Charie spent all day yesterday working on my Peach. She first tried adding freckles to hide the light areas, but she said she hated how that looked. So she took a chance and stripped the head down. Then going by some of the tips, suggestions, and questions posed by members of Zone of Zen doll forum, she held a light inside the head, and sure enough the marks in the resin were clearly visible, and they spread evenly across the bridge of Peach's nose. Then taking someone else's advice, she took a new, sharp razor knife, and scraped the surface of the areas which showed up with the light. She then sanded the face with her diamond sanders to even out the colour over the rest of the head to match the scraped areas. When she finally applied the sealer to start the new faceup, the light areas were gone! She gave Peach a new faceup, and then decided to strip her body and redo it so it matched . Here's one of the photos she sent me....
Peach looks beautiful now. It's almost like those flaws were never even there. Charie certainly did an amazing job! If I didn't know where the light areas had been before I certainly would not notice them now. Especially since our photos really made the spots stand out more than they did in real life before, so now with them being gone in the photos, Peach will look perfect in real life.
This whole experience has taught us both a lot. First of all it shows that the BJD community is a friendly and supportive group ready to help when one encounters a problem - even when the doll company is not. It's also a very important discovery that flaws in the resin will show up when a light is inserted into the doll. If everyone ordering a blank doll takes a few minutes to check their dolls upon arrival - and take photos to document any problems - it will save a lot of heartache when they try talk to the doll company and they try turn it around and blame the customer. Several people told me they had light spots develop on their darker dolls during the faceup process, but they thought it was just their inexperience, or a problem with the sealer. A simple "candling" before starting would have shown any flaws if there were any, and if there were none, then yes, light spots appearing during the faceup, would most likely be from the sealer.
Another thing I learned in my research into what could be wrong with Peach, was that the most commonly used mold release for pouring resin, contains teflon. I have no way of knowing what's in the mold release the various companies use, but they definitely have strong "anti-stick" properties. So it's always very important to throughly clean a blank doll with Magic Eraser, soap and water, to remove any mold release residue. My IH Asa JID was the only doll I purchased with a factory faceup, and part of her lip paint just flaked off within the first year. My EID Carina was the first IH doll I ordered blank, and at the time we weren't aware of how paint could flake off a doll which was not thoroughly cleaned. So Carina's fingernails and some of her body blush started flaking off within days. After being stripped and thoroughly cleaned with Magic Eraser, her new faceup and body blush had no issues at all. Working with BJDs is an on-going learning process, but I wish sometimes it would be a little easier. Hopefully my next doll will be perfect!
Went to Fabricland the other day to pick up some buttons for my shirts. I bought the "Box of Buttons" kind since all I wanted was some nice plain buttons in colours matching my eight different fabrics, and they were the most economical option - even with all the notions on sale. I brought along fabric samples, and managed to narrow it down to 5 different colours.
Now to sew the buttons onto my three finished shirts, so I can get back to my doll clothes. "But what about the button holes?" you might ask. Nope, I don't ever make button holes. I HATE making button holes, and even thought the manual for my expensive computerized sewing machine claims it can make all kinds of beautiful button holes all by itself (really?!?) I prefer my tried and true method of just pinning the right front placket over the left placket and sewing the buttons right through both, so it looks like a nice tailored shirt, but in reality it's a "put-on-over-the-head" top that never can get undone.
And here's why - after all I do have a very good reason, and it's not simply laziness. Many years ago, at a school sports function at my kid's school, I was walking around with my camera around my neck taking photos of the various activities. After speaking with the principal for a few minutes, I glanced down, and half the buttons on my shirt were undone!! I was absolutely mortified! That naughty camera!!!!! Well, since giving up taking photos was not an option, I decided to solve the problem by sewing all my shirts shut up the front. I've not had another embarrassing wardrobe malfunction since! Drives the doctors nuts though - they reach over to undo a button to listen to my heart with their stethoscope, but the buttons won't undo!
Jan found an old horse in Mary's Barbie castle, and wondered if he was maybe the right size for my dolls. I think he's a touch too small, but I took a few photos anyways. Both girls are nice and warm in their comfy sweaters, as "summer" seems to have come and gone - not that I mind this much cooler weather. In fact I prefer it.
"Would you like some carrots?"
I need to make Lonnie her own sweater, but for now she's borrowing one from the younger girls. Our road trip is coming up fast, so I think I need to switch priorities and focus on finishing the doll clothes and props I'm going to need. After all, it's more important to have my dolls ready for photos on a trip I'll probably never take again, than it is for me to have a whole wardrobe of nice new shirts. I can work on those right up to the time we leave, but if I don't get done, it's not like going on vacation wearing some ragged worn clothes is going to turn heads in the wilderness of Newfoundland - well maybe some moose, but they charge off into the woods the second they see a camera come out anyways. And if we should encounter any breaching whales, they aren't above the water long enough to notice. I need to get my priorities straight - dolls first - me second. The dolls need sweaters, lobster traps, fishing poles and nets. I bought a package of styrofoam balls to make into "floats". Better get busy!
FedEx delivered my puzzle prize money yesterday, so I used some of it to pre-order a little white Manuna Mouse to go with the brown ones coming some time this summer. She's not estimated to arrive until some time in October, which is still a very long way off. Even though the factory making the dolls for JPopDolls is way behind schedule, with customers having to wait many extra months past the estimated delivery dates for their dolls, I'm hoping the company will get their act together in their new location, and my little white mouse will actually come in October. If not, Christmas is a good time for mice too.
Iplehouse has not responded to the questions I posted the last two days. In the meantime all kinds of complaints are coming out of the woodwork about poor quality control. I was also told that a major doll magazine is considering doing an article on "Problems Experienced with Ordering Dolls from Asian Companies" because of all the complaints arising recently.
Anyway, I brought Peach back to Charie last night, and she is going to try hide the light areas on her nose with some blush and light freckles. All I want is a pretty doll that looks good in photos, so if Charie is successful that will be good enough for me. It's interesting though, that in examining Peach's legs - because they were rather floppy - we discovered that the factory had strung one of her upper legs parts in upside-down. So Charie will restring her. I'm lucky she can do that for me, as it's definitely not something I'd want to do myself - and neither would many other people. The dolls are expensive, and people expect them to arrive properly strung.
Since we were passing through Whitby, we stopped in at Michaels and I picked up another ball of the nice variegated cashmere in another colourway for a sweater for Lonnie - or Peach. I really like working with the soft cashmere sock yarn.
Maybe you've noticed I've not been making posts here as regularily as usual, and I seem somewhat distracted. And you'd be right.
I've been reluctant to talk about the issues I'm having with my newest doll - KID Peach - here, as no one really wants to hear any bad news about a company everyone holds in such high esteem. I've always loved Iplehouse dolls and own 13 of them, and was always impressed by everyone's claims that they received such excellent customer service when there was an issue with their doll.
Well, that has not been my experience at all this past week. I ordered a blank real skin Peach and she was given a beautiful faceup by Charie Wilson, who is a professional faceup artist who has done hundreds of faceups, including all the dolls in my own collection. During the faceup process, light areas appeared on Peach's face. Charie removed the faceup and tried again, but the spots remained. Charie assured me that she had done nothing different than usual, and she'd not had issues like this before. She felt there was possibly an issue with the resin itself. I took Peach home and dressed her, and took a few photos. The light areas are not that noticeable in real life, but they really show up in photos.
Well, everyone said "ask for a new head", so I contacted Iplehouse, explaining what had been done to the doll, and wondering if there could be an issue with the resin in that area. They immediately brushed me off, and said the spots on my doll's face are from something on the resin under the sealer that the faceup artist had put there.
That was ridiculous, since Charie totally cleaned the head with Magic Eraser, soap and water before spraying with sealer. Twice. So I pushed back and said the head didn't have anything stuck under the sealer.
Then they said either I or the faceup artist had gotten hot glue on the head, and that Magic Eraser wouldn't remove that. Well, that was absurd! Neither of us even had a glue gun in the same room as Peach. Her body had already been hot-glued months ago when it was still Soa's body. Plus, Charie has lots of experience with hot glue and has removed it successfully from resin many times in the past and there was never a mark, so even if we had gotten hot glue on the head - which we didn't - it would have been easy enough to remove. It was clear IH wasn't going to back down, and I was feeling lost as to what to do next.
So I posted photos on another doll thread and asked if anyone else had ever seen something like the spots in my doll's resin, and there were several people who had. One person who had experience pouring their own resin said that sometimes what looks like a perfect pour has some small area that doesn't cure properly, and no matter how many times it's cleaned and washed, it refuses to take paint or pastels. Someone else sent me a Private Message to tell me they have seen IH refuse to accept any responsibility for issues like mine - that they always blame the
faceup artist for anything that appears during the process of adding a faceup. There were also two people whose IH dolls developed light areas on their faces while applying the sealer, but being beginners doing their own faceups, they just assumed it was their own inexperience with the sealer.
I'm still trying to get through to Iplehouse. I feel like they are trying to bully me into going away, which makes me very angry. So, sometimes it takes a few days for me to calm down enough to write a non-accusatory note back to them.
As much as I have been hesitant to say anything about my Iplehouse issues here, I feel people should know that even though Iplehouse seems to be very helpful in many situations, they do have a dark side - and comes out when one buys a blank doll and a problem manifests itself during the faceup process. These problems, which we believe are in the resin, would not be visible when the doll was checked by their Quality Control, but would appear later with the application of the sealer.
I have been an excellent customer of theirs and show their dolls off to great affect on my website. I really resent their accusations that I or my faceup artist - who is every bit as professional as the people who paint for them - did this to my doll head, when we KNOW we didn't. I've accidentally messed up one of my doll's faceups before, and two dolls have fallen forward in outdoor photo shoots and sustained damage to their faces, but I would never dream of then going to the doll company and try get a replacement. I am an honest person. If
we had done something to my Peach's face we wouldn't be approaching IH about it.
This whole thing is very upsetting and has really put me off of dolls at the moment - hence my distraction here. I'm going to bring my doll back to Charie since she's offered to try again to add a bit more blush to the lighter areas, and then add light freckles to help distract from the problem. In the meantime I've asked IH if I send the head back to them to remove this imaginary substance they insist is there, will I have to pay for their services, and for shipping
both ways. And if they make the spot worse, will I just be sent back my original head or be sent a new replacement.
Like I've said before, getting this second KID of mine to work out has seemed like a "cursed" endeavor right from the beginning. I can't sell her like this, so am stuck with her. If she wasn't so expensive, I'd just give up. So I'll see if Charie can make the spots less noticeable to a point where I can live with it, and see what Iplehouse says next. I definitely don't want to be spending another hundred dollars for shipping both ways only to risk getting back my same head - blank, possibly worse than before - only to have to get her a new faceup for a third time with no hope of hiding the defect. Sometimes it's better to just give up and live with it.
So for now I'm just keeping busy with sewing myself some new shirts. All eight have been cut out, and two are finished sewing - they just need pressing and buttons. I better get going if I'm going to make my daily quota of finishing one shirt.
Sweater number three is finished, and I think it's my favourite so far. The cashmere was so soft, and it was great fun to knit with the colours always changing. I knit it using a fleck stitch for texture, and was careful to always start with the green part of the colourway in order to tie everything together. I'm seriously tempted to go to Miachaels with another 50% off coupon and buy another ball of the cashmere, but in a different colour, and knit a sweater for Lonnie too.
I've started sewing one of my new shirts, but it's hard to stay focused. Back in May there was a "Buy a Musical Instrument Day", which I had wanted to take a photo for, but missed, and it's been bugging me ever since. So I finally set up and took a photo for it yesterday.
The girls emptied out their piggy-banks and got advances on their allowance, and went off to the local symphony garage sale looking for bargains. Two hours later, hauling home their loot....
Now they will all need some serious music lessons in order to learn to play them all properly!
Today is "Donut Day", the day to go buy a dozen or two, and stuff yourself silly with donuts.
Actually, I'm ahead of the game, since we went to Timmies last night for a ten-pack of Timbits, just so I'd have a proper box to cut up and make into a doll-size donut box. That was after an hour or so in the kitchen making the delicious-looking sugary confections out of polymer clay.
I mixed some beige, white, and orange clay to a nice "dough-like" colour, using my eraser donuts as inspiration. Then I rolled out equal-sized balls, which I flattened, then worked a hole into the middle with the round end of an old paintbrush. Next I googled "donut" on the Internet for some photo inspiration, and was blown away by the colours of icing and sprinkles! Next I selected colours for "icing", flattened them into very thin circles, cut a hole in the middle with a straw, and smoothed it onto the "donut". I personally prefer plain donuts with no icing or glaze at all, but if they had to have icing, I chose to decorate several with just plain "nuts or coconut". Then I went crazy with the icing and sprinkle colours, cutting each tiny sprinkle from very thinly-rolled bits of coloured clay. I was careful not to over-bake, setting the oven 25 degrees lower than the instructions suggest, and then lowering it another 25 degrees when I put the tray into the oven. I checked the oven after ten minutes, then every five after that, and there was no change in the colour. After cooling, I brushed on some very thinned-down golden acrylic paint to give a bit more life to the uniform dough colour, then finished with a matte varnish. Yummmm!!
I finally got to Soa and her new body. She needed tights and underwear in order to protect her brand new body from the metal stand, so I had to make them first. Then I decided to try a different wig than the one she was wearing with Asa's "Mother Nature" outfit when she was borrowing Asa's body. After all, now that she has her own JID body, and there's just that one outfit available for her to wear, she needs to celebrate with a somewhat different new look.
She really needs something special of her own, but for now this will have to do. I'm wondering if her choice of forget-me-nots is intended as a not-so subtle message to me?
Nami is back home, and decided to try on my second little sweater - not that she needs one today, with it being so hot and humid. For this second sweater I wanted some texture, so I used a "box stitch". I had to alter my already altered pattern because the box stitch works out wider and shorter than just plain old stockinette stitch. So this sweater is nice and roomy.
I also finally figured out how to make button loops small enough for my tiny buttons. I did buy larger buttons at Micahaels for the first pink sweater, but the buttonholes are still too big, so I'll have to go along with some matching sewing thread and make all the buttonholes smaller. At Michaels I was tempted by some nice super-fine multi-coloured sock yarn for another sweater, so I bought a ball.
However, I've been thrown off by an issue with my Peach. She has pale marks in her resin right in the middle of her face along the tip and bridge of her nose. They were not visible on the blank head but showed up during the faceup process. In real life they aren't that noticeable except in certain lighting conditions - and if it's pointed out. I need to contact Iplehouse and see what they say about it, because these dolls are too expensive to just accept a flaw, especially in the middle of the face, and unfortunately it's all I see now. The marks are most visible in black & white....
It's very disappointing, because I thought I'd finally sorted out the situation with my second KID, and now she has an issue. But, ignoring the marks, she sure looks nice in black and white.
I tried the more contemporary outfits on Peach and Lonnie, and took some photos. It's amazing how different they look now - but that's what's so great about BJDs - they are so changeable!
It's interesting in that Peach seems to look a little younger in this combination. I think I'll keep them both like this for now, so I better go clean up all the clothes and wigs.