Friday, December 30, 2011

A borrowed farewell message to 2011...

I found this on the blog "Being Ruby" and just had to quote it here:

"Dear 2011

You have pushed me to my limit Sir .. Once again I find myself putting pen to paper to question your motives and point out that your behaviour can no longer be tolerated. I am saying goodbye to you dear sir!! There is no more room in my life for your fickle antics and unconscionable tactics.

I AM DONE

I know I spoke similar harsh words to your cousin 2009... You are cut from the same cloth... 'Brothers from another Mother'... You give with one hand and take with the other.. Ok.. I will give credit where it is due.. You did bestow some wonderful gifts... There's no overlooking a trip to Europe nor gifts of a more personal nature which will remain unspoken in such a public forum.. But really you also created much havoc to all and sundry and I think it's time to move on..

Don't try and stop me with flattering words or false promises that quite frankly I doubt you can deliver in less than 12 hours.. Any such attempts to sway my decision will demand the forthcoming response..

... As a wise woman once said ...

'I Four Fourths Don't Care!!"


Not sure who Lorelai is but you can't knock the sentiment. I would substitute "a trip to Europe" for "finding my lovely flat" but yes, I have certainly felt that 2011 was responsible for giving with one hand whilst slapping me round the head with a rancid kipper with the other. Bet many of you feel the same way... it was better than 2010 though!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

PS....

Tee hee, forgot to add -

Dear Blog readers, you all know the narcoleptic snail's pace pace at which I work, and know there is no way I could have seen the Greyfreth cross bottles from the Christmas giveaway and then rushed out a handful of my own dolls. So you can imagine my surprise when I saw that giveaway (typically, I didn't win one despite spending the entire run up to Christmas with my fingers crossed, poo!) and Greyfreths work. I think they call it synchronicity, and it gave me a huge boost to think that others find a new life as art objects for old bottles too.

First "Bottle Doll" preview


Over the upcoming week, I thought I'd give you a sneak preview of new dolls that will get listed in the shop when it reopens. They may not appear in the first week as I need to make presentation boxes for them.

They are all built up on top of vintage glass bottles that have been dug up in the last year or so. As a child, my Mother's garden was always a rich source of these finds along with lots of willow pattern pottery, old clay smoking pipes and other treasures. At least, they seemed like treasures to me and I loved the aged patina and crazy crackle in the glaze, they way being buried in the earth had changed the items, just adding to their beauty in my eyes.

The bottles are late Victorian/Edwardian to Pre-War and just seem to add another dimension to the dolls. I wanted the doll part to also look like pottery that has been in the ground for many decades. I will take better pictures of this doll, on a patterned moulded green glass bottle, the first to be finished (and simply called Bottle Doll no.) 1 soon.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Stunning Christmas Giveaway!!!



I'm a sucker for Mercury Glass and have to say that the real thing, aged and with a lustrous patina, is so much richer looking than all of the repro versions available today - so I just had to spread the word about this truly beautiful Christmas giveaway of one of Greyfreth's stunning antique Mercury Glass "Star Cross" bottles. The bottle will be made for the winner after the draw on December the 23rd and rules of how to enter are on ArtbyKaren's blog (well worth a look anyway) as she is hosting the giveaway. What are you waiting for? ;o)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Kitty Love


Tee hee :o) Stolen from here.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The lovely Itkupilli has some fab new blog backgrounds...



but I am scared of trying them because last time I tried to revert to Minima (which you need to put in the code for your own bespoke backgrounds) I lost all my widgets and my 3 column layout. It was such a huge a*se to put it all back and I'm still pretty miffed that Blogger chose to become so regimented and dictatorial in the name of progress.

Does anyone know if there is any way round the problem of wanting to retain your layout and widgets while customizing your blog appearance?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Christ-mouse tale



Chatting to a friend the other day I was reminded of another Christmas many years ago when I was a feckless youth living in London. I was staying the night on a friend's sofa in Clapham. They had a lovely 3 story old Georgian flat over a shop in the middle of this ancient street and I adored the place. They were worried they had mice though. It was Christmas time and the tree was in the corner of the room with lots of wrapped presents underneath. I had left the lights on the tree switched on and was just dozing in the relative dark when something caught my eye - a tiny twinkly mouse was scuttling away from the tree along the skirting board, it was shortly followed by another and then I heard a slight rustle of paper and realised that yet another glitter covered mouse was exiting the corner of one of the wrapped presents. I sat up and they all shot off into the darkness under the sideboard!!!

The same scene was played over and over for the next hour or so, they would come out from under the sideboard single file and tip toe over to the presents and then nibble the paper and get inside. If I moved or made a noise they would all play statues! If I sat up and made to go over there, they would shoot back under the sideboard. In the end I picked up all the presents and took them into the kitchen and put them up out of the way, stupidly thinking that would stop them.

My friends got some humane traps the next day and took them all to some waste ground in another street but they must have been homing mice because a few days later they had more mouse activity. I asked them what made them think they were the same mice and they laughed and said they were all still covered in glitter!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Miss Lizzie



Here is my doll for the ADO Quarterly Goth Challenge. She is also a present for a friend in the States who sent me a big box full of craft supplies and tools I couldn't get hold of here in the UK and let me adopt one of her Sybarites at a ridiculously low cost, so I guess she is a Thank You doll! :o)

Highway woman? Pirate? Cut throat or ne'er do well? Miss Lizzie isn't saying, her lips are sealed.



