Blythe

Autumn glorious autumn ~ Part 2

I enjoyed a fabulous wander around the stunningly beautiful Westonbirt Arboretum at the end of October as my traditional birthday treat - there really is no better place to be at this time of year :)

My favourite bit without a doubt is the Acer Glade in the Old Arboretum - I just adore Japanese Maples. We started here and returned for some Blythe shots. It really is quite tricky to find the right spot to prop them up that's at the right height and supportive enough to hold them (their heads are very heavy!). It was VERY muddy so I was paranoid that they would take a tumble into the mud. Luckily the worst that happened was a bit of green slime on their tights ;)

I love the photo below of me, taken by my lovely husband. This was how I was to be found much of the time - head in the trees, searching for the prettiest leaves and the prettiest light! My favourite lens for autumn leaves is my 100mm macro lens - I love to focus on the details with a soft background. Low light levels make holding the camera steady pretty challenging, though, so inevitably lots of photos ended up in the bin!

Most of the leaves here are now on the ground, so these photos will have to help carry me through until springtime - I really don't like everything bare and brown! Nature really does put on a pretty spectacular seasonal finale.

As always, you can find more photos on Flickr in my Autumn Glory Album. I've also uploaded several of these images to my Red Bubble shop in case you are interested in cards or prints. There's currently a 15% discount on Wall Art (posters and prints in a range of sizes and formats) and Home Decor (cushions) with code RBGIFTS15 which is valid until the end of Thursday 13 November.

BlytheCon UK 2014 and a weekend by the seaside

I had a rather hectic but lovely weekend by the sea at the beginning of October, taking in Blythecon in Brighton, a house viewing in Seaford (which we decided to buy!) and a mini family holiday. Phew!

Believe it or not I've never been to a Blythecon in the UK before (my first ever one was last year in New York!), so didn't really know what to expect. I went along with my lovely sister as part of her birthday weekend and we had a fab time. It was so lovely to put some faces to names and have a jolly good natter with fellow doll obsessives :) It all passed in a bit of a whirl so I'm afraid I didn't take many photos - far too busy talking and looking and just taking it all in...

One of my favourite stands, was Emma Mount (below). I just adore her beautiful illustrations - combined perfectly with vintage fabric to make cushions, as well as many other things. I'm really not sure how I managed to resist one (I did leave with a print, though, so all is not lost!).

There was just so much to feast the eyes upon. I loved all the shop displays - and the creative nautical fashion competition entries - my favourite one (the blue raincoat) is below.

I fell in love with the Pinky Jane raincoats (below) and one had to come home with me :) In fact, it features in the seaside photoshoot below!

Unfortunately we had to leave before the raffle, so I have no idea who won my cushion, or all the other fun stuff! If anyone knows, do let me know :) Our early departure was worth it, though, as we fell in love with the house we went to see....

We were blessed with glorious sunshine the next day and enjoyed a lovely visit to Seaford, with its pretty pastel beach huts. My sister and I had fun with some Blythe photography, which drew a few onlookers :)

I just love Seaford, and am so excited to think that this is where we will be living soon (assuming all goes OK with the house stuff - it sure is a stressful business!). It was so fabulous to see everyone out and about enjoying the glorious October sunshine.

We even managed to squeeze in a visit to nearby Cuckmere Haven and picnicked on a bench in the sunshine looking at this view :) I have a feeling this will become a regular haunt!

Well that's all for now folks. Wish us luck with the bumpy house selling/buying journey - it sure is a lesson in taking one day at a time ;)

Japanese Garden in St. Mawgan, Cornwall

I can highly recommend a visit to the beautiful Japanese Garden in St. Mawgan, Cornwall (not far from Newquay) if you're ever down that way. We've visited each year for the last 3 years and would eagerly go back!

It's such a peaceful spot, nestled in a little valley. Stepping into the garden you are greeted with bird song and the soft gongs made by wind chimes gently blowing in the breeze. The winding paths lead you to so many different and beautiful view points - it's been very carefully designed. I could happily sit on one of the benches for hours just looking and listening.

The garden makes a perfect backdrop for some Blythe photos, so it's become a bit of a tradition for me to take a few along with me for a little photoshoot :)

There are lots of water features, shelters, statues, Acers and bamboo in abundance. At the end of the garden is a little zen garden, watched over by a beautiful buddha statue and some wooden meditation stools.

They also have a bonsai nursery and a lovely shop, so it's a great place to pick up a Bonsai, Acer or some of those beautiful wind chimes you've been listening to. We bought some deep mellow wind chimes a few years ago and I love listening to them every day.

Our visits have happened to be in spring each year, but I'd love to visit in another season, and see the garden wearing a different coat....

You can see more photos of the garden on Flickr.

More Cornwall photos and recommendations coming soon - I've finally finished my photo editing marathon! Z xx

Sunshine, sea, sand and pretty pastel beach huts - what could be more perfect?

On a bit of a whim, Al and I headed off for a daytrip to the seaside on Sunday. Lovely sunny Sunday! It was the kind of day just crying out for adventure, especially as we emerge from our grey winter slumber. So we packed up some lunch and drove down to the beautiful Christchurch in Dorset.

We started off at Hengistbury Head and walked along the beach by the crashing waves to Mudeford Sandbank, home to rows and rows of pretty pastel beach huts. I can't tell you how wonderful it was to feel the sunshine on my face and take my coat off!! All the while listening to the sound of the waves....So please forgive me if I got a little trigger happy - I haven't been outside much lately ;)

I bought a Blythe with me (Simply Peppermint) for some pastel beach hut shots - a lovely combo! We tried some posing on the sand, but that didn't work so well and she took a bit of a nose dive into the sand ;)

It really was a taste of summer. Everyone was eating icecreams, the dogs were out in force and the kiddies were building sandcastles. A magical day!

I absolutely adore the beach huts here. Whilst some were still boarded up from the winter, lots of families were using them - lolling around reading and playing in the sand. I'd love to rent one in the summer.

I think I could photograph beach huts all day long and not get bored! Al had to drag me away :) These lovely huts have featured in some previous posts too in case you are interested: Summer 2013 and October 2011. And I've been spamming Instagram like mad with beach huts!!

There really is nothing finer than feeling the sun on your face whilst listening to the waves crash and roll and crash and roll - I love the rhythm of nature.

If you fancy taking a little slice of the seaside home with you, feel free to have a browse through my Seaside collection in my Red Bubble print shop. There's a Blythe section too.

Have a lovely week everyone - let's hope the sunshine continues!

In need of a colour fix

So it's raining again. And it's grey. And windy. I know I am immensely lucky and very grateful not to have been affected by the floods and other damage caused by this horrid weather - and my heart goes out to those who have - but it still leaves me rather down in the dumps. Until spring arrives, you can usually find me ransacking the house for happy, colourful, pretty things to photograph to cheer myself up. I start to get twitchy if my photostream sits unchanged for too long. So I thought what better time to take some new Blythe shots and give my Red Bubble shop a little refresh...

First up is my Snowflake Sonata doll, customised by Minnalove. I made a little bedding set out of some vintage fabric scraps leftover from making my cushions. I absolutely adore these prints and couldn't bear to see any go to waste. They really are so happy and cheerful, don't you think? Just the thing for this time of year!

Next up is my Tarts and Tea Blythe doll, modelling my favourite ever Blythe dress, made by Lounging Linda (I snapped this up at Blythecon New York). I think it was made for her!! The chaise longue is actually a jewellery box - but it is the perfect size for Blythe :) My Simply Guava also makes an appearance, wearing a gorgeous dress made by Jaszmade, also snapped up at BCNY.

For a bit of variety and another splash of colour, I picked up some macarons from a local cafe. Biggest bonus being the nomming after the photoshoot!

All of the images above, and more, are available from my Red Bubble shop as postcards, greeting cards and prints in a variety of formats.

I ordered a batch of postcards recently and was really pleased with the quality - I've got them propped up around the house to cheer me up :)

Blythecon New York 2013

Long time no see! Sorry it's been such a long time since my last post - I've been away on a fabulous trip to the USA for my 40th birthday and it's taken me a while to recover and emerge from the washing mountain...not to mention the photo sorting and editing mountain - I managed to take almost 2,000 photos whilst I was away! But fear not, you won't be bombarded all at once - I'll do it in stages :)

Some of my loot from Blythecon NY 2013

So first up is Blythecon New York. Now, I've never been to a Blythecon before, so wasn't really sure what to expect....

It was amazing, over-whelming, frantic (at least the shopping part was!), exciting, inspiring, and super lovely to finally meet so many people that I've chatted to online before. I was lucky enough to go along and share the day with the lovely Candy Pop, so had a seasoned Blythecon goer by my side.

The venue was split into 3 levels: vendors were on the ground floor, then the food and an area to chat was on the second floor, along with an amazing display of Melissa's Blythe collection, and then the third floor had some more chill out and seating space.

Blythecon New York 2013
Blythecon New York 2013

The day began with a shopping frenzy - it was hard to move around the stalls - definitely a day to be decisive and focussed - no time to think about anything or it was gone! I don't know if it helped or hindered being in dollars - it didn't seem like real money...So many things had gone before I got a chance to get out my camera!

Mab Graves at Blythecon New York 2013
Lounging Linda and M for Monkey at Blythecon New York 2013
Angel Yim at Blythecon New York 2013
Trio at Blythecon New York 2013
I Have Wings at Blythecon New York 2013
The most amazing Yatabazah luxury wigs at Blythecon New York 2013
Caramelody at Blythecon New York 2013

Anyway, with the (initial) shopping out the way, there was a chance to sit and take stock and relax and then wander around and meet so many lovely people. There was so much to take in - I have never seen so many amazing customised dolls before. And so many amazing outfits and accessories....Fortunately there was lots of time to chat and wander and take photos - I think I must have completed at least 6 circuits of all the stalls - and I still don't think I saw everything. Probably just as well, as my money ran out pretty quickly. I still wish I'd taken more photos, though, especially of all the lovely people I met - ah well, there's always next time :)

Yarn heads at Blythecon New York 2013
Blythecon New York 2013
Blythecon New York 2013
GBaby's AMAZING Daisy Buchanan custom at Blythecon New York 2013

At the end of the day there were a few group shots of the Kenners, Blythe twins and the mini-me competition entrants. And then, finally, the raffle! There were SO many prizes, including lots of amazing dolls, so everyone stayed on in high spirits and ever hopeful until the end. Sadly, nothing for me this time - but it was so fun so see the winners go up and collect their prizes. I have to say the most enormous and heartfelt THANK YOU to the main organiser Erica Duh who worked tirelessly for so long before the event and during the event to make it such a roaring success. Thank you so much Erica!

A staircase of Kenners at Blythecon New York 2013
Roz & Olga's twins at Blythecon New York 2013
Brittany and her AMAZING mini-me at Blythecon New York 2013
Bottoms-up at Blythecon New York 2013

Candy Pop and I also dropped in to the pre-meet at Central Park the day before and it was so lovely to meet everyone there at a more relaxed pace.

BCNY Pre-Meet in Central Park
BCNY Pre-Meet in Central Park
BCNY Pre-Meet in Central Park
BCNY Pre-Meet in Central Park
BCNY Pre-Meet in Central Park
Momolita's girl - BCNY Pre-Meet in Central Park

More photos from Blythecon and the pre-meet can be found on Flickr. In my next post, I'll share more of my New York adventures....

Blythe: mattifying magic

Look into my eyes...

I've been collecting and photographing Blythe since 2012 and although I'm pretty smitten, one thing that has really annoyed me is their shiny faces. I've spent far too much time pfaffing in Photoshop with content aware fill and cloning...so I finally plucked up the courage to take a few of the girls apart and matte their faces. I still really like their stock make-up and didn't feel up to attempting any carving at this stage, so I just opted to use Mister Super Clear spray rather than sand them.

The all new Jane
The all new Amy

The hardest part was taking out the eye mechanism - this involved lots of sweat, a fair bit of force and much huffing and puffing. But I really think it was worth it. Whilst they were in pieces, I took the opportunity to replace some of their stock eye chips with some beautiful new ones by Almond Doll, Sharon Avital and Liquiriziadolly. I just love how they catch the light. No photos of this bit - it's definitely not the glamorous part!

I also got some Licca bodies, which I much prefer as they are much more posable - especially the arms.

I have collected together some Blythe customisation tutorials on Pinterest if you are interested - there is lots of good advice out there and many talented people far more experienced than me - I still have so much to learn.

The all new Chloe
The all new Amelia

The one tip I would offer when using MSC is to be patient and not spray too much at once, but rather build it up in layers. On my first attempt I sprayed too much and it started to drip down the sides of the face plate and it also damaged the eye make-up (it bubbled and sort of melted). So I still have one girl in pieces I need to sort out - I'm planning to sand back the eyes and hopefully reapply the make-up and re-seal. Wish me luck!

If you're in the UK and trying to get hold of MSC, I managed to find some on a Model Design Construction site - as it's an aerosol it can't be shipped internationally, so you need to find a national supplier.

MSC: mattifying magic
The matte faced line-up

I'm now looking at the rest of the gang and wishing they had matte faces too - something to keep me busy in the winter months! If you want to see any "before" photos, there are plenty in my Blythe sets on Flickr.

Happy weekend everyone!

Lazy hazy summer days

Flowers from the garden

It's so wonderful to finally be having a summer in the UK! It's been a bit of a non-event the last few years, so it feels extra special to have had a few weeks of non-stop sunshine and blue skies. I hear that some thundery showers lie ahead as I write this - am sure the garden will welcome some rain!

Summer days
Summer reading

So, we've got to enjoy our garden this year. I've dressed the table to make it look pretty and sat out drinking sparkling elderflower in the shade with a stack of fabulous books to feast my eyes upon...And all inspired by the beautiful images in Homespun Style (my favourite interiors book ever I think) I spent the day rushing upstairs and downstairs to bring down vintage pillowcases and Blythe dolls to photograph on the lawn in this gorgeous light...

Pillowcase love
Blythe camouflage
Blythe camouflage
Lazy summer days...
Vintage fabric love
Three shades of green
Lazing in the garden
My iPhone case

We've also been joined most days by our beautiful next door neighbours - here are Mum Poppy and daughter Martha - aren't they beautiful?

Poppy
Martha

And of course summer means flowers in abundance. I couldn't resist bringing these beautiful Hydrangeas indoors to pop in my owl vase - even though I will suffer - unfortunately I am allergic to flowers :( But as long as I get to photograph them first, I don't mind too much!

Owl vase love <3

A sunny summer Sunday stroll

I hope you're all enjoying this gorgeous summer weather we've been having! So very lovely to have day after day of sunshine and blue skies - tonic for the soul indeed.

Sunbathing in the Botanic Garden, Oxford

The lovely Candy Pop and I ventured out last Sunday for a stroll around Oxford in the sunshine - what a scorcher!

We started out in the beautiful Botanic Garden - everything's out in full bloom, so there was colour everywhere you looked. I bought a Blythe along with me for some summer shots and we managed to find a pretty spot in the shade for a pic or two :)

Summer brights
Summer meadow
Summer in the Botanic Garden, Oxford
Layers of purple
Pastel prettiness

After some sparkling limonata and a superfood salad al fresco in the cool breeze, we headed onwards to the beautiful and peaceful Magdalen College (oh and there may have been a short pit stop to acquire a gorgeous minty owl vase on the way....). Plenty of quiet, shady spots here for some outfit shots. Oh and some of the deer had wandered unusually close by, so we got a bonus peek of these beautiful shy creatures (but sadly no pics - wrong lens on at the time...). Photos of me taken by the very lovely Candy Pop.

Summer days at Magdalen College, Oxford
Summer days at Magdalen College, Oxford
Summer days at Magdalen College, Oxford
Summer days at Magdalen College, Oxford

What I'm wearing: top - Anthropologie (many moons ago) | denim skirt - Howies (also many moons ago) | Birkies | hoop handled bag made from vintage fabrics - Reloved Preloved (one of many - I *adore* these bags :)

We stopped for a little rest in the shade on the lawn and I couldn't get over how immaculate the grass looked - lots of love and care has clearly gone into tending this. It also made a fabulous backdrop for some more Blythe shots.

Summer days at Magdalen College, Oxford
In my bag...
Gorgeous yellow prints
Summer florals

Well that's all for now folks - back soon with some more summery photos. Hope you're all enjoying this fabulous sunshine and managing to stay cool! Z x

Blythe mini meet

I had such a lovely time on Saturday. A couple of friends popped over for some Blythe chat and afternoon tea. There were Blythes aplenty! We had a little clothes swap, compared hair colours, shared tips and the lovely Marie showed me how to change eye chips. So I got to see my first Blythe opened up! I'm still rather terrified at the prospect of doing this myself, but seeing the difference some new eye chips makes has given me a huge incentive to give it a go :) I'm feeling all inspired again and have lots of ideas for new things to try. So thank you very much to the lovely Candy Pop and Marie!

Alexis Emerald and her factory nemesis

Here are the "after" photos of Chloe with her fabulous new Almond Doll eye chips. The before and during pics were not very elegant, so I'll spare you those ;)

Chloe gets new eye chips by Almond Doll
Chloe gets new eye chips by Almond Doll

It was so much fun to photograph some other dolls for a change....photography was the reason I stepped into the Blythe world in the first place and I'm so glad I did - it's sparked lots of creativity and I've met so many lovely people.

Psychedelic Goldie
Blythe mini meet at my house