Friday, 29 May 2009

Do Bee Careful...

I was merrily zooming down the hill on my bicycle this morning in the sunshine, when I was suddenly smacked in the face with a bumblebee! I'm sure the bee was more traumatised by the whole experience than I was,, but it did actually hurt. Bumblebees are surprisingly solid little buggers at high velocity.

I hope the bee is okay...

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Work in Progress

Well, I'm kind of getting somewhere with my mannequin head. Turns out that spray painting is a lot more difficult than it looks...

Having finally found a spray paint colour that looked vaguely human, if a weensy bit goth (Montana White/Orange), I plonked the head down outside and proceeded. Pale is good, right? Nicola is my favourite member of Girls Aloud, after all...

Anyway, I either ended up with a weird speckled texture when I sprayed from too far away, or possibly moved the can too fast, or thick runny paint when I held it too close. Or maybe moved it not fast enough. Who knows...? I suspect it may take some practice, but I got it to a vaguely presentable standard eventually, accidentally spraying a chunk of my decking at the same time when the newspaper blew away. Arse! I'll sand that down when the weather's next nice. I will, honest...

Next step, sketching out the features and painting eyes and hair with the acrylic. The paint was somewhat more difficult to blend than I remember from GCSE art, but it's kinda going okay so far. Need to add some shading on the hair and some cheek and lip colour and see how it turns out.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Sunshine, and a good book...

Spent the past week lying in the sunshine in Tenerife, which I thought I'd totally hate, being the offspring of a ginger and Scottish person and therefore not entirely sunshine-friendly. Also, I've never been on a cheap package holiday thingy before and I though it would be a concrete dump full of lardy british blokes sporting Union Jack shorts. Yes, I am a snob :) But, whilst it was definitely not the most interesting place I've ever been, it was very pretty, the sunshine was lovely and I got to swim in a beautiful clear, warm sea, hurrah! Also, I had picked up a book to take with me on the recommendation of a friend (thanks Twisted), The Gone Away World, by Nick Harkaway, which was a beautifully written adventure of post-apocalyptic strangeness and much other stuff.

Absolute best thing I'd read in ages. I mainly ignored the boy for the entire three days it took me to read :) Back to work, real life and the usual hecticness of trying to do a million things at once now. Sigh...

Friday, 8 May 2009

Things I Learned Today

Flesh coloured spray paint is very difficult to come by. Bum.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

How to Get Ahead

Or a head, even...

Yes, I am aware that was totally lame :)

So, I wasn't at all happy with the photography I did of my little hats. I didn't like the background, as it just gets in the way and, whilst I like my little glass hatstand/candlestick, I think the hats really need to be seen in context. Next stop, mannequin purchase...

Turns out it's quite difficult to find a non-hideous mannequin head, especially when one has very little cash. What I really want is somthing like this here picture I found:

But various searches on the interwebs mainly turned up all sorts of gurning polystyrene atrocities. Eventually I turned to Ebay and found this lovely lady for very cheap.

I put in my bid, and won her for the bargain price of £12.07. Woohoo! Now admittedly she's kinda funny looking (but I wouldn't say that to her face, cos she has these mad, scary eyes) but I figured with a bit of resculpting to the headshape and some paint, she might not look too bad.

Did I mention that mannequins really scare me? Well, they do. And waxworks. I did a project at college once that involved me having to shape a metal armpiece over a mannequin arm. I rescued a random disembodied arm from a Chatham department store, but discovered I couldn't sleep until I'd locked it outside of my bedroom. Creepy.

Anyway, so far I've been able to share my house with the head. For some reason it's less creepy than the arm I guess. Or I've just got a bit less mental as I've got older...

So, I've done some sculpting work to the head shape, jawline and hairline using trusty old Milliput:

And than sanded it all back smooth, thus covering my entire living room in a fine layer of white dust (which I have since learned is hideously toxic. Eep!).

Next step will be spraying a coat of primer on it, followed by painting on the hair and make up. Possibly with acrylic. Not sure yet.

It may end up looking totally rubbish, as I've not picked up a paintbrush for a while, but I'll give it a go...

Summer, Almost...

Well, Saturday was rather splendid, weatherwise. So, thinks me, perhaps I should finally sort out my garden. Sadly, I have somewhat ignored it for the past two years, as I was away in sunny Los Angeles last summer, and the summer before that it didn't really need any work.

