Friday, 22 August 2008

Her Grey Eminence Vanessa

This has nothing to do with my doll house, really, but I want to share this project with you anyway. It has, of course, still something to do with dolls, or a single doll more like - let me present Her Grey Eminence Vanessa!

This Vanessa doll is the first one in my FR collection. I bought the doll completely blank with not face or hair and transformed her into a complete and luxurious OOAK gift set. Its the first time, really, that I have even attempted anything like this, but I must admit there was something endlessly more satisfying in creating something this complete compared to mere separate phases of repainting, rerooting and sewing. A design of a doll where all those aspects of OOAK (One of a kind) doll making coming to together in a well planned look with hair, make up and wardrobe made just for this doll. It was quite like publishing a FR doll of my very own. I liked it.

The wardrobe of this doll celebrated the current fashion trends of grey and sheer. As presented in the picture above, the wardrobe includes three sets of clothing common to most FR girt sets that inspired my work.

My original inspiration was the business suit. I had acquired a small amount of the finest wool ever imaginable when I was interpreting for my spouses sister as we shopped for fabrics in China. What ever she bough I got a small provision - namely half a meter of every luxurious fabric!

This perfect grey wool was perfect for the suit. I used a figure adoring cut, that made the jacket a nightmare to make. This one is the third version, the first two ending up as momoko and MB clothing. The jacket and the pencil skirt are both fully lined and then hand applied with pearl coloured beads. I also made a matching clutch handbag and pearl bracelet to complete the look as well as simple silver bumps and a luxurious faux fur stole.

As thiss was suppose to be a gift set style wardrobe there had to be a long gown - even though I´m not a gown person at all. For some reason I just don´t like my dolls posing in evening gowns, instead I prefer them in something that could be worn on high street - but that is still far from casual! Ok, got carried away again, the gown. For the gown I chose a grey silk chiffon that obviously without any lining would be an outrageous thing for a real person to wear, but that is the whole point and fun of dolls - they can!

For the strategic places I used more beads for censorship. Well, its still obvious the gown covers all but hides nothing, but I suppose I´ll just have to create a character well suited for such questionable behaviour. ;) The fur stole made for the business suit works well with the sheer gown as well.

Normally the gift sets have lingerie as the third outfit, but I wanted this character to be of mature age and though a night gown prudent no matter how vague the morals of the person were - as Finnish maxim says: "Age does not arrive alone". So instead of bra and panties or sexy corsets I made a 20´s style sheer lace night gown with matching panties.

As before, the outfit was decorated with hand applied beads, but this time used in moderation - only scattered around the cleavage and sleeves. The tiny beads are almost invisible but yet give the gown that distinct feeling of luxury.

Vanessa was rerooted using KatSilk saran fibre in the mother of pearl colour called the "Opal Essence". The famous hairstyle was inspired by the FR " A Fashionable Life" Vanessa, that is considered the most beautiful Vanessa doll ever made by most FR collectors worldwide. I must say this hairstyle was a nightmare to make and I will never ever attempt it again.

I had set my mind upon it and tried without success for hours and hours until I got it looking like this. And this, mind you, is nothing even close to the AFL Vanessa´s perfect up do. First of all, the side part is on the wrong side. This is mainly because the doll I used had had a side part on thast side that was rooted for tight rerooting it might risha fractured "skull", so I made the decision to reroot the parting on the other side. Second, I just could not get the hair as tidy as the factory style on AFL Van. Just couldn´t. Impossible. Maybe I´m just bad at this or something. Anyway, if anyone ever askes me to do a commission with this hairstyle, I just say I´m not talented enough to do it. Sigh. :(

The face up was done, as usual, using fine artist acrylics and completed with faux lashes. HGE Vanessa has grey eyes, nude lips and some tiny age lines around her mouth and eyes. I wanted to paint a portrait of a woman well aged, but yet powerful and full of rigour. I will be writing her character profile when it comes to me, and it will be updated to my flickr "FR character profiles" set in:

Friday, 8 August 2008

The Bedroom

I started making this room ages ago but I wanted to write hear about it only when it was done. I call it the bedroom but in truth this room is maybe the most versatile space in the whole house. The white walls with plaster finish function very well as a soft light booth for photo shoots as demonstrated in the picture below:

So, lets get started shall we! The first thing I did was to cover the walls with plaster to give them rough texture. I used a hard brush and kept changing the direction of the strokes to make it more lively. The plaster alone would have been enough to make the walls white but it did paint them too with normal matte wall paints for more durable surface - plaster absorbs all the dirt.

Next, I cut strips of cardboard into floor boards and glued them in place. I left small cracks between them to give the floor feeling of old. I´ve always loved those huge wooden floorboards creaking when ever you step on them...

Next, I added few more strips of cardboard as foot boards framing the floor and painted the whole thing with the same colour of white.

At this point I had also made the doors, already presented in the post: The Hallway - chapter 2. Anyway, hare are some pictures of the doors in place. I bought the hinges and doorknobs from Eurominis and the doors are carves out of foamcore.

Now that the room itself was ready it needed some furnishings. I had already set my mid upon one photo I had seen in a Chinese interior design book - or more on feeling of the picture. White, ascetic, very little furnishings and the gorgeous futon four poster bed!

