Wednesday, April 30, 2008

SD&A Interpretive Doll Challenge!

I've not yet received the May issue of Soft Dolls & Animals magazine, but visited their website today and saw one of my dolls (Lydia, in the back) on the cover! I also recognize the little girl in the front holding the Annie doll - I think she' Cindy Ribet's doll. I don't know the makers of the other two dolls. I expect the magazine will arrive in the next couple of days, and I'm anxiously awaiting this issue. It should be filled with photos of challenge dolls, the pattern for which was graciously provided by Aletha "Ike" Putney.

Thanks, Ike!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Group Launch Day

Today's the day! I've just uploaded my auction to eBay. I don't often list dolls. Patterns are "safer." I've listed her with a low starting bid and no reserve. I just have to tell myself it's just cloth. Problem is, I'm kind of attached to her now. R2RD members will be posting their pieces throughout the day. Be sure to check them all out!
Item #160234687156

Saturday, April 26, 2008

How About a Poll?

While I won't have time for pattern development until after the ODACA/UFDC Convention at the end of July, I'd like to plan ahead. I have several dolls lined up for pattern production. Each one takes (me) a very long time to do. I'm polling visitors to help me decide. These are the choices:

1. Felt Angel (will ultimately have a name). Features a cloth covered polymer clay face from a mold. Will work out some sort of improved headdress or halo or something. Wool &/or felt flowers needle-felted on the front. Painted wings are attached with buttons, so the position can be varied a little.

2. Carlie. Very similar to Verity, but is made from knit fabric. Has a needle-sculpted face, breasts, individual wired fingers, and different feet. She has buried bead joints at the elbows and knees. Knitted eyelash yarn hair. Clothing differs from Verity's and is not removable. Wears cloth shoes.

3. Verity. Muslin doll with needle-sculpted face, painted with many layers of modeling paste & acrylic gel medium. Sewn finger divisions. Face and upper chest, arms and boots are painted. Boots have paperclay heels. Buried bead joints at the knees only. Tibetan lambswool hair. Clothing is removable.

4. Grace. Large doll, inspired by Izannah Walker & Helen Pringle. Made of muslin. Face has no needle sculpting. Face and upper chest painted with many layers of modeling paste & acrylic gel medium. Applied ears. Acrylic painted head, upper chest and arms. Wears vintage shoes. Clothing is removable.

5. Adah. Smaller than Verity, Carlie & Grace, made from woven fabric. Has cloth-covered polymer clay face from the same mold as the Felt Angel. Wired fingers. Button jointed at the shoulders and hips. Clothing is not removable. Cover doll will have much different colors, as the fabrics pictured are from the crazy Hoffman challenge.

Friday, April 25, 2008


It's Friday! I don't have any specific plans for the weekend, but if the weather is cooperative, I should get off my rear-end and ride my bike. You know, burn calories. It's been a really long (read, FAT) winter.

I finally finished a doll that's been half done for many months. It feels good to get some "closure." This is "Averill," made from one of my patterns (c) 2004 with an alternate cloth-over-clay face. Nose is too big, not that happy with it, but at least she's done.
Good news! Only two more days until the "Rags to Riches Dolls" group launch. Check out eBay on Sunday April 27 - type R2RD in search area to see all the dolls and art by group members.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

In Remembrance

Today it's been one year since we lost our pal, Sonny. It's hard to believe it's been a whole year, and he's often on my mind. It seems the best pets are the ones given to you. We were fortunate to have him for the years we did.

We miss you.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Verity, almost done

Verity is getting closer to being done, which is good because the R2RD launch is on the 27th of this month! While I was pre-washing fabric for her sailor dress, I made this one of muslin to test the first draft of my pattern pieces. I think I like this simple muslin dress, and have decided to keep it for this doll. I'd wanted more of a drop-waist look, but this will do. Her dress is removable, and buttons in the back.

I've sewn a Tibetan lambswool wig, and have glued it in place. I may add a couple ribbons in her hair, but don't have anything the right color right now. She also still needs bloomers, and possibly some accessories.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Visitor Comes Calling

Now what do you suppose he's up to? Looking for the cat food? Surely not - he knows exactly where the cat food is. Raccoons are so darned cute, but such pests around here. Bold as brass. I spied him from my studio window, while working on Verity's arms today. To make her hands, I traced around my own, then reduced it to 30%. Here's a photo of my progress so far. Her shoes have been painted, and I added paperclay heels. The laces are painted. She has a flat bottom so she'll be able to sit. Her knees have buried bead joints.

Friday, April 18, 2008

I should have left it alone

I should have left well enough alone. Last night I painted Verity's face in acrylics and applied my usual shading and highlights with colored pencil,, pastels, and blush. Next I sprayed the face with fixative - to hold those things in place. I WAS HAPPY WITH THE FACE AND SHOULD HAVE LET IT BE.

But I wanted to try to age the doll (I'm really new to this technique), so I applied Jo Sonja's crackle medium - which appeared to crackle very nicely. When the crackle was completely dry (as per the instructions on the bottle) I painted a wash of thinned dark brown acrylic paint. When I wiped off the excess, much of the crackle wiped off too, leaving a blotchy dirty-looking mess.

I spent the last part of the evening sanding off as much of the disaster as I could - but it's still a little bumpy in places. I repainted the flesh color today after work. I have decided to NOT put any more crackle on this doll.
ROOT CAUSE ANALYSIS (hear that a lot at work)... I think the fixative I sprayed on the face to seal it before applying the crackle may not have been acrylic based. Remember the Rule of Thumb - you can paint oil based over acrylic, but not acrylic over oil. I think the crackle medium is acrylic. The fixative spray is Dick Blick brand matte fixative. It doesn't say "acrylic" on it, and it smells like it would make you pretty high and kill off brain cells if used in an enclosed area (which I didn't - I need to retain as many brain cells as possible) - it contains acetone and toluene. So IF I try this crackle thing again, I will try it without applying the fixative first.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New Doll, in Progress (Verity)

This new doll will be called "Verity," which means Truth. I'm making her for the vintageclothdoll Yahoo group challenge (she'll be a Patriotic doll). I'll be selling her on eBay for the Rags to Riches Dolls (R2RD) group launch on April 27.

She's made of muslin, from an original design (the first and only doll I made using this unofficial pattern was in 2006 for my Hoffman Challenge entry, made of craft velour - see the doll below). Switching fabrics makes such a difference in the proportions of the doll. I'm changing the design of the legs and arms for this vintage-look doll. The legs are completed, hanging to dry (I painted her old-fashioned boots).

I used Helen Pringle's recipe for "Messy Mix" to cover Verity's head and upper chest. This eliminates the face's center seam and prevents the painted face from caving in if the doll is dropped.

The next step will be to paint a couple coats of gesso, then fleshtone acrylic paint. I haven't decided on a hairstyle yet, but it will probably be natural locks of some sort or wefted mohair.

This is a doll from the same pattern I'm using for Verity. Craft velour is wonderful to work with, but a little harder to paint on. I have not used anything to cover the fabric of the face as with Verity - just did a little needle sculpting and painted the features. Colored pencils provide some of the shading.

This doll has bead joints at the knees, hips and elbows; button joints at the shoulders.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I've been tagged again, this time by Mithua of craftswithcare ( This one's a little different. You come up with six words that sum up your life. On Mithua's blog, she wrote that Ernest Hemingway was bet $10 that he couldn't sum up his life in six words. He won that bet when he wrote, "For sale, baby shoes, never worn."

The Rules:
1. Write your own six word memoir...
2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like...
3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible, so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere...
4. Tag Four more blogs with links ...
5. Remember to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

So, here's mine:
Life is short, eat dessert first.
Having just been tagged (see April 2 entry) I don't think I can hit up anyone else so soon. So I'm just going to sit on this one awhile. Of course, I'm always open to volunteers. This dessert ad is by Thomas Wood.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

"Going to the Movies" - Joint Meeting/Luncheon

Patti LaValley and I spent the last two days with friend and artist Jean Peeters and her wonderful husband Fred. One of the doll clubs to which she belongs hosted the annual joint meeting and luncheon near Eugene, Oregon.

The theme of the luncheon was "Going to the Movies" and each table centerpiece (and gifts for those seated at each table) featured a different movie. The table decorations were wonderful and elaborate and detailed and perfect and imaginative.
Our nametags were movie "tickets" with the name of one the of the classic movies featured.

The program speaker was Jonna Hayden, a professional costumer for plays and operas in the Eugene area. What a fun and stessful job that must be. She had examples of her work with her and had us all drooling (see the example above).

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Lila, Waiting for the Phone to Ring

I've been working on a new doll design, and Lila is the first of four prototypes. I hate to let a failed doll go to waste, so turned her into a finished doll. She is in a fixed seated position, and her arms and legs are sewn in place (i.e., not jointed).

Her hair is curly crepe wool, glued and needle-felted in place. Her face is needle-sculpted. Her fingers are wired. Her shoes were made to fit, and are not removable.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


I've finally finished some clothing for my new doll, Grace. I will need to make some adjustments to her dress , so it's a little fuller. I also need to tweak the length of the shoulder section -
I ended up having to make a sort of pleat and sew a button there to hold it. Actually, I kind of like the way it looks, but will still probably change the design.

Grace was inspired by dolls made by Izannah Walker, Helen Pringle and Anne Adams. She has a few proportion issues, but I hope to work those out when I make prototype number two - and make the doll a little smaller (although with a doll this size, she CAN wear those little Victorian shoes...hmmm).

Last week, I was tagged by Lone Pierette. Now I have to write five things about myself and tag 5 more bloggers. I'm new to this tagging business, and don't have a lot of blog links. So while tagging should perhaps be a surprise, I put out a query to FOCD members, asking for tag volunteers in exchange for a link to their blogs.

So here's the skinny on me:
1. I'm going to be a grandma (that sounds really scary to me).
2. I've been an Emergency Nurse for 21 years (that's scary, too!).
3. I love to sing, but am pretty shy about it.
4. I'm scared to swim in the ocean (kelp brushing against my leg makes me scream).
5. I have a bad habit of pulling out my gray/white hairs. Thank goodness there's not too many of them...yet.

A Big Thanks to these bloggers, who will need to write five things about themselves:
Fran Parrigan-Meehan
Carolyn in Australia
Sharon in New Zealand
Darlene Wilkinson
Donna Sims

Here are the rules ...
1 ... Link to the person that tagged you ...
2 ... Post the rules on your blog ...
3 ... Share 6 non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself ...
4 ... Tag 5 or 6 random bloggers at the end of your post by linking to their blogs ...
5 ... Let each random blogger know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog ...