March, 2013

Cinders, a little resin bjd by awsumgal….

Happy Saturday πŸ™‚

After six weeks or so of casting my dolls and a few more stringing them, I am finally at the stage where I’ll be dressing painting and wigging them! I have so very many ideas, I can hardly keep them all in my head!

Originally, I was going to do a themed group. You know, same basic costume, but different colours on different skintones. I had fleshed this idea all the way out in theory (my daughter had some great suggestions too) but then I realized I’d have to make the same thing over and over again. And I balked… Not that doing the same thing over and over is bad or anything, well maybe it is, lol! At any rate, I kind of decided that wasn’t what I wanted to tackle first…..

When beginning a project like this it isn’t the lack of ideas that can paralyze one, but rather the dizzying endless possibilities that can make starting difficult. When the sky’s the limit, decisions must be made, ideas must be culled, thoughts jotted down, sketched out and shelved for later. There are voluminous notebooks and little odd looking slips of paper with seemingly senseless phrases accompanied by rough sketches, abounding in my studio of these “later” ideas. I wonder if I will ever get to them all…. Likely not, but it is nice to know that they are there if I ever feel a “blank page” moment.

Instead, I decided to do something else I have wanted to do for some time. Enter, Cinderella! Fairy tales have long inspired many artists and I am no exception there. I had a hankering to make my take on a traditional type Cinderella. Not the ball gown version, but rather the scullery wench! I wasn’t looking to make a Disney copy, ’cause let’s face it, there are tons of those out there already. The world doesn’t need another one of those, does it?

I currently have four different skintoned girls waiting for their personae. I chose my Lily toned girl for Cinders. Then I got to work…..

Sometimes I paint the doll first, but not always. Here I worked on her costume and accessories and wig before I ever got to the paint pots. I started with her mop. I know it’s a weird place to start, but mops have special magical properties to me ever since I saw Mickey in the Sorcerers Apprentice from Fantasia with the bazillion mops and buckets, lol! The mop has a hand whittled handle that I then painted wood grain onto in a bunch of different colours and then sealed it all and started on the fibre for the mop head itself.

Almost a mop! Cinders will be so pleased, or, not….

A soon to be Cinders watches as the tools of her trade are made.

Next I made her a bucket, a place to keep her mop, if you will πŸ™‚

The bucket’s humble beginnings…..

I really get a kick out of trying to figure out how to make a miniature something so that it is easily recognizable when finished. The bucket is good heavy water colour paper that I shaped with water, painted, decorated and varnished. The handle completes the look of my mini bucket… I was very pleased because the project was humming along pretty quickly, especially after I had nailed down the fabrics to use for Cinder’s dress.

Her costume was to be a mid length dress and an apron. I wanted her outfit to look worn and a little ragged, but I didn’t want everything to fall apart of course. So it winds up being an interesting mix of unfinished looking, but sturdily constructed. Finding the right fabric was a bit of a challenge too because I wanted something kind of rough looking, but again with enough integrity to not unravel along the unfinished hen in the slightest breeze, lol!

In the end I found a dress fabric in two versions, so I did two dresses! (Of course, lol.) One, an under dress with sleeves and the other, a sleeveless  over smock. I found a nice distressed looking crinkle cotton for her apron that worked well. I topsitched the apron twice to give a little visual interest, but left the hem unfinished. I wanted it to look like it had once been quite nice but now was well used. Cinders needed some shoes, some slipper type shoes. I had chosen the flat version of my feet for Cinders because that only made sense to me, so little flats she would be getting. I used a woven hemp cotton mix fabric for the uppers, and when all was said and done, pink leather <3 for the soles.

Cinder’s shoes in process on an extra pair of flat feet. You can see in the background, there will be beads…

I blanket stitched the opening of the slippers in a pretty pale pink embroidery thread to finish the edge even more (and be pretty) than the first pass… I added some beads to them as well, because after all, Cinders is still a girl!

Here’s one shoe finished and the other awaiting it’s blanket sticthing and beads.

Cinders is not quite as glamorous in her cleaning clothes as she would be at the ball, or on the arm of the Prince, so I painted her in a natural looking way. I didn’t want her to look like she’s wearing a lot of make-up. Her eyes are clear blue and she has a gentle contentedness to her expression. I wanted her to have blonde hair (as she almost always does) but I wanted it to be a more realistic two tone blonde, not the peroxide bottle blonde look. I used a mix of nylon Katsilk, which is my favorite synthetic hair and got busy. I made a headcap for Cinders and then sewed the wefts in my chosen colours. I then hand sewed the wefts to the cap. It’s tricky to get the hair to lay the way you want so that the cap is all covered but that there isn’t so very much hair that it looks bizarre! A lot of combing and boil perming were needed to achieve a nice lie. I topped the style off with a ribbon in Cinderella signature blue πŸ™‚

Little miss Cinders, with paint :o)

She’ll get a little more paint and more matte varnish after this. Oh, I almost forgot! I made her a couple of little friends to help with the housework. Two really tiny needle felted wool and silk fiber mice are forever at her side πŸ™‚

He was heard to say “Hurry up and Give that dude a face!”

 

So…. I did! Pictured with Cinders shoes to show scale. (Each of those yellow boxes are 1 inch by 1 inch :o)

Here are her accessories together…..

Cinders’ bits.

Lastly, I’ve made a stand for Cinders. It is a wood base with smooth glass pebbles in greens and browns affixed to it. I think it matches her sensibilities quite well!

Here’s a look at the stand base with Cinders on it and one of the mice.

With all the working done and the dust settled, it was time for a little quality studio session with this girl….

Cinders full

Cinders having a much deserved rest!

Cinders always takes time to connect with friends, and she’s a great listener….

One last look at Cinders in all her regalia ;o)

Cinders is currently available on Etsy.com Here’s the link to my shop where you’ll find her and other interesting one of a kind doll creations…

awsumgal’s Etsy shop

Thanks for reading and have a terrific weekend πŸ™‚

~awsumgal

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Shoes – Amazing Annoying Little Shoes!

Hi doll folks!
I had a reader ask me a question about doll shoes. I began my answer by saying that shoes are probably the most difficult part of your dolls wardrobe to make.

Shoes for Gene

Shoes for Gene “Deception Highway” outfit – a drama at high speeds! by awsumgal

The quester asked specifically about a nice rounded toe. Look closely at doll shoes and you’ll see that many styles don’t have toes, rounded or otherwise. Some do of course and some are a little pointy which is, I think, slightly easier to achieve.

With that said, and keeping in mind that I don’t profess to be an expert, I pledged that I would put up some tips and observations that might help make your shoes more successful.

Let’s talk toes. Rounded toes. If rounded toes are your endgame here are some things to keep in mind. First off – keep your fabric choices lightweight. I have found that heavy fabrics are more difficult to fold under and hide against the sole. I know that vinyl is enticing because it’s cheaper than leather and it doesn’t fray but it can be difficult to work with. Leather has an advantage because you can stretch it. Use something round, like a crochet hook or a shoe last (basically a foot form) to use as a basis to stretch the leather over for a rounded shape before you put the shoe together or to help hold a rounded shape as you fold your fabric under around the toe area.

If you using woven fabric for your upper, you can cut it off grain so that there is more give in the toe than if you cut it straight on the grain. (Grain is a whole other topic in and of itself and working with grain in mind will make all of your projects better! That is a topic for another post though I think.) If the fabric you’re using frays badly you can use fusible interfacing to help stabilize the fabric, or line it. If you cutting the main fabric on the bias, cut the fusible the same way. In all cases, keep your seam allowances narrow, and clip those seam allowances extensively.

The biggest thing with tiny shoes is meticulousness and perseverance. Don’t give up! I find close toed high heeled fashion shoes very time consuming, and don’t get started on combat boots! When they’re finished though, they are very satisfying ’cause you know exactly how much work went into them πŸ™‚

Teeny, tiny lug soled combat boots!

3/4 inch long, these teeny, tiny lug soled combat boots were for a Dawn boy doll Micheal Jackson.

There is a wonderful book out there called “The Art of Making Beautiful Fashion Doll Shoes” by Timothy J. Alberts, I.M. Dalton King with Pat Henry. Truly artisan shoemaking with lots of photos and how to directions. A lot more wisdom and talent is contained in that volume than I can begin to tell you here. It’s probably tough to find, it was scarce when I found a copy and that was several years ago now, but you never know, so keep your eyes peeled for one. (And hey, if anyone knows of a copy of Martha Armstrong-Hands doll making book, give me a holler would you?)

One of the first tips they talk about in this book is using a “last” or foot form to make the shoes on. This is typically a little bigger than the dolls actual foot to allow for slipping on and off the foot if appropriate, and to allow for socks or stockings. I have several m=lasts for various dolls made out of various materials. Some are carved wood, some are wax, some are padded up extra doll feet, some are resin…. They are very useful when you need to clamp something as the glue dries, or you want to steam something to make it conform better. You really don’t want to be doing those things on your doll!

Some of my shoe lasts. Wood, plaster and resin examples.

Some of my shoe lasts. Wood, plaster and resin examples.

There is a lot more to say about shoes. I haven’t even touched on heels! Honestly this post is long enough already, so that’ll be it for now, but I’ll talk more about shoes at a later date. In the meantime, I hope some of this was helpful. All that’s left for you to do now, is get out there and design some cool SHOES!

Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

~awsumgal

 

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