Unexpected souvenir


I love the variations on the Asian beauty Mattel has been putting out in its recent Barbie Fashionista releases, but perhaps none more than this version:


IMG_20160311_152111So when I came across one smiling at me from the shelf at Hamley's, I realized (albeit reluctantly) that I wouldn't be able to get her out of my mind if I went home without her.

I love how they made the face of this lady. <3 I wish they'd made the mtm version look like this...but it's ok ;)

a little more Cassandra


(That’s her name – Cassandra Calliope. Wouldn’t dream of naming my daughter that…but it’s perfect for Itbe Ayumi.)



Out on a limb



It doesn’t happen very often, but sometimes I take a second scrutinizing look at a doll because a friend tells me about what a gem she is.

So it was with Itbe Ayumi 2015.

Many doll collector eagerly scoop up Asian dolls with blond hair, but I am not in this category…unless the blond Asian looks like an interesting mixed-ethnicity person.

The blond hair contrasting with dark brows remind me of the tragic Athina (“Tina”) Livanos, mother of Christina Onassis…and so when Ayumi arrived in all her blond Asian glory, I decided she looked to be of Greek origin…like the self-possessed daughter of some shipping magnate.


Two who belong together

India and Pierce were one of my earliest couples...and the chemistry between them was instant! No real story here...they just enjoy being together, and they photograph so well.

The only thing that bugged me was that Pierce was actually much shorter than his lovely partner, while his facial expression indicated that he would be somebody taller (he has that look that would make him seem to enjoy gazing at her every so often.) I finally got to switching around the taller bodies; naturally, Josh was entitled to one, but we caved to public opinion on how Daniel should be stockier, so Danie moved to a shorter body while Pierce ended up with one of the tall bodies, and he looks great!

They kind of remind me of the late JFK Jr. and his young wife Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy.


IMG_20160208_072033_edit.jpgWorking on a photostory when time permits, and this shot was supposed to feature The Morning After (a Mugging.)

Lammily's bruise stickers have such ample "setback" that I was afraid of accidentally ripping off Zoe's eyelashes. I finally plucked up the courage to pick up the scissors and trim some of the free space around the bruise so that I could position it where the mugger's fist theoretically hit without ruining her eyelashes or makeup.

I like how the big sticker makes it seem that she's squinting a bit.

Father and Daughter

Selecting a doll to play Josh's 14-year old daughter was tricky, at best. Skipper and Ruruko looked too young, and Dynamite Girls/Barbie looked too sophisticated. The girl also had to look convincing as an older version of blond blue-eyed Kelly, who was featured as Josh's two-year old daughter.

Momoko generally looks much older than 14, but thankfully, this doll comes in many permutations. I'd almost forgotten about Fans Voted Momoko 2014 (Shannon), whose tumbling golden tresses echoed Kelly's, and whose youngish hairstyle made her seem passably 14.

The last step was to see how convincingly she looked next to Josh...and although her skintone is a bit pale, she and Josh warmed up to each other right away, as if he'd raised her from the time she was little. The slightly distant look in Josh's action-figure eyes translates well to the glazed kind of sadness in a grieving widower.

Cosmetic enhancements

The next part of a current photo shoot that I'm doing when I can featured a rather challenging face-off with a mugger.

I experimented with different lighting to get the dimly-lit abandoned-lot setting I needed, and found my heart pounding at certain points. True...I had to throw out a lot of shots (where the mugger pulled her hair, he seemed to be preparing to give her a shampoo...) but the shots that did survive pretty much told the story.

After I spent a great deal of time getting Josh to pose right as he was examining Zoe's injured ankle, I admired how Zoe seemed to be looking at him...and then it dawned on me that someone who'd gotten slugged by a mugger wouldn't look quite so fresh.

Enter the Lammily blemish stickers.

Poor Lammily endured much criticism, including a claim that the doll creator was suggesting that women should look fat and imperfect, and as if to underscore this, the company provided cellulite and other stickers to give the doll more blemishes.

The only thing I will opine is that these stickers are great for adding bruises to a doll in line with an unfortunate twist in the story, short of actually putting marks on her. The bruise stickers had too much “setback” vinyl, and I was afraid of ripping out Zoe’s eyelashes, so I used the mud streaks instead.

I may yet trim the “setback” on the bruise stickers because I think they’d be perfect for the following morning (when, as anyone who’s ever had a bruise or contusion can attest, the marks look even worse…)

I was surprised to find that the marks made Zoe look tired…so I’d say the achieved their purpose.