Monday, January 31, 2011

Etsy Monday makes me Mad!

Etsy Monday started off well. I managed to get all three things listed on my page before lunchtime. I was also a little smarter when it came to pricing. I think I was a little exorbitant with some of my pricing, so I changed it some. Today everything was about 20 dollars or less. I also went back and lowered prices on two other patterns that I listed last week. Hopefully at this point something will sell. After next week I've reached my "10 items in the shop" limit and I'm going to wait until something sells before I start listing more things in there. So here's hoping something sells so I can afford new things!
Then after that when doing my online rounds I managed to get offended. I'll explain; a few days ago on a doll board I visit someone was hosting a contest. Since I liked what they were offering, I threw my name into the hat to win it. I of course did not. Then yesterday the person who posted the contest made a separate comment on the board about how all these people popped out of the woodwork to sign up to win his prize. Basically admonishing people who don't post pictures and make comments having the audacity to enter his public contest. And a few people commented under it agreeing with him. Everyone that I saw that had posted were names that I were familiar with, more of the "cool kids" clique. And it really bugged me, partially because they were calling out my own poor behavior, but because they felt it was okay to comment on it in such a public forum to only draw attention to it. Which I think is just as rude as people who just enter contests. I mean I already feel like such an outsider in that group, which is one of the reasons I don't post as often as I could, and this just made me feel more "unworthy" of sharing their wonderful doll page. Also I don't really bother to stop to take pictures because one something is done, I'm ready to move on to the next thing. It just really bothered me that someone was basically commenting on how much better they are because they are able to post on the board more than others. I guess that's how Barbie would respond, right? So forgive me for trying to win your contest, I know it won't happen again.
With all that nastiness behind me, I still wanted to do some sewing. See what I do for Barbie? I cater to her, not some online board. So I started to work on the Ken project again. This time it was time to work on the jacket. I'm still avoiding the shirt, since I'm still not sure how I want the collar to look, I'll decide that after the jacket's done. But I found out a big issue, I didn't have the pattern that I wanted. I really didn't have that many jacket patterns for Ken, most of them are suit jackets. I really wanted a windbreaker type of jacket, but like usual, no pattern. So I spent a great deal searching the internet to see if one existed in the first place. Not really sure if one does, because I did not find one. I had another one of those flashes of genius, and stopped looking. I realized that the shirt that I made the other day for Joe could work for a jacket on the vintage dolls. Trying it on for size I found out, it's bigger and fits over the red and stripped shirt, just like a jacket should. I couldn't get it to close around the neck, so I tweaked the pattern and got to work. I made it out of the same blue as the pants, except I'm making black collar, cuff, and bottom hem. I got a great deal done with it for today, but it still needs work. No picture today, but when I do get it done, I will certainly share it with you.
That's all for today.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Working Hard on Sunday

Well, let me start off with the bad news, I lost the E-bay auction, literally in the last second. I was sniped by someone, which is so frustrating. So to whoever swiped those shoes from me, I hope you choke on them. It would serve you right for having them in your mouth in the first place. But I've made peace with their loss. Honestly I might be for the best. I don't really need two pairs of Barbie mules. I've been looking over the website that sells the match to the shoe that I have, I've found some other shoes that I would like from them. It's good because it's shoes for Skipper and Ken, two people who are severely neglected footwear. So I can use the funds that I would have spent on those shoes to get someone other than Barbie some shoes. I mean, while I don't have what I want for shoes for her, there's literally has bags and bags of shoes kicking around for her. This was a chance for someone else to get some shoes around here. I just have to wait until something in my Etsy store sells, I want to spend more than I have in my account. (But isn't that always the case?)
Even with my morale low from that loss I still managed to get a bunch of things done today. Far more than usual. I started off making the pants that I printed off the pattern yesterday. I didn't realize until after I had cut them out that they were similar to the kinds that closed in the front, but they closed in the back (does that make sense?), I've never had any luck with those, so I've had to modify the pattern each time I've made them. When I did try to make them like they should, the pants looked really shoddy and weird, so I never made them that way again. But since they were already cut out, I figured I has to at least try them. I'm not sure how, but this time something in my mind clicked about how they should go together and they came out really well. They fit Joe really nicely too, although it's a little tricky figuring out where they should fit. He's got a bit of a narrow waist, with wide hips. Having the pants fit at the waist makes the hips look huge, but putting them on the hips isn't easy because he really doesn't have that good of a place to rest them. At the hips they just shift around a bunch. I ended up just adding a snap at the waist, I can figure out the fit issue at a later date. I even managed to finish these today, added a snap and everything! I also got around to color fasting them.
After I finished the pants, I still wanted to work, so I managed to finish the white collared shirt that I made the other day. First I marked where the snaps would go if Joe was going to wear it, then I tried it on a Ken doll to see how it would work. They basically worked the same, either way that short wasn't going to close at the neck with either doll. So I added snaps so it could fit Joe too. It's a really nice shirt, so I'm sure someone will wear it eventually, I just don't have a doll for it...yet. But it's done!
Next from there I moved back to the kimono project. Since I have two kimonos and only one red ribbon that I use for an obi, it was time to work on making an actual obi. So that's what I did. It's basically just tubes of fabric, and uses techniques I've done before, although I did have some kinks that I need to work on. But I have time to work on the one for the Bubblecut doll. I still have no idea what I'm going to pick for the color for that obi. I'm going to wait until I have the fabric in hand before I make that call. Still no progress on the petticoat yet. Not sure why I'm still stalling on that, it's such a simple project.
But still I didn't start to make one, I actually moved onto another project that's been bugging me for a while. Over on the vintage runoff shelf I have my two number one Kens. One of them is dressed how I like him, the other one... I've never been happy with how he was dressed. I've been putting off redressing him for like, forever, so I figured it was about time to fix that. It helps that I'm stuck in all my other projects, so I wasn't doing anything else. So like with all good project I started off with looking for inspiration. I unfortunately did not find anything that I really wanted to do, but still an idea popped into my head. When I talked it over with someone, they said it sounded more like a 70's leisure suit. Grrr, well I'll show them, so I got to work. I started off with the shirt. I used a red and white striped calico that I bought a few weeks back. I bought it for a different project that didn't turn out so hot. But I could still use it for this project! I modified the jersey knit t-shirt pattern for this, so I can now say I've made another type of clothing from that pattern. (I never mentioned this, but roughly 1/3 of the collection is wearing some type of variation of that pattern.) This is just a simple shirt, I have yet to finish it, since I'm not sure how I want to collar to be yet. Not sure how well it's going to close in the back, so I might end up tweaking the pattern and making another one. We will cross that bridge when we get there.
After I did a that quick start I changed my attention over to the pants. Looking though my stash I found some light blue linen type fabric, which I thought was just perfect. I used the vintage Ken pants pattern for them. I was able to make them close in the front since I had figured that out earlier in the day. I also did the side seams, which usually when I do them I end up with pants that are too tight. I took great care in making sure I didn't take too much in on each sides. Other than that they came out pretty easily. although there was an issue with one of the legs. I didn't get the fabric to line up properly so one side was too narrow and began to fray. So I had to sew it in deeper, making one leg skinnier. I also had to make the other leg narrower too, or else it would look too wide. I might end up making these pants again, but I still like how they look, so I may not. I even got around to finishing these. Added the snap and everything. I'm really making a dent in these new snaps, I hope they last a while.
That's all for today! (Don't you think that's enough???)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Some Sewing on a Saturday for Success

