Monday, July 26, 2010

Ciao Bella!

Resin Corner is happy to announce the arrival of a new little one: 
Bambicrony Toto.



Toto is a 27 cm tall Ciao Bella model from Bambicrony in Korea.  I bought her with floral white skin, face up, outfit, wig, and the most expensive eyes I have yet acquired.  But what amazing eyes they are!  No matter where in the room you stand, they seem to follow you around.  Ordering them was an iffy proposition, because even though they cost more than the default eyes, the buyer is still unable to choose the color.  Fortunately for me, she came with the eyes I saw her wearing on the website.  Ball Jointed Woman is very happy.

I am also very happy with her posing ability.  A few posts ago I said that Fairyland's Little Fees have the best little bodies--and joints.  Bambicrony's Ciao Bellas show a little more of the slot where the elastic goes, but their posing ability is every bit as good  I will have to try the pose below with one or more of my Little Fees.  It looks like she is leaning against the side of the wing chair, but she is not touching it.  She is just hovering there, perfectly balanced.



The only trouble is that I can't possibly call her Toto.  To me, Toto will always be the little black terrier belonging to Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.  So for the time being, I am calling her Bambi.

Bambi came with three extra hands (two right and one left) as part of a promotion the company was running.  There's a Vee for Victory, a grasping hand, and one that I think is the American Sign Language sign for "I Love You."  (I will have to investigate to make sure.  For all I know it's the symbol for "Rock On!")  The most noticeable thing about Bambicrony hands is how delicately detailed they are compared to Little Fee hands.  And oh my gosh, don't even put them next to Unoa Chibi's meaty paws!  I'll have to do a hand comparison photo soon.

If anyone had told me, back when I first started buying  BJDs, that I would eventually collect dolls this size, I would have said they were crazy.  I came to BJDs from 16-inch fashion dolls.  It's true I had a few small dolls:  Kish's Riley and friends and Tonner's Tiny Ann Estelle.  With the exception of a tutu for Avery (so she'd match Riley and Tulah), I didn't make outfits for them.  But somewhere down the BJD line I fell in love with the Yo-SD sized dolls.  There are smaller dolls, but I think this size is my limit.  Anything smaller will be too hard for me to sew for.

Three little girls in pink-and-white:  Ante, Bambi, and Lishe

One of the nice things about this size doll is that they are so easy to carry around.  Bambi came with a quilted blanket that snaps shut to make transporting her safe and simple.  Little Fees come in a zippered satin pillow for even more cushioned comfort.  The big dolls, on the other hand, are heavy and awkward to transport.  I should purchase a carrying case, on the off chance that I ever want to take one of them somewhere.  It's not that they are especially breakable, because resin is a stronger material than porcelain, but that the resin should not be exposed to direct sunlight.  And carrying them around in a padded box is a bit much, especially if you are also juggling camera equipment and costumes.

It was a long wait from order to delivery (3 months almost to the day) but Bambi is happily settling in with her new housemates.  Puppy Charo seems happy to have her here, too.

Bambi and Charo

Friday, July 23, 2010

Lament for Two Doll Publications

This has been a distressing week at Resin Corner.  I received not one, but two notifications that doll publications were ceasing publication.  Needless to say, they were my favorite magazines, the ones I eagerly anticipated and devoured cover-to-cover when they arrived.  And now they will publish no more.  The first notice came on Monday:


I should have anticipated this one.  Doll Crafter and Doll Costuming used to be two separate publications.  A couple of years ago they merged.  Since then, letters to the editor have contained regular complaints from readers that their area of interest was not adequately covered.  The combined magazine promised to address all doll crafting and costuming interests.  Tall order.  It meant that some areas were covered once every few months, others once in a blue moon.  An issue focusing on fairies, or polymer clay, or reborning meant many subscribers went without anything of interest to read.  The costumers were lucky to get a pattern per issue.  It was a no-win situation.


The magazine dwindled in size.  And then the announcement came in Monday's mail saying subscriptions would transfer to Dolls magazine.  I have subscribed to Dolls magazine for a number of years.  It's a nice general overview of all kinds of dolls, with articles, news, auction and show reports.  It won't replace Doll Crafter & Costuming -- it doesn't cover those technical aspects of dolls.  The postcard says subscribers may transfer to Teddy Bear Review or The Crafts Report if they prefer.  Either way, crafters and costumers have been left high and dry.


The other announcement came on Tuesday via email, and this one elicited a howl of disbelief:  Haute Doll, the magazine for dolls who love to shop, was also folding.  This notice didn't even pretend to cite the economy as a reason; it stated that its editors had "decided to retire and go on to new adventures."  Never mind the loyal subscribers and those who purchased it regularly on newsstands, eager to plumb its depths for the latest on their favorite fashion dolls, including -- yes! -- BJDs.  Haute Doll was thick, even in the face of a struggling economy, with 114 glossy pages in its June 2010 issue alone.  Haute Doll gave us tutorials on face painting, stringing, and wig styling, in addition to photo stories, patterns, and articles spotlighting BJD faceup artists, clothing designers, and Asian as well as American BJD makers. 


The publishers of Haute Doll also brought us The BJD Orbyrarium, an Angel's Guide to the Universe of Modern Ball Jointed Dolls.  At 192 pages, this soft-bound book is indispensible for the BJD collector.  Like Haute Doll, it is full of tutorials, articles, patterns, full-page and full-color photography of ball jointed dolls.  Buy a copy now from one of the doll shops that carry it, because who knows if it will remain in print once Haute Doll is gone.


No way will we have that level of coverage of BJDs in its replacement, for Doll Reader is another magazine that deals with dolls in general.  While it has begun to acknowledge the BJD phenomenon, it recognizes few ball jointed dolls produced outside the US.  Even with the promised Haute Doll special supplement within its pages, I seriously doubt that we will see a shift in that narrow focus. 

And how often will this special supplement appear?  Once a year is my guess.  If we're lucky.  That observation is based on two other special supplements they have done: a Young Collectors supplement that I have seen twice now (once a year), and a Fashion/Forward supplement that was published last year.  Sixteen pages.  That's all.  Once a year, with no guarantee that it will cover BJDs outside the US.  It would not surprise me if the Fashion/Forward supplement was simply renamed the Haute Doll supplement.


How I wish I had the financial ability, the business acumen, the time, and the industry connections to publish a magazine.  I would focus on BJDs exclusively.  The audience is there.  If you don't believe me, go to ebay and look at the volume of merchandise being traded under the category of Super Dollfies.  We need a magazine.  A thick, glossy, high quality magazine.  A Vogue for BJDs.  We had Haute Doll.  Now we have nothing.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

IpleHouse Tania Comes to Resin Corner

I have wanted an IpleHouse doll for a long time.  What kept me from buying one was simple indecision.  What size?  Which gender?  Which individual among the many beautiful dolls in each group?  IpleHouse made it harder for me by adding sizes.  Even now, they show two sizes on their menu for which they do not yet sell dolls.  Should I wait?  Will I like the smaller dolls on IH's imminent horizon?

Nothing cures indecision quite like ebay.  There she was:  IpleHouse Tania, one of my two favorites in the JID (Juvenile IpleHouse Doll) category.  Moreover, she had a fabulous faceup by Cristy Stone.  As far as I was concerned, it was a done deal.  Fortunately, no one outbid me.

Wig, dress and shrug from IpleHouse

IpleHouse's default faceup for Tania is sweet and demure.  The Cristy Stone faceup smolders.  There's the smoky eye, the full lips.  You get the feeling that, despite her tender years, this Tania knows a thing or two about life and love.

I have not yet made her any clothes.  We had a trial run upon her arrival (something I do with each new doll) to see which of my existing outfits would fit.  Oh-oh.  This girl was going to be a problem.  The first thing I found that sort of fit was a kimono that was too big for the other mini girls.  It was a little short on Tania and didn't quite cover her around.  I took it off without photographing her in it.  The only other item that fit was a dress I had made for Linn from a pattern for Ellowyne.  By rights this should not have fit at all--Ellowyne is a smaller doll.  But Ellowyne has wide shoulders, and for some reason the cut of this dress was just right.  So I put it on her for the time being (because it's a Halloween dress and this is July) and ordered an outfit from IpleHouse.

Wig from Luxour Academy; "Shining Hour" dress pattern from Fletcher Pattern Company

The Halloween dress could work for the black-and-white party; however, I prefer to make her something a little less witchy.  (Spiders and spider webs--ugh!)  The original dress pattern had cuffed sleeves.  In making it for Linn, I had to allow for her large hands and omitted the cuffs.  I am toying with the idea of making the new dress sleeveless.  Shoes are turning out to be a problem, too. Tania has slightly smaller feet than the other dolls (5.3 cm; the others are 5.4 and 5.5) and most of my shoes are so loose they fall off.  IpleHouse had some cute white boots.  Wouldn't you know, by the time I ordered they were sold out.  I bought them in red instead.

Wig from LeekeWorld; dress and boots from IpleHouse

And then there are wigs.  Tania wears a size 7/8.  I have a number of 7/8 wigs because both Linn and Hazy wear that size.  I'm finding that many wigs with bangs come down so low on Tania's forehead that they obliterate her eyebrows and cover her beautiful eyes.  I did find a few that would work, including a new one from LeekeWorld that I literally snatched off Linn's head, and I ordered a couple from IpleHouse.  Tania is now ready to face the world.

LeekeWorld wig; IpleHouse dress

I am glad I did not buy one of the larger dolls.  For a small (43 cm) girl, Tania is quite heavy.  The larger dolls must be especially hard to handle when it comes time to restring them.  I haven't measured her, but judging from the way the IpleHouse dress fits her, I'd say she has the large bust option.  She also has the general body type, without the mobility joint in the thigh.  As it turns out, these are the very options I would have selected had I ordered directly from IpleHouse.  (The mobility joint, as its name suggests, increases the doll's ability to pose.  It also makes the doll less stable when standing, as I am finding with my LittleFee girls, who have the joint, versus LittleFee Shiwoo, who does not.  My dolls tend to stand more than they sit, so a secure thigh joint is a plus.)

Wig, dress, shrug and boots from IpleHouse

That reminds me:  I need to go to ebay and leave feedback on another doll I just purchased.  And one of these days I need to list some dolls on ebay that I no longer collect.  I wonder how many Tonners and Genes I have to sell in order to pay for one BJD?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Dolls' Black-and-White Party, Part 2

Poor Dylan! (Unidoll Anthony)  Instead of something new and different, his costume for the black-and-white party was made from exactly the same pattern as his previous outfit.  The pattern is called Hollywood, from Adams-Harris Pattern Company's 2008 Winter Collection.  I couldn't help myself.  Not only is the outfit a perfect fit, but I was able to make it to theme with fabrics already at hand.  Here he is, in all his pinstriped glory:


I dressed up his tee shirt with an applique made from my playing card fabric.  The black felt fedora is purchased -- I added the gray ribbon and black bow.  Something about the hat gives him an air of a young Frank Sinatra.  Or a Thirties gangster.

Here is the back view:


You didn't think I would be satisfied with a single playing card applique, did you?  And look ma!  No stand!  The benefit of having big feet and a well balanced body.  Not that I would leave him without a stand for long.  Resin Corner is not generally earthquake-prone; however we did feel a tremor a couple of weeks ago whose epicenter was on the Quebec-Ontario border.

Not to be outdone, Hazy demanded something glamorous.  I bought the fabric months ago with just this dress in mind.  Called Frous Frous, it is a pattern from MHD Designs that is supposed to recall the glamor of the Fifties.  Not exactly the same era as Dylan's pattern, but no matter.  The billowy skirt gets added volume from lots of tulle in the underskirt.  Frous Frous also has a coat and hat, neither of which I made.  The white fabric that I bought for the purpose turned out to be too tough to sew.  After making Heath's vest and trousers from it I swore I wouldn't touch it again.  I'll trot it out only if I happen to be dressing a pirate ship that wants a sail!


Hazy's shimmery dress called for something special in the way of a wig.  The style is Glamour, the color is Moon, from Jpopdolls.  I love the way it frames her face.  I also changed both the color and size of her eyes.  She had been wearing 14 mm eyes, but I found that the iris filled the eye opening, making her eyes look dark no matter what color they were.  By changing them to 12 mm, I now see the whites of her eyes and her whole face has opened up.  For the first time, Hazy appears to be smiling.  (Normally she looks somewhat standoffish.)  I wish I could remember what brand and color these eyes are.  I do so much switching that eyes don't always end up in the same box or bag (or doll) they started in.  Whatever they are, she looks fabulous in them.



Here's looking at you, kid.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Dolls' Black-and-White Party, Part 1

I don't recall the exact moment the seed was planted, but for some time now I have been working on a massive project to dress all the residents of Resin Corner in variations on the theme of black and white.  As I slog away the holidy weekend sewing yet another black and white outfit, I wonder if this was a wise move.  Will I tire of the color palette (or lack thereof) before I clothe the final doll?  At the rate I have been buying dolls, will there ever be a final doll?  Should I even try to dress them all to theme?  Will the ones who don't get an outfit feel left out?  So many questions, so few answers.

This is the outfit that started the ball rolling:



Here Mirren (Unoa Lusis) is wearing a holiday outfit (yes, I started this foolishness approaching Christmas 2009) comprised of pattern pieces from two Gracefaerie patterns.  The corset and puff sleeves are from #21 Corset for MSD, while the skirt is from #14 Mini Wardrobe for 43cm Narae.  I was so glad finally to find a use for the plaid fabric.  It was just a small strip of taffeta--maybe an eighth of a yard from a very narrow bolt--that I bought in London in the early 1980s.  I bought several such strips at the same time in a variety of plaids; this one was the best in terms of scale.  The corset pattern calls for lacing up the front but I made a solid front instead.  Mirren's black wig is Elle from Jpopdolls.

I made a white dress for Supia Yisol without even thinking of my black-and-white theme, then realized that it could easily adapt by switching its original blue gingham sash to a black and white one.  Linn also has a white dress from way back, and Marguerite arrived all dressed in white.  How hard could this project be?  Lulled by a false sense of security, I continued.

The outfit that really got me going at a fever pitch was this one:
  

Here Narae wears Gracefaerie's #20 Lilac Afternoon for MSD in a combination of fun fabrics.  The base fabric is an all-over playing card design on black.  It is accented by a black-and-white stripe fabric and a black cotton eyelet.  (I know you can't see the eyelet in this photo; believe me, it's there.)  Red bows at the hip and sleeves add a punch of color.  I found the stockings on ebay.  They reminded me of playing card suits.  I have since changed them to plain white hose (see below).  Call me old-fashioned, but the stockings struck me as a bit of overkill.  Narae wears Liza, a black-and-red wig from Dollzone (the very wig that didn't fit anyone else).  Her gray shoes are from Dale Rae.

Even though sewing for boys bores me, I couldn't very well neglect them.  Here is the first of them:
  

It's hard to find a photo of Olivier without Narae.  Those two are always together!  As for his outfit, there are three patterns here, all from Adams-Harris.  The pinstripe pants are My Guy for IpleHouse SooRi.  It's a pattern for SD boys, so I reduced it to 75 percent.  The playing card vest is Classic Blue, also for SooRi and reduced to 75 percent.  The white top with contrasting inset at the elbow is Just Kickin' for Soul Doll Xell (Linn's male counterpart).  Finally, a pattern I didn't have to reduce.  The hat is purchased.  I added the hatband in the playing card fabric.  Olivier is wearing the Liza wig in caramel.  I found his adorable shoes on ebay.  Narae's white shoes are from Dale Rae.

With his dark coloring, Heath demanded an outfit that was the direct opposite of Olivier's.  Here is what he got:


Again, I don't seem to have photographed him on his own--everyone had to get in on the act.  Before you say, "What?  No playing cards?" let me say that the cards are there--I put them on the back of the vest.  He is wearing the same three patterns as Olivier.  His blond wig is from LeekeWorld.  I found his red-and-white sneakers on ebay.

Narae will have to look out.  She is accustomed to having all the male attention focused on her, but she is about to have competition.  NeoNarae Elf is coming.  When she will arrive is anyone's guess.  I haven't made anything for her ahead of time because her measurements are slightly different.  I want to see how she fits into Narae's clothes, in case she requires pattern adjustments.  I wish she would get here--she has been on order since the middle of April.  Not only is my patience wearing thin, but I am whiling away my waiting time on ebay, buying dolls.  Bad, bad Ball Jointed Woman.

More black-and-white outfits to come, including a fabulous new look for Hazy.