Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Diamond Candles

Hello, everyone! I know it's been awhile since my last post. It has nothing to do with laziness, I assure you. I am thinking about this blog all the time. The truth is, I don't really like "trying to write something" when I, in fact, have nothing to write. Sometimes, I have a lot to say, and sometimes I don't. Today, I have something to say. Well, hey! It's Christmas Day!! Who doesn't have something to say on December 25th?

Today, my husband gave me the most unique present I've ever seen or heard of. Even more unusual is that I've never heard of it. It is something right up my alley, exactly my style, something I wouldn't be able to get enough of: A Diamond Candle.

If you don't know what this is, it's a 21 oz. candle (which comes in many intriguing scents), which comes with a ring inside. The idea is that you have to burn the candle in order to retrieve the ring. What is extra unique (and quite impressive) about this item, is that every candle comes with a ring which is valued at $10, $100, $1000, or $5000. Obviously, in order for the company to survive, both the $1000 and $5000 rings would have to be pretty rare, and therefor, whoever should come upon these, would have to be pretty darn lucky. 

Well, I was given one of these candles. Being one of the biggest lovers of surprises, this gift nearly killed me with excitement, when I found out that I had to burn it to find what was inside. Nevertheless, I was ready and willing to be completely patient. I lit the candle, and it smelled lovely, being scented Lavender Lemon. I waited and waited, trying to occupy myself, and then coming back to smell it, stare at it, and think about digging the ring out. I got lucky! The ring was quite close to the top of the candle. It only had to burn for about an hour before I was able to easily dig it out. I used a toothpick, and transfered it to a piece of paper. I really wasn't sure what to expect. I waited about two minutes and was surprised to find that the wax was quite cool, and even more surprisingly, very oily. I've touched the hot wax on many a burning candle and there was a decided difference between the waxiness of your usual candle, and the oiliness of this Diamond Candle. It was wrapped in foil, so I unwrapped it, feeling the extra "present" inside of the candle present I had. Inside the foil, was a tiny ziplock baggie with the ring inside. The wax being so oily, I felt that it was quite prudent to wash my hands and the baggie with warm water and soap, just in case wax should get in the ring when I opened it. 

So, I'm not a huge fan of pink, but I was very pleasantly surprised with how much I loved this ring. It was obviously a cheap $10 ring, yet I'm not so sure, I've spent a good $20 on many a ring that was not this well made and strong. I don't even care how much it is, it's unique and pretty. And even more surprisingly, it fits the "ring finger" on my right hand, perfectly.

What I came away with after enjoying this lovely gift, is that I can't have enough of them. I want more. It's not even the gamble of "will I get an expensive ring?" especially since I'm not stupid enough to think that it's very likely. It's the excitement of the surprise, the knowing that each ring is quite different and unique, that each time I buy one, I never know what I might get. I have recently discovered that you can even purchase one with paypal. Needless to say, I'll be buying another one for myself soon. It's way too fun of an experience not to. Next I'll be buying the scent of "Fresh Cut Grass."

Merry Christmas, and I sure hope you had a thrilling gift giving and receiving experience as well. I more than welcome you telling me what you got in the comments. Go ahead!!


Lotus Asylum

Monday, October 15, 2012

Clementine, The Lonely Steampunk Doll

Clementine awakes to find herself wallowing far too much in her own self misery. What good can that possibly do? The most likely result is that she would end up spending the rest of her life thinking about the impending monotony of the rest of her life. She can't do anything about these sad thoughts, though. Unfortunately, thinking this way is what she was programmed to do.

I must apologize. I have spent far too long away from my computer and my clay, fabrics and other materials. I have spent far too much of my time doing nothing. I've felt very lazy and unproductive, lately. Not a fun feeling. So! I'm going to try to kick it up a notch and see what I can do. I even have a new doll in progress right now!! I'll show some updates on my Facebook page soon. 

This post here is about clementine. I've wanted to make a steampunk doll for some time. This doll is simply my metaphorical toe, dipping ever so slightly in the waters of the steampunk world. I do intend to slip my entire foot in there in time, and even find myself splashing around, waste deep.  But, enough of the poorly conceived metaphors. 

