Tuesday, January 31, 2012

This may be more interesting than the past couple posts...

I kept up with my posting stuff for sale trend from yesterday. No dolls this time since I've posted all the ones I'm willing to sell yesterday. This morning I posted four more patterns over on Etsy. I've decided that I'm going to just bother posting women's patterns there, those tend to sell more than the few men's and boy's patterns I have. Today I posted a 50's cocktail dress, two 70's teen dresses, and one 40's smock pattern. Keep your finger's crossed that they'll catch someone's eye and they'll buy them.
In somewhat related news, we've had a minor setback in my savings... I bought something. To quote my mother, "Well, you held out a day.". *Sigh* Hurts, but she right. But in my defense, it's really not that bad. I only spent seven dollars, and it was for something I actually needed. I think I've mentioned this before, but I'm searching for a Living Barbie head to complete a Living Barbie I've been building (We can make her stronger, faster). I've had a couple false leads, and E-bay hasn't been much of a help, so in a final plea of desperation I turned to my Flickr friends to see if any of them had one kicking around in their head piles that they didn't need. One person said they would check their stash and get back to me, I kept my fingers crossed. And they had one! She has black hair (might have a haircut), but it looks a decent length from the photo they shared. She also has wonderful coloring. I'd post the picture, but I don't have their permission, and wouldn't want to cause trouble. Don't worry about not seeing her yet, because the momen she gets here I will be posting pictures, as well as doing an introduction post sharing how she came to be. It's going to be a bit more interesting than the usual one, she has an odd history. All that I was missing was her head, and now I've got one (coming)! I managed to get a really great price on it too, my friend only wanted five dollars for it, (plus shipping). Shipping was only 2 dollars, and it's already on it's way to me! I could have paid 4 and gotten tracking, but I figured that cheaper is the better way to go, especially when I'm trying to be frugal. So really, it's a minor setback, but something that I've been wanting to complete for a while, and now I can cross that off the list!
I didn't get back to posting pattern in the afternoon (although I probably should have). My eyes were starting to cross so I felt they needed a break from staring at a computer screen. Instead I did some sewing! Yay for doing some actual sewing! I hadn't planned on making anything today, but I found a fashion illustration on one of the patterns that I was posting for sale that I thought could work for a 70's doll. I looked over the dolls that still need to be dressed that are from the 70's, but didn't see one that I thought would really work with the dress, then I realized something, it could work for Living Barbie, and I already had her body so I can use that for fittings. I already figured out what patterns to use before I decided to make it today. I had a couple of issues, but it came out decently. Like usual the dress did some evolving as I worked on it, so it's not exactly like the source material, but I still like it. I didn't get a chance to finish it today, so no pictures, but I hope to get that done tomorrow, so once I do that I'll share pictures, as well as describe my process.
So until tomorrow then!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Talking Shop!

I hit the ground running today about starting to sell things in order to raise the funds to buy those dolls. I started with posting some dolls for sale over on the Doll page. I managed to get four dolls posted this morning. Don't worry these are not anybody you're familiar with. I'm not the type of person who's always selling their most recent purchase to afford the next greatest thing. I couldn't do that, the dolls in the collection are a bit more personal to me than that. The four dolls that I posted were dolls that I got and never bonded with, or ended up with somehow. I've been meaning to post them, but never really got the motivation to do so. I can be so lazy sometimes. But even if they don't sell right away, just getting them posted is a good thing. I mean, I have enough things around here that I do want, there's no need just holding onto stuff that I don't want, and if someone else wants them and they help me reach my goal, I'm fine with that too!

But wait, there's more! I also posted four vintage sewing patterns over on Etsy. I still have that box of them I bought a while back. I was good about posting them for a little bit, but once again my motivation fell short once it stopped being fun. It's just they're such a hassle to post. I have to take out all of the pattern pieces and check if they're all there and the condition, it's just such a nightmare unfolding them and trying to get them back into the envelope. Folding patterns back up is my own personal heck. But today I managed to get four of them posted, a personal best. Usually I peter out around three. I even was able to set up a system for filling out the write up, so I'll be able to do it quicker next time, and yes there will be a next time. I'm going to have to keep posting these suckers until I reach my goal. I have more of these than dolls, so they're going to be the main part of what I sell. But I can't sell them unless I post them first.

But wait there's more! I was even so motivated today that I even posted an E-bay auction. It was just a small lot of Barbie dolls in played with condition, nothing special, and nobody you're familiar with. I've been meaning to get rid of these dolls, but again, no motivation. I put them for a start bid of ten dollars with a buy it now price of 30. I doubt they'll go for much, but right now every little bit helps. Even if they just sell for ten dollars, that's one bit closer to my goal. So finger's crossed for that!

*Update* I've had something sell! It's one of the patterns that I posted over on Etsy! It's a vintage Butterick dress pattern. It only sold for 6.99, but that's 6.99 more than I had this morning. I hope this is a sign for a prosperous future!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Put one cent in front of the other!

Still having those sewing troubles. And it's certainly not from lack of doll options, I have a bevy of people to choose from; Barbie, Ken, Skipper, Skooter, Ricky, Frankie, the list goes on, I'm not even limited by era, I have dolls from each one except the 80's. I'm just stuck plain and simple. Not much to do about that except hunker down and wait for it to pass and let the creativity start flowing again. I guess I shouldn't complain too much, I did just get to dress that Midge doll, and I do like how that turned out. I'm just not a fan of the long breaks in between these successful dressings.
Instead today I turned my attention to trying to find some inspiration online. Hoping to find something that would inspire me to sew again. I also did some searching for several Barbie project that I'm working on. I found myself on a new (to me) site that had dolls, and like usual I did a search for Barbie just to see what people are selling and for what price. And that's when I found it. It was hard to see when my pupils suddenly dilated from the sight of it. It was a lot of dolls, all vintage, and all that I neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeded to have in the collection. There was just one problem, they were super expensive, for me anyway. They totaled to 400 dollars, which some people might think is a minor expense, but not to me. That is more than I've ever thought about spending on dolls before, much less on one fell swoop. I think that is about the same price that I paid for each shelf on my collection individually (if my 20 dollar per doll average is correct). But I really these dolls are worth it, and I broke it down, the dolls average to about 30 dollars each, and that's not including any clothes they come with. So I have decided that I'm going to start saving up for these dolls, a new long term goal. I'm going to start focusing on selling some things that I've been meaning to and saving up money to reach to be able to afford these dolls. Not more frittering away my cash the moment it gets into my hot little hands. It's going to take me a long, long, long time to reach that goal, so I'm sorry for being so vague on the details over these dolls, but while I love y'all like family, I need to remember that you are my competition. And what will take me many months to get these dolls, might be just in someone's doll budget, and I would be devastated I lost out on these dolls because I was just throwing around the information. But if I do get them, you all will be the first to know, and I'm sure you'll hear all about my finances until you're blue in the face and ready to throttle me to shut me up.
But it's going to be a long uphill battle, I hope you're prepared. Right now I only have ten dollars in the dolly funds. A small amount, but we have to start somewhere.
And think, I'm 1/40th of the way there!
Every little bit counts!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

