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Bottles, Eye Pins… Gold!

Country-fried

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

I did it today. I took the plunge. I went to my work website, http://ebookcovers4u.wordpress.com, and I put myself on (mostly) unavailable status. Now before anyone goes and gets their panties in a wad because we’re at a stage where we’re begging for help (thank you, Uncle Sam) and have had to ignore the car and house payment for almost two months now, this isn’t as chancy as it sounds. For a while now, I’ve been doing ebook covers, formatting ebooks, AND I’ve been working on The Heavenly Bride while flatting for others in the comic industry. The flatting work has picked up. I had to step back from something.

I had been looking for someone to literally give my business to for about two years now, but most everyone I found proved to be people who just didn’t want to work or couldn’t take working at home seriously enough to realize it’s not a vacation in disguise…. or that yes, if you have a busy schedule doing a bunch of other stuff you’re gonna have to figure out how to work now and again.  Right now I have two people on my team that are doing ebook covers. I couldn’t find someone to take over formatting. I tried. I really tried. Fortunately the market has a lot of other ebook formatters out there, some with meaner skills than mine, so for the world it’s not a complete loss.

I just won’t be taking my name down from Smashwords just yet. And I’ll still baby my website, put things up, that sort of things. And I most definitely will take the odd job here and there because the truth is I really *like* working in ebooks. It’s just working in ebooks has been stopping me from writing my own books. And that’s bad.

big eyeA supply shipment came today. I was so excited! Until I opened the box. Then I was moderately excited. What I had ordered was miniature bottles with eye pins for the corks. Part of my intended stock involves these little buggers… but the eye pins are huge compared to the cork, and that just looks like the corks are trying to overcompensate for something. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the eye pins… but it was a damper on my supplier relationship that I had to go online to try to find the right size eye pins. I found some for not much, free shipping. I have no idea if they’re the right size at this time.

On an upwards note, though, my first upcycled resin piece is complete. I’m not completely happy with it, though… there are tutorials all over the web about getting the resin to dry clear – sans bubbles. If you’re not careful the resin will be filled with tiny bubbles and kind of looks like fizzy soda. Now on some pieces that will look great and I fully intend to do it on purpose. But I also want to create pieces without them. I followed them and researched and even came up with a twist of my own to get those pesky bubbles out.  And with this piece, I thought I had done just that.

Well, further research and a day later I find lots of people who feel my frustration. One person said, “Well, it doesn’t matter what I do. There are going to be tiny bubbles in there. So I’ve decided to just use them as a design element.”

Well, this new piece that I proudly put for sale up on etsy.com a few minutes ago looks good with the bubbles, so it’s not a total loss. And I can see using them as a design element… the truth is I think they kind of look neat while not wanting them there at the same time. I used to really like it when I came across a marble that had a bubble in it. It’s just… neat.

But I’m still going to fight the bubble monster because, well… it’s a challenge. One I’ll probably lose.

So here is my latest masterpiece. It’s going to be only one of a short series. It was created from a broken watch I bought at a yard sale last weekend. I was going to fix the watch, but I soon realized I was missing some parts so couldn’t. And upcycling is a wonderful art, I feel. You can do some amazing things with upcycling.

Why, yes, that is the Third Commandment. Neat, huh?

pendant closeup

 

 

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Adventures in Office Hermitry

Country-fried

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

Man, oh man, but when I get inspired for an idea the rest of my world goes to the can.

 

chicken chase lineThe above image, if you can see it, is the planned charm line up for my next craft project. That’s a lot of charms, so having them done as acrylics to start with would be more than we could afford even if we weren’t begging for money right now to pay the bills. (No, we’re literally begging.) But, being as artwork is how I make a living I have to carry on. And this meant I had to find another way.

I’ve been making charm designs and then having them made because I have to have stock to sell. But it’s not bringing in the money it could or should, so I’ve decided to go another way. I’m back to making the charms myself for first runs and ordering an acrylic version once in a while here and there. I’ve always made them myself from shrinky dinks, and this is why we invested in a cutter. Enter my adventures for the last few days.

