Friday, November 30, 2012

Goodbye Cocoa ... we'll really miss you....


Today has been one of the saddest days of my life because this morning our beloved African Grey parrot, Cocoa, died suddenly in my arms.  We didn't even know she was unwell.  Last night she seemed her usual chirpy self, we did our normal nightly routine where we say goodnight to both our parrots, and Cocoa always says "Night night Cokes" and blows us kisses.  She then comes up to bars of her cage, she makes 'kissing' sounds and I kiss her on her black shiny beak. 

When my hubby got up this morning to make tea at about 6.30am, she was on her high perch and again all seemed well.  He said good morning to her and as per usual, she ignored him!
However, when he came back downstairs again a little later, she was lying on the floor of her cage with her wings spread out.  He quickly called me and I rushed to see what was wrong, I lifted her from the cage and she felt sooo cold, but she was alive, so I tucked her inside my clothes and cuddled her.  I kept her there for four hours and during that time I gave her some water with honey through a syringe and also a little bit of mashed up cereal.  At one point I thought she was perking up a bit because she moved her wings as if to get more comfortable, but just after noon, she died still inside my clothes.  We just buried her in the garden.

I'm so very very upset.  I know that some people might say "but she's just a parrot..." and that's as may be to them, but to us she has been a valued member of our family since the day we brought her home, some 12 plus years ago, as a small little 12 week old chick.  She has never been a problem bird, she wasn't a screamer or a plucker and she really did enhance our lives with her funny chatter and her ability to pick up words, phrases and songs so easily!  She liked to be involved in everything and used to dance when we sang to her.  She was even bi-linqual as she could speak some Spanish words too!   Our lives will be quieter and less fun without her, she will be sorely missed.

RIP my little grey baby.....





Monday, November 26, 2012

Vespa it quietly....

......But I'm thinking of getting a motor scooter or moped! 

The town I live in is very very old and not designed for motor vehicles.  The streets are really steep and most are also incredibly narrow, so parking is an absolute nightmare for cars.  The majority of my errands around the town involve the use of the car as they are too far to walk, but then I go around and around, like everyone else, looking for a parking space.

So I suggested to my long suffering husband (who incidentally no longer drives) that maybe I should get a moped or motor scooter, which would be really handy for when I have to go out to the bank or post office, or nip to the supermarket for one or two things that I've forgotten.  Admittedly I would still use the car for the weekly shopping, or journeys outside of our town, but it would be so useful for everything else.  Amazingly enough hubby seems to agree that it is a good idea!  So today I nipped out in the car and went to the one and only motorcycle shop that we have here in Estepa.  They had some lovely models on display but I saw the cutest moped and so asked the owner of the shop all the details. 

Although I can't remember the make (it certainly wasn't a Vespa, unfortunately!) the model I favoured is described as the 'classic' model and he suggested I might prefer a 125cc to the 50cc that I had in mind.  Apparently the 50cc might struggle on the hills, and my driving licence enables me to ride a motorcycle up to 125cc without the need for another road test.  The guy must have thought I was so 'girly' when I said that I particularly liked this model as it was such a nice colour (cream), with an attractive brown seat and old fashioned look about it, and it had a little box on the back which would be perfect for my handbag!  The 'cargo' box, a crash helmet and an anti theft lock are all included in the price.......insurance would be extra but as my son so kindly pointed out, it wouldn't be that expensive for a woman of my age!!!!!!

Now to make the decision on whether I really will use it......because unfortunately they are not as cheap as I envisaged!!!


I guess I will have to think about it....so watch this space......!


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Every dog has it's day.....

......And today was Yoda's turn to be in front of the camera.

Looks like there's a queue at the 'Free Salad Buffet'.....


Yoda, as usual is at the front of the 'queue'...and Choco, our only boy dog, is lining up behind her!

Yoda asks:

"Is this my best side, do you think?"


"Or perhaps this side?"


"Or maybe I just look good from all sides?"
 





A real mixed bunch.....

Yesterday I took quite a few photos in the garden so thought I'd put some on here.....some are dogs, some dolls and some plants....just random shots really, that I thought I'd share.....

Millie and Devon taking a stroll in the garden.  Millie is wearing one of the dresses that I made in anticipation of her arrival.  The sleeves are far too long so I need to get around to shortening those soon.  She is wearing matching knickers, but they can't be seen in the photos.  I made  'tap' pants from the same fabric and added some pretty cotton lace to the edges of the legs.  Devon is wearing a pair of cords that I quickly made for him a couple of days ago.  He needed something else other than shorts as his legs were getting cold!  ;)
Please excuse Devon's awful jumper....I really should stick with sewing!




We have a real 'glut' of lemons again this year, and I've not even used up all the lemon juice that I squeezed from the excess lemons we had in the summer......!  I think the fruits are getting bigger too!


This is the orange tree, although it wasn't until we'd been here a few years that we started to get lemons on it too....it has obviously had a lemon tree grafted on to it at some point....these oranges won't be ready until about Christmas....they are still quite hard and unripe.


Sadly, the Mandarin tree is flowering now!  So we doubt that we'll get any fruit from it this year, as it is totally the wrong time to be flowering.  The smell is wonderful though, I wish I could share that as well as the photo.  It's such a shame that there won't be any fruit as when we have had some, they have been absolutely delicious....definitely the best I've ever tasted!


This little bee is happy with the flowers, obviously!



This cactus just gets bigger and bigger!  It reminds me of a coral reef with all those curves.


A bunch of tiny peachy/red flowers on one of the succulents.....you can see it's little fuzzy petals and leaves here:


I took some photos of the dogs too, but will make that a separate post.......


Friday, November 23, 2012

Sasha arrives!

Yesterday was a great dolly day for me but I was too busy to really enjoy it! 
My postman brought me two nice parcels, one was the book that I'd bought from Dorisanne Osborn, Sasha Dolls Through the Years, and what a lovely book it is too.  I spent a pleasant couple of hours reading it last night and looking at the lovely photos of Sasha dolls.  I learned quite a lot too, and never realised that the little Sasha toddlers weren't actually released ..... I must speak to my friend Ronny about hers, maybe she can give me more information on that as she has toddlers.

My second, bigger parcel, was my Sasha!  She was sent from the UK, I got her from Shelly of Sasha Doll UK.  She is a lovely blond girl and I think her name will be Millie, although that could change as I'm not 100% on it yet.  I couldn't do much with her yesterday as I was working on my custom (previous post today) but now that I've finished that, I've been trying the two dresses that I made for her in anticipation of her arrival.  One of them fits perfectly, and the second needs the sleeves taken up a little .... I think I must have been sewing for an orang utan!!! 

Also today I gave the bottom half of her hair a conditioning treatment.  Shelly had told me that her hair was dry and frizzy on the bottom but it's not too bad really, just needs some curlers in it or something.  It's still quite damp at the moment so I can't really tell if the treatment worked or not, but regardless, she is a lovely doll.  She has a tiny black dot near her eye which I'd planned on removing but it looks like a little beauty spot so it is staying for the time being....it makes her 'unique'!!

Anyway, without further ado, here is her photo, she is an English Trendon girl from 1971:


And here she is with her twin brother Devon:

Custom finished!

I'm very happy to say that yesterday I finished all the work on the custom Blythe that I've been doing for a lady in the US.  I gave her her hair treatment last night and then cut about 2 inches from the length of the hair as the client wanted the hair to be more managable.  I must admit that I was a bit nervous of cutting too much off because if I'd taken off too much, well, it's not like it's going to grow again, :) but I hope this will be just the right length.  This particular Blythe, Manuheali'i Paradise Girl, comes with very long hair, right down to her ankles and it is very thick and has a tendancy to be dry at the ends, so now it is a bit shorter but still long enough to be  styled in different ways.  It is now also lovely and soft and silky, with a great shine.

This morning I added the final touches which are the charms on the pull strings.  Unfortunately between adding them and taking her outside for photographs, the sleep pull cord has twisted and looks 'odd' so that will have to be replaced this afternoon before I can package her up for sending home.  That is of course if her 'mum' is happy with the finished result.

She has four sets of beautifully handpainted eyechips by Liquiriziadolly in the UK.....I love how they look and am tempted to get some for my own girls....although having said that, I really would like to have a another go at painting some more myself, it is just a matter of taking the time to get the paint and other supplies needed to do them.

Here are the final photos of her:












Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sanding sanding sanding.....

Today I finished the colour-work on my Blythe custom!  I was really pleased to finish her faceup because I've had to sand off the sealant twice now, but hopefully that will be it.  Unless of course, the owner of the doll, once she's seen the photo, decides that she doesn't like it and wants me to start over!  Arrrggh I hope not! 

So tomorrow I will add a semi gloss varnish to the lips and then start on the rest of the work.  The eyechips are really lovely, the lady supplied them herself and they are handpainted chips from an artist in England, so with these in mind, I have to decide on the colour of the eyelids.  I'm thinking something bronze/gold/brown-ish.....I'll have to see tomorrow.  Then it'll be eyelashes, boggling and gaze correcting.  New pull ring charms and then on to her hair treatments.  It's quite a lot of work but I do enjoy it.

The first photo shows how she looked a couple of days ago before sanding and carving, and the second shows how she looks at the moment, minus her hair and eye mechanism, she looks a bit orangey but that is because the photo was taken inside with flash and my desk lamp has a very 'warm' tone bulb in it.  I don't usually use that lamp but the room felt cold today and it made me feel better to have this 'yellowy' glow!

Before:


After:


I will take more photos once she is complete. 

Apart from that, I also did some on line shopping ... dolly shopping again ... so my vinyl kids have some new shoes and new trousers on their way!  Talk about spoilt!!!

Nothing much else to report on the dolly front, but we did have our roof done today.  The guy came at 9am as promised (this is very good for a Spanish workman, to actually arrive when they say they will!) and sprayed our whole roof with a very quick drying foam, he then sprayed it with white paint stuff (technical term) and now it looks rather like a snow covered ski slope!  We really hope it does the job that it's intended for......to stop our internal water features when it pours with rain!!!

I don't think we'll have long to wait before it rains again....so watch this space!!! 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

No play day....

Not much time today for dolly play as I am customising a tanned Blythe for a lady in Chicago and want to get it done and sent off to her before the Christmas postal 'rush'.....Unfortunately though, I made the stupid mistake of spraying the blank faceplate whilst the MSC sealant was still cold and so the faceplate ended up all mottled with white dots....more haste less speed....so the faceplate had to be sanded again, which was blooming hard work!  The one good thing though was that I hadn't started on the faceup, so at least nothing was ruined.  So tomorrow, all being well, if the weather is good and dry, I will start on the colour work.

In the meantime, I found Devon searching through the dolly clothing boxes and he came up with this tee shirt that he feels is perfect for him!  It is a bit loose around the neck but he didn't mind that because apparently 'loose is cool', so we snapped a quick photo of him for our blog....Isn't he the handsome one!!


I thought that having got Devon and his blond sister, Sasha, who is on her way home to us from Shelly, that I would be content to have just the two Sasha kids.  Not so.  Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy with Devon and I'm sure I'll be just as happy with his sister, but I find myself looking at other peoples blogs, ebay and Shelly's site, and thinking "Oh I'd love one like that too.....".....

Why am I never content with what I have?  Why can't I be one of those people who has one or two dolls and is happy with that?  One of lifes great mysteries, I guess!!


Monday, November 19, 2012

My first Sasha....a Gregor!

My first Sasha doll arrived today, he is a blond boy Gregor and his name is Devon! 
It is amazing to think that he was made in 1969, he is in great condition and has lovely thick hair and nice face painting without any rubs. 

As soon as he arrived he was in a bad mood because he thought his 'sister' would be here but she is yet to arrive from the UK, but I'm sure she will get here soon. 

In the meantime, he got himself changed out of his travel clothes and into a long sleeved tee shirt that I made for him yesterday, in anticipation of his arrival.  I knew that he would be arriving in a short sleeve top and it's a bit chilly for that now, so long sleeves were in order.  However, he is still wearing shorts until I make a pattern for some trousers for him, and we found him some socks and a different pair of trainers.  He also decided that he was going to wear this giraffe hat that he found in the clothing box.....it belongs to one of my Blythe girls but he wasn't worried, because apparently, he tells me that he loves animals, so this hat was just right for him!!


After changing his clothes he decided to take a look around the garden.  He was amazed at the lemon tree which is packed with almost ripe lemons....he said he thought you had to buy lemons at the supermarket...bless him!!
 


He did a bit of climbing, as boys do,


...and afterwards made friends with a little English Bulldog who lives here, his name is Arthur and it seems that Devon and Arthur are already firm friends!!!
 


We snapped a quick Polariod photo so that he could remember the day when he arrived here to live in Spain...






Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bobbie....my Blythe Ebony

I made a dioama thingy the other night, it's not very good but I thought it might be useful for taking some photos when the weather's not too good outside, or even use it outside too, so that the background isn't always the white stone wall.  I used an oval shaped box that was just about to be put in the rubbish bag...it's from a coffee machine that we bought.  So I just added some 1/6th scale brick patterned paper that I got from a printable minis website, and then some cobbled paper for the floor.  I'm going to look for some posters to add to the wall to break up the boredom!!!

Bobbie is modelling her new leggings and cable knitted legwarmers that we received recently from a seller on Etsy, she teamed them with her lovely cream knitted dress from Maisiedoats, our friend May in Australia, and little brown leatherette boots, and her satchel made by me!  And off she goes..........



In other news, I think my Sasha boy, Gregor, might be here tomorrow or Tuesday as since Friday he is shown as being 'in transit' , on the Spanish postal website, and usually that means that a parcel isn't too far from delivery!  I will keep looking tomorrow morning in the hope that the tracking will change to 'in the delivery system' , then I know that he'll arrive later in the day!!!!

I've been sewing for both Sasha and Gregor, Sasha has a couple of new dresses and Gregor has a long sleeved tee shirt but I'm not sure it will fit him properly.....we shall see when he arrives.




Monday, November 12, 2012

A good dolly day!

Today was a great dolly day for me in lots of ways.  My latest sewing project, which is for my friend Lene in Denmark, went well and I got a full outfit made for her, which I hope she will be happy with.

The postman brought me a package from Singapore which was my order of little Blythe items from Miss Blythe on Etsy.  I bought two pairs of very cute leggings, some cable knit leg warmers and a pair of sweet little boots.  I haven't tried them on my girls yet because I'm waiting on the loveliest dress from my friend May (Maisiedoats) in Australia....I'll show the whole outfit together rather than separately!!

I also spent a fair bit of money too because I finally found the Sasha girl that I wanted, a lovely blond cutie from 1971.  I saw her last week for sale on the Sasha Dolls UK website but couldn't get hold of Shelly the site owner until last night.  So I have a really sweet girl coming to live here......but that wasn't the end of it.  I just happened to be looking on Ebay at Sasha listings when a very cute Gregor was listed with a Buy it Now price.  I'm afraid I just couldn't resist so after quickly checking his authenticity and my paypal account (I can only spend what I have in my paypal account), I went and pressed that BIN button.....He is a cute blond boy from 1969 and is in very good condition.  So I'm very happy.

Here are the sellers photos of each of the dolls:

Sasha, possible names: Keiran, Maxine, Millie, Maisie?


Gregor, possible names: Elliot, Georgie, Jonsie, Patrick, Devon perhaps?


I'm sure they'll tell me their names when they settle in!!

Both dolls are travelling from different homes in the UK, so hopefully it won't be that long until they get here.  I have a whole lot of sewing patterns that I can use for clothes for them, I really am looking forward to sewing for them.  My mum is going to do some knitted cardigans or jumpers for them too, so they'll not be short of clothes, that's for sure!!!

It's funny but I feel really excited that after all these years, I'm finally getting not one, but TWO Sasha dolls....and how funny that they are almost as old as I am!!!!  Though I think they look cuter and I'm sure they're wearing better than I am!!!!!







Thursday, November 8, 2012

Bitten again.....

I don't know what it is about me, but I always seem to be getting 'bitten' by something....and no, I don't mean a nasty mosquito or wild dog, but by something 'dolly' related!!!  And this time it is the vinyl Sasha dolls!  I was going to try blaming my friend Sue in the UK, because she recently had a big birthday and received a cute Sasha baby as a pressie!  However, I can't really do that as I've had this bug on and off for a while now.....sometimes it goes away and other times it hangs around, so perhaps it is time to do a bit more research into them as all I've previously done is look at their cute photos on Flickr!

Incidentally, speaking of Sasha and Flickr, I wanted to see photos of Sasha dolls on there, so I did a search using just the word 'sasha' in 'everyone's uploads'......ooops, not a good move!  All I can say is those Russian girls don't wear a lot of clothing, bearing in mind how cold it is there!!!!  But at least next time I'll know that there are more people on Flickr than just dolly people and there are more things tagged 'sasha' than just cute vinyl dolls!!!