I didn't get a lot done today, my motivation was lacking from the moment I woke up. Not really sure why, but my ankle was certainly not helping. This morning I was in severe pain walking, and don't get me started on stairs. Thankfully, it eased as the day progressed, so I was able to walk better as it went on. By the evening it was just a dull ache when I was walking on it. Hopefully it will go away soon and I won't even have to deal with it again.
I did however manage to finish the juban that I made yesterday. It really doesn't take that much to finish, just snipping long threads and reinforcing seams in four places. The Bubblecut that is going to get a kimono eventually has been wearing it ever since I finished it, so I guess I like it on her. Although, she's going to have to wait to get her actual kimono. I'm having trouble deciding what fabric to make it out of. I've decided two things; that I want it to be red, and I don't have any fabric on hand that works. I've also decided that Hobby Lobby doesn't have anything that I want either. I spent a good chunk of today just shopping online at fabric stores to see what my options are, even if it's just window shopping. But I really didn't find anything I wanted, so not really at the point to buy anything is a mute point. I saw many things that I thought would make good kimonos, but nothing that I really wanted for this project, and I also didn't find anything that would work for a men's kimono either, so Joe is going to have to wait on his too.
But I'm still working on her kimono project, even though I don't have the kimono itself ready. I also avoided making another petticoat today, even if it's super easy. I'm sure it will get made eventually. Instead I worked on shoes. Not making any (I don't do that), but buying some, or at least buying one. I've decided that Charlotte's going to be stuck going shoeless with the kimono, but that's not a big deal since she's going to probably change clothing soon anyway (she's fickle like that), the Bubblecut on the other hand is going to be wearing the same outfit for a long time (until I get sick of it, and who knows when that will be), and I don't have any shoes that work for it. Which is a conundrum. I did however have a vintage mule sandal that I got a while back in a random lot of stuff. It's a sandal that I think would work well for a kimono, especially when you think about what other (lackluster) options I have. It's just that I only had one, and Barbie can't be Cinderella, always leaving her shoe at the ball. So I turned to the internet to help me locate another one. Which so far has proves fruitless. I didn't think it would be so hard to find a solo shoe that needed it's match out there, but all I managed to find were pairs. And pairs were expensive, or at least more expensive than I could afford, plus I didn't want to buy two, I need only one to make a pair. I don't need three shoes. I almost gave up on my search when I found a pair of them on E-bay, cheap. They were cork (mine is plastic), and came from the UK, but even with shipping they would be cheaper than most of what I found in the US, if I win that is (without someone bidding against me and raising the price). I'm not going to share the link just yet, but I've been watching it pretty closely all day, and I'm still the high bidder, but there's still 17 hours and 12 minutes to go. (Finger's crossed for me people) If I do manage to win, this still leaves me with a solo shoe without a match. I did however stumble upon a website that does have a solo match to my shoe! Also someone over on "In the Pink" said they might have a match as well, so if the E-bay auction falls though I still have options. I might even buy the second shoe even if I get the other pair, just to get a match to the one that I have. Having another set if vintage Barbie shoes would be stellar too, even if they're so specific as the Barbie mules are. That just means I'd just have to design an outfit for someone around it, but I definitely think that's an option. I just wonder who would get a new outfit? But I need to get one pair of shoes before I start deciding what to do with the second one. Don't count your eggs before they hatch.
I also did some work with ribbon flowers. I've decided that the Bubblecut needs some decoration for her hair, but for the life of me I can't get anything to work. I think ribbon flowers are just beyond my grasp, especially in that small scale. I mangled a bunch of ribbons just trying to make something, but have nothing to show for it. I'm thinking I may have to just buy something at Hobby Lobby for her hair. Unless I have a major mental breakthrough on ribbon flowers. Next time I'm in there I'll have to look though the jewelry section to see what they're offering. Unless someone has a suggestion, I'm always open for suggestions people.
After that I was just so bored. I wanted to sew something but I couldn't think of anything. Right now I'm stuck with all three dolls that I got for Christmas. I need supplies for each of their projects, which is an annoying place to be stuck. So I decided to look though the patterns that I had on my computer to see if I could find something that I wanted. And in good news I did! I realized something about Joe. The reason I was so dreading to adapt a pattern from a Ken one for him was because I had to tweak so much of it. If I was using a more modern pattern for a bigger modern Ken, I wouldn't have to change it so much. Duh! It's things like these that makes me want to kick myself. So today I tested that theory. I printed out a white collared shirt pattern for modern Ken and sewed it up. It went together easily, although I did mess a part up and had to look over the directions to figure out how it should have gone together. And even without any modifications it fit Joe, although I do plan to make some to make it fit better. This shirt is passable, but I still need to modify the pattern to make it fit better. But all I need to do is make the neck hole bigger, and make the sleeves longer, which at least the sleeves should be easy. I should have realized that such a long time ago, that using a more modern pattern would make the fit better. I also printed out a pants pattern to see how that fits compared to the vintage one, but I didn't sew that today. Right now I haven't bothered to finish the shirt or add any snaps, but I certainly will. The shirt's not going to be for Joe, but I'm sure someone else in the collection can use it, I mean it's a nice white shirt. I'd have to be a fool to pass that by. Line up guys, who want a new shirt?

