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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

ThE AmAzing KC!!!!!

Just amazed at the work Kaye creates - her quilt is well on the way and ALL HAND STITCHED!   It is going to be a precious piece of art.  Kaye has also got the Mambray women stitching jelly roll quilts - wow.  We are hooked!!!  What a great way to make a quilt in a hurry.  Will put mine up when it's machine quilted.  
Please send some photos of your creations!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

NEw PuBLIicatiON

The Coloring Studio — Available December 1st

Ooow - look what is coming!  The bug has certainly hit - even have my 96 year old Mother in Law enjoying the passion.  Sadly I can't guarantee a price - and the dollar isn't doing happy things for us at present.  If the dollar stays at is now the book will be around $26.  You know I keep prices to a minimum.  Anyway - let's know if you are interested.  I'm going to order more sets of Berol prismacolors too - so if you are interested let's know as well - really good discounts on these.

The Coloring Studio is not your kid’s coloring book. With an imaginative collection of sophisticated, edgy illustrations in the Somerset-esque style you've come to love, this special book puts an artistic spin on today’s hottest trend. Featuring 60 unmatched illustrations from the industry’s top artists, including Christine Mason Miller, Suzi Blu, Lindsay Ostrom, Linda Trenholm, Deb Dunn, and more, this coloring book includes bonus content and ideas that you won’t find in similar publications.
Inside the Premiere Issue:
  • Art journalers Susie LaFond and Mou Saha show how you can transform your coloring pages into art
  • A special section on Zendoodle with basic patterns for you to fill in
  • How to incorporate watercolor pencils and other unique coloring tools
  • Distinctive palettes to work with
  • A primer on basic color theory 
Whether you love contemporary art, want to get your creative juices flowing, or simply need some “me time,” The Coloring Studio won’t restrict you to a single theme, but offers a wide variety of designs just awaiting your own personal style.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Wondering if anyone out there in the big wide doll world has a pattern of 'Felicia' they are finished with.  A woman from the UK is keen to obtain a copy - it is out of print so OK to give or loan.  It is a Christine Treleaven pattern - has anyone heard how Christine is doing?  Heard that she has been ill.  Thanks folks.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

FLotsAm anD JEtSoM

Where to start?  What a life we lead - so many wonderful temptations to fill the day.  Aren't we so fortunate!!!!  Trip was fantastic - but scoured everywhere we visited for quilt shops or dolls - never saw anything!  Very disappointing.  Actually I did see a few 'softies' in a gallery shop in Ireland - they were well done.  Ireland is about to hold their big Knitting and Stitching show in Dublin - so quilting etc. must be there but quilt shops etc. not as obvious as here.

Love the work of Karen Suzuki - how about these pussy cats!  Don't they make you  want to drag out the scrap bag!

Does anyone subscribe to 'Be Creative' - Patti Culea has a feature in the latest - looks an interesting publication.  Tempting!!!


The Knitting and Stitching show Alexandra Place has just been held in London - would have been magic to have attended.  There were about 200 classes on offer.  I didn't think many were really 'out there'  - (Lordie - I must be getting hard to please!!!) -  but there were some quite tempting - and lots to see - stalls, gallery exhibitions, lectures etc.  Next year it's 5th to 9th October so maybe you'd like to start saving!!!  About 400 stalls I believe - wow!

Patti Culea attended and she posted a few photos -------

Certainly does look like 'us' eh!  I think the dolls on display were done by someone called 'Mavis' - but that's all I could glean.

See the lovely Linda Misa has been touring the US teaching and enjoying mixing with wonderful women there.  If you are looking for teachers for your group I think Linda would be a worthwhile choice.

Doll created in one of Linda's classes in the US (by Judy Hand Pitts)

 Class Doll Sample - Linda's

Another class option

One of the dollmaker's homes in the US where Linda stayed - can you imagine living here!

PANIA MOLLOY - from New Zealand - had some doll patterns years ago.  Found her on Facebook under 'Snobby Goth' - and she is doing amazing artwork!  Took awhile for the name to register - but this woman has certainly found her wings!  

