Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year’s Eve, Everybody !!

Current Notes: A seldom-seen Goth inspiration from Miss Rarity. 

Hope 2014 is awesome for us all ! 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy Post-Holiday Sales Day !

Current Notes: No way would I have paid a buck each for 'em. 
Fitty cents ? Sure !

You’re gonna laugh at me. Did the grocery run today, and made sure to stop at Dollar Tree, poke through what’s left of the holiday goodies on sale. I figured they’d be about picked clean, since the place was overrun on ‘10% Off Day’, but that was far from the case. The snacks were nearly gone, save for some candy canes, but they still had three big boxes of wrapping paper (including some Transformer rolls), two aisles of holiday-themed toys and coloring books, and another aisle of holiday d├ęcor, silk poinsettias, Santa hats, and stockings. I found a box of cherry-flavored candy canes that Dearest Son enjoyed last week – I can get peppermint canes anywhere for 50c – and selected two stockings that had lovely fabric on the front, lining nylon in back. The dark green velveteen will have to be lined, but it’s gorgeous, and I got a cream ‘wrinkled silk’ look one, too. They had loads of the ‘Disney’ Santa hats left.

Brought the rest of the groceries in at $20. under budget, but I’ll need to spend at least $10. later. Waiting for a sale that starts Thursday. Still, I got a lot of chow, and everyone’s happy. I even got the one store to make good on the item they double charged me for last week – they offered a refund, or I could just get another one of it, and I figured the latter was easier. It’ll certainly get eaten ! Yeah, it was kind of petty of me, but I’m glad I spoke up for m’self.

Once home, it was clean-up time, take the trash out before pick up day – and I must’ve swept a pound of dirt off the floor. Beloved Hubby’s tools need to be brought in for safety, and many shed sawdust. And dirt. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sleeping in neighborly peace...

Current Notes: Yaay ! From 'trashcan fodder' to 'much better, keeper' with one simple 
straight seam-dart down the back. Not too convinced about DLaura's belt, though...

It’s embarrassing how long we had these chicken legs – I think it’s made it through at least four moves – but they’re nearly gone now. I did a knockoff-Bisquick oven fry, and it came out great. Made dumplings out of a packet of chicken Ramen seasoning and the unused breading mix. Beloved Hubby really loved those ! The leftover broth will have angel hair pasta and chicken shreds added to it for lunch tomorrow. It may take me a while to use something, but when I do, I use it all.

Beloved had today off, so we bounced from naps to home improvement projects, and I never got to sew. But the front door now has a deadbolt, his tools now have a space that includes a storage cabinet, and the bathtub drains a lot better.

We also said ‘goodbye’ to our air mattresses. Dearest Son’s was slowly transforming into a beach ball, and ours had begun the metamorphosis as well. We were planning on replacing them next month – Dearest’s as soon as possible – and saving up for more conventional bedding when a neighbor came by to ask a question. They just upgraded their two-year-old Sertas, and wanted to know if we could use them. Evidently, her dad works furniture, as he got them the newest for Christmas… again, as our neighbor sighingly put it. Heck, yeah ! We snagged a Queen and a Full, and helped them curb their remaining two Twin beds – which were gone by the time we went back for the Queen. Yaaay !  DMIL and FIL like their bed, and didn’t want to change it, but we offered. Yeah, I can understand some squick about used beds, but I slept like a rock during our first nap on them, so I’m happy. We can keep saving up for our own new bedding in the meantime, but I’m just glad Dearest has a better bed tonight !

Saturday, December 28, 2013

I can sew leggings ? Oh, yeah....

Current Notes: Frankie's one of the warmer dolls on the MH shelf...

The cats – Ginger-kitty, Domino, and Tucker – let me know by various subtle means that we were shockingly low on Meow Mix this morning. Basically, I’d awakened early to make Beloved Hubby the egg salad sandwich I promised, so that he could take it to work for lunch, and the cats barely let me move. I gave them some scraps from the ham bone to assuage their empty tummies, but that just gave them more energy to focus and refine their intense communication efforts. Soon as I had the sandwich prepared, I finished getting dressed and was out the door to the 24-hour grocery down the street. Snagged a few other needs, too.

But the kitties were relentless, and having spotted the big bag – it’s really not worth it to buy less than the 16-pound sack for these felines – continued their campaign, this time not allowing me to put milk and yogurt away before they got their chow. You’d have thought we starved them for weeks, but these spoiled hairballs were fed last night ! Hard to believe there was only three of them, theirs and ours. When they concentrate their efforts together, they seem like a swarm !

