Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Woodcrafts and Wood Furniture My Brother Made Me

My family comes from a long line of crafters. Whether we sew, craft or build furniture we all love to create and work with our hands.

My sister and mother sew - as did my paternal grandmother and aunts. My paternal grandfather was a carpenter and he handed done his knowledge to my Dad who in turn handed it down to his three sons. In fact, my eldest brother has all my grandfather's handmade tools.

One of my brother's has had a keen interest in woodworking since he was a young boy and has become a skilled craftsman who makes wood crafts and furniture and always makes all his Christmas gifts.

So, I thought you might like to see a few of the wood crafts and wood furniture pieces he has given me as gifts over the years or has made for my home from time to time.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy Holidays To All!

To all the readers of my Linda's Blog I would like to say:

Have a Wonderful Holiday Season!
Happy Holidays To All!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My Christmas Pin For 2008

Before I tell you about my Christmas Pin for 2008 I'd like you to know that today would have been my Dad's 83rd birthday. So, I hope you're looking down and smiling on us, Dad. Wherever you are - "Happy Birthday, Dad! We love you and miss you."

If you're a reader of my Linda's Blog then you know that I love Christmas traditions and have been posting for a couple of years about a Christmas tradition my Dad started a very long time ago.

My Dad wanted to give "his girls" meaning my Mother, myself, and my sister something special for Christmas. Back then the term "his girls" did not imply the possessive chauvinistic implications that it does today. To my Dad it was nothing more than a term of endearment. One that separated us from "his boys", my brothers.

So my Dad decided to buy each of "his girls" a special Christmas pin to wear during the holidays. He bought us pins the first year, and then the second, and so on and so on and so on. My wonderful husband decided to carry my Dad's tradition on after he passed away. So, every year he gives me a Christmas pin. Sometimes he can't decide which one he likes best so I get two special Christmas pins. That's okay with me as I cherish each and every one of them.

Every year I take them all out and look at them. What always amazes me is how they have changed in design from the first pin I received (the little Bambi deer shown in the picture to the right) to my latest (the blue Christmas bells shown above).

And, believe it or not, I don't have any duplicates. Also (and I know this will be hard to believe), I don't have any "dollies." So, a heartfelt thanks to you Dad for starting this tradition and a heartfelt and sentimental thanks to my husband for continuing his pin tradition.

If you don't have your own special tradition, perhaps this little article will inspire you to start one. May each and every one of you have a wonderful holiday season.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Some of My Holiday Decorations

I just love decorating for the holidays for a couple of reasons. The first is I love the bright colors of the holiday season - especially the red's. The second is that it gives me an opportunity to display some of my handmade dolls and some of the caroler and Santa collections I have acquired over the years.

And, yes, given my age and the number of years I've been collecting - I have quite a few items in my collections.

And, thirdly - it gives me the opportunity to display some of my floral creations.

You see, I'm not only a doll maker and doll pattern designer, but I'm a floral designer as well and love to create pine cone baskets, silk floral arrangements, decorated Christmas trees, and wreaths.

I thought some of you might be curious as to how I decorate my house and my fireplaces for the holidays. So, I thought I'd show you a couple of pictures.

Now - don't be surprised. There are a few dolls and a few floral arrangements.

I hope you enjoy a little glimpse into my holiday decorations.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What Would We Do Without Friends!

I've always said that the arts and crafts community on the web is the best there is.

It's not just because there are so many phenomenal artists and crafters doing business on the web. It's because all of these artists and crafters are so willing to share their time, knowledge, and enthusiasm with other artists and crafters. They are always willing to help where ever they can.

Everyday I see evidence of my motto: "What helps one of us helps all of us!" and this Sunday was no exception.

You see, on Sunday morning I woke up to a bunch of emails from a friend of mine, Katherine Ann Johnson Lees who is affectionately known as "Kat Lees" or "Kat."

If you don't know who "Kat" is - let me tell you. She is a wonderful and extraordinary woman of enormous talent and generosity, who also happens to be a phenomenal doll artist and doll pattern creator.

She's been a cloth doll artist for over 25 years and designs, teaches, and sells her handmade dolls on her Designs By Kat blog, her Kat's Holiday Shoppe blog, her Christmas Designs By Kat blog, and her Designs By Kat Etsy shoppe.

Kat's dolls can range from the smallest to life size renditions. Kat is such an amazing artist that she has been commissioned several times to create portrait dolls for some of her customers.

She is both an artist and an illustrator with whimsical creativity beyond measure. Her dolls bring immense pleasure and smiles to the faces of everyone who sees them.

But, she is also an interior designer and this is very evident in the pictures of her home, especially the pictures with the holiday decorations. Kat transformed a bed and breakfast that she ran at the holidays to be every little girls dream. She created a wondrous environment for her family, friends and guests to enjoy and when you see the pictures of her decorations you can't help but feel her enthusiasm.

You see, Kat LOVES Christmas and the holidays and loves to create Santa's, Elves, whimsical creatures, etc. But, she also LOVES to inspire others to create. To try different avenues, different styles, different mediums. Her greatest joy is to watch her students as they realize their own hidden talents and watch the wonder in their eyes as they create some of her doll creations. To share her LOVE of creating and LOVE for life is a gift that Kat bestows on everyone she encounters whether they are students in her home, students taking her online classes, or students who buy her CD's and E-Patterns.

It is also a gift that she shares with her friends and which I, on Sunday morning, was the recipient of.

You see, the numerous emails from Kat were filled with her "Sherrie - The Poinsettia Elf" e-pattern, her "Connie - The Doll Maker Elf" e-pattern, her "Fiona Blue" decorative pillow e-pattern, and one of her wonderful tutorials on "Creating Faces With Chalk."

I, to say the least, was astonished. Kat had sent them to me "just because" and I was not only utterly surprised, but speechless.

Kat's e-patterns and tutorials are filled with hundreds of step by step pictures and instructions for creating her amazing dolls. And, her tutorial is filled with step by step pictures, instructions, and worksheets for learning how to create and paint faces with chalk. I could not believe how much time and effort went into producing each and everyone of Kat's e-patterns and tutorials. To say they are worth every penny of their cost is an understatement.

What Kat did not know was that her generosity created a beautiful morning of recollection for me. While looking at Connie, Sherrie, Fiona, and her tutorial I couldn't help but think of the fun my beloved step-daughter and I would have had creating her dolls. My step-daughter was a gifted artist and we often talked about dolls that I would create and dress and which she would paint the faces for. But, that was not to be.

However, looking at Kat's e-patterns filled me with beautiful memories and recollections of discussions with my beautiful step-daughter. That is a priceless gift and one for which, Kat, I will always be grateful. I decided that I am going to make all three of Kat's creations. It might take me a long time to do so, but I know that when I do my beloved step-daughter will be looking over my shoulder and encouraging me.

Thank-you, Kat, for your generosity, for your enthusiasm, for your enormous creative talents, and for being my friend. But most of all thank-you for giving me a beautiful day.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Another One of My Linda's How-Do-I Series? Free E-Books - This One Is For Christmas!

I am very partial to handmade gifts, especially those that have been made by my family and friends. Given that I’m in the Grandmother phase of my life right now I’m especially partial to handmade gifts from my grandchildren. Whether it is a card or an ornament I love them and cherish them all. In fact, nothing pleases me more than receiving a handmade card or gift from my family and friends at the holidays.

With these economic times when money is scarce for so many people my thoughts turn to the different times in my life when money was scarce for me and the handmade gifts that I created and gave at the holidays.

If you are a reader of my Linda's Blog you know that I come from a family of crafters and that when I was growing up at the holidays we always had a Christmas crafting project to do.

One year it was a church scene created out of Styrofoam that my Dad and I created. My Dad painstakingly cut the Styrofoam to form a cone steeple and painstakingly cut the windows so they were a half circle at the top and had window panes. We added colored plastic to the inside of the windows and used a lighted angel inside the church so the colored glass would shine through. Then we added candle carolers, candle trees, and snowflake sprinkled felt for snow for the outside of the church. We used this scene as one of our Christmas displays until the foam finally fell apart. I loved that scene and especially loved working with my Dad on it.

Another year I decided to knit large stockings for everyone in the family. I knit their names in the top and each had their own special knit decoration on it. The stockings were knit with red, green, and white yarn and were about 24” long. We used those, too, until they finally fell apart.

Another year when I was in my twenties I decided to make all the gifts for my family and friends as money was tight that year. So, I decided to make handmade Christmas ornaments for my friends with their names embroidered on them and other handmade gifts for my family. Some members of my family got dolls (of course) and some got quilts, etc. My friends each got several ornaments of different types with their names on them. Some were trees, candy canes, snowmen, stockings, etc.

When my twin granddaughters were young they made their Grandfather and I handmade paper ornaments with their mother. They cut the ornaments out of construction paper and glued glitter all over the front of them. Then they added our names and their names to the back of the ornaments. A hole was created in the top of each and a piece of yarn was used as a hanger. They are some of my favorite ornaments and we still put them on our Christmas tree every year.

In fact, our Christmas tree is only decorated with handmade ornaments. You’ll find ornaments my grandchildren made or ones I've made over the years (and there are many of those) on our tree. Some are made of paper, some are cloth, and some are floral decorations I've made.

Others might be beaded ornaments my Mother and I made one year or wooden clothespin reindeer that I made 30+ years ago. I even have foam toy soldiers that I made from a kit over 35 years ago. Plus, I have wooden ornaments that I painted from a kit I bought close to 30 years ago.

You might also find beaded ornaments a friend of mine made, terracotta floral and terracotta cloth ornaments I made, porcelain Santa heads my sister made, a knitted wreath from my Grandmother, or a felt cardinal made by a friend that sits on a branch with an old fashion silver hair clip. There might be silver icicles or wooden dolls.

You just never know what you may find. What you can count on is that each and every ornament is remembered and loved and painstaking preserved so that we have it for the next holiday season.

So, I thought I would share some easy and fast cloth, paper, and E-Printable ornament ideas with you. Maybe they will entice you to make your own handmade ornaments this year that you’ll cherish and painstakingly preserve for years and years to come.

The same basic outline was used for most of the ornaments whether you are making them out of construction paper, coloring them on heavier stock paper, printing them out on heavy card stock for E-Printables, or making them out of cloth. They can be as easy to make as you want or some of the cloth ones can be more elaborate just by adding beads or other decorations. That, of course, is up to you. We’re providing instructions for the basics. The rest is up to you and your creativity.

Adult supervision is required if you are making these ornaments with young children as some of the ornaments require the use of scissors, Elmer’s glue, hot glue, small decorations, and needle & thread.

Our E-Book is broken down into 4 sections as follows:

Section #1—Instructions and Supplies Needed.

Section #2—BASIC SHAPES and DETAILS for construction paper cut-out ornaments or for coloring ornaments on heavier stock paper.

Section #3—COLORED E-PRINTABLES for creating e-printable ornaments on heavy card stock.

Section #4—E-PATTERN PIECES for felt cloth ornaments that you can decorate as elaborately or as simply as you want.

Please follow the instructions within each of the sections as to how to make the construction paper ornaments, colored ornaments on heavier stock paper, colored e-printables, and felt cloth ornaments.

I hope you enjoy our "How To Create Fast and Easy Cloth, Paper, and E-Printable Ornaments" Free E-Book. Happy holidays.

My free e-book can be download from this post.

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, October 13, 2008

Just One More, Mom! One More!

If you've been following my Linda's Blog for awhile and my The Book Review Corner Blog then you know that among a million other things I LOVE crafting with wool felt and wool felt kits.

Whether it's making wool felt penny rugs, or needle felted penny rug pictures, or ornaments I just LOVE wool felt.

And, it doesn't have to be limited to penny rugs  or ornaments. Over the years I have made hundreds of cloth dolls using wool felt, brushed felt, shaggy felt, etc. I have found that it is especially useful for making animals, but the uses are practically limitless.

I was introduced to penny rugs during a shopping trip with my Mom to Sturbridge many, many years ago. There were several wonderful primitives shops out there that we liked to visit that carried primitive doll kits, wool felt kits, punchneedle kits, and penny rug kits.

One store in particular specialized in wool fabric. And, boy, did they have wool fabric. Some of the most beautiful wool fabric you'd ever want to see. And, boy, was it EXPENSIVE.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Denise Bailey and KKL Kreations Graphics

If you are a reader of my Linda's Blog then you know how much I like graphic artists and everything that graphic artists create from clipart to buttons to banners, to blinkies, etc. I am always amazed at the creativity and talent involved in drawing and creating the graphics and especially amazed when they can turn a picture into a graphic.

Denise Bailey (aka Neenee) of KKL Kreations Graphics, who is a dear friend of mine, is a graphic artist who not only possesses enormous talent, but amazing creativity. I have been a huge fan of her graphics for several years now and like to proclaim that I'm her Number #1 fan.

Part of the reason why I'm her Number #1 fan is due to her enormous talent and the fact that she creates amazing graphics. Especially personalized graphics. If you don't know what a personalized graphic is then let me explain. It is when you take a picture of someone or something and turn it into a graphic.

Last Christmas I wanted to turn some pictures of my 4 grandson's into graphic hero's so I could add the pictures to tee shirts, coffee mugs, key chains, etc. So, I sent Denise 4 pictures and she was able to transform my grandsons into the cutest graphic heroes you'd ever want to see. They were just adorable.

Then, I decided to commission her to take 14 pictures of my dolls and transform them into "dollie" graphics. What I got back from Denise was not only amazing, but just plain adorable. I couldn't have been more pleased or happier.

I was so happy with the graphics that I got from Denise that I decided to send her 40 more pictures of my "dollies" for her to create 40 more graphics. It took Denise a few days to do so and she just finished sending me my 40Th graphic last night.

Well, I have to tell you that I love every one of them and I'm having a hard time deciding which one I like best. They are all amazing and all just plain adorable. Of course, I can't show them to you until I'm ready to release them for their new project. You'll have to stay tuned for that.

