Saturday, June 30, 2012

From Friday, but introduced on Saturday!

Since it's tomorrow it's time to tell you what came in the mail yesterday. I'm sure everyone's been transfixed to my blog all day hitting the refresh button hoping my newest post would appear. (Not likely since I'm several days behind at this point). It was... a straight leg Francie head! And why is that exciting? Because earlier in the month (and unshared with you), I bought a doll. One that was a different doll head on a straight leg Francie body! I bought the doll because I needed the head, but that left me with a Francie body. So I managed to track down a head on E-bay. It was an auction, so I was sure that I wasn't going to win it, but I put my bid in and counted down. I didn't mention it because I really wasn't going to get my hopes up or anything, but I guess nobody else wanted it since I won it without any competition. That was on Tuesday. I paid as soon as I won and the seller mailed it the next day and it arrived on Friday. And I was able to complete my first Straight Leg Francie (if you ignore the one in the closet that is still getting that spot on her face bleached). She's also my first Brunette with her original hair. She does have some issues. Her head has totally paled, she has a lip rub, I think her hair has been trimmed in a few spots, and her body is covered in bites, especially her right hand is practically chewed off (by a child), but I do love her. I've always loved Francie, she's just so ... pretty. I do hope to find a replacement arm for her eventually, but for now she can live with it. It's not like everyone else around here is in perfect condition. Here's a picture of my newest Francie shortly after she arrived:I took this picture to share over on "In the Pink", but not on Flickr for some reason. For some reason I'm feeling a little bit like avoiding Flickr for some reason. Not really sure why.
Anyway, she arrived yesterday and I made some progress on dressing Francie today. I was over on E-bay looking for something... can't remember what now. When I found a listing for a Japanese exclusive Francie dress (for a thousand dollars!!!). Now I do not have that kind of money to spend on a dress (or anything else for that matter), but I do have enough sewing skills to make something similar. I don't have a whole lot of Francie sewing patterns, but I had a bodice pattern that I already drafted that would work, and plenty of skirts. She can share the skirt patterns from Barbie, so she was all set in that aspect.
I even had some fabric that I thought would work for the dress. It was nothing like the original, but I'm not interested in making a copy, I want my own version. It was a red floral fabric I bought a while back. It was the same fabric I made that Darci dress that I sold out of. So far nobody in the collection had anything made from it. But even though I already had the fabric for it, I was still missing some supplies, the thread. I've been almost out of red thread for a while now. I've held off getting it since I wasn't totally out, but now I needed more than the little I had left on the spool. But I couldn't go out and get some, so I had to make do. I ended up using white except for the most important things, then I'd use what little red I had. White was fine because I was using a white lining for this dress. The red fabric while lovely is really thin, so I needed to line it all. It's more work, but it does make things look a little more professional. Also I'm finally finding a use for that thin white material I bought from Hobby Lobby. The top went together pretty easily. One of the reasons why I liked the original outfit was the fact that it had a cute lace trim poking out from the sleeve holes, the neckline, and the bottom of the skirt. I looked through my lace stash and found one that would work. I ended up hand applying it around the neckline and the sleeve holes. I managed to get the bodice all taken care of, even though I did have to tweak the bust darts on the fly. Apparently the few changes I had made to the pattern made their adaptation necessary.
The skirt went together pretty easily, it's fully lined, with hand applied lace as well. But that's where I ran into my problem. I'm having trouble getting the gather's of the skirt to come out looking somewhat even. I've tore out the stitches a couple times and redid them, but each time it's a brand new mess up. It was getting pretty late in the day, and I was getting pretty annoyed, so I gave up. I'll come back to it later, just not right now.
But even though it's not finished, Francie is still wearing it. So I must like it to leave her in it! No pictures of that, but once I finish it you'll get some.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Nice butt(ons)!

Let me tell you, it's been a hot one today. It was 99 degrees out there basically the entire morning. In the middle of the afternoon it finally broke the 100 degree mark and kept climbing. I knew that it was going to be hot today, but there's something about just looking a weather forecast that doesn't quite prepare you for how hot it's actually going to feel like.
But I have been taking precautions, mainly for the animals. The cats have been house bound all day, much to their annoyance. Whenever I'm downstairs they keep going to the doors and howling to be let out. I kept telling them they can't go out, and they refused to listen. It was well into the afternoon that they started to realize they weren't going to get their way. That's when they started lying on the floor in mopey piles. Glaring at me like a sulking child. Silly things. The dogs however were much more appreciative of my concern for them. I let them out in the morning when it was the coolest, and gave them their water. Around noon I brought them back in so that they could lay in their crates and keep cool. I went to go let them back out around four, but they wanted nothing to do with going outside. I offered them some water (which only one drank), then shut them back into their crates. It was seven by the time both of them were willing to go back out. So I let them back out so they could take care of their doggy business. I didn't worry about leaving them out there since I always bring them in at nine, so they weren't out there for that long.
But my day wasn't full of just keeping the animal's cool. Last night when I was in bed and trying my hardest to fall asleep (and failing) I was thinking about the dolls over on the sewing cabinet. Did you know that they're only six dolls over there from last year? Everyone else is from this year. And I was thinking about how buying those little buttons was actually in hindsight a good purchase since it finally got me to dress Free Movin' Barbie and move her from the sewing cabinet to the bookshelf. Which lead me to think about other dolls, already in the collection, who could benefit from having some buttons added to their clothes. I managed to find several dolls that could use some. I started working with Living Skipper first. I pulled out the stitches holding the straps of her jumper on and sewed on some red buttons. Just like with Free Movin' Barbie's jumper the buttons hold the straps on. I also did this for the back of the straps. I ended up pulling out most of the stitches in the jumper. Some I replaced by hand sewing, some I did not. The tension in the machine was kind of messed up when making this, so it actually looks much better now. Score another one for those buttons. I also ended up adding buttons to Malibu Ken's shirt and my most recent Midge's shirt. They didn't get an outfit overhaul like Skipper, they just got some the buttons added on. They're really cute, and I like adding buttons! Although it's a pain when I'm holding down one of them to sew it on and it flies across the room. But I'm really glad I bought those buttons. I wish they stocked them in black and white!
Oh! I also got some mail today, something doll related! But you don't get to hear about it today. It's still so hot and I want this computer off my lap. You'll get all the info tomorrow. I promise.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lazy Days are here again...

I had a super hard time making myself get any sewing done today. So super hard that it was in fact impossible. I just feel like doing anything for the dolls, so I didn't force myself. I don't have any pressing projects that I need to take care of, so I took it easy.
Sort of like a day off.
I did however find myself over on E-bay. I'm still on the hunt for those Ken shoes for Joe. I've already done the search for "Black Ken Loafers" where I found a pair of them for seven dollars, but since I had nothing better to do today I did more searches trying to find the same shoes for cheaper. Most of the time I didn't have much luck. However "Ken Black Shoes" netted me 27 pages of results. And darn it, I looked through all of them. Most them weren't the shoes I was looking for, but I managed to find out where my single shoe came from.
I've been trying to figure out how I ended up with the one I have. From my research I knew that this was a newer shoe mold. They weren't using this back when I was playing with the dolls, so it's not like a got a pair and lost one (which happened a lot). For the most part I don't think it was in use before 2004 (which is when I went to college and stop collecting dolls). And if I got a pair of them after college I would hope that I would have been responsible enough to not just randomly lose one. And I know I didn't own any of the outfits that I was finding these shoes came with, so I was thinking that I must have gotten some random lot of stuff in the past few years and this single shoe was in it. But then I saw that the Silkstone Ken gift set came with this exact style of shoes. Now I do own that Silkstone Ken, but I did not get him new. I bought him in a huge lot of stuff (one of my only doll purchases while in college). It was an odd assortment of vintage, new, and collectable dolls. All had a lot of play, and lots of damage. What I assume is that somebody collected Barbie dolls, and when they passed away parts of their collection were given to a child to play with and destroy. So I can only assume that this shoe originally came with him. I'm glad that mystery was solved! It wasn't like I was up all night obsessing over where this shoe came from, but it's nice to have some closure.
And I did find some of those shoes for a decent price. Ironically it's going to cost more than the seven dollar pair, but I'll be getting more for my money. I found a couple people selling lots of Ken shoes made up of four pairs each for around ten dollars that had a pair of these shoes in them. I have a couple that I'm leaning towards, but the problem is that out of all of the four pairs in the lots I only like some of the other shoes that are included. Usually there's the black loafers I need, a pair I'd like to have, a pair that I'm okay with, and a pair I'd never use. I'm thinking about contacting the seller to see if they'd be willing to mix and match the lot, but they might tell me they can't do that. Which isn't a deal breaker. I'd rather buy four pairs for ten dollars than one for seven. I'm just waiting until my E-bay dollars come up, then they'll be even cheaper. I just hope they don't sell by then!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Talking Business... finally.

