Monday, March 27, 2023

It's About the Tattoos

     On Instagram, sometime last week, I posted a picture of a doll that was about half done and had a bunch of tattoos. I had stopped my sewing early because I just HAD to put some tattoos on a doll. Any artist, of any variety, has probably felt the inescapable urge to do a certain thing IMMEDIATELY. So I did. I dropped everything and put tattoos on a doll. When I finished her this morning I changed out her head, gave her black breeches instead of jeans, and gave her some hands. 
     The doll on Instagram was a blond, but that head was not fully haired. As in, she needs a permanently affixed helmet or hat to keep parts of her scalp from showing. This lady is fully haired and has a nice long braid down her back. Her outfit is solid black, but really, I am usually wearing all black, so it works for me. And really, with this doll, it's all about the tattoos.
     In some ways, this doll has tattoos that are sort of reminiscent of mine. On my left arm I do have a bunch of pink flowers. I also have an oriole, which this doll doesn't. 
     The tattoo on my right arm is all black and gray, but does have one flower in the middle and swirly stuff around it. So it is also similar to mine, but also different. I also haven't had brown hair in a very long time. Putting tattoos on dolls is a lot of fun, and actually really easy. I know I have amazed and impressed some people, but it is literally nail art with some matte nail polish over it. Easy, like I said. 
     I would love to do more dolls with tattoos, but as I mentioned in a comment somewhere, they would all have to be casual dolls. Every other type of doll I can think of has long sleeves and long pants. Someone requested I put a neck tattoo on a doll, and maybe some day I might. The problem is, so much gets covered on these dolls. But I like doll tattoos anyway. 
     This lady is available for $220 plus shipping. Email me at She does not come with a helmet but I am pretty sure I have some options around here if the buyer wants to add one. As with the other recent dolls, she won't be listed anywhere but here, and if she doesn't sell now she will be available at my next live sale. I am still leaning towards the end of April for that. But, as we know, sometime time gets away from me. 

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Fantastic Friday

     Sometimes I think people just want to hear about controversy, which I rarely write about. Definitely people want to see pictures of pretty models, which I sometimes post, but, since I make dolls, you don't get to see pretty models all that much. Some people seem to enjoy the snippets of my life, and rest assured, they are small snippets. Unless I talk to you, a lot, with verbal language, you probably don't know a whole lot about my life. We'll change that a little bit today. 
     I have mentioned lately that I have had a really rough winter this year. I have always gotten the winter blahs, but this year it was so much worse. Which is a little surprising, because it was such a mild winter. But my brain told me a lot of mean things, and I had a really hard time not believing them. I shared some of them with someone I thought was a really good friend (and might actually be), with the disclaimer that I know it is just my brain making things up to mess with me, and this friend took them as 100% true. There was a day this friend snapped at me harshly, an apology followed several days later, but the apology was followed up with a list of reasons why the snapping was basically my fault. Some of the reasons (things I did/said to cause bad feelings in this person) were things that I really had no idea about. But it makes me very wary to say anything to anyone now. What if what I say is taken badly? Even if it is not meant that way. What if I tell someone their hair is out of place, they have something on their face, or in their teeth and it is then taken as criticism? I have been feeling lower than low thinking that I might be hurting the people around me without even knowing it. And yes, consciously, I know that is unlikely to be true. But still, I wonder. And I want to just not talk to anyone. 
     But yesterday was a wonderful day. I had several good days this week, which, funny enough, all involved me being outside and not talking to anyone. But yesterday I had some great interactions with my friends at work, we had early release and I got home in time to see Ethan for a little bit, and then there was this. 
     I have not been hiking in a long time. The sun was not expected to come out but it did anyway. It was not too cold or too warm. And my running shoes are actually incredibly comfortable for hiking. Plus, the place where I went has mostly very well groomed trails, even the ones like this steep one, which is what I started with. Not only was I finally out in the woods again, but I got to go alone. (don't come at me about hiking alone. Two people knew where I was and the place is PACKED with other people). I am so rarely alone. Anywhere. It was very different. I met some dogs, there were people with them, but who cares, and I really enjoyed being out there. 
      This bit of trail was so flat and perfect I actually got to run a bit. I am definitely going to go back to this place, probably with Travis, and maybe we can both do some woods running. 

