Monday, June 08, 2015

To Cap it All Off

The morning after my birthday, I woke up to find that I'd made my first Etsy Sale!!!  The order was for a pair of over-the-knee fairy key socks for 1/4 scale BJDs.  I popped a couple of freebies in the envelope and mailed that sucker off!  Postage has gone up since I last checked, and it cost more than I'd anticipated to mail my wee package, but I still made a small profit.  As soon as I got home, I bumped up the shipping on everything to meet the new rates.  I'm not a huge fan of the new rates, but I do appreciate the free tracking.

I've been having some creative fun in the last couple of days.  First off, I made myself a summery bag from some Flower Fairies fabric I'd been saving:



 This is the Elva Bag pattern from Bags, The Modern Classics.  I ended up tweaking the flap because it was too short -- maybe my 1/2" seam allowance was too large; I'll confess to not actually bothering to read that part.  Or maybe the flap is just too short for my taste.  Anyway, I love how it turned out in spite of the fact that I didn't have enough of any 1 (or even 2) kinds of interfacing, and then completely forgot to use the interfacing I'd cut for the side/bottom piece.  I ended up making a bottom stabilizer and LOVE how that works, because the bag is more collapsible than if I'd remembered the stabilizer, LOL!

I simply cut a piece of cardboard to fit, and covered it with the green fabric.  Win!


 Next, I crocheted a couple of summery BJD beanies for my shop.  Of course, now Pippa is asking for one of her own.


Now I really need to come up with a name for Pippa's little sister, who is on her way from China even as we speak.  Oh, and I should probably make her some clothes.  I don't know much about her yet, having not met her, but I'm pretty sure she's not a nudist.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Sound and the Fury

I'd like to start this post off with the reassurance that if some of this sounds familiar to you,  I DO have some helpful suggestions at the end.  In fact, that's my main reason for today's post: to share what's worked for us in hope that it will help someone else!

We recently figured out that Mollusc, my eldest, has Sensory Processing Disorder.  Despite the title of this post, she's not like Faulkner's Benjy - quite the opposite, in fact.  I'm used to looking for quirks and disorders in special needs kids, since I work with quite a few of them in Choi Kwang Do, but I never thought to look for them in my hyper-intelligent daughter.  When I finally put it all together, I felt a bit idiotic for not realising something sooner, but to be honest, I just attributed a lot of her symptoms to individual eccentricities.

Here's how it breaks down for Mollusc.

- She hates to be touched.  For a long time I thought her reaction to being touched was just an overdramaticized response - sort of a trademark silliness.  Nope.  It just feels extremely unpleasant, and should not be attempted.  (I'll spare you the post on "How Have I Ruined My Children's Lives?  A Mother's Angst.")

- Misophonia  She has always, ALWAYS hated whistling.  No, that's not true; hated is much too mild a word for this.  It was so bad that she turned into a bundle of nerves every Tuesday, all day, last semester, because she knew she had class that evening with "Whistling Guy."  She wanted to physically harm him so he would shut up.

- Extreme difficulty waking up and getting up in the morning.  This is the one that broke my heart to see.  Every morning it was a huge effort for her to drag herself out of bed and downstairs in time to maybe put a little food in and go to work.  She would be very subdued and I had serious concerns that she was depressive, but without fail, when I picked her up at the end of her daily shift, she would always be fine.  As it turns out, this is not uncommon for SPD sufferers.  It's not laziness, or wilfulness, or lack of sleep; it's just that they need to "come to life" more slowly in the mornings.  In Mollusc's case, she would spend the first 2 hours of every day feeling awful, and then her body would wake up and all would be well.

-Social Anxiety.  Maybe I should have put that in all caps.  For Mollusc, it's the fear of doing something or saying something awkward that makes other people judge her to be unintelligent.  My mom had a lot of issues with this, herself.  And no, this is not the result of homeschooling.  I have 3 others who are not socially anxious at all.

-General Anxiety.  Any family member whose whereabouts are uncertain could be in Mortal Danger.  Things could Go Wrong.  Dreadfully so.

Hope for the Wicked and Rest for the Weary

 

We're still learning about SPD and Anxiety and all the other goodies that are, as James Lileks might put it, "rolled up in lettuce, wrapped in cheese, and hidden in a cave of bread studded with all kinds of weird shit."  But we have found some amazing life hacks so far.

