A Twinge…

A couple of days ago, I arranged the dolls on the cabinets.  I again looked at their stony faces and watched for something to stir. Nothing but memories of them came to mind.

Then I find that my parents in the USA want me to come for a visit in Autumn of this year.  After we talked about it, I soon started the practical thoughts, like not traveling with all that I did last time.  I would not bring anything but a carryon.  It will be an arduous journey by bus to Edinburgh (2 hours) and a 10 hour flight.  I no longer have the stamina to lug suitcases nor deal with the stresses of travel.  And I shake my head about it, because at one time I loved to travel and explore.  Now, airports and security are enough to make me want to swear off travelling altogether.  So to turn my mind away from the negative thoughts gathering their own storm, I thought that perhaps this could mean a new travel doll companion adventure.

For the first time in well over a year I looked on eBay for some ideas of what is out there.  As usual, the extremely expensive dolls like Zwergnase grabbed my attention and a handful of antiques made me drool a bit, but all in all I was simply enjoying the revival of something I use to do with a passion.   Nothing was found and I held myself in reserve as I know it is still many months away.  But I liked how it felt.  I really liked it. Hmmm….

A name, but not much else, well, except for a pig’s adventure

Even though I have not written about it, I have been actively enjoying my new companion.  It is the habit of writing again that is lacking.  My dolly play is making a slow but steady return.  I am finding that my new companion is very much different sort of companion doll.  She is very different from all of the dolls I have had.  She has an intense, stately, calming personality.  If that makes any sense.  I seem to derive strength from her.

Naming was difficult.  I felt as though nothing was fitting her and endless name searching was proving to be taxing.  Too many choices, too many reminders of people and dolls already known.  She needed something that was different to my ear.  Yet the unusual names were missing the mark too.  She is the woman who roams the highland and moors.  She can’t be bothered with finery, although I may be an influence to get her into  a lovely gown someday.  She most definitely Scottish.  Of that I have no doubt.

Maris (THE SEA) was a name that kept coming back to me.  I liked the sound of it, liked the way it suited her.  But is was rather plain.  I had tried a  Scottish name, Alesta to go with it.  Alesta Maris, thinking it sounded grand, but that was the problem.  She didn’t like it and it was impossible for my husband to pronounce the name the same way twice.  It was in cooking one evening that I saw the name on the bag of potatoes that made it clear…Piper Maris!  Of course, we all nodded our heads in agreement, what a perfect name.  Husband was happy about naming a doll after his beloved potato, I was amused that the “potato wife” (as my other blog is named), now has a potato named companion, and well, it seemed that Piper Maris smiled at our silliness and accepted the name with grace.

I went through and sorted everything I could that fit, which was very little.  Her chest is larger that my old SD Evie, so the few remaining dresses that I kept do not fit.  She is at least as big around as my Schoenhut, but of course cannot wear Rosies clothes, even temporarily as they are much too short in arms and hem length. Never mind about the childishness of a little girls clothes on a grown woman.

And so we have merely been keeping company as I take my time getting to know her and find her style.  She doesn’t were makeup, doesn’t seem to be into fashion at all.  I am beginning to see her as a simple loving woman, wearing bohemian style clothing.  

I am afraid that I do not have any good photo’s of her.  She is so much more in person and either she is not photogenic or my camera is being stubborn because I keep taking the flash off.  My camera is a point and shoot which means it hates anything it cannot preset itself with.  It refuses to take photos as my old camera did.  Once I get some clothes made, I will try for a proper photoshoot with my old camera.

SAM_5175 Piper Maris in a terrible mixture of anything-that-fits-sorta-kinda.  Yes, it’s embarrassing to show. 

She is wearing my china doll’s underskirt, Rosie’s crochet dress, Evie’s old jacket and young Evie’s thigh-high socks.  Yes, it is cringe worthy.  But I have so few pieces of fabric left, that I don’t want to sew anything up until I feel sure of her style. 

In other area’s, I have begun to push myself to enjoy the little lovely outdoor episodes of Olivia the Pocket Pig as my husband calls her.  We went to Paisley (yes, the town in Scotland that originated the famous paisley print) as this is where we are moving in October.  We have often shopped here and both of us have our bus and train hub in the town centre.  We went to the Abbey and then to a pub for our outing last Saturday.  Olivia made her debut.

SAM_5111 Have Pig, will travel.

SAM_5112 Leaving Renfrew and off to Paisley.

SAM_5138 Olivia liked the scale model of the abbey much better than the abbey itself.  She likes being bigger whenever she can.

