Category Archives: Handwork

Barbie bodies

You know this new thing among Barbie lovers about how for decades Barbies came in one size and now there are many body types to choose from?

Have you ever tried to switch costumes between Barbies? I don’t mean the large cut stretchy stuff you get from shop, but something that is done from a rough materials? Anyone, who has had to make doll clothes for their children can tell you – not a single one of them, if bought year apart come with the same body measurements!

I switched my Barbie’s Pivotal to the new Made To Move body. Guess if any of the pretty dresses I made for the doll previously can be used on the new body? Not a single one of them! The only thing that did go on the doll was made for a larger Rapunzel doll and it’s not even Barbie.

So, all this talk about how they came in the same size is nothing but commercial trick. They’re more like mockery women feel at clothes shops – two women can’t put on the same dress so it would sit as it should despite being the same size.

I’m 30+ and having a naked doll crises. What a first world problem to have…

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Happy New Year!

winterHappy New Year, everyone!

Because writing wasn’t going so well and we had a small break from the workload, I decided to fill an old promise I had made for my niece a month ago before NaNo began – new set of doll clothes.

It was partly inspired by a revelation that I had mom’s sewing machine only meters away from my writing desk and that I haven’t sewn anything or done any other handwork in a while. Well, little things excluded like teaching niece how to make snowflakes after her ballet class.

As of writing, I think of taking up Flash Fiction this year on my homepage. It is very hard to write and do things without deadlines it seems, so perhaps setting myself some goals again might help it.

 

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Half of the result of the 5 hours in the kitchen.

I had a little surprise this Christmas, too. It’s hard not to get in mood, when your folks declare that they are heading to the forest and you are left with kitchen duty on Christmas Eve morning, so after 5 hours I finally did “go in the mood”, sort of. I think it was more like this soothing feeling that even if you are not in the mood, traditions don’t ask and still happen. Which, considering my mood, was a soothing palm.

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Pinky Cooper, later named Poppy.

Also, who can stay angry when the Dwarf Express decided that as my niece had asked a dog doll from Santa, because the doll is so different from the rest, her aunty must need one too. So my only present this year was this on the right. To everybody’s surprise they are very nice! Soft on touch, articulated hands and feet, entire body toned with blush and beauty marks, soft changeable hair, DETAILED and WELL MADE costume (which compared to some of the Barbies and others I’ve seen – wow! Yoke! With buttons! SEWN ON!). My niece loves it and I love it.

So, as to fulfill my promises before the new year starts, I picked up the sewing machine and went for it. Lessons learned: don’t trust the pattern sizes and the newbie mistakes are bound to happen no matter how many times you do it.

 

We have this old piece of white polyester cloth that got ruined thanks to a little puppy nosebleed on the most inconvenient time, so it has been sitting for about 15 years. As nothing big can be made of it, but as you can skip doing edges for it melts, it was perfect candidate for this.

The first dress was actually the easiest. The reason it looks pink underneath is doll’s swim suit. My first time trying to make sleeve like sleeves. There has to be an easier way to sew them! Must be! Thank god I couldn’t break the machine as it is not mine or I would have pushed it off the table so many times. Fixing the mistakes I made with the machine took more time than sewing it all by hand. I would know, because I have done this by hand for a long time. But in the end The dress got made and I am very happy about it. It fit! And who can deny that satisfaction!

The white dress was an experiment. The lacy part is the back to add some spunk. I tried to make a layered petal dress. Relatively easy, given the pattern didn’t fit at all in the end and this was the dress that proved to me – I do not like patterns with seam allowance. It drove me nuts when I spent the next 2 hours fitting it on the doll.

The puff pants bad image – haven’t got another image. That’s testing my own made pattern. After I had enough of all the off size measurements, I decided to make one of my own. I recall it being far easier in school. Oh well, it was fun :D.

And the last, but not the least my joy and pride – a coat. Because my niece likes to take her Barbies one by one to kindergarten, then she might as well use a coat to cover up their dresses so they don’t get dirty. This is made of the same material I had my own old coat made of. It is heavy though, but I loved it. This piece alone took me a whole day – all the seam allowances had to be stitched over or it would be a very short lived. I still like Lolita fashion on Barbies :D.

And now, as the last sunset of 2015 has ended, the second picture of it for you. A pink sunset for the ending year.

May the coming year be filled with inspiration and will to work, stamina, coffee and friends. May it carry only the best and bring you lots of publications and good reviews. 

winter 2

 

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Filed under Barbie, Handwork, writing trivia

Bed and an armchair

After reading friend’s story last night – my first free day over a month! – I decided to do something in the other end of the prism and pick up that little project I had in mind before November came.

I wanted to make a chair for Barbie. Or, I was planning to buy one, but then I went on line and saw that the ones I liked, nice quality and nice to look at, were equally priced. Then I remembered a tutorial for miniatures that teaches you how to make soft furniture and thought – why not give it a try?

So here’s my results: bed for niece, because she has wanted it since her mom got the doll house and chair for my doll so she would not be sitting on my tarot deck bag.

Well, now I know why they cost so much. The bed took me  12 hours to make, both the furniture piece, the beddings and the bouncy madras and pillow. The chair took 6 hours. In either case I don’t count making the pattern, for despite there being quite few available online, I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted, so I fantasized a bit. Both are mostly made of thick carton layered up so the pieces went together like puzzle game covered with costume velvet, finished with pegs for legs.

Those legs – if I even mention them right now aloud, my brother goes running for whatever errant he can think of, because they proved to be the hardest part in the entire project.

So, without further due, here’s the results:

 

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Adopted Steffi Love

I said I bought a doll from second hand shop. I finished fixing her up on Sunday and thought I might as well show her off a bit too before niece gets to take her home.

So, the doll itself is Steffi Love, as it turned out. The image on the left is one I found online when  I was searching what doll I was dealing with. Had to use that to show what she looked like before I had the “cunning” idea to repaint her face.

To start with, I washed and conditioned the hair. Turned out she had long hair! Couldn’t guess by the way they’d been puffed on top of her head with bad rubber. But when I saw that she actually HAS quite good long hair, I felt still at odds. It was cheep piece of plastic and I’ve never liked Steffi’s face much.

So after it sat about a week, I woke up one morning that I wanna try it. When else do I get a cheep canvas like that? Heh. Yeah. So I coughed off her head and did it. Used acrylic watercolor pencils and took my sweet time, doing one element at a time during 5 minute breaks from work. But that’s the result, and I rather like the outcome. Don’t want to take it up any time soon though. Or, well, until one of such crosses my path again.

Then the dress. Cheep 20 cent skirt from a thrift shop. The skirt actually has extra layer underneath and the lacy bodice is built to fit that doll and despite the snuggly look, it can be removed and put back on without any trouble. Same goes to the choker necklace and armband. It was important that the dress can be removed, for it is meant for playing after all.

Ah, yes, fun side project :).

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Gargoyles, gargoyles, gargoyles!

So, since I decided to write about gargoyles during the last year’s NaNoWriMo, and fixing up the book for contest, I’m back at them and thinking of another story to write during this Nano. I did try to write a short story to send in for FM Anthology, but as they wanted PG13, and, well, the gargoyles are hardly your typical boy scouts, so the story was left on the shelf. However, I am revoking it soon, for the characters there grew in a perfect pre-story for the next Nano.

As it seems I’m dealing with gargoyles more, I have a plan for this month – properly work out that fantasy world of theirs. Well, and perhaps build up some story base with it. One way or the other, get to know my little monsters is a good plan as it goes. Where to start? How about soil colors… Yup, that’s where I stuck my nose in first.

Other news? Well, competition, where the Gargoyles went wasn’t success. Learned a lesson there, but not related with the story. I still am obsessed with it and want to continue. At this point I have 3 storylines to obsess about and I’m a bit overwhelmed :D. or perhaps just soooo exited!

Oh, on the other note – I bought another doll. Well, it was for pretty much a dollar and from second hand shop, but it was intriguing. I’ve been eying it for close to a month now. First time I saw her, she had this horrible updo that made me think she’s got somewhat medium length hair. Brother later said he saw that doll a month ago together with a bucket full of other Barbie like dolls. All the other dolls got bought, which is a miracle, for they really had permanent ink painted masks, feet broken off, hair half cut away, piercings in weird places… That horrible updo seemed like the best doll compared to others, but for some reason I discarded her still. For that updo really looked doubtful.

Yeah, but then I visited dorm and saw that I had a hank of doll hair still in the closet (from time when I redid my Barbie) and figured that hey, if I can’t get that hair in order, I can just use her as another experiment for green hair. :P. Took me about an hour, but she was cleaned and ready. I didn’t have to cut her hair – turns out she has long hair, all the way to her buttocks and in two colors – creamy blond and white. Ok, so this was already something to go by, so I searched her out – Steffi Love? Oh, and her knee joints – seems that this particular doll is from around 2012?

Anyway, she’s all fixed up and I’m rather happy that she was left behind for she cleaned up good. 🙂 Next stop – a dress. And then another one for the Barbie, for the time she spent with my niece, she got some markings on it that won’t come out. No biggie – i can always make new ones 😛 :D.

It’s gonna be long night too – super moon and eclipse with it. FUN!

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Finishing things

Every year, if it is not related with writing, because that is something that defies logic when it comes to work progress, I like to do a little check up on the projects and promises I’ve made. I do like if promises are kept, basics of any human relation, so I do like to go over the promises I have made in some point during the years and if still possible finish them.

We can all make promises. It flows so easily over lips to say that yes, I will do something or I will be somewhere without ever having a plan to participate that event at all. I don’t like it. I may not seem like a very approachable person because of it, not enthusiastically agreeing to take part of your mission in life, but I rather say that I can’t come than let you believe I will come.

So, during the year I have given few promises to others and to myself too that I want to finish before the New Year begins.

First of all – I promised a larger doily for a friend’s mother. This is the pattern I used for her work. I love the pattern and as I did find the stash of crochet yarn while moving, I grabbed it with me and and did it. Promise is a promise and for a while I did feel bad for not keeping it, especially after I was hoping to do it from sewing thread only to discover after few motives that they were nappy already and by the time I would finish it, the entire work would look awful. Given, I was a bit under the weather at that time, which makes me appreciate the coffee break even more, it seemed like an ideal way not to fall asleep during the night shifts. All-in-all I finished it in one week. The last rounds took me hours to complete and with this yarn, the diameter is 85 cm-s when stretched.

Here’s the finished result, stretched and pinned while it dries after starching:

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As of manuscripts and stories. Did print out my manuscript on the “mammoth” I’m working on. Finally. Still can’t believe I did it though, but as I did have few days free, I decided to deal with that too, together with ironing, and as I was at it, I took a quick trip to town and had them bind as well. So now I have 3 part long manuscript, each part 100 pages long, ready for editing. No excuses left not to work and finish this promise to myself too. Especially not now when I got a “maybe” that if I get the manuscript ready for reading, I can send an offer to a publishing company. Which, although nothing’s settled yet, is a big deal in my book, even if it doesn’t work out.

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Itch-itch, scratch-scratch

I’m in stage of itch-itch and scratch-scratch. I know Nano July is nearing in and sometimes  I even humor myself with thought of participating. And on the second thought I have 4 stories I’m currently writing that also need attention. So if I enter, it will rebel in style – wanna finish something or add words! Yeah, sounds about a good plan… perhaps I should…

I haven’t posted anything on the writing blog at the moment either, because I don’t have anything short at the moment. I might have a snippet though.

Dead Child’s Portrait – I am actively working on it. Re-reading what I have and trying to fill the holes and fix some ends. What a mess! Still hopeful though.

Fish Coat –  they got moving, now I need them in destination and rocking the freak world. Somehow. Testing different writing style and it goes slower. I feel like going on with this one for the Nano July…

Nano 2012 / Rustles – is missing the last 2-3 chapters and then is ready for ruthless editing. See? I have been working!

