Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Dolls of 2008

A year ago, after an amazingly successful Twelve Days of Christmas swap in which I participated, I jokingly said, "Next time, why don't we have an Eight Days of Chanukah swap?" I, of course, promptly forgot about this idea until August when I was gently reminded about my suggestion. Hence, the first ever (that I know of) Eight Days of Chanukah Swap was launched. What a fun swap!

I decided to make a doll for each of the seven participants.

The first doll I finished was a mermaid for Joanne Thieme Huffman. Being a fan of Joanne's blog (see side bar for a link to her blog), I know she frequently uses mermaid images in her art. I decided to crochet her doll and then embellish her with some doo dads. Originally her hair was a mustard-green colored fringe, but I sprayed it with Color Mists which I had gotten from Aileen (Outside the Margins), and got just the perfect blue/green/gold color I wanted.

When last seen, Ms. Mermaid was swimming in Lake Michigan.

Next up was Connie William's doll. Connie happened to mention that her favorite colors were black, white, and red. Immediately I thought of making her a Pierrot doll. Amazingly, I had the perfect head and arms to use for this project. More amazing was that I knew where I had put them! I used a wonderful product called Apoxie Sculpt to attach the head to the base. I first fell in love with this two-part, putty-like product in Linda and Opie O'Brien's "Who's Your DaDa" class at Art and Soul '08. (More about Art and Soul in another post.) I used antique white buttons for the hair and a small piece of window shade for the collar.

Being a Chanukah swap, I decided to make Jewish Grandmother dolls for Sandee Hyde, Fran Saperstein, and Kara Klein.

Here they are waiting at Newark Airport for their planes to leave so that they can spend Chanukah with their families. Being good Jewish grandmothers, their shopping bags are filled with food and, of course, they are bringing lots of presents. These are the first stuffed, cloth dolls I've ever made. I must admit, I think I have a new addiction.

I bought a copy of Knitted Babes because I liked the whimsical knit dolls on the cover. When making a doll for Joyce Vance, I immediately went to this book for inspiration and knitting directions since Joyce is the queen of knitting. This doll took on an identity of her own and became a ballerina. Joyce's daughter, Ellie, is a ballerina. I guess my subconscious was at work here.

I could have spent the next month, knitting clothes for this doll. I think my inner child was just screaming to get out.

Last, but certainly not least, was the doll I made for Amber Dawn. I know Amber makes wonderful jewelry. When thinking about jewelry and gems, I thought about gypsies. I don't want to be accused of being politically incorrect, but Gypsy Girl had a velvet bag with her that was filled with jewels of an unknown origin. She arrived at Amber's home hoping to trade the jewels for a place to stay. The biggest challenge I had when making Gypsy Girl was her clothing. Not having any patterns for doll clothing, I had to remake the dress several times until I figured out how to get the top of the dress to fit her.

What a great swap. I had fun making the gifts I sent out, and I certainly loved the gifts that I received.


  1. I ~*LOVE*~ my gypsy!
    She lives in a fabulous spot right on my shelf.
    I've recently learned that her given name by her father's mother Nadine, is Alexandria, Sasha for short.
    Sasha arrived with a note and a bag full of precious gems in exchange for the rent on my shelf.
    She doesn't like to eat so she is a welcome guest!
    After inspection, I gladly accepted her jewels and crystals which were made in Austria before she was even born!
    Sasha makes me smile and I am happy to have her company!
    She says hello, and asks me to tell Judy that she misses her, but that she is quite happy watching me and all of the goings on in my art studio!

  2. Oh Judy! You KNOW I love these little dolls! You invited me into the swap and, silly me, I declined. My faves are definitely the Jewish Grandmother dolls--reminiscent of the women who got me through my adolescence, in SPITE of my Methodist parents! SO creative and SO customized! jood

  3. Judy, Judy, Judy!!! What can I say?!? I LOVE LOVE LOVE each of these wonderful dolls with their fabulous personalities!! You have so many talents and creating each of these little masterpieces showcases many of them! I want to write more about each one, but I'll do that to you personally tomorrow.
    Congrats on a WONDERFULLY entertaining blog!!

  4. Judy, it's wonderful to see all the dolls together. Bubbles left for Michigan (where she is currently living over my sewing machine because the lakes are frozen) before all her sisters were completed and she's very happy to see everyone. This was one of the most fun swaps I've ever been in and I thank you for including an Episcopalian.


