craft, Doll, monster high, Uncategorized

Cherry Blossom Season!

It’s that time of the year, when the beauty of nature is juxtaposed with a wild uptick in public drunkenness in parks.

  • I know this because:
  • I see them in bloom.
  • I made the mistake of meeting a friend in Ueno recently and he and I were UNPREPARED for the slow-moving packs of visiting foreigners and residential elderly packs pressing in on all sides.

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CHERRY BLOSSOMS, y’all!

According to targeted adds on face book it’s also the season that CATS, and some dogs, start feeling about IKEA the way I used to when my medication was off and I NEEDED to organize EVERYTHING.

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Monday evening, last week, I signed a contract for my new job. Because the train ride back to my apartment involved changing trains and Ikebukuro…I HAD to go to Dollyteria Ikebukuro to see who might come home with me.

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Hello Abbey Bominable.

My quick googling tells me that Abbey’s backstory is that she’s a sexy Yeti.

From the Monster High fandom wiki.

Abbey is known as the tough ghoul at Monster High. However, she is a victim of the culture clash between the Scaremerican way of life she is experiencing with her native Himalayan culture, and, though she works hard to walk away from this, will assume her latter ways are the correct ones and the ones that inspire most common sense. Due to this, Abbey was raised with short and strong words and is fierce, confident, intimidating and often headstrong. She won’t stand for nonsense and will not tolerate any kind of rule-breaking, unless it is for a greater good.

It goes on to explain how her jewely keeps her nice and icy and such.

Sorry Abbey, it’s CHERRY BLOSSOM SEASON and you’re coming with us. Maybe we’ll stop at Ikea on the way.

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The very next day, after training that literally explained things like HOW TO HOLD A FLASH CARD (and implied that Canadians use a lot of drugs) I started to work on Abbey Sakura.

Her hair was fairly stiff so I scraped some glue out of her head, used a DIY Goo-Gone, and removed her makeup. I’ll probably give it a few more cleanings and then root some pink strands into her existing hair.img_5511

My inspiration was the color of Abbey’s skin. It reminds me of the blue sky you see popping behind all the cherry blossoms in peak pretty.

I’ve been using Wave Epoxy Putty to create cherry blossoms and bark on her body.

I’m using Wave because in my googling (in my second language) it seemed a close match to Apoxie Sculpt. It’s a two part epoxy modeling agent (the chemical setting reaction starts when you mix the two parts) with a working time ( about 2 hours) similar to Apoxie…as far as I know. Most places here price Apoxie Sculpt so high that it’s about a 100% markup.

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I figured that, since her clothing is sculpted right on, I’d do the same for her shoes. I drilled into her heels, shoved toothpicks into them, and started building the layers of epoxy.

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The putty cures after 24 hours. I’m working it a little at a time because in order to work on, say, a leg, I have to hold many other parts of the body. I can’t do this if the other body parts are still drying.

Needless to say, my curiosity got the best of me and I found the cheapest price I could and ordered….

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Tonight I’ll be playing with it and seeing how it compares to Wave…and some maths to figure out the price difference per gram.

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You and me both, cat.

 

 

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craft, Doll, monster high, Uncategorized

Every Day is Wednesday.

WEDNESDAY

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There are updates on the job front…mainly that I have a new one but some down time before it’s in full swing. that means DOLLS.

Let’s take a look at Wednesday’s journey.

She started as on of three used dolls my stepmother included in my Christmas pack. This one was an Ever After High Raven Queen.

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That started me on a journey learning about NASTY SKULL AND HAIR GLUE SEEPAGE.

  • The washing didn’t work.
  • The powdering didn’t work.
  • I scraped out her head.
  • I rerooted everything, making mistakes along the way.
  • Her first repaint got dark and muddy right quick.
  • I started over on the face.

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The second repaint is more painterly than I’d planned but I went with it.d8ff69dd-52f9-4a94-ab3e-dc86a6b0883aOMG NAKED DOLL POSTED WITHOUT ANY WARNINGS!

Eyes glossed

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Tonight I made a pattern and sewed her her dress. It was fiddly and there’s some stray marks but I’m ok with it.

She’s still without shoes but I ordered a 16 pack of shoes from Mercari yesterday.

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And it’s only Monday….

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craft, Doll, monster high, Uncategorized

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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craft, Doll, sewing

Diana Prince pt 2

I’m doing fairly well with the “finish it” goal of February and so-so on the frugal one.

Diana Prince, the groovy boutique owning super spy WW with no powers, is almost finished. Removed the Barbie lining of her jacket and I relined with leftover kimono silk from my own jacket re-lining project last year.

