Monday, April 29, 2013

Sif update

Between hauling garbage out of the house and ripping up carpet, I have been working on Sif...I should also be finishing a cover before my publisher thinks the floods have carried me off. The wheat is slow going, I probably could have grown it as quickly as I am drawing it. (That is an old key and a drop spindle dangling from her belt, in case you were wondering.)

Mirodoll's New Colors

Mirodoll, best known for making the cheapest SD ball-jointed doll bodies available, has decided to offer a couple of new colors beyond the boring Normal, Beauty White and Tan. I found this on Ilsonya's blog and I cannot top the comments that were made there; I laughed and laughed. (The reaction was mostly 0_o like mine, but funnier.)

Here are the comments; I just put the link into Google translate:

Filling the "Can"

The flowers are finally starting to open up. We spent some time gardening, but mostly we spent the weekend filling up the rollaway.

In New Jersey it would be "Da can", and I use to rent them from a pig farmer down the road, who went into the hauling business after expensive homes were built around his pig farm... and then people started to complain about the smell. Truly, it was an impressive smell, but you think people would have noticed before buying their McMansion that there were several thousand pink pigs down the road from them. Normally the pig farmer trucked out his "waste" in tanker trucks to an undisclosed location (possibly the pine barrens) but on one occasion he had a spill in the road immediately outside the farm, and I had the bad luck to come around the corner in my F-150 and go sliding through it. That stuff is slippery. As soon as I got home I had to put rubber gloves on and hose off and bleach the underside of the truck; but for a year after that you would climb into the cab and think.."hmm. Pigs."

Anyway, here is the bulk of what is in the can now:

Wet, nasty insulation. J pulled it out and I went out to ask him how it was going.

He said "Ants." There were a lot of ants nesting inside the wall, trying to keep dry. After that we still had room in "da can" so we started to pull up the dog-stained rug in the studio.

Getting the carpet up is fast (we use box cutters and a draw knife) and the padding underneath comes up easily (not counting thousands of staples) but the nail edging is slow work--you need a hammer and a small crowbar and it's really easy to puncture yourself, even with gloves.

I hate those edging strips. I don't like wall-to-wall carpet anyway, it gets disgusting; but the edging strips used to stab me when I was a kid and ran around the house barefoot. In revenge, I have pulled out the carpet in every place I have lived since. :D.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

You Can Smoke Here

Saturday we went into Downers Grove to the Post Office; and then decided to walk around and do some shopping, since J needed some running shoes. As we walked up the main street, there was a fire engine right across from the Taqueria, and a lot of smoke. This is also right by the yarn store, so we walked up a little closer:

Once we got to that building, all the stores in it had their fire alarms going, so we didn't go into the yarn store or the spice store. However, the cigar store (next to the Taqueria) had a sign that explained it all: "You Can Smoke Here."

(We did once buy a Thanksgiving turkey from a small grocery store that was on fire, but it was a small fire in the back... and the turkey was on sale).

Saturday, April 27, 2013

We go above 55 degrees F

Yes! We are at 57 degrees outside! It feels really warm--I mowed the lawn yesterday, or rather 1/4 acre of the lawn before I got tired, and I started out mowing with a coat on. I have a 18 inch wide push mower, which sounds stupid for this much lawn, but I can always start it and it runs on cereal and coffee. All the stuff that has been put off because of the cold weather, now needs to be done--I have to paint the inside of the house, the deck, the places on the outside that were worn off by snow, and what seems like 50 doll heads and parts. I also want to re-landscape the back, since several plants did not make it over the the papyrus.

I do wonder who sold the previous owner the papyrus, a tropical plant best known for gracing the banks of the Nile. The Chicago river, on the other hand, is not known for it's papyrus groves. I also wonder if the previous owner dug it up and brought it in every winter, which would make more sense. I just wish she had left a note or something about it, and many other things. Like what controls the giant pole light down by the street. (I still have no idea).

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Fairyland Chloe Body, strung

Fairyland redesigned their 65 centimeter Feeple body back in 2010, and came out with "Elf Chloe", with pouty lips and a bustline just under the Dollmore Lingerie Model size. I had no interest in her head (and she was incredibly expensive) but I was interested in the body, because it was supposed to "pose like a Minifee". So Neonraver gave me a deal on a used Chloe body and she arrived this week. I had assumed that Neonraver didn't care for the weight (I hefted Arianne02's Chloe and she was heavy), or was perhaps disappointed by the "snowflaking" that Fairyland resin sometimes gets on the surface..this body has a lot on the lower back, it doesn't bother me and you can't feel bumps if you run your finger over it.

So I played a bit with posing it, and noticed that the Saiph head, (still rolling around here unloved and unsold) matched the resin pretty well. So when I took my lunch break I thought I would pull the foot off the Chloe body, get some slack in the string, and then swap the neck key for an S hook and try the Saiph head on the body. Hah. (If I had read the instruction manual that came with the body, I would not have gotten such a surprise..but who reads those things?) My first hint that things were not going to go well:

What? Two part magnet feet? Also, the string would not move, at all. So I pulled on the knee to see what was going on in there.

Oh! It's like a Volks twist-off knee. The whole shin-and-foot assembly is it's own tiny string, with the knot living at the top of the calf, separate and under under this split ring when the leg is together, and the split ring loops over a resin hook in the shin.

So I took off the split ring,and slid apart the knee pieces and let the string go up inside the torso.(Knee pieces):

So then I tugged on the neck key, expecting it to slip. It didn't budge. So I took off the thigh. Then separated the torso from the bust, and pulled out the torso insert:

And this is why the damn neck key was still in there tight--there are two more sets of plates up under the collarbones.

The plate holding the knots removed

And at last, the farking neck key, which has been improved with the addition of the "bead" above the hook, which keeps the head from snapping to one side or the other (I sold a Shushu that did that in 2010, now I regret that the fix was so easy.)

The arms are held in with a ridge on one set of plates,magneted to the back, and four neodymium magnets, two at the end of the arms (with the knot in the center, and two on the inside plate. Madness. Here is the arm:

And the inside of the shoulder, looking in the arm hole, with the plate put back in:

And extra shot of the "ridges" that hold in the arms along with the magnets:

In the photo above you can see where I put in a brass ring instead of an S hook, since the Saiph head has a faceplate, I don't have to get the string up a neckhole. I've come to like faceplates. Now I had to put it all back together--I couldn't just leave it out in pieces, the cats would eat it, and if I bagged it up I would forget how it went together, so I was committed. So I continued to restring it.

Knots back in the plate, adding the torso plate, which had a B on it for the "back":

Putting in the hip plates (you have to slot them in from the top, with a "C" -like motion:

Luckily they are marked L and R and that is the direction they have to face.

The thighs went on (yay, just regular thighs), then the knees...getting the split ring back on was no fun, though the ribbon helps.

To get the shin on , the split ring has to rest on the upper set of teeth, you hook it on the resin hook, and then you pull it off the teeth and let it slide down to the lower set of teeth...this set that the ring is resting on in the photo is the upper set.

and the knee should shut. Don't put a small s hook at the top of the shin knot, it gets in the way of the split ring.-.-

Then I put the Saiph head on, at last:

And then she stood up fine.

This body does not sit though--no waist joint, little upper torso mobility because of all the..stuff...inside, and the hips are a bit fussy, though they do have the hip cuts. All the extra parts add to the weight and the cost of the body, and sadly it doesn't pose as well as my cheap, sturdy and simple Angel of Dream body, who has a 3 part torso...

and just elastic inside. But the Chloe body does look good with the Saiph head.

Here is still my champion poser: Tada! Angel of Dream, with her claw hands (and no seams anywhere).

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Soom rehabilitates the Wicked Witch

If you had told me that I would want a doll of the Wicked Witch in Hansel and Gretel, I would have said "No Way"...but look; she is SO COOL. And it's a pretty sculpt, even prettier if you look closely at the portraits, they painted her lips a little smaller than they really are. She looks a bit like Galena to me. Here's the blank, from a posting by Fairyspit on Den of Angels:

She comes in Gray or Baby Pink (what? That isn't Soom's Normal Pink? ;) ) and with a bewildering quantity of extras. She also is now a Good Witch, according to the promos:

"...She was a very kind person. She treated poor Hansel and Gretel with confectionery when they found her house before showing them the way back home."

Uh huh. Really, if kids came and nommed on my house, I would be out there with a shotgun full of rock salt, or maybe rock candy; but that is Soom's story and they are sticking to it. And to prove that they might be sincere about this, she has "good guy" lop ears and not the alert pointy "vampire ear" that signals a mythical bad guy:

Also, she has more of those glitter eyes, now in pink. I like those a lot, as well as the boots...Soom is killing me with these limited shoes! Anyway, then there are the cute little horns (I think I would have cast them in white, but they are good in black, and maybe they would be too much "caterpillar" in white.) Perfect wings--doll wings should all come that size, easy to pose and work with, look fabulous! There is included the regular Super Gem girl body with regular hands and feet, and a second "Romantic Eye Head" (I think that is the one with the elf ears) (Soom's text about heads always confuses me), the fancy shoe feet (a heart icon for these) the regular heely feets, fancy heart claw hands, and more.

Here are the clothes and hand options, and the broom (!)

Ordering period : from Apr. 25th to May 9th 2013

Sweet Witch Sales Page

And while I suspect she'd really take kid's hearts and roll them in sugar and put them in jars, I still kind of want her. She reminds me of the Laurie Anderson lyric, in "The Dream Before" sung by "Hansel"

"And he says: Gretel, you can really be a bitch

He says: I've wasted my life on our stupid legend

when my one and only love

was the Wicked Witch."

Horus, Is That You?

I saw this on Ilsonya's blog and it cracked me up, so I had to go to Lati's site and see what the rest of the photos looked like. He's got a cute little human version as well, and yes, there are yellow fuzzy toy chicks there too. (Apparently Lati made a Bast to go in the set, because she is in there as well.) Here is his sale page:

Tiny Horus at Lati

He would be tempting except for yes, the "no tinies" rule, and the fact that he costs as much as the 20 yard hunk of steel hogging my driveway; and he is too small to carry away my lumber and carpets. Of course if he really did have the power to move garbage, he'd be a bargain. In any case, he is really cute.

His sales period is Apr 25th, 2013 - May 27th, 2013.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Captain Davon and Heavy Iron

On the week when I am swamped with work, along comes the Granado 68 cm long-leg body for my Davon head. It's the first body Crocus designed and it is still a great body, more wiry and a little thinner than the Nuevo male body. (I wish Crocus would just keep making new male body types and putting them out--for one thing, they have the hip cuts and they stand really well).

Because I have had no time to sew, my poor Captain now has only a single pair of underwear and a slightly too-small letter opener that if it were just 4 inches longer, it would be perfect. (It's actually a replica US Cavalry sword). My leprechaun Patrick will get it instead, and it will be about right for him. Everyone else gets rake tines.

This photo is from where my "firepit" will be headed tomorrow, the Lemont scrapyard I hired a 20 yard rollaway to take away the wood from the fence, and an amiable contractor named Tony to shift the wood and to take away a lot of scrap metal we had sitting around. The worst job was digging up the firepit. I had thought it was a truck rim, but once we got it levered up out of the pool it was in (the water table is really high right now), Tony said it was the top of a manhole--not the cover, but the insert. And that thing was unbelievably heavy. Nothing I had was strong enough to slide or carry it on, so Tony and I ended up rolling it, on edge, around the house, down the hill (that was exciting) and yes, lifting it onto the back of the truck, which sagged down about 6 inches. Now I am tired. I think I will work tomorrow inside instead. I still have to take up the basement carpet before next Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Painting (Virtual) Doll Heads

Gypsyangel is going to reissue one of her older V4 characters, "Zyanya" and wanted to add some new makeups as well as a new skin texture and new morphs, so I did a couple of animal-theme ones for her. I did some photoshopping on this test render--for one thing, right now I can't find most of my hair models (they are loaded on the old computer) and I didn't have Zya's skin for anything except her face, so I had to cover her pale little ears with my painted hair, and colorize her neck and shoulders.

Gypsyangel will most likely do her own lips, too--while these are fun, they aren't as professional as the ones she does. For some reason, no matter what version of Poser I am using, if I am making my own textures, I can color them perfectly; but I can't get Poser to make a fake texture of wrinkles AND make the lips shiny at the same time. Poser says I can have one, or the other, but not both. And no translucency, either. My only consolation is that I have never seen all those things at once in any one else's Poser render, either. Though if you are modelling in Z brush you can get great looking lips..that have about a million polygons in them :D

Disaster Tourism

By Sunday, the water in Naperville had gone down enough that the bridges over the DuPage reopened, so we went down to take a look. Dick Tracy was probably up to his waist in water at some point, but he looked ok.

This municipal building had a lot of sandbags on the other side where they had steps going down.

"Honey, have you seen the picnic table anywhere?"

This is nothing, of course, compared to cities like Grand Rapids, Michigan, where they have fish looking into office windows:

Source, Reddit. But there was a lot more home damage in Lisle, where the East branch of the DuPage ran around the levee and flooded a lot of homes on River Road. There are carpets on the curb everywhere--normally each roll is supposed to have a 4.00 tag on it for the trash guys, but now there are just heaps of carpet--I have an unworthy desire to add to the pile my own rolls of dog-flooded carpet that we have been stuffing, one at a time, into our trash container.