Monday, November 20, 2017

Season's Crochet for Fashion BJD

This is the first of what should be two posts covering seasonal doll crochet projects, because I plan a few more sweaters for the Christmas-New Year's holidays; however, in case I've bitten off more than I can produce before Christmas, I won't adjust the title until/unless I actually crochet them.

My first project was a white shrug for Zaoll Luv. It didn't fit so I gave it to FID Raffine to wear with her silver evening gown, while Luv got the slightly larger black shrug that you've already seen on her. To be honest, I'm not in love with white for Raffine. Her gown is actually off-white and silver, and I suspect metallic silver would have worked better with the dress. Now that I have the thread I may crochet a shrug in silver and pass the white along to another doll.
Next I attempted a sweater for FID men using a pattern from Nicky Epstein's book Crochet for Dolls, intended for 18-inch play dolls like American Girl. The pattern makes a dress with raglan sleeves and a large snowflake design on the front. I noticed that the FID sweater I purchased from Iplehouse also has raglan sleeves. I crocheted a few rows and decided the width would work. All I would have to tweak would be the sleeve length and the neckline. I decided to copy the neck treatment of the FID sweater. I also changed the color from pink to green and omitted the snowflake. When all was said and done I couldn't get it on an FID. My Lumedoll tried it on but, even though it fit, it didn't look right. So I tried it on Model Delf Lapis and decided it was a go. (The button closure is intentionally off-center.)
I'll probably try this pattern again for FID men. The overall dimensions of my finished sweater should have fit. The problem is that the cotton crochet thread I used doesn't have the elasticity of acrylic or wool. It wouldn't stretch enough to ease the sweater over FID's huge shoulders. You live and learn.

I went back to my shrug pattern for my third project. Raccoon Doll Lucy is wearing a pale gold-brown-black sleeveless dress for the holidays. I could have made another black shrug (like Luv's), but one of the metallic crochet thread colors I bought recently looked like it would be just perfect. I varied the ruffle so it wouldn't look exactly like the white shrug, and voila!
Finally, here are my three models showing off their creations. Both girls are wearing high heels, which leaves Lapis looking rather like a teenage boy. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Vermont Doll Lovers November 2017

I can't believe another doll meet-up has come and gone. It feels as if I just finished writing October. But we're almost halfway through November and yesterday four members of the Vermont Doll Lovers met for three hours of dolls and fellowship. (And we didn't have to entertain misbehaving munchkins this time.)

Modern Wizard brought just one doll--but what a doll! I've been waiting for months to see this one. She's a WithDoll Adriana, the Circus Girl (Repuria, Island of Fog series) with cracked head and modded nose. So if you're thinking Modern Wizard dropped the head on the floor and broke it, no worries, it's supposed to look like this. Modern Wizard did the face-up. The dress is part of an outfit from SoulDoll.
Bittersweet Blue brought four dolls: back row: MiniFee Chloe and Parabox Megu 2 head on Dollzone body; front row:  Hujoo Berry and 11cm Obitsu with Brownie head. She also brought a barrel of monkeys (the blue barrel and long red strand in two of the photos).
Lyrajean's mostly Volks crew included one Angel Region doll (Kai, wearing a diamond patterned sweater). Let's see if I can remember who the others are: SD Chiyo, wearing blue denim; SD Tony? in the red wig; SD Masha in the wheel chair; Yo-SD Yuh and Kira. Also present: Volks SD Jun Tachibana, SD Date and (not sure who the fellow in the leopard print is: F22? F36?).
I brought four dolls: Dollmore Zaoll Luv, Luts Model Delf Lapis, Raccoon Daisy Elf head on WithDoll girl body, and Doll Chateau Ada. I made all the outfits--and Ada's wig.
Our next meeting will celebrate Christmas ( a bit early) on December 9th. I've already started crocheting. And I have a fabulous new prop for the season that I can't wait to share. There will be no hints or previews, however. Well, okay, one hint: The size of the prop will determine which dolls attend the meeting.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Daisy Elf Head Arrives and The Return of Zaoll Luv