Is it just me, or does the ‘skullette’ on the cover of the Honey, Clawdia, Viperine, and Elissabat diaries strongly resemble a Daft Punk helmet ? I keep expecting to catch the ones I have nodding to the beat.

Sewed a little today. Decided to finish the Barbie coat after all, after concluding that a quick seam up the back would probably tighten it up enough to fit better. At least good enough to finish, instead of throw away. So that’s what I did, and hemmed a quick rectangle for the coat’s ‘skirt’. Not too bad. I only went with a quarter-inch seam, because any more than that would throw off how the sleeves fit the arms. It cinched up the sleeves a bit and the skirt looked like a unified effort, instead of something attached nearly a week later. I’ll sew on a snap tomorrow, and get you a photo.

For now, though, here’s Frankie’s leggings. I really should have gone with a thinner fabric here, but they came out OK, if a bit bulgy in places from the seams. They look much better turned wrong-side-out ! I haven’t used the rest of the pattern, but you can find it here. It frequently goes on sale, too. I paid $2., but right now, it’s on sale for $1.25. Hopefully I’ll sew other pieces soon. I like that one dress a lot…

Friday, December 27, 2013

Please meet Honey !

Current Notes: I think she’s happy to be here !
Click for a bigger grin.

Kind of ‘one of those days’ again. Spent 45 minutes trying to figure out why Netflix didn’t work on DMIL’s new-to-her Tablet – when I knew it worked last month ! – before I remembered that Netflix works as an app, not a website, on that. After that, it just needed a quick update, and it ran perfectly.  Arrgh. Shows how little I used it, and that she’ll enjoy it much more.

I’ve been enjoying my MP3 player – it’s a perfect sewing companion when Dearest Son wants to watch another talking dog movie. Has there ever been a talking animal movie with real animals that came within shouting distance of actual humor, much less a shred or two of intelligence ? I could just be jaded, because I had to watch both The Dog Who Saved Halloween  and The Dog Who Saved Christmas within days of each other. Your average mid-70s episode of Scooby Doo, Where Are You ?  is Shakespearean drama in comparison.

What was I… oh, yeah. I sewed today. Months ago, I bought a $2. pattern off Etsy – yeah, more MH. I don’t know what I’m more addicted to, the dolls or patterns. Not long ago, I would have said ‘their shoes’, but I haven’t seen any in a long time that I 1) want or 2) don’t already have. One day, though, Lagoona and Ghoulia’s Dawn of the Dance footwear will be mine… Oh, right, sewing. The pattern was pretty bare-bones, no directions, not even any information, but I printed out the page with a circle skirt and leggings. The skirt part got stored, but the leggings piece has been hanging around the Arena ever since. It got to work tonight.

Came out pretty well, too, considering I used an old, thick T-shirt rag. Seriously, Beloved Hubby uses ‘em by the bagload, for staining and other job tasks. Paint stores sell ‘em by the box, too. Some come pre-stained, but you can occasionally find an interesting piece in with the pit-stained shredded wife-beaters. Every so often, some rags show up here, and if they’re any good, I claim a few. They’re great for tests and trials ! But an old t-shirt from the closet or the kids’ hamper or outgrown pile does just as well. You’ll see them, and get the link to the pattern if you’re interested, tomorrow.

For now, though, I have a slight caffeine-deprivation headache, so I’m gonna take Ginger-kitty and an overdue library book and go lie down. She’s been wanting attention all evening, and I have the time. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Clawdia - soon to be 'Honey' - is here !

Current Notes: Evidently, the failure of various package delivery services 
wasn't just my problem. It made the news, here ! 

I confess, Christmas Day was a complete laze-a-thon. I didn’t even sew, although I’d planned to, because it was just more fun to do nothing with Beloved Hubby and Dearest Son. DMIL & FIL barely came out of their Garpartment all day after we gave out gifts. FIL managed to thank Beloved without naming him, on Facebook, while simultaneously intimating that he (FIL) got DMIL the gift we gave her. And he wonders why I don’t really spend much meaningful time with him…(i.e., any).

And, as you can see (smile !), Clawdia is here ! Both she and Elissabat’s stock arrived within ten minutes of each other, so it was like a sudden, late Christmas. I’ve heard E’s dress stains, so it won’t remain on a doll long, a real shame. It’s a gorgeous dress ! I have no regrets buying it, none at all. Since ‘stock’ normally means ‘everything but the doll and the box’, but it can vary, I was wondering what I’d get. I got that literal definition – the dress, the jacket, the boots (I’m gonna sell those), both pair of earrings, the bracelet, the doll-size DVD box with a tiny removable disc inside, the ‘grasping hand’ award, and the diary. Wow. I made sure to leave that seller some great feedback !

Soon as Clawdia’s out of her box, she’s gonna be renamed ‘Honey’, but I’ll try not to be confusing. I’ve already had a Clawdia since 2010, because Dawn of the Dance Clawdeen reminded me so much of Robotech / Macross’s Claudia Grant. Plus, I do not have, nor will I ever own, Honey Swamp. Unique and pretty doll, just not one I want. I’ve gotta be seriously selective these days – I’m getting overwhelmed ! You shoulda seen me yesterday, trying to find space for all the new dolls, with one more due to arrive, up on the shelf in the living room. The new ghouls and ponies have been hanging out on my desk in the Study, but I had to clean up, as stuff was falling off on a daily basis. However, now the shelf’s overcrowded !

But the cutting surface is clean. I can actually use it now ! Last couple projects, I’ve been pinning the fabric together, tracing the pattern with a drawing pencil, then cutting it out. I really prefer the rotary, but I’m glad I explored another option. Messy sewing arenas will force ya to !

Christmas is throwing me off. I keep thinking today’s Monday ! 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Rosy Russian Coats !

Current Notes:  Click for biggies ! 

No Clawdia today, either. She left Memphis yesterday afternoon, arrived in CapitolCity last night…and that’s all anybody knows. She wasn’t put on a delivery truck this morning, so… The spot that estimates the delivery date now just has the charming designation ‘N/A’. Yup. Not even FedEx knows when she’ll arrive. Hopefully by Friday. (sigh)

Meanwhile, I bought Elissabat’s stock from a MH Arena seller last night, everything from her earrings to her boots, at a great price. According to the PO, it’ll be here Thursday. When did I order Clawdia again ? Last Wednesday morning. Ah, well.

Since I’ve been getting everything I want all month, just never delivered on time (smirk), I certainly wasn’t expecting anything for Christmas… especially with our budget ! However, Beloved Hubby surprised me early with a lovely wine-colored refurbished Sansa Clip MP3 player ! I haven’t had one since last year – his died, I gave him mine -  so I had so much fun today, loading it with my favorite music and enjoying it cranked all the way with those Skull Candy headphones. So thoughtful of him !

As for him, I got him a portable LED spotlight that slots into his rechargeable tool batteries. He got that early, too, ‘cause he needed it, and has thanked me numerous times since. Dearest Son knows we’re going all out for his birthday (new computer) so we’re not able to go big tomorrow, but he has a nice selection of smaller things, including a gaming mouse that lights up a ghostly blue along the sides.

Since Beloved was off, we just took today easy. I stumbled on a Russian pattern on Pinterest for a MH coat that I wanted to try, so I did. First version I printed out was waaaay too big. It was big on the standard body, big on the Midnight Magic / Adult body, even a bit too large on Barbie. Yikes. Reduced it to 78% and tried again. Much better, still a bit too wide in the back, and the sleeves were a smidge too long, and very snug, but it actually looked good that way. If I decide to make a thicker coat, I’ll probably try the pattern again at maybe 80, 82%. As it is now, those sleeves are so tight, I had trouble turning them right side out even with the seam allowances trimmed. And it was really thin cotton, too !

Only other problem was, it looked a lot like those wrap dresses I made years and years ago. Well, back to the drawing board ! When I was doing the fitting on the second one, I showed it to Beloved on the Scaris Ghoulia doll. Since I was more concerned with getting the top to fit – the bottom was just a gathered rectangle – I’d left the bottom edge raw. He liked it, especially the frayed threads. It probably looked more zombie-authentic that way. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Now FedEx hates me, too...

Current Notes: Beloved Hubby was Rue ! Test yourself here.

Well, now I know it’s not just UPS – all couriers and delivery services don’t like me ! (grin) Stuff Beloved Hubby ordered a day after I hit the button for Clawdia arrived today, and far as I can tell, FedEx still has the soon-to-be-renamed Honey in Memphis. Ah, well, something to look forward to for tomorrow, right ?

Speaking of Beloved, he joyfully shifted buying groceries onto my lap now that I have transportation, only problem was, he gave me a really tight budget. It’d be easy for just us three, but buying for us plus DMIL & FIL is more of a challenge. I played with the numbers and lists, ended up going to three stores, but I made my target – $10. under the budget – even with one store charging me for a second $2. item I didn’t buy. Not sure if it’s worth the gas to haul all the way over there again to correct the error, but you can bet I’ll check receipts before I leave the store next time !

