Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

One of the highlights of my week is to catch an episode of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” It’s a refreshing take on musicals on television and, in my opinion, the most creative thing to happen since “Cop Rock.”

I was asked by the star of the show herself Rachel Bloom to create this set featuring some of the cast as a gift for her friend. This is one of those sets that went well from initial conception to the final outcome, so I was pretty happy there were no tears involved. Also, I’m finally doing something about a chronic pain in my shoulder that’s keeping me from being all that I can be so that’s an extra bonus.

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This version features (largest to smallest) Rebecca Bloom, Josh, Paula, Greg, Daryl, Heather, and Trent. Too bad the doll version don’t sing.

Cheers

Here’s another blast from the past. I used to watch a lot of Cheers re-runs back in college. Let’s face it, I’ve spent a lot of my time in college watching TV. It the first time in my life that I had a TV set all to myself…didn’t have to share it with anyone except when my two-nights-a-week roommate who didn’t like TV was over. I was so possessive of my TV that I’d been known to throw a boyfriend or two out of my place because they insisted on changing the channel/turning it off. I’m grateful that my husband is more of a TV fanatic than I am. Now I find myself telling him to turn the TV off!

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All About Keanu

I’ve recently had a bout of unpleasantness and stress thrown my way that I’ve allowed to interfere with my work. For the first time since I started this Babushka business, I had to terminate a project. It was truly upsetting because I’d painted over 800 sets of dolls to date and you’d think I’d get better at my craft, not worse.

Needless to say, I was apprehensive about starting a new project after that failure. There are, of course, ways to get over it, and with the kind of schedule I was facing, I had no choice but to “stay calm and carry on.” I popped on the audio book version of “The Art of War,” shut out the world, and forced myself back into the groove again as I listened to the ancient words of wisdom uttered by my ancestors.

Fortunately, this one was a set of four depicting Keanu Reeves in several of his films. Say what you will about Mr. Reeves, but I think he is a fine actor. Understated, underrated, and cool as a cucumber in real life. Like cooking, you get what you put in and I stayed calm and happy while painting this set.

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Here we have Bill of “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” Johnny Utah from “Point Break,” Jack from “Speed,” and of course, Neo from “The Matrix.”

Desperate Living

When it rains it pours. Just as I was about to start on a Desperate Living set for the man who played Bosley Gravel in the movie, I was asked to paint another version. It gave me a chance to really change things up with both sets, which, in my line of work, is most welcomed…makes me feel less like a one-woman assembly line.

Here is version one:

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This one features Bosley Gravel and his wife Peggy along with Grizelda Brown who ended up murdering poor Bosley. Along with this set is Muffy, Mole, and Queen Carlotta.

Version two:

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This time Peggy Gravel is decked out in a gold raincoat and sparkly pink hot pants; Muffy clutching her lotto money while sporting hosiery couture; Queen Carlotta looking resplendent in her pink gown; Mole wearing her vagina leotard from her flashback; and Grizelda in her sequin top and pink tutu. I recently unearthed some wool meant for doll hair in my collection and made three miniature wigs out of it. It wouldn’t hurt to look into wig school, since need to learn how to make ringlets for a Marie Antoinette set I have in mind!

Harry Potter

Once a year I get a request to paint a set of dolls based on a little girl’s latest obsession, which is, quite frankly, very flattering. Although I don’t exactly produce dolls, I do recall, as a child, my bedroom had a wall of shelving units that I literally cluttered with knickknacks. Some were toys, most were miniature rooms I made out of Kleenex boxes, but a majority were ornaments that made dusting day a real headache. The point is, there are children out there who appreciate receiving ornaments as presents rather than toys and I look forward to this time of year when I get an email from the little girl’s mother.

This, apparently, is the year of Harry Potter. I’ve done a mega set a few years back so I was happy to repeat a few of the characters and adding three new ones. This set focuses on the students themselves.

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When Harry Potter was at its height of popularity, I was a school teacher then and was amused to find all the girls in my classes were VERY attracted to Draco Malfoy, so I wasn’t surprised that he would be the first doll. Most girl appreciate a bad boy, I suppose. Hermione’s all about girl power, so’s Ginny and Luna, the two other new additions. Harry and the slovenly Ron are also in the mix, almost as an afterthought.

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In the first Harry set I did I was asked to paint the characters’ accompanying creatures. That’s done again for Harry and Ron, but with the others I played it up with wands and broomsticks and also the time turner again for Hermione, an artifact I kind of wish I have so I can finally sit down and eat my lunch!

Gilmore Girls

Gilmore Girls is one of those shows I never got around to see when it was first aired. I think I’d just graduated from college and was too busy navigating the zany world of adulthood to invest in a TV series. Also I was too cheap to get a proper cable hook up and relied solely on one of those rabbit ear contraptions which ended up being used to dry hastily sink-washed scanties. I had maybe two “good” channels I could watch without getting a headache when the wind was blowing eastward so I missed a lot of great shows then, Gilmore Girls being one of them.

As per someone’s request, I got to paint this set featuring characters from the show that best resonated with the buyer. Since I spend a majority of my day painting with Netflix on the background, I figured I ought to give this show a try. I’ll tell you what, it’s really weird to see my former Princeton Review SAT prep teacher on the screen. Lauren Graham is fabulous, of course. I’ve only ever known her as a no-nonsense test prep teacher who was good at her job and got annoyed at me when I had to leave my final review session early so I wouldn’t miss my ride. That’s the mark of someone who gives a damn.

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This set features Lorelai, Rory, Luke, Emily, Richard, Kirk, and Lane.

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It’s really wonderful to see someone from your past doing so well for herself. Maybe it’s time I check out “Parenthood!”

The Hobbit

Years and years ago I did a mini “Lord of the Rings” set featuring the fellowship. Since then I’d been wanting to update it but never got around to it…until now. I was asked to do a large set of 8 featuring a wizard, a hobbit, dwarfs, and a dragon from “The Hobbit.” It’s really hard to fit this mega set into my insane schedule, but I worked on it after after hours and found that I do my best work after dinner; when noisy and crabby neighbors have retired for the night and I was refreshed from a bracing shower and dinner.

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Usually I can’t wait to finish a set and send it on its way, but this one…? I kind of wanted to keep it around for a bit!

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Smaug was painted all in one go on a dreary Saturday afternoon. I streamed two movies and three 1-hour TV show while painting this set.

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Gandalf: Hatted and unhatted.

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Thorin and Dwalin. Seriously, Dwarfs cannot be this hot in Tolkien’s vision.

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Fili and Kili and Bofur and of course, Bilbo.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

It seemed kind of serendipitous that when I was working on a set of Ruth Bader Ginsburg that I had the third US presidential debate on in the background and Trump went after the supreme court justice.

“Ooooh,” I stopped painting momentarily and stared at the overly coiffed nominee in dismay. “You’re in deep doo doo now!” Not that he has kept his shoes free of scat since he dove into politics, but rather, this statement would no doubt anger the legions of RBG fans. The fact that Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a supreme court justice, has fans, says a lot about this woman, and that she’s so awesome that I was asked to paint her likeness in doll form.

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Since I like to add a little surprises into sets that doesn’t include the littlest doll, this one will feature two gavel charms for the recipient to fashion into earrings.

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Dreams Do Come True

Every now and then I get asked to paint a family portrait, a favorite project of mine. The thing is, being a bit on the shy side, I never dare to ask the buyers if I can paint their families in costume. I’ve done it once a long long time ago where the couple had asked me to paint them and their cats as pirates and that had been so much fun. But dreams do come true. Not only was the family I was asked to paint open to the idea of having them garbed in costumes, but in old horror movie monsters costumes! It’s a mash up of my two favorite things in the world!

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Here we have the family dressed up as (Dad) The Werewolf, (Mom) Bride of Frankenstein with a real wig that I needle felted with glee, (Daughter #1) as the Dracula’s Daughter and (Daughter #2) as a Bat Baby. The family dog is a reflection of the only sane one in the lot, but if asked, I would’ve happily come up with something to put on her too!

Details:

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Outlander Past and Present

Even though the Outlander sets are one of the more difficult ones to paint, I readily agreed to knock out another one for the annual Outlander SoCal Third Anniversary Gathering raffle. If I can’t be there in person, I might as well send one of my minions over!

This one is the most complicated one yet, largely because I was to depict Jamie and Claire in their wedding garbs, and believe you me, that was a lot of paid! Still, it was good fun and since my health issues have been resolved, I couldn’t complain!

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In addition to Jamie and Claire as well as a mini version of its creator Diana Gabaldon, I got to paint Brianna and Roger for the first time in their modern costumes!

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