Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Movies with Aubrey

I got to do something exciting today, go to the movies. I saw "The Muppet Movie"! I've been a Muppet fan all my life, ever since Muppet Babies back when I was five (and younger). So, you know I was psyched to see it. And let me tell you, I simply loved about half of it.
Let me explain, it was the Muppet part I loved. I was a little worried how they would come off in the movie but they were great, true to character, heartwarming, and sounded really good (although Miss Piggy and Fozzie were off sounding from time to time).
You could really split the movie up into two parts, the Muppet part and the Jason Segal and Amy Adams (plus one Muppet) story. And let me tell you, we didn't need Jason or Amy. (and I love Amy Adams, so it pains me to say that.) You really could have removed their entire storyline, shifted a couple key points to other characters and had a much tighter movie. I will say that Amy Adams, while unnecessary looked AMAZING (love her hair!), and she also acted on par with the Muppets. When working with a co-star made of felt and ping pong balls, you really need to bring your A game. You need to be both cartoonish but believable. Not shocked that Ms. Adams can do that since she was amazing in Enchanted (or is that... enchanting in Enchanted?). Jason Segel on the other hand... I was not impressed. His acting was a little flat. He was a little too... average for the part. I've never really gotten his appeal, he's a bit too average Joe in everything I've seen him in. I didn't see any spark from him. I didn't really start to enjoy the movie until the Muppets showed up and his screen time was limited. Every time he got more focus my attention was spent wondering when he'd be done and we could get back to the Muppets. Did you know he also wrote it? I find that sometimes when people write something they then act in, their acting isn't on par with the rest of the cast (I felt the same was about Tina Fey in "Mean Girls"). Perhaps they are so intimate and familiar with the dialog they feel that they become more natural with their acting choices, but nobody else does that so it comes across a bit flat compared to the other actors. I don't know, maybe Jason Segal's just a bad actor.
On terms with the writing, I had a few issues with that too. While I thought a lot of it was very well done (the Muppets), I felt a couple of the repeated jokes were really never that funny, so it was so annoying to hear them repeated. Also there were several jokes in the beginning basically pointing out how it was a movie. I understand the Muppets have a tradition of breaking the fourth wall, but I'd dial them back a bit. I don't need to be keep reminded that I'm watching a movie, that's just distracting. And my biggest issue with the writing was the ending. The ending was totally wrapped up in the last minute (Spoiler alert- It happens during the credits). It was so fast, and so stupid to solve the problem how they did it. I hate lazy writing like that. It wasn't funny, cute, or original. I found it annoying, cheap, and took away some of the enjoyment of the movie.
And one more complaint (I promise, I really did like lots of the movie), I really wish that there were less celebrity cameos. For some reason there was another D or C list celebrity every five minutes or so. I wish that if they needed to add celebrities they would get bigger names, or pick people who had already done something with the Muppets. It also took me out of the moment seeing all these familiar (and not really liked faces). Come on, the Muppets should be the stars! And not to be too snarky... how many of those people in the cameos are going to be still famous down the road... Hmmm?
But I do plan on getting the DVD, I just think I'll have to fast forward though several spots to make the movie better to me. But really, if you like the Muppets, you'll enjoy this movie. Just focus on the Muppets and it'll be all good. I just wish they'd remembered the Muppets are (and should be) the stars of the movie. I paid to see them, not Humans.

Off to Etsy with her (maybe)!

I got around to taking pictures this morning of the doll dress I made last night. I had to troll through the collection to find a doll that I wanted to use as my model. I had a hard time finding a Barbie in decent shape. A lot of them have flaws, and I didn't want the people looking at the pictures to notice the doll's issues and ignore the dress. The dress should be the center of the picture. I ended up picking the bubblecut I bought a few months back from Canada. So I posted the following ad and pictures on "In the Pink",
"Made from a delightfully whimsical candy cane print, it's the perfect holiday dress for the office party, decorating the house for the holidays, and generally spreading some Christmas cheer!
Closing in the back with snaps, and finished by hand it's a wonderful dress to add to your collection. It's designed to fit the vintage body, but could easily fit the Silkstones as well.
Also included is the red ribbon tie. A delightful accent that is completely removable if you decide you wish to use the dress without it. The ribbon has been treated at the ends so it shouldn't fray.
The price of this dress is 15 dollars, plus shipping (Doll, shoes, and props not included). If you're quick enough to purchase it could even get into the mail today!
If interested, please contact me at Aubreysilver@aol.com. Don't delay it's extremely limited!"
And I waited...and waited... and waited. To no luck. It's been several hours and still no interest. I don't know why I bother. I guess people don't like my work, or at least like it enough to pay for it. Either way that dress is got a date with Etsy tomorrow if I don't hear from anybody by tomorrow. Maybe someone will want her on there.
I also did something fun today, but I'm going to share that in a separate post. Look for it!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Somewhat back into the swing of things

I got back to do some writing today. I've been putting it off for a while, and I really need to quit doing that. I always feel bad when I skip writing, but after such a long break it's always so daunting to jump back in. I decided that it was time to go back to the beginning and do some more editing. This helped last time I was stuck. But when I started working with the book, I felt like everything I was doing wasn't working out. Like I had lost my voice. This has happened before, and may be part of the problem with why I was so hesitant to work on it. So I closed out the document, not saving anything I had written. Instead I worked on a poem that I had started a while back. It's basically my usual type, decadently worded and a bit messed up. It was fun to write. It still needs some work, but at least I was writing something. I'm thinking that I may be done with the "Ballad of Submission" for a while. Maybe I should start another project to help me regain what I lost during my long break.
That was my morning. In the afternoon I was checking out some doll groups online, and a saw a post from someone selling some holiday doll dresses they had made. They were not my cup of tea, I thought that the fit could be better, and the fabrics were too large for the scale, and for the very simple pieces they wanted almost forty dollars! (No inset sleeves or anything). I figured that I could try making something and try selling it. I guess that I've gotten over the sting of not selling those Skipper skirts. (Still available on Etsy, btw) I made a simple Christmas dress using the Candy Cane patterned fabric and the modified bodice top. The top went together well, it was the skirt that I had troubles. I had to cut it out twice since my original one was too short. My second one, while the correct length ended getting attached to the bodice a little high. I tried to avoid my issue of adding skirts too low, so instead I added it too high. It still looks okay, it's just a personal taste issue, but I knocked off five dollars from my original price because of it. I got it finished tonight, and it's got it's date with the camera tomorrow followed by posting it on "In the Pink".
I'm nervous and excited!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Progress on a Monday!

Started off with some sewing today, well actually more like un-sewing. A while back I worked on making Vanessa her Christmas dress. Honestly I can't remember if I started it before or shortly after I came back from Connecticut for my sister's wedding. Either way it's a couple weeks old. I made it, and while I liked the general look of it, there were several major fit issues that I needed to fix. Since I didn't want to deal with that then, I set it aside and worked on other projects. Sometimes it's easier to call it a day on one thing and come back to it later. I knew that I wanted to come back to it, I just kept dragging my feet on it. Since Vanessa is the only doll on the shelf I have both the idea and materials for her dress, I figured I should come back to it and at least try to fix it. And if I couldn't fix it I could try something else, and that way she'd stop being stuck nude on my desk waiting for me to "get around" to her. She's not that patient of a muse. Not like Charlotte at all.
I started off with removing the skirt. I think that's where my problem really started. It wasn't closing in the back decently, so originally I added a back panel to lengthen it. Which looked terrible, and didn't do enough to fix it. It just added volume to the skirt (which I did like) and made the back look weird. So I took off the skirt, and removed the back panels. I ended up changing the back of the bodice to help it close in the back better. I was using my usual bodice pattern, and I have a nasty habit of leaving the bodice too long, so it doesn't close over backsides correctly. So I fixed it, so it did. I also took apart the pieces of the skirt, and added the back panels to the sides. This time making them triangle shaped gores instead of oddly tacked on pieces in the back. It took a lot or work and lots of thread pulling, but I think the dress is now in better shape. I still have a lot of little tweaks to finish, so no pictures yet. I'm glad I came back to it and worked on it. I just wish I didn't rub my fingers raw pulling threads. That hurts!
I also quickly worked on a dress for Skipper. But it ended up being too big for her. It fits Momoko, but she doesn't need a dress like that. So I may finish it eventually, but right now I don't care enough to. At least I decided that I didn't like the look for Skipper. So I guess it's back to the drawing board for her.
But at least I made progress with Vanessa's dress!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

First day after Black Friday I dare go out...........

Got a chance to go out shopping today. Unusually on a Sunday, but we needed some things for the upcoming week, and my Dad was working tomorrow night, so it was either get it Sunday, or wait until Wednesday. I tagged along even though I don't have anything I really need. Checked out the Goodwill, the only second hand store open, and didn't see anything I wanted. They had a pink Barbie horse there that I left. I've been thinking about getting a Barbie horse when I found one, but I don't need a pink one. A regular color one would be just fine. I also ended up at Walmart. I know, I know, I said I wasn't going to shop there anymore, but I still have that darn gift card. I certainly going to spend the money that's on it after all the work that went into getting it. I was hoping that since it was the start of the Christmas shopping season (officially) they might have gotten some new Ken fashions in stock... but no luck. They had a lot of the newest Fashionista dolls, but no Ken clothes. I did manage to pick up a sheet of snaps there. My last sheet's been running low, and last time I tried to get some, they were sold out. Hopefully these last me for a while. (I doubt it.) We only purchased about six things at Walmart, most of those were one time purchases. We've made some decent strides on weaning ourselves off Walmart. I'd say that after the gift card is done we'll have stopped shopping there. So I can make good on my threats. I also hit up the dollar store while I was out. I'm in need of a small nutcracker. I've been looking for one for a bit, but haven't found the right one. All the ones I've seen have been too tall. They had some that were... Skipper sized. Not the size I want, but it's good to know they have something. If I can't find what I'm looking for elsewhere I can buy one there and make do, since it'll only set me back a dollar. I didn't bother getting one there today since they had a lot and don't expect them to run out any time soon.
At home I was still basking in the high that came with making Midge's dress. Since I really I liked this pattern, I decided that I wanted to make it again. Just this time I wanted to make it in fabrics that were a bit more year round appropriate. I looked through my fabric stash, and couldn't find anything that I liked. Then I remembered something that I brought from Connecticut. While I was up there in my Grandparent's attic I found a bag of linens and things that had belonged to my Great-Grandmother (My Grandmother's mother). I let my Grandmother sort through it. She kept several of the things, but lots of them she didn't want because they were torn, she didn't have a use for them, or just didn't want them period. After she was done I asked if I could take some of the throw away stuff. I figured I could use some of it. One of the things was a house coat. It had several tears and rips in the fabric, and couldn't be saved, but it was a really cute flowered fabric. I figured that I could use it for one of my projects. That was today.
I believe it's some sort of cotton fabric... but don't quote me on that. It's very thin, and somewhat slick. It also wrinkles very easily, but that might be from the fact that it was balled up in an attic since 1984. I ended up trying to use the iron again in order to make the fabric somewhat usable. Turns out if you angle the cord just right the iron will work. So I can eek out a few more uses from it before I get a new one.
After I ironed it I cut it out using the pattern pieces. Annoyingly since it's so slick the fabric shifted while I was cutting it and I ended up with a warped piece. I tried making it, but the fit was terrible, so I threw that out, and started again, making sure that the fabric didn't move at all when I was cutting it out. This one came out much better. I was able to get the entire thing sewed on the machine before my next issue. It's actually a bit too big. I guess I was a little to cautious when I was sewing the seam allowances and made them too small. So I had some extra fabric in the back to deal with. Quite honestly, at that point I was ready for a break, so I stopped for the day. I'll get back to it eventually.

I promise.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

One day past Thanksgiving...

First off, some bad news. My mother talked with my sister about Christmas. Apparently my sister and her husband (that's weird to type) are going to Texas for Christmas. My Mom is not happy about that. Partially because she doesn't get to see my sister for Christmas and partially because she's upset that my sister didn't tell us that even though she must have known about it before hand. She's taking it as a personal slight, even though I'm sure my sister would rather be here with us, than in Texas with his family. She might not always like us, but I'm sure she likes us more than his family. My mom also wondered if we're going to rotate visitations for Christmas, and expressed that it wouldn't be fair if they split it up with one year in Texas (with his father), one year in Rhode Island (with his mother), and one year with us (His parents are divorced, mine are not). I just said that my parents should have a trial separation lasting December 24th until the 26th. That way each of my parents get a Christmas like his do. Is it their fault that they both live in the same state, and their trial separation is going so amicably that they invite the other one to stay at the house during the Holidays? Not at all. I just hope it doesn't come to that. I just feel bad for my Mom, she's taking this a bit more personal than I would expect. I asked if we could still do Christmas with just the four of us at the real Christmas time. I'm tired of my life being scheduled around other people, especially when I'm planning on being the one who does most of the work. I have no problem doing the entire meal on my own and calling it Christmas. Heck, you don't even have to be there, just let me have my presents. I'm even willing to do another big meal early next year when my sister can make it. Not that big of a deal to me. We'll see how that goes closer to the Holiday. Well, I hope.
With that unpleasant announcement behind us, today I started with some cleaning. My desk has been looking like a disaster zone. Lately I'd put something down, then look for it seconds later and can't find it. I worked hard at chopping away some of the random stuff that piled up there. I'd say it's now fifty percent clean. Which is the cleanest that it's been in months, sadly. I even managed to label and put away the Domo patterns I drafted. I never plan on making them clothes again, but I'd hate to throw them away, just in case I did for some reason. Murphey's Law people, if I get rid of them I'll need to use them again, by keeping them that means I doubt I'll use them again. So I'm keeping them. They get stuck in Chatty Cathy's pattern folder. She's more likely to get something new than they are, but keeping them in that folder means I won't see them for a while. She rarely gets clothes. She's not the clothes horse Barbie is.
I also worked on finishing Midge's dress. I really wanted to get it done so I can start working on someone else on the shelf. I know it's not yet December, but I'm feeling the pressure already. Which is funny since I'm the only one making this deadline, and the sooner I get it done, the sooner I'll be complaining about how I have nothing to do. I'm a funny bird like that. All it needed was the usual finishing it up. It closes in the back with one single snap, and ties at the top with some ribbon. I thought about adding the hanging down sash like the original, but decided against it. This dress looks plenty cute without it. It kind of reminds me of a dress that Natalie Woods wears as Maria in "West Side Story". I changed Midge's hair, gave her an underskirt (a loaner), and changed her shoes and she was finished. Really, an adorable Christmas look. I just hope everyone else looks as cute as she does when I'm finished! (Also check out Blaine in his tuxedo. Looking good man!)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving to Me (and my family)

Like I said yesterday, today was our Thanksgiving. I was downstairs at ten this morning preparing the turkey before putting it into the oven. I could count the number of times I've made a turkey on one hand, so I did some research beforehand about making a moist turkey. I was trying out some of the techniques that I had learned online this morning. (It's showtime!) One of them was putting some butter on the breast between the skin and the meat. You have to ease the skin and breast apart by hand and really get your hand up and in there. Doing that was both cool and creepy. It spread easily, but the turkey's skin really clung to your hand. It was like wearing a glove made from turkey skin. Rather eerie, luckily I only have to do something like this twice a year.
After the turkey was in the oven and cooking, I had some free time on my hands. I also had some turkey juice, so after a extreme hand wash, I sat down to work on some sewing. You might remember yesterday when I worked out a draft of the vintage Barbie "Let's Dance" pattern. I had an idea of using that pattern on a vintage doll in the collection, as well as one of the dolls on Charlotte's shelf for Chrismas. Specifically Re-rooted Midge. I've been having trouble with her because she's built like Barbie, but I've always thought her personality was a bit more youthful. Barbie's a bit more bold with her looks than Midge is. So I was having trouble with making a dress that was both attractive, yet Midge appropriate. This would be a perfect solution for that. It's a pretty fitted dress, that doesn't draw your focus straight to her chest. (Boom, Merry Christmas). I was going to use some candy cane fabric that I had gotten in a lot of fabric a while ago. I could finally use it, and I was going to be sure that I did, I wasn't going to hold onto it until next Christmas. For the contrasting bodice sash I was going to use some of that red velvet I got last year. (I've been using a lot of that lately, but more about that later.) I got a decent start on the bodice done before I had to stop for making the rest of dinner.
We got to sit down to eat at two (like we planned). We had a table set with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, rolls, and cranberry sauce. I had personally made or helped make everything on the table except for the stuffing. I also made another batch of cheesecake mousse for after dinner, but that wasn't out yet. And let me tell you, it was a lot of work, but it was all very good. The turkey ended up pretty moist, but I learned a couple things later today that I want to try for Christmas' Bird. Life's always a learning experience like that.
After Thanksgiving was all done and the leftovers stored in the fridge, I was able to get back to the dress. I managed to get all of the machine sewing done before I called it quits. Like usual you don't get to see the final look yet, but when I finish it you will. I will tease you by telling you that it's really cute.
Like really cute.


Cute.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Just don't wish the same to me just yet. I'm abstaining from celebrating this year... until tomorrow. The reason is purely logical. My dad's work schedule had him working last night and tonight, so we decided to hold off our Thanksgiving celebrations for another day so he could actually enjoy the meal compared to being tired and having to deal with working that night. It's not that big of a deal pushing it back one day, it's just the four of us this year, and it's not like the rest of us have anything to do on Friday. The past couple of years we've been doing a lot of Holiday rescheduling. At this point it's become it's own tradition. Last year we didn't even have Christmas until several weeks after the actual Christmas day. Hopefully we don't have to do that again, I like my presents on time.
So today was a normal day for us, although with a lot more interesting TV on, but I will say I turned off the parade after a few minutes. It just felt rather boring, I guess I need more excitement in my parades, or maybe just something a little faster. Today I was able to catch up on my blog posts. I've been a few days behind so it was nice to get caught up. I always feel so uneasy when I'm behind and I both obsess and avoid working on it, so it's better to just get it all squared away.
Other than that I just putzed around. Not a whole lot on the sewing agenda at the moment. Everything is still in the planning phase, or worse. I'm still more than a little stuck on the dolls that I've gotten recently (and some not so recently). I did manage to go through and fix the dolls on the bookshelf though. Several of them had fallen over, or were learning against someone so I went and straightened everyone. Some of them will fall over again, ideally I need more stands to keep everyone upright, but that's not going to happen anytime soon. But at least it looks good for now. I was also able to clear off all the excess stuff that collected on the bookcase. I have a nasty habit of putting things down anywhere there's a flat surface, even on the bookcase. Several of the undressed dolls have been hanging out there too. I tried boxing them up, but that lasted less than a day. Instead they were scattered over the bookcase. Today I compiled them into one spot, Charlotte's Shelf. There's six dolls sitting in front, waiting for me to get to them. One of them is Joe, and he's just in-between clothes. I'll get to them... eventually. Or get tired of seeing them on the shelf and stick them back into the box.
But I did do some sewing today too! I've been looking at a Barbie pattern online, but couldn't afford it. I knew the basic shapes of the pattern pieces, so I thought I'd give it a go in making my own version of the pattern. It's the pattern to vintage Barbie's "Let's Dance" outfit. The shapes were pretty decent from the first go, but the sizing was off. It fit Charlotte, barely, but was going to be a no go on vintage dolls. I ended up resizing it 115 percent. I also added some length to the bottom. I managed to make a passable muslin before retiring to bed. Maybe tomorrow I'll get to start something from it!
We'll see...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Can anybody really sleep the night before Thanksgiving???

Sorry for the corny title. Today was another one of those quiet days. I'm still plugging away with working on the dressing everyone's on Charlotte's shelf project, and I'm quite stuck. I have several ideas for several of the people, but with others... total brick wall. There's just so many personalities to think about. As well as body types. I'm also having trouble getting inspired to make anything. I'll find a picture that I like, but the more I think about it the less I like, so there's no need to make a project that I don't even care for at the start of it. Those rarely work out... ever. I'm sure I'll find something eventually, but each day it's closer to the Christmas deadline (funny is, it's not even Thanksgiving yet).

I did do some baking today. Is it called baking when you don't actually bake anything? I did some hardcore mixing today? I found this recipe the other day for Cheesecake Mousse, and really wanted to make it. It's just that some of the ingredients proved to be a little more elusive. Mainly the cool whip, but I think that's because of the upcoming Holiday. My dad went to several stores just to find it. He's a champ like that. So I was able to make it today, and let me tell you, it's super easy to make. I will point out that when I was mixing the cream cheese with the beater it all globbed into the beaters. But that was the only real issue that I had, and that was very minor. It really tastes very cheesecake-y. I do plan on making this again. And next time I'll do a better time of mixing it. I noticed a few spots where the cream cheese hadn't been mixes as well as it should have. Very minor, but now I know. Another great think about this recipe is that it easily can be made sugar free, which is great since my Grandfather is diabetic and I know he likes cheesecake. I'll have to make some for when they visit next April. Oh! Also, when you make it, it's actually a pale off-white color. I ended up coloring it yellow to make it look a little more cheesecake looking. I figured people might like it better if it looked more like actual cheesecake. Not sure if that helped, but people seemed to like it. Gonna add that to my cooking arsenal.

I also did some more research on Joe's new body. I have a body that I like, I've done enough research to believe that it will work with Joe's head, and I know a place where to get it. I just need to raise the funds to get it. I've also been looking on E-bay for a better price especially since the figure I'm buying has a head and neck, and I don't want or need either of those. It might be cheaper to buy a headless figure off E-bay. Either way, I might end up asking for it for Christmas, since I don't have anything I really "want" at the moment.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Like both sides of a coin

Today I worked on dressing one of the nude dolls that have been piling up like cut wood, Ricky to be exact. I had an clothing idea I wanted to try for him, so in order to see if I liked it I had to make it. I started with a pair of pants. I needed to iron part of it, so I plugged the iron in, and waited. And waited, and waited. For some reason it would not get hot. I tried turning it off and on again, and even changed the plug it was in. But I couldn't get it to start. It is rather old. It's my parents and if I had to make a guess I'd say it's over 25 years old at this point. So I'm not totally shocked that it quit. I'm thinking that I might ask for my own Iron for Christmas, exciting right? I figured that I could ask my sister for it since it's cheap and readily available. That is unless the iron I have has a sudden return to life. Although, I might still ask for one, I'm 25 that's about time to have my own iron, really now.

Anyway, that's the bad part of today. But in some good news, I finally found those ribbon roses I lost a while back! I was starting to think I had thrown them out or even scarier, imagined buying them in the first place. Again, this was because of Ricky. After I finished the sewing on his pants (after figuring out how to do what I wanted to do without an iron), I was looking in the bag of Skipper, Momoko, and smaller dolls clothing trying to find a shirt to see how I liked the look with the pants, and boom. There were the roses. I guess when I last used that bag the roses got mixed in with the clothes and I put them all away together. Not sure when I'll use these, but I am sure glad that I found them. Especially since I was thinking about buying a second package to replace the missing one.
Ricky just saved me three dollars! (but then again, having to buy a new iron will cost more than three dollars so really he cost me much more than that...)
Thanks Ricky...
And I decided I didn't like the look of the outfit on him, so it's back to the drawing board...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Start with the old

I'm a bit sore today. Yesterday, after the blog post was written, I was walking up stairs. I was barefoot, and my big toe on my right foot, got caught on the left leg hole of my pants. Before I could recover, I tripped and smacked into the stairs in several spots. The worst was my left knee where I had some swelling. But I also hurt my right leg, my left arm, and my right hand. Luckily they got better overnight. Right now all that's bothering me is my left knee (the swelling has gone away), and my right pointer finger. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be even better. It's a very minor pain, but I just don't like being in pain at all!
I spent a lot of time doing research online. Since I'm still planning on dressing the dolls on Charlotte's shelf in Holiday garb I needed to do some research about what kind of holiday dresses I liked. Sadly that's easier said than done. Part of the problem is I'm not really sure what I want. I know that there's not going to any sort of strict dress code. The dolls are going to be dressed in clothes that are "Christmas-y". That's all that I'm limiting it to. I'm not going to stick with any time era or theme (it's not like they'd all fit at the same Christmas party), because, quite honestly, designing eleven different costumes under those restraints would be rather boring, especially since I'm working with such different personalities. Even now I'm not sure if I'll get to everyone and that's when I have every fashion era available for inspiration. But I can already tell you, there's not going to be a whole lot of cohesive fashion looks.
Anyway, let me talk about the two dolls that are already dressed. First up we have Artemis. She's wearing Charlotte's dress from last year. It's made from the adapted "Barbie in Japan" bodice. If I remember correctly one of the first things made from that adapted pattern. I actually talked about it on the blog last year. It's a cute dress, but it was before I started pinning my ruffles so the ruffles at the sleeves are a bit haphazard. But it works. She's not wearing the matching cape that goes with it, but I might stick it on her. She does have a petticoat on under the dress to give the skirt some volume. She's also wearing her usual shoes (black pumps, one of my favorite sculpts), as well as her usual black choker. It's just a black rubber band that I've added. The second doll already dressed is Modern Circle. How about that, the two Silkstone face molds were the first two dressed. She's wearing a dress that I didn't make. It's from a Holiday Barbie from the 90's. I had the boxed doll for a while, the boxed ended up getting damaged, so I opened it and removed the clothes from the doll. She's wearing this somewhat scandalous green with silver snowflake princess seamed dress. It's meant for the larger busted dolls, but looks decent on her... just don't look down from directly over her. The original shoes with that outfit are actually the red pumps that my blond Midge wears, because I knew you wanted to know that. Modern Circle here kept the black boots she normally wears. She also kept her own black choker (I have a thing for them). I think the boots really make this outfit seem a little less showy. I liked the red pumps, but with them the outfit was a bit too bold. Adding the boots makes the outfit a little less glamorous. Plus it totally fits her style.
So that's the two of them. I think those are the only two dolls that I can use stuff I've already made. Everyone else is going to get something new. Well, except Blaine. He gets a boring suit. Sorry Blaine!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Let's Meet the Girls!

I'm still toying with the idea of dressing all the dolls on Charlotte's shelf in Holiday garb. I say toying since it's a lot of work, and if I putter out midway I can just say I decided against it, compared to gave up on it.
Working on Charlotte's shelf is a bit of a double edged sword. It does have the second smallest amount of dolls on it, totaling at eleven. (The Silkstone shelf beats it at nine.) It also has the widest variance of dolls compared to every other shelf. There's Silkstones, Vintage, Men, Mod, and Children on it. It's a bit of a tacked together group who really could be split up over the other shelves in the collection. Until that is you remember why these dolls belong together, they are my sentimental favorites. Very rarely do I name a doll beyond who they officially are and some identifying trait (ex: Christmas Bubblecut, Brunette Ponytail, Jenny II, Francie from E-bay). Outside of Charlotte's shelf only nine dolls have actual names. Charlotte's shelf alone consists of four dolls with their individual names. And others have had their official names become their only namesake in the collection. There will never be another Kelly, or Tommy, or Joe.
With several of names there's also a bit of a personality that comes along with it. Although, I will say, only a few of the dolls actually have defined personalities, several of them I just have vague thoughts to how they should be dressed. The most defined are Charlotte, Joe, Ashely, Artemis, Mary Clair, and Vanessa. So, while their personalities are the reason why they're on that shelf, it also means that my task is a little more difficult. I can't just churn out several dresses and call it done. Instead I have to take into consideration as to what they would want to wear. Something that Ashely would wear, Artemis wouldn't. Something Vanessa would wear Mary Clair wouldn't. It's all very complicated, especially since this is all in my own mind. Luckily there are some shared interests among them. I so plan on dressing Artemis in Charlotte's dress from last year. She was actually was the doll who modeled it last year for the blog, and now it's hers. But that still leaves me with everybody else to dress.
Tomorrow you'll get to see the two dolls who get clothing that I already had (exciting I know)!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

What a day, what a month

Today was a really, really rough day. And it's been making me do a lot of thinking. Nothing I want to share with you, but it may color my writings for a while.

Instead I'm going to share with you some further indignities that I suffered while up in Connecticut. Because sometimes, I just need to throw myself a pity party.

Anyway, our first short vignette of woe takes place on Thursday. It was mid-day, and everyone was at my Grandparents. This story needs a little background. My family and I had gotten in from the 13+ hour drive at 4 am that morning. I had slept poorly in the car, and while able to sleep once at my Grandparent's, was up around 8, since that's when people started coming over. I was sitting in the den (back to mid-day), then decided to leave and go into the living room. With the layout of that house, you have to pass through the kitchen to do that. In the Kitchen were my aunt and Grandmother. My aunt sees me, turns to my Grandmother and asks, "Would you like Aubrey to make the lemon squares?". She doesn't ask me, she doesn't tell me, she just volunteers me for this project. I was like, "Excuse me?". If the circumstances were different I wouldn't have minded. If one of my parents had said that, I would have been annoyed, but they have a right to volunteer me for stuff like that. If I was asked if I wanted to do it I would have said sure and acted like it wasn't a bother for me to make food I had no intention of eating. It was the sheer fact that my aunt just said that, even though there was a house full of people who can cook, who weren't working off two nights of spotty sleep (remember, I had been up at 6 the morning before that to bring the dogs to the kennel). But no, she automatically assumes that I'm willing to just jump at her beck and call. Which is weird since she can't get her daughter to do anything she asks of her, why would she think that I would be so ready for some chores? Luckily, my Grandmother didn't say anything, so I didn't have to make the lemon squares. In fact I didn't think they got made at all. Whatever.

The second big insult came that night. It was before the wedding rehearsal at the church. Since they were planning on getting pizza my aunt and Grandmother wanted to call ahead and "prepare" the pizza pace for our "big" order. But as people pointed out, we were only getting six pizzas, so it was hardly an overwhelming number of pizzas. But still they wanted to call. So I was upstairs doing something, when I came downstairs my brother informed me that my aunt wanted to talk to me. I found her, and she was on the phone calling the pizza place, so I waited. I found out later, she was looking for me, so I could call the pizza place. I'm not sure if I've mentioned this, but I am phone phobic. I really do not like answering the phone. If I get a number and don't have it programmed on my phone, I'll ignore it. I will go out of my way to avoid making calls, and when I do I get very nervous. I've have been reprimanded several times by my family for not picking up my phone when they call. At my Grandmother's when the phone rings, I'll pick it up, then run it to my Grandmother since it automatically picks up and I don't want to say hello. I just don't do phones. Yet people don't seem to remember that. This is the second time in recent years that I have specifically been told to call the pizza place. Same house, different aunt. That is the only time I will flat out refuse to do what people ask me.
I bend over backwards to try and be agreeable and remember their likes and dislikes, why can't I be allowed my own little quirks?
Just frustrating...

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Review, should I make this a thing?

Went to Walmart today with my new gift card to spend some of it. I finally had a decent chunk of money to spend and... nothing. I was even at a Walmart 45 minutes away from my normal one, and they still had terrible stock. Nothing exciting in Monster High, and all sold out of Ken clothes. And really, that's all I need from Mattel at this time. I sew everything for Barbie, and I don't really need anymore new Barbie dolls. I've toyed with the idea of getting a new Fashionista Ken, but he always has such a weenie head sculpt. At this point I'm only looking for interesting shoes, and Ken clothes. (Since it's more fun to make women's clothes then men's)
I ended up with this: (Picture swiped from Amazon)I almost walked away empty handed until I found this Liv doll clothing pack. It's the "Sail Away" set. I've seen it before and walked away from it, but this time it was on clearance from 8.97 to 5.00, but when I went to scan it, the original price showed up. I thought about not getting it, but I decided to get it, and if it scanned wrong I could alert the cashier and we could take it from there. It did scan wrong, but the cashier manually adjusted it, so it ended up being the five dollars it should be. Otherwise I was going to walk away without it. Five dollars is one thing, I certainly didn't need it for almost nine.

Packaging: The package is a simple plastic bubble on a cardboard backing. Printed on the cardboard is a picture of a Liv doll wearing the fashion, or at least the prototype. Between that picture and the actual outfit being produced they changed the ribbon on the blouse (going from blue and white to solid blue), and they changed the bracelet (just changing it from clear plastic to white). You can't see the shoes, but on the back there's a small sliver of silver (say that three times fast), so they were at least the same color as the production run. Also the sunglasses, hat, and purse are not shown in the picture. It was somewhat easy to open, but still needed to use the scissors. It did give me some clear elastics that I can use elsewhere, so that's nice.

Pants: The pants are a deep crimson (Shown much more true red in the photo on the package) high water trouser. They're made of a slick nylon? type fabric. A cool feature is that it's got four white buttons on front in a mock sailor pant. They even went so far as to make vents to give the illusion that they pants actually open in the front. They don't (they close in the back with velcro), but it's still a nice touch. The pants also have some fake sewn pleats in the front. These are actually nicely made. They're a bit tight on Charlotte however. They can fit and even close in the back, but she can't sit down in them or anything. I do like these, but they're a bit of a challenge for redressing. The style with the buttons and mock front is a bit casual, and the shiny red nylon makes it look a little more formal. Personally if I was making these pants, I'd make them out of red cotton, that way they'd be a bit more casual and easier to pair up with another top.

Hat: Also included was a hat... which I'm forgetting the actual name of it's style. It's like a sailor's hat without the rolled brim. It's made from a purple blue cotton with a pretty noticeable file. It's made up from four triangle pieces sewn together (a bit haphazard it looks) to form the hat. Unfortunately it makes the top have a little bit of a point, so it looks like the doll is a cone head. It's much too big for any of the usual dolls in the collection, and Sindy actually slapped my hand away when I tried to put it on her. Also I should point out, that while there's a line of stitching around the bottom, the entire bottom hem in unfinished! And with this fabric, it's already started to show some fraying, and it's been out of the package for less then two hours, and not even on anybody's head.

Shirt: This shirt was the reason why I wanted to get this outfit in the first place. It looked like a cute, but nontraditional, sailor type top. For some reason I thought that it had an actual sailor's collar, but instead it's just a ribbon that goes around the neckline. The bow at the neckline is pretty cute. The bow is actually treated so the ends of it won't fray. They also use the same type of ribbon at the bottom of the shirt. Most of the top is cotton, designed with this swirling blue and white pattern. I assume it's supposed to be water swirling. And now for the bad part, the sewing on the top is terrible. Like, laughably bad, especially since it's such a simple design. Now I don't say this often, but I know I could do a better job then what they did. There's several loose threads, the stitching is off , or broken, in several places, and on both the bottom and top hem you can see the flipped up fabric over the ribbon that's supposed to hide. And on one side near the top there's this weird snag on the fabric. It's just bizarre that the pants are done so well, and this simple top is really shoddy. I mean I could make this top better, and I'm not even in business to make and selling doll clothing. Really disappointing. Here I was thinking about making a new skirt to pair with this top, and now I can't see myself using it ever.

Shoes: The shoes are cute silver sneakers, plastic like how most of my shoes are, with white soles. I like them, although they have this weird pebbling texture molded into the silver parts. I wish they were a bit more simple. Don't have anyone to wear them, they are much bigger that all the women's feet around here, and smaller than the men. I do have that one Liv body, but she's already got shoes. I guess these are spares!

Accessories: The outfit did come with some accessories, which are always nice. There's a pair of blue sunglasses that are pretty. Again they're too big for everyone, but they're interesting to look at. The lenses actually do a little bit of magnifying when you look through them and they're directly in front of the object. Who knew that the Liv dolls needed reading glasses? Also included was a plastic "straw" purse. Again, it's cute. With it's really detailed "woven" pattern and bright pink handles it might be the most versatile piece of the entire outfit. It is molded a little narrow, so you won't be able to actually store a lot in it, but it's still nice. Also with this outfit came a bracelet. It's white plastic with a silver star on it. It's a really cute (I keep saying cute, I must learn more description words) item, and one that I can see myself using in other outfits. It kind of reminds me of a bracelet that came with a Silkstone doll, except it's plastic and for children. It was a little difficult to take off Charlotte's wrist, but that's the price you pay for fashion.

Added bonus: Also included in the box was this cool plastic display mannequin. I know that it's for showing off the outfit in the box, but I'm reusing it. It's cool and it's actually got jointed shoulders. I'm going to put a dress on it, then tack it to the wall. I always am looking for ways to display clothing, and here's a new one. Although, I've already tried a few things on and it's not been the best of fits. Things made for Charlotte are tight in the waist, and loose in the bust. Which is weird since Charlotte can wear Liv doll clothing, but this form can't wear hers, and it gets weirder when you know that the back of the form is open, the plastic doesn't go all the way around. I wonder how true to the actual Liv dolls this dress form is.

Overall Opinion: Maybe I'm bias, maybe I'm too picky, but this entire outfit was a bit of a let down. Part of it was thinking it was something else when I bought it, but part of it was the not so sharp sewing on the top. That was the item that I was most excited about. I do like some of the accessories, but I would never spend five dollars for just a bracelet and a handbag, the two items I can actually see myself using from this outfit. I'm just lucky that I got it for five, because if I paid the whole nine dollars for it, I'd be MAD!

Final Rating: 2 out of 5

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Good News Everyone!

Today my dad was able to return the Walmart stuff and get the usual store credit!
He walked into their store with our items and a printed off version of their own return policy from their website. And they still gave him a hard time!
At first they were going to do the new deal where you can only shop where your return was originally from, but he insisted that they honor the agreement that was on their website. They even went as far as to tell him that was the old policy and the new one isn't up yet. How illegal does that sound? We haven't updated our official website to say this, but we're going to hold you to it. They kept calling people up higher on the corporate food chain until he was told they were waiting for a manager to show up and talk to him. He waited for about ten minutes (no doubt trying to make him sweat and take the new policy), but he waited and eventually they just gave him the returns like they should have.
I wonder if this policy is something new they're trying out at certain stores to see how well it goes over. That would explain why there's no mention of it online and how the official website doesn't mention it. This way they can see how people respond to this new policy before they make an official switch. Quite honestly, if they think people are going to take this lightly, they've got another think coming. I really think this would do a lot of damage to their business. It's already done it to my desire to shop with them. After I use up my portion of the gift card I'm going to try everything in my power to avoid shopping with them.
They don't deserve my patronage!
(If only they weren't the only game in town)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Help dear readers, Help!

Okay, I'm asking everyone's help on something.
It's still shrouded in secrecy, but I need people to blindly cast ballots in order to give me direction on a project.

Your options are;

1. Party
2. Night Time
3. Act Two

I know those are some pretty vague choices, but it'll make sense in time. To tell me your selection, just tell me your choice in the comment section. Or you can e-mail me at Aubreysilver@aol.com. Either way I can't wait to hear from you!
Thanks!

A final Domo update...

I forgot to update you on those Domos.
I ended up giving them to my sister and her fiance on Wednesday after the rehearsal dinner, I just couldn't wait too long to give them to them. And they were a big hit! My sister loved them, and her fiancee didn't say anything. I think he liked them, but didn't say anything. He's a quiet type. A couple of people were a little weird-ed out by them since they're not familiar with Domos. My sister's and her fiancee's best man kept commenting on how Domos shouldn't have boobs. It got old quick, although his entire "put upon know it all" bit got tired pretty fast. But he's annoying in general, I'm glad I don't have to deal with him often.
But my sister did mention that she never saw Domos like these before and I got to tell her that they are unique, just for her. And say that I made everything that they were wearing and even drafted the patterns. (Fine, I was bragging, but I think I deserved to.) But I did feel a little bad, after my sister opened my present her bridesmaid gave them a present. She had made them each some origami. I can't remember what she made for my sister, but she made a dolphin for her fiance. It was very sweet, and took a lot of work, but my present kind of out-shadowed her present. And I did feel bad about that, she was super sweet.
But my sister liked my present so much that she put them both at the present table at the reception. So everyone got to see my hard work. Although it was dark in the room, and away from everyone, so I doubt many people saw them, but the option was there!
Hate those Domos, but it was still... sort of worth it!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What's wrong with you Walmart?

Heads up, another complaining post. I promise I'm going to try to get back to some fun posts, but that's going to have to wait until stuff like this stops happening.
So you might remember that also planned for the time I was going to be up in Connecticut was our family Christmas. If you read this blog that was hard to miss since I was busy making those stupid baskets before we left. My grandparents leave for Florida by real Christmas time, so in order to have a family Christmas we all get together before they go. So on Saturday we did that. We handed out the baskets, which went over very well by the way, and we all got some presents.
And, while I love the thought that went into the ones I got, they were not really exactly what I wanted or needed at this time, so I decided to return some of them. My parents and brother decided to do the same for some of the things. Although, I'll never know why anybody thought it was a good idea to give a 20 year old straight male who doesn't care for musicals, or High School for that matter, a Glee game. Anyway, since the majority of the stuff we're returning came from Walmart we went there today to return it. Which is it's own family tradition by this time.
We've done this several years without problems. We take it to the service desk, they scan it, and give us store credit depending on how things scan. But this year was different. Apparently Walmart (maybe just ours) has a new policy about returns. I'll try to explain it the best I understand it. The greeter scans your returns, then gives you the stickers for the items. You then have to go to the section your returned item belongs to, finds someone who works there, then pick out, in that section alone, goods worth the same amount of what you're returning. So if you returned a men's shirt for 10 dollars, you can spend that 10 dollars only in the men's department. Isn't that nuts? It just sounds crazy complicated and a real insult to the shoppers. I mean, they already have my money, I'm returning everything with the labels and still wrapped, why can't I get my money's worth in another section? We always get store credit, so it's not like we're asking for cash. It's just nuts, plain nuts.
We did not end up returning anything. This policy was super ridiculous. So we left, and I was LIVID. The moment I got home I dashed off an e-mail to their corporate headquarters saying that this was a dumb policy, that their big draw was that you could get anything under one roof, and what you're doing for returns they basically ruin that image. I finished it off with the information that I was not going to shop with them again (true), that I was going to tell people about this stupid policy (doing that right now), and that I was going to tell people not to buy stuff for me at Walmart. No reply yet to my e-mail, but I only sent it today around three.
And it's weird, I checked their website and nowhere does says anything like this would happen. My mother checked on her own and didn't see it either. It's the usual Walmart return policy. I even did a Google search to see if other people ran into this issue, and didn't see a thing. Not even on a site that was basically people complaining about Walmart, Target, and K-mart. I really wonder if it's a policy just at this store. Either way my father is planning on going back to the store with a printed online return policy and fighting with them to return it like they should.
Either way I'm done with Walmart. I am really going to try and cut them out of my life after this. If we do get our store credit (like we should) I'm going to try and go to the Siler City one to spend it. Asheboro doesn't deserve me as a customer. But after that we are dunzo.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Shoe Addiction Runs in the Family...

Okay, time for some family Drama.
So, my family got up to Connecticut on Wednesday, in the very early morning. My sister and her fiancee had arrived the previous day and were already asleep in the upstairs bedroom at my Grandmother's house. My brother and I slept on the couches on the living room, and my parents slept on the floor in the den. In the morning my parents, my sister, and I were the first ones up. Actually my Grandparents were up and already out of the house. They had a funeral to go to. A former business acquaintance of my grandfather had passed away and they felt they should go to pay their respects.
Anyway, we were sitting around chatting, when my sister asked if we wanted to see the shoes that she had bought for her wedding. We agreed, and she brought the box in to show us. When she opened them I gasped. Not because they were that shocking, but because I had seen them recently. When my cousin posted a picture of the shoes she got for my sister's wedding on Facebook a few days ago. They were slightly different, but practically the same. My sister's shoes were silver, with silver glitter on them. They also had an open toe, with a four inch heal. My cousin's shoe were gold, with gold glitter on them. They also had an open toe, with a five inch heal. Also the arch of the shoe was a little different (probably because of the extra inch heel). My cousin's shoe looked more like Jessica Rabbit's shoe. They were scary close. It's shocking how identical the shoes looked since they were bought by different people, at different stores, at different times.
My sister was rather upset hearing this. She really liked her shoes, and didn't want someone else wearing almost the same ones as her. You'd think that as the bride her minor request would be done, right? Wrong. When my aunt came over later we told her about the similarities between the two shoes. She went back home and got my cousin's shoes. Everyone who saw them noted how similar they were. When my sister expressed that she didn't want my cousin wearing those, my aunt got very testy. She did not want to even ask my cousin to give up wearing her shoes. We asked her to talk to her about it, and she wouldn't listen. She even went so far as to proclaim that "all kids of that age don't listen to their parents" so it was a lost cause. (She's 24 by the way). She even tried to drag me into it, "You're the same age (25), you don't listen to your parents." Excuse me? I certainly listen to my parents. Don't try to lump me in with your disrespectful daughter. My Mom did try to reason with my sister, she whispered to her, "Let her wear the shoes, she'll be drunk at the reception, and she'll stumble and fall and it'll be funny." My aunt saw that and asked what my mother said. Thinking quickly on her feet my sister said that my mom said to be nice and let her wear the shoes, so my aunt didn't hear the joke my mom said.
But my sister's kindness kind of bit her in the backside. Later that night when my sister was leaving to go to bed, she asked my Aunt to talk to my cousin about not wearing the shoes, and my Aunt went ballistic! She went off on her, and even added this little gem about how my sister should listen to my mother. (So we should listen to our mother when it works for her daughter?)
The issue was in the hands of our Aunt (who insisted she be the one to talk to her), either way my sister didn't have the time since the next day (my cousin was at work all the previous day) was her wedding day. We figured that the issue was resolved, and that people were considerate of my sister's wishes. (Like literally, this was the only issue my sister had with anybody.)
But nope, guess who wore her shoes to the wedding. Yup, my cousin. I walked in and and saw her wearing them. I guess they couldn't be bothered to think about my sister's wants on HER WEDDING DAY. Apparently when asked about not wearing the shoes and wearing something else my cousin claimed that she didn't have any others, which is a lie. She has tons of shoes. I'm sure my aunt didn't really press the issue with my cousin, and just let my cousin wear them. My sister didn't know she wore the shoes when she first got there (she was wearing a pair of gold sandals at first, oh look another pair of shoes), so she went over to her, and hugged her, and thanked her for not wearing the shoes. And she still wore the shoes. My sister was mad when she found out she was wearing the shoes, especially after she hugged and thanked her.
I'm sure if the situation was reversed my sister would have been forced to change shoes. She couldn't change shoes and let my sister have her way.
What kind of bitc---cousin does that?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Something Blue...

I'd like to announce that my family and I are back from Connecticut. We arrived this morning around 10:30, after leaving around 9:30 last night. We could have stayed another night, but we were all ready to get back home and get away from... some... people... The wedding itself was a nice affair, but like usual was not without it's fair share of family drama. It's just mind boggling how some people think, and act. I'll be sharing one of those stories tomorrow.

While I was up in Connecticut, I also had a personal quest. To get Gloom Beach Frankie. Even though my local Walmart was sold out, I wasn't going to be anywhere near my local store. I had a lot of different stores to check out. On Wednesday I checked Walmart, to no luck. They only had the boy doll from that line. I also checked out some second hand stores (where I finally found a pair of shoes for a decent price). Sadly, there were no Monster High dolls there, or any Barbie dolls either. I also checked Ocean State Job lot. For some reason they did have Monster High dolls, but the most recent line. It was the boxed dolls of Frankie and DracuLaura dressed in their "Day at the Maul" fashions. I thought about getting one of them, but I didn't really want them. I haven't found a DracuLaura doll that I like, and I don't care for that Frankie's bangs. So I left them. I did find her at the grocery store, but she was 15 dollars, I was SO not going to pay more than 13 dollars for her. It just means I might have to wait until going back to North Carolina until I got her.
Friday, the actual Wedding day, when my family and I were out picking up our tuxes I went to Target, it was right down the road. Again, they didn't have the dolls. They did have a lot of dolls, just not the one I wanted.
On Saturday I tagged along when returning our rented tuxes. I asked to go to the Big Lots up there. Figured that I could pay the price up here and get her, and then I'd at least have something to play with in the car. For a bit I thought I wasn't going to be able to go, but I did. I checked the toy section, and they had two of them! They also had the clothing sets on sale for eight dollars, but that was not something I wanted. They dolls were still 13, just like in the Big Lots down here. I looked over the two dolls to find the best one. One of them had some hair cut in the front giving her several wispy bang like things. Since I liked this doll for her lack of bangs, the other one came home with me. When I brought her up front for some reason she scanned wrong. Instead of 13, she ended up costing 9! Which was a better price than Walmart. I guess my Karma is just slow acting.
I waited until we left until I opened her (I didn't know we were going to be leaving that late.). So it was pretty dark when I finally got to play with her. There was enough outside the car light to give me a chance to see her somewhat. Still it was fun to play around with her. It's been a while since I got a new, new doll. The last one was Ghoulia last year, I think.
I really do like her. I like her hairstyle, her blue lips, and her hands. That hand sculpt is one of my favorites. It's very similar to Charlotte's hands, just more exaggerated. I wouldn't mind if they ported those hand molds over to the Barbie line, in fact I wouldn't mind if they ported a lot of the stuff into the Barbie line. (Mostly the creativity that the Monster High line has).
I do have to do some sewing for Frankie, she can't sit around in a bathing suit. Winter is coming. I'm not sure when I'll get around to sewing for her, but I'm sure I will. I'm just glad I've finally got her.
Family drama is coming tomorrow!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Something Borrowed...

Today we have something that's not mine, but is staying in my room for a bit. You may remember me talking about finding a figurine for my mother online. I couldn't afford it at the time, so my father gave me the money to buy it for her. It arrived several weeks ago, but since it's for Christmas, I've been holding onto it in my room. I have it on display near several over fragile figurines. Don't worry, my Mother doesn't go into my room so she won't see it.

And if she did come into my room she would recognize it instantly. You see, she has something like it. Or at least her mother does. It's a Napco Angel figurine and my Grandmother has one for each of the her children's birth months. There's January (Aunt #2), March (My Mother), September (Aunt #3), and December (Aunt #1). They live in the living room, on the mantle. They've been there my entire lifetime, and I'm sure at least most of my mother's. (She is the youngest.) I have no idea when or where they were purchased, or if they were even purchased at the same time. They have just always been there.
They have had their scrapes and bumps though. All of them have chips, and most of them have several spots where things have been glued back on. Let me tell you about time I randomly found one of their wings in a random box in the attic. Okay, it was a short story. In fact my mother's March one had two chips on the bows in her hair, so it kind of looks like devil's horns. I'm not sure where they picked up all these battle scars, I've never seen them anywhere other than their spot on the mantle. Maybe they were kept upstairs in the bedrooms. I don't really know.
This one doesn't have any of those issues (and let's pray that none of them develop before I give her away on Christmas). She does have some missing paint on her, ironically also on her bows, but she's still a cutie.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Something new...

Today I'm going to share with you my most recent doll. Again, I got her a few weeks ago but held off on sharing because more interesting things happened. And believe it or not, I do get tired of droning on and on about my most recent find, or at least my hands get tired.
Her beginnings are humble, and certainly familiar. She's another doll that I found on Etsy. But she's different because she was an accidental find. Usually I search for the newest ads on Etsy since I've seen most of the old ones. Since they've changed their search system it first shows their "relevant" ads, then you have to select "most recent". It's very annoying, but without it I wouldn't have found her. Apparently I missed her the first go around.

Who is she you ask? Well let me tell you. She's a Fashion Queen Barbie. I did have one of those before, but she was in terrible shape. I ended up using her body for someone else (P.J.). I didn't really want a second one, I like my dolls to have hair, but her price was too good to pass up. She was only 19.99, including shipping. Can you believe that? And could you believe that she'd been on that site for two days? And it gets better, she's in such good shape. The only real issue is that she had a lot of paint missing to her hair, (I think she must have been wearing a wig for a long time and it must have gotten stuck to the plastic cap of the wig, and when someone took off the wig it took the paint off.) and that she's a little dirty (but not that bad). Other than that she's in really nice shape. Actually, She does have some scratches to her torso, but nothing that a dress wouldn't cover. But other than that she's amazing. All her fingers, she even has her toenail polish on several toes, and her makeup is flawless. She doesn't even have the usual eyelash rubs! Can you believe it? I'd say her makeup is the best of any vintage doll in my collection. I'd say she's tied with my almost mint Francie if I was including mod dolls. Could you believe she was cheaper than buying the newest reproduction?

Madness. That's about it on her. Of course she hasn't been dressed yet. She's waiting patiently with the other nude dolls until I find and make something I want to dress them in. I was thinking something with a hat, to cover the paint loss on her head. Only time will tell!
P.S. Her pictures are the sellers since I have yet to actually have a photo shoot with this one.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Something old...

All right, since I'm without a computer, and any free time for a bit, I will be unable to include any new content on the blog. Since I'm sure you guys will be at a total loss without my interesting and enlightening blog posts I've decided to share with some things that originally I skipped. You might find it interesting, you might not. Either way here it is.

Today I'm going to share some pictures of Charlotte's shelf from Halloween. I did show you the final look on the actual Halloween day, but I took several pictures of the shelf before everyone was settled on their final costumes.Sorry for the blurriness of the first picture. I took it with my cellphone to show somebody what I was doing and it's the only picture I have of the earlier costumes. Here you can see that several people are in their final costumes. Blaine, Artemis, Ashley, Mary Clair, and Vanessa are all wearing what they wore for Halloween. Modern Circle is wearing a mermaid costume, and Joe is just wearing his usual clothes with a cape over it. At this point I hadn't even thought about dressing Kelly or Tommy yet. Also Midge is wearing a variation on the Little Red Riding Hood costume. It's the dress to the vintage Mattel version (turns out it was one of the items from that lot of stuff I got from my birthday, only the skirt was shortened.), Charlotte's hood from last year, and the white stockings that eventually went with the Dutch girl outfit. (I changed her after I realized how silly she looked with the over sized hood, and the fact that I needed the stockings for Charlotte.) Happy ending, she got the tights back when Charlotte changed clothes. So it all worked out. Charlotte's even in this picture, just wearing some underwear though. This was because she was going though a lot of fittings for her costume.

Here you can see that some more people are in their final costumes. Along with Blaine, Artemis, Mary Clair, Ashley, and Vanessa, Kelly and Tommy both ended up with their final costumes. Joe still isn't in the football uniform yet, and Modern Circle has yet to become the sexy witch. Midge however, still has three more changes to go before the final one. And one skull will change it's hat before the big day. (Modern Circle needed the witch hat.)This one is basically the final choices for everyone. All that missing is Charlotte (who was just elsewhere), and Mary Clair (who I moved so I could take a solo picture of Midge in her costume). Even the Skulls and my Wooden "E" are in their final positions for their Halloween pictures, even though this was still a few days before I took that photo.

I hope you enjoyed this post about the evolution of Halloween around here!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

To heck in a Christmas Basket.... Day Four

I'm writing this post a little ahead of schedule.
I doubt I have the time to actually sit down and write something, I'm not even planning on turning on my computer today. I'm going to be running all over getting stuff done. Today's final goal is getting the cookies finished, and making the baskets. Luckily I started the cookies yesterday, so today I just have to do the red batches.
Wish me luck, it's going to be a blur of a day!
I hope I don't forget anything...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

To heck in a Christmas Basket.... Day Three

Again downstairs and ready to report to work at ten this morning. Today was the day I've been dreading since well... the start of these baskets. Chocolate covered pretzels day. It's just there's so many of them, and you have to do each one individually. I was filling seven baskets with 35 pretzels in each, so that meant I had to made 245 pretzels. Fun times ahead, fun times.
I started off using some milk chocolate chips that I had gotten. Melting them in the microwave, dipping the pretzels into it, then letting them drip off the excess chocolate, then putting them onto the tin foil to dry. It's a slow process. I was working slowly but steadily until I put the chocolate into the microwave with some pretzels in the bowl. I guess the pretzels got really hot and ended up burning the chocolate... darn it.
I guess the rest of that was a wash, so I started a new bowl with the chocolate I bought at Hobby Lobby. It's a brand called "Chocomaker", 2 pounds for 8? dollars (Less if you use a coupon). I started a new bowl and fired up the microwave. And wow, let me tell you working with this was so much better than the chocolate chips. It melted wonderfully, stayed melted longer, and dripped off the pretzels so much faster, plus it tastes really good! It took me an hour and a half to do 70 with the chocolate chips (and partially with the Chocomaker chips). It took me an hour to do more than 105 after switching over to the Chocomaker chips. Really, really, really happy with this product. And, I still have about half of it left. I didn't have pretzels just globbed on with chocolate. This product made my life so much easier. Which is great, since nobody else it. Literally, other than the one time I had my brother stir, nobody else has helped my at all with this entire ordeal. And it's not like I'm bitter or anything.... nope not at all...
I managed to get the pretzels done today after a took a long break for lunch. (I was working on something else though.) I also finished the topping for the Oh Henry bars, my dad went out shopping and picked up more chocolate chips for me. They're all packaged and ready to go into the baskets.
Finally I decided that I wanted to get a head start on the cookies. Tomorrow is rapidly getting busier and I think I'll be happy that I got these things done ahead of time. I made two batches of them, the green ones. I didn't get a lot of cookies from them, so again cookies are going to be one of the smaller portions in the baskets. Ugh, I'm exhausted, I finally stopped cooking around 6 tonight. I also got my Grandmother's present wrapped today.
But can't talk now, I've got a lot of stuff to do, and an early morning. (5 AM!)
*Runs Off*

Monday, November 7, 2011

To heck in a Christmas Basket.... Day Two

Another early morning today. I was downstairs shortly after ten to begin my work for the day. It was a busy one today, sadly not the busiest of them though.
On today's agenda was two batches of Oh Henry bars, peppermint bark, plain bark, and one serving of chocolate pretzels. An odd combination to say the least. But it's all logical. The bark and the Oh Henry Bars got doubled up because it's silly to use one entire day just for bark. It's really easy to make. The single serving of pretzels is because I have a cousin that's on a special diet so she can't eat chocolate. She mentioned that last year after she got her basket, and I felt bad that I gave her something that she could eat. She could however share them with her husband who the basket was also for, so I didn't feel that bad. But I wanted to remember to make hers with white chocolate this year. And since I planned on using all of white chocolate today I wanted to make that I remembered to do her pretzels as well.
I started off with the pretzels, I made 35 before I called it quits. That's how many everybody got last year, so I figured it's a decent number to make for my goal. While I was doing the pretzels I also started the Oh Henry bars. This is where my real trouble of the day started. Room issues. We have a large kitchen, it's just that nothing ever ends up back where it belongs, if it even has a place where it belongs. Recently we've added a crock pot, a rice cooker, and a pasta machine to our kitchen and they're all out on the counters and the tables taking up space. And really, they're not mine, why should I be forced to find a spot for them in the full cabinets? Anyway, I was making three things in a space roughly three feet, plus half of the stove top. It was some very cramped quarters. And it doesn't need to be like this. If people just put away their stuff, or stopped buying random kitchen gadgets I wouldn't me in this mess. It just made my work more difficult, and I was not happy. I learned today that I keep a lot of stress in my jaw since by the end of the night it was killing me from all the clenching I was doing. *The more you know*
Let me tell you, I am so done with these baskets. I swear that I'm not doing them again next year. I'm tired of people making empty promises to help, then don't even bother to clean up to make my job easier. Why am I doing all this work to only have them not really care? Forget them, I'm doing this year, then never again.
Anyway, the pretzels went well, it was a nice refresher for tomorrows official pretzel making day. The bark went well, and it was fun getting some of my aggression out on the peppermint when I was breaking them with a hammer. The Oh Henry bars on the other hand... the first batch was a little crumbly for some reason... I figured that it was because they didn't cook long enough, so I let the second batch cook a bit longer. And when I tried taking them off the pan, they just fell apart. They were even worse than the first batch! Why do these things happen? Well, these things happen because when you use a stick of butter compared to the 2/3 cup it calls for you get crumbly bars. I got my recipes mixed up. So this evening I ended up making a third batch of the bars. Didn't add the topping yet since I ran out of chocolate chips. That can wait for another day. In case you want the recipe I wrote it in last years post. Here that is. Just remember that you need all that butter, one stick just won't cut it!

Dear Universe, you suck

Heads up, this is going to be a rather complain-y post. More so than usual, so feel free to skip it if you don't want to hear that.
So this afternoon I headed out to town. I still needed to pick up a few things for Christmas and the Wedding. Both events are quickly approaching. Luckily it wasn't anything for the baskets, so far so good with supplies for those. Instead I was picking up two presents, as well as some new formal shoes for me. Also while I was out I decided that I was going to finally buy Gloom Beach Frankie. I've been thinking about it for a while, and I decided that I wanted to get her. I've been in a bit of funk lately, so I figured that a new doll would either snap me out of it, or drive me deeper into my depression. Either was I was ready to get her and find out what would happen.
But before I went to a store, I went to Goodwill. Not to shop, but to donate. I've finally been motivated (frustrated by the lack of space) to get around to donating some stuff. It was just some of my now too large clothing. It's been kicking around for over a year now and I have no intentions of being that size again, so it's pointless keeping it and filling up a hall closet. So I picked though it (in an annoyed rage) and picked most if it to donate. And I got that done, but it's weird, driving to the store I had an odd feeling of... regret? I still have it, and it's been a couple of hours since then. I feel bad giving them away, even though they don't do anything other than take up space. I'm sure it'll pass, but it's not a nice feeling. But I donated them and got that off my back. I didn't even get a receipt, I donated it all for the greater good. So I'm not saying the universe owed me some good karma... but it be nice.
After that we went to Walmart. We got some mixed nuts for my Grandfather, and some Hotwheel cars for my cousin. So in good news Christmas shopping is done. I'm not sure why I was saddled with the task of all the Christmas shopping, but I did it, every single thing, including wrapping. After that I hit up the Monster High Section to look for Frankie... and guess who wasn't there? The entire section was picked clean, which is weird because last time I was there it was pretty full, and that wasn't that long ago. I guess that's what happens when I want something. The only Gloom Beach character I saw was the guy. They were even totally out of the Dead Tired line save for two Ghoulia dolls. It was so disappointing. I finally decided that I was going to get her and she's all sold out. Stupid Walmart and their stupid lack of toys. I mean, I understand if these were new toys, but this line has been out for a while. Grumble, Grumble...
Still smarting from the lack of Frankie, I checked out the shoe section. When did shoes get so expensive? Every single one of the formal shoes were 24 dollars. It just seems so excessive for shoes to me. I mean, the last time I bought shoes they were 20 dollars. And yes, that was a few years ago but the jump of four dollars just feels so extreme? I know things are more expensive to ship and produce, but four dollars still seems like a lot. I also checked out Payless Shoes, but they were even worse. The majority of the shoes there were forty dollars. I guess they're pay less than some other places, but they were still too much for me. My dad also dragged me to the mall to look at shoes. Even though I knew that they were going to be more expensive than Walmart of Payless, and sure enough they were. I let him take me to two stores before I basically told him we were leaving. I did not end up getting shoes today. It was ridiculous!
Before heading home we also hit up Big Lots. I remembered they also had Monster High dolls. So we went in and I headed to toys. And yes, they had Gloom Beach Frankie, except she was 13 dollars. I honestly thought Big Lots was supposed to be a "cheaper than most" store. Every single Monster High doll was 13 dollars, which I understand for the dressed dolls, but these were just the cheaper bathing suit dolls. Walmart sells them for 10, so I can't justify the mark up for this store. I really don't understand Big Lots. I saw several things there that I've seen for the same price elsewhere. What's the point of being a close out store when your prices don't reflect that? Without decent prices you're just a Walmart with a higher mark up and less consistent stock. I can't think of the last thing I bought at a Big Lots.
And with prics like that I understand why.
Hopefully my good Karma is the slow acting kind...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

To heck in a Christmas Basket.... Day One

Today was the big day, the start of making those Christmas Baskets.
Finally I can actually start making them, than just dreading doing them, and buying the supplies for them. Started off exactly like last year, with Rice Crispy Treats. You can read about last year's experience here: that post.
I make these first because they freeze decently, so they last longer than some of the other items in the baskets. This was basically similar to last years. Again, I got six basket servings per pan. (I even used the same pan). This year however I ended up using three entire boxes of cereal, and six bags of marshmallows. This allowed me to make ten servings of the treats. One spare for myself, plus one for my sister since she asked for one. But that's not all that I got out of it. I also made something different. Using the biscuit cutters (used last years cookies) I made three different shaped circles. I then stacked them going from biggest to smallest. They're supposed to look like wedding cakes. They're for the rehearsal dinner, for dessert. I made 26 of those suckers. Because we're expecting 20 people for the rehearsal dinner. Even though, there's only six people in the actual wedding, but that's what happens when you have the dinner at my Grandparent's house. Everyone and their friends are invited... I decided to make 26 just so that we had enough spares. I drizzled white chocolate over half of them, and left the other half plain. Just in case someone doesn't like white chocolate.
I started all this around 9:30 this morning, and was done around 1 in the afternoon. And let me tell you, my arms are tired. That was so much stirring! After it was done, I didn't know what to do with myself. I don't have anything planned since I cleared my scheduled for the baskets. I ended up loafing around all day. I did need it, I've been in a bit of a funk... but it really didn't help much. Oh well, after the 15th things should be getting better. Tomorrow's goal is Oh Henry bars, peppermint bark, and one serving of chocolate covered pretzels.
*Sigh*
Oh, no pictures because I'm too lazy to drag out the camera, plus it looks the same as it did last year.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

It's like you could actually feel the time ticking away...

Today was the final day for me to work on those Domos. Still even with the knowledge that after today all my time was going to spent making Christmas baskets I still stalled and avoided working on them until after lunch. The reason, I just plain hate them. After lunch I knew I couldn't avoid it any longer, not if I wanted to get them done today. So I started to work. I needed to add the collar to the jacket. And it was terrible. Adding a collar messed up the sleeves, and gave me some weird bunching. It was just not a good look. But I muscled through to finish it. I'm not terrible proud of either of them. All I see when I look at them is every screwed up stitch or ill-fitting garment. Why did I think I could draft all these gosh darn patterns for them? This was really a huge project, and a terrible one too. If I knew then what I know now.... I would have done something different. Something less stressful and less ugly. But I finished them.
I sewed on pink roses on both of them, still can't find the other ones, and they were finished. I've already wrapped them to get them out of my sight. I ended up using Christmas Disney Princess Paper, it was either that or something super Christmas-y, or some simple deep blue paper. I decided I wanting something special, but totally me. So they're getting the Princess paper, because they should expect it by now.
I also tried to do some doll sewing today since I won't be able to really get a chance to do anything like that until after the wedding. Sad thing is I really couldn't think of anything to sew. Again I was sewing to just sew, again nothing decent came out of it. I did take a stab at making Charlotte's Christmas dress, but wasn't happy with it. I think that I have to totally rethink what I'm planning for her. Honestly, I've been playing around with that stretch velvet and I don't really care for it. It kind of feels cheap, and look cheap. Maybe I'll use it for something I like, but not for this project. Like I said I really need to just rethink what I'm going to make for Charlotte. At least I've got plenty of time for that little project.
Tick-tock!

Friday, November 4, 2011

"No, you don't need an Ostrich Egg"

My morning started off on a rough note. This morning, I had a truly terrible dream. I've had bad dreams before, but this one was darker, crueler, and more vile than any one I've had before. I'm not sure why I had this dream, I haven't eaten anything weird, and my schedule hasn't changed very much, and this had nothing to do with the wedding. I mean, I know Halloween was just last week, but I didn't do anything actually scary for it. I didn't watch any scary movies or anything. The most I did was watch the Simpson's Halloween Episode and make Charlotte's two costumes. That's all I did, I didn't even eat any candy. I don't know why I had this dream, I just know that some of the images from it will haunt me for a while.
So it's been a rough day today. Even on top of the dreams, I've been really feeling the crunch of how much I need to get done, and how little time I have to do it. Time is really ticking down fast, and I have so much to do. And yes, I totally understand and agree part of my problem is completely my fault.
So you better believe I worked on the Domos some more. Today's goal was to finish the groom's shirt and cummerbund. And I did. The shirt went together pretty easily. All that I needed to do was add the second snap, add the bow-tie, and some buttons down the front. It was the cummerbund that gave me the most trouble. At first it was too loose, and when I fixed it, it came out too tight. And when I was fixing it, half of the snap went missing. I was not a happy camper from this ordeal. Eventually I did find it, but it's still too tight. Frankly, it fits, so it's good enough for me. Tomorrow goal is to get the jacket finished. After that all that's left it to add the roses and then wrap them. I'll be glad when they're both done. I officially hate this project. I can't wait to be finished with it, but I just don't want to keep working on it. But I certainly need to get them done, come Sunday I have to throw myself into making those baskets.
But that's not all I got done today. I also worked on wrapping some non-basket presents. It was just the coloring books and crayons for the two littlest cousins and my sister's friends. I wanted to get them done and taken care of and off my mind. I still have some other presents to wrap, but we actually have to get those first. Hopefully we can get to the store and get them some presents soon. I guess that like with every other present so far, I'm going to have to be the one that spearheads this. Just add another thing to the list...
You may be wondering what's the reason for the title of today's post. Well, today my father bought an Ostrich egg. It was empty and cleaned out, so he didn't swipe it from an actual Ostrich. It's been at the Christian Second Hand store for the past few times I've been. He's asked me if we should get it each time, and I said no each time. It was ten dollars, and we could easily spend that money on something more practical. But this time when he went out I didn't go, so he didn't have a voice telling him that it was a waste of money. So it came home with him, although he did get it for five dollars. It just bugs me because here I am, busting my hump (or will be) to make those Christmas baskets to save money and here he is spending money on totally useless things.
I mean I still need shoes for the wedding, or those two presents, or heck he could have bought me a Monster High Doll! (I'm starting think I want a second one. Watching that special on the 30th really made me want another one. Perhaps Gloom beach Frankie?)
Maybe she can keep the bad dreams away...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Owies!

I'm pleased to say that I got to work on the Domos today!
This morning I managed to finish the wedding dress and finish the garter. The Bride doll is almost totally done. All that's left is to add some ribbon roses to the veil, but they are still missing. Hopefully I'll find them soon, or else she'll be getting the pink ones. The Groom wasn't neglected this morning either. Today I drafted and made the start of his tux jacket. I used Barbie's Kimono pattern as a basis. There have been a shocking amount of Barbie patterns I have been able to use in this project. I guess my initial statement about not being able to use any of my familiar patterns was incorrect. I also worked on his shirt some. Right now it just needs it's second snap, as well as some pearl "buttons" and the bow tie, and it'll be finished.
Before I could start on that I broke for lunch. I would have continued working on it after lunch, except for one simple incident. You see I was taking the lid off a spray can while making lunch, but the lid did not move. Instead my hand did, and a chunk of my hand got caught under the sharp plastic lip of the lid, rewarding me with a divet in my hand. On my right hand between my middle and ring finger. Obviously this bled, and kept bleeding all throughout the day. It would be pretty terrible to bleed on a Wedding present. So I was done for the day with that.
Instead I worked on Vanessa's dress. It's red so it wouldn't show blood as easily (But either way I didn't actually bleed on it). I'm not in love with it, so I'm done with it for a bit. I'm going to work on something else, and come back to the dress, eventually, in time.
Each day it's a little closer!