Monday, July 24, 2017

Sewing for 16" Dolls, Designed By Me -- Update with Movie Answer

Now that Eldest Daughter has moved out and is getting married, Mr. BTEG and I, with the help of Youngest Daughter, are reconfiguring the second floor of our home to give us more room to pursue our hobbies. A table for my use is going into our new hobby room this week, so I'm holding off taking doll pictures until that happens. In the meantime, I talked with RagingMoon about some of the 16" doll clothes I sewed a very long time ago, and she expressed interest in seeing some of the pictures. And when I say a long time, I mean at least fifteen years or more. So you'll also get to see some older dolls.

First up is Franklin Mint's vinyl Lily doll. Her more famous FM counterpart was Josephine; they share body and face sculpts, but Josephine got the wardrobe trunk and all the outfits. They were dressed in clothes from around the turn of the last century, and their figures were also perfect for the era, featuring the S-bend that was popular in the early 1900s. Unfortunately, their bodies are not really articulated. Anyway, here's a cotton chemise and drawers that I made for Lily.
And here's Josephine wearing a petticoat that I made, and a muslin 1890s balloon sleeve style bodice that I was drafting, and then a green chambray dress.
Here is Tonner's Daphne wearing a two piece jacket and skirt outfit. This outfit is the only one for which I did not design the pattern. The pattern is the work of Vince Nowell, who at one time was extremely famous in the doll sewing and collecting community.
I owned some dolls from the Gene line by Mel Odom for many years. Here's Madra wearing a dress from a pattern that I designed. In this one, I was going for the feel of a 1930s day dress.
Here is a raven-haired Madra wearing a costume I made for a secret gift exchange, run by the owner of a Gene doll forum that I was on at the time. You win the internets for a day if you know the movie from which I took this costume. I'll update with the info after a few days, unless somebody guesses it first.
So, the movie was a 1939 film called The Women. The entire cast of the movie, including some pets and other animals seen in the film, was entirely female. The three leads are all well-known names in film: Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, and Rosalind Russell. I based this costume off the dress that Joan Crawford wore in the climactic scene of the movie. She's wearing it in this still of the three stars of the movie.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find a gold fabric that was as "sparkly" as the dress Joan is wearing, but I thought that it still turned out okay. I've always thought that the doll Madra's personality in the Gene line was perhaps partially based on Joan Crawford. Madra is a Hollywood star like Gene, and she usually plays roles like Joan Crawford does here; Crawford's part is that of an assistant at a perfume counter, who's out for a wealthy husband, and doesn't mind being a home-wrecking hussy to get one. (Does anyone use the word hussy anymore?)

I accepted a commission to make a dress from the opening scene of the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's, which would fit the Gene doll. The collar in back ended up being a real pain to draft. I lined the whole thing in white, to try to prevent staining.
And lastly, an entire costume which I designed and made myself, for an Ashton Drake design competition for Gene. This one I've had on my blog before, but I don't know how many of you have seen it. The look for this one is from 1907.
I hope all of you have enjoyed this trip down memory lane! Once my table gets up in our new hobby room, I'm going to try to get some photography backgrounds and my photo tent set up permanently, or at least mostly permanently. I do have lots of new things to share!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Chapter Three: Planning and Plotting

Sig was relieved the next morning to see that Addi was not as uneasy and worried as she had been the evening before. It didn't seem to be particularly like her, though, to seem so relaxed in the face of the uncertainty about this situation.

"You look very well-rested," Sig ventured.

"I got some good ideas from some of the things that you said last night. I've got a plan laid out," Addi replied with a smile.

"So you're the brains, and I'm the brawn?" Sig flexed his arm teasingly, but didn't press Addi to reveal her thoughts. Observing her at the site of the chateau remains would tell him much more about the way that her mind was working. He put the issue aside to concentrate on eating the hearty breakfast with which their hostess had provided them.
"I do need to tell you one thing before we start out," said Felicie. "We are going to have to be very cautious in our exploration. Our Queen, Eleanor, has declared it illegal to explore or excavate at the chateau ruins. Fortunately, we have an excuse to at least be on the hill on which the remains sit. There is a type of wild rose, called la rose epineux, that grows very thickly on the hillside. You might have seen the plant for yourself in my gardens when you arrived yesterday. I grow vegetables and herbs to eat and to sell, but I also grow plants for medicinal and health uses. Rose hips from that strain are full of vitamins and make a good tea. As the best time of year to gather them has just begun, it's a perfect cover to be on La Colline Chateau, although not up to the top height. I think Queen Eleanor would forbid her subjects from being near the area at all, except that the roses seem to thrive there more than any other part of this region. I have hard work to maintain the few bushes that I have in my garden." Felicie stopped herself here from getting into a discussion of soil and drainage issues.
Addi was more interested in Queen Eleanor's attitude. Addi's own work was preserving these time-worn stories of magical beings and happy endings, or not. She always found fascinating how the outside world saw her life's occupation. "Why are the ruins forbidden to explore? Are they unstable, unsafe?"

"Your cousins say no." Felicie folded her hands on the table. "There has always been interest in the place, to varying degrees. Sometimes people seek to visit looking for ghosts or hidden treasure, sometimes it is only an object of curiosity at the center of a quaint fairy story. But Queen Eleanor dislikes having the old story even mentioned at all, so the Chateau Corseul is forbidden to be spoken about, much less viewed. The Queen gives off the impression that she finds the old tales a slur to her royal lineage, reading between the lines of what I've heard her say." Felicie shrugged. "Well, of course, there are some versions of The Sleeping Princess that aren't really suitable for wholesome children's tales," she added wryly.

"You're the resident authority on this story, then," Addi said.

"Yes, I've always had an interest in it, perhaps because I've been gathering roses there since I was a little girl. And speaking of roses, we should get started." Felicie turned to Addi. "We'll start by doing some actual work with the flowers, and then you and Sig should be able to do some surreptitious exploration on your own. I hope we'll find something. Your cousin Louise seemed certain that you would."

"I've always found my cousin's ideas good," said Addi. "I think we'll definitely learn something today."
Two notes:
1. I had a hard time with this chapter. I was going to add the castle exploration here, but decided that would make the chapter too long; however, that left me with exposition and very little action, and so I wrote and re-wrote a lot to still move the story along.

2. For the time being, I've given up on having the proper accent marks on French and other languages' words, because I can't get the formatting right. If you have any tips on how to do this with Blogger, let me know. I might do my own experimentation as well, but in the meantime, no accent marks.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Lots of Toy Sales at Target

I stopped really quickly at Target tonight for a few things, but of course I had to breeze through the toy aisles while I was there, right? Shibajuku Girls outfits are now $6.98. I think all of the Ever After High dolls, such as they are, are on sale. Monster High dolls are on sale as well. A few of the Barbie Video Game Hero dolls are marked down. And Twozies packs are marked down as well. I may or may not have brought home a couple of Shibajuku Girls outfits and a few EAH dolls that had faces that I wanted. :)

And yes, I know I need to post a real post soon! I'm working on Chapter Three of my story, I promise! I have some photos ready for that, and also have some photos for another two posts that I'm working on. I need to take *more* photos for all three, and then type them up! I'm going to plead busy; my youngest daughter's high school graduation party is next Sunday, and I'm also starting to work on stuff for my eldest daughter's bridal shower, which is in September. Lots of fun, but lots of work!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Trying to Start A Greater Cleveland Doll Collectors Club -- Advice?

As part of a general wish to meet new people and socialize more, I'd like to start a doll collector's club for the Greater Cleveland area. I see it as being for anybody who collects dolls, and who is interested in learning about other types of dolls. At least in the beginning, we would definitely meet in a public place, and I'm thinking maybe a monthly meeting with a theme? Maybe some tutorials?

Here's my problem: how do I find other doll collectors in this area? Here's some ideas I've had, and possible drawbacks.

1. Facebook. I've done a little looking, as well as I can without having a Facebook account, and don't see many doll collecting groups that are very active, so I'm not sure many active doll collectors I'd find locally. Also wondering how I would go about looking for doll collectors specific to my area.

2. Meetup. Doesn't seem like a lot of doll collectors are using this venue. There are currently eight groups, and most of them don't have a lot of members. A few are not even in the US, which is great in itself, but not useful to meet locally. Running a Meetup group also costs money every month, more than I am comfortable with spending, especially without the hope of attracting a lot of members.

3. Google Plus. Again, not a lot of groups out there already; not sure how to find people in my area.

There is a doll collecting club already present here in Cleveland. Here is the drawback: you have to explain your collection to them. Then, a committee comes to your house to view your collection, and then they vote on whether you can join! First of all, I'm not inviting a bunch of strangers into my bedroom to view my collection. Second of all, I think they sound so snobbish, that they'd take one look at this, and run away.
There used to be a doll club on the east side of town. I know this because several years back, they invited Robert Tonner to a meeting, and a special Tyler doll was created just for this event. That club seems to no longer exist, or at least it has no online presence. Also, that's a forty-five minute drive for me. If I can't start a club local to my side of town, I'd like to at least draw from all areas of Cleveland and meet more centrally.

My only other possibility seems to be doll shows. There is one coming up near here in August, so I have time to contact the organizer, and see if I could put fliers by the door or something. Honestly, I am hoping, probably in vain, that somebody finds this post in an online search who also is a doll collector in Greater Cleveland looking for local people who collect. My pessimistic side wonders how many adult-ish collectors in this area there even are. But I won't find out anything unless I try.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Chapter Two: A Sleeping Princess

After a journey of almost two days, Addi and Sig reached the village of Bois de Bruyére, just as the sun was beginning to set over low, rolling hills. The cottage to which Addi's cousin had directed them, was within sight of the large village itself, just beyond a bordering river filled with rushing, white-capped waves over a rocky bed. Unlike many of the straggling row of cottages further on, the house they approached showed no signs of having a busy farmyard, but there was a large, stone-walled garden behind, and a smaller garden adjoining the side facing the river.

A young woman named Félicie, lone occupant of the cottage, greeted her guests warmly, providing them with a water jug and basin for a quick wash after their journey. She then sat down with them for a simple but filling supper, including some very refreshing cider, which Félicie informed them was brewed by a woman right in that village.

Félicie had a open, honest face and warm eyes, and the cozy surroundings and calm atmosphere were relaxing after the rushed journey. Addi, however, was also hungry for information. For the past three days, her brain had run over and over the little information she had, and she was desperate to get her mind out of its tired groove, with fresh knowledge to mull over. So after a few bites of the meal and a compliment on the cider, Addi turned frankly to their hostess.

"I know a simple version of the what happened here, since it's part of Märchen lore. But I want to hear it from your point of view, as someone living here. I want to hear the history, not just a simple fairy tale. And I need to know why we were called here, and what we might be looking for tomorrow."

Félicie smiled. Addi was very different from the few members she knew of Addi's nearby related pack, but
Félicie had already been wondering how she could ferret out what these two strangers knew without insulting their guidance or tutelage. So lightly waving away a gentle protest from Sig to let their hostess eat, Félicie settled down to an explanation.

"I suppose you've been told that this village lies in the kingdom of Corseul-Lignon. But hundreds of years ago, the kingdom of Corseul stood alone, and just south of this village, at the crest of the hill, stood the château of the reigning king and queen. When this story starts, there was much concern on the part of then King Hugh and his wife Queen Adelaide, for they were childless. They feared for their kingdom if they died without a direct heir, for Queen Adelaide had a brother, Duke Robert of Mauvais, who Queen Adelaide feared would try to usurp the throne over King Hugh's cousin Ranulf, who ruled the neighboring country of Lignon and had a better right to a throne of his own flesh and blood. There was much rejoicing among King, Queen and subjects then when at last Queen Adelaide gave birth to a baby girl. Due to the kingdom's Salic law, the princess, whom they named Constance, could not inherit the throne herself, but she was instead almost immediately betrothed to her second cousin Raymond, oldest son of King Ranulf, in hopes that they would rule together over newly combined kingdoms.

"The proud parents planned an enormous banquet in honor of the princess' christening, and there were indeed twelve good fairies invited." Félicie paused. "You don't have many fairies left in your part of the world, do you?"

"Not good ones," said Sig dryly.
"You probably know," Félicie moved on, "that fairies have the gift of bestowing both blessings and curses onto mortals. Their magic is always strongest, however, the younger the recepient is, which is partly why fairies were so favored as godmothers

"When the big day arrived, so did the twelve good fairies. But an evil fairy intruded, and cursed the innocent princess to death on her sixteenth birthday. Stories have been told about gold plates and whatnot, but it's more likely that the evil fairy was in the pay of Duke Robert, who was seeing his plans of stealing his brother-in-law's throne dashed.

"The last fairy did manage to save Princess Constance's life, but her parents were still heartbroken when the princess fell into the magical slumber on her sixteenth birthday due to an enchanted spindle. The King and Queen almost immediately abondoned their château, after being reassured by that last fairy that she would take measures to protect their precious daughter until her curse could be ended. Almost overnight, an almost inpenetrably thick forest of large trees and thorny vines grew up around the abandoned home. The King passed his kingdom to his cousin, the evil Duke Robert dying before he could try to carry out his plans. Ranulf died shortly after the kingdoms were united, and Raymond became king. In due time, Raymond's son become king, and had his own son, Theodoric.

"Meanwhile, twelve of the thirteen fairies had fled the region, after the people of the realm decided angrily that the blessings of good magic were not an acceptable bargain for the curses of evil that attacked the good. The twelfth good fairy stayed on for many decades, after disguising herself, to enable the breaking of the sleeping spell she had been forced to give. She used magic to secretly enter Prince Theodoric's nursery, and gave him the gift of being the one to break the sleeping curse. She then later obtained a post as Theodoric's nursery governess, secretly telling him often of the story of the sleeping princess, and that someday, a prince would receive a sword on his eighteenth birthday that would enable him to break the magic barriers around her chamber, and awaken the princess with a kiss."
"I think I can guess what happened next," Addi broke in. "The fairy made sure Theodoric got the sword on his birthday, and he found the castle and managed to awaken Princess Constance."

Félicie blinked. "Well, yes, that is the ending to our fairy story. Of course, there was a bit of an uproar, to say the least, when Prince Theodoric showed up with a princess no one had heard of except perhaps in an old woman's tale. Theodoric was adament, however, and poor Constance found stability in her frightening new world in him, for he did have a family resemblance to her previously betrothed, Raymond. So they got their way, after much argument and after a few proofs were produced: a few things Constance brought with her from her former home, and a few things found in her parents' last abode. Theodoric and Constance did live very happily together as King and Queen, and after a change in the laws, their too-many-greats-to-count-granddaughter rules Corseul-Lignon today."
"But what could possibly be left that someone would want to poke around ruins from centuries ago looking for!" exclaimed a perplexed Addi. "Once the spindle produced its curse, its magic would be gone, wouldn't it?" Addi looked at Félicie for affirmation. "Prince Theodoric *must* have taken that sword back with him. And even if someone was insane enough to dream of finding some sort of clues now, that Constance's story wasn't real, would her subjects want to overthrow a current queen whose ancestors have been established on the throne for many generations behind her?"

"There's too much to guess," said Sig quietly. "Maybe somebody thinks there's a spindle there that still has magic, or that the sword is still there." Then he laughed. "Or maybe somebody is looking for those mythical golden plates you talked about, Félicie." He turned to Addi, who he could tell was oddly troubled by a sensed undercurrent of danger, with nothing visible on the surface. "If our mystery visitor left any kind of a presence or trail behind, you can find it better than anyone. And we can track anything together. Get a good night's sleep, Schwesterlein. Tomorrow we hunt."

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day

Today is the day that the United States honors those military members who lost their lives in service to our country. I decided to put a small post up featuring Molly McIntyre. This one is the mini American Girl version. Molly's year was 1944, and her father was overseas serving as a doctor. Although Molly's dad does make it back home, I'm sure Molly and her father would be glad to honor those that didn't.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

J-Doll Wigs, Outfit and Shoes

I let myself get way too far behind in blogging, and then when I finally went to put up a new post on Thursday, I discovered that our home internet was down. Time to get back into the blogging groove!

Back in October of 2013, I purchased my first J-Doll, Unter den Linden, whom I named Lindsay. She's a beautiful doll, but her long, blond haired wig was rather dry. Now that there aren't as many dolls out there that I want to buy, I have been spending more money on clothes and accessories. I saw a couple of relatively inexpensive wigs in J-Doll size and decided to take the plunge to replace Lindsay's original wig. I bought two, one a short cut with auburn hair, and one of long dark-blond hair with bangs. Which one do you like better on Lindsay?

I also purchased a knit tank top and tiered skirt from the same Etsy seller from whom I bought the wigs, a place called LazyDaisyWorkshop. I asked Lindsay to model this for me as well. I think the outfit goes nicely with her new long-haired wig.

Lastly, I've been buying a lot of Re-Ment lately! I decided to take a gamble and buy a set from the Little Twin Stars bedroom series and see if the shoes fit my J-Dolls. And they do! They take a little bit of easing on, but that just means they stay on well. Also, keep in mind that Little Twin Stars had a pink and blue theme, pink for the girl star and blue for the boy star. Therefore, each original set had one shoe in pink and one shoe in blue. Once I determined that the shoes from this set fit, I bought another set so I would have two shoes in each color.

If you want to think about getting these for your J-Doll or Pullip, the dolls modeling these shoes have the type four body. I also tried a shoe on my J-Doll with the type three body, and it did fit her as well.
Lastly, a full length picture of two of my J-Dolls wearing the shoes. The brunette with the braids is wearing a Shibajuku Girls dress that I reviewed here. If you remember from my review, the interfacing of this dress kept rolling up so that it showed at the top of the neckline. I've since tacked that down by hand underneath the collar, and it has also made the collar lay flat. The blond on the left is wearing a dress from Robert Tonner's Only Hearts club line, and it is extremely versatile, as it will also fit Mattel's Stacie, and Hannah at Never Grow Up has put this dress on an Ever After High doll as well.
I'm finding that I really enjoy picking up all these new things for my dolls!