I had a terrible night's sleep last night. For some reason I could not fall asleep right away, and when I finally did I woke up a lot more than usual during the night. I hope this isn't the start of another one of my crappy sleep cycles. I really do not want that.
But even though all I wanted to do was stay in bed and rest, this morning I forced myself to get up. You see I needed to go out. Just to the post office, nothing too major. I had a box to get out into the mail, and if I didn't get to it today I was going to have to wait until Monday at the earliest. And I wanted to get it done and all squared away. And I did! It is on it's way to Spain as we speak. I've already e-mailed the person to let them know that it's in the system. This was a pretty big sale for me. I didn't mention it because for a while it didn't seem like it was going to happen.
I'll explain. A few weeks ago I got an e-mail from someone over on the Dollpage. She was asking about four items; a Barbie reproduction doll, Brooke Shields, that Ariel doll, and a dress I had listed. The total for the four items was 42 dollars, before shipping. Her English was not the easiest to understand, but I figured out that she was asking me if I would be willing to give her a better price if she bought them all. I thought about it, and since I like getting deals when I buy more I crunched the numbers and offered to take seven dollars off, making it 35 dollars. I also calculated shipping (14 dollars), bringing the total to 49 dollars, which I told her, giving her the same numbers and breakdown that I gave you. But she was not happy with that. She wanted me to go down even lower to 45 dollars, taking off 11 dollars instead of my 7. Which basically meant she wanted one of my dolls for free. She was asking me to take 25% percent off, which I was unwilling to do. I told her that I had too much money invested in these dolls and simply could not sell them for that low. After I sent her that e-mail I didn't hear from her again, so I figured she passed on my offer and put the dolls back.
A couple of days ago she e-mailed me again, saying she still wanted my dolls, and pointing out that I hadn't sold them yet. I e-mailed her back restating that if she wanted them they were still 49 dollars, I was still willing to give her my original price break. When she contacted me again, referring to me as a "cold business woman" (wrong on both counts). I simply stated to her that I could not go that low for these dolls, "I do not mean to be cold, but...". She e-mailed me back stating that she had only been joking, (which I do believe) and that down the line that if I decided to go lower on the doll prices to think of her. I didn't bother e-mailing her back since I figured this was getting me nowhere and I was done dealing with her. I hadn't bothered putting the dolls away since I hadn't even bothered taking them out for this round of e-mails.
But the other day I posted two new dolls for sale, that California Midge, and Sun Lovin' Barbie. And wouldn't you know, she contacted me again. Apparently she now thought my price of 49 dollars was a fair one, and she wanted to purchase the Midge doll as well. I don't understand it either. I asked her if she wanted the entire Midge doll, or just the head (I had made the offer in the ad since Midge had the spotted and sticky legs and might only be worth of a rebody), because adding another doll would make the shipping go up. She wanted the whole doll, so I ended up adding another dollar to the shipping. So she bought it all. I guess that Midge was a doll she really wanted. Whatever. She paid yesterday so I got the dolls shipped out today.
And while I have all that money burning a hole in my Paypal pocket I'm not spending any of it. I'm not saying anything about the buyer but I'm waiting until I have conformation that the dolls are in her hands and that's she's happy with them before I do anything with that money. I'd rather hold off on buying anything than be caught underfunded in case something came up. But once that's all squared away and done with, I do have some exciting plans for the money. You'll just have to wait and see what that will be. I do enjoy leaving you all hanging like that!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Getting some stuff done, but not much...

My first morning with short (to me) hair. It's still a weird feeling. I did however enjoy being able to turn over during the night and not have to untangle my hair in the process. So I guess this short hair business has it's perks. I'm sure I'll eventually be used to it, just going to take some time. And I'm sure by that time it'll be getting long again!
Since it was Tuesday it's time for more writing! Last week hadn't been successful, so I was hoping that this week would be better. It was not. In fact it was even worse. I struggled writing a quarter of a page before I gave up on it. I won't lie, I was feeling really discouraged. I started this exercise to help get me back into writing these characters and I was feeling more disconnected with them than ever. I didn't know what to do. So I stepped away from the document. I even closed it, since I knew I wasn't going to go back to it today, and I started working on something else. But it kept bugging me. Even though I didn't have anything like an inspirational moment, I still wanted to give it another shot. So I took some time to collect my thoughts and tried again. And I actually managed to get an entire page done today. I'm not sure if I'm connecting with the characters again, but at least I'm committing something to the page, and that's something to be happy with.
Other than that not too much of note happened today. I did manage to do some cleaning today. I've let my desk get covered with a HUGE pile of junk. Like it was so bad that I couldn't even work at it it was so covered. I didn't get a whole lot put away, but I did manage to turn one giant pile into an almost giant pile. It's just whenever I make progress in one area of the room, for some reason I end up making another mess somewhere else. It's a never ending cycle! And I haven't even cleaned up the first mess!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Come on, grow, grow, grow!

I went out again this morning. I really didn't need to go, but I won't be able to go out again for the rest of the week, so I figured that I might as well go and get some of the shopping cravings out of my system while I had the chance. Who knows how things will be once I start detoxing, I might as well get in that final high before I go cold turkey. I'm not really sure why we needed to go out in the first place, we really weren't in dire need of anything, but with my father sometimes you don't need any reason to go out. We did manage to visit all three of the local second hand stores, and I managed to get something at every single one. But I wasn't really that bad, the grand total for all my purchases was four dollars (before taxes). Sadly, turns out most of what I bought is going to end up on the Dollpage or another online selling site. I did purchase a couple things with the idea to sell them, but most of what I bought for myself won't work for how I intended it to. So I'm going to sell them and try to get my money back. It stinks that I won't be able to use them, but sometimes these things just happen. Lesson learned... ish.
The first store we visited was the Salvation Army. They were pretty bleak in both crafts and toys. They had a couple beat up Barbie dolls, but nothing that I (or for the most part anybody else) needed. I did however find these two dresses:They might look way too big for Barbie, and that's because they are. I bought them for Chatty Cathy. Even though my main focus is Barbie I always keep an eye peeled for something that could work for Chatty Cathy. I wasn't totally sure if they would fit her (I'm not that good at guessing at clothing for her), but for only fifty cents each I figured that I would take the risk. And I did like the fabric that the rust colored dress is made of. If Chatty Cathy couldn't wear it, maybe I could use the fabric for a Barbie dress, but I hoped they both would fit without any major modifications on my part. Turns out my Chatty Cathy eye needs some serious work. The floral summer dress was really big on her. It just hung on her, and the neckline was so low that you could see her speaker box! I really don't care for that one so much, I bought it because it was so cheap, so I'm not planning on taking it in to fit her. I'm just going to sell it. There's no need spending all that time on tailoring something when I can just make something I actually like in the same amount of time with the same amount of effort. The rust colored party dress had the opposite problem than the floral dress, too small, sort of. The opening in the back was too small for Chatty Cathy. I think the dress itself would fit her, and might be too big in the bodice, but I don't know for sure since I couldn't get it on her. I could take apart the dress and make the back opening bigger, but I'd have to take apart a lot of the dress in order to do that due to how it was constructed. But I'm not sure if I'm willing to do all that work on it. I think I'm going to hold onto this dress and decide down the road what I want to do. I may end up selling that one too.
Over at the Goodwill it was pretty empty. But I did manage to find another horse. Now before you start thinking I'm going to start a ranch, I didn't actually want this horse. I did however want it's saddle and bridle to steal for my Marx horse. The saddle and bridle both had broken parts on them, but I figured that I could deal with them. It really wasn't much money and I could resell the horse. But it turns out this new horse is a lot smaller than the Marx horse. Everything sort of fit but the horse looked really stupid wearing a couple sizes too small riding gear. So I can't use it. So I'm going to sell the horse with it's bridle and saddle. Maybe since it has both of those things it'll be more likely to sell. You win some, you lose some, and it seems like today I'm loosing some a lot.
The Christian Second Hand Store was the final stop of the trip. I didn't find anything in the fabric or the toy section. So I almost left there empty handed. As I was walking around to find my father I found something rather interesting. It was two small packages of wrapping paper, you know the kind that are sold in stores to wrap a quick present on the fly. Normally this wouldn't interest me, but this was different. This was vintage Care Bears wrapping paper. One of it was just stars and clouds, but the other one actually had the characters on it. I don't collect Care Bears, but I figured that someone might so I bought it. Also they were so cute and it's so weird that they survived that long unused I'd hate to leave it and someone buy it to wrap a present it. I'm not a collector, but I know that if the situation was reversed that it would kill me to see something I collected given to someone who wasn't going to care for it. I'm not really sure the best place or forum to find people who collect this stuff, but maybe the people on Flickr can guide me. Or someone here, I'd never turn away advice from a reader!
So that's all I got while out. Out of the five things I got, I'm only going to keep one... maybe. So it was sort of a waste to have gone, but if anything sells I might be singing a different tune!

