Sunday, May 30, 2010

Roxy's new faceup

I know I said I wasn't going to change Roxy's faceup, but the uneven blush was really bugging me...

I decided to keep it very similar to her existing make-up as I was kind of looking just to fix the problems really, rather than go for a whole new look. I quite like how she turned out:) The yellow eye make-up does not really do her any favours at the moment, but I think it will look good with the new scalp that's on it's way.

I also have her two new sets of chips while I had her head open - the blues that are in the top pic and these browns. I know that chip changing is one of those things you can easily do without opening the head, but I just find it so much easier to do them from behind - that way there's no concern about getting melted gluestick on her eyelashes. RBL's are so easy to open that I always prefer to do any work that way.

The brown chips are actually the yellow/amber ones that she already had when I got her with an iris backing paper that I borrowed from some supposedly hand-painted chips I bought. I thought those chips were great at first, but after putting them in Holly I realised that they looked very flat and gave her a blank looking stare. The backings were not even hand done - just printed - and I paid far too much for them. Ah well, you live and learn! Put beind a normal 20 line eyechip though, they give it a whole new look. These were a spare pare that I hadn't put in, but I'm thinking of pulling the others out of Holly to use the same way, assuming the backing isn't destroyed in the process of removing the chips.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Damn - I won!

Why is it that when you are bidding for something and desperately want it, you almost always are sniped at the last second, but when you have second thoughts and offer a ridculously low amount, you win???

I know I should not have, but I saw this girl with her odd looking hair and I put in an almost insultingly low offer on her thinking that there was no way I'd get her for that amount...and dammit if the seller didn't accept it! I freely admit that this girl was bought for her hair. I just love it! I think it might be the same as either Veronica Lace or Heart of Montmarte - it's very unusal. There's no way I could afford the real thing. I may not even keep the doll it's attached to, we'll see.

One of the main reasons that I regret the purchase is that I also bought an Aubrey scalp just today (the long one) for Roxy. Typically for me, a Winsome Willow one came up for sale for much less money and I really would have preferred that to start with. Her mismatched scalp colour was just annoying me too much to put up with it any longer.

As of this moment I am going on a doll diet - not one doll purchase for at least a month now! I will just have to sew, photograph and enjoy the ones I have. Easier said than done....

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Undies, undies everywhere!

I've been a little obsessed with these knickers of late. Now that I have perfected them, you'll be seeing them slowly being added to the shop. I don't know how long I'll keep making them for as they are so fussy and fiddly. They take a while to make, but they are so sweetly tiny and perfect when they are finished.

P thinks that anyone following my photostream will think that I'm some kind of pervert due to all the topless-ness and underwear shots. I think he's being a bit prudish...I mean it's not like Blythe is anatomically correct! Maybe am I just blind to it having been wrangling pants onto dolly crotches all weekend long. I wonder what he'll think when my new flection body arrives... I will confess to being momentarily tempted by the body with the big bazoombas, but in the end I decided that petite was probably best (and would avoid having to make a whole new wardrobe!).

I still haven't done anything much with Roxy. With our Aussie dollar having plunged in the last week, I've been putting off buying her scalp...and I would like to get some backing foils to go on the back of her chips, so there's not even any point in changing those out until I've got the foils. I think I may sand off her makeup after all as her uneven blush bothers me.

I am fighting the urge to buy another factory girl. There's been quite a bit of hating on them going on in Plastic Paradise right now, but there is something so addictive about them! The cheaper than cheap prices on the low end ones make them oh so temping to people like me who just want a fixer-upper...and besides, I need some girls with different hair colours.

Such a big week coming up, I am kind of dreading it. P's dad is having major surgery on Tuesday and my big assessment piece is due on Wednesday. My employer still has not told me if they want me to continue after next week. I am kind of hoping not, as I have soooo much to catch up on at home as well as many many assignments that I need to do. Reality bites.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ooh La La - Lingerie!

I know they aren't the most glamorous of clothes, but I think that knickers are necessary, even for dolls!

Actually, I hadn't even thought that much about it until someone on one of the forums was complaining about how their dolls kept arriving completely naked. I wonder what on earth people do with all the spare undies - it's not like you need to change them on a regular basis! I can just see a room full of little white knickers at places like Blythe Plus who sell all their dolls nakie. Not really much point in keeping them in my opinion, and as far as I know they don't seem to sell them seperately either, so why don't they just leave them on the dolls?