SAM_5145 Although it was dark, grey and raining (as always) she insisted on taking a photo, although she was unable to pose properly since her bow was constantly blinding her ability to see whether the camera was pointing at her or not.

SAM_5159 Abbey’s aren’t really Olivia’s thing, but pubs are.

SAM_5160 And especially the food.  This is the one time where a food menu is welcomed to be bigger than she is.

SAM_5163 And a Guiness may also be big.  In fact, she rather enjoyed the bigness.

SAM_5166 Yes, indeed. 

SAM_5169 Luncheon was a lovely haggis on burger with whisky sauce and chips.  Oliva insisted she is still a vegetarian and ate the chips and left the haggis to me.  Which I really do like.

SAM_5173 Yes, pub life is the life for Olivia.

SAM_5165 With a full belly and wet snout, she was soon passed out in piggy oblivion.

We both enjoyed having Olivia with us so much, we have a feeling she is about to have more adventures ahead.

Playing Again!

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I absolutely LOVE this photo.  When I took all of these photo’s, it was just to experiment and I had no other intention than to just grab a few and post a tiny story.  I had no idea’s, I just took pictures to see how the room looked and the lighting effects with sepia tint.  What I got was a playful story that seemed to grow in a way that I did not expect.

Look at that bear!  I found her in a thrift shop ages ago.  I am not overly fond of stuffed animals, but I thought the tiny size would be fine as a doll’s teddy bear.  And she was to be Rosey’s bear, but she is coming out in a way that I did not expect.  The interplay between them makes me light up with playfulness.  How a tiny bear can have so much expression just amazes me.  Today, as I was putting the remaining photo’s together for Rosey’s story blog, I noticed that the conversations came easy and I sensed a direction that this can all go in. 

I cannot help but be influenced by fairy-tales and children’s story books.  These tales are all imbedded in our brains, I am sure.  So there will mostly likely be touches of this story and that, as it really is never truly about the story, but about the relationships.  I know the story of them waking up to all the ‘’stuff’ was a touch of the Little Princess, but it was a heck of a lot easier than finding an explanation for it.  In a way, this is how children play anyways, taking a story they know and ad lib’ing.   I was so entranced with Mary Poppins when it first came out that I insisted on playing Bert the chimney sweep on our school playground.  My friends and I had so much fun making up the story as we went along, it did not matter if it was true to the original story or not.

I see Meredith taking on a strong lead, a sort of parental role over Rosey which will not be easy as Rosey is so much larger than her.  Of course, it is not that Meredith Bear is stodgy, she herself has a weakness for a books and stories and wants to believe in the magic as much as Rosey does.  But she wants Rosey to grow up properly and I see that this will be the contention between them as Rosey has no intention of growing up!

One of the downsides to story telling is finding the right presentation.  I have usually been the narrator, writing the story and bits of dialogue beneath the photo.  That is one way to do it.  The thing is, that anymore, I don’t feel the story is within me to tell.  Playing around with the text balloons is an approach that is growing on me.  It allows the photo to stand on it’s own, even if separated from the story.   It is a bit more free flowing in that multiple conversations or thoughts can happen at the same time.  Today, I discovered another direction, that is the audience participation, by having Meredith Bear do an aside as they use to call it in the theatre.  For me, that is pulling ‘’me’’ (or you) into the story.  I am not just the viewer, but pulled into their world.  I took the above close-up of Meredith Bear to test the camera, but oh, how she came alive in that moment!  I think it will be fun for Meredith to get so frustrated that the direction she is trying to take with Rosey gets shared with the viewer.

But I don’t want to get ahead of myself, I will let it all play itself as it comes about.  That’s the fun of playing with dolls! (…and bears!)

Working on Rosey’s Story Blog

I have been working on Rosey’s story blog, trying to find the right look for it.  Free templates for WordPress are pretty limited and I ended up going for a book type look (really a journal) and made the background image with a bit of photo enhancements.  I think I will stick with the plain sepia frames and the text bubbles.  I wrote down the combination so I can remember it.  I also made a new watermark, and although it is rather large, I think it’s time I use one on all my posted photo’s.  It’s just so irksome to remember that extra step.

I think I am going to let the sepia tint be the ‘’aging’’ of the photo and leave Rosey in the present with an old fashioned look about things.  It would be a shame not to use so many of my modern items that are in her scale, like a bicycle or television.  Maybe that can be part of the creativity, to blend it all.

Here is the link for A Rosey Tale if you are not on my yahoo doll group, My Companion Doll where I have deluged everyone with this already:

http://aroseytale.wordpress.com/

I am really pleased with Rosey getting the little antique dolls as her own, that was not only fun but suddenly opened a wonderful door for story telling.  When I sorted the dolls with all their clothing and shoes, I found quite a few things that will fit Meredith Bear, which is exciting! 

From Large camera 090

Here is an example of the watermark I made.  I can’t remember of this is the one I faded a bit or it is the unfaded one, lol.  Rosey has also gotten more clothing and shoes, it amazes me that some of the things I made Evie do fit her, even though she is much chunkier in her torso.  The lace around this flannel nightie is hand tatted.  As a outtake, or blooper, I laughed to see I forgot to take Rosey’s shoes off for one of the bedroom scenes, considering she just got out of bed!  lol.

From Large camera 100

There will soon be another wonderful blog that will be revealed soon.  It will be a collaboration type of story blog with other Schoenhuts.  I am really excited to try the new adventure as soon as we find the direction to take with it.

I have to say, that I am thinking that I finally feel a soothing sort of peace since I made a decision and my creativity feels a renewal coming on strong.  I sure hope that’s true!

All Done

After the tea break, I went back and finished getting everything cleared away so that the process of the one and only adventure can begin.  I feel a odd sense of relief, but I am still wary of how this will feel weeks or months from now.

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I rearranged the top of the wardrobe.  I really hate that we have no storage or closets.  This is ugly and I would not stand for it if I knew this was going to be the place we settle.  For now, it will have to do.  The red bag is what I like to carry a doll in on long distance traveling, it has a mattress and pillow inside and mesh across the top and in the heart.  I think it was meant to be a pet carrier.

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The bears have worn the same sweaters since my childhood.  This is the first time I put other clothes on them.  I always thought of them as masculine, so this feels really weird to see them like this.  But I am leaving it for now.  The pink dress is one I found in Hawaii.  It is a baby dress I could not resist even though my Granddaughter was already too big for it. 

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I was about to toss the teapot house when Olivia decided it was hers.  I can see why.  I had a laugh over that snout out the window.  I think it would be fun to put the bread up on the teapot spout and call him Cheshire Toast.

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I still haven’t fixed up the school room yet, but I made it a bit more presentable.

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I made a quick table (biscuit tin on a miniature pot belly stove), added a cushion to the chair and put Rosey’s dolls there.  I have a lot of antique style and modern style things in this scale so it is going to take some time to sort out what direction to go in with Rosey.  I put the old phone out to get a feel for it.  I can’t wait for Rosey to see her dolls!  I will wait until tomorrow for that though, I want to take a lot of photo’s with my better camera.

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I left the sofa by my desk, so that Rosey can keep me company.  She is playing with the cat I gave her and I think we will soon be off to a good refreshed start.  I am hoping this helps me get focused and not feel so distracted with too many different doll directions.

Backstage of Rosey’s Room

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I love the early morning, after husband goes to work and Rosey joins me at my desk.

Whew!  I spent all day photographing two story lines, then spent all evening preparing them to publish.  I finally designed a watermark I liked, one I can use on all my photo’s (not just dolly ones) and discovered how I can batch mark my photo’s in one fell swoop.  However, I also discovered that while I thought I had been clever in watermarking as the first step, I soon saw that I could no longer use the book shape filter as it cut off the watermark.  I now know that I can change the setting for moving the watermark up next time, but it is ruining the consistency I am trying to achieve in the look and presentation of Rosey’s Room and her stories.  I am learning though how to do things in a different way and that is part of the fun for me.

That, aside, I am still trying to narrow down the font situation, because I have very limited space for wording, attaching the verbiage to the photo instead of writing.  I want the font to indicate who is speaking.  I already messed up for forgetting to change the storyline font from Meredith bear’s font on the first few chapters.  Sigh.  I think I need to write up a cheat sheet so I can stay consistent.  I decided it would be too much to have a font for each doll, so only Rosey and Meredith bear have their speaking fonts, and since the rest will always be a story told by Meredith bear, it can be a book type font. 

The Lost Crown has 12 chapters, one for each of the next 12 days.  I broke the simple story down to about 4 photo’s a day, to keep from getting too long winded as I am want to do.  After that will come the next storyline of Jones and Madeira, which I need to rework a bit to Rosey’s Room, as I deleted Thistleshire.

