Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Xmas Moose...

goes to show even grown men can be thrilled... it's the BEST gift a doll maker can have: that 'look' in their eyes!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

the duchess

she's an extensive prototype, already promised to someone, too.  she's my pattern, 22 inches over all, all clothing and accessories designed and made by me.  she's one of a kind, even though I am going to use her body and clothing patterns again.  her face is her face alone and forever.  enjoy.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I'm pondering making a web page dedicated to only my rag dolls.

I'm thinking about naming it Rarefied Rag Dolls  and tag it all over where ever you do that sort of thing with 'one of a kind art doll', etc.  I'd like to have a personal page set up and a Paypal payment
method.  I'm setting up something like that on, too and when I have my dolls up there
for viewing all done, I'll be sure to let you know.  In the mean time, here's a sweetie I am working on

Sunday, October 30, 2011

It's been one long, hard haul lately

BUT!!! creativity finally emerged.  Here's one of the Gustav Klimt challenge dolls, Sonja Knips.

Friday, September 30, 2011

two DIPs for a Gritty Jane Klimt Challenge

Yes, I know, you haven't seen any dolls actually FINISHED yet, but I have a surprise up my sleeve
for the beginning of November.  You'll see.

As for the two new dolls in progress, they are based upon works by Gustav Klimt for a challenge that
Gritty Jane put up on Facebook.

First is Sonja Knips, an early Golden Era portrait he did of her.

The second is the nefarious Judith II after she has assassinated the Assyrian General.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

a new doll in progress

I have changed a few methods--using silk interlock for her cloth over clay face...

and using quilter's sateen for the body....

she's in progress, she needs more hair and is awaiting 'extensions'...

and I have her posed for a proportion check before I finish stuffing and forming her body more.

Her name is Sarafina.  She's going to be done in all greys, white and black.  With help from Barb at Country Fabrics in her clothing choices when I get to them.  :-D

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

DIP (Doll In Progress) Isabella

Here's the makings of Isabella, a Doll In Progress

Her hair is vintage thread I got at a tag sale and is purported to be 40 years old... her wig is hand-knotted
strand by strand and she's going to be the female of The Lovers in an archetypal Italian play called
Commedia dell Arte.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hoffman Challenge 2011

I got a email tonight from Julie Breidt, Curator for the show, congratulating me for my Fern's placement
of "Most Humorous" for this year's challenge.  I screamed!  What excitement... my first time entry, too!

I'm truly over the moon with joy.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Queen Of Quite A Lot

  Here's the bottle "doll" done.  She certainly has a regal air? She's about 3 inches tall.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Now on a completely different note....

The doll club online came up with a new challenge.  No grass grows under their feet!!! lol... seems a Bottle
Doll is in order. 

It just so happened I have a perfume bottle that was broken, but I didn't have the heart to throw it away, since it was so pretty and still has the essence of one of my favorite perfumes in it. 

Here's how it looks now.  Imagine what I'm going to do with it....
It's also the 'cure' for creative let-down after making Fern.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

a better photo of Fern

I was just too rushed this morning to finish processing the rest of the photos on the memory stick.  I think this one shows her construction and face much better.

OK!!! Here's Fern, my Hoffman Challenge Doll, 2011

First off, this is all Liz's fault for even showing me how to do yo yos.  Then, it's Mary B's fault for telling me
about the Hoffman Challenge, a yearly event where quilters, sewers and doll makers can enter an item made
from the challenge fabric.  Here's a link: 

So I purchased the cloth and set about creating Fern.  She's my own original design, no pattern used. She's
got a wooden bowl, inverted and covered in velvet upholstery fabric and batted.  Then she's seemingly balanced on a 12 sided "soccer ball" made of 12 different shades of silk taffeta or dupioni, which is also stuffed... Then she's made of the challenge fabric as  her sleeves and pantaloons.  She's wearing a hat over
her Sulky cotton thread hair, has a  cloth over clay head, a stuffed cotton body and a silk body suit.  And!
note her little gold lame` ballet slippers!!!  I hope she gets chosen to travel.  I would love that.  But the main thing is, she's made and on time!  *mwah*

Friday, June 10, 2011

Aurora the Angel

Aurora is my first angel. She's a wall hanging doll, but could be set against your pillows on your couch.

She is going out to a Special Someone who loves angels.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I have been moderately busy

Expect photos in the next few weeks. Just so you know I'm still here...
Hope your spring going into summer is delightful! ;-D

Sunday, May 15, 2011

the storybook challenge is done...

but of course mother nature has deigned to let it rain all day.  I'm going to take this personally because I wanted to photograph Merrylegs, Miss Julie, Miss Flora and Frisky outside... under an apple tree.

but.. things beings what they are, here they are:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


And here's Callie and Geneva, two 'yo yo' dolls done my way with fully stuffed bodies, re-dressable if you
cared to.. and all cotton bodies, with silk clothing and trims. Their hair is made from unraveled sweaters.

They are about 17 inches tall, with fully articulated hands, floppy sitting bodies. 

It's about time I put some photos up... so here they are

This was a challenge piece from a Rossetti painting called Monna Vanna.  She's naked again, awaiting
different clothing.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Some Wild, Wonderful and Crazy Stuff....

