Sunday, December 22, 2013

The essence of Christmas


I know a lot of you out there are Christians and so I presume that celebrating Christ's birth at this time of year is something you have to struggle to hold dear in this increasingly frenzied avalanche of media inducement to make the holidays all about unbridled excess, an orgasmic frenzy of spending and consumption fit for a Roman Orgy... everything Christ stood against, actually. Well, I seriously mean Good Luck to you all, try and have the Christmas that means something to you and hold out against the tsunami of pressure to be a consumerist drone.

Despite being a non-believer I have always loved Christmas, snow in the air (OK, a bit of frost!), berries in the trees for robin red breast to feast on, twinkly lights brightening the shortest days of the year, being with family and friends, people making the effort to come together for that one meal before trailing away into our increasingly distant lives for another 12 months. The last few years I have been struggling to figure out what, if anything, it means to me. Wondering why I send cards, why I wrap presents, why, why, why - if this is just another excuse for some profit making organisation to take our money and make us do what they have decided we should all do when they have decreed we should do it?

My answer has come from Stonehenge. The latest theories about it's use by my/our ancient British ancestors suggest that it was the site of the largest Neolithic gatherings in the whole of Northern Europe, coming together to celebrate the Winter Solstice. They now know that Brits came from as far as the islands at the top of Scotland, many weeks of travel, bringing with them livestock and supplies, just to gather and feast and revel. If, like me, you find the long bleakness of Winter hard to cope with, then I guess it all makes sense, how much worse was it for them before neon lights and TV to while away the hours of darkness... you couldn't even settle down with a good book, because no-one could write yet, let alone read!

So, I guess in the end if you are one of us non-believers, then it HAS ALWAYS been about fire lights brightening the shortest days of the year, being with family and friends (and strangers too) - people making the effort to come together for that one meal (or perhaps even orgiastic feast!) before trailing away into our increasingly distant lives for another 12 months.

So, have a Wonderful Winter Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkha, or whatever reason you find to come together... Peace on Earth... wouldn't that be nice! xxx


Photos by Peacesoujourner

Monday, December 16, 2013

Back away from the crafters Kirsty!!!

Oh Lord.... am I going completely crazy or does Kirsty Allsopp have truly TERRIBLE taste? I keep trying to watch her crafting shows but I don't understand her aesthetic at all. It all looks like the kind of thing a 6 year old brings home from an afternoon at school, covered in glitter and featuring every colour under the sun. Of course, every doting mother kindly sticks the "glittery whatever" to the fridge door... but Kirsty ISN'T a toddler and I wonder why this show is on in the evening when the ONLY people who will find her "Inspirational crafting tips" in the least bit revelatory must still be in nappies????

SERIOUSLY, £5 for a plastic gadget that makes Pom-pom creation EASIER.... since when was that rocket science??? WHO can't make pom-poms the apparently labour intensive old fashioned way? Thank the Lord we have Kirsty to tell us that if you coat a ball in glue and dip it in glitter you get... a glittery ball! Hhhhhhmmm, let's see, who wouldn't be able to figure that stuff out for themselves? Oh, that's right, the kind of person who would be happy to wake up on Christmas morning to unwrap a pack of home TIE-DYED gaudy coloured shop bought knickers, that's who!

I have found all her shows so far a bit of an insult to all the incredibly talented and hard working artists and crafters out there who work so damn hard to make truly beautiful things.

PS: If you are thinking what a curmudgeon I must be to watch TV with.... I have had a complete U -turn on Ripper Street, this second series has been so fabulously bonkers that I am now a confirmed fan and will be sad to see it end tonight!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

My new models

I used to have quite herd of BJD dolls but thinned them down to the bare  minimum over the Summer. Now I just have 3, two SD and one MSD, all by the Korean sculptors Dollstown. All my custom work is over for this year so I took advantage of the mild weather to work on my own dollies and gave some blank heads a much needed face-up. So meet little Seola and Elysia :o)




Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Call to local North Wales crafters!

I don't suppose there are that many readers of my blog who live within easy travelling distance of North Wales? If you are local and reading this and would have any interest in some art doll classes or even a doll making and crafting club then please leave a comment below. I am hoping to find a suitable venue and set something up for 2014 if there is enough interest.

A few years back I was booked to teach a series of art doll classes at a local textile/craft outlet but the course had to be cut short due to my having a really bad fall and being out of action for some months. I haven't had time to do anything similar since then. I don't think I would return to that venue as the dolls had to be tailored to craft items that they sold in their shop, and they didn't stock paperclay or gesso so I ended up having to make quite basic dolls, not ideal!

Anyway, I am planning something a little more interesting and hope that I can find the right place to host it and find some like minded doll enthusiasts to come and join me. I will keep you posted on my progress next year :o)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Shop still open until Christmas!

Because I have been able to find work I can now keep my etsy shop open until Christmas (Yay!!!) and there are still lots of lovely BJD hats there, some Bottle dolls and paper dolls and more will be listed as I finish them over the next week or so. Come over and take a look around, I have virtual Mince Pies and a glass of mulled wine for you all! Ok, you have to imagine it ;o)


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Shop open for an extra week.

Thankfully I have had freelance design work this week so can now keep my etsy shop open for definite until December the 8th. I may be able to stay open until Christmas just have to find out the rules from the Jobcentre, as I had to claim Benefits for about 6 weeks there. That imposes restrictions on what you can earn and having something sell from my online shop would have caused even more reams of paperwork and a corresponding drop in the benefits, so it was just simpler to keep the shop closed until design work came in. All very confusing and frustrating in the lead up to Christmas.

I have been filling a batch of hat commissions in the evenings also and now they are finished will be working on new stock for the shop and my own dolls too. I hope to have some bags and brooches (for big dollies like you and me) ready by the end of next week too, so look out for those! :o)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Shop opening for Christmas!

Yay, I have opened my etsy shop again this evening and will be adding more stock over the next few days as I finish and photograph new items :o)

Sadly, due to my ongoing financial woes, I am just signing off benefits for a few days to do some freelance design work unless things really pick up and I can go back to regular self-employment. I am keeping the shop open until December the 1st and do not know if I will be able to open again before Christmas as everything is so up in the air right now. So should you stop by my little shop and see something you like, please don't delay to avoid disappointment.

I will also be listing some Gift Vouchers! Buy the BJD lover in your life a Gift Voucher and I will make them up a Top Hat, they can choose from a selection of fabrics and trims and so the hat will be unique to them :o)

Tomorrow I will show you a range of Custom Hats that I am finishing this evening, ready to send to their new homes!




Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Let it SNOW!!!!

Gggrrrr, why can't I get any of the snow effect gifs to work on my blog? I changed the background to pale blue but still couldn't see any flakes... Last night it began to snow here but soon changed to rain so I went from elation to "Doh" just the same as I have with this gif business :o(

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Pooh Cornered!

I just did something really stupid. It is very sunny today and while my back was bad I didn't do that much house work, so my little cat Georgie has set about "carpeting" all my lovely wooden flooring with his fur... not to mention most of the kitchen surfaces too. He isn't allowed on them of course, it's just that he is a nervous sort and jumps at the slightest thing, this causes him to emit fluff in fright (and sometimes the odd fishy parp!) and later it settles on anything in it's downward trajectory, including me...

ANYWAY, this morning I decided to get dusting and cleaning and disinfecting, etc... you know the drill. So lastly I get out the old Mop & Bucket. I started mopping at the front door and worked backwards, right up to the kitchen sink at the back of the house, and that is where I realised I had done a Winnie The Pooh and painted myself into a corner... doh! I couldn't even reach the kettle. I stayed there for about 5 mins (funny how slowly a watched floor dries) until a puzzled Georgie walked in with muddy paws and set about sniffing and love-facing every corner of his newly clean home... he'd just got it how he likes it and I'd ruined things. Decided to admit defeat and followed him round erasing paw marks then made that cup of tea. You've got to know when you are beat ;o)

Friday, November 8, 2013

New Hats available in the shop

The new batch of hats are available in the shop now. All are completely handmade with traditional hat making techniques and materials despite their tiny size. They are mainly hand stitched too, i have the blood loss and sore fingers to prove it!

Due to my current circumstances I am only opening the shop this weekend, so if you see something you like, you have today, Saturday and Sunday to purchase. Thanks for looking :o)


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

New hats available on Friday

I will be reopening my etsy shop on Friday for the weekend and there will be a stock of new BJD hats for sale. There will be more preview photos of the hats here and on Flickr tomorrow and Friday. The shop will only open for the 3 days so if you see anything you like, get in quick ;o)


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Catch 22...

I'm stuck in a bit of a catch 22 situation at the moment. During the year I have been working long hours trying to get a big (for me anyway) stash of hats and bags, dolls and whatnots ready for the Christmas season so that I could make some impact by doing a mass listing on etsy and hopefully actually make some decent sales before the end of the year.

But crafting is always a precarious way to make money and have I always earned my rent and paid my bills by doing freelance design work. This year has been HARD... design work has gradually become scarcer as this recession drags on and on, but my bills have kept getting bigger and bigger. The cost of living in the UK has skyrocketed! Utility bills seem to have doubled and the astronomical rise in my weekly food bill has become a little hard to believe, am I eating for 5 suddenly of does everything cost so much more? Of course, I live out in the country, and the nearest places to shop are the big supermarkets (you know the ones that conveniently promise to match each others inflated prices?) and the cost of petrol eats up any savings I could make travelling to cheaper stores.

I saw on Autumn Watch last night (lured by the promise of seeing something cute live in the studio - Nick Baker!) that this year we have a bumper harvest of berries, nuts, mushrooms and so on, to keep our fluffy/feathered friends in good eating for the coming Winter. Well, much as I love wildlife, b*gger the Badgers, they will need to fight me off as I forage for windfalls in the hedgerows of Caerwys, I am swapping my Nigella cookbook for a Ray Mear's guide to how not to poison yourself while making Muffins from moss and Lichen Lollipops - a girl's gotta eat!

Now I have run out of work and savings at the same time so have had to sign on for benefits, and had to close my etsy shop because I can't make sales AND claim benefits at the same time. I feel I am not far away from becoming a character in an Erskin Caldwell novel (but with higher standards of hygiene and morals of course!). I also had lined up some craft fairs for the Christmas period and now don't know if I will be able to do them. So pretty much everything is on hold until I have found a part time job which brings in enough to cover the rent each month or my investigation of Working Tax Credits proves a bit more fruitful. I think the best approach is to keep my fingers crossed and post preview pics of the items I HOPE I will be able to put up for sale shortly. I will keep you posted.



So, that's cooking Nigella style - OUT, Ray Mears style forraging - IN.... and some Nick Baker for Eye Candy (he's the one on the left by the way)...

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ripper Street - Dead(head)Wood in London?

Am I the only person in the Universe who thinks Ripper Street is a big pile of steaming horse doo?

As I adore a bit of Victoriana, have a guilty obsession with everything Ripper related and also love a good Western (did this many Londoners really carry guns back then?), surely I should love this show?

Eeerrrrrrrrr........... NO.

It feels like the script writer had a cynical checklist of every element of "Victorian London" (they shoehorned the Elephant Man in last night fer crying out loud!) that they copied from Wikipedia, then peopled it with over blown stereotypes and decided to have a fist fight and/or a shooting in every episode. It feels about as period evoking as "From Hell", the Johnny Depp as Abberline travesty that mangled Alan Moore's graphic novel. I have watched 4 instalments now (obviously 3 last year and last nights serving of caackka) and each time I found myself drifting off into mentally compiling shopping lists and cleaning out kitchen drawers, somewhere past 10 minutes in, then jolting back into the room just before the end credits as some kind of street law gets sanctioned by a jowly Matthew McFadden. Mainly because my TV tuned body clock knows it's almost time for a cup of tea.

Utter drivel and not even entertaining. I get the impression it has been tailored to BBC America (the token Yank reminds me of a pissed off Derren Brown rather unsettlingly and I keep hoping it will all have turned out to be a trick and the cast will be eaten by Zombies... no such Luck). Well, I don't care if everyone else raves about it, I can't bear to watch another minute... In fact I might have to dust off my Deadwood box set and immerse myself some quality Victorian squalor!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

but I LOVE Bloggers!!!

 I have to wonder, in a rather cynical way, if tiresome Martha Stewart didn't have that little mini-rant against us Bloggers the other day to try and up her media profile? You know, in that, no publicity is bad publicity, kind of way that Miley Cyrus seems to be going for? MS used to have things all her own way, at least in the States. I used to hear people raving about her and feel we were kind of left out this side of the pond. Then, through the power of the internet, I finally got to see what she was all about.... and was a little underwhelmed to be honest. Occasionally some nice ideas, but, honestly... nothing that revelatory.

Here in the UK we have always had that do-it-yerself, make do and mend attitude that comes from generations of kids learning to make things from old fairy liquid bottles via that stalwart of children's TV: Blue Peter. Want to know how to make anything crafty, well, there was probably a village fete in the next few weeks or you could ask the Jam & Jerusalem ladies... then blogging happened and now none of us needs the kind of self-procalimed "Expert" Martha puts so much faith in anymore (so b*gger off, Kirstie Allsopp, stick to flogging houses!)

I particularly don't want Martha's advice when I'm pretty sure she has an army of hidden and unacknowledged designers coming up with everything behind the scenes. As a freelancer I sometimes get paid to design things that hit the shops with some celebrity or other's name on it, I have friends who also do this. Our work isn't acknowledged, we just get paid to do the work and make the currently bankable celeb look good... they have a "Public Profile" and I do not. I guess it's just the same as all those Celeb autobiographies out in the shops which are actually written by someone whose name will never appear on the credits, what a devious and deceitful world we live in these days.

