Saturday, July 26, 2014

Iplehouse Family Photo

Recently someone challenged me to get all of my Iplehouse dolls into one photo, a challenge I readily accepted.  After all, there are only 19 of them.  If I still had the 7 I sold it might be a tight squeeze, but they're gone and I had plenty of room.  One doll is missing from the photo.  That is the SID Vincent I have on order.  It will be 2-3 months before he arrives, however, so there was no point delaying the photo to wait for him.

Without further ado, here is the group shot.  Identifications follow.

Back row, left to right:  SID Zera, SID Soo, nYID Oscar, nYID Olivia, SID Grace and nYID Audrey.

Middle row, left to right:  JID Benny, JID Asa, KID Lisa and JID Tania.

Front row, left to right:  BID Erzulie, SID Barahan, BID Byuri, SID Shane, BID Ringo (boy), SID Claude, BID Naias, nYID Andrew, BID Ringo (girl).

If Audrey looks a little tall for an nYID (especially compared to Olivia two dolls over) it's because I have her on a stand with a wooden base.  In addition, Audrey is wearing heels while Olivia is wearing flat shoes.

I'm surprised the four big guys in front were able to sit for their portrait.  Iplehouse pants are notoriously tight, so much so that sometimes the guys can't sit at all.  Claude took some convincing, but once I got him into position he stayed put.  It probably helped that both Lisa and Tania, who are secured by stands, each had a hand on his shoulder.  Lisa and Asa also ensured that Shane didn't fall backwards.  Luckily no one pitched forward or I'd really be in trouble.  Group shots are tricky that way.

If you're curious as to which dolls are gone, they are:  EID Lahela, SID Mari, nYID Bianca, YID Mars, YID Harin, JID Boris and JID Asa (white skin).  I might be tempted to buy Lahela again, but this time I would want her on an SID body and in real skin.

Barahan, Grace and Oscar are wearing new tee shirts that I sewed over the past two weekends.  Grace's and Oscar's tees are from the same pattern.  I merely shortened hers in the torso and omitted the collar.
Finally, Claude is sporting an enhanced face-up.  Poor guy was looking so washed out, especially in recent photos, that I decided to brighten him up.  It didn't take much, just a subtle application of color on his cheeks and chin, and another bit of color on his pale lips.  I also replaced his acrylic eyes with glass eyes.  It has made a world of difference.
One more group shot and then I'm done for today:

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Zoey's Almost Bicycle Ride

Desdemona and Zoey were outside enjoying a bit of fresh air, when they were nearly bowled over by Alastair on his bicycle.

"Do you have a license to drive this thing?" Zoey wanted to know.

"Don't need a license.  It's a bike, not a car."

"You still need to follow the rules of the road," Desdemona said, frowning.  "That's the problem with bicycle riders.  You need to stop at stop signs and obey traffic signals, not breeze through them as if they weren't there.  You should be wearing a helmet.  And you need to ride in the road, not on the sidewalk..."

"Thank you for the public service announcement, Miss Know-It-All.  As you can see, I'm not riding at the moment.  I'm stopped."  He winked at Zoey.  "You ride?"

"I ride a girl's bike, not a big bike like this."

"You want to try it?"


"Come on.  I'll hold the bike to keep it steady.  You won't fall off."

So Zoey climbed onto the bike, thankful that Alastair was holding it, because the kickstand alone did not look strong enough to keep it from toppling.

"It's way too big for you, Zoey," Desdemona said.  "Your hands barely reach the handlebars."

"It's fine," said Alastair, ignoring her.  "Just lean forward, like you were racing the wind."

"Oh, oh...I think the wind is winning!"

"The kickstand is still down.  You haven't advanced at all."

"And I'm not going to.  Let me down."

"Aww...You want to get on behind me?  I'll pedal, you just hold on."

"Thanks for the offer.  Maybe some other time."

"As you wish."

Zoey (MiniFee Chloe) is wearing new jeans and a top made from the All Dolled Up MiniFee pattern by Adams-Harris Pattern Company.  Desdemona (MiniFee Mirwen) is wearing the Flirty MiniFee blouse and skirt, also an Adams-Harris pattern.  Alastair (Luts MDF Avalanche) is wearing pants and a tee shirt purchased from Luts.  Wigs for Alastair and Desdemona are from Luts; Chloe's wig is a Monique Gold Pretty Girl.  Desdemona's new face-up is by me.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Six Face-Ups of SID Soo

Six face-ups?  Really?

Yes, I counted them.  Her original face-up plus five of my own.  Here is her original face-up, which appears as makeup option C on the Iplehouse site.

Face-up #1: the Iplehouse face-up

I would not have chosen this face-up if ordering direct from the company, but I purchased the doll on ebay and so did not have a choice.  To tell the truth, she looked better in the seller's photos than she did in person.  The problem, aside from lacquer red lips, which I dislike, was the heavy-handed blushing in her face.  It made her look like she was suffering from a head cold.  All stuffed up.  Even now I look at this photo and I can feel a sneeze coming.

My first attempt at a new face-up involved removing as much of the blushing as possible without also removing her eye makeup and lip color.  It was meant to be more of a fix than a whole new face-up.

Face-up #2:  removal stage

As you can see, I lost some eyeliner from the upper lids.  I wanted to keep it, but I think it came off when I removed the eyelashes.  I also lost most of the lower lashes in trying to remove all the blush.

Face-up #2: with new blushing

Above you have the finished stage with new blush added.  At least the runny nose effect was gone, but I was still not enamored of the lips.  The red gash contrasted too much with the color of her skin.  The pale green acrylic eyes probably didn't help.  Combined with the heavy makeup, the effect was spooky.

