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Dollmaker's Journey

December 2010 Issue 107

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Dream ~ Imagine ~ Create ~ Grow ~ Believe ~ Magic
At we help your creative dreams come true.

December 2010 Issue 107

Copyright 2010 by Dollmaker's Journey

Dollmaker's Journey Customer Connection newsletter is a free e-mail newsletter. Tell your friends, family and fellow dollmakers about us, and feel free to forward this newsletter to those who might be interested. You can visit our companion website at:

You can read all the past issues online. Go to:
The archives include an easy to follow index to all the past issues.

Dear Dollmaking Friends,
Today, December 21, at 23:38 UTC or 11:38 Western European Time in the Northern Hemisphere, we not only celebrate Winter Solstice but the shortest day of the year. This day shifts from December 21 to 22, depending on the tilt of the earth. In seventh century Japan festivals were held to celebrate the reemergence of Amaterasu, the sun goddess of Japanese mythology, from her seclusion in a cave. Tricked by other gods with a loud celebration, she peeks out to find her image in a mirror and is convinced to return, bringing sunlight back to the universe. Requiems were held for the deceased, and comedic actors kept people entertained throughout the night until the sun rose. Aspects of this tradition survive on New Year's Day.

To read more about observances throughout the world (in the southern hemisphere you celebrated winter solstice on June 21st), go to
(By the way, there are amazing pictures with this article that would give lots of ideas for dolls.)

Whatever you celebrate, we wish you a happy holiday season. Included in this newsletter are wacky poems, a quick gift idea, and a great sale that began yesterday and continues throughout January. Enjoy!

Bonnie and Mary Ann


If you are looking for worthwhile projects for donating dolls be sure to take a look at the newest organization listed in our CHARITY CORNER – "Dolly Donations – Sending Love 1 Dolly at a Time." You'll find FREE patterns and expert tutorials on their site.


2010 has been such a wonderful year for Dollmakers Journey! We've loved having the opportunity to serve more and more cloth doll makers all over the world! As a special gift to all of you - our valued customers - we are repeating the special offer we began last year. We are starting our annual JANUARY SALE ON GENERAL SUPPLIES on December 20th. So from now until the end of the month we'll have TWO SALES going on at once! That's right; you can enjoy the 20% discount on the ELVES, WIZARDS, DRAGONS and MYTHICAL BEASTS through 31 December, and also get the 20% discount on GENERAL SUPPLIES from December 20th through 31 January. Be sure to take advantage of the extra savings!

Remember, visit our website at at the beginning of each month to see what our new sale will be. That way you won't have to wait for a newsletter.


Q: Which of these statements about Saturnalia, the Roman pagan festival which Christmas replaced, is false?
A. Temple-going during the festival was compulsory
B. Starting battles was forbidden (though continuing them was fine)
C. Celebrants wore a flimsy outfit called the synthesis
D. Slaves were allowed to misbehave, within reason

A: The answer is A. Saturnalia was a pagan Roman festival held from December 17 to December 23. The Talmud ascribes the origins of this festival to Adam, who saw that the days were getting shorter and thought it was punishment for his sin. He was afraid that the world was returning to the chaos and emptiness that existed before creation. He sat and fasted for 8 days. Once he saw that the days were getting longer again he realized that this was the natural cycle of the world, so made 8 days of celebration. The Talmud states that this festival was later turned into a pagan festival. During this time slaves were treated as masters and masters as slaves (within reason). The slaves still cooked the food, but they were served first. Everyone removed their togas and replaced them with synthesis. They also wore a pillius, a left cap, which was normally worn by manumitted (freed) slaves which symbolized the freedom of the season. The only untrue statement above was A. Temple-going was optional, where they removed ropes from a statue of Saturn to set him free for 7 days of orgies and licentious behavior. Battles weren't started, but they could be continued. In one famous battle 3,000 soldiers were captured and sold as slaves during Saturnalia. Many of you answered telling me what was TRUE about Saturnalia, but some of you found the one FALSE response. For a hilarious account of this ancient holiday, go to The Economist and read:

Congratulations to Sheryl Hennekey from Rochester, New York. Your name was selected at random from all of the correct quiz entries, and you will receive a $10 gift certificate from Dollmaker's Journey. Watch for your name in a coming month!


