Prototype

It’s been a while since I put anything new on my shop, and I’ve been meaning to for a while, but the holidays are a bad time to start prototyping anything, and so this doll has been about two months in the making.  You will see right off that she is primarily a ballerina doll, although with different clothing, she wouldn’t necessarily have to be.

Although this doll may not look very different, (just looking at her face) she really differs in several significant ways. For one, she is the first pattern I drafted myself (almost from scratch)  She is taller and thinner, has pointed, rather than flat feet and is made entirely from one piece ie, I didn’t have to sew arms and legs on seperately.  I was looking for a doll with a more defined waist since my other dolls are so square in shape and sometimes their clothing doesn’t stay on very well.  So I gave her a waist, and I also gave her a wire frame- something that gave me quite a lot of trouble, and needed a lot of tweaking.   This is also the first time I have attempted yarn for hair.  Since she is more delicate looking, I thought she needed something finer than the jersey strips I usually use.  And though I like how it looks, I miss the stretch that the jersey gives me since stretchy hair is much easier to style.

At any rate, here she is.  She may or may not be a limited edition, depending on interest and what I can charge for her. (she took me quite a bit longer to make than my other girls)DSCF3034 (2)

DSCF3037 (2)              DSCF3038 (2)

I had lots of fun with the clothing, both in sewing the beads and flowers, and in adding as many layers of tulle as possible.

DSCF3039        DSCF3040

Here she is, crossing her ankles like a lady.

DSCF3044         DSCF3043

Now she will demonstrate various poses to display her flexible wire frame.

DSCF3046          DSCF3047                                               DSCF3048         DSCF3060

DSCF3049

Her bendable knees also allow her to sit quite nicely when she is tired of dancing and decides to let her hair down.

DSCF3058          DSCF3059

And speaking of hair- here are a few closeups, both up and down.

DSCF3053      DSCF3054

DSCF3055         DSCF3057

So now we have arrived at the part where I ask for feedback and suggestions.  I have to laugh at myself because I keep hunting for something that might be a little less time consuming, and end up making something more complicated.  Oh well.  Let me know what you think!  Thanks!

DSCF3052

Expanding our borders (ever so slightly)

Well, I know I’ve been posting a lot about my shop lately, but I wanted to get this out before the holiday weekend- you know, the weekend that starts the shopping mayhem for the next month.

Up ’til now, I haven’t done much with promoting my shop on designated online shopping days, or even Black Friday.  But apparently, this Saturday is ‘Small Business Saturday’ and I was invited to join a real, live, local Etsy market to show some of my wares.

It’s at the downtown Chattanooga library, and I have no idea what to expect.  Supposedly about 30 other vendors will be there, and as to numbers of customers- that’s anyone’s guess.  But I thought, since it was free, that I might as well give it a try and get my stuff out there using a different venue.  

So come on down and take a look if you are so inclined.  And if you’ve been on the fence about buying my stuff, it will save you shipping : ).

image

In other news, I posted something on my Facebook page a while back- something I couldn’t reveal on public media for disclosure reasons.  I had received a rush order for three of my horses about two days before our big trip out west, and because of the generous amount this person was willing to pay, both to make them and ship them overnight, I went ahead and filled the order.

I am now at liberty to reveal what they were for.  They were shipped out to Hollywood, CA for a little commercial.  They really only needed one for the commercial, but ordered three to see which one looked better on set.  It’s just a brief, horsey cameo, but I’m tickled pink about it.   Take a look!

A Holiday Herd

I know the season is already late, but I have been wanting to make at least one big push for my shop before the Christmas season is fully upon us. With travel and sickness and general busy-ness, I feel way behind where I was last year at this time. But last year, I was traveling for Christmas and so had to close my shop December 1st. We are staying in town this year, so I hope to be able to take orders through at least the first half of December.

So to get you all in a festive mood, I want to show you what I’ve been working on in between bouts of croup and trips to the ER. It’s a new series of horses that I have been having enormous fun designing. I posted my first plaid horse on facebook a few weeks ago, and couldn’t wait to do some more. But after I finished them, I felt like they needed a little something more, like maybe a rider.

20141118-183612.jpg
I haven’t done a lot with pants for my dolls, but I like the little riding pants on this one. I even figured out how to make boots!

20141118-183736.jpg
Since they go so well together, I thought I would try something new and sell them together on my shop this Christmas. Here they are on a country outing.

20141118-183851.jpg

20141118-183903.jpg
Aren’t they cute? I’m kind of excited about these two.

20141118-184106.jpg
But here are some solo shots if you would like to purchase them separately.

20141118-184140.jpg

20141118-184148.jpg

20141118-184155.jpg

20141118-184205.jpg
And here are a few more of the herd by themselves.
One plaid with an auburn mane and tail.

20141118-184254.jpg

20141118-184300.jpg

20141118-184307.jpg
And this rather striking fellow with a lovely gray houndstooth coat.

20141118-184456.jpg

20141118-184502.jpg
I am also continuing to sell my red horse. This one was by far my most popular last Christmas, but instead of wool, I decided to try making him out of a lovely cherry red corduroy. I like how it turned out.

20141118-184751.jpg

20141118-184756.jpg

20141118-184802.jpg
Due to the uniqueness of the plaids in these horses, (they are made from wool skirts) they will only be available in twos or threes. So think of them as limited editions, but hopefully with new and different ones to come.

Let me know what you think! (And feel free to share ; )

Seven

Well, my little shop is humming along, thanks to all of you who have put in orders over the last several weeks. Life has been so very busy, but I am not quite at the point where I can say I am overwhelmed. Having five kids seems to be a new level of insanity, and I suppose I am stating the obvious here, but babies take a lot of work!
However, because I don’t seem to know where to draw a line, a few weeks ago I entered to win a spot in a very large Etsy Christmas Market in Nashville this December. I was a little panicky about doing it, but wanted to see if I could push my business a bit outside my circle of friends and family.
There were two weeks where I didn’t know if I would make the cut or not, and my mind was going a mile a minute trying to think of ways to increase my stock and make my brand look more professional so the market would be profitable for me. I couldn’t tell if I really wanted to make it or not, or if would even be wise at this point in my life, until I received an email last night saying I didn’t make it. My biggest feeling was one of relief, but it did help me to think about ways that I might someday promote my business in other ways.

In the meantime, I still have orders coming in. For instance-
A college friend of mine very generously decided to give me her all Christmas business- meaning a bulk order of dolls. She gave no specifications as to hair color or dress design, so it was fun coming up with something for her.
She and I were both in the music department in college, and both share a love of musicals. So when she gave me an order for seven dolls for seven nieces, I immediately thought of this.

20141016-074238.jpg

Now there are many things that aren’t exactly PC about this musical, not least of which is the opening anthem- “Bless her beautiful hide”- and continuing on to a mass kidnapping of all the town’s eligible women. (It’s all in good fun, right?)

But the scene I was inspired by was this one-

20141016-074933.jpg

I have always loved the bright, rainbow-y jewel tones in this scene, with the girls in complementing ginghams. But I didn’t have much gingham on hand, so I just put my dollies in simple jewel toned skirts with black buttoned shoes to match.

20141016-115053.jpg

20141016-115102.jpg

20141016-115111.jpg

There is something so satisfying about rainbow order.

20141016-115204.jpg

I can tell they are already friends.

20141016-115321.jpg

20141016-115329.jpg

20141016-115335.jpg

I wanted to be able to do a little photo session with them in dancing poses, but they just kept falling over. So here, for your enjoyment, is a little video instead.
http://youtu.be/TygmMPbwfjA

