Sunday, October 24, 2021

My Way Nala

I should have known that resurrecting Toy Box Philosopher would slow down my doll projects, but I tend to have very unrealistic assumptions about time and the amount of work I can do in one day.  Poor Evie is still not listed in the Etsy store, but I figured at this point she might as well wait for her friend Nala to be ready, and then they can head over to the shop together.

Thank you so much for all of the words of support both here and on TBP.  One crossover idea I have planned is that I'll resume work on my stash of "quick fix" My Twinns.  These are dolls who need fairly simple repairs--stuff like new wigs, new eyes, and maybe some very light paint enhancement. No full face-ups or body work.  These dolls will not have in-depth posts on this blog, but I'll put a single comparison GIF here and then list them for sale in the Virtual Garage Sale store over at TBP.

I'll also be posting announcements for new dolls (and when they go to the Etsy shop) and new reviews on Twitter (@TBP_emily).  I'm not a fan of social media in general, but this seems like a necessary way to communicate these days.

For now, though, I'm starting work on the My Twinn Cinderellas and have finally gotten My Way Kid Nala's photos sorted out.  I really love this girl and am excited to show you her transformation!

My Way Kid doll with the Tender face and dark vinyl.

Monday, October 11, 2021

My Way Evie

Well, this is going to be a busy fall.  After what was surely not enough deliberation, I decided to start writing over at Toy Box Philosopher again.  This decision probably seems odd and sudden to you, and it seems odd and sudden to me, too.  All I know is that it makes me ridiculously happy to think about reviewing dolls again!  My goal is to start this Sunday with a Sunday Surprise review and take it from there.  I'm already planning about twenty reviews--some of which are underway.  There's a lot of catching up to be done!

Before that project takes over my week (and my life), I have two My Way Kids that I want to show you.  These two are probably my very favorites so far!  They'll join the Belle dolls over in the Etsy shop as soon as they can.  For Evie, that will mean later this week.

The first girl has the pale skin tone and the Mischievous face.  She came with brown eyes and a red wig:

My Way Kid doll with pale vinyl and the Mischievous face.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Belle 2

As a follow-up to my Disney version of Princess Belle, who you can see here, today I'm going to show you my interpretation of the historical version of the same character.

The earliest recorded version of the Beauty and the Beast tale, called La Belle et la BĂȘte, was published by French author Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve (what a name!) in 1740.  A more popular, abridged version was released in around 1760. Wikipedia has a nice summary of Villeneuve's story, and it's quite similar to the version we're all used to--with a bit of Cinderella-like siblings thrown in for good measure.

In my discussions with Leah, the talented and lovely seamstress who made all of the historical princess gowns, we decided to cheat a bit and make the historical Belle doll from 1770 rather than 1740.  Leah already had a beautiful pattern for a 1770s gown, and hair from that time period was really cool.  There were plenty of popular versions of the Beauty and the Beast story that emerged in the 1770s, including an opera (!), so it's only cheating a little bit.

2000 My Twinn doll with medium vinyl and the Madison face.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Belle 1

Sorry for the long delay in between posts, but there was a lot of back-to-school chaos around here recently, as I'm sure there was for many of you!  My son said to me the other day that he loves the fall and the beginning of a new school year because of all the possibilities that this time of year holds.  I feel exactly the same way.  Something about the cool air and new schedule makes anything feel possible.

I'm full of extra optimism today because the Belles are finally done!  Between the long stain removal process and lots of interruptions in my work schedule, it was starting to feel like it would never happen.  However, the princesses are now stain-free and ready for their royal debut.  

When I ran my poll last summer to see which My Twinn face fit which princess best, there was not a clear answer for which face should represent Belle.  Many of you thought Lenora would be a good fit, and many of you opted for Madison.  Madison ended up winning the role, mostly because more people thought Lenora would work better for Cinderella (who's up next, yay!!).

Here's the pale Madison who I chose to be the Disney version of Belle:

1997 My Twinn doll with pale vinyl and the Madison face.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Fairy Claire

Sadly, I ran into a little hiccup with the Belle dolls last week.  They both had really dirty vinyl, and when I cleaned off all of the dirt, I found a few small stains that needed Remove-Zit treatment.  That treatment can take several days to several weeks, and so I figured that while I was waiting for the stains to fade, I could finish up my Experimental Claire doll.

You can read all about Claire here, but as a recap, she's the doll I used to test out the handmade resin eyes I bought on Etsy.  These eyes are tiny works of art, and they looked beautiful on Claire, but they were just a bit too intense for a regular girl--probably because of the eyes' extremely white scleras.  Because I had to cut open the back of Claire's head in order to place the resin eyes, it was very easy to re-open her head and try out some different options.

