Diary of a Mad Dollmaker

Mimi's Weblog – Let's Talk About Dollmaking

Mimi’s Health Update

Mimi’s Health Update
(from Jim)
 
First and foremost, Mimi’s procedure on Wednesday (4/27/16) went about as expected. Nothing went wrong. She’s been in some pain and has had trouble getting around. But she’s handling it reasonably well. Staying in the chair for the most part, thankfully she’s not overdoing it too much. This was an exploratory “mapping” of the tumor using a catheter through the femoral artery to map the blood supply to the tumor. The idea is to put radioactive beads into the tumor. Before they do that they have to be sure the beads can’t escape. The beads are too big to go from the artery through the capillaries to the veins. However, they might go down wrong branches of arteries or past the tumor to other places served by the same arteries, so they place “coils” to prevent this. Anyway, it went okay.
 
Next, on Monday 5/9/16 they will put the yttrium-90 radioactive beads in using the same catheter up the femoral artery. They have to be overnighted in from Australia where they are made. Y-90 has a half-life of 11 days, so in about 2 months (66 days) they will be down to 1/64 of original strength, or almost gone. Hopefully, they take most of the tumor with them.
 
Cassi was in the hospital on Tuesday (5/8) for fainting and abdominal pain. After a few hours of tests, they determined that it wasn’t going to kill her immediately, whatever it was (probably stress). Apart from that, she has to go to the doctor to take some tests later this week.
 
I (Jim) had a severe stress reaction. I got the shakes, just as I did on the trip down to Florida from New Jersey. I had them from Wednesday evening (after Mimi got out of the hospital) for several days. I was sick since that point, sleeping most of the day. Sunday, I thought I was feeling better so we went to Costco for our monthly run. But by the time we were done shopping, I almost passed out in the parking lot.
 
Thankfully, Cassi’s friend Dylan was with us. He drove us over to the ER at Gulf Shore Hospital. They have decided to keep me overnight and run some tests.
 
Mimi is worried about me. I’m worried about Mimi. Not really a surprise there. But we’ve got things handled. For the time being. Dylan and Cassi finished the shopping. Made sure Mimi ate something and took her meds.
 
I am out of the hospital. Fine head CAT scan, fine chest x-ray, fine electrocardiogram, fine heart ultrasound, fine blood chemistry, acceptable diabetes, just exhausted and stressed. Tranquilizers on occasion. Follow up with primary physician.
 
More next week.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016 Posted by | Cancer, Health | | 4 Comments

Mimi’s Health Update, Behind the Scenes Coming Soon

Mimi’s Health Update

Round 5 (3/15/16)

We just got the results back from the latest PET scan. The tumor seems to be dying from the inside out. While the overall size hasn’t decreased, the interior of the tumor shows significantly less activity. Apparently, the outside of the tumor will collapse eventually as the interior is cleaned away. This appears to be the result of the Avastin preventing new blood vessel growth. There are no signs of cancer anywhere else.

The doctors are reevaluating, and we may do a new contrast CT to determine if it is feasible to try the radioactive beads to kill the rest of the tumor and then surgically remove the remains.

Over the last few weeks, Mimi has been feeling better, but she has been having a down week this week with both nausea and pain. It looks like it will be a little bit better going into next week.

 

Behind the Scenes at Mimidolls

Mimi & I are working on a new e-book that will take you behind the scenes at Mimidolls. It will tell you a lot about Mimi and me, and show you how we create a new workshop including why we do it the way we do and which tools we use to get it put together. It should be available here in a few days.

Saturday, March 19, 2016 Posted by | Behind the Scenes, Cancer | , | 5 Comments

Mimi’s Health Update

Round 4 (12/2015)

The cancer is all in one place. Maybe we can get it all out. (Rounds 1, 2 and 3 are reviewed below.)

