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.

This is only the second pale doll that I've ever worked on.  The first was Mary, the custom cutie I made for a friend.  The pale vinyl is very hard to find, so I probably won't be able to make too many of these girls.

The pale vinyl can also look really strange and ghostly in photographs, especially on a doll without much face color, but in reality I think it's just beautiful.  I love working with it.

I decided to name this girl Evie.  It follows my four letter naming rule, and it also suits the look I had in mind for the finished doll.

Evie is one of the dirtier My Way Kids that I've ever bought.  She came with dark spots all over her torso. I think you can even see them in the full-body pictures:

Here's a better look:

The cable tie around her neck was also really pronounced:

The cable tie looks like that because the large, leftover end of the tie was tucked into the neck seam instead of being cut.

There was also a large gap at the side of the neck seam, and some of the surrounding stitches looked strained:

Here's Evie from the back:

Her midline seam was coming undone half way down her back:

When I took Evie's body apart to clean it, I noticed that she (like Pria) had mismatched arms.  She has seven armature links in her left arm and only six in her right:

The missing link in the right arm had slipped into the lower part of the arm because of a small tear in the vinyl:

I pulled the armature out, repositioned it correctly, and then filled the well at the top of the arm with hot glue.  I actually did this to all of the limbs in order to strengthen those areas.

I also glued the edges of the fabric at all of the fabric-vinyl joints to hold those stitches in place.  I do this on all of the Kids now.

Once the glue was dry, I washed the body in the sink and washed the stuffing in the washing machine.  I also cleaned all of the vinyl parts with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

As I was cleaning Evie's head, I noticed that she had a hairline molding defect running the length of the right side of her face:

I sanded this down until it was practically invisible:

Here's Evie with her eyes removed and her face cleaned, sealed, and ready for paint!

I gave her grey glass eyes (like Brie's eyes):

I love these eyes so much.  They look like a beautiful dark grey-blue color in most light:

I gave Evie some spunky little two-toned eyebrows:

I also gave her face a lot of blush (finally she doesn't look like an alien!) and lips that are full on top and thinner on the bottom:

And of course I gave her some freckles and beauty marks:

I did all of the painting with the idea that I would use a cute bobbed blonde wig for Evie's hair.  This wig is very pale--nearly platinum blonde--and so I really wanted to use it on a pale-vinyl doll.

I think it suits her:

The reassembly of the body went smoothly, although my hand stitching is never quite as tidy as I wish it were.

There's a still a little gap in the neck seam:

Despite the little piece of extension fabric that I added to the neck.

There's a slo a little bit of Fabric-tac residue around Evie's neck.  This is because I like to line the edges of the fabric with glue to avoid fraying.  Usually this is invisible, but I also had to re-position Evie's neck ring fabric one time because I sewed it so that it was too short and wouldn't completely reach up over the vinyl neck.  I had to rip out the stitches and sew it again with a smaller seam allowance--exposing the glue.

The indoor pictures of Evie aren't great.  I knew they wouldn't be because she's so pale.  But I'll show you a few of them anyway.

Here she is without her clothing:

You can see that the body is nice and clean and that the waist darts have been let out:

The back is carefully hand-stitched back together:

Bad lighting or not, she's a cutie:

I tried a few different outfits on Evie, and decided that this delicate blue party dress from Fairy Tale Blessings was a perfect fit:

This is one of my favorites dresses.  And the dark blue is a great match for Evie's eyes!

I also made Evie a little name bracelet:

None of the My Way Kids balance up on their own very well, but Evie gave me even more trouble than usual.  It was rare that I could get her to pose in anything other than a straight up-and-down position:

Here's a nice straight-on portrait of Evie:

And her comparison GIF:

In preparation for getting Toy Box Philosopher up and running again, I actually invested in some new lightbulbs.  I got these set up and tried a few test shots with Evie to see if she looked any better with the new set-up:

There are fewer shadows on her face now, which is nice, but her hair looks strange--almost like it was photoshopped.

Here are a few more shots that I took with the new lights:

The shots look weird to me.  It might be Evie's paleness, but I also might have positioned the lights wrong.  Photography is always a work in progress for me.

There's nothing like natural light, though.  So let's not waste any more time with indoor photos!  

Here's Evie out in my yard looking much more like she looks in real life:

This is the real me!
I think the short hairstyle really suits this face sculpt!

I almost made Evie into a fairy because of the ethereal glow she has.

She wanted to be a regular girl, though, and that's fine with me.

She just wanted to run and play in the yard!

Evie politely pointed out to me that her dress is a bit wrinkled.  I'll fix that for her before she goes to her new home.

Here's a look at her freckling in the natural light:

And here she is from a couple of different angles:

I have a lot of dolls with the Mischievous face mold, and it can be a challenge to make them all look distinct.  My idea with Evie was to lean in to her pale complexion by pairing it with a pale wig, and also to give her short hair to accentuate her young age.  I'm very happy with how she came out and I think she looks quite different from Pria, Mary, and Brie.

Here's a summary of all the work that was done on Evie:
-her head was separated from her body
-her old wig, eyelashes, and eyes were removed
-the detachable pate of the head was removed
-all dirt and factory paint was washed off
-a molding defect on the head was sanded down
-the head was coated with Mr. Super Clear UV cut matte sealant
-new grey glass eyes were inserted and glued into place with hot glue
-the pate was re-attached to the head and glued in place with hot glue
-the face was painted using artist grade acrylics
-the face was given another light coat of sealant
-the back midline seam of the body was opened and all stuffing was removed
-the piece of fabric at the neck was removed
-all stuffing was washed in the washing machine
-all vinyl-to-fabric connections were reinforced with vinyl glue
-an error in the construction of the arms was corrected and the arms were glued to the armature
-the fabric torso was washed and bleached by hand
-the body was re-stuffed and the back midline seam was re-sewn by hand
-the side seams in the torso were let out
-a section of fabric was added to the neck piece and it was sewn back into place by hand
-the vinyl in the ankles was heated and then cooled into a more flat-footed position
-the head was re-attached to the body
-a premium wig from ZaZou Custom Dolls was glued at the front and back with hot glue
-new eyelashes were secured with tacky glue (only on the top)
-Evie is wearing a handmade blue dress from Fairy Tale Blessings.  This dress is paired with white shoes and a beaded name bracelet.  The shoes have lifts in the heels to help Evie with balance.

Flaws: Evie has some holes in her fabric torso where the waist darts used to be.  She also has visible hand stitching on her back and around her neck.  There's a small amount of glue residue near her neck leftover from me reinforcing that area and then repositioning the neck fabric. There's a gap at the back of her neck seam with a visible cable tie.  Her vinyl limbs have factory paint (with some imperfections). Evie does not stand on her own and needs a doll stand for display.

Evie's good friend Nala is almost finished and just needs to have her picture taken.  I hope to be back before too long with her blog post!

In the meantime, wish me luck over on TBP.  My intent is to keep working on the Kids and the Twinns, so this blog will continue on as usual.  I have what I think is a good plan for keeping things sane with the doll reviews (mostly because of the advice many of you have given me over the years!) and I also have a more stable and uneventful life now that my kids are off in college (again).  I'm excited to get back to work.


  1. She is so stinking cute!!! Her face looks like my youngest. I am also very excited to hear that the Toy Box Philosopher is coming back.

    1. Thank you, Hannah! It's really neat that she resembles your youngest. That's what these dolls were meant to do when they were first released, so I love hearing that! :)

  2. I'm a preschool teacher and she looks just like one of my little students. Even the expression is spot on. I think she's absolutely darling!

    1. That's so cool! I think this face mold is really sweet, and I love it when the finished doll resembles a real child! Thank you.

  3. I haven't even read the rest of the post yet I just need to emit a happy squeeeeeeeeee knowing you'll be reviewing dolls again!!!

    1. Lol, Esther! :) Thank you! I'm excited, too! I missed it more than I admitted to myself.

  4. Wow, what great news! I'm so excited to read new reviews on Toy Box Philosopher! I was a kid when I started reading it and I still like browsing through it sometimes. It feels like an old friend. So happy to see it revived!
    Evie is adorable by the way. I love her pixie-like appearence.

    1. That's crazy, isn't it? I feel pretty much the same age as when I started TBP, but of course I'm not. ;) It's interesting how time feels so different at different phases of life! Thank you for your lovely words.

