repaired, of course. I could sew a new body for the doll. I could fill in the scrapes in the vinyl and sand and re-paint the face and limbs. At that point, however, my customer would be around $100 into the doll in repair costs, far more than the doll is worth. She isn't a sentimental doll really; she didn't belong to the owner or her children. So, what do you do when you have a doll you want to repair without spending a lot of money? Here are some tips.
First of all, think of how you could dress your doll. It may seem obvious but you can camouflage a multitude of damages with clothing, and many people don't think of that. If your doll has a stained body consider pants, long dresses, and tights. Damage to the arms can be hidden under long sleeves. Scraped or scuffed hair paint or a damaged wig disappear under a hat or large hair bow. In this case I used a long sleeved, full-length dress with a wide lace collar to hide the marks on the body and limbs. I made a large tulle headband like a turban to hide the damage to the head. When you see the doll now she looks sweet and well-loved and you don't notice the marks. In the end, this doll's owner decided to go with a different outfit, so this outfit is for sale in my shops. It will fit 12-14 inch baby dolls, such as Bitty Baby.
Maybe you really want a new-looking doll and clothing doesn't hide enough of the damage. Especially if your doll is a beloved toy and still in use, you might need a sturdier body for safety's sake. In that case, consider buying a parts doll. Modern play dolls aren't that expensive for the most part. If your doll has damaged eyes it's often cheaper to buy the same doll, maybe with a damaged body but intact head, and move the new head onto your doll than it is to pay someone to replace the eyes. Likewise, if your doll needs a new body it's often less expensive to find the same doll on eBay or elsewhere online and move the head to a better body. You can often even find your same doll in new condition for less than the sum of several repairs. That's not usually an option for my clients, since the dolls I get are generally very high in sentimental value, but most people don't object to replacing certain parts of their doll. In the case of a baby doll like this moving the head to a new body or replacing the head is a matter of cutting the zip tie in the neck, placing the head in the hole, and threading a new zip tie or drawstring into the casing. It's something almost anyone can manage. You can often find baby dolls like this one for just a few dollars at thrift stores. If you find a doll of the same size and race you can use the body even if it's not the exact same doll.
Of course I am always happy to have a new patient in my hospital, but I wanted you to know you have options beyond paying for lots of repairs. I hope you find these tips useful! I'm having a rough week and I always feel better if I try to help someone else. Focusing on the needs of others truly does distract me from my own problems!
I stopped the Carnivore Challenge this week due to an alarming amount of hair loss. To be clear, the Carnivore Challenge is not the same thing as World Carnivore Month; it's my weight loss coach's, Dr. Wade's, combination of fasting and carnivore. My immune system seems really weak and my fingernails are breaking off really low, so if you've followed me for a long time you know the likely culprit: my recurrent vitamin D deficiency. I stopped taking my D3 supplement because it tears up my stomach even when I take it with food and during fasting I can't tolerate it at all. I've kept up my cod liver oil supplement on non-fasting days but it seems like it wasn't enough. Dr. Wade says the hair loss is a reaction to the large change in my eating habits and temporary, so hopefully in a few months I'll see it thickening back up. I'm pushing more fish into my diet, however, to try to boost my vitamin D levels in a natural way. Many Scandinavians lack the gene to make vitamin D from sunlight and given my history it appears I am one of them. The theory is the lack of sunlight in Scandinavia and reliance on fish in the diet prevented the development of that gene. So you'll be seeing more seafood recipes from me in the future!
Here in town we have a great Asian restaurant called the Rice Bowl. My favorite thing on the menu is an appetizer called "Kane Cream Cheese" (my daughter tells me kane means crab in Japanese). They take imitation crab sticks (surimi) and stuff them with cream cheese. Then they dip them in tempura batter and deep fry them. They are topped with spicy mayo and sliced like a sushi roll to eat easily with chopsticks. Obviously, these are delicious and lower carb than much Asian fare but certainly not keto or carnivore. My version is a "dirty" carnivore option because the surimi does contain a tiny bit of sugar. If you want a totally clean option you can substitute real crab meat.
