Monday, December 29, 2008

Elf Sparkle: A Completed Project!

It feels really good to have one of my many projects done. This doll (Elf Sparkle) was a commissioned piece for Beth Roose, for a Holiday Cartoon for Nickelodeon and Noggins. Beth has given permission to post Elf Sparkle here.

She stands about 21 inches tall, and is made from craft velour. Her face is lightly needle-modeled, and her features are painted in acrylics. She has sewn and quilted hair. It's been an interesting project to translate a drawn character into a dimensional soft sculpture.

Here's the original cartoon figure from which the doll was modeled.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day Snow in Astoria!

Christmas Day, and can you believe it's snowing in Astoria?

I looked out my studio window to see the big snowflakes (sticking, but wet), and thought I'd drive up to the Astoria Column, a high point in Astoria. I took Misty with me, and she seemed to enjoy herself. We were the only ones up there. I wish I could have seen a panorama of snowy hills, but visibility was poor due to the falling snow.

The photo at the right is Youngs Bay, near the Old Youngs Bay Bridge. Much wetter here at sea level.

Happy Holidays to everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Projects

I spent the day sewing, not dolls, but polarfleece socks for Christmas gifts. Cassidy wasn't much help. When he wasn't on my lap at the sewing machine, he was on the bin of fabric. He was particularly needy today.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Made it Home

Well it took a long time, but we finally made it home. All highways to the Coast were closed, except one. Of course, that's the one we took - a circuitous route. Very slippery conditions. So a trip that normally takes under two hours, took six hours.

I have a short video clip of our Highway 30 drive, but have no idea how to get it here. It was sure pretty.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

"Arctic Blast"

Sunday: Lots of snow. Roads closed. Making the best of it, and enjoying the company of family.

Dad, who's really a child at heart, has rigged a make-shift sled to be pulled by four-wheeler. The "sled" is one of those plastic pads that go under desk chairs. Very slick. Lots of fun, with (thankfully) no injuries.

Brad's on the quad, Kyle's on the sled (above). The other photo shows Misty and Grandma. Misty didn't enjoy the snow as much as she did last year. She's older, and has some difficulty getting around now. She looks happy in this photo, though. Misty is half Great Pyrenees and half Australian Shepherd.

We'll try heading home to Astoria tomorrow, with the hope that road conditions improve. The news channels state chains are required. I don't own any chains, because I've always gotten around with studded tires. Hmmm.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Beach Snow

Saturday: we're headed over the Coast Range in NW Oregon. We'll be having our Christmas get-together early, due to work schedules. Of course, I'm not at all ready for Christmas.

It's been snowing (and sticking), which is rare. This photo was taken in Seaside. It's unusual to have snow on the beach here. See the ocean waves in the background?

We're headed for Eugene to pick up our youngest son, so he won't have to drive on the ice and snow to get to Grandma & Grandpa's in Hillsboro. It's going to be a long day, and very slow-going.

Our kitty, Cassidy, has been shut in the house with plenty of food, water, and cat litter. It's just too cold to let him stay outside - the raccoons would eat all his food, anyway, and his water would freeze. Hope he's a good boy. We're taking our dog, Misty, with us.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Boudoir Dolls

I so appreciate everyone's kind words about Rosie. I was a bit emotional yesterday, and feel a little better today.

I was able to finally finish one of my many pending projects (above) - a boudoir doll for a woman who'd bought a similar doll a couple years ago - one made using a vintage cloth boudoir doll face found on eBay (the doll on the right with the yellow-orange hair). I built the body to fit the face, and made the clothing as well, using a vintage Butterick pattern (number 10296 - Four French Girls, circa 1920). The face on this newest doll was a little larger, so I had to make some adjustments.

This is the third doll made from this vintage pattern. The first one I made is "Estelle" on my website, found on the page called "Retro Dolls" at

No, this is the fourth - Madeline (also on the Retro page) was made from Butterick #10201, a smaller version of 10296.

You can find Butterick 10296 (Four French Girls) here:
and here:

Monday, December 15, 2008

Remembering Rosie

Today I lost something precious to me, my long-time, constant companion, Rosie.

We got Rosie in 1991, from the local animal shelter. She had an easy-going personality, and loved to "help" me in the sewing room. I'd always have to remember to shut the door, or I'd find yarn, seam rippers, and other notions all over the house (she gave up on living critters long ago, and hunted inanimate objects, instead).

She was a chatterbox; really vocal and expressive. I'll miss her 5:30 a.m. requests for breakfast, and her loud "mama" cries when she conquered a ball of yarn.

She will be missed.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

CPSC & CPSIA new laws bad for dollmakers (and other crafters)?

This item was just posted on Etsy. I've still got to check the links, but it doesn't sound good for makers of dolls intended for art or display.

jewelrydesignsbyME says:
I posted this originally at ETSY NJ & plan on posting it everywhere I can. The CPSC & CPSIA new law guidelines effect most of us - sign or start a PETITION NOW. All of us should support each other and stand united to get exclusions or amendments or extensions for compliance referencing USA handmade products and small batch items to this new law by writing to our public officials. Even if none of your items are made directly for children ...

Can you imagine an ETSY, FireArt, 1000 Markets, a local craft show or eBay without any children's items in it? This is effectively THE WORLD'S LARGEST CHILDREN'S PRODUCT RECALL ever imagined. But without the option of returning the items for refund or replacement. THIS NEW CPSIA WILL EFFECT ALL OF US that sell ANY products that can be considered for children. Not just toys and jewelry, but CLOTHING, ROOM DECOR, SCHOOL SUPPLIES, EDUCATIONAL AIDS, ART WORK, ART SUPPLIES, PILLOWS, HAIR BOWS so on & etc. if it is made for someone 12 & under to use it will be subject to the certified testing. Even HAND-ME-DOWNS as resales or vintage items will be subject to the testing.

To read the whole "brief", 67 pages long, requires some basic law education but you can get the gist of it in the CPSIA's FAQ section

This new law is blindsiding us by giving very little notice to comply to it, if we're even able to provide the proofs the the CPSC wants. It's been so under the radar the ETSY doesn't have a STORQUE article on it yet. Neither has eBay or most of the other online seller's outlets even mention the new law. This will put quite a few of us out of business. Even larger companies are having problems complying with the deadline or the batch material testing requirements. Here are a set of excerpts from a recent CPSIA hearing:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Don't just believe that the legislation will change on it's own, do something to let your voice be heard. Write a congressperson, tell ETSY what you feel about this law, blog about it, just get your voice heard by CPSIA that the law is impractical and biased towards small & cottage industries. People for a Greener Earth should also take up this issue since it will put an end to reusing durable children's products outside of the immediate hand me down process, sending tons of good resalable items to landfills.

Generals threads for any one:
for toy makers:
for children's clothing, doll clothes, hair bows, and accessory makers:

A Proposal From the
In 2007, large toy manufacturers who outsource their production to China and other developing countries violated the public's trust. They were selling toys with dangerously high lead content, toys with unsafe small parts, toys with improperly secured and easily swallowed small magnets, and toys made from chemicals that made kids sick. Almost every problem toy in 2007 was made in China.The United States Congress rightly recognized that the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) lacked the authority and staffing to prevent dangerous toys from being imported into the US. So, they passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in August, 2008. Among other things, the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in toys, mandates third-party testing and certification for all toys and requires toy makers to permanently label each toy with a date and batch number.

The CPSIA simply forgot to exclude the class of toys that have earned and kept the public's trust. The result, unless the law is modified, is that handmade toys will no longer be legal in the US. Thriving small businesses are crucial to the financial health of our nation. Let's amend the CPSIA so that all businesses large and small are able to comply and survive!

Monday, December 8, 2008

der Belsnickle

Tomorrow's the big ER Christmas Party & Auction. Over the years our "White Elephant" gifts have morphed into nice gifts (wrapped) that are auctioned off among staff & guests. We use that money to help families less fortunate (and believe me, we're in a position to identify these folks in our capacity as healthcare workers).

So when I was new to dollmaking (mid 1990s), I started contributing a Santa doll to the cause each year. Der Belsnickle is this year's doll. Hopefully no one from work will visit my blog before tomorrow night, cuz it's supposed to be a surprise.

He stands about 17-1/2 inches tall, and is made from muslin - sculpted, painted, cracked and stained. I used a pattern by The Rosemary Rabbit (copyright 1995). I made the bear and stick horse he holds, too, which were included in the pattern. The directions weren't the best I've experienced - I've give it a C minus (many of you are aware of my OCD when it comes to instructions) - so I kind of did things my own way at times. But I LOVE the little bear, and will make more.

I used some sort of real fur for the trim. I have no idea what kind is, but it is the softest stuff I've ever felt in my life. I can't remember where I got it, but I've had it for years. The piece I have is cut in the shape of a knee-length coat (one side of the front, anyway), without the piecing of smaller pelts. Maybe it's beaver.