Walk in Our Shoes Project

Recently I had the opportunity to create two tiny pairs of shoes for a television commercial. The challenge behind the project was that the shoes were to be worn on human fingers. Here is the commercial that resulted and the techniques I followed to create the shoes.

This video shows both of the ad spots that aired on children’s networks in the US:

The commercial is for “Walk in Our Shoes,” an organization that teaches youth tolerance and awareness for those with mental health challenges. You can read more at their website here: http://walkinourshoes.org/

Most of the shoes featured in the spots are factory made doll shoes that were readily available through online purchase. There were two special pairs of shoes however, that could not be found. The creators needed a pair of roller skates and a pair of ballet pointe slippers. With my background in designing doll shoes, this is where I came in :).

The challenge behind the roller skates was that the creators could only find plastic skates in the right scale. Because all the other shoes featured were fabric, the plastic would have looked out of place. But we also had a bit of a time crunch—I had just a few days to complete the shoes and then ship them overnight to California.

To create the roller skates, I began with an existing pair of plastic doll skates. This is where I got the wheels and base, so I didn’t need to create them. I used a sharp blade to cut most of the plastic upper away from the wheeled portion. I then used the same lace up boot pattern featured in my tiny doll shoes tutorial to create the upper, making only slight adjustments. I laced the skates with elastic so the upper would easily stretch over the model’s fingers.

Before

After

The ballet slippers were a bit more of a challenge. There were no existing shoes or patterns that could be modified for a human finger. So, I created one. I began by sculpting a finger out of polymer clay. I included the average space and height of a fingernail so the nail would be mostly covered by the slipper. I then sculpted on a heel and toe box shapes that extended beyond the finger base. Now I had a last form to build the slippers over.

But there was a slight problem. The sharp curve of the slipper meant that the opening was much smaller than the shape of the fabric upper, so once I wrapped and glued the fabric around the sculpted last, I would not be able to slide the slipper back off. To remedy this issue, I cut the heel section off the last, and taped it back into place giving me a break away heel that would help shape the slipper as needed, but then separate to allow the slipper to slide off.

The Ballet Shoe Last with Break-Away Heel

The Ballet Slipper

If time would have allowed, I definitely would have created more finger shoes for the project, but I am glad I was able to complete the two pairs in time! And now I can add television prop maker to my doll making history :).

Cotton Lawn: A Perfect Material for Doll Scale Clothes

Cotton lawn has a very fine weave and can often be found with beautiful tiny prints perfect for doll scale. My favorite cotton lawn is made by Liberty of London, but if the best doesn't fit into your budget, then there are some comparable fabrics to be found for a fraction of the price. Here are a few of the fabrics I have in my collection: 

Here are some resource links if you'd like to add some cotton lawn to your collection. 

London Calling Cotton Lawn

London Calling Cotton Lawn

Liberty of London, One of my Favorite prints, Kayoto Olive

More Liberty of London

And even Hello Kitty Liberty of London!

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate for some of the products I recommend on this blog and your resulting purchase(s) may contribute to my income. That said, I only recommend products I love. :)

 

An Interview with Abi Monroe: Doll Artist and Fine Doll Clothier

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Abi Monroe about her doll work. Abi fasincates me because she is also a cross-over doll artist--she creates art dolls in additional to creating products for collectible dolls. Read on to discover what inspires Abi's work and which resources she recommends for aspiring doll artists.

Q: What links or information would you like to share with readers?

A: Thank you for this opportunity!  my shop - my blog 

Above: an Art doll hand sculpted by Abi.

Q: How have art dolls made you a better clothier?

A: I don't know that art dolls have made me a better clothier per se; it’s been more about practice and perseverance, and I still have a long way to go. Creating art dolls gave me a wonderful foundation for expressing my creativity and desired uniqueness.  It allowed me to be involved with some amazing artists, who have encouraged and supported my development. It also gave me opportunity to work with a variety of mediums.   I love to combine clay, and wood, and fabrics and paint and so on.

