Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Dolls' Christmas

After the elves brought the tree indoors last weekend, they returned to the forest to observe the Winter Solstice. While they were gone the other dolls took turns trimming the tree. First the Fairyland FeePle60s hung the red ribbon from the wall.
Only someone tall could do it.
Soom Idealian51, Soul Vito and Dollmore Zaoll Luv added the string of hanging lights.
The RaccoonDoll girls and Iplehouse FIDs paused for a photo, then went back to mixing the punch.
The Dollmore Kids and Judith girls hung the strand of golden bells.
SoulKid Yarn, the Bimong Naraes, and the Luts Model Delfs hung the yarn and bead garland that the smaller dolls had crafted, placing it low enough that the little ones would be sure to see it.
The Iplehouse JID boys, Fairyland Minifee and Unoa Quluts girls took a break from baking cookies and gathered for a group photo.
Next the children arrived: an Iplehouse KID and three BIDs, a Unoa Chibi, and three Little Fees. Little Shiwoo was heard to ask, "Is it time to sing now?"
Then, when no one was looking (except the photographer) the littlest ones took their places: a Doll Chateau Ada, two Aileen dragons, two WithDoll tinies, four Fairyland Realpukis and a Pukifee.
Finally came the moment they had all waited for--placing the star atop the tree. Although everyone looked and looked for it, no one could find it. Just when it seemed they would have to do without, the Iplehouse nYIDs came up with a sparkling substitute--a snowflake! Now if only it doesn't melt before Santa gets here.
Merry Christmas from our house to yours! May all your dolly dreams come true.
You can sing now, Little Shiwoo.
"Fa-la-la-la, la-la-la-la!"

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Elves Choose the Tree

With Christmas only a week away, the WithDoll elves, their Star and Moon spirit guardians and LumeDoll cousin went into the forest to choose a Christmas tree. They took a moment to pose with their selection. After they bring it in, other groups of dolls will take turns adding trims and decorations--and of course posing with the results.

In addition to posing everyone with the tree this week, I hope to make a new dress for WithDoll Priscilla. At Mia W's suggestion, I tried Priscilla's blue dress on Model Delf Annette. The dress is just as short on Annette as it is on Priscilla--although it looks longer with her shorter heel height--but because the bodice is loose on top and Annette has a larger bust, it fits Annette better.

Here's a close-up:

Unfortunately, yesterday's snow storm meant I couldn't get to this month's doll meet-up. If anyone is interested in seeing photos of the gathering, click on this link: http://vtdolllovers.blogspot.com/2016/12/vermont-doll-lovers-meetup-12172016.html#more

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Annette Gets a Face-Up

It's a good thing I don't make a living painting face-ups. This time of year I'm lucky if I get a few hours of sunshine a week, never mind temperatures above freezing so I can spray MSC outdoors without getting ice crystals on my face-up. Nor do I have the luxury of taking my time painting. If I don't finish a face-up the same day I start, it might be a full week before I get another chance. There were a few hours of sunshine one day last week. The temperature was just barely above freezing so I chanced it and painted Annette. There was no time for step-by-step photos. As it was I barely got her done before the sun sank behind some tall trees at the rear of the house. At least I can show you the before and after photos.

