Archive for February, 2010

Grandbaby and Prague

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

First things first.  I must share new photo's of our latest addition to the family – Theo John Michel Dechief.  Yes.  I keep putting his whole name, but I love the sound.  

These pictures were taken on Feb. 24, the day before I had to fly home.  He was making some of the cutest little sounds.  Almost like he wanted to tell Heidi something.TheoFeb24Best                                                                       


                        Afraid I'm having real problems with Typepad today.  None of the photos and text are going where I want them.  Sorry about this mess.

PragueArtNouveauBldg While in Brussels I had the wonderful opportunity to fly to Prague, Czech Republic to teach a class to a group of doll makers.

My hosts, Bohdana and Mirek, were truly amazing.  They made sure I saw as many places in Prague as I could in the short time I was there.

They knew I love Art Nouveau.  For those of you who have been to Prague you know what a breathtakingly beautiful city it is filled with Art Nouveau style  architecture.

The building to the left, I hope it is on the left, is one of those  amazing Art Nouveau places.

PragueCastleChurchMuchaWindow Below, hopefully, is a window in the gothic style cathedral on the castle grounds that was painted my Alfonse Mucha. 

Bohdana and Mirek took me to the Mucha Museum, where I learned that he started drawing beautifully at the young age of 7.

Below is a photo of Bohdana and Mirek in their lovely home.  The quilt behind Bohdana is one she did for Bernina.  Like me, she loves Bernina sewing machines and is one of their top educators for eastern Europe.
  Don't ask me what happened to the photo quality.  It was perfect in Photoshop, but certainly didn't translate well here.


Bohdana runs a Creative Center in Prague where she hosts all kinds of wonderful fiber classes.  This is where I was privileged to teach.PragueClassGroupFeb2010 

Nine fantastically talented doll makers were in the class.  Most speak little English so Bohdana arranged for an interpreter.  Dana isn't in the picture as she was taking it, but she  also owns a quilt shop so knew what I was talking about and was an excellent interpreter.

This is just a short  post on my wonderful time in Rixensart, Belgium with our new grandson, and my amazing time in Prague. 

I am so blessed to have the opportunity to travel and share my love of doll making, and to see my children and grandchildren as often as I do.  That is also one reason John and I will be moving from California next year.  We want to be closer to our grandchildren and California is simply too far away.

Until next time, God Bless and keep you,


Snowy Belgium

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

It is beautiful here in Rixensart, Belgium, which is near Brussels.  I arrived Sunday, Feb. 7, to meet our new grandson – Theo John Michel Dechief.IMG_0691   He was still in the hospital when I arrived, but was able to come home on Monday, Feb. 8.


Since arriving home he's been much happier.  Who wouldn't be.  Hospitals are for sick people and he wasn't sick.  Just a bit early.


He loved his first bath at home, as you can see from the cute smile on his face.  And, yes, that is a smile.  It is not gas, I don't care what the so called experts say.

He has even laughed in our arms. 

You forget how precious these little ones are.  It is wonderful being around them and enjoying all their little noises.

IMG_0702 Auntie Janet was also here from Orlando, Florida.  She really enjoyed holding a little one again.  Our other grandchildren are now aged 6, 3 and 22 months.  They stayed home with daddy so that mommy could come help her sister with the little guy.

That's the latest, for now.  More pictures will follow, plus photo's of the doll I'll be teaching in Prague next weekend.  Thought it would be nice to give the kids a break from Grandma so when I was asked to come to Prague I said yes!

Catching up

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

I keep thinking I'll update my blog on a weekly basis.  I have good intentions of doing so, but it hasn't happened yet.DazzDazeApronGroup                                                                                                                                       Every other year I did a master class that I called Dazzling Daze.  This year I sent each person attending the pattern for my new apron.  I was thrilled that nearly everyone made the apron.

Isn't it fun to see all the different fabrics used?  Valerie, in the center front, hadn't done her applique yet, but she will.

This was my last master class that I organize.  I'm an artist, not an organizer.  It is too hard to organize something and also teach.  I'll miss my Dazzling Daze.  They were fun while they lasted.

The doll we did this year was along an Asian feel.  Joann Hatch finished hers.DazzDazeJoannHatchLiMei                                           

Just like the aprons, it was fun seeing the colors each person worked in.

During the class we used resist and drew our own designs for the jacket.  On the dress we stamped using wood blocks and Lumiere metallic paints.  When the paint dried we then used Procion dyes and dyed the dress fabric, and also the lining for the jacket.

The "obi" was created using the embellishing machine.  Tubes of Japanese silk/rayon fabrics added to the obi along with some silk ribbon roses and beads.

Many other techniques were used in the 4 days.  It was pretty intense, but all the dolls were turning out beautifully.  As you can see from Joann's doll.

The shoes are Lotus shoes.  They are 3-inches, which was the preferred size for a real Lotus shoe.  Can you imagine?  We were all looking at our feet and were very thankful we were born in an age that has banned such torture to women's feet.  Of course, that depends.  I see the high heeled pointy toed shoe is back in style.  That's almost as bad as having your feet bound.

One of the joys of doing what I do is having people send me photo's of dolls they have made from my classes, books and patterns.

Group of 3 dolls Helen Hill emailed me and sent photo's of dolls she and two friends made from my Creative Cloth Doll Couture book.

The group to the left is the  same pattern, but look at how different each person  made the doll. Each one is unique, and I'm sure reflects the owner's personality and likes.

BarbaraHelenHillsOdepheliaFaerie Below is Helen's Odephelia Faerie.  I love the beaded butterfly face mask.  I also love the colors Helen used, along with the embellishments.

The wings were inspired by a workshop Helen had with Jean Barnard.  Jean works with Paverpol and air dried clays.  I'll have to ask Helen what she used to create the wings.  Hers look soft, not hard as most of Jeans are.

As you look at each doll look at the hair, too.  Each person used different products for the hair.

The next doll, with the guitar, is Joan Domonchuks.  She named her doll Eva.  I love the "tattoo" on Eva's cheek.  Also, check out the shoes.

JoanDomonchuksEvaBest Joan used yarn for the hair.  I love working with yarn.  Also, torn fabric.  I've moved away from mohair off the hide as I find it felts over time.  If you use mohair on the hide, that won't happen.

DebDowneysTeaRose                                                                                                                                                                                                            &#0160
;                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                &#0160
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0;                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Deb Downey's version is called Tea Rose.  Another beautiful doll.  She does look like she's ready for High Tea.

DebDowneysTeaRoseCloseUp I love the coloring Deb did on the face.  And the outfit is really nicely done.

All of these dolls are spectacular.  But, I have one more picture of a live doll.

Theo 26 days 008 This is our newest grandson – Theo.  He's now 26 days old and still in the hospital.  Belgium has different rules for releasing babies than we do.  He's healthy, nursing well, pooping and peeing and gaining weight.  But, according the the hospital he's not gaining weight fast enough.  Guess they like really chubby babies in Belgium.  Actually, chubby women are more in fasion in Europe, too.  I'd get along famously there.

I leave Saturday, tomorrow actually, to spend a couple weeks helping clean, cook and hopefully hold the newest member of our family.

There you have it.  An update on the happenings here at the Culea household.  I promise to update my blog while in Belgium.  And, I'll be in Prague for a few days, too.  I've been asked to teach a workshop there for a doll group.  Really exciting.

Those of you in the blizzard areas, stay warm.  Hope the electricity holds.  My flight was changed due to the weather.  Instead of flying to Dulles (Washington, DC area) I'll be flying to London then on to Brussels.  Hope the weather holds in London.