Two things to celebrate this week: the Daisy Elf head from Raccoon finally arrived and Dollmore's Zaoll Luv, whom I've been trying to sell for what seems like forever, got a reprieve and a new style.
Raccoon Daisy Elf head on WithDoll body
Back in August Raccoon offered four doll heads for sale--two with dreaming/sleepy faces and two with elf ears. I wanted Daisy Elf from the moment I saw her. It would have been possible to order her with a body. I thought about it. In the end I ordered the head only, on the grounds that a) I couldn't afford a whole doll at the time, b) I have very little display space left, and c) it might be fun to put the head on a different body. Let's face it, although Raccoon offers two body styles--glamour and slim--both are the same height. And I have two male dolls who don't exactly tower over these girls. I already had a pretty good candidate for the body: WithDoll Priscilla. Despite going through innumerable changes of eyes, poor Priscilla has always looked off to me. I tried a Raccoon head on the body to see if it fit. The neck is a bit long, but it's long for a WithDoll head, too. It's just a long, swan-like neck. I did wonder if the resin color would match, because I don't have a normal skin Raccoon head the same age as the WithDoll body. The older heads didn't quite match. I decided to risk it.
Daisy Elf in Monique JoJo wig and SafrinDoll eyes
The head shipped on October 23rd. EMS shipments from Korea usually reach me in 3 or 4 days so I was surprised when, after showing up at JFK airport in New York on the 25th, the package stopped moving. I checked with Raccoon to see if by chance the tracking number was wrong. The number was correct, but it seems EMS was experiencing delays. Tracking finally updated on November 1st and the package was delivered on the 2nd. Whew! I'll admit I was getting worried there.
Lumedoll Meissa elf and Daisy elf
Daisy is settling nicely into her WithDoll body. The resin match is excellent, even to the camera's eye. I ordered her with the company face-up, which is lovely, although I could have done with less blushing on the ears. It's a Very. Deep. Pink. Eventually I'll wipe the color and tone it down but for now, seeing as her ears don't show through my wigs, I won't worry about it. And speaking of wigs, we tried on every wig in the box and not one of them stayed on for more than five minutes. It's the ears. I can't pull the wig down far enough on her head to make it stay. It took some hunting but I finally located a couple of small silicone wig caps, one of which fit. Now her wigs will stay in place.
Daisy elf in Iplehouse FID wig
Zaoll Luv has been boxed for so long that getting her out was like unpacking a brand new doll. The poor thing has been listed on the Den of Angels marketplace for almost the full year-and-a-half I've owned her. I don't even remember precisely why I decided to sell her, although I do know I never quite achieved a look for her that felt right. In all the time she was listed I got only one offer--for less than the already-reduced price I was asking and with a request for free shipping. That was my wake-up call. Why give the doll away? Surely I could do something with her? So I did.
A platinum blonde wig came as part of her Song of the Night full set. The wig is nice, but it's such a contrast to her smoky eye treatment that I don't like it for everyday wear. I have photos of her in other colors and styles of wig, taken when she first arrived. I don't know what it is but they all make her look severe. I was resigned to buying her a new wig when it occurred to me to look in my rejects box. (That's where I toss the wigs that don't work for anyone.) I resurrected two wigs from the rejects. The one in the photos is (I believe) from Elfdoll, bought when I had Hazy.
Years ago I made a dress from #SD67 Just My Style, a pattern from The Patchwork Pansy. It fits Luv, so I used the pattern to make the dress she wears in these photos. There is an accompanying jacket; instead of making it, I decided to crochet a shrug. An online search turned up a free pattern for a human-size shrug that called for a very thick yarn and a very large crochet hook. Something told me that if I used crochet thread and a small hook I could use the pattern "as is" and not have to recalculate the number of stitches needed. It worked! The pattern calls for a thick ruffle all around the finished piece. Because I didn't quite understand the pattern directions at this point, I changed the ruffle to a border with a scalloped edge. The scallops don't show up, so possibly that was a wasted effort. Next time I'll do it differently.

I like how she looks in black and white. Thank goodness she is no longer giving me those I'd-rather-be-anywhere-but-here vibes. Maybe this time she'll stay.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Happy Halloween!

The dolls are gathering in the woods, at the crypt, and at the stone circle.

The tinies, with trick-or-treat bags in hand:
The minis:
The big girls:
All wishing you a

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Luts Model Delf Lapis

My second Model Delf boy finally arrived last Saturday after a three-month wait. I was so excited to get him home. Perhaps it was inevitable that I should be disappointed.

Don't get me wrong. Overall the doll is great. Luts engineered a magnificent body when they developed the Model Delf. Too bad they changed it a month before fulfilling my order. Immediately I started worrying. Would I get the body I ordered? Or would the new body--distinguished by its ugly peanut joints and sharp edges--come instead? Luts emailed me offering to send the new body, making it sound like I should jump at the chance. No-no-no-no-no! I want the original body! Why would anyone choose the new body when they could have a body with smoothly rounded, more aesthetically pleasing joints? I emailed back, only to get an automated response a day later saying that I had reached an unstaffed mailbox and please leave a message on the website. I did so--immediately--and posted my message in their Q&A section. A day later I checked for an answer. There was one--to the effect that the English manager was out for the day and please send my message again the next day. At this point I was ready to tear my hair out in frustration. Send me the doll I ordered. PLEASE.

