Gratitude

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Vermont Doll Lovers Meet-Up May 20, 2017

Four members attended yesterday's meeting in Essex Junction of the Vermont Doll Lovers: Lyrajean, Melface, Modern Wizard and Vermont chick (that's me). Our theme was Vice, although most of us didn't adhere to it. My excuse? No suitable props.

Lyrajean brought four Volks dolls: Hijakata, Date, SDGr Jun, and YoSD Kira. Little Kira brought a Hatchimal (still in the egg).

Melface brought a group of tinies, from left to right: a Ruriko Birdcage, an Obitsu 25mm (dark hair, no face-up), an Azone Pure Neemo Yui, a 2D Doll Miki (no wig or face-up), an Obitsu Chara head on an Azone Pure Neemo body (with flower headpiece), and a Polynian Shamrock robot.
 Modern Wizard also brought tinies: a Mattel Mulan repaint/reroot on a Spin Master body, a Barbie fashionista head on Wolf King Female Joker body, and a Barbie repaint/reroot on a Spin Master body. She also brought Re-ment food items in gluttonous proportions, none of which seem to have found their way into my photos.

I thought I'd give all my FIDs an airing, and since three of them were wearing Highland dress I added Soom Idealian51 Summer Monologue Cuba (romantic head) so my Jamie Fraser could be with his Claire (FID Grace).
Cuba and Grace as Jamie and Claire
FID Claude and Leonard
FID Miho and Bichun
FID Rex
FID Lawrence


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Outlander Jamie and Claire in BJD

I can hear you grumble: Will she ever finish with these Scottish Highlander costumes? No verra likely, seeing as I continue to be obsessed with Diana Gabaldon's Outlander (books and television series). From the minute I first entertained the idea of creating doll versions of these characters, I knew Soom Idealian51 Cuba (Summer Monologue version) would be my Jamie Fraser. The ID51 body has broad shoulders and a thick chest for its height. Paired with the romantic head's narrowed eyes it fit Jamie's description to a tee. Claire was harder to cast--until Iplehouse released their Grace sculpt in FID size. Grace has a no nonsense look about her, perfect for a former 20th Century Army combat nurse transported to 18th Century Scotland. With a long red wig the sculpt could also stand in for Claire's daughter Briana, but if so I'd need another Claire and then I'm back where I started. I guess I'll wait and see which female sculpts Iplehouse releases next.
As for costumes, there are official Outlander tartans on the market. (For example see The Celtic Croft, http://www.kilts-n-stuff.com/ .) Scale is problematic, as the fabric is designed for humans rather than dolls. I knew I would have to make do with something in the spirit of, even if the colors differed. That goes for patterns, too. All the kilts I've made so far were inspired by a pleated skirt pattern for Kaye Wiggs MSD girls. Designs by Jude has a pattern called Dandy for male dolls. It said 18th Century to me so I went with it. So far I've used the shirt, coat and waistcoat, although I've shortened the long waistcoat to waist length. I'll probably alter the frock coat pattern to get a short jacket that Jamie can wear for everyday, because the coat looks too much like his wedding finery. I went to a completely different pattern for his stock.
For Claire's outfit I bought Scottish Claire from Designs by Jude. This pattern does not come in anything near FID size, so I purchased the size for Tonner's American Model dolls (the waist measurement was close) and ended up redrawing the rest of it to fit. I also noticed as I was working on it that the jacket included a peplum. In consulting The Making of Outlander, the Series by Tara Bennett, it seemed to me that the pattern most resembled a costume in shades of brown whose jacket most definitely does not have a peplum, so I felt justified in omitting it. The pattern recommends cutting apart a sock to make the cowl and fingerless gloves. Instead, I crocheted a cowl and made the gloves from a knit fabric.
I'll probably have to make Claire's wedding dress, if only because Jamie already looks dressed for their wedding. I figure I can resize the Opulent gown to suit. All I need to do now is hunt for fabrics.
I've been lucky to find suitable wigs for both characters. Jamie's wig is Ellowyne Rose by Monique Gold in double red, size 6-7. I tied it back with a ribbon because that much hair can easily overwhelm his face. Claire wears the same wig in brown black, size 5-6. For those times when Claire wears her hair up, Monique's Margie wig in brown black, size 5-6, does the trick.
You may have noticed that I haven't said a word about problems with pattern instructions. This is not to imply that there were none, only that I have (so far) not bitched about them. Let's just say that I had to refer to a different pattern altogether in order to attach the pockets to the Dandy coat, because there were no instructions--at all. And that's just one example. Patternmakers: Please proofread your pattern instructions.
A word about my background. It's a view of the Craigh na Dun stone circle, printed on fabric. (There is a collection of licensed Outlander fabrics available at https://www.fabric.com/ and other sites.) The cotton panel is 24 inches wide by 44 inches tall, so there is enough to clip to the top of my 36-inch tall shoji screen and still have a little left over for the dolls to stand on. Much as I wish it were wider, I am thrilled to have it because the only thing better would be to have my dolls actually on scene in Scotland.
If you haven't had enough of my Jamie and Claire, I posted a wordless photo story to Den of Angels late yesterday. Maybe I should do another one with dialogue. What do you think?

