craft, Doll, pullip, Uncategorized

This doll will have everything

More than a year ago, my friend Ebony sent me a LINE message from a Hobby-Off. It included a picture of a baggie doll.

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It was a “Alfred” TaeYang. TaeYang is Pullip’s boyfriend…her second boyfriend actually because Namu was her first and wasn’t popular. Namu is no more. Goodnight Namu.

Of course, the TaeYang Ebony mailed me about was naked, in a baggie, with some sort of glitter-gel caked in his wig for about 3,000¥

So, of course, I was all:

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I DOOOOOOOO!

And then he sat around until I realized who he needed to be…

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I’m a Bill Hader fan girl. Stefon, I love. In an alternate universe John Mulaney and I are a power couple so I feel like Bill’s part of the family.  The series Barry is bloody brilliant (but only NoHo Hank is really a viable doll). AND I appreciate that Bill Hader has been open about his issues with anxiety.

I’ve now spent a LOT of time googling him and studying his face…he’s hot.  This is the hottest photo of him. I just needed to share this image. Take. It. All. In.img_2547

So, as usually I removed TaeYangs face with rubbing alcohol and fine sandpaper.

This time, because TaeYang is smooth and nearly nose-less and Bill is NOT, I had to start carving. More nose, smile lines, and after this…and this feels weird to say, opening up one eye slightly larger than the other because Bill Hader has a slight muscle issue in one eye so when he’s not actively making a face one eyelid hangs slightly lower.

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And I began drawing in his face.

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I feel like a creeper who is way too familiar with Bill Hader’s eyebrows.

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I feel like a creeper a lot of the time, only partly because of the dolls. Recently Ebony and I split cheese sticks at a TGIFridays. Ebony and I both noticed how attractive our server was….but how I reacted was by telling Ebony “Her lips would look amazing on a doll. I couldn’t stop staring at them”  and Ebony was more human in noting “She’s very attractive”

We later told the server she was pretty and I refrained from saying YOUR FACE WOULD LOOK GREAT ON A DOLL.

So, Stefon’s face is now mostly finished….although I’ll be smoothing those lip colors a bit later.img_0150

This has brought us to the stage I’m now on, building a wig.

I’ve only made one yarn wig thus far. Smaller and more conceptual.

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TaeYang’s head is MUCH bigger than a Monster High doll so it’s slow going, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to find a perfect wig for Stefon.

Here is an in-process shot of it looking like the dude you liked 30 years ago and have just looked up on Facebook.

Trying on the wig midway to make sure I’m not crazy.  With styling and some razor trimming this should eventually work…

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And then will come the most absurd part of this process….

Tiny. Ed. Hardy. Shirt. for Stefon Zelesky. Yes, he has a last name.

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Until then, New York’s hottest club is Wesh. Nine-year-old Tokyo pimp Ichiaku Guru is back with an all-new hot spot that answers the question What?!? This place has everything: trance, stilts, throw-up music, an albino that looks like Susan Powter, Teddy Graham people…

 

 

 

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craft, Doll, pullip, Uncategorized

Flower Girl.

In late 2018 I picked up a damaged Pullip …as I do.

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Her eye-mech was destroyed, she had no wink bars, and she had half of her original face paint. I detailed the damage and fixing up here.

Then she sat in a box until last December.

Inspired by Instagram makeup, I decided to go for both over-the-top make-up and to try an asymetrical design. Here I am including her in some after-gig glamour shots after I’d returned home from my last restaurant gigs of the season.

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Here’s her final closeup before I rebodied her.

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I knit her a top ( Pullip Off-the-shoulder free knitting Sweater pattern by Megan Nordyke) and sewed her a skirt (no pattern used for the skirt) and repainted some Barbie shoes (not shown).

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This is why I went to Dollyteria for the wig lucky-bags…and scored!

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I love her. Just love her.

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A friend asked me if she”s supposed to be me. Not intentionally and my mom’s the one with green eyes.

 

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barbie, blythe, craft, Doll, pullip, sewing, Uncategorized

Work the book: First Coordinates

Here I am working my way through a doll-clothing book from cover to cover.

