Thursday, 31 December 2009

Another year, another decade....

Another decade gone. It doesn't seem like 5 minutes ago I was partying like it was 1999. It is certainly true what they say about time going quicker as you get older.

I have had some HUGE life changes over this last decade.

I was married. I got divorced. 

I met Mick again after 14 years and got married again.

I sold a house, rented 4 more and bought another house.

I moved from England to California to Minnesota and back to California.

I abandoned all of my earthly possessions and had to start again.

I left my family and my friends.

I left my career as a head hunter.

I became a stay at home wife and had to learn how to cook and clean.

I visited 44 US states and saw some of the most wondrous sights this country has to offer.

I started making dollhouse miniatures.

I started to learn how to sculpt.

I started a blog and got a website.

My favorite part of the last 10 years….making my Mom’s dreams come true and taking her to Graceland. She is a huge Elvis fan and never thought she’d get to visit there because she was terrified of flying. She has traveled all over Europe by motorcycle, car or boat…but she had never flown and swore she never would.  Until 2007 when Mick flew back to England to fetch her. We knew that she’d never get on a plane by herself so Mick went back to fly with her.

We surprised her with the gold suite at the heartbreak hotel and a VIP pass to visit Graceland as many times as she wanted during our stay in Memphis.

And of course we added in Sun Studios and his birth place in Tupelo, Mississippi.

We drove south  from MN and went all the way down to FL and back up the east coast so they got to visit 16 states in that road trip.

It was a trip of a lifetime and I am so very grateful to Mick for making it possible.

I wonder what the next 10 years will bring. I’m not even going to venture a guess. In 1999, if you’d have told me I’d have done all of  this in the next 10 years I’d have laughed my socks off. Who knows that the future holds for any of us.

I wish each and everyone of you a Happy new Year and 
I hope that 2010 brings you everything you are dreaming of.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

So here it is.....Merry Christmas

I am guessing most of you won't be around much over the next week or so, so I thought I'd say

 Merry Christmas

to you all now.

I have to confess to not loving Christmas much these days.  I used to be really into it but since I  moved here, so far away from my family and friends,  I just don't enjoy it anymore. If I could I'd just fast forward straight through to next year :-(

I truly envy those of you who have kiddies at home....the whole belief in Father Christmas is just so much fun.

When Aydn was little I'd wait till he went to bed and hang out of my bedroom window ringing bells. Within minutes he'd be in my room yelling 'Mom, Mom can you hear him' 

I would dip my shoes in flour and leave footprints up the stairs and in the hallway to be discovered next morning. Aydn was so little it never occured to him that there wasn't any snow outside :-)

One year my Mom, who lived 2 doors away, stuck an inflatable Santa on a long pole and started tapping it on the outside Aydn's bedroom window. Goodness knows what the neighbors thought seeing her walking though the streets with Santa on a pole lol.

I do miss those days....they aren't little long enough. Not that I plan on starting again mind you :-)

Our new neighborhood is beautiful at this time of year. Everyone's houses are decorated inside and out.  Except ours...I feel like the resident Grinch but really don't have the money to buy something as frivolous as as tree this year.

And then I'd have to buy ornaments. What I really want is a tree with old ornaments. Going out and buying brand new just doesn't seem right to me...far too sterile. I want old ones with history and character...not some plastic made in China junk. Oh well...maybe I'll see if I can organize and old ornament swap next year and have a tree after all.

Anyhow, enough from Tallulah the sad old drama queen.....I'll leave you with this clip to listen to. You Brits are probably sick of it now but to all you others...It just ain't Christmas in England till you hear ol' Noddy singing.

Merry Christmas everybody xxx

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Some house pics.

I have finally managed to set up a new blog to journal the new house.

All I have up so far are 2 posts showing the outside of the house and the gardens but if you'd like to take a look just click on the photo below.

If anyone of you have more of a clue about gardening or home decorating than I do (and I am sure that is all of you ) I'd love you to follow me over there as well. I need all the help I can get :-)

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Getting there....

Slowly but surely :-)

I have finished painting my workroom, my main overhead light has gone up and I have my own computer (and all my files) back...whhheeee.

As you can see from the photos there is still a looong way to go yet but at least the basics are done.

I wanted adjustable closet shelving in the closet but after looking at the price I decided my old plastic shelving will suffice :-) 

I will put shelves of some kind up on the spare wall to the right of the closet. I'd prefer open shelving and it seems insane that I can buy flat pack bookcases cheaper than I can buy shelves and brackets. But I'll be needing somewhere to display all the flowers and sculpts I'll be making soon :-)

The workroom is at the side of the house and doesn't have a very nice view. I toyed with the idea of using the other bedroom, which looks out onto the back garden, but thought I'd save the nicest view for the guest bedroom. Besides, when I am in here I ought to be working not gazing out of the window. I'll plant something along the fence to make it somewhat prettier and I'll add some bird feeders out there.

The room would ideally be another 6 inches bigger all the way round as the desks only just fit ( they are pulled away from the wall at the moment) but I am grateful to have a room of my own so am not complaining.

The sewing machine won't be a permanent fixture....I am in the middle of making drapes for the front room.

At least once this room is finished I can move some of the boxes that are filling up the other rooms.  Then we can worry about what to do with the rest of the house and garden...something I am NOT looking forward to at all.

Well I best get cracking and start emptying some of these boxes. I thought you might like to see what has been eating my time up of late.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Two steps forward.....

and six steps back. Isn't that how it goes :-)

I decided to paint my workroom before unpacking everything. It was perfectly clean and freshly painted but in a very bland cream color.

Having spent the last 5 years renting, and dreaming of the day I wouldn't have to live with white walls, I planned on painting my workroom.

After moving in and realizing there was so much else to do it seemed really frivolous to paint a perfectly OK room. But that is all it was ... OK. So, knowing that once everything was unpacked I'd never find the inclination to empty everything out again, I decided to go ahead and paint it.

Now, I have a tendency for very dark, medieval, Gothic kind of colors. My last house was painted this way but that wouldn't work in my workroom where I need the light.

So...I went with a periwinkle on the bottom and french country blue on the top split by a white chair rail. I still have a ways to go and I can't say I am loving it much but I am not going to start again.

I have discovered that a decorator I am not. How hard is it to paint a clean line between wall and ceiling or wall and trim. How can I make such detailed flowers that are smaller than a penny but not be able to paint a straight line lol.

Anyhow, at the beginning of the week I ended up with an extremely sore right shoulder. I assumed I'd sprained it with all the painting I'd been doing but, when it got to the point I could barely lift my arm, off to the docs I went.

She thought I'd torn or stretched a ligament so sent me off for X-Rays. Turns out I have arthritis in my shoulder...oh the joys of getting older. Doesn't seem like 5 minutes ago I was dancing on bars with the best of them. OK so it was 5 years ago not 5 minutes but even so, I am only 42 !!! Too young to be falling apart like this lol.

So the painting has had to take a break while I let the ligaments heal up. And that is why I appeared to have come back to blogland only to have vanished again. It hurt to use the computer too much :-(

My shoulder has been giving me jip for a couple of years and I just put it down to the position I sat when I was making my flowers. Hopefully it won't affect me making flowers or sculpting in the future.

Hopefully within a couple of weeks things should be a little straighter round here, I'll have my own computer back and can get back into the swing off things.

Toodle Pip for a bit


Wednesday, 25 November 2009

HAPPY THANKSGIVING..... all my American friends....I hope you all have a wonderful day.

Sorry to have been MIA for so long...silly me thought I'd be back to blogging a week after we'd moved I am rolling around in laughter at the thought of my naivety :-)

We have been working none stop to try and get this place sorted...forget the fun things like hanging art or setting up our workrooms. So far it has been dealing with leaks, replacing faucets, showers, waste disposal units and the like.

Oh and dealing with an ex- landlady who pays no attention to the law and has withheld a chunk of our security deposit...guess we'll be seeing her in court shortly.

I have spent the last 3 weeks doing nothing but scrubbing the kitchen cupboards to within an inch of their life and priming, painting, and lining the interiors. It has taken this long because they were so gross and whatever they are made of required a minimum of 4 coats of paint. I am about halfway there now and I don't' even want to think of what we'll do with the exteriors.

Once the cupboards are clean enough to put things into, then I'll think about my workroom.

I know I promised pics and you'll get them soon. I'll likely start a new house blog to keep as a journal...just need to think of a name for it :-)

Anyhow, thought I'd fly by to wish you all a great Thanksgiving.


Thursday, 29 October 2009

I'm early but.... 'Happy Halloween All'

I won't be here on Halloween so thought I'd wish you all a good one early.

With luck we'll be moving into our new place Saturday. We
still don't have the keys but should get them at the end of the day Friday. This week has been a last minute flurry of signing papers and a whole lot of stress.

Mick is off work now so today we will be packing a POD...and unfortunately that isn't a euphemism for something more fun ;-)

We did a final walk through earlier this week and as we pulled into the street I was horrified to see the neighbors house covered in police 'Do Not Cross' tape. As we got closer I could also see cobwebs, bats and the like so I am hoping this is part of their Halloween decor and not anything to be concerned about.

We also met the previous owner who was completely crazy and makes me think we will end up having to get a restraining order to keep her away lol.

