craft, Disney, Doll, japanese, monster high, Social, Uncategorized

Updates: Continue moving forward

Job stress: Will I be under employed? Can I find a different job quickly? Will I get permanent residency? Should I just go with being underemployed and cram for JLPT N2 6 months earlier than planed?

These are the things that make me want to just nap all day. When I’m asleep, I can’t consciously worry. I’ve had a few days since learning about work that involved doing one or two things and then nap. Nap. Nap.

I know this is depression.

When I can craft, that’s a win. It means I’m not asleep all day. I’m working on my kanji and Japanese gramar studies daily as well. I’ve applied to various jobs and…if I don’t hear anything in 3 hours…will do more of that. I continue to teach dance and know I may need to increase that soon.

I’ve had an interveiw….but I haven’t heard back since.

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Protip:
Always go early to interviews to make sure you can find the location. This is extra important when you travel by train and on foot. But you don’t want to officially arrive TOO early, that’s a bad look. Hopefully the offices will be located near a Donki Hote or similar store where you can relax a bit.

Of course, this is purely hypothetical.

In doll land, I am knitting Snow a sweater and have made her jeans. I don’t plan to keep her. I do plan to try and sell her and a few of the other Disney Animators dolls I’ve done. Knitting helps. Even when I have to frog a row, I concentrate.

 

 

I’ve been modding a random 200yen figure to make a “Pretty Pegasus Raven” to try what I think is a Japanese version of Apoxy Sculpt, Wave Epoxy Putty (light weight).

Yes, taking a handsaw to a doll’s hair was…theraputic.

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She’ll get more putty layers before I’m finished.

Raven the average sized Ever After Doll continues as well. I’ve made her her cape, her arm/thingies and boots.

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I sculpted some accessories and her belt from air-dry polymer clay..but they are still drying.

And that’s how I’m moving forward. There are three dolls on my balcony drying a new layer of Mr.Superclear. I’m reminding myself that I only awoke a few hours ago so I can’t possibly nap yet. I’m thinking about lunch.

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craft, Disney, Doll, Uncategorized

Snowover it.

Ahh…my first week of relaxation and catching up on crafts, sort of.

Because of how the dispatch company I work at is set up, this year they pulled English assistants out of the public schools a record week before graduation, adding another week onto our unpaid downtime as part-time workers before our contracts begin again in mid-April.

So, I figured time would be abundant and I’d tackle crafts.

I’d also study for the JLPT N2 this year, something I’ve been doing daily since the new year begun but have been afraid to say anything about lest I jinx it.

I decided, last Tuesday, to just tackle another large Disney Animator doll from the BOX OF DOLLS.  I picked one of the three Snow Whites I have.

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I’ve long thought that Snow White wouldn’t be thrilled with the amount of Snow White merchandise that features apples: apple scented Snow White hand lotion, apple earrings, and so on.  If I were Snow White I’d sure have some serious apple-related trauma to deal with. My idea was to keep Snow White herself, but update it to a Snow White who has been THROUGH her ordeals and come out the other side.

I think this is the 1st generation of the Snow White Disney Animator’s Dolls because she has the shortest hair, which was in keeping with the vague idea I had for her.

I pined her hair away, covered her body, and then removed all her makeup with 100% acetone. There were faint hints of where her lip color had been but I’d be giving her darker lips so it didn’t matter.

Then I sprayed three layers of Mr.SuperClear (MSC) UV Matte (allowing them each time to dry) and started with the first layer of chalk pastels.

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Then, over the next day, I built up pastels/water color pencils and layers of MSC…feeling MUCH better about my grasp of eyebrow shapes and location but like I need to do some sketch studies of eyes before my next few dolls.f833f05f-09e0-44e1-946e-f8c211d5e7db

It’s at this point that friends on social media usualy remind me how deeply creepy these images are.

Then came the tattoos. I primed her chest with MSC and got my magnifying set-up out and started to free-hand. Some doll customizers use nail transfers to do doll tattoos but what I wanted to do wouldn’t be readily available in that form.

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My friend Whitney has awesome tattoos and the idea of adapting Snow’s bird-buddies for chest tattoos draws heavily from Whitney’s real life ink. Whitney’s birds are more traditional but she has AMAZING Oz-related sleeves…and I have a poppy on my back and use Ozma as a stage name. We met way back in the day on LJ just because of Oz-related icons. More on her later…

This is the tattoo midway through.
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As you can see, the sword and the apple are a visal riff on the Evil Queen’s heart box. You know the one she had handy to be all “Hey, huntsman, go kill Snow and THEN put her heart in this decorative heart-stabby box.”…except instead of a heart being stabbed it’s and apple because…well… DAMN APPLES.

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Snow wouldn’t be the first person to have tattoos to commemorate what she’s survived. Nor…as I look at the face-up I gave snow…would she be the first person to gank make-up style from a problematic source.

More detail work.

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This would be around Thursday, at which point I got an email from my company saying:

Hai!
Yeah.
So…. your next contract? It starts on your birthday. Yay. We’ve cut back your hours even though you were very specific. La la la la la. And we’ve put you in a school situation that you’ve specifically said “NO, Don’t. Nope.” to so there’s that. HAPPY WEEKEND.

Dramatic re-enactment of my reaction to this.

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Sure, I was planning for this to be my last year with them. It’s part of why I’ve upped my Japanese study rate and desire to get N2 and eventually N1 certification…so I have more options. But ESCANDALO none the less.

I have since contacted my company with questions…and got a lovely email back that answered approximately 25% of my concerns/questions.

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Luckily, my resumes are ALL up-to-date.

Saturday, after teaching dance classes, this is where Snow is. Her lips and eyes have been fixed and glossed. I found a 100¥ bandana print headband and reduced it to her proportions.

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Here’s where she started and is now.

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And….here is Snow and Whitney…because as soon as I posted Snow, Whitney was all “I love her but she stole my look.”  In turn, I stole a picture of Whitney looking very Snow.

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I’m currently knitting Snow her own yellow, wide, sweater. Tomorrow, as I take my train to my first job interview, I’ll be bringing my knitting needles to relax my nerves.  I also have enough left over denim fabric from making tiny doll jeans to create some jeans for her.

I’m glad I have art supplies to ride out the stress.

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Chibi and M size Raven

This morning my friend Emily and I were talking about the traumas of the past year and Teen Titans Go, as 40something young women are wont to do.

It’s our habit to try and schedule a good face-time session each week.

She’s now watching Teen Titans Go, which excites me more than it probably should. She now gets why I find it utterly relaxing and mind releasing…and enjoys facetime displays of the dolls I’m working on even more.

We dig Raven. She’s got some anger issues but being the daughter of a demon will do that. She often just wants to be able to escape into a book or watch Pretty Pretty Pegasus. She cracks lame jokes and laughs at them. She has a deadpan delivery…and she doesn’t suffer fools/foolishness.

Emily and I discussed “What Would Raven Do?” regarding dates that waste our time or continue to push boundaries we’ve set.

“Raven would totally give a look, make the pound fist if she had to, and go read a book. She knows that sometimes being alone is better company than being with someone who exhausts you and doesn’t replenish that energy for you. If you get home feeling exhausted and not in a good way…Don’t. Do. That. Again.”

We also discussed how the Pokemon character of Dugtrio BETTER not wait after a week or more of chatting on a dating app where you’ve explicitly said “Not into polygamous relationships” to disclose his other heads.

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This of course brings me to Chibi-Raven. She’s DONE!

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WHAAAAAAAT’S This? Two Ravens?

Yup.

As I was working on Chibi-Raven I also completed the faceup on an Ever After High doll I bought at Hobby-Off. Faybelle Thorn, except without wings, earrings, stand,  or handbag.

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I previously explained that her hair is a mix of three different colors that I rerooted when I wrote about the meditative nature of hair reroots.

While doing her face-up I did play around with both Ravens.

 

This is the first Raven I’ve made that doesn’t cheat and give her bangs to avoid sculpting or rerooting.

I’ve sewn her basic body suit/leotard.

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My goal is to finish her outfit and accessories in the next week so I can take the girls out and try photographing them during cherry blossom season.

But as for today they are all wrapped up and packed, along with Beast Boy and Cyborg’s head, to travel to Ueno.

A friend of mine, who I know from my first years here on the Chiba-Wisconsin Sister City program, is currently in Japan with his whole family.  The last time I saw him I dressed like a cow and helped out for a day at his cheese-related-booth at an international trade thingie.

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This time I’ll be meeting his daughter Sara, who is 8 and a BIG fan of my Teen Titans Go dolls. Her father has shown her pictures, she’s used his FB messenger to chat to me about my dolls, and she is REALLY excited to see them.

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We are ready.

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Jinx! She’s ready.

My spring break is here. This means things are getting done!

This is in part because I work for a teaching dispatch company and when I’m not dispatched I don’t get paid. So in this month of freedom I will get paid for the dance work but not the English teaching. Thus it’s time for cheap creative fun.

Jinx is done, mostly.

Finishing tiny spandex and stitching on tiny mesh cleanly is a work in progress. Someday I may redo Jinx’s stockings and I’ll probably change her black hair elastics to wider spandex but here we are!

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We are ready for ….Girls Night Out!

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But wait…you might think…aren’t your Jinx and Starfire dolls SO MUCH smaller than the 14″ Raven you made?

to which I say….what part of I have time now and am obsessed don’t you understand?

 

 

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costuming, sewing, Uncategorized

Finished Costume Pictures.

I totally forgot to show you finished costume pictures from RomaFest.

But you need to know that I got there nice and early for pre-show rehearsal and spent times napping dressed like this.

