Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Aniversary Girl 2010 - Marabelle Melody

A little while ago CWC announced their Anniversary Blythe for 2010, Marabelle Melody and I'm very relieved to report that she's not really my type. This is good, because at them moment, her recommended retail price is $360 Aussie dollars (ouch!). I quite like her frilly little dress, and special chips, but really - yet another blonde? And so similar to Ice Rune and Tarts and Tea. Her side kicks look far more interesting than she does and are getting a lot more attention on the forums. Hopefully they will also be much more reasonably priced!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Had a great day sewing, but I guess it doesn't make for very interesting blogging! It was freezing here, and for some bizarre reason I had this urge to make white lacy things so here's what' I've been up to.

This white petticoat (I suppose you could also use it as a skirt if you wanted to), which is bound for the shop.

And this white and palest of pink dresses - which was a bit of an experiment. I really like how it turned out. I'd probably list that too, only in my creative frenzy, I accidentally left the tiniest silver pencil mark on the neck seam. I am not too upset about having to keep it :)

Other news...a new arrival will be heading over to Chez Dollybird in the near future. I haven't technically broken my Dolly Diet, because I don't pay for her until 1 July - hah!! I'm very excited because she's my first EBL and as she needs a little TLC, I'll be able to leave my own mark on her without feeling wracked with guilt. Or I'll chicken out, and get someone else to do her face-up...that's entirely possible too!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I'm back, Baby!

I can tell that I'm feeling much better. I've made a couple of items for the store, taken some photos of the gorgeous Roxy, bought a new Dolly Recipe Coordinate mook and I am struggling big time with the dolly diet. All of which are good signs that I am on the mend.

New dresses - the green one is in my Etsy now, and the blue will follow in a couple of days. I've also made a really sweet petticoat, which of course I have not photographed yet. It's pure white, lacy, frilly and flouncy and reminds me of those old Flake ads from the early 80's. Makes me want to make white frilly dresses right away!

I'm even wondering about my poor Blythe in bits...I am thinking of giving lips another try. I am soooo bad at them, but I'll never learn unless I keep at it. I can't understand how all these first time customisers seem to be so damn good at it - I find it impossible to do a half decent job of them. I have searched all over and have a few tutorials, but nothing that is aimed at completely hopeless newbies like myself. I wonder how many attempts I can make before the poor girl has no lips left at all!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

In search of the perfect blonde

So, how did I go with my 5 items in 5 days challenge? Pretty darn badly that's how! Turns out that what I thought was a particularly nast bout of the flu, was actually Glandular Fever (or Mono, for all the Americans who read this). In a way I was relieved to find out the cause of it - I thought I was either depressed or suffering from Narcolepsy!

At any rate no garments were finished this week, however I was feeling well enough today to rephotograph one of my Esty dresses, play with Roxy's hair and begin work on the grey satin dress I'd cut out so I think I might be on the mend. At any rate, I am feeling well enough to start covetting another Blythe - this time a blonde.

Now that Roxy is sporting her new VL scalp, I no longer have a blonde in my collection. True, I could get another bait Blythe and wack the Saffy scalp on that, but where's the fun in that? This time I am wanting a bit of a glamour-puss with lovely warm golden blonde hair and to be honest, I'm not seeing that many that fit the bill. There are loads of blonde Blythes, but most of them are super-light verging on platinum, lemony or yellow.

I quite like I Love You It's True, but unfortunately she can be expensive as she's an older release. I also like the new Love and More, but I think she is a limited release...which means $$$.

I wish I did not have such expensive taste!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Low mojo

I have been so busy over the past week, I kind of feel that I've lost my Blythe mojo a little. I don't feel like sewing (there's a cute new dress all cut out waiting for me), I don't feel like customising (there's a Blythe in bits and not one, but TWO scalps sitting in my studio - unheard of!), and even more frightening, I don't feel like shopping. I have managed to stick to my dolly diet shockingly well, but I don't feel particularly pleased with myself because I have not had the slightest urge to buy anything, even though I've seen some dolls at very very good prices. What is up with that?? How is it possible that I'm feeling that my collection is big enough - I only have 3 of my own, Miss B's Lilac and a Blythe-in-bits.

I put it down to post flu blues.... Mr P was sick all this week (only he had man-flu, so his symptoms were twice as severe!), and this week also marked the end of my contract in the Art department. Even though it was not a prestigious position and had more than a bit of drudgery involved, I think that I am a bit down at the prospect of returning to my stay at home mum status. *sigh* I know I should not complain and that loads of women would kill to be in a position to be able to do that, but it was nice to get some recognition for the work I did and the little bit of extra money was good too.