The book is はじめてのドール•コーディネイト•レシピ  (First doll coordinates how-to) by Dolly Dolly books. ISBN978-4-7661-1982-4 (1,500¥ new)

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The projects are: a dress, medium length shorts, pleated skirt,blouse, tank top (for knits),  bloomers, socks (for knits), tote bag,  and  tailored jacket.

 

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Included with the book are all the patterns  in five different sizes and which model doll they were specifically designed for:

  • 11cm doll (Poochi Blythe)
  • 20cm doll (Odeko and Nikki ), 22cm (Blythe)
  • 27cm (momoko doll)
  • 42cm (Unoa Quluts Doll)

there are also specific charts for various dolls indicating which size of the pattern works best for them.

The one below is for Dal (Groove). It shows that she’ll wear the the dress in size 20cm but will need a 2cm adjustment. The waist for the 22cm skirt will be a bit to large and so on…

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The other dolls with specific charts like this: Licca, JENNY, Unoa Quluts Light, Tiny Betsy McCall, DAL, nano Haruka, and MISAKI.

The books are full of step by step guides like this. This one is for tracing patterns to fabric. This book takes the odd step of tracing the outline of a photocopyof the pattern and then cutting away the seam-allowance from that photocopy and trace again.

I do not have the time or the desire to waste paper like that. I’m tracing the patterns onto clear plastic, like that used for folders, to make a reusable pattern. I’m sketching  in the seam allowance lines in thin chalk after tracing the pattern onto the fabric.

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Here is another example of how detailed the instructions are. This shows the type of closure used on the dress (there are how-to on making the loops) and then covers how to assemble a variation of the dress top that includes darting.
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Projects finished so far:

The dress:

In my first version I added a twice folded hem to give the skirt more volume. The stitching isn’t perfect so if I have a doll for this I’ll add trim at the waste to hide that stitch line.

My second version, with the spooky bats, is much cleaner and better assembled.

Shorts:

These I felt I nailed on my first try. The Preppy shorts were made first. Then I shortened the length, made in denim, and added yellow-stitched details.

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Skirt:

The detail notes were correct, the waist is a bit large for a DAL or Picconeemo. If I do this regularly for DAL I’ll draft my own waistband.

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Shirt:

For the love of GOD is this difficult. It’s also a project I made before. I went straight to this pattern when I first bought the book for my Agretsuko Blythe could have a shirt two summers ago.

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This time I’ve made it twice so far, each version getting cleaner. 7a8aafa2-bc6b-438f-b8c4-769be7637ba0

With this I’ve achieved a looser collar. I know how to remedy this (where to fold so the collar “button” flaps overlap correctly) but I rather like it as-is on the tiny-print fabric version.

Tank top with trim:

I gotta be me. So far I have NOT yet made the tiny socks and bloomers. I might just make them from the same fabric for a comfy rocker pj outfit. I did most of this by hand instead of machine sew.

pssssstt. Making tiny socks scares me.

Tote Bag:

I didn’t have matching thread but I made it anyways. When I have matching thread I’ll finish the handles but it looks CUTE.

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So what do I have left? Socks….Bloomers and the dreaded:

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craft, Doll, pullip, sewing, Uncategorized

Lucky Bag Inspiration: Classical Style

With the New Year came my first trip into Tokyo for Fukubukuro!

LUCKY BAGS!

The concept is simple: With the New Year stores put together items from the store into bags you can’t see into. The idea is that the contents of the bag are “worth” (priced individually) more than what you’ll pay for the bag.  Generally you’ll have an idea of what sort of items will be in the bag but not exactly WHICH items.

I’m not a huge fan BUT Dollyterria had USED DOLL WIG BAGS. So for 4,000 yen I knew I’d be getting 6 wigs of X size. I love the random game of “what do I have and how will that inform what I make next…”

 

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That’s 5 wigs, you say.

There’s another, but she’s already on a doll.

There’s more than just wigs, you say.

Of course I bought a naked doll in a baggie. I’m me.

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There’s a body! You say.

Of course. sometimes you need another body for the naked dolls at home. They demand sacrifices.

I love the wigs… but now I also had this lovely doll who I decided NOT to rewig or change her face on. I figured out who she was. Zuora, a Pullip from 2006.

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She looks like she knows how to have a great time. Alas, her outfit was missing in action.

