Alright this Saturday Night

My children wanted to learn our traditional dish of Filipino Lumpia. In a short description, they are small egg rolls usually made as appetizers, snacks, sides etc. I had so much fun teaching them how every piece is made with care and love. It was a nice bonding moment shared with my young men. I hope they will pass this recipe and technique to my future grandchildren.

I remember helping my mom and aunties make hundreds of these egg rolls. I was responsible for carefully pulling each wrap away from the other making sure they didn’t rip.

Overall, I’m proud to say that, despite the efforts to cut corners, they did a wonderful job and it’s nice to have help to make these traditional treats. The delicious Homemade Lumpia was devoured.

Enjoy the video! There will be more recipes and adventures soon!

Stiletto S

The Battle of the Platforms Part 1

I’m sure we have all been swirled in the mixing pot of updates and platforms it can be frustrating and confusing. I created my website around 10 years ago with my goal of doing reviews and self expression. I have always highly encouraged people to own their own websites then push it out to as many social media platforms as possible. Unfortunately, over time we got it backwards. I see more and more social media platforms take precedents over our voices. I see more and more users silenced and encouraged to become puppets and the social media platforms hold the strings. Giving up your data to apps is kind of like paying the piper with no real return. Through the years of observation I would guess that 90% of people don’t actually read the Terms and Conditions of their soon to be downloaded apps because most users are so excited to get the latest and greatest apps. I’ve watched people of all ages make themselves physically sick with worry about what they wrote, what others wrote and more and more I see good people crumble within themselves.

I’ve watched the steady decline of every “big” app and I experienced the rise and fall of the latest and greatest. I’ve produced and promoted my own shows and content which is, in itself, tough work. The best part is that I have the freedom to push my content to specific platforms. These platforms are designed to make money. They make money from paid promotions, audience size and use your data to justify their rankings in the stock market. Too much truth right? Let’s continue…

Let’s start with Facebook…

Ah yes the all powerful Facebook was designed with specific AI (Arificial Intelligence) from the time it was launched. I come from the background before internet, there were bulky monitors, green texts and symbols. We used our computers to look up products and place orders. I worked in an IT firm where we sold Microsoft licenses, hardware, software, dongles, Nikon cameras and more. We sourced for huge companies and I made really incredible contacts. Dial up Internet was the rage and Nokia cellphones were the main phone you could drop it you could easily replace its broken casing. Y2K was the biggest fear to companies but as IT specialists, we knew way in advance and it was a simple code to move our systems from 1999 to 2000. Crazy right? This was also a moment in time where Apple was not even a key player in business, we referred to Apple products as toys for kids, like a cute video game. Apple products didn’t fit in a Microsoft world of business. Moving forward, with our plastic Nokias and the business version, that you could only buy for business, was the Blackberry. I’ll get into phones in another post.

Back then, technology was getting faster and more advanced. The dial up was now in almost every household. We were getting more tech-savvy and we wanted a way to stay in touch because texting was still pricey per text. Gone were the days of ICQ and other online chats where we met people and yes people would troll each other in those rooms too. Think of these chat rooms like a bunch of mini apps where the administrators create the room and monitor them online dial up. Facebook was born and offered a way to keep in touch and share photos and such. It was an exciting way to catch up and communicate. It was especially important to families who were spread out around the world. We wrote posts updating our lives and main life events. Eventually, businesses were added and the rest is what you see today. Facebook became an obsession and a platform for adult and children bullying. Chain letter forwarding through private messages breeds more stealing of identity, unsatisfied customers making horrid reviews destroying businesses. What I see on Facebook now is so far from what it was meant to do it is sad. When Mark Zuckerburg got himself into some hot water over the AI and gathering of information he unknowingly unleashed a “beast” that is now impossible to undo. Facebook itself has a questionable future despite these so called ratings that favour Facebook by users alone. I’m watching Facebook crumble and despite these Facebook loyalists, I’ve been in the tech biz long enough to see the signs. My personal opinion is not in favour of the Facebook platform for my mentioned reasons and so much more. The AI and information gathering has transformed itself into an intrusive way for others to know about intimate details of your lives. This “safe space” has developed TV shows like Catfish and movies like Unfriended. It saddens me that a seemingly innocent app started off with such promise has now turned into a mixed bag of good and crazy.

Let’s move on to Twitter…

Twitter has been my go-to social media spot but I have observed their huge decline over the years as well. Twitter is like a huge chat room. Nothing like Facebook. I found Twitter to be filled with amazing writers, poets, comedians, business partners everything I love. There really isn’t anything to “get” about this platform. You basically write words, let off some steam, make people laugh and even make business connections which are an excellent way to network. It was freeing to be able to express myself and not be judged. You receive real time news and information which is excellent. Over the last few years I see where Twitter has been failing. It’s turning into a bad generic form of itself. Censorship is starting to run rampant as more and more people leave the platform. What was once a playground of expression is now turning into a long list of rules that don’t apply to anyone. For business and promotion it’s been growing it’s commerce flooding timelines with ads which is great but if Twitter keeps banning tweets reprimanding paying business accounts, they won’t have any users and business partners left to send these ads to.

In short, my stance is still “Find your voice and own your space online”. Getting wrapped up with follower numbers and complaining to tech support is not going to get you far in your online adventure. Social media is an extension to bring people to your content. I often ask people who talk about their follower count, where are you taking your followers to? 98% of people cannot answer this simple question. I’m a strong believer in self empowerment and I believe that users need to understand that no app is forever. All content you upload belongs to that platform. Let me repeat every picture, every word, every account belongs to your favourite app. You’re a number and if you bring more people to their app you can fill their pockets and potentially lose your “followers” should they choose.

The Battle of the Platforms will be an ongoing battle as apps come and go, users come and go.

My questions to you is..

Who are you? What do you do? Where can people meet you? Why do you want to be online? How will your voice be heard?

Battle of the Platforms continue to Part 2..

Solidarity with Friends and Artists

During the last few months I’ve done a lot of reflection and like others, I was feeling a little displaced. I’ve had the blessing of being surrounded by the most amazing women I could ever have in my life. We’ve been able to lean on each other through all this 2020 chaos. My friendship with them has changed tremendously. Instead of leaning we are all standing. Out of the woodwork came women who helped me see what I couldn’t.

Through the majority of my time online I have dedicated myself to supporting artists in all capacities. Artistic forms of expressions and hard work belongs to them and I still stand firm in this. As a reborn doll artist it hurts to see my favourite sculptors’ art taken. I’ve opted to order kits directly from the artists and it’s been a dream.

During my sourcing I decided to try and order a kit from a company I really knew little about. This is my 2020 gem! TruBorn is seriously a great site to see. They support artists and I’ve found some kits that I don’t see offered on other sites. I received my first kit from them right in the middle of lockdown. I didn’t expect it to be on time but sure enough it was perfectly delivered to my door. Here’s my coupon code to give them a try.

I can’t wait to get to work!

Cheers my Friends!

Solidarity with Friends and Artists

During the last few months I’ve done a lot of reflection and like others, I was feeling a little displaced. I’ve had the blessing of being surrounded by the most amazing women I could ever have in my life. We’ve been able to lean on each other through all this 2020 chaos. My friendship with them has changed tremendously. Instead of leaning we are all standing. Out of the woodwork came women who helped me see what I couldn’t.

Through the majority of my time online I have dedicated myself to supporting artists in all capacities. Artistic forms of expressions and hard work belongs to them and I still stand firm in this. As a reborn doll artist it hurts to see my favourite sculptors’ art taken. I’ve opted to order kits directly from the artists and it’s been a dream.

During my sourcing I decided to try and order a kit from a company I really knew little about. This is my 2020 gem! TruBorn is seriously a great site to see. They support artists and I’ve found some kits that I don’t see offered on other sites. I received my first kit from them right in the middle of lockdown. I didn’t expect it to be on time but sure enough it was perfectly delivered to my door. Here’s my coupon code to give them a try.

I can’t wait to get to work!

Cheers my Friends!

Dry Paint is a no-no for doll making!

I’ve been a reborn Doll Artist for 10 years and I want to share my experience for new artists who have asked me where the best quality of supplies are. I will demonstrate through videos and pictures below about what to look for and what is poor quality supplies.

When I started painting my first art dolls they were made of polymer clay and I purchased Genesis Heat Set Paint off of eBay. For making reborn dolls, I purchased my first set of GHSP from Bountiful Baby and I never had a problem and the paints and they baked beautifully. I actually still have them and they STILL work perfectly on my clay dolls.

Fast forward to 2-3 years ago and I started buying paints from MacPherson Arts and Crafts to paint my reborn dolls because I wanted to support a Canadian store. Little did I know that buying off brand paints through them would almost completely ruin my dolls. I purchased GHSP from MacPherson Arts & Crafts as they claimed the paint colours and mediums were mixed onsite and put into smaller jars. I never thought twice about buying from them because the staff was knowledgeable. The below video was filmed back in Feb-March 2019 showing how the paint was cracking and not sticking to the vinyl. I sent this to my best friend and fellow artist asking what I should do as I was creating dolls for the doll show. I didn’t understand why my doll was cracking and the paint wasn’t sticking to the vinyl. I’ve made MANY dolls over the years with a base paint of Flesh 08 and I never had this weird anomaly happen. After going through my painting steps backwards with my friend, like a couple of sleuths on FaceTime lol, she also had the same issue with one of her dolls. We both compared our dolls and couldn’t figure out what was going on. We deduced it down to our base colour of Flesh 08 off brand from MacPherson’s. See below:

I demonstrate here (with a much needed manicure so don’t come for me ✋🏼 lol ) that the paint is chunky and no matter how much I tried to mix it, it would not get to the consistency that I’m used to working with. FYI I used up all my on brand Genesis Heat Set Paint in Flesh 08 so I figured they would be the same ☹️ sadly not!

Here are some pictures of the beautiful Tobiah by Laura Lee Eagles that I couldn’t save for the show.

Since there is a warning that heating the vinyl is not recommended I figured I was simply out about $200CDN for my kit. I posted a picture on my personal Facebook page of the old paint and tagged my friend thanking her for spending hours with me trying different mediums and mixes to save it. I spent more time fixing the dolls that were fixable. I will make a video and post on how to save your reborn doll and do a comparison on what the consistency of Genesis Heat Set Paint should be.

To keep it real, I was offered a new Tobiah kit however I was to return the ruined kit first. I also received a private message saying it looked bad for the “MacP” store. I wasn’t sure if anyone else experienced a problem and had to return their ruined kits first before they got a replacement. I bit the bullet and chose to keep my kit and try to save it or use it as a booboo kit to try some techniques.

To explain, every artist has their own style of painting but the first base coat is the most important. It’s the “glue” that keeps all your details and layers in tact. GHSP is an oil paint so they should not dry out or be chunky at all. I have left my on brand GHSP paints out and with a quick stir with a brush they are the perfect consistency and I have never had a problem.

People can be nasty when they are faced with the truth about their products but as an artist of over 10 years it’s important that I give a factual no nonsense truth to new artists that I have introduced to reborn doll making to. Your tools and supplies should always be top quality because these dolls take many hours and days to make. When you are halfway through your painting and then notice paint cracking away from the vinyl, it is such a devastating and defeating moment because no matter how many layers you try to use it may not ever stick. I would never want any artist to go through this. It is also such a victorious feeling when your experience and techniques are applied and you can save your doll’s paint.

I also talked with a couple of very professional and seasoned artists and they suggested how I should store my kits. I now store them in air tight plastic bins to keep the oils in the vinyl. It makes sense that vinyl could change its composition over time in an overly dry place like a former morgue, yikes! 😳 I will do more research on this and see if this could’ve been a factor in my Tobiah kit.

To my new artist friends, that asked for tips. I recommend that you only use on brand Genesis Heat Set Paint to prevent this from happening. I also recommend that you support your favourite sculptors and purchase kits directly from them. They do such an amazing job and you will be put on newsletters and such letting you know when their next new kits will be coming out. I have started doing this and it is so great because you get to deal with the sculptor on a more direct level.

I will be tossing these out 😩 and be replacing them all with on brand GHSP paints ONLY possibly from the great Bountiful Baby as they haven’t let me down. I’ve come full circle with my supplies too! Lol it’s always great to start fresh armed with knowledge and experience and I will NEVER go off the path for cheaper low quality supplies ever again!

As requested, I will do some demos and supply comparisons. Keep creating, stay strong and put that passion into those beautiful baby dolls!

Much love ❤️

SS

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

Real Talk..

Ok rather than answer separate messages and email I will open it up on here.

As an online personality, radio host and mother I want to make this shit clear. I have a sassmouth, I express myself online and on the airwaves with other co-hosts I will not edit myself and we all like me that way.

Just by watching you all over the past 6 months, I can see how suspicious and scared you are about new people and things out of the norm. I get it. What you see is what you get when it comes to me. I’ve been bullied all my life and I’m not about to feel that way ever again especially when none of you know me. I have great ideas, they don’t all work out, obviously, but the intentions are always good. I wanted to present our own Canadian show because we deserve one. I don’t know and don’t care about the drama or history in your community that is for you to hash out. It’s not my focus. My focus is to provide a space where new artists and vendors can sell their dolls and accessories to serious doll collectors. I took a leap wth investors, friends and most of you who supported it. Overall, it happened and I learned a lot.

For example, y’all cycles synched up so 4 days is too many days. Meals are too expensive so that won’t happen again. I welcome proper feedback here. Smart ass comments will be deleted and you will be banned from my site.

From the feedback I’ve received via email and private messaging in the last 24 hours most of you actually want to help make it better for next year.

This is the only reason I will even consider another show.

Instead of bashing something we cannot change I welcome feedback here and here only. If you want to show everyone how good the community is then prove it. I introduced people, who have been following me for years, to my doll making passion and they are all very intrigued.

I want a new community with more support than hate.

Your choice.

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.

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