Thursday, December 31, 2015

an ending to 2015

It's time for my monthly update! It's still New Years' Eve for me here on the west coast of the USA so this'll be my last post for 2015. It's been a wonderful year in this hobby for me, watching my faceup business skyrocket in popularity over one winter, seeing my doll family grow from 3 to 5, and meeting so many new friends. I've also picked up a couple new skills along the way - I've finished filming for two videos' worth of content and I'm about to get started on editing them so I'll have things on my brand new YouTube channel for the new year.

My newest girl Estelle is finally coming together with her new clothes and new eyes, and the others are always a joy to see again when I come home. I've got a couple other posts that I haven't finished typing up yet (like New Year's resolutions, updated doll plans, and Essie's bio) so I'll have plenty of nice new content to start 2016 off with. I've also got a couple of close-up shots of my crew! If anyone's still reading this blog feel free to tell me which of my dolls is your favorite. I might feature them in my next video!

Haerang & Lenoire, the lovebirds

Polaire & Estelle, best pals

Yagi, lonely moth goddess
Cheers, guys! Hope you have a great new year :)

❤ Kai

Monday, November 30, 2015

san diego bjd con recap

Long time no see, everyone... I'm late with another entry, yet again! I was originally going to do something for Pro BJD Artists Day this year but I've been scrambling back and forth for the past couple of weeks with either schoolwork or convention preparation. I finally got free time this weekend to work on some commissions, rest up, and eat!

Anyway I thought I'd do a quick little recap of my experience this year at the San Diego BJD Convention. Last year I was there as an attendee, and I stayed for only a little bit after checking out the dealer's room because I was right in the middle of midterms at the time. This year I managed to attend as a vendor and share a table with my friend Cris from Blue Bird Doll Shoppe, and I just so happened to be sandwiched between her display and my other friends' from La Esperanza Doll Shop.

As someone whose involvement in the hobby is primarily based on faceup commissions, I didn't have too much to show at the convention (unlike my friends who had huge displays for their clothing shops). I just brought a few of my freshly made art prints, some old doll clothes I wanted to get rid of, a physical portfolio of my faceup work, and a bunch of forms for people to fill out. Business was a kind of slow but I still managed to sell out of the slots I prepared for the convention. :)

My display was super tiny, just a box of old clothes, my handmade pennant flag banner, space for my display dolls, and a tray with sample prints and business cards. It was simple, but I think I still managed to make it look pretty good for a first time vendor display! Overall it was a fun and positive experience for me - I didn't get to attend any of the panels, but I enjoyed the door prize raffles and lunch/dinner events. I'm a rather shy/reserved person so I tend not to interact too much with my clients, so it was really interesting to actually see my clients in person and have a little chat with them. Hopefully I gave off a good impression!

I'm going to be trying to finish up all the SDBJDC commissions I took before I leave for home for winter break while juggling final projects and term papers. Can't wait to see my little doll family of 5 once I get home!

❤ Kai

Friday, October 2, 2015

new arrival!

I'm officially at doll #5 here! I'd planned to slow down my doll plans for this year but this was an opportunity too good to pass up. My best doll friend helped me find a Celine on the DoA marketplace for only $575 including default faceup, sleeping head, heel feet, and black resin heels. Shipping was an unbelievable $15! There was absolutely no way I could've found this deal by buying direct from the company or even a dealer. Here's what she looked like before I gave her a makeover:

I never intended to keep the Fairyland default faceup, but after seeing it in person I knew for sure it had to go. The airbrushed pink blush clashed so strongly with her orangey-red lips! Her new look is far fiercer with ombre lips and strong eyebrows. I also decided to double-layer her lashes for a fuller look.

And here she is from today! I gave her a couple small finger tattoos: a heart and ribbon on the right hand, and the word "love" and a honeycomb on the left in addition to rings and a triangle on both. Someday when I finally have matte varnish and the tools to restring her I'll be giving her a large bee and some floral tats on her body, too.

I also did a quick comparison shot with Polaire, the other girl I brought with me for this quarter. Essie is a lot shorter even with her heels on! I think she's even shorter than DJ with flat feet...

I'm so excited to finally be able to share Estelle with all of you! Now to wait for her clothes and real wigs to come in... :)

❤ Kai

Friday, August 28, 2015

belated bee news

I can't believe I'm posting twice in the same month! This is pretty novel for me. To be honest, this "news" is actually older than my recent post about Yagi, but I figured since I'm already on this blog finally being active again, I may as well post it.

I received his head about 2 weeks ago from my wonderful friend in Michigan, who managed to nab one for sale from one of the people in her local community. Here's what his first faceup looks like:

It's only his first so it's likely not staying. The eyelashes definitely feel much too long/dense for my taste, and the only reason why they look like that is because my sealant's been getting very gritty on me recently. What ends up happening is me going over my lines over and over again to make them look even, instead of doing light wispy eyelash strokes like I am usually able to. He definitely has the "look" down though! I'll probably do another faceup in the same vein once I'm able to get him a body (I'm aiming for an AprilStory Senior boy body as of now).

Here's another picture comparing him with Polaire, my Little Monica Sophia. Do you like her better with him? Or with Celine? ;) Let me know in the comments!

Disclaimer: that Celine doesn't belong to me, my friend just let me try the faceup I wanted to do on her doll before doing what she actually commissioned me for. Fear not, I have my own Celine coming sometime in September!

❤ Kai

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

yagi is home!

What do I mean "home"? I guess I didn't mention it on this blog but I actually sent Yagi off to my wonderful friend Kayke for a little bit of tattoo work! Since she's based off a white ermine moth we thought it would be apt for her to have a moth tattoo. She now has one under her (rather sizeable) bust and I am so enamored with it I've been staring at it and taking pictures of Yagi all day.

I suppose I should probably put a "mature content" warning somewhere on this blog but it's dolls... whether it's box openings or photoshoots there's probably bound to be some nudity somewhere, right?

I also added a tiny bit of extra body blush in addition to the boob blushing Kayke did for me, I just felt like the torso was a little stark in contrast with the tattoo. And now I face the really troubling problem of wanting to keep her naked (or at least topless) to show off that lovely work. :')

P.S. I bought a F60 Celine in tan on layaway so you will probably see some news on Estelle soon!

❤ Kai

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Tag: Sisterhood of the World Blog

Just got tagged by my friend Musume at My Dolly Adventures! It's been awhile since the last time I did one of these little question memes and I sure do have a lot to share with you guys :) I've also got some VERY exciting news for the future, but I'll probably share closer to the date of the event.

The rules for this tag are as follows:
  1. Answer the questions.
  2. Tag five people so they will continue the game.
I'm terrible at tagging people since I'm actually not too sure who follows me on what SNS, so if you're reading this consider yourself tagged! I'm also following Musume's format with the questions with my corresponding answer to each one, and then the questions repeated at the end in a list for easy copy-paste convenience.

1. Do you collect anything other than dolls?
Not as a hobby, but I love collecting other people's business cards and packaging with what I consider to be nice design. I'm also a hoarder in many of the games I play - I'm one of the completionist types who likes getting every achievement and every title possible, which is probably a little frustrating for my friends who play with me... :')

2. Why did you start a doll blog? 
I started one to document updates for my newest and only doll at the time (who happens to be my oldest one now!) It was originally supposed to be a "dolly and me" style blog because I'd intended to only have one doll but as my collection and position in the hobby changed dramatically it just became a way for me to sum up my activity and plans. Now it's basically a doll plan dump because that's all I do these days.

3. Do you have one particular doll that is the favorite in your collection? 
This is a really tough question. I try so hard not to play favorites with my dolls, but I think it is very obvious that I haven't been adhering to that at all. Usually my newest doll is my favorite for a good 4 months and I definitely love Yagi lots... but I still think that Polaire has been and still is my most stable favorite to date. I've just spent so much time with her image/character in-game and out-of-game that she's just kind of a constant? I don't know how to describe it.

4. Your favorite doll accessory?
My lovely friends gifted me this apron and frying-pan set from Volks for my 21st birthday this year! Here you can see my favorite girl with my favorite accessory set:

5. Do you know exactly how many dolls you have in your collection (you don't have to tell the number of course :-) )
I have a perfectly manageable collection size of 4 dolls, all SD girls! You don't want to know how many more I have planned.

6. Do you play any instruments and if so, what? 
I played flute for 8 years, but I haven't touched it since I entered college 3 years ago.

7. Where is your most favourite place you've ever been? 
Hong Kong during the winter! The weather feels like a brisk autumn day in California, and there's so much to see and do. And eat. All for a very low price, or at least that's how it was when I visited that one time. Recently I've only had time to go during the summer, so it's hot and sticky, and with all the recent events going on in HK the prices for clothing/makeup/toys haven't exactly been what I'd consider cheap.

