a good old-fashioned deer hat party

I was making a couple of deer hats by request this past week, and while I was at it, I made myself a couple, because actually, I never kept but one single fraise (red) one for my own girls. Since I got into the groove of cutting felt, I wound up cutting out enough ears/antlers for eight hats...!

I get to zone out and watch true crime shows or listen to podcasts while I work, and finishing up a hat is always satisfying!

I feel all pumped to get out to the craft store and get some yarn (I definitely want to make a foehn hat) and churn out a few hats. I don't actually have any yarn left at the moment. I'm also out of white/ercu/cream floss, which I usually use to stitch up antlers with. While I was pawing through my stash last night, I did find that I had crocheted, but never antlered/eared, a flora hat and a fetti hat... so I remedied that quickly!

Gavin's wearing a flora hat (she's also breaking in these dusky pink boots I recently got). I chose to stitch the antlers up with mossy green floss. Oddly, it doesn't come off very green in pictures. But it is green.

Mallow's rocking the fetti hat. You might also notice that she has new front-facing eye chips!! They're light blue, which I think really suits her, recalling her stock. I took out the uber-dark brown ones. (Two of my other girls got new chips, too. Pics sometime soon!) I also outfitted her with a new pull string -- hers broke while I was filming my Blythe collection video, if you recall -- and de-sleepy-eyed her, since I wasn't sure if that had contributed to her pull string snapping! While I was in her head, I also gave her a tiny gaze lift. It may not be noticable. I don't tend to go overboard with the ol' gaze lifts.

Neither of these hats are particularly wintry, but there haven't been hats in these colorways in my shop since, I think, 2011. When international shipping prices got jacked up a couple of years ago, it really depressed me and put me off even wanting to make hats at all for a long time, because mostly, I shipped international! Still can't figure a way around this, but I think I'll indulge in making hats while I feel like it!

["Tweet feat. Missy Elliott - Oops (Oh My)" plays in the background]

My C.A. Cupid had quite the poof of pink locks when she came out of the box. (See also: Dracubecca's pink-soled boots.)

Whilst not entirely un-cute, these tresses needed some taming, so her hair was rinsed and conditioned, wrapped up in little curlers, dunked in boiling water and then soaked in ice water to set it, and left in the curlers for four-ish days!

Now she has lovely fat sausage ringlets. I'd like to take credit, but I totally can't. I just watched attentively while my friend wrapped up her own Twyla and then my Cupid.

Cupid also got the arrow on her headband painted gold... originally it was the same hot magenta-pink as the heart wreath, or whatever it is.

And also her tiny, tiny, tiny little fingernails got a gold manicure courtesy of my steady-handed friend. It blends in with her look so nicely, it's as if they were meant to be gold all along!

Just one more post on Ever After High -- my Apple White also got some little touch-ups.

["Blu Cantrell - Hit 'Em Up Style (Oops!)" plays in the background]

I've disappeared a bit lately... I've been visiting with friends more than usual, and also helping my mom plan a holiday thingy (more on that later).

In non-Blythe-but-still-doll-news, short story long, I've reconnected somewhat recently with a friend of mine from my preteen/teen years -- it's because of this girl I felt encouraged to pursue writing just for the love of it and enjoy Meat Loaf (the singer) to the extent that I do. Man, the days when we would hang out eating ramen noodles and watching Wayne's World on VHS...

We've had some rough patches in our friendship and drifted in and out of contact over the years. But I do know that several years ago, she was really into collecting original My Little Pony. Fast forward to now, we've been in touch more, and I discover she and her girlfriend (who, by the way, makes amazing custom My Little Ponies) both collect Monster High/Ever After High dolls.

You know I'm reluctantly/gleefully getting in on this Much Much Cheaper Doll action. Not a lot -- but enough! Actually getting to talk to "doll people" in real life is pretty sweet.

I've checked out Monster High dolls in the past, since there's some overlap on Flickr with the Blythe community. Honestly, I find Monster High slightly overwhelming, as there are so many dolls and so many versions or iterations of the dolls. Also, Monster High's aesthetic uses a lot of neons and fluorescents and color combinations that are jarring to my tender mori girl-loving eyeballs.

But... I've actually had a C.A. Cupid and an Apple White from the Ever After High line in boxes in my bookcase for like, several months! I really like this line. It's a little more white bread, but the color schemes are less phantasmagoric.

(I'm legit obsessed with Apple White's round apple basket/bag. I would carry that IRL so fast, even if it was plastic and looked like one of those old McDonald's trick-or-treat buckets.)

I really don't know why I left them in their packaging for months. Well -- I do love the packaging!! It's actually so attractive and cute. But also, I think I felt a little weird about having bought them. Why? I don't really know. It's probable I feel I have too many dolls as it is and my mind was not adjusted to having dolls other than Blythes.

But a couple of weeks ago, my friend and I headed to Target to scope out their Monster High row. Having seen her collection, I was wanting to try and take a closer look at what was currently on the shelves. Although I felt more open to getting another Not Blythe, I experienced some uncertainty in the store, because the selection was so huge, and the colors overly bright against the black packaging.

So, Dracubecca was The One. My friend took her off the shelf for me to consider, and I was like, "...Yes!"

She's from the Freaky Fusion line, which means she's two of their "regular" dolls, Draculaura (a pink-skinned vampire) and Robecca (a steampunk robot with bronze skin and blue hair), made into a hybrid. I'm only just learning about this stuff and don't know all the dolls, like, at all, but Robecca is probably high up on the list in terms of the original dolls that I like. Draculaura is cute, but the black/pink combination gives me these Avril Lavigne vibes...

Dracubecca has some atrocious hot pink in her style that I'm not real into, but her skin is this really lovely, slightly lilac-tinted, muted pink. I even want to say it has a pearlescent quality. She's actually very pretty! She has bronzey wings and some kind of little steampunk bustle-esque thing around her waist, as well as heart-shaped goggles. You can see rivets all over her body, since, I guess, technically, she's a robot? Haha, I don't know.

Anyway, I really don't care for this blue/pink color scheme, so I'm going to find her a different dress than this one, which I think will make me like her even more. And I really did not dig the hot pink on her black boots. So I repainted them!!

This was too much fun. I've never done this kind of customization before, since I don't do more than change eye chips or install sleepy eyes on my Blythes. Beatrix has gotten the brunt of it all.

But my friend and her girlfriend are both so freaking talented. (Did you even look at those My Little Ponies??) They had already both made some changes to some of their dolls, and both knew what they were doing, so it was fun to sit around the table with them, tubes of acrylic paints, and many tiny little paintbrushes, making cosmetic adjustments under their helpful guidance.

I chose to do Dracubecca's boots before anything because they were so terrible already, I didn't think I could really do any harm to them, even if I turned out to be very bad at what we were doing. I went in with copper  paint because it's more steampunk-y and also more neutral. The shade doesn't precisely match her plastic accoutrements, being metallic and shiny, but that's fine with me.

Originally, the soles, heels, and heart-shaped buckle at the ankles were all hot pink, and I don't know what was going on in the factory, or whatever, but it was so sloppily dashed on! There was really no very discernable shape to the sole. The paint on the heart-shaped buckle was wearing off, even. It was not good. I did my best to give the soles clean lines. I also painted the heart buckles. The gears/screw and heart dials on the upper half of the boot weren't painted at all, just like many other little features in the plastic aren't. I decided to paint those too, and am happy I did. My friend also did a little bit of clean-up with black paint for me around the soles.

In my opinion, the boots look sooo much better!

My friend did an epic detail job on a pair of (I think) Lagoona's heels, and her lady also did some crazy detailing on a pair of boots belonging to (I thiiiink?) Elissabat, who I had never seen or heard of before then, but who I thought was so cute. If I had seen her in the box at the store, I don't know if I would have thought twice about her. But I think the majority of the Monster High dolls I've seen look better out of the box. Many are hella cute and creative and super detailed.

Thanks to the expertise and styling tools of my friends, Dracubecca and Cupid got they hair did, too. A hot water rinse and lengthy conditioner soak worked wonders on Dracubecca. Her hair was left in a big twist for several days and now it's got some nice natural-looking wave.

My Cupid and Apple also got a few little embellishments done, which I'll share later. This is already far too long a post.

Neo Blythe Collection video/YouTube musings.

I spent the majority of my time last week working on this YouTube video, which is about my collection of Neo Blythes -- or, rather, a "review" of each of them.

This had been suggested/requested a few times. But it took me a long time to figure out how I wanted to tackle this video, format-wise, and how to do it in a way that would be pleasing to me. I knew I needed some kind of backdrop to keep the dolls front and center, so I made these two poster boards covered in fabric. And I knew I needed to film it in a place with natural lighting, at least as much as possible. Days are short right now, so it's hard to find that happy medium between direct sunlight and not enough light. I spent a chunk of four or five hours filming each doll last Saturday, then another couple of hours in the middle of the week to capture the eye mech changing bits as well as film my small introduction. I'm pretty bad off the cuff so my intro is very... "Please, Jesus, let me get through this."

Between transcoding the HQ footage into something that's actually workable, rendering time, and exporting (factoring in any unfortunate mishaps or program errors), a lot of time spent creating videos is just waiting for things to finish so you can keep going. The actual editing -- choosing clips and where to lay them, slicing and splicing, flow, color correction, messing around with music or audio -- takes a lot less time than everything else takes and is what I enjoy. I love the editing process of making videos and I loved filming my Blythes in their stock... especially Aury!! I was transported back in time to when I first got her and felt these crazy love pangs.

So if you want a 20-minute intro to my dolls (there are 13, and they each get about a minute and half of commentary, so it adds up...) feel free to watch my magnum opus. I broke Mallow's pull string at one point.

Awesomely, I've also hit 200 subscribers on my YouTube channel. Really cool since I never meant to have a channel.

It's sort of interesting to be putting myself in front of the camera a bit. Whenever I put anything creative out into the public, whether it's writing, something I've done in Photoshop, or a video, I have to fight off this immediate kickback of self-loathing and tendency to feel bad about myself in some way -- or several ways. After a video goes live, if I'm not thinking I'm dumb as rocks, ineloquent/unable to speak clearly, ugly, old... it hasn't been something I've put effort into, I guess! So I can't help cringing.

I value Blythe both as a creative hobby and a source of comfort, and I sort of feel like if my sense of comfort is eroded by doing YouTube videos -- even if I enjoy the editing aspect -- I'll probably just shut it down again.

everything in progress

It seems right now I have a bunch of plates spinning! Lots of crafts in progress with their materials all over the place... videos partially completed... a long-time writing project that I'm desperate to finish... I have a feeling I'm a little overloaded!

I'm happy that I managed to get these backdrops done today, because I've really been needing some for video-filming purposes (I'm working on a video about my Blythe collection, which is actually a big undertaking, as I have 13 dolls to film). They're just pieces of poster board with fabric stretched over them and Scotch-taped to the back... so they're not huge projects or anything, but I'm really pleased. These are just some test shots I did with Aury to see what they'd look like on camera.

Stuff On My Mind:
  • So bummed Selfie is cancelled. It was actually really cute and enjoyable. I'm sorry I doomed you with my death touch, Selfie.
  • I have got to update my vegan lip balm blog soon! Yet another spinning plate about to fall!
  • 1989 is turning my love/hate relationship with Taylor Swift into a just plain love relationship...