Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Custom Doll of Autumn from the Stranded setting - Strong start

Second doll goal with significant progress!

My bed will stand in for a Ren faire!

Autumn is one of the siblings in the Stranded setting that Lyn Thorne-Alder writes about (see her Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/aldersprig ).

She has a wig I made from wool hand dyed by a friend of my sister's, a top from a Barbie fashion pack, a skirt I made, shoes from a Barbie pack, and belt, purse, and shawl from the Volks 1/6 going out of business sale.

That is how the wig looked originally - it has faded significantly in just two months (granted, she sat near a window, but none of my other wigs have faded like this). The yellow is nearly entirely gone. I'm going to need to work on painting or re-dying portions of it.

I do intend to make her a better peasant blouse, a bodice, and a more dramatic skirt. Not to mention hiking boots and a backpack.

But she has clothes now! And her eyes are hazel! Her face mold is.... oddly flat in places, yet I really like her personality (the eyes, I think, and the hair).

See? She just looks lovely!

A few more pics, for now. I hope to return to the project soon!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Custom doll of Teresa (Reese) Eddings - first 2018 goal accomplished

I am super excited to share this! I have made a custom doll of a character in a wonderful series of books. I started this in December of 2017, so it took me about a month and a half.

I have a few custom dolls which I invented characters for (Eliza and Emily are two) but they both came about because I either did a head swap, or I bought a second-hand doll... and then in both cases I made their wigs. This is the first time I have tried to make a doll look like a character, to have a specific look (not just "hey, this wig looks neat, let's use that!"), and to fit a character that someone else came up with.

Here is the image of the first book in the series, Earthrise by MCA Hogarth. Reese is a very striking woman, she wears her hair in braids that are capped with beads, and in the first few books her wardrobe is described as bodysuits and vests. She is the captain and owner of the space trader Earthrise, and she has as a frequent companion a Flitzbe (an alien that looks like a fuzzy volleyball which can change colors) named Alacazam.

I did not have a doll with quite the right face, and I did end up having to settle - I was not able to find a doll with the right skin tone and that narrow a nose. Also, I wanted her on a Made To Move body, which meant I could not go with as dark a skin tone as I would have liked.

I settled on ordering this doll from Amazon along with a Gabby Douglass Made to Move doll (I was hoping she would have dark enough skin to match the Zig-Zag doll I also ordered, but no such luck).

As you can see from her stock photo, she has a lovely face, but the two-tone hair was not going to stay. My doll also had a defect on her lip paint, there was a scratch in it (a big one).

While I waited for the dolls to arrive, I did a little test photoshoot with some clothing and props I had on hand, and my yellow/green top Made to Move Barbie (whose nose is too cute and upturned to be Reese).

I don't own a bodysuit, so I used the yoga pants from the Made To Move dolls, calf-high boots from a Star Trek Uhura doll, and then a long-sleeved blue shirt I don't know the origin of and a Barbie vest. The headset is from a Power Team guy, the bag I am not sure of, and I think the belt is Power Team too. I posed her in front of a bunch of stuff that could pass as futuristic, and then kept waiting for the actual doll to arrive because I REALLY liked this project. It made me think of other dolls-based-on-characters-from-books projects...

Then the dolls arrived, and I started by removing the heads (Gabby Douglass looks cute and teen-aged on a petite body). I cut off the two-toned hair (and saved it because it is nice and maybe some doll will end up with a blue and purple bob cut) and removed the glue and hair bits from the head. I used acetone nail polish remover to remove the lip paint and the scalp paint. I was hoping to remove all of the blue and purple scalp paint so I could just have a scalp the color of her skin, but I couldn't get rid of all the blue and purple. I ended up having to paint her scalp black, which is unrealistic but I had to compromise.

Then I rooted her hair with yarn I had, a black Alpaca yarn in a light worsted weight, maybe DK weight. I used My Froggy Stuff's excellent video on a yarn reroot. Each strand is knotted, and will not slip out. I rooted in every other hole around the hairline, and more sparsely over the rest of her head (and her hair is still REALLY thick).

Then I put a bead on the end of every strand of yarn. They are not glued on (though I may do that in future). I used a needle threading tool and pulled the yarn through each small bead. Then I repainted her lips. The first layer of paint was way too red, but putting a light brown over it toned it down.


In this photo, Reese holds Alacazam, who is currently white. She is somewhere either in port, or in her ship, looking over cargo.

And here she is examining a small snail shell (which is actually yellow, and my camera would just not pick up the detail). Alacazam is pink here, not white!

Then I changed outfits. She ends up in the later books on the planet where the Eldritch live (think space elves). They are very formal, and Reese is ... not. I do not have nearly fancy enough clothes for a ball, but I threw together this outfit thinking of the times that Reese is running about castles trying to find and help the Eldritch who is part of her crew. Thus I give you - Rescuing Space Elves Requires Pants and Boots!

