Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New Studio in Progress...

I’ve been, over the past couple of months, moving my art/sewing studio upstairs into DH’s old office space. It’s been taking a lot longer than expected, and I am by no means finished, but below is a little glimpse of my new room, so far. I still have more books and boxes of fabric to bring upstairs. The furniture is old and belonged to DH. We think all of his clutter actually protected these tables because they are nearly pristine. And, as you can see, my various and sundry machines fit very well. I actually have less space than I had before, but it’s so much better organized. I love working in here! Notice the dollhouse in the corner – a joyful impulse buy last year from Target (and a steal at $69.95)! And on one of the shelves, a few of my poor girls are all lined up in their skivvies waiting for their mom to sew for them! The big bolt of fabric (partially seen on the left, under the window) just arrived the other day from JoAnn’s and is twenty yards of PFD Kona cotton. I was down to my last eight inch square piece!

This room is right next to my music/TV room – so it will be convenient to navigate between the two spaces. Most of all, I am hoping all of this organization will lead to more productivity…

Friday, July 24, 2009

Ellowyne’s Summer Suit

I combined the new fitted skirt pattern with the vest pattern I made for my Ellowyne doll last year to create a basic summer ensemble from some scraps of khaki cotton. Ellowyne thought the outfit needed a little pizzazz so we added a big “brooch.” It’s actually a cheap plastic button from my stash. I simply used wire cutters to snip off the shank (so the button would lie flat). Easy! I’ll definitely be going through my junk button box to see what can be used as doll jewelry. It’s strange I hadn’t thought of cutting off the shanks of buttons before, because it really opens up a whole new world of embellishment possibilities.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cat Condo with Screened Porch…

Here is the temporary home for our new mom and babies. It’s a very old, reinforced screenhouse set back in the woods with a small shed attached. The shed is insulated and has a heater for the cold weather and a fan in the summer. The cats can go between the screenhouse and shed via a cat flap. As soon as we opened up their playpen (which we carried into the screenhouse, yesterday, they all ran into the shed to hide. The “floor” of the screenhouse is nice, new sand, but we had placed a small cardboard litterbox in the playpen for them. This afternoon, the little black kitten ran out of the shed and into his playpen to use the litterbox. How cute is that? By the way, the litter we are using is Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract. That is darned good stuff!

Monday, July 20, 2009


For the past few weeks, we’ve been feeding a feral cat and her two kittens. They were living in a sheltered area of the woods behind the house. Every morning and evening they would come into the yard for their breakfast and dinner. I had been sitting outside, reading, in an attempt to acclimate them to my presence, but they still remained very frightened and wary. We realized that in order to catch them, we’d have to come up with a gentle, but cunning plan. DH figured out a way to attach a cat flap to a large metal playpen and we started putting their food in it so they would get used to it. Then, in a stroke of pure genius, he rigged the flap so that it would close (and stay closed) simply by pulling a string from the kitchen window. This morning, when all three were having their salmon in the playpen, we got ‘em! We slid long poles through the metal at the top so we could safely transport the entire cage, "Ark of the Covenant" style!

We think the babies are about eight weeks old and are probably their mommy’s first litter. They are all completely wild so it’s going to take a lot of work to earn their confidence. I love cats but I do sometimes wonder why it seems to always be our responsibility to rescue them. And then I think of the words to a great song, “Treasure Island,” sung by Mary Black:

"O love is never easy
It's almost always out of your way
It's not the path of least resistance
It's not some words you get to say
It's a stream running up a mountain
It's a wave rolling out from the shore
Wish I could say I never felt that way before"

Pen with Cat Flap and String

Close-up of Flap


Wooden Poles



Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Wardrobe Basic for Ellowyne...

For quite some time, I have wanted to make a lined, modified pencil skirt to fit my Ellowyne doll, but didn’t have a pattern. Adapting elements from two commercial patterns for smaller dolls, I made up a pattern from paper toweling, cut and sewn to fit her proportions. This is Ellowyne’s friend, Prudence, modeling her custom fitted skirt. Since it’s made in denim, I lined it with thin white cotton to avoid the possibility of staining. Prudence is so happy with it; she wants another in khaki...

Friday, July 03, 2009

Violet Waters "Glissando" Wearing "Gold Sensation"

Here’s the newest addition to my doll collection, Gene Marshall’s BFF and famous jazz chanteuse, Violet Waters. She was very inexpensive on EBay but I bought her an articulated replacement body (see previous post to see what I’m doing with her old body).

Recycling Old Vinyl Doll Bodies

There are new articulated replacement bodies available for Gene Marshall doll collectors to upgrade their old beloved Gene dolls for more pose-ability. I just performed that easy operation on one of my dolls and was wondering what people do with the old bodies. I belong to a Yahoo group for Gene dolls and someone in the group suggested adding Styrofoam or wooden eggs to the necks and turning them into mannequins to display extra outfits. I found an abandoned needlesculpted cloth cat head (from a pattern in an old dollmaking magazine) and placed it on the neck of the old body. Perfect fit! Now, I have to figure out how to finish it. I will either add cloth ears and then paint it or I will add paperclay on top of the cloth and refine the sculpture a little more before painting.

Anyway, here are a few photos of the muslin-sculpted head. Check out that overbite!

Hope everyone is having a safe and happy holiday!