July Was A Whirlwind…

I realized this morning that I hadn’t blogged in a while and when I logged in to see where my last blog left me, I saw that it was 6/30/16! Bad blogger for not being more consistent. I really do need to work on that. Perhaps that’s a post in and of itself.

July was filled with quite a bit of insight, upheaval and dealing with travel (for my other half – not for me unfortunately) and in dealing with all of it life just sort of caught up to me. That being said, with kindergarten fast approaching for my littlest one, I suspect that August will be just as busy, albeit with more opportunity to take a few moments of my days and post something that will hopefully be worth while to read. I’m still figuring out this whole ‘blogging’ thing after all.

I need to get back to making my dolls and refreshing the stock in my etsy shop. I love to work on them, but they do consume quite a bit of time – particularly if I’ve opted to reroot their hair and I have a tendency to just sit down and work, work, work once an idea hits me. I’ve been seeing a LOT of Suicide Squad Harley Quinn’s of late and that makes me happy. Some great ones have been created and I have to say the attention to detail amazes me.

 

Then there is the bracelets, which I also have been loving to make because they are quick, easy and something I can work on while watching TV at night. Been bouncing around the idea of trying to create some matching earrings for them to – but need to source some solid and affordable posts as I am HORRIBLY sensitive to anything plated and wish not to sell something I can’t also wear. I find it important that even if no one inquires, I wear my own creations daily. If you won’t wear your own stuff, then why would you think someone else would want to as well?!

 

 

I’ve also been batting the idea around to add some vlogs to my posts. I’ve been hell bent on relearning how best to apply make up and I’ve yet to see one from someone my age – which though I don’t look nearly close to what people would think 39 looks like, there are some base differences to how I can apply make up to say a twenty-something with fresh skin. I’ve also been wanting to post opinions of products and what I find works for me – in an effort to help out those in the ‘older’ set. If there is an interest in that, please let me know in the comments!

Racing is something I need to get back into as well once the weather is more conducive to running outside. I find running on the treadmill to be difficult at best since I can’t train in intervals nearly as easily (why for has the health and fitness industry not created a treadmill in which you can program timed intervals?! Get on that engineering/programming types!) I’ve been doing well on Weight Watchers and have managed through their program and walking 10000 steps a day approximately to loose a total of 12 lbs in about as many weeks so it’s a good, solid and manageable progression. Only 27 more to go!

There really has been a lot going on, and a ton that I want to start discussing more openly regarding my point of view on things. I just need to organize and start working on them. Stay tuned for more!

 

 

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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!)

 

Vulnerability…

When you craft something – make anything by hand, regardless the medium; prose, painting, sculpture, jewelry, dolls, stuffed animals, wearable art (like crochet or knitting), even nail art – you are putting a piece of yourself into that item. It came from your imagination and was formed using your hands and heart. People joke all the time that their craft is like their children and when you think about it it’s the same similarity in process – an idea is formed, it grows and develops until it’s materialized and ‘living’.

This is a huge amount of vulnerability to then take those items and put them for the world to see – whether it be in a gallery, getting published or even something as simple as promotion on social media, starting an Etsy store or online webpage. You’re then taking a piece of you and exposing it for the world to form an opinion on, even if that you’ve created is something they disagree with or detest. That takes a metric buttload (yes, it’s a measurement!) of courage.

My dolls are an example of this. I’m taking something that was created to be one way, stripping it down, and re-purposing it for a (hopefully) wider audience. The market for them is indeed niche and I knew that going in. I’m not anticipating a TON of sales but I know others enjoy the work and collect those sorts of pieces and I absolutely LOVE working on them. Even when I’m not 100% convinced I did a wonderful job on one, and I see where I can make improvements or adjust my technique – I get enjoyment out of the process and the relaxation that comes with turning this figure into something different and equally as beautiful. When I decoupage (something I’ll be adding to my shop eventually) its the same.

And believe it or not it’s a TON of work to do these dolls. First there is the process of locating dolls to paint. When you figure that the average doll STARTS at $12.99 retail – that’s a pretty hefty investment to make. I try really hard NOT to get mine retail, but second hand. Then I have to try to find ones that are preferably in tact with all their limbs and tails, etc. Clothing is optional – if I find one nude and in good condition great if it has clothes but not required. Then there’s the few hours it takes to repaint them. Then wash and condition their hair and style it. That’s IF I’m not rerooting them – if I’m rerooting you can add about 4 hours to the whole process to rip out their factory hair and reroot new strands. That is all just for one doll.

