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™‚

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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™‚

Bug Catcher Holly

17 Bug Catcher Holly

It’s been a while since I did a craft and photo project centered around an Ever After High doll, but I’m happy to say that this unfortunate streak ends here. This is “Bug Catcher Holly” – the result of combining two of my hobbies – Pokemon and dolls – in one.

Bug Catcher Holly

This outfit and the overall theme were inspired by the Bug Catcher trainer class in the Pokemon games. My ambitious plan was to make a few dolls representing Pokemon trainers of different types. They could even have a Pokemon battle! Will that idea come to fruition? I don’t know know yet, but I would still like it to happen.

To be honest, I started working on some clothes and propsover a year ago, did most of the work and yet never finished them in time – before the summer was over. Like these overalls and the hat. They were lying for months in a box, a few stitches from completion.

I made them according to the instructions by My Froggy Stuff – this video https://youtu.be/Hdh6EU-xTYU . The hat was also based on her idea – it’s a no-saw, no-crochet recipe https://youtu.be/dRtNGwsAp5c

The original game sprite shows a top and shorts, but overalls are so much cuter on dolls πŸ™‚

The shoes that Holly is wearing came from the original Abbey Bominable doll. I don’t own her, but I bought the shoes separately, looking for something sporty for my dolls. As for the bug net, it was my own invention. I’m planning to describe the process in a separate post.

The Pokemon I used for these photos were also made by me. I decided to go with Butterfree and Weedle. These are not, by any stretch of imagination, exciting Pokemon. These are the common ‘rats’ nobody wants. However, design-wise, I think they are cute, quintessential bugs, with and added bonus… they were easy to sculpt πŸ˜‰

Not meta but pretty ❀

They are generally sculpted from homemade clay, but Butterfree’s wings and feet are felt. I painted on the design with acrylic paint. The white mouthparts were cut from craft paint. Now, the antennae are a curious case. I needed thin wire. I cut open an old charging cable and it had a thin wire covered in black casing – just what I needed πŸ™‚ I dipped the ends in paint to create the tear-shaped ends. They are poseable.

Now, Weedle is certainly no one’s favourite. However, sculpting it from clay, I rediscovered its design anew! Yes, it’s weak and painfully common in the game, but design wise, it’s actually quite brilliant. Almost every part of it is a sphere – or a bead, if you will – except for the stinger and the horn, which are still quite simple shapes. You could say it has a geometrical rhythm to it. And guess what – it’s original, Japanese name transcribes to Beedle πŸ™‚

While it was easy to shape, the figures were looking quite fragile in the process of sculpting, so I gave them both paperclip ‘skeletons’. In Weedle’s case, I had trouble shaping its tiny legs, so I used… coriander seeds πŸ˜€ The paint stuck to them surprisingly well. Finally, I covered the figures in varnish. For Weedle, I used an extra thick layer, so as to ‘swamp’ all the tiny elements and make them extra secure.

The Pokeballs were also made from cornstarch and baking soda clay, and the little carrier is a basically a little paper box with a clear plastic front.

 

For the first time ever, I used a fake grass mat – even though I took the photos outside. It can’t be me alone who noticed that real grass is always to high and too sparse for dolls 😦 Moss is great, but is a rarer find. I resorted to this solution, and it looks very good – except now I have to bring my grass with me πŸ™‚

I almost forgot to mention the small bushes in the background. They help to mask the sharp, unnaturally straight edge of the grass mat. I sculpted them from a sponge and painted them shades of green, a method borrowed from the modelling community. The miniatures and dioramas kind of modelling.

It took me a year of stalling, many days of active crafting and a surprising two hours of ‘photographery’ to put all of this together, but I’m pleased it finally happened. I don’t know if anyone out there shares my enthusiast for this mixed theme, but I hope you can enjoy the photos nonetheless πŸ™‚

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 πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ˜€ I really need to start bringing something soft to lay down πŸ˜‰

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

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 πŸ™‚

It really was windy that day:

…making for some authentic seaside photos.

There are more summer adventures to come soon πŸ™‚

 

 

Rapunzel and the great outdoors

We have already had a full season of Tangled: The Series showing Rapunzel’s adventures after leaving her tower, but I still think back to how it must have been like for her to touch the grass and see the world for the first time. Or even the first couple of times. Whenever I take my Rapunzel doll outside, these ideas come back to me. I’m not certain if it can in any way show in photos, but in my head I imagine her filled with a sense of wonder.

My recent trip was to a park with a small castle which also loosely reminded me of Rapunzel’s tower – not in it’s shape particularly, just by virtue of being a castle. Here, above, I imagine her sneaking out. She looks more cheeky about it than scared, and, honestly, it’s better that way.

The purple dress that Rapunzel is wearing is of course her signature outfit which came with the set – not my own work. Even though I’ve had this doll for nearly a year, I have not previously posted photos of the doll in its original state. I was so sure I was going to do a proper review, but I utterly hated all the photos I took for that purpose – and not just once! So, in case it never happens: I do recommend her, but be aware that the articulation is not as great as you might expect – the joints are numerous, but have a relatively limited range of motion.

The day I took the trip was sooo beautiful. Spring in full bloom. I think it’s very fortunate, because it mimics the beautiful locations that Disney gives Rapunzel to traverse (well, except for the scary parts). I really like the charm of Corona’s sights in Tangled, but, happily for us, the real world can compete πŸ™‚

The doll certainly has a lot of charm as well, and I love how well she reflects the style of the animation of the Series. I like her more than the classic Disney Store dolls for this character.

Then… another lovely spring day, I took the doll along for a walk and a picnic by the lake. This time she’s wearing my own creation – it’s a simple dress, but luckily, a sundress can get away with being a little simple πŸ™‚

Oh, and Pascal came along too. Not only that, he came back home safely too. I’m always a little worried about these little parts getting lost outside. This is exactly what parents warned us against as kids. Well, a doll photographer lives dangerously.

Some of these photos, especially the horizontal ones, look better on a slightly bigger scale. Which is a good opportunity to mention that they can also be viewed on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/147182045@N05/27296279317/in/dateposted-public/

I must say that all those failed attempts at reviewing this Rapunzel doll – all the horrid looking photos with an odd tint (not available for public viewing ;)) left a bad taste in my mouth and affected my enjoyment of the doll overall. Thankfully, I feel that these recent experiences have covered that up. After all, she really is a pretty doll – and certainly a unique one.

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.