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Dollmaker's Journey

May/June 2003 Issue Twenty-Two

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May/June 2003 Issue Twenty-two


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 issues.


Dear dollmaker friends,

This issue of Customer Connection Newsletter is a combined May/June issue because Bonnie is going to be gone the month of June. Her family is driving out west for a wedding in California, to help her Mom in Utah who fell and broke her shoulder, and to bring her daughter to BYU Idaho where she will attend college the end of June. (Amy graduated from High School on May 30th.) She will return just in time to speak with Mary Ann at the Central Penn Doll Collectors "Hat Happening" Luncheon in Hershey, Pennsylvania on the 28th, and then she is off to Boston to help her daughter who is expecting their third child July 1st. The next issue of Customer Connection will be sent sometime in July after she returns from Boston.

Mary Ann and Bonnie



Kids out of school? Nothing to do? Spark your summer creativity by entering one of these challenges.

Summer Dreams Challenge was created by one of our designers, Patti LaValley. Dolls will be on display at the Western Washington Fairgrounds in Puyallup, Washington from 6/28/03 to 6/29/03. To learn more and print entry forms go to:

Pictures of dolls will be submitted to Soft Dolls and Animals magazine.

The Hoffman Challenge:

You buy the assigned fabric: #4381 Black Cherry, and use it on a doll. The rules are posted on their web site. Deadline August 8, 2003.

The Sulky Challenge:

You make a doll, using Sulky thread wherever thread is visible. The thread must be the focal point of the piece. Rules posted on their web site. Deadline July 31, 2003



Kathleen Chrisman is looking for writers and designers for her Dolls United Interactive Magazine. For information on upcoming themes and submission guidelines go to:



July 9-10, 2003 - Puppeteers Conference
State College, Pennsylvania
Contact conference coordinator Rita Smircich at (203)-255-3368

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:

September 7-10, 2003 - C3 - The Classic Cloth Conference
Courtyard by Marriott and Grappone Conference Center, Concord, NH
For catalog contact OR call 603-226-4501
OR access C3 catalog at: (Adobe Acrobat format)

October 2-5, 2003 - Camp Doll U
Kent, Washington
For brochure send $3 to: Two Friends LLC, 2423 SE 322nd St, Kent, WA 98042
OR visit the web site:

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:



This month's article is all about shoes. Free shoe patterns can be found at: Click on Archives, then scroll down to Doll Shoes.

Patti Culea and Barbara Willis have free shoe instructions on their sites. Here are the urls:

Noreen Crone-Findlay has all kinds of finger puppets and crafts, including a cornstarch clay recipe, a little loom, some origami projects and other fun things perfect to keep your little ones happy this summer. Check them out at:



You still can use the vacuum cleaner to pick up your beads, but first, put an old stocking over the end of the suction tube & use a rubber band to hold it in place (make sure it's tight) allowing you to still suck those little beads up but they stay right on the end of the stocking until you turn the machine off and put them into your container. Kelsey Perth, Western Australia



By Bonnie B. Lewis

Mary Ann and I wrote a book on how to make over 100 different shoes to fit any doll or bear. It is called "Creating Fabulous Footwear for Fantastic Dolls."

Included in Chapter 5 are ideas to create sports, running, tennis, and soccer shoes. This book was published in 1998, and since then we have come up with more ideas for shoes. Here are some updates to try:

Sport Soles:

Use the directions in our book to create the basic shoe, but try making the sole from Rubbermaid shelf liner (this is a non-skid rubbery webbed design, not paper, that comes in different colors and textures), or use fun foam or leather run through a paper crimper (found at a scrapbook store) to create a ridged sole. If using leather wet it first before crimping. We suggest in our book using a mouse pad inner sole (or several layers of fun foam glued together) and even cutting up a plastic doormat to create spikes for soccer shoes. Try using a truck inner tube (used, of course) or a thick bicycle inner tube for the sole (you may need several layers - use Rubber Cement to glue them together). You can also use an old bicycle tire. Try painting the sole and edge of the shoe with latex mold-making compound (found at craft stores) or Plastidip (used to dip tool handles found at hardware stores). You can dye the latex with Rit liquid dye before using if you want colored soles. This can be textured after a skin forms and before it hardens completely. Check out the rubber kitchen gloves used for washing dishes. Some of them have great grip patterns, and can be used to cover the edge of the sole also. We have also tried rubber balloons cut into thin sections and stretched around the edge of the shoe. You can also find rubber sheets at stamping and scrapbook stores. Basically you will create a thick sole, cover the edge with rubber (from gloves, vinyl fabric, balloons, or painted latex). Glue the shoe to the inner sole and add the thick outer sole. Of course, complete directions are in our shoe book. Don't forget, we also carry grommets in three sizes for perfect shoe eyelets, and we now have directions on our website on how to use them.

Fabric shoe heels:

Many people have asked how to make a high heel shoe out of fabric where the heel is firm. If the doll sits, stuffing the heel with Fiberfil works O.K., but if the doll stands you need more support. I have inserted a wooden dowel into the heel, and stuffed around it. My favorite technique is to fill the heel with paperclay or air-drying clay and then finish the shoe. If the shoe is part of the foot (i.e. shoe is painted onto foot) I fill the heel with paperclay, finish stuffing the foot with Fiberfil, and then put several layers of gesso on the shoe portion of the foot. This stiffens the shoe. Sand the gesso between layers for a smooth finish, and the paint and seal. If the top of the shoe doesn't have a perfectly smooth line, you can cover multitudes of problems with tiny trim or gimp glued around the top edge. It also makes a shoe look more professional if you glue on a leather sole and heel tip.

Best glue for leather:

Mary Ann and I did a lot of experiments with different glues when we wrote our shoemaking book, "Creating Fabulous Footwear for Fantastic Dolls" and we found Leather Weld by Tandy or Leather and Suede Glue by Aleene's works the best for leather. I would recommend you apply it with a toothpick, let it set for a few minutes, and then press up the hem. It holds fairly quickly and does not seem to seep through the leather. This is what we use for all the leather soles and heels on the doll shoes we make. It also works well on vinyl.

Tiny shoe clamps:

Getting the shoe gathers glued to the inner sole without puckers takes patience, but it is possible. We love miniature clothespins, and use them in our classes. I used to get them at CR's Crafts (, but every time we see them in a toy store or craft store we buy some more. I also find paper clips work well around the toe end (you can get some really tiny ones).

Happy shoemaking!



You'll love JUDI WARD'S "Emma Rose" her latest antique reproduction doll and "Little Girl Lori" her wonderful new toddler. Check them out at

We also have CYNDY SIEVING's darling poseable fairy - "Golden Valley Sprite."

You'll marvel at BRENDA COULTER's use of beads for both construction and embellishment in her "Eternal Love & Joy" pattern - a fantasy mother, baby, and baby carriage you're sure to enjoy.

The talented JACQUE UETZ has released a variety of wonderful new patterns including two alternate bodies for her very versatile "Maggie Rose" press mold. You're just going to love "Annie", Jacque's special interpretation of that famous character, and the very colorful "Jilly

Jester." Made with vintage linens, "Sweet Pea and Her Doll" is a precious alternate body for the "Pharia Jester" press mold. Gessoing and painting the face, arms and legs of her new baby doll "Rosebud" will produce the look of an old fashioned bisque doll. We know you are going to enjoy all of these exciting projects!

We're delighted to be adding three new patterns from SHERRY GOSHON. "Lil Bag 2" is the perfect size for carrying your passport and credit cards as you travel. Two new Wall Dolls - "Azalea" and "DyeLylia" focus on dyeing techniques for the various materials and trims. Stop by and check out these wonderful new projects.

KAREN SHIFTON has released her "Pursonified" which includes a Sling Purse and Neck Pouch in the same pattern. You'll enjoy learning how to make the exquisite faces as you create these terrific bags with a wide variety of materials.

Australian designer MICHELLE MUNZONE has added three wonderful new patterns to her rich collection of cloth characters. Stop by and take a peek at her serene wizard "Dante," bead-jointed elf "Krispen" and her grandly costumed "Puss N' Boots."

