Thursday, January 31, 2008

Valentine Card

This is the photo layout for my Valentine Card. Once I get the photo developed and am sure I like it, I will put each of the hearts on an ATC or a mini pillow.

What Hubby And I Were Doing Last Night

Now that I have your attention, it's not what you're thinking.

Actually, I mentioned to hubby that I've got to find someone who can knit and would be willing to knit a few rows for me for my Goddess Doll hair. I have some fabulous "hairy" mauve yarn highlighted with silver. Using single strands would make the hair look too stringy so I thought knitted hair would look much nicer.

So he says to me "I'll knit the hair for you". Married 22 years and I had no clue that he knew how to knit. Apparently his mother was a prolific knitter and showed him how when he was a little boy. And he still remembered. Or thought he did. He couldn't quite remember the casting on part, so we sat in front of the computer watching a knitting tutorial on YouTube.

After the quick refresher course, we were off to the races. I watched him cast on and then when he had knitted a row, I thought "That's thick enough". He also couldn't recall how to cast off, so back to the tutorial. In the end, I had a strand of hair.

The only trouble is he wasn't going to do the rest of the hair for me and said I had to learn to do it myself. "I'll teach you" he said. "It's easy."

You know what? It's not that easy. He's standing over me saying "Do this", "No, not like that", "Hold the yarn like this", "Put your finger here", "Make a loop", "Stop laughing" "If you're going to giggle and not take this seriously....."

I think I finally got the hang of it and will be "knitting" the rest of her hair today.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

New Goddess Doll and Valentine Card

I got side-tracked. Instead of working on the projects I had planned to work on, I started a new Goddess Doll. It's all because I received a really nice surprise in the mail today. My niece over at Wine Wool and Whoppers sent me some beautiful purple/green quilting cotton remnants. She also sent me some weird (fun weird) lime green, knit, chenille-like, bubbly, furry fabric which to me says "Make a monster out of me". This will require some thought as I have not made a monster before. The Potato Monster from a few days ago does not count.

Anyway, the cotton for the Goddess Doll is gorgeous. I used to go for small tidy prints but I am seeing what wonderful possibilities there are for working with large prints. Thank you very much "L" for thinking of me.

I also made some hearts and faces for my Valentine Card and now just have to think about what background to use and how to arrange it all.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Painting From The Past

Today I thought I'd post a painting I did as a teenager in 1971. Below it is my photo model. I still like this painting very much and it hangs framed in my house.

I have been visiting the blog of DJ Pettitt for the last few months and viewing her paintings makes me want to start up again.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Icicles Finally Done

After much trial and error, I finally found a solution to the problem I was having with the tops of the heads. I redid the top of the black one by chopping off her previous "hair" and tacking on some stiff netting instead. I just didn't like the look of the eyelash yarn that I first tried as it was flopping over and I wanted the hair to stand up. I was lucky enough to find the netting in three different colours as part of a hugely discounted post-Christmas sale item at my local fabric store. You know, at full price, that stuff was $12.98 a metre - too expensive, I think.

I am keeping the violet and the black ones. The black Icicle was my test doll and the beadwork is too sloppy. I have since figured out a better way to sew beads. The violet doll was meant for a swap, but I can't give her up. I'm kind of sentimental about the fabric and I don't have any of it left.

The bottom two are going out to my swap partners. I spent a fair amount of time on the turquoise one on the right. All I had left of that fabric were small scraps. The top and bottom halves are actually seamed together and the sun face has been embroidered and beaded over the seam to cover it up.

The next projects to tackle include finishing up my February card, making a Valentine card and starting a special Dotee for Dot Christian, the inventor of the Dotee.

The swap site that I belong to,, has a Dotee For Beginners Swap that so far has 95 participants. The deadline to sign up is January 31st, so who knows what the final count will be. I'm reading many comments from swappers who had no idea what these Dotees were all about, but once they got a look at them, well, then just had to take a stab at it too. Isn't that great?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Robin's Winter Dotee

Here's a Dotee I received from my swap partner, Robin. I absolutely have to smile every time I look at that face. :)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Potato Monster

Sorry, folks. I couldn't resist!

Dotee Express

These dolls are ready to go to my four swap partners. The theme for the top set is Creativity. I don't know how creative I was here but I had some beautiful black quilting cotton with tiny gold stars that I thought would be nice for the body. I decided to make these "artsy" dolls entirely in black and gold so I painted the faces and the background for the lettering, gold. The letters A R T are rubber stamped.