  5. Evie has got to be my favourite My Way Kid you've brought to life so far! I really like her colouring, the face-up you gave her really brings the impish features of the mischievous face come to life, she really just comes alive! The wig was an excellent choice, I really like both the colour and the style, it suits her perfectly. And the dark blue dress is perfect - it coordinates with her eyes so well, and pairs up with her light blonde hair beautifully. She's just wonderful - well done! :)

    I'm super excited to hear you've decided to continue writing reviews on The Toy Box Philosopher! That blog was a source of never-ending information (it still is! I keep going back to some of your thorough reviews if I need to check something about a certain doll) and fun (I do still keep going back to some of the reviews for this too - re-reading the Fab Faces Kennedy review still cracks me up today, almost 10 years later!) to me, so I'm excited to see what dolls&toys you'll be reviewing. I have to admit that I also miss thorough and honest reviews of all the new stuff that came out since you stopped blogging over there - your reviews were always so full of information, and from this aspect I don't think any other blog has filled up that empty space since. This said, I did notice back then that you felt somewhat overwhelmed by the new stuff coming out, and at times probably even a little obliged to review something - I hope this will work out better this time, and you'll be able to focus only on the stuff that really interests you and you personally would like to check out and review. It should initially be about your love for toys - and well, if we, the readers enjoy it too, that's an added bonus, not the main goal ;)

    1. Wow! Thank you so much for everything! I'm so glad you like the choices I made with Evie. She's one of my favorites, too. It's so fun to have a huge variety of wigs in this size to choose from!

      You're so sweet to think about me and how things got so stressful last time with TBP. Thank you. My return to that blog is definitely about my love for dolls--all kinds of dolls! I've been going back through the old posts and tidying things up, and also spending some time exploring how things got so out of control. A lot of it was just the phase of life my family was in and the craziness of that, but there were some other issues that I think I have a better handle on now. For example, instead of hoarding every doll I review on the off-chance that it might share clothes with somebody else, I'm going to put most dolls that I review *immediately* into the Virtual Garage Sale store! I promised my husband I would do that and he will remind me every day! ;D

      But yeah. Ever since I made the decision last week, I've been ridiculously happy (and busy!). I forgot how much I enjoy simply thinking about different kinds of dolls. It's definitely an added bonus that others are exited, too! Yay!! Thank you again so much for your kind and thoughtful words.

  6. I loved toy box and are glad that you are going reviews again

    1. Thank you, Lady Bold! I felt bad abandoning it. But it will feel SO good to be back. :)

  7. Evie is adorable. You did a great job on her transformation. I love the combo of her pale skin and blonde hair. She’s so cute and sweet looking. I’m so happy to hear you are starting up the Toybox Philosopher blog again! Today is my birthday and this news is a great birthday present! That blog was what got me into doll collecting. I found it while looking up info about dolls I had bought my young daughter at the thrift store. Then I kept reading and reading and discovering more and more dolls I wanted to collect. My daughter has now outgrown dolls, but I’m still collecting!

    1. Happy birthday! :D I wish I could buy you a doll to celebrate. ;) Thank you so much for telling me your story. I love that you shared an interest in dolls with your daughter and then kept that interest alive for yourself. Dolls are a beautiful and uplifting art form, and a wonderful escape from reality sometimes. I hope that your dolls bring you lots of joy--especially today! I'm so excited to expand my own horizons again as I re-invent TBP.

  8. Whaaaaaaaaat?!! I've still been continuing to re-read that entire blog from start to finish, and I agree with I., Fab Faces Kennedy was... so incredible. Also the boy doll from Carpatina who looked like Frankenstein or a creepy android or something... Adam? The one where you kept hiding pictures of his face in random places. That review literally made me laugh so hard I was in tears. And you know, every time I browse the toy section at Target, I think of you. Like, there was this doll line based on colors of the rainbow, and I was like "ha, this is just like something Emily would do on TBP!" And you know your reviews of Karito Kids and the Collectors' Lane mini dolls inspired me to go find both for myself on eBay - which I have not regretted at all. (And, I feel like I'm touching celebrity when I see the review you made for Sabrina the My Twinn... knowing she's here in my house now! :D ) Plus, because it stretches back so far (...I can't even believe it's been that long....) and other similar blogs like Doll Diaries are now defunct, TBP is - in my opinion - a valuable historic resource, as it were - so many of the products you reviewed are long discontinued (Tonner Doll RIP) and TBP provides something that doesn't really exist elsewhere. (And also like I., I hope you don't feel obligated to push yourself hard or break your budget like you did before. We readers will be happy with whatever makes *you* happy. :3 )

    I love that little dress on her. Maybe the most impressive thing, though, is the fact you got her clean. XD

    1. Actually, you saying that you were reading TBP all of the way through again is what got this ball rolling. You mentioned something that I'd forgotten I even wrote, so I went to look at the site myself, and I found all of your breadcrumb comments! They made me smile. And then I got nostalgic...and here we are.

      Also, it's a little scary how well you know me, because the other thing that prompted my decision is that I went to the toy section of Target for the first time in years, and guess which dolls interested me right off the bat?? The rainbow ones you mentioned! One of them got stuck in my head and I could not stop thinking about her. She's already in my review queue. :)

      Incidentally, somebody (I forget if it was my husband or my mom) HATED my review of Carpatina Erin and thought my little pictures of Adam scattered throughout the review made no sense. I stuck to my guns on that one and even if you're the only other person in the world who thought it was funny, it was worth it!

      So, thank you. Very much. Not just for this comment, but for all of them.

    2. I am laughing so hard in real life right now. WELP. Great minds think alike? ROFL (and hey, now *I'll* get to see those rainbow dolls, too! XD )

    3. You are right for sticking to your guns - there's at least one more who found Erin's review hilarious: me! Adam's pictures hidden across the review also had me rolling with laughter! How could I forget! There was one where his face was hidden in the... iris of Erin? Or maybe I've just dreamt this? Now I need to go and re-read that review to check - it'll be a perfect start for a Monday morning :)

    4. Also, I just want to say how touched and honored I am that I inspired you to get back to TBP. I still haven't finished re-reading - I'm in August 2014 right now, just after the emotion-themed Monster High create-a-monster set, which tbh is pretty incredible and makes me wish I could go out and purchase all the sets right now. XD (I love those mix-and-match kind of things...) It continues to be super fascinating, and this neat little time capsule of long-discontinued brands and products. Hard to believe Monster High finally fizzled out. XDX

      Anyhow, it's great to have two blogs to read now, I'm glad that it's fun and not so stressful this time around. Anyone clamouring for content needs to *literally* put their money where their mouth is, imho. Keeping the Virtual Garage Sale open is a stroke of brilliance, especially if you don't want your home overrun with dolls again. (Though, y'know, I'm still dying for a picture of the whole collection. ;) I want to know which ones you kept! Surely the Tonner Cinderella who first caught your eye, and large numbers of My Twinns....) You do spoil us. <3

  9. I haven't even read the full post yet but I had to drop in a comment immediately. I'm SO happy that you're rebooting the TBP! Your style of writing and humor make your reviews entertaining in detachment from the products themselves. Many times I'll reread reviews for toys I have no interest in because you've made them interesting and worth a second (or third ... or twelfth) read. No matter what you want to post on there, I'll be happy to tune in time and time again because it's by you. Much love,

    1. Thank you so much, lovely Cink! You know, I'm not always super-interested in the dolls I review, initially, but somehow getting a close look at them always turns up something interesting. I'm finding that to be true once again as I get the ball rolling with this reboot. It's really cool to hear that you find entertainment in unexpected dolls, too. Hearing that makes my day! :D

  10. This is the best news I've heard all week! I'm so excited that you're going to be posting on TBP again! I always loved your in-depth reviews, and your humor. (I still go back and re-visit your sweet e-baby review when I need a laugh!) I've also been really enjoying this blog and learning a lot about customization, so I'm glad you plan to do both. Can't wait to see what you've got planned!

    1. Thank you so much. Stevie Lou! The Sweet e.Baby is probably my favorite review of all time. I'm so glad you like it, too! That's amazing. :)

  11. She is such a sweetie. With the pale coloring she almost reminds me of Precious Moments.

    And I'm thrilled that TBP is coming back, as long as it truly brings you joy to do it! Please don't ever feel like you have a "responsibility" to review certain lines or keep a specific schedule. We just enjoy eavesdropping on your fun conversations about dolls.

    And as the commenter above mentioned, your weird Adam photoshopping was definitely worth it.

    1. Nah, I'm over feeling responsibility. I think it's a maturity thing (maybe I've finally gown up??), but I'm blogging what I want to blog. ;) You are incredibly kind to say that, though. Thank you.

      I'm so glad you liked Adam, too! Lol. I feel validated after all of these years ;D

  12. Evie is absolutely adorable, I love her gentle face and oh those freckles ❤️
    And she looks a bit like me as a child, haha :)

    Oh and I‘m so so soooo happy you will review dolls again ❤️ I missed your blog so so much…and I have to confess, I bought less dolls cause your look on new dolls and your inspiration was missing.
    So yes, I am so happy ❤️

    1. Dearest Sév! I feel conflicted! If my absence at TBP saved you money, that's a good thing, right? But I had to go back. I love dolls too much. I also love that Evie resembles you as a kid. I can totally picture that. :) Thank you for your wonderful comment.