Blogs have kind of skewed that money making world order though. If I want to know what craft products are good value for money I trawl the blogs, looking for recommendations from people I know use those products everyday. Like me they are "real people" and don't have a bankable "Public Profile" so they aren't being paid to endorse these products. They ACTUALLY use them, so have a valid opinion. Real people are the real experts. I have learned so much from blogs over the last few years and, like many others, I have also felt the support of an unseen community when I have had problems and been physically unable to get out in the real world. I don't remember Martha or Kirstie Bl**dy Allsopp sending me well wishes when I was out of action for months on end!

Lordy, give me a stay at home Mum who just happens to paint in her spare time and wants to rave on about the fact that she finally found a brand of paint brush which didn't shed hairs all over her canvas like a demented Persian Cat. So what if she isn't a trained writer - so what if she doesn't have a degree in Paint Brush reviewing....  and probably does have a lovely Persian Cat she will share pictures of. If I take recommendations from my friends then why wouldn't I listen to a lady half way across the world who tells funny stories, gripes about stuff that bothers her and shares the occasional recipe (Georgina, where are you?) and does really cool paintings she sells on etsy? It's just the big virtual, pan global version of gossiping over the garden fence... and long may it continue!


Friday, October 18, 2013

Martha Stewart hates us!!!

I can't upload a video here so please head over to Danita's blog to view the self-opininated ex-Jail-Bird Martha Stewart agreeing with an interviewer that Bloggers (social media... that's you and me, honey!) are "poor taste" and goes on to stick the boot in and dismiss bloggers with the statement "They are not the experts!"

She seems to have a big problem with people sharing recipe's in particular because they either haven't been tested by The Experts or  have been STOLEN from those self same Experts. Just a few beats earlier Stewart was crowing how Twitter (errrr, isn't that social media, Martha?) has been a wonderful TOOL for her company.

It's nice to know that Social Media is only acceptable to the likes of professional "home-maker" Martha Stewart when she can work it in her favour. On the subject of Recipes though, aren't all the best recipe's handed down from your granny? Isn't that where most tried and tested meals come from originally, even when modified by a chef... and who more qualified to test those recipes? You and I, and generations of other hungry people before us!

Martha, who has built her empire teaching your granny how to suck eggs US housewives how to do lot's of home styling, often based on well tried "down the generations" tips and crafting know how, seems to think that her customers (for that is who those pesky Bloggers actually are) should all shut up and sit around waiting to pay for her to tell them things. She is after all an EXPERT!!!!

I also notice that the previously Tax Evading Martha states she admires Amazon, I'm not surprised, they also seem very reluctant to pay their taxes ;o)


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

New Witch Doll

Just finished a new doll, her name is Phoebe and she is a witch again, my last before Halloween. In the shop now :o)


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

curvy figure!

OK, I admit it I have curves in all the right wrong places... mainly in my spine right now.

Yesterday I bent over to pick up a towel off the bathroom floor and felt that sickening sliding sensation then a pin  sharp "ouch" in my side... I took a few deep breaths and mentally crossed my fingers that I could make it up right. 1, 2, 3.... oooohhh, so good so far... oooo... oh HELL...

I got about halfway to upright then my spine just suddenly twisted to my left and now I look like a Jack in The Box that got stuck half way out! Hope this sorts itself out soon, I have too much to do ;o)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sad but True... part two

I forgot to link to the blog I am quoting from (sorry Sarah!) so HERE is the link to The Faerie Factory blog.

Reason Number 2: This is something I already knew a little about when I started making craft items because of my background in commercial toy design but even I wasn't prepared for the far reaching scope of it: "to continue to sell faeries I need to CE mark them. The ethos of the Factory was always to reuse and recycle, unfortunately CE marking would mean using only new materials, and it is also a lengthy, costly and time consuming process."

Let that one really sink in because here is the statement from the man at Trading Standards that caused that horrible realisation: “Having taken some advice on this matter it is felt that your product though decorative does have an attraction to children and would certainly have a toy element also.” 


Basically, if you live in the UK (or anywhere in the EU as the E in CE Mark stands for 'European') and make hand made items for Children then since 1995 you need to have a CE mark on them and comply to all of Trading Standards strict rules and testing regulations. You cannot use recycled materials, and you cannot make "one of a kind" items because you have to send a prototype to be tested before you can sell a new item.


I make dolls, and in my past professional life I have designed plushy dolls for companies that went on sale at High Street retailers nationwide. I made prototypes but they were mass produced in the Far East and for each new design a production sample had to be sent for testing and meet really stringent fire and safety standards. You have to be able to trace the origins of every single component used to make each item back to the original manufacturer to ensure that THEY all meet the regulations too. Then there are a whole other set of rules about the kind of labelling every product has to feature, it has to be firmly stitched into a seam so that it isn't removed or lost after purchase too.

Surely making One of a Kind dolls for the Adult Collectors market is exempt from all those rules? The answer is... kind of...and... Kind of not! My dolls are created for adult collectors and use wire and small parts which could pose a choking threat to small children. I clearly label them as such BUT if one of my dolls LOOKS AS THOUGH IT MIGHT APPEAL to a child then all bets are off.... it would need the CE mark and to comply to Trading Standard rules! That used to be easy with goth items but I imagine Monster High dolls have queered that pitch now too!


US doll and toy makers are not subject to these rules (they don't seem to have any rules for handmade OOAK toys that I know of) so I guess a lot of new UK crafters and artists look to the US for inspiration and don't realise that they have just wandered innocently into a potential minefield. What is the likelihood of getting caught? I simply don't know and hope I never find out. If you have any concerns that what you are making and selling might fall foul of these regulations then I suggest a quick phone call to your local Trading Standards Agency for a copy of those regulations. Yes, they do have LOCAl offices, yes, they are out patrolling craft venues every now and then. 

A fellow doll maker paid me the ultimate compliment the other day, she said she thought my doll's had the "loveliest adult looking faces" and I just hope Trading Standards agree. ;o)

Some links to check out if you make anything that could be considered as having play function or
would appeal to a child:

http://areathriftyone.blogspot.co.uk/2008/05/selling-your-handmade-plushsoft-toys-in.html

 http://ukhandmade.co.uk/content/business-ce-testing-sock-problem

http://www3.hants.gov.uk/tradingstandards/product-safety/toy-producers.htm

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Sad but True

I read a really sad post on a UK blog called The Faerie Factory today. The writer, a rag doll & craft maker closing down her blog and ceasing to trade for two quite distinct reasons that I am going to cover in two posts:

Reason number 1, I think we all know this feeling from time to time: "In recent weeks I have realised how much time is taken making and preparing for fairs for very little financial reward. As much as I enjoy creating it has become more and more like a production line with all the stress and pressure that entails.

I wish that new craft hobbyists and those in a rush to open their etsy shop would finally realise that Time really IS Money! It is so easy, you begin to make a few crafty items from old buttons and bits of lace and ribbon you have had lying round the place for years... you buy a few supplies from a hobby shop and sit there making cute things while you watch TV. People like them, they want to buy: Hurrah!!! What the hell, they cost you hardly anything to make -but hey, you are new at this and maybe you don't feel that confident in your abilities yet - so you price really low and bask in the glow of selling things to people who really appreciate the amount of love that has gone into making them. You feel really fulfilled and now you are part of the whole crafty artisan movement that has been gaining momentum over the last decade....

ERRRRRRRR, hold up! I hate to burst your bubble, I really do, but take a step back to the price you just put on your work... it doesn't matter that the buttons and ribbons etc, were free. If you come to make more, you will need to buy, how much will that cost you? How much did the supplies you bought at the hobby shop cost you and how many items did they go on to make? How much did the electricity that burned the light you used to sew by cost while you were making... and lastly, probably most importantly: what price do you put on your time. Think about that one hard. The minimum hourly wage in Britain is just over £6. How many could you make in an hour? Lets take all your costs away and see what we are left with... Oooops!

Think long and hard about how you price your hand made items, if you put time and effort into them then don't sell yourself short, and remember, if you get successful you will hit a real dilemma... you won't have enough time to make enough of "The Item" to fulfill demand by yourself so will have to get others to help you make them... that's a whole new can of worms! THINK before you open an etsy shop, think long and hard because as a wise lady told me a long time ago "price too high and you can always have a sale or reduce at a later date, price too low and and you will soon find that when you need to put your prices UP you will lose goodwill"


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Vintage & Artisans Fayre

I am looking forward to visiting the next Vintage & Artisans Fayre at Jackson's Boutique Garden Centre in Trelawnyd, near Dyserth on the 19th & 20th of October. It's just a 20 minute drive along the A55 from Chester and probably a similar distance from Llandudno if you find yourself along the coast.

The venue is set in a designated area of outstanding natural beauty with quite breathtaking views across rolling hills over to the North Wales coast.  Not only does the Fayre promise a lively selection of Vintage treasures, contemporary Arts & Crafts, shabby Chic finds and Artisinal foods but the Garden Centre in itself is well worth a visit. Somewhere you can easily while away a few hours and then dine on fresh local produce in their sweet little cafe.

The next fair after that is on the 16th and 17th of November and will be full of Christmas gifts and goodies. I hope I might be exhibiting my dolls there too, fingers crossed ;o) See you there if you are in the area.

Here are some pics from one of the events over the Summer:


Monday, September 30, 2013

Phil's new book

My old friend Phil's new book is available to download on Amazon here ;o) I haven't read it yet... do you have to have a kindle? Call me old fashioned but I so much prefer a good old flappy papery book!


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

WIP pics

It's kind of annoying when you are really in the swing and something comes along that interrupts your progress, it's always hard to get back "in the zone". First I got a stomach bug then realised that the last unopened pack of Paper clay I had stashed away was actually a figment of my imagination... and had a 2 week wait to get some more!

Still I have 3 big new blocks here now so I can make some hands and feet for these odd ladies and then start dressing and wigging them ;o)






Thursday, September 12, 2013

Exciting new project

I came up with an idea for a new and different kind of collaborative doll project about 18 months ago and got Grace Garton of Little Black Crow studios on board as co-conspirator. We were both pretty excited about the project but life and work got in the way. The old adage is true though: "if you want something doing ask a busy man/woman/doll maker" and so taking a quick breather from many design and doll making projects a few months back, I contacted the equally work-a-holic Grace again and things have snowballed from there, now Cult of Doll is a reality (we have Cult Members!) and we are well on our way to creating the our very first collaborative publication: The First Cult of Doll Almanac. If you would like to know more about our project and the talented artists who have signed up to go on this adventure with us, take a look at our blog: http://cultofdoll.blogspot.co.uk/

There is an awful lot of work going on behind the scenes to bring this to fruition and so things may seem to have gone quiet for a time, but follow our blog to get regular updates and snippets designed to titillate our audience until the main act arrives ;o)


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

BLOGGER BUGS AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This thing where Blogger say "add some blogs to follow and create a reading list - you are not currently following any blogs", then show you Kelly someone or other's blog is getting SO OLD!!!!! Especially when you know damn well you follow maybe 100 bogs and aren't going to get to see them any time soon. Gggggrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Who's the Daddy?

The ever thought provoking C, recently brought up the concept of "Fantasy Dad's" on her blog, something I was not familiar with, and it has got me thinking. Now my head hurts because I try to avoid that whenever possible ;o)

I never got the chance to know my own Dad and my Step-father and I never had a warm or even particularly friendly relationship, so the role a Father plays in most women's lives has always been a little bit of a mystery to me. Sadly, in this era of the Single Mother I think more and more people of either sex are experiencing that gap. The Press have also firmly planted the idea in our heads that there is a Paedophile round every corner and so men are generally mistrusted around children, whether related to them or not. Many a Fantasy Dad was created in impressionable minds through the TV screen of our youth but now Operation Yewtree has revealed them in a sinister light. It's a sad state of affairs and frankly one that only men can redress.

Thankfully, I had my wonderful and loveable Grandfather, George, in my life and his equally endearing brothers, Alf, Stan, Hugh and Tommy. They came from an era where even very young men donned uniforms and risked, and often lost, their lives. When I think of those men they seem innocent somehow, they rarely swore or drank. Rarely lost their tempers, hardly raised their voices - let alone their hands - in anger. Am I misremembering them as saints? Hardly, they had their fun and their vices but still they seemed wholesome somehow, and all believed in shouldering their responsibilities and doing what's right. Have we lost all that? I hope not.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cult of Doll

Grace Garton (Little Black Crow Studios) and I are setting up a new art doll project called Cult of Doll and looking for members to get the ball rolling. It is a long term project with actually quite minimal commitment required from most members but hopefully every two years we will have put together a really wonderful online collection of art dolls and weird and wonderful stories to boot. You can read all about the project here: http://cultofdoll.blogspot.co.uk/ and if you sell dolls on etsy then also check out our new etsy team here: https://www.etsy.com/teams/18601/cult-of-doll.

Because we need to create a unified theme and design for the Almanac (a biannual collection of the members work) membership applications will have to be vetted to make sure we have a diverse yet coherent thread running through each publication. Prospective members must be comfortable with writing some kind of back story for their doll, however short, as the aim is to produce a rather odd story book, a Grimm's Fairytale compendium of art dolls if you like ;o)

Sound interesting? Then we would love to hear from you, drop a comment on the Cult of Doll blog or apply to join the etsy team.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Rowan, finished doll

Here she is finished :o) She will probably go in the shop tomorrow when I have gotten some shipping quotes.




Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Getting closer to a completed doll...

It's funny, but right from the start I have always imagined this gal was going to be a brunette, until tonight when I tried this cream lambswool on her on a whim... now she is blonde and called Rowan. One of the best things about doll making, you never know how they will turn out.




Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Witches are starting to gather...

I made Tituba last year but finished her too late for a Halloween sale... for some reason my witch dolls only seem to sell before Halloween online (back in the old days of doing Craft Shows they sold all year round, go figure?) so I decided not to relist her again until late summer. She is back in the shop and and two new witches will be joining her shortly (well, as soon as I finish them... we all know how that goes!)






Sunday, August 4, 2013

Progression...

Still working on them, thinking about what kind of hair to give her :o)


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Coming along...

This was taken while I was working outside last weekend, they have come a long way since then and are now partially clothed... more WIP pics soon :o)



Friday, July 26, 2013

Paper Doll giveaway - buy one, get one free!

I recently had some major computer issues and lost almost 2 years worth of backed up files (YES, 2 years worth!!!) which means that some of my Freaky Little Things paper dolls are now gone for good :o(

Happily I do still have the files to print out 3 of my Vampire Showgirl Paper Dolls and have just listed them in my shop (Nightshade dolls that is). Because I can no longer print anymore copies of 2 other designs, I will be giving away the last assembled paper copies of Lola and Wilhelmina (shown below, I don't even have a photo of Lola!) to the first two people to buy a Paper Doll from my shop. Each sale gets one free doll, so if you buy 2 dolls you still get just one free if that makes sense? :o)


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Making faces

I love these early stages... wondering who these  dolls will become ;o)




Monday, July 1, 2013

Stocking up for the holiday season - back with new dolls and hats soon...

I have just taken all the sale stock out of my shop and posted this new message:

"I will be back with all NEW stock in a few weeks (late July). If you would like to be kept informed just send me a message and I will let you know the day before I restock, all new things and some Halloween goodies too!"

I am feeling really lacklustre after the events of the weekend but hope throwing myself into finishing all these projects to restock the shop will take my mind off my sorrow. I will be posting some sneak previews here and on Flickr/Ipernity over the next few weeks... see you soon.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Rest in Peace little Minnie

I feel so sad right now, this weekend has been a blur. On Saturday morning I had to make a really difficult decision and took my poor sweet little 8 year old kitty, Matilda, to be put to sleep. She very recently developed a tumour on her liver and her health deteriorated so quickly and dramatically. It is hard to believe that when we moved to this new house on June 1st, she was, as far as I knew then, perfectly healthy. Only 4 weeks and now she is gone.

It was so hard to say goodbye to such a young and funny little friend. She has been with me through some very difficult times, always sleeping on my bed since the first night she stayed with me. She was feral, around 18 months old, had already had at least one litter of kittens and had a very distinct personality. She had seen her kittens adopted one by one at the Cat Rescue, but no-one wanted Mama cat until me, maybe that was why she quickly became so attached to me, following me everywhere, even walking to the shops with me wherever we lived and when she couldn't leave the house, waiting in a window for me to come home. We moved house several times, from Yorkshire to Wales from Wales to Buckinghamshire and back again. I didn't know that Rhuddlan to here would be our last move together. It feels very empty here suddenly. My other cat, George, has been looking for her in all the usual spots, I think it will take a while for either of us to accept she is gone.




Saturday, June 22, 2013

End of June Sale!!!

I am having an end of June SALE at my etsy shop with every listed item at crazily reduced prices. I have some new things on the way so hopefully we can clear the decks for the incoming work. Check the sale here.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

3D Eye and tie-dye hair disasters

I used to dye my hair every colour imaginable when I was younger, but starting to go grey in my late 20's kind of cooled my wheels and by 40 I was very conservative in my hair palette only choosing natural colours and for the last 2 years have even been getting lighter and lighter to make the sudden (overnight usually)  appearance of grey roots less noticeable.

I am a dark eyed gal though and I just don't feel as sassy with dark blonde hair! I mean, who wants to spend ages dying their locks MOUSE?

So last week I bought a box of that bright shiny new Preference Mousse Absolue, you know, the one you can mix and keep until the next application? L'Oreal is good stuff and what a brilliant idea because when a gal is getting serious grey-age, this "next" application comes round quicker than you would think possible. So I handed over the £10+ and came home with my box of Light Chestnut Brunnette and high hopes.

Dyed my hair on Thursday, well, dyed SOME of it, a very nice burgundy colour. Sadly not all of it dyed, just random patches of burgundy (errr, sorry, I mean Light Chestnut Brunnette ) and it has dyed some of the grey roots a light plum colour. The colour is completely random, here and there and not even the full length of the strands it has coloured. So, this morning I spent a long time separating out all the undyed patches and used the second application to cover them... result... very cr*p result actually! The second application did nothing and washing my hair for the first time has significantly faded the first coverage. I would be really proud of this look were I still 20, it's very shiny and well conditioned!

My second nightmare this week was going to see Star Trek: into Darkness... Not the film, you understand, I really enjoyed the film. I really enjoyed the whole 3D experience too, especially since the last 3D film I saw was Jaws 3D. No, my time in the cinema was great, having always hated Star Trek and suffered a fully paid up Trekkie mother all these years, I am glad the Re-boot added running, explosions and generally "things happening" to the, errr, plots (OK, I am still not sure I can stretch to the word PLOT, but I frequently used to lose the will to live 5 minutes into any of the old Star Trek bore-fests, so this is a definite improvement.... and the new cast are way more attractive than the oldies (even when they were young!) so that helps too)... especially Mr Cumberbatch... I think I might be slightly in love with Mr C.

So I came out of the cinema full of the Joys of Spring (it being May) and didn't pay too much attention to the really odd look of everything until I was driving my companions home. Everything had that weird kind of light and slight unrealness that you get just before an electrical storm. By the time I was driving home I realised that the storm was actually brewing inside my head, cue the biggest most action packed explosion filled re-boot of my long running series, The Migraine. There was a lot of running too, me, to the loo to throw up every few hours (having learned the hard way not to head for the trendy bowl sink!) while the lighthouse beam in my head revolved endlessly in the darkness. There was nowhere to hide for 20 hours or so, I still feel kind of hung-over.

Now, I, in my naivety, had thought that The Migraine, had been cancelled after 40 years of causing me bi-weekly misery and generally dictating the course of my life. I never knew why my constant companion from mid childhood had suddenly upped and left but I certainly wasn't complaining and after maybe 6 years free of the symptoms I was pretty sure they had gone for good. Well, apparently JJ Abrams had other ideas: his new shiny Star Trek in 3-bloody-D resurrected James Tiberius Kirk's old nemesis and also mine in the process. Just a warning to the similarly afflicted, wait for Star Trek (and Gatsby) to come out on DVD where the 3D experience can't detonate the light show in your head!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Blogger trying to remove porn?

OK, this is what I see for my reading list this morning, the offending/offensive posts are still up BUT the photos have been removed. Thankfully now some posts by the real blogs I follow are starting to appear.

A few months ago the same thing happened, my reading list had been suddenly replaced by loads of post by some insane American self-help guru telling you how to self-actualize yourself or some other such b*llocks! Wish Blogger would get their fingers out and fix all these hacking back doors!


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Blogger hacked?

Hhhmmmm, let's see, either the people who run blogger have gone completely insane or they have started replacing out reading lists with hardcore Bollywood porn? Huh???

