Dollmaker’s Journey CUSTOMER CONNECTION
Dream ~ Imagine ~ Create ~ Grow ~ Believe ~ Magic
At http://dollmakersjourney.com we help your creative dreams come true.
January 2009 Issue 86
Copyright 2009 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:
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Dear Dollmaking Friends,
Linda Misa shared a wonderful idea for the New Year with us as follows:
" Another thought I want to share with you - and I know many of you do this really well already....is to make this a RE year....REuse, REthink, RElax, REjoice, REcycle, REjuvenate, REal. Feel free to add your own RE words to the list. I am going to print them out and have it sitting in front of me on the wall....cause I need REminding to help keep me on track when REtail therapy thinks it might rear its head!!! All the best for 2009 - kind regards from Linda Misa."
You can see some of Linda's great patterns at http://dollmakersjourney.com/misa.html
Here at Dollmaker's Journey we encourage you to REsolve this year to create something beautiful, learn something new, and do something just for fun to REnew your spirit. Have a wonderful New Year!
Bonnie and Mary Ann
If it's January it must be time for our ANNUAL GENERAL SUPPLY SALE! We noticed that so many of you like to stock up in January for all your new projects and we're delighted to help you replenish by taking 20% off all the general supplies until the end of the month. http://www.dollmakersjourney.com/supplies.html
PLEASE NOTE - To maintain the product's quality PAVERPOL is not being shipped due to freezing weather at shipping location. PAVERPOL will be made available as weather permits.
DECEMBER QUIZ WINNER
Q: Which of these is NOT a kind of Christmas cookie?
A: C – Stargazy was the correct answer. It is a Cornish pie made of baked pilchards, sardines and other kinds of fish, covered with a pastry crust. NO WAY could this be considered a Christmas cookie! Lubkuchen is a German spice and honey cake/cookie. Pfeffernusse is also called Pepper Nut, a German cookie my grandmother made us each year. They are about the size of a nickel, hard as a rock when first baked, but they soften with time (if you can leave them alone long enough!) My grandmother mailed us a huge box with at least 500 cookies in it each December. Joulutortut are Finnish star pastries/cookies, and Pepparkakor is my daughter Amy's favorite, a traditional Swedish Christmas cookie, crispy, brown, and wonderful plain or decorated. About half of you answered that Belsnickel was a German name for Santa, which is true, but did you know that the Pennsylvania Dutch created a Belsnickel cookie in Saint Nicholas' honor? These were given to carolers during the month of December. The recipe will appear later in this newsletter in case you want to try making them.
Congratulations to Ann Macdonald from British Columbia, Canada. Your name was selected at random from all of the correct quiz entries, and you will receive a $10 gift certificate from Dollmaker’s Journey. Watch for your name in a coming month!
Q: What famous duo's early stage names were Cleo and Caesar?
Everyone who emails in the correct answers by February 15th will be entered into a drawing for a $10 gift certificate to Dollmaker’s Journey. The winner will be announced in the next newsletter. Email your answers to Bonnie at EnchantedR@aol.com Put January Quiz in subject box. Please include your full name and where you live (state/country) in your email. NOTE: Several times in the past a winner was
drawn with no name or state/country included. When that happens we have to draw again. So please, make sure you include this information with your answer.
JUST FOR FUN - Belsnickel Christmas Cakes/Cookies
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
Pour melted butter over sugar in a bowl and beat until smooth and creamy.
Add the eggs, beating one at a time, into the mixture.
Sift the baking soda, salt, and flour together and add to the mixture.
Place covered dough in the refrigerator for an hour. Roll out on floured board until quite thin.
Cut into small rounds or other festive shapes. Sprinkle with sugar.
Bake in 400 degrees F. oven for 10 minutes.
Prep time: 30 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes Ready in: 40 minutes
Q: I didn't realize the importance of using the correct felting needle size when I originally purchased my 12 pack of assorted needles. I have several loose needles that all "look alike" except one that appears to have a lighter color handle. Is there any way to tell the actual size of each needle? I recently read a tip in Soft Dolls and Animals to tape 2 needles to a craft stick for better coverage that I would like to try but want to use the size 38 as I'm felting mostly curly mohair.
A: Mary Ann responds - The Size #40 is the smallest in length and is more silver in color. The size 36 is the longest. Each of the 3 small envelopes in an assorted felting needle package has a label that indicates the size and the best use for that size needle.
Kathy Hays recommends attaching several needles to a pencil which also works well.
When you receive new needles you may want to mark the tops with nail polish to differentiate the sizes if you don't want to use the envelopes they came in. You might also want to trace one of each to use as a reference.
Q: What do you use to seal cloth doll faces and/or bodies? I no longer see Createx fabric medium listed on doll supply websites. Is there a substitute?
A: Mary Ann answered: "Unfortunately they are no longer making Createx. Many dollmakers use Krylon Spray Fixative. I never seal my faces and I've never had a problem." Bonnie uses Krylon Workable Fixative (this way you can keep working on the face after sealing the first layer). Other dollmakers use Krylon Matt Finish after the face is completed. The key is to spray lightly (just a fine mist). Repeat this several times. DO NOT use hairspray. It yellows with time and can leave the fabric sticky. If you have inset eyes mask them with masking tape before spraying. The matt spray will dull plastic or glass eyes.
OVERCOMING OBSTACLES TO MEET A CHALLENGE
By Bonnie B. Lewis
October 2008 the G Street Doll Club in Rockville, Maryland issued a challenge to its members. Create a doll using a molded dressmaker's form. Each person was handed a 13" papier mache mannequin (torso on a base - no arms, legs or head). In addition, we received a color wheel and were told to choose our least favorite color to dress the doll and use the color wheel to find several complementary colors to use as accents. I knew immediately what color to choose – bright neon orange. Fortunately the triad colors (violet and green) were ones I could live with. But the thought of dressing a doll in neon orange just made me cringe. To add insult to injury, we also had to utilize a product or technique we had never tried/used before. I think they were trying to get us to think outside the box.
The dress form went home and sat by my sewing machine for two months. I knew what I wanted to make – a fairy sitting on a mushroom knitting fairy wings from spider silk and dew – but the form was too big. The fairy would have to be at least 22" high to be in scale. And how big would the mushroom have to be? The whole project seemed impossible.
Finally in December a light went off. I whacked off the base (6" high) with a serrated bread knife. This could be the stem of my mushroom! Next I looked through all my Styrofoam balls for a large one I could cut in half to make the top of the mushroom. All of them were too small. And of course that day it decided to snow with ice covering the road, so I couldn't drive to a store to buy a larger one. Nevertheless, I decided to start. I tore orange/brown fabric with a basket weave pattern into 1" strips, covered the base with Paverpol, and started smoothing on the fabric. I then put Paverpol all over the outside of the fabric to seal in any raw edges. I cut a circle of brown felt and glued it to the bottom. I knew the mushroom needed to be heavy to support the weight of a 22" doll, so I went in the back yard, dug under the snow, and picked up some rocks. After washing and drying them, I poured them into the base. They rattled, shifted, and were unstable. So I poured some Paverpol on top. It seeped down into the rocks and sealed them in place. One problem solved!
Next for the mushroom top. I did some research and discovered that not all mushrooms are round on the top. Many of them are flat and misshapen. Perfect! Besides, it would be easier for a fairy to perch on top of a flat mushroom. I looked in my cupboard and found a paper plate. It was just the right size. I clipped the rim all the way around and bent down the edge. I then covered it with Paverpol and bright speckled orange, red and yellow fabric.
For the underneath part I cut the rim off about 20 paper plates, gradually making them smaller and smaller. I glued them together and put them underneath the top plate. I still needed more filler, because the weight of the doll would cause the top paper plate to sag in the middle, so I added cut up pieces of discarded rims and glued them to the top of the stacked plates. Since the bottom of mushroom caps are covered with ridges called gills, I knew I needed something to simulate that. So I took a piece of gold finely pleated trim, gathered one long edge tight to make a circle, and sewed the two short ends together. I then glued this to the bottom of the paper plates with the edge folding over the top edge of the stack of plates. To add interest I wrapped the stem and bottom of the mushroom with chenille wired netting. A glob of Paverpol to the top of the stem and bottom of mushroom, more Paverpol around the edge and center of stacked plates, add the top, weight with a book and let dry overnight. The Paverpol dried strong and clear – so strong I could pick up the mushroom by the cap without mishap.
