Wednesday, October 31, 2012

'Tis the witchy, glittery hour...

Current Mood : Ready for November !

Happy Halloween !  Arranged another trade today, which, fortunately for me, didn’t involve sewing anything. Someone was looking for Ghoulia’s issue diary, and I had two, so I asked for the Casketball shoes she had up for grabs. Can always use more boyfiend shoes, and I have plenty of spray paint to make ‘em unique. I like trading – it’s like getting rewarded for cleaning out the cluttery stuff !

Made little drawstring treat bags for Dearest Son and the girls next door. I’d reserved one of each candy we had in our trick-or-treat bowl, plus some of the MH favors from that pack I got the doll-size Decomposition Books in, and it just didn’t look cool in a plastic sandwich baggie. So I made bags from the black broadcloth I had sitting around, and added ribbons in their favorite colors. Much better. Don’t know of a kid anywhere who can’t use a neat bag for small treasures. Sandwich bags, not so much.

Unfortunately, that’s the only sewing I got done today. Due to the holiday, Dearest’s schedule with his grandparents was shifted to tonight, so they could take him trick-or-treating in their neighborhood. Between showers, getting him ready, and getting the trades in the mail, not to mention the bags, there just wasn’t time. Maybe tomorrow, after family therapy, I can squeeze at least getting it started in !

Once I had the swap dress in the mail, I kinda copped out and opened the Ghouls Rule DracuLaura dress I got in exchange. I can probably remove the half-overskirt, but the sleeves will have to stay. May shorten them, but honestly, I haven’t even put it on a doll yet. It’s a lovely dress, though. I also got my Coffin Bean sofa and chair in the mail today, but it was locked up in the office for the day by the time I checked. Gotta go tomorrow, anyway – rent day !

If you’re wondering why I haven’t commented on the recent sale of Lucasfillm to Disney, it’s because I’m kind of still in shock. I mean, I knew ole George said he wasn’t doing any more Star Wars films, but for sure I wasn’t expecting Disney to ! Guess I handed in my fangirl card at about the right time, for once.

Well, time to go pick up Dearest Son. Hope your hauntings were fun today ! 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

And...there's a cheongsam / qi pao here !

Current Mood : Victorious ! 

I did it ! I sewed up the ‘commission’ dress ! I fussed around after Beloved Hubby’s art class and even took a bit of a nap…then decided to just get it done. And it came out really nice, too ! I always have so many ‘jamming’ issues when I have a ‘customer’ and a deadline. But I took it slow, took breaks when I got tense, and it didn’t take that much longer than it did the first time I tried this design, breaks and all. Whew. I hate that it won’t go out ‘til tomorrow, but I’m happy with it, and I’ve already sent that photo of it to its future owner. She loves how it looks – I hope she loves the actual item. It’s all packed up and ready to ship. I’ve checked twice to make sure the Ghoulia choker is in there !

Main reason I just got to it is because the Ghouls Rule  DracuLaura dress she sent me arrived today. Guilt city ! I don’t wanna open it until my trade’s at least in the mail to her. One of my next projects is gonna be to take the dress apart if I can, make it more simple and less showy. Or I may just leave it alone. I still want to try shirring without elastic sometime soon, and the dress’ bodice is shirred. Wanna see how the pros do it.

While I had the ribbon out, I checked – in addition to the felt for HooDude, I also need hot pink and white ribbon. Gonna have to watch the video again to guess how wide. I know it’s ¼” or less. Need black ¼” ribbon and more black Velcro ™, too. I use up notions fast when I sew nearly every day !

Tomorrow, I hope to sew up that long-delayed box. Glad I don’t make my ‘project’ lists too far ahead of time ! 

Monday, October 29, 2012

No commandos at Chez Insanity !

Current Mood : Hopeless

Ok. I felt better today, but…I just couldn’t make m’self sew the Qi Pao for the trade today. This usually happens. I can sew for me, no problem, but when I’m sewing for someone else, I jam up something fierce. I have the hardest time even starting ! I’m so afraid of failure, or even making something that is just too easy to metaphorically rip to shreds, it’s a challenge to sew a stitch.

I did, however, find the fabric. But I was just too distracted and hyper to sew either the box or the dress, although I wanted to sew something, just to keep my hands busy. I’d noticed a few days ago that Dearest Son’s DracuLaura was running around commando – no shorts, no skirt, nothin’. At least she was wearing her issue blouse. None of his others were half-dressed, so I figured I'd stitch up a quick skirt for her. The one I made for my green CAM Saturday was easy, and I could use the same fabric for the Qi Pao, make sure I had the tension and stitches correct. And I needed some practice in jeans seams – I always go crooked.

So, there she is, with Dearest’s adorable Halloween Kitty ! It came out very well, and even my topstitching looks good. It helps that the thread matches the fabric so closely. I also got the Ghouls Rule bowl and ‘hand’ stand in the mail – my buffet is complete. Should have a photo for you soon, if I get all these projects knocked out !

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Swaps and exhaustion

Current Mood : Resigned

Wasn’t feeling too well today, so I didn’t even start sewing up the box. Good thing we emptied a ramen box at lunch, so I had a place to put all the pieces. I always have a use waiting when we get a ‘new’ ramen box in the house !

So I played around online and found that someone on the MH subforum was looking for the tiny black choker that came with Ghoulia’s ‘Comic Club’ outfit. I have it, never use it, so I offered…and asked what she’d like for the Ghouls Rule DracuLaura dress she had pictured for trade/sales. She said she’d be glad to trade me for the choker, but it seemed unequal to me. Invited her to take a tour of my Flickr photos, see if there was a dress or something I could make for her, to even things out.

She chose the faux Qi Pao / Cheongsam I sewed up at the beginning of the month, worn by greyscale Frankie. Black, with red ribbon trim. I was glad, because I’d been wanting to sew it a few more times, test my slightly revamped directions – but nervous, as I hadn’t touched that design since I finished it for Frankie. I’d intended to sew it today, but knew anything I touched would just go to the trash can. Ah, well – if I get to it tomorrow, put the box off ‘til Wednesday, and the ‘Boyfiends Week’ ‘til the first week of November, I can get it in the mail to her when we go to the Library Tuesday.

For now, though, I feel too icky to even make sure I have the right width red ribbon, much less dig in the bins for the black fabric. I also have to check my inventory for the white and hot pink ribbon for HooDude. With all I got going on, I don’t need to take on any more projects, but darn, I wanna do that one !

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Current Mood : A bit worried...

It definitely wasn’t a lazy day – but it wasn’t very relaxing either. We’d intended to hit Aldi’s first thing this morning, so I was up early after staying up late with Beloved Hubby. Got my chores done, my shower taken…and Beloved just wouldn’t stay awake ! He ended up sleeping in, that turkey !

By the time I was ready to join him, Dearest Son was awake, so I stayed up instead. Kinda futzed and puttered around before I settled down to start cutting out the pieces for my project box. Ten minutes later, when I was digging for more fleece, the girls next door came by to play. So I cut what I could outside…in the coldest Saturday since March. Thirty-eight degrees ! I had to dig out the Princess Leia hat-wig, because the wind down the breezeway was making my ears ache. I had it about halfway done when Beloved was finally up for the day, and it was shower time for my guys.

Finished my cuts – yaaay ! – when we piled into Venus-diesel for our delayed grocery run. And…she didn’t start. Diesels, what’cha gonna do ? By the time she was warmed up and charged up enough to go, it was pretty much game time, and traffic was insane before the tow-truck drivers showed for the third wave of yankings. Two-way roads were now one-way, from all the illegally parked cars, and while the tows were doing all they could, it was a total disaster out there. So we settled for picking up McDinner and coming  home.

It was still light out when supper was over, and the girls were eager to show Beloved their book reports. You remember, the ones they had to complete in order to earn their Clawdeen and Lagoona dolls. They both did well, and two ghouls left Chez Insanity to begin their lives with them. For all her earlier studied indifference, the eldest actually squeee’d when Clawdeen was placed in her outstretched hands. We all got hugs. I am more than amply rewarded. Still owe them some kimonos – I have four other projects still to do first !

As night began, I cleaned up the strings and threads and bits from my box cuttings. I used all my fleece, every bit I had. Since the fleece is all inside, several pieces are…well, pieces pieced together. Used most of my stiff fusible interfacing, too. Luckily, I keep a running ‘craft list’ of what I need in (appropriately enough !) a MH notebook I keep in my purse. Wish Aldi’s carried felt, but I should be able to swing  a trip to a fabric or craft store next week sometime.

Meanwhile, I knew I wanted to keep my hands busy, but it was far too late to start sewing up the box. So I grabbed a cutaway scrap and sewed up a skirt instead. It’s the NG Creations ‘Long Straight Skirt’ pattern, from the second set. Very simple, very well fitted – reminded me a lot of a similar pattern I had in Doll Shop Deluxe when it worked. Trashed all the DSD printout patterns during a move, then the program glitched and LivingSoft NW won’t accept my ancient code for any of the updates, so I finally had to dump it. Haven’t missed the hassle much, but it is nice to have a good slim-skirt pattern again.

I swear, I have more fun sewing stuff up and changing things around on a tested printed pattern than I do creating patterns m’self ! 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Well, we tried...

Current Mood : Sleepy and a bit cold...

Enough of that ‘heavy lifting’ thinking, it was starting to give me a headache !

Brushed out Spectra’s hair – no change, but it’s as soft and pretty as a dream cloud – and Cleo’s from their boil-perm / rinses this morning. Not much of a change on Cleo, and it may be that I simply spent time with her, but I think she looks much better. I’m happy with her as she is now, and don’t want Skull Shores Cleo anymore. Redressed her in her sole fashion, bought used and slightly altered from the same nice person I got the green doll from. I never saw Cleo’s clothes in stores – haven’t seen Spectra’s either – but I probably would have given it a pass if I had. I mean, she already *has* her mummy wrap outfit, why didn’t Mattel choose something more exotic or different for her ? But now that I have it, it looks great on her, even if it is super-short. May put some pants on under it or something later.

Found five sticker name-tags with gold borders spinning on the wind in the parking lot while I was doing laundry. Offered them to Dearest Son, thinking they’d be fun to make into diplomas, since he’s playing school with his dolls. Instead, he made them into framed photos of his top ‘students’, and hung them into the ‘auditorium’ set he was making. He’s so creative !

And I arranged a trade for the Ghouls Rule DracuLaura dress with a message board friend – soon as she lets me know what dress she wants me to make for her, we’ll swap ! I’m slowly working my way to confidence enough to share my sewing hobby, and while it’s taking forever, I feel that it’s almost time. And hey, if I can get the small things I want without spending family funds, yaaay, bonus !

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any of the elements needed cut out for the box project. Truth be told, I didn’t even pick it out until just before dinner. I know I have yards of various black fabrics, and a few hundred prints to choose from, I just wasn’t too eager to dig through it all. I was sifting through a likely dozen prints when I found the black, and that decided the print.

Now all I have to do is get over my lazy spell, and hop to it ! Maybe tomorrow, I’m tired….

Thursday, October 25, 2012

There's something so oddly compelling about this ghoul...

Current Mood : sleepy, so very sleepy...

Believe this or not, but off and on all day, I kept thinking about the questions that The People vs. George Lucas raised in my mind. It occurred to me that my fangirl tendencies didn’t change – they just shifted to a new locus. And it also led me to understand why I dumped Barbie at close to the same time.

Thing is…I never really liked Barbie. Seriously. Even as a kid, it was more about playing with the other girls in the subdivision than it was about Barbie, and it was both more satisfying and more uncomfortable than playing with baby dolls. Y’see, while my home life may have been less than the studied quiet perfection my folks tried to present to the public, I was far from the only one with family matters. We *all* played out our traumas and parental issues right out in front of each other, and it was often laid raw and painful. But it was my best, if not only, opportunity to work out what I could, so I took it, even though I hated the fact that not one of my little avatars looked like me. Now that I think back, it was mostly two brunettes and a redhead, and Barbie didn’t look like any of us.

And every chance I got, I abandoned the Mattel girls. While I loved that she was the rough-and-tumble Rebel I loved from Star Wars, the main reason I wanted the Kenner Princess Leia doll was her brown hair.  Even my baby dolls and the ‘boudoir’ doll on my dresser was blonde. The sole survivor of my childhood is Leia – it was too easy to give all the Barbies away once the most important part of them, the social therapy, was gone. While I used them for the neighborhood psychodramas, and I was one of the last to give them up, none of them, not even Skipper, was ever really ‘me’.

My adult preoccupation was even simpler. I wanted something all to myself that no one else would want. And by then, there were numerous brunette dolls, not just Barbie and Leia. Before I went nutz after Dearest Son’s birth, I had five dolls – Leia, Belle, Sailor Jupiter, Lisa Hayes, and Whitney. All their clothes, furniture, and accessories fit in a shoe box. When I found out how popular Barbie was online, and how buying more and more got me attention and even mild praise, that’s when I released the beast. At one point, thanks to thrift stores and yard sales, I had over 200, amassed in less than a year. Most of them, I didn’t even like. But I did enjoy the praise and attention of the various message boards…

While I’d love to say I’m glad those days are gone, we both know it’s merely transferred to Monster High. That was something else I couldn’t figure out, and I’m still working on. While my Senior High years weren’t a daily torture, they weren’t the best years of my life, either, and with Barbie, I’d avoided buying dolls specifically marketed as teenagers. Now we have a school playset full of ‘em, and while I recognize the fangirl in it, I still don’t know why it appeals to me, except that they’re a challenge to sew for, and they didn’t come with half the baggage Barbie did. 

I still like the praise and attention. But I don’t need it like I did before. I like to share and create and alter, and if no one responds, that’s fine. I like seeing what everyone else is doing, which never really surfaced with Babs – I mostly gave complements to get them. Can’t do that anymore, I feel too dishonest, that I’m lying to them, myself, and even the dolls. There’s repaints out there that I’m sure are breathtaking – to someone who isn’t me. Truth be told, most repaints make me upset or sad. And I think that if I see one more ‘sugar skull’ skeleton doll, I’m gonna screech ! Mattel heard ya, they probably had plans in place back in ‘10 to release theirs – can we do something else with the skeleton heads, please ?

Anyway. Lest you think I spent all day thinking about m’self and my bizarre compulsions, we had family therapy (which went well) and I tried to set Gloom Beach Cleo’s hair into a pageboy. It’s not gonna work. No matter how small I made the roll, her hair’s just too short. While I had boiling water, I gave DDG Spectra another rinse, to minimize the package / hairstyling bends in her hair, and…they’re still there. I’m starting to wonder if I’ll ever get those out, as it didn’t take this much effort to get Dead Tired DracuLaura’s straight-up ponytails to lie down.

Also, the goodies I ordered from another MH fan arrived – and I won the auction for Ghouls Rule Abbey’s bowl and hand-stand, so soon, I’ll have almost the whole set ! I don’t really want Clawdeen’s ‘coffin creeping goulash’.  But I have Cleo’s punch bowl, Frankie’s cauldron, and a couple extra drinks – so happy to have two of the funny-straw martini drinks from Lagoona’s latest fashion now. She and Gil can toast now !

I had some fun playing with my latest doll, the faceless green girl from the water-decal Create A Monster coffin set. I liked her, but had no intentions of playing with the CAM parts. So I was really lucky to find her so inexpensively ! I also got the Cleo Skull Shores outfit, and her fashion, mostly for the blouse/swimsuit to wear with pants and skirts. Depending on how Gloom Beach Cleo’s hair dries, I may well be back on the market for SS Cleo. I’m really on the fence about it – don’t need more dolls, but I really like that one, but don’t want to ditch either of the two Cleos I already have…Arrrgh !

And, I think I’ve seen my next project – making my own HooDude VooDoo ! Froggy, of My Froggy Stuff on YouTube, made a detailed tutorial and posted it. Wow. I like hers better than the $$$ SDCC  Mattel version ! Gotta inventory my ribbon, and I need some stuffing, pipe cleaners, and felt, but I think I can do it ! Check it out here, and if you haven’t seen her other awesome ideas, have a look around. She’s awesome !

