Monday, December 27, 2010

Looking for the Right Hair

Averill number 3 (of 4) is nearly done. Just have to go through my several drawers and baskets of doll hair materials and pick somthing suitable. Once I find the right stuff, she shouldn't take long to finish.

Then I really need to get a start on my annual Santa doll for our ER holiday party a little less than 2 weeks away. I promise not to wait 'til the last minute this year.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Check out retromummy's flower sugar giveaway!

Photo Courtesy of Retro Mummy

Here's a terrific blog giveaway! Just head on over to Retromummy Blogspot for a chance to win these juicy fabrics. The drawing will occur on New Year's Eve. Good luck!

I see this fabric and think of all the pretty things I could make for my baby granddaughter.

retromummy: flower sugar giveaway

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate the birth of Christ, and Happy Holidays to those who observe the other celebrations of the season.

I'm headed for work this morning (and will work tomorrow as well), which means we will have our get-together and gift exchange with family in January. Most of my shopping is done, so this buys me just a bit more time to tie up some of the loose ends.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Slow Progress

My big plans to get this particular doll done have fallen by the wayside. Other things have gotten in the way. But today I had a moment to finish the face and finger/toenails. I find I really need to use my Ott light and big magnifying glass to do the painting nowadays. So sad. The nails are still drying, so I'm headed downstairs to do my workout ~ thought I'd get a jump on the New Year's Resolutions.

I still haven't started my annual Santa Claus yet, so that's next on my list.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

In answer to a question...

In answer to a comment/question regarding an earlier post, I wanted to explain the beads in the hands and feet (elbows and knees, too) of my Averill dolls. These beads provide some structure to the wrists and ankles when employing "buried bead joints." This doll is one I made earlier in the year, but you can better see the joints in this photo as she doesn't yet have her clothing.

I've been tidying up my blog this morning, adding some tabbed pages under the header. I haven't used this feature before but I like it, as I can add some photos to the links without making the blog more cluttered than it already is.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you a very happy, safe and warm Thanksgiving!

I'll be cooking a turkey today, and as it will just be the two of us here the rest will be pretty simple stuff as well. I've gone all-out in past years, but that's more like a 2-day endeavor.

It's now 6:22 p.m., and I'm stuffed. Cooked much of the afternoon, but didn't get crazy about it. That being said, there will be still be lots of leftovers. Mmmm...turkey sandwiches.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fingers and Toes

It's an unusually frigid day here in Astoria and since the furnace has decided to work only intermittently, my studio is one of the warmer rooms in the house. Despite my cold and stuff fingers, I decided to get some work done on the hands and feet of my current Averill doll.

Each piece has a wood bead inserted. The fingers have chenille stem armature, and the toe divisions are hand-sewn. As soon as I make another cup of coffee or hot cocoa, I'll be adding the nails.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Open Mic at Street 14 Coffee

Astoria may be a small, rural Oregon town, but it's a very artistic community. I love living here. Saturday we attended (and participated) at the Open Mic at Street 14 Coffee. This was one of the talents, Manasseh David Israel, a fantastic musician and vocalist. You can see Chris and I in the crowd as the camera pans, at 1:58.

Sparks - Manasseh David Israel from Cabell Tice on Vimeo.

Here we are, nervous as all get-out and doing our thing at the Open Mic. The premise is that if we do this often enough, the nervous butterflies and jitters will decrease. I don't know why I put myself through this torture, but I guess I enjoy it on some level. Mom, you should be proud of the fact that I played the accordion for the first two songs. And no one threw fruit and vegetables.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Why can't Websites be as easy as Blogs?

Today I spent way too much time updating my website. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, as I haven't done it since JULY! While it's not nearly as easy as a blog (click, click and you're done), I am very happy that I don't have to rely on someone else to do the work.

While my website has lots of photos (very important to showcase lots of dolls), it's pretty rudimentary overall. IF I had all the time in the world, I think it might be fun to take an actual class on website design.

