A few years ago I drew my disheveled unicorn, “Keeping the Dream Alive.” It was a bit of a joke on the perfection of unicorns. After all, it takes a lot of work to look that magical. Afterwards I sketched out my “Brunette Unicorn” to kind of continue the joke. Honestly, it was a bit how I felt growing up in the land of blondes, aka Southern California- a dark pool in a field of wheat. As I was doodling in my sketchbook it occurred to me that there would surely be a ginger unicorn or a black unicorn. I mean, why not?
These two ladies are finished, drawing wise, and waiting for paint. I have 2 more in my queue that I may be able to wrap up this week, leaving next week to begin painting!
Last week we had a brief moment of cooler weather which I took advantage of. I mentioned that I inherited some clothes from my husband’s great Aunt, and here are a couple of them. The soft brown tea length skirt has wooden button that go down the side. I had to take it in about 4″ in the waist and body of the skirt. It has an elastic waist so there wasn’t going to be a really great way to do that without cutting the elastic on each side, trimming it, reattaching it and then trimming each side. Orrrrrrr I could take it out of the center back seam which would shift the side seams toward the back. I took it out of the back simply bc that way I only had to do it once instead of twice, which is what would have happened by taking from the sides. But, with this tightly gathered style, you can’t even see the side or back seams at all, so it all worked out.
My sweet Karl is too excited to get some vanilla milk at Target to bother staying still. This is what I’m assuming is a home made brushed cotton dress. It had small shoulder pads that I cut out. The shoulders, even before this, were a little too wide for me & I contemplated taking the sleeve out and moving it in a bit. But that would change the sleeve length, which is like exactly where it is. So, I’m living with it. I cut off about 6″ from the bottom to make it a little more contemporary, otherwise it looked very “vintage drag”. There are pintucks running down each sleeve which really made me fall in love with this dress. <3
My husband Mikael took both of these photos to send them to his mother so she could see that her Aunt’s clothes are getting a new life. And yes, they all knew I was going to have to alter them for a better fit :)
We are ready to go to the neighborhood diner. I LOVE diner food. Love it. Give me diner coffee, eggs and hashbrowns and I’m set!We’re in total agreement Agent Cooper Coop is from Welcome to Twin Peaks
Pinterest stopped working a while ago, maybe a year ago, when they changed their algorithm. But it was one of two platforms I actually like (the other being Instagram) and I’ve hung on hoping they would change it again. It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen, but I recently figured out how to make it kind of work. Basically you can either bookmark your favorite follows “pins” page and visit them individually or you can do the same through Pinterest, though that’s several more steps. I haven’t looked at my Pinterest feed in ages and now that I’ve found a way around it, I can’t imagine I ever will again.
It’s a crappy fix, but it’ll do while I spend 20 minutes downing 3 cups of coffee, bleary eyed in the morning and trying to turn into a human being, while my kids play on the floor.
It’s summer and I have a baby, so that means that like it or not, there’s a lot of sitting involved. I decided to revisit the glorious train wreck that is Once Upon a Time. I got hooked on it a few years ago and it remains my favorite guilty tv pleasure. The acting is mostly good and in some cases very good/spectacular- Robert Carlyle clearly acts rings around everyone, going from manic to menacing to tender in the blink of an eye. But the writing suffers from one of my least favorite narrative devices- telling instead of showing.
Seasons 1 and 2 are delightful. Imagine Dynasty and Dallas where everyone is magical. ZOMG! Beginning with season 3 and going forward the writers seem to just churn out stories with some new novelty and forget about developing the characters we’re (supposedly) invested in. Season 4 in particular was a nearly complete waste until the very last midseason episode. Luckily the second half of season 4 picked up a little.
Seasons 1 and 2 also have some of the best costuming. I’m not talking about the Enchanted Forest scenes, which are pure Alexis Carrington run through Drag Race- in the best way possible. No, I’m talking about what they wear in Storybrooke, which is a twee girl’s fantasy.
Mary Margaret Blanchard is werkin’ the Amelie vibe so hard! Of course I love it.
number 1- buy a cardigan in every color. Every. Color.
I frequently page through my collection of Burda Magazines late at night and play dress up in my head. Can you tell I made a lot of paper dolls when I was a child… and a teen… and still. Anyway, Burda seems to have some holes in their pattern collections. I couldn’t find a simple shell with a lace inset collar. Obviously you can make one, which is what I’ll probably do. I don’t get paid by Burda, this is just because I love their patterns and find them incredibly reliable. But, I don’t spend much time on their website anymore since it turned into Craftsy.
I’ve recently figured out that the sewing world has changed enormously in the last couple of years- and not in a way that interests me. There are a lot of beginner seamstresses, which is great, but as a result there’s a trainload of money to be made is in simple, beginner patterns. And that’s trickled into every pattern company, including Burda. Along with the current fashion trend of simple shapes paired with expensive fabric this has resulted in the same ultra simple patterns all over the internet. It’s not that I hate simple. I just made a shift out of quilting cotton for crying out loud. But I’m definitely suffering from samey pattern fatigue. So, I’m consoling myself with my stack of magazines. These however I pulled from their website bc I’m not up for scanning everything.
I’m so into this outfit. I love the shoes. I used to have 2 pairs of lace ups that unfortunately wore out over the course of 15 years. I’m currently on the hunt for replacements. And how hot was Graham? He was on some British show I tried watching with Gillian Anderson, but I decided watching serial killers with my kid was a bad idea.
So many cardigans, right? Anyway, this was my least successful Burda find. While I enjoy a mandarin collar, i thought it was weird that there weren’t more sleeve options. I like the skirt pleats though. I’m so in love with both of the plus dresses.
Have I mentioned how much I hate pockets on dresses? Or anywhere on the lower half of my body. I think I’ve sewn one things with pockets and they were totally decorative. Oh- they work. You could put items in them, but never in a million years would I actually do that. Probably bc I don’t want to look like my saddlebags are giving birth to my keys. Anyway, this dress has been on my “easy make” radar since the issue came out. I love the Dior darts.
This one was impossible to find! It’s such a basic design that it seems weird that it wouldn’t exist. But I’m thinking that since most plus women are rectangular or ovoid with waists close to their bust measurement that maybe it’s not a popular style? I do know that the plus sized women I know in real life won’t be caught dead in a dirndl skirt, so maybe there’s that too.
I’m not going to make any of these anytime soon, esp since I already have my Autumn sewing plan. But I do love to day dream. Between Mary Margaret in season 1 and Belle in season 2, I have lots of clothes pr0n to ogle ;D
Ugh- procrastination over!
Screencaps from http://kissthemgoodbye.net/onceuponatime/index.php?cat=2
I first read Dune as a teen and every few years I go back to it. It never ceases to put pieces of my life into perspective. For years I’ve wanted to name a cat “Muad’Dib”, which inevitably metamorphosed into “Meow’Dib” because I love puns and am obviously incredibly lame. I can’t recommend Frank Herbert’s books enough- although for your own sanity avoid the horrible “prequels” that came out.
I wanted to show Paul with the waterfat cut away and old, slightly sad eyes staring out from his still youthful face… but, you know, as a cat. Crazy kitten Alia always makes me laugh. And the cheering “Furrmen” atop the Sandworm shout, “Meow’Dib!”
