Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Re-root: Romina

Dear dolly friends,

As you might have noticed, the blog finally has a header. The photo is of Romina, one of my recent re-roots.

Romy was a Mystery Squad Kenzie doll. I liked her curly hair, being the proud owner of my own set of springy ringlets, but she was missing some hair plugs in the front and along the sides. Also, I couldn't stop wondering how she'd look as a redhead.

(Because, in case it isn't obvious already, I'm a wee bit obsessed with red hair.)

This is her "before" photo, one of the first photos I took with my camera phone. Romy wasn't so sure about my photography skills, having heard stories of my disastrous attempts at shooting regular-sized people, and decided to "help."

"Someone has to keep the camera still, Miss Shakey Hands," she said.

Here she is, after the re-root -- making sure I get her good side.

Here she is, "helping" again. "What would you do without me, mom?"

I used three different shades of red for her... at least. I love how she turned out, but her re-root was almost a disaster! Her neck knob got stuck inside her head. I tried and tried, but I couldn't get the darn thing out, so I left it where it was and re-rooted around it. This made for some awkward stabbing as I tried to get the needle around the hard piece of plastic.

But it worked! And thankfully, I had a spare knob, so I was able to put her head back on.

After I set her part with boiling water, I took her hair down. I had a lot of fun experimenting with different lighting and with some of the scrapbook paper I'd hoarded collected over the past year.

An underwater/mermaid theme.

But... do mermaids really wear kitty shirts?

There we go! Much better.

We had a lot of fun with the fish background, and as you'll see in later posts, I kept going with the sun/sea theme. I even did my first photo story, which I can't wait to share with you all.

Until then, Romy wants you to know that she continues to be my photography assistant. She's letting me hold the camera on my own these days, but she oversees props and backgrounds and has a final say in most of the edits. I mentioned earlier that most of my dolls have titles, and Romy is Vice Secretary of Making Photos Suck Less. Her words, not mine!

Much love,

Sarah J Sequins

(And assistant)

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Re-root: Corey

Dolly friends, I'm excited to share another re-root with you.

I bought Corey on eBay a few years ago. She was the blonde Barbie Basics with the very curly hair.

As a curly girl myself, I loved her hair... but I had plans for her. I'd wanted my very own Tokidoki Barbie for awhile, and unfortunately, she was ridiculously expensive on the secondary market. So I got the idea, like many doll customizers before me, to make my own.

(I believe it's called Faux-kidoki? Love. That. Name.)

At first I dyed her hair pink with watered-down acrylic paint. And... it wasn't bad. But it wasn't the shade I was looking for. So after making sure I absolutely knew how to thatch a part the right way, I gave her a nice re-root in this color of saran.

Here's how she turned out:

As you can see, I didn't get around to cutting and styling her hair in Tokidoki fashion -- she's been like this for over a year now. The truth is? I didn't have the heart to! She looks so cute, especially with the clip in her hair...

and wearing one of my favorite dresses ever, the umbrella dress.

Of course, she doesn't like me saying things like that. She's not a fan of words like cute. She's also not a fan of the umbrella dress. Corey has... how to put it? The strongest personality and language of any of my dolls.

"You can keep my hair long," she says. "I don't care. But what's with this frilly f---ng dress?"

"No, seriously. This is the frilliest f---ing dress you've made. And that's saying a lot, because holy sh--, you've made some frilly f---ing dresses." 

Thanks, Corey. You're a real charmer.

But at least I got her to sit still for a photo shoot. There was just one condition -- that I let her wear her favorite combat boots... and that I post the photo here. That way, everyone will know that she's still... how did she phrase it? Oh, that's right. A badass motherf---ing b-tch.

Oh, Corey. 

But even though she's strong-willed and has the kind of vocabulary that would send sailors running for the hills, she's still my girl, and I love her. So do the other dolls. She has a tightly-knit group of friends, including mild-mannered Mindy and tough girl Tristan.

She's also in a relationship with someone just as charming as she is. His name is Than, and I'll post photos of him sooner or later.

And because some of my dolls have given themselves job titles, like Doll Advisor (Nora), Doll President (Mellie), and Miniature Art Curator (Allie), Corey has a title. Minister of F---ing Sh-- Up. And she does a very good job of this.

Corey wouldn't want me to tell you this, and she'll probably stomp me with her combat boots if she finds out, but her full name is Coriander Veronica Haines. She's one of my only dolls with a middle and last name, which I owe to her strong personality.

Stay tuned for more re-roots and interesting characters! As I said before, I have lots and lots of photos.

Much love,

Sarah J. Sequins

(And profane doll)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Re-root: Nora

Dolly friends, it's been forever since I've posted!

This isn't to say that I've done nothing doll-related. Actually, just the opposite. I've bought a few new dolls, including one of my very first non-Mattel dolls. I've worked on a few re-roots. And more than anything, I've taken photos. Literally hundreds of them.

Today's photos are from one of my earliest photo shoots, and they're of one of my favorite dolls. This is Alianora, also known as Nora, and she's been in my collection for over twenty years. She's one of the few remaining from my original collection.

Nora is a Western Stampin' Tara Lynn. I was immediately drawn to her because of her bright blue eyes and jet black hair.

However! After years of adventures in the stream by my childhood home, baths, boil perms, boil straightenings, and just about every crazy hairstyle you could imagine, the jet black had faded to slate gray. It looked a little like wool.

Nora got a re-root in a nice, glossy nylon. She also got one more bath to remove the Mod Podge I'd put on her face years and years and years ago... for whatever reason.

Here she is with a change of costume...

And here she is with some jewelry. Like the dress, it was made by yours truly.

And last but not least, here's my favorite photo of her so far. I really like the styling of this one.

When I was younger and she was part of my original collection, her character was a bookworm. I would always place her on a bookshelf or in a corner of the room with a doll-sized book in her lap. Now that she's been around for awhile, I think of her as the advisor to the other dolls.

She had me keep a lock of her old hair as a reminder of all we've been through together. She's thrilled with the re-root, though, and has told me in no uncertain terms that there will be no more swimming in streams for her.

These aren't my best photos, but I thought I'd share them anyway. They were another experiment in lighting, and also in photo staging. And also in photo editing, which I haven't really gotten the hang of just yet, but which I'll continue to play around with.

Stay tuned for more photos! Things have been rough for me lately for a number of reasons, and I've realized that I need to throw myself into something creative again. To focus on one of the best parts of my life, namely my plastic family and the people who appreciate them.

Much love,

Sarah J Sequins

(And dolls)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Re-root: Vivian (WIP)

Dolly friends, here's another one of my recent re-roots.

When I found Vivian at Goodwill a little over a year ago, she was a standard blonde Barbie... with a difference that made her stand out. Bright green eyes with red lips, instead of the usual blue and pink. So of course, I had to have her.

She stayed a blonde for about a year while I worked on other dolls and wondered which hair color would suit her. And at the end of February? I had it. She needed to be a brunette, to match her eyebrows. And I just happened to have two different shades of brown, left from other projects, that would be perfect.

I did an insane amount of work on her the first day. Here's what was left:

Here she is from the front. As you can see, her hair is in desperate need of a boil wash!

Here it is, tamed with an elastic band.

I actually finished her over the next two days. Filled in the back of her head, thatched the part, and gave her a nice boil wash to reduce the bulk. Unfortunately, looking at the photos, I realize... they really don't do her justice!

So I'm going to re-take those, maybe with a nice change of outfit and some pretty background paper, and do a separate post for the finished re-root.

Stay tuned! In the meantime, I have plenty of other photos to share.

Much love,

Sarah J Sequins

(And dolls)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Re-root: Robin

Dolly friends, I have a finished re-root to share with you today!

You might remember Robin from the previous post.

Well, almost immediately after I published that post, I started another doll. A nice and easy saran project that went by quickly. And by the time I was done with that re-root, I was ready to work on Robin and her tricky silky nylon hair again.

And you know what? The hair wasn't as hard to work with as I remembered. So I finished this section in a little over an hour.

