Saturday, November 19, 2011

Oh the things you can do with a paper bag!

I love our Doll Club challenges!!
Our challenge for November was 'do something with a miniature paper bag'.

If there was a prize, I think this one would have won.  Diane brought her curious cat.

Charlie made miniature teddy bears.

And all of them go well with Chrystalline the Christmas Faerie.  It looks like we planned the scene.  Just a happy accident!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Chrystalline the Christmas Faerie

Chrystalline is nearly finished - way before her deadline for completion. 
She is holding a bag full of gifts.
For Doll Club our challenge was to make a doll using a miniature paper bag in some way.  This one is an actual scale model of a grocery bag made by Rita.  She gave us directions to make scale models and the few samples she had left in her stash. 

Chrystalline is also my entry into the Cloth Doll Artistry Holiday Faery Challenge.  I need to find a few more mini embellishments to complete her costume.   Will visit Michaels to see what I can find. 
I think she needs a string of lights draped over her shoulders. 

The pattern I used was Whimsy by Barbara Schoenoff.  First time I have used one of her patterns.  I like it!  There were a few things I did differently because it is easier for me to do some things the same old way - that way I know the results will be good. 

I used a ribbon to put on her head so her head turns.  I tried using button joints but ended up sewing the legs and arms to make them stationery.  I couldn't get them on firm enough to hold her position.  I think it was easier to get her into a sitting position though with the joints so that was good. 

Chrystalline's seat is a candle holder with a cushion added in place of the candle.  Candle holders make the best seats for dolls.  My gypsy doll is sitting on a very cool brass candle holder with bells.  The frame of the candle holder makes the base firm and easy to attach the doll so she doesn't move.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Rita's Heads

Our October Doll Club challenge was to make a doll from one of the heads that Rita gave away at our August meeting.  So here are the dolls that Diane, Charley and I came up with.

We should have taken 'before' pictures but none of us remembered. 
Best of all Rita was at our October meeting to see what we did with her heads.                

My doll was inspired by one of those Motherisms that stay with you all of your life. 

Rita practices painting on the back of the head where the hair will cover.  And I was going to cover the practice eye until I remembered my son asking me how I knew what he was doing behind my back. 

This is her front.  She is a litle bit of me and a lot of my mom.
And on the back of her head.......

an eye.

My answer was always the same.  "Because, Son, I have eyes on the back of my head."

Saturday, October 8, 2011

It has been a while

It has been a while since I have posted!  And a long while since I have made a doll.  The new 2012 Hoffman Challenge fabric has been announced - lavendar roses.  It looks like fun.  Let the dreaming and planning begin.

Choices, Choices

These are just a few of my dozens of patterns that may fit the bill.
I can see my new doll in the back of my mind.     This year I plan to start early so if anything goes awry, it can be fixed!  Like the sand leaking out of the pillow base!!!!!  Well, it needed some weight.  

Anyway, I think she will be a country gal, with ruffles, sitting on a bench.  Will have to see how she develops............... 

Sometimes the doll has her own ideas of how she should look despite what I originally envisioned. 
It is so much fun to create a doll! 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sylvia the Forest Fairy

Sylvia has been completed! 
I starter her - body and head
Lisa added arms and legs AND caligraphy
Charlie added lovely mohair hair and delicate lace undies.
Susie added layers of filmy skirt, a wand, tiera with butterflies, a dream catcher
She sent a letter teasing me with pictures and hints. 
To my delight and surprise, Susie made a quilt for Sylvia that is just gorgeous!

Travelling Dolls are Finished

Aren't they beautiful!

The travelling dolls have come home to their original creators quite different than when they left on their journey.

Each doll started with a body and head with face and a story (except the mermaid)
Then arms and legs,
Hair and underwear,
Finally - clothes and accessories.  Most of the dolls were costumed such that they did not need many clothes -

In  the final stage -
The mermaid got a face and a beach

Ann got a grass skirt, lei, flip flops and a beach ball
The cancer survivor got a wig
Aura got her colorful skirt
Sylvia got a beautiful handmade quilt

This has been a wonderful challenge and, once again, each dollmaker has done her magic to make a truly interesting, fun character.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Doll Club Travelling Doll is Finished

Ann is ready to go to Hawaii!  She has her grass skirt, lei and puka shell necklace.  Her beach bag is on her arm, flip flops on her feet  and beach ball is inflated for fun.

Ann is anxious to return to Susie and tell her about all the preparations for her trip to Hawaii!

Doll club meets tomorrow and all of the travellers return to their owners.  What fun!  I can't wait to see all the finished dolls, especially my Sylvia the woodland fairie. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sea Treasures is home!

After one year of travelling with the 2010 Hoffman Challenge Trunk B, Sea Treasures is home.  She started in Colorado and went to the east coast then west coast and central part of our great country.  I sure hope she was enjoyed by all who saw her.  I am so pleased and honored that she was chosen to be part of the Hoffman display.

I am already dreaming of my entry to the 2012 Hoffman Challenge.  The fabric is a gorgeous lavendar shade floral print.  

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mei's Butterflies

Mei is back from the Hoffman Challenge.  She was not selected to travel this year. I was disappointed but the problem was with her base - not her.  That made me feel better!

Her base is a pillow that she sits on.  I wanted some weight in it to keep her stable so I used aquarium sand in a plastic bag and taped with packing tape.  It seems that one side of the pillow leaked and went flat so she would not sit straight.  Oh my!!!!!  Lesson learned - no aquarium sand. 

Judges comments were good, however, they thought her face is too large for her body.  I thought her eyes are too high and should be abour 1/2 inch lower. 

The new Hoffman Challenge fabric is revealed and I cannot wait to start my entry for nex year.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Baby Quilt is finished!

The baby quilt is finished and on its way to my best girl friend's new grandson. 

I found this adorable jungle animal panel at Fabric Depot in Portland last time I was there.  Added a coordinating binding and wha la - baby quilt.  I forgot to photograph the embroidered signature on the back of the quilt!  I scanned the monkey from the panel, shrunk him to the right size and embroidered baby's name and birth date and signed my name. 

At Toys R Us I found a matching set of receiving blankets.  One of those wonderful accident surprises!  I would have had to look long and hard had I actually been looking for a set to match!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Letter from Sylvia

Today I received a letter in the mail from my travelling doll, Sylvia.  She is having a wonderful time with Susie and her two Yorkies.  She sent pictures too!   Looks like she is having a super time shopping for the right attire to show off at our September doll club meeting. 

I am soooooo delighted to receive a letter from my Sylvia.  What a surprise!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hair & Underwear

Time once again to exchange our traveling dolls.  They are now complete with hair and underwear.  Once again the group has come up with amazing ideas and stories for their travelers.

It is all fun! 

Next step for the September meeting is to finish our gals and return them to their righful owners as completed dolls with full stories and signatures of the artists whose homes they visited since last January. 

And for our August challenge we are going to make something from something we received from Jan's generous give away. 

Jan is cleaning her stash, paring it down to a manageable size and giving away wonderful items that she knows she won't use.  Everyone at the meeting took a treasure or two to add to her own stash.  Somehow some one else's stuff seems more interesting than your own stuff. 
Maybe we should have a stash trading day!  Gosh that means I would have to sort and organize mine.  

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Now on to the baby quilt for Davis Nathan Chaffey.  At least I know his name and birthdate to write on his quilt!!

Mei's Butterflies is on her way!

She went in the mail this morning bound for Fort Worth Colorado.  We will see what happens this year!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hoffman Challenge

Whew!  My Hoffman Challenge Doll is finished.  She is boxed and ready to go in the mail tomorrow morning. 

Mei's Butterflies

Mei has three butterflies paying close attention to her.  Two of them are made from the challenge fabric which matches her blouse.  They are quite hard to see in the picture!  It took me a long while to come up with an idea for this challenge.  Nothing "spoke to me" from the fabric.  I wanted to use the oriental theme but wasn't sure what to do.  When I bought Terese Cato's book, I decided to use her sitting girl pattern and the butterflies evolved later when I needed "something"for her to be doing.  I was going to use purchased butterflies but recieved a suggestion to make the butterflies out of the challenge fabric.  Brilliant!  Why didn't I think of that?  They turned out quite nicely. 
Overall, I am quite pleased with Mei's Butterflies.  I hope that she travels well, shows well and makes it into the travelling show!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Hoffman Doll

Now that the birthday dress is done, I am ready to get  back at my Hoffman Challenge doll.  Her body is about 3/4 done.  Just the face, hair & assembly.  Then the costume with the Hoffman fabric.  I got a set of the fabric designs in the series of this year's challenge family.  Lots of colors and patterns to chose from.  I had a hard time figuring out what my doll would be this year.  I finally have a fairly good picture in my mind what I want her to look like.  Cute and sassy with butterflies!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Josie's Birthday

Josie's Birthday Dress & Dolly

Finished with time to spare!  The dress is from the cover of Sew Beautiful magazine except this one is blue with daisies and yellow dotted trim rather than white with roses and green trim.  I am pleased with the results.  There were only a few minor disasters that I won't talk about since the disasters were averted and no one will notice if I don't say anything.  The shoes were an accidental bonus find.  I wasn't looking for shoes but there they were with daisies on the toes. 

