Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Day We Give Thanks!!

I cannot believe that it has been so long since I posted. I am shamed...But, the kids got sick and so loving gave it to me...I am as sick as a dog. The good news is we are going OUT FOR DINNER for thanksgiving so I won't be exhausted cooking. The bad news is no left overs and no extended family visiting. Just our family of 5! Shocking still so say that out loud. Zach's 4rth Birthday is the 27th too so we will have a busy festive day. I hope everyone has a joyful, safe and thankful Thanksgiving!!
Michelle and Kathi

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tutorial - Make Your Own Tassels

Step One
Gather your tools. Judee’s TasselMaker©, floss, scissors and some tape. If you have an old, clean toothbrush for fraying the tassel edges, use it. Not pictured, but a tool I like to use is a dental cleaner. (It has a handle with the “Christmas Tree” brush on the end of it.) Floss of your choosing. Step Two
The tool comes with pins set for your first set of tassels. In this demonstration, I make large tassels so you can see them. When using the tool for most of my miniature projects, I make multiple tassels tying off the tops and the bottoms.

Step Three
Pull a 6-strand length of floss from your skein. Tie a knot in one end and separate the strands. (You might notice I am working on a pinning board. My board is made of ceiling tile or foam core and covered with gingham.)
Step Four
Per the instructions provided with your tool, place the separated strands over the pin to create some tension. Begin passing the 6 strands over and under the pins in a serpentine manner. Keep good tension, but it does not have to be “tight".
Step Five
Continue to the end of the pins.
Step Six
When you reach the last pin, wrap around the pin and follow the course back to starting point and the original knotted end.
Step Seven
Securely tape the remaining floss to hold the tension.
Step Eight
Thread a needle with one strand of floss and tie a knot.
Step Nine
Place the knot over the pin as you did with the original knot, proceed up to the first pin and tie a surgeons knot(*see below) over the floss. This will join two sides of each loop.

Step Ten
Wind the floss under the bottom pin and back to the top. Bring the thread around the pin and tie another surgeon’s knot. Continue in this manner until all of the knots are completed. (You can tie knots on the lower pins as well, depending on the size and number of tassels you require.)
Step Eleven
Place a dot of glue on each knot to secure it.
Step Twelve
Steam the floss and let it cool.
Step Thirteen
Remove the bottom pins. (If you are making lower tassels and upper tassels, leave the pins and go to step 14.)
Step Fourteen
Cut away the bottom edge of the tassels longer than your desired finished size.
Step Fifteen
Comb (a lot) the threads until they begin to fray. Keep combing until they shine and are satiny.
Tutorial by: Kathi of
The Tasselmaker can be find at Doll Artist's Workshop Tasselmaker
Instead of Embroidery floss why not try silk thread? Once unraveled its natural twist makes fabulous tassels: Silk Thread
Here is a picture of a doll I made using the silk thread. The tassels are on her boots.

* Surgeons Knot

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Rising to the Challenge

Recently a revered woman in the doll world and more recently in the miniature world passed away. The loss of Doreen Sinnett makes us sad. Fortunately for us doll makers her business continues in the capable hands of her daughter, Drena West.
Doreen created many doll kits for those who liked dressing dolls. (There are molds for those who like to do the whole process.) A client that thought my style of dressing a doll would be great for her Doreen Sinnett porcelain sent one such kit to me. What a compliment. Her instructions to me were quite specific, “Surprise me!”That I knew of the client was she liked pastels, closest to white the better, feminine but not fussy, lace and antiques. I tried to pin her down to a period or a style, even asked her where it would be placed in her home. Nothing. By now, I am crying fowl. The answer was always similar, “I have faith in you, you will know what to do, I trust you, surprise me.” It was time to rise to the challenge and dress a doll that would make Doreen proud and my client very happy.Doreen had dressed her hair in a high style reminiscent of Marie Antoinette, yet still appropriate for a mid Victorian ball gown. I hit the reference books with my list of requirements. There were two periods I felt would work with the hairstyle already on the doll. I landed on a ball dress from a design plate from Harper’s Bazaar 1877. I had the dress! Then the painful, yes painful, decision about fabrics. (Usually that s the fun part, but it had to be great.) The doll had tiny dots of fuchsia flowers in her hair and knowing the desire for femininity, I went with pink, a light, almost dusty rose. After deciding on the main color, choosing the other colors was easy. When I am unsure, I use a color wheel.
Finally, bringing the dress to reality was another matter. Many times, I had to make different parts of the gown. My client and I are so pleased with the result. With her permission, I am sharing this figure with you today. I hope you enjoy seeing her. She is 5 ½” tall.
Kathi minipatterns .com