Sunday, August 25, 2013

Home Decorating, MiniFee Style

Much as I love my Victorian sofa from American Girl, it does sit a little too deep for the MiniFees.  I've been meaning to address that with throw pillows, and finally today I got down to it.

I decided to make two styles of pillows:  round and square.  Both are plain knife-edge pillows.  No cording (but only because I didn't have any) or tassels or any other decorations other than buttons on the extra pillow I made for a new wooden chair.  I thought of adding an extra dimension to the round pillows, but in the end I wanted a bunch of pillows in the shortest amount of time, which meant no frills.

Luckily, I had some upholstery fabric on hand, thanks to a local store that specializes in it.  I never need a lot, just a few scraps here and there.  Home decor fabrics tend to come with swatch books.  You look at the book, find the design you like and see what colors it comes in.  Then you order your sofa upholstered or curtains made, etc.  When the swatch books are updated, the old books go into a bin with a minimal price written on them.  That's when and where I stock up.  Ends of fabric bolts go into the bins, too.  It's a merry mess.  I love it!

I drafted two pattern pieces:  a 4-inch square and a roughly 3 and 3/4 inch circle.  The size of the circle was determined by the circumference of a spool of lace that was sitting on the table.  I traced it onto paper, cut it out, and voila!  In retrospect, I could have made the circles larger.  The round pillows are quite small, i.e., decorative rather than functional.  They work, but only just barely.  Next time I'll sew on the cut line and cut a quarter-inch outside of it.

The colorways I had on hand dictated my color scheme of red and green.  I cut out my circles and squares, then sewed around each pair of fabric pieces, leaving a small opening for stuffing.  I pinked the edges, turned the pillows and stuffed them with poly-fil batting left over from my cloth doll-making days.  When each pillow felt right, I sewed the opening closed with an invisible ladder stitch.

The girls pronounced the pillows "adequate".  You'd think they could be a little more appreciative.  Maybe next time I'll suggest that they get out their sewing kits and try making pillows themselves.

Calandra is wearing an outfit by Wilde Imagination made for Ellowyne Wilde. Most of the pieces fit, except for the boots and the pantyhose.  The jacket is extremely tight-fitting.  It was hard getting it on over the blouse sleeves.  Instead of Ellowyne's boots, she is wearing a pair of shoes for Tonner's Matt O'Neill.

I'm getting a little tired of Mallory's belly-baring pants and top.  They're cute, but she is showing a lot of skin.  In the next few days she will be trying on another of Ellowyne Wilde's outfits.  I'm debating whether to cut the feet off the pantyhose so that she can get them on.  Either that, or I can try to make her some leggings from fabric in my stash--if only I can find something that matches the outfit.

In related news, the MiniFee body that I ordered for the Siean event head has just changed status from "Item Processing" to "Before Shipping."  I'm hoping that means it will ship this week.  It's just a body, after all.  No head, so no faceup to do.  No special resin color.  No clothing, wig or shoes to slow the order down.  The status changed on day 50 after I placed my order, although I think there may have been some vacation days or holidays during that period.  Let's just say between 40 and 50 days.  Considering how backed up with orders Fairyland is these days, that's pretty good.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Too Young to Drive: Bicycle Boys

I love it when I score a great prop!  It doesn't happen often, but when it does, I can't wait to share.

This time it's The Bicycle.  I've been wanting an MSD-sized bicycle for ages.  I thought I would have to buy one in pink or purple from American Girl--an obvious girl's bike for sure.  The boys would never go for that.  Then someone on Den of Angels posted a photo of a boy doll with a gold-colored metal bike from Pier One.  I couldn't log off DoA fast enough in my haste to buy one for my boys.

Turns out it's a little short, probably better sized for the girls.  Luckily girls don't mind riding boys' bikes.  I didn't let any of them try it, however.  The first time was strictly for the guys.

Boris wheeled it out into the driveway for a test spin.  Not the best choice, perhaps, as he is the tallest of the group.

Little Yuri could only look on in wonder and desire.  I tried to sit him on it, but he didn't reach the handlebars or the pedals and had nothing to hold onto.  I didn't trust him not to fall off, so no photo.

Narin arrived, along with the U-noa boys, L-bi and B-El.  (I can never remember which is which unless I pull out one of my U-noa Freak books.  L-bi is the one who looks like Lusis.  Easy enough to remember.  They both start with L.  But then L sounds like El.  You can't win.)  Pretend you don't see the doll stands.  A number of my boys are crazy loose and would collapse in an instant if not supported.

A couple of them tried the bike on for size.  We might have had better luck with pants that weren't so tight.  Despite being the most loosely strung of the bunch, L-bi was wearing the tightest pants and could barely bend his knees.

Narin had slightly better luck.  What the photos don't show is how completely mobile this bicycle is.  Everything that is supposed to turn or swivel or roll on a real bicycle does.  That's why I kept the kick stand down, because otherwise the bike would have rolled and fallen, taking one or more of the boys with it.  That also made it hard to pose the dolls.  There were too many moving parts, making it hard to find the perfect balance of doll and bicycle.

Finally it was time to bring the bicycle inside.  Little Yuri could only dream of riding down the hill with the wind at his back.  Maybe someday, when he is a little bigger...

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Another Faceup for Tamsin, Part Two

(If you missed Part One, it ran yesterday. Scroll down to see it.)

I couldn't leave it alone.  I knew I had made a hash of Tamsin's faceup and couldn't rest until I fixed it.  Before the evening ended I had wiped it clean, which is easier to do when it's newly done than when the doll has been standing around for several months.  Then today before lunch I re-painted her.