I fixed up a damaged dress I had in my used stash. I repaired split seams and added black lace  and ribbon accents.

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I also took a cape I’d made previously (using a pattern from a book about sewing for dolls with felt but rendered in a suede.

Those buttons actually button and unbutton through tiny button holes. INSANE.

And I made it.

INSANE. So tiny.

I ordered a book with patterns I thought might suit her better. “Classical Style” by Dolly Dolly. I have many Dolly Dolly books about doll patterns. The felt book was a used find at a book-off. I scour used book stores for their Doll magazines (which include patterns) and the doll-specific sewing books. Not rare to find, which shows you how doll-focused some percentage of Japan is.

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I often just jump to whatever pattern I want to make and just do that. It can be frustrating because my sewing skill set is more HUMAN SIZED, interior decor, and hand detailing. Sewing doll clothing is a skill that takes practice. The seam allowance (space between the needle/sewing line and the edge of the fabric) is often 5mm or less. That means very little room for error and ….your sewing machine bobin hole wants to eat your fabric.

The more fabric you join together the bulkier an outfit is. This matters very little when you’re 164cm tall but very much when you are 22cm.

There are ways you construct doll clothing that you’d never use in human clothing .

I have a friend I’ve been sending some of the latest tiny outfit photos to. He replies with emojis indicating that this is something the would NOT want to try and make. He’s a third generation bespoke suit tailor in Ginza.

I decided to use these books the way many of them are intended…working my way through the order of projects as written so that I’m doing the easier skill-building ones first with step by step photos before I tackle the harder ones. It would also allow me to blog.

And…this was the wrong book to start that idea with. Everything is lined. That means that every garment has any raw seams hidden between the outer fabric and lining fabric. This increases the bulk but makes for a more stable end product.

That wouldn’t be bad in and of itself but these are FRILLY FROCKS with lots of gathers.
Patterns have SO much gathering of fabric going on that sometimes I found that I’d make it once and then alter the pattern slightly to reduce bulk (but still finishing  seams properly)

Like this insane all-in-one bloomer set. I’m using scraps so I am making some outfits I’m not sure I’ll ever have a use for. This is my second, altered, version.

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This is the book version:

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Below you can see how much bulk is created when you have lined and gathered bloomers attached to heavily gathered skirt (with two layers of fabric) and an extra gathered waist ruffle) …and that’s before you sandwich it between the layers of the top.

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going in order  as written I have completed the following, including the above.

From left to right:

Undarted lined dress. Two tops (one with making ribbon bows for extra frill). Dress lined dress with darts. Ribbon bustle and hip ruffles for apron or hip bustles.

And it inspired me to take a break from this SO RUFFLED book, as it’s not my general aesthetic, and work my way through a simpler Dolly Dolly book I’ve used before but haven’t done everything from (show below)

This is going much smoother with less swearing. I’ll be writing it about it, and showing more of what gems these books are, next time.

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Uncategorized

Work, Fuji, Home. Repeat.

My day-job commute involves a horrid train line. There are three things going against it.

Water: for a long stretch it crosses part of Tokyo bay. This means it’s vulnerable to dangerous wind and rain. Japan has strong winds, a typhoon season and a rainy season. This creates frequent delays.

Tokyo: My morning commute involves going towards Tokyo. I’m not alone.  This makes the trip to work crowded AND the trip home (going away from Tokyo) crowded as well.

Disney: My stop is one away from Disney. Morning Disney-goers wanting to get there early are also on the morning trains along with the Tokyo-bound. My train home similarly contains tired families of younger children leaving the park.

It could be worse. When I’m getting off at my work/stop is about when the trains get crowded enough to require “pushing in assistance” from the train staff.

In the dark months of winter it can feel like a slog. Mornings are dark. Evenings are dark.

The last few weeks of school before winter break and the first week back I’ve fallen into the habit of posting photos to instagram titled “going to work” and “going home”….no hash tags just roads, sky and train platforms.

Going to work.

Going home.

Going to work.

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Going home.

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Going to work.

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Going home.

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And on the clear days I snap a shot of Mt. Fuji from my classroom.

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It’s a slog but I take the photos to capture something beautiful in the mundane routine.

