Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dollybird Vol. 14 Review - Alice in Wonderland Special

I must admit that I was more than a little excited about this mook - I mean it's the Alice In Wonderland special, there were promises of Blythe patterns on the HLJ website, Poupee Mecanique contributed a pattern and it is meant to come with a mini Kumar (which is apparently the latest craze). So pushing aside my recent disappointment with Dolly Dolly 22, I emptied my Paypal account and settled in for the wait.

My first disappointment came before I even had it in my hot little hands - no mini Kumar for me :( I was prepared to live with that, mostly because I don't particularly like them all that much, and in any case, I was buying the book for the patterns.

Being a Japanese book, it is "back to front" to our western eyes, and naturally...in Japanese. Unlike the Recipe Coordinate mooks, which have the traceable patterns and directions in clearly defined sections for each doll, the pattern pieces are back to back on light paper and are all at the front of the book mixed in together and it's a little more time consuming to figure out what's what. Instructions for making the garments are found in the pages following the fashion shoot and although they are in Japanese, the diagrams are very good and any experienced seamstress should have no trouble following them. Particularly in the case of the single Blythe pattern as it is very basic.

Which leads my to my second and major disappointment - Blythe patterns themselves. Or should I say pattern. There is only one for Blythe. And it's very ordinary. One bloody buggery ordinary pattern. That's not Alice-like in the slightest. The fact that it is keeping company with dreamy, detailed and fabulous dresses for just about every other doll ever made adds insult to injury and made me feel a bit cheated to be honest. There are a lot of amazing patterns in here - Unoa dolls, Dolfie, Betsy McCall, Petite Blythe, Nikki Cat/Odecco (the smaller one of the 2) and Momoko all get a look in with several very very nice patterns, but just the one for Blythe. And a disappointingly ordinary one at that.

So in short, my opinion from a Blythe seamstress's perspective - don't bother if you are buying it for the patterns. Aside from that, there is eye-candy aplenty and lots of inspiration to be found within its pages.
This is a great mook to flick through and admire the pictures, but not one to add to your must purchase list if sewing for Blythe is your motive for buying. I particularly recommend it for owners of Unoa and Dolfie. The Poupee Mecanique patterns are truly amazing - if you have a Unoa this mook is an essential. There's also a very nice outfit for Petite Blythe, and while it's just the one pattern set, it's nice enough in my opinion to justify purchasing the mook. Same goes for owners of Betsy McCall - there's just one pattern but it's a good one.

Meanwhile, I think I will try tweaking the Momoko pattern to see if I can get it to fit Blythe - I have to justify this purchase somehow!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Confessions of a dolly hoarder...

I first saw her (because she definitely is a "her", not an it) two weeks ago while shopping for a new bike for Miss B, and have not been able to get her out of my mind. She's a bit pricey, so I bravely suggested to my partner that I sell a few dolls to help pay for her (perhaps a little rashly...). A few Blythes (I'm trying to keep it down to 2),and some sundries will be leaving chez Dollybird in the next few weeks so that I can feel less guilty about buying this (which I haven't actually purchased yet, so extreme is my guilt!). So now I find myself in the role of seller, rather than buyer and it is really quite daunting having to examine my collection and consider who and what I can comfortably sell. The problem is, I kinda like them all! How do people do it? Every time I think I've settled on 2 to go, I change my mind and decide that I can't part with them! I think perhaps that I may be a dolly hoarder :(

I know that it will be worth it as now that Miss B is older, we will be able to go for long bike rides along the river and she'll be able to ride to school (if accompanied), so really I do NEED that super cute and comfortable looking bike. I've never had a bike that didn't come from K-mart, so as you can imagine, I'm pretty excited about getting a nice bike at last - and hopefully my less photographed girls can go to homes where they are appreciated.

In Etsy shop news, I'm working on a new line of bloomers that have come from a custom request. They are very cute and should be in the shop at the end of the week. Stay tuned!

Friday, August 20, 2010


Having Roxy's hair up in buns for so long had an unexpected but happy side effect - curls!

How pretty is this? Shame that it is only temporary...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

She's here!

It's such a rare treat to be able to buy a Blythe and have her arrive within a few days. Amidst a busy day of sewing, my new Star Dancer turned up this afternoon and even though I really am a bit pressed for time, I had to snap a quick pic to show her off!

I bought her used from an Aussie girl on the This Is Blythe forum at a very very good price. To be honest, I was half expecting her to either not show at all or be horribly flawed, she was that much of a bargain, but thankfully it's all good and she is in very good condition for a doll that was released in 2006. Her only flaws are are some tiny marks on her face (really not noticable at all - just like scuffs in the clear finish over her make-up) and a little blue stain on one leg. Otherwise she's perfect and I cannot believe my good luck! I was a little surprised by how tan she is - she's much darker than my other Blythes, and her hair is not as crazy to manage as Nos Pop's as it isn't as thick. It's a really lovely natural blonde colour and I'm itching to give her a quick treatment but it will have to wait until tomorrow as I have to run out and take Miss B to choir.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bargains Everywhere!!!

This is a great time for buying Blythe if you are a collector - there are bargains everywhere. Or at least it seems that way to me, I think that when I first started collecting they were at the peak of their price range and now for some reason (perhaps due to the factory girls?), they have come back down to more reasonable levels. I've also noticed that a few people seem to be leaving the hobby or downsizing their collection and parting with a lot of the older dolls at very reasonable prices. Sales threads on forums are full of amazing deals right now if you are looking for a used doll and don't mind if she's nude.

