Monday, November 09, 2015

Knitting Sweet Nothings

I'm having a lot of fun doing knitting for people both small and large.  I'm making these mitts from a Ravelry pattern for my friend Claudia in Germany.  I have a lovely Crystal Palace yarn in a blue gradient that I'm using for these.  It's a really fun pattern so far.

I got some good pics of the Strawberry Sundae Afghan for MSD-sized BJDs.  I just adore this yarn!  It has shades of Chocolate, Strawberries, Vanilla and Cream, and it's soft and easy to care for.  On top of that, this stitch is super smooshy and wonderful!  I'm seriously considering making a Big People-sized one for myself with bulky yarn.  Pippa really enjoyed modeling for this one:

I made a little tufted mattress for her (complete with buttons!)  as well as a top sheet, pillow and pillowcase so that I can use them for photoshoots for blankets and afghans.  Oh yeah, and so that she'll have a bed.  Of course.

I've been listening (quite a lot!) to Marianas Trench's new album, Astoria.  It's everything I've come to expect from them.  I think each time they release a new album, they outdo themselves a little more.   Forget Me Not is just heartbreaking, but oh so good, and there isn't a single song on the album that I want to skip or rush through.

I must dash - I have an Epistle to write, Etsy stuff to post, and, yeah, maybe I'll even finish my rewrite. :-P

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Remember, Remember

I'm not sure how it came to be the 5th of November already, but that's what the computer says.  I've been watching Black Butler lately and REALLY enjoying it.  I wish I'd watched before we went to Youmacon last weekend, since we met Vic Mignogna and Todd Haberkorn there.  They were super friendly and sweet. :)  The con was a blast!  I'm really looking forward to the next one. :)  We are looking at hitting Shuto Con in the Spring as well.

One of Mollusc's clay birds sold, and the buyer was delighted!  I was really relieved, because I gave it a last-minute glazing and was concerned about my Triple-Thick being too dry.

I have some new items to list in my shop.  I made a beret and an afghan from that lovely ice-cream parfait (as I think of it) yarn.

There's also a LOVELY, chunky (Big People-Sized!) scarf  that I made, but I really need to get good pictures of everything.

Most of my Blogging has been over at Estrangement Epistles, lately.   I need to find bogging balance. ^_^  And the latest book that's been cooking in my head is coming along really well.  I have to get back to Random and send it off, but honestly, I'm so sick of it that it's hard to do.  First World Problems, LOL! 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sweet Lolita and a Free Pattern

I am a closet admirer of Lolita fashions.  They aren't something I could ever get away with wearing, but I would love a world where you could see fabulous dresses like that as a matter of course.  Fortunately, my BJDs *can* get away with it, and I'm having fun making sweet little things for them.  I just put some new hair clips and a scarf in my shop.  Here's what the clips look like:

There are a few more shown in my shop, but you get the idea.

And here's the scarf: 

 I'd never tried the "cross stitch" before, but I adore how it looks, and I'm in love with this yarn, too.  Here's how you can make your own:

Needles: #2 (2.75mm)
Yarn: Bernat Softee Baby Little Bo Peep (or any #3 / DK yarn)

CO 7 stitches
Row 1: Slip the first stitch Kwise, *Knit into the BACK of the 2nd stitch on L needle.  Without dropping the stitch from the needle, Knit into the BACK of the 1st stitch on L needle and let both drop from L needle.*  Repeat steps between *s to end.
Row 2: Slip the 1st stitch Pwise.  *Wyif Purl into the 2nd stitch on L needle on the side NEAREST you.  Without transferring stitch, Purl into the 1st stitch on L needle on side NEAREST you, then let both drop from L needle.* Repeat steps between *s to end.

Repeat rows 1 and 2 until your scarf reaches the desired length.  Add fringe to both ends! :)

In case my description is tricky to understand, here's a good video.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Shave Club Update, and KonMari

First of all, let me assure you that I was not contacted by Shave Club in any way, and that this is a completely independent review. :)

Mollusc (20) says "It was a spiritual experience.  Plus, they look freakin' sick!" :D, Slug (18) says "I'm going to have to adjust to the handle, but I didn't get any cuts or razor burn." (w00t!)   Fish (16) hasn't tried them yet, but after trying them, I'm getting him one as well, now.  And Prawn (13) says "They're amazing!  They're the nicest razors I've used."

