About zefiart

Blogger, DIY-er, poodle lover, graphic designer, dog groomer, recycler, artist, wonder woman in my spare time.

plans…

Best-laid-plans

Yes. Well. This is how it goes around here:

I make plans for tomorrow, the day after, the whole week. I have a diary I keep my appointments in. I make lists of things I need to do – today, tomorrow, the day after, etc.

Then something happens. Nothing ever goes as planned… do you find that? Things I meant to do today get moved to tomorrow or the next day or next week. I do things today that weren’t on the list for this year. I shuffle papers, never use a pen in my diary (learned that the hard way), write new lists.

Surely I’m not the only person who’s life seems to have a life of its own?

Don’t expect any insights or clever solutions in this post. In fact, if you have a solution please share.

I know the theory: Write things down. Make lists. Prioritise.

I DO THAT.

Then things change and I need new plans and new lists. My plans are organic in nature, growing and changing…

I make lists and number things in order of priority as well as geographic location. I mean, how else will I manage to do everything in a time-and-fuel-efficient manner?

Will I ever get this under control or is this terminal do you think?

z

tidy here, mess up there

mopping_woman

Its a universal truth.

In order to clean up one room/area, you mess up another.

Or is it just me?

The other day I tidied up the living room. It was due. There was more dirt on the carpet than in the yard. No one can accuse me of not being house proud…

In order to clean and tidy the living room I had to remove certain items. Like the baskets of towels and other bathroom stuff which I’d put there while we were renovating the bathroom. Months ago.

Like the laundry baskets full of washed clothes waiting to be folded and put away. Ok, I’m down to one only, not so bad.

Like the pile of odd socks which have lost their sole mates.

You get the picture.

One reason for tidying was to lay down the new/used rug I’d bought. Cause one day I’ll rip up the carpet in there and we’ll need rugs for warmth. So I removed all the unnecessary don’t-belong-in-there items and cleaned and put down the rug.

Where did the extraneous items go you may ask? Well… they had to go somewhere. And that someone had to be out of the way, yet accessible in order for me to put them away at a later date. Probably much later.

The doorway to the guest room.

Is it just me, or is everyone’s life a matter of just moving things around? From here to there, from there to further over, then a couple of inches to the left?

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I’m sick of it. I’m feeling the itch again. The itch that says ‘get rid of it’.

I get that itch now and then, mostly due to the frustration of not having enough space for the crap we accumulate. The porch is full of things I put down months ago cause I would need them for something, like the final touches to the bathroom… The mud room is full of stuff that came out of the house to be put in its place later.

I’m gonna cry.

Its raining today. Our plan for today was to pick up a load of hay. Ain’t gonna happen in the rain. So I have an indoor (mostly) day to do some cleaning.

Or I could clip the poodles, who are looking a bit like woolly mammoths right now.

Or I could make the spanakopita I’ve been planning to make for the last 3 days.

Or I could just sit here and do nothing…

z

another abby

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Yes, its another Abby from NCIS.

What can I say? She’s a popular girl!

This is the last of the 3 commissioned dolls I just finished.

With this one, I once again had to re-root a barbie head. Have you ever noticed how many of the old barbies are blonde? Not many black haired ones among them!

I bought black hair from my favourite aussie seller again ((Custom Doll Hair AU)  and began work.

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Another faceless head on a stick…

Then I used watercolour pencils, pastels and watercolour to give her a new face.

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This Abby has the tattoos as well. My first Abby doll didn’t have those, but this time I went further even though you can’t see most of them when she’s dressed. Authenticity you know…

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Once Abby’s face and tatts were finished I put her back together and began dressing her. I bought a pleated black skirt on ebay and found a singlet top I thought would work well in my barbie clothing collection.

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I gave her a Monster High belt I thought the real Abby would appreciate, and made her a leather dog collar.

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I couldn’t find knee high boots so I bought some gorgeous over the knee socks from a maker on ebay. I painted a pair of boots I had in my collection and added straps to make them look a bit more Abby-like.

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I figured that Abby wasn’t totally complete without her lab coat, so I made one for her. I even rolled up the sleeves so she’s ready to get to work.

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Overall I’m pretty happy with how she turned out.

I do love those long socks!

z

katy perry doll

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Yep. I tackled the cupcake dress!!

This is another of the dolls winging their way to the UK and she was the one that took the longest to make.

Obviously.

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Most of the hair rooted – faceless doll heads on pens is a common sight around here…

Firstly I had to order blue hair from my favourite local seller (Custom Doll Hair AU), then I had to re-root my barbie head with said blue hair. And paint on her face, of course.

