Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012

  How crazy is it to think that 2012 is just about over !(or already so in some parts of the world!)  Where on Earth has the year gone!  2012 has been a year of changes for us some good, some not so much. While we've lived in NY for all of 2012, we moved up here so late in Dec 2011 that most of our adjustment period was in 2012.  While we loved GA immensely and miss out friends and family there VERY much, we have found this part of NY to be gorgeous and honestly if the property taxes weren't so darned high we could see ourselves living here permanently.  But that is really neither here nor there.
   As to the changes, some have been blogged about and some not.  My wonderful Mother-in-law passed away in the late Spring.  I was blessed to have known her for 13 years and not only that but I LOVED her like she was my own Mom! I know many women who don't get along with their MIL's but mine was AWESOME and she will be greatly missed.  Within a few months of her passing, we discovered that our beloved dog Zues, whom we'd had for 13 years had advanced cancer, and we made the agonizing decision to let him go...gosh just typing this makes me tear up.  Zeus was an amazing dog and his passing hit us all very hard.  Those 2 things were definitely the lowest points of our year, but with both of them we know that Mom and Zeus are both in a better place, both pain free and happy and watching out for us!
    Now on to the happier changes! Our oldest son graduated High School in June and in October made the final decision that he wanted to join the Army like his dad!  That in itself was a bit of an interesting change as we found out during his enlistment process that he has a slight heart murmur.  It was a long month of doctors visits and simply time, while we waited to find out the severity of said murmur and how it would affect his chances to enlist.  Thankfully his murmur is very slight and will not affect him at all.  I am now not only a proud Army WIFE, but a proud Army MOM too!  He will head to Basic Training in February of 2013!
   In July we came to the conclusion that our house just didn't feel right without a dog in it. A friend of mine suggested checking Craiglist when I was ready and just for the heck of it, I looked at the listings in our area after hanging up with her.  And you can imagine my surprise when I opened an ad for a 6yr old Golden Retriever that I swear was looking out from the picture with the same look Zeus always wore...that intelligent, soulful gaze.  He just grabbed my heart and wouldn't let go.  I looked at several other dogs but kept coming back to him.  I waited until Donnie got home before saying anything, but Donnie saw the same thing I did and suggested we send an email to his owners.  Needless to say the final decision to adopt Scruffy, was fraught with a bit of heartache as his owner wasn't entirely certain she was truly ready to give him up. (her husband had recently developed an allergy AND they were preparing to move cross country)  But in the end after talking via phone and email and meeting with her, she decided that we were the perfect family to give Scruffy all the love and attention she knew she couldn't.  He has been a bright spot in our year and does a wonderful job at filling the hole in our hearts!  And oh, is he ever a Daddy's boy!  He just adores my husband and prefers his company whenever possible!
   As far as my shop goes, I again struggled to truly make it a profitable endeavor, but had several sales and made several wonderful friends through it.  Once again this year my goal is to focus on my shop, and I think this time I have some very good ideas and plans for actually achieving that!

  My goals for 2013 sound rather repetitive, but heck who knows maybe this year is the year I'll actually follow through with them!
  • work out at least 30 minutes every day
  • stay OFF Facebook after 10am
  • use my day to actually WORK: sewing and sculpting daily
  • LIST the finished items in my's difficult to sell items if they aren't listed!
  • design more custom Monster High pieces that are character driven and hopefully more appealing to MH fans
  • spend some time sewing for Barbie and female action figure bodies as well
  • set up a couple of doll dioramas to be left permanently up to allow for for photo taking
  • take more photographs of my dolls NOT shop related
 So while none of these aren't too difficult, I truly can hope to actually follow through with then this year! 

May you all have a fun and safe New Years Eve, and may 2013 bring you all you could ask for!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

It's late but...

I hope everyone here in the States had a wonderful Thanksgiving and a calm Black Friday.  Ours was a quiet day spent just hanging out doing what we normally do.  I did cook a turkey and all the fixings (except the stuffing/dressing and green bean casserole as the rest of the family vetoed those) One one hand it was weird cooking a full meal and not having a house full of people, but we enjoyed it.  Especially since this will most likely be our oldest son's last Thanksgiving at home.  He is currently midway through the enlistment process to join the Army.  We are very proud of him and considering he wants to become a Veterinary Tech, we think he will do fabulously!  He has quite a knack with

As far as yesterday went... I stayed home...I have gone out shopping a few times in the past the day after Thanksgiving, but it doesn't hold any real draw for I slept in and then made homemade donuts when the kids got up! ;-)

Today started off with a trip the post office...I had 2 orders for my miniature resin hot chocolates, a box of extra clay and a gorgeous custom Monster High dress!

