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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craft, Disney, Doll, japanese, monster high, Social, Uncategorized

Updates: Continue moving forward

Job stress: Will I be under employed? Can I find a different job quickly? Will I get permanent residency? Should I just go with being underemployed and cram for JLPT N2 6 months earlier than planed?

These are the things that make me want to just nap all day. When I’m asleep, I can’t consciously worry. I’ve had a few days since learning about work that involved doing one or two things and then nap. Nap. Nap.

I know this is depression.

When I can craft, that’s a win. It means I’m not asleep all day. I’m working on my kanji and Japanese gramar studies daily as well. I’ve applied to various jobs and…if I don’t hear anything in 3 hours…will do more of that. I continue to teach dance and know I may need to increase that soon.

I’ve had an interveiw….but I haven’t heard back since.

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Protip:
Always go early to interviews to make sure you can find the location. This is extra important when you travel by train and on foot. But you don’t want to officially arrive TOO early, that’s a bad look. Hopefully the offices will be located near a Donki Hote or similar store where you can relax a bit.

Of course, this is purely hypothetical.

In doll land, I am knitting Snow a sweater and have made her jeans. I don’t plan to keep her. I do plan to try and sell her and a few of the other Disney Animators dolls I’ve done. Knitting helps. Even when I have to frog a row, I concentrate.

 

 

I’ve been modding a random 200yen figure to make a “Pretty Pegasus Raven” to try what I think is a Japanese version of Apoxy Sculpt, Wave Epoxy Putty (light weight).

Yes, taking a handsaw to a doll’s hair was…theraputic.

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She’ll get more putty layers before I’m finished.

Raven the average sized Ever After Doll continues as well. I’ve made her her cape, her arm/thingies and boots.

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I sculpted some accessories and her belt from air-dry polymer clay..but they are still drying.

And that’s how I’m moving forward. There are three dolls on my balcony drying a new layer of Mr.Superclear. I’m reminding myself that I only awoke a few hours ago so I can’t possibly nap yet. I’m thinking about lunch.

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craft, Doll, Social

I Slump in Sadness

I visited America for two weeks this summer, hitting Maryland/Virginia/Pennsylvania for the first time in 18+ years.

I don’t have a car in Japan. I don’t need or want one here. I only drive in America. Usually I visit my hometown, where I can borrow a car. I’ve also visited cities with good enough transportation options and friends….but this trip I needed to rent a car.

How I got to this age never renting a car, I don’t know. I asked for advice and was told “reserve the smallest possible car. They will try to up-sell you once you’re in front of them. Often they won’t even have that car, it’s just to lure you in…but keep saying you want that car. You’ll generally get a nicer/larger car for the same price if you don’t back down.

Well, that’s what I did. I also requested GPS because I ready don’t need to make my once-a-year skill use more complicated.

My friend Brad took me to the car rental office my first full day in America. The man behind the desk was a sweetie and liked my homemade skull dress. He said he could go locate a GPS system for the car I asked for (a clip-in one) or rent me a larger car with one built-in for the same price.

This is how I came to be driving a Cadillac Escalade. A HUGE fucking car. HUGE.

Brad was kind enough to take a test ride with me to a Denny’s first. I was yelling “omfg this is low key terrifying!!!!” most of the way. Brad helped me figure out all the extras the car had to make driving A HUGE FUCKING CAR easier (more sensors, things that light up when someone is in your blind spot, that kinda thing).

After that all my major drives to different cities became a GPS navigation to all Tuesday Morning stops between Point A to Point B.

I didn’t know what a Tuesday Morning store was when I bought my first used Pullip doll. Through YouTube Pullip Education sessions I soon learned that these odd stores occasionally have random Pullip dolls for 40-50usd….when they normally go for 100-200 new.

Now, that’s I all I knew. My first trip to a Tuesday Morning earlier this year, in my hometown, was creepy and I found no Pullips. Tuesday Morning is an “off-price retailer for close out merchandise” a grab bag of furniture, home goods, and a handful of random toys. You never know what you’re going to get.

I did find four different full sized Pullip/Dal/Tayangs on this trip but nothing grabbed me. I now have regrets. In fact the regret set in when I learned how expensive downtown Philadelphia parking was but by then I was at the end of my trip and far away from the Tuesday Mornings that I’d found treasure at.

I did buy one Mini-Pullip. I’ll rebody her in the future.

I was well into my habit of googling “Tuesday Morning near me” before any long drive by the time Rook and I went to pick Emily up from the Philadelphia airport. I informed Emily and Rook that our drive to where we were staying WOULD involve one Tuesday Morning stop on the way and that was non-negotiable. I then explained the above reasons.

This was how Emily found herself, a woman once afraid of dolls, buying toys.

Our first Tuesday Morning DID have a Taeyang I now regret not buying…but we didn’t leave empty handed.

First of all I took this photo. Y’all know Hippos are deadly, right? The Little People know.

Then I saw Tristesse.

I’m very upfront about being a depressive with anxiety issues who avails herself to prescription medication to stay moving forward. I have a special love for Sadness from Inside Out (Japanese title: Inside Head). The last Elementary school I worked at has a large poster of the character I painted for the English room. They also have a poster I painted of Bianca del Rio.

I had to have Sadness. Her action? Slumping in Sadness.

