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Dollmaker's Journey

January/February 2013 ~ Issue 126

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

January/February 2013 Issue 126

Copyright 2013 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,

In China there was a huge baby boom last year as everyone tried to have a baby born in the year of the dragon. On February 9, 2013 we officially end the year of the Chinese Dragon and begin the year of the Snake. However, the snake was also revered as a form of small dragon (remember the Chinese dragon didn't have wings, but looked more like a huge snake). To see if anyone in your family was born in the year of the dragon, check out the following chart:
*        16 February 1904 - 3 February 1905: Wood Dragon
*        3 February 1916 - 22 January 1917: Fire Dragon
*        23 January 1928 - 9 February 1929: Earth Dragon
*        8 February 1940 - 26 January 1941: Metal Dragon
*       27 January 1952 - 13 February 1953: Water Dragon
*       13 February 1964 - 1 February 1965: Wood Dragon
*       31 January 1976 - 3 March 1977: Fire Dragon
*       4 March 1988 - 5 February 1989: Earth Dragon
*       31 January 2000 - 7 February 2001: Metal Dragon
*       23 January 2012 - 9 February 2013: Water Dragon
*       10 February 2024 - 28 January 2025: Wood Dragon
Did you know Dollmaker's Journey has one of the largest collections of dragon patterns in the world (49 different dragons or mythical beasts)? Check them out at Click on the drop down area of the "Pick Pattern Category" Search Engine, click on "Dragons/Mythical Beasts" and then click on GO. Our challenge this year is to stretch yourself out of your comfort zone and make a dragon. We'd love to feature your creation on our website, so send pictures to

As we begin the year 2013, it is time to reflect on what we did accomplish and what we hope to do in the future. I found a wonderful article by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale from Guidepost Magazine, January 1988. I would like to quote two paragraphs from it.

I'm convinced this upcoming year will be a great one for you if you'll make one simple New Year's resolution and stick to it in every one of the 365 days this year has to offer. That resolution consists of just two short words. But they're packed with power. They can generate enormous energy. They can sweep away discouragement and failure. They can make it possible for a person to accomplish just about any worthwhile goal. And what are those two dynamic words? Do it!

Have you got a promising idea? Do it!
Do you have a cherished dream? Do it!
Do you have a hidden ambition? Do it!
Have you some great impulse, some burning desire? Do it!
To read more positive thinking tips from Norman Vincent Peale go to http://guideposts.orgt/ppt to find out how.

Bonnie and Mary Ann


We are establishing a LIST of every Doll Class we can find. We want to know about the classes in your local stores, doll clubs etc... We will post for FREE the information about each class AND we will issue each teacher a specific coupon code so that all of the students can get 20% OFF THE REGULAR PRICES FOR ONE ENTIRE ORDER. In a few days we will have a form on the site that you can fill out to give us the details we need to post for you. Our goal is to connect interested dollmakers everywhere with exciting classes and we are relying on you to help us make that happen! -


The goal last year was to spend 2012 minutes clearing the decks for new projects and challenges. Recently there was a discussion on FOCD about ways to focus on one project at a time, and clearing out all the UFOs (unfinished objects) in your life. How did you do?

This year we are focusing on two words - DO IT! I once heard a story about a man who prayed every night that he would win the lottery. The big day came, and he wasn't a winner. When he complained to the Lord, the Lord told him he couldn't help because the man never bought a ticket.
There's an old proverb that says: "Begin the thing and ye shall have the power. But those  who do not begin have not the power." Take a few moments each morning and look closely at your life. What can you do to further your dreams? Is there some little action, no matter how small, that you can do today to achieve your goals? Don't just contemplate it. DO IT!


Our FEBRUARY SALE is on three more great categories - BASIC BODIES, COSTUMES and HISTORICAL.  Enjoy a 20 % discount on this great selection of patterns!

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.


"The right angle to approach a difficult problem is the 'try-angle.'" From God's Little Instruction Book: Inspiration and Wisdom for a Happy and Fulfilled Life.


Q: Where is the world's largest nativity scene? (This includes dolls/figures/sculptures. This does not include live pageants!)