I was gleefully talking to m’self in the car when I realized I was alone, and would be for a while (it ended up being two hours).  Ah, bliss ! I think my attitude will be much improved in the near future ! I’d given Dearest Son the option of going with me, but if there’s a more boring activity for a kid than grocery shopping with Mamma, I can’t think of it offhand. I got him a special treat, though, so he’s happy. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Somehow, Solstice looks more 'complete' with a camper shell...

Current Notes: I also ate the most bizarre sausage-on-a-stick I've ever tasted. 

We went for a little adventure today – Beloved Hubby found a camper shell for the new truck on Craigslist for just $50. That would really help with his tools, so we planned to go get it today. Only one problem, it was an hour plus drive away. Ah, well. May as well take a mini road trip while we still can, before we’re officially obligated to buy the truck. Although we will, regardless.

It was fun, and the trees and lawn out on the interstate were still frozen, a beautiful sight under blue skies and heavy clouds. It was so uplifting to see that, under all the grey and white cloud cover, the sky was the same lovely blue as always, even if ya couldn’t see it. I watched a thin ribbon of birds on the wind until they vanished. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

We might call her 'Solstice'...

Current Notes: But to me, her name will always be 'Freedom' ! 

What a day. Beloved Hubby and I are the proud owners of a new-to-us truck ! We’ll be paying for it for some time, but I think we made the right decision. Mostly because now, I have transportation whenever I want it ! It’s mildly ironic that now, I can doll hunt whenever I want – but there’s very few dolls I want, and even less money…

And an additional gift is Beloved’s new car fever has ended ! I didn’t even mind spending most of today at the dealership, since I’d spent longer afternoons driving from used car lot to tote-the-note ripoff joints – not to mention endless web sites at 2am -  since the illness began.

Since I can’t really describe today without boring you to death, here’s some other stuff. Paper doll clothes ! One size to fit Barbie and MH dolls. Have a look here. Some of these are really pretty, but I just can’t get past paper apparel. Dolls wearing it can’t sit, the least little wrinkle *really* shows, fold-fitting and taping to the doll sounds frustrating, and I could only use the black printouts on colored paper, which eliminates a lot of the neat shading I like. Plus, there’s the slight worry of ink or paper color transferring to the doll.

Like the paper clothes, 3D printing your own doll sounds awesome, until you really think about it. Quinn, presumably the first one, is currently on Kickstarter. I like the idea and the customizing potential, but it’s nowhere near as inexpensive as you’d think. Beloved’s into 3D printing, and is exploring the options – making the printer yourself is $$$, buying one is $$$$, and even the lowest level of joining the Quinn group is $65. That gets you the ‘pattern’, but the printer, the plastics, and the skills are all your expense. Yeah, it ranks that Barbie, Create A Monster, Switch A Witch, etc. aren’t more customizable, but they don’t cost about a grand, start to finish… and what happens if there’s an error, there goes $70. in plastic that can’t be reused. True, dolls today aren’t as original as Quinn – but they’re hecka more affordable at TRU than the Kickstarter group seems to think !

I’d love to do that – make my own dolls, my own plastic doll shoes, accessories, hair, etc. Most of my sewing stems from a drive, a darn near need to give my own version of a viewpoint to the mass merchandise pieces in my home. If all I could do was buy for my dolls, I’d have gotten bored of them decades ago. So I really like the potential here, I just don’t think we’re quite at the ‘make hundreds and the price per will go down’ level in most folks’ kitchens and garages. If it’s so easy anyone can do it with a small investment, who are we gonna sell ‘em to ? Everyone will be making their own ! And I really don’t need to be a mini-Mattel. (laugh) How long would it be before I didn’t like my own business practices ? 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Happy Owlidays !

Current Notes: So cute ! And I impressed m'self by how close I sewed to the edge of the ribbon. 
Not a bad day when you impress yerself...

There are times I question some of my e-mail subscriptions to various websites – usually shortly after, I get an answer. I sub to YouCanMakeThis.com, as well as their Free Pattern Club, and at least nine out of every ten e-mails is fulla stuff I don’t want. Mostly overly-frilly little girl clothes that a) I wouldn’t like even if I had a daughter, b) are for kids permanently at the size of a six-year-old, or c) would take more fabric and effort than a custom designer original for an adult. There’s the occasional craft, like the soft-sided boxes I’ve made several times, but it’s mostly little-girl tutus and ball gowns. I often wish they’d split into ‘kid clothes’ and ‘crafts’, but until then…

About the time I get tired of the same designs over and over, there’s something new. Thing is, I rarely buy the new pattern – but seeing it reminds me to look for a free version on line, and that’s why I look past a hundred evening gowns for infants. For the one design that inspires. Today, it was bowl covers. Remember those ? They sort of look like shower caps, but they’re made for covering leftovers and such in the fridge. Sure, it’s easier to use plastic wrap, but with reusable, washable bowl covers made from recycled or remnant fabric, you won’t need to buy as much, or buy stuff you know you’re just gonna throw away.

