Friday, December 18, 2015

I Finally Decided To Take Some Craftsy Online Classes - Here's What I Chose


As a pattern designer I'm always on the lookout for great websites to sell my e-patterns and have been a big fan of Craftsy since January 2012.

I'm also a big fan of websites that offer online classes and have been eyeing Craftsy's online classes for quite some time.  They have so many wonderful classes to choose from.  My problem has always been lack of time.

Well, in November and early December I finally decided to purchase 4 of their online classes. I figured that over the holidays and winter snow season I would certainly have some time to take some of the classes I've been wanting to take.

Here's what I chose and the reason why:

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Linda's Review of Sleigh Ride Beaded and Buttoned Cross-Stitch Kit #MHCB192 From Mill Hill


This time of the year you can usually find me cross-stitching.  So far I've made 4 cross-stitch pictures which I tweaked just a bit.  This time I decided to do Sleigh Ride Beaded Kit from Mill Hill and decided to change quite a few things.

The Sleigh Ride Beaded Kit pattern uses full counted cross-stitch and beaded half stitch as well as beads of various sizes for emphasis and depth. The pattern also calls for certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched as the background. In this case they were leaving sections of the brown perforated paper background untouched.

I decided to frame my finished cross-stitch picture using the same decorated frame as was pictured in the pattern.  It's a 6" x 6" handpainted blue wooden frame without glass.  Unlike the shadowbox frames I had been using more of the perforated paper would be seen surrounding the cross-stitch picture.

The pattern called for certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched as the background like the picture shown below:

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Linda's Review of Ho Ho Ho Santa Beaded and Buttoned Cross-Stitch Kit MHCB170 From Mill Hill



There is nothing I find more relaxing than cross-stitching.  Given that I've been blogging about my cross-stitch projects for years now it should come as no surprise that I created another Christmas cross-stitch.  This time I decided to do Ho Ho Ho Santa - Cross Stitch Kit from Mill Hill that had a lot of the background unfinished.

The Ho Ho Ho Santa - Cross Stitch Kit pattern uses full counted cross-stitch and beaded half stitch as well as beads of various sizes for emphasis and depth. The pattern also calls for certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched as the background. In this case they were leaving sections of the brown perforated paper background untouched.

I decided to frame my finished cross-stitch picture in the Mill Hill Wooden Frame, 6 by 6-Inch, Holiday Red, which is shown in the picture above.  It's a 6" x 6" handpainted red wooden frame without glass.  Unlike the shadowbox frames I had been using more of the perforated paper would be seen surrounding the cross-stitch picture.

The pattern called for a green frame and certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched as the background like the picture shown below:

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Linda's Review of Joy Of Christmas Cross-Stitch Picture - Mill Hill Buttons & Beads Cross-Stitch Kit - MH14-5301



I love creating Christmas crafts with the word "Joy" in them because my Mother's name was "Joy" and every time I look at them I smile knowing she's looking down on me.  The Christmas Collage - Cross Stitch Kit I completed recently and which I posted about here also had the word "Joy" in it.

The Joy of Christmas Beaded Counted Cross Stitch Kit Mill Hill Buttons & Beads 2015 Winter Series MH145301 pattern uses full counted cross-stitch and straight stitch highlighting as well as beads of various sizes for emphasis and depth. The pattern also calls for certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched as the background. In this case they were leaving sections of the green perforated paper background untouched.

I decided to frame my finished cross-stitch picture in the Mill Hill Wooden Frame, 6 by 6-Inch, Holiday Red, which is shown in the picture above.  It's a 6" x 6" handpainted red wooden frame without glass.  Unlike the shadowbox frames I had been using more of the perforated paper would be seen surrounding the cross-stitch picture.

The pattern called for a red frame and certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched as the background like the picture shown below:

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Linda's Review of Christmas Collage Cross-Stitch Picture - Mill Hill Buttons & Beads Cross-Stitch Kit - MH14-9306



I enjoyed stitching my Autumn Wreath so much I decided to create another cross-stitch picture with wood frame to add to my collection. This time it had a Christmas theme and this time it would be inserted into a wooden frame that I had bought versus the shadowbox picture frames that I have previously used.

