He that won’t be counsell’d, can’t be help’d.
A Blog About My Own Arts and Crafts and Photography
He that won’t be counsell’d, can’t be help’d.
Previous in This Series
A few days ago I mentioned that I was working on a new series of DIY tutorials on how one can customize a Barbie doll (especially the Made to Move Barbies) into the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Marvel Comics’ off-beat superhero who has gained a sizable following. I’ve just uploaded the second video in this series, which focuses on the hair. First here are a few words about the making of this video.
While most modern caucasian Barbies tend to have long blonde hair, the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl tends to wear a short boyish haircut that’s light red or strawberry blonde, as shown on one of her comic book covers below.
I’ll admit that it was a challenge but I took it on anyway. I managed to come up with two methods of altering Barbie’s hairstyle—the wig method and the DIY method. I initially tried the DIY method, which involves cutting Barbie’s hair then dyeing it red using a combination of acrylic paint and water. It’s based on an old tutorial that I found online years ago. (I wrote a post about that tutorial back in 2011 and it still remains among my most frequently read posts to this very day.) When I learned that the website which housed that tutorial went off-line, I found an archived version on the Internet Archive and provided a link to that tutorial. Recently another doll customizer known as Oak23 has taken it upon himself to repost the original tutorial on his Doll Junk Tumblr blog so those who don’t like dealing with the Internet Archive can go there instead.
I was hoping to save a few bucks by cutting Barbie’s hair by doing the DIY method. I initially had to wash Barbie’s hair before I could do anything because it felt stiff to the touch, like someone had put hair gel or some other stiffening substance in her hair back at the Chinese factory where this doll was made before she was packaged and shipped to the U.S. I had to wash her hair using liquid dishwashing detergent then let it dry before I could even begin to cut it. At least her washed hair felt softer but her hair was relatively thin compared to other Barbies I’ve worked with in the past. I began to cut her hair very short.
I tried dyeing her hair using the aforementioned process I found in an online tutorial. I have to admit that the results looked good on her. If I was just doing a generic redhead doll with a short haircut, she would’ve been very passable.
Unfortunately I was trying to get her to resemble the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and that person is frequently depicted with bangs, such as this comic book cover below.
I tried creating bangs in this doll but, no matter how hard I tried, I literally couldn’t make the short front ends of her hair hang in the front like bangs. I think it’s due to how the doll’s hair was initially rooted in the factory. I could’ve looked into trying to force the hair to go into bangs but I would’ve had to purchase something like hair gel, which would have her hair go back to having this icky feeling to the touch that her hair was initially when I first opened her package.
I decided to just scrap my DIY attempt and cut all of her hair off.
Then I ordered this wig from The Doll Peddlar, which not only fitted her perfectly but she looks incredibly cute as well.
Here is my video below where I not only demonstrate the hair dyeing method but I also mention how to find out what wig size your doll wears as well as the various online places where you can shop around for the best prices on doll wigs.
That’s it for now. Next time I’ll go into making the clothes for this doll so watch this blog.
I went to the fourth annual Silver Spring Maker Faire. I’ve gone to the three previous Maker Faires but all those other years I had to cut my visit short due to a meeting or something similar. This year was the first year where I didn’t have anything else scheduled or other things that I needed to do that day so I could just leisurely tour the Maker Faire at my own pace.
Across the street from Veterans Plaza, where the Maker Faire was held, a group of Hare Krishnas were doing their chanting and proselytizing outside of a Chick-fil-A of all places. (It’s convenient for the Hare Krishnas that Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays because, otherwise, the fast food chain’s Fundamentalist Christian owners would literally have a cow over this. LOL!)
I eventually dodged the Hare Krishnas and made my way to the Maker Faire, where I took these pictures.
I also shot a short video showing some of the exhibits that were either moving or making sounds.
All in all it was a great event on a very beautiful day in weather that was warm but not too hot and the humidity was low. I enjoyed myself.
Years ago, when I worked as a data entry clerk for a now-defunct computer reseller, my company used to have a Happy Hour event on late Friday afternoons where we employees would hang around the cafeteria, socialize, and drink some beer from a keg that the company rented. Sometimes there would be a theme like Elvis Presley’s birthday where one of the co-workers did a pretty credible imitation of The King. One Friday there was a Halloween theme because it was the Friday before Halloween and I think there was a drawing of some kind where employees won some freebies. My name was drawn and I was awarded this rubber bat that dangled from a stretchy string.
