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Dollmaker's Journey

November/December 2011 Issue 116

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

November/December 2011 Issue 116

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,

At this special time of year, one of my favorite movies is "Holiday Inn" starring Bing Crosby. He decides to open an inn only on holidays (15 per year) and writes a song for each. In November he sings:

"I've got plenty to be thankful for
No private car, no caviar
No carpet on my floor
Still I've got plenty to be thankful for
I've got eyes to see with
Ears to hear with
Arms to hug with
Lips to kiss with
Someone to adore
Yes I've got plenty to be thankful for."

Take time this holiday season to count your blessings, and tell those near and dear "I love you", which is perhaps the best gift of all. We are counting each and every one of you as a special blessing. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you on your own dollmaking journey.

Note for January 1, 2012:  There is a tradition that what you do on the first day of the year sets the stage for the rest of the year.  What will you do January 1st?  Hug your family members? Eat something special? Make a doll? Give something away? Do something special for someone else? Read something uplifting? Go to church? May your new year be filled with endless possibilities!

Happy Holidays from Bonnie and Mary Ann


This December when you join with family and friends for a special meal, use these ideas to get conversations rolling. These are adapted from an AARP newsletter. Be sure and record the answers and you will have a wonderful beginning to your family history.

 My Baby Book
 1.  I was named after ____ because ____
 2.  My parents told me I was a ____ baby
 3.  I remember my grandparents as being ____
 4.  I remember my parents as being ____
 5.  I remember my siblings as being ____

Earliest Memories
 6.  My first pet was ____
 7.  My chores growing up were ____
 8.  My favorite toy was ____
 9.  My best surprise ever was ____
10.  I wanted to grow up to be a ____

When I Was a Kid
11.  Something I wish was still sold in stores is ____
12.  The historical moment I remember best is ____
13.  A famous person who made the biggest impression was ____
14.  My first music player was a ___ and I liked to listen to ___ on it
15.  The first president I remember was ____

Teen Talk
16.  My favorite activities at school were ____
17.  My first job was ____
18.  My first car was ____ and it cost ____
19.  My favorite musical group was ____
20.  My first home away from my parents was ____

I'm Not Blushing
21.  My first crush was on ____
22.  My first date was with ____ at ____
23.  My first kiss was ____
24.  I met my mate when ____
25.  My favorite wedding memory is ____

Modern Times
26.  I am happiest when ____
27.  I am most at peace when ____
28.  I often crave ____
29.  My favorite book is ____
30.  My favorite movie is ____

Believe It or Not
31.  My religion is ____ because ____
32.  Politically, I consider myself a ____
33.  My beliefs once changed when ____
34.  My biggest hope is that ____
35.  I am superstitious about ____

Juicy Secrets
36.  If I could marry a celebrity, it would be ____
37.  Once, I was really embarrassed when ____
38.  I think my best feature is my ____
39.  A secret I wish I hadn't kept is ____
40.  I am secretly proud that I can ____

Talkin' Truth
41.  The troublemaker of the family was ____
42.  One time I got in hot water when ____
43.  But I didn't get caught when ____
44.  One time I got scared when ____
45.  I'll always regret ____

Bragging a Little
46.  Our family claim to fame is ____
47.  Once I won a contest when ____
48.  My proudest moment was ____
49.  My favorite thing about someone at this table is ____
50.  Something I hope you like about me is ____


The most spectacular holiday gift has just arrived at Dollmakers Journey! We have the brand new 2 Disc DVD "Cloth Doll Making" by Patti Medaris Culea.  Now you can get up close and personal with Patti with nearly five hours of instruction covering all aspects of doll construction from sewing the body parts, through drawing and painting flat and dimensional faces through the creation of fabulous costumes and accessories.  Whether you are treating yourself or putting this incredible DVD on your Christmas Wish List you'll surely want to have it as part of your reference library.  Click here to see a wonderful video preview -


In addition to the specialized sculpting tools we carry at Dollmaker's Journey ( try the following homemade tools when you play with clay:

1.  Wrap a 2" piece of adhesive Velcro (the hook side) around the end of a Popsicle stick. Roll clay across Velcro to create bumps (such as those found in oranges.)
2.  Press a piece of nylon tulle around clay to create perfect kernels in an ear of corn. (Make sure rows are straight and not diagonal.)
3.  Use a pocket knife to score a hardwood toothpick with lengthwise grooves. Roll across clay to create ridges for hair, leaves, etc.
4.  Other useful tools include corsage pins and toothpicks.
5.  Sculpt and bake your clay on parchment paper for a no-mess, no-stick solution.