This is Annette before face-up.
This is Annette after face-up. Luts offered two makeup choices. This looks quite different from either of them.
While I was at it I changed her eyes. I didn't care for either her default eyes or the eyes I ordered as a replacement. Going through my eye stash, I did find a pair that look like my DollBakery small iris blue denim. I thought WithDoll Angela had these on but hers lean more towards aqua; I have no idea which eyes they are. Anyway, the blue denim eyes look great on Annette. (Oops. I need to lower one slightly--or raise the other.)
I also changed her outfit. This is the one I bought from Luts. I do like it, but it can be a pain to photograph. The black automatically triggers my camera's flash, which then has a tendency to wash out everything but the dress. I wonder what my neighbors thought as my window shades went up and down, up and down, as I tried to find a balance of light and dark for taking photos. The flash was less of a problem when I photographed her with Soul Kid Yarn and WithDoll Priscilla. I guess the other colors were enough to keep the camera happy.
I ordered the chaise during Tonner's Black Friday event. Originally there were three color combinations to choose from, but the one I wanted sold out before the event. Still, you can't argue with a bargain, even if the color is not what you wanted. The chaise was designed for Ellowyne Wilde. It's also supposed to accommodate Evangeline Ghastly. I have to wonder how Evangeline can recline on it--she's taller than Annette. The Luts outfit has an air of 19th Century French music hall and le cancan about it, so I thought it would be fun to pose Annette with Dollmore's Bitter Biscuit Zinna. All we need is Toulouse-Lautrec lurking in the background with his paints and easel.
One more photo from this shoot. I posed Annette with her head at the foot of the chaise and her hair trailing down to the floor. The black behind her shoulders is her skirt, which I pulled up so it wouldn't wrinkle when she sat on it.
For Musume: Here are Annette and WithDoll Angela. They're the same height but Annette has high heels on while Angela has boots.
Next Saturday is a doll meet-up day. We're supposed to bring doll foods for a holiday feast. I suspect my fake food is out of scale for the dolls I'm bringing, so maybe I'll bring a Christmas tree instead.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Luts Model Delf Annette

Luts started the Model Delf line in 2014 with four male sculpts: Abadon, Avalanche, Cian and Dion. All were smaller versions of sculpts in their Senior, Senior65 and Super Senior lines. (Just as Iplehouse is doing with its FID line.) I bought Avalanche. Instant love! The body's construction and posing are outstanding. Much as I was tempted to buy another guy, I decided to wait for the girls. When they finally debuted, there were only two: Annette and Blanchet. Both were smaller versions of Senior Delf dolls. They were cute, but seeing as Luts initially released four males, I expected them to serve up the same number of females and waited for the other two. When Luts finally released another pair of MDFs, they were one male (Alec) and one female (Garnet). Both were new sculpts. Unfortunately, I didn't love either of them. Since then, having learned that Alec's head is smaller than the other MDF male heads, I have revised my opinion. Alec might work quite well paired with Raccoon girls. If I had any money left I would buy him.
Box image shows a Model Delf male

There has not been a new Model Delf for some time. Finally I decided to order one of the original two girls. But which one? I went back and forth between Annette and Blanchet, unable to decide between them. What eventually tipped the scale in Annette's favor was her narrower face. Blanchet's round face made her look younger than I liked. I didn't care for either face-up offered, so I ordered Annette blank. She took 39 business days from order to arrival. Along with the doll I ordered an outfit, eyes and a wig. I lucked out with the Shining Purple outfit--right after I hit the buy button it registered as sold out. As for the eyes, I'm not sure Luts sent me the right color. They seem to be a uniform shade of light blue, whereas the ones I ordered were blue-and-violet. There is a possibility they put my eyes in the doll and wrapped the default eyes. I won't know for sure until I take them out to paint her, which I will do as soon as the weather cooperates.
All the goodies

I have to mention her packaging, because I've never had a doll packed this way. (I'd remember if Avalanche looked like this.) Underneath the clothing, wig, etc., was a shrink-wrapped package that reminded me of The Empire Strikes Back when Han Solo is frozen alive in a block of carbonite. How on earth would I get this open? Very gingerly, I cut across one end with scissors, fully expecting to have to peel apart two sticky layers of plastic. You can imagine my relief when the package suddenly filled with air, revealing a pillow with the doll sandwiched in the middle. All that was left to remove were the black foam mitts covering her hands and the bubble wrap twined around her feet.
Shrink-wrapped doll
Poof! There's a pillow inside
Interior wrappings
For her body options, I chose type 2 for the elbow and knee joints as well as breast option 2. This gives her the more natural looking, rounded elbows and knees I prefer on my dolls. Breast option 2 is their basic breast--somewhere between flat and inflated. Both high heel feet and high heel leg parts were options with extra costs, so I went with the basic flat feet. They can easily wear low heeled shoes and boots, as you can see below. Before dressing her, I put her through a few poses. Because her only torso joint is just under the breast, some poses are impossible. For instance, she can't lie on her stomach propped up by her elbows, the way MiniFees can, because she lacks MiniFee's bikini-line joint. Her other movements are smooth and elegant, however, so all-in-all I am very happy.
Type 2 body with one arm extended
Note smooth curve of elbows
Note smooth curve of knees

I didn't put her in the Luts outfit right away, because I wanted to see how she looks in the Sadol outfits I bought for my Raccoon girls. (Sadol mentions Model Delf as one of the sizes their MSD clothing will fit.) Everything fit to perfection--including the hat, which is out of proportion on the smaller Raccoon heads. One word of caution, however; if you buy a MDF girl with the largest breast (option type 3), Sadol blouses may not button. Out of curiosity, I tried the Luts outfit on two of my  Raccoon girls. It fits the small bust but not the large bust, regardless of whether the body type is slim or curvy. I'm not sure if other Model Delf clothing will fit Raccoon girls. The Shining Purple set, which laces up the back, leaves a lot of skin exposed even on a Raccoon small bust. I'll have to see how it fits Annette.
Wearing Sadol (Classic M) K
Avalanche and Annette

And that's it. The last doll acquisition of 2016. Yes, I know. I've overdone it this year. Normally I don't buy a doll every month. Really, I don't. 2017 will be different. I promise. Okay, I have already succumbed to some holiday promotions (Iplehouse, Raccoon Doll, and FairyLand) but that's it. Unless I sell a doll I wasn't planning to part with, there is no money--or room--to add anyone else. I'll be turning more to fashions and stories in the coming year. I hope everyone is on board!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fashion Options: Between-Size BJDs

BJDs that come in standard sizes--Large, Mini, Tiny--give you plenty of clothing options. If the doll maker does not make clothing, you can buy fashions from numerous companies such as Doll Hearts, Alice's Collections, Nine9 Style and Sadol, to name a few. Add to these sources the many talented individuals who make and sell doll clothing on etsy and you have your pick of styles, colors, fabrics, etc. On the other hand, if your doll straddles two sizes, dressing it can pose a problem, especially if the doll maker sells no clothing or else provides only limited pieces that are not replaced when they sell out. Sewing is an option, but while I sew for my dolls, drafting patterns is a science that continues to elude me. Trying to adapt an existing pattern to a new size frequently makes me give up on the project altogether. What's a doll collector to do?
ID51 in Zaoll, F60 in DollHearts, Vito in DollHearts & Zaoll
Over the past year I have acquired dolls that fall between Mini and Large sizes: a Dollmore Zaoll Luv, a Soom Idealian51, and a Soul Doll Vito. (Actually two Vitos, but the girl is gone.) I am of two minds about including Iplehouse's new FID line in this discussion. Right now both the dolls and their fashions are Limited. I hope that as the dolls gain in popularity, Iplehouse will increase the clothing options and keep them in stock. In the meantime, I have put together a couple of outfits for Elle (FID Miho), shown below. I made the ivory/gold pencil skirt without a pattern. The top is Gracefaerie's #16 The Corset for 60cm girls, which fits her without any alterations whatsoever even though she is 45.5cm rather than 60cm. The red dress is my first attempt at crafting a dress by crochet. It started out perfect and lovely, but after a few weeks of wear it sagged and bagged. A sweater vest for ID51 met the same fate. I should have known better than to use acrylic yarn--my mother's afghans used to stretch out of shape, too.
Gracefaerie corset top (sized for SD girls)

Red dress crocheted by me
Dollmore makes a number of fashions available for its Zaoll line. The problem is the styles don't do much for me. There are few colors, with black and white predominating. I did end up buying jeans and dress pants, along with two sweatshirt-style long-sleeve tops, but I'm using them for my Vito and ID51 boys. My Luv has a couple of SD13 size dresses from Nine9 Style, along with pieces I collected and/or made over the years for other size dolls, like Iplehouse's discontinued YID line and 18-inch Kaye Wiggs girls. Believe it or not, both Luv and FID Miho can wear the outfit below (shown on KW Layla) made from MHD Designs L'Ecoliere pattern. Aside from the huge hat, the only part that didn't quite work for either of them was the blouse, because the cuffs were designed to accommodate KW girls' splayed fingers. I haven't yet made new blouses, but it's nice to know the pattern will be an easy fix. In fact, I plan to make a business suit (the pattern includes a jacket) for FID Miho from this pattern.
This fits both Zaoll Luv and FID!

After finding that both Vito and ID51 boys could wear the tops of my Doll Hearts School of Magic Nathaniel outfit, I deduced that I might safely order DH's SD13/60cm boy fashions and pair the tops with the Zaoll pants I already have. Most Doll Hearts outfits consist of multiple parts, so even if some parts didn't fit Vito and ID51, I was sure my FeePle60 boy could wear them. Win-win. Right? So, a few weeks ago I ordered two outfits: the Emperor set from DH's The Emperor's New Clothes and Unknown Future, a sort-of Steampunk outfit without gears or chains.
Doll Hearts Emperor set front & back

The verdict? FeePle60 Siean is the big winner here, as he is the only one who can wear almost all parts of both outfits. Grant (my ID51 Cuba) looked so ridiculous in the Emperor set that I couldn't wait to take it off, thus no photos. The shirt alone fit him. The stockings went all the way up to his crotch with lots of extra fabric below, including room in the sock for a much larger foot. The cuffs on the pumpkin pants wouldn't go over the knee with the stockings on. Even without stockings I barely got them past his knees and then found the waist was too big. The jacket made him look barrel-chested, plus its sleeves were too long. With his small head, he gave an overall impression of Henry VIII. Sheehan (F60 Siean) had trouble with the stockings, too. Why so long? The outfit is for 60cm boys and Sheehan measures 60cm. I eventually put him in a pair of Iplehouse nYID girl black stockings for a better fit. I still had to force the cuffs of the short pants up, but all-in-all, Sheehan makes quite a handsome Emperor. (Outfit includes a crown, not shown.)
Doll Hearts Unknown Future & Dollmore Zaoll
Hakkon (my Vito boy) ended up wearing only two pieces of the Unknown Future set: the shirt and vest, paired with Zaoll blue jeans. I had thought he could wear the white scarf but its size  overwhelmed him. He looked like he was going to a toga party. The coat is very long, although he can get away with it. I simply felt it was too early in the season to burden him with a long coat. (And then we got an unseasonable amount of snow.) There was nothing left for Grant to wear but Zaoll jeans with one of the Zaoll tops, along with Zaoll girl shoes, which fit perfectly. (See first photo.)
The rest of the Unknown Future set
Going forward I'm tempted to stick with separates that I can pair with the Zaoll jeans and dress pants. I don't know. Maybe I'll try one more Doll Hearts outfit. It's not like any parts end up wasted. It's just so much nicer when a total outfit fits.
November 2016 snowfall


Finally, let me end with a photo in answer to a question/comment Musume posted last week. Here is FID Lawrence with two of my WithDoll girls so you can check out overall height and relative head sizes. (Click on the photo to enlarge it.) Hope this helps!





Sunday, November 20, 2016

Fashion Iplehouse Doll Lawrence

First of all, because this is of the utmost importance to the very existence of BJDs and BJD artists, I want to state that today--Sunday, November 20, 2016--is ProBjdArtists Day. It is a day for bjd collectors to stand united against the practice of recasting. For those who are unaware, a recaster is an unscrupulous individual who makes a cast of a doll he did not create and then makes unauthorized copies for sale. Recasters profit from the hard work, ingenuity, and sheer artistic genius of true artists. When you buy a recast you support theft. When you buy an authentic bjd from the original artist, company or authorized retailer, you support art and the artists that create it.


Remember, a recast is a counterfeit doll and recasters are thieves. 
I SUPPORT BJD ARTISTS by buying original dolls. I hope you do, too. 

I could go on at greater length, but that would make this a post about recasting instead of an introduction to my newest doll: FID Lawrence.
The envelope contains Iple's Certificate of Authenticity

I was beyond thrilled when Iplehouse announced that their Lawrence sculpt would be one of the first three male Fashion Iplehouse Dolls produced. Lawrence! As some of you may remember, I was so enamored of the sculpt that I nearly caved and bought him in EID size when he debuted in Iple's Carved Heritage series. Then my practical side prevailed. EIDs are too big and heavy for me. There's no way I could restring one when he eventually loosened up. Not to mention the extra cost of the EID sized clothing and shoes. There would be no EID Lawrence for me.
FID Lawrence, on the other hand, is my perfect size. At 49.5cm he is roughly two-thirds the size of an EID on the model body. He is not a scaled-down EID, however, but a scaled-down HID (Iple's Hercules line). Thankfully they toned down HID's bulk for the FID. Not that he isn't well-built. Far from it. And the head sculpt is gorgeous! He makes my other male heads look like girls. I selected real skin resin and the face-up with beard, which delayed his arrival somewhat. Iplehouse does facial hair to perfection, but the process takes time because each hair is drawn individually. An editorial on Iple's site describes the process on EID Leonard. They estimate it takes 2,000 strokes to draw his beard. I expect it's considerably less for the smaller FID head, but you get the general idea.
With Raccoon Lucy

Lawrence came out of the box looser than any of my previous Iplehouse dolls. This makes him a little unsteady on his feet. Even so, he posed barefoot on my slippery dining table without doing a faceplant. Asking him to prop up a female FID is another story, because Miho only occasionally consents to stand unaided in heels. I immediately ordered more doll stands, because I know I will be ordering this size doll again.
With FID Miho

I bought Lawrence an outfit and shoes from Iplehouse. The pants fit perfectly. The shirt is snug. Thank goodness it's made from a stretchy fabric, because his shoulders and chest really strain it. In fact, he has taken to wearing the shirt partially unbuttoned, which looks very sexy--even if the visible snap does not. The shoes are slip-on loafers, which I appreciate because I dislike tying shoestrings. In addition to the outfits Iplehouse introduced with the guys, they also released a black sweater and black briefs. I ordered both.
Brawn, briefs and the Monique James wig

Lawrence is supposed to wear a size 5-6 wig. I did not order one from Iplehouse, figuring I had several here to choose from. As it turns out my 5-6 wigs don't fit very well. In the photo where he is showing off his well-toned body, he is wearing a Monique James. It's a tight fit and looks slightly off to me. I can't tell if the problem is the style or the color, but I'll save it for another doll. In the end I found an old size 6-7 wig called Lovely Shortcut that was too tight for that size doll. The dark brown suits his coloring and the fit is perfect. Wish I could remember where I bought it. I'm tempted to say either Luts or LeekeWorld, but if so they no longer have anything that resembles it. He likes this one, but I still want some additional wigs for when I want to change the mood.
Wearing the Lovely Shortcut wig. I should have combed it.
What else can I say about Lawrence except LOVE! Love the sculpt, love the body, love the size, love that they gave him light blue eyes. (Actually they might be light violet, but either way I love them.) Iplehouse is releasing Claude and Leonard as FIDs for the Christmas season, along with Mari and Bianca, and re-releasing the first six sculpts (Lawrence, Arvid, Felix, Miho, Raffine and Stella). You know I'm going to get one. But which one? Claude was my first love. Leonard is hot! And I wish I had bought Stella the first time. O money tree, where art thou?