Star Trek and Sewing: March 2015

In The Studio

My binge watch for March ended up being Star Trek, the Original Series. I’ve tried watching it in the past but just couldn’t get into it, finally chalking it up to the very heavy “space Western” vibe of the first season. Strangely enough, I really enjoyed Firefly, though, so it’s not like space-Westerns are all bad.. But something about TOS just wasn’t doing it for me.

But! With the passing of Leonard Nemoy, it seemed fitting to give the series another go. I’d made it through a big part of season 1, so this binge was mostly seasons 2 and 3. Season 2 was pretty awesome, so now I’m really glad to have watched it. Season 3? Todd kept asking ‘did you get to the space hippies?’ every time he’d pass my office door. So much that I wondered if it was one of those episodes I just listened too and never looked up during.

Nope. He assured me I wouldn’t be able to miss it, and he was right.

Direct link for the feed readers: Star Trek: The Way to Eden, Main Jam in Lounge

Dude, that’s trippy.

And the series finale? Seeing Kirk have an absolute hissy fit on the bridge was a bit of a treat. Though, in my head, I keep hearing him scream ‘respect my authority’ a la Cartman, which just makes it even more funny.

I’m still a Next Gen fan, but at least I can make that statement fully informed.

What was I doing while Kirk, Spock, and McCoy duked their way through the galaxies? Mostly Sewing.

Since this was the first month we had fabric in hand, I had two Love My Fabrics projects go live:


jvanderbeek_lovemyfabrics_botanicgarden_fabricbasket_fabriceggs_easterdecorFull write-ups and links to their patterns are available on the Love My Fabrics blog: Eggs, Basket I also have a pair of doll outfits going up on Tuesday, using the same fabric set (Botanic Garden, available in a fat quarter pack on etsy)

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

For Helmar, this month’s assignment fell due just before Todd’s birthday, so I used it as a kick in the pants to actually make his birthday card instead of buy it. That we’re both in accounting makes the card make more sense.

jvanderbeek_helmar_numbersbirthday_cardI also have a cute little decoupaged bunny hanging going up today!


Finally, over on Gauche Alchemy, the March challenge was to use a quote in our work, and I used the “keep moving forward” quote from the end of Meet the Robinsons for mine. I also learned how to make animated gifs so I could show a (somewhat rapid-fire) time-lapse progress of the canvas I made for the challenge. I think I’ll slow the frame rate down a bit next time.


I also have a secret knitting project in the works and, of course, have been busily “crafting” the business plan for The Crafty Branch. It’s not done yet (bother!) but it’s really coming along and I feel really good about what I do have put together so far. April’s gonna be a big month!



Project Share: Victorian Memo Frame for Helmar

In The Studio


Hey, guys! Today I have a new, fun, and fairly quick project up over on the Helmar Design Team blog. Apparently my interest in Victoriana has not yet waned, and probably won’t for a while, so the fussy, frilly-ness of this project is mainly due to that. But, you know, it’s kinda fun to do fussy and frilly every now and then.


Also, if you didn’t see it earlier this month, my February Gauche Alchemy project was a very texture-heavy red canvas for the love/hate-themed challenge (and you might recognize the hearts from the last Helmar project). There’s still some time to create your own project and submit it for the February challenge. Remember, anything goes as long as it’s inspired by this month’s challenge board!

February Challenge Inspiration

February Challenge Inspiration

Finally, here’s that doll sweater I mentioned in the last post. This is the first “right” prototype of the pattern. I’ve since made it a second time in a longer, oversized-cardigan style and I’ve got a third one on the needles even longer as as coat.

Tessa modeling her winter-appropriate "bookish" look.

Tessa modeling her winter-appropriate “bookish” look.

Did I mention I bought more dolls? There were some unbeatable deals on Amazon a few months ago and I got a total case of itchy spending finger and picked up two girls for less than one would normally cost (Tezca and Lipoca). Then I found a Yeolume (Pullip’s daughter from the future, serious, the “storyline” of these dolls is rather amusing) in Tuesday Morning, and finally brought home a Byul (Dal’s best friend); again from Amazon, again at a great deal. She’s the one who needs a bit of work due to a broken arm and her replacement body arrived ahead of schedule so she’ll be in the dolly O.R. before too long.

It’s the little things, folks, that make us smile, right?

I Play With Dolls

Just for Fun

Not that that’s anything new to those of you who’ve been around a while.

But it bears stating, flat-out and without shame or censure. Why? Because some people think that collecting dolls and figures (much less playing with them as an adult) infantalises us.Of course, the same person who wrote that article previously penned one in favor of playing with Lego blocks as a platform for information. While clearly the author of both articles has proven himself to be a hypocrite, it does make you wonder what makes one set of plastic parts worthy and others, not.

Not a damn thing.

If it makes you happy and doesn’t a) hurt anyone else or b) impede your ability to meet your commitments (like getting to work, paying your bills, or caring for your family) I don’t think it matters one iota how you like to spend your time. So, you know, to each their own. And the aforementioned author could stand a little bit of perspective.

But anyway!

I actually participated in a photo challenge for the last 6 weeks that centered around one of my newest dolls: a Dal from the Pullip family of dolls by Jun-Planning/Groove. I purchased her because she came in a monkey suit (based on the story of the Monkey King, her style name is “Monomono”) so of course she was the correct first choice but she’s proven to be quite fun to dress up in different looks. Each week of Dalicious (held on the Dolly Market forum) had a theme and we had a week to submit our picture. The winners of the challenge will be announced later today, but I definitely don’t expect to be among that number. I was happy enough to make it through all 6 weeks (we started with just over 30 entrants and ended with just under 20).

Kasia will cast a spell on you!

Kasia will cast a spell on you!

The first round’s theme was Magic and I felt pretty good about my entry. Eagle-eyed readers might recognize the background as my Cabinet of Curiosities from a Gauche Alchemy project which happened to just be the perfect size. Kasia (my doll) is hunched over a cauldron (a 3-footed salsa pot) fitted with a bubbler from my Halloween decoration stash to create the lights and mist.

I don't know what treasure Kasia thought she'd find in this pile of bricks...

I don’t know what treasure Kasia thought she’d find in this pile of bricks…

The second round was Adventure, so I went with the somewhat predictable (but reliable) Indiana Jones tribute. I spent a bit of time each night creating her entire outfit (except the shoes, those I ordered from PullipStyle). I was especially proud of being able to rig her in a somewhat realistic climbing pose without using anything more than the crocheted hemp rope anchored around a brick (out of frame) and around her waist (hidden by the overshirt).

Playing at being a grown-up this week.

Playing at being a grown-up this week (officially Dal is only 14).

Week 3, Vintage, was when time started to get away from me a bit. Still, I managed to pull out a pretty decent picture (I think) and at least I was the only one that went the wine-vintage route. The background is a picture I took of Cobb Lane in Birmingham, AL, many years ago but it came in quite handy for this shoot. The dress is a Barbie outfit cinched in at the back for a better fit.

We missed the mark with this one, I fully admit.

We missed the mark with this one, I fully admit.

Mythology–the theme for week 4–should have been a piece of cake. Unfortunately I was under a time crunch and had way too many ideas and way too little time to do any of them justice. I decided to punt with a Birth of Venus-ish shot, but didn’t want to deal with arranging all that hair into a suitably demur shot, so I sewed a pretty little sheath dress for her (with plenty of pearl details) and that’s about all I can really claim went right. But I got a picture in on time and made it through to the next round.

Kitchen fun is better with friends!

Kitchen fun is better with friends!

It was at this point–Week 5, Cooking–I was able to rally quite a bit and pull out the various kitchen playsets I’d begun collecting last year but never used. I also gave Kasia a friend to interact with in the photo (an Ai doll, Matricaria, made by the same company but of a different line), which I think helped. That mini-mixer is an old clock that I think I got right after high school but have been carrying around all this time–sometimes I’m really glad of my magpie-like hoarding tendencies. (Repainting the oh-so-pink props is on my to-do list; even I have a limit!)

What was that noise?!

What was that noise?!

Ending as it did just after Halloween, it’s no surprise that the final challenge theme was haunted. A combination of our spooky “mirror” decoration and some moody lighting produced what I think is a suitably haunted look. Reflection photos always look a little impressive, even with the fun-house appearance of this one.

Despite my mid-contest slump, I really enjoyed participating in Dalicious and look forward to some more informal challenges that are coming up. Staging and photographing the dolls is a common pastime among the collectors (at least those that de-box and play with their dolls–collectors vary in their stance on that) and one I plan to continue. And it’s good practice for non-doll photography, too: the skills of composition, lighting, and post-production (which is minimal in the above photos) are just as important with small scenes as they are big ones, and a convincing miniatures portrayal is something worth striving for.