Sunday, December 30, 2012

U-noa Chibi Lilin's New Dress

It's so hard to sew for little Lilin.  Practically nobody makes patterns just for her, so it's a choice between drafting your own (if you know how) or trying to adapt patterns designed for someone else.

It is possible to use patterns drafted for U-noa Lusis and Sist and size them down.  My first ever dress for Lilin was designed for Lusis, but I accidentally made my seams an eighth-inch wider than called for and it ended up fitting Lilin instead. 

I made it this dress in February 2010.
It was designed for Lusis.
I've also heard that it is possible to take patterns published in the U-noa Freak books and make them to size instead of enlarging them to fit Lusis and Sist.  I tried that.  The pattern I attempted still needs to be upsized for Lilin.  Despite a notation on the page of 100%, there is no telling what that refers to unless you read Japanese.  U-noa Freak 2 includes a pattern for Lilin.  It looks like a satin baseball jacket over a transparent red negligee.  I can see making the jacket and pairing it with a tee shirt and jeans.  The see-through nightie gets a thumbs down from this doll mom.

After fussing for several weeks with patterns that just didn't work, on a whim I decided to try one of Narae's dresses on her.  The pattern is Gracefaerie's #20 Lilac Afternoon for MSD.  The dress almost fit Lilin.  It would need shortening in the torso, but the rest seemed to fit pretty well. 

Gracefaerie's #20 Lilac Afternoon for MSD.
When I pulled out the actual pattern, I discovered that one of the sizes included was for Vinyl Goodreau.  I have a vinyl Goodreau Innuendo.  She is taller than Lilin, but her torso is short and her bust relatively full.  I made a test piece by cutting the bodice out of my lining fabric.  I basted it together and tried it on Lilin.  Nice!  It looked like I might have a little too much fabric at the back of the dress, but I could compensate with a wider seam allowance back there.

The fit has been thrown off by the extra thickness
of an unplanned-for slip.
The pattern calls for a three-tiered dress skirt.  Since I've already made this outfit a couple of times, I decided to vary it by making a single, slightly longer skirt.  Of course, I ran into problems.  (When don't I?)   The trim I chose for the bottom of the skirt, while perfect in color, is too stiff.  It doesn't allow the skirt to fall naturally.  When I saw how the skirt was sticking out, I realized that Lilin would need a slip or panties to preserve her modesty.  I chose to make a slip, using the skirt pattern from the Fun and Flouncy pattern by Susan Rethoret.  Because I made the dress first, I didn't allow for the extra thickness of a slip, and now the dress is quite snug around the hips.  I'll have to move the snap.  Have I ever mentioned how much I detest sewing snaps?  I don't even want to think about it.

I added silk flowers with the plastic centers and stems removed. 
Each flower is held together in the center by a glass bead instead.
Having the Fun and Flouncy pattern out made me want to make it for U-noa Lusis.  Barring anything wild and wonderful (like the arrival of a doll) in the coming week, I will sew the dress and feature it next week.

Lilin's wig is from Iplehouse (for BID).

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

It's Christmas Day!

All of the waiting has paid off for three sleepy little Iplehouse BIDs.  On Christmas morning, what should greet their wondering eyes but presents for everyone under the tree.



Sooner than anyone can say "Merry Christmas!" they have torn the paper off the presents.  Boxes, paper and toys surround them.

Time to play!

"Of course they've been good.  Would we steer Santa wrong?"

"Merry Merry Christmas!  He-he-he!"

Monday, December 24, 2012

Naughty? Or Nice?

It's Chistmas Eve, there is snow on the ground, and the sun finally appeared today for the first time in three days.  So, even though I posted last night, I couldn't resist setting up Caroline's Parlor, complete with Christmas tree, and posting again. 

The little Iplehouse BIDs are awaiting Santa Claus.  All three want Santa to know that they have been good little girls and boy this year.

Yuri, especially, wants Santa to know that he hasn't got up to any mischief.

Maddie and Julie have played nicely together, and always put away their toys when they are done.


And none of them would dream of staying up Christmas Eve to see Santa come down the chimney.

But Santa knows the truth.  He has his spies, hidden in the Christmas tree.  

They see all, and they tell all.

They are Santa's eyes and ears.

What will Christmas Day bring?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Soom Quartz, Ice Dragon

I'm on the fence about this one.  Do I keep him?  Or do I sell him?  I started regretting my order early in the waiting period, even more so after I saw Iplehouse's three new nYID boys.  Now I had no money for another doll, and a doll coming that I wasn't sure I wanted and couldn't un-order.  (Welcome to the world of BJDs:  Dolls are cast to order; therefore, orders cannot be cancelled.)

