Tuesday, July 29, 2008

We're Walking Fools

Today is incredibly hot. We decided to burn some calories and walk from our hotel (Bally's) to Downtown Vegas - Freemont street. It took several hours. We decided to ride the Deuce (double decker bus) for the return trip. I entered the addresses into mapquest to get an idea of the distance. It was 5+ miles. Thank goodness I had sunscreen. I'd hate to go home with lung AND skin cancer.

I got a real kick out of the little wedding chapels, especially the one in the photo above.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I'm a Grandma

I'm now a grandma. Don't feel like I should be one yet, but I am. Since I'm stuck here in Vegas, I haven't been able to see my new grandson, Ivan Matthew. But I should be receiving photos soon, which you can be assured I will be posting.

ODACA Luncheon

One of the centerpiece dolls, revealed (finally!) Each doll wore a different colored smock and coordinating dupioni silk knickers. Their lower legs also differed in color & print. Their boots or shoes were painted, with perle cotton or embroidery floss ties. Each wore a black beret, and held an artist's palette. I took progress photos while making the dolls, and posted them to my picturetrail site. The centerpiece album is no longer password protected, so check it out: www.picturetrail.com/blueherondolls
What a busy day! The morning was spent setting up for the ODACA Sales Room and placing the centerpiece dolls in the Luncheon room. The morning sales hours were from 9 to 11, then we attended the luncheon until 2, then back to the sales room from 2 to 5. The photo above is at the luncheon, during the helper doll raffle. Susan Sirkis was the guest speaker, and she gave a wonderful powerpoint presentation on the dolls of Dorothy Heizer.

I'd been told there were 10 tables with 8 at each table for the luncheon. So that's what I was prepared for. When I got there, there were 8 tables with 10 at each table. Now that doesn't sound like a big deal, but it certainly made an impact on my brilliant idea of how to give the centerpiece dolls away.

I made placards for each place setting, each one with the name of a different artist (van Gogh, Picasso, etc). So each table had the same set of 8 different names (I had to improvise and add 2 names per table so each of the 10 place settings would have a placard). Then I pulled the name of an artist out of a hat, and the person who had that name at each table won the doll. I think everyone was happy with the doll.

Sales went very well, and I'll have a much lighter suitcase to take home.

Friday, July 25, 2008

I'm Here...

It's about 8 p.m., and we're finally here in Las Vegas. This is my first trip to Vegas, and my first time in a casino. It's loud and smoky. Good thing I brought my inhaler. I may go home with lung cancer.

It's hot here, and living on the North Oregon Coast has done nothing to acclimate us... The lights of the city are so pretty, but overwhelming. It makes me cringe to walk past the open doors of casinos and feel the cool air conditioned air pouring out. Not very GREEN.

I'm just finishing my supper - a $6+ mocha! Now we'll go wander and find out where the convention stuff is. And maybe try the slot machines.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hoffman Challenge

Well it took long enough, but I finally finished my Hoffman Challenge doll. Of course, I'll need to send her Express Mail so she gets there on time. I used my Verity design, but reduced the pattern to 85%. She stands about 19 inches tall including her wooden base.

Today I have about a million things to do. I'm leaving in the morning for Las Vegas, for the UFDC/ODACA/NIADA Convention. I may or may not have an internet connection, but will take my laptop just in case.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Verity Number Two

Yesterday I finished a second Verity doll. She'll be going to UFDC with me, for the Expressions Exhibit at Bally's Las Vegas. She stands about 22 inches tall.

I also (finally!) started my Hoffman Challenge doll. I'm using the Verity design at 85%. I've got all weekend to finish her. Ideally, she'll go in Monday's mail. I'd love to NOT pay for express shipping as I've had to do the last several years.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Crunch Time

It's crunch time, with the UFDC Convention and ODACA Day right around the corner. Unfortunately, I'll be working most days between now and the day we leave. Still lots to do.

As I've paid for a sales table, I need to bring dolls to sell - as many as I can squeeze into my suitcase. Over the past couple days, I was able to finish a doll that's been half-done for a few months. This is another "Viola Ruth" doll - one of my Alabama Baby inspired dolls. I've got another half-done VR doll (they are from my classes, from demonstrating the cloth-over technique) but I won't get to that one.

I've been "triaging" the remaining tasks at hand. I still have my Hoffman doll to do, but it's really an optional project. More important is the doll for the special UFDC Exhibit. This will be a "Verity" doll, and she needs her boots painted, her wig made and attached, and her clothing. Maybe I can get that done today.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


I finished my centerpiece dolls yesterday! I'm so glad to have that done, although I still need to make hangtags and placards for the table drawing - that probably represents a good half day of work yet.

The night before last as I was drifting off to sleep, I ruminated about the centerpiece chair issue. I came up with a solution (pretty ingenious, I think). You know how some dolls tend to tip backward when seated? Well these dolls do that. So this is what I made - a folding seat. They were fast and easy to make and will require very little space in my suitcase. If the dolls are seated on a flat surface, their legs will extend out in front of them. If the seat is placed on a shelf (or column, small box, etc.) the legs will dangle. I plan to make several sizes for my seated dolls. Viola Ruth (Alabama Baby inspired doll) is a great example of a doll that could use one of these.

Today I need to get started on my Hoffman Challenge doll. I've been receiving photos of doll entries from a few people (thanks!) but I could sure use more! These dolls are featured on my website. http://blueherondolls.com/Hoffman%20Challenge.htm The Hoffman site only pictures the winners, but I like to see as many dolls as I can - so send photos to me! (refer to the link above to learn where to send them).

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The End is Near

The UFDC/ODACA Convention is just around the corner, and it feels like I've been working on the ODACA Day Luncheon centerpiece dolls forever. But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Last night I got the last of the wigs sewn, and all are glued to the heads.

I ended up with four shades of Tibetan lamb. The hides are just a little stiff, so in the future I may try an acid dye. I'm not sure if that will make a difference. Still, they're easy enough to work with.
We'd planned to spend July 4th on the sailboat, anchored out on the river, ready to christen the new barbeque and watch the fireworks. In Astoria, they're set off at the river's edge. But when it came time to go down to the boat, it was damp, windy, and overcast. Not comfortable conditions for sitting out on the boat. We opted to stay in, and ultimately went to bed early. It's been a tradition that neighbor Kevin plays the anthem Jimi Hendrix style - outside - on his electric guitar for the neighborhood to enjoy. Either he missed this year or I was dead to the world.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Benefits of Walking

I set a goal for myself to walk to and from work at least through the summer. I made this pledge in early May, and so far have stuck with it (with the exception of a couple extra early shifts or exceptionally rainy days). It's about 4 1/2 miles round trip, up and over the hills of Astoria. I feel better, my blood pressure is great, and the walk home allows some time to unwind after each potentially stressful shift.

Of course my recent ankle injury has slowed me down a little. I'm still walking, but allow about 5 more minutes in the morning. Running a portion of the way of Friday worsened things a bit, however. Back to walking, at least for awhile.

My husband and I were delighted to see deer on the way home the other day. These must be the neighborhood mascots, because they didn't seem that wary of our presence. Such lean and graceful creatures.