Thursday, April 30, 2009

What a day!

I feel exhausted and exhilerated at the same time. I finished a large order today and got it delivered to the post office before they closed (our post office closes at 3:45 PM). It was such a sense of accomplishment to be done with that one.
I have another order I want to finish in time to mail on Monday but I decided to take some time off this afternoon.
Isn't the pig cute? I had to make one for each order.
When I got home from the post office, I went to my garden. Actually, it's too early to call it a garden right now. The only thing blooming is the daffodils I divided last year and planted every 3 inches - wherever I didn't think I'd want something else. So-anyway, I went to the garden with a 5 gallon bucket and a hand spade and started digging out dandelions - oh yes, they were starting to bloom too. I filled the bucket with dandelions. After that, I fixed supper and took a walk. That was my "time off", but all I ever really need is a short change of pace.

Now I'm ready to start the order I want to finish and mail on Monday. I'll sit and watch TV with my husband tonight, and start dressing the 3 dolls for the next order -- I already have the bodies AND clothing finished for. I have 2 other dolls to finish for the order but don't have that clothing made yet.

It speeds things up a lot for me, if, when I need 1 doll - I cut out and sew 2 of that particular style. If I need 2, I cut and sew 4. I hate it when I'm all caught up and have no extra doll bodies made up to dress (oh yes, I make extra dresses too) seems to take forever to get "extras" again. I'll have to cut out more body parts as soon as I've got this order finished, packed and ready to ship.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Questions and answers

Monica asked some questions: Is the muslin used its natural color? I always think of muslin as off-white. Well yes, but after I cut, sew, stuff, and sculpt the doll, I stain the doll with my vanilla/coffee/water mixture. When she's dry, if I want a black doll or any other color for that matter, I paint her with paint I've diluted with water. When the doll is dry again, I sand it with ordinary sandpaper or a sanding block if I have one (the block is sandpaper grit attached to a spongy surface).

Diluting the paint de-stabilizes it so when the doll is dry, more paint sands off and it looks older and more worn. I compare the look to my grandma's oil-cloth tablecloths where most of the paint was cracked and worn off.

What is needle-sculpting? Quilting is stitching vertically through the layers of a quilt to hold it together. Needle sculpting is stitching horizontally (although for fingers and toes it's done vertically) from one spot to another, pulling the thread taut to define a shape such as a nose, mouth, finger..... Pulling the thread taut is the part that makes the sculpted area stand out.

When were you first introduced to the primitive dolls, and what drew you toward them? I started making dolls professionally in 1980. Always cloth dolls - but at first they were for children. Eventually I started making dolls for grown-ups. There were anatomically correct babies, then collectibles like Little Lulu, and Annie and her dog Sandy. I eventually gravitated toward country dolls and started consigning with a huge new gift shop in a converted barn. Then in late 2002, my dolls sales dropped to almost nothing. A new friend mentioned that I should make primitive dolls. I had to do research - I'd never heard of them.

The big differences with primitives and what I had been doing previously was the staining, the lack of hems, and the worn and aged look.

I've totally fallen in love with the process as well as the finished look. There aren't many restrictions with primitives. They are art done by regular people with varying talents. Primitive dolls are at home with antiques and "old things" like nothing else could be. I've added the term folk art to my dolls but only because the word primitive scares many people.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Rainy Day Activities

It started raining here with a noisy thunderstorm on Friday night and it's still raining. This is great weather for me. I have to work on my indoor activities.

Yesterday I spent time with friends working at building a new website. When I got home, I finished another America doll and stuffed, needles-sculpted and stained 3 more dolls.

This morning I listed this terrific weed collector doll on Etsy. She's available as either a mailed pattern or an epattern.

Today, it's still raining so I plan to cut out some more dolls and stuff, needle-sculp and pant.........great rainy day activities.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Art Fire

Have you heard about Art Fire yet? It's a great new place to sell your handmade creations. You can join the limited version of Art Fire and get 10 items FREE. Isn't that a great idea? That gives you a chance to try it out and if it works for you, you can join the unlimited version for only $12.95 a month. Listings last 3 months.

I just wanted to tell you about it. I've listed my first 3 items at Art Fire today. I'd love for you to stop and take a look not just at my items but Art Fire as a whole. There are so many talented people out there and we need to support our artists, designers, crafters, and artisans. Handmade is a trend that's growing and we all need to support it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gardens again!

I can't find the photo of my wheelbarrow, but I just wanted to don't need an actual garden to plant flowers and veggies. Last year I planted them in 2 washtubs, 2 watering cans, 2 wheelbarrows, (all these were rescued from where I found them waiting at the curb for garbage pickup), a well used picnic basket and a bushel basket. the baskets were lined with garbage bags.

Then I found 2 old chairs that had originally had drop in seats. With some chicken wire I got guessed it, the curb.....I shaped a basket that fit in the opening and went for a walk. There's a shady place near the woods where lots of moss grows on the sandstone rocks so I scraped it off and lined the wire with that, filled it with potting soil and planted flowers. Sphagnum moss from the garden center works equally well. You just want something to keep the soil from falling through the wire. You have to water every day but the results are beautiful.

In the photo you can see the chair on the left side of the garage door and on the right side are 2 canning kettles with flowers.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Using your time wisely

With sales a little on the slow side right now, this is the perfect time to join Twitter, start your blog, join Etsy, join facebook, design new items and make new items.

It's also the perfect time to take a class, learn something new, read a great book, or even plant a garden. The garden is great for exercise, looks wonderful and helps save money on groceries. Oh, yes, you can plant vegetables right along with your flowers. I plant tomatoes behind my marigolds. I plant green peppers in the middle of my old rusty wheelbarrow with petunias around the edges.

My side yard was dug up for plumbing repairs and rather go to the expense of having it leveled and a new lawn put in, we moved the bird bath and a garden arch to the middle of the space and planted vegetables and flowers with paths between. Beautiful, satisfying to work on, and we get tons of compliments.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thoughts about primitive dolls

I've often thought about what exactly primitive is. I know the dictionary definition basically says that anything handmade qualifies as primitive. We all know how many ways artists, designers and dollmakers create their dolls.

I was once told primitive dolls look like they were made by a 5 year old who knew nothing about sewing. Well I was once a child beginning to sew and even back when I was 5 years old, I tried to hem my doll dresses. They may have been hemmed with 2 inch long red stitches, but I tried. I tried to make their faces look like real faces. They got mis-matched eyes if I couldn't find 2 buttons alike but I tried to make them similar.

So when I think of a primitive doll; I think that whoever made the doll, where ever in time or place they made it, , did the very best they could with the materials at hand. That's why so many of my dolls have fingers and toes. That's also why I needle sculpt noses and lips as often as I do. There are so many different skill levels, but practice improves your skills. I'm sometimes astonished at how a doll turned out.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Today is warming and finally showing the promise of nice weather. It is a time for starting new projects.

I've finally listed on ETSY . I've also joined TWITTER. I've also joined Facebook and started this blog. I'll try to keep you updated on all my newest projects.

This morning, I've also listed new items on LEMON POPPYSEEDS


I've got a wonderful Americana doll.