Sunday, September 27, 2015

Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble - FeePle60 Boy Siean Is Here

Sheehan arrived last week and was shunted aside so that I could focus on Raccoon Doll Sarah, but that doesn't mean he is any less loved.  I waited a long time for this guy.  Not that it took FairyLand longer than usual to deliver, only that it took so long for them to make this size available again.  Let's face it, anything bigger than MiniFee doesn't seem to get the love and attention FairyLand lavishes on its smaller dolls.  I don't remember the last time FeePle60s (F60) were offered.  They have offered the FeePle60 Moe line (FM60) a few times, but Moe girls are actually 54cm tall, not 60.  There is no male body in the FM60 line.  When the F60s finally opened to orders, I jumped at the chance.  Good thing I did, because FairyLand took them off the table again shortly thereafter.
Not my best face-up effort.  He looks grumpy.
Despite the gradual shift of my collecting focus to smaller dolls, I still wanted an F60 boy to partner my FM60 Mirwen.  Buying A la Carte meant I could choose the head I wanted from all available sculpts in that line, male and female.  Siean is one of those sculpts that can go either way.  My FeePle65 (F65) Siean looks undeniably feminine, while my former MiniFee Siean elf had a tendency to look boyish, even though I painted her as a girl.  I dithered for a while, because I also like the El sculpt, but finally opted for Siean.  Knowing that FairyLand's boy makeups make them look more like girls, I ordered him blank.
Face-up #2 is a keeper.

I attacked his face-up almost as soon as I finished taking Sarah's photos.  No time like the present, especially when the weather is perfect.  Unfortunately, my first attempt was seriously less than perfect.  I had used a lot of shading, trying to make him look more masculine.  Somehow it didn't work.  The eyebrows looked a mess and the eyelashes started too far from the rims of the eyes.  I wiped everything off and started over.  The second face-up was measurably better.  He looks like a boy, even though I kept everything light.   You've heard the saying:  Less is more.  It's true.
Repainted but not yet restrung. I Photoshopped his stand out of the photo.
Though I rarely have problems with FairyLand's stringing, Sheehan gave me trouble from the start.  He had a marked tendency to jackknife, bending over at the waist until his forehead nearly touched the floor.  He wouldn't sit.  I wondered if he would end up like his F65 sister, who has never condescended to sit for me, even though I tried every trick in the book to get her limbs into position.  I can live with a doll that refuses to sit, but the jackknifing made him dangerous, both to himself and to any doll standing near him.  It was looking more and more like I would have to restring him.
You like me as a blonde?
It took me a full afternoon, followed by an hour or so the next morning, but I finally put him together.  Most of that time was spent tugging on his original elastic, trying to get it past the end of his leg so I could hook the foot.  I tried and tried and tried again, until my hands were raw and shaking.  I figured I could either throw a tantrum (which would get me nowhere) or else go find a longer piece of elastic.  I opted for a longer piece of elastic.  The following morning I strung him together.  Afterwards I dressed him and stood him on the dining room table.  He didn't require a stand but just stood there like a soldier, solid and at ease.  Whew!  What an ordeal.
I can sit, too.

Some people might turn against a doll that gave them so much grief.  Oddly enough, I have bonded more completely with him than I do with dolls that behave beautifully right out of the box.  We understand each other, he and I.  I feel as if I have earned his respect.  He has certainly earned mine.
Deep in thought
Sheehan and Mirwen will attend the Vermont Doll Lovers Halloween meet-up dressed as students in a Hogwarts style school for wizards and witches.  My three RealPuki (below) will accompany them dressed as house elves.  It should be fun.
Soso and friends

By ordering during a FairyLand event, I qualified for a gift.  In my price category I had a choice of either a LittleFee Soso or Pupu faceplate.  I have both in RealPuki size.  How would they look as LittleFee?  I chose Soso, because who doesn't love Soso?  Right?  After painting Sheehan, I did Soso's face-up and put the faceplate on Shiwoo's body.  RealPuki Soso always makes me laugh.  You know what?  LittleFee Soso does too. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Raccoon Doll Sarah--an Early Arrival

The mail carrier brought a surprise last week.  I was expecting my FeePle60 boy and sure enough, I recognized the larger box as his.  There was a second, smaller box on top of it.  What on earth?  After signing for both I looked at the label on the smaller box and realized it was my Raccoon Doll Sarah.  I hadn't received a shipping notice.  And yet here she was, only 3 weeks after I ordered her!  I'm embarrassed to admit I pushed the much anticipated FeePle60 out of the way and opened Sarah first.  (I will cover FeePle60 Siean in next week's post.)

Raccoon Doll is a new Korean BJD company started by Sangyoon Choi, who worked for nearly 10 years for another BJD company.  He doesn't identify that company other than to say that his taste in bjds runs to the realism of companies like Iplehouse and Dollshe.  As an Iplehouse collector myself, I see a lot of the Iplehouse aesthetic in Raccoon Dolls.

Sarah with Iplehouse nYID Olivia
The company's first two offerings are 1/4 size (44.5 cm) mini-mature girls Sarah and Lucy.  Each comes with a choice of two face-ups:  a natural look or a 1940's pin-up look.  The body is curvaceous, recalling the shape of Iple's nYID girl body with its small waist, large hips and generous thighs.  There is a choice of small or large breast, and the doll comes with both flat feet and heel feet.  Mobility thighs are standard and lend themselves to graceful seated poses.  Double-jointed elbows and knees also extend posing capabilities.  As with the Iplehouse nYID dolls, the only joint in the torso is under the bust.  At this time there is only one resin color--normal--but Raccoon plans to add tan later on.  He also plans to add male dolls, which makes me happy because Sarah in high heels is taller than my existing male minis.
MiniFee, Narae, Judith Girl, Raccoon Sarah, Iplehouse JID, Model Delf
For my Sarah I chose the small breast, feeling that it might be easier to find clothing to fit her chest.  The tiny waist and large hips/thighs rather limit clothing choices to full skirts and full-skirted dresses. Pants that fit will be harder to find.  At first I ordered the natural makeup but, after agonizing over my decision for a day, I changed my order to the pin-up makeup.  I'm so glad I did, because she is gorgeous!  I'm not a fan of the big red lips that typify Lucy's pin-up look, but Sarah's soft pink lips and feathered eyelashes really spoke to me.
The girls have smaller heads than other dolls this size, 5/6 compared to the usual 6/7 for a mini-mature or 7/8 for an MSD.  I have only one size 5/6 wig in my stash.  The size worked but the hair was stiff and didn't look right.  She can wear size 6/7 if the fit is on the small side.  Luckily I had a few of those on hand so she has something on her head until I can place an order.  Feet are also on the small side.  Currently I have Sarah in Iplehouse JID high heels.  They're loose, even with stockings and felt insoles, but they will have to do until I find something slightly smaller.  I had hoped she would be able to wear Ellowyne Wilde shoes, seeing as they were a little big for FairyLand Chic-line, but they proved to be too small.
A kimono style dress I made a long time ago for SoulDoll Linn
A kimono style "celestial gown" from Dollmore for MSD
I bought one outfit in advance of Sarah's arrival--a perfect fit, as luck would have it.  Comparing measurements, I found that she most resembled the Luts Model Delf girls in size.  She has larger hips, so pants and slim skirts won't work, but full-skirted dresses should fit.  When the Model Delf girls were first introduced, each wore a full-skirted striped dress with puffed sleeves.  One dress had pickups and bows, as well as a full crinoline, and included stockings, a choker with a small cat, and a fabric hairband.  Luts no longer sells the outfit; however, I found it at Sadol in two color variations.  Sarah is wearing the pink with white dots version; the other is the striped version that Luts offered.
Raccoon Doll's first pre-order period ended September 14th.  There is no indication on the website of how many order periods there will be each year.  Perhaps it depends on how many orders Raccoon receives.  I suspect that this is currently a one-person operation, making it necessary to stop taking orders while dolls are made.  Hopefully by the next pre-order period I will have sold an older doll, enabling me to order Lucy.  I'll be getting her with the natural makeup,which I prefer to the big red lips.
LOVE this girl!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

New Eyes, a Corset, a Steampunk Outfit and a Prop

Don't you love it when items ordered months apart suddenly start arriving?  Eyes, outfits and props all appeared during the past week.  So did my long-awaited FairyLand FeePle60 boy, although he is spending the weekend at the Post Office, having reached there yesterday shortly after they closed.  He should come with Monday's mail delivery.  No photos until I do his makeup, which may need to wait a few days until the current weather system clears.

