Thursday, January 23, 2020

Feeling Sick and Feeling Sad: Saying Goodbye to Terry Jones

  I was going to post last night,but I was too sick. Ken got sick and now I have whatever it is that he has. It feels a lot like what I had early least year. Some of you may remember me being sick for MONTHS last year. I have a fever,which was up past 103 last night.but is now down to 101.5. I feel like throwing up when I get up,so I've been in bed all day. In fact,this attempt at sitting up for a while isn't going well. Hopefully I'll be well enough to drive Ivy back to college on Sunday.
  From previous posts you'll know that I'm a huge Monty Python fan. I was very sad to learn yesterday that one of the Pythons,Terry Jones, has died.
  Terry was born in February,1942,in Colwyn Bay, Wales. He attended Oxford University,where he met fellow future Python and life long friend Michael Palin. The two worked together regularly before and after Monty Python. Before, they worked as writers on "The Frost Report", and as writers and performers on "Do Not Adjust Your Set", a children's show that had as many, or more,adult fans,including fellow Pythons John Cleese and Graham Chapman. The two asked Palin, Jones,Eric Idle, and Terry Gilliam,who all worked on the show,to do a show with them, and Monty Python was  born.
   Terry Jones became known for his portrayals of screeching women, like the waitress in the Spam sketch...
Terry as the waitress in the Spam sketch.

...and the game show contestant who chooses 'the blow on the head' as her prize. He also co-directed the film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" with Terry Gilliam,and directed the other two Python films,"The Life of Brain" and "The Meaning of Life" on his own. During the 1970's he wrote the TV series "Ripping Yarns" with Palin. He was a medieval scholar,writing two books on Chaucer, and writing and hosting multiple TV shows on the subject. He authored several children's books,and wrote,directed, and starred in "The Wind in the Willows",(retitled "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" when released in the U.S. by Disney).
   In 2014 the Pythons reunited for a series of live stage shows. At the time Terry was having trouble remembering his lines. This was clear in the film made from the shows when John Cleese takes Terry's cheat sheet from him. The following year Terry was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia, a rare form of frontotemporal dementia. The symptoms include memory problems that worsen over time, along with "slowly losing the ability to speak, write, read, and generally comprehend language". This was tragic for someone whose life had been all about language,as a writer and scholar. Most suffering from PPA also eventually lose their motor skills,but at least close to the end Terry was still able to enjoy walks. Michael Palin visited Terry regularly.
Terry and Michael last  May.
In September of  2019 he said of Terry,“The last time I saw him I don’t think he recognized me. We knew each other well. It feels like a part of yourself isn’t there any more.”
  Terry passed away on January 21,surrounded by family and friends.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Watch This Space...For an Upcoming Competition!

  A few days ago I mentioned that I was thinking about having a competition soon. Well, I have made up my mind and decided yes. So keep tuned to this blog channel! Any day now I'll be announcing the details.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Making Mini Souvenirs in 1/6 Scale, Part Three

  This is part three of the posts on 1/6 scale souvenirs. If you haven't read the other two, now's the time to catch up. And everybody but Dorothy can check out the Facebook page, where I posted a thingy about a doll artist who makes gorgeous realistic dolls.
  The kids' dolls 'went' to various places on vacation. In my previous post on the vacations,which you can see HERE,I showed you some of the photos Ken and I did for the doll emails home. Like this one of Fuzzy the Doll heading up the mountain in Tibet with his guide.

  Or this picture of Fuzzy's best friend, Little Purple, petting a yak.

Both of these pictures were done by putting the dolls in front of a photo in a book. The lighting had to match the lighting in the photo. These days all you'd have to do is photo shop the doll in a photo.
  When he 'went' to Tibet to track the Yeti,he brought back a hat, which you may have seen in my post on Fuzzy the Doll for Fuzzy's (the kid) birthday one year.

I made the hat out of felt, and painted the design with acrylic paint. It was based on the hats in this photo.

I loved how the lady looked like she was looking at Fuzzy with confusion,but I'm not sure I used this photo because it looked too fake.
  I told you about the emails the dolls sent home, and Fuzzy the Doll's personality in Part One. If you read that you'll understand when I tell you that Fuzzy the Doll sent an email saying he had met 'the Dolly Llama'. He then sent a follow up email saying he really liked the Dolly Llama and was thinking of bringing him home. "I think I can fit him in my suitcase." When he got home it became more understandable how he could fit 'the Dolly Llama' in his suitcase and why he spelled it that way.

I made this tiny llama out of wire and some very furry thread. I don't know if you'd call it yarn or thread really. I couldn't find the appropriate fake fur, so I had to wrap the wire with the thread. It worked pretty well. It looked more like a llama than this picture suggests. He looks like a horse in the picture. We couldn't find the Dolly Llama,so I had to resort to this picture that was taken when the dolls got off the plane after their trip. As you can see, they also went to England during the trip,because Fuzzy also brought home a pub sign. The sign is actually a button I found at Hobby Lobby.
  Fuzzy was tracking a Yeti,so one of the things he brought home was a 'plaster' cast of a yeti footprint. I made it out of spackle. Luckily the casts they make of footprints are a positive,because that was much easier to make out of spackle,(and without a doll sized yeti foot.) than a negative.
  When the dolls went to England they visited London,which I showed you some of their souvenirs from the other day. In addition to those things they also visited the BBC gift shop and brought back little Doctor Who magnets. They were real magnets. I used very thin,almost paper thin,magnets from a free tiny calendar or business card magnet. I used that same magnet type when I made the Beatles magnets Blue brought back from the dolls' trip to Liverpool.

Blue brought home a set of magnets and a pack of postcards.
The magnets are very thin, but they really stick to metal.

Ringo was Ivy's favourite when she was little. The pictures were cut out of an old Beatlefest catalog.

I also used them for Blue's souvenirs from Italy.

These magnets sets were made from pictures of real magnet sets from an old PBS Signals catalog. I cut the pictures out of the catalog,glued them to the magnet, and then cut them out all over again.They really work just like the real ones,and you can stick the clothes on the statues.
  Ivy wanted Blue to go to Italy because she loved Topo Gigio. (See my post on Topo Gigio HERE.) One year Ivy sent her Topo doll along. On another trip her dolls just visited Topo's mother,Mama Gigio.

I don't know what the wooden  thing behind Mam's head is, but I like it, and it came in handy as part of Mama's house.'Mama' is a Topo doll,wearing glasses,a vintage embroidered antimacassar as a shawl, and a piece of lace crochet on 'her' head. Blue's sister Rose has 'red sauce' on her face because she loved Mama's red sauce and kept eating it. She liked it so much she brought a jar of it home with her.

The label says 'Mama Gigio's'. This was in Ivy's doll stuff.
This time I used paint instead of the real thing,after Ivy ate that tea Blue brought back from England! The jar came from Hobby Lobby,or maybe The Dollar Tree. The Dollar Tree sold nail art do dads in jars like that. For a pack of 6 or 8 it was only $1, much cheaper than Hobby Lobby.
  I didn't find it, so I can't show you, but Blue also brought back a little biscotti in a paper bag. I made the biscotti out of  polymer clay,and the bag out of one of those very thin paper bags they give you at Hallmark or other gift shops.
  While they were in Italy Blue also visited Pompeii,because as a kid Ivy shared my fascination with the place.

Blue with a mural 'in' Pompeii.
Blue and Ivy's other doll,'Swingy Legs'(Yes, that is what Ivy named her.),somewhere above Pompeii.
  From Pompeii Blue brought back a couple of pieces of lava. I scoured the parking lot at Walmart where they had the bags of lava rocks they were selling for use in grills. There are always little pieces of lava scattered around, that have fallen out of the bags. I found a couple of really tiny doll sized pieces,one light coloured, and one black,for Blue.
  There was one trip where Fuzzy the Doll went to Hollywood. He brought back some autographed pictures of the stars. True to form though, his emails said someone was going to sell him the Hollywood sign,and he was going to bring it home. Obviously the Hollywood sign is not for sale, and you can't fit a 45 feet tall sign in your suitcase. After a couple of days he decided not to buy the Hollywood sign, and to, instead, buy The Hollywood Bowl. I had forgotten about this, until Fuzzy and I were sorting through his doll stuff for me to do these posts,and Fuzz picked something out of the stuff and said,"Here's the Hollywood Bowl."

Fuzzy's Hollwood balloon,which is part of a floral thingy,his autographed pictures,cut from a catalog Lori gave me, and...The Hollywood Bowl.

Well, the kids found it amusing.
  Blue also brought back some 'signs' from Italy. They are below,right. They are scrapbooking stickers,but they are thick plastic,and since they have been cut out for a while they are curling up,which makes them look like ashtrays.On the left is a packet of French Baker Recipe Cards Blue brought back from France.

I think I must have cut them from a catalog. The tiny plastic packets were cut down from spme kind of packets,and sealer with tape cut into a thin strip.

Emma's doll went to France too. You may have seen this picture of Emma the Doll and her best friend Susan in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Regular reader Dorothy made a comment about the dolls not having to worry about taking too much on the plane. I'm not sure if she meant they didn't have to pack anything,or if there was no weight restriction. But to clear up any confusion about the dolls' luggage,let me tell you that the kids did pack luggage for the dolls. They sent clothes for while they were away. I actually went to the trouble of changing the dolls' clothes for the different pictures they sent home. Every detail was thought of!
Emma the Doll,ever the fashionable Diva, brought back an original Paris dress, with matching hat and clutch purse.

This type of hat is called a 'picture hat'.
I found the fabric at Joann's, It has French places and things printed on it. Since Emma's birth I had gone from someone who never sewed,to someone who still sewed badly,but could sew and design a dress and accessories. I think I may also have provided the sunglasses.

Emma had the peace sign necklace on her already,and she's been wearing the clear bead necklace ever since it was sewn on her when she was "Anastasia" with Emma for Halloween.

  As I have mentioned before,Fuzzy the Doll went to various places in Africa, including Egypt,and a diamond mining region. Here's his map,which he brought back with him.

I think he may also have brought back some tiny 'gold' nuggets. I'm sure he brought money back with him too. When we started these vacations,we printed one sided doll sized money,but eventually we got good enough at it that we were able to do two sided things.
  Fuzzy brought back these necklaces for everybody. This one is Blue's.

He also brought back some African masks. They were buttons made to look like African masks, that I found somewhere,probably Hobby Lobby.
  He brought back the necklace below left for Blue too,I think. 

The green bead necklace is Blue's 'jade' necklace from China. I know there is a wrong bead on the metal bead necklace. It was missing a few beads when I found it. I miraculously found two of the beads it was missing...and lost them...and found them again!...and lost them...Every time I tried to put them back on,I'd drop them and lose them again. When I thought I had found the right ones and gotten them back on,I noticed in this picture that one of them was wrong! Amazingly enough I found the third missing bead and replaced the wrong one!
  Until I go through Emma's things at some point,that seems to be the end of the doll souvenirs that I have  to photograph. There are a lot more things I made for the dolls,but for now,I'll gave you a break!

Monday, January 20, 2020

Making Mini Souvenirs in 1/6 Scale,Part Two

  Yesterday we started talking about tiny little souvenirs. 1/6 scale souvenirs to be exact. I realize I forgot to include pictures of the tiny box of English toffee I made. There's also one other extra picture,but I bet you can't spot it.

This is  Fuzzy's, but I made one for Emma too. The box is gold cardboard I had, and the front is cut from a catalog. Fuzzy has lost his, but I filled the box with polymer clay toffees,twisted up in yellow or red cellophane.

 I won't go too much into the reason for the souvenirs this time. I'll just say that the kids' dolls 'went on vacation', and you can check the previous post,or THIS ONE for details.

  I mentioned some of the countries the dolls 'went' to. (They didn't really go anywhere. But the kids thought they did.) Ivy was obsessed with China. Her dolls,and Fuzzy's too, went there once. Now what should they bring back from China? Well Blue,Ivy's doll brought back Lucky Money,or Red Envelopes for everybody. You can read about those HERE.

Ok,it's not red. We didn't have a colour printer at the time. I did some hand tinting.The gold card is supposed to be a good luck Buddha card. I'd leave you a link for information, but even I can't find anything now!
The dolls always brought back money from the country they visited,and Blue's red envelopes contained money too.
  Blue brought back a traditional Chinese dress,with a Mandarin collar and real working frog closures. (Yes, I actually made a tiny Kelly doll sized dress like that. I don't know how I did it.) I didn't find it when I packed up Ivy's things, but I found the matching purse.

I pulled the draw string strangely I guess. It doesn't really have that weird lump on the top left.
Blue sent home an email talking about how she saw some macaque monkeys,and was sad she couldn't bring one home. If you'll remember, I told you how Fuzzy the Doll did strange things,like drawing mustaches on the statues in the museum,etc. Well, he also packed a couple of macaques in his suitcase for himself and Blue when he stopped through China.
This one is Fuzzy's. 

This is Blue's.

It's the thought that counts.
  I can't tell you how I put the fur faces on those guys because I can't remember! I know they have felt bodies and vintage green glass bead eyes and stitched on nostrils and mouths.
  I forgot to add this picture originally. 

It's two necklaces Blue brought home. The green one is supposed to be a jade necklace from China. the other one is on wire, and I can't remember where it's supposed to be from. Yes. I know it has one wrong bead on it. That's because I found two or three beads that were supposed to be on it,kept dropping them and refinding them,and at one point I found the odd one and thought it was the right one,and put it on!No fear though. I later removed it and replaced it with the right bead.
   Tomorrow we'll tackle more souvenirs from other places. We're hitting some interesting stuff now...I hope.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Making Mini Souvenirs in 1/6 Scale, Part One

  First, I have gone back and added some pictures to the post that mentions the Halloween costumes, (More Stuff We Made),from a couple of days ago,as well as a picture of the stocking treatst. Also, I went back and added pictures to several other posts on Ivy's dolls. I found the accessories to some things after I did the posts on them. The updated posts include Day 313,322, 326,332,342,and 344.
  We continue to talk about 'making stuff' today. Today we're going to talk about 'making stuff' to use  as souvenirs for the dolls' vacations.
  Some of you may have read my post on doll vacations HERE. If not,let me explain this to you. When the kids were little their dolls 'went on vacation'. It all started when Emma got the idea to send Fuzzy's dolls to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus. Once she did that,Ken and I helped her with things for Fuzzy the Doll to bring back. I think that may be where the little Rudolph record I showed you yesterday came from. I'm sure that must be where this tiny postcard from The North Pole that I found in Fuzzy's doll stuff must have come from.

  I can't remember how long after that the dolls started taking regular trips. The kids would pick a country, and their dolls would 'travel' to the doll version of that country. (They only went to 'Doll England' for example,instead of regular England,because the kids worried about doll kids being so far away alone. I told them that dolls could travel to other doll countries without worrying about not being escorted,because they were always safe, unlike real kids,who had to travel with an adult.) If you want to read the details about how the dolls were 'transported' to the countries,and hidden while they were supposed to be on their trip,please go to the previous post using the link above. If not,stay with me.
  I am going to steal from my previous post to explain the next bit.
  "The dolls would send emails home, with pictures of their adventures..."

Like this one of Fuzzy the Doll on a rope bridge in the Himalayas. I'm sure we could do better pictures now with modern computer programs.
The whole thing, like the kids' dolls themselves, started out normally. But the dolls developed distinct personalities as we played. Emma the Doll became confident and conceited,oblivious to the fact that her decal face (of Emma's real face) had worn down,and all her badly rooted, (by me) hair, had fallen out. 

