Photo challenge week #1

I managed to clear off my table of all the various projects I’m working on so that I could set up to shoot a few quick photos for the challenge. 😀

First a tiny bit of info about this week’s Model. This is a Perfectly Suited Giselle (from the 2015 IT Convention) I got her off of MisterdollFace for cheap sometime last year. She had some issues (like she reeked of smoke) and she came with crumpled broken lashes that I peeled off but that pulled off the eye paint.* The first thing I did was give her a complete wash until I couldn’t detect the cigarette smell anymore. She needs her eyes repaired *I’m ok with that, it’s just been a case of I haven’t worked on her yet.

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I like her in general because she has been painted in a way that resembles Old is New Giselle *my first Giselle* She’s been re-rooted (I think that whoever did it used the tension method)and I thinnk the dark hair suits her. After I do the fix on her facial paint I will see about styling her hair (it has a ton of static flyaways).
And another:
giselle-10-26-16b

Now that I managed to grab out the camera I think that next week’s photos should be easier for me to get done. 🙂

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Spring Song Poppy gets a Make Over

I worked on her last week and over the weekend and while she’s come out ok I’m not particularly satisfied with how she came out. I feel she shows how rusty my repainting skills have become, but with that in mind I am just going to have to do more of them to get back into practice.

So. This is what she looked like before I started:
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Not really inspiring by way of Poppy…But I picked her head up relatively cheaply last year and added her to my pile of “someday” projects.
Fast forward and this is how she looks now:
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After I repainted her I decided that maybe she would be more appealing on the NuFace 2.0 body–so I popped her head on it and ta-da! It fits and it seems to fit her personality.

I was going to try to trade her or sell her but now I am not so sure because I am liking the vibe she’s giving off. But then, if someone offered me one of the other dolls I want I would trade her off in a heartbeat!

Ok that’s it for today’s post!

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Like riding a bicycle…?

One of my friends told me the other day that I have nothing to worry about when it comes to my ability to repaint dolls. He said it’s just like riding a bicycle–you’ll remember how to do it once you start doing it again.

I’m not sure that I agree.
Yes, I’ve picked up the brushes, and found them all shot to hell (note to self: do not attempt to repaint if your brushes are old. No matter what the results will be disappointing.)

I decided that I was going to touch up the paint apps on Avery (Decorum Eugenia). Unfortunately it all went tits up and she now has no face. I kept struggling and my friend Nat said to stop and wait until I could pick up some new brushes. It was hard for me to stop but I knew she was right. I picked up brushes the next day but didn’t immediately try the repainting again.

What I did instead was futz around with Springsong Poppy’s head and try to make her look like she has a little more personality. I’m afraid I may have made her look like she fell into the make-up pot. Uh huh.

And then I decided that I would see what I could do with Never Ordinary Lilith’s head. The hard lines of her blue eye make up really bothered me and I was not loving her at all. Note: I have also lost a lot of manual skill in removing paint :S so that didn’t go as planned. But funnily enough I actually like her more now. So I’ll be sure to take a photo of her and Springsong Poppy on sunday. I have an event this Saturday and I have to put my dolls aside and prep for that and do some rush stuff for it that I have been putting off.

Talk to you all later!

Falling in love again…Rare Find Isha gets a second chance!

For those of you who’ve followed my blog for a long while you’ll recognize my Isha.  She was a prize that I won in 2007 from the Doll Diva’s board when they held a raffle.

I got around to repainting and re-rooting the front of her head in 2009.


Not the best repaint I’d ever done but somehow it still seems “right” for her so she never ended up with a second repaint.

She did however end up with a swapped body… She started out on the 2nd or 3rd generation Fashion Royalty body and it was floppy and annoying as all hell. Could barely hold a pose long enough for me to shoot it with the camera! I hated taking photos of her because of it–so it was important for me to find her a body donor. Finding another body to match her was difficult (especially since she wasn’t even a great match with her original body). My good friend Will gave me a hot toys hispanic female body for her to use.

The plus side was it was definitely more articulated than her original but it was hard to find clothes to fit in a way  I liked and at that time I didn’t much feel like sewing for her…so she got relegated to a box and that was it. Every time I went to re-dress my dolls my eyes would stick on her and I’d feel guilty that such a pretty doll wasn’t getting fair treatment and being photographed and really cast with a good role in the Quinlan Chronicles.

What to do? What could I do?

Funnily enough, I was going through my collection this morning with an eye to plan some repaints and sell off some dolls I don’t play with—when I realized that Isha’s body was a really good match for Moonlight and Kisses Darla Daley’s! Oh I am happy about that! 🙂 and then I figured that I might as well do body mods on he since  want to use her a lot in the future and being able to pop her head off for dressing and jewelry application is a good thing! And an expanded range of motion at the chest join is super helpful too in posing.

You know….I just couldn’t leave her eyes (or eyebrows) alone. I felt this compulsion to repaint them…I don’t think she came out too badly considering how very long it’s been since I did any repainting.

So here she is now:

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and two more pics just because! 🙂

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Next I need to find a new name that suits her….

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Q&A: can you hybridize a Poppy and an FR2?

I got this question a few months ago from Taylor. My spammerator stuffed it in pending so it has taken a long time for me to see it. Sorry, Taylor!

his/her question was: “but I am asking is it possible for me to take the new bust upper part of the FR2 doll body and attach it to the body of Poppy parker? and would she be taller, than a normal poppy or shorter? like when u placed the 2 nun face body and poppy together. I want a poppy with a bigger bust and her flat feet but not shorter than normal, would it work?

My answer is: I don’t know! But what the heck I can give it a try and see!

I tried it last night and I’m sad to report that it isn’t do-able. The larger torso size of the fr2 leaves too large of a gap at the upper joint. It was a nice idea (and I was really hoping it _would_ work, but no dice!

Another FYI for folks who want their Poppy Parker dolls to have high heeled feet rather than the jointed feet–Poppy’s dimensions are the same as a monogram body. So that’s one fix for you folks. 😉

 

Dolls, dolls dolls!

Some thoughts on my collecting…

Let’s be clear, I’m not one of those doll collectors who have a closet full of dolls, dolls on shelves, boxed dolls on display and only a very few that ever escape from the box. Nope. not me. I don’t keep any doll BNIB unless I have bought it for someone else as a gift, and then I know it’s gotta go.

That’s not to say that I don’t have a great deal of dolls. I do (in my opinion). I consider it a case of I have 2 distinctly separate collections. One consists of my Volks and Japanese 1/6 dolls. I know all of them and they are all kept stored in a large sterilite box to keep them from getting damaged, etc. They’re “old friends” and except for a few culls that is now a static collection (since Volks no longer produces 27cm dolls and parts). The number is about 45 dolls in total.

I have about 10 male action figures on either Hot Toys bodies or on the various clone bodies that are out there. In the future I’d like to add a few more since my collection is skewed heavily toward being femme-centric.

So let me talk about the fashion dolls.
When I first got started in the hobby of collecting/customizing dolls I started with Barbies. Because they were easy to get, easy to customize and easy to sell on ebay. I really hated the fact that they had such poor articulation — the bend and click knees, no wrist joints, etc. When someone introduced me to Volks dolls it was a revelation for me that there could be dolls with great range of motion. The difficult thing with them at the time was seeing past all the joints, the bodies looked so strange compared to the Barbies I was used to. But I got used to it and they became my faves. Then Volks stopped making them and I started to flounder.

My friend Will told me about Takara Cool girls action figures. They offered a better ROM than barbies but they were beefy bodies with a weird joint at the crotch that made them appear to have a *package*. Nice if you put them in skirts, or anything that didn’t hug it. But not the ideal (for me).

Fashion royalty came along and at first IMO they were glorified Barbies with a much higher price tag. I didn’t see the point since they were like silkstone barbies–pretty but too limited for my tastes. Then they started to improve. And improve some more. And even more.
Nowadays Fashion Royalty are the dolls that I collect the most of.

Here are some reasons why:
The various headsculpts are the biggest draw for me. There is a lot of variety.
They tie in first place with the hot toys female headsculpts, but because I dislike their (HT) current bodies and haven’t yet had the $$ to lay out for some of the steel skeleton’d phicen dolls (which have some interesting face sculpts too)to try out as a character.

The next reason is because although their bodies started out crappy they have been steadily evolving into a better body for my purposes in shooting photostories. They still need me to make modifications on them, but I can cope with that especially when I see them creating bodies that are completely modular and prime for body part swapping.

So how many FR dolls do I have in my collection?
(I’m clumping poppy parker dolls & Color Infusion in with it since they’re made by the same co.)
It would be embarrasing to say I don’t know. Wouldn’t it? ;P
Seriously though, I need to start taking headshots of them so that I have a visual roster of them and what characters I have (or am) casting them as. I often buy my dolls 2nd hand or just their heads. When it comes to Fashion Royalty & Poppy dolls I have more heads than bodies.
I am going to finally admit it now that I have completely given up on Volks reviving their 1/6 line and am now a confirmed collector of Fashion Royalty, Nu Face and Poppy Parker dolls. I make them into my own characters, but yea, for now they are my go to dolls (and I make allowances for their limitations).