My Day with Joe

I'll start off with the bad news, another terrible sewing day. I made one quick attempt to sew something, it came out terrible, so I called it quits. I added it to the unfinished sewing project box for another day. That box is quickly starting to get full to the point of overflowing again. I'm going to have to start dredging into it and working on some stuff again, or learn to finally throw out the stuff I'm never going to actually finish, either one would work.
But even though I wasn't sewing, I was still working at my desk. Again I find myself lost in a sea of clutter. So for a bit I worked on clearing off the piles of stuff that ended their journey on my desk, always getting in my way, and never being what I needed. I got a pretty decent amount of it cleaned, and even managed to get a small box off it entirely. It was full of random Barbie fake food and I didn't know where to put it so I temporarily stuck it on the corner of the desk. That was a good six months ago. Today I stuck the stuff from the box into a bag, put it with the other random Barbie miniatures (hopefully one day to be used in a dollhouse) and gave the box back to my mother. Something else is already in it's place, and it was never prime real estate, but that particular thing is done and off my desk. Progress is progress. I'm sure things will pile up again soon, I am a creature of habit in that aspect, but for at least now it's cleared off (somewhat). I still need to figure out a place to keep Joe's old wardrobe as I remake it to fit his new body. Right now I've been keeping it all together, but as I remake certain pieces I put the original ones away, but this is a far from ideal situation. It's a bit of a jumbled mess, with everything tossed together rather haphazardly. Perhaps I need to split it up into two piles, remade, and to be remade. I just need to figure out where everything's going to go. Now that the desk is cleaner, I want to keep it that way!
While on the topic of Joe, I did spend some time with him today. I had some of his older clothes to put away in the Ken bag. Since I had the bag out I decided to sort through it again and check and see if I had anything else that would fit him. Since I already knew what was going to be a wash (All pants), I was able to pick through and find a couple of shirts that might fit him. Or, find some shirts that sort of fit him to use as a guide for pattern making to make him some shirts of his own. I actually managed to find a couple shirts that almost fit him, and one shirt that actually does fit. Usually if they're stretchy they fit, but fall too short on his arms. The one shirt that fit him was a gray long sleeve t-shirt that came off a Myscene boy doll. I bought it for the clothes, but everything was too long for the dolls I had, but I still kept them. It's a good thing I did, now Joe finally has a shirt. And among the shirts that almost fit was one that was cotton with a collar and snapped in the front. That one's going to be a real help when I finally get around to working on making him some shirts. Which I will get to... eventually.
But it wasn't all fun and games when I was trying on shirts. I had a major issue come up when I was trying on stuff. Joe's neck is just too short. I was hoping that my cheap fix was going to work out, but it doesn't seem to be the case. It looks fine when he's shirtless, but the moment you add anything with a collar he becomes super stump necked. If I left him as is, he wouldn't be able to wear many shirts, which is fine by me, but I'm sure he'd get pretty chilly, plus he couldn't accompany Charlotte to all those fancy places she goes. I guess I'm going to have to get him a longer neck. The reason I've been holding off is because the perfect solution just isn't out there for what I want. Joe only needs a slight rise for collars, I've seen lots of figures with these bizarre giraffe necks, and I very much do not want that for Joe. Also I'm going from one type of neck peg, to a head post, I'm not really sure they make something that goes from one to the other. I already have an idea of a fix. It's going to take a bit of work, and isn't ideal, and he's going to have to sacrifice all neck movement, but it's what I'm going to have to do. I'm willing to make some compromises to keep him on this body.
But I'm really not pleased with how adding some slight neck height chances his proportions. Before with his shorter neck it made him look slightly stocky, which I liked. But when you add mere millimeters to his neck it changes him to make him much more muscular. It's weird I know, but I liked how he looked when he was stocky. But I'm sure I'll eventually get used to it, it's what I'm willing to do in order to actually be able to have him wear shirts.
And at least now he should be taller than Charlotte (or at least equal height)! So that's a plus.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Not a good day today.

I'll be brief, today was rough. I tried several different projects and each were terrible disasters. To make matters even worse, I got hurt a couple times times today. Once by my own hand and once by the cat.
So really, the sooner I see the end of today the better. But in order to keep your interest for today, I did take some pictures. It's the dolls waiting to be dressed as they're grouped on the Myscene Party Pad. There's still about four dolls who aren't at the party yet, I've just run out of room to display them all on the top floor. I think you've been introduced to everyone here already, but if there's someone I forgot just mention it and I'll post an introduction post about them.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Giving the modern past another shot

I've been thinking about that Modern Art dress a lot in the past couple of days. I haven't managed to put the dress itself away yet. Every time I look at it, all I see are the weird fit issues that it has. And not to sound too smug, I think it's an issue with the pattern. I've tried several patterns from the same maker, and have never had anything decent come from them. If I do have something come from them, it's after I take the pattern and adapt the heck of out it. And I'm not ignoring the fact that I mess up all the time, but when you've used four patterns from the same place and each of them have glaring fit issues, you begin to wonder if it really is all you. Especially when I'm able to use other patterns without these same issues happening.
But I did wonder if it was my own fault causing some of the issues in the first place. When I was hemming the sleeves I did use very small hems, so I was wondering if the extra material at the armhole was what was causing all those fit issues (the puckering at the top mainly), so I made a quick test garment this time I took the armholes in the distance between the needle to the edge of the presser foot, a huge seam allowance. But even doing that I got the extra fabric over the shoulders and the gaping in the chest. So I knew that wasn't causing my problem.
So I started adapting the pattern. Using my most recent test pattern I took it in in the front, maybe 1/8 of an inch. This helped the fit immensely, but that's after taking in almost 1/4 of an inch in the front! No wonder the top was so blousey. After I did that there wasn't such a huge gap in the front anymore. I also angled the back seam since the first time I made it I had a huge amount of extra fabric at the lower back snap. Again I made another test piece to see if my changes worked or not. And it was a bit of an improvement, but I wasn't totally in love with it. The fit wasn't as tight as I would like it. I tend to like a really crisp fitted bodice. I mean Barbie's got the body for it, and it's not like I have to worry about her breathing.
But instead of working with that pattern and tweaking it again I decided it needed an entire overhaul. The original pattern was one that wrapped around the body and the main seams were at the neckline. I find that I work much better when the seams are at the sides and the collar area is one solid piece from the start. So using the original pattern I created a new pattern, one that now used side seams. While I was at it, I also changed the sleeve hole, and completely redid the darts. The original darts were weird and both oddly sized and placed. I gave a quick test of my pattern and feeling that it could actually work I started sewing with some decent fabric.
I chose this pink checked fabric that I bought to make that reproduction (Non-Barbie) vintage doll dress, the one that Trench-Setter ended up wearing. I focused my attention working on the bodice, stopping every few steps to test the fit on Midge. There's a few minor kinks to work out, but this top came out much better than the original. I was able to cut down a lot of the odd gaping that the other one had, it's just a much tighter fit in the bodice. My neckline is a lot closer to the dolls neck, and there's no way that my collar is going to reach the doll's shoulders, but I'm fine with that. I couldn't get the original pattern to do that either. I'm sure with some more monkeying around I'll be able to figure that out.
I was so motivated with this dress's success that I managed to finish it today. I got the skirt added, and reinforced all the seams. I even hand sewed the hem of the skirt, which I only end up doing if the stitching messes up, or I really like the dress, this one was the latter. I was even able to make Midge a hairband from a bit of the cutaway I had left. And yes, I said Midge because this is her dress, she's keeping it. It really looks adorable on her. I really like it, so I'm glad I went back to that pattern. I have a couple other ideas for this pattern, although with such a distinct collar I worry about it looking to obvious that it's the same pattern if someone else is wearing something made from it.
I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.
But it's not like there's 58 million people still wearing that turtleneck pattern in the collection...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Some Unusual News

Found out today that my sister is moving. It was both out of the blue, and not. We knew that she was unhappy at work and looking for another job, and that she was looking places other than North Carolina, but I don't think anyone was expecting it to happen so quickly. She called my mother to announce that she was moving to Philadelphia, in exactly one month from today. Apparently she had a job interview last week up there (which we didn't know about), they offered it to her, and she accepted. Tomorrow she's going to inform her boss about it, and unless he offers her a big increase in pay, she's going to put in her notice.
I know my mom's upset by this... upset, but she wants my sister to be happy and knows the job she's in now was really asking too much of her, and she was getting paid less than people around her who did less work. I personally am not really sure what to think about it. I'm a little sad that we won't be able to all get together as often, but really my day to day life isn't going to change at all. It will take some getting used to on Holidays, but I'm sure I'll be able to deal. I mean, I can't really point any fingers about leaving since I certainly have no plans on sticking around once the opportunity presents itself. And actually when I do move to NYC, she'll be the closest of my immediate family to me, so that might actually help me with some homesickness. (Although, I really wouldn't turn for her for actual comfort). It would be nice knowing that she's not too far away.
And how does this affect you, you ask? Well, she's asked my father's help in the move. He helped them last time too, (New Jersey to North Carolina) but luckily I was able to skip that since I was in Maine at the time. This time I volunteered to help him (I purposely said him). He's not a young man anymore, and he's the last person willing to admit that. I don't want him hurting himself by overdoing it (which he's prone to taking more than his work share). I figure that if I'm there that's one more person doing to overall work, and my brother-in-law and I can deal with the heavy stuff together. But I'm not really sure how much I'll be needed. I might not be called into service at all, or might just help them in Charlotte, or I could make the trip all the way up to Philadelphia. I really don't know at this point, it's really anybodies guess right now. But I made the offer, so depending on the situation I might end up not blogging for a weekend.
But that's a month off in the distance, so who know what will happen. (Again I find my life not in my control, but at this point that's getting to be the norm.)
I did some sewing today, but don't feel like sharing at the moment. Maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Making Joe's pants... again