Then I got to thinking about doll undies and that yes, it was kind of annoying that my factory girls didn't have any so I had a look on Etsy and couldn't find any that I really liked. I just wanted plain ones, no lace, no frilly bits and there were none available.

So, here is the result of an afternoon playing with dolly pants. May I say, that these are bloody fiddly to make! These are my second pair, and I can still see some room for improvement (scuse the untidy thread ends - didn't notice them when I took the photo!), but they aren't too bad considering the tiny-ness of them. I think they are a smidgeon big, but it's a start! I'm thinking of adding knickers to the shop, once I'm completely happy with them. I wonder if anyone will buy them?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

At last the painting is finished in my sewing/music/reading room and it's time to move in. In a way, I'm kind of dreading the unpacking and organising of many many boxes of fabric, trim, tools and unfinished projects more than I was the actual renovating!

I love this room so much it's insane. I know that to some wood floors and plain white walls are unspeakably dull, but to me it all seems so peaceful and calm that I love spending time in there already. It's all very Zen without the furniture - if I had a big enough house I think I'd have a space just like it with nothing in it but a couple of plants and a comfy place to sit. It almost seems a shame to clutter it up with all of our stuff, but sadly our house is small and we have to make the best use of the space we have available. I'll be sharing the space with Miss B - she needs a desk of her own and space for all of her books as well as a nice calm environment for violin practice. Her bedroom is very small - I don't know how she's been managing to practice in there for so long.

Pre-Blythe I was a quilter and I have an astonishing amount of bits and pieces and works in progress that I've collected over time. I feel kind of guilty looking at them, so now that the weather is cold and I at last have room again, I think I may have to get stuck in and finish a project or two. I'm feeling frustrated that I have so little time for creativity right now. Work, study and housework are consuming most of my time and energy when all I want to do is sew! I have something new that I want to add to the shop and it's killing me not being able to transform my idea into reality.

Today we are off to Movie World again as we got a season pass the last time we where there and Miss B is dying to try out the rides she missed last time. In the evening I have to work on this cursed "group" assignment. It's a group assignment in name only, as to be honest the "group" is comprised of a pack of losers who all seem to have various personal issues that prevent them from doing any actual work. From a group of 5, only 2 of us do anything and the other woman only seems to be focused on working on things that directly give her credit, not the team parts of the project which seem to have fallen to me. I am heartily sick of it and them. 'Nuff said.

Last night I spent a little while playing around with the Wensleydale locks. I've heard a few horror stories from people who have painstakingly rerooted their Blythes and then happily washed the scalp when they've finished only to have it turn into a ruined felted clump. I combed out a little piece, washed, conditioned and straightened it with a hair straightener while it was still wet to see how it would handle it. It handled it all very well and there were no problems at all. I love the way it looks straight.

Feeling a bit more confident that my lovely wool could handle a bit of abuse, I made up a few plugs. OMG it's slow. Even though the wool looks relatively tangle free it's not. Combing it out is slow. Separating the lock into plugs is slow. Tying the knot at the end is slow, and even more worryingly, the knots kind of undo themselves. I think I'll have to put a little bit of glue on the ends, you know, just to make the process EVEN SLOWER! I can tell already that this method of reroting is going to be very untidy on the reverse of the scalp and I'm not entirely comfortable with it. I'm wondering if I would be better off to do a lock and loop only instead of doubling the hair over in half, to do it about an inch or so from the cut end if you know what I mean. On the other hand, I don't want it to be super poofy, and wouldn't the short end kind of give the roots even more bulk? I'm just a bit nervous that if I use the traditional knot method all the cut ends will be so bulky on the inside that I won't be able to fit the scalp back on!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Rubies, wine and an unforseen dilema...

A few little things have happened in the past few days. Besides being horribly busy with real life things, I've managed to steal a chunk of time between bouts of drudgery, boredom, stress and frustration to give Roxy's hair a treatment. It's come up quite nicely I think, considering the state that it was in (again, the hot water/fabric softener solution is a MIRACLE!). Maybe with one more treatment it might be even better as it's still a bit frizzy at the back. This leaves me with a bit of an unexpected dilema as to what I should do with the fibre for her reroot that arrived yesterday.

