Meet Emerson Appleton: a Nightscape Giselle

emerson 6

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 😉


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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!! 🙁


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


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


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.


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


Begin pushing it into the head.


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.


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.


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


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.


Here is how to do it for the head part:


For the neck piece it should look like this:

This is how both pieces should be positioned (I took the photo before trimming the neck’s piece)


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! 😀





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.

Modifying Fashion Royalty with Magnets?

Modifying Fashion Royalty with Magnets? Really?

Yes! 😀

Ok, so unlike a lot of people out there, I never bought one of IT’s dolls that came with the “quick switch” body. Initially it sounded like a good idea but apparently it wasn’t executed the best and I guess a bunch of folks ended up with bobble headed dolls. That was a shame IMO since that could have had some great applications. Oh well.

I mentioned to my friend Will that I’d collect more dolls if I had the option to swap their heads out–meaning that instead of buying multiples of the same doll (to have one character who could have dark hair, one with blonde, different hair styles etc.) I could get the heads only and allow each doll to have one or two main bodies and as many heads as that character would need.

Will mentioned that he did something like that for his action figure girl, Gillian. He has something like 10 different heads for her and each looks different for different roles (she’s an actress).

I asked him if he thought it would work for the Fashion Royalty girls and he said it should. So I gave it a go. It was a bit of trial and error but it worked.

And the verdict is I love it!
It is exactly what I wanted and will allow my characters to have different looks while using only one body! 😀

If anyone is interested I can post a tutorial about it this weekend…

Taking stock & changing focus

There are times when in the course of collecting–be it dolls, books, antiques or anything else–that you find your focus or interest is changing. You notice that it’s trained on a different area than it was when you first started.

I am dealing with this now. And I have been struggling to accept it.

When I first started really collecting dolls (I don’t count my forays into making OOAK barbies as part of my collecting since I never kept any of them.) I was introduced to Volks 27cm Dollfies and Volks Super Dollfies (the original japanese ball jointed resin dolls). I owned both and then sold my SDs to concentrate on the 27cm/ 1:6 scale Volks. Volks appealed to me because they were fantastically poseable. They looked kind of weird to my eyes at the time because of the multitude of joints that they had. But I grew to love them and they became the main focus of my collection from 2000 to 2015.

For the record I’m not a big “collector” type.

My dolls & action figures get a lot of use. They aren’t shelf-sitters, or display models.
I play with them. I re-dress them. I photograph them. I write scripts for them…
I don’t have any display cases filled with 1/6 figures.
I don’t have a single figure that is BNIB or NRFB.

In time my collection expanded to include Takara Cool Girls, Integrity’s Fashion Royalty dolls as well as Takara Blythe. Each had pros & cons about them and none of them could knock the Volks out of #1 spot. Those others I would buy and sell according to how my interests waxed and waned. But never the Volks. I always kept them and kept an eye out for more of them. I started adding more CG & female action figures and Fashion Royalty dolls to my collection. It was interesting to see how they changed through the years almost all of them for the better.

One of the big things to realize about my collecting is that I collect the dolls and action figures because I want them to be characters in photostories. This matters because I want to be able to use _all_ of my dolls in my photostories–without any of them (except the Blythes) looking strange or out of place. My compromise with that was to think of the Volks as mostly younger/students for the University and everyone else fell under Non-University people. Not the ideal solution but I was willing to go with it, you know?

When Volks discontinued their 1/6 dollfie line I was gutted. I couldn’t see where that left me. None of the others could compare to their range of motion or articulation. But if there weren’t any more of them being made then I could no longer create new characters using them. Which made me feel lost.

What was I going to do?

I remained in denial for a long time. I kept hearing rumors that Volks was re-tooling their 27cm/1:6 line and that they would be releasing more dolls. I held onto that like a lifesaver. Because if they stopped making them then I had to deal with another issue: my Volks collection was anime style and was at odds with my action figures and fashion dolls–both of which were considerably less stylized.

So over the last year or so I have slowly started coming to terms with the fact that I need to put the Volks to rest. I am thinning out the majority of my collection and plan on keeping about 18-20 of them. The rest will go up for sale and find new homes and maybe collectors who don’t feel the same way I do about the fact that they are no longer available.

My newer focus is on action figures (both male and female) and fashion royalty dolls. At least with a bit of tweaking they can all work together as a cast–and that’s important for me.

I feel melancholy as I write this, knowing that I am admitting that I have to step up and embrace the change even though I don’t particularly want to.

I’ll blog again soon–and I promise it will be more upbeat.

Does Aristocratic Agnes need a Tweak or Two?

Agnes is a gorgeous doll. I feel very lucky to have her. I asked myself, “How can you see this and not want to have her in your collection?” So she was a no-brainer. It was difficult to scrape up the $$ for her but I managed it (selling parts of my collection) and I am glad I did!
This is her default appearance:(photos property of Integrity Toys)


She’s lovely, right? Yes.
I love her color combinations (I’m not usually a huge fan of blonde dolls) but this one works for me. And for the personality I think she will have in my photostories. That said, IMO she needs a little tweaking. Look at her eyes:


She is suffering from Upward Eyes Syndrome — that thing that makes the doll look like she is either rolling her eyes or getting ready to pass out. It is a personal pet peeve of mine and it is something I compulsively fix on my dolls.

So her eyes need tweaking. Check.
What about her lip color? Her eyelashes/eyeliner?
I’m not sure about those yet. The lips are a much starker, brighter red than in the promo pics. It’s not a horrible red…just not my particular favorite. Part of me would like to do her lips in a soft rose/nude because I think it would look great with her coloring and also lend itself to being more casual. I’m not sure though…

Anyway, just wanted to share.

Voltage Erin: a bunch of possibilities?

There is something about me that doesn’t usually allow me to leave my dolls untouched or un-customized in some way. I don’t know if it is because I like them to have something different about them than the other hundreds or thousands of them out there. Or maybe it’s an effort on my part to find and define their personalities. But whatever it is—it is. 😉

Now I want to talk about Voltage Erin.
Yes, I know she isn’t even in production yet and she isn’t due out until late fall or early winter 2015. But I look at her and I see possibilities. I thought I’d share a few of them here.
This is her default factory appearance:

voltage erin

I think she’s quite pretty as she is. It’s the newer headsculpt for Erin (with the open mouth). But she didn’t wow me, exactly. I kept looking back at the photos of her and thinking she was “nice” but off track from my color tastes. Which lead me to wonder if that was down to the simple fact she was wearing a yellow based red (I dislike those tones but love blue based reds). So…I wondered what she might look like with different coloring options. Please note that these are quick edits done in PS so I could get a vague idea…

Anyway, we’ll see what she actually looks like once she hits the market. 😉

Nu Face Redux — Integrity Toys Reveal

So if you’re at all interested in Fashion Royalty / Integrity Toys’ line of fashion dolls you know that this past saturday was the reveal of the new “refreshed” line of the Nu Face/Model Behavior line. This was what I and a crap-ton of other people had been waiting the past 2 years to happen. I have to admit that I was somewhat underwhelmed by what was presented. Call me crazy but I expected to see a few new characters, and an edgier more contemporary-modern vibe. Eh. Not so much so. I can’t say that anything they made was terrible just that the majority of it did nothing for me.  I like the fact that they re-sculpted Nadja’s head and that they included the revised Ayumi (3.0) headsculpt and Dominique (although I thought she was one of the regular FR characters?)

Between Nadja & Ayumi I liked their purses and shoes best. I liked Dominique’s clothing out of the three of them. The dolls themselves–eh. I could leave them. But I should mention the two dolls that I did like: Voltage Erin & Energetic Presence Giselle.

Item # 82050
Erin S.™ Dressed Doll
The Nu. Face™ Collection
Limited Edition Size of 800 Dolls
Retail Price: $135.00 + Shipping & Handling
Estimated Ship Date: Approximately Late Fall/Early Winter 2015

Doll Tech Specs:

Head Sculpt: Erin 2.0
Body Type: Nu.Face 2.0
Quick Switch Feature: No
Skin Tone: Japan
Hair Color: Strawberry Blond
Eyelashes: Yes, Hand Applied


This is the newest Erin sculpt (I think it is 2.0?). I like it better than her original sculpt and I think it makes her look less harsh and pissy. I know a few people who miss that one now–but not me.

Anyway…I don’t think that Integrity chose the best color to show off Erin. I made a small chart with her shirt in different colors:

I think that Erin would have looked much better in one of those other colors.

Energetic Presence Giselle:

This Giselle didn’t wow me but I think she would be good with some tweaking and a change of make up and hair restyled. It’d be nice to get her to paint her similarly to OIN Giselle and be able to have her with the different hair color. Or, since I covet one–I can re-root her in black and paint her to make a faux Glam Addict Giselle

Item # 82054
Energetic Presence
Giselle D.™ Dressed Doll
The Nu. Face™ Collection
Limited Edition Size of 1000 Dolls
Retail Price: $135.00 + Shipping & Handling
Estimated Ship Date: Approximately Late Fall/Early Winter 2015
Doll Tech Specs:
Head Sculpt: Giselle D.
Body Type:  Nu.Face 2.0
Quick Switch Feature: No
Skin Tone: FR White
Hair Color: Brunette
Eyelashes: Yes, Hand Applied


IMO Giselle’s clothing isn’t anything to write home about. The stand-out piece is her multi-paneled skirt. Her purse looks nice but I can only think about the purse that came with High Visibility Agnes–it was poorly made with glue visible on it and had crooked stitching. But who knows? Maybe it will be better.

Please note that I did not take these photos nor do I own rights to them. 😉 They are IT’s (I combined the photos).


Tutorial: Tweaking Poppy Parker’s body for better articulation & posing

Here it is–the long ago mentioned Tutorial on how to modify Integrity Toys Poppy Parker body!




