Google+ BJDs for Beginners

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The book is now available on Amazon.com



We're thrilled to announce our book is now available for purchase on Amazon.com. The Look Inside feature is now available, so you can have a sneak peek as well!

Don't forget--our $5 off the retail price of $35 expires August 31, 2011, but this coupon (6MYWJBH2) only works through the CreateSpace store directly. Enter it in the coupon code space when you check out.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Trick for getting S-hooks over elastic loops

I was struggling with restringing the other day--I was trying to show a neighborhood teen how easy it was, and it was a little early for an alcoholic beverage (plus, it wouldn't have set a very good example, quite frankly)--and I was using the last elastic I had on hand, which was too large for my MSD-sized doll. (Stupid, stupid, stupid. Always use the right tools for the job.)

At any rate, I was able to make it work, and I came across a trick for getting the tiny hand hooks through large loops of elastic that I had to share.

Instead of trying to "hook" the open end of the S shape onto the elastic loop at the end of the wrist or ankle joint, this is what you need to try:

  1. Make certain that you have the loop held in place with you hemostats at the ankle or wrist.
  2. Push one half of the S-hook through the loop of elastic.
  3. Twist the S-hook up, and it will magically slide onto the loop, through the middle of the S, rather than through the end of the S.
This allows you to hook the loop onto the elastic without wearing down the end of the elastic, or worrying about having to open the S hook more. It's a fun little trick!

I actually did this with the hand already attached to the hook, so it was a cinch to get the doll's hand in place. Give it a try, and tell me what you think. Have you all been doing this for years, and I just figured it out?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The DollHeart Fer and you

Detailed shot of DollHeart's Black Fer coat. Gorgeous fabric, teeny tiny button. Only one is buttoned.
The DollHeart Fer belongs in every large ball-jointed doll girl's wardrobe. It is, simply put, a work of art. In the book, I briefly described the Fer as: a "type of outfit (long ruffled dress with a hooded, long ruffled cape) manufactured by DollHeart. Some DollHeart dealers sell exclusive colored Fers, created by DollHeart."

View of the coat
That description simply doesn't do the Fer justice. Now, after a glass of wine and spending 20 minutes putting on a single glove (for the third or fourth time), I'd love to delve more deeply into my confusing love/hate relationship with the Fer.

Each Fer outfit includes the following pieces:
  • cotton dress, with a tank top shaped bodice and drop-waisted partial circle skirt, trimmed with unfinished edged ruffles
  • coordinating petticoat to support the skirt's volume
  • coordinating coat, made with a horizontal lace/ribbon-like fabric, with a pointed hood and asymmetric buttoned front with about a bazillion button closure
  • pair of matching chiffon fingerless gloves, which lace all the way up to the doll's upper arms
  • coordinating choker
The Fer is available in a monochromatic color scheme, black or white being the most common, and other colors (dusty rose, light pink, coral, wine, indigo and purple) being available as exclusive editions or special events. The retail usually ranges between $90-120, depending on the edition size, for a large BJD. They are available in mini and tiny sizes, as well.

When I first saw a Fer in an owner photo, I thought the outfit simply beautiful. I didn't rush out to buy one--I mean, I didn't add it to my BJD priority list spreadsheet. However, I confess when my friend Melissa showed me the one she had in real life, I was blown away. DollHeart's quality is usually amazing; to see the workmanship in the Fer is a whole 'nother story. I was in love. Priority spreadsheet aside, I pre-ordered the Black Fer from DollHeart for my Peak's Woods princesses. I ignored Melissa's comments about the buttons on the Fer's coat and lacing the gloves--considering that she perhaps might be an impatient BJD collector, forever changing her doll collecting (by selling them to me).

When my black version arrived, I was equally impressed. The dress went on easily and fit my large bust Peak's Woods girl like a glove. The petticoat equally so. Next, to get the lacing gloves to fit, I tried:
  • sliding them on,
  • removing my girl's hand, putting the hand in the glove, and then slipping the sleeve up her arm,
  • unlacing the glove (this is the worst idea of all!),
  • relacing the glove, and, finally,
  • sliding the glove, slowly and gently, up my girl's arm for the second time.
Then, I had to do the other arm. I had to go to the medicine cabinet and take a legal chill pill. Fortunately, only the coat was the last piece left. That's when I saw the many teeny, tiny buttons, which required my reading glasses to see. So, I put on my glasses, put the coat on the doll (which covered up the damned gloves), and proceeded to take 15 minutes to button a single button.

Peak's Woods Segi, wearing the Fer without coat
We'll just say Sonja wore the Fer for quite a while without the coat, and she loved it.

I did eventually get the rest of the buttons done: the fabric with the buttons holes is enforced and a little stiff, and you have to be very careful not to accidentally lose a button while you're doing them up, which would then require sewing! However, Sonja looked lovely with the coat. The hood is adorable. The black fabric did not stain my white resin doll.

After trying the outfit on two other dolls (the latest was this evening), I came up with a brilliant solution: next time, I'm going to remove my doll's head, and keep the Fer on the body. I'll just pop on a different  head, and save myself two hours of delightful (or not) dressing time! Who even cares if the resin matches? Is it worth my health and eye sight?

I do have to say, the outfit is beautiful--probably the most beautiful outfit I own. Well, one of the most beautiful, if I didn't feel like the Fer had a personal vendetta against me.

I have to admit: if I found an indigo or purple (maybe it was called Iris?) version, I wouldn't hesitate to buy a second one!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Identifying Peak's Woods FOC sculpts

Sleeping Cue, no longer available. Notice Cue's pointed chin.
    Sleeping Yami

A refresher: FOC = Fairy of Color. That's the term Peak's Woods uses for their large ball-jointed doll.


A quick pointer, if you have the doll in person: Peak's Woods usually stamps their head sculpts on the inside of the head, both the name of the doll and the year it was first made. This is the easiest way to get the doll's name.

How to identify a Peak's Woods doll FOC head


Look at the doll's eyes. If the doll's eyes are completely closed, you need to email me right away and send me that head. If the mouth is open, you have a Sleeping Yami. If the mouth is closed, you have a Sleeping Cue. These sculpts were only available through DollHeart years ago, and haven't been available for a while. I've wanted one forever, and have been pestering Peak's Woods to make a new (or older) sleeping sculpt for a while. (You can sometimes see these girls, especially Sleeping Cue, modeling DollHeart outfits.)

Yulli
If the doll's eyes are partly closed, look at her lips. If her lips are open, look at her chin. If her chin is pointed (like a triangle), you have Wake-Up Cue. If she has a slight overbite, high cheekbones and nose is just a little pinched at the end, this is Wake-Up Goldie. If her cheeks are full, her eyes are large and wide set, and her nose is very turned up, you've got Yeru the Soul. If her cheeks are very full and her upper lip sticks out farther than her lower lip (as though she has an overbite), this is Wake-Up Lottie.

Now, ignore the eyes for a moment, and look at the lips. If the doll has an open mouth, this is Viyol, Yami or Yulli. Viyol's face is angular, and she has a pointed chin. When you look at her from the top, her face is angled. Her lips are full, and she has heavy eye lids. Yami and Yulli look very similar and are the hardest to tell apart, in my opinion. The differences I see: Yami's eyes are wider set, and her chin is more defined. Her eye lids are wider than Yulli's. Yulli's mouth is open a little wider, her upper lip is less defined, and her nose is more upturned. Her cheeks are fuller and she has a more innocent look.

If you haven't found your doll yet, look at your doll's eyes again. If they are large, you probably have either Skiya, Cue or Yeru. Skiya can wear either 18-20mm, and she can have an almost smiling (or at least serene) expression on her face. Her nose is only slightly upturned. Cue is easily identified by her pointed chin and large forehead. Her nose is very straight. Yeru can be recognize by her 20mm eyes and her upturned nose. Her eye sculpt is also very round at the top and flatter on the botton. Yeru is very young and sweet looking.
Yami

Seven sculpts remain. Let's examine the lips again. If you see an obvious overbite with full cheeks, you probably have either Lavin or Lottie in your hands. Lottie looks younger and has a full round face, like a young girl or a fairy. (If your doll has a face-up, there are two versions: the face-up with browns, golds and yellow eye shading is Lottie Real. The face with nose blushing, browns and neutral eyes is Lottie Ani.) Lavin's face is also young, but her eye sculpt allows her to look slightly more realistic. Her face is more heart-shaped and thinner at the temples.

