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 😉 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 😀 I really need to start bringing something soft to lay down 😉

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

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 🙂

It really was windy that day:

…making for some authentic seaside photos.

There are more summer adventures to come soon 🙂

 

 

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Sand in the Hair

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

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 🙂

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, either  🙂

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 sand  😉 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 doll  🙂

 

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’ 🙂

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 😉

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).  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 😀 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 🙂 Don’t tell anyone, though – the official story will be that it was the plan all along 😉

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 🙂

One last summer memory

The weather has just turned very autumn-like today, making it all the more clear that summer is now in the realm of memories.

This is another summer memory that I share with Ashlynn Ella, who accompanied me to the seaside.

This doll bracelet works rather well, doesn’t it? It’s a jewelry piece from craft store, it is used to separate beads in necklaces. The braid-like ornament reminds me especially of Holly O’Hair, but it fits this model and outfit no less.

I sewed the dress especially for a summer occasion like this. It is based on an in-depth tutorial by Strawberry Butterscotch. I would definitely recommend it: it can be used to make a dress for any doll, but the author gives you pre-measured dimensions to fit Ever After High dolls, and thanks to a smart workaround, there is no need to hem the neckline. I made minor changes by adding a sweetheart finish to the top, adding straps and opting for a longer skirt. I used lightweight white cotton, and, overall, ended up with something I would gladly wear at the edge of the sea myself.

In the photo, the dress bunches up a little, because I needed to anchor the doll in the sand to keep her steady without using a stand.

This little bottle would have made a nice souvenir once the photo session was over, but, unfortunately, it must have been lost on the beach. I wonder if someone was thrilled to find it.

We will have to find other ways to remember.


In a lounge chair, or another childhood doll item re-used years later:

She really looks quite Royal, though in a rather different way than the usual fairy-tale sense.

And so, the sun sets over the summer days.

The above photos on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/147182045@N05/30035751286/in/album-72157672722218701/

Fiery Little Spirit

Think of one colour you would never put on a doll with red hair. OK, make it three colours. Would orange be on your list?

I’m sure fashion police is out to get me now  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I was browsing through thrift-store dresses to harvest for fabric I decided, against all common sense, that this design would suit Merida. Doesn’t it, though?

And yes, it’s a real tiny ice-cream cone! And yes, I’m the one who ate the chocolate on top…

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dress is once again based on the Mimi Sewing Pattern for Disney Animators’ Collection, however this time around altered to make the dress sleeveless. I still have no affiliation with the author of the pattern  😉 It just really is quite versatile.

 

 

 

For the longest time I couldn’t establish what it was that inspired me to make a sleeveless collared dress – in all my life I never considered this type to be cool or pretty, and suddenly I decidedly wanted one, at least for my dolls. Then I had an epiphany – Blondie Lockes, Enchanted Picnic! I saw her and her dress a few times and it subconsciously grew on me  🙂 Apparently this creation is the first to marry my EAH and DAC interests  🙂

 

 

Merida, being the brave princess that she is, is not afraid to stand on the swing.

It is not easy to get additional shoes for Animators’ dolls, but I was lucky to find this one pair online. These are not strictly DAC shoes and are slightly big, but they look just fine with socks. I think they are adorable. Having new shoes  opens new outfit opportunities  🙂

 

I don’t know why one of her socks keeps turning up but it was beyond my power to stop it.

I still have one overdue summer photo set, and then I can start acknowledging that the seasons change  🙂

P.S. You can also view the above photos on Flickr, if more convenient.

Ashlynn’s Beach Holiday

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Doesn’t everyone look forward to summer, the time when the weather is great, when you can take a break from everyday chores and… pack your dolls for holidays? I sure did, and months ahead.

I imagined I would be taking one of the Animators’ girls – they would be adorable posed in the sand, doing whatever toddler things toddlers do on the beach. Alas, my imaginations were confronted with reality – the reality of my suitcase which couldn’t possibly hold a 16 inch doll – not if I also wanted to take a sweater or two, anyway. And when you’re looking for the highest concentration of summer beauty per inch, Ashlynn Ella is the perfect pick. In the end, I wasn’t even disappointed with this sudden turn of events.

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Ashlynn Ella from the Mirror Beach line (with my polymer clay ice-cream)

All Ashlynn Ella dolls seem to share a few pleasant characteristics – a lovely golden complexion, green eyes and cute, natural-looking strawberry blond hair. And yet it was the Mirror Beach version that stole my heart. It all comes down to, I think, her perfect coral lips. I just love this lip colour, on her and overall (I’ve been trying to find a matching lipstick for myself, but nothing has measured up to my expectations yet).

Coral accents appear all throughout the doll’s outfit, brightening it up and holding it together. There is also a skirt, which must be made of pure magic, otherwise I don’t know why I’m so bedazzled with it. It’s light, translucent and oddly tutu-shaped for a beach cover-up, but something about its ballerina-like charm speaks irresistibly to a girl’s heart. Let’s not forget the equally magical filigree print.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I mentioned earlier that I was only able to find this doll second hand, and even so I considered myself lucky (they were long sold out everywhere). Not having much choice I had to settle for one without the sunglasses that came with the original set.

I gave her some other beach accessories instead, such as a beach towel and binoculars. The binoculars date back to my original toy collection from my childhood. They came with a confused mishmash of knock-off Barbie accessories which included an arbitrary number of shoes per type, hats, permanently closed umbrellas, golf clubs and other beauty necessities.

Also, it was my idea to braid her hair – I like her with her hair undone, but this is cute too, and makes way more sense to me  🙂 We wouldn’t want to get seaweed in her perfect hair, would we now?

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The doll’s swimsuit is very pretty. I would definitely wear it, only perhaps without the frills on the straps. I also appreciate the fact that it is separate from the skirt and can be used as a top to mix and match with other doll clothes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photographing the doll at the beach was great fun, but it turns out that not even sand is quite to scale. The ripples in the sand look more like dunes in comparison to her, and at the wrong angle the landscape takes on the appearance of a doll desert. Which could be interesting, but that’s an idea for another time.

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At least the Baltic Sea was kind enough to produce a seashell small enough for Ahslynn to enjoy 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately, the Baltic doesn’t perform quite so well when it comes to the colour of the water. But I love it anyway  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apart from the binoculars, golf clubs and such, I was also able to unearth an old Barbie photo camera. The shape was very nice, but it was one solid colour (you’ll never guess which colour ;)). My husband was nice enough to repaint it for me at 9pm the night before leaving for holidays. Because that’s when I remembered I didn’t want it (spoiler alert) pink 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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Sand everywhere…
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…and twice so, because I couldn’t make up my mind on the photos.

Somewhere at this point I was reminded that sand is the enemy of all cameras, toy ones and real ones alike. I briefly lost the tiny one altogether, but was able to miraculously find it by feeling in the sand in the spots I had visited. As for my real camera, I may have gotten a few grains of sand into the lens mechanism :S In the end I got it out without any permanent damage, but it was a scary moment.

…but since it was still on and open anyway, I proceeded to take these last few photos:

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Basking in the summer glow.

Even the doll has sand in her hair. And probably joints. But don’t worry, she was alright after rinsing a few times with tap water.

 

I enjoyed posing Ashlynn Ella at the beach – she does seem to belong there. As for the Disney dolls… maybe next year 🙂