There is not much to tell about the making of this doll. Her eyes are smokey black obsidian beads. I love these beads so very much, yet only twice have I used them and been completely thrilled at the outcome, Clementine being one of those two times. The other would be my bunny doll, Sunny Foofoo. Clementine's outfit is of very simple construction, I am aware of this. Sometimes I enjoy filling up the clothes with laces, frills, stains, buttons and beads. But sometimes, simplicity satisfies me best. This is just such a case. 

Usually a very exciting part of the creation for me, is picking out the fabrics and deciding on the look for the outfit and picking out the hair. But, I really had all of that in mind from the very beginning of this doll.

The hair color combination is my favorite part of this doll. One of the rarest of moments where my original vision actuals sees fruition. 

Although I didn't have very much to say about this doll, I did want to write a little post about her. Please feel free to come visit her here whenever you like. 

I'll be doing my best to get back on top of things. Look forward to more blog posts on dolls as well as other things that may be relevant to my life. 

Lotus Asylum

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Jane, the Dreamer

This is Jane, the Dreamer. She can be purchased here. 

Jane doesn't sleep well at night. She has horrible nightmares of being alone in a white room and tied to a bed. Yet when she wakes up, she finds herself alone in a room with stone walls. She's not exactly sure where she is.

I wanted to tell you a little about this little girl and about how I made her. 

When I started, I knew right away that she was going to have big lips. I was inspired by a character on a show, and was intrigued by the idea of trying something a little different. Big eyes and lips were a must for her. I made the armature with foil, wrapped it in floral tape, and got to work, seeing what I could create. I was happy to find that she came together nicely and making her smooth wasn't the problem that it can be with some dolls. I suppose it's all in the armature and getting a little lucky there. 

After she was sculpted and baked, I knew I wanted to dye her clothes purple. Through trial and error, I had known from past dye jobs, that if you dye fabric with black dye, but use less and a shorter time, it comes out a beautiful marbledy purple. So, with that in mind, I added a little blue to my black and got to dying my favorite white stretch-cotton fabric. 

While the fabric was in the dye, I had an idea to wrap something around her waist. So, I found a leftover piece of some wide white lace I had used on my doll, Eliza, the Alchemist. I started stitching another white lace and some pink rick rack to the hem, and gathered up the top. Eventually the dye had done it's job, and the fabric had dried. I started sewing the dress, and when it was mostly complete, I put the lace skirt up to it, to see what it would look like. It just didn't seem perfect. I looked at my stash of thread, scissors, and other nick-knacks and found another failed skirt section I had intended for another doll. It was just the right color, and looked perfect. When choosing a lace for the hem of the dress I saw a long piece of lace I had tatted during a phase I was in when I tatted everywhere I went. It was the right choice, I thought.

I finished up the dress, painted the doll (with nervous fervor), and put the dress on her, sewing up the seem in the back. Then came the question of the hair. It's an interesting thing, hair. Sometimes I think I know what color it should be, but it almost never looks right when I put it up to the doll. So, one of my favorite pastimes ensued. I selected about four different color choices that seemed decent candidates, and I asked my husband which color he thought was best. The colors I had out were black with bleached tips, plain black, fire engine red, and green (which would have brought out the color of her eyes, beautifully). He chose the black with bleached tips. I always trust his opinion, since he's usually right. Sure enough, she came out lovely, with this lonely, listless inner craziness. That's when I knew she was a dreamer, lonely and confused.

This process I've just told you is much the way it goes when I make most of my dolls. I hope this little glimpse into my doll making world has given you some bit of pleasure. 

This is a doll I'm very smitten with, and I hope she finds a home with someone who can tell her where she belongs.

Lotus Asylum

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Vision: Disembodiment

I had a vision last night, just before I fell asleep. I can't do exactly what I had in mind as of yet, because I haven't a clue where to get the hardware my brain envisioned. I suppose it would be like a ball jointed doll. I've never read up on making a BJD, but have been curious about it, and plan to try one day.

