Archive | January 2010

My First Izannah Walker Doll Eliza Rose

She is finally done!! I hung out with this girl for 2 weeks! From mere stuffing, cloth, thread, clay and paints, here she is … little miss Eliza Rose, an Izannah Walker inspired doll.

See her creation/WIP here (posts prior to this post):

Part III; Part II; Part I

First off, this workshop was the most amazing workshop. From start to finish everything fit together perfectly. This is important, because someone like me, who somehow can find a way to travel off the beaten path and mess things up … LOL… that did not happen here. It is a very well put together class and there is really no way to mess up … not even by me! That is the kind of workshops I like! I am still amazed at all the photos she has of real original Izannah dolls she provides to her students for reference. This was a huge help!

The hardest part of me was probably her thumbs as they are sewn on after the hand/arm is sewn. Second to that was the difficulty in the sculpting. I am not totally comfortable still with air dry clay for faces. Also, sculpting the likeness of Izannah is harder than I thought. Her face relatively simple and youthful and perhaps I over analyze and try to gain too much detail. So next time I will try for simpler.

Her outfit consists of a chemise (undershirt) and petticoat. I distressed them to looked aged, stained, and old. I would say I am an average novice sewer. I learned some neat sewing tricks during this workshop too, so that was a bonus!

She also wears pantaloons under her petticoat hemmed with lace. This is a photo of her pantaloons.

This is her petticoat, again, I like to distress … stain and age these articles of clothing. It is a replication of an old doll. I love this part of making new cloth looked old!

Her dress pattern/fabric was not the first choice I had for my first Izannah Walker Doll. I want to save the fabric I initially chose for my next doll. I knew this first one would have some bumps and hurdles and didn’t want to waste fabric until I was more sure about what I was doing. So even though her dress is not truly reflective of that time period, she does look good in blue. 🙂

I truly enjoyed working on her. It was nice to wake up everyday and know what I had to do next. Every night I would go to sleep and lay there for a while thinking about her. Sometimes I couldn’t fall asleep and I would jump out of bed and go do a few more things on her.

Most of her is sewn on machine however there are many areas that are hand sewn. Which, is not my favorite thing to do, however, I did find it very relaxing task of pulling a needle and thread through cloth.

I was creating something with my bare hands with the sweat of probably half of what the real Izannah may have gone through to make her amazing dolls. After all, I had some modern day conveniences available to me .. like hopping into my car to visit Joanns fabric shop. LOL

Well, here is a photo of original IW dolls. I hope my next one I can acquire a bit more likeness however Dixie said it may take another 10-12 dolls! Whew! Am I ready?

Izannah Walker Doll Week2

Magic Carpet Riders!! Click icon on left! Snowman Ornie Giveway!


Refer back to Week 1 Post for this doll

Refer back to Week 1 Update Post for this doll

Wow. What a crazy week! Busy with life stuff but I was also getting my arse kicked by this Izannah Walker Doll. Argh, it was hectic!. For the most part, I was spending a good portion of my time on IW doll and I think I worked 10am-10pm most days.

She was definitely a challenge in many ways because a lot of this is new to me. Ive never made a cloth doll this large with so many construction aspects to it. I had a feeling when I got to the sewing I would want to pull my hair out.

I think this is where I left off on my last post. I am now ending in my week 2 of this workshop. So all this was accomplished this past week.

After the head is sculpted and sanded you place over top a stockinette. As refresher from my last post, here is her head sanded and ready for the stockinette.

Next is to apply the stockinette. I used tubular stockinette instead of a tee-shirt. I did this because I didn’t feel I had the ability (yet) to cut and fit a tee-shirt to the head. Tubular was much easier for me. However, later I realized the ridges were too deep. I probably used too small width of tubular and next time I will try a larger one. Due to the stretch of the smaller one, the knit ribbing was too pronounced/raised. This means it will be harder for me to get a smooth surface for her painting. Oh well .. *SIGH* I am learning.

I am proceeding as if she is perfect. She wants to be a pretty doll and she deserves to be one! Much time put into her already at this point.

So onward I must go … yes …. she is pretty I keep telling myself ….

So here is her head with the stockinette. It is glued over the paper clay head/face and left to dry. The next step is a few layers of gesso. Lots and lots and some modeling paste too to try to fill in those ridges. Next time I am choosing a jersey knit teeshirt or larger tubular stockinette.

After the head is gessoed and sanded to your likeness, the head is ready to be painted. I am still a bit disappointed she does not look too much like IW original, however, I just don’t know until she is done. I tell myself again, “she is pretty she will be fine” and proceed. 🙂

I realize she is not perfect, but her role now is to guide me and make sure I learn. She is important no matter how she turns out. She is my first IW doll. I must not cut any corners and do all steps to her completion!

Painting was a challenge because I am used to painting realistic faces on polymer clay with genesis paints (heat drying). This is all new to me. I am using acrylics. Worst case scenario if I screw up?? Just gesso the head again. But here’s what I ended up with and I decided she is fine. This is how she looks right after painting and before I antiqued her head/face.

So now her head is done. I am ready to put her legs on (which have already been painted) and her second skin. Second skin is real nice because its a layer that can nicely hide her underneath and jointed areas. I really liked this aspect of her construction and well worth the extra time for this.

My poor little Izzie. She has an over sized head. LOL. I am hoping when she is dressed this is less prominent and noticeable. Technically yes, her head is about 1 inch too large than it should be. I got carried away with the paper clay during sculpting.

She is completely assembled and just waiting for her wardrobe. I do not have photo’s of her outfit in the making. However, one hour ago, she is done and completed.

She has a petticoat, a chemise, pantaloons with lace trim, and a beautiful dress! All distressed to look old and aged! And WOW! I think I LOVE HER! I am glad I stuck by her and gave her 100% of a chance to be a little Izannah Walker inspired doll.

Check back this weekend for her portrait photos! Yikes, she needs a name. To be announced later.

Whew I am exhausted! I will not start the next one till perhaps Monday. I need a break!

One World One Heart Give Away Blog Event

Hello Fellow Bloggers from all over the world! I am honored and excited to participate in this years One World One Heart Blog Giveaway Event! Last year I just missed it as my blog was not ready! I can’t believe it is just about a year that I have had my blog!! So what a great way to celebrate my one year Bloggiversary!


What is this Event?

Below is a brief description, you may read more about this event here.

A Whimsical Bohemian created this event in 2007. The original idea behind this giveaway event was to bring bloggers together from around the world who may never ordinarily meet. To interact, discover new and wonderful people, and in the process possibly win a prize or many prizes along the way.

A simple giveaway to create PEACE everywhere. We are not solving the worlds problems nor are we curing anything nor are we changing the world. We are merely generating a closer community between humans through blogging.

Who can enter?

Anyone with a blog can enter to win a prize/giveaway.

OWOH Event runs from January 25 until February 15th. The winner will be announced on February 16th!


Here is how to enter to win!

1. Leave a comment on this post, please only one comment per person. All comments are moderated so please wait for moderation.

2. Please be sure your comment takes me back to you, if not, make sure to leave a email address where you can be reached.

** On February 15th, one random winner will be drawn from the comments left.

** Winner will be notified by email and the winner will be announced on this blog on February 16th.

** Prize will be sent via first class mail.

I present to you my giveaway. A Lady Snowman Ornie! She is approximately 4″ high.

She is sculpted of air dry clay, painted, sealed and antiqued. To top it off she has been dusted with sparkly glitters and she wears cute little pink fuzzy ear muffs. She has an attachment for hanging or you may display her without hanging. She is a treasure so be sure to enter to win!

When your done follow the Magic Carpet ride icon above. Lisa’s list on the right hand side of her blog is where you can sign up to win more goodies! I am #30 on the list!

I am also donating a doll for this event at ADO (Art Dolls Only). Please visit ADO Blog to enter to win my Spirit Doll called “Lace Agate”!. Your entry for this doll must be completed at ADO Blog.

Thank you for entering and good luck! May peace and love surround you this year!

Update on Izannah Walker Workshop Week 1

I am still in week 1 of my workshop. I am surprised I have accomplished this much so far. However, this has been the only project I am working on at this time. I take many breaks to sit back and think about next steps.

Her legs and arms are sewn and stuffed. I chose to use wool for her stuffing instead of synthetic fibers. I love touching wool and stuffing with wool was just such a pleasure. The hardest sewing aspect was the fingers and thumbs. She is not yet assembled as there is much left to do on her head. These next steps are easiest to do without the arms and legs on the doll. Right now I am working strictly with the torso.

I have just about finished sculpting the face and will do a bit more sanding on her. Sculpting a head this large was truly a challenge for me. I usually work on a much smaller scale. The largest size head/face I have done is probably 1-2 inches. This doll is a 17″ doll so her head is about 11″ circumference at widest part of skull. I must say it is easier to sculpt larger. For the most part I used my fingers and thumbs.

Her face turned out sweet however I am unsure if I captured the original Izannah Walker likeness (most likely not). However, she is a blank canvas at this point; unpainted. Perhaps after painting her face and her hair she may have more of a resemblance. Her eyes look like they are closed/sleeping but they will be painted to be open eyes.

Up next is the stockinette covering for the face/head. This adds a nice texture to the head and a soft covering. This is where soft cotton knit is adhered to the sculpted clay face. It is an optional step however I need to attempt it because I want to learn this method. I am a tad concerned doing this step and think it is quite possible to totally wreck the doll head if done incorrectly. However, I like the look this gives to the doll. Since this is my first doll I must learn all aspects of her creation and just take that risk and see how it goes. The best time to test this step is on this first doll …. although she is cute, she will not be a masterpiece IW doll.

This weekend I hope to complete the stockinette, then paint her face and her hair. I will then work on painting arms and legs. Assemble her and then work on her beautiful dress.

This is so exciting because I have never owned a handmade doll of this size. I will most likely keep her since she is my first one. I have another body ready to go and undoubtedly I will be forging ahead on more Izannah Dolls.

… stayed tuned this weekend for more progress.

Izannah Doll Workshop – Week 1

Izannah workshop opened up this past Monday. I sign in to the Ning forum and gather up my packet of goodies. I downloaded all the information and the pattern. I printed it all out and briefly looked it over. I then thought to myself, “good thing we have 3 months to make this doll”! At first glance, it looked a bit overwhelming.

As always, I dive right in! This has always been a bad habit of mine. I tend not to read through materials very thoroughly. I suppose it is because I am not a real detail oriented person and just like to ‘wing it’ most of the times. I glance at pictures and think I know what I am doing. LOL. sometimes it works, and sometime it doesn’t. But this time it worked out fine.

I am someone that usually struggles with soft cloth doll patterns. Those fingers, and turning arms and legs .. yikes…and all that nonsense usually has me in tears with blow outs and frayed fabric. However, this one went very very smooth! I decided to do the paint over-dye method for the fabric (recommended by Gail Wilson). This way the fabric is stabilized and offers better cutting and sewing. I am happy with this extra step that I did and think this is why I did not have blow outs and fraying. Monday and Tuesday I spent cutting the pattern and sewing.

Here is her lovely torso and head sewn up.

I am sculpting the head with paper clay so she is drying after I have gessoed the head. Late Wednesday I began sculpting her face, so will show those pictures tomorrow along with her other body parts which have been completed.

Today I am working on the sculpting of her face/head. I am much further along then I thought I would be and so far things are going very smoothly! She is going to be a treasured doll!

Valetines Day Snowmen

While I was waiting for my workshop to start I did two more snowman sculptures in a Valetines day theme.

These are both foil armature sculptures with paper clay. I am always so behind in ‘holiday’ sculptures so I really tried to get a couple done for Valentines Day.

Here is the first one and he is a standing piece and holding some hearts. He was quite a challenge in that I used 18 gauge wire with foil armature. So his little legs were wires. So I was like “hmmm, what do I do with his legs”. Instead of putting clay over them I wrapped in fiber and then gel medium them so they were nice and hard. So it made for some neat legs. Will have to try this method again.

The next two are a snowman couple with a “Be Mine” theme. I knew I wanted to do another snoman couple and the hearts they are holding would work nice for the Valentines Day theme. I put this one in my Etsy shop this afternoon and in less than 1/2 hour this one sold along with the other one. I figured I would post here anyway even though they sold.

I think during some down time (if there is any) in my IW workshop I would like to do perhaps another Valentines Day themed sculpture. Have to see how it goes. I am so busy and this workshop has a lot of heavy content! For me its heavy because I have only done perhaps 4-5 soft type dolls in my life. I hope to do some WIPs on her creation and fill in my blog posts that way. Since I won’t be doing any side projects for the most part and just focusing on my Izannah Doll.

I have traced and cut my patters and tomorrow I hit the sewing machine. This is a great workshop and Dixie did a fabulous job with the content. I am very pleased and glad I joined up.

I have also been negligent in visiting all my blog buddies. Please forgive me. Ive just been so busy. But hope to make my usual blog rounds sometime this week and probably in the much later hours of the evening.

Mr. Jingles Snowman

Ahhh, another snowman paper clay sculpture! It has warmed up here in NJ and seems the artic blast has dissipated. Whether it will be back, who knows. But 40’s feels like a heat weave here right now.

This little guy is so darn cute. I giggle when I look at him. He is paper clay sculpture and he stands approximately 6″ high. He is attached to a snowy base also made of air dry clay.

His blue eyes just make his smile such a happy smile! He holds a little jingle bell assortment which can be removed from him. His top hat is adorned with green and red flakes and beautiful trim.

He has been added to my Etsy shop. Come check him out!

Black & White Snowman

Here’s one of my latest snowmen air dry clay sculptures. Black and white is his theme and instead of a the usual snowman scarf he has mini black pom poms around his neck. Additional fibers are around his waist along with a sculpted star.

I am still waiting for the Izannah Walker workshop to begin and I am enjoying myself with a few more snowman sculptures. I have one more in the works at my art table.

He is sculpted of air dry clay, painted, and then a lavish coat of glitter was applied. Love the sparkle on him! He wears a black party hat with white polka dots trimmed in beautiful black and white ric-rac!

He is attached to a painted black base. I decided not to antique him because I didn’t want to mellow out the crisp black and white.

See his Etsy Listing Here.

My Pre-Workshop Izannah Walker Doll

By the end of the week I should have more information on the Izannah Walker workshop. However, officially it does not start until January 18th.

I am so excited to start the workshop that I decided to do a small project of an Izannah Doll on my own. Just to ‘gear up’ and get ready and to see how I would do before I start the doll for the workshop.

I took the free pattern by Dixie and reduced it to the size of a 9 inch doll.
Working smaller scale is always more difficult. She is 9″ doll. Which you don’t think is small until you sew and try to turn those limbs right side out! For the workshop we will be making an 18″ doll.

I had not a clue as to where to start but the focus of this little doll was to try out the sculpting of the clay head on the doll body. Before sewing the pattern I treated the fabric with over-dye paint stain. I then sewed it up, stuffed it and then detailed the limbs and her boots.

Time to sculpt the face on the doll. I am trying to sculpt to the likeness of the real Izannah dolls.

I am still getting used to sculpting a face in the air dry paper clay. I use the push and pull method with polymer clay and with air dry clay it is very different. The best method is to add the clay features. I have to switch gears and do the ‘adding clay’ to build a face instead of the push and pull method. As it dries, you can then keep adding additional pads of clay for features such as cheeks, forehead, etc.

Here is my first little Izannah Walker doll. I dinged her up good and antiqued her because I like that old feeling and primitive look to these types of dolls. After she is painted and dressed, the fun starts! I get to attack her and apply some wreckage to her. Oh what fun! You can’t be intimidated and think your going to wreck your piece — you probably won’t, but for me, the more dings and dents, the better she started to look! She has only a few assemblage flaws and defects but nothing that compromises her in any way from being sturdy.

Despite her flaws I do love her. I think she may end up as the ‘the bigger Izannah’s little doll. 🙂

Here she is!

My Visit to the Princeton Toy & Doll Museum

I basically grew up in Hopewell NJ. I also worked near this area for many years and at that time I was not a doll artist. That is how this little amazing place unfortunately was overlooked on my many drives through this area.

Since signing up for the Izannah Walker website I followed a link at Dixie’s site. The link had shown some museums which have (or may have) an Izannah doll. The Princeton Toy & Doll Museum was one of them.

I decided to take a short drive today and go visit the museum. What a wonderful day it was. Its very tiny museum but packed with so many historical dolls. I was in heaven. I spent 2 hours in there. The museum director is such a wonderful and knowledgeable lady.

So yes! She was there! I found the Izannah Doll. Its value? About $10,000. I didn’t bring enough cash! Darn! Well, it didn’t matter anyway because she is not for sale. But I was truly amazed by looking at this doll. After I was done looking at amazing Izannah, I checked out all the other wonderful dolls. There are quite a few that really attracted me.

NOTICE: Please do not take and publish these photos as permission was given to me to take these photos for my own personal use.


The museum director said I had very fine taste. I was attracted towards the most valuable dolls in the museum and I had no idea. If I became a collector it would be very expensive for me to collect the ones I liked the most.

I loved this set. If I recall these are little french dolls. Just stunning! The one in the background would sell for around $600.

Ohhhh how I want this in my art room!

Another favorite doll of mine is the Queene Anne Wooden/Peg dolls. These were amazing!

This doll has a value of somewhere around $5,000.

I didn’t get a picture of the Lenci dolls she had. Ooooo, another favorite of mine. Next time I go back I will get a photo of those.

She has a small corner set aside as a little gift shop. Dolls and other toys that are also collectibles. So … what did I buy there? Two 1940’s bisque frozen leg dolls from Japan. Why? Um…. well, I have see these many times and for some strange reason they fascinate me. And since I don’t have the cash for the other dolls, well, this still made me happy! 🙂 They are now sitting on my little doll shelf in my art room. Here is my two little Bisque dolls from Japan. I love them!

I will undoubtedly go back to the museum many times because she has many reference books on dolls and doll history. I could easily spend a day in there just reading!

I have lots more photos at Flickr, so stop by to see all the sweet dolls. Truly amazing and I was in complete awe of such amazing dolls.

There is just something about that feeling of ‘going back into time’ when you look at these dolls. The museum was a calm, peaceful, and happy place to be today; comparative to the harsh strange world we live in today.