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Dollmaker's Journey

July 2002 Issue Thirteen

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July 2002 Issue Thirteen


Copyright 2002 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.
Visit out companion website:

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


Dear dollmaker friends,

In August 1999 we opened our website as a venue for selling our own books and patterns. Soon we were adding the patterns of up-and-coming designers to provide them an opportunity to market their work. We now have 68! If your family and friends have been urging you to turn your fabulous dolls into patterns for others to enjoy but you're not quite sure how to get started, this is the issue for you! Along with our "Pattern Writing 101" article we've assembled another wonderful array of dollmaking treats for you to enjoy. Have fun!

Mary Ann and Bonnie



I would like you to meet Fiona Guagliano, who creates fairies and other fascinating folk from homemade cold porcelain clay. She lives in a small town in southern Italy, and a picture of a beautiful island right offshore is on her website. You can see some of her creations at:

She is sharing her recipe for cold porcelain, which is also called corn dough. This is an air-dried clay, so you don't need to bake it. When the project is finished, she gives the dolls a final spray of acrylic sealer (used to protect oil paintings) to give the dolls a waxy look. The finished dolls look like porcelain, are humidity-proof and quite unbreakable. You can color the dough with tempera powder or acrylic paint, or paint the finished project with acrylic paints. We have changed the recipe slightly to use ingredients found in most American households. Because this clay is so sturdy, you might want to try using it to make doll accessories. Fiona says Vaseline petroleum jelly purchased in jars won't work. You MUST have oil. Vaseline oil is sold in Europe. In American try using vegetable oil, mineral oil, or baby oil instead. Her "spoon" measurement is a soup spoon size (tablespoon) and not a coffee spoon size (teaspoon). You can see her original recipe on her website.

Recipe for Cold Porcelain Clay

By Fiona Guagliano

1 cup polyvinyl acetate (PVA) white glue (such as Elmer's)

1 cup cornstarch

2 tablespoons Vaseline oil OR vegetable oil OR baby oil (you could also use mineral oil, but make sure it is non-toxic)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Mix all the ingredients in a Teflon coated or no-stick pot.

Cook at a low temperature (for gas stove, use a very low flame) for 9/10 minutes, stirring constantly so you obtain an elastic mixture, until it begins to clear the sides of the pot. Let mixture cool until lukewarm, and then knead it to make it homogeneous, and store it in plastic wrap or a Ziploc bag. Now you can model your sculptures, using just the dough you need, keeping the unused portion wrapped in plastic. If you store it in an airtight container, the clay should last for one week to one month, depending on the type of white glue used, the temperature of your house, and the humidity level. Do not refrigerate.

Enjoy! Fiona (

DID YOU KNOW? Elmer's glue is named after a cow. The famous cow used as the corporate symbol on all Elmer's products is actually named Elsie, and she is the spouse of Elmer, the cow (bull?) who the company is named after.



There must be something special in the water in Australia! The designing talent there is out of this world. The very gifted SUZETTE RUGULO joins our Dollmaker's Journey family with her very lovely collection of designs - a witch on the moon, a charming jester, an enchanting wizard, a lovely mermaid, a darling dragon and a spectacular clown balancing on a ball. Suzette incorporates many clever techniques into her designs that will surely expand your skills. Treat yourself to a peek at her wonderful patterns -



To save yourself time and energy, get all the details on upcoming doll related events such as We Folk of Cloth in October and many other events by regularly visiting Karen Samuelson's CLOTH DOLL CONNECTION website. For the most comprehensive news on designers, events, challenges, doll clubs and activities be sure to check out and bookmark

You can also find a list of local doll clubs and their locations at Mini World:

If it says "mixed media" it includes cloth dolls.

The Santa Fe Art Doll Experience is on the Mother's day weekend 2003. We are honored to announce the beneficiary of the Preview Night Opening (May 9) is Dragonfly's Delights - a non-profit established to sooth the soul and nurture the body and spirit of women newly diagnosed with breast cancer. Please visit their web site at:



Designer CLAIRE-ELLEN shares a crocheted sandal pattern that fits her newest doll "Leda and the Swan." The directions for Leda's crocheted sandals can be found in our FREE pattern section. These sandals can be easily adapted to fit any size doll.



Have you ever sold a doll and needed to mail it? How can you safely pack it so it arrives intact? Kim Jelley shares ideas on her website:

Click on the site map for the trademark secrets/tip link. The packing information is in that section.



By Mary Ann Kaahanui and Bonnie B. Lewis

We know you're out there. You've designed something really terrific and you'd love to get it down on paper. In fact, you've been thinking about it for a very long time, but just aren't sure how to get started. Why not let this be the year to achieve that goal! Allow us to share with you a quick overview of the way we go about it and perhaps it'll give you a boost of confidence to try it yourself.

Keep a pattern notebook near you as you're working on your prototype and jot down anything that might be tricky or unusual - just enough so you'll know what you need to make very clear or to emphasize when you actually begin to write the instructions. It's a good idea to have only ONE pattern notebook to keep all your notes in one place. A tape recorder could also be used.

Before you begin to write your own instructions, take a look through your favorite patterns and determine what you like most about the way they are presented: the clarity of the written instructions, the number of pertinent illustrations, and the order in which the directions are given. Do you like the way the words are arranged on the page and is the font easy to read? Are the pattern pieces on separate pages from the text? Once you decide what you consider to be the most important elements in a pattern, you'll be ready to go.

To keep yourself organized through the project it helps to start with a quick outline so you're sure to cover all the bases. Set up a document with 2 columns. On the left side write a general outline for the pattern. For example:

1. General Instructions (size of seams, fabric notes, abbreviations you will use etc...)

2. Order of construction

A. Legs

B. Arms

C. Body

D. Face/ Head/Hair

3. Clothing

4. Embellishments

In the right hand column keep a running list of all the necessary supplies for making the project that will be listed on the back cover of the pattern. If your pattern contains an item that is unusual or difficult to find, please be sure to provide a suggested source. Below that make a list of the all the pattern pieces that will be included, so you won't forget any! You now have a quick and ready reference sheet to guide you. Best of all, when you are ready to do your next project, all you'll have to do is revise your original basic outline!

You don't need expensive software to produce a pattern. Any regular word processing program will do. The first draft on the computer is just to input all the words and get the grammar and typos corrected. Once the words are right, print out the draft; decide what the illustrations are going to be and where you want to place them. It is our preference to have the illustrations in with the text so that the dollmaker doesn't have to keep searching for the appropriate drawing somewhere in the back of the pattern.

If you have not mastered computer illustration, there are several ways of getting the illustrations into your document. If you have a scanner, you can draw out the illustrations on paper, scan them and drop them into your document. The greatest advantage of scanning your drawings is that you can easily change the size of them as needed. For the greatest clarity, it's better to do your drawings larger than you want them and then reduce them. Before we had the scanner we would do all the drawings on tracing paper with a size .03 black Pigma Pen and tape them into the document with white correction tape before copying.

The second draft is for inserting blocks of space into the text for the illustrations. If you have Microsoft Word you can insert "Text Boxes" and then format them so that the lines of the boxes do not show. You will then drop your drawings into the text boxes, which will enable you to move them around the page if you want to. At this point you can stylize the fonts. The fonts you chose should be easy to read. Take a paragraph and paste in onto a page 5 or 6 times. Put each paragraph in a different font. Print out the page, hold it away from you and see which one is easiest to read.

One of the challenges is to keep the instructions to as few pieces of paper as possible to keep the weight of the pattern down for postage purposes. Sometimes you have to play around with font sizes and spacing to achieve this. (This will also be a concern when you draw out the pattern pieces.) At this point you'll know if you need 8.5"x11" paper or 8.5"x14". When the 2nd draft is printed out, check it thoroughly for typos and consistency of spacing and font styling.

At this point you should ask a few friends of differing skill levels to test the pattern for you. If you belong to a doll club it should be easy to find eager volunteers. Ask them to notate anything they feel needs to be clarified or any mistakes they've caught. Once you resolve any issues that may have come up you'll be ready for the fine-tuning of the third (and usually final) draft.

Now it's time to turn your attention to the cover. Patterns should have a clear photograph or detailed drawing of the design with an unobstructed view of the doll. If the doll has legs and feet, they should be visible unless covered by a gown. Get a lot of GOOD photographs and use a glue stick or double-sided adhesive tape to attach the photo to the front of pattern. Costco seems to be one of the cheapest sources for reprints of photos in the United States that we have found. Some designers are taking digital pictures and printing pattern covers on their color computer on white paper. This is O.K., but the quality of digital photos (unless printed on very expensive photo paper) just isn't as good. Also, if all your cover pages are printed on white paper, it is harder for the distributor to keep track of your patterns. It really helps to use a different color paper for each design. The front of the pattern cover should include the name of the doll, name of the designer or the company name and THE SIZE OF THE DOLL. We can't tell you how many times we have had to contact a designer and ask how big the doll is. Customers always want to know.

For the back cover be sure that you list supplies needed, your policy for making dolls from your pattern, and your name and contact information. For patterns that are folded in half, this information is positioned on the left-hand side of the cover page, so that the information is clearly visible on the back of the pattern through the plastic envelope.

Speaking of plastic envelopes, you can purchase them from Fire Mountain Gems ( Customer Service:(800) 423-2319. You probably want to order the 9" x 6" size bag if you plan to fold a pattern 8-1/2" x 11" in half. If you use an odd sized paper, try to get plastic bags that fit the finished pattern. Other workable formats we have seen include using pocket portfolios when you have a pattern and something additional, such as fabric, or you just want the pattern to remain unfolded. When using this format you glue a picture on the front of the folder. Be aware this will add to the postage costs, and it takes more room to store. Another option is to enclose the pattern in a page protector that can then be inserted into a three-ring binder. One of our designers makes fabric pattern bags, which she also uses to hold her molds. Pictures of the dolls are printed out on labels, which are glued to the front of the bag.

We can assure you that the first pattern you ever do will be the most time consuming. The good news is that nearly every pattern you do after the first will be a modification of the basic information you already have on the computer and it will go much, much faster as you'll be able to cut and paste certain elements from previous patterns. We would love for all of you to know the wonderful sense of accomplishment of getting your creations down on paper to share with others. You have absolutely nothing to lose by trying. Just go for it! Along with all the other avid doll makers hungering for new designs, we're eager to support, encourage and cheer you on any way we can.



We have FOUR new items from the incredible SHERRY GOSHON. "Oh My!" has the graceful body of a dancer to go

with a beautiful face Sherry taught in an online class. "Kereeditse" (ke-reh-di-tseh), the Goddess who listens to everyone, is presented as a press mold and body combination wall doll. Best of all, Sherry has released "Blossom", the third in her series of larger press molds, and her winsome body with tyvek wings that balances delicately on one foot. View them all at

PATTI LA VALLEY just keeps outdoing herself with each new doll she creates. Her extraordinary "Elton the Fairy Finder" is sure to capture your heart with his tiny fairy and net.

JANE HOUCK has added 2 more irresistible characters to her collection of dolls with covered Styrofoam heads. You've got to check out her frightening fairies "Ike & Izzie" at

The whimsical and always eclectic LI HERTZI treats us to "Just Flying Around", a trio of tiny bodies with mix-n-match wings that can be marvelous doll pins or made into a mobile.

CLAIRE-ELLEN enchants us with her stunning "Leda and the Swan." This mythological goddess, who was the mother of Castor and Pollux, is seated upon a beautiful white satin swan, which is included in the pattern. You can view this extraordinary doll at



Three excellent new videos are now available for dollmakers.

Kris Crawford, owner of Fireside Basics Doll Hair, has just completed her long awaited video about doll hair. This one-of-a-kind fabulous video covers all aspect of doll hair selection, organization, felting and application, with new techniques never before shown. Both clay sculptors and soft doll artists will love this video. Don't miss out on the introductory price of $34.95. Price good May 9 to July 31, 2002. You can order it on her website at:

The second video is "Introduction to Needle Felting - Sculpting a Doll with Sharon Costello". This tape has step-by-step directions for creating whimsical characters from carded wool fiber. It covers selecting felting needles and fiber, creating lifelike facial features, sculpting the body and clothing it, detailing hands and feet, and adding hair, eyebrows, and finishing touches. This 131 minute video cassette is available for $39.95 from

Nicola Allison shows how to make a wig for any doll from Tibetan lambskin (mohair). You make a form-fitting pattern, dye the lambskin, create a wig, and learn how to cut and style it. This new video is available from Antonette Cely for $19.95 plus shipping and handling. You can order it from:

Doll hair resources:

Susan Nagel has 12" long mohair perfect for making doll wigs and Santa beards. It is thoroughly hand washed, combed, conditioned and packaged by the ounce for $3.00/oz. For more information her email address is:

Llama and alpaca wool is available from the Lazy B Ranch. Call Wendy at 936-258-8282 or visit her website at

Most of these fibers are short (2" - 4") but they come in great colors and would work for felting or spinning.

Gorgeous glitzy designer yarns (as seen at Cheryl Leone's Tea Party) are available from Margo Koehler, Briar Rose Farm



I had a marvelous class with Collette Wolff on pattern drafting a few years ago, and she said the reason necks wrinkle on pancake dolls is because the neck needs a dart to conform to the round shape of a real neck. It is a lot more technical than that, but try creating a dart from one side of the neck to the other to remove excess fabric and wrinkles. I think you will be pleased with the results. Hugs, Bonnie B. Lewis



Don't forget to stop by and see the latest additions to our Showcase to see and admire what our talented friends are making



Bonnie spent two weeks in Utah helping her mother organize her "stuff". She discovered a wonderful treasure - a box of vintage hats that her grandmother made back in the 20's and 30's. She also brought home some hats her mother wore in the 40's and 50's. She can't wait to translate these hats into something a doll could wear. One hat used thin strips of fiber and curled them like quilling to create fantastic designs. The day after she got home, she was able to attend the opening night of NIADA, which happened to be in Washington, D.C. this year. The dolls were wonderful, and she got copies of the TV show we made for Maryland Public Access TV.

Mary Ann's Mom came for a wonderfully relaxing visit earlier this month. It's the first time she's seen the house Mary Ann and Mel purchased last year and she loved it. As usual, M.A. has many irons in the fire between Dollmaker's Journey, home decoration projects and Petey's obedience classes. This week she needs to make a doll for her niece's first birthday. There's never a dull moment at Casa Kaahanui!

Currently, we are both working hard to get kits ready for We Folk of Cloth. Miss Sadie the Church Lady is looking better every day. You won't believe what we did to her body!


Found this site with lots and lots of information about glues.

This paper doll site has great historical costume ideas.


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

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

Please feel free to pass this newsletter on to any of your friends. Help us spread the word about Dollmaker's Journey! All we ask is that you forward it intact, with all the subscription information included.

You can also read all the past issues online at:
Included is an index to all the past issues.

Thanks! (By the way, you might want to print this out and put it into a binder to keep for reference.)


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