My customer asked me to create an all white Winter Fairy-Princess style dress with a corset style top.

I love corsets and really was excited about this one.  Granted it took me 3 tries to get the top almost how I wanted it.  I tend to get frustrated with myself because I think I set my expectations too high.  There are so many things that just cannot be done in this size because properly scaled materials are just not available. :-(  But in the end I am very happy with this piece, but more importantly my customer is happy as well!  

I used a crepe satin that I at some point had stiffened (possibly to make wings ?!?)  But the stiffer fabric worked really well for the corset.  I created 2 parallel lines of stitching down the front and the wove white crochet thread through to create the faux corset lacings.

The skirt is 3 layers, well technically 4 as the bottom layer of tone on tone white cotton is folded in half. The next layer is an iridescent mesh layer and the top is a layer of white tulle.

I think it creates a fanciful skirt without looking like a tutu!

The dress closes in the back with 2 snaps and has a permanently tied over sized white satin ribbon bow at the back!

I also create a Swarovski crystal drop necklace and a couple of bracelets for this outfit.

The dress is destined to become part of a customized Monster High doll that will be a Christmas gift to the customer's adult daughter.

I hope she will share pictures of the final doll with me!

I spent last night after I finished packing up all my orders playing with repainting doll shoes. i am having a blast turning out lots of pairs of customized shoes...I think I am going to start offering them for sale, but I'm not sure.  Shoes can get rather pricey for the stock pieces and I'm not sure if it will be worth it for me to replace them to continue offering more.   Yet another thing to ponder for 2013.

Well time for me to get back to work...I seem to have misplaced the rest of the tiny mini marshmallows I made for hot cocoas and I'd honestly rather just make more than tear my desk apart trying to find the other bag! LOL

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Missed it by THAT much.

So last week's goals were:
  1. finish the Barbie dress DONE!!!
  2. list 10 items in my shop  *um nope not even close...although I listed another Reserved piece...does that count?*
  3. sculpt a dragon (commission) *shifted to THIS weeks list*
  4. design & sew a Glam Hotel/Vacation outfit (commission)-- FINISHED!!!!
  5. complete Parisian Picnic with Monster High Theme-- FINISHED!!!! 
So I didn't get nearly everything finished, and I'm not even going to make excuses although I could. BUT I won' do you wanna see what I did get done?  I hope so! The Glam Hotel/Vacation outfit was a commissioned set for a friend to use as a Secret Santa gift.  Her recipient loves Monster High and is going a glamorous hotel setting, so my customer wanted some kind of travel outfit.  The color requested was turquoise with accents of yellow. 

Originally I had planned a top and skirt, but when my friend saw the sketch she asked about trousers instead.  The main outfit I created was this matching pants suit in a mottled turquoise cotton. I trimmed the top with black satin ribbon.  To complete the main look I added teh yellow and turquoise strappy heels, a chunky yellow bangle, a gold bangle, the yellow Swarovski crystal pendant and the gold trimmed sunglasses.

I love the shape of that top but ended up sewing it 3 times!!!  I had forgotten, until I was nearly done, that the original pattern fit the MH girls rather poorly and I needed to alter it.  Thankfully version one fits my larger bodied girl Nefera very well!

I also sewed up this black trimmed halter top as an alternative top.  I honestly think I prefer this second piece more than I like the original one! LOL

My friend likes everything and is looking forward to sending it to her Secret Santa partner!

Next up was the Scarisian Picnic.  To those not in the Monster High loop...Scaris, (the city of frights) is the setting for the newest line of dolls as well as a new movie due out next year Trailer here. Scaris is the monster take on Paris.  My very patient customer has been waiting several months for this bit as I searched for, and created the various pieces.  In this picnic we have 2 bottles of Spark-ing cider, 2 empty goblets, 2 baguettes, a wheel of Scree! cheese (brie), 2 square plates and a bunch of grapes.

One of the thinks that held up the process on this commission was the basket...It was very hard to find a basket that was the size I needed that didn't have either a giant Barbie head emblem or ridiculous molded bows on it...or that fit our budget!  At one point I thought I was going to have to make the basket myself!  (I was not looking forward to that process!)  But in the end I found the perfect piece!  ------->

It was originally a very pale pink, I use acrylic model paints and custom painted it in the Monster High colors at my customer's request!  I just LOVE the way it turned out!
 The other delaying factor was dessert...I had one heck of a time coming up with a dessert that screamed "Scaris!". Of course it also needed to be something that was wouldn't necessarily take a slice of cake or pie on a picnic and cupcakes don't really give off a French vibe...and them it hit me: macarons!!!

A lot of people when asked about french pastries will often bring up macarons from Laduree.  So I created the monsterfied version...Muckarons from Clawduree! :-)

My mini versions definitely need to be perfected better as the shape isn't quite right...but I think they are adorable!  To monster them up a bit I added a spiderweb design to the pink's filled with shock-late ganache, the black one filled with slime cream for a skull and the white one with strawscary jam got a hot pink lightning bolt! I created 2 custom little boxes lined with gold tissue paper to house them.  

This set is winging it's way to New Zealand as you read this...It's going to live with an amazing photographer and I simply cannot wait to see what he does with them! 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

And a big old check mark goes through...

 The Barbie dress I mentioned yesterday!  Yeppers I got it finished today and it looks gorgeous! This fabric is just fabulous and very Fall worthy.  Ironically this dress has been cut out and ready to be sewn for over a year!  I decided not to add any kind of embellishments to it as I thought the pattern was enough...although now I'm thinking a black velvet belt might look really good!

This dress is being modeled by the lovely Anja who is an Integrity Playline head on a Barbie Fashionista body.  Integrity is the parent company (I think) of those VERY expensive, often haughty looking Fashion Royalty girls.  While I cannot afford a FR girl and never thought to look for these playline versions online as I never really cared for their snooty looks, this beautiful girl was sent to me by an awesome friend as a gift...and well what can I say, I am in love with her!  My Anja doesn't look snooty at all, just more serious that her smiling Barbie counter-parts.

Here is a close-up of the dress.  It's made from a printed quilter's cotton in black with the cream, goldenrod, sage and burgundy accent colors.

This dress has a rather large flair at the hemline, and I am debating making her a crinoline/tutu type under skirt, just for a little playful edge.

I have about 5 or 6 more of this same design cut out and prepped to go. (also from that same year ago pre-move period)  Over the next few weeks I want to finish them all and get them listed as well!

Here is another shot of Anja...isn't her hair fabulous???  The only problem I have with her is that her head is a bit loose on this body and all that hair tends to pull her head back, making any pose other than this chin-down one VERY difficult to do!

But I had to get her off her original body, as she had the old style solid arms and click kneed rubber legs!  This body suits her so much better! 

Now if only I can figure out how to weight the front of her head a bit to allow better posing.  Being shy only lasts so long!  This girl needs to SHINE!

And in other news...I shockingly played around this morning...but I was productive and made a couple dozen more colored in 26 different colors!!!

Plus I decided that instead of just coating each one with clear nail polish, I'd use a coat or two of a corresponding color instead!  And um yes, I have more than enough colors of polish to create and entire palette of artist's colors!

I think I should be embarrassed by how many bottles of polish I actually have, especially since my nails are naked more often than not!

I really need to get back into the habit of doing my nails at least once a week!  But that is neither here nor there.  I think I have decided to offer the pencils loosely, in groups of 12, 24 and custom sets. A custom set will allow the customer to order certain shades...say all greens, or all purples of such.  I am also going to be working on tubes of paints, paint palettes, possibly bottles of paint as well as things like sketch pads, and eventually easels as well! Oooh and drawing pencils too!

Well friends I'm off to plan my day tomorrow, and then off to bed!  Thanks for reading along!

Monday, November 12, 2012


 Feels good to breath...a nice sigh of relief!  I over came the dreaded Karmic Phrases and completed my Barbie bolero/shrug!
 I did end up making one more 'alteration after I took these pictures and then forgot to take new ones before I packaged up the box yesterday.  I added some black velvet ribbon to the cuffs.

I think that little touch really finished off the bolero/shrug.  For as much trouble as this piece gave me, I am jut thrilled with the way it turned out.  This piece (and the other 3 dresses) also made me start on a few more Barbie sized pieces as well.  I've got about 6 dresses that have been prepped and ready to sew ever since we moved back in December...almost a year now!  Um, crap...they've been prepped since our household goods were packed in October!!!
 The first one is about 85% of the way finished...I need to sew the hem, the back seam and then add a snap.  So hopefully I will be able to share that one tomorrow.

While I really LOVE sewing for Monster High, I truly do enjoy sewing for Barbie as well.  Once of my goals for 2013 is to sew for BOTH dolls equally.

This weeks goals will be:
  1. finish the Barbie dress
  2. list 10 items in my shop
  3. sculpt a dragon (commission)
  4. design & sew a Glam Hotel/Vacation outfit (commission)
  5. complete Parisian Picnic with Monster High Theme
Which includes:
  • bunch of grapes
  • baguettes
  • Skree! cheese (round of Brie)
  • Muckarons from Clawduree (play on macarons from LaDuree)
  • Spark-ing Cider bottle
  • as well as 3 filled glasses
  • And painting a custom picnic basket
So I've got 5 things to do this week... I REALLY want to accomplish them!

 Since I finished my Barbie commission late Saturday I decided to do a little goofing off on Sunday.

I found a tutorial on youtube for a 1/12th scale artist's's really cool and can't wait to find my tiny drill bits so I can make one for 1/6th (playscale) size.  I've decided that my Lagoona Blue (monster high) mer-gal is an artist and would really enjoy having a studio!  (Plus it gives me a reason to make a bunch of cool art supplies!) 

Sorry got the end of the easel video the artist shows how she makes miniature paint brushes out of toothpicks...well wouldn't you know I have 2 boxes of toothpicks sitting in my desk right at my fingertips.

So I grabbed a few and followed along, then created a couple of different shaped brushes too! Then I remembered another tutorial I had seen somewhere to make colored pencils from toothpicks!  So I grabbed my handy dandy Sharpie markers and set to making a lovely set of 15 colors!  For this first set I made:  red, pink, orange, yellow, 2 shades of green, turquoise, dk blue, purple, black, brown, white and the 3 main metallics: silver, gold and copper.                          Each pencil is about 1.25 inches long (32-38mm) I varied the length on them a bit as I wanted them to look like they've been sharpened and ready to use!
I have already started creating more as I plan to add these to my shop this week! The original set still needs a coat of gloss on the 'skin' part of the pencil, to not only protect the color but to give it a little shine and also help protect against possible splinters!

I have not decided how I am going to package these... at the moment loose is my biggest option as the containers I have them in are rement pieces and on the pricey side.  I am going to look and see if I can find any printable boxes for colored pencils, but I am honestly not sure I want to go that route. I am also considering checking out the travel sized products at the store for clear caps of the right diameter. (I can always cut them down if they are too tall.  I'm in need of hairspray any ways... lol

See y'all tomorrow, hopefully with more goodies to share!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Almost forgot...

That I had more things to share yesterday!  But hey it's still Saturday so I'm good, right? :-)   Well crap, I wasn't able to finish this post Saturday night, and here it is 8:30 Sunday already! Sorry. :-(

I have been working on several pieces for a trade for um... I'm ashamed to say I'm not even sure how long...but I am finally in the home stretch.  The gal I'm trading with has 3 Monster High dolls, that will basically complete my collection!  (Well until the 2 I want from the 2013 releases come out.)  In exchange I am making her 3 toga style sheath dresses as well as trading a Ken doll and some Barbie accessories.  I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to get these dresses finished as they really aren't that dificult, other than poor time management skills on my part.   I'm not proud of that, but well, sadly it is what it is.  :-(

 This afternoon I finished the 2nd of the 3. I haven't had a chance to photograph that one yet,  Pics coming in a minute! =D But it is a Barbie version of THIS DRESS.  I also used a similar purple crinkled ribbon to create this piece.

I love how the purple looks and I will definitely be making one of these in Monster High size!  The dress is made with wire edged ribbon. I took this concept: HERE and used strips of ribbon in it's place.  By using ribbon this dress goes together really quickly and easily and honestly by varying the width of ribbon or adding additional strips you could probably make this dress for dolls from 6" to well any size really! 
I decided to add some topaz Swarovski flat back crystal 'buttons' to this one to accent the gold ribbon edging.  I will admit after spending the last year sewing primarily for the Monster High gang, that Barbie seems...well almost Rubenesque or plump! O_O  Never in a million years did I imagine I'd say that!  But well compared to the MH girls, she is!  I really enjoyed sewing these dresses and plan to do more Barbie/Fashion Doll pieces next year.

I am also committing myself to a 'work' schedule...from now on after 9:30 am weekdays...if you see me online, please feel free to ask me why I'm not at Work! I get so easily distracted by talking with friends online (which don't get me wrong I LOVE), playing games, reading blogs or gosh don't get me started on browsing Pinterest!  Which btw you can find my boards HERE

So I am going to turn off my computer each morning and crank up the tunes and either sew or sculpt my little heart out!  I am also going to alternate between sewing and sculpting to help build my stock back up.  Sewing days will be either Barbie or Monster High, or hopefully some of both.  And on the other days I will work on polymer clay foods, or home decor items like lamps, holiday decorations as well as fully decorated Christmas trees.

 And here we have the green version!  This one has a silver faceted 'button' and a black velvet belt.

I went in to work with my husband today, honestly because I needed to get out of the house.  Spent about 20 minutes in line at the one local gas station that actually had gas. Then headed over to Kmart to pick up a few Christmas items.  While perusing their Christmas decor I found 2 rolls of the crinkle ribbon I used in both of these dresses, only in ice blue and white...I wanted them both, but at the moment couldn't warrant the $5 a spool. Hopefully I can get them in 2 weeks!

The other thing I did late last week was make a few more Hot Chocolates for both a couple custom orders as well as just to have available.  They were really popular last winter, so I hope they will be again this year!

I've created (so far) 3 different 'flavored' candy sticks... the 1st and 3rd mugs have orange cream, the 2nd is wintergreen, and the 4th is peppermint.  Each mug is created from a custom colored resin and topped with either a candy stick and whipped cream, mini marshmellows or whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

The smaller mugs in the front can be found in my shop HERE  and the larger ones HERE.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Been an interesting week...

So let's see this time last week I was showing off my MH Guy shirts and only briefly mentioned Hurricane Sandy.  Believe it or not at that point I wasn't sure how it would affect us, if at all.  By Sunday were were bracing for the worst. School had been cancelled by Sunday afternoon. By Monday afternoon I had 2 days worth of water stashed for us as well as both bath tubs filled in case we lost power and therefore lost out water pump and my hubby had been let off work early to come home.  By Monday evening we were all kind of tentatively watching the weather get worse and worse. School for Tuesday was cancelled as well as Donnie's work. We ended up losing power about 4 times Monday evening, but each time only lasted about 30 minutes then the power was back up, and well then about half an hour later it would go out again.  The wind howled something fierce and the rain came down in stunning deluges.  By about 11pm though things had started to calm down. By Tuesday morning all was 'clear', although actually it was cold, grey and over cast.  There was a light misty rain falling, that I am pretty sure had it been a few degrees colder would have been snow! 

My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by Sandy. We were blessed to have gotten off with very little relative damage. 

 The kids were back in school on Wednesday, so I took the chance and headed out to the nearest town to run some errands.  I stopped at the overlook above West Point and the Hudson River to survey my 'world' from a different angle.

This is our little portion of the Hudson River...see that line that cuts it in 'half', well that's a road/train track.  The area on the 'back' part of it is normally bone dry!!!

This is the area to the right of the above picture.  This is West Point Military Academy and the post surrounding it.  Again you can see that road/train track and the over flow of water!  I cannot even begin to image that much additional water.  On the plus side the developers many years ago obviously knew it was a flood plain as that area has no houses or business built on it!

I turned around to get back in my truck and notices this stand of trees that was, well not standing any more!  It's my understanding that this is caused when the ground gets saturated too quickly and trees with shallow roots get hit with high winds...they just kind of pop out of the ground.  It's kind of sad to think that this tree will eventually die because no one will be out to settle it back into the ground. :-(

As I headed further into town I saw the evidence of lots of downed trees, but crews had already been through and did an amazing job of clearing and cleaning the roads.  I was impressed to see a majority of homes and businesses had had their power restored already (On Tuesday upwards of 50,000 customers were without power in our area!)  However I was surprised to see that our local Kmart was closed due to lack of power even though several of the shops in the same plaza had power...although they were smaller ones, so maybe they had generators.

I headed off to Walmart to pick up things for the boys costumes...yes I am well aware that Wednesday WAS Halloween and I REALLY waited until the last minute.  What can I say, Sandy kind of threw me for a loop!  For the most part my experience at Walmart was like any other trip...although there was some kind of scuffle at the checkouts, that I think involved someone trying to shoplift something.  But the weird thing for me was to see every single refrigerator and freezer case completely EMPTY!  I mean good on them for chucking everything that was in them, but that was an odd, odd sight!

 Of course when I got home and got ready to throw together the boys costumes, my oldest son told me that Trick or treating had been pushed back until Thursday!  Sweet I had an extra day!  So I spent Wednesday evening creating my boys costumes.

My 8yr old originally wanted to be a black ninja, but I nixed that as I wasn't comfortable with him being dressed all in black. O_O  So we compromised and went with red.  Turns out his favorite character for the Lego Ninjago cartoon and toy series is the red ninja Kai.  B asked if I could draw a symbol on his in searching for designs we found a decent picture of the one on Kai's gi. I hand painted it onto the front of the sweatshirt turned gi.  I also added a line drawing of the same image onto the back.  I used a pair of red fleece PJ pants for his bottoms.  The head scarf came from the remains of my middle son's costume.

My 11yr old is still Pokemon crazy, so he wanted to be a Pokemon Ranger.  He brought me a picture from his favorite DS game to use as the basis for his costume.  He already had the jeans (it is way too cold for shorts), the white long sleeved shirt and the light blue tshirt; so all he needed was the red vest, blue gloves and goggles. I picked up a cheap red tshirt from WM and cut off the sleeves and bottom portion. (which became B's ninja headscarf! =D)  Wednesday night I couldn't sleep, so I used felt and made the small pokeball patch for the front of the vest as well as a larger one for the back.  I gave them each a coat of glow in the dark paint. (although it ended up being too bright from all the street lights {good thing!} for them to really glow. C'est la vie!)

About 30 minutes before Trick or Treating was supposed to start I heard sirens coming up our street...and being curious I headed to the door in time to see the West Point Band, a fire truck, and Black Knights mascot and a bunch of Army soldiers parading through the neighborhood tossing out HUGE handfuls of candy for the kids.  The boys had a blast scooping it all up! =D  The orange bucket B is holding was 3/4 full before we even left the house!

Since my husband had to work late my oldest son opted to stay home and pass out candy while I took the boys around the neighborhood. We walked for 2 hours and hit all but maybe 3 or 4 streets.  The boys had a great time, and I say some truly creative costumes.  My favorites were the 3 sisters dressed as Barbie, Skipper and Kelly in BOXES!!!  Then there was the adorable little guy in a wheelchair, his parents had decorated his chair to look like a front end loader!  It was fantastic!  Oh and then there was the boy who had his head in a jar in front of his chest!  Very creative!

By the time we got home the boys were cold and tired, so I made them some nice hot chocolate and they each got to pick 3 pieces of candy after I went through it. 

This is our loot with my oldest son's hand for scale. This basket weighs a ton!  I think we are set on candy for quite a while!

I honestly don't think we've ever gotten this much candy before. I was very impressed by most of the kids out as there were a lot of houses that had simply left a bowl with a sign saying "Take One" or in some cases 2.  And for the most part most of the kids we saw did just that.  There were a couple we saw that were grabbing handfuls and the parent just kind of laughed it off saying there were planning to put most of the candy into care packages to send to Afghanistan. While I commend them for that, the fact that she allowed her child to grab some times 2 or 3 handfuls bothered me.  Oh well...what are you going to do. :-(  My boys were awesome and used their manners to the point of impressing several people when they skipped crossing through someone's yard to use the sidewalk instead!  We got plenty of stunned thank yous.

I've got a couple other things to how you but I think I've rambled long enough so I will save my latest Monster High doll and barbie outfit until tomorrow! Take care!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hiya Friends

I've been busy these last couple weeks in fits and spurts.  Life has been going pretty well with some interesting 'bumps' along the way.  Our oldest son finally decided he was ready to start the enlistment process to join the Army. During the process we found out he had a heart murmur.  Which in turn the Heart Specialist says might actually be a small leak in one of his valves.  So his enlistment is on hold while we wait for him to have and Echocardiogram next month.  If you would I'd be thankful for any prayers, good thoughts, and healthy vibes you might send our way.  He is hoping to be able to become a Vet Tech for the Army. :-)  I'm very proud of him, and just know he'd be great in a Vet's office.  He just has an amazing way with animals! Of course we know there are plenty of other ways for him to become a Vet Tech, but doing it through the military is the way he really wants to go.

I have been working on a set of 5 short sleeve button down shirts for the MH guys. After almost 3 weeks they are all finally ready for my customer to choose her favorites. Once she does I will add snaps if she wants, as well as faux buttons. She asked for green plaids and I found 3, plus I added a light brown/blue plaid and a great red plaid. (which is my favorite!) I used a vintage Ken pattern that I reduced and altered to fit. For the most part I've got the pattern to where I want it as far as looks go, and it honestly doesn't take too long to sew them up...that is IF I can stay focused on sewing. 

 Staying focused seems to be a big problem for me.  I think the problem is that I really really like facebook, it's pretty much the only way I keep in touch and chat with friends.  Moving up here to NY has been, well honestly, lonely.  I've only met a few of my neighbors and while they are all really nice, there isn't really any one I hang out with, have coffee, go to lunch or go shopping with.  For the most part I don't really mind very often, but back in GA I knew there were folks around if I wanted company doing those things.  So these days FB is truly my social network, and I enjoy every minute of it, but it is SO easy to lose track of time.  A few weeks back I started treating my day more like a work schedule and turned off my laptop by 10am so I could get to 'work'.  That worked really good until things like doctors appointments and maintenance people fell into my schedule.  And I'm the kind of person who, once they fall out of a routine, find it incredibly difficult to get back into one!

I am bound and determined to get back on track this coming week. (although with Hurricane Sandy expected to make landfall not far from here, we shall see)  But barring major issues, I plan on sewing and sculpting all this week.  If I can work some photography in all the better.

At least I know that even if we lose power I can still sculpt and sew by hand as long as I have light.  I can also prep clothing to be sewn once power is restored.  Of course God-willing we won't lose power, but at least I know I have things I can do if we do.

<-- This is my favorite shirt of the 5... this shirt was actually made from fabric from a shirt that belonged to my youngest son!  I also think this one turned out looking the best too.  Thank goodness I have more of this fabric as I have several ideas for more things to make for both guys and girls.  I love how well it paired with the shirts from the Create a Monster set.

I have decided that I am going to change my focus with my Monster High clothing.  I am going to start creating pieces that are designed around each characters individual personality and style.  Yes I think this might require a bit more work, but I think it will also really open up lots of avenues, especially if I can showcase how my items mix and match with each characters stock clothing.

I have started compiling 'files' for each of the characters with ideas of where I want each line to go.  I have some really great ideas, as well as other collectors sharing their input as well.

I still plan to create custom order work for anyone who wants it, as well as some non-specific pieces also.  But I am very excited about this new idea and can't wait to finish up my custom orders and really get down to it!

Of course in the midst of all the sewing there will be food as well.  Once again I am well behind and just didn't get my monster-ish foods done in time to list for Halloween. :-(  Although that is one nice thing about Monster High, those items will be in demand year round!  So I'm not stressing over that too much.

<--- This is another favorite of mine, this material I actually found at Walmart.  I am SOOOO glad our WM's up here still carry fabric!  The ones down in GA had phased out their fabric departments several years ago.  But that wasn't such a big deal since there was a JoAnn's, a Hobby Lobby and a Hancock Fabrics all within 2 miles of each other and within 10 miles of my house.

I think I about had a craft-related stroke when we moved up here. Not only were we at least 30 minutes up or down the mountain from the nearest WM. But the only craft store was Michael's.  Now don't get me wrong I LOVE Michael's, but they don't carry more than a few (read: TINY selection) of Fat Quarters.  I have to drive 45 mins to a hour to get to JoAnn' or Hobby Lobby.  I about cried the day I discovered that. 

So it was a happy day indeed when I discovered that our WM's still have pretty respectable fabric departments!  Although I really don't need any more fabric, I often come home with a quarter yard of this or that! :-)  (Thankfully a quarter of a yard makes a good bit of Monster High sized clothes!)

This last image is from my newest addition to my studio. I bought 2 flat pack media towers for $20 each.  They are almost 3 feet tall, a foot wide and about 8 inches deep. They come with 4 shelves, although I decided to just use 3 in each.  The bottom 'shelf' of each one I have turned into a mini Diorama. That way I can enjoy having a couple dolls down at eye level.  In this one, I used a picture from a magazine, mounted onto cardstock as wall art.  The red bench came from the Dollar Tree, as did the green lamp on the left.  The bucket of flowers is made from a clear hairspray cap I painted with nail polish on the inside.  the flowers are made by me, from wire and hand painted punched paper.  The books, oh the books... Can I just say that I LOVE books everywhere.  These particular books came from Hobby Lobby.  But not in the miniature dept. as you might expect.  Nope these are part of a new line of jewelry making charms! They have 2 different sets. The Classics set which includes: Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and Romeo and Juliet.  The 2nd set is the Fairy Tale collection, which includes:  Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and Snow White. They retail for $4 a set (but are often on sale, as well as being able to use coupons on them! Don't forget if you have a smartphone they take the coupons electronically now too!)  They have really nicely designed covers and gold edged 'pages' (which I'm pretty sure is just chip board).  But these are a great way to add filler to book shelves, desks or where ever.  They do have a simple eyepin in the spine of the book, but mine came loose with a simple gentle twist.