So when you see the meme’s and they talk about how when you purchase homemade you’re not funding a corporate CEO’s trip but a child’s dance lesson, or helping to buy a family food – you really are. You’re helping that seller to purchase supplies and/or assist them with their lives. BUT you are also supporting their heart. You are purchasing something of their being and telling them that what they are doing MEANS something to someone else as well. You are telling them that their vulnerability and their courage is worth it and that it is, indeed, valued.

Work in Process – 3.2.15

So I try each week to start a new doll. Sometimes I have to finish a doll instead of start one, as was the case last week when I finished up two I had begun. Since my rerooting adventure is now completed and I have a better idea of what in the world I’m doing there (and likely wont reroot for a while unless the absolute need to change a characters hair overcomes me again!) I started a new doll this week.

Usually, I’ll faceup the doll one weekend and then finish hair and photoshoot the next. I was trying this weekend to get this particular doll finished, but I like to leave the hair to dry completed before I photoshoot and her hair was still wet so opted to let her sit for a day (and likely longer) until she’s completely dry – so no finished photos until this weekend.

But what struck me about this particular doll is that I hadn’t started out to do such a sweet and innocent face. There are times when working with the dolls I’ve noticed where their feel just comes through regardless of what I had originally set out to do. With this Frankie, I wanted to do something a little more dark/gothic and somehow this darling little face came out instead. I’m rather happy she did.

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Two New Dolls!

So this weekend I was able to finish up and photograph two new dolls that I was able to upload to my Etsy shop for purchase! This weeks offering happen to be a Ghoulia Yelps that includes a reroot of her hair as well as an Abbey Bomidable with her nails painted using O.P.I. nail lacquer.

As for both, I am quite proud of them! I love Abbeys large eyes and Ghoulia to me is just beautiful.

On both the factory paint was removed and their faces repainted using Prismacolor watercolor pencils and Faber-Castell pastels. Both were sealed using Mr. Super Clear UV Matte spray and glossed with Liquitex Gloss Varnish on their eyes and lips.

For Abbey, she was a pretty straight forward rework. Repainted, hair was washed, conditioned and restyled (though the glitter fibers in her hair did make for an interesting amount of lift!) and I also painted her talons with O.P.I nail laquer in OPI Ink and topped with Seche Vite top coat.

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Abbey Bomidable Repaint

 

For Ghoulia, as I pointed out before, her hair had been cut by a previous owner and she was devoid of her bangs so she was in need of a reroot. For my first go at it I’m quite pleased and wanted to style her hair in a manner that would be simple enough that should her owner wish, it could be restyled with ease. She was rerooted with Dollyhairs nylon doll hair in Blueberry Muffin, Dragonfly and Poison Ivy. I also gave Ghoulia a light body blushing.

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By clicking on the photos it will take you straight to their listings on my shop!

 

More will be coming soon as I plan on starting a new doll this weekend. Thank you again for looking and keeping up with me. As my shop grows, so too will my posts and my adventures in repainting! I also made sure to cross post everywhere and Chrysalis Creation can be found:

On Facebook

On Twitter

On Tumblr

On Pinterest

On DeviantArt

 

 

Adventures in ReRooting…A Dolls Tale

This weekend I received my first order from DollyHair and was excited to get started. I ordered hair in Blueberry Muffin, DragonFly and Poison Ivy to go along with the recently repainted Ghoulia Yelps doll from the previous weekend.

Ghoulia Yelps Repaint

I also didnt order a rerooting tool cause I felt like I would be able to make one with the supplies I have on hand. I mean, I have a bunch of sewing needles, x-acto knives and wire cutters; I’ve watched plenty of YouTube videos on how to do it so how hard can it really be?

Lemme tell you, the ONE thing none of them videos told me was to ballast the needle. Even in an x-acto knife clamp I had issues with the needle being too long. Either make sure you have the right length needle or make sure you have a dowel rod to plunge the needle into for support! Took me two broken needles and a lot of cursing, but I finally got something that would allow me to get hair back on poor Ghoulia’s head!

I still need to form some polymer clay around the shaft of the needled to give it not only a slightly improved appearance, but also a little additional stability so as to not bend it. Thankfully, the thrown together tool has given me something I could use (and ideas for potential accessories to sell going forward!)

I’ll have pics up of her in a bit and I still need to part thatch her head, but I’ve been quite pleased with the results so far and can’t wait to finish her up this weekend to get her posted for sale.