Thursday, March 14, 2019

Where Has Phyllis Been???

Yes, it has been a long time since I have posted, but I promise to start posting about my dolls again soon. Even though I haven't posted, I have definitely added to my doll collection, so expect to see some new faces in Hanaly Corners 😏. I am still working on my doll room, but my progress is slow. I have so many doll stories in my head that I can't wait to start photographing and writing for them. That is a lot more work that I thought, so I want to tell you how much I admire those that create doll stories regularly.

It has been a busy year! After my daughter's high school graduation, I decided I needed to really focus on getting healthier and getting some weight off. After getting off of steroids (I never want to take those again!) I embarked on a weight loss journey and began a diet called "The Metabolic Factor" in mid September 2018. I am happy to report that, to date, I have lost 64 pounds and am continuing to lose. I feel great! I have gained a lot of mobility and energy back! I am doing more and loving it! I have even been doing some dating! Is there a special somebody??? We will see, but I will tell you it is very different dating in your 60's!!! LOL! But it is not impossible. You do look at things a little differently for sure.

While I don't normally like to post photos of myself, I wanted you, my friends to see the progress I have made, so here is a before and after:

Yikes, that before photo is tough to look at!

There is still a lot going on in my life. Hannah (my baby) has started college. Alyssa (my eldest) will be graduating from college in May. That is going to keep me pretty busy! I joined the Great Lakes Doll Club (Metro Detroit area doll club in Michigan) and that has also kept me very busy. I have been working on the GAW convention for 2019, so if any of you attend that, look for me there! And, if you are not a convention goer but want to come to the doll show on Sunday April 14, here is a flyer for that!

So, my friends, I am back! While I have still been reading your blogs and commenting, I do have to say that I have missed seeing you all here!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Busy Life!

If you follow me on Flickr or Facebook, you will know that things have been pretty busy for me lately. Both of my daughters have their birthdays in May. For Hannah, it was a milestone birthday -- she turned 18! Here she is at 18 years of age. These are her senior pictures and she took so many beautiful photos it is hard for me to select a favorite! 

Alyssa turned 22. Her look gets more androgynous each year. She has her own style. She gets her hair basically shaved a few time a year. It grows back so fast, you won't even know it was shaved in a month! She will be starting her last year of college in the fall, so her life is very hectic. She is home for the summer, but is working a lot. I am happy to have some time to spend with her though! Here she is at 22:

This is a big year for Hannah. She will be graduating in just a few days. They had their senior class walk out on Tuesday. This is where the entire graduating class puts on their caps and gowns and makes their last walk through the halls of Clarkston High School as students. The halls are lined with underclassmen, parents and siblings to "clap" them out! Here are a few photos of the walk:

That was also her last day of school. Her graduation ceremony will be on June 4th and her graduation party is on July 21st. I still have so much work to do to get ready for that!

Additionally, her prom was held this past Wednesday. The amount of prep we put into this was incredible. It almost felt like I was getting her ready for her wedding LOL! The dress shopping (she tried on so many!), then finding her perfect dress and ordering it. And the wait for it to get here! Remember my last post on the route it took to get here? Delivery Frustrations. Then alterations. They were actually pretty extensive. Even though we ordered the dress a size smaller than what she usually wears, it still was too big and required major taking in and hemming! I do sew, but the alterations were so extensive, we decided it was better to have them done professionally. On the day of the prom, she got her make up professionally done. To save a little money, she asked me to do her hair. Then a photo shoot of her with her friends at one of their homes which was on a lake and the "traditional" photos done at a local municipal park! Whew! Some photos for your enjoyment and/or entertainment!

While there are not any "doll" photos in this post, I think there are some really beautiful life like dolls in it! Oh, and BTW, although Prom day was over all too quickly for Hannah after all the prep, she did have a wonderful time! Me? It was all I could do to hold back the tears! My baby is so grown up!

Next post will have some photos of my latest doll adventures!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 9, 2018

USPS Delivery Frustrations!

Ever wonder why the rates have gone up so much on US Post Office delivery? Well, here is a clue! They add distance to the miles your item has to travel!

So, we have shopped high and low for a prom dress for my daughter. We found some very pretty ones and she looked great in all of them, but my Hannah is quite particular. She had a certain dress and designer in mind. We found the dress, but not in the color she wanted, so we had to order it for her. Not a big deal. We had it shipped from Ohio to Michigan, which are neighboring states. The store itself is a little over 200 miles away and would be about a 3 hr and 20 min drive. The dress was supposed to arrive today. It has to be signed for, so Hannah wanted me to be sure to be home so we wouldn't miss it. The USPS came and went today -- no dress. So I look up the tracking. 

So here is the route the USPS sent the package on:

On the left, is the actual route from the store to my home. On the right is the route the dress is taking! So instead of a direct route, the dress is going from Maple Heights,Ohio to Warrendale, Pennsylvania, to Atlanta, GA to Clarkston, MI. Total trip: 1,555 miles. Driving time is 23 hours, 33 minutes. 
How's that for efficiency!!! I don't know whether to laugh or to cry! Actually, I am scratching my head! Plus, its snowing out --- again! Did somebody forget to tell Michigan it is supposed to be spring?!!

Have a nice day. I feel better now that I have had my little rant!

Monday, January 22, 2018

So How's The Doll Room Coming?

I am making very good progress on the doll room, but I haven't taken updated photos yet! Soon, my friends, soon! In the meantime, I thought you might like to see my latest body modification. 

I wasn't able to find the Barbie And The Rockers violinist anywhere in my area and the prices on eBay and Amazon were more than I was willing to spend. I did find her violin for only $3 and I had Fashionista # 75 Seeing Stars. She has the same facemold as the violinist although her skintone is a bit darker. She also has red hair which was close to the same color as the violinist. Seeing Stars is on an original body and the violinist is on a curvy body. As luck would have it, I had a spare Curvy body in the needed skintone, but I wanted to have her articulated. I also had a WWE Superstar body that matched the necessary skintone. So my brain started turning! After seeing many extreme hybrids done by John Pickles and other very talented kitbashers, I decided to get out my box cutter and give it a go. Here she is, my violinist on an articulated Curvy body! 


Here is the finished doll! Look how she can hold and play her violin! Note, the violin is attached to her hands via clear rubber bands.

You go girl, play the violin!

Here is a look at her without her violin.

The next couple of photos show all of her joints. She have the torso, upper arms and thighs from the Curvy body. The lower arms and hand and the lower legs are from the WWE Superstar donor.

She can move well!

The view from the rear -- not so bad!

Here she is seated. She has pretty good flexibility. NOT MTM, but good and much better than no articualation at all. I am quite please with myself! 😁

I even gave her the beauty mark - just a dot with a brown Sharpie!

So what do you think? She is excited to show off her new body to the rest of my Rockers!
I really do like how she turned out! I will definitely be "making" more Curvy hybrids! What can I do next? We will have to see. When I do this again, I can take photos of the process if you guys would like to see how I did it!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Barbie Skipper Babysitter Inc.

As part of my holiday shopping spree, I managed to get most of the Barbie Skipper Babysitter Inc. teen dolls and some of the babies too. I was excited to see that Skipper got some friends! As will the other playline dolls, these dolls come without joint articulation. 😢 However, other than that, I really like this line of dolls. Of course, I immediately found articulated bodies to put them on and am very happy with the results! Hanaly Corners will be blessed with a bevy of new teens!

Here is a photo with the group of dolls that I purchased already on their new bodies. Later, I will show some comparison shots against the original bodies.

From left to right: AA Babysitter on an AA Liv body; Blonde Babysitter on a 24cm Obitsu body; Hispanic Babysitter on a tan Momoko body, Caucasian Babysitter on a M Pure Neemo Body with Small Chest in Natural color; Boy Babysitter on an Alistair Ever After High body. All dolls have been redressed to some degree. Actually, only the Blonde Babysitter has her original dress on with MTM yoga pants.
As you can see, this gives the dolls varying heights -- which is the way it is in real life! I did a comparison of each of these bodies to it's original sized body. For the girl dolls, it is Skipper sized. I put an old Skipper head on one of the bodies. Here goes!

Here is the Hispanic Babysitter on the tan Momoko as compared to the original Skipper. As you can see, the Momoko body is only slightly taller than the Skipper body, so this is a very good body to use. She can wear Skipper's clothes and Skipper's boots.

