Friday, December 11, 2009

A private moment between mother and son

I wanted to create a Mary and Jesus doll that was more personal. I imagine that before the stable was filled with shepherds, that Mary had some time alone with her new baby, and that she sang to him. She sits upon a bed of straw, and holds her baby in her arms. I wanted to get away from the posed Mary. The iconic image of her sitting on a rock or kneeling is unrealistic. Anyone who's ever had a baby knows that this is not likely.
Her head, lower arms, and lower legs are made from Super Sculpey. Her seat is made from paper clay and covered in excelsior (wood shavings) and her body is cloth with an armature. Her features are painted using acrylics. The baby Jesus is also made of Super Sculpey.
This is the first of other dolls I will be making to fill out a Nativity Scene, and is a gift for my Mother in law.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sewing like crazy

Every year before Christmas, you'll find me locked in my room sewing all day and all night long. David is very supportive of this. He takes care of the needs of the 5 kids ages 1 to 10 years, and tries to take care of the house too. When he complains about how hard this is, I just smile and say' "welcome to my life!"
This year my friend decided that we could help each other out. I would make her daughter a doll, and she would come over once a week for two hours and clean my house while I sew. This has been a great arrangement, and I enjoy the adult company once a week. The doll I'm making represents Jayden's imaginary friend. She's not finished. She still needs her tutu, but, here's a peek.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Christmas presents for Kasey's girls

I had this great idea this year to swap making Christmas presents for each other's kids. I've completed two outfits for Kasey's girls.
I made Chris model Reagan's blouse and skirt for me. He's not too happy!
The dress on the right is inspired by mermaids.
Kasey said that is one of Delayni's interests. I love this batiked fabric. It's so pretty.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Could you stand just one more?

The girl that I made this ornament for likes,
"purples, sage green and blues." She also likes
Steampunk. So I combined them all into a
Steampunk Santa. How did I do?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Another lightbulb ornament

This one took me 7 hours to paint! I just get a bee in my bonnet and I have to finish what I start. Ridiculous I know!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Christmas Ornament Swap

Just a little something I made for an ornament swap. Made from a burn out vanity bulb.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

To make a tree

Someone asked me to make her a tree man doll. I've been mulling this over in my head for months, and just bought the fabric tonight. I'm afraid this is going to be a bit tedious. But, since when am I not up to a challenge? I saw a great tree quilt n The artist made tons of tiny pintucks all over the fabric to make it look like bark. This will be my first task. Then, I'll be making a needle sculpted face to sew to the trunk of the tree. That part is fun. Okay, here comes the tedious part. I'm going to have to sew, and cut out tons of leaves, make branches that will be wired with pipecleaners and stuffed, that will then be hand sewn to the tree, and the leaves sewn to the branches. Why am I undertaking this so close to the Holidays? Beacuse I'm just plain nuts, and look for any excuse to not clean the house! That's why. LOL!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More Tips and Tricks

Freezer paper is my friend! I learned about this fantastic versatile stuff when I made my first poppet. It's an incredibly popular doll created by Ghilie on She offers the pattern for free, and many crafters who have never sewn before have successfully made one.
One of the things Ghilie taught me was to use the freezer paper as a stabilizer when sewing around pieces of fabric. I find it indispensable when sewing around fingers. The paper irons to fabric, and pulls off without any residue. I also use it for making stencils. And as a Mom, I love the stuff for covering the table for a child's art project. The shiny side prevents paint from seeping through to the table and ruining the finish.

I'm not goona pay THAT!!

While out shopping with a friend at Old Navy I saw a really cool black sweatshirt that said "watch your back," on the front, and a skeleton's chest on the back. I knew the boys would like it. Then I checked the price tag. It was $30. Okay, yeah. All the boys would like it. I'm not gonna pay $90 plus tax for three sweatshirts. Later while shopping with Jonny, we saw a hoodie, again with the skeleton chest printed on it. This one was even cooler than the first one I saw because the hood zipped closed and became a mask. Of course, as I'd thought Jonny loved it! I looked at the price tag. It was $15. Quickly adding up in my mind how much it would cost to buy three, I decided that $45 was still too much. However sitting on a table next to them were some plain black sweat shirts for $5 each. "This I can do," I thought.
I came home, googled an image of a skeleton's chest, and found a free clip art image. I printed it, and then cut it into four pieces, enlarged each piece on my printer and taped them together. This became my pattern. After laying freezer paper over the pattern and tracing, I had a stencil, which could be ironed to the sweatshirt. Then using acrylic paint and textile medium, I stenciled the design. It took about 5 coats of of paint, drying with a hair drier in between coats before the image was white enough. To make each shirt a little different, i stenciled a heart under the ribs for the second shirt, and blended some light green into the ribs of the third shirt so that they looked slighly moldy! Mission accomplished for $15.00.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Some tips and tricks

I thought I'd share some of the tricks I've learned while making dolls.
#1. I love my disappearing ink pen.
When working with tiny bits of fabric, I find it useful to trace around the pattern, rather than pinning the pattern to the fabric, and then cutting out.
I also use it for drawing the features onto a dolls face. If I make a mistake, all I have to do is take a damp cotton swab and rub it out. I also use it for marking the placement of the wefts of hair.

