Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Penny for Your Thoughts (or thoughts about my Penny Doll...)

Please meet Eve, my Penny Doll. She is quite the lady, wouldn't you agree? She lives with me at work in the Seattle Design Center, and is the talk of the showroom. All the interior designers just love her!

This pretty necklace was a gift from my dear mother. It kind of pricks at me and is uncomfortable. I enjoy it more on the doll. It's perfect! The fabric on her front bodice is shirred. It's not difficult to do... Just hand baste several rows and gather them all together so it scrunches up.

Eve holds a parisol (fancy umbrella that is part of her courture, not raingear!) The parisol is made with silk as is her lovely handmade hat. I'll show you how to make one in a future post. It's easy!

The top of the parisol has a beautiful Swarovski Strass crystal on it. It came off a very expensive but damaged Schonbeck chandelier from the showroom that I work in. It's a real "found object!" The "handle" is made from a damaged antique silver spoon. The earrings are the most special of all. They belonged to my grandmother and are very precious to me.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Mirror Mirror in My Hand... Who's the Fairest in the Land?

Looking for a special gift to give that special someone?  Looking for something DIFFERENT?

This gorgeous doll face was created on a simple handheld mirror.  
She's made of paperclay, and painted with acrylic.  
Her hair is made of organza, dipped in Paverpol, and rubbed with a bit of antique gold.
It's easy to make (especailly with a push mold!)

The mirror is just made out of plastic.  Cover it up with masking tape or florists tape so the clay will stick, and walla!

Put some beads in the clay for a little pop.  Let it dry and then paint it.  When the paint is dry, put a coat of glossy finish to protect it.  I used "yacht varnish."  It really stinks but it does a great job.

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

A Penny for Your Thoughts (or thoughts about my Penny Doll...)

Please meet Eve, my Penny Doll. She is quite the lady, wouldn't you agree? She lives with me at work in the Seattle Design Center, and is the talk of the showroom. All the interior designers just love her!

Eve holds a parisol (fancy umbrella that is part of her courture, not raingear!)
The parisol is made with silk as is her lovely handmade hat. On another post, I will teach you how to make one. It's easy!

It's difficult to see in this picture, but the top of the parisol has a beautiful swarovski crystal on it. It came off of a very expensive but damaged crystal chandelier from the showroom. It's a real "found object!" The "handle" is made from an antique broken spoon, and her earrings are heirlooms too.

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Eye Can Sketch...and so can you!

I was recently looking through some of my older sketchbook pictures that I drew several years ago, when I first began getting acquainted with doll making. Here is one of my favorites.

It's just a simple eye that I did in pencil, then duplicated it and colored it in with colord pencil. I love the simplicity of it, showing how a little bit of color and shading makes such a difference. You can photocopy the sketch and print it out onto paper, and try practicing. Eyes are so much fun to draw, and they bring a doll's face to life.
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ruth pattern rendition

Check out this cutie!

This doll was made by Kylie Jones of Australia. She was made from my Ruth pattern.
I think she's fabulous! Great job Kylie, and thank you for the picture!
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Sunday, September 21, 2008

French Budoir Costume Pattern

I found a perfect pattern. It's the pink and yellow one below.
After much debating and curling my nose up, I have finally figured out just what to do with my penny doll (described in post from August 16). I think she should be a whimsical French Budoir Doll.

This pattern is an antique French Budoir doll's dress, probably from the 1930's. I think it will be just right.

The dress is meant to fit a 30" doll, and the waistline looks extremely small. I will need to tweak the pattern and make it my own, so it can fit, but it should work. It gave me the inspiration I needed- which [for me, at least] is more than half the battle. Somehow this doll did not tell me what she wanted to wear, and I could not figure it out.

Now I have to start looking for fabric. I think I want some sort of antique silk or something. It's hard to tell what's used on that drawing, and it doesn't say in the instructions. Maybe I need some lace? I'm not sure. I don't think I want hot pink and yellow- I guess when I see it I'll know. I haven't found what I am looking for yet and believe it or not I'm not sure where to look. (Local fabric stores have not done much good). Does anybody have any suggestions?

You can find the pattern here:
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Thursday, September 11, 2008

painting shoes

I'm working on my Penny doll, and just realized I had something to share!
Have you ever encountered GOLDEN paint? Oh I love this brand. The paint colors are delicious with high quality pigments, and they paint on like a dream.

The doll I am working on has feet shaped like high heels. I never made a doll this way before- always made separate shoes to go on them. So this is a nice twist. I'll just paint the feet and make boots.

To paint fabric, it is necessary to prep it first. What do you use?
GESSO (jess-oh). That is the stuff they use when making canvas for painters. The fabric is stretched over the frame, then primed with gesso. For dolls, we just paint it right onto the doll, after it has been sewn and stuffed.

Gesso can be sanded. Therefore, I apply it generously everywhere- especially over any stitches or areas that might have some imperfections.

Let the gesso dry, and sand it a little. Apply more, and sand it again. Repeat this process 3 times or more if needed. Then go ahead and paint ! I'll show you how my boots come out when I am done.
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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Make a Baby Challenge

Thinking about making a baby?
Read on...

You know how sometimes you get involved in something that starts out small, for pleasure... and it turns into something that was poorly planned, should have been a little better organized... (sounds like pregnancy, right?) Well such is the case with a little challenge I have gotten myself involved in. I think I have been doing a lot of this behavior lately! (don't worry, I am NOT pregnant!) Here's the story:
I decided to host a fun "make a baby" challenge based on one of my patterns. The pattern involves very interesting techniques that I discovered while reconstructing a vintage doll. Anyway, I was only expecting a small handful of signups, so I didn't really take the time to properly publish the details. Well I should have known better, because I'm kicking myself for it. Ah well, my next doll will be a self-portrait. A silly woozle-kopp lady with all kinds of "stuff" hanging out!
Soooo.. I'm going to write the details on my blog and the challenge is formally open to all!
The challenge deadline is January 1.

Where to get the pattern? This pattern was published in Soft Dolls and Animals Magazine. If you don't have the magazine, you can buy the pattern here on the right hand column for a nominal fee. (all proceeds are very much appreciated!) If you are unable to pay then email me privately and I'll send the pattern anyhow.

Skill Level: ADVANCED
Becky is a cloth version of a vintage Arranbee (R&B) doll. She was inspired by a lady in Jerusalem who had approached me with a very important task: restore her childhood doll. It’s easy to see why this doll has been so well loved!

To restore the doll, I took the original body apart and traced around it to redraw the pattern on paper. Much of it was decrepit, so there was guesswork and room for ‘originality.’ It is a very interesting pattern, and not easy to assemble. At one point when I was sewing the new body, I got scared that I would not be able to remember what to do again. I have to use the old pattern and match up needle holes in order to solve the puzzle! Here’s a peek at what I was working with:

I invented a special “joint” form paperclay so the cloth counterparts could be “inserted” into the body, like the original. They are actually held in place with wire. See how they actually weigh the arms and legs down? Just like the real McCoy!

Becky’s face is done in a way that keeps the original doll in mind as much as possible. The face was digitally photographed and subsequently altered with Adobe Photoshop, to get a black and white pencil sketch. The sketch was then converted again so only the shadows and facial landmarks show.
Print this onto inkjet photo transfer paper, and you’ve got a perfect foundation for a true vintage baby face.

I’ll show you how to paint the face and build up color, layers and details using Genesis Artist Oil Paints or traditional Fine oil Paint. Below are two versions of the same face. The first is with the Genesis paint and the second is done in Oils.

The hair is painted right onto the doll. Have fun making whimsical baby pin curls!

Lastly, there is a sweet dress pattern that you can use. Or, even better, design your own!

I hope you will take the challenge, and MAKE A BABY! To sign up, use the link on the right hand sidebar. I will be available to answer any questions you may have, and will plug you into a special Becky classroom where we can all collaborate. Winners will be published in doll art-related newsletters and possibly a magazine.

Have fun!

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Friday, September 05, 2008

Penny Doll

Here I am at the September Dollirious Club meeting, with my Penny Doll coming along. As you see she is not "quite" done yet..... that's ok. She seems to have a lot of patience!
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Sock Dolls

Neta Amir from Tel Aviv, Israel invited me to come to her new sock doll workshop. I sure wish I could go! But alas Seattle is very far...

Look at what she can do with socks- quite amazing!!I did find her advertisement fun and inspirational, and I am sure you will agree!

According the the advertisement, Neta will be teaching small groups how to create the dolls, make the faces, and create unique embellishments. She promises that these dolls will each have a "unique spirit." Looks like fun! I certainly believe her.

Neta's work can be seen at
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Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Big One that [didn't] Get Away

I've got to admit, I'm almost too shy to post this one- but it's just too hard to resist.
I found this super life-size King Salmon "doll" at a whopping $3.99, and just had to have it. Not sure just what good it is, but I still think it's a great catch!

The fish is made from some type of smooth textile that looks like the features were done in an airbrush.  It has so many details, down to the scales. I was thinking of painting over it or putting beads and sequins on it or somehting- but it really doesn't need it. I think it would make a great "trophy" just the way it is.
Now I know I am a true Seattleite!
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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Penny Doll

I'm back from vacation. I miss the tranquility already but I'm excited to be back home where I can talk about dolls.

I'm engaged in a doll project with my doll club, Dollerious Doll Makers of Washington- and it's based on a pattern called Penny Doll. The pattern is made by a cloth doll artist named Claire. The pattern is really quite interesting.

The doll is jointed together with buttons and is very different than anything I have ever made before. The feet are like high heel shoes.

I really like the way the hands are designed, too. Usually I take great pains to make 5 individual fingers, thinking that the hands look more realistic that way. I never saw them made in this manner, but I like it a lot.

HANDsome hands!

Now if you are offended by nudity, close your eyes! This is one of the most interesting features of this pattern. The design of it definitely took a lot of imagination.

Here's what the torso looks like before the legs and lower part of the arms were attached.

Neat, huh?
I'll show you the doll as it progresses. She didn't feel like talking to me today. I still don't know who she wants to be. I guess I'll wait for her to call. (I have a feeling that might be after Labor Day when my daughter goes back to school) .....

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

On Vacation

THANK YOU everyone who has offered me a hand with my peacock quilt. I can't tell you how excited I am and what a good feeling I have about it.....

I am on vacation right now visiting my parents who retired to Anna Maria Island, Florida. It is on the west coast of the state, near Sarasota and right on the Gulf of Mexico.
I brought a bunch of the peacock project fabrics with me and mailed out 8 envelopes on Friday. I will be returning home to Seattle this Thursday very late at night. I will be able to get back into it next week!

For those of you who have written about the project, I apologize for being slightly unreachable... I just could not help but take advantage of the wonderful time I am having here.

The island is just lovely, and not crowded. My father goes fishing every day. Yes, every day, maybe twice a day! This morning I went with him and although I did not catch anything, I got to see dolphins jumping out of the water. It was so exhilarating. My parents think it's no big deal- but it was a thrill for me! There are manatees here, too. Maybe I will see one tomorrow. The house is one block from the Gulf of Mexico. The sand is white and the water is green. My mother sits on the beach and goes swimming- with the fish- just about every single day.
These are some vintage postcards of the Island. It really does look like this!
This is the pier where my father fishes every day. The building on the end is now a little restaurant. It's been around just shy of a hundred years. You can see all kinds of interesting marine creatures swimming in the water (and flying over it) as you walk down to the end- where it's over 80'deep. I have more pictures but am not able to post them right now. These are copyright-free images just to give you an idea!

Thank you so much, everyone who has offered to help out with the peacock quilt project. I will put together more envelopes when I get back to Seattle. Please email me at rivkah (dot) mizrahi (at) gmail (dot) com.
Thank you so much and I hope you are having a wonderful end of the summer!
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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Call for Quilters

About two years ago, I stumbled across a very vintage quilt block in the form of a peacock.  It was the most intriguing thing I had ever seen- and I knew I 'needed' a peacock quilt.  
Lots of people have these quirky "things" they collect obsessively- like cat lovers with 500 cat-related objects in every room, or people with 10 shelves full of tea pots (but who don't even drink tea) ... well I have a soft spot for peacocks and pomegranates.  So, I got myself into a bit of trouble....There is no photo of any actual quilt- just these crude black and white pictures of the layout of the quilt, and the block itself.  No instructions, nothing.  Just me and my wishful thinking.

Now tell me this isn't the most interesting quilt pattern ever?

I began collecting peacock fabric like crazy.  Mind you, this was when I was still living in Israel- I had to buy the fabric online and have it sent there.  I moved back to Seattle in June of '07, and brought it with.  (can you see where this is going?)

Once settled in Seattle, I was determined to figure out how to make this block.  I tried and tried and for the life of me, could not figure it out.  Finally I went to a quilt class and got some help. After a few sessions and about $50 later, I got my precious peacock block. 

The block is definitely on the challenging side.  The pieces go together like a little puzzle and 2 of them have inside / outside curves.  I made a few blocks and tweaked the template until it came out perfect.
I've managed to make a few blocks.  The "beak" needs to be embroidered with like-colored thread.  This block is an open palette for embellishing with beads and sequins!

Now the good part- I I have finally gotten a grip on reality- it seems highly likely that I will never finish this quilt!  I love to sew- I do it for my dolls- but I am a natural doll person.  making all these blocks is just too much for me.  I am 
despairing that I will never finish the project, especially since I also have a full time job.

Would any of my quilting friends out there like to lend me a hand?  I figure, if a bunch of you would make one block each, I could really do this thing...omg it would be awesome!   I would want to use up my fabric, which I will send you, along with the pattern and the instructions.  I would love to have help-  and I would cherish this quilt forever.  

Please leave me a comment if you are interested and I'll write you back!   Oh this would be so wonderful!
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