When you saw Claire last, I had swapped out her resin eyes for normal sable brown Eyeco acrylic eyes. She looked like this:

My Twinn Claire with her Eyeco eyes.

Friday, August 20, 2021

My Way Pria

I never should have said that I'd share this girl by the end of last week.  It seemed like such an easy goal at the time, and yet here we are.  My estimates are--sadly--always wrong.  Three big events conspired to mess up my schedule last week, one of which was that I had to drive to Boston to pick up my granddog (a 10-week-old dachshund) who I'm babysitting for ten days.  I'd forgotten how much work little puppies are...but they're certainly cute enough to make up for it.

Some of you might have seen the updates I made to Claire (the crazy-eyed girl from my last post).  Since that update, I've changed her eyes yet again.  I've taken pretty much all of the advice that was given to me in the comment section at this point, so my next attempt will include a new (less intense) pair of resin eyes, darker eyelashes...and a fairy dress!  I'm hoping that will do the trick.  If not, this has still been a fun project to work on.

Today my mission is to show you the latest My Way Kid makeover.  I named this girl Pria.  Pria is a Sanskrit name that means "dear, beloved."  Pria started out as a dark-skinned Kid with light brown hair, brown eyes, and the Mischievous face:

19" My Way Kid with dark skin and the Mischievous face.

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Experimental Claire (with an update)

I'm back again with a My Twinn doll who has nothing to do with the princess series.  I decided to work on this girl because I was very eager to experiment with a new kind of eye, and this is a doll who has been hanging around my house for a long time now, begging for a makeover!

She's a very pale Catherine from 2000.  The Catherine mold is not rare at all, but I really love this face.  It's so kind and friendly-looking.  Two of my most favorite makeovers (Safiya and Meg) also have the Catherine face.

My Twinn doll from 2000 with the Catherine face.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

My Way Lucy

I'm still working away on the princess series (both of the Belle heads are painted), but I've also been enjoying some non-princess dolls during the last few weeks.  Among them are two 19" My Way Kids.  If you're new to the blog or new to the My Way Kid brand, you can find a lot more information about these dolls in this post and in some of my other recent entries.

I'm slowly figuring out the best way to clean, strengthen, and improve the bodies on these little ones, which is a challenging but rewarding process.  The bodies aren't made as well as My Twinn bodies, so that can be frustrating, but I do think they have some nice features and I enjoy their easy-to-handle size.  What I really love about these dolls, though, is working on their cute little heads!  There's something about the face molds in this line that always makes me smile.

Today I'm going to share another Cutie-faced doll with you (Mila also has the Cutie face).  The Cutie face is the most common--as far as I can tell--and so this mold is probably the easiest to find.  This girl started out as a red-headed imp with zig-zagged bangs and faded eyes:

My Way Kid doll with the Cutie face and medium vinyl.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Rapunzels for Sale!

It's been so long since I posted the two Rapunzel dolls the first time, I figured I should do a new entry to announce that I'm finally ready to put them in the shop!

I decided to give up on adding curls to the historical Rapunzel's hair, but I'd certainly be willing to send her new owner the tendrils that I cut for that project.

I'm still struggling with my photo set-up, but I took a few pictures of the dolls together, and I'll also re-post some of my favorite individual shots:

My Twinn Rapunzel dolls.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

My Way Rosa (with some new clothing options!)

I have been so scattered lately, I can't even tell you.  First of all, we've had several visitors during the last few weeks (finally!), and I also decided that I wanted to do something about my dark basement work space.  So, I did a lot of painting and reorganizing, and my husband built me two new tables (yay!) and now I have a much bigger, brighter, better-planned studio that does not use old packing boxes for walls.

I also have a new photography set-up, but--even after a whole day of maneuvering lights and taking test pictures--I'm still in the tweaking process. Please forgive the (mostly overexposed) pictures. I'll figure it out eventually.

Despite some effort, I've failed to find a good solution for the historical Rapunzel's hair--even though I thought that the idea of adding detachable curls was brilliant.  For some reason I have not been able to get the hair to curl nicely...or I've been too busy to give it my best effort.  Anyway, with 50 responses to my poll, about 59.6% of you told me to leave the hair alone, so I'm feeling comfortable with that choice.  If I do find a way to curl the hair, I'll include photos of that when I do the group shots of the two Rapunzels.