But, I wanted all of your to know that Denise did a fantastic job not only with all my "dollie" graphics, but my grandson's graphics as well. She was prompt, efficient, diligent and very, very conscientious. If she had a question she would email me for clarification. If she didn't like how something was coming out she would suggest something else. Her main concern was for getting it right and for making sure I was happy with the end result.

Denise is fantastic to work with and I would highly recommend her as a businesswoman and as a very talented graphic artist. She is extremely reasonable with her prices and extremely easy to work with.

I am extremely pleased with my graphics and I'm proud to say that I remain her Number #1 fan.

Denise is also very generous with her graphics and has tons of free graphics available on her KKL Kreations Graphics website and her
KKL Graphics Blog.

Denise is not only an amazing graphics artist, but is also an enormously talented crafter and doll maker who specializes in "primitives." She sells her handmade primitives on her KKL Primitives website and her KKL Primitives Blog. Plus, she sells her e-patterns on her Prim Patterns'n Handmades Blog.

But, that's not all. Denise is also a gifted blogger and I just love reading her The Krazy Kraft Lady's Blog and her Menopausal Monster Blog .

I hope you get a chance to visit Denise's websites and blogs and hope that if you have need for graphics that you utilize Denise's services. And, if you love primitives then please visit Denise's websites. She creates some of the most adorable "primitives" around.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Linda's Review of "My Favorite Felt Sweets" by Joie, Inc.

I have been eyeing some needle felting and felt craft books for a few months now and have taken a particular interest in the little felt cupcakes that a lot of crafter's have been making as centerpieces for their children's birthday parties.

They just looked so real and yet so inviting. I decided I wanted to learn how to make some. In fact, I wanted to make a whole 3-tier level centerpiece of nothing but felt cupcakes.

Well, low and behold, last week I got an email from Tomoe Sumi of Kodansha America, LLC asking me if I'd like to review "My Favorite Felt Sweets" by Joie, Inc. translated by Yoko Ishiguro.

Well, we talking about a Japanese felt crafting book containing pictures and instructions for making 106 of the cutest felt food items around. And, we are not just talking about cupcakes. We're talking about all sorts of sweets.

My imagination was getting the better of me. Either that or I was really hungry when I decided to answer Tomoe Sumi and tell him I'd be delighted to review "My Favorite Felt Sweets" book.

The book came the other day and I have to tell you that I've been hungry ever since. You just have to see the pictures of these 106 sweet, delectable treats to understand why my mouth is watering.

Forget the real food. Give me the mouth watering non-caloric felt desserts any day.

I keep envisioning a whole table filled with nothing but 3-tier china plates containing felt petit fours, cakes, donuts, and even chocolates. Oh, my! How beautiful and colorful would that picture be!

Couldn't you just imagine giving a friend the perfect diet gift. A box of chocolates filled with nothing but tiny felt chocolates. How marvelous would that be. Not caloric and a gift to last a lifetime.

My Favorite Felt Sweetsis 97 pages long. The first 32 pages are filled with the most mouth watering pictures of 106 different felt edibles you'd ever want to see. The remaining 65 pages are filled with drawn pictorial instructions for making the edibles plus FULL size pattern piece sheets.

They also provide instructions for transferring the patterns, cutting the felt, preparing embroidery floss, how-to's for the various sewing & embroidery stitches, and hints for stuffing and/or cutting foam.

Both the drawn pictorial instructions and the pattern sheets are very easy to follow. My only complaint with the book would be that I think some of the drawn pictorial instructions and pattern piece sheets would have been better suited had they been spaced out a little more and away from the binding of the book. This would have made them easier to read and made photo coping of some of the pattern piece sheets a lot easier. I just hate to destroy the binding of a book just to photocopy some of the pages.

However, the beautiful photographs, the inclusion of 106 marvelous felt sweet projects, and clear instructions more than offset any negatives I may have.

I'm sitting here thinking of all the delectable sweets I'm going to make. Definitely the sponge cake, all the petit fours, the heart shaped tart, mixed beery pie, chocolate vanilla cookies, pinwheels, pancake sandwiches, chocolate gift basket cake, and Christmas cookies.

Plus, the box of chocolates! Oh, my!

I'm having visions of the most colorful holiday dessert table filled with nothing but mouth watering felt desserts and envisioning every one's face upon seeing them.

Oh, my! This is going to be FUN!

I can hardly wait!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Linda's Review of Rainbow Sheep by Kim Chatel

I received an email a couple of weeks ago from Kim Chatel telling me that she's an author of children's books and that she had a new book called Rainbow Sheep that was released in May. It was a children's story illustrated with needle-felted fiber art and also contained 2 simple felt crafts for kids.

Kim asked if I would be interested in reviewing it. A children's story with needle felt crafts for kids!

Hmmm.... It didn't take me long to consider Kim's request. Of course I would review it. I was intrigued by the needle felt illustrations and the projects for the kids.

Kim not only send me the book, but sent me one of her wonderful needle felted sheep. It's the cutest blue needle felted sheep and is currently sitting on the top of my computer monitor.

Well, I have to tell you that I just loved Kim's "Rainbow Sheep" book. It is a wonderful story that is warm, enchanting, and lovingly illustrated with the fiber art.

It's the story of a shepherdess named Genevieve who has a very vivid imagination. She encounters a sad rainbow cloud and does everything she can to make him happy. Finally, she does make the cloud happy and when he starts to cry happy tears his colors return. In the middle of this the sheep are caught in the colorful rain drops and forever transformed into rainbow colored sheep.

Kim's book contains 12 wonderful fiber art illustrations. My favorite by far is the mermaid and whale. It is just adorable. It is followed by the jousting seahorses.

In the back of Kim's book there is a short section explaining what needle felting is with a picture of a felting needle and two easy to do felted craft projects for kids: felted soap and needle felted sheep. The former requires no adult supervision. The latter requires adult supervision and is only recommended for children 8 years and older. Both sets of instructions are very easy to follow.

Kim is an accomplished photographer and fiber artist, as well as gifted writer of children's stories. Her website http://www.kimchatel.com is geared towards children and filled with an array of pages for kids to learn about her books, fiber art, her photographs, etc. It is well worth the visit.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tic Tac Toe, Pick Up Sticks, and Noodles

I'm going to go out on a limb and say, "With all the electronic gadgets out their you still can't beat some of the simple old games like "tic-tac-toe" and "pick up sticks."

Now you might say - "What? Are you kidding?"

Well, my answer would be - "No, I'm not kidding. And, here's why!"

During an IM (Instant Messaging) session last week with my grandson, "Noodles", when I asked him what he wanted for his 9th birthday he said "PSP."

When I typed - "what's PSP?" he responded "Look it up!"

So, of course I responded "WHAT! LOOK IT UP! I DON'T THINK SO!!!!!"

Of course he then LOL LOL LOL'd and typed "Play Station Portable."

So, I did a little googling to find out what this electronic device was. Turns out it's another portable game console only for PSP3 by Sony. Well, my grandson doesn't really need yet another game console, but...... you know how it goes as grandparents.

