Sunday, January 31, 2010

Plugging Along...

I'm happy to say I've done at least some sewing over the last couple of days. Not terribly productive, but plugging along. This is another "Averill" doll, commissioned by a friend and co-worker. The most time-consuming stuff is done. All that's left is the hair, clothing and boots.

She's made from some sort of velour, which is much thicker than the other stuff I've been using. Made turning those fingers right side out a bit of a challenge. She has buried bead joints at the elbows, wrists, knees and ankles; button joints at the shoulders and hips.

This photo's just for fun. We took Ivan to the carousel in Seaside, Oregon. I don't know that he enjoyed it that much (especially when he was riding the bunny, going up and down), but he was sure cute. He did better on the bench, sitting on Daddy's lap. The old carousel has been restored beautifully. Oh, and it's conveniently next to a fabulous toy store called "Under the Big Top." Coincidence? I think not.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Should be sewing...

Yeah, I know I should be sewing. Instead I'm frittering away my time doing that crazy online karaoke. Of course, it's only just past noon, and I've got all day. But it's amazing how quickly time flies when you're frittering...

Actually, I did do something doll related today. I sent my new Averill face sculpt to Jeff Goshon to have new molds made, though I forgot to photograph it as I'd intended. The old face/mold is no more. Her anatomic abnormalities have been bugging me for a long time. It's funny how you look back at your earlier work (thinking it was ok), then time goes buy and you can't stand it.

I love this song, though I am NOT a country music fan. But my friend and colleague Brenda Sue used to sing this when we had our little bluegrass band. I sang back-up/harmony on this one. Brenda had a stroke (she's a little younger than I am), and just can't do it anymore. I miss her.

I bought a webcam this past weekend. I don't think I like to see myself singing - I'd hoped I didn't look that goofy. I was wrong. Notice the cluttered studio in the background?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Developing Doll Patterns: Electronic and Paper Patterns

There's been a great discussion over at Doll Street Dreamers, regarding e-patterns and traditional paper patterns (I get their newsletter in digest format.) Opinions vary greatly on how much designers should charge for e-patterns, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each. For example, I hadn't known that other countries use a paper size other than our standard 8-1/2 X 11 inch. This certainly affects how I draw out the pattern pieces as I begin adding an e-pattern option.

When I decided to try my hand at publishing patterns, I kept in mind those I'd purchased as examples of what to do, and what not to do. It didn't take long to find that not all patterns are created equal. I was able to identify which designers consistently created patterns that were complete, concise, organized and easy to follow - and which designers' patterns to avoid like the plague (obviously, I didn't want to be that designer.) Looking at others' patterns with a critical eye was invaluable - even something as simple as page numbers made a big difference.

Designing a new doll is fun and creative process - at least most of the time. Developing a pattern for that doll takes a surprisingly long time, is tedious, and about halfway through the process all I can think about is how much I want it to be finished.

After my first couple patterns, I found a book that has been my publishing bible, filled with tons of practical wisdom. It's called "Publish Your Patterns! How to Write, Print, and Market Your Designs" by Nancy Restuccia. I think I'll read it again today, as I know it includes information I wasn't ready for earlier. I just can't say enough about this book. If interested, click on the link below and read the reviews.

When I first built my website, I decided to include a "library" page of books I found useful in my dollmaking (including the above book.) Some are sources of inspiration, some are how-to books. You can see them HERE.

Today I sculpted and baked a second face for my Averill doll pattern and pressmold. Tomorrow I'll send it off to the Goshons to have new pressmolds made. The original sculpt for Averill had anatomic issues (hey, it was my first attempt) and I've been wanting to make a new one for a long time. Plus, I think the master is wearing out a bit, as the quality of the pressmolds hasn't been as good as in the beginning. I may take a photo of the new sculpt and post it later...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

My First Cloth Doll?

This may very well be my first cloth doll. I don't recognize the doll (and I don't have it in my possession) but if it was hand-made, I'm hoping someone will be able to identify the design. The photo was taken in 1961.

Here's a little better photo my mom sent me. I suppose this could be a commercially made doll. It's hard to tell.

Friday, January 8, 2010

My First E-pattern (I think)

It's a new year, and one of my goals is to dabble in the world of e-patterns. I think I have managed to produce my first, "Under the Harvest Moon." This is a pattern that came about in 2009, and as it's already on my computer in digital format, it didn't take much to scan the pattern pieces and convert the whole thing to a pdf file.

The advantages of e-patterns are numerous:
1) You don't have to wait for snail mail
2) The cost is reduced, because I don't have to pay for cover photos, color inserts, paper, ink... and you don't have to pay for postage.
3) Pdf files are supposed to be universally read by various computers (we'll see about that).

You can find the pattern on my website:

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year ~ And bring on those Resolutions!

To be honest, I think my Resolutions are probably the same ones I had last year.

Resolutions, 2009...Yup, they're the same. Let's see if I can add something new. In addition to losing weight and exercising regularly, finishing unfinished projects, saying 'No' to commissions, and learning something new, I Resolve to practice mercy and kindness, and spend more time practicing my music for the Band.