I needed a quick break from princesses, though, so today I'll show you my latest My Way Kid.  I named her Rosa:

My Way Kid doll with medium vinyl and the Tender face.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Rapunzel 2

I hope everyone is having a good spring!  I can't believe that in just a few days it will be summer.  For some reason I'm really looking forward to the vast possibilities of summer this year--almost the way I did when I was a little kid.  Maybe I'm feeling young-at-heart recently because I've had a some time to devote to dolls?  That always puts me in a good mood.  

The girl I'm going to share today is my historical version of the princess Rapunzel.  The Rapunzel story was published by the Grimm brothers in 1812, and while this publication is no doubt what made the tale popular, the story can be traced back as early as the seventeenth century.  Despite the tale's early roots, I decided to use 1812 as my time frame for imagining this doll.  1812 falls in the Regency of the Georgian era, which was the setting of many beloved novels by writers like Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer.  What could be better inspiration than those stories?

My Regency Rapunzel started out as a medium-complected Denika doll from 2001.  Like her Disney counterpart, this girl came to me with badly faded eyes and unremarkable factory paint:

My Twinn doll from 2001 with the Denika face.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Rapunzel 1

My goal was to get this Rapunzel done before the end of May, which seemed like no problem, but suddenly I'm at the point where if I don't get this entry posted today, it'll be June!  I can't believe how fast time is flying these days--perhaps in part because we're all starting to venture out into the world again in ways that have been hard for the past year. It feels truly amazing and liberating.

What better way to celebrate venturing out into the world than by making a Rapunzel doll? Not that anyone needs a good excuse to make a Rapunzel doll.  She's such a fun character.  Tangled is also my favorite Disney movie, so I felt a lot of extra pressure while I was making this girl.  I adore how Disney portrays Rapunzel.  She's such a delight in that film, and I had a great time watching the movie (several times) as I planned this doll.

Choosing the right My Twinn face for Rapunzel was the first step.  Last summer I ran a poll to see which face molds everyone thought would suit each princess character, and Rapunzel was one of the tricky ones.  The Denika face ended up winning by a small margin--37% as I recall.  Still, I think this was a good choice since the Denika mold has a smile to convey Rapunzel's bright personality.

Rapunzel started out as this beautiful pale-skinned, purple-eyed Denika from 2000:

2000 My Twinn doll with the Denika face.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

My Way Mary

I don't usually do custom work (I'm way too slow and I worry about people being disappointed), but I had a neat opportunity a few weeks ago to make a custom My Way Kid doll for a person who has been really supportive and dear to me over the last few years.

The My Way Kids do not have realistic features, so it's a little hard to make a portrait doll with them, but because they were originally designed to be customized, I was excited to try my own version of this process.

My friend wanted a doll that resembled her daughter, Mary.  The real Mary is fair with light freckles, hazel-green eyes, and wavy brown hair.  The doll version of Mary started out as this Mischievous-faced My Way Kid with grey eyes, pale skin, patchy blushing, and messy blonde hair:

My Way Kid doll with pale skin and the Mischievous face.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Tiana 2

Mila and Raye have found homes, and I'm getting a great response to the My Way Kids poll!  Thank you so much!  If you're curious about the results, I'll publish those in Raye's blog soon.  So far there's a very clear answer to the waist question (no seams!), and a more ambiguous answer to the body paint question.  I also updated the measurements chart for Alison, and will try to answer any other questions soon.

But today I'm here to show you my second version of Princess Tiana!  As I mentioned in my earlier post, half of the princesses in this collection will be inspired by the beloved Disney characters, and the other half will reflect an historical time period relevant to the original fairy tale or, in Tiana's case, the time period of the Disney movie.

The original frog-themed fairy tale, called The Frog Prince, is of German origin and was published by the Grimm brothers in 1812.  I have another princess who represents the 1800s, though, and so I decided to use the more modern 1920's New Orleans setting for Tiana's inspiration.

Like the first Tiana, this princess started out as a well-worn Tasha doll.  This girl has darker skin and is not from the Denver era:

2005 My Twinn doll with the Tasha face.

Monday, April 19, 2021

My Way Raye, With Some Updates, Experiments, and a Poll

For those who were hoping to see another Tiana--sorry!  I have been working on her post and this one at the same time, and I just happened to finish this one first.

I haven't been great at answering all of the comments on the My Way Kid posts, but I truly appreciate all of the nice words and excellent suggestions!  Today I'll show you another My Way Kid that I've fixed up, and I'll also address a few of the suggestions that were made.

