Friday, November 1, 2013

For the Love of Blythe Charity Giveaway

Photo Credit/Copyright: Yennie

Now that our book, Big Eyed Love has been out awhile and the dust has settled from Blythecon NYC you might be wondering, what will happen to the dolls?

Photo Credit/Copyright: Yennie

Fanny, Jean and I want to be able to give back to the Blythe community and benefit a charity at the same time. We want everyone who might really be wanting one of these dolls to have an equal chance to receive one We will be giving away by random drawings, 1 doll per month (except in April, when the blue gypsies will be given away as 1 unit) to Blythe enthusiasts who choose to participate by donating $10 or more to our chosen charity, K.I.D.S. (Kids in Distressed Situations) in NYC.

Photo Credit/Copyright: Yennie

The doll being given away for the month of November is Coralie, the amazing Vintage Summer Girl created by the talented artists of the Red team, who is also the first doll in our book. A random drawing will be held December 1, 2013 to determine the person who will receive Coralie and winner will be announced on Fanny's blog sometime that day. If you want a chance to win this amazing doll, please go to Fanny's blog to see the rules and enter for a chance to win.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Nights in White Satin

Well maybe not white satin, but white silk in any case. I actually spend most of my nights more in plaid flannel. It's Vermont, after all. White satin, silk or otherwise just sounds better, doesn't it?

I really love couture. I wish I owned some. I wish I had somewhere to actually wear it. I mostly like looking at couture in magazines. I also love dollie couture. That, I like making myself. I like photographing it, too. I have been concentrating on making some strictly OOAK things lately. I really don't love making things twice. I don't know what it is about that, but once I have made something, I am ready to move on. I admire people who are more patient than I am. They can design something with the intent of making it a dozen times. I think in many ways, that is the more profitable way to be. If I make something twice, it will usually not be quite the same as the first time. I am just not that consistent. So maybe OOAK is really more my thing.

The trouble comes in pricing things that are OOAK. If you make something only once, the time you take to design it and construct it is going to be a lot more than the making of something multiple times when the kinks are already worked out. It's one of the reasons I have pretty much put a halt to taking custom commissions for clothing in my etsy shop. I can't charge enough to make it worthwhile. If it takes me all day to do something and I can only charge $30, then I am a very lovely person, but also kind of poor :) It's a hard call. For OOAK couture, it seems like the prices should reflect the time and materials. The dresses I am showing here did take me most of the day to make. I made one at a time and spent a day on each, more or less. I usually am not using patterns, because honestly, any that I have drafted up, I haven't marked clearly and who knows what goes with what? So, when I make a OOAK gown or outfit, I am starting from zero. Usually I am using white silk or a similar fabric and I am then constructing the outfit from scratch. I may start with a pattern shape I have already worked out for part of an outfit, but then I pinch here or there, taking in fabric where it is too full, or adding something where it isn't full enough, changing what I started with to suit me. When I am finished, I usually have no idea what I actually did, because I was more or less immersed in that particular dress. It just exists as it does, and there is only 1.

At that point I will generally dye the finished dress to a color of my liking. I mix a bunch of colors in a haphazard way, and voila, a new color emerges, but I have no idea how to recreate it. If there is something I have made that I really do want 2 of, well, I can go back and try to remake it, and maybe I will come close, but at the very least, probably the color will not be the same. So, rather than try to fit a square peg into a round hole, I am just telling myself that OOAK is the way to go. For this week anyway :)

Autumn is in full swing here in Vermont. I cannot believe how colorful it can get here in Vermont in just a week! Kind of like this dress shown :)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Basket of Witches

I am still playing around with cloth dolls this week. Gives me time to sit and catch up on my television shows while I sew on hair :) I made a couple of witches. Even witches pop up at the Hedgehog Hill Home for Girls. I guess it is becoming a home for orphans, strays and little lost souls. Halloween isn't too far off, witches are definitely needed as part of the gang. These 2 little witch girls have tattered silk dresses just like the others, but I dyed them in grays and blacks and midnight blues. The little hats have an elastic strap to keep them on their heads.

I also thought it would be fun to do a couple of Day of the Dead inspired cloth girls. They can live at the Hedgehog Hill Home as well, but they will probably scare the others. I love painting silly doodles, and these faces are the perfect spot to put them. I put their yarn hair in a lot of braids so that their faces aren't covered with their hair. Same style dresses, brighter colors. They have a little bit longer limbs and are more lanky than the others.

It's really chilly here this morning. We finally got our wood delivered, so we can start stacking and have it ready to go by October, which is just days away. Stay warm!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Cloth Invasion

I was a cloth doll artist before I got bitten by the plastic doll bug. I haven't made a cloth doll in probably 2 years. This past week I got the urge. I think it was that i had broken some plastic part while customizing a plastic doll that got me thinking, "Wouldn't it be nice to be able to just toss a doll here or there and not worry about breaking it?" I am not all that gentle with my plastic dolls. I take a lot of photos and they do get tossed to and fro. Often I have to give them a bit of freshening up after a mishap. With cloth dolls, they are really meant to be tossed here and there. Throw them on the bed, on a shelf, on a dresser. They fall on the floor sometimes. Children have been known to yank a leg off now and again. They are sweet, but maybe not quite that precious. The dolls, not the children :)

I made a basket full of dolls over the week. I think the big sad-eyed thing has gone into my brain and is trapped there and can't get out. My cloth dolls came out with giant eyes and sad faces. I deemed them orphans. There is a hill across from my home that my family and I sometimes walk up. It is called Hedgehog Hill. I am not sure why, as there are no hedgehogs in Vermont, but that's how it goes sometimes. They probably should have called it Porcupine Hill, but maybe that name was already taken. In any case, I imagined these little sad orphan girls to live in an imaginary orphanage on Hedgehog Hill and named them the Hedgehog Hill girls. They want new homes.

The faces on the dolls are handpainted and sealed. The bodies are muslin with black cotton permanent boots and a corset. They have silk, cotton, lace and tulle tattered dresses that are tea-stained or hand-dyed by me. They have yarn hair. Yarn is something I have had a lot of over the years. There is a yarn shop not that far from me that has the most glorious yarns. I buy all my yarn there. It is generally quite spendy because it is mostly natural fibers and sometimes hand-dyed or even hand-spun. I can recall paying as much as $40 a skein for some of it. At the time I was left wondering what a full sweater would cost at that price.

I am still working in plastic. I just wanted a diversion. I always seem to have one. Sometimes it's paperdolls, sometimes something else. I like the softness of these dolls and I like tattered dresses. I have a feeling I am going to need a very big basket at some point, as I had quite a lot of fun making these.

Hope if you are in the northern hemisphere, you are easing into fall and crisp weather. If you are in the southern, it must be turning green all around you and perhaps just as crisp.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Big Eyed Love

Fanny Zara, Jean Yates and I are very pleased and honored to announce the release of the book we have all been waiting for for 2 years! The For the Love of Blythe book project is now completed, just in time for BlytheCon NYC as promised and we hope you will enjoy it as much as we did, dreaming of it and making it.

You can preview online or purchase if you are interested.

Cover diorama/photo of all the dolls completed in the project by Princess-Di-O-Rama.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Swinging Bills

Okay, obviously I stink at blogging on a regular basis. It has been almost 2 months! I thought I would put something amusing up today. I scanned a portrait of my great grandmother and her 3 besties that my grandmother gave me. Apparently the great gran had a club called "the Nicknamed Bills" in the 1890s. The nicknames weren't that clever, in my opinion, but sounds like an amusing club for the times, nonetheless. I decided to scan their faces and make them into paper dolls. I gussied them up a bit (doubtful pink hair was popular in the 1890s) and gave them new bodies and costumes and hung them in a shadow box. They are now "the Swinging Bills." I thought I should have a hobby, since my avocation and vocation are the same. I didn't get much further than "what else can I do with dolls?" Figures. So, now my new "hobby" is paper dolls, which was my hobby last year, which has been my hobby since I was in 5th grade. Dolls just amuse me, I guess.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Spooky Girls

I just looked at the date of my last blog post. I don't think I have ever let that much time pass between posts. I don't know where the time goes. I have been so busy! Happily it has been a good busy. My store is going strong. My dolls are still selling. I haven't had to check into debtor's prison yet. I quit my job last August to pursue my doll making "career" full time. I don't think I can really call it a career. It is more of a hobby gone wild. But I do it full time now, custom dolls, clothing, accessories. Everything is Blythe doll related and it's a lot of fun.

This past few weeks I have been working on some spookier or more dark side dolls. With Blythe, it is hard for me to get too spooky. The doll still has her comedy, of course. But, I have been darkening them up or giving them a ghost-like quality. I have also added the ICY doll, which is a version of the big-eyed, big-headed doll done by a company called Arker. I don't even know if those dolls are actively being made, but they have sort of a tragic appeal to me. There are enough of them out there to make a dent on the Blythe world anyway.

These are the girls. This is what I have been up to. In the meantime, it has not stopped raining in Vermont since about June 1. We have had so much rain it isn't to be believed. I thought for sure I would be getting outside to do yard work and that sort of thing this month, but for now I am skeptical. I am pretty sure those of us in Vermont are becoming seriously vitamin D deficient. It's warm, but all you can see is clouds on most days, in between the raindrops.

Hope your summer is warm and wild, wherever you are.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Little Romance

Lately on Facebook I have been posting my fashion suggestions for the day. Not for me, but for Blythe. This week I have been working up some shabby chic or romantic styled dresses for the girls. This style makes for some really fun photography. Between that and my steampunk garb, there is a lot for the lens to grab hold of.

Most of the things I photograph are available in my store. Some are things I have picked up on ebay over time or have somehow come across over the years. Leather jackets seem to go with everything, as do a good pair of stomping boots. We had 2 decent days of sun, and now the clouds have set in. Despite wishing it was springtime weather, the lighting on a drab day is superb and just about perfect for the look I am after.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Art of Reflection

It's been a week or 2 since I last posted to this blog. I have been really busy. I spend most days customizing dolls and making clothing for them for my etsy store. Sometimes I am working from the time I get up until the time my head hits the pillow it seems like. I love it, but once in awhile it is a good idea to sit back and reflect. I can't believe I am on my 80-something-th Blythe custom doll! Where does the time go?! I raised my prices on etsy for my custom dolls recently, because the time and costs involved just seem overwhelming sometimes. What seems like it should be a decent profit, well, it turns out, ends up more on the loss side than the profit side, if you can believe.

