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February 2008

February 23, 2008

Ahoy! Spookbot's Spooky Little Delights


Several of my favorite dolls have their own favorite dolls - fearless little female pirates with striped stockings and boudoir-doll faces - with which they enjoy posing endlessly.

These hand-made little wonders are the product of proprietress Lori Fury's creative and exquisite talent; she is a sculptor, seamstress, painter and doll-maker extraordinaire who makes charming embodiments of the seductive and dangerous female types that we all wish we could be, if only for a day.

(Left: Sophronia with Veronique.)


Hand-made from polymer clay, hand-painted, and clad in bits of vintage ribbon and fabric, spookbot's dolls have an air of old-fashioned elegance and adventure with a generous helping of vampish beauty. The perfect combination, to my mind.

Pictured to the right is Victorine clutching her favorite, Fifine. A similar photo of Victorine and Fifine appeared in the BtSSB article in the recent Haute Doll, but Fifine's creator was left uncredited - shamefully my fault - so I definitely want to rectify that here and now.  Lori not only makes swashbuckling femme fatales, but also mischievous goblins, angelic haloed beauties, whimsical paintings featuring birds and jellyfish, and some incredibly delicious-looking jewelry.

Lori's spookbot dollies can be found here, while her other marvelous creations can be found here.  I for one am always looking forward to discovering what gorgeous things Lori comes up with next. 

February 09, 2008

Topsy Turvy's World of Sublimity


I first met Kim of Topsy Turvy Design last year when I ordered several exquisite human-sized hats from her Etsy shop. I was so impressed by the gorgeousness and craftsmanship of the pieces that I was thrilled beyond words when I learned through our mutual friend Neale that she was planning on venturing into ABJD millinery. Visions of dolly hats in fantastical shapes and forms waltzed in my skull: tricornes, bicornes, stovepipes, porkpies, bonnets, cloches, and Gainsboroughs. Ah, the incredible possibilites when molded in Kim's skilled hands!

I immediately contacted her and we discussed a commission for a dolly top hat, something I had attempted in the past and at which I failed miserably. I trust Kim's taste utterly and completely, and within a short time I was holding in my hands the most wonderful little top hat I could ever have hoped to receive - black velvet and satin-lined, complimented by an exquisite bouqet of feathers and a vintage buckle. Perfection.


Kim's vision, imagined beautifully through 666 Photography's jaw-dropping photos, never ceases to amaze and impress.  Kim sells her dolly hats on her doll Etsy page so be sure to keep an eye open for her latest offerings. I can also vouch for her delectable human-sized hats and hair clips, all extremely well made and sure to make one feel like the belle of the ball when sitting atop one's head.

In an age when the typical hat is the baseball cap, when ladies no longer keep rows of hatboxes in their wardrobe and gentlemen no longer tip their brims as a passing greeting, I find it incredibly refreshing that millinery of Topsy Turvy's calibre is still to be found. Perhaps between us all (and our bjds) we can herald into the 21st century a new dawn in beautiful head gear. 

So what are you waiting for? Get hatting!


Haute Doll April 2008 Edition on stands soon!

The April edition of Haute Doll has mailed out to subscribers and should be in stores in just a few weeks.


I was beyond honored when Haute Doll contacted me for a feature piece for this issue, and have supplied photos exclusively for the article which cannot be seen elsewhere. Crowns! Ruffs! Steampunk! Victorian gentlemen and more! It's all in there.

Also featured in this issue:

  • An interview with the Baby, the Stars Shine Bright designer and the history of Lolita fashion as covered by Aimee of Den of Angels and Becky of Blastmilk fame.
  • An article all about the latest trend to sweep the ABJD world: adorable animal/anthropomorphic dolls. I'm working on my own resin menagerie.
  • The history and growing trend of the big ABJD boys and girls (60cm+).
  • An interview with the talented Rodrigo sisters of Arcadia Dolls, along with their rococo gown tutorial for MSDs.  If you are looking for a gown for your larger girls, look no further than Atelier Arcadia's Design Your Own Rococo Gown. I was so very pleased with my Atelier Arcadia gown, and goodness knows it's far easier than making one yourself. The sisters do incredible work - you can see photos of the gown I received in Vesper's gallery.

All in all this is going to be one exciting issue!

New Gallery Updates

New photos of Orphelie and Eglantine have been added to their galleries on the Milkeye site.


My Kindle. It gives me goosebumbs.

KindleThe Kindle, which I received as a Christmas gift, is something I was initially unsure about. When it first broke onto the scene, there was much snubbing from the geeky blogs and outright hostility on Kindle's Amazon reviews page. They said it was ugly, that it looked like a toaster from 1986; they said it was expensive; $399 for the thing and I still have to pay for the books? Why, it's an outrage, Sir! An OUTRAGE!