Mimi's Basic Dollmaking Online Tutorial
Complete 2-Day Dollmaking Workshop
For Beginning to Intermediate Dollmakers
Realistic Cloth Dolls 10 lessons, nearly 100 Chapters, $30.

* Mimi's Basic Dollmaking tutorial uses a very easy pattern for a four to five year old child. The doll is about 10-inches (25-cm), and can be a boy or a girl or neither (and have wings or a fish tail). It uses
Mimi's easy, modular technique for full posing.

* This doll is so simple that a first-time dollmaker can make it easily and successfully in just a few hours.

* The Basic Dollmaking doll is the perfect canvas to showcase your needlework by decorating wings, or fins, or clothes, or paint, or embroidery, or beading, or your own favorite expression.

* There are only six basic pattern pieces, plus a few optional choices such as pointed toes, pointed ears, and flukes and wings.

* The well-shaped head has a choice of human or "pointy" attached ears, and does not need a face when the doll is made for the display of your needlework.

* For the more adventurous, there is a fully needle-modeled face. It's easier than you think with my new directions. There is an easier way to stitch the eyes and make that cute mouth.

But Wait! There's More!
* 34 video demonstrations.
* Go at your own pace. (It's all accessible immediately. No week-by-week handouts.)
* You don't have to worry about the class ending before you can participate in the discussion group. The Screaming Mimis is a permanent discussion group.
* You don't have to wait for a new class to begin. Start when you're ready.
* Everybody on The Screaming Mimi's is working on Mimi patterns (or their own projects based on what they have learned) and can help you.
* Jim and I read the discussions every day and help out whenever we are needed. We also schedule live chats with Mimi.

What you will learn:
How to photograph your dolls
How to make and use templates
What to look for in stuffing materials
How to work with knits
How to determine fabric stretch
How to clean hand sewing needles
How to set up your sewing machine for dollmaking
How to take care of air soluble markers
What kind of thread to use for dollmaking
How to clip seams
How to ladder stitch
How to select hemostats
How to make and use a stuffing tool
How to stuff a doll smoothly
How to make wired hands
How to turn fingers
How to wire ears
How to pin doll parts together with a smooth fit
How to attach wings to a faery and flukes to a mer-kid
How to locate features on a face
How to be sure your eyes are on the same plane and the same size
How to needle-model a nose
How to needle-model lips
How to make dimensional eyes
How to color the face
How to make needle lace
How to make thread paintings

10 Lessons, nearly 100 Chapters
Stop by and watch our 8-minute introductory video!
Or link to her site at


It is so hard to believe it is December already. We have two terrific categories for our DECEMBER SALE - FACE MAKING AND MOLDS/RESIN FACES. The 20% discount will give you great savings on these special products.

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.


"Learning is finding out what you already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they know it just as well as you. We are all learners, doers and teachers."
Richard Bach


Q: In honor of Halloween, there are many places in this world that are haunted, including the Tower of London, the Catacombs in Paris, and Ballygally Castle in Ireland. This question has two parts: 

a. What is the most haunted city in Asia?
        A:  Singapore

b. Who haunts the White House in Washington, D.C.?
        B:  Abraham Lincoln (most frequent visitor), Anne Surratt, Dolly Madison, William Henry Harrison,       a cat, Abigail Adams, and Andrew Jackson

Congratulations to Francine Curtis from France. 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!


Question 1:  Who was St Nicholas?
        a. A bishop who ruled over part of present-day Turkey
        b. The founder of the Coptic Orthodox church
        c. A missionary who converted the Ostrogoths to Christianity
        d. A Hungarian prelate who died defending a sacred holly bush

Question 2:  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 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 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.


Where can you find...  Ignotus Peverell, The Patriot, Jules H. G. Filby, The King of the Jews, Nathaniel Todd, Ned of the Navy, Taylor Shaughnessy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Benjamin Franklin, and Henry VIII all together?   Check out the  Man of a Decade Cloth Doll Challenge! at

The Male Cloth Doll of the Decade Challenge is over, and now it is time to vote!
Go to...

There are three links.. Beginner, Intermediate, and Advance Dolls.


July 22-25, 2012 - National Doll Festival
Hilton Riverside Hotel, New Orleans, Louisiana
(Shuttle provided to other doll conventions in New Orleans)
More information coming soon at:

July 2012 - NIADA (National Institute of American Doll Artists)
New Orleans, Louisiana
More information coming soon at:

July 2012 - ODACA (Original Doll Artists Council of America)
Sheraton Hotel, New Orleans, Louisiana
More information coming soon at:

July 24-27, 2012 - UFDC (United Federation of Doll Clubs)
Sheraton Hotel, New Orleans, Louisiana
More information coming soon at:

October 14 -16 and 17-19, 2012 - "Jack Out of the Box"
Ottawa, Canada
Take a class from Marlaine Verhelst and Ankie Daanen, NIADA Doll Artists from the Netherlands.
Fee Including Kit - $500.00 Deposit of $250.00 to Hold Your Spot. The sculpted bases and bodies will be prepared by Ankie and Marlaine. All students will sculpt and paint their own head and hands and make hair, hats, collars and embellishments for the costume.
For more information go to:

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

By Bonnie B. Lewis

Several months ago Judi Ward shared a pattern with our doll club from Kate Erbach adapted from Runo's Little Felt Doll pattern. ( ) Kate created all the dolls pictured with the pattern. Judi said it was fun to sit and sew the pieces together by hand using a blanket stitch. The dolls are sewn right side out and stuffed as you sew.

The dolls are adorable, but I was skeptical, thinking that anything is faster and easier using a sewing machine. I was wrong. I made four dolls, and when my grandchildren saw them they also wanted to make one. I have now taught four children (ages 9, 10, 12, and 13, including a boy) how to sew by hand, and they love it. It was so relaxing to teach them the basic blanket stitch using 11 count aida cloth (used in counted cross stitch embroidery). They then chose their felt, traced templates onto freezer paper, ironed them onto the felt, and cut them out. We sat and sewed while watching TV, using wooden chopsticks to stuff the doll. Here are some things I learned along the way.

*The dolls on Runo's website ( are quite small - only 6". They were too small for tiny hands to sew. Kate adapted the pattern to create 10" dolls that were easier for children to assemble. See a picture of Kate Erbach's doll next to Runo's here:
*The doll bodies are made from wool blend felt. Because they are stuffed, the felt is subjected to a lot of stress, and regular acrylic felt just falls apart at the seams. (We sell wool blend felt in three basic skin tones at Dollmaker's Journey - .) Acrylic felt will pill and fuzz if handled too much. It also tends to be stiffer and more see through. However, it is incredibly cheap (I got mine 5 squares for $1.00), comes in many different colors, is readily available, and will last practically forever unless you touch it.  If you can find colors you like in wool blend felt for the clothing that is preferable, although it costs a lot more.
*Judi Ward discovered Eco felt, which costs a little more than acrylic felt. It is created from recycled plastic bottles, and seems to be stronger and thicker than regular felt. However, for hair I would recommend you use wool or wool blend felt, especially for braids and pigtails, where you are cutting thin strips. I made some hair from acrylic felt, and the thin strips just fell apart when you brushed your fingers through it. Wool felt doesn't have that problem, because the tiny barbs on the wool hook together to keep it strong.
*To read more about felt and its different properties, check out where he not only tests shrinkage and durability, but flammability as well.
*Creating patterns:  I copied Kate's patterns onto cardstock, cut out each piece, and then had the children trace around them onto freezer paper, which we ironed onto the felt. Kate's body is more fashion doll shaped, although Runo's pattern makes a cute toddler or pre-schooler. To use Runo's patterns and have them work with Kate's body, enlarge Runo's clothes and body 165%. Enlarge the head and hair patterns 197%. (You will notice that Kate's heads are a lot larger than Runo's.) Do not use Kate's kimono pattern. It is too short (unless you want to make a happy coat.) Enlarge Runo's kimono 165% and it works perfectly. Runo also has a cute jacket and several hair styles not included with Kate's selections that would be fun to add. 
*To create pigtails and braids: Use the curly hair pigtails pattern. Cut off the pigtails and draw three straight lines 1/4" wide (3/4" total) and 6" long. Sew to front of hair (choose whatever hair front you like) matching center top of head. Cut strips apart, sew hair to stuffed head, and then braid. To create pigtails, use the same pattern, but put strips toward the top of head. If you use wool or wool blend felt, you can cut strips 1/8" wide - otherwise make them wider.
*The eyes are 5/16" circles that are blanket-stitched to face, with a white French knot highlight. Embroider mouth and sew round nose as pictured.
*To stitch pieces together, use the same color or contrasting thread (doubled), or 2 strands embroidery floss.  Be sure and blanket stitch around all the clothing, hair and shoes.
*Check out Runo's website for a pictorial on sewing the doll and kimono (click on clothing for more information.)
*The finished dolls make great tree ornaments, gifts, or stocking stuffers. Trim with lace, rick rack, appliques, beads, etc. For the kimono I put a 1" ribbon around her waist and slipped a circle of ribbon over the join in the back for the obi. Be sure to make white tabi (Japanese indoor socks) for her feet (on Runo's site).

Our generous friend SUE DANIEL has shared her darling "Kitty Kat Pincushion" pattern over in our FREE section that you are just going to love. Thanks, Sue! -

The Kitty Kat from Sue is too sweet to eat Morrison Mouse, a free pattern from Jill Maas. Go to and scroll down until you find Morrison Mouse and 3 other free patterns. Email Jill and her husband will send you the pattern in your email. You can see more of Jill's patterns at

Colleen Babcock has a great You Tube video called  "How to Stuff Cloth Art Dolls" you might enjoy. Her stuffing techniques are quite different and helpful. View it at 
You can see Colleen's patterns at
Many Free Christmas Crafts at

Blast from the Past.  Web of Angels (Over 60 Angel Craft and Doll Projects) -


Q:  Pat Haut writes: I love your newsletter and look forward to reading every word when it comes.  I have a question for you - I read how you made the mini scale veggie and fruit crate with scraps of wood from the craft store and think it is a great idea for my daughter to try. She lives in Denver and is a part of the mommies group who look for natural toys and learning tools for their little ones and she asked me to help her make wool felt fruit and veggies for the kids play market.  Do you have any patterns for the fruits and veggies or know where I can find them.  

A:  What a great question and a wonderful gift idea. I did a Google search for Felt Fruit Vegetables Free Patterns and found thousands of patterns. It depends on whether you want life-sized fruits and vegetables or miniature ones. If you want them smaller, add the word Miniature to your search query. Check out Shelley Inspired at
or Allcrafts (which has links to many different websites) at


Get ready! MIMI WINER has just released her incredible "Basic Dollmaking Online Tutorial" - a comprehensive class with 100 distinct lessons over 10 chapters with more dollmaking tips than you can use in a lifetime. We are happy to link you over to Mimi's site to purchase it directly from her. Come see the promo video and you'll soon see if you want the very best foundation for your dollmaking techniques, this Tutorial is for you. -

MAUREEN MILLS - the designer who must never sleep is treating us to
4 new patterns that are all so easy that you can still whip them up for the holidays. Stop by and check out "A Few Good Men," "Santa Bear," "O Christmas Tree" and "Sno Biz." -

Look what just fluttered in from the studio of ARLEY BERRYHILL - your very own "Fairy Godmother!" Come take a peek at this magical figure -

LESLIE MOLEN honors the gentle spirit of the late children's book illustrator "Tasha Tudor." -

If you are ready to take your dollmaking to another level and would like to learn how to incorporate paperclay into your work, then dive in to the exquisite art doll projects of our newest designer LINDA
HOLLERICH. What a delightful view of the world she has! Get ready to have some fun as you explore "One Pig Circus," "Reaching," and "Stella = The Star-Catcher." -

Would you believe it is not too late to create an amazing Nativity Scene? Come see VADA DOLPH'S "Nine-Piece Nativity Set. The bodies are set over bottles or candlesticks which does half the work for you. Her through instruction and photos are superb. Have fun! -

BARBARA SCHOENOFF is really on a creative roll!  Come take a look at three more of her delightful patterns - "Wren & Dove," "Drake" and "Lark."  We love them all! -

"Scarlett" is the lovely new 2-1/4" pressmold from JEAN BERNARD.  Such an irresistible face! - And best of all, it's on sale.

If you would like to make a whole menagerie of little animals from just one pattern then JULIE MC CULLLOUGH'S "Little Critters" is the perfect choice. -

A box, a frame and a little puppet all come together in elinor peace bailey's "Shadow Box."  What a fun project! -

Leave it to elinor peace bailey to dive into her stash and create an array of dolls from her treasured bits and pieces. Come see the series of six new patterns that are sure to inspire you to look at your embellishments in new ways. -

Get ready to learn some great embellishment techniques on "Diamond Lil" - a Gold Rush Era beauty from Costuming Queen SYLVIA SCHORR. -

MAUREEN MILLS' "Early Prairie Sisters" have a wonderful vintage look about them -

We are delighted to add five more amazing animal patterns from COLD FIRE CREATIONS " Dorice's - Dragon", "Elephants," "Pig," "Unicorn," and "Kangaroo."  Find out how easy and fun it is to make such realistic looking animals. -


We are adding five vibrant new colors of ANGELINA FIBER: Rusty Nail, Raspberry, Almost Black, Holly Berry and Peony. What do you think you could do with these fabulous hues? -

If you prefer the finer texture of Deersuede we have just added two yummy new colors - Rice Paper and White ( perfect for Jill Maas' "Snowdrop and Frosty" ) for dolls with more delicate skin tones. You'll also find that we have almost all of the woven Ethnic Skin Tones back in stock. -
We have just added a FINE LINE Air Erasable Pen that is so perfect for setting the features on your faces. -

Check out our CURLY WOOL - loose wool locks in Washed White that would be perfect for your Santas. -

You'll find the Chocolate Kidassia Goat back in stock over in the Hair Department. -

Over in the HAIR DEPARTMENT you'll now find some bright RED Craft Fur.

Prismacolor Colorless Blenders are finally Back in Stock. -


If you have a vinyl doll with rooted hair that is a tangled mess, check out this tutorial on how to make it look like new again. Also check the comments from other readers with more tips on dealing with this problem.  This is a great way to recycle dolls from thrift stores.


Bonnie had a wonderful Thanksgiving 4-day reunion with all her children, grandchildren, niece and husband, sister and brother-in-law, adopted sons and adopted families (52 people in all.) They had so many people they had to borrow the church cultural hall for a huge turkey dinner. (Bonnie cooked two 25 pound turkeys along with stuffing and gravy.) This is probably the first and last time everyone will be able to get together. Her daughter Amy is flying to Saint Lucia for medical school, her son Michael may move to Japan, and her grandson Alan will soon be on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. People flew and drove from California, Utah, Virginia and Massachusetts. Bonnie worked with one of her daughters to create a family reunion book which included Who Am I? with photos of ancestors, mazes, puzzles, getting to know you questions, etc. One of the most unusual visitors was a paper doll named Fa Bell. She was created by a granddaughter in the fourth grade in Massachusetts and mailed to Utah where she traveled cross country in a van that broke down in Arkansas. She even attended the movie "Breaking Dawn" the day after Thanksgiving. Photos were taken every step of the way. You can see pictures and read about her trip here -  .  What a great teacher who thought up this project.

Mary Ann has been grabbing every spare minute she can to sneak into her studio to grab a few moments of bliss at her sewing machine as she works on various Christmas Gifts for her family.  The house is decorated and ready for the onslaught of company as all five of Jim's children and their families will be arriving for the holidays as well as Mary Ann's daughter Ana and husband Nik who live near by.  They are all looking forward to making new holiday memories together.  Mary Ann's son Michael and his family are in the process of moving to the Sacramento CA area where Mike has become the Director of Relationship Marketing at the Thunder Valley Casino Resort.

We are wishing you and your loved ones a very blessed holiday season wherever you are.  We sincerely thank you for allowing us to serve your dollmaking needs this past year and we look forward to an exciting and creative year ahead in 2012.


Animals sing Jingle Bells

Hans Klok and the Divas of Magic - World's Fastest Magician - 10 major illusions in 5 minutes

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