Doll-making is weird

The Wild Olive embroidery-and-English-paper-piecing project wasn’t the only crafting I did in the Christmas break. When Spoonflower had free shipping (always dangerous) I got a plushie kit from Heidi Kenney- the Tattooed Sailor and Tattooed Lady.

I thought to myself, hey, I’ll make a couple of super-cool dollies. I can maybe give them to a couple of the little girls I know. What’s not to like? Since I can never, ever, leave a pattern alone (seriously, this will become increasingly obvious as I share more of them), I decided to do the tattoo embroidery on each doll in colours, rather than just blue. I even added some extra tattooing to the sailor’s chest because it didn’t look tattooed enough.

I was feeling very pleased with the results when I sat down to start sewing it all together.

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Ah, confidence.

First, I cut out the arms and legs for the Tattooed Sailor, folded them over and sewed them up, as per the instructions. Which then told me to ‘stuff them loosely with polyfil’. The problem is, the actual gap into which I was supposed to stuff the polyfil was smaller than my pinkie finger. A pencil and a missed bus later, I had the limbs stuffed, but not loosely.

I looked at the limbs. I looked at the doll. All I could think of was Rex the dinosaur in Toy Story 2- “look at my little arms! I can’t push the fire button and jump at the same time!”

It was around this point that, for no apparent reason, the Popeye the Sailor theme music started playing in my head. I guess that would help with the insanity plea.

But the limbs were nothing compared to the shenanigans that were to come. Pin the arms and legs in place, essentially as a sandwich filling, with the body of the doll right-sides in. Cue fun with folding the arms and legs so they would actually fit inside the bit they needed to be in so I wouldn’t sew them wrong, and then more fun with pinning than I had expected when my sewing machine decided to de-thread itself unexpectedly.

And then we came to this seemingly innocuous instruction: sew around the edges leaving a hole between the legs for turning through.

A hole.

Between the legs.

It was bad enough doing the tattoed sailor, who has blonde hair. I’m kind of dreading the tattooed lady, who is a brunette. Because I work on these dolls in the morning, before breakfast, and I have the feeling I won’t want any the day I have to repeat this process with something brown coming through that hole.

It was also fiddly as- the hole in question was smaller than expected (this could get very rude very quick, I am trying to avoid that. This is a family show, people. Well apart from the fabrics that look like vaginas… OK, maybe it’s not a family show, but still.) and getting the arms and legs through and then the head…yeah. Fiddly.

Popeye the Bizarre Sailor Man still needs stuffing and the hole needs to be sewn shut. Ahem.

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All I can say is he’s looking pretty smug for someone who just LITERALLY had his head pulled out of his ass.

Monsterful Monday du Soleil

First up, Cirque du Soleil. Sweet Jesus. Their show ‘Totem’ is currently in Auckland, and the fun and games of getting across a raceway in the pouring rain to the Grand Chapiteau (when I say fun and games I mean wet muddy feet and, well, pouring rain) were completely worth it. It’s absolutely astonishing what the performers in Cirque can do. The aerials (especially the double act on a stationery trapeze) were a big highlight for me, but then aerials always are. And can we just talk about the pair whose finale to their act involved one of them balancing upside down with ONE SHOULDER ON HER PARTNER’S FOOT?! If you want to see what complete trust looks like, watch any of the acts with more than one person. Holy wow.

I went with my Best Beloved’s best friend, and getting to know her better and share that experience with her was an added bonus. If you’re in Auckland, or if you get the chance to see one of their shows- GO. We were lucky and got discounted tickets through Grab One,  but when they come back I would happily pay full price. And talk about inspiration for getting better at acro! And at adding sequins and sparkles to costumes…

The rest of the weekend was extremely relaxing which was good because next weekend is a big campaign game weekend, and will therefore be not even a little bit relaxing. My Best Beloved, as usual, was wonderful, letting me nap whenever I needed to, including napping on him, and giving lots of snuggles.

The two back issues of Things and Ink that I ordered arrived over the weekend, and were definitely worth it. The Art issue in particular had some really beautiful tattoos, and the writing throughout is good and fascinating. Also I now want to make an appointment with Tracy D at Kings Cross Tattoo next time I’m in the UK. This art nouveau flamingo is one of hers and I. Am. In. Love. I mean come ON- ART NOUVEAU FLAMINGO. I’d love to meet whoever has it so I can shake their hand and admire it in person. For now I’ll content myself with a subscription to the magazine, and poring over every glorious page, as well as getting super excited for Nursey No Mercy doing my next piece. It’s going to be special.

Finally, meditation. I’ve been using my tarot deck for my daily meditation practice and it’s getting me such beautiful results that on Wednesday I’m going to share how I do it, just for you. A little different from the usual set of links, but still bringing you some joy for the middle of the week. I hope you’ll join me- and join in.

The Little Things

Mongolian Barbecue at Gengis Khan (how can you not love a place where you can have as much as you want, and get your delicious Mongolian barbecue meat (mint-marinated lamb! SO GOOD) with a side of mac and cheese?), new shoes that don’t let the rain in, getting creative in a different way from usual, borrowing patterns from kindly fellow sewers, having a set of ab exercises to work on for acro, lighter mornings (so much easier to wake up in time to meditate when you’re as fundamentally lazy as I am), the Parlour, Avengers Assemble, Angelique Houtkamp, text conversations, having a view of the ocean from each of the offices I work at during the week, awesome work colleagues, good advice, and, as usual, tea.