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craft, Doll, monster high, Uncategorized

Sakura

Welcome to my continued adventures in assuming I’d already shared something because I finished it a while ago but when I looked I’d never posted a final product.

Back story short:

I got a Monster High doll at Dollyterria in Ikebukuro. This was before my haul of MH dolls. This is the doll and I wrote about being inspired by cherry blossom season here. Click through if you want more info on how this started.

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I then started using Apoxie Sculpt…and started sculpting all the things.

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And then I never posted about it again, even though I finished it in May of 2019.

I painted and painted.

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The doll’s previous hair looked sad when contrasted with her new body so, inspired by Dollightful’s Sakura Pink creation, I rerooted with fake hair and so much pink 100¥ shop yarn!

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FACE! Now, a half a year later, there are things I’d change. I may go back in some time to add a pure black to the eyes…but I’m trying to present without insulting myself so that’s all I’ll say.

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Before and After

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My issue with the eyes wasn’t until I took these photos and few days ago, outside a small bar near me that has a lot of flowers….an old man came out, saw me, giggled, and said “nice photos?’

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I’m sure I’ll find more items I have spaced on presenting.

I…I make a lot of stuff…not just dolls.

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craft, Doll, monster high, Uncategorized

Bi-Little Pony, for Caty.

I wasn’t a pony girl.

My childhood room was not edged with realistic horse replicas nor did My Little Pony (the first 80’s round which was square aimed at girls my age) ping my interest. Nor did the new wave of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic capture my attention.

I’ve seen an episode, while obsesively brushing out tangled pony hair, at my friend’s house in Madison…because her son is a fan…but I didn’t go back to Japan and watch any more.

Then, at the end of 2018 a My Little Pony Equestria Girl Rainbow Dash 11 inch fashion doll came into my home via a box of random gifts.

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Do I understand what is going on with this doll? No, I don’t.

I don’t know how the horses became horse/girls on two legs other than the fact that fashion dolls sell. Or maybe horse dolls got tired of carrying passengers (because that’s NOT the kinda pony My Little are) and decided “I AM THE ONE WHO RIDES. ”

Then came muse Caty. Last seen as a Byul.

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Her instagram looks are a place I cruise when I’m looking for doll inspiration because she’s talented and ‘effing adorbs. She usually does a series of LGBTQ inspired looks for gay pride and that’s when I knew.

Bi-Little Pony.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. First there was the “reroot or fix up” question.  Rainbow Dash has rainbow hair. Pride. Keep. Boil perm.

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Boil perms are still hit or miss for me. Each one gets a little better…I hope.

Inspiration.

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At this point I took Bi-Little Pony off my media posts. It’s common for my work in progress to vanish at times…but this time it wasn’t just my inability to focus.

Caty’s family suffered a terrible loss.

I wanted this doll to go to Caty as a small “Hey, people are thinking about you and you are loved” but I didn’t want her to have any hint of what I might be sending from Japan.

I knit a dress using crochet thread, size 0 needles and this on-line pattern. You drop a stitch on these and it’s nearly impossible to recover. Kinda hellish. That’s why I ended with a fluffy yarn skirt with leftover yarn from…oh, I never updated that project here so I guess I’ll do that next.

Then I finished the face, embellished the dress, found a tiny jacket in my stash and painted her boots.

And now Bi-Little Pony lives with Bi-MUA-Caty in America.

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Doll, pullip, Uncategorized

Caty is a doll.

Today is one of those days where I realize how much I haven’t posted.

I sat down to type up a post about a finished project I named Bi-Little Pony. The project involves a person serving as an inspiration who I have Dolled before so I went back to find those posts and found…only one post. I’d never posted the final product.

In May of 2018 I’d recently returned to Japan from a trip to America with some Barbie Made-to-move bodies in my luggage. The curvier MTM body inspired me to buy a used Byul doll I’d seen with matching skin tone.

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I had a model for the doll, my friend Caty. Caty is an amazing MUA on instagram. Go check her out NOW. Caty had done a look inspired by one of my dolls. I then decided to do a doll based on one of her looks.