I tried two new things with these dolls that could use some feedback.  It would be wonderful if you would weigh in with what you think by using the poll in the right hand margin.  Thank you so much!

The most recent Kid that I've been working on is this dark-skinned cutie with the Mischievous face.  In keeping with my strict four-letter name rule for these dolls, I call this one Raye, which I think means "my friend" or "my companion."  She's definitely been a fun little companion these past few weeks:

My Way Kid doll with the Mischievous face.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Tiana 1

I have been dreaming about this princess collection for so long, it's hard to believe that I'm finally getting a chance to work on the dolls!  My plan for this group is to make four pairs of princesses (Tiana, Rapunzel, Belle, and Cinderella), and for each pair, one doll will reflect the modern Disney interpretation of the character, and the other doll will be an historical representation of the character.  The historical versions will mostly be themed on the time period of the origin of the fairy tale (or when it become popular), but for Tiana I bent the rules a bit.

My historical version of Tiana will be based on the setting for the Disney movie (1920s New Orleans).  This is because--for diversity's sake--I didn't want the time periods for any two princesses to overlap.  But I'll talk more about that as I introduce each historical princess.

Today I'm going to share not the historical version of Tiana, but the Disney-inspired princess. This girl started out as a Denver Tasha with medium (03?) skin and a time-worn appearance:

2001 My Twinn doll with the Tasha face.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

My Way Mila

I'm not going to do extensive blog posts about the My Way Kids that I work on (it's a My Twinn blog after all) but I think it might be fun to share a little something about each girl's makeover.  So, I'll post blog snippets about these dolls; I'll highlight anything noteworthy about their makeover, and also post the pictures I take for their sales page on Etsy.

You can read all about the My Way Kid brand in my last entry.  These funny little dolls have captured my heart and I am having a really great time working on them!

I give all of the My Way Kids a four-letter name.  This makes the naming process easier, and I also think the pixie-like faces of these dolls fit well with short, simple names.  I named this little one Mila (I pronounce this Mee-lah, but you can pronounce it however you like).  Here's how Mila looked when I got her:

My Way Kid doll with the Cutie face.

Friday, April 2, 2021

My Way Kids by Geppeddo

Ack!  I didn't mean to keep you in suspense for so long!  Sorry about that.  Here I am, finally, ready to share a bit about the new brand of doll that I've been working on: My Way Kids by Geppeddo. 

I was really surprised and delighted to see that one of you--kiwic1chick--guessed it right away!  Wow!!   I didn't think my hints were very good.  Well done.  The Just Pretend guess was good, too.  I don't know much about that brand, either, but have recently been hunting for some Just Pretend clothing to see if it might fit the My Way Kids (I don't know the answer to that question yet).

Anyway, for those of you who, like me, were clueless about these little dolls, I'm going to do a Toy Box Philosopher-type introduction and review of this unusual line!

My Way Kid doll, 2001-2004.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Transplant Madelyn

Thank you for all of the lovely messages in the last post!  It's really nice to be back online.  A lot of things have changed in the past few months, and so it feels good to return to some of my normal routine.  

One thing that's not normal is that my doll studio has been relegated to an unfinished basement.  This is nice because I have a lot of open space all to myself, but it's a drag because I get interrupted by things like a broken furnace and water leaking in from outside!  The furnace is fixed now, and we've installed a sump pump to keep everything dry, so I can focus on things like fine-tuning my lighting set-up...and maybe some day building myself some walls that aren't made out of old moving boxes.

Until I get the lighting situation improved, though, I have to apologize for slightly murky photos.  You'll probably be able to tell which pictures were taken in Maine and which were taken here at the new house.  We can at least start with a clear picture of this bright-eyed Jessica:

1997 My Twinn doll with the Jessica face.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

I'm Still Alive

For anyone who is still tuning in: despite evidence to the contrary, I have not dropped off the face of Earth.  I am here, in New Jersey now (!!), getting my act together.

It took way longer to get the house sorted and the family settled than I thought it would, but I have been back at work in a makeshift doll studio for about a month now, and I have some fun things coming up soon! The princess collection is *almost* ready to premiere, and I also have a few other Twinns to show you.  I've even branched out to work on a completely different brand of doll, and am excited to tell you more about that.

But I'm out of the habit of posting on the blog, so this entry is as much a kick in the butt for me as it is a sign-of-life signal for all of you.  Here's a peek at the doll I was working on in Maine and who I finished here in the Garden State.  She looks completely different now, but I adore her charming (yet very dirty) older self:

1997 My Twinn Jessica doll.