Gratitude

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?

Sunday, November 13, 2016

PukiFee Rin, Sheep Story

This little lady made me miss my doll meet-up yesterday. I saw that she was out for delivery first thing in the morning so I decided to wait for her before leaving for the meet-up. Normally my mail arrives between noon and 2:00 p.m. The meet-up runs from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. but the town where it's held is 26 miles away. As long as she arrived early in the 12-2 time period I'd make it. What I hadn't taken into consideration was Friday's Veterans Day holiday, which meant there would be more mail to deliver. And sure enough, the mail arrived at 2:45 p.m. If I left immediately and drove like a woman possessed, I might possibly get to the meet-up by 3:20 p.m., but by the time I finished setting up everyone else would be taking down. Oh well. There's always next month.
"How happy am I to be here? This much!"

Rin is my third attempt at a PukiFee. Five years ago I bought Zoe, who despite being cute as the dickens just didn't have staying power. Her head seemed heavy for her body, which made her topple over. I sold her and moved on. Two years later I bought multi-head Bonnie and Zefi. The term multi-head is misleading. It refers not to a doll with more than one head but to a doll whose head fits more than one FairyLand body, in this case PukiFee and PukiPuki. Again, they were cute as could be but the size just didn't take. So here I am again, giving PukiFee another try. Considering how well the Realpukis have settled in, I think the size may click this time. I only hope it doesn't open the floodgates to a whole tribe of them!
All the goodies (plus manual, CoA and postcards)

I had a love-at-first-sight reaction to Rin's FairyLand photos. That was odd in and of itself, as Rin in the larger sizes provokes instant aversion. At the risk of alienating other Rin owners, I have to say that to me larger Rins look dopey. Sorry, but that's how I see it. PukiFee Rin's sheep ears and hooves immediately pegged her as a potential friend for my WithDoll Lamb Laney, which ultimately is what sealed the deal.
I bought the Sheep Story full set, partly because the thing that first attracted me to Multi-head Bonnie was the Shepherd Girl outfit with its adorable sheep hat. Of course by the time I bought Bonnie only the basic doll was available. The only way I could get a sheep hat was by making one myself. It just wasn't the same. (If you've guessed that I regret having sold Bonnie you're right.)
"Meet my friends."
Rin's full set includes the doll (in beauty white resin to match my two WithDolls) plus outfit, wig and shoes, unpainted resin sheep ears and hooves, extra human hands, a sleeping faceplate, eyes and makeup. While I didn't get a face-up on the sleeping face, I did upgrade to the glittery eyes in the promotional photos. Then, in order to qualify for the event faceplate, which I had forgotten to add to my order, I purchased the Pink Flower outfit, which is now sold out. I still have the Pink Bonbon set that I bought for one of the previous girls, so Rin will be all set for a while. When I finally get Lulu and Lamb Chop out of their fox and sheep outfits, I'm hoping they can fit into the PukiFee clothing. It's hard to tell when they're covered in faux fur and padding.
With a curly wig and Lamb Chop

With good weather predicted for today and tomorrow, I'm tempted to paint Rin's sheep parts. There's not much to it, just a bit of pink inside the ears and a bit of brown tipped with black on the hooves. It hardly seems worth it to haul out all my supplies for so little. On the other hand, there are the sleep and event faceplates, and AileenDoll baby Ashes needs some extra paint in a few spots.
Chilling with Lulu

I'm hoping for another delivery tomorrow. I say "hoping" because the doll doesn't show up yet in the USPS system, even though EMS shows it having landed at JFK on Friday. Who's the doll? I'm not saying, other than that I am very, very excited!
The end

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Summer Monologue Cuba, an Idealian51 from Soom

I've always wondered how people manage to add Idealian51s to their collections. The order periods are so short! Summer Monologue Cuba was available this past Summer from August 12th through 23rd. That's twelve days, not much time to act if you don't already have the money squirreled away and ready to spend. I only managed it by selling my car and applying part of the trade-in to the purchase. Don't get me wrong. I don't normally sell something major in order to finance a doll. It just happened to be time for a new car. Can I help it if Soom put out a new Idealian51 at the same time?
All I can say is I'm extremely fortunate that the new Idealian was 51cm because the law of averages favors the 72cm guys. If you ask me, the smaller guys just don't get enough love. In fact, the last time Soom released Cuba was 2011 as A Guy with Sunglasses. Summer Monologue Cuba was offered with a choice of heads: a basic head (with open eyes) or a romantic head (with half-lidded eyes). It seemed to me the romantic head offered the greatest range of expression: romantic, sleepy, insolent, haughty, sly. Not as much room for interpretation with the basic head. Besides, the romantic head was prettier. It was a no-brainer. I went with the romantic head.
I ordered the face-up, but not the body blushing, wig or eyes. Knowing he was an odd size, I did order the shirt and pants, but not the shoes. The reasons for my choices: I never order body blushing (very little of it will be seen, so why bother); I have plenty of wigs and eyes to choose from; he would need something to wear until I figured out what to sew for him; and I hoped that Iplehouse nYID shoes would fit him. Now that he's here, I wish I hadn't ordered the clothing. The pants are very lightweight and wrinkled badly the moment I put them on him. The shirt won't go on. At all. Soom included a card with it that reads: This shirt is designed as not to be open. Since the fabric is weak we suggest you to wear it taking off shoulder joints for easy way to wear it. Take off shoulder joints? Really? No. Just no. I'm hoping I can get the shirt on Soul Kid Yarn. He's smaller. Mama mia!
My Soom Super Gem Quartz taught me to expect some assembly. Cuba came with his hands and feet already attached, which saved me some work. I knew I would be dealing with the head, but I figured it would be easy because the Idealian51 is so much smaller. How much effort could it take? How much indeed! The Super Gem head attached to the body by means of a resin piece shaped like a banana. It was relatively easy to insert through the strings, even if it did shoot out the other side just as easily. Enter the Idealian51, where instead of a banana we have a brain, as Soom calls it. (It looks like a walnut to me.) After some trial and error--which a quick look at the manual before starting would have prevented--I did manage to position the brain correctly. Heaven help anyone who tries to hybrid this head onto another body, or put a different head on this body. Maybe that's the whole point of the unusual assembly mechanism: to ensure that Soom heads are used on Soom bodies and vice versa.
We tried on a lot of clothing. None of my larger Iplehouse clothing fits, although the nYID shoes fit with socks. I had bought five pairs of trousers from Dollmore in their Zaoll girl size because I had read that they fit Soul Doll Vito guys. They do fit Vito; they also fit Idealian51. Not perfectly, because his male parts keep the trousers from going up as far as they should, but he can wear them at his hips. Zaoll shoes work without socks. My photos show him wearing MSD size sneakers that I find to be too large for my quarter-scale dolls.
I struck out on most of my tops. The only things that fit are the same tops that fit Vito--along with the School of Magic set from DollHeart. The trousers are way too long. I could shorten them, but then they wouldn't fit FeePle60 Siean. So for now Cuba is wearing the set's shirt and sweater with a pair of Zaoll trousers. Works for me. I may have to place another clothing order with DollHeart. Some of their sets come with short pants which might fit him. If they don't fit, he can continue to wear the Zaoll trousers with the DollHeart tops. All of my patterns will need a fair bit of tweaking before I can use them.
You may be wondering where he fits in among my other mid-size guys. I measured them all in shoes and wigs. At 51.5cm Cuba stands near the top end between Soul Doll Vito Jin (54cm) and Soul Kid Yarn (48cm). Iplehouse FID Lawrence (50.5cm) will bump Yarn down a spot. Then we have Iplehouse JID (47cm), Luts Model Delf and WithDoll (46cm), LumeDoll (45.5cm) and finally Dollmore Kid (44.5cm). I will line everyone up for a group photo after Lawrence arrives. In the meantime, here is Cuba between Kid Yarn and Vito Jin.
I was surprised at how well his height works with Iplehouse FID Miho. She is wearing high heels; otherwise the difference between them would be a greater. Even so, his larger head does not appear out of scale. Maybe he can partner some of those sassy Judith girls even though their heads are bigger than his. He has the body bulk to pull it off.

My only reference for Cuba being an island in the Caribbean, I have renamed him Grant. Try as I might I just don't feel a Caribbean vibe when I look at him. Grant wears a 6-7 wig and 10mm eyes. In my photos he is wearing a wig made for Iplehouse BID. It's a lot of hair on him and I have since changed him into a same size wig from Luts that seems more in scale. None of my 10mm eyes worked particularly well so I have him wearing 11mm Eyeco soft silicone eyes. I am currently working on a sweater vest for him to match Miho's dress. Our holiday meet-up is just around the corner and I'd like some of my dolls to look like they're inspired by the season.

I need to say a few words about Soom's box and shipping carton. They measure 80cm long. That's a lot of box for a doll technically considered a mini. I guess the longer boxes are necessary to accommodate dolls that come with additional parts--like wings, horns and various other animal bits. Still, when you order a smaller doll, it's no fun to pay extra to ship a big box. Just saying.

Edited on November 8, 2016

I decided to change Grant's eyes, which gave me an opportunity to show you the brain in place. It comes already positioned between the strings. You pull it up, simultaneously working the headback over the strings at the base of the neck, and slide the brain down into the compartment at the rear of the skull. And in case there is any question about which end goes where, there is a letter F etched into the resin signifying the front. You can just about see it on the front right lobe below.