Saturday, June 30, 2012

Hot stuff

My East Coast friends are sweltering in 100F temps today (and some with no power in Virginia). It's not bad here with fans, and a wet washcloth now and then. We finally got some rain so the flowers are blooming. Here's some from last year I found on an old disk:

And here for no reason, a flaming pink silly wig on Noodles, who looks cute, (if not very oracle-like), in it.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Laughing Lion

Michaelangelostein, better known as Stein Sculpture, has made another doll-sized mask. I think the color is amazing--that color is blended into the resin, not painted on. I want a doll in that color! In the meantime, if you want a tiny art piece for your dolls, it is here :

The Laughing Lion mask is $95 plus shipping. Insurance is required. Contact Cathy Cara at: cathy AT cathycara DOT com Please send your Paypal information. You will receive an invoice when your mask has been completed and is ready to ship.

The model for the mask is a cousin of my Valentine, who is a Simply Divine Harlequin, and also by Stein Sculpture.

Farmer Jane

Back in 2005, when we were all young.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Marshall's Home Store

We went to a local mall this evening because we had to be out for a home showing, and because the mall had food and air conditioning. It's a pretty boring mall, but it does have Marshall's in it. The regular Marshall's has the usual cheap underwear and floppy acrylic ladies' wear and shapeless purses, but attached to it is this surreal place where some semi-independent division takes the parent company's money and buys the weirdest stuff imaginable from all over the globe. This section of the store is popular because it has chairs for sale, and people sit in them in defiance of signs because the underpaid staff simply ignores the customers. So people sit, and chat, and play with their phones, and wander around exclaiming over the items on display.

"Is that a book?" "No, it's a box, it has feet."

"Hey, Lawn Ornament Moses!" (standing next to a half bicycle, half birdcage in antique iron) (I should have taken a photo of Moses, but he was close enough to where the manager sits I didn't quite dare.) I did take a photo of this guy. I think he is Indonesian and maybe a character in a folk tale? The label just said "Decoration" on it. Though when I first saw him, I thought maybe he had been designed by committee.

"People love owls, and they love lawn jockeys; let's make an owl lawn jockey!"

I did not buy him, though I almost bought the book/box, a pet couch shaped like a leopard chaise lounge, and a tiny book of Japanese paper. But I did not because you have to go through the Marshall's regular line, which is huge and full of squalling infants, and the clerks always give you a look. "You are one of those weird Home Store people, aren't you?" And I am.

EID on an SID

A while back I bought a loose Jessica head, and had her on a Soom body, which looked good for size and fit but not for resin match, and then the Cuprit head I acquired took that Soom body.

Then I was able to find an inexpensive used Senior Iplehouse Doll body and put the Jessica head on it; though she was designed to go on the Elder iplehouse Doll body. Here's a comparison of the two bodies (Headless Girl has heel feet, that is why the Invisible Motorcycle stance):

I think Jessica actually looks better on the smaller body. I also learned how to string an SID body, because when I was trying to tighten it up, my hand slipped, I punched myself in the nose and the SID body slid to the floor and became several mysterious parts. I struggled for a long time with one knee piece until I looked at it closely and it said "D.I.S", so I turned it over and then it fit perfectly into the thigh.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cat and Mouse

Stripey brought in a mouse last night around 1 AM. We turned on the lights, found the tongs and spent the next 20 minutes all racing around the room in our underwear, picking things up and leaping in the air when the mouse came at us. Eventually the mouse and Stripey headed out to the back door, and we turned off the light and went to bed. I have no idea what happened to the mouse, but I am sure Stripey thought it was great fun. I am sort of tired today.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


JennyNemesis let me borrow her Iplehouse Tedros photos for picture refs for the cover I am working on. He's a handsome fellow and he holds very still. I was suprised to find how large and far apart his eyes are compared to humans, though--I had to do some adjusting and scaling--eyes and forehead smaller, jaw larger; but you can still see the resemblance to the original doll.

By the way, I will be posting stuff on the PerkinsPixels blog that is just art. This blog is still for photos and dollie stuff, and yes, some art.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Vilena's Sales Page

Anya Kozlova has finished up a new porcelain ball jointed doll, and she is for sale. She is 2,500.00-- and before you say this is expensive, she is all hand-made, and you would pay the same for a Volks Limited doll cast in resin. The porcelain won't yellow, unlike the resin. Also, Martina Bychkova's dolls run around $10,000 and up, and don't have Vilena's sunny temperament.