Monday, December 5, 2011

seizure inducing Christmas Tree




Decided to get all seasonal and put up my Christmas Tree yesterday (so it's a bit early, who cares?). I have always gone for real trees but after my back problems, I decided to do the sensible thing and get a fake tree. I LOVE it :o)

I bought a cheap set of lights and put them on to check coverage before adding any baubles. I didn't realise they were twinkling lights but was pleasantly surprised at the slow fades and so went out of the room for a few minutes to make a cup of tea. I was blissfully unaware that (A) the lights were running through all their settings while I was gone and (B) that I have a light-activated cat!

Matilda was flumped sleepily in her radiator hammock while I put up the tree but when I went to make the tea, the rapidly flashing lights caught her interest. I returned to see her little black fluffy trousers sticking out of the bottom of the tree and an exploratory paw reaching up for the nearest strand of flickering lights. I shooed her away but she was completely manic, as the lights slowed down so would she and as they got faster she would go berserk, galloping round the room and jumping in and out of boxes, smashing a few baubles as she went. After a few minutes I figured out how to stop the lights flashing and so she hopped back into her hammock and went back to sleep.

Oddly she hasn't shown much interest in the decorations since then but I found her skittering across the wooden floor this morning with a pink cocktail parasol I never knew I had. Never a dull moment.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pre-Christmas Dolly Sale!!!


I've just loaded up my etsy shop with some old favourites, cloth dolls and little polymer clay cuties. All the dolls listed today have previously featured in my etsy shop at a higher price, so if you like what you see, go on, grab a bargain ;o)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Day Job



Sometimes I feel immense guilt that I make plans to make dolls - and do all sorts of things - and sometimes even announce them on this very blog... then days, weeks, months go by and I have just been off designing stuff and not had time to put my Freaky Little Things plans into action. But I might as well come clean, I LOVE my day-job too :o)


I stumbled across a few items that I designed a few years back on google earlier so thought I would show you some of the things I have designed. It isn't all Hello Kitty by a long stretch but the big headed feline has certainly taken up a lot of my time over the last decade or so. Obviously I can never show or talk about what I am currently working on, and product/packaging design is only a part of what I do, but it's often the most fun stuff.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Would you have a dolly Clearance Sale?

I hesitate to use the term "Art Doll" because I prefer to think of my cloth dolls as just that: Rag dolls. Why get all pretentious about it? I agree with the marvelously bonkers Grayson Perry, who recently said that a lot of what passes for ART these days is only made to seem worthy by the fact that it is hanging in a gallery. I guess ETSY performs a similar function for really quite basic craft items, gives them a gloss they maybe do no merit? Contentious, I know but perhaps the truth.

I haven't actually made a doll yet that I think would be worthy of the title art doll to be honest. I'm not being falsely modest or fishing for compliments here either. The dolls I have made are fun, some much better crafted than others and I only use the term "art doll" at all because it will help me be found in listings and because it sets a certain type of doll aimed at adult collectors apart from those aimed at children. It's a very useful term in that sense.

Anyway, new flat, new outlook. I want to wipe the slate clean and start to make different dolls. who knows, maybe next year I will actually manage to grope my way toward something I myself will consider art? Who knows?

Meanwhile, I am going to put some of the old dears in my etsy shop at lowered prices until Christmas anyway. Oh and every non paper doll sale gets a free mystery gift until Christmas too. I sadly can't include them with the Paper dolls as they ship in flat envelopes and there would be no room!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

New look

Hope you like the new look ;o)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween everyone!

OK, so it doesn't start for another 5 hours here but what the hell, here is a little blurry movie I made to wish everyone some Halloween fun :o)



Monday, October 24, 2011

Shop open

Hi, the Etsy Shop has reopened for business as usual. I'm just settling into my new flat then I hope to be finishing some doll projects and listing them in time for Christmas :o)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Panic packing puzzle

I shouldn't have any internet connection right now... no, I shouldn't be writing this blog - right now, I should be on the road in my tiny Ford Ka, with most of my worldly belongings and a howling, shrieking, farting cat, on the long drive back to North Wales.

Here's a puzzle for you: I came here with said cat, in the tiny aforementioned Ka, with as much stuff as I could pack into it. I know that you imagine that a car, being made of metal, can't actually 'bulge" but mine was definitely bulging with content on the way here! Isn't a Ka made from Fibreglass, I hear some of you doubters ask... well, that isn't know for it's bulgey-ness either, is it?

Anyhow, whilst here this summer I bought a rather large and beautiful cupboard, a microwave, a few articles of clothing, a glass dome (it will house an alien monkey baby when I get round to making one!) and a large glass vase. And lots of plants which I potted up to take to my new flat in Wales. As the car had been at bursting point already, and as the cupboard was almost as big as my Ka by itself, I knew I had to hire a van. A fortnight ago I took that van with the cupboard, the plants and a whole load of other things up to the flat.

So I have smugly been relaxing here the last few weeks imagining getting everything back into the car being a doddle this morning.

Yesterday afternoon as packing reached it's frenzied apex, I decided I should start putting things in as I went along rather than doing it all at 6 am this morning before starting the journey. So I packed and stuffed and made use of every available millimetre of my little car... then it got dark so I just carried on packing and cleaning inside the house. This morning dawned and so did the realization that the amount of packed stuff + cat (+ Cat's material possessions) + driver left inside the house and the available space left inside the vehicle did not match. Not at all!

There would normally have been a huge tantrum at this point but I'm too old for that now and beside, I could barely move because I'm so achey - so jumping up and down in frustration is definitely not an option right now :o( so I went back to bed instead! Just got up now, seriously my joints are seizing up, I would have had to drive all 200 miles in 3rd gear and not turn any corners!

So, has my cat been on a huge spending spree or something? There simply is no logical explanation for how all the things I brought here can have suddenly expanded to twice their size during the summer. I know wood expands in the heat but not all my possessions are wooden. I don't understand!

Oh, well, a few cups of tea, a shower and some deep heat rub then off to unpack, cull, squish and repack the car, wish me luck!!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Shop closed until the 20th

Hi, just a quickie to say my Esty shop is closed until the 20th while I move house and get organized.

Also, for anyone who felt a spark of recognition reading my post on Dyscalculia - or number problems - here is a link to Paul's blog, he is cataloguing his research into the condition while helping his son overcome the same problems:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sepia Nell - Update

A while ago I showed you some work in progress pics of my latest large doll, Sepia Nell. Well, she's progressed a great deal since then and is nearing completion. Here are some sneak peeks:




Saturday, October 8, 2011

Dyscalculia doesn't add up.

I have just tried phoning an old friend I saw for the first time in years last week in Chester, I wrote down her number and now I come to use it I can't read what I have written, are some of these squiggles even numbers at all? Bl**dy numbers! I'm vain enough to think of myself as reasonably intelligent. I was pretty much a straight A student all the way through school except for my one blind spot - numbers! 

When a group of people researching Dyslexia came to our school in the late seventies (showing my age there) I was put forward as one of the pupils to be tested as my consistent inability to do more than very basic mathematics (and then get a blinding headache) had always puzzled my teachers. They were baffled as to why one of their brighter kids consistently performed so badly in Maths, and seemed to be doing well in Physics and Chemistry classes except where we had to perform calculations. As you get older that becomes a more important part of any science subject (so I guess Particle Physicist was never destined to be my calling).

Anyhow, the Dyslexia testers were also baffled as I very definitely did not have Dyslexia as they defined it, no problems with words at all, even though I had gone to speech therapy as a small child. The problem was never reading words. At that time they didn't seem to test for specific numerical problems. One of the researchers did suggest to my maths teacher that it must be a related problem, but they didn't know how to classify it. I was at least relieved that my teacher believed me, as my Step-father was rather angrily of the opinion that I was somehow willfully refusing to learn just to spite him. He kind of brow beat me so much on the subject that I ended up half believing him. I worried that others also felt I was "putting it on" and that feeling has persisted to the present day about all sorts of things. If I don't do as well at something as I feel I should, I worry that I am somehow sabotaging myself, and whenever I am ill I convince myself that the Doctor believes that the problem is psychological. I have PTSD and when the problem is very much psychological I imagine that I am... imagining it, if that makes any sense? (I wonder if there is a medical term for such a deeply ingrained sense of self-doubt? ohhhh, yeah: Self Obsession!)

Years later and I have learned to cope with my numerical deficiencies. I have a reasonable memory and I learned by replacing single figures with "things" and that is how I eventually got the symbols 1 to 9 into my head and got them to stay put. Things get a bit more complicated after that, but as long as I am calm and as long as there aren't too many things to keep track of, I am fine. Maths for me is a pretty exhausting mental task that requires silence and a lot of patience. It's like trying to keep hold of marbles on a domed surface, I get all the numbers in a group but trying to do anything with them is well nigh impossible as the marbles start to roll away, that's the only way I can explain it. I find it very frustrating that I cannot learn numbers in the same way I can learn another language, when basically that is all numbers seem to be, a language I can barely understand. A language I keep misplacing. My numerical problem gets much worse when I am stressed or rushing and is virtually negligible when I am calm. Up to a point. I have worked part-time in many shops over the years to make ends meet and even been put in charge of cashing up despite explaining my problems to people. Who then look at me as though I have two heads but should still be left in charge of cashing up! Do people think I am kidding around (my step-father again!) when I state I can't add up? So I had to check everything over and over again and the cash-register that would take the average person 20 minutes to cash-up would take me almost an hour and a lot of piles of cash everywhere.

A friend recently suggested that there is now a name for my problem so I went over to that wholly reliable source of misinformation, Wikipedia, and found that it has been a recognised condition since the 70's (I guess the people who came to my small school in North Wales weren't up to date in developments in their own field!). Do I have Dyscalculia? Except that what they describe doesn't wholly correlate with what I experience. Yes, I sometimes have problems with understanding clocks and watches, yes, I sometimes have difficulty understanding which symbol represents the bigger of two things. But, it suggests that I should have difficulty with knowing how many "things" a person is holding up... that I should not know if there are 3 things or 5 things in front of me. Not at all, I don't have trouble with numbers in that way and have a very acute spatial awareness. I can see that one group of things is occupying a larger space than another group of things!

I am a product designer, a sculptor, and frequently work in 3 dimensions and always have to give the people who create what I design accurate dimensions. (1000m tall barbie anyone?) Back at art school I used to annoy my life drawing tutor by never resorting to the pencil as a ruler method when drawing models or still life subjects, yet still managed to accurately represent proportions. Given a blank computer workspace I still draw things in the correct ratio to one another. No, it's the actual symbols we have assigned to specific amounts of things that I am still having some problems with, I double and triple check all my work and the people I work with know to check written dimensions too. Numbers just will not always stay fixed in my mind and I sometimes cannot reproduce them. Using a calculator or keyboard has helped me immensely because the number system stays fixed. When I write down something like a phone number, if I don't have numbers 1 - 9 for reference I will sometimes substitute hieroglyphs of my own. Following recipes from a book has always been a minefield also and people are wise to pass on my offers of a home cooked meal!

