Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Shoe Sharing for Small Foot BJDs

I decided I couldn't wait until Sunday to write my first shoe post. I've amassed many shoes during my years of collecting BJDs, which means that every time a new size doll enters the collection we spend a day trying on shoes. Most don't fit. No surprise there, as the original MSD (Mini Super Dolffie) set the standard for shoe size. My collecting interests, on the other hand, have veered in the direction of slim mini mature dolls, whose feet seem to be getting smaller and smaller. As anyone who has ever bought a FairyLand MiniFee girl knows, MSD shoes are too big. So what fits?

Iplehouse JID boots work for MiniFee, WithDoll minis and Model Delf girls. Below you see (left to right) WithDoll Priscilla wearing tall JID boots, with MiniFee Lishe and Model Delf Annette wearing short JID boots. The boots have a slightly built-up heel, but not enough to warrant heel feet or to prevent the girls from standing in them. I do not own Iplehouse flat shoes so I could not try any on.
JID boots on WithDoll, MiniFee, Model Delf
Iplehouse JID heel shoes fit MiniFee, WithDoll, and Iplehouse FID. With tights, textured stockings, and/or a felt insole, they fit Raccoon girls. Neither of my MiniFees is currently wearing heel feet, so I didn't include one in the photo. Unlike the hands, the feet do not attach by magnet and are a bother to change, although I did fit a foot easily into a heel shoe to test. The shoe is a little loose, which means it will accommodate stockings comfortably. Below are Iplehouse FID Raffine and WithDoll Emma wearing JID heel shoes. The pink shoes on the left are the ankle strap style. The strap is not tight enough around FID ankles, so I remove the straps. (They pull right through the back loops.) Raffine is wearing the normal height heel feet, not the high heel feet.
JID heels on FID and WithDoll
There is a separate photo below of Raccoon girls wearing the JID heels. The shoes are admittedly loose. That said, the most recent JID heel shoes I purchased are tighter. If all your doll does is stand for fashion photos, that might work for you, but if you like to pose and play with your dolls, you may find it annoying. In terms of the shoe project, they're not a fit; however I still use them.

DollInStyle flat shoes are a perfect fit on MiniFee. They also fit WithDoll and Model Delf. None of my FID women are wearing flat feet at the moment. It's a chore to change feet, so I didn't, although I did try fitting an FID flat foot into a shoe. It went in but it was very snug. Luckily the shoes are made with soft leather, so they will stretch a little. Despite that, I don't plan to have any of my FID ladies wear them, as I don't want to stretch the shoes to a point where they're too loose for the other girls. Below are WithDoll Priscilla, MiniFee Mirwen and Model Delf Annette wearing Stitches by DollInStyle.
DollInStyle Stitches on WithDoll, MiniFee, Model Delf
I bought the shoes at Denver Doll Emporium denverdoll. They also had a two-color style which I very much regret not buying. First I couldn't decide which colors I wanted, then when the colors I wanted were gone I waited for a re-stock, which never happened. If I had known this, I would have bought every DollInStyle shoe they sold in every color available. Korean company DollInStyle is now AnyDollStyle which appears to specialize in clothing for tiny dolls. I don't know if they plan to re-introduce shoes for minis. Denver Doll still sells the company's clothing and Ice Cream Loafers for LittleFee size feet, so I'm keeping an eye on them. I want more shoes!

DollInStyle made another style called Bows in a slightly smaller, narrow style that fits Raccoon girls. They're a wee bit loose so they can accommodate stockings.
DollInStyle Bows on Raccoon girl
And while I'm on the subject of Raccoon girls, who have even smaller feet than MiniFee, WithDoll and Model Delf, below are FairyLand MiniFee high heel shoes on Raccoon Lucy:
MiniFee heel shoes on Raccoon girl
These shoes come only in black but they are available in both matte and shiny finish. I wish they had other colors--and I'd love a style without the straps because those little buckles drive me crazy. Below is a group shot of Raccoon Gene, Mika and Sarah wearing DollinStyle Bows in various colors. Lucy, on the right, is probably wearing the MiniFee heel shoes except the mermaid skirt hides them.
DollInStyle Bows on Raccoon girls
One more photo of Raccoon girls, this time wearing the MiniFee heel shoes (with pants) and JID heel shoes (with textured stockings and tights). I took this photo some time ago so I'm not sure who's wearing what except for Lucy on the left and Sarah, second from the right. The shoes on the right are the ankle strap style with the strap removed. You can see the loop for the strap peeking from behind.
MiniFee heel shoes (left) and JID heel shoes on Raccoon
Next time I'll look at shoes and boots for mini men.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