I took all of the photo’s of the Lost Crown on my husband’s shelf where he has his swords, a statue of Robert the Bruce, and the brass crown my dad made for my husband as a joke, where I crowned him the King of my heart many years ago.  The shelf is up high, so it is wonderfully easy for me to photograph.  Husband saw the dolls there when he got home and said they could stay, he thought it looked fun.  I was surprised by that one!  He also noticed Rosey’s room all walled up and teased me all evening about how I had gotten rid of most of my doll stuff for the move and it seems to be building back up again.  I tried to look as innocent as I could.

Arrival Day

I did not know when the household goods would arrive until yesterday.  They said they would arrive on the morning of the 24th and early!  I got a text that they were on their way and I was so excited I could hardly stand it!

2012-07-24 Boxes Arrived! 0012012-07-24 Boxes Arrived! 002

I expected a moving truck, but only a van came.  When I saw it was only one man, I got nervous.  But that’s our boxes in the van!  Those boxes left Colorado, went to LA, then to Singapore, then I suppose through the Suez Canal and on up to Scotland.  The boxes went west, we went east and now we are all re-united.  lol.  They sure have been a lot of places before coming here.  Amazing!  My little seafarers!

2012-07-24 Boxes Arrived! 004 He started stacking them in the hallway and I asked him why.  He said he coodna brrrrring em up no stairrrs.  I was informed that door to door meant DOWNSTAIRS doors.  I asked him if he expected me to take 22 heavy large boxes up the stairs, he said yes.  I signed the papers and thought OMG.  I can’t get all these upstairs and husband is at work all day!

2012-07-24 Boxes Arrived! 003 I managed these and nearly passed out.  I was seeing stars.  After sitting down and getting my heart rate back to normal, I decided to get them at least to the first landing and husband could finish it up.  At least I could leave my door open and watch over them, I wouldn’t be able to if they were all down in the hall and risk getting stolen.  It took me a long time.  I just didn’t have the strength anymore.  I tried walking them up each step.  Gads.  A hundred breaks, a hundred deep breaths until my asthma kicked in, my knees turned to jelly.  My face went brilliant red and I had to cool it down with a cold wet cloth. 

2012-07-24 Boxes Arrived! 005 This is from my door.  I am leaving my flat door open to listen for any disturbances of the boxes.  I feel like I am vulnerable to monsters and burglars and what ever comes up stairwells.  Ew.

I found boxes 1-3 and brought them up.  I made a cup of tea and sat down again to get my breath and take this whole experience in.    I then opened box number one and it wasn’t the dolls!  I stood back and thought something was wrong.  I distinctly remember packing the first 3 boxes with dolls and their stuff and numbering them so I would know.   But 2 and 3 didn’t have them either! 

In a panic, crossed my fingers that one of the boxes I did bring up would have the dolls.  I opened them, one by one and nope.  The last one in the flat had some of them:

2012-07-24 Boxes Arrived! 007I found Jollyann first

2012-07-24 Boxes Arrived! 008 I just held her so tight.  OMG I kept saying.  I told my husband last night that I will NEVER be separated from them again, when we move they are riding in our backpacks.  He laughed, but I told him I was dead serious.  Since 2009,  I have been separated from all but one or two at a time and this is the end of that era. 

2012-07-24 Boxes Arrived! 009 I then found Kamiko and Olivia.  I know I dressed Olivia before packing, why she was nude made me feel like I was losing my mind.  What the heck is going on?  Did customs unpack our boxes and repack them? It was surreal.

2012-07-24 Boxes Arrived! 010I found Jeanette.  Lots more hugging.  She is still new to me, I haven’t had much time to get to know her yet.  I still amazes me how petite and tiny Sasha’s are.  My mind wants to make them the size of AM’s.

2012-07-24 Boxes Arrived! 012I then found Allina and Mikko who have changed their names:

2012-07-24 Boxes Arrived! 011I think I was in heaven hugging these two.  I like their new names, it suits them.

2012-07-24 Boxes Arrived! 013Audrey and Hammie.  OMG so cute. I adore them, so glad I did not sell them.

Now, where was Evie????  I found Miette

2012-07-24 Boxes Arrived! 017 She looked a bit dishevelled but fine.  Evie was not in the any of the boxes I opened.  I went back out into the hallway and dragged up another box.  I kinda got mad, because I realized that I was not going to be able to wait until husband came home to find Evie, so it meant mostly likely I would have to kill myself getting the rest of the boxes upstairs.

I grabbed one and brought it up.  No Evie.  Then another….and there she was!!!!!

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My Evie.  Sigh.

2012-07-24 Boxes Arrived! 020 I am still missing Charlotte and Rosebud, but I am okay with waiting on their find.  I am overwhelmed with where the heck we will put everything, so for right now, I am just going to spend the day playing with my dolly-loves.