Now that I've done as much as I can do on the website, I'm going to try to get more done on my 3rd Averill doll while my grandson naps. Next, is stuffing and inserting beads into her hands and feet - then I can use some of my specially mixed acrylic paint to give her fingernails and toenails. I recently found it's much easier to match the paint to the fabric skin tone by painting a swatch on the lower hip area, as the paint darkens a little as it dries, and it's not in an area that'll be seen when the doll is done.

I've also got to give her some facial features. She'll be the only blue-eyed doll of the 4.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Wishing all of you a spooky (but safe) Halloween this year. We'll be dressing up at work today, but taking along scrubs, too, for a quick change if needed.

I spent more hours than I want to admit on my costume - the first human sized garment I've made in a very long time. I'm to be Alice in Wonderland, and the other nurses I'm working with today will be the Mad Hatter and the Red Queen.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Averill, Doll 2 of 4 DONE!

Well, I guess those errands last week were a bit more involved than I'd expected, and my doll did NOT get done like I'd hoped. I was able to work on her yesterday and today, and just finished.
I don't think I'll get a start on number 3 tonight, but I've got everything ready to go.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Productivity Stalled?

It's pretty clear my productivity in the doll department has come to a halt. Just too much to do and too little time. This is Averill number 2 (of the 4 I've got lined up). Really don't have all that much left to do - just finish stuffing the limbs, joint them to the body, and sew the clothes. I haven't picked out hair yet, but will when I see how things come together.
If I devoted all of today to working in the studio, I think I'd be able to get her done. But first I have to do a little of this and a little of that; errands downtown and such; bills to pay.

The fabrics I've chosen for her costuming are perfect for this time of year. The leaves are starting to turn and the air is crisp and cool. My favorite season.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fantastic day for the GCX

Today was perfect for the 29th annual Great Columbia Crossing. Last year was clear and cool. This year's overcast skies made for a slightly warmer day. Here's a photo of the first mile - the runners, naturally, take off first. My sister and I are toward the back of the pack of walkers, as we had to use the "blue rooms" before we got started. There were 3000 participants this year; sold out before the event. I believe it's always held the first weekend of October.

Sister Debbie is on the left, I'm on the right. Here we are on the Washington side of the bridge. My phone takes pretty decent photos. It makes it so easy to send photos to friends, etc. ( I never promised Deb I wouldn't tag her on Facebook ...evil cackle).  

The sun did poke it's head out for a little bit. We saw quite a few pelicans, and a couple of seals in the river.

Here we are, maybe 4 miles into the walk and looking toward the span of the Astoria Megler Bridge. This walk/run is 10k. I know we said we'd do the run this year, but neither one of us had to time to train. Maybe next year?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Great Columbia Crossing 2010

Tomorrow is the 29th annual Great Columbia Crossing. It'll probably rain, but that'll be ok. Anyone who lives in this neck of the woods has appropriate raingear. There are 3000 participants this year; a sold-out event. My sister and nephew will be joining me - I'm expecting them any moment. It should be a fun day. Last year I took a photo of the most gorgeous sunrise. It was clear and quite chilly. This year I'm bringing gloves and a hat!

Check out the website for more information:

Monday, September 27, 2010

Echelon Gran Fondo - Hood River Bike Ride

Yesterday, a group of friends and coworkers participated in an organized bike ride to raise money for the Livestrong Foundation and cancer research, called the Echelon Gran Fondo.

Six of us rode the various distances: 30, 60, and 100 miles. The ride began and ended in Hood River, Oregon.

This is a photo of Janice and I at one of the Columbia River Gorge viewpoints. The Gorge is absolutely beautiful. You can see Washington on the far side of the river.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Halloween Queen's Giveaway

You all should hop on over to the Artistic Halloween Queen's blog and check out the giveaway. The drawings will start on October 1 and run through October 31 ~ a prize giveaway for each day. Just click on the badge or the link below it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Good Day

Yesterday was a good day. We took advantage of a day off work to take the boat out for a fun sail. The wind was just right, and the river flat. There were two or three other sailboats out on the river, very little ship traffic, and quite a few small fishing boats to avoid. I saw the occasional seal and a few pelicans.

