Sunday, September 30, 2012

Goodbye, September ! I'll miss you !

Current Mood : Excited !

Today was ‘catch up on your sleep’ day, and we made a late morning of it, all of us. But I was soon restless and nothing occupied me for long. I was too unsettled to even sew, so I made plans to spend a bit of quality time at Dollar Tree. Solo.

Beloved Hubby darn near had a list for me. Foam-core board, for drawing class, napkins, etc. I had a few things I wanted, but ended up having a little spree for Dearest Son. He’s been ‘into’ crafting lately, so I bought supplies, including a carvable foam pumpkin and a set of felt and pipe cleaner Halloween decorations, with some glitter glue for sparkle. Also got us each a snack.

On a whim, I hit the GoodWill across the street. Last time I went, it was depressing in there. It still is, but I found some goodies. A bagload of ribbon – both the kind you can sew and the kind for package wrapping – and other crafting supplies was on ‘half-off green price stickers’ sale for just a buck-fifty. And it was *loaded*. I could easily see Dearest and I having lots of fun with all that ! He’d been wanting to learn to tie bows (past efforts have been frustrating – ever have to teach someone to tie their shoes ? It’s more complicated than it seems), and there was plenty here to inspire.

I also scored two books on the same sale – a copy of Heinlein’s Friday, to replace my tattered paperback, and Turmoil in the Toybox, a propaganda piece on how families are destroyed by the Devil with help from Barbie, Rainbow Brite, and He-Man. I’d been wanting to read it, but didn’t want to pay much for it, for obvious reasons. To tell the truth, 75c seemed a bit high for it, but I bought it anyway.

But the standout was a simple orange glass napkin holder. At least, that’s what we’re gonna use it for, for all I know, it’s a taco keeper. It’s just a simple thick glass oval shaped into something like a flat-bottomed taco, in the most gorgeous shade of deep orange. Perfect for our new dining area table. A vast improvement over the AirSoft accessory box we’ve been using.  

Saturday, September 29, 2012

I love Hobby Lobby on a Saturday...

Current Mood : Lazy.

Current Image Notes : Here's the first (very thin) postcard from that 'Fashion Monsters' poster set I got from Dollar Tree. More to come ! 

It’s always a busy Saturday when Beloved Hubby’s home ! But did you know it’s *still* raining ? Yup. We’ve had rain off and on for a solid week now. Many people refer to this as our annual Monsoon Season, but I prefer to think we’re just pretending to be Seattle for a while each Fall. I really like flannel.

When the rain slacked off, I decided to go ahead and hit Hobby Lobby, for the Tacky Wax and the 40% off coupon. Plus, the acrylic ice cubes I saw there last week were part of a 40% off holiday sale ! Beloved Hubby wanted to go, too, so we all ventured out.

Good thing, too, because we found our new dining room set today ! HLobby had furniture markdowns, and we got a lovely square black ‘pub’ table with four saddle-back bench chairs for about half what we were budgeting ! It’s gorgeous, and I can always make seat cushions.

As for me, I found the Tacky Wax waiting quietly for me on a shelf underneath the miniatures, where I’d never noticed it before. It’s much larger than I thought it’d be. I’ll probably never use it all ! And hanging over the ice cubes was a package of white and iridescent snowflake buttons I couldn’t resist – I could literally ‘see’ them on the hemline of a pretty skirt for Abbey. It was my lucky day, as those were 40% off, too !

Snagged the ¼-inch and 1/8-inch elastic I’ve needed – in black – while I was there. It costs a bit more at HLobby than it does at Mal-Wart, but M-W never has it in stock around here. I use a lot of both widths on MH headbands and skirts. I also got a half yard of a gorgeous deep purple broadcloth and a quarter yard of a pretty winter pattern, both of which are always on sale. Ended up using my coupon on a big scented pillar candle Beloved Hubby favored, and he used his coupon on a truck model for Dearest Son. Since we were using different payments – regular Checking for the table set and the model, cash for my stuff and the candle – I thought it was fair.

We were gonna eat out, but it began to rain again, just as we loaded the dining room set box into Venus-diesel, so we went straight home and had soup instead. At our new table ! We cleaned up the clutter and junk from the dining area and cleaned off the patio table we’d been using since we moved. Beloved hung up tools in an artistic fashion, and I finally hung the curtains – remember that space/denim set I had outside my Lab door ? Those. He got it put together with my minor help, and poof ! Our dining area looks much better now ! And we love our new table. The curved benches are a bit hard on ye olde butt, so I’ll probably make cushions as soon as batting or foam rubber goes on sale.

All that gave us better access to the kitchen window, so we added the ‘Mr. Potato Head’ pieces to the pumpkin Beloved bought at Aldi’s this week. I still can’t believe he paid so little for it – the $3. one there is the size of the $8. ones at Homeland and Mal-Wart. We bought the “Pirate” Potato Head set about two weeks ago, and had fun with it on real potatoes, although it’s made and marketed for Halloween d├ęcor. We boosted it into the window and added the new pillar candle, and I like how it looks, inside and out.

