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February 9th, 2017

09:50 am - Tattoo #67: Nevertheless


Tattoo # 67. Text tattoo of: "Nevertheless, She Persisted". Bradley Hand ITC 32 pt. font. Wrapping around my right wrist. It's a good life message overall for me (there are lots of things I need to hold fast to and persist at doing.), and a fist held high rallying cry. It's a political tattoo.  I kind of think of it as a text version of the woman power symbol:

This was a wild hair tattoo. Just went out after work to get it done as a walk-in. Needed the immediancy, figuring timing was part of the tattoo, as the event that inspired it was in the news just that day. Done by Tommy at Dream-Worx tattoo down on Bradley St. I pass by there all the time on trips to the Decatur thrift stores and, noticing the pretty red facade and door, thought I'd stop in a new place and check them out. Decent unpretensious little shop. Also figure, most any competent tattooer can do a simple text tattoo, will probably stick to my favorite Blue Rose artists for my bigger artsy works.

It is a current events/political tattoo, gotten after Mitch McConnell silenced Elizabeth Warren in the Senate cofirmation hearings as she attempted to quote a 1986 letter by Coretta Scott King against Sen. Jeff Sessions as holding racist views (when he was up for a federal judgeship).  Warren was silenced and Sessions was appointed Attorney General in Trump's cabinet. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/02/08/nevertheless-she-persisted-becomes-new-battle-cry-after-mcconnell-silences-elizabeth-warren/?utm_term=.c644bfbc06f1

Btw, two younger ladies working in the tattoo shop (receptionist and piercer) told me "We want to be like you when we grow up." Unfortunately, they weren't talking about taking a political stance, but about my bright dyed hair and many many tattoos; still, I'll take it as a personal compliment. Which is better than the patron the other day who asked if I got my tattoos "when I was young and dumb."

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February 8th, 2017

02:33 pm - Yet Another Costume Project: Maimey Cissy


I received my Maimey Cissy doll last night, and I love her! I could really get caught up in doll collecting if I had more money and space to show them off, but I think I've reached my limit on both fronts. I'm glad I got one good collector's doll here (looking online at the same doll offered, I got a real good price even though to me it was paying dear). The other Cissy I got was deeply discounted, no outfit (think it may have originally been a Cissy Calla Lilly, the pretty hair do and makeup match) and her stringing is really loose and needs to be redone, but this one is mint. And she has such pretty violet eyes.

Then got the idea that I could make a matching outfit and take her with me to the Comic/PopCulture Expo in March. Last year, I made and wore my Audrey Two Little Shop of Horror's outfit.

I found a similar color and style dress to embellish with the floral designs. The dress is no
t an exact match but close as I could come, I don't have time to sew one myself, and it was cheap enough. Also ordered some cheap faux pearl jewlery, a pink petticoat, sheer gloves, glittered nylons. and violet eye contacts (90$ all together, not bad.) I already have an oatmeal colored cardigan, and a black wig in basically the same bobbed style. Will probably just wear my white flats so I can actually walk, as I just can't do peeptoe heels like Maimey has on!

The craft part of the project is doing the beaded floral appliques on the dress and making the hairbow, purse and replica wrist tag. Would like to take my time and do the appliques as best I can, but I really don't have much time (Expo is March 18) A quick and dirty alternative is to use dimensional fabric paints and or glue on beads. Will have to look closely at the designs (and how many of them there are scattered on the dress) and see what's possible. Wonder if pearl cotton would be thick enough chain stitched to make the design? Wonder if Joann's carries the colours I'd need, cream and olive green?

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February 7th, 2017

02:56 pm - rainy day but having a good day
Before getting to work a bit earlier than 11 even, I got some things done at home. I did some doll work, updated yesterday's LJ post with more Monday stuff, and stopped by the bookstore to pick up the current art-inspirational issue of Doll Art Quarterly (and a Starbuck's hazelnut latte).

Note to self: figure out how to take studio looking photos ( what to use for a backdrop?) of Suzie-Rose and send pics and info into the magazine for their "I Am Woman" famous women and role model dolls theme issue. Those have to be submitted by Mid March.

