Amazingly talented Megan from Moss Mountain (http://www.etsy.com/shop/MossMountain?page=1)has made a squirrel just for me! I can't wait until it gets here! He'll be bringing some friends with him - I bought a hedgehog and asked if she could make me up a grey bunny. I did make a promise not to make any more Blythe purchases until March but seriously, can you blame me? Besides...she made the squirrel just for me and it would have been churlish to make her wait for payment :P
Today I collected Frankie from the post office. Wow...she certainly is not good quality. I was not expecting that much, but I really, everything that could be wrong with her pretty much is. She wasn't packed in a box (which I knew and was fine with),but when I pulled her out of the bubblewrap, her scalp came right off in my hand! I was a bit worried about her eyemech too as it didn't work (which is why her eyes were closed when I got her). Fortunately the spring had just come unhooked and it was easy to fix. Here's how she was straight out of the packaging. Not quite the same as deboxing a Blythe! The dresses are going straight into the bin. They don't seem to fit her well anyway.
She has sooo many unexpected faults.
1. She feels cheap. Too light and floppy. Her body is really really loose. She can't really stand or sit without flopping over and her arms are kind of wobbly. She's very pink too - looks like she just got out of a hot bath! 2. There are flaws all over the plastic of her arms and legs - swirls, seamlines etc and her back has some odd dimples on it. 3. There's a pressure mark/crack type of thing on the back of her faceplate. 4. Her eyelashes are very different lengths (looks wierd!.
5. Her hair is not great - very thin and stringy looking and her scalp is quite visible. I was expecting that. What I didn't realise is that the rim of the scalp is very prominent. A hairstyle with bangs is really the only way to cover it. Also, she has a dark mark on the scalp right where the thatching starts and it is quite noticable in person. I washed her hair straight away because it felt kind of greasy. I don't know if that was a smart move, but as I'm going to reroot anyway I guess it doesn't matter. I am also concerned that her scalp might not go back on nicely. The dome seems to be attached to it.
6. Her eyechips are a bit cloudy and the pupils aren't even. Sadly, she didn't have the brown chips either. The orange ones are horrible!
On the positive side...
1. I actually did receive a doll of some kind to practice customising on. 2. I quite like her pinky complexion. 3. The eye mech is a bit less stiff than the Takaras. 4. While she really is not very attractive in person, she photographs surprisingly well. 5. I quite like the colour of her hair..it's just a shame that there isn't more of it. 5. It would seem that taking her apart is going to be a snap!
Before I took her scalp back off to wash it, I brushed her hair, dressed her and took a few shots.
Her hair was drying super-frizzy looking so I put it in "rags" (which are actually freezer bags, but hey, you use what you have handy right?). She looks a bit odd! It will be interesting to see how they come out.
Miss B has requested that I try to make a Coraline doll. At this point I don't know if my non-existant customising skills are quite up to the challenge. I was wanting to give her more a natural look, but the Coraline idea does sound like fun. Now to order some tools and hair! I can't wait to get started!
I've had a wonderful but frantically busy weekend with my family, so today I am taking it slow and not doing much of anything. Tomorrow the pace and stress picks up again, but today is wonderfully rainy and grey, so I'm hiding away in my house reading, and drinking cups of tea and perhaps a little sewing.
My father turned 60 on Sunday and the family all came to Brisbane from Central Queensland and Melbourne to celebrate. We had the most amazing dinner at Customs House on the river. It's my very favourite restaurant, but we don't go often these days because of the expense, and a chronic shortage of baby-sitters. The building is just beautiful - sandstone with a copper dome - and it's right by the river. During winter, the inside is cozy and ambiant but in Summer you can sit outside under the stars, catch a breeze, watch the city lights dance on the river and admire the Story Bridge. It's very old fashioned with amazing food and service and we all had such a great time.
I took heaps of photographs but I won't show them as my family probably won't appreciate being plastered all over internet, I just realised as I went through them that the only ones that don't have family in them are shots of the food!
They have all gone back home now, but my father returns tomorrow to have some surgery. I know that this procedure is done all the time, but it still makes me anxious. Fingers crossed that all goes well.
I'm planning to bring some crochet along to the hospital waiting room to keep myself occupied while he has his operation. I thought I might have a go at this cute little hat. Obviously the photo isn't mine - it's from the pattern makers website. The pattern is called Pixie Hat and is available from Ravelry for a mere $2.50.
Not a lot to blog about today, Blythewise, and sadly a lot to do, cleaning-wise so I'll keep it short and sweet.
I sent Megan from Moss Mountain an Etsyconvo yesterday and she agreed to make me a little squirrel (can't wait!!). Also, did I happen to mention that she's in the process of making some hedgehogs? I can't imagine who impossibly tiny and sweet they'll be! BTW, I should probably mention that I don't have any connection with the Etsy sellers I mention here, I just really like their work, so sadly I'm not getting any kickbacks :P To my knowledge nobody actually reads this blog, it's not as thought it's a massive publicity opportunity anyway!
Just so there's some eye-candy, have a look at this beauty! This is Nostalgia Pop, she's due to be released late February and I've been coveting her for quite a while. Unfortunately, word in the Blythe community is that she is quite expensive for a new release so I'll probably have to admire her from afar. It is very unfair that she's being released right now when I'm on a self imposed dolly diet, she's the only new release Blythe that I've been excited about since I became interested in them in September last year. Although after seeing photos of Urban Cowgirl out of her stock clothes, I think I may have severely under-rated her - she's really beautiful!
I'm champing at the bit to build a light box at the moment. My Kitchenaid stand mixer came in a nice large packing box that looks just the right size for Blythe photos. I just need to decide on a design. I've seen a few different designs and aren't sure which will be the best for my super-shiny-faced girl. Not sure if I should cover the top and two sides in tissue paper or leave the top open. I've also seen a design where the sides and top are lined with white paper, and the lights just come from the front. Gah I don't know! I might try the paper lined one first and if it doesn't work then I'll do the tissue one. Decisions, decisions.
You can also get them as earrings...but for we Blythe collectors, that's beside the point. Check out the cuteness!
Her prices are very reasonable with most of the little critters around $5 or $6 US (at the time of posting this - if she puts them up, don't blame me!) and shipping to Australia only $2 US. I have a feeling that either the fox or the bunny may well be coming to live with me in the not too distant future!
She also does a sweet little pig, a skunk and mice in different colours. Well worth checking out if your girl is in the market for a fuzzy friend.
Ok, so a few days ago I posted about a delightful little shop that sold the cutest patterns EVER and I got to thinking... When I was about 10 years old my mother taught me to crochet. I was not a good student (and being left handed made it soooo much harder for her), and I can remember being really frustrated with not being able to do it. I was determined that I was going to learn this skill and after fiddling about with a hook and wool night after night I finally learned how to do a chain stitch. Eventually I learned how to make a bookworm bookmark, made one for every person I had ever met and then declared that I didn't want to crochet any more, and put the hook away forever.
I am not good with yarn. I can sew just about anything, but give me a ball of wool and I'll turn it into something so ugly it defies belief. Every year around April I decide that I must make a scarf/hat. Every year I buy beautiful new yarn and the appropriate sized needles and begin. Every year around June I hold up my ill fitting, dropped-stitch peppered creation and tell myself "That's it - I quit! I am not good with yarn!". Then April comes and I decided I need a gorgeous handmade scarf...
After finding those cute patterns, and needing some kind of embelishment for a Blythe dress I'm making, I decided that a tiny crochet flower would be the very thing. So I retired to the study with yarn, hook and internet and proceeded to poke my poor tired brain into remembering how to do it...and made some flowers! Admittedly, my first few efforts were mildly distorted, but it would seem that crochet is much more forgiving than knitting, not to mention faster. It only took me 10 minutes to make my first ugly lop-sided flower, as opposed to 8 weeks with the scarves. After about 6 goes they began to look a little better. OK don't laugh, I know that they are still very ordinary, but they do look sweet on the dresses! I like to think that their wonkiness adds to their homemade charm.
Here are two tiny flowers that you can use to embellish Blythe clothes. I'm sure that experienced uber-crochet people can make them look much tidier than I can!
This makes the larger flower with the open centre, which I love the look of, however for my purposes it was too big. I did try to make a smaller one using 4 chains, but it didn't wasn't as nice in my opinion.
This is the one that I'll be using on my dress. It makes a very small flower with a closed centre.
Make a loop of thread (like the start of a granny knot), about the diameter of your finger. Make sure there is a good size tail - I like about 3 inches.
Insert your hook, yarn over and pull through. This creates the ring (we'll close it later).
Chain 3 stitches, slip stitch into ring.
Repeat until you are happy with the number of petals. I like 5.
Pull the tail of the loop you created tight. Weave in the ends. Viola!
I'm loving these tiny flowers...maybe I'll make a some larger ones and make a scarf out of them for winter!
She's Blybe. Or as she is now known, Basaak. And she's on her way to my house to have horrible things happen to her! Mwa hahahaha.
I actually feel secretly ashamed for having bought her. So much so that I daren't share my purchase on any of the dolly forums. When the clones first started coming out it seems that they were considered utrageously ugly abominations created by the devil who would bring about the demise of our beloved Takara Neos, and reading back through the archives there were some heated discussions about buying them. So for now, I shall keep her a secret...and just share her with anyone who happens to find my blog (hahaha - I don't think anyone has read it yet!).
The thing is, I really really want a new Blythe and I really really want a custom. Sadly, I am also really really poor right now and simply don't have much to spend. I would consider the most beat up, defaced and nekked Blythe, be she Neo or ADG, but right now they all seem a bit pricey and frankly, I would not consider carving up a perfectly good doll that I paid even $100 for to make my first customising blunders. It just wouldn't seem right. As for taking to my Punkaholic People with a needle-file, well that's just unthinkable! It was hard enough having to open her up to repair her pull string when it snapped.
So instead Frankie (short for Frankenstein's monster) is winging her way to me from Thailand. I've seen some amazing work using Basaaks as a base and hope that I can manage to create something that isn't too abominable. At the very least I might be able to give someone a good laugh and I won't feel too terrible about binning a doll that only ended up costing me $40 including shipping.
So after a few hours of research this is what I have learned about Basaak dolls.
They are very close in appearance to the SBL mold only their noses and lips are wider.
Although their bodies are very similar to Blythe, their legs often fall off and their waists can be a bit wobbly. I am prepared to re-body her if need be.
They have brown eyechips! I'm really sold on those. I don't know what colour they replace.
Their hair is better than CCE (which I'm told was shocking), but not as good as Blythe (well duh!).
They have no glue holding them together. No glue!!!! Therefore it is said that they are easy to pull to bits.
Some of them smell chemically. Ooh I hope not!
Their make-up is harder to remove (or it stays on better, whichever way you look at it).
They have really funny "trout lips" when the stock make-up is removed.
I intend to sandmat, replace eyelashes and chips, do natural looking make-up and.....carve her lips (that scares me, but I love how it looks when it's subtle and glossy!). I'm going to straighten her hair if it is not too bad, or re-root/wig her if it is.
Now, to get myself some supplies! I can't wait for her to arrive! Mwa hahahahahaha!!!
How cute is this toy? It, and this persons entire store are adorable! Just look at the little worlds that the critters live in! There's just so much attention to detail and cuteness, you can tell that she really loves her work. Here's her sweet little shop where she sells the completed toys as well as patterns (very reasonably priced too!) for those lucky people who know how to crochet. Added bonus - she's located in Australia so shipping costs should be reasonable.
I spend far too much time browsing about Etsy, yet so few Australians seem to know about it. What's up with that? It's such a shame, because there are just so many amazing artisans selling here and so many of their products are just gorgeous. I would love to make more an of an effort to buy more gifts from here, rather than sullenly trudging around a shopping centre looking for something unique to buy a child, especially when there are sweet little crochet foxes that obviously need homes! Not to mention the fact that I'd much prefer a lovely piece of unusal jewelry or a print rather than a generic purchase from one of the giant chains that seem to be taking over our shopping centres.
A lot of the sellers are from overseas, which can be a bit offputting I suppose when you consider the added cost of shipping and the slightly scary prospect of the sale not going as smoothly as you'd expected. However, I've made several purchases from overseas sellers now (as well as locals) and have never been disappointed in any way or had any bad experiences. There is a great filter called "Shop Local" which allows you to browse sellers from your own area if you are nervous (although all prices are in US dollars), and there are heaps of amazing locally made products to choose from. If you haven't visited Etsy yet, go take a look and spend a pleasant hour or so window shopping - there are some amazing products out there!
Nearly everyone who buys a Blythe will at some point contemplate customising, and eye chip changing is one of the easier and less permanent things you can do. Please excuse Holly's bangs in this shot, she's just been through drastic eye surgery and is looking a little the worse for wear.
I have to confess that I am not a fan of the pink and orange chips. I mean seriously, apart from albinos, who has pink eyes? And orange? No wonder the kids in the 70's thought Blythe was majorly creepy. So shortly after I bought Holly, I made my first Blythe purchase - cute new eyechips from this Etsy seller http://www.etsy.com/shop/erinnlee. I bought two pairs, brown and green. It took me ages to work up the courage, but finally I changed the orange pair to green. I must confess, it was harder than I thought it would be. I used the glue-stick method and although it did work, it took several goes to get the last chip out (I was getting a bit panicky thinking that she'd be stuck with one green eye and one orange!). I'm pretty happy with the result! I am liking the realistic chips so much I'm considering ordering another pair in grey/blue to swap out the side facing greens.
Things I've learned from my so far from my brief customising experience - the gas cooktop heats up the gluestick very hot, very fast! Don't let the end of the gluestick get too melty - it runs everywhere and you'll be in for a scary time trying to stop it from getting all over your girl's eyeball. Let the glue "cure" for a while before attempting removal or it just pops right off without the chip. And finally, you have to pull and twist, not just twist or you will have to make many many attempts and say a lot of bad words.
I still have yet to change the brown chips so when I do I'll be sure to take photos of the process, not just the after pic! Hopefully someone will be able to learn from my mistakes.
Well, the floor is finished and looks great. It's nothing exciting to see so I'll post a pic once the walls are painted. Thought I might introduce another member of my Blythe family. This is Lily. Sadly she isn't really mine, she belongs to my daughter, however she is the reason that I became interested in the hobby. It was while I was trying to find the cheapest way to get my hands on a doll for Miss B, so she's the one to blame for my expensive little habit. Even though I have so far resisted buying another Blythe, I know it won't be long before I fall off the wagon with all of the great released coming out of Japan soon!. She's a Simply Lilac and was purchased in October 2009 (for Xmas). Already her price has gone up considerably from the amount I paid for her and I am kicking myself for not buying a Peppermint from the same buyer back when they were cheaper. Lesson learned - next time don't wait! I love Peppermint's hair colour and their fair complexion makes them a dream to photograph. I'd love to see one spray-matted.
I made the dress that Lily is wearing. It was very easy to make but I think I would like a more fitted version of it next time. She has to wear this one tightly belted. I think it could use a couple of little darts.