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Painful Finish it up Friday

Friday's been a rough day today. Somehow yesterday I did some sort of sprain on my right ankle during the night. Not sure how it happened, but it was only bugging me a little bit. I mean, I was able to do a ton of walking without even remembering that it was sore. Paying the price big time for that today, I've been hobbling around today, I'm still able to walk wherever I need to go, it's just painful, and stairs are killer.

I did do some work with "Finish it up Friday", but I only managed to complete four things before I stopped. In my defense however I did throw two other things out, and pull out something that was actually finished, and just in the box for no real purpose beyond I wasn't happy with it. So technically seven things left the box today, so that's at least something.

First up I worked on these pants. They are black calico that I made recently for the Bubblecut Barbie I got at Christmas. It was one of those projects that looks good in your head and on paper, but when you actually sew, it doesn't look so hot. Also with these I added a waist strap, which threw the fit off in the back, total gap-itis going on back there. I actually couldn't even get it to close in the back, so I threw it into the box. Today I took it out reinforced the seams, and hemmed it up the back. It's actually too tight for the vintage dolls. When I went to add a snap to the back I found out that I didn't have any dolls with a slim enough waist for it. I ended up having to use a hook and eye in order to make it even close enough to fit on Momoko. And you really have to force it to close. There's also so big gap in the backside, although you can close it with a safety pin. Not sure if I'll ever use these high waisted pants on Momoko, but at least they're done. I just need to colorfast them so they don't ever stain if I ever do use them.

Next we have another pair of pants, again for the Momoko's, but this one was originally made for them. I made these out of light green broadcloth, out of the Skipper pants pattern. What I got was a very low pair of hip huggers. I went on to adapt the pattern, but was still left with a pair of pants that were low, but still usable. I think I have about three pairs of Momoko pants in this color. Today I went and reinforce the seams and added a snap. I think that's the last of those type of pants in the box, and I'm glad for that. When will I ever need three pairs of lime green pants?

After that I moved on to this neckerchief. I made it last week to test out a pattern. I didn't like how it turned out, so I scrapped it, and made another one. But this one was almost done when I tossed it into the box. Today I pulled it out and just finished the seam in the back. I tried to practice invisible seams, but I clearly need more practice.

After that was a mending job. I have all these little pillow things from my Grandmother. She used to make them, and then sew them all together to make blankets. Don't have any blankets, but certainly have enough of the little pillows. I use them for Barbie pillows. This one had a tear in the corner pocket, so I tried to mend it. It certainly looks amateurish, but it keeps the tear from getting worse.

And after that is where I petered out on finish it up Friday, but in a greater note I was able to sew something new! Nothing to extreme, just another "Juban" (under kimono). I was thinking that I already have two kimonos, I might as well make another set of underclothes so I can use both of them at the same time. I mean the actual kimono is the hard part. Also I've decided that I want to have the Christmas Bubblecut wear a kimono, so I'm going to need a second set for her anyway. So I just made it, I didn't finish it just yet, so that's why there's no picture, but it looks just like the other one in case you're interested.
A busy day made even busier by a busted ankle!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thursday was busy, busy, busy!