8. What is your most favourite thing about yourself?
I'd also consider this a tough question because I spend most of my time on things I don't like about myself. I guess I could say I'm resourceful in that I'm generally good at making use of a bad situation, or improvising tools.

9. Favourite book or movie? 
I don't think I really have a favorite book but when I was a kid I really liked the Pendragon and Artemis Fowl series. Fantasy and mystery adventures have always appealed to me!

Favorite movie is a tough one for me, it's a tie between Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle. And Princess Mononoke. Maybe When Marnie Was There? Or the only non-Ghibli movie on my list, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World? If you haven't already noticed, I'm incredibly indecisive.

10. If you could design your own doll, how would it look like? 
I would import the model for my Blade & Soul character, make modifications to her body, and 3D print that. 😂

Here are the questions again:
1. Do you collect anything other than dolls?
2. Why did you start a doll blog?
3. Do you have one particular doll that is the favourite in your collection?
4. Your favourite doll accessory?
5. Do you know exactly how many dolls you have in your collection (you don't have to tell the number of course :-) )?
6. Do you play any instruments and if so, what?
7. Where is your most favourite place you've ever been?
8. What is your most favourite thing about yourself?
9. Favourite book or movie?
10. If you could design your own doll, how would it look like?

❤ Kai

Thursday, July 30, 2015

bee news

I posted awhile back about some "far-off" doll plans that I wasn't going to attempt for awhile, but it looks like they're not going to be that far-off anymore! This is one of my recent drawings and he probably doesn't look too familiar because I've never posted a completed illustration of this guy before.

His name is Julien Feng aka "bee king" - I'd originally planned for him to be a LM Luke but after re-evaluating my plans I might have him be a Luts SDF Winter '14 head instead. As much as I love Luke's face, I really couldn't get over how close together his eyes were in the end. Luckily for me, my friend has managed to find a secondhand Luts head for me at a pretty decent price :) Here he is next to an F60 Celine I painted:

I can't wait to see him in person so I can try some faceups on him! He's going to be getting a wig (in black) and probably a hanfu like the one pictured in my next Taobao order. The only question remaining is should I get him a Luts SDF65 body or go with the Switch HD65? Suggestions and resin matches welcome!

❤ Kai

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Moving on...

That's one doll out of the way... so what's next? I currently have 3 more dolls planned, but 2 of them are on the backburner until I can solidify their faceup and wardrobe concepts (plus, they're boy dolls. I'm not good with boy dolls.) I'm going to be continuing with my original plan prior to impulse buying that SQLab Navi - chasing after a good sculpt for Estelle!

Illustration by me procrastinating on studying over the weekend

By the looks of the illustration, I'm probably going to be canceling all plans for a Luts Nina in Real Brown Skin and going for an F60 Celine in tan. I think I want a little more variety in the faces in my collection, even if I'm not completely sold on Fairyland as a company.

Oh! And my wonderful friend who sent me her tan Celine a little while back let me try Essie's faceup on her doll just to help me out with my decision. It's what the illustration's based on, in addition to the purple wig I managed to snag off another friend.

The only real changes I'll be making is switching out the gold snake bites for silver ones and keeping the ears unpierced. Otherwise... color palette, brow shape, etc. is essentially set! I won't be able to afford this girl for awhile since I'm going to be ordering her with extra heel feet and hands (I hate the default hands Moe F60's come with because they barely have any nails to paint on!), all in tan directly from Fairyland :( Wish me luck!

❤ Kai

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Mystery moth at 80%

Ta-daaaah! She is done :) Well, not quite. My friend is sending me some stencils to paint her eyebrows on, the little sequins I've glued there for now are only placeholders for her white star eyebrows I'll hopefully be doing later on this week! Her eyes are also photoshopped since I don't have her Oscar Eyes yet - they'll be here sometime in June, and I'm really looking forward to seeing her 100% complete. This is actually the second faceup I've done on her! Her previous one had a different lip style and white eyeliner instead of black. I've just made some very small improvements including some gold accents on the lips and refined white lace designs around her eyes.

And here's her second manicure! The first one was a lot less complicated - I only had mint nails with golden crescents at the nail base, and the star sequin on each of the pointer fingers. This one's a lot more blinged out :) I also duplicated this manicure on another set of hands since she came with 2 extra pairs when I bought her.

For a secondhand doll I think she looks really lovely! I've put in a lot of time and effort perfecting her look and fixing her up even though I'm already her third owner.

❤ Kai

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

april/may plans!

