Airy’s Matcha Shortbread Cookies!

Today Airy was in the mood for a treat so she decided to bake! Since it’s her first time baking she picked a nice, simple recipe to share with everyone – matcha shortbread cookies! Buttery, crunchy with a touch of matcha green tea – these are a nice treat with a cup of tea or as a snack. Be warned though – they are very addictive and not low-fat! (^__~)” [Note: full recipe at the bottom of this post.]

Here’s Airy combining the ingredients – she’s mixing together flour, matcha tea powder and pinch of salt.

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Figure Displays Tips Part 1: Using Acrylic Risers (and Other Stuff)

One of the dilemmas of every figure collector is how to display your collection so that it’s aesthetically pleasing, showcases your figures, maximizes available light and maximizes the space you have available. Kev & I have been collecting for almost a decade (yikes! >__<) and it snowballed from a handful of Final Fantasy figures once upon a time to what I still consider to be a growing collection today.

I have quite an array of different sized figures in my collection: from 2″ tall to 2.5 feet tall and everything in between so I have encountered all kinds of display dilemmas. The simplest (and most expensive) solution would be to buy tons of commercial acrylic risers. You can find them at retail supply stores, or if you’re lucky to be in a city with a MUJI you can find some great risers there in all shapes and sizes – however they are not cheap! So this is when you sometimes have to get thrifty and creative. In my opinion, the nicest displays are in tiers of multiple levels to suit the size of the figures, but things don’t have to be completely symmetrical.

I have the Detolf cases from Ikea – as many of you do too – and the reason I chose them was because they have a door (to keep my cats out and dust off my figures) and because they are glass they let in as much light as possible. One of the downsides of this style of display case is that you are somewhat limited by the shelf sizes and unless you put spotlights into them they are still quite dark.

Have a look at the stuff in this picture:

No, it’s not tomorrow’s recycling T__T”
This is an assorted collection of different items that I use in my display cases as risers just to show some of the variety of items that I’ve kept for future use. Only the 4 in the top-right corner of the photo are actual commercial acrylic risers, since most of my risers are being used and I didn’t want to take apart my displays for this post! The rest is an assortment of bits and bobs that I’ve accumulated over time and have become quite useful. There are:
– plastic boxes from chocolates
– parts of a bathroom toiletries set (liquid soap dispenser with pump removed, soap dish, etc)
– stackable makeup and craft supply jars
– cosmetic display units
– prisms
– CD spindle case
– superglue jar/ empty pill bottles

I made a quick video talking through the individual items in the above photo –

My point is that if you are resourceful you can find all kinds of things around the house to use for your displays. I’ve read that some collectors use glass cups, cake displays, jars and other clear items. If it has a flat surface for a figure to stand on, it can be used as a display! [Disclaimer: I don’t suggest hoarding things to the point that your friends and family need to stage a TV intervention!]

Okay, so remember all that plastic “stuff” from the picture above – see if you can spot some of them in this (outdated) photo of my Kingdom Hearts chess set. (I’ve got the new ones from KH2 in the shelf – just haven’t gotten around to taking an updated photo! ^__~”)

I hope this post got you thinking outside the (chocolate) box about how to display your toys and figures. I’m not a “keep it in the box forever” type of collector (although I have nothing against collectors who like to keep things MIB) but I like to be able to see the efforts of my years of collecting, so to me, an attractive display is necessary.

Next time I’ll post about a completely different way to make use of space in your cases to display figures!

Moe-chan goes to London!

This weekend Moe came along with me to London, England and we met up with fellow Dollfie Dream owners Dark Dollhouse, GabrielVH, Jezatron and fransgaard for lunch.

I was quite concerned about how to pack her compactly and safely into my carry-on luggage but I shouldn’t have been worried at all. The best way for a Dollfie Dream to travel is in First Class! ^__~”

After getting off the plane and traveling to our hotel in London, Moe was nice and fresh – but that didn’t stop her from claiming the bed all to herself!

Moe got very excited when she spotted a double-decker red bus on the street! It’s one of those sure signs that you really are in London.

Moe got to ride on one of those buses, but she was safely packed away in my bag for transit so no pictures of that journey. However, we did take a short stop at Picadilly Circus to take a photo of the Eros Statue.

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Welcome home Dollfie Dream Moe II

Moe was originally released in 2009 at a DD event so for me to get my hands on the first release would be quite difficult. Her head mold is the same as Natsuki’s but they have different face-ups. When Kev and I saw the promo photos and information about the re-release of Moe and the new DD III body with improved flexibility we both decided we wanted her in our family.

We had someone attend the re-opening festival at the new Volks Akihabara showroom at Hobby Tengoku enter the lottery for us – and we won! Moe was shipped on Sunday and she arrived today!

Of course my girls  had to come out to greet their new sister! Here are Saber Lily, Airy, and Alisanne all anxiously anticipating her arrival! (Makoto wanted to be here, but she’s visiting auntie Machiko right now).

Here’s Moe out of the box – she’s so adorable! I love her sweet face-up. I’m not crazy about that S-Bust, but I have some random M and L ones laying around that I can switch onto her. I suppose it’s not a bad thing to have a S-Bust for reference when Machiko wants to make DD clothes ^__^b

I seem to have the worse luck with dolls from Volks… When I ordered my Sd16 Daria from Volks USA she was sent to me with 2 left shoes! This was quickly remedied after I contacted Volks – but check this out: Moe has 2 left FEET! For the rest of these photos I’ve swapped her “right” foot with one from another doll. Good grief…

Here she is out of the box. She’s so cute!

Moe is made of the same softer vinyl that Airy and Neris are, so her head cap is much squishier!

I was a bit apprehensive about her outfit since there is so much dark fabric – and knowing about the horrible incidents that other doll owners have had with outfits like Saber Lily’s maid dress and Beatrice’s school uniform I was wondering how Volks would approach this outfit.

Here are my observations about Moe’s new outfit:

Choker: It’s lined in white pvc and closes with a snap closure. The snap is weakly sewn on, so be careful putting it on and taking it of.
Blouse: It would be hard to put a body suit underneath because of the shoulder straps and where the sleeves sit on her shoulders. It’s partially liined in white inside  (the bodice is lined, the sleeves are not). Closes with 3 snaps at the back.
Skirt: A few black threads here and there along the waist and where the snap closure is, but it has a white lining and after studying the construction I’m quite certain it won’t cause stains. I left the outfit on her for over 12 hours today and when I inspected her this evening there were no stains.
Jacket: Made of white, so no risk of staining.
Pantsu: She comes with them. Enough said. I think Volks is trying to eat up their supply of stretchy cotton fabric.
Stockings: There is a dark grey trim along the top of the white stockings so I wouldn’t suggest wearing these for long periods of time.
Shoes: Cute platform loafer-style shoes. I wore something similar way back in the days when I was a high school girl ^__~” These are lined in white on the inside.
Arm warmer: Not  lined in white. I got confused because there is only one o_0″ but that’s how it’s supposed to be.
Bracelets: There’s only (1) bracelet. It’s one long piece that wraps around twice and snaps on. It’s backed in white PVC to prevent stains.
Handbag: Functioning bag -it opens and closes with velcro.

Here’s something interesting – her hand joints are different. DD III on left, DD II on right.

Here she is all dressed – isn’t she sweet?!

And of course, everyone is super curious about the posing ability of this new body type. I’ve taken several photos of Moe to show the capability of the new DD III body. Sorry about the lighting – I did this in a hurry since I have to leave for work very soon!

The arms are much more flexible with the incorporation of the “secret joint” into the frame, however her arm pops out when you bend her arm this far. It’s no problem because you can just push it back in again – but this is what it looks like distended (left arm), and what it looks like when you push it back to normal (right arm).

This new DDIII body seems to be better designed to bear weight in the arms. I tried having Moe play around with Avalon and doing a 10 second test – if she could hold a pose for 10 seconds then I took a picture. Otherwise I considered it a fail. The results are quite interesting:

As a benchmark, this is all I could get Saber Lily’s DDII body to do without the sword falling:

Moe was able to copy that with no effort required! Here are a front and side view – my cat Bubba doesn’t seem too impressed.

So to progress, let’s try lowering the arm and re-distributing the weight and center of balance. Try as I may I could get Saber to support the sword, so it looks like Moe is on her own from now on. So far, so good.

So let’s try lowering the arm even more – it’s straight now!

Also, Moe’s DDIII body is capable of spreading her legs wider than a DDII. Don’t get any ecchi thoughts! T__T

While experimenting with how her legs can move I discovered she can do the full splits!

And she looks quite natural and relaxed in this pose.

The mechanism and skeleton inside the torso have also been greatly redesigned. This is what Moe looks like when I separate her at her waist:

The flat part in her hip piece prevents her from leaning forward or slouching so Moe sits up very straight! The rounded portion kind of wraps around the skeleton mechanism in the torso and I think it allows the back to bend more, without the risk of snapping the peg. The peg fits into the hole in the bust half (as per DDII). Because of the way that piece is shaped, it’s a bit annoying to fit the hips back into place.

And this is the updated neck-peg. No comments on what it looks like, but it allows the doll’s head to bend backwards a lot more than before without any modifications that were previously necessary with the DDII.

So what do these new changes mean in terms of posability? Well, I’ll let these photos do the talking!

Alrighty, I’ve had a super long day and I need to get some some sleep before going to work tomorrow. I hope these pics were interesting! So far the DDIII body is looking to be some great improvements on the DDII body. I’ll taking Moe with me on a little trip this weekend so look forward to more Moe-goodness soon! ^__^

Saber Lily welcomes home a new, um… pet?

Kev and I have been waiting around today since Canada Post’s website shows that our new DD daughter has gone through customs and is in their hands now – but it’s now past 7pm and she hasn’t shown up so I guess she’ll be arriving tomorrow. Boo.

The mailman did deliver a box today while I was out, but as Saber Lily’s expression shows, it’s certainly not a DD and I didn’t remember what it was that I had ordered.

Saber Lily:  “Maybe it’s clothes?”
Possibly… Let’s look and see.

Upon opening the box, Saber Lily was just as confused since there are some miniature belts, some hairclips and a bunch few packages wrapped in foam. Nothing looks remotely like a doll or new clothes.

After taking everything out and unwrapping things she discovers a vinyl makeup bag with a cushioned pouch inside. And suddenly out pops a little kitty cat!

Saber Lily: “Oooh! Mom, you adopted a pet kitty for us! Can I call him Suki?”
Hmm… Suki sounds too much like “Sookie” from True Blood.
Saber Lily: “That’s true. How about Snuggles then?”
Sure Saber. He looks like a “snuggles” doesn’t he? Hehe.

Snuggles is actually a resin doll from Korean brand Hujoo. He’s fully articulated and strung up inside with elastics like a resin BJD doll. I also ordered a pair of green eyes for him, but I think changing them will be an interesting challenge so these pretty baby blues will be staying for a while! Snuggles is a Hujoo “Dorothy” Siamese cat. I’m actually very impressed with them – I ordered him 15 days ago and was told it’s take 30 days for him to arrive, but he only took half that!

Snuggles and Saber Lily immediately take a liking to one another.

At least waiting around for the mailman today ended up being productive!


And finally, I got a couple of comments on my Flickr yesterday after I posted the photo of the Goody mini spin pins so I made a quick tutorial video showing how I use them. I hope it’s helpful! 😀

Dollfie Dream Travel

I packed up some DD travel essentials since I’ll be brining one of my girls overseas this upcoming weekend. I haven’t decided who I’ll be taking yet, but I’ll be meeting up with some DD collectors in merry old London-town. My list of things that I can think of bringing at the moment are:

– Water Wax
– hairbrush (I use a super soft toothbrush)
– wig caps (silicone to keep wigs in place, and a white cloth one to layer on top in case I’m bringing a dark wig)
– face guard
– plushie friend for bedtime
– doll stand, or shoes that the doll can stand easily
– interchangeable hands (optional, can get too finnicky when you’re out and about)
– white pillowcase or shirt to wrap doll with
– doll carrier or other large tote bag

What do you guys bring with you when you take your girls out? Or am I over-thinking this too much? LOL

(Updated Dec 22, 2011)
Having taken Moe and Chibi-Aerie to London, Mélisande around with me in Tokyo and eventually home on the plane, and going to a couple of doll meetups recently, I wanted to do an update on this post since it’s one of the topics people search up rather frequently. Since Dollfie Dream dolls are very sturdy I’ve learned that I don’t need to be as crazy cautious as I was the first time I took Moe to London. For a casual outing when I know I’ll need to be walking around town and don’t want to lug my big doll carrier, I usually wrap the doll in a pillowcase, bend the doll into a sitting position and put her in my totebag. I try not to put any heavy things in the bag with her and carry only a few essentials like housekeys (in a separate pocket!) and maybe a small makeup pouch of girly things ^__~”.

When I’m going out for a meetup and want to bring multiple dolls I’ll bring out my Volks carrier bag. I adore this bag and it is very well designed – I love that it’s white on the inside so that it doesn’t risk staining my dolls, and from my outings I know that I can fit 2 DD’s and an MDD comfortably inside, with lots of accessories stuffed in the pockets and a couple of doll stands as well. I could probably fit 4 DD’s in there too, but would get a bit cramped. I will have my dolls mostly dressed so that when I take them out I only have to slip on their wig or shoes and not waste time fidgeting with little things.

Face guards aren’t really necessary for DD’s unless you have eyelashes added onto their heads, in which case you definitely want to protect them from getting crushed. If you want to use one, go ahead but I don’t find a need to. Silicone wig caps are an absolute god-send since they keep wigs in place on windy days, or just from sliding around in my bag. It actually saved the wig Chibi-Aerie was wearing in London when she flopped backwards while I was taking a photo on the Embankment Bridge! I had the sense to hold onto her, so she wouldn’t have fallen but if I didn’t have the silicone wig cap on her, the wig would have fallen into the Thames River! >_____<”

When I flew with Mélisande I wrapped her in a couple layers of bubble wrap, bent her into a sitting position and placed her into my Lululemon gym bag. I was able to fit TONS of stuff in there with her without concern that it would damage her and I could still get her out easily if I needed to. Mélisande had one compartment of the bag, with my camera and some others small articles, and in the other compartment I had my ziplock bag of liquids and gels, and other things I needed for the flight. On this particular journey it was impossible to put her into my roll-aboard suitcase since it was full of other things that I didn’t want to risk losing by checking them in as cargo. When I flew with Moe I had her wrapped in a SD doll pillow and bubble wrap and it was just too much bulk! I had her bent into a sitting position, laid her into the top section of my suitcase and filled the rest of my suitcase with clothes and whatnot. If you’re having trouble making your doll fit into a suitcase, don’t be afraid to bend her or even take her apart at the waist/neck to make her fit. Just be sure to protect the joints & pegs so that nothing gets damaged. I keep a fold-up totebag in my suitcase so that when I’m at my destination I can take my doll out without having to lug my big gym bag/suitcase with me.

I hope that this was helpful – if you have any questions about traveling with your Dollfie Dream, feel free to leave me a comment! ^__^”

Nine9Style Review

Just a quick midweek update.

I took a moment to re-dress my girls last night in anticipation of a box opening that will be happening soon. Yes, that’s right I’ll be welcoming home another daughter in the next few days. She’s already in transit but every time I check her tracking number it says she’s still “enroute to Canada” so I just have to wait it out. Have I mentioned that I’m horribly impatient?! This is why I give myself little “make-work” projects to keep me occupied or else I go bonkers.

So last night I re-dressed Airy and Alisanne in a black & white scheme. Airy is wearing pieces from the Volks Gothic Striped Jacket set again but I really like that set. The corset top is pinned at the back because it’s much too big for her M-bust but it still looks very good.

Alisanne is wearing a SD13-sized dress from Nine9style that I wasn’t sure would fit her SD16 body but with a bit of careful maneuvering over her shoulders I got it on her! It actually fits her quite nicely since the shoulder straps are adjustable. You can’t see the bottom but I have black leggings on her lower half and some strappy black sandals. I ordered a huge batch of stuff from Nine9style last month and I’m really impressed with the quality of their stuff. Kev had one of our DD girls wearing a black cotton t-shirt for 3 days and it didn’t stain (thank goodness!) although I’ve taken most of their red “Nine*style” labesl out from the insides just to be safe. The long-sleeved cotton shirt stained quite badly though – it left dye stains just from being put on.

For their clothes, I bought everything in SD13 size and it fits my DD girls quite well. Obviously it fits the larger busts a bit better since they have a bit more to “fill out” the tops. The t-shirts are a bit loose around the waist so I sometimes pin them at the back to get a better fit, or tuck them into a skirt. Their flat shoes are a little bit big on DD bare feet, although wearing stockings helps, but I adore their little ankle bootees!

Hopefully I’ll get around to taking more pics of my Nine9Style goodies soon!

Volks Photo Contest – Akihabara

Kev has been really excited about the ‘Akihabara’ themed  photo contest  that Volks had last month and he has been doing all kinds of stuff to try to get the right “look” that he has in his mind. There was a lot of trial and error, and several ideas just didn’t work out quite how he wanted. We sent off our best photo entry already and since he put all the work into making the “accessories” I told him to submit it under his own handle rather than mine – so good luck AlphaZ! ^__^”

Since I don’t want to disqualify us by publishing the full photo, here’s a little teaser. I hope Kev doesn’t mind ^__~”