Who’s that girl? What’s her name?

It’s Rory! I spent all day redoing her face-up. I didn’t do much carving, though I did deepen her nostrils a bit. I’ve forgotten how much work actually goes into customizing a blythe doll, and I think I might have spent five hours giving her a makeover. Here’s a list of what I did to her:

  • New lid art – Her lids used to be a kelly green with a grey scallop edge design. Now they’re a light pink with a white line design. Also, the lids were done with acrylic paint instead of pastels and watercolor pencils, and they’re glossy instead of matte.
  • Rosier lips and cheeks
  • Pink and yellow eye shadow
  • Slightly more defined nostrils
  • Smaller winged liner

It’s not much, but I think she looks better! Her old makeup was being super washed out with her new dark brown hair.

As per usual, there were some snags during the process. Rory’s eye mech snapped on the lower lid area, which I promptly glued back together. It’s holding in there, but probably one day I’ll order a new eye mech. The eye mech also sticks after her brown side-facing chips… and because of my impatience, I also kind of scratched the lid art on her left eye (woops!). These things don’t bother me terribly, because Rory’s lid art had some blemishes on them before, and I don’t change my girls’ eyes a ton.

Rory is also looking pretty darn fashionable. I put her in a top I knitted, a Kuloft skirt, MiniJijo socks, and some stock shoes.

She really feels like a completely different doll! It’s a little weird, as I’m really not used to seeing her on my shelf the way she looks. She’s definitely way easier to dress with her dark brown hair, as opposed to her bright orangey-pink hair. I wonder how this new look will change my perception of how she should be dressed and photographed.

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The Hair Makes the Blythe

I’ve mentioned in my Rerooting Adventures posts that I really wanted to change Rory’s scalp. I wasn’t happy with the way I had cut the neon orange and pink hair, and the color also read more orange than pink to me. I had bought more saran to try rerooting my second Cool Cat scalp, thinking I would do a better job, and that the second time would be easier than the first time. Well… I sort of fell into a rut with the rerooting. Rerooting was really tough on my hands, and the process as a whole wasn’t very fun. I had “work on reroot” on my To-Do list for ages, and I just wasn’t getting around to it. SO, I decided to part with the materials and I got a Didee Eureka scalp for Rory instead!

Old hair on the left, new hair on the right! She looks so different! I was considering redoing her face-up and deepening her carving, but honestly, I don’t think I’m ready for such a big project. Also, I’m a little attached to her simple face. I think of her as kind of the transition between my fully customized girls and my stock girls. I will, however, be redoing her eyelid art. I’m not a fan of the primary green on her lids. Also, they’re a bit scuffed, which bothers me some.

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So here’s what Rory has going on:

  • Didee Eureka scalp
  • Fake/factory face plates, eye mech, and body (not including the arms)
  • Licca chan arms

All in all, I’m so glad the weekend is finally here! I have a number of projects I’m looking forward to working on ^^.

Hello Hujoo Janus Gato

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This is a Janus cat.

 

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This is the Hujoo Janus Gato. He arrived from the Junky Spot, and so quickly too! I picked him up today at the post office and deboxed him. I was really surprised by how big he is! He’s about 12 inches tall, which makes him about as tall as a Blythe, but because of his proportional body, he seems so much more substantial than my other dolls. He has two faces, one cat face, and one human face, and this doll was one of the very first strung bjd-style dolls I had wanted a little less than a year ago.

Straight off the bat, I noticed some quality issues with the doll. He had a nick on the top of his head where his face plates meet and another one on the side of his chest. Now… I was upset when I saw it, but not so much anymore. Let me explain – it took an hour for me to pry his damn head open. I have to say, between this Hujoo Janus and my Hujoo Nano, Hujoo dolls have got to be the worst in terms of opening up the head. I even googled “how to open Hujoo Janus head” to see if I was doing something wrong. I guess this sculpt is either rare or unpopular, because there aren’t many references to it outside of the Hujoo official company website and maybe one or two blogs.

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My hands are killing me right now, between yesterday’s arm transplants and today’s head opening. Like the Nano Rabi, the Janus Gato’s head is also held together by these plastic pegs. To open the head up, I had to pry the head open little by little with a tiny flat screwdriver (covered in layers of tape), and slowly work it open. I did a lot of pulling at first (to no avail) to try to avoid using the screwdriver, but I didn’t think I had much of a choice after a certain point. When I was able to get the head open, I found I didn’t care so much about the little chip at the top of the head, seeing as how I made a couple of my own pry marks at the bottom of the head. I sanded off the small nicks with very fine sand paper, and I’m relieved they aren’t noticeable.

