Saturday, December 5, 2009

Tree Trimmer

This sweet thing is pausing to catch his breath on a long trip searching for tree trimmings. He managed to score a bit of tinsel this time around. He has just the spot in mind where he plans to put it on the tree by his home. This atc was made for my swap partner for the Christmas atc swap hosted by

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Goodies for my swap partner

Well I made an a.t.c. and a paper doll although there really isn't any paper anywhere on her!
Party Girl, the skeleton dressed up for a party, has real lichen on her hair (ahem, she has no hair) decoration.
Sweetie (aka sweet tooth) loves Halloween. He plans his trick or treat route months ahead of time and makes a map to follow. The more candy the better he thinks.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Halloween Swap Fun

I'm just dreaming up what I am going to make to send to my swap partner. Thanks Sandra for hosting this fun swap! Hugs, Norma

Monday, October 12, 2009


Madam pauses for a moment to reflect upon what she will be writing in her journal. What she doesn't write is as important as what she does. Sometimes it is important to figure out what not to say; as important in fact, as figuring out what to say. Oh it's all a puzzle isn't it?

This atc artdoll was made for my swap partner. She is drawn onto heavy cold pressed watercolor paper with india ink. She is a collage of different elements and folds down into herself to conform to the 3.5 inch X 2.5 inch universal atc size.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The 'Bones' clan

Mrs. Bones and her neice have been invited to a big shindig. It's a family reunion celebrating an anniversary of some sort from what I can gather. Mrs. Bones and me stumbled upon each other at the second hand store (one of my favorite haunts). It was dark in there...and musty...and I was about to give up my search for the perfect skirt when around the corner comes Mrs. Bones wearing the most interesting hat. Well we struck up a conversation and apparently she was on her way to a party. She was just looking for something to perk up her dress.
What happened was, she had lost her invite to the party and couldn't remember the address so had been going around to all of the houses in the neighborhood where she thinks she remembers the party being 100 years ago, and nobody would help her. Luckily she came across the party when she heard her neice's voice laughing. But when she knocked on the door she realized that in her travels she'd mussed up her dress. So she came to the second hand store.
She told me a story about Bones' cousin who had the most beautiful wings that she'd ever seen. Apparently there is a wing rental place that give free flying lessons and instructions for special manoeuvering. Well I hope they have a nice party.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tea with Marie

Fayette, true to her name (little fairy) is spirited this day. You see, later in the afternoon she's been invited to tea with Marie and she's had the dresser design a special tea pot skirt for her. This was a month ago and Fayette has just put it on. She's also decided to wear her sailing ship wig for the occasion.
Oh won't Marie be surprised!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sepia rosepetals and Black lace

I don't recall exactly what she said her name was...she told me...something beginning with an F. Maybe Flora. As I sit sipping tea on the patio, she came to mind because a waft of Jasmine from the vine next door drifted past on its' way to Cambridge Street. Flora lived on Cambridge Street. She used to sit out on the porch clutching her Bible and letting herself the scent of Jasmine drifts. She didn't seem to mind if people noticed her drifting. The kind of not minding that comes with the grace of old age. I never asked what her daydreams contained but would offer her freshly made tea and bouquets of Jasmine.
The atc paper doll is my visual of what I remember. It's traded at:
The card depicts a woman in the winter of her life holding a bible containing sepia colored rosepetals; her skirts contain technicolor memories of black lace from the springtime in her life.

Monday, July 6, 2009


For two years Rosa has been understudy to the role of a lifetime. Swan Lake lead dancer. She's been called up and is taking the stage now. She feels as if she's walking on air! I must shush now...the lights are dimming!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pisces Muse

A paper doll made from existing templates. This gal is called Pisces Muse as she lives in the very deep waters of the creative world where seemingly...magic happens. Made for a private trade.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

New dolls

Joy's ready to go on stage...her background music has's called 'Smile' and even though her heart is breaking she is soldiering on. Her wings are scherrenschnitte style and she is traded.
I believe that there can never be enough fairygodmothers to the birds in this world, so I've made another one...this for a swap partner. She is 'Buttons', a nickname given her by her friends. Why? As she travels around the garden areas, she spots buttons and has quite the collection now. Here, a dove has made a home to live in her cage skirt which is a safe place for birds.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Meet Rosie, a friend of Sal's

Well the two gals are ready to kick up their heels. They decided to join a fan dancing school in hopes of going on stage! They are the best of friends and very supportive of one another. In fact, Sal made the feather fan for Rosie as she is handy in the creating costumes department! Both gals are swapped out at:

Monday, June 8, 2009

Flapper Doll

Hi everyone! I've been busy making 47 'pages' for two itty bitty books, and 16 one of a kind drawn and watercolored book marks for 3 swaps that I am in. So I haven't blogged. I've been thinking about you though and hoping that you are happy creating the things that make this world of ours liveable!

I am catching up with my own swaps at the yahoo group that my daughter and I own. The theme for May was flapper and so today I whipped this off. The head, arms and legs are from templates already made and ready to use. The dress is just cut out as a one of a kind so there's no template for it. The scan is misleading visually as the yellow flower on her cloche is not that yellow but it's all I can show for now. Take care everyone! Hugs, Norma

Thursday, April 30, 2009


Memory is a Net...

My most recent paper artdoll made for my swap partner at the Yahoo group that my daughter and myself own. It's here:

You are all invited to come visit and join in if you are interested in trying out the artform yourself, learning new techniques, and meeting new friends. We have a blast!

Well I cut a new template that I used for the first time with this doll. It's the tail section and I had a lot of creative fun doing the collage on it, painting, and etc. I just want to do mermaids, mermaids, mermaids. Girls just want to have fun, right? But I have some swap commitments to complete before I re-visit this template.

I cut it from plastic packaging material and have to say that it was a tough go. Next time I plan to try out a clear plastic (I think 10 mil. but am not's written down somewhere in my purse. Oh hello!), that is used for cover stock in the making of a spiral bound booklet. I came across this in a quick print shop and immediately knew that it was worth a trial effort. I will let you know how successful this went for me...when I next cut a template that is! The mermaid's arms are from the Audrey template, and her head of course measured against the scale of the Audrey head template. So the library of silhouettes is growing. You say sherrenschnitte; I say scherenschnitt...

Ta for now and creative hugs, Norma

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Making a cut paper skirt:

This is what I did:

1) Find a shape of a cage that you like. Children's books are chock full of these.

2) Photocopy the image to the finished size you want. I resized mine to 3" wide without the turret sides by 4" long excluding the ball feet which I added later. Use the 'sized' photocopy as a model to draw from. The measurements are even as I drew directly onto a piece of graph paper at 4 squares to the inch.

3) You do not have to be a slave to the shape. There is something visually that drew you to the shape in the first place certainly, but you don't have to include every little nook and cranny if the original shape is quite detailed. Simplify the lines in other words. Pick a shape that is even on both sides (symetrical) to start. That way you only have to draw half of the shape. Start drawing using graph paper to draw on and follow the lines. I started with the bars of the cage. Linear. Then I started adding curves. The top is a very round dome shape. If you have a circle template (architectural drafting tool), this comes in very handy. The bottom of a juice glass or such works just as well. Just draw and draw until you have something you like. Don't be discouraged. Throw out what you don't like. Feel free to alter/design the shape as you go along. Mine took on a whole new shape of its' own when I was first drawing it.

Once you have the 'half' shape drawn you are ready to make your own template from plastic packaging material. You will need the other half of the image drawn in as well--so fold your drawn image (graph paper) along the vertical center of the cage. Hold it up to a window during daylight hours if you don't have a light box. Trace the missing half of the image. Or, use a carbon pencil to do an image transfer. Regardless, you now have a complete drawn image to work with and you are ready to make a template.

