Saturday, March 31, 2012

That's my dream, too...

Current Mood : Relaxed

Spring cleaning has really begun in earnest ‘round here. With the Arena moved to The Study, FIL was able to finish the dining area flooring, which looks amazing ! He even assembled the waiting-room sized fish tank, anchoring it to the wall so Dearest Son can’t accidentally topple it and get hurt, and it’ll be gorgeous when the water stabilizes and he can get some fish in it.

From there, he re-arranged the living room, moving stuff temporarily to the Garage – and happily, I can get to my doll stuff now ! Before, it was at the bottom of a huge pile of boxes. I worried a little, since it’s just a plastic bin stuffed with plastic bits, and it was supporting quite a bit of weight, but it made it through, and now I have access. For a $10. Sterilite knock-off of a much more expensive Rubbermaid bin, it did incredibly well !

Eventually our Garage pile from the living room will be moved into a corner of the Garpartment, behind some bookcases. Dearest has already agreed, we just have to make it happen. I’ve already arranged it so my doll stuff will not be under everything else again. Now that I can get to it, I don’t intend to do without it – or worry over it – again !

Today was so busy, this is the first chance I’ve had to enjoy Vision, my laptop, all day. Didn’t get to sew, either, but I got to visit some old friends and do some reading with Dearest, so it was a great day anyway. I’m pretty much on my own Sunday, though, so you know what that means…

Bad Doll Sewing, dead ahead ! 

Friday, March 30, 2012

One of the good and bad things about being an Arena doll - you get to try on the latest !

Current Mood : On a tide of happy-tired

I actually did sew today, but it was really minor stuff. Cheap-serged the raw edges of all the new fabric I bought earlier this month so I could get it washed – it’d gotten shoved into a box during the shuffle and I just found it Tuesday. I kinda dedicated this afternoon to getting it emptied. Got the loose fabric rolled up and stored, and the new stuff’s in the hamper waiting for the next washday. Also fixed a headband I’d made for Ghoulia that tore, it’s been lingering around the Arena for weeks. Improved the measurements, and wanna test ‘em out tonight. I prefer ribbon headbands with elastic backs to the plastic ones Mattel includes.

I also experimented with sewing elastic into narrow tubes, for my broken-armed Ghoulia. I have elastic that’s a half-inch wide (not big enough), some that’s an inch wide (big enough but very thick) and some really old stuff that’s an inch and a half wide. It’s pretty, but it’s too wide, can’t be turned right-side-out, and looks like a decorative sleeve. Next time I’m out and about, I hope to find some ¾ or inch-wide elastic that’s thinner. Maybe in black.

While I had KJ out and threaded, I made a couple tie-backs for my curtain. Days are so pretty this Spring, I want to get as much light and air in our bedroom as possible. I know it’s Spring, no matter what the calendar says. Dearest Son brought me a dandelion ! That’s Spring.

One thing I still had to work out was how to cut patterns out. Before, I always used the top of the washer or a nearby table, but there’s neither in The Study. Figured I could move KJ to the floor for a moment while I used his surface for the cutting matt and rotary. Worked out just fine, and I have a dress ready to go tomorrow – one I’ve been wanting to make again. Hope it works out !

Oh, and remember a couple weeks back, when I crammed all my thread into the two vintage thread boxes and one smaller one ? I had to shuffle stuff around, and the bigger non-vintage thread box I had didn’t fit the space. Too bad the thread box I wanted – a brown one that matches the two I already have – tends to run about $15. to $20. on eBay. Higher everywhere else. Well, now that my Arena doesn’t have to accommodate a desktop computer, the shelf I had my thread boxes on before was available again. (sigh) So I dug the thread box out of the donations bag and redid my thread storage. If I can find a matching thread box locally, I’m buying, but until then, I’m glad to not have it all crammed up like it was.

Went through the scrap wood left from framing the Garpartment garage doors and selected one that was the same width as my bookcase. Covered in fleece, it became a riser for the male sixth-scale dolls all seated on a shelf. I then fit the girls around them. It’s still too crowded there, but at least now I can see all those beloved doll faces !

I snagged another piece of plywood just a little bigger than one of my fabric-storage milk-crates. Covered in a self-adhesive floor tile, it’s where Elphie and Fiyero hang out these days. Glad I was able to save them some chairs !

Relocated all the backdrops – scrapbook paper, calendar pages, fabric scraps, etc. – to the ‘photo studio’ bookshelf, which freed up a drawer in my rolling cubby. It didn’t stay empty for long, it now holds doll props and furniture, like stands and chairs and stand-alone small Barbie kitchens. I’ve been needing a place for those.

And I finally got my ‘ribbon dancer’ toy cleaned. Remember those ? It’s basically a  kid version of a rhythmic gymnastic ribbon, all shiny and pink/purple. I got to use one for therapy when I broke my upper arm in college, and liked it so much, I bought my own. The wand part got snapped and shortened, and through the years, the ribbon got dirty. Finally washed it in the sink with hand soap, and hung it over the shower curtain rod. It’s now clean and dry, ready for ironing tomorrow. After I play with it for a while first ! (grin)

So it was a busy day – but I got a lot of the stuff I’ve been meaning to do done. Those are always such satisfying days !

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Even the crane flies around here love Monster High !

Current Mood : Bugged

Big Monster High day, even if I never left the house. New episode, Unlife to Live, was Ghoulia being awesome, wall to wall. And there was Lagoona and Gil, with Abbey, too ! I also found out that the Roller Maze line is coming out on my birth-month. ‘Dot Dead Gorgeous’, too. How cool is that ? (grin)

I also found a neat new ‘thing’, and it’s over on your right there – a pledge to not feed the scalpers when hunting for more MH-ness. There’s no real website that I could find, unlike the ‘Kind Blogger’ campaign, so I did what I guess everyone else who has it did, agree with it, snag the image and post it. Easy for me, I’m too cheap and too broke to shell more than five or ten bucks over MSRP for a doll, and that includes shipping. 