I concur.  The handle is weighty and feels solid, but retains maneuverability.  The little rubbery ridges on its sides and "tummy" ensure that it never feels slippery in your hand.  As Sluggie noted, every differently shaped handle requires some familiarisation, but I feel that I'm already used to this one after 3 uses.  There was a free sample of Shave Butter in the box, so I tried it on one leg and soap on the other.  The Shave Butter leg felt smoother, but I'm a little wary of using it more than a few times, because it contains Golden Barley, and I have a gluten sensitivity (enough so that using conditioner with Wheat Germ Oil gave me summer allergy symptoms.)  Today I just used shaving cream from the dollar store, and will probably stick with that since it's cheap and effective.  I will say, though, that the Shave Butter feels luxurious, and if you know someone who would enjoy receiving luxury toiletries, it would make an awesome gift. 

So over-all, Shave Club gets a Double Thumbs Up from our household.  Huzzah!  I'm actually going to set our delivery to monthly rather than bi-monthly now until we have everyone covered.

And now onto KonMari.  You may have heard of this book:

I read it and loved it!  It's really changed the way I declutter.  I feel like her method gives me permission (or, more accurately, the ability to GIVE MYSELF permission) to get rid of things that cause guilt or angst ("I spent $ on that - I should wear it/use it. . .") as well as things that just don't "spark joy."  I've already had the Easter Seals come truck out once since I started, and it's coming by for another pickup on Friday.  Additionally, I've taken a box of books to the library, and have a few more to donate.  One of the kids' friends is doing her student teaching semester and said she'd love to have some for her school library, too.  Sweet!

After my first couple of sessions, I rearranged the living room and it changed the whole feel of the room.  It's a lot more relaxing now, and I'm not even done yet!  Today I'm all fired up for another session! :D  Happy Sunday, everyone!  All the happier because no one has school or work tomorrow.

Monday, August 31, 2015

I Shaved Your Wife

The weekend was pretty stressful due to getting Mollusc off to college and all.  With the flurry of last minute buying, one of the things that struck me was how FREAKING expensive razor blade cartridges are! O_O  I always used to use Venus, but I just couldn't justify spending that much anymore, so I switched to Soleil.  To be honest, the shave isn't as nice can be brutal (Wolverine victim cosplay, anyone?), and the blades are hard to find.  Adding insult to (actual) injury, they're not even that much cheaper, but I'm too stubborn to cave and go back to Venus.  Plus, there's no breathable atmosphere.

Today I was browsing Pinterest and sipping my ginger tea (as one does) and I came across the ad for Shave Club.  I'd seen their page before, had been intrigued by their whole smart, straightforward outlook, and just generally liked the concept of going Rogue (see what I did thar?), so today I clicked on the pin to check it out in detail.  First of all, the ad cracked me up:

As someone with an advertising degree, I'm pretty jaded about most commercials.  I usually find something to critique, and consequently spend more time thinking about what's wrong with the ad than what the actual product was.  So when I see one that really makes me like a product, I do take notice.

Then, when I looked at what it would cost, I was sold!  The girls and I will split the first package (I did order an extra handle) to see how we like them.  And I think we'll end up changing frequency to less often than once per month because I'm cheap thrifty and try to squeeze every last dying breath out of my razors.  I also added a bottle of repair serum because Sluggie gets razor burn on her legs (possibly because of my thriftiness) and my old toner trick hasn't worked for her.  I'll let you know how it goes when our package arrives!

If you decide to try it, you can click the link below to shower me with money!  Actually, it will give me and the girls a $5 credit, so think of it as shaving a needy college student if you like.  Wow.  That's a bit disturbing.  Forget I said that.  Yeah, I've been reduced to whoring out my blog for free razors.  What was in that tea?

