craft, Disney, Doll, pullip, sewing, Uncategorized

Alice could be living….anywhere.

Last night a friend messaged me to catch up and to let me know he’s read this blog and…”crikey, dolls creep me out!”

Accurate. My humor thrives on discomfort. I’m a cuddly creep, it’s how I get past your guard.

“I was looking and thinking ‘fuck, that’s creepy. Very, very good. But very creepy.’”

And now…he might not ever know where dolls sit in wait…for him.

In the Scammer Aftermath ( )

I made a few trips to Ebony’s place. Taking the train from my area to Ebony’s means a transfer at Ikebukuro, Tokyo….where Dollyterria (my prime location for used dolls and accoutrements) has just expanded to two (tiny) floors of dolls.

While fixing up a Jack Skellington for Ebony, I purchased a used Little Pullip Alice who had seen better days. I can’t resist Alice.

This is what a pristine Alice looks like.

This is what my Alice looked like. She suited my mood perfectly. This is the Alice who, like me, had to explain to her therapist that her mid-month email about the insanity around her and her friends and why she might need emergency medication (full-time scammers/police raids/uncovered lies/ abuse/ torture/ confiscated crime scenes) wasn’t overblown…just accurate.

I removed her scarecrow wig and opened up her head. Her eyes are a little cloudy but someone hot glued them into her skull so I decided not to bother changing them.

In Akihabara I picked up a PiccoNemo body a wig and shoes.

I wanted a brunette Alice because I was

a selfish, brunette, only-child.

I made her a new dress without a pattern. It’s rough around the sleeves because TINY. I put a new front panel on her existing pinafore so it would correctly fit her new body. I embroidered it because I can. I’ll probably make her new white bloomers when I’m ready to work that small again.

That’s a 14cm/ 5.5 inch body.

And I thought I was done…but then I looked at Pinterest.

That’s how the craftsters get you.

And I saw one of Helen CW’s Blythe Doll Carry Cases.

And I posted it on Saturday morning. And my friends whispered, “you must….you just must.” And Ebony shouted “Seria has so many wooden boxes.” And I was shouting, “I can combine my love of making things with my love of being organized?!”

Before I knew it I was making a detour to a 100¥ shop before teaching my Saturday dance lessons.

I got two of the larger wooden boxes, some hinges, wood, and a closure.

Once home, I cut one of the boxes down and sanded it. I made a drawer. There was a lot of sanding and glue. I only have 100¥ cutting tools.

Now. I THOUGHT it was going to be a home for a Dal Doll, because I never measured anything.

Alice fit. It would be Alice’s

I thought a while and decided it would become an homage to the sitting room Alice is in at the start of Through the Looking Glass.

I found some images online and resized them. I picked a cover I liked from an edition of Through the Looking Glass that appealed to me (if I weren’t making it for myself I’d get artist permission, make my own, or go for a version beyond copyright) and raided my stash of acrylic paints.

Sunday, I visited a Book-Off (used books and Magazines ) and bought a used catalogue for gothic Lolita looks (so many Alice references). I found some miniature inspiration at the adjoining Hobby-Off. I hit a fabric store for decoupage paste. At an art supply store I bought ornate origami for the wallpaper. It’d read a bit Asian influenced for England but I figured that with the right surroundings it would just read “Orientalist Inspired”

I also realized that if you put Alice in a doll stand too tall for her, she levitates with great menace.

It’s now Wednesday and the decoupage is nearly done.

I’ll soon be figuring out how to upholster a chair for Alice…but not tonight or tomorrow, as I have relaxing and teaching to do. Expect a final installation early next week.

until then….obey.

craft, Doll, monster high, sewing, Uncategorized

Frightfully Tall RAVEN

I only started watching Teen Titans Go this year, thanks Netflix Japan, but I quickly fell in love with it. After watching the first three seasons (available on Netflix) I went back and watched Teen Titans. It really doesn’t have the insane joy but I get where it fit into the cartoons of the time and enjoyed getting references I’d missed watching Teen Titans Go cold.

When I visited the homeland, Madison, Wi, this spring I had my eye out for adorable Raven merch. There was a lot but I didn’t LOVE anything.

Then my doll clothing and stuff hookup showed me an oversized Monster High doll with great articulation and said, “the first one’s free.”


Nah, they’re all free. That’s why I don’t share my hookup with the world.

Along with all that doll clothing, some free wigs, and a few MTM Barbies I’d bought, I brought back a 14”/ 35cm Monster High doll…technically a Frightfully Tall Ghoul! Elisabat!


I didn’t know what I’d do with her…and then I watched even more Teen Titans Go and knew…I needed to make my Raven doll.

Did Elissabat have the grayish hue of cartoon Raven? No. But Comic Raven didn’t either so I didn’t care. She was alien enough with purple/pink skin. Would it be exact? Nope. My Raven, my rules. I just wanted a Raven doll that would please me.

First, I swaddled Soon-to-be-Raven in an arm cover (what Japanese ladies wear to protect their arms from the sun) and a hair sock. Then, I removed her face with acetone. Finally I primed her face with Mr. Super Clear.


Craft Mavens Go!

