Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Plans. Day 11

What are you doing tonight?  Any big plans?  Where are you going?  This was the big conversation today at work.

I responded with sarcastic contrite, well if watching cartoons in my Pajamas, then switching over to Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin at 11:59PM counts, then yes I do have plans.

Cheers to all of you brave souls, who brave the bars and the roads on this very New night!  I hope your search for the perfect moment under the disco ball comes to fruition.  If not, have fun with your best friends at Denny's.

Please enjoy some of the SCD cast as they enjoy a little party hosted by Bebe New Year, played by Adele!  Here's some mood music for you to enjoy too.  This one is fun too!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Critical X-Mass. Day 10

At some point during the holiday season, many reach critical mass (critical X-mass?).  The moment when it all becomes too much.  It begins with the excitement of celebration, of church, and of friends and of parties.  It sneaks up on us too.  One second, we're in the car, excitedly talking about who we are going to see, and what food we will eat or what drink we are going to have.  All of the [sic] sudden, we just want to crawl into bed.  While putting on a brave face for the party, smiling and joking with our most treasured friends, we die a little death with every utterance of small talk.  If we are  lucky enough to drive home alone, we can blast the radio to Guns and Roses, to get the demons out of our head.  However if we are part of a couple, suffer the poor soul who sits next to us in the car.  Hold fast dear friends, we shall sleep soon, enjoy this bit right now, because January is a long and ugly, and we will just wish for something to do besides shovel snow.

I took these photos at the beginning of my marathon.  At first I thought it was cool to have these two beautiful dolls going for a visit.  Then I looked at their expressions, like someone got a Pepperidge Farms cheese sampler, then cut it... big time.  I thought for a second that I wish Integrity toys would sculpt some smiling faces, but now I'm glad they rarely do. lol

 Ring the door bell.
No, you ring the door bell.
 I will destroy you.
 I'm not going in, say hi to everyone for me.
 What?  You mad?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Bah... Day 9

There should be a law!  LOL.  Don't you think it's criminal to take down your Christmas decorations before Epiphany?  Just kidding, do what works for you of course.  I guess the little kid in me feels that as the trees start showing up on the curb, and the lights are unceremoniously unplugged, it's the final nail in the coffin that tells you to return to life as usual. 

My folks were pretty relaxed when it came to undecorating the house for Christmas.  One year, my uncle was so embarrassed to see our tree curbside in March.  Despite what culture tells me is right, I see nothing wrong with it.  Also, wouldn't it be great if we could leave our Christmas lights up until late winter?  Maybe I should start a hashtag, something like #holidaylightsareokuntilmarch.  Before I do that, I guess I have to figure out why hashtags are a thing :)  I'm old, I don't care.  Taking down decorations... Humbug.

The next scene is Perk Scrooge, making Victor Cratchit take down the office decorations.  Perk has already moved on to her next vacation.  Is that a Poolside fashion I see peeking out of her bag?  Why are her golf clubs at the office with her.  She must be going to the islands for New Years.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Dance In Their Heads. Day 8

This one is just for fun.  I have no existential agenda here.  Just some pretty lights.  Sometimes you just want something to make you smile.  This ticks all the boxes!  Santa?  Check, Mrs Clause?  Check, little kid dressed like a dinosaur?  check,  pretty dresses?, check.  This also gave me a chance to use my ooak Mrs. Clause again. 

Back in November, I bought Santa from the store, he's actually a large ornament.  I started looking for Mrs. Clause for him, and wouldn't you know, TheRealDollNerd came through.  He found the right size doll to modify, wiped her screening, and did a Mrs. Claus face up.  Then ever, the detail-ist, he kept an eye out for the perfect fashion.  That's part of a Kenya fashion by the way.  I love when things line up.

One thing that's been bothering me though... What the frack is a Sugar Plumb Fairy?  Whatever it is, listen to this while you look at the pretty pictures.  There's a commercial first, but the music is cool.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Friendsmas. Day 7

Little do we all know it, but we have engaged in a tradition that is little recognized yet prolific.  It's passed from friend to friend, year to year, and it rises and falls like the tide.  FRIENDSMAS.  This probably started for you as it started for me.  You are a fresh faced twenty something, and you make your first true friends.  You have a little bit of money, and want to spread what little wealth you have to these people that you chose and have chosen you to be a second family.  Friendsmas' date irrationally varies from year to year.  It's tucked messily between work, church, family and the grueling hunt for presents.  Sometimes you luck out, and Friendsmas occurs on the 26th, and you can pick up gifts on the cheap.  Whenever it happens, you actually look forward to leaving your home and catching up with buddies that have seen you at your worst and at your best (sometimes simultaneously!).  In spite of or maybe because of all they have seen and all they know of you, they still want to see you at Christmas time.   The folks who can say one word and crack you up.  The friends who bought you a beer when you just didn't have "it."  The group that picked you up and held you up when you couldn't by yourself.  
It's been awhile since I've had a Friendsmas, and I feel one coming on!  Watch out friends I'm coming for you!

... and also.  I've been fascinated by the idea of a warm Christmas lately.  I guess I have a recent awareness that half the world (below the equator) have Christmas in summer.  Neat.  As hard as I try, I can't associate Christmas with bare feet and a backyard BBQ.  I think some of my dolls got into the spirit though!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Quiet. Day 6

It's quiet.  

The day after Christmas is always anti-climactic. The tree looks bare without the presents, the decorations on the buffet finally have their own light coat of dust.  It's almost time to put them away.  It's quiet.

LOL, isn't it nice?  

After the frantic day of waking up early and rushing rushing rushing... isn't it nice?  I used to think this time between Christmas day and the New Year was a touch depressing.  The relatives slowly recede into their own homes and own lives.  The Christmas cookies at the office are stale and in large crumbs.  The department stores sneakily change the ribbon on the display boxes from Christmas gold to Valentine white. It's quiet.

Now all I can think, isn't it nice?

After a season of giving your home, you money and yourself to others, it's time to focus on yourself.  There are no blaring songs of snow and joy on the radio.  The cell phone doesn't buzz with texts of plans and times.  The traffic outside returns to it's usual pattern, no more extra cars trying to get around you, beeping, and screeching to a halt.  It's quiet.

OMG it's nice.

Shhhh.... it's quiet :)

I imagine much like us, Santa enjoys the quiet.  After a night of hard work, it's all he can do to keep his eyes open.  He even looks kind of shell shocked.  It's okay though, the Mrs. let's him sit there while she enjoys her new boots and makes a nice cuppa tea :)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Oh Holy Night. Day 5

Before the madness which Christmas morning always brings, there, in contrast is a serenity that my family always enjoyed.  Christmas Eve late service of Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church.  The service seemed like an ancient rite that never changed.  The same hymns that my mom sang with the choir, the same ushers who carefully passed the plate, and the same advent wreath that we had lit for years.  It seemed that these rituals would last in perpetuity, and you could always come home and find them.  If you were lacking in Christmas spirit, just show up and get a healthy dose of joy.  Years pass, and you celebrate in different ways, but come 11:30 PM on Christmas Eve where ever you are, you think for a second, wouldn't it be nice to go to church.  Wouldn't it be nice to solemnly sing Silent Night with your family by candle light, and wouldn't it be nice to celebrate the coming year as Joy to the World filled every corner of the sanctuary.  

Over time you hear that the church folks are getting older, and the new generation has no interest.  Christmas Eve service still happens, a shadow of what is was, the pews are empty, but the memory of the good old times, makes these new times good enough.  You can still get your Christmas fix.  More time passes, and much of the choir sings from heaven now, and the ushers are hunched and broken, the advent wreath begins to show it's age.  Just a little more time and you hear that the congregation has been dissolved, and our building has been put up for sale.

These things happen.

But as you walk away from what you know, and toward things you don't, you bring the memories.  You realize that though the physical is no longer accessible, the spiritual always will be.  As I sit here typing, I'm feeling "Christmas-y," just from remembering.  The sadness of what is lost doesn't diminish the joy of what you keep.  Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

One Moment Please. Day 4

It's the 24th of December... Christmas EVE!  I just wanted to check in with you, and wish everyone a very happy Christmas.  This week I've decided to post marathon style,  I hope to give you 12 days.  Wish me luck... maybe even a little Christmas luck.  

As I tear up my basement, pulling together this that and the other thing for each post, I'm opening boxes that haven't seen their lids cracked since before iPhones.  In modern talk, that's a reeeeeeeeally long time.  One box I opened had all of my He-Man figures, the ones that survived, thrown haphazardly in.  I only glanced for a moment, but in that moment a rush of memories flooded my mind.

I remember waking up on a cold Christmas morning, and opening my bedroom door.  The first thing I saw was a NRFB He-Man character, beckoning me further.  Then another, and another and another all the way to the tree.  I remember the smell of new plastic and vinyl that wafted up as I tore through the cardboard.(That's what magic smells like by the way.  New plastic and vinyl, that's just FYI.)  My joy woke the house, as I danced with delight that Santa was there, and I indeed was a good boy :)

By lunch time, the figures had traded harnesses and swords a million times.  The tiny comic books that came with them were read and reread and read again.  I educated my sisters on who each character was, and they listened patiently as they tried on their new sweaters... and it goes on and on and on.  One morning, full of memories.   Christmas...

What a nice moment to create for a child. 

I dedicate this post to my Dad, and to the memory of my mother.  They both worked hard to give me those moments.  More importantly, they taught me to appreciate the moments. 

 Maybe that's why I like dolls so much, I get to create these moments for myself all year long.  Below, check out Romain and Eugenia trying to get it together!  They probably shouldn't have waited until the 24th.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Chag Sameach. Day 3

Back when the world was ruled by common sense, and helicopter parents, and trophies just for trying were not trending and this thing here -> # was a pound sign, I learned what being a person was.  

In elementary school, the CHRISTMAS assembly included a play about a reindeer or a toy soldier or some mess like that, first graders as snowflakes and the chorus singing Christmas Carols, a bunch of 'em... and for good measure we sang a couple Hanukkah songs.  All said and done, the program wasn't particularly religious nor was it particularly secular.  It was just a good time for the kids, and a way for the PTA to plug the latest fund raiser, so the school could finally get three new mops, a new coil for the boiler, new ash trays for the teachers lounge and if any money was left over, replace those asbestos ceiling tiles.

What did this contribute to my person-hood?  I learned the following: singing is fun, a crying snowflake is hysterical, your parents are proud of you (even if you are the crying snowflake) and kids open checkbooks.  

What else is did I learn?  Much like the old Christmas assemblies, I learned there is room in this world for a little of everything.  There is room for me to be happy that you are happy.  There is room for me to celebrate that you celebrate.  There is room for you to celebrate that I celebrate... so on this last night of Hanukkah... I greet all of you,Chag Sameach, happy holiday!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Perfect. Day 2

How many times during this season do you zone out, and imagine your home in perfect Christmas order...

  The stocking are hung by the TV with care, 
the presents are wrapped in holiday flair.  
Everything is clean and put away, 
every surface gleams with chemical spray.  
The Yankee Candle puffs out cranberry smoke,
then you here a crash, and guess what... 

Three two one... and you're sucked back into reality.  Amazon boxes are piled where the tree should be, the cards from friends stand on the dusty mantle.  Each one a little reminder that you should return the gesture, but time is running out. And yes, that is dog vomit on the carpet.  

Let us not be too hard on ourselves though.  If we've done things right, using a little bit of smarts and a little bit of luck and a WHOLE lot of prayer... WE ARE OKAY!  There could be no boxes from Amazon full of gifts for people, there could be no friends who send cards, and there will always be dog vomit... so... where am I going with this?  Ah yes, this season is full of blessings, perfection may not be one of them, but from where I stand (in the middle of dog hair tumbleweeds and Penny Saver fliers) I see abundance, friendship and the love of good dogs.  If you still want perfection, look below!  It's easy to manage a 17inch X 17inch X 17inch Christmas :)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Yule. Day 1

Happy Yultide!
Today as we in the Northern Hemisphere experience our shortest day of the year, I present to you my first day of Christmas.  Ancient pagans would celebrate this day with ceremonies and sacred rites.  Today we have cocktail parties and gather with friends.  It's probably the same thing, just a different caterer.  It's nice to have your loved ones about, as you try to get through what can be the most grueling time of year.  The shopping, the wrapping, the figuring out can be so tiring, not to mention, it's not always pleasant outside.  If that wasn't enough, folks make an effort to bring people together to celebrate and reaffirm and reestablish friendships.  I'm all for a party, but c'mon!  I'm busy.  LOL.

...Anyway...  Here we join Annik and Chip, having their own yuletide celebration before they go to a friend's holiday party.  Annik threw a yule log on the fire, and Chip turned the lights down low. Enjoying a quiet minute before the craziness begins, because now, as we all know, we're gonna careen out of control into the New Year.  So buckle up, it may get bumpy, but rest assured, it's always a fun ride. :)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Seeing Red

I've had this scene set up on my shop table since February.  I had a plan to post this during the end of awards season, right around the Oscars.  The diorama was crafted pretty quickly.  All I had to do was shoot it!  wah wah waaaaaah....

Easier said than done.  I curated the 'stars' who would be clomping down the red carpet, and then I scoured the scary box of cast off Barbies to be my paparazzi... and on and on and on it went, TV presenters, camera equipment, security.  I started to snap pics, and I wasn't happy with a one.  After the third day of working with it, I decided I needed a break.  So I drew the curtain around my shop table and watched TV... for a month. I'm not accustomed to posting work I'm not happy with, but here's just one. 

 During that month, aside from watching TV, I started to purge my house of all things not fabulous.  I even purged some dolly stuff (gasp).  The process was not easy, it had me seeing red.  I would turn and turn in the middle of my family room, seeing all the things I have amassed in the name of collecting.  It took a while but I got where I needed to go.  I made some rules for myself and stuck to them.  I even wrote a few mantras to keep my head clear.  In case you're  curious I'll list my rules and mantras here.  I thought it would be funny to photograph how I was feeling about the whole thing.

 Finally I got my a$$ in gear and tried to be thoughtful of my diorama.  Like my house, my collection, and my mind, I made a goal to keep it simple and clean.  Haha, my mind is simple.

The male model is CG Doll Slim (the website is NSFW), I call him Omar, after this guy.  The lady is a JAMIEshow doll, Isabella.  I had her repainted by a wonderful artist,  see more of her work here.  A special thanks to Therealdollnerd for my fabulous stanchions.  He just couldn't take my pipe cleaner velvet ropes lol.  He hunted the fabric store for just the right cording and found the right jewelry clasps to make everything authentic.  For more photos, see my FLICKR!