Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A New First

Yesterday, for the first time in my life, I turned down a job offer.

I saw the job posting a couple of weeks ago, and even though I had no real intention of leaving my current job, I decided it would be foolish not to explore other options.

I wasn't sure if they would even be interested, as I'm sure almost any job seeker has had the experience of applying for a position and then never hearing anything about it again. As it turns out, they wanted to meet with me, and I decided that since I'd already gone through the process of applying (which can be quite tedious when using online forms) I might as well see where it led.

As the interview approached, I became increasingly nervous. What if I wasn't prepared to answer certain key questions? I wasn't very familiar with the community or the school, and I wasn't sure if that would be a detriment. I am confident in some of my abilities working in a school library, but I am the first person to admit that learning technology is a struggle for me, and a working knowledge of technology is pretty standard in most jobs now, especially in the education realm.

I expressed my concerns to some very supportive friends, and they reminded me that I should be interviewing them as much as they are interviewing me. It wasn't a matter of me trying to convince them that I am the ideal person for the job- it's a matter of both parties trying to determine the best fit.

It was a little stressful, prepping for an interview that I hadn't really planned on having, and when I declined the job offer, I was guilt-ridden because I felt like I had wasted the time of the people who spoke with me. However, I do believe that it was worth it because even though I have grown comfortable in my school and my library, we should never become so comfortable that that we stop challenging ourselves.

In the interview process, I was forced to think about which parts of my job I really value, and what parts I am not willing to sacrifice, at least not now.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Soaked in Bleach

Last night I wandered downstairs because I was having trouble sleeping. The documentary Soaked in Bleach had been popping up on my Netflix suggestions for some time- like "Watch me! Watch me!" so I decided to give it a go.

I must admit that it's only in my adulthood that I've come to appreciate Nirvana's contributions to music and pop culture. Yes, I was alive in the 90's but I was only 13 when Cobain died, and I was too busy doing the Macarena and watching Full House to get enveloped in the angsty, grungy Seattle sounds that were being played on the local radio station The Nerve. I knew the songs of course, but they were just part of my environment, and although I wore a healthy amount of flannel, I never listened closely to the lyrics of these songs.

The documentary doesn't really focus on Cobain, or his music; it's really dedicated to pointing out the inconsistencies in investigation into his death, and the stories surrounding it.

Cobain's wife, Courtney Love, hired a private investigator to find her husband after he fled from a rehab facility. That detective, Tom Grant, makes no secret about his suspicions that Love was not being honest about Cobain's disappearance, or their marriage.

I love reading and discussing conspiracy theories, but Grant denies that this is a conspiracy theory. It's certainly not as outlandish as some of the ones involving the Holocaust or the assassination of John F. Kennedy; this documentary is simply presenting a timeline of events, highlighting the reports and statements (by Cobain's wife and friends as well as lawyers and law enforcement) that are problematic to the suicide scenario that has come to represent the legacy of Nirvana.

Obviously, Cobain and his wife and their circles were heavily involved in drugs, and any kind of altered consciousness is going to detract from someone's credibility anyways, so that's another issue involved when Grant was interviewing people around the time of Cobain's death.

The note in Cobain's writing, commonly believed as evidence of his suicidal intentions, is heart-breaking to read. It's not heart-breaking because it led to the end of a favorite band, it's just always heart-breaking to imagine any person who has reached a point where they believe death is the best option. I cannot imagine how much pain a person has to be in to consider it.

It doesn't take much for someone reading the letter to assume that someone writing about misery, apathy and self-destruction would take his own life, but legal investigations are not based on assumptions. All possibilities need to be explored. The film references the 2014 death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman (who was one my favorites, btw). Hoffman was found in his Manhattan apartment, with a syringe still in his arm. Even though it looked like an accidental overdose, there was still a full investigation. Why wouldn't the same standard apply to an 'obvious' suicide?

In conclusion, I'd recommend this documentary to those interested in conspiracy theories, or true crime, and obviously anyone who's interested in music history.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Tab Hunter Confidential

I've complained more than once about Netflix's poor selection of classic films, so I was surprised to find that there is a documentary streaming that centers on a classic film star.