In May I joined a group order for DollBakery 12mm small-iris low-dome eyes organized by a member of Den of Angels.  This was to be a test of sorts, as DollBakery had never offered small-iris low-dome before.  Needless to say, a number of us jumped at the chance to buy the more realistically proportioned eyes. The idea for a group order originated in one of the Iplehouse large doll threads.  Unlike some companies' large dolls, which have childlike faces, Iple's large dolls resemble human adults.  Doll eyes sized to fit Iplehouse eye wells always look out of proportion in an adult face because of their large irises and pupils and high domes.  To counteract that childlike look, owners resort to using smaller diameter eyes, which often leave visible gaps in the corners.  The new eyes fill the eye wells (so no gaps) but maintain the adult proportion.  In the two photos below, nYID Oscar is shown first wearing 10mm high dome gray glass eyes and then wearing the 12mm DollBakery aqua urethane eyes.  You can see his increased maturity in the second photo.
I bought two pairs, so here is nYID Grace wearing 12mm small-iris low-dome urethane eyes in denim blue:
Grace previously wore 11mm soft silicone Eyeco eyes, so there is little difference in size or fit.  What is different is that the DollBakery eyes are hard rather than soft and so do not let the light pass through.  With the Eyecos the white of the eye sometimes has a pinkish cast from the color of the resin inside the head.

In between deliveries I drafted a corset pattern for Alida, my Dollmore Judith Suntan Maxima, whose voluptuous figure makes it hard to find clothing that fits.  If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that I frequently whine about my inability to understand or draft patterns.  After some study and thought I asked myself, "How hard can it be?" 
I draped Alida in pieces of paper towel and proceeded to mark and cut them, then pinned them together.  I liked what I saw so I transferred the pieces to tracing paper, which became my pattern.  I made pintucks on a rectangular piece of fabric, sewed them by machine, then cut the front piece from it.  From here on everything was hand sewn, because my machine would have chewed up the small pieces. 
Surprisingly, everything went well and the resulting corset fits.  It's not perfect by any means.  I need to rethink how I handle the seams inside the cups and lining to minimize bulk, because this version looks lumpy.  But it's doable--and I may even have conquered my fear of drafting patterns!

Two outfits arrived last week.  One I have put aside for the arrival of the doll who will wear it, although I could try it on Alida as it should fit her too.  The other was a cross-my-fingers-hope-it-fits purchase for Pendaran, my Soom Super Gem Quartz.  It's the first time I've bought anything for him.  Usually I opt for my sewing machine and patterns for Unidoll guys, which are a pretty good fit.  Over the summer, however, I collected measurements both for the dolls I have and the various clothing options available.  It looked like clothing made for SD16/17 boys would fit, so I ordered DollHeart's Zain from their 2012 Steampunk collection. 
As you might have guessed, I love Steampunk.  DollHeart had several outfits to choose from in this size and I went back and forth, trying to decide.  What finally sold me on Zain were the awesome goggles.  They're like two watches side-by-side.  (They're certainly heavy enough to be two actual watches.)  The fact that none of the clothing pieces are black also made this outfit a win-win.
I lost one of Grace's Eyeco eyes when I changed to DollBakery, so I put the remaining Eyeco in Pendaran along with a Steampunk eye I've had for ages and never got around to using.  The gears in it would probably be more visible in a larger eye.

Despite the fact that this outfit was supposed to be a perfect fit, I had a lot of trouble buttoning the shirt and fastening the snaps on the vest.  Although I did eventually get everything closed, you can see the fabric straining across his chest in the above photo.  The fact that the buttonholes were very tight didn't help matters.  It shouldn't take half an hour to do up six buttons and four snaps.
The chain holding the cape was also difficult to fasten.  There is a small lobster claw clasp attached to the chain just above the feather pendant.  As far as I can tell, it hooks into the button shank--at least, that's where I hooked it.  I didn't time myself; all I know is that it took far too long to fasten than it should have.

The phone booth is one of the props that arrived last week.  It's plainly too short for Pendaran's use and rather too tall for Alida's, but it should be perfect for the FeePle60s.  I only wish it were a perfect replica of a British telephone box.  For one thing, it should say Telephone, not Phone Booth.  I think the crown design is a bit off, too.  It was reasonably priced, however, and is well made.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that the shelves come out (it's a storage/display case for CDs) because the description said they don't, which means that the F60s should be able to stand inside.  It's narrow, so one at a time, obviously.

Hopefully by next week I will have had time to do a faceup on my F60 Siean boy.  Yes, you read that right.  It's a Siean girl head sculpt on an F60 boy body.  Trying to make it look masculine should be interesting.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Dollmore Judith Girl Arasa Blue Zinna

Arasa Blue Zinna was a last-minute substitution for the doll I originally ordered--a Minuet Eve Tara.  I had my eye on Tara from the moment I became aware of Judith Girl dolls, but something about her always put me off.  I think it was the makeup.  Even though she had normal skin, her makeup made her look almost white.  She might as well have had vampire fangs--she gave off that sort of vibe.  At the time I didn't think I wanted a vampire doll.  Finally, after three Zinna sculpts in a row, I made the decision.  There was only one Minuet Eve Tara left (out of an edition of 20).  She might as well be mine.

I placed my order and waited for confirmation.  The Sold Out message appeared under the doll's photo, which I would expect if I got the last one.  But there was no confirmation from Dollmore or PayPal.  Did I get her or not?  The trouble with placing orders on the weekend is that if something goes wrong, you have to wait until Monday to find out what it is.  Dollmore finally e-mailed me to say the doll was sold two days before I placed my order.  Funny that their order system didn't register that fact.  Along with their sincere apology they offered to let me order any other Judith doll, even one that was more expensive, for the same price.  I didn't need to think twice about my choice.  It was the Russian princess, no question.
Arasa Blue Zinna, a limited edition of 10, was actually a love-at-first-sight doll.  The outfit was gorgeous and her makeup more subtle than that on my previous Zinnas.  The only thing that had kept me from ordering her sooner was the sheer volume of her costume.  Bitter Biscuit Zinna's dress was full, but at least it was nipped in at the hem.  Arasa Blue's dress, over dress and veil flared out.  I knew she would take up a lot of space on the doll shelf.  Nevertheless, I made my decision and settled down happily to wait.
She arrived in less than a month, along with a hand-written note from Dollmore and a red felt bag full of goodies--Dollmore's "happy shopping bag".  To make up for their system's error, Dollmore sent extra gifts.  They include a paper doll, a pattern for a Lolita dress, two pairs of lens-less glasses, red sneakers, a two-piece white dress, an animal print slip, a rabbit ear hair clip, a tiny angel on a chain, a Pullip doll pin, an adjustable ring (I'm not sure if this is for human or doll use--I'm using it as a doll bracelet), a tiny two-sided gold mirror, and a magic eraser.

What can I say?  She's gorgeous, awesome, stunning...I'm so glad I chose her.  The outer dress is blue until the light hits it a certain way and then it shimmers pink.  The lace is delicate and lovely.  The majestic headdress adds another 2 and 1/2 inches to her height.  The only negative is the tightness of her sleeves.  If ever an outfit needed cuffs that button, snap, lace or tie shut, this is it.  Judith dolls are sculpted with all five fingers on one hand spread out.  While the individual fingers are lovely, they make the hand weaker than one where some fingers--or parts of fingers--are fused together.  It was hard enough getting that hand through the sleeve's upper band; there was no way it was going to fit through the cuff.  I didn't want to force it in case I broke off a finger.  Nor could I unhook the hand (the stringing is too tight) to dress her, so I had to cut the seam.  Right now, all that is holding the cuff together is the serging, which I was able to leave in place.  If I cut the serging and bind off the edges, I can then sew ribbons to the edges and tie the cuffs on.  Obviously I will need to finish both cuffs to match.  It's a small price to pay for ease in dressing without the fear of broken fingers.
Arasa Blue Zinna, who will go by the name Zora, has inspired a whole new story line.  I can't start it yet, however, as I am putting together props and waiting for another character.  Or maybe two--when I have money again.  Does this mean that I have abandoned my time travel story?  Not at all.  The two will intersect in a surprising way.  I can hardly wait!