Even Monster High looks better. My ersatz trophy is upright, and so is Chewlian, but I ended up moving him to the cart. While Bard’s Tacky Wax assures me that it’s not greasy and won’t stain, I decided that I’d rather put ole Chew on some solid plastic, rather than the sticker-covered ledge in the classroom. But it works well – everything withstood a hit from the box the dining set came in. In fact, the ‘trophy display case’ tipped over, but when I picked it up, the ‘Rose Trophy’ was still well-anchored within. I’ll probably add a bit to the other trophies, too. I got plenty ! Hmmm….I wonder if it’s sticky enough to keep an iCoffin or purse in a doll’s hand long enough to photograph…

Well. With a tiny seed-bead of that stuff, Belle can hold Ghoulia’s very lumpy Coffin Bean soda, without a rubber band. I let her sit for five minutes, then bounced her around for a couple minutes, and it’s still firmly attached to her fingers. Awesome. I was wondering how I’d use it all – now I think I may have to buy more every so often ! Least now I know where to find it.

All this rain put everyone in ‘sleep’ mode after lunch, but Dearest was up early, cleaning his room. We promised that he could have the patio table in there if he could keep it clean. It makes things pretty crowded in there, so here’s hoping. Like our kitchen, he’s gonna hafta keep it tidy, or he won’t be able to do anything in there very, very quickly !

Friday, September 28, 2012

Yoked skirts are *fun* !

Current Mood : Happily creative !

Got to sew today ! I’d been kind of wanting to try a yoked skirt, and this one from Kristine Ann’s looked like it’d work…and it did ! I confess, I was looking for deep purple fabric, but the two pieces I could easily snag just weren’t good shades of it. The green, however, looked close enough to the Stardoll blouse’s leaves, so I used it instead. It’s a great pattern. Start to finish took less than half an hour, and it fits beautifully. I hope to try it tomorrow, lengthened a bit. Or use that lace I got last weekend on a straight skirt pattern of hers I haven’t tried yet.

I also found a scrap of black ribbon while cleaning under my desks, cut from something else, and made her a headband. I like how it looks on her, but I still need to give her a quick boil rinse. It helps hide the bends in her hair from the original side ponytail and packaging.

Found a box to boost the bleachers up, and I got it installed – then realized I couldn’t see the faces of any dolls on the back row. Not gonna happen ! So I cut up a ramen box into strips, taped them together, covered ‘em with paper, and made a seat booster. Much better ! Every time I think I may wanna buy the Coffin Bean playset, or just two of its sofas off eBay, I remember how most doll sofas are too low and hold off. I ended up coming up with a rough design for one of my own. It won’t look nearly as polished, but at least I won’t have dolls sitting weirdly on it ! I just have to find some more cardboard…

While I was up there, I made space for Christopher Baines, formerly known as ‘Puma Dude’ , with the rest of the fellas. Speaking of the luscious MH guys, I’ve heard rumors that Gil Weber is shipping again – that Gloom Beach assortments have been appearing at Mal-Warts and Targets. Curious, I looked him up online, and was stunned to see he commands over $100. on eBay. Out of box ! I sure hope it’s true he’s been re-released. He’s awesome, and well worth adding to any group of MH dolls !

Well, here’s hoping I get to sew more tomorrow – and that you get to enjoy a day your way, too ! 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

I love a stormy night ! Long as I'm inside dry and warm, of course...

Current Mood : Still Sleepy

Today’s therapy was…really tough for me. Not so much for Beloved Hubby or Dearest Son, which I was glad about, but I realized a couple more painful truths I’ve been running from for years, and I can’t keep avoiding them anymore. Some long-standing behaviors of mine are gonna hafta change, and I know it’s for the best, but…(sigh)  Sometimes truth hurts, and sometimes changes are hard, and often it’s both at the same time.

I ended up having a lie down as soon as we got back, and woke to a crack of thunder and a stab of lightning that hit a tree in the neighborhood. Well, that explained the headache I’d had off and on all week. I got up when Beloved had to leave for school and just sort of relaxed through the day. I had a lot to think about.

The Chewlian I ‘won’ on eBay came in ! He’s Venus McFlytrap’s pet, an Audrey II-like plant with an irresistible grin. Only one problem – he can’t stand up ! Always tips right over. Ah, well, the doll-scale perfume thingie I painted to look like a trophy won’t stand up straight either. So I looked it up and found that Hobby Lobby carries Bard’s Tacky Wax, a sort of museum putty for miniatures. Comes in a small container, and is pretty inexpensive. I’ll have to remember to pick some up next time we go.

And in other news, as of last week, Ghoulia has her own Hadron Collider. I forgot there was a new webisode, and today’s image is from that, Aba-Kiss Me Deadly. I just loved how pretty she looked in that shot. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bling Bling Belle !

Current Mood : Sated on 'Hunger Games' for now. 

I had a surprise waiting for me this morning. It’s entirely possible that Beloved Hubby thought I might not have enough to keep me busy today while he was in school and Dearest Son was visiting his grandparents. Sometime last night, he located a RedBox DVD copy of The Hunger Games and got it for me. Isn’t he the sweetest ? I’m #114 on the list for it at the Library.

By the time they Library notifies us that it’s ready for pick-up, I’ll probably be ready to see it again. Wow. It’s about as close to the book as it could get – and this is coming from someone who grew up thinking the book is always better than the movie. Sure, it’s off on some details, like the origin of the Mockingjay pin, which eliminates a plot point later in the series, but I guess it didn’t matter at the time they were filming. I have to admit, I was impressed. The film version really captured most of the book’s contents, both intimated and plain said.

