Friday, February 29, 2008

About the Artist: Ann Lenore Vanture

In December of 1962, the pop artist Andy Warhol was asked in an interview, "What do your rows of Campbell's soup cans signify?" Warhol responded, "They're things I had when I was a child"...and that is exactly what my Paper Minis™ artwork signifies to me. Paper Minis are an expression of the warm fuzzies of my childhood, and are a form of Pop Art but are easier to carry around than a large silk-screened canvas of a can of soup.

Many of my creations were inspired by childhood and other life memories. For instance, the vintage Paper Minis™ remind me of visits to my grandparents in Missouri and to my Great Grandma Woo in Kentucky. The McDonald's fast food items and vintage place mats remind me of when we returned from our tour of duty in France in the 1960s and discovered these new fun places to eat popping up everywhere along the highway to Missouri, Paper Minis represent events and memorabilia that are close to my heart.

I never focused on the fact that I was drawn to miniatures until 13 years ago. How did that fact go unnoticed? My younger sister, Cordelia, is actually the force that got me started on Paper Minis™. She has spent years populating a wonderful Victorian house our Father built for her as well as many room boxes. One day she showed me her latest dollhouse accessories purchase. I was impressed, but felt that the little kitchen groceries could be improved. Having worked as a graphic artist for many years, and with Cordelia's encouragement, I quickly became obsessed with creating the perfect 1:12 scale miniatures. A task that took many years longer than I thought it would. The resulting Paper Minis'™ process is my special "secret recipe;" 10 years to figure out how to bring out color, texture, crisp lines and readable typesetting at a scale 1/12th our human size!

If you have been following Paper Minis™ over the last several years on-line (from the end of 2002), you know it has been an interesting journey. Paper Minis'™ format has run the gamut of high-tech on-line honor-system on-line auto-executable CDs. Paper Minis™ became known all over the globe, and how exciting for me to have e-pals from as far away as Australia! My next logical step in developing Paper Minis™ products was to develop pre-printed, pre-cut kits. Armed with a new computerized cutter I was cutting morning, noon and night. All that labor meant higher priced Paper Minis™ and took me away from the creative part–designing!

Then came the light-bulb moment. From customer feedback, I learned hobbyists like to cut their own Paper Minis™. It's therapeutic (translation: fun). So back to the drawing board I went and shortly thereafter Paper Minis™ Cut 'n Glue Kits were born and were well received. In tandem with the Cut 'n Glue Kits, I spend a great deal of time writing the Paper Minis News™ newsletter and designing monthly sample projects in many doll scales. These are enjoyed by literally thousands of club members. Keep them safe in one or more of the little mini vignette shadowboxes available through Paper Minis™ printie CDs. I think you will enjoy making Paper Minis™ as much as I enjoy designing them. Collect one each month and sign and date the bottom.

To join Ann of Paper Minis Newsletter and see her on line catalogue of cut and glue miniatures visit:

What can you do with Ann's Paperminis? Well, we teamed up a while back and made some cute kits together. With the fabrics at Doll Artist's Workshop ( La Petite Belle Patterns ( we've created some cute projects. These are for vignettes and accessorizing a doll house not made to fit a doll.

Ann's Magnolia's accessories and LPB #2015. I called this Shop 'Til You Drop.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

10 New Cottons Just Added

I just added these 10 new cottons to
Checks, Stripes, Voiles & Plaids, all 100% imported cotton, 45" wide.
Follow this link directly to the cotton check page: Checks

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Playing With Your Miniatures

When creating for La Petite Belle Patterns,, I usually sell the prototype. But sometimes I keep them. The one's I have kept are put away in boxes. Eventually, I make a vignette, and usually it has gone through several stages before it gets to a real vignette that I can put together. And sometimes, they are years in the making as I keep adding to them. The dressing room vignette is a combination of several patterns and a collaboration with Ann Vanture of Paper Minis. ( We have done a few of them and they were quite fun. I also have displayed miniatures which were received as gifts or purchased. There are three patterns represented in this display, 1006 Spa Basket and towels, 2004 Peignoir on mannequin, and 6001 white nightclothes). Ann Vanture paper minis are the paper boxes and bags. Roses and Valentines and many things are represented here. Pull out your box of goodies, I'll bet you have several items of a theme and you, too, can put them together for a wonderful display.

