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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

Not meta but pretty โค

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜€ 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 ๐Ÿ˜ฆ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜€

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

Then there is Magikarp. Don’t worry for Magikarp. It won’t get eaten ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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 aย  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? ๐Ÿ™‚ So, floating, waterproof doll surfboard for a future craft? I would also have to not drown my camera, though ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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? ๐Ÿ™‚

This concludes this trip, but there is one more ahead – and it’s my favourite ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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 ๐Ÿ˜€ I really need to start bringing something soft to lay down ๐Ÿ˜‰

I do quite like this next one. It’s obviously overexposed, but in a cool way ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

It really was windy that day:

…making for some authentic seaside photos.

There are more summer adventures to come soon ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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,ย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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.

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’ ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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).ย  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 ๐Ÿ˜€ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ Don’t tell anyone, though – the official story will be that it was the plan all along ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

Rapunzel goes to Rogalin

Today I was on a trip to Rogalin. It’s been five years since I visited its beautiful park and I was really glad to be able to go again. Of course, I couldn’t resist taking Rapunzel with me.

The weather wasn’t great and, let me say this up front, neither are the photos. Their redeeming quality is that they look very much like normal family photos taken on a trip, and I wanted share them as such:

Rapunzel in RogalinRapunzel in front of the palace

Rapunzel on a trip.jpgRapunzel with 700-hundred-years-old oaks

Oddly, both the top and the dress are loosely based on the free pattern from Ninnuska. Theoretically it’s a bathrobe pattern (well, I think it is :)), but these were one of the first pieces that I sewed and I didn’t know of any more appropriate pattern to base a top or dress bodice on. The pattern is for an item of clothing that opens at the front, but I didn’t know that and it works well the other way around ๐Ÿ˜‰

My April Blossom

Rapunzel Animatora' floral dress

This floral dress is something I sewed a few weeks ago and I couldn’t wait to try it on Rapunzel. I think it suits her rather well.

The dress is based on the Mimi Sewing Pattern for Disney Animators’ Collection Princess Toddler Doll by Dolly Delicacies and no, unfortunately I’m not payed to say that ๐Ÿ™‚ I made some changes to the pattern: my dress is longer and the sleeves are more puffy.

Rapunzel Animators' on the grassJust smell the grass, the dirt, just like I dreamed they’d be…

Rapunzel Animators' with a jug

It was something about this dress made me want to take a photo at the side of water, with the ‘model’ holding a jug – I think it reminds me ofย  a vintage poster I saw a long time ago, but the exact memory is lost.

DSCF8170.jpg

Vintage photograph edition. Now this kind of reminds me of family photos in my grandmother’s garden.

Rapunzel Animators' by the water

The trees are in bloom, and it won’t be much longer, it never is. I wanted to take advantage of it, but the actual blooms were out of the reach of a 16 inch doll. Perhaps you can see some petals one the ground, though.

Rapunzel Animators' by the trunk

This Rapunzel won’t be spending her life in a tower ๐Ÿ™‚

In-between the seasons

The post has to be called something, doesn’t it ๐Ÿ™‚

This winter has really been vague, though. There hasn’t been enough snowfall for my liking. The shriveled leaves give the world an autumn look. The odd ray of sunshine seems like a promise of a coming spring. For me, it is also an invitation to go out take some more photos.

Belle Animators tunic 000

I’m loving the tunic free pattern from Mekkotehdas. It has made for the most satisfying sewing project so far. I’m very grateful that someone out there decided to share such a great work free of charge.

Belle Animators tunic 003

I also like the colour and the print on the fabric very much – it comes from a thrifted shirt. It was also great for sewing – until recently I’ve been mostly trying to sew with jersey (that is whatever old t-shirts I had lying around ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and I couldn’t handle the stretchiness very well. Stiffer cottons are soo much better – if only I knew that from the start!

Belle Animators tunic 002

I’ll admit that all the photos so far come from the same forest/park nearby. This is mostly because whenever favorable weather conditions strike, I head for the closest green area so as not to miss the moment. I do have a growing appetite for more exploration. I think I’d especially like a more urban session, but I’d have to develop some more courage first ๐Ÿ™‚

Belle Animators tunic 001

Well, I guess it’s time to go home ๐Ÿ™‚