Kane Cream Cheese
48 ounces flake style surimi, drained
1 TBSP bacon grease
2-8 ounce packets cream cheese, diced into bite sized pieces
1 stick salted butter, melted
6 ounces (about 2 cups) Pork Panko or plain pork rind crumbs
1 recipe Spicy Mayo, see below
1/4 cup chipotle lime mayonnaise (we prefer Better Body Foods)
2 TBSP plain mayonnaise
2 TBSP sugar-free ketchup
1 tsp Lakanto caramel-flavored monkfruit syrup
Create the Spicy Mayo by whisking all the ingredients together until smooth. Set aside. Create the panko topping by stirring together the pork rind crumbs and melted butter until they form a paste. Set aside. Melt the bacon grease in a skillet. Add the surimi and fry on medium-high, stirring occasionally, until warmed through and beginning to brown. Add HALF the pork panko mixture to the surimi, stirring to coat. Lower heat and dot the cream cheese over the surimi. Push the cream cheese bits into the surimi just a bit. Don't allow them to break apart. Heat without stirring until the cream cheese just begins to melt. Turn off the heat. Spread the remaining pork panko evenly over the surimi. Drizzle with the spicy mayo. Serve warm (although it's also delicious cold if you have leftovers).
This recipe really hit the spot for me! My daughter, a crab and surimi freak, also loves it. I don't know about everyone else, but I consider this a win. It's sweet and salty and a little bit spicy with a crunch reminiscent of tempura-fried sushi. Dr. Wade says no amount of supplementation can stop the hair loss from body shock. However, after 20 years of dealing with this deficiency I know as soon as I see possible signs of low D I need to act fast to avoid going on the prescription version. It took two years of weekly supplementation with 50,000 to 100,000 IU of prescription vitamin D3 just to get me to the minimum acceptable blood levels. Because vitamin D is fat soluble I should be seeing it released into my bloodstream as my fat cells empty out (before this debacle I lost 12 pounds in 2 weeks on the Carnivore Challenge) and I don't want to be taking so much more as that happens. I do need to keep it from getting too low though, because I will get to the point I can't function. It's a delicate balance, and a pernicious problem, but I guess we all have our crosses to bear and I'm thankful mine isn't worse. I might also just be worn out. Sometimes running my business and parenting when my husband is away just takes all the stuffing out of me, and last week I was sick to boot. Today everyone let me sleep in without interruption and I slept past 11 am! It felt great to be able to recharge, although now I'm kind of panicking because so much of the day has passed and I have so much to do! I'm still adding the 15 listings a day to my Poshmark boutique and I hope you'll check out all the new stuff (link to Poshmark from the Home page).
As always, some of the links in this post are affiliate links. There is no cost to you but I may get a small payment if you click on them. This helps keep my content free for you and helps me avoid cluttering up my site with pop-up ads.
Well, World Carnivore Month is a little more than halfway through; there are just 12 more days. So far I've lost 12 pounds and I started week late! I also drank some wine this weekend and immediately noticed how much worse I felt. It gave me mouth sores. So, I will be evaluating whether to adhere to this diet into the future. Food allergies that develop and worsen in adulthood run in my family and it's looking like wine is becoming a problem for me, as heartbreaking as that is! I have personally felt a lot better than usual sticking to the carnivore diet for the past couple weeks. Tonight's recipe was created as an appeasement to my children and husband who have been lamenting the lack of pizza in our diet. Usually we use low carb tortillas or fathead dough for pizza crust but the low carb tortillas contain wheat, which gives me mouth sores as well as makes me break out in hives, and they spike our diabetic son's sugar. The fathead dough uses almond flour so it's not allowed on carnivore. I made it once with pork rind flour and it tasted good but fell apart so it was very hard to eat. I heard about sausage crust pizza and found it's not only delicious and fits my diet but it's almost as easy as using the store bought tortillas!
