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Dollmaker's Journey

August 2013 ~ Issue 131

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

August 2013 Issue 131

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,

We are sad to report the death of a wonderful doll artist, Akira Blount, age 67. She lost her battle with cancer and passed away peacefully in her home Saturday, August 3, 2013. She started making dolls from cotton stockings in 1970 and soon developed a style of her own as she mastered needle sculpting. She was the president of NIADA (National Institute of American Doll Artists) and juried and wrote the introduction to "500 Handmade Dolls." She loved nature and wrote: "The energy and beauty of nature has always sustained me. Woodlands, in particular, I find compelling. My love of natural materials has led me to explore how I might personify the spirit of nature in images of the playful, creative forcers in nature. Each piece is a combination of cloth, handmade paper, natural materials and found objects, most of which are collected personally from my farm and gardens." Her art work is included in Permanent Collections around the world including Paris France, the CLINTON LIBRARY, Little Rock, AR, SEKIGUCHI DOLL GARDEN, Shizuoka Japan, the TENNESSEE STATE MUSEUM, Nashville, Tennessee. Exhibitions include National Museum of American Art, Washington, DC, American Folk Art Museum, NYC, NY, Mint Museum of Fine Art, Charlotte, NC, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA, Tampa Museum of Fine Art, Tampa, FL. The White House Collection of American Craft, a collection of over 70 pieces of contemporary crafts of which Akira is the only doll artist, has traveled to museums all over the USA since 1994 and is now on permanent display at the Clinton Library in Little Rock, Arkansas. She will be sorely missed.

We just found out that Barbara Graff, a wonderful designer (I especially liked her dollhouse doll family) also passed away February 20, 2013 at age 65. She loved making dolls and owned and operated Barbara Graff Originals. She brought sewing machines, fabric, and supplies to Mexico and helped villages create a cottage industry by teaching the women to make her dollhouse dolls which were finished by Barbara and sold in the United States in museum shops.  Bonnie had several classes from her and learned skills she still uses today. In one class she made a Vasilisa doll with a moveable head. She sculpted the face with Paperclay which was covered with felt. This doll still sits on her bookshelf today.  You can read more about Barbara here: 

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. Our goal is to connect interested dollmakers everywhere with exciting classes and we are relying on you to help us make that happen! -

Our list of exciting Dollmaking Classes is growing!  Be sure to visit this page as often as possible to see what wonderful classes may be coming near you! -


Halloween is just around the corner, and it is time for 20% off savings on the WITCHES/HALLOWEEN/FALL category. Our AUGUST SALE is sure to get you in the mood! -

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.


"Doing isn't difficult, deciding is."  - Foster Hubbard


Q:  What premiered at Loew's Grand Theater in Atlanta, Georgia on December 15, 1939?

A:  The movie "Gone with the Wind"

Congratulations to Anne Lampe from Sydney, Australia. 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:  Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss) was once challenged to write a book using less than 225 different words every 6-7 year old should know. One of his most popular books was the result. What was the book and how many different words did he use?

Everyone who emails in the correct answers by September15th (I've given you more time) 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 August 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.

By Bonnie B. Lewis

I just returned from a Day with Dolls in New Jersey. There I gave a demonstration on how to make doll wigs using Tibetan Lamb Fleece, braided mohair, fake fur, curly hair, yarn with a hairpin lace loom, and showed everyone how to weft hair so it can be combed and styled.  To use curly hair, rub it briskly between your hands to give it a matted look. Apply a thin layer of glue to part of a cloth head and use felting needles to draw the fibers and glue into the fiberfill inside, forcing the fibers to bond with the stuffing. A natural part is achieved by sewing down the desired part, putting a piece of paper on one side of the part, folding the other side of the hair over the paper, and sewing again close to the original stitching line. When you unfold the hair you have an invisible part with the stitching underneath.

There were also demos by Stephanie Novatski (she will write an article on amazing armor later this year) and Tanya Montegut, who showed us how to create African style wigs using synthetic hair from an African American Beauty Supply shop. 

Tanya demonstrated her technique on a human-sized Styrofoam head. She purchased pre-braided hair and glued (if clay) or sewed (if cloth) it on the head where the hairline would be. She then took multiple strands of hair, folded them in half, and used a latch hook to weave the hair into the braid. She showed us how to place the braid in circles on the side of the head if doing pigtails. She also showed us how to make our own braids by using a hemostat to clamp the hair somewhere in the middle and braid the hair toward both ends, stretching the hair so the ends tapered. She said if doing braids on a human you begin at the scalp, but a doll doesn't care if you begin in the middle, and it is much easier.  She also showed us hair used for pony tails. They usually come with a pull cord so you can attach it to your own hair. She said for a doll there was too much hair, so she cut some of the base off and used that. It looked terrific! For a natural part with skin showing she put two braids close together, and then latch hooked hair into both braids, with hair going in opposite directions.

You can learn more about Tanya and her company, Dolls by MonTQ, here:
She also has dolls for sale on Etsy.


Since cold and flu season is almost upon us, Bonnie the mad scientist is back in the kitchen mixing up alcohol-free hand sanitizers for a class she is teaching. She found a lot of these recipes on the internet, but thought you might appreciate having all these recipes in one place.
Commercial hand sanitizers kill nearly all bacteria - good and bad. As effective as those store bought hand sanitizers may be at killing bacteria, they don't discriminate between good and bad bacteria. Since the good bacteria protects our bodies from infection and helps it to fight off the bad bacteria, it's a bit counterproductive to kill off those helpful good bacteria, isn't it? Also, the main ingredient in these store bought products is ethyl alcohol - a minimum concentration of at least 60-90% alcohol, which is enough to cause alcohol poisoning if ingested. According to CNN Health, a 2 ounce bottle of hand sanitizer may contain as much alcohol as four shots of vodka. Yikes! The alcohol in hand sanitizers can also be a fire hazard, cause severe skin and eye irritation, and be extremely drying to the skin. There is a very simple solution to this problem - make your own alcohol-free hand cleanser with only a few basic ingredients. These homemade versions will not only clean your hands, but moisturize them too.
Natural Gel Hand Sanitizer

1 cup pure aloe vera gel (as pure as you can get)               1 tablespoon witch hazel
30 drops (1/4 tsp) tea tree (Melaleuca) oil                     10 drops lavender oil (or essential oil of choice)
3-4 drops vitamin E oil or fractionated coconut oil (optional)

In a small dish, add essential oils and stir. Add witch hazel and vitamin E oil and stir again. Add aloe v era gel and mix very well. Use a funnel to pour mixture into your container of choice. Shake well before using.
Notes: Vitamin E oil will soften hands and extend shelf life up to 3-4 months. Discard sanitizer after 6 months. This recipe filled 3 - 3 oz. squirt bottles. To fill just one, use 1/3 cup aloe vera, 1 tsp witch hazel, 10 drops tea tree oil, and 3 drops lavender oil.

*        As with all products that contain essential oils, please keep in mind that some oils are not recommended for use while pregnant or breastfeeding, and others (like lavender) are known to mimic estrogen in the body and are not recommended for use with boys. So please, research the oils you wish to use before you add them to your recipe.
*        Before working with essential oils, keep in mind that you or a family member may be allergic to certain oils. It's always a good idea to do a patch skin test by diluting one drop of essential oil in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and applying it to your arm. If there's no reaction after 24 hours, then you're good.
*        Although this recipe is safe for adults and young children, I wouldn't use this (or any sanitizer) on children younger than 2 years of age.
Homemade Natural Sanitizer Spray

- 2 Tablespoons pure aloe vera. Gel or liquid, but make sure it is 100% pure
- 2 Tablespoons witch hazel. Commercially prepared is OK just try to find without alcohol
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar. I used Bragg's raw and organic
- 15 drops or 100% pure lavender essential oil
- 5 drops of 100% pure tea tree essential oil

Mix all ingredients together and with a small funnel transfer into a small spray bottle. Shake well, and you're done!
*        Tea tree oil although highly effective an antibacterial agent, the smell is very strong and not many like it. Just the lavender essential oil will do, but you can add any other you like.
*        If you are wondering if your hands will smell like vinegar, don't worry, the lavender essential oil will mask the smell.
*        If you have pure vitamin E, you could add a few drops. It will act as a moisturizing agent and as a natural preservative.
*        These proportions filled about a 1.5 oz. container. Increase as needed.
*        If you prefer a gel, just buy aloe vera gel and use a 1:5 gel to witch hazel ratio for the consistency to remain.
*        You could get the spray bottle at the trial size aisle in any story.
Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel and Lavender Sanitizer
If you have sensitive skin, this alcohol-free sanitizer recipe is definitely a must-try.

1 cup pure aloe vera gel                                        2 teaspoons of witch hazel
15 drops lavender essential oil

Put all of the ingredients into a blender and mix together on low speed for one minute. Pour the mix through a funnel into an empty squeeze bottle and use as needed. The witch hazel will kill germs as alcohol does, while the aloe vera gel will keep your hands feeling nice and soft.

Castile Soap, Tea Tree Oil and Vitamin E Sanitizer
This recipe is free of both alcohol and aloe vera, making it safe for people with sensitive skin and an allergy to aloe.

1 teaspoon castile soap                         1 vitamin E liquid capsule
5 drop tea tree oil                                     4 tablespoons distilled water

Mix all of the ingredients other than the vitamin E capsule into a blender. Puncture the capsule with a fork or toothpick and drain the contents into the mixture. Mix on low speed for one minute before pouring the mix through a funnel into an empty squeeze bottle. Apply as needed. The vitamin e and tea tree oil will prevent drying and keep your hands soft.

On Guard Hand Sanitizer

5 Tablespoons Aloe Vera Gel                             4 Tablespoon Water
1/4 teaspoon Vitamin E oil                              8-10 drops On Guard Protective Blend
Small Squeeze Container
Note: Essential oils can be stored in plastic containers if the essential oils are highly diluted. Make sure they are high quality if you do use plastic containers.

In a bowl combine Aloe Vera Gel and Vitamin E oil. Add 8-10 drops of On Guard Protective Blend to the Aloe Vera mixture. Add water and mix well to combine. Add more or less water depending on the consistency you want. Pour into container and you're done! Put your homemade hand cleanser in your bag, car, or office for an effective, alcohol-free hand cleanser.

Simple Spray Disinfectants

Fill container with distilled water to top. Add essential oils as follows:
*        A couple of drops of cinnamon oil OR
*        5 drops On Guard (in 3 oz. container) OR
*        2-4 drops Purify (in 2 oz. container) OR
*        Any of the following essential oils: lemon, neroli, patchouli, peppermint, ylang ylang, or clove will also disinfect hands and surfaces

Other Recipes to Try

*        2 Tb aloe vera gel, 1 Tb alcohol-free witch hazel, 10 drops oil (2 lavender, 2 Melaleuca, 6 On Guard) Makes 2 - 15 ml bottles
*        Mix On Guard with thin hand lotion and a little witch hazel
*        Fill container 3/4 full with aloe vera gel. Add 1 tsp witch hazel and 10 drops Melaleuca Essential Oil;


Look for pure essential oils with no carrier oils added (like grape seed). Carrier oils go rancid. Tea tree oil and Melaleuca oil are the same thing. On Guard and Purify oils are from Doterra Essential Oils. Vitamin E oil can be purchased in a bottle or squeezed from Vitamin E capsules. You can substitute fractionated coconut oil (liquid) for vitamin E oil if desired. Use spray disinfectants on shopping carts, bathroom door handles, airplane trays, public bathroom stalls, diaper changing tables, or anyplace germs might lurk.


October 3 - November 3, 2013 - Persons of Interest by TAODA
Hanson Galleries Centre at Post Oak .  5000 Westheimer #106,  Houston, TX 77056
Hansen Galleries  is hosting an exhibition of new works by the members of the Texas Association of Original Doll Artists (TAODA).  Persons of Interest, a unique collection of one-of-a-kind costumed sculpture, will feature work in various media including clay, porcelain, wood, fiber, and other materials. Each piece is unique in character and design reflecting the style of the individual artist.  Hanson Galleries Post Oak location is open Monday through Friday, 10 am - 8 pm and Saturday 10 am - 6 pm.  For a map and directions, please visit or call 713-552-1242.

October 11-13, 2013 - Magical Art Doll Conference
Tulsa, Oklahoma
For more information about this new doll making/fiber arts conference go to:
Our teachers will be:  Linda Misa from Australia, Jessica Hamilton of the Doll Project and Barbara Schoenoff from Illinois.

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


Longtime customer and talented doll artist SHASHI NAYAGAM has shared a sweet pattern called "Itsy Bitsy" that you will find in our FREE section. We appreciate your generous gift, Shashi!

Make armatures for hands and feet
Make clay hands using an armature
Great tutorials for working with clay


Leslie Molen creates amazing story hats from antique Chinese silk. Check out her blog here:


Our Steampunk Queen SUSAN BARMORE has added another grand bird to her collection. Stop by and check out "Cardinal." -

"A Six Pack of Dolls" is a great new pattern from MAUREEN MILLS with lots of variations and accessories. -

It's hard to believe Halloween is just around the corner! GINI SIMPSON'S "King of Halloween" and "Queen of Halloween" will be perfect additions to your holiday decor. -

 Come see "Monique" and "Prudence," two exquisite new patterns by BARBARA WILLIS who is the master of beautiful costuming details. -

Designer SUZETTE RUGULO needed something for a boy toddler and came up the delightful "Reggie the Robot" and they are selling for her like hotcakes. Great gifts, wonderful way to brighten a nursery! -

SHERRY GOSHON has just released "Megan" - another wonderful Pressmold/Body pattern in one.  Learn how to make an entire head of paperclay. -

Costumer extraordinaire ARLEY BERRYHILL has just released an exquisitely detailed "Belly Dancer Costume" for "Le Femme." It is a COSTUME ONLY pattern but does include an additional leg piece for better posing. -

SHARON MITCHELL'S "Jeanne - The Innkeepers Wife" has been one of our most popular patterns. At long last "The Innkeeper" has arrived on the scene and you are going to love the detail of this crusty character. You will also get a BONUS 6 page tutorial for Cobbling Shoes with a ton of detailed photos. Stop by and check out these inspiring patterns. -

You will be learning how to wrap a wire armature with cotton knit to create "Fleur" - a darling new fairy from SHERRY GOSHON. This is a pressmold and body pattern all in one that has lots of wonderful construction techniques. -

GINNY LETTORALE teaches a great method of giving your bears that well- worn look in her darling pattern "Orphan Teddy Bears." -


Barb Keeling writes: "My first book is published.  Do a search on Amazon, for Barb Keeling and you will see it.  This story has come from some dolls we made 8 years ago. All those years I have written a bunch of stories about Mrs. GilleyWilley's Magical Adventures. They were done for our first great granddaughter.  Doug has done darling illustrations.  I am so exited...yahhh" The book is called "The Blue Eared Bear - A Mrs. GilleyWilley's Magical Adventure". Check out more of Barb and Doug's delightful patterns and books at


In the past month Bonnie has survived a birth, death, funeral, flood, gift, 2 teaching opportunities (one on hand sanitizers, the other on making doll wigs), and lots of out-of-town visitors. A granddaughter, Lily Cadence Clark, was born July 14th. Bonnie babysat the other four children and then took them to the hospital to see their new sister. The same day there was a terrible accident in New York, and Tanya Evans, her son-in-law's mother, died, and 8 others were injured. One is still in a coma. She attended the funeral a week ago. She is firmly convinced that her mother-in-law had something to do with the flood. She died 10 years ago, and over 50 boxes of treasures were being stored in Bonnie's basement. Suddenly a pipe burst out of a ceiling overflow, spraying the boxes with water and flooding the basement.  Included in the flooded boxes were over 100 dolls from all over the world. We flew out my daughter and husband's brother from Utah to help, along with his sister in Virginia. They spent more than a week going through boxes, salvaging things they could, and sending more to an auction house. Bonnie ended up with over 50 dolls that currently reside on her ironing board and sewing room. There is no room left to display them properly. She has to decide which child will inherit which doll. We are convinced that her mother-in-law caused the flood so her children would see all the treasures she saved for them that they had ignored for 10 years. A friend gave her a wonderful book, "Homemade Dolls In Foreign Dress" by Nina Jordan, published in 1939. It has wonderful 8" wrapped dolls and imaginative accessories, including scenery, bagpipes, igloo, etc. She can't wait to make some with her grandchildren. On August 3rd her daughter's in-laws arrived from Uganda for a 6 month visit. To make room her two grandsons from Uganda moved in with her while their basement is remodeled to create two more bedrooms. She and her husband are learning Luganda so they can communicate better. Her daughter just graduated from medical school, her grandson left today for a mission for the Mormon Church for two years, and we are blessing our new granddaughter this Sunday. Life is never boring at Lewis Villa!

Mary Ann helped move her parents Marion and Paul into a brand new assisted living home.  She and her siblings created a comfy environment for them mixing new furnishings with treasured keepsakes from their home.  The family continues to work on clearing out the family home, a long, challenging but enlightening process.  In the meantime preparations were made to travel to North Jersey on 17 August to be a vendor at the Annual Day With Dolls.  She is always thrilled to interact with her longtime, beloved customers in person as well as seeing their amazing dolls.  Kudos to the originator of this wonderful event Diane Kearney along with her many helpers.  A fabulous time was had by all.


Cameron Russell - "Looks aren;t everything. Believe me. I'm a model"

A sweet old lady was asked to say grace, and she brought down the house with this prayer:

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