Friday, April 30, 2010

Deboxing a factory girl...not quite the same

I ran into the post office in my lunch break to pick up my red haired factory girl and I was dying for the day to end so I could go home and see what she looked like in person. So here it is - the great deboxing.

The box got damaged but she was OK.

Mostly because she was wrapped in bubble wrap like some kind of coccoon.

And here she is in all her glory

You can't quite tell from the photographs, but she has most of the faults that I warned of in my Factory Girls post (ironic huh?), none of which were disclosed. Still, I bought her to customise and for that she will be fine. Here's her list of "issues".

Bad hair - it looked ok in the auction pic, but it's kinda ratty. A lot came out from just running my hands through her hair. Her curls have crispy ends - to be honest I think my Basaak had better hair, albeit thinly rooted. I don't know if she'll be keeping it. I've just given it a quick wash and put it in curlers, but if it keeps coming out it will have to go.

Mixed body parts - she has transluscent legs and a dark smudge on her back. On the upside, she has pink nailpolish - pretty!

Scratched face - I tried to photograph it, but couldn't capture it. She has a scuff on her forhead and a green scratch near her eye. Hopefully they will both sand out.

Scratched eyelids - her lids both have a line of "wear" on them where they have been rubbing on something inside her head.

On the bright side, her eyes do work, and I still got a great doll to customise, which is what I wanted her for. I kinda hope her hair turns out to be ok and stops shedding all over the place as I don't mind the colour. On the other hand, I've seen some very beautiful red wenslydale locks that would look amazing...and also some gorgeous white mohair of the shiny variety (mmmm shiny!)

Right now she's in curlers, waiting her turn to get prettied up. I don't even have anything much for her to wear that doesn't clash horribly with her hair! I will need to sew her something just for her I think. She'll have to be patient as I'm very busy this weekend. Besides, I still have a blue bob to cut.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

So close, yet so far...

My redhead factory girl is trapped at the post office. Oh why did I not take a sickie today as I was considering?! For the record, I am actually not 100%...and worse still is that I can pinpoint the exact moment I came into contact with this lergy - a boy coughed in my face (so disgusting - who does that??) at the supermarket and I thought to myself "yep, bet I get sick" and a few days later here I am all icky and blocked up.

So anyway, I have to wait until tomorrow after work to pick her up and the suspense is killing me! Zumpf and Sadifairy from Plastic Paradise have bought her sisters and I think it's so cool that this online Blythe community make it possible for me to know that! They both live in the US, so it's extremely unlikely that I'd come across this info if it weren't for the magic of forums and Flickr.

I've got some ideas from the community about the bits that make up my blonde girl too. Rumour has it that her eyes belong to Q-pot or possibly Christina the Bride and her face is either Mango's (most likey I suppose) or excitingly, the not yet released Nicky Lad. I don't know that I will keep her as a blonde with that colour eye shadow now... I think a deeper colour would suit her better. I'm open to suggestions if you have any! I want to get the saran ordered straight away so I can get started.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A new girl on her way....

What can I say? I am weak in the face of a potential bargain and for some reason I seem to be preferring my Blythes ghetto these days. I've bought another factory girl (I have justfied it to myself as she's to be my Mothers Day present - even though I know she won't be here in time). One look at that peachy skin and bright blue eyes and I could not help myself - she's super sweet!

I'm itching to do another reroot and I needed a victim that has awful hair as I'd like to do one on a stock scalp this time and can't quite bring myself to chop off a nice head of hair. As you can see my new factory girl certainly fits the bill. Her hair is revolting, but her face and eyes are quite nice so I'm thinking I'll keep her mostly stock and just give her some new chips in place of the pinks and yellows. I really love those green chips! I wish I knew which face and mech she has - I have no idea. I might have to put a few feelers out into the community and see if anyone can shed some light on this.

I'm leaning towards giving her platinum blonde saran possibly with bangs...but that could change. I really do need a blonde in my collection.

I can't quite fathom what the appeal of these dolls is. An offical NRFB Blythe arrives in a beautiful box, dressed nicely and once her hair is given a quick brush is near perfection. These girls turn up wrapped in newspaper in a scruffy old cardboard box with their dreaded hair, scratched make-up and mismatched body parts. I think part of it (appart from the greatly reduced price) is that there's that feeling that you can take this tatty doll and make her into something beautiful and unique. Take a look at the Flickr group created just for these rejects and you'll see what I mean.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A mini shop update

I say mini, because it's dress. Can you tell that I went back to work last week? hehe

I didn't even get to do a lot of sewing over the long weekend because I've been busy doing something infinitely less pleasant - painting. It is taking a ridiculously long time because the room has a long hall leading into the main part of it, so there's miles extra cutting in (don't I sound all painterly!). Mr P and I have basically spent 2 full days in there and all we have done is the undercoat. We would have been at it today as well if he hadn't gone and injured his knee in the lamest manner possible. Other people hurt themselves playing sport or having spectacular accidents. Well not my husband - he's mananged to injure himself during the extremely risky process of sitting down! How crazy is that?! Ironically he'd been on our very high and scarily sloped roof moments before clearing leaves out of the gutter without incident while I fretted anxiously at the bottom of the ladder. The injury occurred when he went to plonk himself down in a chair on the verandah to have a beer when he was finished!

Anyway, to that end here is the one and only dress that I managed to make this week. Miss B is campaigning very hard to keep this one, and I will admit that it's one of my favourites too. I love the itsy bitsy collar and the ruffled underskirt and the black and white colourway stops it from being too overly cutesy. I have plenty of the spotty fabric though, so I can always run up another one for her.

Do you notice my model? I did hesitate to put in on Jonesy as she isn't a pure-blood Blythe and collectors might be less likely to buy the dress, but in my defense, she does have a Blythe body, and I think she looks good in it with her blue hair. As you can see, I still have not worked up the courage to cut her it. I really like it just as it is...but I will cut it - I will!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Factory Girls on Ebay

It's a scary thing buying your first Blythe, and now it looks as though there are even more pitfalls for a new collector to avoid with the arrival of the latest fakes (that are sometimes incorrectly listed as being Blythes) and now the "factory girls".

The Factory girls are a bit of a mystery - nobody knows exactly where they come from and there are several theories. I've heard that they are prototypes of new Blythes that Takara are considering making (some don't make it to production), that they are made of stolen parts, that they are made of parts rescued from bins (which would account for some of the very bad scalps I've seen). While I don't know for certain which theory is true, what I can tell you is that they seem to be made from a mix of parts from different dolls. You might get Mango's face plates, an eye mech from Nostalgic Pop and hair and body from Simply Peppermint. When all the parts are in good shape and the skin tones match, you can find some really beautiful and unusual girls for a good price.

Lately though, I've been seeing a lot of Blythes from a certain ebay seller that are clearly very poor quality and I considered how easy it would be for a new collector to be ripped off. Unfortunately, until you have a bit of knowledge about these dolls they all tend to look much the same and many of the Blythes on offer at the moment for bargain basement prices have some really bad faults that are sneakily disclosed by photo only, not in the text of the listing. Unless you knew what to look for, it would be all too easy to hit the Buy It Now button while you were all excited about the seemingly too good to be true price and end up with a bit of a misfit as your first Blythe.

These are a few things that I've noticed in these listings:

1. Really really bad hair. Knots, frizzies, melted(!), no thatching (partline), lots of missing plugs, very odd colour (greenish streaks), extremely thin (ie you can clearly see the scalp), very bad and uneven haircuts.

2. The scalp is a different skin tone to the face.

3. Grab bag of body skin tones. Arms, torso, pelvis and legs - a lot of the time there is more than one skin tone mixed up, often they are not the same colour as the face. Sometimes both arms or both legs are different colours.

4. Front and back face plates are different skin tones. Not always obvious in the pics - look closely.

5. Obvious downward gaze - would require repair.

6. Big gaps between joins on body.

7. Sneaky photos. One seller in particular has two sets of photos on some of their listings. One is the actual set (the top left hand ones), the other is in the text of the listing and are photos of a lovely freshly deboxed stock Blythe. Be careful to note that the doll you are bidding on is the one at the top, not the one in the description.

8. You may not even get the doll you think you are bidding on. One seller states that you will get a doll with the hair and makeup of his choosing. This means that he will send you a Blythe, but not necessarily the one in the photos. Given that most of his stock appear to be flawed, this means that the doll you receive may have flaws that you find unacceptable.

That said, I've heard of people getting some really beautiful and unique dolls this way. Many have received perfect Blythes, others were happy to get a doll suitable to customise at a great price (which is what I'm hoping will be the case with mine), or even just a source of parts for other customs or repairs.