While I'm dying to finish the doll I've been working on, I'm committed to finish painting the living room and returning to some semblance of normalcy in that space. It's a large room, which apparently becomes even larger as I paint.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Three to Go

Remember a few years back when it was all the rage to be classifed as spring, summer, winter or fall people? And clothing and makeup were selected based on our seasons? Well I sort of do the same thing with dolls. Using natural light as much as possible, I pull fabrics and place them next to the stuffed doll. In most cases, you can tell right away which colors your doll needs to avoid and which are flattering. So I've lined up some fabrics to go with the remaining three Averill dolls I'll be working on.

I think this will be the next Averill doll I finish. I've always been fond of autumn colors (and wear them myself much of the time). The top fabric with the leaves and swirls will be the skirt. The bottom fabric is a very dark brown, and will probably be arms and legs. Her eyes will be green.
I chose these fabrics because they complemented her skin tone, and I wanted to use colors I don't usually select. I think her skirt will be the red print (second from the left), and her sleeves will be the cream print next to it. She will probably have blue eyes.
This selection of fabrics is a work in progress. The skirt (and possibly the sleeves), will be from the middle fabric. I'm not sure what color her eyes will be.

I haven't even thought about hair yet, but it will all work out in the end.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

One of Four Done

Today I finished one of the four Averill dolls I started last week. Naturally, I took the photos before realizing I forgot to poof up her sleeves a little. Oh, well.

While I dislike the sheen of the craft velour, the camel color is nice. This doll is the third from the left in my previous post.

I used some velvet I had on hand for her slippers (only because it went with her coloring), and I'll never use it for this purpose again! In the past I've used a thin stretch panne velvet which has worked really well. This stuff had no stretch at all, was very hard to keep aligned (even with lots of pins and basting), and took much longer to sew.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Itchin' to make some dolls

My day-to-day schedule is still just as hectic as ever, but since coming home from ODACA Day I've been so wanting to work on dolls. I decided to start by making a set of Averill dolls, using my new and improved mold. I thought it might be interesting to use a variety of skin colors to hone my paint blending skills, though I really don't care for the sheen that the craft velours have.

The baked polymer clay faces have been covered with knit fabric and are ready for gesso. I've also gone through my fabric stash and picked out fabrics that complement each skin tone.

Now all the faces have been gessoed, and the first one has been painted to match one of the bodies (hopefully, the paint always dries just a bit darker).

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Primitive Americana Patriotic Challenge Doll ~ Revealed

Now that the voting is over, I can post my Primitive Americana Patriotic Challenge doll. I called him "Freddie, waiting for the parade." He's clay over cloth with a cloth-over (t-shirt knit), then painted with gesso and acrylics. His clothing is removable.

The propeller on his cap is a little big, but I couldn't think how to fabricate one with the deadline looming. So I bought a balsa airplane from the toy store.

All the challenge entries were wonderful and all so different from each other considering we all used the same pattern by Sherrie Nordgren.

I took Freddie to Chicago with me, and sold him. It made me sad to see him go, but I had to sell dolls to pay for the trip. I know he's in a good home.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Architectural Tour, Chicago

Today we walked to Merchandise Mart, which shouldn't have been difficult on a normal day. I meant to mention earlier that there's a movie being filmed right near our hotel - Transformers 3. It's been really interesting, but has closed off sections of street, cross walk, and river walk - requiring circuitous detours to get anywhere (and thereby adding what feels like miles to our trek).

After visiting the Merch Mart, we took an architectural boat tour which was really interesting. The talk our tour guide gave during the cruise was incredibly detailed, with lots of information - which he had MEMORIZED. I was impressed.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Navy Pier, Chicago

Today we walked for miles, taking the "scenic route" to Navy Pier. We saw "Inception" at the IMAX theater, then rode the big ferris wheel. I wasn't aware that my husband doesn't care that much for heights. I'm still trying to talk him into going to the top of the Sears (Willis) tower. I'm not getting very far on that front. The photo below was taken from the ferris wheel.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Art Institute Chicago & Transformers 3

My first real site-seeing excursion here in Chicago was today. We immediately noticed that something was going on right outside our hotel. There were crowds of people and streets were blocked off. Then we heard a movie was being filmed (we found out later it was "Transformers 3").
I saw a car hanging off an open bridge and men with automatic weapons running up and down the stairs on the opposite side of the Chicago River, with lots of smoke and fire. Then I heard someone yell "30 seconds!" Thirty seconds to what!?

A helicopter hovered overhead, and men jumped out with parachutes...right over the river and between the skyscrapers. They landed on the sidewalk on the opposite side of the river. That had to take some skill! I have no idea if these were the "good guys" or the "bad guys."
I was able to take a photo from the hotel, of the city block that was barricaded. It's amazing how they made it look like a war zone, with rubble and burned out vehicles.
After all that excitement we made our way to the Art Institute, which was walking distance from our hotel. They currently have a really wonderful Impressionist exhibit. There was so much to see, and I know we missed some of it. Below is one of my favorites. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

ODACA Day Update & Chicago Deep Dish

Today was ODACA Day here in Chicago. It started with the ODACA Sales Room, featuring many of the ODACA Artist Members' works as well as the new Artists that were accepted into the organization. Sales were good, and it's really fun to get to talk to the patrons I've met over the years. The doll displays were fabulous, and I took lots of photos (I'll add some to this post when I get home).

The Sales Room was closed for a couple hours for the ODACA Luncheon. The Helper items (raffle dolls and other items) were wonderful. The food was very tasty, and the Presentation was delightful. ODACA Artist Sarah Russell gave a really great Power Point presentation and talk on dolls made by the various tribes of Native Americans of the US/Canada. I learned so much.

After the Luncheon, we returned to the Sales Room. I was able to bring about 10 dolls, and was thrilled to have sold all but one. Next year's Convention and ODACA Day will be in Anaheim. I don't know the exact dates, but it will probably be around the same time. I've got a year to make as many dolls as I can for the big sale, but it's amazing how fast a year can go by.

By evening, we were feeling mighty hungry. We were told that we had to try Giordano's for deep dish pizza. Boy, when they say deep dish, they really mean DEEP. It was really good. I also tried some of the local beer. Chicago's got nothing on the microbrews of the Pacific Northwest. I've found I've become quite the beer (and coffee) connoisseur.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Well, we finally made it. We're here in Chicago for the annual UFDC Convention and ODACA Day. My only real obligations are today (Board and Business Meetings for ODACA), and the ODACA Luncheon and sales day tomorrow. I've left the rest of they days open to explore the city.

I've never been to Chicago before, and am happy to finally be settled in the hotel WITH our luggage.  After the worst cab ride of my entire life on Friday, we had to wait 2 1/2  hours for the bell service to bring up our bags. I was sure they'd been lost. But to be fair, the hotel lobby was packed with people checking in - and this is a HUGE hotel. I guess there are two conventions being held here, and UFDC is a biggy.

I'll try to take photos, but will add them to posts when I get home. Since we've been here, I've received photos of two more Hoffman Challenge entries. Beautiful dolls, and I'll get the uploaded to my website when I get home.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hoffman Challenge ~ Done!

I was up way too late last night. I'm headed for Chicago bright and early tomorrow morning, and had to get my Hoffman Challenge doll finished before leaving in order to meet the July 23rd deadline. Honestly, this is the first time I haven't had to send the doll Express Mail. I've been receiving photos of some of the other doll entries - HERE.

Her name is "Harmonie," and she's about 12 inches high (in a fixed, seated position). She's made of craft velour, and has a cloth-covered polymer clay face that's been stitched to her stuffed head. Her fingers are wired, and her head is jointed so it can turn side to side. Her hair is an elasticized trim with various fibers. Her clothing and sandals are not removable.
Now the tedious job of packing begins. I'll be attending the UFDC Convention and ODACA Day, so I'll be taking dolls as well - as many as will fit into my big suitcase. Maybe I'll see some of you there.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

Wishing everyone a safe and sane 4th of July this year. I'll be headed to a barbeque with friends and coworkers this afternoon, and will be taking my sis with me. I'll be bringing my usual Greek pasta salad, which is one of my favorites. Yummy!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Hoffman, in progress

Now that I've finished my "Primitive Americana Patriotic Challenge" doll, I need to work on my Hoffman Challenge doll. The doll herself was started in 2008, a prototype for a doll that hasn't yet come to fruition. She's made of craft velour, and has a baked polymer clay head with a knit cloth-over, stitched to the head and painted.
I'm making up the costume as I go, and I'm not sure what sort of fiber I'll use for her hair. I'd planned to work on her all day, but FOOLISHLY volunteered to work evening shift today for the "big bucks." What an idiot.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Patriotic Challenge doll done (but no sneak peeks)

I'm happy to have completed my Primitive Americana Patriotic Challenge doll, and have sent my two photos to Sherrie Nordgren. The photo deadline has been postponed until July 20. This is a good thing for those who need a bit more time. The list of participants is lengthy, and I'm excited to see what everyone has created.

Once all the photos have been posted and voted upon, I'll be uploading photos of my entry. It was a fun challenge.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Bits & Pieces

It's been hard to find time for dolls, or just about anything else lately. Today I spent way too many hours drafting and sewing a shirt for my patriotic challenge doll - not that easy, as the doll's got no shoulders. I've been making up the costuming as I go, and had better get this doll done by the deadline. I thought I had tomorrow off, too, but my plans were dashed when I checked my schedule :-(   Challenge doll photos need to be submitted by July 1, so my evenings will be full, too.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pattern for Sale ~ "Anne Marie" by Loretta Daum Byrne

Doncha just hate it when you forget you've already got a particular pattern, so buy it again? To be fair, I've had this particular pattern for quite awhile. When it come up on eBay I thought it looked familiar, but I've seen a lot of patterns in my day. The doll/pattern is by Loretta Daum Byrne, and has a copyright of 1983, and is out of print. The pattern pieces are uncut and still stapled to the center of the booklet. The cover shows some shelf wear.

The "Anne Marie" booklet has full-size pattern and instructions for a 17 inch soft sculpture doll with inserted eyes, and complete outfit (this includes her dress, pantaloons, slip, stockings, shoes and hat). The booklet is 13 pages of instruction, illustration and color photos.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Two Cecelia Dolls

I've been working on these girls for awhile. Both are made from craft velour, and made from my "Cecelia" pattern. They have synthetic wigs sewn in place. Clothing is removable (including panties). I added collars to their dresses (something new since publishing the pattern). They wear little lycra panties, which are also removable.

Their flat faces are needle sculpted, which is why the velour is so nice to use. I don't think this would work with a woven. Features are colored with acrylic paint and colored pencils.

Their arms and jointed. Their heads are jointed, too, so their heads can turn left and right. 

Friday, June 4, 2010

Long Time Gone

May. Gone like it was never here, and I don't really have that much to show for it. Only a few weeks left before we leave for Chicago and the annual UFDC Convention/ODACA Day - and I don't have very much "product" for the big sale.

This week, in between work, babysitting, and painting the living room, I've been working on a "Primitive Americana Patriotic Challenge" doll, hosted by Cloth Doll Artistry's Prim group. Participants are using the same pattern, designed by Sherrie Nordgren. No alterations can be made to the pattern, but paperclay, etc., can be added, which is what I've been doing.

I plan is to make a little boy doll, with some sort of patriotic or red/white/blue clothing. I used paperclay to sculpt his face, then covered it in knit fabric to make it more durable. I'm so used to making girl dolls, it will be a bit of a challenge to make a face that's all boy. One coat of gesso has been applied, and I'll apply a second before painting the skin tone.

While waiting for it the gesso to dry, I glanced out my window and saw a deer in the yard across the street. He'd been hiding in the tall grass (the house is empty and the yard is over-due for a mowing). I was able to get quite close.