under where?

I recently decided that my Blythes all need to be properly attired, including unders. As I’ve mostly gotten my dolls secondhand, many of them arrived to me without their undergarments.

Adorbs Blythe unders by BlytheHappy

Aren’t these by BlytheHappy lovely? In addition to fitting perfectly, they also have this sweet embroidery! I will definitely be getting some more of these in the future.


Review: Just Add Watercolor

Just Add Watercolor

Just Add Watercolor by Helen Birch offers “inspiration & painting techniques from contemporary artists.” I am not a painter, nor do I think I’ll take it up anytime soon, but I adore this book regardless. It is set up so that each double page spread is a combination of information about a particular technique or strategy for using watercolors along with a lovely work of art that illustrates the technique or strategy.

I find it interesting to read about these techniques even though I’m not using them – some of the underlying philosophies and ideas translate to other forms of art and creativity. I also find the artwork featured in this book to be very inspiring. They vary quite a lot in style and feeling, but (perhaps because they were selected [or created?] to typify a specific idea, each one provides a connection for the viewer. Despite their relatively small size (the book is only about 5.5″ x 7.5″), I found myself drawn in when looking at each piece. (I will admit that much of my favorite picture book art uses gouache, and a lot of these use that.) I definitely see this as a book I’ll keep at hand to peruse and to use as inspiration for other creative endeavors.

Full disclosure: I received this book from Blogging for Books.

American Dog Walker: The Art of Bruce Thayer

There is currently a terrific exhibit at the CMU Art Gallery, featuring the works of CMU alum Bruce Thayer, an artist who is heavily influenced by the Chicago Imagist movement.

American Dog Walker: the Art of Bruce Thayer exhibit at CMU Art Gallery

I have to admit I knew nothing about the Chicago Imagists before going in to this exhibit, and I hadn’t heard Bruce Thayer‘s name before. I’m so glad I went, though, as I learned a ton and really enjoyed the art on display.

American Dog Walker: the Art of Bruce Thayer exhibit at CMU Art Gallery

Alice in the Wonderful Dog Walk, 2013

Much of Thayer’s art is political, but some is more telling of his daily life and routines, like this watercolor. (Also: I am a sucker for dogs.)

American Dog Walker: the Art of Bruce Thayer exhibit at CMU Art Gallery

Blame Game, 2013

Thayer was an auto worker for many years and experienced firsthand the struggles of the economic downturn and the effects of the changes in American manufacturing over the last few decades.

American Dog Walker: the Art of Bruce Thayer exhibit at CMU Art Gallery

Working Stiff, 2005

Thayer’s combination of drawing, painting, stamping, and other techniques is very effective, I think, in conveying the anxiety, uncertainty, frustration, and anger that auto workers and others felt during these troubles. Thayer’s ability to combine different techniques and themes reminded me of some of They Might Be Giants’ early music (the Pink album and Lincoln). Both use imagery from popular culture, political themes, and seem to have a sense of humor. I’m not sure I’m really putting a finger on why the one reminded me of the other, but it did.

American Dog Walker: the Art of Bruce Thayer exhibit at CMU Art Gallery

Shift Change, 1989

This piece is one of a few cut out assembly-acrylic sculptures in this show. I like the way that this piece brings the auto workers to life as they appear to be dancing. It seems that the balancing act of being an auto worker could easily have felt like a dance at times (juggling productivity with diminishing resources and increasing demands and trying to maintain one’s self-respect).

This exhibit will be on display at the CMU Art Gallery through November 8, 2014. I highly recommend checking it out.


Several years ago I got the itch to make a neat clock and bought a clockwork kit at the Lob. Of course I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted the clock to be, so I put it off and ended up not actually making one. After unpacking the little clockwork kit again at Castle Greystone, I decided that now was the time. (Haha.) I asked K what he thought would make a good clock and he suggested the Doctor Who LP he’s had for several decades: perfect!

Hallway with new Who clock

He put it together in a matter of moments and after a little looking around, we decided to put it in the hallway.

New old clock

I think it looks great! Ideally we’d like to get some longer hands, as these are a bit too short for the scale of the LP, but for now this will do. It just seems so fitting to use a Who-themed base for a clock, doesn’t it?

the gang’s mostly here

Last week while preparing to leave for a trip, Susan discovered that one of my Blythes, Willow, was hanging out in her CraftyTown. She’s been there for months and neither Susan nor I realized it. D’oh! This inspired me to get the rest of my girls unpacked, having been boxed up for the duration of our moves during mid and late 2013.

Several of them were looking pretty box-haired, so I did a couple of hair treatments to get them back to looking nice again.

Dolly hair day

Dahlia has had a few hair treatments from me in the past, so hers was pretty easy and quick. All her hair is one length, which makes washing easier (though drying is a bit goofy, as you can see).

Dolly hair day

Maude desperately needed some help – her hair was still a little greasy from the factory and I hadn’t made time to wash it yet since getting her. Her hair was also a bit wonky in terms of cut, so I took this opportunity to trim her bangs to a straighter line (they look a bit off in this pic because some of them are drier than others).

Dolly hair day

Finally, Turtle got her first hair treatment (I think) from me. The way her hair is rooted/thatched is different than the Blythes, which makes it lay the way it’s supposed to pretty easily (with the exception of parts of her bangs).

The Girls

Then I finally got some clothes on them all! Going through my Blythe wardrobe alerted me to a few projects I want to work on: Middie knits and dresses, more skirts (both knit and sewn), more cardis, and more knit accessories (scarves, shawls, etc.). Hooray for inspiration! What are you making for your Blythes lately?



Sometimes when Coraline gets super crazy, K will pick her up and show her around the room Lion King-style. For some reason this works to calm her down a little.

Coraline and Karl

The other day he did this and then perched her on his shoulder like a parrot or Squirrelly.

Coraline and Karl


Coraline and Karl

Uh-oh, someone senses an opportunity…

Coraline and Karl

And she dives for the mouth. We had just eaten dinner and apparently K’s breath smelled delicious. She is a weird, adorable puppy.


Some friends of ours hosted a fourth of July soiree over the weekend and we were so glad to be there. Lots of delicious food and drink and great conversation, and then there were fireworks. Woot!

I realized when we were out there that my camera has a setting for fireworks, so I switched that on and hoped for the best.


It works pretty well, actually.


The hardest thing was getting the camera centered properly to get the entire blast in one shot.


I have to say, I’m pretty impressed with how well it captured these! Because of the fireworks setting process, it takes a longer moment before you can take a second shot, and by then that firework has usually faded, so I got better with timing the further on it got.




Many big thanks to our hosts George and Jenny for such a terrific evening!

Treasury Tuesday: Opals for October

Opals are October’s modern birthstone (there are other types of birthstones). Opal is said to symbolize confidence and faithfulness. It is also said to bring good luck to the wearer, though others claim that it reflects the wearer’s energy back to them – that only those who radiate positivity should wear opal. Regardless of all that, though, they’re pretty.

Opals for October treasury