Personal Solutions

THANK YOU to HELLIE for compiling these member tips for our topic.

Cat playing with your doll? Rough hands?

A) ... How to keep your pet off the table  hahahhaha or occupied while creating (or keeping your items safe) ....
* Cats notoriously do not like to hear where they walk. So have you tried aluminium foil placed where it likes to walk?
We trained our cats with this to not go behind the t.v.stand near to cables. Worked a treat. It is friendly, no mess, no damage to cat or owners items...
* If my cat jumps up on the desk, I usually let her have a sniff and then she's happy and gets down.  If that doesn't work, a light spray of the water bottle usually does.
* And then there is the give in and give him a comfortable spot.  So, I cleaned off a back corner, placed a piece of terry in the bottom of a small (how they curl into small areas I will forever have jealousy) and then just let Jack make himself at home.
* As to cats my cat likes to lay across my shoulders while I am working (nice and warm in the winter) or if he wants to play I have a toy on elastic hanging on the side of the table that he plays with.
* Some kitties like to be up on the table no matter what you do. You can put a small box or basket on the corner of your workspace and crumple up a paper bag inside of it. Kitty will be happy to settle down in it while you work. If not, toss in a bit of cat nip. @;^ )
* My puppy (who is 10 years old) often comes up to me and just wines and begs for attention when I am working in my workshop.  Usually when I pick him up, give about 5 minutes lovin', then put him down, I am more relaxed for having his affection, and he is very content to go lie down in his bed for another couple of hours.  I have found that this 5 minute relief time is just as good for me as it is him.
* I only have some experience with cats, and they are curious. So I letthem see what I was doing... over and over again until they `knew' what I was doing. And I gave them their own mini, a pipecleaner that I `twisted' like a spring. Now it's their favourite toy.
If I wanted them to go I snapped my fingers and put them on the ground.  I must admit I have a lot of patience with my furkids and they were good students. Now I only have so snap my fingers and they go away. Good kids. :)
B) ... A personal solution to a problem you have creating (i.e. Seeing the
items better ..... Or having less back strain .... Or smoother hands ...
* I have dry, sometimes rough hands from dealing with porcelain and all the summer landscaping for Fallon's wedding.  SOooo when I work on dolls hair, or silk its so difficult and frustrating to have the items catch on my hands. SOoooo my answer was to take a nail file and file off the problem areas and cover with hand cream.  BUT there were a few more suggestions ....
Rosemary from Portugal told me about taking cooking oil and sugar and it works just great!
* My problem is seeing the small items.  I invested in a lamp that also has a magnifier.  It works great.
* I use a piece of masking tape folded over on itself, placed onto the workbench, for putting beads or small pieces of lace onto. This way they are easier to get hold of when you want them, also they don not fall off bench either.
I was always dropping beads or tiny pieces of lace, not only irritating but makes your back ache constantly picking them up then having to wipe your hands again!
* I use an exfoliate for hands that leaves the skin nice and soft.  This is Mary Kay brand but am sure there are many others on the market.  It gets rid of rough skin and leaves cuticles smooth.  Just massage and rinse.  Rough hands can be very bothersome when handling delicate fabrics and/or arranging doll hair.
* If you have limited space to work, I've found the Table-Mate table to be useful. It's basically a television dinner type table; the leg height and table top are adjustable. The difference to a standard  T.V. dinner table is that the design of the legs allows the table to slide  under your chair or sofa, which allows your work to be much closer to you. When you're finished with the table, it can be folded up and tucked out of the way.
* I have been using olive oil to soften dry, rough skin on my hands. I got this tip from one of my doctors who said the olive oil is a natural product that is absorbed into the skin better than products that have petroleum-based ingredients. I rub it in and leave it as long as possible- sometimes overnight with cotton gloves on. Nice and soft.