Ballerina dreaming

When I was a little girl, I shared a dream with many other little girls. I wanted to be a ballerina.
It was for all the usual reasons- the lovely, floaty dancing- the shiny, pointy, pink slippers- and of course the tutus. If there were tutus involved, I was in.
But I was one of six girls. My mom worked part time and we were in school full time. Ballet lessons just weren’t on the agenda. But did I let that stop me? No siree. If I couldn’t have real lessons, I would teach myself.
Those were the days before Youtube, of course, and there were no handy online tutorials I could google. But we did have a well worn VHS recording of the Nutcracker, performed by the Pacific Northwest Ballet that I watched ad nauseum. I imitated the dancing as best I could, hunted around the house for ballet -type attire (one of my mom’s fluffy old slips was a pretty good tutu substitute) and thus attired, I pranced around the house to my heart’s content.
One year, I was given a pair of silky, pink, ballet-esque slippers for my birthday. With those on my feet to spur my imagination, I felt capable of starring in a ballet of my own. And one of the beauties of having five sisters was that I could make such a thing a reality. I coaxed them into joining my venture, and we started production immediately.
First, we had to decide on the music. That was easy enough. Dad had just purchased one of the first compact disc players on the market, and we were the proud owners of two cds- Handel’s Messiah and Rachmaninoff’s 3rd piano concerto. Handel didn’t seem very suitable for ballet, so that left Rachmaninoff.
Then it was decided that we were all to be flowers, as pink and fluffy as our dress-up box would allow. There we would huddle in the living room while the opening bars of the concerto began. I was in the center of the flower huddle- the self-appointed prima donna- because, if you remember, I owned the pink slippers.
Then, as the music quickened, out ran my baby sister, trailing a bright orange blanket. She was the sun, of course. She circled the flower huddle once or twice, and as she toddled away, we flowers would slowly awaken. Then I had to do my own little bit of solo dancing (the pink slippers demanded it) and after that, it was pretty much every dancer for herself. (Just imagine a whole lot of twirling)
The grand finale always included the same dramatic scene- the six of us lined up according to size on the living room stairs, and with arms gracefully extended, we would leap more or less simultaneously onto the worn brown carpet below. Despite our best efforts to land lightly, we always came thudding down like a ton of bricks, causing the cd in the player to skip around violently and bring our performance to a sudden end. It was not, perhaps, the best ballet in the world, but it has left plenty of good memories. Sometimes I still think about being a ballerina, even though that ship has long since sailed. And I will always enjoy watching ballet.

But all of this is to say, that when a friend suggested a few weeks back that I should try and make a ballerina doll, I had to mentally smack myself in the forehead. Of course! I love ballet, I love dolls, and I love tutus!

So without further ado, let me introduce my first ballerina doll.

20140924-140612.jpg

20140924-141200.jpg
Generally, when I think of ballerinas, I think pink, but I only had a little bit of red and white tulle, so I thought I would see what I could make out of the materials I had on hand before stocking up on new supplies.

20140924-141526.jpg
A view from the rear.

20140924-141613.jpg
And a view of her slippers. I thought about altering the doll pattern so that her toes would be pointed down, but again, figured I would see how things looked before I made any major alterations. What do you think? Should I change the feet?

20140924-141803.jpg
Here is her little leotard, with the tutu removed.

20140924-141859.jpg
And when I put her tutu back on, I accidentally had it turned around. But I kind of like it reversed as well. Two tutus for the price of one, eh?

20140924-142351.jpg

20140924-142356.jpg
So there she is. (By the way, I have already sold this doll, but I plan on making more if there is interest.). And I’ve also been contemplating some design ideas for Nutcracker dolls, what with Christmas coming and all. Or maybe just some custom ballet dresses.

20140924-143421.jpg
So I ask again~Feedback? Suggestions? Good places to buy lots of tulle?
Thanks!

Restocking the shelves

Last year, I set myself a goal- make enough dolls and toys to buy us plane tickets to Washington for my sister’s wedding. Thanks to all your interest and help, I achieved that goal.
Well guess what.
I have another sister getting married in Washington – and less than three months away! I thought about setting the same goal for myself this time around, but what with a new baby, and shortness of time, and the fact that I already found a super deal on tickets and bought them, that ship has sailed.
Even with the super deal, buying six plane tickets is nothing to sneeze at, so I’d like to start pushing my shop again. I figure, if I can sell about thirty 12 inch dolls or twenty of the 18 inch, it would just about cover it the tickets. So who wants a doll? Or a horse or rabbit? I’m still selling those as well.
I’m making some adjustments to my etsy site, so take a little time to think about it, but fyi, here are a few of the new dolls that will be up for sale soon.

20140812-170833.jpg
I have been focusing more on the eighteen inch doll these last few weeks. Here’s my brunette. I have switched them over to the new way of doing hair that I mentioned before, and she is sporting some new “pleather” shoes that I have been experimenting with.

20140812-171101.jpg

20140812-171107.jpg

20140812-171119.jpg

20140812-171127.jpg
Here’s my blondie. She is also trying out some new items, like a striped sailor dress, and a felt hat. I hope to get better at making hats. Haberdashery is fun! Or maybe it’s just being able to use that word.

