Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Years to All

Firstly, Kathi and I wish the the most healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!
New beginnings for the New Year! It is about time! Drum roll please....
A new kit is ready, or nearly ready, for you to start your New Year off. Welcome to 1880, where the garments fit close to the figure and cut narrowly to accentuate a thin silhouette. The stand up lace collar with lace jabot adorns the top of a long jacket and vest that extend below the hips. Sleeves are long and tight. Foundation skirts if not tight to the body tied behind the knees, as this is to draw all the fullness to the rear. Draped apron front and back finish out the iconic look. The pleated or ruffled hem gathers to the back and flare in a slight train. Her jewelry is impeccable with a gold broach and jewel and pearl earrings. The accenting hat ties under the chin and simply decorated. With her leather belt bag and velvet muff, she is ready for a day of strolling in the park.
The porcelain is meticulously painted by Gisele Sullivan and ready for assembly. The kit includes porcelain doll parts, hair, fabrics trims, pattern and nearly everything you need to complete the project.
For order details click here: New Kit

Friday, December 24, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving to All

History of Thanksgiving
"What is Thanksgiving and why is it celebrated?"

For thousands of years, mankind has set aside a day each year to celebrate bountiful annual harvests. Before the establishment of formal religions, many ancient farmers believed that their crops contained spirits which caused the crops to grow and die. Many believed that these spirits would be released when the crops were harvested and they had to be destroyed or they would take revenge on the farmers who harvested them. Some of the harvest festivals celebrated the defeat of these spirits. Harvest festivals and Thanksgiving celebrations were held by the ancient Greeks, the Romans, the Hebrews, the Chinese, and the Egyptians.

What is the history of Thanksgiving in United States? The initial "Thanksgiving" feast, held in 1621, was really a traditional English harvest celebration. The Pilgrims shared it with the Native Americans because they had taught the colonists to plants crops and hunt wild game. Without the Native Americans, the Pilgrims may not have survived the harsh winter and been able to celebrate their first harvest of plentiful crops in the New World. The colonists' first harvest feast lasted for three days. Food was served all at once, instead of in courses, so people ate whatever they pleased in the order that they desired. The more important members at the feast were given the best pieces of meat, while the rest of the diners ate whatever was closest to them. Since the Pilgrims didn't use forks or plates, they ate their meal straight off the table with spoons, knives or their fingers. They used large napkins to wipe their hands and also wrapped it around food when it was too hot to hold.

The history of Thanksgiving demonstrates that feasts like the one at Plymouth were held throughout the colonies after fall harvests. However, all thirteen colonies did not celebrate Thanksgiving at the same time. In 1789, George Washington became the first president to declare Thanksgiving a holiday. By the mid-1800s, many states observed the Thanksgiving holiday. Meanwhile, the poet and editor, Sarah J. Hale, had begun lobbying for a national Thanksgiving holiday. During the Civil War President Abraham Lincoln looking for ways to unite the nation, discussed the subject with Hale. In 1863 he gave his Thanksgiving Proclamation declaring the last Thursday in November a day of Thanksgiving.

In 1939, 1940, and 1941 Franklin D. Roosevelt, seeking to lengthen the Christmas shopping season, proclaimed Thanksgiving the third Thursday in November. Controversy ensued, and Congress passed a joint resolution in 1941 decreeing that Thanksgiving should fall on the fourth Thursday of November, where it remains. What is Thanksgiving today? At its heart, it's a holiday where family and friends congregate to catch up, reminisce, tell jokes, share scrumptious food and generally give thanks for all the good things in life-exactly what they did at the very first Thanksgiving. (reprinted from

Happy Thanksgiving to all our Doll Friends,

Michelle and Kathi

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I am very excited and must Share....

I have made an acquisition for my daughter Natalie for x-mas. I am very excited and must share. I feel safe as she does not read my blog...being only 4-1/2 yrs old. HA HA!
I found this artist on Etsy that makes Paper dolls using your child's face. The shop is called Amarias Paper Works. I sent her a picture of Natalie and she took her face and added it to a hand painted paper doll body. Then the clothing are hand painted and reproduced and magnetic so the child can change and outfits. The artist, Amaria was so easy to work with. She to is a working at home mom. She live is Australia. This is the picture I sent her of Natalie:
I sent her pictures of Natalie's ballet leotard, described her favorite Princess and a causal out fit with lots of colors and butterfly's she might wear. This is a jpg of the doll:
She was even kind enough to include another cute dress as a bonus. I am so excited to give them to her. I almost feel like I want to give me to her early or late so they won't get lost in the shuffle of the x-mas crazy. Aren't they CUTE!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Take Good Pictures

I while back on my Teka and Zoe Blog I posted several articles on my trials and tribulations on Photography (see full set of articles here: ). Although the articles speaks mostly of my Jewelry, which has been more challenging than my dolls, the information is good all around. It has taken me a long time to get to were I feel that I take reasonably good pictures of my goods. In the past articles I never got to actually showing you what my set up looks like (see above). It is a EZ CUBE Table Top Studio. It isn't pretty as it is set up in the back garage. I have also learned since this picture was taken- Don't have natural light streaming in if you have bulb lighting. I actually use Trumpet Daylight bulbs now(to the right). I use these bulbs as they remain cool. I used to used regular photography bulbs but after being turned on for any hour they got HOT! Burn you hot! To mix the color of natural light with daylight bulbs it sometimes gave me a pink cast. I fought it for a long time. YUCK! So I now close the blind and just use the bulbs and even have the same type of bulb in each light. My camera goes on a tripod in front of the tent. I have also added an additional light on top of the tent as sometimes at night it is too dark. Having 3 kids and working at home I do not have the luxury of taking pictures outside in perfect nature light. I have also learned the hard way that if you adjust your exposure on your camera it is sometimes better to go a bit darker than overexposed which is harder to correct in editing. Also, harsher light can mess with the color even when you use white balance. When you look in the picture above showing my setup you will see the piece of travertine tile I bought to shoot on. If I only knew...It has an annoying pink sometimes yellow undertone. Look for this kind of thing in your backdrop. I purchased a tan velvet paper once that had a weird red undertone when photographed. Not good. I wish I had gone grayer in tone in my stone. But I did find a gray rock that I can use as a prop that helps balance the color. I spend more time editing to get rid of the pink then I should have to. But it has helped to cut out the natural light. Here are 2 pictures right out of my camera unedited. One on the more yellow rock that sometimes give pink undertones and the same earrings on the gray rock. They were taken during the same photo session, same light.
But the best part of my photography is that I finally took the plunge and bought a nice camera that I LOVE. I got a Canon Rebel XT. LOVE LOVE LOVE it! I use the white balance on my camera but sometimes I just put it on the dummy settings and get good shots without messing with it. I pretty much always take numerous pics of the same earrings in the same setting but adjust the white balance and exposure 2 or 3 times. Then I know I got the shot. Plus I may jiggle even with the tripod. Or if I use auto focus it may focus on the rock not the piece. I learned in my last session no matter how much you focus your camera you will never get the shot in focus if you do not have your glasses on. HA! I have a hard drive that is full of 3/4 bad shots 1/8 good shots and 1/8 am happy with shots after editing. Below are some some shots of dolls. The first one is an old doll picture before the EZCube..notice in the picture the harsh shadows? The second picture is one in taken in the table top studio. Much better I think.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Doll Size Zippers

Dolly Zips are Here!! After much sourcing, then procrastinating and now finally taking the time to scan and list. I have the little 4" doll zippers listed on my web site. See them here: Doll Zippers

Saturday, November 6, 2010

So proud to show off.....

I have been working on these little buggers for months. I took the pictures and for some reason just did not want to show them off. I worked so hard on them to get them right I just wanted to keep them to myself. But now is the time to show them off. Push them out of the nest you might say. It is a marriage of my two loves: Enameling and Miniatures. I have been a miniaturist for years. When I started to make jewelry and then enameling I have been thinking about these little houses for a while. I finally had a "free" evening...put aside everything else and just started to figure it out. First making then little house out of card stock. Then out of copper. AL LOT of crooked little houses later and I managed to make one. Then I thought I better see if I could actually do it again...more crooked houses....and I managed to get 4 more. The bodies are made of copper, windows cut, roof and door cut and soldered on. I choose to solder them even though it took extra time because I did not want them to fall apart in the kiln. Things also expand and contract when they are heated and cool in the kiln so cracks could form. You can find them on ArtFire: Teka and Zoe.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Chapter 15 - The End

Dear Readers,
Kathi and I have had a CRAZY October. But I just had to do this one task that has been ridiculously late. It is the latest Chapter of the Emily Claire Journal. You can read the entire journal by following this link: Emily Claire Journal. It is in reverse order so start at the back and read forward. Thank-you for your patience. We have much new things coming up that were are excited about (hint NEW fabulous doll kit).
Thank-you for your patience!! Michelle Mahler
Accessories are the fun part of collecting and playing with dolls. They reflect and mimic every part of our lives. Whether you buy them or create them from a kit or your own talented hands, be sure to include accessories in your collection. Seen here are pieces of my collection; the fan from the talented hands of Alice Leverett and the dance card completed by me from one of her kits. Alice Leverett Originals and kits purchased at Mitts by Carole Sharp, Dance card from kit by Alice Leverett ( , Diary and books by Kathi Mendenhall(, Fan by Alice Leverett, fabric scrapbook - scrapbook kit from Ann Vanture of Paperminis ( and scrapbook completion and idea by Kathi Mendenhall.