Hopefully tomorrow, I’ll get the cuts for my accessories box finished, so I can sew Saturday. Huge, stinkin’ game day, not goin’ anywhere. So I’m really looking forward to my project ! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Random thoughts and George

Current Mood : Pensive

Well….(sigh) Last night, we went back to the dark side and resubscribed to Netflix. You’d think with rent-included unlimited wireless DSL and 30-some cable channels, over 200 DVDs and a Wii, not to mention the gentle changing of the seasons,  we’d be well-stocked entertainment-wise, but I was kinda outvoted. If it makes my guys happy, it’s fine – it’s not like I don’t have other options. Like sewing, and photography, and reading, and…

Still…I didn’t sew today. Instead, I watched The People vs. George Lucas, a documentary on Netflix. I may not need more media, but I’m not gonna be a hypocrite over it now that it’s here. Anyway. I missed half of it preparing lunch and laundry, but what I saw, I hope to see a couple more times, now that I know it’s worth my complete attention.

It really got me thinking – and you know me, I hate thinking very much ! – and it hasn’t let go of me yet. Yes, I was a huge, stinkin’ Lucasfilm fangirl back in the day, and one of the greatest days of my life was a college road trip to Disney, and its Star Tours attraction. I figured I’d be wearing various Star Wars-themed t-shirts until it was time for me to be cremated in one…until a certain midnight movie premiere in May 1999. We didn’t know it then, but Dearest Son was already with us. Not like we were gonna bring Dearest up as a Jedi or anything, but if he wanted lightsabres, by the Force, he would have them ! Guess it says a lot that I didn’t rush right out the next day and buy a Padme doll. Nope. I called around TRUs (see, that’s not new, MH-only behavior !) for the Portrait Edition Ceremonial Gown Princess Leia. I was already ‘This  is Leia’s mother ?!?’ during Phantom Menace, an opinion that only got worse as the series progressed. I felt what most fans did over the next six years – a bit betrayed, a bit hopeful, a lot concerned about Unca George, some resignation, and a whole lot of “WTF ???!!1!!! ?? I wasted my imagination on this ? ”.

Today’s film made a poignant observation. ‘You can tell who’s a really big Star Wars fan, he’s the one talking about how much he hates Star Wars !’ – it’s plain truth. I heard that ‘there’s no greater hate than that which used to be love’ as a kid, and had no idea what it meant. If you loved something, or someone, you’d always love them, right ? I haven’t spoken to my parents since 2002, but part of me will love them regardless, and sometimes knowing that hurts. I didn’t know that I already had experience dealing with it, in a much smaller, limited format, thanks to the SW prequels. And with Disney, too, but no one’s made a documentary about love/hate and Walt.

What really got me is this : What does the creator owe  to his/her creation ? What does he/she owe the fans ? And do the fans owe him/her something else ? I’m quite sure Garret Sanders, the designer/creator of Monster High is pleased that, like quite a few others of all ages, I enjoy his dolls and environments, and buy what appeals most to me. I’m sure he’d prefer that I buy the nice clothes and playsets hanging on pegs across America – if I can find them - instead of making my own. But I’m sure he and Mattel know that I buy what I can when I can, and I appreciate what they’ve done…but that doesn’t give them carte blanche to allow total crap to join the marketplace with their trademarks on it, nor does it muzzle me to not say anything if/when they do. Just as Mattel has a responsibility to release toys as safe as current tech allows, I have a responsibility to enjoy them without hurting anyone else with them (Rule #34, anyone ? Not on my blog and websites !). I can write a thinly veiled critique of the MH books as a fanfic (which I have) and post it, but since kids are in on this, too, I don’t need to write happy adult times stories with those same characters and post ‘em where the younglings can find them.

I don’t think Mr. Sanders needs to think of me specifically when he’s envisioning a new doll, just ‘cause I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time, effort, energy and money on what really is *my* hobby. Just as I won’t think he’d sit down to create a ‘Dorrie Grey’ doll so hideous, so evil of character, none of the other characters will interact with her, because he doesn’t like that dress I sewed yesterday. When it’s all said and done, whether it’s toys or tickets, it’s all an exchange, and no one involved should take it personally.

I think a lot of us did take Jar Jar Binks, midichlorians, and Luke and Leia as unwitting twins personally. Not to mention the reworked ‘special editions’ that removed most of the charm in our 1977 memories and attempted to replace it with CGI womp-rats. Yeah, it’s annoying to learn that, after playing Jedi for 20+ years, you’d never become one because it’s not in your DNA, but I don’t have the genetics to make a concert pianist, either. It’s simply not in who I am, and it’s no tragedy. I have my cutie mark in several other things that aren’t fiction-based. Plus, I read fanfiction – anybody wanna talk with me about sloppy storytelling ? I’ve read stuff that makes Lucas dialog sound like Shakespeare in the park in spring with scones.

Simple fact is, the story Unca George gave us in the prequels isn’t what we were expecting or wanted. Arguably, it wasn’t as good as the Trilogy either. Ranks, but aside from doin’ your own fanstuff, there’s not much ya can do about it. Frankly, if I had all his pressure to deal with, I’d be sorry I ever thought up SW in the first place, ‘cause it made me a slave to consumer expectation and my own success. If you’re a filmmaker, you wanna make films. Not deal with six toy company licensing and liability contracts. I haven’t really seen him make a personal film that actually meant something to him – like American Graffiti – since Star Wars, which is kind of a shame. Who knew what else was in him before SW steamrollered his life ?

All that said, I still think the Star Wars in the American Film Institute should be the original 1977 edition. With all its bobbles and mistakes and…um, interesting choices in special effects. It was that imperfection, those frayed edges which made it real to us, and that’s what opened our imaginations and let us live there when times were tough here. Not womp-rats and more space junk. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Oh, yeah !

Current Mood : Vaguely hungry. 

M & FIL had a medical appointment today, and when Beloved Hubby came home, it was with another corkboard and a whiteboard. We got Dearest Son’s old one finally hung up, then got the two new-to-us ones up in the kitchen and our bedroom. Now I have a place for misc. papers and occasional patterns and fabric scraps, and we have a place for the family list of stuff to do.

What I wanted to do today was sew ! Wanted to shorten that gathered-collar NG Creations dress to a blouse or tunic, and see what’d happen if I replaced the matching collar with some gathered lace. With that completed, I’d peruse the skirts, see what I wanted to sew next there. Like Deborah, I have all three of the NG Creations patterns now – and next week is all about all my guys in the hall. It’s shameful how long those bloods have been in the same clothes.

The blouse went well, I gathered the neckline as directed, then cut a length of gathered lace to match the blouse fabric’s width. Sewed the lace on top of the gathers, then matched the back edges of the purple broadcloth to the cut edges of the lace, and tacked it down. Floating lace sleeves ! Went with a full-open Velcro ™ back, and then started to look at skirts.

Ya’ll know I’m a big fan of asymmetry, and part of the appeal of pattern set #3 was several skirt options – tiered, bubble, and layered – that would give me lots to play with. But today, my eyes were really caught by set #2’s layered skirt. It looked so old-fashioned yet up to date, and it also had the ‘short in front, long in back’ thing going on. The original design called for a contrasting satin finish instead of a hem, but I sewed on matching gathered lace instead. I also made it a separate, like the blouse. They may never be worn separately, but I like having the option. They look so good together, though !

I’d also really like to do that skirt again – but in pale blue with silver piping at the hem. It’d be sort of a tribute to Cinderella’s signature ice blue gown, during that scene where the magic is forming around her. I’ve always had that scene in my mind, it’s the exact sort of beautiful asymmetry I adore.

(snort) And I didn’t think I’d use those furniture pieces from the Coffin Bean playset…!

Monday, October 22, 2012

'I hate physics,' Clawdeen thought. 'And that darn weatherman that got me to wear a Summer dress today....'

Current Mood : Bouncy !

You’re either gonna be proud or ashamed of me. Beloved Hubby said just last night, he wanted some throw pillows for our new sofa. So today, when I took out trash, including the freshly stripped Coffin Bean box, I noticed two things – it’d just been picked up, and there were three nice throw pillows on top of a plastic bag of trash from another apartment. I also noted some good stoneware platters, but we don’t have space or need of those right now. Plus, I could probably snag the pillows with a bent coat-hanger, I’d have to somehow get in the Dumpster to get the plates. Didn’t even have a trash bag under ‘em to help.

So I went back to our place, grabbed the laundry detergent, quarters, and a coat hanger, and snagged ‘em. No tears, no bad smells, nothing. They went straight to the laundry room for a hot wash. Then into the dryer. We now have three new-to-us - and actually somewhat new-looking - throw pillows. While the print isn’t something I’d have chosen (just not a paisley person),  they’re sturdy upholstery fabric, Beloved loves ‘em, and you can’t beat the price - $2. in quarters !

After lunch, we hit the Library, where the newest Mercedes Lackey book, Redoubt, was waiting on hold for me. I also got a book on sewing for the home – I still need to make a cover for my sewing / computer chair. Beloved and Dearest Son also found something to enjoy, and I found a nice Pilot pen in the parking lot. And it works. !

Once home, I trimmed up one of the cardboard logos from the playset box and glued it to a craft foam glitter pumpkin. When it’s dry, it’ll go in the window with the others. While I probably won’t get the Ghoulia wig – I’d rather spend $10. to $20. on a doll or a good family meal – I’m not letting Halloween go by without something MH related in the window ! I’ll probably use another to decorate a turkey or felt stocking in the near future.

With Beloved catching a quick nap – he’d been restless last night – and Dearest happily drawing, it was time for me to sew. I let laziness decide what fabric to use. Purple thread, purple broadcloth, let’s go ! Printed out NG Creation’s second pattern freebie, the Monster Mod Summer Dress, mostly because last Christmas, I’d had so much fun altering the one-piece Simple A-Line Dress, also a freebie. I’d actually owned a dollar-store Barbie knockoff version of this dress back in 2000, mostly a slightly shaped tube gathered to a collar band, so I was happy to have the MH size.

And like the other NG patterns, it sewed like a dream. Took my time with it today, but I could easily sew it up in about a half hour, and with one or two more under my belt, that time could easily include cutting the fabric. It has a relaxed fit, but that just means you can have fun with belts, both Mattel made and ribbon cuttings tied in the back. I even used my Clover mini-iron and board ! I’ve gotten my desk so I can keep the ironing board clamped to the desk while I sew, and the iron has a place that’s out of the way and unlikely to burn me. Yessss !

