Happy Valentine’s Day!

I have decided to celebrate this Valentine’s Day with a few very pink photos. Now, I am very reasonable with the use of pink in my everyday life, but every now and then it’s fun to go a little overboard πŸ™‚ I present to you: Howleen in pink, from top to bottom.

To make the dress for this special occasion, I used the same fabric that I used for an Animator’s doll dress. I do think it’s a lovely one – the right kind of soft, baby pink with the right kind of cute polka dots.

I wasn’t quite certain where the idea for the overall-type style came from – it’s never really been my style. Finally, it dawned on me after a while. I had been unknowingly inspired by the “Pink Jumper and Cat T-Shirt” Barbie Fashionista doll! The resemblance is really quite strong.

This is a dress that I made for my own enjoyment, so there is no harm done, but this raises an important question – how often do images we see sink into our minds and then they come up in our thoughts as ideas that are seemingly all our own? In fact, but for the very real danger of unintentional plagiarism, looking at pretty things is a probably one of the bets sources of inspiration.

I completed Howleen’s look with Birthday Ball shoes from Cedar Wood. Even though they are slightly big on her feet, they were definitely the choice that made the most sense, colour wise and theme wise.

The photos wouldn’t be complete without the right props.Β  I ran into both the wrapping paper – which doubles as the backdrop – and the sweets quite a while ago and was saving them for this very occasion. After the photos were taken I didn’t need the ‘props’ anymore, so the clean up was extra fun πŸ˜‰

When I was a child, I loved pink. Then I hated it. Now I consider it a guilty aesthetic pleasure – that I do revisit from time to time. It suits dolls especially: I feel like every time we dress them extra pink, we pay tribute to the Barbies of our childhoods πŸ™‚

I hope you too enjoyed this little something sweet. I hope you have a nice day, whether it’s spent with a sweetheart, friends, family or just appreciating your dolls, pink and otherwise πŸ™‚

Holly’s Journey

Today I have a couple of photos I took this very morning. There will be trains, tracks, a suitcase, and the beautiful Holly O’Hair from Ever after High.

Holly O'Hair

The idea for these photos started with this little tin suitcase. I found it in a variety shop – anything doll sized is a great find! There were many designs, but this one in particular looked kind of realistic. Its colours reminded me of Holly.

I for one did not have to travel far to find the right spot for the photos. I live so close to railway tracks that I hear train sounds at home – but don’t worry, you do get used to it πŸ™‚ I have passed the bridge over the tracks countless time and knew exactly where to head for a nice railway-themed autumn view. I was only a little embarrassed as people passed me by…

I must admit I was a little tense letting her stand free on the railing so far above the ground, but thankfully, no dolls were harmed today.

I originally made this dress for Cerise last year,Β but I think it suits Holly very well too. I did have trouble finding the right shoes – all these richly embellished EAH shoes may look stunning with their original outfits, but paired with something more realistic they look over the top. I settled for Apple White’s basic shoes, but I do wish I had something a little simpler.

Thankfully, a misty autumn morning turned out to complete the picture rather well. Full-on sunlight tends to tint doll complexion garish orange, but I managed to avoid it.

Isn’t Holly absolutely stunning? I have had the O’Hair twins for nearly a year, but by some terrible neglect, I have only had them in one Christmas photo shoot before today.

This is in the nearby train station. As always, trying to make the doll look to scale is a little tricky. I lifted her up by standing her on a bench, but having nothing to lean on, she needed a stand. Luckily, Holly has more than enough hair to hide its clamps πŸ™‚

I kind of like this next photo, because it’s something different. The only downside is that people sleeping on benches in train stations is not usually a positive picture… She is a princess, though, maybe she can pull this off.

I’ll be the first to admit the colours here are perhaps a bit odd:

I was going for a ‘vintage’ and ‘filter’ look, but its definitely an arbitrary mixture of tints πŸ™‚ I may have to wash her hair, too. It was sweeping the train station all morning… I like to keep myself and my belongings clean and hygienic, but sometimes you need to get a little dirty to get things done.

Enjoying a little snack πŸ™‚

I did not plan ahead to try to capture an actual train, in fact, had I known the schedule, I would have probably tried to avoid any departures and presence of people they tend to attract. In the end, I managed to keep up my work despite two pairs of travellers’ eyes in the vicinity, watching, and was rewarded with the appearance of the train that they were waiting for.

Taking photos of dolls in the public always makes me a little tense, but I endured. And I am glad I did – I must say I am happy with the photos. I hope I will be able to take advantage of this beautiful autumn weather again before the world turns into Novermber’s muddy greyness.

Sand in the Hair

Holidays have not been good for posting, but on the bright side, I come back bearing beach photos πŸ™‚

Just before leaving for holidays I received a package containing my most recent doll purchase: “Tangled: the Series” Rapunzel from the Disney Store. After a moment of deliberation, I decided she is the doll that should come along.

Rapunzel’s signature dress wasn’t very fitting for the beach, so I quickly put together a swimsuit. This doll is still very new and there aren’t any appropriate sewing patterns that I know of, so I had to make one from scratch. If I tidy it up, and make sure it can reliably make a fitting swimsuit every time, perhaps I can share it for others to enjoy.

I love tiny doll accessories, and I love it when you stumble upon them in unexpected places. The cute bucket and shovel in the next photo came with a children’s magazine about pets. It’s always worth keeping your eye on these.

Tangled the Series Rapunzel doll on the beach

The one above is my favorite photo of the set. It looks colorful and bright, almost tropical, and ‘Raps’ is looking as lovely as ever πŸ™‚

Supposedly taking photos at the beach is tricky, and I believe I have experienced it on that day. Even though it was cloudy, the photos had a tendency towards being overexposed and the sky was often all washed out. I like to use wide aperture with doll portraits (the blur is pretty and it hides the oversized details of the landscape), but it was making matters worse. I really am no expert in these things, but opting for a very low ISO and messing with the EV setting helped to tame the light.

I must admit I was a little worried about taking a new doll to a beach. It’s always a dilemma. On one hand, I want to keep my collection in perfect condition, on the other – only keeping it safe behind glass would mean I never get to enjoy the dolls the way I like. In the above photo, it’s hardly visible, but I put pieces of clear tape over her knee joints to keep the sand out. Surprisingly, it worked quite well. Her hair, however, wasn’t as lucky…

…but that’s nor really why I took that photo, eitherΒ  πŸ™‚

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get the sand out yet. With any other doll, I would simply rinse it out, but I happen to really like the way her hair is gelled into an arch over her face and I don’t want it to dissolve. Coincidentally, that gel, too, seems to be great at trapping the grains of sandΒ  πŸ˜‰ Still, I guess it was worth it.

So, this is Rapunzel vacationing at the beach. The doll, and her original attire, certainly deserve a better introduction and a review, however, I am seriously disappointed with the photos I took for the review, so, until I re-take them, I decided to go ahead and share the ones I am happy to share. I can already say this much, though – I am definitely enjoying this dollΒ  πŸ™‚

 

In the fields with little Rapunzel

It is a little early for photos in fields of crops – everything is green rather than golden. Nonetheless, I couldn’t pass up the photo opportunity when it came up. Recently I had an unexpected visit in my hometown. The suburbs there look like proper countryside.

It was already evening when I set off for the walk too, so I only caught the last sunset-tinted rays of light.

The results were a little different than what I had in mind, and seeing the photos on a bigger screen for the first time I thought I’d scrap them and wait for another opportunity – but I couldn’t really give them up. In the end, I have decided to enjoy them for what they are, and save any reservation for the betterment of the future ‘photo walks’ πŸ™‚

This spontaneous session was only possible because of the little white tunic that I had ready in advance – I made it last year and forgot about. When I heard I had to go, all I had to do was slip the doll and her accessories in my luggage. Nobody on the train knew my secret πŸ˜‰

It was sewn according to the free pattern from Mekkotehdas . There are no instructions, but sewing it like a dress with a lined bodice works just fine (where you start with two layers for the bodice, facing good side to good side, and flip it inside out after sewing the sides. I only add a single seam allowance around each piece).Β  For a personal touch, I added the tiny buttons and gathered the sleeve ever so slightly.

Taking doll photos in your hometown is even scarier – I was seriously worried of running into someone I know πŸ˜€ Of course, there is no shame in collecting dolls, but… I need a little more time to gather my courage.

I once read that you should be careful to avoid flyaway hair when photographing dolls. I dutifully packed a doll-sized hairbrush (now that would be a perfect sight… and adult sitting in a country road brushing a dolly), but I just let them be. Since it’s Rapunzel, her flyways are magical.

This last photo will be different. I took it back at home, and let me be honest, the colours where crazy from overexposure and I couldn’t fix it. As a last ditch effort, I salvaged it by making it sepia tone. Now it reminds me of my mother’s childhood photos – she too was a little blond girl in a white dress in them. A happy accident πŸ™‚ Don’t tell anyone, though – the official story will be that it was the plan all along πŸ˜‰

Vintage sepia Rapunzel s

That’s all from Rapunzel – for now.

The summer is here, and I still don’t have holiday plans. Aside from choosing a destination, I still have to decide which doll to take along. I would like to take an Animators’ doll, but they take so much space in luggage. It will probably be one of the Ever After High girls. Maybe Holly or Cerise. Whoever it ends up being, I’ll be sure to share the results πŸ™‚

Isi Dawndancer, Boho Style

If you’ve read my recent review, you know that I am very impressed with Monster High’s Isi Dawndancer. Even though I really like her original outfit, I immediately thought she would looks equally beautiful in other clothes, like a lovely dress, for example. Here are a few photos of Isi looking girly and free in a boho-inspired outfit.

Isi Dawdancer in a dress

This is the same dress that I used for my beach photo shoot with Ashlynn Ella here. I feel like different accessories give a different enough feel.

The only new item I crafted especially for this occasion is the floral crown. I made it using polymer clay flowers that I hot-glued to a leather band. It fastens with a piece of velcro which I also glued down. I finished it off with leaves cut from tissue paper. Altogether, it is probably not the most durable option, but it endured the trip into the wilds just fine.

I wanted very much to pose the doll like she is dancing, which meant fighting the wind and gravity. I cannot count how, many times I had to pick her off the grass, but, after all, it doesn’t show in the photos, so all is well πŸ™‚

In all the standing poses she was propped up against a small stick πŸ™‚ You can actually see it peeking in the next photo. If she was really dancing it would be a tripping hazard, but visually I thought it wasn’t getting in the way – so there will be no attempts at photoshop magic.

The idea for this outfit came partly as an extension of her original style – which already contains somo boho elements. But another source of inspiration came from a Project MC2 doll that I was considering buying, namely Ember Evergreen with Glitter Tattoos. In the end, I decided I didn’t need her, but the odd-but-cool idea of pairing a flowy dress with high boots stuck with me. Mine have been borrowed from signature Cerise Hood.

All in all, I am pleased with the look, but I can see room for improvement as far as the photos go. I’m still figuring out what works best – both in terms of lighting conditions (a.k.a. weather) and camera settings. There is slight noise here and there. Nonetheless, I think I can call this a success and move on πŸ™‚

Boho Isi.jpg

 

Pastel Easter

Last year, when Easter was just around the corner, I was looking at various Easter themed dolls and their reviews – just for fun, no dolls were purchased in the process. I noticed that a lot of them were dressed in pastel colours, and I wondered – is this a thing? Around these parts, there is no such thing as a preferred set of colours for an Easter ensemble. Now I know, yes, apparently it’s a thing! And I even decided to make my own pastel Easter dress for a doll πŸ™‚

This dress was made according to the Mimi dress pattern by Dolly Delicacies (still not a payed advertisement :)). I went with a 1/2 sleeve length, because I think it looks elegant, plus, it can be somewhat chilly in early spring πŸ™‚

As for the fabric, I sacrificed my own light cotton top. Don’t worry too much about it, it didn’t suit me so well, and it had just the right springlike colours.

I’ll admit to one problem right away – the colours are perhaps perfect for the occasion, but in retrospect, I am not sure they go so well Rapunzel’s complexion. Her face looks somewhat garish.

You know how certain colours don’t suit certain people? I find that it is even more true for dolls. At face value their ‘complexions’ resemble natural ones, but if you look closely – or even worse, tale a photo – some odd undertones emerge. At least this is my experience. I have been learning the hard way not to assume a fabric will go well with a doll. It’s best to put it next to her face and stare long and hard until you’re sure the tones aren’t clashing. Needless to say, I did not do it this time πŸ™‚

On the bright side, I found chocolate eggs in exactly the size and colours I wanted πŸ™‚

This year, I tried to learn from my last year’s experience: since I have found that greenery is not yet particularly lush and appealing this time of the year, I thought I’d try indoors. I am not sure which solution was better in the end, as I am not in love with the more artificial feel that the backdrop (posterboard) creates. Should I mention that they only had a limited range of colours available too?

Overall, I landed this surprisingly challenging project in an acceptable place, but I am not entirely satisfied. Maybe next year? They pass so quickly I am not even too disheartened about having to wait for another chance (I’m definitely done for this year πŸ˜‰ )

Anyhow, Happy Easter to you doll lovers and all passing by πŸ™‚

A dress fit for a… toddler

Recently I had developed a desire to make a truly ‘princessy’ dress for Rapunzel. In fact, I am surprised that so many months have passed without me being drawn to such an idea.

I had the motivation to sew, a design ready in my mind, and all I needed was the right fabric – a nice, pastel-coloured satin. Unfortunately, I simply could not find the right one. In the meantime, I ran into this most adorable pink corduroy, and its colour matched Rapunzel’s lips just right, too! So, I adjusted my ideas accordingly. Now I was making a cute toddler dress.

If you’re making a toddler dress for an Animators’ doll, you can’t go wrong with the Mekkotehdas free pattern. I have previously made jokes about me using two patterns over and over, so perhaps it’s time to be serious about why it’s so:

  • Animators’ dolls have quite big bellies. No other cut works as well on them as empire line. I find myself coming back to it continually.
  • The above pattern, and the other one I use, from Dolly Delicacies, are very versatile. Make the waist lower or high, the skirt longer or shorter, add the collar or skip it, alter the sleeves, add embellishments… and you have enough variants for a lifetime
  • For the most part, patterns aren’t free. I try to make the best of the ones I have. I am very pleased with them, too.

With this out of the way, maybe I can stop being apologetic about reusing the patterns πŸ™‚

In this case, I originally wanted to make the sleeves long to make the dress appropriate for the cold, winter months, but it was starting to look like pajamas. Luckily, the approaching disaster was spotted and averted in timeΒ  πŸ™‚

The white sleeve underneath is a doll top that I found in a shop – I thought I was very lucky to find something that fit my dolls like that. As a rule, you craft it, or do without. Unfortunately, it’s a small, local doll line, so I am afraid I cannot make a useful recommendation here.

The mouse plushie has a story, sort of. It was a gift for my husband (back then my boyfriend), possibly for valentines day, quite a few years ago. Maybe 7 or 8. I don’t know why a guy would need a mouse plushie, but he was kind enough to never complain πŸ™‚ I thought the mousie would make a good friend for Rapunzel (in the doll world, the colour scheme decides…).

I’ll be honest about one problem I have encountered with these photos. I am not too too sure that the colour balance is the absolute best, but it’s the best I could arrive at. I’ve been having that problem since I was forced to switch cameras a few months ago. Or maybe it’s just me. The longer you stare at these things, the more problems you start to notice. Maybe my wall is the wrong colour, too…

I had sewn these doll tights about a year ago, and the wear is starting to show. Personally, I think it’s adorable πŸ™‚

It will soon have been a year since I first got Rapunzel, and I think she deserves more creative attention than she has gotten. There have been a few attempts, but in the end I scrapped the photos because I wasn’t pleased with them. I still have the clothes I made for these photos, so I can always try again. Bottom line, I hope we will be seeing more of her.

Winter, Hats & Scarves

 

 

 

I am impatiently waiting for the day when I have so many doll clothes, handmade and otherwise, that I can effectively create new looks by only mixing and matching, no sewing required. But even though my collection hasn’t yet reached this point, I have been able to create a new winter look for Ashlynn Ella with minimal effort. Yay!

 

 

 

 

The only thing I had to craft were the winter cap and the scarf, and let me tell you that it was a piece of cake πŸ™‚ The cap is made following the brilliant idea from MyFroggyStuff . The scarf is of the infinity sort, and it is simply a ring of fabric cut off from the rest of that same sock. So easy and so fun!

 

 

I had made the coat for another photo shoot, starring Cerise Hood. The gloves come from a Draculaura (and are technically her hands… girls and borrowing stuff!) and the shoes are Poppy’s.

 

This last photo is my favourite, even though – it seems decent to mention – the snowflakes have been edited in in Gimp.

Ashlynn looks just as sweet in the snow as she does on a sunny beach ❀

A Red Berry in the Snow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes I think it’s a little silly how often I mention the weather and the seasons in my posts, given that it’s a “doll blog”. But how could I not mention that we’ve had our first snow this winter? πŸ™‚ Outdoor doll photography has proven to be very closely tied to the weather conditions, and finally, weather has deliveredΒ  πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The snow only lasted three days, so, knowing the forecast, I prepared ahead by sewing a winter coat. I had initially planned to use the one from the last year, but it seemed too big! I did make it extra wide to fit a fluffy sweater underneath…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the new one, I used the pattern which originally came from ninnuskadesign.blogspot.fi. Unfortunately, the blog appears to have been closed. However, if you google ‘ninnuska’ and ‘animators’ you’ll still be able to find the pattern floating around the web. The one which says ‘takki’ is the coat/jacket in question. ‘Huppa’ means ‘hood’, and ‘hiha’ is the sleeve. The pattern does not have a seam allowance included.

You’ll find two versions of the sleeve – I used the straight one.

I also made the coat a little bit longer – perhaps about 1cm longer.

I found the hood to be a little tight – maybe that’s just me, but I feel like it wouldn’t hurt to add at least 0,5cm more space around the outline (and then the seam allowance on top of it).

Even though I decided to make slight adjustment, I think this is a great pattern, and I will likely come back to it in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The outfit kind of makes the doll look like the Little Red Riding Hood, but that wasn’t intentional. Red is just such a cute colour for a little girl’s coat – even if she’s made out of plastic. It makes her look like red berries in the snow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found the gloves in a dollar store (Sort of. I don’t pay in dollars. I mean a cheap-Chinese-import-shop). They were keychains, but they fit surprisingly well. It’s definitely a good idea to check such places for doll accessory miracles.

 

I had already taken winter photos with Belle last year, so I was hoping to take along Rapunzel this time. Unfortunately, I found that the red really clashed with her complexion. I actually encounter this problem a lot with my Animators’ dolls. It’s best to check the fabric ahead against the doll’s skin vinyl.

I hope I will have another opportunity to put Rapunzel in the snow. Although… taking photos at their eye level means getting down on your knees, or lower, in the cold, cold snow and I’ve developed a very slight distaste for thatΒ  πŸ˜‰

If I do get out again, I sure will keep you postedΒ  πŸ™‚

A Little Yellow Coat

With the arrival of autumn, I developed a taste for warm colours. Combined with the desire to sew something that would complement Cerise Hood’s beauty, a whole set of tiny autumn clothes was brought into being. That, of course, was a few weeks ago, but it has taken this long for my colds to subside and for the weather to stop being wet, muddy, grey and altogether uncooperative.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The coat is based on a fantastic pattern by BFashions – apparently a fellow Polish doll sewist and collector! The blog is in Polish, but the pattern itself is annotated in English and the instructions are well illustrated, so I’m confident that anyone can follow it. It’s easily good enough to be sold on Etsy or so, but the author is kind enough to be sharing it for free – that’s really something to be grateful forΒ  πŸ™‚

I have strayed slightly from the original. I used felt and instead of properly hemming anything, I only added a purely decorative stitch at the edges – I find that felt doesn’t really fray.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dress was also sewn especially for Cerise and intended to go with the coat. If you were to hold it in your hand you would know that it has some shortcomings, but I am satisfied with this creation. I believe that it fits Cerise in colour and style – it accentuates her charm by being girly yet simple and earthy. I really wanted something like this for her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Given the season, I gave Cerise a scarf. This one – just like the real ones, coincidentally – is nothing but a square of hemmed fabric.The only difference being that this one wasn’t as shamelessly overpriced for what it is.

 

 

 

 

 

I had a lot of fun making the bag. It’s based on a free tutorial from http://www.howtoinstructions.org/how-to-make-bag-for-doll-step-by-step-diy-tutorial-instructions/ I had to shrink the pattern to make it the perfect size for EAH. I think I used 70% or 80% of the original size, but unfortunately I don’t really remember. I also skipped the lining. The bag opens and closesΒ  πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

Finally, the bench is also my creation (but again, not my idea when it comes to the crafting procedure). When you’re taking photos of dolls, almost everything is out of scale, even the blades of grass. It helps to have a prop – like this bench – to reinforce the illusion that the doll is in a world of her own size.

If you’d like a doll bench of your own, grab some popsicle sticks and follow this great tutorial on YouTube. However, my bench is double the width of that in the video – if you’d like yours to be wider as well, you’ll need to glue together two sticks (trimmed on one side to remove the rounded end) for each plank.

 

 

 

Going to the park in December I wasn’t expecting dried leaves and grass, but I guess I shouldn’t be thinking about this too hard and just be glad that nature let me catch up on autumn themed photos. Hopefully there will yet be time for winter sessions too.

 

 

Finally, my favourite photo from the set:

 

See you in winter themed postsΒ  πŸ™‚