Speaking of March, my old childhood firend Lisa Dodd is going to be in town March 5-11, bringing her dogs to  some sort of a tracking/training/trials being held at UAH. I think I'm going to take a couple afternoons off work that week and spend some time with her. Providing we click as adults (who haven't seen each other in over 30 years) as we did as young girls. :) Let's see, what can I show her or take her out for dinner that's good in Huntsville? (Viet Cuisine; Thai Garden;Tim's Cajun Kitchen?) I had better check about the time off asap with my supervisor.

My coworker Phyllis made another donation to my fundraising page, and she told me to forego the cupcakes and put the money I'd spend on that back into the fundraising; I figure about 5.00 there (will add it when I make my monthly no-candy/donate instead donation.)

Had I mentioned I got an idea for the BurningMan cat puppets? I found some mask patterns online that use folded cardstock or thin board to make them; the results are sort of angular. Like polyhedra, they are 3-d designs that use flat faces and straight edges, unattached they are a 2-d shape, folded and glued they create a 3-d shape, in this case an animal mask. Anyway, I thought the resulting designs look somewhat like angular crystal formations and could add another dimentsion to the theme of Kathy's installation. I found patterns for a cat, kitten, and jaguar (all different retailers, all slightly different feline patterns, but same concept) that I liked. They are all sized to make a mask to fit an adult head; I could use full size to make the Guardian Cat (jaguar) piece I'm thinking of and half-sized to make smaller more cat-sized puppet heads. Am also thinking to try heat-n-bonding sheer sparkly fabric to the boards before folding; hoping that would would adhere well enough to still take a decent enough crease; that might give it a better "crystal" quality then (other option) painting the masks with some sort of a gloss and sparkle paint. Anyway, in the idea forming stage--although I may attempt one of the patterns soon as a "quick break project".

(mask samples from online: cat, jaguar, kitten)

*does Happy Dance of creativity*

Giving up after four thrift stores and no results, I snagged a old backpack frame on ebay. Price was cheap; shipping reasonable. Has a good padded hipbelt too. It's going to be the base/transport for a large sized puppet for protests. Making a flat banner puppet to attach to a pole and then attach the pole to the frame, that's the simplest way to go. Fancier puppets as time would permit. (Anna Sue said her arms wee tired from holding her banner puppet; een though it looks light, a backpack frame is still the way to go) That would be to use/display when I go to marches or other events. Also thinking I could  build the Guardian cat BurningMan puppet on it. Not trying any GIANT puppets, but an oversize one with the head higher than mine, maybe a lanky 6-7 foot jaguar gaurdian in robes, with hand-paws on rods.


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February 6th, 2017

03:36 pm - Monday
Didn't get anything else accomlished yesterday, a bad headache rolled in and I retreated to bed for basically the rest of the day.

I am feeling better today. Even got in a 3.12 mile walk over my lunch hour (even made it between the raindrops of today's showers).

Created my basic fundraising page for the Trailblazer Challenge. 2 donations (besides my registration fee/donation) so far from my friends Tina and Graham! (Graham made a nice donation of 50.00) I also shared with the Dixie Danger Dolls and hope to pick up some more small donations there.   Wonder if I could ask to put out a donation jar at the Doll's events? Later; Yay! Doll's leadership said yes; now I need to make up an eye-catching jar between now and Saturday!  Sent out a group email to family asking for their donations. Going to keep bumping my facebook post every day or so, so it pops up again on my feed. Going to send around an email to library staff and friends of the library. May make an offer to bake a dozen gourmet cupcakes for a donation of 20.00 or more. For myself, for every day I can manage to go without buying snacks at work--I'll put 1.00 toward a donation, add it up at end of month and self contribute.

Thinking about the armature for doll project. B and I may go to Home Depot tonight to look for suppplies. Can't really do the torso without the armature ready to go inside it first. I'm thinking my trial torso is just a tad too large; again,having a more solid core will help control the stretch of the nylon fabric.  Later: did pick up some PVC fittings at Home Depot ( B already had the pipe at home) and he put together an idea of an armature; it will need to be tweaked a bit to fit well inside the torso form, but should work out just fine.  I also made another test torso, out of cotton cloth(a thrift store duvet cover, nice fleshy tan color, king size so LOTS of fabric; will be the fabric for the arms and legs as well);. Yes, that is much sturdier than the stretch.

I also got the dress, which is quite nice. I love the print and the fabric has a nice silky drape to it. It also looked better on the second torso than the larger first one. Ruthie is a little old lady for the late 20's; women on the average were somewhat smaller then. The hat matches the dress color and so goes well. I do think I will end up adding a lace collar to the dress at the neckline (didn't like the scarf around the throat); wonder how long it will take for the ones I ordered to show up? I think that will be a nice accent.

I have the third (and hopefully final) alterations to the pattern done,  the torso pieces cut out and ready to sew. Need to go by Joann's and pick up some thread that's a closer match to the fabice then the dark brown I was using on the first couple mock ups. Maybe I can go do that before work at 11 tomorrow and then be ready to go on it.

I'm thinking (and again hoping) that the arms and legs might go much quicker than the head and torso have. I don't think I will need to do any adaptions to the life size patterns I already have; I can use them as is. I've used the arm pattern on Suzi-Rose already. And have made a mock up for a leg that looks like it will work for size and shape. However, i will take my time and try to do a real good job with the hand armature and make the hands as nice looking as possible.

I guess I really am making progress on this project!

Have another busy Saturday coming up on the 11th. There is the first Trailblazer Challenge hike in the morning (just a short one this first week); the hikes are up at Monte Sano or the Land Trust. Which is cool with me. Then there is the Antiques and Collectibles show at the Jaycee's Hall to goto in the afternoon. One of the Doll club members Shirley will have a booth there; I'll have to stop by and say hello and tell her I can't make the next Twickingham Doll Club meeting due to work but WILL be back the following month. In the evening, there is the Dixie Danger Doll's Valentines event; I'm going early at 6 to help with set up and probably won't stay out too late.

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February 5th, 2017

10:03 am - beginning body work

First at size trail of the body pattern. Shit , I have a  lot of work to do. before I do anything else, I'm going to send  pics to Andy and see if that's about the body shape/size he was thinking. I don't want to waste time heading in the wrong direction. As I figured, the nylon is really too thin to support the weight of the doll; it makes a nice cushy looking shape but can't be stuffed firmly enough. May have to do similarly as I did the head, make a sturdier core, with an appropriate armature inside, and then put a layer of the nylon over it.

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February 4th, 2017

04:26 pm - busy day list
--attended Make-A-Wish Trailblazer Challenge infomrational meeting. Seems like a good cause and a good event. Only catch is having to fundraise 2500$, which I'm not sure I can do. I did go ahead and sign up, and will attend the first few training hikes but have until sometime in April to make a final decision. So, we'll see how the fundraising goes. Would be nice to do the marathon hike on the Pinhoti trail, and the training would be a good start to getting back in shape and preparing for the BurningMan ultra later in the summer. Besides supporting Make-A-Wish is, as I said, a good cause. (too bad Celia is too old for ithe program, she would have qualified for a wish and could have gone to a show on Broadway or somehting.)
-- Atopped at HobbyLobby to pick up snaps for my coin purse and someother crafty odds and ends.
--But unfortunately, that made me too late to join in the peace protest today, althoough I did drive right by their corner.
--Made the thrift store rounds. Found a slip and a leather purse that look like they might do for Ruthie. Got her green felt hat in the mail; it looks good on her.
--Sewed the snaps on my coinpurse; so, that is done now.
--Went to Lowe Mill and talked to Cheryl for a bit in Karma Rags and Anna Sue in her puppetry studio. Also ran into Japser, who liked my sweater, (he knits) and bought a loaf of Fred Bread, still warm, to bring home. It was really good talking to Anna Sue, lots of information and things to think about when I get to making my Cat-thederal puppets; just stored and stewing away as ideas for now. Note to self: keep an eye out at thrift stores for a backpack with a  frame to use as a large puppet base.
--Overdyed the slip and the stretch fabric i had. Not sure the poly fabric is going tot ake the dye well as all; we'll see if it makes any difference in turning a pink nude into a more tan flesh tone. Just stuck the yellow slip in there; for more fabric, it took the dye. In the drier now, will see what the dry colours actuallly look like. Later: does look like it changed the lycra maybe one shade less pink, so not a total loss.

