Monday, August 31, 2009

Angels of Hope - Rotary Club Project

What a great Rotary Club I belong to! We have just started a new project to assist a local community support program for young women in crisis. It is a program which offers residential accommodation as well as a skills program. Its aims are to bring hope, build faith, reveal love and restore value.  Yesterday, eight  of us, including our Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar,  made some little dolls as gifts for the women. They are called Angels of Hope, adapted from a pattern from Rosalie Quinlan's book, Gift.
While we are aware of the Comfort Doll Project, we wanted to make these dolls ourselves, and enjoy doing it together as a club project.
We were all very keen and started the afternoon reviewing the pattern, gathering fabrics and then allocated jobs. Even the non-sewers had plenty to do.
It was soon very clear that we were a very focussed, determined and industrious group, with sewing machines whirring, scissors snipping, stuffing tools filling dolls' bodies, irons pressing fabric, and pens drawing faces....   
We were given a boost of energy and enthusaism, when our Rotary Assistant Governor  just happened to visit . He politely declined to do some sewing, but was very encouraging.
When the first two little angels were completed , we were all really happy and congratulated ourselves. What better way to celebrate the first couple off the production line than with a beautiful afternoon tea.
By the end of the afternoon, we had completed fifteen dolls, with three just needing some finishing off.  Two dolls were needed immediately for two new residents and we packaged  them up  to be given with our gift bag of toiletries. The bags are made by members of our Rotary club or members of their familes and the contents are kindly donated by local shops. The attached card reads "Angel of Hope... Handmade and donated by the Rotary Club of Wallsend-Maryland . District 9670"
Many thanks to  fellow Rotarians and friends who came to help yesterday afternoon, especially for giving up a Saturday afterrnon when the weather was perfect for enjoying the outdoors. You did a great job making the dolls and I think you should be very proud and happy with the results. I really enjoyed making these little dolls with you , and hopefully, they will bring some hope and joy to the recipients.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dollmakers' Delight

Porcelain and cloth dolls, fluffy and furry teddy bears, fantasy fairies and elves - the fanciful and realistic were all at the Newcastle Charity Doll Show on Saturday. While the competition attracted the visitors' interest mostly, there were stalls with all sorts of supplies - tools, wigs, fabric, lace, beads, silk prints, clay - all to delight and entice doll makers. I helped my friends, Bobbi and Jane, (LamboArt) with their stall. I even took a few of my things along to add to the colour and style of the stall.
It was a very different stall from most of the others, which were predominantly related to porcelain dolls making. We had Jane's fantastic cards and paper arts and Bobbi's wonderful sculptured art dolls, and her latest line in wine gift bags . I brought along a couple of my beaded pieces, as well as some vintage lace and buttons to add to the clay and tools supplies from Bobbi and Jane. We all enjoyed the day, and were kept busy answering questions and explaining our work , received positive feedback - and we sold quite a bit, too!

The best part of the day was congratulating Bobbi whose amazing creation, Blue Skies Forever pictured above, won the Best Original Doll in the show. Wow - congratulations Bobbi.

See more of Bobbi's and Jane's art at

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Samples, Sushi and a Socksillie

The title ( samples, sushi and a socksillie) is a summary of my creative activity this week. I have been trying to work up some samples for my felt workshop early next year. I am really enjoying making the felted containers and have started on a series of dolls, although I have only just begun to embellish them. The workshop will include the creation of felted jewellery, fashion accessories like belts and scarves, and then some mixed media items, using felt, beads and polymer clay . I am looking for a catchy name for this workshop .... so far, here are the ideas "Felted Fashion and Fingyummyjigs", " Felted Fashion and Frivolities" , Felted Fashion and Formations" ... Do you have any suggestions for a really great name for the workshop?

One of my other "jobs" is counsellor to the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. It was Mayuko's good idea to come over this weekend and do some Japanese cooking. We had a sushi party - I have tried to make sushi many times before, and I haven't been really successful. Mayuko showed Pam and me the finer points of sushi preparation - and what a great success we were. One of the steps I had omitted previously was to fan the hot rice to cool it quickly after the rice vinegar and sugar had been added. We also learnt how to cut the sushi rolls neatly - the art is in bringing the knife towards yourself.

To end the week on an even brighter note - here is my latest Socksillie. Meet Georgie - made from two socks, some embroidery thread, and a felted bobble and I love especially those rosy felt cheeks!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Midsummer Night's Dream Dolls

The Gumnutters' Doll Group celebrates its birthday each August with the annual "unbagging" of the "doll in a bag" round robin . This year's theme was "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
This is the way it works - each participant provides a "body" in a cloth bag. Someone else takes the bag (unseen) and works on the doll that particular month and then the same process is repeated in the subsequent months - five months, with each person working on a specific doll only once. Each month, there is a set part of the doll to work on - legs, arms, head/face/hair, costuming, embellishments. So these dolls are all collaborations, usually accompanied by journals in which each person who works on the doll adds some information or explanation of her work. It is so exciting to see the final result, as the owner of the doll has no idea how the theme has been interpreted . Unfortunately, I didn't participate this year, as I knew I would be away for a couple of the months, but I was really impressed with these dolls inspired by characters from Shakespeare's comedy . Can you recognise the influence of Hippolyta, Robin Goodfellow and the fairies Mustard Seed, PeaseBlossom and Cobweb ?

And of course, Happy Birthday, Gumnutters and congratulations on another successful "Doll in a Bag" round robin. What will the theme be for 2010? Any suggestions from dollmakers?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Congratulations - a Winner

Congratulations Del, from DELiciousDesignz whose name was drawn from my polymer clay covered gourd - just the perfect container for such an occasion. My husband Jim was very happy to do the honours. There are jobs he can do even with a broken leg!

Del said "I love that babushka bag .... ( and favourite colours?) red, pink and black.." Sorry, Del, I'm keeping the bag, but a red, pink and black button and felt brooch will be made especially for you. Please send me your address, so I can post it - hopefully by the end of the week.
I'm sorry that not everyone could win. Many thanks for participating and sharing your favourite colour combinations.

Here are two brooches which I have put on sale this month for the DUST ( Down Under Street Team) Etsy Sale which has a theme of "August - Leo, the Lion". How do my brooches fit the theme? I chose them because of their colour. The orange/yellow/red tones are those that I associate with the astrological sign, Leo. It does seem like a tenuous connection, so I should get busy to create something more fitting the theme. In the meantime, I encourage you to check out the great bargains on ETSY created by talented Australians - just look for items marked Dust Team Sale .