Thursday, 25 October 2012

Andrew Ready Just In Time!

Got a big show this Sunday, Discover Dolls at the Holiday Inn in Peterborough and I have just managed to come in under the wire with Andrew, reborn from a Braydon by Nicole Russell sculpt. Measuring 17inches Andrew is a sweet little handful. I think he will be taking pride of place on my stand this weekend

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Doll & Teddy Show ~ Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham

Had a lovely day at the Motorcycle Museum at the weekend even though the weather was atrocious there was a good turnout and everyone seemed quite chipper. 

Cheese eating grin!

Below is a selection of photos taken on the day by myself and Cathy Read. 

Monday, 24 September 2012

Sweet Little Valerie

I know that Secrist kits are a little bit out of favour these days, all the hoohah over oily vinyl really put a bit of a damper on the kits, but the truth is they are actually nice kits,  a bit of a muck up with the vinyl formula seems to have been sorted out and even the older kits are still usable... you just need to know how to handle them.  

Valerie here has been reborned from a Secrist Erin kit, I particularly liked the shape of her head and the sweet pouty lips.  Initially I reborned her to show you can get a really nice skintone on a Secrist kit if you just neutralise the colour properly to start with. A previous post dealt with using mint green paint to neutralise the pinky orange vinyl colour.

Valerie is available to purchase from my website Best Beloved ~ AvailableBabies

The gorgeous outfit Valerie is wearing was handknitted by Anne-Marie Edwards

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Tenten ~ Completed and Ready to Go Home

Tenten was reborn from a Donna Rubert "Holly" sculpt.    The customer and I have worked together really closely on this doll,  Geraldine was very specific about what she wanted, which was both daunting and at the same time quite refreshing.  There is a challenge in trying to create something that is already in someone else's head. Making that a reality isn't an easy thing to do. 

We started with a blank Holly Sculpt and built up the skin tones,  with my checking with Geraldine all the way through if the colours were right. 

I wasn't entirely convinced that this doll would look good, I wasn't sure about having such long, thick hair on a sculpt that looked like such a young baby, but the customer had given a brief so I had to go with it.   The rooting took me weeks, as it had to be very closely rooted to get the right kind of thickness. 

But as soon as she was put together and dressed, I got it,  I could see what Geraldine had been trying to achieve and have to admit I have to applaud her choice of sculpt.  It just works! 

So  now Tenten has had her photoshoot and is ready for packing up and sending off to her new home in Switzerland. 

The lovely outfit was designed and made by Rachel Blythe, I picked it up at the Discover Dolls Show in Peterborough during the Summer show. As soon as I saw the dress on the hanger I just knew I had to have it and that it would suit a doll I made eventually. 



Monday, 17 September 2012

William Goes Home

Today sees the departure from the nursery of a cute little chap that I have become quite attached to.  William has been to a couple of shows with me hoping to find his new home without success when out of the blue he was snapped up by a previous customer of mine from my website.

I was so pleased when I saw the name of the buyer, as I have done a custom for this lady in the past and she was a dream to work with on the project so I know that not only will William have a good home but he will be treasured by someone who understands and appreciates the artform.

So William has been packed to go to his new home along with his bosom buddy puppy.

I'm loving the PLBD customisable boxes, hopefully the box will be something that Williams new family will hold onto just because it's prettily decorated and perfect for moving him in should they need to.

I plan on stocking these boxes in the UK so if you are interested in them do feel free to drop me a line. 

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Why NOT to store your Certificates in with your kits!

Argh!  This has to be one of the nightmare moments of reborning, you buy kits, which, let's face it aren't cheap and you carefully store them only to go back to them and discover that the ink from the Certificate of Authenticity has transferred onto the kit.  

Obviously this is not the end of the world and can be fixed, but it's time consuming and ever so slightly irritating to have to do it.

So there is a major lesson to be learned here. DO NOT store the C.O.A's in the same bag as your kit. 

Either put the C.O.A into a bag of its own so that none of the print touches the kit pieces or else store it somewhere else entirely. 

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Available for Custom Orders

Looking through my stash of kits... it's a time for a bit of a clear out... there are loads LOL  but I have found some beauties that are available for custom ordering, the kind of kits you sit on hoping someone will want one done to order.  I have some really rare ones in amongst them so keep your eyes open for more blog posts, you might see one that you've really wanted done.

First up is the Maggie Sculpt by Tamie Yarie, this little cutie has been long sold out and hard to find,  surprisingly I forgot I even had this kit, actually no that's not a surprise, my dolly friends will tell you I am a kit hoarder and never actually remember what I have.

Soairse is quite a new kit, released this year, but even with a 1000 limited edition she sold out really quickly and is really hard to find.

I am offering layaway options on my custom orders,  £100 non refundable downpayment with a relaxed payment plan. If you would like either of these kits as a custom created baby do contact me.


Monday, 11 June 2012

Discover Dolls - Peterborough June 2012

Wow what a weekend it was a brilliant one, we were lucky the weather actually cleared and we had our first rain free days for a while.  Someone liked us all very much.  The show was busy, this one is the longest doll show of the calendar, two full days of dolly heaven.  It was so good to see so many new faces and so many more familiar ones ( I was going to say older ones but I bit my tongue). 

I loved my L shaped spot beside the door in the main room and I was really happy to have Shirley Jones from Sugar Plum Nursery next to me, we don't get to chat often enough so 2 full days of nattering was just fabulous! Ok granted we did talk to lots of other people as well.

There was a full turn out of stands, with all the babies, tools, kits, clothing and accessories you could possibly want.

I sold a doll, my sweet little Philip was lucky enough to find someone who wanted to take him home.  I kind of knew this lady had fallen in love, the 5 visits to look at him were a big clue but it really made me happy to see someone so excited and inspired by my work.

There was some amazing dolls on display at the show and I was really inspired watching the skill demonstrations at the PLBD stand.

I was really pleased at how well my customised mini babies sold at the show, but that's for another post.  Can't wait until the next show when I can see all my friends again.

Friday, 25 May 2012


Picked these up whilst I was having my hair done the other day. 

Long luscious curls... are you thinking what I am thinking...


I haven't done one yet so maybe it's time I did!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Cora Goes Home

Another of the things I love about working in the dolly world is the friendships you make, how you end up meeting people you might never have come across just because they have seen and liked your work.  

Cora for intance has gone home to someone I didn't know but whom I believe I have developed a real friendship with and that makes me happy.   Quite often when I send a doll home to a new owner, its to never hear from that person again or sometimes only to hear from them when they want another baby made, but as a person and an artist it's a great feeling to know you have a connection with your customer. 

Cora arrived home very quickly,  well done City Link, less than 24 hours!  That's pretty darn good going so definitely a recommendation for their services from me!

And I have received a positive message from Cora's new mum, so all in all, a jolly super day... What What! 

Cora was created from a "First Love" kit sculpted by Ruth Annette of Simply Reborn Ltd.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Christine's First Bloxwich Doll Show - May 2012

I'm not a morning person, I'm really not, my family will tell you that they often have to crowbar me out of bed, which gives you some idea of how bad I am. I often drive to dollshows in remote control, but this Sunday I was up and about, bright eyed and bushy tailed. Yes, hard to believe I know, but nevertheless... true!

It took me an hour and a half to drive to the venue and I really enjoyed the drive, most of the time when you are driving up a motorway you have to concentrate so hard and keep your eyes on what the other drivers are doing you miss out on what's going on around you. But it was so quiet on the roads I actually got to look about and enjoy it. Obviously taking pictures was out of the question... I'm not suicidal but I was passing such lush green fields and fields full of rape seed blossom, it was truly beautiful.

My friend Christine held her first doll show in Bloxwich on the 6th May, I have to say I was blown away by the venue, it was this lovely modern building set in the back of a residential area, looking at it from outside you could tell it was going to be nice inside.  There was plenty of free parking and easy access into the hall for stallholders, so getting set up was literally a breeze.

The hall was bright and light with lots of windows and high ceiling and a lovely bouncy laminate floor, fancy a tango anyone?

There was plenty of stand space available. The venue had the benefit of a staffed Bistro serving great food, I had Fish, chips and peas for the very reasonable price of £2.50!

Not to mention the very nice seating area in the Bistro looking out onto the piece de resistance, a canal complete with peacefully sleeping ducks.  It was just a beautiful idyllic setting for a doll show.  

Obviously running a stall meant I couldn't take advantage of a sit down in the Bistro nor the chance to chill out by the water and watch the ducks. But I really really wanted to. 

I mean, come on, a doll show, a fabulous setting, great food, all in one place. What is not to like!

The Bloxwich venue has already been rebooked for next year, 12th May 2012, put the date in your calendars and come and enjoy this show. I've already booked my tables!  Well done Christine on such a cracking show.

Brighton Doll Festival 2012

Oh wow, I can't believe I didn't get around to doing a write up about my day at the Brighton Doll Festival... I managed to get my lovely hubby to come with me to keep me company, I decided that it was worth a night at a Premier Inn so that we didn't have to do a really long drive early in the morning.  I don't do 5am... not if I can help it, as someone else said very recently 'I didn't realise there were two 5 o'clocks in the day'.  

So after a very relaxing evening, a wonderful hot shower (love Premier Inn showers, I swear I stay in them just for the shower) and a good nights sleep in a very comfortable bed. Different room this year so we didn't have the annoying hum from the generator on the roof and a cracking breakfast in the hotel restaurant, we set off to set up at the show.

This year was a new venue, a totally different area of Brighton to the Racecourse, I have to say that even though it was a bit chilly in the hall, not that we weren't warned about that and I was wearing a fairly toasty fleece, it was a nice venue, easy to find, a big airy open hall.  Hopefully next year there will be more stallholders which will help the hall to feel a little smaller. But spacewise there was plenty of room and no one could complain about being cramped. 

Ceinwen Clark - Looks innocent doesnt she!
This is my stand set up on the day. 

As usual the event ran like clockwork, Ceinwen had everything organised and under control and running with military precision. I swear she was a drill sergeant in a previous life! But in organising shows this trait can only be a good thing!

Diane's new toy

I did giggle watching my friend Diane snaffle her new baby a vintage pram, she had the biggest smile. Heaven knows where she is going to put it!

Ceinwen has said that the show in 2013 will be held in the same venue which I can say I will be looking forward to, another night in a Premier Inn and a great day out with dolly friends.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Andrew ~ WIP

I fell in love with this kit before it was ever even created as a kit, when Nicole Russell shared her pictures of the OOAK of the Brayden sculpt, I knew at that point that I was seeing something special and I have to admit I have not been disappointed.  

Quite often when an OOAK goes from OOAK to kit, something gets lost in translation, size, detail, something.  But this time was different, the kit came out as beautifully as the OOAK itself.
I really took my time with the painting on this little lad and he is a boy, his face just screams boy to me. Now that the painting is complete apart from eyebrows, I won't do those until after his hair is rooted, I really like to get a good colour match with the eyebrows and I don't feel I can until after all the hair is rooted in. 

So Andrew as I am tentatively naming him will be joining the rooting queue, unless of course a prospective buyer comes along who wants him, then he will jump the queue and get done quicker. So if that new owner is you give me a shout and we can get this little man rooted quicker AND you can choose the hair colour.

Otherwise I think I will attempt to get this little fellow finished in time for the upcoming Discover Dolls Show at Peterborough in June.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Rowena Arrives Home

I heard from Rosemary today that Rowena has arrived home safe and sound.  I am so pleased, its always a tenterhooks moment until you hear from your customer that their baby has arrived and that they are happy.

So when I received such glowing feedback from Rosemary this morning I was almost in tears, it really made my day. 
I have loved working with Rosemary on Rowena, it was an absolutely pleasurable experience. 
Dear Lisa, I was going to write this in a pm but I want other people to know this also. Rowena arrived this morning and when I finally opened the box and saw her I was overcome with joy. her photos DO NOT do her justice, she is so beautiful and so well 'reborned' she truly is a work of art.
To hold her in my arms was just like holding my Olivia Rose, I could have cried. You have been very kind sending me updated photos but NOTHING prepared me for just how absolutely perfect she was, I love her Lisa, thank you so much ♥ 

Rowena Goes Home

I love what I do, although I write the magazine and sell supplies my favourite bit of my job is making dolls. It's the part of my life that brings me the most contentment and the most calm and sometimes my job is frustrating and slow work and hard but then every now and again it's downright dreadful, frustrating and depressing. But the best bit is providing a bit of happiness for someone else. 

Yesterday I sent off Rowena, a very special baby who has been a slow job for me... I have been lucky that the lady that ordered her was so patient with me and allowed me the time I needed to get Rowena looking the way I wanted her to. 

I actually felt a pang of sadness seeing Rowena packed up in her box.

I think I will miss this little lady, she has been a real labour of love for me, I wanted to make a doll that this very special lady would love and treasure.  It makes a massive difference knowing a baby is going off to someone you consider a friend.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Improving Mohair Quality

Sometimes when you buy a batch of mohair it looks wonderful in the pictures but when you get it in your hands its a bit dry and frizzy, at that point you can be a bit disappointed and worried that the mohair might not be any good to use.  

But just like our own hair adding a bit of moisture to frizzy mohair can make an enormous difference to its quality and at the same time make it much easier to use when you come to root it. 

When I mohair that turns out to be a bit dry the first thing I do is separate it into managable locks which I hold together with silicone bands, making sure the bands are twisted on really tight, you lose a lot less hair during the process using silicone bands as opposed to ribbon.  

I give the hair a good comb through with a small toothed comb, a pet comb with metal teeth or even a nit comb works well for this.  Once it's combed I use a leave in conditioner to moisturise the hair, the products I use are designed for Affro Caribbean hair so they really do moisturise the hair and improve it's condition enormously.  Once you have throughly soaked the mohair in moisturiser, comb it through again and then lay on tissue paper to dry out. 

As you can see the mohair goes from being dry and frizzy to sleek, shiny and soft. What looked like completely unpromising mohair becomes something special.

You do lose mohair during this process, specially in the combing out but it worthwhile to be left with such a soft usable product.

I find that this process also gives me a good opportunity to test the colour fastness of the dyes in the mohair, the last thing you want to happen is find the dye runs when you have already rooted half a head.


Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Makeshift Home Photo Studio

I get asked a lot how I manage to take such good photos and my main answer is "good light". 

Good lighting is essential but it needs to be the right kind of light, direct sunlight may sound like a good idea but really it's not, its harsh on vinyl, bounces off causing shadows and shine where you don't really want it.  Bright but dull days are my favourite days for taking photos. 

I take mine mostly in our conservatory, it has lots of windows, although I do close the shades on a lot of those depending on where the shadows are coming from. 

Contrary to popular belief you don't need a massive amount of space to take good photos.  In this example I am going to use just a corner of a sofa.  But I use lots of other set ups including crib style set ups which I will demonstrate in another post.

So starting with one bog standard 2 seater sofa, notice the shades are closed behind the sofa as I don't want light and shadows bouncing in from that direction. Obviously if I didn't have lots of other windows bringing in light I would be forced to leave open these shades as the light would be essential.

Using cushions of a stuffed roll create a base, cover this with a white cover, as you don't want the colours to show through. 

and then use a white sheet to cover the whole area you plan to photograph, the white will help bounce back the light in a low light environment.

This is the basis for all of your photos.  You can of course also use a black background but that will reduce how much light bounces back from your background. 

All you nee now is a selection of blankets and cloths to pop on top of your background to take your photos. Choosing different textures and colours makes for interesting eyecatching photos.

All of these photos were taken using this technique.