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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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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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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Who is the gaijin in your neighborhood?

Hi, Neighbors!

Don’t mind us! We’re just TEATHERED* to the balcony here and slathered in acne cream.

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*we get earthquakes. I figured it’s best to tie them for their protection.

I  dressed them because I rationalized that seeing naked dolls would be more upsetting for my neighborhood.

These girls need sunlight to clean their face-stains. Well, sunlight and acne medication with 10% benzoyl peroxide. I’m nearly out so Gina is sending me some. It’s not available in Japan.

Cinderella’s stains are responding, slowly but surely.

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Aurora? Not yet.

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About Auroa’s hair. This was my first very intense boil perm.

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Unfortunately some of the curls on the right hand side of the photo were too loose and I’m redoing those looser curls. They’re drying right now.

I thought about redoing them all because she’s alarmingly curly but…I might just turn her into Claudia when I repaint her.

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Starting Melody

Meet Princess Melody, the daughter of Ariel and Erik.

Melody

That there is all I know about Melody.
Gina’s daughter knows more. She loves Melody. This is how I pay for the 15 dolls Gina sent me. Melody gets made.

From Gina, re: which doll gets Melodied and is she planning to wig or reroot:

I was thinking the belle doll. I didn’t know what would be easiest for you it would be fine if she was a brunette for it as Freya (Daughter) is a brunette if her hair is Good enough. What ever floats your creative juices. Most of all, have fun.
I’m a brunette.

Disney faces are so simplified that hair shape and color do a LOT for identifying character ….So, I wanted to get CLOSE. At least a darker brunette if not black.

The dramatic sweep of bangs and the side part make Melody read as Melody…so I set to experimenting.

First I noticed that there aren’t many videos about re-rooting these dolls.This is probably because of what a pain in the ass removing the heads is AND how much time rerooting a giant head takes. Most customizers seem to go with wigs or gluing wefts to the dolls. Kid play made both of these seem like “meh.” ideas.
I have two Belles in my collection, both from Gina. One is from the first generation of Belle dolls (I can tell because she has blue painted on undies to match the blue dress she came with) and MORE hair, and a second generation doll with yellow undies and less hair.

I started experimenting with more hair Belle and figured I could trick her bangs into doing a side-sweep…even if I couldn’t move her hair part. I set to work seeing if I could get her hair any darker.

I know that synthetic strands don’t really take dye well….but I’m not above magical thinking and believing in the power of stains.

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Yeah…No. Neither Dylon nor alcohol and arcylic inks worker to get her hair more than a shade darker.
I have a new sink container now.

I turned to Belle with the more sparse hair…and chopped.

Then I dipped her head in boiling water and set to softening her vinyl. Her neck softened first, ball of the head joint.
Unlike Barbie dolls, the ball part in her neck is what rotates and moves. The section inside her head remains connected to the head….but it had to come out so I could glue the hair from inside the head.

It was possible to get my tools in at the front of the neck between the joint and the head vinyl but in the back section the vinyl and joint were fused together. I had to tear some vinyl.

The neck hole is a little jagged but I figure I can bond it all together with liquid fusion after rerooting and repainting.

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 The pencil line shows where the part will be moving to. I’ll also be doubling up on the small holes at the front of the head so hair can be swept forward for bangs and back for her pony tail…no gaps.
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Starting the rooting process. I’ve painted the scalp so it doesn’t show through the hair..
Which was when I realized that I hadn’t done the same for my Wednesday doll. The hair is pretty thick but I stopped rooting to paint the top, as that is where the scalp will most likely show through.

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And this is how my Monday evening is looking…hairy.
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Seepage part 2: Acceptance.

It’s “Forget the year” season here. Forget the Year parties are something Japanese people have to do with their co-workers, their clubs, their friends, their old high school friends, everyone they ride the train with each morning and more. This means December is chock-a-block full of these parties…and they always involve alcohol.

TOKYO IS DRUNK every weekend now.

And as a bellydancer who does restaurant shows at Turkish restaurants, I’m busy.

 

Saturday night I did two restaurant shows (one in Shinjuku and one in Shibuya, back to back for two restaurants owned by the same man) after three hours of dance lessons… and that’s always crazy, The first show never starts on time, which means I get trapped in the “dressing area”, and then have to RUN to the train to my next gig.

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It’s a closet/office/storage space/ dressing room.

But I don’t have any Sunday private lessons this weekend so my Sunday and Monday have been free to…LET THE HEADS ROLL.

Let’s catch up to Queenie.
Last we saw she had GLUE SEEPAGE.
No amount of scraping and oil blotting would work so I cut off her hair and stuffed it into a glass of soapy water.

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And then started the NASTY process of scraping and boiling and pulling all the nasty glue-hair clots from her head.

 

This took more than an hour. It was like pulling hairy slime-snot from the head. It seemed endless….like a magic show you DO NOT WANT.

I figured I’d remove it all, clean it all out, and reroot…because my friend Ebony pointed out the head would make a great Wednesday Addams base.

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This isn’t the only doll head floating around my kitchen on these days off….

Sunday I went into Akihabara to buy some more hair/Tamiya putty/tools.

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MegaMan/RockMan was in front of Radio Kaikan. What I loved wasn’t so much all the dudes getting pictures with him…which was awesome…it was how many of these dudes ALSO gleefully wanted hugs.
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I also spotted the world’s saddest Pachinko Panda….

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And by the evening I was rerooting Wednesday with black and dark brown hair.

 

I might finish the reroot tonight but even when it’s finished I’ll have a lot of rerooting in my future. One of the Disney Animators dolls is transitioning from Belle to Princess Melody for my friend Gina’s daughter. A GIANT HEAD TO REROOT.

This….this is how I relax?

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Seeepage.

My Raven Queen from Ever After High is kinda nasty. She’s introduced me to a new doll ailment: glue seepage.

I should probably avoid negative terms like “nasty”. Getting glue seepage isn’t a reflection on a doll’s character, it’s just something that can happen.

The first time I wrote about her I noted that her hair was oily and oddly sticky.

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Well, I boil washed it. Greasy. I washed it with dish soap and hot water…and it was still greasy.

I felt like a fool googling “why does my doll has greasy hair?” because my dolls are not…I repeat NOT…alive. They don’t have skin and scalps and oils like we do.

Apparently there can be a build up of glue that starts to breakdown. Maybe something is off in the glue head ratio…I’m wondering if it’s a chemical thing that can happen like plastic melt…and that excess glue breakdown runoff ends up coming out of the scalp holes via the hair. My hot water and boiling water was just telling that breakdown “get excited and do more!”

If you get rid of all the glue inside the head…that’s what’s holding the hair in place…although I fear if other methods don’t work I will eventually have to remove her hair, remove all the glue somehow. Shame, I like her hair.

I removed her head from her neck peg. Indeed, the neck peg was coated in greasy sticky blobs. I tried to scrub the inside of the head with a paste of baking soda/tea tree oil/coconut oil (diy Goo Gone as goo gone isn’t sold here…I also wanted to use up my tea tree oil. Hedgehogs can’t handle tea tree oil so I can never use it for house stuff) to get larger clumps of glue out. Then I washed the inside a few times with a toothbrush and dish detergent.

I hung it to dry.

Now I’m soaking up excess oil by throwing the head in a baggie with some cornstarch and doing a shake/no bake and comb out process.

Doll heads in white baggies is my new kitchen decor. My friends love my random texts now…

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But, as I’m combing it out…it still feels greasy.

I may have a solution. I’ve been thinking about what sort of figures these big moon-faced dolls would work for…

Edward. Goddamned. Gorey.

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If I just cut the hair off and scrape out her head….His women are fond of short bobs (doll wig) and…turbans.

yeessssssss

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Sculpting Sally

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Sally has little boots and slumpy striped socks.

My Freaky Friend doesn’t have real shoes. She has red shoe-shapes covering wide, triangular leg ends. Nothing foot-like under the shoes.

Like Bratz before them, oversized shoes are a HUGE part of the Monster high look. Doll Sally won’t have the tiny little feetzies of film Sally.

It’s not like a Sally doll is going to wear other outfits or need to change her shoes. I’ve decided to sculpt her socks and shoes right on her.

I’m learning to sculpt with Tamiya epoxy putty. It comes in two different colored sticks, like flat gum, and you mix two equal parts together to create the chemical reaction needed for the epoxy to airdry. I picked up two small packets of Tamiya Epoxy Putty (Smooth type and quick type) at Yellow Submarine  for about 500yen each on Monday.

Last night I tried the quick type, without familiarizing myself with epoxy and how you need to keep your fingers and surfaces wet, and wasted about  250 yen worth last evening. not much but still…meh

Moral of the story: When you take the Ambien… GET IN BED.

When I got home today I tried the Smooth Type.

I figured I’d build the socks and the tongue of the boot first.  Tomorrow I teach dance after work and Friday and Saturday are restaurant gigs after work so I probably won’t be able to do a thing until Sunday…but smooth type sometimes needs a full day to cure.

After that dries I’ll fashion the body of the boot (cant make heels, alas, due to her foot wedges). Then I’ll sand a bit and add the laces. Everything will be painted later.

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Monster High Gore-geous Ghoul Beast Freaky Friend: Sally

I thought the 17″ (38cm) Frightfully Tall Ghoul line of Monster High dolls were the tallest Monster High dolls. I was wrong.

I am new to dolls and much of what I know comes from getting a doll that’s been through some rough time and then Googling to figure out WTF I have.

I know that the Monster High Voltageous dolls are 28″ (71cm) because I have one now. It came in THE BOX OF DOLLS.

Meet my new Gore-geous Ghoul Beast Freaky Friend (Green).

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She originally came with attachable wings, extra webbed hands, shoe covers, multiple glasses and headbands, a dress, and…AN EXTRA FLESH FACE SHE CAN WEAR OVER HER ORIGINAL FACE.

It just pops right on!

Thanks to Gina, I now have:
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Her. She comes with shoes that are not meant to come off, a dress, and no hands.

Her eye gimick works, you click a button on the back of her head and her eyes change to three different options. The white is “in between”

A child has also added glitter to her eyelids.

Her hair was a little sparse but I couldn’t get the scalp off and it was the right color for…SALLY

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No hands was a drawback but I figured I could hunt for some or sculpt my own…because WHY NOT sculpt jointed hands.

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In removing her face I came close to destroying her. I started with Acetone (which melts this sort of plastic) and then caught my error and continued with paint thinner and sand paper.

I also started experimenting with carving.

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And then her eyes rolled back into her skull. A section of old plastic snapped…rollllll.

I was unable to get to her eyes. The plastic held a section of the gimick in place inside her skull.

So….with a thin hacksaw and some prying I TOOK HER SKULL OFF.

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My reasoning being that:

  • I could always re-attach it.
  • I could widen her eye holes more for better Sally proportions.
  • I could add hair to the scalp before replacing it.
  • It was free.
  • Why not?

 

Tonight I’ll experiment with carving her body and preparing to add resin epoxy strings.

New Normal, folks

 

 

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