At the mountaintop

This was supposed to be my last-day-of-winter post, but that didn’t work out. Oh well. Better late then never πŸ™‚

These photos, showing Elsa in her coronation dress, were taken during my trip to the mountains, now a week weeks ago. I can’t take credit for the dress or any props – these are works of the Disney Store – it’s just my photo tribute to Elsa’s iconic scene at the mountain.

During my stay, the weather was unreasonably warm for winter time. My last day there, there was finally a snowfall. It was still so warm that it rained at the lower level ski-lifts, and only actually snowed at the top of the mountain – and that’s where I hung out.

At one point the sky lost all its clarity…

I was taking the above photo, crouched down in the snow, when a fellow skier asked whether I had seen the Frozen 2 trailer. It’s encouraging to know that there are Disney fans everywhere πŸ˜€

I never went as far as to do a costume change and take a few photos in the iconic ice-queen dress, since I didn’t want to risk losing doll shoes and accessories in the snow in the process. I also really wanted the trees to look all frozen and frosty for that, but no such luck. This goes on my things-to-do-next-winter list πŸ™‚

I also did get totally soaked from sitting in the snow and from the slushy snowflakes. I went through two changes of hats, you could wring out water from my thick skiing gloves, and even the pack of tissues in my pocket was all soaked through! No dolls were harmed, though, as I covered her battery compartment with layers of tape in advance, and tucked her safe in the deepest parts of my backpack. I was actually quite happy to go back to the hotel and have some hot coffee that day πŸ˜‰

There are quite a few more projects I would have loved to complete this (past) winter, but with this one last touch of cold, I think I’m ready to move on πŸ™‚

Advertisements

Gone skiing

About two weeks ago Elsa and I went skiing. It was freaky warm for a skiing trip! The snow was all but melted in the town below the foot of the mountains, holding on so-so at the slopes, and in a slightly better state only at the peak.

I love wintry landscapes, so it was a great treat to feast my eyes before the spring is here for good. I would have loved to see caps of snow on the trees, but Elsa refused to work her magic this time. She too deserves a holiday, I guess.

I am very much on board with the idea of Disney Princesses in modern, casual clothes. As I’ve mentioned time and time again, I’m much less enthusiastic about sewing them. This time I decided to instead buy this custom winter jacket and leggings. The scarf is a loop cut out of a sock (and, frankly, so is the mock ‘sweater’ sticking from under the jacket ;))

The skiing equipment came from the Barbie Careers Advent Calendar (but it can also be purchased with the Made to Move Skier).

I painted in a few details (as seen above):

  • the silver buckles on the boots
  • the black handles
  • the teal baskets on the poles
  • the topmost snowflakes on the skis
Barbie ski equipment
The unpainted ski equipment from the Advent Calendar. There were also pink goggles, but I apparently forgot to include them in the photo πŸ˜‰

I did not use all of the included items on this trip, because they either didn’t fit the Disney Store doll, or because I had a different idea in mind. Just so people know, the jumpsuit was also extremely hard to get on Elsa’s rubbery legs (as in, I never succeeded, but then I wasn’t desperate).

I must say there is something heartwarming about putting Elsa in a setting where she looks like she is at peace, enjoying herself, in contrast to the turmoil we see in the film (which is an epic story, don’t get me wrong!). Judging by the recently released trailer for the second part, there may be more challenges to come… but not just yet, not here.

Just… chillin’.

Speaking of Frozen 2, I find this theory on what it may be about actually quite compelling… https://youtu.be/ryVdLROEkms I can’t wait to find out ^^

I really appreciate the doll and the few days I was able to spend in the mountains – and to put them together, it just makes sense πŸ™‚

See you in the next post πŸ™‚

Little Redhead in the Snow

Some of my friends have said to me that they are already looking forward to spring. But not me! Especially not now that we have finally been blessed with some snow ^^

As I mentioned in my previous post, it was already over a year ago that I prepared this winter outfit for little Merida. Unfortunately, last winter I stayed home for a whole month with pharyngitis and I missed all the nice snow that there was to be enjoyed that year. I’m happy to say that this winter I’ve stayed pretty healthy and I was ready to jump into action the moment it was white outside πŸ™‚

