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

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.

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

Episode 32 – Rosie solves it all

As we catch up to Rosie, after her last episode when she found that Fetch had stored away all of her dream objects in her cupboard, she appears to be . . . well . . . dragging a big bag of flour across her room . . .

Rosie drags a bag of flour across the floor

dumping it all in a sand table . . .

. . . into the sandbox, and begins raking it up

and then . . . not quite sure . . . looks like maybe she’s putting the things in her cupboard into and, oh, the blackbird has returned and appears to have gotten flour on himself.

The raven returns to watch Rosie’s work, and ends up getting flour on his face

Well, that’s all pretty puzzling. Let’s see what Lily and Daisy are up to.

After their last episode, when they talked with the stranger who had left Daisy and Rosie at the library, they figured out that Camellia may have landed on an island. Now they’re heading to the library to figure out what kind of land masses she might have been able to reach in her rowboat.

Lily and Daisy drive down to the library
Lily and Daisy pour through books figuring out where the tide could have carried Camellia

Let’s see what Rosie’s up to now. Oh, it looks like James has gone to her room, and now he’s making a phone call . . .

James walks into Rosie’s room, and immediately calls Lily and Daisy

to tell Lily and Daisy that they can stop their research . . .

Lily takes a call from James

because Rosie is sitting on her floor, beside a diorama with a boat, a raven, and a hut, looking at a detailed map of a set of islands. . .

James looks over the boat, the hut, and the map, then reaches down to take . . .

and beside her, is a Camellia.

Posted in doll photography, Dollhouse, Fashion dolls, miniature photography, Photography, roombox, Rosie, toy photography, Wildflower dolls

Rosie is the brains of the adventure

And, we’re back. Lovely week off seeing my family, dancing at a wedding, and all-in-all having a great time.

We’re to the point in the plot where everyone-who-isn’t-Camellia shares a single episode. In the one I’m working on now, Lily and Daisy are rushing around looking at tide-tables and maps trying to figure out what island Camellia could have gotten to, while Rosie is (apparently) dumping piles of flour on her floor.

Thusly:

Which seems like an odd thing to do. But, it turns out, Rosie has an idea about what all those objects in her cupboard are for:

We’ll see how much she’s able to figure out when I finish the episode on Friday.

Posted in Aimeraidoll, Buu, doll adventure, Dollhouse, Fashion dolls, graphic novel, Jinjur, Lily, Mudoll, Rosie, Underfoot

Underfoot: A visit to the dollhouse

The girls start their adventure in a world largely in their own scale – a visit to Lily and Rosie on the My Doll Adventure set.

They start with a visit to Lily

Then Jinjur stays behind for Lily to try to fix her hair

While upstairs, Buu and Rosie go for a wild dog romp

and share bedtime secrets.

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Posted in doll adventure, Dollhouse, Fashion dolls, Rosie

Rosie’s fairy adventure

Another quiet night at home, playing with paper fairy dolls.

Rosie and her fairy paper dolls
Rosie tries to fly like a fairy
Rosie lies down and plays with her dolls
Rosie drifts off playing with her dolls
Rosie is carried to bed
Rosie is put to bed
The fairy appears
Rosie is grabbed by the fairy
Rosie out the window

It’s hard to keep all of my dolls safe. As soon as Camellia safely washes ashore and tames the panther, poor Rosie is kipnapped by fairies.

She’s about to enter another painted world – one of the paintings is already outside her window. It’s a little blurry, so probably a bit hard to recognize. Also, as a bit of a hint, although he’s well known for painting nature, his most famous series are more watery than the scene out the window.


I don’t have much to take you on a tour through this week. We’ve already seen Rosie’s room, and I’m not using any new photographic techniques (just trying to learn Photoshop!). So I may take you through other things I’m experimenting with in doll world.

Posted in diorama, Dollhouse, Fashion dolls, Photography

Building Lily’s world

Lily is the first of the dolls to have two permanent diorama spaces – one outdoor diorama space (in her secret garden) and one indoor diorama space (in her room).

The indoor space was simple to put together – it only has a few elements.

Lily's indoor diorama

  • Three walls (two taken from Daisy’s room, and one new). I used real wallpaper on one of the walls, and a roll of decorative paper on the other two.
  • One window (also used to be Daisy’s) covered in a clear acrylic sheet to mimic glass
  • Two 12×12 wood laminate tiles (as from Daisy’s room)
  • A printout of a rug. I just happened to find one that almost perfectly fit an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper.
  • One Barbie bed, covered in contact paper (because the original bed is a pink monstrosity)
  • Two scarves – one as her bed cover, and the other as curtains
  • A beautiful dresser (probably a jewelry box) that I picked up at Goodwill

A note on putting acrylic in doll house windows: I put a sheet of acrylic on the window, thinking it would make it more realistic. In fact, it ended up doing the opposite – reflecting me and my dining room in the background of Lily’s room.

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Here I am – looming in Lily’s room

Lesson learned – in the future I’ll leave my windows empty (as I did in Rosie’s room). The only time the reflection might be nice would be when the doll is sitting right by the window and you can see the reflection. But, that seems like the unusual case. The usual case is where you can see my camera’s reflection in the doll’s room.

Her outside space is more elaborate, and still a work in progress. It’s made up of:

dsc_0335

  • A few great hauls from Goodwill, including the moss like ground cover, the picture frame door, the folding wall, and the amazing wooden creche (or whatever it is) that really makes the space.
  • It’s surrounded by a corner of “real” wall (made with individual bricks) and a corner of fake wall (drawn on foamboard). I feel like the wall is too short for the space, so I’ll probably be casting bricks over the holidays 🙂
  • Twigs and sticks with fake flowers (from the Dollar Store) hot glued onto them.

It’s missing its normal enclosure picture – that’s just the wall covering in my garage workspace behind the diorama. In Lily’s earlier episode previous shot, I hung a print behind the space. In this most recent episode, I hung a flowered scarf behind it. What I really want is to be able to see part of a town around it, but I’ll need to make more space in my garage for that to work.


A note on Lily’s paintings. Someone asked me about the paintings in Lily’s episode of the lost doll. They’re not really paintings – they’re just a Photoshop Elements trick. I take a picture, then I go into Elements and paste the picture over Lily’s canvas in the photo. I turn it from a picture into a painting by using the “oil painting” effect on a brush and brushing across the panel, giving an effect like this:

the-lost-doll

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Posted in Daisy, doll adventure, Dollhouse, Fashion dolls

Episode 11 – Daisy and the mysterious stranger

Daisy’s story continues with a meeting with a mysterious stranger.

The stranger
The stranger
Daisy takes an order
Daisy takes an order
Stranger grabs Daisy's wrist . . .
Stranger grabs Daisy’s wrist . . .
. . . and Daisy pulls away
. . . and Daisy pulls away
Daisy talks with her friend
Daisy talks with her friend
while the sranger drops a torn photo
while the stranger drops a torn photo
Daisy retrieves the photo
Daisy retrieves the photo
Daisy looks at the torn photo
Daisy looks at the torn photo

. . . second shoe dropped.

You can probably tell that this is the other half of the torn photo we saw in Daisy’s previous episode. We’ll have a chance to examine it in more detail in her next episode in December.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk a bit about trying to pull the pieces of the plot together, and Friday I’ll talk a little about finding dolls to play the other parts.


In the meantime, poor Daisy is still suffering from a severe lack of attention to the details of her story. I did manage to build part of a dinette set (mainly because I couldn’t find a good picture of a diner to photoshop her into), but that’s about it. The wall with the window is from Daisy’s room, and the other two walls are just unimproved pieces of of foamboard.

screenshot_20161120-224221
Daisy and friend with a room defined by a single, unadorned, wall

The photos (with maybe the exception of the close-up of the stranger and the shot where Daisy talks to her friend) are purely utilitarian. They’re a way of taking the plot from one point to the next. In the meantime, I’ve been carefully and elaborately building up the other sets, some I won’t need for weeks.

Fortunately, Daisy has a sunny disposition and makes do with whatever she has. Which is a good thing, because I had to use her walls for Lily’s room, so she and her friends are currently hanging out in a room with no walls at all.

img_20161121_062109

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