Thursday, 28 August 2008

This week I have been mostly buying...

I have lots of pictures to show you, as it's time to share the bits and bobs that I've picked up this week. First the charity shop buys. I really like the illustrations on these wooden blocks. Very 1960s

Not sure what I'll do with these paper hula girls, but I couldn't leave them in the shop.

Then I've bought lots of cheap plastic tat, just because I love it.
The trouble now is, that I keep thinking to myself, that if I decide I don't want any of these things, I can put them on Consequently, I can't stop buying stuff. Well, look out for these things on Etsy soon.
(i love those old purses - did you ever have one of those when you were little?)

I got lots of these stickers, so some are definitely going on Etsy. I think they're pretty cute and kawaii

And talking of kawaii, I thought these Koeda Chan keyring dolls were very sweet, and seemed a bit of a bargain on ebay. I don't really know much about these characters, apart from what it said on the ebay shop. Apparently they're also known as Treena and her Forest Friends.Not sure what sort of forest has apples, shamrocks and mushrooms all growing in it. A magical Japanese one, I suppose.

Also from ebay, these cheap plastic teen dolls (Bild Lilli clones?). I love the fact that the first doll has a hollow moulded plastic dress. You can't even dress her! Can you imagine the disappointment of the little girl who got one of those for Christmas?

I also got these Liddle Kiddles (& clones) from ebay. I keep buying little dolls to put into boxes to make art. And then usually I decide I'll keep them on my shelf. However, I don't think I'll be tempted to keep these, as they're a rough-looking lot. I think they need a good wash.

A bargain bunch of kiddies' jewellery from ebay. Some to keep and use, the rest to sell.

And last, but never least, more Dolly Darlings. These are the older ones, with the plastic hair. I don't remember these at all from when I was little, and I doubt if they sold them here in the UK, as they seem far more common in the US. When I first saw them, I really didn't like them, but they're growing on me now. Not as cute as the later ones with the nice hair and groovy frocks, but they have their own stiff charm.

So still acquiring a lot of stuff in a very random manner. But I've put lots of new things in my Etsy shop this week. And I sold something (Yay!). And I'm also finding time to make new things as well.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Flickr, Tea and Eccles Cake

This is my snack this afternoon - a lovely cup of tea and an Eccles cake. (In case you're wondering the mug is a 1937 alphabet by Eric Ravilious, a British illustrator.) I had a good afternoon painting (a dolly portrait!), and then uploading photos. In the past few days, I've been getting to grips with Flickr. I didn't realise there were so many Etsy people and dolly people networking there. It makes sense for people in the visual arts to use a predominantly visual medium. Although I'd used Flickr in the past to share photos with family, I'd never used it to network at all. But like myspace, the temptation is to just keep finding friends, surfing sites, finding more friends, surfing sites, etc.. There are just so many cool people doing cool things out there! Well, I hope you have a look at my photostream, despite the fear that you might end up endlessly surfing!

I've put my ebay buys on there. (Yeah,,,that whole stoppping spending money on ebay thing just isn't working out...) Also a few other sweet things I've acquired this week.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

A Village Show

Well, despite my rather whiney blog on Friday, I had quite a good weekend. Yesterday, I went to the Wiveliscombe Village Show, (an out-of-the-way place in Somerset, where my partner's parents live). An annual celebration of allotment vegetables, garden flowers and genteel crafts. I always love the children's competitions best, especially creating a creature from vegetables. These two caught my eye.

They also had to make something out of recycled materials. I thought this cat (or maybe cat-robot?) was brilliant.

The flowers are always beautiful. I especially love the exuberant bursts of dahlias, like this one.

Not sure, but this one might be a chrysanthemum.

And now it's Sunday evening and there are lots of lovely things coming to the end of their auctions on ebay. I just won some Bradley/pose dollies from America. They quoted very reasonable shipping for a change. Somebody else was bidding on the Dakin doll, but I was in an extravagant mood, and decided to put in a good bid and got her. (Apologies if it was anyone else who reads this.)

Uh oh. I really have to stop buying things...

Friday, 15 August 2008

It never rains but it pours

Hooray! I've now had two whole people buy things from my etsy shop. I feel a bit happier about it now.

I know I need to keep putting new things on there, but it's quite hard at the moment. I'm a daylight photographer, and when we've had thunderstorms and torrential rain, there hasn't been enough daylight to take a decent photo. All my items look pale and washed out. Hence the title of this blog.

However, it not only refers to the terrible British summer weather, but also to what's happening in my life at the moment. I've spent most of the summer in various hospitals throughout Bristol with my mum and my sister undergoing major operations, appointments, tests, etc. etc.. My mum is in her eighties and a widow. My sister is epileptic and has no family. Consequently they've both been relying on me to be their hospital buddy. I now have a wide medical knowledge and am very tired. And it's not over yet. Next week my sister goes in for another operation, and my mum is getting some serious test results. And to cap it all, they're both as mad as badgers. To say that we're a dysfunctional family is putting it mildly. Oh well.

Earlier this week, a friend of mine who knew what I was going through sent me a text to say "Think beautiful thoughts...Kittens and knitting, kittens and knitting..."

Thursday, 14 August 2008

More stuff

Did I say last week I had too much stuff and I should stop buying? Well, a week is a long time on Ebay. Here are a few of my latest buys/finds/makes.

First up we have these two cuties. I'm told the doll is Japanese. She has bendy wired limbs and a polystyrene/stockingette head like a pose doll, so she must be related. The little ornament is wonderfully cute and odd at the same time. Why is her head appearing from the leaves? Why are her eyes closed? I'd appreciate any info on either of these, if you have it.

Next, we have a rather extravagant purchase - a whole group of Dolly Darlings. They were slightly cheaper than they might have been, as they didn't say Dolly Darling in the listing. They are, from L to R -Lemon Drop, Dreamy, Casual, Sunny Day and Honey. Honey doesn't have her dress on as she's waiting for it to be washed and mended. When they arrived, Casual and Honey had swapped clothes for some reason, and it's quite a struggle getting their dresses on and off, so she'll have to stay like that for now. The most expensive was Sunny Day - I really wanted to get her, as I had that doll when I was little. My reasoning was that I might be able to resell a couple of them at a profit to offset the cost of the others. Now I've got them, I'm not so sure. At least they're small and don't take up too much room.

These are 'Sweet Secrets' by Galoob. I'd never heard of these before, as they're from the 1980s, when I was too old for dolls. (You'd think that would still be true, but somehow it isn't...) They fold up into 'jewels' and are rather cute, I think.

These two plastic dollies came with some other, less interesting dolls. I love the packaging for the bigger doll - "Miss Success". No pressure on little girls there, then!

The other one has a sweet face, and little moulded ankle socks, which I always think is A Good Thing.

It's not all been a complete Ebay frenzy, despite appearances. I had a nice surprise when a friend returned a cardigan I left at her house, and these were in the parcel

I think they belonged to her mum. There's something very appealing about old knitting patterns, and when they feature dolls as well, what's not to love? I think the doll in the pictures is Sindy's little sister, Patch. (Thank you, Fact Fans.)

My new craft find is mini hama beads. I think in the US they're called Perler beads. You arrange them on a board and iron them to melt them together. I'd made things with the ordinary size beads, but then discovered you can get really tiny ones. You have to put them on the board with tweezers. My first effort was this cottage. To give you some idea of the size, this cottage is just two inches tall (5cm), and there a lot of beads in it.

So you can imagine how long it took me to make this picture, which is 5.5 inches (14cm) square. A labour of love, really, as I realised quite quickly it was going to take me ages, and I kept redoing bits, and rejigging it, as I ran out of colours. In the end, I was determined to just get it finished. A bit crazy, but isn't that true of all the best art?

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Why Pose Dolls?

About ten years ago I found this doll. I can't even remember now where I got her. As well as being in Spanish costume, she's musical. When you wind up her base, she revolves slowly and the music box plays 'Love is a Many-Splendored Thing'. She was so kitsch, and I found her quite amusing. She stayed on a high shelf for ages, then I had a change around, but I decided I couldn't part with her. I looked at her again, and decided that she was so cute, I would put her in the bedroom, next to my jewellery and so on.

And then, the more I saw her, the more I liked her. She became one of my favourite things.

Earlier this year, I started putting pictures of dolls on myspace. I wrote a bit about this doll, but said I knew nothing about what she was, or where she came from. Well, that inspired me to find out more. I was looking at dolls on Ebay, and I saw a similar doll described as a Pose Doll. I googled it, and found some sites and blogs (one of them being the wonderful Reyney). I found that some were called Bradley dolls and I searched for that, and found more. I found pictures of super-cute dollies, lovely dolls in cute 'mod' dresses - all with those amazing eyes. And I discovered there were lots of people out there who love these dolls, and collect them.

So I've started to look for them on Ebay and Etsy. I bought a few cheap ones and got more interested. I bought a beautiful doll from shop66 on Etsy. I keep looking out for them.

And then I saw this doll on Ebay. It was like being struck by lightning. I recognised her as a doll my sister had when I was little. I thought she was beautiful, but I was never allowed to play with her. I'd forgotten all about her, and would never have remembered if I hadn't seen the photo, but now it all came flooding back. I never realised that I had already seen a pose doll all those years ago. She must have stayed in my memory somewhere.

So that's why I like pose dolls...

I didn't buy the doll on Ebay - it was very dirty and overpriced, and I'm hoping my sister still has her original one somewhere, but I suspect she has gone to the dolly's graveyard...

Monday, 4 August 2008

Too Much Stuff

I think I have too much stuff.

I realised this weekend that I had so many dolls & craft materials in my workroom that I didn't have enough room to actually do any work. Admittedly my workroom is tiny, but there's no point in having it at all, if I can't actually work. I've only had a workroom since I moved house last year, and I think the luxury of having a room where I can indulge my love of craft and kitsch has tempted me into buying all sorts of stuff.

Part of the problem is Serial Monogamy Crafting. Two years ago I wanted to crochet with string. I made a lampshade, but bought so many different kinds of string, I still have two drawers full. Then it was fine crochet cotton (one large drawer), then fancy yarn (another drawer). Then I decided I was going to make a patchwork with vintage fabric (two drawers and a large bag). Ten years ago I went on a silversmithing course, and I have a crate of tools and chemicals out in the garage. I also have about ten large sheets of copper (don't ask). Looking around the room, there are two large crates of vintage clippings and ephemera, and a small cabinet full of beads and jewellery findings. There are embroidery cottons, tapestry wools, paints, ribbons, buttons, books, toys, cards and many, many dolls.

I've been telling myself it's part of the creative process, but now I'm starting to realise it's hampering the creative process. As I said in my last blog, I've started the destash process on Etsy (without much success as yet).

It's very hard to know what to get rid of. I think for now, I'll just aim to stop buying more things... Well, stopping completely is probably a bit too difficult, but I can try to slow down. Hey, let's not go too far!