Monthly Archives: September 2014

Arachnid Guy

My husband spent some time this morning playing with our baby. During this time, he finally noticed the Spider Man action figure I bought a few weeks ago. He thought it was cool at first, but then he said it was probably a cheap knock-off action figure. He was suspicious because the torso was blue instead of red and the spider logo was the wrong shape and orientation. We joked around and said it was probably sold under the name Arachnid Guy at a dollar store (he doesn’t look at all like Spader-Man, but I can totally see him hanging out with Robert Cop).

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His authenticity doesn’t make any difference to me because I am going to turn him into a fabulous monster. Still, I thought it was amusing and wanted to share. I am currently doing a practice outfit because working with tiny yarn in a dark color is harder than I anticipated. I will get something posted as soon as I am done, and then I will start posting about pieces made for Cofelia. Until then, long live Arachnid Guy!!

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And The Winner Is….

Here it is! I have finally decided who the first doll will be in the Barbie Who? Project. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I am confident that it is the right decision for me. The first doll will be Cofelia, also known as Miss Foster, from the episode Partners in Crime.

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Partners in Crime introduces us to Adipose Industries and their miracle weight loss drug that makes the fat just walk away. What they don’t tell customers is that the fat is transformed into alien Adipose children. The cute, little Adipose children are then collected and sent to their waiting parents on the Adipose 3 home world. Cofelia is the head of Adipose Industries and matron to the pudgy aliens. I won’t dive any further into it for the sake of spoilers, but this episode is a fantastic adventure.

Why Cofelia? Well, there are several reasons. First, she has blonde hair and blue eyes. Most Barbie dolls that I’ve found are blonde with blue eyes. It makes sense for me to make a character who matches a doll that I have a surplus of. If I mess up and ruin the doll, I have others I can fall back on. Since dolls with other hair and eye colors are harder to come by, I want to be more skilled before I work with then.

Beyond looks, the other two characters I seriously considered would have been more challenging in other ways. Tegan was cut because of her hair (pun intended). Her short hair would be difficult for me to replicate on a Barbie doll. Polly wasn’t chosen because she is from the black-and – white era. It is hard to get a good read on the colors to use with her outfits because of this. I want to create something that is true to the series, so it will require more research on my part before I create any characters from the early years of the show. Right now, I don’t have the time to do that.

That leaves us with Cofelia. She won’t be without challenges herself, but I feel like they are more within my reach. The two biggest curve balls for this doll will be making her glasses and doing her hair. Cofelia’s hair is in a French twist. I don’t have any combs that are her size, so I will have to improvise in some way. The glasses are black frames, so I am hoping I can make a decent rendition with polymer clay. I looked on eBay, and Barbie glasses are relatively expensive. A single pair can cost $2-$5 from the cheap sellers. Yikes! Hopefully I can DIY something at a lower cost. I have considered polymer clay and plastic canvas for the job. I will keep you posted on how it works out.

In addition to that, I would also like to make a to-scale Adipose or two as accessories. I could do this in one of two ways. First, there is micro-crochet. Micro-crochet is when you use tiny crochet needles and thread to create miniature stuffed animals. I have seen pictures of creations, but I have never tried it myself. I may try my hand at it to make an Adipose. The second option is to model them out of polymer clay. This may be the easier of the two choices. We shall see which option I choose in a few weeks.

This is the plan! All that is left to do is the crafting. I have to prep the doll, crochet the clothes, and make the accessories. I look forward to making the crafty updates.

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Egg Head

As none-of-you probably know, I live near a military base. I occasionally go to the thrift store on base, and it my favorite place to find dolls for this project. I like their dolls because they tend to be more recent and don’t have a price written in Sharpie on them. I found two Rapunzel dolls (from the movie Tangled) and several others that I suspect are Disney princesses while shopping at that store. I’ve even found some cool doll clothes, including the outfit Barbie wore in Toy Story 3. It is a fantastic little shop!

I went there earlier today because I was running errands and they were open (they have crazy rotating hours and always seem to be closed when I’m on base). I was looking through a bin of Happy Meal toys when I found something I can use! It is a toy fairy tale egg, probably from one of those Shrek movies. I plan on using his head to create a Sontaran. This almost makes me wish I hadn’t passed up that headless Ken doll I saw at GoodWill last week….. Almost.

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As you know, Sontarans are a race of bloodthirsty aliens. They have appeared on Doctor Who off and on since the 70’s. I enjoyed their appearance alongside Donna, Martha, and the 10th Doctor in episodes “The Sontaran Stratagem” and “The Poison Sky”. In those episodes, the Sontarans are trying to turn Earth into a clone world. Needless to say, the doctor and his companions pulled through and life on our planet carried on.

To recreate these beasts, I can either cut up the figure I purchased and use it for the head, or I can use the head as a guide to create something out of clay. Making a clay head would be more ambitious, but I am not the greatest at making things look sharp with polymer clay. Still, if I go the clay route I could easily make more than one head – perhaps having different expressions on each one. It is up in the air, for now. I will make a more definitive decision when I get around to making one. I can promise one thing, though: the first doll will certainly not be a Sontaran. I have something special planned for the first addition to Barbie Who?

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The First Doll

After months of prepping, I am finally ready to make the first doll. The only real question is which character to recreate? With over 50 years of stories, there is no shortage of options.

I have considered recreating Female Nudist from the episode Gridlock and calling it a day, but I have more ambition than that. More serious possibilities are Polly, Tegan, and Cofelia. I have found patterns similar to the outfits that they wear, so I can get my feet wet before creating original patterns. The main problem is that I don’t have the proper color of yarn. All three would require black yarn for part of their outfits. Also, I lack any doll shoes to complete their outfits. Little details, right?

Well, I am going to take the plunge. I just purchased a small lot of Barbie shoes from a random Chinese seller on eBay. I spent $1.50 USD for 20 pairs of doll shoes, which is a great deal when you consider US sellers charge that much per pair. The shipping will take a few weeks, but I am excited for it. I also purchased some black yarn the last time I went to the hobby shop. Now I have zero excuses! You can expect the next few updates to detail which character I choose, prepping the doll, and creating of her outfit. I may also create some accessories to match! It will be fun to see where this goes now that I have all my ducks in a row.

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My Spidey Senses Are Tingling

Earlier today, I had an impromptu trip into town. It happened because my husband asked if we wanted to meet him for lunch. He is taking classes, so he gets home after the baby falls asleep most nights. Because of this, I meet him for lunch whenever he has time for it. I think it’s good for the kiddo to see him, and it’s a nice break from my routine. Everybody wins.

While we were out, I stopped at the hobby store and the thrift store. At the hobby store, I bought some new yarn needles and black yarn. I was also tempted to buy pretty much everything else in the store. There is just so much potential!

Afterwards, we went to the thrift store and I found a bunch of wooden letters. At first I didn’t think much of it, but when I looked closer I realized that they almost spelled my daughter’s name. Almost. It was off by one letter. So discouraging! I just bought the first letter of her name; I know I can’t make and probably couldn’t find a cursive letter that would match the other letters. Still, it’s a cool find. I haven’t decided if I want to put it in her room or hang it on her door. Decisions!

I also found two male dolls! They are the first gents to join the harem of lady dolls I’ve found. But there’s a catch…. The first doll is male, but he is also Spider Man. Yep, I am now the proud owner of a Spidey doll. Obviously, I can’t turn him into one of the Doctors, but I know he will be useful.

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The second doll is also a gent, but he is a child. While I never considered children as part of the project, he distinctly reminds me of a certain boy who is looking for his mum. Yep, I’m going there. This doll will become Jaimie from the episode The Empty Child.

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The Empty Child is one of the most iconic episodes of Doctor Who. It is an adventure with Rose and the Ninth Doctor in WWII era London. The episode introduces Captain Jack and gives us the creepy line “Are you my mummy?” There is absolutely no doubt that I will transform this doll into that little boy.

Spidey doesn’t have nearly as much certainty in his future. He will have to become something with an entirely different face, such as a Cyberman, an Ood, or a Silurian. Until then, he seems to be enjoying life as the only single guy mingling amongst the ladies.

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It was a great outing! I am pleased with the dolls I found, and I am excited to start making clothes for the first doll I am transforming for this project. I still hope I have the first one done before the month is out!

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Thrift Shopping

Ahhhhhhhh! I keep meaning to write this blog post, but distractions are everywhere. Sometimes it feels like everything in my life is trying to keep me from being productive. First the pantry flooded, then the baby caught a stomach bug, and now my husband needs help with a class he is taking. Plus people keep visiting from afar! More people from Nebraska have visited me in the last two weeks than have visited all summer. Needless to say, I am not taking it with as much grace as I’m capable. Alas! I digress. On to the Barbie Who? happenings from last week.

Last Friday was an interesting day. I expected it to be another boring day, but it turned into quite the adventure. It started off normally, but at lunch time I realized we were out of lettuce and puréed baby food. I decided that a trip to the store was in order, so I dovetailed in a few other stops into the mix. We made a whole afternoon of it.

My first stop was to the thrift store on base. It didn’t have anything new that I could use for Barbie Who?, which isn’t a big surprise. It tends to be boom or bust when finding supplies there. They have quite a few dolls, but they all have blonde hair. I already have several blonde dolls, so I am refraining from picking up any more unless their eyes are not blue. This seems to be a rare combination, indeed, because I have exactly one doll who has blonde hair and green eyes.

Next, we went to the GoodWill in town. I was surprised to find a mermaid doll. It wasn’t just a doll with a mermaid dress, but with a plastic fin instead of legs. While I don’t remember any mermaids in the TV show, I believe there was one in either the comics or books. Regardless, I liked the doll and bought it for less than $1. I also managed to find a large bin of Duplo blocks, which may come in handy down the road. 😉

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The best find from that store was a triceratops doll. It is scratched up, but I can always repaint it. Dinosaurs have made a few appearances in Doctor Who, but none is more memorable than the episode Dinosaurs on a Spaceship. That story is one of my favorites from 11’s time as doctor, so I absolutely had to have him.

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I stopped at one more thrift store before getting groceries. They recently reorganized the store and created a completely new area for craft supplies. I rummaged through it and found several skeins of yarn and some small plastic canvas squares. It figures that I would find plastic canvas a few days after buying sheets from a hobby shop; that is just the type of luck I have.

Beyond crafty stuff, I found a doll with black hair. It wasn’t a Mattel doll, but she was the right size and didn’t have blonde hair! It is surprisingly hard to find second-hand dolls that aren’t blonde, so I bought her in a heartbeat. It was happy hour at that store, so she was half off. I only paid $0.12 for her. This is why I love that thrift store; they have the best prices for kiddy toys and have half-off days. It is delightful!

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The rest of my day was full of boring, non-project related stuff. I tried to visit a farmer’s market, but they had packed up early that day. I went to the grocery store and bought stuff for dinner. I played with the baby and worked on a crocheted Viking hat for Halloween. Blah, blah, blah. I am excited about the finds! It is always exciting to find more than one item I can use for the project. I am excited for that and I shall spend more time planning the first doll. Overall, it was a great day!

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Plastic Canvas

The past few days have been particularly happy for me. I feel this way because my parents are visiting from out of town. They live 8 hours away, and I normally see them only two or three times each year. It has been a real blessing to have them around. I am delighted with how they interact with my baby and it is just nice having family close by. I come from a large family, and it has been hard adjusting to being so far from them, so these visits are very special to me.

My daughter is 7 months old, and she isn’t sure about about grandma & grandpa. She is starting to enter the ‘cling-to-mommy’ phase, so she squeals whenever I let somebody else hold her. She does warm up after a while, but she is very skeptical about people that she doesn’t see regularly. Still, my baby manages to find giggles for her grandparents. She is a very happy child, and I hope to continue fostering her fantastic disposition.

What does this have to do with Barbie Who? Well, my mom and I went shopping today. We wound up at a craft store, and I bought some plastic canvas. I have big plans for this versatile resource. I want to create a TARDIS to doll scale with it. I want to create furniture with it. I also want to create a Dalek with it. I purchased several rectangular sheets of plastic canvas and some circular pieces. I want to do some measurements and research so that I can create a Dalek or two from various points of Whovian History. I will probably make the TARDIS first because it is easier shape-wise, but the thought of making a Dalek delights me to no end.

Beyond my ambitions towards plastic canvas, I told my mom about how I am making clothes for dolls. Growing up, my mom made some awesome clothes for our dolls, and thankfully she kept the patterns. I look forward to making some clothing for Barbie Who? with the patterns she provides. One pattern in particular would look great for royal dresses. I could do Madame de Pompadour, Queen Elizabeth I, or a Clockwork Droid with those patterns. Plus, those are just the ones I could remember off the cuff; I am sure there are many other possibilities that pop up throughout the show.

There is another bonus! While out shopping, we stopped at a thrift shop. The store had two dolls; a Barbie & Ken from the 60’s with hand-made clothes. The dolls were too expensive for me to buy ($60 for the whole set), but their clothing gave me some inspiration for the clothes I want to make. I found a delightful evening gown that looks very easy to knit; I made a mental note on several techniques used on it. I don’t recall any episodes with a similar gown off the top of my head, but it can serve as a good practice for items I will make for this project. I need to start somewhere, and I have no shame in making some simple dresses to hone my skills.

Overall, I feel like today has been a fun and productive day. I am inspired and motivated to create some unique pieces for Barbie Who? I am still intent on my goal of a completed doll by the end of the month, too. The last few days have helped me in tremendous ways; I hope the next few weeks are as positive as the last few days.

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