Wednesday, February 26, 2014

on re-appointments and pressing on

Well, I didn't expect to be posting again so soon, but well, this was on my mind. Remember how I'd mentioned in my last post that a lady had requested that I reserve Ophelia for her? Well, she not only wanted me to reserve her, but also to do layaway. Layaway -- or payments by installments -- is common in the world of art dolls (or maybe expensive things in general); artists who accept it generally expect an initial immediate deposit and the rest of the payments within a reasonable period of time, usually a month or so.

Well, I put a "reserved" sign on Ophelia's listing, and then waited to hear back from the lady about her deposit and payment plan. Most collectors know that an immediate deposit is expected -- after all, how can something be taken off the market and put aside for one without any assurance of payment? However, this lady did not get back to me till a whole day later, and then it was to say that she wanted layaway for two months instead of one.

Now it's clearly detailed in my shop policies what layaway plan I accept -- full payment within a month, with an immediate deposit of at least $100 -- but I decided to step out in faith and agree to her two-month request -- still without receiving any deposit from her. I told her it was fine, but I needed an immediate deposit to hold the reservation. Well, another full day passed with no response from her, and I decided to write her again, politely but plainly telling her that it would really be good to settle the deposit and payment details as soon as possible.

Well, almost three days from when she first asked me to reserve Ophelia for her, she finally wrote back, saying she was sorry, but some family thing had coincidentally come up right then, and she would have to back out of the reservation. And that was it. I'd put off I don't know how many other potential adopters with that "reserve" sign, and had even told another person who'd expressly inquired, that Ophelia was spoken for (yes, I contacted her again, but she said she had committed to another doll and couldn't afford Ophelia right then).

I don't know, y'know? To me, asking someone to reserve something is as good as making a commitment to buy -- just because you haven't shelled out any money, it doesn't mean you can freely back out of a transaction or go back on your word. In fact I think it really unfortunate that it's money that holds many people to a promise or a deal.

Ebay has a "commit to buy" button and there's a reason for that -- whether you pay for the item right away, or further down the road, you are expected to pay for it once you have said you would, and clicking on that button comes with all sorts of legal fine print. On Etsy however, there isn't such a button with all the legal ramifications and seller protection -- a lot of artists simply operate on plain faith and goodwill.

I'm sorry of course if she really did have some huge family problem, but these exquisitely coincidental timings tend to suggest buyer panic and remorse. Well, one should always think out big-ticket purchases carefully, but beyond that, one should also consider what implications one's words and actions may have on another. Sellers whose shops are their bread-and-butter can ill afford such fooling about. This is probably why many artists have to coldly state their payment policies within the listings themselves, and include such plain statements as, "Serious buyers only please" and even "Don't buy if you're not familiar with custom Blythes!!!"

In my disappointment, I spoke to a wonderful doll artist with whom I'd recently become friends. She immediately told me several horror stories of her own, saying, "I wasted my time more than I like to and it's always a disappointment when this happens. You feel cheated on. Now I hate to require a deposit because I always want to trust people... If I keep making dolls for a few more years, I might end up writing a book of sad dolly stories!"

Well, when things like this happen, I always find my mind going back to that verse in the Bible that says: "Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes', and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one". I'd written a post some three years back on something sort of related; in it I'd written: "It's funny/sad how people often say things they don't mean, commit to things they never intend to see through, are double-minded, unreliable...

"I just wonder, huh? As in, WHY do people do this? Why say one thing when you mean another, why say you will when you won't... And if one can be like this in even small, simple things, how does one deal with bigger issues, matters of importance that require unshakeable integrity, commitment or trustworthiness? It strikes me as I write this however that it really doesn't matter whether something is small or big -- we should mean what we say all the time, be honourable and dependable in all our dealings".

This morning, however, my devotional reading was: Dealing with disappointment (I know right??) "When things don't prosper or succeed according to our plan, the first thing we feel is disappointment. This is normal, but we must know what to do with that feeling... In Phil 3:13 the apostle Paul says, "But one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead".

"When we get disappointed, then immediately get re-appointed, that's exactly what we're doing. We're letting go of the causes for the disappointment and pressing toward what God has for us. We get a new vision, a plan, an idea, a fresh outlook, a new mindset, and we change our focus to that. We decide to go on!" (extract from New Day, New You, by Joyce Meyer).

So I decided to practice shrug therapy -- just shake it off, believe the best of the person, and go on. So here are pictures I'd posted on my shop's FB page right after the fact (that is Absinthe Bear, good friend and counsellor to all dollies):

Don't cry Ophelia.

I'm still here.

Let's write a letter. How about: "Dear everyone, a reservation to adopt is a commitment and we are stepping out in faith. It breaks our hearts when days later, you back out and leave us, when our real mommy might have come along, and then left, because we were 'reserved'".

Don't be sad. In life, we are all called to be strong.

Keep your chin up baby.

And today I posted:

Back on her feet again :)

Here's to getting re-appointed, with fresh new visions, outlooks and mindsets! Press on, press on, and have a super lovely rest of the week everyone :)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

just a little update

Hi everyone! How have you been? It looks like I'm becoming a weekly blogger doesn't it lol.. It's on the weekends that I get a bit of time to post, as the hubs is around and the kids get more into his hair instead haha.. So I thought I'd quickly write about Lucy, and a new little girl who's up for adoption!

Well, actually Lucy came and went within the past week; I didn't even take as many pictures of her as I'd have liked to, in part because I've been feeling so terribly sleepy. There's sleep debt with the baby of course, but I've just had a revelation that I'm entering into that stage that precedes the big M: perimenopause, whee! Mood swings, headaches, fatigue -- I've even learnt that there's something called crashing fatigue! And then, plus the annual acrid, smoky haze wafting over on the breeze.. well, thank goodness for a bit of dolly goodness to cheer one up.

Here are Lucy's eyelids. Blythe eyelids are just as important as any other part of the customizing process -- some artists do amazing work on these tiny "canvases". The lashes are swapped out too -- Blythe stock lashes are just awful, stiff and poky.

And this is my new little girl, Ophelia! I love how dark she is, and a little melancholy, but sweet too. 

You see I couldn't quite get away from the whole Victorian/old world thing haha.. 

Ophelia is up for adoption in the shop now (though about 10 minutes ago a lady requested that she be reserved..). I'm off now to get the kids cleaned up -- catch up again real soon!

Monday, February 17, 2014

I’ll go with you on ships across seas

Remember how I told you about the heartache of sending off my little munchkins -- Blythes or Bikbiks -- into the big wide world? Well, here are some snaps of what it's like, and how long and drawn out it can be -- suddenly you can't seem to take enough pictures!

This is Sadie in her original stock outfit and box for travelling. Sadie got very close to Orso while she was living with me.

One last hug.

This sort of face is very hard to cotton-wool and bubble-wrap.

Well, I'm trusting to see lots of pictures of Sadie in her new home -- she'll have lots of friends, and plenty of lovely clothes! In the meantime, a quick little peek at a new little girl -- here's Lucy! More about Lucy soon -- have a super lovely, blessed week, my friends :)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

tastes like umami spirit

Hi everyone! How have you been? I'm writing a quick post today to say that the Bikbik & Roro shop is going on a little hiatus -- I've gotten so busy with the other shop, it's been a challenge comfortably juggling the two (and the kids, and their schoolwork, and o yes! Jake! lol)!

So, ready-made items are ready-to-ship, but custom, made-to-order ones are dependent on what projects I'm working on at the time. The little girl you see at the top is my most recent custom -- her name is Sadie and I love her shy, sweet nature!

I'm so honoured that Sadie's been adopted and found her forever home. As some of you did email me asking for more details about the other "mystery" shop, let me tell you more about it now.

I named it Umami, because it was a word that jumped out at me from a magazine I saw lying open on the bathroom floor (I'm sorry it wasn't a more profound story lol). But the meaning of it, and even the sound, seemed just right to me.

In case you didn't know, umami is a Japanese loan word -- it means something like "pleasant savoury taste". It is the fifth taste, the other four being sweet, salty, sour and bitter. One tastes umami through receptors for glutamate, which scientists consider distinct from saltiness. Many of my favourite foods are umami-rich, including mushrooms, potatoes, soy, fish, and green tea.

I've come to think that my penchant for antiques, Victorian literature, vintage films and the like has influenced my style of Blythe. Some artists create distinctly babyish Blythes; others do sultry, or sulky, punk or goth. To a large extent I guess one can tell an artist's nature, style or culture from his or her work; my Blythes seem to be vintage-y and old worldly. I think I'd like to try punkish vamp at some point, though she will probably end up looking like a Victorian punkish vamp lol.

You can find UmamiBaby here on Etsy, and here on Flickr. People on my adoption mailing list get a sort of one-day heads-up on when a new girl is up for adoption, giving them the opportunity to reserve her before she's listed publicly in the shop. To get on the mailing list, you can just convo me on Etsy with your email addy, or email me directly at 

Have a lovely new week filled with child-like joy and wonder!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

oh you sweet thing

Hi everybody!! How have you been? Here's wishing all of you a blessed, prosperous Chinese new year! I'm taking advantage of the hubs being out with the kids to get some blogging done lol. I'd been thinking of sharing some crafty type things I'd been up to over the past couple of weeks!

Remember Blythe? Well, after admiring them for so long, I finally decided to take on the challenge of teaching myself to customise. There isn't a lot of information on this art form available anywhere, and rightly so, because it's plain hard work and every artist has the right to keep her or his hard-earned trade secrets. I realised that the only way to learn was to dive right in and trust to the Lord's leading!

So, let me introduce you to Peregrine! She holds a special place in my heart because she is one of my first two customs ever. As most Blythe artists will say, she's not perfect, but that's what makes her special and unique :)

(Oh, Becky just popped in and said I should show a picture of what Blythe looks like before being customised. Well, like this).

I've been enjoying the whole process so much, despite the time-consuming labour and sweat, as it really stretches one and employs so many different art forms -- carving, sculpting, painting, even beading! This is Francoise -- my little Parisienne!

I'm so honoured to say that Francoise has already found her mommy -- that's Blythespeak for a dolly's adoption. And yes, that's right -- it also means that I've set up a new shop, quite separate from Bikbik & Roro. It concentrates purely on finding forever homes for my little dolly girls :)

Francoise is all ready for her trip to her new home -- it's quite on the other side of the world, and I very much hope her new mom will keep me up-to-date on what she gets up to. Yup, it's true -- the heartache of sending Sailor Ghost or Guppy to their new home has reached a whole new level with these girls! One can't spend hours on such a labour of love, creating expressions and personalities, without forming some depth of attachment!

Well, I've still largely kept the two shops separate, out of some weird sense of shyness, but my Bikbik & Roro FB friends know about it from a few of my posts (the new shop has a Flickr page which posts updates). Later tonight I'll be putting Deirdre up for adoption (that's her up there and right at the top), unless someone on the shop's mailing list contacts me to reserve her first, which was what happened with Francoise and the other girls (feel free to email me about her if you're interested ;)

So that's my little bit of news. I trust all of you are doing super -- catch up again real soon!


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