Face-up #3:  first attempt at freckles

Soo's face-up #3 was not a bad look, but the lower lash lines came out too thick and sparse.  The red mouth was replaced by a more natural color that I prefer.  I added freckles, which immediately made me happy.  Her dark eyebrows were fine in combination with dark wigs, but more often than not I put her in light colored wigs.  I also exchanged her acrylic eyes for a pair of glass eyes.  It's amazing what a difference eyes can make.

Face-up #4

In face-up #4 I lightened Soo's eyebrows, filled out her lower eyelashes, and added lines on the lower lip.  I kept the freckles.  Not perfect, but closer to the look I was going for.  It photographed well as long as it wasn't blown up to fill the screen.  (That's a statue behind her, not one of my pet birds.)

Face-up #4
This is the same face-up.  I like the photo and don’t think I’ve shared it before.  It's my Halloween set up from November 2013.

Face-up #5

Face-up #5 dates from May 2014.  It was much lighter overall.  Thinner eyebrows, peach rather than pink on the lips, lower lashes less pronounced but still not looking natural.  Will I ever get them right?
Face-up #6

That face-up lasted all of one month.  Above is Soo's most recent incarnation.  I lowered her eyebrow placement (so she doesn’t look so surprised), increased the shadowing, and added eyeliner to the lower lids.  I still can’t get a thin enough line on the lower lashes, but in person you can’t tell.  Love the lip color.
Face-up #6
Here she is at the June 14, 2014 doll meetup. It's the same face-up with a different wig and in different lighting conditions.  Her lower eyeliner is a little jagged, mostly because a) I could really use a pair of magnifying glasses, b) it’s hard to control the watercolor pencil on a curved surface, c) my pencil could have been sharper, and d) I’m impatient and work too fast. 

All in all, I like this face-up and will keep it for a while.  Knowing me, however, I don’t think it’s her last face-up.  As I get better at doing these, I can’t resist the temptation to redo earlier face-ups.  The best part of this one is that she can stand next to a doll with an Iplehouse face-up and not look out of place.  For now she looks pretty much the way I wanted her to look, without the time and expense of sending her away for an artist face-up.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Little Dreamers / Ennui Dreams

I bought a bed this week.  Not for me, but for my dolls.  I looked at American Girl beds for a long time before deciding to buy something different, the reason being that I was afraid the AG product would be out of scale.  The last item I bought from them, a table that opens into a desk and chair, is too big for my MSD size dolls and too small for SD size.  It probably would have worked with the larger Kaye Wiggs girls.  Unfortunately, I sold my Wiggs dolls, so now it sits on a shelf, unused.  Wilde Imagination's website has been showing a bed for Ellowyne and friends; however, it was listed at nearly $300, too steep in my opinion for a mere bed.

Enter the sale.  I don't collect Ellowyne Wilde anymore.  That doesn't stop me from looking when prices go down, because many of Ellowyne's things fit MiniFees.  When I saw the Ennui Dreams bed on sale at one-third the usual cost, I jumped on it.  A few days later it was at my door. 

The first thing I saw was the large plastic envelope full of bedding.  Talk about impressive!  There is a thick white comforter with all the frills a girl could want.  There is a silky gray sheet and two pillows with matching silky gray pillowcases.  Then there are the decorative pillows--six of them, to be exact.  There are two that match the comforter, two with white on white embroidery and a gray border, a smaller gray pillow with darker gray embroidery trimmed with pink beads, and a small gray bolster.  The foam mattress lay outside the envelope, already covered in a fitted silky gray sheet.  I have just one word to say about the bedding:  WOW!

The bed itself was less than a wow.  It came in two parts--the bed frame and a separate fabric-trimmed headboard.  There was a small plastic envelope taped underneath the bed frame containing two long screws and two round pegs.  No instructions.  I went in search of a screwdriver.  How hard could it be?  The pegs obviously were designed to go into the two round holes drilled in the headboard and frame, and the screws went into the two smaller holes.  Half an hour later the headboard was on--after a fashion--but the headboard had split on either side of the holes and I could still see about a quarter-inch of wooden peg and the same amount of each screw.  The headboard wobbled.  Surely it wasn't supposed to fit this way.  I took it apart and put it aside while I mulled over the problem.

The next day I tried again, with the same results.  I considered gluing the headboard to the frame.  That would serve two purposes:  to fill the spaces where the wood had split and to hold the two parts together.  Still, those wooden pegs bothered me.  Why didn't they allow the headboard to sit flush against the bed frame?  It appears that either the pegs were too long, or the drilled holes were too short.  I got out a knife and trimmed the extra quarter-inch of wood off each peg.  The headboard went on perfectly after that, leaving me to wonder why Wilde Imagination didn't send the right size pegs to begin with.  I should probably mention that the pegs weren't perfectly round, either.  I had to trim some wood off the sides to get them into the holes.  All the time I kept thinking about square pegs in round holes.  (They weren't actually square; they were more oval in shape.)

Ennui Dreams is supposed to be a single bed, but the width and thickness of the comforter gives the impression of a double bed--if not a queen.  I didn't try putting a doll under the covers to see if that would take up some of the slack.  I suspect not, as the comforter is just too stiff to mold itself around a doll body.  That is a minor quibble, given that the bed looks lush and comfy.  I decided to let my two LittleFee girls--Ante and Lishe--try it out.  They earned the honor by virtue of being my only dolls with sleep faces that have a face-up.  I have a couple of U-noa sleep faceplates, but I haven't painted them yet.  The Fees are so small that they remind me of kittens curled up on a bed.  Even adding MiniFee Lishe didn't crowd them.

Hmm, I suppose I should sew some nightgowns and pajamas...  I wonder how hard it will be to convince Ante and Lishe to take off their shoes before getting under the covers?