Sunday, May 7, 2017

LittleFee Ante in Tan Resin

Succumbing to impulse last week, I ordered an in-stock LittleFee Ante in tan resin from Denver Doll. Yes, I already have an Ante; she's an elf. Her white resin has now mellowed with age. Although I still love her, I felt it was time she had a human sister. And I've been wanting to get at least one FairyLand doll in tan resin. So, win-win.
White Ante elf and tan human Ante
One of the pleasures of ordering an in-stock doll is that it arrives within days, unlike the months it takes for the preparation of a preorder doll from the company. Denver Doll always keeps a few FairyLand dolls in stock in each of the smaller sizes, so when you need a quick fix it's the way to go. (I still feel the pull of a tan PukiFee Zoe they have in stock. I had a natural Zoe years ago and foolishly sold her. If it weren't for the male Raccoon dolls due to debut next month, for which I am trying to save money, I would order Zoe in the blink of an eye.)
My three LittleFee girls: Lishe, Ante elf, Ante
Human Ante arrived so quickly that I had no time to prepare anything for her. Luckily I have wigs, shoes and clothing to fit LittleFees, so all I had to do was choose from my stash. Even so, I was surprised to find that most of my wigs in her size didn't suit her. (No wonder my existing LittleFees don't change wigs very often!) There was just too much hair; it either hung down in her face or else trailed on the floor. Her head is too big for the next size down. I have some cute mohair wigs that do fit, but they're old and impossible to style. I don't want her to look like she's wearing a dead animal on her head. What to do? Ooh, I feel an excuse for more wig shopping! (As if I needed an excuse: I bought four wigs last week for my FIDs.)
Wig from LeekeWorld
Tan Ante arrived with acrylic eyes. After trying some glass eyes, I decided to go with soft silicone eyes from Eyeco. They're 13mm, which turned out to be a perfect fit for her. I figured it was time to give Ante elf some Eyecos, too, especially as the tacky putty I had been using to hold her glass eyes was disintegrating. Going with soft silicone eyes lets me use Mack's silicone ear plugs to hold them. I've used the stuff for years without ever having it get sticky.
Hanging out with a friendly dragon
My LittleFees don't have a display space per se; they hang out on a bed made for Ellowyne Wilde. Ante's arrival bumped Little Shiwoo to the foot of the bed, but he doesn't mind so long as he gets the stuffed rabbit. He has put me on notice, however: the next LittleFee had better be a boy. We'll see.
Not to be left out: LittleFee Shiwoo





Sunday, April 30, 2017

Grace and Rex: Fashion Iplehouse Dolls

Wow! Twenty-four business days from order to receipt. That's all it took for two dolls with makeup. No clothing, wigs, shoes or other add-ons, so no doubt that's why they shipped so quickly. Still, I was expecting a two-month wait so I got caught unprepared. I meant to sew for them--didn't happen, as the patterns I ordered arrived only a day or two ahead of the dolls. I meant to order wigs. Well, I did order some, but his didn't fit and I haven't ordered hers yet. They're both wearing temporary wigs from my stash.
Grace is a doll I originally had in SID size. Gorgeous doll, but I couldn't deal with how large and heavy she was. That's why I was beyond thrilled when Iplehouse released her in FID version. She was an absolutely-must-buy. She will be Claire in my Outlander themed dolls, which means she needs amber eyes. Iplehouse sent her with brown eyes, which will have to do for now. Everything else I have is either blue, green or violet.
Rex was released originally as an EID--and if you think an SID female is big, an EID male is even bigger. EID Rex, like Lawrence and Leonard, was one of those dolls I admired from afar but didn't buy. That said, I'm not altogether happy with his FID version. I think it's the makeup. Iplehouse photographed the makeup on real skin resin. It looked good, but the effect on normal skin is quite different. Maybe a different wig will help. If not, I may try my hand at repainting him. It's that dark shadow under his lower lip that bugs me. The sculpt is already indented there, so it will photograph dark even without a painted shadow. They don't paint the philtrum (the little groove under the nose), so why deepen an already deep under-lip indentation with dark color? It's a jarring note. Unfortunately, once I notice something like that it's the only thing I see.
The wig I bought for Rex was cream on top and black on the bottom. Although supposedly the same size as the others, it was too small to go on his head. I ended up putting it on Lumedoll Meissa and put Meissa's long blonde wig on Grace. I like how she looks as a brown-eyed blonde; however, Outlander's Claire is a brunette. For the time being she can borrow a wig I bought for FID Miho, but I'll need to order her a different style to go with the costume. Speaking of which, I am almost done sewing her Outlander outfit. I debated whether to show it today or not, then decided to wait one more week. (Or two, depending on when her wig arrives. I have to order it first.)

Meanwhile, here are some more shots of Rex and Grace.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Dancer and a Chair

This past week I got into a discussion on Den of Angels about Dollmore's Ballet Kid Pirouette Zinna. Looking for a photo that might answer the questions, I was surprised to find nothing more recent than snaps from the doll meet-up nearest Pirouette's arrival in July 2015. That's one of the hazards of buying a full-set doll for which no other outfits are available. As lovely as she is, once I've shown her there is nothing new or noteworthy to share unless I put her in a story, which I haven't done.

A day or two later I was pawing through a box of doll clothing, looking for something else, when I came across a ballet costume I had made for a Mini Supia years ago. I don't think I ever tried it on Pirouette. Would it fit? It did. I found a pair of white tights and the black ballet shoes I purchased from Dollmore. (Why do they sell toe shoes in other colors but no additional costumes?) At last, an excuse for photos. I'll let you enjoy them without further commentary.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Vermont Doll Lovers Easter Meet-Up 2017

Four of us met yesterday to celebrate Easter with themed props (peeps and bunnies predominating) and dolls. Every month we find a new art display on the walls of the meeting room. As luck would have it, all the art was clustered on the two walls we normally use, so we set up against a bare brick wall instead. While it gave the photos character, it played havoc with camera flashes. I corrected as much as I could in Photoshop. Next time I vote for setting up on one of the white walls, no matter how much art it holds.

No one wrote down doll's names. I should know what most of them are but my memory is a leaky cauldron. So unless I happen to know them offhand, they are described but not named. Click on any photo to enlarge it.

I'll start us off with my group, which included my four FairyLand FeePle60s: Mirwen, Lacrima, Siean (boy), and my new Cygne. Both Lacrima and Cygne are showing off new face-ups done this past week when the weather warmed up. Also in the group are PukiFee Rin and WithDolls Lucy (fox) and Laney (lamb).
Modern Wizard's dolls include her ice cream-loving vampire hybrid, a Soom Faery Legend sprite, and a girl (in hot pink wig) made by one of our members.
Lyrajean brought four Volks SD dolls, plus YoSD Kira.
Last but not least, Bittersweet Blue brought a group of dolls that included an SD size Obitsu, a FairyLand MiniFee tan Chloe, a couple of poseable Barbies, a tiny Hujoo Freya cat and four other small dolls. She also opened a bag of teeny tiny dragons. I've never seen dragons that small!
Next month's theme is Vices. I'm pretty sure I have nothing that fits the theme, so maybe my WithDoll elves will finally get a chance to get out of the house for a meet-up. Their vice? I don't know. Maybe good elves gone bad? I'll have to think about it.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Getting Ready for Swim Fun in the Summer Sun

Last summer my doll group devoted two meetings to a beach theme. Great idea, except none of my dolls had swimsuits. I kept meaning to make some but never got around to it. I figured this year I would get a head start, or the beach meet-up would come around and I'd be sitting there again with a tiny picnic basket and one or two dolls in shorts. Or else ignore the theme altogether, but that's no fun.

One of my crochet books (Ready Set Crochet by Susie Johns) has a pattern for a cute string bikini top. It's sized for humans, but adjusting it down to one-quarter size posed no problems. I especially like that it has a bit of shape to it, rather than consisting of two tiny triangles and a bit of string. The shape was surprisingly simple to make. You crochet an L-shape and then join the two short edges, beginning at the point where they meet. I tried the strings two ways. The violet bikini has a simple chain for the strings; the blue has a chain with one row of single crochet. The first looks sexier; the second is a bit sturdier and easier to tie.
My only complaint with the pattern is that there is no corresponding bottom. I was wondering what to do about it when I came across an example later in the book of increase and decrease triangles. Aha! I thought. That should work. Starting at the front waist, I decreased to the crotch, crocheted a narrow crotch and then began to increase for the back, all the while measuring against one of my Raccoon girls every couple of rows. Strictly speaking neither front nor back is a perfect triangle as I was aiming for coverage rather than mathematical symmetry. Maybe I'll try a slightly more daring treatment for the next one.
For accessories I turned to My Crochet Doll by Isabelle Kessedjian. I wanted a sun hat, a beach bag, and a towel or blanket. I used the rain hat pattern, measuring the piece on my doll's head after every round because I had no idea how big the finished hat would be. After round 6 or 7 I realized I needed to start decreasing and abandoned the pattern altogether. I decreased throughout the next 2 rounds to snug the hat around the head, then started increasing for a ruffled brim. To finish I wove blue yarn in and out of one of my decrease rows and tied it with a bow. I am absolutely thrilled with the result. Of course I'll have to make a few more; the girls are already fighting over who gets to wear it.
The beach bag looks okay, but I'll be the first to admit I got lost early on. I couldn't manage the adjustable loop and worked from a chain foundation ring instead. It's an accepted alternative--although I found it awkward to work in a small circle, especially when trying to determine which threads to pick up for my next stitch. Next time I'll try to master the adjustable loop to see if it makes the going easier. I'll need to make a couple more bags if I am to outfit a half-dozen girls for the beach.
No pattern was needed for the blanket. My only constraints were the amount of yarn I had in each color. I used a package of Lion Brand Bonbons containing eight tiny skeins of yarn in bright colors and worked five of them into a pattern of narrow stripes. I wish now I had left each skein attached when I changed colors. Not only would it have saved yarn but I wouldn't have had to weave in all the loose tails. As it was I barely made it to the end of my border before the orange yarn ran out.
The only thing keeping me from starting the next bikini now is yarn. Even though I have plenty of both colors left, it would be pretty boring to have six bikinis in the same two colors. My local store carries limited colors in this weight of Aunt Lydia's yarn so I had to place an order; with luck the yarn will turn up in the next few days and I can get working again.