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Dollmaker's Journey

November 2009 Issue 96

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Dream ~ Imagine ~ Create ~ Grow ~ Believe ~ Magic
At we help your creative dreams come true.

November 2009 Issue 96

Copyright 2009 by Dollmakers Journey

Dollmakers 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 Dollmaking Friends,

'Tis the season to give thanks here in the United States. We celebrate Thanksgiving on November 26, a time for prayer, feasts, friends and family. In our family we always have turkey, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. This year the pumpkins didn't do too well, and supplies are limited. Some of the grocery stores are unable to get any canned pumpkin. I am thankful I have a couple of cans on my shelf so I can make some pies for next Thursday. I am grateful for the internet, soap, clean clothes (can you tell I am doing laundry today?), patterns, a stash, children, grandchildren, friends, family, sewing skills, dolls, and all of you we have met through Dollmaker's Journey. The list goes on and on. My friend, when she tried to start her car after a late evening church meeting and it didn't work, was thankful for tow truck drivers, jump starts, cell phones, mechanics, and a few other things most of us take for granted. We live in an amazing world, but do we take time to see the miracles around us? This November take time to smile, cheer up someone sad, and count your many blessings.

Bonnie and Mary Ann


EXOTIC/FANTASY is our sale category for NOVEMBER.  Be sure to take advantage of the 20% discount on this exciting collection of patterns.

Remember, visit our website at at the beginning of each month to see what our new sale will be. That way you won't have to wait for a newsletter.


Q:  Who wrote the world's first novel and what was it about?

A:  The world's first novel, "The Tale of Genji", was written by a Japanese noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu in the early 11th century. Prince Hikaru Genji was the son of the Emperor. It tells of his quest for love and wisdom and his interaction with a lowly concubine. The author, Murasaki Shikibu, was gifted with great literary talent. After the death of her husband, she served in the imperial court. It is thought that she based the novel on her true-life experiences at court.

Congratulations to Diane Schnakenberg from New York. Your name was selected at random from all of the correct quiz entries, and you will receive a $10 gift certificate from Dollmakers Journey. Watch for your name in a coming month!


Here is a fun holiday quiz.  See how many you can get right. If five or more are correct, you will be entered in our holiday drawing.

1.  An 18th century Continental European law restricted the serving of fruitcake because it was considered
        A. "cruel and unusual"
        B. "sinfully rich"
        C. "Unduly expensive"
        D. "Unpalatable"

2.  This is a centuries-old slang term for the day that English households start preparing their "Christmas puddings."
        A.  Dinky Dessert Day
        B.  Figgy Friday
        C.  Stir-up Sunday
        D.  Yuletide Trifle

3.  Italian families traditionally celebrate Christmas Eve with a meal of seven different kinds of
        A.  Fish
        B.  Cheese
        C.  Pasta
        D.  Meat

4.  French Bche de Nol is also commonly known as:
        A.  Cheese ball
        B.  Yule log
        C.  Holiday ham
        D.  Roasted Chestnuts

5.  Milan is the birthplace of this traditional dome-shaped holiday cake.
        A.  Stollen
        B.  Kummel
        C.  Mint Milano
        D.  Panettone

6.  British tradition claims that eating this during the twelve days of Christmas will bring happiness throughout the next year.
        A.  Mincemeat tarts
        B.  Gingerbread men
        C.  Fruitcake
        D.  Candy canes

7.  The confection we now know as a candy cane originally looked like this:
        A.  Green and white discs
        B.  Straight white sticks
        C.  Red and white rings
        D.  Solid red crosses

8.  What ever-growing tradition did Germany contribute to the holidays?
        A.  Poinsettia
        B.  Christmas tree
        C.  Mistletoe
        D.  Holly

9.  If you get a lump of coal in your stocking, you can thank the
        A.  Polish
        B.  Spaniards
        C.  Italians
        D.  Russians

Everyone who emails in the correct answers by December 15th will be entered into a drawing for a $10 gift certificate to Dollmakers Journey. The winner will be announced in the next newsletter. Email your answers to Bonnie at  Put November 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.