The fibre is not mohair, but wool from a rare breed of sheep. I bought it from the most lovely Etsy seller that I have dealt with so far and it is stunning. I absolutely love the colour, it is perfect - I asked for rubies and wine and that is exactly how the seller dyed it. It's so amazingly soft and silky that I confess to spending quite a bit of time gazing at it admiringly and fondling it!. It has a really pretty sheen to it too.

The problem is...I think it might be a little bit too short *sigh*. And therein lies the problem, because I am more than a little afraid of Roxy ending up with her nice blonde curls chopped off and a big red afro in it's place. The locks stretch out to be quite long - between 7 and 9 inches, but in their curly state are more like 4 or 5. I was planning on using a really interesting rerooting technique that involves tying a knot in the middle of the plug and threading it through two adjacent holes, but the shorter than anticipated length makes it so that only the traditional knot method is possible.

I don't know what to do - should I chop off her hair and go for it, or should I get a coolcat scalp for just in case I don't like the result? I have heard that the coolcats don't fit as well as they could...and it is an added expense. Any advice from any super duper re-rooters that secretly read my blog but never comment?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Out of the box

My newest (and probably final) factory girl is here! Unlike Ash, I kind of like her straight away, even though her catalogue of faults is far more extensive. I wonder why that is....

She has the obligatory ick matted hair. There was actually melty rubber band in it! Thankfully it hadn't bonded into her hair at all and I could just pull it out. She's had a hair treatment and is looking better already.
Her scalp is a very different skin tone to her face - that I'm not very pleased about at all as obviously it isn't something that can be fixed! I'm wondering if I should just put her reroot on a coolcat scalp instead or maybe try to swap it for a scalp of the same skintone. She also has a bit of a gap between her scalp and faceplate. You can see from the pic how nasty looking her hair was.

The poor girl got saddled with a bad body too (maybe that's why I feel a connection with her :P). Different coloured torso and legs, a few little black marks here and there, a little gap in the join where none should be. A shame because she has the pink nailpolish arms that I like so much. I'm thinking of popping her on a Pure Neemo Flection - yeah baby!
She has a wonky eyelash (saw that in her auction pic).
Her mech works beautifully, and the special green chips are really lovely. I don't like the ambers or the pinks, so I'll change them out ASAP.
Most annoyingly (as I wanted to preserve her makeup because I liked it), she has some unexpected flaws on her face. There are a few little speckles of blush here and there - even in her eyelashes. Her blush is uneven and she has some flaws in the glossy finish on the plastic on her forehead. *sigh* Lena, you really need to take better photographs! I scrutinised the auction pics for ages without seeing these problems :( I was tempted to see if I could send her back, but the postage is so expensive it really makes it impractical.

I'm wondering if I might be able to somehow sand her while carefully preserving her makeup or if it's a lost cause. Such a shame, because I'm finding her cute in the extreme which I was not expecting at all! She immediately told me her name is Roxy and I think I'm going to like her :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My first Blythe custom

I've had so much fun the last few days "making over" Ashling. I wasn't too sure about the look that I wanted for her, so I just kind of played with colours and blush until I got something I felt reasonably happy with.

I'm glad that I did the work on the Basaak first, as I was not at all nervous about pulling her apart and I had a little bit more of an idea of how the pastels behaved. I'm not really happy with her lips, but I think that until I get some MSC so I can build up the colour some more, they'll have to do for now. If it becomes apparent that I just can't do lips at all, I'll send her away to an Aussie customiser to have this done. Originally I gave her green pastel eyeshadow, but I wasn't happy with the colour once it was on her as it looked kind of yellowish. Since I already have a Blythe on the way with yellow eye shadow I went with some a neutral brown.

As you can see, I've managed to tame her hair a little now as well. When it was still wet I made it into ringlets and when it dried it looked great! Sadly during the process of putting her head back together they have kind of fallen out. Still, there is no arguing that her hair looks much much better than when I started and I have decided that for the time being at least, she can keep her hair as is.

I've given her some new chips too, olive drab and plain baby blue (which I'm not as keen on). Initially I took out the plum ones that she came with, but I've since put them back in. I think they might be the same purple/plum chips that PAM has and it's about as close to having a PAM that I'll ever get!