Shave me from myshelf!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Ticcing Away

My baby has Tourette Syndrome.  OK, so she's not a baby, she's 13, but she's my youngest.

It took me a long time to post about this.  Why?  Maybe because writing it down makes it concrete.  Makes it real.  Makes we want to cry, not for me, but for her.  I know she has a lot ahead of her.  And I don't want any of my kids to walk in on me crying at the computer, (so of course one just did) but damn if it doesn't just suck.

I think any time parents are faced with something like this, we all ask ourselves, "What did I do wrong?  What could I have changed?  How could I have prevented this?"  God knows I've asked myself those questions about Mollusc's Sensory Processing Disorder, about Sluggie's digestive issues, about Fishy's speech issues (though he's grown out of all but a slight lisp), and about this.  And I guess the answer is "nothing."  But a niggling voice inside of me says that it's like the Romans dying of lead poisoning due to lead plumbing pipes - it was from something they did.  They just didn't know any better at the time.

For my kiddo, her tics manifest (currently - they change a bit over time) as facial grimacing and vocal squealing or grunting.  Mostly she disguises this as enthusiasm over something, and I must say her BFF is really awesome about it, because, man, I hate to admit it, but the noises can really drive you bat-guano crazy sometimes.  So I have that to feel guilty about as well.

Why?  That's what I'd like to know.  Just. . . why? 

Once Sluggie's done with her acupuncture, I plan to have the doc check out Prawn.  I've heard that quite a few people get good results with acupuncture for TS.  It's just too pricey to add her until then.  There's also habit-reversal therapy.  That might be covered by insurance.  I'm still looking into it.   In the meantime, what a blessing that we homeschool! 

Here are a few famous people with Tourette Syndrome: Tim Howard (US Men's National Soccer Team Goalie and Goalie for England's Everton club), Dan Aykroyd (Blues Brother and Ghostbuster extraordinaire), Dash Mihok (Actor type guy - apparently quite famous - I'm just not in the TV series loop at all), possibly Mozart (Musician Most Marvelous), and possibly Dr. Samuel Johnson (Mr. Dictionary), Michael Wolff (Jazz pianist), Mahmoud Abdul-Raouf (Basketball player), Jim Eisenreich (Baseball player), and Steve Wallace (NASCAR driver).

Almost all of those guys have really demanding jobs where they're under close scrutiny, or where they have to have extraordinary physical control, or both.  And look what they've done!  So that's cool.

For now, I need to talk to her about what she'd like to say when people mistake her grimace for something else.  Because people aren't always bashful about making comments when they don't know better.  "Wow!  That face!" is the most common one.  I suppose they think she's being a "typical teenager" and sneering at something.  Maybe she can tell them, "It's just a tic."  Or maybe she doesn't need to tell them anything at all. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

It's in the Bag!

Now that it's back to school time, I thought some kawaii bags were in order, so I made a bunch of cute star bags for 1/4 and 1/6 size BJDs.  I got some adorable plastic chain to use for the straps, though some of them will also have really cool anodized aluminum chain.  I used sterling silver jump rings to attach the straps to the bags.  These were super fun to make! 

Wow, I really need to decide on a name for my sweet girl.  

I spent most of yesterday tearing apart the BILLY bookcases in the living room and rearranging everything.  Dags helped me disassemble and reassemble one that MuNKi and I had put together partly upside-down years ago. :-/  Although you could only tell by looking at it from the stairs or loft, it's good to finally have it fixed, LOL!

And now that it's Fall-ish, I've restarted the Harry Potter series AGAIN.  Love, love, LOVE that world!  

