At the Christmas Market

After being stuck at home with a cold for a few days, I finally grabbed Snow White and rushed outside.

I have been really hoping for some snow. I’m used to thinking that you can’t have true Christmas photos without snow, but with the weather having been all but snowy for the past few Christmases, I guess it’s time to review my perspective.

Luckily, the city has helped bring some jolly spirit to the streets by setting up a Christmas Market.

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I prepared some comfy winter clothes for Snow White (and eventually other Barbie sized dolls). She is wearing a sock sweater, which is not overtly Christmassy, but in keeping with the season’s colour scheme. I also made her leggings from old leggings of my own. Finally, for a fun touch, I made her mittens on a string with a design stitched to them (to the best of my ability).

The mittens are ‘real’, but not quite ‘functional’ – the opening turned out too small to put the doll’s hands in them. Nonetheless, I really do find comfort in knowing they are not utterly fake πŸ™‚

I also realize they are to be worn inside the sleeve, but I liked how they look just hanging there πŸ™‚

I really liked the wooden huts. They looked all wintery and festive with the lights and garlands, providing some lovely backgrounds.

It was quite windy….

Recently, I cleaned my baking supplies drawer and found snowflake sprinkles that have expired sometime in the last ice age. Since they still looked lovely, I thought they would make nice iced cookies for dolls! I wrapped them in plastic and voila! Tasty treats straight from the market:

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Apart from the wooden huts selling treats and handicrafts, there was an ice sculpture contest going on in the market square, however, what is the point of ice sculptures if I don’t have an Elsa doll? In all seriousness, I decided against going near because of massive crowds of people.

Overall, the Christmas Market was a lot of fun – even though I was too focused on the doll to actually buy anything. I am still hoping for a little bit of snow before all this is all over, and I hope to find the time for a little bit more Christmas themed doll crafts and photos. If you’re celebrating, I hope your preparations are going well and the spirit of the season is already in the air πŸ™‚

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Disney Store 2016 Classic Snow White – a review and head swap

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I am slightly embarrassed to admit that, for the longest time, Snow White was my least favourite Disney Princess. Fortunately, it changed completely over the course of this year πŸ™‚

The first thing that changed my mind was watching the animation. Or perhaps re-watching it? I’m not certain, because if I ever did watch it, it must have been a very small child, so my memory is failing me. Despite it being very different from recent Disney films, I found it very charming, and Snow White herself – very likeable, actually.

The second factor was the release of Disney’s Limited Edition “Snow White in Rags” doll. Her face was the sweetest! The doll filled me with more appreciation for the character. Even though I wasn’t able to buy her, I was thrilled to find that the same flawless face-sculpt was used in her playline (“classic”) release! Inevitably, here she is…

Snow White 2015 Disney Store

This is the 2016 version of the doll. I intentionally chose her over the currently available version, becauseΒ I liked her simpler dress and appreciated the addition of the bird figure.

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the back of the box

The theme of 2016 at Disney was definitely glitter…

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She has a glittery yellow skirt…

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Glittery red cape…

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And glittery… legs?

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Unfortunately, yes. The glitter sticks to the rubbery material of her legs. Not to worry, though! She’s going to be transferred to a Made to Move body anyway.

The bodice has remained mostly the same for the last few years, and is satin-like. It is permanently attached to the skirt. The cape is also attached for good.

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Snow White wears yellow flats. I would think them quite cute, if not for the fact that they seem to point upwards at the toes?

Please ignore the fact that I had not removed the rubber bands holding them in place πŸ™‚

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Overall, I like her dress. It is relatively simple and fairly faithful to the original animation. I wouldn’t mind if it did not have all that glitter, but I’m not upset about it either. I’ll take it over more elaborate patterns and rhinestones. However, I wouldn’t be too too upset if they sold her even without any clothes at all, because, as I mentioned, it was her face that won me over…

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Her face is somewhat round – if only relative to other dolls. Her eyes are light brown, and her lips – oddly – are not red as in the fairytale, but pink. No problem. She still looks very cute. It may be her red band or her bob hairstyle, but there is something distinctly retro / pin-up girl about her, and I love it!

To keep the style secure, the hair is heavily gelled, so it’s hard to touch. I am OK with it, as long as it helps to preserve the shape. There are some specs stuck in the styling product, and yet, some loose hairs did escape its hold.

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She also has plastic tabs in her hair due to the way she was packaged :/

As other princesses in the 2016 line, she comes with a little friend – a blue birdie that clips onto her hand! It is rather cartoony looking, but I suppose its appropriate for a Disney character. The quality is pretty good, I only wish its feet were painted the same colour as the beak – something I may have to fix on my own.

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Disney Store dolls do come with some articulation. Their arms, elbows and wrists move, however, it is not a very wide range of motion. They can’t quite reach their chest or touch their face.

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The legs only have an internal joint, but I was positively surprised how far it can go, considering.

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Overall, this amount of articulation is infinitely beyond what a basic doll with stiff arms and legs can do, and is probably more than enough for play. That said, I fell in love with this doll so much that I wanted to give her even more poseability…

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Her being as white as snow and all, I had to pay up for the lightest, “purple top” Made to Move Barbie 😦 I was very seriously considering putting her on the pale curvy body instead – I even think it would suit her style. Unfortunately, she would not be able to wear her princess dress anymore – I checked on my Curvy doll.

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I softened both heads by placing them in plastic bags (to keep them dry) and then in hot water. They say you shouldn’t use very hot water. I did anyway. For me, nothing bad happened. I wanted very as soft as possible.

I pulled the heads off. There is not particularly smart or safe way to do it that I know of. I can only recommend holding the neck as close to its top as possible – there is a rounded piece of plastic inside this part that, as you pull on the head, will push against the tapered top of the neck. Mine started to show little cracks 😦 Luckily, it did not crumble all the way, there are just thin lines, and they are hidden under the head anyway.

I preemptively tied some rubber bands on the peg of the new, MtM body – apparently the Disney Store head might bobble otherwise.

Now, pushing the head on is the easy part.

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Seeing the stress in the peg and the neck, the procedure was close to a disaster, but in the end, everything worked out! Perhaps I should just be extra careful not to drop the doll, to prevent the damage from progressing.

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The colours of the skin are not *identical* – her face is slightly more yellowish, but they look perfectly passable together.

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Snow White’s singature dress still fits. She looks so ready to pose with woodland creatures in a field somewhere (although it may have to wait until spring…)

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While it was important for me to maintain the option to dress her in her fairytale attire, I am the most excited about dressing her in more contemporary clothes. I am already working on some outfits ^^

There is no such thing as an ugly Disney Store doll – they certainly know their trade and their princesses – but I am glad I was able to find this version in particular. The face paint is on point, adorable and faithful to the film, the outfit also has a genuine Disney look to it. This Snow White was ready to be enjoyed by a child the second she was released from packaging. With the addition of the head swap, she is more than ready to be enjoyed also by the slightly more picky doll enthusiasts. I firmly believe this doll will bring me loads of enjoyment – starting very soon πŸ™‚

Blue Violet Petite Barbie Fashionista – a review and outfit sharing

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I tend to like my dolls highly articulated, but sometimes I will see one so cute that I have to reconsider my principles. Say hello to the “Blue Violet” Barbie Fashionista πŸ™‚

Blue Violet Fashionista box

Recently, I have been focusing more on Barbie clothes. Unfortunately, buying them separately isn’t always that great of a bargain. I have figured that it pays more to get a nicely dressed Barbie Fashionista and expand both the doll and the fashions collection in one go.

Due to my recent interest in pastel hair, I was especially intrigued by the “Blue Violet” Fashionista and in the “Tutu Cool” oneΒ – both are very cute and come with nice outfits – especially much needed tops. I hate sewing tops πŸ™‚ (Other than that, there are plenty of pastel-haired options!) Unfortunately, I had some trouble finding either one – until I ran into a single “Blue Violet” during recent shopping trip. Yay!

Blue Violet box back

I kept seeing number 34 and 37 above, but, for some reason, this Petite was nowhere to be found.

This doll comes with two tops, two bottoms, two pairs ofΒ  shoes, two bags and a dress. Not a bad boost to the Barbie wardrobe!

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Out of the box, she wears a black and white t-shirt that closes with a velcro, a pair of shorts with tights attached to them, yellow shoes and a bow. It’s a colorful and imaginative outfit.

I’m only not a fan of the shoes. They look a bit weird and it feels like the soles are at on odd angle that makes her lean forward. You also have to be very careful not to tear the tights while pulling the shoes on.

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The top can also be paired with denim capris. They are good enough, versatile jeans.

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They don’t have a lot of detail, and only a simple jeggings type finish at the waistline.

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The second top is pink with a peplum and a black collar. It is adorable! Unfrotunately, the collar is a tad crooked.

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It goes well with the jeans and the second pair of shoes.

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I like these shoes. They have a smart retro feel to them.

Finally, there is a sleeveless dress with a lemon print. It is my least favourite piece, perhaps because it is so simple in its cut, or perhaps it’s just me always looking for separate top and bottoms πŸ™‚

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The print looks fairly realistic and is covered with some pearlescent glitter. It sheds a little bit, but nothing too too crazy.

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Here is a closer look at the bags. I happen to have the heart-shaped one in a different colour, but the pink one is new for me. I would love for all Barbie bags to open, but even though these don’t, they are nice enough accessories to enrich an outfit.

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I do love all the fun clothes and accessories that I received with the doll, but the doll herself is no less cute. She has a very kind looking face. It is the ‘Mbili’ mould. I definitely approve of her soft, neutral lip colour.

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Perhaps the most fun aspect of her look is her two-toned pastel hair. It makes me think of cotton candy and magic πŸ™‚ The doll’s name evidently comes from this hairstyle, however, the ‘Violet’ part looks almost pink.

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Actually, if you look close enough, there is a third, white-ish colour mixed in there:

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As mentioned in the title, this doll has a Petite body. She is somewhat shorter than the Original. Her chest and hips are also slightly smaller. This doll happens to only have articulation that allows her to rotate her arms, also move them to the side, the same with her legs – they go back and forth and somewhat to the side.

I’ve read that she matches the Yellow Top Made to Move, but then she would no longer be a petite… I don’t believe there yet exist a Petite MtM of any skin tone.

The option of putting her on an Original MtM raises an important question: do petite Barbie clothes fit an Original Barbie body? This is also important to me because I am hoping to use the fashions with other dolls. The answers is… so so, with some excpetions.

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This Ariel head is on the Purple Top Original MtM. The peplum top looks a bit short, but I think it could be worn with a high waisted skirt.

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The capris look alright to me. They don’t feel particularly tight either. The top exposes a bit of the belly, but is perfectly wearable. I did not have any trouble closing it in the back either.

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The dress looks pretty short on her. Perhaps a pair of tight leggings could salvage this this outfit?

Finally, the shorts with tights are a definite wardrobe malfunction. They are just a tad too short to pull up all the way. Even if you’d cut off the tights, I’m not certain the velcro would close around her waist.

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The next thing to consider is what options are available to the Petite doll. Actually, I’d say that Original Barbie fashions fit her quite well.

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original barbie outfit on a petite

petite Fashionista Hello Kitty pack

It looks like the Petite “Blue Violet” will be able to borrow clothes from her doll friends, and in some cases even return the favour. Given my aim to expand my Barbie wardrobe, I’m mostly satisfied.

Overall, this doll is somewhat limited by her poorly articulated body, but there is a unique feel to her and her fashions that for me justifies the purchase for a Barbie enthusiast. Even though she can’t do much in the way of posing, I may still make her some clothes and take some photos out of pure appreciation for her charm πŸ™‚

I also think she would make a good gift for a child. The included outfits open up the door to a lot of mixing, matching and overall play – even when other dolls and fashions are not around.

Blue Violet Fashionista

Yasha, the 50-year-old doll

I don’t really enjoy sewing, it’s just a means to an end for me. I always imagined that if someone requested a substantial sewing favour from me, I’d try to politely explain this and decline. However, when a situation like that finally came up, it played out rather differently.

Recently, a friend asked whether I would make some clothes for her doll. She said that the doll’s name is Yasha, and that he got him as a gift from a boy who liked her when she was a teenager living in Russia – some 50 years ago. She explained that Yasha came with an outfit, of course, but he was played with a lot over the years, also by her children, and the clothes were lost in the process. She said she made him a makeshift covering, as seen below.

I’ll be honest: this is not my favourite type of doll. There may be some actual style and design to it that I’m overlooking, but all I see is a doll like the ones that I used to see when I was a child, that already seemed out of date and kind of strange back then – I can’t undo the conditioning of these years. Also, I was disappointed to find out the doll was a boy – I would have liked to make a cute dress πŸ˜‰ But all my personal preferences aside, I was honoured to be entrusted with such a precious keepsake, and I said yes πŸ™‚

When I first got Yasha to work with, he was kind of… dirty. I don’t mind, and I’m assuming he stayed this way simply because we get used to things gradually collecting dust and such, and stop noticing it. I knew where to look for doll cleaning tips, but I was hesitant whether it would be a welcome intervention or not. In the end, I decided to only gently clean him with a damp magic eraser, no detergent, no submerging in water. (Spoiler: my friend did notice and did not seem to mind).

The difference isn’t too clear in the photos, but still…

Before cleaning:

After cleaning:

Yasha looks like a toddler doll to me, but since I wasn’t sure, I wanted to go with something versatile age-wise. I decided on a fairly classic-but-cute outfit: overalls, a top, and a bandana.

I made the overalls according to the tutorial by MyFroggyStuff (it is my go-to for overalls for all sorts of dolls). I made one alteration, though. Instead of folding and hemming the bib, I added lining. I find it both easier to make and better looking.

The top is as simple as it gets, a white cotton tee. I really thought that it would look best this way – simple and classic. I also find that white is a good colour choice for dolls because it doesn’t clash with reddish vinyl tones, as many other colours tend to do. I used an Animator’s pattern and it was almost spot on, I just had to make the shoulder seam narrower.

Probably because of my relative inexperience, this already took me a couple of hours, but I still wanted to send Yasha home wearing shoes. I went with the simplest shoes that weren’t ugg-looking (I do like Uggs on dolls, but not necessarily worn with shorts…). I roughly followed a set of instructions I found on Pinterest. Unforunately, I don’t know who the original poster was. Nonetheless, the link to the image is here.

I also glued my shoes to craft-foam soles.

Honestly, mine did not turn out perfect… On one hand, I had considered making the shoes going the extra mile, but now that they were done, I mostly felt guilty for making them kind of wonky – unintentionally. I didn’t have the time to re-make them, so I settled for this pair. In the end they turned out a big hit! πŸ˜€ Both the doll’s owner and other friends present at the meeting (to which I brought the doll to return it) seemed to genuinely like them. I’m both glad and relieved, and still a bit embarrassed. There was hot glue showing here and there, and they are kind of uneven…

I topped everything off with a bandana – a simple hemmed triangle of fabric. Here is the final result:

I’m happy to report that my friend seemed happy with Yasha’s new outfit πŸ™‚ Complementing the handiwork is the customary reaction to a gift or a favour, but beyond the words, it was the way she kept glancing at the doll throughout the evening made me believe she really meant it πŸ™‚ If so, I truly am glad. It’s wonderful to think that my craft played a part in a long story of a cherished doll and brought more enjoyment to it.

Isi Dawndancer: October Colours

It all started with a sock. While shopping, I noticed a pair of socks with a pattern that was just the right kind and scale for a sock sweater for a doll. Then I though both the colours and the style were very reminiscent of Isi Dawndancer. From there, all other things just fell into place…

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To make the sweater, I followed the tutorial in this video. I also wanted a warm, cozy accessory of some sort, but not a scarf – that would cover the sweater – so I went with a simple sock cap (socks are definitely the heroes of this post ;)). It needed holes for Isi’s ears. I chose to finish them off with needle and thread, but that wasn’t even essential. It’s kind of hobo-ish in the back, but very cute on her πŸ˜‰

I added signature Cerise Hood’s boots and a faux leather bag that I made in the past. I really like these two accessories and use them a lot.

Even though I like to keep things simple, I felt like this outfit could use some jewellery, something in keeping with this doll’s unique style. At first, my thoughts went to jewellery bits and pendants from the craft store, but then, I had an epiphany! Warhammer bits πŸ˜€

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These leftover pieces from Warhammer minis – kindly supplied by my husband – look more appropriate for core Monster High characters, with all the skulls, skeletons and skull-encrusted shields, but I also noticed a wide assortment of arrows. That’s more like Isi…

I picked these two:

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I cut, glued and painted them. I went with gold, to indicate that it was indeed jewellery,Β  and turquoise, because it suits Isi (and because I’m not too too adventurous with combining colours).

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Later in the process I changed the arrow pendant (on the left) slightly to have the turquoise ‘straps’ hang downwards. I put it on a piece of brown thread.

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The other piece went straight into the doll’s pre-made earring hole and stayed there no problem. While I’m very happy with the earring, I can’t help but seeing the pendant piece as a bullet, and it’s not at all what I intended >.< Nonetheless, the accessories were meant to add detail to the outfit, and they did.

Autumn is so delightful right now. Without it, the photos would have not been the same. The golden leaves contrast with Isi’s hair so nicely. Even beyond dolls and photos, all the sunshine fills me with optimism. What you cannot see is that it’s also incredibly warm for this time of the year. I dressed the doll in a sweater, but I myself was comfortable in a t-shirt.

I took many more photos than I ended up using. In fact, I probably could have been even more selective – less really is more, at some point all the pictures become all too similar to one another – but it’s so hard to decide what to let go of. As a last stretch, I decided to include the green hut because I like its colour against the doll. The hut belongs to the local fishing club, but I don’t know what purpose it serves. It would make the world’s smallest headquarters, if that’s what it is.

I’m grateful for the lovely sights that became the backgrounds for these photos. I am sure they won’t last long. I have not ceased to be amazed at how awesome this dolls is, too – one of my favorites for sure. I am also happy to have stumbled upon the right pair of socks at the right time. And guess what – I bought two pairs, so when I wear them, Isi and I have matching outfits πŸ˜‰ Sort of, anyway πŸ™‚

Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

Briar Beauty: A rose among the thorns

In my previous post, I wrote about how I bought the “Spring Unsprung”Briar Beauty in a bit of a rough shape and did my best to restore her to former glory. Even though ‘spring’ is far, far away, I wanted to celebrate with a floral photo shoot for her. Luckily, the local rose garden is still in bloom…

I never tire of expressing my surprise at how short summer always is, and with it, how fleeting the ‘neutral’ natural photo scenery is – blue skies, green grass… no autumn leaves. The latter have already been flying around, but luckily, not so much among the rose bushes.

Only the grass was never very green this summer due to intense heat… It shows sometimes in the background.

Nonetheless, this indeed turned out to be the prefect location for Briar, with so many varieties of beautiful roses. I suppose it’s not the most original of ideas, but I have no regrets about this. This is where she belongs πŸ™‚

In case you missed my last post, I had to replace Briar’s necklace with a homemade substitute. I also chose to add some detail to her other accessories. I usually prefer to err on the side of simplicity, but this doll is over the top in all the best ways and pulls it off.

I really like what they did with her dress. It’s mostly shades of pink, but the richness of forms makes it look so elaborate. The bubble-type skirt is perky with volume, the train flows delicately and majestically. The only contrasting part, the black and white skirt, looks very stark to me, but in a good way, making the design more mature.

Black and white elements seem to be the uniting element between all the Spring Unsprung dolls. I am also quite partial to Cerise‘s birch-like leggings.

Wow, was this really designed with children in mind? I wonder if they were able to appreciate the unusual styles. I know that I as a child mostly liked bright pink, glitter and opalescence. But, even if today’s kids are similar to past me in this regard, I believe that exposing them young to something different but beautiful can plant a seed and expand one’s tastes.

This was fun – no sewing necessary, and still so much enjoyment. SummingΒ  up, it may not be too late to get some sunshine and spring-like views, and it may not be too late to find yourself at least a second-hand doll from the “Spring Unsprung” collection. I’d hate to tempt, but I highly recommend πŸ™‚

Fixing Up “Spring Unsprung” Briar Beauty

Recently I was shopping online for a certain Ever After High character – more about her another time… The seller also happened to have another doll available. Briar Beauty from the “Spring Unsprung” line. I had never considered buying this doll before, but at a good price and just one shipping cost for two items, I thought, why not. This is how people run out of shelf space…

What I did not notice in the photo was that she was somewhat beat up…

  • she was dirty and musty all over, there was a stain on her dress

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  • the paint on her lips and her flower crown had partially rubbed off

  • some of the hairs had been ripped out of her colourful strands in the front

  • the rest of her hair looked fine too me, but it desperately needed washing, which meant that the style would be lost

She was also missing her necklace – that part I had noticed before the purchase – and her handbag looked like someone nibbled at one of its corners πŸ˜€ I was fully aware I was buying a used doll, but from photo online – taken from afar, I thought it was a used doll coming from a collector, but clearly not.

First of all, I gave her a bath and boil-washed her hair. Next, I put the straw curlers in. I followed the advice from this video by JLantis: https://youtu.be/TTi95Z96VG4 .

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After it dried for two days, I took the straws out.

Before:

After:

I borrowed my husband’s paints (with permission :)) which he uses to paint his Warhammer and Warmashine minatures and I touched up the dolls’ lips and headdress. I even decided to add in some more detail.

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A mixture of the colours “Sanguine Base” and “Sanguine Highlight” happened to match her lips perfectly!

Before:

After:

I also trimmed her ripped hairs as low as I could.

Even though there was nothing wrong with her shoes, I went on a painting spree and coloured in some details there as well.

Before:

After:

As for her necklace, I did not feel like I would be able to recreate the original one, neither did I feel the need to. I took a polymer clay rose, shaded it with the above-mentioned colours and glued it to a ribbon, creating a choker of sorts. It simply ties around her neck.

The final result:

Spending some time working on this doll has helped me really appreciate her. Not long ago I barely remembered a doll like this existed and I never felt the need to own her, but now I am so impressed by her rich, extravagant design. This doll has helped me to remember and re-experience a better era of Ever After High, so I too don’t mind helping her shine again.

 

More photos of Briar coming soon πŸ™‚