To finish the mushroom I painted large metallic violet spots on the top. I hesitated for a moment, but the color wheel assured me that violet was a good complementary color. I stripped the wire from an old silk fern, folded it in half lengthwise, and glued it around the base for grass. One-half of the project was done!
I sculpted a head from a nylon stocking using techniques I learned from Dorit Schendzielorz, giving my elf green eyes and pointed ears. Hair was chenille fringe in multi shades of brown and green. Eyes and lips were sealed with Crystal Lacquer. (http://dollmakersjourney.com/supplies.html#pens)
In the book Cloth Dolls for Textile Artists by Ray Slater (http://dollmakersjourney.com/books.html) I found wonderful patterns for arms and legs. I just had to enlarge them a bit (115%) to have them in scale with the torso. I made them out of a tree branch patterned fabric, creating the hands from ethnic fabric (http://dollmakersjourney.com/fabrics.html) to match the face. Of course I used chenille stems in the hands so they could be positioned to hold knitting needles later. At this time I created fingernails using copper paint and Crystal Laquer.
I made knitting needles from meat skewers. I measured a regular knitting needle, used a proportional scale wheel, and knew that for the height of my doll (22") they needed to be 4-1/4" long. I glued wooden beads on top and painted them metallic green. So far so good.
Now the problems began. I wanted to use Paverpol to cover the torso with a tiger fabric (orange, naturally). However, I knew that once I did it would be difficult to attach arms, legs, or a head. Of course, I wanted the arms and legs to move. I decided to use the invisible button jointing method I learned from Judi Ward. I punched holes in the torso where I wanted the arms and legs to attach. I then embedded buttons in the arms and legs with the shank pointed out. (http://dollmakersjourney.com/supplies.html#supplies) For more details Mimi Kirchner created a wonderful tutorial inspired by Judi Ward at
I covered the top with Paverpol, stretched the nylon stocking over the neck and top of the chest to create a shoulder plate, and pinned the nylon stocking in place. After this was dry I stuck skewers through the arm and leg holes so I wouldn't lose them, and covered the torso with torn 1" strips of tiger fabric and Paverpol, leaving the bottom open where I had cut off the base. I did have to rotate and move the skewers in and out as the torso dried so they didn't get stuck in the holes. I then threaded 20 gauge wire through the holes and button shanks, securing the arms and legs in place. (It was helpful to have an open bottom so I could see where to thread the wires.) After everything was attached, I turned the torso upside down, added a few rocks, cut a base from heavy cardboard to fit the bottom of the torso, glued it in place, and used Paverpol to cover it with a circle of matching fabric.
The last challenge had me dreaming about solutions for a week. How could you create a knit fabric from Angelina Fiber that looked like fairy wings? I ended up cutting long thin strips of orange Textiva Fusible Iridescent Film. I placed a layer of purple Angelina Fiber on tissue paper, lay strips of film lengthwise, sprinkled with green holographic sequins, and added another layer of Angelina Fiber on top. When fused, it created a wonderful fabric that looks like spun spider silk and dewdrops, with bits of shed dragon scales mixed in. I fused loops of film on one end and slid the knitting needles in place. A bit of trim around wrists, neck and bodice, a chenille net shawl, and an orange beaded necklace, and the doll was finished.
A final note: My son-in-law brought me a special gift that his mother sent me from Uganda. She wove me a wonderful bag in black and white and created two necklaces and matching bracelets for me to wear. The first beads were black and white, and the second – ORANGE. I put on my only blouse with a hint of orange, and the jewelry looks fantastic! Who would have dreamed that in meeting a challenge with a color I hated I would end up loving it. I even made a matching necklace for the doll. So when it came time to choose a name I asked my son-in-law what he would suggest. He said she looked like Nambi, who is a princess, and the mother of all women born in his country. So I ended up with a Ugandan jungle elf, sitting on a toadstool, knitting snakeskins and fairy wings. Sometimes when life gives you a challenge you move in unexpected directions.
