Wednesday, December 24, 2014

happy holidays from cafe amaretto!

2014 is drawing to a close and while I've been swamped with commissions and finals (hence me not posting much here), I'm finally able to take a break! I am, in fact, home for the holidays this year - which means all my girls get to be in the same picture for once! This will be Lenny's third and Porii & DJ's first Christmas :)

Click the readmore to see additional photos! :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

doll profile: meet haerang!

name: Haerang “Darjeeling” Yoo (DJ/”deej”)
age: 17
gender: female
birthday: November 11
hair color: natural black
eye color: red
skin tone: pinky white
occupation: student
character info: Haerang has always had an unusual fascination with magic. Since she was little, she’s dreamt of becoming a witch, or at the very least, a girl with magical powers. Over time her obsession with magic gradually turned into an interest in alchemy - or perhaps the closest thing to it in an alchemy-less society. In simple terms, Haerang is a lolita-loving, tea-obsessed chemistry nerd. She loves her chem lab class even though she’s been told multiple times that a lace-trimmed lab coat with a giant poofy petticoat is not proper lab attire (though she would like to point out that she keeps her hair short so that’s at least obeying PART of lab protocol). She spends majority of her after-school hours at the library or at Cafe Amaretto with a nice warm cup of Darjeeling black tea. She also thinks Lenny has cute freckles.

likes: chemistry class, gothic lolita, obnoxiously large headphones, the color red, hot tea, cute girls
dislikes: school uniform (the skirt’s not poofy enough), uncooperative group members, coffee, dog-eared books, broccoli

technical info
doll company: SWITCH
doll sculpt: Shiho (HD57 B-cup)
wig: FairyWoods 
faceup: Darjeeling Aesthetics (me!)
❤ mura

Monday, November 17, 2014

darjeeling's arrival!

Hello hello everyone! I'm actually kinda sick right now but boy do I have some GREAT news! I mentioned a box opening in my last post and I'm happy to say that yes, I have indeed managed to open a box today. Look who it is!

A sea green box...

CoA & the infamous SWITCH manual! (also heel feet I won't be using)

The bubble wrap mummy...

And the doll herself!
I've also taken a few shots with her brand new Oscar Eyes in. Managed to snag a pair from the San Diego BJD Con I went to over the weekend and I'm so happy with how perfect they are! It's probably not too obvious in the pictures but they have tiny stars in them too :)

I think she's probably going to be my last doll for a very, very long time unless I decide to switch out one of the dolls in my current collection. I'm going to get started on her faceup as soon as I finish making this post so... see you guys when she's all done!

❤ mura

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

long time no see!

I know, I know. Every time I make a new post it ALWAYS starts with something like this. However, it's been almost exactly 2 months since my last post and guess what that means? New doll on the way! SWITCH sent me a shipping notice just yesterday and she's going to be on a flight from Incheon to Los Angeles really soon. Hopefully if customs isn't going to be mean, I'll be able to see her by the end of this week.

In other news I've settled back in La Jolla for the new school year, but due to space limitations I'm only keeping two dolls with me. With one doll on the way, that leaves only one doll I can keep with me before the new girl gets here. Since Lenny already stayed a half-year alone with me, I'm keeping Polaire with me this time. I've given her a fancy new face and manicure for her troubles :)

I've also... spent a ton of money on doll clothes for all of my girls, namely from various Etsy shops and Promise of the World. If I'm not feeling too lazy I might do a full review of everything I've received so far. That's it for this time's update! I'm thinking my next post will probably be a box opening.

❤ mura

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

who's that girl?

Just two days ago I placed an order on the SWITCH website...

I've actually already got her first round of clothes from my Taobao order - all that's missing is a proper pair of shoes and some eyes in the right color. I've already got a mori girl/"cute" girl and a fashionable chic girl, so I thought it'd be interesting to try some alternative styles like punk and gothic lolita with this one. Might be a little bit cliche but majority of her closet is themed in black and red, as is she :)

I bought two sets of the school uniform on the right so she and Lenny can "go" to the same school. Looking forward to meeting my new girl soon! If you're curious about my plans for this doll you can go ahead and check out these posts :)

❤ mura

Monday, August 4, 2014

summer update

It's been a really long time since I last posted = =; Summer at home has been extremely relaxing and I basically haven't been doing anything besides commissions, drawing, and playing games on my PC. Most recently I went ahead and made a TATA order for some doll lashes and some shoes to replace Porii's pair that I lost while traveling around at Fanime back in May.

Took a couple quick snaps with my dad's camera. Here they are with new faces and new lashes! :)

For people who might be new to my blog, this is Polaire! She's my newest doll (arrived March 7th of this year). This is the 5th(?) faceup I've done for her, there were 2 that I did since the last time I posted a picture of her face, but I quickly wiped and redid them for various reasons. I added more detail to her brows this time and changed a little bit of the blushing. But other than that, she's just a slightly improved version of her previous self.

And here's my cute baby Lenoire. She's been with me for a year and a half now, and she deserves a much better faceup than what I did last time (I used slightly damaged leftover lashes for her previous faceup...). I think she looks a lot better with thinner, slightly arched brows and fuller lips. She's also retained her freckles from last time!

August commissions are piling in and I've got a couple bits of business with an interview and a collaboration with a doll convention :) Time to get back to work!

❤ mura

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

finally home

Just finished my last quarter for my sophomore year of college and I'm home for the summer. I've got a lot of projects slated for the next three months and I don't know how many I'll actually get done, but I'm basically taking this summer to explore my options since my major is 100% not working out for me. My dad apparently bought an engraving machine that should be arriving soon so I'm working out how to work with Inventor/Maya/CAD and a whole bunch of other 3D modeling programs in addition to my own game programming project and LED light-up dress... =A= Also a ton of sewing projects that I'm going to try to do. This summer is full of plans and ambition but who knows how it's actually going to turn out?

In the meantime though I've been unpacking and taking pictures of my cuties finally reunited. The hydrangeas are in bloom and they're a little too high up to fit in the picture but the green still makes a nice background.

Thinking of using these as promo cards for my faceup shop since both my girls now have faceups by me, but I'm no longer in any rush to get any promo materials done. Some plans for Dolls & Party in Spain have changed so I've got more time to work on sponsoring stuff ^_^

❤ mura

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

new company finds

I've been browsing around a lot lately and I've found a couple lesser-known dollmakers that deserve more attention, so I've decided to blog about them! First up is a company I've seen partner with OscarDoll a few times. They only have one size of doll so far, but every sculpt and outfit they make is super adorable! Here are some photos from El's Cat:

I don't know if it's possible to order as an international customer since everything is in Korean, but if I ever decide to make space in my doll family for a non-SD girl I would definitely be up for buying an Aoki.

Another company I've recently come across is DollBom, another Korean doll company.  I don't think their English site has been up for too long which is why they're not that well-known, but they're definitely worth checking out! They carry both 60cm and 26cm girls and boys and I absolutely love the face sculpts! The only real drawback I'm seeing is the single-jointed bodies, but if you're not big on posablility, that can be easily overlooked as the bodies are beautifully sculpted as well.

Hope this little discovery post opened your eyes to some new companies out there =3=

❤ mura

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

lenny's makeover!

After maybe about 3 months of deliberation I decided to wipe Lenny's old faceup and give her a new one with freckles! I still feel a little bad about it because I commissioned Eludys to do her faceup twice since I messed it up the first time and I wasn't confident in my faceup skills at the time, but it's already been a year and I feel like my skills are adequate enough to justify the money that I've... wasted... by wiping off Eludys's hard work... OTL

Without further ado, here's the new Lenny, now complete with freckled cheeks! I've taken to calling her wonderkid/dork extraordinaire so who knows where I'm going to end up going with that. I'm planning on buying some of those round bottlecap/Harry Potter frames for her too.

Both my girls now have faceups by me. When I get home in a few weeks and reunite them, I'll be taking pictures of them together for more promotional images for my faceup shop! I'm excited. I'm also excited to finally afford that SWITCH Shiho I've been eyeing. I really can't wait to do the faceup on that one =3=

❤ mura

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

cosplay completion

Finished my doll cosplay of the Kun version of the 화양연화/花 样年华 “In the Mood for Love” outfit from Blade & Soul! Fully handsewn and all patterns drafted by yours truly. If you’re going to Fanime in San Jose, California, I’ll be there from May 23-25th with Polaire so come find us! ^_^

And if you haven't heard of Blade & Soul, it's a Korean MMORPG with art direction formerly headed by Hyung-tae Kim. He's pretty famous in digital art circles, and chances are you've probably seen some of his work! I can't say much about how he proportions his characters, but I can appreciate his clear direction of style in the illustrations he makes.

❤ mura

Friday, May 9, 2014

cosplay update!!

Not that long since my last Porii update but here's what's new: shortly after I finished that last faceup on her, she fell and not only managed to chip off that BRAND NEW faceup I finished, but also acquired a very deep scratch in her leg. I'm looking into sanding options but as I am still at school right now I don't have access to a lot of things. Thankfully it's not that noticeable since it's in the middle of the thigh and I have her wearing socks/tights almost all the time =3=

I decided to give her yet another faceup, so here's how she looks like right now:

I'd say it's kind of in between the very first faceup and the last faceup I did on her. Still looking much less innocent than the first faceup (which is good!!). Anyway, here's the cosplay progress! I'm about 60% done - I finally got the materials to finish fitting and lacing the corset piece, and now I just need to finish the neckpiece and draft/sew the wrist guards.

Fanime is in 2 weeks! I gotta hurry =3=

❤ mura

Saturday, May 3, 2014

makeover time!

It's been about 2 months since I received Polaire in the mail and I think it's about time she gets a makeover! Actually the real reason why I'm redoing her faceup is because she has a bunch of rubbed-off spots on her face that are really irritating me (remind me to bring a face mask the next time I take her on a plane...), so I spent my entire afternoon painstakingly trying to get her eyelashes and eyebrows right. Here's the finished product!

With darker makeup and more arched brows she finally looks older than Lenny. I'm not sure if she actually looks her age but I can say with certainty that she looks much more in-character than she previously was. Score one for me!

❤ mura

Friday, May 2, 2014

sunny day

It hit 90°F in La Jolla today and I thought it was terribly unfair of me to leave my girls in long sleeves in such hot weather. Luckily my rRabit order came in today so I was able to change their clothes and give them nifty accessories ^^

Bought 2 headbands, one plain black and the other with a black bow. When I took them out of the packages I was mildly alarmed at how small they were, thinking they sent me the wrong size, but it fits pretty well on Lenny's head. Weird things happened with Porii though, probably because Little Monica heads have a relative flat top, so the headband doesn't fit too well... combined with the loose wig it's a positioning disaster.

And the rest of my tiny little order is the knee-length green skirt Porii is wearing. It's a pretty comfortable fit; the elastic is a little bit too taut for my liking and the scrunching around the waist makes the skirt difficult to layer under shirts that aren't really baggy and loose, but it's good for tucking shirts into.

❤ mura

Monday, April 28, 2014

new doll plans

Can you believe it? I can't believe myself. It's only been < 2 months since I got my new doll and I'm already thinking about the third one, though I guess it already has been a couple months since I've started thinking about this one.

Some of you might already know what I'm talking about! She goes by the name Darjeeling (although I've recently decided that she should probably have a "real" name too - her actual name is Haerang Yoo/유해랑) and she's a classmate of Lenny's who's rumored to be a witch with magical powers. I'll be developing both Lenny and Darjeeling's stories in time, since they're both very closely tied together :)

The doll I have in mind is a SWITCH Shiho on the HD57 B-cup girl body, making her slightly shorter than both of my girls. I'm really excited!!... to save up $600+ not including all the stuff I have planned for her closet...

Look at all that BLACK AND RED. I almost named her Hongryeon (홍련/红莲) because of how much red is in her closet theme... Oh, and here's a picture of what her character design looks like, extracted from a piece I'm working on ;)

❤ mura

Thursday, April 17, 2014

[review] maodoll glass eyes

I said I was going to do this in my  last post, so here goes nothing! I've checked the MaoDoll Taobao and it appears that some of the eyes that I ordered are no longer in stock. However, I highly recommend them because their eyes are incredibly detailed and well priced for a pair of glass eyes! They're only 75 RMB, which translates to roughly $12 USD.

Polaire is wearing Z01 eyes in 16mm. The base color is brown, with lime green detailing extending from the pupil. I wasn't expecting them to have glitter in them since it wasn't visible in the product pictures, but I was pleasantly surprised when I held them under the light! These eyes, like the other pair I bought are high-dome, so if that's not your thing, I wouldn't recommend MaoDoll to you. Other than that, they're superb!

Lenoire is wearing P01 eyes in 16mm. They're periwinkle blue-based with purple lines for detail. When I saw the product pictures, I thought these were going to be primarily blue eyes, but they look lavender from far away. These are really lovely, luminous eyes that have a nice bright glow to them in any kind of light. They're still in stock so if you'd like a pair of your own, here's the link!

I only have 2 dolls with eye colors that are pretty much set for their characters, but if MaoDoll releases more colors and I get my next doll soon I know I'll definitely be ordering from them again ;)

❤ mura

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

closet update!

Yesterday I got notifications for 4 packages, 2 of them being my things from Taobao and Nine9 Style. Unfortunately, by the time I was finished with lab, it was already too dark for me to take proper pictures of anything. So this morning I got up nice and early to take a bunch of pictures :)

This one is my favorite because it's by far the EASIEST outfit to put on. It's super cute, too! I bought it from 42workshop on Taobao, the same place as where I got Lenny's sweater/long black skirt outfit from.

This is the qipao that I waited weeks for! At the time, the seller only had the DD version of this in stock, but they later asked me for my doll's measurements so I suspect this is custom made. Sadly, while I really love the fit of this outfit, the part between the bust and waist is a little too small for my doll's relatively wide torso, and I'm scared that the seams are beginning to rip :(

Bought this one off a sales post on the BJD Addicts Sales and Commissions page. It's perfectly cute, but again, because Little Monica girls have a really wide torso for SD13 size dolls, it doesn't quite fit right. I might remove some of the snaps in the back and replace them with hook-and-eye closures to help the dress actually close up in the back.

Lastly, here is a cute denim dress from Rosemary Shop on Taobao! They're an independent shop that makes very cute and girly clothes for SD and DD. The wonderful shop owner even gave me a necklace as a free gift! Will definitely be ordering from them again.

I still have clothes in the box that I haven't photographed yet, but I'll be getting around to those soon. Also, did you notice that Porii has different eyes? I bought some very lovely high quality glass eyes from MaoDoll that I will be reviewing soon. :)

❤ mura

Sunday, April 13, 2014


The title of this blog post is a Chinese phrase literally meaning almond eyes and peach cheeks, and as you can probably guess, it's referring to a girl's beauty! I thought it would perfectly describe my lovely girl Polaire, who's the subject of my post today. I've been working on a project that I started almost a month ago, and only recently have I made some serious progress with it. If you refer to some of my previous posts, I've mentioned things about the origin of Polaire as an MMO avatar that I used for various game, the most recent being a game called Blade & Soul. Here's how she looks in game, if you haven't seen my post from earlier - and it just so happens that the outfit that I'm trying to recreate is the outfit she's wearing in that screencap!

Here's a stack of materials I've collected for this project:

A rigid satin taffeta, a white chiffon-like fabric, some shiny black stretch lycra, and braided elastic.

The outfit as I've adapted it consists of a corset/leotard piece, a shirt with balloon sleeves, two wristguards, a neckpiece, and a set of leggings with a lace inset. Some of the items in the original game outfit can't be translated into a practical sewing design, so I've made changes accordingly. For instance, I've omitted some of the detailing on the leggings and corset simply because it's impossible to create 3D details in such a small scale/I simply don't have the materials or skills to do so. Without further ado, here's my progress so far! I've completed the corset and the shirt.

The corset consists of 13 pieces (and 12 identical pieces for the lining) and is completely handsewn because I'm at school and I don't have access to a sewing machine (I also suck at sewing with the machine, so I'd rather just not). My first few attempts were with the machine and they didn't work out, so this is actually Mark III of the corset =3= I'm still waiting on my black ribbon for the fastening so I'm temporarily lacing it up in the back with a few loose stitches.

Here's my most recent update! I finished the shirt just yesterday, and I just edited the shoulder ties a bit today, but I don't have pictures of that right now. The shirt closes up in the back with snap closures, and the sleeves have elastic stitched into them at the cuffs. So far progress is going really well considering it's only my second time sewing an outfit (the only other time I've sewn a major project is a red Christmas dress I made for Lenny)... I'm going to start drafting the other pieces soon!

❤ mura

Sunday, March 30, 2014

liebster blogger award tag!

I just got tagged by my friend Musume from My Dolly Adventures! Basically I have to answer a bunch of questions, come up with a bunch more questions, and tag people to answer them =3=

Questions for me:
1. Do you have stories for your dolls? If so, do you keep one or more?
Well... one of them is a character adapted from an avatar I've reincarnated in many, many MMO's so I'm currently trying to place her in a modern setting instead of trying to figure out a backstory compiled from Aion, Vindictus, TERA, and Blade & Soul lore. That just gives me a headache. I haven't finalized it yet, but I'm trying to put Porii and Lenny in the same setting.

2. If your dolls could read... which will be their faved books? 
For Lenny, probably a collection of Grimm's fairytales, maybe some Beatrix Potter. She's not really big on literature aside from whatever she has to read for school, so she'd probably stick to some childhood favorites.
For Porii... probably something like Machiavelli's The Prince. Or Art of War. Being in a business calls for some interesting tactics and possibly extreme measures. She also reads a lot of fashion magazines and self-help books for reference.

3. Do your dolls like a particular fashion style?
I styled Lenny after the mori girl fashion style from Japan - while she doesn't have super loose lacey long skirts and a lot of flowery pieces, she does have a lot of cute fashion that you could probably see in stores like MUJI, wonder rocket, and franchee lipee. I intend to craft her some nice mori clothes when I'm better at sewing ^_^
Porii is more of a chic fashion sort of girl, meaning a lot more fitted dresses and some street fashion. I've been shopping primarily from Nine9 Style for her and looking at THE WHITEPEPPER and Korean online stores like stylenanda for inspiration. I'm also looking into big jackets and cute lacey lingerie...

4. Have you ever went out with your dolls in public?
Yup. Took Porii on the plane with me for spring break, and heading back with her to school! The first time I made the mistake of not wrapping her up properly, and she ended up getting scuffs and scratches. This time I've put on a ton of bubble wrap where it counts.

5. What do you enjoy the most in this hobby?
Probably just the idea of owning dolls. This is going to sound really weird and narcissistic but for me, the main appeal of this hobby is having my taste in aesthetics realized in a physical form. The amount of customization and personalization that goes into creating each doll/character is practically limitless, and when you have control over what you want your doll to look like (faceup, fashion, hair), it's really wonderful.

6. Do you have any fear regarding your dolls?

I have had my fair share of nightmares where their faces melt off from acetone, or I wake up and find bite-like dents in the resin ;_; Basically any kind of irreparable damage that would cause me extreme distress.

7. Which is your fave artist or company?
Little Monica, Peakswoods, and SWITCH

8. Use 5 words to describe each of your dolls :3
Lenny: caramel, cotton, deer, sunflowers, autumn
Porii: starlight, lace, pumpkins, metropolis, rain

9. Where are you more active (DoA, blogs, Tumblrs, Flickr) and why?
Most active on Tumblr, but that's just because I'm based primarily on Tumblr and happen to own dolls. I check DoA daily for new clothes on the marketplace.

10. Do you dislike a type of doll? (regarding joints, aesthethics, and not owned dolls).
I'm not really big on Lati Yellows and DDdys, the first because I just don't like the head proportions in comparison to the body, and I'm really uncomfortable with the scale of the chest size for DDdy. Large busted dolls don't really bother me when they're sculpted to look relatively natural (e.g. Fairyland F65 girls), but the ones that are sculpted to mimic EXTREME push-up bras or ones that have boobs that look like they were bolted on (*coughs*Loongsoul)...

11. If you are given 500$ and can spend it only in dolls... what will you use it for?
For my next doll, probably. I'm shelling Darjeeling into a SWITCH HD57 Shiho and I'm definitely going to need the cash ;_;

And my questions for you!
1. What was your very first BJD and what attracted you to them?
2. Are there any particular activities you enjoy doing with your dolls?
3. Do you prefer commissioning someone to customize your doll, or doing everything yourself?
4. What inspires you in this hobby?
5. If your dolls were 'alive,' how do you think they think of you?
6. Your favorite sculpt?
7. What's the worst experience you've had in this hobby?
8. What do you see yourself doing with your doll collection in the future (i.e. any plans? goals?)
9. If you had to pick one doll to go on vacation with you, which one would it be?
10. Have you been to any doll conventions? If yes, how was your experience?
11. What do you love most about your dolls?

I'm not sure who to tag! How about I just leave this open for anyone to answer instead...? ƪ(‾ε‾“)ʃ

❤ mura

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

march wishlist

Now that I've got another doll in the family it's time to build that closet! I know she's still very new and all but it upsets me a little when I compare Polaire's closet to Lenny's... I'm sure she dreams of having a massive outfit collection to choose from too =3=

So far I'm thinking key pieces will be big fluffy jackets, fit-and-flare dresses/circle skirt, ankle socks, and maybe skinny pants? As for any cute lingerie in the closet, I'll probably have to make it myself because of her unique body type. Not really unique, per se, but I don't have any comparable bodies for LM Harmony small bust :(

Here's the stuff on the list so far:

Fur jacket from Angell-Studio
Summer dress from Angell-Studio
Bouclee knit & leather pants set from Nine9Style

Collar neck dress in navy from Nine9style

Diamond print dress + bolero set in pink from Nine9style

Dot print shirt in pink from Nine9style

I think it's pretty obvious that I can't afford ALL of those, so that means I'll have to pick and choose :( Any suggestions? Tell me your favorite pieces in the comments!

❤ mura