Quite a chicky babe this one!  I don't think from a Jill Maas class but an interpretation from one of Jill's wonderful patterns.  Made by Svetlana Duyshkova of Russia.  Obviously a melding of talent here.  Just makes you smile to look at her!

Our little gang meet here again on Tuesday - not sure what we're going to play at this time but we'll end up having a fun day - and we do have to organize our Xmas celebration - after our 'warm up' Xmas in July.  Haven't started my ten or so swap pressies yet - aaagh.

I'm going to add in an article now by a New York writer Dominique Browning.  It's huge - and you might be daunted - but it's a good read - titled 'Stuff it, I'm nesting'.  Maybe you need to grab a coffee and chocolate..............

We are in a collective, and most unfortunate, paroxysm of guilt and anxiety about stuff.
This is a cyclical event, and here we are, back in the eternal return of the same. We are being barraged with orders to pare down, throw away, de-clutter.
Magazine covers advertise formulas for how to get rid of things (most of which involve buying new things for this purpose).
Entire books (books we will soon enough be told to toss) cover the subject. And, even then there is an “art,” a Japanese art, no less, to doing so (and we all know that any Japanese art is the most artful art of all).
Entire companies are being built on the backs of a neurosis that makes us believe that the process of shedding is complicated to the point of paralyzing.
It is all pointless and misguided, and it is time to liberate ourselves from the propaganda of divestment.
I would like to submit an entirely different agenda, one that is built on love, cherishing and timelessness. One that acknowledges that in living, we accumulate. We admire. We desire. We love. We collect. We display.
And over the course of a lifetime, we forage, root and rummage around in our stuff, because that is part of what it means to be human. We treasure.
Why on earth would we get rid of our wonderful things?
It is time to celebrate the gentle art of clutter. We live, and we pick up things along the way: the detritus of adventure; the vessels of mealtimes; the books and music of a life of the mind; the pleasures of our daily romps through the senses.
In accumulating, we honor the art of the potter, sitting at a wheel; we appreciate the art of the writer, sitting at a desk; we cherish the art of the painter, standing in front of an easel. (By this litany ye shall know that I have many books, many paintings, many pots — and many more things I love.)
I can assure you that I know all about moving into less space, and different space. I am also here to tell you that stuff responds to mysterious forces at work in the universe in much the same way as do the moon and the tides.
No matter how much stuff you give your sister, still in her large house, so that you can fit into your cozier shell, within a few years I guarantee you will have new possessions winking happily at you from tabletops and bookshelves. And you will be glad to see them.
And yes, you will have bookshelves. Never enough of them. And more books, to replace all those books you gave away. That, too, is a law of nature.
The stuff we accumulate works the same way our body weight does. Each of us has a set point to which we invariably return. Each of us has been allotted a certain tolerance, if not a need, for stuff; each of us is gaited to carry a certain amount of weight in possessions.
Some of us, rare breeds, tend toward the minimalist; some tip into a disorder of hoarding. Most of us live in the middle range. How marvelous it is to simply accept that, and celebrate it.
These days, having moved several times in several years, I am still mourning the loss of a few things I ought never have given away. I am still overcome by object lust, from time to time. And I still want to fit yet another photograph or painting onto a wall.
Go ahead, call me materialistic. I’ll just wonder what you think you are made of.
I am not done with living. I am not done with my things. I love them, in fact, more and more each year, as I recollect the journey that brought us together. I will cherish them, till death do us part.
And rather than fret about my inability to get rid of things, artfully, graciously, or otherwise, I am not only giving in to the desire to keep getting stuff, but I am also fantasizing about how I am going to pass my things on to my children.
Who, I insist, must take them. Even though they are already, at the tender age of 30 (mere children!), worried about having too many things. They don’t know from stuff.
I want to affix labels underneath things, telling them that what looks like a stained and rickety table is actually a Chinese altarpiece from the Ming dynasty with rolled bamboo marble. And if you run your hand along the top of it, you can feel the gradations that come of hand-cutting and polishing marble.
And that staining happened because all that marvelous Chinese furniture of the upper classes was stashed in damp barns for decades, their legs in puddles of water, hidden from the authorities who considered them the artifacts of decadence and wanted them destroyed. That’s how powerful stuff can be.
“That tchotchke you think you’re going to put out on a tag sale table for $10?” I want to say to my sons. “That’s Nymphenburg. It is worth hundreds of dollars.” I found it at a tag sale for $10, and pounced.
I have started saying things to my sons like: “When I die, just please, rent a warehouse, and put everything away. You are too young to understand the value of what I have bought. Someday you will want these things, and you’ll only have to shop in your warehouse.”
Never mind that their homes may be full of their own things. I want to know, now, that forever after, I will be watching down on them from the walls and the shelves, having somehow transmogrified myself into my stuff.
Because I do believe that happens. We were meant to be together, and the cells from my sweaty palms, or the eye beams from my covetous gaze, will reside in my things forever.
That’s the idea, anyway.
There is a reason we talk about nesting. Next time you are out walking, take a close look at a nest.
Nests are full of twigs, bits of fluff, string, moss and bark. Stuff birds take home, and fit to a shape that accommodates their lives.
Some birds even press their warm bodies against their stuff as they are making their nests, molding them to the shape of their breasts, so that they feel like … home.

