The Dollhouse at the back of the Attic

My last three months have been terribly hectic. Not hectic in an active sense where I’m running all over the place and don’t know if I’m coming or going. I mean hectic in a far more subdued way where you might not see me move from my computer for long stretches, but some serious poo is getting done. I haven’t been this creative, responsible, or productive for hire in a very long time. Man, it has felt so good. I thrive on that kind of hectic.

I have a few sites under my thumb. For the most part they’re all mine and are related to the creative business that is me. Keeping them current means a lot of devoted time to them and taking advantage of the wonderful thing that is scheduling a post. I’ve yet to be as good with the social media associated with them (I hate to admit that I just don’t like social media) but I’m trying to get better at that. I would probably be totally killing it (I’m taking that line from an obnoxious deodorant commercial that drives me crazy) if I didn’t also have client work to keep up with. Still, there was a time where my air fairy and procrastination disease made me a really unproductive Miss-Put-It-Off-For-Later. I don’t miss those days.

So, what? Or, where is this going? Well let me tell you… I’ve been so into my productivity that I realized I wasn’t taking any time to breath. So, after pawing through hobby sites, I decided I was going to be a doll-maker. You know, something to calm me down. Isn’t that what everyone does?! I told a friend this and she said “Okay, so… you’re going to take on another creative thing you’ll end up trying to market as a means to relax from all the other stuff you do to try and keep the bills paid?” And I said “YUP!”

I must confess I have a really bad problem with not allowing a hobby to be a hobby. If I could start my life over from a career standpoint, I would have become a marketing person. I’m good at a lot of things, but I have this evil genius with marketing quirks. That sounds all boast-ee, but when I’m able to sit back and look at a thing and the way to package, market, and throw it into the world, I’m pretty good. The problem there is–as an independent business person and working artist–I need to make real the things I offer. Sometimes I’m not the best at coming up with an idea and then seeing it through. I’m not really a full service business woman after all. But when others can take my advice/ideas and run with them and I don’t have to do that part? I’ve been very successful. I never knew that was a career for some people. For me? I’ve been slowly learning how to apply it to myself. I have offered this to back up my friend’s suggestion it is beyond my power to take on any hobby that I don’t try and find a way to market.

This brings me to my new hobby: Dolls.

I invested a small $20 into this new hobby. I just wanted something that might make me feel content enough to turn off the computer and not work. And? It failed miserably. I got caught up in making something perfect out the gate for a craft that is not meant to be perfect. I don’t understand things that aren’t meant to be looked over with an obnoxious anal-retentive eye. I created my first doll (with companion mini-doll) and I just sat there staring at it wondering how I could fix it. I had a really jaded eye for what I was looking at. My gent? He looked at it and loved it. I begged him to not pump me up where I didn’t need to be coddled and he told me to cut that poo out. He is an honest gent though (seriously, he tells me when he thinks something I’ve done is crap – he is anal-retentive about good product too) and he liked it. He was encouraging.

What came after that was a departure from what I was picturing myself creating and what I actually made. Not for product, not for anything really. I just really enjoyed making these horribly thumb-headed, flower laced dolls. It was like exhaling. Yes, that’s all dramatic, but seriously! It felt good so sit down to something that wasn’t digital art, commercial art, web programming, or my online shop. It was just… calming.

I remember my mom on so many nights when she sat on the couch and started on her count-stitching. She would put something on the television for background distraction as she calmly worked over her project in hand. Given my mother’s day to day I know this was her small escape. These items were never sold. I don’t think my mother (as gifted as she was) ever created an item that was meant to be sold. She made gifts, well wishes, thank-yous, and all offer things that used her creativity. I tend to kid my aunt: Had I my current mindset be paired with my mother’s abilities? I would have made a cottage industry out of her skills.

So now, as a baseball game plays on in the background, I happily make my weird flower dolls.

Oh yes, you’re waiting for the but, right? Buuuuuuut! The but is I’ve made a lot of dolls and posted them as I’ve made them. I did, as I tend to do, created little stories for them that relate to the Urban Fairy Rescue League (a part of my Snapdragon Tea tales) and decided to offer those I can’t house here to whomever might like to adopt them at my next convention. Yes… the art of trading my made things for what I need to get by in the world is never far away. I have finally found a happy medium though, between something that makes me take a breath and keeps my manic hands happy and offering it in a way someone else might take something from it.

I started writing a short story for my Snapdragon Tea tales about a place at the back of the Attic Shoppe where a treasure trove of dolls is found. Not just any dolls, but flower pixie dolls that a sweet old ghost named Carole Jean worked away at to help spread the word about the plight of the Urban Fairy Rescue League. It’s a way to remember my mother, appease my nature, and have a hobby that absolutely makes me relax. When I turn off this evil beast I call Roy Batty (my laptop… yes, Do Androids Dream of Electrical Sheep reference) I will be poking my fingers and making real that callus on my thumb. I think I finally have an honest to dudes hobby!