Sunday, January 27, 2013

Some projects and thoughts...

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It has been a while since I have been able to fully think and do the creative projects that I would like to do, uninterrupted. You know how it is, you get this great idea for a project- especially if, like me, this is how you have a thousand different irons in the fire , which makes for major distractions during the creative process.
Above is one work in progress, an experiment, since I'm not fully satisfied with it. A small hassock/ottoman using some of the leftover fabric from my 1:6 scale Bespaq wingchairs I designed. Here is the premiere wingchair, Red Dragon (these are no longer available). Hinamatsuri is coming up on March 3rd, and one of my projects is to do a more indepth scene for the Japanese girls' day festival, which my dolls look forward to.
Today was experimentation day. It has been so long since I made a prototype, or built anything of any substance- a few years in fact, it was a couple of hours thinking of how to construct it before I began to assemble what materials I had on hand. This piece needs more embellishment, cord, and some tassels. I am thinking this might be a good height for a chair, but an ottoman or hassock should be about an inch lower. Great height for the picture to put a tea tray on it. This chair was one of the first ones I designed in collaboration with Bespaq, and is dear to my heart for that reason. Alot of planning went into that piece,before its debut, in 2007-2008.
Here the stool is with a Barbie Basics in kimono bending over it to put the tea tray on it, (she is a hybrid doll transplanted onto a LIV doll body) along with IT seasons W club Spring doll sitting on the hassock.
That was the 2nd project I worked on today- wasn't entirely satisfied with it, but it is a start.
My second project was a prop for a future photo session, the wood door for the dugout scene for my Little House characters, when they first see the dugout in On the Banks of Plum Creek.
Here is Pa and Laura modeling the door. I could have probably made it wider, but I know when the set is built, it is not going to be scale-exact but just enough to achieve the look. That project build is on the slate for a much more warmer and sunnier day then has been had lately- we have had snow, severe freezing temperatures- freezing rain this evening and in the early morning. Depressing- I hate snow and ice, impossible to get anything done.
As to thoughts....I have been down in the dumps because I am at a turning point, I feel, as an artist. Many do not know with the recent upheavals in my personal and professional life- family ups and downs with family members my husband and I have to work through, plus financial problems. I opened my shop, which had already been in business for several years at shows and on the internet, in April of 2009 and had to close in January 2011. The overhead was just too much, and our location, though nice was not as great as it could have been. I hope never to live through another year as horrible as 2010. Much of the stress and worry with my business as well as my husband's business, LeoPaul and Associates, took its toll, predictably on my health.
Fortunately, We were able to work thru that. Now my biggest problem is my business is slacking a bit, we are coming to a huge take off on my hubby's boiler company, which I am finding I am having to devote much time to in the office. I know more about industrial equipment and boiler parts than any woman needs to! Though I am extremely grateful for being able to spend so much time with my husband in a working environment, and am able to make my own schedule, I miss my shop, and designing for the dolls. One of the biggest problems for me in the last few years which took a toll on my creativity was my frenetic pace...this takes a severe toll on creativity- with the ability to vision, create, build, sculpt, etc. It sapped me at the shop to the point I had no desire to do any custom work on 1:12 scale dollhouses, though I enjoyed working with clients in classes, etc.
So what does all of this mean? I am one who does not make New Year's resolutions,more like goals..... but I thought long and hard what direction I wanted to move towards. I want to devote myself to 1:6 scale, but how? what do I create? what do I dream up next?
And there it is...I also realized in thinking back on these past 2-3 years, I had also lost my passion. Not my passion for the hobby, but the business part had somewhat sapped my strength/creativity on several levels.
So 2013 is going to be a hectic year. I have already devoted myself to helping more with my favorite charity, and fundraising, for the Shriner's Childrens' Hospitals which my husband and I devote much time to the events, the fundraisers, and parades. It is fun, but is exhausting and exhilarating at the same time, to know that a child is getting help they need and cannot afford to pay. But I have decided that besides this, I will focus this year on my spare time with no pressure on myself on the business end, but on the creativity end. I want to challenge myself to create again. So I am going thru the lists, and deciding on what I want to create, and hopefully, I will be getting 'my mojo back' so to speak, lol. So hopefully my creative skills will be spent this year getting back from being derailed so long. Skills I had that were effortless when I was doing this non stop and on deadlines are full of effort and draining...while other skills have never left but are more sharpened, such as measuring and figuring out the design quickly.  Things I shied away from (such as sewing, upholstery, etc.) I now jump into with both feet and usually do better than usual, to my astonishment. Mind I am not trying to sell anything, but push myself towards working on deadlines again and hopefully, coming up with something new.
All for now, more pics to come on the ottoman when I finish the embellishments for it.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A little update...

I have a little update on how the shelf dioramas are coming along. Today I worked on the school rooms, one for the middle school/high school kids and one for the elementary school classroom. I may continue the school rooms depending on how much my school room obsession continues with the two bottom shelves. I need to finish two foamcore sidewalls and more pictures, posters, blackboards, and other school stuff. But here are some quick pics.

Here it is with the floors done and some furniture placement...
 Below are some of the desks for the middle school/high school kids. Below that is a pic with some of the dolls who may be high school students, such as Ricky, Skipper, and so on. I've looked over my inventory of younger kid dolls and found most are in elementary school. Need some more high school kids especially boys.Enjoy the update!

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Dolls are taking over....

...the doll room that is!Since it snowed, sleeted, and rained last night today I stayed put and organized the shelves in the doll room. Or maybe it should be called the diorama room. Or maybe it should be called the dollhouse room.....anyhow, the dolls are taking over. So today I cleaned off 6 shelves and reorganized! No small feat for me, I can tell you.

From this- 2 shelves on the right were cleared out of stuff, 1 more on the bottom to go...
To 2 shelves vacant, as shown above. The orange car was my very first Barbie car, bought with green stamps, as Mom couldn't afford the 'real' Barbie car when I was a kid. I loved this car.
My Re-ment stash amongst my dollhouse miniature magazines
Transformed to a clean shelf for more diorama space!
These are the shelves next to the closet and my 1:12 scale Strawberry Hill dollhouse on the wood base pedestal. That's where my vintage Dawn fashion dolls live. Right now these shelves were cleared out to make room for a nightclub, or a shopping mall...
Above is the items that came off of the shelves near the closet door- my boxed dolls, and all of the little 'loose' items I have been too lazy to put away properly.
I played around a bit with that corner, thinking what can I make this? a park? I do have a picnic table and some park items, such as the fountain.
Remember S.I.S. Darren who I found at Tuesday Morning? Well, I deboxed Nikki I can be a baby doctor (who I picked up at walmart for 6.50!) and it looks like the family is complete!
Here is the family at the park for their photo op. I think Nikki will stay as a doctor, probably a maternity doctor, and Darren will have a job in the town as a disc jockey and co-manager of the nightclub.
Here is a shot of Barbietown, where the storefronts are.
Rosie waving at Prince William.

I decided the entrance to a posh shopping mall or night club would be much much better!Those trees are from the Christmas pageant dio and still have the white lights on them. I put the boxed dolls on the bottom shelf behind the W Club backdrop (thank you Karon Montague! Bestest FR Friend ever! (she gave me the backdrop because she had nowhere to put it in her own doll room)
Here is a shot view of the parking sidewalk, Natalia is picking up Agnes, and Rosie is waving at Prince WIlliam while Katniss is driving.
 All in all, I think the six shelves that have been cleaned will go off well. I was thinking of making the school on two of the bottom shelves, and a store or boutique on the shelves above them. The nightclub will be on the opposite shelves near the W club door backdrop. It will take some time, but the dolls need more places to go than the fake shops and McDonald's! I have been under alot of pressure lately, with work gearing up and other things, and haven't had alot of time to think how I would like the doll room to look. I think going this way will be great. Though I would very much like to have a doctor's office and a hospital and another fine dining restuarant. So I have been thinking of maybe downsizing the large diorama that is McDonald's and put the fine dining restuarant in its place, and making the McDonald's more smaller....that will have to wait until I work out the details.
All for now, Enjoy the pics!~Lisa

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

And the Winner of the Blog

(drum roll............................)

Ms. Leo of I-Luv-dolls is our blog giveaway winner!

Katniss has already giftwrapped her purse (with key inside)....