Also in the room is a grey kitty I've had for ages that came from one of those Toobs filled with plastic animals and such.  While many of the Toobs are less than ideal for miniature work, the cats are pretty decently sized for 1/6th scale and work really well for 1/12th.  The Dog Toob is darn near perfect for 1/12th.  They also make several building/landmark sets that I'd like to pick up for knick knacks and such.

I'll try to get a few better shots tomorrow to show off the other details in this mini room as well it's neighboring room.  Thanks for hanging in there while I babbled.  To everyone in the path of Hurricane Sandy, please stay safe and try to stay dry! HUGS

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Well hello there!

Ugh has it seriously been almost a month?  Guess so!

I had a couple weeks where I just felt bleh, and didn't feel like doing much of anything.  The weather was crappy and that affects my mood.  I finally started to get back in the mood a week or so ago.  I started working on a Monster High commission.  I had been asked to do a plaid button down shirt.  I printed a pattern off-line, but it just didn't work the way I wanted it to, so I ended up purchasing a vintage Barbie and Ken pattern.  I figured since I've successfully taken Barbie patterns and scaled them down I should be able to do the same for Ken. 

 Well it a degree.  the first draft ended up just a shade too small.  So I added about a 1/4 inch to each pattern piece.  I had to alter the sleeves and collar more as the proportions were off. The second version was good, a bit snug in the chest but it worked.  So I again altered the pieces to allow a nicer fit.  And fit nice it did!

For the most part it looks good.  I snapped these pics and loaded them for my customer. Then went "Crap!" 

I managed to sew the collar on crooked.  The right side of the collar sits WAY lower than the left.  Well my customer loved it, except for one thing.

Nope not the wonky collar, she'd like short sleeves.  Oops, guess I should have double checked on that tidbit first!  So my wonky collar is no longer an issue.

So tomorrow I will start on version, um 8 million point 2, this time with short sleeves and making SURE to get the collar lined up properly!

She has even asked me to make a couple open and with a tank or t-shirt underneath!  Sweet!

Still on my To-Do list is a Parisian picnic and some Copper-style outfits. Copper is a BBC America police drama set in 1864 New York.  I have yet to actually catch the show, but I am excited about the challenge the outfits will present.  I will be working on 2 suits for a pair of Create a Monster guys.  Should be loads of fun! :-)

I also have some Barbie outfits to work on soon as well.  Hopefully I will be back soon with a few more updates!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Monster High Photoshoot

When I decided to head across the street into  the woods, it was quickly apparent which Monster High ghoul I should take with me.  Who better than a 'plant monster'!  Venus McFlytrap is billed as the daughter of 'a plant monster' and an eco-punk.  Personally I prefer to think of her as the daughter of Mother Nature herself. :-)

Now, I must be honest, I never truly intended to purchase Venus, her promo photo's didn't call to me like Rochelle Goyle and Robecca Steam did.  But when I found Robecca in a local store for a super cheap price I knew I'd be silly not to go back and grab the one Venus they had too.  I even flirted with the idea of selling her online for a bit of a profit.  But in person she intrigued me more than I figured she would and well she quickly found herself released from her box.

Our first stop was this Red Oak tree next to the playground. Venus found a nice branch quickly settled in.

I decided I wanted to kind of do a 'Senior Portrait'  type 'shoot with her.

For a doll that initially didn't intrigue me, well I must say I think she photographs really well!

We headed down the path and I caught her in this patch of sunlight.  Aside from a few stray hairs, I really like this picture.

Venus communes with a tree.

This is another of those shots that I think turned out really well.

Here is Venus perched on that fallen tree with the spiral bark I mentioned yesterday.  Normally I wouldn't have kept this shot since Venus is a bit blurred, but this was the best of the bunch and I still like it a lot!

Just relaxing in the woods

Standing tall top the look out tower.

(This shot and the others I took of her here kept me nervous as she was standing on her own atop the look out tower a good 30 feet above the ground! Thankfully the wind chose to stay still while I was shooting them!)

Glorying in the sunshine

Sometimes even a plant needs to pull up roots.

Such pretty flowers

Shall we go this way?

Hopefully no one gets offended by this or the next picture.  I found this really neat patch of moss and thought a few shots of my Nature Ghoul au naturele wouldn't be amiss.

Personally I think these are lovely  shots and I hope you do too!

Nature Ghoul au Naturele