Monday, July 27, 2015

Afro Blythe Gets New Body, Finally

Afro Blythe is shown above on her original non-articulated body.

Yet another doll project has been completed of the many I have to do.  This one involved rebodying my Afro Blythe. Her sister, with the fishtail hairdo, was rebodied first, even though she arrived after Afro Blythe.  I chose to rebody the other doll first because the Afro one is my favorite; and if I flubbed up, I did not want it to be on my favorite of the two.

I used the same steps to rebody Afro Blythe that were used on the other doll.  What was done is illustrated in the captioned photos below.

After loosening the screws that hold the back-of-head plate in place, the end of the eye spring (where the red arrow points) was lifted away from the bar on the back-of-head plate using tweezers.
Back-of-head plate has been removed.  The old body has been replaced with new body, with the neck groove positioned onto its compartment in the back-of-head plate.

A hook fashioned with a jumbo paper clip was used to hook the end of the eye spring and pull it through the opening in the back-of-head plate.  The end of the spring was then clamped back onto the bar of that same opening.  The back and front head plates were then clamped into position and the three screws replaced.

Blythe feels like a conqueror, even though I did all the work.  Next, she models a couple of Sparkle Girlz fashions and various shoes.

The new body has more curves than the non-articulated body.  The slimmer body is able to wear 9-1/2-inch Calista fashions.  This is not the case with the new, articulated body.  The feet are larger  than those on the other body as well, but Calista's shoes will fit the articulated body.  Since she can no longer wear Calista's pink hot pants, Afro Blythe tried on the above Sparkle Girlz fashion with Calista's low-top pink, Chuck-style sneakers.

Next she paired the same Sparkle Girlz fashion with pink boots borrowed from Amusement Park Stacie (a thrift store find).  The fit is perfect.  Interestingly, the mint green sneakers worn by the other thrift store doll seen at the previous link were too small for Blythe.

She has pulled her hair away from her face in this photo and wears a pair of pink foam sandals made by Paulette of Limbé Dolls.

The pink lace blouse and floral-print leggings of this Sparkle Girlz fashion look nice with the pink foam sandals.  The leggings are a little long on her, but Blythe decided to continuing wearing this ensemble.  She later joined her sister for the last photo of the day.

Both girls are happy to have the additional movement their new, articulated bodies provide.

Blythe's old, non-articulated body was listed on eBay and sold within a couple of hours in a buy it now, best offer auction.  The same thing happened with her sister's old body.  It sold relatively fast too.
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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sandals for Ashanti Keisha

Ashanti Keisha by The Keisha Doll Company, 1991

Ashanti Keisha arrived with bare feet.  My written plan upon introducing her here was to make replacement sandals.  That task has been completed and is outlined below.

Materials Used:
  • Foam, two shades of tan 
  • Piece of corrugated box 
  • Aleene's Tacky Glue 
  • Scissors, straight edge and pinking shears 
  • Scotch tape 
  • Braiding cord (not shown)
  • Something to use as a weight 
  • Paper clips 

What Was Done (Photos follow): 
  • Keisha's feet were traced onto a piece of corrugated box and the tracing cut out. 
  • Two pieces of foam were cut out using the cardboard cut-outs as a guide. 
  • Two rectangular pieces of foam measuring 4-2/8 inches x 1-1/2 inches were cut. 
  • The rectangular band was wrapped around each piece of foam (the innersoles) allowing the edges to meet underneath and in the middle. 
  • The wrapped edges of the rectangular pieces were taped to the underside of the innersoles.  Then,
  • these were glued to the corrugated box pieces and a weight placed on top to hold everything in place while the glue dried. 
  • Ultimately, jumbo paper clips were opened slightly and clipped to the gaps between the foam innersole and corrugated box sole -- this, however, left the impression of the paper clip, but it should eventually lift. 
  • Braiding cord was glued around the edge of the soles to fill in the gaps in the cut edge of the corrugated box.  This also adds a nice trim. 
  • Two, 1-inch strips of foam (same color as the band of the sandals) were cut along with two, 1-inch foam strips of a contrasting color. 
  •  One edge of the above-described strips was cut using pinking shears. 
  • The zigzag edges of the tan strips were joined with those of the strips of contrasting color and glued to the top-mid area of the bands. 
That's it!

The Photos:
Traced feet onto corrugated cardboard

Used cardboard tracing to cut foam innersoles; cut a foam band for each sandal.

Foam bands wrapped around innersoles and taped underneath

Band-taped foam innersole glued to cardboard soles; a staple gun and coffee mug used as weight to hold glued pieces in place until glue dried.

Removed the "weight"; added jumbo paper clips to corners of band and innersole/sole areas.  Cut four, 1-inch strips of foam; trimmed one side of each with pinking shears; joined the zigzag edges.

Glued the foam strips onto the band.

Ashanti Keisha models her new sandals.
Because all pieces are flat, these sandals required less time to make than the white Roman-style sandals seen in an earlier post.

~*~*~*~*~*

Before deciding to use corrugated cardboard for the soles of Keisha's sandals, Husband and I shopped at Walmart to locate just a small square of cork. He wanted to know why I needed it; so I shared my plan to make these sandals.  Walmart had cork in stock in a multipack, more than I needed and more than I wanted to pay.

With Keisha wearing her new sandals, I took her into Husband's, man cave to show him my handiwork.  Based on his initial sigh and the expression on his face, I knew he thought I needed him to repair her.  Then he saw the sandals and said. "Oh, the sandals.  You're getting pretty good at this, with a design on top and all." 

I smiled.  Then Keisha and I went back to our cubbyhole on the opposite end of the house.

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Angelica's Redress x2

With the exception of the shoes and "nude" tights, Angelica wears her original fashion.
Part of The Ultimate Collection by the late Philip Heath, 1999, Angelica's original fashion is an off-white satin sundress and voile duster with white leggings. I originally added nude hose and off-white ankle strap shoes after her barefoot arrival. A girl needs shoes, I thought. I suppose Heath thought differently.

Her first shoes deteriorated with time as blogged about here and were replaced with the black stud-accented sandals shown above, which (without soliciting her opinion) my daughter advised, do not match her original fashion.  I already knew this, but these and a couple of other shoes were the only ones I found while shopping for replacement shoes for her size 7 child's foot. So they had to do.

I have longed to redress Angelica for years. This, I knew, would pose difficulty because of her partial vinyl limbs, her 38-inch height, and slender body. The new outfit would require long sleeves and new leggings or a dress length that would extend below her knees. During Zulily.com's recent Dollie and Me event, I found two fashions that are perfect for Angelica. I guessed at her size, girls 4/5.

Each fashion comes with a matching dress designed to fit an 18-inch (American Girl-size) doll.


Even though they were ordered together, the fashions were shipped separately with the one on the left in the above image arriving first.  Angelica tried it on and wore it for about a week before the dress arrived.  She models both below with and without the dolls chosen to wear the accompanying dresses:

I was surprised at how well this two-piece fashion fits Angelica and how great she looks wearing it.  (The tutu is attached to the leggings.)

Her little doll companion is a reproduction Patty-Jo by Terri Lee.  The extra dress fits her well.
To provide a better look at the smaller dress, Angelica holds Patty-Jo.
For the second outfit, a turquoise dress with mesh skirt and dark pink underskirt, Angelica had a couple of on-hand shoe choices, shown next.

With her nude tights, these pink suede ankle straps complement the underskirt of this drop-waist dress.  The sleeves of the dress are a little long.  For a quick remedy, I wrapped clear elastic bands over the sleeves at the wrists, pulled the excess fabric up and folded it over the bands.

The second dress worn with black suede T-straps creates a dressier look.

Angelica is joined by her dress-like me doll, Bonnie Lou by Terri Lee and Patty Jo tags along.
Initially I chose the first outfit as my favorite, but with the black shoes, I like the dress equally as well.  Angelica "decided" to wear the first outfit for now because of its summery look.  She will save the dress to wear during the fall or winter.  The little ones were just happy to be redressed.

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Saturday, July 18, 2015

I'm a Pretty Little Black Girl! - Mia

Before Mia leaves to reside in her permanent home with my soon-to-be 10-year-old niece, she complied with a photo shoot to be shared here.  The text from the back of the box describes her story:

MEET MIA!
Mia has stepped off the pages of the best selling picture book, "I'm a Pretty Little Black Girl!", which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award.

Mia loves how she looks and celebrates herself in everything she does.  As the first doll created from a modern picture book written specifically for little black girls, tenacious Mia will bring joy and hours of imaginative play to any little girl.

Mia is an 18-inch doll [with]:

  • Beautiful rooted hair for hours of hair play
  • Bright sparkling eyes that open and close
  • Soft body with poseable arms and legs
  • Stylish removable clothes
  • Fits most 18" doll clothes and accessories

The author of I'm a Pretty Little Black Girl!, Betty K. Bynum, partnered with the Madame Alexander doll company to bring the character, Mia, to life.  It is refreshing to see Mia's new head sculpt which has not been used for other Alexander dolls.  Mia's lovely thick rooted hair can be combed and styled in the several ways illustrated on the following Internet-captured promotional photo that enticed this purchase.

My niece is going to love Mia!
Additional photos illustrate Mia's loveliness:

Mia's cute full lips form a slight pout.



The separately sold, hard copy book, I'm a Pretty Little Black Girl!, has received an average of 4.9 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com.  Of course I had to purchase a copy for my niece, who enjoys reading as much as she loves dolls.  The fact that she enjoys both pleases me.

A visit to the author's website, provides additional details about the I'm a Girl Collection, which includes apparel and the following other titles:

  • I'm a Lovely Little Latina
  • Hooray I'm a Girl in the USA
  • I'm an Awesome Asian Girl


At the time of this post, Mia is the only character that has come to life in three-dimensional doll form. Perhaps the others will follow.

Addendum
Get added to their email list and get a code for 20% off your next Madame Alexander.com here.
Buy Mia here.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

One Pair of Sandals Led to Another



Have you ever purchased a doll solely because of an accessory?  I rarely do, but I did this past weekend.  I had to have the black sandals that Barbie Style Glam Vacation Barbie (a.k.a. Resort Barbie) wears, so I took the plunge.

Goddess loves them and immediately tried on several fashions, including the extra pink blouse with waist tie and denim shorts that came with the Glam Vacation doll.  Photos of the fashions she tried on are shown below:

This slip dress by Shasha was first.  We loved this dress with the sandals.

Because the pink blouse has a plunging neckline, underneath, Goddess will wear matching lingerie made by Paulette of Limbé dolls.

The denim shorts fit better with the undies on and the bra will give her the exact amount of coverage when wearing the see-through blouse.

An outside photo illustrates how the sandals look with the extra Glam Vacation fashion, minus the bathing suit that came with it.

She tried on this striped top just for fun, knowing all along that she would probably never wear it again.

A couple of  leggings and tunics by Shasha made for the taller, Color Infusion Janay were tried on next.  Here Goddess wears a black and white striped tunic with textured black leggings.
The leggings are actually too long for Goddess.  We pulled them up to shorten the leg length and allowed the tunic to conceal the excess fabric.

Janay's white leggings and the black and white striped tunic were tried next.  Goddess borrowed a leather clutch that I made for another doll some time ago.

This simple white dress was the last thing Goddess tried on.  She thought, "These black sandals look okay with this dress but I'd love to have a pair of white sandals, too."

So... I made a pair using white foam and other materials.

White foam has been cut out to form the bottom and innersole of the sandal; white elastic cord will form the straps at the toe and the ankle-to-calf straps.  Instead of using foam for the heel of the sandals (the smaller white cutouts shown above), I used cardboard from a cereal-type box for the actual soles and heels.  
Materials included:

  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • White craft foam (I did not have the sticky back kind, which works better and saves time!)
  • White elastic cord (1-2/8 inches x4 to create the toe bands; 8 inches x2 to create the ankle-to-calf straps)
  • Canned carbonated water box, which is similar in weight to a cereal box, to make the soles and heels of the sandals; the inside of the box is brown which serves as the brown soles and heels.
  • Aleene's Clear Gel Tacky Glue



To create a pattern for the sandals, I traced the sole of the black sandal onto a piece of white foam (twice), cut these patterns out, flipped them over (to use for the other foot), traced them again, and cut out the second set.   The result was a total of four pieces of foam, two for each sandal.

I sewed the ends of each of the two 1-2/8 inch elastic cords together to create the straps for the toe of the sandals (two for each sandal).  These were looped around the top foam.   The straps of each ankle/calf strap was centered and positioned underneath the back of the top foam before the bottom foam was placed underneath.  I tacked these two pieces of foam in place with a couple of stitches near the toe and a couple near the back, then I filled in the space between the layers of foam with glue.  I placed a small weight on top of each to hold the pieces of foam in place while they dried overnight, making sure that the pieces did not shift underneath the weight of the foam.

After drying, I traced the newly created sandal onto a piece of the carbonated water box x 2 to create the soles.  Finally, I traced the back of the sandal (the area for the heel) onto another piece of the box x2 to create the heels.  The soles and heels were glued in place.

Side view.  Flat elastic or ribbon would have been better and would allow the pieces of foam to lie flatter. (When you know better you do better.)

Longer pieces of elasticized cord can be used to create longer ankle-to-calf ties.  This was the length we desired.

I have the black sandals* I wanted and now Goddess has the white sandals she desired.


The black sandals fall off easily.  I lost one during the process of trying on the various fashions.  It took several minutes of crawling and feeling around on the floor for me to find it!   (The things we do during doll play!)

~*~*~*~*~*

Watch a sandal-making video by Limbé Dolls here.  Her technique differs from mine.  It can be a helpful visual if you desire to make similar sandals.  She has several shoe tutorials at the link.


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Monday, July 13, 2015

Fashion Corner Quick Fixes

Fashion Corner Clearly Casual and Zahara

In my previous post on these two Fashion Corner divas, I indicated my plans to rebody both due to their injured extremities. One had a broken leg, the other a broken arm. The rebodying plan has changed, possibly temporarily, but maybe permanently (none of my on-hand dolls' complexions match theirs).

As a plan B, I decided to mend their amputated extremities using air dry modeling clay and glue. I was hoping the modeling clay alone would work. However, it did not.

Just enough modeling clay is pressed into the arm hole with the excess removed from the edges.  The arm was pressed into the soft clay-filled arm hole to create an impression of the arm knob.  The arm was left in the arm hole until the clay dried around it.

Similarly, the hole in the leg was filled with modeling clay and the leg pressed into the clay to create the pattern of the broken leg knob.  A small amount of modeling clay was left around the circular edge to harden.  I knew I would have to glue the leg to this area and that the leg would not be able to move.  The goal was a repair, not articulation.  The clay dried overnight without the leg pressed into it.

The clay has dried around the arm knob.  The arm remains in place as shown in this photo of Zahara being held sideways.  However, when an attempt was made to put her blouse on, the arm shifted.  The arm was removed; tacky glue was applied over the clay and the arm reattached.  Not shown:  Adhesive tape was placed over this area to hold the arm in place until the glue dries.

The clay inside the leg hole of Clearly Casual Zahara has dried, glue applied over the clay, and the leg properly positioned.  The leg is held in place with adhesive tape to secure it in place until the glue dries.

Both girls are dressed and shoes added to match their clothing.  Even though one cannot move both legs and the other cannot move both arms, they appear as good as new.



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