A Camera, a Dress, a Project, a Shrub

Dragon Mistress Mei
The Camera:

My camera jammed soon after last Saturday's meet-up. It seemed like such a small, easy-to-resolve problem, nothing more than a stuck on/off button. How hard could it be to fix? The man in the camera store couldn't get it unstuck. He recommended I take the camera to a shop in another town and estimated around $129 (or more) to repair it, which struck me as excessive. Better to buy a new camera than to repair one that might not have many years left to live. The store buys used photo equipment for resale, but everything has to be in perfect working order. Even in perfect condition the old camera would have earned me less than $50. Spend $129 to earn $50? Something's amiss with that calculation. I left the store with both my old camera and a new one.

The new camera talks to the computer using WiFi. I downloaded the required software and began working through the steps, stopping frequently to re-watch the how-to video to make sure I knew what to do. Then I made a wrong selection and couldn't find a way back to correct it. After spending way too much time wading through the camera company's "helpful" articles and videos, I sent them an email. I must commend them on their response time. They did get back to me within the 8-12 hours they estimated. Their work-around got me past the bump in the road so that I could get on with the installation. And then everything ground to a halt as I was referred to a non-existent access point button. This time I grabbed the phone.

All I can say is thank goodness I didn't sell my old camera and its accessories, because I am able to use its interface cable to transfer photos from the new camera to my computer. Even better, the technical advisor admitted that the cable is faster and easier. So why isn't the interface cable included in the camera package? Oh, and that access point button? The technician admitted that it doesn't come on my camera model. Hmm... Then why does the installation software for my model tell me to press that button?

The Dress:

What with one thing and another, I didn't get any sewing done this week. I did, however, make a dress the week before for Creature Doll Mei to wear to the meet-up. It's based on Petit Nuage, designed by MHD Designs for 18-inch Kaye Wiggs girls. I first made the dress when I had a Kaye Wiggs Layla. I can't find any photos of Layla wearing it, but here it is back in March 2012 before I added the embroidered flowers:
I recently discovered that the dress fits FID women and thought I'd use it for Mei. Because Mei was going to the meet-up as dragon mistress to my Aileen dragons, I wanted the dress to look more medieval and so I made a long skirt instead of the pattern's bubble skirt. Below are FID Raffine in the original pink dress and Mei in the sort-of medieval version. I had some fit issues because of the purple fabric. It doesn't feel particularly thick, but no matter how many times it's pressed it refuses to lie flat, and the bodice is completely lined. I ended up adding a narrow panel of the same fabric in back so that I could close it. Hard to believe, isn't it? In the photo Mei looks thinner than Raffine. The pink dress was made in eyelet cotton, which is thin and presses flat, and that makes all the difference.

TrickyFeet:

I've embarked on a collaborative project with Mia of resinrapture called TrickyFeet. Mia is creating a database which should help collectors identify shoes and shoe sources for those hard-to-shop-for BJDs whose feet are either smaller or larger than the norm for their size. The tables are not yet ready for publication, but Mia has already posted some shoe photos on her blog. I expect to have some photos ready to share here next week.

A Nature Note:

Finally, this is the time of year when activity in the garden slows down for the season. I have a large hydrangea paniculata behind the house that is in the last throes of fecundity. I've seen bees collecting nectar ever since the bush flowered, but in the past week activity has built up until the bush is an absolute frenzy of bees and monarch butterflies. There should be plenty for everyone, but I notice the bees being less than hospitable. They're bumping the butterflies right off the flowers. Come on, guys! The monarchs need fuel for their coming migration. I would have taken photos except that, to paraphrase the alien Oh from the movie Home, if I go out there I am one-hundred percent popular for being stung.

