New Doll Available!

After a bit of a hiatus, I have started repainting dolls again for offer in my Etsy shop! This one has been done for a bit, but life is finally allowing me to post her. For some reason, I really love working on freckled dolls, and they also seem to be pretty quick sellers for me which tells me that others like them as well!

I have another work in progress (WIP) that Ishould be finishing up soon and hope to get her photo’d this weekend for posting.

Thanks and enjoy!

 

 

 

I Did It! First 10k In The Books….

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That was my time for the Inaugural Star Wars – Dark Side 10k at Walt Disney World. This was also my personal first 10k and one that I had been feeling completely unprepared for. It wasn’t necessarily pretty and it was HOT and muggy as is the current climate of Florida. But I started, I finished, and I earned that Tie Fighter medal. I was 745 in my division, 3969 in my gender with 6921 women running and 12172 runners completing the race.

I’ll take it.

Not only will I take it, I have another 5k coming up in June to keep me motivated and not sitting on my butt in the hot and humid summer sun.

I have also started taking full advantage of my YMCA membership and getting into the gym three times a week during lunch breaks to cross-train. Generally legs and lower back one day, light cardio the next and arms and upper body/abs the third. All with a 10 minute attack on the elliptical to get heart rate up.

I’ve seen a lot of offers lately on my Facebook feed for friends that are peddling Plexus and Shakeology. Now, don’t get me wrong – I have P90X and T25 in my arsenal at home for the days where I might want to get something a little extra in (which hasn’t happened in quite come time because, well, LIFE and there are so many things I want to do with my time at home like my dolls and new capital ventures in the works) I’ve even been seeing OrangeTheory quite a bit lately as well and know that will be close to my office soon. But thinking that this way works for my schedule, budget and everything in between.

Now to see what progress I can make in the next year.

To Debox or Not To Debox…..That is the Question

Hamlet asked “To be, or not to be – that is the question” in his contemplation of death and suicide. Now, certainly this post isn’t about anything nearly as morose or extreme as suicide, but the phrase has become a sort of pop-culture reference when making what one deems to be an important (or at least dramatic) decision.

For those that collect, the debate about whether to debox their collections or keep them in tact, on the card and in their cardboard/plastic packaging has been ongoing. There are indeed arguments on both sides, and certainly a well-kept collection can in time prove to be a very valid and profitable investment. Recently, it has been discussed that investing in Lego’s was more secure and profit driven than investing in gold or anything else.

 

When it comes to dolls, as well, there is an added layer. Many times, the dolls are absolutely gorgeous and for certain brands, like the Bob Mackie Barbie Dolls, you want to ensure that they are kept in their boxes as their values can exponentially increase. When it comes to lower end dolls however, there are things to be considered.

Monster High ranks 3rd behind Barbie and Disney Princesses as the best selling brand of dolls currently on the  market. Granted, both Monster High and Barbie are owned by Mattel, which unquestionably has a stronghold on the fashion doll market. (Something that Hasbro hopes to toppel having obtained the Disney Princesses line from Mattel for 2016.) But that also means that they aren’t as likely to retain the same sort of investment value that more established and ‘collector’ level dolls command.

Though a vast majority of the dolls I currently ‘own’ are for customizing and reselling in my Etsy store, I do have a few dolls that I simply enjoy or love that I’ve added to a personal collection. That collection has grown some since I started this journey a little over a year ago and most of the dolls that I have for personal are alternative dolls and not the original ‘ghouls’. Now, the benefit there is that these dolls generally only show up once or twice and then are gone while the original ghouls are utilized through out all the series that are released. Innately that means that the ones I generally gravitate towards collecting personally are more rare.

Collectors know that a valuable item will be valuable regardless; but if you are able to get one mint, in box, with undamaged or acceptably worn packaging than that will significantly increase the value of the items you keep. Taking them out of their packaging can devalue them, and depending on the item, that could be a huge hit.

Of course, there is always the argument that one should collect things they love because they love them, and because they want to enjoy them. Now, as an adult I don’t have a desire to play with my dolls though I know quite a few adult collectors who find great joy in the practice and I find no fault in their enjoyment. I just want to display mine and think that displaying them out of their boxes is more appealing. Others disagree with that. My conundrum comes from wanting to display them out of box (not just for aesthetic but for sheer space constraints!) but also wanting to maintain their inherent value!

 

Such is the life of a collector.

Custom – Evangeline – 9.23.15

Recently I was commissioned to work on a doll for a client through my Etsy shop. I have to admit, I loved working on her and I think she’s one of the best I’ve created so far! She has been named Evangeline and she has been boxed up and shipped out to her new home as of today!

