Category Archives: Craftiness

The Office. Er, Fort. Fortroffice?

I needed a writing space. Stephen King told me I did, and I do not disobey Mr King without good reason.

The space can be humble (probably should be, as I think I have already suggested), and it really needs only one thing: a door which you are willing to shut. The closed door is your way of telling the world and yourself that you mean business; you have made a serious commitment to write and intend to walk the walk as well as talk the talk.

-Stephen King, On Writing

Until a few days ago, my writing space was in the living room. I didn’t have the whole room to myself, just my desk in the corner. That was fine when AJ was working nights and I was alone in a silent house… except that it wasn’t. There was always a mess on the coffee table to be cleaned, dishes in the sink suddenly screaming to be washed as soon as I sat down to write, unmade beds chanting horrible and ominous things in the bedrooms.

You see, there was no door I could close. I needed my own writing space, I just didn’t know where to find it.

Cassandra Page posted last week about her new writing space– an actual study, if you can believe that. I said there was nowhere for me to have writing space, except for the stinky basement. True, we have a small bedroom that houses the desktop computer and the assorted geekery (read: toys) that AJ and I collect, but it’s not my space, and there’s no room for my desk.

And then I started thinking about that stinky basement…

I couldn’t take the only enclosed room. That’s the playroom, and AJ would go insane if that mess moved out into the open. I couldn’t take the TV area beside the stairs. That’s the “boy cave.” So where to put my girl cave?

Hello, storage area!

Holy carp, it's even worse than I remembered. O.o

Holy carp, it’s even worse than I remembered. O.o

Fine, so it didn’t look like much. Fortunately, I’ve spent a bit of time over the last few years developing my imagination and learning to see possibilities.

I was going to make this WORK.

Now, obviously I couldn’t just move things and stick my desk in the corner; that would leave me no better off than I was in the living room. No, I needed walls, but my traditional construction skills are somewhat lacking.

Good thing I double-majored in box-stacking and blanket fort-building in kindergarten. I knew that would come in handy some day!

So I stacked me some boxes, unpacked and threw out some basement-smelling cardboard boxes, put everything back into the bins, and built a wall. I stacked the Christmas decorations in one easily-accessible corner, and covered the inside of my wall with the prettiest vintage bedsheets I had lying around. I stole an icky rug from the cats’ eating area, vacuumed the hair out of it, and laid it down. I set up the dog’s old kennel in the corner to make a table to spread my papers out on.

Eew. Needs a tablecloth or something.

Eew. Needs a tablecloth or something.

I took a space heater from upstairs, brought down a Scentsy burner, put up a picture, and stole my glider-rocker back from the boy cave, because they don’t appreciate it like I do.

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I stole borrowed a bookshelf AJ wasn’t using for much in his workout area, and brought another down from my space in the living room.

All I needed was… The Desk.

Yeah, I capitalized it. It’s not the biggest desk out there, but it’s 2×4 feet of heavy wood, handmade by AJ’s grandfather, plus a rolltop. Oh, and AJ was away this week, so I had to empty it, flip it, get it down the stairs and into my room all by myself.

Cue ominous music

Cue scary music

Nooooo problem. *flexes pathetic muscles*

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And there we have it. An office built out of storage bins, blankets, and my own stuff from around the house (though I did treat myself to a new lamp, white board, and corkboard, because DAMMIT, I HAVE WALL SPACE!)

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I’m so proud of my blanket/box walls. 🙂

Only one problem remains:

I still have no door.

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Anybody have some extra, pretty sheets lying around? No? Looks like I’m off to the thrift store…


The Nameless Fairy

Remember that doll I gave a new face to when I should have been cleaning the house? Well, her hair came in sooner that I’d expected. She still needs a more fairy-appropriate (and well-made) dress, but I’m happy with how she’s turned out. The wings were a last-minute addition that I think works well on her.

Not too bad for a first attempt at a doll, I think.

Only thing is, she needs a name…

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Before and after:

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(If anyone’s looking for doll hair, give Retro Dolls US a try. Great service, and I love this Saran hair.)


When The Cat’s Away…

…eh, you know the rest.

My husband’s out of town, gone to the big city (comparatively speaking) for the week for work training. This leaves me and the boys, one very sad dog, and three cats who couldn’t care less all at home together.

It’s chaos.

Not because we need The Man to keep us in line, of course. I just don’t care as much as he does if the house is a mess, and the kids being loud is something I’ve learned to tune out. As of supper time tonight, the living room was a wreck, the kitchen was a disaster, and the boys could barely find their beds… but I did find time to take a monster high Draculaura doll:

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… pop her head off, cut her hair, wipe her face off with acetone, and do this:

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…So at least I got something accomplished, right?

Right.

Now I just have to finish that, then wait a month for her hair to come in the mail so I can get her all purpled up. Boo.

Now, lest you all think that I’m a complete pig (which is untrue and unfair- I’m only half-pig, kind of anthropomorphic.  A Miss Piggy, perhaps), I will tell you that the house is now clean, and I even got the kids to help. For some reason, they thought it was a GREAT idea to have a race to see who could clean up a room faster, them or me. I say it was unfair because I had dishes in my room and leftovers to put away, but I don’t say it out loud. They cleaned up… so I win, anyway.

*insert evil laugh here*

So now the house is quiet. What to do? I went to the used book store yesterday and picked up a few things. I’m already 1/3 of the way through Valiant (the sequel to Tithe, which I just read and enjoyed). I’m a little disappointed that it’s not the same characters (I kind of miss Roiben, if not what’s-her-face), but it’s good. I’m impressed that Holly Black can write main characters I don’t like (not a big fan of “angry, angsty girls”) and still make it into a story that I can’t put down.

So I might settle in with that. Or with The Night Circus, which I’m also in the middle of (and loving it, even though it’s third-person present tense, which for some strange reason I have trouble absorbing).

Or I could actually re-write that one scene in my own work that’s just begging for it.

Or I could go to bed, because yes, it is only 9:00, but I woke up at [god only knows, it was long before dawn] this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. I’m doing surprisingly well, considering. Must have been the large Timmie’s latte and the 2 craptastic instant cappuccinos I had today.

If none of this makes any sense, blame the caffeine, ‘k?


Pooka Pie

No time for a big post today (I know, such a shame, right?). There was no post on Tuesday because we were on our way home from St John’s, where my son had a hospital dentist appointment, but I’m still going to try to stick with a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday posting schedule. We’ll see how that goes next month…

But for today, Halloween! Not really, but I found our decorations yesterday, which was pretty exciting. We don’t decorate a lot, but I like what we’ve got- especially my ponies.

I made Pooka Pie and her baby… Last year? I think? So hard to remember. They don’t live on my shelf like my other customs- it feels more special when you only get to see holiday stuff for part of the year.

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I’d show you the rest of the Halloween, but our weather here today is downright spooky, meaning no good light for pictures. This is close enough:

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That was yesterday. There’s not much more… Sad, really. No lights, no gravestones, no spider webs (aside from the ones I should really be cleaning up in the basement). Call it a work in progress.


Me on RDUS’s blog!

Hey, look- it’s me! Thanks, RDUS! (click through to see larger pics- I’m especially proud of Rum Tum Tugger. For more of my ponies, check out my DeviantArt gallery! )

RDUS Customizers Paradise

What is your name (and usernames)?
Kathleen Sparkes
EmberBright (formerly MrsEmbers)

Where are you from?
Originally from Ontario (Canada), now living in Newfoundland

Age- 31

How long have you been customizing?
A little over 2 years

What got you started?
I was getting into collecting ponies (which were my favourite toys when I was a kid), and I saw pictures of customized ponies online when I was looking for information. I fell in love. 🙂

What types of customs do you do?
Mostly paint and rehair; I don’t do much sewing or sculpting.

What sort of mediums do you use?
acrylic paints (craft and artist’s), doll hair, mod podge, swarovski crystals, Apoxie Sculpt… I finally found some Testors Dullcote sealant, and I’m excited to try it.

Are there any products you just can’t live without?
A decent paintbrush!

What is your most favorite custom you have made?
Favourite sculpted: http://mrsembers.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d50bdxo

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