Typewriter Thursday kind of went like it should, but kind of not. I'll start off with the bad news, I did not reach anywhere close to my two page goal, like not even close like at all. But for the good news; I got a lot done with "Meeting room chat"! Actually just before I was getting started to write I had a breakthrough (much like a breakdown), "Princess Rosebud shouldn't be mad in that scene." For some reason I have this odd habit of turning to anger with her character. It's not right for her, never has been, and never will be, and just gets me stuck. So I started rereading her dialogue that I had written not as someone angry, but as someone sad and defeated. And it worked a lot better, or at least some of it worked better than when she was angry. So for the rest of my time working I worked on the dialogue. Right now it's set up like a play, with each line of dialogue written down with the character's name before it. When I get closer to what I want I'll start writing the actions and descriptions around it. I'm also going to have to go and edit their actual words, right now everything is just vague details of what they're going to say, just a stand in really. When I go back and re-edit it, I'll make their speech more "fairytale like". So while I didn't get my goal done I'm still really happy that I made such an impact with this section. Before today I was honestly wondering if I'd ever get that part done. This is really important because after this there's another big section of conversation coming up, that's directly linked to this one. So without this one at least written I really couldn't get the next one done, a real catch 22. Without this one done I'd have to hop ahead again, leaving me with two spots that were just holes. After today I have hope that I can actually get this section stronger. Progress people, progress!
I didn't spend all day typing like I should have. I ended up going grocery shopping around mid-day. It was a traditional trip, but there were a few special stops. I managed to hit up a few antique stores here in town. Asheboro has a really cute downtown area, which includes a few antiques stores. I haven't been in a while, so it was nice to stop in and see what's there. The first place that I went to had a basket full of Barbie clothes as well as a bunch of dolls inside it. If I remember correctly it had; Skooter, Allen, Malibu Barbie, Malibu Ken, P.J., Living Skipper, and a Ricky. All of which I had, but I could still use more. But unfortunately it was in a locked case, and I could not read any of the tags from where I was. I really hate that, if I can't look at the tags myself, make them at least visible from the case. I tried to look and see if I could read one, but I could see a tag on one of the bags of clothing. They were asking 65.00 for it! "Book Value" apparently. If they were asking that much for an outfit (that I don't remember seeing shoes for) I didn't even want to know how much they wanted for the dolls. I was hoping that with some of their "issues" they would be cheaper, (Skooter was yellowed, Malibu Barbie's face was discolored, and P.J's hair was cut) I'm sure the prices didn't reflect any of the damage. So I kept on walking. The next place was a bust too, although for some reason they had three upright pianos. Which is weird, don't you think? I also saw a lot of older foot petal sewing machines in places too. Not really sure what to think about that. Some nice ones too (of I only had the money). Next we went to a big antique mall, this one I've had some luck at before, a few notable people in the collection have come from here. (No thumbs Ken, Edmund, and Chatty Cathy.) I knew this place had Barbies (a vintage Barbie seller has a booth here.) and while they are lovely, they are most certainly out of my price range. I also saw someone having the gall to charge 40 dollars for an early 80's Barbie that was ripe with problems. I can't believe some people, mind blowing. I also checked a booth in there that sells doll related stuff. They were having a 1/2 off sale. I could have gotten a Barbie case for 12.50. If only I collected those, I would have gotten one. They were really pretty, just not what I needed. I would like to buy their Charmin' Chatty, she just needs to come down in price. They did have a Baby Chrissy with cut hair for 9 dollars, but once again not what I needed (I must be strong!). So we left there empty handed. After that we went to another second hand store, a new one. And let me tell you, not planning on going back there. Ever go someplace and get a bad vibe? This place was just that, it was oddly set up, overpriced, and creepy. My father and I had the same feeling from that place independent from each other. So we got out of there quick. After that we went to Hobby Lobby. I was in dire need of some snaps, I was down to three (the horror!), and last time I was in Walmart to get some they were out. Hobby Lobby was no better, they had one sheet of the ones I use, but it was missing one of the snaps, I am not paying for a missing snap, that's nuts. I also searched for some new fabric, I'm still having kimono fever from yesterday's success. I was looking for new material for another Barbie one, as well as one for Joe. I think he definitely needs one too. But for the life of me, I couldn't find any fabric that I liked, for either of them. Mind boggling, so I left there empty handed. I did better at Walmart. They had restocked snaps, so I was finally able to get some. I ended up getting two sheets of them, since I know I'll use them. Most of the clothing I make calls for snaps, so they will get used. It's not like fabric where I just "might" end up using it up, and most times it ends up in a drawer for later. I also did end up getting some fabric there. I looked though the fat quarter section looking for fabrics that would work for the kimonos. I didn't find anything that would work for a men's kimono (that might be a long time search thing), but I did find something that would work for a woman's kimono, maybe. I ended up almost putting it back a few times, but in the end I got it.
When I got home I actually started working on it, I guess I'm that excited to make another one. I used the same pattern as I did yesterday, and once again it came out easily. Although I did have an issue with not having enough yellow thread, I wish I had known that I was so low when I was out, I would have picked up another spool. I just had to be careful that I didn't run out mid-kimono. I used it only for places that would show. The bobbin and most of the seams are white. It came out pretty cute, I like how springy it is, because I'm certainly ready for spring to be here. Oh, this one the collar came out much better at the bottom hem, so it can be worn either way, unlike the last one. I showed it to my Mom and she said that I had a good eye for fabrics. She said that is she saw the fabric she wouldn't have assumed it would have worked as a kimono, but when it was all together it worked. I got it finished tonight when I was waiting for a show to be on, a show that I've been waiting for since last spring. Turns out we don't get that channel here. *Humph* I guess I'll have to catch it online, at least the kimono's finished. Looks cute doesn't it?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A こんにちはfrom Charlotte!

こんにちはここのシャーロット、ただあなたに私の新しい衣服を褒めちぎるために! 私が損耗が初めてに何かをしたので歓迎される変化であるので、海賊行為で永遠にそうだった。 私は、まだ今日早く服装全体が織物のたった数個の山と、いくらかの筋道〔糸/スレッド〕だったと思うことができません。 それは、本当にそれらがそれに心を決めた時誰かが何をすることができるかを示します! 最もかわいらしいものではありませんか?
Switching back to English over here. Feel free to run that bit of dialogue though an online translator, it comes out weird, with a capital weird. It's almost nothing like what I originally typed, but serves me right for using an online translator to translate it into Japanese in the first place.
The word of the day was kimono, or at least the word of the afternoon was kimono. The morning was spent organizing, not my work room, which sorely needs it, but my computer, which needed it too. I worked on organizing and managing the doll sewing patterns that I have stored away on there. I managed to rename some, delete some doubles, and get a lot of them in the right spot. So, hooray for that! It's certainly nowhere close to completed, but it's certainly a start on getting it done. Each little thing counts right? During my work I was also looking at pictures of things online. I managed to stumble across a photo of a vintage Barbie sized doll kimono, that I wanted. Like literally I was lusting after it, I covet it. But it wasn't for sale, and a Google search turned up nothing. It was vintage, so I'm sure it would have been expensive. But there's another alternative, I can make one! Or at least try to make one.
So that's what I set off to do. I have been toying around with a Barbie bathrobe pattern a few weeks back, trying to make one, and work out the kinks (which you never saw), so I'm not jumping into this completely, I've already dunked my toe into the water (and brrrr, it's cold). I started off with some research, I wasn't totally happy with the sleeves on the pattern I was working with, plus I wanted to see how close to the actual I was working with. I found a site that was a really helpful, not for just on how to make a Kimono, but also what goes on under the kimono. I've found this site before when I was trying to make underwear for Chatty Cathy, but had forgotten all about it. At that time making a kimono was a distant reality. Stumbling across it again was really a godsend. I learned a lot from this site, and it was really helpful guiding me in what I made today. Here's the link for everyone interested; Kimono Website
Using the website as a guide I started off with the petticoat. This is really simple, so simple in fact that I didn't bother using a pattern for it. I just used my fabric with the doll. It's just a rectangular piece of fabric. I used the last of my white broadcloth for this. I just hemmed up each side and attached a length of ribbon along one of the sides. I made sure that the ribbons could tie around her waist. It's kind of very similar to a sarong. Not sure if did it correctly, but I think that it looks just fine. I reinforced the seams, and put glue on the ribbon so it wont fray and boom it was done.
Next I moved on to the "Juban", or the underwear. (Learned that term from the website.) This is just another kimono. This was good because this gave me another chance to practice the pattern before I used my better material. I used my white calico for this, I would have used white broadcloth since it's thinner, but I didn't have any left, but calico works fine. This is basically just how the pattern goes together, I didn't do any modifications. I saved those for the actual kimono. I just had to do some seam reinforcing and it was done. Oh, I also used some more ribbon to tie it shut, all that needed was some glue to keep that from fraying. I just love making an outfit that doesn't require sewing snaps, like really love it.
For the kimono itself I started doing some modifications. One of them was the length. The original pattern falls about mid-calf when hemmed, I learned that real kimono's should hit the ankle. This was an easy fix, I just added about an inch to the bottom of the pattern, and solved. Other than that I wanted to change the sleeves. From my research I knew that the longer sleeves were for unmarried women, so they technically wasn't right for Charlotte... since she is married. But I wasn't one to let thousands and thousands of years of tradition stand in the way of what I thought was pretty, so I modified the pattern. I used the rement kimono I have as a guide for how the sleeves should look. It was a simple modification since the original pattern was just a rectangle. I just extended it a bit longer. Sewing this Kimono was really easy. I mean I had some issues, but for the most part it's entirely straight sewing, not a curved edge in sight. These are my third and fourth attempt at it, and they came out nice. I did have some issues with part of the collar not being as long as it should be on one side, but that just means that side is always going to be tucked under when it's worn. So, if I have it folded on the wrong side, please don't tell me, I can't change it. How do you like that fabric? I found it at Hobby Lobby a few weeks ago and just fell in love with it. I knew I had to have it, but since I couldn't think of a project for it's bold pattern I put it back. The other day I thought it would look wonderful for a kimono, so a half yard came home with me. I just love it! All it took to finish it after the initial sewing was reinforcing the seams, and cutting off the excess threads. I love not having to sew on snaps!
With all the initial sewing of the kimono and underthings complete it was time for it's first official try on. I was curious to how it would look since there were a lot of fabric in there. I was worried that it would make it look bulky. What works for a person, sometimes doesn't on Barbie. But it didn't look bulky at all, it actually looked really nice. Since it was just a try on I grabbed a ribbon that I had in the trim bag to mimic the look of an obi before I can make one. Big mistake, I really like how it looked. Like really liked it. I think that I'm once again going to buck tradition and use this for my obi, and when I get tired of it I can make a real one.
Other than that that's it. I reinforced the seams and trimmed the threads in it. It's really simple to do that with a kimono. I've been playing with it all evening. Unfortunitly I don't have any shoes that work with it. Does anyone know where to get some kimono shoes for Barbie? I have yet to find a place that had them.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Typewriter Tuesday with the usual results...

First off, I finally created a photo to share when I talk about my writing. Since "Typewriter Tuesday" now includes Thursday I didn't made one specifically for it. Instead I made one based off my book, "The Ballad of Submission". I churned it out last night, using some drawings that I had scanned into the computer that I'd adapted before. But this will give you in idea of my characters. On the left is Princess Rosebud, and the right Anton. They're both wearing their ball costumes, although his is really just a vague idea, hers on the other hand I've fully designed. Enough talking about it, here it is:I'm going to be using this whenever I write, until it's finished. When I move on to my next book, I'll have to create a new one. (Let's just see of that happens first.)

For writing today I started off where I left off last Thursday, which proved to be a big mistake. I'm right at a scene that's just full of huge points in the novel. This is where things are beginning to reach the end. The snowball at the top of the mountain so to speak. I spent an hour just modifying dialogue before I realized I wasn't getting anywhere. A section like that I just can't hammer though like other sections, this section is one that I have to really keep chipping away at. So instead of staring at the page for the next couple of hours, I jumped ahead and worked on another section, and that's where I completed my two pages for the day. It's going to be really tricky because from this point on, there's maybe two sections that are anything more than just rough notes. So it's not really editing, it's more like flat out writing. Way back when I was thinking I was close to being done on it, I split up the remaining parts into separate sections and word documents, that way it would be easier to work with compared to looking at a giant word document. Then I named each section, typically after what was going to happen in it. Today I moved from "Meeting room Chat" to "Interlude" stopping just short of "Lead Ogre Confrontation". I think that the start of each writing day I should work on "Meeting room chat" and build on it, and then work on another section, or at least that's the plan come next Thursday!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Pros and Cons of Monday...

Today started off well. I managed to get three patterns posted for sale on my etsy store. That took me all morning, but I am starting to streamline the process. These went a bit easier than the one I posted last week. No buyers yet, but it's still early. What I'm thinking about it, is I'll post ten patterns over the next few weeks, chosen at random. When they are up there I'll stop, and hopefully someone will buy one of them. When that happens I'll post three more. Hopefully someone buys one and I can finance this whole operation. I'm being cautious so I can pay for this whole ordeal, but the more money coming in the better. Ideally I'd make more of a profit and be able to start funding the doll collection though it. I already have a few dolls marked on favorite over there, so hopefully I'm not just wasting my time or money.
After that I didn't really know what to do, I did however touch up some paint on a pair of sneakers that Charlotte's wearing. They're red vintage reproduction sneakers that came with the Barbie and Ken cheerleader and football player set. They're really cute and neutral so I like them. But at the white paint on one of them has been chipping and looking bad, so today I took out my paints and touched it up. It's not perfect, but it looks better than before.
After that I managed to actually hit up some sewing. I worked on a Skipper skirt pattern that I'm trying to adapt. I would have kept working on it, but I needed to press it. Since I'm without an iron, I usually soak it in some boiling water, then lay it flat and weigh it down while it dries. This at least helps. When I was waiting for that I worked on dressing the Sindy doll. Like I said in her post I want to do an Alice in Wonderland dress for her. I had picked out some new fabric for her and even got some matching thread just for this project, so today I finally started it. Plugging away on it, I finally got to a point where I can try it on her. And I do... and instead of reading as Alice it read as a maid, hardcore. Which is so frustrating. I'm not sure what to do, although maybe I'm having trouble because I'm not feeling the *cute* vibe today. It's just an odd feeling today. I'm still on the fence if I should pick a different costume for her altogether, or just get a different color fabric. All I know is I'm done working on it today.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A little mystery to share with you all... (Final)

This is a continuation of yesterday's post, so if you didn't read that you might want to hop back a day and do so, that way you won't be confused by anything that I reference from yesterday. Now that I had looked over and removed the doll's clothing, I was finally able to look at the doll as a whole.
Since I had her at home I grabbed a Barbie to compare her proportions to. She's made of a hard plastic, with very little give, in a very peachy pink color. Standing on her flat feet she is roughly a half inch shorter than Barbie. What's weird is that even though she's only a bit shorter, many of her proportions don't match up. Her legs are a half inch shorter, they are also thicker than Barbie's. They do not bend, and on one leg her thigh is much bigger than the other. Which I think was one of the reasons why the pantaloons got to stressed when going over her thighs. At the heels of her feet she has that super thin plastic issue that cheap dolls get, the one where it's almost translucent and easily collapses at any pressure. Her legs attach to her torso at a "V", meaning that when seated her legs will be spread. I doubt that when wearing her skit she would have been able to sit, since there wasn't much volume to her skirts. Her torso is also about a half inch shorter than Barbies. Her measurements are similar to the belly button body, with the larger waist and smaller bust. Although her bust is smaller and her waist is larger. I would say this body type is closer to that of a teen doll than a woman doll. Also on her torso are the remaining makers marks on her, again they are just "Hong Kong", located between her shoulder blades. Not that helpful. The torso is made from the same plastic as the legs, so are the arms.
The arms shorter than Barbie's, but have very nice detailed fingers. Each one is molded separately and has designs mimicking fingernails as well as knuckles.
Her head is the only part of her that is actually bigger than Barbie's. This gal suffers from big head syndrome (BHS), although with her smaller and shorter proportions it isn't as jarring as when Barbie has it. Her face paint is simple, but effective, and her face mold is pleasant to look at. Her eyebrows are simple single strokes of black. Her eyes are blue and side glancing, and have four eyelashes on the top. Her lips are a pale peach that may have faded over time. Her hair is jet black, and reaches down to her bust, but it doesn't normally. It's styled with a cute little flip at the bottom. Her hair did not seem to be brushed often, and is in good condition. Could stand to use some brushing and taming.
Now, prepare to have your mind's blown. Look at the photos at the sides. Do you see the similarities between the two dolls? What you see is the comparison between Horsman's Mary Poppins doll and this one. The look really close, don't they? Just a coincidence you say? Well, you naysayer look at both of their hands.

Do you see how much the look alike? They do have some differences though. The Horsman doll is still bigger than this new doll, but their similarities are undeniable. Since they were so close in size I wondered if Horsman made the doll in other sizes. Turns out they did... just not smaller. But I did manage to find a doll that looked like mine on E-bay. Except instead of having "Hong Kong" written on her, she had "H" for Horsman written on the back of her head. My Mary Poppins has that, but the new one has the Hong Kong where the H should be.
Do you know what I think? Judging from what I see, I think I have one of those "dress your own doll" deals that they sell in craft stores. I think that's the only way to explain the huge difference in the quality of the clothes compared to the doll itself. Someone out there purchased this doll, probably only wearing a pair of underwear, and the shoes and made the dress. They put it on a shelf, and left it there until it got donated. My theory is that some company either purchased the original Horsman mold, or appropriated it and used it to make this doll. If they did steal it, it was either so low key that it's theft went unapparent, or it was after Horsman went out of business. What do you guys thing? Mystery solved?
As for this doll I'm not sure what I'm going to do with her. Yes I have a Mary Poppins doll, but I don't really like her, she was an impulse buy that I don't really care for. I do like this doll's look however, but don't really have a use for her. She might just end up kicking around here for a while before I decide to do anything with her. I will say that her clothes do fit Barbie, I just need to modify the jacket a little bit as it's too big.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A little mystery to share with you all...