If you are at all unsure, ask around in the Blythe forums or on Flickr to see if others have had good experiences buying from the particular seller you are thinking of purchasing from. You might get a bargain, but there is always an element of risk involved in purchasing items that don't pass through quality assurance.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The scalp she is re-rooted, baby!

Finally after many nights camped in front of the telly needle in hand the re-rooting is completed. It is by no means perfect, but generally speaking I'm pretty happy with how it's turned out. I've washed it once but it still seems quite greasy. I think I'll have to wash it again before I give her a bob. I just love this colour on her and can't stop admiring it! She still looks nothing like Coraline, but with every little change I make to her I'm liking her more and more, despite her inherent crappness and her head that spins around a la exorcist.

I am not looking forward to cutting her hair at all and I kind of like it long. I so wish that I didn't have to chop it all off - what if it all goes horribly wrong? :( Here's another shot that shows the length that it came out at (I gave it the teeniest of trims) - you can see how greasy it is (also, you can see the delicious new boots I bought from Dolly Molly with the sales proceeds from my dress - Etsy giveth, Etsy taketh away). The saran is actually surprisingly dirty. I think it's some kind of lubricant to stop it from turning into a tangled mess when they spin it into skeins.

I think that doing my first reroot on a Basaak scalp was somewhat of a baptism of fire. I learnt a lot, but made a lot of mistakes along the way. I had to put it quite a lot of extra rows of hair and I still think that it is on the thin side. Next time I will order another packet of hair if I get that same size again I think. Towards the end I was getting quite fast at it and I no longer needed the needle threader. I think I'll find the next one quite a bit easier. I've been eyeing off some lovely white mohair and I think that if it is still there I might have to get it. Jeebers I am a sucker for punishment! I don't even have a Blythe in mind to put the damn thing on as my factory girl has really cute red curls that I'd like to keep if possible.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A progress report...

I have so many doll things in progress at the moment I hardly know what to work on!

First up, a progress report on Jonesy as I haven't blogged about her in a little while. I'm still working on her reroot. I think I've broken it's back as I'm just about to start on the final skein and only have about 3 rows left to do - woo hoo! I am ridiculously pleased about the prospect of finishing it. I've bought some rubbing alchohol and plan to attempt to do her lips again...and possibly her freckles too. I'm not really happy with how either of those came out. I just hope that the do over looks better, not worse!

I still need to sew the rain coat and the blue jacket (I admit to procrastinating about the blue jacket - it's fiddly, requires pattern drafting and I think the fabric I'm using (a navy micro-suede) might be too bulky. I'm waiting for her tights and pink sneakers to arrive in the mail, I still need to order her jeans. I have found the perfect pair, but they were a little pricey so I'm still tossing up which ones to get these ones by Pistachio Libby

Or these ones by Blythe Station.

I did have some rainboots ordered but there was a miscommunication about the colour and I need to reorder them later when the seller is free to do custom work again, which is a bit of a shame. I am kind of wanting to get this girl over and done with now... because a new bait Blythe is on the way! She's one of the factory girls, with a red curly Saffy-like scalp that I've never seen before. She seems to have Guava's faceplates and an unusual eyemech - she has purple or red chips. I can't wait to get her and start! Originally I wanted a scalpless girl to do a mohair reroot for my next custom project, but I saw this girl and loved her straight away and the price was too good to resist. I have heard that some of the factory girls do have issues with their hair though, so I guess whether I keep it or not will depend on what I find when I open her up.

Once again I've managed to take a couple of fail photos - when will I learn that once the light is gone, there's nothing to do but wait until the next day. I wish I was more patient. These are of the new dress I've been working on for Nos Pop. I wanted a regency style gown for her and have been drafting a pattern. This is a very rough mock up just to see how the pieces went together(please ignore the untrimmed threads, visible marks, lack of hem etc) . Being all white with no trim on it, it kind of looks like a nightie! I've since made the skirt slimmer, and am thinking of changing the sleeves. I still want the slightly puffy look, but I don't think I like the cuffs on the them as it looks a little chunky. Back to the drawing board, I think...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I am totally amazed and a little bit high (but in a good clean wholesome way!). Last night about an hour or so after I listed my dress I went to show my daughter the listing photo...and it was gone. Sold! I can't believe it went so fast! I was so excited to think that someone out there liked my work enough to buy it - it's such a buzz! I so hope that my buyer likes it. I've made a little something extra to send along as well. I'm a more than a little dissatisfied with my packaging efforts - my printer decided to break down after the packing slip printed and I had to handwrite the envelope and thank you note in my not-very-pretty handwriting. Ugh.