The Christmas Collage - Cross Stitch Kit pattern uses full counted cross-stitch and half stitch as well as beads of various sizes for emphasis and depth. The pattern also calls for certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched as the background. In this case they were leaving sections of the green perforated paper background untouched.

I decided to frame my finished cross-stitch picture in a  Matte Green with Red Bow 6 x 6 Solid Color Mill Hill GBFRFA8 Wooden Frame, which is shown in the picture above.  It's a 6" x 6" handpainted green wooden frame with a bow and without glass.  Unlike the shadowbox frames more of the perforated paper would be seen surrounding the cross-stitch picture.

The pattern called for a red frame and certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched as the background like the picture shown below:

Linda's Review of Autumn Wreath Cross-Stitch Shadow Box Picture - Mill Hill Buttons & Beads Cross-Stitch Kit - MH14-7205



Since Fall is my favorite season for crafting I decided to create another shadowbox cross-stitch picture with a Fall wreath to add to my collection.

Like the other Mill Hill - Buttons & Beads Series patterns I had bought the Autumn Wreath kit included the pattern, embroidery thread, brown perforated paper, beads, button, 2 needles and instructions.

The Autumn Wreath Cross Stitch Kit pattern uses full counted cross-stitch and straight stitching as well as beads and buttons for emphasis and depth. The pattern also calls for certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched as the background. In this case they were leaving sections of the brown perforated paper background untouched.

I, once again, decided to frame my finished cross-stitch picture in a 5" by 5" white shadow box frame that is 1 1/2" deep and can stand on it's own or with its back picture stand (like the picture above) as I've been really happy with the way all my other cross-stitch shadowbox pictures have come out.


I also decided to once again utilize the rectangular wood frame jig that my darling husband built for me that I could tape the edges of my perforated paper to. The wood frame jig is a rectangular embroidery hoop of sorts, but without bending the perforated paper. He had made it out of 1/2" x 1" pine wood strips with an adjustable center strip that I used for this 5 x 5 square design.

I had learned from previous mistakes that I needed to draw diagonal lines to locate the exact center of the perforated paper as in the last perforated paper cross-stitch picture I had done was slightly off center by a few holes which caused a problem with inserting the needles in the holes along one of the edges of my frame. So, I drew a diagonal line across each corner to get the center point of the perforated paper.  I also drew diagonal lines across each corner of the pattern to get the center point as well.

I had also run into a slight problem with one of the perforated paper cross-stitch pictures I had previously created with the beads along the edge causing a problem when framing so this time I also drew squares on the perforated paper to show me where the 5" x 5" square was. Plus, I knew I wanted to square my picture so I needed to know where to end my stitching or where to add additional columns and rows of stitching..

My Tinytopia & The Magic of Little Things Online Class At Artful Gathering by Mary Jane Chadbourne


I don't know why it is that I can never do anything in moderation.  I try to, but always fall prey to loving what I'm doing and wanting to try this or try that.  That is definitely a formula for over doing and, one of these days, I am truly going to run out of space for everything I make.  Hubby and my sister would tell you that I'm way past that point right now.  They're probably right, but when my creative juices have a hold on me - I make way more than I should.

Such was the case with the miniature houses I made for the Tinytopia class I'm taking during the 2nd session of Artful Gathering.  My Tinytopia & The Magic of Little Things online class is being taught by Mary Jane Chadbourne, who is an amazing mixed media artist.  I love her class and love the way she teaches.  Her classes are always a lot of fun and filled with all sorts of different projects and methods to try.  I always end up buying the DVD from Mary Jane's class as she teaches so many different mixed media techniques which I like to go back and review once the class is finished.

This is the 2nd class I've taken at Artful Gathering taught by Mary Jane Chadbourne.  The first was "ART-S2-307 The Imaginarium: Anthologies of an Art Doll " which took in 2014 and I reviewed here.  That class was my first introductuion into mixed media and I loved it and Mary Jane's teaching methods so much I decided to take her Tinytopia class this year.