These adventures involve lots of cursing, much bemoaning, and at one point I went downstairs, threw the cutting mat at my husband, and told him I couldn’t take it anymore.

But beyond that some cool things have cropped up as I return to being an artist and not a work slave. (Make no mistake, this is what I’m doing, all in the name of carving out time to go back to being an author.) I’ve hit on this nifty idea for making the charms, and it involves resin and learning to make my own molds.

At first I started this conclusion by simply putting a domed clear cap on shrinky dink charms. The lady at Hobby Lobby recommended a product called mod podge dimensional magic. So I gave it a shot. This looked really awesome, btw.

SONY DSC

Shrinky dink charms made using a vintage image and domed using mod podge dimensional magic.

That is, they looked awesome on the type of inket shrink film I used – a clear paper made by Grafix. When I printed chickens and Links on some Shrinky Dinky inkjet film I had, well, let’s say I was far far less pleased with the results. Not because of the mod podge. Because of their paper.

Many moons ago when I was first getting into things like this, Shrinky Dinks inkjet paper was slick. You had to choose the right side to print on, but beyond that things looked great. When the dinks were shrunk, the plastic was smooth and shiny. They always looked fabulous. And now… not so much. You don’t have to be careful what side you print on anymore, but when the charms are shrunk they’re rough on both sides. This texture makes them ugly. Even domed with the mod podge, they look bad. I wore a frowny face for a long time. I think I’m still wearing it. My shiny slick charms are gone. I have two left from an old batch. I’m keeping those for old time’s sake.

I decided to see if I had other options. No, I do not. And you know what else I found out? Mod Podge products are basically pva glue. That’s Elmer’s glue to you. And this woke the evil scientist in me. Because dimensional magic is expensive, and people were complaining that it was going cloudy a year two days after putting it on their polymer products. One person said it turned yellow after a year. Yeah, fuck that noise especially for the amount of money I paid.

I reasoned that if the other mod podge products, which are white and basically dry clear, are different types of Elmer’s glue then dimensional magic, which starts out clear, probably is Elmer’s clear glue. So I went to the store, got some clear glue, some rubber cement, and I started experimenting. And you know what I found out? Mixing rubber cement and  clear glue makes for a frothy mixture that dries very very hard but has a crapton of bubbles and needs further experimentation. Add polycrylic and it gets real fun.

I also found out that two layers of clear glue on my charms domes just as nicely as three layers of dimensional magic. The major difference was the dimensional magic product dented under my thumbnail. The clear glue did not. And so far the clear glue has not turned cloudy. Neither has the dimensional magic.

Inevitably, this meant I found myself shopping around and looking at doming resins. And learning about them. And deciding, wait a minute I can do a lot of pretty stuff with this that I always try to do with shrinky dinks. The end result is yesterday I spent the day learning how to cast in resin. And this morning I learned what I did wrong. Currently I have three projects curing that may turn out right.

I usually get excited, very excited, when learning a new skill. We’re taught this is a good thing. It’s not. It means you’re never going to do well at work because sooner or later you’re going to learn the entire job, and when that happens you’re going to get very bored. But I digress. Here I am excited and wanting to make stuff!!! And I have to wait because I could only afford the one mold and I haven’t learned to make molds for myself yet. (Coming soon.)

So far I like the look of resin casting far far better than the shrinky dinks. I’m still going to use shrinky dinks, but I suspect it’s going to be for mold making. Well, there are still quite a few very artsy things I can do with them… but if I can get my resin plan to work I hopefully will be revealing a new thing on this website soon. With chickens.

I have a bucket of broken jewelry that I’ve been keeping, because some secret part of myself knew there would be a day when I would call upon those bits and pieces to become new, shiny, glassy bits of jewelry. The pieces jump in the bucket, eager and filled with anticipation…

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Essence of Gelfling

Country-fried

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

Today is my father’s birthday. I was going to send him a card and maybe a little something, but I’ve been so sick in the past month I think he’s lucky to get a glance his way. This makes me a terrible human being and the worst daughter in the history of time.