If I had a glass case (and a house to put it in) I would be very tempted myself; but I think we are buying a table saw next, which is more practical than the lovely Vilena. She is small compared to my dolls, she would sit comfortably in my palm.


Madlore is an artist, ball-jointed doll collector, and I think, historical costuming buff who lives in Moscow. I happened to find a link to her deviant art pages on Den of Angels and I am glad I did--I especially like her pen-and-ink portraits. She also likes the novels of Lois McMaster Bujold and Rossetti (I am guessing this from how much her Soom Dia, Angrboda, looks like one of his models). Madlore is awesome. Oh, and she has two cats, too. :D

Her deviant art page (with cat photos):

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Cecil is a Soom Sphaler that belongs to Xtal on Den of Angels. He is my second favorite Sphaler, after my own Zinnober. Cecil also is perfectly painted--xtal is an artist who does watercolor paintings, and I think with Cecil she created what "should have been" the default Sphaler at Soom. He's just beautiful. <3

Photos copyright xtal, 2012

The Canadian Space Program

Canada is way ahead of us.

Curiosity on Mars

A link to JPL's trailer (awesomely awesome):

I think the rocket part will give them the most trouble, since a slight bend or a little instability will make the whole thing tumble, but I will hope for the best!

The little painting above is another small one, again around 14 inches long and done in water-mixable oils. I like them a lot--they dry faster than regular oils but stay more blendable than acrylics.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Flavor of the Day

Until a month ago, Culvers would always put the entree under the ice cream flavor. My favorite was "Mint Chip Walleye".

We Heart Craft Fairs

This little lady was sitting with her owner at one of the booths at the Downer's Grove craft fair, and I don't think I have ever seen prettier coloring on a dog; she's a Miniature Australian Shepherd. She was very good but distracted, so she's slightly motion blurred.

This is the farmer's market on Main. Usually it is down by the train station, but the Rotary Club had set up Ribfest down there, so everything was displaced, including this goose.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Listing and Showing (with skunks)

Because there is a For Sale sign now in front of this place, the Servicemaster Carpet cleaning guys came in their patented truck, and cleaned the basement carpet. Thinking of the house I am hoping to buy, I asked about white plush carpet, and what they would recommend for pug pee. "Toss the carpet" was the answer. They were also not sure cleaning the carpet was all this house needed. "You've got some big cracks here."

In fact the cracks have gotten larger, or I have started to notice them more, but it's true that in the winter I could open the side door downstairs, and now the corner of the house is resting on the doorframe, so the door won't open, and the vertical corner moulding is splintering and bowing outward.

People are coming tomorrow to view the house, and while we have it clean, I have no more boxes to hide dolls in. There are no closets anyway, just like in New Jersey; and Stella, the newest arrival, has been sitting on a doll chair on the bureau. I like her there, but I can't leave her out alone in the house, so I resorted to the same thing I did in New Jersey:

Some books on top and she will be good for a short while. It may be the visitors will not get to the inside of the house. A skunk has moved in under the shed. I went to take out the recycling, which is now on the back side of the garage, walked around the corner and there was the skunk "oh hai", checking out the trash can smells, right at my feet. For a second I though it was the Cat From Spain until he ducked around the can- and the CFS does not have a gorgeous, plumy white tail, thick, glossy black fur or cute little paws. I just backed up, set down the recycling, and went inside, and after a few minutes went out again, made a wide circle so I could see the trash, and since the skunk had moved, I dumped my stuff and went back up the stairs. I looked down from the deck out at the shed, and there was my grey cat and the skunk, sitting together. While I watched the skunk got up and climbed under the shed window and disappeared. Maybe he bunks with the bees. So the visitors will tour the yard and the skunk will come out, covered with bees and honey, and say "This place is great!"

And this is where J works. There are swans, not skunks, there.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Carissa's Original Owner...

I was looking at Cuprit heads on Google, trying to decide what to do about Winter's eyelashes (and overlooking the whole headcap thing, it's now in PayPal's resolution system and there is nothing to do about it but wait) when I saw Carissa's face--but oh so well dressed!

She used to belong to M.B. Lilac, which is to me as exciting as any movie star. I'm sure being here is quite a comedown after being a Celtic Queen, but interestingly, I've always thought of Carissa as Irish. I'm guessing I must have seen a picture of her before on Den of Angels and subconsciously remembered it.