Lavin as some similar features to Briana. Her lips are similar, but Briana is much more realistic. Her eyes are smaller than the other Peak's Woods sculpts, and her nose is slightly bigger. Her lips are puckered in a real "kiss" shape. The two face-up versions are Sweet Milk (in neutral, lighter shades with light lips) and Sweet Dark (darker eyes and lips). The next "realistic" sculpt is Segi. She is seen less frequently, but is very versatile. She has larger eyes than Briana, and her face is rounder. Segi's eyes are deeply set, and an interestingly shaped stretched oval.

The last three sculpts are Goldie (one of Peak's Woods most popular), Mintie and Sky. Goldie's nose is upturned and slightly pinched at the end, her eyes are wide set, and her mouth is full and pouty. Mintie's eyes are wider set, large, and her nose is slightly upturned at the end. She has a realistic chin and full cheeks. Her expression might be serene or pouty. Sky is a very pouty thing. She's haughty and gorgeous. She has deeply set eyes, an upturned nose, a rounded chin, and a much softer face shape than the other Peak's Woods dolls. Her eye shape sags in the middle.
    I hope this helps. If you have a question about a face sculpt, feel free to drop me a line or leave a comment.

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    It's published!

    BJDs for Beginners by alington
    BJDs for Beginners, a photo by alington on Flickr.
    Hooray! It's finished, and ready to be ordered!

    You can order directly through the website here and have it shipped directly to you.

    The listed retail price is $35, but use the code EXB3X2RR (upon checkout) for a special $10.00 off, valid only through the end of this month (June)!

    If you have any problems, please let me know. This title is for sale in the US and internationally.

    You can download a rather large Preview here.

    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    Introducing Viyol

    Viyol in Bubbles by alington
    Viyol in Bubbles, a photo by alington on Flickr.
    Another recent arrival is Peak's Woods Viyol. She is also a Fairy of Color and stands 58 cm tall (about 22.5"). She's a white skin BJD, and she has a custom face-up. I requested make-up similar to "The Glamour" dolls, which were released last year.

    I bought the head and body of this doll separately, which, when white resin is involved, can be a little iffy due to resin yellowing and matching issues. But I knew the seller and trusted her and wasn't disappointed.

    Viyol is one of the earliest sculpts, but you don't see many of these girls online. I think she is highly underrated! I love her open mouth, and her eyes are set quite far back in her head, which gives her a unique (almost vacant) look.

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Introducing my Peak's Woods girls

    Lavin by alington
    Lavin, a photo by alington on Flickr.
    This is our cover girl, Lavin. She's is the newest Fairy of Color from Peak's Woods, and one of my top favorites. Her sculpt is slightly exaggerated, due to her oversized eyes.

    Here, she is dressed in Vampire Bride (LE40) by DollHeart, available only from the GoGa convention from 2008 (I think). The wig is also by DollHeart, and is still available to order. Her glass eyes are Honey by Mint On Card.

    Further reading

    Some other books I can recommend, available from Amazon.com:




    Sources used in the book

    Here is the list of resources listed on page 125 of the book. The links should be active, though some will require an invitation to Den of Angels to access them. If you need one, here is a link on how to retrieve an invitation.




    American BJD Forum americanbjds.forumotion.com
    BJD Collectasy www.bjdcollectasy.com
    Boutique Doll    www.boutiquedoll.com
    Den of Angels www.denofangels.com
    Denver Doll Emporium www.denverdoll.com
    The DollPage www.dollpage.com
    Doll Community Feedback Forum dollcommunityfeedbackboard.yuku.com
    Fashion Doll Review www.fashiondollreview.com
    FroggyDuds www.froggyduds.com
    GingerLime Designs http://tinyurl.com/gingerlime
    JennyGrey Designs http://jennygrey.etsy.com
    Kemper Dolls www.kemperdolls.com
    Mint on Card www.mintoncardinc.com
    Peak’s Woods www.peakswoods.com
    Shuga-Shug’s Blog www.shugashug.com
    Still Plays With Dolls www.stillplays.com
    Zone of Zen www.zoneofzen.net

    Your first BJD - supplies and where to find them

    Wondering where to find that list of supplies I so handily presented to you on page 56? Let me give you some hints:

    From the drugstore (store brand will do):
    • Magic Eraser
    • Mack's silicone ear plugs (don't get the orange color--only clear silicone)
    • Dr. Scholl's moleskin plus
    • Super glue
    • Face mask
    • Rubbing alcohol or 100% acetone
    • Superfine black water soluble marker
    • False eyelashes
    • Chopsticks (or save an unused pair from your next take-out)
    Medical supply or fishing supply store:
    • Hemostats (curved or straight tips are OK--I'd pick up a pair of each, if possible)
    Craft supply store:
    • Small sharp scissors
    • Pipe cleaners (white)
    • Jewelry grade sand paper, at least 220 grit and 400 grit
    • Pliers (or a clean pair from the garage)
    • High quality chalk pastels - use a 50% off coupon
    • High quality large round brush
    • Smaller high quality angled brush
    • Tiny high quality round brush (like a size #1)
    • Watercolor pencils - use a 50% off coupon
    • Liquitex gloss medium
    • Aleene's Fast Grab Tacky Glue with the purple label
    Junkyspot
    • Mr. Superclear, UV Cut
    • Extra elastic or their own restring kits
    Mint on Card
    • Restring kits
    • Glass eyes - the best prices!
    • Clothing and shoes - really good prices 
    Kemper Dolls
    • Elastic, sold in yard increments
    • Restring tool(s)
    Kemper has pricey shipping, so use them when you're buying a lot of stuff, or doing a group order with friends. They carry a nice variety of good quality but inexpensive wigs, eyes, and shoes as well.

    How to contact me...

    The best way to get a hold of me is comment on this blog, leave a comment for me on the Fashion Doll Review or else send me a message through Facebook or Flickr Mail. If you bought the book, you also have a secret email address you can use as well.

    If you have general comments, like other links you'd like to see here, please let me know. I love to hear from you! 

    As a general update on the book, my (third and hopefully final) proof should arrive today. I should be able to approve it and then approve it for sale. I'll keep you updated!

    Getting connected online

    Here are direct links to the free (at least for a limited number of photos) hosting sites referred to, beginning on page 110. Please be sure to read the fine print before you sign up with any of them--especially Photobucket's.
    There are a lot of others, as well. You simply have to do a search on Google to find "free photo hosting site." I think I can insert a custom search box for you here.




    Custom Search

    Facebook page links

    From page 116 of the book, Ball-Jointed Dolls for Beginners, I've listed a few Facebook Pages related to BJDs as well. To keep up-to-date with what's going on with me and my writing, the one I do highly recommend you follow (if you're on Facebook) is the Fashion Doll Review's fan page. Or you can simply subscribe to (follow) this blog and the Fashion Doll Review, for your best bet.

    Have your own ball-jointed doll-related Facebook page? Let me know--leave me a comment, and I'll post a link!



    Facebook Page
    Description
    Convention Cancelled
    All BJDs Welcome Here convention
    Berdine Creedy’s company page
    BJD Convention - Central CA
    BJD Convention site - Texas 2012
    BJD fan page
    DollWhy’s company page - clothing & accessories 
    Fashion Doll Review’s fan page
    Featherfall, a Canadian company’s Facebook page
    Free online magazine for the BJD community
    Goodreau Doll LLC’s company page
    JennyGrey’s company page

    A tidbit fact on the cover art for the book.

    Peak's Woods Goldie,
    in Val Zeitler's Under the Boardwalk
    Have you been following me on the Fashion Doll Review about the progress of this book? Do you remember the first draft's cover art? It featured this lovely photo of Goldie, Fairy of Color by Peak's Woods, dressed in a Val Zeitler/DollHeart fashion called Under the Boardwalk.

    Perhaps you've noticed it's changed a little bit since that first proof was printed. Interested in why?

