barbie with tattoos

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I love this girl. She’s my first rockabilly pin up barbie doll.

Do you know what a rockabilly pin up girl is? Its a cross between a modern day rockabilly chick and a 50’s pin up girl.

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Gorgeous. I guess I’m lucky I never saw this look when I was a rockabilly or I’d be covered in tattoos now. Not quite so attractive when they’re stretched out beyond their original size. hehehe.

Check out my Pinterest page for more images. Of the pin up girls, not me.

This barbie was a mess when I got her. You can imagine – she was a tip shop find. Her hair was a matted mess and she was dirty. But there was something about her that I really liked. I don’t like all newer barbies. I love the vintage ones, but the later ones, well… some are nice and others not so much. This one had something special and I looked at her and thought: pin up girl.

First thing I did was give her a good wash and work on her hair.

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Given how frizzy the hair was I was surprised how well it came up. I made rollers out of straws and created victory rolls in her hair. (After watching YouTube videos on how to do them since I’ve never done one in my life!)

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Once the hair was set I made a bandana, using pins to secure it while it dried in place. Either that or I just like torturing dolls…

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Of course any rockabilly pin up girl worth her salt has tattoos, so I had to do those!

(Yes, there are often naked and sometimes headless dolls lying around the kitchen and bathroom. The place looks like a serial killer in training lives here…)

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I found this great dress on ebay and decided not to risk my less than perfect sewing skills on my first pin up girl… The finished product is stunning. She looks pretty and sexy.

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Her hair has turned out better than I had hoped. Especially considering what I started with!

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And her tattoos are fun! Teeny weeny tattoos. I think I need a stronger magnifying glass. Do you know how skinny barbie arms are?

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This girl will be listed in my etsy shop soon… As soon as I find some time to package and weigh and sort out postage.

Is it just me or is life way too busy and complicated?

I thought working from home would mean I got more time to do things I wanted to do, but instead I feel like a hamster on an exercise wheel: my goals (crossing items off my endless To Do Lists) remain out of reach. If anything, they seem to be dancing away every time I think I might grab one of them.

Is it just me? I’m beginning to think it must be. I’m one of those people who want to do everything and be everywhere and be involved in everything.

“No” is a theory to me.

z

 

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doll-o-rama!

I’ve been working on a couple more of my doll display boxes so I thought it was time to launch my new project officially:

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Its obvious – its a doll display and a diorama wrapped into one! Its ideal cause you can see your dolls and have them in suitable environments at the same time!

My first one was the Living Room Doll-O-Rama (and yes, I went back to the pink dressed barbie and her poodle!). This one is finished now and has a perspex front to protect everything from dust.

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Not a great photo, but I’m taking these in the office… Its a bit rustic, but that’s ok, it suits me.

Next I decided to use the barbie in her original suit in an office environment. She looks like a career girl!

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The first box was one I had in my stash of handy stuff – it just happened to be the perfect size and gorgeously worn and old. I didn’t have any other boxes like that so I’ve had to make the newer ones. To be honest I’m not happy with the thickness of the pine compared to the overall size. I’ve found more suitable timber which I’ll use to make boxes I put in my Etsy shop as they’re finished.

While experimenting with timber sizes I made a Diner Doll-o-Rama for the Monster High Rockabilly repainted doll I’ve listed in my Etsy shop.

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Neither of these boxes are finished yet – this is just a preview. Once they’re finished I’ll take pics before I put the fronts on as the reflections make it hard to get good pics.

I’m really having fun with these! 🙂

z

working on green ears

I like a challenge. Which is why, when I decided I needed some vintage barbies and to have a go at re-doing dolls, I ended up with this girl.

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Those are the listing photos when I found her on ebay. She was in great original condition if you didn’t mind green. She’s a 1960’s brunette bubble cut barbie… no neck splits, body in good condition, straight legs, eye paint great… but she had green ears. Or rather, a green face!

In fact she was still wearing the earrings which made her go green! I can’t say whether they were original, I don’t think so since they look too big and the outfit was home made.

On the good news front, her outfit made me feel like an expert sewer!

Once I got her, I removed the disgusting earrings and the rusty pins holding the veil on her head. I then tried the various methods I’d read about online for fixing green ear issues. I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned her with CLR cleaner. Inside and out. Inside the holes in the ears too. I made CLR face masks and placed her in the sun on the porch to scare away unwanted visitors. It worked. We didn’t have any visitors. But at the end of it she was a paler shade, but still green.

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Right side, not too bad, the green is a ghost of itself.

I removed her face and began the job of repainting her. I gave her green eyeshadow and green eyes. I think I did a great job on the eyes and eyebrows actually. Since she still had a green face it was a long process to get her looking less… alien…

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Great eyes. And wow, Zefi did you do those perfect eyebrows? Yes, why thank you. I did. 🙂

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Only a slight tinge of green remains under the pancake makeup… so? She was feeling a bit sick.

See? She was looking pretty. Not bad huh? Till you looked at the other side…

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That’s quite a bruise you have there, Barbie!

Ugh. I wasn’t happy with the result.

So I decided to have another go. And since I wasn’t really happy with her hair (I just couldn’t get it right at the back) I took drastic steps. I removed all her hair and started over. I’m not sure the paint job is as good – I’ve gone for softer, more natural eyebrows and I’m not sure I like them as much – but I got rid of the green almost entirely!

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No more bruise!!! But those eyebrows are a bit wishy washy…

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And thats a bit heavy handed on the eye shadow. Very late 60’s….

Only a person who’s into re-making dolls has bald doll heads on pens in their office. At least I hope so.

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Its still there. The green won’t go away, but its a gazillion times better.

So far so good. I just have to decide on a hair colour for her… Maybe platinum. Maybe pink… As for hairstyle, I’m thinking a beehive! Her outfit pedal pushers and a cute top… how cute would that be?

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Meanwhile life continues at the usual pace. Flat out. I’m still struggling with the planning and scheduling thing. I plan to do so much and end doing not much of it at all. If anyone has a solution or a vaccination, please let me know.

Montana is better but just when I thought she was over it, she wet the bed again last night. Her’s, not ours thank goodness. Poor Montana. Vet again on Monday. Hopefully it can be sorted.

The horses are well. The chickens, geese, ducks and other dogs are well. Wayne is doing better, though I think he’s still holding a grudge that I convinced him it’d be a good idea to get both knees replaced at once.

What can you do?

z

fun chalkboard doll display

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While doing things yesterday, I found a box I’d painted with chalkboard paint for a project sometime last year or so and decided it was time to get it off the floor of the office.

Its actually too shallow to be a doll display shelf but I thought it might be fun to display my most recently finished Game of Thrones Bratz doll repaints in it for a while. They got tired of standing on my desk, the printer, the stack of papers to be filed and the ironing table.

So, what do you think?

I’m not sure whether I should call them makeovers or makeunders. I mean, they’re not madeUNDER are they? More like madeoverthetops… They sure aren’t Tree Change Dolls!!!

Anyway. I’ll share my Game of Thrones dolls soon. I’m really enjoying playing with dolls. Second childhood? Still on my first? I don’t know, I know I like remaking stuff. I can’t help myself. There’s just about nothing I will walk past without thinking “I can do something with that”.

It kinda explains the mess in the casita. And the white shed. And the silver shed. And the office.

Ok. I’ve been working on it. I’ve been getting rid of things. Either selling, giving away or throwing away things that I will never, ever get around to “doing something with”. Or by actually finishing them and selling them. Which is good as the money is always welcome.

I can use that to buy more stuff.

Its not my fault. I have a condition.

I have ‘I Can Do That’ syndrome. That’s where you look at something and think “I can do that” and proceed to start “doing that” with all that “that” involves – buying tools and materials to do “that”, spending hours working on “that”, filling your space with the results (and remnants) of “that”…

Its a thing! I read about it on a blog!

z

white horse makeover

Do you ever spend a whole day working hard, so in the zone that you don’t have breakfast till 11ish, forget lunch and then look around and think “what on earth did I do all day”?

I’ve had one of those days.

Sure, I did do a few things, but not really enough considering the hours I put in. I washed some dog blankets. I worked on 2 dolls I’m repainting. I worked on my horse makeover. I finished (mostly) my Barbie display box (will share later)… but somehow I don’t feel like I really got much done.

Anyway, here is my horse makeover. Sorry, I don’t have any before pics cause it was so truly hideous I couldn’t bring myself to take photos. Trust me. You’re better off not having seen the extreme hideousness of it. I found this little horror beauty at the tip shop, no mane, no tail, the worst smiley lips and blue eyes with painted on eyelashes. Eek.

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First thing I did was remove the paint. Phew. I could look at it without gagging. Then I attacked with the Dremel.

Yep. You heard me right.

I have a brave friend who sometimes uses sandpaper to alter dolls. I’ve never had the guts to try anything like that, but this horse was so ugly I had to give it a go. Nothing to lose, you know. Using the sandpaper attachment (which I use to grind dog nails) I got rid of the lascivious smirk. Then I sanded down some of the features to soften her look (cause I’d decided it was a girl by then) and even had a go at ‘dishing’ the face a bit to give her an arab look.

Cause I’d already decided she’s going to be Daenary’s horse. For my Bratz doll makeover. Another thing I’ll share soon.

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Note the bald doll head on a stick in the background. I’ve spared you the headless bodies on the other side. My office sometimes looks like Dr Frankenstein’s lab.

After all that I gave it a sand with 200 or 5000 grit sandpaper to smooth it all down. And I painted a more realistic face on her. I’m missing a photo right about here, after the hooves were painted, but you get the idea.

Then I moved on to the mane and tail. I used hair I bought on ebay, which came on stitching. I had no idea what I’d use it for when I bought it but I knew it’d come in handy one day. And so it did!

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I used glue to attach the mane and tail and then used glad wrap to keep it all in place while the glue dried.

Once it was dry I poured boiling water over the hair to make it lay the way I wanted to. And over my fingers cause you have to suffer for your art.

Here is the finished product. So different to the horse I found at the tip shop. Again, trust me on that. It gave hideous new meaning.

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All in all, despite not feeling like I got enough done, at least I got one thing finished.

Pat myself on the back.

z

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the problem with plans – and sneaky previews

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I was talking to a friend this morning and the topic of plans came up. You know. Plans are those things you make only to change them along the way. Or fail to follow through with entirely.

I don’t know why this is… I mean, surely, you make plans cause you want to get the things you plan to do done, right? Obviously. But it never seems to work that way. At least not in my life.

I make plans all the time: I plan the days I’ll groom (my job), the days I’ll do some gardening, the days I’ll work on dolls or other projects. I’ll also plan to do housework – well, that one is doomed right from the start. I never get past the planning stage of that one unless I’m expecting visitors.

So, why plan when it seems that by the very act of planning I pretty much guarantee not achieving what I planned.

Maybe making plans tempts fate, maybe I just jinx myself.

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Plans are different to To Do Lists. A To Do List is a list of things you’d like to get done in a day, week, month, lifetime. A plan is something something more concrete… it has a timeframe, usually…  for instance, today I planned to garden. Then I slept in till 9.30am. Took 2 hours to feed animals, have breakfast and drink 2 cups of coffee. Then I went to the local market to buy fresh bread.

Gardening? Its way too late to consider that now!

I think I may forgo making plans entirely. I’ll stick to To Do Lists and Suggested Things I’d Like To Do This Week/Day/Month/Lifetime…

Seriously, you know how I mentioned I’d love an entire wall of chalkboards? It’d be one way to keep my To Do Lists front and center.

Anyway. Moving right along.

What have I been doing that’s kept me so busy that I haven’t posted for a few days? It sure as heck wasn’t gardening.

Yet somehow, some things are doing well despite me. Like my camelia, loving its new spot on the porch and blooming!

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Ditto the pink geranium which is looking lovely!

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I’ve been playing with dolls again! I started on 6 new dolls all at the same time, I finished repainting them and now I’m on costumes. They take longer. But I got in the zone the last few days and lose myself in it.

Here are some sneak previews – more pics to come when they’re finished and I’m ready to list them in my shop.

Can you guess who they are?

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Answer: Cersei, Joffrey, Jon Snow, Tyrion and Ygritte from Game of Thrones!

Bad photos, I know, they were taken in my office using my mobile phone – the good pics will be taken when they’re all finished.

What fun it is to remake dolls. I saw there are tiny irons for doing craft/doll type stuff. I want one. Can’t afford to spend money on that right now, but its on the Things I Want to Own One Day list.

z

doll remake – the walking dead bratz dolls!