So yesterday was pretty full with my projects and Charlotte's (glorious) return, but there was still something else that happened. I went shopping! Originally I opted out when asked, but my dad kept asking me if I wanted to go, so I felt he wanted me to go and keep him company, so I went. We ended up stopping at a few second hand stores, we haven't been in a while. The first one was a bust (typical), but the second one I found something interesting.
Actually I found a few interesting things, but only got one. Looking over their toy section I found a couple of 80's Barbies. I knew they were from the 80's by their bold (really bold) eye makeup. I picked them up, checking them out. They were in okay condition, with hair that could use some work, and while both of them were wearing clothes, it was nothing that I really liked or needed (not real Mattel clothes). Also I'm not really a big 80's doll person. I think they're much too new for my collection, plus I really am not a able to work in the 80's style (yet). I did try way back when for Charlotte to make something from the 80's style, but a managed to end up in the 40's, so that didn't really work out. But then I found something that made me put them both back and forget all about them.
What I found was a doll that looked oddly familiar. There was something about her that I recognized, but nothing that I could really place. I have lots of experience with Barbie and her friends/family, but other than them I really don't have that much experience with other dolls (Although I do have some). I can place a lot of them from my general knowledge, but lots of times I have to rely on maker's marks, or wing it based on what I know from their general look. I did check for marks on this one, but all I found was "Hong Kong" written on the back of her head. Other than that I couldn't really see anything, as I wasn't willing to undress her in the store and check for any marks on her body or tags on her clothes. Speaking of her clothes, they were fantastic. This 1910's? era dress, in a pale peach color was beautiful. Much more detailed that what I usually make. I could see that she even had under garments, and still had both of her shoes. While she wasn't the exact size and shape of Barbie, it looked like her clothing would certainly fit Barbie. (When you deal with Barbie so often you do get good at being able to eye things in relation to her.) I could easily see that the shoes wouldn't fit Barbie's feet, but maybe they would fit someone with larger feet (Which would be very, very, very nice). So she came home with me.
At home I was able to look her over a bit more in depth. I was able to take off her clothing and check them out in detail. It turns out she was wearing four individual pieces of clothing. Her outfit consists of a pair of bloomers, an underskirt, a skirt, and the jacket. Originally, I thought her jacket and skirt were attached. Each item is so incredibly detailed that I need to discuss each of them in their own section to convey how meticulously they were created. (I'm going to split this post up into two days, so be prepared for the next part tomorrow. That one will deal with her clothing, next one will be about the actual doll.) So let's get to it!
The jacket; The first part of the outfit, and the last one to go on when dressing the doll. It's made out of some peach colored satin? (I don't know fabrics, please don't yell at me!), and closes in the front with four snaps. Inside it's fully lined, just not at the sleeves. They're just turned in, and suffer from some fraying. The craftsmanship on it amazing. It also has an attached partial over skirt, that has a lace trim. Over on each side on the over skirt there's a single white bow. On the jacket there's row of french knots (if my embroidery term is correct) for decoration, mimicking buttons. Please look at the pictures because my descriptions don't do these clothes justice.
The skirt; The second part of the outfit, made from the same peach satin as the jacket. It also closes with a snap, but it's just a single one in the back. It's construction is rather interesting, and just as detailed as the jacket. It's practically two skirts. Do you see the pleated skirt? You can only see about two inches, but it actually goes up for much longer. It's actually twice as long under the skirt that's over it. The pleats are attached to a different piece of satin, with the overlay skirt attached to if over it at the waistband. If the overlay skirt wasn't there, it would still be a complete skirt, which is impressive. There's some interesting details on the overlaid skirt, such as the lace from the jacket is repeated on it. Also on each side of the skirt there's three layers of gathered sewing, and when the jacket is worn over it, it gives the illusion that the bows on the jacket are attached to it and holding it up. An interesting detail about the pleated skirt, on the underside of the main hem if you flip it up, there's a band of lace sewn under. It's a different type of lace compared to the one on the visible part of the overlay skirt and jacket. From what I see, it's used to make a hidden hem on the skirt as well as to add some strength to the satin. This keeps the pleats sharp, since satin's such a light fabric.
The underskirt; The underskirt it made from simple white linen and uses more lace, although the lace is different from both that were used in the jacket and skirt. It also closes in the back with a single snap. The front of the underskirt is a bit plain. It's just the white linen with a single line of lace at the bottom for decoration, the back is where it gets crazy with details. On the back are seven rows of gathered linen, each with an under row of lace giving the appearance of a bustle. Sometimes the ruffle of linen covers the lace, but under each row it's there. It does suffer from a little gaping in the back, but since there's also a pair of bloomers under it, that's not a big issue.
The bloomers; the last garment that she was wearing. These are made from the same material as the underskirt. They also close with a single snap in the back. These are simple at the waist, and look very similar to the Barbie pants I can make. But at the feet there's quite a bit of decoration, at the bottom they are hemmed with lace, which once again is different from the rest of the lace in the outfit. So far the only matching lace has been the pieces visible on both the jacket and over skirt, all the rest have been different. Above the lace at the bloomers are two rows of pin tucks (is that what they're called?). Interesting note, with these pants they are very hard to take off and put on the doll. Whenever you do the seam in the front gets very stretched when trying to get them over her thighs. Almost to the point of breaking. I doubt this doll was redressed very often, if ever after they went on originally. Just from the few times I had to change them it looked like they might tear, so it wouldn't last many redressing.
Her shoes are very simple off-white pumps. I'm kind of guessing that they were at one time white, and over time yellowed. They are not the best quality with one spot on top actually missing, like it didn't get molded when it was made. They have a hole in both of the heels as if to attach to some sort of peg stand, but she was found without one. They are actually bigger than her feet. They do however fit Sindy. I am thinking about painting them black, but I may not bother.
And that's all she was wearing, a very complex outfit that did not have any tags what so ever. Still have no real clues to figure out who she is. If there's anyone out there who can tell me anything about her I'd love to hear it. Stay tuned for the post about the doll in question, and maybe someone will recognize her.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hey, new to the scene, make way for the Queen...

Today started off like Friday should, with some finishing up. I looked though the unfinished box and pulled out about a dozen or so projects that I felt I could manage to work on today, even though I knew that I would stop when I got five done. By then my enthusiasm for this project hits zero and it's bye bye Finish it up Friday.

I started off with this cute sundress that came with the Bubblecut from Christmas. It was a really cute print, but it suffered from some fit issues. I ended up moving one of the snaps in the back, so it was a bit tighter around the waist. I also changed the position of the straps. Originally they were centered over the bust darts and looked really off. They came in at the front, imagine if you will them making a "V" with both straps meeting at the belly button. That's how it looked. Also the straps were a little big, they just hovered over Barbie's shoulders. So today I ripped out the seams in the front and attached them further apart and much lower. I didn't cut off any of the excess in case I want to change the strap positions again, I hate doing something permanent like that when I didn't create it. Oh! I also reinforced the bust darts, they were looking like they might go. I really do like this dress and it's going into the main collection. I think the pink check is really cute!

After that I did a quick fix on another part of the wardrobe that came with the Bubblecut. This one was with the mint green knitted dress. In the back one of the snaps was barely hanging on. Today I just fixed it so it won't fall off. That's all I really needed to do. I also washed it since it has some staining in some places. It didn't come out, but honestly I doubt it's staining as compared to some spots that lightened. I'm kind of toying with the idea of dyeing it, but is it really worth the trouble? When would I ever really use a knitted dress, it seems a little impractical. It might just end up in the random stuff I doubt I'll use box (which is getting pretty full).



Next I moved onto something different, something that I've had for a while. It's a revealing bikini top, that came with some dollar store doll (I think). While I like it, it stays on with ties. I hate tying things in doll size, it's the worst. Especially when it's thin ribbon like this is. Anyway, I had managed a knot in the back of it that had gotten stuck. Today I managed to get the knot undone, and then I glued all the edges of the ribbon to keep the fraying from getting any worse. Pretty simple fix, but one that I never got around to until today. It's not shown on a doll because it's the worst to get on. I'm not doing all that work to just show how it looks.

With those three done, I took a break. Mainly because it was lunchtime by then, and I was hungry. After lunch was over I went out to check the mail. There was a package for me, containing something I've been missing, and that sealed the deal about Finish it up Friday.

I managed to get into the front door before I began to tear into the package. Partially because I was carrying a bunch of other mail, partially because it was sealed with tape, and partially because I was super nervous. Inside that box held Charlotte, with new face paint that I've never seen before. Would I still love my little poppet? Or would our love affair be over? Only time would tell. Inside, I opened the box quickly but still hesitantly. I could see that he had wrapped Charlotte like I had when I sent her. The white stabilizer that I had used to wrap her was covering her, and he had used the same red ribbon, tied at her waist, to hold it all together. Even through the stabilizer I could see that she now had face paint on. Nervously I untied the ribbon and pulled back the stabilizer. And was stunned. It's hard to explain, she looks so different, beautiful but different. It's amazing the level of detail that he managed to get on such a small canvas. I mean I've seen his work before, but seeing it in person you really can appreciate the details that he's managed to add to it.
Seeing Charlotte with face paint is so different, for so long she didn't have any. It certainly takes some time to get used to. While I do like it, my only issue is that I wish her eyes were a little bit bigger. How her eyes are now they're a little more mature than I was expecting. She might not be able to pull off cute as easily now! But that's something I can learn to live with. I am really impressed with it. She looks fantastic, and whenever I look at her I just can't help but notice how striking she is. Honestly if it wasn't for her hair, and some other similarities from the old Charlotte I wouldn't believe it's the same doll. I'm not sure if I'm ready for this sexier and more confident Charlotte!
She needs a real photo shoot soon.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I need to make some sort of cool photo for when I'm writing...

So I did manage to sit down today and write today. Go me! In a shocking burst of creativity I managed to write and edit four and a half pages before I panned out. I really think this Tuesday/Thursday schedule might stick around for a bit. I'm a bit proud of how much I managed to get done, it's the most I've been able to do in one day in a long time. Although I will say that there was a downside to all this. I'm incredibly emotionally attached to this story, it's a pretty big allegory, and right now I'm at a point where I have to delve into Princess Rosebud's head, and I don't know if I want to do that. I've gotten this far before and turned around and began editing. So I really think that from now on it's going to be really emotionally draining when I'm working on it. After I was finished I was in a really bothered mood for a while, and I think it's because of the story. Either that or I'm missing Charlotte something fierce. Did you know that today was the first day that she could have come back? She didn't yet, but it's still early. Hopefully she comes home tomorrow, I don't want to have to keep waiting for her. On some good news, the head reached the buyer today, no idea about Joanne receiving her gift yet, but hers had farther to go.
Whew, mentally drained today.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Christmas Haul, Day of the Last!

Okay, enough of the stalling, it's time to finish this series of posts, especially since there's just one more to go, and it's done, for good (or at least until next Christmas). Even though I do have other stuff to share with you, that's going to have to wait, because I'm getting this one done. I am tired of starting something and never seeing it through on the blog, you all must thing there's just piles of unfinished projects just kicking around here... and you'd be right, but this is not going to be one of them, starting now!
For my final big present from Christmas you have to hop back to Sindy and Ken, there's a connection, even though I didn't get the Bubblecut from the same person as I did them. Originally I was going to spend all my Christmas funds with the same person. It's how you get the best bang for your shipping buck. They had a couple of nude Suzie dolls for thirty each. I have an odd relationship with Suzie. I don't really like her, but I still want one. I think I like the idea of her, but not her face. It looks kind of *cheap* to me. (No offense to people who like her!) But in my sick desire to have a diversified collection I want one. So I was looking though the couple he had, trying to make up my mind which one I wanted (they were the same price) when I realized something, if it's taken me this long to decide on either one of them... I don't really want either of them. (A very big breakthrough on my part.) What's the point wasting my money to save on shipping? So I decided to put getting a Suzie off for another day (if that day ever comes), and tried to figure out what to do with the thirty bucks I now had free. So I was off to etsy.com to see if there were any bargains to be had, I'd really like to fill out more of my Malibu collection. I'm still missing most of the beyond Barbie and Ken; P.J. Francie, Christie, and Skipper are all MIA. Unfortunately there was nothing decent for my price range, some people want a lot for them (and I can't swing that, not now not ever, come on it's Malibu, not a ponytail!). I also browsed the show and sell page, that's where I struck gold. Nothing about the Malibu gang, but that's fine, they can wait (They've been waiting ever since 1976). That's where I found a vintage bubblecut for 18 dollars. Now that would have been fine but she also came with a bunch of mommy made clothing as well as a bunch of junk shoes. Icing on the cake (Yum!). You should know I have a love/hate relationship with mommy made clothes. A lot of them don't really fit that well and aren't made that well, but they do offer such a variety of fabrics and options. It's really panning for gold with them. You didn't have think twice that I e-mailed the woman asking to buy the lot, I wanted it, especially for such a great price. Luckily she was still available, and for 22 dollars (that's with shipping) she was all mine. (Score!)
Now for that price she did come with some issues (They always do). She has a yellow face, as well some missing face paint, and some faint marks on her back where her owner wrote their name (which I think is totally cool). But for that price I've over looked worse, it's really not that bad. She arrived super fast, but then I had to wait until Christmas, which was killer. When she arrived my Mom dressed her in a sundress that I had given her. (White with red dots that Sindy is currently wearing) These are where all those little shoes that I had to unwrap came from that I mentioned in earlier posts. Thanks Mom. Most of the shoes are pretty cheap and won't work for the collection, but I am keeping the black (mismatched) pair for her. The rest of the pairs went into the "pairs, but never planning on even using" bag. Most of the clothes are probably going to be stored out of the main collection, but with some minor tweaks some might stay. Look forward to those on a certain Friday you all enjoy. After she got here it was time for her bath and face wash with rubbing alcohol. For some odd reason her face paint started to come off with the alcohol! I've never had that happen before. Luckily it wasn't that extreme, she just lost a bit of eyebrow. I'll have to be more careful from now on.
I also examined what was written on her back. It's really super faint, but I was able to make out what it says. I thought it was someones name, using their first, middle, and last. It turns out it says "Linda + Lisa", so I assume this doll was shared by a pair of sisters. For the last name I think it says "Mineo", but I could be wrong because it's the hardest thing to make out. I know it's a legitimate last name, the correct one, maybe not. All I know is if you're Lisa or Linda I've got your brunette Bubblecut and I'm going to love her and give her a good home for the rest of my days. I'm still trying to think of how to dress her, that's still a mystery. After I do, I'll take pictures of her for here, all I have so far are the photos are from the ad I first saw. I do know where she's going to go in the collection however. As I said before that's been planned before they got here. She's over on the vintage runoff shelf, bottom shelf between Edmund and Allen. I do hope they get along!
Any suggestions on how to dress her anyone? And now Christmas is over!