Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Easy Cutter Books

Now let me just say that I am not a Easy Cutter representative nor do I work for them.  I also don't know anyone who does, but if I did, I would be begging them to hook a sister up!  With that disclaimer in place, in this and my next post, I'm going to wax poetic on why the Easy Cutter is my favorite doll tool.

I love books.  Ergo, my dolls love books.

This is how I used to make books. I would fold a magazine page into as many halves as it would make and stick it inside a precut piece of folded cardstock.  Then, using the cardstock as a guide I would scissor cut the magazine along the bottom and side edge.  I would staple the two together and then wrap the cardstock with cover art and tape it to the inside of the stock.

This looks okay as long as you are looking at the spine of the book, but as you can see, I didn't much try to do anything about the front or back of it.

But now, *cue announcer voice* with the handy dandy Easy Cutter, you too can have precision cut books for your dollies!  Pick old magazines or catalogues that are bound by glue (not stapled).  Use scissors or a paper cutter to trim them into manageable strips (the Easy Cutter can't cut anything wider than 2.5 inches).  Then design your cover art and you will have dolly books that look like this!:

How Awesome! Spine view.

Oh My! Front view.

Shazaam! Back view.

There are many ways to design your cover art.  You could do all this on the computer and just print out your design.  My theory is why waste that ink when magazines have already printed out junk for you?  Besides, tape and glue are much cheaper than printer ink.  So, here's my way:

Let the spine artwork determine the size of your book.  Cut out the book, sit it over the spine wording and pencil around it.  Pick your front and back art and cut them out using the book as a width guide, but leave some excess.

Place glue above and below your spine pencil marks (front and back) and paste down the two covers.  Cut out notches on the spine where you pencil marked where the width of the book should be.  Roll back a section of transparent tape the length of your artwork, and let it rest backward on the tape roller.  Center your artwork over the tape, good side down, and lay it on the tape.

Fold the spine and then poke the book in the cover.  Even though you have notched out the width of the book in the spine, still trace around the bottom of it to help you get a perfect fit.  Put glue on the bottom and spine of the book and place it in the cover.  Once it's nice and straight, then glue the top of the book and smooth down the cover.

Next you have a choice.  You can either fold the cover art over and secure it with tape to the inside of the book flaps and then trim the top and bottom edges, or, my favorite, cut it all off, using the edges of the book as a guide.

As always, we have a model to demonstrate the scale of items.  You can make these exact books if you have the Spring, 2012 issue of Barbie Collector.

Of course there are multiple ways to make books and mine is by no means the simplest.  If you don't have a Easy Cutter, you could clamp down a metal ruler and use an exacto knife to get precision cuts.  If you have a large scale paper cutter you could use that instead (mine only cuts 12 pages).  But for minimum effort, the Easy Cutter cut through hard glue and 150 pages like it was nothing.

A word of advice.  If you have problems with hand strength (arthritis, RA, etc.), brace the cutter against your thigh and press downward from the top of your hand instead of not bracing and pulling upward from your fingers.

Happy Bookmaking!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Translation Is Here

D7ana did a post earlier this month about adding a translation gadget to her blog.  I wanted to add one too but I'm not overly savvy when it comes to Blogger and the instructions at BloggerBuzz didn't match the tabs I have.  Probably doesn't help that I'm still using the old interface.  ^_^.  Whelp, I finally figured out how to add the module and here's how for those using the old system:

 Assuming you have this section at the top of your blog, click Design.

Next choose Add A Gadget to whatever blog section you want the module on.

Scroll down the options available and click the plus sign for Translate.

You will be given 3 style options to choose from.  You can also change the Title.  It doesn't have to say "Translate."  You can always change this by picking Edit on the Design panel.

And here it is on the bottom of my blog!  Now I do know that when I sometimes visit people with the Translate option, their little box has disappeared but I think that's a blogger defect though.

Anyway, to you international readers; welcome and I hope this makes things easier for you.

*waves vigorously*

Friday, May 25, 2012

Amazon Is Trying To Tempt Me!

They must not have gotten the memo that I'm on buying lock-down because I found this recommendation in my email:

The interesting thing is that I have never purchased a single toy or doll item from Amazon, just stuff for Kindle.  The cookies must have given me away though, because when I research a doll it usually, inevitably, leads me to Amazon.

I sure would like that Liv Kiosk, but that's one of the things I tell myself that I can make on my own. *sigh*  But it sure would be easier to just buy it. *stare*

I have the Katie and Sk8 set.  Got it last year from TJ Maxx for $15 bucks, so the Amazon price seems decent.  However the prices for the other 2 dolls are ridiculous.  And $34.95 for a chair and extensions?  For real?  Now the sale page says it comes with the chair and 2 wigs, but still, no.

Tempt me with these prices?  Not likely, Amazon.  Pfft.

Oh geeze, I'm so cheap.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Olden Days

Answering those interview questions made me think about the old days so I looked through my albums and found some photos from 1991 and 1992.  Remember when photos were on film and you had to wait a whole week to get them developed?  No?  Just me, huh?

This was my mom's and I first doll show.  I believe it was held at a Ramada Inn.  We didn't know what we were doing or how to display, so we went all artistic and drapey, lol.

Look at the drama.  We had beads and little flower arrangements about.  We put tissue and shoe boxes underneath the sheets so we could have different depths.  How avant garde of us!

We thought we were soooo clever.  However, throughout the day, the other vendors made a point of stopping by our table and making subtle, yet catty remarks about our "over the top" display.  Whatever!  In their faces, because we made back our vendor fee and then some, so smoke that!

By the next year we were also doing malls and flea markets.  We had also streamlined our display.  I made hinged collapsible shelves that were 3 tiered and I cut out all the mannequins from old Fed Ex boxes.  Even back then I had a tendency to go overboard, lol.

Look at that awesome color coded arrangement!  The baskets were filled with undies, purses, hats and jewelry.  My mom did all the sewing and I made the jewelry.  I still have some of the jewelry but I don't think my dolls of today would find it all fashionable and they might give me the side eye if I tried to put it on them.

By the end of that year my mom was totally over doll fashions and had moved on to something else.  C'est la vie.  We gave away a few of the dolls and clothes, but I decided to keep the bulk of it.  My mom asked me why I wanted to have it and I said I didn't know, just that I wanted to.  I'm sure I kept all the stuff for selfish reasons, because I'm that type of person, lol, but now, I'm glad I did.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Saturday = Toy Run

I have now reached my quarterly budget so I wont be making any more toy runs until July.  I got some nice stuff on this last run though, so once again, Muff is pleased!

From Ross $15.99.  I only need the Bijou doll to complete this 4 piece set, but I had no luck finding her this quarter.  True that Toys R Us has Moxies for $14.99 but they didn't have this version so I didn't mind the extra buck.

Got 2 of the new Bieber fashion packs at Toys R Us for $7.99 each.  They didn't have the one I really wanted, which was the metallic hoodie with the blue laptop.  Did you know that Target is no longer carrying Bieber stuff!  At least not two of my local ones.  The sales dude says that they clearanced out the old merchandise and they haven't received any "bulletins" about new versions to carry. :(

From Walmart $5.87 each.  I know that the green shirt pack has been out for ages, but I hadn't seen the yellow shirt pack before.  Those sandals are very nice.

Now I didn't get the next three items.  I'm just showing them in case anyone has a Burlington Coat Factory near them.  These were made in 2008 and Burlington is selling them for $14.99.  I don't necessarily think they are worth that, but it was interesting for me to see older sets.

Her hand looks HUGE!

I did not find the other versions of the bottle stopper, but hey, my dolls don't need to be drinking all that liquor anyway. ^_^

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Marshall's Bottle Stopper

Or alternate title: "I will cut you!"  On an awesome tip from Vanessa, I picked up one of those too cool bottle stoppers from Marshall's.  And as I boldly stated I would, I introduced it to my dremel.  Hehehe, I love to cut stuff, I don't know why (don't judge me 0.o).

This thing is awesome!  It makes me feel so fancy and grown up.

It totally looks like real ice inside.

Here we have an age appropriate model testing the scale.  Now I don't drink alcohol so I have no idea if the bottles are to scale or not.

There's a rubber tip on the stopper.  Use needle nose pliers to pull it off.  If you pull the rubber outward and then down and keep working around in a circle, it will take about 2 minutes.

To remove the acrylic stopper, if you have a dremel, use a cutting blade for "Laminates/Plastic" at speed 4.  I'm using blade number 426 because it's nice and wide.  Always use your goggles and dust mask, kids!  If you don't have a dremel, a nice fine saw or hack blade should cut it off.

Party over here!!!  I'll be going to TJ Maxx this weekend to see if they have the other two versions of this.  I'm gonna cut them too!

LOL, thanks Vanessa!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mass Blogger Interview

From Ms. Leo's Mass Blogger Interview post, here are my responses.

When did you start collecting dolls?
I started "collecting" fashion dolls in February 2011.  Although I owned the Barbies pictured below before that, they were for a business and not something I played with.

What was your first purchase as a collector?
So In Style Trichelle.  Look at that sexy side eye!

How many dolls do you own?
  • 22 On display
  • 13 Still in boxes
  • 05 Articulated bodies waiting for heads
  • 11 Unarticulated bodies that will be used for spare parts
  • 03 Dolls I don't want
  • 23 Older Barbies that aren't really part of my "collection."
  • 77 Total

What is your favorite doll and why?
My "Claudia" Wolf.  She's a gorgeous wolf with a fashionista style.  What's not to love?

What dolls are not your favorite and why?
Biebers and a Moxie Girlz that I just bought for their clothes.  I'm not a fan of their bodies or faces.

What is the biggest challenge about collecting dolls?
Finding space to store them.

How do you display your dolls?
Spread out in little tableau's all over the place:

Inside a bookshelf, having a gathering

On top of a bookshelf, in the midst of a conversation

On the corner of my desk, as big sis listens to little sis' latest drama

On top of my breakfast bar, perpetually on the way to the airport

How do you store your dolls?
In actual storage boxes.  I covered them with contact paper to fancy them up though.

Have you ever been to a doll show?
Back in 1991 my mom and I attended doll shows as vendors.  I have not been to one since then.

When you travel do you look for dolls?
I do make a point of going to the local Walmarts or any of my usual at home retailers to see what the stock is like in other areas.

What is your latest purchase?
Got 'em today actually.  Go to Ross.  They have reduced prices on Moxie and Bratz stuff.

What doll is on your wish list now?
I had several; a few Monsters, the 3.0 Basics, Tokidoki Barbie, etc.  But I'm doing away with lists.  If I find a doll and the price is right I'll get it.  If not, I'm not going to hunger over the ones that got away.

What doll do you wish you didn't purchase?
Blasphemy!  Even if it's a doll just purchased for clothes or parts, I still found value in it and got something out of it.

What is your favorite doll related item?
Easy Cutter!  So awesome I bought a second one.

How often do you photo your dolls and what doll is the most photographed?
I photograph as often as I blog, so maybe once a week on average.  The doll I have photographed the most is Claudia Wolf. ^_^

Do you talk to other collectors in person or just on the web?
I'm pretty anti-social, so I just talk to other collectors on the web.

If you had the chance to speak to Mattel or other toy makers, what would you say?
More diversity, MORE BODY TYPES!!!, and please, articulation for every doll.

What doll do you wish would be reissued?
My Scene dolls and That's So Raven.  I missed out on those. :(

What two dolls would you combine and how would you want them combined?
A my style question, woot woot!  I want a Moxie Teenz body with Liv double jointed knees but the ability to pivot like a Fashionista.

The end.

Thanks Ms. Leo!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

My First Trade!

Dolly blogger, Ms. Leo, did a post of some thrift store items she purchased.  One of them was a My Scene doll.  Since she's not a fan of oversized heads, she agreed on a trade.  She got one of my nekkid Justin Bieber dolls and I got her awesome My Scene head! Woot woot!  Muff is pleased!

Here she be!  A little unkempt from her thrift store adventures, but I'll fix that.  This is my first time seeing one of these dolls in person.  The line had come and gone before I even knew it existed. I went online to find out more about them and at best I figure I have this lady.

The MyScene.com website had some videos and games but the bio details were sketchy.  They all seem to be, "Daddy this, limo that and I like clothes."  I'm going to assume that Madison is mixed raced since she has a euro nose and blue eyes.  Perhaps latino or black heritage?  Personality wise, I mostly get a french vibe from the one I have so I think she'll be my first french black canadian.  I may change her eye color though, so who knows.

My only complaint is this goopy, thick, glitter encrusted eye shadow.  Ugh, I loathe glitter.  It is my nemesis.

I don't recall seeing any photo comparisons so I did not realize My Scene heads were so large.  I thought they were playline size but they are more comparative to Monster High heads.  They are not as wide as a Monster but from head to chin they are very similar.

However, if you compare them based on hair line placement, the My Scene is longer.  I only have Monster wolves so I don't know if the other Monsters have such tall scalps.  Maybe wolves just have bigger brains. ^_^.  Anyway, it's time for some changes to this My Scene doll so it's off to the salon!

It took me almost an entire episode of Psych on Hulu to tame her hair.  That's a whole lot of water wasted.  Sorry environment, but my doll needed that water!  Could be because of its age or how the rooting was done, but as you can see by that big ball, her hair came out way too easily.  Once I finished detangling, I did go ahead and remove the rest of her orange highlights.  Orange hair is a little too scene for my tastes.

I detangled her strictly with water and no conditioner.  Two reasons: 1) if you are not careful and get conditioner on the face paint, it will weaken it and make it easy to come off and 2) since I intend to shrink her head, using conditioner now and then dunking her head in nail solution would be a very bad idea.

After hair, she took a turn in the makeup chair and I removed that hideous glitter.  I may take off the frosted shadow, but now that the glitter is gone I don't mind it so much.  I don't have an articulated body for her yet so she wont get one until Fashionistas go on sale.  I do have some Liv bodies available, but she seems too mature for a Liv body.

This was a fun experience and I hereby pronounce this trade a success!  Thanks, Ms. Leo!