Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Couch Continued

It's got a seat (that acts like a lid to the space underneath), and the beginnings of a back. I will work on it more when everyone is out Monday, as it requires a lot of noisy hammering (who knew upholstering was so loud?). Right now it's big enough two people can sit uncomfortably close together, or in splendid isolation:

The lunette thing on the back needs to go up higher, and the side arms need to be made for real and stuffed and whipstitched on. I'm sure the beads in the back are no fun to lean on, but as the couch supposed to be epically ugly and vaguely 18th century, I think it's doing pretty well. It keeps people off the floor, anyway! I could really use two side chairs and a nice reading chair, but all these things take up room that I don't have at the moment.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A ShiShi Mask At Home

At Sicktress'home, that is! Check out the rest of her Tumblr post here.

The masks are soft and rubbery, so they won't mar faceups!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Couch

Someone gave me a very ornate box with gorgeous hardware as a doll carrier, but all my dolls were too large for it. I still wanted to be able to use it though, so I took it apart this afternoon (saving all the hardware and coverings for other projects) and recovered it to be a sort of 18th century divan, though it is still a box (I wanted a place to store tricorns, which seem to be multiplying around here).

The back needs stuffing, and I need to make bolster-style arm rests, but this is a good start. (Audrey's head is away getting repainted by Buff, I'm looking forward to getting it back) :D. I'm sure Audrey is, too.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Pink Wig

I have made it ..different, if not maybe better, by adding some fluff to cover the bald spots. On the upside, the bangs now stay out of her eyes. Also, I still love the color and the texture of the might be soy? Its smooth and shiny. It also looks good with an adorable little gift Pegapup sent me, a Hello Kitty Mermaid:

I think Selket is less enthusiastic about the merthing than I am. :D

It's so cute. Perfect for pestering all the dolls!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Natalia Loseva's Dolls

Her Live Journal is here, and while Google Translate is a bit murky at times, at least you can get the main sense of her entries. I am not sure how tall the dolls are, but they are so beautifully painted they are well worth a visit. Loseva writes that she "paints with a magnifying glass" and I believe it, since the details are so perfect--the girls are very "alive" looking. Loseva also makes the beautiful clothing!

So far I haven't figured out how to contact her, but here are her store policies, and if you log into the page with facebook you may be able to leave a comment, and hopefully she can translate it. It looks like she will cast a few and then sell the already completed dolls from her Journal. PayPal does not seem to be an option?

Here's a blogspot page about her dolls and her process:

And here is her Facebook page:

As of March 2016, she is on Den of Angels so if you are also a member you can drop her a PM!

Eyes for Cat

I rolled some more eyes last night, and figured out a way to make the pupils separately but not have them fall off later--I would run a pin behind them to go through the center of the eye and form a stem, since I am finding the half-rounds a little hard to adjust in the eyes. I know the stems can foul up with the s hook in small heads, but a tiny stem might be ok. But that is for the next batch.

These were really just to give Vivian, Cat's Vesuvia, some pupilled eyes to wear until Ersa Flora comes back from vacation and re-stocks her glitter eyes. Here's another pair:

These are the closest to what Cat is looking for in glitter eyes, and these would be perfect but the gloss lenses didn't settle perfectly, so they are a bit wavy. I need to rummage around for a better way to make the lens--I also have no idea what the acrylic gloss will do in hot sticky weather, but I suspect it will be weird. I have some translucent Sculpey, but it's intended for "skin" (I think) so it's not clear gloss, which is what I need. But on to the next ones--these were borderline too small, but the irises came out nice enough to send anyway:

Selket is now tired of having eyes put in and out:

These blue-greens I am keeping, as the edges ran a little, but they look cute in Selket.

I need to make her lashes and fix that dollar wig (which I like, in spite of the problems it has).

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Tail-Friendly Clothing

Rajendora (Sewing Box Designs) made me some custom kimono so that Selket could have some easy-to-put on tops that wouldn't hang up on her tail. This was the problem:

And Rajendora carefully crafted the solution:

All the kimonos have a center back split that falls where the tail emerges. She worked without a tail in hand, so I was impressed that the split hit precisely where it was supposed to. For some of these I want to make full trousers, and for a couple of others, ruffly steampunky skirts. Here are more of the pieces Rajendora created:

This one is a heavy brocade (I supplied all the fabrics, not really keeping in mind the scale of the garments in the case of this one!) so instead of using an obi, I think I will put some frogs at the top and make it a more Chinese style garment with gold "silk" trousers. Selket is just glad to no longer be living in a pink cheerleader outfit (one of the few items I had that someone had customized to fit her tail).

The workmanship on all of these is gorgeous--all the seams are lined and finished.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Toto! Toto!

Here are some Simply Divine heads: From left to right: Harlequin, then West Nile Christopher (because the West Nile virus is fatal to crows, so the name makes sense for a crow skull), Toto (hehe!) and then the newest in the Simply Divine family, Tatsuo, who also comes with some masks if you buy the full set of three (Tatsuo, Toto and a mask, ShiShi). Here are the masks:

And those are the colors you can get the masks: Bronze, Imperial Jade, Temple Gold and.. a white...uh, well, it has a nice name but it's white and shiny and looks great. (I need to go back and update this). Toto, by the way comes also in Cinnabar, which is a Fire Engine Red and very cool, especially as you can order a matching body from Impldoll and it looks like the head should fit on the new Star body. Here is the Simply Divine Etsy if you want to look at the heads in detail:

Stein Sculpture/Simply Divine

Friday, February 20, 2015

Test Sleeves

Working on an outfit for Bex, but the test sleeve I did proves that the beads I have are too big, and I should couch down a small gray cord for the sleeve embellishments instead of the stitches I was using. I am working the uncut sleeves in an embroidery hoop, though, and that makes all the sewing a lot easier.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

That Awkward Moment....

... When you realize the underpainting was way better than what you have put on top of it. This is actually a dolly photo background, but then I got interested in it as a painting, and now I have to go over it and scrape some stuff off that I added since this photo. :p

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ball-Jointed Wizard of Oz

Aimerai Doll has done a whole series of SD sized dolls from the Wizard of Oz, including the Patchwork Girl, and the outfits are available to buy separately. They are adorable. Here is "Chopper":

(Look how cool that arm is). Here is Glinda:

And here is Scraps, the Patchwork Girl:

(They offer a human version of her as well). So cute! The clothes would go well with a steampunk theme, too.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Covering Pinholes

One of the things I don't like about painting on canvas is how the paint skips over the fabric texture and leaves white "pinholes". Acrylics are stiff and stick to themselves so pinholing is even more of a problem with acrylics than with oil. I was working on a background today and got annoyed with the holes and dug around and found a solution--a bit of cut-up sponge.

The sponge carries more paint than the brush does and you can really cram it against the canvas, filling in stray holes. Here's a patch where I went over it with the sponge:

The sponge can add some fun rocky textures, too :D

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Things Get Finished

Here are the bigger eyes for Bex that I finished today--the brown ones were a little small. I ended up making a lot of pairs of eyes and I think about half with be usable--4 of the pairs I like a lot. I made half rolling by hand and then today made a second mold and did a few pairs that way. It's hard to get the eyes out of the mold without pulling the eyes out of shape a little, and I decided I preferred the hand-sculpted ones anyway. It's not like I am making these for production so it's ok if they are a little quirky. I also scorched the set I cooked in the toaster oven on toothpicks, because they were too close to the top element. So in the end what worked best was hand rolling a ball, chilling it for 30 minutes outside (or in your freezer) slice it in half with a sharp knife, and then use the back end of a paintbrush to sculpt a tiny torus at the top of the dome. I found the end of a plastic straw was the perfect template for an Iplehouse eye iris size. Then steam the eyes for 18 minutes, let cool, paint the pupil and iris, paint the eyewhite, then fill the top with polymer gloss varnish, let it sit overnight, fill it again with varnish, let it sit at least 3 hours, then varnish the sides. Metallic paint, micro glitter and pearlescent stuff all made the eyes nicer. You can adjust the shape of the eye to fit even terrible wells like Angel of Dream dolls' eyes..and my little Resinsoul girl will finally get some eyes that fit perfectly. I also made a pair for Mr. Ropuha, though I am not sure I remembered his size right. Here's what got done:

Also, just between the two of us, we have nearly finished the cake:

It also snowed like crazy in downtown Chicago, but here it was cold and sunny. I think the mermaid is done with winter, though:

Saturday, February 14, 2015

More Eyes

OK, I did figure out this is not the way to make these--I did make a mold (you can see it at the top) and that is the way to go--but I don't think I will do the inverted cornea because I can't get the glaze smooth enough as it dries--it tends to ripple and that looks odd on the cornea when the eye is in a doll. So I am going to make a mold of a simple dome, roll a cylinder with the black in the middle, make slices, press them into the mold (you use cornstarch as the release) and put a toothpick in the back to make it easier to paint. And I think I will bake them in the oven, but for maybe 12 minutes because this oven is hot. Some of this batch in the photo came out fairly well, but what makes them look good is metallic paint and glitter rather than the shape, which is pretty grotesque when I hand formed them. On the other hand there are eyewells that are pretty gross, too. Here are the brown ones in daylight in Bex:

Aside from the fact that they fit, I really like the eyewhites because I can paint in details there that the commercial eyes don't have.

Another reason I didn't use the oven today was that J made me a Valentine's Day cake! Vanilla cake with Grande Marnier Chocolate Mousse filling and frosting, oh my.

And though the weather was cold, we got a dusting of snow that outlined the heart carved into our front porch by a previous owner:

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 13, 2015

I Boil Some Eyes

I was prompted to try to make some sculpey eyes because I am tired of trying to fit eyes in Iplehouse eyewells--as far as I can tell, the only eyes that fit perfectly are made by eyeco, and they are not cheap. All my Sooms are perfectly happy to wear Ersa Flora and Safrin eyes, but the Iples have the combination of a long narrow eye and a shallow eyewell, so the eyes that are the right size visually gap on either side, like tiny sad marbles.

So fed up, I grabbed some sculpey and started rolling. My quick reading on the Internet of how to cook Sculpey came up with steaming small parts, rather than boiling them. This is better than boiling because stuff rolls around in a boiling pot and it can deform at the beginning when it's still soft. Here's the pieces resting in my trash sieve above the Goodwill pot. (While the official Sculpey site stresses that Sculpey is non-toxic, it recommends that you separate food prep items from the sculpey process; though interestingly they said using the oven was fine, and a more even source of heat than toaster ovens--they did recommend an oven thermometer though as "most ovens run hotter than the indicated temperature".)

And here they are out of the sieve. I knew they were done when I shook the sieve and they clinked. :D I was trying two kinds of pupils here, one with a dot of black Sculpey and one where you paint the hole with black acrylic and then fill up the hole with transparent acrylic glaze. It turns out the hole is annoying to fill properly, and the Sculpey looked better once glazed. Here are a pair painted brown, being filled with the Liquitex Glaze and Varnish.

Bex waits patiently for her test eyes:

I tried the three sets I liked best; but of the two yellow ones, one had pupils that looked too small and the other one had pupils too large. The brown ones looked the best, though they could be just a hair bigger and a slightly deeper curve to fit perfectly, but they are really close:

I think this is faceup number three for her, I was determined to end up with one I liked, and I also made her eyelashes from stripping the hairs from a paintbrush. I'm going to make more sets of eyelashes, as nice ones are both hard to find and they are sort of a consumable--they tend to get messed up just in changing clothes and from being stored.