A home that is uniquely theirs, and uniquely beloved.

Now - don't you feel better about your accumulating?  Your stash?  Those boxes - and more boxes?  Thank you Dominique - and thank you Helen for sending it along.

Dominique has another fabulous article at this link .....

It's titled 'I'm too old for this' and it really is another worthwhile read!  You can follow Dominique from her blog -

Well - am supposed to be completing mail out of latest magazines - so go forth Joy.  I came on to tell you about the magazines but got carried away.  Manana!  Happy days - go forth and multiply those little creations!

Sunday, July 26, 2015


Do I DeSERvE a HoliDAy?

The answer is probably not - but Russ has some leave so taking a break.  Wanted to get heaps on the blog - but time is running out - so might do some along the way.
Want to apologize to those who recd all the return email info etc after I sent the first lot of mail outs regarding the blog update.  Didn't have the Blind Copies sorted for the first lot - so hopefully the rest were OK.  The blind leading the blind sometimes.

Jill Maas's latest pattern - 'Abbey and her little finch Betty in the basket with Petunia Parrot who nests on Abbeys head'. Isn't she terrific!!!  (Abbey and Jill of course)

Jill's 'Bordering on Steam Punk'  Want to go play at Jill's house!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

RaNGi's HAiR CuTtinG

In among all the fun and games that goes on here we had a 'Rite of Passage' celebration for Rangi - (grandson).  He turned twelve and in the Cook Islands the tradition is that the boy's hair isn't cut until around that age - so Ine put down an 'umu' - the underground oven cooking - and lots of rellies traveled to Mambray to celebrate.  Rangi met his 'real' Maori grandmother - who he hadn't met before, so it was a very special time.
I know this isn't doll related - but it is something different - and it was a beautiful day and everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves - and the Maori food!  
'The Rite Journey' is just one of many web sites that are opening up to encourage more 'Rite of Passage' celebrations, if you are at all interested.  It is an old tradition that has been lost and it's importance is being recognized.

Rangi having his hair plaited before the ceremony.  The family cuts a plait first - and then others are invited to come and participate.  He looks such a different boy now!
I think he did very well to have long plaited hair for twelve years - it's hard to be different among your peers.

The tables laid out with some of the food!  There was chicken, pork, veges etc cooked on the hot rocks - then Alice and family made dishes like 'banana poke' etc as accompaniment. 
Everyone was great about being game enough to try different food.
Farm looks beautiful - it was perfect weather!