Quartz took just over three months to arrive.  That's a lot of time for second-guessing my choice.  Originally I had planned him as a consort to Feeple65 Siean.  What if they didn't look good together?  After all, Siean is natural in color.  Quartz's color choice was either cream white or blue.  Blue?  I don't think so.  Cream white might work.  I have LittleFee Ante Elf in Fairyland's beautiful white.  It's not my favorite resin color, but looking at Ante next to Siean, I figured it wouldn't look too odd.

Feeple65 Siean wearing a white Christmas gown I bought on ebay.

Fast forward to December 4th.  BIG box.  Lots of individually wrapped parts.  Uh-oh.  Do I have to put him together?  By now I had decided to list him for sale on Den of Angels.  I peeked into the wrappings and spied something transparent and very blue.  Ah, yes, the dragon talons.  They look like chicken feet.  Well, I always knew I wouldn't be keeping those.  I don't collect fantasy creatures, so the dragon legs, talons and horns would have to go. 

Knowing I would have to photograph the lot for my sale listing, I started unwrapping and laying out the pieces.  It was a relief to see that I would need only to attach the hands, feet and head to the basic doll.  The body itself was already strung.  The pieces are labelled L and R, to prevent me (and others) from attaching a left upper leg to a right lower leg and vice versa.  During this process I noticed that I had two left talons.  Merde, as we say in French.  I would have to contact Soom and see if they would send me a right talon.  (Soom says they will send me the missing part and email me when it ships.  The question is, when?)

In addition to the human body and dragon parts, Quartz came with
a free gift:  a pair of jeans with zipper detail down the sides.  I also
ordered his wig.  Soom sent it in silver; the one pictured on their
site looked blonde.  The magnets on top of "The Gem" booklet are
for attaching the horns to his head.
I photographed everything, then rewrapped all the parts and put them back in the box, where they stayed for the next week and a half.  Every time I passed the box (or tripped over it) I thought:  I really should put him together and see how he looks.  He's got a nicely sculpted head.  I'm not a fan of the blue tips on the elf ears; otherwise, he's a handsome fellow, if a bit pale.

Soom Quartz wearing 14 mm eyes from Souldoll.  I tried him
with blue eyes first.  Inasmuch as they were the same color as
his ears, they made his eyes fade into the background.  He
needs a pop of color.

The hands went on easily, lulling me into a false sense of complacency.  I tackled the first foot.  Suddenly, visions of Iplehouse Audrey flashed across my mind.  This elastic wasn't going anywhere.  I had secured it first with a metal crochet hook and a length of grosgrain ribbon, so I could retrieve the elastic if it retreated.  No, the problem with this one was more complex.  Where other companies attach hands, feet and heads with S-hooks, Soom uses resin hooks (or for the head, a small resin banana).  In the case of the foot, there was an additional piece, like half of a hollow ball, that serves as an ankle.  The elastic has to go through a slot in the ball before it attaches to the hook in the foot.  I now had three pieces to manipulate:  the string, the half-ball, and the foot.  Three pieces to juggle between two hands.  Somehow I got the string through the slot in the half-ball.  That's as far as I got.

Photographed under my dining room light, his
silver wig looks blonde.
Feeling like a fool, I phoned my next door neighbor.  He came over and pulled on the string while I attached the first foot.  After a few tries, it was on; the second one was easier.  The banana required only pulling while I attached the head.  I heard a snap when my neighbor let go of the banana.  Too late to tell him to go gently, as resin is strong but not unbreakable.  Quartz weathered the operation, so no harm done.  As for my neighbor, this had to be the strangest request he's ever had.

Soom sends its dolls loosely strung, to make shipping safer.  Considering how much trouble I had attaching Quartz's extremities, there is absolutely no way that I would be able to make that elastic tighter.  He stays as he's strung.  End of argument.

Quartz is wearing one of the ensembles I sewed for
Unidoll Anthony, who has since gone to another home.

I had hoped that Quartz could share clothing with my Iplehouse boys.  In person, he is less robustly built and the clothes are way too big on him.  I was luckier with pants and a vest I made for Unidoll Anthony.  They are a little loose, but not objectionably so.  I sewed a second version of this outfit for Anthony, but after turning the house upside down yesterday without finding it, I figure I'll have to make another one.  That's if Quartz stays.  The listing is posted, and if I get a solid offer I will ship him out. 