The outfit was loosely inspired by Nordic winter clothes (I know this doesn’t really fit Merida’s origins as shown in the film, but she rocks it anyway)

  • I made the boots according to the awesome free pattern from https://iivenihmetykset.blogspot.com/2012/11/uggit-nelli-tahkapaalle.html (many thanks to the author for publishing it!), except I sewed the pieces in such a way that the seam allowance faces outwards. I think it makes them even more Ugg-like.
  • The ‘sweater’ is more of a sweater vest, and it was made from a sock. A sloppy, trial-and-error sewing job.
  • I actually knitted the scarf, that’s all I can do in the knitting department πŸ™‚
  • I made the earmuffs similar to how MyFroggyStuff made hers, except I didn’t use pom poms. I used a circle of fluffy fabric and gathered it around the edges.

The rest of the clothes was recused from previous projects.

I was quite lucky to find the little sled in a home decor section. It is perhaps slightly on the small side, but not by much. Luckily, decorative sleds in different sizes seems to be popular these days. The furry seat was already there. I only added the rope to pull the sled.

This is my first post about an Animators’ doll in quite a long time. These dolls were the reason I decided to take up doll collecting again in adulthood, but at a certain moment did not inspire me the way they used to. Sometimes I’ve felt bad about it but, in the end, dolls supposed to be fun, you can’t force yourself to enjoy something. I believe you just have to let the excitement return to you naturally when it wants to.

…and sure enough, I had a blast with Merida that day πŸ™‚

After that, there was coffee with cinnamon, and then another walk in the snow! (this time with a human companion)

I’m happy to say that my winter adventures may not be over yet, as I’m going skiing in a couple of days. Naturally, a doll will be coming along and I’ll be sure to share the photos πŸ™‚

Snow in the city

I am afraid I am about to post about Snow White again…

Snow White in the snow

We don’t get much snow in my city, so every such occasion is celebrated. I did not have a lot of time that particular snowy day, but luckily the outfit was ready in advance, so I just slipped the doll in my bag and took a few photos on the way to a meeting. I had about 15 minutes altogether.

I was already aware at this point that Snow White has been getting all the attention lately, but the red cape suits her so well, I could not bear to go with any other character πŸ™‚

There isn’t much to say beyond that, really, just a few photos to share. I did not use any particular pattern for the cape and beret, I just improvised. I suppose they could be used to make a pattern retrospectively, but I’ve never made one before.

 

Clearly, I’m still enjoying my MtM Snow White, but I’m now hoping to include some other dolls in the winter fun – time and weather permitting. I still have an Animator’s doll ready with a winter set of clothes and props since over a year ago, waiting for the right moment. Hopefully this year we make it πŸ˜‰

Mountain trip with Cerise Hood

Is it really almost spring? With the past two weeks having been freakishly cold (around -10Β°C/14ΒΊF) I barely noticed. It was also about two weeks ago that I made a short trip to the mountains that was indeed very wintery in character. I better get to reporting without any more delay πŸ™‚

Of course, this will involve a doll…

OK, so I am pretty passionate about dolls, but the trip wasn’t about doll photography exclusively. You see, I love winter, skiing and snow, but there is rarely an opportunity to enjoy any of the above in the city (even though we do have an artificial ski slope in the area, and even despite the cold, it’s not the same without natural snow). I was delighted when my family offered to take me along for a short skiing trip. Even though it only lasted two days, I still greatly enjoyed the rare chance to feast my eyes on snowy landscape.

The above photos were taken on the first day. This location was especially picturesque, and the weather was wonderful. Unfortunately, I did not bring Cerise on that day, and the next day we went to a different spot, and the weather was quite different. It wasn’t quite as magical, but I did my best to get the best out of it. To be fair, backdrop options are still plentiful for a doll so small in a world so big.

I made her coat just before leaving using the free coat pattern from BFashions, except I gave mine a hood and white trim. The idea for it was born thanks to the felt that it was to be made from – as soon as I saw it at the craft store, I imagined a doll sized, sheep-skin-inspired winter coat. And Cerise seemed to me like the right character to brave the cold and climb the mountains.

I attached the faux fur to the edge of the hood using fabric glue, but now I regret it. It made it stiff.Β  I chose to make a slit in the back to let her hair out. It’s an odd feature, but it works on this scale.

The day that the photos were taken, the doll was in my backpack all afternoon while I was skiing. I was worried about falling and breaking her (and the camera), so covered her in bubble wrap. Luckily, in the end, there weren’t any such dangerous moment at all πŸ™‚

These two are my favourite photos of the day:

I keep saying it, and I will say it again – I am not happy with the colour balance that comes out of my current Panasonic camera. I do try to adjust it in the camera and in GIMP, but it only makes things look even weirder. It’s especially stark in this post, compared to my old Fuji camera, as seen in the landscapes (although in this case the weather played a role as well). I don’t normally use the old one any more because it has far fewer options and its buttons have been used to death and barely respond, but I do miss the colours. I had another Fuji in-between the two, the infamous XF1. After two of it – the original purchase and the replacement – died to the same defectΒ (“lens control error”) year after year I decided to sulkily part ways with Fuji. I loved it otherwise.

If it wasn’t for the unexpected adventure, I wouldn’t have had a chance to take any photos out in the real snow, and it would be a real shame. Even so, I still have a brand new winter outfit for Animators’ dolls that I made that likely won’t see any use this year. I do love a proper, snowy winter, so I hope the next year will be more up to my standards, even in the city.

OK, now I better start thinking about something nice for Easter, spring and general sunshine.

EAH “Epic Winter” Apple White: a review

I love winter. I also love Ever After High. So when the “Epic Winter” line was released, I was ecstatic. What is more, it so happened that this was the first EAH line released after I started collecting – my first opportunity to look forward to new dolls along with other fans and collectors.

It was Apple that impressed me the most with her bright and fresh face, but I was on the fence because of the irremovable tights. This year again, as the winter season came around, the theme grew more and more appealing and I finally gave into this Apple’s charm.

All the dolls in the line came packaged in largely see-through boxes resembling blocks of ice. Pretty cool, no pun intended:

What you see here is pretty much what you get. There is no hidden compartment with a stand. It was the first time a major, deluxe release did not include one of those.

When I look at the product shots in the back, I get a strong feeling that the omission of a stand wasn’t the only deviation from the initial design and plan:

The dolls in the photo have extra jewellery and, perhaps more strikingly, still have their pre-reboot faces. Did the changes arrive so quickly there was no time to update the tell-tale packaging? How did they not know they would be altering their faces long ahead of time?

Also for the first time ever, the actual doll is cuter than the art – although that’s my subjective opinion:

I could swear they use the same drawing with every Apple White doll – unfortunately so, because her face is strangely far away from her neck. Only the rest of the body gets re-drawn.

But the actual doll looks so sweet and it’s all that matters πŸ™‚

Her face has many of the same colours as the signature (which I don’t own) when it comes to her features and her make-up, but the expression is very different. I do have a “Getting Fairest” Apple to compare, though:

"Getting Fairest" Apple White and "Epic Winter" Apple White

I’d say that the original looks more artistic when it comes to her face-paint, but the newer one looks more friendly. I’d also say that the re-boot sculpt captures Apple’s character as we know her from the series better – she is almost always positive and enthusiastic.

I am perhaps slightly bothered by the violet-purple line inside her eyes, under the eyelids. Actually, it turns out both versions have it, but it seems more obvious with the new release. Nonetheless, I think her face is overall adorable.

…mostly because she looks so frickin’ happy!

Even though, for me, the “Epic Winter” line marks the beginning of a decline in quality, in this case, the changes did not affect her articulation, so both her and me have reasons to feel happy.

Let’s talk about her outfit. It is a one-piece hybrid between a dress and a coat with someΒ  fur accents. It’s more pink than red this time around (red being her signature colour).

The main theme seems to be ice-crystals and snowflakes, with a personal touch in the form of Apples:

The odd part is that when you remove the belt (shaped like golden icicles?) it reveals a plain white band. It’s a shame, since I’m not a fan of the accessory and was intending to remove it, but now it has to stay on, I guess.

On the positive side, the outfit is made of three different types of fabric: satin/polyester, faux-fur and faux-leather. I think it makes it look interesting and more complete:

I’m also wondering if I would be able to separate the dress into a skirt and a separate jacket, but right now she feels too new for such a risky undertaking.

Part of the reason why I decided in favour of Apple and not Blondie (who is also cute and doesn’t have moulded tights) is that I really like her boots…

At first I noticed that hers looked the only boots in the line that didn’t resemble ice crystals. Later I realised that she wasn’t actually exempt from the theme: she too is wearing ice-boots, judging by the heels, but she is just wearing knit leg-warmers over them. I wish there were no crystals involved at all – I am a big fan of more ‘normal’ looking shoes – but since they generally look like super-cute sweater boots anyway, I am satisfied. These are perfect for Christmas outfits.

Then there is the head band. It’s all sculpted plastic, but it still looks sweet and cozy. The details on the band look like beads and snowflakes. Out of the box, it comes attached to the doll’s head. I still haven’t removed the tabs and bands from mine.

She comes with a solid piece of slightly see-through, glittery plastic for a purse:

Can I send it back to Mattel and asks for the jewellery from the box art instead? Because I think it would have made for a much better accessory.

Finally, the most problematic part of her ensemble – the infamous moulded-on tights.

I don’t like them because they limit the possibilities when it comes to redressing. I also wish that they were at least only painted on, without the sculpted pattern – it looks chunky and awkward to me. It’s also odd how the detail fades on the front part of her thighs. The mould-lines on the sides are very obvious, too.

Her hair is rather nice. It is styled into soft curls without the use of any gel. It feels silky and non-oily.

My only complaint is that there are sections where the hair has lost its curl, especially in the areas that were squished in the box.

Be forewarned that her head is hard. In the past, this have often meant future problems with glue leaking through the hair and making it permanently sticky. Hopefully they have learned since then and have used a different kind of adhesive. Time will tell.

Supplied with the doll there was a ring for the child. To me, it’s another useless accessory (along with the handbag). Not only because it is both too small and too silly for me to wear, but also because it’s not the best design to begin with: it’s supposed to be a magical rose under a dome, but it looks like chewed up gum:

The crystals around it also look strange in red. Like some evil substance from a sci-fi film. (perhaps it’s the crystals that the Sith put in their lightsabers). I do like the dome part itself. I might pick the ring apart and reuse this part for something else.

I think this covers all the important parts. Summing up, this doll represents a slightly lower standard than its predecessors when it comes to detail, but it’s still a pretty good design. If you like the reboot faces and can get over the moulded tights, it is a solid doll that represent a fresh new theme – quite perfect for the holidays, too. Most importantly, in my opinion, she does have the magic – that something special about a doll that makes you fall in love with her and brings you happiness.

 

 

Winter, Hats & Scarves

 

 

 

I am impatiently waiting for the day when I have so many doll clothes, handmade and otherwise, that I can effectively create new looks by only mixing and matching, no sewing required. But even though my collection hasn’t yet reached this point, I have been able to create a new winter look for Ashlynn Ella with minimal effort. Yay!

 

 

 

 

The only thing I had to craft were the winter cap and the scarf, and let me tell you that it was a piece of cake πŸ™‚ The cap is made following the brilliant idea from MyFroggyStuff . The scarf is of the infinity sort, and it is simply a ring of fabric cut off from the rest of that same sock. So easy and so fun!

 

 

I had made the coat for another photo shoot, starring Cerise Hood. The gloves come from a Draculaura (and are technically her hands… girls and borrowing stuff!) and the shoes are Poppy’s.

 

This last photo is my favourite, even though – it seems decent to mention – the snowflakes have been edited in in Gimp.

Ashlynn looks just as sweet in the snow as she does on a sunny beach ❀