Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Some Of The Wonderful FREE Pattern Ideas Emails That I Have Received

Several months ago I asked my blog readers and customers to let me know what they'd like to see me design for FREE patterns. I've had a great response to date on this and thought I'd share some of their emails.

Vicky writes - Hello Linda.. I was looking at your web site.. really nice.. I would love to be able to make some prim dolls, I prefer something like your Primitive Annie, with a little larger head, a Mammy doll, with wire curls.. Thank you Vicky

Olga writes - Hi Linda
I have been sewing dolls since my little girl, now 33, was little. I would like you to make a doll that grows. Now I have a 2 year old granddaughter and would like to make her a doll that grows with her. Could you do that for me please. Olga from PA

AnnaLee writes - I have a beautiful 18" Kitty Collier that is in a 40's style swimsuit - I'd like something like a full sailor dress for her - she's a platinum blond.

OR....I have a Revlon Doll - the taller and she has no clothes AT ALL...through time they've disappeared. She's from the 50's I got her brand new. Good luck deciding. Anna (Edmond, OK)

Wendy writes - hi , i like your site. i have made a few dolls and am looking for a life size doll pattern for my 2 year old grandson. cant afford the $10 patterns this year.

The Hammonds write- There seem to be alot of site with free patterns for antique dolls weather cloth or pocelin.
What I would like to find is one that my 7 year old could sew for her fake barbies 10 1/2 to 12 inches tall. Thanks For taking the time to listen :) The Hammonds

Anonymous posted on my Linda's Blog - what about colonial dress patterns for preteens.

Hi Hello, My name is Esttella age 53 and I love making cloth rag dolls, do you have any patterns for the old fashined cloth doll? I would love to hear from you. Regards Esttella

Jennie writes - Hi my name is Jennie - looking for free patterns. What about a clown pattern for a doll. It could be a jumpsuit with a ruffle or BIG bow that could be converted to a pair of trousers with an all-in-one top with an elasticated ruffle at the neck (for ease of putting on)- with a waist coat. Big gloves (stuffed with cotton wool and the same for shoes (big ones or eatern ones with turned up toes and a bell/felt ball attached. All of which could be made from odd bits of material (I'm sure I'm not the only one with a scrap rag bag of 'useful' bits that they KNOW will come in handy at some point).

Well, all of these are great ideas and give me a lot to think about. I'm in the process of designing new patterns and some FREE patterns. It will be hard to choose from the group of suggestions I've received to date. I may just have to make them all!!! Now, that would be FUN. Hmmmm.....

Please keep those FREE pattern ideas coming.

Thanks to all who wrote to me.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Defining Your Niche!

I often see threads or comments posted on the internet crafting forums concerning the internet and sales. Generally, the question is "When am I going to sell something?" "How long does it take?"

Unfortunately, for crafters on the internet it takes a long time to get established. You might not have a sale for a year or more or you might have dribs and drabs during that first year. It is usually during these periods that the crafters give up and close their websites down. That is unfortunate.

If you are going to sell on the internet then you need to set your "sales" expectations during the first year lower. A lot of crafters feel that the day after they publish or create their websites that they will be swamped with sales. Just because you are on the internet it does not mean that your products are going to fly off the web. It's not a "If you build it, they will come!" adage. Just ask the founders of Amazon.com how long it took to get established. A very long time.

Selling handmade crafts on the internet requires, first and foremost, patience. It also requires some serious forethought - defining your "niche" before you embark on this new internet adventure.

What do I mean by "defining your niche?" You need to consider the fact that there are millions upon millions of crafters websites on the internet selling something. It might be e-patterns, it might be handmade dolls, it might be woodcrafts, it might be food products, candles, soap, etc. Just about any craft you can imagine is being sold somewhere on the internet.

"Defining your niche" is taking a look at yourself and your craft product and determining how you are going to stand out. What makes you unique amongst all the other crafters. What is going to identify "you" to the customer? And, once you've identified that then your next task is trying to determine whether or not it is a product that will sell.

The latter statement is a hard thing for crafters to come to grips with. We suffer from our own love of our creations. Everything we create is "beautiful" in our own minds. Who wouldn't want to buy it? It's OOAK (i.e. one of a kind)! It's unique!

For me my "niche" is my "faceless Victorian dolls." They define me and what I am all about. And, I've built my image up around them. They are what makes me "unique."

Sure I design and sell all kinds of doll patterns. I've even made thousands of handmade dolls and crafts of all types and sizes. But, my "faceless Victorian dolls" are what I'm known for. They make me stand out amongst the millions of crafters on the net.

And, my "Little Victorian Girl" image represents that. You see the "little Victorian girl" and, hopefully, you see me and my "faceless Victorian dolls." I've built my whole business image around my "niche." Is there a market for this? I believe there is. And, I have the patience to play a wait and see.

It is not easy to be patient and it is not easy to define yourself and your product. It is, however, necessary to selling crafts on the internet. You have to find your "niche" within the crafting community and stick with it. Eventually, the sales will come.

Copyright © 2006—All Rights Reserved - Written By Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer.

Monday, November 13, 2006

We're Going To The SPCD!

Things had been calm for a few days before I received the SECOND note.

This note was neatly folded and left under my pillow with a chocolate. I thought the chocolate was a nice touch even though I have acid reflux and can't eat chocolate. It was still a nice gesture.

This time the note was printed on a pretty blue flowered stationary and, again, written in the same beautiful calligraphy. I made a mental note that I absolutely HAD to find out who was so talented and where did they learn their calligraphy? Plus, this note also contained the most wondrous scent. Who was the perfume designer?

Once again, this note was addressed "Confidential - To Linda - For Your Eyes Only!"

It simply said:

We know you love him dearly!
And, he is your husband of many, many, many years!
And, we guess, technically he's - OUR DAD!
He is becoming obsessed with the electric meter!"

It went on further.

Do you know how many times a day this past summer he went out to look at the electric meter?

Do you know that sometimes when he looks at it he stays there for a long period of time as if he's in a trance from the spinning meter - all the while mumbling incoherent curse words?

When he comes out of his trance he starts cursing, swearing, stomping, and jumping up and down. Like a maniac!!!!! Like a mad leprechaun with smoke coming out his ears!!!!!

He then makes a beeline into the house and the next thing we know it's boiling in here.


We simply cannot have him doing this with the heat in the winter. The results would be catastrophic.

Our hands are tied. Unless someting is done you leave us with no alternative. We will have no choice but to take this to "SPCD."

Well, now I knew where the note was coming from.

I still didn't know who was writing the note in that wonderful, wonderful calligraphy. Or, where they got the money to buy the stationary in the first place? Or, who the perfume designer was? Or, what the "SPCD" was.

All I knew was they were getting desperate and I had to do something right away. Bad news all around.

However, the good news was that I knew the note was coming from someone in "The Dollie Storage Room."

You see, the electric meter is right outside the "The Dollie Storage Room" and the dolls are all well positioned to see it and my husband's maniacal behavior.

I had to admit he really was becoming obsessed with the electric meter and the weather. Retirement was getting the better of him.

I thought to myself, "He needs a JOB!!!! Something to occupy his mind besides the electric bill and the weather."

I started to wring my hands and with the tension could feel a "hot flash" coming on. This wasn't good - I HATE hot flashes!

And, yes something HAD to be done.

However, it was going to take delicate diplomacy. My husband versus my "dollie" children - the very essence of me! Hmmm.......

Did this then mean it was going to be a confrontation between my husband and the "dollies?"

If so, WHO WOULD WIN? Would there be a winner? And, what would the outcome be?

I only hoped it would not come down to a choice between them or my husband. And, what was the "SPCD?"

I knew 'd better try to find that out right away. I surmised it had to do with a "governmental" agency and I knew I didn't need that.

So, I entered "SPCD" into my "Google" browser window. The results were surprising. I'd never heard of such an agency!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Something Has To Be Done About Him!

Since I'd started to write the dolls' stories on my blogs I thought everything was quiet and calm in "The Dollie Storage Room." Little did I know another storm was brewing - and it had to do with my HUSBAND!

I had been merrily blogging away on my computer when I suddenly noticed a piece of blue stationary underneath my computer keyboard. I didn't know what it was or why it was there. So, I pulled it out.