To make a long story short, I finally got through and was promised the original body. And the original body is what I received. The problem was the face-up. It's always a gamble when you order a doll in a different skin tone than the one shown on the website. What will the face-up look like on the resin color I've chosen? Some companies will adjust the makeup color to complement the skin tone. I wonder if that's what Luts tried to do? Or was I merely seeing the effect of the original makeup on the "wrong" skin tone? It could also be that one artist painted the sample doll, while a different, possibly less skilled artist painted my doll. Either way, the face-up came as a shock. This is what he was supposed to look like:
I ordered normal skin instead of the real skin brown shown above. This is what I got:
I wish I had chosen the real skin brown. To be fair, you are not seeing him exactly as he came out of the box. I felt the eyes Luts provided were too big so I substituted a smaller size. It gives him a different look. Another problem appears when you compare the two photos. My doll's head sits higher on the neck than the sample doll's. It looks like you could tap it gently and the head would fall off. Either the neck is too thick or the head opening is too small--or the entire head is smaller than it should be. In my opinion it's the entire head. Looks like he'll be wearing turtlenecks and scarves. Or, if I get really brave, I can sand the neck area until it fits better into the head opening.

Problems of size aside, I really couldn't live with that rosebud mouth. If you study it closely you can see that the artist did not put as much detail into it as there is on the sample. The darker color used to indicate depth is missing. I really didn't want to repaint him after paying $55 for the makeup. Maybe I could redo the mouth alone. Spot repainting is always a dicey situation. You have to remove the color from the area you want to repaint without touching any adjoining areas. The same goes for spraying Mr. Super Clear (MSC) or other fixative. I decided to try it.

You know where this is going, right? It occurred to me that I could isolate the area I wanted to work on by wrapping the rest of the head in plastic wrap. I did a pretty good job of repainting the mouth. I sprayed three times with MSC: before painting, halfway through, and at the end. After it dried I took off the plastic wrap, only to find that the MSC had found its way under the plastic and left a large streak across one cheek. No help for it at this point. I had to wipe the entire makeup off and paint it from scratch. Here is my finished repaint:
Looks like a different doll, doesn't it? Frankly, I did a better job on the mouth when I attempted a spot paint, but it is what it is. This head is small and my eyes could have used more help than my reading glasses provided. Time to order a heavy duty magnifier for the next job. (I have a Magic Mirror girl with an even smaller head on order. She's coming blank, so I'll have to paint her.) You'll notice I also gave him slightly larger eyes. (He came with 10mm, my first substitution was 6mm and the pair above is 8mm.) I like the 8mm for size, but I want to replace these because they don't quite match. I also didn't position them correctly, but that's not the fault of the eyes.

I had hoped to pair Lapis--he needs a better name!--with my Raccoon girls. As you can see below, he is just about the same height as a Raccoon wearing flat shoes. I wish he were a bit taller and that his head were very slightly larger. Or maybe someday I'll buy a girl who is smaller than he is. I expect Magic Mirror May will be quite a bit too small for him, but I won't know for sure until she arrives sometime in the new year.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Vermont Doll Lovers October 2017

I made it to the meet-up! There was some question, seeing as Luts shipped my Model Delf boy mid-week and I could tell it would arrive on Saturday (even though tracking said Tuesday). Mail comes later on Saturday than during the week, so a pending delivery usually means I have to make a choice between meet-up and waiting for the carrier. I ordered this doll three months ago so I intended to wait for it, come what may. Lo and behold, it arrived by special delivery, long before the regular mail ever appeared. So I quickly packed my dolls and headed down the Interstate. I arrived only an hour late.

Displays seemed to overlap so I couldn't always tell where one person's dolls ended and the next began. Names of unfamiliar dolls flew by me, but here are my photos with as much information as I have.
Most of the above belong to Bittersweet Blue, with the exception of the witch on the extreme left, a Soom Faery Legend who belongs to Modern Wizard. The partially hidden witch (in red) belongs to Bittersweet Blue's mom. In the chair is Dream of Doll Petsha. Standing in the short denim jacket is a tan Minifee Chloe. The doll in pink sitting on the arm of the chair is a Parabox Megu2 head on an Obitsu body. Not sure about the cute little witch in the foreground left. A Marie Osmond witch? Or a Ginny doll? The one in the foreground right is a candy corn mouse.
Most of the group above belongs to Modern Wizard. "Will work for Brains" is a Lumberjack custom action figure. The two girls are Mezco Living Dead Doll Fashion Victims. The bear in the kitten suit on the right belongs to Bittersweet Blue.
The doll with two skulls belongs to Modern Wizard. She's an Immortality of Soul infernale head on an Angelsdoll massive girl body. Need I mention that this was a Halloween themed meet-up? Also belonging to Modern Wizard is the tall thin doll below, a Doll Chateau male body with a custom Angelsdoll head.
His unique face reminds me a bit of Batman's Joker. Also Disney's Cruella deVil. Here's a close-up:
The Volks SD grouping below belongs to Lyrajean.
Included in the group below are Lyrajean's Unoa Lusis and Sist (silver cat mask), Volks YoSD Kira and Yuh, Custom House Petite Ai Uriel and Sariel, and Hujoo Freya. A Volks DWC001 head on an SD13 body looms over the little ones in a cat mask.
One more of Lyrajean's, showing two Spiritdoll Bastets and Bittersweet Blue's Hujoo Nano Freya kitty mummy:
I brought my littlest troublemakers: Realpukis Pupu, Soso, Papillio and Kaka; my cookie monsters: Aileen Dragons Lapis, baby Ashes and Rot; WithDolls Happy Ending Story Laney and Little Fox Lucy, and Pukifee Sheep Story Rin (dressed as a mouse).
We meet in a town library. Near the end of the afternoon a librarian asked us if we would play host for a little while to a group of children who had become unruly and were about to be ejected from the library. Unruly children? Unleashed into a room containing thousands of dollars worth of resin? Some of it small enough to pocket? I had reservations but the others agreed. In came the youngsters with firm injunctions from the librarian to touch nothing. The girls kept silent. The boys asked lots of questions. I would like to think it was from interest, except for a remark one of them made as they exited to the effect that his eyes were bleeding. From boredom, maybe? We had a good laugh. No dolls were injured. Mischief managed.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Getting Ready for Halloween: Realpukis

Hard to believe, but next Saturday is the Vermont Doll Lovers Halloween meeting. The actual holiday is still more than three weeks away, but our November meet comes after the fact. I thought I would preview some of my costumes, seeing as there will be so many dolls to cover next week.

This past summer I crocheted some clothing for the Realpukis. Instead of making costumes from scratch I decided to accessorize the existing clothing. Here are the outfits I planned to dress up:
I wasn't happy with was Papilio's pants and vest. First order of business was to make him something else. He ended up with dark brown shorts and a striped shirt. The shirt was fun to make. Until now my only attempt at stripes was a beach blanket for which I did a lot of cutting and weaving in of yarn ends. This time around, because my stripes were so narrow and I was using only two colors, I simply left the yarn attached and picked up each color as I needed it. Instead of adding fasteners, I laced up the back with a piece of yarn. I love the result. I decided that he would be a pirate for Halloween, so I crocheted a bandana and attached tiny coins and beads. The coins are just out of view in the photo.
Pupu's transformation was the easiest to accomplish. I removed the orange yarn from her "hair" and crocheted a ball, which I stuffed with fiberfill and attached to the top for a Tinkerbell style bun. I cut wings from a piece of organza ribbon, sewed them to the back of her dress and voila! A fairy.
Kaka was to be a witch, so I switched her shoes with Soso, giving Kaka the buckles. I didn't have black yarn for the hat and was going to make it from dark purple, but at the last minute I ran over to Jo-Ann's. Fortunately they had Aunt Lydia's #10 black (along with two other colors missing from my stash). Because I made the hat without a pattern, it's not pointy at the tip. I still don't know how to get that effect. With a black belt as a final touch, my witch was done.
I left Soso's outfit until last because I wasn't sure how to accomplish it. He was to be a pumpkin. At first I wanted to make a body costume shaped like a pumpkin. All the pumpkin crochet patterns I found online started out round, however, with their final shapes emerging from yarn drawn outside the pumpkin and in through the stuffing. That wouldn't work if I meant to have a doll inside, unless I made a full lining and stuffed between the layers. (Too much trouble.) Then I thought of making a pumpkin hat. On the one hand that would work; on the other hand it wasn't very interesting. So, what if I made it an oversize pumpkin hat? It would have been really cool to leave holes for the jack o'lantern's eyes, nose and mouth, but also difficult to plan out and execute. I opted for the easier alternative of simply leaving a big opening for the face. Look at it this way: if he were a human child, his mother would fill in the missing features with face paint. Actually, he looks so perfectly silly that I like the pumpkin head just as it is. I did add fiberfill in a couple of strategic places to plump it out and keep it from falling down over his eyes.
Here is the group at the moment I thought all the costumes were finished, complete with crocheted trick or treat bags:
The pirate kept nagging at me, however. He wanted a black hat. Now that I had the black yarn, why not try it? So I did. It could have been bigger, and if I have time I'll make him another one, but for now it works. I gave him a sword--a vintage cocktail pick--and a worthy opponent--a dragon. Pirates and dragons? In my world, absolutely. 
Right now I'm working on an animal costume for PukiFee Rin. If it works, she and my WithDoll tinies will attend the meeting along with the Pukifees and dragons. It will be a tiny Halloween. See you next week!