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™‚

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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™‚