Steffi Love shoe fashion set

Steffi Love shoe fashion set! A complete impulse buy, but you can always use more shoes, right?

(Don't worry, that's not dollars!) 

As you can see the heels are all different heights, so I assume they're intended for the newer articulated Steffi Love with ankle joints. (The old articulated Steffi body has articulated ankles too, but those feet are bigger and flattet, more like Liv's.)

I wanted to see if any of them might fit my other dolls too, and since the price was about half of what those Barbie accessory sets cost (and you only get two pairs with those), I felt I could afford to experiment!

I already have two of the yellow pair, except pink. Why couldn't these have been black??

I was hoping maybe the lavender pair would fit Anastasia or Skipper (who both have those semi-high heeles feet that are really hard to find shoes for), but they were too small. 

Only one pair fit Fashionista: the pink and straw wedges. It's not a perfect fit, but she can balance without problem. I was hoping the green pair would fit (because look at those heels!), but those were sliiiiighty higher. 

Left: Kara, right: Kenya

(Both the green and the pink pair kind of fit the slightly wider and shorter classic Barbie feet, seen here on SiS Kara and Kenya. The green ones are still too high, but as long as the doll is sitting down they look ok.)

Liv is about to fall over here.

The cowboy boots were HUGE. They're hollow almost all the way into the toe, so there's some wiggle room for different types of feet, but Liv can't stretch her ankles enough and risks tipping over forward. Old articulated Steffi can, but both of their feet are too wide and make the sides bulge out. 

Obitsu wore them best - even better than Steffi herself (whose narrower feet couldn't quite keep the boots from slipping off). They're still comically oversized, but they do stay on and she can balance in them.

Of course, she IS an Obitsu. I'd expect her to balance in anything.

The boxer boots are actually high heels pretending to be flats, which is just silly (particularly since articulated Steffi CAN wear flats). Since there's an obvious line where the sole starts, I'm considering slicing them off, hollowing the shoes out, then gluing them back together. 

Old articulated Steffi and Liv. Nope and nope. 

The pink slippers didn't really look good on anyone, not even Steffi. Oh well.

Actually I'm not sure "slippers" is the right word here. They do keep slipping off, though.

In conlusion, I'm a bit disappointed none of them fit the dolls I was hoping for, but at least Steffi has all the shoes she'll ever need now, and as a bonus both fashionista and Obitsu got a pair each. Also: cheap! 

Hey! Come back with my shoes!


EAH are expensive, Wild Girls are... kind of ugly, I complain

Or, Yet Another (Window) Shopping Fairytale.

It took a while, but Ever After High has (have?) finally, definitely, arrived. Unfortunately, it looks like every chain is going with the same high prices as the first online store that got them. TRU had the basics, Getting Fairest, and Legacy Day, with the two former at exactly the same price. Wasn't getting fairest supposed to be the simpler, slightly cheaper line, or did I miss something? There isn't that much plastic in that little accessory stand thingy they come with, is there?

Meanwhile, Amazon.co.uk have lowered their prices! Most dolls are about £15 +shipping, which I still haven't managed to figure out how to calculate so I'm not sure whether it would be worth it - BUT the Ella/Huntsman set is marked down to about £26, which is not only less than one doll costs here, but also enough to qualify for free shipping inside EU (at least I think so)!

So, a pretty good deal. Sadly, my funds are limited, and when it comes down to it I decided I don't want Hunter that bad (and I have no use for Ella unless I can do some serious modification of her neck for a Mattel head). So instead I'll wait for a sale and then I'll probably grab a basic Raven. Maddie is nice, but I mostly want her for the unique body, so I'll wait for a budget version that doesn't have polka dot hands. 

I hardly ever go to Toys-R-Us because it's pretty far out of the way, and the bus fare gets pretty expensive. I like to go now and then, though: it's fun for a change and there might be a sale. There's a bunch of other big stores out there, like IKEA, so I'll usually try to kill as many flies as I can with one bus ticket (as it were). When I went there on Friday it was mainly to check out Smaller And Less Well-Known Toy Chain That Doesn't Have An Online Catalog so that you pretty much have to go there physically to see what they have (just like in the olden days!). 

I stumbled across one of their stores last year and found the Simba Super Models there at a great price, as well as a pretty good selection of Steffi and Kevin Love, and now I was hoping to find a Super Model Sarah to rebody a floating head on. No such luck. This chain sells all kinds of kid and baby stuff, and for some reason I thought this was their main store and so would be fully stocked, but no: not only was it smaller than the other two I've been to, it was mainly focused on cribs and strollers. Bummer. 

The single doll shelf didn't offer much of interest. Only two super models left, overpriced and not the one I was after. For some reason they had a bunch of Wild Girls, which is one of my least favorite Monster High clones. They actually look more like Bratz, with the same huge shoes and no articulation. I don't know why anyone would want one (especially not after seeing the price tag), but I'm not a fan of either Bratz of Bratzillaz either so maybe I'm missing something?

This one had pretty ok accessories and a classic goth dress with trumpet sleeves (which my camera didn't manage to capture properly). 

Also: little red horns! The twisted reflections of baby dolls in the plastic really add something, don't you think? 

I've seen this butterfly Barbie around but never had a closer look. I don't know about you, but when I think "butterfly" I definitely think "huge motor backpack". Wonder if it runs on diesel?

All was not disappointment, though. IKEA on a Friday night turned out to be nice and empty, and even though I didn't find a desk lamp I liked I only had to queue for about 30 seconds. 

Fridge Detective Report

Short post! I've been trying to find out where that thrift store fridge is from, and while I still don't know the brand I did find one on ebay. This one is blue and comes (used) with a kitchen section that I'm pretty sure is the same as the one I passed up at the thrift store, except pink. 

Amazingly enough, I also found a blog post where not only can you get a better look at the kitchen utilities, but also the S-shaped table + chair/stool I didn't want either. Looks like they were a set after all. Why the fridge is so much cooler (heh) and more realistic than the other parts is anyone's guess, but I'm glad I didn't have to buy the whole lot to get it. So, possibly Bratz, possibly dollarstore I guess. (Whatever did we do before Internet existed??) 


Repainter's Progress

There's still a long way to go, but I've looked at a few tutorials and figured out a few things that made a significant improvement compared to my last attempt. I'm glad I decided to give it another go, because this stuff really gets easier with practice. All I need to do now is wipe and repaint a few hundred times and I'll be an expert! 

A few closeups, warts and all (actually it's mainly dust) as inspiration/warning to fellow aspiring faceuppers: 

That's not dirt, that's poorly applied blush.


I'm pretty happy with the size and general placement of the Bratz' eyes, and the pupils are at least looking in almost the same direction. Steffi Love's eyes are way too small and really different in size, but I like the shape and I'll try to make something similar next time. 

More dust and fibres from the q-tip. 

Steffi looks okay from a distance, but up close... not so much. I never bothered with the eyebrows.

At some point I lost concentration and began trying every technique at once, which is never a good idea. If it's not too cold to work by the open window tomorrow, I'll wipe this and start over with a clean slate. I'd like to practice both the "many tiny lines method" and the "big dry blush brush" a bit, but I'll try to do one at a time this go. I should get another head too, so I can cut down on the wait between coats a bit.

Lumpy paint with wiggly lines on top. Also more dust. 

The main problem is I'm still laying on the paint too heavy, which results in a lumpy, uneven surface that it's impossible to paint straight, even lines and brush strokes on top of. 
I'm not sure about the best way to dilute the paint: the liquid acrylic medium I bought earlier is actually thicker than the Liquitex Ink!; the flow enhancer says to mix it in the water, but I'm not sure you can just substitute it; and several tutorials warn against using too much water since apparently that can make the paint flake later. Mostly I'm worried about getting comfortable with a method, then finding out about some hidden pitfall and having to relearn everything from the bottom up... And as usual, I end up overthinking it instead of just getting in there and trying stuff out! :)

I do need a smaller brush, or at least another 15/0 (the smallest they had) and cut it down some more. The tip on this one looks bent and frayed already, though, so either I'm being too rough or the quality is crap. Also a proper lamp, and I think a magnifier would be REALLY useful - I keep taking off my glasses to paint a few strokes, then putting them back on so I can see to dip and wipe the brush properly... X-/ (That's me, squinting.) Time for another trip to IKEA... 