The black and white pinstripe is the set I have been looking for
and can't find.  I think it would suit Quartz better than the brown.
IF he stays, I will need to touch up his faceup.  By design, he is pale as a block of ice.  A bit of blush on the cheeks might help to warm him up, as would a deeper color on his lips.  And the blue on the ear tips has got to go.  The blonde eyelashes are all but invisible, so I would change them to dark brown or black.  All that is only if he stays.

The warm glow comes from the lighting.  His coloring is so
pale that he looks like a doll without a faceup.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Iple Love

I knew something was up the moment I added Jillian (aka Iplehouse nYID Audrey) to the shelf where I keep my larger Iplehouse dolls.  The air became electric.  Sparks flew.  Poor Shane, who had been standing there suffering from unrequited love ever since Carleen got an SID body and declared herself Jamie's girl, suddenly had a gleam in his eye.  It wasn't for Soo.  It wasn't for Beatrice.  Jillian -- now there's another story.  Jillian looked in his direction and decided she liked what she saw.  The next thing I knew they were standing together, with his hands on her waist.

Shane, Jillian and Beatrice went to last week's doll meet-up.  Their body language said it all.  Shane and Jillian together.  Beatrice alone.  Even in the same photo.  So today, with the sun shining through the windows, I gave them some time alone together to see what would develop.

For now, Shane and Jillian are quite the item.  It will be interesting to see what happens when I introduce another girl into their midst.  I made my last layaway payment on SID Mari this past week.  I figure she will ship within a month.  Will she break up any existing pairs?  Or demand her own male friend?  Time will tell.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

December 2012 Doll Meet-Up in Vermont

I always feel like an idiot posting this right after Modern Wizard has posted the same photos.  On the other hand, not everyone reads both blogs, right?  So here is my take on the Chittenden County Doll Club's meeting held December 8th at the Brownell Library in Essex Junction, Vermont.

There were three big people in attendance and twelve little people, the little people being dolls.  Modern Wizard brought three small Soom Fairy Legends dolls:

Left to right:  Ginevra (an Aenigma girl), Mellifer (a Metato in orange)
and Flower (a Kremer wearing purple)

Lyrajean brought the largest and most varied contingent:  three Volks dolls, one CP Luts, one Angel Region and one Iplehouse:

Lyrajean's crew:  a Volks F36 (with samurai cutlery), a CP Lutz sleeping elf
Chiwoo (a defanged vampire head), Iplehouse EID Asa, a Volks old F14,
 a Volks YoSD Kira with Four Sisters head, and an Angel Region Kai

Vermont Chick (aka balljointedwoman) brought three Iplehouse dolls.  People have come to expect this of me.  I do, however, collect other dolls.  Once in a blue moon I even bring one to a meet-up.

Beatrice (an Iplehouse nYID Bianca making her second meet-up
appearance), Iplehouse SID Shane, and Jillian (an Iplehouse nYID Audrey)

I brought extra wigs to the meet-up, so the Iples had fun changing their looks:

Asa wearing Shane's wig, a Monique Gold Jo-Jo.  Lyrajean, who has
lived in Japan, says this is typical of the color Japanese young people
dye their hair once they finish school.  Who knew?

Shane and Jillian exchange their reds for pure white.  Both wigs
by Iplehouse.

Beatrice looking pretty and pouty in Asa's Iplehouse wig.

We will get together again in two months, provided there are at least three people interested in meeting.  If Lyrajean moves to Seattle, we may have difficulty reaching our quota.  I know there are other doll collectors in the area.  We'd love to have you join us.

YoSD Kira reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Last week a Soom Super Gem Quartz Ice Dragon that I ordered in August was delivered.  I wish I could say that I am absolutely crazed with joy over his arrival, but the fact is, he leaves me cold.  He does have a nice face, but I really wish I hadn't spent the money.  I have already listed him on Den of Angels.  Except for the occasional wig or eyes, he's my last venture into Soom-dom.

Dragon legs and ice-blue talons.  What was I thinking?
(They look like chicken feet.)
He's not bad looking, though.