20140812-171450.jpg

20140812-171459.jpg

20140812-171506.jpg

20140812-171513.jpg
And here is the red head that I asked for help with yesterday. I went ahead with a few freckles, just to see if I liked them. They are just tiny stitches, and can be removed. What do you all think?
I’m also uncertain about the black dress. Does she need something a little flashier to go with her bright hair, or is the subtle look better? I appreciate your feedback!

20140812-171941.jpg

20140812-171948.jpg

20140812-171958.jpg

20140812-172005.jpg
So there we go. Hopefully I will have enough energy and motivation to really get back into the swing of things. And if you know of anyone who might be in the market for a doll, would you be so good as to mention it? These girls deserve a good home. Thanks!

20140812-172405.jpg

Once upon a time, I had an etsy shop

You may or may not have noticed that posts pertaining to my once flourishing etsy shop have slowed to a trickle. I make no apologies for this state of affairs. In fact, one of things I love about etsy is the ability to slow things down if your life demands it. And my life definitely has demanded it of late. But I haven’t forgotten about my little shop, and I hope to do some updating etc., to try and get things up and running again in time for the holidays.
I have in fact, made some updates already. I toyed around (pun intended) with stuffed animals, as you may remember, but couldn’t seem to get excited enough about it. I just kept going back to dolls, and since they seem to sell much better, I wanted to see if I could make some improvements there instead of branching off into new realms.

One thing I have never been entirely satisfied with is the hair on my dolls. I like the cotton jersey, since it is stretchy and doesn’t come unraveled like yarn can. It is also far less expensive. It takes a lot of yarn to make a doll wig. But the way I have done the jersey wigs makes the hair strands very thick, and I didn’t like the way it looked in the back sometimes. So I went back to the drawing board, and found a few different methods on Pinterest that I wanted to give a try. I had to make some adjustments, since I still didn’t want to use yarn. This is the result.

20140714-181939.jpg

20140714-181950.jpg

20140714-182000.jpg
There are several things I prefer about this wig. The strands are thinner and look more like real hair, the strands are pulled tight so the raw edges curl under, and it gives me the ability to make bangs, which is fun and gives more variety.

20140714-182204.jpg

20140714-182210.jpg

20140714-182219.jpg

20140714-182231.jpg

20140714-182239.jpg
What I ended up doing was stitching a braided crown around the edge of her head, and then, taking long doubled strands of jersey, I wove them into the braid with a crochet hook.
The downside to this method is that it takes me more time than the other, but I definitely like the finished product better.
I also find that it styles more easily.

20140714-182504.jpg

20140714-182511.jpg

20140714-182518.jpg

20140714-182524.jpg

I would love your feedback here. Any opinions would be welcome. It’s hard to get feedback from other sources since, as far as I know, no one else makes doll hair out of jersey!
Here’s a few photos of the other method, just for comparison’s sake.

20140714-182930.jpg

20140714-182936.jpg
Oh, and something else I have been toying around with.
Hats!

20140714-183031.jpg
So much fun!

20140714-183056.jpg

So let me know what you think!

Odds and Ends

Well, the blog has been slipping out of focus these past few weeks as that all important day finally comes into view. For so long, I have felt like there is no end in sight to this pregnancy. But then, at the grocery store yesterday, I grabbed a gallon of milk and noticed with great joy that the expiration date stamped on it was my due date! It’s really coming folks! And none too soon. It’s getting hot down here and I could stand to lose some excess weight.

Anyways, I’ve been putting my feet up quite a bit lately, but I haven’t quite forgotten about sewing. There were a couple things I needed to finish up for Caroline, and one last doll order that I figured would be easier to complete before the new baby arrived.

I had been looking around at new diaper bags, determined not to settle for the cheap plastic one they give you at the hospital, like I did for my boys. But I had a really hard time finding one I liked that was affordable. I figured it would be worth trying to make one, since I still had plenty of the sturdy fabric I used for the armoire leftover. I found several patterns I liked on pinterest, but in the end, pieced one together from a few different ideas. I wanted a nice big one, and this is what I came up with.

I pleated it to make it extra roomy, and gave it a nice long strap so it can go across my body

20140521-185250.jpg
I also lined it with fabric from an old linen skirt, just for a contrast with the floral pattern. Then I accented the edges with purple bias tape, and had a bit of fun with one of the decorative stitches on my machine that I hardly ever use.

20140521-185542.jpg
On the inside, I just put two side pockets, for bottles and what not.

20140521-185743.jpg
And I put a sturdy piece of cardboard on the bottom, so that it would stand upright when full.

20140521-190020.jpg
I just happened to have that big old turquoise button lying around to cover up the ugly magnetic snap closure I used for fastening.
I think it will work! And it cost me about five bucks.

I also had great plans to make a whole bunch of clothes for her, but the more clothes that kept pouring in from other people, the less I felt the need. One thing I did want to make however, was a little outfit to bring her home in. It’s always a bit of a struggle, getting those little onesies over a newborn head and wrestling their curled up arms into the sleeves. Then I remembered I had had a few baby kimonos for the boys and really liked them, so I made one for my girl.

20140521-190802.jpg
There are a whole bunch of free patterns online, and you can either use snaps as closures, or little ties. I went for snaps here, with cotton jersey fabric and a bit of Alabama Chanin technique.

20140521-191004.jpg
And I couldn’t resist just a little bit of embellishment. I also made the sleeves extra long, to cover her hands and keep her from scratching her face if need be.
.

20140521-191038.jpg
The pants were super simple as well- nice and stretchy with a draw string waist.

20140521-191134.jpg
That’s probably the last of the sewing I will do for her for now.

And just for fun, another doll, for a friend’s daughter. She asked for something pink and girly, maybe with flowers involved. I got some inspiration from the peonies my hubby bought me for my birthday last week. (These aren’t them, but they looked like this.)

20140521-191919.jpg
Blond hair with blue eyes seems to be the popular choice lately.

20140521-192039.jpg
I added some little blue flowers at the waist, just so the pink wouldn’t be too overwhelming.

20140521-192139.jpg
Hopefully, she is pink and girly enough!

20140521-192331.jpg
Pink has never been a favorite color with me, but I think I am getting used to it. And just in time! Who knows what I might post next!

Birthday Doll!

I had so much fun with this custom order, that I thought I would share a few pics with y’all.  This was an order for a birthday girl, and she wanted an “ocean princess”.  Her stipulations were blue eyes, a friendly face, and extra long, Rapunzel-esque, blond hair.  She also wanted a dress in different hues of blue to represent the ocean.  I did my best.

DSCF1562 DSCF1563

I did a few things differently with this doll.  The biggest change was using bead work instead of plain stitching and buttons.  She is royalty after all.

DSCF1567

And instead of plain ruffles, I scalloped the edges of the skirt layers, to give a more ‘wave like’ effect.

DSCF1569

I also replaced the buttons on the shoes with tiny pearl beads.

DSCF1571

 

Coming up with crown was also a lot of fun.  It makes me want to experiment more with beads.  They are a bit more time consuming, but I really like the effect.

DSCF1574

And here is a back view of the extra long hair.  The extra length makes it easier to style in different ways.

DSCF1575 DSCF1576

So fun!

I’ve also been debating whether or not I should keep my shop open these next few months, with the new baby and all.  I think I will try to keep it open for now, since the orders have been so slow.  And we will just have to see how I handle a newborn and an Etsy shop!

A fun request

Just a quick little post, since I haven’t blogged about dolls in quite a while.

One of the things I love about my little shop is the ability to do custom jobs for people.  My doll business has been slow, but I do have the occasional order trickling in, and this one was creative.  It was from a lady who is expecting her second daughter.  She asked me to make a big doll and a little doll, as a fun way to announce to her oldest daughter that she was going to be a big sister.

She wanted them to match, but not be identical, and she wanted autumn themed dresses, since both the girl’s birthdays will be in the fall.

This was the first 18 inch doll I have sold.  Exciting!

DSCF1489

And her little sister.

DSCF1497

I love it when people give me a lot of freedom to design the dresses.  I had fun with these leafy, ruffly ones.

DSCF1494

She also requested that I stitch their names on the dresses.  I think she has awfully good taste in names, eh Domekia?

DSCF1491 DSCF1496

Yay for sisters!

DSCF1495