Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 - Goodbye & Good Riddance!

Tomorrow is another day, as Scarlett O'Hara would say, but Tomorrow is another year in this case... and I for one am so glad to see the back of 2010!

Why was this not one of my favourite years? Well... it did not get off to a great start, let's be honest... and then defied all my expectations by continuing to plow that rancid furrow right up to a truly awful Christmas. I'm not even going to go there - something has to change.

Happy New Year Everybody!!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

PS...

Working in family rooms also means I get to experience the profound joy of cats in the doll making arena. This is how I come to have the image of close-up ginger furry face as the shock realisation he had just put his paw into a pot of PVA glue suddenly dawned on him. That resulted in one pot of PVA upside down on the rug and a crazy shaky leg dance from Tix Pickle.

BJD Making experiment 4

OK, so the torso and head are now covered in Paydur and ready for the LaDoll to be applied, yay! The not so great thing is that I am having to work in general family rooms right now because of the sub-zero temperatures (there are no radiators in my work room and the little electric heater just can't cope) and I found leaving the papydur to dry overnight wasn't great because once the fires go out the temp drops really quickly and the papydur just doesn't fully dry through. It was taking forever and being a pretty impatient sort by nature, I put the arms and legs on the radiator next morning...

DISASTER!!! Someone managed to knock one of the arms off and trod on it! This has since been repaired but what happened to the legs was worse! Some of you may have already guessed, because they are long and slim they bowed really atrociously... cue Captain Quint from Jaws singing "Here's to swimming with bow-legged women". I wondered if I could gently bend them back to a straight position, this went really well up until the moment that one snapped! The other is in the bin... guess I get to start again on the legs!

Maybe this is the end of my BJD experiment for the moment?

Friday, December 17, 2010

BJD Making experiment 3

So, the good points of using the Oasis styrofoam as a modelling base:

* doesn't crumble
* easy to carve
* can be moulded with fingers

Not such great things about using it:

* it isn't very strong
* it isn't that easy to apply the Papydur to

I can't get hold of any proper carving poly blocks so need to make the best of what I have to work with. I discovered after a bit of experimentation last night that I need to cover the foam shape with PVA glue (undiluted because otherwise it just soaks in) to seal the block first. It needs sealing because otherwise each new application of Papydur seems to lift off what you just applied. It also takes off a layer of green flocking!

Papydur is the powder version of paperclay that I bought from the EU and can't read the instructions on the pack! You mix it with water and once it dries even a thin layer is like rock. So I am using it as a base layer over my fragile foam shapes. Once they are dry I will cover them with pre-mixed paperclay such as LaDoll. Took some terrible photos earlier (snowing again) so will post better ones tomorrow.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

BJD Making experiment 2

Here are the pics of last nights efforts. The sources I am refrring to are the Ryo Yoshida book and these two online sites:
Noah's Doll
Russian site

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As you can see, the foam has cracked a little here and there. I don't have any time to work on this tonight but tomorrow, before finishing the arms and legs I will coat the head and neck with PVA glue and a thin coat of Papydur to harden them. The head and torso are totally separate, I just stuck a pin in to compare sizes. More tomorrow :o)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

BJD Making experiment 1

OK, last night I drew up my perfect doll shape from the front back and both sides on the computer, because I was stressing about getting everything symmetrical and lined up and... you know, STRESSING! I'm making her MSD size, 16", about 43cm, but I have to say I was pretty shocked when I printed it all out, it seemed HUGE!

I bought styrofoam blocks yesterday, basically wet Oasis that you use for flower arranging. It's really great to carve and can be smoothed and modelled with you fingers to a certain extent. The dry Oasis is too crumbly in my experience (my experience with flowers anyway!). So I cut up the print outs: Head, torso, arms, legs and cut the Oasis into blocks that fitted the front/side views of each piece. Then I have carved away at the head and body blocks until I got the shapes I wanted and smoothes them over to give a nicely modelled look. I will photograph everything before I start tomorrow so you can see where I am at. :o)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

BJD Making experiment

I bought 2 big blocks of styrofoam earlier, to start carving out my first attempt at making a BJD! Whether the results are great or terrible, I will be reporting my efforts here as and when I make progress. I guess this is going to be a steep learning curve, wish me luck!!! :o)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmassy Treasury


Another fantastic treasury, this time by Skunk Hollow: http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4d065d1772988eef15adb37a/its-a-rag-time-christmas... Irmalene got to be in such cute company :o)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cornucopia of paper dollies

My Griselda the Vampire Showgirl paper doll made it into a lovely treasury of paper dolls by Rockpapertekla, take a peep:

http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4d033f8151d56d91ac9a6804/my-name-is-not-barbie

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

making dolls again

So annoying that I have finished 2 dolls over the past few days and can't show you photos of either of them as they have been sent away as Christmas presents! But, yay!!! back making dolls again ;o)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Big thank you to Onewithwings for including my Rococo Macabre paper doll in her collection of Buxom Beauties, see them all here: http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4cfcfd6391156d91aa3078d1/the-bustle-burlesque?index=0


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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

November Mini Monthly Challenge

The Mini-Monthly challenges often really appeal to me, but who has the time to make a whole doll in a month. Let's face it, in my current state one a year is about right! November's challenge is Medium Mayhem, which is basically about making a doll in a way you have never done before. I'm all about paper-clay over cloth these days (or I was when I still was able to make dolls!) and so I decided to try just paperclay over a wire armature and some polyballs. This is the rather hilarious result...

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Not finished by a long way but at least I am enjoying it, sort of. I feel as though I should have some anatomy books out in front of me or at least be attempting to do something realistic, but with December fast approaching I decided that speed outweighed style and just went for it!. One day I will have a go at really sculpting a doll, maybe even a bjd, but, errrrr, this isn't it ;o)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Another amazing French artist...

French artist/Illustrator Benjamin Lacombe's blog is full of lovely things, including his latest doll, The Widow.

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Find him at:http://benjaminlacombe.hautetfort.com/

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Enchanted Chateau

Wow, I love this French woman's work but she has outdone herself with this beautiful doll's house (she even provides the "dolls" - very magical!

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http://merveillesenpapier.typepad.fr/merveillesenpapier/

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Rococo Macabre

Here is my latest Vampire Showgirl Paper Art Doll... Gotta love those Rococo wigs! A friend has just informed me that the crossed scissors on her shoes mean she's a lovely lady lesbian Vampire. Who knows what these naughty showgirls get up to? In the shop tomorrow :o)

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Thanks Blogger... NOT!!!

Great, it seems you can have one of their dull as ditch water templates and all your widgets and extras OR, the old style customizable 3rd party template with NO gadgets, widgets or whatever... Cheers Blogger! If anyone has figured out how to put a customized template up instead of the dull ones supplied and not lose all your widgets, please let me know how you achieved it, you cunning Alchemist, you!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Blogger blues

How fantastic, I tried out the new Blogger templates just to see what they are like (pretty lame as usual) and then decided to go back to the old style "classic" template because I want to use an Itkupilli background, so dear old blogger has wiped all my links all my widgets, everything! Thanks a bunch!!! And even worse I can't add them back if I want to continue using this Minima template because you no longer have access to ADd a Gadget and all that unless you use one of the new templates... if you use one of the new templates, you can't use your own choice of template!!!! It loads in, but only displays from halfway down the page!

Bl**dy annoying >;o+

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ooops. another Vampire Showgirl


Ooops - forgot to include Wilhelmina!