#2. When turning tiny tubes of fabric, I find that a small flat head screwdriver, and a drinking straw are indispensable. I shove the straw into the inside out piece that needs to be turned, and then place the screwdriver over a bit of the fabric, shoving it into the straw. This technique is excellent for turning fingers and spaghetti straps or sashes.

#3. A pet brush is perfect for brushing out yarn for doll's hair. It will make acrylic yarn look like mohair.

#4. I use scrap printer paper to weft rows of hair. I cut the paper into 1 inch strips, and then place a bundle of yarn over one layer of paper, and then another layer of paper on top of that. Then using the smallest stitch on my sewing machine, I sew over the top of the paper. The strips pull away easily because they've been perforated by the needle.

I'll share more as I think of it.

Alice is finished

She's finally finished. I tried a new head style for this doll. I think it's more suited to using knits. The muslin wrinkles too easily when the darts are sewn. The top is covered by her hair, but the chin didn't turn out a smoothly as I would have likes. I'm really happy with the face painting on this one. The pictures are taken with my phone and don't do it justice. I also tried a new technique for the hands. She has a mitten hand with a separate thumb, and then her fingernails are built up with glossy mod-podge. I like this effect and will try it again. However, I think I'll keep the mitten hand for the less realistic dolls, and go back to the separate fingers wired with pipe cleaners. Dave helped with the fashioning of the bottle. I fine tuned it a bit, but the basic design is his. Alice is for sale in my Etsy shop.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Beginnings of Alice

I've begun a new doll. She will be Alice from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I've made this character before with a needle sculpted face. I didn't quite achieve the sweetness that I'd desired in the character, so, I'm trying again. My eldest son just finished reading the book for a book report, and reminded me that in the book Alice wears a yellow dress, and had black hair. I'd had the Disney version in my head for so long, that I'd forgotten that Alice was a brunette in Louis Carroll's version. So, now, I'm trying to decide which to make her. Blond, with a blue dress, which most people recognize as Alice, or true to the original. She will be for sale in my Etsy shop. So, I'm taking a poll. Which do you think she should be?
Here's what she looks like right now.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Trying new methods can be trying!

I've not had time to update this post. I've made two Jack Skellingtons, a Sally, and two Edward Scissorshands since posting the above.Currently, I am working on patterning the Wednesday Addams doll that I made for Littlepooky for the Halloween swap, and drafting a pattern for an Alice in Wonderland doll. I am making improvements upon the pattern that I drafted for the doll that I made for Christmas. She'll have a different head, and I've improved her feet and hands.
Trying out different methods can be trying!
I am also trying and failing to make a body for the Witch. I may have to resort to a wire armature with batting, which is a common method of construction for these kinds of dolls.
Too many irons in the fire!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Too Busy!!

Well, I've finally gotten what I want. I'm sewing for money. I have several doll orders and orders for the Birdie Mobile. And I have people contacting me for advice on doll making. Life in the Burton household is crazy right now. We can't find enough sipper cups, backpacks, homework folders, shoes etc! The laundry is piling up to the sky, and the kitchen floor is never clean. I guess you should be careful what you ask for, huh? LOL!
Life is good. It's just a little messy right now!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Edward Scissorshands doll

This was quite a challenge to make.
His scissors are made with shrinky dinks and then "bolted" together using silver wire and glass beads.
His buckles are all jewelry findings, and his studs are all glass beads.

his body is made from fake leather, and his head from muslin. His hair is Yarn that was separated into two strands, and then teased into what you see here after being wefted and sewn on.
Edward took about 24 hours to make. For me, that was 3 days.
His face was drawn with disappearing ink pen and then painted using acrylics and fabric textile medium.
He's jointed using black buttons.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Vintage fabric

I love wearing broomstick skirts. In Arizona where I live, it's just miserable wearing jeans in the summer. Making the skirts can be expensive because they require so much yardage. That's why I became excited when I found a lovely vintage sheet with blue flowers all over it at the Goodwill for 4 bucks. I spent more on the ribbon and rickrack that will go on it, than the fabric itself. Now, I just need to find the time to actually sew it up!

Edited to add photo of finished skirt. And I'm working on another that I bought at a thrift store. It was a size 10. I wear a size 20, so needless to say, I've needed to add fabric to it. Hopefully after coffee staining the fabrics, they'll all meld into one another. This will be my shabby chic skirt.

Bird mobile

I just thought I'd share a little something that I've been making over and over. It's a birdie mobile. Originally I'd drafted the pattern for someone who wanted to make an Ann Wood cake topper. When my little sister wisted a birdie mobile on Etsy, I decided to use my pattern to make her one. It turned out so nice that I decided to make one for my girls' room. I used the pictures of them to sell the birdie pattern on Etsy. The pattern has done really well, and i've received orders to make birdie mobiles. So here they are. These are the two originals.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Jack Skellington

One of my friends saw the Wednesday Addams doll and asked if I could make a Jack Skellington for her son. I knew I could. I'm really happy how he turned out, and now I have orders for one more and a Sally to go with him. There are several others who are "thinking about ordering one." It's nice to be making some money off my dolls, even if I do have to run a sweat shop. LOL!

I have patterned him, but I don't want to have to write out the directions on how to put him together.
Edited to add pictures of Sally.

Wednesday Addams

I set out to make this doll three times. Twice I'd finished a sculpted head from Super Sculpey, and they both cracked in the oven.
The third time, I made a needle sculpted head, and the personality was all wrong. I decided i needed to do something simpler. So, this is how she turned out.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Update on Sybil

I received an e-mail last week about the doll Sybil. Tery Pratchett was shown the pictures of the Disc World doll entries. His publicist said that he was reluctant to look at them, but, when he finally did, he was surprised and pleased. He also said that his personal favorite was Sybil! He said the the look on her face captures his character perfectly! I didn't win any prizes for the challenge, but, in my mind, this trumps that. The Author picked my doll as his personal favorite! Awesome! I feel so honored. We may be asked to show our dolls next summer at the Disc World convention in England next year!

Hello, My name is Paulette and I'm a clay addict

I am so frustrated right now. I feel like I've lost my crafty mojo. I want to create, but my hands aren't working right! I've sculpted and taken apart the same head 6 times now. Argh! Here's some of the stuff I've accomplished this month:
The picture on the left is the Witch's head that I sculpted a couple of weeks ago. I've wigged her by gluing sections of wool roving to her head using fabric glue. A technique I learned from watching a youtube video of the Creager sculpting tutorials. You can't see it here because the picture is so fuzzy, but she has a couple of hairs coming from her mole too. And I didn't like her painted on eyebrows, so I carved them off and "rooted" some new ones.
The head on the left is about half of the size of the Witch. I started out sculpting a woman's head, intending it to be Mary for a Nativity. I decided to turn her into joseph, because I didn't think she was pretty enough. The beard and hair are "rooted" the same way as the Witch's eyebrows. I know I need to finish the witch. I'm having some issues about how best to costume her. I bought some fabrics, but some of them just don't feel right. I want her done before Halloween, so that I can display her.
I've also sculpted a baby's head and part of a torso.
My house needs a good cleaning and the laundry needs to be done, and I need to make bread today, so, I need to switch gears. I need to buckle down and tell myself no more sculpting today!

Monday, August 3, 2009

More of the Witch

The beginnings of a Witch

I was so inspired by my first issue of Art Doll Quarterly and decided to try Sculpey again. I am so hooked! Here's the beginnings of my new doll, the Witch from Snow White.

Friday, April 3, 2009


I 've been on a search for raspberry filled dark chocolates for years. I love the raspberry cream filled chocolates at See's, but I rarely get there to buy them. Then, when I was shopping in the chocolate aisle at Walmart I found them! They are delicious. Not as good as See's, but a heck of a lot better than any other chocolate raspberry truffle I've tasted thus far. Here's the really funny part. My last name is Burton. The candy is made by Barton. I've gotta get some more tonight. I hope they've restocked, because the one I grabbed was the last box on the shelf, yikes!
Now if only Dove would make a dark chocolate raspberry cream filled candy, I'd certainly die and go to heaven!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Discworld Challenge finished

I can't believe how long it took to make that necklace. That's what I get for dumping all my beads together. It took 2 hours to find all those seed beads and fish them out and string them together.
Hopefully now that this is done, I can get motivated to fix some things around the house! LOL!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

More progress on Sybil

It's nice to see the beginning of the end. The dress came together easier than I thought. I've added some more painted details, and I'm wondering if I want to do more with her painted on boots. I've also yet to figure out how to attach her to the base. Glue seems a bit messy. She stands pretty well on her own, but I'm wondering if a stand threaded through the bottom of the base is called for.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Progress on Sybil

Sybil got her appendages and hairdo this week. Dave took off two days for Spring Break to help out with the kids and the housework. You know, he's my real doll. I don't know what I'd do without him! Here's a not so good pic.
That is the base the duo will be glued to. I plan to paint it to look like cobble stones.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Yogurt all over the house while Sybil is being created

Okay, so I admit it's probably not a good idea to cloister myself in my room and work on a doll while the two girls sleep and the boys watch movies. That actually doesn't sound bad right? What harm can they do? Haha! They left a trail of partially empty yogurt cups all over the house. And a bunch of other stuff I have no time to list. I have company coming at the end of the week and staying for a week, so, I really should be cleaning. The boys are on spring break, so I figure, what's the point? They mess up faster than I can clean up. So, Lady Sybil got a good start today. About 6 hours worth. I'm still not sure how I'm going to do her feet, with shoes painted on, or bare feet with shoes separate. Here's what I got done today.
This picture doesn't show her torso, but that's done too.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Brom the Dragon

Yeah! He's finished. I have about two weeks to make Lady Sybil now. I am glad that the dragon is done. Working with the loose weave upholstery fabric was not fun. And I wired the wings with 20 gauge wire and had to rip it out when I decided it was not the look I was going for. On an unrelated trip to Walmart I found the perfect color of pipe cleaners. Whew! Also, I had to redraft the legs pattern. The first one couldn't be turned. The second draft would have looked funny when I turned the fabric for the foot, and after cutting off the foot it looked like a lamb chop! This guy almost went without legs, until I read that the swamp dragons in Discworld don't fly well. Well, if they don't fly well, then they must have legs!
Third time's a charm. The first head was lopped off and redrafted, What I intended to be cheeks ended up being the brows. A different look than I originally intended but good anyway.
A break of canning last week is just what I needed to get things right.
Now we have a pantry full of salsa, spaghetti sauce, mango chutney and bread and butter pickles.
I can't wait to can peaches, pears and apples this summer.
Sophia (5 months) has decided to get up for 3am feedings again and doesn't like baby food. She wants to nurse. well, I have to tell you that that has to change!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Bread and butter pickles

I'm sorry to say that I'm not making much progress on the dragon right now. I have lopped off the head and torn out the wires from the wings, and drafted a new head, which I'm not sure will work.
Today I am cleaning house, doing laundry (I get to watch the newest episode of House on Hulu), and making bread and butter pickles. They're so much better than store bought! I have the smell of boiling vinegar in my house right now. The farmer's market had pickling cucumbers for $.68 a pound and 10 red bell peppers for a dollar. I couldn't resist!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I wish I had unlimited time to make dolls and read books. But, as a mother of five little ones, I have a lot of laundry and dishes to do! I've signed up to make a doll for the Dollstreet Dreamers Discworld challenge. The more I see of other artist's work the more I realize how much I have to learn. I would like to learn more on how to needle sculpt detailed faces.
I've drafted the pattern for one of the dragons for this challenge. I hope it goes together as I've envisioned. The doll has also been drafted, but I'm going back to make modifications. The completed set is due at the end of March! I need to get sewing!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Coral and Pearl

I finally finished my Mermaid and baby.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Awesome yarn

I found the most awesome yarn for hair on my dolls last night. It's called "Homespun" by Lion Brand. After pulling it apart from the center string and the silky thread that's wound around it, it looks just like human hair. The texture isn't the same, but it has all of the wonderful variations of high and low lights that are in hair. I love this stuff. It's a bit fragile as the fibers once they are released from the strings and very soft, but, for a doll that's not played with, it's just fine.For Coral, I've chosen Sierra. It looks like a natural blond. I wanted to get the black and gray version for other dolls, but it will have to wait.
I plan to ask the doll club and Aunt Robin, how to go about selling my dolls. If she doesn't sell, she'll be moving to Florida for Mom's Christmas present. imagine that! A mermaid in Florida!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Coral the Mermaid

I set this doll down for a couple of days. I was a bit dismayed when she turned out full figured, and needed some time to decide how to make lemonade from lemons. I've decided to make her a mom. So, tonight I drafted the pattern for her baby.
I painted her face this afternoon, and love how it turned out. She is going to be a beautiful doll, after all.
So, here's what she looks like now.
I had intended to add glitter only to the sparkle in her eye, and it stuck to the entire eye. I like the effect.