Adventures in ReRooting, Part Deux

So I had a Dawn of the Dance Clawdeen Wolf from Monster High to whom I had repainted her face…but I wasn’t a huge fan of this series doll’s hair. I had been considering for a long while what to do as reroots are still something I am brand-spanking new at and the idea of what I wanted to turn this doll into hadn’t fully surfaced yet. Then I had the idea to utilize embroidery floss in lieu of the traditional nylon/saran hair or yarn.

 

 

Original doll, after face up, after hair removal.

 

I went out and got myself some colors of floss that I liked and that I thought would work well with not only the dolls coloring, but how I repainted her face. I then proceeded to get through the daunting task of removing the hair from the dolls head. Removal of the head is actually pretty easy if you go slow and use REALLY hot water to loosen the vinyl. Once you do that head quite literally will pop off without too much force. Then I soaked the inside of the head briefly in 100% pure acetone to loosen up the gunk of glue that they utilize to keep the originally rooted hair in place. After a good rinsing, I grabbed my pliers and got to work.

Do not let anyone tell you otherwise – pulling out a dolls originally factory rooted hair is ROUGH. My hand, the day after, is STILL sore from having to grip the pliers and pull. The industrial strength glue that they use is RIDICULOUS! Not to mention, with this doll, they put a TON of hair in the dolls part which makes it even more difficult. As you can see in the second pic on the top row, there are quite a few places where, even trying to pull gently, the force of getting the glue out caused huge holes in the mold that I will now have to try to patch and/or cover. I think I’ll be able to cover them thankfully but was NONE too happy to have that happen. Finally I was working on the hair rooted at the crown and I could swear to the powers that be the dolls head was either trying to give birth, or throw up. I’m still not certain which it was. As you can see, the MASS of hair and glue was quite large and I’m actually amazed more damage wasn’t done to the head sculpt.

I’ve already begun the long and arduous process of rerooting with the floss and so far I’m quite liking the result. I wont always want to use it since I think it will lend itself to a certain signature, but I’m excited to see how she finishes up and of course pics will be posted when she’s ready for sale.

I’d also like to take this moment to point out that I know why most folks wll repaint AFTER a reroot now, since the process causes strain on the sealant and Clawdeen now has a white band across her nose – which oddly has inspired me to do a little more to her when I do to repair the ‘damage’. Make lemonade out of lemons people!

Also, if you ever wondered WHY repainted and rerooted dolls especially are so expensive – yes this process is something that I’m new to. But it took me about an hour and a half to remove the hair from the original doll and it’s going to take me roughly 3 more hours to reroot her. I spent an hour on her last night with the floss and I only had about two rows completed. Repainting can take anywhere from 2 to 5 hours currently depending on what exactly I want to do to it. (The norm is about two to three). When you pay for a repainted one-of-a-kind doll your honestly paying for the artists time. Please remember to respect that. It’s one of the things I love about this community, however, is that the time spent really is something that true collectors appreciate. (And dont even get me started on constructing clothing! I’m still working on a dress!)

 

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The Struggle Is Real….

Work. Kids. Family. Finances. FINANCES. Time. Priorities. Love. Partners. Work. School. Exercise. Running. Social Activities. Play dates. Birthday parties. Finances. Personal Time. Hobbies. Yes, the struggle is real. I’ve mentioned it before that time can be tight when you’re a mom, a partner to someone who works night shift, work full time and basically am single mother most of the time. I wonder how I do it all and then realize there are plenty of things I’m unable to get to and have to decide if I can live with that or not. Sometimes that struggle is the worst as I can feel, quite simply, like I’m letting SOMEONE down; be it my children, my partner, my family, my coworkers or worse…myself. Its no wonder that since having my littlest one I’ve not lost the weight that I put on in pregnancy. I saw a post today about Loey Lane, a beauty blogger, plus-sized advocate and general all around bad-ass who talks openly about confidence, acceptance and just being comfortable with yourself. This is something that I realized I’d lost. I push myself so hard to get back to my pre-baby body and loose the gut I’ve gained without realizing or accepting my age, how exactly my body has changed, and where I am NOW.

 

I started running in 2013 as a response to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings with the intent to eventually run that race. I had always had the adage that unless my life was in danger, I wasn’t running, and yet here I was signing up for 5k’s and taking great pride and pleasure in improving my per mile minute. I just turned 38. Yes, I’m overweight and weigh the most I have ever in my life. I also have two beautiful children to show for my efforts and the wear and tear my body has experienced. I have horrible eating habits that I have to work to improve. I run, when I can, and push myself to do so when the weather permits (when it’s 90-something in Florida and the feels like due to humidity is upwards of 110, you don’t WANT to go out in that!) Do I wish I wasn’t in this body? Yes…because I feel like I’m letting my partner down. I feel like I’m not attractive anymore and why should they have any interest in this mass of flesh and pudge? But then I remember that love transcends appearance (thankfully) and that when you have it pure it can overcome anything. But there in lies the crux…I can’t accept myself so how can I expect someone else to? In order to be where I want to be, I have to accept me as-is with the idea that I will take steps each day to make improvements for MYSELF.

And this is where the struggle comes in. Mostly this blog is about my Etsy shop, my creations and promotion. But I do want to share that we all have similar struggles in life – money, weight, confidence, acceptance. It was recently pointed out to me that I still seem to have some issue with wrapping my head around two things – 1.) my age and 2.) that I am now, officially,  a professional. Yes, I do have issues with this, particularly #1. I just turned 38 but you’d never know it. I dont look it. I don’t “act” it (and how in the world is one supposed to act any particular age, anyhow?) and I don’t generally -dress- like it because I didn’t have a household growing up that was anything other than blue collar. Now, I don’t dress like I used to – being semi professional and a recovering goth make that pretty easy – though I still tend to gravitate towards all black. But gone are the days of fishnet shirts under tank tops with chunky knee high boots and a cute skirt over more fishnets; replaced with jeans, a tee shirt and flats or sneakers most days.

The struggle comes in accepting who I am NOW instead of who I was or even who I want to be. The irony is I can’t get to be where I want to be until I accept where I am now and embrace it. Maybe that’s why I enjoy painting my dollies so much as well – I have an outlet for that recovering goth that’s not only beautiful, but the whole universe of Monster High in particular is about embracing your “freaky flaws” and being who you are – not what other expect you to be. This while holding on, somewhat, to the innocence and frivolity that is youth. Even funnier still is I’m generally the one to state that age is just a number and that when I get to be the big 4-0 it will be like any other age. I still believe that, but it’s easy to accept this train of thought when you don’t really accept your age to begin with. It’s certainly not a death sentence as many feel it is, but a new chapter – a new decade to explore and grow and adapt to.

I could continue on and on and I may in future posts…but for now I want others to know, even other thirty-something moms trying to hold down the fort without loosing their proverbial minds, that they aren’t alone, there are those of us out there that understand, and the struggle is real—-so don’t fight it. Embrace it.

Not Sure If It’s the Heat….

I have been beating myself up lately for NOT being as ‘productive’ as I would like to be. My running had stagnated and though my Etsy shop has been building and I am utterly thankful for all that have purchased my dolls AND left me wonderful reviews,  I have not replenished stock as quickly as I should. It’s not for lack of inventory – I think I have upwards of 30 dolls sitting in my extra room that are ready and waiting not only for their make-overs, but their close ups! 🙂 The difficulty, I believe, is in the transition.

Its summertime in Florida and if any of you know Florida, you know summer s literally the mid point of the temperature oven! Its not the actual temperature either, as the southwest has temps that far exceed our own, but it’s the nasty, sticky and oppressive humidity that does it. You walk outside and before you get to the car door in the parking lot you are drenched in sweat and ready for a nice cool glass of whatever your choice of hydration happens to be!

 

That being said, it’s absolutely no excuse for not painting. In fact, the warmer temps are ideal for my sealant of choice – though I learned a valuable lesson this weekend. Dont start a new doll if you’re not 100% certain you have enough sealant to finish it. It’s not that it will do anything to the doll – its the fact that having a half finished doll sitting there looking back at me is rather sad.

I was at least able to get on doll finished though she still awaits being redressed and photographed for listing. I have also determined that she is, by far, my favorite of the Monster High doll molds in that she’s not only gorgeous, but one of the easiest molds to work with!

 

 

Honey Swamp is, by far, I think the best mold to work with as she already had defined eyelids, her nose is perfect and her lips can be worked with in so many ways! I had debated straightening her hair, in spite of the various controversies that surround doing just that – read here, here and here. But I have decided to keep it just as it fabulously is. Regardless, she should be up in the shop within the next two weeks for everyone to enjoy!

 

For now, though I try not to let the heat get to me and effect the drive I had. Have. Life’s too short and I have far too much I want to do!

New Listing – 6.19.15

Actually, she’s been up for a little while, but I’ve been so busy with everything lately that I didnt have the chance to get the blog posted about her! I’ve named her “Tryn” which translate into innocence. She was quite a joy to work on and she was another whose ‘personality’ just evolved on me while I was creating here. There are times, it seems, when the dolls have a mind of their own almost in where they want to go!

 

 

 

Tryn does come clothed as pictures and she’s really just a sweet little thing. Her factory paint was stripped and she was repainted utilizing quality Faber-Castell and Prismacolor soft chalk pastels and watercolor pencils. Multiple layers of Mr. Super Clear UV Cut Matte Sealant were used in between paintings and Liquitex Gloss Varnish was used on her eyes and lips. Her hair was washed, conditioned and then styled up into her pigtails. She is now an upcycled Ghoulia Yelps Monster High Repaint for sale in my etsy shop! (Click on the pics for the link). You can also interact with me through my Chrysalis Creation facebook page.

 

 

 

 

How a Hobbyist Becomes a Collector…

So I started out repainting Monster High dolls primarily as a source of not only a creative outlet, but also a potential side income. I fully admit it. I’d seen the dolls in the stores, certainly and rather thought that they were an awesome alternative to Barbies and your standard Bratz dolls. Yes, there has always been conflict with the images that ‘fashion dolls’, including their matriach Barbie and all others have when it comes to what are they teaching our daughters? Unless a doll is an American Girl doll, it seems, you just cant win and better yet, you’ll likely have a drastically smaller bank account!

That being said, Monster High dolls are also extremely popular among those that enjoy the Japanese-inspired Ball Jointed Dolls, that are, quite frankly GORGEOUS but highly expensive. A Typical body for a BJD doll can run you more than $100, not counting accessories and clothing (much like the American Girl dolls), and that’s WITHOUT anything face wise – just the base doll to build off of. At least with American Girl dolls, you’re given a starter set of clothes the the doll is face-uped!

With all that to consider, MH is a wonderful, and cost-effective, alternative to the two, even with their ‘basic’ dolls starting at around $12.99 retail. Sets can get up to $24.99 – $54.99 – but you’re generally getting multiple dolls then.

Plus, with their unusual skin tones, wild hair and various accessories, you can easily customize a MH doll into pretty much anything you’d like with a little practice and creativity. That is, if you are creatively inclined. I’ve seen some HORRENDOUS repaints! But, as is true with the creed of MH – freaky flaws should be accepted and everyone should be appreciated for just how they are. (A creed that honestly stood out to me, as I would have LOVED an alternative doll like Draculaura or Frankie Stein when I was a young’in!)

So, here I sit – an almost forty something mom of two boys, and I repaint my MH dolls lovingly in the hopes that others will appreciate the work I’ve put into them and provide them a home – be it a collector or someone wanting to get a doll that’s a little different for their child to display. (*Due to various regulations, my dolls are NOT recommended for play but for collection and display only – much like you would a bisque or porcelain doll)! What has become quite humorous to me, however, is the fact that I have found dolls that I absolutely love just for the dolls themselves, and desire to have for my own personal collection. (In my home, if you have more than two of something, it’s a collection!)

I currently have two C.A. Cupid dolls (both release versions I do believe due to their facial mold differences), a Black and White Skull Shores Frankie Stein, a Gilda Goldstag and a Lorna McNessie doll all to myself. I’m still searching for an original Cupid (not the Ever After High version) to modify and after looking at the newly released Boo York, Boo York and the Freak du Chic lines – I would love to have a Freak du Chic Frankie Stein, Gooliope Jellington and a Boo York Mouscedes King and Elle Eedee for my own. (Freak du Chic Frankie is GORE-GEOUS!)

I have even found myself, when it’s just me at night and the rest of the house is sleeping or working, watching the cartoons and appreciating the world that Mattel has created. I’ve always been ecstatic that I didn’t have girls – I always wanted sons oddly because I always enjoyed traditional ‘boys’ toys when I was a kid myself and was a bit of a tomboy – and I’m oddly even more appreciative of the fact that I don’t have to ‘share’ my love for the line with anyone. Selfish, I know, but it’s the little things in life when you’re the only estrogen in a house full of testosterone! But for what MH is, and what it stands, for, I can’t argue. Its a playful line of toys that attempts to show that beauty isn’t ALWAYS something traditional, and that differences, even outrageous ones, are what make us unique and special. For that, I’m a die-hard collector – even if I do enjoy changing them up a bit. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

New Listings – 6.1.15

I have two new dolls available that I posted last night for sale in my Etsy shop! I know I say I’m quite proud of them when I post them, but honestly I DO feel a great deal of pride in creating something beautiful and different. I’ve been working on marketing them more and sharing them with others who appreciate the medium as it were and am glad that they can be shared.

 

So without further ado…my two new girls!

 

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As always, my dolls are stripped of their factory paint and refaced with quality Faber-Castell and Prismacolor brand watercolor pencils and soft chalk pastels. They are sealed multiple times and in multiple layers with Mr. Super Clean UV Matte Sealant and Liquitex Gloss Varnish. Hair is usually washed and conditioned, then restyled with either a boil perm, boil straightening, braiding or cut. I’ve recently started to apply eyelashes as well for a three-dimensional depth and on occasion have given the dolls body blushing and/or painted nails. Dolls can also be customized and requests for commissions are accepted!!

 

New Listing – 5.20.15

So I know I’ve been a little remiss in posting as of late but that’s due, in part, to having a race to run and getting things up and going shop wise still. I’m always on the look out for new dolls to procure at decent prices (so I can keep the prices for my repaints relatively affordable!) and besides, I started a new position in my job which has me going non-stop almost all of the day so by the time I get home I’m exhausted! I’ve also been in a very introspective place which I think I will write about and share soon.

However, that didnt stop me from getting not one, but TWO new dolls up into my shop this past weekend. I generally try to get the new listings posted the same day that I get them in the shop, but it just hasn’t worked out that way this go around so hopefully it will with the next one. I also have a new WIP that I’m working on and a doll I had previously repainted that I’ve been debating rerooting – but trying to decide on hair! (Thankfully Dollyhair.com has a 10% sale going right now so I might just have to take advantage of that for her once I decide on colors!)

So, up for offer recently are:

 

Operetta Repaint

Now this one, this one I’m REALLY excited for and took great pride working on. Granted, I love all the dolls I work on, but sometimes you do something and you step back when you’re finished and you’re just EXCITED about the work you’ve created. This Skelita, now she I can sit back and say YES! This is why I do this.

   Skelita Calaveras Monster High Repaint        

 

As always, my dolls are repainted using high-quality Faber-Castell and Prismacolor watercolor pencils and soft chalk pastels. They are sealed using Mr. Super Clean UV Matte Sealant and Liquitex Gloss Varnish for their shiny parts. In both instances here, their hair was washed, conditioned and then boil-permed, styled and sprayed into place. All purchase information is located on my etsy shop.

You can also always follow my expoloits with dolls on the following social media platforms where in I offer regular promotional discounts to followers!

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/chrysaliscreati

Twitter: twitter.com/ChrysalisCreate

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/chrysaliscreate

Instagram: instagram.com/chrysaliscreation/