As I was hunting for the ‘no scalpers’ site, I found Monster High Collector, a neat place with forums and chat, plus great photos of pretty much everything released or promised, neatly arranged by wave numbers and titles. Very nice. I joined up to hit the forums, but there’s also a contest that runs to April 01- prize drawing for a Drop Dead Gorgeous Frankie Stein, just for registering. Please note, the site and the forum are separate, and if you wanna join both, you gotta submit separate info to each. Luckily, it’s easy, and I’m DorrieBelle on both. C’mon over if ya wanna – you can lurk without joining. Oh, and I finally learned how to hyper-link. My old Word didn’t do that, but this one does !

Even with all that going on, I didn’t have much time to play. We got to the Laundromat for some quick loads of clothes washed but not dried last night, so I got it done one load at a time here today. It feels so good to have it all put away and the space cleared. For now. I found enough clothes that we missed to half-fill the hamper already.

I also moved some boxes that somehow got shoved into Dearest Son’s room – that was a workout ! – along with all the books BIL left in there, and cleaned up the rest of our bedroom. I’m sooo tired now, but I feel much better now that I don’t have an oxygen tube dragging around, or that vague guilt I had for ‘forgetting’ to put it back on. Since I only need it for sleep, I trashed the long hoses running around the house and catching everyone’s feet, then tucked a few portable cylinders  in the bedroom, for when I go for bike rides or shopping trips. The air exchanger is now off most of the time, which means the bedroom isn’t so hot. It does take the towels longer to dry after a shower now, though…

After my busy day, that shower felt wonderful ! I love having wet hair in the spring and summer, it’s like having a head-mounted air conditioner. It’s dry now, but I am soooo gonna sleep like a brick tonight – and since most of my housework is done already, I’m gonna sew tomorrow ! I owe it to m’self. So there.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I need some new pillows or something...

Current Mood : I don't even wanna talk about it...

Too much happening today that I can’t really discuss – family stuff, some troubling, some incendiary, some boring. Some of the current mosaic will blow over during the night, other bits a lifetime won't change. Add to that my near-exhaustion today, and that’s after getting plenty of sweet, oxygenated sleep last night. I’m just gonna sit this one out and think of nonsense, useless things so I can sleep and make a better start of tomorrow.

Huh. When I looked up 'nonsense' I got a review of the movie 'Zombie Strippers'. You'd think rigor mortis would make pole-dancing very difficult - but possibly fun to watch !

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I think Frankie has a better lock on the title of 'Fashionista' than Barbie does...

Current Mood : The good kinda tired.

Got some great news at the Doctor’s today. I’m going off my diabetes medicine, since I’m now considered ‘controlled with diet/lifestyle’, not even pre-diabetic anymore. I’m also mostly off the air supply when I’m not exercising or sleeping, so for most of my day, I don’t have to twitch an air hose around anymore ! If it weren’t for my heart damage – my ejection factor is up slightly, but it’s still dangerously low – and a bit of anemia, I’d be really healthy !

So they’re putting me on iron supplements, and keeping me on thyroid. My blood pressure, cholesterol, kidney function and lung function are all right where they should be. As far as the results of the catheterization last month…we don’t really know yet. There’s been no follow up, no notes, no appointments, nothing. But it has been reviewed. My Dr. will dig a little deeper and let me know why no further reports have been filed. Hope it’s just an oversight.

As usual, I was dirt tired afterwards – there were blood-draw labs and fun with stirrups, too – so I sipped a bowl of soup and crashed. Felt better, so Dearest Son and I headed out for a bit. Mal-Wart had not one single doll of any line in the Monster High section, and even the ‘Sweet 1600’ tape decoration had been pulled off the shelves. There was a themed walkie-talkie set, an iPhone case, and some dress-up boxes, that was all.

Family Dollar had some stuff Dearest Son liked, and even I found something – a $3. Barbie ‘Fashionista’ dress. Wow, doll clothes have gotten expensive. It was yer usual ‘gorgeous print on one side, solid cheap sateen on the other, no shoes or accessories’ low-end dress, but I remember those being two bucks last year. Oh, well. I decided I really loved that one print, and got it.

But before I could start adapting it to fit Skull Shores Frankie, we stopped by Dollar Tree. Dearest Son snagged a new LED flashlight and a big-eyed stuffed cat, I think the latter is for Friend H. I got a dash duster for Beloved Hubby, and I really cleaned up. Got some summery flip-flops in my size, a spotlight book-light for my doll photo-studio,  a universal remote for our missing TV one, a pack of batteries for it, a big bowl for popcorn or chip sharing, a small indulgence package of cheese, and a bag of jellybeans. I was sorely tested by those green fairy wings, but figured they’d clash with my blouse. Maybe next time.

I could hardly wait to rip into that Fashionista dress. They actually had two that I liked in that line – believe it or not, they were $3.24 at Mal-Wart ! – but I figured I’d stick for one today. I wish I could tell you that I intelligently took the simple dress apart at the seams, marked the necessary tucks and darts, sewed them and reassembled the dress, but that’s as far from what I did as good writing is from my blog. I basically pinched everywhere the dress hung on Frankie, sewed it and went on to the next gap, then tightened it by moving the Velcro ™ closure. It really looks awful on the inside, and the back is nothing to brag about. But on Frankie, it looks good, I think !

And my new ‘spotlight’ didn’t do much for today’s photo. I mostly just used the flash, since it was kinda late by the time the sewing was done. I also wanna confess that, if I had found Rochelle, I’d have bought her, that’s what the Mal-Wart trip was all about. But I didn’t take it anywhere else, even though Target, Aldi’s, and Justice are within rock-tossing distance. It was OK to check one store, but hitting other stores beyond that was hunting, and I don’t need any other new dolls this week that much.

I wonder if there’s such a thing as a reformed hypocrite…

Monday, March 26, 2012

While it's a challenge to get 'em right, greyscale dolls' photos are amazing !

Current Mood : Eye-tired from an extended PaintShopPro edit on today's image !

It really was ‘back to regular life’ day around here. While Beloved attended classes, I spent most of the morning washing sheets and towels, and cleaning up the wreckage of our bedroom. We completely trashed it moving furniture and various stuff back and forth last week, and got so tired doing it, we just dropped into bed at night. Ever not make a bed in a week ? It gets torn all to heck. Since the sheets were more on the floor than on the mattress, and it was overdue, I got ‘em washed and replaced, and topped off with a clean comforter. Much better.

Three sweepings and a bunch of relocations later, it was lunchtime and our bedroom looked more like something an adult would sleep in, instead of something a rebellious teenager wrecked in a short fit of pique. Beloved was most appreciative. Oh, remember those yard-sale find ‘space’ themed curtains he made the rod for, and I hung outside the Lab door ? Dearest Son inherited them when we moved, but decided that moving into the Garpartment meant it was time for a more sophisticated approach. So I got my curtain and rod back, and Beloved hung ‘em for me today ! It’s silly how much I love having those back. I’ll probably fall asleep tonight grasping one in my fingers.

Oh, and I found out something really bad about m’self today. It probably won’t surprise you a bit. It was kind of painful to realize that I’m not what I say, but maybe that’s the first step to positive change. Anyway, here goes. I am a huge, massive hypocrite. I don’t even know how you can stand to read my rants, it’s so bad. I keep preaching ‘use what you have, we don’t need every new doll down the pike’, but I’m just as guilty as anybody of developing massive Want within thirty seconds of obtaining the last Grail. I kinda wanted to think I was better than the usual obsessed fangirl, but it turns out, I’m one of the worst. (sigh)

While taking a break from cleaning – lunchtime ! Leftover Chinese ! – I idly started counting all the Monster High dolls I’ve amassed. Including the four I’m sending to Deborah, but not including Dearest Son’s collection (6), there’s 34. Yikes, that’s a lot. At first, I thought it wasn’t so bad, MH has been around since 2010, that’s what, one a month ? I was worse when I played with Barbie, and I only very rarely ever bought new ones. But when I counted further, 34 dolls does not equal 21 months. I can console m’self a bit when I realize I’ve not rushed right out and secured the entire ‘Sweet 1600’ and ‘Skull Shores’ lines (although I’m close on the SS dolls !), and I’ve only snagged bits and pieces of ‘Create A Monster’ trying to get their clothes for the dolls I already have. Most of what’s coming up, I don’t want except for props and clothes. Still, until I can go more than a month without trumpeting ‘New DOLL !!1!!’, I have to face my hypocritical nature. While I doubt I’ll change much, at least now I’m more aware of it, and will try hard to not make you feel guilty, ‘cause I know I’m worse than you are when the promise of new doll scent is on the breeze.

Speaking of Skull Shores, I decided to shampoo Frankie today. I was a bit concerned, even with my past experience with soaping out the spray glue Mattel uses for doll hairspray – I liked Frankie’s ‘do. Still, most of what I liked about it was that it was short, and that wouldn’t be altered by a bit of Suave Invigorating Berry. Like with ‘Dawn of the Dance’ Cleo and Clawdeen, Frankie’s hair quickly resumed the same style, even after a rough-and-tumble dry-off with a bath towel.

I love her hair even more now ! (happy swoon)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I hope we're nearly done with the 'Changes for Dorrie' book my life has been lately...

Current Mood : Ready for beddy !

Today we mostly adjusted to going back to normal life Monday, having not quite completed all we wanted to, but enjoying the time together just the same. I think we had a great Spring Break. I got Skull Shores Frankie out of her box and we played a bit, and I waited much too late to take pictures. The little bookcase-shelf ‘photo studio’ doesn’t get near the amount of light I thought it would, so until I can snag some spotlights at Dollar Tree, I need to either get my photos done early or resign m’self to messing with the horribleness of flash-bounce. Today’s photo was done with a flashlight, and it shows. Ugh.

SS Frankie’s kinda difficult to photograph. Most of her makeup is shiny, so it bounces light everywhere, and my camera doesn’t quite know what to do with her shade of grey. Gonna wash her hair tomorrow, and put her black stand away – I wonder why she didn’t come with a character card or a tiny little drink like the other Skull Shores dolls. Hoping to have a bit of time to sew, too.

Meanwhile, I’m getting dive-bombed by crane flies. They evidently love my new lamp as much as I do. I don’t mind ‘em, but when they swarm over my hands as I’m trying to type, or hover over the Vision-laptop’s screen, they begin to annoy me…

Saturday, March 24, 2012

I am sooo opening this box up tomorrow...

Current Mood : Relearning ranks. 
Current Image Notes : Click to Embiggen

Found out the hard way today that the left light switch in the Garage is the same circuit as Dearest Son’s computer. I turned off one of the two lights out there last night, when I went to check on him, and it wasn’t until his computer was off and wouldn’t come back on this morning that we knew what happened. Beloved Hubby’s gonna fix that, but I can’t help wishing a bit that we’d be able to shut that thing down when Dearest’s being a bit too stubborn for his or our own good...

And if you thought we goofed off yesterday, today was even worse. That to-do list actually got longer, but nobody cares. I think we took turns having naps, and playing online. I finally got this updated – I’ve been writing, just not taking pictures, and needed the catch-up time – and snuffled around eBay. Seems like Rochelle Goyle, the gargoyle student, has shown up for the early Spring semester of Monster High. She wasn’t due out ‘til June or so, expect the usual surprises and intense hunting that usually accompanies any new doll release.

I confess, I’m attracted. Very pretty doll, and the amount of detail on her pet Roux is amazing. Her eyes are still very large, but not 7/8ths of her face like that one image represented. The pink and grey together works very well, and her dress’ details are metallic iridescent. Deliciously 80s, I remember that stuff as a shiny make-your-own iron-on kit. If I can find her local, I’ll snag her, but I’m not gonna go on a full-out no-holds-barred search. I think I’m finally over that compulsion. At least until Mattel comes out with a Slo-Moe doll ! I’ll go take-no-prisoners on that one, I’ll say that right now.

Speakin’ of the MH guys, the new Jackson Jekyll ‘basic’ doll has also made a few (scalper) appearances. Careful examination of the ‘zoom’ doll displayed on Amazon shows his left hand has that tell-tale ‘tab’ for bending wrists. That means, once I know for sure that’s a fact, he’ll go on the ‘want’ list. No reason to upgrade from the one I have otherwise, especially if I can find his clothes and Crossfade separately on eBay. Heck, I’ve already downgraded the ‘Roller Maze’ dolls to ‘costume only’, since I already have all four characters, several times over.

But as it is, Frankie’s still in her box, and all my other dolls are out of theirs, and they all need my attention, so there’s little use in musing about new dolls. Everyone’s still somewhat stacked up right now, but better positioned. I figured I’d give them a day or so to recover and ease out a bit. It’s not easy for a doll to be in storage, ask Jesse the Cowgirl.

Friday, March 23, 2012

I love our Study !

Current Mood : Light but sleepy

We began today much slower than we did all week, mostly ‘cause everyone’s still tired. And all the dust we’ve stirred up has settled in lungs and esophagi, so we’re all coughing and hacking. There’s still a list of to-dos as long as yer arm, but most of the heavy lifting is done. It’s the nitty-gritty little what’s-going-where that remains. Mostly easy, but very time-consuming.

So we did not a bit of it. Instead, we cleaned out Venus-truck, installed her new rear-view mirror that finally replaces her damaged-years-ago one, returned unneeded building supplies and bought what we still needed, had a nice leisurely meal at Taco Bell, and did a bit of shopping.

I love The Study. My Arena has just the right space and room around it to let me move, but I’m not so wide-open, I feel isolated or that I need to buy much for it. (grin) However, due to its position in The Study, KJ’s surface doesn’t get enough light. So we did a bit of shopping and I found an awesome lamp at Office Depot – natural spectrum bulb, flexible, with a built-in magnifier. Hated to spend the cash, but this would serve me well for years, and didn’t take up much space. Fell in love with two Ott lamps, but they didn’t have any in stock of the one I most liked, and when I took the portable display model to a dim desk to see how much light it put off, it wasn’t nearly enough. I’m really happy with the not-Ott I got. Dearest Son is completely enthralled with the magnifier.

I also scored a markdown dry erase / magnetic board, about 6 by 8 inches. Gonna use it in the bookcase, to hold backdrops in the little photo studio I’m gonna set up in there. Luckily for me, it’s a white bookcase, but I wanna use all these calendar pages, scrapbook papers, odd fabrics, origami paper, print-outs and mini-posters, too. I figure I can pin ‘em with magnets hidden behind the doll, and not damage the paper.

While Beloved took a much-needed nap, I got to work on my bookcase. With the addition of the recently-found shelf and the purchased-yesterday shelf pins, I could do whatever I wanted…which I soon concluded, may just include getting my dolls out of storage. They’d be crowded on the shelves, but I’m sure it’s better than a box ! I moved to make it happen with the thought still fresh in my mind. Moved books, resized shelves, hammered in new pins, and got the two boxes of which I’ve never, not for one minute, forgotten the location.

An hour later, I had to take a break. My dolls were stacked like cordwood, but they were free of their boxes, and I could make a few shuffles later. I definitely had several hours’ worth of hair-brushing ahead of me ! But aside from a bit of grit and some missing shoes, they were all just fine. Whew !

Now that I have all my books and all my dolls, I feel a lot better.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Me too, Confessor.

Current Mood : Yawning
Current Image courtesy Walt Disney Confessions,

I was Beloved Hubby’s ‘tool girl’ today, helping frame the garage doors, hang insulation, and cut siding. Had one pocket fulla drywall screws, the other loaded with nails. We also put a bedroom door on the framed spot for it in the Garpartment – BIL and Uncle made do with a plastic tarp, because the $62. door was too expensive. All three of us loathed that tarp, so we made sure to budget the cash to pull it down permanently. So far, we’re a bit under budget on the Garpartment renovation, since we haven’t had to spend anything on Wednesday’s wiring (we found some wire in the garage), and we decided to use a lounge chair we already had in The Study instead of looking for a used loveseat – truth is, Study’s already running out of space ! (lol)

We also put a threshold on the front door (the old one was either lost or trashed before we moved here), which it really needed. It’s so nice to not have to kick a towel under the door each time we open it. We still have a lot of work ahead on the Garpartment, including hanging more insulation inside, but Beloved was really tired, ‘cause that was far from all he did today.

He moved Dearest Son’s heavy old TV and computer into the Garpartment, dragged out his outgrown desk and ancient TV stand, along with a TV FIL didn’t want anymore, upgraded the Garpartment’s wiring, and fixed the falling-apart armoire in Dearest’s room before moving it into ours, then moving his art desk into The Study. Our bedroom is completely trashed, but The Study is cozy and fun. I gleefully unpacked my books into a bookcase all my own, and cleaned two small cubbies that I could fill up any way I liked. Such bliss ! I saved a shelf of the bookcase for doll photos, and I’m not sure what I’m doing with the bottom one. My Barbie FriendShip and Country Living Home are on top where I thrill to seeing them.

Only really bad thing of the day was that a decorative hook I had attached to the side of the bookcase to hold my oxygen tube out of the way kept clanging up against it every time I moved. So I lined it with fleece scraps from the ‘taggie’ project. Now I no longer sound like a cow bell while I enjoy my new habitat. It even looks better, too.