That brings us up to dinner time – but I hope to sew again afterward ! I’ve gotten to where I like to sew every day, and I wanna keep it going – and get good enough to sell stuff. Hope you had a stellar day with some neat finds, too ! 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I have more of a grosstato chip fang, m'self...

Current Mood : Sleepy

Well, this weekend, absolutely nothing on my list got done, but it’s fine, I can always try to do it this week. Saves me from having to make another list !

The only ‘big’ thing on it was giving Dawn of the Dance Cleo a pagegirl boil perm. Main reason I wanted the Skull Shores one so much was because her hair curled under, I didn’t much like the blue streak, really. Or the gold lips. And now that I’ve scored her SS outfit soo wonderfully cheaply, I think I’d rather adapt the doll I have rather than continue to search for an affordable nude one. Takes too much time and enthusiasm out of a day to scour eBay and lose at the last second over and over. Plus, I don’t need more than two Cleos, that’s fer sure.

We told the girls next door – after asking their Mom first – about giving them the Lagoona and Clawdeen I had sitting on the Coffin Bean sofa when they finished their book reports. The younger girl nearly shot into the sky like fireworks, the elder shrugged…but her eyes rested repeatedly on Clawdeen with a possessive light. She tries so hard to be sophisticated and cool…but didn’t we all when we were twelve ?

We got to go to Michael’s, and I have my craft foam. New props box, here we come ! I’m hoping to get it cut out Friday and sewn up Saturday. I’m just gonna go plain black with a print lid – probably that striped stuff I used for doll furniture sofa cushions last year, if I have enough. And I can find it.

I also found a really cool metal key in their dollar bins. They had several styles in gold and silver tones, but I chose a vaguely fleur-de-lis in pewter silver. It’s a bit heavy, but on a black silk ribbon, it makes for a lovely necklace. I’ll probably use the lavender ribbon it came with on another project.

I also discovered that I’ve already figured out pettiskirts. I tested sewing and gathering on a scrap of black tulle before I tackled Clawdeen’s bottom Barbie gown ruffle, and as it turns out, the bit fit both the MH ghouls and the MM knockoffs. Add a ruffle to the bottom – which I already know how to do ! – and it’s a cute little underskirt that peeks through a bit under the shorter minis. May make a bigger one to go under Ghoulia’s big brown dress skirt.

After I get to sew up some of my new patterns. They came in yesterday, but I didn’t check mail ‘til today, so I spent over an hour getting them all scanned and such. They’re all ready to go, but I’ll probably start with the simple freebie, Mod Summer Dress. Low back, gathered at the neck with a collar – easy and fun, and I can use stripes and maybe midsize prints that would otherwise be out of scale.

Gonna be a busy, fun week ! Hope yours will be, too !

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Ramblin' on...

Current Mood : Head hurts. Sorry for yet another barely coherent ramble...

Was thinkin’ about stuff…what the heck, my head always hurts when I try to think with it, and since I already had a minor headache, might as well use it. I was thinking of why it was so easy for me to abandon Barbie, when she’d been a part of my life since Malibu -   Christmas ’71. It seems as though MH took over before I was even aware of it. I’d always thought I’d have the first four ghouls, then Ghoulia, and that’d be it. Although I really wanted Deuce, I didn’t want Cleo, and despite how loved she was, I didn’t see much difference, personality-wise, between Cleo and Clawdeen, and she was the last of the ‘Signature’ or ‘Basic’ line that I got. I honestly thought, in Fall 2010, that once I had Ghoulia, my MH hunting / collecting days were over. And that eventually, I’d go back to Barbie, once these flashy new interlopers faded a bit. I mean, I didn’t truly enjoy high school when I was in it, why was I immersing m’self and most available cash in a whole environment of it ?

Of course, I didn’t stop to think then. There were dolls to catch, and I was on ‘em like a demented bloodhound. Not sure if being so sick in 2011 added to it or just loosed the reins, but for whatever reason, I got addicted to the hunt, as well. And the characters somehow became more diverse, but more the same, too. It’s kind of anime-ish, since most dolls share a signature look no matter how many head molds are out there –  heck, you can hardly tell the cast of Sailor Moon apart in the manga without a hairstyle guide. In most girl-oriented anime and manga, if a character shows up in something other than her ponytail, bow, or waist-length curls, it’s actually confusing. It’s not that bad with MH, since there are so many yet-unused skin colors, but it’s difficult to portray subtleties in a black-and-white comic book.

Now I’m slowing down, along with most of the older MH community, from burnout and over-saturation, at least on my end of the block. There’s also the ‘fewer funds available’ thing, too. I adore the imagination and engineering that goes into the playsets and love the tiny details I can’t yet duplicate on the clothes. But I’m enjoying the challenge of sewing my own more than just buying additional – if it wasn’t difficult or challenging or just plain time consuming to make our own doll shoes, Mattel would probably post a loss in the next quarter.

Even with the slowdown, though, I still haven’t returned to Barbie. Haven’t gone back to Princess Dorrie, Timey Tell, or Elphie, either. I’m sure I will eventually, as they’re all the doll categories I kept. So much has changed in two years of MH-rule at Chez Insanity…but I have to say this, it hasn’t been boring ! That’s the conclusion I reached for Barbie. Since Mattel has to straddle adult collectors and kids, not to mention parents and investors, I think a lot of the creativity and just plain fun gets lost in committee. Even the popular Life in the Dreamhouse webisodes aren’t as enjoyable as the MH ones, with stuff going on in the background and in-jokes and sight-gags everywhere. They pull about the same numbers – it’s kinda hard to get a straight comparison, as the first season of MH isn’t on the official channel, but the reposts’ views are pretty up there – still, I haven’t seen Barbie discussion groups that chat about each new webisode.

Anyway. I’m sure I’ll eventually return to Barbie. I’ll sew better for Elphie and Hi, Dottie, too. I can analyze it to death (ha-ha) and still not know exactly what hold, what need MH has and fills for me…but it’ll be fun figuring it out ! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Sofas. Sofas everywhere !

Current Mood : Loafin'

I would say ‘we got the sofa in safely last night’, but the fact is, Beloved Hubby got the sofa in safely last night by himself, mostly by pivoting and more or less rolling it from curb to carpet. Four guys, our sometimes-seen neighbors, passed him one by one and didn’t offer or ask if he needed help. Possibly the same jerks who set off boom fireworks a couple weeks back at 11pm on a Thursday, for no apparent reason. Ah, well. Bitterness does not become one. At least he got the first nap on it !

Got the living room up to par today – it was a mess from all the moving around. Repositioned both of Dearest Son’s desks, and Beloved cleared his Airsoft workbench to make space for the sofa. Since he wasn’t using it anymore, it was becoming a clutter magnet, and the #1 place for him to drop clothes. Grrr. Told him if it wasn’t in the hamper, it wasn’t getting washed, so here’s hoping. I’ve been telling Dearest the same thing for three years now. Most of his tools and Airsoft stuff went into the footlocker in his closet, and his chair replaced the one Dearest has more-or-less wrecked. The still-usable wrecked chair went outside, and it’s nice to have somewhere to sit besides cold concrete while the kids play. His workbench was a foldable buffet table, which now fits perfectly under the sofa, and ready in seconds when we need it. Got everything vacuumed, repositioned the power strip where it’s easily accessible, and now the living room isn’t just where the computers are.

We watched the library copy of Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs tonight, and I really enjoyed cuddling on the sofa with my guys. Cleaning up Dearest’s desks to move ‘em freed up a milk crate, so now I have a footstool or mini table. The short benches from our dining area table can also double as a just-right height place to put a drink when you get to stretch out. I love multi-function pieces…

Oh, and I found someone selling a buncha MH stuff super-cheap. I didn’t wanna ask if I could spend the cash, since we just got the Coffin Bean playset, but…a half hour later, I bought the faceless green doll from the coffin-like water-transfer Create A Monster set, nude, Cleo’s sold-separately fashion and her Skull Shores outfits, both altered to skirts, and her Ghouls Rule punchbowl, Abbey’s GR platter (not the hand-stand, but I’ll snag that later) and her Roller Maze skates, and some MH drinks for less than I would have paid for just Cleo’s SS costume. I can’t wait to get it all !

Talk about over-indulged…it’s been like Christmas around here for me ! The cauldron came in today, and it looks so great in the Creepateria ! One of the drinks from the Coffin Bean is nearly the same shape, is silver as well, and has a green…something in it, so they look perfect together. It’ll be a heckuva potluck when I get all those pieces together. Especially with Deborah’s cupcakes and cookies added ! 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

How I Became The Owner of the Coffin Bean Playset... and a new full-size sofa !

Current Mood : Excited ! 

This evening was interesting. Dearest Son was playing with the kids across the breezeway – a pair of nice girls who love that a grown woman has soooo much cool Monster High stuff – when Beloved asked me if I knew how to fix a broken-legged Cleo. Although I’ve been lucky to have never experienced that tragedy, I knew of several YouTube videos and websites detailing repair jobs, so I pulled up my faves to show him. Seems the younger girl’s Gloom Beach diva had a broken pin in her right hip, but it only took Beloved a half-hour, a chopstick, and some sewing supplies from my stash (including the elastic I bought at Hobby Lobby visit before last), and she was ready to condescend again. I think their Mom was nearly as thrilled as they were.

We were all talking about dolls and such, when both girls told us what was on top of their wish lists. Clawdeen and Lagoona. Hmmm…after the girls went inside, I told Beloved I had a Lagoona to donate, but I kinda wanted to keep my three Clawdeens.

He asked me if Clawdeen was still sold, so I pulled up the ones we could score locally – Ghouls Rule, Sweet 1600, Coffin Bean, and a few School’s Out if we were willing to venture to the CapitalCity TRU. Or if we really wanted to splash out, Target still has the Skull Shores and Gloom Beach sets. Beloved proposed a deal. If I’d donate my Lagoona and dress both dolls, he’d get any Clawdeen I chose, and I could keep all her props and clothes. He wanted to use the ghouls to encourage their reading, which he was helping them with in the courtyard closest to their place. We wanted to be where their parents could easily keep an eye on the girls. But buying new dolls for them would possibly bother their folks, so if we could white lie a bit and say these were collection culls, it’d probably go down a little easier.

I admit, I was tempted from the start to go for Coffin Bean. Talk about a score ! But it felt greedy to me, so I told him which ones the nearest Mal-Wart had, and since we’d been meaning to pick up a few other things, thought became deed in about ten minutes. Ghouls Rule was soon ruled out by Dearest, as ‘not Clawdeen enough’, which I tend to agree with, and it’d be harder to pull off ‘collection cull’ with a Sweet 1600 identical to his. Beloved picked up the playset, and said I could have some fun with this one – why not ? He asked me to look her over carefully, and pick the best out of the four. (happy sigh) He understands me….

