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! :)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Facio Ergo Sum

As the world keeps moving faster, it seems we've progressed from books to newspapers and magazines, then to blogs, to Facebook, to Twitter and Vines.  Next we'll probably be at 2-second vids.  Short and sweet is the theme of the year month day hour minute.  Even the planet itself is becoming impatient, with earthquakes in Chile and Japan (among others) shortening the length of Earth's days.

More quickly than I can believe, my kids are growing up.  Mollusc is off to one of the nation's top design schools next year. (Nationally in the top 3, #1 in the Midwest.)  Her first 2 years of college have yielded straight 4.0s (Yay homeschooling!  And OK, it doesn't hurt that she's brilliant and a hard worker.)  and she'll transfer to this much more expensive school with the bulk of her liberal arts courses already completed and a nice scholarship to boot.  Sluggie is at this moment in San Antonio at Nerd Nation as an officer with the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, (of which Mollusc is also a member.)  Fishy is off to Middle College next year, too, which will leave only the Prawn at home with me.  And so, with fewer kids to teach, I've been creating more and getting back to writing as well. My age-old fear of failure has me still re-writing the book I've been writing for years, but I'm going to pull the trigger, finally, as I have other books cooking that want to come out. My self-imposed deadline for submission is June.  In the meantime, I procrastinate whenever possible by doing this:

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Happy Christm Winter!

A couple of months ago, I got this awesome magazine, and it came with a little kit to make Scandanavian Christmas ornaments from felt.  I'm no better than I've ever been at following recipes or sewing projects without making my own changes, and I'm still a procrastinator, so I ended up making these instead.  I'm getting much more patient as I get older, and I found that I really enjoyed the hand sewing.  Anway, all you need is felt, some fluff for stuffing, embroidery floss, buttons and ribbon.  I had so much fun that I plan to make different ornaments for each season.  The glass ornaments and "tree" that they're hanging from are from IKEA.  I do heart IKEA.

I took a few pics in different lighting just for fun.  And I also took some pics of some of our Christmas decorating before it got swapped out.

Quite a bit of this display came from my penpal in Germany.  We've been writing since we were about 13.  The glass bottle is full of water from Lourdes.  Pretty cool, huh?  Hedwig has decided to become a permanent fixture, as she enjoys the spotlight.  She'll keep her heart necklace (a glass Christmas tree ornament on a ribbon, LOL) until after Valentine's day. :)

 And what would Christmas be without the Doctor and some monsters?  A hungry dino (with bowtie!) and a ram-headed warrior help to keep the season bright frightful.

 Fahim the Socially Awkward Penguin is. . . well, he's a long story, most of which originates with one of the kids' friends.  He claims to be Jewish in spite of his name.  He enjoys dressing up, and usually finds himself in socially awkward positions.  In this case, he has crashed a Christmas party bearing a trained assassin.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mental for Bento

So I've been fascinated by Bento for ages now, but I finally have an excuse to make some!  The Prawn is doing double martial arts classes on Wednesdays and Fridays (we're doing a different discipline now and are finding it challenging and FUN!) and then staying through the adult class, which she likes to watch.  It also gives her a chance to play with some friends at the gym and read, but mostly, she just watches.  Tuesdays present a similar situation, as she has soccer practice until our game starts on the adjoining field.  Finally, FINALLY, a justification to pack Bento. :)  I've been having  a lot of fun coming up with things to pack.  Being veggie and GF can present a little bit of a challenge, but once you're in the groove, it's not that hard.

Here are a few of the bentos she's had lately:

This one has rice on the left (a mixture of white jasmine, and red cargo) topped with furikake.  On the right, a boiled egg, moulded to look like a bunny head, 2 soy sauce fish, and below that, skewers with alternating slices of cucumber and cheese.  The cucumber slices were tossed with rice vinegar and sesame oil.  Below that, on the left, some sweet/salty rice crackers, and on the right, a little hippo cup with her oshibori (damp towel) rolled up inside.

In this pic, you can see the jelly sticks that I also tossed in her bag - 1 for Prawn, and more to share with friends.  As it turned out, they couldn't open them without scissors, so they all took them home.  Lesson learned. :-/

Next bento!  On the left, some onigiri (are they still onigiri when they're not triangles?  I think so. . .) and a soy sauce fish, a pack of haw flakes, and 2 homemade green tea mochi with red bean filling.  On the right, skewers of cherry tomato, avocado and cheese.  I dipped the avocado in lime juice to help prevent browning, and it seemed to work.  I know this is an odd fusion of cultures, food-wise, but it was a big hit!

And last, homemade green tea mochi on the left, with jalapeno/cheese sticks below.  On the right, onigiri and a soy sauce fish, cheese flowers and kiwi bites in little silicone baking cups, to the right of that, sliced green and black grapes with a skewer for stabbing, and below that, her oshibori.

I have way too much fun making these, and it's even more rewarding to see the smile on my little Student of the Month's face. :)