Today has also been a very busy day. Like I said, I’ve been sick. We didn’t know what it was at first; just a mysterious tooth ache in teeth that otherwise are happy to be my teeth. It ebbed on and on, sometimes so badly I barely noticed the sniffles and sneezes that had come with it. “Go to the dentist,” my husband kept saying to me. Oh yeah, because we can afford the co-pay… not. Not to mention we haven’t found a local dentist that isn’t a total dickwad yet. I’ve had very bad experiences at the dentist – including spending some time nearly choking on a bit of bone while the dentist snapped at me that there was nothing wrong. So.

I finally figured out what was happening when the burning headache associated with my chronic sinus problem settled in. And it was like, oh. I see. It’s the damn infection, back again. I was very sick by that point and made my way to the doctor up the street, who demanded to know why I wasn’t at the dentist for my headache until she looked at my teeth and backed off. (Yes, I did indeed tell her “I told you so”.) She got offended when I mentioned what herbs I’ve been taking to battle this chronic problem and asked if I was willing to see a specialist.

Hell yes I’m willing to see a specialist; and not the E4 kind. I’d been wanting to see a specialist all these years that doctors have routinely told me, “Lose weight, drink more water” in response to my problem while blowing me off. I also would have liked some antibiotics (something I rarely stoop to) and maybe some other medicine that would help my life a bit. This problem is very debilitating. I’m up to 300 lbs because this problem flairs up and I have to eat 5, 6, and 10 meals a day to protect my stomach while taking painkillers constantly. And it always flairs up when I try to get active. (I just recently started doing yoga again.) I seriously considered filing for disability over this problem this last time because I literally couldn’t think beyond a certain level. Bills? Yeah, my face didn’t give a shit about paying the bills.

The doctor put in the order for a specialist, but because it was Saturday I was going to have to wait for their call. Which means I had my husband give them his number because my phone is currently out of commission. The doctor refused to let me have pain medicines but did give me a new steroid the companies sent her. And sent me on my way.

The specialist still hasn’t called to set up an appointment.

Which means, now that I knew what the problem was, it was once again up to me to treat myself. Isn’t it funny how the doctors get all offended that folks like me treat ourselves and circumvent the chemicals that Big Pharmacy love so much while at the same time refusing to, well, treat us so we don’t have to treat ourselves? Yeah, about that. I doubled down on the treatment, too, so that today just a couple of days later I returned to my normal work schedule.

Which brings me to Essence of Gelfling.

gelfling3There’s this real cute idea I’d been wanting to do all this time and I finally had enough energy to do it. I just put it up in the etsy.com store today: it’s… Essence of Gelfling. (Picture to the right!) Because, I reasoned, if you ever get a Skesis neighbor you may be able to charm them with this. Just keep it on your person in case of Skesis invasion, and you’re assured a get out of death card at least once.

I’ve also been multitasking: working on this Alice in Wonderland charm bracelet idea I had while trying to catch up on commissions at the same time. (And I still have to get my entry into the Elfquest Fan Art Calendar Contest in by midnight. Oy!) The charms are being made of shrink plastic – and for those who don’t know, that is not the child art it was originally intended to be. No, when I do shrink plastic I tend to go all out. So that it has taken me literally all day just to product ten little charms.

I used the cameo to cut the shapes: this was hard and I slowly invented my own process. The process apparently worked, sort of, and may even have put a little less stress on the machine than the methods other people use. I haven’t perfected it yet so I don’t want to talk about it just now. Just know I wouldn’t recommend cutting shrinky dinks or really any shrink plastic daily with your Silhouette Cameo.

For the artwork I used some illustrations I originally did for a reprint of Alice in Wonderland. The original illustrations are all black and white, so I colored them up a little bit. You should have seen the failed attempts I ended up throwing away. It was so very sad.

Each charm took me at least four parts to make. Yes, four parts. But they’re so much prettier this way. I’m still perfecting the process, but the last batch was good enough for me to stamp it with the okay. I have decided that each of my charms will begin like this and will be ordered as acrylic laser cut charms here and there as I go. That way I still get to make my art and see them come to life while at the same time getting to see them come to life.

One answer I’ve thought up to my cutter problem is to find a source for pre-cut shrink film shapes: circles and ovals, to be exact. I haven’t found one yet, but I’ve only just started looking. If you know of one, please share.

And now, here’s a couple of photos so you can see the fruits of today’s labor:

dime

SONY DSC

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Sihouette Cameo Review

Country-fried

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

We just bought a Silhouette Cameo cutter. I’m aware this particular model has been out a little while, and that this review is a little outdated. However, the reasons why we bought it were 1. It was on sale. 2. I genuinely needed it in order to keep making money, and 3. All of the reviews cast it in such a glowing light that it seemed a good temporary answer while I hold out for the cutter I TRULY need. Oh: 4. The Cricut Explore demanded I be on the internet to use their flash website to cut anything, period. Fuck that cloud noise.

The first thing to note about the reviews, I have to add, is that they were each written by people who knew what they were doing and in many cases were professional scrapbookers and crafters. Nary is there a layman review anywhere on the internet, aside from an enthusiastic “I love my Cameo!” comment at the bottom of each professional review. You have to really dig to find the darker reviews, which are still phrased to sound all fluffy and light. For example, today I found one that essentially said, “Do you have a love/hate relationship with your cameo? Then you’re in the majority!” Which means that although a lot of people love their cameo, the majority also HATE their cameo. Stop and consider that a minute. They. Hate. The Machine. They. Spent. A. Lot. Of. Money. On. It doesn’t sound quite as fluffy as it’s phrased to be when you consider the facts, does it.

So that’s what this review is all about. I’m not a professional scrapbooker, although I’ve been doing crafts my entire life. I owned a cameo once before, many moons ago, and it didn’t last a day in my hands before I was boxing it up and sending it back with many a nasty review posted on Amazon.com. With this second attempt I thought that perhaps the problem was in me: I didn’t do something right.

HA!

I’ve had this machine about two weeks. I. Fucking. Hate. It. There is no love and hate here. I just simply flat out hate this fucking machine.

The cutting mat: On a scale of 1 to 10 I give it a 0.

These “cheap” personal cutters all pretty much use the same cutting system. They come with a sticky mat you place your paper on, and that mat holds the paper in place while the cutter’s blade does it’s dirty work. I’ve been all over the internet in the past two weeks looking up mat care, and they all said the same thing: been using my mat for years! To take care of it do these things! It lasts quite a while before it loses it’s sticky power!

The pros: I… got nothing.

The cons: Lies. The internet claims are all lies. The first time I owned a cameo, the mat stopped sticking in 24 hours despite my best attempts to keep it clean. This second time with my new cameo, the mat has lasted 24 hours despite my best efforts and oodles of research to keep it clean.

To buy a replacement mat costs around $15. There are no “mat fixit” sprays available, although many people have come up with hacks that involve temporary spray glues. I’ve been having to use the spray glues. Temporary glues tend to become permanent if you don’t move fast enough. It also gets all over your hands, and nasty hands are a pet peeve of mine.

Incidentally, I’ve tried all the tricks. Baby wipes, cleaning, soap, wiping, the works. The mat system just fucking sucks. The end.

The blades: On a scale of 1 to 10 I give them… oh.. .I dunno… a 3.

The pros: The cameo blade is kind of neat. Instead of having to pick between a plethora of different blades for each cut and going back and forth, you simply adjust a length setting on the blade you’re using. It goes up to 10. There are folks out there that have hacked them, and to them I tip my hat because the first time I owned the cameo I tried to hack the blade to go up to 11. I really think it should go to 11.

The cons: The first time I owned a cameo, I tried to cut shrink film. That’s what I bought it for, after all, and the reviews I’d found on the internet all said a cameo could do what I needed. The blade dulled on the shrink film on the first try.

This second time, we chose the cameo because everyone said it could cut shrink film. They all said the cameo had become new and improved, that it was better than ever. Shrink film is why I bought it. So I gave it a shot. It cut the shrink film alright, but not all of the way through despite double cutting as per online reviews and instructions. The lies struck again.

I had bought a second blade (They run about $12.) just in case this happened, so the new blade went into the machine about 10 projects ago. 10 projects later it’s not cutting as well anymore. It’s already dulling, yep. So through all of this I’ve only produced ONE project that has the professional clean quality I desire. Other projects since have torn paper, nicked edges, the works.  I tried cutting thin paper this morning to make a Halloween card. Oh my god the mess.

The answer I’m given to understand is to buy this off market blade for about $25 that’s made of some durable material like kevlon or outerspace moon rock or something. I really need blades that can do the job, so even though we haven’t paid the house payment lately and our light bill is a month overdue we ordered one. I have commissions that are waiting patiently for this stupid machine to work properly. But for the record, I’d rather find the Silhouette CEO and throw the machine at his face. Hard.

Let’s lower my scale to a 1.

This machine wastes paper. I rate that at a 2.

The pros: I got no pros for this one. The waste of paper is because of their studio program, Silhouette Studio 3. With version 2 the waste isn’t as bad. And if I *lie* to the program about what size paper I’m actually using I can use more space. But. Yeah.

The cons: That’s right, I said it. It’s a paper hog. To make a 5 x 7 card I have to place things very carefully in the middle or the machine may decide not to make all of the cuts. We’re talking paper as big as 12″ x 12″. That’s a lot of wasted paper cast to the side. I seriously dislike that. A lot. If I’m making 2 5 x 7 cards, as far as I’m concerned they should fit one above the other within a 12 x 12 space. Think about it. I’d only need 10 x 7 inches minimum. So I tried that. The machine barfed at me and refused to cut the edges of the card. I changed margin settings, tweaked, played, researched, and wasted a lot of time.

This sort of waste means any project I do has the potential of being an expensive project. Even for personal projects (much less for sale) it’s a waste. It’s cheaper to order from Etsy.com.

The latest software likes to flip you the bird. Rating of 1.

The machine came with the Silhouette Studio version 2. I liked it alright, although I didn’t like some of it’s limitations. With a later release available, I upgraded thinking… yeah… okay. We’ll give this a shot. Now picture me sitting here with anger lines of evil emanating from my body. This is how the latest software makes me feel.

As far as designing goes, the new software is okay. I haven’t fully tested it yet because of one serious flaw: when I tell it to cut using the registration lines (which is how cameo finds paper placement so it can know where to cut) the damn thing won’t even look for them. I print the paper, I place it faithfully on the mat with sticky hands, I put the mat into the cameo in the prescribed manner that worked so well with the older program… and then I tell it to go. The machine bumps a little bit without even looking for the marks and claims “registration failed”.

In order to get a cut going I have to tell it to find the marks manually. Sadly this means the cut is always just slightly off, which leads to… yep you guess it… more wasted paper (and ink).

The older program never gave me that issue. If I said “look anyway you bastard” it did so cheerfully. It loved making me happy. This new software is the pits.

Online store is okay but no ticker tape parades are due. I’ll generously give it a 5.

There’s not much I can say about the online store really. I have no pros and no cons. It connects directly to their program, you can shop and import, and cut immediately. Woo hoo convenience, the bane of our society and biggest symptom of our problems.

Some items you can get and also buy a commercial license. I like that. So far 80% of what I’ve seen is personal use only. I don’t like that.

I downloaded an envelope today for 99 cents. The file is faulty. I am unable to report that. I am unable to file a complaint and say there is an issue with the file. I cannot use this envelope I shopped over an hour to find. I highly dislike that.

I also noted today that rescuing your files from their server if your machine dies is something you can only do 3 times.

That I more than highly dislike. I think it sucks. Fortunately I do backups on stuff so it’s not that big of a threat to me so much as it sucks.

Final Rating: COULD THIS DAMN MACHINE SUCK ANY MORE THAN IT DOES??

No really. That is a direct quote from me today as I labored over a simple Halloween card. It was a premade pattern I’d gotten from their online store. It’s a cute enough card… but add in all of the problems I’ve listed above and picture me trying to make a simple fucking card.

