Vacation photos!

Yesterday's post was just  The problem is that most of the pictures were on the hub's camera, and I have so far managed to remain ignorant of its mysteries.  (I think it might be smarter than I am, but that's another post.)

So last night he got photos loaded, and here are some of them.  I think he's got a good eye for composition, and I think I am beginning to look somewhat, um, older than I used to.  Hmph.  Oh well.  Vertical and above ground is always a good thing, right?

The nature scenes are the Desert Botanical Gardens.  The little statue is Gabe and Mary Jo's back yard, one of my favorite places in the world.  That statue is right smack in the center, and I love to visit it.  The view past there is the Sun City golf course, which provides a good deal of golfing AND viewing entertainment.  As well as errant golf balls for the dog.

Looking at Mary Jo and Gabe's old high school albums from the 50's.

More grows in the desert than you'd think.  The "dead tree" is a saquaro skeleton.

A sun dial with barrel cactus, of course.

This cactus is HUGE.  See below...

Hard to wrestle the camera away from him, but worth it.  Smile, baby!

The average rainfall in Phoenix is 7 inches a year. 


The "Gabe and Jo" statue.

The Gabe.

The Jo.  (And golf cart parking.)

I tried to tell him I was a mess.  Did he listen?

Home from Arizona

We went to see the husband's folks for a week in Phoenix.  I pretty much won the In-Laws Lottery when it comes to these people, and our visit was a blessing to me.

 It is so strange how Schultz seems to know--after two days of driving--that we have made it to Phoenix.  He stands up in the car, smelling the air from the a/c vents, and begins to look around expectantly.  I made the mistake of asking, "Do you want to go see Grandma and Grandpa?" about a mile from their house, and he howled and barked and trembled the rest of the way!  Sadly, they lost their sweet Boston Terrier Annie this year, so Schultz had to make do with his sister Willie for company, and they provided evening entertainment, play wrestling on the living room floor.

We saw the brother-in-law and one niece with her husband, went to the Desert Botanical Gardens (hadn't been in a while, won't go again for a long while, but it was good to visit), and then had a day trip to Prescott and surrounding area.  The husband and his folks played poker a few of the afternoons--I don't play poker, but the sound of their game is one of my favorite background noises.  I planted some irises, cannas, and Martha Gonzales roses in their back yard, and enjoyed feeding the great flock of quail and dove that stop by every morning.

Arriving home Sunday, we unloaded and spent the next day "recuperating" from vacation--never sure why we are so worn out from such a relaxing time, but we always benefit from a Down Day of being very quiet and still before heading back into the routines of normal life.

This weekend we have the city wide garage sale, and are working hard to clear out accumulations that have gathered up.  Our last long distance move from Las Cruces, NM, in '08 helped cull the "stuff" from our life.  But the move in '13 was only across town, and I have all this Doll Business with its attendant mess of supplies and materials. Time to get ruthless with the clearing out!


A Question of Izannah Dolls

Just as I was finishing the last of the UFDC commissions, and was looking forward to working on Jan-dolls, I got another Izannah order.  And I said yes.  Again.  This puts me in an odd position...and while it'll sound dumb to fuss about it, I really do feel the need to make a change.  I really want to spend my time making original dolls! 

Yes, I spent many hours and much effort learning the Izannah dolls, and getting my sculpts to where I was happy with them.  Looking back over the last several years I realized just how many I've made!  From first to last there is an interesting progression, and I love seeing them all lined up.  Here is a good cross section of the ones made since I began in the summer of 2011.
My first three, taking Dixie's class.
My own pattern designs in 2012.  (The one on the right is one of the first three above.)

Study, study, study.  Sculpt, sculpt, and re-sculpt.

2013 Izzies...give us limbs, please!
She was hard to let go of...still my favorite of all the ones I've made.

For the last six months or more, the limitations required to make these dolls correct for their period have me longing for work to be play again!  Color, shape, many other factors to create with!  I said as much to the hubs one evening, and he looked at me like I was stupid.  I thought the look meant, "Why spend so much time and energy getting Izannahs the way you wanted, only to complain when you get commissions?"

But then he said, "Seriously?  That's a pretty easy fix.  You still like to make them, once in a while, right?"  Right.  "So raise your price enough to make it worth the hours you put into them, and let it stand at that."

Now I've always known he was the business brains behind our cooperative venture, always has been.  But my inner scairdy cat shot off little flares of caution--oh no!  What if no one buys another Izzy--ever?  So I had to look far into the future and see what I'd be happiest doing.  And I came up with this: if making these Izannahs keeps me from working on original Jan-dolls, then I need to give it up, or at least take Phil's advice and the inherent risk.  If I never make another Izannah, I would be sad (and might have to make one for me, once in a while), but if I stop having time to work on my own dolls, I will have to stop making dolls--period.  And that ain't happenin'.  

I have learned so much from these babies with their sweet homely faces and odd little bodies.  And much of what they've given will be part of new ideas for Jan-dolls.  Maybe only doll-makers who have been badly bitten by the Izzy bug will understand the vague worry of disloyalty.  At any rate, once I told the scairdy cat to shut up, I realized that this was a concept I must put into practice, as of right now.

So this commission I'm working on might be the last.  It might only be the last of the frequent orders, and I only make one a year or so from here out.  Either way, I'm glad she's turning out as the customer wanted.  I believe I've gotten her almost-smile just right, along with her little bare feet.

Pictures of finished dolls soon, but for now, here's an in-progress photo.  Hope your week is going as you would wish.