This year has been an eventful year so far! After BCSG 2017, I didn’t even have time to catch a breath before being thrown into a major milestone in my life—getting my own home.
The entire process of getting my own home was a heady mixture of stress, anxiety, joy and excitement. It was also time-consuming and tiring, and I had to deal with it in addition to my full-time job and CaramelPOPS dolly projects. In hindsight, I wonder how I managed it all without collapsing.
For over half a year, I viewed properties, made major decisions, took out a housing loan, planned and designed my home interior decor, sourced for furniture and home furnishings, dealt with contractors, renovations and delays. From the beginning to the end, the process was overwhelming. I often felt completely out of depth, but I am so thankful because my wonderful partner was always there to help me.
When I finally chose the place, I was still not sure. The flat was dim and dingy, and the previous owners had made some very questionable interior decor choices. So, the flat needed a total revamp from top-to-toe. Which meant months of dealing with contractors, obtaining building approvals from the authorities, delays, constantly monitoring the progress, and lots of debris.
But I listened to my partner’s advice, and am so glad I did. When the first wall came down, the flat was suddenly filled with sunlight. Such bright, natural light! It filled me with such joy. Out went the mismatched blue door frames and olive moulding. Out went the old-fashioned faux marble floor tiles, and bright purple kitchen cabinets. Suddenly I started to see what I could do with the space!
The transformation of the room designated for my Candy Cave was the most exciting of all. Before renovation, it was a dingy little room that was connected to a tiny and dim storeroom. So, gone with the two dim rooms with their filthy yellow walls and old-fashioned faux marble tiles!
In place is now my spanking new studio space, the Caramelaw Candy Cave! Where all that happy and colourful magic happens! So I now have a room dedicated to my magic AND an entire pad to display my own collection!
The Caramelaw candy land crazy begins right at the entrance of my Candy Cave. I finally have lots of display space for my toy collectibles, new and vintage alike!
I had custom-built shelving with tempered glass doors put in. And now I can finally see my beautiful Blythe dolls in their full glory, together with all my other toy collectibles.
A lot of people have asked me how I work within this space, surrounded by everything. How do you organise everything? How do you find what you need? Don’t you feel cramped or claustrophobic? So I thought I would share a little about how I keep my dolly materials.
The place where I create my Caramelaw magic takes up about half my Candy Cave. At the very centre is my workspace, where each CaramelPOPS girl is formed. Every stage of the process happens here—from the prep work, painting, right down to the final touches. Surrounding that central workspace is where I keep all the materials needed to make my Caramelaw magic—all within easy reach.
Next to my workspace is what I call the Body Tower, a little organiser tray where I store all the dolls that are works-in-progress. Each tray is carefully labelled, so I can tell who is kept where in just one glance. Some of you might recognise the organiser tray—yes, it is the KVISSLE letter tray from IKEA. Quite a lot of my materials are kept organised in storage items that I bought from IKEA. All the other materials needed to make that special CaramelPOPS girl are kept in storage units around my workspace. Opposite the Body Tower are the scalps and accessories…. Behind my workspace are shelves of craft materials I use for their outfits, as well as the materials I use to create my Pom Bands, Bobapops and Candy Pandas. Each unit is carefully labelled so I know what items are contained in each unit.
As for whether I feel cramped or claustrophobic…Not at all! I love sitting in the middle of all that organised madness. My seat is like the eye of the storm, a little oasis of calm where I can focus on painting away at the little girl that is forming in my hands.
It’s been a couple of months since I moved into this place, my very first home. And where I’ve begun making magic in my new and bigger Candy Cave. But not a single day goes by without feelings of gratitude and a sense of wonder. Indeed, it is easier to organise my dolly materials and customise dolls in my new (and bigger!) Candy Cave. Still, each time I enter my new Candy Cave…each time I look around…each time I sit down to work on a CaramelPOPS girl, I am still filled with a sense of wonder. The full weight of my collection hits me. I am still amazed at how I managed to cram all of this into my old studio, which was also my bedroom where I slept and changed.
Last but not least, many thanks to my good friend Christine Yeh (@yotsub4) for her kind and generous help to document the entire process. She not only helped snap many beautiful photographs but also helped with some parts of the moving. Thank you very much sis, you’re a gem! ♥