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I bought a dress which was suitable as the base for my cupcake skirt. And some cupcakes from ebay. There was no way I could make that many cupcakes in this lifetime…

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The only way I could figure out to make the skirt was papier mache. My old standby. I love papier mache and can make anything with it. I’m pretty good at it, even if I do say so myself. 🙂

So I built myself a ‘scaffold’ from cardboard (ok, its more like a layered cake) and tissue paper. It only took 3 goes to get it right. I gave it 3 coats of white acrylic paint and made 2 different layers of ruffles which I hot glued to the bottom.

I made a matching ruffle for the top of the dress, which I stitched onto the straps and neckline. I then cut the dress to the right length and attached it to the skirt using hot glue. Not while it was on the doll.

Obviously.

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Headless doll. Another common sight around here.

Once I picked the shoes I preferred and had her all dressed up she was ready!

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She needs one of those stands that holds her up by the legs cause there’s no way that skirt is going to allow her to have a regular ‘around the waist’ stand. What can you do? Its the price you pay for looking so fabulous!

z

 

another amy

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My life seems to have been dolls dolls dolls for the last few months. But the good news is I’ve finally finished the last 3 custom dolls so I can now maybe do something else with my spare time!

And since they’re now finished and will soon be on their way to the other side of the world, I can share them!

First up is another Amy Winehouse. This time made using a second hand barbie doll. You can see my first Amy doll here.

In order to do this Amy I began by removing all the (blonde) hair from the doll. I wanted to try using felt for her incredible hairdo so I used a combination of glue and the rooting tool to attach Amy’s beehive and messy hair.

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Then, of course, I had to give her a face…

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No Amy is complete without tattoos, and this girl is no exception. She has all the tatts, even the ones you can’t see under her funky 1960’s style shorts/dress.

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I couldn’t find black boots so I painted a pair of silver boots and gave her a black belt to tie in the outfit.

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The outfit Amy’s wearing is actually an original Barbie outfit from my collection of clothes and I chose it cause it really seemed to suit her style.

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I’m quite pleased with how the hair turned out.

… next I’m going to try using felted wool to make Captain Jack Sparrow!

z

 

amy doll

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Time to share another doll repaint. This is Amy. Winehouse of course. I decided to make her for a couple of reasons: the beehive hair and the tattoos. I like both of those!

This doll began as a Bratz doll with a really messy head of thick black hair. She was ideal. I didn’t have to re-root her. Phew. Re-rooting can be fun in its own way… its a kind of repetitive, zen-like kinda thing. But it can take so long! So when I get the chance to skip it… well, I’ll jump at the chance!

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I loved doing her tattoos. Not an easy task of such thin arms, but fun to do nonetheless.

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When I made Amy she was a doll I made for my own amusement. By that I mean I was only pleasing myself. I dressed her in original Bratz clothes that I felt suited her style and listed her in my Etsy shop. She was sold to a lady in Spain. Yay.

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With the sale came a request for a bit of customization. Her new owner wanted bigger eye liner and a different outfit. I made a black and white checked dress and a Blake hair pin. The photo below isn’t her finished unfortunately. I think I somehow missed taking finished photos of her. (oops.)

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This photo shows the dress un-hemmed, the belt undone and untrimmed, and the first attempt at the hair pin.

Trust me, she looked better when it was all finished.

z

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abby doll

beforeafterabby

Given that I’ve been flat out lately, spending my days grooming dogs, working on custom dolls, watching TV and wasting time, I thought I should share some of the dolls I failed to share.

Abby from NCIS was the first doll I ever tried re-rooting. (Which is not something rude, but the act of replacing the original hair with new hair.) I did it ’cause I needed a Bratz doll with pale skin and black hair. And I didn’t have one. So I watched some YouTube videos and went ahead and bought some black hair from CustomDollHairAu on Etsy. She sells luscious hair blends and tools as well. I now have a collection of gorgeous hair blends and a lot of doll heads I plan to re-root one day…

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Anyway… I got started re-rooting with a needle, the hard way. Well, ok, not hard as such, but the longer way… It took ages to re-root the whole head but I loved the result. And to be honest it’s a kind of relaxing zen sort of activity.

Since then I’ve re-rooted 2 more dolls and I tried the rooting tool… I watched the videos. I tried doing it. I stuffed up. I watched more videos. I tried again. I stuffed up again. I broke so many needles it wasn’t funny. I have no idea what I was doing wrong.

I went back to the needle.

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If it works for you, stick with it, right?

