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Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States
Hello doll lovers! This blog was created to tell you about dolls I have made and classes I teach on doll making at Attic Window Quilt Shop in Comstock Park, Michigan (a suburb of Grand Rapids). My goal in teaching is to pass on the love of making heirloom quality dolls. Most of the dolls I make (and hold classes for) are designed by Gail Wilson - visit her website at . Page down my blog for some fun doll links including antique doll sites and hard to find doll supplies.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Papermini's free project

Hi doll fans,  I'm posting today just a quick note to tell you there is a fun and free paper mini project from Ann Vanture this month.  The free projects are available to those who are signed up for the newsletter. Each month you will receive a link to the free project. Be sure to check out the free items from prior months, too!  The boy doll below holds a pinwheel, one of the free projects awhile back.  This month there is Halloween candy and a bucket to hold it all.

To print the halloween candy, I used brochure paper for the candy cartons, and tracing paper for the tootsie roll suckers. You can use cardstock for the candy bucket, but I think I like the semi glossy brochure paper the best. Most of the projects will tell you which paper to use for the best results and I find the papers in the office area of my local Meijer grocery store. There are tutorials for some of the projects, so if you think it's too hard, check out how easy these projects are to make by looking at the tutorials. 

Some of the items are so cute, I just have to save them in a file so I can go back and print again. You know the story, one doll gets a nice book or sewing cards and shows them to the other dolls and then they all want one of their own.

If you would rather purchase completed items, that is an option too, or you can purchase CD's of past projects.

Take note American Girls fans!!!!! There are different scales to the free projects, one is just the right scale for American Girl dolls.

Click on the title of this post and it will take you to the Papermini's website for info on how to join: 
Sign-up for the free Paper Minis™ Club by emailing Club features monthly complimentary printable projects available in three scales: 1:12 (1" dollhouse), 1:6 (12" fashion doll) and 1:3 (18" girl doll). The club is a terrific introduction to the miniatures hobby. Everyone has access to the free on-library of photo tutorials!
Have fun and TRICK OR TREAT!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Lottie nose sculpt and paint wash

Hi Doll makers, today I am sculpting Lottie's nose and painting on her skin wash. Lottie is a doll designed by Gail Wilson. Click on the title of this post to view Gail's webpage. Lottie is available in kit or pattern in the new section.

First, I like to take a good look at my doll, making sure that she is nicely shaped. If she is a bit lop sided, I knead the area, using my hands as if I am playing with a lump of clay to push and mush and knead the head until it is the shape I want it to be. Check the dart line in her chin - is it centered? If so, you can use it as a reference point when using the stencil. If it is not centered, don't use it.

Using the handy stencils in the kit that I have already laminated and cut out, I carefully pencil in the nose line. Then I thread a needle with the YLI hand quilting thread and follow the detailed instructions in the kit and stitch her nose. The lower I go, the more stuffing I pick up under the needle, to give it more dimension.

Once you have the nose finished, end the thread the same way you started - with a small anchor stitch and then come out away from the nose.  Pull slightly on the start and end tails and carefully clip them off close to the head. The ends will snap back into the inside of the head if you make sure there is a bit of tightness when you pull on them before you clip.

Here she is all finished, thread tails clipped.  One more check to shape of her head and body and then the paint gets mixed with water (recipe as to how much water is in the instructions) and we can paint.

I like to straighten up my space before painting, and put away the things that I don't want to get paint on. A nice piece of freezer paper will protect the table. Another nice thing to protect the table  is the backing on the sheets of laminating plastic. I also get out the things I will need in advance, water cup, rags, tooth picks, etc. so I don't have to go hunting for them with a wet paint brush in my hand.

Oh yes, and let out that nosy cat, so there will be no whiskers in the paint. For some reason, she thinks she has to sit very close and watch me paint. I wonder if she thinks I can't do it all by myself.....

One important thing to consider before you start to paint is WHERE the parts will dry. Arrange this before you start painting, because I promise, it is not fun to try and find a spot while holding your wet paint item in your hands. I use a wigging clamp for these smaller dolls. The body fits into the top and the legs can go on the screw ends. There is a hook on the side for one arm. Now, what to do for that other arm????

Ah - spidy will hold it for me.....

I like to mix the paint wash in a container that I can save for a few days. Those cups that you get when you order your salad dressing on the side work wonders, or the salsa cups at Chipolte.  Sometime you need an excuse to go out and eat or get fast food.....well, necessary doll making items is the best excuse I know of for going out to eat.  Oh, the frosting cups in the Pilsbury refridgerated cinnamon rolls are awesome! The little metal caps make the best disposable paint pallets - there is a tiny little lip around the edge for water or turpintine. And the cup part makes good disposable water containers. (please recycle when you are finished with them).

Once you get your doll painted, do a final check to ensure you covered every skin space you want covered. In other words, no missed spots. This seems to be the # one thing that students in class forget to do and then they have to repaint right when they want to go on to the next step. Do the check. Do it after you have let it set a bit while you paint the rest of the body parts.  Roving is very absorbent and will suck in paint.  So paint the head, then all the limbs and then go back and check the head. Make sure you cover the backside of the head, where the hair will be, too. Even though she gets a wig, you don't want any unpainted area under the hair peaking thru.  AND I like to keep the leftover paint until I finish the head completely (needle work or facepainting). You never know, some thing might happen and you might need some additional skin paint. 
So - here she is resting in her wigging clamp, looking a little like a dismembered halloween corpse for now. But soon she will get her face and hair.
While she dries, I will overdye her fabrics and make her wig.

Enjoy the day - and thanks for stopping by - Julie

Gail Wilson dolls I have made

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