Sunday, March 31, 2013

Nothin' but batty skies do I see...

Current Mood : Springy !

I heard the most horrible thing ever today. For some reason, I decided to watch some darn wedding show, and during the intro, this voice intones, “You only have this one day to express yourself …” I think it’s a woman in one opening, a man in another season. Either way…what the heck ? One day in your whole entire life to express yourself ?! Does anyone actually believe that, or is the person talking nuts ? I express myself every day ! Every doll dress I sew is an expression. Every time I shake my big can to a few notes of music, I exist. What I am is apparent each time I speak – and I talk.  A lot. You probably already know that from reading more than two entries. No wonder so many brides and grooms are crazy by the time the ‘big day’ rolls around, if they’re being fed garbage like that – and they’re paying people to tell them this junk ! I really feel bad for the ones who’ve spent thousands of dollars and actually feel squelched or that they’ll never have a chance to ‘express themselves’ ever again. Boring as heck marriage, if you ask me, when nobody expresses anything.

Anyway. I ‘expressed myself’ again, late last night. By the time I was done, it qualified as today, so here we are ! Wanted to try my alteration of that NG Creations drop-waist bodice, so I sewed it up. Almost too tight, so you’ll see it at least once more, for the new, new version. I’m down to the last scraps, so the new2 version will probably finish up the blue fabric, or leave just enough for half a pair of shorts or something. It made a nice, if really plain dress, so I decided to dress it up a bit.

You may have noticed, I don’t often use trims or much decoration on my creations. Heck, when you really look at classic Barbie attire, Mattel didn’t, either. It’s partially because, if I’ve sewn something great, I don’t wanna bury it under glitter and lace and rhinestones. I’ve seen too many doll outfits – and people clothes, too, if ya wanna get into it – that literally drip with  tulle and bows and roses and glitz…and under it all is a super-simple, not even fitted, tube. Well, if I was trying to sell a tube made out of a t-shirt for $20. (plus s/h !), I’d feel like I had to glamor it up, too !

To me, simplicity is elegance and elegance is beautiful. Unadorned, simple lines flatter much better than all the d├ęcor in the world. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some shiny ! It’s that I’m ridiculously proud (although private about it ) of my sewing, and I love precision, so I want to show it off when I achieve ! Plus, the simple fact is, I have no idea how to sew sequins and such. Despite the other simple fact that the Universe knows I have enough ribbon, lace, and other trims to stretch between planets, if not galaxies. I merely lack the confidence and possibly skill to attach it to anything. Well, time to get that over with ! I did OK with the ribbon on the boyfiends’ clothes – let’s go a little further.

When I saw how pretty DracuLaura’s new dress was coming out – tight in the bodice or not – the first thing I thought of was the lovely trim I bought during a previous supply run to Hancock Fabrics. The one before the trips to get all that lame boucle knit, I mean. I found some killer clearance sales and scored that delicate, slightly iridescent trim for 25c a yard, marked down from $3./yd. At the time, I thought it’d look great on Lagoona, but it’s pretty and will look good on anyone. Except maybe Cleo. She insists on gold. I bought the entire reel, which was nearly four yards, but they only charged me for three, so I had plenty to experiment with.

Had no idea how to attach trim to skirt, but I figured I’d better do it while the skirt was still a rectangular cut. Grabbed some scraps and cut a small length of trim off the end – which immediately began to fray as soon as I took the Hancock’s applied tape off – and went to it. I figured a longer stitch with looser tension would work. And it did ! So, long story short (too late !), this latest dress has some trim on it. Yaaay. I’m sure time and experience will give me more confidence with applying it elsewhere, besides just a hem.

I’ve been wanting to use that ‘bat’ scrapbook paper backdrop for years – but most of what I tried to photograph with it were prints that clashed. Glad this worked. I called it ‘Batty for Spring DracuLaura’, which still makes me laugh. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Blue skies, smilin' at me...

Current Mood : Cheerful

Spent a fun short morning messing around with my Arena desk configurations, trying to hit on that perfect combination, although I about had things the way I liked already. In the end, I didn’t do much, but I adjusted some of the wiring so KJ, my sewing machine, could be moved around a lot more, giving me more space for bigger projects. Better ‘photo studio’ lighting, too. So I’m happy.

Am tired of messing with doll-size buttons. Ever since the ‘Spring Mix’ fiasco, I’ve been trying to find a new supplier with decent prices and the colors I want. Quality is not even in the equation at all, and I’m still coming up zilch. I figure, I’ll just use what I have, even if they are a bit oversized, and buy black or white ones at Hancock Fabrics as needed, during a sale or with a coupon. Haven’t checked out Hobby Lobby yet, so who knows what’s there ?  At least it’ll keep me from wasting more time searching Etsy and eBay.

Especially when there’s sewing to do ! I had a second bodice from yesterday’s pattern cut out before I even went to bed last night. Had it sewn into a dress before 2pm. I didn’t sew the gathers this time, but still had the same issues, so it had to be taken in quite a bit. This time, though, I was kinda expecting it, so I trimmed and fitted as I went. The skirt’s just a hemmed and gathered rectangle. Next time, I need to make it wider and a bit shorter, so it's fluffy and cute. But, again, I like the results, and I think Frankie enjoys some cooler attire. It’s hot as heck here today !

And I’m nearly out of the blue former-sleeve fabric ! I got maybe a pair of ghoul shorts and a brief blouse outta the bits and pair of pieces. Yaay ! Which is good, as I’m nearly out of the mostly-matching blue thread, too. And there’s what’s probably my favorite pair of MH shoes – Jemgirl Creations’ red sparkle Dawn of the Dance Frankie pumps. They are so beautiful…just like today’s glorious blue skies. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Bye, Bloom. Sleep in sweet waters...

Current Mood : Slightly sad. 

Dearest Son brought back an extra box from his visit with his grandparents – stuff of mine we left behind. I knew we were missing some things, but, Arrgh. Much as I’m glad to have Ceremonial Gown Leia and Leia and R2-D2 as Jabba’s Prisoners back, I have no idea what I’m gonna do with ‘em. Or where I can put them. Just barely found a place to store the ten sheets of 6mm craft fun foam in the box’s bottom. At least I won’t have to buy that stuff for the next two soft-side boxes I make…

Some sad news – our Betta fish, Bloom, passed away in the night. Poor little thing. Don’t know why, he hadn’t been eating for the last two days, and then, this morning… Services were held creek-side, with immediate family only in attendance.

Was trying to distract myself from a mindless munch-a-thon late tonight when I decided to sew something new. Let’s face it, half the time I think I’m hungry, I’m mostly bored and want to do something, I just don’t know what – or lack the confidence to do what I know I wanna do. I decided, rather than try the brand-new pattern I bought this month for the boyfiends, I wanted to sew something pretty. Which is kind of funny, when you consider I ended up sewing a bubble-skirt dress. Maybe I was thinking of Bloom…

Truth is, I don’t really think bubble skirts are that pretty. Mostly they look like a semi-deflated balloon, and make even the thinnest women appear to be smuggling snow tires. But I’d never sewn one, even by accident, and the pattern pieces looked so odd, I knew it’d keep my attention. I used NG Creations’ third pattern again, pieces #7 - #9 for the skirt. It came together well, and actually looked pretty good, although I had some gathering problems…the worst time to run out of bobbin thread is ¾ of the way through a row of gathering stitches. Ah, well. Next one will probably look better.

The drop-waist bodice…I was disappointed in. From the same pattern set, it used pieces #5 and #6. It calls for gathering maybe a half-inch on the top front on each side, which you have to admit is a challenge and kind of a pain for such a small area. And then, once the side seams are sewn, you can’t tell you did anything ! Once it was complete, it gapped hugely, and I had to take it in at the back quite a bit. Even then, it’d be a peek-a-boo blouse for any of the taller boyfiends who take three seconds to simply look down. Not sure if I went wrong or the pattern did. I’ll probably sew just the bodice tomorrow, out of scraps, to check m’self.

Otherwise, with another trial or two, I think I’ll soon have a neat dress pattern ! I’ve come to like the look of it – it’s pretty 80s, really – and I’d love to do more with it. For now, though, as a first-run, it’s not too bad. And it kept me out of the fridge for about two hours ! 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pretty Fly for a Normie Guy !

Current Mood : Pretty fly, m'self !

It’s one of my ‘me’ days today – Dearest Son left for an overnight with his grandparents’ along with Beloved Hubby, who has classes all day. I had laundry on the agenda, and a lot of use-it-or-lose-it food to whip into breakfast and lunch, possibly dinner. Beloved’s working tonight. But I also had the rest of a whole day to do as I pleased.

So I knocked out the chores first, and got a fresh load of laundry done, then five loads of laundry put away. It was starting to pile up, but in small drifts scattered throughout the place. The living room alone had stashes equal to two loads, so did the kitchen. Not gonna tell you what was hiding in Dearest’s room ! I keep tellin’ my fellas if it’s not in the hamper, I don’t wash it, and if the hamper’s less than half-full, I don’t do laundry, but I still end up harvesting socks from every semi-quiet corner around the sofa and front door. I am soooo gonna leverage this into take-out fried chicken this weekend.

Breakfast and lunch were mostly made-from-scratch efforts with leftovers, but I used up three sprouty potatoes, two going-fast eggs, stale bread, a third of a can of bean soup, with the last of a bag of noodles.  Still plenty of potatoes and bread left for dinner ! Too bad I’m sick of taters for the next few days…

Work and dining done, I wanted to sew ! And my little comment on the Flickr page that hosts the Gil & Lagoona ‘Beach Music Festival’ photo – that I could have easily made Gil pants, but decided to do shorts, since they drive most fans crazy – kinda bugged me. I didn’t wanna brag. So I made the pants just like the shorts, but I tried something new…a fly front ! Normally, I don’t even do a fake fly that fastens in the back, but I wanted to ‘go for it’, and actually make pants that close in the front.

Pulled up NG Creations’ third pattern set, and got to it. Had to print out a fresh pattern, as I’d altered my last two into ‘boot cut’ and ‘sweatpants’  versions during last year’s ‘Boyfiends Week’, which I need to repeat soon. Followed the directions for piece #22, only to find them a bit confusing. The pattern’s description says they close in front with a Velcro ™ fake fly, but the illustrations and directions have the Velcro ™ in the back and a fake fly stitched flat in front. I kinda cobbled it together my way, and there’s a fly in front with Velcro, just not done very well. But I’ll improve with practice, and no one can say I lied about making pants as easily as shorts. I even did the ribbon trim on the sides, for kicks. Plus, I kinda need practice in keeping ribbon straight as I sew, too.

Just waiting for Beloved to come home – I think I’ll just goof off the rest of the night. Wonder if I can find something on Netflix…

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Can you believe it's almost April ?

Current Mood : Hopeful

Beloved Hubby’s class at the Library went well, and it was nice to socialize a bit. The corridor from the main entrance to the restrooms just off the Library proper was lined with boxes, nearly all labeled 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ. Most will be empty by month’s end. While we waited for the front desk to begin the day – to get the key to our reserved meeting room – I watched six people dig in the boxes, extract their forms and leave. How anyone can come to a Library and not dig in the shelves for a few minutes is a foreign concept to me.

However, I notice that since we got a Tablet with the Kindle app, I don’t feel the pull as strongly as I used to, either. Now that is back up, and I’m downloading three to five free, if often short, books a week, my need to always have something new to read around me is well-sated. And I don’t have to worry about fines ! I bought my third book today, although I have over 130 on my Tablet. What can I say, I love me some freebies !

You won’t be surprised – I got the Ghoulfriends Forever volume of the ‘new’ MH series. It was even on sale for just $1.99 ! Since I doubt I’ll ever find a dead-tree version second-hand, I thought this would be a way to read it but not have it linger on our bookshelves if it was just too young for me. And it’s a lot cheaper ! I read the first two chapters when it first came out last year, and it actually reads pretty well, much better than the shallow ad-fest series Lisl Harrison barfed onto paper three years ago. Not that I’m bitter or anything…

Anyway, I’ll start reading it, soon as I’m done with The Frog Prince, Seven Patients, and Look For Me, so stay tuned ! There’s another MH book in the new series due out the first of April and another later this year. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

It's Gil and Lagoona at the Beach Music Festival !

Current Mood : Can almost hear 'Rainy Day Bells' ! 

Back to the normal grind. Beloved Hubby went back to classes, we organized tomorrow’s art class at the Library, and did laundry. Made a really delicious box of Dirty Rice for Dearest Son and m’self, and dinner was a simple box of lasagne. Nothing really big or special.

Dearest Son was reminiscing about toys of his youth – he’s 13 now, btw – and said he wished he still had his ‘Galactic Heroes’ Millennium Falcon, as it would probably be a perfect thing to pose ponies in. It was a great toy, a $35. simplified, rounded-edges version of the huge $150. action figure Falcon, and honestly, I loved it, too. That’s why I kept it when he decided he didn’t like Star Wars (actually it was Clone Wars he didn’t like) anymore. It was an awesome display toy. Intended to sell it when I ran out of display space on my Arena, but we moved first, and it got shoved into boxes. We snagged that box early on in our move here, and again, it got shoved into the back of the closet.

So he was thrilled all over again to find it on his desk today. I swear, he’s playing with it more now than he did when he first got it. Some toys, ya just keep. You kinda know what your son or daughter will wish they still had later. I still have his very first toy car. And his first Happy Meal preschooler toy. When he’s bored with the Falcon and ponies, they’ll get put away again. Hope I can keep up with them !

Monday, March 25, 2013

You know it's a true tribute when fans laugh.

Current Mood : Laughing

They say you know you’ve made it into the public’s eye when Mad magazine parodies you. I think Topps’ Wacky Packages isn’t far behind that august publication. Found today’s image while prowling around eBay – won a pair of Jemgirl Creations shoes for less than half price, delivered ! – and part of me wants to buy it. I have a few memories of Wackies from the early 70s, my teenage babysitter’s older brother collected them, and would occasionally give me duplicates he couldn’t trade, or would show me his latest collection additions when he was home. He kept them in photo albums. I had ‘Virginia Slums’ – a particular favorite of mine, as I was born in Va. – ‘Fish-Bone’ salad dressing, and ‘Putrid Cat Chow’, also loved for the cats with clothespins on their noses. Probably more, but those are the ones I remember.

I think this one’s funny, because you can see it’s wearing a simplified version of Ghoulia’s Skull Shores swimsuit. Even the hairstyle, pose, and box colors are right, although they’ve interpreted her ‘brain’ barrette as a bow, and her ‘lung’ earring as a set of crossbones. She didn’t get those – in red – until her TRU exclusive scooter set. The artist who drew this either had the doll right in front of him/her, or drew from an online photo. If you’d ask me, that kind of involved detail meant someone enjoyed doing it, and is probably a fan.

Got to sew last night and today – I had a lotta ideas rolling around in my head. There wasn’t much to stop them. I wanted a skirt to go with the one-shoulder bodice I sewed in that blue fabric the other day, and I also want a boucle lame black skirt, just longer than the one DracuLaura’s wearing. So I lengthened the slim skirt from NG Creations’ first pattern (pieces #13 and #14) and sewed it up, and it looks just the way I wanted. Paired with the blouse-bodice, it looked pretty good on Lagoona.

Then I had another idea. Some photos of the upcoming ‘Music Festival’ MH line showed another Clawd and DracuLaura set. Many fans despaired at the ‘boring clothes’ they were shown wearing. To me, it’s what everyday high-school kids would wear to a summer concert, plus some recycled shoes. Not to mention, the photo wasn’t very good. But Clawd, despite all the times I get a twinge of envy post about having both when many fans couldn’t find one, got rejected for his shorts, tank top, and flip-flops. It's Clawd - the guy you all want ! Why not snag him and just redress him ? His stock's frequently up on eBay and message boards for sale ! 

You know me, it may take a while to percolate, but eventually, I have my say. I decided to make something *really* boring ! I now have my very own ‘Music Festival’ Lagoona and Gil, and they’re both wearing all blue. Perfectly matching, all four pieces. Used NG Creations Pattern #3 for his shorts and tank top (#19, #20). Recycled accents, jewelry, and shoes. I’ll post that photo tomorrow – and you know it’ll appear on the message board where poor Clawd got dissed. Probably a couple other places, too. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Belle dreams of Scaris...

Current Mood : Recycled 

Current Image Notes : Click or Flickr for bigness ! 

Now I know who Ginger-kitty prefers ! I had Scaris Cleo and Lagoona on their stands, a bit isolated from the rest of the MH herd, when Ginger suddenly jumped on my desk. She gave Cleo a hearty sniff, but stepped over to Lagoona and rubbed her chin and cheeks all over her ! I kept waiting for the doll to topple over, but she didn’t – Ginger had her paw on Lagoona’s stand ! After marking both dolls a bit, she wanted outside. Preferably now. That’s our kitty !

Dearest Son found another Barbie dress from his previous collection, and it fits Dream Princess Belle perfectly. Hmm. Perhaps I’m now so accustomed to the tiny MH body, the Belle one now looks thick to me. Hmmm…(grabs Malibu Barbie to compare). Yup, that’s it. Belle’s body’s no thicker than a standard TNT one, it’s just been a while since I played with one. And the ‘twist’ line does help the doll’s waist look narrower than it is.

Kicked the Scaris box one too many times, so it was time to break that down. Scavenged the usual – the logos, some of the ‘trellis’, and the illustrated box back. I’d wanted to save the liner, but there’s about 50 holes and slits in it, and even posing a doll in the midst of the most, it still took over an hour with PaintShopPro to remove them. So, after today’s image, I ditched it. I figured, since Belle is French, a surreal dream of Paris – or, as she referred to it in her later years, Scaris – wouldn’t be too far off the beam.

For kicks, I kept the transparent plastic ‘view window’ part to use for patterns. I can trace my favorite ones on it with a Sharpie ™, and cut them out, and have more durable ones. Since I do most of my fabric cutting with a rotary, having patterns in clear plastic is great ! I can angle my cuts better, to take advantage of any prints, and a plastic pattern is a lot easier to use than a paper one. Hope to try it out tonight, I got a skirt pattern I wanna use, and the slightly altered panty one. BTW, I put the second trial-sew pair of underwear on Clawdeen, under Scaris DLaura’s pink mini-skirt. No panty lines ! Seated, you can hardly see them, and if I’d gone with a darker color, you probably couldn’t tell they’re there at all. I can probably make 50 in black and use ‘em all. At least it’d keep me sewing ! 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

I think Belle has the right idea - bedtime !

Current Mood : Tired

As last night dragged on, I did a quick Belle-to-Belle head-swap on the sofa. Ballerina Belle had yer standard squat two-prong neck stem, DP Belle featured the new, longer one that’s also in MH doll necks. Very thin, much more fragile. But I learned the hard way that, long as you don’t twist, you just gently pull, it’ll work well for both dolls. I put the altered doll in the DP box and donate her that way, for kicks. I now have my very own green-eyed, short-haired Dream Princess Belle ! It’s unlikely there’ll ever be another out there. And I’m very happy about what I have now. (grin) So much for ‘I’m thinking of getting rid of the Barbies…between my ‘custom’ Belle and the Life in the Dreamhouse Raquelle I’m wanting – if Mattel keeps that quirked smirk ! – I don’t think they’re in any danger !

Ya know what made up my mind ? I started to put the unswapped Ballerina in DP’s box – and felt so sad all of a sudden. I realized that was the face I wanted, so hair or not, it was time to swap. The ‘new’  hybrid Belle went in the box, and the box went in the Donations bag without so much of a second glance. I even repurposed a rubber band to keep her in place. If I were an obnoxious cheap twerp, I could probably get away with taking the doll back to the store and getting a refund or credit ! But that’s just plain wrong, so I’m gonna donate her – I just think the really neat packaging adds to the fun !

Well, we finally have a resolution to the tiny button saga. The whole thing started Feb. 28th, when I ordered a bag of 200 ¼” buttons from ABCTextiles on Etsy. This company’ also sells on eBay under ABCTextiles_com. They were marked as shipped on 04 March and I got them on the 9th. Before I ordered, I carefully read the entire ad twice, which said that if I didn’t want ‘Spring Mix’, I could request other colors, helpfully numbered and photographed next to the Spring Mix image. I dutifully listed the four colors I wanted instead on both my order page and my PayPal payment page when I ordered and paid. Of course, when they arrived – in a recycled utility bill envelope, no padding at all save for a sheet of copy paper, in a small Ziplock ™ bag, with two stamps totaling 70c, although I’d paid $1.95 for shipping – they were the darn near day-glo Spring Mix.

I read the ad at least twice more, and I’d done everything the seller said. Regretfully, I opened up a dispute saying I’d rather have the buttons I ordered at the same price, and I’d be glad to pay for what I ordered, and keep Spring Mix. If they couldn’t sell what they offered, I’d send them back. ABCTextiles didn’t respond to me or the two e-mails Etsy sent, for over two weeks. Today I get a message, telling me to send Spring Mix back for a refund. I went back to their ad, which was now denuded of any offer to sell other colors, although it still had the photo of them. Another ad offered to sell those other colors – including the ones I wanted – but I was supposed to message them first. Something that was not on the original sale offer.

I confess, I was tired of it, so I decided to just keep the Spring Mix, so I wouldn’t end up having to pay to send their error back and probably lose my original shipping fees, too. I’ll just buy what I want from another seller. Unless you want precisely what’s in the ad, I can’t recommend ABCTextiles for doll buttons. Several of them got smashed in shipping, and a couple more were stuck to the bag, and when I examined them, I noticed I’ll have to re-burn holes in about a tenth of them. Plus they go on vacation without noting it in their store, which is unprofessional, too. Not worth it, in my opinion. At least it’s done with, and I can try to use a few.

Other than that, it’s kinda boring around here. How’s your weekend going ?

Friday, March 22, 2013

I didn't choose the Barbie life...the Barbie life won't leave me alone !

Current Mood : Undecided. 

Good news ! We paid a bill we really didn’t have to, and it’s been settled in our favor, so a refund check is already on the way ! While it’s not a fortune, it’s diesel and groceries for most of a month, so I’m happy !

OK. So. Been thinking about Barbies lately. Guess I’m sharing Deborah’s ‘Monster High Slump’, even though I’ve obtained several new dolls, and there’s been new info and photos out, I still feel a bit blah about it all. To tell the truth, the very little I want won’t be out ‘til August, which is kinda why I went ahead and snagged the Scaris set. I’m sure there’ll be the usual surprise dolls along the way, but I’m kinda tapped for now.

So my fickle mind turns to other dolls. Today I found an $8. pattern for making my own versions of Timey Tell’s issue dress, something I’ve always wanted to do. Still…eight bucks. I may try to make it m’self first. Plus, I’ve barely touched Elphie and Fiyero, or the LDPs, including Princess Dorrie, and my few remaining sixth-scale dolls that aren’t MH…I’ll confess, with space becoming more of an issue than anything else, I was giving serious thought to ditching Barbie altogether…but I can’t do it. I can’t give up Midge, or Leia, or Malibu, or Molly and Nephlyte, or Lottie…

In fact, my special treat from Aldi’s is pictured above. It’s so funny – I’d been hearing how fans have found the new swimsuit MH dolls at Aldi’s for $8.99, yet I wasn’t interested. But when we went yesterday, I did dig through the overloaded sole cardboard bin of dolls, marked with Barbie, MH, and Disney Princess logos. There was not one single MH doll, and only two DPs. Evidently, the Pink Shoes Barbie line isn’t selling as well. I snagged the sole Belle, mostly because she had the same face as the unfortunately permanently dressed Belle ballerina I bought last year.

It’s really a sweet doll in amazing packaging. Once the liner is removed, you can see how great it is. The bed has a 3-d footboard, and is angled to elevate the doll’s head. There’s a cardboard roll-pillow supporting her, and it’s themed to match the rose-printed ‘sheets’. The ‘Chip’ pillow is made of cheap fabric, but it’s a cute, useable prop. The windowsill is also 3-D, showing a crescent moon, and the sill holds a brush, mirror, toothpaste, cup, and toothbrush. I wish I could keep the packaging.

The outside box has a coupon for an Oral B kids’ manual toothbrush, illustrated with what’s probably the DP one, the image is too small to see much detail. You can also snag Sleeping Beauty  (pink owl print) or Rapunzel (purple Pascal print) in the same line. Also available at Target, and other stores, if you don’t have an Aldi’s.

As for Belle herself, she came with the stuff I mentioned, plus a loose, light yellow nightie with a Chip and Mrs. Potts print, that (sigh) is only on the front. Plain yellow on the Velcro ™ closure back. The neckline is neat, though, it mimics her iconic gold gown, but in hot pink tulle, with a plastic pink rose button in the center. She also has a yellow plastic eye mask with a crown on top that fits very well. I was relieved to note that it does come off – ever since I ran into ‘permanent crown-mask’ Three Musketeers Barbie, I try not to take those things for granted. I like her slippers, they’re designed to look like the oversized fuzzy kind, with a rose design on each. Surprisingly, she has flat feet ! Barbie ‘gymnast body’ shoes are a bit big on her, but they fit. No twist waist or bend knees, and her figure is a bit thick, but her hair is lovely and her face has that slightly wistful, sad expression I fell in love with last year.

The only big problem is this. DP Belle has brown eyes. Ballerina Belle ’12 has green, which I prefer. DP has better hair, so while I can just swap heads, I’m not sure I wanna. Either way, I can at least quit looking for a body upgrade for Ballerina now. 

Oh, and because we all might need it - 

Hope you bag a buncha bucks ! 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Happy Spring !

Current Mood : Sniffly. Hay fever. Happy first day of Spring ! 

I’m already a bit sad to see Spring Break end so soon. Rarely have so few gotten so much sleep ! And I’ve really enjoyed having the Scaris ghouls. Here’s what her dress looks like separated – I love the added versatility that brings. It’s just telling to me that I usually make my things baggy, to avoid that pull and hollow at the crotch, but I guess Mattel really likes it. Both Cleo and Lagoona’s dresses fit the same way.

Dearest Son got to visit his grandparents today, so we went ahead and got the next month’s groceries at the Aldi’s nearby. We spent $103., which included a special treat for me (more later). Now that Beloved Hubby’s mostly given up soda – I’m making Kool-Aid and tea by the gallons, and keeping the water jug filled is a nearly full-time job – our food budget’s much cheaper, and we get more. Took me twenty minutes to get it all put away, because I had to redo the shelves in the freezer, fridge, and ‘pantry’ so it’d all fit.

The water jug is kind of a joke. When we first moved here, we got take-out fried chicken from a local restaurant, and a gallon of tea. We quickly enjoyed that meal – and the leftovers – but too soon, it was bones and a plastic jug. I could use the jug ! Since  we were still moving stuff, I refilled it with water and stored it in the then-empty fridge. For various reasons, the tap water here just tastes better once it’s chilled overnight. Here’s the funny part – we’re still using the same plastic jug. And it gets emptied and refilled nearly every night. Even Beloved’s drinking water more often. That makes me happy.

Not a lot else going on – oh ! Forgot to tell you what I got special at Aldi’s ! Believe this or not, it isn’t a vat of potato chips, or a wondrous chocolate Easter feast. It’s not even an MH doll, or even a Barbie. Show ya tomorrow ! 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Make it move, set this place underwater...

Current Mood : Bouncy

A word to the populace of Earth…if you insist on wearing soft pants that have words on the seat, you may wanna adjust ‘em every so often. What should be ‘TRIBE’ may be only ‘TRE’ to the people behind you in line if you’re not observant. A safer bet : not wearing clothes that invite people to read the ad gaffe on your butt. And snicker.

Now, back to more of my other worthless prattle. Today, I learned that MH is a tool of the Illuminati. Yes, someone wrote a serious paper about it. It’s over here, if you want a laugh. The author is amazed that a series about Frankenstein monsters, zombies, and mummies is also mired in ‘death’ symbolism, seen in the coffin lockers, coffin purses, iCoffins, and skulls everywhere, not to mention the One-Eye imagery often near a coffin. I confess, I was kinda surprised to see Frankie use the Sailor Moon eye-with-finger-V pose on a pillowcase, but it’s popular among girls, so why not ? At least, I hope it’s inspired by Sailor Moon and not Pulp Fiction

And today, we have Scaris Lagoona’s photoshoot. She’s often overlooked in this set, which is a shame, she’s just as gorgeous as Cleo ! Her hair is as soft and blonde as a Barbie’s, with the streaks looking far more natural than usual. It’s styled in a simple yet sophisticated demi-ponytail and fall, similar to Signature Frankie’s, but like nothing I’ve ever seen Lagoona in. Color-wise, it’s more pale than the sometimes ‘butter yellow’ she usually has. It’ll be an interesting contrast when the 13 Wishes Lagoona comes out – the hair on that prototype is almost highlighter yellow. Or, as I once said when a room-mate colored her hair and asked me what I thought, I blurted out, ‘Wow !’ because it was so bright. She took it as a compliment and started referring to it as ‘wow yellow’ – which I now wonder if someone on the MH design team ever saw her wearing. Same shade.

It’s fairly easy to remove the cute octopus ‘tiara’ that pulls her hair back and add some other accessory. But the octopus matches her necklace and the ones on her shoes – which also features a cute Asian-style octopus in relief on the heels. It’s always the details that sucker-punch me. Her freckles stand out so adorably, I kinda want to add some to Cleo’s face. Surprisingly, she’s not wearing earrings, and her ears aren’t pierced. Her purse is further shell and tentacle-imagery over blue bubbles, with her scarf – it’s full length, just doubled before getting tied to her purse – matching her Dance Class bodysuit perfectly, probably scraps of the same fabric, I haven’t checked yet. Like Cleo’s purse, it opens, but there’s not much space within.

Speaking of details, when I moved Cleo for Lagoona, I noticed that the gold braid near the hem of her dress goes all the way around. Wow. In a day where even a $8. Barbie outfit doesn’t even have the same fabric in back as out front, much less details like a simple row of braiding, it’s nice to see that the details still matter, and still survive, at Monster High

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Boogie nights ! Ain't no doubt, we are here to par-tay....

Current Mood : In motion...

Another restful day – we really didn’t do much. I hit all my usual websites and prowled around, took a nice photo of Scaris Cleo (I’m slowly starting to think she’s the most beautiful Cleo ever !), the usual nice, quiet day. Got a little bored as night rolled into the later hours, and I started just poking around YouTube randomly. Wasn’t in much of a mood to sew, even my beloved 80s music and George Carlin recordings just weren’t reaching me. Ended up looking for swing music, an older, rarely researched passion of mine.

That, of course, led to swing dancing videos, and my, how swing has changed ! If you think it’s all still 40s jitterbug to jazz, watch this or this ! The second link in particular shows how it may have gotten a bit hotter and sexier, but it’s less skin showing than the average classical Tango competition. And I rather like the modern music, too. It’s a lot more likely you’d see this at a club, not ‘String of Pearls’. Still, at its base, it’s innocent and fun, and the dancers are not only actually dancing with each other, the guy is doing far more than just piloting the girl around ! He is fully as expressive as she is, and that got me thinking. I think that’s what’s been a bit off with me lately.

Nothing’s really wrong, but I’ve known I’m not quite in balance lately. I thought it was because I hadn’t been sewing much, but I’ve cleared away some new hurdles and even received some praise, so I knew that wasn’t it, but didn’t know what ‘it’ was. I think now I do. I haven’t been expressing myself physically lately, not for a long time. Not that I’ve been over-physical in any part of my life, but I don’t dance around like I used to, and I don’t skate anymore. Part of it is winter and a small apartment, part of it is fear. When you down as many pills as I do every day, it’s hard to not worry about your health perhaps a bit overmuch. But I’ve even neglected Wii Fit for a long time, and love or hate yoga, it is an expression – and I haven’t been forming mine in  months. I can’t remember the last time I danced around the kitchen like nothing mattered. Now that the weather’s getting nice and outside is opening up, I need that expression again.

There. I feel better. Now then – isn’t Cleo gorgeous ? Wow. Her hair's a bit cattywumpus in the back, but I can even that out later. Otherwise, she's If this is what Mattel can do, I'm kind of sad they haven't been, even with Barbie. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

What the heck...

Current Mood : Thrilled !

I’ve been a bad girl. So baaaaad. I’d decided, especially after we got Catrine de Mew, that I’d give the TRU-exclusive Scaris pair a pass. Even though I thought the Cleo was gorgeous and wanted Lagoona’s clothes and all the shoes, $30. with no sales shimmering on the horizon was a bit much, especially after Catrine. And getting Toralei again. And my ‘grail’ Dawn of the Dance Deuce. And Dance Class Howleen. And the Deluxe Fashion Packs. And…

(shakes head) Anyway. Figured I’d just snag the shoes and outfits alone off eBay. When demand was plentiful and demand was down, it’d be a lot cheaper, and give me fewer dolls to decide the dreaded keep/sell question over. Figured I’d start with the shoes, I really wanted the blue version of Lagoona’s School’s Out pink jellies. There’s a black version, too, but they’re seen so rarely, and were on such an odd doll (JCPenney’s exclusive DracuLaura and Sweet 1600 car), I doubt I’ll ever own them. But the blue ones, probably !

Only problem is, after I researched past and current prices for what I wanted, it was cheaper to just buy the set – again ! And in a stunning coincidence, the TRU website showed that mine local shop not only had the set in-stock, but they’d gladly do Store Pickup for me !

Now I was in a quandary. I mean, much as I love that Cleo doll and want to see Lagoona up close, what was I gonna…oh, look, there’s my ATM card. Still has money on it. About thirty-two bucks, imagine that. And we had plans to go out today, too… Don't even need to mention that the Heath/Abbey set won't be out 'til August...

Long story short (too late !), that’s definitely a ‘Mine !’ photo up there. I am in love. Both ghouls are flat-out gorgeous, and there’s not a flaw on them. Actually, I took a peek at the six others on the shelf while we were there, so I can say this is one of the best-produced sets I’ve ever seen. Not one had eye-wonk or paint smears or any box-visible QC issues. Every last one was perfect, and the only ‘flaw’ I saw was that the feathers on some of Cleo’s dresses faced up, like a ‘V’, when they really should have been facing down. But on a print as busy as this, only a twerp like me would notice. Actually, I noticed when a well-known ‘paste every site with my photos’ fan showed his/her shots of the set, and those feathers faced up. I knew instantly which I wanted.

I think each ghoul deserves her own photo shoot, so tomorrow, you get Cleo. If you count her earrings separately, she comes with nine pieces of jewelry ! And Lagoona’s outfit is actually two pieces – an aqua shift dress and a sheer over-blouse. Add in the four pairs of shoes, two shopping bags, purses, scarves, ‘photo’-cards, shopping bags, and Lagoona’s jewelry, and you get a lot in this set ! Well worth the $30. MSRP if you ask me ! No regrets – I’m glad I got it all.

I also got to make a quick stop at the Hancock Fabrics shop, to show off the doll clothes I made with the boucle lame’ knit I got there. K., the nice lady who cut and sold it to me asked to see them next time I was in the area, and today was it. I was lucky – she’s leaving to be with her daughter who’s having a baby tomorrow. Wished her a happy trip, and her daughter a happy, safe, healthy delivery. K. is very nice, and loved seeing the shiny dresses, and praised them to the stars. I think I needed that.

Well, time to debox. Hope your Monday was a fun day, too ! 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day !

Current Mood : Greenish.

Forgot to mention that this week is Spring Break, although it really started Friday. Ah, I remember the Big Question at my university – were you gonna cut any or all of your classes to get an early start ? Same as before Christmas. I was a good girl and stayed through my noticeably lightly attended lectures, mostly because my professors were fond of easy-pass pop quizzes that day. Occasionally, I had a professor who cancelled classes, because he or she knew that anything after lunch was guaranteed almost vacant, or they wanted to start their own vacations early, and those always added to the festive mood. I hate to admit it, with few exceptions, I was headed home, and wasn’t in much of a hurry to start clashing with my mother. My homecoming was normally spent on a project they’d been holding for me, usually involving heavy-duty cleaning. One year, I signed up for a bunch of vacation-hour shifts at the radio station, and delayed it for nearly a week. I slept and read and did whatever I wanted. Heavenly.

Even if you’re not enrolled, living in a college town means you still move to the rhythm of the University. Or you just notice that the place is half empty all of a sudden. Beloved Hubby’s home all this week, so as soon as I woke up this morning, I tossed a thawed ham in the oven. We usually keep one or two in the freezer, sort of a ‘food security’ kinda thing. It was out of the oven fifteen minutes before he came home from his every-other-week AirSoft game, so it was perfect. We’ll need something for quick nibbles and fast meals this week, or we’ll spend all our money on eating out. Much as I love it, Beloved is a true devotee of take-out and dine-in, and has been known to decide on a whim and a moment’s notice to go to an old favorite place or brand-new restaurant.  With a ham, there’s always sandwiches and breakfast ready to go.

Now, if I only knew when that Heath and Abbey ‘Home Ick’ set was coming to retail shelves…

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Undies and Bodices - all day ! Oh, my !

Current Mood : A bit eye-strained, but happy ! 

You’d think, after my success with Ghoulia’s lovely glittery blue dress, I’d be all over m’self to sew more. And I kind of am, I’m trying to figure out what will work best for each doll, what style, what colors. But today, with another 80-something degree afternoon free to sew, instead, I found m’self reaching for scrap fabric and the box ‘o patterns. BTW, I know we had two days of snow (which melted the same day), but I think we skipped winter. Saw three dandelions today. (smile)

After I got all the patterns sorted – honestly, I’d tossed them in the box any which way, no wonder I couldn’t find anything – I pulled out the NG Creations’ Panties (#18) and One-Shouldered Bodice (#2) from her first pattern set. Poor DLaura really needed undies, and after repeated failures at making them for Barbie, I sincerely wondered if I could sew ‘em for the ghouls. As for one-shouldered bodices, well, ya’ll know I’m a sucker of asymmetrical stuff, and I’ve been considering making Cleo a one-shoulder gown in gold. So I wanted practice, and since they were already printed out when I wanted other pattern pieces, why not now ?

I made the first set as the pattern dictated. Both sewed up well and matched up fairly decently – more later – but I kinda thought the panties looked more like track shorts and the bodice was kinda tight. So I did a few alterations and sewed ‘em up again. (sigh) While I think the second pair of panties look better, photos show that it’s not a big improvement, really. Either way, the dolls are well-covered and they can sit without their new undies impeding them or causing them to tip back after a while. So these panties aren’t the most scanty, they cover and are modest, so they get my ‘will sew again’ rating!

The bodice taught me a few things, the hard way. (sigh ) First, it didn’t quite match up in the back. One side was much taller than the other. Part of that was my hemming – it always goes a bit off at the very ends – but even the pattern didn’t match, either. So I trimmed it a bit and added a quarter-inch to the back, so it wasn’t so snug. The second one is too loose, and has to hang ‘just so’ or the boyfiends get a peek. It also throws the strap off the shoulder, so the fit I mostly liked was further off than I liked. Took the quarter-inch off the pattern, it kinda needs to fit snugly, since there aren’t darts. It did, however, match in the back now, so I left that bit.

Kinda funny that I had fun all day sewing patterns I’ve had for years !