Monday, December 29, 2014

First, the normal Christmas presents!

When Yasmin picked up Meygan at Sky Harbor after Meygan's holiday trip, she'd kind of expected to be "surprised" with her cousin Ynez, but the presence of Cloe and Shira had her completely gobsmacked.
Meygan is grateful that Yasmin brought her monkey to the airport.
When Meygan whipped out her phone, the first photo she showed was another newbie, Jane Boolittle, who's so shy that she snuck through the airport and took the tram home.

Are you my sister?
So the conversation while my parents were driving me to the train that would take me to the plane went like this.

Mom: Are you going to blog about how we spent the week?

Me: Yes, several posts, and the reason I put these specific gals in my luggage rather than in the box you're shipping to me is that I thought I'd start with the normal presents.

Mom: ...?

Me: Normal presents. Like, it's in wrapping and then the holiday comes, and you take the wrapping off, and there it is, and you're surprised. Totally normal.

Come, let us take a look at the totally normal presents and see how the newcomers take their places in society.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Hayden buys a car!

Hayden has answered a car-for-sale ad on Craig's List. Katie thinks a scooter would serve Hayden's needs, but Hayden says you can't really haul furniture on a scooter.

I never knew Chery made a convertible!
The real-life backstory is that last weekend, I followed a coupon to the Worst Michael's on the Planet (tm), found it predictably pointless, got a coffee at the kiosk in the mall, went to Kroger to look at the toy section, got a 59-cent pink donut because I cannot resist pink baked goods (it was peppermint-flavored). . . and at that point, hydrated and fed, there was no reason not to pay a second visit to the Kmart Going-Out-of-Business Sale.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Exclusive: Downtown with Chanteuse Ambiguous Brown

Our arts and entertainment reporter, Yasmin Muñeca, had the privilege of sitting down for an extended talk with pop-jazz singing sensation Ambiguous Brown. Here's what she learned.

My signature song is a jazzy cover of "Glitter in the Air."
"Ambiguous" is a stage name, right? You started as Dolores Daughtry...

My friends still call me Dolly. [laughs] I started out playing gigs and sending demos under my real name, but people kept thinking I was a country singer! Or they'd ask if I was related to Chris Daughtry and expect me to be doing post-grunge. After working housekeeping jobs to pay my rent, I've had all the grunginess I can stand. When I'm on stage, I want it to be all about the glam.

We had a cozy sit-down in the studio where Ambi is recording.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Skelita is proud of her new hat

Sophie's been thinking of opening a boutique, but she's worried that rents in the Scottsdale Arts District will be too high. So she's checking out the neighborhood on a gray Friday afternoon. Skelita is along -- and is potentially the first employee -- because Sophie's heard that the fashionable women are all social skeletons.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Let's combine being a crazy cat lady and a crazy doll hoarder!

Somebody thinks he's had kittens.
Some of my kittens look similar and some look completely different because with kittens, you never know.
This is the first time the Feline-American member of the household has shown an interest in the dolls. He went so far as to lick the head of the brunette in front of him.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Grand opening of a new Goodwill!

Being able to browse for Neglected Fashion Doll Two-Packs while I have laundry in the dryer is obviously cause for celebration.

Indeed, the opening of a new Goodwill adjacent to the laundromat is such cause for celebration that I got permission to telecommute so I could attend the actual grand opening at 9 a.m. last Friday.

Then suddenly, everybody realized the parking lot lines made no sense.
There was a dancing Goodwill mascot. Show of hands: who even knew that Goodwill had a dancing foam mascot?

Friday, December 5, 2014

Miss Hanzo assigns a mission

Miss Hanzo interviews an Experimental Subject in the comfort of the spa's wardrobe room.

Your mission is to be fabulous.
This particular Experimental Subject was last seen in the company of Elena Rodriguez and Kayla, calling herself Teresa and claiming to be Elena's cousin from Mexico City, as they walked their alpaca on the beach. Since Elena's backstory was retconned by the spa, actually being her cousin is an impossibility, but Miss Hanzo has a new direction for her.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Panthea's adventure

These are hot stock picks from three weeks ago.
Also, after getting my headshots for my portfolio, I have only 39 cents in savings.
The darker Lovely Patsy seems to be in a waiting room. Is it an important audition for her acting/modeling career? A visit to the dentist?

Love your coat, girl. Nordstrom Rack?

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Rebecca and Elena Visit Steele Indian School Park (Native American Heritage Month)

Elena Rodriguez and Rebecca Esennath Chavez take a look into the past.

The past is a little grimy.
The gals are at Steele Indian School Park, site of the former Phoenix Indian School, at Indian School Road and Central Avenue. Back when D7ana had announced that November themes include Native American Heritage Month, I'd made noises about doing this photo-shoot. I have since reached the conclusion that I need 45-day months and 750-day years in order to get anything done; but on the verge of running out of November, I hit a couple of hours in which the light, temperature, and energy of the photographer were as ideal as they were going to get, so off we go.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Family Dollar BOGO Thanksgiving Frenzy!

Family Dollar announced a two-for-one sale on toys for Thanksgiving Day. This seemed like the moment to check out the Lovely Patsy all-leopard, all-the-time ensembles, so I hustled myself there first thing in the morning, fueled only by rampant curiosity, thrift, and a What-a-Burger jalapeño-sausage biscuit.

Leopard, tiger, zebra, and snake! But mostly leopard.
The toy aisle was the only part of the store that was hopping, and it hopped so hard that it would have alarmed a rabbit farmer. We determined, as a collective, that two-for-one simply meant "buy an even number of items, and the cheapest half of them will be free."

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Last of the Blue Light Specials

When the official list of Kmart and Sears closures was released in October, I'm sure I checked it and no Arizona stores were included. Indeed, I went and found it again. Here it is. We go straight from AL-Huntsville to CA-Diamond Bar, with no AZ-Phoenix in between.

And yet, Baseline Road on Sunday afternoon was lined with these, at neat five-foot intervals, accompanied by a sign spinner next to the bus stop.

Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour when the Mart of K goeth belly-up.

It says must act now, so I think there's very little choice but to go see! I've never been to a K-Mart going-out-of-business sale, and surely in the early 21st century, that's practically a bucket list item. See Paris. Eat at Morton's. Watch a K-Mart be dismantled.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Yes, there is such a thing as a Sparkle Girlz fakie

Look what I found at Fortress CVS on the edge of downtown today.

For a ballerina, I have lousy posture.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Mini Draculaura! And many fashion-doll sewing adventures...

Mini-Draculaura, seen here helping D'Laura and Briony model their winter coats, is mini-Adele of Midnight Magic (the source of mini-Pippa, a.k.a. Pilar).

We have all been to Anthropologie.
The second Saturday after I brought home mini-Pippa, I just happened to wander into the Family Dollar in the same plaza with the laundromat (well, there's not much to do there, although it's getting a new Goodwill on December 5) and just happened to visit the toy section and just happened to search thoroughly, cross-examine the lone clerk, and search some more until I found all three of the gals I didn't have.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Mystixx Goth Couture dress from the 99 Cents Only

After a junket to S.A.S. Fabric on Saturday afternoon, I impulsively took a #12 bus up Twelfth Street, where I discovered another Tuesday Morning (where I decided to pass on a short-haired Bratz Strut It! Yasmin), a hardware store with live chickens, a pizzeria with anchovies, and a gigantic 99 Cents Only with large bags of ghost-shaped marshmallows for 9 cents. Since I'm neither eight years old nor Martha Stewart, I don't care if my marshmallows are out of season, as long as they're not stale.

In an end cap at the 99 Cents Only, I found this.

Hi. Surprised to see me here?
At first glance, I thought it was Goth Girls, like at Dollar General... but no... it's Mystixx. As in, the two-faced vampire girls (except when they're zombie girls or shape-shifting forest creature girls). Apparently these outfit packs have been out for a while, as I can find a nice clear shot on Flickr dated from August 2013. They are now $1.99, as part of the 99 Cents Only's slippery slope toward charging more than 99 cents. First it's $1.99, then it's $3.99, then the next thing you know, you're bringing in furniture like Big Lots.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Mysterious Arrival

Here's a mystery woman. Last Friday, I found her at the Goodwill on Greenway and 35th Avenue, in a bag with a cheap Rapunzel so awful that I handed Rapunzel back across the counter as soon as I'd paid.

She was a long, cool blonde in a short, hot Swap Mart dress.
She appears to have the same face as these Barbie imitators on AliExpress, but unlike them -- and unlike the dolls with similar face-ups at the Park 'n' Swap -- she has articulated knees and elbows.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Midnight Magic Minis: The Arrival of Mini-Pippa

Pippa, Catrina, and Vincent Van Gogh have gathered to welcome... mini-Pippa!

How come her box isn't shaped like a coffin?
While on an epic thrift-store quest (of which, more another time), I stopped in at a large Family Dollar up on Greenway and discovered Midnight Magic minis! The store had all four characters, but I limited myself to choosing a mini-me for Pippa.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

In which Katie and Hayden's collapsing floor problem is fixed for good

When Katie and Hayden's middle floor collapsed again a couple weeks ago, I emailed my parents to ask my father if anything would go wrong if I just nailed the damned shelf into the sides of the cheap, poorly constructed MDF bookcase.

Elena and Kayla provide confirmation of my original ideas on floor height.
He sent me a drill.

My father is a man of action. He is also a man who knows his power tools.

Hellooooo, drill!
He also got on the phone with me to explain how to perform the necessary bookcase-fixing actions, which I am about to share because today's sewing session is just going in a vile manner and telling this story makes me feel competent.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Miss Hanzo gets minions

Miss Hanzo examines her new minions, Ami and Rei.

The minions are, frankly, terrified.
It seems that my mother suddenly realized that she had not sent me all possible 12" fashion dolls from the depths of the doll cabinet and thought she ought to fix that, particularly as I was the one who introduced my family to Sailor Moon, which I used to watch at some ridiculous hour of the morning.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Day of the Dresses

It was finally New Dress Weekend for a Sophie, Pippa, Miss Hanzo, and (unexpectedly) Stacie.

Whose little sister is she?
None of us has a little sister, right?
I'm going to freak out if somebody claims she's always been here.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Live encounter with the Hispanic "Ariana" fashion dolls (named Nicole) from Kenya World

Earlier in the week, I'd gone straight from contemplating D7ana's remarkable list of Hispanic dolls to mindlessly wandering the Toys R Us web site, where I discovered the mysterious "Ariana" fashion doll, from the same makers as Kenya. I have now been to TRU and seen them in person, so can provide more details, lots of photos with box-cello glare, and a heaping tablespoonful of guilt and dithering over not actually buying one to unbox and review.

Let's start with the Everyday Fashion line, which currently retails for $9.99 and has articulated knees but not articulated elbows. I took pictures of every doll that TRU had (they had only one of each). I cannot explain why "Ariana" is actually named Nicole. If the face molds are not identical, the difference is too small for me to spot.

Delicioso, Diversion de Verona, and Sol de Medianoche
Energia, Flores, and Turquoise.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

"More relevant and irreverent" Monster High products in 2015, say Mattel's management

Mattel held its Q3 earnings call this morning, and of course, nothing goes better with morning coffee and a desert sunrise than men droning about why their company is poised for success despite posting disappointing numbers. Good times!
Barbie demands a recount at the Maryvale Walmart.
The headline item, as far as I'm concerned, is better Monster High products in 2015. It came up as virtually an aside, in response to an analyst's question. We can hope for more details in the investor day presentation in two weeks.

A Monster High reset is needed because sales at retailers dropped "in the high teens" during the summer, compared to the prior summer. Eep. It's not like there wasn't new product, but it sure didn't fly off the shelves.

Major retailers were therefore ordering less inventory (Walmart and Target have both struggled with inventory controls, too -- some lines that got widely reviewed on other blogs didn't appear in my local Targets until last week!). This phenomenon sure points to why suddenly MH is in every discount store. Mattel's trying to make up the gap in what it used to sell to the Big Three.

The other major item is that Mattel's losing its Disney license in 2016 and tentatively intends to make up for the loss of Disney princesses with... yet more princess lines of its own.Yup, little girls can't get enough princesses.

Until then, Mattel intends to ride the Frozen pony until it keels over. I will not even be surprised if holiday season 2015/16 brings us Elsa and Anna as anthropomorphized dogs with their own fashion wardrobes. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

In which I bargain with Walmart and we answer the question "What's Yasmin up to?"

The Walmart on Thomas Road was determined that I should have things, to the point of slipping them through the time-space continuum and dropping them at my feet.

That was one hell of a trip, Pippa. Next time, I want the Tardis.
I went to Walmart for the primary reason that anybody goes to Walmart: to take another look at Sparkle Girlz clothes. So primary is this reason that the Sparkle Girlz clothing section looked as if locusts had gone on a back-to-school shopping spree, leaving six $1.97 single packs, a similar number of $8.88 boutique packs, and four of the big $14.95 wardrobe sets.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Sunday, September 28, 2014

La Calavera Catrina joins the party (Hispanic Heritage Month)

Meet Catrina Calaveras. She has a livelier history than the nice man at the Arizona Latino Arts Center was willing to share.
A little milk with my tea, I think.
Catrina is a calaca -- a decorative skeleton associated with the Día de los Muertos -- but she's not just any calaca. Her origin is José Guadalupe Posada's print La Calavera Garbancera, the skeleton of the elegant dandy. The big hat and high style was intended as scathing commentary on Mexicans of indigenous origin who lightened their skin and adopted fancy clothes in order to imitate the European styles of the upper classes, rejecting their own heritage.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Let's Visit Curacao! (Hispanic Heritage Month)

Arguably, a trip to Desert Sky Mall, primarily to visit Curacao, is less "Hispanic Heritage" than "Hispanic Right Here, Right Now." However, a Latino-focused traditional mall is apparently something that doesn't exist outside the Southwest, and it's an important enough trend in mall revitalization that the Wall Street Journal has covered it twice:

Also, it's the last place in the U.S. where you're likely to find Novi Stars still stocked, if you need Novi Stars NRFB. 

What's a little body horror between friends?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

In Search of Latin American Fashion Dolls (Hispanic Heritage Month)

My initial response when D7ana posted about Hispanic Heritage Month was excitement: exploring more in this area fit really well with my junket through south Phoenix, and I figured surely the central library would have educational and cultural displays, as they do that sort of thing.

Except, this time, not. They're busy moving Government Documents to the fifth floor, which means eliminating half the non-fiction section, which really makes me wonder where the books are going. Anyway, Elena Rodriguez (a.k.a. Teresa) took Hayden on this disappointing trip to get her out of the house while Meygan and Sophie redid the bathroom, and all they came home with was a book.

The one to the left is "Indian," to the right, mestiza.
It's called Mexican Popular Art: Clothing and Dolls, by Wendy Scalzo, and it's quite a fine book if you're interested in souvenir and collector dolls. I learned that the ubiquitous full skirt and peasant blouse has a name -- china poblana -- and was a briefly popular, regional fashion of the 19th century that was reinvented in the 1920s as "national costume." This fits nicely with my theory that much of our beloved past was invented in the 1920s, so it makes me happy. (How Buildings Learn has an entire section on the invention of Southwestern architecture in the 1920s.)

My real interest, though, is in popular dolls -- the Barbie equivalents. Let's go find some.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Bathroom surprise!

Sophie and Meygan have decided to surprise Hayden by fixing up the bathroom.

(After seven photo shoots and ten drafts of my promised Hispanic Heritage Month post, I'm still not satisfied, so that's going to hang fire a little longer while I enjoy my last Marinela Choco Roll and get some tidying and organizing done. There are still three weeks to the month.)

The key to happiness is accessorizing.
Unsurprisingly with Phoenix construction, the marble walls ripple a bit. There are rumors that we got a building code some time in the 1980s, but I've never seen proof that it's enforced in any way. (I was very pleased to get beige "marble" in Dollar Tree contact paper, regardless. The floor is a vinyl sticky tile from Home Depot.)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

La Grande Citrouille Opens, as a result of The Great Culling

Welcome to La Grande Citrouille, where big-headed yarn people come to play. They do not leave because I've been doing some serious culling of projects to accommodate being more into playscale these days, so they have nowhere to go.

There's something for everybody at La Grande Citrouille.
The name is a play on local emporium La Grande Orange, which is sort of an upscale grocery, only it serves hot breakfast and the sit-down place where you eat your hot breakfast is sometimes a pizzeria, and by the time all is said and done, valet parking is required.

The look is inspired (very loosely) by shipping container houses like the one Upcycle Living used to have on display in the Roosevelt Row Arts District. La Grande Citrouille is clearly just the thing for one of the few remaining vacant lots (new condos have been taking over).

The Great Culling has been brewing ever since Katie and Hayden were unexpectedly joined by Alexis, Sophie, D'Laura, and Cleo, which somehow turned 1:6 land into a boom town that now has a "permanent" population of thirteen or fourteen. I want to work on Katie & Hayden's house. I want to sew a winter wardrobe for the entire gang. I approach other paint-and-fuss projects (beyond the Old Schoolhouse, which is Katie's dollhouse) with a grim sense of duty. (I secretly wanted to do playscale for years.)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The bottom of the fakie barrel proves lower than heretofore believed, on a visit to South Phoenix

As I passed the $1 toy bin at barrio Kmart, I noticed a baggie doll who appeared to be a belated fakie for My Scene Barbie. A little rummaging determined there's an African-American version (who is determined to hide her face for shame at being involved in this) and. . . a pale blue one?

Remember the people who'd say "I don't care about race, it doesn't
matter to me if you're white, black, or green"? Well...
They are called Glam Rock Dolls, presumably because that's what the random doll-name generator spit out.

I was at barrio Kmart because I'd gotten up at 4:30 on Friday morning with a burning desire to develop a complicated spreadsheet model, stomped in to the office saying "I am in the middle of developing a complicated spreadsheet model, I cannot speak to anybody until it is done," and finished it at 2:30 in the afternoon. Having poured the entire contents of my brain into Excel, I thought I'd leave early and take the Mars Orbit shuttle down to the big Goodwill in Tempe to look for eBay-able items, as rebodying Pocahontas/Rebecca and Bratz Meygan had cut into the planned inventory.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Fruits of Old Town Scottsdale (and a shopping guide!)

Elena Rodriguez brings Katie some dolls for her dollhouse.
They're not fully articulated, but you know toy makers are cutting back on that.
These are very small worry dolls from Guatemala. The Mexican Imports store in Old Town Scottsdale sells them for 10 cents each. (There's a list of where else to find toys in Old Town at the end of this post.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Quick and Easy Project, Stage 5: Package Arrives

Katie ponders how to arrange the furniture in her dollhouse. Right now, it's all bare metal.

"It's just like what I had as a kid."

Here's how tiny 144th scale is.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Dollar General goes all-in for fakies, plus bonus Walmart camper

In the wake of acquiring Dolores, the Dollar Store Beauty (who is now getting rerooted with yarn dreadlocks, just because), I made a trip to Dollar General to see if the bagged African-American $1 fashion doll was as luridly bad as I recalled. Short answer: yes. Her only possible future could be as a superhero, as she was clearly bitten by a radioactive spider.

However, Dollar General has geared up for Christmas with a full new toy aisle that included Gothic Tales, including a pretty good Clawdeen Wolf on an unarticulated 9" body.

I'm pre-teen Clawdeen.
The Draculaura and Frankie knockoffs weren't nearly as good: Draculaura has an orange streak in her hair, while Frankie is very, very green. As a dose of painful irony for budget-conscious families, Dollar General now stocks Monster High dolls for $12.98, so the real thing is right there to compare. (The sudden surge of MH product to discounters suggests that Mattel is still dealing with excess inventory problems.)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Dollar Tree Beauty: Review and Clothing Fit Comparison

On the way back to the train from Walmart, I stopped at Dollar Tree to see what they had in the way of $1 fashion doll knock-offs. To my surprise, they had $1 fashion doll dresses (but horrible quality, with serged hems) and a plethora of ambiguously brown fashion dolls in better quality dresses.

The ambiguous brownness sucked me in. Usually Dollar Store Beauties, along with Swap Mart Beauties, are a whiter shade of pale, with the exception of the eerily glowing African-American baggie version at Dollar General. This gal also has a face comparable to the higher end of Swap Mart Beauties and the Just Kidz dolls, rather than the unfortunate raccoon-eyed look of the Barbie knock-offs at the 99 Cents Only.

Here, all the ambiguously brown gals gather, with varying levels of enthusiasm and skepticism, to check out Dolores. (Non-keepers don't usually get names, but calling her "the Dollar Tree Beauty" for much longer is going to get tedious.) What they're most curious about is which of them can wear her clothes.

Clockwise from bottom left: Liv Alexis (AA), Briony (EAH Briar Rose), Krys (lighter Alexis),
Dolores in box, Cleo de Nile, Hattie de Nile (Cleo #2),
Elena (Fashionista Sporty), Rebecca (Pocahantas head on Fashionista Artsy body).

Saturday, September 6, 2014

A new plan for Spidey's house

In the wake of discovering that Spidey's bathroom plan was fatally flawed, I decided to try a new room layout. This house is a vintage Arrow Cape Cod that sports a truly bizarre and cramped floor plan.

So easy to move a bathroom when no plumbing is involved!

Spidey's bathroom dilemma

In a wave of euphoria at the Quick & Easy Project reaching a necessary pause point (but having genuinely been both quick and easy so far), I thought I would tackle Spidey's bathroom in the Victorian Fixer. Last week, I had finally "done" the tile. As I put away the paper for the Q&EP, I realized I have scrapbook paper in exactly the kind of period floral pattern that I wanted for the bathroom.
Two great things that do not go great together.
It clashes violently with the tile. Worse yet, once the sink (painted in "wintergreen") has been seen against the wallpaper, it also appears to clash violently with tile that it got along fine with before.

That is why this house has never been quick, nor easy.

Quick and Easy Project, Stage 4: The Endless Touch-Ups

The roof is now painted in Apple Barrel "Chocolate Bar" and the front edges lined in Apple Barrel "Khaki." Doing some of these coats late at night has led to lots of touch-up. I determined that spray paint can be touched up by spraying a bit onto a sheet of tin foil, then brushing it on.
Even with the thinnest brush, I keep making a mess.
The bedroom and lounge floors ought to be ribbon, but it turns out I have no 1/2" off-white ribbon. None. I have colors that may not otherwise exist in the visible spectrum, but no off-white.

In the mean time, I've tried thin leather scraps (right color, way too thick) and plush baby blankets from the 99 Cents Only (the white is too white, the beige is too beige).

There is a vague plan that the tower should have a bell, and I do not have a bell, but I'd bet Michael's or Hobby Lobby will have a small wood cut-out bell on my next trip.

At this point, there is nothing I can do until the furniture arrives on Tuesday, which means maybe I should declare another Quick and Easy Project and see if that speeds me along.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Quick and Easy Project, Stage 3: The Modge-Podging

Katie discovers a dollhouse.
I know I had one of those as a kid.
In a frenzy of late-night activity on Wednesday, I cut wallpaper and flooring for the Old Schoolhouse, and modging was podged. This took only about three tries to get the paper in tight, but not too tight. Wallpaper is only on the back walls because. . . um. . . design decision.

The roof has also had two coats of chocolate-colored acrylic paint but needs at least one more.

Here's a close-up of an earlier stage, as it's time to identify what room is what!

Wallpapering is such a GLOPPY task.
Bottom floor: left (green/red) is the kitchen; right (pink/beige) is the dining room.
Middle floor: lounge.
Top floor: left (white tile) is the bath; right (lace) is the bedroom.

After moderate dithering over whether I should go to Auntie Em's in Glendale on Saturday to see if she has unpainted metal furniture (but I've been to Glendale twice this summer) or whether I should call and ask if she has it (but she'll tell me their inventory is huge and to come look for myself) or whether to repeat these activities with the even less likely dollhouse shop up at the top end of Scottsdale. . .

I ordered the furniture I wanted from tandscraft on eBay. I did it on the bus between Tempe Transit Center and Curry Road, which means it took under nine minutes and furnished the house for about $20. It will likely be in my hands on Tuesday night, and ordering frees about 3-4 hours of my time during the week (to go to the Scottsdale dollhouse store after work) or on Saturday (to go to Glendale).

