What’s below?

I wonder..

I watched the movie Us and I’m totally going to spoil it so if you haven’t seen it, my apologies and I’ll omit many of the details. It made me think about what really goes on underground. As genius human beings we’ve developed massive sewer systems, subways, trains, etc in more recent years we’ve witnessed sinkholes in the middle of our cities.. but I digress. My thoughts are what if we were forced to live underground and what if it want that bad?

I’d like to think as common sense beings we are actually closer to utopia as we are giving ourselves credit for. I’ve had some time away from the noise of television, radio and forms of social media and there’s so much more out there. I’m going to be a bit “zen” right now and tell you to choose your happiness. With all the mental noise and calamity available to us and that we carry around, what if one day it all stopped. The internet, radio, television all stopped and we were forced to live below?

We’ve been growing some herbs and vegetables with my sons and they’ve been loving it. I asked my nephews and sons of they could picture their lives without the internet and their PS4. I swear their faces looked as if they needed a few days to process it. I’ve accepted and welcome the amazing developments of technology and medicine. I disagree with our education system’s lack of focus on our children’s ability to read and write in cursive and sign names on forms and documents. Overall it’s not such a bad place to live in our most current timeline. What if we had to reset all our lives but could only live underground? No internet, no cars, no money?

SS

Enjoy my latest Stiletto Moments podcast:

Diving deep underneath me

Let’s rewind…

We’re going to take this to about 6 months before the show. Deposits were made, supplies, decorations and final floor plan layout were being finalized. We were getting messages of excitement and figuring out details of the events. As far as I knew, the investor and my team were all on the same page. I was on the phone day and night trying to coordinate schedules and supplies. As I mentioned in previous blog entries, my plan was to pay for all the teachers’ travel and hotel expenses. I thought it would be nice for teachers to not have to worry about those types of details and just come and teach. The first teacher I admired and kept me smiling through my recovery was Bean from the Twisted Beanstalk. She was the first one to sign on and liked what we were doing. That was the absolute worst joke of an investment of the whole show. We spent thousands for her and a guest to join. After her class, she had the worst booth. No effort and she was absent for most of the show. Fans drove for hours to see her, but I guess that was superseded by her own agenda.

Shortly after she spoke with “B” she became different and turned out to be a horrible person. Basically, she took advantage of honest people, got a free ride and then decided to bash people who worked and saved to have her represent a Canadian born artist. Didn’t see that coming, I guess money talks and shiny rainbow plastic walks.

Not to worry, the gals and I kept going. “B” started sabotaging us by telling people we were just a local show, we gave her over 100 flyers that she said she would distribute well she failed at that too. People were waiting for those but nope! I started noticing that people started distancing from my show. You know when you get that feeling that someone is talking some shit? Yeah it was feeling that.

“B” and I were friends but my friendship had waned since we first met when she starting to talk about the drama from someone who stole from artists about 10 years ago, every artists’ love life, their home life.. like man, I just wanted to meet new people in the doll world! I didn’t need to know all those details! It was gross because she considered these artists her friends and such. I know that when someone talks about others so openly, they’re bound to talk about me so I quietly started distancing myself. Too late her mouth was already opened and flapping.

Last December 2018, after reflecting on some racist things she had said to me, some condescending words about the show and how she’d be “screwed” if I died, she said that right before a very scary infusion treatment, it was so mean. I knew the bond of friendship was severed. The trust and respect was gone. She called and messaged but I had to focus on my family and my recovery plus there really wasn’t much more to discuss. If you see in many of my videos, I supported and loved “B”, I loved her store, her family etc but when someone makes it their mission to destroy your name because they severed ties, that shows them in a whole new light with the lack of maturity that I require in all my adult relationships. It showed me someone who is desperately backtracking out of their own guilt. There was no need to try to destroy Canada’s first doll show/convention and disappoint fellow vendors, I simply didn’t want the focus on her booth alone. She didn’t like that and bailed on the whole show it was a huge disappointment to people at the show but I can’t say I didn’t see it coming. As predictable as she is, she was hell bent on ruining my show and me as an artist she wanted to befriend artists and collectors to gang up on me. She failed at that too! To this day, 14 days after the show I’m sure videos will be made and people will still be upset.

My vision will remain unchanged I wanted to see Canada’s artists in the spotlight. I want to see everyone that won the contests succeed and go on to create more. I will do this to the best of my ability even if it means I stand alone. The last two years have been difficult and there’s no way I could’ve made it through without my small group of support who hide in the shadows. I know you’re there and I love you oh so much for having my back.

I can honestly report that 98% of the people who attended were happy. Many were waiting for a Canadian show, many thanked me for putting one together. It was our very first Canadian show and it was janky af! 🤣 It was also so freaking fun putting it together, standing on the stage and looking at all the smiling faces was the cherry on top of my flattened and undercooked cake.

I may be confusing, very misunderstood and full of crassness on one hand but on the other I’m just a regular Canadian gal who’s trying to do good things with her artwork.

A word of warning..

This post is about a hard lesson I had to learn. Friendship and business will not work if one of the parties has suspect motives.

I started an event with someone I thought I could trust.

In November 2017, we discussed our plans and I signed a contract for the show venue with a deposit. We both paid the deposit. She then suggested that I change my website to American money and she would have her IT person to run it. It was HORRIBLE and the IT didn’t return my calls nor give a simple email. And so… the sabotage began…

The whole point of starting a Doll show in Canada is because my fellow Canadian artists were struggling to attend American shows with our Canadian dollar so weak. Because she is a stubborn ass, she didn’t like the way my show was planned, she wanted all the attention on her booth space and that was not fair to my other vendors. I also didn’t agree with the website being priced in US dollars for a Canadian show! So I took my website back. She was not happy. She then asked me to use this joke of a planner who wanted to stick signs in the ground for a college that was in the worst part of my city. I should’ve known when she left a family emergency to have a meeting with me and this other planner! Who would choose a meeting over family?! Also not my style.

I should’ve known that when someone talks about every single artist’s love life and personal struggle they probably don’t have much of a life and they are not a trustworthy person. She would tell me all kinds of space cadet things about how wonderful her life was and how “nice” she was however her own family member warned me about her. In reality, she is a struggling business woman with very shady business practices.

I allowed my dolls to be in her store to show my work. She did not purchase them. I never accepted a discount for any supplies that I purchased that is not my style to do, I’m an artist investing in myself. Her paint was dry and it ruined some of my dolls I was preparing for the show. I was devastated and didn’t think I could fix them in time, but I didn’t give up and fixed them!

4 months before the show, I was to have my first medical infusion instead of showing support she told me she was backing out because she didn’t understand why I was compensating the teachers with a booth, travel and hotel accommodations. It seemed pretty straightforward but I guess in all her years she lost her common sense.

After over a year of planning and 4 months before the show and medical recovery, my husband would not let me cancel the show. With the risk of death looming and I was losing my vision, I asked him to make sure my children understood that I wanted to do something good for the artwork that saved my mental and physical state over 10 years ago. Our backer was now sabotaging me and our plans. It was sad and pathetic.

My family begged me not to cancel the show, my son was preparing speeches, my family was preparing to travel from all over the world.. vendors were preparing, participants were emailing me how excited they were.. I had to either cancel or keep going.

Out from nowhere, another friend came to the rescue. She would not let me quit and did everything she could to make sure I was recovering and as stress free as possible. We whipped up whatever we could and continued on with plans. Of course there were hiccups and confusion, overall I’m extremely proud of what my team of family and friends accomplished.

In order to have peace of mind and to close this chapter I decided to write the following personal letter and I would love your opinions:

Over much deliberation I’ve decided to continually support all my Canadian entrepreneurs with those who have proper business practices. I will not deal with thieves and those that extort money from artists.

I still haven’t received my money for my Liam doll that was sold for $750 October 2018 and while I was recovering from a serious infusion my husband and my friend had to pay $900 to get my dolls back. Luckily, my artwork was brought back to me and I was able to put them in my booth!

Lol when I received a pile of unorganized hand written invoices with no back up documentation and what I allegedly “owed” I was told that the amount was in American but purchased from a Canadian store that is so weird! So I converted it and uh.. it turned out I would’ve owed only $300 but wait I also sold a doll for $450 and still nothing in my hand. I’ve been in business for many years and this kind of practice is just so strange. I may not be a famous artist but I do know that someone that preys on an artist’s hard work through “friendship” is really someone I will never want to deal with in any fashion. All is not lost I will buy my kits directly from the sculptors I love because I want every penny to go to them, I know what the actual definition of integrity is. Do you know?

Leave a comment and let me know if I should send it.

5 Day Countdown…

It has been a very full year already! It has been an incredible rollercoaster ride but I figured I should take you with me.

I have been working on an international doll show for that over 2 years. I’ve had my share of challenges through this journey but I didn’t give up and I am now 5 days away from a new piece of Canadian history! As a Doll Maker and craft doer I’ve been self taught in everything I have done in my million years of life. I’ve made quilts, stuffed animals, costumes for my kids… I have always been interested in how things are made and adding my flare when I give it a try. After my bout of health recovery and a note from my doctor stating I could never return to work, I felt like I needed some kind of purpose in life. My family was my motivation for my career but those few words and a disease telling me I could no longer have the lifestyle I lived was utterly devastating. My family members, as supportive as they are, were also going through their own kind of mourning and loss of who I used to be. It was a reality that was so hurtful and they struggle with it daily. Basically, I was given a lemon farm and I had to figure out what to do with myself.

After getting through my loss of normalcy as I had known it, I found myself alone in a quiet house and I had nothing to do. Aside from dishes, laundry and mopping I spent most of my time in bed with my laptop. It was 2010 and adjusting to my new world was going to take some time to get used to. Of course my depression was in full effect but YouTube opened my world of isolation. I didn’t have a lot of friends, by choice, I didn’t want anyone in my home and I just couldn’t cope. After watching videos of quilt making and clothes making I stumbled upon a video made by the Secrist company where they were demonstrating how to sculpt a baby head, lips and eyes. I continued on and binged watched everything from painting to rooting hair and I was absolutely hooked. I accepted that my days of having an actual baby were dwindling so I devoted all my time to creating these lifelike looking dolls.

I’ve been doing custom order work and practicing my craft paying attention to fine details for over 10 years and I finally found my “voice” through my artwork. I met the most amazingly talented fellow artists and have many customers/friends who appreciate what I do. After many years of creating, I want to give back to this loving industry and community.

After 2 years of planning my partners and I created the IAC Doll Show. The first one in Canada and the most anticipated in the reborn doll community. Many world renowned artists not only live in Canada but have supported my vision for the entire venture. I will give back to this community and the people who have supported me.

As my favourite Disney princess sings:

“…no matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true”

I hope you all have a fabulous week and I will update you as the countdown continues 🥰

SS

5 Day Countdown… so I bought stuff

Productively Positive

I must say I’m uber proud of myself! Not only have I had so much success with my event planning, but I have been sticking to my schedule by uploading and posting on time with my doll channel. I have an amazingly strong team behind me full of energy and positivity!

My Creative Director has left me gobsmacked with her ideas and proactivity, I feel truly blessed. We had some early bumps in the road with some hits and misses with my team, but we finally have our footing and the right people who are ready for 2019!

It’s an amazing feeling to see my ideas and goals come to fruition. As an entrepreneur I admit I was afraid that my vision was misunderstood. My advice to those preparing to run a business is to hold on to that vision until the right people come into your life. I held on for the right time and boom I’ve had nothing but positive results and I’m now surrounded with strong professionals that are self motivated and love what we do.

In this sea of competition, I believe that many people lose sight of what really matters. When dollars and cents are involved it can clash with the pure love of the art. I’ve seen many people blur the two things and end up in competition with each other. Well, my fellow indie artists, the only challenge you should ever accept is the one with yourself. Art is interpretive some will love your work some will like others’ work don’t let that discourage you! There are billions of people on this earth you will find your “people” you will find your niche.

I find it very sad when I see people envious or jealous. Those are 2 horrible traits to have, let those things go! They serve no purpose but destruction of relationships and contribute to the destruction of your soul. Steer clear of poisonous people and their venom and never second guess yourself. Sometimes the most venom comes in the form of a friend, a coworker and even a family member, you will rise above and you will recover. Trust your instincts, you know, that voice in your head or that knot in your stomach even the warnings of others. I love the saying “listen to what people tell you about themselves because they’re right” not sure if that was Dr. Phil, lol, be aware that you do have a choice to ignore, deny or accept those warnings to be true. I admit to ignoring those warnings in my past and sure enough the outcome was not a good one.

Going into 2019 with a heart full of happiness and a plan is the only way I choose to start this year off right. I hope you all find your footing and wish you a positive and productive new year!

SS

IAC Doll Show

My Doll Artist World

It’s that time of the year where I slowly slip away into winter hibernation. Although I’m on a type of “retreat” I keep myself busy with sewing and craft projects to preserve my sanity.

I’ve always loved dolls, yes some have creeped me out, but dolls of all kinds have continued to intrigue me for many years. I would find fabric from my mother’s sewing scraps and create clothing for my Barbies and baby dolls. My dolls were my life then and was a small interlude to what I create today.

It wasn’t until many years, kids’ costumes and stuffed animals later that I discovered a different world of dolls. I found ball-jointed dolls… I followed artists on YouTube one of my favourites was Forgotten Hearts. This artist moved from intricate fairy sculptures to ball jointed dolls. I admired her transition to ball jointed porcelain dolls. Absolutely stunning work!

I did manage to sculpt some pieces and still enjoy sculpting to this day.

It wasn’t until out of necessity for my sanity did I found solace in the world of reborn dolls.

A reborn doll can come in many forms, from taking a premade doll and transforming into a new version to creating dolls from factory produced vinyl dolls. What amazes me about this 3D artwork is the realism many artists have created with paint. These dolls are hand sculpted by artists and turned into a replicated baby ( I purchase all my supplies from MacPherson Arts & Crafts ) Over the years there have been dolls created as dragons, elves, fairies, werewolves and monster dolls to be painted and reborn to the artists’ imagination.

Some dolls have been made to look so real they have been mistaken for real babies resulting in car windows being smashed in an effort to rescue an actual child! People suffering from Dementia, PTSD, emotional and mental suffering have all praised these dolls for helping them get through some very difficult times.

Forming strong bonds with my customers and knowing that I’ve helped them with my artwork in some way reinforces my passion to create the most realistic looking baby dolls I can create. I’ve met many friends during my journey and they have also joined in on the Doll Artist train! Learning to work with my hands has brought a primal yet much needed therapeutic value to my life and I can wait to share how I transform a piece of vinyl into a lifelike baby doll!

More soon!

SS

P.S. Below are some dolls I have created. Enjoy! ☺️

Punkie Pie Babies

So many things

*CLICK FOR VIDEO* So many things

I had such a fun weekend and I’m so happy that the stresses of the world melted away. I ordered more supplies, worked on some fine details and now I feel more prepared for all my future projects. As a bonus, I got to meet up with some great friends and we ended the weekend with sharing some great laughs and stories.

All in all life is awesome!

Bring on the new week!

Life with Stiletto: So many things

Hoping for Answers

*CLICK FOR VIDEO* Hoping for Answers

It seems like everything is coming full circle with both bitter and sweet results. Yes, cannabis is now legal in Canada which means many who use it as a treatment are able to use it in public areas when they require it. Much like Tylenol or an inhaler or an epipen… it’s a relief to know that citizens can access their medication without a fear of being fined or criminalized for it.

On the other side, the bitter side, I lost a very important specialist/researcher in my fight for life with MS. He passed tragically too soon from lung cancer. May he rest in peace.

It leaves me with many questions as to what happens to me now? I’m curious to know if there is still hope for a cure. I know I will never have an absolute answer, but I can dream of it and maybe one day the cure will come into fruition.

Since there has been so many changes to me physically I decided that I need to document my daily life, not only for me but for my children, family and friends. Maybe one day we will be able to look at what I used to do, my accomplishments, struggles and adventures. I have a renewed inspiration to create and I can’t wait to share more of my life with you.

Have a fantastic weekend!

SS

Hoping for Answers video

A Little Retro

*CLICK FOR VIDEO* Make it with Me! A Retro Apron Story

Summer is slowly starting to say its final goodbyes. I still have the windows open and it’s almost October! It’s inevitable the snow is on its way and I will soon have to do my traditional “hibernation”.

Last week, I had a lovely meeting with my colleague and was feeling so good about it I literally got inspired. If you’re anything like me, you will know that fabric stores, crafts, handmade artwork are my weaknesses. Knitting, crocheting, sewing and more recently felting have been great outlets for me to express myself. So, after my meeting I popped over to Fabricland and I wandered throughout the store touching fabric and looking in all the tiny corners for hidden gems. As you are aware, I am an art doll maker so of course my whole intention was to possibly sew a baby quilt or something. Then I found this amazing fabric and I knew exactly what I had to do with it.

I found it on the bottom shelf tucked in behind some other unrelated fabric. Not only is this my favourite I Love Lucy episode, the colours are gorgeous retro shades. I immediately thought about making an apron for my doll painting and other crafts. I gathered my focal fabric and some cute complimentary and contrast fabrics to give it a modern day/vintage look.

I found this chocolate brown fabric with delicate fine lines and flowers for the main apron, a dusty rose and white polka dotted fabric to compliment the main colour, then I added 1 full panel pocket and 2 smaller pockets on the front. I made sure I had room to carry my cellphone, pens, scissors and other notions.

I made my own pattern by copying the shape of my rooting apron. I started with the centre pocket with the base of 4 blocks of the focal fabric measuring 14 x 14 inches. I cut out 2 blocks of the focal fabric and put them over the bottom 2 blocks of the square piece. I finished the top edges of the pockets with white bias tape, I stitched between the 2 blocks to separate them into 2 smaller pockets. After cutting out the shape of the apron I attached the middle pockets. I kept the pocket looking like it was thrown together for that vintage homemade feel. For the straps, I took the dusty rose and white polka dot fabric and cut 4 x 3 inch strips, folded and sewed them right sides together lengthwise, turned the 4 pieces inside out, pressed and attached 2 pieces at the top of the apron for the neck tie and 2 pieces on either side of the waist of the apron. I also made the straps longer so I could wrap them around my waist and tie a bow at the front under the pocket. I finished all the edges around the apron, pressed the seams and taa daa! A fresh apron ready to get dirty!

I may do a video tutorial in the future for those that are interested in this quick little project. More sewing projects coming up soon!

Hope you all had a fantastic day!

SS

My Nest Won’t Empty

A subject that has come up quite a lot but I really feel strongly about. Strangely a topic that seems to peak the curiosity of many and that is… “Don’t you think you’ll miss them terribly when they move out?”

The answer in every fibre of my being is N-O! Some msy say I’m “cold” but I honestly feel that is my job as a mother. To raise and release our children into the abyss of adulthood. I’m ancient enough to know that if we have any expectations of our children we will feel that low blow of disappointment, so I choose to stick with hope and a prayer.

I believe that is truth in all our relationships. Life has an interesting way of keeping us grounded and my children ground me and keep me going ensuring that I’m guiding and leading and on top of my parenting game at all times. Once they’re ready they will let you know.

I touched on the subject a bit on my last livestream. Now that things are more steady in my life I will be able to share more and it’s going to be so fun!

For now here’s my last livestream I will have videos uploaded very soon too so hold tight!

Thanks guys and cheers to a new and fabulous week!

My Nest Won’t Empty

SS