I’d idly tried to figure out how to make ‘em m’self, as I’ve sort of already done that – I sewn an elastic-edged cover to replace a craft tote’s missing lid – but I wanted a more finished look than that. Here was the pattern, on the latest YCMT e-mail, for just three bucks. Still…three minutes later, I had four different versions of bowl covers, all of ‘em free, most of which were very similar to the tote cover, but more professional, some utilizing two fabric pieces that made it reversible. I like this one, and will use it when I finally go make some. Should work for our square bowls, too. Thanks, YCMT ! Double thanks to A Kitschy Kitchen !

Got to sew a bit this afternoon, and made Ghoulia’s new Santa Hat ! It’s from my pattern, using felt I bought for the (never begun) HooDude project, a star sequin I’ve had for years, and ribbon I bought at Hobby Lobby earlier this week. Behind her is the shelf liner I bought from Dollar Tree. It’s a bit too tight – the test fabric was much thinner – so I’ve added a quarter inch more to the back seam, but otherwise, it looks pretty good !  I’ll test the latest version later tonight, and post the pattern tomorrow. Only takes about ten minutes, start to finish, and that includes tacking the peak down to the side with a couple hand stitches. Otherwise, it stands straight up ! Even the thin cotton did. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Pretty in light turquoise, but better in black !

Current Notes: Yikes. So much black in today's photo. Hope you can see the detail on 
the freshly-painted Premiere Party playset pieces. 

Now that I’m not looking for Slo Mo or Clawdia Wolf anymore, I should have hours of time to spare ! But I’m spending it all the same. Poor ‘I <3 Shoes’ DracuLaura had barely been freed of her Amazon box when I had her out of her Mattel box, and it was cut up, broken down, and partially trashed. Unusual, because doll boxes normally sit around here for a week or so before I get tired of picking them up or moving them back from where they’ve been kicked around or knocked over, and take care of them.

Then again, there’s been a lotta new dolls around here in the past month. Pinkamena, Head Donor Rarity, Body Donor Scaremester Catrine, Deluxe Midnight Magic Crystal and Jade, the Black Carpet Premiere Party playset, 13 Wishes Twyla – whew ! Plus one new DLaura and Clawdia on the way… I’d be up to my hips in boxes if I didn’t cut ‘em down ASAP. Rather glad nothing has appealed to me lately, and about all I still want is Slo Mo. If I can find Elissabat’s dress, I’ll snag it, but I wanna try to avoid buying another doll if I can. (grin) It’s pretty rare that all I want is her dress and jacket. I don’t even want her boots, and her props are nice but not really essential to me.

The three Black Carpet dolls Justice! had in stock yesterday – Clawdia, Elissabat, and Honey – are gone already. Mine hasn’t quite shipped yet, but there is a FedEx tracking number, so I don’t have to worry that they got swamped and oversold, which has happened to me before. Tracking number still says Monday delivery, but I don’t care if she arrives after Christmas, just that she arrives !  Clawdia’s still $35. on Amazon and eBay. I heard that the Mattel store had those three in, too, for $19.50 each, but they weren’t pictured there last night, not even with a ‘sold out’ banner. However, if ya read the message boards, everybody has had Clawdia for months, but I guess that’s not the case if she’s selling out this fast at mail-order outlets. In a few weeks, I’m sure Elissa’s dress will be ¾ the cost of the doll on eBay. (shrug) It’s the way of things.

But, let’s enjoy what we just got before we start sighing about what’s next down the pike. DLaura’s gloved hands looked OK on Rarity until I compared them with the thin ‘regular’ fingers on even the claw hands, and then the gloved set looked cartoonishly big and clumsy. I think it’s mostly due to the huge ‘ball’ joint that’s quite visible with all MH unusually colored hands, like Clawdeen’s purple Sweet 1600 gloves. For some reason, it really stands out as a separate part of the gloved hand molds while it blends in as part of the ‘regular’ hands and is barely noticeable.  So I returned the hands to the original owners, and will try to boil-straighten Rarity’s again later.