* What I use to see better is eye glasses for reding the strongest one I use to sew 275 +, this way I have both of my hands free, about my back I use hard pillows,and for my hands I put lime and sugar and rub them very well then I wash them ( you should try it ).
* I keep a box of baby wipes in the work area, it is good for cleaning glue off your hands and fabrics and dolls, keeps your hands soft and very inexpensive. On occassion I have used it to tame unruly frizzies before spraying and then it works to wipe off spray from the lovely porcelain so an all round good tool to keep on hand.
* Years ago "Elmer's" had a product called "Invisible Glove". I loved it!! It kept your hands from getting stained, rough and didn't impair your touch. Well, I don't know what happened to it but I could no longer find it!  I could have screamed! So sad. :^(
I finally found a home-made recipe for a product that works just as well. This came out the "FineScale Modeleler" Aug 1981
Recipe for Invisible Glove
3 - 4oz bars of soap ( I use a hypo-allerginic soap that has no scent! like Ivory soap)
2 cups of water
2-3 teaspoons of castor oil ( I suppose that olive oil would work as well)
Cook in a sauce pan over medium heat until it is the consistancy of pudding. Cool. Store in a glass jar for best results.
Use as a mold release or as your invisible glove. Rub into hands making sure it is dry before handling anything. When you wash your hands everything washes off: paint, stains, skin cells.  Keeps your hands nice and soft.
* As I've gotten older, I find that it is getting harder and harder to see close-up! Surprise! But I've found that having a very good light source helps tremendously. Can't see in the half-light anymore.
So I got an Ott light for my work table and a lighted magnifying lamp. So now I can see to work on my minis!!
* To keep my hands soft and smooth, I do as little work as  After my porcelain cleaning for the evening I feel extremely dry all over (and under). I indulge myself in the shower with Oil of Olay shower gel for dry skin then replenish my skin with a wonderful Aveeno cream.
* For my eyes, I had the optometrist give me a 2nd prescription X10 for a 2nd pair of glasses.  This way I really don't ruin my eyes by wearing my prescription glasses plus a pair of magnifiers - it just ruined my perception.  I buy them when I buy one pair get the 2nd pair free.
He couldn't understand why I wanted them until I brought in one of my little 1" babies....then he totally understood......
* My favorite time saving tip is to get my husband do the laundry and start dinner while I keep "playing".
* Invest in a good chair preferably an office chair with a good lumbar support.
* Keep baby wipes on your work counter to wipe glue off your hands, use it often to keep material you are working with clean.
* Condition your viscose with a little hair conditioner before you start to make your wig, it will tame that fly-away hair making a smoother hairstyle.
* Keep all supplies for the project you are currently working on in a small basket so it is always ready when you want to resume work.
* Keep a small note pad by your nightstand for when inspiration strikes. If you are like me my ideas always come late at night or early morning and if I don't write them down they are lost forever :-)
* About backaches there is only one word: ergonomics.
Make sure, if possible, to work on `eye-height'. Yes, you have to lift your arms a bit more (you could try to find some boxes for your arms too to rest on) but it does wonders for your back. If I sculpt or wig I put the doll on a box or big paint can so the doll is on the same height as my head. This keeps me sitting straight and saves my back.
If this isn't possible, because you have to cut items or something like that, just do some little exercise, before you start, like making round circles with your hips so your muscles are `warmed up' and can take a little extra `pressure'.
Stand up every hour and do some `hula hoops' again. You can also, GENTLY, make circles with your head to loosen up your neck.
* Good light is a must. Here in the Netherlands you can buy daylight bulbs. So you don't have to invest in a whole lamp (although they are good, so if you have the money...) but just turn the bulb into your regular lamp.
Make sure you check out the amount of Watt. You can't turn a 60-Watt bulb into a 120-Watt lamp... the bulb will blow in an
Thanks to Dana, Rosemary, Mags, Linda, Kathi, Louise, Marlene, Carolyn, Jean, Sol, Lucie, Bonnie, Bev, Rhonda, Hellie and Marilyn for sharing these tips with us.