Saturday, March 18, 2023

Side Saddle

     The very last ordered doll I made when I closed my books was this side saddle doll. Definitely a nice doll to finish the custom orders on. She was made to look somewhat like a painting, to match an idea the customer had, and she was fun to make. 
      One of the struggles of making a side saddle doll is getting the skirt (or apron) to drape well. Fabrics just don't drape as well in miniature, which is a fact of doll making life. 
     I found a fabric (that I of course forgot what it is because I shop by feel) that drapes really nicely. I was not sure I could make it work for a doll because not every fabric will work well for a doll. That is also the nature of making custom dolls. 
    This stuff I found, which might be crepe, it might be something else, actually drapes incredibly well. I don't know that I would want to work with this fabric all the time, or for very small pieces, but it did work out well, even for the jacket. I think I also made the hat with the same stuff. That was a delicate process.
      This order had the unusual request of needing the dolls thighs to be incredibly small. The side saddle wasn't really made to fit a doll, so the pommels were somewhat small. I dremeled off most of the thighs (look how modern she looks with that insane thigh gap!) so she would, hopefully, fit the saddle.  
        In the end, the doll came together well, she fits the saddle, and she looks pretty nice. The skirt is definitely drapeable (which I have decided is a word) and she does resemble the painting. The veil on her hat is also removable, for a bit more versatility in her use.  
     I am still very much enjoying not taking custom orders, though I definitely had some fun and interesting ones when my books were still open. I am still making dolls, I think I have listed at least one every week, and I just got in a huge order of dolls, plus I went through my doll body drawer, and I have A LOT to work with. So there will be dolls and dolls and dolls in the future. For a while at least they will just be what I want to make. 
     I have been rethinking my live sale. I was originally planning it for the end of this month, but I should know better. With as blah as I get in the winter, as hard as the weather is for any sort of outdoor photos (which come out the best), and with just everything else, I don't really have enough time to finish getting ready. So maybe the end of April. I still have traditional scale models to dig out and photograph, tack, props, 1:9 scale dollhouse stuff. So yeah, it will be a bit before I am ready for the live sale. I still have micros and minis listed in different posts. And there are some new dolls (I will likely also have some from my personal collection) that are in posts. One of these days I will gather all the links into a single post. Today is not that day.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Winter Weather

     We have had a super mild winter this year. I am fine with that, but it is still winter, which means I am still sort of blah, and now winter has decided to be winter when it is almost over. It's a bit frustrating. Yesterday we had a winter storm and they canceled school. It wasn't actually that bad, just a bit sloppy. We didn't even bother to shovel, just cleared the cars off and the driveway has almost cleared itself. Anyway, I had vague plans to work on doll stuff but that didn't happen. I did make a necklace and Ethan, Travis, and I went to the indoor flea market. But I am really, really ready for Spring. I am ready for weather that is sunny AND warm, and not super windy, all at the same time. Maybe soon. 
     So yesterday I didn't get into any doll work, but I did today. I mentioned, last week, I was working on a casual doll, but then got glue on her shirt and she became a western pleasure doll. Well, I still had the jeans, and a head ready, so I made a new shirt and I got this casual lady put together today. 
     As you can see, her hat is removable, so she can do events or just hang out around the barn. Or your 1:9 scale dollhouse. By the way, I am pretty sure I am going to let go of at least some of my 1:9 scale dollhouse stuff. I have a whole ton of stuff and just never have time or space to play with it. So some things are likely going. I know I said the end of March for my live sale, but I am not really even close to ready. Maybe more like the middle or end of April. Date to be determined. 
     This casual lady is available for purchase, $220 plus shipping. You can add cutting chaps or chinks of the color of your choice (If I have the color) for $40 more. 
     I am definitely feeling the winter blahs lately. My brain is telling me that my friends would rather hang out without me, it tells me I have no time for anything but am also not getting things done. Even when there is evidence that I am getting some things done, even if it's not a lot. Definitely not in a happy place this week. It's supposed to be fairly warm tomorrow and Friday, and not raining/snowing, maybe that will help my mood. We'll see. Winter can go now.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

When Skills Collide

     I have been making jewelry since last June, roughly. I have made jewelry many times over the years but really got into it this time around in June. I mostly combine gemstone beads and charms, which are not necessarily complex, but not usually something that other people are making. But still, if you have the basic skills to bend a loop in an pin, you can probably do what I was doing. 
     So then a couple of months ago I decided I had to learn wire wrapping. I don't know why, but it came to me that it was something that I absolutely had to learn to do. So I asked Ethan for some help, since he had done some wire wrapping himself, I watched videos, bought supplies, and started wrapping stones. Every day. That was my goal, to do at least one every day. Because you need to do a thing every day to be really good at it. Then one day I had this picture in my head of a crystal with gold and silver swirl designs on it. I don't like mixing metals. I have had an aversion to that, and pattern mixing, my whole life. But the picture was really nice so I found a stone that fit the idea, got out gold and silver, and mixed them in the same piece. And boy am I glad I did! I really like how this piece came out. I am no longer against mixed metals and I have started doing with jewelry what I have been doing with dolls for years. That is, I am designing things, at least partially, in my head while I sleep, while I do other things that don't need much concentration, and they are coming together in the real world in a very nice way. I love that. 
    When I decided (or discovered) that I needed to learn to wrap stones it really was to fit into a larger plan I had. I want to make really unique jewelry pieces. I want to make things that other people can't make. And maybe they can, just like other people can make dolls, but most people are not going to be able to copy what I make and have it look just like one of my pieces. Art doesn't work that way. Everyone has their own style that starts to shine through when they start doing really custom pieces. That's what I want to do, I want to make really nice custom pieces. I want to combine the gemstone beads and charms with wrapped stones. So that's what I did. This was one of (not the first, just one of) the first pieces where I did that. I really enjoyed how this piece came together.
     One of my friends puts together these get-what-you-get bags of gemstones. As in, you can't choose your individual stones, you get what you get. And they are a bargain. They are the pieces that are sized wildly differently than the others in her stone orders and whatever random things she wants to put in them. I am obsessed with buying stones, and bargains, and have bought quite a few of these bags. I had a lot of quartz points, but not the cut and shaped ones that most people are familiar with. Like, really raw stones. So I learned how to do a wire net wrap. The problem was, I don't like the look of a bail made from thin wires. I think they look sloppy. But I thought about it and I wrapped the cut ends with some half round wire, which neatened up the entire look of the piece. They are still technically not as refined as the pieces I usually do, but raw stones have a lot of character. And I like the variety. 
     Another of the things I ended up with a lot of was kyanite blades. At first I really discounted them because I could not wrap them in the styles of wrap that I knew how to do. But that's silly, I should just learn a new skill if what I know doesn't work, right? So I did. I found another wrap style that is really excellent not only for gemstone points, but also for things that are an unusual shape, like these kyanite blades. I also mixed two different tones of copper and really enjoy it. 
     This necklace is another example of learning new skills to be able to make a piece work. I said I had a lot of the kyanite blades, right? Well, I wasn't kidding about it. And I had this idea that I wanted to basically turn them into beads and make a chunky necklace. I had to learn yet another skill to make this piece. The center stone has a double ended bail. I used the swirly wrap I have been practicing, modified to have the double ended bail, the wire net style wrap, and the point wrap that I can't think of what else to call it. I also did a fourth style of wrap on the dangling smoky quartz. This piece took quite a long time to make, but I do love how it came together!
     Earrings are the jewelry I make the most often. But the idea of making earrings out of stones and crystals was a bit scary to me because it is very hard to match natural stones. These earrings are not perfectly matched, but it is clear that they are a pair. The stones are close in shape and size, but not identical. The wraps are done in the same style, but they can't be identical, the stones are not. But similar to being OK with mixing metals, I am learning to be OK with jewelry pieces that don't have perfectly matched stones. 
      It also has been fun to make necklaces that coordinate with earrings. I have done a couple of these at this point. I don't list them together, as I know way too many people who either don't wear earrings or don't wear necklaces, or have very sensitive ears and need the lightest of light earrings. So separate. But I do like the option of having matched sets of things. 
     This last pair of earrings was another tricky thing for me. The stones for each earring are similar, but again, they are not identical. The wrap styles are as close as I could get, or as close as I chose to get (I could have tweaked a couple of things and made them a tiny bit closer), but these earrings are made from natural stones, not cut and shaped to pair perfectly. And I really love how these earrings are a mix of sort of rustic and pretty refined. Look at me, mixing all sorts of things now. 
     I got in a whole bunch of new charms, and bought several more bags of stones, and I have ideas swirling through my head on what I want to make. I am possibly going to do some more just plain wrapped stones, but learning to do that was basically a means to making very custom pieces. I am likely going to be putting together some new things fairly soon. I also have some things that need to be repaired (tool marks need to be removed) and then I will see about getting them on my website. Currently though it has been an amazing brain-break to design more than just dolls. For anyone who is interested in looking at more of my jewelry pieces, they are all on my website including the Instagram feed (also Blessed by Fire Designs). 

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Minis for Sale

    It's time for the next round of pieces I am letting go of. And just to repeat, I am not leaving the hobby, but I am seriously downsizing my collection. I already started with the micros, which are listed here, and now today you are getting minis. I have a variety available, some artist resins, one custom, and a bunch of OFs. Shipping is a little bit tricky since the ARs will cost more to ship due to needing to be packed differently and so on. So I think I will go with OFs are $5 to ship, for up to 3, ARs are $10 to ship. OF riding along with an AR can ship free. And if you want to bundle and make an offer, please feel free. The worst I can say is no. I am looking to seriously downsize my collection, not just give things away. Anything that doesn't sell now will be available at my live sale, which I am hoping to have at the end of the month, but that is coming up fast, so I may need to rethink that a bit. Oh, there is a micro at the end of this post that was stashed with a box of mini Breyers. Please send me an email to if you would like to purchase. 

Curio sized Ranch Mare by Morgen Kilbourn painted by Kenzie Williamson. $400

Pixel, sculpted and painted by Morgen Kilbourn. Seems to have suffered a broken leg at some point. The repair could be better. $150

Moxie sculpted by Sarah Rose and painted by Angelica Anzelmo (Nelson) to this super gorgeous appaloosa. $225

Mini Barnaby sculpted by Nikki Button and painted by Stephanie Blaylock $350

Mini Mira sculpted by Sheila Bishop and painted by Angelica Anzelmo (Nelson). $300

Mini Brio sculpted by Sheila Bishop and painted by Angelica Anzelmo (Nelson) $275

Stone chip resin. Painted by me. Feel free to strip it, add to him, or just be fascinated to own something that I a doll maker painted, lol, $40

Django $100

Appy mystery horse surprise $10

Ellington, deluxe collectors club model $40

Navya 2017 Breyerfest store special $50

2018 mystery horse surprise gold filigree chase piece. $50

2021 stablemate club Tobias $25

2021 stablemate club Atticus $25

2021 premier club Fireheart $100

Prepped mini working for chex $15

Resin duck Sprat by Kenzie Williamson
2022 premier club Giorgio $60 (sold)

Stablemate lovers shadowbox set G2 appaloosa $7

2022 stablemate club Shelburne $25

2022 stablemate club unicorn Fireheart $50

2022 stablemate club Phineas $25

Maggie's monthly micro November 2022 Soldadito de Plomo $40