The Premiere Party spray-paint party last night went pretty well. The ‘counter/ podium’ piece looks really good, and I snapped the red accent piece back on this morning. I am very pleased with how good it looks in black. I missed some spots on the small, tall table, so had to repaint it this morning, let it dry all day. It’s funny to me that the podium came out as a more ‘matte’ finish, while the table is as shiny as the seat and other pieces that came from the factory black. I could probably get the podium shiny with another coat of paint, but I like it the way it is.  

Made some absorbent drink coasters for my computer desk and sewing arena out of a long strip of that rose-print fabric, mostly so I wouldn’t have to fold and put it away again. Plus I needed coasters, water really condenses outside these glasses, and I don’t like little puddles next to my tech gear and sewing machine. Hoping to sew a bit more once Dearest and Beloved are in bed. I caught a quick nap, so here’s hoping I’ll be awake a while longer ! 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Clawdia Wolf - soon on her way to Chez Insanity !

Current Notes: Here's our little lost shoe addict !

Turns out, today was the day ! Clawdia Wolf is on her way to Chez Insanity ! Justice! had her, Elissabat, and Honey on sale for $17., plus shipping and tax, so I bit. Even with all that, she wasn’t much over MSRP, so why not ? 

We’re still broke, so her fundage came out of Slo Mo’s bank, but what the heck. He's not here, but Clawdia was, so I'm glad I had it available. Rumor has it that the ones ready to go had the wrong ‘claw’ hands instead of the regular ‘guy monster’ ones, that’s why he got pulled and is in ridiculously short supply. I wouldn’t have cared one way or the other, but hopefully Mattel will make good by releasing lots of him as soon as possible.

And I did two more surveys today ! Just six more, and I’ll have built the Slo Mo fund right back to where it was before. Hopefully, I'll have enough to get him once he's in wider release. So, I’m happy.

Justice! says she should be here by Monday, but UPS evidently hates me, so I’m not counting on her arrival until after Christmas. Ice storm earlier this month, ya know. Beloved Hubby pointed out that other states had ice storms, but I showed him that she’s been about 40 miles away since early Tuesday. UPS either ranks or hates me, either one. As it was, DLaura didn’t arrive until 8:45pm. Driver said she was on the wrong truck. (sigh)

I also finally made the connection ‘nice weather = spray paint the turquoise Premiere Party pieces’ today. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until nearly dark, but I already had the paint, leftover from the bleachers project… so I did it. I’m getting better at it, you can hardly tell that I did it, instead of Beloved Hubby. Looks pretty good. Should be dry enough to handle, put back together, and photograph tomorrow !

And I hope to get a chance to sew then, too…

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I think my Muse is back from vacation - and she *loves* all these new dolls !

Current Notes: Beheaded Scaremester Catrine does 'boho' quite well, doesn't she ? 

My creativity is creeping back ! I can feel it. Today, I dragged out the jewelry finding box (a recycled plastic embroidery floss container) and made a couple doll necklaces, a pony necklace, and what I thought would be a pair of doll earrings. Just on a whim, I tried them on. And I can wear them ! Luckily, I’m not allergic to base metals or nickel, and I have no idea what these eye pins are made from, but I’m not reacting to them at all. Truthfully, these aren’t earrings I’d choose to wear – I used beads I had dozens of in a color I don’t really like – but it means I can make stuff I’ll be much happier with   later !

I also knocked out a Santa-style hat pattern for Ghoulia. Used that rose print fabric and some quick and awful hand-stitching to test it – as usual, the first one was a total fail. So I looked up online free patterns in human-scale. I wasn’t far off, but it was easy to see where I’d veered off the rails, so I modified it and the next trial worked pretty well. Once I get a good version, I’ll post a photo of the pattern, and try to figure out how to share a true-scale one. Gotta hurry, though, or no one will have any time to make ‘em !

To that end, I fixed the living room window. Beloved Hubby put plastic over most of the large windows late last month, to conserve heat before the central unit was magically repaired by returning the fuse to its correct slot. Only problem was, the blinds were down in the living room when he did it, so it’s been dark as a cave in there ever since. Today, I took matters into my own tentacles. Pried up the tape, fiddled with the blinds, got them open to the bright outdoors, then sealed the plastic back. Much better ! I even tested them before I resealed it – nope, ya can’t see nothin’ from the street or even from the porch, with your nose pressed against the glass and your hand cupped around your eyes. It’s a hazy blur. Perfect !

