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Pipe Dolls by Cindy - Gay Pride Doll finished!

I am still thinking of adding a few more touches to her so she may not be exactly "finished" yet but I just wanted to share her with you ASAP! Better pics coming soon - I promise. In the meantime, I do hope you like her and invite your comments below. Thanks!

(Anyone interested in purchasing this doll or commissioning their own, please email me at alotbcindy@gmail.com)



Pipe Dolls by Cindy - Gay Pride Doll in progress...

Just a couple in-progress shots of the Gay Pride Pipe Doll - she'll be finished soon! :)
Body sections sewn together
Hand-sewing weighted bottom to doll body


Morning Coffee Quotes

Photo by Cindy Caraway
“He who imagines he can do without the world deceives himself much; but he who fancies the world cannot do without him is still more mistaken.”
— Francois de la Rochefoucauld

“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”
— Charles Dickens

“If you don't want to do something, one excuse is as good as another.”
— Yiddish Proverb

“Have no fear of perfection. You'll never reach it.”
— Salvador Dali

“Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. It is the belief that God will do what is right.”
— Max Lucado

“Some people see things that are and ask, Why?
Some people dream of things that never were and ask, Why not?
Some people have to go to work and don't have time for all that.”
― George Carlin

“Anger is one letter short of danger.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt

“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.”
— C.S. Lewis

“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our Thanksgiving.”
— W.T. Purkiser

“The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when someone asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.”
— Henry David Thoreau

“When you're good at making excuses, it's hard to excel at anything else.”
— John L. Mason

“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”
— Saint Thomas Aquinas

“There are exactly as many special occasions in life as we choose to celebrate.”
— Robert Brault

“In every success story, you will find someone who has made a courageous decision.”
— Peter F. Drucker

“It’s better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.”
— James Thurber


Pic of the Day - Morning Grapefruit

Morning Grapefruit - photo by Cindy Caraway


Pipe Dolls and Activism - Gay Pride Doll

Upset at the election results (you probably don't have to guess for whom I voted!), I have decided to make some dolls and donate the proceeds to causes in which I believe. The first doll of these activism dolls will be one promoting LGBTQ rights. I am just in the beginning stages of this one but wanted to share a few in-progress photos with you. More to come soon! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Woo hoo! More pipes on the way!

Scored some auctions yesterday for more pipes! Never thought I'd be excited about getting tobacco pipes in the mail... Looking forward to making some beautiful dolls from these old crusty things!


Pipe Dolls by Cindy - New Doll

So, here is my newest doll! Made using the Meerschaum pipe I shared in a previous post, she stands just shy of 10 1/2" tall. Anyone interested in purchasing her or commissioning another, please contact me at alotbcindy@gmail.com. Enjoy!



Memories from Disney World and Florida

Waiting in line for the 7 Dwarves Mine Train at Magic Kingdom
About this time last year my husband and I were getting ready to go to Disney World. We had a wonderful trip and spent the last day on the Atlantic shore. I picked up a bunch of shells on the beach with the intent to make a mobile from them. Before I show you the mobile, here are some of my favorite shots from our trip taken in December 2015 -
Cindy on the best ride EVER! (Toy Story Mania at Disney's Hollywood Studios)
Christmas Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios
LOTS of Christmas Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios!
The sphere at EPCOT at night
The Land Pavilion - EPCOT
The Christmas concert at EPCOT with Whoopie Goldberg!
Africa - Disney's Animal Kingdom
Africa - Disney's Animal Kingdom
Africa - Disney's Animal Kingdom
Toes in the surf!
Footprints in the sand
The dock at our cabin rental on the Sebastian Inlet
Sunrise on our final morning
So, after all that (I do hope you liked some of the photos!), here is the mobile I made using stones and shells picked up on the beach and a fabulous piece of driftwood from the shores of the Mississippi River!

I just have to figure out where to hang it!


Smoking Pipe Dolls

My friend Mary and I often go to Mineral Point, WI for a day of shopping, browsing and eating. In one our favorite antique shops was a small basket filled with old smoking pipes. This was during a time when I was trying to figure out what my next "thing" would be and, though I hadn't quite committed, I was leaning heavily toward making art dolls (which is a bit odd since I never really played with dolls as a child). The only way to describe what I had then was "a vision"! I saw myself making dolls using these pipes!

I bought 12 pipes that day - some just the bowls and others full pipes. Here's a small selection of what I have:

They do require some cleaning! There's an old trick of filling the bowl with sea salt and then wetting the salt with alcohol. I believe vodka or Everclear works best but since we are fresh out of vodka, I simply use rubbing alcohol. It pulls some of the tar out of the wood (don't use this method on meerschaum pipes - it will make the bowl crack. Been there... done that...). The smoky smell never quite leaves the pipe but I think that's OK. Sometimes the pipe is full of creosote, which forms a thick hard layer inside the bowl. That's when I need to get out my Dremel and grind it out. It's SOOOO messy and requires wearing a face mask - yuck.

Now, I know some people will say, "Oh, you shouldn't do that to old pipes! They might be valuable!" Not the pipes I'm using. Most are cracked or so caked with creosote, they are simply unsmokable. I love vintage as much as the next person (probably more!) but these are not collectible pipes.

So, anyway, back to my doll idea...
With a group exhibition looming and no new work to speak of, it was time to actually try making one of these dolls and, Voila! here are some photos of the first pipe doll I made. She is not free-standing but can be leaned against something or, with the aid of a small loop on the back, hung for display. She was finished in time to be part of the art show and the first item to sell! A woman who collects folk dolls bought her to add to her growing collection. The quick sale was a pleasant surprise but not completely unexpected - she is lovely...

After the opening, I received a call from the gallery manager saying she had requests for more pipe dolls. I guess I'm on to something here! A second doll had already been started. This time I wanted the doll to be free standing so I decided on a stump doll. Wrapped in some of my weaving and trimmed with rabbit fur salvaged from a scarf, she looks quite regal to me.

I already have the bowl picked out for the third doll - this meerschaum pipe. Notice the cracks? This bowl was already in bad shape when it came to me but it cracked completely in two when I tried the alcohol method on it. It's fixed and ready to go! Maybe something in a palette of winter white? Please feel free to comment - I would love to hear your opinion! Thanks!


Morning Coffee Quotes

Laughing Buddha - photo by Cindy Caraway

It does no harm just once in a while to acknowledge that the whole country isn't in flames, that there are people in the country besides politicians, entertainers, and criminals.”
— Charles Kuralt

Hope is tomorrow's veneer over today's disappointment.”
— Evan Esar

If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”
— Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.”
— Victor Hugo

A generation which ignores history has no past and no future.”
— Robert Heinlein

A fishing rod is a stick with a hook at one end and a fool at the other.”
— Samuel Johnson

Abundance of knowledge does not teach men to be wise.”
— Heraclitus

One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say.”
— Will Durant

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.”
— Thomas Jefferson

Good manners are just a way of showing other people that, although we have a right to be offensive and disrespectful, we choose to be polite and respectful of our fellow man.”
— Coe D. Behr

Let not thy will roar, when thy power can but whisper.”
— Thomas Fuller

We never lose our demons. We only learn to live above them.”
— The Ancient One, Marvel’s ‘Doctor Strange’

I've done the calculation and your chances of winning the lottery are identical whether you play or not.”
— Fran Lebowitz

The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”
— M. Scott Peck


For my birthday

It has been a long week for me and many who, like me, are in disbelief that our country could elect such a hateful and irresponsible man to the highest level of government. My incredibly loving husband has supported me in every moment of this time of sincere grief and fear for our collective future.

Yesterday, for my birthday, he brought me this beautiful bouquet of flowers. Beauty in a time of darkness. Thank you 💖



...because I just can't face this new world today. Maybe tomorrow.



Yet another attempt was made this morning to get some stuff organized around here! So, I started with the books and magazines! Here's the pile that's getting donated... I'm gonna need someone to do the heavy lifting!!

And here's a few to sell on Etsy!

If you see any titles there you like, let me know or check my Etsy shop - ArtfulLivingOTB - over the next week. Cheers!