Tuesday, July 10, 2012
New Eyes for Charlotte.
I changed out a set of Charlotte's eye chips last night!
Yes, my non-existent readers... if you existed to read this, you may be stunned or confused. Charlotte is a Basaak after all. I bought her as a newbie mistake - "practice your customizing" that sounds great. Only the Basaak eyechips are glued in with apocalypse-proof grade superglue. Not so great for "practice".
I love her to bits, even if she wasn't exactly the best choice - she was my first dolly and I could never give up on her. So, slowly but surely, I am giving her a better life. Clones deserve love too - if they happen into your life.
The first time I tried to change out eyechips, I just hoped beyond hope that she would be an exception to the Basaak glue situation. I wanted to change out her front-facing green chips. I tried the hot glue sticks to no avail. Several times. I gave up. The whole ordeal left me a bit traumatized to be honest. I really thought I would never change out any eyechips ever again after that experience. One of the huge attractions for me with RaRi is that I liked all of her eyechip colors well enough to never worry about wanting to change them and not being able to!
But then I nicked the blush on Miss Mesmer's cheek and that feeling of not wanting to change any of her stock qualities faded a bit... she had a personality inside her that wanted to come out... if she had to sacrifice the perfection of her stock faceup to become who she was meant to be, in the end it was a small sacrifice. And it started with her orange and pink stock chips.
She was a dream to work with - I mastered the "twist and pull" method and discovered the sweet spot of how melty to let the glue get before sticking it to the chippie.
So Charlotte has a new scalp on the way (if we like the pink!) and I just got this wild hair that she should have new eyes too. With my new-found confidence - I decided to give it a go on her blue front-facing chips. I knew the green ones were tough... but I hadn't tried the blue yet. I gave a masterful "twist/pull" & much to my surprise - on the first try, one actually came out!!!!!!!! (...with the caveat of a small shard of blue plastic left behind - it didn't look like much; but was I ever wrong about that assessment!)
The second chip didn't come out until the 3rd try - I had to let the glue stick get really melty - any meltier and it would have been a huge mess - but I got enough of a firm grip with the glue the 3rd time to pop the other chip out - also with a little shard of plastic left behind.
I've read about this and about how people use a dremel tool to remove the shards left behind... I don't have a dremel tool - so I started poking at it with the edge of my tweezers that I use to place the eye chips in, then a sewing needle that was on my work bench - neither had any effect whatsoever... so I grabbed two sizes of exacto and sat down for a more serious attempt to remove the plastic. I got the crazy idea that maybe I could sand the edge of an existing eyechip instead of the plastic and destroyed a nice Olive colored B.W. chip in the process, before abandoning that tactic. Then I pulled out my big Olfa snap blade knife. This is a serious tool - I use it for book making to cut the book board that goes inside hardcovers. It scared the living daylights out of me to take this tool to my sweet Char-Char's eye sockets!
The reluctant oracle was even freaked out. He used to find all aspects of the dolly world anathema - but since my doll family has been around for a while he's relaxed his stance & now just feigns complete indifference. Occasionally he slips up and actually betrays that he's paying more attention than he lets on.
Mesmer's eye chip changing project weirdly intrigued him... but he remembered that I had said I would never do the same for Charlotte - so when he saw me with the Olfa blade he exclaimed in a very concerned tone: "what are you doing to her?!" He was truly worried. I promised him that Charlotte was in the best of care and I would never let her get baity - even if I had to buy her an entirely new eye mechanism that cost more than she did! He relaxed a bit.
When I finally got the blue plastic out, I was testing different colors of eye chips for her and then I remembered the Elficious hand-painted chips that I bought for her before I realized that her chippies were such a challenge. After my first failure - I'd set them aside & almost forgotten that I had them, thinking that someday I might try to sell them on B.K. sundries. So glad that I hadn't, since I'd picked them specially for Charlotte. They were perfect in look and practicality too - the post on Basaak is a little shallower than Blythe, so I was thinking I would have to sand down one of the sets of B.W. chips that I had leftover from esmer's project - but the Elficious ones come with a shorter post and they fit perfectly without any sanding (thank goodness - I had enough plastic shards for one evening with the eye socket debacle!)
So my sweet Char-Char has gorgeous eyes now - hand-painted front facers and my favorite side-facing ice blue chips. She still has her slightly scary side-facing pink chips that we switch the dolls to when we go out of town to protect the house. And the green front-facers... well I think they can stay too.
Posted by Kate at 10:04 AM