Time for an update again!

I finally start to settle in here. Yep, it's still as boring and miles from anywhere as before, but at least now that winter is on its way it's getting more silent and I get used to having to buy everything by online shopping. By now we don't have to spend every weekend setting up stuff anymore.
At the beginning it was hard to snap out of the lethargy and depression, but once you grab yourself by the neck and force yourself to do a little something every day it starts getting easier over time and you start to do more and more each day. :) By now I'm so busy that even health problems usually can't stop me from finding something to enjoy that day.

The only thing that slows me down is the weather. Currently I have most fun working on Dolltopia and I fill the rainy days with sewing, crafting and various work on the backdrops, but to actually take photos it's sadly too dark most of the time. Therefore the long pause since the last update. Over the last days I had two short time-windows with bearable light conditions and I took some episodes in advance. But even this material will only last for three or four episodes.
Well, I'm patient! As soon as I'll see another chance I'll take more photos! ^^
I hope there will be some nice sunny days eventually and that I can take so many photos in advance to update Dolltopia regularly once a week next year. That would be great but it also depends a bit on how the story develops. When you have a good stock of photos it's not a problem when you run into a scene that requires a handful of new props, but when the story suddenly calls for 20 new things and a new backdrop plus props on top of that things can get tight. So I won't announce anything before I'm sure to be well armed. So let's see how the weather will turn out in the upcoming weeks! ^^
The best thing about photo stories for me is still that you only have to craft/sew things once. With each new backdrop, character, piece of clothing or accessoire the pool grows and future stories become easier.

Apart from all of that I'm still busy with handiwork, especially sewing and crocheting, but for the time being that only results in new photos for the galleries. After the move I still haven't found all of my unfinished projects or all the documents for them and thus the Seekers ragdolls and crochet dolls have to wait until next year.

Since I'm in the process of learning some new digital "tricks" for Dolltopia and thus have to reconnect my graphic tablet to the pc it's pretty likely that I'll start doing some Sims stuff in the near future too and new artwork for the gallery is also not out of the question!

Have to admit though that Disgaea 5 is on its way to my postbox. Those who know the Disgaea video game series will know what tremendous time-eaters these games are. I will try not to get lost in this one as much as I did with Minecraft. ^^


Oh my, the latest news are from March. Sorry about that. On the other hand, there's not many positive things to be told.

We got rid of our old flat by the end of April. Here in this health resort live is way louder than in the inner city of Essen, thanks to permanent ship traffic and most of all due to the numerous festivities in the next village that often don't end before early in the morning. (45dB at 2:30am in our whole flat, while all windows and shutters are closed - we're so thrilled! / sarcasm)

To make up for that there's not a single interesting shop here (sarcasm again!) and I totally misjudged how far away the next city is. I haven't been to a city even once and only leave the house every few weeks to go to a doctor - which I have to do more often thanks to bad sleep and stress. I knew beforehand that my body doesn't like to change location but that three months are still not enough to get used to the new climate - ugh.
Add a big dose of homesickness to that, I still cry often. I never liked Essen much but I miss the handful of good shops I actually had there, and I even more miss the handful of truly nice shop assistants there. After buying my comics from Gele at the ComicZentrum for 19 years I feel like a traitor when I have to order my Case Closed manga at Amazon now. *sighs*

But it can't be changed, this was still the only decent flat that turned up in over four months searching, and five hours of daily travel just wasn't reasonable for my husband anymore. That we have more time for each other again is the only good thing about all this.
If this was the Sims I would re-locate the house to be 2-3 train stops closer to Bonn - to Bad Godesberg, for instance, and further away from the river. Since, sadly, this is real life we have no other option than to move again in a few years.


Although my creativity has hit an alltime low I'm actually quite pleased with the amount and also with the quality of new material that I made for the website over the last few months. Admittedly I have no urge to draw right now, but writing is nice too and if some people don't like doll photos with stories I simply can't help it.
Dolltopia just started out and I will write lots and looooots for that.

I didn't give up on Seekers but right now I just don't feel it. It's been ages since I last drew anything and I need so much exercise... Once I find some time for it I will sit down and try to write up the whole story as a (German) novel. Either I get the urge to draw again from that or there will at least be a (German) novel. Doh.

Didn't give up on Sims fully either, but I have to dig through tons of chaos and currently don't have the nerves for that. My hubbie also doesn't find the time to finish the re-coding of the download center, and thus Sims will probably move back to a separate website again pretty soon, because the way it is presented now it's neither convenient to download nor pretty in any way.

As you can see I added a category for tabletops and board games, although there isn't much inside yet. My husband and I just rediscovered this old hobby of ours and we also love to play cooperative boardgames by now. So this category will grow some.