Anyhow, hope you all have a super spooky time and find that inner kid that is bursting to get out.

The only flying going on in my house is the seat of my pants !!!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Moving....not quite !

Than you everyone for Aydn's birthday wishes yesterday. Although he doesn't have a blog account he can post from, he did read them all and I am sure his head was swelling with all the 'handsome' comments :-) And I didn't get into trouble for publicly calling him Pudding Pants :-)

Well the house buying hasn't been going as well as expected and not only are we still here but we no longer have a closing date.

It was 28th October. However, that was before the appraiser went in..... or should I say the second appraiser. The first one had a week to come back with her valuation report and informed us on the last day that she wasn't able to do it as her laptop had crashed. Great !

So, another appraiser was arranged to go in. This time he did actually turn up but he valued the house at $20,000 less than our offer.

The house is bank owned and at first the seller couldn't understand why this was a problem and why did we not want to carry on and pay more for the house than it was worth...well hello !

So, we asked them to drop the price. After some back and forth they agreed to do so if we paid their closing costs. We had already agreed to buy the house 'as is' and to cover the cost of all the repairs ourselves so paying for their closing costs on top of this wasn't something we were prepared to do.

At this point I was trying to convince myself that I didn't much like the house anyway and that we'd find something else.

On Tuesday we eventually we reached an agreement where we'd pay half of their closing costs.

As much as this gripes me to do so, if we were to pull out now, we'd lose all the money we paid for the inspection and the appraiser so it seems better to cut our losses and just go with it.

And our poor realtor, who has absolutely busted his as off for us, wouldn't get paid a bean.

Yes I love the house but, more than that, the thought of having to start all of this from scratch was just beyond me. It has been so much more hard work than I ever anticipated.

I've bought homes before but only in England and the process is very different over there. Add to the mix my lack of knowledge of the terminology used over here and I was getting rather stressed at times I tell ya :-)

While Mick was away in MN for a week I made a point of watching the home buying programs on HGTV....well....this purchase has been nothing like any shown on TV so that was no help.

Still, we are nearly at the end now. Hopefully in a day or 2 (or probably 6 if things follow the pattern they have so far) we'll get at least a closing date.

Then we can figure out what we'll do during the in between time when we are vagrants. A tent on the beach is sounding good to me right now :-)

In the meantime I'll continue to pack I guess...although I've started to reach a point now where there isn't that much left to pack.

Gives me more time to read all your blogs though ...yay ! And to find a wonderful pressie for our realtor. He wants to learn how to make stained glass so I am looking for a beginners kit for him. I think he'll like that.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Happy birthday baby

Wow....where does the time go.

This time 18 years ago I was about to give birth to my only child.

(Aydn...when he was a WIP)

And before I knew it, my little boy grew up into a wonderful, smart and thoughtful man......and an artist to boot !

What else could a Mom wish for.

I love you and am extremely proud of you.

Happy 18th Birthday pudding pants Aydn.

(Aydn now......always with girlfriend)

Follow your dreams and do what you love.

x x x x x x

Friday, 2 October 2009

Bye bye Kendo :-(

Poor guy. Barely born, let alone had any time to get into any rock star shenanigans before he gets stuffed into a box ready to move.

Still I wanted to make sure he gets to his new place safely and then I'll let him out and get into whatever mischief he wants to ;-)

Just wanted to let you know I am still here....still packing.

I started out with good intentions. Every box was labeled with the room it will end up in and it contained things for that room and nothing else. Well you know how that goes...that little gap in 'Jayne's Workroom' box that wouldn't fit anything but the pestle and mortar from the kitchen. So my boxes are now full of whatever will fit into them.

In the beginning every box was labeled with it's entire contents. Well that soon got old. Now boxes are being labeled 'stuff' or misc'

I know I'll regret this at the other end but hey ho.

See that roll of clear stuff. It is saran wrap (cling film for you Brits) on a roll. I have had to wrap all my storage drawers with it to make sure none of the tiny contents fall out. A lesson learned from my last move lol. Well you know how difficult regular saran wrap can be to should try this stuff. Total mare but hopefully it'll do the job.

Not much news on the house. We had the inspection done and that went fine. There is a lot of work to do but nothing that we hadn't figured for ourselves and nothing major like a dodgy roof thankfully.

We are waiting for the appraiser to go in and should know the results of that my mid next week. Hopefully it will be appraised for at least our offer price or more otherwise we have a problem.

Because it is a bank owned house there is very little give and take. We've already had to sign a bunch of disclaimers saying we are buying it 'as is' and won't try and sue the seller if something wasn't disclosed.

