Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Hi All,
Well, Christmas is almost here, and I have been busy making Xmas presents for my friends.
I thought I'd share some of them with you.

This is a prim witch/pumpkin doll I made for my friend who LOVES everything Halloween and Primitive/Shabby Chic. She decorates her whole house in both.
Also, she is addicted to Candy Corn, which is why the prim doll has a little candy corn doll. (She keeps the doll in her little hand bag). As you know, I don't usually do primitive, so I had to do a lot of research to come up with this. It's so hard for me not to embellish it!

Here's a doll head I made for my new English friend, Ray. It's sculpted of Paper Clay. (It's just like my Witch Heads, but painted completely different)

Here is a "make-over" of my Opera Doll, using fabric & trim from "Treasures of the Gypsy".

See here metallic breast-plate? I hand-sewn dozens of individual sequins to make a period-looking chain mail armor. 

This version of my Opera Doll will be a pattern very soon. I'm almost finished, and should have it for sale by the end of the year.

Have a good & safe holiday season!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


Hi All,
Well, Halloween has come & gone.  Just took down all the yard decorations - I'm a little sad, here.

But, not before I snapped some shots. (Sorry, the night-time photos didn't turn out)

Here is the view of the front of my house. (I live in "desert county" - New Mexico)
 It rained for a few days, right before Halloween, so I had to put everything under my patio-overhang. I didn't do much to the front yard.

My big, new prop this year is the witch and her bubbling cauldron:
 The witch is store-bought, but I dressed her up a bit. She's made to just hang on the wall, but I made a "body" for her by putting a wire-frame tomato cage on top of a step-ladder. She's holding a staff I made from a cardboard tube that had fabric rolled on it. --Just added some paper-mache and paint. There's a raven sitting on top of the staff. Her eyes light up and she cackles.

The cauldron was made from a large plastic planter I got at the home improvement store (on sale for $14!). I put a false cardboard bottom about 5 inches down from the top (so I wouldn't have to fill the entire pot). The cauldron contents are made from expanding foam (from a spray can) painted neon green, with bits of bones and eyeballs I had lying around (doesn't everyone have spare body parts lying around???)

Here's my front door.

Those are "eyeball flowers" on my black feather wreath.
 Notice the stand I made for my diorama pumpkin? It's a plant stand I bought at a discount store, then wired & glued some bones and skulls around the bottom.

Here's my "pumpkin totem pole".

These guys were a last minute addition. A little pumpkin wearing a witch hat & wig (originally designed to be worn by a cat or dog- got it at Michael's at 50% off). And, my "Michael Jackson" pumpkin (the sequin hat has tiny LED lights around the hatband that light up!)

One little kid was too scared to come to the front door! (I had to walk to the sidewalk where he was standing behind his mother to give him some candy.)
Happy Halloween everyone! 

Now, it's time to start Christmas...............

Thursday, October 22, 2015


Hi All,
Well, I'm back from teaching in London, England. What a fantastic trip! I met so many interesting people and saw a whole new place where, even though they all spoke English, I didn't know what they were saying half the time!

Here's my gracious & wonderful hostess, Ray Slater. (Sorry, Ray-- not the best picture of you!) She & husband Tim welcomed me into their home and unselfishly gave up a week of their lives to show me London. Ray is an extremely talented doll and textile artist. She is the author of "Cloth Doll for Textile Artists". (She's working on a new doll book, soon to be published in 2017).
  Yes, they still have red phone booths in downtown London!

And, they still ride around in red double-decker buses.

Guarding the House of Parliament.

After 3 days of shopping and sight-seeing, Ray drove me out to the city of Birmingham (an 8 hour trip by car!) to Aston Hall, where the 3-day class was to be given.
See the glassed-in room at the end of the building on the left? That's where we had tea every day. (Afternoon tea was my FAVORITE part of the day! So many delicious cakes & treats to eat with your tea!) Our classroom is that pale-colored building behind the glass room at the far left.

Aston Hall was built in the mid 1800's. Originally a private family estate (sort of a smaller version of Downton Abby), it became a small arts college. Now, still a part-time college, it also host outside venues, meetings, and weddings. They have about 20 rooms, and a very generous cooking staff that fed us all day long!

Aston Hall has several beautiful gardens, and I was surprised to see many flowers still in bloom while Autumn had set in. Here's a small view of the grounds.
Most days you'd see sheep gracing along the rolling hills down below.

The building has so much character -- literally! Here's a stone gargoyle watching over all.

I found this little fellow lurking below an archway.

And, here's his friend.

Here's our class, where these wonderful ladies are hard at work, making their "Opera Singer" doll.

 So many talented woman!

And, such good stitchers!

All of them are excellent doll-makers & dress-makers.

And, here are the some of the near-finished dolls at the end of class.

These English ladies were so appreciative, and worked so hard. They all learned new doll-making tips, and turn out wonderful dolls. They welcomed me, and made me feel at home. (They even taught me a thing-or-two in return!)

Thanks so much to everyone for making my trip such a wonderful experience. I will never forget it!!

Thursday, September 24, 2015


Hi All,
Things have been hectic at work these past few weeks, so I haven't had time to get much work done at home.

Here's some Work-In-Progress dolls that I've been toying with this past year. Some day I'd like to finish one or two of them......

Here's a new Ghost I started, with a big, full skirt:

And, this is a candlestick doll that I was experimenting using metal filigree pieces as a costume:

And, this is a small doll that is almost finished. I just have to design a hat for her.

Well, that's all for now. Have fun!

Thursday, September 3, 2015


Hi All,
Things have been hectic at work, so not much time for doll making. I have, however, been making some Halloween props for my front yard this year.

Here's a new "Funkin" pumpkin I carved, with the addition of a half-skull (from Michaels) and a candle I made from a toilet tissue roll, hot glue, and red paint:

Someday, I'll get around to re-painting both of these. I'll put an LED battery votive in both the candle and the pumpkin.

And, here's KILLER BABY:
A simple thrift-store doll repainted, minus the wig, with a dirty t-shirt. There are some rubber rats in the cage it's chewing on.

I don't like this cage, as the thick bars separating the top from the bottom cuts right across the baby's face, making it hard to see.  I'll have to go to Hobby Lobby and get a new bird cage.

(This cage, with the spider webs on it --from Michaels-- I will use to make a new bird cage-torso Witch doll.)

Have fun!

Monday, August 10, 2015


Hi All,
I've been real busy at work these past few months, so not a lot of posts.
BUT -- I went to Michael's Arts & Crafts last week, and they have started putting out their HALLOWEEN stock! I'm so excited!!

(It doesn't take much to make me excited.....)

I decided to start early on my Halloween decorations this year. So, I made a HALLOWEEN PUMPKIN DIORAMA.

Boy, this took me back to my grade school days -- I loved making dioramas for my book reports! (I think I was the only kid who looked forward to doing book reports.) I would save every shoe box in the house so I'd have something to make my dioramas with!

Anyway, I started with a 14 inch foam pumpkin (from Hobby Lobby), and cut a jagged hole in the middle. After looking through my stash of miniature Halloween props, I decided I would make a spooky graveyard scene.

I carved a disc of green Styrofoam, and glued it to the bottom. (This is to lift the scene up to the edge of the hole. I painted the inside of the pumpkin orange with streaks of red, and the jagged edge black. (I had originally painted the inside purple, but I thought it was too dark.)

I have my scary tree and little wooden coffin- aged with acrylics (from Michael's), and my Dollar Store skeleton (just love those skeletons!). Not pictured is a plastic tombstone I ordered from Alpha Stamps last year.

I saw that the skeleton is taller than the coffin, but kept going anyway. I bent him to sit upright in the coffin (using a heat gun and hot glue), so I don't think it's too noticeable. 

(When it comes to Halloween decorations - I don't sweat the small stuff. The kids love it when you make any kind of effort!)

To get the coffin to slant down a little, I glued a wedge of syrofoam to the underside at the top.

 I also glued a chunk of foam under the tombstone to get it higher than the coffin. After everything was glued into place, I glued moss all around the base (to cover foam). 

I hot-glued T-pins to the back of some plastic bats (Dollar Store rings with the ring-part cut off) and just stuck them into the pumpkin. I was going to put them on the inside, but they didn't show that well.

It's done, except I have to figure out how to get a light inside of it. I think I'll use an LED battery votive (which I use in all my pumpkins), and velcro it to the inside at the top -- or maybe at the bottom just inside the jagged edge. Oh well, I'll deal with that when it's time to start decorating my porch and yard. I might also stain the outside of the pumpkin to age it a bit. Maybe I'll get a new crow this year to sit on top of the pumpkin, and pose it so it's looking down at the scene.

This whole project took me about 3-4 hours (spread over 2 days -- had to go to work, ya know). It was a lot of fun to make, and I definitely want to make another one next year...... maybe a haunted house scene?? So many ideas......

Saturday, June 20, 2015


Hi All,
She's finished! She stands about 16 inches tall, and is an all-cloth doll. 

Here she is:

Easily the most recognizable character from opera, she is "Brunhilde", the eldest of 9 daughters of the Chief God, Wotan. These warrior women are called “Valkyries" She's a character from Richard Wagner's opera, “The Ring of the Nibelung”, which is based on an old Nordic tale.

Here are some close ups of her face:

From my last post, I've added a yarn wig, a velvet cape, and a helmet. The helmet was a bit tricky to figure out, but once I did, it was an easy pattern. The helmet is made of the same fabric as the breast plate, that I embellished with trim and beads.. The horns are just white cotton. And, I went back and embroidered her breast with some beads so they stand out a bit. All those dark silver "star" jeweled pieces are from a bracelet that matched the earring hanging at the bottom of the breast plate.

Notice her eyelashes? I added those since she doesn't have eyes. I think the eyes on a doll are so important. Since her eyes are shut, she needed to have something that make her eyes stand out (even though you don't see them)

Thursday, June 11, 2015


Hi all,
I'm still working on my new, improved "OPERA DOLL". Here are some WIPs:

Here's the body pinned together:

 She will be holding a spear in her hand when she's finished.

And, here she is with shoes and underwear:

 Notice I didn't bother to "clean finish" the top of the underwear -- that's because once her skirts are sewn on, you will not be able to see the top of her underwear. (I strongly believe in not doing any more work than necessary!!)

And, here is the completed outfit:

 The skirt and sleeves are made of a light blue knit (the same fabric as her underwear!). I added some silver lace to the hem of her top-skirt and sleeves. I hand-beaded some silver fringe to the bottom of her top-skirt. Her armour breast-plate is made of a cool stretch silver metallic that had some texture to it. (I fused interfacing to the fabric to give it strength and not stretch.) You can hardly see the silver bead caps I stitched to the center of each breast. Maybe I'll go back and add some beads to them.......
Of course, lots of silver braid is added to everything, And, I added a big drop-earring to the bottom edge of her breast-plate -- just for fun!

Her little wrist cuffs are made of felt and braid.

So, moving on to the head. I had made several prototypes of heads, both for the original doll, and for this. Some, I finished, some I didn't:

Notice the second-from-left -- she looks like she's crying more than singing. That's when I learned to make the open mouth as narrow as possible. The more narrow it is, the more it looks like "singing".

I'm also trying to add a large "double chin" under the mouth. To make the the jaw and chin area larger, I added two small darts at the bottom of the jaw.

I chose the last head on the right.

She still needs her eyelashes.

Here's how she looks with her head on:

Notice you don't see her neck? That's on purpose. I stitched her head directly to her torso. (She has a neck - it's just inside the head.)

I've researched singers and I noticed you don't see their necks when they have a large double-chin. Also, when you open your mouth that large, your neck almost disappears.

She still needs her wig and horned-helmet, her cape, and spear!

Stay tuned........