Sunday, January 6, 2013

Trying Out a New Look

When I originally put the blog together, I used a template with a background that looked the closest to cardboard that I could find (after all, cardboard is kinda my thing), but it still looked flat and well, like a template. Recently I've been putting my blog-design skills to the test at work, putting together a blog for a publicity campaign for a book (Feel free to check it out HERE and send me a critique ;) and I figured out how to custom design the background. Well, after fixing up someone else's blog, I thought maybe I'd apply the same skills and spruce up my own little corner of cyber space. (You may have noticed the results.)

Voila! This is my new blog background, a product of several hours
worth of work, given the slowness of my computer and the many tweaks
I had to make to the original file to make sure it was the right size
both pixel-wise and KB-wise.

Once I fixed the background, though, I needed to update the banner image. The old image just didn't quite look right on the new background. 

Something about cardboard on cardboard... it all
kinda blends in.

So I tried a few things:

I like the color, but it just didn't seem to capture what I
do. And maybe I went a bit overboard with the stitching...

This was closer, but not quite right...

After a few so-so ideas, I decided to sleep on it--and I had an epiphany. Why not take a NEW photo of a current dollhouse specifically for the purpose of using it for my header image? (Instead of my usual MO of "make do with what I have".) After all, I got a new Cannon Elph camera AND a new phone with a better camera on it for Christmas. Coming up with a new, good picture should be easy-peasy. And it was!

I have all the Christmas decorations put away, and it's only 2 weeks
after Christmas! (Well, at least in my dollhouse. I still have all sorts
of Christmas paraphernalia around my real house.) 

A little tweaking with Photoscape (a free photo-editing program you can download HERE), and I had something I felt good about:

In case you didn't notice it above, this is the new blog header and
Facebook cover photo.

I've never been able to keep the same haircut for too long, and likewise with the look of my blog. As they say, variety is the spice of life. Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Someone Knows Me!

...and well she should. This was a Christmas gift from my mom. Inside are all kinds of cardboard craft ideas, like how to make a climbing wall or a teepee for the GI Joes and patterns for giant dinosaurs that may want to attack them. There are rocket projects, and of course giant cardboard playhouses. No dollhouses quite like mine, but I guess that's a book I'll have to write... (Or you could just read my blog **winks**)

Happy crafting!

"Winter Princess" Doll Makeover, Part One

My little girls asked for Princesses for Christmas, and, well... they are sort of mini tornadoes that ravage my house on a daily basis. They are definitely a force of destruction. So you can maybe see why I was reluctant to spend the big bucks on some Disney Princess dolls, or something of similar quality. Those things run about 25 bucks each, times two. So, after conducting a thorough risk assessment, I decided to look for a more cost-effective option.

I found these dolls at Dollar Tree for $5 each. That day, however, they were having a
buy-one-get-one-half-off sale, so I snagged two of these beauties for $7.50.
I decided to try my newfound doll customization tricks (see recent posts) and turn these simple gals into one-of-a-kind winter princesses.

I erased their faces with nail polish remover, which I have discovered leaves a paint residue. (I need to get a stronger solvent, maybe straight acetone, but at the moment nail polish remover is the best I've got.) Because of this, I mixed a near-skin color beige and painted over their faces and over parts of their bodies to make it a little more even...

They ended up looking like something out of National Geographic...

Okay, my Winter Princesses were a bit daintier than the folks pictured above, but they DO look like they are covered in mud...

I think I'm getting a little better with the face painting.  If you discount the fact that
under her gorgeous makeup is some foundation thick enough to apply with a shovel...

I had a lot of fun with their hair. I mixed white yarn with silver cord and some fancy thread that I had on hand in my giant, messy (but secretly organized) stash. I sewed sections of yarn together on my sewing machine, cut the looped ends, and glued down to their heads with E-6000 glue. Oh, yeah -- first I gave them buzz cuts.

Underneath her flowing locks, she's sporting a classic 'high and tight'.

As you may have noticed, neither Winter Princess is currently clothed... and it is after Christmas. Yes, I missed my deadline and we didn't end up giving our girls princess dolls for Christmas. Luckily, Santa Claus found some ballerina rag dolls at Walmart and some plastic tiaras to fit their heads and HE gave each girl a "princess doll" for Christmas. Good ol' Santa Claus, always there when Mommy drops the ball.

They have put their order in with the royal seamstress for flowing white gowns with
glitter and gauze, but alas the seamstress has been sick for a month and a half and their
gowns were not ready in time for the royal ball.

Although I think I may one day sell some modified Barbie dolls on eBay, these babies are still destined for my babies. And hopefully, after all the time and effort put into them, they will last at least a few days before they end up bald and naked on my living room floor. 

(Luckily, I also got a new camera for Christmas, so I can immortalize these Winter Princesses via photograph just in case.)

Thanks for visiting Cardboard Craftland today! Happy Crafting!