Sunday, December 24, 2006

Art Doll Adventures

Li Hertzi wrote a new art doll book, and it looks like it's going to be published in the very near future. I absolutely can not wait to get my hands on it! I know this book is going to be fantastic...
(I did a doll for this book!)
Visit Rockport Publishers to see a blurb about it. The book can be pre ordered at
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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Mermaid Scales

I am participating in a round robin swap, which is finally coming to a close after a whole year and a half! I'm still waiting for my Doll, Mrs. Flattenstein, to head home, but Linda Danielson's doll made it.

I was so delighted when I saw this completed picture. I was one of the first to add to the doll! When the mermaid arrived to me in Israel, she was hardly a mermaid. Basically just a cardboard cut out with a bit of fabric glued down on her bottom! I created her scales right on that fabric, and am glad to tell you how!


gel medium
plastic rubber bands (the kind you buy for hair, which are used at the ends of small braids or baby hair)
"wax cream"- I'll explain what this is in a minute.

1. Spread the gel medium on the work surface. Be generous.
2. Lay out the hair bands. Use tweezers to spread them out.
3. Allow to dry.

Next you will need to use that "wax cream" I mentioned before. What is it?
I'm not sure what this is called in English. I am certain it must exist in North America, Australia, etc, but this stuff is very, very popular in Israeli craft art. It would be safe to say that no art store in the country doesn't carry it. It's like going to a stationary store and looking for a pencil. Funny enough, wax cream happens to be manufactured in Europe, not Israel.

Wax cream is most commonly used for antique style art. After applying a crackle medium over a painted surface, you smear it over the dried surface, then wipe it off with oil. The wax which got into the cracks remain there, and you have a crackle effect.
The wax cream comes in a small jar. It has metallic pigment in it. It can be hard (like the consistency of a crayon that rubs off on your fingers) or sometimes very soft and creamy (almost like vaseline). It depends on the manufacturer and the project you are working on. For this mermaid, I needed the harder wax because I did not intend to wipe it off, and I didn't want it to be like paint.

You can make it yourself by mixing Pearl Ex metallic pigment powder into melted beeswax. Or, try a gold crayon. A high quality artist crayon, of course, oil based.! If it doesn't rub off on your hands, then try heating it in the microwave for a couple of seconds, to make it a tiny bit softer.

Let's continue:
4. After the rubber band-gel medium surface is dry, spread the wax cream all over. Since it's wax (not paint) it will go heavily on the bands, and much lighter on the under-surface. You won't recognize them as rubber bands any more!

I got this idea from a popular technique typically used on picture frames, wooden boxes and other things where you would want to alter the surface. You can put papier mache, clay, or plaster on a simple frame, in order to create a decorative surface (like the rubber bands and gel medium) then paint with a dark color or antique medium. Then rub the wax cream over this. It's very pretty.

Here is a picture of the technique being done on a plain wooden box, using plaster instead of my rubber band concoction. You can see the steps. The bottom left picture shows the actual wax cream being applied.

Click on the image to make it larger.
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TZOOMI puppets from Israel

Aren't these adorable?
They are VERY Israeli looking. Israelis adore puppets, and hold them in high esteem, too.

Tzoomi Puppets is an Israeli puppet company which has a special philosophy for their wonderful puppets. Just as they have big open/close mouths which can say and express just about anything, they are so lovable and cheerful they encourage children to do the same.
In Israel, we are not without our share of misfortunate troubles. Terrorism, war and other traumas take their toll on kids. These wonderful puppets are designed to help.
The word "Tzoomi" means "attention." When a child acts out or whines, you would say "she wants tzoomi." THe name is very clever indeed. Not only do Tzoomi puppets get attention because they are so adorable, but they have a worthwhile mission.

Here is a short movie clip presentation about them. You can see the puppets in person, but the people are speaking in Hebrew. They are discussing how helpful they are for trauma therapy.

Remember Sesame Street? No wonder those puppets were so effective. Jim Henson was a genius, wasn't he?
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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Curling Doll Hair

REGINA By Patti LaValley

Here is a fantastic trick you can try for making curly doll hair. It works on mohair, synthetic hair and even YARN!
Rejuvinate corkscrew curls, or start from scratch. It's suprisingly easy and fun to do.

1. Heat knitting needles in the oven at a low temperature. You'll want to use the thick size- and they need to be all metal.
2. Carefully remove them from the oven. They should be hot to the touch but not so hot that you burn your fingers. (If they burn your skin they will burn the fibers!) If possible, wear cotton gloves.

You have just created miniature curling irons for dolls!

3. Wrap the hair around the knitting needle, and hold in place as you would in the hair salon ^*^
You can get corkscrew curls using this method.

I learned this from Patti La Valley. She has some adorable cloth doll patterns with homemade curly hair.
Follow the links to see her wonderful curly-haired dolls, Cassandra and Regina
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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

My Antique Doll- finished!

I finally finished my cloth Arranbee doll... I did the face in Van Gogh Oil Paint. Oh what a pleasure it is to paint in oil! It takes a long time, but the result is so beautiful. Believe it or not, I could swear that I can't draw! Somehow the oil paint feels like magic.

SIDE VIEW See the sweet curls created with a generous amount of paint!

Here's a view of the whole doll, with a simple dress I designed just for her-

I mentioned previously that I'd have a class available ... my computer went down and I lost my hard drive- and unfortunately- all the pictures for this class. So, I think I'll skip the class after all! The pattern will still be on the way, though!

This doll is for sale, by the way. She will make a treasured gift or a fabulous addition to your collection. I'll be listing her on ebay next week. If you are interested in her, or have inquiries about her, please contact me by visiting my website
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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tea Bag Dolls !!??!!

Now this is creative!

Sara Hansson of Sweden has a very unique mixed media art doll material- TEA BAGS!
When I first saw them, my interest was completely and immediatlely piqued!

She calls her tea bag dolls "Ms T" (of course!) Here is what she has to say about them:
"Ms T is a real poppet - she was designed and started in 1999 and is still going strong and I still make her - she is going on exhibition again next year ! Bless her cotton socks!! :0)

Tea bags are great paper to work with - they are very strong and wonderful colours! I have been working with them for about ten years now and it has become a standing joke! My husband is known as Mr tea bag - poor man!

How to do it? simple - drink tea then carefully open up the tea bag and empty out the used contents. rinse tea bag under the tap and dry !

I usually back the bags with a cotton material or muslin then stitch and stuff with normal wadding.

I have stamped them, latexed them, waxed them , stuffed them and quilted - I have made bags , hats, pictures and figures - "

Well you get the idea.... Is this amazing or what?

Sara is one lady whom I would LOVE to visit for tea!!!!
I am sure you will agree!

You can see more of Sara's work at her website and blog
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Monday, November 27, 2006

How to turn a photo into a pencil sketch

I had an idea.... what if I used the computer to turn a photo into a pencil sketch? Then I can transfer it to a doll face- without needing to know how to draw so well. All I'd need to do is "color it in." Isn't that fun? I think so!

I've been talking a lot about that Arranbee doll, so I decided to use that image as my example. You can use any photo you want. Make a doll of your best friend!

I used ADOBE PHOTOSHOP to do this technique. You may be able to use some other software, but I'm only familiar with Adobe Photoshop. If you know of another way to do this, let me know and I will publish it!

Here's how:
Step 1: Open your image in Photoshop, Choose
Image->Adjustment->Desaturate to change the photo to black-and-white.
Step 2: Click Layer-> Duplicate Layer, duplicate the background as background copy (click ok).
Step 3: Use Image->Adjustment->Invert, then the image will look like a negative.
Step 4: From the layer palette, set the blending options as Color Dodge. (Layer palette it located on the bottom right.) Click on "normal," and a dropdown will open. The image will turn completely white.
Step 5: Choose Filter->Blur->Guassian Blur, set the radius 4 pixels.
Step 6: Choose Layer-> merge visible. You are done!

Now that you have your image, resize it so it is the right size for your doll's face. Print it on high quality paper, then use your favorite transfer technique to transfer the image.

Here's another example. This time I used a picture of myself.

What do you think?
Could be a useful technique....
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Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Peace Park

Visitors to Israel may wish to know that, situated near the imposing Baha'i Gardens in Haifa, is a small green and bronze jewel of a place- מצפור שלום Mitzpor Shalom, The Peace Park. The Peace Park is a piece of history- a garden in which 29 works of art are installed- life-size and life like sculptures created by Ursula Malbin. Over sixty of her eighty two years of life were spent creating quietly, diligently, without publicity or the support of any art gallery, affluent sponsors of artworks.
Ursula Malbin's sculptures, representing children, young men, women and animals, are marked by excellent craftsmanship, imbued with a serene buoyancy and set off by an occasional touch of humor.

URSULA MALBIN was born on April 12, 1917, in Berlin to Jewish parents, both doctors of medicine. She herself was trained to become a cabinet-maker. In 1939 after her family had already left (just a few weeks before World War II began) she fled Nazi Germany alone, penniless and without a passport.

She was in Geneva when the war broke out, and there she met the sculptor Henri Paquet, whom she married in 1941. Ursula and Henri have a daughter Claudine born in 1945, who has two sons.

Since 1967, Ursula Malbin has divided her creative life between the Artists’ Village of Ein Hod in Israel and the village of Troinex near Geneva in Switzerland.

Malbin’s work is special in its simplicity, in its fragile yet graceful depiction of the human form, and in its celebration of the enduring beauty of life despite all vissitudes. To maintain the purity of her inspiration, the artist works without models, relying only on her imagination for the pure, sculptured indication of her own attitude to life.

Over the years, Malbin’s works have found their way into parks, gardens, schools, hospitals and private collections in Europe and North America. One original of each of her creations is donated to the Sculpture Garden in Haifa that opened to the public in 1978.

Mitzpor Shalom is the first park in the world dedicated solely to the works of one sculptress.

Would you like to visit the park? Here's a sweet movie to watch...
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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Aranbee in Cloth- and CONTEST!

Last Month, October 27 to be exact, I posted a touching story about a very special antique doll. It was an R&B (Aranbee) doll with a cloth body and vinyl head and limbs, still in the loving care of her original owner. I was given the honorable task of restoring the cloth body. The doll is so charming, I fell in love with her while working on her. I decided to recreate the doll- precisely and exactly- in cloth.

Absolutely Adorable, isn't she?

The new pattern is an EXACT duplicate of the R&B. The body, of course, is cloth to begin with. (I did make a few changes so as not to infringe on any possible copyright issues). The head and limbs had to be recreated- instead of vinyl, they are cloth. The new cloth version is exactly the same measurement and shape as the original.
She has "real" disc joints that hold the arms and legs in place, just like the original R&B. I had to invent a way to make the pattern "work," since there are wooden discs in the vinyl arms and legs to prevent them from collapsing and "popping out" of the body. Since this is a cloth pattern, it posed a very big challenge. A very interesting technique!!! See how the disc joints make them stable enough to stand alone!
This doll was a very special challenge for me. I've got the pattern down pat, and I decided to go ahead and write an online class. I'll need to make her a dress. I think I'll make something fancy, so she can be a baby princess! I'm a slowpoke sometimes, especially when accuracy is so important- as with this marvleous doll. As soon as everything is ready, I'll announce the class.
Interested? Want to know right away? If you leave me a comment I will send you a personal email. You can subscribe to my blog, too.
I think the entire class should be all ready in February.

OH and I will make the price of the class VERYVERYVERY reasonable. (A great deal!) I really want everyone to have a wonderful doll like this....She's truly special.

Do you like to draw faces? Want to try and duplicate this doll face?
The winner will get a free class and pattern! I can't wait to see the results!!
Sign up by leaving a comment, and I'll post the entries on my website.

RULES are simple- just draw a face on a piece of cloth, paper, whatever.
No hair, ears, etc. Just the face (eyes, nose, mouth, etc).
Pretend you are coloring on a doll's head.

The outline is being provided in pdf format. Just click here to be carried elsewhere, where you can pick it up. (It's not possible to upload pdf documents on a blog unfortunately... not yet at least!)
Send entries to me at
The template is actually the general shape of the "face" part of the head pattern. So if you color on fabric, you will be able to use it for the doll.
Hint: The doll is made from felt. I recommend a thick fabric. You can use robe velour, doe suede, etc. Cotton will work also, but i like the look of the doll best in a heavier weight fabric (to mock the vinyl).

Entries will be displayed on my website.

Faces are due February 23.
Thanks for looking!
Happy Faces Everybody!
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Monday, November 13, 2006

Yarn Balls?

Yes, yarn balls!
What are those for? Well....they are part of a fun Torso Pattern. In fact, these yarn balls belong to Firefly, the faerie in my logo and whose wings tutorial was demonstrated in yesterday's post.
Intrigued? Great! Please follow me to my website, where I uploaded a free pattern.
(I think you might have an idea about what the yarn is for...)

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Faerie Wings

I'm crazy for fairies. I love them! I think faeries should be free! Everyone should have one of these wonderful creatures. So, I've decided to share a free wings tutorial and a free pattern with you.
The pattern is in .pdf format, and I'm still contemplating how to get it onto my blog. Tomorrow maybe, the next day... wings today!