Cue question: "Did I just spend $20 on what was supposed to be a free project?" Um. . . well. . . none of the other houses needs any more furniture at all, other than the Moose Lodge being missing a kitchen table. . . and I have supplies for all the trim on all of them. . . so um. . . it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Quick and Easy Project Stage 2: The eBaying

At the end of Stage 1 (Euphoric Activity), I determined that the furniture I'd intended for the Old Schoolhouse (my Salvation Army shadow box) was far too large. It seems that when it comes to dollhouse-making, I have no sense of proportion.

The first possible size that occurred to me was 1:144 ("dollhouse for a dollhouse"), mostly because this scale is very small. While the painted metal furniture in this scale runs $10 a room and up ($60 to furnish this house. . . um, nope), unpainted sets are much more budget-friendly.

Dining set from seller tandscraft, who has an amazing selection of room sets.
Then I Googled for "144th scale furniture," as who among us would not?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Quick and Easy Project Stage 1: Euphoric Activity

Quick and easy projects always begin in a rush of enthusiastic activity, in which the progress that can be made is boundless!

I set my alarm for five a.m. so that I could spray paint in the cool of pre-dawn darkness. The 1980s French blue -- traditionally accompanied by pink and chickens -- had to go. Beige is the word. If I ever write an erotic best seller, it will be titled 50 Shades of Beige.

Goodbye, mid-1980s blue! Goodbye, ghosts of chickies and bunnies!
There are downsides to my dislike of artificial light. For instance, I reached into my dark closet and pulled out a beige-ish spray can... which turned out not to be my usual khaki/almond shade, but medium brown.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Beginnings of a quick & easy project, hair cut, dresses, cat

Here is my reward for stopping at Salvation Army to buy drinking glasses, since the cat smashed the last of the prior set. For $2.50, I got three vintage poppy-patterned glasses that were marked $1.99 for the set, one unpriced glass with little star-shaped flowers, and this shadowbox, also marked $1.99. If it's below 90 tomorrow morning, I am going to hop out in the yard and spray paint this beige.

Five rooms, no obvious scale.
This is intended as a Quick, Easy, Satisfying Project that will display some of the 1:48 furniture that started as Hobby Lobby charms and use some of my tiny-patterned scrapbook paper that doesn't fit the Swamp Home's ambience.

Of course, QESPs are the road to perdition, since they're never as Q or E as they seem like they ought to be.

Meanwhile, Catra, partly repainted but regrettably skirtless, surveys progress on the bathroom tile.

"I think I need to talk with the tile installer about unblocking the window."

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Civilization is complete at this point, plus bizarre Tuesday Morning discoveries

Due to a monsoon storm, Hayden's editor at her boutique publication, Meygan, had to borrow her clothes. Hayden, being new to Arizona, is appalled by the weather.

"That rain... it's like turning on a shower head."
Careful observers will note that Meygan is articulated and has feet. I took her out of her box, decisively pulled off her head, and forced it onto the neck stem one of my thrift store bodies. The operation was much easier when no forethought was involved. (Also, no spiky neck stems.)

Monday, August 25, 2014

I wanted to unbox and croon over something, and a new sewing machine issomething

In the wake of Sunday afternoon's sewing machine implosion, I went to Walmart's web site, ordered a new machine for in-store pick-up, and then went to pick it up.

Behold! New machine! It is a Brother JX 2517, which got excellent reviews from advanced beginners and cost under $75.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

D'Laura learns to skateboard, Krys tries on wigs, and introducing... Briony!

On her way out to try skateboarding again, D'Laura is startled to run into her cousin-once-removed, Briony Shapira Barwari. Though close in age, they didn't see much of each other as children, since Briony's large family lived in another state and only showed up every few years to camp in the back yard.

It's a sure thing, though, that Briony knows how to skateboard. Briony always knows how to do anything dangerous.

"Briony, I'd forgotten your head was so... ROUND."
Briony is, of course, Ever After High's Briar Beauty, and I'm pretty sure she's Getting Fairest, which means she made it to the Park and Swap in less than a year, possibly while she's still in some retail stores.

"Here, I'll show you. This is really simple."