Friday, November 26, 2010

Ambrette for Mavka

Just for fun I made the dearest little dollie for smay's wonderful Mavka. Introducing my newest little character, Ambrette!

On the soapmaking front, I've got Winter Festival back in stock and a bunch of new ones coming soon for winter. I'm particularly happy about Pumpkin Lager and Oatmeal Stout soap.

Our dear, dear Welsh Terrier, Taffy, died 3 months ago at the age of 10. All of us are still feeling the loss. We've always had a boy and girl doggie, and our girl WT, Libby, seems lost too. Tomorrow will be a happy, but bittersweet day. We are going to Sarasota to pick up a new boy Welshie puppy. His name is going to be Fergus. Pictures to follow. :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ghislaine for S4, V4 and A4

Finally, after many months of hard work in completing this 3D morph and skin texture for Poser, my Ghislaine is in the store at Daz3D.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Copyright Violators

My friend Lucie is an amazing digital artist. She had a very bad and, sadly, typical experience with a scrapbooker redistributing her original artwork without permission. You can read about her experience in her blog.

The first paragraph is in French, but the rest is in English. It's a shame how low people can go to make a few pennies, without regard for taking money out of a real artist's pocket. And the gravy, of course, is that they slap their own copyright on stuff they never made (or even bought as a resource, but grabbed somewhere illegally), violate the terms of use and then get all pissed off and defensive when they get caught. And believe me, they always get caught. The internet is not such a big place as they think.

Fortunately the shops where this "vendor" was trying to sell my friend's work have all pulled this person's products from their stores. Hopefully Lucie's post will help more people become aware of this problem. It is a big problem in the digital artwork community. A little dose of shame for this miscreant is in order too.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Three weeks ago our dear, 10 year old Welsh Terrier, Taffy, died. It pretty much knocked the stuffing out of me. We've taken it very hard. I'm gradually getting back to work.

I took advantage of ArtFire's new promotion of a lifetime price of $5.95 per month, and opened Sea Sprite Soaps on ArtFire. I don't know why ArtFire doesn't get more traffic and sales, but they have some wonderful tools and get their listings right into Googlebase, so this is a relatively inexpensive gamble I'm taking to get my shop out there.

I'm still tweaking Ghislaine's skin textures after some constructive criticism. As usual, every little change takes way longer than I ever think it will.

Monday we went up to Tampa to help Vicky celebrate her 21st birthday. We went out to lunch and she had her first legal cocktail in a restaurant -- a Margarita! Her dad had one too, so I drove home and he snoozed all the way back to Naples. I can't believe my baby is 21. It doesn't seem possible, but it must be true. Next year it's Geoff's turn.

One of my favorite suppliers, Southern Soapers, is going out of business. Not only will I miss their wonderful fragrances and fabulous service, but it's going to cut a hole in my stock. They had stuff I couldn't get anywhere else so some things, like Havana Nights, Twilight Rose and (especially painful) Tassie Lavender will be no more.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Featured in Treasury

My Sea Glass soap is featured today in this beautiful Like a Bridge Over Troubled Water Treasury on Etsy.

My baby girl is back home from New York. We are soooo happy. Unfortunately one of her hermit crabs died while she was gone, in our care. We are feeling very guilty about that.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Back from Long Island

Our Vicky is coming home from her 2 week visit with her boyfriend on Long Island tomorrow. Yay! We've missed her so much. I haven't been to New York in many years, so it will be fun to get her perspective on it. She said she took over 300 pictures!

Today I need to make a couple batches of soap. I am so far behind on getting my stock whipped into shape. I'm out of a bunch of stuff. There's only so many hours in a day and lately I've spent most of my discretionary time making Poser stuff. To be honest, it pays better, no overhead, no storage problems, no supplies or materials. All imagination and pixels.

I'm working on a new Poser character for Stephanie 4, tentatively named Ghislaine. I like that name and have been waiting to use it. She's kind of French looking, if there is such a look. Or maybe Italian, like a Chiara?

I have in mind an unconventional looking beauty with fair skin, natural looking eyebrows and without a ton of crazy tattoos and garish makeups. I'm so tired of all those ridiculous character packs with 95 eye colors and makeups, none of which any sane person would ever have or wear.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Free Churidar Kameez Outfit for Jamika K4

I'm very happy to announce that I've finally finished a Churidar Kameez outfit for my little Jamika for K4! It comes with 4 textures and has all of these Body morphs: Realistic, Thin, Heavy, Chibi and Dolly! It's designed for Jamika, but should fit almost any K4 character. Making this was a real learning experience. :)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Jamika for K4 Released

I'm pleased to announce that my Jamika for K4 has been released at! She comes with her own beautiful earrings with 20 materials.

Etsy Front Page!

My Ocean Rain soap made the front page of Etsy today!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sea Glass Soap

My Sea Glass Handmade Soap is featured in an Amazing Soap Treasury today!

Our 10 year old Welsh Terrier, Taffy, was limping terribly this morning. He had a tangle with a possum in the back yard last night, so I was afraid he'd been bitten. Took him to the vet, and $260 and X-rays later we found that he has arthritis in his feet and a twisted toe from his nails being too long. He must've got tangled up and pulled something. Argh. So now he's on pain med for his toe, as well as an anti-inflammatory for his old boy doggie prostate.

It's raining again here. Summer weather means a good thunderstorm every afternoon in South Florida, but the weather is outdoing itself just now. The other day we had 3 inches of rain in a couple hours, and the next day we got the same amount again. Looks like a 50% chance of thunderstorms every day for the next week. Sigh.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

One More...

One more of my Jamika, in Alicia hair from RDNA. :)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Arroz con Pollo kitchen smells amazing. I made a big batch of homemade sofrito, a la Daisy Martinez, so I can make Arroz con Pollo tonight. The frozen Goya sofrito is OK but making my own was a real eye opener, you just can't beat homemade.

Both of my kids will be here for dinner tonight. We brought Vicky home Friday, and Geoff is joining us this evening. I love to cook knockout Mom Food for them. For dessert: Magic Bars! Yeah, the nutrition goes out the window on the rare occasions both of my babies are home at the same time.

New in my soap shop, Satsuma Handmade Soap! Smells fabulous. :)

I've been working all weekend on one pesky seam in Jamika's skin texture. I think I've got it now. Here's another peek at her.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Featured On!

I am so thrilled to be featured on Babble, the comprehensive and fabulous site for moms online! I'm one of the 50 Best Etsy Moms!

Things have been busy for me the last few weeks. My hosting service, which had been stellar for many years, suddenly began having a lot of down time. My SSL wasn't working properly. So I had to move to a new hosting service, one that has a lot of experience working with Zen Cart. I'm happy to report that my Sea Sprite Soaps site is working great, I have been updated to the latest, more secure version of my shopping cart, and my SSL is having no problems. Yay!

In the mean time, my Geoffrey has moved into his own apartment and is learning about how to budget his money and shop for groceries. He's only had a couple week, but he's slowly learning how to pace himself! We are going to pick up Vicky from USF on Friday and bring her home for the rest of the summer. Then she will be moving to her own apartment in the Fall.

In addition to making lots and lots of soap, including some new ones coming soon (Satsuma, Jasmine Vanilla), I've been finishing up my little 3D Poser character, Jamika. Here's a sneak peek of her as a mermaid.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ocean Rain Featured

My Ocean Rain handmade soap was featured in Inspirewire's blog today -- Thanks Bonnie!

Geoff went to IKEA over in Fort Lauderdale yesterday and bought himself a whole living room full of furniture for about $600. It's for his apartment, which he moves into on the 1st. Last night we all gathered around in the living room while he unpacked the contents of one box and got out all his tools. We called it "The Boring Family Spends Friday Night Watching Their Son Assemble a Night Stand." :D

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hyperbole and a Half

Hyperbole and a Half is excruciatingly funny!