I have also come to terms with the fact that once I install the eyes, do the faceups, and push the head plates together again, I may never ever open up this guy’s head ever again. Ever.

For his eyes, I am purchasing these two eyes:

The seller is KOK Doll Collection on eBay, and I’m undecided what size eyes to get (waiting for the seller to send me a new invoice with combined shipping). The Janus Gato calls for 14mm eyes, so I might ghet the purple/grey eyes in 14mm, and the green/gold eyes in 16mm for his cat face plate. I want there to be more color than white part (woo science words I don’t know) for his cat form eyes, so please correct me if I’m wrong to size up >_<.

He doesn’t have a name, but I’m leaning toward Felix or Mamoru.

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don’t judge my drawings NooOOOoo…

XD Here are my doodles done in my Hobonichi Techo. My inspiration for this doll is the maneki neko. He will be a maneki neko spirit. Kind of in the same family as the nekomata and bakeneko, his character will be a spirit in the form of a cat, but unlike those two, he’s a benevolent being. I’m not sure that Japanese folklore views the maneki neko as a spirit, but rather a symbol of good luck with an origin story. He comes into existence because the energy and hope for the statue of the cat to bring luck and good fortune and its use as a symbol has brought about the birth of spirits associated with that symbol and all it stands for (not a naturally existing spirit, but one born by necessity of the people). I may still get him red eyes, but I’m undecided. A white maneki neko symbolizes purity, happiness, and good luck. He needs a red or green bandana for his neck, and either a collar with a bell or a necklace with a bell. I might dress him in a raglan style white top with grey sweatpants, and also attempt to make him a kimono.

Funny enough, his cat face is the face that inspires me more! I’m excited to start his faceup, but I might do some more sketches to get a better idea of what I’m going to attempt.

Frankendoll

I recently asked a facebook group what their favorite body is for their Blythe dolls. I have opinions about the bodies commonly used for Blythes (at least opinions on the bodies I’ve owned):

Jointed body (Sweetiiger and Azone) – I haven’t tried the Azone on a Blythe, but I have owned dolls on an Azone body. I like the poseability of the jointed bodies, and the different hands are fun for photos. However, I found that these types of bodies don’t support a Blythe doll’s head very well, and the joints tend to buckle under the weight of it.

Licca Chan body – I love the look and proportions of this body. I like the bendy limbs, and its potential for posing. I prefer the non-tilt neck bodies over the tilt-neck ones. The feet are bigger than that of the regular stock bodies, which makes finding shoes that fit inconvenient.

Stock Blythe body – I don’t dislike this body – it has a classy feel to it and because it’s the body that stock blythes come in, I associate it with just being quintessentially blythe-like (kind of like shiny stock faces). The stock body doesn’t really have a wide range of poseability, but there’s just so much out there in terms of clothes and shoes.

Now, here’s something I never thought to do – one person in the group commented that their favorite body was a stock Blythe body with Licca arms. /MIND BLOWN

Here’s the tutorial I followed.

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I first tried it on Rory, who was on a tilt-neck Licca chan body. Her head wobbled a lot because of the tilt-neck piece, and I wasn’t the biggest fan of that as it felt a bit unstable. I put her back on the body I purchased her with (the fake blythe body), and transplanted the Licca chan arms into the sockets. This was relatively easy, as Rory’s stock body arms popped right off with some vigorous pulling.

I decided I would do the same for Finley as I wasn’t crazy about her stock body anyway, but I also didn’t want to completely swap her body out for a Licca chan body, being that she is one of my professionally customized girls and I have never had success with opening up her head ever.

Finley’s stock arms were a nightmare to take off! My right hand is swollen right now from all the pulling and twisting I had to do to get them off. BUT! I am REALLY happy with how she looks right now! SO CUTE. So happy!

I took this chance as an opportunity to try out my newest dress on her, and kind of play with her hair. I ordered a Plastic Fashion dress a couple of weeks ago, and delayed opening it for a day I felt like I needed a pick-me-up. I wasn’t sure who this dress would go to, but it suits Finley because it has a Goldilocks vibe to it.

I also tried doing a waterfall braid for the first time. I plan on going to the park this weekend to hopefully see some cherry blossom trees, and I’m definitely taking Finley out for photos!

Happy Friday everyone!

 

Reroot Reboot

This is part 3 of my rerooting adventures (part 1 and part 2). This time around, I did a few things differently:

  • I spaced the holes much closer together, especially on the part lines. 😦 It was actually really hard rooting the part line because my crochet hook would rip the teeny tiny scalp area between two adjacent holes. >_< Hopefully the scalp doesn’t completely come apart when I’m done. After I finish rooting the scalp and styling it, I will definitely reinforce the plugs with some glue.
  • I’m using a smaller crochet hook, this time switching between a 0.9mm hook and a 0.8mm hook.

As of right now, I’ve completed the part line and thatched it.

I think the part looks way better this time around (except my eye keeps going to that tiny gap in the middle of the part line). In the right photo, I have the first reroot attempt on top, and the one I’m currently working on directly under it. My hands actually REALLY hurt from doing this (I’m not sure my hands have recovered from the last reroot I did). I think I’ll put the rerooting down for a couple of weeks, as I’m forming a callus on my index finger, and I’ve stabbed myself with the crochet hook twice yesterday (D: ow).

My doll family is also saying goodbye to my Parabox/Azone hybrid boy Marshall Lee. I was really pumped to make a character doll when I first put him together, but I’ve lost my motivation to make him whole, what with two failed attempts at getting a wig for him. It’s that sort of feeling where his being incomplete for so long, and not looking the way I want him to kind of bummed me out to have him on my shelf. The doll neeed to have grey skin and a cool black wig. I also took hardly any photos of him. This brings my doll count to – 4 Neo Blythes and 1 Licca chan.

The one good thing I got out of Marshall Lee leaving my collection is that his clothes are now on Finley ^^. I don’t have enough separates, so his flannel style shirt and jeans are a welcome addition to my girls’ wardrobe.

I actually have that same outfit, minus the fox eared headband. Though, now I’m tempted to crochet myself one. ^^

And  now I’m off to squeeze in all the fun stuff I can before the weekend is over and Monday (ugh) is here.

 

Rerooting Misadventures

I finished the reroot, thanks to my impatience and obsessive tendency to want to complete my projects as soon as possible. I ran into a few problems though, and I would consider my first reroot as a failure… I definitely learned a lot from it though, and I’m confident I can do better next time (… If there is a next time D:). Here are some things I learned and noticed:

  • Next time, I will poke the holes and the rows closer together. In the scalp I finished, placing the holes 0.5cm apart, and the rows about 0.75-1cm apart resulted in a very sparse reroot. There’s too much of the scalp showing through the hair. I tried to fix this by creating new rows between the already rooted rows, and then using the knot method to insert more plugs in the noticeably bald areas.
  • I also found out that the holes that make up the thatch line should be placed less than a millimeter apart! 😦 Hence, all the gaps in the thatch line of my “finished” reroot.
  • Next time, I might look into getting a blank scalp with holes pre-punched into it. It would definitely save me some time.
  • Next time, I will extend the thatch line so that it reaches the very top of the scalp. I think the plugs in the part line can hid any sparse areas considerably.
  • I ordered 5 hanks of 38” long saran from Dolly Hair. I probably could have gotten away with 4 hanks, because I cut the 38” hanks in half, and used the lock and loop method. So the scalp’s resulting hair length was about 9.25”.
  • Rerooting one scalp with saran using the lock and loop method took me about 3 weeks to finish, and it was something I worked on a little nearly every day.
  • It cost me about $40 (scalp and saran hair, including shipping) to reroot one scalp.
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So sad D:

My Thoughts on rerooting with Saran

Pros

  • The quality of the hair is closer to real release’s scalp, rather than a fake scalp. The saran has a sturdier feel to it.
  • You can control how thick you want the scalp to be.
  • You can pretty much make a scalp any color you want, including using thermal color-changing saran.
  • It’s about $15 cheaper than buying a fake scalp on eBay, and wayyyy cheaper than buying a saran reroot on etsy (though, considering how labor-intensive rerooting  is, I get why a custom reroot cost as much as it does).
  • It’s something to do while watching a show.

Cons

  • It takes a long time, and a ton of patience. You’re literally poking about 11 – 12 rows of holes in a spiral, spaced less than a centimeter apart every which way, then separating the hanks of hair into plugs, then pushing a crochet hook through a barely there hole in plastic, then pulling these plugs through every hole. I half thought it might have just been better to buy a fake scalp.
  • It’s hard on the hands! (my poor, poor hands)
  • That chance of failure though.

I’m a little ambivalent about rerooting with saran. Granted, the hair on fake scalps can be hit or miss (too thickly rooted, too long, uneven bangs, off in color), but for the most part, I feel like it might have been better to just purchase one and style it. I think I might be feeling this way moreso because my first rerooting experience was less than stellar. The next time I do a reroot, I will most likely use alpaca fiber and the knot method.

>_< Rory will just have to wait for a new scalp!

Rerooting Adventures

For the past couple of week or so, I’ve been working on a saran reroot for Rory. There are quite a few tutorials and resources out there for doll reroots, but I figured one more Blythe-centric reroot post wouldn’t hurt! Also, as a complete noob on rerooting, I thought it might be helpful for me to share my experience, resources I have found helpful, and my own advice.

The Materials I used:

A blank scalp – I purchased mine in a set of 4 from Cool Cat. 4 blank PVC scalps came out to be $36 plus $4 shipping. I’ve read that you can buy scalps with holes prepunched into the scalp on Aliexpress, but also, I’ve read that the holes can be quite unevenly spaced. Cool Cat also sells rubber scalps, which I’ve read are easier to penetrate with a needle. I didn’t struggle too much with prepping my scalp, though I do wonder if a rubber scalp might be easier on the hands.

A carpet needle – I recommend a thick, sharp needle. I started off poking holes with a thinner needle, but I found it super challenging pushing a 0.9 mm crochet hook through the holes. I’ve also been advised that a tapestry needle would be good for punching holes too.

A 0.9mm crochet hook and a 1.0mm crochet hook – I used the smaller crochet hook for the thatch, since the holes are closer together, and the thicker crochet hook for the rest of the scalp. I don’t think you need more than one hook though.

Saran hair – I purchased my hair from Dollyhair.com, but there are several sellers online. I recommend doing research before purchasing. I purchased 5 hanks of 38” saran – 3 in Cupcake Pink, 1 in Lemon Blonde, and 1 in Mint Ice.

Water – This is very important. Working with the hair wet keeps the hair plugs together while you’re handling it, and it makes the whole process less hairy (XD).

Acrylic Paint – This is to paint the scalp the color of the hair you will be rooting, so any sparse areas are less noticeable.

The Method I used: Lock and Loop Method

I won’t be doing a tutorial, but I will link some excellent resources here:

Lovalizious Blythe Reroot Tutorial Part 1 and Part 2 – This is the tutorial I referred to most. The tutorial explains prepping the scalp and rerooting using the lock and loop method with alpaca fiber. There are a lot of pictures and detailed explanations, which I supplemented with youtube videos when necessary.

Shershe’s Saran Reroot Tutorial on Flicker – A lot of great photos and explanations geared toward saran reroots.

No Nap Time Doll Reroot and Resources – I used this blog post to better understand the types of hair material and rerooting methods. It also lists some reroot material sellers and the author’s experience with each of them, as well as other helpful links.

My Little Customs’s ‘How to Thatch a Part line’ youtube video – I got a little confused by how to thatch a 4 line part line XD .

Mademoiselle Blythe’s “The Beauty of Saran”– A lot of helpful tips on rerooting using saran.

My progress so far:

Prepping the scalp – It took me 2 days to finish poking all the little holes. I followed the instructions found on Lovalizious in terms of hole spacing and row spacing. If I could do it over again, I would have spaced the rows and the holes at the top of the head tighter together. I also would have extended the thatch line further back than indicated. I’m pretty sure I made a mistake not taking into consideration that saran behaves differently than alpaca fiber, which is what the tutorial uses. Right now, the scalp is looking pretty sparse, which worries me (it’s too late to turn back now).24103027873_15e1bc7292_k

Rooting the thatch line – This also took me two days to complete. Also, I’ve been told that it’s easiest to root the thatch first and then thatch the thatch line, before rooting the rest of the head.

Rooting the rest of the scalp – I am currently working on this, and I think I’m 1/3 the way done rooting the holes I have made so far. Looking at it now, I get the creeping suspicion that I’ll have to go back and create new holes and figure out a way to include some more plugs at the top of the head. I might go in with a smaller crochet hook, and create some new rows between the rows that are already rooted so that the gaps between the plugs are less noticeable. I really hope I won’t have to do this.24362204889_0956774891_z

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It’s so messy!

Some tips

  • Keep in mind the material you are rooting with. Saran isn’t really fluffy, so I probably should have made the holes and rows a bit closer together at the top of the head.
  • Mind the size of your plugs. I found that the rooting is considerably easier if the plugs are the right size for the crochet hook I am using. If the plugs are too thick, some of the hair would fall off of the hook while I pull the hair through the hole. The loop I would pull through would also be kind of messy, and some of the saran even snapped in half because of the force I would exert trying to pull the fat plug through. If you’re struggling to keep the hairs hooked under the crochet hook, then the plug is probably too big.
  • Take breaks. What I’ve been doing is turning on some youtube playlist of doll vlogs, making 10 plugs, rooting them, and so on and so forth. I find that alternating between making plugs and rooting breaks up the monotony.
  • Keep all the hair wet.
  • Comb the saran often! I found that I lost quite a bit of hair (not the best at rerooting 😦 ). Also, combing helps confirm that all the plugs are secure.
  • I used a bobby pin to keep the hairs together on the last loop when I decide to put the rerooting aside.

I’ll report back again once I’ve finished rooting all the holes!