Just a few more things into the RV, and we are all set to go. Hopefully everything will go well, and in three weeks I'll be back with lots of pictures.
A quick group shot of the dolls that are coming with me. Nami, Maya and Narae are siblings - Nami is dressed just like her big sister. I see she could have used a handmade red mohair wig like the older two, but there wasn't time. Isar is all set as a solitary Elven Archer, hopefully ready for some photo opportunities in some amazing settings - a steamy geyser basin, a snow-covered mountain top, the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Lake Powell?
Nami and Byuri are all set to go on their big adventure to Yellowstone and the Southwest.
I changed Byuri's wig back to the long dark brown one I made for her first native ensemble as the other one made her head look too big. I went back and forth trying to decide which other little girl to take, knowing there could challenges with the light and dark skintones, but in the end I decided to stop trying to second-guess my initial ideas. I did give her the lighter brown wig and added a bit of blush so Nami wouldn't look quite so pale. It's not sealed, so will wash right off. Which means I better bring my pastels and brush in case it needs to be redone.
..Noticing a Neglected Nest full of Nails and Nuts. I took another alphabet photo this afternoon - just in time before the rain started. "N" and "O" seemed like very difficult letters until I checked out the dictionary - which was a first for me. Like, how often does anyone actually skim through a dictionary while making notes? Anyway, I did find a bunch of words that gave me an idea.
The dictionary proved a very useful tool. Now I have ideas for "M" and "O" as well.
Just two days left to get everything ready for our trip - our goal is to leave early on Saturday morning. Byuri is all set in her new Cheyenne ensemble, and the other little BID "Hobbit/pioneer" outfit is done too - the cloak is drying on the heating duct.
I finished Isar's weapons. The bow is wire covered with Aves Apoxie Sculpt. I hate working with that medium - it's like trying to sculpt with chewed gum - but when it cures it has amazing strength, and can be carved and sanded, and it takes paint really well. So I use it from time to time. The arrows are made from wooden skewers with paper "feathers". I used to use bits of real feathers, but that was a total pain. I learned the technique for using paper from Vaughan Tyrer. I first draw all kinds of diagonal lines on cream-coloured regular paper with sharp natural-coloured pencil crayons. Then I cut thin strips, and glue sections onto the ends of the skewers. After they dry, I shape the edge of the paper and clip the entire length from top to bottom. Then a bit of diluted paint for the final "real feather" look. When everything is totally dry, I apply a coat or two of matte water-based varnish to give the paper more strength and give it the semi-shine of real feathers. The arrow tips are made from Apoxie Sculpt. Because I find the stuff is so difficult to work with, I just shape rough arrow-head-shaped ends onto the ends of the skewers, and when the Apoxie is cured, I carve and sand the points to shape. One of my tips broke when I was carving it, so it's just a stubby little arrow-head now. The ones in the quiver don't have tips.
Now I have to still prep parts of the Tedros commissions so I can take them along in case I ever find I have an unexpected chunk of time and need something to do. I'm also trying to figure out some more of the Iplekids Alphabet photos, but I don't know if there will be time to take any of them - they aren't high priority right now.
What starts with "Q" but "Queen" of course! I had the idea to photograph Nami in one of my Queen Elizabeth I Barbie dresses that I made way back when I was just 17 (as in 41 years ago) I thought Nami would make a good period queen because she has the lightest skin - the others are too tanned. The elaborate gown didn't fit very well, but I managed to get it on well enough for a few photos. For the background I used a painting by Vaughan Tyrer of Dutch merchant ships from around the same period. So, here's Nami looking very regal in the ultimate dress-up photo.
Went to the Cambridge Doll Show today to see if there was anything nice for my dolls. First purchase was an amazing wooden mirror for just $5. Then I picked up a series of small porcelain dolls, including a wicker buggy full of Dionne quints, that I plan on modifying. Tillie and Cinnamon were thrilled with the new toys. Tillie immediately claimed the cute little baby doll, and Cinnamon decided she wanted the sock monkey, while Layla, Miki and Nelly could only watch from the cabinet.
Byuri's little Cheyenne regalia is finished. I had a lot of challenges with it - I had to make her moccasins twice - the first pair was too small. The skirt of the dress ended up too short, so I had to add a blue cotton waistband to make it the right length. I had to figure out a way to make the jacket back close, because after sewing the underarm seams, the back wouldn't overlap anymore. I had to finish my beading last night with super-dilated pupils after going to the optometrist and barely being able to see what I was doing. I did manage, which tells me I'll still probably try do detailed work even when my eyesight gets really bad, but for now I'm glad it wasn't permanent yet.
I'm not sure about what wig she'll wear. Right now she has a short, dark brown, Monique wig instead of the handmade, dark brown one she wore with her "Little Beaver" regalia. I thought it might be nice if she had a different hairdo with this outfit, but I'll have to try the other one on to see how it looks to make sure.
I'm almost done Isar's quiver - it just needs some paint to cover the light edges on the leather. Then she needs arrows and a bow....and then it's Nami's turn, with less than a week to go.
Someone asked why I wet and stain the chamois, so I thought I'd take a photo showing the difference. Here's some fringe with nothing done to it, shown with the treated fringe.
The fringe that's been wet and stained has a much more realistic look to it.
I'm working on the beading now, but as you can imagine, with every stitch I take, the thread gets caught in the fringe. I had considered painting and beading first, before cutting the fringe, but then the staining would have to be done afterwards and would affect the painted areas as well, so it really has to be done at the very beginning. So I just have to live with all the hassles and make the best of it. Once the beading is done, then I'll sew the underarm seams.
I drew up all the patterns for Byuri's Cheyenne costume, cut everything out of chamois, sewed all the fabric facings, cut all the fringe, and wet & stained everything with diluted paint. The fringe is now all nicely, realistically crinkled, and the separate parts of the outfit are ready to paint and bead. Byuri is posing with just the fringed "jacket", which does not have the side seams sewn yet since it's a lot easier to paint when it's still flat. I had considered making the main areas red, but Byuri's Haida-style regalia is red and black, so instead I'll go with blue, and it will be a smaller version of Miki's "Little Bluebird" made this past spring.
I realize Cheyenne is a grasslands nation, and not from the Southwest, but we will be crossing the great American Grasslands to Yellowstone before heading south to the Grand Canyon, and I really like this style, so that's what I'm making.
Martha Boers is an award-winning Canadian doll maker and costumer specializing in fantasy and historical-style costumes.