Thursday, October 19, 2017


Hi All,
Here are some Halloween dolls for you to enjoy. They are also going to the Houston Quilt show to be sold.

Here's a sweet Witch candlestick:

I imagine she's a "horticulture witch" who loves working with herbs & plants.

And, here is a Dearly Departed ghost candlestick, from the 18th century.

This is the first really "old" ghost I've done. I had a lot of fun adding wrinkles & lines to her face. I think it adds a lot of character to her.

I'll post some Halloween-theme artwork in the next post.
Have fun!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017


Hi All,
Well, it's almost October, which means two things for me -- Halloween (of course) and the International Quilt Convention in Houston, TX.

My buddy Pamela Armas (Treasures of the Gypsy) sells my dolls in her booth at Houston and some of her customers collect my dolls from her. So, I try to make as many dolls as I can to go to Houston at the end of October.

Here are the first finished: I call them "Tribal Divas"

I was inspired by some photos I saw on Pinterest of costumes worn by Live Action Role-Players (LARP). There seems to be a Tribal/Savage-theme game and a post-Apocalyptic game that people dress up for. It really inspired me.

My Trible Divas wear leather, suede, wood & metal beads, chains, bones, skulls, and lots of feathers.

This one has a fruit bat skull on her head, large ram horns (made of brown cotton knit) and squirrel fur on her shoulders:

This one has a tiny bird skull on her head, antlers (made of tan knit fabric) and two muskrat skulls on her shoulder. Both have chicken bones worked into the fringe at the bottom:

Okay, it's back to work for me! Got lots of dolls to finish. Stayed tuned for more at the end of the month!

Have fun!

Monday, September 18, 2017


Hi All,
Just made a Zombie Doll. I bought a porcelain doll from the thrift store and "zombified" it.

 These are so much fun to make! And, you can do it fast. I made this in 2 days!

I bought this doll for $5. Here's what she looked like when I started:

Isn't she sweet?? (Her hair looked better, but I started distressing her wig before I remembered to take a "before" picture.)

The first step is to strip the doll down to nothing and rip off the wig. 

Next, I painted a base coat of gray acrylic.

Because I wanted to use a crackle medium on the face, I needed to paint the color that would show under the cracks (gray & black).

Now, I have never had much luck with crackle mediums. I've tried several brands, and either they don't work at all, or they have tiny, little cracks. I experimented on the back of the legs and had the same results as before -- not good.

So, I tried Kroma Crackle (which I bought for a Michael DeMing class and never used) Kroma Crackle dries white, so I didn't add any color to it. You have to paint it on real thick.

This is the result I got:

Not exactly cracks -- more like a "lizard/leprosy" texture. But, hey, it works. I went over the whole face with some stains to add more color. When it was all dry, I went over everything with several coats of matte medium.

For her dress, I dipped it in a bath of black and gray dye. After it dried, I tore and shredded the lace. Then, dripped some brown and red stain on it.

I glued the wig back on and hacked it up with scissors. Then, I attacked the synthetic hair with my heat gun.

Now, I have a new zombie doll to add to my Halloween yard.

I'm really having fun altering porcelain dolls. You may remember I made a "Demon Baby" a few years ago:

And, here is a Day of the Dead doll I made at Thomas Ashman's class:

So, for a fast and easy Halloween doll, try altering a porcelain doll from the thrift store!!!

Have fun!

Saturday, August 26, 2017


 Hi All,
The stores are getting their Halloween merchandise in, so the season has officially started! In my area, I'm noticing a lot more "Dias de los Muertos" merchandise than ever before. I guess the big manufacturers are finally catching on to the trend.

(Although, I understand there is some controversy with the Latin community about Americans adopting their holiday and mixing it with Halloween....)

Anyway, I love BOTH holidays! Here is my latest Day of the Dead sugar skull bust:

And, here's something new for me: 

One night, I couldn't sleep and started to play with some polymer clay. (I hardly use polymer and need to practice more.) Anyway, this is  NOT my original idea. I saw these on Pinterest and they made me laugh, so I gave it a try. 

These are my Zombie Candy Corn:

They are about 2-1/2 and 3 inches tall. (I think I did pretty good for just a few hours.)

Have fun!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Hi All,
Just wanted to let you know I finished converting my "Belly Dancer Costume" pattern into a digital e-pattern. (Those of you who follow my blog know I am slowly converting all my old paper patterns into PDF format.)

The Belly Dancer Costume is for my "La Femme" doll pattern (the doll pattern is not included with the Belly Dance costume pattern -- sorry.)

Here's a photo of  "La Femme" doll, posed as a belly dancer:

This is probably my favorite pattern, as I LOVE belly dancers costumes. So much opportunity for embellishing!

To buy my patterns, go to my website (here) and look at the E-PATTERNS page. Just click on the PayPal BUY NOW button. You can pay with your PayPal account, a credit card, or a bank account. After payment, I will email you the pattern and you print it at home.

Here's another version of the belly dancer I made for "Treasures of the Gypsy" (who also sells my patterns.)

Have fun!  A.B.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017


Hi All,
I made a "Fat Mermaid" for a friend birthday present. My friend LOVES pink, so that's where the color scheme came from. We talked about it before I made it, and we both decided it was time for a sweet, "plus-size" mermaid.

This mermaid is designed to hang on the wall, so I tried to make her look like she's floating in the water. Of course, she couldn't JUST be a pink & silver mermaid -- but a SHOWGIRL pink & silver mermaid!

I inherited a lot of this sequin trim (it's very old) on large spools in several colors when an old friend closed his costume shop 25 years ago. (These are pale pink, but the bad lighting makes them look silver.) So far, the only thing I can think to do with it is to make mermaids.

Sorry for the poor photographs. I had trouble because the only wall I could hang her on didn't face my lighting. Oh well....

To get the hair to go up and to the side, I stitched a stuffed hair pad onto the head shaped in a point. I covered it with a mohair weft and felted/stitched it to the hair pad (lots of hair spray used!) Next time, I think I will try to get the hair to go even higher.

She was fun to make, so I will probably turn her into a pattern. But, since people won't be able to find sequin trim chain-stitched like this (I don't think they make it anymore), I will have to come up with another idea for the fish tail.

Now, time to start making Halloween dolls!!

Have fun!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017


Hi All,
Happy 4th of July to all of us Americans!

I finished a new pattern I call "ISABELLA - A SANTOS CAGE DOLL"

She stands finished about 20 inches tall. The head & torso are 8 inches tall. Her body is all cloth. Her "dress" is sewn into the body pattern. The base/cage is made of wood. She has a simple & sweet face. And, like traditional Santos, instead of a wig, she has a plain fabric hair piece on her head (On wooden Santos, the figure's hair is painted on.)

This is a beginner pattern and very easy to do. And, unlike most of my patterns, the entire body is made of cotton fabrics. (I usually use a knit fabric, like deer suede for my dolls.)

For me, the real fun is embellishing and dressing the finished SANTOS. Here she is, all dressed up like the Saint she is:

I include instructions to make a crown out of lace, trim & paint. Plus, many other instructions & tips for embellishing your doll.

I've added more trim, a veil, a rosary, an embroidered "shawl" from a piece of beaded fabric, an old rhinestone necklace, and two skirts -- one of bridal lace and of one sheer organza with a beaded trim hem.

You can use anything to embellish your Santos with.

Here's another one I've started, using a dark gold colored top (haven't made a cage for her yet.) On this one, I haven't trimmed the neckline so you can see how easy it is to stitch together.

For some, the wooden cage might be a bit tricky to start, but if you use something to hold it up while gluing it together (like a can of spray paint), it's actually very easy. (This is all explained in the directions.)

Santos are popular now and used in home decorating. Modern Santos are usually aged to look vintage. You can age my patterned Santos with some paint or ink, or leave it clean. You can keep it religious looking, and add a crown or veil. Or, turn it into an angel and add wings & a halo. Or, decorate it with vintage & antique items (maybe you have some old jewelry belonging to a past family member?) I think it would make a lovely Christmas display.

Or, do something completely different -- what about a "steam-punk Santos"? You're limited only by your imagination.

A brief history: "SANTOS" means "Saint" in Spanish. The SANTOS figure was used in altars and represented different Saints in the Catholic religion. Santos were carved of wood and dates back to the 17th century. Some Santos were made with half a figure on top & a wooden "cage" from the hips down. These cages are frames for fabric skirts. These small figures were made for use in peoples' home altars.

You can find my SANTOS CAGE DOLL pattern here on my website. It costs $10 (payable through PayPal) and it's an e-pattern sent to you via email as a PDF for you to download and print.

Have fun (and stay cool)!