She still needs jewelry and boots, because this Diana Prince understands the essential nature of good accessories.

Alas it seems to be hard to get a good even white on her existing boots.

I may need to make her a pair. Making shoes/boots is probably in my future. The “Bratzilla” doll I remade has irregular sized feet (for a doll). Unlike the snap-off shoe-feet of Bratz, Brazilla have feet-feet…but larger than your average fashion doll.

Same for the DC Superhero girls dolls. I love the fact they have more realistically proportioned feet but am sad that this means a dearth of ready-to-wear shoes. These dolls can wear other doll’s clothing but it’s mighty hard for Wonder Woman to find civilian clothes that work with her red boots with WW gold accents. How’s she supposed to have a secret identity once she gets her super powers back?

Bruce Wayne doesn’t have to wear Batboots in the boardroom. It’d make things obvious.

Bruce Wayne, I imagine, has to be mighty good with makeup/concealer. That cowl doesn’t protect his whole face from bruises. Does he send Alfred to buy it? “It’s for Master Bruce’s….mistress”

That’s a montage I want. Superhero dudes learning bruise concealing makeup techniques.

And I want more doll shoes.

And if I want either of those things, I’ll need to pay someone or make them myself.

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craft, Doll

Color Blocked to fight crime: Diana Prince part 1

The day after I wrote about craft as meditation the world decided to throw me a curve. Someone I had once been friends with has done something I can’t stomach and legal action against him has thus been thwarted.

I blocked him. I posted the information and screenshots I’d received as proof of his actions. I took a tea cup he’d once given me outside and smashed it with a broom and then swept up the shards.

I went inside and worked on Diana Prince.

In the 70’s, after Wonder Woman’s original creator had passed away, her readership had been flagging. Then Wonder Woman became the New Wonder Woman for a while. She gave up her super powers and became Diana Prince who ran a mod clothing shop, was a martial arts expert, and a ass kicking super spy who’d get dropped into any 70’s issue or fad: cults, biker gangs, occult witches, drug running, violent hippies and more.

And she might have been stripped of her powers but, damn, she embraced color blocked fashion and was styling. The look of these issues were lush, blending true romance comic art, 70’s ads, up to date fashion, and ass kickings

More info on this run.

I once bought a 1970’s chiffon dress in pink and yellow because it reminded me of her outfits.

In early December when my Step mother sent me three random used dolls, and one of them was a DC superhero girl Wonder Woman I knew I wanted to make Groovy and Hip Diana Prince.

She’s not my favourite version of WW but she’s the most visually compelling for me.

First I cleaned up her hair and gave it some curl.

I removed her face with Acetone and adjusted a Barbie jacket and dress to better fit her. I still need to reline the jacket in something without a Barbie print.

I’m still getting used to working this small and getting the eyes smooth (without some lumpiness of the white acrylics) is alluding me. Still, each time gets better.

To troubleshoot wonky symmetry I’ve been taking photos and mirror flipping them to better see shape differences.

And I added false 3-D lashes because if ever there was a Diana who was lashtastic it’s Romantic Spy Boutique Diana.

At a friend’s suggestion I used a black pipe cleaner as a “bump it” to increase hair volume. I realized my previous hair curling wouldn’t quite work for the new “bumped” style so she’s been gently boil permed again and is now waiting for everything to dry.

Which is fine because tonight and tomorrow I’m at live music and dance rehearsals where I am feeling imposter syndrome revving up as nervousness starts to shut down my second language skills.

I’m in a coffee shop on break to get some food and caffeine in me before I go back.

But, when I finish tonight, and spend an hour on the train getting home, I know the dolls in doll spa, like Diana, will be happy to see me.

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craft, Doll, monster high, sewing, Uncategorized

Heads up! Finish it February!

I haven’t been around because illness took me DOWN. After two rounds of antibiotics, more nasal steroids, and the joy of three days in a row  without kerosene fumes I’m almost better.

Welcome to Finish-it-February, wherein I try to be frugal by focusing on finishing projects instead of starting them.

Of course, as soon as I proclaimed this on February first and my buddy Ebony said hell-yeah! (she’d suggested Frugal Febuary and I added the ‘ffing Finish It)…I came home and started a new project.

Luckily the Hedgehog bonding scarf worked up quickly with items I had and I could count it as ‘Finished’ and decide to be more mindful in the following days. After February I could easily see myself making a second one and doing a tutorial on it.

 

Right now I have two focuses for the first half of this month:

1.Put faces on smaller dolls.

On my small balcony you can find these heads right now…plus one more.

Top to bottom:

  • Wednesday Adams via EAH Raven Queen
  • Teen Titans Go Jinx via Monster High Operetta
  • Groovy 70’s Diana Prince via DC Superheros Girls Wonder woman.
  • (not shown) Raven via EAH Royal Faybelle

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More on individual dolls later.

2. New Skirt for Romafest on February 17th. Roma Fest is the 8th annual Japanese festival highlighting Roma Music and dance. It’s my first year participating and I’ll be performing with live music….which I haven’t heard yet, that happens this week in rehearsals.

To save myself time and money, I’m altering an existing skirt I don’t wear…again, more details to follow.

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wish me luck for the first half of the month. If succesfull, the second half I’ll start tackling the larger doll heads and faces: Sally, Squirrel Girl, and Melody.

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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, Doll, Uncategorized

Hush Makeover

What’s on my balcony?

Parts.

 

I couldn’t resist. There’s been a Living Dead Doll at the Kashiwa Hobby Off. She was in a tightly sealed baggie. I resisted for over a month.

I know nothing about LDDolls. If I’d taken the time to figure out who was in the bag before I bought I would have been ahead of the game.

Here is what I bought.

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Here is what she should look like. Hush from series 6 of the Living Dead Dolls.

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Yeah…she should have pinkish tones to her skin…not olive/mustard.

You know what hit me when I opened that bag?

Nicotine stench.

Just waves of it.

I’ve been removing her paint and washing her and washing her…soaking her in vinegar…scrubbing…lightly sanding…

 

It’s the worst where her outfit didn’t cover, like her face and shoulders…but the smoke was so absorbed by the vinyl that there are stains and discoloration even UNDER where her underwear was painted on.

 

But nothing really explains it better than once I realized I’d have to take her apart. Look at that color difference. This is after scrubbing and soaking.

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I’ve been trying to get the sun, what short amount we have each day, to help do the work.

I’ve scrubbed them up in a slurry of baking soda/ hydrogen peroxide/liquid soap and have been putting them out on the sun.

It’s new years eve and her torso and limbs are soaking. Her head has been re-slathered and is on my balcony to see the first sunrise of the new year, as is custom in Japan.

If anyone has tips on how to battle soaked-in nicotine I’d love to hear it.

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blythe, Doll, sewing

Aggretsuko!

Let’s move along to finished projects I should have told you about ages ago.

My Aggretsuko Blythe! Just in time for the Netflix Christmas Special!!

Her face just wasn’t right last time. I realized that it was because I’d given her lips. Red pandas have mouths that pop out from under white fur.

That issue solved:

Eyes I ordered locally:

Hearts and skulls!

I also used a pattern book to make that tiny shirt. I drafted the skirt myself.

Local wig! I decided to trim it after this picture. I made the ears out of white fake fur and orange felt. They are lightly stuffed and stitched to the wig.

Hair cut! Fake beer from a Gotchapon

Machine.

I used a pattern book again but altered a jacket pattern into a vest pattern.

With leftover white fake fur (I painted with watered-down acrylics and brushed between colors to prevent clumping) I created her tail.

I also drew one pair of her eyes and glued them to 14cm glass cabochons.

And printed out the last pair and glued them similarly

Tada!!!

Happy Holidays, Y’all.

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craft, Doll, pullip

Holly went roughly.

Doll fixing while cleaning:

Picked up this damaged, unwigged, naked Audrey Hepburn for about 2,500¥

What she’s supposed to look like.

Reality.

She was missing blink bars…which didn’t much matter as is because her eyes had been modified so they stuck out too far for her eyelids to close anyways.

I’d found a listing on Mercari for two sets of blink bars and two sets of eyelids for this generation of Pullip (three-part head with body type 3) for 500¥ MINE!

I found her generation of eye mech at Dollyterria with some large eye-chips the same time I bought her. 500¥ MINE

Good thing too!

Her body was in good shape but I had to figure out what was up with her eyes.

Ok. Eye-mech broken. Replace and save for items that can be used to repair future eye mech.

Eyes…wtf? Some sort of doll eye has been hollowed out and fitted (and smashed) over the eyemech eye area. This is probably the stress that eventually broke the eyemech.

Useless to me.

With Audrey’s face off I took the time to remove the rest of her face. Her lipstick had been removed by a previous owner.

Then I put her eyelids in, put in a new-to-her eye mech, inserted her new eye bars and reassembled her.

The eye chips in the eyemech also stick out a little too much, interfering with her blinks, so they’ll be replaced when I decide how I want to repaint her.

But there we have another doll ready to face-up when inspiration strikes and we still have two pairs of extra eyelids and one pair of wink bars.

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