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Monday, April 16, 2018

A Pirate or an Angel

This is an art doll I just finished for a customer. She asked me to make a doll that looks like a pirate but with angel wings. The details are based on the recipients life style and her charity work. There is synchronicity involved in this request. I can make a pirate and I can give her angel wings, but who would have thought that years ago when I bought a pattern for this very style of doll and that someone would request a custom doll like it 12 years later… ;o~  The design is by Sandy Pine. As a doll maker, do you remember this from back to 2005 ?


I followed parts of the design and did my own in other areas. The customer requested either a kayak or canoe as a prop, and that needs an oar, and she definitely wanted angel wings. I also had a base that has been tucked away in a chest, and that worked out great for this theme. She also wanted to add a bottle rum, of course. What pirate would be complete without that…


I had a few learning curves with this project, which is great. Keep those little grey cells happy. For the canoe, I had found some rectangular pieces of birch bark at a small florist some time ago, that had the best unique things she had sourced from who knows where. I had no idea what I would do with them but they were too interesting to not buy.  I found this tutorial online and followed it for the most part, except that’s bigger (about 7” long) and I added a seat and a cross member. CLICK HERE for the canoe tutorial.

The angel wings are made with coffee filters, in a mini version. CLICK HERE for the tutorial. I followed the basic instructions, just super mini sized them.

The oar is made from an image I found, just free handed it. The oar is balsa wood, the handle is a dowel. The rum bottle is a party favour with a Captain Morgan’s label reduced to fit. Here she is, and I’ll continue below with more details.


The costume:  the blouse is made with silk, the leggings are a stretch ribbing that you would use on sleeve cuffs etc. The vest is non woven felt with strips of leather and faux suede. The cuffs are leather pieces and tiny gold buttons.


The Tricorn hat is made from felt. There are lots of patterns on Pinterest for that. You just have to modify the size you need. The hair is from an Etsy seller in the UK. I had thought to wrap the hair up into the hat, but the curls are so nice, I didn’t want to hide them. They are tied with a piece of leather in the back.


Her boots are made with faux suede and wrapped with strips of leather. The boot pattern made no sense to me. I don’t know how she made them to look like the picture, so I had to do my own thing.

The tips of her boots are metal bead caps. I made them in three parts, the legs, the cuff and the shoe part.


Here’s the rum bottle. And her skirt is made from faux suede and soft leather leaves in a few different sizes, fed onto a string and wrapped around the waist. A little bit of jewelry around her neck finished the look.



Here are some close ups. She also has a patch over one eye. You can still peek under it to see her full face. ;o)



And that’s it. She’s gone to my customer who is writing a poem to go with the doll. I’ll look forward to hearing some feedback. Thanks for visiting today ;o))


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Chalkola–Chalk Markers and Pens

Hi Everyone…..

A bit of a change in my posts today. A couple of months ago I was contacted and asked if I would be interested in reviewing a new product. They are Chalkola Markers and Pens. I don’t do a lot of other types of art projects away from my dolls, but I thought it might be interesting to see what these are all about.

They are non toxic, children friendly markers. Easy clean up (when used according to the instructions). That means if used on the surfaces they are meant for, clean up is easy. The surfaces should be non porous, such as glass, plastic, windows. Chalkboards and whiteboards are listed as well, but using these markers over chalk paint, may not clean off completely. Test a small area first.

On their website, on the Shopping tab, you’ll find a number of different options to choose from depending on what you would use them for as well the size and type of markers. The package I received is the first one on the page, which contains 10 chalk markers and 6 metallic ones.

I’ve snipped a few images from the website CHALKOLA to show you how others are using these markers. They also have a  YOUTUBE channel where you can see demo’s, tips and tricks and others who have reviewed the markers. Below these images are my thoughts and images of what I tried. Also check the Blog on their website, there are examples of things you can do and how to do them and the supplies needed.

You can get so much information about their products on the website and all the demo’s on YouTube. You’ll see how to get them started, how you can wash off what you created and so on. The videos are short but you’ll get all the information you need, and are mostly by those who have reviewed them.

I’m going to go in a different direction with my experimenting. Because all the information is based on Non Porus surfaces, I’m going to show examples of Porous surfaces.  I mostly work with fabric, paper (for mini books etc), wood and other porous surfaces when I make props and embellishments for my art dolls, it might be interesting to see how these would work.

My examples are very raw. I just did a few doodles, tried writing with the pens, both the larger nibs and the metallic smaller ones. Don’t expect anything exciting here…lol

The first three examples are with coffee filters. Example #1 is just writing on them, to see if the ink would run, and no it doesn’t. The inks dry very quickly, especially on these coffee filters.


This picture shows an experiment using a spray bottle with the ink. I just did some quick marks with two colours and sprayed it with water to see what would happen. If I had do it for a project, I would just wait for it to dry and repeat the colours. I think the effect would be really good. You can see how the colour runs.


In this example I just blotched a mix of Lumiere inks and the Chalkola inks together and sprayed them with water. I also dabbed on some metallic from the Chalkola box. I was experimenting with these to see if I could incorporate these in an art doll I just finished for a customer. I made some coffee filter wings for her, and thought perhaps I could make these look woodsy. I didn’t go with that idea, I would have to spend more time with trial and error to get the right look. But experimenting in a good thing, this exercise gave me some good insight into the inks.


This was a scrap of balsa wood left from the art doll. I tried the inks on here and they did bleed a little, but if you were going for a wash of colours, I think you could easily do that on the balsa. The metallic inks do write easily.


The next one is some playing around writing on non woven felt. It does work, but you  pick up a little of the fiber on the tips of the pens, easy to remove though. With the felt, it does soak up the ink, but if you want to use felt, just let it dry and reapply until it’s as opaque as you want it. I also washed out a piece and the ink washed out cleanly. That was before it was fully dry, but at least you know it does wash out.


The last piece is just a scrap of fabric I use for doll bodies. It’s a high thread count cotton. All I did was just more squiggles and in one place just filled in the triangle. It did slightly soak through, but I think if you keep a light touch with the pen, you could manage to not have any show through. It did not bleed on this fabric.


My thoughts overall. I like these markers and the ink. I don’t think there would be many applications for my doll art. If I were making something like a clown or other similar type of doll, I think the markers could be used to add rosey cheeks or patterns on a costume or something like that.

I think overall though, the best way for these to be used is for kids. These are ideal for them. They are as I said at the beginning, non toxic. As I was leaning over the pieces, there was no offensive odour coming from them, like some markers I’ve used. The markers are a good size for children to hold and the colours are bright and cheerful.

The other packages of markers this company offers, have even more colour choices and sizes of nibs. These can be used on so many surfaces, kids would have a field day making all kinds of art pieces for you.

After playing with the coffee filters, the ink went through to my green cutting mat on the table. I sprayed a little water on the marks, and they washed completely away, clean up is easy. Soap and water clean up if need be. ;o) I also managed to touch my top with the yellow marker. I sprayed with water and blotted the fabric, the colour came completely off.

So I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about the markers. Once you’ve finished looking over all the information, maybe some videos and checked their website and think you would like to try them yourself, please follow this link to Amazon. CLICK HERE 

I’ve also been given this discount coupon of 15%, for my blog followers to use.  Coupon Code 15OFFINF  (Available on Amazon Only)  Be sure to enter the code exactly as shown. If you have any other concerns or questions, please contact them on their website and they will be happy to help you out. Enjoy…. ;o)

Saturday, March 31, 2018

African Grandmother

This is my first commission for 2018. This is a gift for my customers friend. Her friend is retired and along with her husband and another woman spend 6 weeks a year in Tanzania “teaching the most destitute and poor in the African continent. The people in the area they travel to, are stricken by aids and new orphans that continue to accumulate every day.” The two women created a charity called “African Children’s Bookbox Society and they have a website with the same name.

The woman being gifted with this art doll has just received confirmation that a book she’s written for children, will be published.

When I received all the information I immediately thought of an African grandmother sitting and reading to a group of children. That was before I finished reading the email, lo and behold at the end, the customer described exactly what I had envisioned, so I guess that’s synchronicity. ;o) Here are the pictures and details. This is an original design by me.

I spent time researching to get the right look and when I checked on the costuming for this project, I was very happy to see the mix of colours and prints. I knew that they generally wear loose fitting flowing garments due to the heat. This costume is made with three different cotton batik prints. This little lady sits approx. 9 1/2” tall measuring from the table.

The sandals she’s wearing are more like flip flops. I saw all kinds of styles and colours, so many options. I decided on a simple pattern of circles for the pattern, given how tiny they are. I made the book box out of small popsicle sticks, and gave it a rough paint job, I wanted it to have a more natural appearance. The base is stained with one coat of wood stain and roughed up with sandpaper.


From the back you can see that I’ve used a wooden stump. I’m glad I saved some small rounders from the wood pile. ;o) The head covering is brought to the center and secured.


For her jewelry, I had a few options. The ladies I saw in the research pictures, often stretch their ear lobes top and bottom and use a lot of beads and chain etc. I didn’t make ears for this art doll, and with her head dress under the other head covering, they wouldn’t be seen. The beads for her earrings and the square pink ones in the necklace, just by chance came in the mail about three weeks ago. Who knew I would be using beads that came from Africa on a commission for an African art doll, especially so soon… ;o~



To fill the box, I made a stack of mini books, made to represent the book that’s going to be published. I thought it would be cute to have those as though she is going to give each child a copy of their own. The last bit of jewelry is just a couple of beaded bracelets for each wrist. So that’s it except for a couple more pictures below. Now on to some personal sewing for a couple of days, then back to the doll world.  Enjoy…..


Tuesday, March 20, 2018


The latest Jester for July is Twirl. She is a design by Julie McCullough. She is just so cute, and hanging up she can twirl and twirl to her hearts content.

The details are simple. All cotton fabrics, except the tulle that I used under her skirt. The pattern actually mentions using a macrame ring to spread out the skirt. I’ve just used a few simple embellishments, as she doesn’t need too many. Her fabrics are pretty busy, so why hide her behind to many frills.  

Without further delay, here she is..  ;o) enjoy….


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Sally–a pincushion Lady in Waiting

And here is Sally. I won’t go over the details again, you can see what I’ve used. In this one the one thing different from Prudence, is the doily I cut apart and wrapped around her body. Other than that, she is embellished with similar bits and pieces. Enjoy ;o))


Prudence–a pincushion Lady in Waiting

I made two more pincushions, they’ll be displayed with the Queen Does Not Sew and Afternoon Tea pincushions. I think I should have called the July show, an Explosion of Pincushions.. ;o~  But someone very wise who does shows all the time, encouraged me to have a lot of what she calls bread and butter sales items. Keep the dolls down to a manageable level, but bring small items more than dolls.

So here we have Prudence. This doll and the next post, are inspired by Jill Maas’s design, “Dressmakers Dummy”. I think Prudence and her friend Sally would be mortified to be called dummies, so instead, we’ll make them into pincushions and stick them full of needles… I don’t think that’s a good solution either..

I used ready made dress forms and covered them with fabric. From there they are dressed with lace, rosettes, bows, and even milliners netting on their hats. (Thanks Sue)I used the head and hat part of the pattern only. On the bottom there are two beaded trims. Hard to see in the picture, but there are two different styles of beads.

A little later, I’ll post Sally…..




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