Tuesday, December 29, 2009

TIKVAH is here

The Tikvah Pattern is available!
Come grab it in my ETSY shop :-)

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End of the year sale!
$5 off all e-patterns in my Etsy shop.
Each one is over 50 pages long with tons and tons of pictures.

Have you been thinking about making a beautiful doll ?
Please do!
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Monday, December 28, 2009

Betty's Making Headway!

Betty's HEAD is without a doubt the most interesting part of the vintage doll pattern I have been working on. The head is made of a butterfly-shaped "pillow" which constitutes the face, and a completely separate "head back" which is sewn on separately by hand. That way, the face is flat and can lie on Betty's shoulders, and the back of the head will be round.

Here you can see the face, with the back of the head pinned on. Half of her neck is dangling! (Don't pay no never mind to her unfinished face... I mirrored the template and traced it to the wrong side of the fabric with a felt marker before sewing... I am saving the best for last ^*^)

BACK VIEW (before hand sewing and stuffing)


When the back of the head is all sewn and stuffed, a dowel goes into the body neck. (The body does have a normal neck with a front and a back.) Then the whole thing rests on that, and the back part of the neck is sewn in place at the seam.

This pattern is like nothing I have ever seen before and I am learning new techniques from it. My mind is already giving me ideas of ways I can use this technique!

If you would like to make a Betty Boop doll and join my challenge, I will be thrilled to have you. I am thoroughly enjoying it! A link to the pattern is available on the sidebar.
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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Betty Boop Pattern

I finally began working on the Betty Boop Pattern, and I have one thing to say so far... she's got MAN HANDS! They are not the dainty little hands that I imagine Betty should have.
I could probably manage by using a ladder stitch to manipulate the size after the hands are stuffed, but I decided to alter the pattern. I cut the hands off at the wrist (ouch!) and substituted them for something better.

Here are hands as they look sewn (but not stuffed). The hand on the left is the original, and the one on the right is my version.
I find it very interesting that the pattern is sold around the internet (I sell it as well, for the challenge). However I have never seen an actual doll that was made from the pattern!
Well, that's part of the challenge. I'm having fun with it. I'll upload the new hands and whatever other improvements I come up with when Betty's done.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Snuffy FUR

Remember Big Bird's imaginary friend, Alyosius Snuffleupagus? What an amazing fur coat he had! It looks like part ostrich feather strands, part something else. I think it would be incredible fur... if I could figure out exactly what it is and where to procure the "ingredients." Does anybody out there know?
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Sunday, December 20, 2009


This is a new/old doll. The doll was made several years ago when I was living in Israel. I never made a doll quite like it before, and never again. This afternoon, I started thinking about it and I decided to take it out of storage. I immediately realized that she wants a new home.

So... please meet "Sihha Pratit," or 'Private Conversation' in Hebrew.
This wall doll was created as a unique challenge to create a doll that reached inside of my emotions. I was surprised with the result!
Private Conversation is pronounced 'Sihha Pratit' in Hebrew. It is written on the doll's torso, in script lettering.

The doll is approximately 17" in length.

The face holds in it almost every emotion imaginable. Whenever I see it, I see something new. Depends what I'm thinking.

Sometimes the doll seems to be asleep- dreaming. What is the dream about?

Sometimes I think the doll is engaged in deep thought. Something troubling is amiss. Is it strength or vulnerability?

Is the doll engaged in prayer? Maybe meditation- connecting to its inner self? Or perhaps emptying all thoughts for that moment...

Perhaps this doll is feeling despair right now- All wrapped up and tightly woven like a cocoon. Then again, perhaps this is a sign of self- confidence.

The spiral motif throughout the design of the doll- the marbling on the fabric and stones, the random wire design, the beading and the wrapping of silk cording around the body- is it a symbol of replenishing a cycle, or of confusion and constriction?

The doll means all that to me and more.

In essence, It represents comfort. Because life has its ups and downs, and art is always there to help make it more tangible and less esoteric. The creative mind can deeply appreciate this.

Private Conversation is a fine representation of abstract art. It encompasses so many ideas and feelings, and has the potential to carry personal meanings to every viewer. A successful composition causes the viewer to think. This doll definitely falls into that category.
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Monday, December 14, 2009

Calling Boopers

Calling all Boop Challenge players.....
How are we doing?
If you need a pattern, email me at rivkah [at] dollmakersmuse [dot] com

Boop Boop-be-Doop!

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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Working Away

I've been working diligently on the Tikvah pattern. I have to admit, I am a slowpoke. But it's going to be worth the wait and the effort :-) New ideas and funky techniques... it's going to be a goodie.
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Monday, December 07, 2009

New pattern coming out soon

I am now working on a new pattern: Tikvah.
Most of the text and illustrations are ready. I am shooting for this to be ready and available in the Doll Shop by the end of the week, or at the worst, next week. I am a slowpoke!
After the pattern is done, I am going to stop writing patterns for a while and focus myself on just making artwork. I've been playing with the idea of approaching a few local galleries and professional artist guilds in the Seattle area, but I keep making various excuses.....
Life can be full of excuses if you let it.

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Vote for me!

Please cast your vote for me!
Visit this website and look for my banner:

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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Draidel Maidel

Chanukkah is coming! This year, I was inspired to create a doll to bring a little light and love to my home.
Here she is:
The Draidel Maidel.

The Draidel Maidel is a 14" cloth doll whose body is- you guessed it- a draidel. She holds a candle and she is ready to light the menorah and dance the hora!
She was a challenge to design- how to support her pointy draidel body on her legs? The solution was to create a sort of cradle. It worked out perfectly.
The Draidel Maidel is available as a pattern.
I should have started this project earlier, because Chanukkah is right around the corner. I didn't think of it until it was a little late- but not too late, of course! I have been working hard on this pattern for more than a month. There are 10 pages of clear step-by-step instructions with illustrations. You'll learn how to needle sculpt a face from the beginning, make beautiful eyes, and color a 3-dimensional face. This doll's face is made on white fabric, which makes it more challenging than on skin colored fabric.
If you would like a Draidel Maidel pattern, you can find her on my facebook page and in my ETSY shop. Chanukkah falls on 12/11/09 this year. There's still time to make a Draidel Maidel... remember, there are 8 days of Chanukkah!


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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Announcing the Boop Challenge!

What would Betty look like if she were booping around in 2010?
Let's find out!
This challenge is intended to make us stretch our imagination. Take an old familiar cartoon character and find out what she will look like when you make her. Who is the 'Real Betty' anyway? Will she even look like Betty? I think my doll needs to wear some clothes. I'm going to teach her a lesson!

Use a vintage sewing pattern to make a 19" Betty. Interpret her as you wish. I have never made this pattern before but I cannot wait to try it.... and I really want to see how other people do!

The pattern, dates, and RSVP information are available on my FACEBOOK PAGE.
Please join the challenge, and Boop Boop be-Doop!
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Rivkah in Wonderland

I am blessed to live about two blocks from a beautiful lake. Early just about every morning, rain or shine, I walk there . The best part is, since the time of year is right and I go so early, it isn't unusual for me to have the entire place to myself. I often let my imagination go completely wild.
Look at what I found today.... magic mushrooms! These mushies are so big, they must be at least a foot tall.
What I'm wondering is... where are all the fairies?!
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Make a "Splash" with Doll Photography

I sometimes take pictures of my dolls in my bathtub!

  • The background is perfectly white with no wrinkles (which usually happens when I drape fabric in the background.)
  • No "seams lines" between the floor and the wall, either.
Using a floor lamp, I direct light on the opposite side of the tub for reflectance.
I set a desk lamp on the sink and direct light to the doll.
Silly as it may sound, it works great. I have to admit it's a bit of a challenge to get the camera in position, though.... but I'm creative so I deal with it.
Rub a Dub Dub!

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I came across a very wise and helpful article about "quitting your day job" for full time artistry. This past September, I quit my job. It wasn't because I was such a successful artist (at least not financially successful). I was miserable at my job for a long time and I have a supporting husband.
One day there was a straw that broke the camel's back, so quitting just sort of happened. It felt good, but the plunge into the world of art plus schedules and money making ideas has not been peaches and creme. But I think this article really hits home. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all be artsy fartsians and make a great living doing what we love? I'm trying ^*^

Leave a comment if you are living the dream!

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Custom Dolls SALE

Would you like a custom doll to give yourself or a friend as a gift?
Send me a photo and I will make something real cute for you for a great price. Order now for the holidays! Please visit my Etsy Shop for more information!
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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Dolls with Soul

I recently came across a quote that I love:
"Doll Artists aim to produce dolls which are the mirror of their souls. A doll produced with this intention is never a cold and lifeless object. It may show mistakes and defects in proportion and workmanship, but it "lives."
~ Hildegard Gunzel
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Friday, November 20, 2009

Hey Boobie!

I'm getting very annoyed by Facebook's big boobie ad on my fan page and everywhere else I go. Am I the only one seeing it? It's an ad for a game with 5 million thousand players, and the game has big boobies. If I want big boobies I'll put them on a doll and get a laugh. I say facebook should take that big boobie ad and put it where the sun don't shine!

Tee hee!!!!!!!!!!
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Iris Map

Here is a sneak peek at a new doll pattern that's almost at the finish line.
It's a map of how to shade the iris of the eye......
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Show off Dolls

Just showing off my student's work....These dollies are from a private "FUNdamentals of Cloth Dollmaking" class, and are a first try for two of the ladies who participated in the group. They are not quite done yet... but they are definitely ready to be shown off, don't you think? Bravo!
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lily Bean

Lily Bean DesignsYou may have noticed that I have a new twitter page with a customized background. I am as pleased as punch. If you tweet, you know that custom backgrounds can be for the birds if you don't know how.
To my great fortune, I found a delightful shop on Etsy created by a delightful and talented graphic designer named Dana. Her shop is Lily Bean Designs.
Dana created a perfect background with my logo on it (something absolutely mysterious to me) and her price was so reasonable even a doll artist could afford it ;-) She also created my new Etsy Doll Shop Banner. It was such a treat, I tell ya.
If you need graphic design help, contact my new friend Dana. You'll be glad you did!
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Sunday, November 08, 2009

How to make a cloth body look like it's sculpted from clay

Here's a great tip to take your cloth dolls to the next level: Make it into a true sculpture by filling in the seams.


1) Assembled Cloth Body
2) Paperclay
3) Water
4) A stiff brush
5) Fabric Glue
6) Gesso
7) Paint (skin color)
8) fine sandpaper

1) apply glue to area that you want to fill with paperclay.
For example, where the arms / legs are attached to the torso, or any needle sculpted areas where you want to hide puckering and stitches. The glue makes the paperclay stick. Otherwise, it can fall off.

2) Shape the paperclay between your fingers and put it into the area you are filling. You'll want to add paperclay wherever you have an asymmetrical imperfection or where something doesn't look quite right. For me, this is particularly helpful on the feet.

3) Dip your brush into the water and go over the paperclay until it is nice and smooth. Allow to dry.

4) Paint the doll with at least 2 layers of gesso, sanding in between.
5) Paint the doll with acrylic paint.

Hint: You can try this technique on the doll's head. If your needle sculpting is wanting, or you want to define the nose or raise the cheekbones, go for it. You'll be glad you did!
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Friday, November 06, 2009

Get it while you can!

Suprise! Just found out that my favorite fabric (PIMATEX PARFAIT by ROBERT KAUFMAN) is permanently discontinued. This fabric is fabulous for cloth doll bodies. Love the color, love the weave, love it love it love it. Time to start stocking up! If you love this fabric as much as I do, better get it while it lasts.
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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Helping Hand from Heaven

This morning a friend from Israel shared a photo of a sunset from last night. It looks like a hand coming down from Heaven. The photo was taken in the city of Tzfat, where I used to live.
I think this is so beautiful, I just had to share it. It calms me, and it's so warm and fuzzy, you know... I needed that hand today. It gave me the inspiration to move forward on a doll project that I just kept blocking myself from even starting. I'll get right to work!
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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Hoffman Challenge 2010

Each year, doll makers and quilters enter the wonderful Hoffman Challenge. The rules are pretty simple: Use the designated fabric and have fun!
Here is the fabric for 2010:
Here are this year's winners (click on the photos to enlarge):

Arley Berryhill

Deanna Hogan (love her!)

Wendy Oxman

Simply wonderful dolls!

And here are the Challenge details.

Are you up for the challenge? I'm going to try!
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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Jewelry for dolls (and people)

I deviated a little. I made a charm bracelet for my sweetheart daughter Khassy. It was an experiment of sorts, and great fun. Click on the images to enlarge.
To make the bracelet, I cut glass and put some metal leaf with a print-out of a word on the surface of one square, let it dry, and sandwiched it together with sterling silver solder (pronounced 'sotter.') I made my own "links" with sterling silver wire that has copper inside.

These are the tools I used:
GLASS (Not shown. I just used ordinary glass. Next time you break a glass, you might be able to use it!)


TOOL TO BREAK OUT GLASS (after scoring with glass cutter)
FLUX (This goes on the copper tape or the solder will not stick.)
JEWELRY WIRE sterling silver with copper inside- to make links
JUMP RINGS to connect the charms (and a clasp, not shown)
DIAMOND FILES (for grinding sharp glass edges and finishing the silver solder. These are awesome tools. One is square and the other is round, and they are very strong. Much better than any kind of sandpaper!)

A WHOLE LOT OF PATIENCE (each one of these charms takes me about an hour to make.)

I had a good time deviating from sewing, painting and sculpting. It felt good to play with a different medium, especially something like silver. As I mentioned, each charm was very time consuming, so I don't think I will keep making bracelets... only one special bracelet for my special daughter. But I will try using these charms as a centerpiece for an art doll. I can almost see it now. I think it's a great idea!

If you would like me to make customized charms for you, I will be happy to. The Diamond files are hard to find, and I will offer them as well. I'll post this up on my Etsy shop later today.

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