Wednesday, March 22, 2017

ABC's The Toy Box Premiere's April 7th

Darla Davenport-Powell, creator of the original Here Comes Niya doll and Niya's Kids is one of the toy inventors on ABC's The Toy Box, which premiere's on April 7, 2017, 8 EST/7 Central.  Davenport-Powell and other contestants will attempt to bring their toys to the market based on the decisions of the most savvy judges, a panel of children!

See the preview below or click here if the video is not visible on your device:

About the Show:  "ABC and Mattel Creations have partnered to launch a first-of-its kind primetime television series that brings to life the excitement, drama and creativity of the toy invention process in a fast-paced, high-stakes competition format that will entertain viewers of all ages." []

Meet one of the adorable judges, Aalyra, here.

I'll be watching.  Will you?

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Maya's New Doll

A 6-inch friend of Hitty arrived wrapped in a vintage handkerchief, tucked securely inside a bubble wrap envelop.

Before Rose arrived, I had planned to use her as a doll for a larger doll, Maya.  Both dolls have the same artist.  I thought they would pair well together.  In person, however, Rose looked too mature to be Maya's doll.  Before the vintage beige and purple handkerchief-wrapped doll, arrived, Maya had remained doll-less.

Mimi, friend of Hitty, by Sue Sizemore

I purchased "Mimi," (named by me) after, her artist, Sue Sizemore, offered the tiny friend of Hitty in a Facebook post.  Mimi is an oil-painted cloth doll with jointed arms and legs.  Her hair is painted as are her one-piece undergarment, white socks, and black boots.

Mimi poses from the back.  She can sit or stand.
To illustrate her minute size, in this size-comparison photo, Mimi is joined by American Girl's mini C├ęcile Ray.

Mimi needed a dress.  I had thought about using the vintage handkerchief to make a dress for her and did find simple instructions to make one here.  Checking what I have on hand is always my first rule of thumb.  (Use what you have first, Debbie.)

In the doll trunk, where clothing for 5- to 10-inch dolls is stored, I found a hand-crocheted dress and matching bonnet that was formerly worn by a 7-inch doll by master doll carver, Floyd Bell.  Mimi claimed it as hers.

Doesn't she have the most precious face?

The dress fits as though it were made for Mimi.  We are both quite pleased.

With her dress and bonnet on, Mimi was eager to meet Maya.  The two were introduced and formed an inseparable bond.

Maya is happy to finally have a doll to hold and Mimi is enjoying being that doll.

It's amazing how well the color of Mimi's dress matches Maya's.

In due time, I knew eventually the right doll would surface for Maya.  Just like the dress Mimi wears seems made for her, Mimi appears to have been made especially for Maya!

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Dyeing to be Black - Part 6 Finale

Completed ladies:  Babette by EG, unmarked clone, Davtex clone, Twistee Totsy, and 35th Anniversary Barbie

As shown above, the dyeing, painting, extra detailing, and dressing of all dolls has been completed.

Babette is dressed in the 1965 Barbie fashion #1631 Aboard Ship.  Here, she wears it without the jacket.

Preferring to wear it with the sleeveless jacket, Babette took another photo.  The fashion came with a camera, which is stored.  The fashion is missing these three travel brochures.

The unmarked, bubble cut clone is dressed in the reproduction Barbie Poodle Parade fashion.  (She's missing her poodle and the original olive green shoes, which had been substituted for white pumps in the above photo.)  I thought olive green shoes would look better.  So....

...after mixing acrylic paints (black, yellow, and a dab of white), I created olive green paint and painted the white pumps the desired color, as shown above.

Yes, the Poodle Parade fashion looks much better with shoes dyed (I mean painted) to match.

Recall that the above two clones use the two newer Barbie bodies that I dyed.  Until I find a body for the Davtex clone, I am using a So in Style Chandra body, which was the closest complexion match I had on hand for her.

Davtex clone head on So in Style Chandra body and custom dressed
The Davtex doll wears a two-piece purple, So In Style Club-exclusive silk shantung fashion by doll fashion designer, MashauDe'.  It is tailored to fit the S.I.S. doll hips. I think Chandra might have a difficult time getting her body and fashion back.  I made Ms. Davtex a pearl necklace and matching bracelet to somewhat match her original teardrop-shaped pearl earrings.

After being redressed, Twistee Totsy was returned to the confines of her original box.  She is giving some serious side-eye as a result.

Likewise, 35th Anniversary Barbie returned to her box. 

Joe and Adam took final photos together.
I consider my first attempt at using iDye Poly to deepen the complexion of dolls a relative success. The complexions did deepen, although I was not prepared for the extra detailing required on the parts that did not absorb the dye.

Here are some tips for those who might want to try this:

  • For your first attempt, use inexpensive vinyl/hard plastic dolls, such as thrift store finds. 
  • Do apply the dye powder and enhancement packet to boiled water and stir well.  If you want to achieve a lighter brown, allow the water to cool some before adding the dolls.  The water still needs to be relatively warm for the vinyl/hard plastic to absorb the dye.  I believe the hottest water achieves the darkest results. The water was warm when 35th Anniversary Barbie was dipped.  As a result, her complexion did not deepen as much as the rest.  (According to the iDye Poly instructions, dyeing for clothes is supposed to be done on the stovetop in a pot of boiled water.  I did not have an old pot to use and thought my alternate method would work just as well, besides I was dyeing dolls, not clothes.)
    • It would be wonderful if iDye Poly was available in variations of brown or perhaps if colors could be mixed to blend a desired hue.
    • Rit DyeMore can also be used for dyeing plastics.  Since it is liquid, colors can probably be blended to create desired complexions and/or hair colors.  (Here's a video of a troll toy being dyed with Rit DyeMore.)
  • After dyeing, if you must paint any areas of the doll, a spray gun would work better. I do not own one.  If I had to do it over again, I would prime the painted areas first.  Because I did not prime, several layers of paint were required and the paint on the first several layers would easily chip.  It will still chip, but I am careful handling the painted areas of those dolls.
    • For the final painted layers, I mixed matte varnish with the acrylic paint, which I should have done with all layers to eliminate some, if not all chipping.  
    • Sealing painted areas is optional and probably best.  

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Dyeing to be Black - Part 5, Shoes for Adam

Saran wrap, self-adhering bandage, and several layers of Mod Podge were used to make shoes for Adam.
Adam needed shoes to wear with the original World of Love Sports Gear outfit he would continue wearing after the dyeing process.  Instead of trying to locate shoes for him, which would be difficult due to his small foot size, I decided to make a pair.

Adam's feet were:

  1. Wrapped with Saran wrap to protect them from any Mod Podge that might seep through the self-adhering bandage used to mold the shoes.  
  2. Next, his feet were wrapped with the bandage.
  3. Several layers of Mod Podge were applied over the bandage, allowing each layer to dry before applying the next.
The next several photos illustrate the shoe-making process.

Adam's feet have been wrapped and layered with Mod Podge, as described previously.  After the desired firmness was achieved, the shoe molds were removed from each foot and the excess cut away from the ankle area to form the proper shape.

The bottom of each shoe was traced onto black foam to create soles.  These were cut out and glued to the bottom of the shoes and held in place with plastic bands while the soles dried.

Side view of the glued-on, temporarily banded soles

Heels were added to the shoes with additional black foam cut to the shape of the heel area.  The sole of one shoe is not as flat at the other.  I used quilting pins to hold the heel in place on that shoe while the glue dried.

Another angle of the heels as they dried

Insoles were made with white card stock by tracing Adam's foot.  These were inserted into the shoes.  The shoes were painted with black matte acrylic paint.

Mock laces were painted on. 

The shoes, while not perfect, are a nice complement to Adam's sports fashion, which was actually made for one of the World of Love female dolls, but Adam doesn't mind.  I might make him a dashiki later.

World of Love Soul  (who was not part of the dyeing project) is part of Adam's doll family.  She loves his deep complexion, Afro, clothes, and his shoes!  A man is often judged by his choice of shoes, you know.  

See the final reveal of the three Barbie clone heads in the Dyeing to be Black finale.

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Monday, March 13, 2017

Dyeing to be Black Part 4 - Some Finishing Touches

As mentioned in a previous post in this series, 35th Anniversary Barbie's body did not absorb the dye as well as her face, arms, and legs absorbed it.  Not wanting to use paint for the body, I tried coloring it using a brown colored pencil and was pleased with the result.

Half of Barbie's chest has been shaded in with the colored pencil.

With the pencil, the body has been completely colorized.

Full view of the colored body.

Her face imperfections were remedied by creating two moles or beauty marks in those areas.  I used black acrylic paint to dot these areas with the tip of a paint-dipped toothpick.  To mask the "hyperpigmentation" on her chest, areolas with nipples were painted as shown in the photo taken with Joe below (photo was taken before the black painted areas of his shirt were sealed).

Barbie poses with Joe after his joints and feet were painted and sealed.  The completed, but undressed, Adam and Twistee Totsy are also shown.
Barbie's wrist tag and signature, black and white bathing suit are back on.  Her shoes are still attached to the box liner.

Dressed in a pair of cargo khaki's and tan sneakers, work on Joe is complete.
Twistee Totsy is enjoying her completion as well.

Twistee Totsy's two original ribbons, which had been on two small side ponytails, are now wrapped around her single, pulled-back ponytail.

Adam's finishing touches are revealed in part 5.

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Friday, March 10, 2017

Dyeing to be Black Part 3 - Hair and Painting

Twistee Totsy's hair color fix

After assessing the initial results and what each doll would need, I worked on restyling the dolls' hair and painting those areas that required it.

Twistee Totsy's hair was pulled back into a ponytail.  The hair was darkened using a brown Sharpie marker as illustrated above.  Her soft-vinyl arms and head dyed well, but her gray-toned body required painting.  The Davtex head also required painting as did Adam's torso and neck.

All clones' hair has been combed and/or is in the process of being set.  One clone's head has been repainted as well as the Totsy body.  Adam's torso and neck have also been painted.  Several more layers of paint were required for all painted surfaces.
In the above photo, Babette's ponytail has been restyled with swirl bangs added.  The Davtex (splotchy-faced) doll's ponytail was restyled and repainting of her face has begun.  Both dolls' ponytails, from top to bottom, are held in place with several rubber bands.

After the dye bath, the unmarked  clone's original blonde bubble cut turned brunette with blonde highlights.
Upon removing her from the dye, the unmarked clone's hair was "all over her head."  I saturated the hair with mousse, brushed it down into a style, then wrapped the head with a ribbon that was taped into place, as seen above.   I left the ribbon in place for several days while I worked on other dolls.

After the Davtex doll's face was painted, mousse was applied to her bangs, which were then wrapped with a paper towel.  The paper towel was taped into place to allow the bangs to reset and remain flat (they, too, were sticking straight up after the dye bath and needed some serious retraining).

Completed heads:  Babette, unmarked former blonde bubble cut clone, and Davtex clone
In the photo above, the hair has been restyled on the clone heads, whites of the eyes repainted, the Davtex face repainted, and lip color freshened.  (While writing this post, I realized I did not repaint the Davtex doll's eyebrows when this photo was taken.  Yikes!)

The Davtex head now has painted eyebrows.  Black eyeliner has been painted on the lower eyes as it was originally.

Two clone heads have been placed onto the two Barbie bodies that were dyed a deeper color.

Babette and the unmarked clone use the dyed bodies.  The Davtex doll found another body later.   The arms of these more recent Mattel bodies, because they are made of different material than the bodies and legs, did not dye the same color as the other parts.  A remedy was found for this as well.

Unless they perm or "conk" it, Adam's original molded hair is not a style typically worn by African American males now or in the '70s era he represents.  I knew I would have to give him a new 'do.  I used my saved hair to create a rooted Afro. The beginning stages of that process are captured in the above image.  (I began by first gluing the hair to his head, but ended by rooting the rest with my rooting tool.)

The painting has been completed on Adam's eyes, torso, and neck.  Painting such tiny areas is tedious with a paint brush.  I use the tip of a toothpick or a straight pin, which is dipped into paint, then dabbed onto the desired area.  Rooting of Adam's Afro has been completed.  It was later trimmed with fingernail clippers.  Twistee Totsy's body has been painted and her head and arms placed onto it. At the time this photo was taken, her detailing was finished.  She just needed redressing.

Joe now has brown painted eyes.  After the areas of his joints and feet that did not dye were painted and sealed with matte varnish, I opted to paint his molded hair black.  The writing on his shirt was painted black and sealed.

35th Anniversary Barbie's hair only required replacement of the original rubber band, which had broken prior to the dye bath, and finger combing her bangs.   Her eyebrows were later repainted as well as the white area of her eyes.  Her complete detailing will be discussed in the next post.

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