Thursday, January 31, 2013

Shoes, Clothes and Cake

Seems like a strange mix, and well honestly it is! LOL  On one hand I wish I could choose to either sew OR sculpt, but I enjoy both crafts so much I know I couldn't give either up for very long!  I've tried, but I always end up wanting to do whatever I stopped.  BUT if I could focus on one thing, maybe I'd get a few more things finished in a more timely matter. *shrugs* oh well, I'll just continue to enjoy doing what I do! :-)

So over the last week I've been working pretty hard on; as the title suggests, Shoes, Clothes and Cake! Among a few other various bits too, but I'll save those for another post. I have been collecting Monster High shoes for the last few months, whenever I find them at a good price. I tried in the past to create my own shoes, but at this stage it's beyond the scope of my knowledge to create shoes that both look good, and can be produced quickly and in a cost efficient manner. So I switched tactics and turned to repainting the ones produced by Mattel. Now THIS I find fun and relatively easy to do, and folks seem to really like them, since I've sold every pair I've listed so far! =D
I finally finished the 5 pairs that I've had in a state of flux for about a month now, and got them photographed AND listed last night! Starting projects is never hard for me, but gosh finishing them (all the way to listing) is a struggle I face.  If I could get someone to do all the picture taking and listing I'd be thrilled! LOL

But onto the shoes, the top 2 pair started out being plain single colored translucent sandals from the Skull Shores line.  The top pair was pale purple and got a coat of a great shimmery pink pearl.  The next pair is a favorite of mine!  This pair started out life as a single translucent pink with a molded heart design front and center.  I repainted the base of the sandals silver, and painted the roping glossy black.  I carved the heart design off the front and glued on a Jet Swarovski cyrstal.
Next up is this fun pair.  These started out life as a pair of yellow rose heels from the Stardoll by Mattel line. These dolls were launched about a year or so ago with much fanfare as a tie-in to the online game of the same name...Sadly most Barbie collectors were very disappointed in them, as though their faces and clothing matched Barbie, they had lost ALL the articulation that was gained with the Fashionista line...even the knees didn't bend like the old Barbies.  While gorgeous, these girls are merely static displays like 3-D paper dolls.  Add to that their oversized feet and well it's not too surprising to find them being clearanced out of stores.  BUT what Monster High fans quickly realized was that the feet of the Stardoll almost matches the MH girls!  Hooray for new shoe options! =D

Eeek....sorry for the 'history' of the Stardolls! lol  I repainted the yellow rose on these a lovely icy shimmery blue and carved off the molded rhinestone they originally had and glued in a coordinating metallic blue rhinestone!
Back to MH shoes for these next 2 pairs.  Both pair started off as the same and yellow ribboned sandals.  Mattel likes to go asymetrical with the MH line, so these were factory painted with a pink ribbon on top and the yellow on the bottom of one shoe, while the other shoe was reversed.  Personally it bugs me, but most people love it, so for the first pair I left it flipped, but changed the colors.  They are now a vivid lime green and a shimmery hot pink!

The second set got a more sedate update with several coats of crisp pearly white.  THESE I adore!!!  I have several of this shoe and have many plans for various versions!

Right now I've got about 18 more pair of various shoes getting their flat white base coats. It's time consuming and well a bit boring, but doing this allows me to get a much better coverage when I start changing colors, plus it allows me to replace the molded black in many shoes with much lighter colors, giving me so many more options!

 So let's see what's next...oh yes clothing... another area where I start and nearly finish, but those last few steps like snaps and pictures and yeah Listing often allude me, leaving me with a pile of 'Almost Ready' bits.  One of these days I'll get them all done and listed. But in the meantime I am working on several commissioned pieces. The first set I did was for a customer making a Pin-Up girl.  She had the shoes, stockings and a cute set of panties, but needed a long line bra/corset style top.  She wanted it to match the panties and I didn't think it would be a problem so I took the commission...well low and behold the picture she had of the panties wasn't the greatest and the color was off, and well if you know anything about Red you know it can be a horrid color to try and match...reds can lean either blue or orange and if you mix them, well it doesn't always look good.  In the end I decided to go ahead with the color she described to me as opposed to what her pictures showed. As a gift for her I made her a matching set of panties.  I figured that way if the original set she had didn't match my top, she would still have a complete outfit! 
Thankfully my customer LOVED it!!  Not only that but TONS of other Monster High fans did as well as some Barbie fans!  So I have already been commissioned to make more of these in various color in both doll sizes.

While the panties go together rather quickly being a single piece of fabric and a piece of stretchy trim, the top itself is well a bit of a lengthy process as the ENTIRE piece is hand sewn.  it's too small to do on the machine.  But all that being said I can still usually get one done in a day.

So far the biggest comments I've gotten is that people love that the panties are full coverage and cover all of the molded 'panty' details Mattel added.  Personally I love the way they actual conform to the dolls figure! The unique size and shape of these girls can make getting a good fit difficult at times so I'm a happy girl! :-)

Next up was a pair of outfits inspired by Abbey Bominable who is the daughter of the Yeti (the doll on the right), and one of my favorite characters.  My customer asked for icy cool colors and fluffy trim.  I created these 2 outfits.  The blue sheath dress fits snugly without being super tight and has a very subtle floral pattern, while the casual outfit on the right is just, well tons of fun!  I used a pale lilac-y blue miniature rib-knit to make a pull on off the shoulder sweater with fluffy white trim. I added a basic denim skirt to complete the outfit.

Again my customer was thrilled, and this set will ship out tomorrow along with a selection of 'icy' treats.

And speaking of treats brings us to the cake... It's been a while since I did a doll sized layer cake. Probably because I generally prefer to work on individual serving pieces, but I was contacted through my shop about recreating a real cake in miniature for a Marie Antoinette styled doll.  When the customer sent me this image----->

 I just KNEW I had to attempt it! Doesn't it look fun!!!  It was a bit of a challenge as she needed it to be light enough for the doll to hold.  So I broke out a package of Sculpey Ultra Light clay and set to work.  SUL clay works a little different than regular clay as it has an almost marshmallow like texture.  It's not my favorite clay to work with do to this, but by working in stages I was able to create a pretty good recreation.  At least I think so...
 While it's certainly not perfect and I can see several things I would do differently if I was going to do it again, my customer loved it and has promised to send me pictures of the completed doll. I can't wait to see them!

So that's about it for what I've been up to, time to get back to the sewing machine, paint and clay.  I've got more lingerie sets to make, as well as 4 commissioned dresses, all those shoes (plus 2 commissioned sets) to paint and another cake to sculpt. 

It's Thursday and I know the weather has been crazy lately, so I hope wherever you are, you are taking care and being careful if you've got nasty weather and enjoying it if you don't! Y'all have a wonderful upcoming weekend and I'll catch you later! :-)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Hello out there...

Ugh, it's been almost 3 weeks since my last post, but the time has just flown by.  I mean, seriously, how is January nearly over already!!!  I mean holy smokes my oldest son leaves for Basic Training in barely a month! *shaking my head* How is that possible?

The last 3 weeks have been filled to the brim, but I don't really seem to be making a dent in the things I planned.  C'est la vie....  Even though I told myself I wasn't going to take too many commissions for a while this year, that fell by the wayside very quickly as things I wanted came up for trade.  So I have been steadily plugging away at a long list of commissions. 

 The Barbie foods I was working on in the last post, have been finished, shipped, received and loved!

I did a pair of breakfast platters with 3 fluffy buttermilk pancakes with butter and syrup, plus 3 strips of crispy fried bacon.

To go with the breakfasts I put together 2 bowls of mixed fruit.  There are green grapes as well as peach, strawberry and pineapple chunks

 For lunch I did 2 bowls of rich and creamy tomato soup, and 2 platters with grilled cheese sandwiches and a pile of potato chips.  My customer and I decided to leave one half of each sandwich loose to allow for greater playability!

This set here actually has opened up a new opportunity for me too which I'll get to in a moment! =D

For another customer whom I'm trading with I designed these fun ice pops!  (or popsicles, I grew up calling them popsicles. lol)

I have since changed the 'design' a bit bit adding more translucent clay and ultra fine glitter into the colored mix. This allows the pops to look more icy.  These can be found in my shop here.

As to the opportunity brought to me by that platter of grilled cheese sandwiches...I'm going to start sculpting food stuffs in an even larger scale!!!  I'm going to start offering items in 1:4 scale very soon!  A dear friend of mine whom I have known for years collects and photographs these gorgeous 1:4 dolls. HERE.  She has teased me for several years now that it was only time that I get into them myself.  Well being resin BJD (ball jointed dolls) they do come with a rather hefty price tag. (Like several hundred dollars for a nude doll!) So needless to say they have been low on my priority list!  I mean I can buy 15-20 Monster High or Barbies for the price of one BJD!  But to make a long story short seeing my grilled cheese she asked me if I could make some props for her dolls in 1:4 scale.  I said I could but I would need something to use as reference.  She graciously offered to send me a spare doll hand she hand. (They come with removeable hands much like the Fashion Royalty dolls do to allow different hand poses)  Well imagine my shock and surprise when I opened the box to find not just an on-lend hand, but a head sculpt generously gifted to me!!!!
Now of course, my head looks nothing like the lovelies in her Flickr photostream, but that's because my girl is completely bare.  She needs, what is called a face-up.  Basically she will get acrylic or glass eyes in the color and style of my choosing (her current ones are polymer clay ones I made up quickly just to give her some 'peepers'), she will also get eyelashes as well as a full paint job with the 'make-up' look I choose!

If you are interested in seeing all of the amazing BJD jointed dolls being offered, go check out Denver Doll Emporium. it's my understanding that they are one of the largest sellers in the country. 

So over the next few months, not only will I have new Monster High clothing, foods and accessories, but Barbie items as well as 1:4 scale pieces!

For now, though it's time to get my nose back to the grindstone and try to push through this long list of commissions!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Time to get back to normal!

And so 'vacation' time comes to an end...My youngest 2 boys go back to school tomorrow, and the hubby is back to work.  That leaves just me and the oldest home. (at least for the next 2 months)  But he's taken to staying up at night and sleeping most of the day. *shrugs* So it's pretty much just me.  Tomorrow morning I'm planning on starting my day by removing the last of the ornaments from the Christmas tree, disassembling it and packing it away to wait for next year. BTW this is what it looked like fully decorated!  --->

Every year I choose a different theme (from my collection of about 5), this years choice was Winter at Midnight...the tree was decorated with white, silver, crystal and black ornaments.  It's one of my favorites as it's just so very chic!

Actually come to think of it, I'm going to start my day by doing a couple laps around the block with the dog after the youngest one gets on the bus!  That will get my exercise out of the way and wake me up! THEN I'll get the tree taken down.  The holidays are over :-(  and it's time to get back to normal.

It's finally started to warm up a bit so all the snow we got after Christmas is finally starting to melt, which means I have errands that need run too, including a trip to the post mail MORE orders out!!!!  Can I just say that I am so excited about this!  I honestly don't think in the 5 years since I opened the shop,  that I have ever had an order a day!  It really is a bit mind blowing! =D (Now of course I just need to keep up the Listing momentum and um...stop buying more things with my profits!)  Hmm I think I need to add that to my resolution buying!!!  Trading is ok though! heeheehee!

 This is the next part in the trade that also includes yesterday's grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup...  BREAKFAST!!! Yum!  We are big breakfast eaters in my house, although since everyone gets up at different times we usually do Breakfast-for-Dinner instead.  Pancakes are my middle son's favorite food, so I was thrilled when my friend asked for pancake platters!  These will each get three strips of crispy bacon and rich maple syrup drizzled over the top!  I am also making her two bowls of fruit and 2 glasses of milk.  A nice hearty, fill-you-up-right breakfast!

I spent a bit of time yesterday just playing...I started the bed here, oh about 3 months ago... I just loved the plaid ribbon and thought it would make an awesome double dust ruffle!  The bed is just an open box shape made from sturdy shipping grade corrugated cardboard.  The mattress is made from thick foam, like flip flop or garden kneeling mats are made from (which that is exactly what this one was before I got a hold of it! ;-) heeheehee!)  I did add a layer of quilt batting over the foam to give it extra squooshiness!  But that was really as far as I'd gotten.  So yesterday I grabbed out these 3 pink fabrics, some black and white ribbons and made a quick comforter.  I didn't add any batting inside as I wanted it to drape more naturally.  While I didn't quite get it as soft and pliable as I'd hoped (I think the lighter pink was actually too heavy) I love the way it turned out.

Once I finished it, I spent an hour or so pulling together this wonderful bedroom for Draculaura.
 One of the pieces I made quick last night to bring everything together was this fun chenille rug.  I actually took a round piece of cardboard (the end cap to a ribbon roll) and glued the raspberry colored chenille to it!  Quick easy and super cute!

I have added these to my shop and will be making up samples of each color chenille I have so I can make custom rugs for sale!  If you are interested you can find it listed HERE!

The other thing I finished up yesterday was this adorable hippie-esque rose headband.  This was another project I started a while back and finally got around to finishing and listing.  It's a simple elastic band, with a pretty paper rose sewn to it, with a white fleece disc sewn on as well to protect the doll.  I listed it (and a pic of the other 13 colors of roses I have available) in my shop HERE

Within an hour of listing it, I had a customer contact me about not only purchasing 2 headbands for Monster High but about me doing a custom one for her Pullip doll as well! =D

Last but certainly not least is another UFO (UnFinished Object) that I finally finished.  This piece started out as a prototype for a commissioned outfit I did back in November. But I never got around to adding the snaps on the back and photographing it.  So yup, finished that too and listed it in my shop HERE.  This is the first piece in my new approach to MH clothing.  I'm going with a more character driven style.  Ghoulia here and Operetta (who is the cover model in the Etsy listing) both wear a lot of red and both have a 50ish, rockabilly kind of style.

This piece is also the start of my Lots of Dots Casual Line!  I adore polka dots, and with the popularity of the Dot Dead Gorgeous line by Mattel and THIS video, I wanted to do a casual line of clothing to kind of tie into that. So expect to see more dots in the future! =D

Saturday, January 5, 2013

What a wonderful week it's been!

  This week has been fabulous as far as my shop is concerned.  One of my goals for this year was to focus on my shop, so I have made a concerted effort to list items in my shop every day, and low and behold I've had at least one sale each day after listing new items!!! =D  While it's not always the new item, it just goes to prove that keeping fresh items in the shop will bring in the sales! 
   So I am even more motivated to keep up with this 'resolution'!  I've had 5 sales in 4 days, and that doesn't include several commissions I've accepted as well as a couple of trades I'm working on.  So far 2013 is off to a great start!

 Here are a few of the things I've been working on this week! 

 I've started a group over on Flickr as a bit of a challenge to help myself (and others) with taking more non-product related photographs.  It's called Monster High Weekly Photographs  This weeks challenge is New Year's Resolutions.  I chose Abbey as my subject...her NYR is to; "Focus on Modeling career, spend more time in front of camera" *bonus points if you read that in Abbey's thick adorable accent! ;-) *

So I dressed her in some of her fashions and took her outside to enjoy the chilly air.  It would seem that our gutter downspout is frozen solid, so we've got lots of unique icicles along the fence/shrub-thingy that separates our yard from the neighbors.

This is part of a trade I am doing with a friend...I'm getting a Monster High doll and some fashions and in return, I am making her 2 lunches, and 2 breakfasts for her Barbie dioramas.  For lunch I am making plates with grilled cheese sandwiches, with chips and bowls of tomato soup, plus drinks.

I ended up giving the melted cheese a bit of a gloss after I took this shot and I think it makes all the difference.  My friend decided that I'm going to glue down the chips and one half of the sandwich, and allow the other one to be free to be held and such.

The last time I worked with resin I mixed in some multi-hued sands and made these Monster-garitas, with eye ball garnishments.  I sold 4 of these the day after I listed them!!! =D

If I make more of these I will need to remember to allow the resin to set up a bit more before adding the sands as with this batch they settled a tad. 

But I rather like the look for the Monster High style drinks.  The eyeballs were made by me...I actually made a cane of the iris and then added it to the white spheres to make full eyes.

This was another shot from Abbey's photoshoot earlier this week.  I think this one might actually be my favorite.  I love the clarity of the icicles, and the lovely shimmer of glitter on Abbey's skin, and well it just has such a lovely coloration too it!

I wish I could figure out how to give her fangs a bit more of a 3 dimensional look.  Right now they have a layer of fabric paint on them which does give them a bit of thickness, but I'd love them to be a little more so.  But for now I'm not worried about it.

One of the big things I'm doing these days in my shop is repainting and customizing MH shoes.  I've tried several times to create shoes for them from scratch with limited success.  Sadly the amount of time those take make them way too expensive for me to be comfortable to carry in my shop.

So I have been collecting MH shoes of every design, whenever I can find them at a good price.  Using model grade paints I am able to customize them as well as adding bows, ribbons and trim to them too!  I have already sold 5 pairs and was commissioned for 2 more!!! 

You know I wouldn't have thought that recreating bowls of tomato soup would cause me trouble, but it took almost 5 color adjustments before I achieved a color and opaque-ness that I was happy with. 

These go with the grilled cheese sammies and chip from up above.

Tomorrow, I will start on platters of pancakes and bacon! =D

This is my most recent pair of finished customized shoes...although I suppose they are actually booties! ;-)  These started out life and Ghoul's Rule Draculaura's booties.  Due to some problems with them I ended up carving them up a bit, repainting them and then adding the cute ribbon bows!

I just adore them now!!!