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Dollmaker's Journey

April 2003 Issue Twenty-One

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April 2003 Issue Twenty-one


Copyright 2003 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


Dear dollmaker friends,

The cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C. have come and gone, and spring is finally in the air here in the United States. Taxes are filed (or extended), Easter has been celebrated, and many places are on daylight savings time, which gives an hour more sunlight to work and play. Time to dust off the cobwebs and spring clean your sewing area, making it ready to begin some fabulous new projects. You will find ideas for beaded pins, craft shows, and lots of tips in this Customer Connection Newsletter. Enjoy!

Mary Ann and Bonnie



Pamela Armas is gathering Treasures from her stash for the Jewel of the Gypsy Challenge. Kits containing fabric, trim, and trinkets to use in your Gypsy doll will be mailed beginning in April (cost $15). Dolls (18" or smaller) made for this challenge will be displayed at the Houston Quilt Festival October 29-Nov. 2, 2003. For more information email her at: or call (505) 847-0963. To receive your kit (which includes shipping instructions), mail a check to: Treasures of the Gypsy, P.O. Box 748, Mountainair, NM 87036. Also check out her Gypsy Fabric Club. For $50 a month you receive lots of fabric, trims, and exotic treasures to augment your stash, all personally chosen by Pamela.



Erika Surovec, a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Ukraine, is starting a doll project there to:

  1. Create an outlet for creative expression and cultural identity.
  2. Create an awareness of the doll as an art form.
  3. Create a sustainable form of income for the local women.

She will initially begin by using found objects to create a doll, and would love extra magazines and books to show the women what possibilities exist in the outside world. For more information on her project email Erika at: Her address is:

Erika Surovec
P.O. Box 42
Sevastopol, 99011 UKRAINE

Any help, bits of stash, or information you could share would be appreciated.



We're always excited to add new designers to Dollmaker's Journey. Meet ELLEN "AUNTMOONIE" HAYTAS. Ellen's whimsical patterns "Daydreaming Katie" and "Chef Louigi - a Teapot Doll" include thorough written instruction as well as lots of color photographs. We know you will enjoy her designing style.

We are thrilled to be adding the patterns of the ever-so-talented MARY TRESSLER! Along with Mary, we will be the exclusive distributors of her innovative "No Frills" pattern line. You'll delight in her Pin Up Girl series, Native Dancers and her many other exotic fantasy characters. For those of you who love costuming, her Body Basic pattern makes a perfect mannequin. You can count on learning something new with each one of these exceptional patterns. Check them out at

Mary Tressler has written an article for the Doll Street Gazette (March/April) that should be read by every dollmaker. Go to:

Our NJ friend BUNNY GOODE has joined our Dollmaker's Journey family of designers. We all enjoyed seeing her impish "O'Rooney" the leprechaun, serene "Rip Van Winkle" and fabulous "Hey, Goode Lookin'" hand mirror at Cheryl's Tea a few weeks ago where her patterns were very well received. We know you're going to like them as much as we do.



May 1-4, 2003 - Artistic Figures In Cloth
Columbus, Ohio
To view the brochure/application visit:

May 1-4, 2003 - Canadian Doll Artists Association Conference
Niagara Falls, Ontario
For complete information go to:

May 9-12, 2003 - Baja Doll Fiesta
Ensenada, Mexico
For more information go to:

July 10-14, 2003 - Enchanted Freedom Conference
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Contact Gladi Alford at:
Or visit: for more information

July 18-21, 2003 - NIADA
Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans, Louisiana
NIADA Artist's Show & Sale open to public July 20th from noon to 8 pm
For more information:

October 29-November 2, 2003 - Houston Quilt Festival
Houston, Texas
Jewel of the Gypsy Challenge on display there

March 17-21, 2004 - Kansas City Doll Fair ~ the Art of the Doll ~
Kansas City, Kansas
For more information:

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



Lots of Free Patterns from the Dude and Dolls of Northern California Doll Club (turtle, scrooge, dragon, etc.) -

Make a delightful beaded people pin. See this and other free projects at The Bead Studio -



Color Coordination - Something I learned in Interior Design class. There are only two colors on the color wheel that will match no matter what shade you use - Green and Orange. It can be pale to bright to dark, it does not matter they will all go together, for example: Peach, Orange and Rust, or Mint, Hunter and Chartreuse. Sandra Corson-Walker


Selling at Doll/Craft Shows

By Bonnie B. Lewis

Q: I was invited to participate in a doll/craft show, but the booth was very expensive.

I don't have enough dolls/crafts to make my money back and no one I knew was interested in sharing the cost because of the short notice. When did you know you were ready to set up and sell at crafting events?

A: I never sold anything at a doll or craft show until I had enough dolls to fill a table 6' long with enough replacement dolls to refill the table at least once. For me that was over 20 dolls. It is not a good idea to go to a show and have an empty booth. I have a friend whose dolls are so popular she sells out usually in the first hour. For her booth she needs at least 50 dolls. For many shows you also need photographs or slides of your work, and this means you must have an inventory done ahead and photographed.

Q: I get the impression that some people don't want you to know about upcoming events. Have you experienced that? I feel like someone sitting on the sidelines waiting for a chance to get in the game.

A: When I first started selling at shows, it was hard to find out where they were. A lot of the good shows were restricted, juried, or kept renting booths to people that came every year. You might try selling from your home by doing a home show near Christmas. We operated a show called "Holiday House" for 13 years in model homes, and it was opened the weekend before Easter and the weekend after Thanksgiving. We advertised and put up signs (check with your local zoning ordinances before doing this). The first year we had nine crafters participate (the nine who started Holiday House) in one model home. By year 13 we were using 4 model homes, had almost 100 crafters, and a huge mailing list. We also offered door prizes to those who came. We requested that each crafter donate a door prize, and we gave away several each day. Once you get in a local craft show, you will hear by word of mouth about other opportunities. Check your newspaper and attend craft shows in your area. Everywhere you go ask about schedules for future shows or ask to be included on next year's crafter mailing list. Enter your dolls in State Fairs or local county fairs so you will get name recognition. A lot of high schools have craft shows where a percentage of the sales go to help the school. Call your local schools and find out when they are and how much they cost. A lot will have booths for $10.00 a table.

Q: Do you make/keep dolls just for craft/art festivals?

A: I produce different dolls for different shows. At art and craft festivals I tend to make lower priced dolls ($25-$100) and always try to have something at my booth that would sell for less than $10.00, even if that is doll pins, jewelry, stationery, etc. Not everyone can afford an art doll, and by having lower priced items customers can feel that if they can't buy a doll, at least they can get something made by the artist they admire. At doll shows (usually more exclusive, more expensive, and a select clientele) dolls can be priced from $25 to $1,000 or more, depending on what kind (porcelain, cloth, clay, one of a kind, etc.), your reputation, and your expertise. Be aware of your surroundings, security, and lighting. Some dolls would not fare well outside in windy or rainy conditions. Dolls tend to sell better if you focus on one style (e.g. fantasy, art dolls, children, babies, play dolls). Some shows require that you only carry one medium (e.g. wood, porcelain, cloth, etc). Booths that focus on one type of doll (e.g. American Girl doll clothes, fashion dolls, play dolls, fantasy) tend to attract more people than booths that are just cobbled together with a variety of things.

Q: What was your turning point from hobby to making a profit?

A: I always understood that you changed from an amateur to a professional when you sold your first doll. Of course, it seems you never receive enough money to compensate for your time. A basic rule of thumb is to determine how much it costs to produce your doll, and triple that amount. Then add in money for your time. This will usually make the doll cost more than the market will bear. So to realistically price your dolls, I usually check out my competition, and try to price things in a comparable range. At first you will be lucky to break even. However, as time goes on you will find ways to supplement your sales by teaching, writing, creating patterns for sale, etc. I don't know too many doll artists who got rich just selling their dolls. Part of the reason they keep making them is for the creative and artistic satisfaction they receive.

