Thursday, April 17, 2014

I have my very own stars now !

Current Notes: It took me so many tries to get these to look right, instead of a buncha light blobs !

Today started briskly at about ten minutes ‘til 7. We were treated to our own version of a Mississippi Squirrel Revival, right in our own bedroom ! Somehow, a little grey squirrel got in there and was going for the candy bowl when he overturned it, knocked it to the floor, and in the ensuring panic, scattered books, Wii games, and dirty socks trying to get away. Luckily, he headed for the bathroom, so we opened the window, gave him a two by four under it to climb up, and left him alone behind a closed door. He was too scared to move, so four hours later, Beloved Hubby very casually picked him up and took him outside. I was grateful and relieved – and glad he’d put on gloves first ! Also glad Ginger didn’t spot him, or the carnage would have been longer, messier, louder, and probably deadly.

Beloved also hung the stars for me this evening. Actually, it was just a tacky light display string from the thrift store (possibly from Big Lots or Family Dollar originally, from the looks of the packaging), but I liked it, and it came home with me for a mere two bucks. And then, like me, it sat around for a month. With all the housework underway, I decided to either use them and enjoy the tacky I paid for, or donate them back - either way, they had to be elsewhere by nightfall. I got the end two hung, and the second on the right, but couldn’t get the other two without moving the whole Arena, even with the stepladder. Beloved got the last two from the first rung of the ladder without moving anything. He’s amazing !

And I have stars I can say were hung just for me, that shine day or night. And that I choose to enjoy my tacky. While everything but the main Arena was pulled out and shuffled around, I swept underneath things that shamefully hadn’t been cleaned for a while, and rearranged some tools so I could get to the Arena. Sometimes my chair gets blocked by tool chests and boxes. It’s an easy excuse, but I gotta get with it. We also need to redo our living spaces. I’m hoping FIL reclaims their HUGE television from the living room. We go weeks without using it, and frankly, I prefer our smaller, thinner one. Beloved’s planning to eliminate the living room closet and kitchen pantry, and install built-in bookcases/ DVD shelves with a TV shelf that’d make much better use of the space.

But that’s in the future. For now, the stars knocked over some of the MH dolls on the bleachers, which is OK – I’ve been meaning to take them all down, do some quick dusting and adjusting, and maybe eliminate a few. I’m way past due for that.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sparklies from Dollar Tree !

Current Notes: Shiny stars !

Busy day today. Beloved Hubby had a short list of things he wanted from Dollar Tree, and so did MIL, so I got to take Dearest Son ! Kind of the same-old, same-old, but they had my popcorn chips back in stock, so I was happy. I also found a pack of plastic ‘jewels and gems’ with four silver stars in it – it took some digging – and snagged it, too. Not sure what I’m going to do with the stars, or the other 26 plastic shinies in the baggie, but they’re certainly fun to look at ! They also had many colors of faceted thumbnail-size ‘gemstones’ that were just beautiful. I’d have a bowlful if I wasn’t trying to be careful of my spending. I was already having to justify two bags of popcorn chips, ya know.

They also had some nice kid-size butterfly wings in stock and new fashion dolls on the pegs. Dolls are the usual strange blow-molds with stringy hair, but many of their dresses trod that difficult line between ‘nice’ and ‘super cheap’. For the most part, the fabric was intriguing, the sewing and trim choices could be improved a twitch. There were two or three I wouldn’t have minded having, but my basket was already getting full. And I kind of hesitate when the dress doesn’t fit the doll it’s intended for, and it’s obvious.

Before and after, it was laundry day, and I’d sort of skipped it last week, as FIL had a lot to do because of the old water heater’s flooding. So I had mega-piles of it today. Saving the last load for tomorrow – bathroom floor mats – so they can dry all day in the sun, over the fence.

And thanks to an e-mail ‘Sale !’ ad, I scored my choice of two free machine embroidery sets from Designs By SiCK, and took a bit of inventory. I hate buying the same thing twice when I don’t have to, and not all embroidery places can throw up a ‘you already have this one’ flag. So I always check, just in case. I knew I didn’t have ‘Spring Sewing Blocks’, as it was just released last week, but the ’53 Miniature Snowflakes’ set I wasn’t sure about. And the Snowflake Alphabet they sell is pretty, but the one I already had, I liked better. I used the points I earned from dozens of promotions back when I was on that site constantly, so the two I got didn’t cost any money and there’s still enough for a couple sale sets left. Yaay !

I may actually get back into machine embroidery soon. I want to use the million or so designs I have sitting on my hard drive, not to mention my lovely machine, Brody. I’ve been thinking about some of my behaviors over the years, and just recently began to understand why I’ve done some things pretty much the wrong way for decades. Sure, it’s easy to say ‘I don’t try as often as I should, because I’m afraid of failure’, it’s another to see how that’s been working in my life – short answer, it hasn’t – and challenge it. I also get very frustrated very fast, and while I don’t normally quit, I do tend to ‘put off’ trying again once the original project is complete. By then, there’s twelve more projects that intrigue me. And, of course, most of them need me to purchase just one little element…

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mmmmm...tasty !

Current Notes: Dibs on the blue wing ! 

Look, I’m a modern woman. I can adjust to all kinds of thinking that most emphatically aren't my own, but applying the word ‘vegan’ to stuff that has nothing to do with food is really annoying to me lately. First time I ran up against ‘vegan leather’, I had to laugh – it was an old coat that was cheap crappy vinyl when it was new ! Today, though, really took the gluten-free biscuit. Was touring some craft sites when I saw ‘Vegan Butterfly Art’. I actually had to blink my eyes a couple times and look again. The page still read ‘Vegan Butterfly Art’. Wow. Paper butterflies attached to more paper.

But I started thinking about it. How much meat is on a butterfly ? Have they ever been raised for meat, or all they all free-range ? Who among us hasn’t pushed away from a lovely midsummer butterfly buffet, patting our tummies and declaring that we usually just eat one, those big beautiful monarchs are just too much meat ! And the last time I had to leave my vegan-certified paper salad partially uneaten, I nearly cried.

Now I’m all hungry.

Believe this or not, last night I finally got off my lazy butt and made something. But even then, at the pinnacle of my creativity (at least for that night), I was indolent. Instead of walking all the way to the kitchen for some better cardboard and picking up some clean drawing paper from the Arena on the way back, I dug around what I could reach from my comfy chair. And traced Tia’s left foot on a square of paper that previously separated an unfortunately delicious piece of provolone cheese from its twin for breakfast that morning. I expanded the tracing with a seam allowance sketched out on a flattened pack of cigarettes. May not have been the best cardboard in the house, but for what Beloved Hubby pays for a pack, I’m sure it was the most expensive ! A shoe pattern – finally !

It was such a rare thing, it snowed this morning. Just a flurry that melted before it hit the ground, but snow in April ? Bizarre. I can only conclude that my sudden movement has shocked the planet and caused it. I’ll try to be more careful in the future, I promise.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Darn you, Thrift Store !!

Current Notes: All this and a bag of clothes for less than $22. ! 
I keep hitting sales like this, we'll need to finance a house expansion ! 

Got to hit the thrift just as the doors opened – in time to see someone sweep an armload of 25c porcelain dolls into her cart. At least now I know who buys all the dolls on Sunday tag days ! Glad I don’t like porcelains. And these had been around since I started going there - plenty of dust !

I admit, I couldn’t help looking for that bag of dolls I didn’t buy Thursday. Wasn’t behind the counter. Wasn’t with the dolls on display (very thin display this week, as most of the porcelains were in that one woman’s cart). Not with the bagged toys in the front bin. Not with the toys in the usual loose bin in the back. I’d resigned m’self to knowing someone else bought them, and I was OK with it – truly, did I really need to spend another $7. on dolls, and that mostly for their clothes ? – when I found the bag over in Stationery/ Crafts.

So, of course, I had to buy it. It was destiny ! Ok, ok, I just went ahead and bought it. What the heck. I also bought five pair of pants (three for Dearest Son, two for Beloved Hubby), and the whole adventure was $11.60. I knew I wasn’t gonna save any money on the dolls, as they’d just been put out for sale a few days ago, but I am kinda proud over the pants. Beloved loves his, it’s harder to get a reaction out of Dearest when it comes to clothes.

Debated over buying the unopened Dazzle gold/red cowboy outfit. Remember those ? Miniature Barbie dolls from Mattel. So tiny ! So 80s ! So…unopened…worth anything ? In the end, I decided that, if I wasn’t gonna play with it, it was kind of a waste of money to buy it in hopes of resale. Of course, I looked it up once I got home… and it’s selling for about what the thrift was asking. Take away eBay and PayPal’s cut, and I really would have lost money. So I’m glad I bought what I did.

I also found Disney Store Cinderella again, wearing the pink ‘made by mice and birds’ makeover dress – I was tempted, ‘cause I never had that dress either, but it was torn in three places and sewn back together in two, perhaps by the mice and birds again, so I’ll wait. Snow White seems to have found a home, and I can’t even remember what she was wearing.

