Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Angel in the House

A new Little Fee has come to live at Resin Corner:  Ante Elf Petit Ange.  As we have already discussed Little Fees in another post, we will simply eavesdrop on the dolls as they get to know one another.

AnteThis place is not at all like my home where I was born.  I wonder if I will have any friends here.

Ball Jointed Woman:  Of course you will have friends.  When you feel rested from your long journey, I will let you meet them.

AnteOh, I'm not tired.  May I meet them now, please?

AnteHow do you do?  I am Ante Elf.

Little ShiwooI'm Shiwoo and this is Lishe.  The big one is Marguerite.  She watches over us, but if you wait a while, she will fall asleep.  Then we can play.

AnteWhat a mess!  What on earth is this?

ShiwooIt's called sewing.  It looked a lot better last night, but Ball Jointed Woman ripped the top and bottom apart because it didn't fit Yan's big behind and...

LisheBe nice, Shiwoo.  It's not Yan's behind that's too big.  BJ Woman made a mistake and had to undo it.

ShiwooYou should have heard the words that came out of her mouth!

AnteWhat is this thing?

ShiwooBJ Woman calls it a sewing machine.  It makes a lot of noise.  She puts all her bits and pieces of cloth and lace into it and they come out as something you can wear.  I, however, do not wear lace.

LisheShe made my dress and Shiwoo's overalls.  If you stay, she'll make something for you, too.

ShiwooDo you think you'll stay?

AnteYes, I think I will.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Rosette School of Dolls

As Monty Python used to say, "And now for something completely different..."

The Rosette School of Dolls, from Soom Emporium in Korea, is a group of six (or seven) girls designed to look as if they were students at a school for young ladies in Victorian England.  Two of the girls have mature "lady" bodies, while the others have an immature or "girl" body.  I love period dress, so buying one of these young ladies was a no brainer for me.  The question was:  Which one?  I found myself leaning toward the more mature girls, Fir and Marguerite.  Each was available in different versions:  a basic version wearing her school uniform, a summer term version wearing a lacy white frock and a languid expression, and a spring version with a fabulous dressy costume.  Both Fir and Marguerite Spring Term were sold out, which was just as well, as I really couldn't justify the price.

I eventually selected Marguerite Summer Term. 

What makes the Rosette girls different, apart from their story, is their size:  47.5 cm. (nearly 18.75 inches).  Marguerite would tower over my other MSDs if she could stand.  The trouble is, I have not found a way to make her stand without flopping over.  I tried every size of doll stand I had and she still wouldn't hold up.  No doubt about it, this girl is made for sitting.  In fact, she is the best sitter I have.  I can set her in a chair or on a bed, pose her, and she locks into place and holds her pose.  She reminds me of the old-fashioned boudoir dolls made to lounge on a bed, except with more poseability.

Other dolls will sit, but often at an unnatural angle or with an ugly show of gaping resin and elastic at the joint.  The Rosette girls come with "kneepans" -- resin caps that can be inserted into the knee gap when the doll is sitting back on her heels, Japanese style.  I tried the kneepans when the doll was sitting in an ordinary chair and they didn't work.  They are meant to cover the joint when the lower leg is bent at a more extreme angle.  Still, it's nice to know they are there.  If I ever make Marguerite a kimono, she can sit in proper fashion.

Dressing this girl will be problematic.  She is not just tall, she is extremely thin. Her legs go on forever.  Nothing that I have sewn previously will fit her.  Bodices and skirts are too short and too loose, sleeves are too short and too wide.  As she is not a wildly popular doll, no one is rushing to market printed patterns.  I will have to devise my own.  Good luck there, because my alterations tend to be hit or miss.  All the more reason to try, I suppose.

Although she has a 6.5 inch head, I find that most of my 6/7 wigs don't quite fit, either.  She seems to have a smaller face than other dolls with the same size head, so that most wigs overwhelm her.  One wig that she is able to wear is the short brown Leeke World wig that I previously complained was small for its size.  Nothing is ever wasted at Resin Corner -- there is always another doll that can wear what the others can't.  (Little Fee Lishe can wear this one, too, but only with her sleep face.  With eyes open, the bangs are too long.)

You'd think, with her length, that she would have comparatively larger feet.  Not so.  Where most MSDs have a 5.5 cm. foot, Marguerite's is 5.3 cm.  Shoes generally come larger than the doll's foot, to allow for socks or stockings and for ease of removal.  It was all I could do to squeeze Marguerite's feet into the shoes that came as part of her costume.  All I could think, as I forced them on, was that here was torture akin to Chinese foot binding.  The shoes would fit better without her thick cotton tights, but then you would see the elastic in her knee joint when she sits and her legs would look ten times thinner than they are.

For now, Marguerite will continue to wear her Rosette outfit.  She works particularly well with the Little Fees so I have pressed her into service as their Nanny.  She is not protesting the role, and heaven knows, they need adult supervision to keep them from running amok, especially now that there are three of them.  Little Fee Ante Petite Ange arrived yesterday.  Once Bambicrony Toto joins them, Marguerite will have her hands full. 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

My Supia Girls, a.k.a. Mini-Sups

I first became aware of Supiadoll when Dollfair International handled their US distribution.  At the time I was intrigued but not entirely sold on them.  Both mini girls were on my "to buy later" list.  I wish now I had bought one or both of my girls from Dollfair, because ordering from Supia was confused and confusing.

Supiadoll are big on apologies, not so good on follow-through with promises.  I ordered Yan during a period when Supia offered free shipping.  They neglected to change their order program to calculate cost without shipping, so I paid full price and never got any kind of refund or rebate.  (All I got was a:  "We are very sorry make you discomfort to use shoppingmall.")  They were also not clear on how to pay them.  Some Korean companies spell out their payment policies and procedures in detail to help you understand before ordering.  (A big Thank You to those who do.)  By the time I figured out that Supiadoll were not going to request payment via PayPal, they were about to cancel my order.

I did finally receive my doll.  Not long thereafter Supiadoll posted apologies on their website for being behind on shipping.  I doubt I am the only collector who wishes Dollfair International still handled their US orders.

The mechanics of ordering aside, I am very happy with my mini-Sup Yan.  (On the right in the above photo.)  She is a sweet, happy-looking girl, about 43 cm. tall.  I don't have her statistics written down and didn't take off her heeled shoes to measure her, so I could be off by a millimeter or two.  She is the first doll I ordered with white skin--usually I opt for some shade of beige.  I was delighted to take her out of the box and see that her eyebrows made her a natural redhead.  (For some reason I collect a lot of red wigs.  Funny--I've never been a redhead myself.)  I immediately made her a chocolate-and-cream outfit to play up her coloring.

No sooner had I placed my order for Yan than a Supia Yisol became available on ebay.  The opportunity to have one of each was too tempting to pass up, so I bid on her.  You will recognize her on the left above--she is my stand-in in the "About Me" column.  While Yan has the factory face-up, Yisol has a face-up by Cristy Stone.  It's a subdued face-up compared to others by Cristy that I have seen.  It suits the doll perfectly, as she is a more serious-looking girl than her sister.  Her skin color is Supia's normal beige.  The difference is not particularly evident in the photos, but in person Yisol is more sallow while Yan is brighter.

Here are some more photos:

A word or two about wigs and costumes:  The white wig is J-Rock in Pure by Jpopdolls; the red wig in Yan's close-up is J-Rock in Soft Red by Monique Gold.  Yan's other red wig is Ashes in Autumn Moon by Jpopdolls.  Yisol's blonde wig is Ginger in Lt. Peach & Ginger Brown by Monique Gold. 

The dress patterns are a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  Yisol wears the EGL dress (Elegant Gothic Lolita) from Gracefaerie's #14 Mini Wardrbe for 43 cm Narae.  Because I have made this dress several times before and wanted to give it a different look, I modified the pattern.  One change is the blue overskirt, made without any pattern.  In the middle photo she wears the same dress with a blue gingham sash instead of the overskirt.

Yan's outfit is made up of three pieces.  The blouse is from the Heaven Sent pattern by Adams-Harris, designed for Narae.  I paired it with a matching skirt (which you can't see in the photos) and a contrasting overskirt, both loosely based on Gracefaerie's #30 Play Day.  The low, angled pocket was inspired by something I saw online, I can't remember where.  Yan's cream-and-brown patent shoes are from Luts; Yisol's studded blue Mary Janes were purchased on ebay from releaserain.

Normally at the end of a post I like to announce the topic of my next installment.  Tonight I'm taking a break from that routine.  I might introduce another doll next time, or I might start painting my extra Unoa faceplates, or I might preview some of the black-and-white outfits that I have been putting together for a themed collection.  Which will it be?  Stay tuned and find out...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

U-noa Quluts, Part Two - The Love Continues

Now that we have met Lusis and Sist, it's time to introduce the boy(s).  There are two:  L-bi and B-el.  To tell the truth, I can never remember which is which.  One of them is the male version of Lusis, with open mouth and separate teeth, and the other is the male version of Sist, with closed mouth.  The reason for the (s) above is that I have one boy body and both faceplates. So in a way, I have both boys, but they can never be in the same photo unless I PhotoShop them together.  The boys are 43 cm. tall, just 1 cm. taller than the girls.  If they don't look that much taller in their photos, it's because both girls are wearing heels.

The boys have a unique feature.  For some unfathomable reason (at least it is unfathomable to me) the boy dolls come with two sizes of penis.  I suppose their maker thought that if the girls came with a choice of large or small bust, the boys should come with a comparable choice.  Frankly, unless the collector plans to display the dolls naked, I don't see the point of having such a choice.  Unlike the bust, it doesn't make a difference in how clothes fit.  Perhaps it is Araki Gentaro's private little joke?  If someone knows the answer, I welcome enlightenment.

Without further ado, here are the boys with their female counterparts.

Sist and B-el.

Lusis and L-bi.

Now here is a little family group that will introduce the other member of my U-noa family:

The small doll in the middle is U-noa Chibi Lilin.  She is 35 cm. tall and is one-half of a pair of dolls introduced earlier this year.  The other, which I have not purchased (yet) is Chibi Roron.  Lilin has what their maker calls a soft body.  Not that it's made from a soft material, because it's hard resin like the others, but because she has womanly curves.  Roron has a more childlike body.  The Alchemic Laboratory website calls it a gender neutral body.  I had a hard time choosing between the two, but finally ordered Lilin because of her delightful little grin.  She looks exactly like a cat that has had a bowl of cream.  (I would say she looks like the cat that got the canary, except that I am a bird fancier and I don't particularly fancy that image.)

Lilin in the photo above has the first face-up I gave her.  I wasn't absolutely in love with it, so I wiped it off and tried again.  Here is how she looks now.  (With that copper wig, I just had to show her among the pumpkins.)
Lilin is the first U-noa that I have purchased brand new through Crescent Shop Japan.  They made it easy to order, kept me informed of her progress, and she arrived in good time and in perfect order.  I have since ordered additional faceplates, and just paid for a brand new Sist to be shipped later this summer.  Now, to do the face-up or not to do the face-up, that is the question.

If you are wondering why I have not previously revealed any of my U-noas names, it is because half the time I can't remember them.  I have just found my scorecard and it appears that my heavily made-up Lusis is Mirren, the Lusis pictured above is McKenna, Sist is Chloe, the boys are Elliot and Brodie (Brodie?  I thought it was Bryce!) and Lilin is Fiona.  That's this week.  Who knows what they will be called next week?

In my next post, two mini Supias join the expanding family at Resin Corner.

Friday, June 4, 2010

U-noa, I'm in Love with You

There's no denying it.  It was love at first sight.  From the moment I saw my first U-noa Quluts girls in the pages of a magazine, I knew I had to have one.  Or two.  Or more.  Araki Gentaro's delightful dolls exemplify my aesthetic of the ideal doll body and doll face.  Their proportions are perfection.  The fact that they are hard to get only adds to their allure.

For anyone who is not familiar with these dolls, their creator does not care to deal directly with the international market, nor does he sell through doll shops abroad.  If you do not live in Japan, or know someone in Japan who can buy a doll for you, your only recourse is a buying agent in Japan or else the secondary market (e.g., ebay).  Complicating matters is the fact that the dolls are offered during a narrow window of time a few times a year, and sometimes only by lottery.  At times, sales are limited to customers who have purchased the dolls before.  So how do you get a foot in the door?

If you think you want to buy a U-noa, register with an agent as soon as you can.  I registered with Crescent Shop in Japan during an open buying period.  They are wonderful people to deal with -- polite and informative.  Items are carefully packaged.  I highly recommend them. 

I have also purchased U-noas on ebay.  Prices there can be high, considering that you are buying either a previously loved (i.e., used) doll or an unassembled kit.  I would not recommend a U-noa kit to anyone who has not already had some experience of BJDs.  Not only is it daunting to assemble a doll for the very first time, but the instructions are in Japanese.  They are well-illustrated, so it is possible to put the doll together just by following the pictures.  Still, you wonder what you are missing in the fine print!  The doll kits are also unpainted.  Some doll owners paint and body-blush their own dolls; others send them out to doll artists for face-up and blushing, which adds to the overall cost of the doll.

There are two models of U-noa Quluts girls:  Lusis, distinguished by an open mouth with a removable piece for teeth (see the two girls in the photo above), and Sist, who has a closed mouth (see photo below).  Both models are 42 cm. tall (16.53 inches) and wear a size 6/7 wig.

All three of these girls came to Resin Corner by way of ebay.  The two Lusis girls came with artist face-ups:  Stacey Carpenter did the one on the left; I don't know the name of the artist who did the other.  The Sist model had a face-up I didn't like, so I sent the faceplate to Kat of Melancholy Kitties and got back the sweet freckle-faced girl you see above.  U-noas have eyebrows sculpted right into their faceplates.  In order to get a different look than the one in the sculpt, it is necessary to sand down the brows, which Kat did to perfection on Sist.

An interesting feature of U-noas is the different parts that are available.  There is a large-bust torso and a small-bust torso.  There are faceplates with a variety of expressions.  There are elf ears, horns, and extra hands, not to mention a curious eye mechanism that allows the eyes to look right, center, or left by adjusting an exterior lever (normally hidden by the doll's wig).  So far I haven't been able to put the mechanism together without the eyes falling out.  The eye mechanism only works with round acrylic eyes that have a stem at the back.  Fortunately I happen to like silicone eyes better.  The silicone eyes (by Eyeco) are held in place by silicone putty.

Earlier this year I purchased a Lusis sleep face and clasped hands, as well as a Chibi Lilin osumashi face and fist hands for my smallest U-noa.  You'll meet my Chibi Lilin in another post, as well as my U-noa boys.  As for the faces, I intend to paint these myself and will take photos so I can talk about the process in another post.  I have already painted Lilin's and the boys' faces with results that I am not completely ashamed of, although I won't mention how many times I wiped off each face and started over!

For now, I will close with two more photos of Lusis and Sist, along with a few words about wigs and outfits.  In the top photo, wigs by Monique Gold (J-Rock in soft red; Hope in light ash brown), dress patterns by Adams-Harris (Romantic on left for Soul Kid Linn and New Romantic on right for Ellowyne Wilde).  In the second photo, powder pink wig by LeekeWorld, body suit from Unitard and Stockings for Ellowyne by MHD Designs.  Third photo: wigs by Monique Gold (JoJo in golden auburn-golden strawberry; Pretty Girl in light peach-bleach blonde), outfit on left is Fashion Forward for Ellowyne from Designs by Jude; outfit on right is EGL dress from #14 Mini Wardrobe for 43 cm Narae by Gracefaerie Designs paired with #21 Corset for MSD also by Gracefaerie Designs.  Last photo:  wig by Luts, dress pattern is #30 Play Day by Gracefaerie Designs, orange shoes from Cherish Doll.

Next time:  More U-noas!