1) For the trouble waking up: the Sound Oasis Natural Wake-Up and Sleep System Alarm Clock.  This has made an Incredible difference in Mollusc's quality of life.  Seriously.  This is me, weeping tears of joy.  I cannot overstate how amazing this is.  She wakes up refreshed and in time to eat breakfast, and no longer appears to be undead when I drop her off at work.  The deal with this thing is that it wakes you up gradually with gentle light and sound.  I want to give the inventor a BIG HUG!  Unless s/he has SPD and hates to be touched. :-/

2) For the Misophonia: Etymotic Research Earplugs  I whistle tested her and did NOT get punched in the face! ^_^  This made a huge difference for her last few classes with "Whistling Guy."  (Hence the "hope for the wicked, because otherwise he was going DOWN!)  Hurrah!

3) For the anxiety:  I'd consider acupuncture, because #2 has had success with this for her (less extreme) anxiety.  (We actually started the treatment for her stomach issues, and it's helped a great deal, but she asked for help with anxiety as well, and has found the treatments very beneficial.)  But with Mollusc's SPD, I don't think anyone would live through the experience.

Fortunately, my mom told me about some books for anxiety that she found very helpful for herself, so we're getting those from the library, and I found some others to share as well.

The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook

The Tapping Solution

The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook

And for those whose kids are still children (though I think I'm still going to read it myself)
The Out-of-Sync Child.

I hope some people will find this helpful.  I'd love to hear from you!




Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tiny Knitting Time!

I know that I once said that this wasn't going to become a knitting blog, and it hasn't, OK?  Just so that's out of the way. . . ^_^

I do enjoy knitting, and I enjoy tiny things as well, so I've been knitting, well, tiny things.  I've just put some slippers up in my shop that are knitted especially for ball-jointed dolls.  MSDs (1/4 scale) to be exact.  I use really tiny needles and baby yarn, but I find it relaxing nonetheless.  Here are some pics of Pippa modeling them:

 

I didn't mention Pippa before??  I got her from The Junky Spot, and she is LOVELY! She's a Mystic Kids Lillian 1/4 scale BJD (her type is also known as a slim MSD.)  She was quite a bit less pricey than Dreaming Doll's Airi, AND she was on sale.  How could I say no to that face?
I'm still working on the wardrobe. She helped me make some socks for my shop the other day, too, but she wouldn't let me list them until she had an identical pair of her own. :)
She did mention that she'd like a friend someday.  Oh boy.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Flirting With Fashion

As my sister can attest, we were never fashionable girls.  I suppose this could be due to being raised partly in Hong Kong, where (at least in our neighbourhood) fashion meant "whatever still mostly fits," and no one would blink an eye at pastel polka-dotted shorts paired with primary coloured plaid tops.  Over the years I've attempted some various fashion phases of my own, usually tending toward boho, but most often settling back into the comfy, sporty groove.

As a teen and twenty something, I'd look at the cut of 40s and 50s dresses, and think, "if only those were available now."  I don't know why.  Something about the cuts just really appealed to me.  Maybe because I usually try to hide my thighs. ^_^  I've never been too comfy in my skin.  It could be the offset hipbones.  Or the knock-knees. :-P

In *my* perfect world, everyone would treat every day as a cosplay day, and we all would look wildly different.  There wouldn't be a "norm" to which one had to conform, you know?  I suppose that's my fear of not "getting it right."  It probably goes back to that whole Chinese mentality -- the "losing face" thing.  *shrug*

I did buy a 50s sort of dress not too long ago only to put it on and nearly claw my own eyes out at the horror.  Caveat online Emptor is all I can say about that.  Regardless of the sizing chart, I'm not sure that Chinese dressmakers have a firm handle on the frame of the Western woman.  I'm a bit North of 5'9", muscular at the core, and soft around the edges -- not exactly an Elven woodsprite.  It fit, but it looked pretty atrocious.  Thank goodness for the return policy!

Today I bunnytrailed back into cute online dress land, but I have a spark of hope now, because I found a company called Voodoo Vixen (click the pic.)  They make awesome retro dresses that might actually look decent on me!

Check this out:

They have a lot of lovely-looking dresses and tops. And if you want to see more of them on a real person, take a look at this great blog. She really rocks the retro! Who knows? I may have to give up my Salvation Army Chic after all!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Sweets for the Sweet


More decoden goodies are in my shop! :)


Random thoughts of the day:

~*~ Did I mention that I'm teaching Martial Arts again?  I missed teaching. :)  I've been doing it for about 2.5 years at the new place.  The 4 of us who do this style tested for blackbelt back in Feb, so now I have 2 different 1st degrees, LOL!  I'm loving this new style, as it's way better for the joints, but still has tons of power (actually, more!)  And I'm still playing soccer.  Hooray for exercise that's so fun it feels like play, not work!

