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Re-introducing Aniata and her Diorama

Hello Doll Peeps!

I have loads of new items for sale so click on the shopping ladies on the right. Most of the first tier stuff is gone so lots of discounted stuff!

When we last spoke, my doll was named Kala. I had posted her in the BJD Addicts group and a few people remarked that she looked like a Taino. My family is Haitian and my husband's is Puerto Rican, the Tainos lived in both. I thought this was fortuitous. So I emailed my aunt, a fan of the Taino and told her about the doll and that I needed a new name. Kala was always supposed to be temporary and I feared it was taking hold.

She said, "I feel like her name is Aniata." And I knew it was right. It's hard to get the tongue around but if you just pronounce the T softly, like in Anita, then it's much more natural.

Anyway introducing Aniata!  (Doll nudity ahead.)

I've been working on the hut like crazy since the last post. While I waited for paint and glue to dry, I made Aniata stuff. I made her necklace and the belt and the loincloth thing which is now cut shorter in Taino style. (She's not a Taino, let me make that clear. We'll discuss her character later but remember, she's a cavewoman in Afroeurasia, ok? )

I made this dress form for her, then I made her this top that is ridiculously constructed but works:

I made her some sandals. I'll mention that this is my first attempt...

A coupla gourd purses and you're ready for a day out.

So let's get to the hut! Last time on Vita Plastica:

So then:

Then: (This cardboard cut-out of Aniata came in so handy.)

Doing a little mock-up of the roof:

Then I agonized. What am I going to fill this with? I'd love for it to be mud but it would stain the doll (Georgia clay, y'all) and would make it too heavy. I tried a few things but decided to try a piece of toilet paper and voila. Toilet paper decoupage!

I think I must have used like 18 bottles of glue for this project. Two layers of toilet paper on each side.

I had some sticks poking out of top and I didn't want to lose height by snipping them, so I bunched up newspaper and taped it down, then did newspaper decoupage/papier mache over the top.

And then more toilet paper.

Now for paint! But how was I going to embed this straw in it and have it look natural?

I slathered on watered down paint and just THREW straw right on it. There was a lot of sneezing that day.

Then a coat of even thinner brown paint.

The roof begins! I made a little tripod with stops at the end to keep the roof on. It was clumsy and failed.

Across each tier of the roof, I hot glued pieces of a grass table skirt. (I know, it needs more). I added two more branches to the roof, going across the top of the "mud" walls. It turned out the roof sat there nicely. I just added a couple of ties for security.

Then I used green grassy flock stuff, moss, tea and coffee to do the landscaping. Sorry I'll get you a shot of that...

But where will m'lady bathe?

Remember the beginning?

Then I read that Realistic Water wouldn't be good to use on Styrofoam because it emits gasses (awesome.) So I covered it with plaster cloth. I thought it was kind of a disaster but it lent some interesting texture to the riverbed.  Painted a dark stripe down the middle for depth but my four year old thought it looked tewwible.

So I mellowed it out a bit. That was really fun to paint. Just sloshing around in blue and green and white and black. I even let the kids help.

Then I was stuck. I needed sand. I called my dad. He's a little like Fred Sanford. "Do you have any sand?"  "Do I!?"  Sand-flocking commenced.

Meh, it looked so beige! This ain't Aruba, it's a river.

Mixed in some tea and voila!

Aniata dips her feet as I make raffia grass bundles.

I added some "dirt" coffee to connect it to the hut's landscape.

Then added the grass and some rocks.

 A lotta rocks.

Then I added the Realistic Water. Great, but the foam core barriers I made were pathetic. I guess I was expecting it to be thicker?

So I made another one of hot glue and it wasn't perfect (some holes where it leaked through) but it worked pretty damn good:

There is an issue with the glue holding the rocks on. The Realistic Water reconstituted the Tacky Glue and made go white. I'll be adding another layer of Realistic Water, then I'll go in with some Water Effects to make froth around the rocks. I'm super excited about this set. It has been so fun and not really very expensive. Mostly it was sticks, dollar store toilet paper and dollar store glue. The oldest, grossest acrylic paint sitting in the craft bin for 8 years. Decaf coffee which is an abomination in this house and other cheap coffee we kept in case of the zombie Apocalypse. The most expensive items were the Realistic Water, Water Effects, Plaster Cloth and the grass skirt table.

Okay, that's it for now folks! Thanks for tuning in and reading. I know I say I'll get better but you know how it goes.



  1. This looks amazing and she's stunning! I see why the interest in BJD. Not only are they beautiful and life like but Barbie's things can really take up space, where this is simplicities without all the tiny pieces.

    Nice work, Dani. :-)

    1. Thanks honey! But now I'm in trouble because I have one on layaway that fits Barbie clothes. Oh dear. Well at least she's a fairy so she won't need all the little things we want to get for Babs and them!

  2. She is beautiful whatever name she goes by. And I am so impressed with your awesome creativeness! That environment is spectacular! What are the dimensions?

    1. Thanks Ro! I need to take some measurements but it's about 3 feet wide and the river is about 12 inches wide. The real challenge will be building something that requires measuring and precision!

  3. The doll is simply gorgeous! The hut and scenery are pretty awesome, too. You always impress me with your ability to create a stunning abode. Thanks for sharing your technique!

  4. Wow, this looks great. I actually kind of envy her gorgeous mud hut, lol! Great work with the toilet paper, of all things. Meanwhile, I can barely get it together and sort out a decent monochrome background for photo shoots... :D

    1. Thanks Ms Anderson! I wish I could camp out in this little hut!

  5. Wow, the water looks amazing! I also love the grass and the texture you were able to get with different materials in the sand, so cool~ I would have never guessed coffee and tea were involved, haha. And that belt! I wish I could find a belt like that in my size, if that isn't a super weird thing to say...
    Anyway this is looking awesome. I can't wait to see what else you do with it, and future sets as well! :D

    1. Thanks PinotNoirIceCreamBar! I'm already working on developing two more. Not sure there will be space for humans in my doll room in a few years...

  6. The doll is really beautiful! I love all the work you put into the hut too. It looks like something from a museum.

  7. Amazing job on the hut and the riverbed! Your creativity is always so inspiring. Keep up the great work. Aniata looks quite pleased with her new home.

  8. This is beyond amazing!!!! She is so beautiful and unique!!!! And her home and river bed are just perfect!!!!


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