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Dollmaker's Journey

June 2006 Issue 56

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Dollmaker’s Journey
June 2006 Issue 56
Dream ~ Imagine ~ Create ~ Grow ~ Believe ~ Magic
at we help your creative dreams come true.

June 2006 Issue 56

Copyright 2006 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 Dollmaker Friends,

Just a few weeks left to participate in our Annie La Bouche Challenge. We have some terrific entries coming in. We can’t wait to see what you’ve come up with! It is always so much fun to see how different everyone’s vision is. Click here for all the details

The days are really heating up in our neck of the woods and we have an array of new projects that are sure to energize you during these lazy summer days. Enjoy!

Mary Ann and Bonnie


Our June Designer of the month is none other than the amazingly imaginative MARY TRESSLER. Not only will you get 20% off her incredible collection of patterns but we are adding 6 new patterns to boot and what an eclectic array of projects it is. From Doll U 2005 we have her “Klondike Chronicles” booklet, the fabulous wall dolls “Medusa” and “Le Poupee,” the buxom “Belle,” and two of the classic patterns we haven’t had before “The Divination” and “The Enchanted.” If you want to learn the best, solid doll making techniques then a MARY TRESSLER pattern is for you.

Drum roll please………….With the greatest pleasure and delight we bring you the first in our Designer Series of Costumes for our Doll and Dude for All Seasons. Costumer extraordinaire SYLVIA SCHORR transforms our basic doll bodies into “The Pirate” and “The Princess.” Learn how to create and pose this romantic swashbuckling character and swooning maiden complete with heaving bosom. As an introductory special, both of these fantastic patterns will be discounted 25% through the end of the month AND the first 50 Pirate patterns come with a bonus medallion just like the one in the photo! Be sure to treat yourself to this unique dollmaking adventure.


On our charity corner ( we have updated information on the South Africa charity. They have a new mailing address due to change in personnel. They have become affiliated with CINDI; a network of 130 organizations working together to address the needs of vulnerable children living in an environment of the HIV and AIDS pandemic in KZN. Dolls should be mailed to:
PO Box 157
Pietermaritzburg, 3200
KZN, South Africa
Boxes should be labeled “Handmade Dolls, for donation; no commercial Value”.

By Bonnie B. Lewis

In the last several months, we have had many questions about some of the supplies we carry, and how they can be used for dollmaking. Here are some of the questions and my answers:

On Faces:

Q: I have just bought Jane Coughlan's Dazzling Dolls pattern and have never made dolls before. I was trying to find an easy start for me to create faces. Jane suggests in the pattern to get lots of crayons and that's fine, however later on I'd want to use other methods. I'd like to find some sort of face making guide to help me with the creation. I've gone into your face pattern pages and thought LOTS would be great, but I've got to be realistic here! Do you have a suggestion for which item/s I should start with to get me started please?

A: First, I would suggest you begin with fabric in ethnic skin tones. Somehow dolls just don’t look as good if you use white or off-white colors for their skin (unless you are doing a specialty doll such as a mime or geisha.) I really like the Pigma Pens or Gelly Roll Pens to create fine details in faces, such as eyelashes and the line around the iris, to outline lips, etc. I always use Crystal Lacquer to seal the lips and eyes and create fingernails. I love Prismacolor pencils - these are colored pencils with very soft lead that I use for lips and eyes and eye shadow and shading. I use crayons for blushing cheeks - my two favorite colors are carnation pink for Caucasian dolls and Bittersweet for all other dolls. I have also used acrylic paints, and like the 0 or 00000 brushes when I use them for fine details. Since you are just beginning, I would recommend you get a box of 64 different Crayola crayons, a couple of brown, red, blue, green and black permanent pens (Pigma or Gelly), and have fun. When you get more advanced, try using Createx to seal your doll's face and make the colors permanent. (By the way, Gelly Roll Pens, Createx, Crystal Lacquer, and ethnic fabric in 15 different shades are available from

On Leather:

Q: I came across your site in my search for suede. Is the velvet pigskin suede real suede or synthetic suede? Sorry if this is a dumb question, I couldn't figure it out because it said machine washable.

A: The velvet pigskin suede is really pigskin (leather) but it is treated so it can be dyed all those beautiful colors, and as a result you can wash it and water won't make it stiff. Because it is real leather and not synthetic it has a slight stretch which is very helpful when making shoes, because it can easily slide onto a doll foot.

Q: I am looking for leather in lavender/pastel purple and neon green/lime green. Does your velvet pigskin suede come in those colors?

A: We currently carry velvet pigskin suede in 11 different colors, but those are not ones we carry. (You can see the different colors at However, did you know you could paint leather? I usually get a light colored piece of leather for this project, such as beige. I mix Createx (which is available at with some acrylic paint (such as lime green or lavender) and then paint the leather. Createx keeps the leather supple and doesn't cause it to stiffen. We carry the velvet pigskin suede in every color that is available, so if you want special colors, just paint it. I have made gold slippers, ruby ones for a Dorothy doll (using metallic red paint and glitter), etc. I recommend you try this on a small scrap of leather first, but I think you will like the results.