I’m a big Walking Dead fan. Huge fan.
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking… zombies, brains, blood, gore…??? Well, I’d have said the same thing before I got hooked on the series. A friend gave me Season 1 and I had nothing better to watch one day…
That was the end of it. I’m addicted. I share this addiction with a few close friends and I do my best to spread the contagion around. My brother said no way to watching it. He’s now hanging out for each new episode of Season 7.
What can I say?
Anyway, this post isn’t about my TV habits. Its about my newest hobby. Passion if you like… Bratz dolls. 
REMADE Bratz dolls.
There’s a lady here in Tasmania who’s gotten famous worldwide with her Bratz remakes. She takes the extreme dolls and makes them into ‘normal’ kids.
As much as I admire the motivation behind her remakes, I think the dolls are boring. Plain. 
From an art perspective of course! 🙂
When I got my first Barbie a few months ago I began a downhill slide… I now have 5 Barbies. All early 60’s versions. One of them had missing hair plugs and another has a green face. I bought them thinking I would have a go at restoring them after seeing the amazing work some people do on dolls. More on the Barbies in the future.
Meanwhile I became obsessed with doll remakes and repair. I watched videos. I read blogs. I itched to make my own dolls. I found some Bratz in a local 2nd hand store and brought them home. One had her hair cropped off and that inspired me to make Carol from the Walking Dead. Another was a black girl so it was obvious she was Michonne. I chose these characters because I love them and find them inspiring.
My Carol doll already had cut off hair so after washing her and removing her face, I gave her a better haircut first up. Dolls who aren’t meant to have short hair aren’t rooted evenly all over their heads, so she had bald spots. I used tacky glue and tufts of hair to fill these in. 
When her face was dry I did my first ever face repaint using a photo of Carol for reference. I gave her stud earrings and then began to dress her.

I made all Carol’s clothes myself. Imperfectly. I’m not the best sewer when working on human sized clothing, imagine making stuff under 3 inches big!

When Wayne saw me ironing Carol’s shirt he about flipped. I don’t iron HIS shirts! 🙂 In my defense, I only had to plog the iron on top of the shirt as it lay flat…

Anyway, moving right along, I made Carol a singlet out of an old jumper, a shirt with seed beads for buttons, and cargo pants out of scraps of fabric. At this point I’m glad I keep all kinds of crap. I made my own patterns using some old Bratz clothes I pulled apart and a lot of guesswork. Naturally patterns are a fluid thing here… always changing cause I always seem to get something wrong! Still I’m loving doing it.

Carol has a trench knife (actually she has two, one is bigger than the other with a silver blade, the other is all black) and a gun. Her belt is made of a tiny strip of leather off an old jacket I bought years ago and never did anything with. The buckle is a rusty washer. The knife sheath is also made from the same leather.

Since Bratz feet and shoes are all one, I had to find a way to make Carol some boots. At the time I didn’t have any which suited, the best I could do were these high heeled sandals which I made into boots.

First I painted them, twice to get the shade right. Then I added laces… Talk about tiny work! I got slivers of leather, put bronze coloured crimps at each end and glued them in place. Voila. Lace up boots. I even scuffed them up a bit.

Here is the before and after photo.

Michonne was a much bigger remake.

With Michonne I had to remove all the doll’s hair, repaint the face, then give her dredlocks. I did this by wet felting squares of black and different shades of brown wool. I then cut those up and worked them into dreds. I glued those onto the doll’s head one layer at a time, making a head band out of a scrap of fabric.

Michonne’s jeans are original Bratz clothes but the rest of her outfit I made myself. The leather jacket and belt are both made from the same leather jacket. Details were painted on the jacket. The belt has silver studs which I just realized aren’t visible in the photos…
Since I couldn’t give her gloves I gave her a wristband – a Monster High accessory I adapted. Her boots were a wierd tan brown so I painted them black with silver details to look like biker boots.

The hardest bit of Michonne is her katana sword. I’ve made 3 of them so far. The first was air dry clay didn’t take the paint well – so it crackled… Nice effect in itself, but on a sword? The second was all polymer clay and I broke it while trying to straighten it. The third is a mix of hammered wire and polymer clay. That was looking really promising till I broke the handle yesterday while try to pose her with it in her hand. I’ll be making another one today, with more wire in it to keep it strong.
Both the katana and the sheath need painting for Michonne to be finished. Then I’ll list them both on ebay. I’m hoping they’ll make someone happy this Christmas.

I’ve been going through some stuff recently and I’ve spent a lot of time just wasting time, feeling down. That’s the reason I decided to stop blogging. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep going with it at the time. But then I thought I wouldn’t let something else stop me doing something I enjoy.

This new hobby has been great for me as its something that I enjoy doing and has been making me feel so much better. I love being creative but when I’m down I can’t find the motivation to do anything. Doing dolls, even in bits and spurts as I’ve been doing these girls, is a small way to get me up and doing stuff.

So does the garden. And my dogs. And grooming dogs. Those are things which make me feel good about myself, so I’m doing them as much as I can. I was told I needed to look after myself and make myself happy. Doing a radio show on Sundays where I play music I love, making art, DIY stuff, the garden and dogs are what make me feel good inside.

And I’m a show off so I’m showing off what I make!

z

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