Back at home it was pretty uneventful. I put stuff away and dealt with the fact that nothing I bought really ended up working. It was pretty late in the evening when this happened:Yes, that's a clump of hair. Yes, it came off my head. Yes, it was intentional.
I've been planning on cutting my hair for a while now. I've long since reached the point where it itself was just too long. And I did want to cut it at times, but sometimes I didn't. It's just I wanted to cut off enough to donate to Locks of Love, but in order to have enough for an acceptable amount I was going to have to cut my hair really short (or at least it feels short to me). I've been mentally preparing myself to do it for a while, but today I finally had the courage to suck it up and get it done. It while needed to get done, it's taking some time adjusting to how I look with my new shorter do. It's weird how I much I identify myself as having long hair. I'm going to miss having it long enough to put it into a ponytail and have it cascade down my back. Now I can just barely get it into a ponytail at all! But at least with hair it grows back, so it'll be long soon enough.

A Quick List for you and me

Okay, I've been thinking about making this list for a while, but never actually wrote it down. But since I keep adding things (and forgetting things), I might as well make a digital copy that I can update and refer back to. And I might as well share it with all of you.
So this is where things stand at the moment:

Joe's Clothing List:

Formal Suit
Steampunk Outfit
Remake Regency Outfit
Khaki Pants
Khaki Shorts

Any suggestions anyone? What is missing from Joe's wardrobe that he can not live without? I'm eager to hear what you all come up with!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Took me long enough!

It's another Sunday so it's time for our newest weekly ritual, picking out a doll from the sewing cabinet to come hang out with me during the week in an effort to redress them. I didn't make any progress with Skooter, and I cannot say I'm too shocked about that. I didn't even bother taking her off the sewing cabinet. But now that her week is over, it's time to pick another name, so say goodbye Skooter, and hello to Talking P.J.... again. Yes, I picked her name out again. I thought about selecting another one from the box since P.J. has been selected before and there's so many other dolls waiting their turn, but I decided to stick with my selection. But if she's picked again so soon I'll have no reservations picking another name.
But I didn't much make headway with P.J., but I at least moved her off the sewing cabinet. Instead I did something different, but much needed. I cleared out the unfinished project box. For a while now I've been tossing all the failed projects into that box to wait for the day that I'll come back to them, but I've been very lax at actually going back. The box was super full, and was actually starting to bow at the sides. So I sat down and had to be very honest with myself about what I was actually going to finish. I looked at everything and made three piles. Stuff I wanted to finish, stuff I might finish, and stuff I doubt I'd finish. When those were done I broke down the maybe pile into yes or no. I put all of the yes pile back into the box. I didn't throw out the no pile, I'm not ready to do that. Instead I put it in the bag in the closet with the cast offs from the last time I did this. Eventually stuff will be thrown out, but just not yet.
Cleaning out the box had an unintended consequence. When I was doing it I found that 70's Best Buy jumper that was in need of repair. Both straps had come undone and it was missing a button. I wasn't sure what I could do to replace such a tiny button so it ended up in the box. But guess who had bought some tiny buttons the other day? And some orange ones too no less. So I pulled out the bag of buttons and pulled out an orange one. Repairing the jumper was actually pretty easy. I ended up replacing both buttons. The original one was much lighter than the replacement I had so I figured I might as well take it off and have a matching set. It's not like it had much value in it's original state. I also ended up adding a snap to the back since while the original button and elastic closure was still present the elastic was shot and it really couldn't close that well. Again, it's not like I was ruining a pristine piece, so I could do what I want with it. And I can always remove the snap if need be. I didn't take anything off when I added it.
When it was all finished I decided that someone needed to wear it. I did like this jumper back when I first got it, but it's repairs keeps it from getting worn. But now that I fixed it someone could wear it. But now it was a matter of who? I wanted someone from the 70's, but I only had three dolls from that era waiting on the sewing cabinet. Although, if I really wanted to I could fudge it a bit and put a doll from the 60's in it.
I did end up going with a 70's doll actually. I picked Free Movin' Barbie, who I've had forever (at least a year at this point). She's been a major thorn in my side in terms of redressing. She was wearing that vintage Barbie hostess outfit that ironically came from the same case as the jumper. I had already fixed the pants, but had stalled on fixing the top (I really wasn't sure the best way to do so). As time went along I realized it wasn't working for her, but since I didn't have anything better I just left her in it, but kept her on the sewing cabinet. I tried the jumper on her, and really liked it. It looked very cute on her. I actually like the fact that it's a skirt compared to the pants she was originally wearing. You see, Free Movin' Barbie has some leg melting going on. I made her a pair of simple shorts to wear under the pants, but I still worried about her melting into the pants and ruining them. Since the skirt isn't actually touching the melt spots I don't have as much to worry about. So I went through my spares bag in search for a suitable shirt. I ended up picking one of those turtlenecks that have always been my go-to for shirts. The jumper is yellow with stripes of orange and red. I don't have any orange shirts, but when I tried red it looked too heavy. I had to go with yellow, but I like it. It's a different shade than the jumper and since it's a solid color it looks even more different. And the best part since it's an early shirt and it had gaping in the back, her free movin' mechanism is easily accessible. So you can still play with her when she's fully dressed! I'd love to say that's intentional, but with the other dolls that have that issue that aren't free movin' dolls I can't claim that! But that was a happy accident. And now that she's dressed and not driving me crazy trying to dress her I can say that she is fun to play with. I've been listening to a lot of Electronica music lately and she's been dancing along.
I ended up giving her a pair of squishy red loafers from my stash. I'm not in love with them with her outfit, but they're the best thing I had. I gave her a simple hair style, but just pulling the hair back from her face. I'm toying with the idea of tying a ribbon back there, but I'm wondering if it'll end up being a little too... twee. But I don't have any yellow ribbon, so she's going without for now. And we have our second doll dressed for the month! I was really worried that I was only going to get one doll done this month, it's been a heavy new doll month, and rather light on dressings, so I at least hit my usual average. And Barbie here was a doll that I've been waiting to dress forever, so I'm thrilled to finally do so!
And her redress helped another doll. I was able to give her pants to someone else. I will have to make a top for them, but I made some progress in dressing a dolls that beforehand I had no idea what to do. So that's even more progress, but more about that doll on another day.
Today is all about Free Movin' Barbie. She's so happy she can dance (and not be arrested for public nudity)!

Saturday, June 23, 2012


So you want to hear the good news, or the bad news, or the good news, or the bad news?
I've decided to give up on Joe's steampunk outfit. It's just I really do not like how the shoes look with it. And since I have been so unable to find any other shoes for him I doubt I'll find a replacement pair anytime soon. And I'm not willing to put that much time and effort into something I know I'll hate. While I want him to have this costume, he's been living without it for a number of years now, and can continue to do so. So I gave up. Wiped it from my mental schedule.
After that I got an unusual whim to dig through my single shoe bag. Since I matched up that black shoe and got a new solo Superstar Barbie shoe a little bit ago I thought that it might be time to update the photo I have posted on Flickr of the shoes I'm trying to match up. I dumped out the bag trying to find the top twenty shoes to photograph to post. When I was sorting through I pulled out a couple Ken shoes. I saw one that was different than all the other ones I had. It was a loafer, but bigger than all the other Ken loafers I had. Since Joe was still out and happened to be right next to me I ended up trying it on. And wouldn't you know the blasted thing fit, perfectly. And it was smaller than his other pair of shoes, and it would work perfectly for the steampunk outfit. But of course I only had one of them!
After I found that out I spent a great deal of time photographing the shoe and posted it on both Flickr and In the Pink. I asked if people could check their single shoe piles for a match (which was really unlikely), or if they had a pair they'd be willing to sell, or if they knew where they came from. Someone mentioned they came from the Sparkle Ken Groom from 2008 (or something like that), and I found out that they were sold with a gray tuxedo fashion from around 2008, and a tuxedo with a pink jacket from 2008. Of course I remember that last one being in stores and how I didn't buy it. I WAS A FOOL! Ebay has it for some crazy high price, but I'm not willing to pay that much for it. So I'm throwing myself at the mercy of you my dear readers. If anyone has this style of shoe please let me know and how much you'd want for it. I can find them in Ebay for seven including shipping, but I'd rather buy them off a friend than some unknown Ebay scalper especially if they'd be willing to cut me a deal. (Wink, wink).
Anyway, this new shoe have me a new lease on the Steampunk outfit. I tried the most recent spat attempt on over this new shoe, and it looked so much better. Joe's leg still looked super thin compared to the shoe, but not as badly. I tried making another sock (another terrible failure), but I thought of something. Since it's going to be worn under the spat, I don't need to make an actual sock. I could just make a covering to go over the leg to fill it out. A legwarmer type of thing, but not. I made a quick mock up, and it seemed to work. I did need to do several tweaks and versions of it, but since it's just a piece of jersey knit with a single row of sewing down the back. I don't mind having to make it over and over again compared to some of the more complex things I've had to do over and over again recently. I eventually managed to make it perfectly, and made a second one and finished them both. They really seem to have helped Joe's leg issues.
Now if only I could find a pair of those shoes! At least I now know shoes that fit him exist, and since I have one I can use it to fit the spats, so I'm not totally stuck waiting for a pair within my price range. So that's good! (Right?)

