Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Bunny Season

    It's getting to be bunny season around here. The daffodils are starting to bloom, the maples are budding, the crocuses are up, and my nose is running... oh well, the rest are a lovely sight and the breath of spring bush in my backyard smells absolutely amazing. So Spring is definitely making an appearance. It's a bit soon and I'm a little worried that we'll have another frost that will set everything back but I'm enjoying it while I can. 
     But back to bunnies! These two sweet sisters are now here at the Nest and in my Etsy shop.


         Aren't they fun?! And lots of sweet details on these two as well.
          And of course they have angora tails for that bit of real bunny! 

Friday, February 2, 2018

From Concept to Finish - Designing A Doll

    I started this year off really wanting to try my hand at something new on the doll making front so I started poking around the studio looking into boxes of materials I've saved for that semi-mythical "someday" (you know that day, the one where you'll actually use that bag of corks or those gorgeous vintage handkerchiefs, making something wonderful that you've pinned on Pinterest. We all have them, right? Or is it just me?) and I came across this -

 This is a box full of weaving yarn ends that a friend gave me several years ago. They're the part of the warp that's left over after the weaving is finished and removed from the loom. My friend Carol, along with her partner Mac, make gorgeous wool and cotton throws  and she was looking for someone who might be able to reuse these yarn pieces. How could I say no to such woolly gorgeousness? So I took them home and put them in a box and, even though I've used pieces here and there over the years, I still have an overflowing amount. But...suddenly...inspiration struck. Wouldn't these make the most lovely rag doll hair? Why, yes they would! See?

    So now I just had to make a pattern. I wanted these dolls to be as simple as possible so I could keep the costs down and I had a general idea of how I wanted them to look so I started graphing and drawing.

 As you can see there were lots of notes and redos and crossing outs but after much trial and error I had something I could try. This little lady was my first attempt.

 I actually loved pretty much everything about her. But I did decide on a few changes for the next dolls. Mostly just process changes but I did go with prints for the legs this time.

        And I turned the yarn bundles into wefts so I could sew them on. Though this wasn't quite as easy as I expected, those flatter heads are a surprisingly challenging to cover. I'm used to round ones I guess.

 Once they were all done, and of course given lace trimmed drawers since people ALWAYS look up a doll's dress, I was so happy with how they turned out. And being me, I had to make a little darkling as well.

 I love her little raised eyebrow!

    Though I'm super in love with this one too 

Heck, I think they're ALL pretty wonderful...but I'm definitely biased. You'll have to judge for yourself. 

     You can find all five girls in my shop!

Monday, January 8, 2018

All in the Details

I decided to start the year off by trying some new techniques for this little bunny's clothing. I've seen the cutest girl's dresses with appilque so I thought I'd give it a try and I'm pretty pleased with the results. What do you think? 

I learned some dos and don't in the process for next time; turn with the needle down on the outside of the zig (..or zag?) being a big one, and seriously there will definitely be a "next time". I also went with buttons on the back of her dress instead of snaps which meant figuring out sewing buttonholes, something which actually turned out to be much easier than anticipated. I found a great tutorial here ( though I used a seam ripper instead of a razor) and they really help the lay of the sweater in the back. Who knew!? Well probably everybody but hey, I do too now.  And these antique carved shell buttons are so so cute!

One of my favorite parts of doll making is the tiny details. It's nice to add some new ones to my repertoire!

You can find this Miss in the shop right now! Just click on her photo below.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy 2018!

Hello everyone! I thought I'd try and start the year off on the right foot this time and actually write a New Year post on time! Woo Hoo! (Try not to faint.) 2018 was a pretty rough year for the world; war, hurricanes, fires, floods, and of course the dumpster fire that is our government these days. There were lots of good moments too but the bad news seemed to be overwhelming so much of the time. So I've decided to post my all time favorite New Year's wish from the marvelous Neil Gaiman.  He wrote this (runs to check)(Wow!),18 years ago. So many years, so much has happened, and still this wish continues to say best what I hope for everyone I care about. 

"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself."
             -Neil Gaiman

May 2018 bring all of that plus love and joy, lots of joy, to all of us. 

(The photo is of a "super moon" that I took one mostly cloudy evening. I was so lucky to catch the moon when she peeked out for just a moment. See? Magic!)
 (Also I plan on resisting my heart out again in 2018! So there's that!)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Dragon Development

So here is my Dragon Xander with his rider Callista and, as promised, I'm going to tell you a bit about how I made them. 
I started with a wonderful dragon pattern by Melinda Small Patterson which you can find on her website

I knew even before I began that I wanted to make some modifications. I wanted the hands and wings to be separate so I started by designing my own patterns for those and then I modified the head pattern to give it a thinner shape. I first made a muslin mock up and then cut out and stitched up the pieces in the material I'd chosen.

 At this point I realized that the hands were too small and the feet too big so it was back to the drawing board. Sigh...I was hoping to eliminate that with the muslin mockup but I just didn't see the problem at that point. I actually ended up redoing the wings and tweaking them a bit as well.

 I added quite a bit of armature to my dragon as the original pattern only had it in the arms and legs and the tail was filled with sand.  I added wires to the neck, tail, head, and fingers to begin with and then, because the legs had a tendency to splay and slump, I went back and put in hip armature so he could stand steady with a rider. That was fun...yeah no...but it worked and he stands pretty darn steady now! Finally I eliminated the mane, painted wooden beads for the eyes, added extra eyelids and some pointy fangs. Voila!

 I'm so so happy with the end result and I definitely learned a lot during the process!

Friday, July 21, 2017

How is it JULY already!?

What is it they say about the best laid plans? Sigh. My plan to update my blog more regularly this year has certainly been a bust so far. Half the year is gone already! How the heck did that happen?
I think it's because I've been pretty down in the dumps and having trouble getting my dollmaking mojo on track. The 2017 news of the world has been so overwhelmingly awful that it's been really hard to focus.  I have done some work though and I'll share a quick round up of that. 

First I made quite a quite a few of these little resistance pixies. They were my way to show my feelings about the state of things and a way to give back as well. Half of all the profits went to Planned Parenthood and I was very pleased to donate just over $500.00! (I'm still happy to make them so if you want one just let me know through the contact page. They are $60+shipping) 


       There were 3 bunnies with Peter Pan collars and hand knit accessories...

          and a couple of commissions. This happy little forest fairy... 

 and then then these two so sweet sisters for a very proud grandma.

 Lately I've been working on a project that I've been wanting to make for ages! Can you guess?

Yep! A Dragon!! I started with the pattern by Melinda Small Patterson but I made quite a few changes. I promise a blog post on all that next week! I'm really going to try to get back into the posting groove...hopefully more successfully this time! So what have you been working on lately?

Friday, January 27, 2017

Starting in on a New Year

I'm a bit late getting around to my January blog post this year. Usually I have a Happy New Year post up the first week, but this year the first two weeks of 2017 were spent dealing with the mother of all cold viruses that struck me and just about everyone I know and the next two were spent trying to catch up again. Not a very auspicious start to the year. Especially when one of my resolutions was to blog more...ACK! 

But I'm here at last and I do mean to try and get here more often and have more tutorials this year as well. Is there anything in particular you'd like to see? If so let me know! 

I've put a few Valentine dolls in the shop, including a couple of lavender baby sets. 

I make these very rarely anymore, in fact I think they might be one of the tutorials I do this year if there's any interest. 
And then this little sweetheart pixie. Isn't she adorable? I love her sweet little face so much.

So Happy belated New Year to you all and (fingersrossed) I'll be back soon!