Diary Entry

Dear Diary,
This spring has been a whirlwind. I continued my stay long after mother and father returned home. James and I became a pair throughout the celebrations and parties and we have developed a congeniality and affection between us. I remembered wonderful moments as I packed today. My beautiful fan, handmade, packed in its box, fluttering stilled until another day. I pressed a kiss with my fingers to a written name in my dance card and waltzed it across the room to place in my trunk. I travel home today and will return at summer’s end for the wedding. Sarah is so happy!
And I? I am happy, too. James is escorting me to the train station and will visit in the coming month.
The future starts tomorrow! I cannot wait…

The End

Monday, October 4, 2010

New Old Store Stock Vintage Laces Just Added

I am THRILLED that I finally got my brand new scanner up and running. New items have been piling up waiting to be added as my old scanner, which was 15 years old, finally died. It was my last really old piece of equipment left and it kept kicking for a long time. It was an HP and so old HP decided not to even bother updating drivers anymore. So when I got my new computer I just could not find a compatible driver anymore. I actually found the old driver but if was 3" floppy, who has those anymore? Thnx I know have an Epson Scanner that I LOVE! are some new old store stock french cotton laces in different colors:
Click here to see them on my site: Vintage Lace

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Totally unrelated but still had to Share it with you!! AMAZING.

Dot. The world's smallest stop-motion animation.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Have you heard of the new ArtFire Deal?

If you have ever been pondering opening a store on-line to sell your handcrafted items Art Fire is have a great deal until Oct 1, 2010. If you sign up for a Pro account before the deadline then you will get in on this deal. I myself am pondering a second store...if I can only think of a name?? Think, think, think...... Humm.

If you are considering opening a shop then now is the time.


Also here is an article on about ArtFire:
ArtFire's Unique Approach to Sellers - An Interview with Tony Ford

This is what Natalie Girard of Canadian Rockies Art has to say about the deal:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Friday the last day.....

click to enlarge

The last day of the convention arrived and the morning was a mad dash to pick up competition dolls, and remove articles I loaned to the special exhibit. Flight confirmation was the trick of the day. I did not bring a computer and the business office was packed. I called my husband and gave him the information. Click, I am confirmed, with A seating to boot. I am a happy camper. Now, where’s the post office? It was just a couple of blocks away and we know I am not afraid to walk anywhere, so off I went for boxes and tape. (Remember my suitcases were overweight before I left Nashville!)
Boxes retrieved and a tiny hike back to the hotel. I packed it all up and humped it back to the post office. That done, I stopped for my last trip to Bockwinkels for a sandwich and some of that great chocolate cake. I made it to the hotel before the weather turned bad. I continued to work on projects and read until time to get ready for the banquet. This is a great time of anticipation. I had no idea with whom I would be sitting, what would be the menu, as if it would be bad, and the anticipation for the souvenir doll was great. I’d tell you the menu, but really, once I say filet and strudel, you really stop reading and just lick your lips, don’t you?
I settled at my table and met wonderful women from the great northwest ad me, from Tennessee. However, we all speak DOLL. I learned some fun things about what they each collected, and we shared a great many stories about our marriages and dolls. We were treated to little girls dancing in their white dresses, a la Degas. Sweet. They were from the Steps Dance Center. Music during dinner was from the Wellington Strings Ensemble. Do you remember the three “B’s”, Bach, Brahms, and Beethoven? Well, add the Beatles. They could write some beautiful music and the strings showed how beautiful their music is.
The convention neared the end and our souvenir dolls, created by Alice Leverett Henderson and the Vogue Doll Company, made their way around the table. One, two, three, open the packages and wait for it, a loud cheer in unison. Marie-Terese is charming in her cotton undergarments. We received a pair of shoes as well. I was fortunate to be able to purchase two dresses and attend a luncheon where I received a winter ensemble. My little lady is set for her trip home.
This year is finished. I had a great time. I cannot begin to imagine the time and effort that goes into creating a convention of this magnitude. I did appreciate it. I had a wonderful time, made it to my plane before the flood, and I lost a pound, eating cake!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Just Some Eye Candy

Today as a rare day. I have no special words, just sit back and enjoy some of the pictures from the UFDC Convention 2010. My Favorite Things

Friday, September 3, 2010

Thursday and UFDC

I awoke on Thursday well rested with not a thing to do. It was glorious. Imagine, a morning to do nothing but work on my projects, read a book, take a leisurely bath and sleep again if I so desired. I caught my housekeeper early for some extra coffee, plopped that “Privacy” sign on my door, and snuggled away. Rain clouds loomed. All I needed was a fireplace; I had the murder mystery going already. The morning came and went and I found myself leisurely, not hurriedly, walking to Bockwinkles for some goodies for lunch. I sat outside to eat and the phone rang. Hubby calling to check up, he’s missing me. Right in the middle of that conversation drip, drip, drip, deluge! I thought I could get back before getting soaked and I nearly did. I had plenty of time to dry off, gather my tools for my last workshop.
Today, Cheryl Manard, was introducing us to a leather travel case for our French Fashion Dolls. It even came with the toiletry items. I have to admit now that I did not finish the case. I wanted to do something my way. I was also unsure of how many items I wanted to add to my case. I lack only the gluing in of the lining and the additions. This was a more complex case than I was used to making in a workshop, but I was able to make the whole thing and I am happy with the results. Cheryl was a good teacher.
Publisher’s Preview would open at 7:00 PM and I promised Judy I would get her a book. First things first, suppertime. Stetson’s is the high-end steakhouse inside the hotel. Why not, I had been eating sandwiches and maintaining my good balance all week. I certainly had walked enough for it. I ordered a filet and steamed broccoli. I did not order potatoes or desert. However, I did indulge in fresh bread with real butter. The service was so great. I had forgotten to order the sauce for my filet and when I got my waiter’s attention he said, “You wanted the BĂ©arnaise?” How did he know? He had already ordered it for me. He surprised at the end with two chocolate covered strawberries, which I ate slowly.
I managed to figure out the crush called Publisher’s Preview in time to get the very last book for my friend Judy, and was able to get it signed. I was able to pay for and order my own, but it has not yet shown. I am sure it will soon. It is coming from France and I cannot wait. I purchased some new patterns and renewed my subscriptionn to the French Fashion Review. It’s all good!
Tomorrow, the banquet!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

UFDC - Wednesday continued

We continue with Wednesday, as there was a couple more things on which to comment. Right after supper, (I have no idea what I ate, no notes. Probably something I ate all of since I seem consumed with food this week. Or is that consuming food this week?)
AT 6 PM sharp, I entered the competition rooms to take pictures. I did not know where to start, so I took pictures of those dolls that really interested me for some specific reason. Each table, each category, had a mystery and a beauty, all of them were wonderful. I read an article once; today I cannot remember the particulars, of a woman who purchased an antique needlework sampler. She became curious about the maker and made her work to expose the child and tell of her life. When I look at the dolls we revere, I think of the “child” who received the doll as a plaything. What happened to her, why is the doll here today, what history is there to explore? Vintage and contemporary dolls today have quite a recorded history. We understand our own history. The pictures I took are pictures of beautiful dolls, an interesting detail, an idea to remember, something I learned this week.
One picture I will share today is of the “Study Set”. I had to ask Susan Sirkis, see meet an idol; make a friend, what a Study Set was. She explained that sometimes there comes along a collection of things that are as complete and valuable as a set that a special case is set up just for this viewing. What an opportunity for people to see this exquisite set. The case contains a nursing Bru and quite an extraordinary layette. Susan tells me there is often a slide program or video of these sets that go into more detail. I cannot remember exactly, but I believe I read in “Antique Doll Magazine” (or possible another periodical) more about this particular set. Please enjoy my photos, as the set is quite possibly the most exquisite set of sewing you will see for quite some time. The photographs do not do justice to the beauty.
Time’s Up! At 6:30, I photographed the Special Exhibits. I made my way through those exhibits as well. This year my own sewing for the French Fashion Doll, Ultimate Fashion Doll by Alice Leverett Henderson had joined the table with other fine dressmakers.
I attended the “Around the World with BJD’s” program and learned so much about the new sensation in modern dolls. Ball Jointed Dolls, which I discussed in a previous post, are a fabulous medium for dressmakers to free themselves of the constraints of antique fashions and let the imagination soar. I intend to make time for the one I purchased earlier in the week. I think I learned a new doll language in about an hour and many questions answered.
“The Gathering for the Ultimate Fashion Doll was to end my excitement for the day. The room filled to Standing Room Only of doll collectors. Fashions and books were on display. Alice presided, among others, over us all. A quick game of Jeopardy pitted left of room against right and all had great fun. I buzzed out of the room quickly as I needed some sleep. Out the door, down the hall, around the corner and up the escalator I went. Up another escalator and another, to the elevator I progressed. I took a chance and mashed (pressed for no-southerners) and oh, my word, an empty elevator! I stepped in and waited. The door closed and zipped me to my floor, what a quiet closing to a busy day. I called my husband, read a chapter in my book, and then precious sleep. Tomorrow is another day!
Revlon Special Exhibit
The Study Sets