Available as a T-shirt for men, women, & children, as well as a print.
Next up- Unicorns for everyone!
Even though it’s only August, the trees here have already started to turn. I’ve been thinking about Autumn and everything that goes with it: shorter days, cooler weather, beautiful foliage, PSL (and everything pumpkin- I don’t care! I love it!), and cute clothes. Ahhhhhhhhh the clothes! Karl will be starting Kindergarten which means I’ll have a few hours (sort of) to myself in the morning, provided Tony naps on schedule.
I lost the baby weight so I’ve been eyeing my patterns and daydreaming. But, after buying some fabric over the summer I’ve vowed to work my way through my fabric stash before I buy any more. I’m pretty confident I can sew at least 2 things.
I like the neckline on the Eleonore (from the Republique du Chiffon book). I plan to transfer it to my Built By Wendy shift dress so I don’t have to make a toile for this. This is seriously the only way I can ever get anything done, sewingwise. These days I just don’t have the time to make endless muslins (esp from newer companies) trying to get a decent fit. The fabric is cotton from Stonemountain & Daughter in Berkeley. I’ve been meaning to peek in there for the last few years, but never got around to it. I really love their selection. Someone complimented me on my geometric dress and collar! But I was too shy to tell her I’d made them. Unfortunately the aisles aren’t big enough to get my stroller through, even though it’s not very big- which I understand. Space is at a premium in Berkeley. I ended up taking the kids back outside, putting the stroller away, and carrying the baby. Unfortunately carrying a baby and trying to carry a bolt of cloth to the cutting table requires a bit of dexterity. I’m going to have to remember to pack the Babybjorn or more likely just wait until Mikael’s days off.
Karl has been on a dinosaur roll so I’ve been making him paper dinos to color. He’s been hogging the dining room table with them. Archeopteryx and Pteranodon like to nest in the flowers. I have nightmares of the vase overturning and destroying any books I leave on the table.
I’m definitely going to have to make a muslin for this. It’s Burda 8/2009 #112 (BEST issue ever). I’ve had this pinwale, twee as fuck, corduroy laying around forever. I think it’ll be perfect for Fall. My son’s dinosaurs agree. I’m really, really excited to make this bc in the same issue there’s a more complicated version that I’ve been eyeing for a gazillion years. And yes, I have fabric for that too.
I also sort of inherited some clothes from Mikael’s Great Aunt. She was quite the beauty and a clothes horse. The clothes were shipped to my inlaws and I was given the chance to pick anything I thought might fit me. I’m also the closest to her in build, being tall and somewhat slim- although she had more of an athletic 1940s body as opposed to my pear shape. Her mother did quite a bit of sewing for her when she was young and turning the skirts inside out has demystified welt pockets for me like nothing else has managed to do. I picked out a few wool skirts as well as 2 Pendleton wool suits, a couple of beautiful day dresses, and a long cotton dress with a crazy puffed shoulder jacket that looks like something Rachel from Blade Runner would wear while picnicking with Deckard. I’m going to have to alter everything, but it’s doable so I’m incredibly excited. The best part is the colors! The most beautiful greens and deep blues. Gah! I feel incredibly lucky. The few things my Grandmother kept stopped fitting me when I turned 13 and grew into the kaiju I am today. I am happy I have a dress my Grandmother and I made together.
Back to work! I’m almost finished with a new illustration- then I have a painting I’m itching to do- and THEN I should be able to knock out the Eleonore dress and the Burda cape(let).
August 2nd was our anniversary. Seven years of marriage! We think. We actually can’t remember. Two days before, I was lying in bed trying to nap while our baby Tony was napping- yes, sleep when the baby sleeps is the best advice ever. Suddenly I remembered and texted my husband in the living room- “holy crap! It’s our anniversary in 2 days!” Yes, I texted him bc getting up entailed trying to be a ninja across the squeaky floor to avoid waking the baby. “Holy crap!” he texted back. I’m pretty sure we’ve forgotten every year except the first one, probably bc having a young child/children means we can’t take off for the weekend. Luckily his parents were due in for a week long visit the next day. We spent our evening of freedom at the theater watching Ant-Man (so much fun) while eating chocolate and drinking beer (our movie theater serves beer on the weekends).
Despite the day to day of raising children, worrying about money, and never getting to watch what I want on tv, I’m still crazy about my husband.
Well, these eyes have finally gone blurry. It’s pretty common for people in my family to need glasses in our early 40s, and sure enough I hit 42 and whammo! My eyes just gave up focusing up close. Reading and more importantly drawing and painting were giving me a headache.
I’d heard about Warby Parker through a friend and a few months ago we ordered some trial pairs for Mikael, who wears glasses full time and has since he was a child. I was hoping to find a pair for him that were dark on top and clear on the bottom- like these worn by Dr. Wells on The Flash (played by Tom Cavanagh):
Or these worn by Jeff Goldblum:
Sure enough, we did. The Huxley in Tennessee Whiskey. He looks even cooler- if that’s possible!
So, I looked through Warby Parker for myself and settled on the Ripley in Oak Barrel. Not only did they make me think of Sigourney Weaver’s character in Alien, but they were a winning combination of light and hugely owlish, so I wouldn’t be staring at the frames from the inside. We went into San Francisco to their store. Everyone was suuuuuuuper nice. We barged in, my husband, myself, our giant 5 year old Karl, and our stroller with baby Tony. Miracle of miracles, they didn’t act like they were allergic to children. We didn’t get any dirty looks at all from the staff, which was a welcome relief. The exact opposite. They had coloring sheets and crayons on hand, gave one to Karl, and seated him at a large central table. He was very happy and content. They even asked pleasant questions about our children and talked about their nieces and nephews. Shopping with children is stressful, and shopping with them in San Francisco is the stuff of nightmares, even though Karl is very well behaved. But people in SF hate children. They fucking hate them. And their parents. I know there are a lot of shitty parents who don’t control their kids in public, but damn! But no – Warby Parker was amazing! Mikael hit the nail on the head- they’re like an Apple store for glasses. And I don’t even care if it’s not genuine. It was great- like Mikael wants a second pair of glasses from them kind of great.
Also- I’m not shilling for Warby Parker- no offense to those who do- we’ve just had a genuinely great experience with them. And they’re inexpensive! Middle class Northern California inexpensive mind you, but yeah! And yes, I probably should have run my photos through a “make me pretty” Instagram filter, but it feels so gross to me. I know that’s really de rigueur for blogs, buuuuuuuttttt… I don’t go out of my way to post hideous photos of myself, but I also want them to still look like me. And I’m not a “blogger” so that let’s me off the hook. I think.
Anyway, wearing glasses, even a fraction of the time, is weird. I’ve always wanted glasses, but staring through them is taking some getting used to. And despite the adage that boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses, my husband keeps asking me to help him find a book…
I read that a little over a year ago.
Afterwards I immediately asked myself, “Does the internet make me happier?”
The answer was, “no.”
The next question I asked was, “But does it make me a better- and by that I mean a kinder, more considerate, more informed- person?”
The answer was also, “no.”
