Thursday, January 23, 2014

Building Pullip furniture from left over Jetmax cube pieces

I've got a bunch of these Jetmax cubes from Michaels in my craft room (now sold under the Recollections brand):
These are some of the Jetmax cubes from which the pieces came
Some of my Jetmax cubes
They come in a lot of different varieties with combinations of shelves, and drawers, and I don't always use them as they are intended so I end up with a lot of spare parts. I rarely use the dividers like the ones in the drawers below, for example:
I modified these dividers, only using some of them so I could have rectangular spaces
Here are just some of the spare Jetmax parts I had sitting in my back room as of this morning:
Jetmax cube leftovers
I knew I was holding onto these for a reason!

I decided to use the 6 pieces that make up a drawer divider insert like this to make a doll bookshelf:
A modern doll bookshelf
Ikea makes a really nice doll version of the Expedit, which is a popular bookshelf among scrapbookers (the full size Expedit, that is!) so I would love to have that shelf.  But alas, Ikea has not deemed the East Coast of Canada worthy of their flat box Swedish goodness, so I cannot have one of those.  But this one comes pretty darn close!

 Then I took these 4 parts (and 2 more of the smaller pieces) and bought 4 small wooden drawer nobs (not shown here) to make a doll bed:

Soon to be a bed

Check out the video:

 Here's how they look in my photo studio area:
Suri's slumber
I'm so happy to get to use this fabric I've been hoarding since the summer!
Using my Silhouette Cameo I cut some boxes out of patterned paper and card stock and my daughter and I folded, glued them, and punched a notch out of the tops of them.  We decorated the shelves with a combination of my own doll props and her American Girl stuff.

Suri's new room
The bed is so comfy, Suri won't wake up... even when Nikki arrives!

I grabbed some of the extra tiles we had from our kitchen (which were lying in a stack in our utility room) and bought a stick of moulding when I picked up the nobs for the legs of the bed.  Although the scene is missing a wall hanging above the bed (I'll work on that this weekend) I think it turned out ok for 1 morning of work and $14 out of pocket (the nobs for the bed legs were $2 but the moulding was a whopping $12!!!)

just hanging out in the new room
Suri finally wakes up and hangs out with her friends (including my DD's knock-off Blythe)

Although it looks like a doll room, this is actually a photo set!  It can be taken apart and replaced with other items, or fabric can be hung in the place of the set to provide a backdrop for doll photos.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Nikki (Pullip Tomoe Mami) re-wigged

I just wasn't feeling the love for poor Nikki, so I decided to rewig her and see if that made a difference.  What do you think?

Nikki in School outfit
Nikki's new wig

Nikki in School outfit
Nikki's stock wig was plenty long...
Rapunzel?  Is that you?
... but her new wig is insanely long!
When I first bought this wig I assumed I'd trim it down, but I actually love how long it is.

Nikki's new wig
I love how the golden tones in the wig bring out her golden eyes
Nikki's new wig
so pretty!
Nikki's new wig
the wig comes with 2 braids that meet in the back
Nikki's new wig
I think Nikki likes the new look
Nikki's New Wig
Nikki can't wait for the others to see her makeover!
Nikki's new wig
Hanging out with her puppy
Nikki's new wig

Monday, January 13, 2014

The making of my first Pullip Music Video

I had this idea floating around in my head for about a week now, so today I finally took the photos and put together my very first Pullip Music Video! Before I got started I had to pack up my photo shoot bag (I'll share what and how I pack in another post) and create a few props.

crafting a tiny love letter
Crafting a tiny love letter
I grabbed a piece of notebook paper from a 6X6 paper pad (from the Maggie Holmes collection) for the smaller scale lines.  I also needed some distress ink in Antique Linen to make the paper look old.  I used my grey Zig Writer to make the writing look faded.  Then I grabbed my letter-sealing stuff (why I have letter sealing stuff is a long story that includes an idealistic 24-year-old me with a romantic notion of letter-writing when I moved to Alberta for grad school) and created this tiny love letter:
A tiny love letter
Tiny letter sealed with a wax emblem
The wax is actually a plastic-y substance that you melt and drip onto the letter.  Because my seal is not 1:6 scale, I just used the handle of the seal to press a vague shape into the "wax."

Main prop is ready!
Here is the letter in Suri's bag along with her bottle of wine
The bottle of wine has no role in the story but the letter didn't look right in the bag by itself, plus the bottle is adorable.

