Thursday, July 30, 2015

I found this photo of Regina in her body suit and wanted to show you how the crocheted caps work - very well, I think. In my new policy of keeping up with things. I stopped to repair the bench, which has no bearing on this photo except seeing the bench holding her reminded me.

Now you can meet Regina showing off her new diaper covers! She is one big baby and I love her. She needs hair and none of my wigs were big enough for her so I sent off for the biggest one Sandie offers. I did get her done on her 'day' but I lack hair and shoes big enough for her. I guess I need to loosen up and accept that everything will not come together for me on the day I finish a baby. I started one of the Benno kits that came from Germany and then I ran out of steam before I even got it photographed. The day was not as hot as the two previous ones but I fell into a depression by suppertime that I could not climb out of. Only cashews brought me back to singing in the shower.

I tried taking new shots of Kay so she looked as if she was lying down and not sitting up, but I am not happy with her whites on the white rug. Need to work on this idea. Watched videos from the doll show in Denver and they had the same trouble of finding the best way to photograph babies!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I am trying something different this week. Instead of picking three (or more) babies to be done at once as a crew, I am concentrating on doing just one babe at a time. I opened the box with this kit and noticed the difference in the two sides of the head, and wondered if I could use this kit. I needed first to see if I could repair this. So instead of piling on a crew, and since these warmer day have slowed me down so much, I decided to do him as the only baby-in-progress.

You can see that with the afternoon warmness and stuffing with awareness I was able to get the head to appear normal. Those full length arms and legs mean I have to crochet the caps but I am glad to do that as they fit better than the circles of doeskin that BB uses. Now I am off to sew up his body.
I realized I never showed you how the babies are registered. Here is Raine being watched over by the Dolly Lama for the process.  On the counter at the window is the mail scale which I use to weigh each baby. This is Raine getting measured for her length. I put the head against the wall and my clipboard against the feet and use a tape measure. I record the date the baby was 'born,' its body type and clothes size and what kind of hair, if any. Then we proceed to the living room for the portraits. I usually take about 15 shots of each. There are moments when I feel I make them all alike but I do make some changes. This time, Kay Dance was so tiny I felt she needed to photographed lying down so I arranged that. However, when I look at the photos I see she looks as if she is sitting up like the others.

She is 18" long and weighs just under three pounds but seems so tiny.

Raine is sitting up, you can tell by the where the shadows fall.

This is Nolan, the Dolly Lama's brother. Only after photographing did I find the yellow caps. It is good to have a brown-eyed baby again.  You can see the little mark where I accidentally cut through his eye. I have no idea why or how that happened. There seems to be no way to cover it. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

We started getting bodies this morning. It was so hot, so unusual for us, that I felt I did not make good choices. I can see from the photo that there are several things to change on Rainy' s body. Her neck got too long and the shoulders are uneven. I ran out of the doll joints I like and in trying to use the ones with brown plastic caps I strained so hard trying to get it to work I felt something snap in my brain. Figured I broke a blood vessel. That slowed me down so I came inside (where it was cooler) and ordered more of the correct ones from Amazon. The flowers did not come so I ordered new ones and WR could not get the wire in town to fix Me-me's doll stand so I ordered a giant one from another company. The questions now begin of whether these things I have ordered will come in time. Amazon says the order could come as late as August 8 - the day before the doll is due at GAC.
 In order to work on this corner of the shelves I untied Me-me and retied her on the other corner. I am trying to set her aside to work on the babies again but that did not go well either. The seam on Kay's neck gave way and I had to resew it by hand. Also not good. I did give her a little flower for her pains. She is a very sweet little girl who has at least one of her hands open. My newest 'battle' of the babes is trying to avoid kits in which all the fingers are folded into a fist.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Sunday when I woke up I really woke up and remembered what had started me on the journey to make this piece. When I got my last order from BB I found I had ordered, on a shopping whim, these huge fairy wings. I was surprised they were so big and then stuck them far back in the cupboard to forget that I had really fallen for such a thing. I really had forgotten them. I realized when I added the wings that they had the pink and green I was using in the piece and would emphasize bringing the colors together into some kind of sense.
I see here that taking those white roses off the skirt does help the skirt color a lot. I had some velcro dots that were not made for use on fabric (duh!). By cutting the dots into quarters they are small enough to use on the skirt. If I find them falling off I can sew them down so I am hoping they will stick in spite of being misused.
I was so tired last night, having done nothing on the other dolls, I forgot to bring in the camera. When I just now went out to get it I saw this photo.
Having the wings in place makes this frog more noticeable and frames him so nicely. There is even a flower to attract him. I am amazed how I worked on the doll so much and yet could so completely forget the wings yet all I did was part of having them included. I am having a period of very low energy. I am not working that hard on this piece but it is draining my energy. When I work on the babies to give away I have lots of energy and never get this tired. I am beginning to think I really need to get back to the babies. The flowers for the garland should arrive today and Werner is all primed to buy some steel rods to enlarge the dolly stand - my last hurdle.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

By Friday I felt I could or should start on the piece for Art in the Redwoods (AIR) So I finished the beading on the female frog, with a great sigh of relief because it hurt my eyes so. My eyes  felt as if I had been crying.

By the end of the day I had the doll stuffed (not easy putting in an armature at the same time). I had to tie her to the shelving to keep her stable. I need to remake the doll stand but for that I need heavier wire which WR said he would get for me on Monday. I do not know if I can bend that weight wire, but will try. I had planned another dress for the doll but at the end of the day wanted her to really look good so I put this ready-made dress on her and to my surprise, it fit. I had bought it a year ago for little Jenny Wren who swam in it. 
Last evening we lost our internet so I went back to the studio to study this blue dress and decided it was not right for the piece. I started to work on the one in my heard and got very tired. I guess I do need that down time just watching Serena Williams play tennis!
This morning the blue dress came off so I could try my idea. Above the toddler's head (no name yet) hangs Raine. I got such a charge out of her. I would be puzzling what to do, questioning every thing, and then I would look up and see her with her little fists urging me on. Even her eyes seemed to speak to me.

Only tonight did I decide those white roses on the pink are contributing to the funny dull color of the pink tulle over the silver fabric. Tonight I started adding red roses which helped a lot. By Monday the bigger pinker roses from Amazon should be here (for her hair) and maybe those will be right on the skirt too. Thank goodness those white roses are only hanging on by the sticky stuff that held them to the card so they are easy to remove and I will not lose a lot of work by changing my mind.
You notice the vinyl heads are gone from the bench. I used part of the afternoon to stuff the three bodies and glue in the eyes so hopefully tomorrow I will be able to work on them and ignore this. I was pleased with the way the dress and tulle over skirt worked out. I had no idea that pink tulle on the silver could die right there. Am in lots of fights with the fibro over my right to have a heart attack. It loves to scare me silly with all kinds of symptoms.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

This was a cleaning day so Mary came but today she brought her doll carriage from when she was a little girl. When we talked about this, I imagined a baby-sized buggy that I worried would not fit into my cramped spaces, but to my delight it is a very big, in very good condition, doll buggy. Mary still thought it needed cleaning and a bit of de-rusting on the chrome parts, but as soon as we got it into place the babies were flying into it. The bit of blue to the left is the chair so any visitors will see in the buggy best, and be able to get a baby on to their lap without searching the shelves.
To stay out of Mary's way I crocheted on the swing nests. It was a bit of a contest who got first chance to try them out but that honor went to two of my favorites.

Jenny Wren and Ming-Yen. Now I have their smiling faces right at the edge of my chair and when I look up from whatever I am doing there, I have these joyful personalities at my fingertips. When I got these done and up I returned to beading the feet of the frog. I really find beading stressful. I am so tired tonight. I spilled spaghetti sauce down the clean stove onto the newly cleaned floor. Tomorrow I hope to have more photos of the "Spirit Child" for you. Her wig from Sandie Unger arrived and is perfect. Well maybe a bit too thick but it will be perfect.
Monday was the last day to register for an entry in Art in Redwoods. All this time my mind has gone back and forth about whether or not to enter. I had a small idea but I really hated to have the bother of getting someone to take the entry in, make sure it still looked right, all without me. And did I have enough time to make the work and still keep up with the babies to donate. I had talked my idea for the piece over with Harmony on Thursday when she was here and as is so often, when she says she will take the piece in, I later also find other ways to get it there. It can be Heidi and Ashley and their men will be here that weekend and if so, then my worries are really over. So I sent in the papers for "Spirit Child."
Except how do I get the piece made and still make the babies for donation? At the moment the stack of them is quite high and it would be good if something else occupied my thinking for a few days.
I had on hand the Juan kit, I loved his face! so got that out and put in his eyes. Only then did I discover his legs were bent into a sitting position so he would not stand. Digging deeper I found I had bought Tibby and her body and the inner armature that I had never used or figured out. Her legs were straight! She is made to be standing. Good news.
While discussing my ideas for making a fairy-like child with tulle and flowers with Werner, he mentioned that for it to be 'art' it needed some strange factor to deepen the meaning of the piece. Hmmm. I tried putting one of the small frogs on her feet (as I have no shoes to fit her) but it only looked like a neat idea for house slippers. Yesterday I grabbed down one of the big frogs used in my Prince Charming project. Better! What you cannot see in this photo is his very real looking penis between his legs.

The other (female?) frog needed some beading finished on its feet so I began to bead again. I soon remembered why I was choosing to make babies instead of beading. It hurts! I figure I have a couple day's work to get the feet all to have beads on them.
While I rested I was thinking of putting one of the smaller frogs in the head as I do with other heads. Then I began to think that I needed someway for the viewer to see the frog and I came up with this idea. It is escaping! to his surprise, just the way sexual thoughts get into and out of our heads!

I cut a slit in the back of the head and after a struggle, was able to pull the frog this far through it. It worked perfectly and the expression with Juan's big eyes also works perfectly. I did order a blonde wig to fit him from Sandie and hope I can thin it enough to have the frog just peeking through hair. In the other photo you can see the pipe insulation I will use to firm up the parts. The armature is far too short to do the job so I am already trying to engineer a better solution. To take the pressure off me to make the piece stand properly I was able to order one of those metal doll stands big enough for Tibby's body from  Amazon. You can see the crew's heads on the bench (in the upper photo)  patiently waiting on me to return to them. Soon! the pressure is strong in me to work on them.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Well it is official. I am a doll collector. Or at least I have collected my first silicone baby. He was sculpted by Lorna Miller-Sands, is 106 / 350, was part of the Silicone Bitties Collection. He is 10 inches long, and is just a good handful. The box he came in made it look as if he was a couple of years old. As I opened it I kept feeling that someone should be video-taping this. Good thing no one else saw the box. It looked very much as if he had never been taken out of the box. Dolls are evidently not a good investment as a year ago he was sold on eBay for $185, and I got him in an auction for $102. There was not much action on the site so I do not know whether to crow that I have won him or just enjoy touching him. For me, it was a thrill to just know I was getting a silicone baby. The mystic has built up in the doll world about these, especially since I have been reading posts on Doll Fan. He  is tiny but that is really all I wanted to invest in learning the feel of this kind of doll. It IS realistic, and I can imagine that a baby-sized doll would feel very real. I had laid out an outfit of my smallest baby clothes but he was far tinier than anything I had. So there is no temptation to go shopping for real baby clothes for him.
I had read on the forum that silicone babies are big dirt and dust magnets. In my studio when the babies are getting their bodies there is a fine smog of poly-fill lint in the air. It was no question of leaving him in the box. This was not an investment but the way to experience and enjoy a new baby. A lady on had listed a real hospital baby bed (basically a clear acrylic tub) that I was considering buying. I was waiting to see how big a 10 inch baby really was. Yesterday she sold the bed to someone else. Good thing  because I really did not need it. Then I remembered I had bought an acrylic box for one of my beaded scenes. Perfect.

I hated having him on the backside of the shelves because I wanted to look at him and keep him company. When I put him on the other side of the shelf he already had playmates looking in on him.

The beaded giraffe and monkey fell against the plastic wall in their eagerness to touch him. At this point I have not given him a name, but I am open to everything.

Happy Day! the sun was shining so I could photograph the whole crew. This girl was named Summer Ching because she was 'born' on such another beautiful summer day. The more I see the grumpy unsmiling sleeping babes offered on eBay and the more I love this baby.

Sadie is not easy to photograph because her one eye came loose when I stuffed her head. I have tried all the glues I have, including super-glue, to get it to stick into place and nothing holds it fast. I have started to love her because she has trouble keeping the eyeball where I want it to be.

 Tanya should be named princess as it seems she understands her position in the pecking order of the dolls. She insists on being first. Her given name (Isis) may be a clue to her personality. Still I am glad she can smile. She has that fat contented look of a Bountiful Baby body.

It was nice to be able to dress a baby in something besides sleepers! The mother of Juliet (who painted her) sent clothes and even a blanket with her limbs and head so I decided to dress her in real baby clothes instead of a sleeper with the hope that she can find a special new mom.

Kameko gets to ride in the new swing/nest because pink becomes her so well. She wants you to notice that there is bow at her feet. I feel the swing/nests need some decoration and am still working to figure out a good one.
Got letter from New York that the babes arrived and they all are very happy with them. It is amazing, and a joy, how people who get the dolls are so happy with them. I am framing one letter - it is so comforting to me.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

This is the scene at the birthing table this morning. I never 'do' five babies in one day so I told myself to just take it easy - no goals - just do one baby today. Somehow I had counted how many bodies I needed and was saying to myself, "3 big ones and two small ones." After cutting out five bodies and sewing two of the large ones I was so stiff and sore from sitting at the machine I decided maybe just two large babies.
By noon I had Sadie and Sunshine feeling at home in their new bodies. Instead of making another large body I needed three smaller ones so started sewing on them. Again after two I was aching and glad to hop into the recliner. There I discovered Juliet had come with her body (a BB one) so the two that were sewn were fine.

Eager to feel that even on a hot day, the babies were getting their bodies I switched to the BB bodies. I was shocked at how Juliet's body looked on her. I had forgotten that it needed to be taken in and I did not like how her legs jutted out from the rest of her. As I was taking her apart I wondered how the body I had planned for her would look. Her arms and legs are better now, but the middle of the body is over an inch too long. 

Maybe tomorrow I will take her apart to make the length reduction. Unhappy now with my bodies, I saw a BB one for full length arms and legs. To my surprise it seemed to fit Tanya ( her real name is Isis but refuse to name a child with that name!).

 I took out the plastic cables and put in string. Her coloring is about as close to AA that I have gotten. I love the expression of her mouth but from the side her head shape is very African, She  could be a lot darker. Her nose is wide enough. I simply lacked the courage to go that dark. Here she looks even lighter.

I guess I was tired. I forgot to photograph Kameko! Tomorrow is another day. Google said it would rain for the next 4 days. Instead we are having a heat wave - the warmest day of the year so far and lots of sunshine. I was surprised at how many kids in this crew had their hands made into fists! I am hoping the next bunch will have open fingers and no fights break out with this crew until I get the photos made. At supper I told Werner today would be a good day for his birthday! He was okay with having more celebration. I celebrated getting five new babies. He was not smiling!

Fortified with 5 pounds of poly-fill I got 5 sets of limbs stuffed and still had the time and energy to finish this nest/swing. Tim and his (now) pet frog consented to model it for us. There is a lot of pink in the air with this, that I find a little hard to live with. Also the basket idea did not work so I can in the future save having to do that. I started a new one with white acrylic yarn but that will happen only when I sit down to rest. Today I have five bodies to sew. The weather is cloudy so I will not rush hoping to have enough sun for photos.The trays are very helpful for keeping the kids together and yet separate. I see the trays as playpens.
Oh, I did redo Cookies legs and they feel so much better to me. They do not look any different, but they make a big difference in her balance.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Even though our weather is warm and summer-like, when I went to the studio this morning, the place seemed so cold and forlorn. It was as if nothing was alive there, nothing was happening, that life itself had cooled to the point it was leaving. Wanting to do something, and being out of the cotton white yarn I used for these, I picked up the pink yarn I had used on the tiny baby's swing.

This may have seemed like a detour, but I learned so much from making the tiny model I wondered why I had not made one before like this, with the basket-like feature for the baby to sit in.

So between calls from Werner's kids [today is his 90th birthday] and during his rests and reading in his new books I crocheted on such a swing for the 21 inch babies. In the evening we were sitting in the studio talking about poetry and deciding not to eat until 6:30 [Cordelia sent marzipan and birthday boy had eaten his] when the UPS man came bringing a big box. Yes, it was the poly fill I was waiting for. Now there was no push to get Werner to go to town tomorrow. I thought that since we were eating late I could get "caught up" by stuffing all the babes. As 6:00 rolled around my hands just gave out. It is much more work stuffing the firmer fill into the vinyl parts but it does a much better job of filling and shaping. I have used the plastic plugs BB makes to firm up the joint (at 49 cents each) but having the whole limb compactly filled gives the stability the joint needs when it is tied to the cloth. I will still use the squishy poly-fill that they call 'supreme' for the body because that needs the softness it gives but I am convinced that this new  (to me) form of the fibers is the best for the limbs. It is so tight and compact (it almost feels like cotton but it is poly) that there is no way, I think, for the beads to get around or through it in order to leak out the end. This means I do not need to wait a day for the glue to dry on the felt circles I have been closing these holes.

This single column of poly fill weighs 5 pounds. That gives you an idea of how much more compact it is. And in the deal, Amazon sends it in a perfect box for mailing babies. I am feeling very rich tonight and Werner is very happy with all his birthday books.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

 Yesterday I forgot to capture Cookie waiting on the new stuffing for her legs, so even with a lot going on today she and I got the photo. Seeing her face on the computer reminds me again how much I love that face!

 Here is the week's crew sitting in their trays waiting also for stuffing. I can see here what I discovered earlier this morning. That Isis's legs are in the wrong tray. Isis (I wish she had another more politically correct name!) is in the lower right and her legs in the upper left tray. The photo brings up the colors well!

 I sewed a new body for the new baby and crocheted the caps for her full-length legs and arms. What you cannot really see is how badly her head is connected. It has no flange, just the hole filled with the connection cut from her body plate. There was not enough room to string in the connection so I am thinking that tomorrow I will try something else. But like everything I think of to do, I need the poly fill from Amazon.

I took her photo with her brother and I see now why I only had to pay one cent for him in an auction fluke. What a grumpy depressed little boy. I do not know if he is worth reborning just to stay in touch with his sister. We will see what tomorrow brings us. I may have just bought some little girl a Christmas present.
I usually forget to decorate for a holiday until it is over but these sleepers posted on eBay caught my eye and I broke my "sleeper price limit" to order them early. They arrived yesterday. Eli watched me unwrap them and as soon as I shook them out to see the embroidery he was sliding off the shelf in his eagerness to try them on. I think they were brand new, and are really, really cute. He borrowed MaiHeidi's basket as his goody-bag. I put my old velvet black dress up as backdrop for him as white sheep fleece is not in the season.
I am still waiting on the poly-fill I want from Amazon. Recently while holding Cookie I accidentally pinched her leg and thought, "Oh goodness these are so floppy I must have forgot to finish stuffing her legs." Today, not working on the crew, I had time so I took her legs off. Imagine my surprise to find her legs totally filled with the 'supreme' poly-fill. I talked things over with her and she agreed to stay sitting while she also waited for the new poly-fill if I promise to take care of her before working on the crew.
While waiting I turned to crocheting and made this cradle/nest/sling for a tiny doll I had bought for $10 at Christmas time.  I got a new idea how to make the 'cradle' part more secure so no one fell out of the nest. I started a new full-sized one to see if I can repeat this.
Not working on the crew left me at odd-ends emotionally and the drive in me to work with babies is so strong I started to work on this poor babe.
I took apart a full-body vinyl doll and then had no idea of the size of the cloth body it needed. I picked the smallest body I had and tried it on her to get this weird effect. I am hoping that the houseful of plumbers (we are in well-hell) will allow me to create a smaller body for the little kid. I hated how hard she was when she cuddled with her vinyl body so I am eager to give her a soft little cloth body. At least she keeps smiling through the process.

Monday, July 13, 2015

To my surprise in the studio I had only three more doll kits to work with. Three kits were set aside waiting on some 18 mm eyes and four were in a bag waiting for me to figure out how to do the eyes. No one told me the eye sockets were made for the hand-blown glass eyes. Those have a shape like a big boob behind the eye. There was no way I could use a glass eyeball for therapy babies and no way on earth that I would pay $28. per pair. That is over my kit-price allowance.
 A couple of weeks ago I had tried to use one of these kits with this eye situation, so I spent hours trying to get the eye to sit close to the eyelid and not fall back into the socket. I stuffed the socket with poly-fill and later even sculpy unbaked but it was only several days of applying different kinds of glue that I got them fixed in place. In the meantime I had gotten the idea to make  shape like a big Hersey's chocolate kiss to fill the space and press against the back of the eyeball.
I was finally forced to try it or I would not have enough babies to work on this week. It worked. You can see the eye I got in and the other shapes still in the tin they were baked. I loved the new souffle clay - it was so soft and easy to get started. No hurting my hands rolling it to get it warmed and soft.

It had been such a job getting out the oven, taking it outdoors, getting electrical cords run from the house, so I made more clay shapes from my success. Here you can see how perfectly the eye fits! It takes me twice as long to insert an eyeball because getting the extra piece in the back is as tricky as installing an eyeball.

So here is the crew for the week. On the left is the doll with the fixed eyes (which I see in the picture need to be cleaned up), next is Kameko, then Isis and then one of the Ching family.  I see now that I should not put blue eyes in Isis and that I will have to paint all of her AA. Hope those brown eyes show up soon.

I did get another crocheted nest done and let Jenny Wren try it out. She was very happy in it. I was holding her while Dorise was here and found out how stiff she feels. When I got her I found her very cuddly but now, after holding my babies, she seems stiff and unbend-able. Still no one can find a better face. I have looked all over and never found a face I loved as much as this one.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

 The sun did honor us with it's presence so I could get the photos of the latest crew of babies. This is Tim and below is the reason he looks so cautious and TIMid. While we were fussing with position and clothes a frog crawled up to lick his thumb which I had made him take out of his mouth. I dislike photos of babies with pacifiers because one cannot see the lips and mouth expression and having a thumb in the mouth is the same effect. He has a right to be worried when a frog is licking your thumb.
Tim insisted on showing me how the thumb in one's mouth can still make a cute photo that shows the lips. It is hard when a baby proves me wrong. . .

Now begins the series with the new twins Honey and Bunny. They insisted they did not want the usual old sheepskin as they were special and deserved a special background. They had waited and watched while I bundled up the new babies for New York in these hospital blankets. I warned them the 'cute' ducks would detract from their faces but they won the argument. Here Honey is trying to stand up and nearly got herself out of the photo.
Bunny, Honey's twin, shows us the feet in her sleeper which I use to tell the two twins apart. I put the bibs on them so in the frenzy of photographing I would have addition help to tell them apart. Bunny is more confident than Honey, perhaps because she has the comfort and companionship of the rabbits. To me, both of them seem to be asking, "what's wrong?", "why are you so worried?", "what can I do to make you happier?"
Charlie was happy to pose after I went outside and picked a new daisy for him. He kept waving it around so much that at times it covered his face. Finally I laid it on his shoulder to get it out of his hand. He giggled and loved it tickling his ear until suddenly a little green spider dropped out of it. I grabbed the spider causing it to fail the pressure test. Then Charlie began to cry and there were no more photographs.