Saturday, April 30, 2022

Sgt. Joshua Deforge Challenge

       In May of 2010, Joshua Desforges was killed in action in Afghanistan. Josh was a Ludlow resident and a graduate of Ludlow High school. When Josh was killed I got a phone call from the principal of Travis's school. That was because Josh's mom was Travis's para. Even though I had never met Josh, Arlene is family, and it was devastating news. 
       Yesterday, was the annual Sgt. Joshua Desforges walk/run challenge. It is a 5K run/walk with watered down marine obstacles. I have thought about doing it for years and the date (always the end of April) never worked out. This year it did. Right before the race we had the opening ceremonies. There were a couple of speeches and it was really nice. This is at the Sgt. Joshua Desforges memorial, which is in the back of Ludlow High School. I have eaten lunch on that bench quite a lot. 
       Travis and I got a pre-race selfie and were ready to run. Or he was ready to run and I was ready to try really hard to make it to the end. 
    Once the starting pistol went off, we ran down the back parking lot of the school, down next to the baseball diamond, and up into the cross country trails in the woods. Travis and I chose to run up the first hill. Or, we started to. That hill just kept going up and up. I forgot how steep (and endless) some of the hills are back there. I was really pleased that Travis stayed right next to me the whole time we were running. Usually, he liked to bolt ahead, since he is so much faster. But he stayed right with me. Maybe we can start running together again. Now that "running together" would actually mean running together. That could be fun. 
     The first stop was pushups when we got up the first endless hill. I am really bad at pushups, but I did them. The next obstacle was squats. I am actually really good at squats, but they are tricky when you have just gone up an endless hill and have jelly legs. We also had to crawl under a net, through a drainage pipe (not a gross one, lol), carry sand pails up and down a hill, climb over different heights of logs (Travis hopped over them like they were ground poles!), through the tire obstacle, up and down the stadium stairs, and also pulling a heavy tire to the top of a backstop with a rope. I had to wrap the rope around me to use my body weight to pull the tire up. Travis grabbed the end of his rope and just hauled the thing up like it was nothing. That guy is amazing. 
     In the end we did not have a great finishing time. Travis and I finished in an hour and 15 minutes. But we did not skip any of the challenges or obstacles. We also didn't throw up at all (which can't be said for all the race participants). Arlene said Josh would have been proud of us. I was proud of us. It was a hard race but I am really glad we did it. It was an honor to honor a hero's memory doing a small bit of something he loved. And that water we were handed at the end was an amazing prize!

Friday, April 29, 2022

Your Surroundings Matter

     Your surroundings matter, which is why it feels so good to have a freshly cleaned house. Not that I necessarily enjoy the cleaning, I usually don't, but having everything put away properly, and the clutter, decluttered, is a really good feeling. 
     The other morning I went into my friend Angelique's classroom, made some tea, made some tea for her and went to write her a note saying I already put honey in it (I usually just leave it in the microwave. But I noticed how clean her desk was, so the first thing I put in the note was "how is your desk so clean?" And she told me later on, that she was reading/heard something (I can't remember which) that your surroundings effect your mood. I know this but when it's said to you it's different. And with the way school is for the last couple of years, having anything to help elevate the mood is a good thing. 
     Anyway, the other day I was having a crazy day and this is how my desk looked before lunch. It was covered in papers, and was basically a chaos of grading. 
     Before I left for the day, I made sure to organize my surroundings. The papers were all graded and sorted by class so they can (eventually) get handed back. There is still a stack of papers that I need to go through, but things were a lot better. I try to leave things organized. There are days when that just does not work. 
     Like yesterday. I did make sure to sort the papers that needed grading by class, but there is a stack of papers that need grading on my desk. And you know what? I am OK with that. It is a little organized, but the reason I left so much undone was because I was helping kids. They were asking for help, it made me incredibly happy, and I was running from one to the other explaining everything that were confused on. And you know what? A kid that always says they hate math, don't understand math, and often put in little to no effort got a 100% on the quiz we took. And I didn't give a single answer. That is not how I help. I did re-explain everything I have been teaching for more than a week, one step at a time, but honestly, I do that every day. 
     So last Monday, right at the end of the day, I had that one annoying spot, which then stuck with me and irritated me for hours (and into the next day). But really, I had an excellent week. I am hoping I can keep having excellent weeks until the end of the year. That would be awesome. 


Thursday, April 28, 2022


     I don't remember why I asked Jennifer Buxton to make me vaulting tack, but I did. And I have gotten a big kick out of showing my vaulting set. I even branched out with it and use it for my jester scene. It's different and fun.
    At this point I think I have made 5 or 6 vaulting dolls. Which in the grand scheme of 16 years and 1400+ dolls (I have no idea and really need to do an updated count!) that is not very many. The newest one was made for Hannah Clark. Hannah sent me some really great photos and is allowing me to share them here. 
     I can just see this doll getting ready to hoist herself up in a way I could never even imagine myself being able to do. The strength and control is amazing. 
     This is a pose I could possibly pull off with one of my setups, though it is harder than it looks to make the doll stay on in this position. 
     I don't love having to use acrylic rods in setups, but this really does make this extra cool! The dolls just couldn't do something cool like this without being held up in some way. 
     I'm not sure where the vaulter is going with this pose, but I love how bored the handler looks. He's upset that there was not enough room to do a set-up where he could be involved. Don't pout suit-dude! There will be work for you soon enough. 
     As always, if you have photos of dolls I have made, from shows or just from fun set-ups, I would love to share them. Send me an email at or message me on Facebook. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Trying New Things

     I've mentioned many times that I learned to sew a really long time ago. Which does not mean I am an expert or good at all the things, it just means I have a lot of practice with some things. It is still incredibly new to me to use my cutting mat and a rotary cutter to cut fabric. This acrylic ruler was one of the best purchases of recent times. Definitely the best way I have found to make a deck pouch is making long rectangles and then stitching and flipping things as needed. I may rethink my design all together, but for now I am learning to use the rotary cutter. And it's going pretty well. 
     I did a couple of different lined bags, one of them even has small pockets on the inside, but I decided to see if I could save time with a redesign that just had more fabric folded over on the top to make the cord casing. Not sure if any of that made sense to anyone but it did to me. I also realized that the fabric was going to fray like crazy. So I pulled out my pinking shears, which I have hardly ever used. I may now use them more often, we'll see. But I know, because I learned from my Mom, that if you cut the edge of the fabric with the pinking shears it keeps it from fraying. I don't know why, I am sure something to do with surface area, angles, and other scientific-mathy things, but mostly I just know that it works and that is all that matters. It also happens to look sort of fancy, which is a bonus. 

    In the end my experiments and efforts yielded 6 small round pouches, one larger round pouch with 4 inner small pockets (you can see the pockets on the black one which is not strung yet), a lined deck pouch with 4 small interior pockets, a lined deck pouch with no pockets, and an unlined deck pouch. They were something different, I am enjoying the quality (you know that feeling when you do a really good job making something? Yeah, that feeling), and I had a good time. Now I want to think of other things to make. Currently, I don't have any ideas. 
     Yesterday was a pretty good day at work. I was only there for half a day, which is probably part of it. I got home early enough to see Ethan for a bit before he left for work, which was nice. Travis came home early after his visit to Sun Shine Village. He said he had lunch and the people were nice and happy. It's a start. Hopefully the rest of his visits go well. He needs something to do after he ages out of school. And a place where everyone is nice and happy sounds good to me.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Thinking About Spring

       The weather is thinking about being Spring. At least some of the time. The weeping cherry tree in my neighbor's yard is blooming and looking amazing. I am very jealous of this tree and wish it was in my yard. 
     My daylilies are working on growing. I saw some out in a yard on the way to do the laundry the other day. This bit of garden does not get perfect sunlight, so sometimes things take longer to bloom. And yes, this area needs some serious work. It has everything from last year's daylilies, Fall leaves, and bits of grass that decided to migrate from the lawn. And weeds. We have weeds. But the daylilies are coming.  
    The maple trees don't yet believe that it is Spring. They have all the little berries on them. And the cars also have all the little berries on them. But nothing like a leaf yet. But maybe soon. Things are inching towards Spring at least. 
     It's hard to believe that it is already almost May. It's so chilly still a lot of the time. And we still have our heat on, which was never a thing in the past. April 1st we used to turn the heat off. We would have a few chilly mornings, but it wasn't bad. This year I think we would have frozen a few nights in April without the heat on. Silly Spring is missing. 
     Yesterday was not a bad day at school. Not a super fantastic day, but not a bad day. I had some goofiness, as usual, and I had to tell a couple of classes, a couple of times, that we have talked about respect over and over, and I wasn't getting any. But in general, it was a nice day. for one of my classes I did need to call the assistant principal down and ask him to talk to a couple of the kids, who were being absolutely ridiculous and disruptive. But they were not making me mad, just being goofy to each other. And then hitting each other. That "playing" can escalate, and I don't need it. So I called admin and taught one student, who was paying attention. No one made me yell. No one said that me not yelling was stupid. I got a good chunk of work done. I think I maybe even got some kids to learn some things. That's nice. 
    Today I need to see if I can get some sewing done. I have some more bags in the works. I want to do some other designs and see what I can come up with and what I like. Last night I made a round one with pockets. I love it. Time to play with some more designs. I am having a weirdly good time sewing. 

Monday, April 25, 2022


      Months ago, I started making miniatures for my live sale. The batch of items I made was meant for my birthday live sale, which I hold each year at the end of March. But I skipped that sale. I had too much going on, not enough time, and the sale would have been incredibly small, even if I managed to finish the things I started. When I started working on finishing things a couple of weeks ago, I realized I had more done than I thought. So I made all the things I needed to round out the sets of cat items, dog items, and saddlebag stuff. While searching for the other finished things I found these 8 backpacks I completely forgot that I had made. It was a nice surprise for sure. I have all the things ready to put into lunch bags, now I just need to make some bags. Maybe that will be the next thing I do. But likely not this week. I already have this week pretty well planned out. It has enough work that I get some things done, but not enough work that I have to push myself and make myself crazy with it. That seems like a good balance to me. 
    Yesterday was my first day back to work after 10 days off. It was super easy to fall back into the routine of school. I taught classes, asked kids the same questions I ask over and over, discovered that sometimes they are listening to me, I taught some new things, and it was in general a really great day. Right up until the last 5 minutes. That was when a kid decided to pick a fight with me about a couple of different things. He thought it was stupid that I yelled at a kid, the other day, for turning the lights on (the lights had just been flicked on and off again and I explained calmly that I really can't stand that and told the story). Because obviously there was NOTHING that came before playing with the lights. But then I was also told I should have yelled at the kid for all the other things, and I should just yell at all of them all the time for all the nonsense I deal with. Yup, that makes perfect sense. Honestly, the kid just argues with everyone for everything, but it was so close to being a perfect day. And then that was ruined, the blood pressure was up and I was mad. It really is so simple to remain firm on my decision not to teach again after this year. 

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Sometimes You Just Have To

      Have you ever gotten an idea and you just had to jump in and see if you could work it out because you just could not get it out of your head? That happens to me with stuff I make every once in awhile. I get this idea in my head and just have to work it out. Sometimes it is the design for a doll, this time it was drawstring bags with pockets. I love pockets. Pockets are fantastic! Elecktra and I often joke about pockets, which is a reference to Donna from Doctor Who when she is insisting to the Doctor that she is in her wedding dress and has no pockets. I gave Elecktra a dress recently, that has pockets, and she was very impressed. I love pockets. And yesterday I got this idea in my head that I just HAD to make a drawstring pouch with pockets. And I needed to use some material I had left over from a doll I did recently. The fabric is weird and kind of hard to work with, but it has some amazing drape to it. Admittedly, it does not make the best pockets, but I made pockets. And I got them onto part of the pouch so in the end everything would come together nicely. 

     I had all the pieces prepped to do a couple of round pouches, with pockets, and a couple of rectangular pouches, with pockets. But this material really is not great to work with, so I made one round pouch and one rectangular pouch, but it only has the pockets on one side because I noped at putting the side seams on any more pieces. I do love pockets, but I don't loke making myself crazy. You would think I did (love making myself crazy) as much as I seem to do it. 
     I actually really like both of these pouches, though the round one is still a work in progress. Not this particular one, I gifted it to a friend, but the style. I really want there to be 4 small pockets, which means a bit more reworking of the pattern bits until I can get it to work. And likely using a different material next time because this stuff, while beautiful when it all came together, really is horrendous to work with. I like the overall size of this pouch and the basic concept, so I will get there with this soon enough. Often I can do all of the design work for a project in my head and everything comes out really well, I have a lot of experience after all. But then sometimes things need to be prototyped a couple of times until they work. But it's all part of the process, and currently I am enjoying this process. 
     So here is something I know about myself. I like making things. I have always liked making things. I like making drawstring pouches, especially when they come out well. Here is something else I know about myself, I make things and then often don't even use them. Which is part of the reason I don't sew clothes for myself. I am a strange animal. Who is currently having a lot of fun making drawstring pouches. Maybe soon I will move on to making things with zippers. That is also something I really like. And now I have ideas...