I went out shopping again today. Want to know what I got? A spool of white thread. I'm super close to finishing off the spool I'm using, and without it I'd be at an absolute standstill for several projects. It is the thread color I use the most. (It just goes with everything!) So I went out and picked up the biggest spool they had at Hobby Lobby and even used the forty percent off coupon on it. And that's all I got there. Which proves that I step foot into that store and not grab everything in sight. I did look at some silver glitter tulle, but it wasn't on sale this week and I wasn't willing to spend four dollars to get a roll of 25 feet when I only really need like a foot of it. That project that I need that for can wait until it's back on sale. Even the dolls have to feel the pinch of a economy, and my thrifty ways... sometimes.
In an ironic note want to know what I didn't use today, white thread. Instead I ended up with a project that I was using black thread for, another pair of Joe pants. Since the other day making him pants was such a success I've been thinking about what other pants that he could use in his wardrobe. I know that I said I wasn't going to make him anymore pants, but you all should know by now how I love to contradict myself in the blog. Now that he's got a body that I really like I want to build him a decent starting wardrobe. And since I have a decent pants pattern, I figured that where I should start.
I picked out some black linen material that I bought in a lot of odd fabrics recently. Joe kind of still fits the suit he used to wear, but it doesn't close all the way in the back. I figure that I should make him his own decently fitting suit. Really dreading making the jacket however. Anyway, I saw down to make him pants. They went together okay, I had ironed out most of the big kinks in making these when I made the jeans. But I ended up screwing up. I ended up taking in far too much in the thigh area. For some reason the jeans had more give than this new fabric. And to make matters worse, I stupidly trimmed the inseam before I tried them on him after taking the thighs in. They fit him, but barely, and he really couldn't move his legs when wearing them. I was such not a happy camper when that happened. So now I have a pair of pants that are too small for Joe, but swim on everyone else. I'm not really sure what to do with them. I guess they can go live in the unfinished project box until I'm ready to throw them out, just not right now, it's still too soon.
After that huge setback I was pretty mad, but I didn't stop. Instead I made the pants again, making sure that I did not do that again. I even fixed a couple things that I had messed up in the first pair, so they are technically better as well actually fit him. I didn't actually get around to finishing them, but I know I will eventually. So no picture until that actually happens, and I wouldn't hold my breath for them anytime soon. I'm not feeling terribly motivated on them at this point.
Sorry Joe!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Welcome Fashion Queen

On last Wednesday I was trolling over on E-bay. I'm currently on the quest to find a Living Barbie head in order to complete one that I've been working on (but more about that when I finally finish it). I was doing searches for Barbie heads, hoping to find one that someone listed not knowing exactly what they had. There's actually a couple already available, but not at prices I'm willing to pay. I did however find something interesting, just not what I was looking for.
Someone had posted a Fashion Queen Barbie with a buy it now price of ten dollars plus shipping. While that was a really good price I was still hesitant about buying it. I really didn't want another Fashion Queen. Honestly, out of all the vintage dolls, I'd say she's my least liked. I mean, I'm not a fan of the bubblecuts because of their short hair, but at least they've got hair! All she has is painted on hair, and what's the fun in that? But still I couldn't walk away, she was such a good price and I'm addicted to a good price. I didn't buy her outright. Instead, I made the seller an offer for her, for seven dollars. I know, she was a good price at ten, but like I said, I kind of wanted her, but kind of not. This way I at least threw my hat into the ring to get her. And if someone else bought her before the seller got back to me, or if the seller declined by offer it would be over and done with and I could move on. After making my bid I went onto other things. I was expecting my offer to be rejected flat out automatically (had that happen before), but that never happened. So I waited. It was Friday morning before I got any reply. Apparently she accepted! The doll was mine, for seven dollars, plus five for shipping. I paid as soon as I learned I won, and the seller contacted me, thanking me, and telling me that the doll would get into the mail that very day.
And she did, the seller even included tracking information so I could keep tabs on my package. It was expected to arrive on Monday, and it did! I do like it when the post office doesn't lie to me (still sore about that last time). The seller did an amazing job packing her, she was in a box and everything. For what I paid I was expecting a envelope, and no tracking info.
I opened it up as soon as I got it. I was sort of aware of what to expect, but the write up wasn't very specific, and the pictures were a tad blurry. I already knew that she was missing a finger (I thought it was her pinky, but it was really her left pointer finger), and that the plastic around her ears was a bit darker than the rest of her (just slightly). What I was not expecting was her having neck splits. She had a small one on the back of her neck, and when I took her head off to look at that one, I noticed there was part of one starting on the front of the neck too. That was a little disappointing, but they were minor. I thought about contacting the seller about it, but for what I paid for her I should be grateful she's in the condition she's in. I ended up gluing them, so she should be all fine now, as long as I'm careful.
But I was in for a nice surprise about her. Her body? It's a Barbie only body with a small neck knob. Her body pre-dates Midge's introduction into the line. (Which is kind of sad because that means a ponytail doll lost her head for this Fashion Queen, and I would have killed for a ponytail doll at that price). But it's in really nice shape. Other than the missing finger, there's a few scratches and dents, one pen mark, and the arms are a bit swingy, but it's in a really decent shape. Her head's in good shape too. She has some hair rubs, but not nearly as much as the other Fashion Queen. Her makeup is in really great shape, with just some minimal wear on the lashes. She even has her nose dot paint still! There's something interesting to point out, she has wonky eyes. Her pupils are not where they should be. Usually they're high in the eye, directly under the eyelash ridge, but hers are more centered in the iris. So instead of casting her gaze upward, she's looking down (and not evenly). I think this Barbie has a lazy eye. I looked at all the other dolls I have, and she's the only one that has this issue. So she's pretty unique in that aspect. But I guess that's what happens sometimes when using people to paint the dolls. It kind of gives her this crazy angry/intense look. I don't know how I would feel about playing with her if I was a kid. She might have been the mean girl.
Another difference between her and the other fashion queen is the shape of her lower jaw. This new girl's is a lot more narrow. I sometimes find that the fashion queen dolls are a little more jowly than most Barbies. She doesn't have that issue. I wonder if that's because of the neck knob, maybe when it's bigger it spreads the plastic and makes it look larger? I really have no clue, it's just a theory. Her jaw is more like the older ponytails and first run bubblecuts (who may also have been using the smaller neck knob). Interesting...
Overall I am happy that I ended up with her. She's certainly a unique addition to the collection. Although for the time being she's just going to be another nude doll to add to the pile. Here's hoping she'll be one of the next ones dressed.
Those crazy eyes look so angry!

Joe's Measurements

I'm uploading these just because I want a digital backup in case I lose the paper that I wrote these down on. Anyone can use them, but they will only be helpful if you're working with the ACE MK-1 body.

I'll update it as I take more measurements as needed

Waist to Floor: 7-2/8"
Inseam: 5-6/8"
Crotch Depth: 1-1/2"
Thigh: 4"
Waist: 5-5/8"
Waist to Hips: 1"
Hips: 6-7/8"
Waist to Knee: 3-7/8"
Leg Width: 2"

Torso, Front (These might be off, I'm having trouble with them):
Center Front to Waist: 2-6/8"
Neck Width: 1"
Side Front to Waist: 3-1/8"
Shoulder Width: 4"
Center Front: 3-1/8"
Waist: 5-5/8"
Chest: 6-1/2"
Armpit to Waist: 1-5/8"

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Is it really Modern Art if it's from 1965?