Cheesesteak Pizza With Sausage Crust
2 pounds Sausage
1/2 Recipe Alfredo Sauce from my last post
1/2 pounds frozen pepper and onion stirfry blend (omit for carnivore diet), thawed and drained
1 TBSP bacon grease
1/4 pound thinly sliced roast beef such as lunchmeat, cut into ribbons
2 cups shredded or thinly sliced cheese of your choice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Press the sausage in a thin, even layer into at least a 13 x 9 baking pan with sides. Do NOT use a pizza pan; the sausage produces a great deal of grease that could cause a fire if it runs into your oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, keeping the oven on, and set aside to cool. Once the crust has cooled pour off the grease and pat the crust dry with a paper towel. Make the Alfredo sauce according to the directions in my last post. Melt the bacon grease and stir fry the onions, peppers, and beef until the flavors mingle and the edges begin to crisp up. Top the sausage crust with the Alfredo sauce. Layer the beef and pepper and onions evenly over the crust. Top with the cheese of your choice. Traditionally, a Philly cheesesteak uses either Provolone or American cheese, or both. My husband doesn't like Provolone and I don't like American so we just use mozzarella. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden. Slice and serve.
This was really good and I think it will become part of our regular rotation. If you let the pizza cool for a while you can pick it up and eat it like regular pizza. I was worried the sausage flavor might overpower the pizza but it didn't. It was delicious and I didn't really even notice the sausage. You could substitute ground chicken or turkey if you wanted a milder flavor. Of course if you are strictly adhering to Carnivore Month you would leave out the onions and peppers. Since I'm the only one in the family doing it I just picked off mine and gave them to my husband. I can no longer tolerate peppers so this is what I usually do anyway if a recipe contains them. I used a stoneware pan that keeps most food from sticking but you could also line your pan with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Thank goodness it's a holiday weekend because the kids brought home some virus from school and everyone except my husband woke up sick this morning. We spent the day in front of the fire binge watching Parks and Rec, one of our favorite series. I have a ton of stuff to ship but it's going to wait until tomorrow when I hope I will feel better. If you follow my Instagram or Facebook pages you know besides the Carnivore challenge I am also participating in Poshmark's Love It Or List It Daily Challenge. Each day I list 15 new items. All these new listings are resulting in lots of sales! I hit the Goodwill bins as well as my other thrift stores and IKEA to stock up specifically for this month so I have all kinds of exciting new products, both new and restored. You can shop my Poshmark boutique as well as my other stores from the link on the Home page. I'm praying I get well before my husband leaves for his business trip and also that he doesn't catch this bug. He was just appointed to an important new job and he has much to do. I don't cook while he's away (if I'm able I usually try to fast the entire time) so there won't be new recipes until next weekend at the earliest. I hope you enjoy your holiday!
For the month of January my weight loss coach, Dr. Wade Baskin, challenged our group to participate in World Carnivore Month. Dr. Wade's challenge combines fasts of 48 hours to 5 days with the carnivore diet, but the original challenge, now in its third year, is just to follow a carnivore diet for one month. You can find out more about World Carnivore Month by visiting meatrx.com. If you've been reading my blog for a while you know every few years I have done a month of Dr. Atkins' allergy protocol to treat flare ups of my severe allergies. This is almost the same thing, only a little more strict. Eating a carnivore diet is a great way to eliminate foods to see if any of them are causing health problems you might not realize are diet-related. The purest form of the diet consists of meat only, maybe seasoned with salt, as our ancestors might have eaten. I am following the least strict form of the diet: allowing any animal-based food, including dairy. I also started 5 days late because of our schedule. Still, I am already starting to get some pushback from my youngest child. So this weekend I created some recipes to please all the family palates. I have been helped along immensely by my Christmas present, the Ninja Foodi. I have the original Foodi, which combines a pressure cooker, air fryer, steamer, and slow cooker. Last night I created a carnivore version of our family favorite schnitzel served with a low-carb version of beer cheese. Beer cheese can't be made carnivore or even keto because by definition it has to contain beer! If you want a pure carnivore meal then you will need to use a carnivore cheese sauce recipe or leave off the cheese sauce all together. This got rave reviews; my daughter says it's her favorite meal since we started keto two years ago!
Carnivore Air Fried Pork Schnitzel
6 boneless pork chops, 4 ounces each
1 cup pork panko
Garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and paprika to taste
1 egg, beaten
Beer Cheese, 1 recipe (below)
Mix the pork panko with the seasonings to taste. You can use salt only if you want to adhere to the strict carnivore diet. If you can't find pork panko you can make your own by grinding up plain pork rinds in a food processor until they are the texture of bread crumbs. Dip the pork chops in the the egg one at a time. Then dip each side in the panko mixture. Turn the Ninja air fryer function to the high setting of 390 degrees. Preheat for four minutes. Place the pork chops in the air fryer basket three at a time so they do not overlap. Fry for 8-10 minutes, turning over after 5 minutes. Keep the first batch of chops warm in the oven while you cook the second batch. Serve plain or topped with Beer Cheese.
Low Carb Beer Cheese
3 TBSP salted butter
3 TBSP coconut flour
1/4 tsp Xanthan Gum
1 can or bottle of beer (12 ounces)
1 TBSP heavy whipping cream
1 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Melt the butter in a two-quart saucepan. Mix in the flour and seasonings to form a thick paste. Add the beer and cream all at once, whisking until smooth. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, then turn heat to low. Whisk in xanthan gum until smooth and simmer, whisking constantly, until thickened and bubbly, about 10 minutes. Serve over schnitzel.
Carnivore White Lasagna
2 pounds nitrate-free, sugar-free pork sausage, cooked and drained (we prefer Neese's)
18 slices nitrate-free, sugar-free ham lunch meat
4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 recipe alfredo sauce (below)
1 recipe cheese filling (below)
3/4 cup salted butter
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)
Dash nutmeg (optional)
1-32 ounce container whole milk ricotta cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook and drain the sausage and set aside. Prepare the alfredo sauce by melting the butter. Mix in the cream and pepper and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened. Add the Parmesan cheese and parsley and nutmeg if desired and stir until cheese melts. Add the sausage and mix thoroughly. Set aside. Prepare the cheese filling by beating the eggs. Add all remaining ingredients and stir until well-mixed. Set aside. Grease a large 16 inch roaster pan. Spread 1/2 of the alfredo meat sauce mixture evenly in the bottom of the pan. Top with 9 ham slices as you would normally use lasagna noodles. Spread the cheese filling over the ham slices. Top with 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat the layers, ending with the mozzarella. Bake at 350 degrees until the mozzarella is golden and bubbly. Remove from the oven and let sit to cool for 5 minutes. Slice and serve.
We were too eager to eat and didn't allow the lasagna to cool before slicing it, which is why my slice looks so runny in the photo! If you are patient enough to allow it to cool a little it will hold its layers nicely. I think I might like this even better than regular lasagna, although that might be because I love Alfredo sauce so much I could eat it by the bowl with a spoon! It's important to make sure your sausage doesn't contain any grains as fillers. We prefer a local brand, Neese's. Most carnivore dieters would probably not use parsley but I consider it an herb, not a vegetable. It's wonderful to help digestion, especially when you're eating fat and protein heavy meals like this. Besides that, I have parsley growing all over my yard and I want to use it! If you wanted the essence of parsley and nutmeg without the actual herbs and spices you could consider using the Young Living Vitality oils for flavor. These essential oils are perfectly safe to eat. They are very concentrated, so Young Living recommends dipping a toothpick in the bottle and stirring that into the food so you don't get over-powering flavor. I love the idea of replacing my cumbersome cupboard of spice jars with the tiny Young Living bottles! They never get stale and they take up so much less space. You can purchase Young Living Vitality oils from the link on the Home page.
If you're trying to follow a Keto diet or participating in World Carnivore Month, I hope these recipes help you add some variety to your meals. I know it's a lot easier for me to stay on plan when I'm not having to listen to whining! In my case, whining tends to lead to wine-ing, definitely not allowed during carnivore! I'm a bit worried about avoiding wine when my husband is out of town later this month. When I have to single-parent I find it hard to fast and I crave wine before bed to help me relax and fall asleep. Knowing this would be a challenge, I chose Dr. Wade's easiest plan: just two 48 hour fasts a week with one carnivore meal in between and one carnivore meal each day on the weekends. Before the holidays I found myself falling into a pattern of what Dr. Wade calls, "yo-yo fasting", or stuffing myself with everything I could eat before embarking on long fasts. I'm trying to get back to the point I can fast without feeling the need to binge afterward. I only have about 20 more pounds to lose to meet my next goal and I lost 6 the first week of the carnivore challenge, so it's possible I could meet my goal by February if I stay on track!
Recently someone in my weight loss group asked why Americans celebrate everything with food, implying we are the only ones who do so. And then everyone jumped in and bashed American eating habits and the whole discussion devolved, in my opinion, into nonsense. As someone who started her career working in Italy and as a Norwegian-American, I disagree wholeheartedly with this idea. If anything I think other cultures celebrate with food even more than Americans. It's our day-to-day food use that's really different. The best expression of this I can recommend is the book French Women Don't Get Fat, but I have a few experiences to relate.
Our family's tradition, for as many generations as we remember, has been to eat rømmegrøt, or Norwegian cream porridge, for supper on Christmas Eve. We only ever eat this decadent dish on Christmas Eve. As you might imagine, sugar and flour were not common in Norway in the past, so this meal was used as a celebration. We savor it because we eat it so rarely. Even though I created a Keto version of the recipe to make it diabetic-safe, I still only make it on this one night of the year so it keeps its special status.
When I was 21 I spent the summer working as an intern in Italy. Two days a week I worked for an ad agency, where I actually worked on a campaign for Roberto Cavalli, the couture clothing designer. Three days a week I worked for a woman named Laura who owned her own design studio. Working with Laura was very intimate since I was her only employee. Laura was maybe four feet tall and always in a rush. We would go out for breakfast each morning. This was a shot of espresso. Laura would sprint to the counter, slap her hand down on it and yell "cafe!" and then she would down her shot and be on her way out the door, all in about 45 seconds. For lunch we would go to a panini shop for at least two hours, where we would eat our sandwiches and drink an entire bottle of Chianti with pretty much all of Firenze. Laura knew everyone, and I mean EVERYONE in Firenze (Florence). She knew all the shop owners, all the gallery owners and Uffizi tour guides. Even the African guys with the tissue packets they peddled clipped all over their clothes, she knew them. And they would all come sit with us at lunch and shoot the breeze. Laura would drink most of the wine herself. I would have been passed out on the floor if I drank that much compared to my height, but she would go back to the office and work until about eight every night. Lunch with Laura was a huge celebration, a party every single day, but neither of us and none of our friends were overweight.
The difference I saw in Italy was that no one snacked, ever. Meals lasted so long there wasn't time to snack and foods like pop and chips were so expensive no one could afford to eat them. No one ate breakfast. They would drink a coffee, usually just one. No one drank coffee all day or carried giant coffee cups around with them everywhere. No one watched television and snacked. Italian television was horrible back then and after supper, which was eaten around 10PM, everyone would get gelato and stroll along the Arno talking to their friend late into the night.
The difference in America, in my opinion, is that we don't celebrate with food. We eat all the time. We're always consuming trying to become healthy, rigorously drinking our kale smoothies, or we give up and eat fast food and junk food snacks all day and night. Food is anything but special here; it's anything but a celebration. It's either a duty or a guilty rebellion.
My challenge for myself this holiday season has been to celebrate with food and celebrate the food. I'm trying to savor the moment and enjoy myself. I'm eating only when I'm hungry. We went to our favorite restaurant and I enjoyed a low carb pizza and didn't feel one ounce of guilt. I'm not trying to lose weight during this season, just maintain. My weight has been up and down over a five pound range so I've been successful so far. We do stay low carb, if not keto, because of our diabetic son. I have a rash on my face from eating low carb wheat, so I may have to modify to strict keto for that reason, but I'm not giving up celebrating with food. In fact, I encourage you to START celebrating with food! Make eating an event, not a mundane constant, and really enjoy it. I think you might see some really positive changes. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
A couple weeks ago a client approached with me with a rush job: to repair an antique porcelain doll in time for Christmas so she could give it to her grandmother. The doll arrived in pieces, needing stringing, eyes, epoxy repairs, and replacement parts as well as clothes. I actually amazed myself by finishing the restoration in time! I don't usually repair porcelain dolls. The modern ones are mostly not valuable enough to be worth the time to repair and the antique ones are extremely scarce. These dolls were produced in Europe, mostly Germany and France, prior to World War I. During the war the factories were bombed and after the war ceramic doll production moved to Japan. The dolls themselves are fragile and didn't last long as children's toys, so nowadays these dolls are beyond rare!
