craft, Doll, pullip, sewing, Uncategorized

Nah-Atto part 2.

Ok, catching up on two months of crafting is showing me how godddamned much stuff I make. A Japanese bellydancer I’m friends with on FB JUST posted a photo of a Pullip Nah-Atto she saw in a Book-Off and I replied with a picture of my before and after…and was going to send her the link to my blog when I realized I’d NEVER finished documenting this.

Recap: I’m a belly dancer. In late April I bought a used Pullip “Nah-Atto” on the cheap. I gave her a new MTM Barbie body, sewed a more accurate costume, and started repainting her face. All the construction detail can be found here. An additional post I made about getting MTM Barbie bodies for this project and one other is here.

Then life got in the way of blogging and I didn’t keep you up-to-date!

When in my hometown last March I was given a stash of doll clothing, some dolls, and a few doll wigs from my unnamed source. In this stash was a brunette doll wig with a TON of waxy glue in it. I decided it was a little late 70’s/80’s looking  and perfect for the dancer look I was going for….and perhaps not totally unlike my own hair.

Over weeks I froze the wig and chipped away at the glue many many times. This is midway through the process.

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A pair of eyes I’d ordered from ByByBlytheCo on Etsy arrived. I inserted her new eyes into her eye-mech, inserted new earrings into her existing ear holes, and screwed her head onto her new body.

If you want to know more about the process of creating a hybrid (Pullip head on a MTM Barbie body) I found this well documented blog entry by Sutura Workshop for you.

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WIG TIME!
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With After and Before photos. Please note that she’s not lighter-skinned in the after face photo, that’s just lighting.

 

 

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craft, Doll, pullip, sewing

Dal Lipoca

Ebony and I visited Dollyterria again during one of our Ikebukuro meet ups in July. Again, I came home with a new friend.

Dal Lipoca is a 2008 Groove doll release. She retails new/mint condition for about 100USD/10,000¥. My Lipoca was around 3,000. Dolly in a baggie deals! She was FILTHY. She obviously lived with a smoker. Her white jumpsuit was brown. Her hands were stained. She smelled. She was missing her pitchfork.

New VS. Baggie Deal

Who amongst us hasn’t seen some rough times in the last ten years? Some of us just hide it better than others. MINE!

I hand washed everything. The jumpsuit will never be 100% white again. I’ve tried. Her wings molted a bit but they’re good enough for now or until I feel like replicating them. When I eventually copy them, expect that half my doll crew will be sporting wings.

The original wig suited her so I pried it off and washed it (shampoo) and conditioned it (fabric softener) and let it dry on my makeshift wig head (styrofoam ball from 100¥ shop of a plastic bottle. I liked her face and eyes as is, no repainting.

Then it was time to scrub the body. I had some leftover arms from when I replaced Monomono/Bedhead’s body that I swapped in because her hands were permanently tabacco stained.

Here’s a photo of the face with just a quick localized soapy wipe on one cheek.

I disassembled her and washed everything. EVERYTHING.

I’m not against doll nudity but I feel better if the dolls in my room have some sort of clothing prior to their final outfits. You can just tell she has no love for the extra Barbie Gear in my stash. Dal dolls are petulant 24/7.

I found some black fabric with a. red and white lipstick motif…left overs from making to Moana Wrap Dresses. I stitched her a quick skirt to replace the jumpsuit she’d word. I then returned her original outfit to her, minus jumper, and plus a skull hair ribbon. I do love her devil hat…but the others are taking turns with it…and I was drafting some new headwear based on it.

She’s now joined the crew and can usually be found with a coffee mug and one of the many coffee tables I’ve set up.

A friend recently remarked on how she never expected to envy the clothing of dolls…she’d always thought them too…something….but that it did make sense that my dolls would reflect style.

They do, they reflect my style and my life. Which is why I now have a collection of coffee mugs, a few beer glasses, and chairs and tables for my growing collection.

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craft, Doll, pullip, Social, Uncategorized

Life in Boxes: Alice

If you’re vaguely obsessive like me…and I’m assuming you’re a little like me…and you skip blogging for two months it can be daunting to return.

Instead of looking at the overwhelming amount of stuff I have to present to you I’m going take comfort in the fact that I’m NOT lacking subject matter. Ill just look back to see where I left off and what I haven’t shared.

