Sunday, October 16, 2016

WithDoll Elf Hunter Ruby

I'll tell you a silly secret. When I first saw this doll's name, I thought Ruby was a girl who hunted elves. You know, like a vampire hunter hunts vampires or a ghost hunter hunts ghosts. So I was delighted to discover that she was an elf named Ruby who happened to be a hunter. Whew! That's a relief.
In the box

She was cute but her full set didn't thrill me: a bra, hot pants, a one-sleeved shrug that WithDoll calls a jacket, and a variety of arm warmers, leg protectors, and belts. It wouldn't be hard to make something in the same vein but more my style, which I did by combining a hodgepodge of pattern pieces. On the other hand, I will admit to instant lust for her bow and arrows. I almost opted to forgo the weapons in favor of making my own from wood, wire and polymer clay. Good thing I ordered them instead, because mine would have ended up way too short.
Option parts
WithDoll's options menu left me somewhat puzzled. They showed a resin shoe that hooks onto the ankle like a foot. Does that make it clothing or an option part? The quiver looked like it was made from fabric. Again, clothing or option part? Scrolling down to the bottom of Ruby's sales page I saw a list that showed both the shoes and the quiver as option parts. I really didn't care for the shoes but I wanted that quiver, so I selected the option parts but not the clothing.
What a long neck you have!
I also ordered her default fur wig, knowing from experience that WithDoll's elf ears sometimes get in the way of wigs fitting properly. It would be good to have at least one wig that fit at the outset. Ironically, I didn't care for the fur wig once I got it. One of my LittleFees is currently wearing it, while Ruby chose Roxy by Monique Gold. I believe the color is Foxy Red.
Unpainted long bow
After just over four months Ruby arrived, slowed down at this end by the lack of mail delivery on Columbus Day. Taking inventory, I saw the resin shoes but no quiver. I asked on Den of Angels and someone responded that she hadn't received a quiver with her order either. On Friday I posted a question on WithDoll's site. Is the quiver supposed to come with the option parts or not? They don't work weekends, so the earliest I can get an answer is Monday. I'll post it here.
WithDoll Elves Angela, Egon and Ruby
I ordered Ruby in WithDoll's (UV) Real resin, a light tan color with peach undertones. It reminds me of an Iplehouse Peach Gold with a bit more brown. WithDoll showed Ruby in Brown Tan resin. My greatest fear in ordering a different color resin from the one shown is that the face-up will not be adjusted for the new color. I ordered the default face-up and crossed my fingers. For the most part I like it, although I wish the lips had less brown pigment. At some point I will probably repaint them. I think I can manage that without affecting the rest of the face-up.

I took my first set of photos before I understood how to make Ruby hold the bow. After someone on Den of Angels explained how to pose her, I decided I would paint Ruby's weapons and take new photos. Ordering unpainted weapons saved me $30, not an insignificant sum considering I could do it myself for free. Yesterday, spurred by a weather report predicting rain for the next two days, I rushed through the job. My results provide ample proof of the adage: Haste makes waste. I painted a black wash over my detail work to hide it and then sprayed it with MSC. Now I'm thinking I should have buffed the raised design slightly to reveal a bit more color. Better yet, I should have used my photos of the unpainted bow and arrows for today's blog and waited to paint the weapons later when I could take my time. Lesson learned.
Red boots from Iplehouse for JID girls

Ruby came with both flat feet and heel feet, plus the option brown high heel feet/shoes. She also has two pairs of hands, one set of which allows her to grasp her bow and arrows. WithDoll included brown acrylic eyes, but no putty for inserting them. After trying on glass eyes in various colors, I selected a bright green that doesn't disappear against her skin. Luckily, I always have spare putty on hand.
Some of the color on the bow shows through
I made a pair of arm guards for Ruby just like the ones Angela and Egon are wearing. For some reason they're too big. It's just as well, because while the stiff guards work for the sword-bearing elves, I want something more pliable for my archer. I am attempting to crochet arm guards for her. If they don't work I'll make a pair from fabric, perhaps to match her leggings. All my elves still need cloaks. Ruby will get one with a standup collar to offset that swan neck.

Now if only she could stretch that bowstring enough to let the arrow fly!

Update October 18, 2016:

I heard back from WithDoll about Ruby's missing quiver. Apparently it should have been included in my package and they will send one as soon as possible. In other words, as soon as they make one. Ruby and I are very happy.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Vermont Doll Lovers Halloween Meet-Up 2016

We're three weeks early but who's counting, right? The Halloween meet-up is always so much fun. Many of the dolls come in costume and folks bring all sorts of props. After mingling and taking formal photos for a while, we tend to get a little silly. That's when the dolls get creative and do stuff like balancing things on their heads, trying out coffins, pooping other words, the usual.

For some reason I took very few meet-up photos last month. I remedied that this month by taking way too many. So after spending hours editing in Photoshop, I put together collages for each attendee in order to show as many photos of their dolls as possible. Instead of going back through my meet-up posts trying to figure out which doll is which--because let's face it, I never write anything down--I'm just going to identify the owner and post the photos. They show up small in Blogger, so if you want to see any of them larger, just click on the photo.  Here goes!

These are mine:
Rapunzel found it necessary to beat off a little vampire with her trusty frying pan, while her chameleon, Pascal, made the rounds perching on shoulders and heads. (I took so many photos of Rapunzel and the vampire that I may give them their own photostory somewhere down the line.)

Bittersweet Blue:
I just LOVE the candy corn mouse! Great job on the mummy, too. When I tried that with my Realpukis, it looked like they were wearing oversized diapers.

Check out the Star Wars action between Rey and Kylo Ren. The Force is strong in these two--or else it's because I edited out the stand that lets Rey fly.

Modern Wizard:
One of her girls brought a foam person to the party. Or who knows? Maybe he simply shadowed her here.

Is there anything so cute as a small doll in an oversized witch's hat? You'll have to enlarge the photo to see the conjoined rabbit twins one little boy is holding.

Hope you've had as much fun looking at these as I had putting them together. HAPPY HALLOWEEN! (A few weeks early.)

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Rapunzel and the Little Fox

It may sound like the title to a story but it's not. Rapunzel's outfit is finished, and my Withdoll fox Lucy has arrived.

I made some changes to Rapunzel's outfit from what you saw last week. For one thing, her sleeves were too long. They're supposed to be 3/4 length, so I cut off about an inch and a half and re-sewed the lace. I replaced the lavender daisy trim with white daisies. They have pink centers, which makes them closer in spirit to the original dress's pink embroidery. I added a second row at the sleeve hem.
Finally, I decided against making a slip. The skirt was too full as it was and didn't need any extra volume. Instead, I sewed a piece of lace from the inside so that it hangs below the skirt. Of course now the skirt is too long. I made the mistake of measuring for length when the doll was wearing high heels, forgetting (or maybe ignoring) the fact that Rapunzel doesn't wear shoes in the movie so I would have to switch to her flat feet. This is one mistake I won't fix--there is simply too much work involved. It is what it is: long.
I ended up sewing Rapunzel's corset entirely by hand. I've made this one before and know from experience that I have trouble sewing the curves of the bust accurately on the machine. Add small pattern pieces in a slippery fabric and you get the general idea. I didn't want to waste time ripping out seams. This is one time when hand-sewing was actually quicker.
Dollmore's Rapunzel wig is not entirely accurate. They gave it bangs. The movie Rapunzel wears her hair swept to one side. It's nowhere near as long as Rapunzel's hair is in the movie, which I don't mind seeing how easily it tangles. Any longer and I'd be tearing my own hair out. Every time I change Pascal's position, the curl of his tail catches a few strands of hair and pulls them out of place.
My online search for a frying pan yielded two choices. (If you haven't seen the movie, a frying pan is Rapunzel's weapon of choice for dealing with unwelcome intruders. It proves so effective that by the end of the film the palace guard has adopted it.) I found an American Girl version on ebay, part of a gourmet kitchen set that someone was selling piecemeal. It was gray with a pink handle, not what I wanted at all. The other was all black and came as part of a Coleman stove set for generic 18-inch play dolls. Perfect! I ordered it, it arrived quickly, but not quickly enough. I had just finished taking photos, struck my set and put everything away when the mail arrived. Rapunzel will bring her frying pan to next weekend's Halloween meet-up; I'll get photos then.

On Wednesday my Withdoll tiny fox Lucy arrived, a mere two days after shipping from Korea. If only the waiting time leading up to it had been as short! I ordered Lucy on May 15th; she arrived September 28th. Allowing for two Korean holidays during that time, it still took four months. Was she worth the wait? Absolutely!
Like my little lamb, her furry costume invites cuddles. I think she may be a little bigger than the lamb, or maybe it's only that her head is bigger. If it weren't so hard to get their animal suits on, I would have undressed Lamb Chop and compared them side-by-side to see if there is any actual height difference. Lucy's head is definitely bigger, as are her eyes. Lamb Chop wears 12mm eyes, Lucy wears 14mm. I'm not sure if their wigs are the same size, because there is no size label in Lucy's wig or on its package. I know that Lamb Chop's size 5-6 wig is loose on her, while Lucy's is tight, so maybe they are the same size.
Lucy (whom I have renamed Lulu because I have another doll named Lucy) came with fox paws (hand and foot) as well as human feet and two pairs of human hands. I was able to get the hand paws on, but couldn't change the feet because the doll is strung absolutely taut. Because the paws aren't painted, you really can't tell which feet she is wearing. I thought the fox paws would help her stand more securely, but with the costume's long tail acting as a stabilizer, the smaller feet aren't a problem.
I didn't use the acrylic eyes that came with the doll, instead choosing a pair of light brown glass eyes from my stash. They are flat back eyes, so hopefully they won't make her head as heavy as it would be with full round glass eyes. She already has quite a heavy head for such a small doll!
Lulu and Lamb Chop are headed for the Halloween meet-up next weekend. In the meantime they are dancing with excitement (inasmuch as their fat little animal legs will let them dance). How cute is that?

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Work in Progress: Rapunzel Cosplay

I've been working like a fiend possessed, trying to get dolls ready for the Vermont Doll Lovers' Halloween meet-up. I don't remember if it's in two weeks or three. Either way, I have a lot of work to do in not a lot of time.

Several dolls already have costumes from past years. Even so, I always like to have one or two new costumes to make things interesting. Earlier this year another collector sold me the fullset outfit from FairyLand's Lunnula Moonbeams release. My FairyLand FM60 Mirwen will wear that, while my F60 Siean boy will have to be Harry Potter again--at least this year he has the round glasses to complete the look. They're a bit snug. I hope I can stretch them a bit without breaking them. I could have dressed FM60 Lacrima as Frozen's Elsa again but I wanted her to have something new. After giving it a bit of thought (and looking through a Simplicity catalog devoted to costumes) I decided on Rapunzel from Disney's Tangled. Why Rapunzel? For one, the dress looked fairly easy to reproduce. And then I found Pascal. And a Rapunzel wig. We have green eyes. No frying pan, but you can't have everything.

This is Rapunzel (illustration copyright Disney):
The more I studied this dress, the more I realized I have just the patterns needed to construct it. They are the ever versatile #10 Takeshita-dori and #16 The Corset, both by Gracefaerie Designs.
Obviously the dress would need some alterations: lose the collar, modify the neckline, lose the flare of the lower sleeve, lengthen the skirt, add a front panel in a printed fabric. I had a number of purple fabrics, most of them prints but not the right prints, so I went to Jo-Ann's. Knowing I'd never find a pink and purple stripe for the sleeves, I constructed my own from my basic lavender bodice fabric and strips of the medium purple that I will use for the corset. I had a few odds and ends of trims in various shades of purple but not enough of any of them for the skirt. Not only did I find an acceptable trim online, it arrived fast enough for me to use it!
A word of warning before I show you the dress. I've been at it for several days and have ironed parts of it as I went along. I have not, however, ironed the full dress. It still needs snaps for closure and I want to finish off some inside seams. In other words, it's looking poufy now but hopefully that will change when it's done. And then there is the matter of color. My camera seems to have a hard time reading purple. It wants this dress to be blue. No part of this dress is blue--not even the flower trim on the sleeves. For that matter, the cutting board behind the dress is not gray, it's green. Fingers crossed that everything will come together when I add the corset and put the completed outfit on the doll.
That little green thing with eyes--that's Pascal. If you're not familiar with the movie, Pascal is a chameleon. He likes to ride on Rapunzel's shoulder, or else on her head. I don't know what it is about the little guy, but with one look he can make both grown men and powerful Palace horses toe the line.

I have already cut out the fabric for the corset and its lining. I still need to cut and sew a slip to give Rapunzel's dress that bit of lace peeking out at the bottom. And when I finish that, I need to start on something for FID Miho to wear. I really should start my Halloween costumes earlier!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Fashion Iplehouse Doll Miho

I have just received my first doll in the new Iplehouse fashion line--and I am in love! It took only six weeks from order to receipt for a doll with face-up and one outfit (the white dress and jewelry shown below). By comparison, I am at four months and counting for my WithDoll tiny Fox Lucy.
To look at any of the three girls in the initial FID release, you'd never think you were looking at a doll under 46cm tall. Iple chose to introduce smaller versions of three of its larger women: SID Yui and EID Raffine from their limited FOMA line, and SID Stella. Yui underwent some slight modifications and became Miho, the doll I ordered. Looking again at her sales page on the Iplehouse site, I see a difference between the doll pictured and the doll I received. My Miho's lips are parted. She's not showing any teeth, but there is a distinct space between her upper and lower lips. The sample doll appears not to have any space between her lips. An accident in casting, maybe? It will be interesting to see other Mihos as they arrive.
The FID ladies stand 45.5cm tall. There were two breast sizes to choose from: large and medium. I always choose medium when I can get it. It's neither too small nor too large. FID ladies are 2.5cm taller than JID girls, with the same size feet. Though I no longer have a JID girl for comparison,  I still have their shoes, and the high heel shoes fit FID ladies with some room to spare. Stockings would fill the gap; I happen to have felt insoles in mine. Miho came with three pairs of feet: flat feet, normal height heels and higher heels. Iplehouse had two styles of FID high heel shoes available (now sold out). I didn't care for either so I took a chance that JID heels would work. The red flats in my first photo are by DollinStyle. I bought them for my MiniFee girls and found that they are a good snug fit on FID. Of course, I never discover perfect shoes until they are just about sold out. Denver Doll had them for a long time and now they're gone. There is one color left in another style that fits Raccoon Doll.
As you know, I was eager to compare the Raccoon Doll ladies to the FID. In the photo above you can see Raccoon Doll Lucy on the slim body in sweet mocha resin, FID Miho in peach gold resin, and Raccoon Doll Sarah on the original body in normal resin. Sarah is wearing the DollinStyle flat shoes mentioned just above the photo. Raccoon's slim body is closer in size to FID, which made me hope they might be able to share some clothing. So far I've found only one dress that Miho can wear--Dressing Up for Tonner's 17-inch Hermione from Designs by Jude. I could barely fasten the snaps but I got it on. At least I know I can use this pattern to make something for her.
I spent most of yesterday trying clothes on Miho (who, by the way, tells me her name is Elle). She can get into a number of things I made for JID girls. The trouble is the styles are a bit too juvenile to work for a woman. If I can figure out which patterns I used--not an easy task when you mix and match pattern pieces like I do--I'll make her some things that look more grown up. Of the JID clothes I bought from Iplehouse, only two outfits work. One I haven't photographed yet. It's a bit young looking but it fits perfectly. The other is the clingy black and white dress below. This one is a little too tight, especially since I once took in the shoulders to adjust it for a small chested JID Asa. I'll let it out again and see if the fit improves. If it weren't made from stretchy fabric it wouldn't have gone on at all.
It's a good thing I have an FID male on order, because Elle/Miho is taller and more mature than all but one of my mid-size boys. In the photo below you can see her with a Lumedoll, SoulDoll Vito, JID boy, Luts Model Delf and WithDoll boy. Not pictured is a Dollmore Kid, who is a little shorter than JID. My long-departed MiniFee boy was even shorter. What's a tall girl to do? She'll just have to sit back and wait for Lawrence.
I fell in love with EID Lawrence when he debuted in Iple's Carved Heritage series. Much as I wanted him, there was no way I could handle a doll that tall and heavy, even if I could justify the price of the doll and the cost of his clothing. So when I saw that one of Iple's initial trio of FID men was Lawrence I didn't have to think twice about ordering him. At 49.5cm he'll be 2.5cm shorter than Vito. He'll be my first doll with a beard and mustache. No naval uniform, alas, but we'll adjust. If he ships as quickly as Miho did, I should see him in mid- to late-October. Squeeeeeee!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Scottish Dress and Vermont Doll Lovers Meet-Up for September

How many of you guessed from last week's teaser that I was planning to make a dress inspired by the Outlander TV series? The idea of making a Scottish dress occurred to me when I was looking for cloak ideas for my WithDoll elves. I happened upon a website: (aka The Celtic Croft) that not only showed me a variety of cloak possibilities, but also bills itself as the source for "officially licensed Outlander-inspired apparel and tartans". While not obsessed with the TV series, I do tune in occasionally. I'm a huge fan of the costumes.
Going through my stash I found some plaid fabrics, but none of the pieces were large enough to give me a long, full skirt. I headed to Jo-Ann Fabrics, where a patient hunt through the aisles turned up a brown-gray-black tartan in a scale that wouldn't overwhelm a mini-mature doll. Lacking a plain brown homespun to use for the top of the dress, I chose a pale gray velvet from my stash, which I accented with black lace and brown ribbon. I also made a long white half slip (not shown) and a tartan stole.
As you know by now, I never make an outfit without some sort of pattern to give me the basic shape. One look at Romantic by Adams-Harris and I knew I had it. I've made this dress several times in the past, so I tried one on my Dollpire Kid Roo to see how it fit. The fact that she has a very narrow waist meant I would be able to move the front edge of the bodice towards the center so that it comes to a point. All I had to do to the sleeves was omit everything below the elbow. I would need only a single floor length skirt, not the short under- and over-skirts shown on the pattern.
Velvet is slippery to sew, especially when you're dealing with small pieces, so I opted to sew the bodice by hand. Once I put it together I decided the neckline was too modest, so I removed the front panel and re-positioned it a bit lower. By a happy accident I ended up with just enough white fabric extending below the bodice to fashion the point. The ribbon is sewn in place so it requires no lacing. The bodice fastens in back with snaps. The skirt was ridiculously simple to make. Instead of making a hem, I just pulled threads to give it a fringe effect. I machine sewed two rows of gathering stitches along the top edge, then sewed up the back seam. I attached bodice and skirt by hand. The stole has pulled threads all around--no sewing involved at all.
The hardest part of this project was taking photos. This is the time of year when my hydrangea blooms (I think it's a variety of hydrangea paniculata). What a wonderful backdrop for a doll in a dark dress! Not that scent factors into photos, but they smell divine! So I took Roo onto the deck to take full advantage of the white blossoms. Bad idea. I couldn't even get close. One bee after another left the hydrangea to investigate. I kept to the middle of the deck, where I managed a few photos before retreating indoors to avoid the photobombing bees.
I have more than enough plaid fabric left to make a kilt for SoulKid Yarn when he arrives. His fullset outfit already includes a brown on black shirt/jacket complete with lace jabot and cuffs, so the tartan colors will be perfect. Although I wasn't originally planning to pair him with Roo, he'll make a lovely Jamie to her Claire.

On Saturday, September 10th, the Vermont Doll Lovers met at its usual place. Because I've already posted several photos of my project above, I'll share only a photo collage of each member's dolls. (Click on any photo to enlarge.) In addition to Roo I brought my newest dolls: WithDoll Egon Elf, WithDoll Lamb Laney (aka Lamb Chop) and SoulDoll Vito Girl Freya. This will be Freya's only public appearance, as I have listed her for sale.
Modern Wizard brought her ElfDolls Dodo, Kathlen and Winky, to which she added three tiny bears. It only looks like we were sharing the same chair. There were three versions of it at the meeting: one matte, one shiny, and one with a desk arm.

Bittersweet Blue's dolls included her Dream of Doll Petsha, SoulKid Miribeyol, a Hujoo Nano-Freya, (and two other Hujoos? pending identification).
Lyrajean's group included Volks SD Date Masamune, Tony, Chiyo, Jun Tachibana and one more; Volks YoSD Kira, Spiritdoll Bastet, Custom House Ai Uriel and Sariel, a Lalaloopsy, and some Sylvanian Family cats.

I'm sure my faulty memory has mixed up/omitted some of the doll IDs. Hopefully one of the attendees will enlighten me.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Long Cloak with Hood

Last week I showed you the short cloak with ruffled collar from Gracefaerie Designs' #27 The Cloak pattern. This week I made the long version with hood from the same pattern and fabric. I had intended it for WithDoll Priscilla, but seeing it modeled by WithDoll Emma, it's clear to me that this is meant to be Emma's cloak. Priscilla will get the same style in a different fabric. Yippee! I get to go fabric shopping!
With last week's cloak serving as a trial run, this version came together easily. My new fusible interfacing seems to be thinner than the one I used on the first cloak, which made the yoke less bulky. The fabric gave me a little trouble where it joins the lining on the hood. Even though I ironed the seam towards the lining as directed, once I turned the hood right-side out the seam allowance twisted inside. It's too late to fix it now, but next time I'll know to tack that seam onto the lining to keep it in place.
The pattern calls for lining the front sections of the cloak. I opted to do a rolled hem on the edges instead and only lined the yoke. As I had suspected it would, it works better on the long cloak than it did on the short version (see last week's photos). I left the cloak long enough to puddle on the ground. There's not a lot more to say about it, so I'll let the pictures do the talking. Enjoy!
I'm awaiting the arrival of a little fox from WithDoll. In case she doesn't arrive in time, I have a project in mind to work on for next week's blog. I won't tell you what the garment will be, only that it's not for a WithDoll. One part will be made from the brown plaid and the other part will be made from the silver velvet. I may or may not use the trims pictured.