Saturday 22 October 2011


I waited 3 years after I started sewing to open up my commission thread, even though people kept telling me that I should.

It was mostly because I didn't think my sewing was good enough, but also things like: 'I need better pictures', 'I need a better layout', 'I need better patterns', 'I need a better way to record orders', etc. I was second guessing myself left right and centre so even when I finally decided, 'Okay, I think I'm good enough... let's do this', it took me months to finally get something decent put together, and I'm STILL not happy with it.


inEssence Banner 2010 - Mali - MiniFée Shushu
Okay I guess, but not quite right.


Looking back I realize that I should have just started it and let it evolve over time, but I am a crazy perfectionist... so I also realize it was very unlikely to happen.


Originally, I looked at the fact I had to close my thread early as a complete failure. Now, I'm trying to change that to something more akin to it being simply a failed experiment.
I plan to use my work on my collections so set a better baseline for prices and timing, since I'm not paying myself nearly enough for the amount of time I spend on everything.

I'm planning on opening up again in December for one or two slots, but until then I'm going to work on my collection. While I have the final intention of selling (almost) everything in it, the idea behind this collection and the pieces in it are things that I want and is made to cater to me and my tastes. I think as long as I think of it like that, as something I'm doing for myself, I won't get too overwhelmed and stressed about pleasing everyone else and maybe it will get done on time.

Hopefully I can have it completed and listed by April. Depending on how well that goes, and how much free time I think I have, I might open plushie commissions (things along the lines of the dog I posted earlier) in between everything.

I find them fun and relaxing, since they go together so fast and I don't have to spend weeks ensuring that the pattern fits perfectly, just that it doesn't look stupid or out of scale.

We'll see. Look out for updates here and on DoA. :)

Tuesday 18 October 2011


So, now that I'm embarking on this little shop 'for real', I figured it was time to get myself properly organized.

My sewing and doll stuff has always been the most organized part of my room (aside from my bookshelf) but as I'd recently moved, my previous system (categorized bins tucked under my bed) was a bit at odds with the new arrangement (no 'under the bed') and as such quickly fell apart and I found myself leaving bits and bobs all over the place and not being able to find what I needed easily.

Messy and disorganized... and somewhat painful when lost pins found their way into feet....

So, after much pondering about what the best solution might be, we ended up purchasing a rather tall storage shelf and some boxes. Now I have all of my fabrics in two bins - knits and 'not-knits' - threads in another, beads, trims, clays, shipping supplies etc. in others neatly organized on each of the five shelves... and the three in the little cabinet I kidnapped from the dining room... with everything I think I'll need for my upcoming project in another bin that I can easily cart around so I can work on it anywhere.

I'm not sure if it's going to stay this way, since the shelf and all of the boxes are completely full, but it looks like it will work for a while.

At least now I can stop worrying about where I left that roll of ribbon and concentrate on getting things done!

Friday 14 October 2011

Spring Collection

Jonas - Bisou Ai Bonbon
Isn't she a cutie?

This whole project idea started when I was trying to figure out what style of clothing Jonas would wear on a regular basis since the whole 'gothic lolita-type thing' wasn't working out. Her character is a slippery little thing, so it took quite a while, but I eventually came up with something based on the character that my Bisou Ai was originally going to be. Cute little girl dresses with light airy colours, ribbons and flowers and all that fun stuff.

And then... in traditional 'me-style'...

It spiralled completely out of control.




Anyway, spiralling out of control isn't always a bad thing. It means that your imagination can run wild and you can come up with hundreds of ideas to use in the future.

I've spent nearly a year thinking about this project and have pages and pages of written ideas and sketches, but recently I've spent some time paring down my ideas into something more cohesive and manageable that I can actually start (and hopefully finish).

I'm going to be working with 3 main colours: off-white, light blue and tan. Not the most diverse palette, but something that I can use to help ease me into working with muted colours. The theme will be something like... trendy meets mori-girl? I don't really know how to describe it... and that doesn't make much sense since mori is trendy right now.....


Let's just say it's inspired by Jonas's dress (as shown above), but with more grown up aspects for my bigger girls.

I plan to make it available in all the sizes I have easy access to (MiniFée, Little Junior, Petite Ai and Bisou Ai), but since there are other dolls in very similar sizes (e.g. Unoa Chibi, LittleFée, PukiFée etc.), I'm also going to see if I can get my hands on them to try things on and make adjustments if necessary.

I've mostly been working with MNF, so I think those patterns will be made up the quickest because I can alter things I already have - but the other sizes will be quite a challenge. And then making sure they fit countless other dolls on top of that...? I hope I haven't taken on more than I can handle.

Monday 10 October 2011

Thoughts and Aspirations

[warning: lots of text]

I've been dabbling in nearly every kind of artistic media for most of my life. It started with the typical crayons and markers and has moved through everything from pencils to pastels to paint, woodworking, sculpting, digital art, jewellery making, fashion design and nearly everything in between.
I tend to prefer bright, bold colours (as might be evidenced by my choice of theme) and generally find chic, minimalistic designs with clean lines most attractive and natural.
It's rather upsetting since there are a number of highly detailed works of art with muted colour schemes that simply take my breath away, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to work with high levels of detail and embellishments or muted colours.
When it comes to art and sewing, I also have horrible time management skills. I tend to be either very easily distracted jumping from project to project and focussing on whatever strikes my fancy or so doggedly focussed on whatever it is I'm doing that I neglect other important aspects of my life (e.g. eating).

While this has allowed me to become well acquainted with a wide variety of different media, it also means that I rarely finish what I set out to do in a reasonable time period. It is especially true when you consider how much of a perfectionist I am and how long I generally take to finish even the smallest of artistic works. The prolonged period between the beginning and end of most projects has restricted my output of many of the kinds of artwork I have long wanted to master. In the last few years my sewing has improved but my photography, painting, drawing and sculpting skills have been languishing.

My hope is that by having a project with so many different parts, I can practice multiple skills and jump from mini-project to mini-project while still progressing towards one end.
One of the things that I love about collecting and customizing ball-jointed dolls is that they are an amalgamation of so many different artistic endeavours. If you want to be able to show off a doll or their character they way you envision them in your mind, then all of your artistic abilities need to be at a level that will allow you to do so, or, you need to find someone else who can compensate for the skills you do not currently possess.

Therefore, I have decided that I am going to try to work on a few of the areas in which I find myself lacking.
  • Muted Colour Schemes
  • Experimenting with different colour palettes is really the only way I will get better at using these types of colours. I have decided that my first big project, and one of the real reasons I started this blog in the first place will be centred around working with these colours.
  • Time Management
  • I'm hoping this can be helped by maintaining a regular(-ish) update schedule here and possibly on other sites as well.
  • Speed
  • Hopefully, more diligent practising and streamlining my production will allow me to gradually increase my working speed over time. I don't expect an overnight miracle, but if I want to have any hope of being able to fulfil my dream of opening a viable doll clothing and accessories shop (not one that I have to close for months on end or one where I'm paying myself pennies an hour) this needs to be a constant priority.
  • Photography, staging and posing
  • Photography is another one of those things that can really only be improved with practice and careful observation. Since I refuse to take any classes, my plan is to ensure I take ample photographs while I am working and when I complete a project. I plan to construct a light box to help me ensure I am always working with good lighting as well as deconstructable stages where I can take photos of my dolls and my work instead of relying on whatever my living room floor has to offer.

There are many other things I hope to improve in the future, but for now, these six are my main objectives. The big project I mentioned will be outlined in my next post and who knows where it will go from there.