Thursday, January 31, 2013

Final mohair day!

I'll have to's hard to get moving today as I face one more day in the kitchen finishing the final process on the mohair.

I had to re-dye some of it as it didn't turn out but I think it looks okay.  I'll know more when it's dry.  

I had you all thinking about what amount you thought the NET product would be.

I should have that answer for you on Sunday  :)  

And sure to stop by for Friday Funnies!

Hugs for the day

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mohair pet peeves.....

I belong to a couple of doll forums and every once in a while I come across questions or problems that people are having with mohair.

I so badly want to answer but don't want to appear to be "bashing" other processors mohair. 

I take mohair processing very seriously though.  Since this is my blog and I'm passionate about the doll industry, I thought I might just share and comment on a few of the problems I've heard of. 

Problem number one which actually turns into all of the major pet peeves I have:
 A customer (not mine) complained that when she first got her reborn doll, the hair was lovely and soft, but then it turned dry and a little bit coarse.  She knew the source of the hair;  from a popular seller/processor.   She wanted to know what product to use on the hair to "restore" it.
Many people confirmed that they too have had to "recondition" hair from this seller using products like Silken Child and other leave-in conditioners. 

I've seen many processors send hair with a thick leave-in conditioner on the hair.
Good quality hair does not require a leave-in conditioner to make it look and feel nice.  

Good quality hair doesn't even need to BE conditioned through the process.  
That said....
My process does include a conditioning step, but that is simply to allow me an easier time combing the wet hair to untangle from the dying process.  It is then rinsed twice so that no conditioning residue is left and nothing is applied to it after that. 

Back to the thick, leave-in conditioner.  
Yes, the hair takes amazing pictures when this thick conditioner is on it.
Yes, it looks all kept and nice when the customer receives it.
But it does not show accurate representation of the hair.  A pet peeve of mine.

I'll tell a story of a mohair trade that I did with one of my customers which will bring forth the other pet peeves:
The mohair I traded for was processed by one of the TOP sellers in the industry and was kid hair.  The person that I traded with realized that she just can't root with kid hair and desired some yearling hair, and I wanted to see the kid hair from this seller in person.  

The mohair arrived but was so laden with the leave-in conditioner that I really couldn't evaluate the hair.

So I decided to wash a small section of it.

And since I was washing it, I decided to test it for bleeding (a big pet peeve of mine...quality mohair should not bleed!).
And since I happened to be processing my own mohair that day, in the colors black (on the left) and chocolate brown (on the right) with the other suppliers hair (in the center) in chocolate brown. I decided to test all lots of hair.  All three locks of hair were soaking wet when I placed them on the clean, white paper towels.  This picture was taken after the hair began to dry.  I could already see some discoloration of the paper towel in the center.

This was the end result:  (click on the picture to see it full size)

So my question is...was it the thick, leave-in conditioner that caused the mohair to bleed, or was it that the mohair was dyed using human hair color dyes instead of mohair acid dyes?  

Human hair color dyes bleed as well as fade in the sun.
Only acid dyes and teas should be used to color quality mohair to be used for dolls.

Now I am curious what would happen if I placed the other sellers lock and one of my own in the sun for a time.  I think I will do just that and share the results in a few weeks. 

(The mohair from the other seller IS very nice mohair~it's very soft with a nice luster.)

So in a nutshell:
Quality mohair does not need to be conditioned, ever.
Photo's should be of the hair in dry form without conditioners added.
Quality mohair should not bleed.
Quality mohair should not fade. 


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Progress on Nala's hair!

I sure don't like to show pictures of the rooting when I've not yet trimmed the hair,  but this 
chubby baby girl is just too cute not to share!

I thought I might share my mohair pet peeves today or have something to say about Jenny Gannon trying to shut down my blog
but, I need to get back to the mohair processing and...I'm a bit tired today.

So until tomorrow, enjoy today!

Monday, January 28, 2013

NOW I get it....

I was going to post regarding my pet peeves about mohair but I had an odd comment on one of my ArtFire items this morning. 

I blew it off since I could not make much sense of it but once I came here, I figured out who would write something like that and with such horrible spelling.  

Jenny Gannon.

She's visiting...ME!  

I've allowed her comments on the topics regarding her to be posted to the blog comments if you'd like a little Monday morning entertainment.   Just use the search bar on the blog with her name in it.

And lightning might just strike down on me because I don't mind continuing to state what is true.  I do not fear her.  At all.  

I think the posts that I've written regarding Jenny clearly show what has happened with other sellers and buyers (proof) and can be compared with her statements/comments allowing easy dismiss of her comments.  

Maybe we'll talk about mohair pet peeves tomorrow  :)


Sunday, January 27, 2013

In a perfect world...

Last night I chatted with a dear friend whom I've not been in contact with for a while.