And so, a year ago I started paring down my internet use. I said to goodbye to tumblr, although I created a new placeholder account with a scattering of illustrations. I hardly ever used twitter but at that point I set it up to just tweet from this blog and my instagram. I don’t use it for anything else and check on it about every 3-4 months. I quit my favorite sci-fi website bc I’d been finding their ethics dubious. Pinterest is a sea of serenity that I used to spend 30 minutes a day on repinning my friends amazing finds. Then they changed their algorithm. I no longer see everyone’s pins so I drifted away. I maybe spend 30 minutes on it every 1-2 weeks. Instagram is currently my favorite. I am privy to the wips of so many amazing artists.
Which leaves Facebook. Unfortunately it’s still the best way to reconnect with old friends, but I do a lot of scrolling at high speed bc there’s no good way to filter posts. And of course you don’t see all of your friends’ posts anyway so periodically I have to look them up.
The virtual pruning has improved my real life immeasurably. I like people again. And I’m happy to engage in the delusion that they like me.
I still love to blog and read blogs, but the drawing table beckons…
I have a painting in the Jedi July show at Hive Gallery in Los Angeles. The show opens July 11th.
The painting is titled, “The Force is Strong in My Family.” 9″x12″ Gouache and Acrylic in 185lb paper.
I gave Leia a green lightsaber to reflect her original last name, “Organa” and connect her to the element of Earth, as well as inverted triangles. I designed her costume to mimic Princess Yuki from “The Forbidden Fortress,” one of Lucas’s inspirations for Leia’s character.
I also wanted the painting to have the colors of a woodblock print. I scanned in a couple of my favorites, as well as my pencil drawing of Leia. Then I played around with colors until I had the whole color map. I use gouache so over painting isn’t really an option. If I completely screw up a color I have to start over.
Next up I’m working on a T-shirt design for myself!
I created some art for the Murdock the Marvelous T-Shirt! Here’s the link if you’d like to pick one up~
A little about Murdock from his owner, Anna:
“Murdock was brought to the Sonoma Humane Society as a stray when he was only a few weeks old. He had a chronic infection in both eyes that had caused them to rupture. I took him home with me to take care of him & he never left.
I didn’t plan on keeping him while I was fostering him, but we went through so much & were very attached to each other by the time he was finally fully recovered. He was really sick for a long time & almost didn’t survive his first surgery. He had to have a blood transfusion & was hospitalized in an oxygen chamber.
Even while going through his trials, Magical Murdock has grown into a very loving and happy cat. His positive attitude and sweet disposition steal the hearts of many. He continues to thrive and doesn’t let his disability slow him down. He’s a true inspiration!”
Anna and her family are wonderful. She works full time and on top of that fosters animals :D
One of the things I wanted to accomplish with my 2015 Sketchbook Project, “Princess Witch,” was to actually use it as a way to narrow down which ideas I wanted to paint. I started with “Roxanne,” which although simple, is one of my favorites from the series. I chose “Roxanne” as a name bc one of its meanings is “bright” and I like the idea of a how a hypercube looks like a diamond.
9″ x 12″
Gouache and Acrylic on 185 lb. Paper
I’ve been wearing my new dress non-stop lately. The weather here has been bonkers- HOT-COLD-HOT! I find this little cotton dress to work in whatever temperature. I’m so in love with its pretty gold geometric print.
And now, some of my other favorite “Roxanne”s~
I was lucky to be asked to contribute my illustration, “Power Animal” to Black Hill Press’s anthology, “The Cost of Paper: vol. 2.” !
My son Karl just graduated from Preschool and I wanted something special to wear as well as something to wear with the Twin Peaks collar necklace I made last year. I found this lovely geometric fabric at Joanne’s in the quilting section. I washed it a couple of times and it got very soft, which is pretty standard for most quilting cottons I’ve gotten there. It’s thin enough to be breathable in summer, but thick enough that I didn’t have to line it or wear a slip. Here it is on the morning before we left for the ceremony.
And here we are after. I’m so proud of him! Yes, I’m a little wrinkled post sitting and socializing. Plus with a belt it has a tendency to creep upward, but all in all it’s very comfortable and easy to wear.
I added cuffs and a sleeve pleat from a Burda Easy pattern. I wanted an early 80s look with the shoulders which I think worked out nicely. I’m one of those broad shouldered women with even broader hips (Hello Joan Crawford!) so a strong shoulder balances me out nicely and makes me look less pear and more hourglass shaped.
I used the Built By Wendy Shift pattern from her Dresses book and swapped in the sleeve head from Burda Easy Spring/Summer 2013 (one of Burda’s best issues in my opinion).Given that I’m 35″ bust and 41″ hip post baby, with a few more pounds and LOTS of toning to go, I should have cut a Small bust and a Large hip, but I like my clothes slightly more fitted & in my experience most modern patterns have loads of ease. Loooooooaaaaaaads of it. I used the Xtra Small through the bust and graded out to a Medium in the hips, which ended up being totally unnecessary and I ended up with a Small through the hips ( which is bonkers).
I added an invisible zipper, which took forever for me to remember how to put one in, but eventually it worked out. The insides are just pinked so there’s no fancy finishing to show off and instead of a facing I used bias tape for the neckline, which reduced bulk.
Now I’m off to the store and hopefully I’ll be able to get some drawing done this afternoon~
I got an early Mother’s Day gift from my husband, a book called,”Wonder Woman- Amazon-Hero-Icon- ” Which was fun because I’d just finished an illustration of Princess Diana on Paradise Island before she becomes Wonder Woman- sort of a “what if?” Anyone following my Instagram knows how long I’ve struggled with this picture. It took forever to come together, but I’m finally happy with it.
A few years ago I was drawing superheroes with my son Karl. When I drew Wonder Woman I drew her costume a little differently each time (she’s had so many). One was a variation of this one & I really liked it. I love “Gladiator” and wanted to incorporate a Greek/Roman look, without falling prey to over designing it. While I’m also not a big fan of everything in comics having to be realistic or somehow “make sense,” I’m not opposed to a created world having its own logic.
Wonder Woman’s costume is constantly redesigned. For some reason people can’t deal with her swimsuit. Personally I love it. But the redesigns are usually a mess- not even a hot mess because there’s nothing hot about them- they’re just a mess. So, I set about figuring out why WW wears what she wears. I hit upon the idea that the Amazon’s think America worships Zeus bc of the American eagle on Steve Trever’s uniform. I expanded that to the Amazon armor having the animal totem of each Amazon’s patron goddess. In Diana’s case, a stag for the goddess Artemis. When she wins the contest to become Wonder Woman and travel to Man’s World the Amazons make her American armor with Zeus’s eagle.
Oh, and my dream Wonder Woman went to 1940s America with Steve and then went back to Paradise Island, only to eventually return to the US in the present day. Something she can do bc the Amazons are immortal- DUH DC Comics. Sheesh! Each reboot makes everything so ridiculously convoluted. She’s a magical princess! It’s so easy!
Anyway, here’s the lovely Princess Diana as she goes to investigate the mysterious crash off the coast of Paradise Island. (Yes, I know it’s Themyscira, but Steve can’t pronounce that so he just calls it “Paradise Island”. Poor Steve. He’s such a hot, good natured himbo.)