     In the evening I got into some coloring, which I almost never have time for. I couldn't find my prismacolor pencils (they were next to the bookshelf, not on it. Silly) so I used Crayola, which is definitely not as nice to work with. But I still had a good time. While I was coloring I was thinking about my friend, Brandi, who I hadn't seen since December. So I texted and we ended up getting together last minute for a few hours. We had an awesome time catching up. It's so weird not to be in the same school this year. Definitely an amazing day!
    This week was definitely more good than bad. The weather was more good than bad. My interactions (in the real world and through text) were more good than bad. I have been really good with my proper eating, so I am feeling less bad physically as well. It has definitely been a good week. I spent a few hours today (Saturday) cleaning, sorting, and purging again. I made a lot of progress in a lot of places. I still have a whole bunch of different hobby stuff to go through so I can pull out what I want to let go of and get it listed for sale. Some of it isn't even here, so I definitely will not be ready for a live sale for a bit. So maybe the end of April. We'll see. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2023


     Today was another amazing day. The weather when I got home from work was 61 degrees and sunny (I know, the forecast says cloudy, that was a total lie, it was SUNNY). There was a brisker breeze than yesterday, but that was OK. I was going to brave the breezy/sometimes windy weather to do some doll work OUTSIDE. Being outside was where I really, really wanted to be. But doll work was something I really have to do. The sad fact of life is I am not independently wealthy, which means I have to work. And while I work less than I did a year ago, I do still have to work after I get out of work sometimes. And Wednesday is a doll-work day (yes, I have a schedule, that is how things get done) but the weather was glorious. 
     Yesterday, I said that I can't do doll work outside unless it is completely still. Because all of the super lightweight stuff that goes into doll making blows around very easily. And that is super frustrating. But I have been in such a good mood, I felt it was OK to risk it, with some planning to make it all work. I was careful, I didn't take out all the pattern pieces for a particular piece all at the same time. I would take one out, pin it on the fabric, and then take out the next piece. If more than one piece was out, the extras were under something heavy. And guess what? I managed to cut out a bunch of doll clothes AND sit in my yard in the sun, enjoying the beautiful weather. And the sounds of outside. I had my headphones on yesterday, and music going the whole time, but today it was just nature. It was wonderful.  
     The wind really was a bit too much at times, but I managed to cut out most of 5 outfits before I needed to go in. And I only decided to go in because the clouds were starting to gather, they covered the sun, and it got pretty chilly at that point. So we went inside, I found my dressage pattern that was hiding, and I cut that coat out on the kitchen table. I also managed to get 5 dolls dremeled and prepped today. So progress was made, I didn't stay inside just because I had to work, and that has kept me in a really good mood. I know that the start of Spring is not usually a magic switch to good weather and good moods, but so far, that seems to be what has happened this year. I had one quick annoyance yesterday and a weird, not really pleasant conversation today, but in general, I have just been happy this week. And kind of productive. 
     So now it's just about 8:00, I have 5 dolls started, I have color in my hair, and I am happy. It's almost Thursday, which is Friday Eve, and I love my job. It's supposed to rain tomorrow, which is the perfect day to stay in and sew, then get started putting all these dolls together, but we have had such amazing weather this week that I am OK with a bit of rain. And who knows, maybe the weather guessers are wrong and it will be sunny again. They said it was supposed to be cloudy today, and it was not.
     I am amazed at how nice the weather has been, amazed that I am miraculously and suddenly in a good mood, and fairly amazed that I wrote another post, just having put one up yesterday. Now lets see if I can amaze myself by finishing a bunch of dolls this week. 

* I will not finish 5 dolls this week, but maybe 2 or 3 :) 

Tuesday, March 21, 2023


     If anyone is under any illusions that I like winter, please, let me set the record straight. I do not like winter. I don't like being cold, I don't like when it is cloudy more often than not, I don't like being cold, I don't like snow, I don't like being cold, I don't like cracked fingertips. Did I mention I don't like being cold? I also really don't like that I get so blah. Usually, I am just sort of meh and unmotivated, but that is usually just when the seasons change, every season, and for a couple of weeks. Meh and unmotivated isn't fun, but this past month... I am kind of amazed I have any friends. My brain told me some really horrific things, and I tried really hard to convince myself that they were lies. But then, because my brain had told me them, I kind of believed them, and I felt sort of off and weird for a while. And I felt off and weird around my friends. Not all of them of course, I have known Crystal for such a long time, she knows how stupid my brain is in the winter, and I never think she is mad at me/thinking terrible things about me/avoiding me. I miss her, we chat when we can, get together a tiny bit (did I mention I hate winter?) and I never worry that Crystal doesn't like me. Crystal was there before I had kids and she is still around now. She never decided I wasn't worth asking to do things because I "couldn't go out" because I had kids. True story, a lot of my friends did that to me. Crystal has not been phased in the least that I have to bring my (super awesome) grown son with me when we get together. Actually, if I don't bring Travis, the first question is "where is Travis. 
     So to clear up the current ramblings of my weird brain; I don't like winter. But I love Crystal. But this is not actually a post about Crystal, or Winter. I just happen to have needed a season lead in to what I really want to talk about, and I talked to Crystal for a couple of hours the other day. She got me through a really cold day. And now it's Spring. And that is what I want to talk about. 
     I like Spring. A lot. I know that often it is still cold, or it rains all the time, but it is brighter, sunnier more often than in winter, and I like hearing birds in the morning. I know that yesterday was the first day of Spring, but all of a sudden, yesterday, I started hearing birds singing when I get up to get ready for work. Which is actually kind of funny because it's still dark when I get up. And they may have been doing it before, but I only noticed it yesterday. So before anyone attacks me (if they were thinking of it) about complaining about the incredibly mild (for Massachusetts) winter we had, just stop. I don't like winter. It's not sunny or warm, even if it's not super freezing. And yeah, rain can be better than snow, until it's not. It rained a lot this winter. Snowed a bit, rained more. Weird. I don't like winter. But that is over now.
    So yesterday was the first day of Spring, and it was actually a pretty nice day. But we had to go out and do the laundry and do some errands. But today... today was an even nicer day. And I didn't have to do anything. I got home, with a vague idea of going hiking. Ethan had had the idea of going fishing, and had also started some corned beef and cabbage. Well... 
     I told Ethan to go fishing, and I brought some stones and wire outside. Travis and I spent a couple of hours in the yard, in the sunshine, and I wrapped stones. 
      I did actually think about bringing out stuff to cut out doll clothes, but it has to be VERY specific conditions to manage that. Not just sunny and nice, but still. And it was breezy off and on. When I try to cut out doll clothes when it is breezy, or windy, it just puts me in a bad mood. And I have been in a bad mood often enough the last month. Right now, I am in a good mood. I was in a good mood yesterday too. I would like to keep it that way. Stones are unlikely to blow away. So I brought my bag of wire, a couple of stones, and a bag of tools outside and I got to work. Originally, I had 2 stones and that was kind of the plan. Just the two, that would be fun, and more than I have wrapped since Saturday I think. When I started, I was wrapping a stone every day. Because you need to do the thing every day to get good at it. I have not done daily wrapping in a bit. Today I made up for things. 
     I also made my first bracelet from a wrapped stone. The trick is to make a bail on both ends, which I have done for other projects, but can't think of what right this second. Anyway, making a double ended wrapped stone isn't particularly hard, especially not doing it this way, and then I just added a thick chain, which makes the whole thing adjustable. And I really like it! I can't wear it because I only wear bracelets on my left wrist and this is too big to wear with my Fitbit. And I have to know my step count. But I made my first bracelet from a wrapped stone and I am really pleased with it. This particular stone came from Blessed Bee Apothecary in South Hadley, MA. 
     Remember how I said I was planning on wrapping two stones and that would be enough? Yeah, that isn't what happened. I was enjoying the outside, the lovely weather, and I just kept on going. Somewhere in there, maybe when I started the fourth piece, I was reminded of my first day of stone wrapping. I wrapped that one stone five or six times and finally had to stop because my fingers hurt so much. I did these four pieces today, turning one into a bracelet, and my fingers don't hurt at all. Except my thumb, where the skin is dry and split, which hurts a lot. Washing your hands many, many, many times a day does bad things to skin. 
     Anyway, I had a good day today. I had a good day at school, and my brain never tells me that the people I work with don't like me. Maybe because I see them every day, and we usually end up laughing a lot. I have a good group of people I work with. The kids are great, my team is great, so school is great. And now the weather is pretty great. At least the last couple of days. I went out today to enjoy some of the nice weather and it made my happy. And making jewelry makes me happy. Plus I was hanging out with Travis, which also makes me happy. Tomorrow is supposed to be even warmer, with a high of 61 degrees (I hear all my friends who live in the desert giggling about 61 being "warm") but it will be cloudy. Tomorrow is probably a good day to stay in and work on dolls. But I had a really nice time outside wrapping stones today, and I wanted to share that. 

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