Here's the hydrangea a few weeks ago when I photographed LittleFee Ante. The thing grows like a fiend. I cut it back to almost nothing two years ago and it now wraps around one side of the deck and almost obscures the bathroom window. Help!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Vermont Doll Lovers Meeting, September 2017

Yesterday the Vermont Doll Lovers met for our monthly celebration of dolls. Thanks to a rainy day, the library's fluorescent lights, and the flash from my camera, my photos had a decidedly yellow cast. When even Photoshop couldn't help the close-ups of my two girls, I figured I'd take replacement shots at home, but somehow, somewhere between the meet-up and home, my camera decided to call it quits. Even though I recharged the battery, it won't operate. To add injury to insult, one side of Creature Doll Mei's eyelashes got crushed in transit. It's true what they say: Some days it doesn't pay to get out of bed.

First up, Bittersweet Blue's tan MiniFee Chloe and Dream of Doll Petsha in a Steampunk mood, followed by her 11cm Obitsu with Brownie head playing chauffeur to a Hujoo Nano Freya.
I'm lucky that Bittersweet Blue brought doll-sized sweets. I forgot to bring any and had to face the wrath of hungry dragons who could only be pacified by cookies. Here are my little beasties, Aileen Doll dragons Rot (pink) and Lapis (blue):
Lyrajean brought two antique German Kestner porcelain shoulder heads on cloth bodies. She is in the process of restoring worn parts and making clothing for them. Can't wait to see them when they're done.
The rest of her crew included Unoa Lusis and Sist, a Hujoo Freya cat, Volks YoSD Kira and Yuh,    
as well as Volks SDs Date Masamune and Jun Tachibana.
Modern Wizard brought two mermaid hybrids to the meet-up. In the chair is a Leekeworld Little Mermaid in a fabulous felted fishtail; the wheelchair mermaid has an Elfdoll Kathlen faceplate with an Asleep Eidolon mermaid tail and a Xagadoll body.
My complete group--I travelled light this month--consisted of Raccoon Doll Steeze Rosie, Nobility Doll Parrot Yoko, Aileen Doll dragons Rot, Pico Baby Ashes and Lapis, and Creature Doll Mei. Everyone is looking alert and well-behaved at the moment but dragons are like little children--turn your back and they're into something.
Mei, as dragon mistress, was supposed to be watching them. So how did this happen?
Thank goodness not everyone was bent on mischief. Some pets are content to be sweet and attentive...even to someone holding an empty birdcage. (Easy to do when your head is too big to fit inside it.)

Sunday, September 3, 2017

A Friend for Tweazel (Aileen Doll Dragons)

Ever since Tweazel (Aileen Doll Dragon Lapis) came home in May 2015, I have wanted to get him a friend. At the time there were three other dragons to choose from: Seed (green), Rot (red), and Ashes (gray). I felt pretty sure I wanted Rot--I even picked out a name--but I waited. Aileen debuted Shy (yellow, with antlers instead of horns) and then Terre (purple, with a new, improved body). I waited some more, fully expecting to see the other dragons with the new body. Then all the dragons were retired. Still not worried. The first four dragons all had previous basic versions, as well as special editions. They have to retire the current bodies before they release the new. If the new dragons haven't appeared yet, they will. Because why go to the trouble of introducing improvements without making them available to all? Unfortunately, Tweazel is not good at waiting.
Tweazel tantrum
Meanwhile Aileen Doll has issued baby versions of the dragons. I bought Rum Tum (a Pico Baby Ashes), only to have Tweazel view him more as a pesky baby brother than a friend. No way were these two going to be soulmates.
Then a few weeks ago Aileen Doll introduced Special Makeup editions of Ashes, Lapis and Rot in collaboration with artist Xian, as well as Crystal editions of Rot, Ashes and Seed with artist Sebyeol. Each dragon was limited to 4 dolls. With numbers that small what chance did I stand of buying one, especially being located half a world away? I figured they'd be sold out by the time I got out of bed on release day. Guess what? I figured wrong. I was lucky enough to place my order for Special Makeup Edition Rot. Within seven days, Duscha was here.
Originally I envisioned Tweazel as companion dragon to Dollmore Judith Girl Arasa Blue Zinna, while Duscha would be companion to Dollpire Kid Shiloh. My instincts proved right. They appear to be made for each other, although Duscha's fangs are slightly more prominent than Shiloh's.
Duscha is quite adept at playing the bouzouki, herself.
I want an electric guitar.
And what dragon doesn't like to eat? Especially cookies.
Chocolate chip! My favorite.
From Aileen's sales page I couldn't tell if the 5th anniversary dragons came with the improvements introduced with Terre. When Duscha arrived I thought perhaps they did. Closer inspection reveals that this is not the case. The new bodies have magnetic horns (no magnets here), a new jaw part (can't really tell), improved chest part (definitely not), and new wings (mine have the original shape). I wonder why they released improvements with one dragon and didn't carry them over to the next release? Don't get me wrong: I'm not disappointed with my dragon. I love her to bits! But you can bet I'll be watching carefully for a general release of improved dragons. After all, I have only two in the series. Surely I can buy one more?
Are you good to eat?

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Safrin Eyes and a Crocheted Dress

Earlier this summer I ordered resin eyes from Safrin Doll. I've purchased eyes from them before, without ever really liking how my dolls looked in them. Their colors can be intense, which I find distracting in larger dolls. People on Den of Angels are using them in FID and similar sized dolls, however, so I decided to give them another try. I ordered six pairs: one pair of 10mm in Natural Autumn for Unoa Chibi Lilin, one pair of 8mm in Bold Meadow (a violet) for Raccoon Sarah, and four pairs of 6mm eyes: Natural Aegean seen on Raccoon Mika, Bold Juicy Pear on Raccoon Monica, Natural Tiger Lily for FID Grace, and Natural Icicles (still in the package). Of the six colors, the Natural Autumn look the most natural:
It's hard to see because the outdoor lighting makes them look brown, but these eyes are hazel.

Safrin calls the following eyes Natural Tiger Lily. I'm so glad I didn't order Bold, because these are plenty bold enough! I had been searching for amber eyes for Grace for when she's dressed as Claire from Outlander. The Glib eyes I ordered first looked amber on my computer screen but were just plain brown in person. So I ordered Safrin's Tiger Lily, hoping they might come down on the brown side of orange. Just my luck, they are definitely orange. With a black wig, however, they'll be fun at Halloween.
Below you see Raccoon Sarah, Monica, and Mika. Sarah's Bold Meadow eyes look better in person than they do in this photo, Monica's Bold Juicy Pear look particularly scary no matter which doll wears them, and I had to put the so-called "Natural" Aegean in small-eyed Mika because they made everyone else look like they had green fire in their eyes. Whatever else they are, these colors are intense. The advantage to using them in dolls with small eyes, of course, is that they show up in photographs. Boy, do they ever! So I shouldn't complain.
Here's a better view of the Bold Meadow. They work better than the Sprouty Eyes Sarah wore previously, not to mention how appropriate they look with the flowered dress she wears.
For now I intend to put the Natural Icicles (a light blue) in Raccoon Elf Daisy when her head arrives, because Raccoon ships bodiless heads without default eyes. On the other hand, I don't love the Sprouty Eyes that Creature Doll Mei is now wearing. Either eye is pretty by itself; the trouble is they don't match. The color is slightly off and one eye has a sequin or large piece of glitter that catches and reflects light. I would give Mei the Natural Icicles eyes except they're 6mm and she looks better in 8mm. (Her eyelashes don't appear to match, either. That's what happens when I sort through tiny, previously used eyelashes without a magnifying glass.)

Last item on the agenda today--but certainly not least--is a crochet dress I made for LittleFee Ante. I've wanted to make something incorporating shell stitches for some time now. I had a pattern description for making the shell stitch; the rest involved row-by-row fitting on the doll and problem solving. That said, I only had to take out small sections of stitches, so I'm happy. The dress uses five colors of yarn: a variegated yarn with multiple colors in it for the bodice, and four individual colors for the skirt and the shell pattern. I tried to match the individual colors to those in the variegated yarn and got it for the most part. My one fail was the green. (It looks yellow in the photos.) I chose a color called Wasabi and didn't notice until I had gone too far along to change it that I should have picked Sage. Oh well, it's not the end of the world. And the dress did come out cute, if I say so myself. Just don't ask me for the pattern, because there isn't one.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

FID Raffine, Raccoon Doll Steeze Rosie, and Creature Doll Mei

Can you believe it? Three arrivals within four days! I ordered Raccoon Doll Steeze Rosie in May, FID Raffine six weeks later (June) and Creature Doll Mei two and a half weeks later (July). Raffine arrived first on August 10th and the other two girls made their appearance on the 14th. Luckily I had most of my sewing done, so it was a simple matter of dressing each new arrival and taking photos.

Iplehouse FID Raffine was available in a choice of two makeups: this one (which is similar to FID Miho's makeup, which I eventually removed) and one with a lot of glitter and gold in it. (I haven't seen any examples of that one. Must be it didn't catch on with collectors.) For the record, I think this makeup works better on Raffine than it did on Miho, although I wish the Iplehouse artist had a lighter hand with the blusher. It photographs well, but in person it looks like a bad sunburn. Raffine arrived in time to go to last week's doll meet-up. Here are some additional photos:
She wore the above For My Doll wig to the meet-up. A couple of days ago I received a new Queenie wig by Monique Gold that I had intended for Creature Doll Lucia. As it turns out the wig is too full for Lucia--it hides her elf ears. Raffine tried it on and liked it. So did Mei, but Raffine is keeping it for now. It adds a bit of color to her overwhelmingly silver gown. (The dress pattern is Star Gazer from Designs by Jude. I had to remake the bow because my fabric wouldn't hold a crease.)

I asked on Den of Angels and also searched online for the meaning of steeze because I had never encountered the term before. According to a couple of urban slang dictionaries, the word is a combination of style and ease. That makes Racoon Doll Steeze Rosie a girl who carries off her style with ease. Sort of a street version of panache. The alternative face-up choice was Kong's Ann Rosie, whose platinum hair and red lips conjure up Fay Wray as Ann Darrow in King Kong. Although I liked both incarnations of Rosie, it was Steeze Rosie who jumped off the screen and demanded to come home with me. And here she is:
I bought the Monique Gold Ginger wig before she arrived. One look and I didn't need to try any other wigs on her. As for her outfit, after I made the aqua top and a coordinating print skirt, I came across another outfit while searching through my clothing stash. I don't remember for which doll I made it--possibly a WithDoll--but all I had to do to make it fit Rosie was to move the snaps a bit. It's from Gracefaerie's #14 Mini Wardrobe for Narae pattern. When I made it I omitted the sleeves from the jacket and blouse and left the skirt unpleated, which makes it look like a completely different outfit.
Rosie is cast in Raccoon Doll's new Milk Mocha resin, a beautiful soft color between normal and Sweet Mocha. Shortly after she arrived, Raccoon Doll announced the sale of four limited edition heads, one of which is an elf version of their Daisy sculpt. Much as I would love to have a Milk Mocha Elf Daisy, I can't afford a whole doll at this time and ordered the head in normal resin. She'll take over my WithDoll Priscilla's body. The timing was perfect, as I had been about to list Priscilla for sale. Now she'll be repurposed instead. I know the head will fit the body because I tested a Raccoon head for fit; I only hope the resin color will be a decent match. Both of my normal skin Raccoon girls are now two years old, so odds are the resin has mellowed. Even so, their color isn't too far off WithDoll's normal resin. It should work.

Last of the new arrivals is Creature Doll Mei. Unlike Lucia, Mei is human, not an elf. (I wanted one of each.) As I don't care for the company's face-up style, I ordered her blank and painted her myself. Here she is before face-up, which lets you see the basic sculpt:
I encountered the same problem when painting her that I encountered with Lucia: a slippery spot above her left eyebrow that wouldn't take color even after spraying with MSC. Fortunately I noticed before I got too far in the painting, so I was able to remove the color I had already applied and go over the area gently with a fine-grit sanding sponge. It's odd that two dolls should have the same issue. I wonder if it's something to do with how they prepare their molds for casting? Here is Mei with completed face-up:
Mei went through several costume changes over the course of the week before I decided to make something that would be uniquely hers. Using the same Gracefaerie #14 Mini Wardrobe for Narae pattern, I chose the pieces for the Lolita dress and then deconstructed it. Gone are the sleeves, the collar, the excessive fullness of the skirt and the lacy embellishments. I knew it would work because I've done it before (in two different sizes). The result is a simple sleeveless dress which I embellished in a coordinating fabric:
Finally, a comparison shot of all three girls. Keep in mind that Raffine is the only one wearing high heels. The other two are wearing flats. All three are pretty close in height and aesthetic, not surprising when you consider that Raccoon's and Creature's sculptors both worked for Iplehouse before setting out on their own. Mei's wig is by Iplehouse.