Vampire Showgirls - New Paper Art Dolls in shop

Meet Irmalene and Wilhelmina, two lovely show girls from the Chorus line of Weirdly Nightshade's "Theatre Macabre", they are dying to entertain you!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Big ankle-Big decision!

Ggggrrrr.... have come to a big decision - after spending about 15 minutes at the sewing machine last night... I'm going to have to mothball any cloth doll making for a while longer until my D*mned Ankle FINALLY heals. It's been 9 months, my ankle X-rayed from every conceivable angle, everyone, the physio AND the Doctor, now agree that it behaves like a break that won't knit, but no-one can find the actual break/fracture... so, still no actual diagnosis from anyone, and a small amount of time on the sewing machine foot peddle causes pain and huge swelling in said annoying extremity. Then the throbbing starts and my whole leg goes a bit crazy. My ankle looks like a balloon today! Just the one!!!

I can't get on the boots I was wearing yesterday, well, the left foot is fine of course and has a full wardrobe of shoes, boots, heels at it's disposal but old Righty is malignantly demanding I stick to the one pair of rather gamey unlaced trainers. In my wilder moments believe me, I HAVE considered wearing a nice shoe with heel on the left and the trainer on the right but I sound like Long John Silver when I approach, and, the look isn't so hot either!

So fed up with this! But fear not, I haven't been idle, my tiny brain has gone into Paper Doll over drive and I've made 2 Altered Art witch Paper Dolls since this morning and more on the way. I've got allsorts of mad ideas about paper engineered theatres and sets plus little figures, both original artwork by me and altered vintage elements. Having great fun and once the supplies I've ordered online get delivered I should be stocking up the shop ready for the Holiday season. I think the brads and thick card will be here early next week so new items will be filtering into the shop from then on. Oh, and if you remember my old prints from last year, some old friends are getting a reworking and will be available as postcard sets, including the still requested Mighty Boosh illustration :o)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Nosdalia the Vampire

My 2 witches are almost finished and will hopefully be listed later in the week if it remains quiet on the Freelance front (almost the whole weekend off, unheard of!) but here are the sketches for my candlestick Vampire Nosdalia... funny name addmitedly, Nos Da means goodnight in Welsh and I thought it sounded nice!?! She has the candlestick base that I was initially using for the disastrous Burlesque Challenge doll from earlier this year (The rest of her is in the bin!) and the only paperclay torso to escape Fridays cull!

I got to thinking about how those side hoops under Tudor/Rococo gowns are called panniers because they resemble upside down baskets, well a pannier is also a basket you carry food around in... and in Elizabethan times women often wore posies and oranges hung from ribbons tied to those panniers to scent under their skirts. Obviously my mind turned to food, as it so often does, and I figure a Vampire would probably suspend snacks under her panniers, bits of bone with some juicy flesh still attached, a mouse corpse appetiser, the odd skull maybe? We shall see... :o)

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Change of heart

Creativity is such a weird thing. I was all raring to make dolls yesterday and then hit the enormous "messy room" obstacle and remembered that earlier this year, when I was first up and about again, that I cleared out my entire fabric stockpile. I reduced it down to two huge plastic stack boxes with 4 drawers each, ram packed with fabric I can't bear to part with. Before that it was everywhere in bags and boxes and piles and all over the bottom of the wardrobe.

I congratulated myself heartily and decided that the trims and ribbon stash would be next (I imagine just untangling them will take an hour or two!) but then of course the freelance work started to come back in and I never got round to it. In between freelancing a whole 6 months of accounts and book keeping needed catching up with (Joy, my FAVOURITE....NOT!!!!) and that all got left in piles on the floor around the sewing desk... you know... those special piles, receipts in one, invoices in another, bank statements here, Sales records there... you know those piles?

The same piles that return to their original disarray when excitable kitties chase spiders into the middle of them? The same piles that sometime blow away under the filing cabinet when you retrieve said Kitty? If the Tax Man decides to audit me he may have to scrape flattened spider squish from a few of those records, but, hey ho! Well, this afternoon I found a bag full of plastic wallets with months written on then and finally sorted the "piles" into something workable and filed them all away... Hurrah!

Anyhoooo, by this time the desk was almost accessible, just the ton of tangled junk ON it to sort through. That has now been "sorted" into, you've guessed it... piles on the floor! Will I never learn? During this arduous process I came across the mangled bodies of several Art Dolls that I have started work on during the year... great you think... wrong. It's what I mean about Creativity. Since I started these dolls all those months ago during my bed confined months my head has travelled elsewhere and these creatures no longer relate to me somehow.

I've stared at them long and hard and know this isn't what I want to do. Freaky Little Things has to get back on track and I need to start afresh somehow. I get such a buzz from the paper dolls I'm making (when I get the chance) and so tomorrow,when the room is finally ready for business, I need to start on totally NEW dolls. Only 2 Witches that are almost finished remain, all the others have gone in a bin bag! Watch this space...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Making dolls again

Yay!!! Came to a natural halt in my design work earlier so decided to spend the afternoon making dolls (shock horror, I know, who's have thought!!!) so grabbed the two most nearly complete gals from my sewing desk and took them downstairs to get some fabric paints and acrylics applied to the bare Calico... that took all of an hour... now I have to leave them to dry out... grrrr! I hate waiting. I'm usually best with lots of dolls at different stages but this year has been such a wash out.

I found two head/torso dolls that I need to sew limbs for and skipped (metaphorically of course, that really would finish my ankle off!) over to the sewing desk.... well... as close as I can get to the sewing desk through the clutter. Harrummph! So, before I can do anymore doll making I really need to clear up around here and excavate the desk and find the lead for the sewing machine.

Am I in the mood to tidy up right now? NO, of course not! >:o(

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tattered but not boring!

You know me, big fan of all things quirky... I found a newish shop Tattered Moon on etsy and really like the dolls. They often have wings made from old gloves, I like! :o)

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Miss Rosie in the shop

Sadly I have decided to put Miss Rosie Pimlico up for sale. Most of the other TDP participating artists are keeping their dolls but as she is the only finished doll I have managed to have a hand in this year... we have to part! Catch up on all the artists involved and take a retrospective trip with all the Travelling dolls at: http://adotravelingdollproject.blogspot.com/

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Shop reopened

Ok, so it turns out that my shop reopening doesn't really warrant a ticker tape parade or fireworks, but at least I have a new logo! I've been so snowed under with design work (that's a GOOD thing of course, especially after such an extended absence!) lately that I have had no chance to finish off any new dolls yet (a few are not far off though) and so the shop will gradually fill up as I get a chance to work on things between now and the end of October. So check back occasionally to see the new stuff :o)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fat is a Forty-something issue!

OK, flabby little hand up, I put on 3 stone after Christmas because after a battle with pain-killer induced vomiting my mystery injury kept me off my feet for so long. In my defence, I defy anyone to be in constant intense pain, unable to move, in a non-central heated house, through one of the coldest Winters on record, to NOT get a bit down and turn to the munchies for comfort... and that extra thick layer of flab was bl**dy good insulation let me tell you! It works for Seals doesn't it?

So, I am doing physio now, I joined Weight Watchers, I have been trying reasonably hard to lose some of those porky pounds. They are going, I wasn't fat before this so why shouldn't I get back into my favourite clothes by Christmas? I am not FAT now, just carrying some extra poundage round the middle. But what doesn't help is when you go to the Doctors and have to defend yourself about why you aren't losing it faster. I mentioned the fact that I would lose a lot more, a lot quicker if my ankle wasn't still so bad, and got a lecture about how the only way to get better is to exercise! Then I mentioned the fact that the physio was quite alarmed at just how quickly and badly my ankle swells whenever I do certain movements, how she advised to keep the leg up with an ice pack on whenever my ankle does that... the Doc just went, "Oh, yeah, actually there is quite a fine balancing act between good exercise and making things worse".... Great! Excuse me if I take the physio's advice over yours!

Then I waddled my not even slightly porky little self over to the dispensing chemist with a big black cloud over my head and got asked if I minded filling out some questionaire about Diabetes risk? I think I have very little risk of such so thought, yeah, what the hell, while I wait for my Migraine pills. That involved being weighed, having my waist measurement taken and my height charted... they confirmed that I am very low risk of diabetes BUT then cheerfully pointed out that I am roughly a stone over my ideal weight and at my age I really should think about an exercise programme and perhaps dieting... ggggrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!

She even asked if the "menopause" (that word has to be whispered in public places by ladies of a certain disposition I have noticed) was the cause, I quite curtly pointed out that NO: I'm fine for hormones right now thanks, and she said, with a dramatic roll of the eyes "Ohhhh, you have all that to come yet". I wandered home lonely as a clown (or whatever Wordsworth was banging on about) and felt like crawling back into bed and pulling the duvet over my head... or eating a huge bar of Cadburys :o(

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Travis Louie

I am notoriously camera shy, always have been and was recently told off by a friend for posting this pic of dear old Bette Davies on a dating website profile that I don't use but can't delete and keep getting sent "matches" for (well, I thought it would sort the men from the boys, so to speak... tee hee)...

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A friend in the States just asked me what I look like and I have forwarded this beautiful portrait "Molly Bad Hair" by the amazingly talented Travis Louie, ok, so it's not actually a portrait of me, doesn't actually look like me... but it SHOULD be me, look what he says about her:

"Some say she was from Yorkshire, . . . but she was really from Wales. She was blamed for all the bad hair in that region. In 1897, she was forced to leave her country on a steam boat bound for New York. By the time the ship had reached the harbor, all of the passengers on board had acquired her " Bad Hair" They were not amused."

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I love Travis Louie, and I have REALLY BAD HAIR right now too!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Guerilla Craft Club

Wish I wasn't so far away or I would definitely want to be part of this!

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"When: Friday, September 10, 2010 from 8:30 - 11:30 p.m.

Where: Orford House Social Club, 73 Orford Road, Walthamstowe Village, London, E17 9QR. Map.

How: Entry is £3 on the door and a small fee is charged per craft pack to cover the costs of materials. Closest station is Walthamstowe Central, accessible from the Victoria line, National Rail (from Liverpool Street) or by bus.

Who: Seasoned and novice crafters alike. We hope to inspire you into into making and doing, but if you're no good with your hands, use your feet instead!

What to Bring: Yourself, your friends, your dancing shoes and a good dose of creativity."

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I borrowed the pics and text from Esty to tell you about it: "On the evening itself there will be a selection of ready-to-make craft packs created especially for the event, and tutors will be on hand to guide you through projects while DJ (and graphic designer) Jake Holloway spins some beats to get you in the making mood.

Whether you're craftily gifted or not, you can also enjoy a burlesque performance with Raymonde Cook, great live music courtesy of The Obscuritones, and learn a move or two at the free Lindy Hop dance workshop with the talented Jerome Anderson."

So, if you are "Darn Sarf" get yourself along, I'll be there in spirit ;o)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Slimmer

Hey, look at the Doomsday Diet chart on the left there... someone is feeling pretty smug right now. Couldn't believe the dial on the scales would ever budge! Yay, I've upped my goal to my weight before all the arthritis problems kicked in about 3 years ago... I used to moan when I'd put a few measly pounds back then... how times change!

OK, got to stop, sounding like bl**dy Bridget Jones!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mad Hatter

I think I might add something round her neck, but otherwise Alice's Mad Hatter outfit is finished. I love this outfit, I'd wear it! Paper Doll will be available in the shop when it reopens in mid-September ;o)

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Alice Paper Doll WIP

Here's a sneaky peek at my "Alice in Absinthia" Paper Doll, hope I get some time to work on her this week ;o) I just hope this one doesn't run into any copyright issues! Dear olf Lewis Carol has been too long in the ground but I think Disney own the rights now anyway... and they aren't in the least letigious are they? Tee hee... don't worry I am safe! Fingers crossed ;o)


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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Spam blockers

Wow!!! They've finally installed Spam Blockers... what will I do with all the free time now? I currently have to delete around 5 Chinese Spam comments a day so imagine how light headed I feel right now!!!

I say "I", is there anyone out there not affected by this?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Etsy shop siesta

I've decide that as this year has been such a non-starter for Freaky Little Things thanks to my on going back/ankle problems, I am going to close the shop for 3-4 weeks. The summer months are often really quiet anyway so I doubt I'll be missed. When I re-open in September expect a whole new look, new stock and some surprises. Seems a more fun idea to re-launch rather than let my new items gradually trickle in as I get them finished.

I will be showing some enigmatic WIP pics on here in the meantime, but the new work won't be unveiled until the shop re-opens on Friday September the 17th :o)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Zuri

I'm always blown away by Dorote's lovely dolls, the perfect blend of stylization and realism to my mind, but Zuri is just absolutely stunning! Check her out at http://www.etsy.com/listing/53038373/zuri-ooak-art-doll

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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Frida Khalo update and copyright issues

It seems the Paper Doll I made for the ADO MMC will not now be going into the shop as it turns out that Frida Khalo's family have finally decided to assert their rights to license her likeness and name (quite rightly). I had presumed that the abundance of Frida inspired work out there meant that her image and name had been granted some sort of public commons license (or whatever they call those things) but apparently the estate now think enough is enough and want to clamp down on the misuse of her legacy.

It's a shame as this was the very first doll project I have been able to finish this year, and having had my own injury setback (albeit on a much, much, much less serious scale to poor Frida's) I found this woman very inspiring. Doesn't give me more right than her family to make money from the association with her though... fair enough! My Frida Paper doll will not go on sale.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More for Frida

I was going to put Frida in the shop today but decided last night that she needs a scene to stand in front of. That means producing another sheet... watch this space :o)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Frida's Outfit

Here's aneak peek at one of Frida's outfits, and some of her little friends!


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Frida Paper Doll

Here is my first real doll of 2010!!! A cut out and dress up Frida Kahlo De Rivera paper doll inspired by ADO's mini Monthly Challenge for July. It's been years since I made any paper dolls, so I thought I'd go for something that didn't require any paper engineering to start off.

The pics below show the card sheet with the basic doll, there are 2 further paper sheets (all A4) of outfits and accessories, including her amazing hairstyles and jewellery. We all know Frida loved her Mexican Indian outfits and sometimes also dressed as a man. I just need to finish up her "wardrobe" (very colourful, she comes with parrots too! Sneak preview tomorrow) and then she will be available to buy in the shop later this week. Hope you like her :o)


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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Frida a go go

Just starting my Frida doll for the Mini Monthly Challenge. Will post some WIP pics in the next few days :o)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sewing again

Last night I managed a bit of time on my sewing machine, my ankle is achey this morning but not too bad... you know what this means? I will be able to get back to making my dolls pretty soon! I have my final doll to finish for the TDP, Angela Rosseau's Nadia, but as soon as she is on her way, I can concentrate on Freaky Little Things again. Yay! After so many false starts, you have no idea how relieved I am.

I managed to finish off this dress for Miss Beatrix Plum (my DOT E-an) and so now she doesn't have to wear elfdoll hand-me-downs with big safety pins in the back anymore! I'm off to get some lunch then get to work on Nadia, pictures later in the week :o)


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Friday, July 9, 2010

Wonderland weekend with ADO




It's the Wonderland Event Weekend over at ADO. Participants will start posting all their fantastic Alice inspired dolls so hop on over to the ADO blog to join in the fun :o)

Ok, I am so late that I didn't make it, haven't finished my Alice doll and doubt I will until next week now!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Wonderland and Frida

I'm late, I'm late.... for the ADO Alice in Wonderland Blog Challenge!!

I entered back in April but the ol' leg hasn't let me make a dolly, until NOW that is. Decided to do a paper doll instead as the sewing machine is still proving a hurdle. Started drawing yesterday and have my idea and rough sketches. I find it kind of annoying that I can draw just fine when I have a deadline looming, but when I have all the time in the world, these days the paper remains blank. Still, the finished doll will be revealed on this Blog next Thursday (the 8th) and then you are all welcome to join us in falling down the rabbit hole to Wonderland on Friday the 9th. All participating blogs will be posting their Wonderland entries and a mad time should be had by all :o)

So enthused that I've entered the mini monthly challenge too, subject? Frida Khalo and look at the stunning illustration ADO member Dorote produced for the page, lovely!

Monday, June 28, 2010

My complete lack of e-harmony

A friend of mine recently came to visit, she too is single and somehow managed to convince me that giving "e-Harmony" a try would be a good idea. Yes, she used my recent Bacheloress diatribe against me and briefly convinced me that as I was 'so happy alone' it wouldn't harm just to look what's out there and feel vindicated in my singledom.... Craft Cow!

Firstly, I completely avoid online dating sites these days after going through the whole Dating Direct carnival with a recently divorced friend a few years ago. I actually bothered to meet a few of the guys on there, boredom engulfed me (during the dates I might add) because it was all a bit fenzied, no real interest in getting to know one another in any way other than that which requires immediate condom application... Speed Dating was just as bad, I felt like I had strayed into a Carry On Film and wondered if each guy was waiting for my bra to fly off into his face! I ran a mile! Then thankfully I met someone the normal way... you know, chat about stuff, keep bumping into each other and things just kind of developed. OK, so it didn't last a lifetime but at least we were compatible for a while.

I'm not even looking, but she made the personality profile part sound interesting so I wandered over and spared a good few hours of my life to wind up with the usual psychometric-reduce-everyone-to-a-square-or-round-peg-profile, which was amusingly accurate on a couple of points and woefully wrong on a few others. Being someone who enjoys the company of old friends, just as much as I enjoy my own company and has sometimes lived alone perfectly happily, I was bemused to find myself described as someone who always craves company and gets really lonely quickly and prefers to be in a crowded room. Really, thank God for e-Harmony, I didn't know myself at all?

That obviously didn't inspire much confidence, nor the fact that it really blows smoke up yer ar*e on the good points!

One of the most alarming things about the profile is that while you get to choose only 10 good points that you value in a partner out of a list of 30 rather shallow attributes (it points out that that this will be  hard to do, but actually it was fine) it then worryingly tells you to choose only 10 bad points you find least attractive in a potential partner out of 30.... and suddenly we seem to have strayed into one of Quantico's psychopathic personality profiles designed to catch serial killers. Errr, narrow it down to just 10??? I felt distinctly uncomfortable not being able to tick all 30!!!! Sorry, I was expecting stuff like "picks his nose in public" or "wears sandals over socks" but we passed up all the minor league stuff and went straight to racism, misogyny, homophobia, total lack of empathy for fellow human beings and woodland creatures... non are particularly attractive to me, nor is religious intolerance (yes, I know,  I'm an atheist but that doesn't mean I think it's OK to brow beat those with beliefs different to my own) and I don't want to date someone who tortures kittens for fun... I mean Dexter is gorgeous but I wouldn't want to date him in real life.

Plus, if we flip this on it's head, I don't remember there being any questions to ascertain if I was racist, homophobic, likely to issue a fatwa at the drop of a hat, or spend my weekends dismembering casual acquaintances... so how would they know if those were my hobbies so they could NOT INTRODUCE me to men who had pointed out on their form that they didn't want a sociopath for a girlfriend? Arrrrgggggghhhhhhh....

Another point, E-harmony began life in the US and they seem to have failed to adapt their matching criteria on one crucial difference in our geography. I put down that I would only want to meet someone from within a 30 mile radius. OK, so in the States, that might only get you one match if you live somewhere rural, or non except a few racoons? Here in the UK, we have a very overcrowded island with an old and congested road network. So E-Harmony has automatically widened my search area (travelling for hours for a first date is putting rather a lot of pressure on to my mind!)  AND is looking for flexible matches (ie: People who don't match your search criteria!!!!!!!!!) Might as well trust your future dates to a random number generator... seriously, they just sent me a "match" to someone who is 49 years old and has given his christian name as that of a reptile!!!!! Seriously dude, calling yourself Snake!?!*$%!***

So anyway, you fill out this exhausting damn form, and I didn't realise that it would immediately be put "out there", I thought I would get to choose that option later if I decided to go ahead, but no, I am pitched headlong into the lion/snake filled arena of online-dating. And it immediately provided me with 3 matches, the best of which is only a 30% at that!!! A 30% match... I could do better than that myself in Waitrose with a bloody blindfold and a shrimping net!

At least Mr 30% said something sarcastic, which made me think that he was also finding the whole thing a bit of a fiasco. That's my biggest problem, my kind of guy would also find filling out those questions a bit ridiculous and probably also fail to check back in or follow up on those god-awful pre-filled out flirtatious replies they give you unless you pay to join. No, we are pretty much guaranteed our paths will never cross by the mere fact we would both find it farcical and wonder how we got talked into it. Non starter.

My problem is that I am hugely attracted to personality, hugely attracted to intelligence and people who don't necessarily follow the rules (but not in a "get me I'm so anarchic" type way). It's very hard to work up enthusiasm for a total stranger when all you have to go on is that they filled out a form in a similar way to you. Especially a form that gives you very little opportunity to put things into your own words, so there is very little to interest me in the profiles they present to me. I'm not intrigued, I need to be intrigued!

I also can't find a way to delete my bl**dy profile. I'm really not feeling the love for e-harmony!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Let's hear it for ADO!

I am a member of the Doll Group ADO (Much ADO about Art Dolls) and very proud of the fact. Because of my current problems I am not a particularly active member but that doesn't mean I am not benefitting from all the hard work that is done by and on behalf of the team by a relatively small group of members.

There are over 100 artists in this team, ALL of whom juggle perhaps full-time jobs, taking care of families and who knows what else with the very time consuming business of making beautiful and original hand-made dolls. That isn't an easy balancing act. A number of those very busy people also spend countless hours working to promote the team, and oganise and galvanise the 100+ members in lots of events and challenges. We ALL benefit from their work, ALL 100+ members, whether we ever give anything back to that team or not. I would have thought the word "TEAM" would be a giveaway that this is meant to be a group effort, you will get out of the experience as much as you are willing to put in, although often a lot more.

I can understand anyone having a bad day and writing a personal and emotional rant on their blog or website, we are all entitled to throw our dummy out of the pram on occasion and bawl out our eyes. It's a little embarrassing to do that in public, but what the hell, we are artists and public tantrums have not been dismissed as "artistic temperament" down the centuries for no reason!

What I find harder to understand and forgive is when that tantrum turns vindictive and petulant statements are made that hurt not just some vague concept of ADO, but actually the reputations of ALL 100+ Art Doll artists who are members of that team. THAT isn't artistic temperament that is plain rude. There are some very talented people out there who believe the world owes them a living and think that exceptions should be made because of their talent, they wear their egos and wounded pride like badges of honour and cry "poor me" all the time. They are very quick to point the finger when they imagine they have been wronged but go very quiet when it is their turn to apologise. People have sympathy for them for a time but eventually that sympathy wears thin... no-one is so talented that people endlessly forgive.

Other very talented individuals work just as hard, they tirelessly promote their work and are generous enough to try and help others around them, they do not begrudge the success of others and try to nurture fledgling talent when they see it. They rarely cry "poor me" and just get on with the day to day slog and people like them, people remember them and they get on in life and manage to get their work out there and get seen. Who becomes the bigger success is often in the Lap of The Gods but I know I prefer to deal with the latter.

And I'm happy to say that from my dealing the majority of the 100+ members of ADO are in the latter group

Monday, June 7, 2010

Storm Warning!

Take cover everyone! In an effort to lose 2 stone (28 lbs) pronto and get back into my healthy weight range (BMI 20-25) I am going on a diet (haven't we heard that somewhere before???). It's the best thing for my poor ankle right now... not to mention it's hot and I can't fit into any of my summer clothes. But I'm not going on any old diet, oh no... I'm going on the Cambridge Diet! So, mettle will be tested, nerves will be frayed and I will be one temperamental little bunny for the next few weeks.

Just thought I should warn ya ;O)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Finally spammed into submission

Sorry, enough is enough! Having been spammed up to the eyeballs I have turned comment approval on and will only be publishing those written in some form of english from now on

Dolly Shrine

My unintentionally long term project to restore an old bow fronted china cabinet to house my BJD collection is finally coming to a close, I hope. I saw it on Ebay last summer and it just happened to be located in a village in the hills above Holywell, ideal! It has sweet little Ball & Claw feet too! I got it for a great price and made arrangements to pick it up, then (notice the familiar theme) my back went. So the poor owners had to hang onto it for weeks while I recovered, they had needed it out of the way to redecorate! Ooops.

After a hair-raising journey home up and down some VERY steep hills with the cabinet roped into my open car boot, I took out the shelves and got to work sanding and removed the heavy varnish. Everyone who saw it said I was mad to paint it, that I would regret the decision, yet it is now looking fantastic in cream with antique gold edging. It got brought upstairs, a lovely silver metallic wallpaper was applied to the back so that it reflects the available light (in this room/cave that's a must!) and I figured that the week after Christmas I would easily have the intricate doors painted and rehung...

Regular readers will know how that went! My dollies have been sitting or standing in the cabinet with their legs swinging over the edge for the last 5 months... now that I am ready to sort out the doors I need to get everyone inside, so a tidy up was called for. What to do with the 3 floating heads? They seemed a bit macabre lying at the feet of the full dolls so I moved them up to sit on the little seat in my dolly shrine above the cabinet... how cute do they look?!!

Will post pics of the cabinet itself when the doors are back on... 2012, possibly?

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Vindication afoot

Hhhmmm, I guess I feel a kind of vindication after seeing the Physiotherapist. Firstly it's great to hear that she thinks I can sort out all the problems with my back and that there is no nerve damage... so relieved, just like I was relieved when I got back the X-rays of my spine... which does show a curve but that should be corrected by exercise now... but she has also kind of given weight to a sneaking suspicion that I've had for a while...

I have had it in my head right from the start that my ankle (or some bone in very close proximity to my ankle) was broken... but how could that be if I was able to walk on it for weeks after I fell? Bones don't behave that way, do they? The first time I fell after going somersault over the heater at the beginning of December was about a week on, my ankle  just gave way and I went careering down a steep gravel path into some ornamental bushes on my way to Tesco one afternoon... non of the passers by took any notice, presumably thinking I was a drunk or that shrubbery diving was some new sport. I did have a few more wobbles but caught myself each time, right up until Christmas day, when my foot and lower leg had suddenly swollen up and were way too painful to put my weight on...

I have been so happy to see my dear old boney foot re-emerging from the squishy pain balloon with toes at the end I have had at the end of my right leg for the last 4 months... but apparently it isn't boney and, apparently, when someone digs their fingers into said boney/or-otherwise foot, the indentations of those fingers are not meant to still be there, clearly visible 5 minutes or more later. Physio thinks the swelling round my ankle has nothing to do with arthritis or sciatica, but is more likely the result of a significant injury, a break or fracture and so I am off for yet more X-Rays. I probably glow in the dark.

Hhhhmmm, on the one hand (or foot) I no longer care, I just want to continue improving, but on the other appendage, at least I now know I am not a complete hyperchondriac! Oh, and please note that I haven't stooped to pointing out that it has only taken FOUR MONTHS for someone to suggest that they might X-Ray my black, swollen, won't take any weight ankle.

Physio a-go-go

I may have said this before, but, last minute cancellations aside, this afternoon I have my first physio session... eeek! I've had physio before for my knee injury, 2 years ago, but somehow, knowing how fragile my back has been so far this year, I'm actually quite apprehensive.

At the same time I'm really excited and can't wait for my joints to start loosening up and get some flexibility and comfort back in my whole body, I'm too scared of doing the WRONG movements to try much myself. Hopefully in a week or 2 I will be back to making my dolls and getting on with all sorts as usual, because now, even though walking is a lot easier, sitting at the desk is a bit of a nightmare after about 30 minutes... and don't get me started on the sewing machine foot treadle!

Wish me luck :o)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Save me from SATC 2

Lordy! Sex & The City 2 already? I haven't even seen the first one yet! Quite willfully.

Don't get me wrong, I once loved the TV series and found it witty, original, taboo breaking, etc... but then the media got wind of this FABULOUS "phenomenon" and turned it into something that frankly makes me cringe. I can't turn on the TV or open a magazine without seeing FABULOUS SJP's oddly pretty horse faced countenance beaming out at me. I'm sick of quiz after quiz to find out "Which FABULOUS SATC girl are you?", articles telling me where to buy FABULOUS cheap Manolo rip off shoes (because obviously, being a woman, I can't live without them and think of nothing BUT shoes... OK, I sometimes think about shoes, I sometimes think about earwigs, wtf?), sick of articles on how to copy the "girl's" FABULOUS style (obviously I need to establish which FABULOUS SATC "girl" I am first, keep up!) and even ads on British TV for FABULOUS "Stool Softener" (I kid you not!!! For when the SATC "girls" get fabulously constipated!) featuring an inane SATC clone foursome.... Most of all I'm reallly fabulously sick of people saying "FABULOUS"....

Tooo much! WAY too much.

Like I said, I loved it once, back when it was witty and quirky, before it rested on it's laurels and started to get lost in it's own FABULOUSNESS.... I didn't go and see the film because I remembered how so-so the last few series became and frankly, on the TV, that isn't so bad because I can email people while it's on in the background... or just switch off... but when I've handed over half my life savings for a seat in the dark and a small tub of popcorn, I'm going to feel compelled to stay til the end... I thought I'd wait for it to appear on TV... except they've made a sequel before that even happened! Arrrrrggghhh!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Clean slate?

As many of you following this blog will know (due to my constant moaning...tee hee) I have been really under the weather since Christmas, until maybe a fortnight ago. I am now going from strength to strength and keeping my fingers crossed that there will be no more set backs. I start Physio on the 20th and my DIET tomorrow (give me abreak, still lots of Birthday chocs left, seems ungrateful to throw them away!) so it's all systems go... I lost A LOT of weight in the spring while taking the evil painkillers, which bounced back with a vengeance once I stopped using them. I would just like to get back to somewhere happy and healthy in the middle.

Today I am cleaning my work space in preparation - the dust in here is phenomenal - I wish I had the energy to move the furniture around but I'm not even going to try. The thing is, I keep coming across abandoned projects. Sometimes it takes a few moments of thinking "what the ...?" before I even remember what I was intending them to be when I started them. What a difference a few months makes, some of these projects seem salvageable and some just seem "so last year!" I imagine they will go in the bin, frankly.

Anyone else ever find this? For whatever reason you have to leave a project unfinished and when you come back to it, either inspiration has entirely fled or you just want to go in a completely new direction with it. With all that's happened I feel a bit weighed down by all this clutter and am of half a mind (I could just finish that sentence right there!) to throw the whole lot out and start with a clean slate... we'll see ;O)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Birthday to me!

Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me, even though I'm really old now... Happy Birthday to me! :o)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Good news?

Tee Hee, Cindy Sowers just emailed me to tell me good news and bad... my TDP doll, Miss Rosie Pimlico, is pictured in this issue of Contemporary Doll Collector (not actually sure of the magazine title, we don't have them in the UK)... so YAY!!!!!

The bad news? Well, apparently she is now called Ruby and was made by the lovely Abi Monroe! You win some, you lose some... I've never heard of the magazine, and I'm not going to get a copy, so I'm not going to get upset... you'll be glad to know that both Abi and Cindy also have their dolls pictured, I wonder who they are attributed to? At least this is a big mention for Art Dolls Only as a team, so hurrah for that :o)

Here is Miss Rosie as she currently looks after the attentions of Kaci of Fabby menagerie and Angela Rousseau

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You can check out all the progress with the TDP dolls at the Flickr Group:
http://www.flickr.com/groups/travelingdollproject/pool/
and HERE is the gorgeous real Ruby by Abi monroe :o)

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Featured on blog

The Art Dolls Only Blog has little ol' me as their featured artist today... fame at last. Or should that be infamy... infamy, infamy, they've all got it infamy!"... apologies to Kenneth Williams there :o)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thorny issues...

Here's another thorny issue! A rather heated debate has been raging on the private Art Dolls Only forum on the subject of Copying, it's an issue guaranteed to raise hackles and get people going and I am currently trying to write it up as an article for our latest project, "Much ADO", an online E-zine which will launch in September (fingers crossed, there are a LOT of plates to keep spinning - watch this space!). The article will be about when inspiration becomes imitation with regard to creating Art Dolls specifically, and the even thornier subject of downright copyright theft.

My topic here is at a slight tangent - today I came across a polite emailed enquiry from someone who wanted to use my doll photographs on flickr as inspiration for their work. I don't know if they meant my recently posted BJD pics or those of my art dolls but I politely (I hope) declined to give my permission, as I always do, because my dolls, the way I paint them and style them, are an extension of my own creativity, they feed off each other... this is all MY work. So, you ask, am I not inspired by everything I see and hear and touch? Of course, but I would never consider actually basing my work directly on someone else's... errrr... Well, OK, I am currently working on a Mad Hatter/Johnny Depp doll but that, if I ever finish it, will be a very obvious and stated "homage" to the work of the art department who worked on that film should it ever be for sale, because you should always reference your sources, surely?

This got me thinking about Mijn Schatje and the whole furore over her artwork ( http://youthoughtwewouldntnotice.com/blog3/?p=3253 ). There is very little room for doubting that Miss Schatje (I forget her real name) used a lot of uncredited photographer's work - without seeking permission - and then lying about it when called out, as the basis of her very lucrative illustrations. Were it just for the images referenced on the link I posted above, there might room for thinking it was an unfortunate coincidence but follow this link: http://everytomorrow.net/mijn/ and doubts fall by the wayside, there are just too many direct copies of BJD owner's personal photographs. Some people snottily claim that by putting their pics on Flickr and other website the photographer has entered the Public Domain and given away their rights, but there are many different usage and rights protections on Flickr alone, and most of the photographers in question marked their images as All Rights Reserved. Mijn Schatje still flatly refuses to admit that she has infringed a lot of people's copyright and abused the artistic ability and creativity of others as the basis of her career as an illustrator. Is she afraid that she can only trace and that she has no basic drawing ability to back it up was it never truly an ability she had or is she lazy? It's something I worry about too, I know I HAD that ability, but am I in danger of losing it as deadlines become faster and faster and my time with a sketch pad and pencil get more and more pressured?

I, too, have illustrator and photoshop on my Mac, and I'm not afraid to use them! The issue here isn't tracing from photographs, even the Old Masters weren't averse to a spot of tracing, although the inception of photography made it a whole lot easier. We are so used to how the camera sees the world and we sometimes prefer it to the evidence of our own eyes. Art Director's commissioning work love the "vector pic traced from a photo", look right now (you get sucked into it if you want to get the commission) and Mijn Schatje has earned a lot of money by doing just that (while claiming she didn't, of course), but there would be no problem at all had she taken the photographs herself. Preferably of dolls she had styled and posed herself. Unlike a lot of people, She cannot even claim that she can't afford a few BJDs!

Hmmmmm, Ok, I have The Mighty Boosh pic in my folio and for sale in my etsy shop, isn't that the same? I was initially approached to do it as a commissioned illustration by a magazine, they were going to send me reference material. That fell through and so I found my own but I have always been aware of the fact that the two main images come directly from someone else's photographs. The other elements are from watching the DVD and so directly from my own head if you like (except, didn't someone else choose those camera angles and edited what I could see! Opening a can of worms!!!). As I worked all of the elements got combined and morphed into something creative that doesn't directly relate to the source photographs that much anymore, so isn't that OK? I think in this case it is, hope it is, obviously or I wouldn't have put it in the shop... but don't be fooled by those persistent voices on forums who bleat on about a magical percentage that an artist can change a work and not get sued. B*ll*cks! When I decided to sell copies of that image, despite the fact those photographs are in the public domain, I did seek permission from the photographer and eventually decided that no answer meant not worried. I don't pretend to understand the legalities, whether I have crossed a line or not... I just draw stuff!!! (just not as often as I should anymore)... but pleading ignorance doesn't always wash if you want people to pay you for the results.

Creativity is about making decisions (sorry, I know I should say something more airy fairy, but this is the mundane truth: We may do it intuitively, all touchy feely right brain centric, but one day someone will come up with a complicated formula for it, all that flutters and is magical gets pinned down eventually!) lots of tiny decisions that hopefully add up to a striking image. Forget art doll's for a moment, Let's take BJD's as an example: Somewhere in, say, Korea, a sculptor worked long and hard on creating a beautiful doll to be sold and customized by people all over the world. Someone buys that doll, paints it's face by hand, chooses it's wig and eyes and style of clothing and creates a personality for that doll - try putting "Luts Lishe" into a search on Flickr and see the amazing variety of looks that one, very popular, sculpt has been used to create, for example. This doll owner now wants to photograph their labour of love and chooses a darkly lit room near some drapery, the merest hint of lush vegetation through a half open window. The dolls face is sculpted still further by the way the light falls across it and the play of deep shadows. The doll's owner loves the resulting images and decides to crop them further, finally happy, they upload it to Flickr.... where lot's of people get to see it. It is no longer just the creation of that original sculptor somewhere in Korea, but also of the person who customised it and took those photos.

A budding illustrator or artist sees the image and feels the creative juices flowing, what should happen now is that they are inspired by some quality in that image to go away and create something for themselves. Not a slavish copy, definitely not by tracing over someone else's image, but something that was sparked off by seeing the image on Flickr, maybe it won't even feature a doll, maybe it will. That's inspiration. You may refer back to that photo, but you may also forget all about it as you become engrossed in a whole series of other little decisions that come along when you try to create your own image. I have scrapbooks full of inspiring photos and illustrations collected over the years and hardly ever look through them because those images have all seeped into my subconscious and are happily morphing and melting into one another and being spat out anew in odd and unforseen ways. If you find yourself wanting to approach someone and ask if you can base your work on photographs they have taken of their silent sculpted resin muse, however loosely you intend to do it, well, you're trying to cut out a whole load of those decisions and jump the creative queue.... just make or buy yourself a doll... and start from scratch!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bacheloress...

A totally random comment by a complete stranger has set me thinking... I think I'm a Bacheloress! Think about the facts: I am mid forties (I know, I seem way too immature, what can I say!) and unmarried and childless so that makes me a SPINSTER, right? Spinster, what a horrid word... I got this from dear old Wikipedia: "spinster (or old maid) came to indicate a woman or girl of marriageable age who was unwilling or unable to marry and had no children. Socially, the term is usually applied only to women who are regarded as beyond the customary age for marriage, and is sometimes considered an insulting term, more degrading than the term "bachelor" for males. While men can continue to have children into their 70s or 80s, women generally become less and less able to bear children as they get older. So the term "old maid" is only applied to women who are past a child bearing age but have never married."

I know what you are thinking, what about feminism, bra-burning, all that hoopla? Well, true, some of the stigma has been rubbed away, but not that much. Spinster still suggests someone who has missed out, dried up, is to be pitied, doesn't it? You're all thinking, bless, she's never met the right guy, poor thing. Well, no I haven't I guess, at least not for long, not for life, not that Soul-mate we are all supposed to find somewhere along the way...

Do you know what? It doesn't really bother me as much as it seems to bother my family and friends. Or strangers, meet someone new and the negative response to the inevitable enquiry gets met with huge embarrassment on their part, as though they have just stumbled into a bereavement or admission of hard drugs usage. I'm not just saying it to put on a brave face, I really don't mind. I've never wanted children, it's not that I don't like children -I like them and for some reason they love me - but I just never saw myself in the role of Mother. I'm too "in my own head", always was. As an oldest child I had my brother and 2 female cousins around and spent the majority of my day devising games for them to play that kept them distracted and allowed me to slip away unnoticed and read my book, play with my dolls and make stuff... all undisturbed by them. We weren't even far apart in age, but we were far apart in outlook, I found them confusing; I found other children very odd when I got to school age too, they seemed so "other". I always related better to adults and couldn't understand why I was being punished in this way: by being treated "like a child". I hated school, not the lessons, not my small band of mostly male friends, just being surrounded by other children, saw it as an ordeal to be endured, trying to get through another day surrounded by creatures I found so alien. I did most of my reading and learning at home on my own. My adult relatives tended to treat me as a rather short equal, or at least let me believe that I was. I must have been an obnoxious child!

So Mother wasn't a role that immediately sprang to mind! Men on the other hand, I love men (I always got on better with boys than girls as a child, despite having no obvious Tomboy traits) or began to, once I went to art college and met men who were on my wavelength, men I had things in common with. Somehow boyfriends have not become permanent fixtures, I've not felt the need to preserve one in aspic or wear a ring, I tend not to think in forevers and that has confused and ultimately alienated some really nice men. C'est la vie! I don't regret any of the partings really, it hurts to be alone again at first but once the mourning for that relationship takes it's course I am reasonably content again. I find happiness in lots of things, I am self contained. I'm not sitting here "waiting" until the next romance comes along, I'm living. I'm sure I can't be the only woman (or man, but it seems almost expected of men?)  to feel as I do?

Bachelor, doesn't have the same stigma does it? The Bachelor lifestyle, the Bachelor pad: Jennifer Anniston is sad and unlucky in love, George Clooney is unfettered, a lucky dog! Sorry Jen, sisterhood and all that, but I'd rather hang with George (wouldn't we all?) because it looks like he's got it made. So do you probably - and this perpetual singledom may well be your choice- but you do have to wear your heart on your sleeve and weep for the comfort of strangers every now and then, and put up with knowing that whole rain forests of speculation go into just why you can't keep a man! OK, so some people (my mother for instance) think George Clooney is gay and in denial (I've had that levelled at me too, puzzling as I know I would end up a single, childless Lesbian too, it's my personality, not my sexuality, at the root of my "Spinsterhood"!) but what do they know, and frankly who cares? By and large, Bachelors are regarded as choosing to be alone, Spinsters have not been chosen. How insane is that?

Bachelorette - I know femenists hate that term as the "ette" implies less than a Bachelor, I think the suffix "ette" is diminuitive? I think. Picky? Maybe, but what's wrong with Bacheloress? Or even just Bachelor, as long as I keep the rapidly approaching prospect of mid-life female facial hair under control that shouldn't be too confusing, should it? Maybe I will be a straight-non-lesbian-but-not-worried-if-you-think-i-am-single-by-choice-childless-female with a small goatee (I can I bead it or add glitter, we need to embrace these changes) but Bacheloress seems easier to say.

You see, I chose this :o)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sunburn and volcanoes

Wow, after all that snow until recently today was absolutely scorching! Have been out in the garden sat propped up on loads of cushions and actually had to get into the shade in the end, just too hot in the sun.... yay!!!! Best make the most of it before we disappear under a huge cloud of Icelandic Volcanic Ash. Kind of ironic that it has held up shipment of a paper clay order, I think volcanic ash is one of the main ingredients!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Meet Tabitha and Beatrix

So what have I been up to? Playing with dolls of course... I am not up to sewing at the moment, my ankle can't operate the foot peddle, so my Freaky Little Things are all on hold because they are all (5 of them at any rate) at the costuming stage. SO I've turned my attention to giving a few of my new BJD girls a face-up. I bought these dolls from Korea as blanks because even in that state they are incredibly expensive... 20 years of doll collecting sold on Ebay to buy myself 4 Asian BJDs (one is second hand, Isobel, you've met her already) but they are worth every penny... they are keeping me sane and mildly creative right now... I am in love!

Here are Tabitha Plum, she is a Peakswoods "Skiya" and starred in my pre-Xmas blog post "Skiya's little accident"... that resulting Face-up was OK but a bit harsh and I've been itching to redo her. I'm really pleased with the results :o) Next we have her older sister, Beatrix, who is a Dream Of Doll "E-an", and very tall with hips like a snake... she also doesn't have any clothes of her own just yet! I gave them a grape hyacinth bouquet to celebrate the arrival of SPRING. The last week has been uniformly warm and sunny and the garden is blooming into life plus all the critters that call it home seem to have chicks or cubs or whatever, little fluffy carbon copies taking their first steps or maiden flights, so sweet :o)

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On that note, I'm feeling a bit better and will be off to the Docs again in the morning... a neighbour is very kindly driving me round there this time to avoid a repeat of my last misadventure... design work is a distant memory, actually trying to earn a living seems a bit surreal after 4 months incapacitated, but hopefully I will be back to working on those Freaky Little Things soon at least!

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bear with me...

Just a quickie to say, please bear with me! I'm not up to answering emails and general interaction because last week I finally went out to town and walked on pavements for the first time since before Christmas, I have been getting so much better. I just had to walk to my Doc's surgery, a few streets away, but knew there was something wrong on the way back, later I stiffened up and over the weekend I have gradually slipped right back down the bloody snake of pain and am back at square one waiting to roll a six, no ladders in sight.

I have been in agony (no exaggeration) and so took the high dose painkillers in desperation but where they normally take about 5/7 days to make me ill, this time is was just 24 hours. This afternoon I have felt safe enough to take the low dose again, thankful for some relief at least, but I had to wait while everything else came out of my system. The last 48 hours were hell and I don't have anything sunny to say. So if I'm not around for a while and the shop closes again for a bit, well, wish me luck, I need some right now!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Asian Apologies

If you happen to be a nice, normal Asian person reading this blog and you have left a comment in the past and I've deleted it, well, you have my sincere apologies. The problem is that I can't read Kanji and find it difficult to differentiate between Chinese/Japanese/Korean/etc characters. I am sure there are lots of lovely people out there in blog land who want to comment and be part of the blogs but, unfortunately, there is ALSO another group whose blog IDs display as "Chinese looking" characters - they leave comments on random people's blogs, sometimes very offensive and links to porn or other hateful off-blogger wesbites. I have just heard that at least one of these commenters, if you click on the Chinese ID (trying to verify they are a genuine blogger/blog reader) well, you are directed to a Child Pornography site! This is illegal, disgusting and incredibly offensive!

See Georgina's post on this, I really feel sorry for her, that must have been an incredibly distressing experience, what the hell is wrong with these people? The quote is in Chinese characters and the ID is "Hate".

It also tars other Asian bloggers with the same brush because those of us who can't differentiate will now end up deleting all comments that feature Kanji or similar looking characters (sorry, i don't even know the correct words) and blog land will be a smaller place. Any one have any ideas on this and how to deal with it?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Isobel's new hat

Here is one of my lovely Asian BJD: Elfdoll Sooah, "Isobel", in her brand new hat! It's a beauty - hand made by my talented friend and fellow ADO Doll Artist, Miss Cindy Sowers! Her Etsy shop contains some stunning Art Dolls but also HUNDREDS of amazing hats for all kinds of dolls from Barbie to Blythe and every head size inbetween! Also, get a load of her cute Hujoo, Blanche , a regular model and quite a character :o) What are you waiting for?

Isobel is thrilled and won't take it off and also insists that she NEEDS to wear it with this Val Zeitler dress... yes, the one that is far too small for her round the bust and makes her look a bit preggy, but it keeps her happy, what can you do?

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Monday, March 15, 2010

ADO on Ebay

Thought I'd draw your attention to the fact that various ADO members are taking the plunge into the choppy waters of Ebay with this mass Listing Extravaganza
Plans are afoot for this to become a monthly feature, simply search by entering the term ADO into the dolls and bears section and go take a browse. I might give it a try myself next month :o)

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

New dolls in progress

New girls on the way, now I can probably use the sewing machine again, they should be costumed and ready to go in the shop by the end of next week, we'll see, fingers crossed :o)

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Friday, March 12, 2010

The Shop is Open again

Just a quickie to say the shop is open again (at last) on Etsy and all the dolls are reduced. While I've been away my style has been evolving and the new dolls are going to look different, so I've decided to do a "Clearance Sale" on my older dolls before listing anything new. If you see anything you like, get in quick as they all have only a few weeks left at most on their listings, once they run out they won't come back to the shop. I may auction any that are left on Ebay at some later date, but i want to start featuring my new work from the Spring.

Another change, no more prints or ACEOs! I was just stretching myself too thin and the dolls won.... i am an illustrator as well as a designer by trade and in the end creating prints was too much like the day job! All 20 of the Limited Edition "Mighty Boosh" ACEOs have sold, sorry to all the people who asked about it while the shop was closed, but there are no more :o(

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

TDP Doll number 2 - ready to go

I've finished my second ADO Travelling Doll. This one, Aiden, comes from Helen Fern. He arrived as a tiny calico cloth doll (he's about 6" tall) and I've given him a paperclay face, painted with watercolours ( enjoying a break from Acrylics and I love the effect on clay) then sealed. He also has a mop of black/auburn tipped tibetan lambswool hair.

Small dolls are really not my forté, so I don't mind saying I was quite daunted when I unwrapped him, he's a fraction of the size of my usual dolls and some of them are a lot larger than those pictured below with him!


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I am really into paperclay faces at the moment, though, so went ahead and had quite a frustrating time trying to create elf or goblin type features. Most of my sculpting experience so far has been sculpting life sized busts (heads, not lady-parts you understand!) at art college. This scale is way more difficult and I'm not entirely happy with the end result... but I guess he is a character! His annoying, squishy face and the fact that he was originally meant to have red hair, reminded me of a certain bizarro potato faced acting-challenged cop in CSI MIami - hence his nickname of "Horatio Jnr"! He will be going in the post to Angela Rousseau tomorrow and I will be getting Deena Maurus's doll from Helen shortly. Will keep you posted.

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Say goodbye to Horatio Jnr... sorry, I mean Aiden!!!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Congratulations!!!

Yay!!! The draw for the winners of my 2 "Mature Beauty" Art Dolls was this morning and I am pleased to announce that Lauren, in red, will soon be on her way to Anka Bizjak Gale, and Nicole, in mint, will also be on her way to Esther Verschoor. Congratulations to both of you, I hope you love your dolls as much as I did making them and a huge and heartfelt thank you to all the very sweet and special people who made donations to help Oxfam's excellent work over in Haiti, you are all stars! :o)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Just 3 days left to enter...

Look at them both, look into their lovely eyes, saying "please enter the draw and let me come and live with you, please, pretty please!". Yep, I've tried my best but Lauren and Nicole, those Mature Beauties are used to living the High Life and frankly they are BORED of living with me! They are eager for pastures new and on Monday they will get their wish, as I will be drawing 2 random names form those who have entered the competition, and then I will be posting them off to their new homes.... they are a little reticent at being split up after all this time, but also keen to get on with life's big adventure!

See This Post for details of how to enter and Good Luck! ;O)

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That's Lauren above in Red...
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and here's Nicole in mint!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hello Dolly Chan

Thanks to the ever informative Miss Caro-Chan for putting a name to a rather endearing Japanese influenced look I've been noticing over the last year or so... Dolly! A rather splendid new twist on vintage eclectic eccentricity with a dash of cute thrown in for good measure... get up in the attic and dust off Great Aunt Clara's moth eaten fox stole, team it with a hand-cuff necklace and away you go. Love it and just wish I was young enough to get away with wearing it myself... well, maybe not the fur... I prefer my critters with a pulse :o)

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Monday, February 22, 2010

More Harem6 and a TDP update


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Seriously, if I wasn't so broke right now! Harem6 also have a blog at:
Harem6blog
And just to let you know that Team Puppe, the team I am happy to be a part of, well, we are featured on the ADO TDP Blog today. You can see the first stage of all our dolls including my own Miss Rosie Pimlico :o)

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Harem 6

Wandering round Etsy like a lost soul earlier I came across the lovely Art Dolls of Harem 6 , check them out, very unusual. I'm finally starting to get up and about more (and feel more myself now the painkillers are no longer in my system) so hopefully the Freaky Little Things etsy shop will reopen in the next week or so... fingers crossed :o)

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Here we snow again...

Well, I guess we have to be thankful that it did stop for a whole week... but - it's back!

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Of course I don't always stay in my room now, I am getting a bit more mobile and do go downstairs, for part of the day... and even when I am resting my back in bed, I don't always get to see the view as often there's a woolly head in the way! We have 3 cats in this house and they love to keep me warm by lying on top of me... probably because I am the stillest thing in the house.

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