I started hanging the rubber bat outside on Halloween and I continued that tradition for many years after I got laid off from that company soon after it was taken over by another computer reseller (which ultimately closed down my old company after the merger was complete and I was among the first of many post-merger layoffs). I kept it up after my husband divorced me until 2014, when I found that someone had swiped that bat just a couple of weeks before Halloween.
So I went without a bat for the next couple of years until a few weeks ago when I happened to be shopping at JoAnn’s Fabrics & Crafts and I saw the the store not only got a shipment of Halloween crafts, fabrics, and decorations but it was also running a 40% off sale. I found a bat that was nearly identical to the stolen bat so I bought it for the sale price of $6.
Unlike my previous bat, this new bat feels like it’s made from a stiffer material than rubber. (It’s probably either vinyl or plastic.) And the string is a bit shorter than the string on my old bat. But it’s a pretty adequate substitute for my stolen bat.
Here is the bat after I freed it from the package.
Here is the underside of the bat.
One thing about the underside is that the bat’s serial number is printed in such a bright white color that one can easily see it from a distance.
Here’s the front of the bat, featuring the red eyes and opened mouth, which reveals white fangs.
I have the new bat currently hanging outside on the porch light.
When the porch light is lit at night, the bat and light together really creates a spooky effect.
Over the past several weeks I’ve been working on a series of DIY tutorials on how one can take a Made to Move Barbie doll (which has more articulated joints than the usual Barbie doll) and customize her into a Marvel Comics superhero known as the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.
Here’s some background. Last year I had gone to Third Eye Comics in Annapolis when I saw that Howard the Duck had undergone a revival. At that time I saw the premier first issue another comic book titled The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl that sounded pretty funny. I briefly thumbed through it and thought that it looked promising but I ended up not buying it because, with comic books being priced at $3.99 per issue, I really couldn’t afford to get hooked on another comic book series that would induce me to spend even more money.
A few months later I found that the first few issues of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl had been reprinted as a graphic novel so I bought it and enjoyed it very much. I can’t always get to a comic book store every month so I basically only get The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl when the last few issues are reprinted in graphic novel form. So far I’ve read the three graphic novels that reprinted the comic book issues—Squirrel Power; Squirrel You Know It’s True; and Squirrel, You Really Got Me Now. (A couple of new Squirrel Girl graphic novels have come out in the last few months—The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl & The Great Lakes Avengers and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up The Marvel Universe—but I haven’t read either of those yet.) I found them pretty hilarious and campy and the stories are such a contrast with most other Marvel Comic superheroes (such as The X-Men), who tend to suffer from all kinds of angst and they frequently delve into seriously depressing subject matter such as drug abuse and racism.
What I like about the reprinted graphic novels is that I can buy and read several issues at once. What’s cool about the reprint books is that they even repent the letters from fans that were originally printed in the separate comic book issues. I saw pictures of the various cosplay Squirrel Girl costumes that people have made. But I got an idea when I saw letters from fans clamoring for Squirrel Girl t-shirts, posters, and toys only to be told that the higher-ups at Marvel Comics have to decide on what spin-off products they want to license and release and they haven’t come to a decision on Squirrel Girl yet. (Right now they are focused on characters based on the movies such as the Incredible Hulk, Thor, and Iron Man.)
One guy went so far as to take a female action figure and modify it so she’ll resemble Squirrel Girl and he sent the picture to the comic book and it printed that photograph. I thought it was really cool. I decided to take that concept of modifying a doll and go a bit further by actually making a series of video tutorials on how it can be done. My decision was cemented when I visited Target and I saw the Made to Move Barbie doll that was on sale. This Made to Move doll has more articulated joints than the usual Barbie doll so she can achieve more lifelike poses. Here is what my doll looked like soon after I removed her from the package but before I began to modify her.
Drawing on my previous experience with refurbishing old thrift shop Barbie dolls into fairy dolls (such as the Leopard Fairy, Zebra Fairy, and the Red and White Flower Fairy), I decided to buy a Made to Move Barbie and convert her into the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl action figure while documenting the entire process with my smartphone. I ended up making it into a multi-part series of shorter videos (with the longest being just 10 minutes) just so people would have an easier time keeping up with the tutorial instead of having to watch a longer 20-30 minute video. I’m going to gradually release them online over the next few weeks.
