craft, Disney, Doll, Uncategorized

Unsticking Bubbles.

bubbles

It was on Bubbles that my series languished. I’d chosen one of the two Auroa dolls I have. It’s not a face sculpt I much like. The eyes feel too large and wide apart but I thought it might work for Bubbles.

Alas, her hair parted on the side and I found no way that I could make her hairstyle work. I chopped off her hair and thought I’d make a wig….but I never did.

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Last week, in surveying projects to finish up, I knew in my heart it was time to move on…and try making Cinderella into Bubbles instead.

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When I first got Cinderalla she was sporting some facial stains that I finally bleached off with 10% Benxoyl Peroxide acne cream this summer.

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I figured that she had a middle-part hair and would work…but it was difficult to really make out the full part because of how matted her hair was.

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I conditioned and brushed and conditioned and brushed. At first I did so without gloves and then realized that if I’m going to increase doll work I’ll also need to increase protection to my skin and body. Gloved up.

 

It was only once it was fully dry that I realized the top part was great for pigtails….but the hair becomes too sparse in back to support that style.

I’m never going to fully reroot a Disney Animator doll again, that was a special hell, but her hair seems easy to match and I’m fine with just adding a part and longer bangs in front.

Which is how Bubbles came to get the back of her head removed so I can more easily glue and access skull bits without removing her head.

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I’m not going to have time this week to get more hair, so I don’t expect to get any further on her until after the dance studio has it’s show. The rest of my night tonight is for cleaning and costume alterations.

 

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Disney, Doll, Uncategorized

Build me up, Buttercup

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When Powerpuff Girls hit big time in 1998 it made and impact on me and my female friends.

We were recently out of college or finishing up. You can’t tell me that we WEREN’T the key demographic…I know that we were in my heart and because by the time it was on video I worked at an independent video store and had seen the promotional goods and screeners and the info that went with them.

Kick-ass female cartoon characters were still few and far between. We had to make do with a single female ass-kicker in a group of men OR turn to Japanese Anime. Three powerful little girls? YES, PLEASE. Did we discuss the dynamics of which character we strongly identified with? YES.

I was Buttercup. It wasn’t up for debate. I didn’t have to argue for it. It was known.

Strong temper? Not a morning person? Blunt? Not the best impulse control?  Somehow loved despite that?

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Me in the late 90’s. SEE?

While I am now more of a Buttercup/Blossom hybrid, I didn’t see that shift coming. Shout-out to medications that help me be more level-headed and not ALL id.

Last year I completed Blossom and Buttercup’s faces and hair. I realized today that I’d not shown you that. Last I shared Ariel and Snow White were still detached heads, getting bangs and the start of the Blossoming.

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And this is Blossom now:

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Buttercup has also finished with her face-up,this is an in-progress shot to show the lip-scar. I figured she’d be the one most likely to have split a lip or sport bruises.

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And her head returned to her body.

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I’m a little nonplussed with the dresses I made. I think they need to be cuter with fuller skirts.

And that has left Bubbles…in the corner.

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I’d picked an Aurora doll…but her hair part wasn’t right. I figured I’d make her a wig, but hand sewing a wig is something I haven’t found a great tutorial on. Progress has been spotty. The wig shown was a Mercari buy so I could harvest cheap wefts.

In the interest of tackling unfinished projects instead of starting new ones, I’ve decided to go another direction with her. Stay tuned.

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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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craft, Doll, monster high, pullip, sewing, Uncategorized

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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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.

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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
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craft, Doll, pullip, sewing

Dal Lipoca

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.

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craft, Doll, pullip

Wiggity-whack

I’ve never been confused by a wig.

I’ve been confused by people’s choice of wigs, sure, who hasn’t? But to fundamentally not understand a wig’s construction and intent is new to me.

Maybe it’s just the lack of wigs in my life. If I had more connection to wigs, a great number of them interacting with me in my life, perhaps this would have happened earlier.

But it hasn’t.

I don’t cosplay anymore.

I have bland straight Caucasian hair that conforms to eurosectric beauty

dtandards so there’s no pressure on me to process my hair/add hair via wigs/extensions/weaves to hold a job.

I just stare at this mess of a doll wig wondering “why are you what you are?”

I removed the hair wire from the areas it was attached to the wig.

See? It’s now a wig that’s sparse in back and…that thing.

The string/base the hair is attached to seems to have been tightly wound around that…hair wire. That unicorn tail of sadness.

If the wig is to be saved I think this is the key: detach the hair strings from the wire, stitch to wig-cap where hair is sparse.

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