I’m doing fairly well with the “finish it” goal of February and so-so on the frugal one.
Diana Prince, the groovy boutique owning super spy WW with no powers, is almost finished. Removed the Barbie lining of her jacket and I relined with leftover kimono silk from my own jacket re-lining project last year.
She still needs jewelry and boots, because this Diana Prince understands the essential nature of good accessories.
Alas it seems to be hard to get a good even white on her existing boots.
I may need to make her a pair. Making shoes/boots is probably in my future. The “Bratzilla” doll I remade has irregular sized feet (for a doll). Unlike the snap-off shoe-feet of Bratz, Brazilla have feet-feet…but larger than your average fashion doll.
Same for the DC Superhero girls dolls. I love the fact they have more realistically proportioned feet but am sad that this means a dearth of ready-to-wear shoes. These dolls can wear other doll’s clothing but it’s mighty hard for Wonder Woman to find civilian clothes that work with her red boots with WW gold accents. How’s she supposed to have a secret identity once she gets her super powers back?
Bruce Wayne doesn’t have to wear Batboots in the boardroom. It’d make things obvious.
Bruce Wayne, I imagine, has to be mighty good with makeup/concealer. That cowl doesn’t protect his whole face from bruises. Does he send Alfred to buy it? “It’s for Master Bruce’s….mistress”
That’s a montage I want. Superhero dudes learning bruise concealing makeup techniques.
And I want more doll shoes.
And if I want either of those things, I’ll need to pay someone or make them myself.
My plan, after being diagnosed with conjunctivitis on Sunday, was to rest as much as possible on Monday (which I don’t work) and return to working at the elementary school on Tuesday. I’d still be contagious for two weeks but could prevent spread by washing my hands often/not touching my eye/ touching no one and almost nothing.
At that point I knew my head cold symptoms were part of the eye issue. After all, the nose is next door to the sick eye socket.
I didn’t know that conjunctivitis could also present flu-like symptoms.
Monday my eye was crusty in the morning but looked much better. Yay, Medicine!By midafternoon a was starting to show a fever and body aches…and figured I might need to take a day off and contacted people…and by the evening I had a full fever and so many body aches I couldn’t pick things up off the floor. Was in bed by 8pm and woke up every few hours to change out of sweaty bedclothes and remove more quilts from my bed.
Including my now finished quilt! YAY!
At the start of Craftsmas I was determined to finish the scrap quilt I’d made the prior December. I’m not a trained quilter nor do I think much ahead about lights and darks and balance. I just trust my years of art to serve me and figure…they are my scraps, they’re related…even if just to me.
I’d finished the top of the quilt in 2017 and put it away for most of 2018.
In the last two weeks, armed with fabric for the bottom/ batting I picked up in 2017/ and cloth for the edging, I set to work.
First mistake I made. I cut the bottom fabric THE SIZE I wanted the quilt to be, with a little length at the top and bottom. I should have left at least a 5-10cm border to insure I wouldn’t lose details like the squares that are just at the side of the design.
Pinning before tying a quilt is best done with curved safety pins created for the purpose. These turn out to be easier to find in America than Japan. I could get them on Amazon but they’d take a week to get to me. Straight pins it was.
When the task of tying was finished (a three day process for me but it would have taken longer if it hadn’t been vacation) it was time to trim the excess fabric and batting (which I only had at the top and bottom) and edge the quilt.
I then took the bias tape I’d made. Well, not real bias tape. Quilts have straight edges so I could do mitered edges without cutting the fabric at 45degrees. I joined the strips of fabric as one would join bias strips. I pinned and machine stitched everything on one side.
Then I hand finished the folded over bias-styled binding on the other side. Pining before whipstiching…until a friend reminded me that I have Wonderclips and needn’t be risking all the pin pricks.
Finished and on my bed!
When there’s better light I’ll take photos of the boxesand some of the other creatures who live in my quilt.
For now this is folded up because nighttime is coming and so is my fever.
It’s magical. I don’t know chemically or structurally what makes her red Disney Animator Doll hair so impervious to abuse but I am thankful for it.
It doesn’t suffer the frizzled bent shape that plagues other matted colors. It bounces back. You soak, untangle, and go.
Here are two from the box after washing and brushing. One has waves I finger crunched back as she dried, the other has sections I twisted and secured before drying.
They’re wearing dresses because I have grown tired of having too many naked dolls in my apartment as they dry, but this is not their final form.
And, there may be more dolls coming. My father and step mom (who may or may not be my secret doll clothes hookup…but who are definitely the perps who sent me The Thimble People book that got me into doll clothes ONLY LAST YEAR) have sent me a Christmas package.
I wasn’t here to receive it a few days ago but it’s now scheduled to arrive after my three dance lessons and before my gig tonight.
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!
Disclaimer: I 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.
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.
MINI SD * Closet Freak
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?
Ebony and I visited Dollyterria again during one of our Ikebukuro meet ups in July. Again, I came home with a new friend.
Dal Lipoca is a 2008 Groove doll release. She retails new/mint condition for about 100USD/10,000¥. My Lipoca was around 3,000. Dolly in a baggie deals! She was FILTHY. She obviously lived with a smoker. Her white jumpsuit was brown. Her hands were stained. She smelled. She was missing her pitchfork.
New VS. Baggie Deal
Who amongst us hasn’t seen some rough times in the last ten years? Some of us just hide it better than others. MINE!
I hand washed everything. The jumpsuit will never be 100% white again. I’ve tried. Her wings molted a bit but they’re good enough for now or until I feel like replicating them. When I eventually copy them, expect that half my doll crew will be sporting wings.
The original wig suited her so I pried it off and washed it (shampoo) and conditioned it (fabric softener) and let it dry on my makeshift wig head (styrofoam ball from 100¥ shop of a plastic bottle. I liked her face and eyes as is, no repainting.
Then it was time to scrub the body. I had some leftover arms from when I replaced Monomono/Bedhead’s body that I swapped in because her hands were permanently tabacco stained.
Here’s a photo of the face with just a quick localized soapy wipe on one cheek.
I disassembled her and washed everything. EVERYTHING.
I’m not against doll nudity but I feel better if the dolls in my room have some sort of clothing prior to their final outfits. You can just tell she has no love for the extra Barbie Gear in my stash. Dal dolls are petulant 24/7.
I found some black fabric with a. red and white lipstick motif…left overs from making to Moana Wrap Dresses. I stitched her a quick skirt to replace the jumpsuit she’d word. I then returned her original outfit to her, minus jumper, and plus a skull hair ribbon. I do love her devil hat…but the others are taking turns with it…and I was drafting some new headwear based on it.
She’s now joined the crew and can usually be found with a coffee mug and one of the many coffee tables I’ve set up.
A friend recently remarked on how she never expected to envy the clothing of dolls…she’d always thought them too…something….but that it did make sense that my dolls would reflect style.
They do, they reflect my style and my life. Which is why I now have a collection of coffee mugs, a few beer glasses, and chairs and tables for my growing collection.
I haven’t written for a while but I sure as hell have been making things.
You see, my friends and I were hit with not one but two sociopaths this summer. We didn’t know about #summerofscammers until after the devastation. We’re petitioning that if there is a destructive human force NEXT summer that someone send us the hashtag memo earlier.
One total fucking horrible person is in my hometown and we’re awaiting his trial. I won’t get into details because they suck. Suffice to say these both came to a head within four days of each other in late May.What happened in my hometown affected many people, some of whom I will never meet, many of whom I know…and my friend Emily.
And, honest to fucking god, I asked myself: is there a doll I can make to help?
I meant it jokingly. As in “What the fuck can I even do in the face of this? I customize dolls. ”
In reality I’m coming to know what skills I can provide in these times: listening skills, trying to hold space for people’s feelings, gathering/sharing information and networking friends. I’m also learning some of my limits after the fact…I’m glad I had friends there for me at the times this summer that I broke down.
I, secretly, started making Emily a doll.
My hands need things to do. I need to be creating objects. It counter balances so much of the mental and physical energy I expend even in smooth times. When things get crazy, less essential ways of coping…like writing this blog…fall away but I still need to be making things.
I had a doll. I’d purchased it at Dollyteria in Ikebukuro on my birthday in April. It was naked, in a baggie, had already once been repainted, and needed a new body. You know I have extra bodies and dolls just laying around in my craft room.
I neglected to take a full body shot because sometimes when I need to make things I don’t slow down and document it all. I NEEDED to make this.
I spent a LOT of time feeling like Emily’s stalker. Looking at her Facebook photos over many years. REALLY LOOKING AT THEM. HI, EMILY CAN YOU FEEL ME STARING AT YOU?
Her make-up routine is generally very dramatic dark eyes with winged liner and a fairly light lip. Emily often has a pink of light blue/green hair streak. There was NO WAY I was going to try and transfer all her tattoos.
I went wig shopping online at Dollyteria again and found a black/pink wig that would work.
I removed the existing face with rubbing alcohol/ paint thinner. Then I primed it and set to work. I added some blush with chalk pastels. Set that. Then started the layers of watercolor pencils, acrylic, and more chalk pastels.
You probably noticed Emily’s eyes. If you don’t get those right you don’t have an Emily doll. I found a good match at BeBeBlytheCo on Etsy and ordered them.
Almost finished. Later I cleaned up the inner eye
By this time I also had planned a two-week trip to America in mid to late August. I haven’t been to see friends on the East coast in…um…18 years. I’d see friends in a few different cities and then Emily and I would meet up in Philadelphia. Philadelphia is neither my home town nor hers…we wanted a city so we could just be someplace together and hang out. Talk about things that needed to be talked about when they came up and just have fun when it was time to just have fun.
I had a deadline. I wanted to surprise her with the doll in America when I saw her.
That left the problem of clothing.
Emily’s aethetic is deeply Victorian Gothic….but it’s not how she dresses in daily life. She’s also been very rockabily styled but those items haven’t been in rotation for a while. Comfortable jeans and a pullover hoodie didn’t really suit the doll I was making.
I started looking turning to Gothic Victorian styled dolls, Tim Burton, and Helena Bonham Carter for inspiration. I talked to my friend Ebony about it as well. Ebony’s also heavily goth inspired and has come to know Emily a bit through me and FB. Ebony suggested I add Penny Dreadful to my inspiration files.
Fun Fact: I promptly watched the WHOLE three seasons while working on the doll. This means I’ve seen one episode more than Emily. Emily has, in a desire for the story not to end, abstained from watching the final episode.
Bonus; Penny Dreadful has a whole DOLL thing going on in the third season. I was on the RIGHT TRACK.
I visited Shinjuku Okadaya (fabric and trims) for some fabrics…I still not was sure on what I would make. I also had a small supply of Ebony’s “spoooooky fabric scraps”.
At some point during all of this Emily and I had one of many a video chat session. At some point she had to turn off her camera to answer a call and I put one of my many dolls in front of the video screen to greet her when she returned. This lead to a tour of some of my dolls. The last time I saw her in person she’d been intensely curious about the dolls and when she got video introductions to some of them she was quite excited about their existance and my art…knowing nothing of the fact she’d be getting one. Another sign I was on the RIGHT TRACK.
Fun Fact: Emily used to be afraid of dolls.
I tried to draft my own doll corset but I soon found the deadline to America coming up too soon. I turned to my doll clothing pattern books. I have a fair collection now because JAPAN. I decided I’d modify the “Autumn” dress for my needs.
First up was the skirt. I love layering fabrics to make simple textiles look more lush. The skirt is a Halloween fabric layered over burgundy/wine silk. Spiders became my animal motif not unlike Vannesa in Penny Dreadful has scorpions as a leitmotif. I used an Obitsu body for her new body (her old body had floppy arms)
I decided she needed earrings. I asked Ebony if I could raid her stash knowing FULL WELL she stocks up on Halloween earrings and charms. Ebony came through when I visited her. The doll’s earrings are: Spider studs I added chains and web and cross charms to…all from Ebony’s stash.
But wait…there’s more!
I could have stopped but I decided to make a veil…
Which she can exchange for her clip on fascinator (which can also be clipped into the hair of her owner)…and I put a tiny spider clasp on the cloak.
She then was carefully wrapped and placed into a wooden wine box I’d also been given by Ebony. When I arrived in America I swapped the fleece wrapping fabric I’d used for some halloween fabric I bought at JoAnne’s
On August 25th my friend Rook (who I’ve made a doll for before) and I picked up Emily at the airport in Philedelphia. We went back to were we were staying (after a stop in which we actually bought more dolls…more on that later) and I told her I had a gift for her.
She had NO clue, the long wooden box did not tip her off.
I made a few trips to Ebony’s place. Taking the train from my area to Ebony’s means a transfer at Ikebukuro, Tokyo….where Dollyterria (my prime location for used dolls and accoutrements) has just expanded to two (tiny) floors of dolls.
While fixing up a Jack Skellington for Ebony, I purchased a used Little Pullip Alice who had seen better days. I can’t resist Alice.
This is what a pristine Alice looks like.
This is what my Alice looked like. She suited my mood perfectly. This is the Alice who, like me, had to explain to her therapist that her mid-month email about the insanity around her and her friends and why she might need emergency medication (full-time scammers/police raids/uncovered lies/ abuse/ torture/ confiscated crime scenes) wasn’t overblown…just accurate.
I removed her scarecrow wig and opened up her head. Her eyes are a little cloudy but someone hot glued them into her skull so I decided not to bother changing them.
In Akihabara I picked up a PiccoNemo body a wig and shoes.
I wanted a brunette Alice because I was
a selfish, brunette, only-child.
I made her a new dress without a pattern. It’s rough around the sleeves because TINY. I put a new front panel on her existing pinafore so it would correctly fit her new body. I embroidered it because I can. I’ll probably make her new white bloomers when I’m ready to work that small again.
That’s a 14cm/ 5.5 inch body.
And I thought I was done…but then I looked at Pinterest.
That’s how the craftsters get you.
And I saw one of Helen CW’s Blythe Doll Carry Cases.
And I posted it on Saturday morning. And my friends whispered, “you must….you just must.” And Ebony shouted “Seria has so many wooden boxes.” And I was shouting, “I can combine my love of making things with my love of being organized?!”
Before I knew it I was making a detour to a 100¥ shop before teaching my Saturday dance lessons.
I got two of the larger wooden boxes, some hinges, wood, and a closure.
Once home, I cut one of the boxes down and sanded it. I made a drawer. There was a lot of sanding and glue. I only have 100¥ cutting tools.
Now. I THOUGHT it was going to be a home for a Dal Doll, because I never measured anything.
Alice fit. It would be Alice’s
I thought a while and decided it would become an homage to the sitting room Alice is in at the start of Through the Looking Glass.
I found some images online and resized them. I picked a cover I liked from an edition of Through the Looking Glass that appealed to me (if I weren’t making it for myself I’d get artist permission, make my own, or go for a version beyond copyright) and raided my stash of acrylic paints.
Sunday, I visited a Book-Off (used books and Magazines ) and bought a used catalogue for gothic Lolita looks (so many Alice references). I found some miniature inspiration at the adjoining Hobby-Off. I hit a fabric store for decoupage paste. At an art supply store I bought ornate origami for the wallpaper. It’d read a bit Asian influenced for England but I figured that with the right surroundings it would just read “Orientalist Inspired”
I also realized that if you put Alice in a doll stand too tall for her, she levitates with great menace.
It’s now Wednesday and the decoupage is nearly done.
I’ll soon be figuring out how to upholster a chair for Alice…but not tonight or tomorrow, as I have relaxing and teaching to do. Expect a final installation early next week.