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February 3rd, 2017

09:00 am - Friday and coming weekend

Last night and for a bit this morning, I stitched up a couple doll torso mock ups. The first I did in a too tightly woven cloth and it came out entirely too skinny, but the second try looks much more like I was thinking when done in stretch lycra . However, I wish the fabric wasn't quite so thin; it'll work fine for a covering doll skin on the arms and legs, but don't know if it's sturdy enough for the body construction. Thinking more like a bathing suit weight of spandex might be needed for the torso. Anyway, this first sample was using one of Mary Tressler's patterns. Next am going to try out Sharon Mitchel's pattern. That will be my first attempt at a body that includes an internal armature. The one thing I'm unsure about when translating a pattern from small doll scale to large is that I don't think the needle sculpting techniques that work small will work on life size. I'm going to need to devise a pattern where the breast form is part of the shape given by the pattern, the Tressler pattern for example has upper and lower torso pieces.

I have a busy weekend planned. At 9 am tomorrow, I have a  informational meeting about the Make A Wish Foundation's "Trailblazer Challenge" (a fundraising event, a marathon distance hike on the Pinhoti trail in May). That's being held at the Fleet Feet store.  If it doesn't run too long, then there is the weekely Peace Protest  between 10-11 am held on the corner of Whitesburg and Airport. Then I'm going to go thrift store shopping for undergarments for Ruthie. Could also keep a look out for a  coordinating purse for her. Need to stop at Joann's for large sew on snaps to finish my Valentines coin purse. The rest of the weekend will be given to sample doll torsos and tryiing to work out a usable pattern.

I emailed Anna Sue to see if she was planning to be at Lowe Mill on Saturday, and asking if I could stop by to chat about puppet building. Am thinking to make a large parade puppet for protests and rallys, and she had a nice one at the Huntsville Women's March. Seems more my style than carrying a poster-signboard. I'm thinking just something  realtively simple in banner format. If I can figure out a concept that involves cats, I could reuse the puppet for the BurningMan installation. For that, am imagining a "Temple Cat/Cathederal Cat Guardian; cat's head in colorful flowing robes.

I've really gotten lucky that the client, Andy, is so into this project, but not in micro-managing me about it. He seems very pleased with the progress and work so far and that is very encouraging. Seems like a good cheery fellow. (Compliments like Wow and Great are good for my creative ego.)That makes me much more happy doing the project rather than having to stress with dealing with the buyer (which happened in a much earlier furry commision I once had; I never finished that one and ultimatley gave a refund largely because the guy was such a pain in the ass). I'm really tempted to drive up to Indiana to deliver the doll myself, just to meet him, see his response to the final doll, and get some portfolio photos of Miss Ruthie sitting in the rumble seat. It would be a long weekend of driving, maybe if I took an extra day I could swing over to Rockford and say hello to my relatives there.

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February 2nd, 2017

01:01 pm - Dressing Miss Ruthie
Hat and gloves for a well dressed lady. The shoes are not the ones I bought, but similar simple black flats.

Found a dress that is of period look (it is vintage but unsure exacty how old), a drop waist Gatsby style. This style of dress would have been most popular in the mid-20's, with the car being circa 1930; but Ruthie could have saved this dress for a few more years as her going to church good dress. It's better that the style is a couple years early rather than being a couple years in the "future".The colors will match wonderfully with the car (exterior dark green, fenders lighter green, and interior camel brown), and the green hat should go well. The size 37-33-37 should be one I can work with. Ruthie is going to be petite in stature; so I won't have to enlarge much to give her a matronly shape (should just mostly be softening the breasts). Besides, I am deciding on going with period silhouette, more straight than curved. I may take the elastic off the sleeves and just have them loose at the cuff, so it doesn't dig into the arm stuffing.
Am also considering removing the self-scarf and adding a lace collar instead. These aren't vintage, just cheap vintage look pieces. Could rety the scarf as a bow at the drop waist line. But will wait and see which collar looks right around the doll's neck. Hmm. probably should  still pick up a cheap thrift slip for her under clothes so the dress looks and flows right.