As that dress seemed to be popular, I decided to sell it's sister and another little one that I made. I will list them later tonight in my store.

See the latest addition to my Blythe family modelling the pink one? She's Nostalgic Pop and I unboxed her just yesterday. She was a present to myself for getting a short term contract at a school. I haven't had a great deal of time to spend with her, but I'm not really feeling the love for her just yet. For some reason she seems to not have as much personality as Holly, and her hair is definitely a lot more high maintenance! When it's not tied back it just goes everywhere - although it is deliciously thick and lovely. I think I might have to give a it a gentle wash as it is quite greasy. Her eye chips are in different positions to normal as well - bright green front facing, yellow front facing (I know they are special, but I don't know that I like them), blue and pinks are side glancing. I've always preferred the side glancing chips as they seem less stare-y somehow so I'll have to change out the pinks at the very least. I've never liked the pinks. I do love her stock - especially the little yellow shirt. Unfortunately her shoes are not fabulous and are very squishy so she can't really stand in them. It's a pity as I have a woefully small shoe collection and the Takara shoes are usually quite nice.

I can't help but feel just a little disappointed with her as she is by far the most expensive Blythe that I have, and the only one of mine that I bought new. I am wondering if the reason I'm not finding her as cute is part fear due to her expense and part guilt...also due to her expense! I have been itching to send one of my girls off for a custom faceup and lip carve (to someone who knows what they are doing, I wouldn't attempt this on one of my girls that I'm attached to) - maybe it will be NosPop. I know of a good Aussie customiser...I'm just afraid that I would spend even more money on her and I still wouldn't like her! She still doesn't have a name...Miss B wants to call her Poppy.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Today I felt like sewing tiny cute little Blythe dresses so I did exactly that. I made two new ones, but sadly the light faded before I could photograph the last one - which is of course the cutest - doh! Oh well, tomorrow is another day.

Neither of them has anything to do with Coraline, and it was so wonderful to be able to just put fabrics and trim together the way I wanted to, rather than trying to copy a specific look. After making the dress and photographing it I realised that I enjoy that process far more than the actual owning of it (and subsequent storing of it!), so I'm going to start selling some of my creations to hopefully offset the crippling expense that is the hobby of collecting Blythes. I'll never be Rockefeller as they take quite a while to make and I like to faff about coordinating fabrics and choosing the perfect embellishments, but hopefully I might be able to fund another Blythe purchase that way. Eventually...

I'm listing it on the We Play With Dolls forum for a week, and then I'll move it to my Etsy shop if it hasn't sold after that time. Ah,my poor empty Etsy shop. I don't know why I'm so scared of it. I'm sure that once I've listed and sold the first one the process will be much less intimidating!

Still rerooting the Basaak scalp. I'm slightly more than halfway done now and I have to admit it's looking good so far. I'm quite happy with the length of the hair that I bought and if I ever do another one (and I think I probably will) I'll get the same. It's long, but not so long as to be unmanageable and there's still enough length to give it a trim to neaten it up without it feeling too short. I really don't know how I'm going to bring myself to cut it into a short bob!

EDIT: I decided to stop being such a sissy and have listed it on Etsy straight up. My shop looks very empty! More dresses will have to follow in order to avoid the scorn of fellow Etsyians.

Friday, April 9, 2010

It won't happen overnight, but it will happen!

My progress on the Coraline custom goes slooowly, but I'm getting there. Every night I take up position on the couch with my trusty tray and I try to spend an hour or so on the scalp. At the end of each session her plait grows steadily fatter, though I think it will be quite a while before I'm done. I'm not as concerned that I haven't ordered enough hair now. I have only done 1 1/2 skeins and the thickest part of her scalp is done. If I stuff up the haircut after all this effort, I will go mad with rage!

I've made part of her costume and have ordered the bits that I can't make myself, or are too lazy to bother. Truth be told, I'm getting really tired of trying to make replicas of things and just want to do some sewing or creating that isn't the slightest bit Coraline related!

Stripey shirt: made - not entirely happy with it and will probably do over.
Pink skirt: made
Green tights: ordered from glassonion
Pink sneakers: ordered from mimiwoo
Rain boots: ordered from chinesegirl
Jeans: not making those puppies - yet to order
Raincoat: fabric purchased, yet to make
Blue jacket: fabric purchased, WIP
Peaked cap: still to make...maybe

I've started scouting about for a bait Blythe for my next one, a bit prematurely perhaps, but they are so hard to come by at a good price. I'd like to get one based in Australia so it's not going to cost me an arm and a leg just to get her here. If nothing turns up soon I'm considering getting a Mango or a Guava as they are so cheap at the moment, but it seems like such sacrilige to carve up a brand new Blythe.

That said, I've realised that the amount of time, effort and materials that go into creating a custom girl are wasted on the clones. Sure, she looks much cuter than when I started, but at the end of the day she's still just a clone and is not worth selling even if I wanted to. At least with a Blythe I might recoup some of the cost of materials at worst.

Speaking of projects that are progressing very slowly, work on my sewing room has come grinding to a halt. In fact after the skirting boards were put back on not a thing has been done, and having to have all my sewing gear, projects and bookcases filled with fabric in various places all over the house is driving me nuts! This weekend we'll get back into that as it NEEDS to get done. I hope to at least have the undercoat complete by the end of the weekend.

When it's all painted, I'm going to put up some cute prints - right now I'm loving this one by artist and Etsyian Erica Mount..she has some utterly wonderful things in her store. I'm loving the address labels too - they would be so cute if you were involved in a swap or just selling off some excess Blythe goodies.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Easter!

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter - I know I did!

Many eggs were eaten (too many!), lots of fun was had. Much laughing, eating, relaxing and catching up with family that I just don't see enough of.

I did do a little rerooting. The part is thatched and the first skein of saran is in her scalp. "Only" three to go now (dear Lord!). I have stabbed myself with the doll needle many many times. I've taken tonnes of photos, but they are all of various members of my family stuffing themselves and posing with rabbit ears on and are not dolly related at all.

I've decided that I'll do the re-rooting whenever I'm sitting in front of the telly. I've got a tray set up with the tools, water bowl, paper towels and saran and it's not nearly so unbearable to do it that way. If it were not for the constant stabbing, I'd probably find it relaxing!

I need to start working on her costume now. I've ordered some rain boots and tights from Etsy. Now I just need to make her raincoat, jeans, skirt, tee and jacket. Sounds like a lot of sewing!

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Rerooting hair is painful. Especially when you stab yourself repeatedly in the thumb with the crochet hook. I had not realised this, having never used such a small one before, but they are equiped with a needle like tip and will slip into the pad of your thumb like a hot knife into butter. Painful. Then there's the shoulder pain from forcing the awl in to make additional holes in the hard unforgiving Basaak scalp again and again and again (the partline had barely any scalp holding it together so I had to go on either side of it). Many times in today's session I've caught myself fantasising about sinking the doll needle into the soft squishy surface of a cool cat scalp. If I ever decide to do this again, I will use one of those!

I say doll needle rather than crochet hook because with the harder scalp and my inexperience, it just wasn't working for me. Somehow the strands of saran were catching on the rough edges of the holes and the loops on the back were really untidy...not to mention that I spent a lot of time pulling out poorly secured plugs and redoing the same row. Not fun. In the end I've decided upon an unorthodox method that uses a needle threader and a doll needle. Not nearly so stabby that way. I may revert to the hook once I'm onto the spiral bit and the holes aren't so close together - we'll see.

Also, a word of warning to anyone contemplating taking on this madness - when the tutorials say to keep the saran wet they mean it. It dries very quickly and becomes impossible to handle. Oh and the puchi collective tutorial is great, but when they refer to using "a small handful" of hair at a time, they actually mean a small amount of hair - about as much as you can pinch between two fingers. Because if you pull out too much at once, you can't separate the strands nicely and end up with a hideous tangled mess and will more than likely need to throw it away in frustration, thus increasing the worry about not having ordered enough hair... Not that I speak from experience or anything :P

This is my pitiful progress for the day. Not much huh? All I managed to complete so far is the partline. I will at least concede that I have gotten neater and faster and don't have to unpick any more. Over the weekend I hope to thatch it. I live in hope that this is the slowest and most difficult part of the process, otherwise I may go crazy before I'm done.

I do like the colour though. Bit of a change from the blonde!