I built up her new face with layers of chalk pastels/ watercolor pencils/ and acrylics. I’ve seen a lot of Raven cosplayers go for a dramatic purple lip. Now, I love wearing a purple lip. It’s an easy quick look. BAM! My deep purple lips are distracting you from the fact I’ve done next to nothing else with my face! But Raven’s dramatic impact point for me has been her eyes and her lips seem to be downplayed. I wanted a more muted, almost nude, look for her lips in contrast to eyes that would make Souxie proud.


Then came making her outfit. I decided that I don’t care that Raven doesn’t wear black boots with black ribbons and black hearts on them. There aren’t a lot of Frightfully Tall Ghouls to swipe boots from. They looked cool enough. Maybe someday I’ll be bothered but not today. Besides, I think the fold-down boot top with an accent color is a bit too super-cheesy for me.

Monster High dolls have WICKED swaybacks.


There was no way I was going to try and make a one-piece sleeved swimsuit top. Elissabat’s original dress solved the problem of sleeves by having the top be a fitted jacket/bolero over a dress.

I did the same. With some think black spandex I put a knitfabric needle in my machine and went to work, first making a swimsuit with black elastic straps and then making a top that closed with Velcro in back.

Then the cloak. Comic book Raven generally has dark blue as her accent color…and I think as a child I had one isolated comic issue with Raven and teen-space-drama that I somehow filled in the blanks for what happened before and after…but I fell for Teen Titans Go Raven HARD so purple it was.

But first, some coffee….I know Raven drinks tea but this is MY Raven and MY head cannon.

CAPE! Is purple crushed velvet tacky? Yes. Did I choose it? Yes. I could have gone with a thick satin but that can fray when you’re working with it and be slippery to stitch (trust me, Bellydance Costumes…lots of satin of varying quality) and I wanted clean edges without lining the whole cape.

The shape was easy, half circle cape plus a hood shape with triangular extension of the front of the hood to make the Raven Bill shape. I lined the hood with left-over black spandex, to give it slightly more shape, and left the cape unlined so it wasn’t too heavy.

Then I turned to air dry plasticine clay for the accessories. I had hoped to find jewelry fittings and stones for Raven’s belt (belt, not built in swimsuit accents) and such but nothing was right. I don’t think I’ve used Sculpty or anything similar for 20+ years…and I never loved it. Yet, there I was in a craft store looking at air-dry clays (in a second language) and I figured I’d just use it to make the parts.

I’d say it was 70% successful. I joined everything with jump rings for the belt or stitching for fabric. I painted a Raven onto the accessory for her cape closure.


I could have left it there but Raven usually has…hand-gauntlet jewel thingies. I made fingerless gloves with (cheesy) purple trim. I don’t love them but I don’t hate them.


I do love Raven now.

I finished Raven on a rainy day, thus the dark photo with a pillowcase background. Today after getting home from work I ran around the neighborhood taking some photos.

HI! Nothing to see here! Just a gaijin girl with a doll taking pictures in your shrubbery!

I wish I’d reviewed the images more as I took them (belt flip! but that can be edited in photoshop if I want to or if someone wants to do it for me …(wink)) unfortunately an old man and his dog took to following me around so I felt a little more rushed and absurd than I might normally on my first street shoot with doll.


craft, Disney, Doll, Uncategorized

Restorative Crafting: Jack Skellington and the Scammer.

Today I don’t just mean restorative to indicate fixing up a damaged or sub-par doll. I also mean crafting to put your heart and mind back together. Sometimes the hyperfocus of making something with your hands is a way of stepping back from the horrors filling your life.

Today I’m not going to get into the horrors at length. Suffice to say that someone in our lives wasn’t just revealed to be a liar: she’s a full-time con artist who can turn violent and rips lives apart. It’s an ongoing thing.

There’s information APLENTY on Facebook (and some on twitter) under the hashtag #sabrinataylorscams . If you check it out, I’m Kathryn. Sabrina the scammer (@realafterglow) is here and there on this blog as the friend I crafted a doll kimono for and more.

While things were falling apart here in Japan, my friend Randy and I took a brief trip to Akihabara when we knew Sabrina would be occupied and we wouldn’t have to risk  seeing her in person prior to the lot of us going public with what we’d learned.

At Akihabara I found a Jack Skellington doll, in box, for under 300¥. Dirt cheap. Ebony, who was also going through this crisis and more LOVES the nightmare before Christmas.  She needed Jack

Why was Jack cheap? I wondered, in the dim shop.

His face had, perhaps due to shoddy construction and the viewing window on his box, yellowed and developed mold. MY KIND OF PROJECT. I’d later learn that the face was also sorta slimy.


When I got him home I removed the shrink wrap and such and popped Jack’s greazy head off, easy peasy. I washed it and then primed in with Mr. Super Clear. Over the next week I built up layer after layer of acrylics on his face until I was happy.

I shared pictures with Ebony of the process. She’d also bought me a hedgehog/sewing themed hand towel. It’s Japan. That sort of match-up isn’t surprising.

Today I’ll be heading to Ebony’s place with Jack.  I checked how the new head would look next to the body. That’s when I noticed his shirt was similarly nasty and discolored. I bought some felt with adhesive on one side. I stripped the old shirtfront off and cleaned the plastic underneath. Then I used the old shirtfront as a pattern.


After sealing his head with more Mr. Super Clear he was ready for a few photos.