Well, the cancer is not getting small enough, fast enough. A chemical indicator (CEA?) has gone up, so we did another PET scan. Now only one piece of cancer is left, but it’s growing. So we’ve added to the chemotherapy. Camptosar interferes with the cancer DNA when it tries to divide. Avastin slows the growth of new blood vessels. The cancer can’t get enough blood to grow. The CEA has gone back down. But, since the cancer is all in one place, we might be able to use radioactive beads or surgery to get rid of it.

The radioactive “beads” aren’t beads at all – they are radioactive “big” molecules that can’t pass through blood vessels below a certain size. The idea is to push a catheter up through the femoral (thigh) artery and follow the arteries all the way back to the liver and into the tumor. Then inject the radioactive stuff so that it gets carried into the tumor, and can’t get out the other side because it’s too big. It has a half-life of 11 days, and it puts all it’s radiation directly into the cancer. Then by 90 days (maybe sooner) the radiation is no longer detectable.

Did you know that the liver is the only organ in the human body that will regrow itself? If you use surgery to take out the cancer (and part of the liver), the liver will grow back. You just have to have enough left to keep you going while it grows back.

So what’s the catch?

1. Well, it seems that you have to stop the chemotherapy for 6 weeks before either procedure, to allow the chemicals to get out of your system so that you will be able to heal after the procedure. Stopping the chemo makes the cancer stronger. Will there be enough liver left?

2. If you do the “beads” first to kill off most of the tumor you might have to take out less liver.

So the doctors are still talking about it, and we are getting a little bit stressed.

We’ll have more information in a few more weeks.

Round 3 (5/2015)

The cancer is back and we’re now in round 3 of the fight. (Rounds 1 and 2 are reviewed below.)

The problem started on April 18th. Mimi tripped over one of the curbs in the parking lot in front of our apartment. When she fell, she hit her head against the car door. She thought she had a terrible case of whiplash.

We did something very dangerous. We drove her to the emergency room instead of calling an ambulance. They found she had a broken neck at C1 (top of the spine, the one that usually leaves you paralyzed). She had surgery two days later to put a screw into her neck to hold things still until it healed. She had to stop chemotherapy while her neck healed.

She spent a terrible month in a hard neck brace that didn’t allow her to move her head at all. She even had trouble opening her mouth.

After a month in the hard brace, she moved on to a soft neck brace. That made things a lot better and allowed her to get some work done. She has been in physical therapy since June so that she has enough freedom of motion to turn her head to drive again.

While her neck was healing, the cancer grew again. Now she’s back to chemotherapy and it’s getting smaller again. In the mean time, she has a bad week when she has chemo, and a good week in between. She’ll have a PET scan again in another few months and hopefully, the cancer will be undetectable again.

Round 2

At the end of the first round, there was no evidence of disease. We decided to discontinue the chemotherapy because of the side effects on Mimi’s mind and the chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). That was over a year ago.

Since that time, Mimi has had physical therapy for both hands and feet. She has worked small projects because of the limited amount of time she can work at a stretch. We have completed video taping for Mimi’s Mannequins & Pattern Draping. We have completed most of the base video taping for the first volume of the Make a Doll with Your GrandKid series. We had a decent year if not altogether good.

Then one of the PET scans came back showing a growth where one of the metastasized spots had been on the liver.

Mimi had five radiation treatments. The major side effect was overwhelming tiredness. The primary effect was nothing. The cancer didn’t seem to care. So, now Mimi is back on a different chemotherapy. This one doesn’t cause chemo fog or peripheral neuropathy. It’s principle side effects are constant nausea, chronic fatigue, and generally feeling poorly.

But the cancer is going away again.

And Mimi is designing two new dolls. They will be Spartacus and the High Priestess made in knit fabric with a much simpler and easier patterns.

Round 1 Review: Excerpted from Diary of a Mad Dollmaker, August 18, 2013.

I can’t fully express how much I appreciate the prayers and other forms of positive energy sent into the Universe on my behalf. I know your help has contributed to my healing.

My stage 4 colorectal cancer showed up in 11 months and it’s pretty much gone away in the next 11 months.

The Good News is that my last PET Scan showed the lesions in the liver and the original mass are both almost undetectable. I will have a colonoscopy in the fall to know for sure it is all gone. I have been off chemo for about a month, and I will stay off indefinitely. (Never really cured, only in remission.)

I will continue to have blood-work and have my port flushed on a monthly basis, and do another PET Scan in 3 months.

All my side effects are gone except for 2. This is the wonderful good news for me and my family.

The Not Quite So Bad News is that my year-old chemo brain should clear up in a few months. My family is very happy about that as it is driving them crazy.

The Bad News is that the Neurologist tells me that the Chemotherapy Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CINP) is permanent. I refuse to settle for that and hope for improvement over time – physical and occupational therapy and massage of hands and feet. I need to get over this now so I can drive again and get back to my first love, teaching.

The Neurologist is primarily concerned with alleviating the pain rather than improving on the function. Eventually, he wrote me a script for the same type of therapy that is used for Diabetes caused Peripheral Neuropathy. The therapist says I will be driving again in a year. (Actually, two therapists, one for hands and arms, and one for legs and feet.) They’ve put me on an exercise program that’s designed to open up new channels for nerve growth – the places that have died have to be bypassed, they won’t come back.

There is no pill, and I would be afraid of it if there was a pill – there’s a problem with side-effects on every damn drug.

Because of the serious neuropathy, handwriting and typing is painful and almost unreadable. The chemo-brain causes me to forget words, have a very short attention span, and very poor short-term memory.

I had to stop working on the DVD on Doll Hair for Dollmaker’s Journey because I simply cannot think clearly or use my hands effectively. I hope to continue this project later this year. Mary Ann at Dollmaker’s Journey has promised to do one if I did not. I hope she does this as there is a need for a good hair book. If I am able to complete it, it will be different anyway. Always room for one more.

Jim is going to concentrate on getting Earth Angels and Mannequins finished.

Jim is working on getting me to storyboard and then voice over instead of talking when I’m on camera. (I write out the script steps and voice over, then we shoot the video clip and record the sound separately.) Jim assembles the clips and voice over tracks. This avoids the problem of having to work and talk at the same time on the camera. I’m hoping to do about three small projects (simple dolls) this year including one with my great grandkid.

Happy Dolling,

Love,

Mimi

Friday, January 1, 2016 Posted by | Cancer | | 8 Comments

Mimi’s Mannequins & Pattern Draping Arrives at Christmas 2015

Mimi’s Mannequins and Pattern Draping (Techniques for Dollmaking) is almost finished and it is spectacular. It has almost 6 hours of classroom video full of techniques for dollmaking. We began this project almost 5 years ago, and we got interrupted by cancer. Now we’re back on track for Christmas of 2015.

Mimi’s Mannequins presents quarter-scale male and female mannequins as separate patterns with a single set of instructions for both. The dollmaking workshop is all about techniques and the similarity of the human form. Mimi’s Pattern Draping shows you how to create patterns for clothing that will fit your own dolls. It uses the mannequins as tailor’s dummies for draping the clothing patterns.

We have condensed the 4-day dollmaking workshop and the 2-day pattern draping workshop into almost 6 hours of video. Unlike previous workshop DVD sets, we will not be manufacturing this one by ourselves. We are forced to go to a pre-ordering setup to have the money to pay for the manufacturing.

In addition to the video, Mimi’s Mannequins includes:

  • A Shopping List e-book that you can copy to your phone or tablet (or print out) to take to the crafts store with you.
  • The pattern sheets can be printed on your own printer, or you can take them to an office supply store or copy center.
  • After watching the videos, you can use the included step-by-step, photo-by-photo storyboards on your phone, tablet, or computer to make the dolls and clothing. You can refer back to the video anytime you need it.