Then I turned the heat off and opened the front door. It’s been gorgeous outside yesterday and today, and we could use some fresh air ! Too bad UPS couldn’t come up with a better excuse about why my DLaura doll was, once again, late. Out of the last seven deliveries they made, four have been a day late. When I asked, I was told that mean ole ice storm, that lasted for one day nearly two weeks ago, was to blame. I’m amazed we’re not out of food and clothing ! I mean, if an order placed a week after the storm is being delayed by it, we should be out of just about everything else, too.

I just wish UPS would quit lying to me. I could take, and understand ‘holidays’ as a delay excuse. But the ice storm ? The few ‘on time’ packages were delivered right after it ! And the memory chip that was simultaneously on the right truck, the wrong truck in another city, and at the pick-up depot ? Pretty darn weak, UPS. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

I always thought it was stuck somewhere around twelve or so...

Current Notes: That’s good, ‘cause I *am* 47 ! 
Take the test yourself here.

Well, that didn’t take long ! Beloved Hubby is still consumed with New (to him) Truck Fever, and it affects a lot of other things, like how we spend family time. We’re still not sure if we’re keeping or trading in the 4Runner, but I have the promise of a vehicle within two months if we do trade ‘Angel’ in. I’m OK with it either way, if he’s happy and I can get the heck out of Chez Insanity once or twice a week without dragging anyone who doesn’t wanna go along, it’s all good to me. Frankly, the idea of being able to take me and Dearest Son outta here when I want is delightful, and I can feel my interiors lighten.

So I’m actually a bit excited, too. Since ‘Angel’s destiny is sort of up in the air, I decided I should at least try to drive her, see if I had an opinion on the keep/trade decision. Beloved was home today, so I got some time to m’self – and I got to go to both Hobby Lobby and Justice! this afternoon !

Although it was actually rather a washout. While Justice! had four Jane Boolittle dolls, several budget Black Carpet ones, and most of their exclusive Swim line and the Ghoul Spirit ones, none of the dolls I really wanted were in stock. There were several I’d sorta like to have, but it was mostly for their clothes (Swim Rochelle, Black Carpet Cleo), and our finances are a bit too snug for that right now. Could do it, but I’d feel guilty. No Slo Mo, no Clawdia. Well, it’ll happen when it happens, one day I’ll have both. Just not today.

It’s kind of funny. I rather like the story given to the Jane doll, but… I think I have too many dolls I already love to make space for another due only to her compelling back-story. To me, she looks like too many others once her clothes are changed, so I’m not as intrigued as I would be, say, a year ago. And we all know how I feel about the whole ‘talking to animals’ thing – or you will, after next week’s Sophia the First rant.

While being alone for as long as I wished at Hobby Lobby is darn near a fantasy in itself, I struck out there, too. They didn’t have what I was looking for, and while 90% of the store was on one sale or another, I didn’t find much I wanted. Found the owl ribbon I’d seen on their website – half off ! – and later, some novelty Christmas owl-print ribbon, too. At the register, I saw both Beloved and Dearest’s favorite candy bars, and I had just enough cash on me to get them each a little ‘thanks for giving me some alone time’ gift.

Later on, Beloved bought me one – he remembered, during his latest ‘home improvement’ store run, that I needed a new power strip. The extension cord I was using for my sewing machine and lamp kept slipping out of the socket, often at the worst possible moment. A nudge to the table restored power, but after a few dozen ‘nudges’, I was getting downright violent. And it wasn’t even the table’s fault. Now, it’s not an issue.

And I got no more excuses for not sewing…

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Here's a blast from the past - order your fabric from the 1926 Sears Roebuck catalog !

Current Notes: From "Make it Yourself : Home Sewing, Gender, and Culture, 1890-1930" 
- an awesome read by Sarah A. Gordon ! 

Click for Detail !

Not an exciting day. A project I had a good idea for has yet to get off the ground, as the fabric I wanted to use for it isn’t wide enough. Since our closest supply of material is Hobby Lobby, I was kinda out of luck, as they’re always closed Sundays. However, Beloved Hubby promised to take me there one day this week, and I’m gonna hold him to it. I’m also planning on a quick run into Justice!, see if they have any of the newer MH dolls that have yet to arrive anywhere else around here.

I really should dig into what fabrics I already have first, but I just couldn’t force m’self into it today. I woke up with a spike-through-the-eye headache and a seriously bad attitude. Seemed like every petty annoyance, from treacly kids’ Christmas cartoons to just-purchased missing food was prominent this morning. It didn’t improve much this afternoon, either. So I consoled m’self with Bad Santa and cheddar Chex mix, with soup for lunch, made with leftover ramen broth from Dearest Son’s lunch, two small potatoes, and some lunchmeat turkey no one’s touched in three weeks. Tastier than it sounds, I promise.

