Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Sterling, the Silver Fairy

My efforts to share this doll with you yesterday were thwarted somewhat by the escape of my little mouse guest, Paddington.  Paddington came to me as a very dehydrated tiny baby who was trying to die in our downstairs bathroom, and I've been taking care of him while we wait for a warm spring release date.  Sadly, during our weekly cage change, Paddington ran up my arm and escaped into the kitchen!  I spent most of yesterday searching for him, but to no avail.  I'm pretty sad--he was a really fun little friend to have around.

In any case, I'm here to show you the silver fairy a day late.  I searched high and low for a good name that means silver, but it was much harder than I thought!  There are a million names that mean gold, but silvery names are more elusive.  I finally settled on the name Sterling, which doesn't mean silver, but is associated with silver of excellent quality.  Here is Miss Sterling:

2003 My Twinn doll with the Audrey face.
I bought Sterling a while ago, from the same eBay seller who sold me Trunk Sale Sadie.  

She's a 2003 doll (which I've sworn never to buy again) but when I bought her I had yet to encounter some of the worst 2003 problems--like mismatched limbs, tiny heads, and melting eyes.


Sterling doesn't seem to have any of those problems.  Her limbs are a pretty good match for her pale head, and while her head might be small, her original eyes are bright and clear, so there was no need to change them.

Sterling's body also came to me in good condition. Her joints are slightly looser than Denver joints, but she poses well and has no squeaks in her armature.


Her fabric body is not a great color match for her vinyl parts, but it's nice and clean with very few snags.



Here she is from the back:


With a closer look at her back seam:


Her body had a few scuffs and dirty spots, especially on the backs of her legs:


On her hands:


And a few spots on her face.

Here's a closer look at her face:


I love that she has freckles!  I decided to leave the original face paint alone so that I could preserve the freckles.

Sterling has a few shiny spots near her right eye:


This picture shows the shiny area under the eye more clearly:


And she had some dirt on the left side of her face:


I removed the wig (which I saved to use on another doll), pulled off the eyelashes, and gave the face a light cleaning:


I was not able to remove the shiny spots from the right side of Sterling's face (scrubbing and sanding in that area would have removed the freckles):


I also noticed that she has a nick in her right eyelid that had been concealed by the eyelashes:


And a very small scratch on the lid of her left eye:


And a tiny red spot on the right side of her chin:


I was able to remove the dirt from the left side of her face:


But the red chin spot and the defects in her eyelids are still there.

I used some silver acrylic paint to cover the eyelid defects, and I also enhanced Sterling's eyebrows with some darker paint that would pair better with the wig I had in mind for her:


Here's a better look at the painted eyelids and the new eyebrows:



Next, I gave Sterling some new black eyelashes...


...which I tinted with silver paint:



The last thing I did (which has become a new habit) was to check the stability of Sterling's neck by cutting the cable tie and peeking at the joint:


The neck felt very secure, but I could see quite a bit of space between the vinyl and the flange of the armature, so I added some extra glue all around the neck just to be safe.

Now, let's discuss what happened with Sterling's outfit.

Several months ago, when I first had the idea to make fairy dolls, I commissioned four outfits from Julie of Fairy Tale Blessings, and two less expensive outfits from a shop in the UK that makes gorgeous little fairy dresses for babies.  I asked the seamstress from that shop if she'd tailor her baby dresses to a My Twinn doll's measurements, and she was happy to accommodate!

However, when the dresses arrived, they had very chunky proportions--as you might expect from a baby dress.  The dress straps, in particular, were way too thick for a My Twinn body.  Here's a snippet from one of the sales pictures so you can see the straps:


However, I figured I could just cut the straps off, sewn in delicate ribbon straps, and everything would still be great!

I was wrong:


I love the skirt on this dress, but the scale of the top is too large, the ribbon straps I made look ridiculous, and there's way too much of the My Twinn cloth torso showing--especially on this doll who has such a glaring discrepancy between her vinyl color and her fabric color.


Sigh.

I tried layering a plain leotard underneath the dress, to cover the cloth parts, but that looked even worse.  I stared at Sterling wearing this dress for almost a half an hour before my kids finally made me face the brutal truth: the dress had to go.

That's when I messaged Julie and she came to my rescue.  Using inspiration from the skirt of the original dress, Julie quickly made the dress of my dreams:


It's perfect.

