Tuesday, June 30, 2009

How to Make a Tibetan Lamb Wig

Aahhh, a day off work. I see it's been awhile since my last post. I really should be working on a doll right now (ODACA Day / UFDC Convention is just around the corner), but thought I should get a quick post in first.

I thought I'd describe how I make a wig from Tibetan lamb. I'm sure there are other ways, I just haven't figured them out yet. I start by draping a paper towel over the doll's head. Pinch darts in the paper towel to get a good fit. Pin the darts and trim the paper towel so it matches the natural hairline. I like to fold under the front edge of the wig to make a nicer hairline at the face, so take that into account if you want to do that. Remove the paper towel, cut the darts so there's a seam allowance of about 1/8 inch, and use this piece as a guide to make a pattern with a little more symmetry.

Now use this new pattern to make a cap of felt, and sew the darts with your sewing machine. Fit the felt cap to the head. Does it work? If not tweak it (it's more cost effective to test the pattern with felt than to just cut into your hide).

When you're satisfied with the fit of the felt cap, you're ready to cut the wig from Tibetan lamb. Pay attention to the natural direction of the hair on the hide. I try to position the pattern so the hair flows away from the face. If you've made the pattern piece from freezer paper, just iron it to the hide. Take great care when cutting the hide, to avoid cutting the hair.

I just made a wig for a doll class - I'd already packed all my scissors, so I found a scalpel - specifically, a pointed #11 blade. I drew around the ironed-on pattern with a pen, removed the pattern from the hide, and cut along the line with the scalpel - not flat on the table, but holding the hide up a little. It worked much better than the scissors, and didn't cut any of the hair (nor did I cut myself). While I have easy access to scalpels at work, I don't see why an exacto knife wouldn't work.

With a 1/8 inch seam allowance, sew the darts right sides together, sliding as much of the hair fibers out of the seam allowance and to the right side of the wig as you can. Sometimes the hide doesn't slide well in the sewing machine, so I put the hide on a piece of tissue or pattern paper, sew the dart, then tear the paper away.

For my Verity doll with most of the head painted, this wig needs to be glued onto the head. I glued the front edge of the wig under about 1/4 inch. Fabri-Tac works well, as does Grrrip glue. When that sets, glue the wig to the head with white tacky glue. That glue will give you a little more time to position the wig.

If the doll is all cloth - that is, the head isn't painted - the wig can be ladder stitched in place. Don't glue the front edge under. Just use a fine but strong needle to sew the wig to the head. The cut edge of the wig will be turned under as you go - all the way around the head.

After attaching the head (and all the glue has dried), comb out the hair. This makes it super fluffy and frizzy. Carefully wet the hair (don't saturate the hide) and towel it dry. Add a tiny bit of hair mousse, then comb it out again, styling it a little, then let it dry. All the pretty little curls of the Tibetan lamb come back.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Penny Doll Challenge

The winners of the Penny Doll Challenge were announced today on the FOCD (Friends of Cloth Dolls) Yahoo group. I was surprised that I was the winner of the advanced category, as there were many wonderful dolls. Second and third place winners in four categories have not yet been announced.
The construction of this doll is very interesting. I chose to make her of doe suede (which is no longer being produced), because the design of the doll gave her a rather minimal chin.
I thought by using this knit, I could pull/push her chin out a little more (it worked, sort of).

Because I planned to Messy Mix and paint the visible portions of the doll anyway, I used an ugly shade of doe suede - kind of a drab gray/taupe.

I bought the fabric for her dress at a quilt shop in Moro, Oregon. Her clothing (bodice and skirt) is removable. And I've just realized that I've not yet given her pantaloons - which I'll do today. Maybe I'll take her to Atlanta with me next month, for the UFDC Convention / ODACA Day.

Here are the winners:
Advanced Category - 1st place [me]
2nd place Judi Ward
3rd place Stephanie Novatski
Intermediate 1st place Rita Hernandez
2nd place Roxanne Sienkiewicz
3rd place Joann (Jody) Kieffer
Beginning 1st place Cindy Alldredge
2nd place Kristy Effinger
3rd place Dottie Beckstrom
33-inch Category 1st place Judy Jacques
2nd place Diane Mansil
Tied for 3rd place Sharon Hall & Pam Davis

If you're interested in joining FOCD, there's a link HERE to sign up at the Yahoo site.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Danielle's Doll Day

Today I spent a fun day with friend/co-worker Danielle. New to dollmaking, Danielle will be attending our upcoming doll club meeting. So she came over to get a start on her Presbyterian doll. Not bad, huh? Danielle's a quilter, so she's a natural.
I played a couple doll videos while we worked: The Art of the Doll Maker and The Dollmakers *Women Entrepreneurs 1865 - 1945*

It was only at the end of the day that I found out it was her birthday. Happy Birthday, Danielle!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Presbyterian Doll

Better late than never. Dollmaker Lucinda Durbin (Cinders) posted this doll pattern on the Vintage Cloth Dollmaking (Yahoo) list some time ago. Her pattern was a reproduction of the old Presbyterian dolls. I'll have to scrounge around for information about these old dolls.

Members of VCD made dolls using her pattern, and I've finally gotten around to making mine. We'll be working on this doll for doll club next weekend, so I wanted to have a finished example or two, using some different techniques.

This is my first Presby doll, which has a one-step crackle and light walnut ink wash. Next, I'm going to make one of these dolls with a photo for the face. Still pondering how to go about this. I may have to modify the pattern a bit.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Walnut Ink Wash

So having determined that I would NOT crackle this doll, I went about a wash to knock down the bright newness of the colors.

My friend Dixie had recommended a watered down burnt sienna or burnt umber acrylic paint

After going through all my acrylic paints, I found I had just about every other shade of brown - but not those. So I used Walnut Ink by Tsukineko instead.

I sprayed it on, and rubbed it in with a paper towel. Then I wiped it off. You can't really see much of a difference in these photos, but that's good. I just wanted a subtle muting of the colors.

The top photo is without the wash. The bottom photo has a light wash. The wash was also applied to the arms.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

To Crackle...or Not to Crackle, That is the Question

I'm having a hard time deciding whether to crackle and wash/age this doll - or leave her be. Guess I'm a little gun shy (the crackling/aging of my first Verity doll backfired). I don't have to decide immediately, as I have one more coat of Messy Mix, two coats of gesso, and two coats of flesh-color paint to apply to the arms before committing.

This is the doll I used to demo face painting in the class I taught last weekend. Thought I'd better finish her, so I could have "product" to take to the ODACA Sales Room in Atlanta, mid July - gotta pay for that trip, you know...

BTW, her hair/Tibetan lamb wig is just plopped on her head - not glued down, not conditioned & styled either. So pay no attention...


Collecting, Part 2

Finally, a chance to post a few more photos - dolls from my "collection." First, are two old Godey dolls, I believe. The doll on the right was purchased for a mere $10, probably because the photo posted on eBay was such a blurry mass that it didn't even resemble a doll. The doll on the left has clothing that is beginning to disintegrate.
Below is a topsy turvy doll, also purchased on eBay - made in Spain, I believe. Their delicately molded heads turn from side to side.Next is a Martha Chase I'd all but forgotten about. She's about 20 inches tall, and in pretty good condition.And lastly, is a rather pitiful 16-inch Chase doll, in need of some significant repair. If the face hadn't been so cute (and the price reasonable), I probably would have passed on this one.
You can visit my "Collecting, Part 1" post HERE, and my Helen Pringle doll (old, but not as old as the others) HERE.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

ADO Challenge

ADO (Art Dolls Only) is hosting a challenge for members and non members alike! The first part of the challenge is to pick one or more of the four elements: Fire, Air, Earth, or Water and make an art doll based on them.

The second part of this challenge is a Blog event. The ADO team blog will host this event and it will run from Friday, June 19th to Friday, July 17th.

Saturday, July 18th and Sunday, July 19th we will be visiting participants' blogs. We challenge you to make an art doll along with us!

Sign-up for the blog event will start on June 19th and all details pertaining will be posted to the team blog. Any artist is welcome to participate, including non members, so come join the fun!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

A New Boating Experience!

Today's adventure was getting the boat back in the water, after three weeks of boatyard work. Well, I didn't do any of the work, but am more than willing to enjoy the results!

The boat's been getting a bottom job and transmission replacement.

After the marine lift was in place, it lifted the boat off its supports and wheeled it to the water. The boat was lowered over the water, we climbed aboard the boat while it was still suspended, then it was lowered into the water.

We sat in the water for a few minutes to make sure there weren't any leaks, then we motored up the river for about an hour. Everything worked perfectly.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Successful Verity doll class

I spent a wonderful weekend up north - teaching my Verity doll to a wonderful group of talented dollmakers - the Dollirious! Doll Club of Arlington, Washington. Class was held at the Stanwood Senior Center. Thanks to everyone for a successful class! Here's a slide show of some of the photos I took:

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

It's June Already!

I can't believe it's already June. Where did May go? Our weather has finally taken a turn for the better, and I've started walking to work again. Up and over the hill, it's about 2 1/4 miles each way. But my goodness, it's hard to get up 45 minutes earlier!

These are photos of my friend Daniel (taken in April 2007), trying out my husbands rowing shell - and my husband offering his sage advice. I haven't tried rowing this thing, but I did enjoy kayaking in Key West. Maybe I should give it a try, though I know it's a bit more difficult. A person can end up in the water if not careful (and the water around here is quite cool). Young's Bay is visible from my studio window, though this photo was taken from the dock near the water. Oregon's a beautiful state, but I'm particularly fond of this area.

This morning I took my "Pediatric Advanced Life Support" test online, and passed (yeah!). Now I have to clean my studio, which is in complete disarray. Then I need to start packing and making kits for a class I'm teaching this coming weekend. So much to do, so little time...