It took me a while to make the futon four poster bed I had been dreaming of but I think it was worth the bother! I did not want to make it as thin as the original bed, but ended up using thick bamboo as material. Well, I did have black bamboo available, but the sequence of the sections was not suitable for 1:6 scale, so I bought round wooden pole instead and made the sections with epoxy putty. The futon mattress is just cotton padding in a cotton cloth with typical futon stitching.

The flowerpot is re-ment and the rosewood pedestal is a souvenir from China.

I think my Tallis is looking sleepy between those comfortable cotton sheets!

The hallway - chapter 2

Here you can see the door from both sides. The dark wood art nouveau doors are from the hallway side and the white panel ones from the bedroom and bathroom sides. They are attached with small jewellery box hinges and the ornamental doorhandles with keyholes are from Eurominis.

I had originally planned a floor of zitan wood, that is to say the same wood the tea table allegedly is. I had already finished the floor, but then noticed that the table - which after all been the only furniture was the centre piece of the d├ęcor - vanished in it. So I ended up using chestnut instead. Besides, it gives the hallway more retro atmosphere as the almost black floor made it so much more modern. I want the whole house to have an old feel to it, with fine decoration, but still with a lingering air of neglect.

And below you will see the final version. Or almost final, since it still missing the lamp I´m suppose to do. And I´m thinking of placing a Gistav Klimpt painting on the wall...

I already have a lamp in mind for the hallway. But it might be too ambitions project for me to do since I´ve never made lamps before. Anyway, here is the inspiration picture:

I will keep you posted with my progress.

The Bathroom

As I´ve told before, I got this doll house from my sister and she had already decided the place and size of the bathroom as well as started tiling is with blue ceramic tiles. As the main colour was decided for me I simply continued the theme with more blue, white for refreshment and gold for the feeling of luxury my picky dolls require. I have also explained, step by step, how I created the art nouveau style fresco on the bathroom wall. So now its time to take you thru the making of the bathtub, sink and the other finishing details of the room.

For the bathtub, I used my favourite material: foamcore. It is so easy to cut and glue with hot glue, not to mention loads of other qualities, that I recommend it to everyone. I have always had an fixation to those lion pawned tubs but for this one it seemed more suitable to make a build in tub like a jacuzzi to give it that utterly posh grandeur. In this picture the bathtub and a seat next to it are photographed from below showing the basic framework.

In the picture below the jacuzzi has already been covered with tiles (sorry, forgot to take pictures of the process again). The tiles haven´t been seamed yet and the element is completely removable from the room. For the tiles I did not have any tile glue, although I strongly recommend it. I was soon to notice that hot glue, even though it kept its hold well in the foamcore, did not stick at all to the ceramic tiles as could well accepted. I experimented with other glues I had at hand and wood glue functioned all right. It was the seaming putty that held everything together in the end.

Then my bathroom needed a sink. The problem with fashion royalty dolls is that all the furniture and stuff made for 1:6 scale dolls is always too small for them. So, instead of first trying to hunt down a nice sink and then configure it to proper size and heigh I decided to make one from the materials i had at hand. I had always though my make up powder box would make a great sink and I had just finished one too. Originally I intended to keep the lid with mirror too, but then the sink would have had to be so far away from the wall and take too much space. So, I cut off the oval lid with mirrors and all and patched the wholes with epoxy putty. The two component putty I use is Magic Sculpt. Its good stuff but too sticky, even though you can speed things up a bit by adding some talcum powder. Anyway, you can buy it in huge quataties instead of those tiny strips you get from hobby shops, which is good since I use it a lot!

So below, you can see the basic structure of the sink. I made a pipe with hot glue from foamcore again, covered it with the epoxy putty and just stack the powder box in place. Then I added a tap from Eurominis and its ready to be painted. Well, there was loads of sand paper used before that.

Jump forwards and below you can see the bathroom with the painted sink and the fresco in place. I have also added a gilded mirror on the wall. It was simple enough to make. Buy a nice post card size photo frame from a shop, cut in in half from the middle and fill in some epoxy putty in similar ornamental shapes until the size is right and paint it wild gold paint. Oh yeah, and cut a piece of mirror to a size you need too. Glass is easy enough to cut if you have the proper tool.

Almost forgot to mention that at this point I had also painted the seaming putty blue. I find the grey stuff really boring and average, but used it anyway since its the cheapest. For a real bathroom you´d of course just buy the right colour since this paint is not going to be water proof.

And here they are, my dolls, already using the bathroom even though its still missing lots of things. I have now added white boards above to frame the tiling. I´m not sure yet, but should I paint them blue too? well, we´ll see.

Lucretia and Elizabeta can´t wait their turn, so they just gram in the tub together.

In the picture below you can see the golden mirrors more clearly. The bigger one has nice and sharp ornament frame on the sides but in the middle you can see the part I have made to mimic the pattern. Not perfect or even near it, but it will have to do. ;)

I added the second smaller mirror above to sink just to be able to take this sort of photos! ;D

Well, the bathroom is almost finished now. It still lacks electricity and I haven´t even started making lamps yet, but the materials I ordered have just arrived so it shouldn´t be for long now. I have also planned huge white baroque ornaments to frame the sealing, but the school is starting soon so I will not have as much time in my hands anymore...