Friday, May 7, 2010

The scalp was dry today, and since I've taken Ashling apart in a frenzy last night ans sand matted her and because I was too lazy to put her together for the photo, I just plonked it on top of Jonesy. It does not fit at all - but you can get a better idea of how it is looking now compared to when I first got it.

I've since read that once a curly scalp has been washed you shouldn't try to brush it or it will frizz, naturally I brushed it as soon as it was dry so it doesn't look as good as it initially did (it's been brushed in the pic) - but it's still much better than it was. I have read about another method of treating hair so I'm going to try that out tonight. It's a bit more time consuming, but the results looked well worth the effort.

My eye chips arrived from We Play With Dolls today (super fast!!), I now wish that I had ordered the foils to go with them, but I'm too cheap to order just those and pay for postage twice, so will have to wait until next time. I was shocked at how easy it was to remove the chips. Every pair came out on the first try!

Blythe hair secrets

When I got my fuzzy haired factory girl, I really needed some advice on how to fix her hair. I've been trawling the internet and asking nicely on the forums in the hope that some of the expert Blythe people will share their hair taming secrets with me. Apart from the hot water rinse, here are a few different methods that people have had success with.

1. Coat hair in conditioner (human hair kind), put in ziplock bag and run boiling water over it. Leave overnight and then rinse out thoroughly. Put in foam rollers for gentle waves. This was for a Kenner, not sure how it would go on a Neo.

2. Wash hair with laundry detergent, rinse. Then boil water and mix with fabric softener. Let soak for a few minutes. Rinse. Then twist hair into ringlets and let them dry overnight. I have to say that this looks really really good - check it out

3. Wash hair with hot hot water, comb through conditioner, rinse and repeat. Finish with ceramic straightening irons (eep! this sounds potentially damaging - try this one at your own risk! I must admit, it did look nice though). Think it's best if you want a really straight look.

4. This is the method WoodSprite (on Flickr) uses...and it's nothing short of amazing. It's kind of lengthy and sadly involves using a product that I'm pretty sure is not available here, but I'll be scouring the shops for an equivilent for sure! You must check it out! It is the best guide to hair rejuvenation that I've seen.

Here is a brief summary of the steps:

- Prepare doll by wrapping face and body in cling film. Wrap cord around neck and slip arm through pull ring.
- Give hair a good brush through.
- Fill a little bowl (just enough so the hair will be covered) with about an oz of Chlorox Ultimate Care bleach (this is the product that I can't get) and boiling water. Soak for 15 - 20 minutes.
- Without rinsing, comb through hair first using wide toothed comb, then a fine tooth comb.
- Rinse and shampoo (using whatever it is that you like to use...she uses dishsoap).
- Then prepare bowl again with boiling water and fabric softener (same amount). Soak for 15 minutes. Comb through.
- Reheat mixture in microwave until hot. Soak for another 15 minutes. Comb, rinse thoroughly, de -plastic your girl. At this point, she uses scissors to trim any damaged or weird hairs.
- Now you leave to dry. If there are curls, give them a little scrunch from time to time. When it's just a little bit damp, put a little bit of leave in conditioner in it (she uses a Garnier one). When dry you can use a tiny mist of shine spray.

I especially like her advice about not brushing the ends of the hair after the treatment...which I went and did to Ashling after her hot water rinse, ruining the cute curls on the end of her hair (her hair still looked loads better though!).

I used a variation on method 4 on Ash's hair (without the Chlorox step) and it was very successful. I twisted it into ringlets to dry and here's how it came out. I didn't have any leave in conditioner, so I left that step out.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hot water - the miracle treatment!

I cannot believe that it's Thursday already. This is insane! I've got to work on my group assignment (otherwise known as "I must do all of the assignment because the rest of the goup are complete losers that don't care if they fail"), but I was feeling a bit stressed out about it all, so I took a little bit of time out to do an experiment on my newest victim, Ashling.

As anyone who reads this blog or follows me on Flickr will know, I hate her hair. Horrible horrible carrot red frizz. I tried to curl it to no avail, the frizz returned within minutes. Since I'm planning to chop it all off and reroot her anyway, I thought I might attempt a hot water treatment on it. I've always thought it seemed like such a risky thing in that there's a chance the hair could melt if it's not done properly, and also once the curl is gone it's gone for good. Only a boil perm will get it back and those can have unpredictable results. So anyway, off I went and did it, and you know's tamed it. It's still wringing wet, but it's much much longer and the curl is only on the ends. She seems much less Susan Boyle and more Nicole Kidman now. If it looks ok when it's dried completely, I may even keep it. Who knew that a bit of hot water and a brush could do that! On the down side, it's still falling out :(

Monday, May 3, 2010

What happened to my weekend??

So much for running up a dress - this weekend has been eaten up by painting and an impromptu trip to Movieworld (which I will admit was fun!). Miss B had an absolute ball, which is great because the poor little thing was pretty entertaining herself for most of the weekend while P & I were up ladders.

It's a bugger of a room to paint as it has a long hallway that's part of it - one coat of paint takes more than 4 hours to apply. We have one more day of it ahead of us so that we can do the trim and then I can move all my sewing gear and Blythe collection (I have 3 now, plus a fake - does that count as a collection?) into it. I can't tell you how wonderful it will be to move everything out of it's temporary home in the dining rooms and bedrooms. The clutter makes me feel uber-stressed.

I've had another thought as to my factory girl's reroot. I'm going to do a blended colour I think, of two different blondes and a red similar to the one she has. These hair swatch pics are from My Little Customs. Stunning colours aren't they?

The red Wensleydale locks have been dyed and purchased and hopefully will be on their way to me very soon. I got them from this etsyian who runs a shop called Jenny Fields Fibre. Her prices were very reasonable and the service was great - she discussed the exact shade of red that I was after with me and dyed it up specially and had it listed within 48hours. I'll let you all know how the wool is like when it arrives but I'm pretty confident that it will be fantastic.

I'm itching to take this girl apart and start her faceup. I don't think she'll be staying in one piece for much longer at all!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The deed is done...pretty much

Last night I decided that there was no point in procrastinating any longer and gave Jonesy the chop. For better or for for worse, her hair is now bobbed (more or less!). It still needs a little tidy up - cutting dolls hair is harder than I thought. Especially on a girl with exorcist-like neck swivelling tendencies.

It was kinda painful chopping off that lovely hair :( It was so gorgeously silky and sleek and the colour looked so wonderful at that length (sigh). Oh well, it's done now and there's no going back. It is still a little long I think.

Which leads me to my next hair dilema - the factory girls. I've decided that I can't live with the crunchy, shedding, ginger frizz any more than I'll be able to live with the blonde dreadlocks on my next to arrive girl. I confess to fiddling with the colour saturaion in the curlers photo. In real life her hair is a not very pretty shade of orangutan ginger and it's not nice at all. I guess this that means two reroots are in order. Sounds horribly ambitious, but I'm planning to just take my time as I don't know when I'll be able to get my hands on another bait girl at the right price anyway. Besides, I never thought I'd say this, but I kind of like rerooting. It's oddly satisfying.

So, the girl that's blonde will be getting a deep red reroot in Wensleydale wool (so she'll be curly). The seller is really lovely and she's dying it to order just for me. I think it will give her eyeshadow a bit more punch than the blonde hair she currently has. She will get Ashling's (ginger ninja's) reddish painted scalp.

The ginger ninja, Ashling will get her scalp but I'm still tossing up what colour hair to give her. Part of me wants to do a shiney white mohair, but I'm wondering if 2 mohair girls is too many - and besides, what if it's much harder to do than the saran? Mohair is expensive and I don't want to mess it up. So Ashling will probably be a saran girl - I'm thinking silver or platinum blonde or a mix of the two.

This is Hi Ho Silver from Restore Doll.

I also like this one, it's called Monroe

Or...I could do a fantasy hair colour on her. A blue green like PAM. Or a pastel peach like Peach. I just can't decide. And therein lies the problem, because without knowing for sure what her hair colour will be, I can't plan her face-up or buy her new eye chips. I guess it will come to me eventually, but for now, she's not telling me anything.

Oh, as an aside, I just want to clarify that Jonesy isn't wearing the play smock that I've got in my shop. I made three of them and this one is an "oops" - I put the pockets on slightly crooked so I decided to keep it rather than sell it as it's not perfect.