The leggings and boots are the same as before, the shirt is one my mother made when I was a child, the shawl is one I got when Volks discontinued their 1/6 line of dolls, and the purple cape was found at a flea market, I think.

Yes, Alacazam is now blue! He (or it, but Reese cannot call him it) changes colors to project his mood.

And finally, I did pull out the closest thing to a ball gown I have in my clothes collection. It is still not fancy enough. It was on a dollar store doll I bought because I liked her face.

Yes, the Flitzbe is now the most soothing blue he can be, Reese is not a fan of large social gatherings or court (as in the court of a queen) appearances.

Here is a look at her hair from the back, I hope to eventually replace the clear shiny beads with gold ones, I did not have enough gold beads for her whole head of hair.

There! I am extremely happy with Reese, and am already thinking about another project, a favorite character from a friend's writing.

I can highly recommend the four book series that Reese stars in, it is very good space opera with some romance and characters that care about each other (even Reese, who is rather prickly and standoffish at first grows and changes over the books). The fourth book is my absolute favorite - what started as a short holiday story for fans turned into an entire novel about the holiday traditions of the Eldritch and gift giving and feasts. It's wonderful.

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Wal-Mart Barbie Haul!

This is my first ever Haul! It was the only time I have ever gone to a store and found dolls on sale in bulk! I was so excited.

I have bought a few things on Amazon before the holidays, but shopping in person is so much fun. If there is interest, I can share the other things I have picked up recently - I also made my first www.tinyfrockshop.com purchase!

Sorry for cell phone photos, I am hoping to take more detailed out of the box pictures later.

Ta da!
That is a lot of clothes and accessory sets. And off on the right are two rolls of paper (wrapping paper?) that were in the clearance aisle for $0.75. One is mirrored, the other looks kind of like burlap.


I was most excited about these two - normally $19.88 I got the Astronaut and Space Scientist for $5.00! They have some awesome accessories, including a laptop, sensible clothes and shoes, a lab coat, safety goggles, and a full space suit with helmet, boots, and gloves.

I picked up the blonde for a custom doll I am planning based on a friend's writing, the blue haired one was just so pretty and my first Tall Barbie, and I could not resist Wonder Woman in a lovely gown with her sword. Also, three of the new Hello Kitty fashions (which rang up at $5.00 and not the listed $7.97 so I was thrilled).

Older clothing sets were $4, I think the single clothes were $2 or $3 and the accessory packs were $2 except the guitar which was $1!

Accessories were fun to look through. I settled on one camping set with a fire and a seat, a sushi set (I already have one, now there can be lots of sushi), a set of belts and necklaces I don't have that also has a cup and binoculars, a guitar that I could see had other stuff and headphones tucked into the hollow back, and cleaning supplies (the dustbuster takes me back to my childhood).

The pink and yellow set at the top is a much older fashion pack that had the outer plastic ripped off and the yellow shirt was hanging on by one little plastic tag. But everything is there! A suit for the guys, and a lovely flowing shimmering beach gown.

The metallic silver tank top with the 80's stylized unicorn had to some home with me, and the more sporty set looked fun. I bought the set at the back mostly because the T-shirt says "RAWR" on it.

The teacher outfit has awesome glasses and books, and is generally pretty cute!

All of this was in the toy section, not in a separate clearance section. I have no idea if Wal-Marts outside of Maine are discounting this much, but I wanted to share. Also, Maine usually gets any and all new stuff (like Monster High) well behind major cities so I was super excited to actually find something NEAT in stores.

I hope to take more detailed pictures with a good camera later.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

So, Wal-Mart has a lot of Barbie items on clearance

Or at least my local one sure does!

It turns out that Wal-Mart, or at least my local one, is having a HUGE SALE on Barbie. Like half off or more on some items, even brand new releases (the new Hello Kitty clothes) rang up discounted (shelf said regular price for Hello Kitty clothes, $7.97, register rang up as $5.00). 

Older Fashionistas were $4.00! My local store had a lot from the last wave.

Wonder Woman in her lovely gown with a "hidden sword sheath" normally around $12-15, now $5. 

Barbie careers two pack, Space Scientist and Astronaut, normally $19.88 now $5!!! Scientist Barbie had a lab coat, sensible solid pants and top, flats, and protective goggles. Astronaut Barbie has a white jumpsuit with printed on details, heavy looking white boots, giant white gloves, and a bubble helmet.

I will try and get photos tomorrow, because I think this is my first big doll haul. I was so excited, and just wanted to share. I've never really run into massive doll sales or clearances before, so this was awesome. And I spent about 4 months of my doll budget (which is very small) so I won't be buying new things for a while. But I sure won't need to!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

2018 Doll Goals

Time for 2018 Doll GOALS. I am saying goals, not resolutions, because I want to have fun and not be pressured about getting stuff done for my hobby!

First, what happened in 2017? I want to do a wrap up post on 2017, but I FINALLY got back into my doll hobby and it makes me really happy! So 2017 will be a later post, after I finish recovering photos from the Great Hard drive crash of 2017.

