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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costuming, craft, Doll, monster high, sewing, Uncategorized

Little Dead Riding Wolf

One of my finished projects this summer was Little Dead Riding Wolf.

You may have noticed that I never show concept sketches. It’s not how I work. It’s never been. With dolls as with creating dance costumes I start with a very hazy concept, maybe gather some inspiration, and let the tools take me where they will.

I’m not proud of this. It’s just what I’m comfortable with.

In art school I’d just tackle large sheets of paper and see where the drawings took me. I think in my fine arts classes, because I drew (worked in dry and thus relatively fast materials) and i wasn’t majoring in illustration with need to think of a client, it was encouraged.

When I started dancing I was more comfortable soloing improvisationally than I was confident in making choreography…but in grappling with how to learn AND create choreography I’ve become a better dancer overall.  In this new-to-me art I think some pre-planing and concept sketches would save time AND help me be more productive overall. I just need to figure out how to start that journey.

I’m getting that out here so I can think on it.

Little Dead Riding Wolf started out hazy.

The concept was part of the original doll’s name…I had one from the 20 doll haul.

img_0301And I knew that I wanted to do 1). more experimentation with Goth/Fantasy concepts on darker skinned dolls 2). unraveled yarn to create kinkier textured hair.

I bought red and brown acrylic yarn at the 100¥ shop. I unraveled it and re-rooted her head.

I covered her hair to spray her with a few priming layers of Mr. Superclear and got to coloring with chalk pastels, water color pencils and acrylics.

Next came how to redress her. I decided that Little Dead Wolf would want to warn possible grandchildren she met in the forest NOT to mess with her. I set to making a skull from Apoxie Sculpt. Nothing says “nope” like the skull of your vanquished enemies.

I drafted the cape myself. The red/black velvet is left over from a dance costume I made for myself.

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The making of that and the lace beading can be found on my costume page.

For the rest of the outfit I turned to Requiem Art Designs. Etsy: DGRequiem is THE source to turn to when you wanna make doll outfits but don’t want to make your own pattern AND are willing to pay another artist. I went with her Rococo Lolita pattern.

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And I took a trip to Nippori (our fabric street) for remnant scraps.

Let me tell you, it took me two tries to get the brocade to behave. I have a less than perfect version I’ll find a use for.

Then I made a short skirt using her pattern AND a longer skirt by free-styling it.

The awesome belt came off one of the other MH dolls from my haul.
I layered those two skirts. I’m a huge fan of the idea that you just layer fabrics until they look expensive and fabulous.

For a final touch I painted those horrible purple boots to match her new outfit.

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I’ll need to make her a basket soon but for now I love her.

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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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craft, Disney, Doll, sewing, Uncategorized

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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A space for my craft.

My apartment is spacious and cheap. It’s why I refuse to move.

It’s also damned hot in summer. When I first moved here 8 years ago I tried to go a while without an air conditioner. By early September I was googling the signs of heat stroke daily and bought an air conditioner for my bedroom. Now  I’ve made the choice to face the latest heat with TWO, count them, TWO rooms I won’t melt in.

My sewing room is the darkest room of the apartment, which makes in horrible for doll work. All other rooms are very well lit.  I’ve done the majority of my doll work in my bedroom, which has given me a cluttered room as there is no space there that has been officially dedicated to doll in progress storage and work.

I decided to turn my dedicated dance space into a hybrid dance and doll space. And to buy a used window mounted air-conditioner off of Yahoo Auctions. Previously my summer dance practice waited until after dark when the room had cooled off and I would set three fans up.

 

When I bought my window mounted air conditioner (used again) for my bedroom years ago I paid to also get it installed. This time I figured I’d just do it myself.
That thing was heavy but I’m a smallish person full of stubborn strength.

I also bought a used table and had it delivered.

I’m still getting the storage sorted so I have most of what I need in one place and easy to find and clean up. I plan to swap the curtains for little half curtains once I finish making them. If I ever need to block out all the light in the room, all of these windows have metal shutters I can close…because we have typhoon season.

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And with that, the summer of crafting begins.

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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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craft, Doll, monster high, Uncategorized

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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