Archive for May, 2010

Doll makers checking in

Friday, May 28th, 2010

I love it when people send me photo's of dolls they have made based on my patterns or books.  EmilyBeckettsgroupie dolls,BobDylan,JimHendrix,BeatlesEmily Beckett made these three dolls for a project at school.  She won highest marks, and rightly so.  Emily finished high school in Australia last year and topped the state in textiles and design as "The most creative and innovative" with her Major in textiles work.  These three are "groupies" of major 60's musicians Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles.  She also wanted them to represent the civil rights movement, anti-war protests and the sexual revolution.  I think she hit that nail on the head.

After taking a couple crazy patch workshops with Gloria McKinnon, who also lives in Australia, I have started working on my own.  I'm teaching my Japanese Ladies in Waiting at the North Carolina Quilt Symposium in Charlotte next week and decided to do a crazy patch quilt block to show them what else they can do with the design.  Originally, it was designed to add to my Tome.

JapaneseLadiesinWaitingFinished2 I still have trims and handwork to do, but wanted to share some of what I'm up to.  In class we'll paint the ladies, using fun paints and Pearl EX powders to add shading and highlights.  This block will go with the block I created for last weeks class on Shiva Paintstiks.

GeishaInTrg14 As you can see, I've used some of the same fabrics.  This way I can eventually put them together, along with other blocks I create and make a quilt. 

Yes.  I do make a few quilts every so often.  I'm behind in making quilts for my grandchildren.  That is on the calendar for this summer.

Tea with the Queen

Friday, May 28th, 2010


QueenTeaPatti Last Saturday I had my 2nd tea.  This year I called it Tea with the Queen.  We all made Fascinators, which were great fun to make and very easy.
QueenTea  More on that later.

First we had our afternoon tea.  Last year I had done a Mad Hatter Tea Party with a long table.  This time I had smaller tables.  We always have a wonderful time talking and solving the worlds problems.  But, we also laughed a lot and grew closer as friends.

After the tea we gathered in our family room and went to work on our Fascinators.  My idea was to make them then raffle them off to help raise funds for my friend who does the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk for the Cure.  Karen has to raise $2500.00 each year and this will be her 4th year.

QueenTeaMakingFascinators I've been going through my stash and clearing out.  I had all kinds of silk flowers, leaves, feathers, ribbons, birds and glitz.  I purchased hair clips and a couple small hot glue guns.  I had gotten rid of mine ages ago as I work almost exclusively with needle and thread.  But I knew it would go quicker if we had glue guns.

QueenTeaRosemary As you can see everyone got into the fun of making their fascinators.  A couple decided to do brooches instead, which looked terrific.



It doesn't matter what age you are.  Everyone loved making the Fascinators.  Here Lisa helps Jennifer clip hers into her hair.  Jennifer's was the most elaborate one made.

QueenTeaSusan To the right is Susan who is a breast cancer survivor recently.  Of the 18 people at the tea, four are breast cancer survivors.   

QueenTeaKaren The picture of the gal with the green Fascinator in her hair is Karen.  She's the one who will be doing the 3-Day for the 4th year.  Karen is very passionate about walking for breast cancer awareness.  I'm thinking I need to get into training and do some of the walk.

Anyway, the tea was fun, and we got Karen started with her fund raising.

I highly recommend getting together with family, neighbors and friends and having afternoon tea.  We all get so busy we lose touch with each other.  Not good.  So, brush off that furniture and uncover the tea pots and cups and saucers and have a small afternoon tea.

June Sale

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

To clear out inventory I've got a special sale that will be running through the month of June, starting May 26 and ending June 30.  Buy two patterns and get one of your choice free.  Buy three patterns and choose any two patterns you want.  This is different from the offer I've had over the past year.  In that one I sent you a retired pattern of my choice.

Karen This is Karen, to the left, and Perky Peggy, who should be to the right but keeps moving.  Someday I'll learn how to work with Typepads format.

You can go to my website and view all the patterns I have.  If you want any of the pdf patterns, Elysia, Aerin and Calypso Caly those are included.  I will have to snail mail you the patterns you choose that are not in pdf format.

Poor Perky Peggy keeps moving down the page.  She's the one with the red hair sitting on her posey.

Leona just bumped her down to the bottom of the page.  Oh, well.  I'm a designer, not a computer person. 

I keep messing up so better post this and get off the computer.  I have no idea where the blue lettering came from.  Very interesting.3

Creative Days

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

This past week has been full of creative fun.
CreativeClothDollClassCloseUp  I've been doing more with the Shiva Paintstiks in preparation for a couple classes I'll be teaching next year.  The doll shown here is from a pattern in my book "Creative Cloth Doll Couture".  I decided to try my hand at giving her body more color and really love the results.  Her face and body coloring are done with the paint sticks.

You'll see that with the paint sticks you get a softer look.  More painterly.  Next year I'll be focusing more on using these wonderful oil sticks to give dolls, and other projects, a more realistic look.

Earlier last week I drove up the coast to Arroyo Grande.  Beautiful drive.  The Central Coast Art Doll Group had invited me to come do a workshop with them.  Many in the group I had not seen in a long time, others were new and one was a lady who has taken all the doll classes at Piecemaker's.

CentralCoastArtDollGroup                                                                              We worked from my books creating dolls unique to each individual.  Each person chose the doll shape they wanted and we focused on faces, dyeing, creating a printed fabric with heat transfer dyes, using the embellishing machine to create another piece of fabric, and a few other techniques.

It was a wonderful time my hosts were truly terrific.  They had a guest house that I had all to myself and in which the class was held.  Very convenient for me.

After I was with the doll group I took a class with Gloria McKinnon at Piecemaker's on Sunday.  Gloria is one of my Australian friends and I have learned all kinds of wonderful silk ribbon embroidery from her.

AsianBlock3Original Last year Gloria introduced her newest block-of-the month crazy patch quilt.  It is the most glorious quilt ever.  It is titled "Asian Riches" and that it is.  Rich colors, stunning fabrics and exquisite images of Asian women printed on silk.

In the class Gloria taught us the silk ribbon mums seen in the lower right corner, the beaded flowers on the far left panel, some stem stitching, and the flowers you see at the very top. 

What was amazing was Gloria had broken her left arm 3 weeks before flying here from Australia.  She had to be in terrible pain, but you would never know it.  She's dedicated to educating us and I can't say enough about her as a teacher.  She's the best.

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Thursday, May 20, I'll be teaching faces using Shiva Paintstiks. The title of the piece we'll be working on is "Geisha's in Training". Each person in the class gets the drawing and will color the faces using the paintstiks. If interested in the class contact me:


Shoe help

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

One of the frustrations of doing a book is some of the instructions and illustrations get cut due to space.  This was true with Helen's shoes in my book "Creative Cloth Doll Couture".  
HelenforTutorialClick on Helen's picture and she'll take you to a larger image.

HelenShoeCloseUp The shoes, and Helen's outfit, were inspired by the fashions of the 1940's.  You can't see them, but she's got silk stockings on, with garters on her camiknickers.  I would have loved being in my 20's during the 40's.  The music, hair styles, clothing, accessories were dynamite!  (That may not be politically correct today, but that was the word used for something that was outstanding during the 1940's).

For those of you struggling with Helen's shoes here's a little tutorial for you.

Following the instructions on page 36, complete Steps 1 & 2.  Cut out both pieces after you've sewn the toe and top seams, as shown in figure t.  The tricky part comes putting the shoe together.
HelenShoeStep3   Turn the shoe top, right side out (the red fabric in the photo).  Finger press the seams to smooth them.  You can see that the toe is now finished as is the top of the shoe.  The sides are still unfinished as is the heel section.

HelenShoeHeelPinned Open up the main part of the shoe top (red fabric), and the lining fabric (green) and pin them right sides together.  The sides of the shoes are still going to be left open.  You are going to finish the heel part of the shoe top in this step.  It looks odd, I know, but it works.  It would help if I had a video of it, but we still don't have a digital video camera.  Someday.                                                 Once pinned, sew down this seam.


           I've used white thread in my machine so you can see the stitches.  You will use matching thread.

HelenShoeStep6 Turn the shoe so the main fabric is outside, as shown in the photo to the left.  Finger press the seams to make them smooth.  You now have a finished top.  Next is sewing the sole of the shoe to the top.  This can be tricky, too.  More fiddly than tricky.

Follow Steps 5, 6 & 7.  What isn't clear, due to the photo, is what to do with the sole lining.

You'll need to pleat and pin the toe part of the shoe top in order for it to not get caught as you are sewing.  I think this photo will help due to the colors I used.

HelenShoeStep7 You can see the pleated toe part sticking out through the slit made in the shoe sole lining.  Follow Steps 8 & 9 on page 37.
                                When you turn the shoe through the slit the lining is right side out. 

HelenShoeStep8 You'll need to turn it again to get the right side of the shoe on the outside.  To do this, turn it through the slit that is now on the bottom, sole.
HelenShoeStep9                 You now have a shoe finished.  Except for the heels.  Those instructions continue on pages 37 & 38 and are easy to follow.

Cute shoes, right?  I may use these on my Ms. Maddie Hatter, although I think her feet are smaller.

I do hope this helps and you can make dozens of shoes for your Helen's, or whatever doll you are making.  Remember, all the dolls in my books are 18-inches and these shoes will fit any of the "girls".  But, you do have to have the Couture book for the pattern.

Happy doll making!