I still haven't finished the miniature house canvas projects from her class.  I'm working on them so, yes, there will be more to show you.  For now here's what I've made so far:

The picture at the beginning of this post is a collage of the 12 different miniature houses I made.


Nine miniature houses in a row.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My Romantic Journey On Canvas Online Class at Artful Gathering by Debby Anderson


In July of this year I spent two weeks in crafting bliss working on my projects from Debby Anderson's "A Romantic Journey On Canvas" at Artful Gathering and have to tell you that I may have found a new passion - something I absolutely love.


I can hear you all saying - what a surprise, Linda! You've found a new passion. When it comes to crafting is there anything you've ever tried that you haven't absolutely loved? Probably not.

Well, it is true that I absolutely love to craft and love everything I've learned through my online classes, but when it comes to passion - well, that's a little different. I have a passion for the Victorian era - especially the dresses, for doll making, for genealogy, for floral design, and for history. To all this I would have to add mixed media. I absolutely LOVE mixed media.

My husband doesn't love it as mixed media utilizes lots of different types of supplies so my living room was an absolute mess. You couldn't even see any of the furniture in there. It was all covered with arts & crafts supplies of one sort or another - all needed for the mixed media projects I'd been working on for my online classes.

I have to tell you that I absolutely LOVED Debby's class.  Debby Anderson is an unbelievably talented and inspiring jewelry designer and artist.  Her online class was fabulous.  Her video's were very easy to follow and she explained everything she was doing beautifully.  I couldn't be more pleased with her class.  If you've wanted to try creating mixed media canvas collage dress form projects Debby's class is a MUST TAKE.

There were 3 projects in  Debby Anderson's "A Romantic Journey On Canvas" mixed media online class: one to create a corseted tutu, one to create a wedding gown, and one to create a mixed media angel collage.  I made two corseted canvas's - one on 12" x 12" canvas and one on an 8" x 10" canvas.  I've also created a wedding gown on an 11" x 14" canvas.

Here's my first corseted tutu on a 12" by 12" canvas:


Monday, September 28, 2015

My Bonnets and Beaus: A Regency Doll Project Online Class at Artful Gatherning Taught by Hall Levesque


I finally finished the Regency Era  paperclay and painted faces dolls that I was making based upon the Bonnets and Beaus: A Regency Doll Project online class that I've been taking during the first session of Artful Gathering.

The online class was taught by Hally Levesque who is an exceptional art doll artist, photographer and a bit of a history buff. Not only are her video's easy to follow and beautifully taught but they are sprinkled with historical tidbits of life with Jane Austen - which I loved.   Now why would that be? Hmmm.... History tidbits for a history buff....... Hmmm....

Since I never do anything in moderation I, of course, couldn't just make one doll. I had to make two.

I was looking forward to taking this class as it would be the first time I would be sculpting the dolls faces, hands, and feet out of paperclay and then painting them with acrylic paints. Acrylic painting of any sort is not my strongest skill - so I knew this would be very challenging. At the very least it was going to be interesting if not comical.


I had no problem with the costumes and cloth body. Sculpting the heads and legs was a bit of a challenge but I finally got the knack of it after experimenting a few times. Sculpting the fingers was much harder than I had anticipated and I ended up not liking mine. They looked like Frankenstein hands so I changed them into more of a solid hand.

Painting the faces was a real challenge. I just couldn't get them the way I would have liked them to be. Suffice to say, acrylic painting of doll faces is still not by strongest suit.

They say practice makes perfect so, who knows. Perhaps it's a skill I can master over time. Right now I wouldn't hold my breath.

Instead of using mohair for their hair I decided to use my sister's alpaca fiber from her Rock Garden Alpacas Farm. I used Zinnia's beautiful fiber for the doll in the white outfit and Ivy's fiber for the doll in the dark brown and black outfit. If you'd like to check out my sister Rock Garden Alpaca Fiber please click hereor visit her Etsy store here. I LOVE working with the alpaca fiber. It makes fantastic doll hair.

