I had some minor computer troubles lately that made using Blogger a pain, but here's some fun stuff I would have otherwise posted this past week.
I've seen altered dolls before, but I didn't realize the extent of this little subculture/hobby/craft. I was browsing the pattern catalogues in Wal-Mart last week, looking for a particular style of dress, and came across Simplicity number 4696, a Barbie--sorry, 11 1/2 inch fashion doll--"Extreme Doll Makeover". Actually it's patterns for a couple of outfits with instructions for modifications that may or may not be extreme. That very night, while looking for something else, I happened to come across the delightfully-named website of the woman who made the two dolls pictured on Simplicity #4696. Her Doll Gallery is fantastic; the Valkyrie section is my favorite, although there are great-looking dolls in every section and I particularly like the Chicks in Chain Mail doll. (Chicks in Chain Mail is a series of light-hearted fantasy stories, edited by Esther Freisner and featuring, as you might guess, chicks in chain mail. I've not read all the books, but I enjoyed what I read.) The dolls' weapons are made by the dollmaker's husband, a knifemaker; I like all the weapons, but the Barbie-sized battle ax made me ooh and aww more than anything. For people who want to alter their own dolls, Valkyrie has a lot of tips.
To see more people's altered dolls, search Dogpile or EBay for the terms FDMAA or OOAK. In addition to altered 11 1/2 inch fashion dolls, you'll also find "reborn" baby dolls and others.
I enjoy Maclin Horton's posts on the Caelum et Terra blog, but the most interesting post of his this past week was his link to what he calls "the definitive judgement on Harry Potter." I could find some things to quibble with in the post he links to, but it is pretty close to what he says it is.
I believe the Regina Doman who wrote that judgement on HP is the same Regina Doman or Schmiedicke who wrote an article on liturgical dressing in Domestic-Church. I'm not interested in dressing according to the liturgical colors for the simple reason that I don't look good in any of those colors except green (and not the shade of green usually seen in priest's vestments either), but I'm fascinated by her account of the Mary Dress and the Mary Jumper because I prefer simplicity of dress and am interested in pattern-free clothes. I just wish she'd posted photos of her wearing samples of each.
The current Foamy has Germaine making her own clothes because all the clothing in the local stores is "slutwear for teens". A recent episode had her complaining that she couldn't find a pair of pants without something written across the butt. Now if it were Jerry Falwell complaining that would be one thing. And if it were a non-prudish but decidedly grumpy person such as myself complaining--and I assure you I have been doing so the past couple of years--that would be another thing. But when a Gothy, bitch-hermit wannabe, tank-top-wearer like Germaine is fed up with how revealing fashions are, things have officially gone too far.
I think the tide is turning, albeit slowly. I'm seeing more knee-length skirts, and hear talk of the "sexy librarian" look (a big step up from the cheap whore look), gypsy skirts, and prairie dresses. Also I think the minor fad-let of girls wearing revealing slip-dresses over jeans comes from a (possibly unconscious) desire for more modesty; it reminds me of Wendy Shalit talking about women wearing split skirts who, when a breeze comes by, instinctively try to close the slit.
(I don't remember where I read that bit from Shalit, but she has several things available online. Click here for the first chapter of her book and here for a speech she gave.)
I've seen many hummingbirds, but I have never seen a hummingbird nest. Here's a story-in-photos of a hummingbird nest and its occupants. Even if you're grossed out by baby birds and glossy, full-color, photographic depictions of bird shit, keep going till the end--the size comparison is amazing. (Link via The Anchoress.)
Here's a pattern I want to try: Dolly Hugs. It's a small cloth doll that is made so that its arms will drape around a child's neck as if it were hugging the child. Yeah, yeah, it sounds nauseating, but the doll looks cute and the pattern is incredibly simple. The pattern is free, provided it's used for non-commercial, preferably charitable purposes. That's the other part I like--the pattern was created with troubled children in mind.