craft, Disney, Doll, sewing, Uncategorized

Power Puffing

Where have I been? I’ve been doing my summer thing. I’ve made a lot of stuff, done some social things, and visited America for 12 WHOLE DAYS.

And now, with my day job lurking beyond this weekend it’s time to start catching all of you up on my projects.

First up we have a work in progress: Powerpuff Girls.

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I have a ton of Disney Animators dolls so Ariel is becoming Blossom, Snow is Buttercup and Aurora will be Bubbles.

First I had to clean them and do many days outside with 10% Benxol Peroxide acne cream to remove stains.

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Which brings us to hair.

I’m ok with Blossom’s hair being more red than orange but neither Ariel nor Snow have bangs.

Which meant removing heads in order to properly root some bangs in.

 

I had to do the same thing with Snow. I also figured there are two waysI could interpret Buttercup’s hair. It can be slick with the up wave at the ends or I could make it more of a messy curly bob as her out of place hairs and morning illustrations suggest. I’ll be going team curly. Why not? More variation.

 

Aurora/Bubbles. Her hair just didn’t have the right part to do ponytails AT ALL AT ALL. I’ll work at making her a wig because I am never going to reroot a whole ‘nother of these heads. I’m sewing my first large wig cap for her, as I couldn’t find a light colored 13inch doll wig cap available online in Japan and I have stretchy nude fabric in my stash.

 

I’ll be buying a used wig of Mercari here later to remove blond wefts from, cheaper than buying them new.

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And I’ve started on Blossom’s face.

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I have already drafted a pattern that’ll work for the dresses, I did that back in the early stages when I thought I’d just learn a bit more about hand sewing by using a book about sewing for dolls….ya know…that thing that lead to all these DOLLS and Repaints.

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And that, my dears, is only the start of what I’ve been up to.

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Melody, complete!

I HAVE FINISHED IT!
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Last I updated about Melody, as far as my searches show me, I’d given up on dying her synthetic hair. I’d pried her head off and started rooting.

MY GOD, that was arduous. The heads of Disney Animators are about the size of softballs.

Towards the end I realized that the the neck hole was so small, and the area I’d need to secure inside with glue was so large…it was near impossible to do cleanly so I…CUT INTO HER HEAD.

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Desperate times.

I finished rerooting the head and the skull flap and secured the hair with Aleene’s Clear Gel Tacky Glue. Then I used Liquid Fusion and swearing to fit the head back into place.

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I later, after building up enough layed of liquid fusion, painted the seams black. And took photos.

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Then onto painting!

I didn’t take in progress photos. This is the final result all at once, with a little outfit I sewed her because I don’t like the idea of sending a naked doll to a friend.

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This week I’ll find a box and send her off to Gina and her daughter. And never ever reroot a Disney Animator Doll again.

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Disney, Doll, monster high, Uncategorized

Inner Monster.

The most awesome doll in the doll haul from the American consignment shop:

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MONSTER HIGH INNER MONSTER SHIVERING SAD, EEK EXCITED, & HAUNTINGLY HAPPY DELUXE PACK

So great. So great. Mine was without a box but I don’t care about boxes. I had everything but the notebook/diary. I don’t need that diary. I have this here blog.

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Oh, and mine had one other issue.

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A head detached from her body. I had yet to really understand how awesome she was. But her head alone had an exposed brain that, when pressed, changed her eye colors.

 

With much rattling and tweezers I finally got the broken neck-part out of her head. This allowed me to figure out how the neck and head were supposed to attach.

Oh, did I not mention that her body plates come off to expose her SPINE and such? When I bought the lot I DIDN’T KNOW. Even when I got it I hadn’t googled for more info. I only figured it out when I saw how the seams of the body moved a bit when I manipulated the head.

I opened her up!

I then drilled a screw partway into her neck and used Apoxie Sculpt to make a new head node.

Here’s the copy for this amazing product in bold.

Monsters have feelings too!

Yes, we do.

And now they can express their monster moods – or yours!

Awesome! I am a sucker for toys and stories about how our emotions are a natural part of who we are…thus my Inside Out love.

This Monster High ghoul has creepy cool transformative features and killer ways of emoting!

Me too!

With three of options, this monster can run the gamut of emotions from Shivering Sad to Eek Excited to Hauntingly Happy.

I have more emotions than that. That’s not technically running the gamut.

Fun fact about “Eek Excited.” I will respond to Eek. If I see it typed out I will identify with it as possibly meaning me. This comes from my misspent youth being a 14 year old with a 2400 baud modem who learned about local chat lines. I quickly chose the handle Eclipse and from ages 14-19 that was generally shortened to Eek.

