Wednesday, September 12, 2018


Hello All,
I've finished another witch for Halloween, but this time I made a "hag" witch. Most of my dolls tend to be glamorous or funny, (or characters that THINK they are glamorous). But, this witch has NO delusions about what she looks like.

She's about 17 inches tall, and is bent over with a hump on her back. (This pose proved tricky to photograph, as she is bent down, but looking up).

I've been experimenting with aging cloth faces. I've been trying to add wrinkles, bags, and sagging skin. Also, I've tried to add some texture to the cloth face. These things are easy to do with a sculpted clay face, but very hard to do in cloth.

I picture her living alone in the forest. I don't think she's necessarily EVIL, but she's no lollipop either.

I had fun adding all sorts of do-dads to her belt -- tools she needs to make potions and casts spells. She is magical, and to show that, I added a bit of sparkly black fabric under her cape (made of gray lace and black netting).

I also tried to do fingernails (which I've only ever done once before). I felt she needed thick, dirty fingernails to accent her bone-y hands. I made the fingernails from plastic drinking straws, cut to shape and pained with acrylic paint.

I think her name shall be "Agatha".

Okay, back to making more Halloween dolls for October.
Have fun!

Monday, August 6, 2018


Hi All,
As promised, here are some more of the dolls I'm showing at Roger's Garden Halloween show opening Aug. 31. (Roger's Halloween show here.) They don't have the 2018 show on their website as of this writing, but it should be up by Sept. Make sure to check it out.

Here is "Lady Agatha Verdigris": (green is her favorite color)

She is about 20" tall and is a stump doll.

She's a very old teacher at Hogwarts School of Wizardry.
Amidst the feathers and bows in her hat, she wears a cameo on her hat of a beautiful green skeleton witch.

This is her sister, "Lady Salome Aubergine": (she favors shades of purple)
She loves her bejeweled spider in her hat.

No one knows which witch is the eldest, as both claim they are the youngest of the two!

Since both their husbands (the "Lord High Wizards") have passed, neither sister does much teaching at Hogwarts anymore, but both can be found in the tea room, reminiscing about their "glory days" as head teachers and witches.

Both costumes sport antique Victorian jet beaded appliques among the many embellishments.

And, here is a cloth witch bust. Her name is "Andromeda Heliotrope":

She is 17" tall to the top of her hat.

So, that's all for Roger's Garden Halloween show. I hope some of you living in Southern California get a chance to see the show in person!

Okay, now I have to work on some dolls for the Houston Quilt show.

Have fun!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018


Hi All,
I've been asked to participate in Rogers Gardens Halloween show this year. I am very excited by this chance to sell and show my dolls to a new audience.

To see Rogers Gardens Halloween show from last year, click here.

Here are some of the dolls I'm sending to them. The show and sale start Sept 1st.

This is Penelope the Pumpkin Witch. She is a candlestick doll.

Here are 2 "Dearly Departed" ghost dolls:

I'll post more dolls in the next post. --Have fun!

Sunday, June 10, 2018


Hi All,
Well, as I promised, here is the finished doll:
A friend of mine said it reminded her of Liza Minelli from "Cabaret" -- Yes, I see that.

Here are some close-ups:
The "helmet/turban" is made from sequin trim wrapped around the head. The headband is an old rhinestone necklace with some earring pieces.

And, here are some WIPs: (see last post for work-in-progress photos of the body)
When I start a costume, I usually will "drape" some muslin into the shape that I want. For the 20's silhouette, it's basically a tube of fabric that hangs from the shoulders. The waistline is very low - almost to the middle of the hips. (I know, ---doesn't look very glamourous at all.)

Here's the under dress, made of micro sequins in silver. I wanted to give the final look as much sparkle as possible, as I have learned that "all black" doesn't photograph well.

(And, in the end, that's how a doll is seen-- in photographs.)

Here's the dress. I made this from an old beaded dress I found at a thrift store in the early 80's (see?? I knew if I held on to it long enough, I'd find a use for it.....)
See how the silver sequins sparkle under the chiffon between the beaded lines?
The neckline and hip band is made from edging from the same old dress.

Fortunately, I've made this "opera coat" (sometimes called a "cocoon coat") before, so the pattern was easy for me.

I added the red sequin lining to the coat, (and other shots of red in the jewelry) to add an accent to the all black & silver.

This is the photo that inspired the face and the shape of the turban/cloche/helmet.
I LOVE her nose! I tend to do small noses, but on this doll I made a large nose, and I like it!

I haven't settled on a name yet. I'm thinking of "Silent Screen Star". Or, simply "The Vamp",-- but I'm not sure if everyone (young people) knows that term. (A "Vamp" --short for "vampire"-- is an old-fashion name for a woman who seduces men for whatever she can get from them. After she taken him for everything he's got, she throws the man aside like yesterdays laundry, crushing him in the process.) This was a "stock" character in the silent movies.

This look is based mostly on Theda Bara, who was known as "The Vamp" in silent pictures. This is Theda Bara:
GREAT EYES! So much eye liner! And such dark eyes --she was really working that "sultry, smoky eye" look!

This was Theda much older, taken in the 1950's before she died.
She still has those eyes! She looks sort of tragic and sad. (I'm keeping this photo in my inspiration file.) Truly, a "fallen beauty" -- which is a favorite theme I like to use.

These are other silent movie stars I used for inspiration: This is Clara Bow.
Clara Bow was known as the "It Girl". I guess "it" stood for a woman who is out to have a good time. Plus, she had sex appeal. Maybe a little naughty? In the 1920's, we had just come out of World War I, and was ready to have some fun. That's when the "flapper" appeared.

Other stars who were inspiration were May Murray:

And Louise Brooks:
Louise Brooks was famous for introducing the "bob" haircut in the 1920's -- a hairstyle that became most popular with the young flapper girls and quite controversial for it's time. (The 20's was the first time in history that women wore short hair!)

Hope you enjoyed seeing my process.
Have fun!

Saturday, May 26, 2018


Hi All,
I've been working on a new doll for the "Art Doll Quarterly" 1920's challenge. It's not done yet, but here are some work-in-progress photos.

I want to design a silent film star, a "Vamp" character.
So, I started with a dramatic pose.

This is a big doll -- about 20 inches. So, to make her stand up-right on it's own, I used an extra thick wire armature in the supporting leg, and my basic wire armature in the other. The wires come out of the heels of the shoe into the wood base. I sculpted the heels around the wire, using paper clay. I made black stockings for her, which I have to put on before I sculpt the heels, as the stocking won't go over the heel AND wire armature without ripping (I learned this the hard way on dolls in the past.)

I found this triangle beaded applique in my stash and thought it would make a great collar for her.

And, of course, she has a cigarette holder. (The cigarette holder has become a signature of mine, and I don't know why. I guess it makes me think of old-time glamour, as only very rich and glamourous women used them in old movies. The more stylish the woman -- the longer her cigarette holder was.)

Okay, now I've made the shoes -- which I hate doing! Shoes are very hard for me (which is why I don't make them that often. Most of my dolls don't have legs!) I made the shoes in two parts - front and back, and fitted them to the feet.

Get those seams straight!
I also made her underwear (which you won't see in the finished costume). I make them for the people who like to look up her skirts (and they always do!).

I like to put a lot of work into the hands and arms. I do all the work before I attach the arms to the body (so much easier!). In my design, she will have heavy sleeves, with maybe some beaded dangles as well, so I added wire armature to the arms to help support the heavy sleeves. --It's tricking trying to anticipate what the problems will be with the costume before you make it, but it's always better to have too much support, then not enough. (I HATE going back and re-doing something after it's all done.)

Here's a close-up of the head:

I looked at a lot of research while designing this doll, both costume and make-up. The actors in silent films wore a lot of make-up. It was a time with cosmetics really started to sell to the masses. I think the invention of movies help sell the make-up. In the 20's, ladies started wearing lipstick (done in what they called "bee-stung lips", with the lipstick focused on the middle of the lip), rouge, and lots of eyeliner.

Okay, here she is, all pinned together before I start the costume and headdress:

Stay tuned, and I will post more photos of the finished doll!  -Have fun.