First off, I got an amazing stash of fabric from a local upholstery shop keeper, who makes
bears herself... and who understands the value of a rich array of trims, scraps of opulent
fabrics of silk of all kinds, failles, tissues, shantungs, Japanese kimono panels, dupion and
just about any kind of fancy weaves you can imagine! I am so grateful to her and because
of this tremendous gift, I have had to re-think the dressing of my three finished, bare-naked
dolls. This is proving maddening and manic and all the fun of creativity I could possible have!
Someone said "too much of a good thing?" to which I say.... there's never enough!!! LOL

Secondly!!!! The universe must be smiling upon me, because my daughter and son in law, Shirlene and Greg have GIVEN me a 2005 Dodge Stratus in amazing condition and I LOVE it!!!!!

I expect photos up soon because some of my work is due by Thursday. I have a healthy start
without going too, too nuts... (or at least more crazy than I already am) ;-D

So. Life is good. fat. rich... and I am happy and grateful. I wish everyone a special holiday,
too, because Life IS good, fat and rich and we deserve happiness.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Someone said I haven't been keeping up with my posts. They are right. But I have been
working on the same pattern for the clown dolls to get the right proportions ... for
a week. I even resorted to downloading Grey's Anatomy of the Human Body plate for the hand
to get it right!!!!

Then a week to actually sew them and get them stuffed, no easy task. And Quality Control said some of them sucked. So I had to start over!

I am now working on a human hair wig for one of them... and finished another, but she's bare-

When I get pictures, you will see.

Om Om Om....

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A peek at Merrylegs

The doll maker's challenge due May 1 is to create a storybook character. I decided after
much deliberation to make Merrylegs, a pony in Black Beauty, the book by Anna Sewell, which
is in the public domain and not subject to copyright laws.

Merrylegs is a grey dappled pony with two girls as his mistresses, and I quote from the book:

"As for Merrylegs, he and I soon became great friends; he was such a cheerful, plucky, good-tempered little fellow that he was a favorite with every one, and especially with Miss Jessie and Flora, who used to ride him about in the orchard, and have fine games with him and their little dog Frisky."

So here is a peek at WIP, Merrylegs. (Even his name is cute.)

He is double thickness pimatex with unraveled silk parachute cording as his mane and tail, with
no wiring inside his legs or body. He's approximately 17 inches tall and is roughly basted
at this point.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Manipulator meets her match

I decided I wanted to make a horse and rider as my next project. I would have no problem
with the rider...The horse is another matter...

Well!!! after six attempts, each with its own special tweak, I finally came up with
a workable pattern for the head. Goodness knows, now, what lays in store for the body.

I have a pic of those nostrils. The eyes are just penciled in at this time. But those nostrils
and lower lip, I think I manipulated finally.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Makayla named her Rita

...and immediately took off her socks... checked out her underpanties...
remarked she was wearing some... and then took her into her play area
to start working making a block fortress. My daughter has also since
informed me Rita is making various demands already! I feel so good,
now. Happy Birthday, Makayla!

Monday, March 28, 2011

So, Today's the day to mail her off

Look what someone wrote on my wall at the doll site:

"She is so sweet! Your granddaughter is going to be so happy!
Love it that you created her from recyled items!! I think it is OK to feel blue about sending off what is a part of yourself. I would like to share a quote with you that might make this clear.
Dolls with Soul by Hilegard Gunzel
"Doll Artist aim to produce dolls which are the mirror of their souls. A doll produced with this intention is never a cold and lifeless object. It may show mistakes and defects in proportion and workmanship, but it "lives".
I keep this by my work desk as a little reminder. I really hope Makayla treats her doll like the treasure she... is as a part of her Grandmother."
-- Ellen
(I made her socks longer, and fussed a bit more)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

My heart is aching

I am sending a doll away tomorrow for a very special person. She loves blue, her eyes are blue, she asks me: "Grandma, don't you just love my
beautiful blue eyes?" She's four. So. I made her a doll.
A rag doll. A squishy, no wires, simply simple rag doll. She's 17 inches
tall, she's all cloth. She's dressed and her wig is made of an old sweater
all unraveled and sewed onto a cap. Her face ... well. You look.
You see.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

She's almost done. I still need the right sized buttons to finish off the
barrel cuffs and the closing of the back of her bodice. But, all in all,
she's a great prototype for the Hoffman Challenge doll I need to create
by the end of July.

Now, onto the Story book doll, a few yo yo dolls to be finished off, and
two baby quilts. A manipulator's work is never done.

Friday, March 18, 2011

work so far on baby doll

Here's the baby doll's three piece underpining set. I have her dress
made, as well, but on of my most loyal fans kept asking for a picture
of the doll's underwear. So here it is! ;-D

Monday, March 14, 2011

I have been busy

Last week, the most amazing parcel arrived at my house.  It weighed 53 lbs and was crammed full of silk
douponi which was appliqued with silk velvet and embroidered with silk thread.  It was a gift to me from
my sister-in-law, Kate, who decided her new home in Florida did not need those drapes anymore. 
I am over the moon, it's the most glorious cloth I have held in years and I've been deconstructing it to make
draperies for my own home.  There, are, of course, snippets here and there for dolls' clothes!!!

I also have cut out and stuffed   Callie, and finished painting the child doll's face, Prissy...
and made her wig and am in the process of making a white muslin horse as realistic as possible for a
future doll challenge--Lady Godiva.

I have made some frilly black camisole and brazillian panties for Geneva, too.  Pictures will be forthcoming.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

...But, I haven't got a thing to wear!

Painting Geneva has been a trial. I finally got her makeup done this
afternoon. Thea is trying to convince her she will have something to
wear before long.

They are quite
a study in contrasts, no?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Stuffing... Stuff it!

It's very time consuming, awkward and just plain a pain in the butt.
But, to have a cloth dolly we like to squish, it's all part of the deal.
It's also what I've been doing this week.

My daughter's house is being completely gutted because of the extensive
fire and heat damage.

And here I am giving guts to my dolls.

Oh! and I have another head in the works, I am calling her Callie.

This is Geneva and her long, long legs.

This is Prissy -- looks suspiciously like a breech birth...

A new head to dry ... She's Callie.

Pretty soon I can show off three completed dolls... Each day is one day
closer to their debut.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What a day, and it's not over yet.

Well. I worked despite it all.

1. Thea got featured on the doll site main page. This is a distinct honor.
I was kinda over the moon.


2. My daughter called me around 1:30 to inform me her house severely burned. The best we can say is that she and her daughter did not suffer
any bodily harm and even the dog, Dutch, was rescued. I am sad because
I do not live close enough to just pop over and give her comfort. She says
that the town will give them emergency housing and clothing. I am reserving
myself some time to get down there, anyway.

3. Two hours later, my new Professional Heavy Duty Singer showed up and it is marvelous. Even though I feel lousy and sad about Shir, the machine
lived up to my memories of really, really wanting one when I gave sewing classes at JoAnne Fabrics.

4. The rest of the painting mediums and more clay and supplies showed up just now as the sun is setting on this weird day.

5. I said it's not over, because I am going to WIN the lottery tonight.

I'm convinced, because it was such a topsey-turvy day.

See you soon,


Sunday, February 20, 2011

A peek at the making of the body pattern

In short, there isn't really one. I draw it on the cloth and sew on the lines for the legs and arms, especially around the fingers. I sum up the proportions for the body with each head using a basic formula of: height of the head = 8.5 sections of total body height. Kinda weird to explain, but
somehow it works... That would be for adults.

I have already made a basic
child's body which will be stuffed this week. Children, depending on their
age can have the formula of: height of the head = 3.5 - 6.5 of total body
height up until the age of 15 or so.

Geneva is also extra slim, because of how I am planning to dress her.

Confused yet? Relax, that's why I'm the dollmaker. Trust me...

Yesterday was like a hurricane

The wind was so distracting and so high, it added an element of anxiety I couldn't overcome, so I really could not paint. A lot of the anxiety was
over whether or not the winds would take down trees along our property line and hit the house and our power line to the house... a worry that I am happy to say did not occur. But later in the evening and this morning
I made up some time by doing a wig cap for the new doll's head. (I am calling her Geneva.) A wig cap is a piece of woven interfacing moulded
against the head crown and then sized with glue. It is useful when you want to have a removable head of hair for your doll. In this case I did, because I couldn't paint her face yesterday, but wanted to 'do something'.
If I painted her face, putting on hair later could be problematic. So this was good practice. I decided not to use my 'good doll hair' and repurposed a knitted hat that never really fit me well. That curly black yarn feels so springy and delightful on her head!!

I also did some 'guts' this morning of wire--no guts, no glory!!

See you soon.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Yesterday was a day out; today: back to the grindstone

Yesterday was a lovely day out on a field trip to Cooperstown with the ladies of our quilt club, with lunch after at the Otasaga. Beautiful quilts! But would you believe, although I took my camera, I forgot I had it and didn't take pictures! Talk about a senior moment! I came home
and didn't do much of anything for the rest of the day.

This morning I awakened to put cloth over a clay head I'd made with a bust
to attach it to a cloth body. Here is the result:

Painting to commence! See you soon...

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Red Letter Day

It's a holiday for romance. And also for getting the book for which this
blog pays tribute!!! And! four doll heads sculpted... and!!!! the Hoffman
Challenge fabric arrived!!! and!!! a sample I'd ordered of some suede of which I may well make a life-sized doll...mmmmmmmmm such goodies. Better
than chocolate!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Wasting no time getting a new doll ready

Ok. Seems like this is becoming a compulsion. I got the sketch proportions done on an envelope of junk mail...I got the skin made, including her hands
and feet... I made the head over a plastic xmas ball with La Doll paperclay...and begged, really BEGGED, James to get the #14 electrical wire for me out of the basement (it was easy, really, lol)...and just went about
business to get her going... I am not sure if she is going to be Kortney
or if she is going to be Prissy. I will have to wait till I start painting
her cloth over her face (which, putting the cloth over her clay features is the next step). Here's pictures: