Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Crafty Notions in Newark, UK

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

One of my favorite stands to hit when I go to the Knitting & Stitching Show in London is Crafty Notions.  Sarah Lawrence is one of the most innovative and creative people I know.  Last year she and I discussed my coming to teach in her new workshop at their warehouse.  I naturally jumped at the chance. CraftyNotionsSarah                   

We decided on my Fantasy Purses as a project and 7 women joined in.  The photo is of Sarah setting up a machine for one of the participants.

PattisPurseCloseUp We used both regular sewing machines and embellishing machines.  Some had never used the embellishing machines before and all decided they loved the technique.









Sarah's workshop area is full of inspiration.  All of her "stuff" is there for all of us to use, which we did.  I don't have samples here, but Sarah has new Mica powders that have a binding agent in them so all you need is water and  you have the most beautiful, shimmery paints.  But, back to our time there. CraftyNotionsGillandChris

Here Gill and Chris are looking over the base of the purse Gill has finished.  Nearly everyone got their base done, which included stamping a face onto plain fabric and painting it with Sarah's Colourful Thoughts all purpose paints. 








I didn't get photo's of everyone in the workshop.  Jacquie and Elinor are missing in nearly all the photo's.  Don't know how I missed them.  They were obviously downstairs in the warehouse shopping.  Which we all did a fair amount of.

CraftyNotionsValAlbum Val brought an album she had made of her grandchildren and said it was based on my book "Creative Cloth Explorations".  I think it was all her original idea.  There were several pages dedicated to her 3 grandchildren and the book is fantastic.  Wish I had space to put photo's of each of the pages.  Beautifully done and such a terrific idea.










Today, Sunday Oct. 17, was another free day and Peggy took me on a walk-about through downtown Newark.  I wish I had a photo of Peggy and I together.  She's almost 6 feet tall (5'11 1/2").  Together we made quite a pair (I'm 4'11").

CraftyNotionsNewarkSwans Newark is a beautiful city.  It is about 1 1/2 hours north of London, by train.  The weather was absolutely perfect today.  Clear, sunny, cool.  I couldn't resist taking a photo of the 5 young swans as they started swimming towards us hoping we had some bread for them.  We didn't so they swam on.

CraftyNotionsPrinceRupert Newark is full of beautiful, old buildings like the one below where Prince Rupert stayed when he had an argument with King Charles.  The building was built in 1475!  Peggy took me upstairs so I could see the ceiling beams and how low the ceilings were then.  Simply amazing.



Below is a photo of David & Sarah Lawrence, and Peggy, with whom I stayed in her home.  The embroidered wall hanging behind them was lovingly put together by many people and Sarah pulled it all together.  It is the main streets of Newark as it was in the past.  It was given to the Millgate Museum and if you are ever in the area go see it.  The lighting was really bad during the time we were there so I couldn't get a really good photo.  It is a master piece.                

I really hated to leave Newark, but my time here is over.  I head to Heathrow tomorrow and fly home on Tuesday.  England is close to my heart and I'll be back next September/October.




Sunday, October 17th, 2010

First, before I report on my time in Prague I have to share a new photo of my grandson, Theo.  A friend gave them a new outfit for him. TheoinPumpkinOutfit He's now ready for Halloween.

Isn't that the cutest photo you've ever seen?  He is really enjoying his new pumpkin outfit.  He does love pumpkin to eat, too.

How I miss him, and his mommy and daddy.  My time with them was far too short.

After my 3 1/2 days with my daughter, son-in-law and grandson in Belgium I flew to Prague to teach a workshop.

PragueShivaFaces1I taught one of my favorite classes – creating faces with Shiva/Markal Paintstiks.  This group took to it like a fish in water.  They loved the technique and every face they did was

PragueShivaFaces2 excellent.       After several of the doll group members shared dolls they have made from either my books, patterns or when I was there in February.  This is an extraordinary group.                                                                  Very enthusiastic and extremely talented as you can see by these photos. PragueDolls3a Praguedolls12010 Praguedolls32010
PragueMiladolls2010 PragueFredGinger2010 After my workshop I had a free day to do a bit more site-seeing and Jane, the club president and Bohdana, who owns the Creative Center where I taught the workshop showed me around town.  The two buildings are called Fred & Ginger.  Truly beautiful buildings.  PragueMuchaOct2010

Bohdana then took me to see a special Mucha exhibit at their National Museum.  Fabulous.  Photo's weren't allowed inside the exhibit, naturally, but I did get this near the entrance.  His work is one of my sources of inspiration for my work.

PragueBeading2010 I also got to meet Sarka Rooya, who owns a fabulous bead store in Prague, and also is editor of a bead magazine.

While there she shared with us some of what she's been doing with lampwork beads.  She gave me a beautiful heart shaped bead she has made.  Beautiful young woman.                                                          PragueMirekBohdana2010


Below are Mirek and Bohdana.  They always show me the best time.  Prague is a beautiful city, but the people are the best part of it.

Life with Theo

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

For the past 3 fabulous days I've been with our daughter, son-in-law and grandson here in Belgium.  Oct10Market We've gone to a kind of flea market, small village but mostly just hung out at their home so I can get reacquainted with Theo.

Oct10TheoSmiling The weather has been amazing.  Sunny & warm for two days and sunny and cool today (Sunday, Oct. 10).  All I have cared about is playing with our grandson.  So, here are a few pictures of my time here:


Oct8HeidiTheo Oct8TheoLaughing

Torquay, England

Monday, October 4th, 2010

This is my 4th year coming to Torquay.  My class was a bit smaller this year, but I really didn't want more than 12 in the class, and that was the final number.  We were creating my LiMei doll and she's quite involved and smaller numbers in a class means more gets done. Torquay Naked Ladies

The first day was the nitty-gritty day,  We created a wire armature and filled the bodies with stuffing around the wire.  Then we drew and sculpted the face.  Day two was the dyeing day.  The bodies were dyed, along with the clothing fabrics.  We had a beautiful day for everything to be outside to dry in the sun.

One of the things I love about coming to Sylvia's here in Torquay is the walk in the mornings and evenings.  I can walk along the edge of the cliffs and see the sea below.  It is truly beautiful.  But, as you can see, they have the same problems we have in California – cliffs falling into the sea.  TorquayAdventuresWithCarl

In the evenings Carl whisks me away for an adventure.  This trip was to Brixham to see where more D-Day events happened.  Many of our men and women embarked from various points along the Devonshire coast before D-Day.

But, as were leaving the Battery Gardens we noticed we had a flat tire.  Every year I have to have some adventure with Carl.  Last year, as he was helping me on the train to return to London the train took off with Carl still on the train with me.  Fortunately, Torre is a short distance from Torquay and he was able to get off and return to Torquay to meet Sylvia.  Who was standing in shock as the train took off with her husband still with me.





TorquayCliffs TorquayBridgeOct4 

 After the class on Sunday Carl took me to see two very narrow bridges that are hundreds of years old.  With the recent rains the river was running quite fast and the sound wonderful.  After we visited the bridges we returned to Buckfast Abbey for Sunday Vespers.  We had gone there last year and Carl knew how I loved the pipe organ and the chantings of the monks.  This year there was an additional Benedictine service.  I even knew the hymn sung at the end.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       TorquayClassOct.3                                                                                         Here's the fun group with their dolls in various stages of completion at the end of the day on Sunday.  Everyone enjoyed working with the Embellisher machines we had, and we all loved the All in One dyes from Colourcraft.  Everyone did like using the Shiva/Markal Paintstiks for coloring the faces and upper bodies.  I do have to say that everyone's dolls turned out great and I can't wait to see the finished dolls when I return next year. ToquaySylviaOct4                                                                                                              Today, Oct. 4, was my last day in Torquay.  Sylvia took me to a beautiful spot along the coast where we had tea and a light lunch before I had to get on the train.  The day was perfect – warm, sunny, breezy.

When I return next year we'll be doing my new Kiri doll based on the movie "Avatar".  Keep tuned.

Next, I'll be briefly visiting the Knitting & Stitching Show in London Thursday, then that afternoon heading to Belgium to see our daughter, son-in-law and grandson.             

Greetings from England

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

FobblesMuncasterCastleKathrynBeverley After days of trying to find a cable for my new Sony camera a friend got one of those card readers and I was able to start downloading photo's.  I'm a bit behind, as I'm presently in Torquay, but do want to start sharing my amazing trip to England.

Kathryn had picked me up at the train station in Preston, then we drove up to Cumbria.  Beverley and Kathryn then took me to Muncaster Castle so I could see the grounds.  Last year I didn't arrive early enough to do so.

As you can see, this is a beautiful part of England.  Where we were is on the west coast of Cumbria.  On clear days you can see the Isle of Man across the sea.  It did clear up while I was here but we were a bit busy to look for the Isle of Man. FobblesMuncasterCastleOwls    

While walking through the grounds at Muncaster Castle we came upon an owl sanctuary.  Many of you know how I love owls.  I was in owl heaven!

FobblesMuncasterOwls2 I took dozens of photo's but will only share a few.  Do click on the photo of the two grey owls and check out the pink eyelids on the owl facing the camera.  I had no idea there were so many kinds of owls.

FobblesMuncasterOwls3 This is one I am familiar with, a Great Horned Owl.  We have them in our neighborhood in San Diego.  Very majestic.

I'm afraid they were feeding the owls, which put Beverley off for having dinner with Kathryn and I.  What were they feeding them you ask?  Baby chickens. FobblesSprayDyes

Beverley owns a wonderful store called Fobbles.  I had fallen so in love with the area last year that she asked me back this year.  I taught a 3-day workshop and we made my Xiuying doll.  We worked on a simple body armature then spray painted the bodies with CraftyNotions Colourful Sprays.  And, yes, the dolls heads are in plastic bags.  No one wanted their dolls heads to get sprayed with colourful inks.

FobblesGroup2010 By the end of the 3 days the dolls were almost finished.  The group was fun to be with and we all enjoyed our time in Beverley's converted barn.  Beverley rents the barn from an active farm.  They grow potatoes, so the barn isn't needed anymore for livestock.  If you are ever in this part of England, do look up the shop.  Check her website before going, though.  She offers a lot of wonderful classes, but isn't open every day of the week.

Breast Cancer Awareness month soon

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

After sending off my doll for a fund raiser in October I thought I'd remind everyone to schedule your mammograms for October.  If you haven't had one for awhile.  October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we need to spread the word to get those breasts smashed.
SusanandHelen                                                                                                                            The photo to the right is my friend Susan (with the short hair) and her partner, Helen.  Susan had a double mastectomy in February 2009.  She went through a long series of chemo treatments, then excruciating radiation.  But, she has survived and is doing very well.  She developed a couple garments to help women after surgery.  It sometimes takes someone like Susan, who is a designer, to come down with a dreaded disease to come up with solutions.  You can see their products at:

PaulettesBreastCancerDoll This doll was done for a fund raiser by Paulette, a wonderful doll maker.  Like me, she's lost friends to cancer and wanted to do something.  She made this beautiful doll that will be sold at a fundraiser to raise funds for breast cancer research.

We may not have money to donate, but most of us can make something.  I highly recommend it.  You feel so good when you make something and send it off to be donated to a good cause.  Very rewarding.

Until next time, keep well.

Doll finished

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

The doll for Making Ends Meet auction for breast cancer research is finished.  The embellishing took far longer than the designing, as usual.
MEMDollFinished                                                                                                  As I mentioned in an earlier post, her clothing and a lot of the trims were purchased at Making Ends Meet in their home dec store.  Both the pink and the bronze striped fabric are home dec fabrics, but all silk.

I made tubes from the two fabrics and then made the silk ribbon roses and leaves in her hair and on her hat.        Her hair is also upholstery trim.  I love this particular type of trim for smaller dolls and wasn't sure it would work on this large doll, but it was perfect.  Type pad is being very twitchy tonight.        My sentences are ending up all over the place.                                                                                                                                       I decided my doll needed shoes, which were really simple to make.  And, the embellishments on her corset are from vintage costume jewelry.  I love going to Goodwill and Salvation Army thrift stores and buying bags of costume jewelry.  Her necklace is also from an old necklace that was falling apart that was perfect for the doll.                                                                                         
MEMDollFinishedCloseUp If you click on the close-up picture it will take you to a larger image.  There you can see the heat-set crystals I added to her face and chest.                                                           She was truly fun to work on.  A nice break from my normal type of doll making.  I highly recommend doing something like this.  It is very rewarding knowing that she'll be auctioned off and bring money for a good cause.  The website for the event is

Tomorrow I box her up and send her on her way.                                                        

Cancer fundraiser doll

Friday, August 27th, 2010

While in Shelbyville, Kentucky in April I accepted the challenge to decorate a blank doll for Leslie's fundraiser for breast cancer.  The dolls are due Sep. 15, and the auction will happen later that month and run through October.
MEMBreastCancerDoll1                                     We each chose a blank doll.  There were 3 sizes.  I chose the size 3 toddler.  She's a pretty big doll, as you can see in this photo.                                 I drew her face then started dyeing her body.  I wanted to use dyes as I didn't want to change the hand of the body fabric.  The first dyes I used didn't cover the cotton very well.  They were new to me and are suppose to be earth friendly.           
MEMBreastCancerDoll2I then went back to my favorite dyes – Dye Na Flow – by Jacquard.  They aren't really dyes, but act like a dye as they penetrate the fibers completely.  I was much happier.  I sprinkled some salt here and there and ended up with the look I wanted.  I also used some of's new multi surface paints and sprays.  Gave her a bit more color.

MEMBreastCancerDoll3Best Next I used some watered down paints to add shading and highlights to the face.  I blushed her cheeks with their paints, too.  For her lips and eyes I used paints, and to deepen the shading I mixed PearlEX powders with Golden's Matt Medium.  You can't see it in the photo, but the deeper shadows around her eyes really sparkle due to the PearlEX.  Pearl EX powders have to have something to grab onto, thus matt medium, or other fabric paints with pigment work well.

After the body was dry I used a metal screen and some Lumiere to add a design to her arms.  I tested this on her body until I got the look I wanted.  I found using a stencil brush and very little paint worked the best.  You can see the final result on her arms.

Tomorrow I will use stencils and Shiva Paintstiks to add more designs to her body and detail her face.  She still needs pupils, eyelashes, eyebrows and outlining of the lips.  After that I'll make her clothing.

Here's the website that tells about the fund raiser.  It is under Events:

Newest creation

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

Sometimes things work out for the best.  I had sent a doll to Australia for an article in their Dolls Bears & Collectibles magazine.  That was in April 2009.  The doll is still missing and the article was never published.  Which means, I now have her back.  At least the pattern.

Now, to the things working out for the best, I've had to remake the doll, which enabled me to add more step photo's to the pattern.

This is Ilmaria, Guardian of the Stars.  She's 16-inches of pure enjoyment.  She has a simple body, which means she can be embellished up the yahzoo.  Along with the pattern, with quite a few color step-photo's, I'm including the various laces and trims used on the sample doll.  

Ilmaria is the newest pattern on my website.  And, remember, January 2011 my website will be going bye bye.  I'll be moving everything here to Typepad, and shutting down the retail end of my business.  My patterns, books, etc., will still be available at Dollmakers Journey, Joggles,, etc.

By the way, her hair was formerly on a jacket I found at a thrift/op store/shop.  It is Tibetan goat, which is my favorite fiber for hair.  It was the trim on the jacket.  The jacket cost me $4.99.  There's enough of the fur left to make dozens of dolls.

This is a short post as I need to get myself organized.  We've been entertaining a lot lately.  This evening we had our pastor and his wife over for dinner.  I was forced to give my kitchen a thorough cleaning yesterday when my food processor got too full and spewed cheesecake fixings all over the place, and me.  The cheesecake turned out just fine.  Both Barry (our pastor) and my husband devoured a couple pieces each.

In-house workshop results

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

I have to share photo's I received today from two of the people who flew here to take my final in-house workshop.  Sydneysclass dollThe doll to the right was done by Sydney, a 13-year old, talented young lady.

Sydney had her doll almost finished by the end of the 3 days.  She did an amazing job dyeing the silks, painting the cottons, creating the collage work on the corset and shoes, and especially the face.  Such a beautiful face and she does it all on her own.

Sydneyscollage2                                                                                                                                 Don't you love the way they framed their photo's and also the way they put them together to share with us?  The collage photo's to the left are close-ups of Sydney's doll.

Donnasclassdoll The photo to the left is Donna's doll.  Donna is Sydney's mom.  It is wonderful having mothers and daughters who love the same thing.  Both Donna and Sydney have their own style.  Even though they used my pattern, they have made Golendrial their own unique doll.

Donna had sent me photo's of her dolls and I was truly sorry I hadn't known about her before I wrote my books.  But, one never knows.  There may be another book down the road.

Donnascollagedolls                                                                                      As soon as the other two who were in the workshop send their photo's I'll post them here.  I can't wait to see their finished dolls. 

I love what Donna and Sydney did and know you'll join me in your admiration of their work.                                                                

Goldendrial2010 This is my doll.  You can see the unique way the others interpreted the design.

This is the pattern from my book  "Creative Cloth Doll Couture".  This doll, actually a different sample doll, is in the last chapter of the book.  A fun doll to make.