Anyway, just thought I’d share that.

Meet Emerson Appleton: a Nightscape Giselle

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Lovely, isn’t she?

Emerson Appleton
I feel very lucky to have her in my collection. She has (in my opinion) a completely different vibe than Giselle (customized Old is New Giselle). She seems softer and dreamier to me.

So what do I know about Emerson?
Let’s see….

Emerson Appleton is in her early 20’s. Her personality is moody and creative with highs and lows. Her fashion sense is “I’m gonna wear what I want and anyone who doesn’t like it can sit and spin!” (This is tempered at times by her Aunts’ strongly worded recommendations 😉

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Emerson (or Em as she is often nicknamed by friends and family) is single and looking but she’s had her fair share (and more) of jerks and wonders why she bothers looking. She is looking for someone who’ll love her no matter where she ends up in life, and she wants someone who is sensitive and willing to understand her artistic nature…Really, she isn’t very good at the whole dating thing and usually ends up waiting by the phone for the text/im/call that never comes for a second date.

Emerson Appleton

She has a small family consisting of her two aunts: Arabella Appleton and Agnes Appleton-Weld, and an Uncle: Theo Appleton & his wife and their children (her cousins). Emerson’s parents are deceased and losing them as well as her sister has left a mark on her psyche. She dislikes her Uncle Theo’s wife, but tolerates her at holidays when necessary.

Sometimes Emerson is looking for a place to hide away from the world.

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She is struggling as an artist and although she has had her work shown in a number of galleries and juried art shows she isn’t “there” yet and wonders if she will ever be truly successful in the way that Warhol or Pollock were. Emerson is a trust fund-baby and as such doesn’t have to worry much about where her rent money is coming from as long as she stays in line with the budget her Aunt Agnes (known as Aunt Ness) made for her.

Quick facts:
Emerson’s favorite colors: black,  blue, dark purple and crimson/mulberry colors.
Favorite clothing: Emerson likes to wear everything from raggy T & Jeans to formal wear.
Emerson’s background: Born and raised in Greenwich, Connecticut. To: Joseph and Sarah (nee Black) Appleton. She had a twin sister who went missing as an infant. Emerson completed a BA in fine arts at Yale and decided that getting an MFA would be a waste of her time when all she wants to do is make art. She spent a year after graduation traveling and then moved to Seattle for two years before she settled in NY, NY. where she has connections with some galleries and restaurants to hang and show her work.

She goes out evenings to see bands play, and spends a lot of time in the libraries and museums around town.

How to mod FR, Poppy & Nu Face dolls for Quick head swaps

Here’s the deal: I wanted my Fashion Royalty, Poppy Parker & Nu Face heads to be more easily interchangeable and removable for when I want to change out a character’s “look”. Currently if I want to do that I either have to have multiple dolls (1 head, 1 body) for each character or else if I buy an “alternative look” head I have to go through the hassle of heating up the head, worrying about pulling it off, warming it up again, popping it on the new body (or the new head on the old body) and so on. I find that very stressful but I also don’t want to end up having 3 or 4 of each doll bodies just for a few different looks. Space is still at a premium in our house, you know?

This is a method that was suggested to me by my friend Will . I have done it with a few differences to use it on Integrity Toy’s Fashion Royalty, Poppy Parker and Nu Face lines. There is an unintended side effect with this mod — an increased range of motion at the neck allowing for more expressive head positions. 🙂

As usual, please be aware I am a risk-taker when it comes to my dolls and customizing them. I do it with the knowledge that in the process I may damage them. This modification is done at your own risk and I am only sharing my results and methods. If you plan on trying this I suggest using a doll you don’t mind so much if it ends up damaged.