I must admit that since I am so partial to the films and stars of the 30's and 40's, I don't know a whole lot about the ones that followed this period. Tab Hunter was a teen heartthrob for American girls throughout the 1950's, and I hadn't realized how wide his influence was, from song recordings to film and television. It's easy to see girls flocked to watch him on the big screen:

He's definitely easy on the eyes

However, Hunter had a closely guarded secret that could have killed his career- he was gay. Or rather I should say, he IS gay because as seen in the documentary, he's alive and well. Homosexuality in Hollywood has always been a very charged topic, and the socially conservative era of the 1950's was certainly not the ideal time for trying to raise awareness or approval for something that was seen as threatening or subversive.

Indeed, I have a book that I picked up at a flea market a few years back titled On Becoming a Man, which was a book on sexual development and other lessons of adolescence that was written for teenage boys. 
The guy on the cover even resembles Tab Hunter

This book, published in 1951 warns the young reader about the "freakish manifestation of human friendship" known as homosexuality. The writer continues to claim that this topic is being addressed because it's confusing to"normal people with wholesome personalities" to think that a person could be attracted to another of the same sex. The following chapter opens with the line "The female figure is fundamentally attractive to a young man, clearly reinforcing the heteronormative expectation.

Again, this isn't really a shocker, but it's fascinating to explore the world of the underground. Years ago, I read Scotty Bowers' memoir of illicit affairs during the Golden Age, and his role in this side of the screen stars' lives. Bowers claims that he arranged liaisons for film stars of all different sexual orientations, and that he had sexual encounters with some of the biggest stars of the time.

The book is in the style of Kenneth Anger's Hollywood Babylon books, which detailed the scandals of Hollywood, from Charlie Chaplin's very well known preference for teenage brides to the unsubstantiated rumors, for example the one that claims that sister starlets Dorothy and Lillian Gish shared an incestuous relationship. Bowers book differs from Anger's because while Anger merely collected tabloid headlines and hearsay and compiled them, Bowers is allegedly recounting his own experiences. That is to say, if he's telling the truth.

Anger's books have been largely dismissed as fiction, and although many seem skeptic of Bowers, the stories contained within do make for a good read if one is willing to consider them possible. Some of the people he claims to have had encounters with aren't difficult to understand why; Cary Grant's sexual identity has been speculated on since the 1930's. However, in the chapter where Bowers claims to have satisfied Spencer Tracy.  .  .I found myself dismissing the possibility. I know that Tracy had also been questioned in this respect, but it's just much more difficult to imagine.

I thoroughly enjoyed Hunter Confidential because it introduced me to a whole new world of films that I can watch now, appreciating them more because of the insight I've already gained. The film doesn't really provide a huge timeline of Hollywood history because it focuses on Hunter's own accomplishments rather than his fame in context of the time and industry, but I think a viewer who is even vaguely familiar with classic films would be able to appreciate the many photographs, tv spots, film excerpts and sound clips that make up this documentary. And obviously, the most valuable asset in this documentary are the interviews with Hunter himself, during which he speaks both nostalgically about the people he met during his fame and also frankly about his decision not to let his sexual identity define him. The filmmakers did an exceptional tying all the media together to illustrate the information being narrated. The producer, Allan Glaser, is actually Hunter's long-time partner, which lends an authentic sense of love and admiration to the piece.

Definitely worth watching.

And I also want to mention that the author of On Becoming a Man, Harold Shryock, also penned a manual for teenage girls:

Indeed, this book also contains a chapter warning young readers about "unhealthy friendships", claiming that "homosexual tendencies usually occur in persons who are otherwise poorly adjusted." It also reminds the readers to be grateful for the privileges of being [straight, white, middle-class] women in saying that:

Remember ladies, washing the dishes, ironing your husbands shirts, giving birth and changing diapers are your "cherished daydreams"!

Ahhhh, the 50's.  .   .  .

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Doc Watch

I love watching documentaries, and Netflix and YouTube have only fueled this love.

I've watched three recently:

This one I watched on YouTube. I was looking for more information and inspiration for the geisha room box I've been working on, and I stumbled across it. It's a great look at the tradition of geisha, and how it both reflects and contributes to Japanese culture, as well as providing an overview of the country's history and interactions, and conflicts, with Western society. It's narrated by Susan Sarandon, too.

This documentary is streaming on Netflix now. Back in July, I read the book The Serial Killer Whisperer, which is about a teenage boy who took up writing letters to various serial killers and developed a friendship of sorts with them. Arthur Shawcross is one that he exchanged many letters with, and so his correspondence  was a big part of the story. Shawcross is known as the Genessee River Killer because most of his crimes occurred in Rochester, NY, and he's a macabre part of the city's history. This documentary is only about 45 minutes long, and it's very basic in its format: the interviewer sits across from Shawcross, and asks him about his past and about the crimes he committed. It's interesting to people like me who are fascinated with true crime stories, but it's not one that's going to appeal to everyone because he describes some horrifying scenes and he was a despicable person.

