Friday, April 29, 2016

Yesterday I made a trial photo of Ming-Yen in gray jammies on the blue background and am impressed how the red pops out of the photo. Today the sun is 1/2 here for the rest of the crew to get their portraits done as my morning job.
Yesterday the studio was too cold to sit to assemble bodies so I cleaned the steel rack shelves to keep me hopping and warm. It was time to do the job because I have just piled things and babies on them since the flooding. After I finished rearranging everything on the shelves, I was warm and happy to sit, and then I noticed some new relationships.

Baby Ben has his sleeves rolled up as he is the new watcher of jammies. I sorted through the piles of sleepers and reordered them according to size and took out some that were not good enough to be therapy doll uniforms. He seems so eager to do the job with every ounce of will he has. I love his can-do attitude.

I put blind Robin on the top shelf where I also put the animals and was surprised to see the puppy take his place as guard dog over Robin. I do have new limbs ordered for him and if they fit, Robin will no longer be a bundle baby. His eyes look so good he can be a therapy baby, even though a rather sleepy one. You can almost see Sleepy Sam who moved with him up on the shelves.

Where Robin used to lie in the sun, Holly has taken over that corner with her paci elephant and as you can see, she is totally taken by the view out the glass door. Next to her is Eli still pushing for St. Patrick's day.

I wanted to show you more photos but Blogger is getting nutsy-cuckoo about handling the photos so I will get even by going to the studio to make MORE photos.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

It was too cool in the studio this morning to sit there, so even though I knew all the babies had not had their limbs stuffed, I stayed inside to make three baby bodies. By afternoon I was headed to the studio with a handful of bodies, eager to assemble them and get the babies into them. First, however, I had to stuff limbs. Since I had started by picking up Ming Yen, the biggest of them all, it took me even longer to stuff her limbs before I could start putting her in her body. She is a sweetie to work with so the work went quickly with no speed bumps.

It seemed to me that her face looked cleaner and her forehead was higher than on her sisters. I looked more closely. True. Evidently the Chinese have  poured new kits in her mold with another recipe for the vinyl. I noticed, while stuffing her limbs, that they were a lot softer than on previous babies. I think this is what the Chinese are now calling their silicone vinyl. True it is much softer than older vinyl kits and it may have some silicone mixed in the unmolded vinyl but she is not a silicone baby. I am excited about the idea of mixing silicone (which is too wobbly and attracts dirt, hair and threads too easily) and the vinyl which most of us prefer for reborns for greater softness and a much more skin-like feel.
Later in the afternoon, while working on Baby Ben, the new Berenguer baby with 1/4 limbs, I found I was not happy with my attempt to fill his limbs. His arms are too stiff. I could, if I would, put tucks in his 'knees' and 'elbows' to allow them to have a natural bend.

He looks as if he has starch in his veins. My other option is to let his body be a bundle baby's since he would be swaddled in a blanket. I do like the shape of his mouth. I think I am too tired to make such a decision tonight. I was touched, after I had found jammies for both of them, that Ming-Yen wanted to hold his hand while they sat on the bench.

Maybe by morning all three of us will know better what to do. My eye tonight keeps putting tucks in Ben's limbs. Ben needs more bends in his body. Now you know how I talk when tired.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

To show the world is back to normal here you can see for yourself that Sleepy Samantha is back to taking care of blind Robin. Even from here his eyes look nicer - less gunky.

That was the morning on the shelves. By noon WR had been to Gualala post office and it was like Christmas around my chair. The first box I opened was the one from Tina in China because I felt fairly sure it contained a doll. It did. I have one of the same kind which I had ordered several months ago.

This doll, I never had the urge to take apart. I was totally happy with her and her looks and feel so she  happily sits today on the shelves as companion to Raspberry. I love her as she is.

The new baby, however, felt very different to me. Even though she came in a beautiful box, I had the feeling something was not quite right. I undressed her to find so many features either made more cheaply, poorly or not done at all that I knew I would have to completely redo her. Before I got started on her I took one more photograph with the lovely box she came in that was the one new thing about this order. The box was nicely improved. The doll would not be a good buy if one paid the $109. most sellers were asking for her. I paid $21, so the whole doll was the price of a kit.

Her body was made of some kind of fabric that was almost rubbery. She had big good dolly joints at her shoulders and hips, but the tackiness of the fabric would not permit the limbs to be turned into being positioned. So I started snipping the plastic ties, glad to get them off of her and eager to plan a new organic body for her. As I examined her nails I saw the paint job was unbelievably sloppy with the color far beyond the nail beds. I used acetone to take as much of it off as I could get. I must say, whatever the Chinese used as paint is very durable and tough. Late in the afternoon she was in a tray with her new manicure drying. Oh, also you can see in the photo what the Chinese now use to put plugs in the ends of limbs which are imitations of Bountiful Baby's plugs to reinforce the top of the limb that is tied to the body. The Chinese have a cheaper method. Someone cuts up chunks of pvc pipes  which are inserted without capping the limb stuffing. It works but looks rather junky.

While all of this was happening, I did open the box from Dolls by Sandie to find the smaller sized eyes I was waiting on for the Berenguer baby I could not finish last week. The eyes popped right in very easily. If I wanted to wait another week I could have ordered an even smaller size (16 mm) as these 18 mms were still very big.  But they work and this poor unnamed baby can edge closer to being a real therapy reborn.

Doesn't he look happy to be becoming? I just realized looking at the photo that in the flurry of the afternoon's new babies, I forgot to stuff his head. I am sure it will wait for me until tomorrow. I am very excited about seeing this guy come together. I love the expression on his face. He only needs a body to become a complete personality.

Among the several doll kits in the box from Sandie was a complete Berenguer baby. He was already dressed and together, but just giving him a brief cuddle I knew he was not properly weighted. I was almost glad to know I should take him apart and give him a new body. I was right. His limbs had no stuffing in them at all, and were not weighted. His Berenguer body was easy to dislike.

His last photo as a Berenguer baby. You can see that he even had not had his nails painted either.

I did save the "do not remove this tag" for inclusion with his new body. I will have to make a new pattern to make up for the fact that his limbs are only 1/4 the length they should be. Last week one of the AA babies had this same feature in her legs but I found that adding stuffed legs to the vinyl legs made her softer to cuddle. I am hoping that having arms and legs with stuffed extensions will add to his softness, too. He has very nicely painted hair and with that tiny opened mouth should make someone happy to give him a bottle or a paci.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Since I had no new doll kits to start today, I revisited a doll who was having difficulties becoming. Last year some time I tried opening the eyes and mouth of Robin from Bountiful baby. This photo was taken in May as I tried to use acetone to stretch and smooth his eyelids.

No matter what I tried, to insert new eyes, nothing worked. I poured bottles of glue on every trick I knew to create some sort of vision for him.

I am amazed as I look back through these old photos to see that he was looking this good in June. For some reason I kept working on his eyes and they kept getting worse. Finally I made him into a bundle baby because I felt his limbs were wasted on his bad eyes. I can see how uneven his face is, which probably added to my dislike of his eyes. At some point, while trying to clean up the gunk around his eyes I decided to open his mouth.

In July he still had his little tongue. I can barely see the gunk around his eyes that bothered me so much in reality. I do not understand the spirits that move and live in the studio. I only know that today I started pulling stuffing out of his head, loosened bunches of dried glue which I pulled out in long strings. I spent two hours trying to tape, with duct tape, new eyes into his skull. Nothing worked.  The tape made a mess of everything. Finally I gave up and decided to just stuff his head back with brown fur fabric behind the holes. At the last second  before attaching his body, I tried once more to slip his eyes in from the front. It worked! the fur held them in place. So I had created a problem for myself and by working and reworking it, was able to solve it again.  I love the tiny almost open eyes as if they are on a very sleepy baby. I may  buy this kit and try opening his eyes again now that I know better what to do.

Robin as he is today. The photos  reveal the changes the afternoon made in him and  they almost show how much I learned. It was a good day for both of us. I sat to cuddle him in celebration of all we had gone through together.
The two babies I started yesterday, when I found out I had to wait for a shipment from Dolls by Sandie, came together today so easily. They were a joy to work with. I was noticing how when babies lie in the trays in their parts as these did last week, it is impossible to love or care for them.

However today, as soon as I got Kendal into his body I was already deeply in love with him. I have done his kit before so having him appear as a baby was so natural and such a part of the way things should be, I felt I had met him before so was even more glad to have him show up in the nursery today. I was feeling like that as I finished attaching his body, but after painting in his facial features I was sure we were old friends who had not seen each other for weeks.

Does it seem to you, that those big blue eyes are just asking to be held? I had the feeling that he was going to jump up off the bench to fly into my arms. In a blink we had picked out a jammie and I was deep in the cuddle quiz with him. I was so happy to be holding him again that I just sat and sang to him while we watched big white fluffy clouds swing from south to north. I knew there was time yet to finish Candy's body but I just sat and rocked him. Werner was surprised when he came out to bring me a can of pop that I was just sitting. Only when he left did I put Kendal on the photo-table for tomorrow and brought the hand-sewn pieces for Candy's body in to finish them on the machine. BTW. I am finally getting used to the machine and can work on it much more easily than when it was brand new. In no time at all I had Candy's body ready for her.

I felt it was a bit too thin for her but she was happy with it saying she liked starting out thin so she could eat all the candy she wanted. Then she would be a fat little baby with a big sweet smile. I was going to argue with her to point out the flaws in her plan, but as I thought about it more, it began to become attractive to me. How to gain 45 pounds only by eating chocolate. Sounds like a plan!

When I was able to catch a few spots of sun by the photo table I was able to prove to myself that the baby blue background is better than black for the kids' skin tone and atmosphere.

Compare this to

this. You are also seeing the first photo of my day (on this one above) compared to the last photo of the day (with the blue background) to note how much more dynamic is the view and composition when I am functioning on all my pistons.
Maybe another baby would be a better comparison. Here is Paul with his kitty which he wanted to be black and white, not black and brown! I think this cat warms the photo but I was not going to battle over this one.

Well to be fair to all the babies, and being careful not to show preferences, here below is Candy modeling her sweetness before both backgrounds.

Obviously I am not making enough babies if I have time to mess this much with backgrounds. Need  a new shipment of kits and eyeballs to come home from the post office to get me going again. I had wanted to advertise some kind of a campaign to get more dolls into nursing homes in time for Mothers' Day but the old body acted up over nothing.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The sun was peeking through the clouds when I took these photos yesterday morning, but as I look at the contact sheet this morning, it seems as dark as my mood. The new glasses that came on Thursday had a error in them so they had to be sent back to Fort Bragg to be remade. Another two weeks of waiting. That also  meant I could not see the images last evening downloaded from the camera,
so I made a contact sheet so I could pick the ones to show you in the bright light of a new day. The dolls' faces are lovely, as I always think, but the background is really depressing.
Yesterday Werner did go to Manchester and was able to buy dye there because Gualala no longer carries it. He got a beautiful color of baby blue but the cloth was too wet to use on the photo-stand until evening. It is dry now and I am thinking I should retry the shots with that as backdrop. Still, I like the way the baby body pops off the dark background. Maybe I am just incapable of knowing what the right thing to do is today.

That is Kendal, an easy baby to work with. You can see his whole being is focused on posing correctly for me. Today I am wishing my whole world was made of people like him.

Werner, in an effort to help me 'see' the contact sheet, picked this as the best photo of Paul. Somehow I am not pleased with what I see on it.

And here is Candy doing her best to raise my mood, but I see here she has let the rattle slip out of her fingers. I know the sun was shining some of the time because I got this shot of it from across the room as I sat in my chair resting while I waited for it.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

A lovely rainy morning, with no pressure to be doing photographs at the same time, so it was a good time for Paul to be born. His body was right at the limits of being too small for him but with good wishes and songs of "Zippitity-do-dah" his legs slipped into the cups. Everything is a big surprise to Paulie - here he is amazed that he could see the quail through the door from the bench. He really wanted to get down to get his nose against the glass. He was surprised how the quail all ran away as soon as I bent down to help him to sit up straighter.
It was cold in the studio without the sun so I found myself helping him into gray jammies. I think gray is a very wrong color for a baby to wear - it is better for bankers and folks like that , but suddenly the gray fleece seemed the best choice for  him today. After painting his face I put him on the photo stand to wait with Candy and Kendal. He was instantly delighted by the butterfly Candy had. Kendal remained rather blase' about it all. At least you get to see Paul's gray sleeper. Maybe he will grow up to be a banker! You never tell about kids.

I had gotten a new backdrop of white fur from Amazon at a great price ($5 a yard)  which I wanted to dye pink but all the Rit they had in Gualala was blue. Now that I look at this gang I am wondering if the Universe knew best and I should dye the fur blue!  Hmmmmm.

Because Paul and I had talked so much about the quail, Nolan, who is brother to our Dolly Lama, and is himself in training to take his place if he ever decides he wants to live with Harmony who loves him like a son. He is supposed to be gazing into the crystal as his education, but had today, somehow moved around so he could look out the window and just lean on the crystal. I think he thought whatever he was supposed to be absorbing from it, could come in through his temple (!) instead of having to stare at it. While I was crocheting I heard a rustle and a thump and he had jumped down off the shelf. I ran to him and picked him up so quickly I missed my chance to photograph him. He did look rather undignified lying there on the floor.

Monday, April 18, 2016

I had a weird "I don't know what to do" morning which was really very un-normal for me. Usually I am delighting in whatever job is on the agenda  already the night before I get into a new day. I actually was worried that the 'doll-business' was over for me. Had I lost interest in dolls? What would I do with my old age without dolls?
Then Werner came home from town and a trip to the post office gave him a box from Dolls by Sandie. I was saved! In the box were an assortment of eye in sizes that I had forgotten I had ordered I had ordered along with two on-sale babies from older kits. Joy! Happiness! I had new babies in my life! I unpacked the box right into the tray for doing the limbs. I felt so rich with all the eyes, in both blue and brown, that I popped them in without any trouble.

The babies again had no names, at that price I cannot complain! On the left is # 3 and the bigger  baby is # 14. I am sorry the edge of the leg is in front of his lip. He really has a delightful expression on his face when you can see it. Both are charmers in my book, so I am delighted to be working with them. Again I had to carve away some of the vinyl at the edge of the limbs, but the parts were so warm and soft that it was easy to cut away the extra that kept me from sticking my fingers and the spoon in for stuffing. Baby #3 will need some help getting his eyes in right. It may be I will have to put in a smaller pair so he loses that surprised astounded expression. It made an easy afternoon to only have to prepare two babies instead of three so I had some energy left to catch some of the other babies secretly being themselves on the shelves.

I was shocked to find the beaded monkey sniffing the pig butt but thought you might get a giggle out of them I did.

Ming Yen and Raspberry were having a serious discussion about silver rattles. Raspberry is hanging on to the dumb-bell model that I got for $8 on eBay. It has some dents in which only only add character to it in my estimation. Yesterday, having nothing to do in the afternoon I gave the silver a good polish which made Raspberry even happier and made her more determined to not let Ming Yen hold it.
She did not  mind however when Benno leaned into her elbow to eavesdrop. I think he lives vicariously through their conversations as he seems completely happy just being on the edge of everything.

Eliza is such a sweet baby that she is still contented to play with one of the rabbits left over from Easter. I wanted to comb her hair before the photo but she just shook her head, which made more hair flop into her face and held on the rabbit even more tightly. Her ability to be so contented is my lesson to accept what I cannot change - and to smile even when colors do not match!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

I was able to recreate the photo that did not work out yesterday with Holly and Grayson with the puppy. Now I am happy. You cannot see the dog biscuit we used to lure the puppy back into position and Grayson held on to him to make him be still.
Also I was able to remake Suzanna's legs to get her a body that fits her better.

For a while I thought I had made them too fat, but after taking her birthday suit photo I was able to sit and hold her while finding jammies that fit her. I loved the soft feeling of her thighs in the jammie legs so much that I sat to cuddle her far longer than the situation needed. I was enjoying myself so much I tried to take a selfie of us.

When I got her on the photo-stand I discovered she could keep her head up like an older child without wearing the little fabric brace I had had to use on the others. I had such a good time posing her.

And then I tried:

Then it was Kimi's turn and I again had such a good time with her that it was easy to get several views all alike.

I got spoiled by her good looks and thought I could quickly do Shyanne before dinner, but nothing worked out like I wanted it to be. I realized later, I was tired so I posed her as if she was falling asleep on a handful of fur rug she was pulling up on which to lean her head. For some dumb reason I could not see the display good enough on the camera and kept cutting off the  complete view of her little hand.

The longer I look at this shot of Shyanne, the more impressed I am by it. Maybe I am just tired tonight and by tomorrow it will look even better. I only got 4 hours sleep last night and it shows in my work today.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Today I was given all the gifts! The new fabric for the AA babies' bodies is soft and cuddly, sews like a dream and was a lot easier on my machine. No growling and thumping when it went over a seam. I was so excited about sewing that I forgot the mornings are for photography; the earlier the better. Thus, it was after lunch before the kids got to pose. First was Candy.

I had picked other jammies for her but Werner came by last night and wanted her to wear a head band, and not any old headband, but this one. The rose clashed with the orange so we had to find a different but one in a  fleece that is so soft on this sweetie. You can see we are trying half a bear base with a black background  so the faces don't get lost in all the fuzziness.

While I worked with Candy, I had set Grayson beside the basket of toys not thinking he would get into it to pick out his very own. He was so interested in the puppy he found that he went off into his own world of pleasure where he ignored everything I said to him to make his photo more interesting. He was totally interested in the puppy and felt no need to influence anyone else to be interested in him.

Holly, then, had eyes only for the dog. She would not look in any other direction no matter what sounds I made or what I said to her. She would not even scoot over to get centered on the backdrop so a tiny corner of it remains in her photo. Finally I took the puppy away from Grayson to get her attention so I could put her where I wanted her to sit. When I got her situated, there was Grayson crawling up to get the puppy again.

Just as I clicked the shutter for a perfect shot, the puppy started backing up so I only got the tip of his head in the lowest center of my great shot.
The sewing had gone so good in the morning and the photographing was so much fun, when I gave up and let the kids have the puppy until it would run away to it's own safety. I wanted to start assembling the body for  Suzanna, the biggest baby of the day. Only as I started to tie her into her body did I remember her legs were only 1/4 the length they should be. I was so eager to see how the body color worked with her skin color I made this photo.

 I was so happy with the results that I went ahead and tied on her legs hoping they would fit.

As soon as I looked in the viewfinder, I knew those short legs were all wrong. She made this face, and got all huffy, when I asked her if she would give the body to Shyanne. I told her I would make her a new one with longer legs but she, at some level, knew that would not happen today. She was very good about helping me with the knots so we got her out of this body very quickly.

To everyone's surprise, Shyanne fit into the body perfectly. I was so pleased, and so eager to photograph her that I forgot to paint her face. Also it was, by now, getting so late and I really wanted to see Kimi in her body. For her I had noted she had full length arms so those were proper from the beginning. I could not photograph her with her ugly hair so I took her out on the porch for a haircut and curl. She and I had such a good time sitting in the sun just being quiet together afterwards that I barely got her photo before the sun was around the corner and not that good anymore.

While I went to turn on more lights the pig grabbed the chance to get down from his shelf  to sit beside her. I think he was attracted to the perfume in the conditioner I used on her hair. She was trying so hard to pose for me to show off how good she looked and there was that little pig climbing all over her trying to get to her hair.