working holiday

Exciting stuff!  I had to take out all the finished dolls from their suitcase foster home for a bit of fresh air and indirect sunlight...

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...so that I could use the suitcase to pack up my doll making supplies.   

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I am going to spend my days of this looong weekend in a temporary studio space, aka, my friend's spare room, doing what I like to do best (or, at least, something of my list of top ten things to do).  It's my idea of a vacation. 

Can I just mention that doll making supplies actually take up much more room than you'd think?  It's at least two loads from car to studio.  Still, excited!  This will be the first time I have separated work from family.  Do you think I'll even make it through the day before missing my kids?  What will I do without interruptions?  Without the constant, low level feeling that I should be doing something housework-y?

It'll be an interesting psychological experience if nothing else. Hopefully it will be a productive time.

Wish me luck!  I'll report back what I find from the world of outside-my-house studio space. 



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I am enjoying the process of doll making more than ever.

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Every once in awhile I get a chance to work for a few hours solid, without interruptions from the children or chores.  That is when I can pay attention to the work and it is its most satisfying. 

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I can notice small details and take time to appreciate them.  I can study how my own hands have aged and are starting to look like the hands that cared for me when I was young.  That feels... right somehow.

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The work becomes a bit of play, when I can adjust details, positions, and fuss over it all.  With no one around to ask the opinion of, a little bit more of me goes into it.

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The pattern for this doll is the Miranda doll from Jan Horrox's Introduction to Making Cloth Dolls.  The arms have been modified, due to necessity more than desire.  

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It's probably the most realistic form I've made thus far.  The creepy factor, inherent in all doll making, was especially strong.

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There is another style of joints I want to try before I send Horrox's book back to the interlibrary loan people.  For those who enjoy the recommendations, I would recommend the book for the three patterns she provides.  I didn't try out any of Horrox's style techniques, the hair, face paint and clothes, but if you would like to try her style, she has all the details for you.

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I am looking for realistic figure doll patterns if anyone has a recommendation for me.  I like to try them out, see how they work and what doesn't work.  It's my doll making education.


blueberry dip dye jacket

A new jacket for girl child!  The design is a heavily modified version of my Fair Weather Jacket pattern, designed to fit over full skirt party dresses.  From the Fair Weather Jacket, I kept the hood but ditched the belt.  From there I flared the bottom hem and arms.  The whole shebang is made out of a raw linen duvet cover I found in the thrift store some time back with a bedsheet lining.  Ha, I suppose it's a bit like taking your bed with you where you go.

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The exciting bit for me is the dip dye we made out of blueberries.  I was wondering out loud at my friend about where was the best place to buy dye for this jacket and she said, why don't you just make your own?

Funny how it never occurred to me before.

I used a tutorial from Alina's Adventures and it was super easy, not to mention delicious smelling.

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Blue stew!  Instead of mashing the berries I just took a hand mixer to them, which I later regretted since I simply could not strain the blueberry sludge properly and had to use the whole lot, sludge and all.  But it all turned out okay still, like most things do. 

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That's the jacket in the slow cooker for the fabric fixative.  It seems I have only one large pot in the house, something that has never been a problem up until this particular time.  The slow cooker worked well, even though I couldn't fit the whole jacket in.  Good thing I had already decided on a dip dye.

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The jacket hung out in the dye for about, oh, eight hours or so.  I would of left it over night but a weird effect of the fixative on the jacket made it turn a bit brown from the linen colouring and I panicked. 

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The brown stains washed out just fine, however.

You can see on the jacket where the fabric was a bit folded in order to fit in the pot.  It doesn't bother me but if I was going to do this again, I might try to find myself a more suitable container, maybe a wall paper paste holder?

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Although the blueberry dye isn't nearly as vibrant as a commercial dye would be, I really like the subtlety and appreciate the lack of chemicals.  Plus also I got to have my house smell like blueberries for a whole day.  Yum!

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upcycled shirt to apron

A new apron for girl child who sorely needed one.  She has been using the one I made for her when she was just three years old for all these years.  Since she'll be ten in just a month and a bit, something that actually covers her clothes seemed long overdue.

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This apron was reconstructed from a button down men's shirt I thrifted.  The applique spells out 'courage', something I think we can all use when we bake or craft.

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For this one, an extra large pocket was requested for holding... stuff.  What exactly girl child failed to specify, except for a scissor sleeve for hanging onto when she crafts.  The pocket is stitched into two compartments, one about the right shape for a pair of scissors.

You'll have to excuse my atrocious bow tying; one art that has always eluded me.

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For the top pattern I traced out one of girl child's tank top's neckline and arm opening, extending the arm opening down to wrap around the back and attach at the waist.  The bottom of the apron is the bottom portion of the back of the shirt.  I kept the bottom hem and hemmed in where I cut the side seams.  A slight gather brought the whole thing to size.

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And then there was a mile of ruffle from black broadcloth to make for the bottom edge of the apron.

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And there we have it, girl child ready for any mess she can throw at herself. 

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