I made two earlier posts this year about Projects and Clothing ideas. I'm going to take some things from them, but I also want a List of things I can actually make real progress on, so I will also remove a lot. And add a bit too!


Modern Furniture Project -

  • Make a poof from old socks.
  • Make bedding
  • Make a couch
  • Make a chair 
  • Make a dresser
  • Make bookshelves and storage (felt bins 2 in by 2 in)

Modern Living Spaces Projects (mostly for display)

  • Make living room with Kitchenette
  • Make a bedroom
  • Make a generic store or shop that can have wall posters, stock, and front sign changed up

Fantasy/Castle/Magic Project -

  • Make castle walls and garden
  • Make a Druid grove
  • Make a "wizard" trunk (Harry Potter, yay MyFroggyStuff) with cauldron and potion bottles
  • Make books and parchment

Inspired by Books! -

  • Make a bunk/Room on the Earthrise (spaceship from MCA Hogarth's novels)
    • Design it to be modular - add a door to imply Reese's bathroom and hang her hammock, put bolsters and mattresses on the floor for the twins, nest of blankets and pillows for Kis'et'h, a real nest for Bryer...
  • Make the attic from Lyn Thorne Alder's Aunt Family


I really want to expand the wardrobes, and I think I should just rewatch a lot of MyFroggyStuff and use the ideas to sew for my dolls. My CY Girls are larger, and don't have enough clothes, and Monster High and Ken and even regular Barbies are low on certain things.

No Sew Dresses - Froggy used a 12 inch diameter circle, and carefully cut holes for the head and arms, then belt it. No fray fabric like a T-Shirt works great.

Doll Cardigan Kimono - again, a Froggy video, from an old scarf. Uses the doll to determine the size, which is cool.

Tights or leggings make great stretchy tube dresses. Sew a back seam on a curve, again they do not fray.

Look at some of her Bathing Suit videos, good inspiration and could be extended to a dress.

Froggy has a lot of videos on making pants, shorts, and dresses for dolls.

Fun stuff, and expanding the wardrobe of the dolls, especially the CY girls who have 2 outfits is pretty crucial.

Characters and customs -

  • Give the old GI Joe knock off dreds, and a pirate outfit (he has dreds!)
  • Finish the reroot of an old Belle doll
  • Make the My Scene guy into a giant to hang with the Monster High Crew (he has a robe)
  • Finish the custom Reese Eddings doll
  • Make a custom Autumn from Stranded doll

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Sewing Challenege on Figuvore - Uniformity

The challenge was to make uniforms! For two dolls. I ... went overboard in the number.

But I also did not do a lot of sewing. These are very simple uniforms, and the top/tunic has no sewing at all! I have not sewn doll clothes in *years* so I wanted to start with something simple.

I present... Druids! All members of the order wear a wrap tunic and a green robe.

As you can see, there are different styles of robe! Some have hoods, others do not.

The most detailed robe is on the tall My Scene guy on the right, because I think it will end up as part of his character - he is so *very* tall, he is out of scale with most of my dolls. He towers over the Power Team guy! So he is going to hang out with my Monster High dolls as the son of giants.

Clawdeen is modeling an alternative style of robe. All of the clothing is based off of the My Froggy Stuff video on making a Doll Lightsaber (and Jedi robes). She has the more "simple" version made from a folded square of fabric. I have yet to get that style to look good. I am happy that the robes also look good on child dolls, like my little knock-off Kelly here. Also, Druids love animals!

Here we can really see how tall the My Scene guy is compared to the others. Also, Power Team guy forgot his brown wrap tunic. He is studying nature.

The druid order was intended to be photographed outside at lunch, but that did not work, then ona quick afternoon break that never happened.... so they ended up at my cube. Still, they found a bit of nature.

BONUS Outfit! I was happy to make clothes for this Gargoyle, who has only one set. This is entirely no-sew, but I think I will embellish the collar some.

Just look at that collar! Drama!

But it is hard to look dramatic and fierce next to a fuzzy bird. Just saying.

Those cheekbones tho... LoL.

I am happy that I got back into doll sewing with a simple project that I could actually get DONE. The cool thing is that I can add to the robes - add on hoods, trim, closures, etc and make them personalized. Also, the uniform does not include pants because pants are hard to sew.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Having a party!

I was told that my dolls look like they are having a party!

Eliza has the pale purple curls, and the robot dog (thank you Kinder Surprise, from years ago in England).

Blue-haired-girl has a name, Emily after one of my favorite characters in Stardew Valley (fun farming game). Emily still has Komodo, her lizard pal at her side.

The other three do not have names. In the back is a doll I learned is a PB girl, and in front are my two brand new Made-to-Move Barbies! I got them for my birthday, and I am super excited. I am very late to these dolls! I love the articulation. The Skateboarder will stay as she is (possibly different clothes) because I really love her face. Yoga barbie may have a headswap, I have several dolls with faces I love who need more articulation.