Congratulations Ms. Leo! We hope you enjoy this little prize!
Thank you everyone for participating, and following the blog, it means so much to me that people are interested in this OCD doll builder's blog.
On another note, Barbietown is getting back to normal. All the decorations are not down yet- (the boutique owner is somewhat lazy and still on vacation), but things are coming along. Here are a few pics I snapped. It is so depressing to take down the Christmas decorations!
McDonald's is up and running, and Bryan has hired a young teenager to help Ricky with the drive thru. Olivia just got her work permit, but she'll be 16 in a month or so. Ricky is nervously allowing her to handle the fryer.
The Baroness, or Agnes, is out shopping, here we catch a picture of her startled. 'Dahling, give me more time to prepare for photos next time! I look absolutely ghastly today!' she snarls. (I would love to look this ghastly on a rainy Tuesday morning myself...)
After filling Natalia's car up with shopping spree loot, she and Natalia decide to try to get a bite to eat at that EXCLUSIVE little eatery that Prince WIlliam is coming out of incognito! O-M-G! (This isn't the way I talk, it is the way our Baroness least in my imagination, LOL...)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Last day to enter the Blog Giveaway!

Hi everyone!

Well, today is the last day you can enter our blog giveaway! Please have your comment if you haven't already posted on the Blog Giveaway post from last Monday on January 7th. Today by midnight is the deadline to enter. If you are already a follower of this blog, just leave a comment- if you are not, follow the blog and leave a comment you'd like to particpate!

For those who may just be seeing this for the first time- Katniss' new sling purse with tasseled key ring will be the prize giveaway!

Updates- so it's after the holidays, and everyone on the doll boards is clearance shopping. Where oh where do you get those nifty deals on all the cute props and dolls?

I have been shopping in my local Wal-mart so far. And they are clearing out the old dolls and even some of the new ones. Usually I am not there at the moment they put out the new dolls on clearance. But I have scored the Barbie/Chelsea teacher giftset for 11.00, and the Nikki I can be a baby doctor for 6.50!! Today I browsed into the doll section then the clearance section and found Barbie's washer and dryer for 10.97. I do not know if it had been put on clearance or someone dropped it there to hide it and come back for it later...but I snatched it up as it was the LAST ONE...yeah me. I have been looking for the new S.I.S. Dolls but they are not at our Walmart, so this will be cause for further shopping trips. I did see them at Target but there were only a couple and I should have snatched them up while I could. Though I like my Nikki, I wanted someone else to be Darrin's wife, as he and Julian are getting lonely for a Mommy figure, and they would be a nice couple for Barbie town.

Be sure to enter our giveaway!


Friday, January 11, 2013

Town Party Little House scene...

So today I did a little rough drafting as I call it, to figure out how to replicate the scenes in the Little House books with the dolls & props. This scene is one I have always wanted to replicate, but much better than this rough sketch above.
I think in the real long term, what I would like to do is have a picture from the book on the left, and a picture of the diorama, using the dolls & props to replicate the picture in the book, on the right. Today I just propped the book On the Banks of Plum Creek behind the dolls. I'm just missing a doll to be Willie Olsen with the jumping jack. I think putting elastic clear hairbands around the doll to hold it onto Nellie and make it look like she is holding it away from Laura would work. I havent played very much in the past few days with my Little House doll family, and I miss them, something about these dolls gives me a warm fuzzy feeling- they are fast becoming my favorites.
Don't forget aobut our Blog Giveaway - follow our blog and comment on that post, to be entered to win our free prize!! Right now we are up to 95 followers- let's see if we can make it 100 by Monday when the contest ends!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Progressive doll purse creations...

I have been experimenting with different materials and worked on this tiny purse. Again, I used a raised pattern felt, this time the purse is lined with red ultrasuede leather, with a black top stitching all around the visible edges, which makes it pop a bit. The handle is braided black leather, with finished silver ends held by matching jump rings, and a lobster claw attachment holding a tiny lock and key. Though it needs work, on the closing flap, I was pleased how my first purse came out constructed as I made the pattern by eye and  used a ruler matching the size against the doll's body- Poppy just happened to be my first willing purse 'victim'
The purse does not have a closure snap/hook yet, I was looking for something to make that flap 'pop' if you will...I have another idea for another purse in red too, so I will probably look for some type of charm or bead to add to it. I wanted to wait until it was completely finished, but thought I would take some pics. I usually don't fall in love with the first item I make, but I honestly enjoyed this one!
Hopefully more to come later!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Blog Giveaway!

Hi everyone. I am going to be doing a blog giveaway! I have waited until I have found something worthwhile that would interest everyone and make the giveaway more exciting!

So right now I am at 92 followers on the blog. I will run the giveaway from today, to midnight on January 14, 2013 and then on Tuesday January 15th I will announce the winner.( I will contact you thru the blogger system) Hopefully a week and a day will be enough time to get us past 100 likes and maybe even to 200!

Rules: If you are not a follower of the blog- follow us and comment on THIS POST. You must follow the blog to eligible for the prize.

If you already follow the blog, just comment on THIS POST.

Random winner will be picked from the comments on this post.

Now-- what is the giveaway????? (drum roll please...........................................)

Katniss' new purse plus a tiny key with handbraided tassel ring! Below are the pictures-

NOW: About the prizes-
Katniss' bag is made of burgundy felt with a raised pattern, handsewn. The strap is studded and of leather, attached to golden jump rings on either side. The purse closes with a snap closure embellished with a tiny handmade tassel wire wrapped. The extra bonus- the key, is a small silver plated key with a red and black handbraided key, with tassel also wire wrapped. This will be shipped inside the purse.
I will announce the winner on January 15, 2013 and will contact you thru the blogger system.
Now get to following and posting!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Katniss' new purse...

I was bored today, and had been dreading breaking down Barbietown's Christmas decor...which is almost done. I have a bunch of nude male dolls as I have packed away the Nativity costumes for next year. After taking off  Katniss' Mary costume, I decided to dress her up for shopping, but she was missing something. I thought it would be fun to try and make a purse or sling bag tote for her, such as the ones I lust after but can't afford on La Boutique . Though I will probably never attain that level of perfection in doll accessories, it was fun to try with the materials I had on hand. Here is what I came up with--

As you can see, it is a little large tote, embellished with the jewelry findings and a tassel, and a cool studded black leather strap. Those curved findings I purchased at a trade show a few years back are for creating miniature jewelry, and I made the little tassel hanging from
the closure. This was pretty fun, and done on the rough, so I would like to try more purses later on. I used a raised design of felt for the purse, and sewed it together.Katniss is such a pretty doll, I know she is going to be a favorite.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ebay loot for me!

A TON of Ebay loot that had been purchased for my Laura Ingalls project arrived yesterday- it really felt like Christmas. First up to arrive, was the Johnny West buckboard and the accessories- a pair of pants, boots with spurs, shirt, two rifles with a rifle pouch, vest, hatchet, and water can thingy. Pa and the rest of the Ingalls family were happy. The buckboard is missing the springs on the seat and the front wheel axle comes off when lifted- I think all of this can be fixed- but I can hopefully turn this into the covered wagon.
Next up that came in the mail was Tea Elegance Barbie- also off of Ebay-
This is a quick photo here of her. She came NRFB with her teaset. AND free shipping! this was an awesome deal.
Next up, Victorian holiday Kelly. She was being sold seperately but will work for the older Carrie Ingalls from On the Banks of Plum Creek when Carrie is roughly 4-6 years old, it is hard to tell with Laura's timelines on her books.

I purchased this Kelly mostly to use her dress as a pattern, because the dresses that Laura, Mary & Carrie wear in this old picture resemble that style, a long waist with a short skirt, buttoned up the front sometimes. Here is a picture of them I am referring to-
If you notice, Carries' dress has buttons doubled on both sides up the front, with what looks a two piece dress, as does Laura and Mary(sitting). Their hair is also not in braids but pulled back like this little Kelly's hair as well. Mary and Laura's dress appear to be gingham.
As if all this ebay loot was not enough, yesterday I also picked up Mini american girl doll Nellie, to portray Nellie Olsen.

I adore the blue ribbons and the dress detail, AG really outdid themselves with this one on clothing detail. The only thing I might have to do is switch out her mary janes for those little white and black boots mini Rebecca wears. to make the pictures look authentic.
So yesterday was a great day as far as dolly loot! I am still taking it all in. I want to do a scene soon with all the Victorian barbies but that will mean dismantling the Ingalls' kitchen and I am still taking down Christmas decorations.