Beloved found the extra shelf to my bookcase – his is identical, but I told him to take the ‘extra’ shelf between them, he has tons of textbooks – we just needed those little pins to fit in the holes to support it. Luckily, when we went to get insulation and siding, we found ‘em on sale. Hmm…how do I wanna do that bookcase now…?

So my day wasn’t nearly as busy and strenuous as his, which is as typical as me being worn out anyway.

I got to indulge one of my old hobbies tonight, as Beloved slumbered. Animation fans may remember the long strange transformation of the proposed Kingdom of the Sun feature animated film into what became The Emperor’s New Groove, but darn few of us were in the know as to exactly why. Turns out, Sting’s wife documented darn near the whole thing, since her hubby was signed to create the music, much like Elton John was for The Lying King oops, I meant, The Lion King. The resulting documentary, The Sweatbox , was never released. Since it was less than complementary of Disney, and guess-who owned it, I think you know why. For some reason, it surfaced yesterday, and I of course watched the whole thing. I feel so cheated. If you’d like to see it, here’s the link -  ( ) - but I’ve heard it’s a rough draft version, the final is shorter and tighter.

Well, your tool girl is tired, and we got a lot still to go. Still, I’m proud of all we’ve done, and can’t wait to see what’s next !

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Frankie's the only one more drained than me !

Current Mood : Very Happy

Today is one of those days where, you pick up some tasks and get them done, and you’re tired at day’s end, but you can’t remember what all you did to make y’self so weary. FIL’s two-car garage is halved into the Garpartment and the Garage, where tools and laundry are located. If you were to look at the house from the street, the Garpartment is where the garage doors are, and the Garage is closest to the kitchen. We cleaned out the Garage part, and it took hours, but I can’t really say what precisely we did. All I know is, there’s much more space in the Garage part now, and the Blue Van Family got another haul, so we can move the larger furniture and stuff into the Garpartment tomorrow. Whew !

In fact, the Garpartment is so big, we’re gonna arrange three bookcases as a room divider and use a small part of it for storage. It’s fine with Dearest. May even have enough space to get our stuff out of the shed, which would be great. We had long talks about responsibility and trust today, and I hope Dearest was paying attention.

It’s good that I did that *before* the mail arrived. Both The Black Pearl and the greyscale Frankie Stein were here ! Dearest was so excited, he could barely get the box open. It was packed very well, and was better than expected. So was Frankie. Although her hair didn’t have quite the curl I was expecting in it, she’s lovely, and even Beloved Hubby thought she was unique. Can’t wait ‘til I get to unbox her – which at the rate things are going, will be sometime next week. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

And now, the fun begins !

Current Mood : Wiped out.

Uncle left about 4am, with his good-byes already said, hugs well exchanged, and best wishes set in cement for his safe journey. He’s already there safely, so that’s a relief ! It’s still raining, but not near so violently as yesterday.

But that meant we had a lot to do ! As soon as he woke up and saw the Garpartment was vacant, Dearest Son began moving his packed boxes and books. Unfortunately, Beloved Hubby and I were still asleep, having been up late with the new laptops and lists of various tasks and supplies. By the time we were up and ready for breakfast, he’d fallen asleep on the left-behind bed, surrounded by Lego bits of Black Pearl and hand-drawn illustrations of what items of his he wanted where.

But first, we had to clear out a short ton of stuff Uncle left behind, including things left from when BIL lived in there, and stuff F&MIL had shoved into the garage. I swear, I’m about a year shy of living in a hoarder house. Some of this stuff was parts of other things thrown out years ago. And FIL wanted to be in the middle of it, to veto what got tossed or not. I can’t blame him, most of it is his crap, but it’s been sitting for three years, with more piled on and the washer flooding beneath – decide and either toss or find somewhere else for it to be !  We kinda need to get at that space to fix the wiring and finish framing the walls. Most of the boxes fell apart when opened.

We ended up ditching quite a bit with approval, and it wasn’t long before most of it was loaded into the dark blue van of a family two blocks over. Y’see, the first Saturday in April is Spring Cleaning for the City – you can locate large trash curbside for pickup. Most people use it to spruce up and redecorate, others to score new stuff for free. You literally could furnish a home from stem to stern out of some neighborhoods. We got rid of a bookcase, Dearest Son’s outgrown bunk beds, a broken, stained chair, and a set of fabric paints, among hundreds of other, smaller things. I’m just glad it went to a family, instead of the resellers who also tend to prowl the weekends before Spring Cleaning. We got their cell number, in case we decide to ditch anything else big.

At day’s end, all his toys and most of his stuff had been moved. We still had his computer and TV to go. We decided to give my old desktop computer to FIL, so it was up to me to move and back up my files, and install / delete software. Sounds much easier than the heavy work Beloved had, but I was easily as exhausted. But it was done, and we got the Arena moved, Beloved’s new desk assembled and in place, and my computer was broken down out of the Arena and moved to FIL’s digs. I was a little sad to see it go.

But, I’m still getting used to a laptop, and all the freedom it implies. I played around with it in bed today, and that was partly weird, partly wonderful. Predictably, it’s between Brody and KJ, my awesome sewing machines, in the Arena right now, since that’s still ‘my dream space’. I got to redecorate it a bit, although half my stuff’s in various boxes still, waiting for tomorrow.

I think that’s a theme now…

Monday, March 19, 2012

Douglas is vaguely disapproving of your patch's claim...

Current Mood : Owlish.

Got awakened at 6am by a crack of thunder so loud and sharp, I honestly thought it’d somehow impacted about three inches from my left ear. It’s poured down rain all day ever since. The backyard is basically a rice paddy. I know, because my Twilight Sparkle suddenly vanished from the windowsill, and I had to go find her when she didn’t appear anywhere else. My pants and shoes are still soaked, nine hours later. Too bad she wasn’t outside. Found her under the bed while I was hunting for a dry pair of shoes. Found a missing library book, too. Whew ! That’ll teach me to have my window open two inches !

Uncle finished loading up and packing travel chow this evening, and goodbyes followed. Gonna miss him, but I can’t help but look forward to having a bit more space. Beloved Hubby’s all happy about having an actual Study, Dearest Son’s thrilled about getting the Garpartment, and I’m just glad my sewing machines (and all that goes with ‘em) will be out of the kitchen. I was originally more worried about my computer, but with a brand-new laptop, well, I’m less so. Uncle polished off the last of the leftover Chinese, so I was happy about that, too. Wish we could have thrown him a little party, but maybe a plate of Sesame Chicken and Crab Rangoon was the next best thing.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I'm boxing projects up right, left, and center !

Current Mood : Craft-weary

You would think, after a weekend that got me a stellar new laptop, two baby projects finally complete, and an owl named Douglas would be sufficiently exciting, and today would be quite boring.

Not ! We had Chinese food for dinner – my favorite ! – and both Dearest Son and I have some fun stuff to look forward to, coming in the mail. Dearest gave a fantastic book report tonight, so we arranged to order that Mega Bloks Black Pearl he’s been obsessing on for months. Or at least, it seems like months to me ! When Beloved Hubby asked if there was anything I especially wanted, I had to sigh. All the new stuff I like isn’t out yet ! Still, I had been eyeing that greyscale Skull Shores Frankie Stein…We found fair prices on both, and he and I are hyper-excited. Especially Dearest.

But wait, there’s more ! While it took longer than expected, I made my Monster High shoe box ! Luckily, I had all afternoon, it took that and more. Just prepping the pieces – and gluing or fusing several together – took an hour longer than I thought it would. But it’s done, and I’m *mostly* happy with it. It’s definitely the right size, I have maybe an inch or so of space still to fill, and that’ll take a lot of shoes !

I was glad I didn’t wait on ordering Frankie. We ended up at Aldi’s on a grocery run this afternoon, and I’d heard from various sources that some have ‘Spring Toys’ for sale, which included most of the Skull Shores run. Ours had two DracuLauras, one Abbey, and one Ghoulia, that was all. Woulda kicked m’self if she’d been there for $9. – I didn’t pay that much more for the eBay one, but ya’ll know how I am about overpayin’ for stuff.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Movin' right along...

Current Mood : Relieved and content

After a day of  maybe / maybe not, now we know for sure. Uncle is heading out and moving on Monday, or before dawn Tuesday, at the latest. He’s starting to pack and plan as I type. In a way, it’s great luck, since we’ll have Spring Break to get it all done, but I was hoping it’d be a bit longer before Uncle had to go…

And knowing that, I had a choice to make. I had a fixed budget for the blanket I wanted to make for Uncle’s new grand-daughter – I could either get it done today and use the best material I could find, and send it along with Uncle (he agreed to take it to them for us) or I could cheap out, get lazy, and mail an inferior one later. For once, I did the right thing. Got up off my big ole butt and headed over to Hobby Lobby, and bought the most lovely lavender Polar Fleece (the good stuff, from Malden Mills !) I could find, at a great price. I also had the idea of making Baby a ‘taggie’ toy, so I got a markdown bag of satin and grosgrain ribbon that was so beautiful, I wanted it regardless.

Curved the corners and ran a double line of zig-zag hemming in cream, then hooped it up for Brody’s turn. The vine heart, with green leaves and Baby’s initial in the center, came out very pretty, I think. Came up with some silly care / use directions (‘Do Not Taunt Super-Happy Fun-Times Blanket / Floor Play Cloud’  ‘Documented use compels Primary User to attend an unpaid internship with ComHugeCorp. at age eighteen (18) to obtain Valuable Life Skills, a service provided without charge to parents courtesy of ComHugeCorp.’) and sent those along. Was happy with it.

Not quite so happy with the ‘taggie’ – it’s basically different textures of ribbon sewn securely to more fleece, a sensory toy to get chewed on, drooled on, thrown, discovered, and touched. It’s easy to throw in the wash, and the more it’s played with, the softer and more compelling it gets for many babies. It’s as secure as I could sew it, but now that it’s packed up, I wonder if some of the ribbon lengths are too long. I’m sure her Momma can cut it if it’s not right for her, I just don’t want her to think I don’t care about Baby. Arrrgh. 

Got to go to a bookstore, but the only things in the whole place that sparked my interest were a pair of owls. One was a huge two-foot wingspan puppet with a mechanism that allowed his head to pivot, the other was a cute little stuffie Burrowing Owl perched on a stack of Harry Potter merch.  'Douglas' ended up coming home with us, and yes, he's the not-puppet one. Seriously, that one was huge. I much prefer my little burrower. He has not a thing to do with HP, he was just there for display or funzies, not entirely sure. I do know that Ghoulia just loves him ! 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Changes comin', fast an' furious...

Current Mood : Dizzified !

Not much going on. Got to go to the library, and pick out a ton of books, most of which were on hold for me. Last month, I noticed that they have  two out of a three-book Mercedes Lackey series, and I’ve since read what’s available. Located a hardback of the third volume pretty cheap on Amazon, and wondered if I could donate it when I was done. I mean, it’s kinda silly to keep it since I don’t have the first two. Well, the library would ‘have to see’, since they prefer to buy books from a single source and most donations aren’t in good enough shape to add to the holdings. Okay.

Anyway, yesterday, I went ahead and ordered it, and today I got a message from the library. They just got that third book in circulation, so it was mine if I wanted it. Arrgh. Too late to cancel my order, and now I know they can’t use it, except to sell it for a dollar. Ah, well.

That was pretty much the excitement for the day. Oh, and I got a new laptop computer. (snort) Beloved and I went out for a bit after his classes, and we ended up at Office Depot, since they have a desk he loves, on sale. We were wondering how long the sale went on (ends Sunday) and decided to get it while we could, even though it’d need to stay flat-packed until Uncle moved, we got Dearest Son into the Garpartment, and we cleaned out his current room and made it The Study. From there, we began idly looking at laptops. Found one on a fantastic sale, and it got marked down another $30. from the sticker price – and they let us use the ‘$40. off ANY laptop’ coupon I spotted hanging out at the register.

Once home, he loved the new one so much, I told him I’d take the ‘old’ one. Yeah, the one he got last month ! I’d been using it off and on anyway, so it was already familiar, and it really didn’t matter to me which one was ‘mine’ since we share everything anyway. But the new one suited him a bit better, so I’d be glad to trade. So, it’s done. We’re gonna give my old desktop to FIL, once I clear all my stuff off it. Everyone benefits !

And I’m still getting used to having a laptop instead of a desktop. I’m pretty much using it on a folding table, ‘cause it’s hard to shake the ‘sit down at a desk’ precept I’ve had since 1987 (that’s when I bought my Commodore 64 !). I have so much to learn – and so many files to back up and move over ! No wonder people kinda pause before getting all-new computers – it’s a lotta work for lazy me, ya know. Thank Everything for USB drives.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I got Twilight Sparkle !

Current Mood : Mildly frustrated, but oddly happy...

This always happens when I get all wound up about making something for someone, especially when I'm on a self-imposed deadline. About all I got done today was cleaning the bedroom and making Friend H's zipper bag, as promised. Problem is, every single element, from her name, to the Monster High logo, down to the tag inside, is off center. So annoying. I'll probably make her another one later. FIL didn't see it as such a bad thing, but it looks awful to me. Sad part is, it's one of the better-constructed ones. It'll probably last forever !

Ah, well. For now, I can forgive m'self and move on. Friend H wasn't able to visit today, she stayed over-late yesterday against her Mom's orders. I'd asked if she had a certain time I could remind her about, but she said she could stay until her Mom yelled. I'm just glad she wasn't mad at me !

After today's sewing flop, I wasn't in a mood to work on my project, the MH shoe box, and I really didn't have time to, either. So hopefully I'll get to it tomorrow. And tomorrow will be a better day.

Uncle is planning on packing up his Garpartment belongings this weekend and heading west Monday or Tuesday. We'll miss him, but he'll be much happier where he's going, I can guarantee it. Dearest Son blurted out that he was moving in there when Uncle is gone, but his new bedroom would always remind him of Uncle T. I can't say I'm any less selfish, as I'm sort of looking forward to some more room, too. My Arena and Beloved Hubby's study desks (yes, he has several) will go in Dearest's old room, which will free up more kitchen and bedroom space. M & FIL don't want the space at all. We've asked, numerous times. I think FIL's planning on putting a recliner where the Arena is now, for some personal space of his own. But I'm just pasting a happy face on it, we'll all miss Uncle quite a lot.

I would say we went to McD's for a snack, but we actually went to get more My Little Pony Happy Meal toys. Turned out, our local store has a box with darn near all the Pony toys in it, so we could request any of 'em. Our cashier even knew them by name ! A fellow Brony !! Beloved wanted - and got ! - his favorite, Pinkie Pie, and I got the Twilight Sparkle I've been secretly wanting. Since the Transformer toys were still uninspiring to him, Dearest opted for a Rainbow Dash, because he liked her colors. It's fun. While I can't really see m'self haunting TRU for Hasbro Ponies, I like having Fluttershy and Twilight Sparkle on my windowsill, for whatever strange reason I have. I kind of want a Rarity, too.

Yeah, it gets real silly around here... Just wait 'til next week. It's Spring Break !

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I finally got down to business !

Current Mood : Invigorated and eager

Current Image Notes : Click to embiggen. It's hilarious, and you wanna read it all !

After weeks of delays and procrastinating, mentioning it then letting it fade away, I finally got to it and... all the pieces I need to make that soft-side Monster High box for my dolls' shoes have been cut and assembled. That's actually the biggest part of the project, getting it all cut out. It takes hours. And lemme tell ya, it's a lot easy to cut out fabric and interfacing with a rotary than it is to cut 6mm-thick craft foam. Since there's six parts to cut out - foam, fleece, interfacing, and three different fabric sets - I figured I'd do half today, half tomorrow. But the hardest part of cutting out is at the first, and I'd already wrecked the dining room table with fabric bits and tools everywhere, so I figured I may as well get it over with.

Unfortunately, the fabric I wanted to use for the inside wasn't quite big enough. I needed one piece that was eleven inches square, and all mine were ten or less. A seam wouldn't look good, and would possibly compromise the box's integrity, so I went with a different inside material. And got to the last cuts and...found I was about two inches too short for two needed pieces. Arrrgh. Also, the embroidery test stitch out I wanted to use for the lid was too small, so I had to make a reverse applique out of it, with a correctly sized square. Just not sure I got that embroidery centered right. So this is gonna be a unique, interesting box !

Thing is, once it's all cut out, it only takes maybe two or three hours to assemble it. I'm hoping it'll be done by this weekend. I'd do it tomorrow, but I have another project to finish first - for Dearest Son's newest friend.

A very sweet, seemingly lonely girl about his age moved in down the street a couple weeks ago, and she introduced herself to a scooter-riding Dearest last week. They've become fast friends, and now that the parents have met, she is most welcome to visit after school. Turns out, she's a huge MH fan, too, so I'm gonna make her one of my super-simple zipper bags, using one of the other 'shield' logo test stitch outs. She mentions that she keeps losing the props, I thought this might help. I think I'll call her 'Friend H'. Oliver-kitty has also 'marked' his approval of her, although we have to extend a bit of caution, as she's allergic to cats.

And if you like today's image, see 'em all here - . They came from Petite Tiaras, also worth a look - . There's a load of more, each more awesome than the next, so don't be surprised if you seen the Flynn Rider one soon. It's so hot !

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Man, Skull Shores Ghoulia even looks mean in CGI !

Current Mood : Emotionally weary.

Happy Thirteenth !

I always kinda like the 13th - Beloved Hubby was born on that numerical date, and we got married on the same date, different month. Lately, Mattel's done some fun stuff with Monster High every month on that date, so there's more to like ! Today, it was a preview video of an upcoming special, Escape From Skull Shores, which seems to be a King Kong parody. That's funny when ya think about it. Anyway, if you haven't seen it yet, it's more CGI like Why Do Ghouls Fall In Love ? , but does explain the greyscale Skull Shores Frankie somewhat. Check it out here -

There was also a contest on Twitter. Turns out I had an account there I completely forgot about, so I entered. It's already over, and (sob) I didn't win. I never expect to. I have no luck with drawings and lotteries, to the point that it amazes me that I still play 'em sometimes. I once lost a 'lose ten times, get a free t-shirt' contest. Seriously. My 'magic gold bead' got lost in the machine. They actually took it apart to find it, but it was just gone. I have won exactly one Bingo game and one drawing in my life.

But I'm lucky where it counts. I got a great life, and my cars usually break down in the driveway instead of the freeway. I've nearly died so many times that psychics often get headaches in my presence, and I think the whole thing's funny. My sewing goes right more often than it goes wrong, and it's a beautiful day today.

I was restless still today, so I took it out on my Want list. I have two vintage thread boxes I love from yard sales - one is Harvest Gold, the other is Avocado Green - and a third mis-matched box that kinda bugged me. It was much too big, and I'd really rather have a third vintage one. I know they also come in Bright Orange and Dark Brown (ya gotta love the 70s palette of colors), but those seem to be more rare. Found a few for about twelve bucks delivered, in gold and green, of course. Last month, there were dozens out there for half that. Ah, well.

Decided to try to find a third one locally as yard sale season begins, instead of going eBay or online. But for now, that big mismatched box bugged me something fierce. So I filled up the much smaller thread box I normally use when I have to line up a dozen or more color spools for Brody's embroidery work, and switched and swapped around until I eventually got the awkward box emptied. Whew ! I still want a third vintage box, but I'm far less likely to buy one now that the bugging-me one is gone. I'll probably donate it.

From there, I also cleaned out my other craft supply units, along with the Arena, and found spaces and places for things that are much easier to access. The embroidery book section has been expanded and neatened, and the computer software that got crammed in here got reorganized.  Snagged two fancy containers I got from Dollar Tree a couple years ago and put 'em back to work, holding my latest hoard of used dryer sheets - aka, ' cheap stabilizer' ! - from the Laundromat, and bits of tulle and netting I had lying around. A mini cabinet I kept 'cause it's cute is now in the MH display in the Arena, doubling as DracuLaura's desk or Ghoulia's sewing surface, as needed. Several larger scraps went inside the cabinet, and I have paper clips, rubber bands, and erasers in the shelves. Too cool !

Sometimes, picking through the Wants is a great thing ! The tall stacks of misc. stuff are all down by quite a bit, and I feel like I have a lot more light. Too bad I didn't actually sew anything today...(sweatdrop)

Monday, March 12, 2012

The thing about those Evil Genius types - they always need more cords !

Current Mood : Slightly Unsettled, which is kinda strange, really. 

Never found the original one, but the embroidery sewing machine place about six blocks away had one to replace it - just fifteen bucks ! And it works perfectly ! I've embroidered three pieces already, including the test and what I'd originally wanted to do Saturday, and you know I'm eager for more. Never fails, at least for me. I can be bored out of my head, nothing to do, but if the power goes out, I can think of a thousand things I *could* be enjoying, if only the electricity would come back on. I never appreciate - or use - anything as much as I do when I lose it, then get it back.

It's not the same place as the ten-blocks-away quilting shop I told ya'll about last month. For a small town, there's clearly a lotta sewing going on ! Nope, I'd never been to this place before today. You may wonder why I knew there was an embroidery sewing machine place within walking distance and had yet to visit, and I wouldn't blame you. Facts are, I visited their sister store in Capital City years and years ago, so far back that USB had not yet become part of everyday Life in the US yet. I was curious about those fancy machines, so I went in - the store was totally empty of other customers, so I asked if I could have a few questions answered.

And I got a clear 'If I must... (sigh)' vibe from all three of the clustered employees, so direct it may as well have been said in words. I definitely heard the sighing. Maybe it was my not-expensive clothes and car that said I wasn't gonna lay out $5000. that day. Perhaps the store had been ridiculously busy ten minutes before I arrived. It's possible my awed expression of wonder may have marked me as a rube. Or it was too close to Christmas, or their ability to do anything but heave sighs died earlier that week and they were mourning the loss as best they could. Whatever it was, I was treated so condescendingly, I only asked two questions, made note of a few of the very rare prices listed, and left quickly. I had a bad taste in my mouth about embroidery sewing machines for years afterward.

Only reason I went for Brody the way I did was because he was within my price range, I could order him online without any snotty salespeople running down my price range and sniffing at me, and he was the first every machine to have a USB port that would keep me from having to buy the stupid-expensive and frequently faulty card-reading system that all machines used until him. I've avoided stores that sell sewing machines as their main business ever since. Even repair places, since the one I visited was mostly a lure to facilitate bigger, more expensive machine sales. Frankly, I don't think they'd even put on display a machine as inexpensive as Brody, for fear of cutting into sales of the big-ticket ones.

I kinda figured that even though the tech had changed a bit, the sales tactics hadn't, and I wasn't eager to put m'self through that again. This store was a bit nicer, but every machine they had was well over $3000. To put it in a bit of perspective, Brody was $500. - still a lotta money, but for the budget minded, much easier to obtain. I'm glad the cord was reasonable, because they were waaaay overpriced on just about everything else. Even the card reader stuff.

I guess they figured all I'd want was the cord, because they didn't ask if I needed anything else or would like to see anything demonstrated. In short, after determining which cord I needed, they didn't really speak to me at all. Ah, well. Maybe I just have 'that kind' of face or something.