Saturday 28 January 2017

Bring out the old!

Over the last couple of days I have been having fun with a couple of my old BJDs (ball jointed dolls), dolls that I've had for quite a while but have been neglected.

The first of these to get some attention was Samantha, my Hana Angel by the company Elfdoll in South Korea.  I don't think that Elfdoll are still trading these days but they used to make some great dolls, lovely sculpts and great quality.  Over the years I have had several of their dolls in various sizes but now I have just the three, and Hana is the tallest of these at 20cm tall.  Hana Angel has been with me for many years now, she came here back in June 2009 when I received her in a trade, however she had actually been with me prior to that when I bought her new from Denver Doll Emporium in June 2007!  I sold her to a lady in California and then regretted it straight away so when the lady decided to sell, we traded and I got Hana back again, however this time she came on a newer body!  Some years later I replaced all her faceplates (she comes with three faceplates showing different expressions) by ordering directly from Elfdoll.

So yesterday I decided to change her body again. This time she has 'grown' a little and is now using a resin body which I bought last year.  It is the perfect colour match to the resin of her faceplates and I really like that although the body is almost identical to her original, the legs are a little bit longer.  Here she is in an outfit that she's 'borrowed' from another doll:

I think what I really like is that whereas before, Hana was a difficult size to dress, being the height of say, Riley Kish, but skinnier, now she can wear clothes designed for Blythe among others, so there is a whole lot of patterns and ready made outfits available for her!

Today I decided to tackle another of my 'oldies but goodies', my very first BJD ever, Narsha by the South Korean company Dollmore.  I bought Narsha back in August 2006 and when she arrived I was just amazed at her, she was pure white and made from French resin which is so translucent, it's really beautiful.  However, French resin does have it's problems and one of those is that it yellows when exposed to UV light.  I knew this when I ordered her, but being new to BJDs and resin, I didn't know that French resin also yellows in the heat.  I was so careful with her, I took her everywhere but always she was wrapped in a dark cloth so that she'd not be exposed to any sunlight....but of course she was being exposed to extreme heat instead and it was only a matter of months before the beautiful white glow became a yellow tint!

The changing faces of Narsha by Dollmore: (top row L to R: when Narsha arrived looking all white and pale pink; when Narsha had been here just a couple of months you can see how she now has the slightest tinge of yellow appearing in her resin.  Bottom row L to R: Narsha returns from Ravendolls with a new faceup;  Narsha looking beautiful with her lovely Raven faceup.

However, I still loved her and in May 2008 I sent her away for a new faceup to an artist that some of you will know, a lady called Raven in the US.  When Narsha came back I was overawed by her beautiful new look but the new look didn't stop the doll from continuing to yellow and as a result I lost a lot of interest in photographing her.

This morning though, I decided to make the effort to give Narsha a good clean up and see if I could make her look better.  I took her head off and thoroughly cleaned her body and head cap with paint stripper.  It's strong stuff and not for the faint hearted, (always use outside or in a well ventilated space) and definitely needs to be kept well away from the face plate.  The yellow remained of course but it looked better as she was cleaner.  I'd noticed that her face paint had started to fade a little and the varnish that Raven used around her eyes feels sticky on one eye, and also her acrylic eyes had cracked which I've found to be quite common, which is why I prefer glass eyes.  So I removed her eyes, and replaced them with some soft silicone eyes because these were the only ones that fitted her eyesockets well.  Eventually I would like to replace these with some brown or hazel ones of the same type.  I reblushed her, adding lots of new blush to her cheeks, chin, forehead and the bridge of her nose.  I haven't sealed it but will redo as and when necessary.

Narsha now has a different darker wig which hopefully doesn't clash so much with her 'skin tone' as her blond one did.  She managed to get some of her clothes back from the Little Darlings who seemed to steal everything when they arrived. 

I'm really pleased with how much better she looks now.  She is still dear to me even after all the time she's been here and all the changes that have occurred to her.  (Sorry about the repetitiveness of the following photos!)