I wrote upa whole post detailing how I put the Byul head on a MTM curvy body…but failed to follow up after that. The last time I featured her here she looked like this. She had a new body and a temporary outfit and wig but I hadn’t remade her face or found the right wig for her. There might be some more photos of her here and there in the blog, but if there are I haven’t properly tagged Byul.

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So, what has happened to Caty Byul since?

New face! This was the midway point.img_5778

Then I got her a new wig at Mandarake (I usually buy used wigs but Caty was sporting a her own wig in a color I wasn’t likely to find used quickly) and new eye chips by BeBeBlythe on Etsy. It was getting closer but she was still sitting around in a random outfit.

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I found a pattern for the Curvy Barbie Fasionistas by DGRequiem on Etsy and some suitably bright fabric. I swiped some insane stockings from my stash as well.

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And, as a final tribute I made her a simple felt beret…seen here with an almost matching fuzzy backpack.

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And that should catch me up on enough Caty-Inspired posts to start writing about..Bi-Little Pony

 

 

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Doll, living dead doll, pullip, sewing, Uncategorized

Here I am. Little Me.

It was about a year ago I brought home a Living Dead Doll, Hush, from my local Hobby Off and opened her baggie to be assaulted with the stench of nicotine. I wrote about scrubbing and scrubbing to remove the nicotine stains.

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Eventually I got her down to an ivory white. She’d never be the same pink as her unexposed vinyl but it was good enough…then I waited for inspiration. She came to me in the form of Little Miss Muffet.

 

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Little Miss Muffet was never actually made by Mezco Toyz, unlike Little Bo Creep. What struck me about her was that she was dressed like me. Maybe not the make-up and the tiny tie but everything else looked like it could have come from my closet.

I decided to make me.

Hush’s hair was string and smelled. It had to go. I started re-rooting her with strands of red and brown 100¥ shop acrylic yarn until I had a version of my bangs/fringe and ponytail.

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In the last year I have discovered the wonder of buying glasses on-line. I’ve worn glasses since third-grade and needed them even earlier than that. Contacts aren’t easy for me to wear. Hard/semi-permeable contacts can handle my stigmatism but have caused scratches and pains in the past. Two week disposables can mostly handle my stigmatism but not perfectly and my eyes get itchy..I wear them for dance performances and little else.

For years buying good frames with the latest “as thin and humanly possible” lenses mean spending high hundreds of dollars…so I’d stick with the same frames for 4-6 years. Now for the first time I have one “safe/formal” pair of lenses that looks like my last pair (but with updated prescription) and two rather cartoonish over-sized frames…like the ones pictured above. My me would need glasses.

I had seen some doll sized glasses in a gochagocha machine a few months back and went to Akihabara and on Mercari to score some being resold.

Now, my doll has three pairs to choose from as well. the arms of the frames were too long so I had to snip them, drill to insert wire into the ends of the arms, and create newer “ear loops” with Apoxi sculpt….which I don’t appear to have photographed.

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I’m glad I found oversized frames for her. I’ve drawn a cartoon version of myself with over-sized lenses since mid-college. Without the frames her face looks a little too sweet.

That’s one of the huge takeaways I’ve had with this. Remove the make-up from your average Living Dead Doll sculpt and it’s a very traditional looking base.

Face almost finished it was time to dress me up!

Someone in a doll customizing group suggested that 1/6 Yo-SD shoes would work for LDD dolls. So when I found these…which are nearly identical to a pair I wore in late college (except mine had a pink nose and pink inner ears) I bought them

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Clothes!

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I found a free pattern on Ravelry for “Raglan Sleeve Doll Sweater for 10″ Ann Estelle” which worked for LDD dolls and knit two sweaters, one in black and one in burgundy.

I found a free sewing pattern for a simple a-line (reversable) dress on-line.

Last I made her a skull skirt (no pattern because I had to pleat to the specifics of the fabric print I was using) and modified a houndsouth skirt I had in my stash to fit her.

Ta-Da!

Transformation achieved!
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I know it was a success because when I sent my friend the above photo, without context on what I was going for, I received back a string of shocked LINE sticker and “It’s YOU!”

She even has a hedgehog!

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And, last, here we are posing together…with the other oversized frames I bought.

So now I have two me-like dolls. Little Me and my first Pullip face-up.

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And I suspect when singing Anna from Frozen 2 starts showing up in thrift markets…I shall make another me.