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Flickr RUINED!!!!

What the F*ck? I get an email from Flickr this morning telling me how great "the new" flickr is going to be if you have a free account... considering they have spent the last 6 months flashing messages at me at every turn encouraging me to go pro I wasn't amused.... then I sign in to my trusty Flickr account page and... what the hell have they done?????

Why ruin something that was so great? Flickr was plain, simple and easy to use, it was all about the photos and didn't have lots of useless flashy programming that just slows up your browser and adds nothing to the user experience except frustration. Now it's all black screens (I HATE black screens!) and I can't seem to comment on anyone's photos and couldn't even add my name to the petition to get Flickr to change back... because I can't comment on ANYTHING now.

Everyone makes mistakes and unless Flickr quickly adds an option for us to change back to how it was then I for one will be deleting all my photos and closing my account. I'm so sad, I LOVED flickr :o(

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Hot & Sunny?!*!???

It's a beautiful hot and sunny May Sunday here on the Welsh Riviera and I think there is probably nowhere else I would like to be right now, well, perhaps sipping iced tea at La Maison Rose in India... take a look...
http://mechantdesign.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/la-maison-rose.html


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Just a quickie!

Someone has just pointed out to me that Viral Addiction, the online T Shirt company who last year stole my art, have shut up shop. While I have no joy in finding out that someone's business has closed I am quietly pleased that, for once, it seems, being an Art Thief does not pay.

Absences and apologies

I haven't had much time to get on the blogs and read/comment on all your posts lately, and definitely nothing to post about myself - that doesn't mean that there isn't a lot going on here of course! I turned 50 this week (eeek!) and am in the process of packing up all my belongings once again to move house at the end of the month. I won't blog again until I have settled in, so maybe check back in mid June.


Reluctantly saying goodbye to this view at the end of the months, but really looking forward to my new home :o)

Moving to a new studio/work room is a great opportunity to have a clear out, (Didn't I just move in here 18 months ago??) and a lot of the craft stuff  I have accumulated in this small flat simply will never get used and so is now going to the tip. I don't enjoy throwing away perfectly good craft items and fabric trims that other artists might be very pleased to have BUT in the past when I have listed these bits and bobs as "destash" in my etsy shop, or laboriously listed them on Ebay, they have sold so slowly and erratically that it has not been worth the effort. Photographing, weighing/packing for postage and writing out all the listings... it takes a lot of effort and time (then you still have to store it all in the unlikely event any of it actually sells) so this time - into the bin it goes!

I feel a kind of buzzy high as black bin bags full of clutter get taken away (I am making myself sound like one of those crazy hoarder ladies, but show me an artist or crafter who doesn't have boxes and drawers full of mystery items that "might come in hand one day"... then never do) and I feel pretty sure that this excitement will translate into a period of intense activity once the new work room is set up. This is the time of year when my freelance design work traditional gets a little quieter so at least I will have some time to get round to my own work again and I am hoping that lots of art dolls will be stocking the shop by the end of the Summer. I have already drawn up a new pattern and started working on some new BJD hats :o)

So I have made myself a May Resolution, from now when I post on this blog it will be like old times, pics of work in progress and lots of arty things I am working on, I promise, watch this space....

Monday, April 29, 2013

Popovy Dolls

I haven't much time to come and read blogs lately, let alone write posts, but I do seem to find time to stare endlessly at the stunning dolls of the Popovy Sisters. I am transfixed! I discovered them about a year to 18 months ago and never thought I would have the chance to own one, but now they are making BJDs and have a much more accessible (for us non-Russian speakers anyway!) website. Do your eyeballs a favour and make your way over to Popovy Sisters and take a peek ;o)




Thursday, April 11, 2013

Kharma is gonna get you!

Back at last and with another grumble (Surprise!!! I am turning into Victor Meldrew).

I have met so many lovely, funny, friendly people in the doll community over the last 7 or 8 years that I have been buying and selling doll items on the internet. Some have even become firm friends (you know who you are) and yet things always seem to turn a bit sour when I go to sell on Ebay these days. I remember when that too was fun. Great fun, in fact, and I sold a lot of my hand made rag dolls there quite happily.

The last few years it has become a bit of a minefield though. I have stated here previously that I am baffled by those few US sellers who refuse to ship outside the United States at all, so believe me, I do understand the frustration of finding a doll you would love to own only to find you are excluded from bidding. If you have been selling for a while you will no doubt have come to know Paypal's "Seller Protection" policy. I have fallen foul of this myself once when sending a doll I made out to a European address by regular Airmail as the buyer requested. I thought everything was fine but the seller said they never got the doll and I had no way of knowing one way or the other. They did a charge back and Paypal paid up, they may well have been telling the truth and that doll has gone forever into limbo... but  they may have been someone dishonest who got the doll and claimed the money back.

After that I have always used Airsure, it is fully tracked and insured. International Signed For is also insurable but not tracked, so not really complying with Paypal's Seller Protection rules. If I used it and a parcel went missing, the buyer would be compensated by Paypal of course, but I would lose the item AND then have to try and claim the insurance, if you have ever tried to do that you will know that it is not that easy. On handmade items they will refund only the cost of the materials used to make it, if you have the receipts that is! Not fun....

So now when I go to list dolls or other expensive items on Ebay I only ship to countries where I can send out by Airsure. Airsure does not ship to certain European countries. Ebay allows you to block bidders from those countries for that very reason. So I list my item and in this case I decide I will put UK ONLY, SORRY on my listing. Ebay will only show the item as available to UK bidders... and yet I start to get a steady trickle of messages on Ebay and flickr (all from people I have excluded for a legitimate  reason to stay inside Paypal guidelines) who want me to sell off ebay. Some are polite, I have no problem with them, but as with the case of the unpleasant Sybarite auction I had last year, some won't take a polite no for an answer. I am getting sick and tired of this every time I list certain types of doll and will no longer be using Ebay to sell these on in future, I will stick to private forums where I can control who can and can't contact me full stop.

Errrrrr, except the new forum I joined a fortnight ago only to find that the most unpleasant Sybarite collector I have ever come across there, the very same person who I had to block on Flickr after a torrent of abuse because I wouldn't sell off ebay to them last year! I reported them to Ebay too but they did nothing (surprise) as the most abusive messages (unbelievable language) had come on Flickr. Anyway, I had to laugh as this VUP (Very Unpleasant Person) who shall remain nameless, was bleating to all who would listen about an overseas Sybarite sale that had gone horribly wrong... she was really playing the poor little victim and obviously did not realise until too late that the person she was bad-mouthing was also a member! Ooops, so, maybe there is some truth in the theory that Kharma always pays you back in the end? ;o)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

On the move again sadly...

Yesterday was a beautiful early Spring day, warm and sunny, little crocus and daffs poking up out of the tubs in my yard, sun sparkling on the river and my Kitties sunning themselves out the back. My friend the gander has just arrived back on the river after his winter trip to warmer climes and this year I hope he finds a mate... yes, yesterday was perfect and I was looking forward to my second summer here in Rhuddlan in this little flat I enjoy living in so much....

Until I got a phone call from the Landlady's agents saying she is putting it on the market!

Fab, just when I was starting to feel really settled. Having had to rent my whole life I have had more addresses than the average Gypsy and never been able to put down roots anywhere. If you have to move every year or so why just move down the road, why not move to a whole new area and get to see the rest of the country? I got so fed up of my enforced nomadic existence about 8 years ago that I moved back in with my Mum!!!

Constantly being on the move is costly, I am 49 and own stuff, even furniture, because I have found that having my own stuff around me to feather each new nest at least gives me some feeling of security. Plus, these days 'unfurnished" means you don't even get a fridge or washing machine so now renters have to cart all that stuff around with them too! I had to buy all curtains and window fittings to live here, more needless expense that I will never get back. Also, as a pet owner, not every rented property is available to me.

I wish I could just buy somewhere but I have been mostly self-employed throughout my career and never been able to save up enough of a deposit because of the escalating costs of constant moving. Now I guess I am too old to get a mortgage without a HUGE deposit to put down and the cost of housing in the UK is so damn high I could never make the sums work anyway. As my mother said years ago, I should invest in a Gypsy Caravan and take to the roads!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

A slice of Magnolia Pearl Heaven for sale and a Giveaway

Pearl & John Gray of Magnolia Pearl fame are selling up their amazing 12 acre ranch in Texas and offering two stunning outfits worth around  $2,000 between them in a contest to advertise the property. If you would like a chance to enter and look at the rest of the pics, follow this link. Here is my favourite of the two outfits up for grabs and some pics of the ranch, which has been painstakingly personalised and 'antiqued' with paint techniques:


Friday, March 1, 2013

Happy St David's Day

Tee hee, look what's the Google mast head today :o)

Hapus dydd Dewi Sant i chi! (errr, I THINK)

International Sales vs Isolationism

Wow, serious sounding topic - but no, flippant as ever and relevant to doll makers/sellers!

Let's pretend I still get time to make dolls, one of the great things about the internet and venues like Esty and Ebay was that I no longer just sold those dolls face to face to people who had ventured out to a local Craft Fair. I could sell internationally and reach doll lovers the world over. Yay! Of course that throws up minor niggles like negotiating the baffling pricing and small print of international shipping, making buyers aware of the fact that THEY (not me) are liable to pay any Import Duty their country demands, and tracking parcels that have left these shores. Sometimes it's a headache, but on the whole I get a big kick out of knowing that there are people who own my dolls in the USA, Canada, Mexico City, Russia, Japan and all across Europe. It's all good then?

Well, last summer I decided to sell one of the dolls I collect (yes, I end up giving all the money I get from making dolls to other people/companies who make dolls!), a Sybarite fashion doll, on Ebay. Ebay and Paypal (both owned by the same company) have quite strict rules on refunds and if as a seller I post out an item that didn't have tracking information and insurance, well, if it doesn't arrive I just lost everything as the buyer gets an automatic refund and I get a black mark against my name. So when selling dolls as costly as Sybs, you don't want to take any chances!

Ebay now allows the seller to restrict the countries they will send to. This is very handy because from the UK there is no option for sending parcels to Italy with tracking and insurance. Therefore, reluctantly, I put Italy on my restricted list. Ebay then don't allow any user resident in that country to bid or contact me about my listing. That sounds great but a lot of Italian people love Sybarites and a lot of them found my doll on Flickr and began a ruthless hate campaign that really upset me. In the end the winner bought the doll on behalf of her sister in Italy and shipped the doll off at her/their own risk. She got the doll and all was well. Eventually the trolls got fed up and went back to being thoroughly unpleasant to whomever they normally aggress. I guess the moral of that story is to be inventive if you really want something and the seller can't send it to you because of ebay/paypal restrictions... oh, and sending sellers hateful messages won't make them keen to sell to you!

Today I get a message from a friend in the US telling me the outfit for my other nude Syb is available in a US Ebay shop. I follow the link but the seller will not send outside the USA and has put restrictions on her listings so not only can I not bid, I can't even ask her if I could buy and have it shipped to my friend. I guess it is someone doing the same as me with the poor Italians but this seller has stated that they will NOT SHIP OUTSIDE THE USA. This is a theme that comes up a lot with US based sellers on Ebay and Etsy alike. You send them a polite message saying you are quite happy to foot the shipping cost and pay all the duties and taxes, and get a terse reply that they are an American seller and only sell in the US! Isolationism or what?

I guess that wouldn't annoy me so much if this shop was selling US made/bought goods but Sybarites/Superfrock are a British company! That outfit was bought over the internet from here in the UK and shipped to the States, the buyer, being in the US, didn't have to pay the 20% VAT tax the rest of us in Europe have to foot and most probably got the parcel past the relaxed US customs system without paying Import Duties too. Then they have the nerve to say they won't sell to anyone outside the US!

Yes, I know, there are many really lovely American artists and sellers on Etsy in particular, who when sent a polite request from overseas, go to great lengths to ship out to foreign buyers. There are lovely outward looking people right across the States who see the Internet as a way of taking their business global, but lately I have had an increasing number of encounters with those who think the US of A is a big enough market and the rest of us can stick our money where the sun don't shine - Charming!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

NEW ETSY SHOP!

I have just opened a new shop on etsy to sell my Art Dolls and BJD hats and attire from. The new shop is called Nightshade Dolls and can be found here. Not much to look at yet but I will post links and a new etsy mini as things start to get going ;o)


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sloppy Snogs!

Big sloppy Valentine's snog with tongues to y'all!!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

TV Trauma

This is only going to make sense if you are in the UK, but, please, please, please, will someone tell me when it is safe to turn the TV back on again?

I'm talking about the nauseating family who play charades in those awful idents on ITV, apparently there to promote some brand of whisky or other. Obviously not doing their job very well as I can't remember which brand. They first appeared over Christmas... a time when there is never much reason to turn on the TV anyway, so not much harm done... but it's mid February now! I was kind of hoping they would have been sucked up that black hole with the Go-Compare idiot and all the Meerkats by now :o(

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Splashback horror!

Life lessons learnt the hard way: discovered that projectile vomiting and those trendy little bowl sinks do not mix :o(

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Church of the Open Mind

I felt a bit uneasy when I read about this earlier in the week: What happens at an atheist church?

I have my family to thank for the fact that I was never christened and not brought up to believe in any religion, just given all the information and allowed to make up my own mind. I knew I was an atheist long before I could spell the word. By High School this resulted in my spending morning assembly in the back row with the teachers, sat next to the solitary Jehovah's Witness and exempt from prayers. (Do I need to mention I wasn't the most popular kid?) Over the years, most of the other non-believer's I have met have decided, it's been something they have given a lot of thought to. Strangely at odds with many of my other friends who got married in church, christened their children and chose godparents for them (don't worry, they say, you don't need to be a Christian... errr - I think you DO!), but when I ask if they believe in god they shrug and say "it's just what you do, isn't it?"

I guess that's why the rather vocal atheist lobbying that seems to be gaining momentum of late, worries me a little. Is it a good thing if people give up on religion simply because it is kind of trendy? If you haven't really thought it through and reached your own conclusions, reached your own peace with the idea of a god-less universe, one you are no longer at the center of, what happens when you hit the really hard moments in life? Where do you turn? How will you cope?

I don't like the thought of someone 'preaching' atheism either, too easy for it to become a cult of personality. Why does the whole structure need to ape a religious service anyway? Why on a Sunday morning? A quote from the BBC article sums up what worries me: "It will become an organised religion. It's inevitable. A belief system will set in. There will be a structure, an ethical outlook on life." I don't want anyone to tell me how to think! That's where all the trouble starts, how long before we have breakaway sects of fundamental atheists who want to dictate what form our non-believing takes?

The one thing that does really appeal to me about this is the communal aspect though. I watched "A Dream of a Life" earlier this evening and it's a chilling reminder of just how easy it is for people to fall through the cracks of our fragmented modern world. We do seriously need to rebuild our local communities, give people a place and a reason to congregate and start to look out for one another again. With or (preferably) without religion.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Big News - Sad News

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about doll making... or rather, the fact that I no longer seem to have any time to do just that. I still love making dolls and doubt I will ever completely give it up, but right now, having a website, a blog, an etsy shop - all dedicated to Freaky Little Things (and the dolls I no longer have time to make) seems a little crazy. It just all makes me feel guilty that I am not making anything new, but until I figure out how to clone myself, that ain't going to happen!

When Art Dolls Only finished, the carrot and stick which kept me working away at the dolls just disappeared, so did the camraderie of being part of such a big group of like minded creatives. Since then I have done very little with Freaky Little Things to be honest. Also, the name Freaky Little Things itself doesn't really suit the critters I make anymore, another reason to rethink things.

I've gotten so used to blogging I can't imagine stopping, so for now I will continue to ramble on aimlessly post here, but I am closing my etsy shop and the website (the one I only just managed to get back up, yes, THAT one!). They no longer serve a purpose.

When I figure out what I am going to do next I will let you know...

Monday, February 4, 2013

Bah... Valentine's Humbug!

Call me a grouchy singleton but I am pretty sick of Valentine's Day already and there is still 10 more days of over priced roses and forced sentimentality to go. I quite like thinking behind Etsy's current "Anti-Valentine's Day" campaign although in reality it is just another slightly skewed marketing ploy.

You are probably thinking this is just sour grapes (over priced ones - with little love hearts printed on them, no doubt) but I have never really liked the idea that you have to express your feelings on one day of the year along with everyone else on the planet. I'm not sure emotions that can be turned on and off at will like a tap make me feel special...

Someone remind me of this next time I have had too much wine/mascara thinner and start whining about how nobody loves me!


Friday, February 1, 2013

Django Unwatched

I went to see Django Unchained with Jamie, my 18 year old nephew, last night. My spectacularly YOUNG looking 18 year old nephew... We had both been looking forward to our night out but they wouldn't let him into an 18 film without a passport or a drivers license so we had to settle for a night in with DVDs instead. I'd so forgotten what it's like to have to prove your age all the time... of course, for us girls, we just to cake on another few inches of make up and waltz right in!


Monday, January 21, 2013

Frosty Moon

We haven't had that much of the massive blizzardy snowfall that the rest of the country seems to be blanketed under, too warm by the sea possibly? Just ventured out to the shop (8.30 pm) and was quite surprised at how twinkly and frosty everywhere has become since sundown. The best bit of frost in the air away from neon lights is how the stars and the moon (with a huge ring around it) look, if it wasn't so flipping cold I would still be out there staring up! Glad I ran out of milk now.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sad

 How sad to read that Jon Finch, the actor I had such a huge teenage crush on, died over Christmas. I wrote a blog post about him here.  He certainly had the talent and looks to be a huge star and reading this obituary I am relieved to hear that his relatively low key career was his own choice. It's kind of reassuring to know that not everyone chases fame.








http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2013/jan/13/jon-finch

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The plague of Plagiarism

Seems like every 6 months of so we come across yet another example of some hot new artistic talent being hyped across the internet who shortly afterward goes down in flames for being an out and out copycat. Some brazen it out (*Mijn Schatje), some risk a prison sentence (*Shepard Fairey) and others, like *Josafat Miranda wail into their Wacom Tablet: "I don't have a gallery. I don't have a job". He claims that being outed for copyright theft has "damaged his life".



I seriously doubt it, no publicity is bad publicity in this jaded age, but he hasn't learnt anything if he doesn't realise that it was his own bad decision to trace over another artist's image then sell it as his own that has caused the gallery to pull his work. Read the usual learned comments below this article (is there a variant of Godwin's Law that substitutes Picasso's "Great artist's steal" quote for the Nazi's in these cases?) to reassure yourself that plenty of very vocal (if typing can be vocal) people out there still don't get what is and isn't plagiarism. At least I don't think anyone rolled out the mouldy chestnut "it's actually legal if the artist changes the work by (insert random number) %, that's a legal fact, I am a top lawyer... Mom, shut up I'm busy down here", which makes a lovely change. Steam comes out of my ears whenever I read that one. (Who needs curling tongs? I look like an orthodox Jew a lot of the time.)

Anyhoo, (a) you like drawing stuff: great, draw stuff, preferrably from life, it teaches you a lot. (b) You like tracing from photo's: great, take some photos or use COPYRIGHT FREE images if you think you might ever want to sell your work!!! OR, (c) and this is the one that get's the most misunderstood... evolve the reference material you choose, (say, a photo of a celebrity who flatly refuses to come and sit in your Mother's basement while you draw them) to an extent where it can be called an original work... I can't tell you where to draw that line, there is no magic percentage. You need to develop a feel for where to draw the line on if you are copying or not for yourself, because you don't want to start selling your work and then wind up in court having a Judge decide for you. If you feel a little iffy on that issue then maybe just keep those drawings for a personal folio of stuff you show on deviant art but don't sell. Finally there is always option (d), the option I imagine Josafat Miranda now wishes he had taken, and that's contact the original photographer and ask permission, it's their right, as in All Rights Reserved - if they grant it and ask you to reference that it is based on their original image then do so... it's their legal right (that's a legal fact, I am a top lawyer, etc..)...

Must get back to my tracing errr drawing...

* have accepted my name isn't special enough for glory!

Friday, January 11, 2013

corset clad cat lady?

Surely this is the way forward for my back problems? Steel boning! If a gal has any surplus about their person, that probably bulges out the top (OK, something to rest my double chin on) right? Has to look nasty/peculiar from the back? These things didn't have cups in the old days so what's to stop the boobage getting displaced and causing your arms to elevate like an over-pumped body builder?

On the mend but did get my groceries delivered like a mad shut-in -slipper-entombed-cat-lady this morning.... ooohhhhhh!