Not seeing a Scroll to Top Button? Go to our FAQ page for more info. Northbrook Designs: March 2018

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…..



Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Harmonica boy–Fred

The last of the harmonica boys is Fred. He has the best grandfather look. ;o) Like the others he’s all set to entertain. He’s got his wine and glass ready to go, along with his sheet music. Further down, you’ll see his tool bag slung over his shoulder. He’s decided it’s time for a break and have some fun.

As with the other two, I didn’t know where this was going to end up, but I knew he would be a sweet faced older man. The trousers are corduroy, the shirt is cotton. Wool felt for his slippers. The base is also covered with upholstery fabric and trims.

They’re off to the gallery in a couple of days, and now I’m busy working on projects for the next show in July….  Busy is good.  Enjoy ;o))


Harmonica boy–Ned

The second of my harmonica boys is Ned. I had no clue where I was going to end up with him, but I like the result. I knit the sweater a while ago with this in mind, but at the time I pictured him sitting somewhere playing his heart out. It kind of ended up that way, but you be the judge.

When I showed him to hubby, he right away thought of an Inuit person, and when I took a second look, that’s what I realized as well.


He is the only one of the three standing, it really adds to his overall look. He is all decked out with his new sweater and boots that I made for him.



On his back he’s carrying a multitude of travelling gear. He’s a traveler of sorts. I think a weekend one. ;o)  On his left side, a few cooking utensils, in his pouch a bottle of wine and sheet music. Hanging on the pouch is his lantern for those fireside chats, and of course he carries his trusty ax and some wood to start a campfire.


And finally a little closer look at his boots. Perfect if indeed he is Inuit and needs to walk through the snow. I finished the base with upholstery fabric and trims. His trousers are wool. What you can’t see too well, except a little in the first picture, is his green cotton shirt.

One more to come….. ;o)


Sunday, March 4, 2018

Harmonica boy –Ted

The Small Expressions show is starting on Saturday. We can bring three items that have to be within 12” X 12” in size. When I was thinking about what I wanted to do for the show, I happened to be on an Etsy site I shop at fairly often. She had some mini harmonica’s and right away a vision of some men sitting around playing harmonica’s came to mind.

I ended up like always, staying with the theme, but not quite the same original vision. If you’re a doll maker, you know how that goes. You start with an idea and then it shows you the direction it wants to go. These boys of mine are all different and perhaps one day they’ll all be together, somewhere.

The first of my three harmonica boys is Ted. By the time he was done, he turned out to be a Grampa figure with his cowboy hat and all. He’s ready for a walk in the rain but for now he’s ready to play his harmonica, and it actually does work. ;o) He has his libation and of course his sheet music.


The umbrella is actually a pen. If I were to push down on the handle you’d see the nib pop out at the other end. When I saw this I bought a couple of them, they were just the perfect doll size. The other one was used on a commission doll a couple of years ago, I love finding these little treasures.


The base and the seat are covered with upholstery fabric and trimmed with a cotton trim. The seat part is a wooden wheel shape that came in a box as part of the stuffing to hold things still. Fortunately there were enough of them to give each of these harmonica boys a seat.


To finish, his slippers are made with wool felt, his trousers are wool, the sweater is a knit, the shirt and bow tie are cotton. I’ll post the next one tomorrow… Time for bed, very tired. ;o) Enjoy


Thursday, March 1, 2018

New Website

Last year my ISP retired all it’s web space services, including websites, photo albums and blogs. I wasn’t sure I would have another website because my needs are simple. I don’t want a lot of functionality with it and I don’t want to pay a fortune.

But over time, things change. I did a bit of research and discovered that Vistaprint offers website service which does include the ability to add a shopping cart, (and it’s SOOO easy), videos if you want to add those, multiple pages, multiple email addresses if you need them, etc. The best part is the shopping cart, not that I will make fortunes, but it’s a great feature. I still need to explore it a bit, but so far I’m very happy with the result.

The monthly cost of $20.00, is not excessive and once I figured out how to add things and link things up, it’s actually very good. That’s the more expensive option for a personal website, you can pay $5.00 a month for a very basic site, and a little more for a little more in the way of options.

I had my last website for just over 13 years free of charge as it was included in our package with the cable company, so I had a free ride for a very long time.

So with that said, I hope you’ll stop by my new site and give me some feedback, either through the contact form or guestbook.. CLICK HERE to head over there, and much appreciated if you have the time. ;o))

Thanks so much…. 

Love this quote….



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