Wednesday 31 December 2014

That was the year that was!

I thought I'd do a summary post of how 2014 was for me, I hope you'll enjoy it :)

The year 2014 started for me with the usual New Years resolutions!  This year, amongst other things, I was going to try to downsize my doll collection, try to find more 'props' to use in my doll photos and for about the 3rd year in a row I was going to be more confident, or maybe I'll rephrase that and say "less embarrassed" about taking doll photos in public.  Oh yes, I was also going to try to lose weight having put quite a lot on over the last 10 years.  OK.  So how did I get on?

I guess my biggest achievement this year has been the weight thingy.  I started a more healthy eating plan on the 13th January.  I had intended starting on the 2nd but all the best laid plans .... plus my mum and brother were still here from the UK and also the festivities aren't really finished with here until after The Three Kings on the night of 5th January, so I kept putting it off.  But finally, I started.  And it wasn't so bad! :)  The weight came off and I got used to eating well instead of eating everything in sight!  This morning I weighed myself and I am a little over 57 pounds lighter, or 4 stone and almost 2 lbs, whichever you prefer!!!  I even lost almost one pound over Christmas, but that could be a fluke as I'm not well at the moment and so not eating much.  Anyway, I'm very very pleased with myself, as I'm sure you can imagine!

On the 'reducing dolly numbers' front, maybe I wasn't quite as successful! LOL.  I did indeed reduce my BJD (ball jointed doll) numbers, and one or two customised Blythes, but unfortunately I spent the money on vinyl dolls.  My biggest purchases of the year was probably Ellie, my gorgeous Little Darling painted by Dianna Effner, she came here back in late April, early May:

and then Núria, my beautiful 1968 Sasha Redhead Ballerina, who came here in July.  Talk about "in the right place at the right time!"  I just happened to spot her when Sarah of Vintage Sasha posted her for sale on her blog and jumped in quickly with an email!!!  I was very fortunate to get her, she's a real little beauty to me :)

A little later in the summer, August in fact, Finn, my sweet Little Darling #2 sculpt arrived from the Effner trained artist, Pat Green.  She was ordered back in March and took 5 months and I love her!  I recently changed her wig to a different one from the photo below but I think she'll be changing back soon, as I love this faux fur one on her :)

A week or so later I was tempted by Ana, the #2 sculpt Little Darling UFDC souvenir doll, so I contacted the UFDC and managed to snag one.  And so Reece came to live here :)  The UFDC girls are not handpainted by the Dianna Effner artists but they are produced by the very same factory as the artist painted dolls, which I'm told arrive 'blank' to the artists.  I have since enhanced my girls eyes a little so that they have more shine and therefore come alive.  I will have to share some close up 'after' photos at some point.  I have to say that once I'd changed this girls wig and removed her default outfit I love her every bit as much as my other two artist painted girls :)

Since the summer I have added a few more vinyl girls to my dolly collection, one is Hannah at the Spa by Gotz (below left) and the other is my Limited Edition Giselle also by Gotz in collaboration with Steif.

Also, earlier in the year I adopted a sweet Zwergnase Junior, Tanya from Maru & Friends, and Olivia Kish, all three dolls fit in nicely with my growing vinyl family :)

Zwergnase Junior Marlene, now known as Marlie:

 Maru & Friends Tanya, who's kept her default name but received a new wig:

And my sweet little Olivia with her now bright red hair :)

And then, you might remember I bought a couple of Kidz n Catz dolls which I decided to customise, Grace and Elise.

Grace, now known as Sian:

Elise, who currently keeps her factory name:

And then my recent purchase, my little Sidika Himstedt:

There are a couple of other girls here waiting to be introduced but they're for another day ;)  Plus I have a sweet little visitor here from Wales, who wants to show her face to her Mamma on here, just to prove she did as she was told and didn't go elsewhere :)

So I'm not really sure that I actually 'achieved' my goal of reducing dolly numbers, but haven't counted, so just maybe...... ;)

As for the other two 'resolutions', getting more props/furniture and taking more dolly photos in public without embarrassment...I don't think I've really achieved those two at all. :(   Unless you count props sent to me as gifts, which I have to say were most welcome :)  And we won't mention the second does one learn NOT to be embarrassed?  I end up looking 'furtive' and that's not a good look when you're in public places, especially shops, and are poking about shoving things quickly in your handbag ;)

So those two will go to the top of this years resolutions list, along with doing more exercise and continuing with the healthy eating plan.