“The Experiment” –  Some time back I read from a description of a book, I think it was Winning the Story Wars, “…if you feel like graduating from boy-meets-a-girl stories…” and it planted something in my brain like alien plant bursting its tiny worm-like roots deep between the curves of your white brain cells before tossing its purple spear-like head through the grey brain cells. YES! TEACH ME!  I found a method online that seemed interesting and now I’m sort of working on pre-work for that experiment so I can try it out. It is simple, yes, but with my writing style, it has potential of working. So why not try out something new?

I also dig back out Dramatica Pro. It intrigues me, despite being complicated beyond my capabilities. I may have good knowledge on writing theories, but I feel dumb just looking at it.  A bit less dumber than last time I opened it up. The theory books is jewable and I can see the potential of it. Especially as it works on my older computers as well – a big bonus. Yeah, I’m still searching for a good writing program. Although each time I think I’ve found it, I end up abandoning it for Word and Excel also work well…

The itch-itch scratch-scratch problem is not only related with writing. Visited grandparents for Midsummer celebration. We don’t do something overly big, but it’s family event and kids get to play with each other and I get to cook my hearts desire (as if I don’t on other occasions) and it’s fun. That’s the main thing – it’s fun.

bf25387111a25bf3fda701e88d717ec4 Yes, getting smoked was fun – this was voted the best image we got and I do have better, brighter and clearer images.  The couple with grey hair in the back are my grandma and grandpa. And yes, he is that huge . Niece has already given up the party and gone for evening nap.

While there, grandma showed me her handwork – crochet bedspread made out of white cotton! Oh heavens! If there is one thing from what I call “Stepford perfection” (or the perfect world of 1940’s to 60’s) that makes me jealous of them, it’s that! Beautiful bedspreads that give the beds a nice finish. Or perhaps it’s that memory from childhood, when I was in hospital – we had like military order there how the beds had to be done. I was young enough to be influenced and I still like doing the beds like that.

Estonian old type farm house 

I remember my great grandmother’s bedroom – it was in old farm house (similar to what you see here  – they are awesome!). The house had no electricity (sue me – I liked houses that have no electricity) and the room there was with one window.  She was superb embroiderer and I remember a big wall carpet on her wall behind the bed, similar to what you can see on the image below. The trick with these is that they are not just decorations, but they also help to insulate the rooms. In a dark, electricity free room though – if you go in there with nothing but the oil lamp light, you don’t see the black background, but you will see the bright slightly shiny embroidery and it stands out as if painted wall panel.  Now that is one thing I can’t do – or perhaps if I put my mind to it, I can learn it eventually. She also had carpet that covered her bed.

Mulgimaa and Muhumaa wall carpet

I remember she also had beautiful towels with crocheted edgings that covered the daily used towels and her pantry shelves all stood out with laces cut out of paper.

It’s strange how I can remember such details even though I was only  a toddler the last time I visited it. Yeah, but how can you forget early morning mists and cold feet when you ran to the outhouse in blazing white cotton nightgown that reaches to your ankles to happen on your great grandmother cooking potato peels for pigs in the outdoor kitchen? That smoke is still making me dizzy with certainty that I am also able to live that life and would enjoy every moment of it.

OH! The reason of my memory lane! Seeing granny’s crocheted white bedspread brought me back to something I found some time back and saved in my bookmarks. It looks like this. Can you hear my fingernails scratch in the surface of the table? I wanna do something more challenging than an afghan. Something from thinner thread. Something that isn’t doily. Or snowflake.

The pattern looks like this. I have no problem posting this, for it can be easily found in the internet. At this point I’m posting the pattern, because I want it to be available for me whenever I go so I can just have access to it, when I start making it.

As someone, who still has dogs and probably always will and who hates white stuff in places that are always getting dirty, I’m thinking of making it natural…sort…of…thinking… or perhaps some deep wine red… Oh wait, my dogs hair are latte and toffee. So no red.

Itch-itch, scratch-scratch!

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