After my success with Joe's pants yesterday I was back to feeling confident about my sewing. My last couple of projects have been really big failures, and that does wear on me. Sometimes you just need for something to work out in order to actually get that recharge of, "Hey, I actually am doing something, and not just wrecking fabric.".
So I wanted to something more adventurous, just not for Joe (Sorry Joe!). To be fair, women outnumber men a great deal in my collection and there's several more women than men in the "still waiting to be dressed" pile, so they need me to sew for them more than the men. Plus it's more fun doing women's clothes. Why do you think I haven't done any sewing for myself? Because that's boring, boring, boring.
Anyway, since I was feeling adventurous, I picked an entirely new pattern to work with. I didn't even have it printed out until today. I picked the vintage Barbie "Modern Art" pattern from Aileen's Petite Pattern collection. I've been thinking about trying this pattern out for a while. Recently I was sent a package with several small remnants of vintage fabrics, including some pink organza from an awesome Flickr friend. Could the Universe be sending me a gentle nudge to make this dress? All I needed was the material for the actual dress, I now had the overlay. And that's where the pink flowered print I bought last week from Hobby Lobby came into play. After buying that I had all the supplies I needed, now I just needed the motivation to do it.
Today those two things met (the motivation and the supplies). I had my pattern print out, grabbed my new Midge doll (the idea is that the dress will be for her) and sat down at my work station. I started off with the bodice. The pattern seemed a little large, but not extremely so. I was so confident that I didn't even bother making a test piece of this dress. I just started working on it using the vintage organza, that if I really botched couldn't be repurchased (or re-gifted). The nerve I have today!
It went together pretty easily, although I messed up one part. I sewed the fabric and organza together like you would do if you were lining something, but failed to realize that when you flip it right side out, the sheer organza is on top, and all off the seams, now inside are going to be visible through the organza. Oh. It wasn't actually that big of a deal since it was the top and the back seams. When the collar is set in it will cover the top seam, and I ended up undoing one back seam and fixing it. I just had to make sure the one I hemmed normally was the one that ended up on top when I added the snaps. I did have an issue with the front darts being oddly designed so I had to adjust that on the fly, but that was another easy fix. I was able to get the entire top done pretty quickly. Tops without sleeves are usually much quicker for me. I was even able to get the collar attached on the first try (okay, first and a half try). I had been trying it on while I was making it, and did have some fit issues, but I ignored them, hoping that they would clear up when adding the skirt, or adding the snap closures in the back.
The skirt went in super easy. It also has an organza overlay, and I hemmed it normally to not have the un-hemmed part showing up on the inside (learned my lesson over that). It's just that after I added the skirt, and went to finish it up, the dress still had it's fit issues, all in the bodice. I thought that with this dress the collar is supposed to go down pretty far and cover the shoulders, but whenever I tried to make it do that it would throw off the top to a point where it wouldn't fit. So I left it so that it's much higher than it shows in the pictures (Why are the only pictures shown with that pattern are the actual Mattel dress and not what can be made from the pattern?). Even with that the front bodice is really... puffy. It doesn't fit Barbie on the top torso very well at all. Peering down her shirt I can see to where her nipples would be if she had them. You cannot tell me that the original dress would have that, especially when most people are taller tan Barbie and are looking down when they're playing with her. The back had some issues too. the top snap lined up fine, but I had a lot of extra fabric at the bottom snap. I know I sometimes have an issue with making my seams too small, but I should not have this much extra fabric at the bottom. But even with these issues I finished it. And I'm not terribly impressed. Don't get me wrong, it's cute, and well made (well, well-ish made), but it seems a little fussy for Midge, and the collection. I tried it on a Fashion Queen, and it worked better for her, but I'm still not terribly impressed with it. Maybe I'd like it better if it fit better, but I'm just not feeling it.
I guess I'm just getting pickier as a designer.
"The Haus of Silver does not approve of this dress, take it away!"

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"No Charlotte, I will not go pants shopping!" said Joe

I started off today working with TNT Skipper again. Last night I spent some time doing some research trying to find something I liked to inspire me in dressing any of the dolls that are still waiting to get some clothes. I found a picture online of a dress that I liked last night, but waited until this morning to start working on it. I had the supplies on hand, and the patterns already picked out in my head by the time I sat down to make it. As I was working on it, it (just like the last one) kept changing as time went on. When my original idea isn't working out, I tweak this, and change that and by the end I have a dress that's pretty different, which sometimes I like better than the original idea.
This was not one of these times. I was not finished with it, and I was already very displeased with it. So I gave up. Maybe I'll come back to it, but at that moment I was so annoyed with this project (and my last few un-blogged ones) being such failures that I was ready to turn off my machine...forever. It's just so frustrating when you have a series of projects crash and burn so spectacularly when they're really not that advanced compared to other stuff you've been doing.
But I didn't give up. Instead I started another project that I've been avoiding, making Joe some jeans. Back when he was on his original body he had a default outfit (most people in the collection have one, ((except Charlotte) it's what they're usually stuck wearing). Joe's outfit had a pair of jeans that looked really good on him. When he upgraded to his next body he wasn't able to wear them anymore. The super low crotch wouldn't allow them to fit. I made him a pair of pants out of jeans material for his new body, but I never cared for how he looked in them (all pants looked off with that body), so he never wore them. I think they might be the pair that Pierre ended up with, and quite honestly, he can keep them.
But like you all know, Joe got a new body, and with that comes a new wardrobe, since his new body doesn't fit any of his older clothes. So I've been working on that. I've been working on drafting a pattern for pants that will fit. It's taken me several drafts, and several dozen test pairs but I feel like I've got a decent enough pattern. But after making a working basic pattern, then comes... adapting it up the wazoo! I like getting the most out of my patterns. Just as the seven women currently wearing something made from that same bodice pattern. Jeans were really one of the things that I wanted Joe to have in his new upgraded wardrobe. But these wouldn't be simple jean pants with some sewn on embellishments, I wanted ones with front (fake) pockets. I started off by examining a pair of Ken jeans that were basically what I wanted to get an idea how the pattern pieces should look. I drew up a new pattern incorporating how the Mattel made pair went together, but with the proportions of the pair that I drafted.
The pattern looked decent, so I quickly stitched together a practice pair. They were a good start, but I needed to fix a couple spots. Mainly the pocket placement and the side seams. So I drafted another pattern. Again sewed up another practice pair. These fit much better in the side seam, but needed to fix the pocket a bit more. So this time I just changed the pocket size, using the same pattern, now dubbed "Pattern Version 2.5". I felt confident that these would work, so I actually cut out the pieces from some denim that I had. And started to construct them. I worked very slowly. Stopping several times to check the fit and see how they were looking. A couple of time I did have to remove some stitching and redo it, but it was only a couple of times. I really focused and took my time with these. I really did not have to redo these. It was a little nerve wracking a couple times when I was doing the top stitching, and when I was sewing though several layers of denim at one time, but I managed to make them. (And not break a needle!) Not to toot my own horn, but I was really impressed how they came out. I did have a minor issue with the crotch being too low, but I was able to take in the inseam and make them fit better. I even zigzagged all the inside seams to stop them from fraying. I finished them today too. They close in the back with two snaps, I usually do one, but it was showing a little too much backside, and I want these pants to be as good as they can be.
I will say that Joe looks really good in them, and pretty awesome with his thumbs in his pockets. I don't have plans to make these pants again (which is why I wanted them to come out decently the first time), but I do have the option to make pants like these again. I do have some corduroy... and I will say that I still need to make him a pair of formal black pants, so you might see this pattern again, eventually. But first I'm going to revel in the awesomeness of the jeans that I just made!
(Still not looking forward to shirts however!)

Friday, January 20, 2012

You must be this cool to die...

Okay, for some reason I've decided to share with you this story from my childhood. It's absolutely not doll related, but not really sure why, it's been floating in my head for the past couple of days. Read it if you wish, perhaps it can reveal why I think like I do.

I was in High School, tenth grade if I remember correctly. It was around the time that kids were getting their licenses. And with that the fear of kids drinking and driving, so like most High Schools I assume, we got all of the talks, demonstrations, and scared straight programs. Not that I minded them, not to sound too snide, but I knew I wasn't going to do something like that, but I couldn't say the same for some of my classmates. And I'd sit through several boring lectures if it would hammer the point home to someone who might do something like that.
One of those "stunts" they did was that one day they had (I assume a student) dress up as the Grim Reaper and go around "claiming" student. If you were claimed that meant you died from drunk driving. You had to wear a sign around your neck stating something along the lines of that for the rest of the day. I thought it was kind of an interesting idea, and certainly made it seem a bit more hands on with the Grim Reaper roaming the halls, passing into classrooms and claiming his victims.
I even had my own close encounter with Death. It was between classes and I was in the halls for some reason, probably going to the bathroom or something and there comes the Reaper going the other direction. It was a tad nerve wracking thinking, is this my time? Is he coming for me? Luckily I survived all my classes "unclaimed". (Which, depending on the class, could have been a blessing.) But I did see some people wearing signs, so I knew that it was happening.
At the end of the day we all gathered into the auditorium to have the final wrap up to this lesson. They called up all the kids that had been claimed by death from drunk driving up onto the stage. And you know who I saw up there? The popular kids. Apparently death only wants you if you're a cheerleader or a soccer star (we didn't have football at my school). They made some issue about how the popular kids are more likely to die from drunk driving. So what I thought was totally random selection, was not at all. It was rigged from the get go.
So I was a little miffed by this lesson. I was not really affected by these people's "deaths", I was not popular enough to make Death's invite list, and my friends weren't included either. (We was certainly not part of the popular crowd). Quite honestly if these people just stopped going to school (for whatever reason), my day to day life would continue quite normally. In fact getting rid of one of these girls would make my life better, because I had a class with her, and she was as dumb as a stump, and she would insist on asking questions. And these were not trying to learn questions, they were her attempt at being cute, so I would have loved for her to no longer be in class, but her transferring would have been just as satisfying. You didn't have to go and kill her. So really, this lesson rang rather false to me. Had they selected students at random, choosing people from different clicks it might have made an actual impact on the entire school. I mean these kids were popular for some reason beyond my control. It's not like I had a say in how popular they were. High School is hardly a democracy. ("I really like Sally Jones, so I'm voting her for Popular Person!")
And really, why the popular kids? I know they're supposed to be the ones that are more likely do "cool" stuff like that, and suffer the consequences, but quite honestly, I'd say they were some of the most unlikely people at that school to be drinking and driving. Ask any student who they thought would do something like that, I'm sure most of them would come up with the same names of people who would do something like that, and none of those people were up on the stage (we were a small school and everyone knew everyone's business).
I just thought it was a really good idea, that petered out with a poor execution (no pun intended), or maybe I'm just mad that I thought it was a exciting way to make a point, but reality was just a ruse to remind everyone who the popular kids are.
Did anyone have something like this at their school?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I'll take one of everything, just wrap it all up!