My sketchbook project, “Princess Witch” is online over at the Sketchbook Project: https://sketchbookproject.com/library/16064
I have trouble expressing how happy this project made me. It provided me with final drawings for future paintings- one in the works right now- and crystalized my vision of this little world that I’ve been working on for the last 5 years. It’s a wonderful feeling to get to a place where you’re finally happy with something you’ve created (until you look at it the next day ;D ).
“Princess Witch” explores the 4th dimension intersecting with our own, time perception in animals, pictorial language, identity, and magick with a K- all wrapped up in a pop culture love letter to Twin Peaks and clothed in pretty 1970s Biba -esque dresses.
My book is currently on tour!
I made this dress last year when I was pregnant with Tony. These photos were taken in late August or early September- when I was around 8 months pregnant. The pattern is from the book, Simple Modern Sewing by Shufu To Seikatsu Sha. It’s pattern 3, the “Boatneck Dress.
I LOVE this pattern. It’s incredibly easy. The neckline is wide enough that you don’t need a zipper, but it doesn’t gape. Be warned, the sizing on this is… interesting. The dress is supposed to be loose, but I like my clothing a little more fitted. Initially, I made a size Small, which is a finished bust measurement of 38.5 inches, including ease. this was way too big for me, even in the shoulders. I ended up making an XS, which has a finished bust measurement of 37″ and grading out to a Medium for the waist and hips to accommodate my tummy. At the time, my bust measurement was 36″, but post pregnancy, as I’ve been going back to my normal weight, I’m going to have to take it in quite a bit. I know a lot of people shy away from Japanese patterns, thinking they’ll be too small, but trust me, the fit is usually so loose that you often have to take them in for a more American look. I am 5’9″ so I had to lower the bust dart, but I didn’t have to lower or widen the arm at all. On the book model dress length is mid calf, but I cut mine to right above the knee for a slightly 60s look.
As you know, I’m critical of “social justice warriors”- not actual social justice, mind you, but the hate spewing/tears drinking/new-speak ing variety that has taken hold online. Somewhere along the way liberals decided that adopting the debating tools of the belligerent Tea Party loving Right was really satisfying.
I hope that we, as a society, can step back from this kind of action. And especially as Liberal/Progressives we have so much to lose from alienating people. It’s not going to matter if we’re on the right side of history if people stop listening to us. Our message may be wonderful, but when we present it with a “you’re a fucking bigoted, racist idiot” if you disagree with the minutiae of my position, then people will bypass you. The good work may get done eventually, but why should we waste decades of possible progress bc we’re not interested in conducting civil arguments? This isn’t about being a doormat- if someone tells you to go fuck yourself, you can obviously say the same back. Why is any dissent is handled in the most obnoxious, bullying manner? Why do we display a complete lack of faith in people who we know are allies? Maybe ask for clarification before branding them a bigot. Let’s not have every discussion become an endless series of clarifications so that we never end up having an a discussion about whatever it was that we wanted to talk about- as well as maybe stepping back from making an entire argument about a single word they used while ignoring the rest of what they said.
I recently had a chat with my neighbor. “I don’t really consider myself a feminist” she said. I waited until she was done and then said, “Yeah, I definitely consider myself a feminist bc I can tell you, if I’m doing the same job as a guy, then I better be getting paid the same, you know?” She agreed and we just gently proceeded from there. Turns out she has a feminist sister who, at family get togethers, likes to talk about how any women who gets married & has children, as opposed to putting a career first, is wasting her life. I didn’t dogpile on her sister. All I did was ask, “Ohhhhh, does she have kids?” No, but she’d just gotten married and wants to have one. At that point I laughed, “Well, hmmmm, I guess you’ll see how she feels if that happens. I’ve had a career and now I’m married with kids. I don’t think either is a waste. All feminism is, is if a woman wants to get married or have kids, or both, then society can be set up in a way where it’s safe for her to do so- and if a woman doesn’t want to get married or have kids and instead wants a career, then she gets the chance to do that. It’s all good.”
“Wow, you are the first Feminist I’ve ever talked to that I agreed with,” she told me.
That didn’t make me feel good. All you need to do is connect with people. Take turns talking and listening. You’re not converting people. It isn’t instantaneous. People don’t need to agree with you. You can put the conversation to rest without nuking it. If you start getting heated just let the other person know that it’s a personal issue to you & you don’t feel like you can continue talking about it. And if someone like me can do this, then you can do this. 99% of all the days of my life I have felt like an alien anthropologist, studying humanity without ever feeling like I’m a part of it.
I don’t want the next decade to be a rehash of the 80s where we lost the progress of 70s bc we let our infighting get the better of us until it became our public face. I have friends who are all over the political spectrum. I’m not going to trash them bc they espouse somewhat different ideas from mine- ideas that are often shaped by their life experiences, btw. I’m not going to burn bridges when I’d rather build them. And yes, that means building a bridge to the most privileged members of our society that doesn’t involve discounting anything they say with an off the cuff, “check your privilege.” When I talk to guys who don’t believe in sexism I just tell them a story about my own experience. And I don’t expect the scales to fall from their eyes as they yell, “thank you! thank you! I have seen the light!” Seriously? No. It just goes into the collective pit somewhere and who knows, maybe they’ll experience something or see something and think- “ohhhh, hey that’s like that thing I’ve been hearing about. That really happens? That’s kind of fucked up.” And yes, that has happened to people I know. It’s also happened to me.
I recently came across this post and it’s so good. So right on. It’s kind of long, but I hope you give it a read.
Originally posted on Nuclear Unicorn:
Digital Shodan by Chris R (http://twitter.com/offby1)
To all new readers: I’ve written a follow up to this article.
Not long ago my partner and I were seated in her car discussing the arbitrary nature of certain holidays and I opined, perhaps halfheartedly, that New Year’s was a worthwhile holiday simply for it being a useful vantage point for reflection, however arbitrary. It provides an overlook whence one can see a year of one’s life and world. A recent tranche of writing by severalprominentmembersof the trans and queer feminist gaming community has renewed my faith in that idea– with the overleaf of the year we suddenly find a great deal of penetrating insight into activist discourse and the risks incurred by our silence about certain excesses that have come to define us too often.
The wages of rage in our communities, and the often aimless, unchecked anger…
View original 3,815 more words
“Hey you with the pretty face! Welcome to the human race!”
I went in for a scheduled c-section in October. Kaiser has upped its game- everything was really nice. After Karl’s disastrous birth (not at a Kaiser) which involved a neglectful midwife, hours of hard labor, & baby that was “sunny side up”, I ended up with a surprise c-section. Post baby, it wasn’t any easier- the nurses didn’t answer my calls for pain medicine, my c-section became infected, a colicky baby, and post-partum depression. I was determined to hedge my bets with Tony as much as possible.
My c-section was scheduled. I bought a belt to hold my guts in afterwards (surprise! Kaiser ended up providing one!). And I made sure that my pain management was something the nurses had to do every 4 hours.
For Tony, I had a spinal instead of an epidural, which was much, much nicer. And they asked what kind of music I’d like to listen to. I picked ELO, the Electric Light Orchestra. As fortune would have it, the staff liked 70s music & a couple were familiar with & liked ELO.
They almost didn’t get Tony out. Apparently I have a lot of scar tissue from Karl. Thankfully, they made it happen and as the opening bars of “Mr. Blue Sky” played, I heard a hearty cry. He was the pinkest baby that week and at 8lbs 5oz! truly a Thunder Bear!