  5. Judy,
    It's great to see all the dolls together. Mine is sitting on the top shelf near the vintage linens. She says they remind her of her childhood and she wants to be sure I don't squander them.
    I just added your link to my site. Please feel free to do the same!

  6. JUDY! These are wonderful! I love the mermaid dolls (I love mermaids, too) and gypsy doll ('cause of the colors) and the Jewish grandmother ones cracked me up. Your blog is off to a high-flying start! Way to go! (btw, I want to play in the swap next year, too. :)

  7. welcome to the blogging world! I will put your link on my site- your blog is so entertaining to read!...i love your sense of humor!

  8. Your dolls are terrific! I enjoy reading how each one was made with a specific recipient in mind. I've enjoyed your humorous posts on the diva list and so am looking forward to frequenting your blog.

    jan, the blogless

  9. Yay for Judy. Good luck and have fun with your new blog. I have enjoyed my first visit and look forward to coming back. You are such a talented lady. And you create with such style. Your dolls are wonderful. I love the one I got from you last year. She sits proudly behind glass in my grandmothers cherry china cabinet. I want her dust free so she can always think clearly. I let her out every now and then to let her run and dance through the house. But only when the cats are outside. No telling what they would do to her.
    I am on my way over to add you to my list of blogs that I read.
    Your blog is off to a great start.

  10. Welcome to the blogging world Judy! Love your dolls!

    As a Jersey girl my self, I would like to add a few more things 'great things about NJ' --

    1. Jug handles, very easy to do a U-turn in NJ.

    2. The Jersey Shore - not the beach, not the ocean-- it's the Shore in NJ.

    3. Bruce Springsteen

    4. The NJ Turnpike - with out it most fellow New Jerseyites would not know where other Jerseyites live - the first question asked from one Jerseyite to another is: "What exit off the NJ Tpke do you live?"

    5. Jersey corn, Jersey tomatoes and Jersey Cranberries

    6. Diners, the best diners are in NJ

    7. Pumping your own gas in NJ is actually illeagal!

  11. Judy...your posts are entertaining AND informative. those dolls are treasures...what a hoot the Jewish grandma dolls are but i love all the dolls you two are alike.
    your "conversation" with Howie about what to do to cover the shelves of fabric...was precious. perhaps....white spray paint over a stencil would work without the sun. I do love your lovely blue hand though....wink....has it returned to normal yet? And you are a bargain hunter for sure....what a haul of junque you found and all of it useful. !!!!

  12. Well I'll be darned! What fun your blog is to visit! Fun and pretty dolls!
    FYI, my blog is titled Peggy's mixed up art!!!!

  13. Judy I'm so thrilled to see you've joined us in the blog world, welcome, welcome!! I've throughly enjoyed seeing all of your dolls and I must say I am most impressed not only with your whimsical dolls but also with how well you've put together your blog, great job!
    Check out my blog for a shout out!

  14. Judy, I LOVE YOUR DOLLS. You crack me up.

  15. Judy, welcome to the world of blogging! I'm glad you're here. The dolls are delightful.


  16. WOW!!!! I love all of your dolls, Judy, they are really a hoot and so artful too!!!

    Congratulations on joining the blog world and in such a big way!!!


  17. ooh how thrilling..on both counts...the new blog and the dolls..each and everyone is so fun and such a fabulous personality..i really can't pick a favorite.i adore them all!!

  18. Welcome to the blogging world Judy! (Amanda said to drop by and say hi!)

    I love your dolls! They are so fun and full of personality!

  19. Judy you're a HIT! They dools are fabulous and so are you!!!

  20. Excuse the last comment- I obviously had some sort of meltdown trying to typ on my new phone.... I meant you DOLLS are fabulous!

  21. Judy,
    These dolls are fantastic and the little ballerina even looks like ellie. I love all of the dolls. I didn't even know it was possible to knit a doll. Heck what am I taking about, I know nothing about knitting.
    Beth(Oh I'm adding your blog to mine.)

  22. nice doll..ur blog has cracked me's the time to go from my twitter feed...!!!

  23. What beautiful dolls and each one so unique. This is a wonderful swap idea!

  24. I love the dolls and they all turned out great! Especially the gypsy doll and the mermaid doll.
    I see we both live in Northern Jersey.
    I'm glad I found your blog, I'll be visiting again soon.