Press on her scary cool neon brain to change the look in her eyes – the eye-changing feature even works with the wig on!

Three different eyes!

Swap out the three faceplates to change her facial expression from gore-geous to gaga.

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This is something I’ve wanted with a MH doll AND IN LIFE. Extra faces.

This is another thing that dates back to my childhood love of the Oz books and the brief appearance of Princess Langwidere.
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“Langwidere is a different person every time I see her. For the only way her maids and subjects can recognize her at all is by means of a pretty little key made out of solid ruby; which she always wears on a dainty chain attached to her left wrist. So when we see the key we know we are beholding the Princess.” ―Ozma of Oz (1907)

That key was to her hall of HEADS.

Back to dolls.

Plug emoticons (emotion-based peggable pieces) into her inner skeleton to make a literal statement and get even more “in touch” with your emotions.

Ok. So you can put a clear chest plate on her and see her spine/pelvis AND put little mood pegs into that skeleton.

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I’m just keeping the thunderstorm in her pelvis. I feel it. There are three more places to plug in emotions on the rib cage. All extra emotions can be stored in her purse. I generally done have emotions in my purse but I usually carry around emergency nuts in case my blood sugar drops and I get Radically Raged.

And of course, fabulous feeling fashions and clawesome corresponding accessories can match the mood on the outside.

Clawed omelette is what my autocorrect made of Clawesome.

Throw on the enchanting wings, the creepy cool genie tail or both! Choose a hair-raising purple ponytail or a colorful wig. Swap the chest plates and the fashions to complete the look. When the right mood is captured, record the monster’s story in the fill-in-the-blank diary to take personalization to new scary heights.

Ok. The creepy cool genie tail. I had questions.

In the pictures of the lot I was going to get I kept wondering, “What is that hungry penis plant thing? Will it make more sense when it arrives? ”

It DIDN’T.

 

Turns out, that’s for her Eek Excited look. You pull out her legs and shove her pelvis in that. That’s ok and not disturbing at all! Probably less disturbing than the uncanny valley that Will Smith often inhabits in the live action Aladin.

This video from Surprise Egg and Toy Collector on You Tube shows each of the three looks.

Eek Excited:

The whole video goes over every aspect I mention in better detail and each of the looks It’s late and I’d rather not set up to take photos.

The set includes one full doll with eye-changing/brain feature, three interchangeable face plates, two peggable/interchangeable skeletons, one additional chest plate, three monsterrific accessories (wings, tail, furry peplum), multiple inner emotion-based pieces (that snap into the doll), two over-the-top fashions, one pair of shoes, doll stand, brush and fill-in-the-blank diary. It’s a brand new way to play! Collect other dolls and expansion Add-On Packs for even more frightful options (sold separately). Ages 6 and older.

I would have gone insane for monster high dolls if they’d launched at the right time of my childhood…or in my childhood AT ALL.

I’m not changing this one.

She’s currently wearing another doll’s outfit and being a Sad rocker.

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And doing Sadness a great concern.

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But, most things do Sadness a great concern. It’s her thing, really.

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Exploring Hands.

It’s common to find Monster High/ EAH dolls without hands. This is only going to get worse as the line is discontinued.

Now I’m trying to find a way to deal with that when I don’t live in a country with much in the way of replacement parts.

I think I’ll eventually have to learn how to cast resin but until then:

Try 1 for a hand-less EAH doll:

Obitsu four hand set for 21/23 (about 800¥)

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Right off the bat the peg that needs to be inserted into the arm is way too long and thick.

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Left: EAH Hands Right: Obitsu

The Obitsu hands don’t have the lovely long fingers of a fashion doll, the wrist is thick, and the colors are limited.

This color is actually close to the body I’m using so I probably won’t blush them right away.

I set about cutting and sanding/dremelling away the excess peg.

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And testing the fit.

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Until it fit!

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It’s not the most elegant solution. The rubbery hands aren’t easy to sand or shape. It works though. They can always serve as placeholders until spare hands are found, if ever.

Up Soon:
I’ll be trying the Pure Nemo hands, which come in a wider selection of hand poses and might be easier to sand and shape. These will also require whittling down.pure

I’m also drying to airdry polymer clay and apoxie Sculpt to see if I can make my own forearms in the future.

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Feeling sad for my dolls?

“Is it weird that I feel kind of sad for the characters that the dolls originally started out as?” d41f0380-1d04-4ab3-813a-d97bc25d3691

This question was asked by my friend Doug when I posted a picture of a Kaoru in progress.

First, you get to feel what you feel.

We all go through enough stress that we don’t need to be negatively judging our feelings if they aren’t causing us (or others) emotional or physical duress. Feel Away!

It’s natural to have feelings about what I’m doing to dolls.

Dolls are powerful. They contain emotional resonance. Dolls are small representations of humans with a long, varied history. They’ve been used for rituals (magic/religious) since we’ve been able to create them. They range from high art objects to rudimentary crafts. The dolls (or action figures) we played with as children are no different, we imbued them with a wide range of emotions and tasks in our creative play.

Some of my friends have pediophobia, a fear of dolls, and which is also due to the power of how human representation in dolls affects us….not that any of those friends are following this blog.

How Doug feels about the characters I’m changing might also have something to do with how I know Doug. We met at American based Anime conventions in the late 90’s. I don’t think it’s any fluke that the character face that finally made him ask this was quintessentially Japanese/Anime-like. 

I don’t know who the head I’m transforming into Kaoru is.  I have no clue if it was any character from a particular series or just a cute head. I bought it as a head in a bag….no context…but Doug has identified the base anime characters I’ve picked up before for transformations. He probably has more emotional connection to them by knowing them as anime/manga characters and knowing what their backstory is, wherein I’m just picking them as blanks to make them into a character or an idea that resonates with me.

I also know nothing about Ever After High dolls or Monster High Dolls. I look into the characters once I have a doll, but it doesn’t influence their transformation.

Now, as for if I feel remorse for the original dolls I’m working on.

Easy answer: No.

I’ve long been fascinated with doll mutilation,  HI BARBIE!

My Freshman or Sophomore year of art school we had to bring in a collection of a certain type of objects for one of my art classes. I chose mutilated barbies. It was easy. I know girls and boys are rough on Barbies. I asked my high school friends if they could provide me with naturally child-mutilated Barbies and I quickly had a pile of gnawed/melted/broken bodies and a few shorn heads.

Shout out to my Sophomore year roommate, Tor Imsland, who often had to endure these things all around the apartment, sometimes opening the bathroom door to find them floating in the bathtub.

I also read up on Barbie and followed up on Barbie related artists (many of whom mutilate Barbies and deal with the psychology of how we react to dolls in peril).

The idea of working with damaged dolls has never emotionally bothered me.

Additional answer:
 No, because I don’t mess with dolls I’m emotionally attached to.

If I get a vibe from a doll that it’s fine the way it is, I don’t mess with it. I love the sculpt of the Baby Moana from the Disney Animators dolls. It also reminds me a little of my friend Ebony. When I got one in great shape I knew I’d make some outfits for it and enjoy it as it is. I’ve since received a messier Moana baby but I’ll probably just transform it into a cuter Moana.

 

 

More Answer:

I think of myself as making dolls better..which also is a testament to emotional attachment.

The first used Groove/Pullip/Dal I bought was a combination of “Hmmm, what are these dolls about” and “OMFG what did they DO to you poor doll? I’ll make it better”

 

 

I love a baggie doll. I’ve learned to have boundaries about how much work to put into dinged-up humans if I’m not getting anything from that relationship. With dolls I get SOMETHING, some change, from the work I put in.

Let’s look at two dolls to illustrate how my emotions fluctuate from doll to doll.

For my birthday, Ebony gave me two baggie dolls.

I love that my friend went into Dollyteria, not quite knowing what she was looking for but knowing I like dolls in baggies and that I need more dolls of color. She came to me with these two My Scene dolls.

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My Scene: Madison and Hudson.

TADA.

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My Scene “Hudson”…I do not have ANY emotional attachment to him. I think he looks like a douche.

So, within a day I was sending Ebony pictures like this, to let her know I was getting THE MOST out of Hudson….my way.

 

 

Yup, cutting his hands of to try and get more articulation. Removing his insane hair. I’ve sawed off parts of his feet to sculpt him new ones.

This is how I will make Hudson a better man.

Hopefully, this man:

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Katya Zamolodchikova

As for My Scene Madison?

Far gentler treatment in how I handle her and present her. I’ll saw off Hudson’s flat feet in a hot instant and show you the pictures. If I sawed of a doll of color’s feet I probably wouldn’t show the process of it until those feet were right again.

BECAUSE DOLLS AND IMAGES HAVE POWER.

No one needs disembodied Black heads on their feeds. No one needs to see hand-less Black Dolls. Maybe someday dolls of color will be as mass produced as white/white passing dolls (Licca) and those images won’t resonate but we’re not at that point.