Q: How do you determine when to get into a show even now?

A: Here I have to laugh. I will do a show when I want to get rid of some of my excess inventory. I also want to start selling things online, because we moved to a rural area that doesn't have a lot of interest in art dolls, but just primitives and country. We are in the process of moving to a new home, and I am sure that I will have to get rid of many dolls to make room for the new ones I keep making. Here in a new city and state I will attend any craft shows I see advertised, and check out what sells and what seems to be popular. Then if I wish to enter next year, I will have a good idea of the kinds of things to make to compete with other crafters/dollmakers.

Hope this helps give you some ideas. There is nothing more exciting than selling your first doll, and the season for craft and doll shows is just beginning.



The amazing KATE ERBACH has just released three terrific new patterns - "Smithers" from her Family Retainer series, "Lady Catherine", the Queen's washerwoman dressed in antique linens and the exuberant "Birthday Wish" with her birthday cake hat. We know you're going

to love these wonderful characters.

From the very fertile imagination of Starship California's SYLVIA SCHORR we have the newest addition to her pincushion collection - the King-Kong inspired "Giant Ape Kidnaps Blonde Beauty." She also has a charming "Littlest Mermaid" perfect for embellishing with your favorite bits and pieces and "Zelda of the Flying Zambezis" with a hand painted body. Check out these wonderful new patterns at

The Elf Queen - ALLISON MARANO - has just released her newest character "Riffle" who is engineered to stand alone. You're going to love this little guy!-

ANDREA PERKINS has a charming gardening doll called "Felicia Flowers" that is so quick and easy to make. A perfect Spring gift for a gardening friend or relative. She has also created "Thimbelena" - the most delightful pin doll holding a pincushion made from a thimble. We're just nuts about it and we know you'll be making batches of them for all your sewing friends. See them both at:

Beading queen MARCIA ACKER-MISSALL presents us with her richly embellished "Gypsy Treasures Tassel" which can be used for almost anything from jewelry to home decor.

JACQUE UETZ has released her "Pharia Jester" - a charming pindoll with
molded paperclay head for all you press mold fans.

Last, but never least, we have 2 new face molds from the tireless SHERRY GOSHON. "Chantal" is an exquisite art-deco style face made for the "Blossom" body and "Spring" is an alternate child's face for the "Gracie" body. We know her many fans are going to love these new press molds.



One of our customers, Laura Lunsford, from Monte Vista, Colorado, just got the news from Soft Dolls & Animals Magazine, that they will be featuring one of her dolls, Elizabeth" in an upcoming issue! Congratulations, Laura.

A note from Val Garber who recently moved to "Darkest Africa":

Life is not bad here. Almost no craft supplies and very little fabric is available, but other than that, most things are available. It's strange what is and isn't available though. For instance, I saw Pringles and I saw sushi rice, yet they don't have chocolate chips or graham crackers. Go figure.

It has taken much longer to get settled in here than I thought it would. For one thing almost no one lists his or her business in the yellow pages so finding where to get what you want is like a detective game. It does make for some interesting discoveries though. I haven't been bored :)

Thankfully I brought lots and lots of fabric and art supplies with me, good ex girl scout that I am, and soon I will be able to actually get back to projects started 10 months or more ago. I guess there could have been worse interruptions. I am getting slowly over the home sick feelings and settling in. I am almost feeling normal again. Val Garber"

Dollmaker's Journey will soon have Val's first pattern created since she moved to Africa. In the meantime, check out her other patterns at:



Q: Could somebody please tell me what is the difference between styrofoam and polystyrene. I thought that it was the same thing but read somewhere that styrofoam is softer than polystyrene. In Australia we have polystyrene, floral art foam used for dried arrangements etc but cannot find styrofoam. I used polystyrene to make "Fun" by Jane Houck, which was not easy to carve.

A: We have customers all over the world, and when they buy a pattern that calls for Styrofoam, sometimes there is confusion. In Australia polystyrene is readily available, and Styrofoam isn't. Here in the United States people use the terms Styrofoam and polystyrene interchangeably, but I really don't think they are. In my experience polystyrene is firmer, and the surface is MUCH smoother. Sometimes it is called Dylite. It is harder to compress and harder to carve, but I like it a lot for Lynn Butcher boobs, wreaths, etc. When you cut it you see lots of tiny white balls compressed together. Styrofoam is bumpy on the surface (it would be hard to paint a face on it), it flakes or chips when you cut it but can be easily carved using a serrated knife. The slightest pressure (even from your fingers) can dent it, which makes it ideal for creating doll hat forms. The Craft Place ( carries Styrofoam, and if you look at a picture of it, it will look kind of fuzzy. Polystyrene is heavier. I know if you bake Styrofoam in the oven it will create toxic fumes that can be quite dangerous, so we warn people NEVER to use Styrofoam inside oven bake clay such as Sculpey. However, people in Europe bake polystyrene all the time and don't seem to have any problems, although I DON'T recommend it. Styrofoam is probably easier to use when carving a face and covering it with fabric, because Polystyrene crumbles. Both will work with Jane Houck's patterns (although styrofoam is easier), but you need to use a different technique to cut them. I have used Styrofoam balls that are 5 years old, and they don't seem to be much harder, although they become more fragile with age. Hope this helps solve your problem.



Beads, charms, embellishments - The Bead Studio at has hard-to-find feet, hands, shoe, and head charms for pin dolls. Free online beading projects and monthly newsletter. Visit The Bead Studio at 266 East Main Street, Ashland, OR 97520
Phone: 541-488-3037 Email:

Costuming Book - One of my favorite books for historical costumes is: Patterns for Theatrical Costumes: Garments, Trims, and Accessories from Ancient Egypt to 1915 -- by Katherine Strand Holkeboer; Paperback. $20.97 (available from It has lots of patterns in 1/8 size, and using a proportional scale wheel (available from, they are easy to size up and down to fit almost any doll, as well as people.

Eye Glasses and doll shoes - Check out



You don't need fancy equipment to insert miniature eyelets into doll shoes and vests, etc. Just purchase a prick punch or center punch from a hardware store. They cost about $3. These are used to set nails in wood. You also need a hammer (lightweight is better). To set the 3/32-inch and 1/8 inch eyelets use a 3/8-inch center or prick punch. To set the 1/16-inch eyelets use the 1/4-inch center punch. You can see pictures on our website at that show you exactly how to do this.



Bonnie finally gets to see what is stored in those 500 boxes that have been in storage for 9 months as she moves into her new home in West Virginia. Of course, after talking with Pamela Armas from Treasures of the Gypsy, she can't complain. Pamela has been camping out in a tiny room for two years while they renovate their future home, and she has over 5,000 boxes stacked all over the place. And Bonnie thought 500 were bad.

As always, Mary Ann and Bonnie had a wonderful time attending Cheryl Leone's annual dollmakers Tea earlier this month. They love any opportunity that enables them to interact with their customers in person and to admire the wonderful dolls they are making. Cheryl outdoes herself every year. The next day Mary Ann and her siblings threw a surprise 80th Birthday Luncheon for their beloved mother Marion and 45 of her best girlfriends. A grand time was had by all. Contractors have been painting, repairing and installing various items for Mary Ann's new home for the past two weeks. She is delighted with the results and happy to have it all done so quickly. Now to finish organizing the sewing room…



When you go to under the search engine enter "historical costumes make" and you will get 148,000 sites to check. OR you can begin by trying some of my favorite web sites with lots of costuming links:

A Huge gallery online research library for fashion and costume

Clothing and Costume Links, including SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism)

The Costumer's Manifesto


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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