Saturday, February 29, 2020

Tired but Efficient

     Thursday was sort of a rough day. I was very tired at school all day, some of which might have come from all of the extra walking I did. One of my students needed another long walk around the school. They had an upsetting day recently, which was bringing up bad thoughts and talking it out helped some. I found out some more things that made certain fears clearer to me, but also made me very sad. I wish there was more I could do to help. But walking and listening is pretty much it. By the afternoon I thought I was potentially getting sick. I had a bad headache, was a bit foggy brained, my neck hurt and I had a scratchy throat. But I am allergic to mold and it had been raining for two days. So more mold equals a more scratchy throat. I got home and had a large pile of packages on the table. Which I was too tired to open. So I went to take a bit of a nap. I didn't feel 100% better after it, but I no longer had a headache and didn't feel foggy brained anymore. I did still have a scratchy throat, but you can't win them all. 
      So I opened the packages and in one of them was my Micro-naut from Rayvin Maddock. He is super cool! So he's on the shelf with the other unpainted micros. Waiting to get washed and prepped. I should probably stop buying horses and paint more of them. That being said, my February micro from Maggie Bennett should be here soon...
     So Thursday was a very tired day and I struggled to get working after my short nap. I struggled to put away all the low carb snacks that were in one of the packages (I ordered a lot and could not find space for them, lol). But I did eventually get started. I pulled out the sewing machine and cut out the clothes for a casual western doll that was ordered. I put on episode #30 of Mares In Black and I got to sewing. I was really excited to hear that I, and my upcoming live sale, were mentioned again. It's always fun to get a mention on the show! So I listened to the show and got 3 outfits sewn. I had another one cut out but decided I was going to save the 4th one for another time. Saddle seat coats take a lot more time to sew than some other things. 
       So after a sort of slow start and some sewing, I got into dressing the casual western doll. I already had a body prepped and ready, which helped and saved some time. By the time I decided I was done working for the day I had most of the doll finished. She needs her head haired, face painted and a hat and earrings, but then she will be finished. I was incredibly efficient and I hope I can have a lot more days like that for the next 4 weeks. 
      Up next I have a casual cowboy in the works and another casual English doll. I am not sure if I can get both of those finished in a day, but I have a good start on them. Then next week I have a formal saddle seat doll planned and will do something else as well, I just currently have no idea what. Maybe another hunt seat doll. Or... I'll have to think on it. Soon I will need to get more work done on the saddlebags. Maybe at the laundromat on Tuesday. I have to cut all the pieces for the lining and put them all together. That's not a bad Tuesday plan.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Some Days Are Harder Than Others

      Wednesday was a sort of hectic day. I had to call the special ed secretary to figure out what was going on with Travis's bus monitor. It was not too challenging and I got it quickly worked out. I also went to talk to the athletic director to try to figure out some track stuff. While special needs kids are not necessarily barred from the regular sports and activities, the sports and activities may not be accessible to those kids. Which basically makes them unavailable for a lot of the kids. I did also hear that sometimes unified teams will co-op with other schools. If the numbers are not there in one school, they will team up with another school. But we were never given that option. We were just told that there was not going to be unified track this year. Actually, let me correct that. "we" were not told anything. The only reason I know is when the job postings came out for coaches for Spring sports, our coach noticed unified was not listed. So she asked the director, who told us the numbers were not there. She told me because I brought up track. When I went to talk to him the director said that no one has come to him other than me. I said that no one knows other than me, how could people come and ask if they don't know? In the end I told the athletic director that I wanted him to look into all the options for me( regular track and co-oping with another team), because I am just going to keep bugging him until something gets done. These kids deserve to have something. And preferably something that doesn't leave them always last. 
      I had a variety of other school things that I needed to take care of as well, all of these things needed to happen in the same short amount of time (the only time I had to get them done). When I got home I was, again, super tired. I struggled to get started on doll work and then it remained a struggle to get work done. Eventually though, I managed to get several outfits cut out. 
     Then I worked on getting the prepared saddlebags glued. I still have several steps to get to before they are all finished, but I at least got a good start on them. Even small progress is good progress. Lime green and black seems to also be a theme in my work this week.
      So Wednesday was sort of hard, but it could have been worse. I got a lot accomplished on stuff related to Travis, even if it was just getting the ball rolling on some things. I did manage to get some doll work done, even though it was not necessarily as much as I would have liked. But I still have about 4 weeks until my live sale. I still have time.
      The other day I was listening to the latest episode of Mares In Black and I feel now is a good time to reveal the doll I made for the giveaway that they mentioned. I thought it would be funny to make a "mare" in black, so that was what I did. This pensive lady will be given away, though I don't know how Heather and Jackie will choose to do the giveaway, that part is up to them. I thought it would be a lot of fun to take her picture in my pink chair that was made by Terri Wright of Priam Costumes. She donated a similar chair to Mares in Black, which was given away. about a month ago. I love giveaways!
      Seeing as I have only 4 weeks left before my live sale, I need to start thinking about organizing a bit more. I want to figure out what I have for prizes, come up with trivia questions, work on making numbers and, of course, finishing sales items. I need a more complete plan!

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Sometimes You Meet Someone Amazing

       Tuesday started out a bit rough. When Travis's bus came to pick him up the monitor asked when it was decided he didn't need a monitor anymore. I said, that was never decided. She said that someone called the bus company and said it was in the new IEP. Then I said, what new IEP? We don't even have a meeting until March 11, there can't possibly be a new IEP now, at least not one that can go into effect. So that was troubling. I called the special ed secretary, but as it was 6:45, I wasn't surprised she didn't answer the phone. I also called several more times with no luck, so I sent her an email to ask when was a good time to call. I got one of those auto responses that she was not in the office for the day. So I emailed the special ed director to see if she knew what was going on. I didn't hear back to her. At lunch I was telling my friends the story and they said why don't I talk to the assistant special ed director, who might even still be in the building. Well that was a brilliant idea. So I sent her an email and then didn't hear back from her for awhile. She did actually contact me later on in the day and I went to talk to her, told her what the monitor had said and she said she would look into it for me. Which was wonderful. I got an email from her in the evening saying I needed to call the special ed secretary in the morning. So the situation is ongoing. But I am hopeful. 
      When I got home from school there was a package on the table for me. It was from my friend Jenn, and had a whole bunch of Color Street samples. Color Street strips are nail polish strips that are super easy to put on. Some people have seen doll photos lately, where you can see my nails, and commented on how good they look. I'm hosting a Color Street party on Facebook in a couple of weeks but I got the samples now so I can give them to people that want to try them out.  
      So I went from my really frustrating morning to a happier afternoon. Crystal and her Mom came by, which is always nice, because I love them both. They were dropping off Ethan's shop vac and Trader Joe's peanut butter. I have never had peanut butter delivery before, but it was great! Anyway, I had received a cool package, got a visit from some cool people, and then it was time to head off to the laundromat and some errands.
     You never know who you are going to meet, or run into, in the laundromat.I have run into students, teachers I work with, had to get loud with old ladies because they were needlessly mean to Travis and then there was the woman I met today. She was an amazing human being. One of those people that you just want to spent time with because they have a good energy. When I went in my plan was just to put the laundry in to wash and then head out to do a bunch of errands. Then I was going to go back, put the stuff in the dryer, listen to Mares in Black and get some work done. When I came in this woman was talking to a young guy and they were clearly having a good conversation. A couple of minutes later he said it was great meeting her and he headed out. I smiled and was going to make the comment to her that it was so nice to see people actually talking to each other out in public, but she spoke to me first. I don't even remember what she said, but it was pleasant and we pretty much instantly fell into a conversation. And then I just stayed. I did go out and properly park the car and brought Travis in, but then I stayed and chatted. It has been such a long time since I have met a person that was clearly an old friend on first meeting. Once I got the laundry in the dryer I did have to head out to do the errands. 
     We went and dropped off some medical release forms so Travis can participate in Special Olympics. We went to the post office and then we went to Big Y to redeem to cans. There was a guy already using the machines, and he had A LOT of cans and bottles, but he moved aside and said we could go ahead. Which was definitely appreciated! Travis was being Travis (so making noise) and the man sort of glanced at him, looked at me and asked if he has special needs. I said yes and he smiled and launched into a story about some family member who works with kids with special needs and they are just amazing and so on. He told me he had a liver transplant and his doctor told him to start walking. So every morning he goes walking around town and while he's out he collects cans. In 2 and a half days he had over $20 in cans and bottles! So not only is he following his doctor's orders, he's getting some money besides. And he was so nice! I told him to keep up the good work and that his grandkids were lucky (he wants to stay alive for them), Travis and I got more seltzer and headed back to the laundromat. My new/old friend was still there (her comforter would not dry) and we fell back into some more conversations. She told me all about a friend of hers with a son with autism and said Travis actually looks a lot like him. When I was done with my laundry I wanted to stay and talk to Sandra, (we took a long time to bother with getting to our names, lol) but I needed to get home. Tuesdays are crazy days and I have a very strict schedule. 
     The day started out frustrating and continued into frustration for awhile, but my lunch friends gave me good advice, assured me it was probably just a mistake and that it could be fixed, but listened to my concerns. The assistant director did everything she could to help me find out what was going on. I got to see Crystal and her mom and I met two amazing people. I wish every Tuesday was that good.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The New Focus