And I have to admit, that playset is fine. The pieces are almost all assembled already – only the shelves/cashier stand isn’t, and that’s partially due to the back cardboard featuring  two different displays. I wish Barbie was still this creative. It’s easy to switch between them, and as the customer, you get first pick. It’s held in with four black plastic spider web brackets in the back. It’s amazing that there’s detail in. the. back.

The chair and sofa are big and heavy – kind of a surprise after years of flyweight Barbie accoutrements – and lo and behold, they’re not too low and come completely assembled. A doll with 90-degree bent knees can easily sit on the sofa, the lowest of the two, and not topple over. The chair seems more a throne, since it’s a bit taller in the seat than the sofa, and I was surprised that it was so big. The shelves/checkout piece is rich with detail and I’ll say it again, I really like the display choice. It’s big and heavy too, and you could easily skip not putting the back cardboard in at all, and use it as a flat-screen TV and bookshelves instead, with a little posterboard or printout art of your own. The spider-webby branch-out shelf fits in a slot, but I got it to stand easily enough propped against the side instead, or against a School wall, and it hasn’t toppled yet. I love the little ‘coffee maker’, and the cash register reminds me of all my fast-food jobs. And, what can I say, I have always loved the coffin-shaped coffee table. Really, the only negative thing I can say about it is that I wish it came with more food/drink props. Even the little apron is cute, and Clawdeen is gorgeous. Well worth the $29. in my opinion.

It’s currently a student lounge on the second floor of the School, where there’s barely space for the sofa, chair, and coffee table. Had to move the speakers / trophy display to accommodate it all. I’m probably gonna make a ‘Creepateria’ sign to go over the Coffin Bean logo on the shelves, and keep that down there, load it with food pieces. Self-service lunch !

We also got a brand-new sofa on sale ! It’s funny that the dolls and we got new furniture today ! I gotta clear the space for it, then go help tug it in, so wish us luck ! 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

She's been waiting so patiently since May...

Current Mood : Hungry again. 

I had my now-usual Wednesday morning and early afternoon to spend as I please, while Beloved Hubby attends classes and Dearest Son gets to visit with his grandparents. After squandering the first Wednesday, I now plan ‘em Sunday night ! Ya’ll know me, I barely get most of what I wanna do done when I have a plan in place, without one, I’ll end up watching a You’re Cut Off ! marathon.

Well, I kinda did that anyway, but I got some fun sewing and new experience under my well-worn belt. I had something to sew all planned, and even had the pattern ready to go, but there was one thing I never crossed off my weekend list. Ever since I took that altered Barbie evening gown off Gloom Beach Clawdeen, I’ve purposefully left it in the way, so I’d finally finish it. It was just a bit too short, in my opinion, and I wanted to lengthen it with some netting or tulle. Kind of like an homage to ‘Solo in the Spotlight’. Wasn’t sure how, but at least putting it on the list encouraged me to begin the ‘figuring out’ stage.

And with Dearest’s recent interest in tulle, I had double reason for digging through my stash to inventory what I still had. Back when we had the yard sale, I got rid of so many craft supplies, I couldn’t remember what I kept – only where it was stashed. I had a few colors left, so I pulled out the black bundle and set up the iron. While I stored it folded, most of it had been wadded up at one point, so it was wrinkled. Hmm. Tulle. How do you gather it ? How do you iron it ? I hacked off a torn spot and experimented. Just like regular fabric, really – just keep the iron on ‘warm’, or it’ll melt and tear the stuff.

Took the dress apart at the back seam and re-measured the Mattel-installed hem ruffle, then measured it from the ruffle to Clawdeen’s ankles. Four layers of 15” by 4” cuts, folded in half the long way and gathered, then sewn to the same seam as the ruffle would probably work. Had to gather it twice, as parts of it slid in spite of the pins, and didn’t get caught under the threads. But it worked, and there you have it. That dress is finally done, and I’m happy ! Much better. And now I can start another ‘weekend’ list !

Since I still had time, I pulled out the pattern I prepared yesterday – for NG Creations’  ‘fishtail’ skirt, which is a vaguely calla lily-shaped ‘short in front, long in back’ design. She also includes a ‘double fishtail’, which is a layered version – longer piece on top of shorter, with transparent fabric normally making up the underskirt long part. The original directions called for yer usual ‘cut 1 on fold’, but if you have a definite right and wrong side to the fabric, most of what you’ll see around the dolls’ legs is the less-pretty or weakly colored wrong side. So I cut two, sewed ‘em together at the bottom hem, turned ‘em right side out, sewed the gathers and added a waistband. Came out pretty well, if a little stiff, but I liked it. Since I used the ‘Spectra Purple’ broadcloth on this new pattern, I tried it on over the same-fabric Shannanigan sheath dress Spectra was still wearing – and that looks nice. I’ve long been a peplum fan, and this is a kind of sophisticated version. I’ll probably make another one tomorrow, with an attached bodice, just for kicks. You’ll get to see Spectra’s new skirt tomorrow.

My guys were home soon after the fishtail skirt was complete, so I broke for a very late lunch – odd how my appetite disappears once I start sewing ! – and dug around the still-open stash for any more 6mm thick craft foam. Nope. Just the one sheet. Gotta hit Michael’s soon for another soft-side box project. Once I get it, that’ll be my next weekend list !

For now, though, I’m a little sleepy. Hope your day was fun and productive, too !