Dollmaker's Journey is excited to bring you seven new patterns by the ever popular MARY TRESSLER, including "Creola", "Vanya", and "Cabaret" - three exotic dancers; "Rosalia" - a fiery Latin beauty; showgirls "Topaz" and "Maisy", the first in a series of Ladies with Hats; and "Esmerelda", featuring a fascinating internal body sculpt for more position options. Prepare to be blown away at

We also have a new book, "Designing a Doll and Making Faces Inspiration" by PAMELA HASTINGS. This 60-page book includes many pictures and inspirations to help you design your own doll. Included is a photo transfer on fabric so you can make one of Pamela's patterns and a full color gallery of some of her dolls. As you read you will be given a set of exercises to complete which will help spark your creativity in diverse areas such as shape, color, theme, found objects, pattern design, construction techniques, etc. Treat yourself to this very special addition to your dollmaking library at



Q: Have you seen the article from the NY Times, dated 18 February 01, about a NY doll collector, Andrea Levitt? The story captures the passion of a "collector" along with the fascination (obsession) with which many of us relate to textiles. You can read it at:

A: Thank you so much for sharing the wonderful article and site. Barbara Schoenoff is one of our designers, I recognized dolls made from Meo Feroy's patterns and Shirley Nigro-Hill was in our class at We Folk of Cloth.

Q: Somewhere months ago I saw a teddy bear made of beads. As I am a bear maker I would love to see the pattern again. Susanne

A: I found a cute pattern for a beaded teddy bear made from Pony Beads at: They also have two cute beaded bears made on safety pins. Also, when in doubt, go to my favorite search engine: Under the search box enter "beaded teddy bear pattern" and you will see lots of other patterns to try. Have fun.



FABRICS - Incredible cultural fabrics from all over the world. Check it out at:

TRIMS - Lots of fancy trims and fringes at:



I first heard about Crystal Lacquer when we taught a class in Montana with Anne Marie Brombal. She uses it for all her dolls, and because it is so thick the buildup on eyeballs looks quite realistic. She also uses it for long fingernails, and she told us we absolutely had to start selling it on our site. I know Barb Keeling highly recommends it, and even sells it in different colors. Crystal Lacquer was originally designed for scrapbooks, and it is archivally safe. Therefore, I don't believe it will turn yellow with age. However, since it has only been available for several years, there are no dolls that have aged sufficiently to be sure that is true. I do know that if you use clear nail polish (remember the Cabbage Patch craze?) it doesn't stay clear forever. I made over 100 soft sculpt dolls when my children were little, and their eyes have turned slightly yellow over time.



Flavia, one of our readers, wrote--Greetings and happy nesting to you both. I do read the newsletter so I keep up with your current nesting adventures. The picture in my mind is of birds in early spring, building a nest by moving things to one location from a number of different locations and getting it all to fit together in the appropriate formation. You have it over the birds in that you can improvise a lot and still be successful.

The birds discovered Bonnie's outdoor grill just before she moved, and decided to build a nest. No matter how the grill was covered or how often the nesting materials were removed, they kept finding ways to get inside. The only solution was to move the grill to her new home. She really does feel like a bird sometimes, building a nest as she opens a multitude of boxes. One is really scary - It is labeled "dirty clothes from basement." Since it hasn't been opened in over a year, she can't wait to see what is inside. LOL Now every time she opens a new box she thinks of Flavia and her "nesting" analogy.

Mary Ann actually managed to sneak out of town for several days in early May. Each year a group of women that have also lived in the Philippines have a little reunion in various cities around the US. Last year they marveled at the beauty of Chicago and this year they discovered the delights of San Francisco and the Napa Valley. Picture spending an entire day in a 15-passenger van with women who have toured and tasted at three amazing wineries. The rollicking laughter on the way home was incredibly therapeutic for everyone. MAK went a day early and stayed an extra day to spend time with her closest friend Judy Wright who was the organizer. It was a wonderful treat after the grind of moving over the past several months. Next year the ladies will convene in Houston. Now, at long last, she is hard at work sorting through the last bits of buttons and trims and will soon have her sewing room/studio up and running again.



Organize your life at Lots of great 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
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Journey! All we ask is that you forward it intact, with all
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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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