Off on holidays in a few days time and realize I've been so taken up with the foibles of life that the poor blog is feeling sad and neglected.  Had a wonderful visit from Penny and Jaslyn - and we had our little 'Xmas in July' celebration here in the shop.  A really enjoyable group of women and we had lots to share in 'Show and Tell' - Jackie made it this time and the quilts she brought along - unbelievable!  Kaye always impresses with her wonderful quilts and dolls to show - it's magic!

Our little group for 'Xmas in July' - in the shop.  We missed quite a few of the gang who sadly couldn't make it.

MAREE trip was magic - as you can imagine!  What an amazing little place with so many interesting people and interesting stories.  I ran some silk dyeing and beading classes which were fun and produced some great items.  Very short time slots so we didn't tackle any dolls!

Hard 'at play' at Marree Arid Lands Woman's Conference

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


Some piccies Jill Maas posted on the net - fabulous!  Jill's imagination keeps us inspired.

Little Softies

Stringing Hearts

Can't sort out why the picture on the previous post is half hidden - hope it doesn't happen to this post.


This E-book class looks worth investigating!  $49US - check it out at this link..............

Sculpture Part One, the Head.

Sculpture, part 1 - The Head

Monday, May 4, 2015

WOrKsHOpS - or PLaYShOPs

Marlaine Verhelst is coming to Australia to teach at the Fibre Arts Winter School.  

Check out details at
Would be an amazing experience!

Marlaine is teaching in Paris at the moment and it sounds like they are having a lot of fun!!

You will also find details of a workshop with Gizella Warburton from the UK at that site - 
July 9th - 12th.

Dollmaker's Journey are hosting 'Work Along' sessions, where they indicate a pattern - the latest being Jill Maas's 'Dancing Doris'.  Then at a specified time they have an internet 'get together' to share progress, ask questions etc.  Great idea!

Everyone is feeling sad for poor Nepal.  Slowly, slowly I guess they will recover - but what a task.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

ALicE in WoNDerLaND

Thank goodness for Suzette Rugolo - one of our Aussie designers who is still producing wonderful patterns.
Suzette has been designing an Alice in Wonderland series.  Her latest is The Dodo 
playing Croquet!
Previously she has released the Caterpillar, Queen of Hearts, the Mad March Hare, Mad Hatter, Alice playing Croquet with a Flamingo and Hedgehog and the Frog Footman. 
Very impressive!
I haven't had a chance to order any of these patterns at the moment - but if you are interested let me know!  Quite a tempting selection!

The Dodo playing Croquet

The Queen of Hearts

The Frog Footman

The Mad Hatter

The Mad March Hare

Alice Playing Croquet

20" Caterpillar

WIsE and WOnderFuL GrANDmoTHeRS

If you are on Facebook you may like to look up the 'International Council of Indigenous Grandmothers'.  Hadn't heard of the group until yesterday but to get such wise and wonderful women from all over the world together is quite an achievement. Wouldn't it be wonderful to attend one of their conferences.  
The next conference is in July - Gabon, Africa.

Combined Wisdom 

Fascinating faces!  Such stories to tell.

WhaT a WoRLd

What a mixed up world we live in!  So many amazing things around us - and so much turmoil.  Poor Nepal - I think everyone's heart is aching.  So much devastation!  I know Australians are generous at donating so that is all we can do at the moment. 

Another sad farewell in the doll community - one of our Adelaide doll members - Yvonne Wooden - passed away suddenly this month.  Yvonne was always a live wire at meetings - she loved making dolls and she loved what she made!  Always so generous - we will miss her.  Life is never long enough when we have big plans - and big stashes to use up.

A Rose for Yvonne

You would not be impressed if you could see the shop at the moment - one large table is covered with BEADS.  It looks a big mess - but boy - it's been fun!  I've been making some jewelry up for classes at a Rural Woman's Retreat in June in Marree.  Really looking forward to it - will be a fabulous experience.  Marree!!!  Wow.  I probably could reform and become a tidier worker tho.     Too late she cried!!!!

Dear Penny is recovering after a shoulder op - so her creating has been severely curtailed for the moment.  Penny has a great blog - 'Back Valley Seasons' - and she produces amazing things!  Before the op Penny went to Fibre arts at Ballarat and did a class with Samantha Bryant.  Penny produced an amazing fairy - 'Martha of'.
Great fun!


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Sad Farewell

Many in the doll world saddened by the passing of Peggy Wilson, March 28th.  Posted on Marilyn Halcombe's site - '
Without this lovely lady none of these dolls would exist. The world of doll creating has lost a great talent and we have all lost a wonderful friend. So sorry to see you go you will be greatly missed.'
I never met Peggy but heard lots of wonderful stories of her classes and friendship here in Australia.

TReasURes oF thE GYpsY ChaLLenGE


Pamela Armas has released details of the 2016 Gypsy Challenge.  The theme is 'Witches, Angel and Demons'.  The kits are $20US and include fabric and trims that you add to your own stash to create your doll.  When sending for the kit you need to specify if you want to make a witch, angel or demon.
I think you would have to email the Gypsy at <> with regards to extra post for Australia.  
The dolls are due by mid Sept - no height limitations.  All rules come with the kit - dolls are seen by thousands of people who come to the Houston International Quilt Market and Festival.
Postage to have your doll returned would probably be ridiculous - you could always donate the doll to Pamela for her to find a good home - if you can bear the parting!  The address is PO Box 748, Mountainair, N.M. USA  87036.  Alternatively you could do the Challenge for fun and send us a photo!

This is my most favorite doll in the whole wide world!  It was winner of the Gypsy Challenge in 2007  or 2009 - created by Bonnie Radzminsky.
Just amazing the work Bonnie put into this art piece!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Woo hOO - sOMetHiNG NeW

Hi everyone, this is Cupcake Cindy, a little lady with huge charm. She is just 10” or 25 cm tall and  is the smallest pattern Jill has released - due to her size some may find turning her fingers a little challenge but this also makes her really endearing.
She carries a little tray with a cupcake complete with icing and a cherry. Cindy can be made from doll velour, doe suede or cotton Lycra, obviously the cotton Lycra stretches more and is easy to overstuff, but works well for those who have trouble with the turning or find the velour too restrictive.
The pattern is full of instructions and diagrams so it's easy to follow and of course she stands on her own in her comfy little shoes when finished.

“Cupcake Cindy is most famous for her secret cupcake recipe, her belly dancing displays and her luxurious yacht, (which she hires out to wealthy real estate agents in Golden Bay) when she's not cruising around the Islands with a couple of her chef friends.
Cindy enjoys nothing more than baking cupcakes in the yacht galley or her farmhouse kitchen and sharing them with her workmates and friends. Her favorite flavor is rhubarb and ginger.
Every Thursday Cindy poses as an artist’s model to earn her extra cash, which she uses to buy food for her butterfly farm.
Cupcake Cindy has a kind heart, a strong disposition and amazing ability in rodeo riding.”

Pattern $15.00 including postage

Jill taught little Cupcake in New Zealand recently and the class came complete with luscious looking Cupcakes.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

OuR LOve AfFaiR WiTh BuTToNs

Often seem to be scrounging for a button to finish a little project.  Have 'acquired' quite a collection of buttons - and a couple of button tins from relatives.  I think most of us have the joyful memory of being able to look through our grandmother's button tin. There were always some obscure odds and ends included - empty cotton reels, lots of old belt buckles, saved to be put to good use 'one day', bits of string, ribbon, a nail file, a penny or two, maybe a badge.


Mitzi Curi makes brooches from old buttons
There are many examples of great button jewelry on the net

Buttons hold a magic of their own - some old and worn, glittery and delicate, pressed metal, bakelite, big showy buttons for an overcoat and tiny little white buttons for women's hand made underclothing.  Each tin holds a story.

Aunty Ivy's button tin.
Great delight held here!

My Nan's sewing tin. Great for a scrounge!!!
Feel close to Nan and her memories when I go thru this tin - and her old button box.

This link has some great button history - well worth some time.....

Would love you to email some pictures of your Grandmother's button tins to share.