Sunday, August 30, 2009

Old camera, new tricks

The answer to your question is "Yes." Yes I did put people-lipstick on Yren's lips in the first picture. Only partially succesfully, since I didn't have many colors to choose from and the painted porcelain resists it fairly well. Plus it smudges when you bump it. But I think it has potential. Also maybe washable watercolors would work, and one could mix them easily.

Since a new camera is not coming my way so soon after vacation, my husband kindly took the old one in hand and figured out for me how to make the macro work. Seems it's not just a matter of pushing the flower icon, you have to turn a knob to a "Scene" setting too.

Alrighty then. The kind people who read this blog will get to witness my development as a photographer, assuming that I do, eventually, have some development as a photographer. If not I'm just going to keep blaming the camera.

Here are some almost okay shots of my pretty Enchanted Doll, still naked. Several times today I started to drape a lace dress on her but reverted to just playing with her every time.

But it might turn out to be an interesting dress, when I finally quit playing and make it. Kind of a Poiret-inspired number--and actually one I am designing myself!
Which is really fun!
It might not work!
If it doesn't work, I'll go back to playing!
And smudging lipstick!

Home to Yren for Real!

Last night was our first night home from vacation, and now I can say truly for the first time that I came "home to Yren." The whole time I was away from her, I worried about whether I had packed her gently enough and billeted her securely enough, but when I opened up the box again all was indeed well and she was prettier than ever.

I stayed up past midnight just because I couldn't put her down! Tried on all her wigs again, tilted her head this way and that, figured out how to bend her arms and hands up toward her face...did, in short, some of the getting-to-know you that we didn't have time for last week.

Plans for today: to audition fabrics and colors for her to see which she might like to wear, to take some pictures with my daughter's camera, and finally (maybe) to order me a new camera for the purpose of showing fabrics, colors, and above all, Yren, to best advantage for her friends.

Friday, August 21, 2009

My favorite picture of Yren so far

I haven't been able to do Yren justice yet, between my inadequate camera and my poor skills...But here she is looking almost as lovely as she does in real life.

S'yren-ity at last!

No more neurotic behavior for me, now I'm serene with my own Yren, finally here with me.

Her estimated arrival date was Friday, today...But all day Thursday I had this tiny hope that maybe she would arrive a day early. But when I got home from work, I could tell right away she hadn't, because my son didn't come running up to me excitedly, as he surely would have if he knew my doll was here. And my husband was just the same as usual too--no "Guess what arrived today?" greeted me.

Turns out they were just teasing! They waited until I came right out and said, "Gee, I was kind of hoping my doll might arrive today, but I guess tomorrow she'll come." Then they began asking each other, like a couple of vaudeville comedians, "Did you see a box today?" "I don't know, did you see a box?"

Then they took me in the library and pointed up the highest shelf, that's where they'd put the box! I felt like I was in a dream. My husband brought it down and found me a knife to cut the tape, my son swept away the packing peanuts, and I lifted the lid...and there she was, so delicate, so beautiful, so vulnerable. I stood her up with her cardboard backing still strapped to her, and as my husband clipped the straps from the back side, little by little she tipped into my waiting hands. That was the moment she became mine.

More later, and more pictures as soon as I can!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Another look at my Yren

This is a very special picture of Yren--my very first look at her! Marina sent it to me Friday morning. The wig makes a great deal of difference, doesn't it?

This was taken at about 3 am, Vancouver time--poor Marina was pulling an all-nighter to make another obsessed fan happy--and so the light wasn't the best, but nothing can discourage beauty like that. She looks very painterly to me... Like she needs a "girl with a pearl earring" earring, or an ermine to hold.

At first I was very startled by the picture, because I was expecting different coloring. It took me a few days to get used to this look. But now I love her, absolutely and totally love her, and this is the way I would have requested her to be, if I could have seen into the future.

The original picture was three-quarter length, so I could see more of her body, including the lovely emerald ring she wears on her right hand. I will show that sometime too, but for now I wanted to figure out how to make her picture into an oval--using only Word and Paint! Hee hee, it was a challenge, but there she is.