~*~ I adore the Flavia DeLuce series by Alan Bradley.  Excellent stuff! 


Thursday, May 07, 2015

A Dalliance with Dolls

There is this REALLY slippery slope you may have heard of.  It's called hoarding collecting.  I have 3 Sasha dolls from my youth, and they are still alive and well.  Two were bought with hard-earned baby-sitting money when I was about 15 (and feeling REALLY self-conscious about buying dolls!)  The third was one my mom bought, and later gave to me when she was paring down to move into a smaller place.  Here's one of them sporting a dress I knitted from this Ravelry Pattern:



After buying them, I left the precarious slopes of doll-collecting (but not doll-enjoying, LOL) and managed to stay away for a few decades until last month when I bought Päivi to be a model for some of my Etsy creations.



She does a fabulous job of showing off my wares, and I just love her! (She's actually a J-Doll, called Esplanadi Katu , and I bought here there at Pullip Style, which is an awesome site!)  I then discovered that there's this whole WORLD of collectors out there, and that many of the really serious ones are into ball-jointed dolls, or BJDs.  BJDS are VERY well-articulated, well-crafted dolls, usually made from resin and internally strung.  Most have hair and eyes that can be easily changed.  I find it astounding how many different looks people can get out of the same sculpt.  And these dolls are MEANT to be used - dressed, re-wigged, re-painted, you name it.  Unlike most collector dolls, they are NOT meant to stay in a box. They are more about art and expression, which I think is fabulous.

 If you want 1/6 scale (roughly 20-30 cm range), there are plenty of child-like sculpts, but for a teen or adult in that scale, you'll most likely have to build your own from an Obitsu body or the like.  For those more mature sculpts, the more readily available dolls are in 1/4 and 1/3 scale.  They are A.  Maze.  Ing.  At about 40-45cm for the 1/4 scale, they would be a lot easier to sew for, too.  I really mulled this over, because I didn't want to take the plunge precipitously, you know?  Even though I did a driving gig at MuNKi's company which paid rather nicely (here's where I casually drop in how much fun it was to drive military convoy simulators through mountain desert settings while under fire) I just didn't know if I could truly justify such an expenditure.  Except at least half of my kids want to work in video-game design - possibly 3/4 of them.  And they could really benefit from access to a FABULOUS model, who is MUCH better articulated than Mr. Twisty. Right?

So I'm starting with a more modestly priced doll, but when I've made enough on Etsy and craft show sales, I plan to buy my "grail" doll from Dreaming Doll in Korea.  They very graciously gave me permission to use her photo here.  Isn't she gorgeous?  The Prawn is in love with her, too.  More lovely pictures if you click the pic, so feast your eyes, and dream with me. :)
 





Monday, April 27, 2015

Decoden Madness!

OK, so there's this Japanese craft/art called Decoden that I've totally fallen in love with.  Basically, you have all the fun of super-fancy cake decoration, but it LASTS FOREVER!!!! O_O

I've decorated my share of fancy cakes over the years, let me tell you, and it's always a bit disheartening that the things take way less time to eat than they do to create.  With Decoden, you get to do fancy piping (many creatrixes, including myself, use silicone caulk - yep you heard me right!) and then stud it with sweet little cabochons and fancy jewels, sprinkle on some glitter or glass microbeads, and voilà!  To make it even more fun, you can create your own cabochons out of polymer or air-dry clays.  (OMG, Delight paper clay is so aptly named!)  I make it sound easy, and once you get the hang of it, it's not hard, but it can be time-consuming.  Fortunately, it's also really fun!  Oh, and don't even get me started on the joys of "baking" the cookie pieces with chalk pastels.  It's really exciting to see them come to life! :)

Decoden is often used to decorate storage boxes or jars, pencil cases, and cell phone covers.  I've also used the techniques I've learned to make tiny cupcake and pie pendants and magnets.  Fun!

And maybe the best part of all is that Decoden treats are sugar- and calorie-free. ^_^

So here's a tiny sampling of some of the things I've made.  They're already in my shop, and I'll be adding more as soon as I can take pics! :)