Anyway, since I had several hours all my own, I was determined to not waste the myriad of opportunities in them. I made a list of all I wanted to do that I could reasonably get done – all fun, enjoyable activities. However, I passed out asleep in my chair right after the movie, and about all I managed to get done was shower and feed m’self. I didn’t even take the cover off KJ, much less get any sewing done. I’ve certainly made a poor showing of this year’s Sewing Month, that’s fer sure !

Meanwhile, I discovered that the triple ‘strand’ Stardoll necklace (it’s all one piece) and the heart-shaped sunglasses simply don’t fit or work with MH dolls. So Belle got them. Dearest commented that she looked all blinged out, so for now, she’s Bling Bling Belle !

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hearts and hugs Tuesday !

Current Mood : Weary. And full of tasty soup !

I’m not sure if there’s a bug going ‘round, or it's the massive thunderstorm muttering over our heads, or something else entirely, but I’ve been tight-chested and dizzy all day. I really had to push m’self through Beloved Hubby’s art class, even though I enjoyed it. Came home afterwards and darn near passed out while we were still talking. He says several students and a couple professors have reported respiratory complaints and exhaustion, so I wonder…

Woke up feeling better, but still tired. I remembered that last night, I printed out the pattern I told ya about yesterday, and never fetched it off the printer. Hrmf. Seam allowance is about an eighth of an inch – tiny as the ones from Tarja. So I took out my trusty semi-transparent Disney Princess ruler and redrafted it to a quarter inch. Ordinarily, I’d at least try it at the original specs first, but nearly the whole thing’s hemmed, and I already know how frustrated I get at half-size hems. Unfortunately, I lacked the energy to sew it – or even scan it, in case it works ! – so it’s ready when I am.

But I was just a shade too restless to just sit and watch whatever was on cable. So I altered the Stardoll pink ‘hearts’ dress. First round, I just took it in at the side seams a quarter-inch from the stitching, from top hem to bottom hem,  but it seemed a bit tight at the hips. Left the new seam in at the bodice to the waist, then brought it to the original seam, but that made it hang off-center and too ‘hippy’. Ripped out the second effort and resewed the first. It’s snug at the hips, but looks better than it did ! I may run a red or pink ribbon through the gathering loop at the bodice, make it a halter later. Cleo’s modeling for us today, with the Jemgirl Creations red sparkle shoes she borrowed from Ghoulia. Just don’t tell her that the other side of the scrapbooking paper has stripes with ‘baby bump’ and ‘pregnancy glow’  printed on them !

I also fixed the floral halter top – just tucked it ‘til it fit, then sewed it down and hand-adjusted the ribbon straps. I’ll make a skirt to go with it tomorrow, and since she hasn’t had anything new since she got here, I think Spectra will model for us. Dearest Son gets to visit his grandparents, so I’ll have time…long as I don’t go shopping ! (grin)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Free Link to Someone Else's Pattern Inside !

Current Mood : Kicked-back

Current Image Notes : Click to see bigger !

Started off briskly this morning – laundry and mail. Got a grocery circular with some good deals, and there were a couple things we needed anyway, so… Once the laundry was hung out, I went ‘cherry picking’, got all the deals, and spent darn near everything but the change I had. It’s funny, ‘cause, according to the cashier, I saved $12. – but only spent $11. ! And that didn’t count the cheese sampling they had going on, and the candy they gave Dearest Son. The ‘raspberry’ cheese was more an aftertaste of berry than an actual flavor, but it was still good. We both liked the brie and farmer cheddar, but the Spanish Montenebro was a bit too sharp for us.

On the way out, a fundraiser got the rest of my change, and Dearest was handed a small package of Twizzlers. Lucky ! But he deserved it, he was so helpful before and after our little shopping trip.

Luckily, we didn’t need to buy soda. We’re nearly out of the stuff, but we’re cutting back. It’s easy since the weather’s changing and Beloved Hubby and I favor coffee in the morning. I’ve finally learned to appreciate cold, clear water, especially with meals, so it’s no hardship for me. If I want taste, I can always stir up some Kool-Aid or get some tea going. It’s a far cry from when I used to buy two 24-can cases a week and still occasionally run out !

Beloved’s electronic cigarette arrived today, and I gotta say I prefer it by a long chalk ! The vanilla smells heavenly, there’s no cigarette butts, empty packs, and ashes everywhere, and even when I sneaked a puff, my lungs didn’t seize up on me. My poor heart pounded, but my airways twitched not a whit. He likes it, too, so I think the investment will pay off before another two weeks pass. If nothing else, we’ll save a half hour and a gallon or so of gas a day by not running to 7-11 every day (and twice on weekends /days off !).

Didn’t get a lot of one thing done, but a lot of little things. And I found a free blouse pattern for MH, so this isn’t a total waste of time for ya ! Go here, and scroll down a bit ‘til you see Skull Shores DracuLaura. If you click on the picture, you get a brief history of the pattern and some neat photos. The pattern is the text under the photo, so if you want it, click ‘Monster High Blouse’. I look forward to using it in a few days, I like how the dropped waist looks on her example.

Oop. I’m out of water. Gonna get a refill and settle down – I only have about a hundred pages left of The Razor’s Edge, and I can’t wait to see how it all turns out, even though I’ve already seen the movie. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

He looks so good when he's got it all together...

Current Mood : Boy crazy.

What a nice day today was ! We got to sleep in, and I made pancakes for breakfast, then grabbed a shower and settled in to the day. Both my guys had enjoyed their blankets last night, and I slept like a rock, too. Still had a headache, though, so I opted out of visiting M & FIL this afternoon. Between my head and a sudden need for some alone time, I just didn’t think I’d be much fun. So I had a leftover lunch, and put Puma Dude back together again.