I loved this class and would recommend it for anyone interested in making dolls or, specifically, historical period dolls.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The History Of Faceless Dolls


I have loved Victorian dolls since I was a little girl and can blame my grandmother for that. You see, as a young girl she gave me a Godey’s Fashion print for August 1870 that belonged to my great, great Aunt Flossie. From that moment on I was hooked. I was captivated by the beautiful dresses and wanted to create dolls wearing them.

Eventually I was able to design my own Victorian "Lady" dolls, like the one pictured on the left, who are all faceless. Now you might be wondering why they are faceless. It's because I wanted each to have its' own distinct personality.

My feeling is that faces overwhelm the dolls personality and have a greater impact on their personality. I wanted the clothing, clothes, hair, color scheme, etc. of the period to determine the personality of the doll.

As far as I am concerned "Beauty lies not only in what is seen, but what is imagined. I believe the essence of a dolls beauty should determine her personality."

You could compare this to the use of mannequins by museums. Most mannequins in museum dress & textile exhibits are either headless or have heads, but they are generally faceless. Or, they have the sculpted definition of facial features but they are not painted. The idea is to not distract from the beauty of the dress or textile piece on display. The same holds true for store window displays.

I have also been a history buff since I was a little girl and loved doing research for history projects all throughout my school years. I especially loved to research everything and anything about the Victorian Era. Their history, their etiquette, their fashion, their hopes, their desires.... In fact, sometimes I think I was born in the wrong era.

Designing handmade faceless dolls was not a novel idea as faceless dolls have been around for a long, long time. However, given my penchant for history I, of course, was curious about the history of faceless dolls. So, back in 2006 I decided to do a little research on the history of faceless dolls and wrote a research article for my Linda's Blog that I subsequently updated in 2009.

I figured that there had to be a history of handmade faceless dolls out there or, at least, some cultures and norms. Believe it or not but there wasn't a lot of information back in 2006 on the web on either the history of faceless dolls or cultures and norms that started such a tradition. There was a little more when I updated my research in 2009.

There was some information on two of the most popular and widely known faceless dolls - Amish dolls and corn husk dolls. And there was the legend surrounding Raggedy Ann and "faceless" dolls.

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.

I was hoping that now, in 2015, things would have changed a little and there would be more information on their history. I'm happy to report that there is a lot more now and that over the last few years there is a growing trend towards creating faceless dolls in all sorts of doll mediums - which thrills me to no end.

Part of the new trend has to do with creating eco-friendly and nature dolls and part has to do with allowing children to use their imagination more. It also has to do with comforting children facing tough medical situations. Without a face the dolls can be happy or sad, they can be laughing or crying - in essence, they can mimic the emotions of the child holding them. Putting a face on the doll defines the emotion of the doll with the child - which may or may not be comforting.

So, I decided to update my history of faceless dolls research article and include new research as well as some of the new trends. I hope you enjoy it.


I also created a History Of Faceless Dolls .PDF.  If you would like to download my History Of Faceless Dolls .PDF please click here or on the picture below.

Copyright © 2004-2015- All Rights Reserved - Written by By Linda Walsh

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

In fact, I created a video to reflect my feelings about faceless dolls which is: "Beauty lies not only in what is seen, but what is imagined. I believe the essence of a dolls faceless beauty should determine her personality."

Please CLICK HERE or on the video below if you would like to view my "Linda's Faceless Beauties" video.


Why do I love the faceless doll so much?

Because I think by being "faceless' the doll can be anything you want him or her to be. You create the dolls personality to be exactly what you imagine it to be. Their personality, therefore, reflects your creativity and your feelings.

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

In researching doing the research to update my History of Faceless Dolls article I was thrilled to see that there are hundreds of artists and crafters who are now creating various types of "faceless" dolls in all different medium. I couldn't be happier to see all these wonderful new applications for faceless dolls. I'm hoping you all will agree.