"Noodles" came to visit Nana and Grampy for a sleep over the other day and to do some birthday shopping and he and I spent several delightful hours shopping, eating lunch, shopping some more, etc. And, believe it or not, he actually was tired of shopping before Nana was. I of course, was delighted and had to rib him about that. At my age I don't get to beat him at much so this was a pleasant surprise.

In any event, we bought a PSP and brought it home. I had some work to do on the computer so Noodles sat in my study with me playing the PSP game. After about 1/2 an hour he came over to me and said "Nana, what are you doing?" To which I replied, "Working!" To which he replied, "On what?" To which I replied, "On my websites and blogs!" To which he replied, "Show me!"

Since I was on my "Gray Is Beautiful" blog I scrolled down the sidebar to show him what was there. The "Gray Is Beautiful" dolls didn't want any fancy gadgets on their blog - no, no, no. They wanted some old fashioned tried and true games of "tic-tac-toe" and "solitaire" for their sidebar - so I added them.

Well, when we got to the modules for the two games "Noodles" wanted to play. We lost at solitaire and then he wanted to play "tic-tac-toe" which we did and to my delight we ended up playing for over an hour. He was happy. I was happy as I was beating him, but the point was that an old fashioned game had held his attention for over and hour. Albeit it was an old fashioned game in a modern computerized fashion - but, still it was tic-tac-toe and , still, it had captured his attention. I also like to think it was playing with Nana that also helped capture his attention for so long.

The next morning we had several hours to kill and since he'd already played his new PSP games for about 1/2 and hour that morning he was looking for something to do.

So, I took out another old fashioned game of "pick up sticks" and we set about playing. Well, an hour and a half later we were still playing, and , yes Nana was winning at first. He quickly caught on to the tricks to getting your stick out without moving any of the other sticks and was soon beating Nana. But, the point was that we had captured his attention again with another old fashioned game. This time, it was the plain old fashioned wooden sticks version.

The point is it just goes to show you the newest and latest electronic gadget isn't always the best and a game might be "old fashioned" but that doesn't mean it still can't be #1.

I guess you don't get to be "tried and true" for hundreds of years without being pretty good. And, "tic-tac-toe" and "pick up sticks" are definitely "tried and true."

Do you think the PSP will be able to claim that in several hundred years? I don't think so.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The OFG Fall Celebration Just Started!

The OFG Fall Celebration on Etsy just started and I couldn't be happier. You see, this is the first celebration that I am participating in for the OFG (Olde Farmhouse Gathering) team that I recently became a member of.

I took a peak this morning and there are some wonderful items already listed by some of the very talented members of the OFG. I'm sure more items will be added as the members start listing them today.

Two of my handmade dolls are included in the OFG Fall Celebration. They are:

“Primitive Andy Scarecrow”, 15” Scarecrow Doll – Scarecrow Doll - Primitive Series

Primitive Andy Scarecrow Primitive Andy Scarecrow has a coffee stained cloth body, embroidered face with two-buttoned eyes, coffee stained shirt with 3/4 length sleeves, and large gathered and tattered pants. The perfect outfit for a "little guy." He has a small tattered ribbon tied around his neck and waistline, coffee stained hat and wild raffia hair strands along the sides and top of his head. Raffia is stuck in his waistline and floss is sewn to his legs and feet for his raggedy red stripes.

Primitive Andy Scarecrow considers himself to be the "Casanova" of the scarecrow set. Why, all the girls just love him. They adore him. They want him. Just ask them. They'll tell you. They just love his button eyes and raffia strips. They love his floppy hat and all his clothes. They love his smile and his "primitiveness." Why, they just love everything about him. He's just so little and so cute! Watch out now, girls, Andy needs to do his job. Let him walk down the runway, PLEASE! Girls! Girls! Stay away from the edge of the catwalk, girls! Primitive Scarecrow Andy is walking down the runway. "Girls", I said to stay back. "Girls!" "Girls!" "I can't see "Primitive Andy Scarecrow." "Can anyone see him!" "He's being mobbed by his loving fans." "Guard!"

“William Come or Won’t They?”, 7” Primitive Scarecrow Doll - Stout Series

William Come Or Won't They? can’t figure out whether the crows are going to come or not. If they do, he’s prepared. He is a free standing scarecrow doll with a cloth body, an embroidered face with button eyes. He is wearing a patched coat with buttons and pockets, two scarves, and a hat. His hair is made of raffia and he’s holding a stained wooden rake. “William Come or Won’t They?” is coffee stained throughout.

He's scarecrow. And, he knows he's a scarecrow through and through. He comes from a long line of scarecrows. William Come or Won't They? has a different problem. He just can't figure out whether the crows are going to come or not. If they do, he wants to be prepared. After all, that's what they taught him in the "Scarecrow Boy Scouts" and the "Scarecrow Army." "Always Be Prepared!" So, he's ready. Come on all you crows. Hey, all you crows! Williams ready for yah!!! Come and get him.

I'm sure there will be a lot more OFG Fall celebration items available from all it's multi-talented members. If you want to see all the items just go to ETSY.com and type OFG Fall Celebration in the search window for "All items: tags, titles" and all the OFG members items with that title or tag will be listed. Have fun shopping.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What's Been Happening On "The Book Review Corner" Blog?

Not too many things can equal my love of dolls and crafting, but reading does.

I just love books and if you're a reader of my "The Book Review Corner" blog you know that I can spend hours upon hours browsing through books in the bookstore.

While I love Internet book browsing nothing can compare to the real thing. Holding a book in your hand and browsing through the pages. Ah.... heaven.

The only complaint I have about bookstore browsing is I wish all the books were at eye level. At my age bending down to see the books on the bottom shelf is a little difficult.

Of course, if everything were at eye level they'd need an enormous bookstore to hold all the book shelves. Lets just say that's never gonna happen! Hey, aging baby boomer's can dream can't they?

So, I was thrilled when I finally had some time to review some more of the wonderful books I had bought last year for my "The Book Review Corner" blog.

Two of the books I reviewed lately I just LOVE and keep going back to them to read them over and over. Part of the reason I love them so much is they're both filled with history and filled with stunning creations. That's for future Linda's Blog posts - so stay tuned.

I'm always getting off track - aren't I? In any event, we have reviewed a bunch of books since the last time we told you what's been happening at "The Book Review Corner" blog, and they are as follows:

Artful Paper Dolls
Cloth Dolls From Ancient To Modern
Pat Winter Gatherings

Summertime is when you can catch up on your reading and I plan to do a ton of it this summer. There's nothing like sitting on your porch with a glass of ice tea and perusing a book. Ah....heaven, once again.

I'm planning on reading a lot of books this summer and will be reviewing each and every one of them. So, please check back often to "The Book Review Corner" blog. We have a lot of books to tell you about.

More iced tea - anyone!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Linda's Review of Artful Paper Dolls - New Ways To Play With Traditional Form by Terry Taylor

As a very young girl I can remember playing with my very first paper doll - Betsy McCall. I would cut Betsy and her clothes out of the magazine ever so carefully. Of course, being a young girl my first attempts at cutting every so carefully didn't go as smooth as I had planned and my mother or grandmother would try to correct for my errors.

I didn't like the paper doll tabs and didn't always utilize them. I quickly learned, however, that the clothes would not stay on the paper doll without them.

I must have a thing for tabs and markers as I also didn't like the triangle placement tabs in sewing patterns when I first started to sew. I would cut them off as well until I learned that for clothing they served a very useful purpose.

Since I had a passion for Victorian dolls from a very young age I loved playing with my Victorian paper dolls. I could sit for hours on end just putting this outfit on or that outfit. When I was finished playing with my paper dolls I would put them back in a cardboard cigar box that my grandfather had given to me for storing them.

Back them I would never have foreseen the enormous explosion in the paper industry that has occurred over the last decade. Nor could I have foreseen that paper dolls would become and art form in its' own right. Who would have know that altered art and mixed media creations would rule the art world in the 21st century.

One of the books I bought last year was Artful Paper Dolls: New Ways to Play with a Traditional Form. Even at first glance I was immediately taken by the visually stunning paper creations of some 22 well known designers.

On every page was yet another beautiful paper doll creation that I wanted to try. Of course, there isn't any kind of doll, paper included, that I haven't wanted to try and make. My problem is always one of time. There are just not enough hours in the day, nor days in the year for me to try everything.

Artful Paper Dolls is not just a compendium of project after project, it also includes a little bit of history on various paper dolls and paper doll artists. So, it's a perfect book for me as it offers a little bit of history as well as project after project after project.

It is divided into four chapters: Figuring It Out, Playing Dress Up, Playing House, and Learning From Books. Each chapter has a multitude of sections and a multitude of paper doll creations to try. I, of course, loved them all but was especially taken with the Disjointed Figure, Elisabeth's Doppelganger (which is a life-size paper doll), My Memory Doll, Secret Messenger Doll, the section on playing dress up, Old Woman In Purple, Stitched Paper Dolls, Sunday Best Dress, and Paper Doll Magnets.

I also enjoyed the chapter on "Who Is Betsy McCall" and "Tom Tierney's World Of Paper Dolls."

If you love paper dolls, mixed media art, and altered art images then you will love "Artful Paper Dolls." Several of the corners of the pages in my book have been turned over as a reminder to me that I want to try that project. I know that I shouldn't do that to the pages of my books, but sometimes childhood habits are hard to break. You could also say that sometimes childhood loves last forever. For me a love of paper dolls certainly has. Now where are my scissors?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

My "Arte Y Pico" Award From Sherrie Nordgren

I haven't had a chance to blog about this until now and wanted to let you all know that Sherrie Nordgren of Primitive Peddlers and Symple Tymes Blog awarded me the "Arte Y Pico" in her post of April 23, 2008.

Here's what Sherrie had to say:

Linda Walsh: of https://lindawalshoriginals.blogspot.com/

If someone was to ask me about Linda Walsh, I'd have to say she is the *Window* of artistic artists of all media's. She has got to be the most unselfish person I have ever know, She has given countless hours of research for others, Sharing and caring is her middle name, Linda alone has opened windows wide open for other giving of her self ..of her talent.. of her time .. all for the growing doll makers , and artists in any media.

I was speechless, honored, and humbled to have received this award from Sherrie. It has to be one of the most beautiful things anyone has ever said to me and I couldn't wait to share it with my husband and my mother - both of who claim to be my biggest fan!

The "Arte y Pico" award was created and to be given to bloggers who inspire others with their creative energy and their talents, whether it be writing, artwork in all media's. When you receive this award it is considered a "special honor". Once you have received this award, you are to pass it on to at least 5 others.

Please read more info on this wonderful award , visit: http://www.arteypico.blogspot.com/.

So, I have to name 5 bloggers that I consider deserving of this award for their creativity, design, posts, and contribution to the blogging community. The rules are as follows:

1) You have to pick 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award, creativity, design, interesting material, and also contributes to the blogger community, no matter the language.

2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.

3) Each award-winning, has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.

4) Award-winning and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of "Arte Y Pico"blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.

5) To show these rules.

This is going to be hard for me to do. I know so many, many talented and gifted artists/crafters and bloggers. Each is uniquely gifted and beautiful in their own right and it is very hard to choose.

However, here's my list:

1) Pat Winter of Gatherings blog and Pat Winter's Gatherings website. Pat is truly a beautiful, compassionate, gifted artist with a beautiful soul. She started "The Comfort Doll Project" out of a concern for battered women and spends countless hours gathering and shipping "comfort dolls" to women's shelters all over the world. She is also a gifted artist who just published her 1st "self-published book" entitled Pat Winter Gatherings - My Crazy Quilting Journey. Pat is an inspiration to all she encounters.

2) Denise Bailey aka NeeNee of KKL Primitives blog and KKL Primitives website. NeeNee has a terrific sense of humor, wonderful spirit, enormous creative talent, and generosity beyond compare. NeeNee always has time to help whoever asks or whoever she encounters who needs help. She is an amazing woman and I remain her #1 fan!

3) Rivkah Rosenfeld of Doll Makers Muse blog and Doll Makers Muse website. Rivkah is an enormously talented doll artist whose creations just take your breath away. She also spends hours upon hours posting FREE tutorials for other doll makers.

Rivkah's mission on her blog is: MY MISSION is to share my love of doll artistry with you, and teach what I know, a little at a time. I would have to say that Rivkah has certainly achieved her MISSION, at least as far as I'm concerned and which I'm sure if you're a fan of her art dolls and blog you will agree. For all her unselfish and countless hours in preparing all her blog tutorials I have to say "Thank-you, Rivkah!"

4) Serena Smith of Embroidery Treasures blog and Embroidery Treasures website. Serena is a phenomenal seamstress who spends untold hours posting FREE tutorials and FREE lessons on her blog for her readers to enjoy and learn from. She is a gifted teacher, has a generous spirit, and has enormous sewing creativity.

A visit to Serena's blog is always a learning experience and you always walk away with a new thought, new perspective, new idea, or new approach to solving a sewing problem. Thank-you Serena for all your hard work and endless hours preparing your blog posts.

5) Lisa Thoms of Q.D.Patooties blog and Q.D.Patooties website. Lisa is a teddy bear artist and an extraordinary plush doll designer. She is also the mastermind behind the "Plush Parade" which is the most delightful parades of plush doll creations on the Internet. The reason that I'm nominating Lisa is because every time I visit her blog I walk away feeling great. Her creativity is unmeasurable and truly unique.

Her creations always make me smile and I suspect she has that same affect on other visitors to her blog. So, for always bringing sunshine and joy to her readers she is deserving of this award. Add to that the fact that she is always posting free ideas and patterns for her readers to enjoy and it makes her doubly deserving of this award.

All of the above are well deserving of the "Arte Y Pico" award. There are many, many more artists and crafting bloggers that are also deserving of this award as well.

There are just so many bloggers that inspire me with their joyous spirits, immeasurable creativity, and amazing senses of humor.

So many bloggers who contribute their time and energy to helping others.

