Dollmaker's Journey CUSTOMER CONNECTION
October 2002 Issue Sixteen
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: http://www.dollmakersjourney.com/
The creative energy generated at a doll conference
is difficult to describe to those who have never attended
one. Our spirits are refreshed and renewed on so many
levels. The 2002 We Folk of Cloth was just magnificent.
We were very pleased with the success of our Miss Sadie
classes and look forward to having pictures to show
you in the near future. It really delights us to meet
so many of our wonderfully supportive customers in person.
We had a ball chit chatting late into the night in Mary
Ann's room while everyone looked through all of the
pattern drawers and boxes. The conference also afforded
us the opportunity to meet some fabulous new designers
who we will be introducing you to in the coming weeks.
Dollmaker extraordinaire and professional storyteller
Rosie Chapman thrilled us all with her closing program
that included profound insights about how we live our
lives and hilarious stories. We love you, Rosie!
The past months have brought many changes and challenges
to both of our personal lives. We intend to use our
renewed energy from We Folk to take Dollmaker's Journey
in some exciting new directions in the coming months.
We hope you will continue to accompany us on our journey.
Enjoy this month's edition!
Mary Ann and Bonnie
Meo Feroy wrote: I have been reading with pleasure
the response that my poem - A Beginning - has been getting.
I wrote it from my heart one morning after reflecting
particular wonderful class I had taught
the day before. It was as though each one of those students
had given me the gift of a doll when they made their
doll in the class. You can see this poem
in our September Customer Connection newsletter in our
archives. Meo shared another poem with members of FOCD
that she gave me permission to reprint below.
Woke up this morn
An idea in my head
Don't think it came from something seen heard
Came from a dream maybe,
A foggy cloud in my mind,
Maybe a vision or sighting.
I'm sure God had a hand.
I'm a starting.
Found the right fabric.
Found the right thread.
My hands they are eager.
Who knows where they're led.
Then my thoughts
Scissors snipping away.
This idea in cloth must have its say.
My fingers are nimble.
My hands they are speedy
This little Bernina takes the cloth as if greedy.
Her face, she then
Her body is here.
Then her arms and her hands and her legs
Oh, that feeling,
that sweet sting of success.
Nothing feels quite as good (not even s_x).
Every once in a
while Dollmaker's Journey will introduce a new designer
that many of you already know. It is a delight to bring
you BARBARA WILLIS' exciting new series of dolls presented
in a teaching progression to help you build the skills
to make wonderful cloth dolls! Each pattern has an optional
face stamp to go with it for extra confidence in building
your face making skills. Check out "Poppy",
"Sea Side Sadie" and the lovely "Field
of Dreams" at http://dollmakersjourney.com/willis.html
UPCOMING EVENTS YOU WON'T
WANT TO MISS
The 2003 Kansas
City Doll Fair ~ the Art of the Doll Workshops have
finally been scheduled. To learn more visit: http://www.kcdollfair.com/
at We Folk of Cloth that its sister conference, DollUniversity,
will be held in Seattle,
Washington next year.
Judy Waters has turned it over to Karen Shifton. For
more details on this and other upcoming doll related
events visit CLOTH DOLL CONNECTION website at: http://clothdollconnection.com/
A SPECIAL GIFT FOR YOU
One of our designers, Patti LaValley,
has a free pin doll pattern on her website called Soul
Mates Pin Doll. She writes: By selecting holiday fabric
and embellishments, you can easily make this pin a Christmas,
Valentines or Halloween doll. You can see it at http://www.pattisdolls.com/freepattern1.html
If you are a pattern
designer, you might want to pay attention to the following
pet peeve from one of our customers. She wrote: Why
can't doll patterns indicate breast, waist and hip measurements
- like the ones we buy for ourselves? If the dimensions
of the doll for which the pattern was created were included,
it would give us all a head start in getting a pattern
to fit our new baby.
My response: I agree
with you completely! When a clothing pattern says it
will fit a 16" doll, is that chubby, fashion model,
baby, adult, teen, etc.? I do know a couple of designers
that indicate measurements (they design for American
Girl and Magic Attic type dolls) and have variations
for chubby, regular, and thin dolls, but most pattern
makers don't bother, or just design patterns to fit
a specific doll or porcelain doll mold. Of course, finished
CLOTH dolls vary in size depending on how firmly they
are stuffed, how closely the dollmaker followed the
seam allowance lines, etc. We do try and have all of
our designers indicate the height of the finished doll
on the cover of their pattern, and we always include
the height on our website. Sometimes that is difficult
if the doll is reclining or sitting, but customers want
to know how large the finished doll is. We even translate
cm to inches on our website for our American clients.
Polymer Clay and Home Safety
By Bonnie B. Lewis
We taught Miss Sadie the Church Lady
at We Folk of Cloth over Columbus Day weekend, and on
the second day everyone sculpted high heels out of polymer
clay for her shoes. You could make these heels from
paperclay and let them air-dry, but we felt that due
to time constraints it would be better if we used Sculpey.
(Besides, it rained almost all weekend, and everything
was very damp.)
HINT: If you use paperclay
and want it to dry in a hurry, use an old food dehydrator.
I brought vinyl gloves
for anyone to use that didn't want to actually touch
the clay (some people are allergic to it), but only
one person used them. I did caution everyone to thoroughly
wash her hands before eating. We baked the heels during
lunch in Mary Ann's toaster oven. We felt that way if
there were any fumes no one would be in the classroom.
I got a question from
a customer on how to do this. She wrote: I have heard
it is not good to bake food in an oven that has been
used for Sculpey, Fimo and the like. Is this true? I
have also heard you can successfully use a toaster oven
for this purpose; however, I don't know the exact procedure.
Any help you can give me would be appreciated.
I thought you might
be interested in my reply. I have eight children, and
I also worried about baking Sculpey, Fimo and Cernit
clays in my oven. I have heard if you use your regular
oven, the fumes leave a residue on the oven walls that
can permeate food when you use it later. Then a light
went off! I put my sculpted doll parts in a deep (at
least 2" deep) Pyrex glass baking dish, which is
ONLY used for baking clay. I then cover the top with
aluminum foil. You don't want the foil to touch or be
too near any clay parts. The clay seems to bake just
fine, and all fumes are captured on the foil covering,
saving your oven walls. After baking I just throw the
"contaminated" foil away. Of course, if you
are really worried and have a self-cleaning oven, just
clean the oven after baking your clay and you should
Problems occur with
polymer clay ONLY if you overcook things and let them
burn or cook them at too high a temperature. Burned
polymer clay fumes are toxic and not good to breathe.
However, if you follow directions and keep the temperature
at the recommended level you should have no problems.
People who bake clay
on a regular basis like to use a convection oven that
can often be purchased at a thrift store such as Goodwill.
This has even heat circulation and works well when baking
clay. You can even use this portable oven in a garage
so fumes won't permeate the house. Toaster ovens aren't
as good for baking large objects, but small items do
Again, I use a Pyrex
baking dish and foil cover when using a Toaster oven.
It is helpful to have an oven thermometer so you can
check the "real" oven temperature. Toaster
ovens especially seem to bake at uneven temperatures,
which isn't as good for curing clay (e.g. the bottom
burns and the top is cooler). However, we have used
Toaster ovens when teaching classes for small objects
in a covered glass dish (some students are worried about
breathing fumes) and we haven't had any problems. Just
be sure you bake at the recommended temperature (usually
265-275 degrees F.) for the length of time recommended
on the package for best results. For Sculpey, we let
the heels cook for ½ hour at 275 degrees F. because
they were about ½" thick, and you should cook this
clay for 15 minutes for every ¼" of thickness.
Let clay cool completely before removing from the oven
to complete curing.
I hope some of these
ideas are helpful as you explore the world of polymer
clay in your Dollmaking Journey.
We have a double treat from designer KERRY SEYMOUR.
"Pango and PieAnna" is an incredibly versatile
pattern from which you can make both a jester and a
fairy using the same basic pattern pieces. With the
optional arm, foot and fabric variations it's like getting
LINDA KAY MURPHY has
just released two more wonderful patterns. Those who
love antique reproduction style dollmaking are sure
to enjoy the very patriotic "Miss July." Arrayed
in flower petals and ribbons, the award winning "Princess
Fairy" will charm fairy enthusiasts young and old.
Australia 's talented
PRISCILLA MC DONALD has released the beautiful "Celebration"
- richly decorated with lace and beads with an elaborate
bead and feather headdress. http://dollmakersjourney.com/mcdonald.html
At long last, the
famous "Hitty" comes to Dollmaker's Journey.
This newest cloth version from designer BARBARA SPENCER
features optional wiring and costuming variations. Stop
by and meet this well-known doll artist in our designer
bio section. http://dollmakersjourney.com/friends.html
JUST FOR FUN
The holidays are coming soon, and I wanted to share
with you my family's favorite cheesecake. This recipe
originated in Colonial Williamsburg in the 1700's, and
was modernized by Evans Farm Inn in McLean,
Virginia (which has
since gone out of business). I like serving it for birthday
parties, because it is almost entirely made of protein,
with very little sugar added, compared to traditional
recipes. If you use fat free cream cheese, fat free
sour cream, and light cherry pie filling, it is also
low in fat. I hope you enjoy this lighter-than-air baked
BEST BAKED CHEESECAKE ON EARTH (Serves 16)
8 oz. Packages soft cream cheese
¾ cup sugar
½ pint (1
cup) sour cream
1 cup graham
½ cup sugar
¼ cup melted
cheese and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat
until smooth. Add sour cream and vanilla. Set aside.
Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Line bottom
of 10 spring form pan with crumb mixture. Pour cheese
mixture in pan and bake at 350 degrees F. for 10 minutes.
Then lower heat to 325 degrees F. and bake 50-60 minutes.
Serve topped with cherry pie filling, or other fresh
Just got a note from Beth Duncan about
one of our designers, Claire-Ellen. Thought you might
enjoy learning a little more about her. Beth writes:
BTW, I want to thank you for featuring Claire-Ellen
in your recent e-letter. Through our membership in two
doll clubs, we have become very good friends, and I
have to tell you that it tickled her no end to be highlighted
by Dollmaker's Journey! I had offered to take her out
fabric shopping and to dinner to celebrate her article
being published in SDA. The night before we were to
go, your e-letter came out. She was walking on air!
She is such a kick in the pants, that after our outing,
*I* had to go home and take a nap! She is just *good*
(talented) people, and I think she is quite surprised
to be so accepted by the cloth community.
CATALOG/FACES BY THE YARD: Order a
great free catalog full of hard-to-find sewing notions
and tools, dollmaking supplies, and miniature doll zippers.
They also carry Virginia Robertson's doll faces by the
yard! This 45" wide cotton fabric is printed with
approximately 16 doll faces (1-1/2" to 3"
high). Male faces are printed on one border and female
on the other. Use remaining fabric between borders for
the body. It comes with an instruction sheet for a tab
head doll, or you could make pin dolls from the faces.
They don't have an online store, but you can order the
catalog from: http://www.newarkdress.com/
Order optic fiber in lots of colors from Liberty Distribution.
It comes in ½ oz. packages and can be melted and fused
for great wings or turned into funky doll hair. Order
it online at http://liberty.distribution.bigstep.com/
PAPERCLAY and POLYMER CLAY: Handcraft
Designs run by Tony Kohn carries lots of air dry and
polymer clays. He also has Flumo and specialized sculpting
tools. If you like hand sculpting dolls, be sure and
visit his site at: http://www.hdclays.com
Look under Sexy Clothing Store for
Feather Boas. Pricy at $25, but they are 6 feet long.
JoAnn's Fabric and Crafts carries inexpensive
boas, under $4. Go to Halloween Costumes, page 3 for
marabou and page 4 for a mixed color feather boa that
would give you lots of different colored feathers for
hats for $4.50. http://www.joanns.com/
VIDEO: James Carrington
has a wonderful video series on sculpting miniature
figures. Be sure and check out his website for incredible
dolls at: http://www.jamescarringtondolls.com/
BOOK: Publish Your
Own Patterns by Nancy Restuccia has tons of detailed
information on publishing your own patterns. It is published
by Make It Easy Sewing & Crafts
TIPS: Sometimes necessity is the mother of invention.
At We Folk while teaching the Miss Sadie class one the
students wasn't happy with her sculpted face. The top
of the nose was all wrinkled, and there was no way to
push stuffing to the top of the nose from the open neck.
So we cut a small slit in the top of the head and pushed
stuffing into the nose from there. We then closed up
the slit, covered it with hair, and no one will know
ever Miss Sadie had brain surgery and a face lift.
Another student was admiring her doll up close and
accidentally got lipstick on the cloth body. Baby wipes
to the rescue. We had brought some to wipe up spills
and glue, and to our joy it also removed makeup from
the doll fabric with only a few wipes. You might want
to keep some handy in your sewing room.
One of our good customers, Jane Darin, appeared on
the Carol Duvall show (HGTV) at on October 17th.
Pictures of winning Hoffman dolls are
finally up. Several of the winners are our good customers.
We are very proud of Jody Miller for winning first place.
I think this is the first time she has ever entered
the Hoffman Challenge. Check them all out at:
- Jody Miller
Columbus , OH I Love My Elf
2nd place - Arley Berryhill
Toluca Lake, CA Masquerade
3rd place - Barbara T. Schoenoff
Champaign, IL Circus Girl
Honorable mention - Janet Bodin Houston,
TX Gung Hay Fat Choy (Happy New Year)
Curator's Choice - Colleen Ehle Patell
Stanford, CA Contemplating Life
While you are there be sure and check out the challenge
fabric for 2003, which is Black Cherries. I wonder how
big those cherries are? Coordinating prints include
chocolate candy, teacups, and butterflies. This next
year will REALLY be a challenge!
This is a new section to our ongoing newsletter, where
we try to address questions you might have. Feel free
to send any queries to Bonnie B. Lewis at EnchantedR@aol.com
Q: Where can I get
a pattern for a cow jumping over the moon?
Q: I love Miss Sadie
that you taught at We Folk of Cloth. Is a pattern available?
A: We have decided
to make Miss Sadie the Church Lady into an online class.
Hopefully this class will be available through CraftyCollege early
in 2003. The class will cover the doll, her clothes
(several outfits), hats, shoes, lots of accessories,
stand, and much more. Keep checking our newsletter for
Q: I just subscribed
to your newsletter. Is there any way I can read back
A: You can see back
issues and an index on our website. Just scroll down
our first page at http://dollmakersjourney.com until
you see Customer Connection and click on the blue link
for archives. We try to have a free project and major
informational article in each issue, along with updates
Q: Just a couple of
questions concerning Fiona's cold porcelain formula
(see Customer Connection, Issue 13 for the recipe) Is
the Elmer's glue standard liquid or powdered? Do you
think this clay could be placed in a mold? Has any one
stateside tried it yet?
A: The Elmer's glue
is standard liquid formula. I think this clay would
work in a candy mold or press mold. You might want to
lightly dust the mold with talcum powder first for easy
release. By the way, Fiona has updated her website with
more dolls using this formula. You can see them at:
NEWS FROM THE HOME FRONT
After 7 truckloads of stuff (mostly stash) and almost
daily trips to Virginia
(1-1/2 hours each way) for a month, Bonnie has finally
settled down with her family in West
Virginia in a small rental home.
It is way too small for anything important to be unpacked
(like her sewing room), so life is on hold until their
home is built. However, she did manage to find her sewing
machine at the last minute, just in time for We Folk.
At least she has her priorities right! One of the sniper's
victims was shot just a block from her son's new home
in Manassas, Virginia,
and her husband and granddaughter passed the Sunoco
station about a minute after the murder took place.
Too close for comfort! Her daughter was caught on Route
66 after the murder in Falls Church
right next to G Street Fabric, and she waited over four
hours to pass through the police blockade. Fortunately
everyone attending We Folk arrived there and back home
safely, and we are grateful for that. It is amazing
how one person's actions can hold the whole Washington,
Taking the Dollmaker's Journey show on the road is
always a huge undertaking for us. We spend days putting
price tags on the thousands of patterns we pack up and
take with us. Consequently, Mary Ann is busily trying
to get everything sorted out and back to where it should
be, while keeping the daily orders filled. Many of you
met Mary Ann's sister Barbara Cantrell at Cheryl Leone's
Tea this year. Barbara's brain tumor has returned and
will be removed on Friday the 18th of October.
Mary Ann will run up to New Jersey
for a few days to support her family during this difficult
time. Barb just started a full time teaching job this
year and is feeling very positive that she'll be back
to work in a few weeks. Please remember her in your
There is a
section (under Goldie) for designing a doll where children
can send in their drawings and possibly have them posted
on the website.
Sell, buy or trade at http://dollmakersexchange.com/.
All ads have pictures, and it's an eBay-type site (much
smaller) just for dollmakers. Doll-sized quantities,
miniature treasures, materials by the 1/4 yard, artist-made
room settings and furniture, something you never saw
before and only knew you needed when you saw it. What
about those materials you know you're never going to
use? Turn them back into money. Place your first ad
free to see how it does for you. New treasures every
week. Show your dolls. By dollmakers for dollmakers.
Check out the life-size
dolls by Kelly Nolan and her mother. They are dressed
as butlers, maids, handy men, etc., with great soft
sculpted faces. You can see them at: http://www.nolanpeople.com
We'd love to hear your thoughts about our Customer
Contact the editor Bonnie B. Lewis at enchantedR@aol.com
with any comments, suggestions, address changes, etc.
Please feel free to pass this newsletter on to any
friends. Help us spread the word about Dollmaker's
Journey! All we ask is that you forward it intact, with
the subscription information included.