We did get to go out, sort of. Dollar Tree is an outing, right ? I got various household needs, a neat pair of holiday socks I may wear instead of using for a doll’s  ‘ugly’ sweater, a bag of 400 pony beads in a staggering variety of bright colors, a roll of shelf liner (great for doll floors and backdrops !), and a set of green glass beads. They had all colors, and if they still have ‘em next time we go, I may treat m’self to some whites and purples, but the green really sang to me. Dearest chose some popcorn and a My Little Pony coloring book with Applejack on the cover, and we got a kitty-themed Christmas coloring book to share. He hardly ever colors, just likes to leaf through the graphics, but I hope to get him to color with me this week. Also some candy, which is hidden. Sweet-toothed invisible sharks seem to patrol for stuff like that left out in the open. We got outta there for fifteen bucks, which isn’t bad for us. I can easily spend a twenny in there, with a couple singles for tax !

Came home and made a quick dinner instead of going out. Yes, we went through an entire weekend without eating at even a McDs once. Kinda tells you where finances are. We’re not that bad off, but anywhere we can conserve is good. I probably save 20 nickels a day, which isn’t much even in aggregate – but it’s important that I do so, just the same. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

He's got an official bio now - if only he had a doll version to purchase ...

Current Notes: My day was slower than Sloman, though. 

Something I didn’t realize until today – the “ I <3 Shoes “ DracuLaura I bought yesterday comes with white gloved hands. Since today’s efforts at straightening Catrine’s ‘claw’ hands didn’t go well, I might possibly use DLaura’s for Rarity instead. Already have a spare pair of DLaura ‘standard’ hands. I just wonder if the ‘glove’ hands  make the fingers look stubby, as no one seems to like them. That could just be the color contrast between her pink wrists and white gloves, but I won’t know ‘til she gets here.

Not sure where I went wrong. I’ve straightened much thicker, harder sixth-scale male dolls’ hands before, with a lot less effort. At first, I thought I had it, but when I checked later in the day, Rarity’s current hands were back to ‘claw’ shape. Darn it.

Found some Russian doll patterns on Pinterest and downloaded them. Not sure if I’ll ever use them – most are for Barbie and larger dolls – but sometimes it’s worth it just to have the shape to adapt. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Pinkamena saved you a seat !

Current Notes: I took this photo a couple days before the Rarity project. Did you know Rarity came with the same boots, just painted light pink and silver, with no heart design ? Mattel's not the only toymaker who recycles shoe molds ! 

Enjoyed a nice lunch of last night’s leftover chicken and dumplings, with a potato tossed in. Dinner was itself a leftover, made with the last bits of that half-price rotisserie chicken we bought Tuesday, and the last of a box of Aldi’s house-brand Bisquick. Beloved Hubby loves my recipe – it’s garlic heavy ! – and usually eats all the dumplings he can find. I have a sort of chicken stew the next day, with the potato making up for the missing dumplings. I get the most out of a half-off rotisserie deli chicken ! I got…two meals for three and three lunches for two out of it !

When lunch is the highlight of the day,  you know it wasn’t a stellar one. Beloved Hubby was too tired and too late coming home to do anything, but he’s promised we’ll do something this weekend, even though he’s working then, too. I hate to ask anything of him when he’s working so hard, but being cooped up in this house, with so much subtext floating around, is enough to drive anyone a bit nutz.

Case in point, I ordered “I <3 Shoes” DracuLaura off Amazon tonight. I just couldn’t resist any longer. (snarf) On Cyber Monday, Amazon had her as a special, had to wait three hours to see her newly discounted price. When the time came, I snapped one up so fast, I didn’t look at the price until after I had her in the cart – MH dolls were going like mad, selling out in seconds even when the price wasn’t much of a discount. $15. wasn’t much off a $20. doll I was primarily buying for her three pair of shoes, so I relinquished mine to the next hungry buyer.

Few days later, she came down to $9.99. So tempting, but we were broke, they don’t take PayPal, and did I really need more doll shoes ? Apparently so, because Thursday she came down to $8.57, and I bit the bait tonight. I vow to not get crazy over however UPS/ USPS/ FedEx/ Delivery Drone/ Pinkie Pie Party Cannon gets it here, hopefully sometime Tuesday.

It’s nice to have something to look forward to, but I gotta quit buying so much stuff ! The previous statement is null and void if I find Clawdia Wolf or a magically appearing Slo Mo this weekend, however…