Like Karl he has a different blood type than I do & was also jaundiced. Unlike Karl, he did not want to nurse. We tried everything. After receiving some spectacularly stupid advice from a lactation consultant- no Lady, I am not going to let him get hungrier until he eventually eats- I ended up pumping and formula supplementing. He had trouble with the bottle nipple too, but bc the milk could essentially pour down his throat, he at least got enough milk to poop out his jaundice.
I got a lot of push back for formula feeding, which I found so strange. After being told for the umpteenth time, “Well you know, breast fed babies have higher IQs,” I dryly intoned, “Yes. We’re hoping he won’t be TOO stupid.” Obviously I was pro breast. I had breast fed Karl until my 3rd bout of mastitis had put that to bed. Luckily both my obgyn & our pediatrician were supportive after I told them I had just started lying to people when they asked.
Interestingly enough, this time I’ve been pretty well rested. I bonded with Tony much sooner- and so did my husband. There was no colic this time around either. And I’m losing the baby weight much faster. It’s been *knock on wood* wonderful.
He is the sweetest baby. My little Libra is truly ruled by the goddess of love.
Happy Valentine’s Day to my beautiful husband, Mikael.
Today is one of those days where I don’t want to do anything other than cuddle up with my husband, eat some cookies, and maybe power watch something mindless like “Scrubs.” We’ve both been sick with a sore throat cough so the most romantic thing I can think of is an enormous amount of snuggling on the couch. There may be cocoa involved in my fantasy.
A far as gifts, which are always low key for us, Mikael wanted to do surprises this year. I hate surprises. But I decided to roll with it this year. This organism is trying to evolve!
Your house has many rooms
The kitchen’s filled with food
I’ll find a place inside
The dreams that pass across your face
Come from a secret place
Everyone close your eyes
I am a shaky ladder
Outside of space and time
But who is standing on your street
These buildings are not real
My tricks are useless here
That’s what a lover hears
It’s what a fool believes
It’s not too late to try
I’ll step out from the shadows
Outside of space and time
Broke your teeth
Somewhere out beyond the stars
A funny face
Some lost in space
Everyone’s enlightened everyday
You may reach nirvana when you comb your hair
We’ll join this cosmic saga
Where we will meet tonight
Spiralling out of sight
Outside of space and time
Vanessa made these awesome Valentine’s Day cards!
Originally posted on S w e e t L e i g h:
When Margot suggested we celebrate Galentine’s Day for our February #UntamedStyle post, I was so in. I LOVE my girls! Friendship and Lady Love reigns supreme! This is my year of Love, Radical Self Love, The Joy of Love! Loving myself is about acting out of love instead of fear. It’s been a conscious journey and an amazing ride, and its only just begun.
We all have our good days and our bad days. On my bad days, I have found that the women I’v surrounded myself with feel my pain, lift my spirits, and help me rise.
So I want to spread a little Love to all my friends and chosen family, who make up my Feminist Community of Love! I’ve made some Inspired Galentines Day Cards for my real life Sheroes. Feel free to share the LoVE!
Galentines, Thanks for Supporting my Self Love Affair!
Sending you So much Love, Light, and…
View original 28 more words
Watched Backstrom last night. I love Rainn Wilson, but I’m over the trope. I was WAY over it while watching House- but the fine supporting cast kept me hooked. “Brilliant Asshole” still has the ability to provide some fun, but it’s going to have to be fresher. I don’t need another “not really racist-sexist cause they’re just tellin’ it like it is” character. 1. You’re never going to do it better than Hunter Thompson did in real life,
and 2. you need an emotional anchor. Sherlock has Watson, House has Wilson & Cuddy, Bones has Booth, Angela, Cam… okay, she has every other character in the show.
Here’s a news flash for you- you know what would be really shocking in a crime procedural? The brilliant asshole not being racist & sexist. How about a character that had picked up a book? Orrrrrrrr, ventured out of their office? Right? OMG! No way! If you want to drop some fucking “truth bombs” how about you have the “smart” character call the other characters on their bullshit while still acknowledging that yes, sometimes women are more in touch with their feelings or yes, sometimes people who aren’t white commit crimes? How about having the kindly Hindu doctor shut down Backstrom’s 9th grade soliloquy about how everyone’s afraid of death? Hey man, afraid of death? That’s fucking DEEP. Or- no wait, that’s merely a normal experience of most observed life on Earth.
Step it up. Wilson deserves better and so do we.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, published 1993. I was and am a big fan of the husband and wife illustrating team, Leo and Diane Dillon. I have a number of their books and would be hard pressed to pick a favorite. Nancy Willard crafts a sweet rhyming tale of the lovely apprentice Sylvia who apprentices with the magician Tottibo.
One of the best things about older children’s books is that in the copyright information they frequently include information about the illustrations:
“The full page illustrations were in watercolor, on Arches hot press watercolor paper mounted on board. The spot illustrations were in watercolor on Strathmore three-ply kid finish bristol board.
The geometric symbol worn by the sorcerer was devised by the artists bc of its meaning: the triangle stands for creative intellect, and the circle represents eternity- combined, they signify endless creativity.”
“Mount Dragon Eye’s? It’s very near,
yet no one travels it for fear
of beasts that mutter, huff, and blow,
round the magician Tottibo.
Beyond his house the earth looks dead.
‘Take heart, you beasts and bugs,’ he said.
‘Let spiders sing and panthers play.
My new apprentice comes today!'”
underneath the dust jacket, the front cover is embossed (I love details like this).Sylvia’s three wheeled trike. In the past women when women wore heavy skirts it was easier for them to ride bikes like this.
Sylvia’s clogs are on point.
“Mount Dragon Eyes? It’s very near,
and every day not far from here,
round a high stool with silver feet,
those who would study magic meet
The gryphons dance, the dragons doze;
they all admire each other’s clothes
while Sylvia teaches them to say
the spell she worked out yesterday
for turning pencils into pails
and failures into fairy tales.”
I thought I’d missed the deadline to send in my Sketchbook Project, but luckily I haven’t! It’s due in March. Last night I stayed up and collected all my doodles (they hardly qualify as sketches now) in one place. As soon as I have a final count for the book then it’ll be on to the next step: reference photos.
My work flow goes something like this- look at photos, movies/tv, & paintings for general mood. This helps a lot with composition. I have numerous Pinterest boards dedicated to inspiration.
– next, I doodle a general layout
-followed by a sketch
– then I take reference photos of myself. I’m going to be laying on our kitchen table for one of them which means my husband is going to have to snap a couple pictures.
-At that point I print them out on black and white, and start sketching in earnest. Sketches get cut apart, taped back together, & stuck up to the light so I can see them in reverse. I can do this in Photoshop shop too. It depends on how much tweaking the initial sketch needs.
-I trace over my rough sketch and draw. This drawing is still very simple with no shading. If it works for me, I transfer it to my final paper, which for paintings is Canson Acrylic paper and for drawings is Strathmore recycled drawing paper, which I prefer for the cream color of the paper itself.
Sherlock Holmes: Love is a 3 Pipe Problem
is available as a tee shirt for adults, children, and babies-
It’s also available as a phone case, ipad case, pillows, mugs, and skins.
Some places you can get free and/or discounted coffee today on National Coffee Day~
Shhhhhhh! I don’t want to hear any grousing about made up holidays when they involve free coffee ;D
And yes, I definitely got my Agent Cooper on and had a damn fine cup of coffee!
Unf- I love Camille Rose Garcia. Her art reminds me of lost Fleischer cartoons. I have her version of Alice in Wonderland (so incredibly acid pastel that it hurts my eyes) but the colors in Snow White are more to my taste. I love when books have details like this- the cloth bound cover is printed.
The book was designed by Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich and it’s amazing. Amazing! So is his name. I thought maybe it was made up, but it looks legit!
She has a version of Cinderella that she’s been working on and posting wips on her Instagram. No word on when it’s due to be released, but it looks delightful as well!
“Gordon Laite’s breathtaking artwork for a Little Golden Book edition of the Andersen fairy tale was found recently in the Golden Books archive. Planned for a 1970 release but never published, this Little Golden Book is finally making its debut for today’s fairy tale fans! And it couldn’t be a lovelier retelling of the story of a determined princess whose loyalty saves her brothers from being turned into swans by an evil queen.” ~Random House
What the what? Yes, you read that right. This is all the more valuable bc Laite died at such a young age, before he had the time to illustrate many books. I’ve already reviewed some of his other stories- like Cinderella, Diamonds and Toads in the Blue Fairy Book, and More Tales to Tremble By.
Based on Hans Christian Anderson’s story, the adaptor, Robin Davies does a wonderful job changing Anderson’s story (of which I’m not a fan) into something nearly identical to the Grimms’ fairy tale, “The Six Swans.” The Late Medieval 15th century setting is amazing. Check out the evil step mother’s bizarre hennin. I also love that she’s nearly green with envy. FYI- if I’d had thirteen kids, I probably would have died too. The beautiful raven haired Elisa meets a fairy woman. I love the little details like mushroom gathering, leaf crown, and blue stockings.
Those ladies are throwing some serious shade Elisa’s way. But not as much as this guy! I almost forgive him bc his fur hat is all kinds of amazing. Can these illustrations get anymore awesomely gothic?Why yes they can- I love that Laite ditched Elisa’s amazing truncated butterfly hennin so he could illustrate her gorgeous hair in the remaining pictures.
This little book is a dream come true for me. Not only is set during one of my absolute favorite time periods for fairy tales, it’s by Gordon Laite, the most influential of my childhood art heroes.
For a not particularly violent person, I love murder mysteries.
As I mentioned last time, I don’t find tv watching relaxing. The minutes crawl by, so I have to have something next to me to distract me, usually my phone where I’m reading an article (I don’t have social apps on my phone except Instagram). I would knit, but having the light bright enough doesn’t really enable my husband to watch tv comfortably. However, over August we made it through the first 5 seasons of “Supernatural.” After a predictably rough start, midway through the first season it got good- really good! It may have had something to do with Ben Edlund’s involvement (if you haven’t read or watched The Tick, find it immediately. It’s parody still holds up brilliantly, perhaps even more so now that ninjas & superheroes are hot again). After the end of season 5, which wraps up the series nicely, we decided to take a break before we watched the more recent seasons.
Next we watched “Broadchurch.” WOW. I mean, we knew we’d love parts of it bc of David Tennant, but everyone was well written and well acted, especially Olivia Colman. They’ve remade it for America as “Gracepoint,” which will be starting October 1st. I don’t know that I love Tennant’s American accent and to be honest every else looks so shiny. But while the first two episodes of Gracepoint are supposed to mirror Broadchurch, from there it diverges and has a different plot. Who am I kidding, we’ll totally watch it, but probably start at episode 3 & power watch 1,2, & 3 at once so we don’t have that sense of disappointment. We loved Broadchurch so much that it left us with that feeling of a bad breakup. Does that ever happen to you? You love something so much and when it’s over nothing else compares (cue Sinead O’Connor and her glycerin tears).
picture is Luther wallpaper from http://stylefavor.com/luther/luther_wallpaper/
We decided to rebound with Luther. We were first introduced to Idris Elba in The Wire (another show that left us like a bad breakup). Luthor is good, really good and it features a delightful anomaly: a female master villain. Neither my husband nor I found Ruth Wilson as Alice attractive. She has what I term, “the Innsmouth Look” (Lovecraft! & seriously, please stop putting fillers in your upper lip), but I soon fell in love. I explained to my husband that she’s like what would happen if Batman had to team up with Poison Ivy- (side note, how amazing would Idris Elba be as Batman? He’s tall, gorgeous, and radiates intelligence). He ended up coming around to her & now every time she shows up we squeal bc we know the show is going to get SO GOOD!!!
Oh! I should mention in case it’s not apparent, these shows are SUPER messed up and not for the faint of heart. Netflix has Supernatural and Luther, but you have to pay for Broadchurch on amazon. it’s worth it. Be careful, apparently the BBCAmerica version cut scenes out :(
Along with my permanent musical inspirations- Bowie, Roxy Music, and all things late 60s/70s- there are a few more current musicians that I find inspiring.
Of Monsters and Men- My Head is an Animal- an Icelandic group with whimsical, cheery music. They’re like listening to a weird and wonderful children’s book.
Florence + the Machine- Ceremonials. Lush music that reminds me in some ways of Siouxsie and the Banshees. It’s like listening to velvet. Florence is also heavily influence by the Pre-Raphaelite aesthetic, which is also why I love her! Doesn’t she look like Ophelia here?
Arcade Fire- Neon Bible. Oh My Goodness, is there anything better than “Black Mirror”? The lyrics will float up from my subconscious at those quiet moments. A few months ago I woke up at 4:30am with this on perma play in my head-
“The black mirror knows no reflection
It knows not pride or vanity
It cares not about your dreams
It cares not for your pyramid schemes
Their names are never spoken
The curse is never broken
The curse is never broken
Un! Deux! Trois! Dis: miroir noir!
Un! Deux! Trois! Dis: miroir noir!
It may have something to do with us having a black framed mirror (thanks Ikea) as well as my ambivilent attitude towards tv. I love shows and movies, but I just can’t sit and watch something without doing something else at the same time. It makes my husband a little crazy bc it’s his go-to way to relax, but I don’t find sitting to be relaxing at all. Our nighttime hour of show watching is definitely something I do bc I love him- although we have been watching a slew of shows that have captured my interest! I’ll post about them next time.
Despite what the calendar says, September is the beginning of Autumn! The days are hot, but the afternoons already show the long shadows typical of my favorite season. Fall also means I’m feeling invigorated. My table is full of projects that I feel great about. The work of the past year is finally coming together. It’s so nice to create something and be satisfied with it.
A few things I’m working on-
Clothed in her retro 70s Biba style dress, Kora is busy adjusting her black gloves in a grove of abstracted, shimmering Art deco trees…
Here’s a work in progress shot that I posted on Instagram a few weeks ago-
Generally, my work flow is something along the lines of first getting visual inspiration. I watch my favorite movies or shows (like Twin Peaks), browse books and magazines (my favorite drawing books, Rackham, or Pinterest), &/or listen to music (Of Monsters and Men has been on perma play). Then I make a quick sketch in a small notebook (upper left). I take photo reference & print it out (upper right). And then I make a sketch in my large sketchbook. Sometimes that gets scanned into Photoshop, tweaked, and printed. But even then it may not still be right, so I’ll cut up the print and move things around, taping them until they finally look right. After that I transfer the drawing to thick Acrylic paper or canvas.
The color process involves going back to my sketch in Photoshop & slapping some color on there for a general idea before I actually put paint on the paper or canvas.
Some more wips (works in progress) in this same series-
As well as the dolls that are part of the same series-
Sigh, I have been dreaming of Pumpkin Spice Lattes! I’ve already had 4 so far. My husband thinks I’m crazy, but I explained to him that they’re seasonal and so they’re gone after Thanksgiving. He was tempted, but decided to stick with his ice coffee.
My husband brought me flowers and a gift the other day! A week or so ago, I came across this paperdoll on Pinterest which I had when I was a kid. “Star Princess and Pluta.” Seriously, were the 70s/early 80s the best or what? he tracked it down and surprised me with it!
They are thick cardboard dolls with plastic stands.
Inside the box there are outfits for both Star Princess and her robot friend, Pluta. This set was published in 1980 and seems heavily inspired by the movie/show, “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.” She looks a lot like Wilma Deering and wears clothing similar to both Wilma and Princess Ardala.
OMLord, all I want to do is scan these in so I have a version to play with!
“All in the golden afternoon…”
For me, Alice in Wonderland is the quintessential summer book. I have a number of editions. Rackham’s glorious version- so hard to believe it was ever controversial. A Norton Critical Edition with Tennial’s original drawings. And Camille Rose Garcia’s delightful psychedelia. But Moser’s is not often seen and that it really deserves its moment in the sun. Copiously illustrated with his strange and detailed woodcuts, you really get a sense that Alice’s adventure is less dream and more nightmare…
Moser’s Cheshire Cat is a hairless Sphynx.
The text is annotated throughout in red
If you’re in St. Louis, MO please check out The Bees Knees Show at the Alexi Era Gallery.
“Public Opening Reception : July 19th 7-9PM
The Bees Knees is an awareness and fundraising exhibition for Honey Love, urban bee keepers and activists trying to help our honey bee population. The Exhibition will feature 100 artworks on postcards from artists all around the world. All postcards will be priced $5-$50, and available to take home right away showing your support along with a honey tasting feature local harvested honey. On the back of each postcard is a special message about how you can help the bees. 100% of all sales go to HoneyLove and their commitment to save the bees! We aim to raise awareness, bring hope and also create a dialogue about the importance of bees.“
I contributed a postcard to the show~
4″ x 6″
It depicts two of my ladies communicating a message in the language of flowers.
In retrospect, I wish I’d made the background something other than blue. I feel it clashes with the purple. The background should have been cream or lilac. I’m thinking of doing a larger version with greater detail for myself, so we’ll see how that pans out.
I was ready to start making doll clothes before I’d even finished my doll. I’ve been drawing their clothes for the last couple of years and going to fabric stores & picking out fabrics & trims. Basically endlessly geeking out.
Concept art of Posy Rabbit’s clothing. She wears a Biba inspired outfit. As you know from this post- I love Biba.
Working on the slopers in Photosop. If you haven’t seen “Moon” starring Sam Rockwell and directed by Duncan Jones (David Bowie’s son), then you need to.
Posy is a patient model during the fitting
Drafted & sewn tiny shoe prototype along with a sketch of Posy’s teddy or camiknickers
Well, tomorrow I have to get the apartment ready for out Wednesday night get together. I have a full day of cleaning, grocery shopping, & baking peanut butter cookies scheduled. Then, Mikael’s parents are coming up for a visit. They’ll be here Thursday which means I won’t have any time to work on the final versions of her dress, teddy, and shoes. She has a caplet too, but the drafting on that is obviously very, very fast and easy.
I have a couple of blog posts I’d like to work on about my favorite illustrated books that remind me of summer, as well as a post about Biba fashion. Hopefully I’ll get to them along with the Sherlock t-shirt I’m working on.
If you want to see my wip in a more timely manner, I’m on Instagram.
The Complete Book of Dollmaking by Pamela Peake. It’s a really simple introduction I picked up years ago at Half Price Books in Berkeley. It’s a great book for beginners who just want to make a cloth doll to get their feet wet while perusing other doll styles.
It gives a basic overview of different kinds of dolls, but if you want to really make something complicated, I’d pick up books specializing in just that particular kind of doll making.
This basic cloth doll has a separate head and a simple body.
My initial dolls used this basic idea- separate head & center seamed legs. It was a good learning experience.
This doll has a shaped bust that I tried out, but ended up rejecting. I did like this head shape more though & it introduced me to the idea of placing a stick to strengthen the neck. The pattern itself is missing a leg piece, but it would be easy enough to draft.
This felt doll is very cool. With a little tweaking you could get a really beautiful looking doll reminiscent of Dare Wright’s, Edith from the “Lonely Doll” series of books. In the future, I’d like to experiment with making my own felt masks. I haven’t yet though so I can’t say if this system works.
The book comes with patterns you can photocopy & enlarge.
Storybook Toys by Jill Hamor is awesome. Half of it is dolls & the other half is stuffed animals. It’s for an intermediate/advanced audience. Beginners beware.
Most of the dolls have “baseball heads.” See the seaming? Like a baseball. They were super popular in the 50s & 60s. Understandably, Jill doesn’t want you to use her patterns to make dolls to sell, but you can find similar vintage patterns online that are in the public domain & use them. I toyed with using the baseball head as the basis for my lady dolls, but the style is much better suited to children’s dolls, especially if you’re crafty and want to make a kid an American Girl’s style doll without the hefty price tag.
She makes the most beautiful yarn hair I’ve ever seen. It’s labor intensive, but turns out beautifully.
One of the first dolls in the book is a flat pancake doll to get you started. She’s really cute.
Some of the patterns are both in the book pages- to be traced or photocopied-
While others are on a pull out sheet in the back.
More Felt Friends from Japan by Naomi Tabatha. Nearly all of the items are felt animals, but there are a couple of awesome dolls.
Some of the patterns are inside the book, waiting to be traced, while others are inside the dust jacket, also needing to be traced.
Miss Kitty & her amazing wardrobe made me buy the book. Everything is made of felt, so hemming is pretty much nonexistent. It’s a great place to get the feel for constructing tiny doll clothes.
I LOVE Japanese pose dolls, so this was a big selling point. The dolls are anchored to their bases. There are simple instructions for wiring them that is way, way easier than what I’ve seen in other books. I wired a few of my prototypes, but the extra time and expense wasn’t worth it. Maybe if I ever convert one of my bookcases into a doll house then I might make posable dolls.
There were a lot of other books I found at the library. But they mostly focused on making cloth art dolls that didn’t appeal to me.
That’s about it. I’ve been working on Posy Rabbit’s tiny wardrobe. I love sewing tiny clothes!
I have two notebooks dedicated to doll ideas. My doll ideas have gone through an evolution from when I first started. Years ago, I wanted to do something with the 25-27cm Volks Dollfie bodies. They came in a range of skin colors, height, and bust size (recently discontinued). But, I knew with my schedule that it was going to be a while before I was able to tackle another craft like doll customization.
Flash forward a few years and while pinning away on Pinterest I came across this little beauty:
There was so much to love! The sweet little expression! The tiny detailed clothes! The utterly beautiful hair from wool roving! And, she was made of cloth. I’d seen and owned cloth dolls when I was a child, but none as sophisticated as this. I was instantly drawn to the idea of combining two things I love: dolls and sewing. How hard could it be? (famous last words)
I mulled over which dolls I really loved and of course Blythe was in the top 5. She’s very popular in Japan and if you’re lucky enough to have a Kinokuniya Bookstore near you you can find issues of “Dollybird” Magazine with clothing patterns and customization tips for her.
They’re so cute! But I don’t make big head art, so after a few tries making dolls with oversized heads I realized that they weren’t going to make me happy. They are just too far from my own aesthetic, which is more mid century, 60s and 70s.
I started focusing on dolls that were closer to my artistic style~
Barbies from the late 60s to early 70s are my favorites (pre Superstar face mold). Characters such as Barbie, Francie, Casey, Julia, Stacey, & Christie. You used to be able to buy Barbie & her friends as blonde, brunette, or redhead- even as different shades of each. And characters like Francie, her mod cousine from England had brown eyes and a straighter body to reflect the Carnaby Street Twiggy look. I love me some side eye!
Les Petites Mains makes these lovely cloth dolls with wool roving hair. Her color palette is so dreamy.
The amazing Nadya Sheremet. Look at the face on this doll! The face embroidery is so fine and I love that the hair is made from embroidery floss.
Delphine Manivet This was a lovely little doll made for flower girls, but is no longer available. I flipped for this doll. I loved everything about it. The simple face, and the slim arms.
The mighty Momoko. Momoko is a Japanese doll who stands 27cm. She features the side eye that I go crazy for as well as the most beautiful clothes.
Japanese dolls in particular seem to be addicted to giving the side eye. I think what I love the most about this is that the expression is ambiguous from different angles.
And of course cloth dolls based on the doll patterns of Edith Flack Ackley–
It was the Ackley dolls and patterns that crystallized a few things for me like the neck construction. I also borrowed her foot construction as well:
Before that I had the typical cloth doll legs with the seams running down the middle. I’m too embarrassed to show you them bc they make me so unhappy!
Next I’ll post about some of the books and tutorials I used. I had never made a doll before and definitely needed help. The most frustrating part is that you don’t know how good your pattern is until the very end. You have to draft, transfer, sew, cut, and stuff before you can see the flaws. That’s why my house is littered with past dolls, half stuffed and then I had to stop bc suddenly there was a huge problem staring me in the face. Whew! I’m so glad to be done! Now I get to move on to the infinitely more fun part of designing clothes!
After an embarrassingly long development, my dolls are almost done. Posy the Rabbit is roughly 12″ tall, not counting her ears. I made her 12″ to fit into 1/6 scale furniture, in case I wanted to stick her in a Barbie sized apartment. For something so simple, these dolls took forever. It was a constant process of paring them down. I actually don’t like overly realistic dolls, which is why I like Barbies from the 60s & early 70s better than modern ones.
That sword I’m using to sew with is a doll needle. It’s 5″ long.
Tucking and sewing the rabbit ears.
Just like in my paintings, her extremities are also blushed.
And here she is next to her original sketch, which also shows her costume that I’m making. I’m having a lot of fun making early 70s inspired clothes for her. I love Biba and Ossie Clark so I want to explore that very lovely and romantic look.
I’ve been working on, well a million projects really, but I’ve been wanting to make some cool t-shirts for my son, Karl. He likes David Bowie, so I dug up one of my old characters, Major Tom, the space cat co-pilot to my space girl, Martine. Available here is baby, children, and adult sizes-
Obviously Major Tom is inspired by Bowie’s tragic, beautiful, and wonderfully weird and hokey song, “A Space Oddity.”
My Major Tom entered cryogenic freeze and was revived thousands of years in the future. He has a successful career as a space pilot and loves his new home planet, Mars, but misses his family. *kri*
Happy Father’s Day to my beautiful husband! I bought a mug at Starbucks that came with a black and white porcelain pen. Karl and I drew on it, then popped it into the oven for 20 minutes. Once it was dry it’s ready to be hand washed and filled with lots of coffee!
Karl is obsessed with Kraang from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He’s also been referring to himself as Michelangelo, Mikael as Donatello, and me as Master Splinter.
I also picked up some See’s candy for Mikael and some flowers. Snapdragons are his favorites, but they were out and the peonies were amazing! And you can see our new goldfish in the old coffee pot behind the flowers.
Karl went to two birthday parties on Saturday. Unfortunately the first one decided that goldfish were to be the party favor. they meant well, but well… Anyway, we ended up with a goldfish. Karl kept calling him “Goldfish” so I explained that naming him that was like me naming Karl “Human.” I suggested “Spot” but after careful consideration Karl decided that the fish was named, “Ninja Turtle.”
The second was a costume party. Karl dressed as the Hulk, although he went back and forth over whether he was Hulk or Michelango. Looks like I’ll be making a Ninja Turtle mask and shell very soon!
With the movie “Maleficent” due to be released May 30th, I got into a discussion about the different ways the “wicked” fairy has been portrayed in the fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty and it reminded me of this book floating around on my book shelf, “Behind the Scenes at the Ballet: Rehearsing and Performing The Sleeping Beauty.”. It combines two of my favorite things, fairy tales and ballet. The ballet, with a score by Tchaikovsky, was based on Perrault’s version of the story, “La Belle au Boise Dormant.” But, instead of being completely faithful, it takes off in a rather brilliant direction and embraces its fairy tale-ness with an almost meta quality.
The wicked fairy, Carabosse
The benevolent and powerful Lilac fairy
On the Princess Aurora’s 16th birthday there is a grand party.
She receives gifts from many people, including (while her parents are distracted) a bouquet of flowers. The old woman is the fairy Carabosse in disguise. Hidden in the bouquet is a spindle, which Princess Aurora pricks her finger on, fulfilling the curse. This is also one of the best explanations for how Aurora manages to prick her finger. The versons where her parents are away on a trip didn’t make sense to me even as a child. Come on! They knew the curse was supposed to happen on her 16th birthday and they’re not watching her like a hawk?
100 years later Prince Florimund is dancing with his fiance, the Countess at a hunting party. He does not love her and finds her cold. He wanders off into the forest.
The Lilac fairy appears and shows him a vision of the Princess Aurora.
The Prince and Princess dance and the Lilac fairy explains the curse.
Prince Florimund is guided to the castle by the Lilac fairy, finds Aurora, and kisses her, breaking the enchantment.
The wedding guests include many fairy tale charcaters
The White Cat dances with Puss in Boots
Princess Florine and the Bluebird
Red Riding Hood and the Wolf
And finally Aurora and Florimund dance their pas de deaux.
The book also has behind the scenes photos. There are people sewing the ballet costumes. Dancers practicing. Ballet stage makeup being applied. And at the end a couple of photos of famous dancers such as Robert Helpmann as Carabosse (who can be played by either a man or a woman)-
and Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nurevev
I love the costuming of the Birmingham Royal Ballet production of Sleeping Beauty. The costumes are incredibly detailed and baroque.