I struggled to find the enthusiasm to work on any projects today. Yesterday I managed to force myself to finish that Skipper dress, but today I couldn't muster up anything like that to even touch any of the projects that I have kicking around. It's just that none of them really inspire me. None of them are really turning out that successfully, and I'd rather be doing something that actually inspires me, compared just working on until it's finished and I'm unhappy with the final results. I've been having a lot of those projects lately.
And while I didn't have any desire to work on anything that I started, I actually had a couple projects that I wanted to do, but not the supplies for them. And whatever I had the supplies for I didn't have the desire to do anything with. But really, that's often the case I find. Luckily I was able to go out today and get some supplies, so I could finally start working on these projects, and stop shuffling around aimlessly.
The fabric section was where I did the most damage to my wallet, like normal. The only place that I really shop in that store is the jewelry section, and I believe that I haven't bought anything there since I was working on Vanessa's original outfit.Today I was in the fabric section picking up several specific things, for about three projects that I wanted to work on. I had some of the things I needed already for them, but needed bits and pieces for each of them. First up the fabrics. I picked up a half yard of this pink floral calico. I'd seen it several weeks ago and really liked it, but couldn't think of a project for it, so I left it. I found a use for it (possibly for Midge), so I got some today. I also picked up a half yard of some bright green calico. I bought this fabric before, back when I was trying to dress Malibu Barbie. It didn't work out, and I used up all I had originally on several failed projects, but needed it again and what small piece I had left wasn't enough, so I had to buy it again. Here's hoping this one works out better than that last piece. I never managed to make anything from it that ended up in the collection.
I also got some more tulle. Not black and white since I still have plenty of that for the moment. I haven't even finished off my small white spool I bought way back when (and I have been working on it). This time I got a half yard of this rose pink and two yards of this baby pink. They're both for the same project, so I hope they work out. They are pretty. For some reason I've been liking tulle more and more.
I also found myself in the trim by the spool section today. It was all half off, so I ended up being a bit more naughty that I should have been. I was looking for some silver trim for one of the projects. I managed to find this silver glitter ribbon, which was perfect for what I wanted. I also picked up this silver polyester trim, not really sure what to call it. It's a metallic trim, and to me looks a lot like metallic leather. I also got that in gold too, although it doesn't look that much different than the silver, it's just slightly more yellow in color.
And finally I picked up some more metallic thread, silver this time. I guess this trip was all about the metallics. I got gold last time, but now I needed silver, so I picked up a spool. This is what I used my 40 percent off coupon on. But even with that I ended up spending over 15 dollars on supplies! What a crazy expensive trip. I'm going to have to start being better about spending all that much in one trip. I just hope it's all worth it.
Sadly it's not going to be quick to prove if it was worth it or not. I worked on two projects today after I got the supplies, and they were both terrible failures.
Like the only thing they didn't do was spontaneously burst into flames.
Yeah, that bad...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Not to sounds like a broken record, but last night I had a terrible night's sleep. But at least it wasn't my usual troubles, this all came about from a small fur ball. One who spent at least an hour (or at least felt that way) howling outside my door wanting to be let in. I tried to ignore him, but he wasn't having it. He sat out there forever crying to be let it. And I couldn't let him in to just shut him up, if I did that who knows what he would have attacked while I slept. I have the entire collection to think about, and I can't protect them when I'm sleeping. This cat is one that I know I have to watch to keep out of trouble. I miss the days when it was just Waffles, who is too proud to beg to be let in for too long and Chester, who couldn't meow. Although, I do miss Chester in general. He was amazing.
Anyway, I decided early on that I was not going to do things like how I did them yesterday. That was really a waste of a day when I look back on it (although I'm sure I'll end up doing it again down the line). I decided that I was going to pick a project and work on it until I either finished it, or messed it up to the point I could throw it into the unfinished project box or the trash.
I selected a Skipper dress that I started sometime last week. I've been trying to dress the naked dolls that have been coming it, but really have not been having the most luck. This dress was inspired by something that I found online, but as I was making it, it kept changing until it really doesn't resemble what I started out making. I put it aside originally when I ran into some fit issues, but today I decided that I was going to get back to it. I had most of the dress constructed when I gave up when the bodice was really loose. I tried adding some darts to it, but I had to take off the skirt if I really wanted to make it the best fit. This did end up being for the best since the skirt wasn't hitting exactly where it should. But I'd much rather have things work out the first time than redo it. I fixed the fit issue and added the skirt again. I wanted to point out that this fabric came from my Grandmother. It was one of those clothing pieces that came from the attic that I took some of what she was going to throw out. This used to be a child's apron (that I have a theory that she made when she was learning to sew). It was ripped, so I was able to piece this together from the decent parts and give it a new life.
I also ended up taking out the machine sewed hem, and doing it by hem. I don't like doing that since it takes forever, but sometimes it looks better, especially when the machine messes up the stitching on the hem. I also added the bit of ribbon at the waist, after I fray checked it. I'm hoping that will make it last longer. I finished it up with the usual techniques.
I even went further than that with this outfit. I went and made a pair of matching bloomers to go under it. I did feel that the skirt was a little short and full. We are somewhat modest around here. (Just don't say that to all the nude dolls just hanging around). I got those finished today too, but when Skipper was wearing it I wasn't impressed. She's a mod TNT Skipper and this dress was just a bit too 50's. This was part of my hesitation for working on it, I knew it wasn't working. But in order to fully admit that it's not working and move on I had to finish it. And now it's in the spares bag for Skipper sized dolls and I'm back to the drawing board.
But at least I got something done, that should count for something, right?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Good News/Bad News, Good News/Bad News