Shelley Hawkey, one of our designers, came up with a clever way to create hang or I.D. tags for your dolls using Shrink Art plastic. See her tutorial at

She also uses it to create homemade shank buttons useful in jointing dolls. Here is what she wrote:
"I was looking for something that I already had instead of having to buy the buttons. I used a sheet of 'Shrinky Dink'. It's that weird thin plastic that you draw on and then cut out and bake and it shrinks way down to about 1/3 of the original size. Anyway, I cut two circles and used the paper punch to put a hole right in the center of each one. Then bake them until they get flat and hard (about 2 minutes). Let cool.
Cut a 2" piece of 18 gauge wire and bend it in half. Push the bent or looped end through the center hole and hold it in place by pushing a toothpick or 'whatever' through the loop. Bend the open ends of the wire into curls that lay flat against the plastic material. This will make it very strong. Then just use like you would any other shank button."

See more of Shelley's wonderful patterns at    


Q: Can you inform me where I can buy horse hair to use for dolls or animals?

A:  I have found a horse hair supplier here -  If you are looking for long, straight hair then I would recommend our new Kidassia Goat Hair.

Q:  I want to use fall leaves for doll hair. How would I do this?

A:  You can coat autumn leaves with a light coat of Paverpol on both sides and letting them dry. The leaves remain flexible and can be used for skirts, hats, etc. I imagine that they might even work for hair if they were very small. I have used silk leaves for fairy hair, dresses, and even wings. I think for a doll that will last more than a season you might want to consider fabric leaves available anywhere silk flowers are sold, because eventually natural things such as seed pods, acorn caps, feathers, leaves and moss disintegrate.  To create tiny leaves make a pattern and trace it onto the wrong side of a fabric leaf - then cut it out. That is how I made the leaves on the tree of our Autumn Dryad who is painting the leaves for fall. She is part of our Doll for All Seasons series. You can see her by going to  Click on pick pattern category, click on costumes, and scroll down to see the dryad. I did sprinkle tiny leaves and other autumn floral things (like grapes) in her hair.

Q:  Beth Krause wrote: I just received my Tibetan lamb's wool in pink today.  It feels so wonderful!   I was expecting/need the pink to be more of a candy-pink.   I was a bit concerned about this as it is very hard to really get a feel for color on a computer screen.  Can I dye it using the method on your site?   The directions say that it needs to be bleached, and I am assuming this was at one point in order to get it pink in the first place, but I don't know if anything has been added to it afterwards.

A: Mary Ann wrote: I really don't know about the dyeing process used on the plates that we buy. Why don't you cut off a small piece and try dyeing it.  I think it will very likely work. Let us know if it works out.

Beth responded: It worked beautifully!  I'm glad I put a small piece in the dye first...  It was too dark after just a few minutes.   I was able to get a wonderful candy pink, though!  Perfect color for my doll!

NOTE: It sound as if the colored (not natural) dyed Tibetan lamb can be re-dyed. See directions here:

Q:  My name is Sandy Vogel and I am the President of a Family Readiness Group for the North Dakota National Guard.  I am looking for about 85 recordable devices that we can mail to a group of soldiers that are deployed for them to record a message for their child and send back to us and we will then in turn be putting them into a doll with the soldiers picture on it.  Do you carry anything like this?

A:  Mary Ann wrote:  CRs Crafts - has 10 second voice recorders.  They are the only ones I know of.  Put Voice Recorder in the search box and youll get right to them. 
Wishing you every success with your project.


Do you ever have a pattern with lots of darts? Instead of marking them, here is a quick and easy video on how to have perfect darts with no backstitching, knots, etc.


ALL DOLLED UP: Beaded Art Doll Competition
ON-LINE Voting Has Begun:
Voting for our 6 semi-finalists ends 1/15/10

See the new Hoffman Challenge fabric for 2010 here:

By Judi Ward with additions by Bonnie B. Lewis

This is a method I "figured out" in about 1975 and have been teaching for years and years. It is one of those "little known facts" of dollmaking that is a miracle once one "gets it."

There is a video for doing it at my web site, and it is soooo easy to do!   For those who have trouble finding the strong nylon cord, I just discovered that Gillette Flossing tape works great when done quadrupled and also Dollmakers Journey has really strong waxed nylon that is great!

The video is here:

Go to Dollmaker's Journey for the waxed linen cord (below the floral tape.) The covered buttons with teeth are also there.

Here are some additional tips from Judi:

I use a rather thick cord that is available for jewelry making and at     I have used it for over 30 years, originally purchased from shoe repair shops.  When you are watching the video, look closely at my hands. My right hand never lets up the tension on the cords, while holding the doll down with a thumb or for some with the side of your fist.  My left hand never lets up the tension as it holds the cord tight.

Then you quickly wrap the cord in your left hand, twice around, between the limb and the body, and it will stay tight. Do the nurses knot (once around, twice around, pull) for the first tie, and then a simple once around tie for the second tie. Once you get the hang of holding the cords in both hands TIGHT while pressing on the dolls tummy or chest with one hand you should have no trouble.    It isn't the ties or how they are made that make the limbs loose; it is letting up on the tension after pulling the cords as tight as you can, before you do the tying that causes loose limbs.

If the holding tight is just impossible, then pull as tight as you can and have someone press on the limb with the other limb against the table and do the nurses knot, then a normal tie.

With someone pressing down, you don't need to do the wrap between the body and limb, and the holders hand will be in the way anyway.

For smaller dolls you can use dental floss. You can even use dental floss for a bigger doll but use more strands. If you can find a waxed nylon cord, that works well too. I haven't seen it for ages though, except very thick, which is hard to take through the bodies.

Hope this helps some. It is hard to explain on paper but once you get it it is so simple. Just don't let up on the tension on the cords until you have wrapped the cord in one hand between the body and limb!!!

You can see more of Judi's latest designs at:

NOTE: Ree Medina invented a way to turn bottle caps into recycled shank buttons. It might not be for everyone, but could be helpful in the middle of the night when you are trying to finish a doll and don't have the right size buttons. Here's the post:

Also check out the tip above from Shelley Hawkey to create shank buttons from wire and Shrink Plastic. Someone else mentioned that you should save the inner lids on dishwashing detergent bottles. They are round and already have a hole in the middle.

Judi also talks about her basic face painting class that is now online. "I did a few edits, and Paul made it an E class...No blackboard etc.  It is a simple, basic, techniques class not a "Paint just this face" class so once you have the techniques you can paint most any face. It is for acrylics, not watercolors or oils, though the techniques work for oils too.
The face in the class is basic, but has the "parts" for learning to paint any face type. Shading is touched upon and can of course be elaborated on. The key is practice and learning to hold your paintbrush properly for fine work.  I much prefer acrylic painted faces, because they are more vivid and permanent, and I hope that someday our dolls made today will be the Vintage, desirable, collectible dolls of the future, hopefully with faces intact.....Once one feels confident with the basics, more flourishes can be added, perhaps wild, eyelids etc. but without the basics to start from, it is easy to end up with a mess."

The class is only $15.00. Check it out at  or 

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


Thanks to the generosity of SHERRY GOSHON we are delighted to offer her charming "A Wee Bit of Holly" as a FREE pattern.  Be sure to check it out along with all the other wonderful FREE projects we have available. -

Judi Ward shared the following websites for amazing Christmas ornaments you can make.

For an old fashioned Santa made from batting check out Martha Stewart on U-Tube
You can buy cotton batting for this project here:

For Victorian paper doll ornaments that you can print out and embellish go to

Shashi Nayagam created a wonderful tutorial for turning tiny fingers.


Sound the trumpets!  ARLEY BERRYHILL has just released an absolutely breathtaking new pattern called "Harold the Angel" - as in "Hark the Harold Angels sing."  His masterful costuming details are going to wow you.  This one will literally be flying out of here!

SUSAN BARMORE continues to amaze us with her imaginative characters. This week we are adding three more: "Jasper" - a not-too-scary ghost, the haunting "Banshee" and a fantastic fairy on horseback called "Joeiel." Why not treat yourself to one of SUSAN's patterns and learn her painted muslin techniques.  They are such a great way to increase your painting skills.

Check out ALLISON MARANO'S incredibly darling "Half-pint Pixie."  This irresistible little guy is
the perfect project for learning how to do full body armature.

From the United Kingdom's COLLEEN BABCOCK we have a fantastic, so-easy-to-construct, holiday doll called "Give Us a Kiss" that would make the most perfect gift.  (Mary Ann already has one in the works!) As always, COLLEEN'S instructions are impeccable.

Wait until you see "Maggie" - the very impish angel that just flew in from JILL MAAS' studio in New Zealand.  Another super project for learning armature.  You're going to love her.

We are always delighted to add more of MAUREEN MILLS' popular patterns to the site.  There's still time to make her amazing "Turkey Dinner" before taking "Santa's Ride."  But best of all is her newest pattern "Dear Santa" that is guaranteed to make you smile!


You can have your designs printed on very small amounts of yardage for a reasonable price.  Every day there are beautiful new designs. You can also sell your fabric there if you want.  But mainly it is so fun to be able to design your own fabrics.

Karma Kraft also prints designs on silk.


YEEEEEEEE HAAAAAAA - Mary Ann just found 3 bolts of Doll Face Pink CRAFT VELOUR on her doorstep!!!  That should mean that all of the other fabrics we have been waiting for are on the way.  We also are happy to report that our ETHNIC FABRIC #1, #2, #4, #6, #7, #11, #12, #13 and #15 are all back in stock, too. -

The hemostat shipment has finally arrived and we are now fully stocked in all the sizes.


Cindi Goodwin writes: I'm sorry that I'm tootin' my own horn.......but I'm p-u-b-l-i-s- h-e-d!!!! My doll "Tricksy" will be in Contemporary Doll Collectors in the January issue. This is the first time one of my dolls has ever been in a magazine. Thanks for letting me share my excitement and disbelief!!!

Michelle Munzone and Linda Misa, two of our designers, have dolls on the cover of the Australian Dolls Bears and Collectables just out now. Linda writes: "I just love how it enables us to share the passion of creating and hopefully inspire others to join the journey!"
You can see more of their delightful creations at: and


Bonnie has been inspired to create dolls for some of her granddaughters. (She has 12, so that's a lot of dolls.) For two of the babies she is using the Carry Me Doll pattern by Aeb and Cindy Bigelow from Cloth Doll Magazine 4-2. It has long skinny arms and legs and long braids, and loves to be dragged around the house by toddlers. She is also making Marie based on the Mary Francis books from the 1900's (available at for a granddaughter that is learning to sew, knit, and crochet. She will get the books to make clothes to fit this doll from her mom. Then she found 3 Holly Hobbie vinyl head and hand sets (remember those?) that she hopes to finish for three more. She also taught ethnic face pins at the last G Street Doll Club. ( At the time she thought about creating a white vampire face to honor New Moon that comes to theaters tomorrow. But she couldn't decide whether to make the irises red or gold. Maybe this pin will be finished when Eclipse comes out next June.

Mary Ann is counting the minutes until she sees her son Michael and daughter-in-law Kyah in New Jersey.  Shes busy as a bee preparing goodies for the upcoming Thanksgiving Dinner/Family Baby Shower that they will have at her sister Kathis home on Thursday.  It has been more than a year since the family has been all together.  It will be a blessed holiday indeed!  Our fantastic assistant Tara will be holding down the fort and keeping the orders filled for the few days Mak will be away.


One of my favorites. Hear "Momisms" to the William Tell Overture. (I've even told my kids a lot of these over the years.)

Half time show at this year's Army Navy basketball game (and I thought I could jump rope!)

NOTE: If the link doesn't work, go to and enter jump rope dance

Wed love to hear your thoughts about our Customer Connection newsletter.

Contact the editor Bonnie B. Lewis at with any comments, suggestions, etc.
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