Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I think it's a boy

I've been working a bit each day to tweak my recent WIP. In one of my last posts I was complaining about the length of the doll's torso, so I did some surgery. A little liposuction and ladder stitch all the way 'round the body did the trick, shortening the torso enough to make it look less disproportionate. I'll have to add a notation to this vintage pattern so I can make corrections just a tad next time.
I've added a little more paperclay to the head, too. I'm thinking this doll should be a boy, but will know for sure after painting is done. I'm going to do a cloth-over to make him more durable. He'll probably be dressed in a shirt and overalls.

His face looks dirty in this photo, because I'd sketched some eyes and lips in pencil which got smeared as I added more clay and water. And I see I need to clean up some of the paperclay on his hands.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Life Book 2014 May Lessons

Thanks for your patience, as there's nothing new here. I'm just setting up a place to post my May Life Book art journal pages (when I get done with them). I'm still focusing on dolls until at least the end of July. This way I can take my time to include links to the teachers' websites.

I enjoyed myself with this one today.
Spray inks make me a little bit crazy with frustration at times, but I got through this one... finally.
I had a hard time with this one. Guess I'm neither brave nor intuitive ;)
Life Book 2013 pages HERE
or Life Book 2014 HERE
or Life Book 2015 HERE
or Life Book 2016 HERE
or Life Book 2017 HERE
or Life Book 2018 HERE
or Life Book 2019 HERE

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Next up... this Chase doll *thing*

Now I'm moving on to a doll made some time prior to 2011. Because back in 2011 I posted that I was going to finish it, and I never did. I made progress back then, though, adding some paperclay to the hideous little face. Now that it's had ample time to dry, I'll be adding more clay and refining the features.
As I said back in 2011, the body of this doll seems disproportionately long. I suppose I could cut a slit in it, remove some stuffing, and sew a tuck all around the waist to shorten the body. But that seems like an awful lot of work without the guarantee that it'd look decent.  

Here's my original post from 2011, and if you follow the link you can see a photo of the face before the paperclay was applied: http://blueherondolls.blogspot.com/2011/07/dipping-into-dips.html

The pattern I used is a very old one - Butterick No. 331, patented in 1898 (or 1899?)  It was supposed to create a Martha Chase like doll. I'm using the pattern for the 16 inch doll, but so far it's about 18 inches tall. All torso, apparently. Maybe I will do a little surgery.

One WIP down!

As it turns out, I did get distracted the other day in my attempt to finish one of my doll WIPs (work-in-progress). I finished her this morning, and just got her photographed.

I was somewhat disappointed in her wig. Once the Tibetan lamb was sewn and glued to her head and then styled, it just seemed a bit thin. Her beret helps a little.

Now I just need to enter her info in my doll log, where I keep track of materials used, size, fabric samples, etc.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Time to hit that ol' Basket-o-WIPs

Wouldn't it be nice to have all incomplete projects finished once and for all? I can only hope that one day I can say I've done it.

Yesterday, I sewed a scrub jacket for work - one that's been cut out for YEARS. I had to dig out my serger owner's manual to remember how to thread the darn thing. But I'm happy to say it's done, and I can wear something new to work tomorrow!

Today, I'm working on a "Verity" doll. The doll body has been done (again, for several years), as well as the arms. I'm getting ready to stuff the lower legs, and have just cut out the clothing. I still need to make her wig, but I bet I can get her done today if I'm not distracted.
I'm dressing her like my 2008 ODACA centerpiece dolls. See the centerpieces HERE.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Two Projects in One Day!

I've finally finished my Hoffman Challenge doll, and well before the deadline. Will wonders never cease! This is Amandine. She's about 16 inches tall now that she's on her stand.

I used my Livia pattern that I've been developing to make her, so technically, Amandine is prototype #3. I made her torso, arms and legs just a little longer than prototype #2, and I like these proportions much better.
I had fun making her! Now to get her packaged and complete the entry forms. It feels really good to be able to complete her without the pressure of a looming deadline. Gotta do that more often!
Of course, now that the photo is taken and the stuff has been put away, I see I should have fiddled with her hair bows a little. Just gotta let that go, I guess.
Don't forget that I host pages dedicated to any/all Hoffman Challenge dolls, so send them my way:
Visit my Hoffman pages HERE.
You can refer to my mini-very-amateurish photo tutorial HERE.
Click on these links to see my Livia Prototypes:

Yay! I got a project done!

It's not my Hoffman Challenge doll, but that's up next...

This one is the guitar case I started at Christmas for my grandson. I bought him a small scale student guitar, but it didn't come with a case. So I started one in December, made of pre-quilted fabric. It was basically done except for the binding, handle, and pocket.
It certainly took a bit longer to complete today than I'd anticipated. I had to figure out where the handles needed to go so the whole thing would be balanced as it was carried.  
And then as an afterthought, I added the pocket for picks and spare strings. 
I'm so glad to be done with this. Now I need to make the case for my granddaughter's accordion!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


I've gotten a little more of the costuming done, felt shoes and a duster/vest. I think I'm at the hair stage now. I'm leaning towards Tibetan lamb, perhaps in a dark blond/light brown color. Or perhaps not. I'll have to dig through my big drawer of hair after work today.
I think this may be my next published pattern.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

I had an armature epiphany last night...

Insomnia. Not a good thing, really, but it does provide time to ruminate about all sorts of things. Last night it was how to approach the armature for my Hoffman doll.

I turned to a method called the Seldinger Technique, used in the nursing/medical profession to insert central lines.

The problem with the armature I use is that the ends aren't smooth and pointy, and therefore get caught up in the polyfil - even if I've made a channel in the stuffing with a knitting needle. So I thought I might use a plastic drinking straw to make a temporary channel for the armature. I found a knitting need close to the size of the straw, so I could slide the straw over the needle and through the stuffing.
After the straw was inserted and the knitting needle removed, the armature slid really easily in the straw.
Then the straws were removed, and voila! Armature in place! 
I whip stitched the horizontal part of the wire to the doll to keep it from sliding around, and have covered the wire behind the legs with fabric tubes that match her stockings.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Plugging Along ~ Hoffman Challenge

I worked a little more on my Hoffman doll after work yesterday. Her costuming still has quite a ways to go, even though I'm not sure where I'm headed. She's about 15 inches tall, well within the size limitation (whew!). There's nothing like finishing your doll only to realize she's too big!