We were talking about the reborn and doll industry.

She asked me a question that has me dumbfounded as I'm stuck in my little "box" of thinking just trying to survive the recession and the ridiculous requests (for free dolls etc) that are made every day.

She asked, "In a perfect world, what would you be doing in the dolly world?"

Is that as hard for your to comprehend as it is me?  

Seems like I've been riding in the same boat for quite a while just trying to keep it afloat.

I would LOVE to hear your answers to this question~I think it would be fun.  

I think I have a glimpse into mine but since I am a slow reactor, I need to give it a bit more thought and time before I share.  

Have a beautiful Sunday!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Sharing my collection Friday~OUT of Christmas clothes!

When one changes a LOT of dolls (45 to be exact!) there ends up being a LOT of pictures!

So I think I'll post a few of my favorites here and a couple of the full room shots of my nursery and then direct you to links that I posed on Doll Fan last night where I posted ALL of the pictures I took.  

How does that sound??  :)

I'll start with the overview of the nursery.
The boy's crib:

The girls big crib:

The girls little crib (this crib changes from boys to girls from time to time but for now, it's for girls):

Top of the changing table~All OOAK babies:

Top of the dresser:

Big views:

 Now for some individuals:
Sophie Faber in her buggy:


Sammie in a Baby Beau and Belle gown my friend gave me for Christmas:

And Molly, because everyone loves Molly!

If you want to see more of them, here are the links:

And just for is what Matthew and Tamara got for Christmas..

Matthew got a new Wrangler's shirt:
And Tamara got a new Wrangler's diaper cover and hair barrettes from one of her aunties:
The diaper cover matches her Rodeo shirt (she has pants to match the shirt and is now wearing them...I just didn't take a picture but we don't want her little legs to freeze...right?) and the hair barrettes match her favorite horsie:
Such CUTE little CowKids!
Have a GREAT weekend!


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Jenny Gannon....again.

I've posted several times about a gal named Jenny Gannon

(Type Jenny Gannon in the search bar of this blog to see those posts.)

She is always up to something.  

Today she started up a new facebook page 
making other people, such as Marita Winters, an admin person.  

I had no idea one could assign other people as admin on a page but somehow, she did it.

As I have stated in other blog posts...KNOW your seller.  Take time to research them.  The internet is filled with free information.  And, it's okay to ask other people that you know if you have ever heard of a person you are wondering about.  

Be safe out there! 

UPDATE on February 17, 2016....
Baby Baskets was shut down not long after it started  :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Can you guess?

As of this morning, before my work day, I have 22+ ounces of yearling mohair banded together.  (I have combed out the cut ends of the lock where the band belongs.)

Now this is still raw, unwashed mohair.  

When I am all done banding the hair for the week (I'll be banding kid hair today and tomorrow as well as getting some of the yearling hair washed), I'll post how many ounces I have banded total.

It will be interesting to find out just how much processed, usable hair I end up with~don't you think?  

Stay tuned for more totals!



Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Intense mohair and rooting maddness

I had posted last week and the week before that I was working on mohair.

That batch of mohair was finished and listed in my ArtFire store where all of it sold within 48 hours.

Immediately, requests came in for more hair and I filled up a new "special request" list plus I need my own batch of hair for Alasia.

I am expecting the Marita Winter's prototype "Mikki" to arrive next week so I decided to take this week to prepare as much hair as possible for final processing throughout next week. 

And I'm working evenings again, temporarily, until I can get Nala Faber rooted and then Alasia rooted.

It's been really, REALLY cold with nothing to do in the evenings so...why not?  :)

I'll have something to share each day with you though, even if it's not a work in progress or tutorial.  

Have a great day!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Weighting and balancing the large baby limb~TUTORIAL

Balancing the weight of a reborn doll is very important in the overall realism of the doll.
Larger baby limbs can be challenging to balance and I have developed a technique that has proven to be very effective.  

My subject will the the limbs of the large reborn, Alasia by Lorna Miller Sands.  
These limbs are a perfect example due to the complexity of the angles of the limbs as well as the size.  

Alasia will be approximately 22 inches long. 
(I have struggled taking progress pictures of Ethnic toned Alasia but I am thrilled to see that this light setting shows her tone accurately!)

The supplies needed will the the limbs, a tray or container of some sort to set the filled limbs in while the glue dries after filling, receiving blankets or towels to line the tray, granulated glass beads (not powdered glass as it is dangerous to inhale), a funnel, fiber fill stuffing, two sizes of hemostats (medium and large (large not shown here~sorry), craft sticks, and E6000 glue.  

Here is a fun picture showing the type of glass beads I use.  These beads are actually small round balls that roll when spilled onto a flat surface:
(Click on the picture to see it full size)

The first leg to fill has quite a bend in it.  If the entire leg were to be filled with glass beads, not only would it be too heavy, it pull down from the body keeping the doll from moving correctly.

Place the funnel into the opening of the leg:

Poor glass beads into the foot of the leg, only filling to the lowest part of the ankle:

Using small pieces of fiber fill stuffing, push the stuffing firmly into the ankle and calf area of the leg using the hemostats.
It is VERY important to use small pieces and to firmly pack each section so that there are not any gaps causing weak spots in the leg.

When babies bend their legs, they often fall to the outside of the leg in what is a natural position for babies.  We can recreate that action by manipulating where we place the weight in the leg.  
For this leg, we will need a little bit of weight in the outer side of the knee and all the way up the thigh, on the outside.  I will use the hemostats to firmly push the stuffing to the lower part of the knee leaving a pocket for the glass beads on the top side of the knee:

Add glass beads keeping the leg tilted to the outside:
(I do not clearly show that here as it was difficult to demonstrate adding the beads and tilting while taking a picture  :)  

 Here you can see that the beads are all to the outer side of the leg:

Leaving a channel/gap for the stuffing to be placed:
Then fill in the inner side of the thigh with stuffing, using the hemostats to stuff and pack:

Set this leg aside in the tray, propping it up and even with the receiving blankets or towels:

The next limb creates another weighting challenge.  This limb is much straighter than the first:

This limb is going to need to stretch out on the doll so a little more weight in the foot is needed.  Fill the foot to just above the ankle:

Then pack firmly with pieces of stuffing, making sure to fill the calf area well so that there are no gaps filling all the way through the knee.  If you realize that you have gaps, remove the stuffing and fill again:

Fill the upper thigh with glass beads:

Pack the beads down well using a craft stick (Popsicle stick).  This will eliminate any gaps in the glass as it meets with the stuffing:

You will notice that I have the leg tilted so that the beads fall to the back side of the leg.   I will fill the top side with stuffing.  This will balance this leg well causing the doll to move correctly:

After that leg is firmly stuffed, support it in the tray with the other leg:

On small baby limbs, I can fit all four limbs in a tray like this.  Since these limbs are larger, I will put the legs in one tray and the arm in the other.  I usually glue them all at once but since I am using two trays, I will glue/seal these legs now using E6000 glue.  Poor the glue straight from the tube, moving it around to mostly fill the space.  Be very careful not to let any glue drip onto your doll kit as you work:

With both limbs filled it's time to smooth the glue out.

Use a craft stick to smooth out and clean up:

Keep a close watch on the legs as you work on the arms.  Sometimes the glue will develop bubbles or if the legs are not standing in a position to allow the glue to stay even, it can drip down the leg.

The first arm poses one of the greatest difficulties in balancing weight.
This arm is long and more straight:
If there is too much weight in the arm overall, it will simply flop downward at all times.  If there is too much weight in the hand and not balanced out through the rest of the arm, it will do the same thing as well.  There is nothing more disappointing than picking up a beautiful reborn doll just to have the arm(s) fling down to below the side of the doll.
Here is how to prevent that:

First, fill the hand with glass beads to just below the wrist:

Using the same stuffing technique as in the legs, stuff the arm firmly with small pieces of stuffing clear up into the upper arm.  Pay close attention to gaps in the fatty part of the lower arm and the elbow:

Add glass beads, packing tightly with the craft stick.  Tilt the arm putting the majority of the weight to the underside of the arm:

Fill in the gap at with stuffing:
Prop that arm up in a tray lined with receiving blankets or towels:

Now is a good time to check the glue on the legs.  I find a bubble in the glue on one of the legs:
Using a craft stick, I simply pat the bubble down, swirling the glue to fill in any gaps.  If it had dried too long, I could simply add a bit more E6000 glue:

Back to the arms!
The other arm is bent.  This arm will likely be posed upward towards the dolls face so we want to weight the arm so that it will hold that pose as well as not dangle down when the doll it picked up:

 Fill the hand to just below the wrist:

Then, using small pieces of stuffing, firmly pack stuffing up through the elbow.  
Since I am sitting on the floor (which is how I always weight the limbs of my dolls), I am using my crossed ankles to hold the arm while I stuff and take the picture:

Be very meticulous with the stuffing in an arm bent this much.  Gaps will cause problems in the overall balance and feel of the arm.
Push the stuffing into the crook of the elbow leaving a small area for glass beads.  We want just a bit of weight directly in the elbow:

Firmly place stuffing to about 3/4 of the way up the rest of the arm:

Fill the remaining space with glass beads, tamping down firmly with the craft stick:

Place the arm in the tray with the other arm:
 Fill both arm openings with E6000 glue in the same manner as we did for the legs.  
Be sure to check on them after a few minutes for bubbles etc.

This concludes this tutorial~I'm so glad you could join me!
As always, feel free to ask any questions.