Debbie Y, one of our readers sent the following tip: "For those that may not have discovered this, you can dye cured Sculpey. I was at odds as how to do a black child's hands and feet. So I used the usual pink Sculpey, cured it, and dipped the piece in liquid brown Rit dye and then wiped off the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. I've used many different colors this way. It works great and it's permanent!!"
Mermaid and Merwomen in Black Folklore Art Doll and Art Quilt Opportunity
February 20 - March 31, 2009
Entry deadline January 25, 2009
You can get all the details here - http://www.cofc.edu/avery/mermaid_merwomen.htm
2009 All Dolled Up: Beaded Art Doll Competition
Due date: August 31, 2009
Theme: Earthen Mother
Official rules posted here: http://www.landofodds.com/store/alldolledup.htm
UPCOMING EVENTS YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS
April 30 - May 3, 2009 - Artistic Figures in Cloth
For information go to http://www.cyndysdolls.com/
April 30 - May 3, 2009 - Canadian Doll Artists Association 10th Anniversary Conference
Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
For information email firstname.lastname@example.org
OR visit their website at http://www.doll_artists.ca
June 11 - 14, 2009 - Figurative Artists Consortium Conference
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Check out their website at http://www.figurativeartistsconsortium.com
July 11-15, 2009 - National Doll Festival
Holiday Inn Select Capitol Conference Center
Free shuttle bus to Marriott Marquis
Email DollFestival@aol.com for further information
July 2009 - UFDC (United Federation of Doll Clubs) National Convention
Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta
July 2009 - ODACA (Original Doll Artists Council of America) National Convention
Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta
July 2009 - NIADA (National Institute of American Doll Artists) National Convention
To save yourself time and energy, get all the details on upcoming doll related events at
CLOTH DOLL CONNECTION: http://clothdollconnection.com/
SPECIAL GIFTS FOR YOU
Hoe Down Pin Doll Pattern by Madeleine Sara Maddocks is available at
You can read more about Madeleine at
Bon Bon Ornament courtesy of Edwina's Dolls. Make a bunch for next Christmas.
We're starting off the New Years with some terrific new items and many more to come in the following weeks! First up is PATTI CULEA'S magnificent "Valandrial" - so many great techniques to be learned from this former class doll. http://dollmakersjourney.com/culea.html
PATTI LA VALLEY has just released a gorgeous "Cupid" complete with bow, arrows and quiver. http://dollmakersjourney.com/lavalley.html
"Alexa Rose" is a precious new baby pattern from VICKI RILEY that would delight a child of any age. http://dollmakersjourney.com/riley.html
Hot off the plane from New Zealand - "Voilet" - JILL MAAS' newest confection. You are going to love this Goth Chick Wanabee!
If you've been saving your prettiest trims for just the right doll than BARBARA WILLIS' beautiful "Chelsea" is just what you've been waiting for.
We have another wonderful pressmold from SHERRY GOSHON - "Libelle." This versatile face can be used with a variety of her doll bodies such as Fern,Mannequin or Cinnamon. http://www.dollmakersjourney.com/goshon.html
"Happy Ann" is another great face stamp with an open mouth smile from BARB and DOUG KEELING. http://www.dollmakersjourney.com/keeling.html#new
WEIRD HEALTH TIPS THAT WORK!
My husband and I have tried several of these tips, and were amazed that they really work. We found them in a Woman's World Magazine, Dec. 22, 2008. I especially like the one to quiet coughs!
*Quiet coughs with chocolate. The main ingredient in chocolate – theobromine – is more effective at stopping a cough than prescription medicine. Dark chocolate is especially effective. Dissolve a piece of Dove dark chocolate or 2 dark Hershey kisses in your mouth and coughing will stop for up to 4 hours. This is 33% more effective than cough medicine containing codeine. It works by suppressing the vagus nerve, which is responsible for causing you to cough. So the next time you or someone you love gets a persistent cough, offer them a chocolate bar instead of cough syrup. (I now carry Dove dark chocolate squares in my purse all the time, just in case.)
