Monday, August 19, 2013

The Wonderful World of Acrylic, Spankin' New Accessories

For the past month or so, I've been researching different ways to create charms and jewelry.  I love the look and versatility of printed acrylic.  I've been having loads of fun creating these new goodies.

Attack on Titan Colossal Titan Acrylic StrapAttack on Titan Colossal Titan Acrylic Pin
'Pastel no Kyoujin' Colossal Titan Attack on Titan Acrylic Strap and Pin, $5 Each

If you'd told me a month ago that this ridiculous pastel Colossal Titan would be so popular, I'd never have believed you, haha.  Of course I had to make him into some cute accessories!  I've also had requests for this design to be made available as earrings, which I'm currently working on :3.

Fairy Kei Macaron Kitty Hair PinFairy Kei Macaron Kitty Adjustable Ring
 Pastel Pink and Blue Macaron Kitties Hairpin and Adjustable Ring, $5 Each

My Macaron Kitties also received a reincarnation as adorable hairpins and adjustable rings.  I was finally able to find a Hobby Lobby and couldn't resist stocking up on blank jewelry settings and findings.  They also had these tiny grosgrain ribbon bowknots in virtually every color imaginable.  While I'm on the subject, the Hobby Lobby I visited is absolutely huge.  I could have roamed around in there for hours!  It seemed like I was finding something I could use every time I turned a corner.

 Large Pastel Lollipop Candies Adjustable Rings, $5 each

My favorite find, however, has to be these giant pastel candies.  They were originally lollipops with sticks, but I've removed them for the rings and added colorful bows and acrylic stars.  They're coated in iridescent glitter and are actually hollow.  So, even though it's a large statement ring, it's very light.  Making items like these makes me wish I could wear fairy kei every day T_T.

My next acrylic pieces will be Halloween themed!  I've already started designing them and they are absolutely adorable.  Halloween, though, will have to wait until another post!


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Not toys, but T's! My new tarantulas arrived a bit early :).

And now, for something completely different!

My new tarantulas arrived this morning, a day earlier than I was expecting.  I already own G. rosea and B. albopilosum, Etta and Poppy (Rose Hair and Curly Hair, respectively).  After keeping them for a few months and really getting the hang of things, I felt ready enough to give a couple more species a go.

I know that tarantulas aren't for everyone, so if you're squicked out by spiders, you might wanna give this blog a pass.  

As an aside, they're also not to be taken lightly.  They're living animals that get scared when being messed about by giant fleshy creatures.  I researched many different types before deciding on my first two and read as much as I could about each one, their enclosure conditions, feeding, and most importantly: Wtf do I do if I get bitten?  The answer to that is usually to deal with it, lol.  Sometimes it requires an ER visit for muscle relaxers and/or painkillers and in rare cases of bad allergic reactions, further medical treatment.  Remember, if you get bitten it's nobody's fault but your own.

My first two girls were chosen specifically for their docile demeanor and ease of care for a beginner.  These new guys, though... they're not as 'nice.'  Cobalts (Haplopelma lividum) in particular have a reputation for being angry little bitey things.  As I soon found out, they're also lightning fast and extremely easily agitated.  Before I managed to get these photos, it had already struck the lid of the deli cup it arrived in several times and was out of the cup before I could even blink.  It was loose on my studio table for about five minutes, enjoying the heat of the lamp, before I managed to coax it into a box so I could get it back in the cup.

 Juvenile Haplopelma lividum (Cobalt Blue Tarantula)

I really love the stripes on their abdomen.  Since this one isn't very old, the blue coloration hasn't yet started showing.  Males and females can initially have the blue coloration, but males tend to molt into a final brownish color once they reach maturity and die soon after.  Females live years longer than males in most all tarantula species.  Cobalts reach about 5" in leg span.  These are not meant for handling, despite what you'll find on Youtube, they should be display only.  They're old world spiders native to Myanmar and Thailand with particularly painful venom which causes burning, stinging, and cramping.

Next up is my Phormictopus cancerides (Haitian Brown Birdeater).  This is the one which scared the crap out of me in the video.  I was expecting to uncover a tub of dubia roaches and saw this -gigantic- thing staring back at me.

 Haitian Brown Birdeater Tarantula (Phormictopus cancerides)

Gosh, it's a whopper and will only get bigger, haha.  It was mad as hell, striking at me from inside the cup.  P. cancerides hails from the Dominican Republic.  Everything I've found on them contradicts itself in terms of bite severity, but I wouldn't want to get bitten by anything this big in the first place.  These tarantulas can reach legspans of 8" or more.  Eventually, they molt into a pretty purplish color.  They do love to kick hairs, though, which can be a problem if you get any of them on yourself.

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of my Brachypelma smithi (Mexican Red Knee).  It's a super tiny sling which I very much look forward to raising :).  B. smithi is by far my favorite species of tarantula.  They're fairly docile spiders, but as it goes with pretty much any critter, they can still get startled and scared.  The little guy leapt from the tissue in the dram container onto my shirt and damned near crawled up my sleeve.  Luckily, it popped back out and crawled onto my leg so I could recontain it. 

The lesson here is that I should obviously not be playing with spiders before I've had my coffee =_=.  In any case, I'm so happy with these guys.  They're absolutely gorgeous tarantulas.  I'll post more about them when they've had a chance to settle into their new enclosures :).

Friday, August 9, 2013

Toy Fiend Friday! Color Me Creepy Monster High Sea Monster

This week's Toy Fiend post features a review of one of the new Color Me Creepy Monster High sets, the Sea Monster doll.  I had some extra cute help trying out this set.  I visited DollsAhoy! (Andrea) yesterday for a dolly play date; she and her son were more than happy to help me out with my new toy, hehe.

Monster High Color Me Creepy Doll Playset
The Child tries out the color changing legs.

In all honesty, the color changing aspect had no bearing on my purchase of this set.  I HAD to have that tentacle dress :3.  I also really love the new color of the Sea Monster girl, she's one of my favorite Monster High dolls to repaint.  Andrea's son was really getting into this set, though I think he had more fun splashing in the water than the actual color changing :).

Monster High Color Me Creepy Play Set
Lots of colorful accessories!
This set includes a lot of accessories: shoes, a dress, a squishy wig, ears that pop into holes on the wig, two sets of leg and arm cuffs, and a neat new clear base stand which doubles as the water dish.  My set only came with one ear, however, but that doesn't matter much to me and was likely a fluke.  The blue cuffs have fins and a shark skin texture, the yellow cuffs are tentacle patterns.  The Sea Monster's shoes look as though they're made from kelp.

Monster High Color Me Creepy Doll PlaysetMonster High Color Me Creepy Doll Playset

The Color Me Creepy set includes a recolored version of the original Create A Monster dolls whose limbs, lipstick, and eyeshadow change colors with icy water.  The dolls also have one little spot on their clavicle which changes color, the Sea Monster girl, here, has a tiny tentacle which shows up.  You're supposed to fill the blue pen with water and place it in the fridge, but Andrea just tossed a few ice cubes in a dish to save time.  The blue water pen also split in two and I was unable to click it back together.  Again, this doesn't matter to me, but it might be a pain for someone whose children are excited about playing with this set.  Of course, you can still use the pen, it just won't have the cool outer casing.

Monster High Color Me Creepy Play Set
Using the 'friction tool' to draw designs on the doll's legs.
Icy water changes the skin color from light blue to an inky looking black.  This is facilitated by a coating on the doll, however, which I suspect might be prone to rubbing off and flaking with vigorous play.  The red 'friction' tool is moved along the skin to generate heat and turn the black color back to the original blue.  You can also just hold it in your hand for a bit to warm the piece back up.  As with all of the CAM dolls, the limbs easily pop in and out of their joints and the head attaches easily, with no anchor.

Monster High Color Me Creepy Play Set

I know a lot of people were disappointed with the plastic wigs, but I love the way they look!  I really like not having to spend ten minutes making sure every hair is in place for photos, too >_>.  It's not for everyone, but it's a nice change of pace for me.  This version of the Sea Monster girl also lacks the molded tentacles on her arms and legs, which I actually prefer for re-dressing.  I'm pretty sure this is just a Create a Monster Vampire body with a Sea Monster head.

Overall, the quality of this set is a bit lacking.  The makeup is pretty awful and sparse, but I think this was the exchange in order to incorporate the color changing materials.  For kids, I think they'd have a bit of initial fun with it and probably end up tossing this into the pile of 'things which are never played with again.'  I definitely wouldn't consider it a need-to-purchase unless you're really keen on having all of the releases.

For me, I just wanted to repaint a different color Sea Monster girl and steal her accessories, haha.   If it's the accessories you're after, though, I'm positive they can be found separately second hand.  I'm also happy to see a whole doll instead of an add-on with missing or mismatched pieces (I'm looking at YOU Design Lab =_=).  Even though it's not particularly mind blowing, I also like the clear stand.  It reminds me of the stands for some of the higher end figures I own.

So what do you guys think?  Will you be picking up any of these sets?  Have you got them already?

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Custom Ever After High Raven Queen Repaint (And eBay Woes)

Hello there!  Hope everyone's having a good week :).

This time, I'm taking a little more in depth look at my latest repaint, Raven Queen from Ever After High.

Ever After High Raven Queen DollEver After High Custom Repaint Raven Queen Doll
           Before                                                                         After           

I am still enjoying working on these dolls very much.  Now that I've completed the current releases in their default hair and clothing, I'd like to branch out with complete custom versions :).  I wanted Raven to have a heavy lidded look with sultry, smoky eyes and dark coloration.  I still believe Mattel missed the mark when it came to designing the default makeup for these girls.  Their eyes are much too small for such round, large faces.

She looked like this for a while, due to some unforeseen sick/pain days ;_;.

Ever After High and Monster High Custom Repaint Dolls
Clawdeen, Raven, Maddie, Cleo with base colors.
If it's appeared that my last couple eBay auctions have been wonky, it's because they have =_=.  I'm working on transitioning all of my custom doll listings to Etsy because frankly, I'm being eaten alive by eBay fees.    I post custom availability pretty much everywhere, though, so you should always be in the know of where they're listed :).

Friday, August 2, 2013

Toy Fiend Friday! Cu-Poche Madoka Kaname

Admittedly, I've only gotten through about ten episodes of Puella Magi Madoka Magica.  That being said, it's a screwed up show o_o.  I fell in love with Mami and Madoka, though.  I absolutely adore their character designs.  They're just too cute!

Today's Toy Fiend features the Cu-Poche Madoka Kaname (still available here for ¥3,420 from from Kotobukiya.

Cu-Poche Madoka Kaname from Puella Magi Madoka Magica by Kotobukiya
Tiny, pink, and cute!
I've been a fan of Kotobukiya as long as I've been collecting figures.  I started back in the day with Final Fantasy VIII statuettes and haven't looked back.  I've always been impressed with their quality and their Cu-Poche line is no different.  Undoubtedly, this is their answer to the Nendoroid craze, however it features a few crucial updates.  Like most super deformed poseable figures, Madoka arrives with a plethora of accessories and one awful, little rat, who shall never be unpackaged =_=.  No, really, I hate Kyuubey.  Multiple expressions, weapons, and hands are at your disposal for creating a wide variety of poses.

Cu-Poche Madoka Kaname from Puella Magi Madoka Magica by Kotobukiya
Tiny floating faces, decapitated hands, and rat monsters, oh my!

The most notable difference from the other super deformed figures out there would be the size of the arms and legs and thus expanded articulation.  Someone wasn't thinking their cunning plan through when they made Madoka, however.  Even though her legs are on nice, flexible ball joints, her skirt is a solid piece that prevents sitting (she can still kneel, though).  Even so, these figures have three points of 360 degree articulation in each leg (thigh, knee, and ankle) and two points in each arm (shoulder and elbow).  Her head, waist, and pig tails also rotate.  The paint job on these figures is very nice and smooth.  Even her knees and elbows have faint blushing detail.

My favorite deviation from the usual would have to be this little gem:


A mother-humping MAGNETIC STAND.  WHY don't ALL action figures come with one of these?!  This little baby is powerful, too, it supports the weight of Madoka's massive head (seriously, that thing is quite heavy for such a small figure).  She comes with a stand that plugs into the base as well, but I don't even care.  I haven't even opened it O_O.  From a photographer's standpoint, masking or making do without the stand is a pain in the ass sometimes.  This way, you can just slide it directly under whatever backdrop you're using <3.

There's no such thing as too much Madoka.
In all, I'm very glad to have added her to my collection.  She's definitely a cutie and I'll have loads of fun with her.  I've already preordered the Mami Cu-Poche and Sayaka is up for preorder as well.  You can check out all of the Cu-Poche releases here.  Thanks for reading and happy collecting!