Friday, November 16, 2012

Hello Breaking Dawn. . . Goodbye Twilight. . .

I'm very excited to see the final Twilight installment, "Breaking Dawn, Part 2."  In the past, I was one of those people who went to see them all recapped and then the new one at midnight.  I missed the boat this time.  But Susie and I are both sad to say goodbye to the Twilight franchise.  It was a fun ride. 



Friday, November 2, 2012

Tonner comes to San Francisco

On a recent playdate, (yes, I do doll playdates, but that is another post) I was complaining that it had been quite a long time since there was a really cool doll luncheon.  In fact, I think that the last one was a couple of years ago when Paulette Goodreau did a lecture luncheon in Pleasanton, CA. 

But HERE IT IS!!!  Tonner is finally doing a West Coast event.  And it is in SF!!!  I already have my ticket.  And my playdate buddies have theirs, too.  We'll fill at least one table.  YAY!  I can't wait.

K.  So here are the deets:

2013 West Coast Event featuring Tonner, Effanbee, & Wilde Imagination
Saturday, January 19, 2013 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM (Pacific Time)

Westin San Francisco Airport Hotel
1 Old Bayshore Highway
Millbrae, California 94030
United States

Map and Directions
Join us at this Luncheon event and be the first to see a Preview of the 2013 Tonner, Effanbee, & Wilde Imagination line product!  There will be a fabulous program given by Robert Tonner, fantastic door prizes and highly limited, exclusive dolls available for purchase! The exclusive dolls from Wilde Imagination will be Evangeline, and Ellowyne, and from Effanbee Patsy.  It will be an afternoon you won’t forget, so mark your calendars now - January 19, 2013!  Registration will open October 22, 2012.  

Cost is $60 per person 

See you there!!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pumpkin Seeds!

Yay!  I LOVE pumpkin seeds!  This is a kind of recipe or rather more a discussion about roasting 'em. 

I have discovered a few things over the years.  The seeds in those big pumpkins sold to be jack-o-lanterns are rather tough and have to be shelled when eaten like sunflower seeds.  The seeds in those little sugar pie pumpkins- the ones sold for baking and cooking- are much more tender.  I don't even save the seeds from larger pumpkins anymore.  But I usually buy several of the smaller ones in October and November, so I always have some seeds to roast. 

When cleaning the pumpkin, I put the seeds and membrane into a bowl in the sink and fill it with water.  I let the seeds soak while I prep the pumpkin flesh.  By the time I come back to the seeds they are pretty clean from soaking.  I run my fingers through the bath and remove any of the flesh or membranes.  Then I pour it through a colander.  I usually give them another rinse then, too.

After they drip in the colander for a while, I line a baking sheet with paper towels.  (I always buy white so that I don't get ink on my food or craft projects.)  Then I spread the seeds on the towels to dry thoroughly, usually overnight.  When the seeds are dry, I remove the paper towel.  Some seeds stick and have to be pulled off.  And then I use the towel to kind of go through the seeds one more time to remove any excess dampness.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Pile the seeds in the center of the baking sheet.  Pour a healthy amount of a good quality olive oil, several tablespoons at least.  Then sprinkle generously with a good coarse salt.  I use Diamond Crystal Kosher salt as my kitchen standard.  And don't forget to pepper them to taste, too.

My recent batch was 2 little pumpkins.  I probably used 3 tablespoons oil and 4 3-finger pinches of salt.  Toss it all together to mix and coat well.  Then spread them out on the pan, so they are mostly single layer.  Don't be afraid to taste one right now before baking to measure seasoning and adjust.  Then pop them in the oven until they are a nice dark golden color.

They really don't need to be shelled.  They are super crunchy and lots of natural fiber.  I don't store them in a airtight container, because I don't want them to lose their crunch.  But that may depend on your location.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Art of Frankenweenie

If you love miniatures, 

           like I love miniatures. . .

Then you shouldn't miss the Art of Frankenweenie exhibit that is showing now at the California Adventure themepark at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA.  The show continues until Nov. 5th.  Then it moves on in an international tour.  Here's some press on it.