My animal and plant photos, however, went into the void. I deleted almost all albums with photos and the rest will probably follow soon - except for my gerbils, they may stay! I just think that those photos don't fit in here and there are billions of pretty animal pictures on the web. I'd rather like to expand my artwork, that's more personal and unique. You don't need my shoddy snapshots.

Once my husband can show me how to turn sewing patterns into pdfs that automatically print at the correct size I can finally turn towards those - I have a big folder full of sewing patterns and step-by-step photos of doll fashion!

Now I'm actually not sure what I want to say with this entry, but Mjkj said it's been so long since I wrote something here.
So, tl;dr: Flat isn't as great as we though, Eph is not at the peek of her physical and creative heights, website is still growing and let's see where this ship goes.


NewsAfter weeks of uncertainty, looking at five no-good flats and discussing dozens of others by checking layouts we finally found a flat! No, it's not the castle on the picture but this is the view from our windows or when we sit on the patio!

This time we'll live on the ground floor of a newly built house in a tiny city with less than 9,000 people. There was no good flat in Bonn itself so we went even farther to Bad Breisig. So my husband and me will soon live in Rheinland-Pfalz instead of Nordrhein Westfalen. Although Bad Breisig has cheaper rents than Bonn our rent still almost doubled while our living space is roughly the same. (We have a patio this time and also a - totally useless - balcony, so it's bigger on paper.)

I admit that the closeness to the Rhein still frightens me a lot (I would have liked it better if the flat was on the first floor) and the flat isn't perfect with its big windows down to the floor and the slightly bad livingroom layout but it's silent, new, comfortable, extremely energy-saving and finally my husband will have free time again and we can have our marital life back. I have sunlight for drawing and painting/painting things, I can go wild with the fretsaw on the patio and I finally have a bathtub again. If the screws get ever removed from my leg I won't have to climb nasty stairs on crutches anymore and with underfloor heating, shutters and parquet floor I shouldn't feel cold anymore. There's the Rhein promenade right behind our garden, so we can take walks in beautiful landscapes and there's also parks nearbye. The city has a doll museum and a thermal bath.

When there was the hundred year flood the Rhein didn't flood the street so I hope that our feet and basement will always stay dry.

The move is extremely expensive, extremely unnerving, extremely time-consuming and I'm tired of it already, but it has to be done. ^^
If at least there wasn't all those traffic jams!


News"Why do we live here and not over there in the castle?"

The move already started but it will take us several weeks since we move with just the help of our friends and can't haul more than one load per week due to the distance and traffic situation. The old as well as the new flat have to be renovated and that is difficult too when there's almost 140km between both flats.
I'm anxious to see how stressy things will become when the old landlord starts showing up with potential next tenants, too. Sadly we have to pay for the old flat until the end of June.

I really can't say at what point I can fully start updating again. As you can see I diligently write Dolltopia Outtakes whenever I can spare some time but that will end soon too. I have no clue how long it will take to unpack and feel the pressure lifting off my head. Hopefully we will live in the new flat by the midth of May but then there's still renovating the old flat and all the unpacking. Surely everyone knows how long it takes until everything looks as wished and everything found its place.

I'm SO looking forward to Dolltopia, to the story itself as well as to sewing in peace again, modelling with Fimo and all the other things. So much of my stuff is packed away for weeks or months now, it stopped being funny a long while ago. It's been weeks too since I actually found the time to do something nice in the evening.

NewsEternia is looking forward to the new doll room. This time I have 15 square metres and as you can see a big window too, pointing to the south, to boot. I'm curious to see if that will have the desired positive effect on my photos - we'll see soon enough!

I suppose there will be "unpacking outtakes" for a while after the move until we settled in. Then I will work on Dolltopia full force and tackle some of the website things that have to wait right now, like the server move, a heap of photos for the galleries and all the promised tutorials for crafters and doll fans.

Sadly my computer is breaking more and more so it probably isn't even useful to connect the graphic tablet again before I got hold of a new mainboard. I don't know, it often doesn't close down, sometimes doesn't want to boot, often freezes and since last week I get error messages at start-up. I almost feel like I was using Windoze again. ;) The error messages hint at the mainboard becoming faulty, now it could be the graphics card on top, too.
Supposedly I will be offline for a few days in the new future when those parts are replaced and the computer gets a fresh install. My Linux is outdated anyway, once again.
As if the move wasn't expensive enough. *sighs*

Welcome to the newest edition of "Eph's flimsy excuses" with an overview of my plans for the next months. Actually I planned to write this earlier but I caught a fat cold on Jan. 28 (my birthday!) and it just doesn't want to leave!

