Interview with Kate of Chantilly Lace

Written on August 23, 2013 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Featured with tags: ,

I first interviewed Kate back in March 2012 as part of the BlytheLife March Talent Showcase. While she wasn’t new to the doll community then, she was new on the scene with her handpainted eyechips. Since then, she’s been doing so much in the customizing realm that I thought it’d be a great idea to interview her again – this time focusing on her custom work.

chantilly lace header

Hi Kate! What can you tell us about yourself and how you discovered Blythe?
I’m 35 years old (when did that happen?), I have two children who are 2 and 13 and an amazing man who many of you met at BlytheCon Dallas.  I’ve been crafting for Blythe or customizing since 2008 and it’s been an amazing journey.  I learn new things and develop new skills all the time, especially since I became a stay at home mom after my son was born.  I discovered Blythe through the DCR pattern books and eBay while I was researching dolls for my daughter.

What’s your personal collection like? Do you keep your own work?
My personal collection has been very large before – up to 25 dolls or so, but it is much smaller now, just some core girls and a variety of other types of dolls. Most of them will be getting makeovers, it’s like the tale of the cobbler’s children who have no shoes! I rarely get the time to work on my own dolls.

I have my Gentle River and Rainy Day Parade who were my first dolls, a Cinnamon Girl who will be getting a makeover and new scalp, and a FAO Hollywood and a Primadolly Marigold that don’t have any work done yet. I have many smaller dolls:  Emerald Witch, Usaggi, vintage Licca, Wonderfrog and Lampe Nico as well as a few Latis and Yosds. It almost seems like other people’s work isn’t destined to stay with me, each time I’ve had one (a Sammydoe and a Tiina, both in trades)  I end up with emergency bills and have to sell them.

What was your first customization project?
My first customization was an Asian Butterfly Encore. I was in love with her hair color and started on her rather than the two other more expensive girls that I owned. I soaked and soaked, but her plates just wouldn’t come apart! I ended up having to saw and it was a traumatic experience, I swear I was apologizing to the doll as I was doing it.

What were you able to learn from that first project?
I learned to be careful with Exactos! Those things can be pretty wicked. I also learned that putting down a layer of MSC after sanding really helps prep the surface, just like a blank canvas.

All customizers have their own favourite tools – what’s in your customizing toolbelt?
I use standard Exacto blades, but in the last year I started using a curved one as well and that made a world of difference.  With rerooting I use rubber thimbles from the quilting section of a hobby store and it gives me more grip on the needle and protects my finger tips from blisters, which is how I’m able to do so many so quickly.  I recently picked up a few different paintbrushes for applying makeup a bit more evenly than some of my old ones or Q-tips.  Investing money in nicer pastels is important as well, I have a range of brands: Rembrandt, NuPastel, Sennelier and a Dick Blick store brand.

How would you define your customizing style?
I would define my style as natural beauty. I prefer making sunkissed girls with a younger look, not super glamorous ladies 🙂  I do dip my toe into stronger color palettes sometimes, but the makeup is never overdone. My girls also tend to have a slightly sad or wistful tone, for some reason they just don’t like to do a big toothy grin!

What is your favourite mold to work on? Which is your least favourite? – And why?
Well, that’s a bit of a trick question. each has pros and cons. EBLs have long been a favorite, I think they’re the best mold stock.  I like to do SBLs now because SO many people are against them that I like to make them super cute and change people’s minds. RBLs are wonderful, but the older the mold gets the worse the shape of the eye holes gets and one is significantly larger than the other and it makes it hard not to show the lower part of the eye mechanism, so I have a beef with that mold. I’m not that fond of the FBL mold stock, there’s no expression in it – but I love customizing it! it has the slightly deeper set eyes like EBL do.

What would you say is your favourite thing about customizing?
My favorite thing has been how customizing has led me to meet so many amazing people! I’ve always been a crafty person, but I was never able to find my niche. My grandmothers are both painters, my aunt is a photographer, my dad is a world class illustrator and sculptor, my mother is a silversmith and a museum curator. I’m the little girl who was bored in the summer and spun thread from cotton balls. I went to art school for graphic design, but found myself happier in the studio classes where I could sculpt as well. I love the variety of crafts brought together in the Blythe community.

How about least favourite?
Least favorite? Well, I hate the drama in the community but that’s nothing I can really affect by myself so I try to stay positive.  I also have trouble with strict timelines sometimes. I customize full time, so I’m at home with my almost 2 year old and I have a 12 year old girl as well. My husband runs a custom motorcycle shop out of our garage/shop area where he also does maintenance and repair on cars, 4 wheelers and does some home repairs as well. He’s also a sought after local musician so I’m at home with the kids most of the time and I feel bad when a commission takes longer than I’ve told someone it will. You should see the state of my house some days!

Can you tell us a bit about what you have planned for your vendor table at BlytheCon 2013 in New York?
Well, for those of you who visited my table last year in Dallas it will be some of the same. I don’t think I will have space this year to bring other people’s work, but we’ll see. Last year I brought some of my friend Sue’s beautiful mohair (Mohairhouse) and a large selection of items from Jemgirl as well. I will have several customs for sale, eyechips, reroots, pull charms, lots of hats and hopefully some clothing as well!

What does a day in the life of Kate look like when it comes to your work and working at home?
Well, my day is ALWAYS crazy, that’s for sure. I’m an extreme night owl, I always have been, so I’m thankful that at least during the summer the baby has been sleeping until about 9:30! Of course, I go to sleep about 3 or 4 am… Haha! My work setup is okay, My master bedroom is large and I use about 1/3 of it as my studio. It’s adjoined to the baby’s room (I have to stop calling him that, he’s 2 now) by sliding doors, so I just open them during the day and he plays while I attempt to work. I’ve been trying to do my carving at night so I have faces to work on while he’s playing, but it’s still hard. I have blocks and trucks everywhere, I’m quite often wearing a tiny plastic hardhat and singing songs while working, it’s terribly glamorous 🙂 I sew a bit during the day, do things like gluing in eyechips, things that I can stop and start easily. When the kids are done for the day I can kick into high gear! I have 4 or 5 trays laid out on my desk with disassembled dolls so I can work on them in stages, And I’m always doing something while one doll’s sealant layer is drying or chips are gluing in. My outside errand are either run in the dead of the night or in early afternoon to entertain the kid and tire him out for a nap!

What have been some of your favourite projects that you’ve done – either as commissions or not?
Hmm, favorite projects… Sometimes it comes down to amazing color combinations! I love making tan girls with fantasy hair. I made a doll for my old hairdresser, that was really fun. He had no idea I customized Blythes, he discovered them on Instagram and started posting about the m on FB, so I told him. He has 2 of my dolls right now and was SO excited.  I also enjoy working with certain people over and over (you guys know who you are). I have some loyal friends and fans who I’m always happy to see return to my commissions list.  I did a few Monster High custom dolls last year, they were pretty fun too!

Thank you so much for doing this interview with me, Kate! What’s one piece of advice that you’d like to pass onto people who are hoping to dip their toes into customizing dolls?
Well, don’t be afraid! I’d suggest getting a few sets of factory plates to experiment on first, but don’t skimp on your tools. Spend a bit more on your brushes, blades and pastels so you get the best possible result. Take carving very slowly, and DON’T start with a Dremel! I’ve been customizing for years and I just got my first Dremel, I only use it for nose holes and piercings right now. It’s really hard to recover from a bad slip with a Dremel. If you’re new to rerooting, choose fiber that’s already processed and washed, you don’t need to learn to deal with that mess at the beginning!

You can find Kate on her Facebook page (Chantilly Lace Blythe Customs) and at her Etsy shop, Chantilly Lace!

The Travelling Blythe: Makani

Written on May 28, 2012 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Musings with tags: ,

I wanted to share my recent experience hosting Makani, the Moofers custom Blythe that’s going around the world (along with Compass, customized by Happibug, and Aurora, customized by Sglahe). I was Makani’s second stop (yay!) and her first stop in Canada.

I love her chips

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Moofer’s Handpainted Eyechips Giveaway: The Winner!

Written on April 8, 2012 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Giveaway with tags: ,

Thank you so much to everyone who read and entered the giveaway that I’m doing with Kate (a.k.a. Moofers)! Be sure to check out her Flickr, blog and Etsy shop if you haven’t already – she has a lot of fantastic eyechips for sale right now!

I just wanted to remind everyone – if you’re tweeting as part of your entries, it does need to be from a public Twitter account. I don’t have everyone’s accounts added on Twitter to the @blythelifecom account and if I can’t see it, I can’t count it as an entry.

And the winner of this fantastic pair of handpainted eyechips by Kate is…

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Interview with Kate (a.k.a. Moofers!) and Giveaway

Written on March 30, 2012 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Featured, Giveaway with tags:

Last, but certainly not least, in this year’s March Talent Showcase is Kate, better known as Moofers or Moofala in the doll community. While Kate is not a stranger to customizing dolls or sewing or them, she’s new to the always interesting world of Blythe eyechips. A lot of people may paint eyechips, but hers have become popular since she started painting them. Maybe your next custom will want a pair of her chips? I hope you’ve all enjoyed this year’s March Talent Showcase.

Hi Kate! What can you tell us about yourself?
Hello! My name is Kate, I’m 33 and a mom of 2 kids, Taryn (11) and Garrett (7 months). I recently made the transition to a SAHM and full time customizer after many years in retail and it’s proving to be an adventure. Most of my family member are artists in some way and it’s taken years to discover what my niche was – I think I’ve finally found it! I’m also a fabric and mohair hoarder, I love those pretty colors. If people lived closer to me it would be a Blythe crafting party all the time.

How did you discover Blythe? What drew you to her?
I discovered Blythe in late 2007. I was interested in sewing clothes for my daughter’s dolls that weren’t poor quality and revealing so I searched for days online and on ebay for patterns and I discovered Blythe through the Doll Coordinated Recipe Books. From there I found them on Flickr and on TIB and was inspired by the fashions, he creative releases like Art Attack and the ability to customize the dolls.

I know you’ve been customizing for a while now, what made you decide to start handpainting chips?
I have been customizing Blythes since mid 2008 and while there are a few companies that provide wonderful alternate colors of stock-type chips I love the artistry of handpainted chips and how each pair is as different as each pair of human eyes. I love discovering new color combinations that I hadn’t previously thought of as well- it’s all an adventure. In a time where many people are downsizing their collections and trying to be more fiscally responsible it’s satisfying to be able to offer something affordable that can make someone fall in love with a doll all over again.

Working at home while taking care of your kids must be quite hectic at times! How do you schedule your work so you can do it and take care of your family at the same time?
Scheduling work time can get a bit frustrating. Scott runs two businesses as well, so we’re often at odds – getting to the post office is the bane of my existence. I try to do any cleaning and internet surfing/email answering earlier in the day when the baby is content to play for short periods of time by himself. If possible I consolidate errands to what I drive by on the way home from getting my daughter from school and family time is usually sometime between 5-7 if we’re coordinated at all. My daughter is in a much more challenging school this year and spends most of her evenings consumed in schoolwork. I’m very lucky that I have a man who loves cooking – and even went to cooking school! So I very rarely shoulder that burden unless there’s baking to be done or it’s a holiday. My work time starts when the kids go to bed and I’m regularly up past 3am or later working, then I get up again at 7:30 to take Taryn to school. I try to work as efficiently as possible!

I think handpainted chips are lovely. What would you say is one of the easiest things about them and one of the hardest things about painting chips?
I would have to say the easiest part of making handpainted chips for me is sourcing the materials. I’ve spent many years hunting down the most fabulous mohair and alpaca and working endlessly with suppliers for my reroots that it was a really nice change just to be able to go to a store and get paint or to go to an online shop and just decide how many chips I needed. I have a tendency to multitask so I would say that the hardest part for me about the painting is to sit and paint until it’s done – because I end up with paint all over my hands and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to do something else while they’re drying and I’ve gotten paint on my clothes, towels, Blythe bodies and WIP faceups!

How does it make you feel to see people posting photos of their dolls with your chips?
It’s a wonderful feeling to see someone enjoying my creations, however small they may be. I even have a few other friends who are customizers who have used my chips in their custom dolls, such as Tiina and cocochoo. I love seeing how they compliment the chips with their own personal customizing styles and color palettes!

What would you say is something that you know now that you wish you’d known at the beginning of your chip painting venture?
Haha, well – I wish I had held back just a smidge. I attacked the venture and I think on my second upload to etsy I listed something like 75 pairs of chips. Now those are so far down in the feed that no one sees them! Now for uploads I do about 5 pairs at a time. I’m still sourcing and developing packaging, so that will change at some point.

What would you say has been your most daring combination of colours or design for your eye chips?
I purchased most of my chips in bulk and when I did I chose some that were already colored to see how my paint colors would change behind a colored lens instead of a clear one. Some were so dark that I had to go quite bold! I think that hot pink and black was probably one of the most striking combinations. I do enjoy my more subtle combinations though and that’s what I generally stick with.

What can we be expecting from you in the future that you’d like to share with us now?
Well, I will continue to make chips and experiment with different techniques in painting. I will be a vendor at BlytheCon 2012 in Dallas and I’ll have my chips there as well as fully customized dolls for sale. I’ll also be selling rooted mohair and alpaca scalps separate from dolls and that will continue after BlytheCon. My commissions list keeps me very busy, but I also have plans for clothing lines for dolls from Lati Yellow size up to slim MSD size and I’m hoping to launch that at BlytheCon as well!

Thanks so much for doing this interview with me, Kate! What advice do you have for someone who’s new to the Blythe community?
I would say for people just getting into Blythe – try to resist impulses at first. There is a wealth of information about these lovely ladies at both TIB and Blythe Kingdom. Do your research and decide what it is that draws you to them before you purchase lots of things you’ll regret. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people attempting to sell off a large amount of clothing and dolls that were impulses to fund things they really want. Have fun! This should never be a stressful hobby! Sure, I stress sometimes, but it’s my job as well. For me a huge part of Blythe is the people that you’ll meet and form lasting relationships with and I’ve loved every minute of the last four years!

You can find Kate over on Flickr, her blog and at her Etsy shop (where you can find all her handpainted chips for sale) called Chantilly Lace.

Eyechips Giveaway!

Kate has graciously decided to giveaway one pair of handpainted eyechips! I think these will look very lovely for perhaps your Blythe? Enter to for a chance to win!

You can get up to eight (8) entries for this giveaway draw and you can enter until Saturday April 7th 2012 at 11:59pm Pacific. The draw will be held on Sunday April 8th 2012 and the winner will be announced on Remember to use a valid email address for all comments. If you win, your email will be forwarded to Kate so she can be in contact with you about your eyechips!

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

Mandatory Entry: Comment below about the interview with Kate! This is worth 1 entry into the giveaway.

Bonus Entry #1: Tweet about the contest! Please retweet the following once per day from your public Twitter account! (If you look below, there is a box for you to include your Twitter username, if you do, I can easily verify your bonus entry!) Each tweet is 1 entry into the giveaway for a maximum of 2 entries into the giveaway. Please comment below to tell me that you’ve been tweeting (1 comment per tweet!)

Check out the @blythelifecom interview with Kate a.k.a. Moofers for a handpainted eyechip giveaway!

Bonus Entry #2: Blog about the contest! Be sure to include some details about the contest and include links to, this interview/giveaway page and to Kate’s Etsy shop, Chantilly Lace. For 1 blog entry, this is worth 5 entries into the giveaway! You must comment below with the URL to your blog post.