Thursday, April 30, 2015

As a result of yesterday and today's work of giving Elsie a new body I better see what is wrong with my doll bodies. In cutting out any blouse or bodice, the neck is cut on a curve with more removed from the front. Why then, in ALL the commercial doll bodies is the neck cut in a straight line? Dollies need a bit less fabric at the neck just like we do in our clothes!
I was so aghast at myself that I have not noticed this before that I literally could not work any more. All the bodies that I made the other day, and put the ties in already, need to be re-cut, re-hemmed with the ties re-inserted. I was so upset about this that I slept for 2 1/2 hours in my chair recuperating and healing.
In the photo you can see Elsie showing off her new boobs. Under her leg is one of the lilac suits I had made the day before. I had taken off her whole body, sewed in the dart at the neck and reassembled her and still she had the boobs because I had not cut out the curve of the neck. Tonight as I look at the photo, see Elsie's pleasure, I am wondering if I have gotten a complex about how a body suit should fit at the neck. Should I leave her have her boobs and move on to try the new pattern on another doll?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

This was how things looked on the third shelf this morning. That is new Big Blaze playing with a puppy dog while I figure out how to make a better body for her.
In the mean time I put all the cuddle therapy dolls together in one chair while I put the crocheted doll, animals, cookies etc., away in a big box. Thank goodness for Amazon shipments and the big clean boxes they send. I checked each doll to make sure I had completed everything and then I swaddled each one in a new blanket.
Then I laid them in rows on the freshly cleaned off third shelf. I left the sleepier baby baby stay in the basket to act as bookend to the pile. Some people are attracted to it, so even though it is not my favorite, I am keeping it for others. I must admit there were moments when I have just sat and stared at it, enjoying the idea of a child taking a nap, me having the peace and quiet to renew myself. For that feeling it is excellent.
Werner delivered Sweetie to GAC and brought home the mail in which there was a box from Bountiful Baby. I think I owe those people an apology. I have been ranting about baby body sleeves that do not fit but found out today that if I order a body from them made for a certain doll, and not just buy cheap ones on eBay, the body can be a lot better! In the box, to my surprise (I had forgotten she was on sale and I had ordered her) was a factory-painted Blaze along with two body suits. Forgetting which one was for that Blaze I put the larger one on Big Blaze and then the smaller (preemie-size) on the painted Blaze.
Here you can see the two girls in the nude which gives a better impression of the difference in their sizes. I think the bigger suit would have been too big for painted Blaze but it fits her bigger version kit perfectly. 
I found the sleeve connections on the preemie suit too small (the circle was not big enough) to cover the plastic socket to hold the arm well. This could be my fault. If I used one of BB's preemie baby kits the arm sockets may have been smaller and fit better. See again when a body sleeve does not fit it is because I have used it on the wrong baby. Lesson for the day. OR! Angie has offered to share some of her dolly body patterns with me. It could be when I see them I will better understand where I am going wrong with my own designs. Looking at this photo I think each doll could be improved with a row of gathers under their chins! Painted Blaze already shows wrinkles where the gathers are needed and Big Blaze needs to get her chin down in a friendlier position. I am eager for tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I made bodies for these three on the birthing table but ended up with six bodies as I tried this and that while sewing. After lunch I was so tired from the morning's work I had no desire to make a baby. Finally after crocheting on a new blanket (pink and white) I forced myself to do Blaze. I had bought the factory-painted Blaze, which I loved, and thought this new version was only different in that it had no paint or rooted hair.
Without comparing the kit to the doll, I also thought my new Blaze was tiny as the other one. So I decided to use a very small body. I noticed, as I worked, that the relationship between the cloth part and vinyl parts was not pleasing but thought the problem only existed because I was tired and thus in a bad mood. 

  I finally found a sleeper small enough to fit the new Blaze's tiny body. I sat and looked at her a long time while missing that attention and spirit of the original Blaze. It is not only the brown color is different, but the relationships of the spaces between eyes, nose and mouth are all different. Good thing this Blaze was on a sale so I only paid $14.98 for her. She does radiate a certain sweetness and I think she will make a good cuddle therapy doll. There is a good chance that I will give her a new body tomorrow.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Making bodies day. Both of these fabrics are from Harmony Arts. The blue/brown is a heavier fabric, almost an upholstery - too stiff for baby bodies but makes great patterns. There is enough texture that it sticks to the fabric without pins! I had to redraw several parts until I got the relationships right.
Here is Lee being silly because the body suit gave him boobs! He found that very funny. I will put a dart down the chest in the next attempt but this is where Bountiful Babies put the gathers in and now we know why. Otherwise the body fits him and he feels very cuddly. In fact he was so cuddly I was inspired to breastfeed him.

