Tales from the Molasses Swamp

Leslie from Happily at Home
graciously let me post this image.
Check out her archived sale here
for more images of this game.   

A repost from 2012:

Did you play Candyland as a child?  

My first memory of this game was playing it at a cousin's house back in the 60's.   It might have been a version very like this one, made in 1962.  I'm not sure what brought that memory to mind, but I was driving around town and could picture myself sitting in my aunt's living room on the floor of the shag carpet playing the game with my cousin.  

I was thinking how life is a lot like Candyland.  You can be hopping right along through the Gumdrop Mountain Pass and BAM  a few turns later you find yourself stuck in the Molasses Swamp, hanging out until you draw a blue card.   Sometimes all you can do is wait for that darn card!  In real life, I've been waiting for a few blue cards.  Nothing catastrophic, but stuff that slows me down none the less.  

Sometimes when we're waiting in the Molasses Swamp, we can choose to do something other than focus on the fact that we're stuck.  That's what the creator of  Candyland did. The Hasbro site states:  
Once upon a time, in San Diego California, a woman named Eleanor Abbot created a game. Ms. Abbot, a recovering Polio patient, decided to create an activity that would entertain children affected with the disease. So she submitted her board game to MILTON BRADLEY, who enthusiastically accepted it for production.
And generations of kids have played this game, all from the mind of a woman who used her Molasses Swamp time effectively.  Soooooooooo....I guess it's time to follow Ms. Abbot's lead....

I wish you all BLUE CARDS.  ;-)  
But in the meantime, use your swamp time well.


Small Changes Can Encourage and Inspire

Last week we rented dumpster to get rid of all of the broken and worn out stuff in our house. We hadn't done a full scale clean out in the fifteen years we have lived here. As is often the case, we still had boxes unopened from when we moved. Those were interesting little time capsules. We emptied the storage shelving in the basement laundry room. We emptied the garage. And now I am looking to smaller spaces. Like my sewing room. 

Thirty years ago my husband and I banged together these particle board shelving units for necessary storage. We were poor and they were cheap. They were a kit you could get from JC Penney. Long before IKEA, long before the internet, there was the Sears catalog and the JC Penney catalog. Oh the books and the projects they have held in those thirty years. 

As I am trying to reduce all my possessions by 50%, I am also looking at how can I make this space work better for me. Before, the space where the dolls are in the middle unit, second shelf was a basket of patterns I had purchased over the years. I decided to move patterns to the bottom and make that 2nd shelf a showcase and reminder of my present project, which is making Izannah Walker inspired dolls from a mold taken of my antique Izannah Walker doll Hope. Now when I walk in that is what I see, front and center. Small changes can encourage and inspire. 

P. S. Keep an eye on my FB Business page as I will be offering for sale some good and interesting craft supplies. Because I am going to reduce all the books by 50% and all the supplies. I sent all the wood carving tools to a friend  who may actually use them. I am going to stick to making cloth and paperclay dolls, and 2D paintings. Maybe I will do some miniature quilts to go along with the dolls. 

"But I Can Make Something with That!"

There is an old saying that Mainers are known for living out:  "Use it upwear it out, make it do, or do without." Many beautiful things have been made with the make-do approach. We think of quilts, hooked rugs, tramp art, many make-do dolls. But it only makes sense to save bits and bobs if you are truly going to use them. Otherwise, it just clogs up the works. 

We are doing a huge clean out at our house. The Izannahs were a little concerned! We are pretending we are moving (but we are not). It's just time to shift some things out. Anyway, cleaning out my creativity zones mercilessly is opening space for future works. I cleaned off the painting zone and now am moving to the sewing area. While cleaning out, I am asking myself questions:

What do I want to do?

Answer: Doll making and fiber arts, maybe quilting, maybe shibori.
More questions, as I sort through supplies:
Do I enjoy doing this?
Do I have space for this?
Is this a past craft I tried but will not to continue?
How old is this paint? 😂 Is it dried up?
(Goodbye 2006 prim staining solution)
Is this a path I want to continue or did I learn what I needed to from it?
Since my time and space are pretty constrained, there are certain things I will choose to not pursue. Molds I made from antique china dolls are out. It feels good to accept that I have a certain amount of space and a certain amount of time and to identify which pathways will best use that time and space.
The Izannahs make the cut, of course.

Happy Birthday, Izannah Walker!

To celebrate Izannah Walker's birthday I have listed my Izannah Walker Workshop e-book pattern at 50% off on Etsy today. So if you or someone you know has wanted to buy this pattern, today is the day! You can click through and read more about the pattern here on Etsy 

Dixie Redmond's Izannah Walker Workshop Pattern

I've been working on an extended project over many months which is my homage to Izannah Walker's creations. I have been and will be sharing about that project at my business page on Facebook. You can visit at this link:  Dixie Redmond - Northdixie Designs Facebook business page

The Heart Is a Container : Reading Dana K. White

This year (understatement) has been a doozy. The pandemic hit  and we ALL are feeling the effects on some level. It turned the world upside down in a way that hearkened back to when school ended for my oldest son, who is autistic. He was just getting to the point where he was more involved in the community. And then my dad passed away in July.  And then there's all the other chaos in the world. Before all this I had gotten back to creating in my sewing room. I had my antique Izannah Walker doll 3D scanned and printed and am making reproduction works from that. But I haven't been back in there since my dad passed away, other than to put something in there. My dad would say, "Come on, get going!" 

So decluttering is my first creative step. I need room to work and create again. I'm reading Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White. This is an easy read and is very helpful! Here is her blog: A Slob Comes Clean. She's a kindred spirit, too, because she also could see the possibilities in everything. If you're an artist of any sort, you have to see the possibilities. But sometimes it means you collect too much stuff and it clogs the creative arteries. There is definitely a balance - enough stuff to create with but not so much that you trip over stuff!

The stuff I'm getting rid of is "something I tried and decided not to do" rather than failure. As I'm looking at things, I'm asking myself, "Have I just been moving this around? Would the space it creates by getting rid of this make it easier to live and create?"  

Dana White writes about letting your "container" be the limit for what you keep. You can only keep what reasonably fits into the container.  My time is a container. I have to make some better choices in what actually fits in it. My heart is a container, too. I can choose to let some things go. 

Hope Revealed: An Izannah Walker Homage Doll

For some time I’ve been working on making an homage reproduction doll based on my Izannah Walker doll Hope. I had imagined that I would do the project quietly behind the scenes and have a big reveal. But that’s not how I work! I’m a sharer!

In 2019, I brought my doll Hope to an artist who does 3-D scans and printing. I will be doing an entire post about that in the future. All the while that I have owned my Izannah Walker doll Hope, I've wondered what she might look like when she was a new doll. I also wondered what she might look like with a different hairstyle. So I decided to make an homage doll based on Hope. In the process, I've been drafting pattern pieces that are specific to Hope's shapes and an exact representation of her body size. So this is an all new pattern in the works based specifically on Hope. 

If you’re interested in the journey, you can follow along on my Facebook business page And Instagram where I will be posting videos. Here’s the link to my Facebook business page.


The Questions You Can't Get Answered:
Hospitals and Autism and Coronavirus

A Facebook friend posted a question in a group which a local friend and I had been asking as well. What happens if our adult child with autism/developmental disability/intellectual disability becomes ill enough to need to go to the hospital? This is something all parents fear, I am sure. But when you have a grown child who has a communication disorder, it brings up a LOT of worries.

The state government agency says hospital policy will make the call.

My local friend called the local hospital and present policy is to allow ONE parent in for a child.

Illness, new locations, new faces can cause shutdown or bring challenging behaviors (which spring from anxiety) but nonetheless need skilled management. Nurses and ER Docs don't reliably have those skills. These professionals are working on solutions for mainstream America - for horses, so to speak, and we have zebra situations with additional wrinkles because of communication challenges, etc.

So I don't have *answers*. But as others write and share good information, I will add links to their posts here, and share on FB and other social media sites. We are all in this together.

"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden


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