There are no negotiations, no repairs made, no help with closing costs etc...just a case of if you want to buy it as it is fine...if not we''ll go to the next offer. So hopefully we won't have any hiccups with the appraiser.

We had the Natural Hazard report done (same as surveyors report in the UK) and that seems fine.

Just the usual stuff, we aren't in a flood zone, we are in an earthquake zone (hello this is California) the ground is susceptible to mudslides after an earthquake, there are farms and horse ranches within 1 mile etc, etc etc.

The great ? news is though......

The property IS NOT located within a California Red-Legged Frog habitat sensitive area.

The property IS NOT located within a California Tiger Salamander habitat sensitive area.


There has been no ground surface displacement within the last 1.5 million years

Those ones had me cracking up.

So aside from having to sign gazzilion papers that is about where we are at now.

Thank you all so much for your wonderful comments on my last post. I tried to comment myself and it wouldn't let some message that I needed

I will post photos as soon as I can. I do have lots already but it doesn't seem right to post them publicly until the house is actually ours...I promise I will then.

There was mention that extra rooms could be used for dollhouses. Weeeelll .....there is this one room off the living room. I think it might have been used as a dining room as it is long and narrow. So long and narrow it would be the perfect place to display the Pickled Vicar...what more motivation do I need to get building it :-)

I also seem to have given the impression that the house was brick. Oh Jodi I wigs it were....I crave a brick built house. Unfortunately this is standard wood construction with siding at the front and stucco at the back. There is a lot of brick used in the gardens though in terms of raised brick planters, columns etc and one whole wall of the family room is brick...real brick to boot.

In fact I am not sure I've ever seen a brick built house in California at all.

I do feel though that this is the right house for me and although we put offers in on others I loved I didn't get the same feeling as I do with this one. And every time I look at the photos I just love it some more which is good.

It is in the same town...only about 8 miles from us. One of those situations where a different part of the same town makes all the difference.

And thanks you for following Miss Mustard Seed. I think I might start another blog just to journal all the house stuff once we have the keys. It will be great for me to share it with my friends and family that way plus all my mini followers won't have to be bored by it :-)

And that's about it from me for a while....I'll be back shortly. I miss you all :-(

Thursday, 1 October 2009


Just wanted to fly by and say....good luck to you all.

I hope that those of you who have stands have many, many sales and to those of you visiting, may you find many treasures.

I wish I could be there with you all.....unfortunately, it is no longer just down the road for I'll just stay home and pack :-(

Friday, 25 September 2009

Moving on out.....

Last week we found a little house that would suit us pretty much perfectly, put in an offer, got it accepted and now we are officially in escrow.

These last couple of weeks have been manic. I have spent my days looking at houses on the internet, viewing the ones I didn’t immediately discount, putting in offers only to be outbid…blah blah blah. I am glad the madness is about to end….hopefully…I know it isn’t over till the fat lady sings and won’t stop stressing until those keys are in my hands.

The market here is insane right now. It appears there are loads for sale but many of them are short sales which we have no interest in. One house round the corner from us went up for sale on a Friday afternoon and by Monday morning had 75 offers…insanity. And of course now the buyers are getting into bidding wars and pushing the prices up. The sellers aren’t offering to help with closing costs or even doing repairs….if you aren’t interested that that’s fine they’ll just go to the next offer. In some cases people are just driving by and putting an offer in on the strength of the neighborhood and exterior of the house. Told ya it was crazy.

One of the biggest problems we encountered is that we just aren’t a big fan of the typical Californian house. I have no desire for arched windows, floor to ceiling windows, cathedral ceilings or granite countertops.

But, the chances of me finding a little cottage in all of these McMansions was slim.

Our realtor was probably tearing his hair out as he said we were the total opposite from his ‘normal’ client. Most say the homes aren’t big enough….we kept saying they were too big. He laughed that I had more interest in birds nests or hummingbirds in the garden than I did in the kitchen.

But hey, that is us….sure our priorities might be different than a lot of people but, when you are paying out hundreds of thousands of dollars, I wanted to be sure it was the house for us.

The one we are buying appealed to me immediately from the few internet pictures I saw.

It is a lovely little house, described by the selling agent as a Cape Cod, although I am not entirely sure that is what I’d call it. I am tempted to believe that, as it was so different from the norm here, it was just a bit of realtor BS to help sell it.

Still, I don’t care what the style is or isn’t, I love it.

Mainly because it has brick….a lot of brick which is so uncommon down here. The garden definitely reminds me of an English home with all its raised brick flower beds.

It is still bigger than what we were looking for but as it is only 1 story it doesn’t feel huge and it doesn’t have cathedral ceilings.

It does have 4 bedrooms so that means Mick and I will get a workroom each…yay…a room of my own to do whatever I want in.

It also has lots of rooms. There is the living room, a family room, a dining room and a bonus room…what the heck is a bonus room anyhow. We certainly don’t’ have enough furniture to fill it that’s for sure.

And it needs work. The yard hasn’t been watered in forever so most of that will have to be pulled up. Inside it is mainly cosmetic but they seem to have started a number of jobs and not finished them so some floor tiling to be finished there as well. The kitchen cabinets were painted and not in a style I would like so that will have to be done again.

So that is about it for the moment. I am madly packing away…bleh. I started the workroom yesterday and boy what a job that is. I wanted to list a few plants I made on etsy but I don’t think I’ll have time to now. Maybe I’ll get chance for a blog post soon and I’ll show them on there.

The home inspector is going in tomorrow so fingers crossed there isn’t anything major wrong with the place.

I’ll be back as soon as I can…in the meantime keep your fingers crossed it all goes though fine.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Bye bye for a bit :-(

Well life has taken an unexpected turn for us of late.

We are currently renting our home here but have been talking about buying a home for some time now.

When we moved to Minnesota the plan was to only stay 1 year so we rented a 1 bed apartment. Then we decided to stay a little longer and I needed more space for a workroom so we moved to a 2 bed apartment.

Then, when we moved back to California, we had no idea which area was a good place to live so we rented the house where we are now.

Because we knew we'd be moving about so much in the last 5 years renting was the sensible way to go. So, although we kept saying we ought to buy a house, it has never been the right time....until now.

This house has a huge yard....and it is all grass. Not very sensible when you live in the desert huh. We didn't want the responsibility of a huge yard but part of the deal with this house was that the water bill and a gardener were included in the rent.

Until now ! Our lease is up shortly and the new terms are not only a rent increase but also that we pay the water bill. As you can imagine keeping a big lawn green in the desert is not cheap.

So...this has finally been the kick up the backside we needed to buy somewhere. We don't plan on leaving Southern California in the near future so it is insane to pay more in rent that we'd pay in a mortgage payment on a house of our own.

So that's where I've been the last couple of weeks. We found ourselves a wonderful realtor and he has been driving me round looking at homes.

Most of which, unfortunately, looked nothing like the online pictures.

We did find one we liked very much this weekend and put an offer yesterday but was pipped to the post by an offer that was put last in Friday :-(

The market in California right now is extremely tough. There are lots of buyers but very few homes available which means that any house we've seen has already had multiple offers..... even the not so nice ones.

So for the next few weeks I am going to be at the realtors beck and call and going to view places at a minutes notice. Luckily with me being at home all the time I have the advantage of being able to do this.

And I'll be packing. One way or another we'll be moving somewhere shortly, even if it is only temporary rented accommodation while we keep looking so I need to get moving on boxing everything up. A task I am not looking forward to one bit..... in situations like this living so far away from people we know, and help from them, really hits home.

So blogging with be intermittent at best. I won't have time for sculpting or flowers. I will be putting somethings on etsy shortly though as I plan on having a clear out at the same time so I'll let you know when I do that.

In the meantime, I'll be saying bye bye.....but I'll be back :-)

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

My gast has never been so flabbered !

There are many awards floating around the blogosphere and I have been the proud recipient of many of them.

But, as much as I appreciate each and every award that I have received, none of these awards bought tears to my eyes. Until now.

I have just discovered that I am the very first recipient of the...

Jodi says....

LOVE your New Doll by the way...actually your first doll. I would strong encourage each and everyone to pop over to see it... just GREAT for your first attempt...I am amazed...

As a Matter of fact.... my dear friend Marie Segal from 'Art from my Heart' ...created a special 'Creager Award' for me...and she said it was one that I should bestow on any individual I felt was deeply connected with their work and showed signs of growth and talent... So I would like to for the first time...pass this award onto you I feel your heart is true, your focus is clear and your desires direction is determined. I hope you will accept this award with friendship and with knowledge that I believe in your talents.


* * * * * * * * * *

What can I say ? Truly I am lost for words.

To me this is so much more than an award. This is pure motivation and gives me the encouragement to forge ahead and be the best sculptor I can be.

I am gobsmacked to say the least. Jodi & Richard I cannot thank you enough.

All throughout this journey into sculpting I have been privileged to have their support.

Every time I hit a roadblock Jodi would be there with encouragement, tips and most importantly, reminding me of the need to keep practicing.

Well it worked....I want to do this and I know I can do this...with practice :-)

To have such talented artists believe in you is just mind blowing.....I never thought I could be more motivated than I was but this has pushed me to a level I never knew existed.

It was many years ago when I came across Jodi & Richards work...long before my venture into blogging. And as much as I love their whimsical, spooky and Harry Potter sculpts, what I really fell in love with was their realistic sculpts.....the Apache Scout, the Shinto Nun, the Monk, Georgia O Keefe, the Grandmothers and Grandfathers and my favorite piece of theirs....the Japanese woodcarver.

I was, and still am, amazed at how a lump of clay could become a real person full of life and character and personality and I knew that I wanted to sculpt more than anything else.

So for years I kept a journal full of ideas. My favorite saying was 'That would make a marvelous sculpt'. Followed, more often than not, by 'oh I wish I could do it'.

Well I guess Mick got a little tired of my whining because one day he told me to quit whining and go buy some clay and give it a go :-)

So I did.

I played with it a little, made a couple of very bad heads and realized that it was as hard as I expected. So I carried on with my flower making but always there was this little voice in the back of my head telling me to stop messing around and give it another go.

Then I started blogging and discovered there were many sculptors who also blogged and my desire flared right up again. But this time I wasn't going to give up when it got hard and, no matter what, I'd sculpt a doll right through to the end.

And I did. Kendo may be rough around the edges but he came from my own hands and I am so proud of him.

I didn't find it easy and there were been many moments of pure frustration when things weren't going the way I planned but, with much support from my all blogging friends, I kept going......I thank each and every one of you for being with me along the way.

I must also offer special thanks to Julie, Debie and Marsha....all splendid doll makers who have offered encouragement and helpful tips....thank you all.

And a big thank you to my friend Patti. Although she lives on the other side of the country and we've never met, I feel like we have known each other all our lives.

Patti is also a sculptor and she has been a huge help to me all along this path.

There has been many a time I've had to reach for the phone to ask her questions. The one time I was so proud Kendo's head was finished and in the oven I called to tell her. She asked me how I'd gotten on with the ears. EARS ???? In my excitement over my finished head I had forgotten them and had to pull him out quickly and add them :-)

She understands what it is like to have the desire to sculpt, we share supplies and she makes me laugh...what more could a friend ask for.

Well that felt like I was writing an Oscar acceptance speech...but honestly, an Oscar wouldn't make me half as happy as this :-)

Jodi & Richard....thank you again, I am truly honored.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Where's Me Shirt......

For those who don't know, the B side of the track I used in the video a couple of posts back is called..... "You expect me to wear this cr@p"

So, my dear friends, here is the jacket....pretty bad huh ! Dire is a word that comes to mind.

But, hey ho, I learned a lot with this little jacket.

I knew it was bad pretty much from the get go, but I decided to continue with it to see what other pitfalls awaited me

Figuring there'd be many problems I had yet to encounter I thought I'd have a go at dealing with them on this jacket rather than the next one.....forewarned is forearmed right ?

Probably the biggest thing I learned was not to use fabritac glue on dries really stiff and horrible.

I also learned that I should wash the fabric first to soften it up somewhat.

Also, every sculpt I go on to make will be jointed. Kendo is jointed and it was hard enough getting the clothing on and off him...I can't imagine dressing a non jointed sculpt.

The main problems on this jacket are....

The seams on the shoulders and the hems are too stiff....fabritac !

The sleeves are too wide....I wanted them wide but not this much.

The back piece is too if I hadn't put the collar on already I could have narrowed this but the collar is too stiff from the fabritac which stops me doing it.

The collar....well that is supposed to be a Nehru collar.....dismal failure there.

I am sure it needs darts...but where and how to do them...I have no idea. I do remember from the sewing classes I did take that darts were difficult.

Ah, sewing I wish I'd paid attention. Sewing class was obligatory, along with cooking classes, when I was at school. How I hated them both.

I campaigned to be allowed to do metalwork and woodwork with the boys.....and failed. I did manage to get them to allow us to play rugby (similar to American football but without protection) instead of netball (similar to basketball) but they wouldn't budge on anything else.

Nowadays, thankfully, it is different. Boys and girls have to learn to sew and cook. Aydn can do both much better than I can.

So I did my 2 years of sewing and cooking and dropped them like a hot brick once I was deemed old enough to know what classes I wanted to take...well, as much as anyone knows at 13.

And now, not only can I not sew but I can't cook either :-)

So, what's next. I really want to get onto my next sculpt, the flute player. But, I also really could do with putting some things in my etsy shop has been so long since I made flowers for general sale so I am thinking of maybe taking a week or so to do that.

However, the pull of the clay is so we'll see :-)

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Things I've learned this week.....

When you are about to sculpt the first pair of hands you have ever done.....pick something considerably more simple than hands that need to appear to be playing a guitar lol....boy was that ever difficult.

And I hate sewing...hate it with an absolute passion. I don't mind the stitching part....that is easy enough as the clothes are small.

But the rest of it....well I think I have some kind of sewing dyslexia.....I could not for the life of me figure out how this jacket was supposed to go together

I wish you were here....for some very amusing would be laughing you head off at me

I eventually kind of figured out what shapes the parts of the jacket were meant to be and start to tack it together.

  • sew sleeve hole shut...check
  • have front inside out and back outside out...check
  • reverse what you just did and it is still wrong....check
  • sew front and back up first then wonder how the sleeve fits in....check
  • sew sleeve up first then wonder how you sew the front and back ...check
  • draw hieroglyphics on the fabric to help and find it doesn't work....check.

I was tearing my hair out but I am so pathetic I was just cracking myself up.

Really how can this be so hard...feels like a bloody IQ test :-)

Anyhow, that's where I've been....I finally managed to get the sleeves attached at the shoulders, so it should only take me say another 2 weeks to figure out the rest....seriously I hope to have piccies of the finished Kendo by Friday....if I don't come back send out the search'll find me rocking back and forth in the corner surrounded by sewing paraphernalia.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen......

.........Please put your hands together
and give a warm welcome to..........


p.s I apologize upfront to all you Brits who had managed to forget this little tune :-)

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Next.......Rock Star # 2 !

Well what an horrendous week computer wise this has been.

Aside from Google thinking I am a robot I have had internet connection problems you wouldn't believe.

I don't know how much of this is our router or how much blame I can put on Time Warner.
TW's stock excuse is that I live in LA and what do I expect with so many people trying to get through the server. Well hello...I don't live in LA (intentionally) and besides, if that is the problem then sort it out so it can deal with this many people.

I am still having problems with the blogs I am following is rarely there so if I don't appear to visit your new posts it is because I don't know about them :-(

In other news, I had my interview with the immigration people and am now 'officially' half American. I ate my first sweet potato yesterday so I am working on being authentic :-)

* * * * * * * * * *

I am still working on the 'newly named'....Kendo Didmoni...AKA Rock Star the guitarist.

I started a new pair of jeans as the skinny ones really looked stupid with boots on. It has made me realize just how much I don't like sewing...although maybe if I was better at it, and actually had a clue what I was doing, then it wouldn't be such a chore :-)

I hope to have some new photos by the end of this week but if not by the beginning of next.

In the meantime here are some photographs that are my inspiration for rock star # 2...the flautist.

This is Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull, whose photo appears to be doing the rounds of
Facebook at the moment as a one legged flute player !

The photo below is how I shall hopefully dress him. I have found the fabric for the jacket but can't seem to find anything suitable for the pants he is wearing....looks very much like the popular bedsheets of 1970's England to be honest and I am sure many of you Brits will remember striped flannel sheets like this :-)

If anyone has ever seen any fabric that is similar please let me know :-)

And this is how he looks now....still a one legged flute player....just less hair :-)

I love Jethro Tull and Ian Anderson has always been a favorite character of mine. For many years now I've planned on having a go at painting this silhouette of him on one of my day I'll do it .

I don't intend to (or have no hope of) making my sculpt look like him but it gives me great inspiration as to what kind of person I want him to be. And an excuse to listen to Tull all day to get me in the mood :-)

Monday, 17 August 2009

They're at it again

Thought I'd post this while I still could.

I can get into and view my blog fine..but, when I try and look at other peoples I am getting the 'Google thinks I am a robot and has blocked me' message again.

I have no idea how long it will allow me access to my own blog but I suspect not much longer.

I just wanted to get this message out in case this happens to anyone else. It isn't you and someone has got into the system again :-(

I know last time many of us were freaking out and wondering what was going on or what they'd done...hopefully most of you know about it now anyhow.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Rock star clothing

Who knew how hard it could be to dress a sculpt....I didn't that's for sure.

I have been ruminating over this guys clothes all week now and just can't make my mind up.

I got as far as deciding he'd be wearing jeans so started to sew some up. I am not a seamstress or anything even remotely like it. I ditched sewing in school at the earliest opportunity....and it shows :-)

These actually came out better than I expected for me although they are too high waisted and maybe a little narrow in the legs....not sure of that yet. Jeans do come this skinny but I am not sure they suit him.

The high waist might not be a problem depending on what kind of shirt I make for him....or maybe I'll just name him Simon :-)

He has no lower legs as yet....shan't do those until I am sure of his pose. That's why they jeans look funny at the bottom. Same with his hands. I was waiting for his guitar to arrive before I posed him and sculpted his hands.

Here is his guitar...isnt' it too cool !

As for the top you can see here...well that is just a cover for the wadding....a very dirty cover.

In my infinite wisdom, and laziness, I decided to glue it over the wadding. Hmm...fluffy stuff and super sticky, stringy fabritac glue...what a mess...won't be doing that again. So that is why it is so grubby....good job you won't see it :-)

I have no idea what to have him wear as a top. I took him to JoAnns with me and he sat in the cart like a good boy while I draped fabric over him looking for inspiration. Got me some right funny I played along and made a point of talking to him...loudly !

Nothing seems to suit him at all and, as I am getting rather irritated with him now, I might just put him aside for a little bit and start another head.

Oh and next time...I'll dress the doll before I wig it...his hair is really getting in the way...hence it being put up :-)

Saturday, 8 August 2009


I am having some serious computer problems here...for some reason Google believes that I am a robot and am flooding the system with automated queries......whatever they are. It won't allow me to connect to G Mail or my blog.

I managed to get in here now by going from a link in a hotmail email somehow.

But that didn't' work a few minutes ago and I don't even know if this will post.

So if I vanish or appear to be ignoring comments this is why.

Hopefully I can figure it out...goodness knows how long it will take goggle to respond to my question.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Rock Star Revealed

And so here we are....with a rock star...of sorts lol.

This guy really knew how he wanted to look and would not do as he was told.

Still, I have to say for my first baked head I am very pleased with him.

Considering he was made with clay that was far too overworked as it was only my practice head, was different colors because I kept picking it from the wrong batch and was filthy dirty I am amazed he looks like he does. I never intended on baking this I say I was just playing and getting the feel for the clay. But I think he is good enough to deserve the dignity of being given a body and dressed.

No, he doesn't look as I had in my head and yes he is full of mistakes...but he is mine. My hands shaped him, baked him, colored him and gave him hair. I basically watched him come to life in my hands. Just start calling me Geppetto :-)

If you have never tried to sculpt a human then you probably think I have lost my mind but I am hoping all you sculptors out there understand what I am saying.

We laughed, we cried, we had tantrums and we talked. It is so strange...he is standing there with little more than a head yet I catch myself smiling at him.

Anyhow, at the risk of sounding completely insane I'll shut up.

As usual, he looks way better in real life than he does in the photos....many of the goofs I made you just can't see till you look at an enlarged picture of him

He is not dressed at all, nor does he even have a body. I just draped some cloth over him for his photo shoot.

You should have seen me, posing him, straightening his clothes, smoothing his from a girl who never cared much for dolls :-)

He ended up with a head much larger than I planned so to keep him in proportion I had to make another armature. I was aiming for 8 - 10 inches. He stand 12 inches tall. Which, to be honest, seems just about the right size for a display doll to me. Besides, being roughly 1/6 scale I can now buy him an authentic guitar :-)

As he is larger I decided to give him a soft body. I sculpted his neck and just enough chest to allow an open collar.

I have no idea who is he or what he'll wear yet but I am leaning towards a bass guitarist in a long Victorian style velvet coat.

Now for my mistakes....

My blending is appalling. I have to mix and leach my clay until it is really firm as it is so warm here. I guess this makes it harder to blend. I thought it was blended fine until it came out of the oven. Having 2 different colors of clay doesn't help lol.

His eyes. The shape of his open eye is all wrong and needs to close more at the inner corner. My eyeball appeared smooth until I started to paint it when I realistic it wasn't at all. Hence the rather rough paint job.

I need to learn to refine the crease between the upper eyelid and the pad of fat that lays above it. I found this quite hard actually. It was either too defined or too subtle. I couldn't find the middle ground.

His lips. His upper lip is too prominent and wonky and his lower lip is a mess. Again this is a blending issue. Also painting...I didn't have any suitable lip colors so winged it.

The dimples in his cheek look too deep although I copied those from a photo and the dimples were that deep. Guess it looks different in clay so I need to be aware of that.

Hair....hmmm...what I thought would be the easiest part was actually the worst.

For a first go I did actually succeed in getting a tidy parting but I hate that Tibetan lamb fur hair...makes me sneeze like crazy and gives me fur balls lol. And FabriTac glue. Oh my do you all work with it...what horrible nasty stringy stuff. So if I get different hair and glue I think I'll be fine with wigging.

I would appreciate any other criticism from you sculptors out there. I am pretty sure I know where I am going wrong and only practice will help that but if there are any other comments I'd greatly appreciate them. I won't be upset in as brutal as you like is the only way I'll learn.

I really think that this is where I am meant to be heading. Yes I enjoy making my flowers but I never woke up at the crack of dawn wanting to get up so I could start working on them like I have with this. I think that's a sign don't you ? And I truly hope this excitement never goes away.

I must say a HUGE thank you to all of you who helped me though this adventure. I can't wait to get started on my next one. I might even do an entire band :-)