Check out M.B. Lilac's gorgeous photos and costumes here:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Skunk..and AC

K sent me a text from Philly: OH MAH GAWD ITS HOT OUT. The landlady here shows no sign of wanting to fix the central AC, which is making prospective buyers and renters flee quickly. Upstairs, (now mostly empty), it's hovering around 100F. We went out to eat with the excuse that we were keeping the kitchen clean for viewers, and when we came back in the evening I looked for the grey cat and he was sitting down at the side of the back yard, looking like a small velvet jar, watching fireflies. J walked down to see him and stopped, turned around and walked back, whistling for the cat; who stood up and strolled up the lawn and then up the stairs to the back door. What I couldn't see, (and J could) was a large skunk that had been sitting with him, just under the bushes. The cat didn't seemed alarmed at all; maybe he thought the skunk was just another cat.

When we move out, there will be a skunk den in the back of the yard, bees in the shed over the rabbit warren, and birds in the garage eaves (they have a big nest there.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Tygati in Oregon painted her for me. J'adore! Photo c. 2012 by Tygati, also

Not Feeling The Wig

Soom Coquina "Stella", who is most likely getting the princess blonde wig instead.

Here is the "more better" wig:

And the much more better wig:

Monday, June 18, 2012

Julia Valeria

HerrZog has painted another Vesuvia--I love this one's Egyptian look and the perfect way it fits the character's "backstory" of being both Roman and Egyptian. Every now and then I have to go check HerrZog's flickr and see what new marvels have appeared:(a tanned Minifee Chloe, among other things!)

HerrZog's Flickr

A long time ago I read a book with the same title, and since it was written in 1951 you can guess how long ago it was. At the time I was so amazed at how the heroine, Julia, was not willing to sit around and have things happen to her, as was standard in the romantic fiction of the time. She was indeed Julia the Valorous. The setting seemed wonderfully exotic, too, and the book was responsible for several years of my taking Latin classes and reading about Roman culture. So I am glad to see she has such a beautiful namesake!

Love and Rockets

My Dad is a rocket scientist, and he has written a book, or rather a book on a cd. He is retired now, and looked around and got a little alarmed by the fact that nobody under the age of 60 seemed to have any hands-on experience with small rockets. This is partly because of the decline of the space program, and science training in general, but I think maybe also because blowing things up in one's backyard is frowned upon these days. (When he was 6, he somehow acquired some dynamite and blew the garage door off, proving three things--one, he had some rudimentary idea of safety in that he wasn't injured; two, he was an infant genius of things combustible, and three, it was a simpler time, when blasting dynamite was probably available at the local hardware store.)

So,in deference to the fact that probably the purchaser of the book will not have access to a machine shop, or a test stand to make roaring noises and the occasional explosion, there are animations at the beginning of the cd, with cutaways of engines and modelling of the fuel droplets as they bounce around inside the chamber. If you add values that are not in the "desirable" range, you can merrily explode your little engine. It is, in fact, a lot more fun than you would expect from the very precise description on the Amazon site. If you plan on being a part of a commercial space program, I would think this might be required reading. You do need a computer to "read" it of course, and to run the animations. And it's a Windows cd.

The illustration above is based on a photograph taken by one of the astronauts of the last Apollo mission to the moon, and is done in acrylic, around 8 inches by 14 (it's cropped a little here.)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Adjusting color in Photoshop 5

OK, so nobody but me and JennyNemesis still own copies of 5, but I find it is quick for 90% of what I do for photos and it is loaded on this computer. If you are using CS9+, look smug and move along. As a side note, there are a million ways to do color adjustments in Pshop, this method only uses a few clicks and a mouse. First you take your photo:

Photo copyright JennyNemesis 2012, btw. She wanted more of a reddish purple on his kimono. So I did Select/Adjust by Color. Click on the color you are interested in changing with the dropper. "Fuzziness" on the slider is just "how much acreage you want to change". In Photoshop 5, everything untouched has a red cast. I find this hard to see. (They changed this in later versions to "crawling ants" to show the edges in the preview.

If you click "OK", THEN you get your crawling ants to see what you selected. If you need to make a spot selection bigger, then take the Magic wand and Right Click on the image with it, and you will get a prompt asking if you want to make the selection bigger, smaller, etc. If you goof, IMMEDIATELY hit control-Z because Photoshop 5 doesn't keep track of your history like later versions. I forget what the bailout command for Macs is, but if you are on a Mac, you know what it is. You are also not using Pshop5.

Once you have selected what you want to change, go to Image/Adjust and select Color Balance. Then here I just pushed towards more Red to get a more grape-like purple.

There, a bit more reddish purple! I did some other goofing around with selections and you can see on his hands where I didn't select as much as I should have. This is where I should have been working on a duplicate layer, because then you can be lazy and just erase the top layer to show the ok bottom layer.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Purple Monster (Wig)

Deb in Texas got this alarming wig from Ebay--it is made of the most gorgeous mohair, but the side pieces just didn't hang right and a strip of the skin was always visible, plus it was just..odd. She sent it to me and I got out some scissors and started to investigate. Here was the problem--the extension on the sides were made by folding the skin in half, which made one side look good but the other side with a double wide strip showing:

So I cut the strips on either side of the front of the wig off; took one strip, and cut that strip back open so it lay flat:

Then I cut the flattened strip in half.

Then I sewed one half to the left side of the front of the wig:

Kalypso tries it on. Looking good so far.

Then I added the other strip to the right side, and once again Kalypso was the tester:

So now I know a good way to make mohair extensions look ok, and Kalypso has the HUGE purple wig that I think she will wear a lot--the hair is gorgeous! I would use a thimble the next time I hand-sew a pelt, though, it takes a lot of pushing to get the needle through two layers. Now I have some purple mohair left over for other things :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The White Cuprit

She has eyes, she's on a body, and she's pretending to have a headcap--it's just a wad of gauze courtesy of the Animal Hospital (they gave Stripey a whole packet as a parting gift). Hopefully the headcap issue will be fixed soon, but in the meantime I even managed to give her a halfway decent face. She even looks cheerful! That surprised me. When a doll comes to me with some drama involved, I often end up not liking the doll, but I like her still and she seems ok with being here. She's the first smiley Cuprit I have ever seen.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Raisin again

I traded away my purple Migma head. It seemed like the sensible thing to do--Soom made two purple heads for every one purple body, and I assumed that mathematically I was never going to find Raisin her matching purple body at any price, so I found someone with a white Cuprit head-- that I already had the matching body and hooves for. It all sounded quite reasonable, until TWO DAYS later Soom announced they were offering purple bodies for sale a la carte (and this after cleaning out ALL my doll money for 2012). Then my trade for the Cuprit head has somehow descended into drama and strangeness, and I was really, really regretting sending Raisin off.

And then an amazing thing happened--an EMT in Connecticut had a spare lavender Migma head, and took pity on me and sent it, for a very modest sum, over to me this weekend, knowing I was kicking myself for my (in hindsight) regrettable trade. So right now I know I need to fix her drooping left-side lashes that I stuck on a bit randomly, but she is the most beautiful little head ever, because of Raven's generosity. <3

Seventy-five Piastres

I am sorting and cleaning before we move again, and I found these, a souvenir from a trip my father-in-law made to Egypt a while back. The money looks much older than the trip, faded and rather romantic.

I have something even neater than these from Egypt. It's a postcard on soft, cottony paper; pale blue, advertising in English a perfumier in Cairo called Samy and Son. I have no idea if Samy's descendants are still selling perfumes--I found the card as a bookmark in an original 1918 edition of Sax Rohmer's Tales of Secret Egypt, though it was probably placed there at a much later date than the book was issued. I'd like to think Samy is still in business in some form, putting sandalwood and myrrh into delicate glass bottles.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Ford (and Saturn)

Another photo from Friday night's car show.

I shook hands today with Fritz Henderson; and I did not bring up the topic of the folly of having multi-function buttons to set the clock on the Saturn. I did wish I had brushed my hair before I met him. (My car does not have AC so I was driving with the windows down, which does weird things to my hair.)

Miss Peony

This is Miss Peony, and she is an Angel of Dream Qi. I swore I would never buy another AoD after my first doll, but here I am with two of them. In my defense, Qi is adorable and has elf ears; and she was inexpensive, yet beautifully made, and poses well.

A couple more pix from yesterday. I could have taken pictures all day at the lawn ornament place.

And there was a live frog in a duck pond at the side of the ornament shop:

And another one of the dogs at Waterfall Glen. This one refused to get wet.