The theme for the second set is Winter. The only thing I had in my stash that fit was some navy blue cotton with a snowball print. I painted their faces silver to give them a wintry feel. I particularly like the look of silver and will definitely use this colour again for future dolls.

The "tails" are gold and silver wing charms.

And now, to finish up those troublesome Icicle Dolls that I have been telling myself to complete for the past three weeks.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

And Off They Go

Pink Block - Three

Here is my third and final block for the Monica's charity doll project.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Pink Block - Two

This is the second 2 X 2 inch pink block for Monica Magness' charity doll. One more to go.

Actually, making these tiny blocks has been so much fun that I think I can finally put together an idea that I had a few years ago. I wanted to make a "celestial" wall hanging but I just couldn't make it work. This time I know I can. I'd like to make 3 inch square blocks though. A two inch work space is tiny indeed.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Pink Block - One

This is the first 2 X 2 inch pink block that I am thinking about submitting to Monica Magness at Girl-Gone-Thread-Wild for her charity doll. I have ideas for a couple more before I decide - or maybe I'll just send all of them and let Monica decide.

A 2 inch square really is a teeny space to work with but it's fun trying. Everything on this block is from a huge floral fabric - I mean the flowers have got to be 8 or 9 inches in diameter. All I had to do was cut away here and there to get these wonderful backgrounds. You would never know the face is part of a large flower if I hadn't just told you.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Goddess Doll

These are the beginnings of a Goddess Doll that I am making for a swap. She's about three quarters finished. I just need to attach her hair, do some sort of finish around the edge and maybe dangle some beads around the bottom. I wasn't quite sure what to do but I am getting ideas as I type this.

Last night I worked on four Dotees that are also for a swap. Two have a winter theme and two a creative theme. I will look forward to posting those when they are done. In fact, I may just finish them tonight. I checked the TV guide and there's absolutely nothing on tonight that interests me. We live in the country with an antenna that only pulls in three channels. Hours of football - must be Superbowl finals. This will ensure that I work on the dolls rather than sit in front of the tube.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I Am A Pink Artist

Monica Magness of Girl-Gone-Thread-Wild is creating an art doll for charity. She is sewing the body and has posted an open invitation on her blog for artists of all media to submit a 2 X 2 inch square on a cloth base. The squares will then be sewn to the doll.

The finished doll will be sent to the magazine Art Doll Quarterly, after which, it will be auctioned off on eBay and the proceeds will go to benefit Susan G Komen For The Cure (an organization to fight breast cancer).

For more details about the doll and how you can take part, check the following entries on Monica's blog. Invitation and Instructions.

I am going to participate and have been thinking hard these last few days about what I will produce. Working on such a small surface is a challenge, but a fun challenge.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Beginnings of February's Card

I was playing around with other ideas last night (until nearly 1:00 a.m.), because I'm having trouble with what should be simple Icicle dolls. One of the Icicles that I started making for a swap I like so much that I can't bear to give her away. So I had to make another one. My second problem is how to make the very flexible yarn that is supposed to "stand up" on the doll's head stand up without flopping over. I have an idea to try sewing the yarn to some tulle.

So, in the meantime, I went through some of the fabric scraps I recently inherited and came up with this. I'm going to use this image on my February greeting cards. When I first saw this huge piece of fabric with very large, bold foliage and bright flowers, I honestly couldn't see a use for it.

When I started cutting out the flowers and rearranging the leaves, it became something totally different. I will save the flowers for another future project.

February will require a second greeting card for Valentine's Day and I will look forward to making that as well.

Tallulah's Valentine Dotee

I want to share with you the Valentine Dotee I just received from Tallulah in France. She tells me this is the first Dotee she ever made but I can tell from the neat little embroidery stitches that Tallulah is no stranger to needle and thread. I love how it's all nicely co-ordinated, the fabric, the beads and the ribbon loop and, how clever to give her a wink and a heart-shaped mouth.

Thank you Tallulah. I'm glad I ended up having you as a swap partner.

You can visit Tallulah at her colourful, well written blog - Hoola Tallulah.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Why So Many Dolls?

