An update

So, though I’m not technically finished with class until I turn my paper in tomorrow, I’m basically done, in that I’ve totally finished the paper.  (To the extent that I already e-mailed it to myself in case I forget my flash drive tomorrow.)

That means I should, technically, be free to give myself that reward for finishing class — specifically an Etsy shopping spree, and/or that semi-graily Pullip that showed up used on Mandarake about a week ago.  (Assuming she’s still there…but she was there on Monday when I said to myself “yeah, the first draft is done, so you deserve a present!” but then I ended up not making the order, for reasons even I don’t understand.)

I’m a little hesitant to go ahead and give myself my reward, though.  Not that I don’t want it!  I very much want it.  And it’s not that I can’t afford it.  (Within reason.)  It’s just…

…well, it’s complicated.

Part of it’s that I’ve already bought some stuff that wasn’t the reward — things that weren’t going to last that long, and Target’s web site finally had the DC Super Hero Girls dolls back in stock, so I went ahead and ordered the other three (it should have been four, but I really don’t like their Supergirl doll) because I was worried they were going to completely vanish on me — and I guess part it’s just that I don’t really feel like I deserve it.  This place is a sty, and my final paper’s more than a bit lame.

(LOL, I took a drink of my water right after I wrote that, and as I was drinking, I glanced up at Bumblebee, and she’s giving me this look like “Of course you deserve it, girl!  Stop beating yourself up so much!”  Such a helpful, friendly doll!  Unlike Grell.  He’s still giving me this “why haven’t you let me out of here yet?” look, no matter how many times I explain that there’s no room for him and the Undertaker on my shelf right now…)

Anyway!

Thing is, I want to shake things up around here over the summer break.  I want to get the house clean so I can have lots more shelves, so my dolls aren’t all cramped up like they are now.  And I want to finally fix Pyrrha’s eye mechanism (I’ve finally started taking the eye chips out of the new mechanism; that’s a start, right?) and get her eyelids re-painted, and stuff like that, so she’ll finally be finished.

In the spirit of finally finishing dolly projects, I finally finished changing Selina’s eye chips!  Or rather, I finally got her put back together again.  All those little springs inside her head really didn’t want to cooperate with me.  I’m starting to think any custom Pullips I want that need more than a change of clothes and/or wigs are going to have to be paid jobs by professionals.  Just changing her eyes was almost too much for me…

In any event, here she is:

new eyes 1

All that time in pieces in a box seems to have made her go a bit punk/goth loli.  Hopefully a nice new dress from Etsy will make her feel better. 😉

new eyes 2

Here’s a close-up so you can get a good look at her new eyes.  They’re really pretty, right?  They’re by BlytheEvolution…but despite the shop’s name, they are intended for Pullips. 😛  The chips are a bit flatter than actual Pullip chips, which does mean that they’re a little more in the shadow than they might be, so I probably should have gotten something a tiny bit brighter:  they’re not as lovely when they’re not well lit.  But even then they’re still light years ahead of her stock chips!

Anyway, you may notice a line on her cheek in the photo?  I’m not sure where that came from.  I mean, it happened in the box, but I’m not quite sure how…or what to do about it.  Still, it doesn’t mess up her looks too badly, especially considering you can’t see it except in good light and from close up.  (Plus if the light hits it right, it looks silver, which is much prettier.  (I fear it came from a loose screw down in the box with her…))

So, hard to say exactly what the future holds…except probably some more posts when a few packages come in. 😛  I plan on reserving future Thursdays for cleaning, so hopefully in a few weeks I’ll have made enough of a dent that I can start getting my space issues resolved, which will give me more photography options — and let me finally open Grell and the Undertaker! — and get some real posts going again.

….!

OMG, I just went to the Junie Moon site in the other window, to look for news about Allegra Champagne, the anniversary Blythe coming out this year.  And at first I was like “yes, she’s a translucent!” ’cause I really want a translucent…

…and then I saw her price tag.  ¥34,900.  Which, according to the currency conversion site, is currently $321 and change.

MSRP of over $300?

Ugh.  Too much!

I mean, yeah, there are dolls that cost more than that, but most of them are about twice Blythe’s height.

Seriously, if I was gonna shell out that much for a Blythe, I might as well pay a little bit more and get the Hatsune Miku one.

Man, if I’d known a) how gorgeous translucents are and b) how expensive they quickly become after being released, I’d have totally gotten Cherie Babette while I could. 😦

Well, I guess I’ll just have to keep on waiting for another one to be released.

Oh, on a final, unrelated note, I forgot to add a gallery link to my A-to-Z reflections post.  It’s there now, a link to the April 2016 A-to-Z gallery, which has all the photos from the month!  So it’s large and chaotic. 😛  But if you want to know the order in which I took the photos, then you’re in luck! 😛  (Except the Vash photo.  It got stuck at the front because apparently PhotoShop took off the time stamp, so Dropbox considers it “without a date”.)

The resin stuff I didn’t get to last night

Yep, that’s one catchy post title, huh? 😛

Well, anyway, this is just me trying to finish last night’s post, so a catchy title is hardly necessary.

Okay, so where I left off, I was still talking about headbands, so I think I’ll finish up with that.  (Yes, there was more.)  Specifically, about the smaller headband size.  Because I’ve started to work on making the replacement headband to go with this outfit.  I made molds off the two wings, and cast them in opaque resin.  One of them was unfortunately ruined by poorly placed air bubbles and will need to be re-cast, but the other is good to go.  While I was doing that, I also tried to make the headband itself.  Because I knew there was a good chance a painted headband would get wrecked up, I wanted to make the resin itself blue.

And it so happens that I now have a lot of resin pigment on hand.  Because the first time I wore one of my homemade resin barrettes in front of my mother, she noticed it (it was a bright red, sparkly lightning bolt; it would have been hard to miss), and asked me about it, and after I explained, she offered to give me all the resin supplies she had left over from when she had tried using resin to make jewelry.  I had no idea she’d ever dabbled in resin, but I wasn’t about to pass up free resin stuff!  The resin itself is different than the stuff I use, and I’m not sure if it’s still good or what, but the colors!  She had to have bought at least twenty colors of pigments, including a bunch of metallic ones.  I am so looking forward to playing with those!

Anyway, I had planned on waiting until I used up my current resin, in case the pigment only works with the same type of resin.  (This was perhaps silly of me.)  But I decided “what the heck” and dug out the blue that seemed the closest in color to the headband’s blue, and after I cast the wings, I mixed some of it into the rest of the white resin to make blue resin.

Unfortunately, the opaque resin has a working time of maybe ten minutes (and more like five) so this was not a good plan.

(My squalid workspace...)
(My squalid workspace…)

As you can see by the disastrous mess on top of the mold, I had trouble getting the resin into the mold because it was already starting to harden.  And this photo was taken hours later, btw.  All that resin still in the cup hardened like that. 😦  I have no idea what to do with it.  It feels like a waste to leave it there, but…among other things, it’s stuck to the cup.  (Not to mention, what am I supposed to do with it, anyway?)  That stick up near the match (which was the one I used in lighting the candle to heat up the glue sticks to remove Pyrrha’s stock eyechips, btw) shows you the color of the actual pigment I put in the resin.  Pretty different from how it turned out!

Resin v. Original
Resin v. Original

As you can see in this picture, the cast headband is almost complete.  There’s just this big ol’ gap there where no resin got in.  I haven’t decided if I’m going to just toss this in the scrap heap (or rather the scrap jar, as I’ve been saving up all my resin scraps in the hopes I’ll come up with a use for them) or what.  In any case, you can also see that the pigment didn’t actually come out being anywhere near the color of the original headband…even though in the jar, the pigment was almost exactly that color.  I guess the natural white color of the resin paled it.  I need to try using the pigment in some clear resin and see how that works.  (The clear might be less likely to stretch, too.)  The wing turned out okay, though!  (I was obviously planning on painting it all along, since it was going to have to be two colors anyway.)

Okay, so that’s about all I have to say about the headbands.  Now I want to show you a couple of experiments before I move on to yet more eyechips for Pyrrha.  (Someday I’m actually going to have to decide on which ones to use…and that’ll probably be the day when I’ll order my next factory girl. 😛  Turns out this whole eyechip-making thing is just tons of fun.)

Experiment 1
Experiment 1

Okay, as is, that may look a little macabre, so I”ll explain.  I was wondering how resin affects paper, and particularly paper with things printed on it.  (Because I thought printing some interesting graphic out and putting it in that rectangular mold shape (the green one in this picture) might be good for future barrettes.)  I didn’t want to specially print out anything new, so I thought I’d just use one of the sets of eyes from the paper eyes I’d gotten for Pyrrha, specifically one of the sets I knew I’d never use, and this set definitely fit the bill.  (The 8-bit heart thing was just a mold I had handy that I wasn’t planning on using any time soon and that was big enough to easily accommodate the paper eyes.)  I handled them both differently, too.  The one with the seal on it I just placed on top of the resin and left alone.  The demon eye, on the other hand, I put some resin in, put in the eye, and then put in more resin.  Though it doesn’t look like it in the photo, due to an angle thing, it worked much better for the demon eye than for the seal eye.  (I don’t get these eyes, though.  Why would Ciel have demon eyes?  Just how badly did the anime screw up the story?  I am so glad I was turned off by the first episode.  I’ll just stick with the manga.)

Experiment 2
Experiment 2

This one really doesn’t look like much, and to be honest it wasn’t really supposed to.  I had made too much clear resin while I was doing the experiment above and making a bunch of eyechips and other things that needed clear resin (the top coats on some of the barrettes for me, and the adhesive coat on the dolly barrettes), so I poured it into this empty gem-shaped mold (which is too small for a barrette, but had proven not to work for those clip-things), and then stuck a small piece of old, glitter-filled resin in it.  I wanted to see how that would react, how it would work out, if the old resin would maintain its cohesion.  What I’ve found (and in both this and the other shot I took of this, it’s hard to see it well) is that the glitter maintained its cohesion quite well, but as the new and old resin bonded, a lot of air bubbles were produced.  (Compare the number of air bubbles here to the ones in the experiment immediately preceding it, after all; they were the same batch of resin, and had the same level of air bubbleage when I poured them into the molds!)  The main reason I wanted to test this is that I have this vague fantasy of somehow, someday managing to create molds to make my own original resin BJD, and I was thinking it might be interesting to make a special, clear one, where the clear resin has been filled with these scraps, making for a…actually, I have no idea how that would look.  But what I now know is that it would mostly look like an air bubble festival. 😛  Not necessarily a bad thing if used in some other context, but not ideal for a doll.  (And, let’s face it, I was never going to be able to model my own doll anyway; my skills are not sufficient for that, not in sculpting or in mold-making.  But it’s a fun dream none the less.)

Anyway, now that that’s finally over with, I can move on to the eyechips!  And some of them are from a brand new mold that’s very different from the old one!

But I’ll start with the ones from the old mold, first.

more resin 1

Technically, you’ve already seen these chips, just not at this close-up level.  They’re still not perfect, given the air bubbles, but I think they’ll do.

more resin 2

These, on the other hand, will not.  Pale pink glitter, like white glitter, is too pale to work as the background for an eyechip.  At least, I think so.  (Even if it would work, these particular ones wouldn’t work, because the beads put in to be the pupils are off center.)

more resin 3

More of the same, really.  Except that the darker pink hearts — which look really nice contrasted against this same pale pink glitter in my barrette — really don’t work as pupils, in addition to the background being too pale.

more resin 21

I got the big stars in a pack of Mardi Gras confetti I found on clearance at the grocery store (of all places!) for 50¢.  (Unfortunately, there’s a lot in it that I can’t really use.  Unless I want to cut up the ones that say “Mardi Gras” in order to use the individual letters.  But I don’t want letter-shaped pupils in my dolly eyes!)  I went through all my colors of glitter to find the one that most closely matched Pyrrha’s eyes for the background of these eyes.  The color match isn’t great, but it’s not too bad, either, and I like the star-shaped pupils, so these are (tentatively) planned to be one of her keeper sets.

more resin 22

In this case, the little gold stars that were intended to be the pupils were entirely subsumed by the pink behind them.  You can barely even tell they’re there at all.  😦

more resin 23

And ditto with the little gold circles in these…

more resin 24

These green ones are hard to see in front of the blue, but they’re actually mismatched — one is a circle and one is a star.  I was running out of spaces to put pupils in, and decided to get crazy with it. 😛  They’re also very off-center, but at least I finally know why the pupils always go off-center in these things:  my workspace is actually not level.  I had all these pupils in shallow clear resin, and then added the glitter resin after it had dried, right?  Well, every time I looked back at it, I saw that the pupils (particularly the small ones, like these) had drifted away from the center again.  Eventually, I realized that was because it wasn’t level.  So in future I’ll have them drying somewhere else, somewhere that’s actually level.  That’ll have to help.

more resin 25

The little purple circles are slightly more visible than the little green stars, enough so that I seem not to have added them to my “reject” jar, and have instead put them in my much smaller “acceptable eye chips” container.  (For some reason, all my finished resin projects are now being kept in an assortment of plastic gelato containers.  Some of them are in the hard plastic screw-top jars, and others in the softer plastic pop-off top containers.  I’m not sure exactly how this happened.  I guess it’s just because I had a lot of them sitting around the house, ’cause they seemed too useful to recycle.)

more resin 26

As with the gold-on-mauve pair, these large purple star-pupiled chips work pretty well, in my opinion.  Pyrrha’s not keeping them — she’s already got a pair of blue glitter eyechips — but they’re not going in the reject bin, either.

And now we finally move on to the new eyechip mold!  Every single one of these is an unfinished chip, because they’re all going to require painting…

more resin 27

Check it out!  They’re basically shaped like genuine Blythe chips!  I put a little too much resin in all of them, so they have a bit too high and too flat of a surface, but it’s not a big deal.  The pupil area is much wider than on Pyrrha’s original chips, so I was worried they weren’t going to fit, but they did fit just fine.  Looking at them, though, I wonder if they’re actually molded off of Pullip eyechips.  Because the pupil-to-iris ratio looks more Pullip than Blythe to me.  I need to get Selina’s stock eyechips out so I can test these to see if they fit her.  (I’m not sure how to go about that, though.  Is it just the same procedure as for a Blythe?  With the glue sticks and all?)

Anyway, I did several plain ones like these, but I also did a number with the Mardi Gras confetti.  To save time in photography, I decided to show these in mismatched pairs, only showing one of each set.

more resin 28

In this eyechip shape, the small bits of confetti would only be highlights against the pupil, instead of the pupil itself, so I think the small ones will probably work just fine once I’ve painted the chips.

more resin 29

On these, the question will be if I want to put black behind the big stars so that these, too, are just highlights, or if I want to make these the actual pupils, and paint behind them in the same color as the iris will be.  Maybe I should color on a piece of paper and hold these over that to see how it looks?  Yeah, that seems like a good idea; I’ll try that first before I do anything rash with the paint brush…

Okay, so that was the last of the eyechips.  But I still have one more eyechip observation.  The “keeper” pair turned out to be too thick, so I’m going to have to sand down the backs when Pyrrha’s new eye mechanism gets here.  (If I ever get around to ordering it…)  But in discovering that, I realized something:

more resin 30

This cross-bar is the actual part where I have to worry about clearance, and it was probably the chips pushing against this thing that caused the damage in the first place.  And because of the way it’s shaped, some chips that will clear in the front-facing slots will clog up the works in a side-glance slot.  I probably didn’t actually need to tell anyone that, but…I felt like mentioning it.  The important thing, however, is that now that I know that, I can safely and carefully test chips for the new mechanism without risking damaging it.

Now, one last set of photos to share.  These being largely irrelevant, but I thought this was kind of pretty, so I wanted to show it to people.

more resin 31

This glittery, pink and blue, Yin/Yang-looking thing is the excess resin from that batch of pink and blue backed eyechips.  I loved the way the pink merged (or not) with the blue.  However, just from looking at this, you may not be able to tell what it is…

more resin 32

So I thought I’d flip the mold over and show you.  It’s my TARDIS mold! 😀  Yup.  I’m gonna have a pink, blue and who-knows-what-else colored, glittery TARDIS.

Not sure why, exactly.  But it seemed a more useful application of the excess resin than making more Space Invaders aliens.

Okay, now I am finally finished with this post!  The gallery for both these posts is here.

This should be the last “testing out eyechips” post, btw, because I promised Pyrrha I wasn’t going to take her apart again until her new eye mechanism arrives.  (This may have been a premature promise, but…yeah, I better order that eye mechanism pronto, huh?)

Pyrrha’s eye mechanism

…is still not working. 😦  But before I go into details, I want to share three new sets of eye chips.

eye mech 4

These would look better if they hadn’t gotten mismatched air bubbles under the pupils. 😛  Also if the pupils had remained centered when I added the resin…

eye mech 5

And this time only one of them got an air bubble, while both of them got a bit off center.  *sigh* BTW, I’m testing them in the side-glance slots because that’s where they’re going to live, since the central slots have already been decided on.

eye mech 6

These don’t photograph very well, unfortunately.  They look better than this in person.  And, actually, the’d probably look better photographed from a better angle.  (I hadn’t actually put her head together again, so I was photographing looking down, right under a harsh light, and that’s always awkward.)  Anyway, I’ve decided on these for one of her side-glancing chips.  Just don’t know about the other set yet.

Now I’m going to talk about the way in which her mechanism is no longer working.  This will require photographs of the inside of her head.  Anyone squeamish about dolly innards should leave now. 😛

Continue reading

Eyechip auditions!

I’ve been testing my various homemade eyechips to see how they look in place lately.  Of course, it’s not completely accurate as a gauge:  Pyrrha’s face is still unpainted (the MSC should come Monday) and I have to hold the eye mechanism in place, but that often leaves it a bit off center.

Anyway, fair warning:  there are a lot of pictures in this post, most of them featuring Pyrrha’s blank face just with different eyechips.  (Though there are also a few non-eyechip resin pictures towards the end.  A few of these eyechips are newly made since the last time I posted about my resin experiments.)

{Inserting a read more tag so that the home page of my blog doesn’t get bogged down in all those photos.}

Continue reading

Why did I sign onto Etsy?

Seriously, I think I made a mistake.  I spent a huge chunk of time yesterday on there–and about an hour this morning–browsing and favoriting and stuff.

I mean, I haven’t spent any money there yet, but “yet” is the operative part of the sentence.  (So far, they don’t have my credit card/PayPal information, and that’s about the only thing stopping me.)

I only went to look for eye chips for Pyrrha, and clothes for Byul/Kaiko, right?  That’s harmless, right?

Um, but then I did some searches.

There are so many vintage toys from my childhood!  Things I’ve long lost–like She-Ra dolls and Galoob’s Golden Girl dolls–and things I’d forgotten I’d ever had, and things I remember but didn’t actually have because my parents were more capable of saying “no” to me than I am.  Not to mention all the vintage toys that are older than I am but which I’ve seen in the museum and fallen in love with and now want for myself.  (And it’s kind of scary that I can find some of them in better shape on Etsy than the ones in the museum’s collection, and they’re not even that pricey.)

Thing is, this is exactly how I got myself in trouble years ago.  I started buying toys from my childhood, and ended up with boxes of crap that I no longer want, and…ugh.  I’m trying to stop myself before I start, you know?  I need to put a limiter on myself, on my spending.  I wonder if Etsy has a way of putting a limiter on what kind of things you can buy, like “no vintage purchases other than She-Ra” or something.  (Okay, that’s way too specific, they’d never have that.)

I’m determined that if I do indeed take the plunge and start actually buying things, I absolutely will be a good girl and start with what I meant to start with:  hand-made doll clothes, and eye chips for Pyrrha.  (Am I still allowed to call myself a “girl” now that I’m 40, or am I breaking some kind of international law?)

Not all the clothes are going to be for Byul/Kaiko, though.  In fact, I’ll probably start out with some that aren’t.  I was thinking of getting a crocheted dress for Yeolume…if one of your Middie Blythe dresses with fit her, Olive?  They’re really cute. 😀

I also found some knitted dresses for Moxie Girlz Teenz, which will take the place of the Gene dress one of mine is wearing, so I can give that to Madra Lord; that will be much cheaper than getting a new dress actually intended for a Gene doll.  (Though there are some actual–in package–Gene dresses on Etsy for pretty cheap, but I don’t like any of them for Madra.  Besides, the knitted ones are so cute that I can’t pick which one I want, and I’m gonna hafta get two of them. 😀 )

The real question becomes about eye chips, though.  I could use some advice, in fact.  I know that the way to handle Blythe customization (or any doll customization) is always deeply personal, but hearing others’ thoughts is always a good way to help focus one’s own thoughts.  So there are all these great eye chips out there, but trying to find four eye chips I really like that will fit Pyrrha’s personality and color scheme in a similar style is going to be more difficult.  So is it typical to have one or two that are really spectacular, and the rest be more plain, or is it common for them all to be wild and wonderful and unique, or does it really differ by everyone who customizes, or by the personality of the doll?

On top of all this, I also find myself wanting to buy the Taeyang KAITO before he vanishes like the other Vocaloid Pullips (I checked, and Pullipstyle doesn’t have Miku anymore after all, which is actually okay, because I’d probably do creepy things with her and Luka if I had her), which means roughly $100, and then there’s these other really cute dolls I was thinking of getting from Amazon, one of which is down to the last 3, but to reduce shipping costs I have to get two dolls (since it’s partially by weight and partially per shipment (from Korea), the shipping is $15 for one doll, $10 the other, but $20 for both) but that would be about another $100, and then there’s the Pang-ju Black Russian cute little vampire doggy doll and the BJD Ai Tsubaki cute little fox spirit, both currently on sale at Pullipstyle, both of which I’d like very much…and which would combine to another $100.  OMG.  What is wrong with me?  The worst part is that on all of the stuff in this paragraph, I feel like if I don’t buy these things in moderately short order, I will have either missed out on them altogether, or would have to pay far too much for them later if I do ever want to acquire them.  I think that’s my real problem.  It’s not so much that I have this greedy sense of “I want” going all the time, it’s that I have this sense of “if I don’t get it now, I may never have a chance ever again, and I’m going to hate myself for missing my only opportunity!”  Which is perhaps merely the same thing from a different point of view, but…sigh…

I should get ready to go to class instead of continuing to gripe about this.