Not sure why, but for some reason, his name is Chris. Christopher Something, I haven’t gotten that far yet. The silvery grey isn’t quite blue enough for a better match, but I’m pleased and happy with how he turned out. It is much better than the pink, that much is for sure !

Since Dearest Son had started borrowing the blue and black argyle-patterned socks as gloves, I figured I’d best get to sewing one or both of ‘em before they stretched out. Luckily, I still had the ballpoint needle in KJ from his blanket yesterday. Made just a simple tube, and just for kicks, pushed the cutaway toe onto Spectra’s head, as a hat. It actually fit fairly well. Hmmm…Maybe I could make a beret out of it.

Ended up putting the new dress on Skull Shores Lagoona, since I wanted to dress her in something new this time. I liked how her pink bracelet, headband flower, and earrings looked with the dark blues and black of the dress, so I went with it. Gave her the Stardoll Barbie pink boots and hemmed the beret with pink ribbon, which unfortunately stretched it out a bit too much. So I ran another line of stitching to gather it in a bit. Now it fits, sags a bit to the side like a standard beret, and has an appealing ruffle, which looks pretty good. I sewed a glittery pink star to it, and I liked that, too. You’ll get to see it tomorrow.

I almost wish I could go get the rest of the Stardoll outfit sets while they’re on clearance. The shoes look and fit very well. The dress is gonna take serious work to fit – I can take it in easily enough, it’s just that the bodice is really low on MH dolls – but the other accessories are fun and still in scale. Belle looks really cute in the heart-shaped sunglasses ! 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

I also enjoyed the minky...

Current Mood : Headache-y

While it was all well and good to get through our first ‘shakedown cruise’ with the first home football game of the season, it’s often looked back on as more of the ‘calm before the storm’. Such was today. This game was twice as loud hours earlier, and the parking was so bad, they closed our entire street. But, hey, I’d had a good lunch – fridge clean-out, otherwise known as ‘Leftover Smorgasbord’ ! – and my favorite chip-and-dip snack, along with my second favorite, celery, ready to go with plenty of soda and ginger ale for the whole night. Bring it !

I also had my pick of projects to keep my mind and hands busy. New library books, Barbie-to-MH alterations sewing, a new blanket to hem for Dearest Son, a stalled Halloween project, fixing the dents still in Spectra’s hair, awesome new lace to sew onto something totally wicked cool, and a really long-delayed Puma Dude to spray-paint. Hmm…

It helped that we got to spend some quality time – and two 40% off coupons ! – with our old friend Hobby Lobby early this morning. Dearest picked out some markdown model spray paint for his Christine homage, and I figured, the weather’s good, we have the door open anyway, humidity is low…let’s paint together ! Gave Puma a good kitchen-sink bath, then took him apart and washed his soon-to-be-painted pink parts a second time, then toweled them dry. That sounds much dirtier than it is. But I wanted him to be dust free. That tiny can of $7. paint would need to cover it all, with no do-overs.

And it did ! Beloved Hubby had to help a bit – his touch with a spray can is remarkable, he gets the best coverage ! – but three coats and a touch-up later, he was drying in the late afternoon sun, awaiting the dawn of tomorrow to be reassembled. It’s not a perfect match, I couldn’t find anything close enough, but it’s so smooth, it almost looks cast in that color, and it’s much better than pastel pink !

That not-CAM piece in the lower left corner is some sort of generic doll-size makeup thingie, perhaps it’s meant to be a perfume bottle. It, too was pink, so I added it to the paint pile. Now it can go on the Trophy Display as an award for…something or other. Botany, maybe, since it has a rose on top. At least it’s not gold like all the others ! And all the bits got painted on one of my much-enjoyed ramen noodle boxes. I always have a new use for one of those things...

Despite all the scrapbook papers HLobby has, and on sale, too, I didn’t find any to wrap around the box supporting the bleachers. I may just use some grey or ‘stone’ print I already have. In addition to some cool new lace, I also got the one-inch wide elastic in black that I’ve been looking for. Now Skull Shores Ghoulia, the one with the broken arm, has a black cuff, instead of just white ones. I even made two, so it looks less like a cast and more like a fashion statement.

Dearest and Beloved had a bit of negotiation going on while we were there. I found a nice blanket I thought Beloved might like, but it wasn’t like the red velvet blanket. That’s Beloved and Dearest’s favorite, but we only have one, and Dearest was using it. Until he saw the bolt of red ‘cuddle dimple’ minky in the fabric section ! He proposed giving Beloved back the red velvet blanket if he could have one made of the dimpled minky. Done ! We got two yards – on 30% off ! – and that was the only other project I completed today, getting his blanket ready for tonight. I used a plate to curve the corners, made ribbon from the selvages, and ran two circuits of zig-zag to ‘hem’ it. Like most fleece fabrics, it won’t ravel or fray, but I like to give it a bit of finish. Heck, the only reason I cut the selvages is that they were marked with an ugly black line on the back side. On the reverse, the dimples made the material look like a gigantic strawberry !  It threw red lint all inside KJ, but his appreciative smile made it worth the bit of extra post-sew cleanup.

Unfortunately, I now have a massive headache that refuses to acknowledge either the acetaminophen or ibuprofen I’ve gulped, so I’m gonna lie down with whatever library book has the largest print.  Hope your Saturday was unique and awesome !

Friday, September 21, 2012

Doll hair fun day !

Current Mood : Happy

Big day for Dearest Son – first Flea Market of the month ! And since yard sale season is drying up, the Flea looked more like booths with familiar sellers and less like several trash trucks disgorged their random treasures onto sawhorse and plywood tables. He was looking for one seller in particular, the one with the scale car models, and luck was with us, he was there today. After studying the array of awesome autos, he selected a classic Maisto blue 1965 Corvette. Had to advance him a couple bucks, but totally worth it.

Didn’t find anything for me, so we hit Target down the street. I figured the little MH goodies I kept seeing on eBay were from their Dollar Spot, and I was right. I got the dry erase board I wanted from the four styles available, and two pair of socks – one for me, one for doll clothes. I also saw the stickers, little notebooks, and fluffy novelty pens, none of which I wanted today. Found the stretchy bookcover on markdown for 60c, and snagged one. Not sure how I’ll use it, but for 60c, I can keep it around for a bit.

You’d think, with my love of fairy tales, I’d be all over the Target-exclusive Scary Tales line, but…for whatever reason, they just don’t engage me. Sad, because that’s about all the store had, aside from art kits, the Sweet 1600 car, and one lonely DracuLaura reissue, on the doll section shelves. Saw that Stardolls were on  half-off markdown, and got the pink heart dress – with the pink boots and black-and-white shoes -  accessory set. I’ve wanted it since we all learned that their shoes fit MH, so I was happy to find it at a great price. Anybody want the Stardoll website code card ? Some Barbie Basics dolls and accessory sets were also on markdown, and the Winx ‘casual’ and ‘concert’ dolls were on sale for $12.99. Tempting. Wish I could get a straight answer if Winx shoes fit MH dolls, I’ve heard ‘yes’ and ‘no’ several times over !

Snagged Dearest’s lunch and a snack for me, the milk we needed, and we were headed for home. He couldn’t wait to open his new Corvette. I figured I’d save my Stardoll goodies for tomorrow – unless the dress fits Ballerina Belle, it and the floral crop top are getting altered to fit Spectra. There’s another home game tomorrow, and I’m really going to do my best to avoid traffic, and the best way is to get all involved in a new project. And I do love altering doll clothes. All I need now is a huge bag of potato chips, and I'm ready !

Speaking of Belle, her hair is dry. And a total mess. Most of it is so short, it can’t be styled at all, and the rest veers off on independent tangents. About the only way to make it look good at all was to put it back into a ponytail, and leave it down. It actually looks more film-accurate that way than any of the theatrical-release dolls I bought back in 1991 ! That’s probably why I like this one so much, she quite resembles the first Belle doll I had, the first one that, well, was.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mystery doll, sign in please !

Current Mood : So very sleepy...

Current Image Notes : Twice the fun ! Click to enlarge !

Therapy day. I didn’t want to go, even had a huge spike headache, but went anyway. The ‘homework’ assignment from last week didn’t make sense to me, and it was much harder than I expected, so I confess, I was carrying arrogance. I’ve also been considering my behavior about and around Dearest Son since his birth, and…well, lots need to change, and I was also feeling a little helpless and a twitch overwhelmed. I just find it hard to believe that, when I have to repeat myself several times before anyone hears and/or understands me, and I still use my ‘Projecting Voice’, that my attitude and opinions influences anyone around me. I now see how it has been for Dearest.

So, I feel a little better now, after discussing it with S., our therapist, and I think I’m on the right path. Can’t change core beliefs I’ve had since childhood overnight, but I can learn how some of them are unfounded, hurtful, and not conducive to the person I like to think I am – or at least, can be. S. is very good !

Otherwise, it was more doll fun this afternoon, while Dearest played and took a nap. He’s sort of like me, and doesn’t rest well the night before anything remotely medical. Deboxed and photographed Ballerina Belle, and she was worse than I thought. The three (!) plastic tabs anchoring her head to the box liner had all broken, so she had sharp barbs sticking up all over her very sparsely rooted head. If Mattel hadn’t painted her pate brown, it’d look far worse. She has straight legs that only allow her to sit, and don’t go backwards much at all. No arabesques for Belle ! I think 1959 Barbies are the few dolls with less articulation, since Belle at least has the ball-style arm socket. She’s also very light, only slightly heavier than a blow-molded knockoff.

But, oh, that face ! I’m not even sure why I’m suddenly so attracted to it, but I think she’s gorgeous. It’s not the first Belle doll with it, but this one doesn’t have a widow’s peak so sharp, she’s fending off contracts with NCIS or opening mail with it. I just can’t help but smile fondly at her each time I see her. I probably should have left her hair up, but it’s now down and drying, because it’s styled to stay up. Oddly enough, I can wear her tiara-ring ! I’m trying to figure how to make or find her some clothes that’ll fit over the molded parts but still ‘go’ with her yellow toe shoes. It may be that later, I’ll transfer her head to another body. Wish me luck finding a match !

I also noticed a three-pack of other Disney ballerinas – Cinderella, Snow White, and Ariel. Very pretty – and Cinderella was about a half-inch taller than the other two. It wasn’t just packaging. I found that intriguing.

I also spent some time with Spectra. While I brushed her hair yesterday, I didn’t really play with it until today. It’s so gloriously soft ! May have to give her a hot-water rinse, too, since her hair still has some packaging and ponytail bends in it. I really like it down, but it’s so pretty, playing with curls will be something to look forward to. As she is now, though, she looks so pensive. If a doll isn’t smiling happily at me, I prefer ‘wistful’ to ‘disdainful’ any day.

I kinda wish I could remove the ‘ball and  chain’ tulle overlay, ‘cause the dress underneath is so understatedly cool. I admit it, I love one-shoulder outfits, especially if they’re asymmetrical in other ways, but the overlay just doesn’t fit or float right. I like her shoes – they look like they were knitted ! – but I think the dress looks better without the ribcage-like shoulder chains and ankle manacles. Who knew there was a bright pink ribbon accent hiding under those chains ? And that she’d look so compellingly vulnerable with her hair down ? Not me. Wow. And I wonder how the design team for MH does it – and keeps doing it, again and again. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I gotta quit having so many 'MINE !' images and so few "I Made !" ones.

Current Mood : Giggly

Watched something sort-of interesting today, on MTV, of all places. It was called True Life, and the episode was ‘I’m a Compulsive Shopper’. I thought that was unique right there, you’d think they’d go with the more demographic-friendly ‘I’m a Shopaholic’. But as the title might indicate, they actually took it seriously. One of the two women profiled was shown attending a “Debtors Anonymous” meeting. I’d love to see the parking lot outside that ! Of course, watching someone moan about not being able to buy $200. jeans ‘cause she’s ducking Rent-A-Center’s repo truck when we’ve been on the Austerity Plan for more than a month was a challenge – I really, really wanted to throw something at the screen !

Of course, two hours later, I was on my way to TRU, with a serendipitous ‘$5. off Anything’ coupon that arrived yesterday, good today only. I like being part of their free Rewards club, but so many of their unexpected perks arrive when I can’t use ‘em, which makes me feel a bit bad. But that wasn’t the case today ! I wanted to see the Mystixx and was contemplating getting a very specific MH doll, one I didn’t think I’d ever want. 

Not sure if you remember, so here’s the deal. Last year, about a month or two before her official release, a prototype ‘Spectra Von Hauntington’ doll image appeared. Debate about this doll was fierce. At least on one MH site of my unfortunate acquaintance. Since that name wasn’t trademarked by Mattel, but ‘Spectra Vondergeist’ was, and the box style wasn’t anywhere near the original ‘Trapper Keeper’ every fan was already so familiar with, I thought she was either a prototype or the most clever fake ever.

My big mistake was voicing this opinion. While I wasn’t alone in thinking it, I furthered the stupid by using logic, then typing and posting that, too. Fact is, at the time, nobody knew for sure, and Mattel certainly wasn’t saying anything, one way or the other. But several other site users took grave offense to my opinions, and seemed to enjoy tracking my posts on completely unrelated threads and adding insults and other delights to everything I said, even if it was answering a poll. I sent a note to the admin owner, only to find out that the ringleader was his girlfriend. I erased every bit of my presence on that site and only went back when I hit a link before I noticed what site it went to.

Several months later, all questions were answered, technically none of us were right. But I now hated this doll, hated the fandom, and hovered right on the edge of hating MH completely. Even finally seeing one in the harsh light of retail didn’t change my mind, although I found m’self liking the character. At first, I thought it was the ‘impossible for anybody but a toy manufacturer’ fade-to-clear aspects, but I got over Cupid’s even stranger ‘fade to black with tattoos on top’ design and Operetta’s facial scarring well enough, so I realized that, while I simply didn’t like the ‘basic’ doll, I was open to other versions with different hair. I wasn’t still  carrying the ridiculous fallout from the fansite against her anymore. And, btw, numerous resin / vinyl kitbashers in Japan can tell you, they can cast fan models in any color, including clear, in their own garages and even living rooms, if their landlords are lenient enough. It’s simply not as popular a hobby in the States.

I’ve been keeping my eyes open for a Dot Dead Gorgeous Spectra ever since. And, yes, from that typically long-winded extrapolation, you can infer correctly that today, I found one. I now have a lovely DDG Spectra that Dearest Son helped me pick out, and another surprise doll you’ll see tomorrow. Truly, no one’s more surprised than me that I just *had* to have this other doll, and no, she’s not MH or a Mystixx. Or even bought for her clothes or inexpensive cost, although she was on sale. Our TRU didn’t have any of the Mystixx line, but said they may be in tomorrow’s truck, if I wanted to call. Naaah. Instead I heard an old MST3000 riff echoing around in my empty head, ‘You spent your nickel, we’re done !’, which is about how I still feel.

And here’s the bonus fun – I’ve already deboxed her, and Spectra is amazing ! She has bracelets from her box art molded into her hands, and because those are clear, you can actually see the whole mechanism for the wrists ! Her hair reminds me of My Little Pony’s Twilight Sparkle, my favorite character. She is kind of hard to photograph, but about all I can ask of MH is for it to keep being outrageously original, and Spectra of any version is certainly that. I also want to be inspired to try new things, and those tiny elastic banded wrist bows are so tiny, I didn’t think they could be done. Now I can do them, and really wanna try soon. Hate that I’ve missed having a Spectra for so long, but I’m also glad I waited for the right one for me. I’m sure you’ll be seeing a lot more of this purple dynamo in the near future ! I have the neatest idea for a pair of pants for her…

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mal-Wart, home of low prices and rude jerks. Always.

Current Mood : Dropped from shopping...

Current Image Notes : Click to see more Dollar Tree knockoff fun ! 