RSS Feed and Blogs

When I started my Blog I did not know anything about the Blog world. In fact I could not even believe I had become a Blogger. HUH?? Blogger? Wondering if people even care what I have to say. do get kind of addicted to it. And surely hope someone is reading it. I have since learned more and now kind of understand a new facet of blogging or ways to read someone else's Blog. I figured if I did not have a clue about this then maybes others do not either. It is called RSS Feed.
From Wikipedia:
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a family of Web feed formats used to publish frequently updated content such as blog entries, news headlines or podcasts. An RSS document, which is called a "feed," "web feed," or "channel," contains either a summary of content from an associated web site or the full text. RSS makes it possible for people to keep up with their favorite web sites in an automated manner that's easier than checking them manually.
Here is another interesting article about RSS Feed and what it is all about:
You also will have to know about RSS Readers.
From Wikipedia:
Feed Readers also known as an a feed aggregator.
Aggregators reduce the time and effort needed to regularly check websites for updates, creating a unique information space or "personal newspaper." Once subscribed to a feed, an aggregator is able to check for new content at user-determined intervals and retrieve the update. The content is sometimes described as being "pulled" to the subscriber, as opposed to "pushed" with email or IM. Unlike recipients of some "pushed" information, the aggregator user can easily unsubscribe from a feed.
Aggregator features are frequently built into portal sites (such as My Yahoo! and iGoogle), modern Web browsers and email programs.
I personally use Google to reed my feeds.
So when you are on a blog that you want to keep up to date with all you have to do is click on the little orange Rainbow picture (this is the universal Feed Icon) or were it says: "subscribe to feed" and the articles will come to you.
Michelle Mahler

Monday, February 25, 2008

Tassel Tutorial

This tutorial was generously donated my Ann Vanture of Paper Minis Mininatures Thank you!!

Above photo is of the lady's hand fan with a tassle flourish.

A Tassle



Detailing Scissors (embroidery snips)

Black office binder clip

Large-eyed Needle

Embroidery floss
or Silk Thread

Step 1

Pull off three long strand of the embroidery floss and set aside.
Cut the remaining piece into 3, 2" lengths.

Step 2

Fold the three lengths in half and pinch into the black binder clip. The folded center should be exposed.

Step 3

Take one of the long strands and tie together at the center of the fold. It is easier to handle if you thread it with the needle and then do the work.

Step 4

Now take the rest of the threaded strand and tie around the bundle to make a tassel head.

Step 5

Take the toothpick and use it to separate and untwist the strands.

Step 6

Snip the bottom ends of the tassel to make a nice clean straight line.

Use this wonderful little Tassels to decorate your Paper Minis from Ann, Dolls, Parasols, Hats, Dollhouse decor and on and on....

Thank you for visiting our Blog. Hopefully you enjoyed the tutorial.

Just as a gentle reminder, that tutorial was written to help to stimulate your creativity.

This Tutorial, Pictures, & Instructions are copy-righted & are not to be used as a tutorial of your own.

This means you may not copy and post this tutorial to your own website, or print it out and sell or distribute it as your own.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

New Dressmaker Kits

I have added a new Dressmakers kit to my website. It is available in 2 colors. I am going to try to make a new kit every month. Follow this link directly to this new kit: Ladies Reception Gown Kit

Colors Available are:
Olive/Ecru OR Blue/White.
See below for color choice preview

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Don't We Just Love to Play with Dolls??

I am reminded of a funny story. One of the fun things about having a little girl is the dolly factor. I could not wait to buy my baby daughter her first doll. I stopped myself from buying the $140 Lee Middleton, she was only 1 year old after all(I think I wanted it more than her..for sure). I found the most precious Cabbage Patch doll on sale. The ceremony of her first doll. Of course she ended up in the mud, disrobed and left out side. I wined..."But it's her first doll"! In the mean time her older brother discovered that the oven door could be opened and closed...opened and closed. Oh..Then you can put stuff into this box....I awoke one Sunday AM to the 3 kids and the hubby in the kitchen making breakfast. On the kitchen counter lay the melted mass of Natalie's first doll. Zach had put her in the oven, Hubby had turned the oven on and smelled the melting plastic to late. Her first doll! I have it saved anyway....

Friday, February 22, 2008

Paper Dolls as Inspiration

The paper dolls of Brenda Sneathen Maddox have inspired many of my favorite commissions and patterns. I love her style. ( I received a picture of a paper doll of Billie Dove, a 20's screen siren, and was asked to make the dress for a dress shop. Miniature clothing for a hanger is made very differently than miniature clothing to fit a doll and this commission was especially challenging. There is no pattern at this time, but I thought you would enjoy seeing what others like and how great things are in miniature.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Who is John Burbidge?

Les Petites Dames de Mode
Mr. Burbidge, Senior Designer (retired) for the famed bridal house of Priscilla of Boston, started his project in the 1970’s, the collection of his little ladies represents the culmination of almost 30 years of research and exacting effort. A member of the Costume Societies of America and England, Burbidge was first inspired by an exhibit he visited as a World War II GI in Paris. He later visualized a series of historically-correct costumes on a group of “perfect little ladies,” reduced in scale, wherein one could enjoy in a sweeping glance the fashionable elegance of a time gone by. Amazingly, each outfit is an original design by Burbidge who after extensive study, imagined himself working as a designer of the period.
His creations are currently on display at Ventfort Hall, which is now the Museum of the Gilded Age, in the Berkshires. “Les Petites Dames de Mode,” is an extraordinary exhibit of 59 miniature ladies dressed in exquisitely detailed gowns and coiffed with real human hair. The 59 stunningly beautiful miniature “fashion models” portray the history of women’s fashion from 1855 to 1914. Click here for more info about the exhibit: Ventfort Hall
You can buy an autographed book of this collection here: Book

I do hope it is true "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" as I have created my miniature copy of his Spring Watering Place dress. His mannequins are 29" tall(very top), mine only 5 1/ 2" tall figure(above). I have had to simplify some of the items for presentation on such a small figure but I would hope Mr. Burbidge would be proud of my attempt. This pattern, La Petite Belle Pattern 5033, and fabric kit can be purchased from Create your vision today. I have also included pictures of some of the other ladies in his collection (below) for inspiration, Mr Burbidge is picture in the center. To see more of the figures click here: Exhibit.

After posting this I decided to look up more on John Burbidge. Here is more info:
John Burbidge was a creative and prolific fashion designer for the Priscilla of Boston wedding gown company from the late 1940s to 1985. Burbidge, born in 1922, went to work for the Priscilla of Boston firm in 1948, after graduating from the New England School of Art and Design and serving for three years in the Army during World War II. He started out operating a button machine and gradually worked his way up to designing. His technique involved clipping photographs of models from magazines, laying tracing paper over the cut-out, and tracing the figure, onto which he added his design. After creating, in his words, "hundreds" of sketches and doodles, he would work out the details in muslin. Eventually he achieved status as Priscilla Kidder's favorite designer and was known for his use of certain features, such as bows, bustled backs, puffed sleeves and "star" bodices. The high point in his career with Priscilla of Boston was in 1971 when he designed the wedding dress worn by President Nixon's daughter Tricia at her White House wedding to Edward Cox. The design had a strong influence on wedding fashion, though the design used was never duplicated by the company. Since leaving Priscilla of Boston, Burbidge has made a second career designing and creating dolls in elegant historic costume, while Burbidge's wife, Cile Bellefleur-Burbidge, designs and creates elegant and elaborate wedding cakes.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Our local PBS Station is running a Masterpiece Classic and it is about 8 weeks of Jane Austen. Could I be happier? I don't think so! For all of you who love Jane Austen, this is my interpretation of Elizabeth Bennett, heroine in Pride and Prejudice, reading Mr. Darcy's letter after she declined his proposal. I actually typed his letter and reduced it to 1/12th scale. Her gloves rest in her lap as she thinks about his words and the truths he discloses. There are just a few kits left of this fabulous doll kit. You can find it here: Pride and Prejudice on Plus..lets be real!! is Colin Firth! Check it out and be inspired by the costumes..those hair styles.

Friday, February 15, 2008

I found some 5/0 Snaps

Very hard to find, the smallest snaps made, are the 5/0 size. Dritz for Dolls discontinued theirs. I have been searching and searching....I found a place in New York that had one box squirreled away in the back room. Follow this link to get your stash: 5/0 Snaps The picture on the left shows the size difference between the 4/0 which the the smallest size you would find in say JoAnns ect. Picture not actual size.

Play Time For Us Dolliers

There are many ways to display and also keep compact the space our "toys" use. Dressing little dolls is what I do, but I wanted a cute way to display the little girl and her dresses and toys. What better way than a closet. Though new to paints and wood, I was still able to create this tiny house painted box. I can imagine so many more ways today since I have learned more about painting and decoupage. Put those scrapbooking skills to use as well. To the left the box is closed and see the little girl and her finery when the box is opened.
To see all the little dresses, visit the gallery on my website or follow this link right to my Gallery: Kathi's Gallery. The box is around 6" tall, the little doll around 4".

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Love is in the Air....on Valetine's Day!

February is a month of romance. Save your romantic moments in miniature. Do you still have your prom mementos, a favorite birthday, your wedding, maybe your mom's? Re-create your favorite memories in miniature and seal them within a watch case. This would be a fabulous present as well. These watchcases contain a comb and brush set, flowers, gloves, photographs, dance card or bundle of old love letters, and tiny pearl necklaces. You do not have to limit yourself, the world of miniatures is complete. If you need it, it's out there. Do you want your own picture, use a contact print. Save babies birth information and bracelet, add some miniature rattles, a tiny silver cup and a real lock of hair. What moment do you want saved?
Custom watch cases in gold or silver starting at $50.00. Contact Kathi Mendenhall, Empty watch cases are available on emptywatchcase, Kathi also had available other ideas in the form of patterns if you get stuck: watch case ideas. The watchcase to the left Michelle made using a tiny porcelain doll.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mini Bleuette

I just have to post about this precious little mini Bleuttes made by Lucie Winksy. They are on my list of precious things I really want. I do not do much collecting of late...feel to guilty buying such frivolities when I have 3 kids now....but I have to find a way to get one of these special little dolls.
Lucie Winsky has been creating porcelain dollhouse dolls since 1988. She is an IGMA Artisan and a Certified Doll Artisan through the Doll Artisan Guild and has won several blue ribbons in their doll competitions. Lucie sells finished dolls and doll parts through her web site for collectors and doll makers. She first learned how to make antique reproductions of larger dolls and enjoys reproducing them in miniature. Her specialty is reproductions of Bleuette at 2 3/8 inches tall. To buy one of these little gems for your collection see Lucie's website at: Lucie Winsky Dolls
Who is Bleutte?
The original Bleuette (measuring 27 cm. (10 5/8”) in height) is a doll that was offered to young girls in France from 1905-1960, and was only available through La Semaine de Suzette, a weekly periodical for girls. The magazine was filled with games, crafts, recipes and stories along with patterns to make clothing for Bleuette. There were more than 1,060 patterns published over the 55 years Bleuette was produced. She was the Barbie doll of her time. Several different heads were produced during these years, the most popular being the 301.

Here is a picture of the large Bleuette holding a basket of Lucie's mini's: