Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Merry Christmas to all........

I am a little late with the greeting, but as you know, this is such a busy time of the year.  I do sincerely hope that those of you who have found my blog and are reading this, have peace and happiness and love , not just at this time of year, but all through the year.
We are fortunate in this country, with Summer skies and relaxed lifestyle and peace.  We have many cultures living together peacefully.  I believe the most important thing in life is to love and be loved.  Be it family or friends.
Every New Year presents new challenges and it is like a journey, where you know where you are going, but the things that may happen along the way are yet to be experienced.  I learned, many years ago, that there is nothing that can happen in this life, that you cannot deal with.
So I hope you had a Merry Christmas and I wish you all a Very Happy New Year in 2011.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Pay it forward......

The most amazing thing has happened to me.  A few posts ago I made a comment on the loss of the wonderful doll maker Hannie Sarris.  I mentioned that it was a great loss to the doll making world and that I was 'devastated' that I had thrown Hannie's book out with the recycling!
I received an email from a wonderful woman, yet a complete stranger, who lived on the other side of the world that wanted to make me feel better by offering to send me her copy of the book. 
This came as a complete surprise and such a kind and generous gesture, and I was very keen to get my hands on that book again.  So she sent it to me.  The book arrived today. (With another magazine featuring Hannie).  I am so happy.  My friend wanted nothing in return.  She was quite happy to send the book to me, and insisted that I need not return the favour.  The world is an amazing place.  The internet is an amazing place.  And people are amazing.  Now I know, I must 'pay it forward', so I need to think of what I can do.

The expression "pay it forward" is used to describe the concept of asking that a good turn be repaid by having it done to others instead.

So I will keep you posted - I think it's time for a give away.........................

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My Santa

So this is a good example of how something that looks 'not so good', can become 'very good' with a bit of perserverence. Santas are very forgiving.

I like to make underwear for my Santas, so that the support for the stand can go up through it.  I don't like a skinny body, he needs to be robust.......

I like lots of hair under his cap, and his moustache needs to blend into his beard.
I always make his boots, all the clothing and some toys..............

It's been a long time since I made a Santa.  When he comes together, it's like meeting an old friend.
I think I still have a lot of Santas to make...........

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I've been busy - making dolls!!

Well actually, Christine and I have been making dolls.  It was last year she mentioned that she would like to try sculpting.  Christine has always encouraged me to do more, and her own interest helped me make the time to do a workshop, one on one.  Well the result was fantastic!

I sculpted along with her and at the end we both had a fininshed Santa.

This is my Santa face

This is Christine's Santa - we almost forgot to add the neck!
Tomorrow, I will show you the result of my sculpted Santa.  And I have even been doing other dolls, just to finish up some dolls this year - that I started ages ago....................

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Santa came to town today. Since I was a little girl, Santa has come to town on the 2nd Saturday in November. All the children know Christmas is not far away, and from this Saturday, they can visit Santa in his Magic Cave (or any of the major stores) and ask for their Christmas wish list. Thousands of families line the streets in the city (which are closed to traffic) and watch the pageant floats and marching bands till the last float that brings Santa to his Magic Cave. My parents took me to the pageant- only a few times - it is always shown on television live, and when my boys were little I took them too. I was even in the pageant once. I was working for the department store that originally organised the pageant, and through a simple process of selection, I was chosen to be on the chimney sweep float. Unfortunately, I was too big for the costume overalls, so I ended up being a clown. There are a lot of clowns in the pageant, and you know the type of costume a clown wears............................

Now the following pictures are not from the pageant, but this is the whole procession heading back down the one of the main roads from the city to the storage facility in the suburbs, not far from where I live.  I had met a friend for coffee and just as we were leaving the cafe, all the floats came rolling down the street - with police escort no less!  It was like being at the pageant!  You can't help but wave at the drivers.  The floats usually have lots of characters all dancing and waving, but the floats without people are spectactular to see - and huge!  It was quite exciting, and I took as many photos as I could with my phone...............

There goes the stardust castle where Santa lives before Christmas.  He loads up his sleigh with his toys and the reindeer come all the way from the North Pole.  If you look really hard you will see the reindeer in front.............
Santa is at the Magic Cave waiting ...................

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Quilt show shopping

It is strange the things that you get caught up in.
I had made a firm decision that I was not going to buy anything at the show - because I have so much stuff which I am trying to reduce.

But here I am at the beginning of a new week and I have an array of items which I really needed.  I am happy that I did the fabric technique workshop and to my defence I did buy needles and a rotary blade sharpener.  I seem to wear out my blades very quickly.  And then I ended up buying the very pretty Japanese kit to make the string tie bag, and the pattern for the little purse.  My friend made the purse in a workshop, all hand stitched and finished in an hour!  Such a handy little thing - I thought it would be a cute makeup bag, others thought it would be good to keep their pearls in, and another wanted to just use it for sewing notions.  All very practical.  It could even be made out of pieced velvet  - and beaded...................Of course when I bought the pattern for the purse, I saw the bag and then the kit with all the fabrics.................I still wanted to get to the AK Traditions stall to buy the knitted dolly kit............ 

When I am going to have the time to make all these new items, I don't know.  But I liked them and I wanted them and we will just have to see.  I think that's why I like my blog.  I have a record of my plans and projects.......................

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Here she is.....

Yes I did finish Pink Campagne..
She is acceptable, but not really the type of doll I want to make.  She may have to be "dismantled" after the weekend...................

It has been a busy weekend with the quilt and craft show here in Adelaide.
I always enjoy the show, there are so many opportunities to see what crafts people are doing.   There are workshops for all manner of crafting and lots of new information and techniques being developed and reinvented.
A couple of weeks ago I discovered the doll maker Dorote.
I like the type of doll she makes and the methods she uses.  She works in air dry clay and sometimes makes ball or ribbon jointed dolls, but look at this...........

It has to bee the most beautiful doll I have ever seen.  And I was in awe of the costume.  I was trying to work out how the sheer fabric could be made to hold its bubbled shape.  I searched the web, asked heaps of people andthen decided to take the picture to the show to see if anyone there could work it out. 
Well in a moment of serendipity one of my friends said " I am sure they are doing workshops on that technique at the front - go and ask them"
Well, of course there was a whole stand with chiffon, silk, organza and satins all in various stages of being manipulated into variations of this beautiful technique.  Which is related to the Japanese Shibori and the humble tie dying we westeners use.  The secret is in the .................I wonder if I should tell you?
Maybe next post.
See if you can work it out.
You can see the type of art
Sharyn Hall has on her web site.
Beautiful stuff.........
The fantastic shawl that Sharyn is wearing is an  Issey Miyake

I bought lots of little necessary things, I will show you in the next post.  So much fun, so much to see, so much to buy...................

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pink Champagne...........well not exactly..

I have made some progress.  I have to admit this doll - even though she is a frankenstein doll - is coming together only as an interpretation of the charecter from Moulin Rouge.  So my expectation of how she will look is very low.  She is not a competition doll.  She is only for display for a one off show. I have no burning desire to make and own a Moulin Rouge doll, and she is mostly cloth (which I am not so interested in compared to clay).  So making her at the moment, is quite a liberating experience.  I am not too worried about how wonderful she will look, she just has to look a bit good - if you know what I mean........
But she did go through that 'ugly stage' that happens in doll making - where your creation looks very very bad and you think there is not much you can do to save it.  Well I took a deep breath and accepted I needed to do a bit more to get a better result.  I am trying to make this doll with as little output as I can.  I have used everything from my stash, the one thing I did not have was pink ostrich feathers - which I would not go searching for.  So I went to the $2 store and found a dress up pink feather boa to make into the costume.
I used paper towel to create her costume and stitched it straight onto her body (one good thing about cloth dolls!)  Beading was not a new experience for me, I have lots of beads, but I am just not very creative in that area.  Neverthless, I think the beading works and I quite enjoyed adding the beads to make the costume sparkle.  In the previous photo I had attempted to use a beaded trim from my stash, but it was too heavy for the outfit and I knew I had to redo the whole front with a beaded trim, it took nearly 4 hours to do, but was worth it.  I just hope I don't have to go searching for ostrich feathers because the $2 ones are no good!!

Her shoes have been a challenge, and you can't see it here but I had to add paperclay to creat a heel that will go over the rods in the stand.  I know her legs are really out of shape, and her arms a bit chunky, but I am hoping that with the right pose and all the feathers, you won't really see that flaws.  My poor frankenstein girl.

Friday, October 29, 2010

This is my Frankenstein doll....

There is no other way to say it.  She has a reject body without arms or head.
Not the clearest image, but you get the idea.  So the idea is I am making a doll for the Craft show here in Adelaide next week.  Now the theme is Musicals, which I assume is like 7 brides for 7 brothers or the Phantom of the Opera?  So I decided Baz Leurhman's Moulin Rouge would be an appropriate choice.  So then I had to find a doll idea.  Well there was a costume called Pink Campagne which was beaded and all ostrich feathers - perfect for a doll. 

So I have this reject body, which needs a head and arms.  But I am too lazy to make new arms, I knew I had some arms somewhere, hopefully they will be to scale........................
Then there is the head.  This is for the Cloth Doll Association, so she has to be cloth, so I decided to make a head.  A Barbara Willis style head would be good, all sculpted and cloth..................Well.............. you always should make more than
one head......................

Well, I thought I did a great job of  sculpting the head.
I even managed to add eylash wool for eyelashes.
But.................... the eyes were too small, and so was the head for the body.  So I had to make another head!!
But like Goldilocks, this one was too big and did not look very good.  My thing is mask faces, so of course I will have to find a mask face to make a whole new head!
And you know I did have a rather nice face that I could use, and I did find those arms, and I still have to make shoes, which I think will have to be sculpted from paperclay, because the Frankenstein feet are so out of shape..........................
Stay tuned to see the next episode of the Frankenstein doll alias - Pink Campagne!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Where do old dolls go?

I decided to add a couple of pictures of my early dolls, that I may not have shown.
This one is a pattern doll from Sherry Goshon, it is one of the first mask face dolls I made.  She turned out quite well, but she is nothing like the pattern that Sherry did.
 (When I have more time I will add the links, it's a bit late at the moment.)

This is another mask face doll created by Leslie Molen.  The pattern is The Gossips.

Now here is Moxie.  Another mask face doll which I had the pleasure of making in a class with Susie McMahon.  Again, she is nothing like Susie's Moxie, but at least I did finish her.  Often with workshops, if you don't finish the doll on the day - she becomes a UFO and then it takes forever to get back in the mood to finish.
You will be shocked to hear that the first 2 dolls have been dis-assembled.  I feel bad about doing this, but the challenge is in making the doll - then what do you do with it?  It can sit on a shelf for forever, with all the other dolls that come along.  You might be saying sell them on ebay, but you know, because they are another artists design, you often cannot 'sell their work' and as I have designed my own dolls now, they are not really my dolls, they are someone elses vision.  So the sad fact is that a lot of my dolls have been dis-assembled.  Many.  And there are currently a few more hovering over the bin.  So if you think I am wrong in doing this, you are welcome to suggest an alternative.  The more dolls I make, the more they change and some of these old dolls just don't belong anymore, and sadly are just not good enough to sell.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hannie Sarris

I have just found out that we have lost Hannie Sarris.   I beleive she passed away in May of this year The pictured bust is called sadness and it is a recent work.  Hannie had for the past couple of years been doing workshops teaching her sculpting method in air dry clay.  When you visit the web site have a look at the wonderful dolls her students made.  I am devastated, especially since I bought her book
I learnt so much from her clear pictures and instructions.  Her dolls are beautiful.  I am ashamed to say I have lost her book.  I have a terrible feeling I put it out with the recycling.  I have searched hi and lo and with all the shifting from room to room and going through my is definitely gone.  And now Hannie is gone and there will never be that workshop to go to.

This quote I found on  Annadan  - the translation from russian is a little wonky......
I know that angels are all around us,
we go through life "the way" and are confronted with them at every turn.
Books that we read
The colors that we see
All information that passes through us
and we are through it - all is the manifestation of Angels,
manifestation in all - the main thing to feel.