Weekend Report and Dog Sets

     Yesterday was another purging day for me. The weather in the morning and early afternoon was actually really good. It was only the low 60's, but it was sunny and not windy. Weird. So I decided I needed to sort through all of the things in the back of my car that I have pulled out to sell and just focus and see what I could get rid of. The problem with having things you have decided to let go of is how to make them go if you don't want to just throw them away, give them away, or have no idea how or where to donate them. I have collected some random stuff over the years from holding shows, showing, my crazy Breyer purchasing of last year, and so on. I have a variety of things that I am trying to rehome and it is tough without just giving all the things away. But there comes a point where having more space and less stuff is very desirable. So I put together a big lot of stuff; NIB stuff, stablemates in packages and loose, miniatures, and other odds and ends, and I sold them as a show hosting lot for a super bargain. I definitely did not make back the money I spent on that batch of items. But I did pull together a large amount of stuff to clear out all at once. And that made me happy. Soon I may have managed to rehome enough things that I won't have the entire space in the back of my car filled up and being used for storage. How fun will that be? We just don't know. I also reduced the price on a couple of other horses I am selling. If anyone is looking for a Recoloso at a really excellent price, I have one. 
       The afternoon weather was not as good I am sad to say. Travis and I went out and did some errands while Ethan did some repairs on his van. It was still nice and sunny. But shortly after we got back the clouds came in, which made it immediately seem so much chillier than with the sun. It also made me tired. So I read some, we had supper and then all went to Walmart together. We went to a further away one than where we normally go and had a nice chat with the cashier as we were leaving. It was a nice drive and I didn't have to drive in the dark (which I hate). It's weird that doing errands with your loved ones can make them better. Hopefully the nice weekend will fortify me for going back to school tomorrow. I think there are only 39 days left. I have to count again. 

Friday, April 22, 2022


     Yesterday I decided it was time to make saddlebag stuff. So I printed out my sheets of stuff, turned on NCIS, and I worked on making things for the saddlebags. The really good news is even though I pretty much hate making saddlebags, I had no problem making the stuff that goes in them. It takes a while, there is a lot of stuff in them, but I didn't have to push myself to much to finish, like I did with the pet toys. So that's something. 
     I also decided that this time around I did not want to make the pommel bags at all. So I didn't. Unless something changes before my live sale in August, these will be the bags and what is in them. I switched out the bags of trail mix for crackers and I added a small carrot as well as an apple. It made me happy, so I did it.

      Yesterday was a pretty good day. I got a bunch of things made, and a lot more things sorted into their sets. The weather wasn't horrible and Travis and I got out to enjoy the day a bit. The only things is, it's now very close to Monday. Which means I have to go back to school soon. And I don't want to. 


Thursday, April 21, 2022

All the Pet Toys

     Yesterday was a little rough for me. I woke up tired and basically stayed tired all day. I thought again about working on the western side saddle doll and then decided I would make a whole bunch of pet toys. So I made a bunch of little catnip mice and rope toys. I need more rope toys, but I ran out of rope. 
      I also made a bunch of feather toys. We need to keep the 1:9 scale barn kitties entertained after all. 
     After I made pet toys I was pretty much done. I was tired and unmotivated. I sort of wanted to head to Joann's to get more of the cord so I could get the rope toys finished, but then it didn't happen. And then when Travis convinced me to go out (we went for a walk, around the mall, since it was raining again) I forgot. I really wish I knew what was going on with me. I don't know if it's the weather, not wanting to go back to school, general uncertainty about the future, or the need for more exercise. Or something completely different. I just know that I am very meh again. Oh wait. Maybe it means the seasons are changing again. I do get all weird, tired, and unmotivated for a couple of weeks when the seasons change. Maybe there is hope for Spring. Or maybe we will skip right over it and move right into Summer. 
     Anyway, tired and unmotivated though I was, I still managed to put together and photograph some cat sets for my next live sale. I will likely get the dog sets done later today, if I can manage to go out and get the cord to make the rest of the rope toys. If I can talk myself into making things to go in saddlebags, maybe those sets will get finished today too. Or at least worked on. Or maybe I will work on lunch bags. Who knows. Maybe I will be too unmotivated to do anything. Good thing I have lots of books and still have the desire to read. I haven't lost all hope in myself. 