The USPS website finally updated Joe's new body delivery date from the clearly wrong date of the 7th. Just took them several days after that day to roll it over. Not to be difficult, but shouldn't something like that be automated? Unfortunately, it was updated to arrive on the 10th (Tuesday), not the 9th (Monday), even though it was in Greensboro on the morning of the 7th (Saturday). I honestly could have gone to Greensboro over 84 times since Saturday until the following Tuesday to pick it up in person. But that's not even an option. Luckily I didn't have to wait much longer, it came in the mail on the 9th. And good thing I did, if I had to wait longer I would have been livid. I know I should be patient, but it's so gosh darn hard. But I don't drink or smoke, so I figure that I'm allowed some bad habits. So he arrived on Monday, and in an ironic note I wasn't able to get to him right away. It was still Monday when I opened him, but it wasn't until the evening that I was tearing open the box to free his new body.
I don't believe I shared with you the detail's about Joe's new body. I was switching him from his old "In the Past Toys" body (with the broken hand and the chicken legs) to "ACE"'s MK-1 Body. I bought Joe's original body upgrade after doing a lot of online self research, but this time I found a forum; One Sixth Warriors whom I bugged the crap out of people by asking lots and lots of questions. They were all really helpful. I ended up picking the MK-1 Body, becasue it kept a lot of the body changes that I liked from the first body swap (removable hands, lots of arm joints, much more flexibility), but got rid of a lot of the problems I had with it (the chicken legs, the thin waist, the weirdly low crotch, the long feet). Honestly had I known this body was out there, I would have just switched him to it, and not gotten the ITPT's body. This one felt a lot closer to his original body, but with better articulation, and removable hands so he could wear more shirts. (That was a major annoyance with his old body).
I wasn't able to put him directly on his new body at first, before that I had to remove the original head and neck from the new body. It was cheaper to buy the figure nude with the head and neck than just the body. Go figure. I was able (with the help of my brother), unscrew the neck, remove it. It came with a neck, but I couldn't use it since Joe's head was a different type. This new body was like a Barbie body with the head and neck totally separate, Joe was like (non Fashionista) Ken dolls where part of his neck was molded onto his head. I'd need to use an adapter to attach his head to the new body. I was hoping the use the one that I was using for his old body, but the knob on the body was too small for the opening in the adapter. It could rest on it, but wouldn't hold. I asked the forum again for guidance, and got some advice, but nothing that was a perfect fix. Eventually I just sewed some tan felt around the neck knob. This made it thick enough to hold the neck adapter, and pose with it. His neck's a little short, so that might make making shirts a little difficult. Also his head is prone to falling off. I mean I can hold him upside down and it won't fall off, but it comes off super easily. I've had several times where his head just fell off and rolled across the room. But, the important thing, he's attached to his new body! Goodbye chicken legs, low crotch, and broken hand!
Hello to a new round of issues! I was quick to pull out my Ken clothing bag and start trying stuff on him. I started with the clothes that I made specifically for Joe. The bad news, nothing fit, so I'm going to have to remake it all. The good news, there's only like four outfits so it won't take too long to redo his wardrobe. It's not like it's Charlotte's wardrobe. She's going to be stuck with a belly button body forever since I'm not remaking everything I've already made for her. Sometimes it's not fair being favorite. Anyway, back to Joe. After finding out that most of his usual clothes are going to be a wash, I started looking through the bag. Sadly most of the clothes in the bag didn't fit either. Joe's new body has some meaty (amazing) thighs. He also has a pretty well defined backside. I was warned of these things, but it didn't deter me, quite the opposite. I do think Joe looks better thicker, it's just going to be rough on finding pants that fit. Most of the ones I had didn't go over his thighs, or if they did, they didn't close in the back. I had one pair of pants that were wide enough to fit, but it came up really short on him, so they weren't perfect. I had the most luck with pants that had an elastic waist. But they still weren't perfect. I guess I have a lot of pants making in my future.
I did have better luck with shirts. I had several different ones that fit. The biggest issue with those were the fact that his arms are now much longer and they wouldn't be long enough. Most shirts I could see the ball joint that is his wrist. But if the shirt was short sleeved it looked better. But I still have to make him some shirts, since I have a couple new outfits planned. So that's more pattern adapting that I've got to do.
I was actually really shocked to find out how many shoes Joe can wear now. Sadly, it's less than before. Remember how I said his old body's feet were too long? Well, now his feet are too wide. Joe's feet are now much more realistic in terms of shape (he even has arches). He has a wider toe section, which sadly Ken does not. So that means most of the shoes I had were too tight to get his foot all the way in. Even his old shoe wardrobe doesn't fit anymore. His black rubber dress shoes still fit, but his white sneakers (actually 80's Ken ballet slippers) are too tight. I think that eventually I'm going to have to invest into a shoe wardrobe for him. I think a pair of sneakers, some dress shoes, some slippers, and boots. I think that's a decent selection to chose from that will work for every type of outfit that I'd make. I just need to figure out the best place to get them from (and the cheapest).
So, overall I'm really pleased with this new body and am happy that I finally upgraded Joe. I just wish more shoes fit him. I can make him clothes, not shoes. Speaking of making clothes, I have a lot of pattern making in my future. It's not my strongest suit, so wish me luck.
Joe and I are going to need it!

Making Progress? NOPE!

My second day back from after Christmas, and I'm having a little difficulty getting back into the swing of things. Part of the problem is that with my week of hardcore cleaning I got severely backlogged in projects, and in stuff. I managed to totally neglect the upkeep in my own room. When I was done cleaning elsewhere in the evenings sometimes I would work on some projects of my own but never finished anything, and never putting anything away that I took out. I was just too tired to really care. In my small work space any clutter really shows, and is a real pain to work around. So today, I found myself lost in a swarm of supplies, and nothing I was using at the moment.
Even with the pressing issue of everything in my way, and nothing in it's place I still didn't feel like putting in some real time cleaning it. I also had several other projects that I was working on at scattered about the room. Unfortunately I didn't have one that really spoke to me. Most of them are things that I wanted to see how they worked out in practice compared to in my head, and so far none of them pleased me. But I wasn't so displeased to scrap any of them... yet. Instead of picking one to work on, I did the typically foolish thing I tend to do. Instead of focusing my time on something and making actual progress, I fractured my time and spent my day moving from project to project. Spending a little time on each, and switching when I got bored, which was often. I really didn't make progress on anything when I do that. Yet, I keep doing it. Sometimes I am a creature of (bad) habit.
One project that actually managed to make some progress in was Joe's pants pattern. I have been working on and off with it quitting whenever I get super frustrated, which is often. I started with a Ken's pants pattern, adapting it and adjusting it as needed, which if often. I was on pattern attempt five last night. The test piece came out... okay for this one. But when I cut out the pattern in the better fabric the inseam was way off. Like really, really, really off, throwing off the leg hems really badly. At that point I was so frustrated I just gave up. I know that if I pressed the issue I'd get more annoyed and Joe would be the one to suffer.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Poor, Poor Midge

When I was out doing my last big Christmas shopping I ended up at one of the local Antique stores in the downtown area. I was there to pick up that bag of shoes/other stuff for my stocking/table present. While I was there I decided to stroll around in the upstairs section. Not really looking for anything, but you never know what you'll find. I went upstairs because that's where I usually find the prices I can actually afford. I don't think I've bought anything from the downstairs other than the dolls from the case, and that's a sometimes purchase (at best).
So I was strolling around rather half heartily, I had been there recently so I wasn't expecting to find much. One of the first booths I looked at was one at the top of the stairs. They have a lot of interesting stuff, including some vintage Barbie outfits. I've never purchased anything from this seller because they have the highest prices of all of the upstairs sellers, and a lot of the first floor sellers. But I still check in from time to time because they have a vintage Midge, and I always check in on the vintage dolls I know of just to see if they've sold. She's a brunette Midge with a mouse chewed face, so if I got her, she's be a body replacement for someone. I haven't gotten her because she's 28 dollars, which would be okay for a played with Midge, but not one with a face that really can't be saved. Anyway, I looked for her, and didn't find her. In fact the entire bin of dolls in that booth was gone (they're mostly early 90's dolls in really played with condition that the seller wants 20 each for them, plus Midge and a very dirty Superstar). I figured that the seller decided to take them home and put something else in that space, they have been there a while and I haven't seen any of them sell. You'd think that would be a hint they were priced to high, but that's just me.
Anyway, Midge wasn't there, like I said. I was wandering around the upstairs just looking around, not expecting to find anything. I did peek into the booth that I got that bag of random parts, but they didn't have anything new. I was walking down the center isle almost ready to head back downstairs and get that bag with the shoes and stuff when out of the corner of my eye I saw a familiar torso. It was on a short bookcase and was kind of peeking out. I could see that it was a vintage body, but couldn't see the head. I assumed it was the Midge from that other stall and she'd gotten put back in the wrong spot. But when I took her off the shelf, she was not the same doll. She was still Midge, but blonde. She had some issues I could see, but she didn't have a chewed up face. She had a price label around her neck, so I checked to see how much she was going for. And seeing what was written I almost dropped her. I couldn't believe my eyes. I did a quick recheck because I couldn't believe how much they wanted for her. It was shocking...



6.99 for her! I couldn't believe it. That's almost how much she cost originally, and this is almost 50 years later. I couldn't see what would justify her price being so low. I was sure that it was going to be some sort of issue and she was a much higher price. I even made my father look and make sure he saw the same price as I did. And he did (thank goodness!). And I got her! I had the biggest grin on my face for the rest of the day. I've had dreams where I find a doll at an amazing price but usually I wake up before getting them home.
And I did get her home, so I knew I wasn't dreaming. At home I could really assess her flaws. She's had a bit of a haircut, but not the usual kind. It looks like whoever cut it really just thinned it out. Her curls at the bottom suffered the most from it. She still has a decent amount, it's just not as thick as it should be. I have no plans to re-root her since A. I hate doing it, and B. her hair isn't that bad. So I, and Midge are going to live with it.
Midge is also missing her eyebrows. Like they are totally gone, except two minor dots of them left. It's weird because her eyes are perfect, and that's where I find the most wear happens on Vintage Midge's face. I really like how her eyes are painted. The light reflections in them are nicely even. She also has all of her freckles, which are cute. She's missing some of her lip paint, but there's enough left to give her a decent smile. I really like how she looks (minus the missing eyebrows). She has a really pleasant calm look on her face. I think she's going to fit in nicely here.
While her face has some flaws (but, don't we all), her body is stunning. There's a couple black marks that I couldn't get off on her legs, but that's the only real flaw. She has all her fingers, and all her fingernail and toenail polish. Really, a wonderful condition body. If this Midge was thirty dollars, I'd understand.
I can't believe she's mine, it still feels like a dream!
Now, on to dressing her...

I'm Back!

Yes everyone, I have returned (in case you missed the title of this post). I know you're just thrilled. Yes, our make up Christmas is over, the house was clean, and I now have a free moment to actually get back to what's important, spending all my time thinking about me, doing projects for me, and spending money on me. Like I said, the important stuff.
I will say that during my brief hiatus, I did miss blogging, but I had no energy and no mood to be writing anything. I do however have a couple posts planned of things that I want to share with you all that happened during my week. (How come the week I take off I have several actually interesting things happen that I need to share with you all???) But those will come later, I'm working on them slowly. This post a a brief (famous last words) recap of Fauxmas.
It was a good day, in my opinion, or at least I had fun. It was an early morning, I was up and running by eight in order to get the turkey into the oven and started. I did manage to burn myself doing that, but it's not really a holiday unless someone gets hurt. It's a small spot on my left pointer finger, it hurt mostly at first, then eased into only hurting when I touched it by accident. I just hope it doesn't leave a scar. I have enough of those already. After the Turkey was in the oven I worked on finishing up cleaning the house. Doing a final sprucing up, and sweeping the floors that seem to manage to get dirty the moment you leave the room. I also set up the tree and some other decorations in the morning. When you're living with three naughty kittens (although they're not much kittens anymore), and Waffles (who does try to nibble on the tree) setting up a tree any earlier is a recipe for disaster. Even just one day I had to stay locked to the tree with a squirt bottle to keep them from knocking it over, the pests.
By noon (the preset get together time), the house was clean, the tree was up, I was dressed and ready for company. Except there was no company. Guess who was running late? So much for getting here at noon, which was the time they set. They didn't get here until almost one, which was the time we planned for dinner. So when they arrived, they only had a few minutes before sitting down for dinner. I was in charge of most of the meal, so (brag alert) the timing for everything was much better than Thanksgiving. The turkey still made it to the table first, but there was less time before everything else was done too. So we sat down and had a nice family meal. After dinner we opened our table presents. I got some Barbie shoes and bags. It wasn't a surprise since I picked it out and wrapped it. But at least I liked what I got, right? I picked them up at the Antique store earlier in the week for this purpose. I went there before to get them, but decided against them, because I couldn't think of a use for them, then after we left I realized that they could work for two of Charlotte's outfits. So I went back later and got them, but the surprise was on me, none of them fit her. I guess they're all for the older rubber foot dolls. Also one of them was broken, which if the seller knew was pretty bad for them to not disclose, but I can fix it, it's just a hassle.
Anyway, after dinner (but before dessert) we went to open presents, finally! In my stocking were some more shoes and bags (I bought a small bag and split it up into two present to make it more cost effective), plus two hair things... I think the flowered hat is a nightcap, but I could be wrong. If anyone recognizes anything feel free to point it out. Here's a picture of them, I think everything is early 90's, maybe late 80's. Not really sure of that, it's not my era... well it was my childhood era, but not collecting era. I also got this bag of random Barbie water accessories. It was a total impulse buy, and I doubt I'll ever really use any of it, but it was a quarter over at American Surplus and Supplies and my father was placing an order already. (If you've never been to A.S.&S. it's worth a look, it's a company that sells random, sometimes unusual stuff at a discount.) I actually forgot I asked for it, so it was a bit of a surprise seeing it.
From my sister I got these two dolls. They're from TY, and they look to be Kelly clones. I actually looked at the Hello Kitty doll a week or so at Hobby Lobby and decided not to get it, and I ended up getting it as a present! Pretty funny. She also gave me "Trendy Taylor", because that's her name. They're pretty cute dolls, although I noticed that their shoes are molded onto their feet. Not a fan of that. I think I'm going to keep these in their box, because they look so pretty in it. Besides I can always debox them later if I choose to do so. But that's not also what she gave me, she also gave me this Barbie book! It was printed in 1994, and has large pictures of Barbie outfits broken down into clothing types (outerwear, career, etc.) ranging from 1959 to 1989. It's a fun book and really interesting to flip though. The cover's ripped, but a little tape can fix that. I'm sure it's used, but other than the cover is in good shape, plus I'm sure it's out of print. It's a fun book to have, I really like what my sister got me! I was surprised she got me three different things, I would have been more than happy with just the book.
There were also some more small things I got, but I won't bother sharing since they're not doll related. It was a lean year this year, which was okay with me, I don't need to get a million things to be happy. This final one was sort of not a true present since I actually bought it myself, but it arrived in the mail on Saturday, and I wanted something big to open on Christmas. I technically could have opened Pierre on Christmas, since he was my Christmas present, but I couldn't wait when he arrived. I would have been waiting weeks for him, and I couldn't do that. This one was just a day, and I figured I could do that. What I opened was a new (to me) TNT Flip Barbie. I found her online for a decent price, and bought her. She arrived on Saturday, just in time for Christmas. I ended up taking her pictures after she got a scrubbing and hair reset, so she didn't arrive looking like this. I have to do an introduction post for her later. To quote my mother when I showed her after she was done, "I didn't think that was the same doll.". So really, not that many presents, but what I did got, I like and plan on using. My presents were well received too. I made my Mom tear up when she opened her angel. So I think everyone was happy with what they got.
After dinner we had dessert. We had more cheesecake mousse, and some chocolate fondue. For the fondue we had rice crispy treats, marshmallows, pretzels, graham crackers, and Welsh cakes (which are like sweet pancakes) for dipping. It was all very good, but nobody could eat a lot since we all had a lot of dinner. My brother-in-law (still weird to type) liked the cheesecake mousse a lot, so much that they asked for the recipe. I've already sent it to them, since it's so easy to make and really helps fill that cheesecake craving.
After dinner we all sat down for a long game of Apples to Apples. Not sure if anyone is familiar with it, but it's a game that all of my family enjoys. We don't play it like you're supposed to, we play until the cards run out. My Mom ended up winning with the most cards at the end, with several people coming close. I technically lost with the least amount of cards, but I don't care, it was just fun playing. When the game was over my sister left. It was late and she had a long day the next day. My brother-in-law ended up taking some turkey home with him, so I guess it was decent enough to eat again.
After they left, I took down all the Christmas decorations. Can't leave them up with the kittens. That went pretty fast since there wasn't too much to take down and everyone was helping. Even though it's way past actual Christmas time, when I shut the door on the Christmas closet for the final time, it was really sad. Christmas was over, and it's time to get back to humdrum reality/winter.

Sad face for that!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Some "dwelling" in the past

