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More of my Spirit Doll

I was keen to use as much stuff I had on hand as humanly possible so I dragged out an astonishing number of bins and boxes and other storage containers. This is 100% my pre-WOYWW disaster desk. Keep it in mind when ou see (hopefully) how tidy it is tomorrow.

Honestly, there are scrapbooking supplies that have not looked at in YEARS in that mess. Let me share this one and what I ended up using – I have so many metal embellishments and frankly I used a lot of the “good” ones over the years. I liked the idea of the washers-with-words, but the words did not speak to me.

I used some plain washers instead, painted gold to match the face. So those three will go back in their bin for a while longer.

I wanted to use them with another few scrapbooking things – I have no idea where the orange flat circle came from, but 100% a scrapping thing. As was the flower cluster, built and held together with a large brad. I thought stacked with the flower and the orange thing, a gold face would be nice. A lick of paint and the head began to take shape.

So again, not all photos saved. but I do have some shots of the faces I made. Sculpy air dry clay and some face molds. Some of them are a bit weird. Creepy even. I like the one I ended up using, and maybe if I could sculpt at all I might be able to alter the others, or paint them, but for a spirit doll, I wouldn’t want it to have a human like face.

The final head turned out well, I think. And the beaded damselfly as well.

I had some beaded ribbon, bought on a trip back to the US in probably the early 2000s, that I finally found a use for! And the black beaded strand too – it perfectly matched the stripey fabric! I used it on a freeform quilt and on a charity quilt I made ages ago and have quite a bit left.

LOL! That charity one I shared in 2013. I NEVER seem to be able to throw anything away. Anyway, back to the doll:

Hang on – let me take a better photo of her. I’m getting close to the limit for free image storage on my blog, so I don’t often take large photos but I think she’s worth it.

Maybe I should pose her a bit better. Oh well. My back is BETTER but not perfectly well yet and there is still a ton of stuff to do so I’ll leave it there.

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A few projects on the go…Spirit Doll first.

FINALLY, my back is approaching normalcy. And FINALLY the Cat + Son transport is getting sorted and an arrival date for both should come TODAY. Well, I hope so anyway. I have been working on a challenge for an online group, to make a spirit doll. OK, yeah, so if yo have spent ANY time here you know I do not buy in to all that airy fairy, mystical, goddess, moon cycle stuff. If you do, I am glad you gain comfort or strength from it. I don’t. But from a purely arty viewpoint, making a spirit doll seemed … fun. At one point, a friend of my MIL was going to make one for darling daughter. Her work was amazing. But she had a change of circumstance and stopped all her art while we were still in the planning and picking fabric stage. Anyway, I thought I would have a bash. First off, I was thinking about an embellishment. Weird angle to come at it, but hey ho. I had stumbled across something I made, easily 20 years ago. A little beaded mermaid.

I think she is adorable, still, but she wasn’t quite right. I dragged out my Beadlings book and found the Damselfly, which I thought would be nice made form the slightly larger beads I had on hand. About the same size as the mermaid, butI think larger beads kinda play with the scale, so the spirit doll looks…smaller, I guess.

It’s a simple process. You get a couple of sticks, wire them int a cross, add some toy stuffing then start wrapping loose strips of fabric around to build a body. You add an “intention” inside – and I did but somehow those photos disappeared into the ether. It was a small open-frame circle charm, stuck to fabric, with my intention added in typewriter font. Looked cute and hangs around her neck, under the wrapping layers. Annoying. As did most of the stages-of-wrapping ones. Bah! Somehow she went from the left photo to the right, with no steps in between.

There is a lot more embellishments to be added, and building the face/head part deserves a bit more time and thought so I’ll share more detail tomorrow – provided my ancient iPhone/camera cooperates. Grrr. I am enjoying it and have lots of ideas so hope you enjoy my process.

Gutted to have missed the WOYWW crop but will hope to see many photos on the hop on Wednesday!

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Doll repair!

So, I made this paper doll banner in 2010. Some of them just needed a bit of bracing with coffee stirrers – perhaps due to The Hubster piling a load of computer equipment on top of them as we hustled to clear rooms for the window guys. There was crushing and bending. My fault for picking a bad place to stash them, I guess.

They have been hanging in a window for a loooong time. The fading was inevitable.

And there were other problems. My poor Keep Calm doll lost nearly all of her gems from her wings – I was hoovering them up for a week!

I found a handful of options to replace the wings but none of them were ideal.

The final solution was to colour the pink wings with alcohol ink markers to make them red. Worked well! The previous location is not really possible anymore, as I am not replacing the tatty old curtain that used to block the sun from my eyes for parts of the day. You can see it there

So while the dolls are looking OK at the moment, where to secure them is harder.

Luckily it isn’t summer so opening the windows often is less of an issue. I’m trying a couple of options. Or will do once my damn fragile back recovers – I threw it out TYING MY SHOES FFS, had to settle for a Dr.s call vs a visit to the hospital for a face-to-face appointment, and am still dealing with very limited mobility.

By Saturday I expect I will feel up to scampering up a ladder to test out the proposed location. And maybe by next week they will be back in place. And I will hope to get a few of the ABC Challenge items done over the weekend as well.

Wish me luck!

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My sewing room is tidy too. What a relief….

Well. Glad that’s over LOL! I am not going to share again how much of a disaster my sewing room was. But the after shots do make me very happy!

Getting the yarn finally sorted out was a huge effort. Now it is all sorted by colour, which will make things a LOT easier. I am really enjoying my knitting machine at the moment, especially for charity work, and you can see the dementia dolls at a previous stage on my sewing table above. The finished dolls are improved, I think. Originally they were like this:

The far too pale guy with those big round eyes was a problem. But adding some hair and replacing the eyes with softer yarn eyes helped a bit. I added a face to the blue boy, and a face, and had a go at a slightly different pattern for one final doll.

The yellow-haired girl was made from a very odd yarn, cotton crepe, which I just wanted to use up and was kinda the right colour. She has issues, but she is quite cuddly and the knitted dress was all done by cranking on the Addis. I also nailed the hair. The green boy had the individual strands (!) knotted in and it took HOURS to do. The blue guy only has a few wispy strands, as in the video, created from the ends of the eye threads (by far the easiest but only ok for boy dolls) and the largest pink dressed girl has total bed head – her hair is all over the place, but the texture of it is so soft and lovely, not going to change it now. The yellow ponytails were simple – I wrapped, cut, then sandwiched the strands between two sheets of deli paper. Carefully sewing over and over the middle of the strands both joined them and cut the deli paper so it tore away. A few stitches to secure the seam to the middle of the head and yarn ties to create the bunches and DONE. I will make this my go to girl hair from now on!

So then, now I can maybe get back to my art journal for a bit. That will be nice. I’ve been missing it!


Getting nowhere!

Yesterday ended up being as much of a black hole as Wednesday was, I’m afraid. I was keen to try to get another dementia doll done and kind rushed the process really. I had an idea to adapt the JoJo JuJu YouTube pattern that I had used before for the blue doll, but was (stupidly, I know) going on memory. Always a BAD idea. Especially since I often watch videos while on the treadmill at 2x speed.


The first mistake was making one super long tube then looking at it and thinking I should have split it. Without going back to look at the video I went back to an old knitting trick for adding an afterthought heel and locked up stitches either side of a round, then snipped the thread and split the tube.

then it was treadmill time, so I watched the vide again and realized no, I didn’t need to split the tube, I needed to make two tubes. AND the tubes should have been on the 46 pin machine, not the 22 pin one! DOH! I ended up doing two tubes of black (cause I added 10 rows of that to make shoes and lengthen the doll a bit more) and white cheap yarn, then stuffed the existing tubes with those. That meant that the fact I used the smaller machine didn’t matter – that arms and legs were more substantial, if still thin. He ended up like this – kinda scary. I can’t help but think of the line A Whiter Shade Of Pale. Poor thing. I just don’t have enough flesh coloured yarn in aran weight!

Not sure if adding hair will help The colour of the yarn is almost exactly the same for the girl doll and this guy but he looks anemic and she doesn’t!

So the last photos are really just an explanation of what I will be doing at least for today and maybe over the weekend! When I am in full swing, I tend to just push on, not tidying up after myself till I am done. So, yeah.

Tat would be my mostly never seen sewing room. This shot barely captures the horrific state of it at the moment. So while I found some flesh coloured yarn (cotton, and too thin, really) and I want to attempt to use the same “inner tube/outer tube” trick to see if I can make a doll with it, I am determined to sort my shit out! I am sure I will be WAY more efficient if I am not spending 20 minutes hunting for a yarn needle, or my loom pick in the mess of my desk. So, today is tidy up day for sure. Sorry my posts have been less than inspiring but I really want to make these dolls – dementia has effected people in my family and I know it is a horrible disease. The story one of the dementia helpers relayed (about one of the ladies, who previously just sat, barely engaging in her surroundings, walking in to the lounge of her care home, seeing one of my early dolls and gasping, running to it, and spending the day stroking it’s hair, cuddling and rocking it, and engaging with others as well) just made me realize that it was worth doing.

And so, I crank on – or will do, after my tidy up session!

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Another layer of mess on the desk!

Apologies to late WOYWW visitors, for being late myself! Yesterday ended up being a bit of a black hole of chaos. We had a delivery and installation of a towel bar radiator and some additional sockets put in the lounge. Don’t gasp, but we actually reclaimed five (yes FIVE) power strips at the end of those tasks, mostly cause the additional sockets included not only two plugs but two USB ports.

Earlier in the day I had read a plea from the local craft group for more Dementia Dolls. I made these in the past and knew, with the Addi I could crank out one or maybe two in a flash.

But the making of the hair and the sewing up, split between making cups of tea and answering questions from the electrician, took the rest of the day. I was experimenting with less wool/quicker patterns, and managed these two.

Same chair LOL! the large one on the right is pretty much the same size as the original, maybe a tiny bit smaller, while the other one is a totally different sort of construction, with the clothes added in the knitting of the doll – important, as I don’t have an endless supply of doll clothes from darling daughter’s long-ago Cabbage Patch doll obsession. I need to look at it a bit more closely and tweak it, because I can surely make it taller and more substantial by stuffing the arms and legs both. It will never be as big as the one knit in pieces, but it will be bigger. Also a boy doll with a hat needs no hair, really so that is a win for sure. I haven’t made a face for the boy doll yet but should manage that today. And might try to alter the pattern and make another today before Craft Club meets on Friday. Then it’s just a matter of getting it to them.

The real issue is this all delayed me clearing up my desk, which now has another layer of a different craft all over it!

I really cannot avoid tidying up, my desk here and my sewing room, because I simply cannot do anything until I sort it out. And then finish the WOYWW list, cause even my desktop in front of my computer is a disaster, full of needles and stuffing wodges and snipped scraps of yarn. I simply cannot work like this!

Back tomorrow with maybe another doll and hopefully a clean workspace so I can art journal on the weekend! Wish me luck LOL!


So sidetracked….

On WOYWW day I saw the coolest dress form, altered in a spectacular way, by Bella.  I urge you to go see hers cause mine is a very poor imitation.  OK, well not really an imitation except in the sense that it is also a dress form, sort of.  I just loved hers but of course I had not full size dress form, and no place to put one even if I did make it.  But it got me wondering if it would be possible to create a 3D dress form out of cardstock.

Funnily enough, the other day, while hunting for something completely unrelated (possibly loom band stuff, I can’t quite recall how I got there, and by there I mean a Pinterest board) I had seen a cardboard necklace display that now leapt into my mind as a possible solution. I had to hunt for it, and never did find the Pinterest board, but the photo here looks just like what I remember.  Problem is, there wasn’t then, nor now, an actual template.  DOH! The first step was to grab my curvy ruler and draw one out.  I could see the shape well enough to get close.


The proportions aren’t quite the same for mine but they are close enough.  Mine is made of a sheet of quite stiff A4 card, but what you see above is actually my attempt to create half of the form on an A4 sheet so I could make a bigger one at some point, and figure out how to alter it so it can lay flush against the wall.

I was really in to it, and my camera batteries were dead, and DH had unplugged the charger so he could plug-in the back-up disk so I could only sneak a few shots before the darn thing died totally. But here it is.  No sense of perspective, really, but the box=pleat skirt is folded from two 6 x 12 strips of scrapbooking paper, to give you and idea.


The wings were cut on the Cricut in black then lined with a soft green glitter adhesive sheet – I thought the colour went well with the green from the London A to Z pages that I decoupaged over the form. The little house reminded me of olde-worlde London terrace blocks but are actually one of my Zetti stamps – the one where I split the stamp, removing the eyes that were originally part of it.

Th gears are tin foil, adhered to cardboard and alcohol inked.  It’s an X-cut set.  The stand is an old candlestick. Poor thing, she is very flat-chested, but making 3D paper boobies was completely beyond me.

You can see the back is laced and the skirt is attached to the inside core of a roll of glue dots.  I always save them, so handy.


Overall I am happy with it – for what it is.  Considering I made it from stuff I had kicking around, I think it is looking good so far.  I feel like it needs something else – a quote or some text, maybe, or an actual necklace or maybe flowers??  Not sure, but that seems to be a trend – I am riddled with indecision lately, never sure which way to go with things.  I might just shuttle it aside for now and look over to it for a bit and see if I get inspired.  Maybe tidy up my office AGAIN – that always reveals stuff that is hidden or buried and often I get an idea when I unearth it.  Well see.

I’ve had a go and taking my drawn template and making it digital, but am struggling to make those curvy lines look smooth.  but if I get it to the point I think it’s OK, I’ll add it.  I might just add the hand drawn one, warts and all, or re-draw it cleaner.  Or maybe just keep looking. surely there must be a template put there for download….




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Sunday-Someplace-Else (Child’s Own Studio)

I’ve held on to this link for a while, from back when I was deep in the throes of doll-making for DD.  She picked out various Anime characters for me to use for the faces of the dolls, and in searching for doll-making based on kid’s ideas, I found Child’s Own Studio.  I loved the idea but it wasn’t really helpful for MY needs at the time.  Still, I thought it was a genius idea.  Looking at the site it seems like she may have a backlog to work thru, but it might be worth bookmarking if you fancy the idea.  Or if you sew, maybe looking at the drawing/result duos might give you some ideas for interpreting your own child’s drawing as a toy.

One of my favorites is this one:

and this one! What kid wouldn’t love a soft toy that was so clearly made real from their own drawing?

Check out both the site and the Flickr photo stream for loads of example.  They are all perfectly rendered from the drawings, IMHO and too much fun!


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Making Dolls

My spirit of endeavor is strong!  But I have discovered a few things – the last Last Doll made with my MIL was a problem due to not getting the right cover fabric.  Well, I discovered that large, long sleeved tee-shirts from Primark in a nice apricot-y colour work perfectly for this (although I find sewing stretchy fabric fiendishly difficult.)  And at £2.50 each in the largest size they are an economical solution, cheaper even than the cost of the raw fabric from the fabric store!  Also, the dolls can wear 3 YO clothing – I got a pair of jammies at ASDA this AM that fit perfectly and cost me less in time and money than fabric would have done.

BUT the stretch tee-shirt fabric is quite tricky to do the facial features on as the paint and Sharpie tends to skim  the grooves.  Still I think it works well enough. I found a few anime Eyes Photoshop brushes and spent a lot of time with DD sorting out exactly which eyes she wanted, and which hair style, then converting those to things I could actually do.  She still needs one arm finishing and sewing on, and the hair glued in place, and trimmed, but more or less DONE!

Quite worryingly DD has ALREADY mentioned that maybe we can make ANOTHER one in the summer holidays.  Yes, Bev, the question of are they for me or her may seem an obvious one, but I promise if you heard the cursing I do while in the middle of the process that question would be answered – I also discovered that leaving the really tricky bits, like the fingered-hands, to my MIL last time was a mistake! I struggled a LOT with this, to the point she almost ended up with paddle hands, thumb only.  How you are meant to add a 1/4 inch seam allowance to a pattern that has less than then between the fingers I have no idea! How MIL managed it is a mystery to me.


Doll (finally) done!

If you found your way here from WOYWW, this is what you will be here to see:

The lovely Jasmine, in her leopard-spot jammies, sitting pretty in the chair, awaiting DDs return home from school.  Here is a close-up of her face:

and a look at the character she is meant to be based on:

She is the 2nd doll named Jasmine, although I am hoping for some success in convincing DD to change the original Jasmine’s name to something else, as she is an M&S big rag doll and a name like, oh, Emily, fits her MUCH better.

On the home front, DH is in the car, heading towards Heathrow with the in-laws.  A bit of a giggle, but when we were discussing travel arrangements, and I asked DH if he would drop them off or put them in a cab, as there was some question as to whether he would have to go in to London today.  FIL quipped “Best drop us off – you don’t want to leave anything to chance…”  Overall it has been a good trip – we always enjoy seeing them and it happens far too infrequently.  I am 100% sure Jasmine would have been still sitting naked with paddle hands rather than fingers and those diva-ish jammies had MIL not been around to help out!

I now have three weeks work of crafting projects to catch up on, a crop this week and perhaps one in a couple of weeks, a mountain of laundry to do and not a sunny day in sight, and a nearly full hard disk of backlogged TV to catch up on (I must have two full weeks of Eastenders waiting.)  Oh woe is me.  I should just admit nothing will be “back to normal” (whatever THAT is) till mid-January and give in…..