It was a neatly folded piece of stationary that was handwritten in the most beautiful calligraphy that you'd ever want to see. It was addressed "Confidential - To Linda - For Your Eyes Only!" Hmmmm.......

Several thoughts were running through my mind. What was this about? Who sent it? And, where did they learn to do write such beautiful calligraphy?

So, I opened the stationary. Inside was a note to me that simply said:

Something must be done about him!
About the curmudgeon!
He has gone too far this time and is carrying conservation to the extreme!
We don't want to, but we may have to take this to the "SPCD!"
Please help us!

I was curious on several counts. Not as to who the curmudgeon was - I knew who that was.
But, I was curious for several reasons. Who had written the note in beautiful calligraphy? Whose stationary was that and where did they get it? What fragrance did they use to create such a wonderful smelling piece of paper? And, what was the SPCD?

I wasn't as worried about their demands or what the issue was since I knew who the curmudgeon was and I was sure if it involved him - it wasn't good.
So, I decided to wait a few more days to see if there would be another note.
I went back to blogging.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

We've Lost Our Place In Her Heart!

Well, the dolls have finally decided to revolt on me. They told me last week that they'd had enough of my writing for all my other blogs and "NOTHING, NOTHING" being written about them.

"What about our Dollie Fashion Show Series?" they asked. "What about The Boys Are Back In Town Series? And, what about the Hey What About Us - The Other Dolls Series!!!" they cried. "You've neglected us for far too long!" "Far too long!"

With that final statement they all started sobbing, and sobbing, and sobbing enmasse. Thousands of dolls just crying their eyes out. What a sight to see.

Given that I was only one person and that there were 1,000's of them at the door to my office I decided the most prudent course of action was to accede to their demands and start writing about them. Plus, I really didn't like the idea that I was making them unhappy and I really was spending toooooooo much time on my other blogs.

After all, the dolls are my creations. In effect, they are my children. You never want your children to be unhappy, do you? And, truth be told, they really have been very patient with me. It has been months since I'd agreed to write about them and, after all, Linda Walsh Originals is all about them.

They actually accused me of falling in love with my other blogs and falling out of love with them. I was crushed. "How could they think such a think of me?" "I'm their creator! I absolutely love them! I'm their mother. I was hurt beyond repair. Or, at least I put on a good front.

I, of course, told them that was ridiculous they were and always would be my first love. I've loved them since I was a little girl and that was not going to change. "Rest assured", I told them,"You'll always be number #1 in my heart."

A couple of the dolls in the "Dollie Senate" who were and always are the leaders gave me a questionable look - not totally sure they believed me. The rest of the dolls looked to them. If the "Dollie Senate" believed it then the rest would follow suit.

What they didn't know was the "Dollie Senate" was no match for me when I was speaking from my heart. I did my best to reassure them all that what I was saying was truly heartfelt. I was hurt and taken aback that they would accuse me of such a thing - their creator, their mother.

"Not love them anymore!" I cried. "How could you say or even think such a thing!" I wailed. I told them that not loving them would be like not loving myself anymore. They are, after all, the very essence of me! They might as well have ripped my heart out.

Of course, by this time all the "softies" were patting my head and trying to hug me - to console me. "Don't cry, Linda! We didn't mean it!" They were crying. I was crying! I was surrounded by "dollies" all crying and trying to console me.

They were in my lap, surrounding my chair, patting my head, sitting on the bookcase, lying on the computer keyboard, hanging off the lamps, sitting and jumping on my desk, just everywhere. Crying dollies everywhere. Another sight to behold.

Some of the boys, of course, took the opportunity to surf the web while I was distracted and off the computer. They, of course, were NOT crying. They would later argue that they were crying, too, but I knew better. Besides, I checked my IE history trail and there were websites there I know I don't frequent. BOYS will be BOYS!!! And, my boys love their computer games. In fact, they want me to get them Xbox. This I absolutely refuse to do.

Back to the story. So, the whole house was crying, except my husband, of course. He was just looking at all this and shaking his head. "Women! Dollies! Too much estrogen in this house!" he said. "We don't have enough tissues for all this crying!" He, of course, had remained at the back of the crowd.

So, I dried my tears and they ALL dried their tears. Even the "Dollie Senators" dried their eyes. We had to dry our tears on our sleeves, used tissues, our shirts, the computer paper. Whatever was available as we seemed to be out of enough tissues to go around. But, we'd all had a good cry and definitely felt better. You always feel better after crying.

So, with a renewed understanding that I would begin to immediately write about them they decided to go back to "The Dollie Storage Room!"

However, their return to "The Dollie Storage Room" was not going to be easy. You see, the problem was that all 1,496 of them had stomped over to my office which has a long narrow hall off of it. With thousands of dolls jammed in the hallway it was a nightmare scenario trying to turn them all around to go backwards.

They were falling all over each other. The dolls in the back were still trying to come forwards to hug me and the dolls in my study were trying to leave. What a nightmare! Of course, my husband left immediately as he had predicted this would happen when he saw all 1,496 dolls marching out of "The Dollie Storage Room!" I suspect he chuckled as he left. Plus I suspect he hid all the tissue boxes deliberately. Men!!!!

After several hours of logistics they were all turned around and heading back to "The Dollie Storage Room."

Phew! Another nightmare avoided. Another revolt squashed.

My children still love me and I still love them.

Now, I'd better get to writing.

Monday, October 02, 2006

I've Been Tagged!!!!!

Okay, I'll play along.

I've been 'tagged' by NeeNee of The Krazy Kraft Lady . NeeNee (aka Denise) is a crafting friend of mine. She is a very talented crafter who creates primitive and extreme primitive dolls and crafts and loves to write about them in her blog. If you get a chance, please check out her blog!
The rules of the tag are that I'm supposed to list 5 weird things about myself or my pets. I then tag 5 friends and list them. These people write on their blogs, 5 weird things about themselves/pets and then tag 5 more people.

You should let these people know they've been tagged by posting a comment on their blog.
I am tagging Angie of Heartland Marketplace , Julia of Camille's Place , Shashi of Moonbeams Art Dolls, Angela of Angela's Gift Nook, & Tina of TC Fragrance Crafts.
5 weird things about myself:

I live in a house with over 1,000 handmade dolls & crafts that I have made myself.

I get the "hiccups" at any hour of the day or night.

As a child I could play in the woods barefoot and with shorts and tee shirt on - Now I can't get with 25 feet of the woods or I'll get "poison ivy."

My dog - who is the ruler of the house - expects to be carried up the stairs - he doesn't like to climb them.

I love "pumpkin ice cream" and can hardly wait until the Fall season to get it.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Barbie - A Young Girl's Obsession!

To say I love dolls is probably an understatement.  I've been in love with them ever since I can remember.  I wish I knew back then that my dolls would be worth a lot of money now - if only I had saved them.  Unfortunately, most of my dolls were well worn from playing with them and most were thrown away over the years.  Alas....

Since I was a child many dolls have come along that I have loved - like 'Blythe."  However, none have had quite the impact on me and held my attention for the longest period of time as "Barbie." did.

In a post from several years ago on my Linda's Blog entitled "Blythe Dolls - Where Have I Been?" I told you that I used to think that I was really "cool" as I had owned a Barbie doll when they first came out in the early 1960's. Mine had blond hair and a ponytail and worn a black and white bathing suit like the picture above.  She had holes in her feet to allow her to stand up in her doll stand.

During the early 1960's one of my Christmas present's was the Barbie's with the red short-bob haircut. I loved that doll with her red bobbed haircut.

When the Ken doll came out I had to have him, too. And, then the Barbie dream house, etc. Of course, my best friend had the pink Barbie car when it came out. I didn't so I had to concede my "coolest" crown to her for awhile. And, she got her Barbie dream house before I got mine.


My best friend and I would sit and play "Barbie" in her room for hours upon hours upon hours. We liked to play in her room as she had her own room and didn't have to share her room with a younger sister like I did.

We'd set up our houses and various other scene's and have Barbie cleaning house, going to school, out on a date, getting married (that was one of our favorites), and having children. Sometimes she'd be in the hospital after some horrible car accident or have some terrible illness or disease. Why we'd envision that I'll never know. Kids do the strangest things. Maybe we were working out our fears or the unknown.

