craft, Doll, Uncategorized

Ariel from the Box.

I’m now 43. I started using dial-up modems to access local chat lines when I was 14/15. So the raw amount of STUFF, good and bad, that accessing the world from your computer is not new…those early days in fact made me love using e-mail early and often to maintain and grow connections to people I’d met but reluctant to blog or participate in online communities in my early to late 20’s because WHY INVITE MORE DRAMA?

It wasn’t until after three years in Japan, on the cusp of turning 30, that I opened myself back up to blogging to maintain old friendships and express myself…and suddenly make far more connections than I’d expected.

One of the magical things about my years of sharing my thoughts and my assorted arts online has always been the support I’ve found. There are dramatic moments, like people coming out of lurking mode to contact me during the Tohoku quake and nuclear aftermath to tell me what my writing and creativity has meant for me (and, literally, providing me and my friends a safe-house in Nagoya).  There has been my ability to network with dancers internationally and teach workshops abroad.

And then there has been the physical stuff.

With my costuming and costume rehab people have contacted me over the to send me fabric stashes, older costumes, newer costume and more…no strings attached…just to see what I make or encourage me to keep making and sharing.

And then there’s Gina and this box of dolls…which won’t be the last box of dolls.


Gina met me on Live Journal and we’re still in each others lives via FB.

She cheers me on and thrift shops for me. I, in turn, bought thrift Pokemon goods for her daughter…but neither one of us is really saving any money on this right now, what with international shipping, but we’re building a friendship and encouraging each other. We’re saying “this and this if you see it but surprise me otherwise!”

More dolls will eventually come and I will custom repaint a doll for her daughter and we’ll both be richer in our way.

Toddler Moana has lead to the wrap dress I designed (and you can make) and is staying her adorable self… at least until I have and idea and skills that will make her even better.


But I’m STILL waiting for some Pullip Eyechips and I still have tendonitis issues and the second half of Japan’s holiday/Golden week is coming so I went BACK to the Box.


Ariel, you’re the next contestant.

Watching repaint videos from South Korea is where I first saw 100¥ socks being used to keep bodies and hair protected from fixative spray. These are 100¥ arm warmer things. This is easier (and far less creepy) than trying to wrap your doll in plastic wrap and tape. Swadling clothing vs. mad scientist.

Working on dolls is creepy. Period. But it doesn’t have to be Peak Creep.


See? Once you’ve used acetone to remove paint off your vinyl doll you’re already near the Creep Summit. I’ve come to love the sculpts on the Disney Animators Collection dolls, from different angles they seem to relay slightly different moods, but no face is no face.

This is when the doll gets her first layers of fixative to create a slight tooth/texture for the pigments to adhere to. In looking at this photo I wish I’d really gotten all the paint grit out of the inner corners of her eyes/under her lashline.


The background you see are the Ikea outdoor tiles for my mini balcony. I set the dolls up on cinder blocks, put my filter mask on, and spray them.

I’m glad I don’t live in the first floor. “Yeah, those foreigners always leaving half assembled dolls on cinderblocks on their yards.


This photo was after I built up the eye whites with acrylics,  I wouldlater regret not doing that even more obsessively on the edges, and the eyeliner. I also started putting in the eyebrows with water color pencils and a little bit of shading above the eyelid with sanded pastels an Elf makeup brush I reserve for doll-use-only.


Still creepy. The gunk in the corners of her eyes were making her look strung-out.


Disney Animators dolls are generally all looking away. Some read more “side eye/that’s none of my business” than others. It took a lot of penciled-on circles and erasing to figure out the placement and size I wanted. I ended with “looking up at you/looking wistfully up towards land” depending on the angle.

I started adding more color to her face with chalk pastels and water color pecil and brush. The irises are acrylic at the base and built up color pencil layers with a few coats of fixative now and then.


I thought I was finished. I even put acrylic gloss on the eyes and lips. There were no added white dots in the iris in the above picture, that’s reflection….

But something still bothered me.

I ended up obsessively sanding her eye paint to remove the gloss and then smooth the imperfections. With a pointed file I cleaned out her eye edges. I gave the edges of her lower eye whites a liiiiiiiitle gray line to create depth/transition . I made the water line more pink and less rusty.


Time to add more eyelashes and some gloss.

I thought about adding fake lashes but when I pressed one in place with my finger (no glue) she looked too pagent-girl.


Added eye-reflection highlights, onto gloss. Soon she would be free of her swaddling.

It was around 11pm when I took this photo in my kitchen. No bands to do her hair and too sleepy to iron her current dress.

I’ve got news for you girl, on land dads don’t always understand and they do reprimand daughters.

But I do have plenty of thingamabobs and I’m glad you’ve left the box.

But between you and me, reader, if I get into rerooting Disney doll hair it will be so I can make a toddler Ursula. Shhhhhhhh.


3 thoughts on “Ariel from the Box.

  1. Atta girl! You’re amazing at all you do! I love, love living vicariously through you! ❤ I like to imagine if I made a few small different choices in life I would do something fraction as cool as you do 😀 You're work with the dolls is flourishing and you sure as hell paint better then I do. My daughter is going to be so surprised when she opens her Christmas Present 😀


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