This doll's head is marked S&H with a Star of David. The star was originally the hallmark of K&R but they merged with S&H and another company, H&H. These were all German companies. The doll's body is a mishmash. The torso is traditional composition. The forearms and knee and elbow joints are wood, the hands are composition, and the rest is a strange kind of composition made of pressed cardboard with a coating over it. When I took the doll out of its basket brown stuff like dirt poured out of the body and I could hear something rattling around inside. Further inspection showed this was due to a mud dauber wasp nest inside the body, so it actually was dirt coming out! I used my trusty hemostat to chip the nest apart so I could remove it through the leg hole.
I thought maybe the body was made of parts of different dolls. The head was repaired at some point in the past, very professionally, so I thought maybe the body was added then. However, a friend of mine told me the body looks like her doll's H&H body, so maybe it is original. Most of the time these dolls have kid leather bodies, so I don't know. The proportions are correct so maybe when the companies merged they used up their spare parts.
The head and body were filthy so I used my go-to Young Living foaming hand soap to clean them up. You can purchase this from the Young Living link on the Home page. This soap is a terrific cleaner to get rid of dirt and grime without removing paint. Luckily I had one pair of eyes in stock to fit this doll. I'll add some tutorials showing porcelain doll eye replacement soon.
One of the soles of the feet was missing. The legs are made of pressed cardboard so I used a piece of cardboard to replace the sole. I traced and cut it out and glued it on. Then I coated it with several coats of acrylic paint and gloss medium. I prefer to add a coating of oil paint over the acrylic but there wasn't time for oil paint to dry in this case. Always use a layer of acrylic on paper before using oil paint, otherwise the oil will eat through the paper and degrade it over time.
I also had to replace some fingers and one elbow joint. For these repairs I used hard plastic epoxy. To strengthen the fingers I inserted straight pins into the hand and used them as armatures. I wanted to use a wooden bead for the elbow joint but I didn't have one large enough and none were available locally. I ended up covering a too-small wooden bead with epoxy to size it up. This wasn't an ideal solution because the acrylic paint doesn't stick to epoxy well and scrapes off the joint as you move the arms, but it was the only way to finish in time for Christmas. The main lesson here is if it's at all possible you want to order your repairs as early as possible so I can do the job as thoroughly as I'd like. My solution was to dress the doll in long sleeves so the joint isn't visible.
One reason I thought the body might be a hodgepodge of parts is the variation of the wire hooks attached to the hands. The wire on the right actually went through the elbow and prevented it from bending so I ended up cutting it down to the same size as the other one.
For really large dolls like this, where I can't reach across to grab the elastic I use a wire as a come-along to pull the cord though. I just wrap the wire around the elastic and pull the wire through with the elastic attached.
Once the doll was strung I did some spot-painting to match the new parts to the old and cover the most egregious scratches. I would have like to do complete body re-paint with oil but there just wasn't time and the buyer didn't ask for that repair in her budget. The dress we chose covers most of the body anyway. Thankfully the doll had her original high-button shoes so that covered the rest of the legs. I didn't have shoes to fit her so it would have been a problem to find some in time otherwise.
The Christmas doll turned out beautifully, if I do say so! She's the perfect classic doll, always shown under Christmas trees in illustrations to this day, even though these dolls are largely non-existent now! When I was a little girl I was a huge fan of the book A is For Annabelle by Tasha Tudor. Annabelle is a doll much like this one and she has a wonderful wardrobe of clothes and accessories and a trunk to hold them all. I wanted one so badly but of course I never got one. My parents tried, but in the pre-Internet days just not possible to find. My grandmother had a photo of herself as a girl with a doll like this but it was long broken by the time I came along. I really felt betrayed she didn't preserve her doll for me! I can't even imagine how difficult it must have been to keep your kid's dolls intact if you were a parent back then. I got a porcelain doll for Christmas once when I was about 12, so not a little girl, and when I picked her up out of the box her legs banged together and one foot broke off! So my dad was having to glue it back on later on Christmas Day!
If you're lucky enough to come across a doll like this one she'll probably need some repairs after a century of play. Over the next few weeks I'll be posting some restoration tips, my holiday gift for you. You can also request an appointment for your doll to visit my doll hospital using the form below.
I hope you have a Merry Christmas and wonderful holiday season!
My name is Amanda, but my childhood nickname was "Mandaline". I am a mother of three turning my passion for creating into a full-time business.