Wednesday, April 20, 2022

All the Pet Food!

     Yesterday I thought about making a doll to go with the pink rose side saddle. I looked at it, hanging out in my tack room, looked at the doll drawer, and said nope, that's not happening. Then I thought about doing nothing, but that is a hard thing for me. So I decided to get back into the miniatures which I abandoned work on months ago. 
     I have a variety of things started, most of them for sets that are not finished. I need to make saddlebag stuff, and a few things to go in the pet sets. So I settled on glossing, constructing, and filling all the pet food bags. They have been printed out and sitting on the kitchen table, also for months. It was time to do something about it. 
     I glossed them, set them all over the table, and when they were dry I got to work. Do you know how long it takes to construct and fill 16 pet food bags? Approximately 2 episodes of NCIS and an episode of Heartland. But I managed it, even though I had to push myself a bit to finish up, and now the food is all ready for the sets. If anyone is wondering why the bags of food all end up in Ziplock bags, it is because if the top unrolls I don't want to food spilling everywhere. Who knows what the USPS will do to these things in transit!
     Yesterday was almost a nice day. Not quite. It was super windy, so while it was sunny and warmer than the day before, the wind made it just about as cold. Still not good hiking weather. I really want to go hiking. But Travis and I took a drive and got coffee together. It's not exercise, but we got to enjoy the sunshine without freezing to death. I am sure once we are back to school, and I have so much less time to go out and do anything other than work, the weather will likely get better. Or maybe it will just be awful and then turn to summer. Humid awful. I really am hoping for some nice 90 degree days with low (for us) humidity. That sounds wonderful. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Working Cowboy

       I have been thoroughly enjoying my school vacation. Which does not mean I have not been working at all, don't be silly, it just means I haven't been going to school. Last Thursday after school (after my horrible day) I decided I just could not deal with doll work so Travis and I went out. Then we did the same on Friday. And it was nice. Some of the time it was even really nice weather. By Sunday afternoon I felt kind of refreshed. It was very cool. And I still had a week of vacation! This is definitely good news. 
      But I can't just totally stop working, though I guess I could take time off from doll work that coincides with time off from school. But honestly, what would I do with all that time? I have been continuing to purge things, though it has slowed some, and I made this cowboy. I think he's pretty cool. 
    He's got some chaps so he can participate in a variety of events. I think working cowboys like this are one of the most versatile dolls there are. But even western pleasure dressed cowboys have been known to show up in working classes. Much less than they used to. Things have gotten much more specialized and having the correct tack and correctly dressed dolls for every event is sort of a must now. 
      Yesterday I got to hang out with Crystal for a while, which was great! I have not seen her in months (I think months, I lost track of when I last saw her in person) and we got to hang out for a couple of hours. I needed that. So now I have had time off from school, time to work on something I decided to do just because I felt like it, time with my best friend... and I still have a bunch of days left of my vacation. This has been a really good week so far. Even though the weather got cold again. At least we didn't get any snow, like I know some people got. Gross. 


Monday, April 18, 2022

Is This Fashion?

     There are days when I make comments about being/getting old. Usually it's a joke, but there are times that I really wonder. Yesterday a former student came to harass me in the laundromat (literally said that they had had too many complaints about me and I had to leave. So I turned around and laughed at him). We had a bit of a chat about how he was doing, how was his sister (she was one of mine too) and rounded out the conversation with I don't like to drive at night, highway or not (it fit in the conversation, I swear) because it's hard to see. I said, I guess that means I'm old. He laughed and said he had never heard anyone say that before. Yesterday was also the day I got the comment "you look good for your age". Thanks. I know that statement is meant as a compliment... but maybe she meant I look younger than I am? Which is also not exactly a compliment... Whatever, driving at night is hard, lol.
      Anyway, the beginning of this post was because I am feeling old in the world of fashion. Mostly because I just don't get it. Now I realize that I got this tank top from Walmart, and Walmart is not a high fashion place. But they likely get their ideas from actual fashion, don't they? Anyway, I bought it because it looked comfy, which is something I look for in summer clothes, it was slightly different from the other 8 black tank tops I already have, and I didn't think about it much beyond that. Until I got home, tried it on to make sure it fit (it does). And then I really looked at it. 
     What is this? All of the outside seems look like this. This is on purpose! It is properly finished on the inside, it is just purposely made to look like it's inside out. And then this back seam has that weird extra bit that I will have to trim off because not only does it look like it's inside out, it looks incredibly sloppy.  
     I am sure I will keep this top, and wear it. It is comfy, and isn't super low cut, which I care about for school. But then again, do I want to wear this sloppy looking shirt for school? But I also don't really care what I wear when it's 95 and 85% humidity (which is sadly a real thing here). We don't have AC so at that point everything is going to look sloppy. Might as well start in right when I wake up, lol!
      This was just a weird thing I thought I would share. Not only do I now hate driving at night (have for years, but didn't always) because it is hard to see, I just don't get fashion. I also don't understand how the 90's crop tops came back, most of the girls in school are wearing them, but they are cold so they are also bringing blankets to school. Fashion makes no sense. Kids make no sense. Yeah, maybe I am getting old.  

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Bootlegger the Thief

      A couple of years back, the Mares in Black held a photo show which had a very small prompt based performance class list. Whatever you came up with that fit the theme worked for the class. For the prompt strappy, most people would probably think of harness entries. I don't currently own a harness so I had to think outside of the box for that one. So I had Bootlegger stealing all the whips and running away from my Little Elecktra doll. It was a lot of fun to set up and this is still one of my favorite Bootlegger photos. 
     It was not an easy decision to sell Bootlegger, but Jessica Carini was definitely the right person to sell him to! Not only did she buy Bootlegger, she recently purchased my beach/cook out scene stuff I decided I was never going to get around to using again. She let me know when it arrived and I made the comment that now she had to set up a scene with Bootlegger running through a barbecue. And she did! She said she based her photo off my strappy photo! I love this picture and think it was really well executed! But apparently, Bootlegger is a thief! gave me 3 months full access for $1 so I am once again down the rabbit hole of genealogical research. It's pretty tricky since I have to either ignore a lot of the hints, because I am not sure of a fact, or I have to trust that it could be true, so I can move on. It is definitely something that sucks me in. I am glad I am on vacation this week!


Saturday, April 16, 2022

Because I Wanted To

    These days sewing is a chore for the most part. It's a thing I can do, a thing I am good at, but not a thing that I enjoy. I usually have to talk myself into it. Part of that is because I have to drag out and set up the machine before I can do anything. It is not really worth it to pull out the machine for one article of doll clothing. So I make sure I have several things prepped, and then the sewing takes a lot longer. And in turn, it takes longer for me to talk myself into starting.
     Yesterday I took out my sewing machine because I wanted to. I have a project for me, and I did it because I wanted to, not because I had to. I'll admit, it took a bit of time (weeks) to actually take the stuff out, prep the material, and get into the project, but I did this for me. 
      I even tried new things! I used my cutting mat to measure and cut. I also used pins. Now I have used pins in sewing before, but I almost never use them while I am sewing doll clothes. They are just so small (the doll clothes) that I don't really have a need for pins. The longest seam is only a few inches after all. But I wanted my edges to line up nicely, and I needed this to be even all the way across. So I used pins. And a stretch stitch, which I have never done with this machine in all the many years I have had it. 
     And I made several little velvet bags. One of them, I forgot to do the narrower fold on the long side of the fabric, so the bag ended up wider and you can see a bit of unfinished edge (I guess just if you are looking for it, which I was) where the drawstring goes in. But stretch velvet is a pretty forgiving fabric, even though it is a huge pain to work with, and I really like how these bags came out. These are not new to me. I have made lots and lots of drawstring bags over the years. Just not in a very long time. 
    Since I already had the machine out I figured I would get into a doll outfit as well. I probably should have done this on Thursday, or maybe Friday, but I didn't. Because I didn't want to. Because I needed time to do just things that I wanted, and not just things I had to do. But since I already had the machine out, and these pieces were quick, I got them taken care of. Now to prep a body (not today!) and get the doll dressed. His chaps are already mostly finished, so I have a nice start. 
     It was definitely nice to do some sewing because I wanted to. To make something that I have no intention of offering for sale. And while they are not perfect, they are really nice bags, and were kind of enjoyable to make. Though the thing I like most about sewing is what I can do with it, not the actual act of doing it. Maybe today I will also do things just because I want to. I keep on thinking about my custom horse in the closet. He needs a tail, some sanding (and then more sanding, and more sanding) and some other bits of work. Maybe I will do something with her this week.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Fun With Dolls