 

Q: How has making fashion and collector doll products affected your doll making?

A: It has affected my doll making to the point I have no time or creative energy to make a doll! I am not a proficient multi-tasker.  I also find I get bored quickly - art dolls take a long time to produce, whereas clothes and furniture are less time intense; I can do much more in a shorter space of time, and feel I have done my best.  My art dolls never felt quite 'good enough.'  I create to pay bills, so it has become a necessity to be both creative and productive. It is no longer a hobby for me.

 

Q: What are your thoughts about combining the two?

A: If I could spend time working on my skills as an art doll maker, I would love to be able to make an entire wardrobe (clothes and furniture) designed specifically for a handcrafted art doll.

 

A tiny closet full of handmade clothes.

Q: Your dolls and clothing items have a very consistent look in style and coloring--is this deliberate?

A: It is totally not deliberate - I can't do it any other way, however hard I try; the creativity from within takes precedence. It's a bit annoying at times!

 

Q: Are any of your customers patrons of both your dolls and your doll fashions?

A: Yes! I have several lovely customers who bought my art dolls and buy my clothes for their other dolls.

 

Q: Talk a bit about your relationship with the two terms arts and crafts. Do you feel you do both?

A: I feel both require dexterity, imagination and practice.  I find it impossible to differentiate... art and craft go hand-in-hand.

 

Blythe collector doll costumed by Abi.

Q: Your photography is gorgeous. Tell us about what a shoot involves.

A: Being in the right mood, whatever that is.  Sometimes I can take OK photos that capture the correct colours and focus, other times I just have to give up and try another day.  I like natural lighting, but not too bright and not too dark.   I like to take a variety of images with the piece on its own, or on a model, or in a 'room setting' to show how the piece 'works' be it an item of clothing, or piece of furniture.  I love a micro shot to show detail.  I like to keep things as simple as possible and try to maintain a visual similarity of images for my Etsy shop.  A consistent 'look' helps define my style.  I think.

 

Q: Where do you see the future of your designs going?

A: I strive to remain unique; I'd like to continue in this vein whilst improving my skills, and learning new ones.

 

Q: If you had unlimited funding, what would your business look like?

A: An Animal Sanctuary.

 

Q: Lastly, do you have any books you recommend to aspiring doll artists?

Books by Patti Medaris Culea and Hannie Sarris.

 

Here are some books I found by Patti Medaris Culea:

Creative Cloth Doll Making: New Approaches for Using Fibers, Beads, Dyes, and Other Exciting Techniques

 

Thank you Abi!  :)

 

How to Create a Play Room Box Scene for Your Dolls

 

Every spoiled doll needs a playroom, and this one was great fun to make! Normally I would not use gold paint as an accent, but this gilding was inspired by Downton Abbey ;). 

This Grand roombox kit from Houseworks is the perfect scale for tiny BJDs, dollhouse miniature dolls and other small dolls. The room is giant! And assembly is a piece of cake. 

Here is what you will need:

 

 

When you open the roombox kit, it will look something like this:

 

Fit the pieces into the slots so you understand how the box is constructed, but don't use glue yet. This (below) is how thick the walls are! This is a very sturdy box.  

 

As you can see below, the assembly instructions are just a single page and are quite simple. I did not do all the business with the taping of the walls when I assembled mine because by that point, the walls and I were good old friends and I couldn't forget what went where if I wanted to. Also, with the exception of the two smaller walls, all other walls are shaped differently and can only fit in the floor grooves they are meant for. 

 

Most of the construction and prep work should be done before the box is assembled. This way you can use the walls and floors to take measurements and cut wood/paper/fabrics to size. Let's begin with the floor. I chose a brocade fabric to resemble a finely detailed rug. You could also use plush fabrics like velour to give a carpeted look, or you can use paint/paper/vinyl to create a hard floor. 

