costuming, craft, sewing, tutorial, Uncategorized

Stuffed Animal Renewal.

I didn’t just have conjunctivitis, I also had a sinus infection. It took me DOWN.

Also, it’s made a lot of detail work I could be doing impossible. When I tilt my head down to focus on what my hands are doing I feel all the weight of the crap in my sinuses and it hurts.

I haven’t had much energy while getting well but I’m NOT GOOD at not doing anything, or doing next to nothing. I get a little stir-crazy.  I’ve spent a lot of time in bed so I’ve mustered the ability to do laundry, make my bedroom feel clean..and renew an old stuffed animal.

I’ve written about my history with Ralph here before. Because I’d found him left behind at a campsite, I’ve never known him in pristine condition….but I figured he could look better.

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I decided first to restuff him. I opened him up at side seams, removed the existing filler, stuffed him with polyester filling, and restitched him. His body was filled with foam chunks, I’m glad I did this before those started to chemically break down into dust. His limbs were filled with cotton-like batting. The final photo is after this process. Ralph is sitting a little prouder.

Then a made a paste of baking soda, dawn dish washing soap, and a little water. I took a toothbrush and started scrubbing his fur.

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Then, when I’d scrubbed as much as I could like that I took a spray bottle of vinegar, spritzed him bit by bit and removed the fizzing/past residue with a clean towel.

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To get rid of the rest of the moister/oil/grime I put him in a plastic bag, poured about a cup of baking soda in, and shook until he had a nice crust.

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I let him air dry a few hours.

Then came the dusty task of rubbing/cracking him down with towels first and toothbrushes second to get all that baking soda out. I suggest doing that over a bathtub because there will be baking soda everywhere.

Along with the toothbrush I used a pet brush to make the fur fluffier again.

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No, I don’t have a pet with fur who needs this. It’s for doll wigs/ stuffed animals/and re-rooting with yarn.

Fluffier Ralph! He still has a bit of baking soda to work out of his fur here.

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I also used some high-grit sanding paper (1000/6000/8000/10,000) to buff some deep scratches out of his eyes.

And, in my final act, I’m stitching new fabric on top of his old ear-lining… because that fabric is sad.

I have one more ear to go but Ralph is already looking much better.

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New Year, New Ear, New Me!

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craft, Doll, monster high, Uncategorized

Rerooting Wednesday

In early December I received an Ever After Doll and learned about glue seepage.

In some dolls there’s some sort of chemical reaction between the hair/head/glue used (often excessively used) and the doll continues to sweat greasy glue runoff out of her hair plugs. This all happens in the manufacturing process. There are online discussions about what dolls seem to be more affected by it, theories about if a specific factory in Indonesia is to blame for a portion of it, and a lot of tips for fixing it…none of which worked for me so I removed all the glue and hair from my doll.

Since then I’ve seen some baggie dolls at Hobby Off in Kashiwa that have stickers warning customers that the hair of the doll within has “styling wax” in its hair. Nope, Hobby Off, them dolls have seepage. Styling wax is something you can wash away. I know the dolls have seepage because I bought one knowing full well I’d be removing all the hair. I was not wrong.

And, hey, Hobby Off, why didn’t you mention that the Living Dead Doll I bought was infused with nicotine stank?

Back to Wednesday, who has taken more time than I anticipated.

My first mistake, as seen above, is that I forgot to paint the area of the doll the hair was being put into. I caught it midway up and painted the rest  and then tried to stain the rooted area with permanent marker…more on that later.

My second mistake was to not worry about how tight together the holes on the hair part were. All the squeezing and contorting of the doll to get all the hair and glue out weakened this already vulnerable area. When I started rooting in the area,  5mm of head/part ripped clear in two. Had I taken a few days to fortify the inside and outside of the holes with Liquid Fusion this probably wouldn’t have happened. As it was I had to do that in mid-rooting. I probably didn’t apply enough in thin layers on top…for fear of getting the Liquid Fusion in the rooted hair…so I had some additional rips later I had to stop and tend to.

I thought I was finished so I glued the inside of the head and let it dry…only to learn my third mistake.

Wednesday has two braids.

To get her part correct, the tight partline needs to continue to the nape of her neck. The picture above and on the right sort of shows that the hairline ends at where the paint ends and then the hair beyond that just hangs straight down. That’s fine if your doll has her hair parted up top only.

I had to fix that with more rooting…and permenant marker because ALL gaps in the black near the hair root SHOWED at the partline.

 

This is where I am right now. I’ll leave it a few days to make sure the glue has fully cured.

I also regret mixing a little bit of dark brown in the black hair. It wasn’t a bad idea but I didn’t work hard enough mixing it to prevent brown streaks. I wanted more color depth and just got…Meh.