I keep telling myself that I've got to get out of the "doll factory" and get on to other projects. Readers may be wondering "why so many dolls" when my banner indicates that I do make other things such as quilts and clothes. "And yet she keeps posting about those Dotee dolls and Icicle dolls and she keeps joining those swaps".

Why do I do it? To practice. There's an art to everything; the drawing and painting of the faces, the beading, the stitching and the stuffing of the dolls. There's an order in which to do all the steps to get the best results. I am still trying to refine all those processes.

I keep joining all the doll swaps to force myself to keep at it. And when I receive dolls from other swappers, I get to examine their work and hopefully learn at little something new.

Here's an Icicle Doll that I just finished. She looks pretty good but I know there are a couple of things, if I had it to do over again, I would do better.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Blue Woman With Veil ATC

For my part in our crafting session, I decided to make an ATC because I promised myself I wasn't going to start another doll until I finished the two Icicle Dolls I still have outstanding for a swap.

All the fabrics used were leftover scraps from other people's projects. In addition to the huge amount of scraps my neighbour K gave me last week, another friend gave me twice as many leftovers this week. The more you have, the more possibilities you have for co-ordinating and matching colours. It's wonderful.

I had drawn the face earlier and messed up the mouth, but the eyes were good. I didn't have the heart to toss it out and figured I could use the eyes somehow and, voilà.

The word "misterioso" is Italian for mysterious.

J's Two Sided Kitty Icicle Doll

My good friend, J, who has been visiting me for the past two days, and I finally got around to making something crafty this morning. We had 2 1/2 hours to work as her goal was to leave my house by noon. She has a four hour drive ahead of her.

She chose some pretty green fabrics from my stash to make this adorable little reversible Kitty Icicle Doll. The facial image is my favourite rubber stamp, a BKliban cat.

The beads J had purchased yesterday from a huge bead store in Newmarket, Ontario and was kind enough to share them with me.

We had a fun few days and I wish the time didn't pass so quickly.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Desktop Tag

OK, Little Wanda. Here's what the desktop on my laptop looks like. I keep this image of me (middle) with my two closests friends on here all the time. On my other computer, I change the image every two or three days.

For the life of me, I couldn't upload my desktop picture according to the instructions on your blog (nothing happened when I hit the Print Screen button), but I figured it out another way.

My friend, J, the dark haired lady pictured in the photo, is staying with me a few days. Later on this evening, we are going to sit down in my studio and do something crafty, which I hope to post tomorrow. And while we work, we will be listening to the wonderful music of Chris Isaak. I can't believe I only heard about him a few days ago. This guy makes the greatest music (and he isn't too hard on the eyes either). Where have I been?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Making Of An Opera Singer

I haven't had time to finish the Icicle Dolls as I had planned. We had company all day yesterday. My sister and I spent most of the day watching my Perry Mason Season One DVDs. That show first aired in 1957, over 50 years ago. It's not just that we both loved the stories and the dialogue and the black and white of Perry Mason. We also love the fashions, the furniture and the cars from that time.

I didn't pick up needle and thread at all yesterday but after my sister and brother-in-law left, I decided to try out a few sketches for the opera diva doll that I have in my head. The first few drawings were really bad. I had to go sit in front of a mirror and sing a dramatic aria (you would not want to hear my performance) to see what a singing face should look like. After a few more pen drawings, I finally got up the nerve to draw one on muslin.

I wanted her eyes closed and this one is not bad. I will use this for the test doll even though I haven't decided yet whether to make my usual round face or make an oval face.

Isn't the "star" background fabric gorgeous? Maybe it will be her gown. I'll have to leave her for a while though, because I have to finish at least one Icicle Doll tonight. My good artist friend, J, is coming to visit me for a couple of days so I won't be sewing. Or, maybe I will. I'll see if I can convince J to stitch up a Dotee just for fun and post it here.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Mini Dotee

I found a very small piece of cotton among all the fabric scraps that my neighbour gave me. It was too small to do much with and too pretty, I thought, to toss out. My Dotee dolls are usually 5 1/2 inches long but to be able to use this little scrap, I had to make a smaller doll. I thought I'd try and see what a 4 1/2 inch figure looked like.

I had drawn the face awhile ago and was just waiting for the right fabric. These two seemed to suit each other, so here it is. I actually like the smaller size better. It's somehow cuter.

I am going to finish up one of my Icicle Dolls tonight and hopefully will find some time to post it on what will be a very busy tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Stash Is Getting Bigger

I thought I would have nothing to post today since it's a dark, overcast day with unsuitable light for photographing one of my projects. And then came a knock on the door. My neighbour K, who had offered me leftover scraps of quilting cotton from her collection stood there with a huge bag of fabrics in hand. She left it with me to pour over and "pick whatever you like" she said. Many of you will understand my excitement.

I have gone over it all and cut off bits and pieces here and there. Since I work on such a small scale, I don't need large amounts, just a good variety. There are many solids too which are very useful. I have a lot here to keep me going for a very long time. There really is no excuse for buying any more fabric in the near future. Will I stay out of fabric stores? Not on your life. There is always a need for ribbons, trims, threads, buttons, beads...........

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Red and Gold

The Valentine Dotee doll was finished today. I only needed to add a few embellishments because what I chose already had enough sparkle. I added a red/gold ribbon loop at the top and bottom, a red/gold button, red seed beads around the face, a gold feather at the end of the tail and a few red sequins in the body. I really "made up" her eyes and gave her luscious red lips.

I worked on her while listening to Berlioz' opera "La damnation de Faust." I mention this because I'm planning on making a series of opera diva dolls. This has been in the back of my mind for a while and the more I think about it, the more ideas spring forth. It's all still in the sketching stages right now.

Monday, January 7, 2008

January Cards Completed

Here is how the final card looks. I decided to go with bright purple cardstock with matching purple envelopes.

This truly was a joy to work on and I can hardly wait to get started on February's card. That will have to wait though, as I have other projects to complete first.

After I do a few household chores around here, I'm going to settle back in my studio and figure out how to finish my Valentine Dotee Doll. Since it has to be mailed to my swap partner in England by January 15th, I would rather she received it sooner than later.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Pay It Forward

The following statement can be found on many crafters' blogs and quite frankly, I hadn't paid too much attention to it. Today, for some reason, it "clicked" with me. So here goes:

“I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, which is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.”

If you would like to receive something from me, please leave a comment under this post.

P.S. - The above image is the absolute favourite rubber stamp in my collection. It makes me smile every time.

Friday, January 4, 2008

January Card

I used to make greeting cards with rubber stamps, inks, embossing powders and all the other accessories and tools that you stampers out there are familiar with. Friends would always make such wonderful cards but I always felt mine were uninspired. So for a time, I am going to leave the rubber stamps behind and start making some cards out of fabric scraps.

Here is the card I made for all my friends who have a January birthday. It's all temporary, scotch taped together with snippets of fabric. The background is scrapbooking paper. Now that it's photographed, it will go into the garbage, except for the face, which will be used for a future dolly.

All that I have left to do is to upload the pictures for developing. When I get the prints, I will crop them and attach them to some bright cardstock, like purple maybe. Oh and I guess I'll make some colourful matching envelopes as well.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Another Icicle

I'm a bit under the weather today and didn't get as much work done on my swap dolls as I would have liked. This is the second Icicle Doll that I started.

I'm liking the idea of doing an acrylic wash on the muslin before I draw the details of the face. I can do all sorts of fantasy characters with this technique. I've made the Icicle faces blue because blue is a cool (as in cold) colour. And "cool" in the other sense too because it also happens to be my favourite colour.

I am just playing around with sewing beads and sequins. What I've learned so far has been strictly through trial and error. I'm not using beading needles and thread and I don't know the proper way to sew them. Since I live in a remote, rural community, it's not an easy matter for me to sign up for a course. I guess I will have to ask around and see if I can find someone locally to teach me or get a book on the subject from the library. I hate wading through instructions though. I would rather have someone show me how to do it and preferably a left handed person.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Swap Dolls

These are the beginnings of a Dotee Doll and an Icicle Doll that I have committed to making for partners on In fact, I just reviewed all the swaps that I've signed up for, and the grand total is eight. Five Dotees, two Icicles and one Goddess Doll.

I have lots of ideas floating around in my brain and am looking forward to making each one.

Up until now, most of my photos for this blog were taken outside in daylight. Today is so cold. I really didn't want to stand out there freezing. Why I didn't think of this before, I don't know. I took this shot from the warm side of the patio door off our bedroom. Lots of good natural light there.