Last I regularly wrote, I’d hit upon the idea of making doll trunks/doll boxes out of 100¥ shop goods.

Starting at the 100¥ shop helps me feel like I’m keeping everything under budget and being responsible. That is a feeling, not a truth. The 100¥ shop presents the challenge of how to flourish with outside limitations. I can’t possibly get all the supplies I would ideally want work with there, but I might stumble over solutions I hadn’t thought of.

Some limitations are worth exploring: if the wooden boxes I find aren’t quite large enough for a traditional trunk, but I’ve purchased them anyway, how shall I move forward?

Some limitations aren’t worth enduring : 100¥ wood cutting tools feed off human blood and tears. Invest in better.

This is where we last were with Alice.

Alice enjoys some coffee while I work.

I’d sawed some wood and boxes apart and rejoined them to form her home. I’d made a drawer for her extra items. These small Picco Nemo bodies come with extra hands in various positions that can be swapped in. I thought it’d be nice to have those hands stored with her along with any props or extra dresses I might make.

I’d decoupaged the interior of her room.

Now it was time to give Alice a chair.

I sawed apart a business card holder to make the frame of the chair. This was how I learned about the blood sacrifices and invectives required by cheap tools.

I sewed tiny cushions, stuffed them, and joined them awkwardly together. I now know that I’d be better off shaping sponges or another dense but soft substrate for furniture cushions and then covering them with fabric.

Miniature construction videos on you tube, like repaint videos, are soothing. I wish crafters could get some special versions of a smoke break. Like “hey, give me five minutes to watch something on my screen or knit a few rows…I promise I’ll be a better co-worker/human afterwards”

Chair deemed good enough.

I then finished painting the exterior of the boxes with the decoupage Alice cover. I joined the two boxes together with hinges and a clasp.

Alice lives here now.

I only regret that it’s a little dark in there. Since construction I’ve been playing around with tiny led lights and plastic 100¥ tea lights.

Fliiiiicckering Alice.

 

Where it started.

Where it ends. The Professor is leaving before a game or croquette begins.

Ps. You really should watch the Royal Ballet doing Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

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craft, Doll, Social

I Slump in Sadness

I visited America for two weeks this summer, hitting Maryland/Virginia/Pennsylvania for the first time in 18+ years.

I don’t have a car in Japan. I don’t need or want one here. I only drive in America. Usually I visit my hometown, where I can borrow a car. I’ve also visited cities with good enough transportation options and friends….but this trip I needed to rent a car.

How I got to this age never renting a car, I don’t know. I asked for advice and was told “reserve the smallest possible car. They will try to up-sell you once you’re in front of them. Often they won’t even have that car, it’s just to lure you in…but keep saying you want that car. You’ll generally get a nicer/larger car for the same price if you don’t back down.

Well, that’s what I did. I also requested GPS because I ready don’t need to make my once-a-year skill use more complicated.

My friend Brad took me to the car rental office my first full day in America. The man behind the desk was a sweetie and liked my homemade skull dress. He said he could go locate a GPS system for the car I asked for (a clip-in one) or rent me a larger car with one built-in for the same price.

This is how I came to be driving a Cadillac Escalade. A HUGE fucking car. HUGE.

Brad was kind enough to take a test ride with me to a Denny’s first. I was yelling “omfg this is low key terrifying!!!!” most of the way. Brad helped me figure out all the extras the car had to make driving A HUGE FUCKING CAR easier (more sensors, things that light up when someone is in your blind spot, that kinda thing).

After that all my major drives to different cities became a GPS navigation to all Tuesday Morning stops between Point A to Point B.

I didn’t know what a Tuesday Morning store was when I bought my first used Pullip doll. Through YouTube Pullip Education sessions I soon learned that these odd stores occasionally have random Pullip dolls for 40-50usd….when they normally go for 100-200 new.

Now, that’s I all I knew. My first trip to a Tuesday Morning earlier this year, in my hometown, was creepy and I found no Pullips. Tuesday Morning is an “off-price retailer for close out merchandise” a grab bag of furniture, home goods, and a handful of random toys. You never know what you’re going to get.

I did find four different full sized Pullip/Dal/Tayangs on this trip but nothing grabbed me. I now have regrets. In fact the regret set in when I learned how expensive downtown Philadelphia parking was but by then I was at the end of my trip and far away from the Tuesday Mornings that I’d found treasure at.

I did buy one Mini-Pullip. I’ll rebody her in the future.

I was well into my habit of googling “Tuesday Morning near me” before any long drive by the time Rook and I went to pick Emily up from the Philadelphia airport. I informed Emily and Rook that our drive to where we were staying WOULD involve one Tuesday Morning stop on the way and that was non-negotiable. I then explained the above reasons.

This was how Emily found herself, a woman once afraid of dolls, buying toys.

Our first Tuesday Morning DID have a Taeyang I now regret not buying…but we didn’t leave empty handed.

First of all I took this photo. Y’all know Hippos are deadly, right? The Little People know.

Then I saw Tristesse.

I’m very upfront about being a depressive with anxiety issues who avails herself to prescription medication to stay moving forward. I have a special love for Sadness from Inside Out (Japanese title: Inside Head). The last Elementary school I worked at has a large poster of the character I painted for the English room. They also have a poster I painted of Bianca del Rio.

I had to have Sadness. Her action? Slumping in Sadness.

Relatable.

She was only 6$ or so. In part because the batteries inside her own head were now dead and when you pressed her slump button she only made a bug-like clicking noise.

I bought her and a Monster High doll to be customized later.

Emily bought a Stieff Dinosaur, a Malificent, and some assorted bugs.

Here we are feeding Tastykakes to our toys in bed.

Here is Sadness trying to blend in. Relatable content.

But I’m never content to leave well enough alone. When I returned to Japan I figured out how to remove Sadness’s hair, unscrew her headplate, and replace her batteries. She now moans and says things like “Goodbye, friendship, Hello, loneliness” “I don’t think that will work” and “I’mSad” in English.

Then there was the matter of her sweater. It’s sweatshirt fabric seamed in many places and kept flipping awkwardly and showing the seams.

So I knit her a sweater from leftover yarn. It was the first time in a long time I knit without a pattern. She also tried on a beretthat one of my other dolls had been wearing.

I’ve since gone on a felt beret spree, making berets with exposed seams and enclosed seams. I figured she needed a proper blue beret for her active slumping.

The Sadness figure comes with a fake book. My next plans are to cover that fake book with a Sartre cover and sew a tote bag for her book. Maybe I’ll even make some tiny medicine blister packs to slip into the tote with her reading.

After all, Sadness relies on a the Inside Out team to balance her out…and I rely on modern medicine to be able to better access my full emotional range, despite sadness always being an integral part of who I am.

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craft, Doll, pullip, sewing, Uncategorized

Emily’s Doll: Will a doll help?

I haven’t written for a while but I sure as hell have been making things.

You see, my friends and I were hit with not one but two sociopaths this summer. We didn’t know about #summerofscammers until after the devastation. We’re petitioning that if there is a destructive human force NEXT summer that someone send us the hashtag memo earlier.

One total fucking horrible person is in my hometown and we’re awaiting his trial. I won’t get into details because they suck. Suffice to say these both came to a head within four days of each other in late May.What happened in my hometown affected many people, some of whom I will never meet, many of whom I know…and my friend Emily.

And, honest to fucking god, I asked myself: is there a doll I can make to help?

I meant it jokingly. As in “What the fuck can I even do in the face of this? I customize dolls. ”

In reality I’m coming to know what skills I can provide in these times: listening skills, trying to hold space for people’s feelings, gathering/sharing information and networking friends. I’m also learning some of my limits after the fact…I’m glad I had friends there for me at the times this summer that I broke down.

I, secretly, started making Emily a doll.

My hands need things to do. I need to be creating objects. It counter balances so much of the mental and physical energy I expend even in smooth times. When things get crazy, less essential ways of coping…like writing this blog…fall away but I still need to be making things.

I had a doll. I’d purchased it at Dollyteria in Ikebukuro on my birthday in April. It was naked, in a baggie, had already once been repainted, and needed a new body.  You know I have extra bodies and dolls just laying around in my craft room.

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I neglected to take a full body shot because sometimes when I need to make things I don’t slow down and document it all.  I NEEDED to make this.

I spent a LOT of time feeling like Emily’s stalker. Looking at her Facebook photos over many years. REALLY LOOKING AT THEM. HI, EMILY CAN YOU FEEL ME STARING AT YOU?

 

 

 

Her make-up routine is generally very dramatic dark eyes with winged liner and a fairly light lip. Emily often has a pink of light blue/green hair streak. There was NO WAY I was going to try and transfer all her tattoos.

I went wig shopping online at Dollyteria again and found a black/pink wig that would work.

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I removed the existing face with rubbing alcohol/ paint thinner. Then I primed it and set to work. I added some blush with chalk pastels. Set that. Then started the layers of watercolor pencils, acrylic, and more chalk pastels.

 

 

 

 

You probably noticed Emily’s eyes. If you don’t get those right you don’t have an Emily doll. I found a good match at BeBeBlytheCo on Etsy and ordered them.

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Almost finished. Later I cleaned up the inner eye

By this time I also had planned a two-week trip to America in mid to late August. I haven’t been to see friends on the East coast in…um…18 years. I’d see friends in a few different cities and then Emily and I would meet up in Philadelphia. Philadelphia is neither my home town nor hers…we wanted a city so we could just be someplace together and hang out. Talk about things that needed to be talked about when they came up and just have fun when it was time to just have fun.

I had a deadline. I wanted to surprise her with the doll in America when I saw her.

That left the problem of clothing.

Emily’s aethetic is deeply Victorian Gothic….but it’s not how she dresses in daily life. She’s also been very rockabily styled but those items haven’t been in rotation for a while. Comfortable jeans and a pullover hoodie didn’t really suit the doll I was making.

I started looking turning to Gothic Victorian styled dolls, Tim Burton, and Helena Bonham Carter for inspiration. I talked to my friend Ebony about it as well. Ebony’s also heavily goth inspired and has come to know Emily a bit through me and FB. Ebony suggested I add Penny Dreadful to my inspiration files.

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Fun Fact: I promptly watched the WHOLE three seasons while working on the doll. This means I’ve seen one episode more than Emily. Emily has, in a desire for the story not to end, abstained from watching the final episode.

Bonus; Penny Dreadful has a whole DOLL thing going on in the third season. I was on the RIGHT TRACK.

I visited Shinjuku Okadaya (fabric and trims) for some fabrics…I still not was sure on what I would make. I also had a small supply of Ebony’s “spoooooky fabric scraps”.

At some point during all of this Emily and I had one of many a video chat session. At some point she had to turn off her camera to answer a call and I put one of my many dolls in front of the video screen to greet her when she returned. This lead to a tour of some of my dolls.  The last time I saw her in person she’d been intensely curious about the dolls and when she got video introductions to some of them she was quite excited about their existance and my art…knowing nothing of the fact she’d be getting one. Another sign I was on the RIGHT TRACK.

Fun Fact: Emily used to be afraid of dolls.

I tried to draft my own doll corset but I soon found the deadline to America coming up too soon. I turned to my doll clothing pattern books. I have a fair collection now because JAPAN. I decided I’d modify the “Autumn” dress for my needs.

 

 

First up was the skirt. I love layering fabrics to make simple textiles look more lush. The skirt is a Halloween fabric layered over burgundy/wine silk. Spiders became my animal motif not unlike Vannesa in Penny Dreadful has scorpions as a leitmotif. I used an Obitsu body for her new body (her old body had floppy arms)

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Then the top:

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Her shoulders seemed bare so I found a free knitting pattern for a cobweb shawl for Blythe and made two. One for Emily and one for another doll of mine.

I decided she needed earrings. I asked Ebony if I could raid her stash knowing FULL WELL she stocks up on Halloween earrings and charms. Ebony came through when I visited her. The doll’s earrings are: Spider studs I added chains and web and cross charms to…all from Ebony’s stash.

 

But wait…there’s more!

 

I could have stopped but I decided to make a veil…

 

Which she can exchange for her clip on fascinator (which can also be clipped into the hair of her owner)…and I put a tiny spider clasp on the cloak.

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She then was carefully wrapped and placed into a wooden wine box I’d also been given by Ebony. When I arrived in America I swapped the fleece wrapping fabric I’d used for some halloween fabric I bought at JoAnne’s

On August 25th my friend Rook (who I’ve made a doll for before) and I picked up Emily at the airport in Philedelphia. We went back to were we were staying (after a stop in which we actually bought more dolls…more on that later) and I told her I had a gift for her.

She had NO clue, the long wooden box did not tip her off.

She cried with joy as she cradled it.

Will a doll help? Sometimes.

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