Beloved Hubby’s already gotten back the grades from one midterm – 96 ! So thanks for the kind wishes. He’s under a lot of stress, and we do what we can to support him, but we all need that extra encouragement now and again.

Really busy day today. The funds we’ve been awaiting arrived, and to celebrate, I took Dearest Son to Dollar Tree for some fun and some necessaries. I got the very last package of MH stickers in the whole store. I bought two earlier this month, but gave one away, and kinda wanted another. They still had tons of GI Joe, Dora, and Spiderman, but only a few Barbie and Avengers remaining. I also found more knockoff Fashion Monsters, this time as a set of posters. I’ll toss in scans of the line art whenever I don’t have a photo pending, because they are kind of cute, and sometimes knockoffs can sharpen our appreciation of the real thing. Or just make us want both ! One day, I will see an actual doll knockoff, I just know it.

We also hit Mal-Wart when class was over. (sigh) I never hate people as much as when I’m in a M-W. Had an associate march right down the middle of the ‘racetrack’, no cart or anything even in her hands, but I had to dive Dearest and our cart into the t-shirts to avoid her. She certainly wasn’t getting out of a mere customer’s way ! Also saw someone note what line we were getting in and race to be there first, and had a herd of shorts-with-Ugg-boots 20-somethings cut right in front of us when the cashier in the cell phone kiosk wouldn’t let one of ‘em have her way. Arrrgh.

But Dearest got the new bed he needs – we can’t find where his old one is leaking – and some soft, warm pants for cooler climes. I got some Fall shoes with actual arch support ! They’re cute, too. I also found a markdown purse I just love, and I swear, once I wear it out, I’m cutting it up to serve as a pattern. We got a few other long-delayed necessities, and headed for home and a quick freezer-to-oven dinner. It felt great to get those things we’ve been needing so long, but I was so glad to be home ! 

Monday, September 17, 2012

I've always liked this cute little dress !

Current Mood : Looking forward to soooo much !

Had a bit of a rocky start this morning – Beloved Hubby’s on midterm exams this week, already ! -  so it took a while before I got going, but I had lots of fun once I did ! Finally put the bleachers that came with the Monster High school playset to use, seating the six Fearleaders on my uppermost doll shelf. Unfortunately, as with many Mattel (coughBarbiekofff) furniture pieces, the bottom row is too low to use the way most of us would like. If you bend the dolls’ knees to a standard angle, it unbalances them – their knees are higher than their waists, and hence tend to tip over. Instead, they have to sit with their legs more or less straight. 

Worse for me, as the shelf is too narrow to let them sit flat out like that. (sigh) I’ll boost it up on a box, once I find a VHS-size one at the Post Office. I have one that’s partially crushed from a package mailing and Dearest Son’s play, so I know it’s the right size. For now, though, Ghoulia, Cleo, and Frankie’s feet are dangling in Lagoona, Abbey, and Ghoulia’s faces. I’m hoping to get to Hobby Lobby soon, so I can wrap the box in a nice sheet of 50%-off scrap paper.

I also did some rearranging, as putting seven dolls in the space of four freed up some space. Now the ghouls look more like they’re talking in a herd instead of ignoring each other every third doll. I also did a couple small clothing repairs – I tacked the ribbon belt on to the crystal-pleated skirt I made for Dead Tired DracuLaura several months ago – and swapped out some clothes. The two dresses I bought from a MH Marketplace seller arrived, and I had fun picking out jewelry to go with Gloom Beach Clawdeen’s new dress. The pattern I had for lining the sandals with sticky-back felt or fun foam has vanished, so I made a new one, and cut into the sticky black felt for the first time. It really helps hold Clawdeen’s feet in and forward. I also removed the white bow from the neckline and sewed it to the hemline instead. I’m weird like that.

Cut out one of those ‘trial’ thingies I hope to make a bunch of for Halloween photos this year. No time to sew one today, and I think it’ll be too big, but we’ll see. Hopefully I’ll get to stitch it up tomorrow, after the Homeschool class and before dinner. Wish me luck ! And please wish my Beloved luck in his midterms ! 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Who wants some Cadbury Screme Egg ? I can never eat a whole one...

Current Mood : Hopeful

"Either the gargoyles are getting bigger or this is
gonna be frightful when it hatches !"
Tried something new today ! Last night was Taco Night, and as usual, we ate heartily, leaving only an ounce of seasoned hamburger, a single taco shell, and most of the can of refried beans. I was so tired, I just put the lid on the pot the refried beans were cooked and served in, and shoved it in the fridge with the other leftovers.

Decided on a can of bean soup for lunch, but the best pot to cook that in was, natch, the one that had cold refried beans in it. I was still scooping them out of the pot when I realized – that’s beans, too. Just different kinds. And I like them, although it is kinda hard to finish ‘em before they turn bad. Not that fond of burritos, and after one lunch of ‘em, I tend to forget that there’s still some beans left. What if…I added some water, the taco hamburger, some cut-up lunchmeat ham, and pepper, then stirred together a soup out of that ? It was delicious ! Especially with crackers. I enjoyed every last bite.

Not much else going on, we all loafed around and planned the upcoming week. The girls next door came over to play, and Beloved Hubby organized a quick drawing lesson, mostly to involve everyone in something besides dropping stuff from the third floor landing.  Next time, I’m gonna teach them to fold origami boxes, and have a ‘refresher course’ handout ready to print.