I'm still fixing up a shelf for the doll's home.  It's really coming along nicely!  And my use of The Secret for bringing in cash has bagged me another birthday party gig at the dojang.  Huzzah!  Now to sell some star bags! ^_^

Monday, August 17, 2015

Pin-Up Girls

I was tired of only finding oversized (for my taste) hair clips for BJDs, so I made some adorable little hairclips with sweets on them.  So far, I've only listed the biscuits, but I really love how they turned out.  The clips are only 2 cm long, and with the added embellishments, they still come in under 2.5 cm!  They're lightweight, too, so they don't weigh down the dolls' hair.  I'm really tickled with them!  The others have little cakes, doughnuts, popsicles and waffles.  I'm hoping to get some pics and get them listed tomorrow.  The biscuit clips (pictured) come in Candyfloss, Chocolate, Lemon, Grape, and Mint.  Pippa and her friend really like them. :)  Yeah, the little one badly needs a name.  I just love her to bits.  I haven't settled on her eye colour though.  She came with violet, but I may switch them out.  In fact, she may get Pippa's, and Pippa might get green. Or brown.  Or. . . ^_^

In other news, it's time for finalizing loans for Mollusc for the remainder of her tuition.  Gulp!  And we need to get a wee laptop for Gordo to use for note-taking, and make sure that he and Kacey have everything they need for school.  Orientation is THIS FRIDAY! O_O

I recently listened to the Ruby Red trilogy (by Kerstin Geir) and now I'm listening to Book 2 of the Dust Lands Trilogy.

We're also watching Fullmetal Alchemist.  I've read up through book 22, but I'd better finish before we catch up on the vids!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Sisterly Singing Success!

So my sister, who is an incredibly talented musician, is going to be heading out to Montana to sing at Gabrielle Anwar's wedding!  How cool is that?  I guess she's a fan of Loreena McKennitt's music, and not a lot of singers are capable of performing that style of music, but my sis landed the job after sending a demo. Huzzah!  Go, Sheila!  You rock!

In other news, Fish and Sluggie start back to school on Friday for orientation, and Mollusc's move-in day is the following weekend. O_O  Fishy and Sluggie are dual enrolled, and this is Sluggie's final year.  She'll graduate with a hefty # of college credits under her belt, all free of charge!  I'm really pleased with the program.  It ranked 3rd in the nation in a recent study.  Cool!  This will be Fishy's first year at an institutional school, but it's nothing like public high school.  I'm really glad we had this option.  On his entrance Compass test, he already achieved the scores he needs to graduate, LOL!  I'm confident he'll do just fine. ^_^

This weekend, however, is going to be a lot of soccer, as Prawnie has a tournament in Hamburg.  The girls lost some players this year, and have a lot of new players.  This should be a nice way to get them solidified as a team before the season starts.

Have a great weekend, everyone! :-)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Have Your Cake and Wear it, Too

I just partnered with Pixie Faire™ so that I can make things from their patterns to sell in my Etsy shop!  They have some really adorable patterns, and I've already listed this Chocolate Cupcake Beret that I modified from one of the patts on their site.

I love how the white yarn has confetti sprinkles already worked into it. :)  I had a hard time getting the doll to pose for me, but she finally cooperated when I offered her a cookie. ^_^

In other news, I came up with this IKEA SCRAPBOOKING HACK:

These are all things from IKEA's kitchen section!  They are: A packet of grid-lined paper lunch bags, a roll of date stickers (fill in the last 2 of the year, circle the month and day), and a set of tags.  I'm using them to make some paper bag albums for the grandmas. :) #Winning!

And HEY!  It's Fishy's 16th birthday today!  Can you believe it?  Here's a pic of him and Mollusc from our WI trip:


Sunday, August 09, 2015

Roar, Roar, Gryffindor!!

I'm about to start re-reading the Harry Potter books for the umpteenth time.  There's something about this time of year that make me just love living in that world.  OK, OK, I always love living there. Add to that that GuTTer MuNKi's mom gave us an American Girl doll when we visited last week (she used to work there before Mattel bought it), and THEN I found this adorable pattern on, and I just HAD to make this:

Fun!  It's a great way to show Gryffindor pride at a Quidditch match, don'tcha think?  It's for sale now in my Etsy shop - just in time for Back-to-school!  Huzzah!  And I decided to offer a surprise dolly freebie if someone orders it before the end of August.  Does that seem like a decent idea?  We'll see.

In other news, we had a GREAT time visiting our families in Wisconsin, and miss them all like crazy.  Also, we went to Yue Wah (my fave Asian market in Madison) on our way out of town, and I tried Ramune for the first time (melon flavour.)  I am FASCINATED by it.  It's so tasty, and I love popping the glass ball down for that sparkling FIZZZZZZzzzzzzz!

Sooooo gooooood!  Can't wait to get another one. :)  I'm going to have to go to One World, soon!

Monday, August 03, 2015

The One With All the Shameless Plugs

July was a month of creating and rewriting.  Though I missed the June mark on my self-imposed writing deadline, I did finally finish up the rewrite in July.  After some reader comments, there are a few things for me to consider, but I'm actually very happy with the book as it stands. :)

I've just returned from Wisconsin, where we visited our families for a glorious week.  It was there that I procured my copy of Bellatopia, the newest CD from The Getaway Drivers.  It.  Is.  Awesome!  I think it's my favourite album so far.  Bob and Sheila were over the moon to learn that it had been accepted by Pandora in under 24 hours, as the process can take up to 2 weeks, and many bands are turned down outright.


I also finished up a BJD afghan I've been working on for my Etsy store.  Here it is with my new Doll-Love Yoyo.  She came right before we left on our trip, and she still needs a name, but she is ADORABLE!  She's a great poser, too!


I made her a sweater (which you can sort of see here) and some bloomers as well, which I'll have to take some nice pics of later.  I LOVE the sweater pattern so much!  I'll definitely be making more!

And last, but by no means least, when we came home and sorted through all the mail, Mollusc found that she'd gotten a very nice intro letter from her college's new department head for Entertainment Arts, Tim Flattery.  Pretty cool, eh?

Monday, June 08, 2015

To Cap it All Off

The morning after my birthday, I woke up to find that I'd made my first Etsy Sale!!!  The order was for a pair of over-the-knee fairy key socks for 1/4 scale BJDs.  I popped a couple of freebies in the envelope and mailed that sucker off!  Postage has gone up since I last checked, and it cost more than I'd anticipated to mail my wee package, but I still made a small profit.  As soon as I got home, I bumped up the shipping on everything to meet the new rates.  I'm not a huge fan of the new rates, but I do appreciate the free tracking.

I've been having some creative fun in the last couple of days.  First off, I made myself a summery bag from some Flower Fairies fabric I'd been saving:

 This is the Elva Bag pattern from Bags, The Modern Classics.  I ended up tweaking the flap because it was too short -- maybe my 1/2" seam allowance was too large; I'll confess to not actually bothering to read that part.  Or maybe the flap is just too short for my taste.  Anyway, I love how it turned out in spite of the fact that I didn't have enough of any 1 (or even 2) kinds of interfacing, and then completely forgot to use the interfacing I'd cut for the side/bottom piece.  I ended up making a bottom stabilizer and LOVE how that works, because the bag is more collapsible than if I'd remembered the stabilizer, LOL!

I simply cut a piece of cardboard to fit, and covered it with the green fabric.  Win!

 Next, I crocheted a couple of summery BJD beanies for my shop.  Of course, now Pippa is asking for one of her own.

Now I really need to come up with a name for Pippa's little sister, who is on her way from China even as we speak.  Oh, and I should probably make her some clothes.  I don't know much about her yet, having not met her, but I'm pretty sure she's not a nudist.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Sound and the Fury

I'd like to start this post off with the reassurance that if some of this sounds familiar to you,  I DO have some helpful suggestions at the end.  In fact, that's my main reason for today's post: to share what's worked for us in hope that it will help someone else!

We recently figured out that Mollusc, my eldest, has Sensory Processing Disorder.  Despite the title of this post, she's not like Faulkner's Benjy - quite the opposite, in fact.  I'm used to looking for quirks and disorders in special needs kids, since I work with quite a few of them in Choi Kwang Do, but I never thought to look for them in my hyper-intelligent daughter.  When I finally put it all together, I felt a bit idiotic for not realising something sooner, but to be honest, I just attributed a lot of her symptoms to individual eccentricities.

Here's how it breaks down for Mollusc.

- She hates to be touched.  For a long time I thought her reaction to being touched was just an overdramaticized response - sort of a trademark silliness.  Nope.  It just feels extremely unpleasant, and should not be attempted.  (I'll spare you the post on "How Have I Ruined My Children's Lives?  A Mother's Angst.")

- Misophonia  She has always, ALWAYS hated whistling.  No, that's not true; hated is much too mild a word for this.  It was so bad that she turned into a bundle of nerves every Tuesday, all day, last semester, because she knew she had class that evening with "Whistling Guy."  She wanted to physically harm him so he would shut up.

- Extreme difficulty waking up and getting up in the morning.  This is the one that broke my heart to see.  Every morning it was a huge effort for her to drag herself out of bed and downstairs in time to maybe put a little food in and go to work.  She would be very subdued and I had serious concerns that she was depressive, but without fail, when I picked her up at the end of her daily shift, she would always be fine.  As it turns out, this is not uncommon for SPD sufferers.  It's not laziness, or wilfulness, or lack of sleep; it's just that they need to "come to life" more slowly in the mornings.  In Mollusc's case, she would spend the first 2 hours of every day feeling awful, and then her body would wake up and all would be well.

-Social Anxiety.  Maybe I should have put that in all caps.  For Mollusc, it's the fear of doing something or saying something awkward that makes other people judge her to be unintelligent.  My mom had a lot of issues with this, herself.  And no, this is not the result of homeschooling.  I have 3 others who are not socially anxious at all.

-General Anxiety.  Any family member whose whereabouts are uncertain could be in Mortal Danger.  Things could Go Wrong.  Dreadfully so.

Hope for the Wicked and Rest for the Weary


We're still learning about SPD and Anxiety and all the other goodies that are, as James Lileks might put it, "rolled up in lettuce, wrapped in cheese, and hidden in a cave of bread studded with all kinds of weird shit."  But we have found some amazing life hacks so far.

1) For the trouble waking up: the Sound Oasis Natural Wake-Up and Sleep System Alarm Clock.  This has made an Incredible difference in Mollusc's quality of life.  Seriously.  This is me, weeping tears of joy.  I cannot overstate how amazing this is.  She wakes up refreshed and in time to eat breakfast, and no longer appears to be undead when I drop her off at work.  The deal with this thing is that it wakes you up gradually with gentle light and sound.  I want to give the inventor a BIG HUG!  Unless s/he has SPD and hates to be touched. :-/

2) For the Misophonia: Etymotic Research Earplugs  I whistle tested her and did NOT get punched in the face! ^_^  This made a huge difference for her last few classes with "Whistling Guy."  (Hence the "hope for the wicked, because otherwise he was going DOWN!)  Hurrah!

3) For the anxiety:  I'd consider acupuncture, because #2 has had success with this for her (less extreme) anxiety.  (We actually started the treatment for her stomach issues, and it's helped a great deal, but she asked for help with anxiety as well, and has found the treatments very beneficial.)  But with Mollusc's SPD, I don't think anyone would live through the experience.

Fortunately, my mom told me about some books for anxiety that she found very helpful for herself, so we're getting those from the library, and I found some others to share as well.

The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook

The Tapping Solution

The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook

And for those whose kids are still children (though I think I'm still going to read it myself)
The Out-of-Sync Child.

I hope some people will find this helpful.  I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tiny Knitting Time!

I know that I once said that this wasn't going to become a knitting blog, and it hasn't, OK?  Just so that's out of the way. . . ^_^

I do enjoy knitting, and I enjoy tiny things as well, so I've been knitting, well, tiny things.  I've just put some slippers up in my shop that are knitted especially for ball-jointed dolls.  MSDs (1/4 scale) to be exact.  I use really tiny needles and baby yarn, but I find it relaxing nonetheless.  Here are some pics of Pippa modeling them:


I didn't mention Pippa before??  I got her from The Junky Spot, and she is LOVELY! She's a Mystic Kids Lillian 1/4 scale BJD (her type is also known as a slim MSD.)  She was quite a bit less pricey than Dreaming Doll's Airi, AND she was on sale.  How could I say no to that face?
I'm still working on the wardrobe. She helped me make some socks for my shop the other day, too, but she wouldn't let me list them until she had an identical pair of her own. :)
She did mention that she'd like a friend someday.  Oh boy.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Flirting With Fashion

As my sister can attest, we were never fashionable girls.  I suppose this could be due to being raised partly in Hong Kong, where (at least in our neighbourhood) fashion meant "whatever still mostly fits," and no one would blink an eye at pastel polka-dotted shorts paired with primary coloured plaid tops.  Over the years I've attempted some various fashion phases of my own, usually tending toward boho, but most often settling back into the comfy, sporty groove.

As a teen and twenty something, I'd look at the cut of 40s and 50s dresses, and think, "if only those were available now."  I don't know why.  Something about the cuts just really appealed to me.  Maybe because I usually try to hide my thighs. ^_^  I've never been too comfy in my skin.  It could be the offset hipbones.  Or the knock-knees. :-P

In *my* perfect world, everyone would treat every day as a cosplay day, and we all would look wildly different.  There wouldn't be a "norm" to which one had to conform, you know?  I suppose that's my fear of not "getting it right."  It probably goes back to that whole Chinese mentality -- the "losing face" thing.  *shrug*

I did buy a 50s sort of dress not too long ago only to put it on and nearly claw my own eyes out at the horror.  Caveat online Emptor is all I can say about that.  Regardless of the sizing chart, I'm not sure that Chinese dressmakers have a firm handle on the frame of the Western woman.  I'm a bit North of 5'9", muscular at the core, and soft around the edges -- not exactly an Elven woodsprite.  It fit, but it looked pretty atrocious.  Thank goodness for the return policy!

Today I bunnytrailed back into cute online dress land, but I have a spark of hope now, because I found a company called Voodoo Vixen (click the pic.)  They make awesome retro dresses that might actually look decent on me!

Check this out:

They have a lot of lovely-looking dresses and tops. And if you want to see more of them on a real person, take a look at this great blog. She really rocks the retro! Who knows? I may have to give up my Salvation Army Chic after all!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Sweets for the Sweet

More decoden goodies are in my shop! :)

Random thoughts of the day:

~*~ Did I mention that I'm teaching Martial Arts again?  I missed teaching. :)  I've been doing it for about 2.5 years at the new place.  The 4 of us who do this style tested for blackbelt back in Feb, so now I have 2 different 1st degrees, LOL!  I'm loving this new style, as it's way better for the joints, but still has tons of power (actually, more!)  And I'm still playing soccer.  Hooray for exercise that's so fun it feels like play, not work!

~*~ I adore the Flavia DeLuce series by Alan Bradley.  Excellent stuff! 

Thursday, May 07, 2015

A Dalliance with Dolls

There is this REALLY slippery slope you may have heard of.  It's called hoarding collecting.  I have 3 Sasha dolls from my youth, and they are still alive and well.  Two were bought with hard-earned baby-sitting money when I was about 15 (and feeling REALLY self-conscious about buying dolls!)  The third was one my mom bought, and later gave to me when she was paring down to move into a smaller place.  Here's one of them sporting a dress I knitted from this Ravelry Pattern:

After buying them, I left the precarious slopes of doll-collecting (but not doll-enjoying, LOL) and managed to stay away for a few decades until last month when I bought Päivi to be a model for some of my Etsy creations.

She does a fabulous job of showing off my wares, and I just love her! (She's actually a J-Doll, called Esplanadi Katu , and I bought here there at Pullip Style, which is an awesome site!)  I then discovered that there's this whole WORLD of collectors out there, and that many of the really serious ones are into ball-jointed dolls, or BJDs.  BJDS are VERY well-articulated, well-crafted dolls, usually made from resin and internally strung.  Most have hair and eyes that can be easily changed.  I find it astounding how many different looks people can get out of the same sculpt.  And these dolls are MEANT to be used - dressed, re-wigged, re-painted, you name it.  Unlike most collector dolls, they are NOT meant to stay in a box. They are more about art and expression, which I think is fabulous.

 If you want 1/6 scale (roughly 20-30 cm range), there are plenty of child-like sculpts, but for a teen or adult in that scale, you'll most likely have to build your own from an Obitsu body or the like.  For those more mature sculpts, the more readily available dolls are in 1/4 and 1/3 scale.  They are A.  Maze.  Ing.  At about 40-45cm for the 1/4 scale, they would be a lot easier to sew for, too.  I really mulled this over, because I didn't want to take the plunge precipitously, you know?  Even though I did a driving gig at MuNKi's company which paid rather nicely (here's where I casually drop in how much fun it was to drive military convoy simulators through mountain desert settings while under fire) I just didn't know if I could truly justify such an expenditure.  Except at least half of my kids want to work in video-game design - possibly 3/4 of them.  And they could really benefit from access to a FABULOUS model, who is MUCH better articulated than Mr. Twisty. Right?

So I'm starting with a more modestly priced doll, but when I've made enough on Etsy and craft show sales, I plan to buy my "grail" doll from Dreaming Doll in Korea.  They very graciously gave me permission to use her photo here.  Isn't she gorgeous?  The Prawn is in love with her, too.  More lovely pictures if you click the pic, so feast your eyes, and dream with me. :)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Decoden Madness!

OK, so there's this Japanese craft/art called Decoden that I've totally fallen in love with.  Basically, you have all the fun of super-fancy cake decoration, but it LASTS FOREVER!!!! O_O

I've decorated my share of fancy cakes over the years, let me tell you, and it's always a bit disheartening that the things take way less time to eat than they do to create.  With Decoden, you get to do fancy piping (many creatrixes, including myself, use silicone caulk - yep you heard me right!) and then stud it with sweet little cabochons and fancy jewels, sprinkle on some glitter or glass microbeads, and voilà!  To make it even more fun, you can create your own cabochons out of polymer or air-dry clays.  (OMG, Delight paper clay is so aptly named!)  I make it sound easy, and once you get the hang of it, it's not hard, but it can be time-consuming.  Fortunately, it's also really fun!  Oh, and don't even get me started on the joys of "baking" the cookie pieces with chalk pastels.  It's really exciting to see them come to life! :)

Decoden is often used to decorate storage boxes or jars, pencil cases, and cell phone covers.  I've also used the techniques I've learned to make tiny cupcake and pie pendants and magnets.  Fun!

And maybe the best part of all is that Decoden treats are sugar- and calorie-free. ^_^

So here's a tiny sampling of some of the things I've made.  They're already in my shop, and I'll be adding more as soon as I can take pics! :)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Facio Ergo Sum

As the world keeps moving faster, it seems we've progressed from books to newspapers and magazines, then to blogs, to Facebook, to Twitter and Vines.  Next we'll probably be at 2-second vids.  Short and sweet is the theme of the year month day hour minute.  Even the planet itself is becoming impatient, with earthquakes in Chile and Japan (among others) shortening the length of Earth's days.

More quickly than I can believe, my kids are growing up.  Mollusc is off to one of the nation's top design schools next year. (Nationally in the top 3, #1 in the Midwest.)  Her first 2 years of college have yielded straight 4.0s (Yay homeschooling!  And OK, it doesn't hurt that she's brilliant and a hard worker.)  and she'll transfer to this much more expensive school with the bulk of her liberal arts courses already completed and a nice scholarship to boot.  Sluggie is at this moment in San Antonio at Nerd Nation as an officer with the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, (of which Mollusc is also a member.)  Fishy is off to Middle College next year, too, which will leave only the Prawn at home with me.  And so, with fewer kids to teach, I've been creating more and getting back to writing as well. My age-old fear of failure has me still re-writing the book I've been writing for years, but I'm going to pull the trigger, finally, as I have other books cooking that want to come out. My self-imposed deadline for submission is June.  In the meantime, I procrastinate whenever possible by doing this: