Gratitude

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Simply Narae--Choices, Choices, Choices

From the beginning Narae (sculpted by Bimong) was one of those dolls who, like the Unoa girls, immediately rose to the top of my "Got to have" list.  Like the Unoas, she had to wait and for the same reason.  Money.  Simply put, these girls cost bigger bucks than I was used to spending on a doll.

The thing about resin boys and girls is that you often don't know the full cost until you get out your trusty calculator.  There's the base price.  That seems pretty straightforward, except where the base price differs depending on whether one chooses French resin or urethane resin.  (Note:  I never choose French resin.  Yes, it has a beautiful, translucent quality, but it yellows, sometimes unevenly, and sometimes within less than a year.  Examples turn up every so often on ebay.)  Tan dolls may come at a different price again.  Faceup (i.e., make-up) is an added cost:  one price for default make-up and a higher price for custom make-up.  Some dolls have optional body parts:  extra hands or faces, extra torsos, high heel feet, etc.  You get the picture.  Add a costume where none is included in the base price and ring up more dollars on the register.  Same goes for wigs and eyes.  Then there is shipping.  If the doll is coming from Asia, expect to pay something in the vicinity of $60, more for a larger, heavier doll and less for a smaller doll.  If you have done the sums and are still breathing, you may be ready to order your doll.

The choices for Narae kept me from ordering for a long time.  I just couldn't make up my mind.  There were six different facial expressions to choose from, not to mention around 30 face painting styles.  In the end, I opted for tan matte urethane, open eyes, and a smoky eye faceup.  I think it's time for a photo, don't you?

That's Narae on the right.  Unoa Lusis is on the left--you'll meet her later.  They are both wearing "Hope," a soft, lovely updo by Monique Gold wigs.  I can hear you asking:  Where's the tan?  Narin Creative's skin tones are on the pale side.  Their tan is what I would call normal beige, while their other choices tend towards white.  I wasn't ready for an all-white doll then. 

Narae entered the house at Resin Corner and immediately set her sights on Olivier (Limho Mono).  They have been inseparable since.

The mohair wig Olivier has on is the one that came with Narae.  The color never suited her--it is too close to the color of her skin.  Olivier, on the other hand, is much paler, so for him it works.  It rather makes him look like a Romantic poet or musician.  Narae's dress is a lengthened version of Adams-Harris' "Romantic" previously seen on Linn and Dharma.

 
I love this wig on Narae.  It's "Pretty Girl" in brownblack/blonde from Monique Gold.  The dress is "Rodeo Drive" from Fletcher Pattern Company (designed for Ellowyne Wilde).  Below is the same pattern again, done up this time for the holidays:

 


Narae in a short, sassy wig from Jpopdolls called "Elle."  The color is white blonde.

I will close today with another look at Narae's period gown, called "Notorious" as designed for Ellowyne Wilde. It is the same pattern as "1790" for Elfdoll Sooah, both from the Adams-Harris Pattern Company.  (More about Unoa's gown when we meet her.)


Next time, enter a boy to keep the Elfgirls on their toes:  Soul Doll's L-Heart.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

The World Grows Hazy

What can one say about Hazy?  She is exquisite, no doubt about it.  That she was born from a period of confusion in her creator's life (hence her name) is even more astounding.  As the story goes, Rainman was going through a period of anger and doubt.  A small, whimsical doll that he had created was not well received by his collectors, who had grown to love and desire his large Elfgirls.  In a fit of pique he sculpted a new girl whose subtle Asian beauty truly captures the viewer's (as well as her sculptor's) soul.

The limited edition Hazy was almost bereft of makeup, presenting instead a strong, young Asian woman whose beauty needed no artifice.  I wish I had bought that one.  Instead, I waited for the standard edition (it was a question of money) and in late 2008 Standard Hazy arrived at Resin Corner.  I have tried several times to rename her, but she stubbornly clings to the name she was born with:  Hazy.

Pan-Asian Beauty:  a Korean doll
wearing a Japanese-inspired outfit
in front of Chinese architecture.

Above is Hazy in "Orientale Moderne" from MHD designs.  Hazy came with two sets of hands: one pair open and one pair closed.  Presumably the fists represent the sculptor's feelings at the time he created her.  I find I like her best wearing one hand from each set--the fist is just loose enough that I can hook something onto it, such as the tiny paper crane she is holding in the above photo.

Not content to stand around looking like a Korean doll, Hazy demanded more fashions.  She decided she wanted something she could wear on the street.  Here she is in Adams-Harris's "Annabella".  She refused to be photographed without her paper crane.
Her next outfit was rather more ambitious, as it consisted of a dress with underskirt, and a coat with matching hat and bag.  The ensemble, from MHD Designs, is called "Sans Pretention".  It was designed for the small bust version of Sooah, so my large bust Sooah can't wear the dress, although the coat is loose enough to fit.  Hazy has Elfdoll's new body, with a smaller, higher bust meant to make the doll's clothes fit as if she were wearing a push-up bra.  Sooah's loss is Hazy's gain.
The most recent addition to Hazy's wardrobe is another Adams-Harris pattern, this one called "Sweet Jane".  The designer made the prototype in black and white.  I chose to embrace color instead.  Here Hazy sits on the ironing board in the "Sweet Jane" blouse and the underskirt from "Sans Pretention".  The mound of tulle next to her is in the process of becoming the crinoline to the new outfit.
At left is the completed outfit.  The photo does not show the crinoline, which extends beyond the lace at the bottom of the skirt.  I was fortunate to find a pale lilac lace that exactly matches the skirt fabric.  I don't recall whether the long vest fabric is Japanese or Japanese-inspired.  Either way, I just love its floral design and colors.
I have yet to take a photo of both Elfgirls together.  If I did, you would see that Hazy with the new body is a couple of inches shorter than Sooah with the old body.  Hazy's hands are smaller and more delicate.  Another difference:  Hazy's face sculpt is more true-to-life compared to Sooah's, which is more doll-like.  Many BJD sculpts seem to be inspired by Japanese anime and manga cartoons, with their large, exaggerated eyes.  Hazy's eyes are more in scale with her features.  She wears a smaller size wig, as well as a smaller size eye.  And I know that any time I goof, and a dress meant for Sooah comes out too small, Hazy can wear it.  (I thought this outfit was going to be Sooah's until we tried on the blouse and I couldn't make the fronts overlap.  It was a bit of a stretch to get it on Hazy.  Luckily, no gaps!)

Next time, a petite charmer named Narae enters our lives and steals a certain Limho Mono's heart away.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

There's a Boy in the House!

Although there are several boys now residing at Resin Corner, Limho Mono was the first.  This little charmer from Limhwa Doll in Korea arrived a month after Dharma.  He stands 44.5 cm (roughly 17 and 1/2 inches) tall, just a little taller than my girls.  His pale complexion is Limhwa's normal beige.  I named him Olivier.

He arrived wearing brown eyes (my least favorite eye color, no offense to my brown-eyed friends) and a mohair wig that needed styling.  I tried to style it--really, I did--I just made a mess of it.  Thank goodness I had other wigs on hand.  The pure white wig in the photo below ("Kana" from JpopDolls) may not be his best color, given his pale skin, but it looks worlds better than his original mohair. 

Luckily for Olivier, I was able to squeeze him into jeans and molded plastic loafers made for Tonner's Matt O'Neill.  The tee shirt was a better fit.  The outfit would do until I could sew something for him.  Before his arrival I had made pants and a shirt designed for a different doll--both garments were too small.  (No great loss, as I didn't like the fabric anyway.)  
I had better luck with a pattern designed for IpleHouse SooRi, a 63 cm doll.  I reduced it to 75% of the original, which still made it a little larger than needed but allowed for the fact that my seams sometimes go wider than they should.  It was an ambitious pattern.  I wish I had succeeded with the coat, but I chose the wrong fabric for the lining and then couldn't get his arms through the sleeves.  Someday I'll try again.

Our gallant gentleman wears "Brummel" by Adams-Harris Pattern Company. 
His lovely companion is Linn in a pink wig and a dress last seen on Innuendo.
Limho Mono also comes in a tan resin version, and I had the opportunity to purchase one a year later from another collector.  The contrast between the two Limhos is as night and day.
Here the boys exchange a tentative handshake.  After all, a new male in the house is a potential rival for the attention of fair maidens.  The tan version is Heath, because I detected a hint of Bronte's Heathcliff about him.  No need to describe the outfit--it's Matt O'Neill all over again.  (Heath has since passed this outfit on to another boy.)

Both Limhos scored new outfits in the past year.  Below left, Olivier could stand in for Harry Potter in "My Guy" from Adams-Harris patterns.  The only thing missing is the wizard's cloak and a wand.  (Hey!  I have those.  Olivier can "borrow" them from my Tonner Harry Potter doll.)

Heath, on the other hand, channels his inner Captain Jack Sparrow in an outfit cobbled together from bits and pieces of different patterns.  I even made the hat.  A pirate would hardly walk into a department store and buy his seafaring duds off the rack, would he?  (I could have saved myself the trouble of making the hat and simply borrowed from my Tonner Captain Jack Sparrow doll.  I wonder how much of the rest of the outfit would fit?)


Heath's latest incarnation is as a normal boy with a penchant for sports.  It's not so much that he was tired of playing at pirates, but that the girls were put off by the costume.  None of them wanted to be seen with him!

I made jeans to go with this shirt.  If only I had a pattern for shorts
--I could put a soccer ball in his hands and let him run.

Limhwa dolls have the most beautiful facial sculpts; however, I find that their bodies are sometimes awkward to pose.  I have had to restring this lad several times in an effort to make him behave.  In the end, he is going to do what he wants to do, regardless of my wishes.  With a face like that, I know I'm going to forgive him.

Next time, a Raniy Elfgirl with a distinctly Asian flair joins the growing family at Resin Corner.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dharma, the Free Spiritz Pixie

Miss Dharma is not a real pixie.  I chose the human version over the one with pointed ears.  In general I opt for the more realistic looking dolls, rather than pixies, elves, or anthropomorphic creatures.  (That said, I have just ordered an elf from another dollmaker.  My first.  She won't be here for a couple of months, so more about her later.)  This post belongs to Dharma.


This is not the best photo of Dharma.  I seem to have put her eyes in crooked.
("Romantic" dress pattern by Adams-Harris)

If I was enchanted by her cute little face, I was less enamored of her body.  Here was a doll with mobility issues.  She could hold a pose well enough, so long as it didn't require much exertion.  Both her wrists and ankles lacked any range of motion.  After a while, her elastic loosened to the extent that her head bobbled.  I was still new to the world of ball jointed dolls and feared what would happen if I tried any more enthusiastic alterations than tugging her elastic up tighter into her head, so for a long time I left her alone.

It was not until I had strung together a few other dolls that I decided to tackle Dharma.  First I took her apart.  That's always scary when you are unsure of your ability to put something back together.  The other dolls I had strung all had their extremities held on by S-hooks.  This one had her elastic cord strung through holes in the balls of her ankles and wrists.  That alone would keep her wrists and feet from turning naturally.  Give a hand half a twist and it springs right back at you.  I couldn't find S-hooks small enough to fit into her wrists, so I fashioned some from wire.  (It helps to have a few jewelry-making tools on hand.)

Here is Dharma with her buddy Innuendo, pre-makeover.
(For the dresses I took liberties with a number of different pattern pieces from MHD Designs, Designs by Jude, and Gracefaerie Designs.  Thanks to all.)

Once she was restrung, I decided she should have a makeover to celebrate. I remove the factory face-up and applied pastels and watercolor pencil, with coats of Mr. Super Clear before, in between and after.  Another dress, another wig, and our girl is good as new.  Well, as good as I can make her without resorting to more serious modifications that require knives and sanding tools.  I'm not ready to go there.


This pose was not possible before restringing.
(Dress pattern by Fletcher Pattern Company for Ellowyne Wilde.  Face up by me!)

A word or two about doll photography.  I don't have a professional set-up with lights that can be angled to flatter the subject.  I take my pictures with a digital camera by natural light.  Sometimes there isn't quite enough natural light and the flash goes off automatically.  This tends to wash out a small subject photographed up close.  PhotoShop can help only so far.  The new Dharma, in person, has a little more color in her face than you can see in the above photo.  Dolls with paler coloring wash out altogether.  Someday, if I ever find myself with some spare cash, I will buy proper equipment for my "studio".

Tune in next time as boys invade Resin Corner!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

An American BJD in Resin World

When Goodreau Dolls announced its first American BJD, I got in line to buy one.  But not the resin version.  I saw that there would be a considerable dollar savings in waiting for the vinyl version and so I put down my deposit and waited.  And waited.  After some delay the vinyl dolls finally debuted.  Mine was Innuendo.  The others were Secret, Whisper and Rumor.  Intriguing names.  I gave my vinyl girl a name, and then another, but the name I always come back to is Innuendo.

Being one of the first group of vinyl bjds from the company, she is further distinguished by being smaller than the others.  This was not planned, and subsequent vinyl dolls from Goodreau are the same size as their resin counterparts.  So what I have is a special doll with a special problem:  Goodreau shoes and wigs are made for the larger resin girls.  I always intended to sew for her, so I did not buy any of the clothes.  I imagine they are also big on her.  Here she is:


As you can see, I did find shoes that fit with thick stockings.  (I have since discovered shoes designed especially for her by Dale Rae Designs.  Thank you, Dale!)  The dress is from an Adams-Harris pattern called "Romantic" that was designed to fit Soul Kid Linn and the wig is a discontinued model called "Tenshi" from Jpopdolls that I absolutely love.  Soul Kid Linn has the same in black.


Here is Innuendo in a sleeveless dress I made from a Zolala pattern (for Unoa) that appeared in Haute Doll Magazine, June 2008.  I did not then have a Unoa, so I adjusted the pattern to fit Innuendo.  My first ever attempt at pintucks didn't come out too bad.  The wig is "Ginger" by Monique Gold.  This photo shows something that has bothered me about Innuendo from the start:  One eye appears to be smaller than the other.  I admit I stared at her for two years before doing anything about it.  Perhaps because I didn't know what to do.

I finally decided it couldn't hurt to give her a makeover, or, in bjd parlance, a new face up.  (I have blank faceplates on order for two other dolls, so in a future post I will show the tools, materials and steps I use in this process.)  For now I will summarize:  I removed the factory face up after first taking off her wig, eyes, and eyelashes.  This in itself was a revelation, as I discovered that the eyelash on the "smaller" eye was crushed.  Why hadn't I noticed that before?  That alone could make an eye appear different.  After spraying the clean face with Mr. Super Clear to protect the vinyl and provide a ground for my artist materials, I went to work.  I used powdered pastels to shade her cheeks, ears, eyelids and lips, and then detailed her eyebrows, eyeliner and lower lashes with watercolor pencil.  I sprayed again with Mr. Super Clear to seal the colors, then applied Crystal Lacquer to her lips to give them a bit of gloss.



Here is Innuendo with her new look, which includes new eyelashes.  The old ones went straight into the trash.  Her eyes are finally the same size.  They are the same eyes she had originally--I resisted the temptation to try on another color.  I also minimized the fullness of her lips to give her less of a bee stung look.  Her outfit is a composite made up from three different patterns.  The skirt uses the "Down to Business" pattern for Ellowyne Wilde from the Fletcher Pattern Company; the cami, which you can barely see beneath the blouse, is from another Haute Doll Magazine pattern for Unoa from Zolala; and the blouse comes from the "Cabaret" pattern for Ellowyne Wilde by Adams-Harris.  Her wig is "Roxy" by Monique Gold.

I should probably add a word here about Ellowyne Wilde.  She is a vinyl fashion doll sold from her own website, Wilde Imagination (wildeimagination.com).  Although not a bjd in the strictest sense, she is jointed in a way that allows her a good range of posability.  She is also comparable in size to many of the slim mini bjds on the market, which makes patterns for Ellowyne a good bet for these bjds.  Too bad my four Ellowynes rarely get to wear them.  Look for them instead on Narae, Unoa, Innuendo, and others.  Sorry, Ellowyne...

Here is Ellowyne Wilde on the right wearing the same outfit.  Instead of the cami she wears the pink satin teddy she came in.  Free Spiritz Pixie Dharma on the left shows how the blouse looks with a pleated skirt.  More about Dharma (and her makeover) in our next visit to Resin Corner.  Thanks for dropping in!