I had a better idea for today’s photo, but I couldn’t find the pipe cleaners I used to have. I may have ditched them. Oh, well. I’m sure I’ll be able to find another Screme Egg and craft supplies later. BTW, the yolk that’s yellow at Easter is green in this one. Otherwise, they taste exactly the same, and are identical under the foil wrapping, too. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Dang, Deuce !

Current Mood : Beyond lazy, although I am halfway through reading The Razor's Edge.

Current Image Notes : Not sure what’s going on (I can guess !) in this image from Ghoulfriends Forever, but I want to make this dress ! Actually, I just want to own that dress, so I’ll probably have to make it.

Got the new coffee maker cleaned up – it works like a dream. Even has that little lever that allows one of us to ‘steal’ a cup while the pot’s still brewing, and it works. Our last coffee maker had the slot for it, but not the mechanism, because it was the super-cheap model. We left that one for FIL, who drinks far more coffee than we do. And I honestly thought the hand-strainer would work as well. It did OK, just took for-ev-er. And that was just for one cup ! $5. is well-worth both Beloved Hubby and I having a cup together, with breakfast, in my book.

I also learned precisely how small our kitchen is. If the dining area table is cluttered up with therapy homework, Beloved’s classwork, and various bits of AirSoft stuff he’s trying to ditch on eBay, I have to pile the dishes in the kitchen. The sink pretty much overflows with CorelleWare after one meal, much less two, and by the time dinner rolls around, there’s no room to cook. So I had to break my cardinal rule of no dishwashing on weekends, because we were all getting pretty darn hungry ! At least it didn’t take too long, and I’ll try to keep tonight’s supper dishes done up as we go. The labels and stickers came right off the former popcorn mason jar, and I’m only waiting for it to dry before I fill it with cornmeal.

I gotta quit letting the days get away from me ! 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Fun with SallyAnn !

Current Mood : Autumn-ish

Ahhh…it’s deliciously cool today. Our thoughts turn naturally to rich, warm, dark coffee. My poor attempts at making coffee without a coffee maker have been just that – poor. Takes forever, and isn’t nearly as good. I was about to try boiling the grounds then straining them when we had a few bucks come in from eBay sales via our checking account. We withdrew a $20., for Dearest Son’s allowance and for me, Beloved Hubby said I could spend it on whatever I wanted. But I knew the thing that’d improve the mood most around Chez Insanity would be a coffee pot. So, cash in hand, Dearest and I headed for Salvation Army.

It’s funny. Not too long ago, I was always saying I never found anything at SallyAnn, and preferred GoodWill to even the home-grown thrifts. Recent visits to the local and GWill have been tragic. Broken stuff priced at maybe 25% off the brand-new price, and you can see that it’s broken. Messy, overcrowded stores, stuffed full of dinged merchandise and grabby people. I don’t even like going anymore, and that’s almost a 180-degree about-face from where I was just a year or two ago. I can’t really say if I’ve changed or situations overall have.

Either way, my luck at SallyAnn has been great. I love the fold-down ironing board we got a couple weeks ago – it works great, and paying $3. instead of $30. makes it all the better in my book – and my goal of a under-$10. (preferably $5.) coffee maker was easily in sight. I found two right off, one for $6. and a slightly newer one for $8., and was debating between the two when I spied a third on a higher shelf. It was in the best shape, was pretty basic (no timers or such), and mostly already clean. The heat plate did its thing quickly when I tested it, so I had our new coffee maker – for $4.99. Score ! Yeah, I could have gone brand-new for $15., but I hate to buy new when we’ll use it off and on for three or four months, then it’ll sit ‘til Fall again. And I didn’t want to wait for Black Friday deals, I don’t want to even be out in that mess this year, either. So this new gadget is perfect for us. I couldn’t wait to try it out.

For his part, Dearest can always find something in a pile of junk that he has just the perfect use for, and I have no idea where he gets that from. He’s been looking for a doll to use as a prop in his planned horror movie, and you just know he found it today. It’s a porcelain bride doll, one of those that looks identical to six million others, and the eight other porcelain dolls sharing shelf space, only the apparel changes. And cardboard-y white satin gets dingy, dirty, and yellow fast. Amazingly, she was intact, fingers, shoes and even a card with her copyright date (1988), but still made of cheap porcelain, badly painted, and poorly dressed when ya looked past the tulle and crap satin. During the collectable doll craze, someone probably paid $25. for her, and I thought she was overpriced at $10. today, but her ticket color was designated half price, so we both thought that was reasonable. And still left him a couple bucks, so when we found that 1985 cartoon Chipmunks fast-food premium glass, he snagged it eagerly. He was proud and happy with his selections – and still had $2. left !

We traversed the whole store, but the only other thing I bought was a tall mason jar that once held popcorn-on-the-cob. Once it’s clean and de-stickered, it’ll be perfect for either the open box of grits or the open bag of cornmeal in the fridge. Not bad for a buck, and if there’d been more than one, I’d have bought the lot. Pantry Moths attacked what I thought was an airtight glass jar of rice last month – luckily we didn’t have much in the jar anyway – so now I’m on guard. Since we also still have an occasional bug sighting, I’ve been hunting airtight containers. I had bunches, but most got left with the food inside at M & FIL’s.

Used the sad remnants of that ill-fated $20. to secure vinegar (to clean the coffee maker) and our favorite brand of frozen pizzas, and headed home. What a great afternoon ! Hope you get to do some junking this weekend. If you're into that sort of thing !