I needed this machine. I needed to get what I’m up to for our survival (and my health) going. The machine I truly want is so far above our price margin I just don’t see me getting it this lifetime, no matter how much I pray and hope. But if I’d had my way I’d have returned this thing after day one. I fucking hate this machine. I’m definitely in the majority of cameo owners.

My advice to you is look into the silver bullet or better. Even if you know what you’re doing. OMFG could this machine suck any more than it does… no wait. Don’t answer that.

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Darling

Country-fried

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

WebimageWell it’s done, sort of. I’ve got Project Darling underway.

I’m offering her for sale, but I’m also giving her starter kit away. What I mean is: you can download her and assemble her for free… or you can buy an assembled stand up doll from me. And this is just the beginning.

As promised, she’s not really for children. Right now all I can offer is cardboard and perforated pages for her clothing – which can be a little revealing and will continue to be that way on occasion in the future. I hope to offer more clothing for free in the future as well as offer some things for sale.

Go here: Darling: Not Your Daughter’s Paperdoll

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3D from 2D

Country-fried

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

Pestilence introduced me to a new craft hobby last night: making 3D cards and tokens from collectable card game pieces. He was remembering when he first noticed the art and how much money people were making selling these pieces. He told me I could do them on occasion, that there was this guy he knew that made them every day and just sold them all of the time.

He had a couple of examples to show me that he’d traded some of his collection just to get. (I coulda killed him.) I confess they are neat looking. The one Pestilence gave me is an abacus counter sort of like this one made from a Magic the Gathering exhume card. The bottom of it has beads so that I can count life and the top has the image cut into several layers. Pestilence told me that there were a lot of tutorials online, I should get into it!

Screw tutorials. I examined my neat new toy and set to work last night to make a 3D token using a Warrior token from MtG. It didn’t take me long to reverse engineer the art; it’s simple enough. It’s not like I’m a genius or anything. And then I set about making some of my own methods to build these things because I was told it took hours and hours. 30 hours. Millions of minutes. Your entire lifetime!

Yeah, hours and hours I would do on an oil painting. Hours and hours I do on someone’s ebook cover or The Heavenly Bride. This was not something I wanted to spend hours and hours on. So I hacked the process. It took me a few minutes – maybe 60 or even 120! – to think up my process. Then it took me somewhere over 3 hours (but not up to 30 hours) to execute my plan.

Would you like to see my first 3D Magic the Gathering token?

token1

token2

Pestilence pointed while I was making the card that I could have more layers to it than I was putting in. Pestilence was right, but this was my first card and I was more interested in the challenge of reverse engineering the process. The final card is a little under half an inch thick and has three layers to it. I look at it now and I think I could have added two more layers, giving it five.

I could also have added a real feather and a clear front to protect the very fine cuts I put into it…. I did some very fine cuts. Pestilence pointed out this morning that these fine cuts were fragile. Yeah. I’d have to change the 3D process just a tad so I could have these fine cuts. I like my fine cuts. I noticed none of the other artists were doing cuts like that, and I’m thinking… but I like my fine cuts….

This morning I set about looking around the internet to check my process and see how the pros do it. I have no idea if I reverse engineered accurately or not because all of the tutorials are on Youtube and, as I’ve ranted before, I fucking hate video tutorials. But something else I saw worth mentioning was some of the 3D artworks were simply amazing. 10 layers. Things just popped at you. Wow.

And how much do they sell for? One guy is selling his tokens on etsy for a whopping $6. Other cards I saw with more layers than this one were selling for $15. I did see one guy selling his cards for what his hard work was worth: $50. But… just one.

I don’t think this craft would be the savior to my bills, no. But it was fun and I’d make another. I think they’d make awesome Christmas presents and, sure, I’ll sell ‘em when I make ‘em. Why not?

But today as much as I wanna play, I gotta concentrate on more important things. Normally I take Sunday off but there’s this movie I and Pestilence have been working on for a lovely lady over the big water. We’re almost done, and I’m at that point in the project where I want to get done done done! So I can bask in my genius. ;-)

Oh, and I’ve got an Elfquest entry to finish up today as well. For the fanart calendar contest.

And then we might play Magic the Gathering, if we can find the time.

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Country-fried

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

I have always loved paperdolls. I’m pretty sure it goes beyond being a girl and paperdolls being one of the few fashion dolls I was allowed to have. Paperdolls allowed me to be artistic because, by the age of five, I’d figured out I could (gasp) draw my own. And I’ve done so here and there.

So it’s only natural for me to want to put out a paperdoll as I slowly back off from working 24/7 and begin to incorporate fun things back into my life again like hobbies and art for the art of it. And crafts. Because don’t you know my self-employment actually began with selling crafts and beadwork, age 18.

Taus, the Akashik version was even put into a paperdoll project very briefly. You can still get the downloadable PDF of her in the OOAK Leaf store or find her on Etsy.com.

Something really neat about paperdolls is how important they are to the world and our history. They date way… waaaay back… as far as paper dates back… and once upon a time a paperdoll wasn’t just a doll. He or she was a precious addition to the household collection. They were given their own little houses, dressed very carefully every day like real people, and their clothes were made of silk, lace and other fine materials. We didn’t start to devalue the paperdoll in our lives until the past 100 years when mass marketing gave us the ability to crank out cheaply made versions.

And I’ve been thinking about this bit of history, and I decided to bring one of my old dreams back to life. And I’m in the works now of making a new paperdoll line. This is one reason why I’d love a cutter… please….

At first I was going to call the first girl in the series Della, after my grandmother, but… that’s inappropriate. Here is why: I intend to aim these dolls at adult collectors. This means the doll, when undressed, will be flat nekkid complete with (gasp!) nipples. I intend to have limited edition outfits that I’ll make from time to time. They’ll have lace and sequins, 3D parts, and even see-through areas. Yep, nighties will be slightly naughty. But not overly so… cheesecake is as far as I like to go on most days.

I envision this doll, her friends, or whatever member of the collection a person gets being a conversation piece on a business person’s desk or just something to tinker with in a home office. I’m thinking I’ll put out a PDF for fee download with her and one outfit for folks who don’t want to buy the made doll and dolls I make and sell myself will have stands and metal parts. I do like the tabs on traditional paperdolls, but I love the ease of magnetic paper and hope to use that. The hard part at this time is figuring out how to make the metal stand and backing for the doll so she can pose for you without help.

I also envision this doll’s make will be a HOBBY. I mean sure there are still paperdoll artists out there in the world who get interviewed and are making a living at it. I’m me, I’m mostly invisible, I think I’d be lucky to sell even one.

So I’m naming her Darling. I’m using 3D to create her art base – mostly because I was creating something for Heavenly Bride the other day and accidentally made a character I fell in love with. I’ll be releasing her looks when I am finally happy with it.

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Plastic

Country-fried

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

Okay. It’s… early.. and I’m tired… but you have to see this. You have to. And I know only an Akashik fan would understand, or someone who struggles to get their characters looking just right. Just… roll with it. m’kay.

 

Plastic Makes Me So Bad by spearcarrier on deviantART

You may want to go to DA and read what I had to say there, I guess.

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A Mortgage on Life

Country-fried

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

Today I just had to do the heartbreaking: put out to find a home for one of our pets. And I’m guessing she won’t be the last we’ll have to give up. She’s just the first because she’s female and our horny toad Loki is trying to make her go into heat – meanwhile we had to get someone to buy dog food for us last night. God Bless Fucking America.

Things went from chancy to dire here in just a couple of days flat: thanks to the Army. Pestilence had applied for unemployment. He’s looking for a job. With unemployment, we could have had some bought time while we got ourselves together from his retirement. The Army disputed his claim. Unemployment didn’t tell us that. They just let us sit here expecting a check last Friday that never came. It took a call from the VA office to unemployment to find out what was going on.

Pestilence had sold his remaining 20 days of leave. The plan was that plus his final check would give us as least one more mortgage and car payment. By the time the Army was done, we found out today, we’re expecting a whopping $66 final pay.

I’m down to literally screaming on my Deviantart journal for help. Literally. Because I don’t know what else to do. I’ve looked for work, Pestilence has been looking for work, there’s no work. Not that I could hold down a job anyway. Menstrual migraines don’t have a cure, or a help, and they’re nothing to claim social security for. Not that we can hold out the five years it takes to fight ss and usually lose… Meanwhile – this thing that’s been driving me crazy – this guy gets $55,000 to make a fucking bowl of potato salad. What the fucking HELL.

We made a gofundme page trying to at least get people to share. Yeah. Most of the shares on it are from when it was a joke page and nothing serious at all. I’m astounded. Oh yeah, people are all about ranting about how horrible it is when a vet is treated badly… until it becomes real and in their face. Then they’re like, “Oh, gotta get me some potato salad.”

I think my patriotism for the military, which I had by the bucketload when I married into it, died completely today.

A good person tries not to be bitter in these situations. We’ve been helped so much in the past years – usually because of this Army situation – that folks just don’t want to help anymore. I get that. But you know what keeps going through my mind?

There was this guy. He needed a van. Back when Pestilence and I had a lot more money…  Pestilence asked me if we could help, and I said yes. So we cleared out our savings and gave him nearly $5000 not just to buy a van, but to get tags, insurance, go get the van, and pay for food on the way. His thanks to us was to talk badly behind my back about what a crazy bitch I was and how I wasn’t good for my husband. He never paid us back. It was me who told Pestilence, “Forgive the debt. Just let it go.”

I just think I deserve better karma than what I’m being handed day after day.

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Faster Than A Silverbullet

Country-fried

Originally published at Confessions of a Half-baked Talemaker. You can comment here or there.

I’m afraid I’m in a bit of a pickle. My husband has slightly spoiled me when it comes to office equipment.

We haven’t been able to get me everything I wanted and needed over the years, but I’m used to him at least trying. He tries really hard. I mean, if I had to rate husband effort I’d give him over 9000. It’s been great, for the most part.

But it also means I’m a spoiled raging brat now. I want stuff for my office. I want to be able to get work done in style. I want a working printer, a computer that hasn’t exploded in at least six months (the last part mostly thanks to my readers), and… and… I want stuff.

It’s become an addiction. I no longer want stuff. I need stuff.

The latest item we’ve been talking about adding for at least a year now is a paper cutter. I originally thought of getting one during one of my many attempts to step away from the ebook business and into something that would let me take lunches and sleep at night on occasion. I thought I’d start a shrinky dink charm business, cuz it was something I felt I’d like to do. But the cutter I finally managed to buy couldn’t cut shrinky dink paper and I had to return it to get my money back.

Months upon months later, my husband finds the silverbullet for me. It’s the cutter’s cutter, and it does all the things I would need it to do. And, the best part, it comes with a commercial use guarantee. And. I want it.

I know that, being largely invisible, getting this cutter with the thought of branching out into making arts and crafts and leaving ebooks behind is just a fairy tale fantasy. For example, my account at etsy costs me money. It never brings any in. And the Apocalypse Store, OOAKLeaf, only sees one living visitor. Me. But that hasn’t stopped me from pining day in and out, torturing myself by comparing my project ideas to what I can find done by other people, and checking the website for specs again and again. Man do I want this cutter. I’m silly for wanting said cutter. With the money it takes to buy the silverbullet, I could pay off some debt instead. And I know this.

Yet I can’t help my strangely sharp fantasies about this thing. The ideas that are flowing. The overall addictive need. Please, Santa, if you give me a silverbullet I’ll polish your damn reindeer’s hooves. I’ll do unspeakable things to your wife. Give me the damn silverbullet!!!

I even started a gofundme page.

Okay you know what? I even promote the page, I want this thing so badly.

I wonder if Van Gogh ever felt this way, I mean for more than the tip of his ear. “Phucketh, if only I could haff some damn curelean blue! I must paint the sky, I tell ye!!”

It’s either the silverbullet or I cut you with… aaah… another… cutter… Um.

Yeah I have no good conclusion to this ramble.

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