Saturday, February 28, 2015


  1. For 3 consecutive years, sales of Barbie dolls have declined. It is down by 16% last year, 3% in 2012 and 6% in 2013. (source1)
  2. Sales of toys in the US grew by 4%. (source2)
  3. Barbie's core demographic narrowed down to kids 3 to 6 years old (from 3 to 9 years old). (source1)
  4. Young girls have been favoring electronic toys and toys based on movies. (source2)
  5. Habro's revenue increased by 5% last year. (source3)
  6. Overseas sales is about half of Hasbro's revenue last year. (source3)
  7. Hasbro's overseas sales increased by 8% last year, while only 1% rise in US and Canada. (source3)

How telling is that?

Eyes pop less

Others like big anime eyes on their dolls but to me they look like eyes that grew a face. Not that I don't like funny looking things (I do keep a couple of Takara Licca and Jenny), I just don't like to have most of my dolls to look too funny. I think there is more humor in the irony of looking serious but nobody is taking you seriously.

When I got a Hairtastic Barbie doll, I was itching to do something with her eye-popping look. I wanted to shrink her head but I don't want to risk what acetone will do to her purple hair or to her vinyl face. I heard about dolls that got discolored after shrinking. Shrinking was out of the option.

I figured I can repaint her eyes. Her head doesn't seem too huge when compared to other dolls. I retained the lashes and resized the eyes. Her molded lower eyelids now looks like eyes bags. Honestly, I can take the eye bags than have her eyes bigger than her mouth.

I wanted to have dolls with different hair color. She used to look funnier when grouped with my other dolls. But she's okay now.

Do you know that I resisted buying this Hairtastic Barbie for over a year? I was waiting for it to go on sale last December but I didn't see it at the warehouse sale. I visit this certain store every now and then just to check if it is still available, but every time I resist buying it. A few days ago, I decided to get it to complete my rainbow hair collection. I got it despite its exorbitant price even after being a peg warmer for about a year. No matter how reasonable in a business perspective the price is, I sometimes get the feeling that I got cheated. The problem with getting the feeling of being cheated is that there is a chance that one won't buy again. I wonder how many more times do I need to feel cheated before I my eyes pop open and completely stop buying Mattel products.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Hair Ado

For the Mattel face sculpts that I like, I want to have them in varied skin tones, hair color and hair styles, although I want the facial screening to be more or less the same. There isn't a lot of dolls that have updo's and most of them are over-priced. That is why I had to learn how to give some of my dolls an updo. The Midge doll (Golden Qi-pao Barbie) had her hairstyle restored since the bun has become undone. She got a some repaint to make her look less inert.

I found out that the dolls with thinly rooted hair works best for an updo, otherwise the hair would be difficult to twist and turn. And since it's quite difficult to restore when undone, I decided to sew them in place.

The girls are naked for now because I felt that they need gowns to go with those hair. I'm not very motivated when it comes to making gowns. Maybe I should review some red carpet moments to get some inspiration.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Beautiful Happy Time Girl clone doll

I live in a country where the best selling beauty products always involve a skin whitening ingredient. Dark skinned dolls also don't sell well in our country. You can't blame me if I have lost hope of seeing dark skinned clone dolls being sold here.

Last night was a surprise. I saw this in Shopwise. She's just about US$2.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Another look

Here's another look at the outfits.

When the dolls are not interacting, I like it when they look at the camera. The two on the right have clone fashionista bodies which are difficult to pose. It's difficult to make them look at the camera.

Kayla's knees are a bit loose so it bends on it's own. She looks like she's working it, though.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


I challenged myself to make outfits using a gingham fabric I bought. Personally, I think gingham is boring. It reminds me of tablecloths and waiter's uniform. I also challenged myself to use only fabrics in black and white, and without buying new ones. After a few variations, the gingham challenge became, what else, boring. Plus, I really want to work on other clothes.

This will be the last for this series.

It's my version of this:

Sunday, February 22, 2015

When more isn't better

I used to not like these figures despite the increased points of articulation. They took away the wider range of motion in the hip joint. That just won't do for acrobatic characters.

Good thing is that it can be modified but do we really to go through all that trouble?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

On Taste

Bad taste creates many more millionaires than good taste.
- Charles Bukowski

I applied my personal taste on Kira's face. Now, will I be a millionaire?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Keeping Inspired

Although I wanted this outfit for my doll, I struggled to make it. This is my eleventh outfit for this year. I could use a break. One side of me wants to just sleep all day or be a couch potato. I did but I'm no Sleeping Beauty. At one point, I have to wake up. I figured I can watch the TV and sew at the same time. Nothing good is on anyways. So I created this outfit.

We all have resolutions. Mine is to cut down on buying new dolls, experiment with styling and create more doll clothes. How do keep I myself inspired and motivated?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


The photo of the nyokitto sprouting in front (below) taken from the book Pattern Magic 2 by Tomako Nakamichi is really interesting. It has inspired me to make my own version for dolls. 

I decided to work on a gingham fabric. I thought it would be interesting to see how the lines move on the surface of the nyokitto. I modified the pattern such that there will be no seam on the chest. This is what I came up with.

It doesn't seem to be as interesting as the photo in the book. I thought that I've made a mistake or something. I searched for others' work, for comparison and saw this: It seems that the bodice really have a basin for a chest. I studied the photo from the book to find out the difference. A quote from the author gave me a clue. "Drape is a play on light and shadow."

The lighting really made the 1st photo more interesting. The weight of the fabric, allowing light to pass through the nyokitto is what is different. With the light passing through,it's as if the blouse is very light and almost floating.

Whatever the outcome, modeling a misshapen outfit is no challenge for my fashionista queen Kayla.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Headphone Jack/Dust Plug Mini Bags

I have been seeing this mini bags intended for headphone jack/dust plugs since last year. I wanted to get some but I didn't know where. Sure, there are some being sold online but online shopping is such a hassle, at least here anyways. I chance upon these in a mall in the province being sold at about 60% off their original price.

From the looks of their packaging, these are old stocks that didn't sell well. Well, it's original price was way too unreasonable, if you ask me. But with their current price, I was willing to buy 10 but these are all the design/color that were left.

My favorite is the Celine trapeze bag mainly because of the bright colors. The Balenciaga motor cycle bag looks ordinary especially because it is stiff when it should be slouchy. The Birkin bag seems too small. Plus, I already have a couple of Birkin bags for dolls. I got these mainly because they are colorful. I have a project in mind where I can use this bags. Maybe the other bags that I already have will work better but I couldn't pass up the chance to buy these since the mall is out of the way and it may not be available when I get back.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Slowing Down

It's February and for me, it is a busy month. I see myself cutting down on dress making and maybe blogging, or not. We'll see. Before that happens, lemme talk about my latest project.

When I did the clothes of the Life in the Dream House (LiDH) dolls, I had a plan. Before I made them, I bought the things I needed. I already knew how to style them even before I started cutting the fabric. That's not the case now.

I pick a doll and I create clothes for it from the stuff that I already have. Sometimes I have an idea for a doll but I don't have the right materials. I don't want to have a huge stock of fabric so I'd either edit the idea or scrap it altogether. That's going to take a lot of time.

Even when it's done, sometimes the final fitting on the doll is not as I expected. Like this one, I really wanted to make a simple cropped top and a gingham skirt for this simple doll. The mix of all the simplicity makes it a little boring even for me, especially after doing the LiDH doll clothes. This came out very secretarial. Although, I was really thinking of something she can wear at the office. That was the goal, and I guess it was met but...

It (the one on the left) still is boring to me, not to mention basic and old. So I challenged myself to make it a little bad-ass. The one on the right is what I came up with. I got the idea from the runway shows of popular brands. A lot of the dresses there have a classic timeless silhouettes and they just make it look more interesting by making them wear boots and/or hats. They added pops of color but I personally limited myself to black and white for this project. Maybe on my next projects...

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Stop the Props

At times, this hobby can be time consuming. For somebody with a full-time job and who is technically the head of the family, it can get overwhelming sometimes. My training has taught me that when things get overwhelming, one should learn how to break things down, to keep them simple.

Some of the most time consuming areas of this hobby are (1) storytelling (2) making dresses (3) styling (4) taking pictures and (5) making props and dioramas. After breaking things down, one should prioritize. Storytelling went out the window a long time ago, although it creeps back in from time to time. I had to figure out in which area I really wanted to improve. I decided it's the dress making. Dolls can be beautiful even with a crappy background, right? Making dresses is more fulfilling with the right styling, in my opinion, so styling stays. And don't expect me to let go of taking pictures when I'm willing to spend more on a camera than a smart phone. Making props and dio finally has to be cut to a minimum.

Still, I wanted my doll photos to have an appropriate background and Photoshopping is not an option since it also takes a lot of time. My  interest in action figures lead me to a photo in Flickr that showed how to have an interesting background with minimal set up and clean up time (as cleaning up is also time consuming).

If you know how to display image files on a big enough TV or LCD screen, then it will be easy.  The screen will serve as a digital background, a sort of video wall. Another toy blogger wrote about it here. The solo pictures of my Life in the Dream House dolls in the previous entries all have digital background. All you need is the floor to be installed. The tricky part is lighting the scene such that the camera does not capture unwanted reflections from the screen.

I usually download suitable backgrounds on my phone during a commute or any waiting time or while in bed trying to make myself fall asleep. Not only did this cut down the time I need to take pictures, it also cuts down the toys I wanted to buy. Having less props also means I need less storage space. It's a win-win-win solution, if you asked me.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

All Together Now

These are my version of Life in the Dream House dolls. Let's have one more look at all of them before I move on to other stuff. Plus, I want a picture where they all seem to get along.

Sunday, February 1, 2015


I love this doll. Unlike what Ken wore in the previous entry, I can wear Ryu's outfit, that is if it came in human size.