Monday, June 30, 2008

Kiwi girls

I just got a lovely email from Sue, my friend Kate's mum. She's a gorgeous lady with very good taste in dolls, she bought my Kiwi twins a while ago. She just sent me a couple of photos to show how well they've settled in to her place, and the nicest note/testimonial:

"'Kiwi Girls' - when I saw these dolls made by Heleen( Ruby in the Dust), I just had to have them!!!
Firstly, they are a unique addition to my growing collection of kiwis that I started about 30 years ago. But also, and more importantly, they reminded me of my carefree teenage years...of the hours my girlfriends and I spent together sewing, knitting and creating. I call them 'kiwi girls', because that's what they are to me. They are happy, easy-going, interested and full of the possibilities life has to offer. Heleen has created dolls with individual personality. Apparently the sweaters are made from an old pair of gloves. Here are the girls photographed outside together and inside amongst other kiwis they share their lives with."

Thanks Sue, you're just the kind of person I like making dolls for!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

New gloves and a lemon

I’ve just finished these fingerless gloves, just in time for the cold snap. They were so easy to knit (just a big square folded over), but I made them too big, so now my next knitting project (maybe for next winter) is: smaller gloves.

The lemon is a very special one, according to my friend Jaz. Off a very special tree, thanks to Mim. I'll have to have a gin to try it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I’m so disappointed and frustrated... just discovered a very important email in my junk mailbox, about 2 months late!!!!! It seems I was accepted into the Crammed Organisms show, and missed out on exhibiting my dolls and being published in their book of the same name. I'm even on their artists' page, with a link to my Flickr page.

The theme for their massive softie show was ‘Fairy, folk, and fable’, and I decided to make Cinderella and her ugly sisters. Here’s a pic of the sisters’ faces; Cinderella turned into Moya (see her in my very first post). I was so excited about the prospect of making ugly dolls, but left them when I thought I wasn’t selected. Might do something with them later, I quite like the one with beauty spots.

Now I’ll make sure to check that damn junk box more often!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My clever sister (one of two)

Look what my little sister Danelle made:

Her and her husband, JB, have a business making stained glass windows and things, and welded safety gates, garden furniture, etc. How cool!

Part four: she's finished!

Meet Sophie, lover of all things vintage, but not really an old-fashioned girl... I finished her last night, and couldn't wait to blog her (I know, I'm so sad, no life! hehe).

I love the bit of jewellery in her hair, it's a broken old brooch I found in an op shop. She has green shoes because the first pair I made her out of brown macrosuede just looked wrong, and I decided green wasn't too bad at all, it goes with the eclectic look.

Cool, that's her done then. I've already started thinking about my next doll, maybe she'll be a bit younger looking, like a little girl. I've got quite a collection of dolls now, I've sold 3 so far, but am a bit reluctant to sell my last few. I suppose I'm sentimental about them, but I also think I should use their image instead of selling them (like illustrating kids' books or something). Any ideas?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Part three: She's got hair! And clothes!

Wow, I really struggled to decide on this outfit, maybe it was the pressure of THE BLOG; I wanted it to look just right... I got over that pretty quickly though, and just wanted her dressed. So I went for my take on Trelise Cooper for the skirt, and got a bit creative with the shirt pattern. The hair then went on (old knitting wool from an op shop), and now she looks like she's a big Scrabble fan (according to my husband, Craig, maybe too big a fan). Oh well, nerds are in!

Now I still need to make her shoes and give her some jewellery; she might still turn out to be a cool nerd after all! I'll do that at craft group tomorrow night, and hopefully she'll be finished and named by Tuesday.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Part two: the body

I just finished the boring part of this exercise: turning and stuffing. It doesn't really take that long, it's just so...boring, probably because it's the least creative part of dollmaking. Maybe I'll outsource that one day when I can sell my dolls for hundreds of dollars (hahaha).

Anyway, here's the body. I forgot to photograph the back, might have to add a pic later to show the arms (they're just one long sausage that I stuff and then hand-sew onto the back). The legs are done in the same way, stuffed first and then sewn into the body. As you can imagine, turning these little limbs can be tricky, but my long tweezers and chopstick do the trick allright. (I refuse to buy the medical equipment for tuning that real dollmakers use, I've got everything I need!) I've had to start reinforcing the neck with pipe cleaners, because the hair can be too heavy and make the head look floppy.

I had a look at possible hair, but I won't make a decision until she's dressed. Here are some hairstyles, I quite like the purple and brown hair.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

How to make a doll: Part one

I've just started making a new doll, and I thought it would be fun to blog the process. It would be so cool to know that somebody learnt something new or got inspired to make something nice after seeing this :)
My dolls are very basic, but the fun lies in embellishing them: face, hair, clothes, accessories (I suppose it's a bit like us real girls, hey). Anyway, here's her face: painted and embroidered. I often start off with a vague idea of what I want her to look like, but find that the doll's personality grows as I make her (especially when I put the hair on), and sometimes it's a bit out of my control. No idea what she's called, or even what hair colour to use, so follow me over the next couple of weeks as she turns into a little personality! Feel free to ask questions or send me your feedback...

Happy birthday Lesley!

It's my sister-in-law Lesley's birthday tomorrow, and I made her this bag. It's an Amy Butler pattern, such a handy size for mums who need space for just about everything in their bags! Hope you like it Lesley!

Lily's pad

OK, so I experimented with the diorama theme, and ended up using an old suitcase as a room. Mostly because I didn't have anything else, but it also gave me an extra level to work with. So here's Lily sitting in her quite formal lounge, complete with cat, clock and family photo (picked the little wedding photo out of a rubbish skip ages ago!). This isn't really what I'm after, but it's a start...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I love Wellington

I'm officially a fan of this amazing, windy city full of creative things! Went there for a girls' weekend with my friend Nic over Queen's birthday weekend, and had a blast. Spent hours looking at art in Te Papa and the NewDowse, and (mostly window)shopping. It's so great to see so much crafty stuff happening, and it seems quite mainstream. Is craft the new black? Love the new nz (Welllington) craft mag, WorldSweetWorld, pity you can only get it in one shop in Auckland (although it's a great excuse to go and buy some more kitchy gorgeousness in IkoIko!).