After Dearest Son was absorbed in a movie and Beloved Hubby was napping, I tore into the bag. I scored three well-dressed dolls – Disney Store Pocahontas, as previously mentioned, in the Cinderella Work Dress, a Mal-Wart Rapunzel definitely wearing the second accessory pack Jasmine purple dress, and Mulan, still in her signature gown. I’m fairly certain that both Pocahontas and Mulan are late 2012 Diz Store dolls. It’s amazing how pale Mulan’s skintone is, especially next to Pocahontas and Jasmine. It looks even more translucent next to Rapunzel. I can see where the previous owner cut most of her stray lock of hair. Wish her expression was as lively as the animated version’s.

But before the afternoon had passed, I’d finished with all the new dolls’ hair and cleaning. So tempted to reroot the second Rapunzel with short brown hair. Slo Mo watched the parade of pretty girls swap clothing and was idly eyeing the red ‘slave girl Jasmine’ pants, so I hid them. Although, if I’d had the bra top to match… still, red’s not really his color, ya know. Now, the turquoise pair, or the Mulan gown…I’ll leave those out for him, in case he gets bored tonight. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

What is with me and the lure of free patterns...?

Current Notes: I'm gonna print this one ! 

Had some problems with my computer today. I swear, I never worked so hard for free patterns. (grin) A pattern-sales group sent me a ‘20% Off Anything !!1!!’ coupon, and I wondered what I’d spend it on. Most of their sales are for over-ruffled, six yards of four different $8. fabrics for a kid’s blouse sort of sewing, but occasionally they offer something fun. I got my soft-side box pattern from them, and while it takes two days to prep and sew one box, I’ve gotten a lot out of it.

I’d been considering a microwave bowl potholder – basically, you put it in there with the soon-to-be hot soup or whatever, and grab the fabric edges when it’s done. It was only about five bucks…but wait. If there’s one thing Pinterest taught me, it’s that there’s millions of patterns for free out there. And, three minutes later, I was cut/pasting pretty much the exact same pattern into my Word program for safekeeping. Yaay, freebies ! Makes you wonder what came first, the free pattern or the for-sale one.

That really was about all I wanted. Most of their doll clothes patterns I can figure out for m’self, they’re not that complicated (unless they’re ‘dolly and me’ for some of the beruffled bonanzas, and I don’t want those regardless). I already have purse patterns that I haven’t touched, and Dearest Son’s growing out of themed Easter Baskets and actually said he’d prefer a simple (but big) bag of candy instead.  

But that didn’t stop me from inventorying my patterns and scans and looking for more ! Turns out that, aside from their hips, DP&M and Supersize Barbie dolls are fairly close sizewize, and most patterns for one can easily be tweaked to fit Crissy, Candi, Tiffany Taylor, or the others. For whatever reason, Tia and Belle have much larger hips than all the other girls ! And I had a couple patterns for Supersize already. I have five different wedding gown patterns designated specifically as wedding gowns, not counting all the other gowns and dresses. If various 80s doll magazines are to be believed, lots of people spent those years setting up Crissy dolls for many, many proms ! Really, there isn’t much I don’t already have for Belle and Tia, so I don’t know why I still search, but it is what it is – pure, unmitigated greed on my part !

Just so the day wasn’t completely wasted harvesting more free patterns, I printed one for Crissy pants. From what I can tell, they should fit, but there’s only one way to tell. Can someone lever me off this chair and aim me in the direction of the Arena ?

Beloved Hubby’s doing better – they didn’t give him pain pills at all, mostly anti-inflammation drugs specific to kidney stone sufferers. That’s helping more than he thought it would.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Jasmulan ?

Current Notes: I'm slowly starting to like Diz Store dolls...

Last night was exciting, in an awful way. Shortly after dinner and finishing yesterday’s entry, Beloved Hubby was doubled over in pain. It ebbed shortly later, but he was in agony. Kidney stones. Some other symptoms had us both worried, so it didn’t take me long to convince him to go to the ER, just in case. He was right, as well as dehydrated, so he now has a referral to a specialist, and we picked up an inflammation prescription on the way home. I felt so bad for the pharmacist. Even though it was nearly midnight, there were two cars in the drive-through, a customer insisting she’d been shorted pills (a 90 day supply didn’t last a month, and he couldn’t find any ‘gave patient a X day supply, awaiting shipment of more’ note in her file), and us and another patient waiting. And it was just him. I would have wigged out in his place. At least we were quietly waiting, out of his way, munching on cashews and sipping ginger ale, as the chaos swirled around him.  

He slept in a bit, but went to work only about a half-hour late. He says he feels a lot better, but giving up soda is a challenge. I’m used to doing without it, have even developed a taste for ice water, especially with meals, so I’ll stop buying it again. Besides, the local grocer had sugar-free drink mixes on sale – the canister makes 3 gallons for 99c ! I bought about $20. worth, and they don’t expire ‘til October. Hope he likes lemonade and cherry as much as Dearest Son and I do !

Spent a good hour brushing and styling Jasmine’s hair. It wasn’t that big a mess, and it brushed and dried easily, but getting it in the movie style and reasonably matching on both sides was a challenge. In frustration, I looked at the packaged doll, trying to figure where I was messing up. Hmf. It was kinda lopsided in the photos, too. Instead, I got it to where I liked it, and happily redressed her. She looks good in Mulan’s clothes, too !

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thrift Princesses !

Current Notes: I don't think you could have left them there, either...

I gotta quit going to that thrift store. Didn’t go last Sunday, and since we were in the area for errands (and playin’ hooky from Game Day, hooray for pizza bribes !) anyway, Dearest Son and I stopped in. $16. later, I walked out with 13 Wishes DracuLaura, a gorgeous poseable Jasmine with an irresistable face, and a stunning Ariel in the best fin I’ve ever seen – she actually has legs in there ! – plus a grab bag of DPrincess clothes and some spray glitter.

I confess, I dug the dolls and clothes outta one of the thrift shop’s ‘fresh stock to be placed’ rolling bins, so they hadn’t even been shelved yet, but I’ve yet to meet a thrift that minds, long as you pay for it. I confess, I nearly spent more for a $7. bag of more dolls, mostly for the perfect Pocahontas in a nearly-new Cinderella work dress. I’ve never owned either the character doll or the dress, so I’m fighting going back for it.

The grab bag was well worth the four bucks. I got Jasmine’s teal and red harem pants (I never get the tops to those), a sparkly Snow White dress, two Mulan costumes, and a random pair of green knee pants and a torn tulle veil. If Aladdin ever wore green knee pants, I’d swear they were his.

A few minutes’ research showed both dolls were 2012 Disney Store versions, and I’m fairly certain the Cinderella  and Pocahontas dolls I left in the bin are, too. The Snow White costume is from the current (as in, on TRU’s site now) Mattel version, the one with the glitter bodice and tulle ruffle skirt insert. Mulan’s clothes are from an accessory set sold in 2011 – turns out, the green knee pants go with the green shirt, they’re her ‘training sequence’ costume. Only thing I’m missing is a brush, hosiery, a doll-size staff, and a figurine of ‘Little Brother’, the dog. Jasmine’s teal pants actually go with the doll I bought, and her red pair are from her 2011 accessory set. I’m fairly sure I saw the purple dress that’s also in the pack on the Rapunzel doll in the $7. bag of dolls. So tempted…

The pink princess dress Jasmine came in was, understandably, harder to identify. I dare you to look up ‘pink princess dress’ and see how many thousands of entries you’ll have to wade through, and still not find it. The only clue the dress itself gave was that it came from the Made In China toy factory. (sigh) I trusted my instinct when it said, ‘That looks like a kind of knockoff version of Ariel’s pink gown’, and started the search that way. After studying hundreds of Little Mermaid dolls – and to think, I thought her fashion-doll size only came in ‘little kid Tyco Ariel’ and ‘borders on sexy Mattel Ariel’ versions. There’s thousands ! And each one has a slightly different…something. I figured, if someone shelled out for Fashion and Accessory sets for Jasmine, Mulan,  and Cinderella, then donated them all and the dolls, perhaps they also bought the Ariel set, too. Ding-ding ! Yup. Jasmine’s dress is actually Ariel’s, from a set that sold out last year. Whew. Glad I got all that cleared up !

I’m slowly getting used to the Disney Store articulated body. For whatever reason, Jasmine’s feet are always pointed in the wrong direction. In fact, I usually end up flinching when I see them, as they’re often completely (painfully) backwards from how a standard human foot would work. Also, I now know why they’re nearly always in big fluffy gowns. It covers their ‘frog leg’ seated stance. Wow. I can only guess that Ariel’s fin is holding hers together, cause Jasmine has some serious impolite-in-a-princess splay leg goin’ on. Better hope there’s no upskirt cameras in Agrabah or Atlantica !

Didn’t do a lot of research on DLaura, as it wasn’t necessary, but the only things missing are her ‘crown’ headpiece, earrings, and necklace, and that strange useless lantern thing. I was really glad to see she had her shoes, ‘cause I’d always liked them. Wonder what I’ll re-dress her in… Kinda glad I didn’t see this cool MH make-up case a month ago, I’d have wanted it, and hoped I could wait for a sale ! I mean $40. is kind of a lot, even if it does come with Clawdeen ears…

In any case, I was darn lucky to find all this for less than the price of one doll ! But I’m so tempted to run out tomorrow…see if a certain bag is still there…