I paired Julie's dress with the wings that came with the baby dress, new tights, silver shoes from Deb's, and a beaded headpiece and necklace set that I made myself.

I actually think fairies tend to look better without shoes, like this:


But since I found and bought silver shoes for Sterling, they're coming with her to her new home!

Here's a look at the wings:


These are pretty wings.  They're not as original as Julie's wings, but they look nice:


The wings were designed to fit over a baby's arms, though, so the elastic straps were way too loose for Sterling.

Instead, I glued a wire hook onto the back of the wings:


And since the back of the dress closes with velcro:


The wing hook can be slotted into the velcro wherever you want to place it, as long as it isn't at the very bottom of the velcro strip:


I actually love this method of attachment even more than plastic straps, because it's really easy to put the wings on and take them off, and there are no straps to wrinkle the sleeves of the dress!

The hair can be placed over the wings in back...


But I prefer parting the hair in the middle and just pushing it to either side of the wing attachment, like this:


Now let's take a better look at the beautiful dress Julie made!


It has a metallic silver knit bodice, a shimmery silver underskirt, and a sheer, petal-shaped overskirt accented with rhinestones: 


The waistband is especially pretty:


In an effort to keep Sterling's cost down, I made her hairpiece and necklace myself:


These are not fancy nor are they particularly well-made.  The headpiece is a circle of brown flower wire that is wrapped with three different kinds of beaded wire and beaded string:



I made the necklace just to disguise the remaining little bit of fabric exposed at Sterling's neckline:


The necklace is mostly assembled with hot glue and is not a work of art.  It does its job, though and closes in back with a little clasp.

The wig I chose for Sterling is a beautiful blue ombre piece from Doll of a Kind:


I considered using a white or salt and pepper wig for this doll, but in the end I preferred the splash of color that this wig provides:


The wig is a reddish brown at the very top (hence the colors I chose for Sterling's brows), but it gets lighter brown and mixes with streaks of blue as it progresses down into the bright blue tips at the very bottom of the wig:



I love how this wig looks overall, but it's not the highest-quality wig I've ever gotten from Doll of a Kind.  There are a lot of shorter strands of hair that (probably because of dry air and static in my house) stick up when the wig is freshly brushed:


You might notice those little strands in many of my pictures.

Anyway, the wig is super fun to play with, so I tried a bunch of different hairstyles on poor Sterling.

I wanted to play with the blue parts of the wig, but I can't say that this style was a success...


This style, which basically hides all of the blue in the wig, was a bit more attractive:



But I ended up preferring simpler styles, like my go-to method of clipping back just the hair from each side of the face:




Gathering up a bit more hair from each side accentuates the curl in this wig nicely!



I had the most fun photographing Sterling with her wig brushed straight, though.  I think the Audrey face mold looks best when it has some hair to frame it:




I left Sterling's hair down for her official portrait...


And used that shot for the comparison GIF:


Sterling was a lovely doll from the start, so her transformation is not particularly breathtaking.


For some reason Sterling is not an especially photogenic doll--especially in her full-body standing shots.  I think she's very pretty in real life, but she was a hard one to capture.

I got some of my better shots when she was relaxing, sitting on the ground:






Or lying on the ground:


She also tends to photograph better when she's not looking directly into the camera...




Although I was occasionally able to capture a nice front-on portrait of her:


I'll end with some of the better photos I got of this pale, shimmering, evasive fairy:






I really loved that every decision I made for the four seasonal fairies was inspired by a sense of fantasy.  However, I also enjoyed taking a more restrained approach with Sterling.  She is a fairy who, in a slightly different outfit, could pass as a regular girl with creative makeup and some beautiful new highlights in her hair.  Sterling definitely looks like a fairy to me, but she's not confined to only that persona.

There were some bumps and delays in Sterling's makeover, but all of them had to do with her outfit.  The amount of work that needed to be done on Sterling herself was minimal and fairly straightforward.

Here's a summary of that work:
-her old wig and eyelashes were removed
-her vinyl parts were lightly cleaned
-her eyebrows were enhanced with a darker mix of colors and her eyelids were painted with silver
-she was given new eyelashes that were tinted with silver acrylic paints
-her neck joint was given some additional glue for security
-she was given a new wig from Doll of a Kind
-she was dressed in a custom fairy dress from Fairy Tale Blessings.  This dress was paired with new tights, new silver shoes, wings, and a handmade headpiece and necklace.

