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Dollmaker's Journey

February 2011 Issue 109

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

February 2011 Issue 109

Copyright 2011 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,
Here in the United States we celebrate a very unusual holiday on February 2nd – Groundhog Day. Perhaps you have seen the movie "Groundhog Day" starring Bill Murray. (I made my husband watch it again today as a special date!) It is believed that if the groundhog sees his shadow on this day we will have 6 more weeks of winter in the northern hemisphere. In the past 125 years that Punxsutawney Phil has been predicting the weather, there have been only 16 occasions when he didn't see a shadow. Today was one of them. (The sun came out 10 minutes after he was put back in the tree stump. Narrow escape!)

"Phil's official forecast as read February 2nd, 2011, at sunrise at Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, PA: Here Ye, Hear Ye, Hear Ye
Groundhog Day, February 2, 2011
Punxsutawney Phil was raised from his burrow
By the call of President Bill Deeley.
He greeted his handlers, Ben Hughes and John Griffiths....
He surveyed his surroundings carefully and found that there was no shadow around,
So, an early spring it will be."

Everyone cheered. The Pennsylvania town swears that Phil has never been wrong. This will be good news for my daughter in Marlborough, Massachusetts. They have had so much snow that they don't have any place to dump it. They live in a two story colonial, and they had to dig a tunnel to get out of the front door. She noticed a neighborhood kid peeking in their 2nd story bedroom window and realized that he was standing on top of the snow. This picture was taken January 27th, and they have had more snow since then. Two more feet are expected tonight!

The major ice and snow storm that was supposed to hit us here in Washington, D.C. skirted just to the north of us, We got mostly rain and a little ice, but about 1/3 of the United States (100 million people) are crippled by ferocious storms. We feel very blessed to be able to continue serving our customers in a timely manner without major delays due to bad weather even though Mary Ann had a 22 hour power outage. We did get 12-1/2" of snow last week, and might get more this weekend, but it is nothing compared to 5 to 10 foot snowdrifts in other parts of our country.

This might be a good time to visit Australia - except I understand you have floods, tropical cyclones, and a heat wave right now! We'd love to ship you some of our snow, but you probably don't want any more water. Stay safe, everyone.

Bonnie and Mary Ann


"Once you choose to hope, anything's possible." Christopher Reeve


This month we are having a sale on one of Bonnie's favorite categories. Take 20% off everything in our EXOTIC/FANTASY and ECLECTIC categories. There are over 100 unique patterns to stretch the imagination. See them at

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: Why do X's at the end of a letter signify kisses?

A: In the Middle Ages, when many people were unable to read or write, documents were often signed using an X. Kissing the X represented an oath to fulfill obligations specified in the document. Some historians believe that originally the signature was a cross, changed to an X which symbolized Christ (Xmas), and represented a gesture of good faith, like kissing the cross on a Bible. The X and the kiss eventually became synonymous. Later people thought that the X symbolized two pair of lips kissing – each half of the X represents a pair of lips which were facing each other. It marked where the writer kissed the letter, so that the receiver could kiss the same spot. Happy Valentine's Day!

Congratulations to Kathy Marcuson from Gilbert, Arizona. 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: Why are zero scores in tennis called 'love'?

Everyone who emails in the correct answers by March 1st (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 February 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.


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

Contest winners:
National Dance Week Doll Challenge Results -
Bleuette in Cloth Challenge Results -

Coming in March is "World Baby Doll Month" and the 3rd "Cloth Baby Doll Challenge". See the March newsletter for more details.


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 16, 2011 – 2nd Annual Doll and Teddy Bear Show
Doubletree Hotel, 10100 College Blvd., Overland Park, Kansas
Hours: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Admission: $5.00
Vendor information contact: Sandy Rose, OR Pat Jones,

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

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

June 23-26, 2011 – Creations in Fiber, Inc. (CIFI)
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Or email Diane for space availability at

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

July 24-25 – Doll and Bear Artists Classic (DBAC - 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
Registration is open now for the NIADA Dollmaking School on August 22-25.
Go here for signups and descriptions.

October 6-11, 2011 – Art Is ... You
Danbury Plaza Hotel, Danbury, Connecticut
For information check out this website:

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


(Editor's Note: I have known Lesley for many years. Recently I subscribed to her motivational newsletter, and my husband was so impressed with one of her articles that he sent it to all of his friends. I read it to my daughter who was struggling to balance school, career, and children. It was called "The Secret to Getting What You Want in 2011" and can be found on her website at
One of my favorite articles was "23 Ways to Fit Art into Your Day" which is reprinted below. Enjoy!)

