My Whimcees

My Whimcees

Friday, March 30, 2007

Third Option Doll Finished

The third doll is completed and of the three that are finished at this point, it is the closest to the body shape that I want for my Shirley Temple doll. The shape of the calf on this leg is what I am trying for, the height is good but I want the body and neck as separate body pieces I think. I want more of a tummy and a wider body than this doll has but I am finally getting closer to the final pattern now. I like different construction areas of each of the three dolls - the fingers of the first doll, the arch in the foot of the second doll and the length and shape of the leg in this doll as well as the height. But I need a break from this project for awhile, so I am starting the surprise doll for my brother to sit by his computer and will not start another option doll until I finish it. :<} The first photo is of the fabric that will be used to make her - him - her - ? If you are reading this Dick, I hope you will like it! :<}

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Third Doll Almost Ready To Stuff!

Was able to do quite a bit on the third doll this evening. The arms are sewn and turned, as are the ears. Just need to sew up the body - it has one long center piece that goes from the bottom of the body in the back and continues up and around the back of the head, over the face and down to the bottom of the body in front. The legs are sewn but I still need to sew the soles of the feet to the legs. I have them all pinned and ready to baste in the morning. Then I can sew them, stuff all the pieces and assemble the doll and hopefully will have it completed by the end of the day tomorrow. :<}

Second Option Doll Completed

Well, the second doll is completed. The arms went on in the same way as the legs - top pleated and stuck through an opening in the body and sewed into the seam - but there was more room to work and as they are closer to the top of the body, it was much easier to work from the inside. The head was also attached in a way new to me. After the body was stuffed, the neck edge was turned under and the head was placed inside the neck and the body edge sat on top. I wasn't sure how this would look but the end result looks fine. The body shape and the head shape are more what I want, but not quite. This is a very cute doll and she can certainly pose! :<} Tomorrow I start the third doll - the pattern seems to be a combination of sorts of the first two dolls but some differences in construction. A fourth doll has a very different style of sewing the face so it will all be interesting. But I am still thinking I may have to make my own pattern for my Shirley Temple doll using a sort of mix 'n match. :<}

New Way to Attach Legs/Arms

Adding the legs turned out to be a more challenging project than I expected. The legs were cut straight across at the top and left open after stuffing, so I was curious how they would be attached, as the photo with the pattern shows a standing doll. The legs are stuffed and then they are pleated at the top and inserted into openings left in the body piece when sewing it together. But you have to turn the body piece down so that when the leg top is inserted you can sew the body and leg together from the inside. This must be done by hand as there is no way to use the machine with the leg stuffed - and when the second leg was added there was very little room to work. As I reversed the legs when sewing them on the FIRST time, it was easier the second time I did this. :<} You have to also keep clear where the front and back of the body is when adding the legs so that they are not on backwards and I was so intent on doing this as I forgot that each foot has a curved instep, so I also had to keep straight the right and the left as well as the front and the back and the size of the pleat to fit into the body opening and how to pull the fabric down to sew and then add the second leg . . . so I sewed them on reversed and had to rip out both of the seams and do it all over again and well, I was relieved when the legs were attached. But obviously this is not a standing doll without using a doll stand and I want my Shirley Temple doll to stand on her own. This is a good doll body for a sitting doll or a baby doll. Now for the arms - they are attached the same way.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Second Option Doll

The pieces are of the second option doll for my ST doll are sewn (still have to stitch in the soles of the feet) and ready to be stuffed and assembled. The arms and legs are stuffed and then are pleated at the tops and sewn into the body seam so I am not sure how this is going to work. I have done this before, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of room - but we shall see! I love challenges and this may be one! :<} BUT, it will have to wait until tomorrow - Dancing With The Stars is on and I can't miss that!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Toddler Doll Update

I finished the fill of the arms today(then bent them down from the shoulder) and added a bit on the feet of my toddler doll. But now she will have to sit in the window for at least a week I think, to make sure that the paper mache is completely dry before I start to sculpt the features and the "skin" using the PaperClay. The doll is only about 10" high but it is quite heavy now because of the weight of the wet paper mache, even if it has dried quite a lot in the past two days. I forgot to mention the book from which I got this pattern - it is "Sculpting & Making A Toddler Doll Head to Toe" by Susan Dunham from 1996. It is a beautiful book and has many photos and instructions on either sculpting a 20" toddler doll and/or a fast and easy project to make a 10" doll using the templates in the book (which is what I have done). There are also clothing patterns, including instructions for embroidery stitches. I also forgot to mention what pattern I used to make the first doll for my Shirley Temple doll options. It is a pattern that I have had for many years now - so you can see how long I have wanted to make this doll - a 1978 Judi's Doll "Shirley Temple" pattern for an 18" doll. I realized that I also have a second version of that same pattern which I purchased many years later, an updated one with a photo dated 1978/2002. The original pattern has a drawing of the doll on the front. I also have a larger version - I think for a 27" doll - that I may also make. It has been a beautiful warm and sunny day here in WI but now there is a tornado watch for nearby counties and we are included in the present thunderstorm area so I think that I will stay off the computer now for the rest of the evening. Tomorrow I start to sew another Shirley Temple doll option - using a smaller doll pattern by Carolee.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Cutting Patterns and Sculpting A Toddler Doll

As usually happens with me, I get involved in something and then while researching the project I am working on - I find something else interesting I want to do! :<} I spent most of the morning cutting out all the patterns pieces for the 4 doll patterns (so far) that I am sewing as additional options for my Shirley Temple doll. I decided to check out the patterns in the doll books I have to see if there were more options that I had forgotten. In the process of doing this, I opened a book on sculpting a toddler doll and remembered that I had traced the pattern from the book a long time ago, intending to sculpt it and for some reason I had put it in a drawer and not completed it. As I have not worked with clay or sculpted for at least 6 months now because I have been so involved with working in fabric, I thought what fun it would be to take a break from sewing and at least make the rough sculpt. So I put the scissors away and found the toddler pattern, plugged in the glue gun, mixed up the paper mache and started in. The pattern is cut out of cardboard and a 3-dimension form is made and then filled in to shape and then a final sculpt or "skin" is made over it all when forming the features and details. I used this process when I sculpted the legs for the "Birthday Nana" doll - as I had seen this used by Robert McKinley in one of his books. The fill was Celluclay and the sculpt was in PaperClay - which is what I used again for fill with the toddler doll. The only thing is, that filling an entire doll in wet (and heavy) paper mache on a cardboard form is entirely a different story than filling two legs! :<} And the legs were separate! So I had to go in stages and let it dry some before I could add on. The arms and feet still have to be done but they will have to wait until tomorrow. Hopefully it will dry pretty much through by morning! I think then, when I have the arms and feet finished, I will leave it for a few days before I start to cover and sculpt with the PaperClay. It is cute already - about 10" high - not what I want for the Shirley Temple doll, as it is for a toddler so the age is too young, but it was a nice break and fun to mess around with the paper mache - and I do mean mess! Forgot that part! :<} After I added the last fill and put it back in the window to dry and cleaned up my table, I finished up the day by cutting out the remaining doll pattern pieces so now I can begin to sew one of the dolls tomorrow! Hard to decide which one! Plus I have to work on the toddler! So many choices and so many hours in the day! :<}

Friday, March 23, 2007

First Doll In My Search for a Child Doll Pattern For A Shirley Temple Doll

Because of my desire to make a Shirley Temple doll, I have found myself on a search for a child doll pattern that works best for the doll that I have in my mind's eye. One that will give me a doll that will "look" like Shirley Temple to me. So, I have decided to make all the various patterns that I have been able to find that may give me the finished product I am looking for and this is the first doll that I have finished. She is 18" tall and has a front face piece, a 2-piece back of the head and a long gusset that connects the two. Hopefully, as I finish the different dolls and can see what each style of head, arms, etc. actually looks like when it is finished, I can compare until I find the doll pattern I will use for my Shirley Temple doll or create my own pattern using the techniques that I learn from making these various dolls. These are all great patterns and I am sure that this is going to be fun! :<}

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Looking Forward to Working In A Garden Again

Today I signed up for a garden plot where I live. I love working up the soil after the garden is plowed, planting the seeds and the new little starter plants and watching it all grow. Weeding in the early morning when the dew is still on the ground, the sun on my shoulders, the feel of the earth, the smell of the plants, the color of the flowers as they start to bloom, hearing the bird songs . . . I love it all. The photos are of a previous garden. I was so proud of it all - it seemed like everything was perfect. I can't wait to start.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A Thought to Remember

One of my watercolor cards.

"People will not always remember what you said. People will not always remember what you did. But people will always remember how you made them feel."

Wishing you all a great day! :<}

Monday, March 19, 2007

Dad, Dick and Jeremy - Three Generations of Special Men

This is a grouping on one of the shelves in my studio of things that have very special meaning to me. My father Juel made the giraffe of paper mache, my brother Dick carved both the Santa and the zebra and the photos are of my favorite nephew Jeremy (Dick's son) when he graduated from high school and one of the two of us when he was very young. My father was born in Denmark and he came here with his family as a child - he was the youngest. He was a talented artist and his lifelong dream was to one day be able to retire and devote all his time to his art. He lost his sight shortly after retiring and so that dream was lost and it ended his ability to draw and paint his landscapes and portraits. But as the instinct in an artist is strong, he then came up with his own recipe for a paper mache mixture and started to create animals and birds in that medium. He could not see, so he sculpted them using his sense of touch and his amazing memory for anatomy. He painted them using his fingers as a brush so that he could tell where the paint was. This giraffe he made for me in that way and now that he is gone it is very special to me. My brother is also a very talented artist, he sculpts in the polymer clays and is a self-taught carver. As you can see from the Santa and the zebra, his work is wonderful. He carved these for me and also sculpted me a most wonderful polymer Santa that is being repaired and they are also very special. My nephew was my special buddy when he was a young boy and when I would go to visit them he would make me feel very smart and funny and include me in bike riding with his friends. The photo of us together has so many special memories and the one of him as a young man is the lovely person he is today and he remains my special buddy in my heart. They all are special in my heart - my father, my brother and my nephew. Three generations of special men during my lifetime and who remain that still. They all share a wonderful wit and sense of humor and a kindness that comes from caring about people.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

A Tedious Task

Today was acomplicated day - so a day for simple and quiet tasks. I did some laundry, mixed up my bread for the bread machine and sorted all the things that I had taken out of all the drawer units that I sent home with Dick and Bonnie yesterday. The worst of the chaos, and what took me the longest to sort, were all the various lengths of embroidery thread and the partly used perle cotton skeins that had been all pushed together in the drawers over the past six months after working on projects and now resembled large "nests". Now, after hastily shoving them into yet another drawer yesterday they were in such chaos that I was very tempted to just toss them away! Can't do that, too much money involved. So today I spent literally hours sorting it all by same color and combining loose pieces of the embroidery thread together and pulling it through holes in cardboard lengths so I could see what I had when I wanted to use it and untangling and then re-winding the skeins of perle cotton onto cardboard squares. I was very, very glad when this tedious but necessary sorting was finished. It was a lot of work but now the drawere are looking good and I can acutually see what I have! :<}

Friday, March 16, 2007

"Dee Dee & Howard and Olive & Stan" and "The Big Sort"

I missed posting yesterday for the first time - my brother Dick and his wife Bonnie came to visit! It was so very nice to see them, as he is my favorite (only) brother :<} and she is a sister to me. It has been a long time since we have spent some time together and they only had the day and then they had to drive back home, so the time went by too fast! But hopefully when the weather is nicer they can come again for an overnight. :<} They took me out to lunch and that was great as I love to go out to eat! :<} It was fun to show them all the dolls that have been created since they were last here. Especially the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs set. :<} I also was able to give them their late Christmas present and happy to hear from Bonnie that the group made the trip to their house without mishap! The first photo above is one of the group - "Dee Dee & Howard and Olive & Stan". They are made from an EPB pattern and are stump dolls. They were great fun to make and I am so happy that they are now in their new home, where I understand that they sit by my sister-in-law's computer, where they can keep an eye on her! :<} But I think that I will now have to make a person to sit by my brother's computer because he and Bonnie each have their own computer room and he needs watching also! I thought of what it will be today and it will be perfect I think! :<} The other two photos are a 'before' and 'after' of some of the bookcases in my studio after 'the big sort' that was done just before they went home. I went through everything in a badly needed sorting and sent home their van full of books and fabrics and all manner of things with them for eBay and a garage sale. :<} I don't know if you can see the difference, but believe me - have of what was there before is now gone! It was great for me but I thing a bit overwhelming for them! I am extremely grateful! :<}

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Good Start on the Shirley Temple Doll

The body parts for the Shirley Temple doll are all sewed and turned. I didn't get them stuffed as I was planning to do, but forgot that I had an appointment today and also errands to run and a trip to the library to stock up on more books. Also, I keep forgetting how long this process takes - to draw the patterns, cut them out and sew them. I am making the doll from the wool felt and I think she is going to turn out well. The head has four pieces - a 2-piece head back, a face and a long side piece that is sewn around the entire head and connects the face and back of the head. This I have not done before, so it was interesting. I love to try new ways of making things and new techiques and look for this when I am purchasing a pattern. I don't think that I will get much work done on the doll tomorrow as my brother and sister-in-law are coming to visit me and spend the day, so I will be doing other fun things with them. I am excited that they are coming and will be happy to see them as we are not able to get together often. It will be fun to have them see all the new creations in the studio since they last were here and they are coming to pick up their 2006 Christmas present as I did not want it to be damaged in the mail! I will post a photo of it tomorrow. Maybe they will pose with it for me. :<}

Back View

Finding His Spot

Well, this morning Red has found his spot where he feels most at home - resting on top of the computer in my studio with the company of a small spotted dog that my oldest son gave to me. It is a gloomy morning here in Wisconsin after two great days of sunshine and temperatures in the 50's! Hopefully the sun will come out again later today! I am starting work on a Shirley Temple doll - it's time to switch from the bears. I start cutting out the pattern pieces this morning and hope to have the body parts sewed and stuffed by tonight. We shall see.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Taking A Rest

Well, here are photos of the finished "Red" taking a rest on one of the shelves in my studio. He was created from a sleeping teddy pattern "Hi*Bear*Nate" - a creation of bear artist Connie Hindrichs. I am not sure if this will be his permanent pose of choice, but for now he is resting after a long day. :<} He has eyelids and his nose is not bad. He has a beautiful afghan and pillow set that my Aunt Sally crocheted. It is one of two sets that I have and they are treasures, as she had lost most of her sight when she made them for me. So it is nap time for "Red" this afternoon and we will see where else he may wander to after his rest. :<}