Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Bit of This, a Bit of That

I didn't know what to write about this week.  Sometimes this happens because there is nothing new.  Other times, like this week, there are too many things I want to cover.  I have two new dolls to talk about.  Do I lump them together and risk shortchanging both?  Or do I hold off and give each its own post?  I have clothing and new faceups to talk about.  And Samantha Grace's story has another chapter waiting in the wings. What to do?

In the end, I decided that Samantha Grace's story and the new dolls will get their own posts--later.  For today my focus is on new clothing and faceups.

Back in January, I ordered a doll from Iplehouse.  It arrived this week, along with clothing I ordered at the same time.  Four months is a much longer wait than usual for this company.  Their English manager has been on maternity leave, which has caused orders to back up.  Orders that don't contain a doll still ship quickly, usually within a day or two.  Like me, however, many people combine doll and clothing orders to save on shipping costs.  The downside is that clothes/shoes/wigs can sell out while the doll is being made.  I was lucky this time; nothing sold out while I waited.  Even so, I don't think I'll do that again.
Among the items I ordered was a Medieval-inspired dress for JID called Perla Rosa.  I like to think of it as the JID version of the Sleeping Beauty dress set for SID, which I bought earlier.  I intended it for Tania, who looks suitably lovely and regal in it, even if her throne is merely a common garden bench.  
The other clothing item is a three-piece outfit I made for MiniFee.  This outfit has been slow to come together.  Originally it was going to be a bodysuit with leggings and an added tulle skirt, for a flirty touch.  I made the body shirt first, from a pattern called Petits Riens by MHD Designs.  Because it was designed for 14-inch Kish dolls, who are thicker in the torso than MiniFee, I added darts to take it in at the waist.  That still left the neckline too wide and loose, so I scrapped the bodysuit in favor of a simple scoop neck top adapted from the same basic pattern. 
I made the pink leggings a few weeks later.  Danica (Siean) has been wearing the top and leggings for some time now, with no skirt in sight.  Finally I decided to scrap the skirt idea and made her a pair of shorts.  The pattern calls them boxer shorts.  They remind me of a skort, i.e., a cross between a skirt and shorts.  I suspect I sewed the appliques on the wrong side.  Faced with a paper pattern, I can't tell the back from the front of a pair of pants unless the pattern piece is clearly marked.  This one wasn't.
On to the faceups.  We've had rain for 2 or 3 weekends in a row.  Yesterday, surprised by a sunny Saturday for the first time in ages, I decided I had to do a faceup.  As you may have gathered from reading past posts, I am rarely satisfied with the faceups I do.  I set my sights so high that I almost always fall short.  On the other hand, my results get somewhat better each time, which encourages me to keep trying.
The first doll I wiped clean was SID Soo.  She was cute, but I didn't really like the lip treatment and the lower eyelashes were too dark and thick.  This time I achieved a better mouth, but the eyebrows are a bit high and thin and the lower eyelashes still miss the mark.  I have a feeling there is another faceup in Soo's not too distant future.
The next doll to get the treatment was MiniFee Mirwen.  This was the poor child who arrived with black eyebrows, black eyeshadow, black lashes and an utterly doleful, defeated air about her.  My first two faceups lightened her up considerably, but I still wasn't happy with--you guessed it--her lower eyelashes.  I also wanted to extend her lip color to cover her lips completely. 

I don't know what happened with this one, but all of a sudden I felt inspired to let the sculpt speak for itself.  I let my brush follow its contours, instead of placing shadow where I thought it should go.  Mirwen has a pronounced brow.  Many owners sand it smooth, but the final result is not Mirwen as her sculptor envisioned her.  I used the brow to find her eyebrow placement, and marked my place with pastel powder before detailing the eyebrow hairs with watercolor pencil.  The advantage of using powdered pastel first is that it's easier to erase if you don't like the placement of the line.  For the first time in doing faceups, I didn't darken the corners of the mouth with paint.  If the corners photograph dark anyway, it's because of the way they are sculpted and not because I forced the issue. 
I guess you can tell that I'm pleased with how she turned out.  I can't stop looking at her.  As for Mirwen, she looks back and whispers, "Go back to Soo.  You can do it, now."

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