The one I watched this morning was a great one, in terms of content and film quality, but it's inspiration is heart-breaking. Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father is a documentary that was produced by Kurt Kuenne as a tribute to his best friend Andrew Bagby, who was murdered in 2001. 


The woman who murdered him, a former girlfriend named Shirley Turner, revealed she was pregnant with Bagby's child as the court proceedings began. Despite his mother's crime and jail sentence, the baby, Zachary, was released into her custody. She was ruled as non-threatening because her crime had been "specific", and not aimed at anyone else. Kuenne wanted his friend's son to know what a wonderful man his father had been, so he conceived the idea for collecting photographs, old home movies and interviews with friends and family to compile as a keepsake. Zachary was a god-send to his father's parents, who were grieving the loss of their only child, and the story took another tragic turn when Turner killed her infant son and herself in 2003. The documentary is a loving tribute to a man that so many people seem grateful to have known, and it turns into a cry for legal reform, because as Bagby's parents point out, Turner would not have been able to kill again if her extradition to the US (she had fled to Newfoundland after murdering Bagby) had not been delayed so many times, and if the numerous documents describing her as psychologically disturbed had been properly reviewed and considered by the judge and the department of child services.

Obviously, this film is heart-breaking to watch because we are given a window into other people's grief, but one thing I can't get out of my mind is the fact that Turner was a doctor. A doctor is someone we trust with our health and safety, someone whom we look to for hope and reassurance and advice when we're unwell. We trust that they have the knowledge to help us, reserving any judgment or intent to harm. Turner had achieved the title of doctor, and clearly was unstable and dangerous. Furthermore, the psychologist who treated her was found guilty of professionasl misconduct because he had posted her bail initially. lastly, the judge and prosecuters and child welfare agencies involved in the case were all ruled to be at fault for prioritizing Turner's innocence rather than the well being of her infant son. So many errors, by so many pillars of society, that we are supposed to trust in, proved to have a fatal outcome, and paints a grim picture of "the system", which is more concerned with bureaucracy and yellow tape rather than individuals.

Definitely worth watching, but be prepared a roller coaster of emotions.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Update on Geisha's Tea Room

I've been working on little Geisha's Tea Room at a feverish pace lately. There's no particular reason I wanted to make so much progress on it, I guess I just felt very motivated because this build is giving me opportunities to try new things and develop new skills. This afternoon I finally got the walls erected. This is what it looks like from the outside:

Here's the inside, without any furniture or accessories. The top of the walls where the bamboo siding looks rough now, but once the ceiling goes on, and a roof, hopefully they won't show at all.

Here's the inside, with furniture and accessories:

Since this project just kind of sprang up, I had very little money to devote to it. I had to rummage through my stash for furniture, and paint/style them appropriately. Or, I had to make it. I made the little table myself, and I even sewed the little floor cushions from a fabric scrap. 

I opted to have just the 3 walls, and I made two little privacy screens that separate her bed from the rest of the room. I wanted to also have a little landscaping, but I thought it'd look strange if there wasn't some kind of transition, so I built those low walls in the front from foam scraps covered in popsicle sticks, cut to size. I still have to get some wood stain to give them a more realistic look. I made the tree myself using a technique I learned in a tutorial video, and I tried my hand at sculpting when I created the little koi fish for the fountain. I still have more work to do, but this is how it looks so far.

I swear, this little geisha doll actually looks like she's smiling now.

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Awkward Artist

Back in May when I did the UNH Artists Dumpster Dive, I was asked (along with all the other participants) to consider donating a piece of art to the auction that benefits PLAN. I was interested, but I wasn't sure if anything I might create would actually be auction-worthy.

I love to create art, but it's never been about money or recognition or even showing anybody. If people come over to my house, then they see the funky wind-chimes and abstract paintings around, but I never really take them anywhere to be displayed. Since this piece was made using a little canvas that was actually found in a UNH dumpster, I thought it was only appropriate that I donate it to the event.

The canvas already had the green background. The color reminded me of one of my favorite books, The Giving Tree. I've copied this design a couple of time before- on a stool for my son's nursery and on a chair for the library- so I knew I could do it again. I did the basic shapes in gesso, to cover up the background colors and to create the base for the paint I'd add. After the gesso dried, I used ink  and watercolors to make the illustrations.

The other piece I contributed is one that I did using a wooden canvas that my husband brought home from school. One of the retiring teachers had cleaned her room out, including old projects from students. One day I was bored and wanted to paint, so I used tempera and acrylic, and just kind of splattered on the colors I liked. It started to make some cool designs just by letting the paint run down in different directions, and I had experimented with salt and watercolors before, so I wanted to see what would happen if I added salt to these paints. It muted the colors a little, and added kind of a crystallic finish. Since I painted outside, I left it outside to dry for a couple of days. It baked in the sun and probably had a little rain fall on it too, but the outdoor elements allowed the paint to separate and peel a little, which only added more texture. I really liked the way it looked, so I went over it with a coat of glossy sealant. I used a metallic gold paint on the sides to cover the wood so it looked a little  more polished.

I was really nervous since I don't even usually show my art to anyone, and I didn't think anyone was going to be impressed by it, let alone pay for it. I posted the minimum bids at $5 and $10 respectively and I was relieved when each one got a bid.

I had no idea that they might go higher!  The second piece, which I just titled "Abstract" sold for $25! And "The Giving Tree" sold for $39!

I donated the proceeds from the sale to the PLAN organization. I'm already thinking about another piece I could do using one of the other little canvases from the Dumpster Dive.

I guess now I'm not just a person who stops on the side of the road and awkwardly loads it into her car, I'm an Awkward Artist!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

I guess I need to re-name this blog "The Tie Dyed Educational Technician Level III"

Something's got me all riled up today.

Yesterday on the ALA Think Tank Facebook page, a member posted saying that it annoys him when people who do not hold a Masters degree in Library and Information Science refer to themselves as librarians.

I don't know if he thought he was going to get alot of support from a community of librarians, or if maybe he was trying to be incendiary, or maybe he was just having a bad day, but it was like taking the opening shot on a battlefield.

I responded very early in the conversation, and I tried to be diplomatic in my comment by explaining that it's not because non-degreed librarians (if we're even worthy of that title) are trying to diminish someone else's educational achievement, or that we're trying to get away with something, like giving ourselves a title we haven't earned, it's simply how we describe our daily job to most people. People see that we work in a library, so it's simplest to say that we are librarians.

When people ask me what I do, I say "I'm a librarian in a school." My official title is Educational Technician Level II. Most people don't have clue what that means. They might suppose I work with computers because of the 'technician' part. Even if they do know what that position means in regard to working in a school, a lot of people in a school have that same title who do NOT work in the library. Most people in my school who are Ed Tech's work within the Special Education Dept, supporting students in classrooms. In Fact, I am the only Ed Tech in the school who does not work for Special Ed.

When I was hired, I did not represent myself to be anything that I'm not. I didn't apply for a Library Media Specialist position, and lie about my education or qualifications, or my intentions. I applied for a Library Ed Tech position, and that's what I was hired to fulfill. The integrity of the profession/title is one argument that came up repeatedly in that very heated conversation- the reality that some organizations do not understand or value the skills a librarian learns in specialized classes is why some people think only those with a MSLIS should be referred to as librarians.

When I explained my own reasoning for calling myself a librarian, the original poster said that it should be an opportunity to educate the public about titles and positions and why so many libraries rely on paraprofessionals. That's fine, and I don't mind telling an interested party more about the business and politics of libraries, but the community I serve is a middle-school. Are my co-worker and I supposed to conduct a seminar for each incoming 5th grade class and explain to them that she is a certified Library Media Specialist while I am an Ed Tech Level III and even though we have different degrees and experience in the profession, that we are both fully qualified to help them find books on the shelves, print their papers, and hand out the Friday Jolly Ranchers?

That's a pretty unrealistic idea to consider, just for the sake of differentiating our titles. You can imagine how well this little seminar would go over with 10 year olds.

"We don't care what you call yourselves- can you just help us find that book with the blue cover?"

The reason I work in the library? Because I enjoy it! At this point, some people would ask "Well, then why don't you go back to school to get your MLIS?" Because right now, I don't need to. And I don't have time to. And I don't have the money to. I've already gone through graduate school twice, and I love working in a school library, but I'm not sure I want to work in libraries for the rest of my life, so I'm not raring to get myself into a even more debt to pursue a degree which would only guarantee me more work in libraries.

I call myself a librarian because that descriptor is much more familiar to most people than my official title. I also call myself a librarian because I work in a library, and as one member pointed out, the dictionary defines a librarian as "a person who works in a library". That I am! WOO HOO!

I do understand the poster's frustration with some people taking credit for degrees they haven't achieved or giving themselves titles when nothing else indicates that the title is accurate, but our ideas of who deserves what title or description are always so subjective, that it's a moot point to even begin that kind of discussion.

I remember many years ago, I was at a party and I overheard a girl tell someone that she was a dancer. When the person asked her what kind of dance she studies, she replied "Oh, I just kind of make it up myself." That really annoyed me. I considered myself a dancer because I'd been taking dance classes for most of my life, and because I devoted a lot of my time and energy to improving my choreography and technique. Dance is an art, and yes, much of a dancer's success result from her/his own passion and creativity and ingenuity, BUT it's also an incredibly demanding sport that requires training and discipline, and pain. It's not as simple as "making it up" and it irked me that this girl was underestimating something I dearly loved and respected, and therefore mitigating my effort in it.

Now here comes the subjectivity lesson: I was thinking of myself as a dancer, but am I really one? Well, I certainly never made it to the American Ballet Theater or Riverdance or Broadway. Indeed of I'd ever shown up to any audition outside a local production of The Nutcracker, I'd have been laughed out of the room. They would be thinking the same thing about me that I thought about that girl at the party.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter what I thought of that girl. She kept dancing around, not caring what anyone thought of her. And I guess in the end it shouldn't really matter what people who have MLIS degrees think of me. I'm just disappointed that the only time I feel bad about my title is when other "people who work in libraries" feel the need to remind me of it.

Maybe I should give up the library game, and go audition for the Juilliard School of Ballet, and finally live out my Save the Last Dance fantasy.

As for this debate about what makes a "real" librarian:

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Animal Kingdom

Watching one pre-code movie is never enough.

I decided to find one that stars another one of my favorites, Leslie Howard. The Animal Kingdom is a 1932 film starring him alongside Ann Harding and Myrna Loy.

Howard is adept at playing dignified men who become hostages to love affairs. Obviously, Ashley Wilkes is the character that made his career, but this type is often seen in his body of work.

In this one, Tom lives a Bohemian lifestyle, sharing an apartment and a bed with his best friend Daisy. He leaves her though when he becomes enchanted with Cecilia. Because she is the kind of woman every man gets warned about, a real femme fatale, she's not very good for him and eventually he realizes that her selfishness will be his downfall, so he returns to Daisy.

I think the quintessential pre-code moment comes when Daisy is being jilted, and she says "A virgin and a fool I be.  .  .well, a fool anyways." An unmarried woman admitting that she is not chaste would never made it past the censors in later films. In fact, it was during code enforcement that Hollywood began depicting married couples as sleeping in separate beds.

Television censors were no better:  Lucy and Ricky Ricardo had twin beds even though the characters, and the actors, were married!

Up the River

Last night I saw that Netflix is currently streaming the 1957 film Teacher's Pet. By far not the finest Clark Gable film in his repertoire, but it's better to have one Gable movie than none. I can't help but say again how disappointing the selection of classic films is on Netflix.

Anyways, it awakened my thirst for more classic movies, so here I am today at work scouring YouTube for pre-code films in the public domain. I stumbled upon a small collection of ones starring Spencer Tracy. He's not the King of Hollywood, but he's another one of my favorites.

I decided to watch Up the River. Tracy plays a convict who befriends another convict, played by Humphrey Bogart. This was the first credited feature film for both actors, so it's worth watching if only to see how their legacies began. I've never been a huge fan of Bogart, but he's almost unrecognizable in this film. Both actors are obviously very young and trim, but his character isn't really like the ones that made him famous. He's lovesick and mellow- not like the grizzled gangsters he played for much of his career.

I also just want to make a note of the treatment of gender in this film- or rather in this time period. When a wealthy benefactor woman takes her two acquaintances on a tour of the men's prison, they ask her if she's frightened and she replies that of course she isn't. The men are "just like children" to her, and she makes polite conversation with them as they pass by. She sees them as naughty little boys who got into trouble because they are boys, and therefore they cannot help but be seduced by sinful temptations such as stealing and gambling. However, when she enters the women's prison, she looks as though she's spotted a cockroach in her home. She says in a disgusted tone: And these, are the women" before leading her acquaintances away. It's easy for her to understand how the men end up in jail, because they're men after all, but a woman who succumbs to any kind of unseemly temptation is barely fit to be called a woman.