Like mentioned before my husband now works at Bonn, with appr. 4 hours of commuting every day. So far the train has a failure quota of 40%, with delays of 5-180 minutes each. Our quality of life suffers enourmously from his lack of free time and the very different sleeping habits.
On the 21st we have a first appointment to view an appartment at Bonn. If that one isn't good we'll have to keep looking. We will cancel our current flat for the end of May and we hope to find a new flat quickly enough to get the move done in April or early May.

That means no real updates (especially Seekers and Sims) prior to June at best. I know I said March but at that time we still thought my husband would find a new job quicker! With a heavy heart, Dolltopia is also on hold until after the move.

Currently there is a new Dolltopia Outtake every few days (thus a short story), in which the dolls prepare themselves for the move. I don't need elaborate sceneries for that and can concentrate fully on the characters. Also, real live writes the best stories. ;)
In my opinion there are some very funny short stories, some hints at the later story and even some heartache. I will publish quite a lot of them since I write a scene for each important doll right before wrapping them up for the move - and I have a lot of dolls!
The photo gags will also recieve a few updates. I don't know if everyone can laugh at them - I'm more of a storyteller than a comedian, after all. ^^

Living Dead Dolls FashionWhat few free time I have right now I mostly spend on making sewing patterns for doll clothes and testing them. (For some weird reason I chose the Living Dead Dolls for my first fashion collection, of all things.) When I don't sew I tinker and craft.
Trust me, after the move there will a landslide of new content for crafts and handiwork of all kind.

After the move I also want to introduce some new sections and I promise most of them will be absolutely not about dolls. ;)
(To be honest, quite a few of them will not be available in English, though. But some will.)

XrayIn the end, let me cry about my leg for one last time: cry, cry!

I guess it's about time that I acknowledge to myself that it will probably never be the same again. I still have pain in the foot and lower leg and the way I walk is still awkward. I'm curious to see if it will become somewhat better when I'll have more time for walking again after the move, since I gained quite some weight and lost muscle power due to all the stupid lying around - when I had lost so much previously by walking! Currently I mostly sit around doing scans or sewing and barely get outside.

In a few months they will decide whether the plates will be taken out again sometime or whether they'll stay in forever. The doc also told me  that thanks to this I'm very prone to get arthrosis at a very young age.

Here's my x-ray from September, especially for all those who whinged at me for being in hospital instead of making updates, and for those who think one nail should be good enough to fix it. Woohoo!
(Those holes in the shinbone are from the external fixation, two of the six pins went through that point.)

To be honest: Arthrosis be damned, I would prefer if the plates stay in. Apart from the neccessary surgery: Would you trust your leg after the 16 screws are taken out and the bones look like Swiss cheese?



I hope all of you had nice, quiet holidays and I wish you all a Happy New Years! ^o^

For us the new year starts exciting and bumpy at the same time.
My husband got a new job at a university at Bonn! Sadly the contract is limited to three years but we hope that over time it will get prolonged or even permanent.
Sadly Bonn is so far away that we'll definitely have to move and quite far, to boot. There's tons of work to do in all kinds of sections and the website has to keep cutting back.

After some steps back my leg is now quite okay. Thanks to the hurt nerve my foot still hurts a lot and after walking ~2km I need a crutch but apart from that I walk quite normally again and the surgeon was very pleased with the latest x-ray of my leg.
Although I sometimes walk for hours I still have lots of problems on the local staircase, especially when I try to carry something.

Speaing of the website - today it's is exactly 15 years since the url went live. Happy birthday, website! So now it's a teenager. *wipes tear away*
Actually I had plans to celebrate that but due to all the chaos of the year the plan didn't survive summer. While I updated some articles (a handful of links actually are dead right now since the articles still have to be updated and/or translated) and uploaded a giant bunch of new (doll) photos to the galleries there just wasn't more time prior to X-mas to update more - just making the gifts for our relatives took me two months! I didn't want to celebrate without having something nice for ALL topics of the website, though.
So I decided to work diligently after the move again so the website continues to grow until its 18th. Then we'll celebrate its age of consent with a giant party. ;)

Since the light situation in my current doll room is a desaster Dolltopia was on halt until I was able to buy new lamps. Hopefully I'll be able to do the photo stories with only artificial light from now on. I do test whether the project would do better as articles than as galleries, though, and the first photos have to be taken again to match the later pics in style. Dolltopia will surely continue in January.

Currently I do have quite some material up my sleeve but almost everything is about dolls, crafts or model building since those things simply happen while I finish projects prior to the move or as preparations for the first chapters of Dolltopia.
Of course I do have truckloads of other ideas and plans but I really have no idea how much I can do before the move (or shortly after). It makes me very sad but my pretty graphic tablet is still barely used. :(

Oh yeah, although I said it on the forum I better say it here too:
In the foreseeable future we will move to a new, more powerful server so the website will probably not be available for 1-3 days one day when the url gets reconnected.