What’s up, Doc?

Well, isn’t that the question? ๐Ÿ˜‰ I guess so! I’ve been going back and forth the last few months/half a year with a lot of medical stuff so I wasn’t able to give much of my attention or energy to 1/6 stuff. And I didn’t feel motivated to do it either. I am able to say now that I am doing a bit better, and able to take up my hobbies again. (I feel weird calling 1/6 my hobby when it really is such a huge part of my life and interests. I feel like I should say I am being re-united with my LOVE!).

So keep your eye out for updates! I’ll be posting stuff soon! ๐Ÿ˜€

E

Top 10 Toys of 2014: #1 *the best of the best*

At last!
Here we are finally at #1 out of the top 10!
Bet you thought I’d leave it until 2016 before I actually posted it, huh? ๐Ÿ˜›

#1
Description of Toy/Toyline: Dual purpose 1/6 scale Drafting Table & drafting Chairs by Mark of CKWorkshop

This table and chair set was custom made for me by Mark (that guy who is so talented it makes me green with envy!) I love him but oh, man oh man does he make me feel totally outclassed when it comes to making things! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I gave him a brief a few months back telling him that I wanted a drafting table to use in the actresses’ apartment since Taylor (who is one of the roommates is the costume designer/wardrobe person for the Wrenwood Hall production) would be doing some work at home etc… Add to that I wanted something that I could see in their apartment no matter how I end up designing or decorating it since they are all girls on a budget I figured if I could have a drafting table that could also double as a (pub height) dining table, then why not???

taylor-table-3

Although you can’t really tell (these are quick photos, I didn’t do a proper photoshoot for this post, sorry!) the drafting table can be adjusted to 4 different slope heights. I love it, it makes me remember my days of working at one as a freelance artist. ๐Ÿ™‚

taylor-table-2

Why did it make your list?
Because it does exactly what I wanted and then some!
I was pretty fussy about stating what I wanted–hey,don’t look at me like that–it was for xmas, you know! Annnnnnd I wanted to be able to use it with both my FR2 dolls and the Poppy Parker bodied dolls (because if you make it for poppies only things end up being too short or small for the FR2s and if you make them for the FR2s they look too big for the Poppies). Add into that equation the fact that I adore furniture (in real life and in 1/6) that can fulfill multiple uses.

Dinner

drafting-table-1

The chairs are little works of art (and made up of over 70 pieces to make each one) with weathering and small details that really do make the difference. The seats and back rests are covered with upcycled vintage leather and are soft (not that my dolls will know but it just looks good!).

drafting-chairs

Downside to it: There isn’t one–although if I could convince Mark to make me 2 more stools to go with it I’d totally do that. I guess if I had to say there was a downside–I’d say it was the fact that it forced me to start making more of the various detritus & props that Taylor would have on it . I managed to make a few fabric sheets and sketches as well as that tatty looking portfolio case, but there needs to be more along with some wall stuff…

taylor-portfolio

Overall: I’m very pleased with it (obviously, since it’s #1 on the list, right?!) and I hope that I can talk Mark into making some variations of the stools to sell on Etsy. I’m not sure that there’s much of a call for 1/6 drafting tables (various colors or designs) since I haven’t really heard or read anyone looking for them…


Top 10 Toys of 2014: numbers 4, 3 & 2

Ah ha! We’re closing in on the final stretch of the top 10! Yay! ๐Ÿ˜€ Woo woo woo!!!

There are 2 toys that fell into slot #4 (I couldn’t choose between them! so there’s a & b)

#4a

Description of Toy/Toyline:ย  Hot Toys Movie Masterpiece The Wolverine

wolvie

Why did he make my list?
Do you even have to ask!?? ๐Ÿ˜‰
I am a long-time fan of the Uncanny X-men comics (back before they split into like a billion different X-titles) and Wolvie has always been my all time favorite. Unlike a lot of people I really enjoyed the Marvel release of The Wolverine and as soon as I knew Hot Toys was going to make one I was starting to save my pennies!

His sculpt is ace and captures the Wolverine of the movie! Yay!
martin-1

He came with 2 complete sets of clothing, extra hands and accessories. His clothing was all incredibly detailed and well made and thankfully, Hot Toys (knowing like most action figure & doll manufacturers that black fabrics tend to bleed dye into the vinyl and abs plastic) gave him a long sleeved under-shirt to wear with his black dress shirt. I applaud a company that can think ahead and head off quality control issues!!

So here’s a photo of him next to Giselle (on a Poppy Parker body instead of her default Nu Face body)

giselle-martin-wolvie-body

Downside to it: (aka why he isnโ€™t the #1 toy on the list!)
The biggest (actually, the only) gripe I have about Hot Toys Wolverine is that his body is lacking the usual range of motion that Hot Toys True Type bodies have. That means that he’s missing the double-jointed elbows which make a big impact on posing and flexibility. I temporarily switched him onto the Hot Toys True Type Muscle body to see if he would look ok on that:

martin-and-giselle-1
And I think it works although I am not sure that he will get to keep it (He and Giselle look really nice together with the Muscle body) I’m still debating since none of his clothes will fit that body…

Overall: He was great value for money, a great sculpt and even though he bears a striking resemblance to Wolverine / Hugh Jackman, He’s going to be Martin and a character in the Quinlan Chronicles.

#4b

Description of Toy/Toyline: Kimiko Gunn/Tina Tanaka from Integrity Toys Poppy Parker line.

tanaka-1

Why did she make my list?
Tanaka made my list because she has the original Ayumi 1.0 headsculpt–something that I didn’t think Integrity would be using or issuing again. So for that alone I am thankful! Add to that the fact that she is on a Poppy Parker body (which is easy to modify for increased range of motion and posability) and I couldn’t resist. That Poppy Parker body even looks good with the shorter Slim Shoulder Hot Toys True Type Body! She is going to be one of the actresses who arre in the Wrenwood Hall drama.

jeremy-and-tanaka

Downside to it: (aka why she isnโ€™t the #1 toy on the list!)
As nice as she is, I am not thrilled with her default factory paint. I am planning on repainting her in the future. Again, I’ll end up modding her body for better range of motion.

Overall: She’s a nice figure to have and I’m looking forward to customizing her in the future. I know that her sculpt isn’t a favorite among IT collectors so having a chance to add another version of her to my collection is great.

#3

Description of Toy/Toyline: Nightscape Giselle from Integrity Toys Nu Face Fashion Royalty line. Nightscape Giselle was released as a W Club exclusive in 2011.

emerson-3

Why did she make my list?
I pretty much wanted this version of Giselle as soon as I saw her back in 2011…but the secondary market prices for her were super crazy (and they still are!) so she was a no. I managed to find someone selling one nude on the DollPage and I got her for the same amount I would pay for any other nude doll from IT. So I feel like I got a great deal and that doesn’t hurt, does it? ๐Ÿ˜‰

emerson-3

Some of the things I like best about her is the combination of her hair colors – there’s a wine color mixed in with dark brown and it looks great. Her make up palette is really mellow and I don’t think I will be repainting her except to possibly tweak her irises a bit. Maybe.

emerson

She’s already got a role in the Quinlan Chronicles as Emerson Appleton, a relative of Giselle’s. I can’t wait to start using her in the scripts! Woo!

Downside to it: (aka why she isnโ€™t the #1 toy on the list!) There is no downside to her. She’s excellent and I am truly pleased to have her! The only thing is that I will need to re-body her onto a Poppy Parker body because of the articulation and the height (my issue with FR doll heights *sigh*)

Overall: I am still stoked to have gotten her into my collection! I understand why so few people have her for sale on the secondary market. She’s quite possibly one of the nicest Giselles out there. I bought her this year as my birthday present and I am so glad I did!

#2

Description of Toy/Toyline: High Visibility Agnes from Integrity Toys Fashion Royalty line.

hv-agnes-2

Why did she make my list?
Ok, I have been wanting an Agnes in my collection since I first saw her all those years ago…But she was always either a club exclusive or a convention exclusive which put her prices way waaaay out of my range. This year however I got a membership in the W club and she was one of the club exclusives! YAY! I was going Wooo! Wooo! Wooooooo! when I’d found that out. And for what it’s worth she’s also who I traded my Escapism Elise for so that I have a 2nd Agnes to customize without ruining (or more accurately–losing the spirit of her).

Remember how I mentioned that I was disappointed that On the Rise Elise didn’t have the newest version of the FR2 body? Well Agnes does! And it IS awesome! That is such a major improvement IMO that I hope they’ll apply it to all their bodies in the future.

hv-agnes-1

Downside to it: (aka why she isnโ€™t the #1 toy on the list!)
As thrilled as I am to have her in my collection I am disappointed to have seen and heard that IT did not fully root her head with hair. Which is a bummer and means I will have to re-root her or choose to leave one with the hair in its permanent style. I dunno. The spare I got I am looking forward to giving a more natural color palette and lip color.

Overall: She’s great. I was in shock when I got her through the club and that she was so much less money than I’d ever seen her for before. I’m still thrilled! I love the sculpt and I’m going to be including her in the Chronicles too.

Tomorrow I’ll be updating with the #1 toy of 2014~don’t forget to check back then! ๐Ÿ™‚


Top 10 Toys of 2014: numbers 7, 6 & 5!

So I’m a few days late with this but better late than never, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Back to the top 10 Toys of 2014

#7
Description of Toy/Toyline: Jeremy Renner / Hot Toys Hawkeyeย 
Hot toys made a Movie Masterpiece Hawkeye from the marvel franchise of the Avengers.

jeremy

Why did it make my list?
He looks good. Look at that face, eh?

That and there is a serious lack of male action figures in my collection. Also, the cast of the Quinlan Chronicles cast is pretty female heavy and I need to add more male characters (who aren’t students).

His paint apps are really, realllly, reallllly well done and frankly, he looks good all around.ย  I love the fact that he has a stand alone neck (meaning the head pops onto the neck-post and then into the body) rather than the heads with the sculpted on neck. Because the sculpted on necks tend to be overly long and you get that weird giraffe neck thing going on.

He’s currently stuck on a Hot Toys Slim Shoulder True Type body. It looks good but he might get a taller body at a later date (I hear good things about the coo body but have yet to buy one). Maybe. At his current height he is still useable with Poppy Parker bodied FR girls. Jeremy was a gift to me from my good friend Will (check out his photos on flickr (some are NSFW).

Downside to it: (aka why it isnโ€™t the #1 toy on the list!)
There isn’t really a downside he just got edged out by other things ๐Ÿ˜‰ If you can get your hands on him then do it!

Overall: I’m not usually a huge fan of actor likenesses in my action figures but I think that Jeremy has enough of that “everyman” look to him that you can kind of forget who he is and let him be the character he is going to be in the Chronicles.

And on to #6

Description of Toy/Toyline: Schwinn Green Phantom by Zonex
Based on information on the internet, Xonex made this version of the classic Schwinn Green Phantom bicycle. (you may not know that I had gotten a 1/6 version of schwinn’s Black Phantom a few years back–and still, the quality on that one blows this one away).

green-phantom-1

Why did it make your list?
Ok. I admit it. I have a little bit of a bike bug. I like 1/6 bikes since I find that most of them can be used by the majority of my figures (including my FR girls who have been re-bodied onto Poppy Parker bodies). I like bikes for 1/6 because it implies that there is more going on in that realm than a bunch of talking heads in offices, fashion ateliers, and cafes.

tanaka-phantom
(don’t mind Tanaka’s bare feet in the photo above, ok?) ๐Ÿ˜‰
I wanted the Green Phantom for a while but it usually goes for crazy money on feebay–so up until this year it was always a no-go. I got this one for $60+s&h and I felt that that was ok. It was a splurge (like pretty much everything this year) and I don’t regret it.

Downside to it:(aka why it isnโ€™t the #1 toy on the list!)
While it is nice to have another bike in my collection I have to say that quality wise it’s just okay. I have noticed that the spokes on the rear wheel have become brittle and needed to be fixed with some zap a gap. So again, I know it’s an older piece (circa 1991?)but I think that the quality isn’t all it could be.

Overall thoughts It’s nice to be able to add it to my collection–because there aren’t a whole lot of bikes out there that are really good for 1/6 use.

Ready for #5??
#5

Description of Toy/Toyline: On the Rise Elise Jolie, by Integrity Toys Elise Jolie is one of the many characters that make up the Fashion Royalty line.

Elise-2

Why did it make your list?
I had one version of Elise previously (Escapism Elise) but I just couldn’t make myself like her coloring even though I liked the facemold, and decided to trade with a fellow collector for a different doll. When I saw OTR Elise at the reveal I was surprised at how different she managed to look. I loved the combination of the dark hair and fair skin — but I debated about her. I bought her, originally with the idea that I’d probably keep her shoes, purse and jewelry and sell her on, but instead I just kept her. I ended up giving her to myself for x-mas (hey, a girl needs to buy herself a present sometimes!). I’m glad I did though because I have seen some really great photos of her on Flickr which give me ideas on what I can do with her (after I get her out of that orange dress and wash the styling gunk out of her hair).

Elise-1

Downside to it: (aka why she isnโ€™t the #1 toy on the list!)
This year they decided to transition all of their mainline FR dolls onto the newer FR2 body type and they introduced some new features on some of the FR2 line –namely that the arms, legs and so forth were all removable so that you could detach them for ease of dressing and potentially to change out high heeled feet for others etc. I hoped that she had that feature–but alas, she doesn’t, so she doesn’t get a higher ranking because of that. Also, Integrity Toys used to be really good with their accessories being high quality but her purse was crap and I am very disappointed by it.

Overall:As she comes out of the box On the Rise Elise Jolie is pretty nice. She’s got a lot of potential to look good and with some styling you don’t even notice her ginormous forehead. Her accessories were “meh” and IMO her original market price should have reflected that better, but que sera sera. Despite all that I think she’s going to have a good character to play in my photostories.


Our Etsy Hiatus: Re-organizing, prioritizing & creating! :D

Here’s the plan!

Mark & I agreed that we would put the etsy shop (ckworkshop) “on vacation” until Mid-November. We’re doing this for a few reasons which include:

1) Deciding what we want to produce for the remainder of 2014 and what we want to make for 2015.

2) Apropos to the above, ordering and sourcing the supplies we need to make the stuff (our stockpiles are a bit low). As you can figure, we want to make things but without the supplies you go nowhere! 0_O and we want to go somewhere! ๐Ÿ˜€

3) Re-Organizing: while the house is still in a state of renovation it means that things have migrated from A to B to C and now it is time to wrangle them all up and re-situate them. Tidy = Much easier to work!

4) Once we do the above, we’ll actually need a bit of time to make the stuff to put in the shop! ๐Ÿ˜‰

So that’s the deal at the moment! ๐Ÿ˜€ Keep watching our shopย  CKWorkshop at Etsy (you can get a notice from Etsy when we “return from Vacation” so you won’t miss anything!

Giselle breaking through: outside shots

Yesterday I finally made time to go out after work and shoot some (non cat) photos with the nifty 50. I hesitated going to the local park/bike trail and my honey basically said wasn’t that the whole point of cobbling the old body & lens together? I said “yeah. something like that.” and after some hemming and hawing I got Giselle, redressed her in something appropriate and tossed her in a tupperware container and off we went down the road.

We got there and of course the place was teeming with kids and dogs. Neither of which I really want to have to deal with while I’m kneeling, or in some cases lying on my ample stomach to try to shoot photos. So Mark and I walked down the path a-ways until the noises subsided and the dogs and small people (and their keepers) went home. Out came Giselle from her tupperware prison and I looked for someplace likely to pose her.

I love the creek/brook that runs through the trail area.

creek

I only found the whole park last month when Mark came home and our friend came to visit. It seemed like a good time to explore our area, you know? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway…Here are some of the photos I took to begin with: (my favorite photos are at the end of this post)

martin-1

Hmm, did I mention a new guy showed up in town…? We’ll have another post about him later!

giselle-at-the-creek-3

You can tell by looking when the light was stronger and when I changed photo locations. For the photo below I really should have gotten down to eye-level but I didn’t want to lay on my belly in the mud. ๐Ÿ˜› I know…it would have made a better shot. I have to think about bringing things to lie on, maybe?

giselle-at-the-creek-2

This next one is possibly my all time favorite of Giselle.

giselle-at-the-creek

giselle-on-the rocks

giselle-on-the-ledge-portrait-b

For some of these photos I had to get wet. I was standing in the creek to get them: but that’s part of trying to break through my camera/damage fear of shooting outdoors, right?

shooting-in-the-creek

Anyway, I think overall the photos came out pretty well. I was shooting without a tripod or other means of stabilization and that says a lot since I have incredibly shaky hands (and poor balance)! I did almost slip on the slimy/ moss/covered rocks under the water ,but I saved myself and did not go >SPLOOOOOOSH!<

So there you have it. The first batch of photos on my road to breaking through that mental roadblock! ๐Ÿ˜€

Camera Fear?…No! It’s the lens!

You know, there’s a lot that people take for granted in this hobby. One of those things is the camera you use when you shoot your photos.

I know that there are a ton of people who use their smart phone or iphone as their main shooter. Me, I am still smartphone-free and go the route of using a camera-camera ๐Ÿ˜‰

Eos_300d

Yeah. I’m not using the most up-up-to-date-camera.

In fact, I’m using what is now considered to be a dinosaur just a few steps ahead of an old canon eos film camera LOL! It’s “only” got 6.3 megapixels (in this day and age where new Canon DSLRs range generally have 18mp (the EOS Rebel T5i)…but the MP on my doddering old 300D is more than sufficient for my uses. Since I’m mainly doing photos that I would only scale up to 8×10 (prints) that is more than sufficient.

