Sunday, December 30, 2012

Doodling Doodlebugs

Lately I have been having too much fun doodling. I mean it. I doodle on everything. It started with paper. I doodled all over paper. I drew things and then doodled on those. Paper dolls came out of that. I doodled all over the hair and paper doll clothes. Then, not satisfied with the flat surface, I started doodling on doll faces. All kinds of doll faces. I doodled on tiny little dolls with 1-inch faces. Too small. Not enough surface area. I moved to bigger dolls and started doodling on those. My friend Jean loaned me a Tangkou doll to doodle on. I doodled on that. Blythe is an expensive doll. I wasn't sure if I was ready to doodle all over her. Way too hard to resist. Blythe got doodled on.

I have found that the Blythe face is optimal for me in terms of doll face size. Blythe has a big, giant face, with smallish mountains and valleys.

I did a calavera style face for the doll Esmeralda, adding in my own style of flowers and colorful doodles. Flowers and butterflies and paisley prints are things that fascinate me, both design and color-wise. This doll, Cummings, is a doll for my friend, Jean. Her eyelids contain a quote from an E. E. Cummings poem, which reads, "Since the thing perhaps is to eat flowers and not to be afraid." Seems simple enough. Actually, getting those few words onto the eyelids, which are rather small, was harder than it looks. My handwriting, being kind of tragic, made it even tougher. I talked a lot in elementary school. I was punished regularly with writing sentences, something like, "I will not talk in the classroom or disturb others" 500 times. My handwriting took a downward spiral from there. I took a calligraphy class. It didn't really help.

Hope you are having a doodling good holiday season!

Friday, December 7, 2012


I have had a fascination with masks for quite awhile. I like masquerade masks, leather masks, painted masks, all sorts of masks. I don't really ever wear them. I just like them. Lately I have been painting dolls with masked faces. It is fun for me. It unleashes my doodlebug. I have always liked to draw squiggly lines and hearts and flowers and that sort of thing.

I spent most of the 4th and 5th grade in elementary school doing just that. Oh, and making paperdolls. Another form of doodling for me. The past couple of weeks I have been working on a skull mask (calavera) Blythe. I didn't want her to be depressing or scary exactly. I wanted her to be colorful. What better way to emphasize color than on a white mask background? So, her face got painted white. I then set to doodling.

My good friend Jean Yates agreed to do the jewelry for me. What's a doll without jewelry, I ask you? This one has some really fabulous things. Earrings (3, for her 3 ear piercings), 3 necklaces, 2 I strung together as a waist decoration, a butterfly pullcharm, and even some little beads at the tops of her shoes. Her name is Esmeralda. Esmeralda will be up for sale on Ebay on Sunday, December 10 at 7 PM PST. Please stop by and have a look if you are interested. The other photos are other masked girls I have been having fun creating. Hope I don't scare you. It's all in color and fun :)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sad Eyed Girl

You know I love technology. I love all the things you can do these days. I was trying to remember when I did not have internet. My husband and I talk about that a lot - like what did we do without the internet?! Oh sure, we were coffeehouse crashers. We spent a lot of time drinking coffee, people-watching and discussing our big ideas. We still do that, but now we bring our smart phones and look up interesting things as we go.

So now it seems we can make our own books, too. How cool is that?! I love it. I have been in the process of a book project with my friends Jean and Fanny, putting together 50 or so artists to customize Blythe dolls in collaborative teams. The making of the dolls portion is coming to a close and we are now at the photography stage. The project has been going on for nearly a year. In the meantime, the 3 of us have been gathering data on how to make a book of the whole affair. After all, we want other people to be able to join in on the fun, at least vicariously.

This weekend I gave a try at bookmaking over at Blurb. I had spent an hour or so taking photos of my Sad Eyes doll collection that I have been working away at this month. I loved how the photos came out, so decided that would be my subject matter for my first go at bookmaking. Sitting at the computer for 3 hours or so editing text and photos late last night led to a 26-page little book, full color, that I can now call my own.

Even you can have a copy if you want, or better yet, go make your own book. It's really fun. You will be a little bleary-eyed afterwards, but think of how proud you will feel, being a published author!

The books are not inexpensive, since they are printed out 1 at a time (unless you are on the volume plan), but you can make a tiny book for $12 or so. My book is bigger, 10 x 8, and full color, so I think in the mid $20-range. You can search google and find promotional codes for blurb, and that will take down the price maybe as much as 25%. That's what I did. I bought a copy. Actually I bought a defective copy, since I had failed to proofread well and had some typos and didn't realize until it was too late. The new "revised" version (already a revised version! :) ) is proofed and edited. I didn't realize that once you upload the book (they give you free software where you work at your on PC) you can't make changes. Or at least I think you can't. I couldn't figure out how in any case.

Word to the wise - make sure your book is perfect before you upload. After that, you have to pay. Other than that, they make it pretty easy, even for those who love technology but aren't that great at commandeering it, like me :)

Go ahead, give it a try! You will be glad you did.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sad Little Sisters

My friend Fanny (Mademoiselle Blythe) was here visiting a couple weekends ago. We got to talking all things doll. Who knew there was so much to discuss dollie-wise?! If you had told me I could hold a coherent conversation lasting an entire evening, solely about dolls, 20 years ago, I would have thought you daft. However, these days, I can hold not only an evening's conversation, but an entire weekend's worth of chatter :) If you aren't into dolls, you probably wouldn't be reading my blog anyway. So, I know you get it. You do. Admit it.
Anyway, short story long, she brought me a book all about the "cute culture." Seems that in down economic times, cute is big news. Cute got us talking about Blythe, which got us talking about Susie Sad Eyes. Susie is another vintage doll, circa 1965 or thereabouts. I can imagine that at the time she arrived on the scene, not many would have wanted a thing to do with her. Big, sad, woeful eyes. Fanny wanted a couple of these sad dolls. She aimed to get some. She bid on Ebay while she was here, but someone outbid her. Seems there is a book out by Gina Garan, who was also the photographer who brought Blythe to the forefront in the first place. Fanny and I looked into the Susie thing over the weekend. Seems we both decided having a customized Susie was on the list of things to do.
When Fanny left, I went searching. I got Gina's book, to see what I was up against in terms of customizing. Looks like not that much customizing going on yet. So, that meant no real trends established yet. I am pretty expert these days at doing a re-root on anything that isn't moving. I got a couple Susie look-a-likes, mostly because they were cheaper at that moment, though now I don't see many anywhere. Back in the day, department stores had cheap plastic dolls. Sears had Susie. She was made in HK. Wards had another similar doll called a Dress Me Doll. Same basic expression, with a slightly narrower face and quite a horrible cheap plastic body. Susie's body isn't too much better, to be honest. I found some other vintage dolls I liked the bodies on better. Vinyl. If you can get vinyl clean, it has a nicer feel than cheap hard plastic. I swapped them out for my new sad girls. I gave them new faceups. Nothing drastic really, just a bit of paint here or there. I have 3 finished at the moment. I may have more before the weekend is out. I have to tell you, I am hooked. The sad eyes thing opens a whole new world of creepy dolls for the creepy doll lover like me. Creepy-Sweet is what I would call it. Waif, street urchin, forgotten child. Susie and her counterparts have it in spades.
So, amongst the Blythes here at creepy doll house, now live quite a few Susies. No one has ever accused me of being non-obsessive when I put my mind to it. I can play grabby hands in a frenzy with the best of them.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Hope you have a free day or 2 to play with dolls :)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Monster Blues

I still have a box of Monster High girls I want to re-root. I don't do too much with them. Give them away, occasionally sell one. I have a lot of leftover hair from Blythe girls, though, so sometimes when the day is done, I sit in front of the television and root a head of monster hair.

I have a custom Blythe doll I am currently working on, whose hair is blue and pink by request. I haven't finished her yet, but I used the leftovers to put onto a Cleo de Nile Monster High girl. She came out pretty fun. Maybe she will go out as a Christmas gift or something. She is an especially nice sculpt and really doesn't require any monkeying by me. She just wanted some bright hair. The faceup is stock. She normally has black hair with some gold ribbons in it.

I think this bright blue with pink is a whole new look. For the final photo I am taking a bit of creative license, but I do like the washed out look. Hope you are staying warm and the weather isn't giving you the blues. I think high 70s would be nice right about now. Unfortunately, it's been more like 30. Bah!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Zombie Giveaway Results

Okay, Halloween is over and done. Only one of my kids wanted to trick or treat this year, so we don't have as much candy as we have had in past years. We still have a zombie ready to travel, however. I did the random generator thing this morning. I had 12 names to choose from, so punched in 1 to 12. I tried to take a screen shot and paste the results here, but for the life of me I couldn't figure how to get it looking right on this blog. Graphic arts was never my thing :)

But, the number generated was #1, so that is Pansy. I will be contacting her to let her know she will be receiving Leona the fire headed zombie girl in the mail. I should be able to get her out today.

Thank you to all who participated. I appreciate your stopping by. Hope you all had a happy halloween!

XOXO - Cindy

Monday, October 22, 2012

Glamour Zombie Giveaway

Let's face it. I am overrun with dolls. I have boxes upon boxes of dolls, all customized Blythes, stacked on my shelves, all on layaway. I have more Monster High dolls than I need, in various stages of assemblage, and I really want to get them off the shelves. In the spirit of Halloween and new episodes of Walking Dead on Netflix, I am giving away this Monster High Ghoulia Yelps that I have transformed into one of the walking dead. Why not? She needs a home. I can't guarantee she won't bite. I will send her out after halloween to the winner.

The rules are: You have to sign up to follow my blog as well as leave a comment at the end of this post. Deadline is midnight on Halloween night (10/31/2012). As soon as Halloween wraps up, I will randomly pick one participant, who will receive this doll in the mail from me shorly afterwards.

The Details:

This is Leona. She has gorgeous hair. She is a Ghoulia Yelps repaint/mohair reroot. She's one of the walking dead, with a glamorous twist.

She comes with the orange/yellow dress shown and some MH repainted platform strappy shoes. Dress is a cotton print orange and yellow short-sleeved dress with orange tulle underskirt. Designed and constructed by me. Single metal snap at back for easy on/off. Her shoes are orange/tan/purple plastic shoes I painted to go with her outfit.

All custom work done by me. Her hair is bright fire colors, hand-dyed by me. There are shades of red, orange, yellow and tan all mixed in. Mohair is first clip and very, very soft. It has been rooted into her scalp and hand-knotted on the inside. It has been washed and conditioned and allowed to dry in long curly waves (I will include mohair care tips). Her face has had the makeup removed and repainted by me. She is done up in chalk pastels, acrylics and artist pencils. The makeup is sealed with UV cut flat MSC.

So that's the giveaway. Happy to have you participate. If zombies aren't for you, that's okay, too :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fun With Zombies

I took the day off from doll making today. Did some errands. Went out to lunch.

Played in Picmonkey with some photos I took of Monster High girls I either rerooted or repainted or both. Turns out they make really good zombies.

I am now in the mood for Halloween. Bring it on.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

September Girls

It's been over a month since I last posted. I am getting really bad about this blogging business! I have been so busy. I customized a lot of dolls. I cleaned my house (sounds like nothing, but you've maybe never seen my house!), which meant 3 trips to the dump because the flattened cardboard boxes alone were overwhelming. Most of what went to the dump was actually recycled, but it was still cluttering up the place. My parents were here for a week's visit, in which it rained the entire 8 days they were here.

I think they didn't mind too much, because they have been so many times we are running out of things to do to give them the Vermont experience. We mostly just ate a lot and hung out at the house. Not much different from the rest of the year for us :)

Here are the dolls I customized for the month. As before, I like them all. They are all different. Some really fun hair colors were in there this time. All client requests, so I don't get to take too much credit for selecting them. I did dye them all to their specs, and tried my best to work up the doll to what they were hoping for. I think I did a pretty good job.

Hope your fall is less rainy than ours. I think we are on the 12th day or so of straight rain here. On a positive spin, we do need the water :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Girls of August

August came and went so quickly! I wish it hadn't, but it did. We are still having nice weather here in Vermont in early September, but nights are cooler and we all know what comes next.

I got a lot done in the month of August. I did 4 custom Blythe dolls, which I am showing here. I made a lot of dresses, some hats, and generally my doll world is again piling up with boxes and bags and a whole lot of stuff.

So, without further blather, here are the dolls I made in the final month of summer. All are a little different, all were done at the request of clients, to their color specs. I like them all. I don't even think I have a favorite. They all have really good hair. What more can a doll want? :)

First doll is a reddish blonde girl. Her name is Elizabeth. She can take the heat and has moved to sunny Arizona.

Next up is Shelby. She has a multitude of browns, golds and reds in her hair. She has moved to the seaside in Australia and I am sure is quite happy there.

Third doll of the month was Layla. She is a cocoa skinned girl with mahogany hair. She is on a Pure Neemo body so is a little bit more flexible than the average Blythe doll. The darker skinned girls don't work very well on the usual Takara body. The paint tends to make them sticky, so Azone Pure Neemo's do the trick. About as dark as Takara will take the Blythe doll is just a light tan. At least so far. Layla goes to NYC, where all stylish gals reside. She will be very happy there.

Finally, Miss Delayna. She is a wild girl with wild hair. I don't know how many colors and shades are in there, but primarily greens and blues. There is a hint of yellow and some black underneath. She looks to be rising from the sea. She will live in Texas, but lucky her, close to the water, which she loves.

Hope the fall season is good to you. Hope we all get some much needed rain, at least in these parts.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

All the Little Dresses

Okay, I've said it before, but I have been busy. This week I made dresses and a couple hats and some other things.

Hopefully I will finish up 2 customized dolls as well. I wanted to show you the dresses that I made, because I need a color boost.

I love the color green, in fact acid green is my favorite color -- and I am not knocking at all the fact that Vermont is the greenest state I have ever seen. But, in my yard, it is pretty much only green, since I am a horribly lazy gardener.

Grass and tree green mostly. Very little in the way of flowers at all, except the stray bee balm that the sheep haven't eaten.

So here is some color to give me the boost I need. Hope you are all well!