Perhaps best known for her Fragment series of small fabric collages, Lesley Riley is a nationally known instructor, author, and creativity coach. Her art takes the form of art quilts and mixed-media incorporating photos and the written word. Lesley teaches internationally and her art and articles have appeared in numerous publications as well as her own three books and DVDs. Her art and writing focus on her passion – the inspiration and creativity of women. She is currently at work on her fourth book. With her new ArtistSuccess™ program, Lesley aspires to inspire others to find their own voice, the time and the confidence to create their art. For more information and inspiration visit

Lesley Riley, The Artist Success Expert, is the founder of Artist Success, Solutions for the Struggling Artist. To receive her bi-weekly articles on creating your own success as an artist, visit

By Lesley Riley © 2010 (used with permission)

Whatever you can do, or dream you can do begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Goethe

I am the mother of six children, two still at home. I am the primary caretaker of my 88 year old legally blind father who now lives with us. I maintain a household for five. (But I don't clean – I'm not superwoman!) I have six beautiful granddaughters. All live nearby and I spend quality time with them frequently.

From 1983 to 2003 I worked full time with my husband in our own real estate appraisal business. In 2001 I decided I to return to college (part-time) to complete the undergraduate degree I started way back in 1970. I finally graduated (magna cum laude) in 2003.

I clearly remember the day I realized that it was time for me to start living the life I desired. It was July, the summer of 1983. I was sitting in a darkened theater with my husband watching Field of Dreams. It was my defining moment. I was 36 years old and I didn't have time for excuses anymore. After many busy, but unhappy years not creating art because I thought I didn't have time or talent, I came to the simple realization that making art made me happy. My happiness was dependent upon my finding a way to fit art into my life. Discovering how to do this didn't come all at once, nor was it an overnight process. That's another story. Today I am talking about TIME – finding the time to make my dream of being an artist come true.

Fast forward to the winter of 1995. My youngest was eight months old. As part of my journey to become an artist, I was taking an evening class called Unlocking Creativity. The homework assignment was to turn a negative into a positive. The negative was obvious – NO TIME for art. But how could I turn that into something positive? I knew I was going to have to find time, perhaps even make time. Could I really create time? And how could I do it in a tangible way to complete my assignment. The solution was not to make time, but to make use of the time that was already present in my day.

That week (and to this day) every five or ten minutes of free time I had I did something art related. I decided to see how much art time I could actually create in a week. In order to have something tangible to show to the class, I recorded those minutes on blocks of wood left over from the ongoing renovation of our house – visible blocks of time! At the next class I presented the teacher with a box full of my blocks of time. In five or six days I had accumulated over eight hours of art time. Those little blocks of time added up. The secret is the piecing together of seemingly disparate blocks to create a wondrous whole – like in making a quilt or collage. The key is to be ready to create art on a moment's notice and to do the kind of art that lends itself to spontaneity.

Since that time, I have created over 50 handmade cloth dolls, written three books, created artwork for those three books and contributed projects or art to over 20 other published books. I have written over 20 magazine articles, filmed 3 DVDs, and made two TV guest appearances. Since 2001 I have traveled worldwide lecturing and teaching art to thousands of women (and a few men). I'm not telling you all of this to brag but to make a point. If I can fit art into my life, I can assure you that you can too.
To help you make your art dreams come true here are 23 of the lessons I learned:

1. START AND THE ART WILL FOLLOW – Rule #1. No more excuses. They don't hold water. Just start. Call it tough love. No sympathy. But really – this is your dream so get going.
2. KEEP YOUR ART SUPPLIES TOGETHER – Don't waste time assembling and searching. Because I was not working regularly on my art, I had things stored all over the place, hidden in drawers, packed in boxes, buried in stacks. You waste precious time searching for what you need.
3. IMMEDIATE GRATIFICATION – Work on something that gives quick results so you will be eager to continue. Goals are reached by baby steps. If the first thing you set out to do will take a month or more, then you are apt to get discouraged at the pace of your results. Start out with something you can finish in an hour, or a day or two. Rapid results result in more enthusiasm and drive.
4. CHOOSE AN ART FORM WITH LITTLE PREP TIME – If you have to clear a space, pull out a lot of materials, set up a lot of things, you run out of time. When I started on my art journey, I had five children around. Three were under 10. I had no studio to escape to or leave my projects sitting out in. I had to find something to do that required little set up time and would be something I could leave sitting around without fear of harm to or destruction by my children. Cloth doll making was my answer. What's yours?
5. TRICK YOURSELF – JUST 5 MINUTES – If you are too tired to work on art, tell yourself you'll just fool with your art supplies for five minutes. It could be cleaning up or painting a background, even tearing inspiration from a magazine. Once you have begun, chances are you'll get hooked, the endorphins and adrenalin will flow and you will end up with the energy to work much longer than those five minutes you committed yourself to.
6. KEEP MANY PROJECTS GOING – Different projects call for different tasks at different times. If there are always a few things to work on you can fit something in. Five minutes to apply another coat of medium, 10 to glue down the background, 15 to appliqué a flower.
7. LEAVE IT OUT – Don't put your project away. Find a place to leave it out where you can see it, even if it's in a see-thru box. It will not only serve as a reminder of your dream, but it's easy to dive right in and get to work.
8. A DAY TO START – OK, I agree, you do need a big block of time to get this dream machine rolling. Starting is the hardest thing, but the secret is, once you start, it's all downhill. Everyone can find one day to devote to themselves, so do it. (Remember, this is your dream you are working towards.) Use it to get started on a project or two. Decide WHAT you want to do and START. This is the beginning of your adventure. (Gather all your supplies and materials beforehand).
9. SOMEONE TO SHARE IT WITH – There's nothing like an understanding friend to get and keep you motivated. Don't know anyone? Get online! Your tribe is out there. There are many ways to connect with like-minded women online. My best friends and supporters are people I met through the internet. And there is still nothing like a real live face-to-face conversation. Go to a local Art League or quilt guild meeting, take a class, go to art openings and shows. Drop in at a local craft show.
10. ALWAYS LEAVE SOMETHING TO DO – If you finish a project in your block of time, you will have to face the hurdle of starting another. Starting something is the hardest part. The temptation is to put it off and not start. Instead, leave the last bit for the next time so that you will be eager to return to it knowing you can finish it quickly enough with time left over to start something new.
11. WORK WHERE YOU SPEND TIME – When finding time amidst your busy day is a challenge, it can take effort and discipline to go to a separate room for your creative time. Bring your art into the places you spend all your time – kitchen? family room? car? If your work is where you spend all of your time, it's easier to work on it in your spare moments.
12. DON'T JUDGE – DON'T GIVE UP – As you begin, or somewhere along the way you will think your work is no good and wonder why you are even bothering. This is the time to persevere! Even the most accomplished, well-known artists feel that way. They work through it because they know it is common and temporary. And that's what makes them successful vs. those who give up too soon. Don't give up! Keep at it until it looks good in your eyes (because only your eyes count).
13. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OTHER TIME – Adding more art to your day doesn't all mean studio time. Use the time you spend driving, cooking, doing laundry, etc. to design and dream up new ideas so that when your hands are free and you're home you can dive right in.
14. FILL YOUR HEAD – Read, look at art books and magazines. Fill your head with inspiration so that when you have the time to create you have the desire and ideas. Even a shopping trip can be a design lesson. If your head and heart are filled with art it will eventually burst out into your creations.
15. FIND YOUR ART – If you are not having fun then it isn't the right thing for you to be doing. Stressing out over your art is not the idea. If you are not enjoying what you are doing, perhaps it is too hard, too serious, and too intricate for your time or temperament. Or maybe you're doing it because your friends do or you think you should be doing it. If it is truly something you are passionate about then even the hard parts will be fun for you. If not, try something else until it hits the right chord.
16. GO TO BED HAPPY – If your free time doesn't come until the end of the day when you are exhausted, there's still time for art. Drag yourself over to your work and get going. When you are making art you get energized, and then you can fall into bed exhausted and HAPPY. Spend time on art so you don't go to bed feeling disappointed or down on yourself for being lazy or not pursuing your dreams.
17. DON'T WAIT – Waiting until you know all the answers is just another form of procrastination. Too many people waste time thinking they will start "just as soon as I learn one more thing" and continually take classes or read how-to books without ever trying anything on their own. Stop reading, planning and waiting. Dive in!
18. NOTHING LOOKS GOOD? – You are not born an artist, just like we aren't born knowing how to read or do surgery or drive a car. It takes practice and hard work. If you work at it and learn the skills, you will eventually create work you are proud of.
19. TRUST YOUR INTUITION – Creating is an innate ability, something we are all born with. Just watch a toddler "make stuff." Part of an artist's talent is trusting your own vision and innate ability to create and listening to your own intuition. Always work from the heart.
20. STEER CLEAR OF NAYSAYERS – Don't listen to or spend time with people who don't understand or appreciate why you would rather work on your art than go shopping or to a movie. Especially avoid people that put you down or make you feel inadequate.
21. CREATE ART vs. MAKE STUFF – Take the seriousness out of it. Just go play and make stuff. You will be less inclined to criticize your efforts and enjoy the time more if you think if it as play.
22. FEAR IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING – You may procrastinate, you may say you have no time, but perhaps the problem is that you are afraid that if you try, you will fail. Maybe you think you won't be good enough. The difference between those who fail and those who succeed is that the successful work through their fear. Their desire to create is stronger than their fear of failure. Is it fear stopping you? Re-read #12, #18, #19, and #21.
23. 1440 MINUTES – There are 1440 minutes in the day. You can find some of them to devote to your art if that's what you really want to do. Get off the computer, skip the newspaper, clean less, turn off the TV and get off the phone.

For all of us, the key is to pay close attention to which activities make us feel most alive and in love with life – and then try to spend as much time as possible engaged in those activities. Nathaniel Branden, Ph.D.

We carry Leslie's wonderful book "Fabulous Fabric Art with Lutrador" - along with the amazing product she developed - TAP – Transfer Artist Paper that enables you to get your art on a wide variety of surfaces. We were thrilled to hear that the Craft and Hobby Association has given TAP The MOST INNOVATIVE PRODUCT OF THE YEAR AWARD. Congratulation, Leslie!!!


Wendy Walton at Pointy Sticks had so many requests for a pattern for her Japanese Maneki Neko glove cat that she created the following tutorial. Enjoy!


"Favorite Things" is the newest pattern from that creative dynamo MAUREEN MILLS - another super pattern with lots of options! You are going to love it! -

With a little bit of painted muslin and a little bit of stiffened felt you, too, can create SUSAN BARMORE'S precious pod babies. -

From SHELLEY HAWKEY we have "Darcy" a very lovely toolholder/pincushion with an antique look. -


Q: Is there a resource for doll chairs? I noticed many dolls are seated on some interesting items. Are there instructions for making them?

A: Dolls are seated in many ways - quite often on or in found objects such as a vase, teacup, pot or bowl turned upside down, or on a base created just for them. Quite often when you buy a pattern with a doll seated on a goose, mushroom, snail, etc. the pattern includes directions for making the stand. In our series "Doll for All Seasons" we give directions for armatures and stands, including a tree, stump (made from a can), and seashore for a mermaid. I know the October Mistress of Dragons is seated on a jewelry box that looks like a chair. I am working on a series of books, and one will address environments and armatures. However, right now I am working on two other books. Both will become available through Dollmaker's Journey when I finish. Just keep reading the newsletter and perhaps I can write a future article on how to make a seated doll and what to sit them on.

If anyone has a source for doll chairs that are unusual or especially nice please send it to Bonnie Lewis at and I will pass it on in a future newsletter.


When Bonnie was a child she and her three sisters formed a Barbershop quartette called the Babbelettes. They competed in regional auditions and were the youngest group there. Bonnie, the oldest, was 15 and the second alto (she was the only one who could reach the low notes), and the soprano, her sister Joanne, was five. In addition to traditional songs such as Angry and Kentucky Babe, they also sang a song to the tune White Christmas (which ours wasn't – nary a snowflake fell last year - even though the weather channel promised lots of snow Christmas Eve!) The competition was in March in Northern Virginia, when it was still snowing and icy. Bonnie wrote the following words:

I'm gazing at a bleak landscape completely covered o'er with snow.
Yesterday was spring like, but with the daylight, all thoughts of warm weather did go.
I'm gazing at a bleak landscape with snowflakes sparkling in the sun.
It's about time winter was done!
So please, springtime, hurry up and come.

The Babbelettes did a great job. No prizes, but lots of applause. However, check out the link under websites below to the barbershop quartette that scored a perfect 100 in an international competition. Compared to them we were strictly amateurs.

Mary Ann is working hard to complete a special birthday gift for her grandson Kainoa who is turning one on the 9th. Jim flew to Chicago to meet his new grandson Brayden on Monday the 31st just in time for the major snowstorm! Work has begun to get Mary Ann's household packed up and she and Jim move towards purchasing a new home. It is going to be an adventurous year – that's for sure!


You are Worth the Time, an inspirational video recommended by Leslie Riley, will feed your soul.

In Feb. 2009 we had an article in the Customer Connection on Fuzz Felt – using lint to create fabric which turned into a carpet bag, rug, etc. Now for the ultimate use of dryer lint (in your spare time):

In Anaheim, July 4th, 2009 at the International Barbershop Chorus Competition the champions were the Ambassadors of Harmony from Missouri. They scored a 100 out of a 100 for this and probably would have been given more if that was possible. No chorus had ever scored 100 in the history of Barbershop since 1938. Be sure to play it to the end.....76 Trombones - Turn up the speakers; you'll love this! Please click below and enjoy!

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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