Friday, October 25, 2013

It's a Princess Tea Party!

The other day I was in Books-A-Million, briskly walking up and down the isles when I came to a screeching halt in the kids activity section because I saw this:

Even without a doll to compare it to, the tea pot itself looked way too big for 1:6 scale. However, I figured the other items were doable and I was really interested in seeing the cookbook and activity book inside.

Scan the UPC code if you want to find it in your area

I did remember to use my Red Laser app to see if it was cheaper elsewhere. Even though it's available at [Amazon for $11.32], it was worth the extra buck and tax to be able to pick through several sets and get the best one because a few of them were sloppily painted. Also, the list price for this is $12.99, so don't be fooled by that "NOW ONLY $12.97" nonsense if you get it at Books-A-Million.

Back of the books, tea set and "table cloth"

The books are really well done. If I were a kid I would think they were easy to read with simple, colorful instructions and fun activities.

Let's see the tea set in 1:6 scale action!

"Err. Don't you find this tea set rather... clunky and juvenile?"

"What do you mean? It's perfectly adorable."

"But look how huge it is. I can barely lift it."

"Well, everyone cant be as refined as you... or as weak, apparently."

"More tea, Ms. Snooty Britches?"

"You don't have to be sarcastic about it. Heifer."

Final Verdict: The tea set isn't perfectly shaped or kilned, but I like the clunky charm it has. More than that though, I love the books. They are just cute and entertaining. Overall, the Princess Tea Party set is simply wonderful and well worth full price.

Behind the Scene:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Scalp Replacement

Once again, [Jay has instigated] my trying something new, namely, replacing one doll's scalp with another doll's scalp instead of doing a re-root. You know, it really sounded rather iffy to me, but hey, I'll take any excuse to pick up my exacto knife.

I'll be using two dolls from the thrift store that had some seriously jacked up hair to begin with so they might appreciate a new style. Their replacement scalps come from Mattel's AA Nikki. I don't have any photos taking Nikki's hair off because I removed them almost two years ago when I was thinking I could make wigs out of them. That didn't work at all, but I kept them anyway because apparently I'm clairvoyant and knew that Jay would ask me to do this two years later.

Before, a sad state of affairs, but 20 minutes later we have

After, dark tressed beauties with interesting hair lines.

I removed their tops two ways. Barbie's was cut in front of the hair line perforations. Summer's was cut through the perforations themselves. If you are going to be using the scalped hair, you want to cut in front of the perforations, otherwise, you lose the first row of hair. I did it both ways to show you what the hair line would look like either way.

These are Nikki's scalps and they are actually bigger than the dolls I'm attaching them to, but I didn't want to cut up any of my current dolls so I'll have to modify them.

All Barbie heads are not the same. For example, Barbie's rooting is longer in the back than Summer's, and Nikki's ears are farther back than the Caucasian ladies. Even among the Nikki dolls the rooting varies so you'll have to match as best you can.

I had to remove some extra pieces in the back of Nikki's hair in order to get the front area to fit. If you are using long hair then it doesn't matter that the back doesn't fit because the hair will hide any gaping. Also, because of the way I'm going to attach this, yes, you can put a Black dolls scalp on a Caucasian one and vice versa.

I attached the scalp BEHIND the face. Trying to match the cut edges would be futile and not cute... unless you were intentionally making a Frankenstein doll. I didn't pretty up or smooth out the perforated face edge. If you are giving this a serious go then you might want to, but if the scalp you are using has bangs, it's not necessary.

This is what you are going for. By setting the scalp inside, the hair will fall nicely in front of the ears and around the face.

Barbie is not getting this hair but she wanted to try it on anyway. It looks good with her eyebrows.

Once you've figured out which hair to use and fitted it as best you can, apply glue to the scalp edge (front and ears only, not the back). Make sure you glue the little fleshy area in front of the hair too and not just the cut edge. I'm using super glue since it's fast acting and will bond better than anything else.

Unless you found a perfectly fitted scalp you will not be putting these dolls in pony tails because it will look ridiculous, like so:

However, if you style it right, for about 20 minutes of work (depending on your cutting skills), you will have a new hairstyle without having to reroot. Don't like it or want to change it, then dip the head in nail polish remover up to the glue seam for 5 minutes and pry it off. Rinse the face and scalp so they don't shrink and reuse if you want to. You should also be able to blow a hair dryer on that spot and pry it off as well, but I have no idea what kind of toxins heated super glue releases, so you're on your own with that.

EDITED TO ADD: [Tina comments] that you should, "Never, ever, ever overwarm super glue. Aside from some incredibly noxious and toxic fumes, you're also sending up some highly flammable vapor which can and will ignite at the slightest spark... say from an old hairdryer."  So, you have been warned!


All in all, I'm quite ambivalent about this concept. In actuality, it's my interpretation of someone else's idea so I could totally be doing it wrong. However, would I recommend the technique I'm showing here? I'm really not sure, because as adroit as I am with an exacto knife I had a heck of a time cutting through the vinyl. Okay, I could just need a new blade, but still. Also, as fanatical as I am about quality control, seeing a jagged hair line is very irritating to me. But again, bangs or the right styling would eliminate that irritant.

At the end of the day, I guess it's about personal preference and/or your knifing skills. I will say though, they sure look cute with their new scalps.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Kari Michell and Back to Business...

The doll business, that is. Man, I cant believe it's been 2 whole months since I posted. I can readily blame being on the road and work commitments for 6 weeks of that time. The last 2 weeks, however, I've just been goofing off, cleaning my place and sleeping. So, yeah.

Anywho, I did not work on a single one of my doll projects the entire time I was awol, so I have nothing to show for those many weeks away. I was going to take a doll with me to photograph on my travels, but I felt weird doing that when I was supposed to be working so that didn't happen either.

Sooooo, before I tackle my projects, to get me back into the swing of things, I figured I'd open up one of my doll boxes, take some photos and do a little review. 

Distributed by Big Lots, the Kari Michell sets are $10 but I got mine at 20% off. I've seen them before, of course, and passed them by. Thanks to the awesome attitude of Limbe Dolls towards clones and their sets, this time I took a closer look and I'm glad I did.

I picked this one because except for the floral skirt, I liked everything else in the package. They even put plastic on the doll to prevent staining, I guess, which is a good idea for any doll really. You cant take the pearls off without removing the head, but it's not like I was going to use that body.

The other versions available, but I must say that in person, they don't look so hot or perhaps the colors didn't sway me. Given the quality of the one I got though, I may give them another look.

Paired with a Barbie top and a Liv Jacket, this vinyl skirt is smoking hot. You know I tend to go on about the hoochie length of Barbie clothing but the length of this skirt is perfect and still sexy. I love the bag because it looks like a bento lunch box.

The skirt fits a Liv body perfectly but gaps open slightly on a hipper Fashionista body. The stitching is nice and it's not a half print!

I thought the shoes were going to be too small, but they fit Barbie feet quite well. Liv feet are much too big for them though. The shoe designs are very simple compared to Mattel, but still, simple can be good.

Was this doll based on Angelina Jolie 'cause sometimes she sure looks like her. Anyway, paired with Barbie pants and Liv shoes, the top fits slightly loose at the waist of a Liv body. The inside stitching gives an almost shoulder pad effect to the top, but I don't mind it at all. The bag is very Dalmatian-ie and I kinda like it, but I kinda don't. I think the strap is awkwardly shaped.

Look at that nice fabric and the ribbon detail at the waist is well done. The black vinyl holding the ribbon is the same as the skirt.

All the pieces have velcro closures and they will snag the material, but if you are careful it shouldn't be a problem.

I was giving this floral skirt the side eye in the store but it's rather flirty paired with a Barbie halter top. I mean, Ginger Rogers wouldn't dance in it, but it's okay.

They even lined it with a slip! C'mon, son! Now that's just a cool detail. You know I like a doll with some decorum.

Probably the only piece with a questionable fabric choice, but still sewn together well with a simple closure.

How much do I love this sweater? A lot! It's just sexy with that gold thread running through it. Those are Barbie boots with Liv leggings and a Liv skirt (I think).

On a Liv body this sweater seemed a little overwhelming, but Barbie's boobs fill it better. It's still not as tight at the waist as most would be used too, but it would be perfect for those with Happy Grandmas or Rosie bodies.

Final verdict: Fashionable (to me), well made, decent quality (better than Mattel) and worth the price (full price or on sale).

They changed some stuff with Blogger while I was away. So far I'm not minding it.