Given that I was born in the fifties our playing Barbie emulated society's ideas of what a "woman's" life was and what she "did." Later my friend and I both came to realize over time that "women" could be and do a whole lot more than that. By that time it was the late 60's and early 70's and we were off to college and part of the "flower generation." However, the times we spent in her room playing Barbie were wonderful idealistic times and memories of a childhood friend that I will always cherish.

As I mentioned in my Blythe post - I am no longer "cool." "Fool" might be a better word. You see, if I still had the Barbie's they'd be worth a small fortune now. But, they were thrown out with the trash as I got older. A little insight back then might have been a good thing. Ya think!

Barbie is almost 60 years old or will be in 2019. We've aged together only she doesn't show any sign of aging. Me, on the other hand.....

So, given that I love dolls and given that I love to do research for my Linda's Blog I thought I'd do a little research on Barbie for all of you who are too young to remember her first birthday.

Shown below are a few excerpts of Barbie's history according to Wikipedia.org that I thought you might like:

Barbie is a fashion doll manufactured by the American toy-company Mattel, Inc. and launched in March 1959. American businesswoman Ruth Handler is credited with the creation of the doll using a German doll called Bild Lilli as her inspiration.

Barbie is the figurehead of a brand of Mattel dolls and accessories, including other family members and collectible dolls. Barbie has been an important part of the toy fashion doll market for over fifty years, and has been the subject of numerous controversies and lawsuits, often involving parody of the doll and her lifestyle.


The first Barbie doll was introduced in both blonde and brunette in March 1959.

Ruth Handler watched her daughter Barbara play with paper dolls, and noticed that she often enjoyed giving them adult roles. At the time, most children's toy dolls were representations of infants. Realizing that there could be a gap in the market, Handler suggested the idea of an adult-bodied doll to her husband Elliot, a co-founder of the Mattel toy company. He was unenthusiastic about the idea, as were Mattel's directors.

During a trip to Europe in 1956 with her children Barbara and Kenneth, Ruth Handler came across a German toy doll called Bild Lilli. The adult-figured doll was exactly what Handler had in mind, so she purchased three of them. She gave one to her daughter and took the others back to Mattel. The Lilli doll was based on a popular character appearing in a comic strip drawn by Reinhard Beuthin for the newspaper Bild. Lilli was a blonde bombshell, a working girl who knew what she wanted and was not above using men to get it. The Lilli doll was first sold in Germany in 1955, and although it was initially sold to adults, it became popular with children who enjoyed dressing her up in outfits that were available separately.

Upon her return to the United States, Handler redesigned the doll (with help from engineer Jack Ryan) and the doll was given a new name, Barbie, after Handler's daughter Barbara. The doll made its debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York on March 9, 1959. This date is also used as Barbie's official birthday.

Mattel acquired the rights to the Bild Lilli doll in 1964 and production of Lilli was stopped. The first Barbie doll wore a black and white zebra striped swimsuit and signature topknot ponytail, and was available as either a blonde or brunette. The doll was marketed as a "Teen-age Fashion Model," with her clothes created by Mattel fashion designer Charlotte Johnson. The first Barbie dolls were manufactured in Japan, with their clothes hand-stitched by Japanese homeworkers. Around 350,000 Barbie dolls were sold during the first year of production.

Louis Marx and Company sued Mattel in March 1961. After licensing Lilli, they claimed that Mattel had “infringed on Greiner & Hausser's patent for Bild-Lilli’s hip joint, and also claimed that Barbie was "a direct take-off and copy" of Bild-Lilli. The company additionally claimed that Mattel "falsely and misleadingly represented itself as having originated the design". Mattel counter-claimed and the case was settled out of court in 1963. In 1964, Mattel bought Greiner & Hausser's copyright and patent rights for the Bild-Lilli doll for $21,600.

Ruth Handler believed that it was important for Barbie to have an adult appearance, and early market research showed that some parents were unhappy about the doll's chest, which had distinct breasts. Barbie's appearance has been changed many times, most notably in 1971 when the doll's eyes were adjusted to look forwards rather than having the demure sideways glance of the original model.

Barbie was one of the first toys to have a marketing strategy based extensively on television advertising, which has been copied widely by other toys. It is estimated that over a billion Barbie dolls have been sold worldwide in over 150 countries, with Mattel claiming that three Barbie dolls are sold every second.

The standard range of Barbie dolls and related accessories are manufactured to approximately 1/6 scale, which is also known as playscale.The standard dolls are approximately 11½ inches tall.

Barbie products include not only the range of dolls with their clothes and accessories, but also a large range of Barbie branded goods such as books, apparel, cosmetics and video games. Barbie has appeared in a series of animated films and is a supporting character in Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3.

Barbie has become a cultural icon and has been given honors that are rare in the toy world. In 1974, a section of Times Square in New York City was renamed Barbie Boulevard for a week. In 1985, the artist Andy Warhol created a painting of Barbie.

In 2013, in Taiwan, the first Barbie-themed restaurant called "Barbie Café" opened under the Sinlaku group.

In January 2016, Mattel announced that it will add tall, curvy and petite body shapes to its line-up of dolls. Alternative skin tones, hair styles and hair colours will also be added.

50th anniversary

In 2009, Barbie celebrated her 50th birthday. The celebrations included a runway show in New York for the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. The event showcased fashions contributed by fifty well-known haute couturiers including Diane von Fürstenberg, Vera Wang, Calvin Klein, Bob Mackie, and Christian Louboutin.

Fictional biography

Barbie's full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts. In a series of novels published by Random House in the 1960s, her parents' names are given as George and Margaret Roberts from the fictional town of Willows, Wisconsin.  In the Random House novels, Barbie attended Willows High School, while in the Generation Girl books, published by Golden Books in 1999, she attended the fictional Manhattan International High School in New York City (based on the real-life Stuyvesant High School.

She has an on-off romantic relationship with her boyfriend Ken (Ken Carson), who first appeared in 1961. A news release from Mattel in February 2004 announced that Barbie and Ken had decided to split up, but in February 2006, they were hoping to rekindle their relationship after Ken had a makeover.

Barbie has had over 40 pets including cats and dogs, horses, a panda, a lion cub, and a zebra. She has owned a wide range of vehicles, including pink Corvette convertibles, trailers, and jeeps. She also holds a pilot's license, and operates commercial airliners in addition to serving as a flight attendant. Barbie's careers are designed to show that women can take on a variety of roles in life, and the doll has been sold with a wide range of titles including Miss Astronaut Barbie (1965), Doctor Barbie (1988), and Nascar Barbie (1998).

Mattel has created a range of companions for Barbie, including Hispanic Teresa, Midge, African American Christie, and Steven (Christie's boyfriend). Barbie's siblings and cousins were also created including Skipper, Todd and Stacie (twin brother and sister), Kelly, Krissy, and Francie. Barbie was friendly with Blaine, an Australian surfer, during her split with Ken in 2004.[18]

Controversies .......

Barbie has been involved in many controversies over the years.  If you'd like to read more about them please CLICK HERE for her Wikipedia.com page.

Fifty years ago I would never have imagined that Barbie would have been as successful as she has been. A billion Barbie dolls sold in 150 countries is just unbelievable!

Nor would I ever have imagined that she would have stirred worldwide controversy or gotten the ire of many a feminist. I didn't even know what a "feminist" was back then - let alone envision I'd become one.

She was a plaything that allowed my friend and I to get lost in our imaginations for a short period of time. I did not envision that I was her or that she represented me. She was never a role model. The lifestyle and activities of our imaginary Barbie's life mimicked our lives back then, but our own self-worth and confidence were already well intact and had nothing to do with our Barbie's imaginary life.

Even back then her figure was unrealistic to us. No one we knew looked like that and none of our friends ever wanted to have her figure. The only thing we wanted was for the dolls knees to bend as her legs struck straight out when she sat in a chair. Luckily several years into the manufacture of Barbie her knees finally became bendable.  And, of course, I got a bendable Barbie.

My friend and I eventually outgrew Barbie. However, I will always be grateful to Barbie for having provided my friend and I with a lifetime of sweet memories of a time of innocence and childhood play. Of a time long ago that can never be replaced. And, of a time when children could still dream of imaginary and idealistic lives.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

What Is It About This Season That Drives My Creativity?

It's almost like clockwork. Like some internal drive. Some innate driving force. For sure, it's something!

By now I'm sure you must be wondering what I'm talking about.

Well, I'm talking about my "creativity drive" and the Fall/Christmas season. What is it about this season that drives my creativity?

Every year around the end of August I can start to feel it. This urge to create starts to show itself. It starts slowly and builds gradually until it reaches a full-blown crescendo in November. But, I can feel it starting and I know that I won't have any control over it, once again.
Every year it just takes over my body. And, then I just have to either sew, create floral arrangements or craft something.

Or, I have to design patterns and sew some more dolls. Like I need any more dolls! But, that's a subject for another article! The point is, I just have to create - SOMETHING! ANYTHING!

Of course, my husband would say; "Why don't you create doing the housework!" Nah! That's no fun.

This inner force, whatever it is has got a creative mind all its own. And, it definitely has a hold on me. Look out, anyone or anything that gets in its way.

Forget the housework - what's a little dirt and dust! Forget the shopping - who needs to eat! Forget the bills - YIKES!!! Forget the family! Oh, boy! That's a no-no! Forget eating - that's okay - it's called creativity dieting! Even forget to take the dog out to do his business! Come on now that's something you have to do! Well, maybe not. He can hold it.

So, what is it that takes over? I'm not sure but I know that I'm not alone with this. Many crafters that I've talked to tell me that they also experience this. It might be at different times of the year, but they know when it's starting. Maybe it's a crafting thing? When you're in the "crafting", "creating" mode you are "IN THE MODE."

And, when I'm in the mode, I'll sew hundreds of dolls or design hundreds of patterns. I might put together multiple numbers of floral arrangements, or anything else that I seem to want to create.
I don't know about you, but I'm a little obsessive when it comes to my sewing and crafting. I have to cut everything out first, then sew everything, then put everything together. That means if I have 100 items to cut out I cut all one hundred before I start to sew anything.

The same holds true with sewing. I'll sit there and sew all one hundred dolls and then I'll put all one hundred dolls together. Of course, this means that I have to write-up 100 patterns all at once - which is really a chore. All the pattern designers will know what I mean by that statement.

In any event, I never said my way was the way to go about it. It's just my way of feeding my "hungry" inner creativity drive. Maybe I should call it my "hungry" inner obsessive creativity drive?
Sometimes I don't know what's worse. My inner creativity drive or living with over 1,000 handmade dolls. Hmmmm.....? Definitely, living with over 1,000 handmade dolls is worse. They talk back to me.

So, what is this creative drive and where does it come from? Why in late August? Why the Fall/Christmas season?

Maybe it relates back to the fact that as a child I loved to sew all my Christmas presents? I come from a large family so there were quite a few presents to make. Maybe it's the act of making presents to give to my loved ones? Generosity drives it? Hmmm..... Probably not.

Or, maybe there's just something about the bright, cheery, vibrant colors of the Fall season? Maybe it's feeling the cool, brisk, New England climate while raking leaves and then going inside to a cinnamon candle burning and a cup of tea or cocoa? Hmmm...... Probably not.

Maybe it's because for every holiday as a child I would scour the woods for materials to make a centerpiece? Or, every holiday season the family would gather together to make a new Christmas decoration? Hmmm.... Probably not.

Maybe it's just because I come from a family of crafters and sewers? It's just plain in my genes - in my DNA. Hmmm.......

Is that possible? Can a person have "creative" DNA? Hmmmm.... I wonder. Creative DNA!
I don't know. I just know that I'm not alone with this. Other crafters have told me they, too, have an inner driving force. Maybe we all have "creative" DNA?

I don't know if I'll ever find out why I have this drive or what it is about this season that enhances my creativity?

Maybe, however, I should I should stop worrying about it and just enjoy the "creative" moments? Tis the season - the "creative" season that is!

Copyright © 2006—All Rights Reserved - Written By Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

How To Host A Folksy, Family & Friends Bridal Shower Free E-Book

Believe it or not, but Fall has become the season for weddings versus the Spring and with weddings comes bridal showers.

For anyone who has even contemplated hosting a bridal shower the idea of hosting a bridal shower may seem overwhelming and daunting at best. That's why so many nowadays are held out at restaurants with a professional handling all the arrangements.

However, with a little planning and organization hosting a bridal shower can end up being fun for the whole family, for all the participants and a wonderful event for all to remember. And, it doesn't have to be held out at a fancy, expensive restaurant.

In a previous post on my Linda's Blog I eluded to the fact that my sister and sisters-in-law and I had hosted a bridal shower for our oldest niece several years ago.

Instead of a bridal shower out at a restaurant one of my sisters-in-law and I decided on a more traditional, small, folksy, family & friends bridal shower - like we used to remember going to when we were growing up. We decided that, "Hey, we can do this if we all work together! It'll be fun!" We decided that we would cook all the food and make all the decorations, prizes, centerpieces, and bridal shower favors. Small, folksy and intimate like bridal showers and baby showers, for that matter, used to be.

I was in charge of the shower and one of my sisters-in-law was helping me with all the planning and creating of all the decorations. My sister (who doesn't live nearby) was coming up to help with the final decorations and food preparation. The latter is my least favorite thing to do, but she's fantastic at it so she was assigned the menu. And, my Mother, one of my other sisters-in-law and two young nieces were going to help with the food preparation, serving, greeting of the guests, etc.

It was a LOT of work to be sure, but I knew that with preparation and organization that we could do this. Looking back on the bridal shower I have to tell you that my sister-in-law and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves planning for and creating all the things we needed for the shower. It was a fun filled crafting experience.

So I thought you might enjoy a free e-book on how we did this.  Enjoy!

To view and download my free e-book please CLICK HERE. You'll be brought to Google Drive where you can view my free e-book. Then just download my free .pdf e-book by clicking on the down arrow in the top center.

For more information on all my free e-patterns, e-printables and e-books please CLICK HERE.

Please respect My Terms of Use:  All patterns, e-patterns, printables, e-printables, e-books, graphics, tutorials, how-to's, articles and other e-products © 2004-2020 Linda Walsh Originals-Designs by Linda Walsh. All rights reserved. Commercial selling or reselling by any means prohibited without the written consent of Linda Walsh.

Patterns, e-patterns, printables, e-printables, e-books, graphics, tutorials, how-to's, articles and other e-products are for personal use only. You may not modify, photocopy, download, upload, post, transmit, display, perform, publish, license, reprint, create derivative works from, mass duplicate, re-sell, digitize, and reproduce in any other form (print, digital or electric) or commercially apply, embed, share, Email, or redistribution in any other means. Use of any of the above is prohibited without the written permission of Linda Walsh.

However, you may link to my website(s)/blog(s) and the individual page(s)/blog post(s) (including 1 picture) but do not copy, reprint or duplicate my website(s)/blog(s) or individual page(s)/post(s ) without my permission.

Items made from Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns are intended for personal use for fun or small scale personal and business profit as long as you credit us with the design. Large scale commercial use (i.e. mass production) of items made from Linda Walsh Originals E-Patterns are by permission only.

Please see my Terms and Conditions for additional information.

Copyright © 2004 - 2020 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals and Linda's Blog. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Look What Kim Made Me!

If you're a reader of my Linda's Blog then you know how much I just love "blinkies". So, I just had to show all of you this. Kim Banks who is a forum friend of mine and the owner of Craftisan DeSigns made this for me out of the blue. Isn't it adorable? I just love it, Kim. Thank you so very much. That was so sweet of you.

Kim is a VERY talented crafter and graphic artist. She, like most of us, is a self-taught crafter and is extremely good at whatever she has tried. At Craftisan DeSigns she makes the most beautiful custom designed wood signs. You really need to see them for yourself.

According to Kim, "Craftisan DeSigns offers individually handcrafted woodcrafts and unique wood signs that will make perfect gifts for your family and friends. You will find a unique selection of wood signs and woodcrafts at our store usually in a variety of styles including rustic, country, whimsical, and primitive. We have a unique selection of items to compliment your home decor or to give as gifts. Our specialty is to create wood signs with quotes and sayings that invite you to smile, laugh out loud or ponder life."

At her "Craftisans DeSigns Graphics" shop she makes custom designed graphics as well as some predesigned graphics. If you need custom designed graphics I hope you pay Kim a visit.

Thanks, again, Kim for my new blinkie. I just love it.

Monday, July 10, 2006

I Just Love Microsoft Publisher!

I just love my Microsoft Publisher program! There are probably a lot of techies out there who would cringe at what I just said, but "I love my Microsoft Publisher" software program. Why? because I can do so many, many things with it. For a small business doll pattern designer it is THE best and MOST versatile program out there.

What can I do, you wonder?

Well, with Publisher I can create both my Linda Walsh Originals website and my Linda Walsh Originals Dolls website. Both were created by Publisher and then published to the web via FTP to my hosting company.

When I need to update either website I go into my Publisher file for that particular website, update it for the changes I need, and then re-publish the updates via FTP to my hosting company. Total control over my website is within my hands. I don't have to wait for a programmer to update my website for me.

What else can I do? Well, I can create ALL of the typical business paperwork supplies, such as: business cards, calendars, letterhead, email, fax cover, shipping labels, return address labels, envelopes, postcards, thank-you cards, greeting cards, invitations, etc. I can create billing statements, weekly records, expense reports, inventory lists, invoices, refunds, statements, product lists, purchase orders, even gift certificates.

I can create all of my business promotional brochures and save them in a format to print at a commercial printer or take to another computer. Or, I can create and print a multi-page brochure, tri-fold brochure, informational flyer or brochure, special offer flyer, etc. myself. I can create my own magazine advertisements in a format that can be used by publishers. I can even create a multi-page catalog or brochure that I can covert to an E-Catalog or E-Brochure.

For example, my Linda Walsh Originals 2006 E-Brochure .PDF file was created by Microsoft Publisher.

I can create a print Newsletter and then covert it to an E-Newsletter or email it as an attachment. I can even create a Word document or import one into a publisher file.

And, best of all, I can create my doll pattern product, both print form and e-pattern form. With a program that versatile how could you not love it?

I take the pictures of my dolls, massage them a little with Microsoft Picture It or Adobe Photoshop and them insert them into my Microsoft Publisher cover file. I can them create a .jpeg picture of just the front cover to use on any website or, in my case for use on Froogle.com.

With Microsoft Publisher I can create my complete doll pattern which includes the following:

The front cover includes a digital picture of the pattern, the Pattern #, doll size, doll’s name, and doll description.

The back page lists all of the supplies needed to make the doll, including where each of the supplies is used (listed in the parenthesis). It also includes our company information, copyrights, and legal information concerning the use of our pattern.

The instruction sheet lists in detail the sewing instructions, additional pieces to be cut, and the instructions for putting the doll together from start to finish. The instruction sheets follow the diagrams from beginning to end and include many references to the diagrams pages. The instruction sheet also references each pattern piece by its name and each pattern piece edge by its label.

The diagrams pages are hand drawn picture examples of putting the doll together from start to finish and show you how the doll should look step by step. They follow the instruction sheets from beginning to end.

The pattern sheets are all full size page sheets. All of the pattern pieces are named and indicate the number of pieces to cut. The edges of all the pattern pieces are labeled as to edge placement and what sewing is to be done with that edge. If the edge is to be sewn to another pattern piece then the edge contains the name of that specific pattern piece. The fold lines, sew lines, and cutting lines are all indicated as well.

The steps for creating a doll pattern in Microsoft Publisher are really very easy. First, in Publisher I create a file for my doll pattern cover, front and back. Second, I import my written instructions from the Word document I used into my Publisher doll pattern file. Third, once I've scanned my diagrams and pattern piece sheets into my computer I insert them into my Publisher doll pattern file. Finally, once everything is contained within one doll pattern Publisher file I create my .pdf file using the Adobe Printer command from Publisher. My print pattern can be printed from my complete Publisher doll pattern file or my e-pattern can be created from my complete Publisher doll pattern file.

There are just so many things I can do as a small business owner with Microsoft Publisher. There may be other programs out there that are better. I wouldn't know. I've been using Microsoft Publisher since it first came out (20+ years, maybe?) and have had no reason to switch. It's easy to use, it's versatile, it handles ALL my small business needs, and, creatively, I enjoy using it. What could be better than that?

Friday, July 07, 2006

Yikes! My E-Pattern Files Are HUGE!

If you create E-patterns then you know that file size is very IMPORTANT. Especially if you are going to send your e-patterns as email attachments or if you're going to upload them to a craft pattern website or instant pattern download website.

You have to keep your e-pattern files to a minimum. But, how do you do that? The pictures are usually HUGE and the scanned sheets are usually HUGE. Even if you scan them in black & white. So, what do you do?

Well, you have to reduce the size of the pictures and scanned images either by adjusting the resolution, pixels or actual physical size of the image. There is no hard and fast formula for this. My results have been based upon trial and error.

Here's what I do for my pictures. First I use a picture program to crop and clean-up all your images. I have all of my pattern pictures saved on my computer as .jpg files of various sizes. I keep a master copy of the original picture in it's original HUGE size and then I use Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Picture It! to reduce the size of my images down to whatever size I may need.

Most picture programs will allow you to reduce the size of your image either by resolution, pixels, or physical size. I prefer using pixels for most of my pattern pictures and inches for small pictures to display on the side of my blogs. I have found through trial and error that 300 to 350 pixels is a good size for most applications.

For example, let's say my original doll picture is 1276x1671 pixels and 453kb in size. I would reduce this picture to around 300 to 350 pixels, depending upon the picture I want, to say 284x371 pixels or 17.1kb for my E-Pattern cover picture. Just by doing this I've reduced the size of the picture from 453kb to 17.1kb without really destroying the quality of the picture.

For this same picture starting out at 1276x1671 pixels and 453kb if I'm going to send it to another website (say for a craft show booth) I'd probably keep the picture around 300-350 pixels, too. I would reduce this picture to around 300 to 350, depending upon the picture I want, to 284x371 pixels or 17.1kb for displaying on another website and to 137x180 pixels or 8.56kb for a 1 inch size picture.

If I'm sending the picture to another website for say, a home page display ad, they usually want a picture around 150 pixels. So, I'd reduce my original image down to 150x150 pixels or so and save it under another name.

If I want to show some of my product images on the sidebar of my blog then I'd reduce the pictures to about 1 inch. This equates to about 150 pixels. Might be a little more or a little less, depending on the picture. Adobe Photoshop allows you to reduce by pixels or by inch. For this application I prefer inch.

Each time I want to reduce the size of the picture I start with the original picture, reduce the size, and then save the reduced copy under a different name.

I'm always getting off track, aren't I? Back to the E-Patterns. If you're scanning in whole pages (i.e. 8 1/2 x 11 size) then you will need to cut the pixel size of your 8 1/2 x 11 inch picture in 1/2 or even 1/3 or your .pdf file will be way too big. My 8 1/2 x 11 inch scanned in b/w images that I use for my doll patterns pattern piece sheets and diagrams are usually 2529x3300 pixels and 1.0mb in file size(color images would be a lot more).

I always crop and clean-up my scanned b/w image first using a picture program and then reduce my b/w in half down to 1265x1650 pixels or less. This drastically reduces the size of the image down to around 250kb. Since you're going to insert this into whatever program is creating your .pdf file you want to start out with the least amount of file size as possible. Around 1265x1650 pixels would be the least amount you would want to reduce any images that were drawn by a heavy pencil and scanned in. If you go over your pencil drawn pattern piece sheets and diagrams with a black marker then you can reduce these in half again down to 633x825 pixels. I wouldn't go any lower than that or your .pdf E-Patterns will be hard to read.

Once you have everything reduced in size then you would want to import them into whatever software you are going to use to create your E-Pattern. I do everything in Microsoft Publisher so its easier for me to use that. I'm sure there are lots of software programs out there that would produce something similar.

Once I have my doll pattern completely in Publisher I compress the file which reduces the resolution of any of the pages to around 200 in resolution. This reduces the file size even further. Here is where the original quality of the scanned image comes into play. If the image is too light to start off then you will have a problem reading the E-Pattern or the image will be blurry. That is why a lot of hand-drawn sheets are traced over with a black marker.

I try to keep all of my E-Pattern between 500kb to 900kb. My largest E-Pattern is 22 pages but only 1.08mb in file size due to all of the above mentioned adjustments. My smallest E-Pattern is 8 pages and 437kb in file size.

The key to keeping the size of your E-Patterns down is to reduce the size of your images, diagrams and pattern sheets down to a manageable size. You can do this without destroying the quality of your picture or E-Pattern.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Innu Tea Doll

In researching my article on "faceless" dolls I came across a type of doll that I had never heard of before who has a fascinating history. The dolls are called "Innu Tea Dolls" and were made by the Innu people from Nitassinan (Quebec and Labrador) Canada. The Innu have been making dolls for a very long time.

According to history the Innu people were always on the move. As such, space to carry items was always at a premium. When the Innu people traveled to their hunting grounds everyone had to carry their fair share, including the children. Innu women would sew the dolls and stuff them with tea. The tea dolls were intended to be carried by the children and would hold two or three pounds of loose tea. When the main supply of tea ran out, the dolls were opened and the tea inside was shared. The dolls would then be stuffed with caribou moss to retain their shape and then given to the children as toys.

The illustration at the top of this article is of an Innu Tea Doll that was given to the Smithsonian Institute by Lucien M. Turner in the early 1880's. According to the Innu.ca website he obtained some of the Innu Tea Dolls from the Innu people who came out of the Hudson Bay Company post to trade. The Innu of Labrador are the last known hunter/nomadic people of North America.

I hope to visit the Smithsonian one of these days. That is, when I'm not crafting or sewing. When I do I'll be sure to look for the Innu Tea Doll.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

My Linda's Blog Is One Year Old Today!

Today is June 22, 2006 and my Linda's Blog is 1 year old.

I can hardly believe it. I started my Linda's Blog one year ago today and have written and posted close to 200 articles to date.

I would never have thought I was capable of writing so much a year ago and never would have imagined that I would love blogging so much. It is such a terrific tool for a small business owner.
So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Linda's Blog. You're one year old today.

Monday, June 19, 2006

I Just Love These Cards!

Two years ago when my Mother and I were at a Sewing & Quilt Exposition we came across a booth that was selling these wonderful "Quilt-a-Card" kits. The kits contained die-cut cards and envelopes. The cards were pre-cut stencils that you would pop out. Then you would sew your fabric to the stenciled opening of the card using your sewing machine and a zig-zag stitch. Depending on the design of the card you might then add padding or other decorations, such as buttons, ribbon, etc.

They were absolutely wonderful so I decided to buy some of the kits and make some of the cards for Christmas presents for my mother, sister, and sister-in-law. I combined 6 cards together and tied them in a little ribbon and then wrapped them in their Christmas box. I could tell from the expressions on my mother, sister, and sister-in-law's faces when they opened them that they just loved them. We're a "crafting" family and just love getting handmade items.

Of course, they can't compete with my niece Laura's handdrawn Christmas cards every year but, they were nice enough. Laura's cards are so wonderful that I'm going to tell you about them in another article.

My sister told me that she thought that the cards were so beautiful that she wanted to keep them all herself and would never send them to anyone. I told her that wasn't the purpose but, they were her cards. She could do what ever she wanted with them. To this day my mother, sister, and sister-in-law have all kept their cards. Unfortunately, none have been mailed to anyone else. What a shame. No one else gets to see them. But, hey that's their decision.

Last year when my mother and I went to the Sewing & Quilt Exposition I looked for the "Quilt-a-Card" booth. I was sadly disappointed as they weren't at the show. I had wanted to buy some more. Foolishly, I hadn't kept the original packaging so I didn't know what the company name was or if the designer had a website. I didn't even bother to search on the web as the paper/scrapbooking business is too huge now and I would have gotten thousands of results in a Google search. I resigned myself to never finding the kits again. I left the show disappointed.

This year when my mother and I went to the Sewing & Quilt Exposition (which I wrote about in a previous article on my Linda's Blog entitled "We've Got Sewing In Our Bones!") I was pleasantly surprised to find the designers had a booth again. I was ecstatic. I know. I'm a little crazy!

Plus, they had some new designs. I was in definitely in heaven. Hey, that's me. I love anything related to dolls, genealogy, florals, and crafting. So, I decided that this year some of the Christmas cards that I would be mailing to my family and friends would be my handmade "Quilt-a-Cards." At least this time they would be sent out.

While I was paying for all my card kits (and there were a lot of them) I told the owners that I was thrilled they had a booth again and that I had missed them the previous year. They told me that they hadn't been able to attend the previous year due to some personal issues. I told the owners that I just loved their card kits and wondered if they had a website. Of course, they do. It's called "Paper Creations" and is at www.papercreations.com .

Of course, when I went home I had to go on the internet to check out their website. I shouldn't have as I'll probably be ordering more kits. They have a wonderful website called "Paper Creations and Atlas Coffee Mill." The "Quilt-a-Card" kits are on the website as well as "Quilt-a-Tag" kits, which I'm going to order next. They also have scrapbook kits and paper supplies, etc.

PLUS, they offer online classes almost every day of the month. How GREAT is that! I want to take a class. Of course, I'd never have time to take the class but I do want to. Maybe I can fit one in before the end of the summer.

So, I left the Sewing & Quilt Exposition happy as could be. I'd found my card kits again. All was right with the world. Yeah! I know. It doesn't take much to make me happy. I hope the owners don't mind. I just had to tell you about these wonderful Quilt-a-Card kits.

Graphics courtesy of www.papercreations.com .

Thursday, June 15, 2006

My "Dollie Sewing 101 - Tips and Tricks"

I have been sewing, crafting, and designing floral arrangements for over 40 years now and have learned a few tips and tricks along the way. So, I thought I might share some of those tips and tricks with you. SHHHHH!!!! They're secrets so you have to promise not to tell anyone. Is that a deal?

They might be tips or tricks for beginners or tips and tricks for more experienced crafters and/or sewers. Maybe they'll even be some for all of you who are in between. I promise they will be interesting and informative. You might get a chuckle or two. They may not be the way everyone else does it either.

So, stay tuned. Don't forget. They're our secret. SHHHHH!!!!!!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Our Victorian "Faceless" Poll Results

I've posted a couple of articles on my Linda's Blog during the last year concerning the poll I am running on my Linda Walsh Originals website.

The poll concerns my Victorian "Lady" series of faceless dolls. The question is "Should our Victorian Dolls remain faceless?" For awhile we were running in favor of faceless. Now we are running in favor of faces.

Out of 56 votes, 21 or 37% feel the dolls should remain faceless. That means 35 or 63% feel that they should have faces. Of the 56 votes 1 vote was from a male and 55 were from females.

For those of you that love our "faceless" Victorians I have good news. We will continue to carry "faceless" dolls and I will continue to design "faceless" Victorians. Personally, I love the "faceless" Victorians and love to design them.

But, for those of you who like Victorians with "faces" I also have good news. I'm currently in the process of designing some Victorians with "faces." Something for you to look forward to. Who knows, maybe I'll change my mind and decide that I like "faces" better. Nah!!!!! That will never happen!

Thanks to everyone for taking our poll.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The History Of Faceless Dolls

If you're a reader of my Linda's Blog then you know that I just LOVE research. In thinking about my recent post on my Victorian "faceless" dolls I started to wonder exactly what the history of faceless dolls was. So, of course I had to find out.

I figured that there had to be a history of faceless dolls or, at least, some cultures and norms. Believe it or not but there isn't a lot of information on either the history of faceless dolls or cultures and norms that started such a tradition.

There is some information on two of the most popular and widely known faceless dolls - Amish dolls and Corn husk dolls. And there is the legend surrounding Raggedy Ann and "faceless" dolls. I was also surprised that there wasn't more information on "faceless" dolls throughout history. I thought for sure that they had to have been around for a long, long time.

In doing my research, what I was pleasantly surprised with was the application of "faceless" dolls for so many current charities or organizations. More on that a little later.

Probably the oldest legend has to do with "faceless" Corn-husk dolls. Some say they are the oldest form of doll known in America. The corn-husk doll shown to the right is a picture of a corn-husk doll that is in the USU Museum of Anthropology.

According to Iroquois legend the Iroquois people had three sisters - corn, beans, and squash or the "sustainers of life." The corn spirit wanted to do something extra for her people so the Creator allowed her to create a beautiful doll from her husks which was to roam the earth and bring brotherhood and contentment to the Iroquois nation. The doll went from village to village playing with the children. Everywhere she went everyone would tell her how beautiful she was.

