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™‚

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™‚

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.

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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 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ˜€

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 πŸ™‚

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

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

 

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

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 πŸ™‚ 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? πŸ™‚

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