     Last week was February break, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. We did a lot of family stuff and I managed to get a decent amount of doll work done. This week I had to go back to work and I was hopeful that I could get some stuff done on Monday. Usually the first day of having to get up early again isn't too bad. Then the second day the lack of sleep catches up with you and you are sort of useless by the end of the day. But my Monday didn't turn out that way. My energy started to flag shortly after I got home. I decided to take the tiniest of naps. That part sort of worked out, though I was not ready to work after my catnap. Maybe it was the gorgeous (63 degrees) weather that I was too tired to go out and enjoy. Maybe it was the less than 6 hours of sleep I got on Sunday night. Hard to say. But no doll work got done on Monday, which is OK. Part of my mindset these days is to be OK with things that are not hurting anyone. It doesn't hurt me to not work all the time. It doesn't hurt to switch up my work plans and go and do fun things with my family, or even just do nothing with my family. As long as I work sometimes, everything will be OK. And that is my goal.
      So while the plan to cut out and sew some doll clothes didn't happen, I did pull out the last few leftover items from last year and get them written into my inventory list. I started doing this last Spring when I was prepping for Breyerfest. I would try to keep an organized running list of everything I have. For Breyerfest this was partially so I had an idea of what I sent to Jackie (it was good I forgot to send the list with all the totals or I may have given her a heart attack!). Anyway, I make the list, I keep the list and as things sell I mark them as sold. Easy enough. Then when one big sale is over, I can transfer the old list onto a new page and start the prepping for the next big thing. 
     This year I am not starting with Breyerfest prep, I am starting with my birthday live sale prep. Are you guys bored hearing about that yet? Do you just have no idea what I am talking about? Does the word sale immediately invoke thoughts of discounts? Let me do a bit of explaining for the interested. And then I can talk about something else. Last Fall, Black Friday to be exact, I did a live sale on Facebook. I modeled it after a LuLaRoe Live sale, since I have seen a ton of those. Paparazzi does similar sales as well, as do other companies. Basically, I started a live video feed, which was up on my Facebook studio page but could also be shared to other pages, and I showed my inventory. I could answer questions in almost real-time (there is a very slight delay) and people could claim items they want. For my Black Friday sale everything was discounted. I have held some variety of discounted Black Friday Sale for at least the last 7 or 8 years, maybe longer. But "live sale" literally just means that it is happening right then. The reason I am explaining this is I am sort of fearful that people will be expecting a discount sale and might be upset with mostly retail prices. Not to say I won't have any discounted items, because I will, but mostly everything will be retail. I will also again have trivia and prizes. Hopefully people will be as interested in it as they were in the first one. I know not everyone loves the live sale selling platform. But I enjoy it. A lot. I love the interaction, even when the pace gets a little frantic. So currently that is my focus.
     Some of my leftovers were items that people claimed during the Black Friday sale and then didn't  pay for, or ever contact me again. That sort of thing is discouraging. Luckily, I didn't have much of that. Between Sunday and Monday I made a list of all my sales items. Conveniently, the stuff left from the last sale still has backwards numbers on it. Why backwards? Because when you flip your camera it turns everything backwards. I learned that watching so many LuLaRoe sales. So I flip all my tags before I print them so they read properly on camera. Prepping for a live sale is work, but most of the work is making the sales items. That is going to take the longest amount of time no matter the eventual selling platform. But I have been enjoying making a quantity of items and then sending it or bringing it to a location for people to see it. Last year Jackie Rossi took my stuff to Breyerfest for me. It was awesome. This year I have another offer for Breyerfest that is very interesting, though I don't know if it's supposed to be secret so I won't share it just yet. For now I will focus on my birthday live sale. Why am I calling it my birthday live sale? Because I wanted to do a live sale and I thought, when would be a good time. And I decided on "my birthday" but I didn't want to have it ON my birthday because for the last 3 years I have worked on my birthday and every year it was a bad idea. Not as bad last year though. Anyway, my birthday is March 29th. My live sale will be the 28th. Which is a Saturday. I am planning on 2:00 or 3:00 pm EST, I haven't settled on the time yet. I have already asked Elecktra to come help me this time and she has agreed. So on the 28th Elecktra and I will go live on Facebook. Mostly me, she may not want to be on camera, but she will there helping me stay organized.
      There are about 10 weeks left for the seniors. Then they are done. I work with just about all seniors so I have no idea what I will be doing after they are gone. Maybe they will turn me into a substitute and I will just cover classes, I have no idea. No one else seems to know really either. If they don't have anything for me to do I will have 5 or 6 weeks of work with nothing to do. Which sounds horrible. So we'll see. I have some time before I have to really worry about that. Maybe I will have a ridiculous amount of free time and somehow be able to have time to work on dolls in school. That would be efficient!

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Beauty Queen

      I settled on my NaMoPaiMo 2020 horse last fall (I think) and started prepping really early, for once. My first NaMoPaiMo horse was a Chips mule and my second NaMoPaiMo horse was a micro mini from Magge Bennett. Last year I became fairly comfortable working in micro scale. I didn't miraculously become an amazing painter, but my work was not bad. This year I felt I needed to paint this Ballycor resin. My friend Marisa gave him to me and when you receive an awesome gift you should do something cool with it. So I decided to paint her. 
     This is Beauty Queen. I posted a photo on Facebook early on in her painting that said it looked like she needed to blend her contour. Amanda Forbes commented "What a beauty queen!" and it struck me as the perfect name. So Ballycor became Beauty Queen. 
     The fact that I am not an amazing painter doesn't matter. I had a good time, I stretched myself by painting a model that is so much larger than anything I have painted in years, and she is destined to be a performance horse. I have a show coming up in April and Beauty Queen will make her performance debut there. 
     To get ready I had to try her out in tack. I don't think pink is her color, so I will likely get her a turquoise pad. I think that will look fantastic on her. Maybe royal blue, I have a braided bridle in royal blue. 
      She looks great in English tack as well. I am still deciding if I want an adult or a youth rider for her. Maybe a youth rider for Western, so I can use the smaller saddle. Though I need to see if the smaller saddle fits and then decide. 
     While I was doing her photo shoot I got this fun shot, which apparently Facebook thinks is a real horse. It gave me a memo asking if I was hiring and did I want to turn on the job app. Nope, not hiring. Though my nameplate saddle, made by Jennifer Buxton, does look super realistic. Especially from this angle. 
     NaMoPaiMo officially ends Saturday. I will miss my Facebook feed being filled with horses, painting tips and pictures of minis painting minis. Now that I am finished painting my horse, and Little Elecktra is also finished, I need to really focus on getting things done for my live sale at the end of March. I did a partial inventory the other day and I am doing fairly well, but I still have a lot of projects I want to work on. 

Monday, February 24, 2020

NaMoPaiMo Details

       There is only a week left of February, so only a week left of NaMoPaiMo 2020. Which meant that Saturday was hoof painting day! I needed to find a good tutorial for doing shell colored hooves in acrylics, and I found Cristina Riley's YouTube tutorial. The instructions were very clear and I took some notes to make sure I knew my steps, and then I got started. This was several layers of different colored stripes, with a wash of a very transparent pale tan color over it. They are not so realistic that it would fool anyone, but they look pretty good. I won't be embarrassed of my pony's hooves in the show ring. 
        White I was endlessly painting stripes (each hoof probably took about an hour) I ended up holding the pony in some really odd positions. I noticed at one point that I had a little hoof print on my arm. Ballycor has sculpted frogs and sculpted on shoes. She is a really cool pony. 
I got through the hooves, did the chestnuts, and decided I should just go on and do the eyes. I like the hooves so much more than the eyes. 
         But at least now my pony has eyes, and they are not just black dots, even though they sort of look like it in these dark photos. The gloss helps a bit. 
      Since I had already come this far I decided to paint the shoes. Silver paint is one of the most annoying things ever created. I don't know if anyone out there knows of a silver paint that goes on in one coat, without a base coat, but if it exists, I don't know what it is. This is base coated in black with probably 3-4 layers of silver on top. 
         I did a bit of detail work on the undersides of the hooves. They are all sculpted so I sort of felt like I should. And this one will actually show, so it really needed to get done. They are another little detail that I like, but don't think are amazing. I might have to learn some new tricks and come back to Ballycor at some point in the future. 
        So I managed to finish up my NaMoPaiMo pony, but it was too dark to get any glamor shots. I also want to put her in tack and see how she looks. She is destined to be a performance horse after all. Though I am sort of thinking she might get a few more layers of matte finish and a regloss on her eyes before tack ever happens. But at this point, she is done, I did it!

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Frantic Friday

         Yesterday I showed you the historical side saddle doll I made. She needed to have some ruffles added to her coat so I got that done. Those little ruffles took a surprisingly long time to make. But I think they look pretty nice. And it was just the start of all of the work I did on Friday. 
      I decided I really needed to get the whites and the mane and tail done on Ballycor. February is flying by and I need to get her finished. I'm starting to panic a little bit. I have a feeling when I go back to school I will be really exhausted and not be able to function after school. I really wanted to try to get her finished. But I also wanted to finish up the Western pleasure doll that I started. Travis also had to go to the dentist, so I really needed to get to work. I would put on a layer of white, set the horse aside to dry and do some work on the doll. It was working pretty well. 
      The Western doll is a somewhat basic doll, a lot of people are not into super blinged up dolls, so I like to do at least some that are a bit more plain. This fabric also makes a statement all on its own, so I just added a little bit of bling to the cuffs and collar. 
     And Ballycor is looking more and more like a horse! I am really impressed with what I have managed to do. I am still not anywhere near a great painter, but I am pretty proud of this horse. I really may need to try out some pastels soon. Or eyeshadow. I have plenty of it, and it's good stuff.
       So I got the doll and the work on the horse done in a fairly short amount of time, put some makeup on, jumped into the queue on a makeup website to grab a new palette at launch (got it) and then Travis and I left for the dentist. I would like to report that he was the most cooperative he has ever been. And Dr. Maureen was again impressed with his beautiful teeth. While Travis used the bathroom I chatted with the receptionists, who both told me they love my hair. Friday was turning out to be a really great day.
        We went to Aldi so I could try to find some Folio wraps because the website says they are available at most Aldi stores. Well, maybe not near me, since I have looked in more than one Aldi and never seen them. For the curious, they are wraps made out of cheese. Which means we can eat them (I have read the label online, we can eat them). But Aldi again didn't have them. I did find some low carb... candy bars. I know they say they are protein bar, but they are candy bars. And they are OK, not amazing. I did however get complimented by the cashier. She said she loved my hair and makeup. I was really having a very excellent day!
       Travis and I went to Walmart to grab a couple of things and stuff to make tacos and then came home and I started to make taco shells. Out of cheese. Because that is a thing. They are not super hard or super simple to make. They need to be a certain amount crisped or they will just melt when you shape them. They need to be placed over a suspended spoon to cool into the proper shape and I could not find a way to do that without grabbing the edge and pulling it off the spatula. So I touched a lot of really hot cheese. They are definitely interesting and sort of fun. I would probably eat them again. 
      So I got a ton of stuff done on Friday and was definitely feeling very accomplished. I have to go back to work tomorrow and I imagine at least the first couple of days might be a bit rough. It's been a really nice break though. Only 8 weeks until April vacation! And only 5 weeks to my live sale!

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Horses and Chaps and Dolls Oh My!

       Thursday was an insanely productive day. I am not even sure how I made all the things happen that I made happen. We are very quickly running out of February so I decided the very first thing I needed to do was get back into painting Ballycor. When I looked her over she was not quite done. So I got back into the blending. I got to a point where I was as done as my current skills would allow. I was a little afraid that once I got clear coat on her she would look sort of bad, that sometimes happens. But I got a coat of matte finish on her and she looked pretty good. Not perfect but I was happy. 
      I got started on some doll work and while I was working on painting faces I got the whites started on my horse. I think I did 2-4 layers of white and then I got tired. Maybe tomorrow I can get the rest of the whites finished. But at least I am making progress on my NaMoPaiMo horse. 

      I noticed that some of the chaps I made yesterday were starting to lose their Velcro. I think I missed some of the edges with the glue, so I got those repaired. I prepped a whole bunch of doll bodies and got to work on dressing some dolls. I got this casual doll all finished up. She's ready to add to my live sale stock. 
      I also got this historical side saddle doll finished for an order. I think she came out pretty well. 
       I also actually managed to get part of a western pleasure doll finished as well. It was sort of impressive how much I managed to get done all in one day. Hopefully next week can be just as impressive. 

Friday, February 21, 2020

Dollwork Update and NaMoPaiMo Dolls

     I am continuing to make progress on dolls. Sometimes I am a bit surprised about it. The other day I started working on the chaps that I started at the laundromat. Once they are all finished (so close in this photo!) I will have 5 more pairs of mens and womens cutting chaps to add to my sales stuff for my live sale on March 28. I am not going to have a huge amount of finished items I don't think, but I should have at least a decent amount. I'm going to keep on working on things and just see how much I can get done. 
     I ran out of super glue (for putting in Velcro) so I had to run out to Joann's and get more of that and a couple of pieces of fabric. When I got back I got a few doll outfits cut out, 3 heads haired and I was so productive I forgot to take any photos! I also had enough time to sew the outfits. I made pretty great progress today. I want to try to finish up at least one doll tomorrow and I need to prep some more doll bodies. I am down to my last one. But progress is being made. If I can manage to get all 3 dolls done by the end of the week I will have 6 dolls finished up for my live sale. One of the dolls I am working on is for an order. I still have 5 weeks left until my sale. I am hoping for at least 12 dolls total (should be doable. I think) at least 10 sets of saddlebags, maybe also 10 pairs of chaps and I don't know what else I need to fit into my work rotation. I'll have to see. 
       I grabbed some more fun photos from Facebook of #teamminispaintingminis. NaMoPaiMo is still happening, but we are in the second half of the month. Right about now is when I am starting to get a bit nervous that my horse is not done. She is well started and I MAY be done with the body color, but I have not gotten a chance to look her over and see. I should do that now. Or tomorrow in the daylight. 
      It looks to me like Link is super engrossed in his book and not so interested in painting his horse. I kind of get where he is coming from. I have not actually picked up my horse in awhile. If the body color is finished I still have to seal it, then do the mane, tail and socks (so much white!) and I need to do the facial marking, eyes, hooves... I need to get to work! 
Photo by Jackie Rossi
      Jumping Jessica has finished prepping her horse and has put it up out of harm's way to dry. I will have to do the same with my Morgan Le Fay doll. She has fallen over several times now and I am really afraid she is going to break. She may need to be wrapped up and put away for now for safety. I am hoping that Jessica can find some painting time, I'd love to see how she paints her horse. 
Photo by Anne Van der Weel
         Jose got off to a rough start in NaMoPaiMo, but he has finished his horse! He had a bit of expert help but a lot of people have had mentors to give them tips, why not Jose? He did a great job I think! Jose, you are a winner!
Photo by Jennifer Buxton
       DJ was getting ready to work on his horse with a tattoo gun. It might not work out the way he wants it to, but at least he is working on his horse. Sort of. 
Photo by Lynne Penner
       I am still enjoying the minis painting minis photos that keep popping up in the Facebook feed. Most of my feed is NaMoPaiMo, which I love. I do love February for that reason. Though the constant updates are also reminding me that I need to finish my horse. I need to get back to painting! 
     On another note, the other day my blog hit 150,000 page views!

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Dolls, Chaps and Extreme Frustration

      Tuesday was going to be the day! I was going to finish up the 3 dolls I had in the works that I meant to finish on Friday, I was going to work on chaps at the laundromat, I was going to go to Joann's and get some material I need for some new orders and I was going to at least cut out a few outfits. I should have had time for all of that. I didn't end up getting all of that done. Are you surprised? I'm not. 
      So I figured that if I got started on finishing the dolls first thing I could finish them up in just a couple of hours and then get ready to go out in the world, go get the laundry done and execute the rest of my plan. I put on the latest episode of Mares In Black and got to work. I was making some reasonable progress for probably about an hour and then I heard the UPS truck drive away. I figured Ethan had ordered something, so I went to bring in the package. I checked the name and it was not for Ethan. Or me. It was for one of my neighbors. The way the trailer park is set up I was not even 100% sure WHERE they live. And I am not the UPS guy. So I came back in and tried to find a number to call to get them to call the driver to come back and fix the mistake. I almost let it go, figuring I could just drop off the package myself when I went out. Then I thought about what would happen if one of my packages got delivered to one of my neighbors. Chances are, I would never see it again. No, I am not being mean, it has happened several times in the past. So I called UPS to let them know they misdelivered the package. I hoped that they could also just quickly get the driver to fix his error and I could let them know that an error occurred and they would maybe pay better attention to numbers in the future. Easy right? Not even a little bit. 
       It took at least a good 20 minutes on the phone and really, nothing got accomplished anyway, other than me being cranky. I ended up bringing the package to my neighbor (who I discovered lived at the extreme other end of the trailer park) and I was not focused and finishing the dolls then took forever. Much longer than it should have. But I managed to get the 3 dolls done that I had been working on and I got photos, sent them off, got approval and packed some dolls to ship. I was so far behind at this point and very anxious and frustrated. 
      We went and put the laundry in and then went to the bank (finally got the penny rolls!) and we went to the post office. Then we went back to the laundromat and I got to work on some chaps. I figured it was a good laundromat project. I got most of 5 paired traced out and 2 put together, but the mens chaps didn't get cut out or assembled. I had somehow forgotten to bring the fringe pattern piece. Grr. But it was time to fold anyway. 
       After everything was folded we needed to bring the laundry to the car in the rain. It seems to rain more often than it doesn't on Tuesdays. It's pretty frustrating. We had to go to Big Y and I was not in a super mood. But I managed to get the handful of things we needed and went back out in the rain. I didn't have time to go to Joann's and I definitely didn't have time to cut out any doll clothes. 
     I did manage to get 3 dolls (finally) finished and some chaps worked on but Tuesday was a very frustrating day. I am hoping that I can get back to being more productive soon. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Scheduling Conflicts

     Yesterday I mentioned that I have been trying to get dolls done for days and it was just not working out. I was hoping that Monday would be the day, but I had some scheduling conflicts. While I'm on vacation my Dad and I were trying to get together for lunch, but every day it seemed that there was something one or the other of us had to do. So Monday seemed to be the only day that worked and where Ethan would be home to hang out with Travis. I asked if that worked for him, he said that was fine and I had my plans with Dad. And then I went to put it on the calendar and realized that Monday was Ethan's birthday. Which I knew, but had forgotten. Hmm, conflicts. 
       Since it was Ethan's birthday we did some fun birthday things. I went and got ice cream for us that we could eat and I didn't end up doing any doll work. There were gifts and fun food was planned. 
     I did look over Little Elecktra's Bangles and decided she was ready for her "I did it!" photos. She is not perfection, but she is cute. And taking the photos only took a few minutes. 
     We have had some ribs (actually, a couple of different kinds) in the freezer for months. They take up a lot of space and to do them in the smoker takes a lot of time and Ethan didn't want to spend that much time out in the cold. I don't blame him. So I found a recipe that was low-carb friendly and I made ribs in the oven. And they actually turned out really well! They are not as good as Ethan's but they were not bad at all. I really like the dry rub.
      So life has happened quite a lot in the past several days. It has been fun and great but I really need to get some work done. I have orders that are nearly done that need to get taken care of and I have to get back to work on prepping for my live sale. Hopefully tomorrow. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2020


       I meant to finish up several dolls on Friday. That didn't happen. I didn't even take anything out to work on. Friday was Valentine's Day and Ethan had a pretty big surprise for me when I got home from school. For a year or so our TV has been half broken. We have an ancient box TV. It has to have been at least 10-12 years old or older. It's a square screen, so we miss a lot of what is on the edge's of newer movies and shows, since they are not formatted square anymore. The top 1/4 of the screen was always fuzzy, so we would miss a lot that way as well.  But it still worked. So for Valentine's Day, Ethan got us a new TV. A nice flat panel (well, they all are now, lol) that he mounted on the wall. It isn't ridiculously huge, but it's a lot larger than our old TV. Plus the whole thing works. So we hung out, watched some movies, made a semi-fancy dinner, and I did no work. And that was totally OK. 
        Saturday was a lot of fun too. It was another day where I meant to do some doll work, and that just didn't happen. I got a bunch of gift certificates for an escape room for people for New Years. Since Ethan is going to be working on Saturdays again, and Saturdays are the only day the works well for everyone, I figured we had to make it happen. So I got ahold of Elecktra and Peter and they were in. I talked to Crystal and she wasn't sure she was up to it since she had a nasty migraine, but we pushed the time back until later in the day. I worked on Little Elecktra worked on her Bangles and I think she might be done. I'll check her over in the daylight and see. But I think she might be done.
       So we are not allowed to take any photos in the escape room since they don't want any clues to be out in the world. They really try to keep things super secret so as not to spoil things for anyone else. We chose Treasure Island for our room and basically we had a ton of locks to unlock, it was wild! We did manage to solve the puzzle, unlock the door and we had time left so we kept on going to see if we could solve the next level of the puzzle. We didn't make it, but we made it through the puzzle we meant to solve. It was a ton of fun! I am definitely into the idea of doing escape rooms again. This was an excellent way to spend a portion of our day!
     Sunday, again, I vaguely had the idea that I would finish the dolls I started last week. But, again, that didn't happen. The first thing I got into was helping Travis clean out some of the mess in his room. He lost a couple of things (a tiny skateboard and a big U-shaped magnet.) He got them from Deb and Yvonne at an estate sale they did. He now keeps them together and he was really upset when he lost them. He searched for days, he kept asking me to look for them, but they were nowhere to be found. So I decided to take out old papers, broken stuff and so on. It's been awhile since I did a clear out in his room. I also found the skateboard and the magnet. While I was sorting and cleaning, Travis was helping Ethan sort change. Ethan gave him some money for helping with the work and we ended up going antiquing. We went to a couple of indoor flea markets and a couple of antique stores. Travis found some giant action figures for his extensive giant action figure collection. As we were getting ready to head out of the last place I saw this doll, way up on the top shelf of one of the booths. This is the Franklin Mint Morgan Le Fay doll. I have actually been looking for her for years. She's pretty much always on ebay but not usually for less than $90, and sometimes as high and $400-$500. I got her for $15. I couldn't responsibly leave her in the store for that price. 
      So I didn't get any doll work done, but I spent a lot of time with my family, and that was way better. I'm on vacation this week so will likely have at least some time to work on dolls. Other than that, I will just see what the week has in store for me. 

Monday, February 17, 2020

Extreme Motivation

      As you all know, I definitely go through phases where I completely lack any motivation to do anything. I struggle to do even the smallest amounts of doll work and I am often annoyed with myself for my lack of productivity. Last week I managed to keep up a really extreme level of motivation. I worked on the casual western and casual English doll, got them finished early in the week and then instead of pooping out I got started on more dolls. I cut out clothes...

...and got a head haired. Not super exciting, but I was still working. 
The same day I also started working on cutting out more sets of saddle bags. 
      To take full advantage of my extreme motivation I worked on a horseball rider. Here she is getting her numbers put on. I started using iron on numbers since they are nicer than paper numbers and easier to cut out and manage than numbers made from fabric. I used fabric numbers on my horseball rider. 
     This lady came back to get different numbers put on. I figured this would be a super fast and easy swap. Nope. The computer program I was using was not behaving and when I would try to size the numbers they often ended up too big or too small. Or I forgot to flip them and so on and so on. So making a few numbers for this cross country lady and the horseball rider took so much longer than it should have and nearly knocked out my motivation. 
     But I kept going. By the end of Thursday I had the majority of the cowboy and the horseball rider finished. I also had a really good start on a random hunt seat rider. I have had a finished hunt coat hanging out in my doll stuff for awhile and decided to just work on the rest of the clothes needed to finish her up. I was on a roll and very pleased with my progress!
     Then on Friday I was planning on finishing up the last few details on each of these dolls and the hunt seat doll. That would have been amazing and one of the most productive weeks I have had in awhile. But then life got in the way. But it was a lot of fun.