To all of you I say "thank-you" for bringing joy to my life and joy to the lives of all the readers who check in daily to your blogs or who just happen to be passing through. "Thank-you" for inspiring all of us, lifting our spirits, or just plain making our day.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Linda's Review of Cloth Dolls From Ancient To Modern by Linda Edward

If you are a reader of my Linda's Blog then you know that I just love dolls and books about dolls, especially cloth dolls.

One of the books that I bought last year was Cloth Dolls: From Ancient to Modern : A Collector's Guide (A Schiffer Book for Collectors). It is a collectors guide of cloth dolls and their values and I was especially interested in it because it contained cloth dolls, which up to this point in time were often overlooked by the doll collecting society as a whole.

I never understood this as I always thought that the category of dolls would include dolls with cloth heads as well as dolls with wood, china, bisque, clay, or cernit heads. Fortunately cloth dolls are gaining in popularity amongst collectors and especially amongst the ever growing segment of people who love "primitives." Unfortunately, cloth doesn't always survive well over time so there are not a lot of examples of really ancient dolls made solely of cloth around.

Cloth Dolls: From Ancient to Modern : A Collector's Guide (A Schiffer Book for Collectors) starts with a small chapter about cloth dolls of long ago. Unfortunately, not a lot survived.

Chapter 2 contains homemade rag dolls of the 19Th and 20Th century and has several pages of wonderful pictures of dolls and a brief history of cloth dolls during that period along with mention of the 1st doll patterns. Looking at the pictures of the dolls I couldn't help but wonder who the creator was, who the recipient was, and why the doll was made.

Chapter 3 covers the cottage industry dolls of the 19Th and 20Th century. What captured my attention was a line from the 1st paragraph that stated, "In the world of cloth dolls it is very interesting to note that most of these companies were started and run by women." My guess would be that a LOT of these women were mothers who had started out just sewing dolls for their children.

In Chapter 3 you will find information and pictures of Izannah F. Walker who started making dolls around 1840, Roxanna E. Cole, Moravian Rag Dolls, Martha L. Wellington, Presbyterian Rag Dolls , Columbian Rag Dolls, Mother's Congress Dolls, The Alabama Indestructible Doll, Kathe Kruse, Martha Jenks Chase, Missionary Rag Babies, Philadelphia Rag Babies, Anne Maxwell, Gertrude F. Robinson, Wold War I Paris, Tynietoy, Kamkins, and Regional Dress Doll.

Chapter 4 covers big business rag dolls in the 19Th and 20Th century. These are large scale factories and whole sellers including: Montanari, George Hawkins, Carl Weigand, Worsted Dolls, Steiff Dolls, Babyland Rag Dolls, Bruckner Dolls, Dean's Rag Book Co., Krueger Dolls, Jane Gray Co., Farnell-Alpha Toys, American Art Dolls, and one of my favorite sections - Raggedy Ann and Andy.

It also includes Chad Valley Dolls, Bing Art Dolls, Lenci, Messina-Vat, Madame Alexander, Norah Wellings, Liberty of London, Nelke Dolls, Georgene Novelties/Madame Hendron, Averill Manufacturing Co., Mollye Goldman, Poupees Raynal, Venus, Gre-Poir, The Blossom Doll Co., Ideal Novelty and Toy Co., and Hallmark Dolls.

Chapter 5 is a lovely chapter devoted to dolls by the yard - cut and sew dolls. It includes E.S. Peck, Arnold Printworks, Cocheco Manufacturing Company, Gutsell Dolls, Art Fabric Mills, Horsman, Dean's Rag Book Co., Saalfield Publishing Co., and The Toy Works.

Chapter 6 is devoted to 20Th century advertising and personality dolls. These include The Chase Bag Co. whose 1st advertising doll was "The Jolly Green Giant", Miscellaneous Advertising Dolls, Personality Dolls, and Knickerbocker dolls like "The Campbell's Soup Kid."

Chapter 7 is devoted to doll artists of the 20Th century such as, Grace Dayton, Celia and Charoty Smith, Dorothy Heizer, Frances and Bernard Ravca, Dewees Cochran, Annalee Mobilitee Dolls, WPA Dolls, Dianne Dengel, R. John Wright, Xavier Roberts, and Current cloth Doll Artists - of which there are many pictures.

If you are a lover of cloth dolls in particular or "primitive dolls" then Cloth Dolls: From Ancient to Modern : A Collector's Guide (A Schiffer Book for Collectors) is a fascinating read and a must have for the serious cloth doll collector. I especially loved the section on Raggedy Ann and Andy as it contained several pages of information on the history of these dolls that I was not aware of before.

Friday, May 30, 2008

"Mozilla - Firefox Versus Internet Explorer" How Does Your Website Fare?

Three years ago when I decided to create a website I decided to use Microsoft "Publisher", which is an old "dinosaur" to create my website. I had been using "Publisher" for years and thought - "why not?" It used Internet Explorer as its browser and I would be using FTP to update my website so it was a good fit.

Back then "Publisher" had a LOT of coding issues and was not the optimum for coding finesse. However, I was familiar with the program and could easily update and maintain my website myself which was appealing to me. After I created my Linda Walsh Originals website I soon learned that it wasn't being read properly by some of the other browsers such as Mozilla - Firefox.

At the time I only used Internet Explorer and AOL, which used Internet Explorer as their browser. My website was FINE there so I asked some of my friends who had a problem with their browsers what was showing when they went to my website. The answer was as varied as the various browsers.

So, I decided to use my GoDaddy.com website hosting statistics to see how much of my website traffic was for browsers other than Internet Explorer. At that time 98% of my traffic was by Internet Explorer with close to 1% for Mozilla - Firefox. The other 1% was made up of several smaller browsers. I decided that less than 1% was not something I had to immediately address.

When I decided to update my website I was hoping that Publisher 2007 would contain more standardized coding and, hopefully, solve the browser distortion problem. To my delight it did and solved most of the Mozila - Firefox distortion problems.

So, I decided to check my browser statistics to see if more of my traffic was coming from Mozilla - Firefox these days and whether it would be worthwhile to spend the time to fix both my Linda Walsh Originals and Linda Walsh Originals Dolls websites which had been created in Publisher.

To my surprise 86% of my traffic was coming from Internet Explorer now and 12% was now coming from Mozilla - Firefox. The remaining 2% was coming from several much smaller browsers. In evaluating the statistics I thought that 12% now was way too much of a customer base to be missing so I decided to spend the time to fix both of my websites and I'm happy to report that I no longer have a browser distortion problem with Mozilla - Firefox in either website. In fact, none of my website and blogs have a browser distortion problem.

I recently switched to Mozilla - Firefox myself because I was having a horrendous time with Internet Explorer 7.0. It was SLOW as molasses, was freezing during printing from my blogs, and causing a multitude of other issues. After using Internet Explorer exclusively for over 30 years I'd had enough and made the switch. I'm happy to report that Mozilla - Firefox does have a few problems, but I haven't been happier. It works like a charm and ALL my websites and blogs are FINE and load exactly as I want them to.

So, why am I telling you this? Well, if you are a small business website owner or blogger you might want to check your website and blog to see if Mozilla - Firefox is displaying properly. If my percent of website traffic from Mozilla - Firefox is par for the course then 12% of a customer base is WAY TOO MUCH to be losing.

Plus, if you are a blogger and have deviated from some of the standard blog providers templates you might want to consider checking your blog. In checking the blogs of several of my blogging friends who have gone to 3-column templates I have noticed that they aren't displaying properly.

For now I'm happy with Mozilla - Firefox. Happy browsing.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Lousy Head Cold Can't Stifle Creativity!

I have been fighting a lousy head cold for about a week and a half now. I really shouldn't complain as I rarely get sick - maybe once every five years or so but, when I do I inevitably get a cough that just won't quit.

Unfortunately, I gave my head cold to my wonderful husband. He doesn't get a cough. Instead he always gets a sinus infection - which is worse and, for which, he needs to visit the doctor. That's what he'll be doing tomorrow.

So, I've been off the computer for about a week and a half just sitting in a chair or laying on the sofa - coughing my fool head off. However, and I know other crafters will know what I mean when I say this - that didn't stop or stifle my creativity. Oh, no! Just the opposite. Creativity doesn't sit still! Cough! Cough!

Not only do I need to cough, but I need to be making something while I am. I can't just resign myself to sitting and relaxing. Oh, NO! I have to be productive while I'm sick. Cough! Cough! Achoo!

I figured that since I wasn't going anywhere I'd kill two birds with one stone and get a few of my UFO's or craft kits that have been on the back burner for a few years done.

So, I dragged out 4 punch needle kits that I bought during a trip to Sturbridge with my Mom several years ago and decided that now was as good a time as any to teach myself how to punch needle.

Well, 4 kits later I have to tell you that I loved it. The main reason was that I loved being able to finish a kit in one day. Unlike other needlepoint kits that can take weeks or months to finish, the punch needle is so small it lends itself to being completed in a day or less. It was wonderful, and very relaxing - every other cough or so.

And, I also dragged out some needle felting kits that I also had bought on that same shopping trip. I do have to admit that was a great shopping day. Sometimes you find what you want and sometime you don't. I certainly did that day.

In any event, I had 6 needle felting kits I had bought so I decided to do an easy snowman and was thrilled with the way it turned out. The remaining 5 kits should be easy enough to put together and will make GREAT Christmas gifts.

I'll have to frame my punch needle masterpieces and when I do I'll post a picture of them. They, too will make GREAT Christmas gifts.

I'll take pictures of the needle felting when I'm done as well so you can see what I managed to accomplish while coughing my fool head off.

There must be something wrong with me. I can't just sit and relax and get over a cold. Oh, No! I have to be creative while coughing. There's got to be a name for that!

There is - I'm a CRAFTER!

Cough! Cough! Achoo! Cough! Cough!

Knit one purl two! Cough! Cough!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

They Are Coming 183 New Patterns From Linda Walsh Originals

We have fabulous news.  We have 183 new doll patterns that will be available on our Linda Walsh Originals website soon so stay tuned.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Pat Winter's NEW Book

I have exciting news. A crafting friend of mine just published her first book on BLURB.com which is self-publishing website.

If you don't know what a self-publishing website is it is where you can actually create your own book just for yourself or create a book to be published to the general public. It's a terrific concept and one I'm thinking of looking into.

In any event Pat Winter is my crafting friend's name and the book she just published is called "Pat Winter's Gatherings - My Crazy Quilting Journey." It's a book about Pat's unbelievable crazy quilt creations.

Here's Blurb's description: This book takes you through the garden of the Author and into her world of crazy quilting. Florals in silk ribbon embroidery, beading, stitching encrust fabrics and bring them alive with elements of nature scattered throughout her work. Photos of her prize winning crazy quilt and numerous other works shown in full color are offered to inspire. She has sprinkled a few projects along the path in hopes to encourage the reader to try their hand at this beautiful Art of Crazy Quilting. www.patwintergatherings.com

Pat is also the creator of "The Comfort Doll Project" which I posted about on my Linda's Blog. If you'd like to read my post, just CLICK HERE for the article.

From what I understand Pat's book is already on the self-publishing best seller list. I'm not surprised. Pat is unbelievably gifted and talented.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Look What I Got In My Email

I just had to show all of you what I got in my email yesterday. I got a "You Make My Day Award" from Linda Utz of Needlefeltingfans.com and Needle Felting Fans blog for making her day with my e-greeting post containing an e-video, music, and still pictures of my "baby" - my cairn terrier and for the "The Comfort Doll Project" post.

Thanks, Linda. You made my day with your award.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Pat Winter's "The Comfort Doll Project"

I think you know that I just love the worldwide Arts & Crafts community on the web and find that everyone is so kindhearted and willing to help if they can. Well, there is an exceptional woman amongst the artists and crafters that I want to tell you about.

Her name is Pat Winter. Her blog is Gatherings By Pat Winter. However, the reason why Pat is so wonderful has nothing to do with her enormous talent as an artist. Nor does it have to do with her website or blog.

It has to do with her heart and her desire to help comfort someone else through an experience she was all too familiar with. It is because she started a beautiful project to help comfort battered woman called "The Comfort Doll Project."

I asked Pat if she would be willing to answer some questions for me regarding "The Comfort Doll Project" and she so willingly agreed.

1) What is "The Comfort Doll Project?"

The Comfort Doll Project is a program for battered and abused women in shelter's to receive a handmade doll with an inspirational note attached in hopes she feels comfort in knowing she is not alone and can get through her situation. In July I sent out an open invitation for anyone wanting to make a small doll , under 6", to be collected by me and mailed off to women's shelter's for battered women who are seeking help to better their lives and may need a comforting wish.

2) Why did you start this? What was your motivation?

What got me started was when an online group I am in, Crazy Quilting International about charity project suggestions. I knew of no other handcrafted donations given to Women's Shelter's, so I decided that would be a wonderful place to give.

Believe it or not, I was motivated by a doll I purchased from an artist, Linda Feuge of New York. I felt such a thrill and comfort in that doll and was surprised by my reaction. Having been a an abusive relationship long ago, I felt this need to offer other abused women the same experience a doll can bring. Especially when given from the heart and intended for them.

3) Since the comfort doll project began in July 2007 how many dolls have been made and how many recipients have received them?

To date, I have received 178 comfort dolls. Jo has received 14 I believe. I have shipped out 172 dolls to fourteen Women's shelters. I ship one dozen at a time.

4) How many shelters have received the dolls and what countries are they in?

Fourteen Shelter's have received one dozen dolls except one, who received 4 extras because they currently had 16 women in house at that time and felt they each needed one. All but one dozen were donated within the US. The other dozen was collected and distributed to a shelter in New Zealand by my friend and volunteer, Jo Newsham who resides there. I eventually want to send to each country from which the dolls were made and donated from.

5) What has been the reaction from the recipients? Have you received any feedback?

When I phone the Shelter's, I ask the directors if I could get a return acknowledgement after they receive the dolls so I can share it with the donors and let them know where their doll went. I post these on the Comfort Doll Blog when they arrive.

Many wonderful letters have been received and some emails thanking us and letting us know they were such a big hit with the women. There is a shelter director who is collecting comments from the recipients and soon she will forward them to me to share. When I describe our project, the usual reaction is "What a wonderful and needful thing to do". I must admit, one letter about one of the recipients had me in tears. It touches their souls, as if they were a child receiving their first doll. That's what it's all about.

6) Do the dolls just go to battered women or do they also go to battered children?

The dolls are intended for women because of the message of encouragement attached written for a woman. Also most dolls are embellished with tiny objects and beads which could harm children . I would love to do both, but I decided to direct the dolls to the women because from my own past personal experience I know the feeling of being in a bad situation.How hopeless you feel when you think you are the only one and alone. I am hoping this shows the recipient, she is not alone.

7) How often do the dolls get distributed?

The moment I collect one dozen, and I have a confirmed shelter address, they are tagged, bagged, and mailed out, usually next day.

8) How many artists and crafters are involved with the project and what countries are they from?

It is amazing, so far I have received dolls from 54 artists many sending several at a time, and the number grows weekly with interested women emailing for info. I have collected dolls from Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Norway, Germany, Netherlands, England and several from France, and from 21 states.

9) Do you have to be a crafter or an artist to create a doll?

Absolutely not. I am a crazy quilter, not a doll maker,but I have learned so much from other's work. Dolls of every material has been donated, including ones made from wine corks. I believe, if it is from the heart, it's art. No labels needed to participate in the Comfort Doll Project.

10) Do you have a favorite amongst all the dolls that have been made and distributed?

There is such a variety, I could not possibly pick a favorite. To hold each piece of work in my hand gives me the warm fuzzies. I know each is made from love and from the maker's heart. Our motto is, "Given from our hearts what we make from our hands".

11) What do you tell a recipient when you give her a doll?

I wish I was the one presenting the dolls,but I only get to speak to the Shelter Directors. I let them know for whom they are intended, and from whom they are created. I ship a letter stating our intent with each box. There is a need for comforting women who have been abused and battered, some take it better than other's, and those who are frightened more than most, will hopefully find comfort and inspiration in her doll.

12) What are your long range goals for "The Comfort Doll Project?"

I wish I could continue collecting enough dolls to send a dozen to each state, then the countries from which the donors are from, then start all over again.

13) If someone wants to participate what do they need to do?

They can read about the project on my blog or web site, or they can email me anytime.


14) If you're not an artist or crafter or someone who sews is there some other way to contribute to "The Comfort Doll Project?"

Of course. You may sponsor a shipment for $5.00. That covers most of the Priority mailing fee. You will get credit as a sponsor of that particular dozen sent. You may send an encouraging message in a sealed envelope which I will include in a shipment for a woman. You really don't have to sew or be a doll maker. I just received three beautiful dolls made by a cross stitcher. She completed her design and stuffed it adding fabric on the back. Like I said, mixed media artists used weaving, corks, crazy quilting, beading, it is all in what you can think up. I do have free doll pattern sites listed on my blog for reference.

15) Is there anything else you'd like to tell us?

My intentions in starting this project was to offer a venue for women to share their creations to comfort and show support of other women. It is not a fund raiser, I am not asking for money, and would only accept money with the intent of it going toward postage. The women who have participated have found it to be rewarding in many ways. Several women have started their own shelter donations within their states and countries. I have been told various other projects have grown from this idea. It is just awesome to see hearts open and share so freely. It truly does make the world a smaller place and much warmer to live in.

I am very proud of every donor, and so very grateful for each of them. Receiving joy in giving a part of ourselves to strangers is a wonderful gift we can give ourselves, and it continues to grow as this project shows. I want to thank every donor, and you as well, for showing your support for the Comfort Doll Project.

Pat Winter

Sunday, January 06, 2008

My Little Penguin

I got a darling surprise in the mail yesterday. Inside an envelope was the cutest little penguin pin from my friend Connie McBride Johnson. She made a group of penguins for the "Pay It Forward" exchange and sent this one to me as a special surprise. What a sweetheart she was to think of me. I was very pleasantly surprised with my penguin pin and I thank you for that Connie.

Right now he is perched atop my computer shelf and just smiling down at me. He seems very content up there. Hmmmmmm..... I wonder if the other "dollies" will notice him? I bet they will. Nothing gets by them. And, then, the clamoring will start.

"Why does he get to be in the study? None of us can be in the study!"

"Why can't we be in the study, too?"

"How come......"

Oh, boy! I can feel the headache starting, but I don't care. I just love my little penguin from Connie and no other "dollie" is going to remove him from his perch. I hope you all heard that!

Connie posted an article to her Clothmatters blog entitled "It's A Penguin Party" that has a picture of the 4 penguins she made. They are all just adorable.

Everytime I look at him sitting atop his perch I can't help but smile. What a wonderful gift. THANKS, again, Connie.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Why A "Gray Is Beautiful" Blog?

You might be wondering why I need yet another blog and why "Gray Is Beautiful?"

The answer to the first question is easy. For "The Blogging Queen" - WHY NOT!

The second question can be explained first by explaining why I created a "Gray Is Beautiful" series of dolls and doll patterns. In responding to a post in one of my favorite forums regarding hair I got to thinking about hair and aging.

Why is our society so focused on youth and being thin as a rail?

Why is aging so terrifying to everyone?

I don't know. We all age.

When I was young (and that was a long time ago - hey, be nice now) I was thin as a rail. In fact, I was so thin one of my friends used to tell me that if I turned sideways you wouldn't be able to see me or I'd blow over.

My mother was always fretting over how thin I was. I don't know why. She was as thin as a rail when she was younger (and that WAS a long, long time ago.)

However, she used to love to tell me that "Don't worry darling, it will catch up with you." I'd reply " No way!" She'd just laugh. I'm sure she was thinking (okay miss know-it-all).

Well, that was then, and now is now. Unfortunately, my mother was right. Boy do I hate admitting that!

So, the sad reality is that as you age Mother Nature has her own private way of saying "I gotcha!" Is it any surprise that she is named "MOTHER" nature?

In any event, here I am aging and gray. Anyways, I got to thinking, shouldn't we honor those of us from the baby boom generation (of which I am a member) who are aging so beautifully. After all, we have our own magazine "More" (which I love). Why shouldn't the dolls we grown-up girls still love look like us?

We should be PROUD of our age, PROUD of the way we look, PROUD to be GRAY. Shouldn't we?

Yes , we should.

So, I decided that I should design a new series of dolls called my "Gray is Beautiful Series" to honor all of us beautiful women. For all of us old, graying, baby boomer generation women I say "Gray is beautiful, too! Isn't it?"

Be careful now, everyone gets older. If you're not nice there will be a stampede of aging, graying, not rail thin, seniors on your doorstep tomorrow. The GRAYS are here to stay and we all are all DROP DEAD GORGEOUS.

You're probably saying, "Okay, we can understand the doll series, but why a blog?" Well, the "GRAYS" deserve their own platform and, better yet, demanded it. There is no way I'm going to say no to my "GRAYS!" If I tried they'd knock my head off and that would not be a pretty scene.

So, all you graying, baby boomer, senior out there get ready for the "Gray Is Beautiful" blog created by, written by, and directed by my "GRAYS!"