The idea I had was to make the limbs very simple, smooth, and perfectly round cylinders, painted brown-black. Then, I would attach them all together with metal male/female threaded fixtures. So, basically, all of the limbs could screw on and off. I originally imagined the hardware gold, but I greatly dislike gold, so I might consider something silver or copper. That first picture that flashed in my mind, did not feature joints that could bend, only the ability to screw on or off. After I thought about it, I realized I needed a combination piece that would allow them to move.

The bottom line is, I had this picture in my mind of a doll with a sort of modern, yet old-world "wood and brass" look. A little bit of sailor: the compass, clock, and depth meter; also, a bit of a gentleman's den or library: the pocket watch, letter opener, and fountain pen. Some might think I have a steampunk idea in mind, but I don't think so. I'm not thinking about technology, gears, or anything mechanical. I'm thinking more of an enlightened age of people, who would consider themselves civil or sophisticated, yet they see things more through a craftsman's eye. Maybe they see themselves as self reflecting, introspective, disembodied souls. The picture I have drawn above, doesn't even remotely show you what I actually have in mind to make. I want metal casings at every conceivable joint. The limbs screw apart, but so does the waist from the bottom, or the neck from the torso.

I don't know if I can find anything that might facilitate this vision of mine, but when I see it realized, I will definitely show you and write again. 

Now I'm sure I have thoroughly overwhelmed your head with too many words trying to describe a single image in too much detail, and perhaps even reading too much into it. Somehow, while I was about to write a couple of simple sentences on my facebook page about this, I found I had too much to say.

Today, however, I plan to make a pair of dolls to be sold together. It won't have the hardware, or the threaded joints, but it will be painted brown-black skin. Maybe a folkish dirty couple of kids. I'm not exactly sure, but I will keep you posted.

For now, stay crazy. 

Lotus Asylum

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cirque du Soleil: Personal and Memorable

I said I would write about our experience at the much anticipated circus. It has been nearly two weeks, however, and still I have no words to describe it. In fact, we were just visiting friends over the holiday weekend, and I quickly realized that even the most perfect descriptions become just meaningless words, when spoken and not seen. Yet, actually seeing some of these acts blew our minds. I started thinking about the five small girls rotating drum-like disks on their feet, while lying flat on their backs. My biggest curiosity was the painstakingly long amount of time it simply must have taken for them to learn such seemingly impossibly feats! Those five girls and their rather large bag of tricks was definitely my favorite part. It was so close to the beginning of the show, and yet I knew right away that nothing would top it. 

The trapeze artists were something I'd always heard about, but never actually seen up close and real. How many of them miss-landed and fell to the net, surprised me. That alone made me realize just how complex and incredible their talent must be. I mean, this is Cirque du Soleil! It's a world renowned event! World class, even! 

But, most of all, it felt so incredibly personal. First, there wasn't a bad seat in the house. As soon as we walked into the tent, we were quite surprised at how little seating there was, so small, so close. We had two seats by an isle and in a row. Different bug characters (including a very cool one in stilts) passed through the isles and rows before and during the show. They shook hands with all the little kids, and a ringmaster-like character in the story had such a unique participation with the audience. The energy was enough to last us for months.

There was just one thing that was actually quite humous, yet so vexing (considering just how much those tickets cost). There was a girl sitting just behind my husband and I. She was probably about seven or eight years old. Old enough to know better, to know how to behave when an audience is so silent and that one could hear a pin drop. My little four year old girl has enough sense to know better than this one. I suppose, what my husband and I came away with, when the music wasn't too loud to drown out the noise of it, was:

"What is that, Daddy? What is that, Daddy? What is that Daddy? What is that, Daddy?"

After about the sixth or seventh time she had asked the same question with no response, the father would finally reply with an equally idiotic answer, "I don't know. I think it's a butterfly." 

To which the girl would then say something like, "No, that's not a butterfly, Daddy. What is it, Daddy? Is it a giant bug, Daddy?"

Oh, by the time that the intermission had come around, my husband and I had each given our own looks of complete disappointment and irritation. After the intermission was over, however, and we had discussed the little girl at length (and my shoe managed to step on an authentic piece of chewing gum, which I was never able to completely remove), we didn't hear another word. I didn't think my look had been that glaring, so I'll assume I have my husband's glare to thank. It's not that I mind a little talking here and there, but either answer the girl's question or tell her to be quiet!  