Here we go...
1. Begin with a template. This template is adapted from Patti Medaris Culea's Goldenrod doll pattern, which can be found in her third book, Creative Cloth Doll Courture. I enlarged the pattern and made it a bit more simple (less detailed).

2. Place the template underneath a teflon pressing sheet, butcher paper or or a piece of bakers parchment paper. The design should show through the paper.

3. Trace the template by squeezing Translucent Liquid Sculpey (TLS)onto the paper, along the lines you see from underneath. Sprinkle Pearl Ex Pigment powder onto it afterwards. I used purple.

4. To create "veins," use some beading wire to complete the wing outline. Just cut it and carefully place it in. The TLS is like glue, so it will hold the wire in place. Hold the wire down with tape. Nothing will happen when you heat set the TLS later.

5. Now that the veins are in place, add a layer of Angelina Fiber. I used Gold Iris Mix and Crystal Amethyst. Afterwards, sprinkle in more Pigment powder. I used a bit of Gold and Pearl.

To iron, simply place another layer of baking paper (teflon sheet, etc) over the wet wing, and iron.

7. Carefully peel the wing off the paper.

8. Paint the "veins." I used antique gold.

You can add some beads to the wings for a bit of glamour. I attached Swarovski crystals to the tips.

Check back again soon for the paper pattern!
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Monday, November 06, 2006

Cameo Heirloom Treasure Box

On my mother's visit to me in Israel this past May, she brought along with her some heirlooms of my late grandmother's (her mother). Among them were some lovely antique brooches, including a splendid Cameo.
I am afraid to lose them, and I don't really wear pins anyway. They sit in my jewelry box and get swished around in there. Nobody gets to see them or enjoy them, and it feels like an incredible waste. I decided to create something which would showcase these antiques and create a feeling of appreciation for the valuable heirloom treasures that they are.

I began with a simple wooden box purchased in a craft store. I painted it "Victorian Green," and applied crackle medium for an antique flair. I created "corners" with rubber stamps and polymer clay, and roses to pull the antique theme together. Acrylic paint was used to color the roses and corners. I put turquoise liquid chalk on the metal hinge and in the "corners" for an old tarnished look. The "rope" design around the cameo is made in the same manner. Finally, I added tiny ruby red gem stones to add a little sparkle.
Everything is glued down with Golden Gel Medium, which is permanent enough to hold things in place, but will not cause damage to the antiques in the case that they may need to be removed someday.

On the very front of the box lid, I secured a brooch that has my grandmother's initials, IGB. The 'B' is from her maiden name, which means the brooch must be at least 70 years old.
Next I decided that I would present this box to my mother. The heirlooms belonged to her mother and I want her to have them. I'm sure they just "sat" in her jewelry box too! I thought this would be the most wonderful sentimental gift, and to make it even more special I personalized the box with old-fashioned "buttons" to spell out my mother's name. The buttons are made from polymer clay,then stamped with 'old typewriter' rubber stamps. The color of the buttons was achieved by brushing on metallic Pearl Ex pigment powder before baking. After baking, I used a needle to paint the letters with white paint. Looks really nostalgic, doesn't it?
I found a dreamy 'music-theme' artists' paper in Somerset Studio Magazine, Sept/Oct 2005. The paper is meant to be used in art projects. I love the colors because they blend beautifully with the cameo, and the music theme is perfect because the cameo has a harp in it. Splendid!

The trim on the dividers inside the box are actually beads from an old necklace. I think they are made of brass. I know I would never wear the necklace, but I liked the beads because they could be used as "treasure." I painted the beads with a dab of antique medium and more liquid chalk. Isn't it amazing what you can do with just a little bit of imagination?

Someone asked me about liquid chalk in the comments box. Do they have this in America? It's marketed by a company called Palda, which is very well-known in Israel. There is another company on the label called Tex & Co. One's written in English, the other in Hebrew. What the difference is- I'm not sure! Press here to visit Palda's website. It's in Hebrew, but it may be fun to poke around!

In Hebrew, this product is called "korozya." Sounds like 'corrosion,' which is exactly the look it creates!

Korozya has a thicker consistency than paint. It really feels like chalk that's been mashed and blended with water. However, once it dries, it won't get dusty and blow away. It's hard like stone!
Do you like my Cameo Heirloom Box? I think it's an absolute treasure. My mother's birthday is coming up in just a couple of weeks, and the box is currently on its way. I absolutely can't wait to hear her reaction!
And Mom- when you read this, and I know you will- I love you.
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