Monday, April 23, 2012

Good News!

I paid off the final fifteen dollars I owed for the three ponytails today! I finally own them in earnest! Which is so thrilling to get that debt settled. Now I can fully enjoy them without thinking that I needed to pay back my parents for them.
And can I just say how much I still love them? I keep looking at them unbelieving that I own them. I know I get a lot of dolls (two each month), but these are just... awesome, just awesome. But I digress. I didn't mention it, but I had two patterns sell recently. Nothing too big, but enough to pay back what I owed to my parents. But even though I had the cash, I didn't exactly pay them back per say (sp?)...
They did get their money back, but it wasn't as simple as just sending them the cash thru Paypal. I'll explain. Do you remember that video game I bought for my mother for her birthday? Well, she finished it, twice. And with that game over and done with she wanted to play the next one in the series. She had some birthday money and was planning on using that to buy it. She was just waiting for the best prices to make her money go the furthest. But I decided to take matter's into my own hands, partially because I had some E-bay bucks to spend. I had 54 whole cents burning a hole in my pocket, and they were rapidly reaching their expiration date. I could have spent it on myself, but I really didn't need anything from E-bay. So I decided to spend in on my mother and help get her that game for a little bit less. I didn't mention this to her in case it didn't pan out. I'd feel bad if I got her hopes up for nothing. I have been checking for the game, but the prices have been pretty consistent, and slightly more than I wanted to pay. I wanted to be able to pay less than what I owed my parents. It would be a really unhelpful favor to do something like that for someone, then ask for more money. Today I manged to find the game, new for a really great price. Including shipping it was well under what I owed them. So I jumped on it, buying it on my mother's behalf, and finally using up my E-bay bucks (and earning like 20 cents in the process). I even paid my parents back the difference, not subtracting my E-bay bucks (I think of it like collateral). So we're all even and squared away. It's weird, but I'm excited to be able to do this for my mother, even though I didn't do much in order for her to get it.
And what does this mean to you all, dear readers? Well that means that I'm finally able to start saving up for my next big purchase. I know I was just talking about it, but now I can actually start doing it. Exciting, right?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Seeing Double, but Not!

I'm going to start this post off with a picture:While it may look very familiar, but it's actually something new.
This is the second garment rack, the one that I talked about making a while back then never mentioned again. The reason why it wasn't mentioned again was simple, no progress had been made on it. After I bought all the supplies and got it prepped for drilling, the project stalled. There wasn't anything actually keeping me from finishing it, I was just lacking the motivation to get the two holes drilled in it. A few days ago I decided it was high time to finish it (I have enough unfinished projects laying around here, might as well finish something). Besides when I got all those new hangers I went through and selected some clothes I wanted to hang up. They've been a pile on my desk and I was tired of dealing with it, so that was another push to getting the silly thing finished and in use.
So I was able to get the holes drilled in it. After that all I needed to do was cut the dowel to size, tape up the ends and hammer them into the holes, then I was done. I ended up making this rack bigger than the first one. I don't remember the exact measurements, but it's several inches wider.
Once it was finished I put it in it's place and reveled in it's new-ness. I also picked up the clothes and started hanging them on their new rack. I even went though Charlotte's garment rack and took out the few clothing pieces that were there that wasn't hers (Ashley's school girl outfit, Vanessa's Christmas dress, and some other stuff) and transferred them to the new rack. But when I stepped back to admire the two of them... Charlotte's rack still looked cramped, and the other one looked very empty. So on a whim I switched them. I gave Charlotte the bigger one. It actually looked better, although won't do her much favors in trying to convince people I don't spoil her. Although, this happening shouldn't have been too much of a surprise since her clothes are pictured on the rack above. At least I didn't have to give her both racks (yet, who knows how big her wardrobe will end up being).
I like the set up now, it's just much more organized, and I'm able to find select pieces of clothing easier without having to dig through my bags of excess clothes (which is also rapidly filling up).
There are two problems that come with this new set up though, I don't know if I can keep the space in front of the second rack cleared, and NOW I NEED MORE HANGERS!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Pinch those Pennies!

With the recent addition of those three Ponytail dolls it means two things, the first one is that I'm officially two dolls ahead in my 24 dolls per year average, and that it's time to switch to another money saving endeavor.
Now, a sane person would just now start looking for a new long term goal, or better yet start saving up to just save up, but when have I ever took the sane route? (A rhetorical question if I ever heard one.)
Yes, I already have the next save up for purchase located and desperately wanted. Again, it'll be a secret until I actually buy it, or it's no longer an option for me. Luckily for you this one is going to be cheaper than the last one, so hopefully you won't be kept in the dark over it for so long (and I'll be able to raise the funds in a decent amount of time). While it's going to be cheaper than the last one, it's actually more expensive per doll. This new one is going to fifty dollars (plus shipping), and only for one doll. But it's for a doll that I still don't have in the collection, and one that I really hope to be able to include. (But that's all I will say, I've already said too much!)
I'm not going to bother with that silly little money counter this time around. Last time I did that it caused me to obsess over it, and it quickly became wildly outdated. Instead I'll just comment on my progress, without any pictures. I can tell you right now I'm at zero, but more accurately less than zero. I still owe my parents for that fifteen they gave me so I could buy the ponytails. I plan on paying them back, but something has to sell for that to happen!
But I am also thinking of starting a new personal policy on purchases. After I purchase a complete doll, the next goal should be to raise the funds to purchase the missing parts for one of my incomplete dolls. Doesn't matter if it's a head or a body, but it must be something that completes one of the partial dolls I've managed to pick up this year. I'm sure this will fly right out the window the moment I find the next purchase after this current one, but I can at least pretend I'm trying. (And I do know where to get a P.J. and a Tuttie head...)
I know I say this a lot, but here's hoping something sells!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Joe's Day is a two day celebration

Even though I spent all day sewing for Joe yesterday, today I wasn't finished working with him. You might have thought I burned myself out yesterday with all the sewing I did, but I hadn't. I wasn't even finished making him those shirts.
Apparently, just like Charlotte, Joe needs the exact same style of shirt in a variety of colors (Charlotte has blue, black, and the mostly worn, white). So while the yellow and blue ones were both lovely colors and an asset to Joe's wardrobe, he was still missing his basic white one. Like I said, it is the one Charlotte wears the most, so I figured he too would get the most use out of one as well. I was actually going to make the one I made yesterday white, but after I decided to make the plaid shorts I ended up going with the yellow instead. So today I decided to rectify that missing wardrobe option, and pulled out my white fabric and got to work. I was working along pretty quickly with this one (most of my issues had been figured out with the first two). Most of the issues, that is, until I ran into some new trouble. One of the hardest parts of these shirts (similar to the original pattern) is the collar. I did simplify it with Joe's shirt, but the new way involves some top stitching around the neck, highly visible top stitching. Of course when it matter's the most that's when my machine decides to go crazy. But I wanted to keep the collar set in place, so I ran a line of quick holding stitches in it. When I finally got the top stitching looking decent I went to pull out the holding stitches, and that's when it happened. One of the stupid holding stitches left a hole, in a highly visible area. One that I couldn't fix or hide. I was so mad! This shirt was basically done, then this happens! Grrr! I threw the shirt into the unfinished project box. I don't think I'll ever be able to save it, but it hurt too much to just throw it out after all that work.
But I wasn't done just yet. Even though I suffered such hardship with the first one, I still wanted to make that white shirt. So I gathered up my courage, and started again. This time I made sure I was very careful to get the collar in place on the first try. I don't need that mistake happening again. I'm really unwilling to make the shirt for the third time. But I'm pleased to say that Joe finally has his own white shirt. Now Charlotte and him can be one of those couple's that wear matching outfits. Yeah, one of "those" couples. (Just kidding, I doubt they'd go for that! Although he could wear his plaid shorts, and she could wear a plaid skirt... that could be cute.)
I wasn't even tired of sewing by the time I was done with that white shirt. I was however tired of sewing shirts, so I changed gears and made another pair of pants. These pants were again inspired by just having the fabric already on hand and thinking, "why not?". The pants should look familiar, or at least the fabric. It's that white, blue, and yellow plaid I bought for Ken's shirt. I had more than enough left over from that project to make these pants, and I was able to get another completed item from this fabric, which is always a good thing. These are exactly like his white pair from yesterday. They even taper in at the knee like the white ones. I do like that look. Not sure how much use he'll get out of these particular pants, but for the moment I'm just having fun making them. I know I swore off making him pants after I made the jeans (sewing denim is such a hassle), but using cotton is just so much easier. He's certainly getting enough pants to choose from!
And I still wasn't done just yet. Yesterday in order to find that white fabric I used for his pants I had to dump out the drawer that's jam packed with all the random fabrics that I've managed to accumulate, but have no idea if I'll ever use. I still hadn't put any of them away when a pair of men's boxer shorts caught my eye. I had gotten them them because they had a cool 60s' retro Hawaiian/geometric print/feeling. Even when I got them I had a bit of doubt if I'd actually ever use them, but I got them anyway (they were free). I was thinking that perhaps a Mod Ken would get a pair of surfer shorts out of them, but Joe beat him to the punch. So I made the shorts, basically the same as yesterday's pair, and I actually really like them on him. I'd say they quickly became my favorite pair of pants I made for him (so far). So sometimes it does pay to hoard fabrics for "someday".
With these newest shorts, I kind of wanted to make him another shirt. The shorts were just begging to be paired with a light blue shirt. But after I got the blue fabric, I realized I didn't have enough to make him a shirt from it (sad face). I guess I'm going to have to buy some more light blue fabric. To appease myself with having to wait, I ended up making him a new shirt, in red. I got all of the machine sewing done, but that's where I ran out of steam. I do plan on finishing it, eventually. For the time being I kind of just want to enjoy Joe and his new clothing. It's been quite a while since he's had so many options. Honestly, now that I think about it, this may be the first time he has had an actual selection to chose from. With his original body, his hands were so big he couldn't wear most of the Ken clothes I had, and when he got his upgrade his proportions became so weird nothing fit, and I was pretty lax on making him new clothes. So congrats Joe, you finally get your own clothes (just took you 19 years)!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

This Tuesday was more like Joe's Day

I woke up this morning to the internet being out. And since my father worked last night, he was in bed sleeping so I couldn't knock on my parent's door to ask them to restart it. So I was forced to be unconnected for a while, but my World Wide seclusion was Joe's lucky day.
I've been thinking more and more about how I've been neglecting him. Back when I was waiting for his new body I had all these grandiose plans for his new wardrobe. One that would even rivals Charlotte's or at the very least be a decent companion to it. But it wasn't meant to be. Once his body arrived between figuring out how to get his neck on right, and all the trouble with drafting patterns, I just wasn't in the right mindset to work with him. I made him one pair of pants (his jeans), and once I figured out that one Myscene boy's top I had fit him (like a dream), he was sort of stuck wearing that. I didn't even bother finishing the black pants I had made for him (or at least the second pair since I messed up the first one).
And it was certainly not like I was in love with what he was wearing. I did like the jeans, but the shirt was just passable. But I wasn't ready to start drafting patterns again, it's always such a chore. But it did get me thinking about back when I was started sewing. Before I was comfortable with (or had access to) a machine, but still unsatisfied with what was on the market I started making those jersey knit turtlenecks for the dolls. They're still a popular outfit choice in the collection since about 20 dolls in the collection still wear something made from that pattern, however adapted. Even Charlotte has a couple things from it on her garment rack that she goes back to from time to time (she's wearing her white turtleneck shirt as I type actually). They're simple to make, don't need a lot of work to get a decent fit, and I already had a pattern drafted for modern sized Ken's, so I didn't have to start from scratch to make one for Joe.
I tried on a Ken shirt made from that pattern, noted the size differences on Joe and got to work. I drafted a pattern, took out some yellow jersey, and got to work. I was learning as I went. There's a few things that need some tweaks, but for the most part the shirt came out pretty decent. I actually changed how I put in the collar compared to the Barbie sized ones. It's now much more simplified, but still looks good. (Joe will always needs a high collar since his neck isn't actually a neck, it's actually made from plastic canvas cut to size). I finished the shirt today, including sewing in three snaps in the back. I liked it so much, I made it again, this time in a dark blue, changing a few things that I learned from the yellow one. I even finished that one too.
And I wasn't even done just yet! Yes, he got shirts, (for the first time) but he needed some new pants. Well, actually shorts. It's been so dreadfully hot lately I've felt bad that's he's been stuck wearing long sleeves and heavy jean pants. So I wanted to make him some shorts. I wanted to use the green, blue, and yellow plaid I have. That's why I made his shirt yellow, I wanted to pick up the small traces of yellow in the plaid. These are made exactly the same as his jeans, only shorter. I say that because I used the same pattern, but folded up the legs. I ended up making them shorter than modern shorts. These fall above the knee for a more vintage look. What can I say, I like vintage! I even made them with the false pockets. It's slightly more work, but I love being able to put Joe's hands in his pockets. Honestly, the work is far less than the enjoyment I get from being able to do that! I even incorporated it into the last pair of Ken shorts I made, I think it's going to be a "from now on" sort of thing.
But I wasn't done just yet, believe it or not. Seeing Joe with his new shirt and retro look I decided he needed some white pants. (How 60s' is that, a colored turtleneck shirt with white pant?). I found some thicker white fabric in my stash (which frays like it's going out of style) for them and got to work. These are exactly like Joe's jeans, except I took in the legs. Since they were so straight from the thighs to the floor they looked odd and bulky on him. Almost like painter's pants. But I did learn my lesson from that messed up pair of dress pants from a while ago. I didn't take any fabric in from the thighs, this time I started at the knees. (Making sure I didn't take in too much!) I tapered them carefully, making sure I left enough for his legs to go though. I even finished them today. I think I may have to give them a bit of a wash, but I really like them. Who knew that Joe would favor the same vintage styles I do? (Ha!) That's all I managed to get done for him today, but I certainly think it's enough. I completely made four clothing pieces for him. I don't think even Charlotte's gotten that kind of progress. I practically doubled his wardrobe, the poor thing. But at least I made some sort of dent in his "must haves" clothing list!
(And let me tell you, I sewed eight snaps today, a personal record.)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I fully admit I have a problem...

But I'm not yet willing to do anything about it.

My most recent purchase arrived yesterday, I won't tease you with what it was, it's another body without a head. Yet again. But I implore to you, my dear readers, don't judge me so harshly! I'm not trying to accumulate so many headless bodies, I have a doll collection, not a headless doll collection. It's just whenever I find a body (or head) in good shape for a decent price I must buy it! So when I found a good condition Living Barbie head for eight dollars (including shipping) I just had to get it! Really, what would you do in my shoes? I needed it!
Sad thing is I've been eying a living Barbie body for about the same price that was in much worse condition. She was missing a left arm and her neck knob. I talked myself out of that one because what would be the odds I'd find another neck knob? This one is all complete (but with a broken left arm). She also has a small melt mark on her back, but it's very minor. And a bath wouldn't hurt too. Other than that she's in really decent shape. Her other arm and legs all click nicely and hold positions. A steal for eight dollars.
Oh, before I forget, the seller included some other stuff in the package too! A small package of gum (Cinnamon) and a fortune telling fish (a thin piece of plastic that when placed in your palm moves and you can get your fortune based off how it moves), so that was pretty cool. I was wondering why the package was rattling when I was bringing it in from the mailbox. Turns out it was the gum.
And so I present to you all, faithful blog readers, my body collection including my newest addition:Quite an assortment, right? The living Barbie body is the second one from the left. I swear one of these days, I'm going to have to focus all my time (and money) to getting heads for these bodies. I took that picture before I gave her a bath, and replaced that broken arm. And yes, I replaced that broken arm. I would just so happen to have a not broken left arm in my stash, thank you very much bag of random parts. It was a little harrowing pulling out the broken arm to replace it, but with a little work, some hot water, and some advice from a flickr friend I was able to do it. It was much easier putting the new arm in, it just clicked right into place and she had both arms working! And you know what that means, I've used another part from that bag. Meaning this body now shares the cost of the bag, lowering the cost of both Living Barbie (the first) and Sweet Sixteen Barbie. I'm too lazy to hunt down that post and crunch the numbers, but I'll remember.
Now I just need to find a head for her!

Progress on a Ponytail!

Even with that pile of undressed dolls waiting for me to get to them, I feel compelled to work on dressing my newest dolls. But part of that may be because I need to hold them to prove to myself that I actually own them. (Pinch me, I must be dreaming!) There is another reason why they're at the top of the list, I actually had an idea I wanted to try for one of them. I actually found it well before they arrived, I found it while researching for Skooter. It was originally a child's dress, but I thought it would work much better style wise for an adult. I just needed the correct 50's era adult to make it for. I held off making it when I found it for two big reasons, mainly because whenever I make something for a doll before they arrive it rarely work out, plus I didn't have the supplies I needed for it.

On the day the dolls arrived I was in the process of going out. I checked the mail right before leaving hoping they would have gotten here, and they had! So their first experience of their new lives was doing errands around town. One of the stops was to Hobby Lobby trying to find some twine for my father. Long story short, I walked all over that store to no success. I did however find something worthwhile in the fabric section. It was a bolt of fabric in the discount section. A Mary Engelbreit pattern marked down to four dollars a yard. It was exactly what I wanted for the dress I had in mind. I wasn't expecting to find anything for this project that day, sometimes it just happens. I also picked up a spool of pink thin ribbon for the project (it was on sale). I bought a half yard of the fabric plus the spool of ribbon for three dollars plus tax! I do like it when my projects are cheap.
When I got back home, I got to work right away. Unfortunately it was very slow going. I was trying something new with the pattern for the dress and I had several false starts on the dress. There's two bodices languishing in the unfinished project box that may stay there for a while. I was ready to give up, when I realized something, I didn't have to go as complicated to make it, I could go simpler and get the same effect. I ended up using the very basic Barbie bodice I've been using from the very beginning of my sewing for it. While it's simple, it's pretty effective. I ended up sewing a line of ribbon along the top to get the look I wanted. (Random side note, I hate sewing ribbon, it always looks so shoddy.) Anyway, changing the bodice pattern seemed to be the solution of my problem, until another problem happened because of it. I was happily working away, even going so far as to add the skirt, but when I tried the dress on, the bodice hem was much too high. I find with this pattern they give you a bizarre amount of fabric at the top to hem it with. I thought I took in enough, but the bodice top was too tall and was gathering on her underarm. Not a pretty look. I thought about leaving it like it was, but knew I was above that. I've come too far to leave petty little things like that in my sewing. So I took the whole thing apart so I could fit the bodice better. I even had to take off the ribbon and replace it. It was more work, but I knew I'd be happier with the end result.
Once I got that fixed (and trimmed the actual pattern piece so it wouldn't happen again), I started on the dress again. Since I had just done it, it went together pretty quick. I was able to get the machine sewing finished and work on the finishing and detailed work that hand sewing is required for. One of the main design features of this dress was going to be bows. It was going to have bows at the waist, and on the shoulder straps. Luckily I found a new (quicker) way to make bows or else I'd still be working on them! I manged to get the entire dress finished in one day. Including a hand stitched hem, one of my straightest actually. It helps when you have a geometric print to guide you!
With the dress finished it was time to work on the styling of the dress. I pulled out my shoe bag and culled through what I had left. I found a pair of white pumps that had recently become free because of a recent shoe shuffle. I also pulled a white pearl necklace from my jewelry bag. For some reason the other two ponytail dolls both have pearl necklaces, so I might as well make it a thing for the new ones as well. I put them on and stood back to admire my work. And I was not that impressed. The dress was cute, but the accessories were not really blending. Yes, the dress has white in it, but it's somewhat muted. The white of the shoes and the white of the necklace stood out compared to it. They were practically glowing. I know I didn't have any pink shoes in the spares bag, so I turned to the collection. They're were two people who were wearing shoes that could work for this outfit. I ended up picking Midge's pink flats. (She was the one I bought earlier in the year for 6.99.) She ended up with the white pumps (they work with her dress). The necklace was a harder fix. I did have some pink pearl beads, but they weren't made into a necklace yet. I had tried once before, but nothing came from that. And the reason for that was because I could not figure out how to pass a needle through them. The holes in them are so small I just couldn't do it. I ended up having to be creative with it.
I took a straight pin and pushed into the hole's opening, widening it on both sides. Then I took some thread and carefully pushed it into the bead. No needle, just the thread. It was a slow, time consuming process, but I actually managed to make it work. I was able to use all the beads I had (I didn't have that many from the get to, the beads were salvaged from something else). Good thing I had the number I did, I had just enough to make a necklace from them. The things I do to make these dolls beautiful!
But I wasn't done with her outfit just yet. I felt she needed a purse to go along with it. I thought about using the same fabric as her dress, but that felt too matchy. So instead I went with some pink calico I had (from Charlotte's nutcracker outfit). I didn't want to make a simple clutch like I've done in the past. Instead I drafted a bigger purse. One that's more like a basket, sort of like the basket that came with Barbie's Suburban Shopper outfit. It's fully lined, and the straps are inset. I also added a bow to the front (it's a very bow heavy outfit). I won't lie, I'm not totally in love with the purse. It just didn't come out as well I had hoped. I might end up remaking it, but it's fine for now.
And finally I tied a bow in her hair with some of that pink ribbon (I told you it's a bow heavy outfit). It's a really cute outfit! Oh! I never mentioned who I'm making it for. I'll just show you the picture and you can see for yourself:












It's my number four! (I just love her!) She's so... wonderful, but they all are. <3 (Yes, that's a heart, I'm just so dopey for these gals!)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

EVACUATE! EVACUATE!

We had a mass exodus of everyone on Charlotte's shelf the other day. Every single person was forced to flee and run for their little plastic lives. And you know what caused all the commotion? This:It may look innocent enough, but a closer shot reveals what's lurking inside...Okay, it's just an arm, but that's not the dangerous part. What's dangerous is what it's soaking in. That's pure bleach! Which is dangerous stuff. That's the right arm from the blonde ponytail I shared with you the other day, you know, the oddly dark one. I dissembled her in order to soak that arm in an effort to lighten it back to a normal color. It's been soaking for a couple days and hasn't seemed to have much effect on it. *Sigh*

When I first set it up I originally had the bowl on my desk so I could easily check it and see when it was done. I was thinking it would take a couple hours to get back to it's right color, so I just needed to not use my desk for a day and I'd be all set. Of course it's taking longer than I was expecting. And I needed to use my desk, so the bleach needed to move. I am NOT working around that on the desk. Ironically one of the safest places it could be to protect the dolls is right in the center of the collection. Charlotte's shelf is secure, level, and easily avoidable. But while it was safe for the dolls on the other shelves, it was certainly not for the dolls who actually live on that shelf. For the time being and for their safety, all the displaced dolls are huddled under the Naked Party Plaza, shooting me the dirtiest of looks. So while it's inconvenient for them, it is for their safety. I really wouldn't want anything to happen to them.
I just hope it hurries up. I miss looking over at that shelf and seeing everyone there. With just the bowl there it looks so empty, especially with the other shelves full.
(P.S. When I was filling out the tag section for this post, I never realized how basically every single doll on that shelf had their own personal tag. The only people missing a personal tag is Pierre, Midge, and Modern Circle.)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Talking about the *Spark* ZAP! Revealed!

Okay, I didn't get a lot of replies to my little contest I posted yesterday (Zero to be exact), but even still it's time to share with you all the answers. So without further adieu here's what each original outfit inspired, followed with a brief description of the changes I made to them.
A) Superstar Barbie's Dress

Changes: Mainly the fabric since I knew I wasn't going to find a matching print locally. I did keep the silhouette the same, as well as the matching gold belt. One of my favorite dresses!

B) TNT Skipper's Dress

Changes: Not a whole lot. The only thing that I changed with this was the black and white striped panel became red and white, only because I had it on hand. I do kind of like the red and white better.

C) Sweet Sixteen's dress that ended up with Charlotte.Changes: This one was actually a bit of a trick question because when I was looking for an image of a doll wearing it, I couldn't find one. I guess I never shared this dress before on the blog. Sorry about that, it wasn't intentional! There's very minor changes from the original to my version. I changed the sheer bow at the neckline for a ribbon one, got rid of the double line of ribbon at the collars and cuffs (would not work on that scale), but I added a double row to the skirt. A few minor changes, but still somewhat effective.

D) American Girl's DressChanges: This was is pretty much an exact copy of the source. I kept the color, silhouette, and even the jewel on it, except I moved it from the waist. I did add the gloves, shoes, purse, and hat, so I did change it a little.

E) The Steampunk Dress
Changes: Yes, the infamous steampunk dress. This image was really the launching point for making it. There's a lot similar, but a lot different as well. The basic shapes are the same, but there's a lot I changed. I kept the brown and white coloring of the original, but eliminated the blue sash, but added the black bodice. Mine doesn't have the cameo at the neck (a design element that I really wanted to include), but I added the key and chain at the waist. You can see how the steampunk dress was influenced greatly from this design, but I think I made it my own!

F) Brunette Ponytail's Dress and Jacket Changes: This outfit takes mainly the silhouette from the inspiration picture. They're both sheath dresses with same fabric short jackets. I did eliminate the folded over effect on the bodice since I didn't care for it, plus I didn't know how to make it. The biggest change was fabric selection. I didn't even try to match the medium blue Hawaiian print, I like the one I went with much better (I really like this print, three dolls wear it in the collection).

G) Mary Clair's Christmas Dress

Changes: And last but not least, we have Mary Clair's Christmas dress (originally made for Charlotte). This one is relatively the same as the one worn by Minnie Mouse, with a few minor changes. I eliminated the white fabric at the base of the skirt, and the self faced buttons. I did replace the red buttons with white pearl beads. A few minor tweaks that really improved the dress to me. I know I liked it, I left her wearing it until March!

Talking about the *Spark* ZAP!

I spend a lot of talking about how I search the internet for sewing inspiration, but I never share with you what I find. While it's true most of the time what I find and save to my computer never really ever goes anywhere, sometimes I'm actually inspired enough to make something based off of what I've found.
So I've decided to play a little game with you all. I culled though my folder of inspirational pictures and found seven images. Each of these seven images were the inspiration for an outfit I created and shared on the blog. None of them are exact copies, but several of them have only had a few thing changed from the original. So I ask you, loyal readers, do you recognize of these outfits? If you do please share your guesses in the comment section. I'll reveal the answers tomorrow!

A)

B) C) D)

E )
F)
G)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

What's in the Box?!?!?!? The Conclusion

Since yesterday I talked about the sole brunette from the box today is time to discuss and share with you the two blondes that were in there as well.
First up we have a blonde number five:She was the most expensive of the three dolls, but she's also in the best condition. Her face paint is in really wonderful shape with only two chips on her lip paint (one of the best face paints of my collection). She does have her share of issues though, she does have the worst green ear of the three. I spent some time after I got her dredging out green sludge from her earring holes with a needle and thread. It's a lot less noticeable now compared to how she arrived. She also suffers from greasy face, and she was practically dripping when she arrived. I've never seen greasy face that bad. I think part of the problem was that she was wrapped in plastic when I got her. All the dolls were bagged separately in plastic bags in the box, but she also had a small plastic bag wrapped around her head. I think she was a bit greasy, so someone (naively), wrapped her head in plastic hoping it wouldn't spread to the other dolls. Instead they made it worse. The seller freely admits they purchased the dolls from a collector and isn't knowledgeable on them, so who knows how long she was in that plastic bag, could have been years. I ended up giving her a dusting with talcum powder twice, once before her bath, and once after. I know I ended up washing off what I put on before her bath, but she really needed it soaked up. She looks much better afterwards. I think that's where that green ear sludge came from, it was her greasy residue reacting with her green ear. Ick! After her bath I worked on her hair, her hair is the longest of any ponytail I own. When I got her she had a bit of ancient tulle wrapped in her hair. I took that out and replaced it with rubber bands. I was able to locate her top knot stand (the bit of hair that was longer than the rest so it could wrap around the top of her ponytail), so I was able to reproduce her original hair style. I also braided it for fun, to give a little variety among the ponytail dolls. Her hair (no doubt aided by the greasy residue) has oxidized into the most beautiful two tone strawberry hair color.
She's on a Barbie only body, which is in lovely shape, except for one thing. For some reason her right arm is really dark compared to the rest of her. Out of the three dolls, it's only happened to her, and only on one arm. I held it up against Malibu Barbie, and it's actually only a few shades different from the Malibu skin tone. No idea how that could happen to just one part of her. If it was some sort of plastic aging, I would have thought it would have happened to the other arm as well, and if it was damage (smoke, sun) wouldn't other parts of her be affected too? It's really weird. Other than that she's in really good shape, all her fingers and toes, just the usual very minor play wear. Other than the arm discoloring, and green ear, and the minor lip rubs she'd be a really great condition doll, one that could belong in even the pickiest of collections. How the heck did she end up here?
And finally we have the last doll from the box, a blonde number four. Here's her picture:I'm pleased to announce that's she's officially my oldest Barbie. I know I say this a lot, but I never thought I'd ever own one of the older dolls. She's actually quite different from all the other dolls I own. The biggest thing is, she's got a solid torso. I wasn't expecting this, so when I picked her up I was shocked on how much heavier she is than all the others! Another different is her legs and arms are of a different material than the other ones, she's a lot more pliable. I think that's exclusive to number fours, I think earlier dolls aren't as "rubbery" (for a lack of a better term). Body wise she's in good shape, all her fingers, lots of toe and finger nail polish. I kind of think her legs might have some yellowing going on, but if she does it's very minor. But I could be wrong and that's just the color of her legs.
Her head is okay, no neck splits or nose nips. She does have the most paint wear of the three, with lots missing on her eyelash ridges, eyebrows, and lips, but that's something that eventually I can get fixed. I did noticed something unusual about her, her head is kind of lose. It easily turns without much force on the neck knob, is that normal? None the other dolls have anything like that. I mean even just picking her up, her head can shift, it's weird. It's a little wobbly. She also has very minor green ear, but it's very faint. When she arrived she did have a little bit of a greasy face, but that could have been because she was stored in that plastic bag for who knows how long. I don't think these dolls usually develop greasy faces. I 'm wondering if it's just residue from being stored in the bag. Here's hoping it doesn't come back, she's already been dusted with the talcum powder.
Her hair is in decent shape. I didn't learn this until after I got her that she'd had a small haircut. Looks like some child wanted to give her side burns, so on both sides of her head the hair in front of her ears has been trimmed. It wasn't cut as close to the head as children normally do, the hair's about a centimeter long. So there's enough to be able to slick it back. One side is a little easier to hide than the other, for some reason the left side just wants to stick straight out. I'm going to have to do something to help keep it back. It looks weird sticking straight out! Other than that her hair is in good shape. I couldn't find her top knot strand, so I didn't wrap anything around her ponytail. She didn't get a full dunk into water like the other girls because when I was examining her, I noticed something else that was different. Under her hair, she still has some of her original flocking! My first Barbie doll with that!
I just love her! (She's my favorite of the bunch!)
Now that they're purchased and delivered, now it's time to start dressing them! But I should point out, with these three dolls, I'm now a full month ahead for my projected two dolls a month average. Either I'm going to have some dry months ahead, or this year is going to be higher than average. Now it's time to research 1950s' fashion! My favorite era!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What's in the Box?!?!?!?

All right, I've left you all in the dark long enough. It's time to reveal what was in the box, and what I've been saving up for the past couple of month (although if you're friends with me on Flickr you should already know by now). But even though I didn't let you be the first to know, I will be sharing some new to you information, so if you read the Flickr stuff this still may be of interest to you. But enough of the set it, it's time for the grand reveal, here's what I've been saving up for:Amazing right? That one box brought me three, read it, three ponytail Barbie dolls. Can you believe it??? This one purchase more than doubled the number of ponytail dolls I had. We've gone from two, to five. I almost can't believe it myself. Pay no mind to their clothing and props. I was just making the picture more silly for the people on Flickr, plus I didn't want to just take a bunch of naked pictures of them. I'm try to class this joint up people! You might recognize what the Brunette is wearing, that is Sweet Sixteen's underwear. She borrowed them for the photo shoot. The other two are just wearing stuff I had in the undergarment bag. That well used baby doll pajama top is one that I've had since I was younger. The strawberry set is one that I bought recently, and never used, which is why it's still white. I like that one the best on the vintage gals, it suits their looks the best.
So that's everyone that arrived in the box. Now that you've seen everyone, it's time for individual introductions. I may end up splitting this up into two posts and saving the rest of it for tomorrow, since there's a lot to talk about and I'm still not up for hardcore blogging yet. I'm going to start with the brunette ponytail. I think she's a number five, but I could be wrong. I did some research and I'm kind of leaning towards her being a number seven. It would explain why she's on a Midge/Barbie body. She was the cheapest doll from the group that I bought, she was actually a little less than half of what the other two each cost. She does have more damage than the other two. Her lips have been repainted in a very bright cherry red. I'm not totally in love with them, they're a little too different from the original Barbie lips for my taste. They have a little too much height, and not enough width. Also they're shape is a little unusual. They're a bit weird looking. Right now I'm leaving them as it, I am toying with the idea of removing them (my other brunette ponytail is already totally without lip paint, so it's not that big of a deal), but I hate doing something so permanent. Also I'm worried about if the paint stained her skin. I'd hate to remove the lip paint and have to deal with an ugly red blotch instead. I'm going to leave it as is and see if it grows on me. Honestly, once she's dressed, I doubt I'll be looking at her that up close. While (I assume) her original lip paint was rubbed off, the rest of her paint is in great condition. Her eyebrows are all there, and her eyes only have the slightest rub to the ridges. She does have very faint green ear (in fact all of the dolls have it), but it's very minor. In fact since taking these pictures I used a needle to clean out her ears and the green is even less noticeable. So, good for that. She has had a hair cut, but only in the back. Luckily it's still long enough that she can put it into a ponytail (I do not want to have to re-root a ponytail, that's a nightmare). When she first arrived her hair was really stiff. I don't know what was in it, but it was not pleasant. Luckily everyone got a bath after they showed up, so I worked on washing out whatever was in her hair. I also took down her top knot. This girl does not have enough hair to spare wrapping it around her ponytail. I still need to do a little work on her hair, but it looks much better than how she arrived, it wasn't hard to improve her, she looked much better just after I took the broken rubber bands out of her hair!
Her body is in pretty good shape. Like I said she has a Midge/Barbie body. She has all her fingers and it looks like a generous amount of nail polish. I believe her polish was also redone since there's a lot of it, and it looks like it stained the back of her fingers. Not much to say about her body, she has the usual play wear, but is still in good shape. I'd say she is comparable in condition to my other brunette ponytail, but was a much lower price. And I should point out that she's the reason why I have all the other dolls. I found her first online, and since she was so cheap I was going to get her and only her, but after my first saving up thing fell through, I changed gears to get the other two dolls as well. So her sister's can thank her for having them join the collection. (Or blame her, I don't know where they stand on their feelings of me!)
Stay tuned tomorrow for the other two, or just pop over to Flickr for a sneak preview!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/aubreysilver86/
Feel free to add me as a contact if you want to!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

It came Postage Due...(Sort of)

I didn't mention this before because it happened during my break from blogging, but it seems the moment I declared my break it was a free for all for people purchasing the items I had for sale. In three short days, I had four patterns sell, as well as an expensive (comparatively) doll. How come when I want to do nothing doll related, something keeps pulling me back in? These string of purchases finally pushed me over the edge for that big item I was saving up for. I wasn't exactly at the total amount that I needed, but I was certainly close enough to it. So I contacted the seller, asking a few questions, and asking if they'd be willing to lower the total price if I purchased several of the items I was looking at as a bundle (they said they would be willing to do that in the ad, so I wasn't just asking out of the blue). They got back to me and said they'd be willing to lower the price eighteen dollars. Which was a good deal, but I didn't have that much saved up, I was still short about fifteen dollars. Kindly, I was able to borrow that much from my parents (so I still have to pay some of it off), and I was able to buy it! My second biggest Barbie purchase of my life. This one is only three dollars shy of my most expensive Barbie purchase ever (so it was practically a tie). But it's totally worth it, they both were actually.
I did think waiting for it was going to kill me, you should know by now how terrible I am at waiting for stuff. I did pay for and received a tracking number, and I've been obsessively checking it all week, tracking it's progress. And it's been slow, so dreadfully slow. And of course it didn't get here on Saturday, meaning I had to wait until after Sunday for it to arrive. My mail seems to love making me wait on Sunday for it to get here. But I survived the wait, and it's here! I even took a picture of the box to share with the blog (and Flickr):You don't get to see what's inside it until tomorrow. Yeah, I'm a jerk like that. If I had to wait, that means you all are going to have to wait to. Don't worry, I'll make it worth your while. Besides it's not really photo ready yet. Everything inside needs a bit of a refresher after it's trip (and I think some refreshing was needed even before they made it into the mail). We're all about putting out best foot forward here at Aubrey's Mind, so I don't think you'll mind waiting one day longer, that's not too long of a wait.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sad News Everyone...

I should start off with stating that I'm not back to blogging just yet (although that's not the sad news). Instead I have some sad news about a certain someone in the collection, and I'm keeping the blog up to date on whatever doll stuff that happens, however minor.
So the sad news is, I've decided to nix Skooter's outfit. I know, I was so close to having her dressed, but it's been a couple weeks and I still haven't bothered finishing her outfit. And when I'm that hesitant to finish making something, especially for a doll I've anguished over dressing for months, there's got to be a reason. And there's two big reasons why I've been putting off finishing Skooter's outfit.
The first issue is a design problem. One of the main features of the dress is the red jumper, which is cute, but also just an expanse of plain red fabric. I've tried a variety of things in order to give it a bit more decoration on the bodice. Beads, bows, and belts have all been tried but nothing seems to work. I know it needs something there, because without it, it just feels so empty. I just have no clue what to put there. So that's one strike against it, but a design issue like that wouldn't be enough to get an entire outfit cancelled. There's an even bigger issue that's came up that managed to be the death knoll for the outfit.
The other reason was a material issue. I didn't mention it before, but that red dotted fabric I bought a while back, (you know, the one I was so excited to find) while it looks almost the same as the fabric I used to have, there's a big difference. This new one is much thinner than the original one. It's so thin that when you hem it, you can clearly see thru the fabric to see the hemmed fabric on the other side. It's practically a sheer. And I'm not just talking about seeing the red dots from the other side, but also the plain white fabric. It's so disappointing because I was so excited to find this fabric, but it turns out I don't think I'll actually be able to use it for much. My girls are not much for exhibitionism! Lately I've noticed the fabrics I've been buying have been thinner and thinner, and I've been making do, but this is much too thin. I could make the shirt with a different fabric, but the fabric was a big part of why I liked the outfit as a whole. So without it, I don't really see the outfit getting finished or used. I could still come back to it eventually. I mean the jumper is finished, and I do love going back on my words for some reason.
I'm sure Skooter will find her clothes, eventually. Just cross that outfit off the list! (Darn it!)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hey Everyone...

I have something I need to tell you all. I'm going to be going on another one of those breaks from blogging. I'm not sure why, but the moment March ended it took with it any enthusiasm I had for the dolls. Not sure why, but at the moment I don't want to deal with them, I don't want to play with them, and I don't even want to look at them. It's like sharing a studio apartment with 150+ short people you really don't care for. So I guess I'm taking a break from dolls for until I get out of this current funk.
I won't bore everyone with what I'm doing with my days because I really don't know what I'm going to do with them myself. Lately blogging has become quite a chore itself, so I need a break from that in general. I do have a couple days posts that need to be finished and posted, so they'll pop up sooner or later. And if anything big or exciting happens I'll make sure to keep everyone updated. I'm hoping I just need to to recharge my batteries. I hope I don't sound too dramatic, but I didn't just want to vanish on everyone. Also by saying I'm taking a break I don't feel like I have to keep up with the blog and feel guilty the more I fall behind.
Here's hoping I come back enthused and ready to sew!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Some thoughts for the first of the month...

Did you know that last month, I dressed three dolls? (Technically, even though I made Living Barbie's dress an earlier month). Really you should since I just got two of them done yesterday, just in the nick of time.
It's a personal best for the year, but it does tie with February's grand total. So far this year I've managed to dress seven dolls. January was a particularly dry month, with only one doll moving from the party pad to the collection, but I managed to get three dolls dressed the next two months, so that's pretty good. Much better than my average of one doll per month that I had last year, which is really where most of this current back log of nude dolls came from. Here's hoping that progress like that will continue. Because while I am chipping away at the piles of undressed dolls, I keep adding to it, undermining my own successes. (It's a sickness!)
So far out of the seven dressed dolls this year, only one of them was a doll I had from last year. Most of the dressed dolls so far this are are dolls I got just this year. So while I'm managing to keep the numbers plateaued, I'm not making too much progress on dolls that I've had for a while. Which makes sense since the ones I've had a while they're still undressed because I can't figure out how to dress them. The new dolls are new, so I haven't run out of ideas for them yet. But since I got that one Ken doll dressed, it shows I can make progress on the older dolls. I just need to find the right motivation. I do look forward to the day when all the dolls have moved out from the Party Pad (not really, because who will I work on then???), but right now it does look a lot less crowded. I was able to finally seat everyone and not need to have a couple people standing up in the back. While I'm still just as obsessive on getting them all dressed, I do feel a bit better when it looks not as jam packed.
So I wonder if I'll be able to keep my numbers up for April, or gasp, beat it? (I doubt I'll actually dress four dolls, I don't think I've ever dressed that many, except for last Christmas and that was just making holiday dresses for already dressed dolls). But one can always hope!