During my week of cleaning the house, while I was in a hiatus on blogging, I must admit, I wasn't taking a break from everything that I normally do. Yes, I got a chance to go out, and I eagerly took it since I was in dire need to get away from the monotony of cleaning. That was the trip that I was picking up the final Christmas stuff before the big day. While out I stopped into the local Salvation Army. I don't think I got anything (my memory's a little fuzzy), but I did notice that they had a sign asking for plastic bags.
At home I located several plastic bags. We used to use them shopping at certain stores (we save you money by not supplying bags, which we like!) but we upgraded to canvas bags recently (more Earth friendly), so we had some kicking around that we didn't need. Also, I do use them for a trash bag for my room, but with all the Christmas shopping that has been happening I've amassed a collection that would take me months to use, so I could certainly spare them.
The next day I got another chance to go out. We needed to pick up a couple of other things that had been missed, or not able to be located the day before. Since we were going to be in the area, we decided to bring the bags to the Salvation Army. In the parking lot I was asked if I wanted to go in and check inside. I thought we were just going to drop off the bags since we were literally there the previous day, but when the idea is put into my head, I couldn't say no.
So I went in, checking the craft section, then the toy section. In a weird note, those are the two sections I shop the most in, and they just switched their locations in the store, but only those two. The craft section was a bust. But in the toy section I saw a clear bedding bag with some Barbie housing in it. It looked familiar, and I had an idea of what it might be, but my knowledge in newer Barbie dwellings is very limited. I thought about if I should get it, but I had a strong enough hunch it was what I thought it was, plus it was only two dollars, so if I was wrong and it was something else I could resell it and get my money back, or just take the loss. I've spent more on less.
It was a jumbled mess in the bag, but I was able to take it out and rebuild it at home. Turns out what I thought it was, was correct. I had found the Myscene Party Pad! It was missing everything but the main structure (no furniture and the cardboard backing for the top part were gone), but I had the main thing, and that's what's important. This is the set that (non-Mattel) collectors like because it had a spiral staircase that looks really cool for their doll houses. Since they're not made anymore they've become a bit of a hot commodity. I thought they were interesting (perhaps a bit of Monkey see, Monkey do), but would never be willing to buy one for how much they go for. Like I've said, I'm cheap and rather spend the money on a doll than a circular staircase. But now I have one, and it only cost me two dollars!
One of the posts is broken, but I think a little glue will fix that. But I will say that I'm not too terrible impressed with the stairs. They look interesting, but they're very shallow. A real person wouldn't be able to walk down them. And the banisters are a little low, which isn't too shocking since Mattel has never been able to make a couch that was tall enough for Barbie to really sit in. Like I said it looks interesting, but it looks better in pictures. I did find out something interesting from it, it plays music and lights up. I guess I never saw that before because people just take the stairs and get rid of the rest of the "pad". There's a button on the top floor that when you press it plays a quick "techno" song, and some lights flash on the bottom floor. One of the bulbs on my is broken, but the purple light in front still works, as well as the one upstairs that lights up the bead curtain.
Right now I'm not really sure what to do with the Party Pad. For the last week it was set up on the floor while I was busy with Christmas stuff. I moved it onto my sewing chest (which it barely fits on top of) and that's where it's been living for the past couple of days. I have great dreams of bringing back the Barbie House of my childhood, but I know from practice that I'm really not a dollhouse kind of guy. Just tell that to the High School Musical school/house that's languishing in the attic and the fold up doll house that's stuck in the closet.
Right now I'm going to hold onto it. I'm not ready decide to keep it or not, and I'd hate to get rid of it and regret doing so. So for the time being it will stay on the sewing cabinet until I decide it can go somewhere else. The nude dolls that I've been waiting to dress have started gathering on it. I'm much more likely to put them back there than into the box I was putting them in before.
Perhaps it's going to become the "Naked Myscene Party Pad"?
Time will tell...
(Oh, I'd like to point out, that it came super dusty and I haven't had the time or the desire to dust it yet. I totally own up to my own dust, but not to someone elses.)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Adieu, to you, and you, and you

I'll start off with the bad news, I'm taking a break from blogging.
Next is the good news, it's just for a week, and it's not my usual "I'm feeling overwhelmed and something's got to give" reason. It's just that with our make up Christmas coming up on the 15th, I have so much cleaning to do. I haven't done a total house cleaning in a while so there's so many little (and big) things to do. And the only thing more boring than actually cleaning is talking about cleaning. So in order to keep your interest (and save my sanity) I'm going on a week long hiatus.

I may pop in and do some small updates, (as well as finish up a couple posts that I'm behind) but I will certainly will not be posting every day.
See everyone on the 16th!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

USPS are liars!

Joe's body was supposed to arrive today in the mail, according to the USPS website. I say supposedly because it never did. I knew that the odds were against me when I saw from their website that the package was in Greensboro this morning around 10:30. Really much too late for me to expect it here by the early afternoon. But still they didn't change their estimated delivery date, so I remained hopeful. But the mailman came and went without my package. Why does this always happen to me on Saturdays? Now I have to wait all day Sunday to get it on Monday (if I'm lucky). It's the the Murphy's Law of Mail. I'm just mad that the stupid delivery estimate hasn't changed, way to get my hopes of USPS, way to go. So unless they plan on driving it out to me it's wrong, wrong, wrong.
After that disappointing situation, I really didn't know what to do with myself. I was planning on spending my time switching Joe to his new body then pulling though my Ken clothing bag and seeing what I had that still fit him. I wasn't planning on doing any sewing unless I didn't have any pants that fit (there is a possibility of that). Since I didn't have him, I really couldn't do that, now could I? Instead I poked through the unfinished projects box again. But I wasn't really interested in anything that I saw. I did try to work on a couple of things, but my heart wasn't really in it, so I gave up. So not a whole lot to report.

For today's item in the bag we have this Barbie ballerina head. It just needed washing and brushing. Not really sure what to do with it. She falls under the Malibu guidelines, she's almost too new for the collection, but if I do add one, she'd have to be in great condition. She's in decent shape, but missing her crown, and body (and her hair ends are a tad fuzzy). Also she's way too similar to Mary Clair (also a former ballerina), just with white blond hair compared to honey blond. And without the forehead split that Mary Clair has. I think that she's going to go into the head crate with the rest of the ones from the bag, plus the ones I already had. At this rate I'm going to need another egg carton.
So many heads!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Boom! Headshot!

I'll start off with the bad news, I lost an E-bay auction today. Sniped again at the last minute. I won't share my problems with that auction "technique" since last time I did I got chastised. I keep telling myself that I really didn't have to have what I was bidding on, but on the flip side of that coin neither did the person who outbid me. It's not like I was bidding on a kidney or something, but moving on.
I was a bit blue after that happened. I did take off another part of Joe's outfit. Today I took off his vest. I should have done that a while ago, it wasn't finished and was held on with a safety pin, but last time I was using him as a fit model I left it on him and he's been wearing it for a couple weeks. But not anymore, I took it off him and put it back into the unfinished project box. After that I sort of didn't do much of anything. I was feeling pretty droopy, and since I really don't have a project to do at the moment, I wasn't feeling like doing much of anything.
I did however decide to look through that bag that I put all of the unfinished projects into. I still haven't tucked it away, so I decided that I wanted to sort through it again and see if there were still some projects that I didn't want to give up on just yet. I managed to pull out about ten or so projects that I felt could either be saved, used for something else, or taken apart. I made a couple small strides with a few of them. I managed to fully take apart a failed attempt at making a tulle tutu for Charlotte. Most of them I just played around with until I got bored and moved around to something new.
But I kept working with a couple of them to make some actual progress. One of those was a jacket. It's very similar to the one I just finished because it's the first one of these I made. It was my first attempt at making this short jacket for the brunette ponytail way back when. It ended up being really tight on her, so I ended up redoing it after I re-sized the pattern. That left me with this jacket that I didn't have much use for. Today I ended up basically taking it apart and redoing all of it. The only sewing that's left from the original is the back hem. I even managed to do another inset collar. Took a little work, but I managed to finish it today. Charlotte can wear it (originally I wondered if it was even going to fit her, if it didn't it was going to go to Momoko), but it's rather tight. This wouldn't fit on the vintage girls, which is weird since the pattern was made for that body type. I guess it'll be just for the smaller busted girls.
I wasn't finished with that. I also ended up fishing out a matching dress from the pile. Again I believe that this was the first attempt at dressing the brunette ponytail, except this is the dress and not the jacket. For some reason when I first made the dress I ended up choosing the wrong sized skirt. It was much too short and much too tight. I guess I decided that it was easier to remake the dress than take off the original skirt (I guess I could check the original blog posts about this if I was really that interested in it). I wasn't happy with the original dress, but I still kept it. Today I started off with taking off the original skirt. The bodice fit Charlotte fine, it was the skirt that was messing the whole look up. I ended up cutting another skirt from the fabric, this time choosing a full skirt instead of a straight skirt. Really, there's no point replicating the exact same outfit, might as well make it a bit different. I had some issues with the skirt not being even, but that was the only problem I had with it. Overall it went together pretty easily. I got the entire dress finished today. Snaps and all. It looks really great with the coat over it.
While it is cute, I don't have much use for it. It's for the belly button body, and right now there's only nine people in the collection that use that body, and they are all dressed and this isn't really their style. I don't even plan on keeping it out for Charlotte. Into the spares bag it goes. At least it gets it's moment in the sun on the blog. It does look really good on the dress form. (P.S. How awesome are those dress forms? I would kill for an army of them, they make my clothes look so professional.)
For the item from the bag for today we have another head. This is Growing Up Skipper's head from the 70's. Fun fact, the plastic they used on this head was hard plastic. Meaning the first thing I had to do was boil the head in order to remove the broken neck knob that was still inside. After that it was just a simple wash and a brush. I'm not really sure about this, but Skipper may have had a hair cut. The sides of her hair are much shorter than the back. But the weird thing it, it's both sides, and they're both even. I tried looking up online how her hair should look, but sometimes it looked like it was all supposed to be the same length, but other pictures I found made it look like it was similar to the one I had. Not really sure about that. I'll have to do more research.