American Girl, keep giving us Dolls of Color for Girls of the Year.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Casual Fridays: Big Hair Don't Care--#Hairdorables, Sk8r Noah and the Hairdorables Crew, and Crafting Creatively To Break Down the Box

Big Hair, Don't Care. Especially on a Friday.
Why yes, I haven't done a Casual Friday here since we were in the Year of the Horse. Now we're in the Year of the Dog. Well, that and the continued Year of Blind Boxing All the Toys. I've been sitting on several non-AG items for some time, wanting to Casual Friday them, but have had enough trouble just keeping up with AG releases and my own brain.

Let's make a step in the blog direction. Let's bring back Casual Fridays in a big way. A big hair way.

Since it's also Flashback Friday, let's take it way back first. Remember being a kid in the 80s and begging your parents for quarters to put into the vending machines at the front of stores, outside banks, and inside the now-dead Toys R Us? You got lured in by the shiny stuff on the front or the fact that machine said it had Spider-man, popped in your change--anywhere from a single quarter to four of them lined up back to back--turned the crank, and got a little plastic capsule with some kind of Cracker-Jack level toy.1 You got just a sticker or a temporary tattoo, if you had bad luck. You may have lucked into a bouncy ball, or got the one you wanted if the machine specialized in those. Sometimes you got a plastic ring or necklace for kiddie swag, or a little plastic figurine. Some had the same amount of quarters you'd spent back, which was like a second chance to spend your funds. You probably never got what they showed on the front of the machine that lured you in the first place, but you still had something tiny and plastic to amuse you for a few minutes and your parents could finish paying for the groceries. It was baby's first slot machine, only you actually got something at the end. I'm sure I put way too much loose change in those as a kid and every little bitty thing I got is either trashed or hiding in a bin somewhere in my mom's stuff. My fave were the little plastic charms that were all the hype in the 80s. I had so many tiny plastic mirrors with jingle bells on them, fam. If you've ever played anything with a Japanese influence or are just a bloody nerd like me, then you've also had the same feel if you've gone after gachapon, which are capsule toys but of nicer quality.

So this blind box shit's not new in the slightest. It's just taking off at higher price points than the loose change in your mom's purse.

Nowadays, blind box, mystery open, or blind bag toys are everywhere. Some have codes that'll hint at what's inside. Most times they come in boxes that are sealed, and you have no idea what was in the box till you open it. No refunds if you get doubles, kids. Hope you've got someone to trade with. I've been known to chase down things like this. In the 80s it was C.U.T.I.E.s, the distaff counterpart to M.U.S.C.L.Es. Recently it's been Funko Mystery Mini Disney Princesses, Mini Barbies, Steven Universe figures, Tokidoki brands, and blind bag/blind box My Little Ponies back when ponies didn't piss me off. My local comic book store2 has a few variations once in a while, often has a trade box if you get one and want to trade brand for brand, and I'll grab one when picking up my nerd books with the caveat that I have to like over 75% of what I'll get before I pick one out and drop funds, and I generally don't gotta try to catch em all. I also try to stop once I've reached the point where there's only a few I want to find and the chance of finds are low, then decide to hunt down those I want on eBay. eBay, where people will try to make you pay through the nose for the one that only comes one in every thirty-six boxes.

The two major lines that have been in the toy aisles at Fred Meyer and Target3 in the past couple of years taking up good space are Shopkins and L.O.L Surprise. I haven't gone for either. Shopkins don't thrill me as Things, But With Eyes, plus Bae hates anthropomorphized food. The dolls have weird expressions as well--plus by the time they came along, I had already written off the line. LOLs have been popular among my feed buddies, but the dolls have plastic clothes and hair and for me, that's a big nooooooope. LOL has expanded greatly with little sisters, pets, and other such bits. Still a noooope.

So when I heard about the Hairdorables, my interest was piqued. Hairdorables, if you either don't know or enjoy being a bridge troll and living under a rock, are chibi-style mystery package dolls released by Just Play that are made for today's go-go YouTube vlogging and camera unboxing toy kidfluencer. Basically, all those unboxing videos on the 'Tube? Just Play's trying to tap into people who do that and people who enjoy watching people open boxes on camera for your amusement. The price point of Hairdorables is noticeably higher than other brands at thirteen bucks, but the hair isn't plastic--in fact, their hair is their big selling point--and they're focused on specific characters instead of like, forty different ones on a spread sheet. Except there's a spreadsheet.

Okay, let me back up again and give you a summary of their whole shtick. The backstory goes that the Hairdorables started when main character Noah, while doing a vlog about her putting in a side braid, accidentally smushed the words "hair" and "adorable" into the word Hairdorable. The hashtag and the video went viral, she launched her own channel with her buddies, and now they get on the internet and share all their quirky traits. The Youtube channel just launched today--perfect timing--and the official Instagram is adorable. They also have a Twitter and a Facebook but really, this is an IG kind of line. 

The line launched at the start of August and the first wave, or Series One, is introducing us to the twelve characters. Right now Hairdorables are only at Target, WalDeMart, and Amazon. I saw them on the shelf during one of my 35th Anniversary MLP Runs4 and decided hey, if I hate them after the first one I open then I'll sell it off and consider it not my thing. This is literally how I got into Harry Potter. I should have known.

Guys. Gals. Enby pals. Hairdorables are my thing. Well, it's a thing that I like and that makes it mine.

Also on Monday, when I was not asleep but should have been, my brain went "hey, I wonder if there's a Hairdorables wiki?" One Google search later and. Um. There were two, in the sense two had parked on Wikia/Fandom, the same place that's been hosting the AG Wiki for the past ten years. But they were not up to even minimal snuff. One hadn't done anything but URL park--they literally only had the main page. And the other? There were fourteen pages, and one was a fan character. A fan character. Noooooooooooooope. Do not allow or do this when you are trying to inform, especially if you haven't even gotten good data pages up. 

So, having run a successful wiki for ten years, I decided that if you want the thing done right you gotta be the one to do it yourself. One creation, four hours of sleep, and several hours later, the Absolute Hairdorables Wiki was born. Just like the AG wiki, I run a neat ship and will not buck nonsense. I've already turned off the "add a pic to the gallery" button site wide, all the comments under articles because no one needs that, and anon editing. And when I wasn't putting my braids back in the past two days, I coded. All the characters and each of their doll pages made nearly fifty pages. And that's before I started defining things and noting anatomy and all that. You want a good wiki, you make a good wiki and you treat it right.

The first half of this post is me opening my first one, way back when on that far flung day of August 12th. At the time I hadn't figured out my aspects on my phone, so the pics are long and wide at a 16:9 Ratio. Live with it, I wasn't cropping. Then there's some blog shots of my collection so far. Finally, I'll have a craft for all those people who want to keep the backgrounds but don't want or can't deal with huge boxes in their living space.

Jump under the cut and start living your best Hairdorable Life. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Crafting Creatively: Things I've Made: Kendalls's Wafrican-Loli Dress and Underdress

The grace of Japan, the beauty of Africa, and the cuteness of lolita all in one outfit.
So there I was on the IG like ya do. Checking my feed full of friends, yarn, dolls, more yarn, more dolls, random stuffs, cosplay, nerd shit, and the lifestyles of the cool and Hamilton.1 As I was scrolling and waiting for my morning meds to kick in, I saw that Requiem Art Designs had released a new pattern. That wasn't unusual--she releases patterns practically weekly, on a schedule that I could only hope to wish to maintain even if I could get my brain together. I started following her on Etsy and Instagram because I wanted to start looking into buying patterns for my BJD. I've personally yet to make the leap to sewing for anything slimmer than my Iplehouse Benny Nikki, and even then I've been nervous, but hey, support your local art faves and crafty peeps. Most of what she's released has been for Barbie, Monster High/Ever After High--what she's labeled the Petite Slimline--and various sizes of BJD. I kinda want to get into making some customs of the dolls now that they're plentiful at second hand shops and I have several drawers of the teens.2

That week was an alternate week--something off her usual release schedule. And she had released---wait for it--a WellieWishers pattern. Okay, the top image gave it away, but that day I got flappy hands.  And one that wasn't historical based, frilly frou-frou aprons and ruffles and bows like a doily and a ruffle foot had gone off the rails and both eaten the doll halfway and met in the middle, generidress (but now with bow!), or something that a person whose aesthetics for a seven year old's dressing fashion had stopped somewhere around 1958 had made? Sign me, as they say, the fuck up.

Her first Wellies-sized pattern, the Wa-Loli Dress For 14 inch Kid Dolls, came out in August. She's calling the size 14" Kid Dolls, so this covers Wellies, Heart4Hearts Girls like Rahel, Mosi, and Shola3 and those Glitter Girls I saw at Target for a blip before they went to get retooled and haven't shown back up yet near me. That covers quite a few dolls of the style.

But it got better. She wanted to promote the new size she was trying--because she didn't want the size to fail and her to commit designing for a a size people weren't interested in. So she offered a new promotion. If you buy the first pattern, make a version of it, and message her on Etsy with an image of the completed test of the pattern, then she would add you to a list to get her next 14" Kid pattern absolutely free! And if you make the second one before the third's release, then you got the third free. And so on and so on and as it goes. If you get the pattern, can make it in a month, and then keep it up, then you would stay on the list to keep getting free patterns as long as she made patterns.

Conditions apply, read the fine print. You have to buy the first pattern--the one she had just released, the Wa-Loli Dress. No getting in on pattern #2. And you have to make it and show her you made it before the next one comes out--in about a month. And the moment you don't make the next month's, you're off the list and you don't get back on. Well, it was a month at the release, now it's less than a week. So if you can buy this and make it by the 21st of September and show Requiem, she'll send you the next one free. Yeah, I should have blogged about this sooner. You should have been following me on IG because I told everyone there on day one. Bllpth. Also if the size didn't sell at least 15 in a year, the pattern would be considered a failure size and she'd stop making patterns. Well, it sold more than that in the first week. I'd like to hope I added to the buying with some IG and posting on AGC.

I did as I was offered, bought the pattern, and went out to get some fabric to make a doll dress the next weekend. I had initially decided that, since Ashlyn and Zeblyn are my two half-Japanese Wellie twins, I was going to make a dress for each of them--or at least one for Ashlyn. But in Joann Fabrics, I came across kente cloth and the plans instantly changed to making a set for Kendall. The gods are capricious, knew I was being too ambitious, and wanted to remind me that Kendall was first one to arrive and like Addy, deserves the best. The pattern includes pieces and steps for a dress, underdress, and faux obi-style sash with optional center and bow.

Note that if you're a person who needs a pattern to give a total walkthrough from layout to closure, full color step by step images of every seam and how to sew it, and everything on every pattern marked so you get your hands held, then you're going to need to work around that for Requiem's patterns. Requiem's patterns have the patterns to proper scale, some basic data on the pattern pieces so you know what goes on the folds and all that, and then all the steps in text of how many pieces to cut out (and if you need long rectangles, their dimensions) and how they go together. No pics walking you through every seam, press, and step. They get to the heart of a pattern and expect you to know what you're doing. This to me is kind of refreshing. The pattern tells me what to do, gives me some details, and then expects me to know what I'm up to and how a thing goes together. I like that, especially with how long I've been sewing now. I don't need to be told how to gather, press, run a straight seam--just tell me how the thing runs together and let me do it. The guidance is slim and if you can't tell a seam ripper from a zipper foot, you might be in trouble. Time to jump that hurdle!

Go under the cut for deets on Wafrica, Lolita dress, wa-loli, and how I made one damn cute outfit for Kendall. Also guess who found the aspect ratios on her phone? Yeah, buddy.