I didn’t really bother with any nude pics but here is a pic with Giselle showing her improved side movement (it can go further or even way further but then it looks kind of weird like the FR2 waist joint)



Please note: I am the sort who takes risks with my dolls and customizations. This modification is done at your own risk and I am only sharing my results and methods. I got the idea to do this modification based on the information on Flickr posted by Marikah (no longer an active account). Her modification was done on Fashion Royalty Hommes and you can find an example on flickr under Emilia’s albums:

What you need:

  • Patience. This takes some time and can be really finicky.
  • A Poppy Parker body. I highly recommend doing this on a test doll first (one that you don’t like so much, or a spare body) so you get the hang of it.
  • Half a yard of thin elastic (about 3mm in size and white in color) this is the flat kind–not the round kind. You can usually pick this up from JoAnn Fabrics or AC Moore in the sewing section. in the UK you can probably pick it up at HobbyCraft.
  • 1 pair of scissors (for cutting the elastic)
  • 1 Pair of round nose or needle nose pliers
  • 1 pair wire cutters
  • A bit of wire  (I was using some scrap wire from out of a larger piece I’d gotten from Lowes) but anything that is 16 to 20 gauge ought to do the trick. You want a piece of wire that is flexible enough to finagle around curves but hard enough to keep hold of your elastic.

Get your wire cutters ready!

Carefully bend the torso back and forth at the bust joint. I emphasize carefully since if you do it too hard/ fast you can cause stress-discoloration on the abs plastic there. 🙁

Do this until you can see the opening/ joint area. The black arrow shows where you should be looking to see if the gap is wide enough yet. (You’ll be sticking your wire cutters in there to clip the joint a few steps down from now).


While you’re doing that, this is what you want to see:


See that post that the black arrow is pointing at in the photo above? That’s what we want to get the wire cutters in there to cut (in half) which will allow us to separate the bust from the body’s main torso.

Looking at the photo below the Orange arrow is the post that was cut with the wire cutters. Make 100% certain you are not cutting the other posts (the ones with the screws in them). Those black arrows are pointing to the pieces you will be threading the elastic through.


So take a look at the photo below.  Aren’t all those arrows kind of overwhelming? LOL

I wanted to point out a few things here

1) Do you see that kind of snot colored stuff? As far as I could tell it has the consistency of hot-melt glue. I’m not at all sure why it’s in there (but I did find it on the inside of all 5 poppy parkers that I have done this mod to so far. The amount of it seemed to be random-alot in some of the bodies and very little in others. I don’t know if this was ITs solution to adding weight to the bodies w/o the giant nut inside or what. Because of the goop I ended up using the wire (in the supplies list above) to thread the elastic through. Depending on how much goop (if any) is in your body you might not need it.

2) Looking at the arrows again you see that the black and orange are pretty much in the same place on each half of the torso (top and bottom *see photo above for top*). These are the spots you are going to be feeding that 3mm elastic through. Don’t cry! It’s going to be ok–really! 😉


 At this point get your wire, elastic, wire cutters (or other pliers) ready!


Make a tight loop (small as possible) at one end of the wire. This is going to be your snake (assuming your doll’s torso is full of this goo. If not, you can probably skip this part…But I do find it helpful for threading the elastic through all the parts.

Now, tie one end of the elastic through the loop. Tie it tightly so that it doesn’t come undone while you’re doing your threading. Don’t make the knot(s) too big since they need to fit through all the gaps and bars. Small is best in this instance.


At this point I’d like to suggest that you also look at the photos from Emilia’s flickr. I did shoot pics of me trying to thread the elastic in but I am not sure if they are understandable. So check them out below:


See that goopy stuff?

If you find that you can’t get your piece of wire through it (there ought to be large enough gaps in it that you can, but I had it happen on 2 bodies that I couldn’t) get a heating pad or a hairdryer and set them on low — and that will help soften it up enough for you to wiggle your wire through the pieces.

This is the way I began stringing this body.  You can pretty much do it however you want. The main thing is to get it through the bars/ sections to evenly distribute the force and strain placed on the elastic. This is when I was just starting to get the elastic situated and began stringing.


Looking at the photo below you can see where the goopy stuff was–in this particular body it wasn’t a real issue and I didn’t have to warm the torso up to be able to get the wire through it (I use the wire, but you could possibly use hemostats too).



I found it easiest for me if I strung it from the top (bust) down into the torso then back up to the bust and to the torso.

It should resemble the photo below:


After you do that you need to determine how much you need to tighten up the elastic.

(tip:make sure you keep your wire attached to one end!! This will help to avoid it coming un-strung until you’ve knotted it off!)

Once you’ve determined this (you don’t want the elastic to be stretched out! You want just enough tension to hold the two parts together but not so little that the torso is floppy) tie the elastic, and knot it. I suggest double knotting it. You can cut off the excess at this point, and leave yourself a little (about 1.5 in) extra in case you want to adjust this at a later date.

The Elastic and knotting should all fit within the torso with no problem.

Hope this is helpful to someone out there (besides me!) 😉

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