February 4, 2012

Smaller Is Only Slightly Better

This is going to be an extremely short update. To mitigate the disaster that was my last dollbox, I made a second box that's smaller and hopefully simpler to maintain. It is roughly half as wide as the original, but a wee bit deeper. Dimensions are 10" by 10" by 6.5".

And as you can see, I've already started decorating. That's pink giftwrap serving as wallpaper for the second floor. It's probably just me and the limitations of my crafting skills, but the "wallpaper" was a pain in the butt to install. Or maybe there's a very important-but-obscure wallpapering technique somewhere that I missed.

I'm also trying to make better use of the "Less is More" furnishing philosophy, using pieces in moderation and resisting the urge to go for the Cramped And Crowded Furniture Store look. I'm not a formally-trained interior decorator, so I can't speak for how well my approach is working.

The good news is that by doubling up on the illustration board, I've managed to stabilize the second floor to minimize warping. So far the floor is still holding up well. I've since tested the double-layer theory by re-doing the second floor of my first dollbox accordingly, though I think it's safe to say that one should have fairly fewer problems when working with a smaller floor area.

In the meantime, it looks like the coming weeks are going to be full of me dividing my time between writing, knitting and working on doll home improvements.

One more week to Inkblot season!

I suspect this is going to become an annual thing for me from now on. All the writing workshops, books and software in the world probably aren't going to make the next J.D. Salinger (maybe not even the next J.K. Rowling), but it can't hurt to try, can it?

Sining Bodega presents Inkblot: The Essentials of Writing Fiction

For someone who has dreamed of being a writer for years, I have been (un)surprisingly abysmal at keeping it up. I consider it a good day whenever I "successfully" finish writing something I started, even if it's something silly like a poem or a blog entry. At the last writing workshop I attended, I managed to compose exactly one original piece, which is already an ill sign. I guess my mind tends to get distracted very easily, too easily even. This is nothing new, this even happens whenever I read books.

For all my failings at actual prose, however, I have developed something of a talent for making worlds up. Since settling on my life's calling back in fifth grade, I've fully devoted my energies to creating at least three full-scale fictional universes. That's not counting the times when I pick up on a single story idea and decide to play around with that thread in my head for days at a time.

My current long-term writing project has been on the backburner since my sophomore year in college, and I still suck at writing at least one proper (and by "proper" I mean "readable enough for submission to respected literary publications") vignette from that particular universe. My copious worldbuilding notes alone are probably two to three times more massive than any actual prose I've written for it. And then there's the issue of the volume of made-up words exclusive to the universe...

my Universe Bible, the eternal work-in-progress

The Classic Writer's Dilemma in all its permutations has been one I and my other writerly friends have discussed at length numerous times, and it still seems like none of us are getting any closer to becoming the next literary darling. But to very loosely quote one of my best buddies, the only way to go is Write. Up. Something. Ponies!

Am I human... or am I dancer?
One of my less-ridiculous-looking character concepts from this universe. Thank you, Hero Machine.

February 2, 2012

A Purse of Stories

Well, it's more like a brown paper bag of stories, really.

I'm still somewhat baffled as to how it happened, but it seems fairy tales are becoming in vogue again. One minute the director of Twilight was shooting her own Hotter and Sexier take on Little Red Riding Hood. The next thing I know, one of my oldest friends is ranting about how Once Upon A Time (not to be confused with Wansapanataym) is holding his interest less and less. Classic children's characters left and right are getting edgy makeovers worthy of comic book superheroines, while longtime Fables fans are finding more and more reasons to feel smug.

So where does the mystery paper bag come in?

February 1, 2012

Kids will ALWAYS fight over the top bunk.

It was inevitable, really. After expending so much time, energy and packing tape on building a more-or-less ideal cardboard dollhouse, the next logical step was for me to dabble in cardboard doll furniture.

The decision to "branch out" was borne from a very unique dilemma, one shaped like a whole mass of irregular Tetris rejects.

Leftover pieces of illustration board from my dollbox attempts

Because packrats industrious crafters are usually loathe to ever throw anything away, I figured I needed to try my hand at furniture. It would certainly save me some more money compared to if I were to commit to investing in Sylvanian Families furniture pieces all the way. Plain old tables, chairs and beds were too boring, however, which I why I decided to attempt building my first mini cardboard bunk beds.

Of course, mini-scaled cardboard bunk beds were hard to come by. So, I had to improvise my own bunk bed design. I took a cue from the dimensions of the Sylvanian Families bunk bed as my starting point, and from there I pretty much jumped right in and hoped for the best.

Today in Flickr groups: Little Boxes

Remember the last post I made about esoterically-themed Flickr groups? Turns out the eraser-collecting scene had gotten more insane than I ever imagined. The biggest tip-off for me came mostly when I started seeing them in real toy shops. For this we have the good people at Iwako to thank, because why rub out your pencil mistakes with nondescript gray slabs when you can do it with pieces of rubber shaped like hamsters?

I wasn't kidding.

Going back to the subject of Flickr groups, one of my favorite online pick-me-ups is the Little Treasures Flickr pool. I freely admitted that I am a bit of a Flickr lurker ages ago, but this is getting out of hand.

Little Treasures Flickr pool

While I have an unabashed appreciation for small toys in general, I have more of a love-hate relationship with the art of displaying/storing them. Much of my frustration may stem from printer's trays being awfully hard to find, but then I have yet to take up antiquing as a phase.

The Beginning Of The End

An even bigger issue for me is my perennial lack of storage space, which is not bound to get better anytime soon thanks to my fleeting passionate hobby complex and the law of conservation of mass. I might stand a slightly better chance of justifying this if I had actual photography skills, though it seems colorful objects and camera only occasionally get along whenever I'm working with them.

The End Of The Beginning Of The End
If you think this looks bad, wait until you see it now.

On the other hand, I guess my fiction-writing skills could use some exercise...


Say hello to Sockbert.

Hello, Sockbert

Made when I was perhaps little more than a wee weirdo-in-the-making, Sockbert was perhaps one of my very earliest (and creepiest) attempts at doll-making. Looking back, I feel like I should probably walk into a Doll Collectors Anonymous meeting and just admit that I have a doll problem.

Once, this problem reached the point that I was desperately looking for ways to get my doll fix. That meant figuring out how to make my own dolls, never mind that I was then too young and uncoordinated (read: stupid) for the task.