What you’ll need:
To make 1 body & 1 head swap-able

  • 1 body (I have done this on the Poppy Parker, FR3 and Nu Face 2.0 bodies)
  • Neodymium Sphere Magnets. Minimum strength N35.  I used 8mm ones but you can also use 5/16th sized ones too. (at the end of the post I’ll link to some places you can get them from) You’ll need 2 per head, 1 per body
  • Lightweight cotton or muslin (about a 3 inch x 3 inch square)
  • Vise Grip Pliers (small size)
  • Safety Glasses
  • Needle & thread
  • Thin leather (pale in color to avoid any possibility of discoloring vinyl) or some other fabric that can provide friction to aid in holding head poses. You might have to experiment with what you have on hand. This is important though. As to thickness of the leather think of glove leather (fashion, not work gloves). About .50mm to 1mm in thickness.
  • Hot water (close to boiling-I would not use boiling as it may make eyelashes come off?)
  • Small bowl (for soaking the head and neck in)
  • Patience. You’ll need some for this as it isn’t the fastest modification to complete. Don’t do it if you’re in a hurry!
  • Here are a few of the supplies–sorry I forgot to snap a pic of everything.

supplies

Here we go! The fun, the excitement! The Nail-biting Drama!

First: get your supplies together and get your water on to boil. Get the small bowl ready so that you can put the near boiling water into it. Pour the water into the bowl.

water

I used near-boiling water and soaked Agnes’ head in it to soften the head up and get it off the body. If you’re comfortable using the heating pad, hairdryer or oven method to remove the head go ahead and do those instead. Get the water ready though since you will need it shortly.

soak-head

After removing the head, empty the water and re-fill again with near boiling water. Then place the neck & neck knob area back in the bowl to soak for a couple of minutes. Don’t forget to put your safety glasses on!

neck-soak

After about 2 or 3 minutes you can remove it from the water. Be careful not to burn or scald yourself with the water (it’s going to drip out of the body).

Get your vise grips ready. It is important to grip and pull the knob out squarely (in a direct/ straight line). Not at an angle. Doing it at an angle will increase the chance of stress fracture and neck cracks considerably!! 🙁

vise-grips-neck-knob

Pull with firm, steady pressure. Keep it straight.  Once the knob is removed get your magnet!

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Rest the magnet on top of the neck hole opening.
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Apply steady pressure. Be careful as the magnet can easily slip out of your grip and ping across the room.

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If you put the doll’s head in the water to remove it towel dry and allow to dry fully before going onto the next steps. (because you will be inserting fabric into the head you want to have it dry not damp or wet!) Also dry the body as best you can. Over night works ok, or if you’ve done it on an FR3 body you could remove the arms and lower torso to dry it off more thoroughly & quickly.

Next, get your fabric, magnets, needle and thread. Then insert the magnets into the center of the fabric and fold in half. Sew the base closed.

magnet-fabric

Wrap the thread around the magnets a couple of times. Tie off. Trim the fabric from the base of the fabric/magnet parcel.

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Begin pushing it into the head.

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The head holes vary in size so some will fit in better than others but they will all fit provided you are patient and apply appropriate pressure.

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Now, get your leather and scissors and cut out two small circles (approximately a little smaller than a dime). You’ll trim them down more so the size is not exact.

leather

Here is a photo to give you an idea of the leather’s thickness:

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One will be for use inside the doll’s head-neck hole area, and the other will be for use over the neck-hole where the magnet sits.

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Here is how to do it for the head part:

leather-insert-1

For the neck piece it should look like this:
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This is how both pieces should be positioned (I took the photo before trimming the neck’s piece)

leather-insert-4

At this point you’re almost done! YAY! All you’ve got to do now is gently position the head over the neck area (about 2 inches over it to avoid the magnetic pull) and then quickly put it in place (the magnets will help by attracting each other). It will probably take a couple of tries to get it on right (so that none of the leather circles show) but keep trying. You can always take them off and re position them when you need to.

And that’s it! You’re done! 😀

I did this to almost all of my FR/NF/PP dolls so I have been able to ditch most of the duplicate bodies and now can easily change heads around. The best thing about this is that inserting the magnets in this way allows me to remove them if I should want to re-root or partially re-root a head in the future. Also, I can now swap Giselle from the Poppy body to the high heeled Monogram body when I want her dressed up in heels! 😀 😀 😀

Here are a few photos of Agnes with her new magnet head/neck mod. She’s upside down to show that the magnets are strong enough to hold her head on even against gravity! 😀

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My thanks go to Will for the idea and encouragement, and to Mark for being willing to pull the neck knob out and push the magnet in so I could try to photograph it for the tutorial. 😀

Places to get Magnets From: Please note I don’t endorse these merchants I am only sharing where I got some of my magnets from and other places that carry them.

Thackery Handmade, LLC (on ebay) (this is where I got my magnets from. She ships quickly and the price per magnet is almost half that of K&J)

K&J MAGNETS  Will got his magnets from here and they have a stronger pull strength. I used weaker magnets (N35) so your mileage may vary if you use these.

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