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Acrylic Yarn: Squeeky self-care.

I’ve written before about how handy-work can be quite an effective form of meditation for those of us with minds that sometimes fight meditation.

The repetition of movement, the precision needed, and the concentration used helps clear my head. It’s not that I don’t think while doing this, I do, but it’s a quieter thinking. I don’t have the time to chase strong emotions or berate myself. With my hands busy a strong emotion may easily be noted and pass and I won’t be tempted to chase down its cause right then and there.

Let us now sing praise for 100¥ acrylic yarn…here for me at my time of need.

Without too many details, it’s been an unwelcome revisiting  of the end of May 2019.

Vague story vague: within days two distinct circles of friends in different locations were revealed to contain two different types of horrible predators…and a lot of nasty information poured out of each. This week one of those two cases came to a settlement that involves only probation, no jail time, for a person who has torn through lives.

Cue the unwelcome few days of time travel none of us asked for.

And this brings me to the acrylic yarn. It’s not ALL the self-care but it is some of it.

I’m not the first woman in my family to find comfort in acrylic yarn.

My paternal Grandma Leah used to use the cheapest, squeekiest, most eye-hurtingest colors of acrylic yarn to knit and crochet hand scrubbers, sturdy foot “booties” and hard to explain dolls and toys…for cash or family.

Preferably craft-stall cash.

She lived with my father and step-family for years. We, family, all had these booties in inexplicable colors. Well, semi-explicable; they were the cheapest yarns for the best return on her investment of supplies. I also used to have a yellow and blue clown down with two distinctly different length legs where she’d just run out of yarn and ended.

Grandma Leah had a huge stash of different sources of patterns but it seems like the booties came from a hand-written letter from a neighbor. I have some of the letter but no more of the booties.

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Dear Leah;

Once before I had to show someone how to make the slippers. It takes a long time to do it. I can’t read a pattern. I’ve never had one for the slipper. Thelma showed me how. I only know one way to show you.

I start with each step. I just hope your friend can follow the directions. They go fast. 1 3 1/2 oz of yarn will make a pair. They sell real fast at x-mas time. You can make a pair in an evening and more if you’re fast. They get $5.00$ a pair….

What I do to cheap acrylic yarn is a transformation in the opposite direction. Knitting builds up form. I take acrylic yarn and attack until it is broken down into thin synthetic fibers. This is time consuming.

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What am I looking at?

  • Upper left hand corner: Acrylic yarn.
  • Upper right hand corner: Acrylic yarn that has been tethered to something and then brushed with a wire pet brush until it gives up hope. After this step comes using a flat-iron for hair set at 140.
  • Lower left hand corner: the yarn fuzz after ironing, being cut free, lined up, and attached at one end with glue to create hair wefts.
  • Lower right hand corner: building a wig from this insanity.

What doll is that and when did you make it?

Oh, yeah, I’ve been away from the blog. This is where I show you some of what I’ve been working on.

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Googling tells me this Monster High doll is Twyla. She is a freshman student at Monster High and is a boogeyman, daughter of the Boogey Man, she lives in the Boogey Mansion. This specific Twyla is the “Coffin Bean” coffee shop release.

But to me, she’s one of the many used dolls I bought off a girl in America using a charity shop go-between.

Let’s check out what I did with her.

She’s loosely inspired by the aesthetics of Disney’s Haunted mansion.

I used the Rococo Hime Lolita dress pattern to create this outfit. If you’re thinking of using easy fraying fabric like I did….don’t. headaches.

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I sanded off the “spirit swirls” or whatnot on her legs and used chalk pastels and acrylic to create a bat motif.

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I created this wig with exhausted acrylic fiber, a syrofoam egg, a homemade wigcap, and a handful of things from the 100¥ shop.

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Then it was time to repaint her face.

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I repainted her shoes and added accents. Again, solid nod to 100¥ shops.

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And finally, some earrings:

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As for me, tonight I’ll be brushing, brushing, and brushing yarn and slowly creating wefts…allowing the feelings to come and they must…and focusing on what is really a low-stakes unessential and beautifully absurd addition to the strange world of things I make.

Stefon.

 

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Because…this world has EVERYTHING.

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