Anyway, to shake my low mojo I am throwing down the dolly gauntlet (what would that be - a mitten??) and giving myself a challenge to work on. This week, starting Monday I will be making 5 items in 5 days to put in the shop. And knickers will not be counted! Dresses, blouses, skirts and pants only. I may even look at my Blythe-in-bits and do something with her. Or organise my studio a little bit...maybe.

Monday, June 14, 2010

It's been one of those grey chilly winter days today, perfect weather for baking and sewing so that's exactly what I did. Chocolate cake and lots of tiny little knickers, I put a couple of pairs in the shop straight away, the rest will be added gradually thoughout the week.

My underwear actually sold out during the past week, which was totally unexpected. Even though they are such small amounts of money, I get such a buzz every time I get a sale! Etsy is totally addictive, even if I do seem to spend much much more than I earn.

I got the nicest surprise today when I was checking out the forums on Plastic Paradise. One of the moderators is putting together a Blythe Shopping Guide - I thought it was such a great idea, I went to check it out and guess what I found? A pic of my underwear being modelled by their new owners and a very nice write-up about it! It totally made my day. I had no idea that it was anything other than an ordinary sale, so it was completely out of the blue to come across the blog entry. The blog post and pic is here if you'd like to have a look, and of course there are lots of articles about other Blythe Etsyians too.

I put the lovely new Veronica Lace scalp on Roxy a little while ago, but I hadn't done the big reveal because embarassingly, she has nothing to wear - poor thing! I know exactly what I want to make for her, I just need to carve out a little time to run it up. I really like the way she looks with the new scalp - and the scalp itself is stunning. Anyway, I needed some knickers photographed today and she was the perfect model. I still have one more factory Blythe left to customise, but I don't have any strong feeling about how she should look, so I will wait until I'm feeling more inspired to take action.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Hello Neemo!

Oh man I've been sick this week. So sick, that two new dolly parcels arrived and I didn't even open them until today - Mr P should have called a priest! I've had some kind of flu...and then tonsilitis. May I just say, that this is not a nice thing to have as a grown up, because besides the pain and the inconvenience of not being able to open my mouth to speak, swallow, drink or eat, my vanity and pride have been suffering dreadfully. I look like Jabba the Hutt. My entire throat/neck has been swollen - yes, even on the outside - and I am sporting twin lumps on my neck like frankenstein's monster. Ever so pretty - not! Anyway, enough complaining. My family weren't particularly interested in hearing me moan on about it so I'm sure that you won't be!

I opened my Pure Neemo Flection body this afternoon and I've been having great fun with it! How pervy is this shot of her?! It was getting dark when I hurriedly grabbed the camera and predictably, all of my pics were rubbish. I was trying valiantly to correct the photo and quickly realised that it was a lost cause so I had a play around with filters and effects on and accidentally created this. She looks alarmingly fleshy and real...with dolly joints - creepy!

The first thing I noticed when I opened it up was the weight of it. It's made of a kind of hard resin and it feels pleasantly substantial to hold. The resin has a natural looking matt finish and the colour is quite good - neither too pink or too brown. I love the shape of her - she's a lot more realistic (as you can see from my pervy pic!), and somehow manages to be willowy and curvy at the same time. She has a detailed collarbone, a rather pert little bottom, curvy thighs and her feet are really delicate and sweet. Her chest and torso are slimmer than Blythes, and this concerns me a little. It's already become apparent that she is not going to effortlessly be able to wear anything that fits Blythe - dresses with tight bodices swim on her unflatteringly.

I was a little worried that her joints would be too floppy to hold a pose, but they stay put nicely. However, I quickly realised that she would not be quite as posable as I had imagined. Somehow I thought that she would be a doll equivalent of those wooden artists models that you can buy and this is not the case. She can raise and lower her arms, but not move them out straight and the same goes for her hips/legs. The limb joints are not ball and socket, so while they will bend, they can't also twist. Instead you are able to twist the upper arm and thigh, which does make a lot more poses possible than a classic Takara body, but does have it's limitations. Her neck and ankle joints do use a ball type joint but the range is quite limited. I am very excited to get a head on her so I can tilt the head!

I'm also a little bit concerned about her feet coming off in shoes. They look quite fragile and I'm pretty sure that there's a good chance this might happen - particularly in boots. I am not entirely certain that they would just pop back on either (and I hope I don't need to find out!) Her feet are definitely too big for most of the shoes in my collection - think I might have to get some new ones just for this body. At this point, my first impressions of this body are very good and I can't wait to get a head on her and do a proper photo shoot. Possibly with less creepy results!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Buying your first Blythe

Today I was contacted by someone who came across my Etsy shop and wanted to find out how to buy her first Blythe. I had already half finished writing a post on this, and revisited it intending to complete and publish it, but after a quick read through I realised that it was far too long and confusing and a simpler approach was needed. So, welcome to "Buying your first Blythe", version 2. For followers of my blog who undoubtably have bought many Blythes, I apologise, but I so wished that I could have found all this information more easily when I was shopping for my first. Hopefully someone will be able to benefit from it.

Buying your first Blythe is a bit of a voyage into the unknown. Neo Blythes, the ones most commonly collected, are very rarely found in shops outside of Asia. For someone buying their very first Blythe, there are a few different ways you can get your hands on one. The first and easiest way (although sometimes the most expensive), is Ebay.

CWC seem to release a new Blythe about once a month. Asian sellers buy up on the new dolls and then resell them through Ebay. Naturally you will pay a little bit more for these and there are always the usual risks that come as part and parcel of buying from Ebay. Buying a doll NRFB (never removed from box) is the best way to avoid getting a nasty surprise and buying a new release doll (with the exception of the limited or aniversary dolls) is usually the cheapest. At the moment, the cheapest NRFB Blythes are Simply Mango and Simply Guava. CWC make a lot more of the "Simply" girls than regular and limited releases, and this is reflected in their lower price. There are quite a few reputable Blythe sellers on Ebay, I like to use Mimiwoo. I've bought everything from Blythes to shoes and bodies from her and she is always reliable.

If you have your heart set on a particular Blythe or just don't like the current releases, I'd recommend joining the Blythe forums. As well as getting loads of helpful information, they have very active sales threads where you can buy and sell everything from Blythes to wigs to shoes, mostly pre-used by other collectors. The advantage of buying from within the community is that most Blythe owners will go out of their way to show you every little flaw and mark on the doll that is likely to be an issue for a collector, and are happy to answer any questions that you might have. Most will have links to their Flickr accounts in their sales threads so you can see a lot more photos of the doll you wish to buy than you could from an Ebay seller. It's also highly unlikely that you will encounter somebody trying to pass clones off as Blythes and you are also likely to get a fair price and cheaper shipping if you are lucky enough to find the doll you want in the same country you live in.

These are my favourite Blythe forums (you can find me on there as princesspea...If I'd known that I'd be so badly hooked I'd have chosen my username more carefully!):

Plastic Paradise
This Is Blythe
We Play With Dolls

You can also buy Blythe through some asian online stores, like Hobby Link Japan, but stock can be sold out in the blink on an eye on the more popular girls and language can sometimes be a barrier.

Things to keep in mind before purchasing:

Blythe has lots of imitators known as clones. You are most likely to find these on Ebay and some unscrupulous sellers will try to pass them off as Blythe dolls with Blythe sized Buy It Now prices. If the listing mentions CCE, Blybe, Basaak or Changing Colour Eyes you are probably looking at a clone. An easy way to tell is to look at the scalp. Clones have a wider space between the faceplate and the beginning of the hairline. Some sellers are aware of this and will angle photographs so you can't tell. If it isn't listed, ask them what kind of Blythe the doll is - CWC/Takara Blythes all have names "Baby's Breath, Tarts and Tea" etc, clones don't. If they can't give you a name it may be a clone.

There is another kind of Blythe out there that was released by Ashton Drake Gallery (ADG) that is slightly different to the Neo. A lot of Neo collectors dislike them and consider them to be inferior. Initially they were much cheaper than the Neos but as they are no longer being made, the price is inflating. Just be aware that there are differences between them - do some research on the Blythe forums.

Ask if the doll has had any customisations or haircuts. It may not make a difference to your end decision, but it's important information to have.

Check that the eye mech works smoothly.

When buying on Ebay, it often pays to ask if the doll has come from a non-smoking environment or has any odours. Sounds silly, but I have heard of lots of people who have inadvertantly bought a smelly doll.

Ask about stains on the body. A lot of dark or brightly coloured clothes can stain the Takara bodies. If you have your heart set on a particular doll and she has a few stains, it's really no big deal to get a new body for her. They are usually around $10 - $15 plus postage and can often be found on the forums.

Ask about scratches on the face.