For me it is a blessing. I worked for over a decade in bookstores - I had an employee discount and I wasn't afraid to use it, son. This has resulted in a virtual Everest of books. To give you an idea of the current book state in the house, when looking at prospective houses the first thing we look for is a space big enough to hold the library, which needs its own room. If the ceilings are too low for the book cabinets, that there is a deal-breaker no matter how sweet a deal it is. Frankly, the books rule our lives. And as much as I love them, it has gotten a bit out of hand. I needed an intervention.

I had looked at Sony Readers before and was tempted, but never took the plunge for one reason or another (we have had so many rotten experiences with Sony customer support that we stubbornly swore off all Sony products). Enter the Kindle. We did some research - read the arguments for and against - and when I suggested that it might help to curb the spreading library, I knew I would find it under the tree on the day.  And I did. And it was beautiful. I personally don't find the design ugly; I certainly don't see it as something that would have fit in on, say, the Cosby Show set. I realize now that the dull white color helps the eye to comfortably focus on the screen without distraction or contrast spots. The page buttons are large and unobtrusive. The Kindle is light and comfortable to hold in the hand or lap. The screen is easy to read (font size can be changed to make the words smaller or larger to fit your needs) and is visible in nearly all lighting conditions save complete darkness.

And that price of $399? Worth every penny I say. I can surf the Internet on my Kindle from a pub or store or back seat of a cab. Before I purchased a BB Curve, I used the Kindle to look up directions, make reservations, and gather information on the Web. All inclusive in the retail price - there are no fees for the service. Books are downloaded to the Kindle inside of 30 seconds, from anywhere a signal can be found.  The other night I was thinking to myself, 'I'd quite fancy reading this-or-that sort of book. Guess I'll have to stop in Barnes & Noble sometime tomorrow, ugh,' completely forgetting about my Kindle. A minute later, after slapping myself in the forehead with my palm, I was looking up said type of book and was happily reading it shortly after. And I didn't even have to get up from the sofa.

There are some negatives, mind.

  • You do have to pay for each book you download, although the price is less than retail. For example, a newly released hardcover that retails for $30 can be downloaded for a price between $6 and $10. Paperbacks are the amount of a typical movie rental.
  • The Kindle does not display color. This doesn't annoy me so much as I use it mostly for novels, and do most of my Web adventuring from my PC and not the Kindle.
  • Not all books are available for download. Amazon has thousands and thousands of books available for the Kindle, although it is eventually likely that you will want one that has not yet been 'kindlized'. When this happens, I typically just search for another.

In the end, I find myself clutching my Kindle to my chest and making "Mmmm Mmmm Mmmmm!" happy sounds whenever I pick it up. It's not absolutely perfect, but I love it nonetheless. And my library is breathing a bit easier now as well. It has only seen additions of design, photo, art, and other non-fiction books with gorgeous color photos on their pages. The thick paperbacks are becoming a thing of the past, and I'm not terribly sad about it. Perhaps one day there will be a machine/gadget on which one can store every single book (in color) in one's library and carry it around effortlessly; I would certainly purchase one. But I will always have printed books in my life, always. There is nothing quite like coming home to books.

February 06, 2008

Conjoined Twins Exhibition

Courtesy of the double Boing, I learned that the NLM currently has an on-line exhibit featuring the history of conjoined twins called "From 'Monsters' to Modern Medical Miracles".  The quotes in the title are telling.

If you have read Clark's The Nature of Monsters, you have been exposed to the ridiculous schools of thought that existed hundreds of years ago surrounding persons born outside of normal human development. A common belief was that outside influences - anything from seeing a stray cat to eating a particular food - had direct consequences on the growing fetus, and depending upon the extent of the mother's shenanigans, a good and righteous woman would give birth to a normal baby. And if she didn't, well...she must have done something untoward, somewhere.


"From 'Monsters' to Modern Medical Miracles" touches briefly on this in their history on conjoined twins, along with some interesting images and facts culminating in modern-day ideas on conjoined twins. The picture above shows Millie and Christine McCoy, two sisters who were also known as "The Two-Headed Nightingale".  They wrote an autobiography called "History and Medical Description of the Two-Headed Girl", which I would simply love to have a read through someday, as I find their tale both tragic and beautiful.

The on-line exhibit can be found on the National Library of Medicine's Web site.

February 04, 2008

Worn and Dandy


WORN is an adorable fashion journal that hails from Montreal, and though I can't quite place where I first heard about it, I was thrilled when my package arrived stuffed with back issues.  In their own words,


"Worn plays a unique role by bringing a political, environmental, historical and cultural context to fashion. Pushing boundaries of collaboration and authorship with fashion magazine tropes like the photo story, Worn expands traditional relationships between models, designers, writers, photographers and illustrators. By exploring where art and fashion overlap, connecting with Fashion scholars and artists, and paying attention to how what is worn gets made, interpreted, transformed, disseminated and copied, Worn opens new avenues in art theory. "


With articles and photos featuring modern dandies, Countess de Castiglione, psychobillies, care for vintage items, exhibit reviews, underground artists, and so much more, there is surely something for everyone in this wonderful, crafty journal.

You can order it or view it online at Worn Fashion Journal.