Friday, February 29, 2008

Shabby Chic Dotees

The Shabby Chic Dotees are ready to go to their new homes.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Preview - Shabby Chic Dotee

Here is a preview of the Shabby Chic Dotees I am working on for a swap. I adore this fabric. This is the fabric that Dot used to wrap up the Dotee Doll she sent me. There is enough to make two dolls for my swap partners and one for me to keep.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Shrinking Dotees

After studying Dot's Dotee Doll, I got out my ruler and found that her's measures just shy of 4 inches. I started out making these babies 6 inches in length, then 5 1/2 inches and then 4 1/2 inches. You know, I like the smaller ones better so I made this one a mere 4 inches. I think I'll stick with this size and maybe reduce the width a little too.

This one is for another swap. I still have a number of swap committments to fulfill which I hope to finish by the middle of next week. Then I must get on with other things.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Real Deal

This, dear readers, is the Dotee I received from Dot, the creator of the Dotee Doll. Click on the image for a larger view. Isn't she wonderful? I am so pleased to welcome her to my growing collection of Dotees.

Not only did I receive the doll, but Dot sent me some beautiful fabric swatches and beads. I am so grateful. Thank you, Dot.

I have made a Dotee for Dot too and will post a picture once she arrives at her new home.

The guy from Staples office suppies showed up at my door this morning to deliver the art supplies I posted about a few days ago. I am impressed. They delivered when they said they would and everything I ordered was in stock. I am itching to try out all the colours of my new ultra-fine Sharpies.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Testing, Testing

This is a very simple test doll I made yesterday to try out a few things. I bought some stiff fusible interfacing and wanted to see how that would work for the body. Works great. I also wanted to try some of the decorative stitches on my sewing machine and take note of the settings, such as stitch length, needle position, and so on. I like the colour combination of the rust body and crazy black hair. And I gave this dolly some freckles too.

I have one square of this rust fabric left for a second doll, which I may do for an Art Doll swap.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Art Supplies

Ultra fine point Sharpies are my favourite tool for drawing doll faces. I find the four colours I have too limiting so I decided to go to the Sharpie website and see what other colours they had to offer. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the ultra fines come in 39 colours. They also sell a 24 pack, which I ordered from Staples, along with gold and silver metallic pens, a white oil-based paint marker and a drafting template of various size circles.

Now I will keep my fingers crossed and hope that they have all this stuff in stock.

Friday, February 22, 2008

February Card Finished

My February greeting card is finished and so is February, almost. All the folks I need to send these out to have birthdays late in the month so it's OK. I tried to get a sharper photo of the card but it just wasn't working for me today. You'll have to take my word for it that the real thing looks clear and sharp, especially on this beautiful olive green cardstock my good friend J gave me.

I have been tagged by Judy at Cheery Tomato Productions to tell six quirky things about myself. I am happy to oblige, but I don't tag other people. If you are reading this and want to reveal your quirky side, consider yourself tagged.

Here goes:

1. I love to go into fabric stores and fondle the fabrics. I could spend hours in a fabric store looking at everything, books, tools, etc.

2. Sometimes when I am doing something repetitive, like peeling potatoes, I mentally count along with each peel.

3. I don't really want to go on a vacation (even though I will be in June) while my 15 year old cat is still alive. I worry about her when I am gone.

4. If I could pick and choose my talents, I would be a brilliant opera singer.

5. I love dresses and would wear them all the time if I didn't stick out like a sore thumb. Sadly, you don't see many women wearing dresses anymore. Actually, as I get older I'm starting to get more like your batty old aunt who doesn't give a hoot about what others think. So I resolve to wear dresses this year.

6. Against all logic, I like Amy Winehouse. There is something in her voice that is so unique and connects with me and her back up band is outstanding. Amy, if you could stay sober so I could understand the lyrics you are singing. Not great to look at with the rat's nest hair and tattoos, though.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Mellow Yellow

Here's a peek at what I was working on today. I can only show partial views, but will post all of her once she reaches her destination. In the meantime, soak up some of the warm and vibrant colour during this cold, dull winter.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Polka Dot Dotee

I should have waited until she was completely finished. She's near enough done that I thought I'd share her with you now. She just needs a back and some stuffing and she's good to go.

This is for a swap that I've been looking forward to doing for a while. The theme is polka dots and rather than use just one fabric, I used three different polka dot colours from my stash, burgundy, black and moss green.

All of my dolls so far have been completely hand sewn. For this one, I used my sewing machine and played around with some of the decorative stitches. I added a few beads that my friend J got for me from that mega bead store that I am scared to visit myself (in case I bankrupt us).

Now that I've actually dug out the sewing machine from all that mess on my sewing table, I will use it more often for doll making.

I've been sorting through my sewing patterns and am really itching to start on some spring and summer clothing. In fact, I am going to use that green fabric on the doll to make a top. I love that shade of green and it seems to love me right back.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Big Bold Beautiful

Another page for my Doll Book. This lady is BBW (Big, Bold and Beautiful). I had thought about adding some more embellishment to her body, but the fabric is so pretty that I don't want to obscure it. I may just outline her with deep green paint and top it off with some glitter paint. It's a fine line between adding too much and not enough. I'll have to study her for a while and then decide.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

One Year Anniversary

Today is the first anniversary of my mother's death. I thought I would post a picture of the second of two self-portrait's drawn by my mom. I just recently had it re-framed and it now hangs near the entrance of my house. Anyone who walks through my front door, sees it right away.

My sister has possession of the other self-portrait. We both are fortunate to have such a special reminder of our mother.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Floral Clown

The 60s hit "Everybody Loves A Clown" by Gary Lewis and the Playboys is not necessarily true. Many people find them creepy and I am beginning to think I am one of those people. It could be that my outlook changed after I once watched an awful film called "Killer Klowns From Outer Space." I am not making this up.

Here is another page completed for my Doll Book. I am calling her Floral Clown. I think there is something eerie about her. She looks deceptively benign.

I had some interesting yellow vintage fabric which I used for the background and the clown's face. Originally, the cape was a plain red but I thought it was too strong. I toned it down by rubber stamping a leaf pattern and then highlighting the leaves with a some buttercup acrylic paint. Now I'm a fabric designer.

Does she creep you out or is it just me?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Purple Green Goddess

I copped out big time. I could not get my mind around knitting hair for this doll. I got as far as knitting a row but I was afraid to cast off. I haven't given up on the idea of knitting, just on trying it on my own. I need to find a teacher.

I don't mind the final result. I think she turned out pretty good and I will be sorry to see her go. She's going out in the mail tomorrow to my swap partner.

Hubby, sister, brother-in-law and I are going to Estonia and Scotland in June. It's not too early to start planning a summer wardrobe so I will be dragging out some of my (hundreds) of vintage sewing patterns and decide what to sew. I will be sharing those projects here over the next few months.

This Saturday, I'm going to the Met. Well, almost. The Metropolitan Opera will be broadcasting their matinee performance live into select movie theatres in North American and many European countries. I hope to come out of the theatre all inspired and ready to resume work on my opera doll, who at the moment only has a face.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"Celtic" Fabric Doll Page

This is the second page of my fabric doll book. Hubby, who is Scottish/Irish and knows about these things, says it has a Celtic feel to it. For this one, I again used only fabric remnants given to me by others and nothing from my "own" stash.

I have learned something very important. Do not overlook and discard any fabric just because it doesn't have immediate appeal. I may not like a pattern or a colour as a whole, but when I start cutting and rearranging the elements, it can become something totally different and appealing. It just requires a bit of thought.

Her collar/crown is an excellent example. It's from a 70s? vintage cotton that I wasn't too excited about. Compare the original swatch with the end result.

Since St Patrick's Day is next month, I am going to use this image for my March Greeting Card. It seems so appropriate because it's green and the face, collar, and crown brings to mind a Celtic cross and a four-leaf clover.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Red and Blue

This fabric doll was inspired by a post on Dot's Blog. In her blog entry, Dot posted pictures of the creations that she and other artists made for a fabric doll book project. When I saw those dolls, I thought it was a fabulous idea and wanted to try it too. So this is Page One of my little doll book.

I used four different quilting cotton prints with a few dark red and pearl beads. These were all from the huge pile of scraps that were given to me by my neighbour. I think I may do the next one in greens.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Fabric ATCs For A Swap

These fabric ATCs are going in the mail to my swap partners. The purple one at the top employs some more of that wonderful quilting cotton that my niece gave me.

The bottom card is a tiny Dotee. She's got some beads around her and a bit of glitter paint. I'll have to do more of the Dotee ATCs as they are quick and fun.

Friday, February 8, 2008

What Is It?

I was experimenting with a couple of co-ordinating fabrics and new shapes. I'm not quite sure that I have "it" yet because thoughts like Darth Vader, Flying Nun, and Mushroom come to mind.

Since I've already invested the time in sewing on her face and beads, I don't want to abandon her. Probably I'm going to re-shape some of the top half. I like her though.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Valentine Candy

Today I finished the Valentine Cards that I will be sending out to a few friends. The pink and red cardstock makes me think of candy which is why this blog entry is titled "Valentine Candy." I will be making matching pink envelopes if hubby remembers to pick up the pink paper.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Ugly (Tacky) Dotee Two

This is the second Dotee doll for the "It's So Ugly, It's Cute" swap. Again, I used some fabric which I'm not sure I would want to use for anything else, those awful plastic dollar store teardrop thingys and the cheap beads. To complete the tacky look, I backed her with a very, hot, hot, pink felt. And then as I was photographing her outside, a gust of wind blew her away and she got a bit wet and dirty.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Ugly Dotee One

OK, I don't think she's all that ugly, at least not her face. I seem to want to draw pretty faces. A better term to define this one, I think, would be "Tacky Dotee".

Here's what's tacky about her. 1) The fabric. I cut it on the bias to make it visually more interesting. 2) The yellow plastic teardrops at the end of her earrings and tail. 3) The yellow and blue beads on her hanger and tail.

I had bought the plastic (yuck) teardrops and the beads from a dollar store when I first started making these dolls and learning to bead. I didn't know what to buy and of course it didn't take me long to realize that those purchases were a mistake. Once in a while you can find something of some quality in those dollars stores but you have to be careful.

My second ugly/tacky Dotee will be posted here tomorrow.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Goddess Doll Progress

She is now stuffed and stitched up and still waiting for her hair. I haven't been able to pin down a knitter yet. I am going to visit my very smart sister tomorrow. She used to knit very well some years ago. Maybe she will remember how it's done and maybe she will do a little knitting for me.

I thought I'd jot down a few notes about how I make my dolls. First I take my fabric (cotton, of course) and fuse it to a heavy weight interfacing. I do the same with the muslin faces. Next, I sew the face to the body. (The face is drawn and heat set before it's attached in case I goof up). Then I add beads and other embellishments. All this is done on a flat surface.

When the front is completed, I cut out a piece of felt that co-ordinates with the colours of the front. The felt shape is larger than the actual shape of the doll. I hand stitch around the perimeter of the doll from about one-eighth to one-quarter of an inch from the edge, leaving a small opening for the stuffing. Once it's stuffed, I stitch up the opening and then trim away the excess felt.

The first dolls I made, I sewed right sides together and turned them inside out before stuffing. I hated, with a passion, doing it that way. If I only had the option of doing it like that, I would not be making dolls. So the method described above works best for me. I don't have a problem with fraying edges because the fusible interfacing pretty well keeps the edges in tact. If I were to start selling my dolls, which I may do once I have worked out all the bugs, I would add extra insurance by finishing the edges with a blanket stitch or some other decorative stitch or by applying some paint or Podge.

I have to learn how to embroider and paint and grrrr, knit. :) All these swaps I have joined are giving me a great opportunity to try out new things.

Yesterday, I almost completed two fabric ATCs. They just require a finish around the edge. And the most fun thing I started was my "It's So Ugly, It's Cute Dotee" doll. What a hoot that was. You're supposed to use three elements in it that you consider ugly, whether it's fabric, beads, ribbons, lace, whatever. Things that you bought in the past and later wondered "What was I thinking?" A good excuse to use up some of the useless stuff in the stash. I will try and finish her up today and post tomorrow or Monday. Lot's of fun.

Friday, February 1, 2008


"K"nitpicker. I think I may have found a new meaning for this word as I sadly look at my effort at knitting hair for my Goddess Doll. Now I know millions of people knit and if I keep at it, I can get the hang of it too. After all, I am not trying to do anything as ambitious as a sweater. For now, I just need to cast on some stitches, knit a row, and cast off.

I watched several tutorials on YouTube last night and every one of them showed the same casting on method. Wasn't it just my luck that the tutorial I relied on two nights ago, showed a different method. I think the problem lies with the first method I used. Now I have to start all over again and try the second, and obviously most common, way.

In the meantime, I am anxious to get this doll finished and I want the hair and I want it now. Can someone please knit this for me and I promise I will practice and do future knitting all by myself. Seriously I am going to ask everyone in my neighbourhood if they can knit and the first person who says "yes" will be coerced into doing the job. :)