It also states on Wikipedia that people with Dyscalculia have problems with short term memory - B*LL*CKS is all I have to say to that, not my problem at all... except when it comes to numbers, the damn things just seep out for my head at any opportunity! Does this all sound crazy or does anyone else out there have similar problems? I'd be interested to know as I have never met anyone else with a similar blind spot.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Ezine is published!

After 18 months and 19 nervous breakdowns, MUCH ADO, the online magazine (or Ezine) of Art Dolls Only is finally published. I am now off to sleep for a week. Hope you all like it :o)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ezine video on YouTube

Wow, the amazing Grace of Little Black Crow Studio has made us this fantastic video to help raise awareness for the upcoming Ezine publication (September 28th) and her lovely brother Andrew composed some music for it too! How fab, take a peek here

Wow, it's all coming together, I am trying to fit in a flurry of last minute tweaks and edits, trying to find all the typos and misspellings before the big launch. I would greatly appreciate it if anyone who is interested in this project (you don't have to be an ADO member) would put this badge on their blog please,



and link to either the mini-mag or the video. Thanks so much in anticipation ;o)

"amazing Grace".... only just realised that I did that, groan!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Much ADO is on it's way!

Most of my spare time over the last year has been devoted to editing and designing the ADO group online publication, MUCH ADO. It's been a huge collaborative effort for the whole team and we are in the home stretch now, with publication set for September the 28th. I just put together a small preview version to whet everyone's appetite for the real thing, here you go, enjoy!



Much ADO

Monday, June 6, 2011

WIP - Sepia Nell





Here she is... the arms are just resting on her shoulders to dry!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

WIP... Sepia Nell (part 1)

"All gather round,
I've a story to tell,
concerning the demise
of poor Sepia Nell..."

Wip pics tomorrow of my latest doll

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Always look on the Bright Side...

Come on, sing along, you know the words...

The bright side of Gallstones? Two weeks on from THAT weekend, I have lost 9lbs!!!! I'm not finding it that difficult yet to stick to the less than 5% fat rule, even though it's fairly restrictive and the weight is dropping away...

You know what though, I have to try and keep it in check because guess what rapid weight loss can cause? You guessed it: Gallstones!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Birthday gifts

Guess what I got for my Birthday? Gallstones and a dead robin on my duvet! Joy...

Been horrendously ill since Friday night, fever and nastiness and finally got to see a Doctor on Monday morning. Got the great Russian Roulette choice of having an op to take out the Gallbladder immediately or go home and cope with the pain til it passes. Given my dread of hospitals and general mistrust of Doctors, I chose the latter and they gave some anti-spasmodics to calm my stomach. I wonder if they work as I never really got the chance to digest any of them! Feel a bit more normal today so fingers crossed. Now it's just a low fat diet or a return to the pain.

As I say it was my Birthday yesterday, and I spent most of it either propped up sleeping on the sofa or propped up sleeping in bed in between bouts of, well, you know! My cat, Matilda, has never had a cat-flap before and it took a while but now she has the hang of it. I was in bed yesterday afternoon and heard the flap go and little paddy feet approaching, she jumps up on the bed and comes over all purry and rolling around for attention, then went to sleep. I got up for another bout of yuk some time later and when I came back to bed there is my shape in the duvet with her asleep one side and a recently dead Robin on the other side!!!! Joy! What a thoughtful gift, shame she hadn't kept the reciept.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Pooo

I feel Poooo! :o(

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sharpening my claws

Random thought for the day: Emery boards, are they the Beauty Industries biggest con?

Since childhood I have been blessed with the kind of talons that would do Godzilla proud, if I had grown up a post-apocalyptic feral child (as was often threatened during the 70's, remember all those bomb drills?) I could easily have ripped flesh from passing beasts and dug myself shelter with these 20 steel claws of mine. Actually, let's be honest, my toenails have actually hardened over the years and are now more like that Adamantium stuff that Wolverine is made from than cuddly old steel, but, I digress...

I've also had the same steel nail file since my early teens and despite passing fads for square nails I have always had longish almond shaped nails, usually nude of varnish (except the Adamantium toe sheaths, they are always painted!). I've never really suffered from cracks or snags or breakages, never needed vitamin supplements and often been the subject of claw-based awe and envy among my female friends... except for the last few years... why?

Because - I lost my steel file and couldn't get another from my local chemists so started to use emery boards, those bright shiny colourfull bits of card with what looks like sand glued to them. All my friends had started using them ages before because Steel files cause snags and breaks and weaken the nails or so they had read in women's magazines. Well, the sneaky product placements made to look like a "product review" that you get so much of in women's magazines. It took quite a while to get used to the fact that I always seemed to have a permanent build up of dust under my nails which has to be scrubbed away with a brush under the tap. Yuk. My fingers have felt sub-parr and blunted, and, horror, they have started to crack and chip, begun getting weird little snags. I have given up on wearing anything less than 900 denier in the tights department as merely getting them out of the pack means they get laddered on my jagged edged digits. The worst side effect of the emery boards is the horrid and often painful cracked skin at the edge of each nail... I had put it all down to age!

While I was packing up to move house I found, Taaa daaa, my long lost steel nail file! Joy!!! I have been using it again and the old claws survived the move in fine form and are beginning to feel right again, I pruned each nail down quite short to rid myself of the jagged emery board tainted growth and they are already beginning to return to their former glory. If you think about it, you buy one steel nail file, and unless, like me, you lose it, that's it for life. I guess some bright spark in the Beauty Industry thought, hang on, that's no use: "These paper things can be made in China for a few cents and we can colour them and print on them and best of all they wear out in no time, so we can keep selling more and more to the suckers! Now we just need to invent a reason that steel files are bad for you and we are in business!"

Don't get me started on tongue scrapers!

Monday, April 11, 2011

I do love to be beside the seaside...

Errr, actually, after yesterday, maybe not so much! This is a pretty epic post so perhaps prepare some sandwiches and a flask of tea/coffee/whisky before continuing...

As I am off to live in landlocked Buckinghamshire for the rest of the year, I decided to spend my last Sunday on the coast at the beach. Saturday was unusually warm and sunny for early April and by 10am on Sunday morning it was already obvious that we were in for Summer temperatures, so packed my Ma in the Ka, ha ha, and headed down to Gronant to pick up my nephew, Jamie, for a day at the beach. It was also the first time this year I have had the chance to wear my Monsoon Flip-flops, my favorite pair, black with red beading and sequins and tiny rosebuds all over, I love those flip-flops, and they are perfect for a walk on the beach.

It being so early in the year, the place should be deserted of tourists. The big perk of being born in a country with such a great coastline and more sheep than people surely? Actually the sneaky perk of any coast dweller the world over, those of us who get to enjoy blissfully empty stretches of sandy heaven at this time of year before the crowds of land-lubbers descend. We got to Talacre Beach and from the car park it was obvious that a few other locals had also spotted the potential of the weather and were already enjoying a vast stretch of golden sand devoid of screaming children and even more loudly screaming parents from Merseyside and Lancashire. So we were looking forward to exchanging smug glances with our fellow Welshies and the few retired Seargent Majors from England who carve wooden Lovespoons to whittle away their retirements (and so are naturalised Welsh).



If I'd realised I would be blogging about this trip I would have taken my camera, but as I didn't, here is a beautiful shot of Talacre Lighthouse taken by John Roberts, see it here. The first place I parked was a little slippery under the wheels, from grass running down from the dunes, and so we parked in a fairly central spot, on a kind of sand bar between two little streams. The car park is a kind of beach-behind-the-beach and you walk through pathways cut into the dunes to reach the beach proper. Talacre is a really long stretch of beach with great vistas out into the bay, ghostly white windmills at intervals far out to sea. The beach has an abandoned lighthouse, built in the 1750's, which now seems oddly stranded in the middle of a flat expanse of sand, as if the victim of it's own ironically careless voyage.

So far so idyllic, but then it was still before midday! We wandered across the sands toward the Lighthouse to check out something glinting in the sunlight up on the observation deck. There hasn't been a light there as long as I remember so it was worth checking out. It turned out to be what looks like a suit of armor, standing up against the railings, looking back landward. Rather odd, presumably it hasn't been there long or it would be covered in rust? Being so close to the lighthouse, we walked around it carefully avoiding a deep pool on the perimeter closest to the sea. A large shaggy dog enthusiastically trotted my way before disappearing up to it's waist in a deep puddle. It bounded out and made straight for it's owners where it rigorously shook sloppy sand all over them to dry it's coat.

I was now lagging behind Jamie and my Mum, when suddenly the ground beneath me gave way. My right foot was engulfed by cold sloppy sand and the left continued to sink right up to my calf! I yelled for help, worried, as I could feel my right foot beginning to sink further, I would soon be buried knee deep. As Jamie ran toward me (laughing) I lunged forward and managed to free my right foot and somehow pulled my left leg free, only to take 3 giddy steps toward him and sink deeper still into the slop! This time my heroic right leg was the deepest and I could feel a pretty strong suction working on my left ankle. I had visions of other beach users puzzling over the glinting C3PO on the lighthouse tower just as we had done, and now the nearby sparkles of the sequins on my floaty top as I sank glamorously to my death nearby. Jamie managed to pull me free, thankfully - but just me, not my lovely Monsoon flip-flops, which gurgled down into the frigid sands with a few desperate bubbles, never to be worn again!

Jamie did make a brave stab at rescuing them but they were too deeply embedded and there was a risk of him going down with them. I had to weigh up my fondness for either my flip-flops or my nephew and Jamie narrowly won, so we gave up and headed off toward the sea. A very long way off on the horizon. That walk was horrible. My legs and accompanying leggings were encased in dark goo and the stretchy fabric was hardening under the sun. Every time we walked across sloppy sand I had visions of us as 3 talking heads, stranded, waiting for the tide to come in and drown us. The realisation that I have an over active imagination in no way made up for the loss of those flip-flops!

Eventually we reached the sea, which was surprisingly warm, and cleaned off all the terrible gook in an instant. I felt pleasant of foot and stretchy (if cold) of legging again and set off back toward the dunes feeling happier, but still grieving for my departed footwear. By the time we neared the dunes it became obvious that Wales has been invaded early this year. Not even Easter yet, but the incomers have already breached our borders, the hoards now pouring onto the beaches armed with lilos, buckets, spades and mobile phones, into which they screech excitedly to each other over every fresh crab corpse found on the sand. Was there reception here - why hadn't I thought of my mobile while sinking into the icy sand? We were almost knocked flat by this Mersey-evacuee onslaught.

As we neared the car park it became depressingly obvious that the Ka, previously standing lonely between two shallow moats, was now surrounded on 3 sides by other vehicles. The "puddle" in front of us was actually a very deep pond, murky and bottomless, into which Jamie began to sink when we sent him to test it. More worryingly, there was a set of tyre tracks entering from the left, but non exiting on the right? Was this the finally resting place of a 4x4 full of holidaying Mancunians too eager for their first glimpse of the sea to be more cautious?

We weren't going anywhere. The car park was completely full and a twinkling stream of slow moving cars, bumper to bumper was heading down the narrow access road toward the dunes. The gap between the 2 erratically placed cars behind us narrowed alarmingly to exactly the width of the back bumper of my car, no extra room for wing mirrors! I measured it several times, with my bare, scratched and now once more gook covered feet. Still, I made a pointless attempt at reversing through this gap, only giving up when my wheels began to skid on the wet sand. We would just have to wait for the owners to return... except it was only nearing 1pm on a truly hot afternoon, not a cloud to be seen on the horizon and only the slimmest chance of a snowstorm (This is Wales after all) to bring the beach lovers back to their cars before Sun-Down!

So we walked over to the Holiday camp and it's accompanying gift shops and Chippy. I say walked, 2 of us did that and I limped behind, squealing and gurning at every sharp boulder, still in bare feet. The big upside of gift shops just behind beaches is that they sell very cheap gaudy footwear and I managed to pick up a pair of sandals with foam platforms so thick I felt like I was walking on two tiny trampolines, this was bliss after the barefoot trudge from the beach over shingle, sharply crushed shells and razor like dune grass to get to the hot sticky concrete pavements of the Holiday complex. We consumed chips and sugar based products for roughly an hour then headed back to the car through the dunes again, amazed that the stationary line of traffic pointing toward the beach car park. Talacre is a huge beach but the car park is not that big, it should have been obvious to passers by up on the coast road that there was no room left to park until quite a few cars actually left the beach, surely? When we got back to the Ka it dawned on me that it was now or never for us, as some brain-deads were now parking in the lanes between the other cars, so blocking any access or exit for anyone else. Sun doesn't always bring out the best in people.

There was one glimmer of hope, as a huge white van that had not been our neighbour before, was now parked next to my driver's door. It had obviously made it through the murky abyss in front of us and so we needed to seize this fading chance of escape before the last of the exit routes was blocked by some selfish parker. I pressed down hard on the accelerator, closed my eyes (some would feel this part was fool hardly but who wants to witness their passengers drown?) and gunned forward before making a sharp left turn. I heard a loud and ominous splash, felt the car tilt freakishly downward and opened my eyes as a tidal wave of sandy water obliterated the windscreen. Just as suddenly, as my stomach lurched at the feeling of wheels locking in the slop below, the car tilted sharply back upward and sped out of the watery ravine, I just managed to hit the breaks, narrowly avoiding piling into the back of a 4x4 driven by a startled Husky!

Actually, the Husky was just a passenger in the back of the vehicle but my powers of observation were somewhat impaired by the instant euphoria of realising we would live! Happy happy joy joy! We followed the Husky, as other weary travellers, would no doubt, have followed a St Bernard in years gone by, and eventually, after a lot of shouting and swearing and angry arm gestures from the driver in front, we cleared a path and made it off the beach, away from the coast to safety. You can keep your seasides - Buckinghamshire, here I come!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Eeek!

Matilda and I have a really eeeeky week ahead of us as we are relocating down to Buckinghamshire next weekend! So we've packed already, right? Noooo, of course not! And the relaxing spray I bought on-line to calm my car-sick kitty? That's arrived and been road tested on said up-tight feline? Noooo, of course not. By the end of the week I imagine I will be the one needing a relaxing spray to calm me down... or a big bottle of rum?

On the plus side... I have tweaked my doll-making pattern, the one that I created for The Frost Fairy, I've scaled it down a bit, made her slimmer and made the feet and hands smaller and more dainty. have cut out a few in calico and even stuffed one who is waiting to be button jointed before the move. Once I am settled, doll making will finally re-commence, watch this space ;o)

Friday, April 1, 2011

RIP Stoofy-poo


Rest in Peace poor old Stoofer, caught mid yawn in the is photo from last summer or maybe the one before. He's been ill for a long time now and this morning was finally the end of it. He must have been 17 but we don't know exactly as he was someone else's cat before coming to live with us. Sadly out under the lawn among the daffodils now, but at least no more pain.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Phewwwww

Phewwww, my following list has mysteriously returned! ;o)

More Blogger gremlins

Anyone else log into Blogger today to find that they are "not following any blogs" today? Could have fooled me because I was following roughly 100 yesterday when I was last here!!!!

I hope this is just one of their temporary glitches, I don't want to have to find all of them again :o(

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Treasury

My Vampire Showgirl Irmalene has been included in a lovely treasury by CapeCottageDesigns, look here: here

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hairy moments

Ok, so who hasn't dyed their hair at home and thought "what a waste of my precious time, I could be sat on the sofa watching TV right now" but you daren't because always, ALWAYS, that d*mn dye that is so busy not covering those stubborn "greys" does get busy dying your soft furnishings!

So obviously I learnt all about hair-dying mousse from Kate from Lost with joy in my heart. This is definitely the product for me, I thought, you glide it onto your hair and no drips and then you can wander round the house with no fear of Dalmationizing your sofa (dark dye spotting). And her hair always looked great didn't it? On that Island in the middle of nowhere with sand and crabs and a monster and stuff? Got to be good!

So I waltz down to the Chemist and whooaaa, must have known I was coming because they have an introductory offer so the dye is only as stupidly expensive as it used to be before it got REALLY stupidly expensive. Now I'm in the bathroom with the golf ball sized pouff of magic mousse in the palm of my hand, the anticipation is killing me, so I slap it on my roots and, errr, nothing, my hair isn't even wet, or coloured which is a bit confusing. So I keep applying balls of pouffiness here and there, wondering if I have covered everything, it seems to just evapourate INTO my hair on contact. Obviously I have had a long dark mane of sponges on top of my head all these years.

Nope, no colour change and all the dye has soaked straight into my obviously quite porous hair, leaving it dry but kind of crunchy. I am baffled and half an hour later my hair has just about begun to darken, here and there! It hasn't actually made those stray greys go the rich chestnut brown I was expecting, it has just kind of subdued the contrast between them and the rest of my naturally brown hair, I have dirtied my hair...Huh? Eventually I decide to "wash it off" which is a bit surreal because I am trying to wash away not the dye (dissappeared on contact with my anti-matter hair) so much as the sound and texture of crunchiness.

I dried it, it's shiny and the colour is just a subdued version of what I had before I started except the greys are now more battleship than startling silver... I preferred the silver! I almost look like a black and white photo of myself, it's strange. I guess I will be reverting to glooppy, drippy, yukky wet dye again next time round.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Magical creatures



I'm sure by now you all know of my love for BJDs, but I've always been immune to tinnies and anthros... well, I doubt there will ever be a tiny to melt my heart, they usually make me feel a little queasy, BUT, just look at these little anthro critters! They are so cute and have a real fairytale feel that is so missing in the Asian Anthro dolls (for me anyway). I love The Mushroom Peddlar and need to start saving again obviously! Check them out here

Saturday, March 19, 2011

FINALLY!!!

This is just Bl**dy ridiculous! After 24 hours etsy sign in suddenly accepted my usual password, having rejected it countless times during the day and last night. WHY? Why does it still reject the latest temporary password that etsy's own automated sign in service sent to me?

And the most annoying thing, the sign in no longer auto-fills and even if I check the "Keep me signed" in box, everytime I go back to etsy I have to manually type my user name/password despite them both being in my autofill and it being turned on... Gggrrrrr. All this in the same week that Photobucket - already one of the most annoying sites on the internet -decided it would only accept Facebook IDs as a log-in, so I am locked out of there too!

Yes, I do have a Facebook page but I never go there and can't remember my password :o(

Friday, March 18, 2011

Exiled from Etsy

Feeling rather baffled and angry right now (and I was so happy only moments ago, but that's another story)... went to check my etsy shop and thought it a bit unusual that my Auto-fill wasn't signing me in. Hold on, etsy is rejecting my auto-fill password, but how can that be?

So I go through the process of requesting a new password, it sends you an email with a link, you click that to prove who you are then they send you a set of numbers as your new password. So I type in the password and hey presto? Eeeer, No Presto! So I must have typed it in wrong? So I copy and paste the new password, still rejected. I went thought he whole process over and over but still no access to my own d*mn shop!

So eventually I figure there is something wrong with the new password and request another, same frustrating hooo-haaa all over again! Then I get angry and decide to complain to Esty Help, except of course I CAN'T unless I sign in!!!!!! DOH

Madalyn Update

Hi, just a quick update on the Souldoll Madalyn Head Group Order. The DOA member organising the list of 50 will not be taking any money or organising delivery, she just has to present the list of contacts to Souldoll who will then cast 50 heads and deal direct with the people on the list. Souldoll are a well established, respectable and reliable Korean company that have an english website and a great rep, so no worries.

So, you do not have to be a DOA member to join the GO! Yay! If anyone is interested please contact me (see my profile) and I will pass your info onto the Group Order organiser as I do not want to publicly divulge her email here. Madalyn's beautiful head could be yours soon! ;o)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Disgusting!

I have to say this is one of the most disgusting and blatant cases of copyright and art theft I have ever seen. Korean BJD company Leeke or Leekeworld, have released a new doll called Mikhalia, a straight up no holds barred COPY of an original art doll by French BJD Artists Dust of Dolls. Leeke don't have a leg to stand on as they visited DoD's stall at a French Doll convention, last Autumn, and took many photos of their original doll, Puns, and exchanged business cards. Leeke now claim no knowledge of this, despite the fact that those photos can clearly be seen on the work table next to the early scuplts of their doll Mikhalia! Unbelieveable!

That's the last time I go browsing through Leeke's extensive wig collection! My BJDs will go bald if buying from them becomes the only option, at least until they withdraw that doll or give a full apaology to Dust of Dolls!

Dust of Dolls

Calling all Madalyn fans


I don't know if I have any DOA member readers but thought it worth mentioning the Group Order for Souldoll's stunning new Madalyn head. Many of us have fallen hard for this sculpt but sadly Souldoll has no plans to make the head available separately, and the Zenith Girl body is one big lady!

Two DOA members have approached Souldoll and have been offered the chance to have a limited edition of just 50 heads produced, but we need 38 people more to reach that goal. You can choose either white or natural resin and will deal directly with Souldoll once the list of 50 is complete. This is the link if you are interested:

Madalyn

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Amazing!


Amazing photoshoot over at Haute Macabre, take a look...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Doll making dilemma

Hhhmmm, so the New Year is off to a flying start as far as freelance work is concerned, have hardly looked up from the Mac. After being unable to earn money for so long last year after the injury, this is really good news.

When, like today, I finally get some time to myself (7 day working weeks are the norm right now) I just want to zone out and do absolutely nothing. Indeed that's what I have planned for today. I really need to concentrate on getting a new illustration folio together, that has to be my next spare time priority. So where does that leave the dolls? Definitely taking a back seat for now unfortunately. There is just no time.

Another dilemma is the fact that I am leaving North Wales to move back down to Buckinghamshire in April. I will be house/cat sitting for friends and so will have to pack lightly. I am starting to realise that this isn't the best time to start trying to master making clay dolls or BJDs. It's hard shelving something I had so much enthusiasm for only a few months back, but I just won't have the time.

