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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Oh, and something else I have been toying around with.
Hats!

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So much fun!

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So let me know what you think!

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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!

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And her little sister.

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

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

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Yay for sisters!

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Back to Business

Well, it’s been a struggle getting back in the saddle, business wise. Maybe something to do with Christmas and travel and jet lag and pregnancy and home school and well, that’s seems to be enough to be getting on with. I have had second thoughts about reopening my shop at all, since there will be a new baby thrown into the mix in a few months. But after all the work it took getting things off the ground, I hate to let it go entirely. Besides which, I already have a few new orders and I wanted to show you my newest doll!

She may not seem all that different, since her face and hair are pretty much the same, but she is actually a much larger doll. There are small details as well, like the fact that her hands actually have fingers!DSCF0978

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Since her clothing is larger, I am able to do more Alabama Chanin-esque detail work on it as well. DSCF0988

I even decided it was time to play around with something other than dresses for this girl.
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I got a lot of feedback about my dolls over the holidays, but one thing I heard several times was that the dolls I had made were smaller than anticipated. Apparently it was difficult to tell the size of the doll from the pictures. I advertised them as twelve inches, but I admit they are a very petite 12 inches. So sorry if you were misled! My new doll is 18 inches and a big boned 18 inches at that. I decided to make a twin doll in the old size for comparison’s sake, with a measuring tape, so you can get a better idea.
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It was funny making this new doll. She just seemed so overly enormous, after the delicate girls I had been working with for so long, but I like how she turned out in the end. She is quite comparable to an American Girl doll in size.

And here are a few more shots of them together- Big sister and little sister, if you will.
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So there we are, back in business! I am playing around with pricing still, so if you have any questions, let me know!

Last Call

Just a quick little post to let folks know (in case you haven’t noticed ) that Thanksgiving is next week!

I ran out of the stock I had of doll blanks last week, but am working on a dozen more for any of you who were still hoping to get one before the holidays.

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But seeing as time is running short, it takes me some time to make the dolls, and shipping is slower come December, I am asking that all orders be placed before the end of November if possible.

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We are also going to be on vacation in just a few weeks, and I cannot take my shop with me! So if you know of anyone who wanted a doll, (or a horse or rabbit) spread the word.

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If you have already placed an order, or aren’t interested in dolls per se, stick around. I am hoping to use my vacation as time to come up with some new ideas for my shop!
P.S. There may be squirrels and hippos involved.

Photos, thanks and thoughts

Oh, the blog is suffering. At it’s inception, I somehow had the energy to post three, maybe four posts a week. And now, here I am sneaking in a short one one Saturday night, just to say I posted twice this week. There are many reasons for this. Number one of course being that first trimester pregnancy drains all my energy and creative thought. And second, I have had so many orders that I have hardly had time to think about how tired I am. It’s great!
Thanks to my friends and family, my etsy ratings have gone up and more and more complete strangers are buying from me. I have had orders from unknown people in California, Colorado, Michigan, and even New York city. Three separate orders have come from Canada. They seem to love my horses up there! And with all of those orders combined, we were able to purchase six plane tickets for Christmas, and even have some left over for Christmas presents! So thank you. God provides!
Here are a couple of dolls that I just finished for a good friend.

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20131116-211319.jpgThe blue skirt design is new, so if you are interested, let me know.

And I love the green eyes on this young lady.

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If I had the time, I would love to start branching out a little more in my options. Maybe after the holidays, and once I am into my second trimester, I can start thinking of new stuff. I have had requests for different kinds of animals, especially foxes. Foxes are so hot right now. (name that movie) But it’s always tricky finding just the right pattern. I would maybe like to try a larger doll as well. Any other requests?

I have also been playing around with different skin tones on the dolls, and I found a lovely cotton in a pale brown that I thought would be nice. I wasn’t sure what ethnicity I was aiming for, but I cut it out, sewed and stuffed it and started in on the hair and eyes. By the time I was finished, I was less than pleased. Somehow, the brownish cotton had morphed into a gray- green color, reminiscent of a corpse.

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So if anyone is interested in a doll of this deathly hue, let me know. Maybe I could market her as a vampire or a zombie doll.
I’ve noticed also that the undead are so hot right now.

The twice baked doll

I have found that the greatest challenge in doll making is walking the fine line between cute and cuddly or downright scary. I have been looking for a pattern I really like, and found one online last week. It seemed like a simple enough doll, but I ended up redoing every part of her at least twice.
The first problem was the cotton jersey. It’s really stretchy and can wreak havoc with a straight seam. If you don’t cut it right on the grain, the limbs and torso start twisting into grotesque positions. I had to resew one of the legs not just twice, but four times until it would point forward. And don’t get me started on the face shape! The cheeks were impossible. One minute she looked like a chipmunk preparing for winter, the next a miserable girl who just had her tonsils out. I pulled out the stuffing, took a few more stitches, and restuffed her.
And then there were the facial features. I sketched an idea, looked at some patterns, traced the proportions and started in. I worked on her face until way past bedtime. She wasn’t exactly how I wanted, but I was tired and figured she would do. I couldn’t find her the next morning, and went to ask the boys. They were playing with her in the bedroom, and I overheard one of them saying,

“Hey guys, make way for the scary alien doll!”

Naturally I was offended. I went in to retrieve her and asked them if they really thought she was scary looking. With great gusto they replied,

” Oh yah mom, she’s super scary. But she’s cool.”

I almost gave up in disgust at that point, but then I figured I would at least give the poor girl some hair. I made her a wig out of yellow cotton jersey, and sewed it in place. I then asked the hubby if she didn’t look better with some hair on. He only said,

“Why did you part her hair in the middle?”

Now I was mad and determined. Off came the hair, off came the face, I did a side part and a bit more plastic surgery.

Next came the clothing. I thought purple would be nice, so I made a little purple dress with button trim. I put it on, and I just didn’t like it. I don’t know why, but I figured if I was going to all this trouble, I might as well dress her nicely. So I picked my favorite color- cherry red, and started in again. I liked this one better.

And then came the shoes. They were the only thing I didn’t do twice, and the only thing on this doll not made from upcycled cotton jersey. Maybe that’s a sign? They are made from wool felt left over from the short period my hubby built billiard tables as a side business. Did you know my hubby is a jack of all trades? I am so glad I saved it in my bottomless pit of a fabric chest all these years, because it is the very best quality felt you can find. So rest assured, this girl is well shod.

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So there she is. I have looked at her so long that I can’t tell what I think about her anymore, but she is finished and up for adoption if anyone is interested…