Posted in Photography, Dollhouse, graphic novel, BJD, doll photography, Iplehouse, toy photography, overhead, Olive

Back to the treehouse

While the Mia Fiarello team is making their way to Camellia, let’s check in with the treehouse sisters.

When I started working again on this story, I realized how incredibly slapdash and haphazard I’d become about setting up for episodes – just grab a few items, set up the camera, and shoot.

I *could* do that for the treehouse, but I’m expecting them to spend much of the next year there, so I think I have to slow down and really create a space that works.

That task has become somewhat harder because of my inability to find a tree that really works as a 1/4 scale treehouse. The trees in my yard that have the right kind of branch arrangement are far too big to work at 1/4 scale, and the ones that work at 1/4 scale don’t have the kinds of branches you could build a treehouse in.

For example, here’s Olive standing next to one of my (fruiting) cherry trees:

which looks great, in scale. But the branching on the cherry looks like this:

with really no place to build a level platform.

That means that I’ll just need to show them working on a treehouse in one of my outdoor trees, but that any building of the actual treehouse will take place in my workshop.

So, let’s look at what I have.

Because I want a permanent space, I need something solid to use as a base. For my 1/4 scale dolls, I find that Ikea Lack side tables are just the right size, and dirt cheap at $8 a pop. The top of the table (which I’ll use as the floor on the Overhead treehouse and as a side wall for the In the Picture rainforest house) is a 21 1/2″ square. The legs (if you use them) are 17 3/4″. That’s plenty big for the In the Picture space, since the legs define the depth of the of the space, but it’s not quite big enough for the Overhead treehouse, since the legs form the upright corners and the dolls themselves are almost 18″ tall.

Fortunately, it’s a treehouse, so I can slot in some sticks for the four supporting beams. That would look something like this:

The table comes with four double-sided screws and pre-drilled holes

so all I need to do is find three more corner supports for the walls.

The flooring is a little more difficult. I can’t leave it as is, but I haven’t found any rough wood surface that really works for this scale. What I’d really like is some kind of wood that has a distinct grain, but where the knots are not overly large for this scale. I’d thought of just using small branches, but nature isn’t in the habit of producing a straight line, so I can’t really lie them flat or have them join nicely with each other. Really, no one wants to live in a treehouse where the floors look like this:

I have some contact paper with a wood pattern, but it looks both unnaturalistic in close-ups and far too precise for a tree house. Same thing with the parquet floor squares that I use for my 1/6 dollhouse floors. I’ve yet to see a real treehouse with parquet floors.

What I’d really like is scrap wood, but from a 1/4 scale house. Cast off cupboard doors and table tops would be just perfect, but I’d need a 1/4 scale house to start from and, once I found a 1/4 scale house, I’d never scrap it.

I’m going to take one more look around Goodwill to see if anything looks right. If not, I may have to mock up the wood grain.

In any case, the girls aren’t going to have a completely built treehouse this week, although they are going to start working on it.

Posted in Daisy, doll adventure, doll photography, Fashion dolls, graphic novel, Lily, miniature adventure, miniature photography, photo novel, Photography, Photoshop, Rosie, toy adventure, toy photography, Wildflower dolls

Episode 34: Worlds in motion

After the flurry of activity in Rosie’s last episode, it’s oddly quiet today. In Silverton, OR, not a creature is stirring.


And everything is quiet in Syracuse, IT as well.

I wonder where everyone could have gone?

Ah, *there* they are.

Well, looks like they’re all taking off. Let’s hope that Rosie’s map is right, and we’ll see you next week.

Posted in Daisy, doll adventure, Fashion dolls, graphic novel, Lily, miniature adventure, photo novel, toy adventure

A sense of place, revisited

In one of my first posts, I wrote about trying to find a place for Camellia in the real world. Her location was difficult to find, since I needed a livable, sparsely-inhabited island which might house a panther.

Since there’s not going to be a real reveal on place for her (just far away shots of Rosie’s map) I can say that I imagine her on one of the islands near Venezula at a time before there was much tourist traffic to those islands.

Daisy, Rosie, and James are somewhat less defined. I’m imagining that they’re somewhere in Oregon, but I never did find a town for them that I loved.

Lily, however, is in a very definite place, and I’ve been using shots of that place throughout her episodes. She’s in Syracuse in Sicily, not too far away from my grandfather’s birthplace in Nicosia, Sicily, and a few hours away from my grandmother’s birthplace in Coreleone, Sicily. I’ve never been to Sicily – on my one trip to Italy, I never got beyond Florence and Rome – but I like the feel of Syracuse from the distance of my living room.

But, in this week’s episode, everyone is leaving where they are and converging on Camellia. Oh look, here are Lily and Daisy arriving at the airport now.

Posted in BJD, doll photography, Dollzone, Emily, In the picture

New eyes: Changing the look of a doll

I love the look of the Dollzone Gill doll. Unlike most of the 1/4th dolls, Gill is solidly a kid, although maybe a kid who’s prone to allergies and is always on the outer edges of the crowd.

But, when I got my Gill, the only eyes I had for her were these odd blue eyes with cone-shaped irises (or however you pluralize that word) – the eyes actually come to a point in the center. With the red-rimmed eyes, I thought it gave her a little bit of a creepy edge in some shots, like here:

or here

Partly, it’s that the blue isn’t a great color for her, but it’s also the way the light catches on the odd shape of the eye that makes her look a little other-wordly. That wasn’t terrible for the NOTLD piece, but I wanted to recapture her little girl look.

It turns out that she has the same eye size as one of my 1/6th scale dolls, so I switched eyes between them and gave Gill a more normally shaped pair of brown eyes. Here are a few shots with her new eyes:

I think she’s solidly back in little girl land now.

Apparently, Charlotte and Emily had a timely send-off for Roger Gorman. Most of his early films are in the public domain, so download a copy of NOTLD or Bucket of Blood and have a fun evening.

This week, I’ll be finishing the penultimate My Doll Adventure episode, with a whirlwind of activity as everyone makes their way to the location that Rosie pinpointed. In my never-ending revision mode, I’ve given that adventure a new name, and left the “My Doll Adventure” name as the moniker for my whole effort to create all these different stories.

In honor of their Italian heritage (and my own), and their floral names, I’m calling it my little flower, or Mia fiorella. I’m imagining it’s what Lily called Camellia when she was a little girl. If I’ve gotten the Italian wrong, let me know 🙂

Posted in Camellia, doll adventure, doll photography, Fashion dolls, graphic novel, miniature adventure, miniature photography, photo novel, Photography, Photoshop, toy adventure, toy photography, Wildflower dolls

Episode 33: Back to the beginning

Camellia recalls the night she fled.

There had been a dance.

Camellia dances with the stranger, and then sees that Cado is watching

And then, when she realizes that Cado has left, she goes upstairs to find him . . .

and finds him holding Daisy, with a gun to his head.


As the late publication might suggest, I had a terrible time with this episode. I’d finished taking the photos with my original ending, and then felt like it was just too much – too much threatening of Daisy, and too much vilifying of Cado.

Here are those picture:

But, really, holding a gun on a toddler Disney Rapunzel? It’s just not right 🙂

So, we’ll go with this as the beginning, and, next time around, I’ll figure out a clearer way of moving towards it. And Camellia will shoulder a little more of the blame.

But, that’s it for the beginning. Now we’re on to the end.

Posted in Fashion dolls

When the going gets tough, the tough start . . . organizing

I had a millions things to do this weekend. I’m on job hunt, so lots of time and effort in figuring where/how to apply. And I have the last critical Doll Adventure episode – the one where we go back to the very start and see what set everything in motion.

On top of that, I still haven’t dealt with the huge influx of items into my living room and doll room, making the whole space pretty unwieldy to work in. And I have about a months worth of gardening work, after the grass pollen drove me indoors for the month of June.

So, naturally, this is the weekend I decided to do my very most persnickety organizing task. This is the task where I go through EVERY SINGLE SHOT in the whole adventure and make sure that I find, catalog, and store EVERY SINGLE ITEM IN EVERY ONE OF THOSE SHOTS. This is less obsessively compulsive than it might appear. Once I finish this draft of the adventure, I’m going to go back and redo some shots/episodes. In order to fix just a single shot, though, I need to be able to recreate it. And that means that I have to be able to find everything that went into the shot.

It’s also a way of letting me cull through the mass ‘o stuff in my doll room. If I didn’t use it in a shot, and I won’t have to use it again soon, it can move out of the doll room into the deeper storage in my garage workspace.

So, not completely insane, but certainly not the most timely thing I could be doing either. Here’s what Daisy’s drawer looks like:

I’m not including the big furniture items, but this is all of her outfits, and then the accessories for each scene/place. For example, here are the things on her shelf:

Which I’ve been remarkably inconsistent about. I think I only had the Madeline hat up there for the first episode, and then, somehow, it ended up with Rosie’s things.

It turns out Camellia has a surprisingly small number of items. Here’s everything from her first three episodes:

Basically, just a dress and a slip.

I had a few moments of pure panic, like when I couldn’t find the torn photo anywhere. It’s in a bunch of scenes, and I couldn’t possibly recreate the tear pattern. Finally, though, I found it in Camellia’s boat, although I have absolutely no idea how it got there.

I’m still missing the rag doll from Lily’s first adventure. I guess it really is lost 🙂

Anyway, I’ve gotten through almost all of Daisy’s episodes, and up to Episode 8 for the rest of them. And I suspect that if some big emergency comes up again this week, I’ll put if off while I go chasing down one of the pink high heels Rosie was wearing in her first episode.

Posted in BJD, doll adventure, doll photography, Dollzone, graphic novel, In the picture, miniature adventure, miniature photography, movies, photo novel, Photography, Photoshop, Souldoll, toy adventure, toy photography

In the Picture: Endless summer

The start of summer finds two sisters luxuriating in their freedom.

OK, maybe they’re the tiniest bit bored.

By evening, they settle in to watch a little TV.

Oh, great, it’s Night of the Living Dead.

Hearing a sound at the door, they go to investigate.

And quickly slam it shut.

Well, *that* was certainly odd!

And welcome to In The Picture, where two sisters find themselves, well, in the picture.

Guess they’re going to have to be more careful about what they watch 🙂