The reason for my excited post? I've finally found my perfect natural blonde girl. A Star Dancer RBL who looks to be in great condition. And I got her for a great price too, made even sweeter by the fact that she will be my first etsy funded doll purchase. Finally I've made enough through the shop to buy a new addition to my collection! I am kicking myself a little as that seller also had a Miss Sally Rice who I have always liked for an amazing price but I really could not justify getting the two of them so Star Dancer it was, and I'm sure some other collector will be thrilled to be getting MSR at such a good price.

I am a little nervous as I am not familiar with the seller, and it's on a forum that doesn't really police their sales threads, so I hope that everything will be OK. The price was just so good that I could not resist, despite the fact that I was all set to get a Bohemian Peace. Although, who knows, I may still get her.... I am thinking of selling Ash to fund her purchase.

I still haven't found that elusive scalp screw so that I can put my Blythe-in-bits back together. Looks like I'll have to order from Ixtee. That's the thing with the fixer-uppers - they have so many annoying little issues.

Speaking of fixer-uppers, I have seen so many Disco Boogies in great condition at just a tiny bit more than I paid for Poe that I am kicking myself. At the time, I thought I was getting a really good deal, which just goes to show that sometimes it pays to wait. I honestly did not think that their prices would drop so radically - it seems like the market is flooded with them at the moment and they don't seem to be moving, which is surprising because I think she's so lovely - and her hair is amazing in it's stock state. Poe's scalp is in such a state that I have decided not to order the saran until I am sure that I have a viable scalp to work with...and I must confess that I have been procrastinating somewhat on tackling that enormous lump of glue. I'm sure that the scalp is torn underneath and I am not really sure how to proceed from there. I just need to bite the bullet and get on with it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A little problem....

I bought this factory girl purely for her scalp. Due to her being the ever-so-easy-to-customise RBL, I was able to swap Roxy's scalp for hers without having to remove the dome and it was easy peasy. Then the poor thing sat about in pieces for quite some time until I felt like doing some customising and I decided that she would have the Adorable Aubrey scalp I had bought a while back - meaning that I would have to pull the dome out of the Saffy scalp and put the Aubrey scalp on. And that was easy too, given that these factory girls have no glue.

Now however I have finished customising Nameless Factory Girl, I am having a few problems getting her back together. This is the first time that I've encountered an issue like this and it's driving me crazy! It seems that the scalp screw that came with her isn't right and I can't get her scalp and dome to sit nice and tight on her head. It's so annoying! I've put out an SOS in the Aussie Blythe community in the hope that someone might just have a spare they are willing to sell. Otherwise I'll have to order one from Ixtee and wait a couple of weeks - grrrr!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ash's new look

Here's a better pic of Ash with her new lips.

After looking at the other Blythe's lips, the ones that have taken me time after time to get right...I've decided I still don't like them, so off they must come again! They were looking pretty good until I decided to get fancy with the second coat and just intensify the colour in the middle. Now they look blotchy. *sigh* And her blush is horribly uneven, it would seem.

How ironic that it only took me 3 attempts to get Ash's looking good - I wasn't even intending to redo them.

I've got some pretty new eye chips on the way for my new girl. Can't wait until they get here :) I love getting new eye chips in the post and it's so handy now that there is an Australian supplier - I can get them in my hot little hands within a few days. These are from We Play With Dolls. I was a little disappointed that they had sold out of several colours that I would have liked to buy, hopefully they'll be restocked soon.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ash gets some new lips

Last night I was banished from the computer (or "dolly porn" as Mr P likes to call it!) as my big photo heavy downloads were causing problems in Mr P's epic World of Warcraft raid, so I decided I'd do something with my Blythe in bits. My intention was merely to sand matt her so that when I was in a customising frame of mind she'd be all ready to go, but once I'd finished I decided I'd try to learn (or improve at any rate) how to paint lips.

Lips are really really hard for me. I can't paint or draw in 2d, so naturally doing something three dimentional that's about half an inch long is a bit of a stretch for my extremely limited talents. For once I didn't get frustrated and quit but just kept on rubbing out my mistakes with isopropyl and trying again. And again. And again.

My first attempt at lips was on the Basaak and was a total failure. I used pastels to colour the lips first (and tbh, they looked quite good at that stage), then I attempted to seal them with a clear gloss lacquer and ended up with...well that.

Lip attempt number 2 was on Ash, again I used pastels, but this time I didn't seal it. This time I ended up with them looking kind of undefined, and still not great.

On my third and fourth customs, I chickened out completely and just sanded carefully around the stock lips!

Lip attempts five to twenty something were on Blythe in bits. When I went to bed last night I had achieved this look and was pretty pleased with it. Then when I woke up this morning, I thought it was quite horrible really, and took it off for yet another attempt. Unfortunately I ran out of daylight, so I can't show you how they look at the moment. I ended up going for a much more understated look.

Then I looked at Ash and thought I'd see what I could do with her and came up with this.

The pic is not the greatest as it was taken late this afternoon, but you can see the difference. I'm quite happy with them now...for the time being at least!

So far the best technique I have managed to come up with (without the use of MSC, which apparently will make it all wonderfully easy) is this. I tip a little water based gloss into a tiny container (I use a bottle cap), add the tiniest drop of paint - like on the end of a toothpick - and mix. Then I build up layers of colour until it's the intensity I want and finish with a layer of clear gloss. The advantage of using the water based gloss as opposed to the lacquer is that if I'm not happy with it it's pretty easy to get it off and start again. Which is good because if I was having to sand off my mistakes poor Blythe in bits would have no lips left by now!