Tuesday, November 29, 2011

In The Mail....

Hello Everyone! Hope you're having a fabulous Tuesday!

The check Gift is in the mail!

Oh my Lord! I think my heart rate has finally come back down to normal.....Let me back up some....
Last night I got Susie's 'Pumpkin Man' (have to wait for her to get him and give him a name) and Tonya's
G-Doll wrapped and packed. Tonya's went into a padded (room - like I need. LOL) envelope. I figured that would be safe since it was a local delivery. Especially after I wrote "Do Not Bend" and "Please Hand Process" all over the envelope. That package was not a concern....I knew right from the begining that it would go by Pony Express (US Mail for those of you who don't know that expression). Now the other one, the one going to the other side of the planet....well, that one was a bit un-nerving....at least in my head. I got a box from Fed Ex. No problem, right? Wrong. After I packed the box, carefully sealed it up and made sure it was ready for travel I realized that the box actually said FED EX EXPRESS ONLY. Panic....for a few minutes. Then I thought "We can try it that way and see.....can't be that much more, right?" HA HA HA HA!
So this morning I went to work with my box and asked a friend / co-worker to help me. I have used the Fed Ex machine but never for out-of-the-country shipments. So she came down to the mail room and helped me process the package. We entered the information cautiously and correctly...at least I think we did. It's a differnet postal set up in Tasmania but everything seemed to be ok. Worked through the box weight, width, and height. Decided on the 'value' of the contents.....and pushed the calculation button.
OMG!!! my jaw hit the floor. I must have stood there looking stupid for a solid five minutes before my mouth could utter the words that were going through my brain....."Oh, Hell No!!" 
A few minutes later..."Are you sure we did this right?....That can't possibly be right".
So then I hear from my co-worker "Well, let's try it this way". You could have cut the silence in the room with a knife.
"Uummmmm, that's worse than the first one".
"Well, let's go back to the first one and see if it's the same......"
"Really?.....I can't believe it costs that much"
So, needless to say, Pumpkin Man is NOT going to Tasmania by Fed Ex.
"How much, you ask?"
Well, for a fairly small box, which weighed right at a pound it was........$107. Yes, you heard that right, $107.
So I have been freaking out all day thinking "how I am going to get this to Susie in Tasmania? I will make a trip to the post office. I have to go there anyway to mail out Tonya's G-Doll. I mean, I've already had a stroke...the post office can only kill me, right?
Got out of work and flew to the post office. Got there with 15 minutes to spare. Whew! Stood in line, waited my turn. The woman behind the counter was an extremely kind, helpful and pleasant person. Once again, I was standing there with my mouth hanging open. After I regained my composure I explained to her my situation and she said "let's see what we can do". I handed her Tonya's package first. She weighed it and placed the postage stamp on it. And set it aside.."This one can stay right here with me...I will walk it over to the annex, since it clearly says 'Hand Process' (a huge grin on her face). I then handed her the box to Tasmania. She put it on the scale and said politely..."They wanted how much"? Again I repeated those numbers. "107 dollars".
"Well, we can do two day for $44". My eyes glazed over..."Wow, that was still more than I thought".
"Or, we can do 3-5 days for $33". Better, but still little green dollar signs were burning into my head.
Then she said with an incredibly big smile..."We can do regular post, which means that delivery depends on location.....for $14". Sigh of relief. By this time the other two postal tellers and the customers were all looking at me, so I just smiled at them and said "let's do it that way".
Then she hands me the international papers to fill out. Guess where my glasses were....I'll give you a hint: they were Not with me. Have you ever tried filling out paperwork (tiny little letters and spaces) at arms length? I have....it doesn't work. So this sweet lady took them back from me and filled them out. Never once being rude, obnoxious or condesending....I really hope she's there the next time I have to go into the post office.
So, I'm thinking the envelope will be to Tonya like Thursday and the post (al) lady says "Oh no, it will be there tomorrow, I'm going to take this over personally when we close up". All I could do was smile and say thank you!
So, Miss Tonya, you will have your package tomorrow. :)
Miss Susie, you will have your package shortly. I figure a week probably, so keep an eye out. *I know you are teaching / vacationing....I am hoping it will arrive when you return. Hopefully a pleasant surprise upon your return home. :)

Have a wonderful night!

p.s. I am working out again. Yesterday and today....sore in places I really don't want to explain  :)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Good Sunday Afternoon to Everyone!

    Well, Now that the 'winner' has been chosen and the pumpkin man is ready, all I have to do is get them in the mail. I hope to have that accomplished tomorrow. It worked out very well, I posted here and on Facebook friday night and wouldn't ya know it....Miss Susie was online! Yay! We talked (typed) for a few and now I have an address to ship Pumpkin Man to Tasmania with. Hurray! I have also heard from Tonya and I have her address to ship out her G-Doll. I'm so excited....I can't wait for them to see them.

Yesterday I was inspired by some of the leaves that have been falling in the backyard. So I decided to dye some material to reseamble the colors in the leaves. Came out wonderfully (at least until it was dry). I can never seem to get the colors I want after the dye has dried. I am always happy with the 'wet' colors. But, all in all, it still looks pretty good. I have a couple of dolls in mind for this material. Here are some pictures, see for yourself.....
these are a few of the inspirational leaves :)

i strung some twine at an angle so the dye would 'run'

and the other side

it's more of a 'rose' now instead of a red

Not too bad....? I followed the directions, rinsed in cold water, washed in warm and dried......You know, I just realized what the problem is. All the darker colors (dark red / black) seem to have washed out. All that's left is the yellow and mid tone red. Hhhhhmmmmmm. I guess that's what I get for following directions. Next time I'll know better.

And I have been working on the 'round' headed doll too. Wanna see? Keep in mind that this is the first one I've done.....so don't laugh (too much, anyway). The one on the left is actually the first. Kinda sad, I know. But....the one on the right is soooooo much better. Trial and error. There's a lot of information on the internet, but very little 'mathmatical equations'. I was so sure the first one would come out round. More of a mushroom than a ball. Live and learn, I guess.  :)

first (not so round) and second attempts

Let's see....what else?....
Oh yeah, Friday night my daughter came home from California. I missed her a lot. I'm glad she's home. And on Saturday night we took my mother-in-law to the bus station. She should be almost home to Michigan by now. They both had enough in their suitcases for at least a dozen people. The airport was relatively empty on friday. But the bus station was freaking packed. Spent last night rearranging rooms again, so my daughter could have her room back. Man, I am getting far too old to be lugging dressers and beds and nightstands up and down two flights of stairs. :)  And just think, on Tuesday I get to move a sofa and two living room chairs downstairs so we can put up Christmas decorations. Yippee! I'm thrilled (can you tell?).

I think once I get the 'round' head down pat, I want to do a 'green man'. I want to use paperclay and give him antelers and maybe use some silk leaves too. I think I may have to break out the dye again. I don't have a green that I like.......
I'll let you know about that one when the time comes.

I guess that's all for now.....Enjoy the rest of your (holiday) weekend for tomorrow it's back to work.


Friday, November 25, 2011

GHDP ~ the votes are in....

Hi Everyone!
Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! It was nice and quiet on the home front this year. No big get together, no hoopla, just me and Sally. I made turkey and dutch yellow potatoes (tiny little things), stuffing, corn and carrots. Didn't make any dessert, which is a good thing...I was waaayyy too full to even contemplate more. :)

Well, here it is Friday night. And I must say that this has been a long, frustrating, disappointing week. I know I don't have a lot of 'followers' right now, so I posted my 'Please Vote' on Facebook as well. The response was unbelievable.......as in "there wasn't much". I posted the vote several times and my friend / neighbor even posted it on her page. I guess I must be doing something wrong...maybe I'm not entertaining enough? I don't know but the tally was 14 votes. People I thought would vote didn't. Even after I reminded them to do so.
'So what?' you say? My sentiment exactly. Not sure whether I should be mad or hurt. :(  
Either way, I am really (really, really) begining to question the whole 'socail network' thing. Maybe it's because Facebook makes it so difficult to actually see the things you want to see but the crap (picking my nose and watching a movie now) comes through right to the top of FB's 'important' list. Ok, I feel better now (a little tiny bit, anyway).....

The Votes Have Been Tallied (not that it took all that long).......
DRUM ROLL PLEASE (arattatattat, arattattat, arattattat).......
The winner of an all expense paid trip to Tasmania is.................Number Two! YAY! YIPPEE! HURRAY!!
The little guy is all dressed up in a pumpkin / fall handmade bow. He has solid orange, orange and black plaid with just a touch of orange and black swirl material. He has a hand painted traditional Jack-o-lantern face complete with orange and black glitter to really bring out his smile! I think it was his 'traditional' good looks that won him the contest. He will be packed up and shipped out to Tasmania shortly. It's all up this little guy to start the Halloween tradition in Tasmania now (at least at one house). Wish him luck on his journey across the seas.
Number Two Wins (second from the left would be #2 - LOL HA)

Now, I would like to take the time to say Thank You Very Much to all of those of you took the time to look at my page and give me your opinion ~ to those of you who didn't vote ~ shame on you. Maybe next time you will vote (won't hold my breath).
And to show my appreciation....I am going to draw a name (from the fourteen people) for a special gift.

all the names in a little box (and I mean LITTLE-LOL)

ANOTHER DRUM ROLL PLEASE (arattatattat, arattattat, arattattat)...........
The winner is.........      

Tonya Caldwell. Congratulations! I will be contacting you soon to get your winnings in the mail.

"What was the gift you ask"? Well, let me tell you.......I have been revamping some of my old patterns. One of which is my G-Doll (Goddess Doll). I have been very pleased with the way that the new pattern has turned out. So that is what the 'raffle' was for..... I am please to announce the arrival of the new G-Doll...

She is made from coffee stained muslin. She has a big heart and a hand strung
glass bead necklace. She is adorned with white swirls with leaves and yellow flowers
and has clear glitter swirls running the other side (all on the 'front'). She has button eyes
and red 'freaked out' hair. May she bring you all the joy of the world each time you look
at her.  :)

Now that that is done....I just have to get them in the mail. :) Possibly Monday or Tuesday? Oh wait, I still need a shipping address from Mz. Susie. Hhhhhmmmmmm.....Maybe Wednesday or Thursday? LOL!!

I have also been working on a revamped pattern to make a doll with a 'round' head. The first one I've attempted. I will post some pics of how it is coming along soon.

Once again I would like to Thank All Of You who took the time to help me make a decision of which GHDP was going to Tasmania. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

til next time....


Sunday, November 20, 2011

GHDP is Finished! Hooray!!

Good Sunday Morning All!

Can you believe it's been two weeks (again)? I swear I was just on here......that went by fast. ZOOM!

Yes, you read the title correctly.....the Great Halloween Dollie Project is completed. Good thing I wasn't pushing for Halloween this year. Now I see why all the artist start making they're 'Weenies' in March. I didn't think I was ever gonna get finished. But I did and they look great. Wanna see?? Here they are....

Now that they've been completed comes the hard part. And this is where I need your help. One of these little guys is going to become a world traveler. He / She will be making a trip to the other side of the planet. So I have to decide which one it will be....that's where y'all come in. I would very much like your opinion (vote) on which one to send. So look them over and drop me a message (comment). Who knows...maybe there'll be something extra in it for someone else.
Well....what are you waiting for? Get to it. I want to hear from you.

Bonus points for people signing up for my blog. :)

Speaking of which....I see the Frog Queen (from Frog on the Pumpkin) has joined my little world. Yay! If you haven't visited her, you should. She has a wonderful blog and some amazing decorations. I want to decorate like they do!!! My wife would have me committed. She already freaks out with what I do now. I could only imagine the shock (horror) on her face if I transformed the entire yard. Heh heh heh....I have so many ideas running through my head right now. I know..Halloween is a year away. But I have to think about it now. Or I will never get anything accomplished. :) You can visit the Frog Queen here.
I also never figured out how to send someone a photo.....I came across this and immediately thought of Frog on the Pumpkin. So I'm gonna post it here and the Frog Queen will just have to steal from my blog. :}

I left all the info. So you could see what / where it was from.

Ok, now that all of that is out of the way.....Please vote for your favorite Dollie. Leave me a message and let me know which one you think so make the trip to Tasmania. Now remember, this is for someone who does not celebrate Halloween. It's not a big holiday there. So, of course, we have to change that. :P She doesn't know it's coming - well, she didn't know it was coming. I'm sure she does now. hahaha
Susie - I need a mailing address. Please. And Thank You.
Be sure and read the post carefully - to get ALL the information.
Vote, Vote, Vote!!

And for those of you asking (I can hear the thoughts), NO, I have not just been working on the GHDP. Last weekend I got a wild hair and decided to paint. It's a long story that I will share when I get some photos of my progress. I also made some changes to my doll pattern and started putting together one from the modified pattern. I'm not 100% convinced whether I like it or not. It has created a few issues with the sewing aspect. Here's a photo of it so far....what do you think?

Modified Pattern. Christmas material.

I guess that's all for now. Had to do the 'job thing' yesterday, so now I'm playing catch up on all the things I didn't get done yesterday. Yippee.

Have a great Sunday. And a fabulous week! Only 3 days next week. YAY!

p.s. I will count the votes on friday 11/25. That will give everyone time to vote. If you have a blog and want to put this out there that would be great and greatly appreciated!

Sunday, November 06, 2011


Good Sunday Morning to ya!

Did you remember to set your clocks back? I did - at least on the important ones, ya know, bed room alarm and the microwave. Can't nuke my coffee with the wrong time. Ha!

I actually got to work on the Dollie Project yesterday. Kind of a happy / not so much day. I managed to get the papermache out of the devil mold. I still have to soak it to get all the little pieces out. My skull mold was not so fortunate. the papermache seems to have adhered itself to the mold, even with mold release. I'm going to try soaking it before I give up completely. What a mess. The papermache in the devil was still wet (a week and a half later). I think that's why it came out relatively easily. Live and learn, I guess. I think if I decide to try the celluclay again with a mold it will be a rubber mold.

On the plus side, I did get the 'mask' finished for one of the dolls. It came out quite well, even if I do say so myself. :)  I used paperclay for the sculpt and painted / crackled with acrylics. Now I just have to figure out which one of the dollies is going to get this face. I've also made a pair of eyes specificly for this face. Sometime today I hope to get them applied to the doll. I have decided that I am going to try and do each dolls face differently....paperclay for one, sewing for another, and I think paint for another. I will keep you updated on the progress and the decissions. In the mean time, here's some photos....
the starting point...paperclay

the crackle test. had to seal the paperclay so it wouldn't absorb the paint

the under paints - Phthlao Green with Black drybrush

then a Titan Buff crackle. Sealed with a semi-gloss polyurethane

Not too shabby, huh? I can't wait to see it on the dollie. I think it will 'pop'. I've loosely placed the eyes with this face and I think they will make it really stand out.

I also started a 'round, half mask' when I started with the papermache. Not sure if it's going to get used for one of these dolls or a future project. Not sure I like it or not. I did paint it yesterday, while I was waiting for the skull face to dry.

orange undercoat with a darker orange drybrush. Phthlao green and Red oxide for the stem.
poor thing looks like a peach in this photo. not convinced where this is going to be used yet.

I've also created some 'hang tags' for the dollies as well. I don't have any photos of them (as of yet). I will post those with the photos of the attached face mask. :) This project is coming along nicely...even if the time schedule is messed up (Halloween after Halloween).

I guess that's all for now...the GHDP moves forward!


Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Seems so empty...

My porch, My steps, My yard.......Are Freaking Empty. It seems so strange not having all my little critters spread out all over the place. They are all put away....longing for next year. :(
My Scare-me-crows (Mr. Frosty and Pumpkin Head) and my lil' trick or treater are 'stored' in my studio...they are all staring at me...seeming to say "what did we do wrong?"....."why can't we be in the yard for all the kids to see?"
No more lights or garland or wicked smiling pumpkins. The tombstones are all stacked against the back wall. The little metal table pumpkins no longer shine. The ghostly tableclothes are all folded and packed. Oh, how I miss Halloween....already. I think we should leave the decorations up all year. Adding to them, one piece at a time...throughout the year. Yeah, right. You wouldn't be able to walk through my yard. The neighbors would all be pointing and whispering behind my back...."there's that crazy old man". Wait....they do that now. HaHaHa!! In case you haven't figured it out already.....I CAN'T WAIT TIL NEXT OCTOBER!  :}

Well, at the very least I picked up some goodies for next year. Went to Garden Ridge and Halloween City for their 50% mark off. I didn't get much...Halloween City had a lot of costumes and not much decorations. The decorations they did have were 'bottom of the barrel'. Garden Ridge wasn't much better. Most of what they had was the cheap yard signs. Most of which wouldn't make it through one year. I did manage to get a mask (nice one too), a set of pumpkin lights (for my daughter, she only has a few lights so far), a black and orange boa (which is already wrapped around my lil' trick or treater), a couple of skull and bone bracelets (for the scare-me-crows), a Halloween music CD and black lighted twig sidewalk markers (which I think will get used with one of my critters). All in all, not a bad collection - it's a start anyway.  :P

all my new goodies

I also realized that this was the first year that I did not carve a pumpkin. I guess the ones I was trying to grow really goofed me up when they didn't grow. I will grow pumpkins for next Halloween, one way or another. Maybe I'll go visit some of the farmers around here and get some tips.

The celluclay was dry enough (a week later) for me to try and remove them from my molds. I learned a very valuable lesson......DON'T EVER USE CELLUCLAY WITH PLASTER MOLDS. Even if you follow directions and use a mold release. Because what you wind up with is a horrific mess. Hopefully I can soak my molds for a bit and get the remainder of the celluclay out of them. Can you say 'Pissed Off'? I had to leave them where they were and walk away. I so hope my molds aren't ruined.
this is my skull mold

this is the mess you get.....

when you use this in a plaster mold ~ AAARRRGGGHHHH!

these are two older dolls with latex faces from my molds

Wish me luck on cleaning up the paperclay mess! Keep your fingers crossed that I can remove this goop without tearing up my molds.

Anyway, I guess that's all for now. Have a great night. Hopefully my next post will have some positive advancements with the dollies.


Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Happy Day After Halloween!

Good Morning All!
Hope you all had a fantastic Halloween!
It was a wonderous night!

I took a couple days off of work to prep for my mostest favoritest day!  And I must say that it turned out GREAT! It seems like such a blur now but I'm fairly certain I had a good time (hahaha).
I started the day out by going to visit Wal mart...why you ask (come on, ya know you asked)? Because that's where my wife works and I know everyone ~ and, they dressed up. So you know I had to go see. The lady in the service center was dressed up but I didn't get to see her. The lady in the garden center was an angel. There was a pirate in the clothes department. Then there was Connie. She's in charge of the garage ~ she was the Michelin Man. It was great! She did a really good job with her costume.
Connie as the Michelin Man

Wait...side track....When I got up to our 'freezing' weather (yes, it was COLD - 32 degrees) there was frost and ice all over everything. It made a really cool picture. The ground was covered with frost and it was this errie white. And of course my first thought was 'really? it just had to do this on Halloween'. So I took a couple of photos....

my Scare-me-crow - I think his name is now offically "Mr. Frosty"

Ok, where was I.....Oh yeah, Wal mart..after I left there I went to Wear Me Again (a local consignment shop) to hunt for a little black dress for Halloween. Made you read that one twice, huh? I had to find a dress for my lil' trick or treater. I walked in the store and whipped out my phone...'this is the manikin I have and I need a black dress'. The women in the store looked at me like I was insane. Actually they looked at me like I was a pervert and it was kind of creepy (it was actually really creepy). Once they figured out what I was doing it was great. "Well, we have this one and this one and this one, but they're all black with differnet colors"...no, that won't do. Then she disappeared around several racks of clothes and said "what about this one? It may be too long..."  That's the one! It was a simple black dress with a little white lace. So I gave them my $3 and was on my way. :)

From there I came home and started working on all the little things that make it 'pop'. I got my lil' trick or treater dressed and added her mask and hat...I set up the table and started putting out all the little trinkets and lights...got the stero set up and played Kristen Lawerence's Halloween Carols while I finished setting up. Put out the candy caldroun and the crock pot (had hot apple cider for the trick or treaters - mom's and dad's mostly). Set up the fire-pot and my neighbors brought over some wood for me to use. Barry cut up the wood small so it would fit in my pot - I have some pretty damn good neighbors! Once all that was done I got Amy and Isabel (neighbor and mother-in-law) to 'babysit' my table while I ran to Tallapoosa (my son really needs to move closer) to pick up my daughter-in-law and my grandkids. Lawton and Shaylor were glad to see me and excited to go! Packed them all up in the car and got back home just as Sally was pulling in from work. Yay! great timing. We were running around trying to get dinner going when I hear.."Theres someone at the door wanting candy"..Already? are you kidding? it's only 5:15. It was my neice's and nephew's. So I ran down the stairs and through the garage....plate full of food in one hand and candy in the other. Gave them some candy and got a couple of photos (all in between trying to chew my food). The next thing I knew everyone was in the driveway - they all peacefully ate their dinner and were now ready to go! Most of my dinner was still on my plate.....and so started Halloween night!

Neices, Nephews and their Great Grandmother

Shaylor and Lawton

and Rylee

THE NEIGHBORS! Amy and Barry

Me and Lawton (I know, my costumed was so-so but
that's what happens at last minute)

and then it was dark! this is my table all set up and glowing
with the candles I made

this is right next to the table. we decided to set up in the
driveway instead of on the porch

my lil' trick or treater...ain't she spooky?

Bart #2 with his flashing pumpkin

Mr. Frosty's watching you

and of course...The Fog (didn't work out quite like I wanted
but it will do until next year when I can set it up better)

Connie's daughter P-nut and grandaughter Madison

We started closing up around 9pm. The kids had trikled off and it was cold. Crammed everything into the garage and ran in the house to get warm. All in all it was a good night. We had 66 kids come around - yes, I keep track, so I know how much candy to get next year. I had many "your house is the best" from the kids and the parents. I also had people asking if they could take pictures of my yard, with and without their children. It was nice to be appreciated. :) I had some neighbors from down the street stop to see my decorations up close..."We've been slowing down everytime we drive past..we had to come and see them."
The kids were thrilled with the lights and decorations and were amazed with the candy...you'd would have thought that they had never seen a 'regular' sized candybar. At the end of the night even Amy said 'you got the good candy...I want some'.

I was very pleased how everything went. I was also shocked (but thrilled) with how polite and respectful the kids were...there may be hope for the future of mankind yet! LOL! I wish that my children could have been here...my daughter is so far away in California and my son had to work late. :(  Maybe next year they will be able to spend Halloween with me?  *fingers crossed*

GHDP update:
I managed to get some work done on the faces for the dollies as well. I still have not been able to take the celluclay out of the molds. I think they may finally be dry enough to try again today. Keep your fingers crossed!

the first skeleton face - freehand sculpt from paperclay

the start of a pumpkin head - still wet at this point

some of the eyes I've made from 'fishtank glass'. they work perfectly.

Saturday night we went to 13 acres of hell. Had a blast! It was great to see Travis and Preston and Stephanie. It was a long drive (over and hour) but it was worth it. I was thouroughly impressed - even more so that Preston put it together in 2 weeks. They had some really bad luck with locations, but the one they have is great! When we got there the line was already in the parking lot and people were coming out of the exit running and screaming. The guy that was in the shack in the woods got me good. It was pitch black and I could hear him in the corner, just as we were getting to the door I looked back to 'see' and there he was right over my shoulder. Scared me!! :) I'm already looking forward to next year! When I talked to Travis after the show, he asked how my daughter, Jenifer, was doing. He said "We were just talking about Jenifer and how I wished she was here". That made me happy. She left a lasting impression. She did an amazing job when she was 'haunting'. I found out the following day that 13 acres of hell had a record breaking night on saturday. I'm so happy for Travis and Preston. They deserve it! And Stephanie was doing a great job as director!

I guess that's all for now....gotta get my butt in gear and go check out the 50% sales before all the good stuff is gone!

Have a fabulous day!!

p.s. There's only 364 days left! LOL!!