Are you looking at me?

One of the great things about keeping a flickr stream and, over the past year, a blog, is that it has provided me with the opportunity to watch my artistic style evolve. Over the years, there have been a few subtle changes (improvements!) in the way I make dolls. At the same time, there are a few things that I do/techniques that I use that have held fast - I do them for personal and peculiar reasons and it's not likely they'll change. I thought I'd provide some insight here:

1) Hair parts! Have you noticed how I consistently part my dolls' hair on the same side of the head? Every doll I've made (with the exception of the marionettes and Goldilocks back in 2008) has a hair part on the same side as the doll up in my blog's banner/avatar. Always. The reason why I always do it this way?



And her:
Notice that they all have hair parts on that side of their head. So the dolls I make do, too. Naturally! Even when the hair is felt :).

2) The Eyes! Not only do I always purposefully put three lashes on each side (we have a thing about doing things in three around this house), but I always put the highlight in the same exact spot, and if the doll is looking in any sort of direction, it's toward my left side. See?

The reason why is because I'm left-handed and oftentimes it's much easier for me to draw or embroider with the eyes of the doll looking at my hand. (Hence the blog post title). It's hard for me to explain, but it's as if my hand is an eye, too. Does anyone else feel this way? Often, when I'm sketching, I can actually draw better with the subject looking in that direction. Strange. I should scan some of my sketchbooks sometime.

Anyways, that's why you see the highlights in the same spot, three eyelashes per side, and sometimes the dolls glancing in that direction.

So, yes, that's part of my style ("signature" as one of you emailed me). The hair part, the eyes, the red mouth...that's how I do things.

I recently asked one of my favorite bloggers/dollmakers to test something out for me. At some point in the future, we can both show you what she did because the end result is beautiful...and it is "her" (the blogger/dollmaker). I love that I gave her the tools to make something "just like me/just like I do it", but she did it her way. It looks like one of her dolls (you'd all agree) and not like a copy of mine. She put her signature on it and I love it! Thank you, (you know who you are), and thanks to the rest of you who have emailed me over the past couple days! I appreciate your kind words!

I need to run and get a pedicure. It is hot today!


Little Stitches

Sewn by my oldest daughter for her friend. Spring 2011.

Over the weekend my oldest daughter attended a birthday party for one of her favorite friends. From the moment she received the invitation she started planning all the gifts she would make. She poured over Kata Golda's book as well as a new book I picked up at the Japanese book store a few weeks back (though you can buy this book many places), Felt Friends from Japan.

Her list was long and her ambitions were high. She picked out five toys that she planned on making (!?!?). And she wanted to cross-stitch something for her friend, too, and then make something from it. A pillow? A purse? A bookmark? All three!

I ended up taking her to the craft store and we found an inexpensive unfinished wood box (a jewelry box?). The lid has a 3 x 5 glass opening that would be perfect for a photo...or a little cross-stitch design? That works!

I made a few modifications to one of Wee Wonderful's X-Stitchette designs so that it would resemble her friend and be a bit more simple for my daughter to follow (including enlarging the pattern). My daughter pulled the rest off herself and even had time to make one of the five toys she had originally planned on making - the tiny wool felt bunny pictured up top. I cut that pattern out for her and she did all the sewing on her own. Hundreds of tiny stitches and several hours between the two presents!!!

She lined the box with wool felt and placed the bunny and a few other gifts inside the box.

And she is extremely proud, as you can see. I'm proud of her, too. Serious dedication!

On an unrelated note: If anyone knows of a toy/doll drive for Japan that's being organized here in the US, please let me know. I have a doll I made that I'd like to contribute. Thanks!


Belle and Boo and Bunny Love

Picture source: Belle and Boo

One of my favorite illustrators at the moment is Mandy Sutcliffe of Belle and Boo. I simply adore all her work and have a special fondness for her characters, Belle and Boo. I have purchased several items from her shop and recently (finally!) had this lovely print framed and placed on the wall of my little sewing space. I love it!

Here's a (really bad) picture...the Pink Room had little sunlight this day.

The Belle and Boo characters remind me so much of my childhood. Like many women my age, I grew up with Belle's hairstyle. I had it for many, many, many years. Usually, it was a bit shorter than shown here...

I can't say I was thrilled with the hairstyle as a kid. I always wanted long hair. But looking at the Belle and Boo characters helps me look back and smile :).

And Boo! Boo reminds me of the little house rabbit that I had for seven+ years. She passed away shortly after my oldest daughter was born :(. I loved that bunny so much. And like Boo, my sweet bunny was light brown and had a little white around her nose.

I believe Mandy is working on another book (yay!!!!). I commented in one of her posts a few weeks back that I had a house rabbit that I used to dress up a few times a year (simple Halloween costumes and reindeer antlers at Christmas). I came across this picture the other day and thought I'd offer it up as proof. In the picture below, we were dressed as witches. I am missing my hat and she is missing her cape, though...

Me and my bunny back in Grad School. A very long time ago...

Needless to say, I love Belle and Boo! Every picture of these two makes me happy. And I'm glad I had a little "Boo" there in my life for awhile. Bunnies are awesome.

Picture source: Belle and Boo