Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Boudoir Darlings

A few months ago I discovered, and became really interested in 1920s boudoir dolls. I love them because they had such a short run, just though the 20's and 30's, and are so perfectly frivolous!

For any one as late to the pary as me, boudoir dolls came about as part of the many crafts coming into Paris from Russia at that time. Relativly simple cloth bodies, painted faces, and at the time more Russian style costume. They became more and more popular and soon they were being made in fantastic18th century inspired costumes, as fashionable flappers and seedy undesirables. Women would drape them around their bedrooms and personal spaces. They represented the style of the times, and also the fantasies and daydreams of the young women holled up in these rooms. The dolls weren't only restricted to the house, some daring flappers would carry their dolls out for a night on the town. More than just a fashion doll, they were dolls as fashion accessories!

 You can spot them quite often in old movies, and they show up fairly regularly in photos of film stars and flappers through out the 20's and 30's.

I design clothing and accessories for a living, but also make and customize dolls pleasure, so these have so much appeal to me as dolls and as accessories.
 from cute but beat up to "I can't believe it stayed so clean for so long!" Trawling through listings and photos I found myself more and more wanting to make my own so that it could be just as personal as some of the dolls that appeared to be to their owners in the old photos like the one above.

It took a while, but after getting my hands covered in clay, and clothes whited out with dust, I finally managed to steal some time the other day to finish off my first boudoir doll! She looks like a Constance so that's what she's called.

She went from a creepy head on a stick to a (apparently still creepy) well dressed girl, swimming in ruffles, ribbons and art deco styling!

She has a little floss wig, picture dress, and lots of little ribbon trimmings, right down to mini knee level garters!

There's whole line of projects to work on using this doll, and it's got me started making old style dolls which is something I've been wanting to do for a while.

A few things I might do differently next time around, but over all she makes me smile, and a great starting point for bringing yet another new old thing into my life :) More photos over on Dolly Daydream (including the dolly garters!!!) along with a lot of the other dolls I've made and customized over the years.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tropical Fancy

After being faced with jello shots I couldn't enjoy once again at a party over new years I've been back on my vintage housewife jello kick again. This time playing out with making a layered dessert using DIY flavored jelly. The flavor was inspired by sticky rice and mango, and destined to be kicked up a notch with the addition of a coconut rice pudding layer in a future variation. This one how ever takes no time at all and is easier than pie!

Tropical Gelatin Fancy

Top Layer:
  • 1/2 cup mango syrup
  • 2/34 cup chopped mango pieces
  • 1/2cup Water 
  • 1 Envelope Knox plain gelatin 
Bottom Layer:
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbs sweetened condensed Milk
  • 1 Envelope Knox plain gelatin 
  1. Make the bottom creamy layer 1st
  2. Sprinkle gelatin over 4tbs water in a small sauce pan and leave for about 5min
  3. Heat water in larger saucepan to make a water bath, float the smaller pan of gelatin in the water bath and heat gently till gelatin is fully dissolved. Shake occasionally but do not stir to avoid bubbles.
  4. Once gelatin is dissolved mix in your coconut milk and condensed milk along with 1/2 a cup of water and stir gently to combine.
  5. Pour mixture into a bowl or mold.
  6. Leave to set for approx 30min till set but not firm.
  7. Repeat steps 2-4, this time mixing in the mango syrup and water with the gelatin, 
  8. Add in the chopped mango to this mixture
  9. pour over top of your earlier layer and leave to set for 3 hours
If you're going the easy dessert route then pretty bows like these make a great serving and setting vessel, If you want to be fancier however set it in something flatter so you can turn the set jello out and cut into shapes with a cookie cutter for booze free tiki party jello shots or  tea party treat!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Shifting the Goals

Every year I make the new years resolution to improve my shape, and that means that after every year I haven't really succeeded in that resolution. This year like all the years before I intend to make this new start different, and count!

I'm doing a few things different this time around, 1st of all I'm keeping my gym membership but not making that the main focus of my efforts, and second of all I already started on this journey at the end of last year!

For me if losing weight was a good enough motivation, I'd have done it already. Focusing on weight gives me the promise of a thinner me in the future, but apart from that isn't filled with a lot of enticing promises. This year I'm focusing on dance. I want to get myself on the fast track to earning my point shoes and that is my main goal. I hope to reach the end of the new year stronger, fitter, more graceful, with new skills and accomplishments, and oh yeah, in better shape, but really that's a side effect.

Going to the gym for weight loss has always been a bit of a failing proposition for me because it's not something I enjoy, I can not hate being there, but I never love going. The only result I'm looking for is few inches here and there, and the only progress I can expect is being able to lift more or go faster at the same things. With dance (and in the past martial arts) Every effort I put forward helps gain me a new skill and tool to use creatively, and opens the door to more complex skills and wider possibilities. It's also something where I can see results right away, because I'm not looking at the scale/measuring tape which has a mind all of its own, I can leave each effort, and each week of training with new accomplishments that I can enjoy instantly. And while nothing can take away the joy of completing my first pirouette, in the past my yoyoing weight has always managed to derail my weight loss motivations and made the journey an emotionally fraught one.
I want do be able to do this!

I love my ballet classes, they are a highlight of my week not a chore I have to drag myself to. I want badly to keep up and be a valuable member of the school and can't wait to see what comes next as I move along. Finding a physical activity you love is the very best way to get fit. It makes you want to sneak in practice whenever you can. I practice while I wait for the kettle to boil, stand in a stretch poses while doing certain work tasks or brushing my teeth.

Since shifting my focus this way I've been infinitely more motivated to do even the classic workouts too. I want to go to the gym to get stronger so my body can keep up with my head in ballet class, and I've been able to target specific physical weaknesses and find ways to improve on them to get the the next level. I also have an at home workout plan I've started following for this end....

Start Instantly!
Through the ballet tumblrs etc I follow I ran into Back on Pointe. She's a girl trying to get back into dancing fit form, and has neat monthly calenders you can follow at home, and right this second! I've started  following along with January, and so far its been easy to make time for and feeling the effects each day. She doesn't tell you how to do each exercise, but I've been googling the ones I don't know. There are different options for each daily focus so you can find one that best fits your needs.

Having a defined plan laid out is a help in getting done a useful amount each day, and for the most part all any of it needs is a bit of space to work on. I've been doing a little on a morning as part of my shower, teeth, face routine, and again at night. It's been easy to slip into my routine, and hopefully something I'll be able to see results from since there is nothing to stop me doing it each day (no cost, no commute, and easy to find time for)

So if your previous gym relationship has been as tumultuous as mine perhaps you just need a more creative outlet to get in shape. I swear you'll be amazed at the activities you can find close to your house! Google things you think you might be interested in to find local classes. Look into classes held by local parks an recreation services, adult education programs and rec centers. Even here in the burbs there are a billion Tae Kwon Do schools, my dance school, even a gymnastics school no more than 5 mins from my house!

Most importantly of all don't let fear or embarrassment getting the way of being an adult beginner! Find a way to get active that fits your life, fits your interests and that can become the thing you look most forward to every week. You'll get fit that way without the gloom!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Start Today!

Tip of the mountain
Looking back at my new years resolution list from last year, I was a little sad to see I didn't really hit any of them. Some I came close on, and certainly improved in most areas I wanted to, but nothing to a point I felt I could say "yeah! Tick that off!"

The trouble I always face with new years resoloutions is usually two fold. One is that the 'heck yeah new year!' feeling fades before I can really capitalize on it, and the second is that it's usually a lifestyle/situation issue causing the problems I want to resolve in the first place. That's why I decided before making a long term resolutions this year, I chose a big new years action! I still have long term personal goals, but seeing they are the same this year as the last few, just gonna file them under "life" and channel my beginning of 2013 of January motivation into something I can have finished in the 3 weeks it takes most of us to quit the gym. That action? Reclaiming my basement!

With this new space will come the ability to be more organized (every new years resolution box one), give me the space to work on bigger projects (box 2) and through improved organization give me extra time to exercise more (box3). In short when the clock struck midnight and 2013 rolled in, I was still the same person, in the same place as last year. I'm doing something big to make this year start off in a truly different, and once that domino falls hopefully so will the rest.

I'm also working on the usual "lose weight" "get fitter" resolution  it seems everyone else makes this time of year, and been focusing on weeding out the problems that stumped me last year. But that deserves a post all of its own.

How about you guys? Is there something you can dive right into short term as part of the new year to help set you in stead for the next 11 months?


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