It was a beautiful and utterly memorable occasion. Every part of it, good and bad, brought the whole of the experience to a positively amazing level. I suggest you buy yourself a ticket or two, add a bag of popcorn, maybe a drink, and please, enjoy the show!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012



It is that terrifying thought of life being nothing more than perpetual inconsequence. The endlessness of the thought that things might be always the same. For Marcy it is the last straw. She is standing on that brink where tears are imminent. Mentally unstable, a breakdown is nigh. 

I took my time making Marcy. I really wanted to give her that expression of a feeling that everyone knows. That moment where a whole world and swirl of thoughts are violently fighting within your mind. 

What's crazy about such a feeling is there are so many different causes of this moment in one's thoughts. Is it a cruel word from someone, humiliation, a fall of pride, despair? Many different reasons, but all of them with the same result: an explosion in the mind.

I took my kids for a walk to Monticello's and its connecting Monti's Deli for lunch and a little antique/vintage shopping. It is just down the street, so we walk there rather often. As I was browsing the familiar Antique Mall rows, I spotted an old polka dot doll's dress with a huge blue stain on it. It was a dress for a large doll, so I knew I could work around the stain, but why someone thought they could get $6.50 for it I only know as being because I bought it. I took my time making this doll, however, and I am rather happy with how she turned out. At last she is here at the Lotus Asylum, and I hope you will take the time to visit her. She is quite upset, after all.  Visit Marcy.

Lotus Asylum  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My Favorite things: Limes

Every now and then I will write about one of my favorite things. Many people certainly love that freshly squeezed glass of orange juice or lemonade, but have you ever tried limeade? It's quite simple really:

5 parts Water
1 part freshly squeezed Limes
1 part sugar

But really, much like many things that call for a whole part of sugar, it really is too sweet. So, of course, this recipe ought to reduce the sugar by 25-30%. I suppose I could have just written the recipe that way, but then what about those who prefer a whole cup of sugar in their Kool Aid? I figure you ought to know what you're getting, and definitely give yourself the amount of sugar that you would like best.

Limes are one of those things I've liked since I was quite young. I remember reading Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, and when I got to the part where little Amy March was ever so upset about her lack of limes, I asked my mother, "Do they actually intend to eat a lime all by itself?"  I think she mentioned that she supposed so, and since we were just heading inside the grocery store, I asked if I could buy a lime or two so I could try it. I've been in love with limes ever since. A mouth full of lime peel, making a lovely green smile and your breath suddenly seems a lot fresher. 

Indeed I do love limes, but since the weather is looking so lovely, I couldn't resist making a nice big jug of limeade, today. Go on, try it!

Lotus Asylum

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


There are simply no words in the English language to give quite the amount of credit that the lovely and extremely talented lady from Umlaut Graphics deserves. First, it is important that you understand that this is no artist who simply buys programs and tinkers around and figures she can make a few bucks providing a service. No, she is a professional graphics designer with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Graphic Design . . . and it shows.

Why I must tell everyone about her is that she isn't simply a great designer or even an incredible artist, which of course, she is both (not to mention, she draws everything herself). Her greatest talent is seeing the client as though they were crystal clear. It is almost as though your personal style has become her style, and she knows exactly what you're looking for. She perfects beautifully what you, the client, didn't even realize needed perfecting . . . until you see it. She has a great eye and great skill.

Every time I ask her to do something, she blows my mind. She doesn't just do what I ask or imagine, she goes beyond, and sees the whole picture, the whole feeling, the final concept. 

And the best thing about Umlaut Graphics is that the prices are very affordable. I greatly urge you to go to this kind lady for any graphic design job that you might need. Even if you are relatively good at graphic design and think you could do what you need yourself, still I bet you she will provide you with something infinitely better and also more professional. You can enter her shop, here.

Lotus Asylum  

Monday, April 9, 2012


I must thank the new people who have liked my Facebook Fanpage. There have been so many new people and I am ever grateful for you guys who are keeping up with everything new that I do. Sadly, while I was sick a couple of days ago, now I am dreadfully sick, and the rest of my family is also dreadfully so. We've been keeping our hands warm by the fire. This is why I have not made anything new or done anything whatsoever. 

However, I want to bring to your attention this doll, Prudence. She has been a longtime favorite with many people over the time she has been staying at the Lotus Asylum, and I thought it was only right that attention should be brought to her. She is a strong soul and takes care of all the other girls in the Asylum but at the expense of her own happiness. She feels that it is her duty. 

So come and take a look at our dear Prudence and see if she speaks to your soul. I will be along shortly to add new sad souls to the Lotus Asylum.

Lotus Asylum

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Spring is Ever Here

Spring is always inspirational. The feeling, the colors, the general hope for brighter days and a summer of warmth and hopefully, little rain. With the help of my lovely forum friends at Etsy, I decided that I would make a post once a month, which will be "The Doll of the Month." I'm greatly looking forward to making just such posts every month. So this post is simply to tell you to look forward to a featured doll once a month. I am working on completing a custom order, but once it is finished, I shall make a doll worthy of displaying for all of you to see. 

This spring is lovely to me, so far, and I am greatly inspired by everything I see. These flowers above, we just bought, and they are so inspirational. I beg you to look forward to the new "Doll of the Month" which shall be coming very soon and within the week. Please have yourself a lovely Easter, and continue to have a lovely spring inspired moment, that only you can have. 

Lotus Asylum

Friday, April 6, 2012

Pixiebell, the Best Hats!

I simply must give brownie points, props, kudos, and a general shout-out to my favorite hat makers, Diane and Christopher Serviss of pixiebell at Etsy.  This hat you see above is me in the second hat I've purchased from them, the first being the one you see below. I love them both and get compliments everywhere I go. Just today, at the grocery store, the lady at the checkout complimented me on my hat, as well as a customer in the produce section. This happens regularly, and even on numerous occasions, I've written out the address of the shop so that people can go and buy one themselves. I actually would love to pay for my own business cards with their shop address on it, just so that I can save myself the trouble, as often as it seems to happen.

I truly recommend the pixie hat. It comes in many colors and it fits beautifully for any way you wish to wear your hair. I plan to get one in at least three more colors eventually, and let's face it, everyone wants to look like the girl in the photo. 

One thing I want to say about these hats: it's not just that they're some kind of novelty, or the picture looks pretty and therefor I want it. The patterns are truly perfected in a way that I couldn't imagine being able to do myself. They do sell their patterns as well, but I must inform you that even their choice of yarn is perfect. It is strong and long lasting. 

The greatest thing about Diane and Christopher, is that this is their day job. Both husband and wife knit, sell, and package their items every day, and they make a living off of it. With the quality of work that they do, they definitely deserve to be able to do this. 

Please, support them if you can. See if you can find something of theirs that you like. They are truly great at what they do. You can enter their shop here.

Lotus Asylum

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Alas, We Are Sick

Alas, it is a sick day for my children and me. It is inevitable, I think, when your children don't understand that covering our mouths when we cough isn't something we simply do for fun. One child, who shall remain nameless, was caught more than once, today, deliberately coughing on things. What goes on in a mind like that, I wonder? Perhaps, "If I cough on this flower, will it get sick, too?" I don't know, but one thing is for certain, this kid is making the rest of us sick very fast. It's the perfect time for him to learn proper sick-person behavior, I think.

If sick I were not, I would start my next doll. These colors you see here, have been staring at me all week, begging me to do them justice. It's not just these colors I like, but the textures combined. I think the yellow silk brings the other two textures together beautifully. It is surprising to hear that I look forward to working with such colors, I know. But, it turns out that I get excited about spring colors, just like everyone else. 

Cherry blossoms and warm breezes under an overcast sky make me just as happy as the next person. I am personally looking forward to a drastic change of scene and society. I shall justify the pink in the world by adding a healthy supply of black, wherever I go.

As you can see, I don't have anything entirely important to say, today. But, I did feel a great need to make myself heard. Now I shall lie down and take a nap.

Lotus Asylum

A Bouquet of Kindness

About two weeks ago, I went to our local New Seasons market and picked out a lovely bouquet of flowers. I left them with the flower lady to be wrapped, while I continued shopping and paid for them. Then I continued to walk right out of the store without remembering to take my flowers with me. I didn't realize what I'd done until the next day.