I'm enjoying revamping some of my older dolls and bringing them back to 'life' with a bit of TLC.  I hope you've enjoyed seeing them :)

Have a great weekend everyone and I hope your week ahead is a great one!

Big hugs Sharon xx

Monday 23 January 2017

A 'crafty' weekend!

Last weekend I did a bit more sewing, this time making a dress for my Robert Tonner My Imagination doll who I'd read was a good fit for American Girl sewing patterns.  Well I have a ton of those so decided to make her a dress and I read correctly because the dress is a perfect fit on her. 

The pattern has short or long sleeves and a curved yoke at the front.  I guess I should have taken a photo without her jacket but it was a bit chilly ;)  The leggings are made from stretch fine corduroy and are my own pattern.  The jacket is a very cheap 'made in China' jacket that I've had for years, but I soaked it in diluted bleach and it looks much nicer now!

I do like this doll, she's lovely quality and it's great that she can wear so many of the patterns that I have but her eyes are a bit staring, so I might change them at some point.

I also made a wig for my Fairyland Minifee tanned Chloe.  I had ordered some alpaca from a seller on Etsy and had to wait for it to arrive from Estonia.  I made a hard wig cap and then I made the hair into wefts which I then attached to the head cap using PVA glue because it dries flexible and clear.  Using alpaca is a nightmare and it got everywhere!!!!  It's beautifully fine and soft but it got up my nose, in my eyelashes and all over my clothes and the floor!!! 

Anyway, the wig came out quite well for a first attempt until I decided she needed a fringe!  Oooops epic fail!  But I'm still happy with it and if I keep it 'messed up' like this, I think it suits her.  I love the colour and think the colour is really nice for her.  Would I make another?  I don't think I would in a hurry, no.  Apart from the alpaca being expensive, it's a very time consuming job and I realise now why sellers charge anything from £50 upwards for a custom made wig!

Tee shirt and jeans by me, canvas shoes by Dale Ray. 

Finally, although I didn't make this hat and coat set, I thought I'd share some photos of my little Gotz Happy Kid Emily (2016) wearing it.  I think it's made from real wool and has a faux fur collar and hat and is from the doll company Bonnie & Pearl.  It's great quality and the perfect fit on Emily.  (Leggings and boots made by me)

Thanks for visiting, I hope you all have a lovely week ahead and that you stay safe and warm.  It's been a bit nippy here in southern Spain recently but hopefully the temperature will be on the turn soon :)

Big hugs Sharon xx

Sunday 15 January 2017

A week of dolly activity....and SEWING!

Yes I have been SEWING!  And enjoying it!  And I have lots more ideas in my head too, so watch this space.  But my week has gone well and I've got several things done that I planned to get done.  I have completely organised one bag of doll shoes, which I know won't sound like much but we are talking a LOAD of dolly shoes....I have been collecting doll shoes for a dozen years or so and I rarely get rid of any!  So they are all nicely sorted out in individual little bags now.  I didn't take any photos, too boring!

I've also taken some photos of a newcomer here, a Journey Girl Dana from Toys R Us.  I've wanted a Dana for ages but every time I went to TRU so they had all the others but not her.  So we nipped into TRU and I noticed that the Journey Girls section was slightly bigger, still tiny but they've now got some accessories and even some clothing sets!!!  But again, despite having the other new girls, no Dana.  However, as I wandered around the other aisles, I spotted her, there she was, but displayed with the Nancy by Famosa dolls!!!  So I grabbed her and brought her home. 

For 30 euros these dolls are not bad at all.  They have soft and silky rooted hair, inset acrylic eyes with applied upper eyelashes and their bodies are part vinyl and part cloth with fully vinyl limbs.  The vinyl goes down to about the centre of the dolls chest and the cloth part is just the lower body.  They're great play dolls for kids....and I count myself as a bit of a big kid here, so perfect for me too! 

