I'm a big Walking Dead fan. Huge fan.
Yeah, I know what you're thinking... zombies, brains, blood, gore...??? Well, I'd have said the same thing before I got hooked on the series. A friend gave me Season 1 and I had nothing better to watch one day...
That was the end of it. I'm addicted. I share this addiction with a few close friends and I do my best to spread the contagion around. My brother said no way to watching it. He's now hanging out for each new episode of Season 7.
What can I say?
Anyway, this post isn't about my TV habits. Its about my newest hobby. Passion if you like... Bratz dolls.
REMADE Bratz dolls.
There's a lady here in Tasmania who's gotten famous worldwide with her Bratz remakes. She takes the extreme dolls and makes them into 'normal' kids.
As much as I admire the motivation behind her remakes, I think the dolls are boring. Plain.
From an art perspective of course! :)
When I got my first Barbie a few months ago I began a downhill slide... I now have 5 Barbies. All early 60's versions. One of them had missing hair plugs and another has a green face. I bought them thinking I would have a go at restoring them after seeing the amazing work some people do on dolls. More on the Barbies in the future.
Meanwhile I became obsessed with doll remakes and repair. I watched videos. I read blogs. I itched to make my own dolls. I found some Bratz in a local 2nd hand store and brought them home. One had her hair cropped off and that inspired me to make Carol from the Walking Dead. Another was a black girl so it was obvious she was Michonne. I chose these characters because I love them and find them inspiring.
My Carol doll already had cut off hair so after washing her and removing her face, I gave her a better haircut first up. Dolls who aren't meant to have short hair aren't rooted evenly all over their heads, so she had bald spots. I used tacky glue and tufts of hair to fill these in.
When her face was dry I did my first ever face repaint using a photo of Carol for reference. I gave her stud earrings and then began to dress her.
I made all Carol's clothes myself. Imperfectly. I'm not the best sewer when working on human sized clothing, imagine making stuff under 3 inches big!
When Wayne saw me ironing Carol's shirt he about flipped. I don't iron HIS shirts! :) In my defense, I only had to plog the iron on top of the shirt as it lay flat...
Anyway, moving right along, I made Carol a singlet out of an old jumper, a shirt with seed beads for buttons, and cargo pants out of scraps of fabric. At this point I'm glad I keep all kinds of crap. I made my own patterns using some old Bratz clothes I pulled apart and a lot of guesswork. Naturally patterns are a fluid thing here... always changing cause I always seem to get something wrong! Still I'm loving doing it.
Carol has a trench knife (actually she has two, one is bigger than the other with a silver blade, the other is all black) and a gun. Her belt is made of a tiny strip of leather off an old jacket I bought years ago and never did anything with. The buckle is a rusty washer. The knife sheath is also made from the same leather.
Since Bratz feet and shoes are all one, I had to find a way to make Carol some boots. At the time I didn't have any which suited, the best I could do were these high heeled sandals which I made into boots.
First I painted them, twice to get the shade right. Then I added laces... Talk about tiny work! I got slivers of leather, put bronze coloured crimps at each end and glued them in place. Voila. Lace up boots. I even scuffed them up a bit.
Here is the before and after photo.
Michonne was a much bigger remake.
With Michonne I had to remove all the doll's hair, repaint the face, then give her dredlocks. I did this by wet felting squares of black and different shades of brown wool. I then cut those up and worked them into dreds. I glued those onto the doll's head one layer at a time, making a head band out of a scrap of fabric.
Michonne's jeans are original Bratz clothes but the rest of her outfit I made myself. The leather jacket and belt are both made from the same leather jacket. Details were painted on the jacket. The belt has silver studs which I just realized aren't visible in the photos...
Since I couldn't give her gloves I gave her a wristband - a Monster High accessory I adapted. Her boots were a wierd tan brown so I painted them black with silver details to look like biker boots.
The hardest bit of Michonne is her katana sword. I've made 3 of them so far. The first was air dry clay didn't take the paint well - so it crackled... Nice effect in itself, but on a sword? The second was all polymer clay and I broke it while trying to straighten it. The third is a mix of hammered wire and polymer clay. That was looking really promising till I broke the handle yesterday while try to pose her with it in her hand. I'll be making another one today, with more wire in it to keep it strong.
Both the katana and the sheath need painting for Michonne to be finished. Then I'll list them both on ebay. I'm hoping they'll make someone happy this Christmas.
This new hobby has been great for me as its something that I enjoy doing and has been making me feel so much better. I love being creative but when I'm down I can't find the motivation to do anything. Doing dolls, even in bits and spurts as I've been doing these girls, is a small way to get me up and doing stuff.
So does the garden. And my dogs. And grooming dogs. Those are things which make me feel good about myself, so I'm doing them as much as I can. I was told I needed to look after myself and make myself happy. Doing a radio show on Sundays where I play music I love, making art, DIY stuff, the garden and dogs are what make me feel good inside.
And I'm a show off so I'm showing off what I make!