Sunday, January 10, 2016

Miniature Chocolates

That miniature kick still hasn't passed, although it's coming to a wane as I need to refocus on drawing again. Anyway, spent a little time this past week making Ferrero Rochet and assorted chocolate, complete with gift boxes.

These little guys are made from polymer clay and glossed with two layers of Liquitex varnish. No two are alike!

 The box was made from cardstock and the lid and base actually fit together very well. I painted the trim with a gold marker since I didn't have any light ribbon or lace.

 TADA! Making the dividers in the middle was actually pretty easy. The tedious part was making those tiny white wrapper cups. Lots of tiny folding and creasing. I glued the paper wrappers down into the box, but not the chocolates so I can make as many assorted chocolate box combinations as I want.

This is just a sample of the different chocolates up close. Not bad proportions with the Minifee hands.

The Ferrero Rochet chocolates have been a backburner idea for a loooong time and involved me buying the actual chocolates in order to use the foil and stickers. Yum.

 I don't have tissue paper at home, so I stuffed the box with little cut Kleenex. Heh. I make do.

 I was really excited with how these chocolates turned out. I realize I'm a month early for Valentine's Day but now my girls will have a ton of sweets.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Doll Arrivals: Lillycat Cerisedolls Ombre & Minifee Liria

This is a belated box opening/review of the two latest additions to my doll collection: Lillycat Cerisedolls Ombre in Caramel skin and Fairyland Minifee Liria in tan skin. Both of these dolls arrived in September (2015), just in time for my birthday.

Company: Lillycat Cerisedolls
Sculpt: Ombre (Open Eye)
Body: MSD v. 2
Skin Color: Caramel

Ordering through Lillycat’s website was a breeze. Customer’s outside of the EU also don’t have to pay VATS so it’s actually -15% from the listed price. You can see the price if you make an account and set your country/address. Lillycat’s team responds very quickly to messages whether or not you’re a paying customer, and are extremely friendly and professional.

This is my second Lillycat doll. My first was also an Ombre, but with the dreaming eyes and on the old body. The box came securely packed. Lillycat has changed to a new, slimmer bag. The old bags were pink and white striped with a simple cushion to wrap the doll in. The new bag is gray with a soft, fur inside and can really only fit one doll. I Have to admit, I like the old bags better because they were so huge, but if you’re not transporting a lot, these newer bags feel more durable and padded.

The doll itself is amazing. She’s a beautiful color and the environmental resin Lillycat uses is almost translucent. The resin has a wonderful texture; not shiny or smooth, and has a little tooth.

The new body is very dainty and elegantly sculpted. The fingers are shorter and don’t look like claws. The feet have been resculpted to be less blocky. The knee joints are still hard to pose and she definitely needs sueding in order to do something other than sit or stand up straight. The default bust is also smaller, which I like. The old standard bust has really perky boobs so clothes fit kinda weird. Small details all over the doll have been tweaked, like the ears are smoother in design and the mouth no longer has teeth showing.

I wish I had opted for a Lillycat faceup in hindsight, but that’s ok. I’ve taken a few photos of my two Ombres together to show their differences. All in all, I’m very pleased with this doll. I expect more Lillycat creations in my collection, although Ombre will always be my favorite of her sculpts. Now I need one if gray or dark turquoise. ^_^

Company: Fairyland
Sculpt: LE Minifee Liria
Body: Moe Line, Boy
Skin Color: Tan

I purchased Liria through Denver Doll Emporium during the Liria event. DDE is pretty straightforward, although I couldn’t figure out if shipping was included or how it was calculated. I actually have no idea, since I knew I wanted the doll and was willing to pay any shipping anyway. I was not completely happy with this purchase, by no fault of DDE. They worked with me to get me the closest thing to a solution possible, so I’ll definitely be ordering through them again.

Liria is the first Fairyland doll I’ve received to come with a COA. The COA is nice, but it has no identifying information on it aside from a serial #, which I’m not sure where you go to look it up. The box is still the same, no sticker on the front though :/

Before I ordered, I’d been reading and experiencing the slide in FL’s quality control. As they’ve grown, it seems they’ve expanded beyond their capabilities many complaints about quality, thin spots, cracked parts, etc. have surfaced in the last few years. Add the fact that I ordered in tan skin, which is even more difficult to cast. Sigh.

Liria arrived me to with many issues, fortunately nothing was broken. There were sharp seam lines on the entire doll and some really bad sanding marks on the head and a few different parts of the body. These are all considered normal by manufacturer standards and not considered damage. However, it was the worst I’d ever seen in a tan doll. The headcap especially, had not just seam lines, but this bumped up sliver of resin against the edge. My biggest complaint was the fact that the entire doll looks like someone took a rough grain sandpaper and wiped it down each piece. You can see the scratches without inspecting too closely, and it was especially terrible on the left arm, hands, and thighs.


The photos don't quite capture the scratches and sanding but they are deep enough that you can feel them if you run your fingers over the resin.

I was absolutely appalled at the quality, especially since Minifees aren’t exactly cheap in the hobby. I contacted DDE with photos of the problems and they told me that the best they could do was take the doll back and refund me. That would’ve been option #1, but I knew that there was no way I would get the opportunity to get another tan LE Liria on Moe boy body (seriously, how many special options could I have chosen for one doll). I chose to keep the doll and all it’s flaws, but DDE did send me a pair of replacements hands since they were the worst.

Flaws aside, I do like the moe boy body. It tends to slouch forward just a smidge, but I’m sure sueding will fix that. I find the moe body very aesthetic compared to the active line body. However, I plan on getting on more boy, a Mirwen, on the non-muscular active line body. I am having trouble finding clothes that fit the boy M line body well, but hopefully I’ll get into more sewing to alleviate that issue.

The tan resin varies a little from batch to batch, but I noticed that this new tan is a little bit grayer compared to my old (2012) tan Minifee. Still looks good though. I’m glad I got Liria as a boy, because I feel like the sculpt is very ambiguous without being childish.

Final words: not happy with the quality from FL, but I love the doll a lot. I don’t think I’ll be ordering any more new dolls from FL, although the secondhand is still fair game so I can see what I’m buying, flaws and all.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Minifee Shoes--First Attempt!

I’ve been bitten by another craft bug! Ever since I began collecting BJDs, I’ve been experimenting in all the creating fields so I can customize my dolls more (and save a ton of money!) I’ve never had much success making clothing items but I’ve always been fascinated by doll shoes.

There aren’t that many from-scratch shoemakers anymore and it seems like a bit of a lost art. Because everything in the miniature world is handmade, it offers an opportunity to learn how shoes are stitched, how soles were molded and poured.

Because I’ve worked with polymer clay for so long, I decided to try sculpting a full pair of shoes. For this first pair, I used Minifee Moe line feet. I wrapped each foot in cling wrap and molded the clay directly onto the foot. I formed the outer soles separately and attached them at the end of the process.

This was really more of a test to see if the clay would take a good shape, warp when baking, and look any good once finished. I didn’t smooth or sand the cured clay, which is why you can see all the fingerprints and jagged grooves. This pair was made using Sculpey III since I was out of my good clay, and Sculpey III doesn’t sand well. It tends to chip and crack apart.

The clay shoes turned out better than I expected. There’s no shrinkage with polymer clay so it’s a perfect fit. They are pretty hefty but I sculpted the shoes on the thicker side. I think I might sculpt a few different sizes and designs of soles and make a mold so that I can reproduce them uniformly for more pairs.

The next challenge I tackled was leather flats for Minifee Active line feet. I’ve attempted fabric flats a few times before but never had much luck because I couldn’t hem the fabric close enough to keep it from fraying. I think I’ve figured it out now, after what I did today, so I’ll be giving those a shot in the future.

Anyway, leather doesn’t fray so as long as the cuts are clean, there’s no need to hem anything. I used the masking tape method to make myself a pattern for the shoe. The inner soles are thin cardboard wrapped in some sort of sheer fabric remnant that I dug up out of my fabric box. Most of the shoe is glued together, with a tiny bit of hand stitching in the back.

I’m very happy with the way these turned out as well. There are a few adjustments that need to be made such as a wider strip for the sides so the cuts aren’t visible at the bottom of the shoe. They fit great and are holding together just fine.

These shoes are far from pretty but I’ve learned so much from this trial and I can’t wait to work on the next pairs.