You Party Animal, You…



is how these little fellas



Just simple sketches on white paper which I’ve divided up into sections. One half of the sketch is always a little more detailed than the other side. The sketch above is what I’m working on today. In a few minutes I’ll cute each segment out then fold each character in half on the vertical line that runs down the body. I’ll cut my shape from the more detailed side and Voila! an ornament pattern is born. The vertical line allows the ornament to be symmetrical on both sides. To some this doesn’t really matter, but for me…I’m always so disappointed when I’m finished stuffing an ornament and notice the ears are way off or the cheeks are in different positions. So I like this method. It works for me…(usually). I still have to pay careful attention when I’m stuffing so that the curves are “right”. You would think that since the shape is sewn a certain way, you could just stuff willy nilly and all would turn out fine. Over the years I’ve learned that this is not always the case. I can control the shape with my stuffing fork.

A stuffing fork, you say? Whaaa?????


That little white instrument on top is my stuffing fork. Under that are long hemostats. These are two items I can’t live without. I have a back up stuffing fork, just in case I should ever lose the one I’m currently using. In the beginning of my doll making career I used whatever I could find to push fluffy fiberfill into doll bodies. A skinny long handled paint brush was my go-to. And I thought it worked fine until I saw a stuffing fork in a doll parts catalog. “Hmmm, I’ll give it a try”, I thought. It made such a difference in my projects. The tiny tines allow you to really control the stuffing in a way that I couldn’t with a long handled paint brush. It holds my stuffing so that I can direct the tiniest amount to sharp corners like tiny ears, hat tips and pointy noses. I think my work really began to improve when I purchased the stuffing fork. In fact, I wouldn’t even want to try to make painted ornaments without it.

Today I’ll be cutting out and sewing a large batch of these little guys for winter stuffing sessions bundled up on my couch while the temps dip outside! It’s nice to still be productive when it’s too cold to actually work in my studio. Oh the woes of living in an old farmhouse!

But I’ll have Netflix and my stuffing fork to keep me company.

Halloween Dumplings in Print…Winter 2015

I was so excited to learn months ago that my work would be featured in the Somerset Studio Gallery Winter 2015 edition. Although it’s been super hard to keep this secret, I managed not to spill the beans (publicly) way before the issue was even printed! Three of my large paper mache / paperclay Halloween dolls were chosen for publication & I have to tell you, these three are some of my favorites! So much so, that one of the dolls decided she needs to stay with me. It’s very rare that I keep a piece for myself. To date, I’ve only kept two for my own collections. This article will help you begin to create your own paper mache / paperclay sculpture. You’ll get to read a little about my favorite Halloween tradition–trick or treating and how the 300 + trick or treaters we get each year, inspire me to create. If you’re interested in purchasing this magazine it hit newstands on December first and can be purchased directly from Stampington or can be found in craft stores like Michael’s or fine book stores. One of the dolls published in this magazine is still available in my Etsy shop. More photos of her can be seen here.