Went to Michaels again last night to get some more of the variegated cashmere so I can knit a sweater for Maya. I've finally made the final choice of the dolls that will be coming - I think - and there will be five: Lonnie, Nami, Byuri, Maya and Elin. Just plain mid 20th century children - no fantasy or historical stuff. I decided that Elin's light blue sweater looked too "doll-like" on her, so started another in teal green. The sweater for Maya is an earth-tones variegated yarn that's almost the exact same colours as his vest. I managed to squeeze him into Lonnie's sweater so I have a visual for where to lengthen and widen my already altered knitting pattern. The cuffs and bottom band will be the darkest brown in the variegation, so I unwound the ball of yarn to the wanted colour. I'm hoping I can finish the first sleeve before reaching the dark brown again, since I don't want to waste a whole colour sequence before starting the second sleeve. Maybe I'll just "top up" the sleeve with some of the unwound yarn so I won't get into the dark brown.
I really hope I can finish these two sweaters in time, as I have quite a lot of other things to still do this week. If not, I'll just take the knitting with me. There's bound to be plenty of "waiting time" and the ferry itself takes over five hours - that alone is enough to do half a sweater.
The lobster traps are coming along nicely, although they are very time consuming in that I can only glue on a few wooden slats at a time before I have to let it sit and dry. This morning I accidentally knocked over the varnish for the styrofoam floats, and it went all over my pile of wooden slats. So I had to scrub off all the spilled varnish and put the slats in the sun to dry.
Well, better get back to it - the
Today is "Eat Your Vegetables Day", so whether they be green, yellow, white, red or orange,
today is the day to make a special effort to enjoy Earth's bounty.
Overheard at the salad bar......."Mommy says we are supposed to make vegetables our friends, but I don't want to eat my friends!" "Me neither!"
My kitchen table has been turned into a "lobster trap factory" as I'm busy making props for our trip to the Maritimes. I googled lobster traps for reference, but nothing beats the real thing, so I hauled in the souvenir trap from some long past trip, and am making 1/4 scale replicas - with a little help from Jan, of course. Actually, with a LOT of help.
I soaked 1/4" reed for the bent-wood part- yes, I own every manner of craft material ever invented - and the next step is to make the net entrance for the lobsters. From crochet thread. Then I get to glue on all the slats - and paint the little simulated nail-heads. Seems like a lot of work, especially considering there will probably be souvenir miniature traps for sale in the gift shops. But who says they'd be the right size, and most of the miniature souvenir ones I've seen online have starfish and other nautical bric-a-brac glued all over them. Plus, who knows how expensive they'd be, and I want a bunch. So better just make them myself. Oh, and those styrofoam balls are destined to become floats.
We also took care of our impatiens issue today. It was very depressing at first, pulling out all those diseased plants, but I'd rather deal with them now, than when they are all mush in mid July, and there's no plants left in the nurseries. I figured better to be ruthless now, so tossed every plant with even the slightest hint of mildew. Of the six flats - totaling 288 plants - there were just 11 plants that had no sign of infestation (yet). We went to the nursery to buy a few new replacement plants - some New Guinea impatiens, which aren't susceptible to the mildew - and mentioned the downey mildew again. This time they did acknowledge the problem existed, but blamed it on the fact that it was airborne and in everyone's soil now, and added that it will take at least four years before the spores disappeared from the soil. The brush-off sounded oddly familiar! Does no one take responsibility for their faulty products anymore? Anyway, my garden is neat again, albeit very green and noticeably lacking in colour. But neat is a good thing.
I enjoyed knitting Nami's variegated sweater so much, that I bought another ball of the pretty cashmere sock yarn to knit a sweater and hat for Lonnie. I'm still trying to find Lonnie's "look" but have determined she definitely is a "hat girl". Maybe it's because, like all the KIDs, she has a small little face on an otherwise proportionately large head, so the hat helps minimize the top of her head and makes her look "normal". Now I need to make her a T-shirt and jumper.
I'm feeling a bit demoralized by my garden. A few weeks ago we bought several flats of impatiens and potted up lots of pots and hanging baskets, just like we have for 30 years. Well, they've all started dying! First they lose their flowers, then the leaves, then the plants go all limp like they've been cooked. It doesn't seem to matter where in the garden they are, whether they are under a tree, out in the open, or covered by the porch. Which would suggest it's not from the way they are watered, or if it's the cooler rainy weather doing it. Last year I had the same problem, but it started later in the summer, and I lost about 1/4 to 1/3 of my plants, but so far it looks like just about all my plants this year are affected. I googled the problem and discovered there's a plague of downy mildew infestation destroying impatiens right across North America. The undersides of the leaves are thick with downy white mildew, and there's nothing that can be done about it. That in fact there are two kinds of mold spores - one which can become air-borne and infect surrounding (and neighbour's) plants, and then there's the spores that go into the plant itself and the soil, infecting it so that the following year if you plant impatiens in that same spot, the mold will enter the plant through the soil and kill the plant. The problem first appeared in late 2011 and only affects the regular kind, and not the "sunshine impatiens". So now I have to decide which pots I really want to have colour in later this summer, and go replace them with other plants - which is about the last thing I need to be doing when I'm already so busy. I wish I'd researched this issue sooner - like last year - so I didn't have to go waste all that money on sick plants. I will have to research what plants to buy next year, since it looks like impatiens will not be a wise choice for years to come. It's a huge disappointment as I loved the colour the impatiens brought to my shady backyard. They were about the only flowering plant that would bloom in my backyard. Good thing I've learned to like "green", and have come to appreciate all the different colours and textures of the leafy plants in an almost exclusively green garden.
Byuri and Nami are all set to go visit Newfoundland, or as it's affectionately known - "the Rock". I've made them some simpler "ageless contemporary" jumpers with sweaters to better fit in with the the cool, damp Maritimes. It's definitely not the style I usually make for my dolls, but I think for this trip it's the best choice. For Byuri it's a nice change, since she went in First Nations regalia on both the last two trips. I don't know for sure who else will be going yet, but Nami and Byuri are looking forward to beach combing, exploring the fishing villages and tidal pools.
Today is "International Puzzle Day", so why not start a puzzle today? It doesn't matter how many pieces - 100, 500, 750, 1000 or more pieces - it will be fun!
Miki, Hope and Nelly chose a nice little manageable-sized one with colourful balloons....
Some of the other girls chose a huge 1,500 piece puzzle because they liked the underwater
scene with all the colourful coral and fishes - but they gave up. "It's WAY too hard!"
So they found another fun way to amuse themselves on Puzzle Day.
Now that Peach is home for good, I've been playing around to see how she looks in another outfit originally made for Lonnie. I think I actually prefer it on Peach. I made it so Lonnie could come along on our upcoming trip to the Maritimes and play the part of a "pioneer" along with one of my Naraes, Narin, and possibly Maya. I think Peach's tiny little face would fit very nicely with Narae's delicate features. I rather like the unkempt look of the red Roxie wig on her too.
It always takes a little while to figure out a doll's "default look" - the outfit and wig she'll be wearing most of the time - and I don't really have that many KID-size outfits to try on her. I really like her new faceup - she looks like she's about ready to break into a smile.
Today is "Magic Day", so Kyle is practicing his magic tricks. And because it's also
"Red Rose Day", he's presented Narae with a lovely single red rose before levitating her.....
Miki is also celebrating "Magic Day" by practicing her card tricks for her friends......
Went to pick up Peach this afternoon, and she's now perfect! There's no sign of the resin flaws anymore. Charie did a totally amazing job in fixing her. I thought for her very first photos back home, I'd dress in her Lonnie's Victorian ensemble. She looked beautiful.
Talking with Charie it became clearer as to what exactly she had done. One thing is for certain, Peach definitely had flaws in her resin. They showed up very clearly when a light was shone into her head. The light flaws were widest near the surface and tapered towards the inside. I had thought Charie had scraped the light areas off, but what she had really done was scrape and sand the darker areas around the flaw in order to soften the edges and blend it into the lighter resin. Darker coloured resins become lighter when they are sanded, so Charie took advantage of that and ever so carefully scraped and sanded away the darker resin across the entire bridge of her nose so that it was all one soft colour, and blended seamlessly into her face. Charie said we were lucky the flaw was where it was, because had it been in the middle of her cheek, it would have been impossible to fix that way. All I can say is "Charie you are amazing!"
Which is more than I can say for Iplehouse. I went to look this morning to see if they had responded to my questions from last week. They had back-tracked on their hot glue claims and said there was still something there, and they wouldn't know what until they saw the head in person. I'll give them that. But then they went on to insult my faceup artist..."it is normal to assume that our chief sculptor, who has made resin dolls for more than ten years, has much more experience than an amateur". That made me mad! An Amateur!?!? Charie is no "amateur"!! She has a lifetime of experience with making and painting dolls, and has been painting BJDs since they first came out over 10 years ago. Or are they implying that anyone not working for them is considered an "amateur"? Anyway, then they went on to say that if I paid to send the doll back to them, that they'd be kind enough to pay for the shipping back. Gee, that's so generous! I get to spend more big bucks to totally start over.
At that point I really lost it, and because my Peach had been fixed, I figured I had nothing to lose, and decided it was time to tell them what I really thought of their lousy "Customer Service", and to tell that us "amateurs" had even noticed one of their newest light brown dolls on their website - Aaliyah - had a similar light area in her resin towards the back of her upper right arm - something no one there had noticed - not the person who took the doll out of the mold, not the faceup artist, not the stylist who dressed the doll for the various clothing and lingerie photo shoots, nor the photographer, nor the web person. I won't post the links here, since I fully expect the photos to be pulled by tomorrow. But I took photos of the web pages.
Anyway, I have my Peach, and she's beautiful, and I'm glad this is all over. And as with every cloud, this one had a "silver lining" too. We learned a lot in our research into flaws in resin, and about mold release, and about how doll companies deal with issues in their resin. We learned that the BJD community is a close-knit group, willing to share their expertise and give tips for possible solutions. Charie also developed a whole new set of skills in addressing this issue, and those will be very useful in future faceups.
And all I can say to anyone ordering a blank doll from them, whether you are a professional faceup artist or a do-it-your-selfer, take a moment when the doll arrives, and before doing anything to it, shine a light inside to check for any flaws in the resin. I'd hate for anyone else to have to go through what I just went through this past week.
With all the talk about resin issues, I thought it was time to share another issue that comes up from time to time. My SID Asa has spots on her body, but they are different than Peach's. Asa's spots are rough areas in the resin surface which were not visible either on the blank doll, but when blushing the doll, they grabbed the blush, and it highlighted them. There's one spot on her chest, and another on her back.
I bought that body last year because I didn't like having a "floating head" and decided the second of my two EID girls needed to have a body of her own. Iplehouse doesn't sell individual bodies or heads, so I did a "split" with another collector, buying an Eva so she could buy the head, and I keep the body. The spots on Asa's new body showed up during the blushing process, and knowing that IH has a disclaimer on their site about rough areas and small spots in the darker resins being considered "normal", I made no attempt to contact them about it. Quite frankly, being a perfectionist, I was embarrassed about the spots, so never even mentioned them. But with all the talk lately about possible issues with resin dolls, I though it was high time to talk about the rough spots too.
Talking to experts who poured their own dolls, I learned that rough patches occur when a mold gets too old, or has been over-used, or there's a build-up of mold release. On normal skin dolls rough patches can be removed by sanding, but it's not wise to sand darker resins, as the sanded areas usually end up lighter than the surrounding resin.
The spot on Asa's back never sees the light of day, but the one on her chest is above her neckline. Fortunately it's almost in the middle of her chest and I can hide it with the pendant of her necklace. I don't know if anything can be done about it to remove it, but since it's in a place where I can hide it, I just live with it.