4) Tape the drawn shape to the plastic and cut carefully and slowly (being in control of the knife blade at all times) along the drawn lines to make a negative template for yourself. Review the positive and negative template information located in previous posts about making 'Audrey.' See the FIG at the top of this post and notice the cut out bits completely surrounding the cage. Bridges are left to hold the cage image in place on the plastic and to allow you to trace the cage outline when you use the template.
When you are slicing through plastic, go for a repeat cutting over the same area (line) to slowly separate the plastic as it cuts through, rather than a slice with ONE cutting stroke. Sometimes you might want to flip the plastic over and cut along the same cutting line from the underside.
Your cut template is not going to resemble a piece of art, or anything even vaguely resembling a clean 'lazer-cut' commercial template. Yours will be ragged and jagged and chipped and really home made looking. That is fine. You just want to get a rough outline of the bird cage shape in the end.
5) Trace the outline of the cage using the template onto a nice firm piece of paper. I use watercolor paper or thickish drawing paper. If the paper is too too thick it is a b---- to cut out so test the paper you plan to use with your cutting tool to see how that works for you. If that works then go ahead and trace. This tracing is not your final shape. Once traced, you want to go in to get some nice detail that will be lost during the process so far. I re-draw a round ball shape foot and go in to make the circular lines more circular and the straight edges more uniform paying attention to corners (where a horizontal line meets a vertical line in the cage bars for example).
Now you can cut, following the lines you've just drawn onto the paper using your template. You are making a positive shape cutting. It's time to decide what color you want your cage to be.
6) I have used only two methods for coloring the cage. There are many choices however. If ink is used it must be waterproof. Otherwise...well just imagine the mess! I work on a piece of glass. Lay the paper cut out onto the glass and dip a paint brush directly into the ink bottle and just paint the paper as you will. There's lots of ink colors out there in the art store world! I have also used acrylic paint to paint directly onto the paper shape. I dilute as little as possible the paint with water. As acrylic dries just like plastic this gives the paper a bit more support in the end.
7) Use the bird cage skirt in any way your heart desires. Imagination is the key. Have fun and I hope you enjoyed this journey with me. Hugs, Norma.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Meet Irina. She is a paperdoll with a bird cage skirt. This time the door is left open so that the crow, a companion animal to Irina can come and go as he pleases. I used the same basic lines for this cage but left off the two turret shaped sides and instead drew a simple door left ajar. The crow sits atop the door gazing lovingly at Irina.
There is a quote on her bodice under the large piece of jewellery left over from the Ottoman Empire and brought to her by her companion animal. The quote reads (snipped directly from an old bible) "she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom" though it is not a person she is listening to but rather her companion animal who speaks to her in a language she feels more than hears per se.
Well next post I will give instructions to make the bird cage skirt. Talk to you then, hugs, Norma.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Want to make a birdcage skirt paper doll?

Ezmay and Loon pause for their photograph. Loon has a resident, a wee bird who has built a nest and tends to an egg nestled inside the nest of Spanish and Indian mosses. Ezmay awaits, knowing that a bird will find her when Ezmay will offer the cage as a safe refuge. These are fairy godmothers to the birds. They travel from spot to spot to offer a safe place for birds to stay and raise a family if they wish. Any bird who is injured, or elderly, or in some way disabled, is most welcome to make a home for themselves in these safe bird cage homes. Not all will want to raise a family, but at spring time this is most often the case.
These paper dolls are my latest offering, and are easy to make. Here's how I did it.
Take the Audrey head and arm templates that you made during the first doll (see the post about how to make Audrey) that you made. Use the head template and find a suitable head for (let's use Loon for this doll). Look in magazines (doll magazines for example), and hold the Audrey template (made of clear plastic so you can see through it) up to images until you find the right size. Don't work with the actual magazine image but have it color photocopied and use the photocopy. Use the Audrey arm template to make a tracing on nice scrapbooking paper that is sturdy enough to hold up with manipulation (I use cover stock).
Now you want to make a new template. You need a bodice that will fit the Audrey head and arm shape/size. Trace the head and arm shape from Audrey templates onto a plain sheet of paper, placing them where you like. Go over these lines in ink. Then using pencil, draw a bodice shape. I looked in fashion magazines until I found a ruffley sleeve shape that I liked, and then drew in the neckline which is very simple, and narrowed the bodice at the waistline and put on a rather large ruffle to cover the top of the birdcage. Draw the bodice right over top of the inked in head/arm shapes. Draw a million versions in pencil until you get one that you like. Cut out the pencil outline shape being sure to leave a margin around the shape so that you can see the pencil line; tape to a piece of plastic packaging material and cut out the template using a sharp knife blade and a cutting mat. BUY A CUTTING MAT. Use it! Careful!
So now you have a head and arm(s) and a new bodice template. You are practically done, and next time we will do the birdcage skirt piece. Hope you are having fun, and I look forward to seeing you soon. Bye for now, hugs, Norma.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Judy has an epiphany

Just finishing off a few swap commitments and then I am back to figuring out my fabric birds. Here's Judy, a sweet thing that is flying to go live with my swap partner for:

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sewing birds!

My computer got a bug and I don't have a program to fix it so I hooked up the old limping along computer tower and now I need to figure out drivers to get my card reader to be able to upload photos. For now I have no photos but I so wanted to show you how my bird is coming along. That's what I am doing these days. Sewing! Hope you are all having a wonderful time and I look forward to catching up with you soon. Creative hugs from Norma

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The forest is alive with activity...

Well I stepped out to check if new buds have been forming on the hydrangeas and yes, oh yes, they have a whole new lot for this coming season. Everything looks healthy and has survived this very cold winter we've just had. I heard a ruscling in the viburnum and thought that it was the cat who lives next door when I noticed a flash of reddish brown. When I looked up fully, I saw a tree nymph walking by accompanied by her companion animal, a red fox. She had on the most interesting headdress I have seen in a long time. She smiled as she passed by but didn't say anything. They are probably going to a celebration of the new moon which takes place, or so I've heard, deep in the forest. I am going to do some sewing today. Talk to you soon, Norma.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Audrey is ready to kick up her heels!

Now to complete Audrey all we need do is to paint a pair of boots on her legs, and when the paint is dry, paint glue on where you want the sparkle to be. While the glue is still wet, sprinkle on a generous amount of glitter over top of the wet glue. Let dry and shake off the excess glitter. I like to use 'mod podge' glue for this step as it dries slower than other glues that I've tried. Experiment. If the glue dries before you get the glitter sprinkled on then apply the glue to smaller areas and do a section at a time. You can always apply more glue right over top of the dried glue, and sprinkle the glitter on again. If you wind up with a big mess, just abandon those legs and cut a whole new pair and start over. Glitter is readily available at the dollar store. You don't have to have mod podge to complete this step. Use ordinary household white glue (wood glue) and work smaller areas at a time. A little practice goes a long way.

So now we come to the point where in my opinion you simply must purchase brads. Nothing I think, compensates for a brad. Buy them when they go on sale. I purchase mine at 40% when the go on sale for the item, or use a 50% sale certificate from the flyer when it comes around to my home. From Michaels. They are available at independent scrapbooking supply stores as well. Even if they are not on sale they are roughly five dollars for 100 pieces so that is not going to put you into the poor house. Buy brads.

Here is how I put Audrey together: I attached the arms to the neck area of the head piece, by punching a small hole into the top of the arm (use an awl or thick darning type needle) first, and then laying the arm in place. I accurately marked the headpiece by making a pencil mark onto the headpiece by going in through the hole at the top of the arm piece. Then make a small hole where marked on the headpiece. Do this for both arms. I pushed the brad through by going in through the back so that the head of the brad would be at the back of the doll. Usually the head of the brad goes through the front and can be seen. This time however, I wanted to avoid bulk at the front of this particular section of the doll. Now you have a headpiece with arms attached. You want to put the headpiece together with the heart bodice. Apply a small bead of glue at the very bottom of the headpiece on the right side of the headpiece. On top of that area, lay the bodice piece where you want it. Hold the two pieces together firmly with your fingertips until they are bonded. Avoid getting glue near the brad areas as you want the arms to move freely.

Now you want to attach the bodice to the skirt piece. Punch a hole at the bottom area of the heart point at the bottom. Don't go too too close to the edge. Leave a 3/8" margin for safety. Position the skirt piece behind the heart piece and mark the skirt piece with a pencil by going in through the hole in the heart piece. Punch a hole in the skirt and push the brad through from the front this time.

Attach the legs by measuring for placement, poking a hole in the top of each leg, marking the skirt where they attach with the brad, poking holes in the skirt where you've marked them, and attaching the legs by going from the front to the back so that the head of the brad shows at the front. Audrey is done!

You might want to glue on a fancy hair decoration to her head piece.

If you want the embellishment on the bodice. Just glue on words you like. I used from the original color photocopy sheet. Then over the words glue on a pebble. (I used one from a fish tank and found that it is pretty heavy looking. Next time I will use a real 'page pebble' which is available at the scrapbooking store. These lie flat and look much much nicer and more finished.)

That's our paper doll. I hope that you have had a blast if you've been making your own doll along with me. I have had fun doing this. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments section.

See the photograph above? She is made from the same plastic templates that we've made for Audrey. Her name is 'butterfly love' and she'll be swapped out to my partner is a swap that I am in.

Time to design a new shape skirt, or bodice. I think one with flaring 3/4" sleeves is next on my idea to you soon, hugs, Norma.

Monday, February 9, 2009


All Audrey needs now is limbs and she is completed!

You have a finished head piece, a skirt piece, and a heart bodice piece. Fit these together in front of you and measure about how long you think the arm should be from fingertips on one end, and to where the arm meets the bodice and beyond on the other end. The beyond part is where the brad will attach so you want this say 3/8" at least. My doll (Audrey) measures 2 5/8" with a slight bend. I drew my arm shape freehand but you can search through fashion magazines, or even celebrity gossip type magazines and hold a ruler up to arms that you like the silhouette of.

When you find one that " fits" make a tracing of the outline of the arm shape. I have used the bit of see-through paper that's commonly found on the envelopes of bills with windows through which can be seen the address. The size of this window paper is perfect for Audrey's limbs. Perfect for making a tracing that is. From the tracing I made a plastic template. One arm outline, and one leg outline. So for this doll both the arms are the same, as well as both legs. Using a template, I traced one side of the template (limb) and then flipped the template to trace the limb in reverse. I did that both for the arm and the leg. Audrey is very symmetrical. My next doll, shown in the photograph above, has differing arms and legs. The asymmetrical quality lends a whimsical air I feel.

Make a leg shape. Measure about the length you think would look good from the point that the foot touches ground on one end, to where the leg meets the skirt and beyond at the other end. My measurement for Audrey was 2 3/4". I found a boot shape I liked which was in a Victorian vintage fashion catalogue. I traced the boot outline, exaggerating the heel area (I made mine higher and wider) and drew freehand from the boot outline, the shape of the leg as it fit into the boot, making it to the length I needed. I made a plastic template.

For the finished limb, I used heavy watercolor paper which I already had on hand around here, and applied a thin watercolor wash overall, trying to match as best I could, the ink tone on Audrey's face. It is a bit on the yellow side. I mixed up (quite watered down) red with a kiss of yellow ochre (very diluted) and applied an even wash over top of the arms and legs that had been traced onto the heavy watercolor paper using the plastic templates, and then cut out. When dry, I applied the boots. I'll talk about that next post.

We will talk about brads and construction details next time too. Until then, hugs, Norma.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Joy of Scrapbooking Paper

Were you making your own doll, in front of you you'd be holding a plastic template for a skirt, and a head piece that has been made sturdy, is trimmed and ready to work with. You'll need the head piece and skirt to figure out what size and shape you want for the bodice piece, as it joins together the two pieces that you already have.

I laid my two pieces (head/skirt) on the table in front of me, to see the relation each to the other has. What looks good in other words. Then I roughly measured the length of the heart shape (this was from the centre of the top of the heart-I will be attaching the head to this area of the heart bodice) to (the bottom point of the heart which will be attached to the skirt. The point needs to merge into the skirt area quite deeply here as it has a fairly narrow point). It looked to be about 2" plus something so I got an envelope, measured 2 and 1/2" along a folded edge, and cut out half of a heart shape along the edge. When opened the heart piece turned out to be too long and too wide. So I kept re-drawing and re-cutting heart shapes until I got one that I liked. It turned out to be 2 and 1/4" from top to bottom along the centre, and 1 and 1/2" across the widest part at the top when opened. I made a plastic template.

Now I can make a zillion outfits as I have a plastic template for a flippy skirt, and a heart shaped bodice. I can make paper dolls to give away as gifts and tokens of affection to family and friends...but I am ahead of myself.

Once I had Audrey's head ready to use, I didn't like the look of the tomatoe skirt. It was too red. I really liked the pink roses from the color photocopy sheet and so I made another skirt piece using the pink roses, AND a heart shape bodice. As I had the two plastic templates to trace the exact shapes, this was an easy step. I glued the roses color photocopy paper to cardboard to stiffen it and when dried, traced the outlines I needed and cut them out. Presto! A new outfit. I make plastic templates so that when layed down onto the paper, they can be easily positioned because you can see through them.

Next, is to make a plastic template for a head piece, using Audrey for the preliminary outline.


Before I had a light table, I taped the original to a window during daylight hours. On top of that I lay tracing paper and copied to my hearts' content. You just want to draw the outline of the head you are using (I am using Audrey's) and extend the outline at the bottom so that there is enough area to overlap with the top of the heart piece bodice. Arch it down and up again in a pleasing line. See the photograph? It shows a traced shape of the head piece I use. This should give you an idea of what it looks like. Also pictured is the cut out shapes of a skirt and a bodice, using wonderful brand new scrapbooking paper. Oh joy! This is the beginning of a new doll. I see orange sparkly high heels in my future...See you next time! Hugs, Norma.

p.s. you don't have to rush out to the store to purchase tracing paper. Often, the paper used for commercial enterprise is flimsy enough to easily see through. Have a look around your home. You'd be amazed at the papers you can find--for free!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Audrey Loves Pink!

Greetings friends!

A few days ago, Audrey was in the process of being made. Today she is finished! What were the next few steps in her completion? Well I cut the head from the color photocopy sheet.

The most important thing is to leave a margin of paper around the image and ESPECIALLY to leave enough paper at the bottom (in approximation to the upper chest area where the collarbone lies). The bottom of the head piece will be glued to the top of the heart piece (bodice), so you can visualize about how much paper to leave. If you cut too much off, don't worry, it can be repaired later.

As the photocopy paper needs to be stiffened, I glued the head piece to a scrap of cereal box cardboard. I used ordinary all-purpose white glue (wood glue). Apply glue to the wrong side (plain, non-printed side) of the cereal box cardboard in an area a bit larger than the head piece. Set the head into position, smooth down carefully to remove air bubbles, and place between heavy books to dry for a while. To prevent glue from wrecking your books, sandwich the glued papers between waxed paper or plastic from a bag.

After a half of an hour or so (you will likely want to peek), check the head piece. You can just leave it alone over night if you want. In any event, the glue should be dried enough so that the bond is made. The papers may still be damp and that is okay. You just want to be sure that the bond is made and that the papers are dry enough so that they won't buckle with handling and that when you cut the margins away, the paper won't tear. Wet paper tears if your cutting blade or scissors are not as sharp as can be. Avoid having the paper tear. The paper head section will want to curl. Gently coax the shape flat by using your fingers and gently flexing the paper in the opposite direction of the curl. Just be gentle. Take your time. There is no rush. In sewing, this step would be called 'finger pressing.'

Usually, I let the papers dry before I start cutting. Or, if I want the piece cut out before it's as dry as a bone, I check to make sure that it is not really, really moist. Make a trial cut along the waste area. When all is ready for cutting, sharpen your scissors (I use a whet stone) or replace your X-acto blade with a brand new one. Carefully cut around the head image LEAVING a hairline margin outside of the image. Try not to cut into the image area. I cut away larger and/or straighter sections with scissors, and then go in with an X-acto knife to get the sharp corners and angles cut away. Now you have a head piece!

We will continue next time. See you soon! Hugs, Norma.

p.s. the 'mother' in me has to jump in here and remind you to be sure to have a sturdy cutting surface to cut on if you're using an X-acto knife. Use cardboard if you don't have a mat. There are mats available at the dollar store. Work slowly, steadily and cut SMALL sections at a time. Breathe. The X-acto blades are sharp!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A word about ink

Not having the "dirt" about printing inks, I can't make an intelligent statement about their properties. I can say from experience that if you use an image cut directly from a glossy magazine (such as the fahion types so commonly available these days) you will likely encounter a frustrating snag in the creation of your artdoll. If the paper tears (which is easily does) during cutting, then the image tears away easily and seems to sort of flake off in spots, leaving white sections with no image.

And, when you glue the magazine paper to a stiffer piece of paper to act as a support, it wrinkles and buckles like crazy. Not a lot of fun. So! I use color photocopies.

I make a 'master' sheet of images, and get them color photocopied. I look for the best quality photocopy business that I can find, and gladly pay extra for the quality images that are created; the color photocopy paper is very very strong and a heavier weight than normal paper, and cuts beautifully. It holds up to handling, gluing, distressing, etc.

I'd chosen Audrey Hepburn's head for this doll, and knew I wanted to get a color photocopy to work with. So I decided to make a new 'master' sheet of images. This way, I am not wasting money paying for a whole sheet of blank paper save the one small image (Audrey's head.) I went to my clipping file and found a couple of heads and some pink roses (wrapping paper) that I'd liked. Then I took a couple of fashion magazines from the stack and clipped shoes, a purse, and two sets of legs that are graphically strong. I'm planning to use only Audrey's head from this sheet, but now have all kinds of images to use for other dolls. These images will go into the file. See that clown face? It makes me happy. He has some sort of bug on his nose. It was clipped from a National Geographic magazine.

Tomorrow I am going to the photocopy store. Talk to you soon! Creative hugs, Norma.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Finding treasure...

Last post we got started on a valentine paper doll. Now I want to make a plastic template for the skirt shape, and plan the head, as just today I found one! On a visit to the library I sorted through the free postcard/brochure/flyer section and found a number of images which have potential and which I'll toss into my clipping file. Laying in the recycle bin was a disgarded catalogue from Canada Post showing postage stamps that were available. Inside was a head and shoulder shot of a young Audrey Hepburn. The size looked to be perfect for the skirt shape/size that I am using so I nabbed it. See the photo? It shows the array of images I got today. All free. One image in particular is of a Japanese woman that is so clear it has perfect potential as the beginning of a paper doll. So I am excited about that.

But I am wanting to make a plastic template so I need plastic material. I popped into the post office which is located at a 'quick print' business and discovered that their laminating machine had a whole bunch of scraps laying underneath it on the floor. I asked if I could have some of the scrap pieces. Yes was the now I have a bundle of plastic to make templates. So far I have spent nothing and am excited and inspired and can get on with making my doll.

Two more quick stops and then it's time to head home to work on my doll. I dropped by the bank to pick up a few of the deposit envelopes at the bank machine. Free art supplies. And I went to the dollar store to see what might be new in the scrapbooking section. They're always bringing in new stuff. Sure enough-my crow radar zeroes in on a package of shiny gemstones. A variety pack that must have (well let's count them)...265 stars, hearts, squares, ovals, butterflies, teardrops, circles, flowers. Every color. All different sizes. I had to open the package anyway as I am using the flat heavier (heavier than the laminating plastic) plastic of the packaging material holding the gemstones in place, to make the skirt template. Time to head home. How much money did I spend on art supplies today? One dollar. On the gemstones.

Let's make a template...

First you need a shape and I'd selected the skirt outline that I loved. Using an envelope I drew the outline of half of the skirt shape, with the fold of the envelope running down the middle of the skirt. Cut the shape out to see if it is what you had in mind. If you're not happy with it just keep drawing shapes, modifying your drawing each time, until you get what you like. When you've struck upon it, take the cut out paper skirt shape and tape it to a piece of plastic. You can cut the plastic in two ways. 1. If you only have scissors, then carefully cut the plastic following the edges as exactly as you can, of the skirt outline. It's as if you were just re-cutting along the edges of the paper cut out from the envelope. What you have now is a 'positive' shape of the skirt. There's no surrounding area whatsoever. You've cut it all away. 2. If you have an xacto knife I hope you have a cutting mat as well! Actually I've cut on cardboard (as a mat) successfully but it dulls the cutting blade in 2 seconds flat. You approach the cutting differently here, as you are cutting a 'negative' of the shape. You want to preserve and KEEP the whole area surrounding the skirt so that the skirt area itself falls away and disappears. Cut the outline of the skirt shape a bit at a time, getting rid of the skirt section and seeing that the margin areas surrounding the skirt are kept in tact. Are you with me so far?

Okay, so now you have a plastic template of the skirt. It's see-through so you can easily see where you are positioning it on your paper or collage image (mine was a blob of collaged tomatoes). Trace along the outline using the template-(either 'positive' or 'negative' shape, it doesn't matter) onto the paper you are using and cut it out as neatly as you can.

You are holding your first doll part (the skirt piece) of your valentine doll that you are making.

Next time we'll think about a head, and heart-shape bodice. Happy day! Creative hugs, Norma.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


I have a friend who is for reasons private to her, housebound. I know that she loves the paper dolls that I make and that she'd love to make her own. But she does not feel capable, or even qualified to do so.

In my travels over the internet this past year I have heard snippets of talk hinting at this same dilemma. The wish to make a paper doll coupled with a disbelief in one's own ability to do so.

So I decided to write this blog entry for my friend, and for any of you who similarly wish to make your own paper doll.

I am no expert. I just love making paper dolls. That's all that is needed to embark on this adventure. Love. So let's make a paper doll.

Valentine Paper Doll with moveable parts

I don't know if she is going to be a hot tomatoe or not but she will be wearing a skirt with tomatoes as the motif. She is going to be a Valentine paper doll with moveable parts. If you wish to make your own doll please feel free to follow along and see what you come up with. Each doll will be original, unique, and yours.

I drew roughly, the outline of the skirt area (profile) which I will use in the design process. From the paper label I then cut sections of the tomatoe images and arranged them to fit into a collage that wasn't meant to denote tomatoes in exact perfect form, but rather a mass of red color with the occasional bit of green tossed in for contrast. This collage I placed within the boundaries of the roughly drawn skirt profile. Having a generous margin area included in the profile enabled design choices in placement of the image overall. It's nice to have wiggle room.

I started with an illustration from a cartoon that I'd clipped from a magazine and which has intrigued me for years. It's good to have a clipping file--a place to keep your bits of paper all in one spot. Images and colors and ideas are everywhere around you. Magazines in doctors' offices or hairdressers' salons or airport lounges are examples. My local library has a FREE bin full of disgarded magazines. In languages not mine, and mine as well. I love using foreign language copy as backgrounds. I clip colors, shapes, images. It doesn't matter. If I notice it I clip it. I don't stop to question why. The 'why' will come into play later during the design process.

So I had a concrete idea to use the silhouette of this skirt shape that I saw in the original cartoon image. See the photograph at the beginning of this blog entry? It's the skirt section of a valentine paper doll that I am making. It is 2" high and at the widest point (bottom) across is 4 and 1/4". If you like the shape, draw your own version. If you want both sides to be the same, fold a piece of paper in half and draw half of the shape. Just keep drawing shapes until you get one that you like. This will be your skirt outline which you will use to make a template.

We will make a template in the next post so see you then! In the meantime, start a clipping file. Open your eyes. Look at packaging. Soak labels from tin cans and wine bottles. You can find these in the trash. Free art. At the library there is a section where posters and bookmarks and flyers advertise theatre and other events. They are chock full of images. Free art. What can you see? Creative hugs, Norma.



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