Who is it For?

In addition to the videos, the go-at-your-own-pace, step-by-step, picture-by-picture storyboards make Mimi’s Mannequins & Pattern Draping suitable for all levels of doll makers from beginner to advanced. You need some hand-sewing and machine-sewing experience, and it’s not really for first time (novice) dollmakers. It is particularly good for those who have trouble fitting clothes on dolls.

We’re opening a Kickstarter campaign on Thursday, Oct. 15th for pre-orders. We’re launching it on Kickstarter so we can raise enough money to publish the 4-DVD set. We’ve got some really great discounts, and some nice perks and souvenirs like the 2015 Kickstarter Hall of Fame at Mimidolls.Com, a chance to vote on features of what we do next, a signed & numbered limited edition, having your name listed in the ending credits, all the way up to a visit to Mimi’s studio.

Here’s the opening video that tells you about Mannequins. At the Kickstarter pre-order campaign.

You can also see the full video (24 minutes) of Lesson 5: Making Arm & Hands by visiting the kickstarter campaign.

Kickstarter for Mannequins

Click to visit our Kickstarter pre-order campaign

We expect to mail in time for Christmas 2015 to the US and Canada (possibly later elsewhere) for orders received by the end of the Kickstarter campaign at midnight Nov. 15, 2015. (You can still order after that on Mimidolls.Com, but you’ll miss the special prices, perks, and Christmas delivery.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015 Posted by | Free Video, Mimi's Mannequins, Sale | , , | 5 Comments

Mimi’s Health Update – Mimi’s Mannequins and Pattern Draping

Hi everybody,

Sorry for taking so long to let everybody know what’s happening with Mimi – I have been sick and away from the computer for a while.

Mimi’s neck is fine. She is off the soft collar except when she has overdone working, or come back from physical therapy. She has about one more month of physical therapy to go (twice a week to get more range of movement).

She was allowed to go back to chemotherapy about four weeks ago, but I waited for the scan results before sending out an update, and then waited while we figured out what the scan results meant. She still has the spots on the dome of her liver. We started the Captosar again, every other week, which is less aggressive treatment than before. It’s not clear whether the doctor doesn’t think more is needed, or whether he’s just treating it like a chronic disease, which it is. The Captosar causes much more nausea than the previous treatment (oxyplatin), but doesn’t cause side effects that cause peripheral neuropathy. She has a new treatment for the chemo induced peripheral neuropathy (CINP) that is much better. So, on the two week schedule, she is sick for about one week and okay for about one week and then we start over. No end in sight yet. Next scan in about 3 months.

Mannequins and Pattern Draping is almost done. We will starting taking pre-orders about the middle of September for before Christmas delivery. We are going to use a crowd funding site and have special deals and premiums to get things moving. This is necessary because it’s one hell of a good DVD class, and we can’t manufacture enough sets by ourselves, so we have to have enough money from pre-orders to pay a manufacturing company. We used to do this ourselves, but we aren’t up to it this time. We’ll send out notices when it’s ready.

Mimi only gets to her email about once every 2 weeks. Don’t be alarmed if you send her email and don’t hear back in a reasonable amount of time.

I have been sick for about a week. The doctor thinks it’s flu. I think it’s stress. I’m getting back to work now.

Thanks for your interest.

Jim

Saturday, August 29, 2015 Posted by | Cancer, Mimi's Mannequins | , | 7 Comments

Christmas Sale — Mimi’s Health — Pattern Status Update

Christmas Sale 2014

  • All downloads, 25% off.
  • All shipped items, 20% off.
  • Ends 12/31.

The Cancer is Back  ̶  Round 2

The cancer is back and we’re now in round 2 of the fight. (Round 1 is reviewed below.)

At the end of the first round, there was no evidence of disease. We decided to discontinue the chemotherapy because of the side effects on Mimi’s mind and the chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). That was over a year ago.

Since that time, Mimi has had physical therapy for both hands and feet. She has worked small projects because of the limited amount of time she can work at a stretch. We have completed video taping for Mimi’s Mannequins & Pattern Draping. We have completed most of the base video taping for the first volume of the Make a Doll with Your GrandKid series. We had a decent year if not altogether good.

Then one of the PET scans came back showing a growth where one of the metastasized spots had been on the liver.

Mimi had five radiation treatments. The major side effect was overwhelming tiredness. The primary effect was nothing. The cancer didn’t seem to care. So, now Mimi is back on a different chemotherapy. This one doesn’t cause chemo fog or peripheral neuropathy. It’s principle side effects are constant nausea, chronic fatigue, and generally feeling poorly.

But the cancer is going away again.

And Mimi is designing two new dolls. They will be Spartacus and the High Priestess made in knit fabric with a much simpler and easier patterns.

Pattern Status Update

Mimi’s Mannequins — Status (December, 2014)

Mimi’s Mannequins & Pattern Draping will be out in the first quarter of 2015. We were trying to get it out for Christmas, but between Mimi being sick and Jim having constant interruptions, we are running at about one quarter speed.

There will be 3 DVDs for the Mannequins and a 4th DVD just for the Pattern Draping. We will not be accepting orders until we are ready to ship.

There are four lessons on each of the first 3 discs. Lessons 3-12 (half of disc 1 and all of discs 2 and 3) are complete except for music. Lesson 2 needs some soundtrack fixes. Lesson 1 (Introduction) is being completely revised to show newer techniques and simpler explanations.

We have finished taping all the video for the Pattern Draping DVD. Now we need to edit it down from 8 hours to 2 hours and record the soundtrack.

Storyboard/Video Workshop
Teach Your Grand Kid to Sew – Vol 1

A single, 90 minute DVD provides a quick and easy video workshop with lots of options for customization of the face, hair, and clothing. In addition to full-size patterns, a complete storyboard is included for use step-by-step while creating the doll.

This will be our first HD video.

We have finished storyboarding and taping all steps prior to making the face. (The face is made before the head is attached to the body.)The FaceKit has been tested and we have found a new technique that makes it much easier. We have done preliminary work on the HairKit and the ClothesKit.

We are using the FaceKit, HairKit, and ClothesKit as a way to avoid copyright problems when the dolls are made to resemble TV or game favorites.

We hope to have this Combination Video Workshop finished 2nd quarter, 2015.

Spartacus & High Priestess — Status (December, 2014)

Spartacus has been redesigned and tested for double-knit stretch fabric. Both the pattern and the needle-modeling are simpler and more sophisticated. The High Priestess will be redesigned next.

We haven’t yet determined the exact format or whether both will be included with a single set of instructions for both (like Mannequins). There will be some form of Storyboard and some form of Video. We haven’t set a target date yet.

Storyboard/Video Workshop
Teach Your GrandKid to Sew – Vol 2
Teach Your GrandKid to Sew – Vol 3

A single, 90 minute DVD provides a quick and easy video workshop with lots of options for customization. Volume 2 is basic training in anatomy, proportion, balance, and motion using a simple, “sketch” doll. Volume 3 is creating simple characters for storytelling. In addition to full-size patterns, a complete storyboard is included for use step-by-step while creating the doll(s). We haven’t set the target dates yet.

Cancer Round 1 Review: Excerpted from Diary of a Mad Dollmaker, August 18, 2013.

I can’t fully express how much I appreciate the prayers and other forms of positive energy sent into the Universe on my behalf. I know your help has contributed to my healing.

My stage 4 colorectal cancer showed up in 11 months and it’s pretty much gone away in the next 11 months.

The Good News is that my last PET Scan showed the lesions in the liver and the original mass are both almost undetectable. I will have a colonoscopy in the fall to know for sure it is all gone. I have been off chemo for about a month, and I will stay off indefinitely. (Never really cured, only in remission.)

