Thursday, 14 November 2013

The First Complete Outfit!

Er, not at this time of writing the only complete outfit, or in fact the first complete garment, but the first bunch of garments that was ready as an ensemble for display. Also, since I am very worthy of my mother's nickname 'Little Bat', and live at the bottom of a valley in the North of England where good light is scarce even when I am awake - the only one I have photos of. With me so far? No? Tough.
It's for Petra!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Monster High Doll Review: Music Festival Abbey Bominable, CAM Mummy and Gorgon set

Or: Meet my girls.

I love Monster High. When I was a kidlet we never had anything so engaging to play with, the fashion dolls I got were Barbies and Sindys, despite the fact that my mother never liked them much. My strongest memory involving a Barbie was the time I bought one just so I could chop off her hair, dress her in army gear and have her go on missions with my brother's Action Men. Monster High would have delighted my weird little heart.

The premise is that these are the children (sometimes the creations or the adoptive children, whatever) of the classic monsters, and they are all going to Monster High. They have delightfully awful punny names and are generally surrounded by sometimes surprisingly clever humour (the son of the Invisible Man, Invisibilly, has as a pet a box that may or may not contain a cat. See what they did there?). The point is that someone at Mattel is clearly having a LOT of fun.

And a LOT of kids are buying these things - they might be monstrous but the characters have a lot more personality and are a lot more easy to identify with than Barbie on her pink pillar in Malibu. In the web series and movies (you can find the series here), they deal with high school and friendship issues more than monster things, and have so far tackled an impressive number of important issues, like bullying, disability discrimination, racial hatred and sexism. And very importantly, all the characters are very different, and all very cool. One of the central messages, like that of MLP:FIM, is that there is no wrong way to be a girl.

They're also very well-made dolls - most have eleven points of articulation where your standard Barbie only has five, their hands come off at the elbow and wrist to make them easier to dress, and each character has her own face mould. This is an impressive number of different face shapes, and it's made them very popular with the BJD artists, especially since previously, you'd have to lay out £150 for a Blythe or a Pullip. Those are still very popular, and I personally make yearning keening noises when I see Momoko dolls, but unfortunately I don't have £200 to throw around.

I spent £45. Let's see what it got me.

Dolls and Mermaids and Yarn, oh my!

You know what, I'm not going to apologise for having been away for so long. At this point it's pretty pointless. I wasn't even going to come back - I'd resigned myself to going to Tumblr for good, and then the latest edit happened and I realised that it's a really bad place to host a craft blog, especially one with long posts and a lot of pictures, so I'm going to post my craft stuff here and link to this blog from both my Tumblogs. My main Tumblr is still gonna stay away from here, though - I am still too much into butts to put it in the sidebar - but you can have my art blog and if you find my other Tumblr from there, more power to you.

So what have I been up to? I promise I haven't been sitting on my tush doing nothing for nearly two years (I actually had to check that it's actually been that long. Good grief). Two days a week I've been interning at the local craft shop, Cheeky Sew and Sew (see their Facebook link in my sidebar), and in the last six months I actually had a commission! A real one! For money! Look!

I made those, they took forever, I was RIGHT up against the deadline and I actually did myself an injury getting them finished in time. They're puppets for a kid's theatre show of The Little Mermaid (the Hans Christian Andersen version, not the Disney version), each one is toddler-sized and the brunette has hair that comes off to reveal short hair underneath. It was, as they say, a right pig. I had never done ANYTHING even REMOTELY like this before (except for that one time I tried to make a Victorian cloth-bodied doll from the Craft Encyclopedia and it failed because it was supposed to have a clay head and so I didn't make the neck long enough for a cloth head and ANYWAY), but you can hardly tell I was basically making it up as you go along!

Also: I HATE HANDS. These things have the stretchy skin layer and also the non-stretchy base layer so that means I had to turn EIGHTY stupid tight frayable fingers right-side out.



Before the puppets, I learned how to knit! Well, sorta. This is my first knitting project.
It was actually begun about six years ago, but shortly after I went mum on this blog I dug it out again, realised one ball of pretty blue merino wasn't going to cut it, and decided that I wasn't going to cut corners just because this was my first project, and so this thing is about £50 worth of pure merino. In garter stitch stripes.

It's ridiculously heavy and warm. It goes with that hat tremendously well, which is a pity, because the hat's a spring hat and a touch too light for the weather that suits that scarf.

After that was done, I had some leftover merino and also a laundry hamper full of miscellanous yarn that my mum had offloaded on me, so I took a bunch of blues, whites, reds, greens and greys in roughly the same weights (I still know virtually nothing about yarn weight beyond 'too heavy', 'too thin' and 'superchunky'), got a friend to teach me to make granny squares, and crocheted a blanket. I do not currently have a photo of that, but I will show you when I do.

The crochet has been making way more progress than the knitting, if I'm honest. It's a lot more intuitive.

But now the puppets are done and making their debut, I bought myself a treat - three Monster High dolls, which I am having a blast making clothes for. And planning roomboxes for. And planning furniture for.

Not going to say much about them right now, since they're going to get the next post. Just giving you fair warning. This is why I came back.

Because this is about to become a doll blog.