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For this particular doll makeover I repainted her face, re-rooted her with black hair and adapted original Bratz clothes and boots to achieve the Abby look.

All in all, I was very happy with my first re-root!

This little girl has been sold through my Etsy shop.

z

helen of troy

Not too long ago I got an order for a Helen of Troy doll. Now that she’s in her new home I thought it’d be a good time to share her.

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I was asked to make a doll to match Helen from the movie. I had a few photos as reference so I found a doll to use and began work.

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First I had to buy various beads and gold bits and pieces. Then I had to make an outfit.

Of course, I had to work on the doll too. Most dolls I work with need their hair restored from frizz to pretty (if not completely replaced). This time I was lucky, I was able to restore her hair.

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After removing the factory face, I painted in my own Helen of Troy face.

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I made her a crown and earrings out of the gold bits I bought. I made her some jewelry as well.

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Her sandals are Bratz sandals which I repainted gold. I curled her hair and here she is.

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Her new owner is thrilled with her. And I’m pretty pleased at how she turned out too!

I’m currently working on three more special order dolls. I’ll share them when they’re finished!

Aside from that, I don’t have a lot to share. I’ve been very busy but I have a few little things on the go, so stay in touch!

z

a quirky business card holder

What do you do with vintage electrical plugs? You make business card holders out of them of course!

Well… I do anyway.

You saw my first such offering here. It was time for more. I have more on the way, but this one is special.

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I started off with a dark brown electrical plug and a wooden mount (in old houses here in Australia light switches were mounted on wooden blocks to hide the wiring, cause wiring was usually ON the wall, not inside it). But this was a large wooden block, meant for two light switches… what to do with the extra space…?

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I rummaged in my various boxes of extra handy assorted junk that I collected cause I knew I’d find the perfect use for it one day and found this odd little clamp.

It was perfect!

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I sprayed the clamp with some varnish to seal the rusty bits (cause I love rusty bits), added a touch of oil to the bolt, then drilled a hole in the side of the block to hold it in place. The little butterfly clampy bit does a great job holding down a stack of business cards.

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You know. For extra business cards. In windy conditions. Display some on the plug, keep extras on hand under the clamp.

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How can you not love this quirky little piece? I bet no one else has a business card holder like this one!

Soon to be listed in my Etsy shop.

z

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i once wrote a book

Like many people, I lived under the illusion that I could write (and illustrate) books for a living. Especially children’s books.

Do you know how hard it actually is?

Anyway, one day I actually did write a book which I self published on Lulu.com, the DIY online publishing place. This was quite a few years ago, there may be other places now, but back then I think that was it.

This is the book:

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Scooter was my second toy poodle ever. He was the first one I got while living in Australia. He was a real character, a little man with a huge attitude. He was hilarious. When we lived in Fentonbury the paddock next door was sometimes home to cattle and Scooter was game to take on anything. This is a true story. It happened one day while I watched. It was too good not to capture and share.

I think I sold about 10 copies. All to me. Ok, maybe a couple to a friend or two. The problem is that Lulu charges so much, its a ridiculous price to pay for a slim book!

I actually made heaps more selling the original watercolours on ebay.

I began illustrations for a book about Billybear, my other toy poodle, but never got past that to the story. One day I’ll finish it. Maybe.

You can see a bit more about my Scooter book and, if you have $$ to spare, you can order it online here.

Meanwhile, remembering this book got me to thinking about writing in general and beginnings specifically. I remember hearing somewhere that starting was the hardest part. I beg to differ. I can start anything, at any time.

Its finishing (or continuing) that’s the hard part!

In my mind I’m always writing first paragraphs for books. Its fun!

Like this:

The man lay in bed, watching the neon light outside the cheap motel window flash pink then red then white. He couldn’t sleep. He was too conscious of the loaded gun on the bedside table next to him. If he failed tomorrow he was as good as dead.

Or this:

Megan was woken by the cold. She reached for her comforter but something was wrong. She couldn’t move her arms or legs. Her eyes flew open and she looked around the dark unfamiliar room. She was lying on a mattress on a dirty floor, cable ties around her wrists and ankles. She remembered the man in the mask and she began to cry.

Yes. I obviously love crime and suspense books. Does it show?

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Ok, how about:

Amy looked up as Troy put a large coffee on the table in front of her. Soy milk latte with a dash of vanilla, just the way she liked it. He sat down opposite her and smiled. He was such a nice guy, considerate, kind, attractive. They had heaps in common. He had a good job. Her parents loved him. Yet Amy looked watched him stir sugar into his coffee and felt like the walls were closing in around her. 

The second paragraph? So much harder to do! LOL

z

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