Friday, June 22, 2012

So hot I think I'm melting...

It was much too hot to work today. I woke up and it was like a billion degrees in my room, and it was only going to get hotter as the day wore on. So I didn't bother forcing myself to do anything. Besides, I don't have any project I actually want to work on. My two main ones, Joe's Steampunk outfit and Charlotte's dress, have both wore out my patience with them, so they're going to have to wait for another day. Sadly I haven't even changed Joe out of his shirt into something more presentable, luckily it's too hot to be wearing pants anyway.
I did take care of some business today. I got an e-mail from the woman I sent the orange tapes to, they arrived today. She said her son was really happy to get them. He's been checking the mailbox since they arrived hoping for more tapes to magically appear. Too cute right? I guess I was the first person who's package arrived. I know several other people found some too, but I guess they haven't shown up yet. So he's going to be in for more surprises! I'm glad I was able to help, and I do plan on keeping my eyes peeled for more orange tapes whenever I think of it when I'm out. But I'm afraid that they're going to be not that easy to find, but it doesn't hurt to check when I'm already in the stores.
It was in the middle of the afternoon when I decided that I wanted to do some sewing, but I had a hard time figuring out what. I decided I wanted to make something that was quick, easy, and something I had done before. I'm tired of working for days on pattern adaptations that may or may not lead anywhere. I wanted some instant gratification. I ended up letting my fabric decide what I was going to make. In my stash I have this cream colored cotton with leaves and tiny yellow flowers. I've had it forever. I got it at Walmart back when I started sewing several years ago. For a while I had two people wearing something made from it in the collection, but as time went on they upgraded to more recent, and better made outfits. One of those people was Mary Clair and she was wearing her jumper made from this fabric for years. Only after I made her Christmas dress last year did she actually get a different dress. But I really liked the fabric, so I wanted to make something for someone in it. But I didn't have an idea for anyone on the sewing cabinet, so I decided to make it for Charlotte. She always has room in her wardrobe for something new, and since she changes clothes so often, if I didn't like it, it wouldn't be on her for long.
For the pattern I selected a very familiar one, the original sleeveless bodice that I've used to make all those other bodice patterns. I wanted the original because I wanted nothing to do with sleeves or collars today. This was just a fun and quick exercise in sewing and instant gratification. For the bodice straps I went with the vintage ones that I use for sheaths. I like that one the best, so I wanted to use it. While I want this dress to be simple I don't want it to be that simple. I still want to like it when I'm done with it all. I got to work on the bodice, which went together pretty simply. I did try something different with it. When adding the straps I wanted to sew them down the same time as I did the top seam. I had to sew in and rip out some holding stitches in order to do so, but I was able to do it. If you look close enough (and know what you're looking for) it's not perfect, but it's certainly a passable job. I took great detail making sure the bodice fit in the bust area. I did not want too much showing on Charlotte. I did mess up part of it and have to take out the top seam, but luckily that was before I sewed down the straps. Once those were in I wasn't going to redo them, either they worked on the first try or else I was giving up on the whole thing. Luckily they went in fine the first time.
For the skirt I went with a full one, but rounded. I actually picked the skirt that was originally paired with the bodice. In fact other than the strap switch I almost made this dress exactly how it's designers intended, which around here rarely happens. I did change the skirt a little, I ended up adding about two inches onto the length of it. You know me, I like my bodices fitted and my skirts full. I hemmed the skirt using the largest stitches on the machine, I planned on ripping those out and hand hemming it. Then I attached it to the skirt to the bodice. It actually went in easy and on the first time. From there I went on to finish it. For some reason the bodice doesn't match up perfectly in the back, but the skirt meets up at the bottom. I didn't put to much thought into fixing it. Since the skirt met up at the bottom I was fine with that. I got the entire thing finished, including using a hidden stitch on the skirt hem.
At first when I finished it felt that it needed some sort of decoration on it, but since I can't think of the perfect thing I didn't end up doing anything to it. I'm thinking that it doesn't need anything, but what do you think, dear readers? Let me know in the comments if you think it needs something else. But you'll need to see the dress first, and so finally here's Charlotte in her new sundress, a spur of the moment creation: It's always a good day when Charlotte gets a new dress (even if it's so blasted hot!).

Thursday, June 21, 2012

One of "those" days.

Not much to report today about the dolls. I worked on Charlotte's gown for about five minutes, and didn't bother touching Joe's steampunk outfit. Instead I did other stuff, but nothing relevant that I'd bore you with. Instead I'm going to share a picture with you. I'm always talking about the dolls on the Sewing Cabinet, but never sharing how that looks. So today I present you all with a picture of it and all it's inhabitants:
Please ignore the fabric hanging over the side. I had to dig out some fabric yesterday and didn't bother putting it away. Also game time! There's a couple dolls on here that I've never shared with you, dear readers. Anybody know who they are?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Spat's a pain in the backside!

I woke up ready to get back to work on Joe's steampunk outfit today. Now that his shirt was done it was time to start working on the next piece. Right now his outfit consists of five pieces, you know me and my love of separates. You would think that with the shirt behind us, the next logical step would be the pants, but I cannot make them just yet.
Even though yesterday I bought the material needed for Joe's pants, I'm still not ready to work on them yet, because the fit and style of the pants depended on the fit and style of another part of the outfit, Joe's spats. Yes, I said spats. I came across them a while ago when doing research for his costume and they've been on and off his costume since then. I do like the look (I think it's related to my knee sock love), but they're something I've never done before. I was a little hesitant about just diving into making them. But if I want them, I'm going to have to learn.
I found a pattern online last night to give the the idea for the basic shape, and I adapted the sizing, then printed it off. I didn't get to working on it until today.
I made my first mock up, and boy was it off. I was using Joe in person to measure the sizing against the screen, but for some reason no matter what I do I cannot get my computer to show the true size of how it will look when printed, and for some other reason I never remember that fact. Anyway, I was able to keep the basic shape, but had to keep upsizing it in order for it to fit. I thought that I had made a workable pattern, and was so bold to even cut it out using the actual fabric, but wouldn't you know, again too small. I ended up tweaking the pattern some more, and made a couple other mock ups, but ended up giving up discouraged.
I did realize a new issue from all my work. Joe has a very limited shoe wardrobe. So he has only one pair of shoes that will work for this outfit. They're G.I. Joe shoes, so they're big enough for his feet. I didn't realize how over sized they actually were. It's not that noticeable when he's wearing regular pants, but the spats really accentuate how gigantic his feet look compared to the rest of his legs. After I gave up on the spats for the day I was still thinking about that issue. I decided that I should make a pair of socks and fold them at the ankle, he could use those to fill out his legs and hopefully make his feet look not so big. I ended up cutting out a pair of socks, but I screwed up the pattern, so not only does the one I made barely fit, the folded up material makes no difference in the spats. He might as well not be wearing the socks. I didn't even bother making him the second one. I gave up after that mess up. I'm thinking it's time to take another break from the steampunk outfit. I'm ready to start throwing things. (You're up first, Joe.)
Oh, I took a picture. Here's Joe wearing his new shirt, and his solo sock. I posed him like he was wondering where his other sock was. Don't tell him, but it's never going to be made. (I will admit, he looks pretty awesome in that chair.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A touch preoccupied...

