Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Crackle...the bane of my existence

I just finished another vintage-inspired doll, and wanted to try the one-step crackle again. I can't say I'm completely pleased with the way this one turned out. I'm talking about the forehead/nose area. It turned out darker than I'd intended (in a blotchy sort of way), and messing with it just made it worse - so I stopped. See what I mean? I think part of the problem was not thinning the brown paint wash sufficiently.
This is the third of the four dolls I've been doing assembly line style. This one has a vertical stretch direction (fabric) for both the head and the body, so she's about 17 inches tall. I like the general shape of the head, but notice a better chin area when the fabric stretch direction is horizontal.
Today I sewed the dress for doll number four. I may be too pooped to start painting the facial features.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

"Emmaline" number 2 of 4 done

Today I completed a couple finishing touches on my prototype doll "Emmaline." I took a chance and tried crackling and antiquing my doll's face and arms, using DecoArt One Step Crackle and a wash of diluted raw umber paint. It turned out ok. I had some concerns because the product was so shiny, but the application of the antiquing was knocked down some.

Before the wash, waiting for the crackle to dry completely.
After the wash:
Emmaline stands about 16 1/2 inches tall.  

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Dolls in progress

I've been working on a series of four dolls, and I'm nearly done with number two. She just needs her face and hair, and hopefully I can get those done today. I use acrylic paint, so things dry pretty quickly.
Her clothing is already done, except for the little felt shoes. I just love those reproduction fabrics!
Making sure her dress fits.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

A Doll Done

Or should I say a prototype. This is doll 1 of 4, finished last night. She's made of inexpensive muslin (she is a prototype, after all), and I like the subtle give of the fabric. Her face, bust, and arms have about six coats of Messy Mix, then a couple coats of gesso, then skin tone acrylic paint. I wish I were more skilled at painting hair.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Tweaking a new doll design...

I've been working on creating a vintage inspired doll, with the added benefit of honing a design that can be produced for the ODACA Day sales room next summer. While I've got four doll bodies sewn and stuffed (with heads and busts painted with 5-6 coats of "Messy Mix), I'm working on completing just this one for now. Assembly line work may be efficient, but it's kind of boring.
Those zigzag lines on the heads and bodies below indicate the stretch direction (cross grain) of the fabric. 
I did, however, sew four sets of bloomers last night - that way I didn't have to change thread color repeatedly, and I can put that fabric and lace away... like that's going to make my studio any less cluttered!
Next step: painting the face and hair

Monday, August 24, 2015

Just for Fun

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Early last month I signed up for an online workshop, just for the fun of it. After all, I live in Astoria where you can't throw a rock without hitting a Scandinavian!
The workshop starts today, and I'm anxious to get started. I'm not sure what to expect, but I'm ready to go Viking!*
Incidentally, my husband and I found a new series to watch online earlier this year ("Vikings," via the History Channel). Come to find out he's got some Viking blood in his lineage.
*From Randi Buckley's website:
Maybe you’ve always felt you were part viking.  And while it might be your heritage, the feeling goes well beyond DNA.  Ancient ways you may not know but feel a longing for.  Or you recently started watching the series “Vikings” and now get all tingly feeling when conversations head that direction.
Whichever way you’ve come, you’re here with a new interest or long held passion for the wisdom, strength, myth, and beauty of the viking woman.  Maybe for you:
  • It’s the paradox of the nurturing warrior.  She cares for hearth and home and can skillfully defend what is important to her.
  • It’s the adornment.  Clothing and jewelry of great beauty and otherworldly meaning.
  • It’s discovery.  Navigating by starlight to go beyond your own edges and find new inner and outer worlds.
  • It’s the magic and mythology.  Guided by power rooted in nature and beyond your own world.  Legends, sagas, ritual, and reverence.
  • It’s the society.  Women had more rights than most people realize.  Laws were made and lands were owned.
  • It’s the culture.  Music, art and architecture in homage to the Æsir , are stunningly beautiful and incredibly pragmatic.
  • It’s the divinity of doing masterful work with fierce (and wildly fun) celebration.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Life Book 2015 August Lessons
Meditrina, Roman goddess of wine, health & longevity

See my Life Book 2013 pages HERE
or Life Book 2014 HERE

Thursday, August 20, 2015


The past few days I've been working on a design for a doll with a vintage feel. Something simpler than some of my other dolls. My jumping off point was a pattern for a repro Presbyterian doll by Lucinda Durbin. Presbyterian dolls were American folk art rag dolls from the mid 1900s, originally created to raise money for the church. They had oil painted faces.

I made one back in 2009, designing my own costuming:

And another, playing around with printing a face from a vintage photo directly onto the fabric:

And finally finished one this summer from a previously sewn/stuffed body (altering the arms and legs, using my "Amandine" pattern):

I've got lots of cheapo muslin, and have been playing around with a couple things: a chin dart, the fabric's stretch direction, and how to eliminate the neck pucker that can sometimes happen.

The doll on the left is the first one sewn/stuffed, where I was still working on the shape of the face front. Next, I marked the other three with the stretch direction I used. Eventually, these will become finished dolls, through I still want to try the final adjustments on a variety of fabrics to see how that turns out.

Sunday, August 9, 2015