I spent about 2 hours kneeling, crouching, and lying in the tiny bit of snow that is left in our backyard.  I tried to get Suri in poses that made her look like she is in motion.  The story line builds around Suri's journey up a hill towards her favourite tree in the old-growth forest in which her cottage is located (old-growth explains why the trees are so large).

A walk in the forest

lots of shots focussing on her boots (to remind us she's still walking) and on her bag (to make us wonder what the letter is)
the trek goes on...
almost there...
finally arrived at her favourite tree

She finally sits down to read the letter
Suri reacts to the letter

Here is a Behind The Scenes shot of my indoor photo shoot for end of the video:
BTS Let Her Go indoor photo shoot
BTS Indoor photoshoot
It's been a long day.  Thanks for checking in on us!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Getting to know Suri Pullip Photoshoot

I had a bit of time this afternoon, so I decided to take a few pictures of my new Bloody Red Hood doll, Suri. I took her to the window, and got a few shots of her looking out:
Suri (Bloody Red Hood)
Gazing out at the snow

I know, no one wants to see the insides of a doll's eye socket, but I really liked how the sun was shining on her face and hair here.  These are the kinds of photos I take when left on my own.  Don't worry, Scott jumps in to help soon!

Suri (Bloody Red Hood)
Suri's tattered stock outfit looks so soft in this light
Then Scott reminded me that I got a mini-reflector for my birthday (perfect for doll-sized photos!), and I haven't tried it out yet, so out it came!  Scott helped me set it up.  We are using the sunlight in our backyard to light the back of Suri and to put little highlights on the edges of her hair and clothes, then we are bouncing that same sunlight off the reflector and onto the front of her face and body.  I was apprehensive about the idea of backlighting her, but this is the setup we (read: he) came up with (all the rest of the photos in this post were taken on this stool with this lighting set-up):

Photo shoot by the window

And this is the beautiful shot I got from that setup:
Suri (Bloody Red Hood)
She's so freakin' photogenic!
The boots (and a wide stance) help her stand on her own, but it still takes some patience.  When I pose my dolls I am learning that they look more life like if I turn their head just slightly.  In the photo above Suri's body is turned slightly to the right, but her head is looking straight at the camera.  It is important to get her eyes looking right into the camera for this kind of pose to avoid creepy, lifeless doll-stares.

Another thing I'm learning is that in fashion photography (most of what I did today was portrait photography, but I got a couple of fashion shots for fun), not only does the focus need to be on the clothes, but it helps if the model is actually looking away, and relatively straight-standing or sitting (and since straight-sitting is impossible for a stock Pullip body, I went for standing).
Suri (Bloody Red Hood)
This photo focusses on her dress and Suri herself is more of a prop for the dress
Using a narrow depth of field with a focus on the dress helps, but also making sure Suri's pose is not too interesting and that she is not engaging with the viewer keeps the viewer focussed on the dress.

Suri (Bloody Red Hood)
Cropping mid-calf is not good.  Cropping for this photo would have looked better above the knee.
I obviously have to work on my cropping.  

I also wanted to practice some mood shots.  In the next photo I was trying to make her look shy.  Normally I compose a photo so that the model is looking in towards the centre of the photo, but because she is looking kind of away from the camera, almost like she's avoiding it, or about to turn away (by looking towards the outside edge of the photo rather than towards the centre), I think she looks a little shy.

Shy girl
Shooting from above makes her appear to be looking downward.
Suri's Type 4 stock body doesn't allow her to tilt her head at all, which makes it difficult to portray a mood.  I can't bow her head to look thoughtful or sad, or tilt it to the side to look confused or surprised.  I figured out that when her eyes are pointing forward(ish) and I shot from above (like in the photo above) then it looks like she is looking downward.  Suri's lips also look poutier from this angle, so she looks a little sad.

When I shoot from below (like in the photo below), she looks like she is gazing upward:

Suri (Bloody Red Hood)
Shooting from below makes her appear to be looking upward.
The photo above makes Suri look more happy, or alert and hopeful.

Although I had only been taking photos for about 10 minutes, the sun was quickly moving behind the trees and there were lots of clouds moving our way, so I wanted to try one really dramatic pose before packing it all up:
On Bended knee
Closed eyes is a good way of portraying emotion
Until I get an Obitsu body for her, Suri is very limited in her poseability, but I was able to get her to do this upright kneel without her toppling forward.  I put her hands in a praying position and added her velvet red cape for extra drama in the back.  I swooshed her hair so it pooled on the "floor" by her knee and closed her eyes.  The purple eye shadow also adds drama.  I think she looks peaceful/hopeful in this praying pose.  She looks confident, as if she knows her prayer will come true- or maybe she's just waiting for a sign.  If I had shot from above she would look more sad or thoughtful in prayer.  I wish I had her hands in focus- I forgot I could manipulate the ISO so I ended up limited to a low aperture because of the low light and not wanting/having time to use a tripod.

At this point, the sun was gone and I no longer had the light I needed on the front of the doll.  I wanted to get one kneeling shot with her eyes open, so I quickly shot this one:

Suri (Bloody Red Hood)
Wistful?  Inquisitive?
I had to process this one to get it light enough to include here, so I've lost some of the sharpness (especially noticeable in her hair), but even so, I quite like this shot.  Because of the angle, it looks like she is leaning forward a bit (she actually isn't leaning- she would fall over if she were).  Although she is not looking directly at the camera she does't have a dead doll-gaze- it looks more like she's wistfully or inquisitively looking off to the side.  It could be that her pose is more dynamic, so her head looks titled even though it can't tilt.  Whatever it is, this photo definitely elicits emotion... I just don't know which!  And that's the beauty of doll photography.  I can include a caption or some lines of text, or a song and an ambiguous expression becomes defined.
So that's what I learned this afternoon.  I'm hoping to put some of this learning to use soon.  I'd love to make a Pullip Music Video soon.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Introducing Suri (Pullip Bloody Red Hood)

I've been worried about my Pullip Bloody Red Hood since Friday.  According to my tracking number, she had been delivered on Friday, but there was a blizzard here Friday and my mailbox was empty.  I had visions of my box sitting in a cold snowbank somewhere, but she was safe and sound at the post office all along!  Today I got her and unboxed her:

"What is a girl’s weapon? Beauty? Charm? Or the slight mischief underneath the innocent smile? ‘’Strong is Weak, Weak is Strong’’…Feel Like So."
Pullip Bloody Red Hood
Smokey grey eye shadow, wine-coloured eye chips, and glossy purply pink lips
She comes with a cape, a basket/purse, and a bottle of wine
On the way to grandmother's house
I love so many things about this doll, I don;t even know where to start!  So let's start with the wolf printed onto the apron of her skirt- it's the perfect touch for Red Riding Hood.  I think I read somewhere that it's supposed to symbolize her having power over the wolf in this interpretation (I could have mis-read that because it was translated from another language, and my memory of it is shady anyhow).

I will call her Suri because Bloody Red is not the prettiest name
Her hood is exquisitely detailed with a nice cotton lace edging and a ruffle all the way around it.  It is made of a velour-ish material (maybe a thin lower quality velour) and is lined in black cotton.

Her cape is attached with a faux leather strap that is actually attached with a hook and a loop of thread.
You can see in the photo above that her lips have a dark line in them that actually turns up into a little smile.  Very cute!

Under all the layers of her dress (and there are a lot of layers!!!) she has a short grungy/sexy dress that looks really cool with her stockings and boots:
"I ain't scared of no wolf!"

I like the quality of her hair.  It is silky, soft, and dry like Pullip Ally's hair.  It is however, very thin, and the netting of her wig shows in several places on the top of her head.  On my doll, the wig seems to be glued on crookedly on her forehead, which I will show in the video below.  She has long burgundy straight hair with a layer of shorter hair on the sides:
The shorter sides let you drape the hair on her shoulders for a softer look.
Oooh, and she has purple eye shadow!!!!
Bloody Red Hood comes with a cream cotton hair bow (with an under-the-chin elastic), her rd hooded cape, a shabby/frilly neck-piece, her apron with a wolf print, her shabby skirt, a tule underskirt, shabby/frilly long layered cuffs, a baby-doll style short shabby layered dress, cream fishnet stockings with lace trim and bows, chunky lace-up black boots, and panties with a small bow.  She ale comes with a rubber purse that looks like a basket, and a resin bottle of wine with a wolf-head-shaped stopper.  Oh, and her collectors card.

Wearing her hair-bow
So here is the remarkable thing about this doll:  She is the first doll that I have which I do not want to redress, rebody, or change in any way.  I plan to keep her in various combinations of her stock outfit forever and ever.  Well, until I change my mind about that, lol!  But for now, anyhow!