*Cure hiccups with sugar. Next time you can't get rid of hiccups, put a teaspoon of white granulated sugar on your tongue and let it dissolve. "The granules irritate the phrenic nerve, which is responsible for the hiccupping reflex, and cause the diaphragm to immediately stop spasming," says Joe Graeden, M.S.
*Ease a sore throat with pineapple. Instead of reaching for a sore throat drop, have a piece of FRESH pineapple instead. It's loaded with bromelain, which has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that reduce pain and swelling. It also has lots of Vitamin C, which speeds healing. Bromelain is deactivated by heat, so use only fresh pineapple. Keep nibbling until you feel better.
*Burn yourself in the kitchen or on a hot glue gun? Cover the burn with honey. Honey is more effective at healing burns than gauzes, dressings and other treatments doctors use. It has antibiotic properties that kill germs, and enzymes that help remove dead tissue, making it easier for healthy tissues to grow. Of course, having an aloe vera plant close by also works. Just remove a piece and squeeze the juice on your burn.
Disclaimer: We have tried these and they work. However, as with all medical advice, consult your doctor and follow his recommendations for serious illnesses.
THOUGHTS TO LIVE BY
Picasso said: "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."
We are expanding our HAIR DEPARTMENT to include economical Long Pile craft furs in two sizes. The four shades of "Craft Fur" come in 9"x12" pieces and the four shades of "Designer Fur" are 12"x15". http://dollmakersjourney.com/hair.html
We've just added Acrylic POM POMS in 2 sizes for inserting in the tips of noses and into breasts.
NEWS FROM THE HOME FRONT
Bonnie had a wonderful Christmas and New Year, with all 20 grandchildren, 8 children, their spouses, and lots of friends over. In January she begins speaking at a series of Ward Conferences for 10 different church congregations in the area in conjunction with her new church calling as Stake Relief Society President. She is encouraging members to knit or crochet something for charity this year, and has provided lots of patterns suitable for charitable giving. She is coordinating efforts with a knit and crochet for charity group in her community that includes women from many different churches. Classes will also be held teaching people these skills who have never learned how to knit or crochet. Items include toys, dolls, scarves, sweaters, afghans, hats (especially needed are those for chemo patients and babies), etc. Of course, in order to showcase what is needed, she had to make a lot of items. If there is any interest, links to some of these projects can be provided in a future newsletter, even though they aren't strictly doll related. As a visual aid, she created Nambi, a jungle Ugandan elf sitting on a toadstool knitting fairy wings from spider silk, dew drops, shed snake skins, and moonbeams. Nambi will accompany her as she speaks to different groups about the joy of giving and the importance of creating something beautiful this year.
Mary Ann has spent the last week getting her house cleaned up and reorganized while our assistant Tara has done a wonderful job getting the office (Mary Ann’s basement) in tip-top shape. We decided to redecorate by hanging a wide variety of dolls on the walls so that they can be enjoyed every day. There are dolls Mak has made along with dolls received as gifts or from swaps – so many treasured memories. We found that you can also hang favorite doll pins by slipping a jump ring over the pin. Bonnie likes to display hers on a quilted wall hanging. Mary Ann, Jim and daughter Ana attended a fabulous performance of “West Side Story” – a production that’s headed to Broadway. They duplicated the choreography that was in the movie and it was out of this world! This week they are eagerly awaiting attending the Dancing With the Stars Tour in DC. Now that Mak’s environment has been straightened out she’s feeling the creative juices stirring. No telling what will emerge……………stay tuned!
Great tutorial on how to draw eyes spotted by Barb Keeling
31 pages of how to draw faces (cartoon style)
Fun video on U Tube on how to draw realistic eyes. Also check out other videos on drawing faces and mouths. Perfect for dolls.
We’d love to hear your thoughts about our Customer Connection newsletter.
Contact the editor Bonnie B. Lewis at enchantedR@aol.com with any comments, suggestions, 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.
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