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.
Tiana came to me in pretty good condition. Her body was in great shape, with only a few areas of wear:

There weren't even many picks in her fabric torso!

Her vinyl legs have a few faint dark stains and some shiny scuffs and marks:

None of these marks washed away during Tiana's cleaning, but I didn't find any of them serious enough to sand or attack with extensive stain-removal treatment.

Tiana's head was definitely in need of some help, though.

I found it difficult to photograph her face accurately with my phone, so I took off her head and wig and headed to the work table to get some close-up shots with my little camera.

This first picture shows Tiana's skin coloring quite accurately.  She's darker than the first Tiana.

She had a big scuff on the top of her nose and some other shiny areas across her chin and cheeks:

Her eye sockets were filthy, and the eyes themselves are low-quality and slightly too big for the face:

The eyes melted when I took them out:

I sanded Tiana's nose and removed all of the factory paint:

Once the head was squeaky-clean and dry, I inserted new glass eyes and then coated the head with sealant:

The sealant really helps with the shine!
The eyes are from Lauscha, Germany, and are a very dark hazel-green.  I love them, but I cannot for the life of me remember where I got them or what the color was called.  I'd love to order another pair!

You can see that Tiana still has some very light scratches on her face--just under her right nostril and on the right side of her upper lip (on the left side of this picture):

I didn't fix those.
I gave Tiana new, slightly raised eyebrows (not very adventurous, I know, but this was before I got the helpful feedback!):

This picture shows the eyebrow, but also the nuanced color of the eyes:

Next I gave Tiana some rosy lips and blushing:

I gave Tiana a black human hair wig.  I love this wig because it is super-soft and has a wonderful natural black color, but I also like it because it can be styled and re-styled exactly like human hair!

My vision was for Tiana to have bobbed hair with some finger curls in it (a style very popular in the 20s). But making finger curls does not appear to be in my skill set.

Instead, I cut the wig to just past shoulder length and then used a curling iron to curl the ends.

Here's Tiana waiting to get dressed:

Here's a close-up of her back (almost no picks!):

And you can see that some of the dark marks and shiny areas on her legs are still there:

Tiana's 1920s outfit starts with some black tights and plain black shoes:

She's also wearing an undergarment appropriate for the time period:

This lovely one-piece is exquisitely decorated at the ankles:

There was originally a matching ornament at the neckline, too, but I had to remove that because it showed through the outer layer of clothing.

Tiana's outfit was made by my lovely friend Leah who has a shop over on Etsy.  I feel terrible introducing Leah's work with this particular outfit, though, because I changed quite a few things about it.

I've probably purchased ten outfits from Leah over the years, and they are beautiful works of art and include some of my favorite pieces of doll clothing ever.  So my changes here are in no way a reflection of Leah's talent!

We negotiated the details of this outfit right as I was about to move from Maine, and everything was rushed and I was scatter-brained.

I wanted a green dress (since Tiana's signature color is green) with some 1920s flair.  Leah made this beautiful silk and lace concoction, with lots of hand-beading and an historically-accurate shape:

When I put the dress on Tiana, though, I didn't feel the "wow" factor that I wanted for a princess.  I also thought that there was too much black and not enough of the green visible.

So...I used the gorgeous green silk underdress as a base, and added a ton of bling!

Here's Tiana in her full, modified outfit:

A lot more of the green silk is visible now, and if the lighting were better you could see how this brings out the hints of green in Tiana's eyes.

I left the original beading along the sleeves of the dress:

But I added some white beads to the neckline so that it would match the belt and skirt:

For the skirt, I added four rows of glass beaded fringe:

That's a heavy skirt!
My sewing intuition is nothing like Leah's, unfortunately, so I sewed the beaded fringe on with green thread, not black.  Duh.

Rookie mistake, Emily.
At the waistline, I added a beautiful beaded appliqué band that I found on Etsy:

Here's the dress from the back:

I used the green silk from the original belt to fashion the new beaded belt for this dress.

The dress and belt both close with snaps.

The belt is tighter than the fit of the dress (this was true even with the original), and so there's a bit of puckering at the very back of the waistline:

The belt is hand-sewn to the dress all along the waistline, but it's open at the very back so that the dress can be removed easily.  Opening the belt reveals the white ribbon from the top layer of beaded fringe...and also some of my messy green stitching:

Omg, Emily.  Green again? It's like you can't change the thread in your sewing machine...
I also made Tiana a beaded headband that matches her belt:

This has a loop of elastic at the back so that it can fit securely around her head:

The headband is backed with some extra green silk:

With some sparkle added to her dress, Tiana is ready to dance!

Here's a picture of both Tianas together so that you can see the difference in their coloring and the contrast between the two interpretations of this character:

The face mold is the same, but very little else!

I removed Tiana's headband so that I could take her portrait picture, and she wanted to show off her freshly-curled hair for a sec:

Here's the portrait shot:

And the comparison GIF:

Tiana's outfit also pairs nicely with a mini rhinestone tiara comb, although the bright rhinestones don't show up very well in photographs:

I bought a piece of sequined black fringe a while ago, thinking I might use it for Tiana's outfit somehow.  The fringe is a bit too much to permanently add to the outfit, but Tiana got one look at it and insisted that I let her use it as an accessory!

You might notice that Tiana's hair is losing some of its curl at this point.  I didn't use water or hair spray while I was curling her hair, so the curls only lasted for about a week (with me playing with the hair).  

I will re-curl Tiana's hair (using a mist of water this time) before she goes to her new home, but in the meantime I took a few pictures of her with her hair pulled back--which is perhaps a more accurate look for the time period:

She loves this fringe!  It will certainly come with her to her new home.

At this point I got sick of looking at dark photos, and so I took Tiana outside and made a temporary little photo area.  It's not a great spot, but this girl needed to see some daylight!

Everything is in bloom here in New Jersey, but I don't have any really good backdrops for photos yet.  I did find this cute little bush with red and green leaves, though.  I have no idea what it is, but it looks nice with Tiana's green dress!

Tiana seemed amazed by the fact that the world extends beyond a dimly-lit basement!

Her coloring looks lighter in these photos, but at least you can see a bit of the green in her eyes!

This princess was a long time in the making.  The doll herself was easy to fix up, but it took me forever to work on the dress.  I'm not very skilled at sewing, as you know, but I really wanted to do something special, and so I took a long time and did my modifications carefully--often by hand.  The final result is not quite what I'd imagined (it never is), but it certainly has some bling!

Here's a summary of the all work that was done on Tiana:
-her head was separated from her body and all vinyl parts were washed
-her wig was removed and old glue was stripped away
-the old eyes and eyelashes were removed
-all factory paint was stripped
-new glass eyes from Lauscha, Germany, were placed--they are dark hazel with hints of green
-the face was coated with Mr. Super Clear matte UV protection sealant
-the face was repainted, including eyebrows, lips, and blush
-the head was re-attached to the body
-a black human hair wig was glued at the front and at the back
-the wig was trimmed and curled with a curling iron
-new eyelashes were placed
-Tiana is wearing a green silk dress and a one-piece undergarment made by Leah from Etsy.  I decorated the dress with glass beaded fringe and a vintage bead appliqué.  The sleeves and neck of the dress are also hand-beaded
-the dress is accompanied by a matching headband, black tights, and black slip-on shoes

Tiana has some faint dark stains on her legs.  She also has a shiny spot on her left calf.  Otherwise her body is in excellent shape for a doll from 2005, with only a few little imperfections here and there.  Tiana's gorgeous wig, while it can be styled in a number of different ways, does not hold curls especially well.  I will re-curl the hair (using a bit of water to help hold the curl better) before I mail her.

Tiana has sold!  Thank you.

I hope you have enjoyed the beginning of this princess series! Rapunzel's eyes have arrived and so that pair of princesses will be up next!  I can't wait!


  1. What a serene, fun expression! The hair, dress, and eye color combo are spot on. The beading and headband really evoke the 20's, too! Thanks for sharing!-Micah

    1. Thank you so much, Micah! I wish I could have come up with a more authentic hairstyle, but I've never been great with hair! ;)

    2. I'm even worse when it comes to hair! Doll and people. D'oh! Micah

  2. Lovely!!! I really like her look, the pake-up is beautiful and so is the dress. She does look very nice with her hair pulled back as well, both styles suit her. The eye colour is very special and gorgeous! She does look happy to be outside. ;D Great work!!!

    1. Thank you so much, Linda! I really wish I could remember the name of those eyes! I love 'em.

  3. pake-up??? lol! I mean make-up hehe

    1. Lol! Why does it seem like spell check never catches the things you want it to catch?! But of course it'll correct me every time I try to type a name like Tiana ;)

  4. She's beautiful! I love her 1920s look. The photos of her dancing are really fun!

    1. Thank you so much! I love how the beaded fringe swishes (and so does Tiana!).

  5. She is beautiful. I love how fun the dress is!! Both Princess Tianas are wonderful. It’s so hard to find the darker twinns. Great job !!

    1. Thank you! I feel very fortunate to have found two darker Tashas, although the Denver girl is probably an 03--which is a bit easier to find. :)

  6. She turned out absolutely beautiful and to me she looks perfectly swinging jazz creole ❤️❤️❤️
    And that green 😍

    Will you also create a Merida in this series? ❤️

    1. Thank you Sév! I love the dark green, too! It'd be perfect for Merida! ;)

      I had only planned to make four princesses in this series, but I might do a re-visit later on with Merida and a few others?? I like that idea! :D

  7. I forgot to check your blog for a long stretch of time, but I had a great evening yesterday catching up!! Thanks so much for continuing your restorations, I love seeing your art :)

    1. Thank you very much, Maureen! I'm glad you enjoy reading about what I'm up to! It's nice to have the company as I tinker around in my basement. :)

  8. Aww, we're not going to get Princess group shots? (Can you tell I love the group photos? I love the group photos.) I like 1920s Tiana's face and hair better, but I like Disney Tiana's dress better - it's more showy and more flattering to her body, with that poofy skirt. XD (I also love poofy skirts.)

    1. I'd really like to do a big group shot, but I have nowhere for these royal girls to hang out while I'm making all of the others! In fact, I need to get my butt in gear to sell the Tianas so that the Rapunzels have somewhere to stand! :D

      I love poofy skirts, too.

    2. :( Well, that's sad but... I guess that's what happens when one moves. :/ I guess that's why God invented Photoshop. ROFL

  9. I might love Tiana 2 even more! Her eyebrows go really well with her face sculpt and hair.

  10. Would you ever consider doing a tutorial on freckles and cheek painting? My my twinn doll came to me without my much desired freckles (year and years ago) and was never sent back for painting. I would love to attempt to do it myself, or send her to you for a makeover!

    1. Hi Vera! I'll sent you a message over on Etsy. :)

  11. i used to look over your blog all the time when you reviewed dolls—happy that you’re still active! do you still own tonner dolls? i adored your christine and phantom—do you still have them? they’re terribly difficult to find on the secondary market in good condition, and i wondered if they were still in your collection.

    1. I know I still have Christine (no Phantom, I've never had him), but I'm not sure what her condition is. She's still packed up from the move, poor thing! I don't think there will be anywhere to display her here at the new house, so I should probably sell her-- I know she's worth a lot. If you're interested, I could try to find her in the pile of unpacked moving boxes! ;)

    2. I would definitely be interested!!! I’ve genuinely been looking for her for years; so if you found her, I’d be the first in line! ;) I’d love to message more about it if you had an interest in selling!


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