So for the last couple of days I've been looking on Ebay, and I have been speaking with a very nice lady who is also a Brit living here in Spain!  In fact she lives not a million miles from our place on the coast so we may meet up for coffee one day, which would be great as I rarely meet other dolly people face to face!  Anyway, she has pointed me in the direction of a few websites and blogs but my goodness there is much to learn.  It sort of reminds me a little of when, back in 2006, I first dipped a toe into the world of BJDs, only more confusing!  She advised me to look for a particular book that tells all there is to know about Sasha's but unfortunately apart from going direct to the author who is in the US, it is only available on Amazon US for about $85.....and then on top of that would be added the customs fee....which I get caught for every time, so I'm going to have to try finding out what I need to know here on the internet...and live in hope that I don't end up buying a 'dud'!!!! 

So if any of my Blogger friends knows anything about Sasha dolls....and anyone would know more than me.....then I'd be really happy for any information you can give me. 

In other news, I have been sewing a commission today for my friend Lene and have finished the second outfit that she's requested.  I still have loads to do though, it is a big list of clothing that she wants for her lovely girls!  Photos of the finished items coming soon.  The weather is still rainy and miserable and starting to feel a lot like winter.....I guess it had to happen at some point but I just like to delay thinking about that particular season for as long as I can!


Monday, November 5, 2012

Blythe family.....

Here is the latest photo of my Blythe family and their two little big head friends, Kobi and Percy, my Secretdoll Persons. 

I love customising my Blythe girls, and I've often said that I'll buy a couple of Blythes just to customise and sell, because I'm getting better at it now and don't really need more Blythes than I already have.  However, so far I've not been able to let any of the latest ones go....it's like the minute you start to customise them, they develop into little 'plastic people' and have their own personalities....and then I get attached to them!  I did think that perhaps I'd sell Candie, my raspberry haired girl, because her hair didn't turn out the pale pink I wanted when I dyed it, but I really like her face and now I've got used to her with the deep pink hair, I don't think I can let her go!  I did put her up for sale but after a day or so I took the FA post down again! 

Anyway, without further ado, here are my girls on their now somewhat crowded shelf.  I have one more girl to go on there, an FBL who will be my one custom not done by me.  Olga (Vainilladolly) has said she will customise her for me.  I left the faceplate with her 6 months ago, so I really hope that soon she will come home to join her friends here on the shelf!


Left to right: Budgie Blue (factory/fake girl), Hershey (Simply Chocolate), Heather (PD Heather Sky), Bobbie (PD Ebony), Candie (Border Spirit), Noelle (Nicky Lad) and Paisley (Bohemian Peace)
Kobi (Secretdoll Person 8) and Percy (Secretdoll Person 21)



Saturday, November 3, 2012

My latest cutom Blythe....

When I was young my mum always told me that it wasn't 'nice' to show off, or 'blow your own trumpet'....advice that must have become really ingrained into my psyche.  Because over the years I've secretly been very happy with things that I've done but it just "wasn't nice" to show off about it, or say how pleased I am with how something turned out.  However....and here's where my voice goes a bit quiet and embarrassed....."I'm really really happy with my latest Blythe custom, I think she is my best work yet!".... Oh boy, that was hard to say so publicly, even if I did say it in just a smallish whisper.  I hope no-one will think I'm a terrible show-off!!!  Anyway, now that I've said it, I will explain why.   She just seemed to come together and turn out well.  I have been quite pleased with how my previous girls came out but with every one of them there has been something that I'm not quite satisfied with.  Maybe their lips didn't turn out as 'plump' as I'd have liked, or maybe their eyes are not looking upwards enough and I can't fathom how to make them any higher, but this girl just seemed to develop on her own and I'm really really pleased with her.  I know they say practice makes perfect and OK I'm sure she's not perfect, but for me she is the result of a lot of practice (and hard work!!!).  I've now done several customs and I certainly hope that people who are interested will see that they are improving!  So perhaps I should change the expression to "practice certainly makes better....." ....there, now that sounds so much better and what on earth would my mum think if she heard me 'blowing my own trumpet'!!!!