     Even though I have not had any desire to set up a show entry, or go to a live show, I do still really like dolls. When I got the regular, boring photos of the pair I finished the other day, I decided to take some fun photos. So the dolls got to dance. One of the things that I know I am good at is making dolls look less like dolls. It can take time and small tweaks to make a doll look less doll-like, and a bit more human. But this one is pretty nice. 
       I had another one, very similar to this, with the male doll looking at the camera. It was nice, but I really like how in this one he is looking at his partner. I'm not sure what it is about vaulting dolls, they always make me want to put them in dramatic poses. 

     A bit more dancing. It's tricky, since the male doll can turn his head, but it doesn't tilt up and down. Sometimes, like in this one, he looks very intense.
     I especially like this photo! I like how realistic the dolls look, though the guy is a bit stiff, and I like how they are interacting. He does kind of look like he may just drop her though! I also really like that this is all balance, there is nothing extra holding either of them up and they are not propped against the backdrop. 
     This last one was actually the first one I took. The guy looks sort of like he's not sure what to do with her. I think this would be greatly improved if he could tilt his head down a bit to actually look at her. His pant leg is also bunching weirdly and he looks like he has a broken hip. Or an exceptionally high knee.
     Even though I have not felt like setting up any 1:9 scale dollhouse scenes I did have a lot of fun playing with these dolls. The vaulting doll is nice and poseable (good, she should be!) and the guy in the suit is meant to be a handler for the team, but he does well as a dance partner. And the dolls amused me. Maybe I will find some more fun things to do this week. 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Pep Rally

        Yesterday was a bit of  rough day for me. I have a kid, in two of my classes, who was being incredibly disruptive and immature. I know what you are thinking, this is nothing new in my classes. But this was beyond the normal level. There was the constant talking; while I was giving instructions, when they were taking a quiz, when I asked them to stop and do the work. There was the taking things from people, including puzzle pieces (because they wanted to put in the last piece) or other puzzle pieces because they wanted to help (that student did NOT want help and I was pleased they were doing a puzzle after the work was done instead of sleeping). Then the worst happened. The overhead lights were turned on. Now the big reason that I have 5 lamps in my room and keep the overhead lights off is they make me angry. Like, really really angry. They cause eye strain, and more headaches than with the lights off, and they just make me angry. And I can't stand when kids play with the lights, the phone, my Chromebook, etc. And the lights got turned on. And I yelled. Loudly. Kind of a lot. There were phrases like "you are not 5 years old, stop taking things that don't belong to you and poking people" and fun things like "do you think there might be a reason I keep the lights off?".  Also, side note, I almost got another migraine today. I could feel one thinking about starting. There is in fact a reason I keep the stupid lights off. 

      So that whole thing made me incredibly angry. Not just a little bit annoyed, but like, super angry. I am sick and tired of the kids being irritating and disrespectful on purpose. They never once think of anyone but themselves, and really don't have any idea what they are doing to the staff. Or worse, they just don't care. Or even worse, they know what they are doing and like it. But on the other hand, while I was telling one of my hallway neighbors what was going on (they were surprised that I had had to yell, I just don't do that) a kid that used to be in one of the classes called to me down the hall (WITH my name! Apparently he hasn't forgotten it!) and asked who they had to mess up for giving me grief and they could hear me hollering in the office upstairs (which is literally, right up the stairs... but still) and they said they had my back. It was a good natured comment (as good natured as who do I have to mess up can be, lol) and sounded like respect to me. There are plenty of kids who don't want to do work. But they don't actively try to make the people around them crazy. So yeah, I had a really bad hour or so (it took me a good long while to stop being angry) and then it was time for pep rally. I hate pep rally. 

     The funny thing is, when you volunteer to be an official, and when pep rally is outside, it is actually not bad at all. I didn't have to be right up near the stands full of loud kids. With it being outside I didn't have to wonder why I forgot my ear plugs (yes, I absolutely bring ear plugs to pep rally). Being an official puts you right up next to all the games. It's our job to watch to make sure the kids aren't cheating and be an extra set of eyes to see who wins each game. It was actually kind of fun. The games are silly and ridiculous, so there is a lot of laughing. And it was a gorgeous day, as you can see from the photo. I did not expect sun, so forgot my sunblock. My poor winter skin is a bit pink now. But it was a really nice end to a really bad day. And now I am on vacation until the 25th. I am going to enjoy every second of it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

A Finished Pair

     Sometimes it's a bad idea to make plans, because they just don't always work out. And I don't mean plans with friends or to do fun things, I guess I mean work goals. Sometimes it's a bad idea to make work goals because they just don't always work out. 
     And sometimes they do. 
    So yesterday after school Travis and I needed to swing by Walmart and get a tote. And then we needed to go to Aldi and buy bread and cookies (priorities) so I got a bit of a later start on the doll work than I wanted to. I was really hoping to get the vaulting doll and the guy in the suit finished. When I got started on them I started to rethink my goal, maybe I just would not have time to do it. And that could be OK. I could always finish them up today. But then I somehow managed to get both of them finished. And I didn't have to push myself too much to make it happen. 
      So here is the guy in a suit. I chose to go with buttoned coat for two reasons. One, I didn't have to make a belt, since you can't see if he has one on (I know some people get a kick out of the hidden details that only they know are there but I get a kick out of saving time and not adding bulk unnecessarily). The second reason is if this guy is going to be a handler for a vaulting horse, his coat should not be flapping around. That just seems like it would get in the way. So buttoned up coat. 
     And the vaulting lady now has bling and a face! So two more doll finished and they will be off to their new home soon. And I should probably think about updating my doll book and seeing just how many I have made. I have been slacking with my updating and have absolutely no idea. 
     It's funny, I have a student who acts like they are completely disinterested in everything. They don't want to do their work, often makes no effort, or very little, but they seem to listen to, and remember, everything I say. I told the kids when I started that the reason we do art (coloring, drawing, etc) is when we bring art into academics it makes both sides of the brain work, which then helps you to remember. And this one particular kid remembers every time I ask why I am "making" them color, that it is to help them learn. They also remember when the quiz is (today) that I mentioned many, many times, and no one else remembers because they are not listening. At least one of them is. I have another that listens to only a few words, then interrupts to try say what I mean, or the "correct" answer (which isn't always). It's quite frustrating to not be able to finish a sentence AND to hear an argument for everything that I say. I just have to get through today and I will be on break. Hopefully there is at least some decent weather this week. 

Random fact. 110 years ago today the Titanic sank.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Sneak Peaks and Puzzles

      I am still working very hard at trying to keep the kids off their cell phones. Sometimes they just don't listen. Sometimes I am too busy to fight it (much). And sometimes there are people trying to undermine those goals because they are annoyed. My job is hard. I also think that it is worth the struggle to try to keep them off their phones as much as possible. Even if they get goofy, and sometimes a little loud, they are communicating with each other. And I can take that as a win. A hard earned win. A sometimes loud win.
      A group of kids was quietly silly yesterday and also working on one of the newest puzzles. I like this Mickey, he's cute. And I like that people are still interested in the puzzles. I want to keep it going, but like I said, the kids fight it and there is a bit of undermining. I'm going to keep pushing for it. And maybe I will start another puzzle for myself today. I have a flamingo one that no one has done yet. 
     I'm working on an order for a vaulting lady and a handler doll, aka, a guy in a suit. I actually made really good progress yesterday. I got the sewing done for two outfits and a really excellent start on the vaulting doll. I love when I can do interesting tricks to create a bodysuit. This was actually made in 2 pieces. I cut the bottom of the top at a steep angle, stitched it to the leggings and then covered the join over with a bit of fancy ribbon. Now it looks like it was made all in one piece. Once I add a bit of bling this should be really great. And I will also add a face of course. 
      I may or may not get this lady and her guy finished today. We'll see. He is started, I have his shirt on and partially done, and same with his pants. Once the clothes are sewn finishing a guy in a suit doesn't take all that long. So it is entirely possible that I might finish them both today. We will see what the afternoon brings.