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Interview with Florance of Mizzfitzdolls

Written on March 17, 2017 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Featured, Giveaway with tags: ,

The third installment of the March Talent Showcase is Florance of Mizzfitzdolls! I’m excited to introduce her to all of you because she does some great one-of-a-kind embroidered pieces plus she’s sort of local to me, being in British Columbia as well. Let’s ignore how big the province is, shall we?

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Hello Florance! Tell us about yourself.
I’m so pleased to be able to be a part of your March Showcase Michelle, thank you!
About me… I’ll focus on the journey that lead me to designing and creating for Blythe. I studied costume design at the University of Lethbridge completing my Bachelor of Arts and Science and continued on to an MFA in design for theatre from the University of Victoria. Staying home and raising a family ultimately won out over a glamorous career in theatre and movies. Fast forward a number of years and I started recreating a design I’d developed back in the 70’s, one of a kind hand embroidered patchwork jeans that I shared in an article for Altered Couture magazine a few years ago. I started thinking about how adorable my jeans would be in miniature and I had this huge love on for Blythe so the two just went hand and hand leading me in to the world of designing and creating fashion for this amazing doll!

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How did you discover Blythe?
I kept seeing these funky little dolls with the most amazing eyes! I’d always been a fan of the retro big eyed children art so these dolls really intrigued me. I particularly loved the customized ones and being on a budget required me to purchase very carefully…I found a new doll artist who was brilliant and I bought my first Blythe from her…and my second too.

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Who is in your doll family currently?
Rose and Amelia are my first two customized Blythe dolls by artist Paula Saraivia of Kawaii Bjus. Cleo my third custom Blythe was purchased from a fellow Canadian whom I’m pretty certain customized this lovely girl. My most recent addition to my Blythe family was the first doll customized by Maria Zuniga and Penelope is the name I’ve given her. They are my precious models and work really hard for me….without much reward since I sell the clothing right off of them, poor dears.
I also have a huge collection of MH dolls, many of whom I customized myself.

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How did you get started sewing for Blythe?
As a designer it was so wonderful to discover Blythe doll bodies, traditional, Licca, Azone. I’d been designing and selling MH fashions quite successfully but had let it slide upon receiving my first Blythe. I spent days sketching designs and creating prototype garments for this fabulous doll. As I said in my intro I had the idea to recreate my hand embroidered patchwork jeans in miniature for Blythe and that was my catalysis for reopening my Etsy shop with focus on Blythe fashion.

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What was the first thing that you sold for Blythe?
I posted photos of my original little jean sets on Instagram prior to listing them in my Etsy shop and they sold out immediately. That was a wonderful and positive occurrence! It certainly made me feel that I had made the right choice by following my heart to create the miniature jeans for Blythe.

In a sea of Etsy shops, what would you say sets you apart from the other clothing designers for Blythe?
It’s definitely my hand embroidered patchwork jeans. There are so many talented and passionate Blythe clothing designers on Etsy as well as those that sell in other venues…a new designer must have a special niche if they hope to get noticed. I put my heart and soul into creating my designs and I believe it shows.

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What is one of the challenges you’ve faced with creating clothes for Blythe dolls?
I had to redesign my basic jeans pattern a couple times because Blythe’s bum crack was showing when she sat down…it drove me crazy LOL! For me that issue had to be resolved prior to offering them in my shop. It was actually an excellent opportunity for me to create a few different pattern options to use as the foundations for my hand embroidered patchwork.

What is a tool that you use that you cannot create without?
The haemostats and kelly clamps I use for turning those darn tiny pant legs and sleeves!

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Tell use a bit about your typical day creating for Mizzfitzdolls?
On days I can dedicate entirely to my creative process…this is how it goes. I wake early, shower and dress and head downstairs to my workshop (which I’m very blessed to have) by 8:30 am. Typically I have a few different designs I’m working on all at once, it’s my nature. I’ll get lost in my ocean of fabric for a good hour…choosing the perfect combination of colours and patterns for the project I’m currently working on or perhaps a future one, this is my favourite thing to do creatively. I’ll cut and machine sew until lunch time, take a break and then continue on until around 2:30. It’s a guarantee that I’ll then come back upstairs with a handful of items for hand stitching or embroidery while I watch Netflix. I keep my sketch book floating around the house with me so I can put any ideas on paper right away so I don’t forget.

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Can you tell us about any upcoming projects you have going on?
I’d love to vendor at the 2018 BlytheCon in Los Angeles so that’s definitely upcoming if I’m fortunate enough to be chosen. In anticipation of that possibility I’ve been creating pieces that get put aside when completed so I have stock to sell…worse case scenario is that I’ll have a full Etsy shop if not…it’s a win/win.

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What’s one of your favourite aspects of the Blythe community?
Everyone that I’ve had the opportunity to come into contact with since starting to design for Blythe have been so very friendly, positive and encouraging!

Thanks for participating in the March Talent Showcase! What’s some advice you have for someone who’s starting out sewing for Blythe?
Thank you Michelle! My advice for someone just starting out sewing Blythe clothes would be ‘practice makes perfect’…and keep a seam ripper close at hand. Seriously though…just relax and enjoy the process, start off sewing a simple basic one piece dress by hand before proceeding to machine sewing. Creating your own Blythe fashions can be very rewarding!

You can find out more about Florance and Mizzfitzdolls on Facebook, Etsy, and Instagram.

Mizzfitzdolls Outfit Set Giveaway!

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Florance has generously decided to give away an adorable outfit set for Blythe! This outfit consists of the embroidered patchwork jeans, the sweater, and the necklace.

The giveaway runs until Saturday March 25th 2017 at 11:59pm Pacific. The draw will be held on Sunday March 26th 2017 and the winner will be announced on BlytheLife.com. Remember to use a valid email address for all comments. If you win, I will be contacting you for your address and forwarding the information onto Florance so she can send you your prize.

Please only use one email address per person, those using multiple email addresses for more entries will be disqualified.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Interview with Filipa of Little Matilda Atelier

Written on March 10, 2017 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Featured, Giveaway with tags: ,

For this week’s March Talent Showcase, I’m featuring Filipa of Little Matilda Atelier. Filipa customizes and creates cute doll clothes! Continue reading to learn more about Filipa and her beautiful creations!

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Hello Filipa! Please tell us about yourself!
Hello Michelle. I’m Filipa, I’m 35 years old and I’m a Portuguese artist living in London, UK. I’m a wife and mum of two boys, ages 10 and 7, and a 9 month baby girl. I’m the founder and owner of Little Matilda Atelier, that is my happy place where the magic happens and little Blythe dolls became to life.

How did you discover Blythe? Who’s in your doll family?
I’ve discovered Blythe dolls about one and a half year ago on Instagram from Dolly Treasures account. I fell in love completely!!! I’ve messaged Eileen asking where I could buy these dolls, and she explained me that they were Blythe dolls customised by artists, and I could find them on eBay or Etsy. On that day I’ve started my journey as a Blythe doll collector and customiser.

I’ve searched on internet everything about these girls and found all the information about stock dolls and factory dolls. Five months after I’ve tried my first attempt of customisation on a faceplate. I found it really difficult, but my love for these girls spoke louder and I kept trying until customise my first doll in February 2016.

At the moment I have in my doll family one stock girl Dark Rabbit Hole and four TBLs named Saffron, Olivia, James and Amelya. I’m waiting for another stock girl Blythe, Varsity Dean. Many more will join my dolly family in the next few months.

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Tell us about your first custom Blythe, what made you decide to start customizing?
My first custom Blythe was a Ginger hair TBL Blythe. I’ve decided to start customising because I was completely in love with these girls and I wanted to see if it was something that I could do. I’ve studied arts in University and I had some knowledge in carving, so I’ve decided to give it a try.

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What is the process like for you when you start a new custom doll?
When I start a new girl is always a mystery. I have an idea in my head of like I want her to be, but somehow during the process it turns out for something completely different. At the end it’s even better than I thought. I start to choose the girl I want to customise, and when I find her I begin to work in the idea, like hair style, illustration in the backplate, eyelids and outfit. As soon as she arrives I start working.

What has been one of the biggest mistakes you’ve made so far while customizing? How did you overcome it?
One of the biggest mistakes that I’ve made so far while customizing, was an attempt of making an open mouth with little teeth. I’ve carved in the wrong way and made a big hole in the mouth. I’ve tryed to fix with air dried clay, and it worked for me. I kept this doll for me. She is my little blondie girl named James. There were other mistakes of course, but this one was the biggest so far.

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What kind of lessons did you learn with your first customization project?
The biggest lesson that I’ve learned with my first customization girl, was that this is a job of love and requires lots of patience. I am an impatient person by nature, so I’ve learned to be patient. Customizing, works like a therapy for me. When I’m doing this job that I love so much, I almost forget everything. There are so many details to think about. I’ve also learned that we can’t do everything in the same day. I need to stop, and come back another day with fresh eyes. And the best lesson that I’ve learned is that customizing makes me really happy!!

What tools do you use would you say have been the most important in your customization process?
I use sanding paper P400 and 1500 Grit, different shapes of wooden carving chisels, surgical scalpels and a micro Dremel. All of them are really important, but I found that the Dremel helps a lot in the beginning of the carving process to gives definition.

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How would you describe your aesthetic when it comes to your custom work?
I’m inspired by little ones, so I would describe my custom dolls like little girls with cute and shy faces, with pinky/ reddish freckled cheeks. I use the Licca body or Azone pure neemo XS to give them the aspect of little girls and I usually cut and style their hair to finish their childish appearance.

What kind of custom projects do you have planned for the future that you can share with us?
I have a few custom projects planned for the near future that includes a boy, a middie and a petite Blythe. I also have a project to customise a doll inspired in a Portuguese TV entertainer called Juju Red, a fairy, and a mermaid.

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Besides your custom work, tell us about your other creative endeavors with Blythe.
Besides my custom work, I am developing a collection of clothes and hats, but it’s still in a beginning stage. It will take some time to come out. I’m also an Illustrator, so I’m creating my illustration of a Blythe doll and my Logo, that I will share soon.

Thank you so much for doing this interview with me, Filipa! What advice to do you have for someone who’s starting to customize?
Thank you so much Michelle for the interview. It was a pleasure. I would like to say to someone who is starting to customise to don’t give up. It can take some time to be happy with your custom, and in the beginning it may seems that you don’t know what you are doing. It’s absolutely normal. Relax, take your time, and keep trying. It gets better everyday!!! And everyone have their own style. The most important thing is to make it with love.

You can find out more about Filipa and Little Matilda Atelier on Etsy, Instagram, and Facebook.

Little Matilda Atelier Sweater Giveaway!

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Filipa has generously decided to give away one black-and-white striped sweater for Blythe!

The giveaway runs until Friday March 17th 2017 at 11:59pm Pacific. The draw will be held on Saturday March 18th 2017 and the winner will be announced on BlytheLife.com. Remember to use a valid email address for all comments. If you win, I will be contacting you for your address and forwarding the information onto Filipa so she can send you your prize.

Please only use one email address per person, those using multiple email addresses for more entries will be disqualified.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Interview with Victoria Fox

Written on March 3, 2017 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Featured with tags:

This is the first interview for the 2017 March Talent Showcase and I’m pleased to present Victoria Fox, a customizer from New York, USA! She customizes Blythe and creates hand painted eyechips for them, super neat!

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Hello Victoria! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Victoria. I am originally from Ukraine. I live in Brooklyn since 2008- that’s when I moved to New York. Before moving here, I previously worked for Carnival Cruise line for many years but that’s another story…

How did you discover Blythe? Who is in your Blythe family?
I discovered Blythe doll one day when I scrolling down my Instagram feed. It took a while for me to buy my first Blythe doll. The moment I saw her in real life I fell in love and my fate was sealed. That was the beginning of my journey that turned into collecting and customizing the dollies :) I currently have about 11 dolls waiting to get customized, 2 that are customized and up for an adoption at my Etsy store and 2 boxed dolls that I might keep – Pow Wow Poncho and Frosty Frock.

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What made you want to start customizing?
I started customizing shortly after receiving my first Blythe doll. I like how original releases look but I also love how you can bring out dolls character and charm once you customized her. I think that my dolls have a lot of sass once they go through the customization process.

Tell us about your first custom project. Who was she and who is she now?
My first custom doll was a factory doll. She had a pink hair and I named her Cotton. After she got customized, she was shortly sold on Etsy and sent to Germany. My style changed since and the dolls that I make now do not have the look of my very first and special doll.

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What was it like making your first sale? How did it make you feel?
I remember first time I sold my doll. I was so excited! As an artist, I always feel flattered that someone loves my doll so much that they want to buy her. It makes me feel very happy, excited and satisfied. I always ask my customers to send me the pictures of the adopted dolls to see where they are now.

Tell us a bit about your customization process from developing a concept to the finished product.
When I pick up a face plate, I have an idea of how I want to carve it; if I should have the mouth open or if I should give them teeth but it is never completely set. I like to think that the dolls have their own personalities so if I feel like I want to do something else instead while I’m carving than I go with that flow.

With so many customizers out there, what would you say sets you and your work apart from the others?
There are so many talented customizers out there who do an amazing work. I am pretty new in a Blythe community- I started in mid 2016 and still building up and establishing my customizer profile. I think all of my dolls turn out a bit pouty and I love it (maybe it’s because I also pout when I carve?). I think I also bring a lot of dolls characters out.

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What kind of tools would you say have been indispensable in your customization work?
There are so many things that I use but when it comes to carving I would be absolutely lost if I did not have 2 of my favorite exacto knives and diamond tip heads. I break the blades quite often and constantly have to replace them.

What do you know now that you wish you had known at the beginning of your customization journey?
One important thing that I’ve learned is the importance of the appropriate respiratory protection when sanding, applying pastels and most importantly, spraying. I did not think much of it until one day when I read an article about it. I wish I knew that when I started with my first doll.

What do you think is one of the more challenging aspects of being a customizer?
I think that if you are a beginner it may take a while to start being recognized on the market. It may take some time to build your own audience and customers who appreciate your unique style.

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Can you tell us a bit about any in progress projects right now?
My current project is a beautiful doll that I purchased a month ago. She came with a matte face and it was a bit challenging at the beginning. I had to figure out a way to take that rubbery top coat off of her face plate… She came a long way from there and is in a final stage now- her make-up, eyes, eyelids and pull strings are complete and she just waiting on her tiny teeth to be made. After that she will be available for an adoption at my Etsy store.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?
I am constantly learning and improving my skills and will continue to make custom dolls. I am glad that I discovered this amazing hobby and can see myself continuing this journey many years from now.

Thank you so much for participating in the March Talent Showcase, Victoria! What advice do you have for someone who’s thinking of starting to customize their Blythe doll?
My advice for someone who is starting would be: do your research on the techniques, find the correct tools, pastels, watch the videos from other customizers to learn as much as you can. And also, have fun with it! Do not get discouraged if the first doll does not turn out the way that you have imagined- it takes practice and will get better. I think it is also important to join groups that have people who are in the same hobby. One group that I discovered and a part of is a FB group “Blythe Customization” and I recommend it to everyone.

If you’re wanting your own custom doll by Victoria, she’s offering a $50 off coupon code for all purchases of $800 or greater on her Etsy shop – use VFOXMA50 at checkout.

Everyday Collector: Christopher

Written on June 22, 2016 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Featured with tags:

Everyday Collector is a feature I first wrote about in March 2016. It’s a feature to showcase the collectors in the Blythe community. If you are interested in being featured, please click here for more information.

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Tell us about yourself.
I’m Christopher, I’m a cosmetology student in Portland and I’ve been a freelance makeup artist for years. A recovering club kid at the age of 40, I live a more sedate life with my Shih-Tzu, Lily. I love fashion,
old black and white movies, flappers, crochet, makeup artistry, glitter and of course, Blythe.

How did you discover Blythe?
I was living in San Francisco and online at the library catching up on blogs on a lovely summer day. There was a blogger I used to read, and she had this mini Blythe, and the doll tattooed on her arm. It was awesome! I asked her about the doll and she said the really cool Blythe dolls had pull strings. Their eyes moved…she sounded creepy and I forgot bout her.

Flash forward a few years, I was visiting my best friend out in the Oregon coastal mountains. A quilter and toy collector/eBay seller and in her insanely packed sewing room, amidst all the Heather Ross fabric, was a Good Neighbor Cafe in a box and I squealed with delight. She showed me her Ashton Drake redheaded beauty and a couple other ones who escape me. I was hooked and had to get my own.

My best friend handed me Gina’s books and was so excited that I was so enthusiastic and delighted with the dolls. I of course had tons of questions and she told me about reputable sellers and your first doll will speak to you to buy.

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Tell us about your Blythe family.
My first doll was Simply Chocolate. I loved her little sixties coif and fashion and promptly name her Coco after model Coco Rocha. Simply Love me (renamed Greta) and Monique Magnifique (renamed Clotilde, currently undergoing a transformation) joined the household a few years later. I admired the sellers on Etsy, eBay and Ravelry with their custom girls and a few that were darker skinned and many other dolls with brightly coloured hair. So I researched for a “factory” seller who was able to quench my desire for a blue long haired girl (named Betty Blue) and a beautiful darker skinned (and obvious fake…I know, but stock dollies like her didn’t exist) girl I named Dovima, after the legendary 50’s Vogue model.

What is your favourite thing about Blythe?
Oh goodness! Where do I begin? Her eyes do it and her little body. How her personality not only changes when you change her eyes, but also in how you style her hair and dress her. I’m fondest of her original face, just because it is what I saw that made me fall in love. She’s a great way to pass time and take pictures of and being a guy I love seeing people react to my having her with me. She’s inspiring to make me want to be more crafty and I started crocheting because of her! I love seeing the new releases and how she has such a worldwide following. She’s kind of like an old Hollywood story. She was released from her contract after lackluster success, and then relaunched herself as muse and model in a comeback Joan Crawford would be seething about. She is charming and my current boyfriend I knew was a keeper on our third date, when he met the girls and fell in love. He always wants to play with them!

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What is your favourite aspect of the Blythe community?
I love the inspiration she gives to all the people who have been bitten by the bug. In some ways it’s like a hilarious playground of make believe: the diehard Kenner only peeps, the customizers, the Takara collectors, and the collectors who buy the stock dolls along with the factory babes. It is amusing and amazing how a plastic doll has such a following of people from all walks of life the world over. All united behind a set of changing eyes. It is so much fun that just when I’m thinking that I have a weird obsession as a 40 year old man for a doll. Then I go on Instagram and online and find other people who make me feel so happy that I’m not alone and understand when I have the need for a new doll. They won’t tell me I’m stupid, they tell me to go for it!

Christopher can be found on Instagram.

Everyday Collector: Ollie

Written on May 11, 2016 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Featured with tags:

Everyday Collector is a feature I first wrote about in March 2016. It’s a feature to showcase the collectors in the Blythe community. If you are interested in being featured, please click here for more information.

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Tell us about yourself.
Hi, I’m Ollie, a Melbourne born and bred teenage photographer, crafter, tea drinker, clothes-wearer and collector of small things. Oh, and an absolute addict to Blythe!

How did you discover Blythe?
In 2009, my cousin came back from Japan with this doll. She had these big, round eyes which magically changed with the pull of a string. I was in love, and I knew I just had to get my hands on one of my own! After discovering that the doll was a Blythe, I scoured the internet for days trying to find the perfect one. Then I saw the price tag. Whoa. Maybe I was just too used to $19 Barbies but $140 just seemed crazy for one doll! So I put my dolly dreams on hold for a while. But there was just something about Blythe that I just *needed* to have. So me and my wallet winced and hit the ‘Submit Order’ button on a Bohemian Peace. Nowadays I laugh at my old non-Blythe-educated self whilst I pay for $350 second-hand custom : )

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Tell us about your Blythe family.
My Blythe family is forever changing and swapping. I go through phases of wanting ALL THE NEW RELEASES to eyeing off fancy customs. At the moment I’m pretty happy with my bundle (herd? flock? What’s the proper term?) of dollies. Sitting on the shelf I have Ellie, a Mondie, Chloe, a Yumiko Dolls Custom University of Love, Alex, a Royal Soliloquy, Mable, a Chu Things X MayYeo custom Simply Lilac, Nina, a Nenya Dolls custom FBL, and Audrey, a Strawberryland Dolls custom.

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What is your favourite thing about Blythe?
My favourite thing about Blythe would be the creativity surrounding the dolls. There are just so many amazing people creating everything from tiny leather boots to carefully carved mouths. It still astonishes me how tiny stitches can get! Blythe wouldn’t be where she is today without folk like this.

What is your favourite aspect of the Blythe community?
My favourite aspect of the Blythe community is how inviting and lovely everyone is. I went to Blythe Fest last year and there wasn’t a single person in the room that I couldn’t chat to!  I also love how diverse the community is. Blythe seems to share the love with everyone, whether you’re brand new or have been collecting since ’72.

Ollie can be found on Flickr.

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