Then, on Sunday, I returned to our beloved neighborhood store, and thought I'd buy another bouquet, to replace the one I didn't have. As I was picking out the flowers I liked, the lady asked, "Did you leave your flowers here last week?" 

I was surprised she remembered, and said, "Yes. I forgot to take them." 

She said, "They told me it was the lady with green hair. You can have this bouquet for free."

I find that when you least expect it, the world can surprise you. Even something as simple as a few flowers. However, I wonder if she would still recognize me, now that my hair is pink.

Lotus Asylum

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Kara is a true alchemist. She transcends the trap of sorrow with her brilliant transformation of dullness into gleaming light. 

All of the other girls take from her the happiness that she creates for them. But then she is left with only sorrow. This is the price she's willing to pay, so that the others can be truly happy.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Save a Bad Day!

Do you ever have one of those days where you feel very uncomfortable in your own skin? You don't know what it is, but nothing around you feels right, everyone makes you a little irritable, your house is a disaster and you don't want to clean it. Of course, people feel this way from time to time, but there's a difference when it's "uncomfortable in your own skin." That's when home doesn't even feel like home, you could be sure that you're not really you, and the things in the world that make you the happiest, no thank you!

Well, I have a suggestion for you: check all of your clothes for itchy tags. Sometimes you don't even realize that the only reason you're miserable is that you're wearing an old orange skirt with a maddeningly itchy tag, a wool sweater which should never have been made into one, and a pair of socks that just won't stay up.

Yes, we do all have days where we truly don't feel right in our skin, and I'll always wonder what causes us to feel that way. But, one thing is for sure! Sometimes, a very bad day can be turned around with a simple change of clothes.

Now, how about a hot cup of tea?

Lotus Asylum

Monday, April 2, 2012

Why Art Dolls?

Every now and then, someone asks me why I make dolls and how I got started. I decided to answer that question, here.

There are many different things which inspire the notion to do something. I've always done many things, and have been inspired to try new things when I discover them. Dolls, however, was always this little idea in the back of my head, that I simply never got around to doing. 

About 5 years ago, I was intrigued by the idea of a gothic handmade doll. I didn't know what they were called or how to describe one, and searching for pictures was quite difficult, without knowing what I was looking for. Yet I found some beautiful work that to this day is inspirational in a way. 

I wanted to make some dolls,so one day I did just that and sold them. I started making them of cloth, and as I listed them for sale in my shop at Etsy, I noticed the terms art doll and OOAK. This "one of a kind" term was just the thing I needed to figure out what I really wanted to do. I looked up tutorials, instructions, and advice for every aspect of doll making and one day, I made one out of polymer clay. It's that simple. 

Why do I do it? I love my dolls and love that so many different souls and expressions are found in each new one that I make. I find that making these dolls is similar to writing in a journal. I give them my trouble or sadness of the day, and suddenly living becomes just a little easier.

Saturday, March 31, 2012


Today, I created another day to look forward to. Today, I purchased two tickets for me and my husband to see Cirque du Soleil on May 19th. Ever since I can remember, it has been my dream to go to a circus, and when I learned about this circus, it became an even bigger dream. Allow me to tell you what I see at night . . .

I've had dreams for years, where I go into my attic (I don't actually have one), and find a large trunk. The trunk is open and filled to the brim with clothes and things that beg me to try them on. There's a long purple dress, a black top hat, black boots, and a tattered gothic parasol. I dig deeper and find a vintage white lacy dress, hair pins, pearls, and an intricately made light blue velvet corset. All of these things are begging me to try them on. But, what happens next? The attic falls away, and there's a giant stage, with a jolly old fellow who invites me into his little clan of misfits and oddities. Yet, I don't see the oddities. I see a family of people just like me, inviting me to join them and see all the things they've come to know and love. This is my favorite dream, and the one which inspires all that I do.

I invite you to come back and read what I have to say about this highly anticipated event, which will surely prove to be the most incredible dream of my life.

Cirque du Soleil

Lotus Asylum