I have to admit that when Disney began the campaign for Frankenweenie, I was very skeptical.  We went to Disneyland on Oct. 18 for the Halloween party.  In California Adventure Park, a trailer is showing in 4D at the Muppet Theatre, which was really fun to see.  And an exhibit of the models is in the main lobby of the Animation Studios.  First, this movie is stop-motion, which I did not realize.  And the detail is amazing.  And I mean, every little thing.

From the left, each facial expression modeled.   And all those little clogs, plus fabric swatches, and the detail on the dress.  I really am hoping this is one movie they do some cute marketing for, because I would like a doll. . .

Another example of awesome costuming in miniature and following the grayscale theme.

Here are some of the actual little "dolls."  Just wow. . .

And here are some of the scenes that were set up--

These are not pictures, but actual little models-- aka dolls in room boxes.
This kitchen is so cute with the lighting and all the little details on the counters.

The lab was interactive with switches below to turn on and off different electrical circuits.
A Burton-esque Atomic family.

If you get the chance to see this exhibit, I highly recommend it.  And now that I know what is in the movie, I can't wait to fit it into our busy schedule of Halloween happenings.  First, I have to get over this case of vertigo that I got in Disneyland.    Oooohhhh uuuhhhh.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pattern: A Bolero for Gene

Is anyone still playing with Gene?  I have a few sitting around my house.  She still appeals to my inner starlet.
Gene in Mai Tai, an OOAK design for the 21st birthday of the ACFDC

The Alameda County Fashion Doll Club turns 21 next month.  And to celebrate, our esteemed members have created cocktail-themed OOAK dolls and fashions for the raffle.  I made two dresses for Gene.  A 50s Tiki dress and bolero named Mai Tai (the pun is "my tie" for the faux wrap design).  And Seabreeze: a striped, chiffon dress, and silk/cotton blend circle slip from a Randall Craig pattern published in Haute Doll Magazine, June 2009.  This dress is accessorized with a glass pearl choker and white sun hat.

Seabreeze:  an OOAK dress based on a Randall Craig design

I decided to post the pattern for the bolero here, for those who are still playing with Gene.  I suppose it will fit other 16 inch dolls, like Tyler or Ellowyne, maybe.  But I'm not too up on that, so cross-reference your measurements to be sure.  Here's a closer look at the little jacket.

You can see that it has a mandarin collar and is lined.  I used a Japanese cotton with silk charmeuse for the lining.  To dress it up, I added tiny, gold, glass beads before completing the lining.  This is a fairly easy project, and it can really look good with a simple sheath dress.  Gene's 50s Tiki dress is a sheath dress with a off the shoulder princess neckline and a faux wrap and tie on the side.  It is made of matching red and gold Japanese cotton and lined with a very fine white cotton to protect the doll (though this fabric did not evidence any bleeding).  Accessories include: Gene's own pearls, a red hair ribbon and tropical flower, and red mules.

The pattern for the jacket is on Scribd:  A Bolero for Gene.  I hope that it is easy to download in the right scale that way.  I did include a guide line for you to make sure it is the correct scale.

Happy Sewing!

As a parting note, I'm including shots of more OOAK designs by some of our talented members.

Happy 21st Birthday ACFDC!!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Peanut Butter Love!

Recently, we have discovered the organic grind your own peanut butter available at our local organic market.  There are two types available-- the plain peanuts and the honey roasted peanuts.  The honey roasted peanuts make awesome pb&js.  We've been using some imported French strawberry jam available in the same market.

The plain variety is so excellent in cookies!  Making them just over the top peanutty yummyest! I've adjusted my recipe just a little.  So, once again, here it is (with the revisions).


My Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from the Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker ©1975

½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 egg
1 heaping cup freshly ground peanuts or Extra Crunchy Skippy Super Chunk Peanut Butter
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup Guittard chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Beat butter until soft.  Add sugars and beat until creamy.  Beat in the egg, peanut butter, salt, soda, and vanilla.  Add flour and mix just until combined.  Mix in chips.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Roll the dough into balls and press a cross thatch pattern into them with a fork.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes.  Cool on pans to harden then move to a rack.  Makes approximately 2 ½ dozen cookies.  Store for several days in container.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Lati Yellow Hat Pattern

School has started!  That means more time for me to work on my stuff.  Importantly for you, that includes doll clothes.  Which means that I will finally be getting around to those Lati Yellow projects and patterns that I promised you long ago.  Here is one that I worked on this summer.

Lati Vamp and Pipos Rooney in a dress pattern by Shelley Selwood.

I ran across this cute dress pattern online, maybe Flickr.  It is a free pattern from The Little Owl Blog by Shelley Selwood.  It's listed at the bottom of the knitting patterns page under "Free Lati Yellow Pattern."  What else?

I had not knit in nearly 2 decades, but I picked it up fairly easy.  That's how easy this little dress is.  It will fit Lati Yellow, Pukifee and Pipos Rooney.  Easy to make in just an afternoon, even if you don't know how to knit.  Just pick up a basics book from your local library.

After making several in different yarns and sizes of needles, I worked on a pattern for the little hat to go with the dress.  It came out cute!  And again, very simple.

Here are the directions, but please keep in mind that this is my first pattern.  Let me know if you are confused, and I will try to help.
Fine (2) weight yarn
Size 2 (2.75 mm) needles
Pom-pom maker, 1 inch (25 mm) diameter size

CO 30 sts
Stockinette st for 8 rows
K2 INC 1, repeat to end
P 1 row
K5 INC 1, repeat to end
P 1 row
Stockinette st for 11 rows
Seed stitch 2 rows
Cast off in pattern (pearl)

Leave a long end on yarn, and use it to join the sides together with a narrow seam.  Tie off.  Then weave the yarn in and out through the top (cast on) and edge and tighten to gather closed.  Tie off.  Make pom-pom as directed.  Attach to top of hat.

So Here is that pattern in PDF for you to download and print. 


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

BlytheCon Schwag!

So much shopping, so little time. . .

Seriously, I became so overstimulated from all of the awesomeness available and frenzied shopping that I had a hard time focusing on the demos later.  I hope to be able to pay better attention next year.  Ditto for pictures of other dolls.

We got lots of cool stuff at the swap and room sale on Saturday night:

these cute overalls, t-shirt, and cowboy hat.
All this stuff, plus . . .

The next morning, we got to the line-up just after 7 am and our numbers in line were 76 and 77, so no Eurotrash helmet for us again this year.  Aargh!  As usual, Bridgette's luck held out strong with her goodie bag.  Check it out:
Too cute hat!!

Goggle kit, monster helmet, 2 pairs of socks, Texas Monthly mag, paper rose, tiny chicken, pins candy and cards. 

Here's what I got:

Sunglasses from MimiWoo, a goggle kit, pen, and the other standard stuff.

In the mad dash to get in and begin shopping, I made my way to Devout's booth and got my pick of her little rag dolls. . .

More for my collection

And we didn't get one of Erica's shirts in our bags, so we bought a couple:

3 shirts by Ericaduh

I couldn't resist a few new dresses with headbands from PommePomme:

Such a retro Mexicana design.
This is the
BlytheCon special release.

You might notice there is one other dress in my new collection-- it is for a middle that is on her way right now!  I just had to have one after seeing all the cuties at the show.  My first Middie!  YAY!!!  Too bad there wasn't one for sale from Toys Paradise.  But here are some shots of the doll we did get.

 Bridgette's third doll!  

I discovered a fantastic new seller-- Modmoiselle.  She had a collection of very detailed steampunk outfits.  She sold out of everything at the show.  We ended up buying two dresses with a flying hat and goggles.  The goggles have steampunk minutiae in the lenses.

The top hat is just a base from Hobby Lobby.  I still need to dude it up.

At the end of the evening, Bridgette won 2 great items from Blythe Fifth Avenue in the raffle!

A great little popcorn knit dress with a tutu.

And this pretty cardigan!

The glasses are from my goodie bag!
Kitty Charlie gets cozy with all the loot!

My collection of BlytheCon shirts.

I'm looking forward to getting another BlytheCon shirt for my collection in NYC next year!  Hmmm, I wonder what we'll make for the goodie bags?  Maybe tights?  What would you like to get?