Anyway, my mother has been mentioning that perhaps I ought to cut back the giant spindly rose bushes for quite some time now and, seeing as the sun was out and all, it appeared that I had run out of my usual "but it's snowing/raining/windy/there are spiders" excuses. Well, not entirely actually. I did find a nest of tiny spiders hovering in a large and many legged ball over an empty plant pot. Hmmm, I thought, that is slightly alarming. I pictured them when they were all grown up and laying siege to my house and decided they had to go. I bravely poked the pot with a very long stick to ascertain the chances of me scooping the whole thing up and relocating it somewhere that wasn't my garden, but as I poked it, a mass of the tiny creatures swarmed up over the side of the pot. Ever seen the movie Arachnophobia? It was just like that, but in minature. Subsequent visions of them swarming over me like the scarab scene in The Mummy put paid to further thoughts of relocation. Which only left the option of death :( Now, I am terrified of spiders, but I am also a nice vegetarian who is kind to animals and the thought of arachnid genocide perpetrated by me was greatly upsetting (although after the boy pointed out the actual meaning of genocide, I did downgrade it to mass murder). The fact that this incident coincided with my monthly PMT induced emotional meltdown only served to upset me further. In the end, after much handwringing and pacing, a happy ending was reached when my flatmate marched into the garden, picked up the whole thing and took it across the road to a nice tree. Yay! That one small action almost totally makes up for 2 years of him failing to do the washing up or clean the bathroom. I said almost...

Anyway, after that large digression from the original point, many large woody things in the garden were cut back, ivy was tamed and things now deceased through 2 years of wilful neglect on my part were dug up. Five large garden waste sacks and a few blisters later, the boy had forked over all the earth now exposed through lack of weeds and I had discovered that we have a total of 4 shovels in our shed. Who needs 4 shovels!? The garden now looks much tidier, if a little bare:

So, off I pottered with the boy to Stoke Newington, where there are several lovely plant shops. I purchased a fuschia, as they remind me of mum, a lavender plant, as the smell reminds of of my nan's garden when I was little, a mint plant, as I can make mojitos with it, and a large pink flowery thing, just because it was pretty.

And here they are:
I planted them in the garden a whole 5 days ago now, and they're all totally still alive! Go me! And, with my newly clean and shiny garden, we had a barbeque on Monday. It rained. But, you know, we're British goddammit, and fired up the coals anyway. And do you know what? It was great :)

Here's looking forward to many more barbeques, hopefully in the sunshine this time, in my new garden.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Sweatshopbytiq/Kawaii Parlor - Scam: Update

You may recall from an earlier entry that I was having problems with this seller, aka Kawaii Parlor and Royalteababy, as I had paid for an item from her Etsy site, she had sent me one 4 sizes too big, told me to return it to her and has never provided a replacement, but did keep my payment.

I reported sweatshopbytiq to Etsy for non-delivery of an item, they investigated, and I am pleased to say they found in my favour, as she provided them with no proof of postage of the replacement item and refused to confirm that she would provide the replacement or a refund. So, ultimately they said they had no choice but to close down her Etsy store. A small victory for moi, as this girl really did take the piss! Here is their email:

> > Date: Thu, 9 Apr 2009 12:38:08 -0400> > From:> > To:> > Subject: Re: Etsy Notification of Non-Delivery> >> >> >
Hi Lauren,We are sorry to report that after many attempts, Etsy has not received an update that indicates the seller has or will settle your transaction. Consequently, we will ban them from using Etsy or operating a shop on the site (this is set to happen this Friday). We hope that you were able obtain a refund. Kind regards, Erin Haldrup Etsy Support>

I also found her previous Ebay ID*com which has a ton of negative feedback from other buyers that she's ripped off. Obvs, she no longer uses this ID and now operates under a different name... Also found further negative feedback here Glad it's not just me...

Anyway, sadly Etsy were unable to persuade her to provide me with the item I paid for, or a refund, and advised me to file a complaint to the Internet Crime Centre, which I have done today. I don't hold out much hope of them being able to do anything, as this girl really is a total nightmare and just responds to emails with irrational gibberish and no actual answers to queries!
But, you know, fingers crossed. At least she can't rip anyone else off via Etsy any more though :)

Watch this space...

Edit: 14/12/09
Oh dear, looks like Tiq has been up to her old tricks again. Check out the Ebay feedback...

royalteababy*corsets ( 563 )

Member since: Nov-18-06 in United States

Corset never sent; received refund from seller after 5 weeks.
bisonicgal ( 1161 )
Aug-01-09 14:09

Goods not recieved, failed to reach the seller. Transaction reported to Paypal
macha140471 ( 100 )
Jul-30-09 01:23

Goods not recieved, failed to reach the seller. Transaction reported to Paypal
macha140471 ( 100 )
Jul-30-09 01:22

measurements totally off; only fits 18 m.o child; seller totally nonresponsive
oxfordbunny ( 88 )
Jul-22-09 17:01

Items still haven't arrived after almost two months - not good enough.
kj-angelcakes ( 61 )
Jul-01-09 22:23

Still haven't received items after 7 weeks, despite "promises" from the buyer.
kj-angelcakes ( 61 )
Jul-01-09 22:22

Made several documented attempts for contact Seller never shipped item no excuse
12478 ( 889 )
May-25-09 20:23

Over a month waiting. Still no product. Was supposed to be for daughters prom.
steve17 ( 426 )
May-16-09 12:42

Item not shipped. No communication. I appreciate the refund, however. Bleh.
stargazer206 ( 135 )
Apr-20-09 15:57

Oooooops!!! What a way to run a business.

Thanks for the heads-up Ellie-pie :)