Yes, I spent more on the outfit than the bargain basement thrift store pricing I was hoping for, but 50.00 is still reasonable for an entire outfit with accessories that should be the bee's knees on Miss Ruthie. And my client agreed to add that amount to the final payment! Lol. He said I had realy good taste. So, it's all good, and Ruthie doll will be dressed to my perfectionist's standards.

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10:16 am - next day
I did find a pair of simple black cloth flats for Ruthie, and they do fit the sample foot I had made up! That is one costume thing out of the way. Also getting a pair of little old lady white gloves. Will just keep searching for her perfect pretty dress. Was hoping I could find something in a period style to match the Model A car, but Ruthie just wouldn't look right in a flapper style 20's dress. What did more mature ladies wear then? Time for some costume research.

Going to send Andy a couple pics of the dress style I'm thinking may suggest "old lady" (dress with a lace collar), it's more 40's than 20's but reads as vintage and mature.

Put some finishing touches on my heartshaped candy box purse, gilding the edges of the strap so that it wasn't showing plain. Also stitched up a simple (nothing special but functional) coin purse, out of print and silk scraps: I just need to sew snaps on it.  That'll be everything needed for my outfit for the Valentines Doll's event.

I got the green shoes I ordered--rats they are about a half size too large. I'm wondering if I can pad the toes or the heel and be able to wear them? They were cheap enough and the color is a near perfect match with the St. Pat's dress.

Also got the green belt I "custom"  ordered from Etsy--and its WRONG; I was ordering it as a regular length not long medieval style, and guess what I got? It came from Europe (Hungary)  too, so I'm not sure about sending it  back but I  may.  Quite dissappointed in that; it won't work for the outfit, and it was nicely Celtic looking.

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February 1st, 2017

02:07 pm - Ruthie R. rumbling along

 Here's a pic showing the additional finishing detailing to the face. Andy, my client, approved of the face, so it's onward now to other things!

I picked up a nice hat for our Ruthie on EBAY (figured it would be a good touch to her whole look, and the green color matches Andy's car)), and will start trolling the thrift stores until I find an inexpensive but appropriately old fashioned looking dress for her. (Client was going to get the dress, but I decided it would be more helpful for me to to do so and have it to fit to the doll). Am going to coordinate colors so she looks good sitting in the car. Figure I'm looking to fit somewhere between a size 14-18.

Got in the sample I ordered of 2 way lycra stretch, looks good. So placed order for enough to make the doll skin out of. Will still need to *carefully* ovedye with the tan Rit I used on the face and try to get close to a match for the flesh tone. I may just skin the arms and legs and leave the torso in cotton, since it won't show uner hte clothes. Guess i'll have to cover the neck area as well though.

Wondering if I should also look for a pair of little white gloves., and thinking I'll probably just sew black cotton flat slipper shoes onto her feet, since they won't really show. Also still need to hardware shop for armature elements and weighting pellets; going to take B to Home Depot with me.

Sorted out my patterns that might be useful on making the torso. Am going to next make a couple small doll sized trial samples.

Also worked some more on my valentine candy box purse. Just added velcro to help secure the bottom half of the box to the top half. Not the classiest purse closure, but it doesn't show and doesn't take away from the look of the box. Also put a padded back on the box, using the novelty candy print fabric. Think I have just enough left over material to sew up a quick smaller heart shaped clutch to put inside the larger box, so whatever stuff I'm carrying doesn't rattle around inside.

Have supplies, several different green ribbons, to make shamrocks to add to my wig for St. Pat's; should have plenty of time betweeen now and the parade on March 11 to craft them up. That and the coin/clutch purse should also be my only diverting "filler" projects for the next couple months.

Uggh. Went to two different thrift stores at lunch time and theen spent time searching Ebay and Etsy; zilch on a dress for Ruthie. However, I did pick up a pair of simple black flats in a size that should work. I think I may need to wait until I have the torso constructed anyway so I have a better ieas of her actual measurements. I'm hoping I have better luck with thifting in Huntsville or maybe check out Karma Rags as well. Maybe I could even go up to Nashville to look if it came to it. There were some dresses online I liked, but too pricey. What I wouldn't give to have one of my mother's old Laura Ashley dresses...

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