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My entries for the 2013 Texas State Fair…

August 13, 2013

It is that time of year again, time to enter my items in the State Fair.  This will be year number seven.  I hope something places, as I have at least placed every year with my dolls, but hope they are not too risque this year… I mean they are mother and daughter strippers…LOL.  The rug is my third attempt at rug hooking and I think it turned out well.  I use old fabric and clothes for my rugs.  They are “green” I guess you could say.  Both dolls are my own patterns and I think they turned out well.  I couldn’t find any patterns of girls with really large “girls” so made my own.  I will post once I find out if any of them place, which I will be notified by September.  Till next time…

big-mamma-frontbig-mama-back   purse-back purse-front rugfullrugfront  flobackflofront

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Floppy Flo is finally done…

May 8, 2013

flowfinishedlegs flofinishedfront Floppy Flo is finally finished.  She is on her pole and looking good.  I added bling to her skirt using both pre-made trim I got at Joann Fabric and ponytail holders I got from Dollar General.  They are the type of elastics that have fancy lace and jewels that hang off of it.  They look like a fairy skirts when used on a doll.  I then her some thigh stockings complete with holes and a garter belt.  The fun thing about getting to this stage of the doll is now you can play.  You can make jewelry, fancy skirts, flowers in the hair, whatever you think your doll needs or is telling you she needs.  It sounds strange, but once you start making dolls you will find they talk to you, they let you know what they want to wear or the type of person she wants to be.

I don’t mean in a loud voice like someone is talking to you, but you get this feeling from doll as to what would look best or work well with your doll.  You may have started making a sweet little country girl and end up with a sexy singer, you just never know.  I don’t know how many patterns I have started working on and was going to try to make it like the picture, but she had other plans of what she wanted to be.  When thisflofinishedface happens just go with it.  You can end up with some of the nicest surprises.

Be sure to keep cflogarterfronthecking back and see what my next project is.  I would like to make an older, heavier stripper to show what Flo is going to look like in a few years.  Till next time…

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Floppy Flo gets a stand…

May 6, 2013

flofinishedbaseflobasesuppliesFloppy Flo is just about done so she needs a base.  I admit I love to decoupage.  I think it adds a little extra something to my doll stands.  The first thing I did was I wanted her to have a pole, since she is a stripper, so found a dowel rod and cut it to the height I wanted and then drilled a hole in the wood base and squirted a little bit of glue around the edges of the hole.  I then used one of those little end pieces that you find at the hobby store with the wood supplies to finish out the top of the pole.  Next thing I did was find the paint I wanted to use for the base and then did a type of marble look for the base.  Once that is done I then pull out the tissue, paper, fabric, whatever I want on the base to decoupage.  For this base I am using different types of tissue paper and some pre-printed art words that I found in the scrapbooking section to add some interest.  I also had the flowers in the same package and used them also.

I first painted the decoupage gluflobasestarte all over the base and pole to add a sealer to the wood.  I then started to build up the layers of tissue as shown in the one picture.  I use little pieces of tissue and then kind of scrub them over the other pieces until I am happy with the design.  Once I have finished all the layering I then put a final layer of glue over the entire piece and let it dry.  I normally let the piece dry overnight before I touch it again.  Unless it is really humid out or the layers are really thick that should be enough time for it to cure.
flowbasepainte
For this  base I am using the pole to support the doll, but some of my other dolls I do not want a pole or for people to see how she is attached to the base, so in that case I use what is called an invisible stand.  This is where you shove a hollow tube up the leg of the doll and then attach a solid piece of wire to the base that fits inside the hollow tube.  This makes it to where the doll slides down onto the solid metal and stands on her own, but is attached to the base.  This is good if you want your doll to turn or be removable.  This method will be demonstrated in my series of doll making books I am working on.  Next post I will show you the finished Floppy Flo….till next time…    flowbasetissue

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Floppy Flo is Getting Sexy….She has lion hair…

April 20, 2013

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flohairbrush Flo is starting to come together.  She now has hair.  I like using different types of materials to make doll hair.  Her hair was made by using a yarn-type trim I found in the upholstery section of my local fabric store.  I then cut it into strips that were the length of the circumference of half the scalp.  I then pinned each strip in place and then sewed it in.  I then took the next strip and fit it down the scalp a little further and continued this until the entire head was full of hair.  I used a thicker embroidery thread to sew the hair in.  It was a contrasting color that blended in well, but also added some extra color to the hair.  I then used a small nail brush and brushed the yarn until all the sew lines were covered and the hair had flowfullhaira moreflowfaceandhair wild look.  The great thing about doll making is that you can use all different types of fabrics, yarns, etc. to make hair, clothing, embellishments, etc. so let your imagination go wild.  You will find the longer you make dolls the more you will see items in your everyday world differently.  I love to go to the hobby stores after major holidays and see what type of items I can get for next to nothing and turn into doll stands, doll embellishing, or even dolls.  The fun of doll making is you can turn anything into a doll, simple or exquisite, your choice… till next time….

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Floppy Flo has a face…quick lesson on face painting…

April 18, 2013

TodImageay is Flo’s lucky day she now has a face.  The pictures show my progression from the simple outline to her finished, full make up face.  Of course now she needs hair, but that is for another post.  The simple explanation on how I make faces is as follows:

I first do any needle sculpture that is required or if she is a flat face then that is not needed.  I then put dots in the specific areas of the edges of the eyes, nose holes, sides of the mouth and then draw a line for the eyebrows so I can see where everything is.  You can do this with a pencil or air erase pen or Imagewhatever marking tool you like.  If you are rather confident in your ability you could then just use a micro pen and do the lines on the face like you see in the picture.  I then paint in any areas that need to be white such as the whites of the eyes, any highlight on the nose, etc.  I like to then once everything is dry color in the eyes.  I decide if I want her to have green, blue, brown or whatever color eyes and finish those.

I then like to do all the coloring and shading of the face.  I normally use colored pencils, regular face makeup, gel pens, whatever I like to use for the type of look I am wanting.  The more dramatic the more opaque the medium I use.  Some people love to use water color pencils, but I have issues with those running.  You can also use acrylics, as they are fast drying and you can keep layering them.  Just experiment with what every youImage have and see what you like.  I learned by making face circles on fabric and just painting faces until I was comfortable enough to move to the finished doll head.  Remember, there are no mistakes, just opportunities to try something different.

Once I have all the coloring in the way I like it, from the shading, to the facial blush, the eye makeup, etc., I then start outlining and adding the finishing touches.  I will darken the nose holes, outline the eyes, but in the pupil, put the white highlights on the eye, put eyelashes and define the eyebrows.Image  I then will take my shading pencils or makeup and highlight the body itself, running the blush brush over the joints, belly button, etc.  Even if she has full clothes, I still highlight all parts of the body just so if she ever gets a change of clothes she looks good.

This was the short version on how to do faces, but watch for the announcement of when I have published my series on doll making, which will be posted here and available through Kindle and my Etsy store.  Till next time….

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Floppy Flo has got a new pair of shoes… well stripper boots…

April 9, 2013

Today we are going to give Floppy Flo some shoes, well thigh high boots.  The process really is rather easy.  The heel is already built into the doll fflowfeet1oot as part of the pattern.  I have folded chenille sticks in the heel for strength.  I then used my permanent, waterproof marker and colored in the foot and just above the ankle.  I didn’t do the whole leg as I was going to glue felt over most of the leg,  I then took my fabric glue, which I prefer Beacon’s 3 in 1 that you can get at any good hobby store.  It goes on thick and dries fast.  It also doesn’t expand or cause issues with the fabric.  I then wrapped the felt around the leg and cut the excess at the ankle so I didn’t have a lot of extra fabric to deal with.  Normally if you don’t like to glue then cut you can take the leg pattern of your doll and floboots1use that as a template for your boot top making sure you leave some allowance for the seam lines.  You can use whatever type of material you want for the boots. I have used leather, fake leather, suede, fabric, vinyl, felt, whatever matched the outfit.  Just so it can be glued and then thin enough to stitch through, as you are going to sew the laces down the front of the boot to give it more character.

For the laces you can use a matching thread, thin or thick thread, or a contrasting thread, it is up to you and the look you are wanting to get.  I like using a contrast color that matches the rest of the costume so I can use it as an accent, but that is my thing.  When you make your own doll you can make the boots any color you like, out of any fabric you want, and use any thread type you think will work.  I haven’t tried a metallic thread, as I find they stretch too much for me, but they would make a cofloboots2ol accent on your boots.  You can also just make ankle high shoes.  Instead of gluing anything to the leg just take your pen or paint and color the show up to where you want it to stop.  You could paint a set of pumps, baby dolls, sew toes on the foot aflobootsbacknd make a heeled sandal, it is completely up to you.  If you use a doll pattern that does not have the heel built-in then you could make flats, flat boots, sandals of any type, or make a pair of stripper heels as tall as you would like bflobootfronty using Fimo or some other type of clay and then attaching fabric to the clay heel, but that is for another post or book, as there are so many options I do not have room to even explain them all here.

Next I am either going to do Floppy Flo’s face or hair, not sure which, but I normally paint the face before the hair, as that keeps me from having to worry about getting paint on the hair, plus it gives me a bigger palate to work from, as I normally like to sew the hair down around the face so you don’t have those big blank areas on the head where hair should be, but has moved over and now looks funny.  Hope you are enjoying our journey with Flo and till next time…

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Floppy Flo needs some fancy underwear…

April 4, 2013

floppyflowundiesAll good strippers need a nice pair of undies, even though they won’t be staying on very long.  In trying to decide what to use for Flo’s underwear I pulled out a couple of my lace bins and started digging.  I found two very pretty pieces of lace that I had hand dyed bright colors and decided they would make the perfect addition to her costume.  I then took these pieces and hand sewed them in place.  I then had to decide what I was going to do with her floppy parts.  This was a hard decision, as they are long and many of the pieces of fabrics I used just didn’t look right so I finally found a large piece of lace fabric and cut out pieces the size I needed and began making Flo a bra by hand sewing the pieces directly on her breasts.  If she was a real person this would never work, but since she is cloth, and I have no intention of taking the costume off, it was easier to just sew the fabric directly to her body.  What this did prove is floppyflowbutta good bra really does put the “girls” where they belong, as Floppy Flo isn’t as floppy as she was before the new bra. She is still pretty floppy though.  I am liking the way the underwear is looking, but I want to make sure that the rest of her costume enhances what is already there and not overpower it or cover it up.

The fun of working with cloth dolls is you have the option of being able to sew directly to the body or make the clothes removable.  You know that box or bag of little fabric scraps you floppyflo1don’t know what to do with?  Use them in making your costumes for your dolls.  Most sewing projects take rather large pieces of fabric,  but when you are working with a little 14″ doll or smaller you don’t need much fabric.  Also, after certain times of the year such as Halloween your local fabric store puts those fancy fabrics on 80 to 90 percent off and most people have no idea what to do with, well make a fancy doll with them.  You can make dancers, evening gowns, whatever, and you aren’t spending a lot of money either.

This is why I so love working with fabric, if you use coupons, look in the bargain bin, or check out fabrics that are holiday themed and you are now past that holiday, you can get some remarkable deals and have more fabric to play with.  I don’t know how many times I have gone to Joann Fabric the week after Halloween or when they are having 50% off the already discounted bargain bin and bought half a yard of 10 different fabrics and everyone asks what I am going to do with all that different fabric.  I get to tell them I am a doll artist and I just like the fabric and it is going in my bin for the next doll I am working on.  Even if you don’t make dolls, that fabric is great for wall hangings, art quilts, purses, or whatever type of fabric art you are into.  I really love the look of crazy quilts and those are great for using small pieces of weird or fancy fabric, as you can tie it all together with embroidery, trims, or whatever you please.

Next time we are going to see what Floppy Flo gets to wear on her feet.  I am thinking thigh high boots are in order, as what stripper doesn’t look good in a fancy pair of boots?  Till next time…