I find that dolls for little ones are much more difficult to make than art dolls that can have small pieces and glue.  This doll has no small pieces and no glue.  Most of the sewing was by machine which gives a much stronger stitch than hand sewing.  And she is meant to be played with by a one year old.  Her hair is embroidered as are the face features.  I was able to pull the threads when I was doing the nose so she has a bit of a bump for her nose. 

Now to get the house cleaned!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

My Troll is Finished

Isn't she cute!  Well, okay, cute is not the right word.  I love her!!!

I am ready to make another one.  Right after I finish up my Hoffman Challenge doll and my grandaughter's birthday presents.  And the baby quilt for my friend's new grandson who will arrive soon. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Little Folks Workshop by Ute Vasina

These are Ute Vasina's Little Folks.  They are just too cute!
Well, maybe cute is not quite the right word for them.  Adorable!   Oh what fun! 
Making trolls is so much fun!!

The wonderful thing about doll makers is when there are 14 doll makers there will end up to be 14 different dolls.  Here are pictures of the class.  The instructor is Ute Vasina.  She is the one standing in the top picture.  We all started with the same pattern, fabric, instructions and ended up with wonderfully different trolls.

Ute was a wonderful source of information.  I learned lots of new techniques including making wrinkles and giving the face lots of character. 
 - The head is not stuffed very hard so wrinkles can be added to give the face lots of character. 
- Put lots of color on the faces and other body parts to give definition.  Ute uses stampers' chalk.  Yellow, then green, then light red, then brighter red for the lips.  With colored pencil,  brown and grey for shadowing and highlighting. 
- A small thread spool can be inserted in the sholuders to keep them from collapsing when attaching the arms.
- Wire armature inserted in the legs will keep them firm enough to stand on their own.
- Attaching the opposible thumb is easier when matched with the side seam - then a few pins to stretch it into shape.
- Belly buttons with a small square of body fabric.
- Moles and warts with tiny body fabric yo yo.
-A body fabric yo yo to cover the buttons that attach the arms. (I never thought of that!) 
- Pantyhose boobs look almost realistic - unless you put in too much stuffing (like I did).  I think she needs a reduction!  Maybe her shirt will lay those girls down!!!!

- Shoes made from T-shirt fabric painted with Sobo glue.

Shoes drying

My camera was already packed in the car so I missed the group photo of all the trolls so will post it when I can get a copy from someone.

I did not get my troll finished in class - just too much to learn!  I will get this doll finished by the weekend (unlike a few other workshop dolls that are still waiting to be finihsed). 
Can't wait to get her done!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

Memorial Day - May 30th 2011
Walking among the US flags brings tears to my eyes with pride and humbleness. 
Thank you to all of the military who have defended the rights of Citizens of the United States.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Second Stage - The Travelling Dolls

May Doll Club - the girls are together again.  This time with arms and legs.  They are all starting to show their personalities.  With a journal to track the journey, these gals will find their way to the workshops of each of the participating doll club members until they are completed.  Then each will return home to their original creator who will cherish them forever. 
Next step is hair and underwear.  It is always a great surprise to see the next stage.

My girl for arms and legs was Aura.  She felt like dancing so she is on her toes with arms spread with joy.  Her colors reflect the aura of her being.  Her original creator is Diane. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Troll Class Coming Up Soon

This weekend I will be working on a new doll for a Ute Vasina class June 4th and 5th at Fabric Depot.  The class is "Little Folks" Trolls.  This will be a new stretch for me!  I have done fairies but not trolls.  My goal is to add a new dimension to my face sculpting. 

Faces are VERY hard for me.  I am not a painter, nor do I have a talent for drawing.  I agonize over each face wanting this one to be just right.  My skills are improving with each class I take and each doll that I complete.  I want to get comfortable making doll faces. 

I would like to make pretty fairies and I think that by exploring faces with more 'character' I will discover what it takes to make the faces pretty.  What I need to do is practice, practice, practice! 
I am looking forward to the Troll class.  Oh the possibilities!!!  Maybe I will become a maker of trolls instead of fairies. 

Stitch in Time Has Hair

My Stitch in Time doll has hair.  Although I don't think I like how it turned out so will be fiddling with the hair to re-do it or start over again.  I will start by trying to re-arrange it on her head.  So far the hair is just pinned on so it is easily moved about.  I may need to make the hair longer to have a longer braid to twist around her head.  I do like the technique to turn yarn into hair. 

I am very excited - I have a new camera that takes much better close up pictures! 

The hands are next.  They are small and difficult for me because of the size.  The sewing principle I get - its just the tiny stitches and holding everything in the right place while stuffing!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Slow Going

This is my maid Marion from Colleen Babcock's Stitch in Time class.  She is still a work in progress.  I must admit I have not worked on her very much since I got back from Eugene.  Her hands are still sans thumbs - the opposable thumb is really hard to do for fumble fingers like me!!   I am very pleased with her face.  I feel like I have improved on faces over the last year. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Stitch in Time

I am so blessed to have been able to participate in the class Stitch in Time taught by Colleen Babcock from England sponsored by the Eugene, OR doll club.  So much thanks to the gals for letting me share in such a wonderful experience.  Colleen is a good teacher and freely shares so much of her knowledge of doll making. 

Stitch in Time is the doll on the right.  She is an exquisite doll with oposable thumbs and a lot of other VERY small parts.   It was the small parts that really slowed me down!!   The "gem" I took away from the class is 'it doesn't have to be perfect the first time you pin on the pieces' - use the pins to anchor it and then make it perfect. 

I also learned how to make hair from yarn.  And how to make the face with minimal sculpting and lots of color for shading.  The color blends are you work with the doll so by the time you are finished her face is beautiful. There were so many new techniques, I felt like a novice to doll making! 

There is still much to do to finish my doll but I will have her done this week - hopefully before Doll Club on Thursday.

Monday, April 11, 2011


I did ten practice ones (with all the needed adjustments to make it perfect) and the first one I did on the dress messed up - twice!

(Deep breath.)
Fortunately, I was able to remove the stitching (since it was all in one spot) with no damage to the dress.
I took out the stitching of the bodice lining and trimmed the gathered seam of the skirt.  Am hoping that removes enough extra fabric to allow the button hole to smoothly install.    If that doesn't work I will move the buttonhole higher and put a snap at the bottom edge of the bodice. 
I can always do one more embroidery butterfly and applique it over where the button should have been!

Wanted to have the dress complete before the weekend.  Well ..........I wanted to have it completed last weekend until I ran into the buttonhole snafu and got low enough on thread I didn't want to risk running out after two of the three buttonholes.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Josie's New Dress

My latest sewing project nearly finished - just buttons and buttonholes left to do.  Josie's new dress and diaper cover just in time for Easter.  I used yellow cotton polyester blend fabric, added machine embroidery and lots of lace and ribbon. 
Sure hope it fits!  I am anxious to have her try it on - I have several other dresses in mind that need to get made soon. 
I am not as pleased with this dress as I was with the first pink one.  I didn't find any cute choices for ribbons and trims to go with the pale yellow.  I did find some cute bears but they didn't go with the lace or the butterflies!  My next challenge is pale green I have!!!!  I am thinking I will do more tucks on that one.  I am hoping to get to Fabric Depot next weekend to look for trims. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I Made a Book!

Well ................. I book bound a journal. 
It was fun and easy.  And I was impressed with the finished product.  I can visualize lots of uses for this new found skill.  Maybe not with a map of Italy (but I do know one guy who will like it). 
The Paper Source has japanese prints and sparkly paper which is much more my style!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Doll Club Traveling Dolls

Doll Club has started a traveling doll challenge.  We each made a torso with head and face and exchanged dolls at the March meeting.  One doll is in India and will join at our next meeting.  One doll has no face - she doesn't know who she is yet.  She will get her face at the end when she is done.

Here are all of dolls who attended the Thursday meeting.

It will be fun to see how the girls develop as each artist adds her own touches.  Next is arms and legs.

I used several new techniques for my girl.  She has a swiveling head and eyelids with lashes.  I was very pleased with how she turned out.  Sylvia the forest fairy..........

I also used watercolor pencils for the first time.  Am really glad that I experimented on a scrap piece of fabric first!  I found that the colors bleed if you are not careful and if the fabric is too wet.  I love the intensity of the colors for the eyes. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

My Favorite Dolls

When I heard that Josie and Briar were on their way into the world, I started Raggedy Anne and Andy for the grandbabies.  Here they are all together, Briar, Andy, Anne & Josie.  At 24 inches the dolls are bigger than the babies!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Doll Club Fairies

Fairies - all made from the same pattern but oh how different they look.

This is the fairy I got to take home.  She was done by Susie. 

Doll club Fairy Challenge

Doll club was a ball again!  We had fairies galore!  All started with the same pattern and we ended up with fairies of all sorts of sizes and colors and shapes.  What fun.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Doll Body Fabric

I am very excited!  My new doll body fabric has arrived.  I got a pinkish color suede cloth and craft velour.  Will see which works best.  And which I like best.  I used to use only knit fabric.  And then I started using cottons which I really like - but it is hard to find a nice skin color with some weight to it and yet not too heavy.  But I love the feel of my new fabrics!  

Both have a little stretch but not too much and they don't ravel.  The 'suede cloth' I got at Joann's ravelled very badly.  Remember the blown out nose!   It had a very nice feel to it but the raveling was terrible.

I must praise the service from CR Crafts.  I placed my order on line and the fabric arrived really quickly. 

My February doll club challenge angel is nearly done.  I am pleased with the way she has turned out.  Have some embellishment to do.  Then maybe I'll make another one.................or two.

Eastside Doll Club meets the 3rd Thursday of every month at Crossroads Mall.  We are the group of ladies in the food court playing with dolls. 

Happy Sunday

Monday, January 31, 2011

Gypsy Challenge

This is my entry to the 2010 Gypsy Challenge
She didn't win any awards but I feel like a winner just because she was shown at the Houston International Quilt Show along with so many beautiful dolls. 

What a difference the Fabric makes

I signed up for Judi Ward's online class Whatever, Whatever and thought I had the right fabric for her body............. boy did I have that wrong!  Started out it ravelled too much.  Reached for my trusty bottle of fray check but can't use too much or she will be too stiff to turn and stuff.  As I was stuffing the head I stuffed the nose right out of her!!!   And her head was tall and skinny - thought I followed the directional arrows but I guess not.  Also tried a new stuffing material too and it didn't stuff as nice as my usual material. 

The good thing about making dolls is - it is easy to start over again.  I ordered the recommended fabric which will be here in a few days and I will start over again.  :)  I have lots of body fabric but not the right kind!! 

This is a fun pattern with lots of new techniques that I have not used before.  I am looking forward to getting her finished.  She will be about 2 feet tall which is really big for my dolls but because of some of the face techniques I didn't want to make her smaller yet.  The next one I will shrink a bit.  

I was hoping to use this pattern to make my story book doll for doll club.  She will make a greast Fancy Nancy - my favorite story book character!  Since Fancy Nancy did not cooperate for the January deadline I switched to The Paper Bag Princess.  Found a UFO (un finished object)  and dressed her in a paper bag. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Third Thursday of the Month

Doll Club tonight!  It is so exhilarating to get together with other dollmakers to share what we have done over the last month.  To get new ideas.  To get new techniques.   To be in awe of what everyone comes up with.  Oh what a talented group of ladies we are!!!!!!!!!   The dolls are so different and SO wonderful.  

And I forgot my camera.  Was so worried about producing a doll for our storybook challenge (my first idea didn't work out so good)  I forgot to bring my camera to take pictures of our wonderful creations.  Fortunately others did remember and there were photos of the storybook characters.  Pinocchio, Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Little Asian Travel Doll and the Paperbag Princess.  

At the very last minute I remembered a doll that I had started but not finished who could fill in as "The Paperbag Princess".    Costuming didn't take much - just a paperbag. 

Our next challenge is a valentine doll - pattern by Karen Samuelson.  Can't wait to see all the variations we come up with.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

First Post

Dolls by Hand is a dream of mine to create dolls and share them with the world, or with anyone who loves dolls.  And then my A.D.D. sets in ..........  And I want to make little girl dresses.  And christening gowns.  And little boy togs.  And bears.  And.  And.  And. 

But in the meantime I need to START! 

Dollmaking is my stress release.  It feels wonderful to get an idea from my head into a figure of cloth.  I was honored to have my mermaid Treasure of The Sea delected to travel with the Hoffman Challenge Trunk Show in 2010.  I follow her travels and delight in knowing she is being seen across the U.S. 

I was also honored to have my Celeste shown in with the Challenge of the Gypsy at the Houston International Quilt Show. 

And now we have a new year.  New dolls to make.  New challenges to meet.

Happy 2011!