This picture is from a very early vacation where Emma the Doll got her Harry Potter book signed by J.K. Rowling the Doll.
She was left with two threads that dangled to one side. That became her hair. 
You may have seen this 'behind the scenes' picture of Tammy World and Emma the Doll at the World's Halloween party. You can see the whole photostory HERE.
  While I am responsible,at least to a great extent, for Emma the Doll's transformation from sweet little girl to loud mouthed weirdo,(I 'made her talk' quite often,and somehow it went that way. It was funny!),Fuzzy the Doll was entirely Fuzzy's creation. Fuzzy the Doll,who Fuzzy got for his second birthday,became absolutely crazy. His suitcases for his trips were always full of weaponry and piles of cash. (An early version of the TSA removed his weapons before he was allowed to board the plane.) I tried to make the emails funny. (Of course, I have a weird sense of humour.My kids were used to it though. My jokes often made them laugh, and their friends stare at me blankly.) I followed Fuzzy the Doll's personality for what he did and said on his trips. When he went to a museum there were emails sent home describing how the statues looked with mustaches. Emma the Doll sent an email with a picture of Fuzzy the Doll atop Nelson's Tower in Trafalgar Square. (Ivy's doll Blue stayed a sweet little girl. Of course, this made the other two kids think Ivy's doll was 'boring'.)
   I also liked for them to learn something about the country they had chosen. As I said in the other post,  "When Fuzzy the Doll went to Africa, he not only visited the pyramids, but a real mining town, which I had to research to find", because Fuzzy wanted him to search for gold. "I used pictures of the real places. When Fuzzy the Doll went to the Himalayas to search for Yeti... there pictures of the dolls in the village below the mountains..."---which included the rope bridge picture above.
  But something the kids loved almost as much as the dolls' emails home,were the souvenirs they brought back when they came home. I made a lot of tiny things. That is, after I thought up what someone would bring home from a trip to that particular place. The dolls went to Paris, London, Liverpool, Italy, Africa, China, the Himalayas, Disney World, Hollywood,and other places. Sometimes it was easy to think up things for them to bring back,and easy to get the things. When they went to London the first time, Fuzzy the Doll brought back a teddy bear with a British flag on it's chest. (A regular tiny bear we put an iron on flag we printed on the computer.) They all brought back English soap at some point. (They went to  England more than once. With the kids being half English, they wanted to go there.)

This is Ivy's. I located the box,which was included in a dollhouse magazine,but I could only find one bar of soap. I made it from polymer clay. If I did it now I'd carve it out of real soap.

Fuzzy still had one bar of soap left,as well as these other England souvenirs. At the top is a postcard. In the middle is a tin of candy. The tin came from a bag of them I bought online. The picture on top is cut out of a catalog. The candy is polymer clay. At the bottom is a sticker,and the bar of polymer clay soap.

I made a really nice wooden box with tiny excelsior in it and little lavender coloured soaps, for Emma.It's in her doll stuff somewhere. Her things have been packed up for a while,but someday I'll dig her souvenirs out.
  Ivy has a tin of candy too.

What else is England known for? Once Ivy's doll Blue brought home a tiny package of tea. I used real tea,and the picture on the package was of a real tea package from a catalog. I have been told that child Ivy ATE the tea eventually! Blue also brought home some rose scented powder.

I made the container, and it still has powder in it.
  Some of the other things Ivy's doll Blue brought back are a Titanic print 'signed' by survivor Millvina Dean(the Doll,of course! By the way, when Ivy was little, she was obsessed with the Titanic,like I am.), and some English money,(They always brought back money.) We printed the tiny money on the computer. (Can we get arrested for Doll Counterfeiting?) The two necklaces are a jade one, from 'China', and the other one may be from 'Egypt'.

As I said, they always brought back money. Early on it was always black and white,but eventually we did colour.

Some of Fuzzy's various money.
Some of Blue's English money and souvenirs. 

Emma and Fuzzy both got mini boxes of toffee. I made the box from some gold cardboard I had. The toffee was made of polymer clay, and twisted up in cellophane of red or yellow. The one below is Fuzzy's.


Of course, nobody can travel without a passport. Apparently Blue even has TWO.(Isn't that illegal?)

This one I made. Blue lives in 'Playtown'. The kids all gave their doll towns names. Emma's was 'Dolltown'. Fuzzy's was 'Garagetown',because Fuzzy the Doll lived in the Playskool garage with the upstairs room. When Ivy was still very tiny Emma asked for her doll town name,and she came up with 'Playtown' all by herself. There is that earless bunny again,as well as one of the mini books I made for Blue,and a polymer clay doll Ivy made for Blue when she was little.
Blue's London tube map,and passport.

This one came from Michael's miniature section,which unfortunately,they don't have any more.
Her passport stamps.

  Those are some of the simpler things made for the doll's souvenirs. Tomorrow we'll look at some more complicated ones.