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The show was huge, those of us dancing in a Turkish Roma influenced style were but a small part, probably making up about 10-20% of the performer. This is Team Turkish Roma Style, minus one. We danced improvisationally with live music and then did our own solos or work with our troupes. I have no troupe yet so I soloed.

Left to Right:
Marika, Nourah, Miho, Me, Ikuyo and Tomoka.

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The last member, Ai Donya, can be seen in front here.
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I liked how the body stocking looked, and got good feedback on it, but I will add more bling to it so it doesn’t stop below my ribcage.

There was also a camel costume.

Other random shots.

I don’t know if there are any in-action photos.

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Chibi-Raven

I roam the Hobby-off (a used toy/hobby shop) with no real plan in mind. Sure, first I scope the dolls but then I just wander the figures until something speaks to me.

This isn’t unlike the time shortly after my first move and job change within Japan in August of 2004. I hadn’t planned to stay here…and then I was offered a new job. My cash was low, so I had to borrow money for the move.

There was a “recycle shop” near my new place with a used sewing machine for 3,000 yen, about 30 usd at the time.Worth  every yennie.

I’d already started hand-altering and embroidering my clothing about a year earlier. It was a way to cut down on the temptation to shop aimlessly. I’d also gained and lost weight in my first few years here so I had items that needed to be taken in.

My weeks at my new apartment I was broke but my new job was yet to start. My entertainment was sewing.

What will I make? What can I make?

I’d look at my pile of things I don’t wear and either alter them…or totally seam rip them and make something new. An old jacket became wool scraps became a purse. A dress became a tissue box cover and purse lining and so-on.

The Hobby-Off trips are similar.

Banpresto makes a lot of small figures, most of them for claw machines/UFO catchers.I pick them up used. They can be great presents for my geek people back home.

This is a figure from Monogatari, a series I know nothing of.

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She was around 200¥ and reminded me of Raven. I wanted to see how customizable these figures are. They have the same plastic and proportions of Nendoroids but aren’t poseable and are way cheaper. I have a Nendoroid face a friend would like me to customize later.

If it were a Nendoroid I’d just pop the hair and face off easily, they are made to have inter-changable faces.

This figure isn’t meant to be changed, I pried the hair off with a flathead screwdriver and removed her face with paint thinner (not acetone).

The heads are easy to remove and the bodies come in half. I assume she came in a box and had to be put together.

I removed her skirt and started removing her extra clothing with an X-acto knife.

I should probably learn how to film this stuff…not because there’s a need for more tutorials but because there might be a kink market willing to pay for such visuals.

I wish I’d slimmed down her chest/upper body more.  Regrets. Then I started smothing things out with Tamiya Epoxy Putty. I wish I’d glued the torso to the bottom half before this step because not doing so created cracking when the torso experienced pressure and I’d have to do it later. There are slight seams on the product now.

Not pretty. I not do a better job of clearing the work area of lint.

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After sanding I added more potty to create Raven’s power/chakra/thingy and build up her suit.

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More sanding and I decided to make THIS Raven more of the neutral gray hue they use for her in Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go.

Spray paint for plastics!

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I wish I’d gotten the chest a bit smaller and smoother and sanded more of the putty where the stocking indents were. Live and learn. I also started painting the hair with acrylics to make sure it took well.

This is where we are now.

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Next up I’ll work on her face, fix it, and then assemble her and do final paint touch-ups and gloss up her red power belt.

I’m about to have a month free from my regular teaching job. This means hustling more on the dance side, probably doing some paid cleaning work, and having time to craft. My goal is that by the end of the month having some of my larger Disney Animated Dolls finished and listed on Japan Mercari as a test to see if that’s a good local selling option for me. I also hope to get closer to finishing the reroot on the Belle-to-Melody for my friend Gina’s child.

There are plenty of crafts to be done, this is what the area about my computer looks like right now…

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So, yes, Wednesday Addams, Raven, Raven, and an almost finished Jinx.

 

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craft, sewing, Uncategorized

Never Ending Cat Skirt.

Cleaning and organizing my craft room always involves finishing some projects and alterations.

Tonight I added three more patches to the never-ending cat skirt.

About three years ago I bought a simple, white, eyelet skirt at the Gap, figuring it would be fine for work.

Then I realized it needed a little more length so I added more eyelet at the hem.

As soon as I wore it, some of the eyelet caught on a chair at school and ripped.

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Not being willing to admit that I’d made a bad purchase and that fast fashion sometimes is built to fall apart, I started patching it with appliques from my scrap bin. The tears almost always happen on the sides….from catching on various chairs.

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Today I added a jaguar, left over from my quilt backing, and two pairs of black and white cats on pink backgrounds.

It shouldn’t really work but it does. When I wear it I garner squeals of joy….and it’s not easy to be exceptionally adorable in Japan. The bar is high.

I think this has been in my to-fix pile for so long that I might not have worn it this school year. Tomorrow black tights, black sweater, never-ending cat skirt it is.

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