For a long time I was figuring in mostly the costs, though often since I have had things on hand for years, I often would just add those in without charging for them. Charging for my time was a whole other story. That doesn't seem that wise after doing so many of them, as it turns out. Blythe dolls that are stock are creeping up pretty high and just obtaining them to do a custom if so pricey it is crazy. Factor in all the other things involved, eye chips, pull charms, clothing, fabrics and trims, shoes, mohair, paints and sprays, other art supplies, and the time it takes, the years I have spent outside of that just learning to do anything creative at all, and, well, it gets expensive.

These little Blythe dolls have become dolls for queens it seems. I love them. I love making them. I guess I have to charge for my time and talents and for what I spend to make them, and it feels painful sometimes to even speak the prices.

Business-wise, focusing on clothing mainly, is probably a wiser idea. But my personality dictates that I mix it up or I get bored, so I keep making the dolls. Sometimes I spend so much time on the dolls, I have little time for making the clothing. And then there is the time it takes for making photos. What a fun, crazy, time-consuming hobby, passion, whatever it is. If you are a Blythe fan, you know what I am talking about. It has a life of it's own. Mostly it feels like I have to do it. I am driven to create, so I am not complaining. It is the way I do things. I love it. I keep doing it. I can't imagine doing anything else at this moment. Being a better business person may just take a bit of getting used to, as it is not typically my strong point.

Spring is threatening to get here. I know it is. I hope to spend a whole day outside soon. Today, here, it is on the warm side, but quite miserable out with rain and wind. We on the east coast really need a sign that spring is on its lazy way. Hope wherever you are, you are warm and having fun.

Friday, April 5, 2013

An Apple for New York

Blythecon 2013 in NYC is happening in October. For a lot of reasons, I will be there, but really I am just excited to see the many people who love Blythe as much as I do. Jean Yates

and I wanted a super duper donation to give this year that would be a cool gift for someone attending Blythecon this year, but would also be reflective of the things we like to do.

Jean likes to make cool jewelry and give things to people. I like to customize dolls and make outfits for them. While I was on a trip to Syracuse this past week, I was emailing her from my phone while hanging out in the car watching John drive. We decided on Apple, which is a green-haired doll Jean sent to me with a load of jewels fit for a queen.

I did a faceup for her and a couple sets of eyechips (she already had some really pretty ones she arrived with) and gave her a steampunk costume. Jean sent so many things, I wasn't completely sure I could get them all on her and also get them in photos. I think I did pretty well.

There was one really long belt piece that I used as a drop on the little top hat she is wearing. It is like a drapery pull with class. I think it goes with the overall theme and makes her especially ornate. The rest of the stuff includes earrings, a necklace, some wonderful pullcharms.

This girl is not going to leave here wanting, that is for sure. I got a vintage metal toolbox and sprayed it randomly with metallic and green paints, and she will ride in that as her time machine, to New York City.

Jean and I will both be there, along with a motley crew of dolls and people. If you are going, plan to stop by and say "hi".

We will be at a table set out for our For the Love of Blythe project. Hope to see you there.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Time Traveler

Have I ever told you how much I love picmonkey? I really do. It makes playing with photos so much fun.

I took a bunch of photos for an etsy listing with a doll that was going to be leaving the next day, and I am so glad I did.

Now, since I don't have the doll anymore, I have some really cool photos of her. She is dressed as a steampunk time traveler.

She is hoping to leave this galaxy behind.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Magic Bus

A few months ago I bought a goofy VW style bus for my dolls off Ebay. It's kind of on the small side, and there's no way Blythe could get her fat head into that van. Too bad. I don't have dolls that are small enough to even get inside, to be honest.

I have some dolls I painted with crazy flowery faces, mostly for myself and friends (though if you like this style, I do have one for sale in my etsy store, on the cheap side as far as these things go). The van is for them. It turns out if makes a good prop up device, so I used it today in photos. My friend Jean sent me some awesome jools to go with the crazy-faced girls. If you haven't seen her stuff, go over and look. She might have something you could talk her into. Today was the day to photograph my magic bus with the magical jools, and here is how it turned out. Thank you, Jean. We love our loot!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Blythe As Amelia Earhart

I really couldn't resist. Was thinking about Amelia Earhart this week, and looking through books with aviation goggles. Blythe makes an awesome Amelia. I even woke up this morning thinking about how I would construct some sort of flying car or airplane for her. Now you know for sure I have lost my mind.

Blythe girls have all the fun. This is a fun aviation suit no steampunk girl should be without. I made it yesterday and put it in my shop. I need something like this myself, because you just never know when I will need this gear for climbing in and out of zeppelins and biplanes. I mean, seriously. That's the cool thing about the miniature world. It all happens, but none of it really does.