However, I was looking for a deep purple/black hair for a different project, the sort of hair you see in comics where it’s mostly black but highlighted areas show color. I couldn’t find any in Japan and Etsy shipping is costly so I hand mixed pre-existing black/ the leftover purple/red from Starfire 1, and some newly purchased blue.

img_3642And that’s the hair rooting update. I hope you’ve gained from it.

Goodness knows my Roomba has gained much from the process.

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craft, sewing, Uncategorized

Finishing the quilt: best laid plans

My plan, after being diagnosed with conjunctivitis on Sunday, was to rest as much as possible on Monday (which I don’t work) and return to working at the elementary school on Tuesday. I’d still be contagious for two weeks but could prevent spread by washing my hands often/not touching my eye/ touching no one and almost nothing.

At that point I knew my head cold symptoms were part of the eye issue. After all, the nose is next door to the sick eye socket.

I didn’t know that conjunctivitis could also present flu-like symptoms.

Monday my eye was crusty in the morning but looked much better. Yay, Medicine!By midafternoon a was starting to show a fever and body aches…and figured I might need to take a day off and contacted people…and by the evening I had a full fever and so many body aches I couldn’t pick things up off the floor. Was in bed by 8pm and woke up every few hours to change out of sweaty bedclothes and remove more quilts from my bed.

Including my now finished quilt! YAY!

At the start of Craftsmas I was determined to finish the scrap quilt I’d made the prior December. I’m not a trained quilter nor do I think much ahead about lights and darks and balance. I just trust my years of art to serve me and figure…they are my scraps, they’re related…even if just to me.

I’d finished the top of the quilt in 2017 and put it away for most of 2018.

In the last two weeks, armed with fabric for the bottom/ batting I picked up in 2017/ and cloth for the edging, I set to work.

First mistake I made. I cut the bottom fabric THE SIZE I wanted the quilt to be, with a little length at the top and bottom. I should have left at least a 5-10cm border to insure I wouldn’t lose details like the squares that are just at the side of the design.

Pinning before tying a quilt is best done with curved safety pins created for the purpose. These turn out to be easier to find in America than Japan. I could get them on Amazon but they’d take a week to get to me. Straight pins it was.

When the task of tying was finished (a three day process for me but it would have taken longer if it hadn’t been vacation) it was time to trim the excess fabric and batting (which I only had at the top and bottom) and edge the quilt.

I then took the bias tape I’d made. Well, not real bias tape. Quilts have straight edges so I could do mitered edges without cutting the fabric at 45degrees. I joined the strips of fabric as one would join bias strips. I pinned and  machine stitched everything on  one side.

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Then I hand finished the folded over bias-styled binding on the other side. Pining before whipstiching…until a friend reminded me that I have Wonderclips and needn’t be risking all the pin pricks.

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Finished and on my bed!

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When there’s better light I’ll take photos of the boxesand some of the other creatures who live in my quilt.

For now this is folded up because nighttime is coming and so is my fever.

 

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craft, Doll, Uncategorized

Orderly Craft

I have one full day left of Craftsmas before it’s time to go back to work. I also have a head/chest cold and..as of yesterday…PINK-EYE…which is disgusting. I’ve now got prescription drops and know where my nearest eye doctor is.

One thing I’m trying to tackle at the end of craftmas is the storage issues of my doll crafting. Last year at this time I had a single Disney Animators doll that I was making dresses for with the help of the Thimble People book. I’d also started on performing my first two face-ups: Archie and Rook.

I hadn’t even bought my first damaged Pullip/Dal.

Now I’m faced with the realization that I haven’t dedicated an organized space for my doll-making equiptment. Everything is here and there and quickly takes over the apartment.

First, what to do with the BoxDoll squad.

I made two extra (removable) shelves in my craft room! This was during a cleaning spree.

Before:

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After!

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I also took the time to organize all the doll clothing I now have. I have a source who gives me a crazy amount of used doll clothing. This isn’t all items I’d made or from dolls I bought

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I scored simple organizer things from the 100¥ shop and now the clothing lives in one area, not three.

While getting shoes organized I had a doll in progress that I removed a boot from. Her ankle snapped. Because the doll is almost a gray-pale I knew I couldn’t get a good replacement so I used Tamiya Epoxy Putty to fix the joint as best I could.

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And I bought a second Ikea RASKOG. The Ikea near me now offers online purchase and delivery…which is a game changer. The delivery cost me about the same amount the train would cost going to and from the store.

 

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I’ve yet to move everything to this cart but…pink eye and head cold means that I’ll probably be to bed early tonight and will try and tackle it later.

If you know any good blogs or videos for organizing craft rooms, let me know. I’m always into organization videos. ALWAYS.

 

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