Q: As well as being associated with Christmas, St Nicholas is the patron saint of:
A. Thieves
B. Earaches
C. Prussia
D. Bee keepers

Everyone who emails in the correct answers by January 5th (NOTE NEW DEADLINE) will be entered into a drawing for a $10 gift certificate to Dollmaker's Journey. The winner will be announced in the next newsletter. Email your answers to Bonnie at Put December Quiz in subject box. Please include your full name and where you live (state/country) in your email. NOTE: Several times in the past a winner was drawn with no name or state/country included. When that happens we have to draw again. So please, make sure you include this information with your answer.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT – Celebrate the real reason for the season

The holidays seem to come sooner and sooner each year. Here in the United States the stores were decorated for Christmas after Halloween, and lights were shining on every street long before Thanksgiving. A friend of mine, Janae Barnes from Canada, copied the following poem in a spiral notebook many years ago. I did an internet search and couldn't find an author, but I thought you might enjoy it. (Her version also included several verses left out of the one I found on the internet.)

The Month Before Christmas
(A Non-Scheduled Visit from St. Nicholas)
(From the notebook of Janae Barnes)

'Twas the month before Christmas, and all through the store,
Each department was dripping with Yuletide decor.
The Muzak was blaring an out-of-tune carol,
And the fake snow was falling on "Ladies' Apparel."

I'd flown many miles from the North Pole this day,
To check on reports which had caused me dismay.
I'd come to this store for but one special reason,
To see for myself what went on at this Season.

I hid in a corner and in a short while,
I saw the Store President march down the aisle.
He shouted an order to "Turn the store tree on!"
And also the "NOEL" in blinking pink neon.

Up high, grandly hanging from twin gold supports,
Four hundred pink angels flew over "Men's Shorts."
And towering over the Rear Mezzanine,
A 90-foot Day Glo "Nativity Scene."

The clock on the wall said two minutes to Nine,
The floorwalkers proudly all stood in a line.
I watched while the President smelled their carnations,
Then called out his final command - "Man Your Stations!"

When out on the street there arose such a roar,
It rang to the rafters and boomed through the store.
It sounded exactly like street-repair drilling,
Or maybe another big Mafia killing.

I looked to the doors, and there banging the glass,
Was a clamoring, shrieking, hysterical mass.
And I felt from the tone of each scream and each curse,
That the "Spirit Of Christmas" had changed for the worse.

The clock it struck Nine, and the door opened wide,
And that great human avalanche thundered inside.
More fearsome than Sherman attacking Atlanta
Came parents and kiddies with just one goal - "Santa!!"

In front stormed the mothers, all brandishing handbags,
As heavy and deadly as 20 pound sandbags.
With gusto they swung them, the better to smash ears,
Of innocent floorwalkers, buyers, and cashiers.

Straight up to the Fifth Floor the mob penetrated
And soon reached the floor where the store Santa waited.
I followed them closely, the better to see
This bearded imposter who dared to play me.

He stood six-foot-five and weighed all of 130,
He'd lost half his teeth and his costume was dirty;
His beard dangled down like a wad of cheap cotton
His breath needed "Scope" and his "Ho Ho" was rotten.

Egged on by their parents, the kids had one aim,
To get to this man who was using my name.
They mobbed him and mauled him, the better to plead
For the presents they sought in their hour of greed.

The President watched with a gleam in his eye,
As he thought of the toys that the parents would buy.
Of all Christmas come-ons, this crowd would attest,
That a visit to "Santa" was clearly the best.

It was all too much for my soul to condone,
And I let out a most unprofessional moan.
The crowd turned around, and I'll say for their sake,
That they knew in an instant I wasn't fake.

"I've had it," I told them, "with fast-buck promoting,
With gimmicks and come-ons and businessmen gloating.
This garish display of commercialized greed,
Is so very UN-Christmas, it makes my heart bleed!"

With that I departed and, shouting a farewell,
Went barreling up an emergency stairwell;
On reaching the roof, to my sleigh I went forth
Where my reindeer were waiting to take me back North.

The crowd swarmed behind me to beg me to stay.
Before they could speak, I was off in my sleigh.
But I turned to explain as I flew from the mob—
"Happy Christmas to all – I'm resigning my job!"


See the new Hoffman Challenge fabric for 2011 here:
Get rules and entry form here:


January 22-25, 2011 - Southern Doll Conference
Orlando, Florida
For more information:

February 25, 2011 – Cruising to Wonderland
Go on an ocean cruise and take classes from Patti Culea, Cindi Mahylstadt, and Adele Sciortino.
For more information contact. Barbara Ann Roby, CTC, BR Travel Services 925-246-5707 or send an email for any information or questions to :

April 28–May 1, 2011 – Artistic Figures in Cloth (AFIC)
Columbus, Ohio

June 9-12, 2011 – Figurative Artists Consortium
Algonquin College, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

July 23-27, 2011 – 24th Annual National Doll Festival
Sheraton Park Hotel, Anaheim, California
For more information, inquiries email: or
(831) 438-5349 phone

July 24-25 – Doll Artists Classic (Branch of NDF)
Anaheim Plaza Hotel, Anaheim, California
Dolls, bears and miniatures sold. Theme: Phantasy to Reality
For more information go to or phone (831) 438-5349 phone

July 2011 – UFDC (United Federation of Doll Clubs)
Anaheim Hilton, Anaheim, California

July 2011 – ODACA (Original Doll Artists Council of America)
Anaheim Hilton, Anaheim, California

August 22-28, 2011 – NIADA (National Institute of American Doll Artists)
Denver, Colorado

To save yourself time and energy, get all the details on upcoming doll related events at


Colleen Babcock offers a free Santa Christmas Ornament with Photo Frame tutorial on her blog, The Magic Bean. It is a brand new freebie. This little Santa is a cloth doll hugging a photo frame, so it would make a great personalized gift for Christmas. Here is the link:

Make a tall slim Santa with the free pattern at Runo's website. It would make a great Father Christmas too.


SUSAN BARMORE must never sleep! We are delighted to bring you four more of her terrific patterns. We have three wonderful Christmas projects – "Nativity," "Holy Family" and "Mousey" plus a darling male fairy (a rare breed) named "Danny." Be sure to check them out–

If you are as big a fan of CINDEE MOYER'S dolls as we are, you will be delighted by her 2011 Calendar

MAUREEN MILLS has just released two more enchanting holiday patterns – "Standup Kinds Guys" and the delightful "Deck the Halls." We've also added one of her classics – "Partridge in a Pear Tree." Stop by and take a look –

SHELLEY HAWKEY really knows how to present the best step-by-step construction photos. You will learn wonderful embellishment techniques on her charming "Gema CD."

New designer NANCY HALL has just released her second pattern – "Tulip" – a lovely flower fairy with wired and beaded costume details you are sure to enjoy. -

We have found another superb embellishment book – "Fabric Art Collage – 40+ Mixed Media Techniques" by Rebekah Meier that overflows with fabulous techniques you will want to master. –

"Becca" is the newest mold from the talented JEAN BERNARD. This 3" face is perfect for larger dolls and pairs perfectly with the Temperance doll body in SHERRY GOSHON'S "7 Virtues" costuming book.–

In the classic book "Creating and Crafting Cloth Dolls" by Eloise Piper and Mary Dilligan you'll find that with a few simple bodies and an endless assortment of variations you'll be able to create a world of amazing dolls. A doll book for children of all ages. –

There is so much going on in the Mixed Media art world these days with tons of exciting new techniques to explore and fascinating new products to use. The 20+ innovative projects in" Mixed Media Mania" by Debbie Crane and Cheryl Prater are sure to inspire and challenge you and enhance your doll making, too. Read more about it here and check out the rebate below -


The Interweave Publishing company from which we get "Mixed Media Mania" by Debbie Crane and Cheryl Prater, "Cloth Dolls for Textile Artists" by Ray Slater and "Art + Quilt" by Lyric Kincaid is offering a $5 rebate for any of their products purchased between 1 November and 31 December 2010. Purchase one of these books and we will include the $5 Rebate Coupon with the receipt in your package. A super holiday savings!


Here is another holiday poem, courtesy of Janae Barnes. Again, I searched and couldn't find an author.

The Week Before Christmas
(Taken from the notebook of Janae Barnes)

'Tis the week before Christmas
And all through the house
Are socks full of holes
As if chewed by a mouse,
And shirts minus buttons
And rips that need sewing.
The things that need doing
Keep growing and growing!
My husband's a martyr
With holes in his heels
My children existing
On unbalanced meals.
We grab a quick snack
When and where we are able—
I'm doing the cards
On the dining room table.
The neighbors are thinking,
I strongly suspect,
That mine is a family
Of want and neglect;
But then, all at once
The last card has been sent,
The gifts are all wrapped,
And the money all spent!
The lights in the windows,
The love and the cheer –
You know it's the most
Precious time of the year.
We sit by the fire
And gaze at the coals.
Who cares if the stockings there
Have a few holes!
It's Christmas eve now,
Everything is all right—
Merry Christmas to all
And to all a Good Night!

By Janae Barnes

Supplies needed:
1 dishtowel (linen – NOT terry – preferred)
1 coordinating piece of fabric 2-1/2" x 45" or width of fabric

1. Measure 4" from corner on one short end of dishtowel and mark with pin. Measure on same edge 4" from other corner and mark. Measure down from corner 10" on both sides and mark. Draw a line with chalk from the 4" mark to the 10" mark. Cut on line. This will now become the top of your apron.
2. Iron under raw cut edge of diagonal to wrong side about 1/2", and fold again 1" to create casing. Sew along edge of casing.
3. Fold fabric strip in half right sides together and sew to create a long drawstring. Turn right side out using a turning tube. You don't need to finish ends because they are part of the fabric's selvage.
OPTIONAL: If you don't have a turning tube, fold fabric right sides together and iron down center of strip. Then fold under raw edges and topstitch close to edge.
4. Thread strip through both casings, leaving a loop for the head. Put on, adjust drawstring, and wear.
5. OPTIONAL: If the dishtowel doesn't have a nice border design on one end, sew a patch pocket in the center or one side using more coordinating fabric. You can see other dishtowel designs by going to and search for dishtowel apron.


1. If you eat a Christmas cookie fresh out of the oven, it has no calories because everyone knows that the first cookie is the test and thus calorie free.
2. If you drink a diet soda after eating your second cookie, it also has no calories because the diet soda cancels out the cookie calories.
3. If a friend comes over while you're making your Christmas cookies and needs to sample, you must sample with your friend. Because your friend's first cookie is calories free, (rule #1) yours is also. It would be rude to let your friend sample alone and, being the friend that you are, that makes your cookie calorie free.
4. Any cookie calories consumed while walking around will fall to your feet and eventually fall off as you move. This is due to gravity and the density of the caloric mass.
5. Any calories consumed during the frosting of the Christmas cookies will be used up because it takes many calories to lick excess frosting from a knife without cutting your tongue.
6. Cookies colored red or green have very few calories. Red ones have three and green ones have five - one calorie for each letter. Make more red ones!
7. Cookies eaten while watching "Miracle on 34th Street" have no calories because they are part of the entertainment package and not part of one's personal fuel..
8. As always, cookie pieces contain no calories because the process of breaking causes calorie leakage.
9. Any cookies consumed from someone else's plate have no calories since the calories rightfully belong to the other person and will cling to their plate. We all know how calories like to CLING!
10. Any cookies consumed while feeling stressed have no calories because cookies used for medicinal purposes NEVER have calories. It's a rule!
So, go out and enjoy those Christmas Cookies - we only get them this time of year!

Here is one of Bonnie's favorite cookies (although they take so much time that she only makes them once a year!) The finished cookie is about a 1" round ball (2 cookies stuck together.) Peppermint frosting is great to use at Christmas, but you can also use any other flavor. Tint frosting to match any holiday. This recipe makes about 100 double cookies. They look real cute when given as a gift in a small jar.

Melting Moments (Bonnie Lewis)
(Extra work, but out of this world!)

1/2 cup butter (NO substitutes)
1/2 cup margarine (OR butter)
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Beat and add:
1-1/2 cups flour
3 Tablespoons cornstarch

Drop SMALL (smaller than ½ teaspoon) on ungreased cookie sheet. Do NOT flatten. Try to make as round as possible. Bake at 325° F. until lightly brown (10-15 minutes). Join 2 cookies together with butter cream frosting. For Christmas use peppermint flavoring and tint pink. Makes 100 double cookies. Store up to 1 month in covered container, freezes well. Be sure to use at least 1/2 cup REAL butter for this recipe. It makes a difference.

Butter Cream Frosting for Melting Moments Cookies (Bonnie Lewis)

2 cups confectioner's sugar 1/4 cup soft butter or margarine
Pinch of salt 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (or other extract or oil as desired – e.g. peppermint,
1-1/2 - 2 Tablespoons milk almond, etc.) Add food coloring if desired to tint frosting.

Cream 1/3 sugar with butter and salt in large bowl. Blend extract, 1 Tablespoons milk and remaining sugar into mixture. Gradually stir remaining milk unto frosting until desired spreading consistency is reached. Yield: Frosting for 100 cookies with some left over.


You get a wonderful assortment of 24 needles in "The Needle Collection" including 2 curved and 2 for doll sculpting. –

We are happy to report that the following items are
Tiny Turning Tubes
3-5-7" Needles
3.5" Hemostats and the 6" Hemostats with the grip handle
Mini Stuffing Forks
Curved Quilting Needles
Essential Sewing Tool
Steam A Seam 2
4.5mm Animal Eyes – Translucent Blue

We are fully stocked with Bamboo Deersuede AND Chamois Deersuede!


Thanks to everyone who emailed me (Bonnie) about the newsletter and my sudden onset of arthritis. I love hearing from our readers, and the encouragement you give makes this newsletter possible. The Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM seems to be helping. I can now climb stairs carefully, so this newsletter was a joy to write. You never realize how much you depend on your body until it stops working. I was able to attend several Christmas parties, including one with Judi Ward and G Street Doll Club. I drove to our local Doll Bee in a snowstorm, and after saying hi and leaving gifts my husband and I decided to head for home ahead of the panicked crowds. (In Washington D.C. if we get 1" of snow schools are closed, all traffic stops, and government has liberal leave. People just don't know how to drive in snow.) They are forecasting a white Christmas beginning on Christmas Eve. I hope everyone is safe and you all have a wonderful holiday season.

Mary Ann has been working like a demon to complete a doll of her father that she started in a Jo Ellen Trilling class quite a few years ago. The wire-wrapped doll body is about 85% done and she needs to make the clothing. She has completed the leather boat shoes with all the grommets and leather laces but today came to terms with the fact that there is simply no way to complete the doll in time. (Have any of you ever had to accept this type of harsh reality?) So, she had decided that she will present her father with a box containing some wire, batting, hair fiber and at the bottom the completed shoes with a card that says "Coming Very Soon – The Doll to fill these shoes!" Jim's first grandchild Alexander James Lyng arrived on Monday the 13th with a full head of dark hair and weighing in at 9.2 pounds! Parents Sean and Lisa along with the rest of the family are thrilled and delighted. Grandpa Lyng is over the moon. Grandchild #2 is due at the end of January. Stay tuned.


(Judi Ward and my brother who lives in Philadelphia shared this)
On Saturday, October 30, 2010, the Opera Company of Philadelphia brought together over 650 choristers from 28 organizations to perform one of the Knight Foundation's Random Acts of Culture at Macy's in Center City, Philadelphia. Accompanied by the Wanamaker Organ - the world's largest pipe organ - the OCP Chorus and throngs of singers from the community infiltrated the store as shoppers, and burst into a pop-up rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's "Messiah" at 12 noon, to the delight of surprised shoppers. This event is one of 1,000 "Random Acts of Culture" to be funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation over the next three years. The initiative transports the classical arts out of the concert halls and opera houses and into our communities to enrich our everyday lives.
For more about this unusual organ, additional videos of this same event, and the holiday displays at this location, check out

See what Dalton Ghetti sculpts on the tip of a pencil. Amazing!

A perfect dog! (assuming you aren't allergic)

We'd love to hear your thoughts about our Customer Connection newsletter.

Contact the editor Bonnie B. Lewis at with any comments, suggestions, etc.
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