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Friday, February 29, 2008

Most Recent Dream Star doll

This is the latest Dream Star doll, now available on Ebay.

I really enjoyed the process of pulling apart and layering petals from silk blooms and leaves to make this lady's skirt.

She is being visited by a hummingbird.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Finished Wish Dolls, Jayn's dolls, and various little things.

I received a fairly big order of Wish Dolls! Here they are beaded, packaged and ready to go.

My daughter Jayn helped me decorate the tea lights with polymer clay and glass beads. I love how the musk and orange essential oils make my hands smell wonderful.

These are some decoupaged note cards I made for my own use with paper dolls/bookmarks attached to them. I used crayon, watercolors, markers, stamping and embellishments on luggage labels. Somehow the blue one came out looking like Bea Arthur. The button one is my favorite, although a bit impractically heavy to use as a bookmark. Perhaps a tree ornament?

These dolls are ones that Jayn (8) is decorating. It is her idea to put the beads into the cheeks of the dolls. This pink one has her drawings on the fabric. (Jayn also styled the photos.) She sewed on the charms herself.

This work-in-progress is one that I love because Jayn drew the face and has created a story for it. She calls it the "Nightmare Mayhem Star" doll.

And this is another of her partly completed dolls, where she decorated the belt, and used yarn to tie on the doll's heart charm.

*In response to inquiries and conversations, here is the plastic bag yarn tote bag I made using a round loom. The strap is crocheted, reinforced with kitchen twine.

My Christmas thank you cards, fabric and stamped paper sewn together. I have still to finish sending out my thank yous, I'm sorry to report, but I'm getting there.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Works in Progress

The last couple of days have all been about works in progress. I am working up an inventory of new small Wish Dolls. Here are the wire armatures and some dolls with their "skin" and clothes on. Next will come the fine beading.

For the first time I am entering a quilt in a magazine contest ( I am starting very small - the finished object is to be 5 x 5 inches. I was particularly drawn to the theme - Go Green. That is use recycled and repurposed materials (buy nothing new) for the work.

I was planning to make a figurative quilt, using one of the painted faces that I have prepared for my Dream Star dolls.

My daughter wanted to be part of the project and offered up some of her old clothes as fodder. She wanted to use some fish from a t-shirt as the basis of some applique. I didn't want to run into any copyright issues so I asked her to alter and recolor the fish, which she did. However we both agreed that we had best make a mermaid.

I like the idea of making a comment in a tiny way about plastics in the ocean. I attached some plastic mesh from a produce (onions I think) bag and mesh from an industrial sample I found at home.

The background of the quilt piece is strips of paper towels and cloth that my daughter and I tie dyed for general use in collage and decoupage. We have quite a pile of it. I zigzagged and then cut and zigzagged again. I added yarn for texture, not recycled but not purchased recently either.

The next step will be beading over the felt body, attaching and beading around the face, and some more mesh "seaweed" for depth. Meanwhile my daughter is experimenting with melting glue over a plastic straw to make circles to suggest bubbles.

I am tossing up making the batting layer from some packaging material that came in a couple of jewelry boxes - but would need piecing - or some recycled small bubble wrap. The back will be the remnants of dyed muslin or some cotton culled from my daughter's outgrown dress now sitting in the waiting pile.

It has been a big month for firsts.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I'm so very excited to have sold three of my Dream Star dolls. They will soon be living happily in new homes in Europe. There are still two available on Ebay, and I have started another. This will be the last of this particular "mosaic tile" fabric. The next batch will be spring like.

Here are what the sold ones look like, all packed up and ready to go:

It is amazing the difference the hair makes to the liveliness of the dolls. The work-in-progress, nekkid and hairless, yet vaguely Byzantine:

Yesterday I made some pouches for my Thing-a-Day entry ( My husband is on the Board of the Cinema Audio Society which presented their annual film awards for excellence in sound recording last night. The Technical Achievement Award statuettes are polished aluminum. I made some pouches to protect them from
fingerprints and scratches in travel.
I reused the legs from an outgrown pair of my daughter's fleece trousers. I sewed across the bottom of the bag (across the thigh), then squared off the corners to make a flat bag. Finally I threaded some cording through the hem as a drawstring. And there they were - pale pink but certainly perfectly utilitarian.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Wish Doll

This is an example of a Wish Doll. They are made of craft wire, beads and remnants of quilting and other fabrics. This one is about 5 inches tall, pretty tall for a Wish Doll. They are poseable and come with a tealight to help make your wish, and their own little pillow. The dolls are entirely formed and decorated by hand.

The pillows are infused with wonderful aromatic Indian musk and orange oils. It is very rich and exotic, although I can also do organic lavender if that is preferred. The refillable tealight holders are decorated with swirled polymer clay with embedded glass beads.

They come packaged in a cello bag with an instruction card. Here's what the card says (in a pretty font):

"Whisper your dreams and desires to this “Wish Doll” and she will remember them for you.
Light a candle if you like, while you tell her.
Keep her in any place that is special to you – on her cushion on a windowsill, under your pillow, in a garden, in your house or in your pocket.
A word of warning:
These dolls have been made with love. They are not voodoo dolls.
Do not try to use them to wish harm towards anyone. It is dangerous to do that since the bad energy could rebound on the wisher."
I think they make sweet gifts.
They will be available through Etsy for $12.00 plus shipping.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Planned Wish Dolls

I spent about three hours today making sketches for two art dolls/magical figures that will be my next doll projects. I make a small version 3-4 inches tall called "Wish Dolls" that come with a scented pillow and decorated tea light - check back tomorrow for some of those. These will be based on the same wire armature, fabric wrapped construction with glass, ceramic and wooden beading.
I hope I will be willing to part with them. I have yet to write their stories, but I know they each have one - magical, mysterious and maybe ancient.

This one will be made of a selection of cottons and brocades. Most of the beads will be glass. I am thinking that the head will be a custom polymer clay bead, and I am trying to decide between a pc face, or an embroidered felt face. But what shall I put in her magic mojo bag?

This pale lady will be made primarily of muslin. I am interested in getting a raggedy effect, so I'm going to piece the raw edges out, and give the strips a good wash before I wrap her. I have a nice collection of buttons from my mother's old collection. I also have a box of lovely vintage lace pieces that I will use too. I want to explore textural monochrome with this doll. The big question is her "being" - bride, ghost or spirit, mourner (like in parts of Asia). She'll either tell me...or her ultimate owner.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Ebay auctions

I currently have 5 art dolls available on Ebay auctions. I'm experimenting to see which will be the best online market for my work - Ebay or Etsy. So far all my sales have been to people who have seen me sitting and working, so I tend to take something with me wherever I go.

The advanced search for my seller username (designarob) brings up this which I'm hoping this will send you to my Ebay page:[Open in new window]

They are similar to the doll pictured to the right of this page, which was a custom order. I love making these little Dream Stars. They are a great take along, and somehow all seem very pensive and gentle. Some of them make me think of Mona Lisa.

There is recycling in them too. I use pages from the never-ending catalogs and junk mail I get to make the paper beads.

Thing-a-day 2008

I've been intermittently posting on Thing-a-day but assiduously making . Today I am making a blog for the first time.

This afternoon I completed what will be the first of many (I hope) recycled plastic bag baskets. I used a 10mm crochet hook and no pattern, simply winging a flat circular bottom and sides as tall as I felt would be useful before drooping. I had half a dozen bags in beige that I used for a row of trim.

A wonderful tutorial on how to make the yarn is here (thank you!):

I carry cloth totes when I go shopping, but I get most of my groceries delivered. They arrive in the store's plastic bags, so I'm very glad to have a use for the stuff which builds up pretty quickly. What will happen after the probably inevitable ban is fodder for conjecture. I can imagine the happy day when we plastic yarn crafters will be scrounging for bags as hard to find rarities. Maybe that will make this basket a costly collectible!