My son Geoffrey is moving into his own apartment on June 1st. The dorms and meal plans are very, very expensive and the kids hate the food. This way the rent is actually cheaper and he can cook real, healthier food for himself. Almost 20 and grown up much too fast. Because he's taking his bed with him, his room will be largely empty and any illusion we've maintained that he still lives here will be gone.

He's been in that room since he was a newborn. I can't believe it. Of course he will still come home for dinner a couple times a week or maybe to do laundry, but it's a big change. I think it must be harder for parents, we have nothing exciting happening like the kids do when they get a first place of their own. Mostly I will just miss seeing him around and talking, the everyday conversations that parents enjoy so much.

This weekend Vicky is coming home for the holiday. She's bringing her boyfriend with her. He's such a nice kid, and we're thrilled that she feels like sharing him with us. She's still in Tampa at USF until the end of first summer session, then we get to have her home until fall.

Last weekend my kids went with a small tribe of their friends to a 3 day "Purple Mad Hatters Ball," a music festival in Live Oak, which is up toward the North Central part of Florida. They camped right along the Suwannee River, a gorgeous location loaded with old live oaks and dripping Spanish Moss. I made a little album here with some photos.

I'm still working on my new little character for the Kids 4. She makes a cute little Indian girl, I think. :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

New Silicone Mold

Well, I splurged on this new 12 bar Silicone Mold, which arrived yesterday. One of the things that make soapmakers crazy is having to line our molds so we can get the soap out. There are molds that claim you don't have to line them, but I've never found them as easy to use as they are supposed to be. So this bright bubblegum pink mold was filled to the brim today with Ambra Cioccolata soap.

I had to re-size my regular batch so that it fit into this mold exactly. It was a bit tense because it looked like I would have too much soap for the mold size, but it filled it perfectly. So yay so far!

The real excitemen will be turning it out of the mold tomorrow and having it just plop out without any sticking or coaxing. The soapmaker's dream. There are little "cut marks" on the bottom, which will be on top, as guidelines for cutting into bars. I am truly soap-cutting impaired, but maybe the marks will help.

Vicky is going back to Tampa on Saturday to attend the first summer school session. I'm always sad when she has to leave again. At least we will have her here the rest of the summer starting in late June.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Seams and Skin Textures

One of the joys (not) of making realistic skin textures is making them seamless. The "skin" wraps around the 3D body and joins up the center of the head and back, under the neck, in a crooked line down the inside of the legs, where arms meet shoulders, and where the tops and bottoms of toes and fingers join.

You wouldn't believe how hard it is to get rid of all those seams so that when someone renders an image, there are no hard lines where one side of the body meets the other. You can see what I mean below. Notice the faint line in the skin texture that the arrow points to -- in Poser character creation, that's a no-go.

You can't really ignore even little seams like that. People pay good money for these textures and if they find a seam, even if it's a seam in between the toes that no one could possibly see unless they rendered it at extreme magnification, they're going to kvetch about it.

So that's how I spent my day today, working on seams. It takes me about as long to get rid of the seams as it does to make the actual skin texture. I'm not kidding. It's not fun, but it has to be done in order to finish it up. I do have an awesome program called Bodypaint 3D that makes touching up seams a lot easier, but it's not for gross problems like a dark neck meeting a paler head texture. Stuff has to blend together better than that for Bodypaint to work optimally.

So yeah, tomorrow I'll be back at it, hours of fixing in Photoshop then rendering in Poser, finding the seam, trying again, etc. until it's all smooth and seamless. It's lucky that I'm a good obsessive-compulsive and have a lot of patience. I'm just saying.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Josie as a Little Mermaid

I bought the cutest little Merbabies outfit and now my Josie for K4 gets to be a mermaid. :D

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Both my DH and I are crazy about the trio of books by the late Stieg Larsson: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. I was pleasantly shocked Friday to see that the first book had been made into a movie in Sweden, and it was playing at our local theater.

I was, frankly, almost afraid to go to see the movie. I've been disappointed many times with casting and interpretations of much-loved books. But this was fantastic! It's all in Swedish with English subtitles, 2-1/2 hours long and the cast is perfect, especially the young woman who plays the unconventional, sullen, violent, brilliant and spiky heroine, Lisbeth Salander. She is amazing!

I've found that all three books have been made into movies and they are on DVD, but quite expensive. Also they are DVD Region 2, and the US is Region 1, so they probably wouldn't work on our DVD player. We were lucky enough to get a copy of the last book from a friend who ordered it sent from England. Now we want to see all of the movies!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Another Cutie

I'm still working on Jamika's skin texture. I think she looks kind of like a young Rihanna here. :)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

First Water Lily of Spring

We have a big water lily pond in the back yard, it's where I stage most of my product photos. Yesterday the first water lily of the year appeared. It's such a beautiful pale, pale yellow with an intense yellow center. I couldn't resist taking a photo of it.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Jacarandas in Bloom

One of the most glorious sights down here in spring is the blooming of Jacaranda trees. The bare branches are all covered with vivid purple flowers. It puts a smile on my face just to see them, just like when I see a Kingfisher bird sitting on a telephone wire. Sure signs of spring in South Florida.

My son, Geoffrey, is home from college for the summer now. It is so good to have him home again. I can't believe he will be going back as a sophomore in the fall. Vicky is going back as a junior in the fall. We are driving up to Tampa next week to bring her and all of her stuff home for a week, then she goes back up to attend some summer classes.

Tonight I made the most delicious pork tenderloin with lots of garlic, lemon and rosemary from my garden. I paired it with oven roasted potatoes, also with garlic and rosemary. Absolutely killer. I swear I am a much better cook since I started watching Food Network. I could always cook basic meals and a few specialties, but watching other people make gourmet food opens your mind to the possibilities.

I've also gained an appreciation for esoteric kitchen tools! I used to see little ramekins, offset spatulas, bundt cake pans and stuff like that and think that it looked cool, but couldn't bring myself to see how I could use it. Now I have all those and more. My next kitchen toy is going to be a springform pan.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


I'm working on a new Kid4 Poser character, tentatively named Jamika. Here's a peek at her portrait, and one of her in an adorable new Regency outfit. :)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Back to the Poser Universe

The last month or so I've been working hard to get back into making and selling my 3D Poser characters. I'm happy to say that my Josie for the new Kids4 is complete and now available at Daz3D. Here's a couple peeks at Josie! :)

OK, I can't resist one more of her as a little elf!

I've already begun working on a new kid character, using photos of a Caribbean woman with the most gorgeous golden-toned skin. Lots of interesting little freckles and bumps that make her stand out.

Soapmaking? Oh yeah. I really need to get back to making more soap. I'm running out of stock. So many creative ideas, so little time...

I can't believe the school year is almost over. Geoff will be checking out of his dorm on April 28th and beginning his summer classes within 10 days of that. Vicky gets out the week after that. She will be going back to Tampa for the first summer session.

Kids with Bright Futures have to take a total of 12 credits in summer to maintain the scholarship, so they want to get it finished within their first two years. Next summer they both want to go to Sweden for a fantastic summer program at Uppsala.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Still Alive...

Things got very busy. First one kid was home for spring break, then the other kid. It's been fun having them here and cooking their favorite meals, going to the movies and beach with them, etc. But now both kids are back at college and we are back to our normal routines. A little boring, but comforting nevertheless.

I'm back to trying to get my stock up again. I have a few new/revived soaps coming soon: Hawaiian Lei Flowers, Lilac, Coco Lime Verbena and Sea Fan, which is an awesome dupe of Lolita Lempicka. Tomorrow I'm going to try to make Gardenia and Havana Nights, maybe even some Sugared Walnut. I'd love to make more new ones, but then I run out of the old ones and have to make them first, so it's hard to add new stuff. I've really got to thin out my offerings, but if only a couple people like something, it's hard for me to take it out of rotation.

I'm making a lot of progress on my new Poser character. I wish I could show it off, but I can't because of an NDA. Even if I do say so myself, it's adorable.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Two New Handmade Soaps

I've been out of action online for a while, trying a couple of different things and returning to my Poser roots to start creating some more 3D characters.

In the meantime, I've been doing lots of soaping too. Brand new in my shop today, hints of Spring with two fresh floral fragrances: Pink Carnation and Lavender Ginger. I wasn't going to bring back the Pink Carnation after I sold out the last batch, but so many people emailed me about it that I decided to make more. These soaps are also in my Etsy shop here.

My Lilac and Lavender soap was featured today in the RI Handmade blog. Who can resist Lavender? It's nice to be in such good company too, some good looking stuff in this feature.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Dragons Galore

My Dragon's Blood soap was featured today in Barbed Lotus' Dragons to Keep gift guide. Thanks!

It's still cold and dreary here, much more so than our usual winter weather. On top of that, I've got a lingering cold. It makes me not want to get out much. We're going to have an outing today to a new health food store, hopefully it will warm up some.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti: How to Help

The devastation in Haiti from the earthquake yesterday is reported to be "unimaginable." It's possible that tens of thousands have died in this tragedy. What can you and I do to help? Money is going to be needed desperately to provide food, clothing and shelter for survivors. I've just donated to Wyclef Jean's Yele Haiti organization. Other options are here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Copyright and Product Photos

This is starting to happen more and more lately, and it's really getting to me. Yesterday someone notified me that a new shop on Etsy had used one of my product photos. I went and checked it out. Sure enough, there was my Blood Orange Patchouli photo on a listing for someone selling $75 worth of shea butter soap. Now who on earth opens a new shop and on their very first listing uses a stolen photo of someone else's soap?

I decided to find out. I contacted this new seller and she told me that she had paid $1.99 for my photo from someone selling them on Flickr. Somehow she couldn't provide the link to that person. Not only that, she'd bought about 10 other photos because "I can't take good photos." This new seller contended she had been selling soap and candles for about 10 years. It's hard for me to believe that in 10 years, she couldn't come up with a decent photo of her own products.

The seller took my photo down immediately after I contacted her. She replaced it with another one that looks very familiar. I am almost certain that I've seen it elsewhere on Etsy or on The Dish forum. So it's possible that the seller still is using someone else's photo.

I wonder what happens when a buyer orders a product based on the photo they've seen, then when the seller sends it to them, the product looks nothing like the photo? Who would take a chance on something like that? Apparently a depressing number of sellers are doing so.

And it's not just soap photos being stolen. It's all kinds of products. That's why I started this thread in the Ideas forum on Etsy. I would like Etsy to require sellers to certify in some way that they own the copyright or licensing rights to photos they upload to their stores. It will not stop all of the blatant thieves and cheaters, but it might make those who are unsure of these things think twice about it.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Back to School

Both of our kids have gone back to college. Sniff. After a whole month at home, eating together, watching movies, going out and generally having lots of time for talking, it's hard to have it over so quickly. It's going to take me a while to get back to a quieter and somewhat duller life without our kids at home.

It's been cold and rainy for a week now. Today it never got up over 39 degrees and it's still drizzling. The cats are in my DH's office, too cold for them to be outside. Even though they yowl and scratch and are dying to get outside and freeze to death. This is supposed to go on for another week or more. I really, really hate cold weather.

Today I played with Michael 4 in Poser, trying out some morphs of my own. Take a peek. It's hard to believe this is a pretend 3D character and not a real person!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Raggedy Ann Dolly

I got the cutest little doll pattern from OhSewDollin on Etsy, and just had to make it for my husband's granddaughter. I had so much fun picking out the matching fabrics for her dress, bloomers and legs. The pattern calls for button eyes, but since little Sofia is only 1 year old, I cut out black felt circles and stitched them on instead.

I'm so happy with how this turned out. Years ago when Vicky was an infant I made one for her with a yellow calico dress, and was secretly thrilled when I visited her dorm last time and saw her original dolly sitting on her bed.

Here's Sofia's doll :D

Friday, January 1, 2010


I'm just chilling, enjoying the rainy, gray, slow-paced start of a new year. I've been playing with Poser this morning, working on a new character for Aiko.