Relatable.

She was only 6$ or so. In part because the batteries inside her own head were now dead and when you pressed her slump button she only made a bug-like clicking noise.

I bought her and a Monster High doll to be customized later.

Emily bought a Stieff Dinosaur, a Malificent, and some assorted bugs.

Here we are feeding Tastykakes to our toys in bed.

Here is Sadness trying to blend in. Relatable content.

But I’m never content to leave well enough alone. When I returned to Japan I figured out how to remove Sadness’s hair, unscrew her headplate, and replace her batteries. She now moans and says things like “Goodbye, friendship, Hello, loneliness” “I don’t think that will work” and “I’mSad” in English.

Then there was the matter of her sweater. It’s sweatshirt fabric seamed in many places and kept flipping awkwardly and showing the seams.

So I knit her a sweater from leftover yarn. It was the first time in a long time I knit without a pattern. She also tried on a beretthat one of my other dolls had been wearing.

I’ve since gone on a felt beret spree, making berets with exposed seams and enclosed seams. I figured she needed a proper blue beret for her active slumping.

The Sadness figure comes with a fake book. My next plans are to cover that fake book with a Sartre cover and sew a tote bag for her book. Maybe I’ll even make some tiny medicine blister packs to slip into the tote with her reading.

After all, Sadness relies on a the Inside Out team to balance her out…and I rely on modern medicine to be able to better access my full emotional range, despite sadness always being an integral part of who I am.

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craft, Doll, Uncategorized

Like Grandma

A friend checked in on how I was doing yesterday.

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I haven’t knit for at least eight years. In fact I’d cleaned out my knitting yarn stash a few years back (keeping all my needles and supplies, just letting go of the odd yarn) in a Kon-Mari spree.

My stash was a reasonable size because I knit small things….and my friend (above) knew  my knitting history in Japan as he is the happy owner of my knitted Yoda.

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I figured out how to knit in the round with multiple double pointed needles and started making my own creatures. For some I took detailed notes that I still have in a notebook, although with years of not knitting it at first reads like the diary of a madwoman.

Nope, no patterns. Those just flowed from my brains through my fingers. I seem to like multiple heads and solitary eyes.

Yet I never thought I’d knit doll clothing. It’s silly to say that now. No one who knows me and my crafts would think that I’d have a weird block about knitting doll clothing..but I did.

Knitted Doll Clothing? That’s a grandma thing. That’s, specifically, a Grandma Leah thing.
Grandma Leah knit doll clothing for my Barbies. The dresses were nice, the sweaters were maddening (Barbies hands would catch in the sleeves and they had the tiniest of buttons) and the underwear ungainly. She also watched bowling, called the dog Stink Ass and could sigh and complain in a passive aggressive manner that will never be forgotten.

My Grandmothers were two very different women.

Grandma Christine was educated and strong-willed, able to extricate herself from tough situations and start out on her own power and brains and find the skills to do whatever it was she needed to do to survive and raise two kids…time and time again in her life. She could also sew anything.

Grandma Leah was never in charge of her own destiny and I have no idea if she could read much beyond patterns and catalogues. Life sort of happened to her and existing family helped her. That’s how she came to live with my father and step-mother when I was young. But…she could knit and crochet. She could sit down, follow a pattern, and make a thing. The thing wasn’t usually artful but it was executed with precision… Her sense of color, texture, and grace was lacking: cheap acrylic yarns, the worst colors, bulky scratchy things. Things she made served a purpose…often that purpose was to be sold at a craft meet so she could make some money.
I have her knitting and crochet supplies now. I even have three oddly written pages someone sent her explaining how to make an infamous pair of slipper booties. EVERY family member got these booties. She was always crocheting these booties. They were warm and ugly.

Someday I will have to make sense the notes I have of hers… if only to make my father and step-mother a pair of booties each…out of the worst acrylic yarn colors I can find. You know, for family traditions to be remembered. I’m not tackling it just yet because it’s crochet, which makes far less sense to me than knitting. I can do it but it’s never become an automatic skill I can easily freestyle in.

How did I get to knitting a sweater?

I made my Monomono doll a pair of pajama bottoms and thought…”She needs a comfy sweater for bad days.”…I guess it is time to knit for a doll.

I found a Blythe sweater pattern on Knitty and picked up a substitute yarn, figuring I had all the supplies at home. I looked at some black yarn and thought “No, your home lounging sweater isn’t your out-and-about sweater. It’s the odd one that is more about comfort than looks. It’s how you hug yourself when no one is there.

Then, once home, I learned I didn’t have a pair of size zero needles.

You don’t understand how shocking that was…. THIS is my needle collection.

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I had everything BUT. And I mean EVERYTHING. That baggies is full of 4-5 double sided needles from 1-7. There’s a whole ROLL of hooks under that baggie you can’t even see. I have at LEAST 3 of each size of single sided needles.

I figured out the gauge and managed to knit up the sweater on size 1 needles. A gauge swatch being slightly off on large projects means HUGE difference but for a tiny project? not so much.

I knit for a day, relearning what knitting abbreviations mean, and had a doll sweater.

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Your new favorite synthpop band.

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Your new favorite Golden Girls remake.

I think she needs a pair of bunny slippers, or skull slippers, or bunny skull slippers next.

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