 

To cut the fabric to size, first I laid the piece out on my floor. I then wrapped the fabric ends around the edges of the floor so I could center my design. Once the design is in place, use sharp scissors to cut the fabric out using the inner floor grooves as a guide. If cutting into the fabric is scary, you can first make a floor pattern by taping sheets of paper together.

Brocade type fabrics tend to unravel rather profusely around the edges, so I used a hefty amount of Fray Check on the edges to keep them in line. Notice how with the front of the carpet, I left it folded around the front of the floor--this fold will provide your box with a cleaner front edge. 


 

Okay, don't glue that carpet in place quite yet, we've got more prep work to do! For the walls I used some clip art I bought online as well as some free clipart from Dover publications. I edited these images in Photoshop and then saved them to a jumpdrive.

I then took the wallpaper image files to OfficeMax's copy shop and had them printed full color onto 11 by 17" paper. I had them print three of each design, dark and light, but in the end I only need 3 sheets total, so I've got extras to use for wrapping paper or whatever. :)


 Now you could also just use scrapbook paper, art paper, paint or fabric for your wall coverings.

These below are the wood trims I used to create the shelving. These are 1 yard lengths purchased in the wood craft section of a Michael's craft store. I used 1 yard scalloped edge (top trim), 3 yards small floral (shelf braces), 5-6 yards of the slat board trim (shelves) and 2 yards of the loopy U's trim (baseboard). I have no idea what the real names are, but hopefully you can see the differences as we move along. 

 

 

First, I decide how many shelves the room should have. I gauge the scale using the types of toys I intend to put on the shelves. in this case, 4 seems like a good number. Below: the slatboard trims turned on their sides. 


Okay, to cut the shelving, you will need to saw at an angle. I have a small mitre box, but the angles in the box did not match the angles I needed. So, instead I used the roombox floor to measure out the shelf lengths and angles.

Below: See how the pencil line is the same angle as the corner floor line? You want to measure out all of the pieces this way. You want to get these measurements as close as you can, but don't worry too much if they are slightly off. You can correct edges with sandpaper and/or use putty to fill in gaps later.

 

Here is my progress as I cut each shelf piece using the floor as my measurement and angle guide. To have four shelves, I have actually cut 20 pieces of wood with my itty bitty saw. 

 

If you are cutting a lot of pieces, you can build a little guide for yourself to hold the wood steady. The pieces you see below are the braces for between the shelves. To find the brace length, I took the wall height, subtracted the height of all four shelves, floor groove height and the baseboard and then divided the total by 4. There are 32 brace pieces total. (Remember that the wall sits in a grooved channel, so subtract that height as well.) I use mm to make these measurements as they make precision easier.  

By the way, the little vinyl bricks here are just part of an old project--I am using this large board as a scrap board to saw/paint over. I also found the houseworks kit box quite handy as a work surface.

 Cut the baseboard trim and scalloped pieces as well before you move on. You will have about 60 little pieces of wood.

Now I paint each one--I only paint the sides that will be visible--if you leave the backside bare, it will help the wood make a stronger glue bond when you assemble the shelves. I only use one coat of the gold paint as it is fairly thick. 

 

Now it is time for some wallpapering! (Note: In the image below, the carpet is not glued down--it is just set in place for planning purposes.) To paper the walls I used Acrylic Matte Gel Medium on the backsides of the papers and Acrylic varnish for the front. You could probably also use something like ModPodge at a lower cost, but I like that the Acrylic mediums are designed to provide your art with longevity, so will help protect against fading over time. 

Okay, if we look at the walls from right to left, with left being number 1 and far right being number 5, I apply paper to walls 1, 3, and 5 only. Walls 2 and 4 (the shorter walls) will be covered later to help blend all the paper seams together so that the papers can overlap slightly. As you probably guessed, I used the walls to measure the paper cuts. 