One day this very, very beautiful doll went into the woods and saw herself in a pool of water. She saw how very, very beautiful she was and this caused her to become very vain and naughty. Kind of sounds like my "Celia" doll, doesn't it? Anyway, the dolls vanity and attitude did not sit well with the people or the Creator. The Creator warned her that this was not the right kind of behavior. She paid attention for a while (as all dolls do) but caught sight of herself in a pool of water again and thought to herself how beautiful indeed she was.

Suddenly out of the sky came a giant screeching owl that snatched her reflection right out of the water. When she looked again at the poll of water she saw nothing. This was her punishment. She would have no face and would roam the earth forever looking for something to redeem herself. Iroquois mothers passed the legend and "faceless" corn husk dolls down to their children to remind them that vanity is a bad thing and that they are not better than anyone else.

The Amish have strong religious beliefs which influence their daily lives. Their dress is plain and simple and so are the dolls they make for their children. According to the Amish tradition, the Bible says that you are not supposed to make anything that is in the image or likeness of a male or female. For that reason the dolls are "faceless."

In some Amish homes even "faceless" dolls were forbidden. Instead of a doll the children were given a piece of wood wrapped in a blanket. Since very few toys were allowed in an Amish household, boys and girls both played with the dolls. Both boy and girl dolls were made.

If you were to examine an old Amish doll you might see 4 or 5 layers of cloth on the head or the body. If the doll became too dirty, ripped or worn then it was covered with a new piece of material.

Most Amish women have been making dolls ( faceless and with faces) for their children for generations. This tradition has become a cottage industry for the Amish community. The picture top and left is of a popular "faceless" Amish boy and girl doll.

Over 20 years ago I bought a similar set of "faceless" Amish dolls. My dolls had on burgundy and black outfits but, pretty much, looked like the picture. I would have included a picture of my two "faceless" Amish dolls in this article but I can't remember where they are right now. They're here somewhere.

As far as Raggedy Ann is concerned, one of the legends surrounding her creation is that a little girl was rummaging around her Grandmother's attic and finds a faceless, battered old doll. She brings the doll into her fathers art studio and tells him all about finding it in the attic. He looks at his daughter and the faceless doll and decides to draw a whimsical face on it and then tells her to see if her Grandmother would sew two button eyes on. And so Raggedy Ann was born.

In doing my research on faceless dolls I was delighted to run across some websites concerning the application of "faceless" dolls today and why they were chosen or made "faceless." One of the websites concerned the Children With Aids Project (CWA) which was created by Joy and Jim Jenkins. CWA offers a variety of services to children infected or affected by AIDS. One of these services is giving "faceless" dolls to the children infected or affected by Aids. Why did they decide to make and sell "faceless" dolls. Because AIDS is a "faceless" disease. According to their CWA website, by buying one of the dolls you can support their mission to recruit families to provide loving, caring permanent homes for the HIV infected, affected and orphaned children.

Another article about "faceless" dolls concerned the dolls of Gloria Larocque. She has created 100 or more "faceless" dolls based upon the Iroquois legend that warns young girls about the dangers of vanity. According to the article her purpose, however, is different. Her dolls represent Canada's murdered aboriginal women, a group made faceless not by vanity but by neglect. Her project has helped draw attention to the plight of the murdered aboriginal women.

On the Girl Scouts of South Jersey Pines (GSSJP) website there was an article about a Girl Scout who made and donated 32 faceless dolls to the Pediatrics Department of the Salem Memorial Hospital to help ease the childrens fears of being in the hospital. The dolls were made out of muslin with bright striped and tye-dyed polar fleece t-shorts. The faces were left blank. Attached to each doll was a piece of paper that told the child to "give the doll a face to make it their own."

And, finally, there was article by Brenda Tobias on the Cornell University website concerning Hurricane Katrina and something the alumni did to help the children affected by Hurricane Katrina. A group of 100 alumni got together to sew "faceless" dolls for the children. Doll decorating kits and coloring books were assembled and sent to the children to comfort them.

I think you all know that I, personally, love faceless dolls. Victorians, primitives, country style. It doesn't matter. I love them all.

Why do I love the faceless doll so much? Because I think be being "faceless' the doll can be anything you want him or her to be.

You create the dolls personality to be exactly what you want it to be.

And, as we've seen from the above mentioned articles the application can be heartwarming, meaningful and beautiful.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

I'm Being Replaced!

I'm being replaced!" "I'm being replaced!" "You're replacing ME!" the little girl cried.

"No, you're not. I am NOT!" I answered.

"Yes, I Am!" "Yes, you are!" she replied stomping her foot, acting just like a spoiled little girl.

"NO, YOU ARE NOT! And, NO I am not!" I answered. "Now stop this, right now!" "What is the matter with you?" I asked. "You're our Linda Walsh Originals logo. The very image of Linda Walsh Originals. Why, on earth would you think we'd replace you?"

"Because, because!" she whimpered. "Because I saw her?"

"Saw, who?" I asked. "What are you talking about? You're really trying my patience, Little Girl!"

"I saw the Victorian Woman. The beautiful Victorian Woman. The one on the new aqua colored banner. The one you're replacing me with!" she cried. "She's so beautiful I don't blame you for wanting to replace me."

"Oh, for goodness sake, Little Girl. I'm not replacing you. She's not more beautiful than you are. We just wanted a little older image for the new club we are starting. Don't worry. She's not going to replace you. And, don't ever think that you're not beautiful. You are. You're our beautiful Little Girl."

"Oh, Linda. I'm so sorry I bothered you with this. I just saw the poster and jumped to conclusions. She's so beautiful I just thought....." said the Little Girl.

"That's okay, Little Girl," Linda responded. "I would never replace you. I love you. Now, run along."

And, with that the Little Girl ran along to tell the other "dollies" they were wrong. She wasn't being replaced like they said. They got her all upset for nothing. See, Linda would never replace her. They'd see.

So, off she went to the "Dollie Storage Room." But, when she got there what she saw just took her breathe away. The Victorian Woman was in the "Dollie Storage Room" talking to the other "dollies." Everyone was looking at the Victorian Woman. How could they not? She was just so beautiful.

"Who is she? And, what club was Linda talking about?" the Little Girl wondered. "Maybe Doris Marie might know. I'll ask Doris Marie. But, where is she?"

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Story Behind My "Celia's Wedding Dress" Doll

I don't know if you remember the article I posted last year entitled "The Story Behind My Celia's Doll and Doll Pattern."

To remind you, Celia and Elmer are my sister-in-laws parents and have been married for over 50 years. Last year they were having a yard sale because they were downsizing and moving out of their big house into a smaller home. Celia, knowing my love of old material told me I could, basically, have anything I wanted. Whatever didn't sell, including her wedding dress was going to be pitched.

I asked her if she was really going to throw her wedding dress away and she replied, "What am I going to do with that old thing?" I told her maybe she should make a doll out of it for her daughter. At first she scoffed at the idea. Then when she'd thought about it, she replied,"That's a great idea. Why don't you do that for me and give it to my daughter."

So, I told her I would add it to my to-do-list which was already getting to be multiple years to complete. I put it on the back burner.

Well, Celia, is and, I suspect, always has been a bit of a wild child. Just look at the picture of her in her tennis outfit. You can see she's a feisty, full of life, try it once kind of gal. Celia is a ball of fire and I just love her to death. She's over 80 years old and makes me tired.

During the course of the year I happened to be at a church craft show with Celia, my sister-in-law and my mother. On the way out of the church Celia turned to me and said," Linda, do you think you could make that wedding dress doll for my daughter before I die!"

Well, you have to know Celia to know that this was a funny line. Funny, but she meant it. So, I made a mental note to try and get the doll done for Christmas as a present for my sister-in-law.

What I wanted to do was to capture the beauty of the dress. It didn't matter to me whether or not the doll had a face or was faceless. The point was the dress.

So, I sketched out a pattern for the dress and tried to use as much of the original material as I could. Luckily, the dress was still in pretty good shape, as was the veil. Some of the tulle had disintergrated but, a lot of it was pretty much in tact.

If you look at the wedding picture of Celia & Elmer (picture to the left and above) you can see that the dress had a lace bodice insert with lace sleeves, a satin heart-shaped bodice, a satin covered with lace front panel, and satin covered with fine tulle flowing skirt.

