to celebrate the Year of the Horse.....
Today is "Inspire Your Heart with Art" Day, so I let some of the girls paint. Jan had recently made some easels, and I made some paint smocks so they wouldn't get their clothes dirty....and good thing too, because they did get paint everywhere. Elin did a lovely heart painting....
....and because today is also Chinese New Year, Byuri made a painting
to celebrate the Year of the Horse.....
...anyway, they had so much fun, I promised to sign them up for art lessons.
Lisa arrived this morning - I hadn't even finished my breakfast yet! I let the package rest a bit to warm up some. It's so ridiculously cold out these days. They've been calling it a "Polar Vortex" every time the temperature takes a nose-dive, but it alternates with more seasonable winter temperatures. I had to laugh this morning when the radio DJ was doing the weather forecast; she said "the windchill is minus 20, but Saturday it is going all the way up to zero. What do they mean calling it a "Polar" vortex? It's more like a "Bi-polar vortex!!"
Anyway, my Lisa is here, and she looks great! It's always a bit bitter-sweet when a doll comes blank, as I have to imagine how she will look painted. I think she may be the nicest KID sculpt so far - a nice round face, nice mouth with a hint of a smile. Most Lisas I've seen are in normal, peach, or gray skin, and they are all gorgeous. I went with Real Skin, as she has a family resemblance to my Lonnie, and I wanted them to be different. Plus it's my favourite skin-tone.
...and here she is with Lonnie and Peach...
There were also two wigs - wavy with center part, and no bangs. I like the golden blonde on Peach. It's just way too long for her - to the bottom of her skirt. I bought the wigs for when my JIDs and KIDs become Medieval maidens and they need long flowing hair. I'll let Peach keep the blonde wig for now, and if I decided it's going to be her default wig, then I'll have to trim it.
I've been working all day on the Queen's underskirt. There's some beautiful fabrics and trims...
...but before I can get to the embellishment, I have to make the basic underskirt. Both the fabrics I'm using are sheer metallics. The periwinkle blue for the upper skirt is so flimsy and thin, that it needed the support of a layer of white cotton underneath. I'm taking photos of many of the different steps involved and posting them in the Tutorial, so as not to fill my Blog every day.
I've switched Asa's head onto Leona's body, and the resin is a very good match. Unfortunately I can't say the same for Leona's head on Asa's body. Her pale face doesn't go with Asa's rosy-blushed body at all - but then, it didn't match her own body either. I'll see what Charie says about it, whether she can make Asa's body appear lighter to match Leona's head, or if she's going to need a new faceup. Problem is, I really like Leona's faceup. But I'll deal with that issue later.
Here's where I'm at with Asa's underskirt.....it's ready for embellishing....
The pattern for the Queen's underskirt was a challenge. The skirt needed to be a bit bigger than the petticoat with panniers underneath, and it needed to gather nicely in front and fit smoothly over the hip panniers without any extra bulk. So, using the under-pinnings patterns as a guide, this is what the underskirt pattern ended up looking like....with large darts on both hips....
Then I had to make up a sample skirt to see if the pattern worked. I always save old bed sheets for test garments so I don't have to waste good fabric. I think it's looking good.....
Today is "Daisy Day", and I caught Erzulie pulling apart all my daisies .....
I finished Owen's shirt, and it turned out quite well. The big challenge was to get the collar just right. Most shirts I've seen have the collars way too high in front, and then they just scream "doll clothes". Now I have to sew on the buttons. I'm not sure if I'll add snaps as they'd ruin the look.
So, now that Owen has some basic clothes - I made him some pants this morning too - he'll be good for awhile. He still needs a wig, but I think I'll tackle that when I make Asa's elaborate Rococo wig. It always works best if I make several similar things at once - then I only have to haul out all the supplies once.
Today I'm hoping to get to the Queen's underskirt. The kitchen table is currently occupied with painting and varnishing the wooden supports for a baby mobile, and after that's done, then I can clear off the table for pattern drafting and fabric cutting.
Jan made me some great props for an upcoming Special Days photo, which of course got my creative ideas flowing, and now I also have to fit in some little paint smocks for the tiny girls. It's no wonder my Queen's costume goes as slow as it does - I keep interrupting and distracting myself!!!
I have to design the pattern for Asa's underskirt, but am not sure yet what length to make it. I want to switch Asa's body with my new Leona who has the newer JID girl body and the larger glamour bust. The new bodies stand about 1/2 taller at the shoulder than the old bodies, so the skirts will need to be lengthened accordingly. I'm going to use Leona to design the skirt patterns.
In the meantime, I'm working on a shirt for Owen, and I've painted the edges of the blue flower petals that are going to be sewn onto the underskirt. The petals are from a blue poinsettia I purchased many years ago specially for the first Queen of the Night costume. The veining in the petals reminded me of the underbelly of a dragon. I wish I'd bought more of them, as I've never seen them again. Fortunately I do have enough petals for my Asa's gown, but I'll have to use the less pointy ones I didn't use last time. After painting any light edges a dark blue, I brushed on some silver glitter paint.
This morning I spotted a robin in my crabapple tree! With the sunshine and blue sky, one could easily be fooled into thinking spring was at hand - as long as they didn't look at the thermometer. It was well below -10 in the sun, not including wind chill. Normally we don't see any robins until maybe the end of February or early March, as they migrate back north to get ready for spring. It would be nice if spotting the robin meant that spring was at hand, but I seriously doubt that. I think he's probably the same robin I spotted on Christmas Day, sitting in the ice-covered crabapple tree. There was a whole flock of robins that day. I guess some are getting lazy and not bothering to go south for the winter. Well, they certainly picked a lousy year to stay here! It's the coldest winter we've had for over 25 years! Even so, it was nice to see him! He's a reminder that no matter how bad or long this winter is, we will eventually get spring.
Today is "Thomas Crapper Day", the day we celebrate the life and handiwork of 19th century master plumber Sir Thomas Crapper. Although he is often credited for it, he did not actually invent the flush toilet, but did much to improve it. So, today we celebrate indoor plumbing....
No more braving the elements every time nature calls...
"Wonder what's taking so long?"
"Hurry up in there!"
I'm so glad I thought ahead and took these photos back in November when I did. An outhouse is no fun anytime of year, but with the severe sub-zero temperatures we are experiencing right now, and a foot of snow, the misery would have been unbearable.
Anyway, there's nothing like waking up to a shipping notice from Iplehouse! My Lisa is on her way! Along with some different KID hands and replacement BID body parts. She's coming blank and will need a faceup, but at least I have plenty of spare clothes, wigs and shoes for her.
The wig I tried on Owen yesterday now belongs to Leona, my new "modern girl". Leona came with a denim pants-suit, and although it's not something I'd normally have purchased myself, it's nice she has something to wear, as her turn for a costume is still a very long ways off. So, now being the only "contemporary" girl among the other JIDs, she decided to borrow Maya's coat and his brand new scarf, and head out into the snow....
I thought I'd try Kyle's outfit on Owen, and try some more wigs, especially a Monique JoJo which
I had originally bought for Kyle before settling on a handmade human hair one for him.
I like the colour, but think he's definitely not a "bangs" kind of guy. I do think he
would make a great LOTR kind of character. And now a second photo, with a hat.
It's always such a struggle to find the right look for a guy. No one makes wigs with a nice masculine hair-line in front, and making one from scratch is very difficult. It wouldn't be so hard if the hair could be glued right on the head, but it can't.
I think I'll take a short break from my Queen's dress and make Owen some pants and a shirt. Maybe take apart Layla's blonde wig so I can make Owen one out of it instead. Then back to figuringout how to make the Queen's underskirt.
Martha Boers is an award-winning Canadian doll maker and costumer specializing in fantasy and historical-style costumes.