craft, Doll, monster high, Uncategorized

Chibi-Raven

I roam the Hobby-off (a used toy/hobby shop) with no real plan in mind. Sure, first I scope the dolls but then I just wander the figures until something speaks to me.

This isn’t unlike the time shortly after my first move and job change within Japan in August of 2004. I hadn’t planned to stay here…and then I was offered a new job. My cash was low, so I had to borrow money for the move.

There was a “recycle shop” near my new place with a used sewing machine for 3,000 yen, about 30 usd at the time.Worth  every yennie.

I’d already started hand-altering and embroidering my clothing about a year earlier. It was a way to cut down on the temptation to shop aimlessly. I’d also gained and lost weight in my first few years here so I had items that needed to be taken in.

My weeks at my new apartment I was broke but my new job was yet to start. My entertainment was sewing.

What will I make? What can I make?

I’d look at my pile of things I don’t wear and either alter them…or totally seam rip them and make something new. An old jacket became wool scraps became a purse. A dress became a tissue box cover and purse lining and so-on.

The Hobby-Off trips are similar.

Banpresto makes a lot of small figures, most of them for claw machines/UFO catchers.I pick them up used. They can be great presents for my geek people back home.

This is a figure from Monogatari, a series I know nothing of.

img_4648

She was around 200¥ and reminded me of Raven. I wanted to see how customizable these figures are. They have the same plastic and proportions of Nendoroids but aren’t poseable and are way cheaper. I have a Nendoroid face a friend would like me to customize later.

If it were a Nendoroid I’d just pop the hair and face off easily, they are made to have inter-changable faces.

This figure isn’t meant to be changed, I pried the hair off with a flathead screwdriver and removed her face with paint thinner (not acetone).

The heads are easy to remove and the bodies come in half. I assume she came in a box and had to be put together.

I removed her skirt and started removing her extra clothing with an X-acto knife.

I should probably learn how to film this stuff…not because there’s a need for more tutorials but because there might be a kink market willing to pay for such visuals.

I wish I’d slimmed down her chest/upper body more.  Regrets. Then I started smothing things out with Tamiya Epoxy Putty. I wish I’d glued the torso to the bottom half before this step because not doing so created cracking when the torso experienced pressure and I’d have to do it later. There are slight seams on the product now.

Not pretty. I not do a better job of clearing the work area of lint.

img_4598

After sanding I added more potty to create Raven’s power/chakra/thingy and build up her suit.

img_4647

More sanding and I decided to make THIS Raven more of the neutral gray hue they use for her in Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go.

Spray paint for plastics!

img_4779

I wish I’d gotten the chest a bit smaller and smoother and sanded more of the putty where the stocking indents were. Live and learn. I also started painting the hair with acrylics to make sure it took well.

This is where we are now.

img_4781

Next up I’ll work on her face, fix it, and then assemble her and do final paint touch-ups and gloss up her red power belt.

I’m about to have a month free from my regular teaching job. This means hustling more on the dance side, probably doing some paid cleaning work, and having time to craft. My goal is that by the end of the month having some of my larger Disney Animated Dolls finished and listed on Japan Mercari as a test to see if that’s a good local selling option for me. I also hope to get closer to finishing the reroot on the Belle-to-Melody for my friend Gina’s child.

There are plenty of crafts to be done, this is what the area about my computer looks like right now…

img_4805

So, yes, Wednesday Addams, Raven, Raven, and an almost finished Jinx.

 

Standard
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

img_4212

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.

img_4082

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.

Standard
craft, Doll, Social, Uncategorized

New Years Eve

It’s New Years Eve.

My  破魔矢 ”Hamaya”/ Demon Breaking Arrow from this year is ready to be burned in a bonfire tonight.

img_3527

My bedroom and kitchen are clean enough for guests. I’m spending my third New Years Eve in a row with Jamie. I’ve known her since we were both wee cosplay dorks at cons in America. 20 years?

I’ve pulled out one of my futons. it’s folded up beyond my desk.

img_3524

None of these dolls were here last year. Contemplate that for me.
The desk, however, I bought sight-unseen from another foriegner before I moved to Japan…17+ years ago. It’s been painted many colors since.

img_3525

Jamie will come over. We’ll get snacks and catch up. Then we’ll head to a shrine in Kashiwa to count in the New Year. I’ll burn my arrow.

I don’t usually buy Hamaya but I’d been asked to pick up two for a friend in America and then got one myself. That friend turned out to be a full-time scam artist…one of two friends this year who turned out to be harboring secrets so horrible that they traumatized too many people to even contemplate…watching it burn will hopefully be cathartic.

I’ve rid my home of so much from the scammer but never by burning.

In my dance room my quilt is pinned and ready to be tied…and tied…and tied.

img_3492

Tomorrow Craftmas begins in earnest and without interruption.

Standard
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.

Standard
Disney, Doll, Uncategorized

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.

img_2963

*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.

img_2988

Aurora? Not yet.

img_2959

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

img_2409-1

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.

interview-with-the-vampire-kirsten-dunst

 

Standard
craft, Disney, Doll, monster high, Uncategorized

New Hands Are Here!

Right now it’s hard to prioritize things. I get home and everything shouts for attention: my bed, my need for nourishing food, my need to make that food, my crafts, the things I need to do for dance and the studio…

Before I know it it’s past my bedtime, way past, and I feel like nothing got done but a mess was made. I know that’s in part the depression talking but it’s also true that my focus feels fragmented.

I did manage to get the studio website updated to the best of my ability tonight.  Unfortunately I had some questions about some class description titles not matching the names of the classes on our schedule.

This is all compounded by the fact that I can read (almost) all the home page and promotional copy I get from my dance partner, in my second language, but I can’t always trust my second language for generating new copy when something is lacking or contradicting itself.

My dance partner also just had a baby. It’s a fresh baby…like 3 months fresh..so text replies to my questions to her might come at once or at 4 am. I’m closing LINE/Instagram and the studio homepage editor for the night and just being glad I started the process and have made headway into new classes and the 2019 schedule.

img_1371

You say new baby, I say napping partner. This was at his 2 month mark. I’m going to be doing a lot of baby duty while she gets back into classes at the studio in the new year.

The good news is…I can feel like I did much more tonight because my replacement hands arrived in the mail.

63f7e711-5ad0-4794-9b75-023e42686a33

I found replacement hands for my Sally Doll in progress. Shipping from America isn’t always cheap but…I wasn’t looking forward to hand sculpting hands with a wrist joint and arm pegs.

2459d3e2-d4be-4aa2-987d-93cf7ecf4048

…and I can send more goofy text photos to friends here.

 

 

Standard
craft, Doll, japanese, Uncategorized

Not Orphans

We all have a few pop culture references that are so specific that we rarely say them out loud, knowing that they will fall on ears that don’t get them, yet so persistent that they haunt us time after time.

One of mine, and I think it too often, is:

Jerry: I was under the impression that you could win prizes or money. Not orphaned children.

It’s from the Mind Match skit from The State, a sketch comedy show that ran three seasons on MTV. The concept of the bit is that two games show contestants find themselves winning orphans they DO NOT WANT and start attempting, without much luck, to throw the quiz and stick the other person with the lonely souls.

Susan : Um, I have a very small apartment. I don’t know what I would do with four foster children.

Host: Well, figure it out because you’re their legal guardian and it’s time for Round 2, where the orphan points double.

What cemented this skit in my mind was the two years I worked in an independent video store in my hometown. A store so amazing that in 2018 it still exists. We had free range over what we showed/watched while working only limited by what others on staff could not stand to see again and decency (at certain hours decency not included) And we had a VHS compilation of The State ( The State and Stickers*…*stickers not included) which we often popped in.

Susan: I didn’t say anything. I mean, I didn’t answer. You must’ve-

Host: A smart move. A wrong answer could have cost you the lead. (Bell) Hey, that bell means it’s time for our Double Dare question! Jerry, how many of your orphans are you willing to wager?

Jerry: All- all of them.

Host: Hey, it looks like Jerry is looking to double his orphans. Susan, how many will you bet?

Susan: Well, uh, all of them.

And as much as The State is a beloved cult classic for for ages it wasn’t released in full only video or DVD because, as an MTV show, it used a lot of modern pop music they then couldn’t get the rights for….and the music/MTV combo meant that clips released to You Tube were cracked down on…and Mind Match never had the pop culture reach of, say, “240$ worth of pudding did.

So I don’t often say “I was under the impression that you could win prizes or money. Not orphaned children. “ but if the topic of orphans or gameshows or even winning comes up…I’m thinking it.

So when I opened up Dolly*Dolly Vol 20 and met Little Miss No Name.

There it was.

An Orphan. That quote.

In 1965 Hasbro asked itself, “What do little girls want?”…and perhaps knowing it wasn’t up for doing battle with Mattel’s fashion warrior Barbie and her additional purchases kingdom…answered “Orphan. Little girls want an Orphan to take care of.”

And they made an orphan. Nothing fancy or aspirational like Little Orphan Annie promisingyou’ll be scoped up and taken to bigger and better things. Not. A Keene-esque sad-eyed orphan among orphans. Fake dirt on her cheeks. No shoes. A patched burlap dress. A TEAR DROP. Her hand outstretched….for something. Anything.

Her box read, “ I need someone to love me. I am so tired and cold. please take me home with you and I will be yours to hold. I want someone to love me, I want to learn to play, please take me home with you and brush my tear away.”

And she was called Little Miss No Name.

From Dolly*Dolly Vol 20, pg23-24

My rough translations of….

Model: Little Miss No Name

Text: momiji

Where is love?

Where is that person?

So, this world

We can see photons and phonons, right?

Shouldn’t we be able to hear where we’ll meet this person?

The sounds of wheels on London pavement.

The permeating ether of 1,000,000,000 years connects us.

I’ve spent my time the leader of loneliness and silence.

The wandering Oliver whispered in my ear

Have you found eternity?

The world I can see from my window, is this all there is?

Yes, really. This must be all that’s been created.

To make sure, I’ll slip away tonight.

愛はどこにあるの?

あの人はどこにるの?

この世界はね

フォトンとフォノンでできてるの

ほら見えるでしょ?

あの人と出会った場所

ほら聴こえるでしょ?

倫敦の石畳のあに車輪の音

充満したエーテルが繋ぐ十億年

孤独と静寂の支配者は去ったよ

彷徨うオリバーは耳打ちしたの

永遠はみつかった?

窓から見える世界は全て真実?

ううん本当はね きっと全部造りものなの

それを確かめる為に私、今夜抜け出したのよ

Standard
BDJ, craft, Doll, japanese, Uncategorized

Dolly Dolly Vol 4. Closet Freak Doll Trunk pt 2

Don’t get too excited, Closet Freak is the artist who did the doll trunk and fashions for this photoshoot. As is often true, the English name provides a dream the reality doesn’t quite fit into correctly. Part 1 is here.

This is a Japanese Artist’s vision of an doll trunk, wherein the doll’s outfits mirror her owner’s (bygone/upperclass/English or European) life

Scan 3

The dream you see when you close your eyelids.
A recently finished white textured cotton negligee that feel soothing to wear. Torchon lace decorating the chest gives it increased dimensionality. Every night their good friend reads a story to them, almost like a magic spell, in hopes of giving them good dreams. I wonder what they’ll see in their dreams tonight?

Torchon lace is a type of sturdy bobbin lace traditionally made in Europe.
瞼を閉じて見る夢は…
テクチャーのある白いコットン生地で縫い上げたやさし着心地のネグリジェ。トーションレースで胸元を彩り、立体感を出しました。仲良しの子羊ちゃんは毎晩、絵本を読んであげます。素敵な夢を見るためのおまじないだそうです。今晩はどんな夢を見るのかな?

img002

Prayer Sunday

A simple A-line dress with a white stand-up collar detail. A finished matching bolero with embroidered embellishment makes for a tidy outfit for attending mass. The rosary is also handcrafted. On Sunday, at church, we pray and sing hymns.

祈りを捧げる日曜日
Aラインのシンプルなワンピースは白い立て衿がポイント。刺繍をあしらったボレロを合わせて清楚な御ミサ用のお洋服に仕上げます。ロサリオも手作りです。金曜日は、教会でお祈りを捧げ、賛美歌を歌います。

img003

Easter egg hunt in a spring field

As a playsuit, I made a retro-styled sailor outfit. To look good against the fresh grass, I chose pink. I substituted a belt for the lower waist as added detail. The hat brim is decorated with a flower. I love Easter egg hunts, because I used to find so many!

春の野原でイースターの卵探し
遊び着としてレトロテイストのセーラー服を作りました。若草に映えるようにぴんくをチョイス。ローウエストの切り替えやベルトがポイント。裏わら帽子にはお花を飾りました。イースターの卵探しが大好き!たくさん、見つけたのよ。

 

Standard
BDJ, craft, Doll, japanese, pullip, Uncategorized

SD Jargon & Closet Freak Doll Trunk

Doll magazines have a lot of jargon that I’m just starting to grasp. Dolly*Dolly magazines have a lot of clothing patterns for dolls but they usually refer to the specific doll it was designed for…which means I’m trying to learn about other doll bodies to know what will work on my dolls.

One of the doll trunks featured in Dolly*Dolly Vol 4. also has sewing patterns for the dolls shown MiniSD…so I needed to figure out some VOLKS jargon. I promise pictures of a doll trunk follow.

  • Volks, Inc.  is a Japan-based corporation that produces Dollfie, Super Dollfie and Dolfie Dream dolls as well as resin kits and mecha model kits.
  • Dollfie is one of the brand of vinyl dolls Volks Inc makes. Dollfie is the 1/6 playscale version of Volks dolls which makes them similar in body size to Pullips and Dals or Barbies. They’re generally 23–29 cm (9–11.5 in). Dollfies are intended to to be customized, generally coming with unpainted/unfinished heads for owners or artist to paint themselves.
  • Super Dollfie (or SD): Are also made by Volks but are a brand of ball-jointed doll (BJD) which means their limbs and points of articulation have ball joints and are all strung together inside the body with thick elastic cord. SD are made of polyurethane resin, a dense plastic with a porcelain-like finish. From this point on all the dolls I’m talking about here will be of that sort of construction (not vinyl like basic Dolfies)

 These dolls are much taller than basic Dollfies and seem to come in different sizes: SD10 are 55 cm tall (almost 22”) and SD13  girls are 57 cm (about 22.5”) and the boys 60 cm (about 23.5”) tall. SD dolls are presented at a price-point that makes them targeted at adult collectors. They are dolls designed to be easily customizable (as Volks also makes wigs, eyeballs, optional hands, different chest dimentions and other body parts that can be swapped in and out). They are generally (like Pullip/Groove dolls) sold with various face designs but those can easily be removed and repainted. The doll resin can also be carved and sanded.
  • Mini Super Dollfie (or MiniSD or MSD) has more child-like bodies and stand about 42 cm (16.5”) tall.
  • Yo-SD Are even younger looking than MSD dolls. They stand 26.5 cm (10.5”) in height.

ONTO THE PICTURES!

DisclaimerI am also not a translator. I’m doing this for my Japanese practice but my Japanese translation style is more “getting the jist of it” than it is “accurate”… so if you have feedback please present it with kindness. I want to learn more but I don’t wish to be scared off.

181007_1902_005

Me and Her: Traveling Doll.
MINI SD * Closet Freak
In this villa she and I can spend our days off, it is my favourite trunk to travel in. It’s crammed full of dresses I love.

small text at bottom

The doll used in this article is one-of-a-kind custom made SD (Super Dollfie) by Closet Freak. For information about the MiniSD head and “Sakura” body used for the base of the doll, please contact Volks. Super Dollfie is a registered trademark of VOLKS inc. all rights reserved.

Original Japanese

私と彼女と旅するドール
MINI SD * Closet Freak
あの別荘で彼女と一緒に休日を過ごすために、私はお気に入りのトランクで旅に出る。大好きなドレスを詁め込んで…

この記事に使用しているSDはCloset Freakのこ個人的なカスタム作品です。ベースに使用しているミニSD健ヘッド・サクラボディについいぇのお問い合わせはボークスへお願いします。

Scan 1

In olden days, young ladies would travel with the dolls they loved. We created a trunk the likes of which the children from good families of the early 20th century would use for their own beloved dolls. So that no matter where they went, their dolls would be with them. When they left for their holiday villa, their dolls would also have their collection of party clothing, play clothes, undergarments, favourite clothing, stuffed animals, toys, and toiletries same way their owners would. The trunk the doll was in would also have a closet, a dresser, and a comfortable bed to relax in. It was with this image in mind that a wood grain box was decided on and then decorated with a drawing of a bird and antique beads. So, when on vacation how does the beloved doll of our young lady spend her time do you suppose? Shall we sneak a peek and see?

古き良き時代、小さな淑女達は大好きなお人形と共に旅に出る。20世紀初頭、良家の子女たちに愛されたお人形をイメージしてトランクを制作しました。お人形はどこへ行くにも、きっと一緒だったはず。別荘へ出かけるときは、ー持ち主である女の子と同じようにパーティー服や遊び着、ネグリジェなどお気に入りの服と、ぬいぐるみ、おもちゃやお化粧道具まで揃えて出かけたことでしょう。お人形を入れるトランクはクローゼットであり、ドレッサーであり、心地よく安らぐベッドでもあります。そんなイメージから木目調でまとめ、表面には鳥の絵を描きアンティークビーズで彩りました。さて、小さな淑女 に愛されるお人形の休日、どうやって過ぎていくのでしょう。少し、のぞいてみましょうか?

My notes:
This style of doll trunk is getting closer to what inspires me. It’s part storage and part doll living environment.

Standard
blythe, craft, Doll, pullip, Social

Dollyterria haul!

This Friday was my last Friday going to my current therapist.

I’ve been going to her, and taking anti-depressants, since September 2011…when the low of the 3/11 Tohoku quake / Fukushima aftermath just never left me.

I could barely get through a day without crying. I was erratic. I couldn’t fathom what would happen when my seasonal depression kicked in. I’d been scrambling each winter, for 13 winters, to manage my symptoms with journaling, working out, eating healthy, light boxes, yoga on top of working out…and even then it was rough.

My therapist’s father has fallen ill and she’s moving to help her family. She’s set me up. I’ve made reservations for my next regular prescriptions and such. I have letters from her detailing my years with her for my next doctor.

In light of this, when I saw I’d be able to leave work a little early and be in Tokyo an hour before my appointment time…I punched train destinations and times into my train app.

There’d be time for dolls!

Dollyteria!

Specifically a side trip to Dollyterria in Ikebukuro. Dollyteria is a used doll resale shop. It has locations in Shinjuku and Yokohama but Ikebukuro is its largest location.

It’s large by Tokyo standards. It’s taken over two floors, each floor about the size of a dormroom/ budget business hotel….packed with doll parts, doll accessories and dolls in all levels of condition.

Photography, alas, is not allowed.

This trip’s haul:

Naked Pullip doll in a bag! 2,000¥

Original outfit? Gone! Original wig? Gone!

Original lipstick is gone but the rest of the original face paint remains.

That’s how I was able to figure out it is a type 3 body and was originally Holly, a Pullip dressed like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Japan has a soft spot for that movie….Despite it having one of America’s historically gawdafful yellow face depictions of a Japanese character. Audrey and her Tiffany’s look isn’t just beloved, there’s also Moon River. The song is often used as closing music in stores and is inexplicably the “the train doors are open for boarding” cue music at my local train station.

My baggy doll is missing her wink bars (for lowering her eyelids). When I opened her head I realized her eyelids are in there but the modifications done to her eyes prevent her lids from closing. Previous owner just solved that by deciding she wouldn’t wink or blink…and removed the bars.

It seems like the modifications may have put extra stress on the eye-mech, some parts that shouldn’t be extra came out when I opened her skull but that’s ok because… I scored an extra eye mech for 300¥

And an extra Obitsu body for 1000¥

All the bodies in my craft room were legally bought and paid for. There are no bodies in my crawl space.

Last purchase on my spree was…used Blythe wig!

I have a factory Blythe I haven’t customized yet. Blue/green wig seems like a jumping off spot.

I also finished my first Blythe and need to document how Blythe became Aggretsuko soon.

Until then:

  • See a therapist if you think you might need it
  • End pill shaming
  • May all your surprised encounters with headless bodies be dolls or mannequin
Standard