Some decisions have been made and I'm making a very very slight change of plans! First on the agenda is the official announcement that I'm going to be getting Yagi before Estelle since some golden opportunities have come up, and I'm more set in what I want for them more than what I want for Essie (plus with Withdoll releasing a 60cm line soon, I'll have to reconsider the Luts Nina as my choice sculpt).

I've had this SQLab Navi bookmarked on the DoA marketplace for a few months but I hadn't thought of anything I wanted to do with it for the longest time, until I recently made the realization that her face was super similar to Gloomy Sarubia, one of my sculpt candidates for Yagi. The listing has the full doll with 2 extra pairs of hands for only $410, and it's located within the USA so not only would I save on shipping, I'd also save on time!

Here's the mockup of the listing photo with the faceup I intend to do:

I'm so excited! My friend is letting me borrow her nail stencils for the star eyebrows, and the seller has kindly put the doll on hold for me until I'm ready to pay. I hope I can buy her by the end of this month!

I've also compiled a sort of style collage to get a better feel of what I want for this doll. I'm going to be doing something a little different than usual (read: not a massive contemporary-styled closet) so it's going to take a lot more work! In this collage I have (starting from top left): lip designs by Light Limner, iridescent glitter flakes, a tulle tutu on Small Yabi painted by blandbilker, an Etsuna Otsuka dress, styled Serenade Doll Nuns, and Tang Dynasty ruqun taken by 当小时. Even though Yagi's base concept is an ethereal alien moth I'm basically taking inspiration from celestial motifs, Chinese hanfu, and cult party-kei findings. I'm probably not going to be able to find this kind of stuff readily available in doll size, so I'm either going to have to get crafting or find someone to commission!

❤ Kai

Saturday, March 28, 2015

small spring update

I'm a little bit late with this (I'm actually flying back to school today) but I think it would be unfair of me to leave without posting a proper update on my dolls over break! Before coming back I gave Haerang a mini-makeover by just enhancing the faceup I finished in November. She has darker eyelashes and eyelid crease, added blushing, and a couple stars on her face now. I think she looks tons cuter!

Naturally my first order of business coming back was to give the other two girls some faceup refreshers, it wouldn't be fair of me to give only DJ something new. So I decided to redo Lenny's face with something new! She looks a little bit more on the cartoony side, but I'm really happy that the added black finally adds definition to her relatively flat eyes. I also redid the shading on her lips so that they'd photograph better - the previous faceup made her lips look completely orange with no definition at all.

And finally, here's the girl I'm taking back with me to school! I originally wanted to do an enhanced faceup like DJ's, but the way I painted the eyelid crease made it look a little too strong, so I decided to wipe it and redo the entire faceup. I've made a few changes - longer, darker eyebrows and lighter lips, but overall I'm pretty happy with her new look. You'll be seeing her a lot more often from now on!

And what would a break be without a closing shot of all three of them together? ;)

❤ Kai

BJD Interview with Polaire!

Finally getting around to doing this! I wanted to wait until I came home for spring break so I could refaceup/take proper pictures of my girls for this interview :) I was tagged by my wonderful friend Musume! I don't really have anyone in mind to tag, so anyone who reads this blog, feel free to write out an interview for any of your dolls.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

new & revised doll plans!

I'm back!! But only for a little bit. School has moved into the "literally-a-midterm-every-week-until-finals" phase, so between that and commission work I haven't really had a lot of time to myself. I've cleared majority of this month's commissions though, so I've managed to nab a little bit of free time to 1) create an art piece and 2) make some mockups for some new doll characters I've thought of!

I'm really happy that I changed up my doll plans because while I DO love all of my "bees" I think I'm more comfortable buying and shelling out feminine characters. I've also changed the sculpts that I'm intending to get so I've managed to break my chain of every new doll being more expensive than my last.

Here's a familiar-ish face! I've selected a different sculpt for Estelle Cerana - I've decided that she's going to be a LUTS Delf Nina in Real Brown Skin rather than a tan skin F60 Celine. She's now only $522 including shipping! I decided to go with Nina because I'd have the option of choosing LUTS' brown skin over Fairyland's overly red tan, as well as a body shape that fits better into my aesthetic preferences. I'm really not a big fan of the Moe Line torso or leg shape, and to mod that would be both too costly and a pain with tan skin.

While I was deliberating my plans for Essie I also managed to create another character by examining the new Peakswoods-exclusive Oscar Eyes and sitting in front of my tablet for 3 days straight. I haven't really fleshed out their specifics yet or decided exactly WHAT they are besides the general descriptor of "moth," but here's Yagi as a drawing and as a mockup on two different LittleMonica sculpts.


Cropped version of Yagi the moth.

(I have pictures of Yagi as Chloe and Sarubia respectively, but I've basically decided to go with Chloe as the designated sculpt.) I'm not exactly sure whether Yagi has a gender or not yet, but my basic idea is put them (her?) on a Sadol Love60 body in white skin and just see where the theme of glitter, lace, and flowers takes me. A moth princess would work. A genderless insect alien would also work. In either case, Yagi's a pretty big departure from what I'm used to and I'm really excited to see where I go with it.

P.S. A LittleMonica head + Sadol body is only $500 including shipping.

❤ kai

Monday, January 26, 2015

commission stuff!!

Almost shocking that I'm making a post in the same month as my last one, isn't it? I've been working away at my faceup commission business at Darjeeling Aesthetics for roughly two years now, and I'm impressed at how much I've progressed in the time I've taken to really improve my skills. Just look at my first and most recent faceups on my own LittleMonica Sophia!

Good lord look at those messy lines and that eyebrow...
At least the eyebrows are even this time! And the eyeshadow is much cleaner without those unfinished white lines.
Things are going pretty well for me but I think I still have a long way to go. I'm very glad that I've made some friends in the hobby whom I admire for their skills! In fact, I'm about to go into a faceup trade with one of my favorite faceup artists in the USA, mil-mascaras :) I finished working on her Nine9Style Bunny Nine Potpourri and I've just sent her back with my blank Leekeworld Corin head. I can't wait to see what she does with it!

Star child Potpourri!
I've never been able to do a single faceup I liked on that Corin head, so hopefully after Minda works on it I'll finally be able to work on a look and buy her a body so she won't be a detached head anymore. Here's DJ signing off with a bunch of thank you notes!

Thanks for all your support! 我會繼續努力的!!

❤ kai

Sunday, January 11, 2015

+ 2015 doll plans +

Happy 2015 everyone~ I know I'm 10 days late but it's better late than never, right? I suppose you could say I'm pretty happy with my small collection of three for now (that and I'm kinda broke after basically buying two dolls and all their clothes in the same year...) but I do have plans to add to my collection in future. Maybe not within 2015, but I'm probably going to start saving for stuff starting now :')

But first, a height comparison chart! "DJ" (Darjeeling) and Polaire are both dolls in my current collection, and while the stock images on the comparison site look nothing like them they've got the exact same body/measurements for reference. As for everyone else, I'll be introducing them shortly!

"Bee king" (who currently does not have an actual name) started out as a joke during one of my draw streams but I'm starting to really like him? I just drew a guy with really long hair and a hanfu for fun, but the more I look at 古装 for dolls on Taobao the more I want to make this guy a reality. I'm going to have a hard time trying to fit him in with the rest of my collection, but why can't we just have him be someone who spends too much time on the internet researching and cosplaying ancient fantasy China clothes? If I were to choose a sculpt I'd probably go with Little Monica's newly released Grand Harmony Luke. He's on the taller side of things but I might be able to put up with it if it makes him look good in hanfu.

"Bee prince" is based off a drawing I completed some time in October. I did, in fact, continue this as a running bee joke from my experience with "bee king"... except I actually managed to create a definite image for him. His name is Aster Cerana, as in Apis cerana, the Eastern honey bee. Literally a bee. I imagine him to be a snobby little brat, but the same time, I can't see myself having an MSD-sized doll in my collection at all. DIM's Jullis is exactly what I had in mind when I drew that picture, but alas... I'm not sure if 42cm is going to cut it for me. If I DO decide to modernize and size him up, I'll probably go for a LUTS SDF65 Carmine and see if I can do a My Choice to put him on the regular SDF body or Delf body.

And last but not least I've got plans for another girl! I'm so terrible at planning boys because I never intended to have boys in my collection at all, but if it's for the bees I'll do it... Estelle Cerana probably has the highest chance of being bought right now, but the price tag is a pretty hefty one. I'm aiming for a F60 Moe tan Celine from Fairyland and everything including shipping is approximately $670 :') I want a girl who loves pastels, spikes, and skintight clothing and looks nothing like the rest of the bee royal family. I've started an inspiration tag for her, but I have no idea where on earth I'll be able to find actual doll-scale clothes in the style I want, let alone any that fit a 53cm FM60...

...And that's a wrap! There's no way I'll be getting all 3 this year, or even one this year, but I do love plans and I DO love bees. Who do you think I should set as my goal first? Let me know in the comments :)