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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

Do You Have Talent?

Written on January 13, 2017 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
Filed under: News with tags:

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WANTED 5 talented people (or groups) in the Blythe community to participate in the annual BlytheLife.com March Talent Showcase!

It’s super simple: I interview you for the March Talent Showcase, and we discuss how you came to do what you do, and then I share that interview (and photographs of your work) here on BlytheLife.com in the month of March.

Interviews are typically 8-12 questions in length, we talk about how you came into the Blythe hobby, how you got started in your awesome talented thing that you do. Some people opt to do a giveaway (completely optional!) or include a coupon code (also completely optional!).

Some examples of previously showcased talent includes: customizers, knitters, sewers, crocheters, eye chip painters, and more! The only caveat is that you must have been doing this thing that you do for 1 year or less. If you’re an Etsy shop owner, that would mean that you’ve had your shop for a year or less.

If this sounds like something that you’d be interested in doing, please email me (michelle@blythelife.com) or check out the page on How To Get Featured for more information on getting featured here on BlytheLife!

2017 Goals, Thoughts, and Plans

Written on January 4, 2017 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
Filed under: News with tags: , ,

Happy new year, BlytheLife readers! I took an accidental hiatus that happened due to the holidays, scheduled work, and extra work. I’m (sort of) well-rested and ready to tackle 2017 with a new sense of gusto.

20170104A little throwback to BlytheCon Portland, June 2011.

There are a lot of upcoming big Blythe events this year, and I’ve updated the Events page here on BlytheLife.com for easy reference. First up is BlytheCon Europe, which is happening in Spain in the month of May! I’m really excited about all the events happening this year, and while it would be an absolute dream to attend every single one of them and meet some fantastic people, I will be attending only one this year. In October, I’ll be at BlytheCon Brooklyn! It’ll be my second time in Eastern USA (the first being Florida when I was 5!) and first time in New York so it’ll be really exciting for me. I’ll be sure to cover the event (premeet and actual convention) and share photos here in late October/early November.

Other things coming up for BlytheLife is the March Talent Showcase! It’s been a fairly annual event here on BlytheLife. What I do is interview people for the month of March who are new talents to the doll community. By ‘new’, I mean people who have done something for a year or less in their chosen crafty avenue (customizing, sewing, knitting, miniature making, etc.) and showcase them, their work, and their online shop (if they have one). If this is something that sounds appeal to you, please fill out the form here or email me for more information!

Continuing in 2017 will be the Question of the Week, the monthly Middie Mondays, Blythe On A Budget, as well as Love, Sophie. I know I haven’t written one in a while, but believe you me, Sophie is still here and causing a ruckus. I also have plans for DIYs, tutorials, patterns, and more!

Wabi-Sabi Dolls Giveaway: The Winner!

Written on April 3, 2016 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Giveaway with tags: , ,

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I greatly enjoyed reading all the comments on my interview with Ellis of Wabi-Sabi Dolls over the last week! It’s been enjoyable to see how you all like Ellis’s custom work, they’re so cute! In case you’ve forgotten, Ellis is generously giving away prizes to two (2) winners – each winner will be getting a pair of painted eye chips (created by The Art of War Faery) and a set of signature pull charms from Wabi-Sabi Dolls. Super awesome, right?

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And the winners are…

Click to read more of this entry.

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