The next day I worked on thatching the part in her hair and setting it with hot water. Then I gave her a trim. And... she was done!

Yesterday we had a nice photo shoot. It wasn't an overcast day -- in fact, it was sunny and gorgeous -- so I wasn't sure how the photos would turn out. But I told myself, it was an experiment. A chance to play around.

So I played. As you can see, I even used some nice Gothic-looking scrapbook paper as a background.

I like the way these turned out. Not too shabby at all. I have a lot to learn about photography, and I'm sure there are better ways to filter out the light than a napkin holder stuffed with junk mail, but I don't mind putting in the hours.

Doll photography has turned out to be a ton of fun for me. Using different props and backgrounds, dressing the dolls up with pretty clothing and accessories. Styling their hair and putting them in different poses. 

And of course, there are the crazy little things I rig up, like the napkin holder. Not professional at all, but a great exercise in problem solving and creativity. Now that I think about it, I have an old umbrella just sitting in my closet at home....

I took at least twenty photos of Robin yesterday. Unfortunately, because I'm using my camera phone, getting them from the phone to Google Drive to the computer is an exercise in patience, taking at least four days. So the rest of the photos (the good ones, anyway) will have to wait.

Until then, I have a few more photos saved up. I can't wait to show them off!

Much love,

Sarah J Sequins

(And dolls)

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Re-root: Robin (WIP)

Dear dolly friends,

Some of you might be wondering what happened to me. Well, the dolls and I moved!

I haven't unpacked all of their stuff yet, but we're slowly getting settled in. I have the beading and sewing stations set up, so they know I'll be spoiling them again very soon.

(And so they're not complaining too terribly much about their bare book shelves. They have their priorities straight.)

In the meantime, I've been working on some re-roots. And because I have a camera with a phone for the very first time, I've decided to take some of my own photos, starting with a few works in progress. I've never been a gifted photographer, (understatement) but I'm happy with the way these turned out.

So without further ado, here's my progress on Robin, a Raven Symone Barbie doll. I took photos of her, along with a few of her friends, when we were snowed in recently. We were at a dog-sitting gig, so our options for backgrounds were limited, but we worked with what we had.

(Including blizzard lighting, which was pretty decent.)

Robin's hair was inspired by this gorgeous gal. I don't know who she is, but I love her attitude! And Robin's resemblance is pretty darn close, if you ask me.

I used another color, a very dark plum, on the underneath. Here's her hair in pigtails so you can see it better.

And here's how much I have left to do. As you can see, I have my work cut out for me! I love the color of this nylon hair, and I love how shiny and silky it is, but it's harder to work with than saran, so it takes a little longer.

But I'll finish her soon. Now that I've taken a break with some nice and easy saran projects, I'm ready to work on her again. And when she's finished, I can guarantee that nobody is going to confuse her with her twin sister Simone again.

(Yes, I bought two. What can I say? I love everything about the Raven Symone doll. I could easily buy five or six more and re-root them in every color of the rainbow. If only I had the money.)

And that concludes Robin's portion of the photo shoot. Coming up next is Vivian, one of my nice and easy saran projects. There might also be... one or two bird photos in the mix. Domingo Flamingo overheard that Robin was getting a re-root, and he was very excited to meet a pretty female bird.

*Sigh.* Poor Mingo.

Much love,

Sarah J Sequins

(And dolls)

Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Dollidays!

Hi there, dolly friends!

It's been way, way too long since I posted here. The dolls are furious with me! They're equally miffed because this year I didn't put up their tree. I can't imagine how many outfits I'll have to sew to make it up to them.

I did, however, go shopping at Michaels at the beginning of this month, and I happened to be there when their adorable miniature sweater ornaments were on sale. So I got four -- two for the guys and two for the gals. Here are two of my guys, Havi and Josiah, relaxing on a park bench and enjoying the fact that for once, they're not shirtless. 

A photo of the girls is coming soon. Until then, no matter what you celebrate, I hope you have a fantastic day.

Much love,

Sarah J Sequins

(And dolls)