Please take a look. This was originally a Scaris City of Frights Skelita Calaveras Monster High doll. Her original factory paint was stripped and she was repainted using Faber-Castell and Prismacolor water color pencils and chalk pastels. She was worked on and sealed in multiple layers using Mr. Hobby Super Clear UV Cut Flat Matte Sealant. Her whole body was blushed to give her an over all distressed bone feel instead of her stark white original coloring. Her hair was washed, conditioned, curled and then teased into the bouffant you see here for a romantic feel. Eyelashes were applied individually and her lips and eyes were glossed in Liquitex Gloss Varnish.

If you are interested in a custom of your own, please make sure to visit my Etsy shop! I will work with you to develop and create what you’re envisioning (to the best of my ability).

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Newly Listed – 9.6.15

I have a new listing up in my Etsy shop!

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As with my other dolls, Draculaura’s original factory paint has been removed and she has been repainted using quality Faber-Castell and Prismacolor watercolor pencils and chalk pastels. She has also been sealed with multiple layers of Mr. Hobby Super Clear UV Cut Flat sealant to protect her with Liquitex Gloss Varnish for her eyes and lips to give them shine. Eyelashes were applied and her hair was washed, conditioned and trimmed.

 

She, along with my other dolls, are located for sale at http://www.chrysaliscreation.etsy.com and thanks for looking!

 

 

When Sourcing Products…

I use quality products when repainting my dolls. I want them to last and for collectors to look at them years from now and still see the (hopefully) beautiful work of art I created and appreciate just as much as they day they brought it home. To do that I did a lot of research before I started to figure out what I wanted to use and how best to get it. A lot of what I get, I have to get online. Other than your standard Michael’s and Joann’s, we only have one small arts supply shop in town that carries products I can use. I can tell you now, if you are ever interested in repainting dolls, or vinyl/plastic in general, unless you are a pro at using watercolor paints – you’re not going to find what you need at Michael’s or Joann’s. Michaels is better for me in taht I can get Liquitex varnishes and Prismacolor watercolor pencil sets. But that’s about it unless you’d like to tackle the task of gaining proficiency with watercolor paints on dolls.

But the hardest thing to source is the most important thing in repainting – your sealant. Monster High dolls, as with many other brands of dolls, have hard plastic bodies and vinyl heads. They can be difficult to stain, dye and repaint due to their mixed medium and the natural of their composition. After removing the factory paint, you want to start with a solid canvas to work with and your choice of sealant will not only ensure a good solid canvas but also protect the original doll which is highly important.

The sealants, however, are few and far between for which are recommended. You have the Zoukeimura (ZM) finishing spray, Game Workshops Purity Seal (which is more a semi-gloss and not a true matte sealant), Testors Dulcoat (NOT recommended), and the creme de la creme, Mr. Hobby Super Clear Flat Sealant.

I prefer Super Clear myself. But have been using the UV cut variety which was admittedly more expensive. I’ve had a good run with it, but recently have been finding fewer and fewer vendors on line who carry it, and when they do their prices have gotten ridiculously high. Which means I need to switch to the standard version, which I’m okay with. But even that is becoming difficult to get. Generally, I source off of eBay. Which makes me wonder, if I am having more issue locating it, how in the worlds am I going to keep painting?

 

 

Newly Listed – 8.13.15

Two new dolls have been listed for sale in my Etsy shop this morning! I’ve named them both, though only one will come clothed. First is “Seer” and she is a repainted Monster High Twyla doll made to look like an ethereal prophetess.

 

Her hair was washed, conditioned, and boil permed to acquire the curls. I removed the gray swirls from her legs (they were quiet scuffed as it was) and left the gray on her hands and forearms for a more mystic appearance.

As with all my repaints, the factory paint/make up was removed using 100% acetone nail polish remover and then she was repainted using Faber-Castell and Prismacolor watercolor pencils and chalk pastels. Each layer was sealed using Mr. Super Clear’s UV Matte Sealant. Liquitex Gloss Varnish was applied to the eyes and lips to give them that dewy appearance and in this instance individual eyelashes were glued for a more 3d, in depth look.

Second is “Chelsea”, whom I plan on doing a separate post about for my Adventures in Rerooting series of posts. Chelsea was a little more complicated, as previous posts show she had quite a bit of damage when I removing the factory hair plugs for her reroot. But I had this great idea to use DMC embroidery floss, pulled apart into separate strands, to restyle her hair and I LOVED the way it turned out. I fully expect to use this method and medium again. Clawdeen is truly one of the molds that I love to work on and shes great fun to play with.

 

She was also repainted in the same method above, with eyelashes glued for a more realistic effect. I just think she’d DARLING and I hope that she finds a wonderful new home.

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!)

 

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!