    Even if you aren't, here it is:

    I actually traded this doll, my very first Goldie, with my editor, Melissa. I already own a second Goldie (Val Zeitler's exclusive Claudine Belmont, with the vampire marks on her torso, also through Haute Doll magazine), and I couldn't justify keeping both dolls on hand.

    At one point, I even had a third Goldie, who was repainted by the artist Leah Lilly of Froggyduds. She was eventually traded with another friend in our group, named Kathie.

    At any rate, I changed the photo to a new one featuring Lavin, also by Peak's Woods, because I wanted to use a cover photo of a doll in my current collection, as lovely as Goldie is. So there you have it!

    Yahoo! Groups to Join

    There are many Yahoo! groups dedicated to BJD enthusiasts. I've made a short list of them on page 114. Here is the same list, in an active link format. The links should take you to the Join page.

    Notice a mistake in my link or a broken link? Have a Yahoo Group of your own to share? Add a comment!



    Group
    Description
    Friendly group open to all BJDs.
    All dolls are welcome. Sales OK on Sunday, but no links to eBay sales.
    Collectors of American BJDs. No eBay sales or personal doll sales allowed, but signature links  for your patterns and clothes are OK.
    Group for fans of Angell Studio BJDs
    Group dedicated to Angel of Dream BJDs
    Group dedicated to Ceberus Project dolls and Luts BJDs. This is a UK-based group, I believe.
    Group dedicated to anthro BJDs
    If you’re interested in creating your own BJD, check this group out.
    I think the name of the group describes itself!
    Colorado BJD collectors
    Group dedicated to those who create patterns for BJDs
    Berdine Creedy’s group. No sales allowed.
    For BJD collectors over the age of 40. Dolls must be resin and ball-jointed. Any place of origin.
    Denver Doll Emporium’s newsletter. They carry BJDs in stock, among other dolls. No sales allowed.
    Primarily focused on Volks Dollfie Dream (vinyl), this group welcomes all BJD collectors.
    A group dedicated to Rainman’s sculpts, produced by Elfdoll
    Group dedicated to the Garden of Dolls BJD company
    Happily Ever After’s newsletter. A dealer which carries American BJDs, Bishonen House and more.
    Kim Lasher’s group. No sales posts allowed, but there is a wish-list database.
    Group dedicated to Mini BJDs
    For all tiny Asian BJDs (and they mean LITTLE tinies)
    Especially for BJD collectors who live in north Texas.
    I’m sure they mean Our Miniature BJDs. ;) It’s a group dedicated to the tiniest of tinies.
    Discussion group for Japanese and Korean BJDs
    Group dedicated to Rainman’s Ryung and Sooah sculpts (Elfdoll)
    Group dedicated to those who like to sew for BJDs.
    Southern California group dedicated to Asian BJDs. Local meet-ups are scheduled here, and sales posts are allowed.
    Group dedicated to Supia Doll from Korea. No sales posts.
    New York, New Jersey and Connecticut BJD owners, this group is for you!
    Western PA (Pittsburgh locals) discussing meet-ups and chatting about BJDs.

    Realistic versus exaggerated features on BJDs

    This table can be found starting on page 28 of the book. These links should actually work and take you to the BJD companies directly.

    Again, please note:
    • Realistic means the head and body are proportioned approximately right, like a human.
    • Exaggerated means some of features, like the eyes, the lips or nose, might be larger or smaller than normal.
    • Fantasy means that tails, horns, wings, ears or other mythical parts are available.
    My list is merely a starting point. Feel free to add your own favorite companies at the end in the comments sections.


    Company
    Realistic 
    Exaggerated
    Fantasy
    Website
    5StarDoll

    X
    X
    Alchemic Laboratory
    X

    X
    Alice In Labyrinth
    X


    Angel of Dream (AOD)

    X
    X
    Angel Street
    X

    X
    Angel Toast

    X
    X
    Angelheim
    X

    X
    Angell Studio
    X

    X
    AngelsDoll
    X


    Another Secret
    X
    X

    AnotherSpace2

    X

    ariPina
    X


    Asleep Eidolon
    X
    X

    Astral In Rainbow

    X
    X
    Bambicrony

    X
    X
    Berdine Creedy
    X


    Bimong (Narin & Narae)
    X

    X
    Bishonen House
    X

    X
    Blue Blood Doll
    X


    Blue Fairy
    X
    X
    X
    Bo Bergemann BJD

    X
    X
    Bobobie
    X

    X
    Boy&Girl (B&G) Dolls

    X
    X
    Camellia Dynasty

    X
    X
    Castle Anne

    X

    Cherishdoll

    X

    Crobi Doll

    X

    CutieAngel

    X

    Dawn Donofrio Originals
    X


    Dear Mine


    X
    DikaDoll

    X
    X
    DIM (Doll in Mind)
    X
    X
    X
    Distant Memory
    X


    Dolkot

    X

    Doll Family – A
    X
    X
    X
    Doll Family – H
    X
    X
    X
    Doll Leaves

    X
    X
    Doll Stories

    X

    Doll-Love

    X
    X
    DollFactory
    X
    X
    X
    Dollmore
    X
    X
    X
    DollnDoll

    X
    X
    Dolls Town
    X
    X

    DollShe Craft
    X


    Dollstol

    X

    DollZone
    X
    X
    X
    Domadoll
    X
    X

    Domuya
    X

    X
    DragonDoll
    X
    X

    Dream of Doll

    X
    X
    DreamingDoll
    X
    X

    Elfdoll
    X

    X
    Elysium doll
    X
    X

    FairyGarden

    X
    X
    Fairyland
    X
    X
    X
    Fantasiation

    X

    Fantasy Doll

    X

    Garden of Dolls

    X
    X
    Glorydoll
    X

    X
    Goodreau Doll Lab
    X
    X
    X
    HTT Dolls

    X

    Hypermaniac
    X


    I-Doll Studio
    X


    Immortality of Soul
    X

    X
    ImpDoll

    X

    IMPLDoll
    X
    X
    X
    Infiniti Doll

    X

    IpleHouse
    X

    X
    Island Doll

    X
    X
    ixtee (ixDOLL)

    X

    Jaime Doll

    X
    X
    Jakzjewelz

    X

    JAMIEshow
    X

    X
    JIE-Doll

    X
    X
    Jpopdolls

    X
    X
    KazeKidz

    X
    X
    Kim Lasher BJDs

    X
    X
    KizDolls
    X

    X
    La Legende de Temps
    X
    X
    X
    Latidoll

    X
    X
    Leeke World
    X
    X
    X
    LINA ChouChou

    X

    Little Monica
    X
    X

    LoongSoul

    X
    X
    Lume Doll
    X
    X

    Luts

    X
    X
    Marti Presents
    X


    Mecha Angel
    X


    Musedoll

    X

    Napi Doll


    X
    nDoll
    X
    X
    X
    Nine9 Style

    X

    Nobility Doll
    X
    X

    Notdoll Lab

    X
    X
    Ocean Moon

    X

    Olleaf

    X

    Or-Doll
    X

    X
    Peak’s Woods

    X
    X
    Pipos

    X
    X
    PixyDoll

    X

    PlanetDoll
    X

    X
    Pluto Dolls
    X


    POPO Doll

    X
    X
    R.A.On Dream
    X


    Raurencio Studio
    X
    X
    X
    ResinSoul
    X

    X
    Ringdoll

    X
    X
    RosenLied

    X

    Rosette School of Dolls

    X

    Secretdoll

    X

    SinyLand
    X

    X
    Slinky Neko

    X

    Soom Emporium
    X
    X
    X
    Soul Doll
    X

    X
    Spirit Doll

    X

    Sseiren Doll
    X


    Ssin (Joadoll)

    X

    Sugarble

    X
    X
    SupiaDoll

    X

    SWITCH (formerly Sonyeongi)

    X

    The Gem (Soom)
    X
    X
    X
    The Old World
    X
    X
    X
    The Sleeping Elf

    X
    X
    Volks USA
    X
    X

    Weepy Doll

    X

    WithDoll

    X
    X
    Yuusui's Doll Workshop
    X
    X