Ask if the head has been opened. Older facemolds were quite difficult to open and will sometimes have pry marks at the sides of faceplaces and the neck. If the head has been opened, it's worth checking that there is no gap between the scalp and the faceplate.

A lot to think about? You betcha. And we haven't even gone into facemolds, Kenners, Prototypes and different customisations that your Blythe might have. I'll cover that in another post, it's too much information to take on at once. If you found this post helpful I'd love it if you could leave me a comment.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Who's That Girl?

I can hardly believe it, but my "odd haired girl" has arrived already! I'm glad, because I barely had time to fret over which one I'd end up with. I'm pleased to say, that I did receive the exact same one that I imagined I had purchased. All my wishin' and hopin' paid off - she has the Veronica Lace scalp! Huzzah!! The "real" VL is currently selling on Ebay for about $US260 and up and there is no way I'd ever have been able to afford her.

I have no idea which face plate she has. I puzzled over it for hours and the closest guesses I have are Tarts and Tea, Casual Affair, or Baby's Breath. Her absence of blush makes it that tiny bit harder to place her, but I'm leaning towards Tarts and Tea. She has a blue pull ring that I've heard is Tarts and Tea's. She has the purple/plum chips that my redhead came with, although it was from a completely different seller.

She photographs like a dream, but I'm feeling a bit ambivalent towards her so far. There is something about her face that is kind of blank. I will definitely be customising this one and I may even attempt a lip carve. I don't even have any idea of a name for her yet. Obviously I can't go on calling her Odd-haired Girl! Here are her factory flaws:

- Scalp is a different colour to face. Again. *sigh*
- Hair is shedding quite a bit (although I know that some people had the same problem with the official VL scalp doing this).
- A few little scratches on face. Nothing major.
- A few little flaws in the shiny finish. Again, nothing major.
- Body parts don't exactly match, but it isn't super noticable like on Roxy.
- The seam on her body isn't perfectly sealed shut.
- Her eye mech doesn't feel right. This is a bit concerning - I'll be cracking her open to investigate. She had a shaving of plastic stuck in her eye socket when I got her and I hope this isn't somehow related.
- As with all my factory girls, she is missing the metal surround of her pull string hole.
- Pull ring was included, but not attached.

The best thing about her is by far her hair - it's amazing. It isn't out of the box perfect, but it is in very good shape for a factory girl. I really can't understand why the seller didn't make the effort to take a better photo of it as the auction one just looked a not-quite-right shade of brown, rather than it's VL two tone glorious-ness. It feels very sleek and silky and has just a few snarls at the very bottom of the length. A single treatment will more than sort it out.

Because her scalp is a different colour to her face, I think she'll be donating her hair to Roxy. If I was a better Blythe hairdresser, I'd probably do bangs like the "real" Veronica Lace, but I know I would mess it up horribly. I think that the Aubrey scalp will probably end up being hers, depending on the skintone of the scalp I guess. I think I might see if I can sell the Saffy scalp. It is quite cute, and I really like it on Roxy, but I just could not live with the mis-matched scalp colour.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My new body

I got in the day before "Dolly Diet" officially began and bought myself a Neemo Flection body. I've been wanting one for quite a while, and apparently this was the last one left, so you know, I had to buy it really. Hopefully Mimiwoo won't object to my borrowing her picture. I've bought from her several times and she is always wonderful to deal with - can't recommend her highly enough (see - I've just given you a free plug, how can you be mad at me now? :P).

I'm quite looking forward to playing with this - the poseability (is that an actual word??) is amazing and she has really cute legs - kind of anime style. I'm not quite sure which girl will be getting this body. At the moment, I'm leaning towards Roxy, because as well as her being my current favourite, she also was saddled with the worst body I've seen - pretty much every component is a different colour! I also noticed when I was sanding her that her faceplates are ever so slightly different colours as well. Poor thing.

Not such great news on other purchases...the seller I bought my odd-haired girl from has reposted the exact picture of her (and I know this, because she was numbered hospital wrist band style!) back up for sale. I know that they all probably look much the same to the sellers, but the factory girls really are OOAK - in that one will have flaws that another one won't. I looked really closely at the pic before I opted to buy, and I know that if I'm sent another one it's highly unlikely that she'll be in perfect condition. I sent him a "please explain email" and he said not to worry, that the one that I've been sent is the same, but given the very nature of the factory girls, that really is not possible. I hope I haven't been sent a total dud. I really hate ugly transactions/confrontations and have so far been very lucky in that everything I've bought from ebay has arrived and has also been pretty much what I expected. I guess I'll just have to wait and see.