Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Spice of Life: Part 2


Before the Recession, I bought a lot of Chic Boutique dolls.  I loved the faces, they had well-made ballerina, fairy, and mermaid costumes, and they had sturdy “twist and turn” bodies.  Not only did their knees bend, their arms could extend to the side in addition to swinging forwards and back.

"Drop your weapons and show yourself."

I bought this Chic Boutique doll last year but she was on a hollow plastic body with stiff legs.  For now Andrea has upgraded to a pre-Recession twist and turn body until I can find an articulated body that matches her complexion.

"Oh!  I didn't know it was you."

Andrea is wearing a gown that came on one of the dark-skinned Eloise dolls that I bought at Roses recently.

"Don't scare me like that."

I was intrigued to see a gown this color and the décolletage is very daring so it presents an air of sophistication and elegance even though the cheap fabric is very stiff.

Joan was originally a ballerina or a fairy.

I can’t remember whether she came from K-mart or Toys R Us but I bought her around 2005.

She had a sturdy “twist and turn” body with bendable knees and arms that could extend gracefully to the sides.  When I upgraded her to a flat-footed Mattel poser body, Joan was able to bridge the gap between classical and African dance in performance with Mama Busara’s African dance troop.

Her dress was one of four that came with a glass-eyed Dream Girl from Family Dollar.

I didn’t think much of this dress until my ladies started trying it on.

Something about the cut flatters every figure. 

"Mama, is Mr. Guidry going to be my new daddy?"

Yvette Honoree was a Chic Boutique Southern Belle that I bought at Big Lots around 2005.

"I haven't even met him yet.  Your Aunt Suzette fixed us up on a blind date."

"So how do I look?"

Yvette’s dress is from a Lovely Patsy fashion pack that I bought at Roses.

"I hope I grow up to be as beautiful as you, mama."

 Yvette's daughter, Celeste was a Chic Boutique fairy that I got on clearance at Kmart around 2007.

 "Of course you will.  We Honoree women are famous for being beautiful inside and out."

 Yvette upgraded to a light-skinned Liv Alexis body and Celeste is on a Cleo de Nile body.  The jacket is a Kari Michelle fashion.

Djibrilla started out as an angel that I found in a mom and pop dollar store on the West Bank of New Orleans circa 2005.

I was so thrilled to see black angels that I bought about a dozen even though I had to examine the entire stock to find that many with decently stitched costumes.  Djibrilla had a small part as one of the heavenly host in “The Guardian Angel.” 

I have upgraded her to a sturdy “twist and turn” body with bendable legs.  Her original body had a large neck knob so her neck opening is too wide to fit any of the articulated bodies I have tried so far.  Her gown came on another dark-skinned Eloise doll that I recently bought at Roses.

The gold print over skirt looks luxurious from the front but it does not cover the back of the dress.  Then again, one is not supposed to turn one’s back on royalty so maybe it was intended to be a court presentation gown.

Djibrilla will co-star in an upcoming romance.

"How do you like my new lounging pajamas, Tommy?"

I found Ms. Lou in a discount store a few blocks from my house in New Orleans circa 2005.  She was a bride with long, thick black hair.  I scalped her and fitter her with one of the first short dreadlock wigs I ever made.

She has served as a market lady in many of my African scenes but she has so much character she can play any age and she can carry the bold leopard print on this Lovely Patsy fashion.

"Put down that remote, man!"

Ms. Lou was on a sturdy “twist and turn” body when I bought her but she has since upgraded to an articulated Mattel ballerina body that I found in a doll show bargain bin.

Looks like Ms. Lou finally got her husband's attention.

À Bientôt 

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Spice of Life: Part 1

In June I did a series of “Casting Call” posts featuring some of the actors and actresses under contract at Ayamedia Studios.  I believe “variety is the spice of life”  so my contract players are all clones with many different face molds.  It is easier for dolls with lighter complexions to break out of the “extras” pool and start landing roles because it is easier to find upgrade bodies for them so last time I mostly featured dolls with lighter complexions.  This time around, however, I’ll turn the spotlight on some up and coming actresses from the darker end of the spectrum.

Back in 2005 you could get a sturdy, twist and turn Kari Michelle doll with bendable legs and four well-made outfits for $10 at Big Lots.

Kari Michelle was manufactured by the same company that made the Power Team action figures.  I think this explains why her clothes were so good.  Needless to say I bought dozens of them.

I love the face sculpt and deep-toned complexion but I haven’t been able to find good complexion matches to upgrade my Kari Michelle dolls to articulated bodies.  Anyone who has tried to squeeze a Barbie into a pair of Kari Michelle pants knows that Kari’s hips are much slimmer.

Her bust is more generous, however, so she rocks the red knit dress that came with a set of My Style dolls I bought at Roses last year.

I bought Ximena at Roses more recently.

With her caramel complexion she could be either black or Hispanic so her studio bio says she hails from Guayaquil, a former slave port that has a sizeable community of Afro-Ecuadorians to this day.

Ximena was able to upgrade to a light-skinned Liv Alexis body immediately.  Liv’s slighter proportions make her look very young so she will be perfect in ingénue roles.

While she came with 10 dresses, this purple print sundress was almost the only thing in her wardrobe worth salvaging. 

Chantay was one of the blue-eyed fairies I passed over the first time I saw them in Roses.

I went back for the fairy costumes, however.  They were surprisingly well-made and Chantay turned out to be very attractive after I darkened her eyes with a brown Sharpie.

She has upgraded to a dark Liv Alexis body and sports an ensemble that came on a My Style doll from Roses.

Gabriela was another recent purchase from Roses.

I had already assembled a full court of black princesses before the Recession when the quality of the gowns was better and the dolls’ bodies had bendable legs.  Still, I wanted to add this face mold to my collection so I bought one twin pack of Hispanic princesses at Roses earlier this month.

Gabriella upgraded to a Mattel poser body that I found in a doll show bargain bin.  She is wearing the fanciest gown from the wardrobe that came with Ximena.

The gown photographs well but the fabric is so stiff, it feels like paper. 

Twyla was one of the $3 ballerinas I bought from Roses a few weeks ago.

Once the wardrobe department got done with her, she showed a completely different side of her personality!

I upgraded her to a dark Liv Alexis body so she could model this denim fashion which came on a glass eyed Dream Girl from Dollar General. 

I’m sure her versatility will land her a lot of roles.

À Bientôt

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Etsy Store Grand Re-Opening

I've been busy all summer making new stock for my store and this week I finally got around to listing everything.

Sandals sized for Power Team action figures are 3 for $5:

If your money is funny these days, check out the Limbé Dolls You Tube channel for tutorials on how to make some sandals for yourself!

Liv sandals are 3 for $7:

These will come in handy now that Spin Master is discontinuing the Liv line.  All the dolls you have re-bodied will thank you for giving them more footwear options.  If your change is strange these days, check out the Limbé Dolls You Tube channel for tutorials on how to make these sandals yourself!

Saint Regis Lace bra and panty sets like this one are 3 for $10:

Each three pack has an assortment of pink, black, and white lingerie sets.

I developed a simpler dreadlock wig style that isn't as labor intensive:

Priced at $15, this wig is available in black, dark brown, auburn, and warm brown.

Basic braid wigs are also available in black, dark brown, auburn, and warm brown for $15:

If your pockets are light at the moment, check out the Limbé Dolls You Tube channel for a tutorial on how to make this wig for yourself!

Additionally, I managed to produce a limited supply of black Afro wigs in size small:


and large:

Standard sizes are $15 each.  There is one extra large black Afro wig sized to fit Liv, Moxie Teenz, or Monster High dolls as well:

This size takes longer to make so the price is $18. 

If you're up for a crafting challenge, check out the Limbé Dolls You Tube channel for a tutorial on how to make this wig for yourself!

Whew!  Taking the photos and writing up the listings was more work than making the stock!

À Bientôt

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Twinkle Toes

This weekend I went back to Roses and bought the ballerina doll whose face I admired last week.

I left her in the store the week before because I didn't like the molded on bodice. 

Today I opened the package right in the parking lot, however, and was so impressed with her moves that I went back and bought three more.  One of them has upgraded to a sturdier ballerina body that I bought at Kmart around 2005.  The other three will perform a pas de trois in one of my permanent dioramas. 

There are two buttons on either side of the doll's waist.  If you press lightly, she flutters her feet.  If you press more forcefully, she does a grand jete leap and she raises her arms over her head in a graceful port de bras.  This mechanical feat isn't very useful for doll photography because you have to keep your hand on the doll which spoils the illusion of independent motion.  Still the doll has a very convincing presence as a ballerina, despite the fact that she has no turn out.

I was on my way to my brother's house when I detoured to buy Miss Twinkle Toes.  I brought her in the house with me to put her through her paces and my niece volunteered to photograph her.  For a 10 year old working with an iPod, she did a good job.  I hope you will enjoy the dance:

À Bientôt