Finally, one of the highlights of my year was my trip to the UK where I was lucky enough to meet some of the lovely people that I'd only previously met on line.  I had the greatest time at Dee's Chat n Snap and it was super to meet other dolly lovers :) and not feel ashamed of gushing over dolls!

I look forward to the New Year, 2015, and to continuing with my dolly hobby, meeting new people who share it and keeping in touch with those I already email/phone with.  I wish everyone who reads/follows my blog the very best for the coming year, may your lives be filled with fun, may your larder/fridge be filled with food and may your hearts be filled with love :)

Big hugs, from Sharon in Spain xxx

Thursday 25 December 2014

Felice Navidad!

Wishing all of my dolly friends a fantastic Christmas!

I hope Santa was generous and kind to you, that your tables were laden with lovely festive goodies and that you share your day with those you love! 

And whilst we enjoy ourselves let's spare a thought for those who are not as lucky as we are, who maybe don't have the joy of sharing their lives with great friends as we do.

Big hugs to all of you
Sharon xxxxx

Wednesday 24 December 2014

Looking for Never Never Land.....City of Chocolate...

Yesterday my mum and brother John arrived for Christmas and in the afternoon we took them to one of our local chocolate factories to see the Christmas display.  Each year, this particular factory, La Estepeña, which also houses a small museum, puts on a differently themed display.  This year the theme was London and the world of Peter Pan!

Everything is apparently edible.  They used real plain, milk and white chocolate, and the waterfall and the river Thames are made from honey!  The 'fruits' you see around the display are made from marzipan.

Below, Mum, Brian, John and my friend Magdalena:

Entrance to the display and museum was €1 per adult and each entrant is given a little box containing chocolates :)

Here is the display, it was amazing!  You will see that 'poetic licence' has been used here with some of the London landmarks, but they are still beautifully made....and almost everything is made from real chocolate.  The aroma was delicious, I think I put on half a stone just from that!!

Below is supposed to be the house where Wendy lived and in the background the dome of St Paul's Cathedral.....well I did say about poetic licence, didn't I!

Above and below you can see the River Thames made from honey, and the 'mud' around the edges is made from a really tasty chocolate filled with tasty almonds.  

Here you can see the white chocolate swans on the honey river. 

Above and below you can see Captain Hook's pirate ship and Cook himself being eaten by the crocodiles! 

Below a white chocolate lighthouse in front of Tower Bridge!  

Below we see Peter Pan and Tinkerbell perched precariously on Wendy's house.  The children can be seen inside the bedroom window below Peter and Tinkerbell and Mr Darling can be seen outside the front door.

Below is Trafalgar Square!!  And the buildings at the back represent the Houses of Parliament.

Below can be seen the 'flying pirate ship' and the little people coming down on parachutes apparently represent "the lost boys"...

I particularly liked the 'Big Ben' tower. 

Below you can just see Peter Pan peeping through the edible trees.

Here are the details of what does into the display:

2500 hours of work by our Master Chocolate Makers
52 square metres surface area
2000 kg of authentic (or genuine) chocolate
(Big Ben weighs 120 kg), monuments, castles, mountains and figures
10 kg of Marzipan
(Fruits, trunks)
30 kg of almonds
2 kg Cinnamon
100 kg Honey
(Lake and waterfall) 

At some point in January, the display will be dismantled and distributed to various groups who will give the chocolate to children from poor families.

Once we'd had our 'fill' of the chocolate, we left via the 'shop' area where there was a lovely Christmas tree on display,

  as well as a couple of growling automated polar bears, a sweet deer and two cute fluffy owls! 

The little deer below would make the perfect prop to have a Sasha riding on it's back, don't you think? ;) 

A close up of a couple of the decorations...

 A mural of how the shop used to look....

 In the shop there are all sorts of chocolates and other tasty 'goodies' for sale...And FREE samples...can't be bad!!!

They have a lovely old fashioned counter area...

This is one of the company's logos which is used on most of their packaging, it reminds us a little bit of the Mabel Lucie Attwell drawings.... 

The entrance to another small part of the museum, showing that the company was founded in 1858...

The ceiling is very high and quite attractive with mirrors and carving....

Outside in the carpark there are a several palm trees decorated with fairy lights....catching the last rays of the sun...

And finally, I thought you might like to see this orange tree laden with ripe oranges...

I hope you all have a wonderful chocolate filled Christmas! :)