 

Use Crafter's Pick The Ultimate white tacky glue to glue the walls in place. Make sure to coat all connecting walls with glue, including the floor grooves. Allow the box walls to dry thoroughly and check them periodically for any slumping or crookedness. I painted the outside of the box while waiting for the wall glue to dry. 

Finish papering the walls and make sure they are coated with protective mediums inside and out. The mediums like acrylic gel medium or ModPodge act as both glue and coating. Okay, now that the walls are in place, we can glue the carpet down! For the carpet, I used Fabri-tac glue. Set your floor in place and lift the area furthest from you--apply glue along the back walls and lay the carpet in place. 

Next, lift the carpet from the front side and finish coating the floor with glue, pushing the carpet down toward you as you work back and fourth (think typewriter). Once you reach the front end, you can apply more glue to the edge of the carpet and then fold it around the bottom of the box for a nice, clean edge. 

 

Okay, on to baseboard! The baseboard is a triangular piece of trim that helps cover the connecting seams between the walls and carpet. I use Crafter's Pick "The Ultimate" to glue the trim in place.

 

Once the trims are in place, I use the same glue to set the adhere the shelf supports. If you look at the pictures, you will see I have used 8 support pieces per row. These pieces will help the shelves stay even and will make gluing the shelves much easier as it provides support in between dry times. 

 

Once the first row of supports are in place, glue the first row of shelves to the wall and supports. Make sure all surfaces that touch are coated with glue for a strong bond. I did not wait for the glue to dry in between layers--I didn't have to as the shelves and supports held together nicely.  

 

Below is a close-up so you can see that my cuts are not perfect. Some of the wood pieces had gaps and some required sanding for proper fit. If the gaps bother you, simply fill them in with wood putty or apoxie sculpt once the shelf glue has dried. Then you can go back over the filled areas with a bit of matching paint. 

 

Once I reach the top shelf, I add my scalloped trim along the bottom of the back three walls for some extra zing. 

Now this giant room is ready for toys and spoiled dolls! Over the next few months, I will share what I decide to fill this room with ;). 

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Note: this post contains some affiliate links to products I use and recommend. 

 

How to Find Tiny Stretch Knit Prints for Making Doll Clothes

I love stetch knits in tiny prints. Love them. Dolls love them too :]. These are perfect for the smallest scales because they are resistent to fraying, fairly easy to work with and oh so soft. But they can be very hard to find. Here is my pound the pavement go-to guide for finding tiny print stretch knits. What to look for and where to find it!

 

For knit fabrics, Fabric.com is a great source and I often check there first when I am looking. (The above purple knit was purchased in the Liberty of London knits.)

You can order as small as a half yard and most of their yardage is $5-6. You can also Google to find 'fabric.com coupons' and enter the code into the site to get things like free shipping or 15% off your order. 
If you search 'stripe knit' in the box, quite a few fabrics come up. Every image has a ruler, so you can click the image to pull up the larger picture then scale the screen to the size of your ruler (hold one up to the screen) to see what the scale is like. (To scale your screen larger or smaller hold down "Ctrl" and then use the + and - buttons on your keyboard. To set the screen back to normal size, hit "ctrl" and "0."
If the scale is right and you like the pattern, make sure it is indeed a stretch fabric--usually fabric.com will tell you the percentage of stretch in the description--anything 20% or more is great. Also, the orientation of the fabric in the image is important--usually horizontal stripes stretch horizontally and vertical vertically--sometimes the fabric has a 4 or all-way stretch, so the orientation doesn't matter.
 
If price is not an issue, I highly recommend the knits in their Liberty of London collection--these are gorgeous--I have a half yard of every small scale style they have carried. :]
Two other online places you can look are ebay
Another place to try locally is discount stores, yardsales or thrift shops for knit clothing. I once found five extra, extra large micro stripe long sleeve shirts at a Ross Dress for Less for $5 each and they came in black/white stripe, pink/white stripe, blue/white stripe--you get the idea :]. I also bought a micro heart print stretch baby blanket brand new for 25 cents at a yard sale. Always be on the look out for tiny prints and they will find you!
Additional tips:
  • Search terms like stretch knit, striped knit, pin stripe knit, polka dot knit, jersey knit, printed knit, interlock knit, cotton stretch, lycra, print knit etc.
  • When shopping for fabrics in person, use your pinky finger to test the weight and drape of the print--wrap the fabric snuggly around your finger to view the print when it stretches--does the image distort too much? Does the pattern fade out when stretched? Does it have enough give for chubby doll legs? Does it stretch in the right direction? 
  • Lycra and spandex based fabrics are slippery and generally more difficult to work with--if you are a beginning sewer, or new to knits, look for cotton based fabrics. 
My tiny sock tutorial is a good mini intro for working with knits in doll scale. 
Best wishes in your search!!

 

 

Changing Faces

This past weekend I gave my tiny models a little much needed attention. The dolls in my home work hard! This was my first time doing full faceups (stripping and repainting faces) and I have to say I really enjoyed it! But it was very scary cracking Blythe's head open and pulling apart her eyes! Here are some before and after shots of the girls I worked on.

Bleuette

This is a resin BJD Bleuette from Ruby Red Galleria. I ordered the doll with changeable face plates Bleuette/Charmette, but I didn't really like the Bleuette face plate she came with. 

Before:

After: I sanded down and reshaped her chipmunk cheeks, widened the width between her eyes (carving and adding apoxie sculpt to the resin). I used pastels, sealant and acrylics to add the coloring.

Here is a side view so you can see the cheeks better.

Before:

After:

I still need to bevel her eye holes so the glass eyes fit a little more flush to her face. 

 

Lati Yellow Lea (Ether)

Ether was my first resin doll and it was really starting to show--her original factory face paint had become so worn and faded, she barely had color left. Plus I had never liked her angry blocky eyebrows. 

Before:

After:

She has lips again :]. And eyelashes... Here you can see her new sad eyebrows :]

 

Blythe Nicky Lad

I have seen some amazing Blyhte makeovers and I knew I wanted to try it, but I was afraid to jump in as I didn't want to ruin her! I found many helpful articles through google searches ie "removing Blythe's eye mechanism" and they really helped boost my courage when I was prying Blythe's head apart with full body weight. I stood on a chair leaning onto her head to separate the face plate--the cracking sounds were scary, but she made it through!

Before:

After:

She had some carving/sculpting done with a file, matte sanding to remove the shinies, all four sets of eye chips have been replaced, sleep eyes enabled, new eyelashes, lids painted and pigments added :].  I forgot Blyhte doesn't usually have eyebrows when I made them, but then I kind of liked them, so they stayed.

Now she needs new hair :]. 

I am sure I will keep fussing with these guys for awhile, but for now, they seem to be feeling much more colorful :]. 

A special thanks to the beach peep ladies for your support during my projects--hugs to all!

 

Make a Simple Hair Decoration for your Doll

This ship decoration was made with frosted shrink plastic using the pattern below along with colored pencils. You can make most any design or embellishment for your doll using shrink plastic. 

I added a small peg to the bottom of the pattern to make it easier to permanently affix the ship.

Use Crafter’s Pick the Ultimate tacky glue to glue your ship embellishment into place (you could also glue a clip or barette to the backside of your embelishment if you want it to be removable):

 

Here are addtional miniature doll accessories made with the same frosted shrink plastic:

Learn to make your own original clothes pin doll with my new tutorial: Clothes Pin Art Dolls available on etsy!

How to put Long Stockings on a Blythe Doll

So, if you have a Blythe doll or have held a Blythe--you know her body is quite rubbery in texture. When you are dressing Blythe, fabrics tend to get caught up due to friction and it can be a challenge to put a tight or slim garment onto her limbs. (Think fat toddler foot vs tiny shoe.) 

Here is a simple, frustration-free method to put long stockings of any material onto your Blythe doll. You will need two tools--

1. Bic pen style barrel with both ends removed

2. Small rod or dowel that fits inside the barrel of the pen

Step 1 Turn both stockings inside out--To do this, feed the stocking all the way onto the pen barrel and then push your dowel into the toe end of the sock while sliding the fabric up and around the dowel. Next pull up the remaining sock up so that it is completely turned.

 

Step 2 In a similar fashion to step one, reinsert the pen barrel into the stocking and then push the toe area inward with the dowel. This time, only push until the sock is turned about 1 inch, as you see below. 

Step 3 Now slide both tools out of the sock and put Blythe's rubbery little foot into the 1" sock 'starter hole' you made. 

Now you should be able to slide the remaining stocking onto Blythe's leg, turning it right side out as you push it up the leg. Yay! We won the battle.

 

Oh, Merry Christmas too :]. This is my westie, Emma.

 

What Size Wig Does this Doll Wear? And What About Shoe Sizes?

The following table includes some popular dolls’ wig and shoe sizes. I often make custom scale clothing and legwear for clients and so I research different doll sizes a lot. Today I decided to permanently log wig and shoe sizes so I wouldn’t have to keep looking them up each time. I hope this chart is something you can use too :].

Wig size is the circumference of the doll's head above the ear line. The circumference is measured at an angle, starting at the top of the forehead and moving to the base of the skull--just like where you would place a hat. Wig size is measured in inches and often includes a slash rather than a hyphen to denote a range of size. For example, a Lati Yellow doll has a wig size of 5/6--this is 5 to 6 inches. Wig size can also be hat size, though you may want to get a slightly larger hat if the hat needs to go over a full wig.

Shoe size is the actual size of the doll's shoe in millimeters—the length is measured from the outside of the shoe, so it is larger than the actual length of the doll’s foot—usually by about 6mm, give or take. Shoes for dolls with tiny feet and big heads (Blythe, Pullip...) are often oversized to help balance out the doll's proportions.

Doll Name
Wig Size
Shoe Size
American Girl Doll
10/11 72mm
Betsy McCall 8" Doll
4/5 24mm
Betsy McCall 14" Doll 7/8 50mm
Bleuette Seeley Body 6/7 37mm
Bleuette Global Body 6/7 41mm
Blythe 10/11 24-28mm
Bobobie Eric or Erin 4/5 30mm
Customhouse Petite AI 7 48mm
Ellowyne Wilde 6/7 50mm
Kish Riley 4 25-28mm
Kish Tulah 4 28-29mm
Lati White Renewal Body 3/4 16mm
Lati White SP Body 3/4 22-23mm
Lati Yellow Renewal Body 5/6 28mm
Lati Yellow SP Body 5/6 40mm
Lati Green 6/7 50mm
Madame Alexander 8" Dolls ? 28mm
Madame Alexander 11" Dolls ? 37mm
Madame Alexander 21" Cissy 10/11 50mm
Pocket Fairy, Blue Fairy 4 24mm
Pukifee Fairyland 5/6 24mm
Puki Puki Fairyland 3/4 19mm
Pullip 8/10 20-28mm
Volks MSD 7/8 58mm
Volks YoSD 6/7 49mm

 

Black & White 'Earbits' hat is available in my Doll Destash clothing & supply shop. :] I am working on a gigantic master list of doll shoe and wig sizes--so far I have logged over 100 dolls. Which dolls, if any would you like me to include in my research?

How to create Art with the Leftovers

You know the leftovers? Maybe you poured out too much acrylic paint and you are left with a small pile of drying paint when you finish your project. Or perhaps you were sculpting with Apoxie Sculpt and you mixed too much? Wigging or costuming a doll creates a lot of leftovers! Doll costuming starts with small pieces to begin with, so by the time you are through the scraps are so tiny—maybe a few centimeters.


If you are like me, you feel guilty throwing away even the smallest bits of paint, paper or fiber. Here is my solution. Keep several empty canvases on hand. Even if you aren’t a painter. When you have excess paint, lay it down on the canvases—have several started at once so you can coordinate or play with colors. If you want, keep one canvas for each color you like to work with. Here you can see I have a few random colors started.

Working on these mini projects creates a nice break from the current project you may be laboring over and it provides a few moments to play without reservation. Create without plans—just throw the paint down—play with patterns, textures and color blends. Explore new styles you might not normally attempt. It’s okay—it’s just the scraps! And you might end up creating something you really enjoy! Or something you can sell! Or something you can gift to an unsuspecting friend or distant relative ;].


Here is how to add some dimensional fun! When you have excess fiber scraps, lay them down on the canvas. Here I have created a tree using left over Apoxie Sculpt (trunk) and bits of fiber in several colors and textures. I used Gel Medium to secure the pieces both on top and the bottom. This is a great use for the gel medium that gets dried and rubbery around the top of the container (mmm.. leftovers!).


Add paint over top and voila! Everything is pulled together. The shinies are a few glass drop beads left over from a project. This tree is probably not finished, but you get the idea!


Here are other fun ideas for using those leftovers

  • Use excess paint in your art journal if you have one—perfect for creating backgrounds!
  • Use fibers to make a dimensional ocean or body of water on your collage.
  • Use extra Apoxie Sculpt to fill in screw and nail holes around the house. (Sounds silly, but it works!)
  • In the spring time, put thread or fibers out for the birds to build their nests.
  • Do you have a crafty child in your life? Save bits of fibers and fabrics in a small box to give to them. One of the greatest gifts I received as a child was a basket of craft supplies and materials.Thanks Mom!


What do you do with your leftovers? I would love to hear it!

Eliza Puddlejumper

On a rainy day in May...Eliza went out to play...

Here she is all complete and ready for puddle stomping! 10 inches tall--full body sculpt in polymer clay and apoxie sculpt. Hazel glass eyes & mohair wigging. She can stand on her own.

 

Her head and arms are partially jointed to allow limited movement.

Her costume consists of original patterns designed for Eliza and constructed with a combination of hand and machine stitches--lots and lots of blanket stitch hemming! Her leather hat is removable.

Her boots were hand sculpted from polymer clay and treated to look like rubber. Serious puddle jumpers don't use laces.

Her shirt has three tiny vintage mother of pearl buttons and was sewn from ultrasuede and organic cotton knit. I used 7 different fabrics to complete her patchwork skirt. Peaking beneath the skirt, she has yellow and white striped knit tights--these were also hand-sewn.

My first doll for 2011 is complete! :]

Sketchbooks

I got thinking about sketchbooks today. I’ve always wanted to have a sketch journal or inspiring collection of sketches to flip through like a book. My sketches never really look like they belong in a journal. Many look more like they stumbled out of a garbage can or slipped out from between two couch cushions.

 I took a cross section of various sketches today and determined that the only thing they really have in common is my need to list and label things. I will draw a hammer and then write next to it ‘hammer.’ Then the more bizarre labels that no longer mean anything, like ‘Citrus eating desert worm.’ Most pages with sketches are also pages that tell me what date the power bill is due or that I need to pick up more milk. Then there’s the ever important mysterious phone number or email address that you know had some purpose at some point. My sketches will never be masterpieces, but I guess I am ok with that. :]

 



Paper Lotus Blossoms


I wanted small paper blossoms to decorate the bust I am making. I couldn’t find any tutorials, so I made up my own :]. These little flowers are based off lotus blossoms, but could also pass for water lilies. Feel free to make some—I’d love to see them if you do.

Materials
* Vellum—Inkjet or regular
* Permanent Glue Stick (or Gel Medium)
* Ivory/Yellow Paint
* Mini Brads
* Optional: Liquid Sculpey

Tools
* Pencil
* Ball Stylus (a dull needle would work too)
* Kneadable Eraser
* Scissors
* 1/8 Hole punch (or sharp needle to poke holes)
* Small Paintbrush

The Pattern

Fold sheet of vellum in half.

Using pattern and pencil, trace petal layers onto one of the outside halves of the vellum.

Glue the halves together using glue stick or gel medium. Push the layers together firmly avoiding air bubbles.

Using a ball stylus, ‘draw’ the petal layers into the vellum following the pencil lines you made (do this with the pencil side down—you do not want to emboss over the pencil lines). Add additional embossed ornamentation as desired. For the best results, place a layer of thin foam or a mouse pad under the vellum while you are embossing.

Once you have drawn the shapes in with your ball stylus, you can go back and erase the pencil lines using a kneadable eraser.

Cut the shapes out and punch holes in the centers.

Stack two or three different sized layers and secure them with a mini brad. (The pattern I used has four different sizes so that I can have more scale options)

Gently bend and shape petals upward to give them more dimension (it helps to make small cuts between the petals toward the centers).

Add a bit of paint to the exposed brad and surrounding area to form your flower center.

Optional Make your flower more durable by coating it with liquid sculpey and baking it for 20 minutes or so (follow manufacturer’s instructions). Or you could strengthen it by brushing on an outer coat of gel medium.

Making the Pattern To make the petal layer pattern, I found several round items of varying sizes (lids etc.) and traced the circles onto paper with a pencil. I marked each center for the circles and divided them into 6 equal parts drawing lines with the pencil. I used the lines as a guide for the centers of the petals. Once I had the petals drawn, I went over the pattern with a permanent marker and erased the pencil marks. The petals do not need to be perfect—they are organic shapes after all. But using this method, you could make any size flower with as many petal layers as you desire. I suppose you could just use a compass to make your circle patterns, but hunting for round things is part of the fun.

The Strut


When I was about 5 years old, my parents had a large format book on drawing animated characters. The book was pretty old--I am not sure when it came out. My sister and I (my twin, Jill) would look through the book over and over again studying the poses and the different characters. There were two particular pages we were especially fascinated by--these instructed one on the positioning of 'the strut.' Being wee girls, we were curious about big girl bodies and these pictures seemed especially naughty at the time :].

I don't know what happened to the rest of the book, but somewhere along the lines, these two pages were torn out and they managed to survive :]. I found them in a pile of books and papers awhile ago, and recently decided to hang them on my wall.

I purchased some of those pre-matted frames from Michael's (1.5 by 2ft). I was afraid of light damage and fading to the original pages, so I took them in to the copy shop and had them duplicated. The copy lady thought I was crazy with my two tattered pages of 'naughty' ladies. When I framed them, I tucked the originals safely behind the copies.


This was my mini project for today. These will hang in my studio once I am feeling ambitious enough to pull out the step ladder and mounting kit. I like that she struts into and out of the frames :].

Pin Dolls in ADQ


The Summer 2009 issue of Art Doll Quarterly features three of my pin dolls along with some small blurbs I had jotted down. There are quite a few typos in the article that were not original to my submission, but I found them somewhat endearing...lol (ie, "frog prince store" is supposed to be "frog prince story" but I kinda like the idea of a Frog Prince Store...). I was also surprised by the pink and white background..I figured they'd be photographed in front of a scarf or a old boot or something ;p. The girliness kinda goes well with the themes of the current batch 7.

And, as always I am delighted to share my creations with a few more people! Thank you ADQ!


Pin Doll Batch Four



Yay! Pin doll batch four is complete! There are 15 new dolls total. I had a few commissions and a few Halloween pieces in there. Overall, I am pretty pleased with them. I will be listing the dolls in my etsy shop over the next few days.

This is my last effort to make dolls prior to Portland Art & Soul. It seems all of the class proposals for future retreats are due at the same time (Early October). Between creating proposal samples and preparing for my A&S classes, I am in for a busy next two weeks!