I also purchased a postal scale this week, so I can finally begin listing dolls for sale on e-bay. Lots of old vinyls need to find new homes.  Now I need shipping boxes.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Iplehouse nYID Audrey Gets Restrung

Yes, I know.  I promised an outfit for U-noa Chibi Lilin for this week.  I didn't even get a chance to start on it.  Here's why:

I put Audrey on layaway at the beginning of October.  Three equal payments.  I should have finished paying for her tomorrow, except that I got impatient and made the final payment a week ago.  She arrived yesterday.  Audrey is a basic doll, not a limited, so I knew that paying early would hasten her arrival.  I did order an outfit with her: a set of bridal lingerie consisting of white corset, white bikini panties and white hose.  I added a pair of white shoes to the order, as the only shoes I have for Iple's larger girls are black, beige or brown.  I also added a long wavy wig in a color that Iple calls Yellow Gradation.

Audrey is normal skin resin with faceup A.  There were two other faceups possible, but I didn't care for either of them.  In the promotional photos this faceup looks extremely pale, so I'm glad to see that Iple's artist gave her a prominent blush.  Not so prominent as Soo's (i.e., no red nose) but enough to give her a healthy glow.

Trying Bianca's wild red wig on for size.  Bianca has a slightly
smaller head.  I could barely get this wig to stay on Audrey's head.
I selected the medium bust again, as I did with Bianca.  To tell the truth, from the moment I saw Bianca I feared that I had received the wrong doll.  For a medium, that bust looked huge!  So I ordered medium again to see if I would receive a smaller size.  Nope.  Same size.  If this is medium, I shudder to think what the large and glamorous busts look like.  One of these days I'll order a small.

Iplehouse sends out its large girls assembled with flat feet, which I find puzzling given that all but one style of their shoes for ladies have high heels.  That means the first order of business for a new female doll is a change of feet.  Sometimes this is a relatively easy task.  Sometimes not. 

I pulled on one foot and tried to hook the elastic with my metal crochet hook, preparatory to slipping the flat foot off its S-hook and replacing it with the heel foot.  I thought I had it, but the elastic inside the leg wasn't giving up so easily.  Zing!  The elastic retreated far up the leg, taking the little S-hook with it.  This has happened to me before.  Each time I was able to reach into the leg cavity with the crochet hook and retrieve the elastic.  This time I could barely see the end of the elastic, much less grab it from afar.  I had no recourse but to disassemble the leg.

Another flash picture.  This one is better than most I took today.
How could a piece of elastic barely three inches long have stretched all the way down the leg to hold the foot?  I tugged.  I pulled.  I tried the crochet hook.  I tried a hemostat (a metal clamping device that serves as an extra hand).  I tugged and pulled some more.  Using a thin wire as a tool, I restrung the leg parts.  The elastic still wouldn't stretch to the ankle.  How the heck did they put her together?

At this point I gave up for the day.  Only now did I notice that I had blisters on several fingers and that two of the blisters had broken open.  I tended my wounds and planned my mode of attack for the next day.

Today I bandaged my sore fingers and wriggled them into a pair of latex gloves.  I pulled on the elastic to see how far it would stretch.  Made note of the marvel of engineering inside this doll's body.  The elastic feeds through a small hole from the opposite leg opening.  Hmm.  At this point I figured it might be a good idea to get out the assembly manual that Iple thoughtfully includes with the doll.  The elastic starts from the neck, goes through the torso, then crisscrosses through a hole in the pelvis before going through what Iple calls a pelvis fixer part and then to the leg.  By the time the elastic comes through the upper thigh, it has traveled through quite an expanse of internal real estate!

I also noted that they did not attach the doll's head until after completing the stringing process.  I removed Audrey's head and set it aside.  I pulled the string out through the neck opening--mainly because I was curious to see how long it was.  It had occurred to me that I might do well to replace it with a longer elastic.  I know some owners replace the esastic with a thicker one.  Frankly, I don't see how anything thicker could fit through some of the openings without more of a struggle than I was having already.  I chose a replacement elastic.  Because I have all my elastic cords in one place, I don't know if this came originally with an Iplehouse doll, an Elfdoll or some other brand.  It was about the same length, but it seemed to have more stretch than the other string.

Long story short, I was able to restring Audrey with the replacement cord and attach her feet.  Then I dressed her in the bridal lingerie and tried to take photos.  It has been either threatening rain or raining all weekend, which means skies are dark gray even at midday.  Good photos were not to be had.  The best were close-ups.  Pictures taken at a distance sufficient to show the doll from top to bottom were beyond even PhotoShop's help.  You'll have to take my word for it that she is a gorgeous doll.  I'll try to take better photos next weekend.  It's a doll meet-up Saturday!