His mouth, which some people find too much too open, is a perfect fit for a nipple. I wondered about making more of these babies so others could have the pleasure of breastfeeding their own reborn. Not many kits have the mouth shape that makes it possible. I think I have invented a new sex toy!

Ching T'ein is also likewise equipped and likes the idea of being breastfeed very much. 
I also proved today that one can photograph the babies in the sun!

Here is Samantha in the sun and in reflected light for comparison. The jury is still out.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

I finished the paper work for the GAC show to feel so free and was then able to resume work on the cuddle dolls. I had put the eyes in these two last evening but the glue was not totally dry this morning so I let them sit on the radiator while I took the chill off the studio. I was struck by how differently these two faces affected me. Elsie, on the right, makes me fighting mad. She is so like the girls in my high school that I did not get along with because they were so small minded and up-tight. Now that I have the chance, I want to box her ears for all those years I but up with such girls without a murmur of disagreement. Next to Elsie is the unpainted Blaze who feels like me in my younger years. I hope I inherit her gentleness while I work on these two.
The glue was dry enough to hold the eyeballs in place but too sticky to stuff so I began painting their hair - a job I do not yet really like. I realized that I had dressed Ching T'ein but never did his hair either, so undressed him. I was eager to find sleepers for Samantha until I noticed I had not done her hair either. It was good they both were naked as I got a drip of paint on Samantha but was able to wipe it up.

Blaze and Ching sat on the floor by Sweetie to let me smear colors on their heads. I am sure God knows hair cannot be painted which is why I cannot be shown how to do it. Working on the CT babies made me want to have a letter or phone call from Sarah M. very much but by noon I had discovered a mantra to put that feeling away into the work. What you cannot see is that I also did the hair on Lee, brother to Ching, at the same time. While I waited for layers of paint to dry I crocheted on a lilac and white granny square blanket.  I am hoping to get two new bodies cut out and sewn tonight for Blaze and Elsie for tomorrow.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

I was looking for this photo when google tried to eat my blogspot but was able to rescue what was written but not add this evidence that Gualala Arts has let my dollies in their exhibits before. This 14 footer was in the Burnet Gallery a month (Where Kaye Like played with her during the show named DOLLS) and then Sus (see below) suggested we move her outside where she stood guard over the entrance on the porch for 6 months. She was hand crocheted in rug yarns and then stuffed with paper.

So this is Sweetie who will be my next avenue into reborns. I am entering her in an art show at Gualala Arts next week. The title of the show is "In Celebration of Home" and back in January when I learned of it, I did a lot of thinking about what kind of art should be in every home. All I could really accept was the idea of children were the best art one could bring into a home. You have seen the photos of trying to place Jenny in the stroller and make her interesting enough to be in an art show. By studying BB's gallery of kits I fell in love with Cookie and one named Ladybug.
I made both of the big girls trying each in the stroller to see who had the pizzazz, who would capture the visitors attention. Today I made the decision it would be Ladybug whom I had renamed 'Sweetie' in anticipation of her being my final choice.
I picked the simple wig, without curls, and glued it on to her head today. I tied the paci down so it cannot fall on the floor with the hopes that every thing else stays where I want it during transport on Wednesday. She will make the trip alone with Werner.
Well not quite alone. On the side of the stroller is Mic key Mouse in a bag advertising (what you cannot see here), is the Artist Collective in Point Arena. This photo taken yesterday shows the curls instead of the final hairdo! You can see why I had a hard time choosing one.

Oh, I want those of you who are screaming, "What?  dolls in an art exhibit?" know that Ling-Yen, the curator of the show, was here last weekend cuddling dolls while she considered if she should let Sweetie be in her show. Then yesterday the Director of Gualala Arts, Sus Susalla and his wife Harmony, were here and gave their okays on the subject also while cuddling dolls (I never saw Crystal so happy as she was in Sus's arms). It was Sus who picked the other wig and I agree with him. Thanks to these two visits of approval I do not need to worry about the piece being rejected on Wednesday. The show opens on Friday May 1 and I would dearly love to go. I had business cards printed up for the visitors but I think talking to the unbelievers would be helpful.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The flat area on this girl's chest cannot be as big a thrill for you as it is for me! I tried the trick with a seam of gathers and instantly her profile flattened. Some seamstress or designer at Bountiful Baby can accept kudos and praise for discovering this marvelous solution.
Even on this smaller baby, who seems to be gagging over the tightness of her sleeper, I could detect the bothersome bulge. I opened the nightie to sew in the gathers and I felt much better. I took another photo which does not show  that much different.
I feel a lot better with the way Ching T'ien's chest looks though she is still into the gagging act. Even a new hair ribbon could not get her mind off of the changes a needle made to her body. The little wrinkle on her left side is evidence that the gathers work.
Now I am a bit scared as I start to cut out my new designs for body sleeves. We will see if the dolly gods smile on me. I did find a bargain on the limb joints at Amazon. If they work out each body sleeve would only cost me about 26 cents instead of $20.00 that BB charges. My idea is that if I take the time to cut the bodies out and sew them I can have them right from the beginning. I have friends donating the fabric. Why can I not just be happy with the commercial bodies and go with the flow?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

See the bulge on Sweetie's chest just below her chin?  For these bigger dolls I splurged and bought bodies instead of using cheap ones bought on eBay, which were too small.  When I built Cookie, I saw that bulge and thought I had the body backwards - that this was the back. When I tied her head on I saw that indeed I had done the whole thing backwards. So I untied her arms and legs to switch everything around so she would be correct. Making Sweetie I again wanted to be absolutely correct so did the ties in the right places. But now I see how invasive that collarbone bulge is.
I had noticed some bodies made with a series of gathers at the collarbone and now I know why, Those are there to get that bunch of fabric under control and not fill it with fluff. I tried to sew in the gathers on Cookie without taking her apart but the thread broke and the fix looked really tacky. As the day advanced I got more unhappy with the look until I broke down and tore  poor Cookie apart. Thank goodness I had not glued her or trimmed her ties.
With the head out and extra fluff removed I tried to hand-sew a dart in the neck area but again it looked like the dickens.
Then I realized that every body I have gotten on either eBay or from a reborn supplier had this problem. I have made changes in them often re-sewing all the seams. I had a book on reborns that contained patterns for doll bodies but as I looked at all of them I realized they each had problems with the design. I cannot believe that I am now on the path to design my own. That means many tries and experiments until I get a whole design correct. My one good thought about making my own baby bodies is the idea that I can use Harmony Art fabrics! I know Harmony has some in flannel-like thickness in her fabrics which should be perfect for bodies. I may return to having bodies of figured fabric as the haiku dolls were.
In the morning I had already had one body war. I had planned to use one of the Chinese bodies for the Chinese doll - Ching T'ien, but when I started to insert the legs I found they were too fat for the openings. Impatient, I borrowed Samantha's BB body. The excess in the front confused me and I tied the whole doll together backwards. I stopped, undid it all, put the limbs back in the way the body was designed. I wanted to get a doll together so I ignored the collarbone bulge but am sure it will be there in the morning. I did take the time to study how that body was made, how the little pouches for limbs were attached by the plastic joints. I even researched what they cost (any where from $5 - $2.50 per doll) and noted how I disagreed with where the designers put them (on the backs instead of on the side as we are made.) So I am very tired tonight from fighting windmills of dolly design. I am hoping that tomorrow I will know what to do. I had one blessing! As I was finishing the pink/white crocheted blanket I ran out pink yarn just inches from the end. Leaning over I found another ball of pink yarn I did not know I had so was able to finish the blanket. Started one in lavender and white. I crochet when I need to think.

The biggest work today was deciding the stroller background was too busy for the set-up and putting the new fake sheep skin in it for Sweetie to sit on. This way her legs hang down properly and that pleases me. It shows off her shoe-socks which were a fortunate buy as her feet are too big for all the shoes I bought.
I am also simplifying the stuff she has with her. The pocket peace pal joined the others and lost out in the final cut.
The thinning scissors arrived today so I am hoping I can cut her hair and get it glued on tomorrow. I also, after this photo, cut open the cat pacifier and re-stuffed him which makes him look a lot better. I finished the pink crocheted blanket late in the day. WR picked up the mail so I have new dollies to make, proper eyes to insert, and some sleepers for naked babies.
Mary stopped by to bring flowers but had only a minute to look over things yet she did say the place had a good comfortable feel and offered to iron the sheets. She loved Sweetie and suggested that Crystal had a tummy ache. She could be right. She used to be a nurse in the preemie unit.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Yesterday, while adding eyelashes, I realized I had forgotten to explain here on the blog why I am doing these two toddler babies. In May is an exhibit at Gualala Arts titled "Celebration of Home." In January I did a lot of thinking (while crocheting) about what kind of art that should be in a home. Even though I am not a huge advocate for having children, I was surprised to come up with the idea that the best art one could make for the home was a child. Only having Jenny Wren as a reborn, I bought a stroller, new clothes, and started to arrange her in it.

I was fairly well pleased with this arrangement even though I found her lips too red and her eyelashes too prominent for a baby. As I worked with other reborns over the months I became aware of toddler size babies. After much thought, I picked two kits from Bountiful Baby not knowing which one would be better and what I could accomplish.
Only last week Cookie came together for me looking like this. Without too much thought (other than I needed to paint her lips more red) I went ahead and made Ladybug.
I do like babies with happy expressions and open mouths. I was also pleased that I no longer thought I had to cover up the stars on the seat of the stroller with a blanket. My thought today is that I will put Ladybug (now named "Sweetie") in the show. I know there are people who will cringe at the idea of doll in an art show, but that is where my thinking is. My hope is to place the stroller so it looks as if someone walked off and left their child in the gallery. With the open mouth and lost paci, she looks as if she is howling more than laughing. Or asking someone to help put her pacifier back into her mouth.
I am hoping that in today's mail will be the thinning shears I ordered from Amazon. I would like to have less hair on her and we will see if I can give her a good hair cut. The show entries have to be delivered on April 29th so I have to make up my mind on the hairdo and then tack with invisible thread the parts so they stay in place during the trip to the art center before then.
I kept the heads for Ching Tien and Samantha in the house all night so now their glue is dry and if I have a good day, I can make them into babies.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Crystal's glum face fits my day. Every thing I needed was not in its place. I hunted, cleaned up messes, rearranged things looking for this and that. At least the new headbands I designed last night finally came together. I was surprised that I had to cut thread with pliers when I could not find any of the small scissors. I think Crystal overheard some of my comments and new words. I think she did not know I knew some of the expressions!
I did get the tongue and lips given two more darker coats here. I did find the mirror I was looking for and saw how dark my own tongue was and was able to match it. I made a new pocket peace pal in red, whites and blue and gave it black hair for a change from the brown.  I changed Ladybug's name to Sweetie and made her a new bracelet which took over 1/2 hour as I could not see the transparent elastic cording. I felt Ladybug would not mean anything to the visitors to the show but "Sweetie" would catch their attention. Also I am on the alert for bugs every day in the studio so I did not need another reminder!
The studio was cold and damp all day so the glue on the eyes did not dry for Ching Tien and Samantha. This afternoon I wanted to work on dolls but the gooey glue stopped me so I opened a kit from China and then, and only then, did I learn I had only 20 mm eyes and they were too small. It was the first time I saw how bad eyes look when they are too small. Somewhere in the mail service are more eyes but at the moment I do not know if they are 22mm. It is frustrating that every thing I need has to be ordered. The lag time between need, order, auction, shipping and arrival is wearing on me. I am still unhappy with my old glasses. It has been 5 weeks I have waited on the new ones looking at the world in a blur. I think I am as cranky as Crystal tonight!

Friday, April 17, 2015

I took all the pillows and blankets out of the stroller for Ladybug (I really prefer Lovebug as her name) so she fit in perfectly. With her new red outfit I could accept the red, white and blue background of the stroller. She needs to lean forward and not be so laidback in the stroller, After lunch I gave her new hair.

I felt this looked more "local" and something more real on an 8 month child. When the thinning shears come I want to reduce the mass here a bit. The dress, which is used and looks as if it has been washed, looks new-bright here. I think the redness of the outfit demands a bit more red on her mouth. To the left you can see the nipple the cat is holding. I found the blue disk that goes in the bottle (it was where I had put it!) and was able to cut the plastic down to fit. I was pleased with the way it turned out.
I  stuffed the limbs and head of Ching T'ien before I realized I had never gotten her eyes in last night. I had to sit down, unload her head and only after fumbling 1/2 an hour did I  the get the eyes in. I cut the sockets out more and they slipped right in. You can see how different the two eyes are in this photo. I am wondering if this is going to bother me.  I bought another kit yesterday on auction before I had worked with this one and now I am wondering how smart I was. While I waited for the glue to dry on the eyes I got out the Samantha doll hoping I could forget these eyes.

She is from Bountiful Baby and I later found out she came with body, plugs and neck-ring and cost a few dollars more on the eBay auction but it was good to have all the parts together. I will make tucks in the body sleeve as it is too big in the butt and belly. Here she was sitting on the heater getting her toe and nail polish to dry. Her eyes went in very easily and restored my self confidence so I was able to glue them in this afternoon. Her mouth is open like Ching T'ien's but is not so noticeable. At least she had a smile, which greatly brightens my day. I love her little feet. I have another kit of her coming from BB soon.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The first of the kits from China arrived today (I bid on them on eBay) and I am blown away with happiness over it. I tried to put in the eyes before I photographed the face this evening but I was too tired and simply could not get then  in right. I love the tongue color I got and tomorrow along with the eyes I hope to finish the hair on this one and on Crystal. Today it seemed I went from doll to doll adding layers of hair, eyebrows and lips. I was amazed that the whole day was taken up with the job.
I did get Ladybug's limbs ready for tomorrow (the glue is drying) and her mouth and eyebrows are to my satisfaction. The ladies on the doll forum have the right idea - start very light and keep adding coats and layers until you get the saturation and color you want. I think adding her eyelashes will make a difference. I am thinking of drilling out her nose. I noticed that on the Chinese doll, the nose holes are so deeply made one does not have to drill them. I also love the fact that the Chinese doll is not exact on both sides of the face. The eyes are not the same degree of open, the dimples are differently placed, the tongue is not exactly in the middle of the mouth. And the limbs are smaller so the Chinese doll will be the exact size for cuddle therapy. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Poor Cookie, left all night with her backward body, but still she is smiling. I sat down to take her apart and was surprised how easily she went back together with everything in right. I was so eager to see how she fit into the stroller so I began to place her even without drawing in her eyebrows and gluing her eyelashes on.
She fit in perfectly - so much better than Jenny Wren who has been too tiny for too long. Cookie's feet were too big for the shoes I had bought for her so we are back to socks. She does look stroller-ripe! So glad I had all this time to learn the dolls and their sizes.
I have to get rid of that red, white and blue background on the stroller and return to the original colors of yellow and red.
Every thing got better as the afternoon advanced and I got quiet enough to listen to what she needed. I tried to make her a pacifier with a beanie baby and got so frustrated trying to sew with invisible thread and eyes that still do not work right. I used every bad word on the delay with my glasses and finally gave up and just  looked around the studio.
I caught the frog trying to steal sleeping Sam's bottle and making a get-away.
Crystal was unloading all her unhappiness from being on the scales all night in MyHeidi's caring ear. She is such an unhappy baby. She will need a lot of loving from someone! I have to wait for new pajamas to come from my latest eBay auction so I am hoping the warmth of MyHeidi's love will keep her warm.
Candy got the last big pair I had. I liked the joke that her hat is not for Easter but her bib is. I took a photo of the whole shelf and now see that I was too tired to hold the camera high enough and got mostly the bottom of a shelf. Maybe tomorrow!

Candy on the borning table with her new body that fits her limbs perfectly. Hmmm. I see the photo is a bit out of focus. I was wobbly yesterday but that is a little too much.
That is more in focus but I need to shoot from lower down to get the best effect of her lovely smile. Without planning I have evolved a new photo-shoot set up in the studio. I ordered an Ikea fake sheep's wool rug from Amazon. When it arrived I just dropped it on a basket tied to my old walker and here every thing comes together. I find the babies can sit easily but I see I will have to watch the lighting. With these white body sleeves made in China you can see the red wool heart I put inside my babies. It shines through! Or maybe it is only Candy's warm heart and openness that shows it. I am happy to have her and love talking to her. She was very good through the whole body exchanging process!