Here's Dana on her way to school, the outfit is the one she came in, and is actually quite cute.  She has a white sleeveless vest (sorry but the name of a vest in the US escapes me...singlet perhaps?) under her check shirt, then she has white cotton knickers under her blue skirt which is very nicely made and has a thin layer of net/tulle underneath.  She has not one but two pairs of socks on, blue knitted ones on the outside with white cotton ones underneath (I'm guessing those are to protect her from staining) and the blue knitted ones are perfectly in scale. (One of my pet hates with dolls is knitted clothes that are made with waaaay too thick yarn and too big needles!!!)  She has this knitted shawl to keep her warm on chilly mornings, which was very useful as it's been chilly these last few mornings.  Finally she is wearing a pair of moulded plastic Doc Marten boots which have a slit down the back so are easy to get on and off, plus she's holding a pale blue shoulder bag with a long strap and a tassel (not seen) on one side. Oh nearly forgot, Dana comes with glasses as she is a little bit short sighted.

Because she reminds me of someone I know, she will now be known as Rocio.

On to the sewing.  I made an outfit for a Little Darling, it's a hooded knit dress with long striped stockings underneath.  I'll be adding a shoulder bag so that she can carry her school books but haven't got to it yet.

Here is Nikola modeling it for you:

And a close up of Nikola as she's just sooooo cute!

Finally on the dolly front, I made an outfit for one of my Muller Wichtel kids, Neele, as she'd been naked for months, poor girl!  I got this very sweet fabric from a wonderful craft supplies fair that I attended (twice!) at the beginning of December.  I meant to blog about it but I spent far too much time (and money!) buying stuff, that I forgot to take any photos!  The fabric is Japanese and a nice weight for overalls.

And a close up because...well why not!

Well you'll see from the photos that spring is definitely on the way here, thank goodness, as I really don't 'do' winter....A lot of our plants have flowered all through the winter, but the hibiscus had taken a short rest but it's back again with a vengeance, there are now about 12 buds ready to open and one flower is already showing it's pretty face:

And more importantly, the Money Tree is flowering!!!!  Phew, well needed after all I spent at Christmastime! ;)

Our neighbour has a very pretty plant in their front garden but I haven't a clue what it's called....Dee? Any idea?

These photos were taken at night, the flowers are almost 'waxy'...

We also had a couple of visitors.  This little fellow was about 4 cm long, so not as big as the one who stayed a couple of years back, but quite friendly all the same and he seemed to enjoy a little bit of sunshine on his back:

And then we had this little chap visit, the photo is not great as I had to take it through the window so as not to scare him off.  I have no idea what kind of bird he is, he was about the size of a sparrow though, and very fact there were a pair of them, but I only managed to get this one...

And finally, just to show that we do get cold weather and SNOW sometimes, here is a photo of the mountains behind us....yes that white at the top is apparently snow!!!  It didn't last though, only there for a couple of days!!

Well I hope you've enjoyed seeing what I've been up to this week, and hope that you all have a lovely week ahead.

Big hugs Sharon xx

Wednesday 11 January 2017

A little visitor from the US...

Yesterday I received a wonderful package which contained a lovely and most generous gift from a dear dolly friend in the US.  I was expecting a parcel but I really was not expecting what was inside.  This sweet friend had told me that she'd bought some dolls and that they smelt strongly of smoke and she wanted to send one to me.  She spoke about the Spanish sunshine and being able to leave the doll outside to get rid of the smell, as I'd had some success in the past with doing just that.  Because of Spanish Customs I said to her that it might be better if she could send him to someone in the US but she said that no, she didn't want me to work on 'them', she wanted me to have them as a gift!!!!

Lo and behold the parcel came and inside there were two very sweet, and very CLEAN non smelly dolls!  One of them is a brown eyed Sasha who is bald, so needs rerooting or a wig, so I will introduce her at another time.  The other was a very sweet little Caleb who has pumpkin strings and tight non-falling curls.  I'm thinking with this string colour he is probably from 1973/74 and probably wore the Mushroom suit outfit, but as I haven't got my book to hand, I may well be wrong.  Regardless, he is a nice little boy and now that I've dressed him he is fitting in well with the other boys here :)

And here he is on his own, outfit by me, socks by Ruthdolls and shoes from Boneka.

He tells me his name is Conor, "just one 'n'" but I already have a Natterer boy here called Connor!  But I guess we can have two, as long as we remember that this one is the one with "just one 'n'"!!!

Hugs Sharon xx

Sunday 8 January 2017

Zwergnase Juniors....

Somehow, having always said that I only wanted one Zwergnase Junior, I seem to have ended up with six!!!  Dee (of Sasha Village), herself a fan of these dolls, asked me to show mine altogether, so I've taken some photos today to share....and thought I'd add them on here.

Here are the six girls all in a row: (Left to right: Simona, Avery, Brit (re wigged), Violet, Galina and grumpy little Anuschka.

And here they are by year of release: (L to R: Avery (2017), Galina (2017), Violet (2016), Simona (2013), Anuschka (2006) and Brit (2006).

Of the girls in my group above, all but Simona are wigged and all girls have hand painted eyes and faces. 

The earlier girls are slightly smaller than the later ones, and as far as I can see, this is only due to the necks, which on the girls since 2016 are a little longer.  I don't know if this is because they are actually made longer or because the neck actually sits higher.  Either way it is more noticeable when the dolls are undressed.

Here are some closeups of the girls:

This is Anuschka from 2006.  This used to be my least favourite sculpt until my friend Jenni talked about her girl of the same sculpt.  I kept looking at her and that was it, I was lost and this little lady came here in November.  I love her!  I love her grumpy face and her unruly fluffy hair.  I think I might call her Annie. 

This is Avery who is one of the new sculpts for 2017.  Avery appealed to me as soon as I saw her face, she just looked so bossy!  The set of her chin, her very slight frown and those pursed lips said it all to me!  This outfit is her default one and is very cute on her, not something I would have chosen for her but it does seem to suit her personality!

Next up is Brit who is from 2006.  I have re wigged her with this Tibetan lambswool wig that I made especially for her.  I thought that it was her default wig that I was struggling with but no, I am still struggling with poor Brit.  I think she might soon be looking for a new adventure in another home!  

The next little girl is Galina, she is also from the new 2017 line of Juniors.  She is another that I fell in love with straight away and seeing her in the flesh has just made me love her more.  She has the sweetest little face, quite serene at times but then at others she looks very sad.  I hope she's not sad though!!  This outfit is her default one but soon I will make her something new to wear.

This is Simona who I prefer to call Simone.  Simone is from 2013 and I used to have her red headed sister but decided to re-home her and invite Simone to come and stay here instead.  I love this face.  She is another sculpt that sometimes looks incredibly grumpy but then at other times looks like she is about to laugh.  I think this is what I like about these dolls, the fact that with just the slightest movement of their heads, a tilt this way or that, they come up with a whole new expression on their faces that you just weren't expecting!  Simone is the only one of my girls who has rooted hair.  

And finally here is Violet who I call Leoni, she is from the Spring Collection of 2016 and the moment I saw her so I knew she'd have to come here.  I love her face, she really does have a serene look to her, like she knows all the wonders of nature but hasn't yet shared them!  (Yes, I'm nuts!) I love her curls (although this is her second wig as her original went very dry on the ends and Zwergnase replaced it, although I had to pay for the replacement!).  I have added small freckles and more blush to her face as unfortunately her face paint didn't appear to be sealed and her blush wiped off!  I really should have sent the doll back when the company asked me to but by then I was quite attached to her and decided to just order the new wig instead.  

I hope you have enjoyed seeing my Zwergnase Junior girls and reading a little bit more about them and their 'personalities'.

I wish you all a very happy week ahead and hope wherever you are, you are dressed for the weather and keeping safe.

Big hugs Sharon xx