So far I have completed the first three videos and I’m currently working on the fourth. I decided to wait until after I was around 80% complete with this video tutorial series before I even uploaded the first video because of my previous experience with taking an online video course. Last summer I took a series of free tutorials on how to do a mixed media book using a baby board book. The series was supposed to last 10 sessions and they were supposed to be uploaded over the summer months. The first three tutorials were uploaded over a three-week period but then she stopped uploading new ones. I patiently waited for new lessons that never materialized. At one point, after going for three weeks waiting for a fourth lesson, I posted something on the artist’s Facebook page asking when there would be more lessons in that lesson series. She responded the next day saying that she would upload new lessons soon. Except she never uploaded any new lessons, which was frustrating because I had a half-completed book. (Every now and then I add new art in it simply by winging it but I’ve currently misplaced it so I haven’t worked on it in a while.) I still see new art from her on her Facebook page so I know she’s still creating. It’s just that I wished she would have spent some of that time finishing that 10-part mixed media book video course because I had got a lot out of her first three lessons.
My frustration with that other artist’s free tutorial had made me resolve that I wouldn’t upload this multi-part video tutorial until I was nearly done with that course because I know what it’s like to have video lessons suddenly end before the course is finished and having an unfinished project because of it.
Here is part one of this new video series that I uploaded this past weekend. It’s basically an introduction where I briefly mention a few things about the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl then going into how to select a doll to use as a base for changing into the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. While I recommended getting the Made to Move Barbie, I also mentioned a cheaper alternative where people can buy a used Barbie at a local thrift shop. (I’ve purchased some used Barbies in the past that had more articulated joints than other Barbies, although these Barbies didn’t have as many articulated joints as the Made to Move Barbies.)
Future videos in this series will go into things like hair and clothes so watch this blog.
For the past few days I’ve been trying to get my life in gear. I’m working on a new series of DIY videos on how to customize one of those new Made to Move Barbie dolls, the first of which I’ll write about tomorrow. I’m also currently looking for a new day job to pay the bills since my last one ended so badly that I had to write a retraction post about that startup because the startup’s founder had previously talked me into writing a glowing post about the startup in this very blog instead of getting a separate blog account that would be devoted to promoting that startup. (As a result, I had to institute a new policy that I would no longer use this blog to write about work that I’m doing for other people until after there was some kind of closure to that work.)
But then I read something about one of the candidates in this year’s election that literally triggered me into remembering my divorce. Here’s some background information: Lindsay Lohan was a child star who appeared in many Disney movies while she was growing up. She was one of those child stars whose appearances as a teenager in the films Freaky Friday and Mean Girls showed that she had the potential to be one of those rare type of child stars—someone who could successfully make the transition as an adult actress taking on mature roles that could potentially gain her an Academy Award nomination (and maybe even an Oscar) a la Jodie Foster or Judy Garland. That promising potential was sadly squandered when she got into drugs and alcohol and one could easily spend an entire afternoon perusing the gossip sites for a litany of the troubles she has gotten herself into since she turned 18.
A new recorded audio from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s past has recently surfaced where Trump was engaged in a conversation with radio shock jock Howard Stern over how hot the then-18-year-old Lindsay Lohan was while mentioning that her father, Michael, was a train wreck that would affect Lindsay needing a father figure in her life. Stern asked Trump “Can you imagine the sex with this troubled teen?” Here is Trump’s answer:
“She’s probably deeply troubled and therefore great in bed. How come the deeply troubled women, you know, deeply, deeply troubled, they’re always the best in bed?”
Of course that audio provoked all kinds of protests ranging from Lohan’s Freaky Friday costar, Jamie Lee Curtis, to Lohan herself. But this story has triggered me on a personal level for this reason: For many years I was in a stable marriage to a man whom I thought was very loving and devoted and who was also full of integrity. In September, 2011 I underwent hip surgery. During the next three months I received very loving care from my husband while he kept on telling me that he loved me. We celebrated a lovely Christmas holiday together. Just three days after Christmas he came home, told me that he was moving out, left me with two notes (one was a schedule that he wanted me to follow even though it would ultimately lead to our divorce while the other was a “reason” letter where he essentially blamed my purchase of the 1970’s historical American Girl doll on the day before my hip surgery because that doll “added to the clutter” of our home), then ran out the door.
For the next few weeks I reached out to him numerous time by phone, email, and texts but he refused to answer them and he refused to speak with me. I wondered if he had found someone else and I suspected that if he did she would’ve been someone whom he met through his NASA job. It wasn’t until a month later when a few of my friends let me know that, yes, they had seen him with another woman but she wasn’t a NASA co-worker.
That woman was someone whom I knew and I thought was a friend. She has also been open about how she had spent much of her adult life battling severe depression. In fact she said that her depression is so severe that she has an experimental pacemaker in her brain. Despite that she was only able to work only a couple of days a week and she ended up getting SSI disability. About 11 months before my husband left me in 2011 she ended up spending a few days at Sheppard Pratt Hospital in Baltimore because her body had grown accustomed to the current course of treatment and she became really depressed. My husband and I had planned to visit her in the hospital one night when it turned out that she was released the afternoon before our planned trip to Baltimore. I was completely dumbfounded to learn that my husband had chosen this person—with all of her personal baggage—to be his mistress instead of one of his female NASA co-workers. My husband married this woman two months after our divorce became final.
When I read Donald Trump’s words on how deeply troubled women are the best in bed, I started to imagine my ex-husband having that same attitude. For the last few years I kept on thinking that my husband would have stayed with me if only I had developed a severe mental illness, which is totally fucked up thinking. My husband could have left me for any one of his female NASA co-workers who are all very intelligent, very independent, and share his fascination with air and space travel but, instead, he picked the one person whose life and career have been adversely affected by mental illness. I feel horrified that there are men out there like Donald Trump and my ex-husband who are getting attracted to deeply troubled women when these unfortunate women should really be left alone to quietly deal with their own issues in their own way without interference from anyone else (unless the women themselves ask for help).
My ex-husband has actually acted on his impulses and I have totally lost all the respect I ever had for him. (There are other longtime friends who had confided in me that they now avoid him as well because they have become so alienated by his behavior in recent years.) I don’t know whether Donald Trump has ever knowingly had sex with someone with mental illness or who’s deeply troubled in other ways but he has been accused of rape and sexual molestation of women and girls as young as 13.
I wish I could say that I’m shocked but this is the man whose inappropriate remarks about his daughter Ivanka have served as the basis for The Daily Show‘s two-part series Don’t Forget: Donald Trump Wants to Bang His Daughter and Again, Don’t Forget: Donald Trump Wants to Bang His Daughter and he has bragged about how you have to grab women by the pussy.
Those latest Donald Trump/Howard Stern remarks reopening old mental wounds about how my marriage fell apart is bad enough but a couple of days ago I got word that my mother is once again back in the hospital in Glen Burnie for sepsis. Friday I had to cut short my job hunting attempts so I could travel from the DC area to Glen Burnie to visit her. Yesterday I went to the hospital for the second day in a row.
I had planned on going today but there is this strange smell emanating from the kitchen that has been going on for the past couple of days and I really need to do a thorough cleaning to get to the source of that. (I suspect that there’s a dead mouse trapped somewhere in some crack or crevice.) I’m going to have other family members fill in for me today then tomorrow do this schedule where I stop by the Maryland Workforce Exchange for professional help on how to improve my job hunting efforts in the morning then drive on to Glen Burnie to visit my mom in the hospital in the afternoon.
But right now I’m going to have to get in a position where I force myself to work on the kitchen because I’m feeling kind of sad and depressed over everything.😦
Deaf, giddy, helpless, left alone,
To all my friends a burthen grown,
No more I hear a great church bell,
Than if it rung out for my knell:
At thunder now no more I start,
Than at the whispering of a fart:
Nay what’s incredible, alack!
I hardly hear my Bridget’s clack.
Once again I took part in the yard sale to benefit my support group for people who are separated or divorced. It drew a lot of people and it raised around $1,500.
The group has tried to crack down on things like furniture and other useless items that just don’t sell so I don’t have as many photos this time around of various oddities as I had in the past (which you can view here, here, here, and here). I still managed to find a few that were either wacky, kitschy, or were so old that they should be in a museum.
I basically collected the money from sales. I did take a couple of breaks where I walked over to the Festival on the Green, which was held on the grounds of the Crofton Country Club right next to the yard sale. Here are a few pictures from that event as well.
I saw this art car parked in Greenbelt, Maryland. This car is the work of A. Clarke Bedford, a Hyattsville-based artist whom I wrote about in greater length just a few months ago. I wrote about this very same car that’s in the photos below back in 2013. Since that previous post, these newer photos show that this car has received more artistic touches and embellishments than before.
I took these photos not too long ago. I took this photo at a railroad crossing in Riverdale Park, Maryland.
I shot this photo of a vintage toy train sharing shelf space with old books in a local bookstore.
I found a special NFL Baltimore Ravens Beanie Baby at a local Safeway.
I saw these Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump bobblehead dolls on sale at a local Safeway.
I saw this lovely sunset over Route 50 on the way back from a job interview.
I saw this on the floor at a local record store. It’s a unique way to recycle old vinyl records.
A local pizza parlor in my area has recently gotten a couple of vintage arcade machines.
Here are some painted Halloween pumpkins and other gourds that I saw on sale at a local farmers market.
I saw this blooming fall flower during one of my walks around the neighborhood.
I saw a pair of turkeys of display at the Greenbelt Farmer’s Market this past Sunday.