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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

Blythe On A Budget: DIY Keyhole Scarf

Written on March 9, 2017 at 1:30 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Article, Freebies with tags: , ,

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This is an easy knitting project for those who want something cute and quick for their dolls. Because it’s garter stitch, it can be a nice mindless project to take on while watching Netflix. The keyhole aspect of it makes it a shorter scarf, and can stay on the doll when it’s windy.

For this pattern, you will need to know how to: cast on, knit stitch, and cast off. You can find knitting tutorials and videos on knittinghelp.com.

You will need:

  • Knitting needles (2.75mm/US 2)
  • Fingering or sock yarn – small amount (I used Knit Picks Palette)
  • Scissors
  • Yarn needle

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Directions:

Cast on 13 stitches (I use the long-tail cast-on).

Knit for 19 rows.

Knit 3, cast off 7 stitches, knit 3.

Knit 3, cast on 7 stitches, knit 3.

Knit for 70 rows (or until desired length).

Cast off.

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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.

Taking a Moment

Written on March 1, 2017 at 1:30 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Musings

Lately I’ve been feeling like I’ve been “neglecting” some of my dolls and lets face it, that’s probably true. I’ve been busy with all the things and while I have knitting projects on the go for Blythe right now (either clothing or accessories), I’ve gotten to the point where I have multiple projects on the go and none of them are done (yet – maybe soon?).

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I decided to pluck one of my dolls off my shelf this week to ‘spend time with’, as it were. The goal was to change her outfit (didn’t happen), take some photos, and then snow happened outside and I wasn’t able to freeze for dolly photos (I am clearly not that adventurous). It was nice to spend some quiet time with a doll without the expectation that I needed her to model something, or to try on something that I was making. It was like low expectations for my dolly time and it fit me perfectly well.

For those new to BlytheLife, this is Eden Mouse. She’s a lover of pink and all things cute and girly. Her haircut essentially makes her my very-younger-self’s mini-me. She’s one of my first dolls that has short hair, and bangs, as well as my first NRFB doll that had major issues (her stock hair cut was awful!), and also the first doll to have a fairly well-defined persona. Eden is very easy to love.

But for those wondering where my slightly more in-depth posts are… I do have a knitting pattern coming up next week! And the start of the March Talent Showcase is this Friday.

Eden Mouse’s wearing: hat/made by me, shirt/Luxie Lou.

Trying Out Names

Written on February 24, 2017 at 12:10 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Musings

Little Miss Sunday Best is still pretty much nameless. I’ve been trying out names on here over the last two weeks and so far these are the names that I have tried and decided against because they didn’t really fit:

  • Hannah/Hanna/Hannelore
  • Tess/Tessa
  • Lillie/Lily/Lilly (because I somehow forgot that my blonde Kenner’s name is Lillian Rose?!)
  • Beth/Bess/Bessie

The next couple of days I’ll be trialing the name “Willa” and see if it sticks.

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My first BL, a Mondrian, is named Lottie (which is a nickname for Charlotte). I’m sort of trying to find another ‘nickname’ for my second BL’s name. I’ve been very good about rejecting names so far though, gold star for me there, but have been failing to find a name that I feel “fits” her.

I can’t remember the last time I had this much trouble naming a doll.

I’m beginning to feel a little bit ridiculous.

Sunday Best is wearing: dress/Endangered Sissy.

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