A:  For years the world's largest Nativity scene, the Diorama Bethlehem, was in Einsiedein, Switzerland. It has more than 450 figures and a 300-foot-long background painting.
However, in 2011 the Guinness-certified largest nativity scene in the world is now in Mexico City. It cost $2 million and fills the parking lot of the giant Azteca stadium. The scene, which covers 20,000 square meters (215,000 sq. ft.) and has 5,000 figures and 700 tons of infrastructure, is comprised of 57 smaller scenes that recall the biblical passages discussing the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem more than 2,000 years ago.
Organizers said that this nativity scene took 70 days to fashion and that task was performed by architects, engineers, designers and historians, among others. They said that many of the pieces and figures - including camels, burros, elephants, the Three Kings, an angel and some of the residents of Bethlehem - were crafted by Mexican artisans and many of them actually move.
Congratulations to Judi Maser from Oklahoma. 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: When Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States on Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, January 21, 2013, he took the oath of office placing his hand on two Bibles, one from Abraham Lincoln and the other from Martin Luther King Jr. This tradition of using a Bible was started with the first president, George Washington. To date four presidents did not use a Bible. What did they do instead?

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


Here are three YouTube videos showing you how to make crowns or tiaras  (life size) (miniature - check out all 8 videos) (miniature for fairy)


April 11-14, 2013 - IDEX
Doubletree by Hilton at entrance to Universal Orlando, Florida

April 17-20, 2013 - Big Belly Babe with Ankie Daanen, NIADA Artist
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Limited space - 12 students - sign up early
For more information go to:  http:/

April 25-28, 2013 - AFICC (Artistic Figures in Cloth and Clay)
Double Tree Columbus/Worthington
175 Hutchinson Ave., Columbus, OH 43235
For more information about convention:
For information on teachers:

June 24-26, 2013 - NIADA
Marin Suites Hotel, Corte Madera, California (12 miles north of San Francisco)
Registration is now open at:

July 26-31, 2013 - National Doll Festival #26 (NDF)
Georgetown University Conference Center & Hotel, Washington, D.C.
For more information email Rowbear or Faith Loman at or
or call them at (831) 438-5349 (phone) or (831) 439-9142 (fax)

July 29-August 1, 2013 - UFDC 64th National Convention
Washington Hilton, 1919 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20009

July 2013 - ODACA
Washington Hilton, 1919 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20009 (not updated yet)

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


Colleen Babcock, one of our designers, writes:  "I've got a free panel doll pattern and tutorial on my blog, The Magic Bean. This doll is based on the shape of night blooming jasmine - the doll's lower body is shaped like the trumpet part of the flower with the petals circling her waist so it looks like the doll is growing out of the flower itself.
Here is the link to the tutorial and free pattern:
You can just print the panel onto printer ready cotton sheets on your home printer."

Kate Erbach FREE E-Pattern - "Gemma Bella" - a sweet 18" little girl just waiting to steal your heart! Check her out at.. (Scroll down to Kate's e-pattern for link to Free Pattern!)

By Bonnie B. Lewis

One of the joys and delights of being a doll artist is you get to explore many avenues of creativity. Recently on FOCD (Friends of Cloth Dolls) a question was raised as to whether discussion had to be limited to strictly doll subjects or if they could branch out into other interests such as quilting, crocheting, etc.

I have found through the years that anything you learn can be used to make a doll. I have tatted borders for doll hats, dresses, and edgings for hankies which are turned into handkerchief dolls. I have created Colonial grannies with miniature quilts, as well as custom embroidered quilts for special doll babies. An heirloom lace class for adults created wonderful christening and wedding doll dresses. A class in English smocking resulted in smocked dresses and bonnets. Calligraphy can be used to create magical scrolls for wizards, songbooks for carolers, or a book on yoga for a bookworm (reduced on the copy machine to an appropriate size.)

Knitting skills are useful in making wigs with eyelash yarn, as well as dolls and bears for charity. I even created a jungle Ugandan elf sitting on a mushroom knitting fairy wings from moonbeams and stardust. I have knit miniature stockings for an Irish colleen which were an exact replica in miniature to those found in an Irish bog from the 15th century. A few years ago I purchased The Mary Frances Knitting and Crocheting Book from and spent two delightful years teaching children to knit and crochet doll clothes, play food, hats, shoes, jewelry and wigs.

I love crocheting baby blankets, newborn hats, and matching Humpty Dumpty rattles. Originally the pattern I use came from Annie's Pattern Club, Vol. 1 Issue 1. However, that is now hard to find. I did find one pattern being sold on EBay, so you can see what mine look like.  It called for a L'eggs Egg filled with something to make a noise like a rattle. I discovered that the brittle plastic eggs were fragile and eventually broke, creating a choking hazard, with sharp plastic shards poking through the yarn. I still make the rattles, but now I stuff them with Polyfil. In the center I enclose a soft empty film canister with several jingle bells inside.  Any small soft plastic container with a tight lid would work. The closest pattern I discovered online to the original Humpty Dumpty rattle is:  It has a flat bottom but still has the squiggly arms babies love. Just add the jingle bells in a container in the center for a rattle and embroider the nose and eyes (beads aren't safe for babies.) I also found this amazing website on pinterest for lots of free patterns to crochet (even a dragon for my next grandchild which I am sure can turn into a rattle.)

When Mary Ann and I first met we wrote a book on shoemaking and discovered many creative ways to make over 100 different kinds of shoes for dolls. One creative endeavor had us cutting up computer mouse pads for tennis shoe soles. Next we immersed ourselves in millinery and created 250 different hats from all sorts of things. Slurpee drink tops became a construction worker's hard hat. And you can imagine what we used for a Samurai warrior's helmet (including iridescent beetle wings from Texas.)

Of course, I've also used classes in interior decorating for dollhouses, sculpting, art, ribbon embroidery, jewelry making, woodcarving, weaving, quilling, cake decorating, chemistry (for dyeing things), lots of math (a proportional scale wheel is my best friend!), bookbinding (I've made miniature Bibles from perm end papers), and a trip to the hardware store for armatures and instructions on plumbing (like pipe cutting and PVC glue.)

I've seen dolls carved from dust specks and seeds, on the head of a pin, from cornhusks, pinecones, weeds, fabric, clay, wood, metal, found objects, buttons, dryer lint, porcelain, paper, glass, yarn, feathers, ribbons, string, wire, beads, palm leaves, etc.

When you are a dollmaker, every object you see has possibilities, and everything you've learned is useful. I think even if I were stranded on a desert island I could still find some way to make dolls. Stretch your mind and imagine the wonderful creations that only you can make. Take wing and soar, as we end the year of the dragon!


We are thrilled to announce the arrival of CLOTH DOLL INSPIRATIONS DVD, the eagerly anticipated 2nd DVD from PATTI MEDARIS CULEA. Patti takes one doll body and creates three entirely different looks. Be sure to view the video trailer and check out the DVD Index to see all the exciting techniques you will be learning. -

We warmly welcome the very talented GINNY LETTORALE of Happy Heart Patterns. We are starting off with 21 of her most popular designs with many, many more to come. A Happy Heart is what any one of her amazing collection of patterns will give your creative spirit! -

We are always delighted to bring you a new pattern from CINDEE MOYER. Come see her beautiful wall doll "Aria" - a perfect harbinger of Spring! -

 We have two delightful new patterns from our favorite Dragon Charmer JENNIFER CARSON. The uniquely posed "Playing Dragon" is relaxing on his back and for children of all ages the cuddly "Soft Heart Dragon." Perfect patterns to remember the year of the dragon. Stop by and take a peek. -

We always love new patterns from PATTI CULEA and you'll find the 27 pages of instructions for "Ms. Maddie Hatter" packed with step-by-step photos for creating this wonderful doll. -

Two more great patterns from MICHELLE ALLEN - her very popular "Hanging Around Bunnies and Kitty" - so purr-fect for charming gifts - and "Annie and her Kitty." Stop by and see our great collection of MICHELLE'S patterns. -
Charm your favorite child or grandchild with a great new project from SHERRY GOSHON. "Quinn" is an 18" doll with the same proportions as an American-Girl-Style doll. You can purchase it as a body pattern and pressmold together so that you can make your own face masks, or you can purchase it as a body pattern and finished resin face mask - a great way to try out this style of dollmaking! Stop by and take a look at "Quinn" and all of SHERRY'S amazing patterns -

We are thrilled to become the main distributor of the printed patterns of MICHELLE ALLEN'S Raggedy Pants pattern line. WE have added 30 more of her terrific designs with many more to come. If there are any you are looking for that you don't see yet, let us know and we'll get it for you. -

"Counting Down the Days" is the newest pattern from the always innovative COLLEEN BABCOCK. Come see how she devised a beautiful period costume that also serves as an Advent Calendar! The shapely doll body would also be perfect for costumes you would like to design yourself. -

Organize your sewing room by making PATTI CULEA'S "Queen Jorinda and her Closet" - a delightful folder and flat doll to hold art materials or tools or maybe even special treasures. -

In the SUPPLY DEPARTMENT we've added "Gel Blending Medium" that extends the dry time of your acrylic paint for easier blending.

You'll also find Size 10 Crochet Thread in Natural and Victory Red. GINNY LETTORALE likes the effect she gets with Crochet Thread rather than embroidery thread. We'll add in black as soon as we can get it.

STIFFY FABRIC STIFFENER enables you to mold and drape fabrics for special effects.

Designer PATTI LAVALLEY loves the strength of Gorilla Glue for her projects and we now have it in both 2 oz. and 4 oz. bottles

We've added another size of wooden dowels - 5/16" that come in packages of 8. Always great to have on hand!

BACK IN STOCK: Felting Needles, Bendi Dolls, Pine Plaque Circles, 2-3/4" Eyeglasses, Curved Beading Needles, Brown Pigma Pens, Mini Stuffing Forks

In the HAIR DEPARTMENT we're adding 8 more colors back in to our array of BRAIDED WOOL. Be sure to check it out. -

BACK IN STOCK: Bleached Kidassia Goat, Bleached, Tangerine and Amethyst Tibetan Lamb, black and white braided wool -

By Mary Ann Kaahanui

Over the holidays I was determined to make special gifts for two of my cherished neighbors who give me an endless supply of love and support all year long.  I decided BARBARA SCHOENOFF'S "Santa" would be the perfect project. 

Late one night I dove into my stash trying to find the perfect fabrics to combine that would best compliment each of their decors. At 30", a larger sized doll than I normally make, I needed to use sizeable pieces of fabric.  I once purchased a stack of discontinued upholstery fabric samples from Joann's and I found one that was perfect for the vest.  I decided to cut the pants from an old pair of rayon Capri pants with a subtle stripe that I had saved.  The rayon didn't have quite enough body on its own, so I interfaced the fabric first and the pants were just perfect.

For the Santa with the gold vest, I used a brocade that was used as angel wings on a doll made last year.  I was thrilled to find several yards of the dark red velveteen that I had bought years ago for a bunch of Santas that never got made.  There was just enough to make each of the coats and the over capes.

I have a pretty good collection of leather scraps for shoes and boots but needed rather large pieces.  I have had a brown leather coat hanging in my closet for years that I haven't worn because the styling of it was outdated.  Might as well put it to good use and I started cutting away - getting the large pieces I needed for the two pairs of boots.

Due to the huge amount of Tibetan Lamb we sell I have a large supply of scraps to choose from but I couldn't find pieces large enough to accommodate the wig pattern.  I fashioned the hair out of 2 pieces, one that I glued around the back of the head and one that went over the top of the head from ear to ear and it worked perfectly.

I made simple stands with round wooden plaques and 1/2" dowels.  I sewed a felt pocket on the back of each doll body that the dowel slipped into.  I was having trouble deciding what color paint to use - black seemed too stark, gold too bright.  I ending up using a dark red to paint the first coat and then used metallic gold for the 2nd coat.  It gave it a kind of bronzy, antiquey look that was just right for both dolls.

There was a bit of a mishap when I stuffed one of the legs too hard and blew out a seam.  I knew that the leg would never be seen inside the boot.  I hand sewed the seam closed and then I cut out a rectangle of the fabric with pinking shears, covered it with Grrrip Glue and glued it over the seam for extra strength. 

As fun as it is to go out and choose fabrics for a special doll project, nothing delights me more than finding everything I need right in my own stash.  It thrills me to say that of all the materials used for the bodies and costuming the only thing I purchased was the gold lace for the jacket of the Santa with the gold vest!

I had to squeeze in work on these dolls while keeping the orders filled and lots of holiday activities.  I want to publicly thank BARBARA SCHOENOFF from the bottom of my heart for the endless hours of creative joy I experienced while working on these Santas.  It is so hard to put into words the bliss I feel when I am creating in my studio.  I so appreciate the fabulous imaginations of BARBARA and all of our designers for the hard work of producing the patterns for the rest of us that give us much, much more than just a doll.  YOU ROCK, BARBARA!

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you have stories to share about dolls you have made we would love to include them in future newsletters.  Please send your story and a photo to  Stories may be edited for space.


This month I am going to share two secret recipes (I included them in my cookbook that some of you received last month) that I have successfully used for more than a year. To relate them to dollmaking, the laundry soap is perfect for removing stains from soiled doll clothes or bodies.  Just add 1 small spoonful to some tepid water, stir to dissolve, and dip a cotton ball into the mixture and lightly dab on the stain. Then gently remove soap with water and blot between two white towels to absorb moisture. WARNING: Check online for advice dealing with specialty fabrics. The clothes I have washed using this formula have come out stain free without pretreating for spots. The dishwasher soap is quick and easy to make, and my dishes have been spot-free for six months. The ingredients should be readily available worldwide (I even found them in St. Lucia), and are natural and much cheaper than their commercial alternatives.

Homemade Laundry Soap and Stain Remover (Bonnie Lewis)

(Makes 4 quarts which will do 128 loads of laundry)

*3 bars Fels Naptha soap, grated                        4 lb baking soda
1 box (3 lb 7 oz) Arm & Hammer washing soda     1 box (4 lb 12 oz) Borax
*3 lb container Oxyclean (perfume/dye free)

Grate soap (I used my food processor which I then cleaned thoroughly.) Mix with dry ingredients. Put into containers which you label:


This mixture will not only clean your clothes, but removes stains as well. For a homemade stain stick, use a bar of Fels Naptha soap. Just wet the corner and rub on the stain. It removes almost everything! If you want your clothes to have a fragrance, put a few drops of essential oil on a damp washcloth and throw into the washer or dryer along with your laundry. Lavender, Lemon, and Melaleuca (which gets rid of germs) are great choices. For chemical free fabric softener, use the dryer balls. Just put them in the dryer along with your wet clothes and it keeps them soft and static free. Best of all, you can reuse them forever.

TIPS: I purchased all the ingredients for this soap at Wal-Mart (nobody else carries Fels Naptha soap and washing soda.) They are in the household cleaners aisle, not the laundry soap aisle. I cut down the Oxyclean scoop to hold exactly 2 tablespoons. I keep it in the container along with the soap. That way people using the washer won't use too much soap. If you forget to dry a load of laundry and it smells bad, put 10-15 drops of purify essential oil on a damp cloth and rewash clothes. They come out smelling fresh and clean.

*If you can't find Oxyclean you can eliminate it. If you can't find Fels Naptha soap, grate up another brand such as Ivory, although Fels Naptha works better.

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent (Bonnie Lewis)

1 quart container                       1/2 cup Borax (20 Mule Team)
1/2 cup Super Washing Soda*     1/4 cup Kosher or sea salt
1/8 to 1/4 cup citric acid (opt)**      1/4 cup baking soda (opt)***
4 drops essential oil (opt)****

Put ingredients in container. Mix well. Use 1 rounded Tablespoon (no more) per load of dishes. You can put detergent in prewash container instead of wash container. For rinse agent use distilled white vinegar instead of Jet Dry. White vinegar removes any white lime buildup and cleans your dishwasher. This will do 50 loads of dishes and is at least 33% cheaper than store bought brands. Make sure you label your container


* This is NOT baking soda, but washing soda. Arm & Hammer makes it. I found it at Wal-Mart.

**Citric acid is found near canning supplies or at Amish stores. If you can't find it, you can use non-sweetened drink mix (lemonade preferred.)

***Only add baking soda if you have very hard water. If you have an in-house water softene
 Or your water is soft, do not use.

****Essential oils are optional. Only use if you want your soap to have a fragrance. Good choices include lemon, lime, orange, mint, or lavender. However, add it to the dishwasher rather than the powder or it will clump.


Bonnie is very excited. She just heard a new grandchild will be born this year, but not until the year of the snake begins. Bonnie has always loved dragons, and she is a little disappointed she was born in the year of the Rooster. You would think with 8 children, spouses, and 26 grandchildren someone would have been born in a dragon year, but so far there is only one. She will have to make a special dragon to celebrate the birth. She is also flying to Utah to attend two baptisms (in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - Mormons - children aren't baptized until they are 8 years old, when they are old enough to know right from wrong and be accountable for their own sins). For UFOs she finished lots of jewelry sets (bracelets, watches, necklaces and earrings), a Christmas Troll, and 5 Humpty Dumpty rattles for future baby gifts, along with some matching crocheted baby blankets. She also made and donated over 100 newborn and preemie hats to a local hospital.

Mary Ann and her siblings have spent the last two months caring for their parents and transitioning them to a very wonderful assisted living facility where they are well cared for, comfortable and safe.  Now the work begins to dismantle a home they have lived and loved in for 58 years.  It is a very nostalgic and sweet time for the family as they revisit their lives through photos, documents and treasured keepsakes.


To learn more about the Chinese zodiac and astrology, go to
To learn more about the Dragon in Chinese mythology, go to
To see the New Year Celebration of the Dragon and Snake, go to
The find out your Chinese animal and read more about the Year of the Snake, go to

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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