I think I will be taking my sewing machine and a huge laundry bag filled with calico, fabrics and trims away with me and will stick with cloth dolls for the next 6 months until I move into my own space or simply have more free time to concentrate. I will use paper clay to model faces, feet and hands as usual, so will be more within my comfort zone. Then I feel I can pick up a doll and work on it when I have a spare hour.

Not sure why I'm rambling about this on my blog, just trying to get the plan straight in my head, and let any puzzled readers know why there are so few posts lately and no new dolls!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mr Tixi Pickles


Rather hilarious photo of Mr Tixi Pickles, taken by my nephew Jamie :o)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ooops, sorry...

Hi, huge apologies to everyone. I was intending to do a giveaway and take part in the last ever One World One Heart event this weekend but so many things are happening at the moment that I simply ran out of time to put stuff together. I have a vast amount of freelance work on, hence no more updates on the BJD for a while and the best news: I am getting ready to move back down to Buckinghamshire in April for a 6 month house sitting stint. Lots to plan and do right now, it's an exciting time for me :o)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

On the up!

Just thought I'd let you know, after the last post, that Visa have refunded my payment to Dollfair. For me at least a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the scores of other doll enthusiasts who are still caught up in the Dollfair mess will also get a good result soon. I have also been finally sent a 7 month overdue invoice payment by an EX design client, Needless to say, I won't be working with them again, or shopping with Dollfair any time soon!

Feeling good today though, got back last night from a great weekend away with friends and feel up for anything right now. Have a mountain of freelance work to plow though (lunch time right now!) then back to doll making with a revengeance... YAY!!! :o)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dollfair: A Warning

I'm sure many of my readers (Hiya, wavey hand) are also BJD fans and even own a few. I'd just like to refer you to this website:

Dollfair Help Page

It has been set up by Nocturne of Silence from the Den of Angels BJD forum to warn people about just what they are letting themselves in for if they order a doll from the US BJD company "Dollfair" which also trades under the names of "Atelier Nouveau" and "Enchantment Doll" (Not to be confused with Marina Brychkova's Enchanted Doll, although I think any confusion has been deliberately fostered on Dollfair's part). The company acts as an english language portal for respected Korean names like Narin, Supia and Limhwa dolls , and you may not even be aware that the website you are buying from is actually Dollfair.

Why am I concerned? Well, because I paid Dollfair in full for a Sleetwealth Briar doll marked as in stock on November the 1st, and like so many people involved my emails are either met with silence or strangely familiar excuses. I have twice been told that my doll is ready to be shipped and that I would receive a tracking number the next day, I receive nothing! People on DOA have been waiting for dolls/refunds as far back as February 2010.

Non of this reflects badly on Anita Collins, the US artist who created Sleetwealth Briar, and former fellow ADO member. I knew she had been previously represented by Dollfair and so didn't worry too much. She has since told me that she is no longer associated with Dollfair at all and that they do not have permission to be selling her dolls anymore, or at least taking money for her dolls, as they have no stock to sell. This is a familiar story with many of the other artists involved. This is what Anita has to say on her blog:

Sleetwealth

I just want to warn people that dealing with this company is a bit like buying a lottery ticket, you may win, ie: get what you paid for, or you are just as likely to join the growing number of us who get nothing at all except a churning stomach and sleepless nights.

Be warned!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Snowy Morning




Most of the time the snow has looked slushy, dirty and annoying. I woke to a fresh blanket of lovely crisp white this morning, makes you go "Aaaahhhhh, isn't it pretty" all over again... here are some views from the bedroom windows. Needless to say, 8 hours later it has turned to slush as the rain came on!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

BJD Making experiment 5

Hhhmmmm... decided to return to the BJD experiment after all... the Oasis flower arranging foam has it's uses, i love it as a form for sculpting and moulding into blocky substantial shapes which then get covered in paperclay... but have to admit failure when it comes to things like arms and legs. These thin spindly structures are apt to break long before I get the chance to cover them in Paperclay. I am also battling my natural inclination toward making things LARGE.

I can't help it. All the sculpture I produced in High school and on my Arts Foundation course were huge. My cloth dolls grow exponentially if I don't keep an eye on them. I've been thinking about this today and wonder why on earth I have decided to make an MSD sized BJD? Why try and master something really difficult and new then additionally hobble myself with the size issue as well?

I think I am decided to finish off this experiment as some sort of doll torso and find another way to create limbs, but I will re-start the BJD experiment as an SD (60cm) size doll from scratch. It makes more sense to work at a size I am more comfortable with and most of the resin Asian Ball Jointed Dolls in my collection are also SD size.

No-one said this would be plain sailing! :o)

Sorry, my pics came out terrible will post them tomorrow!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Yay! New Year, New start

It's a whole new beginning here at Freaky Little Things. 12 months is a long time to be out of action. Throughout the year I started to make several dolls but gave up along the way for one reason or another and they have all been consigned to the bin along with the dolls I started but didn't finish at the latter end of 2009. The only dolls I have made and been happy with at all this year have been the articulated paper "Vampire Showgirls", apart from the paper dolls my sketch pad has gathered dust, I rarely draw.

I have even wondered if I wanted to continue making art dolls at all anymore. Then I see the work of Dorote of "Tireless Artist" and Julien Martinez. Both have a unique vision and incredible attention to detail, their creativity matched by their technical skills. Basically, I look at their work in awe and know I want to make better dolls for 2011 :o)