Tuesday, June 30, 2015

See how a lot of secrets are being passed around by the dolls. I did not even see MaiHeidi  standing below the swing eaves-dropping before the picture came up on the computer screen. Evidently it is rather juicy news as when you see the look on the boys' faces - even their tongues are hanging out. The fight over the swing convinced me to hang a new larger one so both boys could be in it at once. At the moment we have peace, of sorts, in this corner. Except for all the secrets.

All day I worked on stuffing this week's crew so we can move on to bodies tomorrow. The babies are all about the same size which means I can make 4 bodies in the morning with the strong hope they will fit. The warm weather does dry the glue faster so I am moving right along.
I did finish the 'nest' for Princess but I need morning light to photograph it with her in it. Werner saw it and seemed very touched. I like it and it gives me joy to look up from my chair and see Princess in it. Oh, I did get the wigs thinned and trimmed and was able to try this one on our  girl from China.
These girls certainly enjoy being blondes instead of having that dark mohair on their heads. She looks and seems like a real American girl now. Her hair turned out a bit longer than I intended but that is better than being too short. I cut about 6 inches off the wig. I hated to do that but I had bought the wig a long time ago for less than a dollar, so I was willing to gamble on cutting off the extra. Looking at this picture, I wish her bangs were longer. I did not cut them - they came that length. Too short!

Monday, June 29, 2015

This was yesterday. Today the wigs from Sandie's arrived and before I even thinned it properly I was mashing the mohair into. . .

Except for the same sleeper one would hardly know it was the same child. The wig is too thick and a bit too short, I think. Now, after the wigs arrived, I get the idea to rework one of the 2003 wigs just for her. That will have to wait until tomorrow.
I had so many plans for work today and almost none of it got done. Werner took the car to SR to get new cooling hoses which was done so quickly he was back home in a flash. I had planned to enter more babies in Reborns.com and to my Etsy store so last night I bought three in to the desk hoping that seeing them would allow me to be more accurate with my descriptions of them. I had just dumped them on the corner of the desk but today I found this,

That is Samantha whispering things into Raine's ear that evidently are a slight shock to her. I love it when I just sock a baby down and from the positions they adopt something seems to be happening that I had not planned. The babies life beyond me - surely it is more exciting than even I can dream.
Looking back, to proofread what I wrote, I am again convinced of the wisdom of not rooting mohair on larger dolls and older babies. Even the painted hair above is better. Off-topic as they say on the doll forums.
Oh, all day I have tried to get Photobucket to works and it has changed so much it will not do anything I want it to. I have been reading the posts at Doll Fan Forum, which I like much better than BB's bulletin board, and they had a contest for the most newborn new born and I wanted to post this photo but Photobucket  is thwarting me!

There I have posted it, in the wrong place, but I feel much better.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Meet the new crew for the new week. You will probably recognize Punkin to the left, Juliet, Kendal (or Ken Doll) and Eliza with their limbs behind them. By tonight every one had whitened and painted toenails and fingernails - to dry over night. The heads were painted AND eyes installed. Things went so well with that. I made an effort to open the inner socket as near the eyelid as possible. This meant when the eyeballs were installed they were pushed up against the eye opening so there was not that space that bothered me so much last week. The glue around the eyes should be dry by morning. The studio really warms up with these warm days.

I finished the two Blazes for Holly and photographed them with the older Blaze boy who will also accompany the other two on the trip.

Blue Eyes Blaze

Brown Eyes Blaze

Saturday, June 27, 2015

It is not often that I am quick enough to get before and after photos. Here are the three kids needing haircuts and the photos show why. The fog was blowing so coldly this morning I made myself wait until the sun came out in the afternoon. I have to cut their hair outdoors as the mohair makes me sneeze.
I had forgotten that after the haircut comes the styling and that their hair would be wet afterwards. So while they dried I could photograph them again here by the testing chair..
While gathering up the crew I notice the boy Blaze's curls were not looking their best so I added him to the cutting bunch. It seems he is more interested in looking at the Blaze bodies without their heads than showing  you his new hair style! I laid out the hearts for the new babies so I do not forget to add them in tomorrow.
Ling-Yen stopped by at noon for more of the dolly parts from my porcelain days. I was touched that she found so much in my box she wanted. It was a blast from the past to go through those old chunks of dollies. Found a good pair of shoes still in the plastic bag and an old idea that I maybe will revisit with vinyl doll parts. The doll had fallen and the head was broken. None of my left overs were the right size. I think I will use my leftover energy tonight to work on my Etsy page.

How is this for the way the Universe works? I have been crocheting diaper covers when I need to rest but when I tried them on the babies, I felt they made them way too fat ( their tushes too much of a handful) but they do sit better. Then I get a letter from Holly arranging for a shipment of more babies to her and she asks (get this) for fatter babies. Suddenly I was interested in sewing the buttons on the covers and using them.
Yesterday I reviewed Candy, Chanel and Sasha (made sure no one had pooped in their pants) and put the new covers on them. When I got to Chanel I noticed her fluffy 'Hello Kitty' sleeper had a tendency to 'pill' so we looked through the sleepers and she picked this.
A sleeping sack like we used in the 50s! It had a matching cap, which interested me most. but she, like the slightly old-fashioned girl she is, loved the vintage-look of the sac. Somewhere I read of dementia patients not accepting our new ways of dressing a baby and actually prefer ones that looked as their children had. I put socks on her to keep her feet warm (and safe during transportation). I hope the person who adopts her appreciates her care and sensibility in choosing her outfit. It even has the fold over sleeves to make a mitten to cover her sharp little nails.
It was interesting to note that the three babies Holly requested were three I had on Reborns.com. I deleted them and now need to get new babies up there. My Etsy site is beginning to work and I need to get babies up there before I announce it. And 3 Blaze babies need haircuts and curls today. Why am I so happy?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I had my work all planned out today. I could hopefully fill two of the bodies for the Blaze kids, cut their hair and get it curled and maybe even get them dressed in new sleepers. As usual, I do the email stuff in the house on the computer before leaving for the studio at about 10. To my surprise, there was an email that this person wanted to change the parameters for therapy reborns for dementia. I had taken my idea of such a baby from the ROSE website and was following those guidelines. However this person adds a new twist. No babies with open mouths or teeth can be used for her dementia patients. I had sent her five with this feature! All I could think about was how to make this right for her. I tried to work on the Blaze babies, but my heart and mind was beating me up for shipping the "wrong" kind of babies so there was not enough energy to do anything right.
All I could do was to stop and see how many babies had closed mouths. I laid them out on the boxes for the library.

I felt better seeing that I could replace the 5 "wrong" ones with 11 new kids. Still I felt like such a failure I could not find the energy to give to the Blaze kids to make them reborns. So I sat and crocheted diaper covers. The buttons from Amazon (little pink flower shapes) have not yet come but I am hoping tomorrow will bring them. I made ones bordered in blue because I have buttons from Marva that are white and look as close to masculine as I was going to get today.
Looking at most of those closed mouths in these photos I see how much those kits look like dolls instead of the ones with real baby mouths. No wonder I do not like them.,

Monday, June 22, 2015

I just sat and wept while I held little blonde Blaze. I found her so cute, such a sweetie, so snuggy, so huggable and yet because she is factory-painted and her hair was rooted by someone who knows what she is doing instead of an amateur doing her second doll with a lot of love, Blaze will not get the credit and adoration she deserves. Even BB degrades her by saying she is NOT a 'reborn.' I just felt so much love for her and her sisters today and I guess I identified with them. In my childhood I too went through some very ugly phases and there was no way I could make anyone love me.

Those pink things are the diaper covers I've been making. Under a sleeper they looked huge and awful. I yanked them off of her. She does have a slightly fatter body but I am (again!) not happy with the way it fits under her chin. She sits fine and her arms and legs are easily movable in the crocheted caps but her chin falls into her too-big boob area. Her butt and female parts are much too pointed. I am hoping I can resew and reshape to the other girls' parts before tomorrow. I may try some way to reduce those broad Michelle Obama -shoulders. The curve of the vinyl makes them even worse.
Here is how her body looked before I stuffed it. What you can barely see (because they are white) are the doll joints that hold the crocheted part to the fabric. I do like the lilac color with the skin tone. And I fell in love with the little girl today. Holly wants brown babies so I may just keep her as a part of myself.
The above photo needs some explanation. Holly wrote that she wanted more of the factory painted babies from BB because SHE likes hair and she felt their brown eyes and skin tones might have more appeal to persons of color in the Chicago area.  So when BB had a sale I bought three kits. Then on Saturday I discovered that they all needed the body suits for full arms and legs. The last time I used one of these babies in a BB body suit I had to sew extensions on the arm holes to get them to cover the flange completely. I was not going to buy BB bodies for over $20 each and then add those ugly extensions and take up the bellies. I saw the way BB made the limb caps was too bulky with the heavy doe-skin suede which was why they did not fit. The idea of making 12 limb caps out of Harmony's fabric gave me the jitters. Sitting very long in the chair at the machine is harder for me that being in the recliner. Slowly the idea of crocheting the limb caps began to form. Most of Sunday was used up in trying out the idea, testing to see if they fit, and if they were strong enough. I wanted to make all of them in blue to match either the fabric or the limbs in yellow and ended up with this hodge-podge of colors. One good thing, the crocheted caps are as soft as padded caps so the baby will feel cuddly and will not show under the sleepers. My work is cut out for me on Monday.
As I was putting my mess away I thought I heard giggling and there was Kitty being tickled by the blue elephant. I think she is enjoying it!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Here is Elijah with his hands folded in prayer. I wanted to teach him "Here is a church; here is a steeple" but he said he would rather pray. When I asked Werner what he wanted for Fathers' Day he said, "Just prayers." He had not yet met Elijah, but he has already gotten an answer to his want from a dolly who prays. I am already thinking that I may not be able to give him away!

When I set Lily on the rug for her photo, instead of sitting down like a good girl she stood and turned her back to the camera. Then I saw the little ruffles on the backside of the sleepers, told her they were very cute, though I thought way too small. Then, and only then, would she sit down to pose.
She kept putting her hand to her head instead of holding out her arms to embrace her new companion as I wanted her to be. I know she is bald since I have no more wigs here yet and could not make up my mind whether to draw in hair or not. Finally I got the message. She wanted a hat to hide the baldness.

Still she was so pleased with the hat that she would not pose but only wanted to touch it and make sure it was sitting straight on her head. Finally she gave me the pleading look I wanted to catch to show you how much she needs a new mommy. She often looks as if her lip is trembling and she is just about to cry. Those big brown eyes make her look even more pleading.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Yesterday I was calling this lad @sshole. The day before that I had painted a head for him and wrangled the eyeballs in though it was very obvious they were so loose they wobbled. Overnight I thought about the problem and decided that the new glue coming from Amazon would work if I could just make myself wait until the box arrived. It did come yesterday right on time and by afternoon I was trying to get glue in the spaces around the eye. The nozzle was too big and let out too much so that each eye was swimming in white glue. If I tried to wipe glue off the eyeball, it would shift and slide into another glob of glue. At one point I just walked away from the table in such a snit that I was unable to have any new ideas. Resting in my chair I began to think of a $3.99 pair of eyes being wasted. I returned to the mess, took the eyes out and cleaned all the glue off the vinyl. I was afraid there was glue I was not getting off so I got out another Ching head, determined to put 24mm eyes in it. I tried every trick I know and the eyes were just too big to go between the socket and the eyelid. Then I tried inserting the 22 mm eyes I had just cleaned off. They popped right in but still there was space all around. I think he really needs 23mm eyes. I actually considered making some in that size with sculpy clay. At 4:00 I was not up to that. However I made sculpy plugs to put in behind the eyes to force them up against the back of the eyelid. The eyes sat closer but I still was not satisfied. Duct tape to the rescue. I was able to force the socket down on the eyeball were I wanted it and hold it in place. I added more duct tape until I had what I wanted. Having seen how this kit can mess with eyes, I stuffed the head at once with lots of cotton around the eyes. This morning I had this.
Today was body-day and it is no longer the crisis/disaster it has been in the recent pass. I had bought some BB bodies to see how to make the part that fit full-length legs and I knew Candy had 'em. So she got the first body from BB but before I could put it on her I had to go in to the machine to sew up the seams. While there I made another body. Back in the studio Candy, now named Sweetie, was delighted to have her legs in the right body. I was glad she was not as fat as the original body would have made her.
She was still sitting on the test chair when I finished (I now call him Alex instead of @hole) and plopped him down on the floor beside her. To my shock when I looked back she had her hand on his shoulder asking him to forgive me for being so angry with him yesterday. I think the camera caught him saying, "Aw, it wasn't that bad."
In the peace that then reigned in the studio I was able to get Lily into a body. She was very happy with the slimness of it and started to relax. I helped Sweetie put a hand on her shoulder too. You can see that I am not putting the lace on my body sleeves but I have changed how I make the string channel around the neck. Instead of trying to get the rounded cut in the front to fold over smoothly, I have sewn on a placket for the string that makes the curve beautifully. This photo shows the big difference in skin colors.
Then I turned to Eliza, who I was calling Elijah. He is so much smaller so I took my courage in hand and made him one of the smaller suits. It was a perfect fit. He knew it, I knew it and every one else agreed with us.
Thus by early afternoon everyone had their birthday suit and there was 1/2 day left over so I got out the new pile of sleepers. Michelle came through in perfect time. Her sleepers smell so good and she folds them so nicely we can take them out of the box to start trying them on.
 Sweetie could not find any with food pictures on them so she ended up taking these with polar bears. When I asked how her logic picked these she said, "Well bears love honey!" "That," I said, "are black bears. I think Polar bears find dolphins sweet." She just turned her head and kept on smiling. I was amazed how soft these sleepers were. Probably too warm for summer but just right for cool California summers. I just could not stop cuddling her! The softness of the outfit and her own snuggle factor made me want to stop work right there and just rock her. By the time I got the other three dressed and ready for photographs I saw the sun was already too far on to the set up. The earth is changing and it was going  to ruin my photo shoot. Still I tried to hurry and get the other babies done when Alex set up a howl. He wanted to be posed with a sailboat to match his jammies. I stopped every thing to search through my toys but there were no sailboats. He had a fit, would not pose,
stuck out his tongue at me, refused to touch any other toy.

All I can do is photograph the other two kids tomorrow which I am eager to do as I found Elijah can fold his hands as if he is in prayer. How right that he got that name and that ability to pray.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Meet the new crew for this week on the table at my shoulder where the computer with audible books is. As usual the Ching child is acting up - being the crew clown. Next to him is Candy, how I love her friendly expression, then Lilly who is new to me (and looks scared of everything), and Elsie who turned out nice for me before. When I was gluing the eyes the Ching child panicked that I was gluing in the joke. Afterwards, as I was making final adjustments in the wet glue, I saw the Ching child had both eyes in the proper place!
I was able to start the new crew yesterday because I did not do take the wigs off of last week's bunch. I did put them aside to keep them separate.

EDITH                 FELICITY
I posted Ming-Yen on reborns.com and need to go check for comments on her today. As far as I know, I am the first person to purchase a doll from China and reborn it. That may not go down well with the folks who are so anti-Chinese. Looking at these photos I am again very depressed with the expressions on the American doll kits. It makes me vow again not to buy any kit that does not have a genuine smiling face. I should not say all the smiles are on foreign faces. When I look at all the Chinese dolls only one has a pleasant neutral look and there is then only the Ming-Yen kit that has the good smile. Even the Chinese know the worth of that smile - her kits and dolls stay high in price. Otherwise I am eager to buy another but not at $118.  In the BB forum I was reading of people wishing for doll kits that cost $300. - 400. and turned off my computer in amazement to catch my breath.

Oh, even though Harmony and I had moved the Dolly Lama several times, carrying him around with us when we met last week, when he was put back in his corner, he turned his foot out to show the sole of his foot as he had done before. Does he know the stories of the Buddha and how his feet had very special markings on them to  prove his spiritually and destiny? I believe, as Harmony said,  he is a special one!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

There has been an usual amount of screaming and yelling in the nursery at the orphanage today. Everyone saw Tommy's wig in the photos on Reborn.com, added to the transformation Ming Yen made yesterday with her blonde wig, so when I suggested  a day of hair painting and matching eyebrows howls began and Eden threw his head on the floor. I was  prepared to paint hair not try on wig after wig until the right one came to be.
Before we even got out the wigs I noticed some of the sleepers were too small. I only have a few left as the present order just got sent from eBay today. Most of what I have now are pink. For some weird reason only the pink ones fit. There are 4 sizes - preemie, newborn, 0-3 months and 3 months in my dwindling pile. That meant Alan turning into Alice and Eden becoming Edith and that was not an easy change on any of us.
Adding wigs to the pink sleepers convinced everyone of the wisdom of a sex change in the nursery today. First I had to go out on the porch to thin the old wigs from 2003. Gobs of hair was flying everywhere. I was surprised when a haiku came to me.
after the haircut
all the bushes bloom
with me


after the haircut
all the bushes bloom
with mine

It was not my hair being cut but that on the wigs but often haiku are not exact! Now I had enough usable wigs for everyone. One by one they lined up before the camera in the sunshine.
Ming Yen



Eden or Edith?

Alan or Alice?

I almost feel I should wait for the arrival of more sleepers so we can have boys again. Though I love seeing the babies in wigs,  I do not know how that will affect our population of therapy reborns!

Monday, June 15, 2015

I don't know how many of you recognize this baby from the ads on eBay from Chinese doll makers. They usually sell for about $118 with free shipping, but one night I clicked into eBay and found this  one in an action going for just over $50. I bid and minutes later I won her. It takes about a month to get anything won at auction from China so I had almost forgotten getting her because it is such a fluke. I never bid on finished dolls - only kits. On the BB forum someone had posted, "never buy the cheap dolls from China." and now I had one. I was eager to check her out in the only way I knew - I took her all apart.
I found she was made with a great deal of hand care and came with a COA that she was the 89th out of 1000. Even the lumps around plastic cable ties had been hand-sewn into neatness. I had the feeling her clothes were made for dolls and not babies, though I loved these embroidered jeans. I felt her body was way too fat and was eager to see how it was stuffed. The arms, legs and head where not weighted with beads or bags of anything but in her butt was a handmade pouch of white plastic pellets.
Her body, head and legs were stuffed with clean new good quality fiberfill. The arms were stuffed with something that looked like waste from some fabric machines. However everything was clean, there was no smell to any of it. I did not feel I needed to wash my hands immediately after working with her. See how her arms and legs seem too thin for her body and how dumb the mohair is?
Would you believe this is the same child? She has been Americanized.

I have come to the decision that rooted mohair only looks good on newborns and babies of this larger size look better with a real wig. I love her as a blonde and am impressed all over again with her smile and face. She even fulfilled my desire to have at least one baby of the week looking pleasant.
Here I had a brown curly wig on her and Eden, to her left, was trying on the blonde wig, At Dolls by Sandie I found new wigs that are made with a lot less hair so they look better on very young than the way-too-think ones on toddler children. Looking at the photos here I think I will give her the blonde wig back tomorrow. Thank goodness I have another one! She was very delighted with the sleeper she picked out when she found out it, too, was made in China. If the sun shines tomorrow it is photo day.

Oh, I almost forgot! Felicity made by Linda Macario, (LE 9/300) was also in this crew. Yesterday when I stopped work the last thing I did was to re-position her eyes (in those big teat-like shapes), glue them in place and set her head aside to dry right. This morning it looked as if someone had been playing in my studio in the night or the dolls had had a party. Felicity's left eye was moved so much that part of the colored iris was hidden. I did go ahead to stuff her body but set both head and body aside until I get those eyes glued in properly. She does not look happy but at least both eyes are looking in a similar direction. This was the first time I used 1/2 arms that had the curve in the stuffed fabric part. Always something new.

Friday, June 12, 2015

While recovering from yesterday and wrestling the babies into a box I found directions to crochet diaper covers. So I did one this morning. I am thinking it would be better to make diaper covers than the blankets. They take 3 days and about $8. worth of yarn. I can buy the hospital swaddling blankets, which are a good size, for about 4.each. I read somewhere that older woman do not like Pampers because they remember the old cloth diapers. Maybe I should make the babies listed on Reborns.com the deluxe version of a therapy reborn with blanket AND cover on a flannel diaper . If I made diaper covers there will be no peace pals for awhile.
By late afternoon I was revived enough to start on next week's crew of babies.After doing the nails on hands and toes, I got the eyes in and was looking at the faces and realized they were all either grumpy or just neutral. I missed a smile so added one of the Chinese kits to the mix.
I was amazed how that smile lifted my heart. We have, left to right, a Chinese kit, Felicity made by an Italian woman, Eden - who is very white! and my old friend Ching. Both Felicity and the Chinese kit had those funny eye sockets with bulbous protrusions. At first I tried stuffing the extra space with cotton and then I could not get the eyeball in. Worked over an hour getting eyes in! I need instructions. Afterwards I glued the eyes in place and while the glue was wet, made the final adjustments. So far so good.
Fedex was supposed to come by with a paid mailing slip from Holly but he/she never arrived. I was ready to invite whoever to dinner as the evening got later and our dinner sat in the oven. We finally ate with one ear out the driveway.
Tonight I was able to get another really cheap finished doll from China in an auction so that gives me courage to take apart the one I have. Then I will really see how their dolls are different from ours. I already noticed the head and limbs are NOT stuffed. There is a bag of pellets in the butt of the doll body. The clothes are very cute. I am eager to see the doll in sleepers and the clothes on other babies. Guess I am eager for tomorrow.