Archive for September, 2009


Saturday, September 26th, 2009

I've been having fun being with Heidi and Raphael in their new home near Brussels.  They've only been in the house two weeks but you'd think it had been much longer.  No unpacked boxes anywhere to be seen.  They are two of the most organized people I know.  Wish some of it would rub off on me.


Heidi is almost 5 mos. pregnant and absolutely adorable.  She thinks she's huge.  Just wait a few months, my darling.  Then you'll know what huge is.


The photo to the left is of their backyard and Raphael mowing their yard.

Heidi is on the deck on the 1st floor, but their basement is a walk-out, thus the reason she looks like she's on an upper floor.

Their backyard is a nice size and full of greenery, a Japanese style water fountain and a darling wooden building for lawn tools.  Perfect for these two and their soon to be child.

Today (Sep. 25) they took me to the Folon Museum, which is at a beautiful chateau.  I had only seen a few of Folon's watercolors on the covers of magazines.  To see his work in person is truly the best.  The museum itself is unique and very well laid out.  You start with his early water colors, then move on to newer work, his sculptures and multi-media.  You wind through several rooms and gardens to see his work.


This is Heidi and I by one of his sculptures in the courtyard in between the buildings where his work is displayed.  On the small photo's you can click and it will take you to a larger image.


The photo to the right is the chateau.  There are beautiful lakes, woods and paths on the property.  Even horse stables where you can ride a pony or horse.  A definite must see if you are ever in Belgium.  The weather has been beautiful, too.  Sunny, cool,, perfect.

Monday I take the train to London then to Winchester and later Torquay.  More pictures later.


Monday, September 21st, 2009

I returned last night from a great time in Illinois and Kentucky.  I first went to take care of some things for my Dad, who will be 91 pretty soon.


He lives in a retirement apartment complex built by two sisters who wanted farmers to have an affordable place to live when they retired from farming.  The gardens are beautiful and a great place to relax in the afternoon.

Behind the lattice fence is a huge vegetable garden.  The kitchen uses the vegetables for the meals prepared for the residents.  Dad and I spent a little time each afternoon relaxing in the garden.

After I was in Illinois I drove to Shelbyville, Kentucky where I taught a two-day class at a fabulous shop.  Making Ends Meet and Making Ends Meet, Again.  Oct. 3 & 4 they will have Pam Grose from Australia teaching. 


This is the group that took my class Sep. 18 & 19.  Annie Hesse (2nd from the right front row) helped arrange the class.  Leslie McCarthy (2nd on the left in the back row) is the owner.  She's so full of energy and a delight to be around.  Very supportive of the doll world.

Do check out the shop and their classes:

Tomorrow I leave for Belgium to visit our daughter and son-in-law then I go to England to teach classes.  I'm going to see if I can access typepad from my phone as I'm not taking my computer.  It is getting old and cranky.

Before I leave I need to show you some pictures of dolls made from my books and classes and from relatively new doll makers.


The doll on the right is Deena Maurus' Dora, made from a combination of the patterns from my book "Creative Cloth Doll Making".  I love the colors Deena used, plus the expression on the dolls face.  Very unique use of fabrics, too. 


The one on the left is completely different.  It is amazing how colors can make using a similar pattern look totally different. 

Both dolls are beautifully done.

Sue Powers tackled my Franalizia pattern in "Creative Cloth Doll Beading".  She did a fabulous job of interpreting the pattern.

The shells in the hair and the netting used on the arms really gave this doll a true mermaid feel.  The face is beautifully done, too.



Sue chose a beautiful setting for her mermaid, too.  Something I need to work on in my doll making.

Check out the bead work on her bust.  Everything about this doll is stunning.

My next post will, hopefully, be from Belgium showing our daughters first home.  And her tummy.  I can't wait to see how she looks being pregnant.  

I'll also take photo's of my time in England.  Hope  to see some of you there.

Mikaela’s new outfit

Monday, September 7th, 2009

One of the places I'll be teaching in England is Torquay on the Devonshire coast.  This will be my 3rd year going to Sylvia's place.  Last year I taught my Alchemy Treasure box.  This year it is my version of the BJD's (ball-jointed dolls) Mikaela.  But, I told them I would design a special outfit for the class.  The days have been ticking by and I finally got to her.MikaelaPartyBlogImage

She still needs a few more beaded flowers for her hair, and her purse isn't finished.  She also needs her wrist cuffs, but the rest is finished. 

I made her dress from a piece of silk crepe de chine I had dyed earlier in the year.  Her corset is fabric collage with one of my favorite embellishments dangling – fabric baubles.  I've found some wonderful floral shaped sequins and these added just the right bling to her baubles and shoes.

Her shoes are made from a black cotton with some machine embroidery and beadwork.  After the class she'll be the next outfit available for the original Mikaela doll.

Mikaela4a In case you've forgotten what the original doll looks like here's her photo.

She also has an Afternoon Tea outfit.

All of the clothing and shoes are removable so you can change her outfits. 

Yes, we grown-ups like to change our dolls clothing.


Saturday, September 5th, 2009

Today I took an extremely enlightening class with Michael deMeng.  Contrary to what I had thought, this man is not from the "dark" side.  He's fun, entertaining and full of fabulous information and techniques.

MichaeldeMengClass1 Michael talks about and shows all kinds of painting techniques.  He mostly uses Golden products, which are very easy to find.

He does a lot of "washes" and dry brush techniques which can make the object look antique, or new.  It depends on what you want.


On the plastic doll head he used a white paint, then several washes to create an antique, yet contemporary look.  He also used a heat gun to "fry" the hair which made her even more interesting.MicheaeldeMengMyPez 

Michael lectures and demonstrates then lets you go to your work station and experiment.  We used Apoxy Clay, which is a two part clay that air cures/hardens.  We also used Dap Kwik Set.  Yep.  The one you use to calk your kitchen and bath sinks and showers.  Dremels were used to reshape and cut objects, along with wire, found objects, beads, chain, E6000 glue, and everything in between.

I took Michael's Pez Dispensing Totems and this is my version.  The things that look like leaves on the base are actually snake vertebrae.  That is a plastic doll head that I cut the face away from the back of the head, which got rid of the hair.  I still need to add something around the top of her head, but she's almost done.  And, the Pez dispenser still works. 

One of the things I really liked about the class was Michael does a critique at the end of class.  He goes over each person's item and points out the things he likes. 

MichaeldeMengClass2 My photo's of the all the Pez Totems didn't turn out so great, but you can see a few of them in front of Michael as he's doing his critique.

If he comes to your area run, don't walk, to sign up for a class.  Even though this isn't my medium it was a day of pure pleasure and learning.

I've added Michael's website and blog to my side bar so go check it out.

I intend on signing up for his class when he returns to San Diego, and I may see him at Art Unraveled next August in Arizona.

More on that another time.


Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Even though I should be working on new designs, which I am, I've been taking some workshops from people whose work I love.EvieMae1

This is a doll I made in Cyndi Mahlstadts class at Piecemaker's this past weekend.  Her name is Evie Mae.  She's a quick and extremely fun doll to make and Cyndi is an excellent teacher.

Barbara Willis, Betts Vidal and I were in the class and that had to be intimidating to Cyndi.  I'm not sure how I would react having 3 doll designers in one of my classes.  Cyndi handled us like a pro that she is.

Evie Mae is 12-inches tall, if you have her legs straight.  She's wire covered with batting then wrapped with wonderful stuff.  Her skirt is a silk flower that is taken apart and slipped onto the wire that created her torso. 

If Cyndi is ever in your area  you have to take a class.  Better yet, invite her to come.  Her blog and website are listed in the sidebar here on my blog.  Her company name is Meadow Bug Studios.

One of the classes I'll be teaching is my Creative Cloth Doll Making.  This class shows how you can mix and match body parts from my various books.

The red-headed doll below is a sample of what I'll be teaching.  She's a combination of 3 of my books – Creative Cloth Doll Making, Creative Cloth Doll Faces and Creative Cloth Doll Couture.

You don't have to have all three books to take the class.  Just one, but two would be better.  What I'll be doing in the class is showing how you can mix and match body parts to make a doll that is uniquely yours.  I also show how to create your own clothing by using the draping method.  Accessories are explored, too.  You can see this version had some fun shoes.  I'll show how to make those.

Marley1 Another thing I like to do is show how to use a simple square piece of fabric and turn it into different shaped embellishments.  You can't see the square very well in the photo, but it has made a wrap for her necklace, an accent piece for the center of the necklace, embellishments on her shoes, ankles and wrists and also for her hair.

To see where I'll be teaching this class go to my website, which is also listed on the sidebar. 

Doll making is a very relaxing art/craft form and a great way to use up scraps leftover from other projects.

This Saturday I'll be leaving the bright side and going to the dark side.  I'm taking a workshop with Michael deMeng.  I have his extremely interesting book "Secrets of Rusty Things".  It has been fun collecting odds and ends for his class along with a Dremel, Dap Kwik Set, Liquid Nails and E6000 glue.  I'll post pictures after the class so you can see if I can work with rusty things.