But Madison isn’t getting sawed.

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She’s going to chill on the shelf until I’ve worked up the nerve to try and turn her into a woman I DON’T WANT TO FAIL in making. There will be no naked object photos of this process. Too much feelings there.

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Legit scared about falling short on this but know I won’t get better at dolls of color if I don’t try.

Finally:

It’s ok to have your feelings about my dolls, or your dolls, or your action figures. It’s natural to shift between seeing them as dolls/humans/personalities/totems/ritualistic objects.

They are ultimately your feelings to have.

 

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Why do you want to shrink heads anyways? Four Reasons.

Shrinking heads is the craft of using acetone to break down the plasticizer in a vinyl doll’s head to make it smaller (and less elastic). The chemical make-up/proportions of vinyl can vary wildly so it’s not an exact procedure.

I mentioned on FB that I’d be using my down time to catch up on my blog and a friend asked, ” Is the topic of ‘why shrink the heads’ covered in the blog? I’ve been wondering.

That IS a good question.

A few of my friends check in and read this blog. For most of them I’m the only insight they have into doll crafting. It is for them I that I try to explain why to shrink heads, even though I’ve only done it once and don’t know much myself.

Here are Four Reasons Why.

  1. HEAD TOO BIG WANT SMALLER.

I know that seems obvious, but is it? Many of the dolls I’ve been working on thus far have deliberately large heads (all the Pullip/Groove dolls, Blythes) so I understand it seems odd I’d  start shrinking heads now. What makes one oversized head fine and the next becomes an issue I need  to address?

For me the line has been Ever After High dolls.

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Their heads are just too big and round for my tastes. This one is also missing hands and has glue head.

Because I have more box dolls from GINA for my BIRTHDAY.

 

Back to EAH heads. I’ve used them at original size twice; once for Wednesday (because she’s got a huge forehead and is still partly a child) and one for Raven because she’s not human.

 

 

But when it came to making Terra, a human girl who just happens to have powers, I wanted that head a bit less large. The difference is small and I wish I’d taken better photos. Still, I give you the Professor replacing Drake….Because the Professor doesn’t groom underaged girls.

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It’s still a big head but less so. In an attempt to prevent head collapse I may have filled it with too much stuffing as it shrank. not sure.

2. Shrinking heads highlights aspects of head mold/design.

Sculpting of heads creates variability in the thickness of vinyl at different points of the face. These differences become more pronounced when the plastizicer is removed, creating sharper, more dramatic features.

This is where I steal photos from people who’ve done this longer than I have. these come from Dirili Doll’s Website, I used her videos as a guide.

http://www.dirili.com/mh/fastshrink1.html

http://www.dirili.com/mh/slowshrink1.html

Below is a Lagoona Monster High doll. Right is untouched, middle is a slow shrink, left is a fast shrink. See how defined the eyes (although with paint on it’s hard to see) and the cheekbones get? Yeah.

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3. Photos of heads in jars.

Probably my favorite reason.

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4. Can do minor reshaping when the vinyl is pliable.

After you remove the head from the acetone it will be fragile (and if you shrank fast, it will also be giant, bloated, and jelly like. After about 24 hours  it won’t have completely set and you can sinfluence the head shape with consistant pressure (over 2-5 days)

This photo is from another tutorial of Dirilli

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Which, as you can see, I’ll probably do just because of the photos I’ll be able to send friends.

And that’s why you might want to shrink a head.

 

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Teen Titans Terra: I shrink a head

The new job kicked in hard and fast. I’m doing the work that, at my last company, would be done by 1.5 people. Suffice to say there is a learning curve. This, plus a new commute plus teaching my dance partner’s classes as well as my own, has given me a head cold and my tendonitis is flaring up.

The mixed good news is I have time to recover. It’s an unprecedented TEN DAY Golden week here in Japan. Emperor Akihito is abdicating without the usual obligatory death and his son, Crown Prince Naruhito, will ascend. The new era of Reiwa starts on Wednesday.

Yoshihide Suga

Y’all will be in 2019 and I’ll be starting Reiwa year one. Not kidding.

Golden Week involves a lot of people traveling and extra crowds. I’m taking my cold to be a sign that it’s time for me to practice for the 2020 Olympics…wherein I avoid any extra trips into Tokyo until bullshit is settled. My new commute already involves trains where there are train workers on the platforms pushing more people in. Adding GW or Olympics to that? NOPE.

So, what have I been making? Well shortly after things got crazy, it was my birthday…so there is NO SHORTAGE OF DOLLS.

Time to make Terra

 

But before all the dolls arrived I’d picked up two EAH dolls at Hobby Off. I have become resigned to the fact that if an EAH doll is given to HobbyOff, it will probably have glue seepage.

For Terra I’d use Ashlynn Ella. She doesn’t have yellow-blond hair but she does have sort of a dirty blond tan Malibu Barbie vibe that I thought would work for Terra.

 

I scrapped out as much extra glue as I could without losing hair and then set about to shrink her head. I figured tighter hair openings would counter balance the decrease in glue…but I also hoped I removed enough glue that the head wouldn’t rip if it tried to shrink smaller than the glue inside.

Shrinking uses acetone to eat away at the plastisizer in the doll’s head, ultimately making it smaller, and less maliable. There are risks.

As friends sent me texts in this time period I’d sometimes reply with pictures like this “I’m drinking to forget”

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I used Dirili Dolls videos and blog as a guide.

I intended to do a slow shrink, where a ratio of water to acetone makes it a slower, more controlled process with less ballooning and contracting of the doll’s head over 48 hours of soaking. But I never quite found the sweet spot of a good ratio. After two tries I went for a fast shrink:100% Acetone over 2-3 hours.

MAN DOES THE HEAD BALLOON BEFORE IT SHRINKS.

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I waited for it to dry and shrink down, then repeated the process one more time.

Final head next to an unshrunk EAH head.

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Then to decorate!
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Little by little I’m getting a handle on this scale.

I whipped up a quick outfit. In the future I think I’ll use something other than felt for her belt/pouches and gloves…but I really wanted to get this done RIGHT before my schedule got crazy.

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I’ll be painting her boots later.

Here she is with the squad.

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Now I just have to tackle Rose Wilson for the Girls Night Out to be complete…and I know who she’ll be made from!

Yup, from the Thrift Shop Haul that is my Father and Step-mother’s contribution to my birthday emerged two Elsas.

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And this is just part of the birthday doll haul. SO MANY DOLLS.

Such a head cold.

Updates will be coming daily for a bit.

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Apoxie Sculpt. Everything.

Apoxie Sculpt is soooooo much better than the Japanese alternatives I’ve been trying. True,  they’re just two part modeling epoxy and they don’t market themselves as Japanese alternatives to Apoxie Sculpt but they’re what I have been using.

NO MORE!

It might be pricier to buy here but…I’m in Japan. I’m where the sealant of doll choice (Mr. Super Clear) is at all hobby shops. I’m in Model Mecha!

Apoxie sculpt is silkier, less irritating to my skin (I tried wearing gloves but after a while they get in the way) and less grainy.

I only bought one pound (two 8oz containers you mix) and I’m already understanding why people buy four pounds at a time. When you have Apoxie Sculpt the answer is to SCULPT EVERYTHING.

Hey… these shoes don’t really suit Wednesday.

SCULPT SOME SKULLS.

 

I want a Pretty Pretty Pegasus figure.

SCULPT IT.

Do I really want to try and glue Clawdeen Wolf’s detached wolf ears back onto her skull for Starfire’s ears? No?

SCULPT SOME EARS.

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I want to make an Edna Mode dolls but no existing faces really work.

SAND DOWN THAT LITTLE PULLIP AND START SCULPTING.

 

And, of course, I continue to sculpt my Sakura inspired doll.
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The ony thing left for me to figure out what sort of armature and dark magic is needed for me to sculpt a golem that can go to work for me next week while I stay home and create.

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SHOES for Wednesday

Doll shoes.

Pesky little doll shoes.

Ever After High dolls have SLIGHTLY larger feet than Monster High Dolls. Sometimes. Not always. Sometimes they can swap shoes and sometimes MH shoes are just too small for EAH.

This is what I have learned.

After buying some MH shoes.

So, I turned to one of the EAH dolls I picked up at my local  Hobby Off and took her shoes. High heels would have to do, even though I’d wanted tiny shoe/boots I could add a buckle to.

High heels would have to do. Using an X acto knife I removed an extra front strap and scraped off the flower detail where all the straps met

Using my new best friend APOXIE SCULPT (Oh, I love you Apoxie Sculpt. Let us never speak of the two part epoxy putties I tried earlier. So you are expensive? I live in the land of cheap Mr. Super Clear, it evens out) and made tiny skulls.

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I then painted the shoes with black acrylic.

Once the skulls had dried overnight I painted them, glossed them, and attached them with hot glue.

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YAY!

(I picked up three MH stands for 500¥ at Dollyteria. yay.)

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And thus Wednesday is done! I’d take her out for some outdoor photos but it’s raining.

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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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