The back of the dress had a very long train covered with tulle. There were buttons all along the front of the dress as well as straight up the back. The veil was a cap lined with small pearl beads that had a long section of tulle that would hang down the back and compliment the tulle on the train.

The sleeves were scalloped and had a row of buttons as well. There were two layers of tulle underneath the dress as well. Needless to say there was a lot of tulle and a lot of detail on Celia's wedding dress.

Foolishly I sketched the dress and did not take a picture of it before I cut it up. Why I didn't take a picture, I'll never know. I just didn't. So, when it came time for me to put the doll together I didn't have any pictures to look at. Just my sketch. My sister-in-law provided the pictures for me to use for this story.

Keeping in mind that the sentimentality lay with the dress I wanted the dress to be the focal point of the doll and nothing else. So I decided to make her a self standing, 13" tall, bridal doll without any legs. That way the dress would be showcased. I also wanted to utilize the original buttons for their sentimentality even though they were too big for the doll. I decided that three buttons in the front and two on each sleeve would be good.

I wasn't sure what color Celia's hair was when she was younger and decided because "she's a hot ticket" that I'd give the doll fiery red hair. I also decided that I'd embroider her face, give her a shaped and padded nose, and embroider her mouth with red floss. She might as well be wild all around.

So I started sewing the dress. Everything was going well until I tried to put the dress on the doll. The lace was so old and so brittle that it just started to crumple. YIKES! I had the whole dress together when the lace around the neck just fell apart. What could I do? The whole dress was already together. Tulle underneath, tulle overskirt, train, heart-shaped bodice, lace scalloped sleeves, everything was already sewn together. YIKES!

I decided that I had to add a something to the neck to hold the lace together and had to add a second layer of lace behind the top layer of lace on the bodice that was crumbling. I had no sooner gotten the second layer of lace sewn when it started to crumble. At this point I just wanted to fling the dress. But, I had too much time invested in it and Celia really wanted her daughter to have it.

I had to do something to hold the neck of the dress together so I decided to use some of the satin from the original dress to form a neck band and cover this with a string of embroidered floral lace. I added pearl beaded gathered lace to frame her face. The neck might not look exactly like the original dress but, it worked. At least I could get the dress on without it crumbling any further.

Luckily I had saved her cap veil in tact and could use it as a visual guide for my doll's veil. I used a couple of layers of the crumbling lace from the dress for the cap and supported it with tulle and a row of pearl beads.

When she was finished I decided to add a splash of burgundy and cream silk florals with burgundy and cream streamers for her bouquet. The burgundy was a good compliment to her fiery red hair, red lips, and complimented Celia's fiery personality.

When the doll was finished I wasn't really happy with her. I thought that I had captured the essence of the dress. With the exception of the neck it looked like Celia's real wedding dress. Plus for sentimental purposes it had the original buttons on it.

But, I wasn't happy with the doll itself. I thought she turned out too short, her nose wasn't quite right, and, whether I liked it or not, the collar was too big. However, my sister-in-law loved it and so did Celia. In the end that's all that really mattered.

So my sister-in-law told my younger brother that she needed a curio to showcase her new doll and that became his woodworking project over the winter. My brother moaned and groaned and made it seem like he wasn't amused. But, I know and she knows that he loves making furniture and, truth be told, he loves the dolls. Plus, he's really good at making furniture. So, despite his protesting, he designed a corner curio with lights and mirrored back panels to showcase the back of the dress.

My brother finally finished the curio a month ago and I have to say that despite what I don't like about the doll she looks beautiful in her lighted curio with the mirrors all around. Plus, she really does capture the essence of Celia's wedding dress. And, you can't put a price tag on the joy and sentimentality associated with utilizing the original wedding dress. It is definitely a one of a kind doll.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Little Girl Dresses!

Do you ever get that feeling that things were meant to be? When things are more than just a coincidence? I did, today. And, it had to do with "little girl dresses." Several discussions and designs converged today for me.

What am I talking about? Well, it has to do with some new patterns that I am designing, a discussion I had with my daughter-in-law, and my Grandmother's birthday, which was in June, shopping with my nieces, and my granddaughters turning 21 this year.

My Grandmother was born in 1896 and would have been 110 years old. Unfortunately, she passed away in 1975. While she is not here with us now she has left an indelible impression on me, my life, and my creativity. She has also left me with some wonderful memories. One of those has to do with "little girl dresses."

I must have been 4 or 5 and can remember standing in my room and looking up at the rack in my closet that held the "little girl dresses" that my Grandmother and Mother had bought for me.

They were frilly, flouncy, lacy, filled with tulle underskirt dresses and I just loved them. I could stand and look for hours at my dresses.

I, of course, wasn't allowed to touch them - I'd get them dirty. They were for our best occasions which I was hoping would be that day or the next day just so I could wear the dresses. Inevitably, a holiday or special occasion would occur and I would get to wear one of my dresses.

These were the type of dresses that you would twirl in and they would flounce out. I would just twirl and twirl and twirl in them. Around and around I'd go.

In our family room we had some steps right next to a sofa. When I was wearing one of these dresses I would love to stand on the steps and them jump down into the sofa. As I did my dress would fly up in the air like a parachute and then come landing down on me.

Of course, everyone could see my frilly underwear, leotards, slip, etc. when I did this - but, only for the briefest of moments. My Grandmother would "tsk, tsk" and would give me one of those looks of "that's not a lady like thing to do!" I'd just look back at her and smile. I just had to be me. And, then I'd look over at my Mother and she'd be smiling. She knew I just had to be me, too.

Why am I telling you this? Well, I was talking to my daughter-in-law on her way to work as she was stuck in traffic. She was telling me about her Grandmother who stored everything including all of her "little girl dresses" and all of her dance recital outfits. I told her I would love to see them and that she should never throw them away. I'd just love to takes a picture of all of them in a circle laid out in their glory.

I mentioned to her that one of the best shopping trips I had was a "birthday" shopping trip with my niece when she was about 5 or 6. She was so much fun to shop with. You never knew what she was going to do or what was going to come out of her mouth.

We, literally, spent hours in the dressing room while she tried on every frilly "little girl dress" they had, every outfit, hey - everything in the department in her size. She'd try it on then prance in front of the mirror, go outside to look at herself in the three mirrors, and on and on and on it went.

We filled two racks of clothes in the dressing room that day. When we were leaving we looked at the racks of clothes she had tried on and just laughed and laughed. I think we bought one outfit out of what had to be hundreds that she tried on.

During the conversation with my daughter-in-law I mentioned that my twin granddaughters and her niece's would be 21 this year. Where have the years flown?

I fondly recalled how I used to buy them frilly, fancy "little girl dresses." In fact,some of my favorite pictures are of them in their "little girl dresses" or in their dance recital outfits.

We, also, went on "birthday" shopping or "just visiting" shopping trips. They too, tried on many, many "little girl dresses" and other outfits and we always had a wonderful time. We called them our "shop til you drop" girls shopping excursions.

So what does all this have to do with worlds converging?

Well, right now I just happen to be designing and sewing "little girl dress" ornaments. I just happen to be talking about "little girl dresses" with my daughter-in-law. I just happen to be recalling fond memories of my Grandmother and my "little girl dresses." I just happen to be talking about shopping excursions with my niece and "hundreds" of "little girl dresses." And, I just happen to be picturing my twin granddaughters in their "little girl dresses."

Five generations of "little girl dresses." Of course, my Grandmother had THE BEST "little girl dress" as you can see from the black and white picture above.

So, I thought I would share some of my fond memories with you and share some of the pictures.

I don't think it's coincidental that I love Victorian dresses, that I loved staring at my own "little girl dresses", that I loved buying "little girl dresses" for my niece's and twin granddaughters, and that right now I'm designing and sewing some "little girl dress" ornaments. Nope, not coincidental at all.

My Grandmother has certainly left an indelible impression on me, my life, and my creativity. I hope I have done that with my own granddaughters and nieces.

As for my daughter-in-law, well, she is just going to have to get all those "little girl dresses" and dance recital outfits from her Grandmother. I need a picture for my Linda's blog.

Yup! I definitely need a picture of them in a circle laid out in their glory. "Little girl dresses" all laid out in a marvelous circle. Oh, Karen...............I need a picture of your "little girl dresses!" Oh, Karen...........