Here is the Caucasian Babysitter on the M Pure Neemo body as compared to the original Skipper body. The Body is in the Natural Skin tone and is a pretty good match for this head. I really like this body! While she is a little shorter than she was on her original body, I still think this is a good choice for her and is age appropriate. She cannot wear the Skipper boots, is wearing shoes from Azone for Momoko and Ruruko.

Here is the Blonde Babysitter on the 24 CM Obitsu Body as compared to the Skipper on the original body. I really like this body! The skintone is Natural, but it is a little paler than the Pure Neemo natural. It is a near perfect match for the lighter skin tone of this girl! She is slightly shorter than the Pure Neemo body. Again, I think this body is totally age appropriate and keeps her in the same age range as she was originally supposed to be in.

Here is the AA Babysitter on an AA Liv body as compared to original Skipper. She is taller and a bit more mature looking, but this is OK. She will be a little older than the others, but will fit in with other dolls I have on Liv bodies in Hanaly Corners. She is wearing some shoes I found at the 2016 IT convention which were sold to fit Momoko, Poppy Parker and Ruruko.

I have a second AA Babysitter because I found the set with the baby included later. I changed her hair style a bit and put her on a Project MC2 Bryden Body. Because she had big high-heeled feet, she stands taller. I plan on cutting off those feet and giving her some jointed Barbie feet. This will bring her height down to be closer to Skipper's size and she will then be able to wear Skipper's boots. She can wear Skipper's clothes. She will be the taller AA Babysitter's younger sister.

Here is the Boy Babysitter on the Alistair Everafter High body as compared to Skipper. He cannot wear his original clothing, so he is wearing a Ken Fashionista outfit. He is the only one who has a name so far! His name is Sage. He is a handsome young man, don't you think?

I thought you might like to see his original body in comparison to the Slim Ken Fashionista body which is on the right. As you can see, these bodies are very similar in build with the Ken body being a bit taller and having a thicker neck. The original body can fit in the Slim Ken clothes.

Here you can see all three bodies together. I probably should have disrobed the Alistair body so you could have seen the body build comparison, but I didn't do that!

Here his is will the girls! He goes well with all of them! We need more young males!
 Well, I hope you all enjoyed that little review. Remember that these dolls were all purchased in 2017, so do NOT count toward my 2018 restrictions! My next post will be a update on the progress I have made on the doll room!

Thanks for stopping by. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

What?! It's 2018!

Wow, I cannot believe it is 2018. Where did 2017 go? It flew by! 2017 was a year full of ups and downs. I had many health challenges, but I guess that comes with aging. I turned 65! I still can't get over that. Since I was already retired and on social security and Medicare (I retired on a disability), that part kind of breezed right through. But I am really feeling being 65 in my bones . . . and my joints . . . and my brain!

I have become a little more forgetful. Not anything to worry about according to my Dr. "Natural" at my age. I have noticed my hearing is not as good as it used to be. That can be convenient at times 😉! I also get tired more easily. I know that is a side effect to some of the meds I have to take, so I am glad I don't have to work anymore and can take a little snooze when needed.

Looking back on the year, I am grateful that I have started to turn a corner with my health. I have changed my diet pretty dramatically and it is really starting to show the benefits. I was pre-diabetic, but I no longer am. My cholesterol has gone down far enough that I don't have to take any medication for that anymore, which is nice because that made my joints so much worse. I have something called tempular arteritis, which was scary because the Dr. said it can cause blindness, stroke or aneurism. Yuk! They removed a piece of vein from my temple and put me on a high dose of steroids. The side effects of that drug are bad!  I am happy, however, to report that my inflammation numbers have come way down and I am now on a much lower dosage and some of the other side effects are starting to subside. I have even lost a small amount of weight. Considering that steroids make you gain weight, I feel this was no small feat! I hope to continue to make positive changes and therefore continue to show improvement! OK, enough of that!

In the doll world, my collection has grown exponentially! Dag-nab-it, Mattel, you keep offering such really cute dolls and resistance is futile! I am definitely going to have to thin out some dolls soon -- they have taken over every nook and cranny in the house. I did join a local doll club in August. I joined the Great Lakes Doll Club. One of the things they do is sponsor the Grant a Wish Convention each year. I am finally going to be able to go to that convention! They also clean up and box used dolls to be given to the Salvation Army for donation to families who might not have presents to give otherwise. I personally donated 145 dolls! Of course, most of these were as a result of my desire for articulation for my dolls and were basically new non-articulated hybrids! I dressed 55 of them myself and the others we taken by other members to dress them up. The total donation by the club for 2017 was 640 dolls! I am already working on another box for 2018!

The loss of Vanessa Morrison in 2017 hit the doll community really hard. It was difficult for me for many reasons. I know I along with anyone who knew her will miss her greatly. Sometimes, I still check to see if there is a post from her and remember that there won't be anymore. Vanessa is the person who really encouraged me to play with my dolls. I don't think I would have ever even attempted a body swap had it not been for Vanessa! She always used to talk about how we all "enable" one another in the dollverse I know she would want to be remembered for her undeniable positivity, her extreme talent and her ability to inspire others. I remember that she often would name a doll after people who had meant at lot to her, so I don't think she would mind if I named a doll after her. So here is my Vanessa doll:

The "Selma DuPar James" doll will now be called Vanessa Morris in Hanaly Corners. She will be an Interior Designer/Architect and she will help me get my homes and other structures together. The perfect job for Vanessa, don't you think?!  The other residents of Hanaly Corners are very excited about her arrival and are standing in line to get a chance to discuss what they would like to see!

Selma nka Vanessa is the last of the Harlem Theater Collection by Mattel. She is such a pretty doll and she does remind me of Vanessa!

She will soon have to get out of this beautiful dress and get into some working girl clothes! She is going to be busy!

I have actually set some doll and blog goals for 2018.
  1. Organize dolls and get them in a dedicated doll space. I am happy to report I have already made significant progress on this task. This is requiring a complete rearrangement of my basement recreation area. My dolls have definitely overrun the entire basement. So I am switching things around and my craft room will become the doll room. The larger family area will have the craft and sewing area and a lounge area for my daughter to hang out with her friends. It is scary, but here are some in progress photos:                                 

    This wall previously had a table against it that I used for laying out and cutting fabric. It was also my crafting table. I have moved shelving from the rec room to the doll room.
    I moved dolls from other shelves in the rec room to these shelves temporarily. Eventually, these will be converted to living areas. One of these shelves will have things like a classroom, restaurant, shopping areas.
    Because I have to make room in one area to move stuff around, things are quite a mess right now! This used to be where I sewed. My embroidery sewing machine sits here.
    This was my general sewing area. I taught my daughter Alyssa to sew on this machine and is the only one she is allowed to use. It is a very good machine, but not as expensive as my embroidery machine! 
    Yikes, look at all that doll stuff piled up in the corner! What a mess!
    I have a nice, deep window sill in this room. Look at all the dolls it can hold! These are residents of a joint community where we have duplicate mini-mes and post on Flickr. It is called LaurenLand.
    I have actually made more progress on this, so will have more photos to share soon. I am really excited as things are coming together!
  2. Learn how to take better photos. I struggle a bit with setting up photos and applying photo effects. I want to learn how to work more with my camera and take more and better photos.                   
  3. Create more blog posts. I have set a goal of creating at least 1 blog post a month, hopefully 2 posts!                                                              
  4. Write photostories. I enjoy reading photostories so much! I had started out with a few episodes of a photostory about the residents lives in Hanaly Corners, but I have not been consistent. This is for many reasons. With having a more organized and dedicated doll space, setting up for a story should be a little easier and therefore, I should be able to create stories more often.                                  
  5. LIMIT DOLL PURCHASES and sell some dolls. I know I have too many dolls. In order to enjoy them more, I need to sell some dolls. I know I will still buy dolls --- I just can't help myself, but I also know I need to control my doll spending.                                                    
  6. Make more dioramas and diorama items. Make doll clothes. I think once the doll room is organized, I will better be able to create and this will make my other goals more achievable too.                          
  7. Lastly, but not leastly, have fun!
I hope everyone has a wonderful 2018. Have fun playing and sharing! See you soon!