It really makes me think about the old saying "Well, boys will be boys" and how we use it in our culture to explain differences in our expectations of genders.

Nothing really remarkable in terms of story line here, but it's always fun to see the infancy of talkie film. It's also worth noting that this was directed by the celebrated John Ford- The Great American Director.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Don't foil my plans!

I recently discovered how versatile tin foil is for a variety of miniature-related projects. It never occurred to me to try using it until I watched some tutorial videos on YouTube, and saw how easily it can be sculpted to use as a foundation for miniature trees, houses and landscaping.

The first project I tried was making a miniature cherry blossom tree for my geisha's house. It's going to be a small one, but I thought it'd be fun to make a little garden too. To make the tree, I sculpted the tin foil into a stump and branches. Then I covered all the tin foil with wide masking tape.  I attached the tree to a base (old face powder container) with my hot glue gun. I used Mod Podge to attach layers of toilet paper- the ridged kind is best because it already resembles tree bark. After it was all dry, I glued some little faux flowers onto it. It's hard to find flowers that are actually 1:12 scale, and I know these ones aren't, but they're the smallest ones I could find at the store that were on sale. It doesn't look exactly how I'd hoped, but it's OK for a first try.

I bought the little wind-chime at Joann's from the fairy garden collection.

As I wrote in my last post, despite my ever-growing list of projects, I keep getting ideas for new ones. I watched a tutorial at work in which a woman made a tree dollhouse. I didn't have an extra dollhouse, but there was a tall, narrow cardboard box at work that's not needed anymore, so I got to work. First, I sculpted the tin foil so it'd look lumpy and bumpy, like an old knotty tree. Then I started covering all the foil with masking tape. If it looked too flat, I just added more foil and tape on top of it. I tried to round the corners a little, and I made the base of the structure wider, like the tree's roots on the ground. Hobby Lobby sells unfinished wood 'fairy doors' that are just decorative, and not meant to open and close.

I attached the non-working door to the front of the structure using A LOT of hot glue.

I have to put some more foil and tape layers around the edge of the wood, so it looks more integrated.

I plan to take this to the Makers Faire with me so that people can see some of the process.

Friday, August 5, 2016

So many projects, so little time

Is there such a thing as too much imagination? Too much creativity?

I don't really think so, but sometimes when I have a million idea for different projects, not to mention half a dozen projects already underway, I think that too much creativity robs me of my focus.

I'm exhibiting some of my dollhouses again at the annual Mini Maker Faire in Dover, and I was so indecisive about which houses to bring (and I certainly can't bring all of them) that I actually created a little survey that I posted on my Facebook. Only 11 people participated in it, which is actually 10 more than I expected, but it was actually pretty helpful.

It looks like Ariel's Grotto has to go, because it got alot of votes and it because it matches all the descriptors: made from scratch using recycled materials, sound effects and reflects a cherished story. The Harry Potter shoppe, and The Wizard of Oz also got alot of votes, and even though they are not built from scratch or recycled materials, they do have sound effects, and those are always a hit.

I guess I've never seen another dollhouse that has sound effects.  .  .

And I also plan on bringing Peter Rabbit's burrow, because it's new this year. It doesn't have any built in sound effects, but I did make a QR code to display next to it that leads the viewer to a YouTube video.

So I've been trying to make sure those dollhouses are ready to go, and I also started working on the large Tennyson dollhouse that I got for a buck last year at Goodwill. It's the house from Beetlejuice! I recently made a lot of progress in Lydia's room:

And after I found that miniature lantern decoration that I posted a pic of in my last blog update, I found this little geisha doll in a thrift store:

I started making a little roombox for her.

Despite ALL these projects are demand my attention, I keep thinking of more. I'd really like to try building:

Winnie the Pooh's house, because it would be a challenge to construct a big tree with rooms inside

A pirate cave, to pay homage to all the pirate stories I love, like Peter Pan, Treasure Island, Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Goonies. Also, I saw these little purple spotlights at Michael's, and I think they would cast an eerie glow if I could incorporate them and disguise them. I already have a little skeleton, a pirate flag, a little glass bottle with a skull and crossbones on it, and a set of iron keys (not to self: must find a small dog to hold them).

I've also had my eye on this Batgirl figurine:

I'd love to build her her own little Bat Cave, attached to a library (because Barbara Gordon is the head of Gotham City Public Library).

Every librarian should have her own Bat Cave!