My girl, my Yren.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Poems for Enchanted Dolls #8

Eileen Aroon

When, like the early rose, Eileen aroon!
Beauty in childhood blows; Eileen aroon!
When, like a diadem,
Buds blush around the stem,
Which is the fairest gem?
Eileen aroon!

Is it the laughing eye? Eileen aroon!
Is it the timid sigh? Eileen aroon!
Is it the tender tone,
Soft as the string'd harp's moan?
Oh, it is the truth alone.
Eileen aroon!

I knew a valley fair, Eileen aroon!
I knew a cottage there, Eileen aroon!
Far in that valley's shade
I knew a gentle maid,
Flower of the hazel glade,
Eileen aroon!

Were she no longer true, Eileen aroon!
What would her lover do? Eileen aroon!
Fly with his broken chain,
Far o'er the bounding main
Never to love again,
Eileen aroon!

Youth must with time decay, Eileen aroon!
Beauty must fade away, Eileen aroon!
Castles are sacked in war,
Chieftains are scattered far,
Truth is a fixèd star,
Eileen aroon!

Gerald Griffin (1803-1840),
after the Gaelic of Carol O'Daly

Sunday, August 16, 2009

For My Friends...

I spent a while gazing at Yren's picture today and realized that I am totally under her spell. I'm in love!

She has a serene, almost Madonna-like expression. She is soothing to look at. I like how her lips are rather on the light side so that I can, as Monika pointed out, use real make-up to change their color. Isn't that neat?

And with medium lashes and brows rather than black ones, she can potentially wear even more wig colors than I currently own. I'll have to send for a sample-ring from Monique, so I can hold them up to her face and tell for sure which ones suit her.

Thank you to everyone who takes the time to read this blog and encourage me with your comments... I don't have many ways of expressing my appreciation, besides just saying thank you, but today there's something I can give as a little gift just for you. I hope you enjoy it.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Update Saturday August 15

Marina has sent pictures of the doll and told me that she thinks the shipping date will be Monday. There was a little delay when we discovered she had accidentally used the wrong color mohair for the wig, but she promised to make a black one up quickly for me--and I asked to buy both wigs, since she didn't need the first one for anything. I like wigs.

The doll isn't what I expected, being brown where I had asked for black and pink. (Remember Anna Popplewell?) But I'm getting used to her. Once she arrives, we can try on her other wigs from Monique, drape some fabrics to see what her colors are, and see what she tells me about herself.

Tell you what, she has very pretty eyes. Gwendolyns don't usually have lower lashes, but this one does.

Thank you everybody for your kind comments and encouragement. I feel sorry for the clients who go through this ordering and waiting process without being on the forum--they don't know what they're missing. Not just enthusiasm and encouragement, but very excellent friends!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Theory D

Theories A, B. and C have been ruled out. Marina found that the springs she had been using were defective, so she ordered more and took the doll apart to replace them.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

This is What "Neurotic" Means to Me

Instead of checking my email once a day, and being disappointed once a day, I check my email 50 times a day and am disappointed 50 times a day.

Meanwhile, at the swampish and haphazardly defined borders of my consciousness hovers a vaporific cognizance of a possible Theory C to explain the continuance of my doll's current state of intangible Not-Yettedness. (See here for Theories A and B.)

Viz, that Marina has "many a many" work to complete, and that various factors impede her progress (materials shortages, lapsed connections to needed assistance, occasional pauses for food and sleep) --even as various factors are always impeding me in my work too--and that my doll Yren is at the moment merely caught up in a general, all-encompassing working-towardice, a steadily-getting-it-all-done-itude, from which she will emerge more or less at the same time as all the other works rise up and present themselves to us in an exuberant, shining, jubilant, self-evident state of Voilà-hood.

Not that different from building my serials module, actually. It works for me.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Just surfing around: a capelet for Yren

Spent a while this morning just clicking about on the Elle website. If I get out of the house early enough this morning, I'll stop by the news agency and see if the September issue is out yet. But in the meantime, there's plenty of distraction on the website.

Here's a gorgeous kimono capelet I found there from Elizabeth and James. I think drape-y garments are very beautiful, but they have to be just right to look good on an ED--not too voluminous, or she'll look like she's wearing an envelope. But this capelet has a nice fit over the shoulders and around the neck too.

And I like the sheerness of it, and the lace inset, and the ripply rolled hem. Can I make it? Oh I have no idea. Not sure what fabric will drape like that on a 1/5 scale, either.

Was I ever so interested in fashion before discovering EDs? No I was not, at least not in recent history. I stopped being interested in fashion right around the time I outgrew Seventeen magazine. I have two wardrobes: work, and lounging about the house. Work clothes take me to weddings, funerals, shopping, visiting, etc. They are all solids, all separates, and mostly cottons except for some silk shirts. I dress them up or down with jewelry. (Thanks to my daughter, I do own a pashmina!)

So owning (er, potentially owning) an ED to dress makes the world of fashion more interesting to me, and Elle the most fun. Vogue used to be the magazine of choice for fashion browsing, but I like Elle's enthusiasm for street clothes on real people. Check out their New York "Street Chic Videos: A 360 degree view of New York's most stylish women."

Monday, August 10, 2009

In Loving Memory: George Graham

My dear brother-in-law and friend George Graham died of pancreatic cancer this morning at the age of 61.

George had only one sibling, a brother, so when he married a woman with two younger sisters, he took us straight to his heart. He even liked to call us "Sissy" to remind us of his affectionate "adoption" of us.

That happened almost forty years ago, and in all that time, Geordie was there for us in good times and in bad. If we were doing well, he was very proud but never surprised, because he thought we were the greatest. If we weren't doing well, there was no problem we couldn't bring to him, nothing he wouldn't help us with, just as if the problem had been his own.

I remember once when I was still in college and had been struggling to take off some of the "Freshman Fifteen" pounds I'd put on, we went to visit George and Mary. He immediately noticed the difference, but he didn't make an embarrassing fuss about it; he just came up to me quietly and said the perfect thing: "It's so nice to see someone you love taking care of themselves. Good job, Sissy."

Another time in college, I was taking a golf class to fill the phys ed requirement, and had to bring in scorecards of rounds I'd played outside of class as homework. Geordie, a dedicated and talented golfer, took me to the course with him--but I had a terrible day and couldn't get a single wood shot off the tee! He was unfailingly encouraging at every attempt, no matter how many times I had to swipe at the ball, and he praised every shot that went well. At the end, he took my scorecard and wrote a note on it for my teacher to see. "Ruth has the ability," it said.

As I grew to know him better over the years, I saw more and more of one of his greatest gifts: when he was going to be spending time with someone, he loved to create special, meaningful moments, just for them. You could tell he had thought carefully about what would be really nice to do together, and he planned it flawlessly.

When we visited them in Canada, there would be a lovely home-cooked meal he and Mary would prepare together, the family around the beautifully appointed table--and then he'd slip out a minute to put some relaxing music on too. And there'd be a dinner out together at a favorite restaurant, usually one with unusual qualities to talk about, like being positioned high above an old millrace, or serving the best filet mignon in town.

And often there'd be a trip out to some interesting near-by place...a horse farm, a driving park, a Blue Jays game, a day at Ontario Place, Dundurn Castle, Niagara Falls, a promenade near the Blue Water Bridge and the best French fries you ever ate... The Blue Water Bridge was our last outing together: fresh air and warm sun and a brisk breeze...idyllic place just to dream a bit, but more too, because Geordie knew the stories of how the bridge was built, and how long and wide the spans are, and why there's two of them, and all about the memorials around the base on the Canadian side...

He didn't have to get cancer in order for me to understand that he was deliberately creating memories that would last. I knew, as we all know, that we all go "someday." I just wanted to go on making more of them, enjoying still more visits back and forth, never thinking ahead to the day when spending more time together would become, finally, impossible. Now Geordie's "someday" has come cruelly soon, and now I can only cherish those memories, the effort he put into creating them, and the depth of caring that made him take the trouble. The time has come to recognize them for the treasures they are.

I could end this tribute just with that--what Geordie was like before he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. But listen to what he was like afterward, to understand the man we have lost: he made his peace with death and he went on living every day to make it the best and most he could. He spent time with friends and family--laughing and playing cards and watching hockey and gardening and having a rum & coke once in a while. And celebrating his 60th birthday, and then his 61st birthday, and traveling to see my niece graduate from high school, and helping my son battle Nintendo monsters ("Show no mercy!") And driving elderly people to their doctor appointments and hair appointments...

To keep in touch, he would email us all manner of jokes and videos--all of them with two messages he wanted to convey: "Laughing is Good" and "Life is Good." And when he was still well enough, he would preface those forwards with personal notes to his "Dear Sissies...." His dear Sissies, who are going to miss him very much.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

New beads are here!

Great service from Beadaholique--my 2mm rounds have arrived. They are just what I wanted; now we'll have to see whether they look exactly right when strung or if I need to order 3mm rounds instead, to get that Guess Beads look. But either way, I will like these because they are so petite. Here you can see them alongside the first set I made, which were definitely too chunky.

And here's another pic, taken from the Beadaholique website. They have instructions for you to make this necklace --but isn't the whole look marvelous for an ED?

I love the neutral tones and the scrunched-up sleeves of the boyfriend sweater, the gold chain and the rhythm of the round beads along it, the top like a vintage Victorian corset cover... Don't know what the top is, but if I made it, it'd be a mini-dress.

I've never tried working with chains before; I'm just a beginner at beading. In fact, a few years ago I tried beading and gave it up as way too frustrating and futzy. Plus, I could buy the stone & metal bracelets I love from a friend who sells them, and at a lower cost than paying full retail for the supplies.

But wanting jewelry for an Enchanted Doll puts an entirely different light on it. Working to a 1/5 scale creates challenges that intrigue me, and that no one else is going to solve for me.

So I will study those instructions about how to work with chain...

Hard to bear, but not hard to understand

It is now 40 days since Yren's production date, and my doll has not come home. Moreover, someone whose production date was four weeks after mine has just heard that her doll is nearly finished.

Okay, I admit it: my first reaction was "Waah! Marina hates me!" But I'm recovering from that now, sitting up and taking nourishment again, and seeing things more calmly.

The waiting is hard to bear, but not hard to understand. Marina is not a production-toymaker, she's an artist. I do long for Yren to be ready soon, but waiting is just part of the reality of acquiring a work of art vs a factory doll.

As for why a doll from farther on in the production schedule is done ahead of mine...Well, I have two theories and not a thing better to do than write about them.

Theory A: The Tattoo Technique. The new doll was to have a tattoo, which is a very challenging technique with sensational results. It is entirely reasonable if Marina wanted to work on her immediately after doing several other tattooed dolls. She has written about her excitement over this technique in her blog--maybe she was just on a roll. Or there might be other reasons unguessable by me why this doll fits in better with Marina's current work schedule than mine.

Theory B: The Exceeding Beauty of Yren. This one's my favorite: Possibly Yren is already done, but she has emerged from the kiln and sprung into being with such a fresh new variety of beauty, not quite like any Marina has produced before, that she wishes not to be parted from her for a time.

Now this is not only understandable, it is maybe even essential. Would not an artist who has just created something entirely new in the world need a time of communing with that work, so that she can fully grasp and hold and own it? Wouldn't her growth as an artist be diminished in some way if her new-born works were torn from her hands as soon as the last lock of hair was smoothed into place?

If this is the case, I am willing that Marina should have taken a little time to establish a relationship with her creation before she releases her to me and goes on to her next vision. I hope she is about at the end of that process, though, because I can hardly stand to be inside my skin these days!

Or it may be the case that Theory B is romantic nonsense and bears no relation to reality anyway. But as long as it makes me feel better I'll make up my mind that way.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My Own Copy of Nina Garcia Book!

I keep checking Nina Garcia's The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own out of the library, and renewing it until I can't renew it anymore! But now it can go back, because this week, my daughter and I went to, as my son puts it, "a ton of stores," and I found a copy to buy!

And not just any copy: this one came in a boxed set with her Little Black Book of Style, which is also very nice, plus it was autographed!

The One Hundred is fun to read just for itself, but as I read I like to think about dressing Enchanted Dolls with miniature versions of the things Garcia writes about. I'm finding that a very up-to-the-minute, haute style look for Yren is very appealing. This book has me convinced that Yren needs black tights, black fishnets, a boyfriend sweater, and many many A-line dresses. Also a sarong, some ballet flats, a cashmere sweater and a cape.

For me, the most fun part is to figure out how to make these things. I don't plan to buy clothes for Yren unless they've been made by someone I know. And though it might sound silly....I'm thinking about choosing a "signature" perfume scent for her, too! But I can't do that before she arrives; one has to know her better first.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Poems for Enchanted Dolls #7

The Lea Rig

When o'er the hill the eastern star
Tells bughtin time is near, my jo,
And owsen frae the furrow'd field
Return sae dowf and weary O;
Down by the burn, where birken buds
Wi' dew are hangin clear, my jo,
I'll meet thee on the lea-rig,
My ain kind Dearie O.

At midnight hour, in mirkest glen,
I'd rove, and ne'er be eerie, O,
If thro' that glen I gaed to thee,
My ain kind Dearie O;
Altho' the night were ne'er sae wild,
And I were ne'er sae weary O,
I'll meet thee on the lea-rig,
My ain kind Dearie O.

The hunter lo'es the morning sun;
To rouse the mountain deer, my jo;
At noon the fisher seeks the glen
Adown the burn to steer, my jo:
Gie me the hour o' gloamin' grey,
It maks my heart sae cheery O,
To meet thee on the lea-rig,
My ain kind Dearie O.

Poem by Robert Burns; detail of photograph of Enchanted Doll Hathar by Chad Isley

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Pretty Sundress

I've had my eye on this design for awhile because it looks like an easy way to get started in fashioning pretty dresses for an Enchanted Doll. One has to start somewhere, and this one would make a nice plain canvas for working embellishments on. (Just bought my first copy of Belle Armoire and now I'm hooked!)

Now it sometimes happens that a design I'm sure will be easy turns out to be a monster. Greek chitons looked easy too, but I tussled a whole weekend with one and gave it up with major issues still unresolved.

But undeterred, let us venture into new territories even if there be monsters here.

You would start with fitting the band around the doll's ribcage, yes? Easy peasy. Then two triangles, darted or gathered at the bottom, for the bust. Narrow ribbons to tie around the neck for a backless dress would be easy. Then a rectangle for the skirt to gather slightly into the band.

Seems like it would be very easy. Am I trying it out on Tyler Wentworth to see if the concept works before bruiting it about on the Internet? No I am not. We'll just have to see how it goes when Yren is here to fit. I can't do much without her--just dream and spend money, basically.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Doll Necklaces from Earrings

Welcome to August, "Home to Yren's" second month! Since my Enchanted Doll has not yet arrived, I'm working only on simple projects to pass the time. I can't make anything that needs much fitting, for one thing, and for another, I'm just too anxious to concentrate much. Voilà! An easy doll necklace.

For this project, most of the supply-gathering is already done for you. Just buy a pair of dangly earrings, clip the wire, thread the beads in order on a string, and attach a clasp. Below, I laid out extra beads in case I needed to add some for length (which I did.) It's easiest to cut a length of beading string and put a needle on each end. Then you can add beads easily from either end, plus the needles will keep the beads from sliding off before you get the clasp on.

And the best part is, you still have the other earring to make a matching necklace for a friend's doll!