Not quite there yet. She still needs eyelashes, as well as gloss on lips and eyelids.

It's easy when you know where you went wrong.  First of all, her shading was too dark.  I knew I had to pick a lighter pastel and not apply it so thickly.  Secondly, her sculpt gives her a uni-brow.  It's hard to know where to place the eyebrows.  Put them above the ridge and she looks perpetually surprised.  Along the ridge it's hard to draw anything but a straight line.  The trick is to follow the ridge as closely as possible while still managing to introduce an arch.  I don't know how well I succeeded, but it's better than it was.

Then there are her Betty Davis eyes.  I rather liked the silver eyeshadow that I gave her yesterday, so I decided to redo it.  Where I needed change was her lower lashes.  Yesterday I suggested lashes with a smudge of color, because I find it hard to draw a really thin line.  The problem was that the smudge was too dark.  Like it or not, I would have to draw eyelashes.  I kept them short.  Some faceup artists draw ridiculously long lashes that look absolutely fabulous.  When I try to do the same, the result is something else.

Compared to her eyes, her mouth is small with narrow lips.  While I dislike a red mouth, the pink I used yesterday was too pale to balance her huge eyes.  This time I opted for a darker pink.  I would love to extend the lipstick line beyond her lips to give the effect of fullness, but find it hard to do with pastels.  The doll ends up looking like she tried to put on lipstick but couldn't find her mouth.

Yesterday's dark smoky violet eyes had to go.  I wanted a pop of color so I chose a pair of 14 mm Safrindoll eyes in a color called Olivine.  I replaced her eyelashes and put the faceplate back on the head.  Not bad, but I wasn't loving the look with yesterday's wig, so I dug out a wig called Pallid Whispers made for Evangeline Ghastly.  Don't ask me why, but it suits her.

This is as good as she is going to get unless I send her out to a real faceup artist.  Rather than do that, I will simply replace her photos on Den of Angels Marketplace and see if she stirs up any interest.  If she doesn't, there's always eBay.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Another Faceup for Tamsin (Lagoon)

I don't know what it is with this girl. I just can't seem to paint her face in a way that I like.  There was my first faceup attempt:

In retrospect, I should have left this one alone.

Then my second, which I don't seem to have photographed.  Recently I wiped her clean:

And today I tried again:

I think what's wrong is the eyeholes. They're just so darn big!

It didn't come out the way I pictured it in my head.  I had thought I might do a better job this time because I got new glasses last week.  I figured I could see better, so it stood to reason that I should paint better.  Right?  Looking at the results, I'd say not.

Thank goodness her outfit came out okay.  Maybe it's because it's a mélange of two patterns.  The current issue (August 2013) of Dolls/Haute Doll has a pattern for a workout set for 16-inch dolls such as Tonner's fashion dolls or Ellowyne.  I thought it would be cute for Tamsin, who has a more petite figure than my other slim mini BJDs.  The directions say to cut the workout suit and leggings from "double-stretch" swimwear fabric.  I cut the leggings from four-way stretch fabric, which worked fine. The suit fabric stretched in what I thought were two directions (i.e., side to side) in exactly the way shown on the printed pattern piece.  So why was the suit too short through the torso?  I'm thinking I should have used four-way stretch fabric instead.  Next time.  (I want to make the workout set for MiniFees, but I will need to enlarge the pattern slightly first.)

I bought the animal print thinking I'd use it for LittleFees.

This left me with a useable pair of leggings and leg warmers, but no suit.  So I turned to the All Dolled Up MiniFee pattern from Adams-Harris and made the cropped tee shirt in the same fabric as the discarded workout suit.  The finished product still looked like it needed something, so I drafted a quick pattern for an asymmetrical skirt, sewed it up in a thin, stretchy fabric in the same shade of blue as the leggings, and ended up with a finished look that I really like.

I wish I liked her faceup better.  Her shading came out too dark, and the smudges I placed under her eyes to suggest lower lashes remind me of the black stuff football players smear under their eyes to reduce glare.  Eventually I may wipe her clean again and give her faceup another try.  For now, the worst of the shading is hidden by her wig.  The trouble is I know it's there.

I'll have to take her off the Den of Angels Marketplace.  She no longer looks like the doll that is listed there.  What I should have done was offer her for sale without a faceup.  That way the buyer could either do the faceup herself or else send it off to a faceup artist whose work she likes.  I may still do that, but I think I'll give her a rest before I strip the makeup off yet again.  One thing is for sure:  I won't be offering my services as a faceup artist anytime soon!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Dysfunctional Fee Family Photo Session

Now I'm not saying that they are a dysfunctional family, only that their photo session got a little out of hand.  (Also, I like the alliteration in the title.)

It started simply enough: a mother, a father, and three small children.  Little ones grow up so quickly, it's important to capture their images while they are small.

Of course, getting everyone settled and looking in the same direction is no easy feat.  Ante and Lishe are obviously sharing a secret.

And little Shiwoo is such a handful that his father has decided to hold him on his knees.  Otherwise, he would be crawling between the photographer's legs.

Usually Shiwoo ignores his sisters.  Now, however, he is chafing at being held and wants to see what the girls are up to.

A stern word from mama has no effect whatsoever.

Lishe stands up to see what is going on behind her.

Would everyone please sit down and face forward?  Please, everyone, I would like to take the photo now.

 Yes, now.

Beautiful.  Thank you.