On Jointing Dolls

Q: I hope you can help me. I'm having a problem with a cloth doll that I've made for my children. She is thread-jointed at the limbs. I've stitched her with dental floss, fishing line, upholstery thread, quilting thread and all purpose. The leg keeps coming apart from the body. What am I doing wrong? I can't figure out why my stitches won't hold. Do you have any suggestions?

A: It might help if you put the thread through a button on the outside of both legs. Either use a decorative shank button (preferably with a metal shank) or a 2-hole button. We sell metal shank buttons that you can cover with fabric to match the skin tones or with decorative fabric for a contrast. If you just use thread it can pull through the fabric with rough play. I also recommend you make sure at least 6-8 strong threads go from leg to leg. Some of the threads you mentioned should work, especially the nylon upholstery thread and dental floss. Quilting thread and all purpose are just not strong enough, and fishing line is hard to secure without it coming undone. However, children are rough with dolls and bears. I even had a teddy bear with heavy duty joints returned by my grandchildren when the leg fell off. 'They snapped the joint in two, and they are supposed to be unbreakable. I begin by threading a long Dollmaker's needle with very long (4 yards) doubled thread. Knot both ends together about 6" from end. Insert needle in one side of body, take several stitches to secure and then go to the other side, then through the leg and button. Back through the other hole in the button, though the leg, back through the body, through the other leg, through the button, back through the leg, and repeat the whole process, ending with thread on inside of leg where you began. You will now have 8 threads going through the body. Then pull the threads tight, tie to the original 6" end, wrap thread around inside of leg, tie again several times in square knot, and bury ends of thread in body. This should give you a secure joint that won't come apart easily.


Party Time Challenge from Doll Crafter & Costuming Magazine is over. Winners have been selected and pictures will appear in the September issue (available in June). You can also see the winners at
Check the July issue for their “Four Seasons Challenge” featuring a design by Cyndy Sieving.

Annie La Bouche Challenge sponsored by Kate Erbach and Dollmaker’s Journey
Deadline: June 30, 2006
Download free pattern at You have until 30 June 2006 to complete the doll and send us pictures. Send pictures to and put challenge in the subject box. Make sure you identify who made the doll, a way to contact to dollmaker, and the name you have chosen for your creation. Dolls will be judged in three categories: Best use of color, best use of vintage pieces and viewer’s choice. First place will receive an original Annie La Bouche doll made by Kate. Additional winners will receive Dollmaker’s Journey gift certificates.

The Art of the Doll (Pump House Regional Arts Center in Wisconsin)
Display: July 1 – August 19, 2006
Must be artist’s original work
For information go to:
Email Phone: (608) 785-1434

2006 NIADA Challenge Invitational Exhibit: You’re out of your Gourd
Deadline: July 27, 2006
Every NIADA registrant is invited to participate using gourds to interpret the theme.
For more information go to

Hoffman Challenge 2006
Deadline: July 28, 2006
To see fabric and for information go to

“Let the Fun Begin” Camp Doll U Challenge
Deadline: September 23, 2006
Must use challenge kit ($15.00) to create doll
Go to WWW.DOLLU.COM for more details.

Treasures of the Gypsy – Theme: Mysteries of the Gypsies Dance
First week of October, 2006
You need a kit of trinkets, trims, and treasures to participate. These are available for $15.00 (US) $18.00 (Australia and Canada) and can be ordered from:
Pamela Armas
Treasures of the Gypsy
P.O. Box 748
Mountainair, NM 87036
(505) 847-0963


Year round classes – John C. Campbell Folk School
Brasstown, North Carolina
September 17-23 – A Doll of Your Own, Dee Dee Triplett
October 22-27 – Behind the Magic: A Doll Maker’s Toolbox, Kathryn Walmsley
October 29-November 4 – Advanced Needle Felted Doll, Sharon Costello
Click on for more information or call 1-800-365-5724

July 20-23, 2006 – Enchanted Doll Artists Conference
Embassy Suites, Albuquerque, New Mexico

July 27-31, 2006 – NIADA Conference 2006: New Ideas, Rich Traditions
Sheraton Bloomington Hotel, Minneapolis South, Bloomington, Minnesota

September 28-October 1, 2006 – Camp Doll U
Issaquah, Washington (near Seattle)

March 3-10, 2007 – 2007 Soft Doll Art Cruise
Leave Miami, Florida for a 7 day fun-filled cruise to 5 islands in the western Caribbean on Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas. Take classes from Ute Vasina, Patti Culea, Leslie Molen and Barbara Willis
Call Carl at 1-888-537-8267 or Tim at 1-800-755-1191 for more information.

April 15-21, 2007 – Creative Doll Artist’s Voyage
Leave Galveston, Texas for a 7 day fun filled cruise to Montego Bay, Jamaica, Grand Cayman Island & Cozumel, Mexico on Carnival Conquest. Take classes while you sail from Jean Bernard, Sherry Goshon, Jeff Kantrowitz and Maryanne Oldenburg. For more information email Jeff Kantroqitz at or call (718)983-1888.

May 3-6, 2007 - Artistic Figures In Cloth
Columbus, Ohio (not updated yet)

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


Kathy Hays writes: “As I was going through my hard drive I came across my "Needle Felted Hairstyles". I wrote this class before I taught it a We Folk 2002. It was well attended at that conference and many more took this online. I want to give back to those in the doll making community for all the support that has been given.
If you go to my website at the bottom of the page is a link. Click the link and it takes you to a page about Needle Felted hair. Enjoy the is FREE FREE FREE!

Judi Wellnitz from Alaska offers a free altered magnet tutorial
You can also see other ideas from Judi at


Q: Do you have the bisque blanks with the head hands and feet that you paint yourself, and then make a cloth body?

A: You can find some bisque (porcelain) doll parts at and
Also, try doing a search on
Enter in the search engine the words "bisque blank doll parts" and you will find lots of companies selling blank doll parts for you to paint.


Ellen, one of our readers, in addition to making dolls, loves folk art painting. She sent me the following suggestion: “I now have a shelf above my painting table to store paints and supplies at eye level. I also have another shelf to store wood blocks and canvas panels.”

And tongue-in-cheek, Shirley Gilmore adds: “How do I organize my "stuff"? Who has the time to organize? I find that overnight little gremlins have been in my sewing/ workroom and they have had a ball. I still manage to keep a path to my ironing board and my sewing machine though. Those little devils are really something. I wish my dolls would say something when they start their mischievous playtime. :o)”


KATHY HAYS has two more of her retired online courses available on CDs and we’ve got them! You won’t believe the amazing embellishment effects you can create with the simplest household items and the surface design techniques you’ll learn from “Embellish Me.” “Hotties Past Their Prime” are two colorful, fun loving gals that are sure to get your creative juices flowing. Stop by and check them out along with KATHY’S other great courses.

DE RUE JOHNSON delights us with another character from her Mystic Garden – “Aerie Fey” – an enchanting seated fairy.

We have something wonderful from both SHERRY and JEFF GOSHON. Sherry has created the most amazing ‘Victorian Rabbit.” The pressmold set includes the face and the paws. The pattern pieces come with a comprehensive CD course to guide you expertly through the construction. If you have ever wondered how to go about producing your own resin molds, Jeff’s “Pressmold Making” CD is just what you’ve been waiting for. Jeff succeeds in sharing the knowledge gained from his years of experience producing Sherry’s molds in clear, concise instruction and photos.

That SHELLEY HAWKEY just can’t sit still and we’re delighted to have 2 more of her wonderful creations. “Dream Keeper” is an imaginative figure for you to embellish in a special way and “Rylie” is a darling baby elf that can easily be a boy or a girl depending on your fabric choices. Stop by and take a peek!


Patti LaValley has three dolls featured in recent magazines. In Soft Dolls and Animals she shares her pattern for Molly and her Button Dolly, showing how to modify a trapunto technique to achieve dimension in a flat face. Thaddeus A Kat actually made the cover in Dolls United last month. He is featured as an in-depth article with lots of photos on how to do paperclay over cloth. And Patti has a wonderful Alice in Wonderland doll pattern and costume in the Doll Crafter & Costuming that came out May 22.
You can see some of Patti’s other imaginative designs at


CRAFT VELOUR - We’ve just added two more colors of Craft Velour - a paler flesh tone called “Baby Bear Beige” and a rich “Cocoa.”


Bonnie participated in a display at Musselman High School in Martinsburg, West Virginia along with the Smithsonian Museum from Washington, D.C. for a special World War II exhibit entitled “Home Front.” She displayed her mother’s original wedding dress created in 1943 along with her father’s Army uniform. Also included were photographs of her parents on their wedding day and her father in his uniform. Her mother designed the dress in military style, with braids of white crepe over the shoulders resembling epaulettes. The Smithsonian displayed posters from World War II, including Rosie the Riveter. The high school had ongoing events for the months of May and June, including an original play, radio broadcast, big band concert, and movies that were popular in the early 1940’s. Bonnie is working on dolls to resemble her parents, but they weren’t finished in time for the display.

Speaking of weddings, Mary Ann and Jim’s trip to Fallbrook, CA for her son Michael’s wedding to the beautiful Kyah Mae Lattimer was everything they dreamed of and more. Mak was able to pitch in the night they arrived by hemming one of the flower girls’ dresses – all four layers of it! Kyah did the most extraordinary job of planning every detail of the Rehearsal Dinner with a Luau theme and the magnificent wedding reception. The 3:30 pm outdoor ceremony took place in front of a beautiful waterfall surrounded by lush greenery and foliage that added a touch of magic to the event. It’s hard to believe it’s all over and the couple is happily honeymooning in Tahiti after a few days in Hawaii. Click here to see a few photos -


Jigsaw puzzle doll -

Ideas for wings and crowns

Red Hat Society Links:
Our version of the Red Hat Society ladies:
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.

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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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Copyright © 2006 Dollmaker’s Journey


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