People who use smart phones and iphones probably have more MPs(bucketloads more) but I have to laugh. And the same goes for people who are using point & shoots. Hey they work for them and that’s great. But for meย  the thing that I’ve found that really impacts my photos (print and online) isn’t the megapixel count.ย  It’s the glass.

The Lens.

The sweet, sweet, lovely lens.

The lens which can be swapped out and easily changed for another…

So what is my point?
Why are you slogging through this blog post if I’m just going to ramble about cameras & lenses? Because you want to know something about what’s going on here in my corner of the creative universe. Right? (well, you might just be bored and reading to pass the time…)

My point is that although I have a fairly low grade camera body, I have a really sweet piece of glass that I use for almost all of my photography. It’s my go-to glass. It’s a Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro and I love it. Looooooooove it.ย  I baby it.ย  And it might even love me back the littlest bit.

canon-60mm

It’s great lens for macro and close up work and it’s a damn fine lens for walk-around photography and portraits. The problem is that the little beastie is expensive and I worry about damaging it and being without my favorite until I could replace or repair it. (Call me a worry-wort. You’d be right!)

That babying means that I frequently avoid taking my camera out to places that I think the lens might suffer some less than ideal conditions. And ok, I worry a little bit about the camera body too (although not so much so since I do have a spare body). My camera is a friend and friends don’t (usually) put friends into potentially hazardous positions.

But you know, lately with all the thinking I’ve been doing–about the hobby, about my state of mind, and about my goals–I’ve realized that my lens fear has been keeping me from getting out there and being able to take a lot of the photos I’d like to take (at least in the back of my mind anyway).

So what am I going to do about it?

Am I going to start running out there with my sweet 60 and shoot lots of pics? Go to the lake and get wind and dirt and mud? Roll on the ground to get up-close pics of my dolls in situ “in the woods”? get spattered with rain and dew and all that? Face down slobbery dogs and scary thugs?

Oh Hell no! What, do you think I’m nuts or something?!

I decided on a nice compromise. I’ve got the spare body.

I’ve got a couple of knock-around lenses that aren’t getting used. I’ve got the 18-55 kit lens (which I’ve had a total of 3 of them in the last 8 years and can say they are pretty naff and if this one gets crapped out and goes in the trash after a couple of shoots I won’t cry).

Or I have a nifty 50 which is a more likely candidate for this. I value it more than the kit lens but this is also about getting good photos so I’ll use that on the spare body and force myself to go out and start shooting those photos. Eventually I might try to get a refurbed 60mm to tool around with, but for now I’m working with what I’ve got.

Who knows… this might help me overcome my fear of lens damage.

Maybe.

 

 

 

 

So really, where is the time going??!!

Time seems to be getting sucked into a vortex somewhere!

Granted, there’s real life, and work, and other stuff going on, but why does it seem like the hobby is getting really short shrift these days??

Hmm, let me ask the 8 ball…

8ball

Seems like that’s a yes! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Well regardless of the fact I am going to be trying to make more time for it. I desperately want to play with my dolls and get to work making some stuff (for me!) and even more–I want to work on some photostories–which have been on hold for what seems like (and feels like) forever!

While I won’t have a great deal of time to give it this weekend (some SCA stuff is taking priority) I do want to see if I can squeeze in one or two things…maybe including tweaking Irresistible in India Poppy.ย  Maybe? Or maybe I can sew a shirt or something for Giselle.

Folks, I can’t think how long it’s been since I actually made something for my collection. Who knows when I last customized a doll (in January, when I got Kyu and de-FR-ized his hair…he’s still waiting for a hairstyle and paint mods too…hmmm).

So here’s the deal–it’s almost (sort of) spring. The weather and the house will be getting warmer soon (which may mean I can move my stuff out of the living room and back into my “studio” and not feel so constrained…

I want to make a goal that every week–every Sunday–starting next Sunday (the 30th) I want to have one accessory or doll, or something made or customized or photographed. And I want it posted here. After all, that’s what I blog for, right? Posting stuff I do and think to give me something to look back at my work and maybe even help someone else out in the hobby!

Each week.

Each Sunday. (I’m picking Sunday since it’s the one day I’m guaranteed off from the slog). I’m not sure what they’ll be, or how I’ll manage it, but it’s a goal. And who knows, I might start relaxing a bit more. That would be nice ๐Ÿ™‚ It can be difficult feeling like there’s all this stuff you “have to” (read: want to/ plan to/ desire to) do and to feel stuck-or stymied.

 

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