Blurry pic of brush tip in bad condition. 


Less surfing more painting

My modem died suddenly and unexpectedly last week, and even though the phone company sent out the replacement right away I still ended up spending the weekend without Internet access - or Walking Through The Valley Of The Shadow Of Death, as I assume kids today call it. Actually it turned out to be a good thing: I got to spend some time acquainting myself with the drawing app on my phone without the constant temptation of quicker and easier entertainment, and I actually made another attempt at a face-up. Still not there, but looking better. I've been looking at some good tutorials too, and that along with getting into digital painting for a few days was really good for finding a better approach. Lots of small, transparent lines seems to do the trick. 

(Sorry about the pupil-less WIP of horror.)

There's still a long way to go, but I'm beginning to get a feel for it. Up close it's still pretty messy, so I'm thinking maybe I should get a loupe - a cheap, weak-ish one should do it. (Don't tell me it's time for bifocals already - I'm not that old!) 

I'm not sure about this Liquitex brush-on varnish either. The paint (mainly Liquitex Ink!) seems to be staining through it, at least faintly. It's ok for practice, but I'll have to find a better solution before I start on the real projects. That most likely means MSC and a respirator, and I'd like to keep it simple and non-intimidating for now. 


January shopping

First post of the year! Yay! I've been meaning to post about my latest thrift store/clearance haul, but as usual I keep forgetting you can't take good photos when it's dark. At least not with this camera. I'm actually a bit disappointed - isn't iPhone supposed to be pretty good? My previous camera phone was getting on in age, but at least it would let you adjust the white balance manually. This phone just turns everything yellow or bright blue as soon as the lighting isn't perfect. Maybe it's time I tried to build one of those light boxes I've seen people use? 

As I've probably mentioned, the torso-jointed Fashionistas seem to be disappearing, and I still needed one for poor disembodied Diva (who lost hers to Christie Brinkley a few months ago). I'd been putting it off for more interesting purchases, thinking Fashionistas would be around a few years at least (because why go back to less articulation, you know?), but apparently Mattel had other plans. 

I'd been planning to try and find one for cheap during the clearance sales around New Year, but for some reason all the toy chains were having big sales before Christmas this year (sorry, LAST year!). I guess times must be bad for retail? I wasn't sure if they were still having the traditional sale as well, and when I found out they were indeed I still didn't have a chance to go into town until last Friday. 

By then I figured the good stuff was probably long gone, but I might as well take a look. In order to get the most out of my subway fare I stopped by a couple of my favorite thrift stores too. The first one was scraped bare, but the second one had some great stuff. 

The toy shelves were unusually well-stocked. I passed on a bunch of boring Barbies, a molded plastic lavender armchair,  and a kitchen section in white and lavender with to few moving parts to be any fun. There was also a shapeless table plus two chairs? footstools? barstools? I honestly couldn't tell what they were supposed to be. No thanks. Also white and lavender - I'm not sure if they belonged to the kitchen set or if lavender has just succeeded Barbie Pink(tm) as the Default Girly Toy Color. But look what I found that didn't have a hint of lavender on it: 


A really nice fridge! The front has an elegant curve and all the shelves are removable. The door is slightly yellowed and there's a minor (factory?) damage/ugly visible glue on top, but in great condition otherwise. I first thought it was a bit low for Barbie, but it's definitely too big for a dollhouse, and a search on ebay turned up 1/6 refrigerators of all shapes and sizes, so I guess she'll just have to bend over to reach the ice machine.

I also found these chairs that, apart from being awesome (the folding chairs are fully functional! I love functional Barbie props!), are also two completely different shades lavender, further supporting my theory. But as I said, they're awesome, so I can live with tht.

At this point realized I needed a basket. I went to get one and when I came back another customer had turned up and was going through the bins I'd just cleaned out, lavender kitchen section in hand. Five minutes later and I might have gone home empty-handed! Let's hope she was satisfied with her finds (and that she was just another adult collector and not buying a late Christmas gift for a sick child or something... OK, now I feel bad. But those are the rules of thrift store shopping).

I also found some furniture that's definitely dollhouse scale, but too cute to pass up: 

An incomplete IKEA dollhouse set, a bit scratched but nothing too bad. That ABS plastic will probably outlast us all.

A couple of ...school desk thingys, whatever you call those. Fits Shelley/Kelly. Also a couple of educational toys that look like they might belong together, but I'm not sure. The stamp on the bottom says M&C, the desks have no markings.

But the best is yet to come, and I aaaaalmost missed it. Just as I was about to leave I noticed another bin on the floor under the shelves and decided to have a look. It turned out to be full of plastic dinosaurs and farm animals - and this: 


A 1/6 scale easel! 

It's nothing big, or expensive, or probably even hard to find in the age of ebay, but I've wanted one ever since I realized they existed. I never expected to just stumble upon one like this, though! Since I paint myself, I thought realistic 1/6 scale art supplies would be really cool to have, and I was so disappointed in the weird looking easel in the I Can Be... An Art Teacher set. 

I'm not even sure where this is from, maybe a Fashion Avenue set? Didn't they have some pretty good realistic props? All I've found out so far is you can buy one here for just a little more than mine cost. I would, but I'd have to buy about twenty of'em before the international shipping charges would start making sense - and I totally would, but they didn't have that many. It would have been fun, though: I could set up a proper atelier for my dolls, with Cool Kevin as a nude model (I'm sure he wouldn't take much convincing).

By contrast, the toy stores initially proved to be a disappointment. Big Fancy Department Store (which I only ever visit when there's a sale because their prices are ridiculous) had nothing but a Suspicious Big Empty Space right where they usually put the clearance items, and I began to fear the worst. They did have a couple of Lottie dolls at 50% off hidded away on a shelf, but not the one I wanted.

Finally heading over to Big Toy Store Chain, I found even more big empty spaces, and some rather empty looking shelves to boot. I did find out they still sell the I Can Be... A Fashion Model 2-pack (with the jointed torsos). They were on sale before Christmas, and I was kicking myself for not getting them then. I didn't feel they were worth it at full price, but felt reassured knowing they were an option at least.

By now it was nearing closing time and I was about ready to call it a day, but for some reason I decided to take a look at Big Toy Store Chain's Other, Slightly Smaller Store located in the basement of Not Quite As Fancy Department Store a couple of blocks away. And I'm really glad I did, because they had an actual clearance sale. You know, when stuff is so cheap you feel like it's actually worth it as opposed to a-bit-cheaper-but-still-kind-of-expensive? This store is pretty small and they must have been desperate for shelf space (for Ever After High, perhaps? I've still only seen then in online stores here) because they had a bunch of Life In The Dreamhouse dolls for about 60% off! Score!! 

The loot!

I got a Summer (for her body and clothes), and briefly considered another Midge since mine has those annoying unlevel rooted lashes, but in the end I couldn't resist smirky Raquelle. I've been telling myself I don't really want a Raquelle, at least not that bad, but come on. That face mold? If Midge hadn't stolen my heart she would have been my favorite hands down. 

"Hey! No midnight snacking!"

The last Fashionista boys wihout leg articulation were on clearance too, so I got one that had boots I liked. I'll see if I keep him, though. I was not impressed with his wrist articulation, but I didn't have the Ryan mold before. He's sticking around for now at least. 

"Well, at least my arms aren't yellow!" 
"I keep telling you, it's the camera... Well, mainly."

So that's my latest shopping adventure. All in all a great haul, I'd say. Diva is no longer a floating head, and has several new chairs on which to park her new butt. 

"...and then we chopped her head off and took all her stuff!"
"We sure did!"

Wow, that was a long post. It reminds me a bit of that Monty Python skit with the guy who wished to hear more fairy tales about the police - except in this case it would be me telling extremely longwinded fairy tales about doll shopping and tiny easels and such, and John Cleese would not be involved in any way. Well, I love reading about other people's finds and bargains, so maybe it's not such a bad idea after all. 

"And so you shall!"