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Dollmaker's Journey

October 2002 Issue Sixteen

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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:

** 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,

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 on a 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.

Making One  

Woke up this morn
An idea in my head
Don't think it came from something seen heard or read.
Came from a dream maybe,
A foggy cloud in my mind,
Maybe a vision or sighting.
I'm sure God had a hand.

So early this morning
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 began flying.
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 shows it.
Her body is here.
Then her arms and her hands and her legs
Soon appear.  

Oh, that feeling, that sweet sting of success.
Nothing feels quite as good (not even s_x).  

The doll's in my hands now.
She's looking at me.
Thank you dear Lord for setting her free.  

Meo Feroy © 2001

You can see Meo's patterns at:

She sells her original dolls online at Ebay. You can see them at: and

You can also visit her website at:  



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



The 2003 Kansas City Doll Fair ~ the Art of the Doll Workshops have finally been scheduled. To learn more visit:


We learned at We Folk of Cloth that its sister conference, Doll University, 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:



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

Check out some of her other patterns at 

Mary Tressler has a new free pattern on her site at:



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 be fine.

 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 just fine.

 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 several patterns in one!

 We are just thrilled to bring you another extraordinary design from the very talented CLAIRE-ELLEN. "Queen Nefertiti" is a study in beauty and grace with the exquisite face that has become Claire-Ellen's trademark. You can view this creative delight at

 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.

 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.



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 cheesecake.


3 – 8 oz. Packages soft cream cheese

¾ cup sugar

6 eggs

½ pint (1 cup) sour cream

¼ teaspoon vanilla



1 cup graham cracker crumbs

½ cup sugar

¼ cup melted butter


Blend cream 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 fruits.



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:

 OPTIC FIBER: 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

 LEATHER: Looking for small cuts of beautiful lightweight leather for doll shoes and clothes? Debra Loptien caters to doll artisans and other fine craftsmen. You can contact her at: or check out her website at

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:

 FABRIC: This site has the most incredible fabrics I have ever seen. Perfect for fantasy dolls or quilts! Check it out at:

 FEATHER BOAS: For rare exotic feather boas check out http://

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.

 VIDEO: James Carrington has a wonderful video series on sculpting miniature figures. Be sure and check out his website for incredible dolls at:

 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 2 p.m. 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:

 1st place - 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

Q: Where can I get a pattern for a cow jumping over the moon?

 A: There is a wall hanging in a book called "Appliqué For Baby" with the cow jumping over the moon. It is a quilt pattern found at

Also check out the Amazing Cow Site, which has hundreds of items, including patterns, for cows jumping over moons.

 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 Crafty College 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 updates.

 Q: I just subscribed to your newsletter. Is there any way I can read back issues?

 A: You can see back issues and an index on our website. Just scroll down our first page at 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 and tips.

 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:



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, D.C. metropolitan area hostage.

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 prayers.



Scholastic book club features some books about dolls, which might make good gifts for children. You can find them at:

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 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:

You can see some fantastic beaded dolls, which were raffled off for Breast Cancer Awareness month. It shows the beading progression step by step.


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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Connection, go to:

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