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Friday, 27 February 2015

Merida Ooak Doll journey

So I have begun work again with custom dolls! Work is somewhat slow as I am working around a four month old, a three year old and a four and a half year old! But I hope to get this lady up for adoption on Etsy soon and a range of other dolls I have been wanting to get to work on trickling in as and when I can!

So the Merida doll in question is a Disney Store Classic doll. She has a gorgeous face sculpt but her hair has a poor texture and her curls are way too soft for the wild mane of our Scottish princess. Her dress is also way more glittery than I could ever imagine Merida putting up with, but I will get to that in time

First off, removing the head and cutting off the hair! The classic dolls heads come off very easily, just a little heat to ease the plastic out, I blasted for a few seconds with my hair dryer. Head popped off and then to take the scissors to her hair!

Lovely! Now for the reroot. This took me a good few days, working while my youngest two played or all three were in bed. I use the needle and thread method, pulling a long needle through the head, dor

I used a custom blend using five colours all ordered from Retro Dolls

Once that was done I got to work on the curling! I used pipe cleaners for my curlers. There were two sizes I had in the house. It is incredibly simple to do, you just wind the hair around the pipe cleaner and then twist the end of the pipe cleaner back over the hair to hold it in place. I made two curls this way from either end of a folded pipe cleaner.

I varied the thickness of the sections of hair so I would achieve different amounts of curl.

I boiled a kettle of water and poured directly over the hair til it was soaked through, then followed it up with a dousing of cold water so I could handle the head better and as cooling helps set the curl. I then blotted the excess water onto a towel and left to dry. I removed the pipe cleaners whilst the hair was still a little damp but not wet.

After a little teasing out of the curls and a trim she was ready for a new faceup.

Next for a full set of clothes and accessories before finally tweaking her hair and getting ready for a photoshoot.

She will be up for adoption on Etsy soon.

Valravn Designs on Etsy

Monday, 26 January 2015

Guess who's back?

Ladies and gentlemen, Valravn Designs is back on track again!

We can officially say that our hiatus has come to an end. Here's what we have been up to, over the Winter's darkness:

First up we have a theatre we made for our lovely little ravens for Christmas. The branding is a tip of the cap once again to our friends in the Army of Toy Soldiers, bring mandatory fun throughout the year!

Merry Christmas!

Next we have a birthday cake commission we did for a friend of ours, based on her tattoo. The clock, the bluejays, everything on the cake board, is edible.... and delicious!

Bluejay Cake

And now a present for a little raven who just loves Link and all things Legend of Zelda. This was made from craft foam and painted to achieve the desired effect. As such, it was a relatively cheap yet effective prop for a little boy who will no doubt be quite hard wearing on it!

Hylian Shield

Finally, a commission we have already done once and are doing again. We're back with another carrier and this time it's a TARDIS!

Tardis baby carrier

That's all for now, but rest assured, we are back in business, taking commissions, producing original works and raising three lovely little ravens in the process.

Monday, 20 October 2014

New Arrival, though not of stock!


Ahem, that is to say that we now have a full nest here at Valravn Designs with the arrival of our third little one and it means we will be on hold for a little while.
In the meantime, Danov is entering NaNoWriMo (bless his poor mad soul) and shall be working hard on it over November, having been writing a Poem a Day all this month as a warm up. Wish him luck! He'll need it!
That said, while we are on hold if you do have any burning ideas for items you wish made, please do drop us a line as we are still very much able to provide quotes, plan and advise on commissions yet to be.

Until then, raise a toast with us for the newest little Raven and we shall see you all anon!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Nesting has commenced!

With only a couple of months until the arrival of the latest raven to our nest Amber has managed to take a little time out to work on things for the children. First a couple of little things for our eldest raven's 4th Birthday and then the first of a number of baby carrier designs.

This little fellow was once a simple dog, but is now a fully fledged Aquacadet thanks to our raven's newfound obsession with the band the Aquabats!
As well as the Aquabats, our little raven also has a thing for dinosaurs. This was his fourth Birthday Cake!

Dinosaur Cake
Last but not least we have the new baby carrier for the smallest of our nest.

B Mo baby Carrier
If it seems we have been ignoring you my little ones, it's because children are very hard work indeed.

Finally, depending on times from the photographer our next update should be the wedding party we have been hinting at for over six months now! Exciting times lie ahead!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Because we're awesome!

Commission update!

We have just finished our first Star Wars inspired commissions: Asajj Ventress and Darth Talon.

I think the pictures speak for themselves, so rather than waffle on, here's my favourites from our Flickr Feed.

Asajj Ventress & Darth Talon
Asajj Ventress & Darth Talon
Asajj Ventress & Darth Talon

In other news we are still battling the forces of parenthood, pregnancy and wedding commissions here at Valravn HQ. We hope, that with the Fates' blessings, we will weather the storm and have some more items for your viewing pleasure later in the year.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Picture Update! Hooray!

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have just released pictures of our most recent works here at Valravn Designs!

See for yourself on our Flickr page.

Or, for the less active of you, here are a few highlights and the stories behind the works:

First, we have Xala, a commission from our Skyshard dolls. Another of the holy healers of the Vituan Priesthood, she is also the sister to Alora. Wearing the dark blue robes of the seer caste, Xala's talents lie more in prophesy than healing. She now roams the world looking for her sister, first looking at the grand ball of the Caravan Cities.


Secondly we have Savanna, an original commission for a lady that we met at our trade stand at MCM Comic Con all the way back in May of last year. After making a lasting impression she asked for her original character to be created in doll form. Naturally, we were delighted for working on such a collaboration!


Finally, we have our most heartwarming piece to date. The customer for this piece wanted something special made for a lady that he wished to propose to. Specifically, he wanted to give her a mermaid. He wanted this mermaid to be a proper, sea dwelling, non Disney mermaid. He particularly liked some of our previous works on the theme of less human figures (such as Xantha the dryad).
This would be a challenge. Creating a tail that could be moved and posed, doing away with the legs on the doll was territory we had yet explored.
Having gotten the idea together, he said that this would then be a proposal gift and could we make a ring box to go with it. After tracking down a shell shaped ring box (Gods bless the internet!) we completed the order as you see it below:



By the way.... she said yes. We're far too humble to take the credit for that though.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Like a Swan

Greetings one and all.
Like a swan, Valravn Designs has been quiet on the outside (though our Facebook and Flickr feeds have been churning away as ever) yet thrashing around in the ecstatic, frantic motions of artistic creation on the underneath.

Currently we are very much in demand, having lined up at the moment:
1 doll commission,
a series of rucksacks for an art gallery (more on that another time)
and an entire wedding party!

Wedding commissions are some of our favourite work, giving Amber plenty to do and taking her back to her original calling of fine dress making, costume and couture. Sadly, they also take huge amounts of our available time and do not allow us to release images until after the wedding (tradition and all that). As it stands, we're going to be a little bit quieter for that reason.

If you have a commission in mind, do let us know and we will always be happy to provide a quote and give an idea of when we will be ready to take custom orders on in earnest again.

Until then, keep enjoying beautiful things!