Sterling's biggest flaws are that she still has small defects on both eyelids, a tiny red spot on her chin, a shiny spot under her right eye, some short strands on her wig, and a few picks and scuffs on the rest of her body that are typical of an older doll.  She's also a 2003, non-Denver doll.

I love this fairy's unusual wig and flirty dress, and am happy that she was able to keep her lovely original eyes and light sprinkling of freckles.  Sterling has found her home.  Thank you!

Oh--and I have an update that came just as I was finishing this post: I found little Paddington in one of the traps I set for him yesterday!  Yay!  He is dehydrated and tired, but seems delighted to be back in his safe cage with all of his food, toys, and water.  Phew.

16 comments:

  1. My sister had a betta who was black and silver. We named him "Argent," a name that is derived from a term for silver. Perhaps you could've worked with that...or could in the future for another silver-themed doll! Oh, this one's a pretty one, regardless of her name. You come up with some interesting ideas for dolls.

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    1. Oh, I really like that name! In French argent means "money," which is also fun and no doubt comes from the same Latin root. She could be Gennie for short if Argent was too unconventional. Too bad I didn't find that name in my hunting! In my world, it never hurts to have some names stored up for the future, though. I actually keep a list of names that I think might suit a doll some day--so thank you! :)

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  2. What a beautiful doll! Nice makeover Miss Emily! So glad to hear about Paddington too!-Micah

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    1. Thank you, Micah! I was so worried about Paddington! He's such a cheerful little presence in the house. I'll have to share a picture of him during one of my posts. :)

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  3. She can be a Roopa it means Silver in Bengali.

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    1. I like that name, too! Frankly, I like your name best of all, though, Sadia! It's so pretty. Maybe I can steal it for a doll someday?? :)

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  4. i'm so happy paddington's ok! I'm honestly not partial to that face mold but the dress is beautiful! wouldn't it be cool if you made a Cinderella my twinn doll. I don't know if you will respond to this but can you give me some advice. I am aspiring middle schooler toy reviewer/collector. Can you give me some advice to get started. Thanks

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    1. Thank you for your well-wishes for my little Paddington! I didn't sleep at all that night.

      As for starting as a reviewer, I'm not sure what advice to offer. Perhaps my best advice is to use YouTube and not a blog! I think that the most successful reviewers these days have a YouTube channel and are active on social media. Or maybe some combination of a blog and YouTube? Another piece of advice that I got when I was starting was just to create a lot of content and be patient. It can take some time for doll lovers to find their way to your site. Good luck! And let us know what you decide to do!

      I should definitely make a Cinderella My Twinn! You are absolutely right. In fact, the plan for my "grand finale" of this blog is to do a Cinderella transformation. I already have the doll picked, and she's in a sad state! If you think about it, though, all of these makeovers are their very own Cinderella stories, in a way! ;)

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  5. I think that would be amazing...a My Twinn Princess series. Beginning with Cinderella of course :) Of course, with your mermaid doll, you pretty much have Ariel taken care of, but it would be neat to see how you might interpret Rapunzel (wigs!!!) or some of the others.

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    1. It's a neat idea to expand from doing just Cinderella (which is part of the Grand Plan) to doing a mini series. I put out some feelers and will see what I can come up with. I'd love to know what face molds everyone thinks of when they imagine some of the Disney Princesses! Maybe I could do a new poll or something. :)

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  6. I love what you do with these dolls. I'm glad little Paddington is back!

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    1. Thank you so much, BlackKitty! I was such a wreck with that little mouse gone! Especially with four curious dogs in the house... :-O

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  7. Thank you so much, Linda! I feel like the eyebrows still aren't a perfect match for the wig, so I especially appreciate your comment! I worked really hard on them.

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  8. Yikes, I don't think I've ever seen a doll with a worse vinyl/cloth body color match. I'm glad you were able to save her original wig, though - it's awfully pretty, almost looks silver itself, or platinum anyways.

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    1. Yeah, it's a shockingly bad match. A lot of the 2003 dolls are likes this. The original wig is a gem. Nice blonde wigs are something I'm having a hard time finding these days!

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