It's Tuesday, so that means it's time to work on my writing. I tried my hardest, but for some reason I couldn't connect with the practice document this week. I probably wrote a whole page, if I include what I deleted and re-wrote and re-wrote again, but in the end I only had about a half page to show for my effort. Some writing times are just more creative than others. Hopefully next week I'll get back into my groove and commit more to the page. I can always hope right? (I totally almost wrote "write" instead of "right".)
But I didn't have that much time to think about my lack of writing success, instead I headed out again. I know that I said I was ready to continue my plans of staying in and avoiding people, but I needed more craft supplies, and Hobby Lobby had some of it on sale this week, so I was forced to go out. Apparently the dolls trump my anti-social behaviors, but I don't think that's a shock to anyone who regularly reads this blog.
When out, I ended up at the stores on Sunset first. My father wanted to visit the Library Book Store, it's going to close in a couple weeks for almost a full year as the theater next door gets restored, so he's got to get his book shopping in when he can. Since I rarely find anything there (he always does), I declined going instead to visit the final antique store on the strip, the one I didn't visit last time. I figured since I had time to kill I should check for more Orange tapes, and see what else was there to be found.
I didn't see any orange tapes, but I did find something for me. In one of the stall I found a Ken doll. He's a Mod era Ken, and was marked simply as "Boy Doll". One of his legs was broken off, but he was only three dollars. He came wearing a khaki colored shirt and jacket that needed some repair, but I figured for the price he would be worth it. His face paint is different than what I was used to seeing. At home I found out he was "New Look Ken", and he was wearing his original outfit. I'm not in love with his face paint, so I'm thinking I might use his body for that Mod Hair Ken I like. But I am going to have to think about what to do about his broken off leg. It's a common ailment for the Mod Kens, but I don't think there's a solution out there. Who knows what's in store for him.
After that I went to Hobby Lobby, my main reason for going out. Did you know that Hobby Lobby already has a bunch of Christmas stuff up? They have a lot of craft related Christmas stuff on the displays in the isles, and in the fabric section there's already several bolts of Christmas fabrics. Of course I looked at it. I am planning on sewing more Christmas outfits for the dolls (I'm thinking every year a select number of dolls will get Christmas clothes made), so I might as well start looking at them now and think about what I want to make and for who.
But I was not there for Christmas fabric. I was there picking up some supplies for other non-seasonal projects, this time. Anyway, the first section I hit up was the ribbon area. It's on sale this week, and usually I end up going hog wild when it is, but I actually managed to keep myself in check. I only got a single spool of medium blue ribbon. Right now that dress I'm working on for Charlotte has a blue bow planned for the bodice, but I didn't have that color ribbon in my stash. Even though Charlotte's dress is on hold right now that was the only part of the outfit I didn't have on hand. So I wanted to get it so I had it handy when I got back to working on the dress. I would hate to get a second (or third) wind with this dress only have to stop when I didn't have the right ribbon. Now I'm all prepared. I also picked up some new straight pins. They were also on sale this week, and I've been meaning on getting some new ones. I've had several break on me lately so I've been in need of replacing them. I thought about buying the bigger pack, but I don't need that many pins, I rarely use up every single one that I have as it is, so getting a whole bunch is rather pointless. I just got the smallest box, for 1.50. But I wasn't done, I did do another splurge item... I was bad. It's just I had that forty percent coupon in my phone taunting me to use it. So I ended up getting that pack of micro buttons I saw the other day. They're just so cute, and perfect for Barbie clothing. I'm not sure what to use them for yet, but I know I'll find a use for them. I do wish they also had them in more neutral colors, but I'm sure I can find a use for the ones I bought. THEY'RE JUST SO CUTE AND SMALL! Sorry, sometimes I just get so caught up in the cuteness of it all!
But those weren't the only things I bought today. For the final thing I needed to get was some black fabric. Since I'm working on Joe's steampunk outfit I needed some black to make pants with. I've been out of black calico for a while and since I have been making do without it I didn't stock back up. But now that I had a project for it, I had to get some. I wasn't looking forward to it since I was burned the last time I bought fabric there. If they could screw up white fabric, how bad was black going to be? I was right to be worried. The only black calico in stock, was not actually black. Instead it looked like a washed out gray. I even looked at the markings on the bolt to see if it in fact was actually black, and it was, but when I held it up against some black broadcloth the color difference was even more obvious. Add to the fact that it felt like an over washed sheet I was not pleased about it. I put the fabric back and seriously thought about just buying some black broadcloth instead. I figured that either way I wasn't going to be happy with the supplies and since I would eventually replace what I made with one made from a better fabric, I might as well go with both the true black, and the cheaper option. I walked around the fabric section mulling my options, when in the discount section I stumbled onto something even better.
It was more perfect for the project than what I was looking for. What I found was some black corduroy. It's just perfect. And not only is it black and not see through, it's super thin. This is just perfect for doll clothes. I ended up getting a yard of it, it was marked down to four dollars a yard. I'm slightly annoyed that they didn't have any black calico, but it did lead me to get this, so it ended up being better for Joe's costume in the long run. Not sure what I'll do with the left over fabric, but I'm sure I'll eventually find a use for it. I always do. Here's a photo of everything I got at Hobby Lobby today:I should mention, there was a bit of drama going on in Hobby Lobby when I was getting my fabric cut out. The woman working the section was telling her co-worker about it as I was getting that yard of black corduroy cut. Apparently, earlier she had cut six yards of upholstery fabric for some woman, then she saw the woman walking around without out. The woman left without buying anything, but they could not find the fabric anywhere in the store. They had people checking all over for it, but still couldn't find it. And upholstery fabric is expensive. That woman could have easily walked away with over one hundred dollars worth of merchandise. And thanks to her I had to wait both at the fabric table and the cash out area to get waited on. I understand why people steal, but was fabric upholstery really worth it? It's not like it was food or anything. If that was me, every time I looked at whatever I made with my stolen fabric I'd always have a guilty feeling and never be able to enjoy it, but that's just me.
Anyway, back at home I didn't use any of my new purchases. Instead I worked on Joe's shirt. I'm glad I found that black fabric for Joe's pants, but I can't start making them just yet. There's a couple other outfit decisions that have to be made before I can finalize how the pants will look. But I am happy to say that Joe now has his shirt! His first shirt made from cotton that actually fits! I didn't have to do much to it, just hem the back and bottom, then finish it. I really like it, even though it's not totally perfect. It's the best thing to come out of all that hard work so I'm thrilled to finally have something to show for all my effort. No picture today because I finished it too late to have enough light to take a decent picture, you'll get it tomorrow.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Change of goals, ever so slightly

I was still thinking about Joe's Steampunk outfit when I woke up this morning. I know that I'm still working on making Joe's front closing cotton shirt, but I'm stuck. I'm having the worst time making it so that his collar closes and doesn't show off his unfinished neck. I knew this was going to be a problem, it's been one of the biggest sticking points with every single version of his shirts. But with Joe's steampunk outfit I'm able to bypass that issue. I've designed it so that it has a turtleneck collar just like his t-shirts, but made out of cotton. But in order to make this shirt, I was going to have to change the pattern I've been working on to a back closure, and change the sleeve pattern.
It was somewhat easy to change the shirt into a back closure, so that's where I started. I was able to use some of the earlier shirt patterns in order to cobble together what I needed. It did take a couple of quick muslins in order to work out and perfect the fit, but that's nothing new. I've been doing that alllllllll week, so what's the pain in doing a couple more? I even made it so that I could make a single pin tuck on the front of the shirt. It's a bit of decoration that won't be seen on the final outfit, but I'll know it's there. And I should stress, that this was intentional, not a screw up that I managed a creative way to work around.
The sleeves were a bit more difficult. I was able to use the adapted sleeve I made the other day, but it too needed more adapting. I wanted this shirt to have puffy sleeves. I added some length at the top and the bottom. To make sure it had enough "puff" I added about an inch and a half. Let me tell you that's way too much puff. It was kind of funny. But that pattern wasn't a total loss. It looks like a 14th century puffy sleeve. So if I ever need a Romeo costume for Joe, I already have some work done. I ended up making several different variations on the sleeves, which did not work. Eventually I ended up getting rid of the puffy part of the upper sleeve. It just looked to silly. Instead the top part of the pattern is basically the same as the original, but it flares out at the bottom. It's actually very similar to Charlotte's sleeves on her steampunk outfit, but his ends in cuffs. Finally satisfied with this sleeve, I was actually able to start sewing the actual shirt today. (Exciting, right?)
I got pretty far on it. All that's left to do is the back seams, the bottom hem, and finishing it up. But I held off on that for today. It was pretty late when I started and I don't want to be tired and screw something up on it. You would not believe the pile of test pieces I have from this project alone, it's kind of gross.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Steampunk Resurgance.

Now that Sunday is here again, it's time to put away the doll of the week, and select another one. So say Goodbye to Fashion Queen and hello to... Skooter. I won't lie, I was none too thrilled to pull her name from the pile. She's the doll that's been waiting to be dressed the longest, so I really doubt I'll have much success this week with her. But honestly, out of the two weeks I've been doing this I've made no progress with either selected doll. I don't think I even sewed anything for them, spending my time on other projects. But maybe this week will be the one that is different than all the others, I would really love to finally get Skooter dressed.
But I didn't do much with Skooter today, I actually haven't moved her from from the Sewing Cabinet to my workspace. Instead I worked with Joe, but not on his shirt. With finding that cool pocket watch looking locket the other day got me thinking about his steampunk costume. I do still want to make a costume for Joe, it's one of the outfits that is still on the "to-do" list that is his wardrobe. But there's a variety of reasons keeping me from working on it. One of the biggest issue is that I don't know exactly what I want for him. I have several bits and pieces that I want and like for the outfit, but I haven't found the right combination that really excites me. Part of the problem is that it's going to need to be a companion piece to Charlotte's costume. But hers is much more youthful than his is going to be. I don't want his to look so much stuffier compared to hers. But that's just part of their personalities (although Charlotte's personality is very flexible depending on the mood I want her to be in), Joe is a lot more serious than she is. I mean he was wearing a suit for the longest time before he got his new body, she doesn't even own appropriate office wear. I don't want people thinking he's her father or something! I also don't want to dress him too youthful, that's just not Joe.
But at least there are options out there for him. I'd say I like more of what I found for him compared to what I found when I was searching for Charlotte's outfit. I did some more research today to get a greater understanding of what I liked for him. I've done several sketches over the course of the years that I wanted to do this project, and I won't lie, they're basically all the same, just bits and pieces change. My current idea is going to take some pattern drafting (just like Charlotte's did), luckily I think that what I'm working on now will be a great help. But I'm thinking that I may have to adapt the shirt I'm working on for it. It's not even finished yet and I'm already planning on adapting it!
Now I have a question for everyone, should I upload inspirational pictures and talk about what I'm thinking about, even if it never comes to be, or should I save talking about it if I'm actually working on it?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Quick Stop, then back to work!

I went out this morning, it was different this time because I didn't go with my father, instead I went with my mother. The reason for the change? We were out getting a father's day present. We were very sneaky about going out, we planned it when he was at work, and went out when he was sleeping. We weren't out very long. There's not much you can get for the man who buys himself everything he wants, but come tomorrow he'll have three more bags of Jelly Beans. Honestly, he'd buy those for himself anyway, this was he doesn't have to and he's got something to open. I didn't buy him a card however, all the ones at Big Lots were like five dollars, I love my father, but I don't think a piece of paper with a sentimental statement on it is worth five dollars. I'd rather just tell him in person than spend that kind of money on something that will just end up getting trashed.
I also stopped into Hobby Lobby while I was out (it's just next door). The other day I was over on "In the Pink" someone posted a dress they had made, and sewn onto the dress was a small cameo. I think I've mentioned this before, but I love cameos, they're my favorite kind of jewelry, but they are so hard to find in Barbie size. I asked them where they got it, and they replied that it was from Hobby Lobby, in the button section, and came in a package with some other Victorian inspired buttons. I checked for it online, but couldn't find it, so I hoped I'd be able to find it in the store.
Today I got a chance to look for it. I didn't find anything like that in the sewing section, so I checked the scrapbook section (both section has buttons). I did find something like it, but the one I found the cameo was much bigger than the one I saw online. It did have a package with other Victorian buttons, but it was much larger. I took a picture of it with my cell phone to compare it with the original, and didn't get it. Like I said it was too big, and seeing it in person, it looked kind of cheap.
At home I realized that there was a website for the buttons, so I looked it up. Turns out there is a smaller version of the buttons I found. You can't order from the website, but I don't want to anymore. You only get one cameo in a package, and spending two dollars on one button is way too much money, especially when it's just cheap looking plastic. At least I have closure on it. I did find something interesting in the scrapbook button section, a small locket. It looked like it would be perfect for a pocket watch for Joe's forever postponed steampunk outfit (maybe a bit large). I would have been happier had I not already purchased something specifically for that already. I didn't get it because it was expensive, came in a pack with eight other things that I doubted I could use, and I'm not willing to spend more money on supplies for that outfit which at this point may never happen. At least I can have some self control, sometimes.
Back at home I got back to working on Joe's shirt project. Yesterday I made prototype 1, 2, and 3, today I made 4, 5, and 6. I even made a second sleeve pattern. I was having trouble with my first one yesterday so today I started fresh resizing a Barbie one, it now works better. I even started working on the collar. I won't lie, it's going to be really tricky. I don't think I'll be able to make it so that his neck issues are totally covered. I've been trying to think of solutions, but haven't found the perfect one yet. I guess tomorrow I'll work on version 7, 8, 9. Hopefully by then I'll be able to make something from all my efforts, I'm really getting tired of making these blasted shirts!

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Late Start for finding my Motivation

I had a near impossible time getting motivated today. I just don't have any fun projects. Everything that I have slated to work on I've already worn out my enthusiasm on. I mean I don't even want to work on Charlotte's dress, and when I don't want to work on something for her, you know something's up. So I didn't do anything. I just sat around promising myself that I would goof off online for fifteen more minutes then get to work, and like usual, I never managed to get myself into gear even when my fifteen minutes were up.
It wasn't until well into the evening that I managed to get anything done. I started small. Might as well ease myself into it. I started by just putting stuff away. Despite my best efforts to keep my desk clean it's again become a catch all for everything at the end of the day. So that's where I started my clean up. From there I moved to the right. That's where I keep my spare Barbie clothing. Since it's such a hassle opening the drawers to put away one thing, I let what I need to put away pile up on top until there's enough to justify putting it all away. Today I was finally at that point. So I started putting everything away. While I had the Ken clothing out, I decided to look through it again. I sat down with Joe and started pulling out clothing and tried things on him. Most things didn't fit, which was no shock, but I did pull out a couple cotton shirts that fit him somewhat decently. I ended up pulling out three. Since I gave up on his last shirt when I kept having fit issues I decided to start over and draft a totally new one, using these shirts as a guide.
I didn't think I'd get around to doing that today, but I ended up picking the shirt that fit Joe the best and traced it to get a start. From there I made a quick test piece, then changed the fit a little, drafted a new pattern, and made another test piece. This is a long process. I made three different test pieces today before bed. I managed to get a couple things worked on, but there's still a long way to go. Today I worked mostly on the fit of the bodice (is it called a bodice if it's a guy?) I haven't even started working on the collar, that's going to be fun.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Out on the town... hesitently...

No time to work on Charlotte's bodice this morning, although I'm not too upset over that fact. I'm quickly getting tired of having to deal with it. I'm thinking it might be time to tuck the outfit away again until my enthusiasm returns to it. But even if I wanted to, I didn't get to work on it, because instead I went out shopping. You haven't heard me mention going out for about a week, because I haven't gone out. After a stretch of time where I did nothing but go out I did a total 180 and wanted nothing to do with going out. I just wanted to stay home and avoid people. I was asked to go out several times during the week, and each time I declined. I just wanted to stay in. Honestly I would have skipped this trip too, but my hand was forced. My mom asked me to pick some more cross stitch stuff up the next time I was out, then it sort of became I was expected to go on this upcoming trip. I didn't want to, but figured that it would be easier to just go and get it over with, then put if off for longer. Plus I did need to go get stuff for myself as well, even though I was more than willing to wait for that too.
Also I was on a different quest this trip as well. On one of the groups I visit someone had put out a request for orange colored VHS tapes, the ones from Nickelodeon shows. She has an autistic son, and he really likes these tapes. Once he gets them he replicates the tape's label on his computer matching font sizes and everything, then he slowly and systematically destroys them. She said he's been doing that for about 14 years now. She also said that they're getting harder and harder to find locally so if anyone had or found any she's buy them off you (the cheaper the better). I knew I didn't have any, but I knew that most of the second hand stores I visited had a tape section, so I could look and see what they had. I managed to find two tapes while out today that were orange. A Little Bear one from the Christian United Outreach Center, and The Rugrats Movie from the Fleamarketeers. I bought them both, they were each only a dollar. I've already e-mailed her to get her address. I'm not going to charge her for them, I'm only out two dollars for them, and I can ship them out by media mail. If anyone out there has any orange tapes they want to give to help a mother out you can let me know through the comments section and I can pass the information on to her.
In my hunt for the orange tapes, I managed to visit all of the local thrift stores and several of the antique stores. I didn't find much for myself at any of them. I did have an unusual encounter at the Antique Mall. I was almost done and ready to leave when I checked on the dolls in the glass cases. They've been there for a while, and I've purchased a couple of them. My Hair Fair Barbie came from there, as did my first TNT Flip. I always check out those dolls when I visit that store. Most of what's left is way out of my price range, but I always check in on them. Anyway, I noticed that today things were different, several of them were gone. Now I don't think they sold, there were several things in the display that were rearranged, so I think the owner of the booth came and took back some of the dolls that were in there. They have been there for a long time, I remember most of them from when I started visiting this store several years ago. Anyway, from the case is a clear line of vision to the checkout booth. The woman working there as I turn to the exit calls out to me, "If you ever want to look at one of the dolls up close I'd be happy to open the case for you, and we might be able to do better on the prices... maybe.". I said thank you and continued on my way. While I would like to own any of the dolls in that case most of them are well over what I normally spend on dolls. It was just weird that the person added the bit about going lower on price (however hesitantly). When I bought my TNT Flip the people at the desk said that they could not do any better on the price, but that was more than a year ago. I would hate to see that seller leave or anything, but I doubt I'd buy anything from them. I can justify a thirty dollar doll, but not a fifty (or higher) one. Maybe if they brought in some more lower priced dolls I'd buy more of them... hint, hint, hint.
From there I went to Hobby Lobby. I went in there for my mother, but I just had to shop for myself. She needed some more cross stitch thread. I picked up orange, light yellow, and light gray per her instructions. I also picked up another bright yellow since it was only 37 cents, plus some red since she asked me to pick out another color that would work for flowers. For myself I picked up a variety of things. First off I got another doll stand. I don't like Hobby Lobby's stands that much, but they are cheap and readily available. The other day my number four Barbie fell over. She didn't fall far, just onto her side on the shelf she's on, but it still made me worry. If she fell onto the floor she could really get damaged. So I decided I needed to get a stand for her. Eventually I'd like to upgrade several dolls to Kaiser stands, especially her, but this one will certainly will work for now. And if I get a better one for her, someone else can use this one. I also bought some sewing patterns at the store. Simplicity patterns were on sale again this week, 99 cents. They don't have any new doll sewing patterns, sadly, instead I bought two me sewing patterns. They're 1947 and 1948. One is for a pair of pants, and the other one is a jacket. I don't have plans for them yet, I've actually never sewn anything for myself yet, but I eventually plan on it, or at least I keep buying patterns for me in order to do so. I bought the patterns to use in the future. They look rather complicated, so I think when I do start sewing for myself I'll pick an easier pattern and ease myself into it. So while sewing for me is a future project, this one is a future, future project. And in the future if I decide that I'll never actually make it, I can just sell them, I've got options. And finally I also bought a paint marker. Yes, another one of those Tree House paint markers. I was thinking that perhaps another attempt at doll repainting might be warranted. I wanted to buy white to play around with, thinking that maybe if I had an undercoat of white the pink I bought originally wouldn't stain. Also I have those reproduction sneakers that needs the white paint touched up so that could be helpful. They raised the price on the markers, they're now 3.47, back when I bought the pink one it was 2.99, so it's quite a price jump. I used my forty percent off sticker on it. And I won't lie, the white one sucks as badly as the pink one. I used it to repaint a doll's lips, and it has yet to dry. I'm a little behind on writing blog posts, so as I'm writing this, it's been over 72 hours since I painted it, and it's still tacky. I may be wrong, but shouldn't paint stop being sticky at some point? Maybe this second waste of money will finally get it though my head that these markers are not for dolls, no matter what I read online. I did learn that they are good for marking fabric. I've been using the pink one to label my prototypes as I'm sewing so I can look back and see which one corresponds to the patterns. So at least it's not a total waste, but if I'm smart I'll never buy one of those stupid markers. For something so expensive, they really do suck quality wise.
But that's not all I got while out, most of the second hand stores were boring, besides the few orange tapes, but I did find one thing that I was out. The Goodwill was our last stop of the day. I checked out the toy section and didn't see much. I toyed with the idea of getting the plastic Barbie horse stall for my horse, but I decided against it. I don't play with the horse that much at the moment, and I don't need another plastic play set that's just going to collect dust. I'm still apprehensive about them since the terrible Party Pad collapse of '12. I almost had given up when in one of the baskets on an end cap something caught my eye. It was a bag of Barbie clothes. Most of them looked pretty modern, but I did see one thing that looked to be from the 70's. I also saw a couple solo shoes. I decided to recklessly get it, and see if it paid off. In the car I started digging though what I had gotten. I had several almost brand new looking 90 clothing pieces. A few I recognized, but most I did not. The 70's dress (which I later learned was a best buy) was in poor shape and needed several repairs. I collected up the shoes that were in there. I had two full pairs. A pair of my favorite flats in a pearly pink, and a pair of clone heels in light pink. The heels ended up being too small for anyone to wear. I also had some solo shoes (as well as a plastic blue boot charm). I had a single pink mule, a red superstar shoe (how cool), and a black squared toe heel. I actually had the mate to the black one at home already. So I was able to complete a pair from my solo bags from this. Which is pretty cool. I'm not sure when I'll be able to use the pink flats (not totally in love with the color), but I do love having another pair of shoes like that. I think it was a pretty good buy for three dollars. Here's a photo of a few select fashions from the bag, I picked the ones that were the most interesting. I didn't say pretty because some of these are terrible. For fun you can guess which ones I like, and which ones I didn't. I'll put my answers at the bottom.

At home I didn't get much done after my shopping trip. I managed to put away what I bought today, but not much else. I really need to do a massive clean up of this mess I call a room. Pretty soon I won't be able to find anything I need! And that would be terrible!

My Answers:
A. Ugly, Plastic Bodice? Are you kidding me? (Dislike)
B. A really lovely wedding dress, so pretty. (Like)
C. Barbie's Victorian Great-Grandmother's modest nightgown, seriously the most modest nightgown ever created. All that's missing is the chastity belt. (Dislike)
D. The most un-designed party dress ever. So boring. (Dislike)
E. The Best Buy, kind of cute, shame about the condition (Like)
F. You might not be able to tell, but there's cherubs on the skirt! It's so tacky I love it. (Like)
G. It's a cute Asian inspired dress, but it's oddly high waisted, the fit was off even on Charlotte. (Like)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Why won't it fit???

I spent the greater part of my morning working on the top to Charlotte's dress. I'm not starting from scratch with it, I am using my usual bodice pattern to make it but I'm going to need to adapt it quite a bit for what I need. One of my biggest changes was going to be the bottom hem. I wanted it to close at the bottom in the back, but I didn't want it to smoosh the skirt down in order to do so. So I spent a lot of time tweaking the lower half in order give it enough flair out to be able to accommodate the full skirt. I made four different patterns for it today, each slightly different than the last. I'd like to say I managed to make some pretty decent progress on it today, but I didn't. I didn't even manage to get the lower half of bodice figured out before another huge issue hit me...
It was the top of the bodice. I've actually been having problems with this for a while now, it's the reason why Charlotte can't wear her Christmas dress without a bra under it. For some reason it ends up being too big in the shoulders, which then throws off the fit in the bust. I do like having the option of having enough room for the bustier dolls to be able to use the top, but this was waaaaaaay too much room. Poor Charlotte was practically indecent when wearing it. I'm going to have to put that top on hold for a bit and work on figuring out that fit issue. It'll be worth it in the end, hopefully.
I did actually make some progress on the top in the long run today. I ended up working on the sleeves. They're going to be fully lined, with a circular flounce. Today I added the flounces to both of them. They're only attached with holding stitches, but finishing them will be easy. Unfortunately I don't have a bodice to attach them to yet!
And I even made some redressing progress today. Remember that yellow blouse I made for Midge that I ended up deciding wouldn't work for her? Well turns out I made it for a Midge, just not that Midge. With my birthday dolls I also had a Midge that didn't have a darkened face. She can pull off yellow, rather nicely I might add. I actually had a skirt already paired up with the blouse. It's that geometric pleated skirt that I got from those cases I bought a few months ago. I don't remember if I mentioned it, but I learned that it was a Sindy skirt. Pretty weird place to find something like that. It's supposed to have a top, but mine didn't come with it. I'm not that upset since the top is kind of ugly. Anyway, the skirt and top look adorable together, just something that Midge would wear (in my humble opinion). I tried putting some jewelry with it, but everything I tried looked fussy. In the end I didn't give her anything. She didn't get shoes either. Not because they made her look fussy, but because I just don't have anything that matches. One of these days she'll get shoes, at least she's dressed now!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Type, type, type, and Sew, sew, sew!

It's Tuesday, so you know what that mean, it's time to work on my writing! I skipped it last week because I was worrying about the dentist, but with that behind us I was free to turn my focus back onto it. Again I worked on the practice document. Today I managed to get the beast actually showing up, compared to just a growling noise in the distance. I did falter around the midway point, but I stuck with it. I did however step away from it for a little bit, but left the document open so that I would be more likely to get back to it today. And I did! I stopped about two lines short of a full page, but it was a natural break in the story, and I wrote more than I did last time. So I'm counting that as a success. I hope I'll be able to keep my progress up! Next week the action between Anton and this panther thing starts.
When that was done I wanted to move onto another project, the only problem is, I really don't have another project. I have several things I need to do, and while I am working on getting them done I'm having a hard time getting motivated in order to do so. But I did eventually pick something to work on today. You may remember a couple weeks back I bought some fabric to make a new dress for Charlotte. I got as far as making an underskirt (twice) and making a skirt that was deemed unusable. I did start working on a replacement skirt, but after a little while I got bored. I was also mad that my first skirt with all that work that went into it, wasn't going to work. So I put it away, or as close to as away we get to around here, off my desk. I've been looking at it, but haven't been really in the mood to work on it. Today I wanted to do some sewing, but not start anything new, so I pulled it down, and got back to work on it.
The skirt is in two panels. I had already finished hemming one of the panels, but only about a third of the other one. I worked on it for several hours today, well into the evening on it. I managed to get the entire thing finished today. I really like it. All the work was worth it in the end. This skirt is 90 percent hand sewn. The only time I used the machine on it was for attaching the skirt to the waistband, everything else was by hand. I used a rolled hem and a hidden stitch to hem both of the skirt panels, that's what took up the most of my time.
From here I have to start working on the top. That one's going to be the hardest since it's going to have a collar, sleeves, and needs to have a decent fit. I've been really dreading this part of the costume creation, but here it is, the next step. I just hope it's worth it when the entire dress is finished. So far I've had to make every part of it twice! Please let that streak be over.P.S. I should add there will be a front panel to this skirt, so Charlotte won't be showing off her legs like she would if she was wearing it as it.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Still not right...

So like I said, I determined yesterday that the white shirt wasn't going to work for Midge. Honestly I wasn't that shocked, the white shirt was actually just a test to see if I could make anything decent from the pattern. I actually had a different shirt color already in mind for Midge, it's just I didn't have enough fabric to make it twice. So I made a test piece in white knowing that I'd be easy to find a use for it. With that being successful, I was able to make it again in my color of choice.
The color I really wanted to make it in? Yellow. I had just enough of it to make this shirt. I've been chipping away at that yellow calico for a while now, and this shirt was the end of it. I have two medium/small scraps left. I might be able to use them for an accent on an outfit, if I'm lucky. But anyway, I made the shirt. It came out pretty easy, I managed to avoid a couple of the issues I had when I made the white one. I managed to finish it today, but when I tried it on Midge, it too made her darkened face look even more dark. And that's not a good look for her. I guess I'm going to have to find a color that doesn't make her look so icky.
Any suggestions?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Back again P.J.?

Since it was the start of the week, that means it's time to pick a new doll to focus my dressing attention on. I put P.J. back on the sewing cabinet, drew up the new name cards for my birthday dolls, and selected a new one. So the dolls for this week is:
*Fashion Queen*
And the funny thing is, she was already off the sewing cabinet and on my desk. I had been using her for my fit model for when I was working with P.J.. It's so much easier trying things on dolls without hair, P.J.'s pigtails would always get in the way! But even before P.J. Fashion Queen's been my go to doll for vintage sewing. Since she was already out, I was able to just leave her out. Hopefully she'll have some success this week. Poor P.J. didn't have much luck! Oh well, her day will come, eventually.
I did do some sewing today, but not for Fashion Queen, but she was again the fit model. After I got my birthday dolls I had an idea for my Bend Leg Midge. It was something similar to what I've done before, but it would require me to use a new pattern. Lately I've been looking to making a sleeveless blouse that closes in the front. I've drafted several patterns, and had several attempts and setbacks with it. Then I had a bright idea... why don't I check the patterns I already had to see if I had what I was looking for instead of making one. Sometimes logic isn't my strong suit. Turns out I did have sort of what I wanted. It just wasn't as fitted as I would like, and didn't have a collar. But since I was already drafting and adapting me own, doing some simple tweaks to this pattern would be easy, and quicker. This was another vintage Barbie Simplicity pattern, for something so simple it has been the pattern that has constantly given me the best results.
I had printed it out the other day, and made a quick test piece, but waited until today to go further with it. So today I pulled out that white linen I bought recently and cut it out. I started working on it, and made decent progress. Adding an inset collar is somewhat tricky, but doable. I did have some problems with the fabric bunching up, but I managed to work around that. I will say that I do not like the feeling of this fabric when it rubs up against itself, it makes me shudder thinking about it. (Does anyone know what I mean?) The sleeves with this are different than normally how I do them. Traditionally I do flat construction, hemming the sleeves before I sew the side seams up, but not with this top. You sew the side seams up, then roll the fabric back, then hem it. I don't like hemming it when it's such a small area, but using a hidden stitch I was able to do it decently enough. After that I didn't run into any notable problems.
I got the entire thing finished today, snaps and everything. It's a really good first attempt. I'm not going to use it for Midge however. The white fabric really plays up how dark her face is. I'm going to have to find something that won't make it look so dark. I'm not too crushed, I'm certainly going to be able to find some use for this simple white blouse. Believe me, I've got options!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Happy Birthday to ME!

I woke up this morning feeling the same as I always do, not that I was expecting to feel any different now that I'm 26.
Yes, today is my birthday. Exciting, right?
I won't lie, usually I have pretty sucky birthday's. Either something happens, or doesn't happens which makes the day less special. I'm not sure what it is about my birthday that seems to attract stuff like that, but perhaps I'm hypersensitive since it's my "special day", and things that normally would roll right off my back affect me more than they should. But this one was actually seemed to be shaping up to be a good one. I had some pretty awesome presents already lined up (but more about that later), a cake with homemade frosting (made by my Mother), and some takeout from a local burger place. A pretty low key birthday, but plenty enough to make me happy. All that was missing was Peach. He still hasn't come home yet. That would be the black cloud hovering over my birthday. It's just the universe really driving the point home that my birthday, no matter how hard I try, will always have some sort of sadness. Honestly if I had my say I would have skipped getting the burgers and making the cake until another weekend, one that the loss of Peach wasn't so fresh, but the cake had been made last night, and I didn't want to be a heel and postpone. And I do appreciate everyone's efforts, it's just I didn't feel like really celebrating my birthday when all I could do was think about the missing cat.
But enough about that, can't do anything about that now. What's done is done. But it's time to share with you my presents, my spoils from my nerve wracking Craigslist transaction. I've already mentioned that I got four dolls, but I didn't say who I got. I will now say that it was a very Midge heavy birthday. Three of the four dolls were Midge. While I technically collect Barbie, there will always be a place in my collection for Midge. She was my first vintage doll, and will always have a special spot in my heart. I mean there's even a vintage Midge on Charlotte's shelf, no vintage Barbie doll has managed to break into that shelf, and that shows how much she means to me.
Up first we have the worst conditioned doll of the lot. She's Midge, a titan doll who's had a haircut. She also had some eye paint chipping with her. But that's it. Other than those things she's in wonderful shape. All her fingers, all her toenail polish, no bites or neck splits. Besides those things and the fact that she's incredibly filthy (they all were), she's in wonderful shape. What's left of her hair is even in decent shape. Some child just cut off the curl part (which always happens, why child, why???). I am planning on re-rooting her, I even have and idea about what hair to use. I know that one of the doll hair stores sells a thermal color changing hair, so I was thinking about getting some of that. That way I could make my own Color Magic Midge. The only things stopping me are the cost, and deciding what color I want to get. I'm not sure if I want to go fantasy or natural. Decisions, decisions.
Moving on from here, we have another Midge. It's another titan haired Midge, but she hasn't had a haircut. She still had the classic curled flip that the original Midge had. I did have to brush out and reset the curls with my fingers, but her hair was in decent shape and only needed minor work. Her body is in good shape, all her fingers, and both fingernail and toenail polish. Her face paint is in good shape too. The only thing I can see that's wrong is her lips are a little thin. Usually when I find a Midge her lip paint is totally gone, so she's already better than most. She still has a narrow line of light pink for her lips. I really like her, she has such a pleasant look to her. I do have to give her another bath, I just noticed a couple spots I missed that could use some more scrubbing. (Gross!)
Next we have another Midge doll, but this one's different. No, she's not a brunette (the only hair color missing from mu vintage Midge collection, she's actually a Bend Leg Midge... partially. While it's true she's a Bend Leg Midge, she didn't come to me on her original body. Instead she came on an incredibly filthy Bend Leg Francie body. The Francie body has one broken knee and a gouge on her foot, but I'm hoping I can work around that. I ended up giving Midge her body back, using that Straight Leg body I bought a couple months back. I am glad I had it and finally had a head for it. Midge's head is in good condition. Her hair is full and soft, her makeup is perfect. The only issue is that her face has darkened. She's really dark compared to the other dolls. Shame because otherwise she's practically perfect. Here's something icky, when I first got her I dunked her head into boiling water in order to soften it so I could swap her body, the water after I dunked her in it, ended up being the color of weak tea. She was so dirty that just putting her into water had enough lose dirt to change the color of the water! Gross right?
And for our final Birthday doll we have someone different, it's Barbie! She's another bubblecut, and while it's true that they're not my favorite dolls, I have managed to amass six of them already, they're the majority of my vintage Barbie collection. But I don't have too much repetition. So far I've managed to only collect two of each hair color, and with her I continue that little habit. She is blonde, and while I have two blondes already, but she's different, she's a lemon blonde, the other two are honey blonde. It's a minor distinction, but pretty apparent when you compare them side by side. I didn't realize how much lighter her hair was until after I washed her hair, she was originally much darker/dirtier. She cleaned up really nicely, I'd say she was the dirtiest with so much dirt trapped around her eyes. Luckily it all washed off to reveal a gorgeous doll. She really is in good shape. Her makeup is in wonderful shape, with a single lip chip and a minor eyelash rub. She has the most lovely coloring, her eyeshadow is a wonderful ice blue, and her nail polish and toenail polish is a very pretty light pink color. Her rooting pattern is different than all the bubblecuts I already own, I was even able to style it as a mock side part. She does have some darkening with her face, like Midge, but unlike Midge her's isn't as dark. She also has a couple tiny gouges on her legs, but they're very minor, and high up on her legs. I know I say this with every new Bubblecut, but she's become my new favorite! She's just so pretty!
Here a picture of all of them after their baths and Midge's body upgrade (The Midge on the far right hasn't gotten her bath yet).I was wondering how this years present from my parents could top last years (American Girl), but I think I was lucky enough to get something just as wonderful. I just wish that Peach would have come home, that would have been the best present of all.
Oh, and before I forget, here's the photo of the dolls before their clean up. The photos with the blue and red background are the seller's and the ones on the (fake) wood are mine right after I brought them home: