Ariel’s Vacay part 3: The port

Ahoy there! Today I’d like to share my favourite photos of this summer so far, depicting Ariel’s visit to the port 🙂

I spent this summer in a small town with a small port, but I took the train just to go to a bigger port in the area. I’m glad I did – this port had a great feel to it. Big cutters, lots of them in blues and reds with white details, very much nautical style.

Only the smell of fish wasn’t so great 😀

Speaking of nautical, Ariel was made to rock it. Not only because of her mermaid background, but also because this colour scheme works great with her hair.

The outfit is a simple gathered skirt I made worn over a Barbie dress, the same one as featured in this post. Its striped top was just right, plus I really like to avoid sewing shirts when I can. The shoes come from an accessory pack (more info here).

I like to think this outfit has a retro feel to it as well.

It was another windy day and I was afraid to let go of the doll for longer then a couple of seconds – we’re talking about the kind of wind that could have easily knocked the doll off the dock into the water, beyond my reach. Thankfully, nothing of this sort happened. It sure resulted in some realistically-wind-swept-hair, though 🙂

Then there is Magikarp. Don’t worry for Magikarp. It won’t get eaten 🙂

There isn’t a particularly deep idea behind including the little guy, other than him fitting the theme and me liking Pokemon.

I was very excited for this photo shoot, but I was nervous too. Part of it was knowing that if I don’t get it right, there won’t be enough chance soon – not until the next summer vacation. The other part is being the weirdo with a doll kneeling on the dock. However, after you start, you get in the zone and forget about the people. I asked mu husband, who was there with me, reading a book on a bench nearby, if people did look at me. He confirmed. I don’t feel comfortable with the thought, but I guess it goes with the hobby.

Overall, I’m very grateful for this trip and the awesome views it provided, for the photos and for me to enjoy 🙂 I’m pretty happy with the pics I brought back with me.

This was the last installment of Ariel’s adventures by the seaside. Now it’s time to find some inspiration back at home 🙂

 

Advertisements

Ariel’s Vacay part 2: The beach

The adventures continue, this time taking us to the beach. This isn’t my first beach photo shoot with dolls, but how can you deny a mermaid a trip to the beach?

The swimsuit I used for the photos comes from a Barbie Dolphin Magic fashion pack, as do the glasses, with slight modifications.

The swimsuit is pretty simple and it lacks a little stretch that would make it fit the doll better, but I chose it because it corresponds so well with Ariel’s signature purple shell top! I also added a piece of a light, green-colored fabric as a cover-up to represent her tail.

In some shots, she managed to stand on her own. In all the other ones, I made her stand straight using a bamboo skewer for support. If you align them with her legs, they aren’t visible.

As far as the rest of the beach gear goes:

  • the deck chair is presumably a phone stand, I bought it in a Flying Tiger store
  • the sun cream also comes from a  Mattel pack, except I cut off the handles that it had to help dolls hold it (realism first :))
  • the drink is a really cool DIY! You use a clear plastic sheet and heat to shape it. It is not exactly a kid-friendly craft, and not all tries end in a shapely glass, but it certainly works overall. Here are the directions that I found on YouTube: https://youtu.be/2tIENwFC9A4 . I topped it off with a slice of citrus intended for nail art.

There is also the surfboard. I made it according to the pattern and instructions from MyFroggyStuff https://youtu.be/jVTBkfCG6rc I decorated mine with wrapping paper and chose to add the pink details. Unfortunately, I don’t think it would endure being actually in the water – how cool would that be? 🙂 So, floating, waterproof doll surfboard for a future craft? I would also have to not drown my camera, though 😉

This year I chose an apparently less frequented part of the beach, where there were no visible steps and the surface of the sand had not been disturbed after a storm. It turns out that there are these totally tiny shells in the sand before people walk all over them! I had visited this area a few times before but I had never seen shells so small – and they are perfect for dolls 🙂 I did bring a few home for future crafts.

I wanted them to face the ‘right’ way in Ariel’s hands, but they were so hard to handle on a windy beach.

Can you imagine the size of the creatures that must have lived in them? 🙂

This concludes this trip, but there is one more ahead – and it’s my favourite 🙂

 

Ariel’s Vacay part 1: The pier and the promenade

My body-swapped Ariel has been my favourite doll lately – it’s pretty great when you like what you do have, instead of thinking about all the dolls you could have, for once 😉 Anyway, as a result, it was an obvious choice for me to take this doll with me to the seaside.

I took photos in three different locations, giving them a slightly different theme, and I’ll post each set separately. These ones come from the walk in the town and on the pier. Unlike the other ones, I did not plan this photo-shoot when I was packing all my doll gear back at home, but then the summery atmosphere of the promenade and all the cool looking food trucks won me over.

In all these photos, Ariel is wearing a Barbie dress from a fashion pack. Her shoes are also Mattel-made, coming from a set of five pairs. Her glasses came with a Dolphin Magic accessory set, except I decided to paint the ‘lenses’ black. I used matte acrylic paint – what I happened to have on hand – so I added some shine using varnish. Unfortunately, it dried slightly bumpy.

To be quite fair, I’m not entirely happy with either of the deck-chair-on-the-pier photos, but I really wanted to include one or two. It was such a nice location and I liked how all the colours looked together. They also took way too much effort to just discard them all: it was so bright, and the angle was so awkward that I could barely see what I was doing, so I half-blindly took a ton. Also, the wind kept knocking the doll over, so I had to keep posing her. Finally, the tiny grooves in the wood were terribly uncomfortable to kneel on. Days later, I still have the marks from them on my knees 😀 I really need to start bringing something soft to lay down 😉

I do quite like this next one. It’s obviously overexposed, but in a cool way 😉

That’s the thing, too. My camera barely handled so much sunlight with a fairly large aperture, but I did want some nice blur in the background, for esthetic reasons and to ‘hide’ oversized humans. I did manage to find settings that kind of worked, but the second the sun changed, they were no longer good. And the light changed a lot. But enough whining! The conditions were a challenge for me, but I don’t regret anything overall 🙂

It really was windy that day:

…making for some authentic seaside photos.

There are more summer adventures to come soon 🙂

 

 

Made To Move Ariel – the story of a doll come true

Like many doll lovers, I am a fan of My Froggy Stuff. Her crafts are so clever and cute! But for me, one the greatest Froggy inspirations was not strictly a craft, but a custom doll – her Made To Move Ariel. Ever since I laid my eyes on her, I was obsessed. Here is a link to the first video where Ariel first appeared as a re-bodied doll: https://youtu.be/mnxpMOSDVfI . She has been appearing on the channel ever since, even as a part of the Darby Show series, stirring up my envy 😉

For a while now, I have been wanting to get one of my own, but it wasn’t easy.

  • The doll Froggy used was a 2014 Classic Disney Store Ariel. This face style is now retired. I would only by satisfied with the 2014 version or the 2013 version, which is very similar.
  • This doll was never available in my country (no Disney Store for me :(), so they are hard to find locally
  • They don’t seem to be especially highly prized on Ebay, but the shipping costs from abroad that I saw usually amounted to quite a lot extra cost.

Finally, a miracle! She appeared on a local bidding service, and really affordable too! Not long after, she was mine 🙂

Well, with a small twist. Unlike the Classic 2013 and 2014 Ariel, her legs are articulated. Her outfit didn’t match any product photos either… but the face was spot on?

Following the number printed on her back…

I learned that she was a part of a really awesome “Little Mermaid” gift set from 2013 – a third viable option I didn’t even know about. If you’re curious about the set, I recommend checking out this picture on Flickr. This user’s photos are an awesome resource for all things Disney Store 🙂

If you’re geeking out about the different Ariel versions from this period as I am, this photo, also from the user drj1828, showing a comparison of the Ariels from 2012 to 2014 might also interest you.

I don’t know where this doll’s substitute bra came from, other than evidently from another Ariel doll, not necessarily Disney Store made:

I quite like it. It’s even more movie-accurate than the original.

The tail is a different story. It’s a little small and just barely closes…

Especially if you try to sit the doll. Then all the secrets spill out:

Like the fact that it originally belonged to a Simba Ariel.

Other than the size problem, I quite like it. It is again pretty movie-accurate in colour, shape and finish. I especially like the fin.

Her hair was in a surprisingly good condition, even retaining the original curl. I only had to comb through it with my fingers and slightly smooth it down on the top of her head. I did not want to use a hairbrush so as not to turn it into a poof.

Most importantly, I am very happy with her face. I don’t claim that this is the objectively best Ariel sculpt in the world, but it is by far my personal favorite. I think she looks cute, curious and sassy 🙂 I also like her big, striking eyes.

Finding the doll was a big step forward, but I also wanted her on a Made to Move Barbie body. The above-mentioned My Froggy Stuff video said that the pink, blonde MtM is the perfect skin tone match for her. The football player is supposed to be her equivalent too, so I ordered one, and… a big fail.

Not even close! Apparently, European, or perhaps Central European MtMs are way darker 😦 Compared to Ariel, she looked like a spray tan accident.

I thought maybe I should keep Ariel as is – after all, she has above-avergage articulation too:

Invisible comb and mirror 😉 In fact, this is how close she can get to touching her face. She can kind of touch her head.

She does have a considerable number of joints, but there is something off about this doll’s body…

When she sits, her knees are quite far apart.

Her calves are softer than the upper leg and sort of bendy.

Worst of all, she can’t really stand straight. Her hip joints are loose and she flops back and forth. This would be especially problematic when posing her for photos.

When watching Classic DS dolls reviews, I had heard many a time that their articulated legs are awkward, so much so, some people said they prefer the unarticulated ones (or with the bend and snap, old-Barbie-style rubbery legs, to be precise). It was unfathomable to me. I now understand where they were coming from – this model is very wobbly.

So, there was just one, expensive gamble to make… The Purple Top Made to Move Barbie.

And, it turns out, it works!

To my eye, MtM Lea is pretty much perfect for Ariel. She was unfortunately quadruple the price of the blonde >.< Apparently she is rare now. And I still had to swap their heads without ruining the costly donor…

Lea’s peg was covered in glue when I took it out, but no major damage was done
Removing Ariel’s head was fairly easy

Thankfully, the operation was successful! Let me also mention that, as per Froggy’s advice, I wrapped thin rubber bands around Barbie body’s peg – apparently, it’s too loose otherwise. The trick worked for me. I’m very sorry, but I did not think to take a photo of how it looked. I do recommend the video for that.

Here she is, looking pretty good!

Her Ariel top still fits, but her tail not so much. I think it’s a fair trade off, since it was off from the beginning anyway. I wonder if I should try to resize it or make a new one from scratch?

Made to Move Ariel

Plus, the purple top retains her signature colour 🙂 Now she is a ‘purple top’ Ariel 🙂

When I first saw her, I thought – is her neck supposed to be so long and slim, or did I not push it down all the way? But less then a minute later I was used to it, and it feels just right.

The improvement in articulation is unquestionable, but there was never really a doubt which body is the better one.

Overall, I am ecstatic about the fact that I did not break anything, and about how lovely she looks. I’d like to announce that Ariel will be the doll to travel with me to the seaside this year for a photo shoot 🙂

Also, by a total coincidence, the day I am finally read to post this, My Froggy Stuff has just released a video about yet another Made to Move Ariel 😀 https://youtu.be/dWzANxsslJc