I will continue to have blood-work and have my port flushed on a monthly basis, and do another PET Scan in 3 months.

All my side effects are gone except for 2. This is the wonderful good news for me and my family.

The Not Quite So Bad News is that my year-old chemo brain should clear up in a few months. My family is very happy about that as it is driving them crazy.

The Bad News is that the Neurologist tells me that the Chemotherapy Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CINP) is permanent. I refuse to settle for that and hope for improvement over time – physical and occupational therapy and massage of hands and feet. I need to get over this now so I can drive again and get back to my first love, teaching.

The Neurologist is primarily concerned with alleviating the pain rather than improving on the function. Eventually, he wrote me a script for the same type of therapy that is used for Diabetes caused Peripheral Neuropathy. The therapist says I will be driving again in a year. (Actually, two therapists, one for hands and arms, and one for legs and feet.) They’ve put me on an exercise program that’s designed to open up new channels for nerve growth – the places that have died have to be bypassed, they won’t come back.

There is no pill, and I would be afraid of it if there was a pill – there’s a problem with side-effects on every damn drug.

Because of the serious neuropathy, handwriting and typing is painful and almost unreadable. The chemo-brain causes me to forget words, have a very short attention span, and very poor short-term memory.

I had to stop working on the DVD on Doll Hair for Dollmaker’s Journey because I simply cannot think clearly or use my hands effectively. I hope to continue this project later this year. Mary Ann at Dollmaker’s Journey has promised to do one if I did not. I hope she does this as there is a need for a good hair book. If I am able to complete it, it will be different anyway. Always room for one more.

Jim is going to concentrate on getting Earth Angels and Mannequins finished.

Jim is working on getting me to storyboard and then voice over instead of talking when I’m on camera. (I write out the script steps and voice over, then we shoot the video clip and record the sound separately.) Jim assembles the clips and voice over tracks. This avoids the problem of having to work and talk at the same time on the camera. I’m hoping to do about three small projects (simple dolls) this year including one with my great grandkid.

Happy Dolling,

Love,

Mimi,

Monday, December 8, 2014 Posted by | Cancer, Health, new patterns, Sale | , , , , | 7 Comments

Building a Character – How To Make Your Dolls Come Alive

Here are pages 109 – 116 of Mimi’s Earth Angels Storyboard Workshop.  This section begins with how to build a character and ends with picture-by-picture instructions for fitting the clothing to your particular doll.

Building a Character

A doll becomes alive when it is “somebody” instead of “something.” To a child, with a free imagination, a handkerchief doll, a clothespin doll, a pipe cleaner doll or a Raggedy Ann doll is “somebody.” Each doll has a name and a life of its own. The child invests its own emotion into the doll to make it live.

To an adult, a doll must invoke an emotion, or the memory of an emotion to seem alive. If the doll invokes a memory of times past, or of childhood dreams unfulfilled, it will live only in a collection on a shelf with the faded memories of childhood. If the doll’s life is strong enough to bring out the child within the adult, it can lead to fulfillment of those lost dreams. But if the doll creates an emotion and life in the present tense, through a sense of empathy and wonder, by recalling and recreating the human condition, then It becomes sculpture or Art. Then has the doll’s creator gained immortality by communicating beyond the bounds of time.

Let the Doll Come Alive

She was a dollmaker.
She made what she could of the doll,
until it came alive in her hands
and made what it could
of itself.

Creating a living doll is like creating anything else: at some point, the doll will take over and shape itself. The wise dollmaker knows that there is a time for discipline to enforce the basic shape of humanity, and a time to let go and let what will be, be.

Planning a Character

As an artist, you have a certain idea of what you would like to create — what it looks like, what it feels like, what it says to others. It is easiest to control the appearance of your work, for that you shape directly with your hands. You can plan the appearance of your doll by selecting the skin, eye, and hair colors, the racial features of the face, and the cut, colors, and style of the costume. This book has tried to show you how to make your doll dreams into reality.

A living character is more than appearance. You plan a character by giving it a name, a biography, a pose, and a costume. If the sum of these things forms a whole and evokes an emotion in the viewers, your work has life

If you are sensitive to it, your work will tell you its name and biography as you shape its body. Then you need only add pose and costume to help it express itself.

Naming Your Character

Like a person, a character has a name. For our children, we look through books for the meanings of names in the hopes that our children will live up to the name we give them. More primitive peoples wait until the child is older (to be sure it will survive), and base the name on the character the child has already shown.

You may name your doll before you begin, or you may wait until your doll tells you who she is. If you choose the name first, your doll will try to live up to her name. If you let your doll choose her own name, you will learn something from her.

Biography Builds Character

A biography expands on your doll’s name by giving her a past and a future. A student of psychology will recognize that the past controls the body language of the present and the expectations of the future. The past shows in our pose, expression, costume, and image. It dictates both how we perceive and treat ourselves, and how others perceive and treat us. By giving your doll a past, you determine her future.

A biography need only be a sentence or two. Where does she come from? Who were her parents? What are her aspirations? Then pose her and dress her accordingly.

Posing and Expression

We recognize expression by the shape of the eyes and the mouth, by the tilt of the head, by the bend of the elbow or knee, by the curl of a finger — by all those things which reflect our inner state of mind upon our body. You must sculpt the shape of Earth Angel’s face when first you make her. It is one of the things that will tell you who she is, To make her body match, you need only put the same expression on your own face and allow your own body to flow Into the matching position. Then copy the body language Into Earth Angel’s pose. Her head will twist and tilt. Her elbows and knees can be ladder stitched in any position. Her wrists will twist and turn. Her fingers will curl and close.

Costume and Image

A costume and its accessories merely refines the image of the character and makes it more obvious to the viewer. The right costume accentuates the character, even when the character is hiding behind the costume.

Princess Askara looks regal without her costume. “Princess” is built into her face and her posture. The costume merely tells you why she is regal.

Similarly, an Angel of Punk Rock tells you that she is hiding and afraid to let the world see who she really is, because the world might see her as nobody. Her costume says: “Look at me!” but her body language says: “I am just like all the others — you can’t tell I’m not really here.”

Earthbound Angel

Titania,
born not of the Families,
must abandon her wings,
bid freedom to Pegasus,
and become an Earthbound Angel
In whose life
the Seeds of the Wheel are sewn.

Diana de Los Angeles

Diana de Los Angeles was born with a golden spoon in her mouth and a silver chalice at her side. She lives in Marina Del Mar on-board a 48 foot Choy Lee trawler. She can tell you to the last monel screw why she thinks the Choy Lee is better than the Grand Banks trawler, and why none of the other trawlers are worthy of the name. She also owns a 51 foot Morgan Out Island ketch that she charters in the Caribbean. It is rigged for single-handing from the cockpit. She has participated in the Around-The-World Solo Sailboat Races. She is at home with a LORAN or a computer, or doing a major engine overhaul at sea. She has survived a hurricane at sea by lying awash. She has been knocked down and rolled over, but never defeated.

Betty Mae Bearcat

Betty Mae Bearcat was born and raised in Florida. She discovered at an early age that she couldn’t compete with the Golden Girls and didn’t want to spend her life as a supermarket checker or live in a ticky-tack town. During her adolescence, her best friends were alligators, and she learned more about poachers and swamps than it was safe to know. Now she holds the Unofficial Women’s Title in Unlimited Class Air Boat Racing and works for the Drug Enforcement Administration. She still knows more about swamps than it’s safe to know, but she’s awfully fast.

Rusty Rhinestone

Neither Rusty nor Rhinestone are her real names. When she grew up in a small town in Texas, her flaming red hair earned her the name of Rusty. She moved to the East Coast to find her fortune, working for a time as a dealer in an Atlantic City casino where she added Rhinestone to her name and two children to her responsibilities. Cursed with both beauty and taste, she never thought of herself as intelligent because nobody valued her for those qualities. She moved to The City to try her luck as a model, but neither Ford nor Elite found her exotic enough. She survived as a pattern model, furnishing her wardrobe from the samples that were pinned on her. When attending the Fashion Institute of Technology, she became fascinated with electronic design machines and computer graphics. She now has a degree in Computer Science and a new career selling Digital Video Effects machines to the television industry. She hopes to join the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers soon. And she still wears her West Texas cowboy boots.

Princess Askara

Princess Askara is a real princess from a tribe in West Africa. She came to the United States to study Political Science at George Washington University in the District of Columbia. Her beauty and regal poise soon attracted attention and she became a top cover model earning valuable foreign exchange for her country. She will be returning home soon, and hopes that the symbology of the spear and the flowers will help her people understand that there is more to the world than a small, proud, but impoverished country.

Costume and Accessory Notes

The sunglasses and earrings for Diana de Los Angeles are children’s toys found in a local pharmacy. The straw hats for Diana de Los Angeles and Betty Mae Bearcat were found in a local craft shop where they are usually used with flowers and ribbons.

The costume pieces for Rusty Rhinestone are completely described in this book.

Princess Askara’s spear is a 1/4 Inch wooden dowel rod cut about 30 inches long. The end has been partially pointed in a pencil sharpener and then sanded smooth. It has been stained with a mixture of Burnt Umber and Raw Sienna artists colors (in tubes) diluted with water and rubbed in with a paper towel. Her earrings are real wooden earrings with the ear wires removed and are sewn in place. Her necklace, bracelet, and anklet are assorted beads found at craft shops. The flower is selected from the artificial flowers at the craft shop. Her copper snake arm band is made from a piece of the same copper wire used for a neck support with the plastic insulation removed. It is fitted to her arm before cutting the ends, and the ends are filed smooth to prevent snags in the fabric before it is put into place.

If you are sensitive to it, your work will tell you its name and biography as you shape its body. Then you need only add pose and costume to help it express itself.

Altering Clothing Patterns to Fit

One of the beauties of cloth dolls is that no two dolls are exactly alike. Your doll may be thinner or fatter than mine. It is easy to adjust the clothing patterns to fit your doll exactly.

  1. Begin by tracing the pattern pieces on a paper towel or pellon. Mark the stitching line, not the cutting line. Cut out the traced pattern leaving lots of extra space around the stitching lines. On a pattern piece with a fold line, don’t leave extra where the fold will go.
  2. Pin the traced pattern to the doll. In the case of the tank top shown here, the fold line goes down the middle of the doll’s back.
  3. Now pin the pattern on the doll so that it fits properly. Tear or cut the edge, or make darts as necessary. Add extra by using transparent tape on both sides of the pattern piece (so that it sticks to itself, not to something else). Using a soft pencil, mark the new stitching line. On a chubby doll such as this, the new stitching line will be outside the original stitching line.
  4. Flatten the pattern piece back out. You will see both the old and new stitching lines (left). Trace the new stitching lines onto a piece of tracing paper (right).
  5. EA-Sample_html_236fc323If you place the new pattern piece on top of (left) or next to (right) the old one, you can see how different they are.
  6. If the pattern piece you are adjusting has a dart, make the dart in the paper or pellon pattern and adjust it also as needed.

Hints:

  • Make a test garment from inexpensive fabric to check fit before using your fashion fabric.
  • You may have to make multiple pattern fittings and possibly multiple test garments.

Mimi’s Earth Angels
On Sale Until 12/31/13 – $25.00 (Reg $30.00)

Download Electronic PDF files

The electronic files are approximately 105 MB. Most high-speed Internet connections in the United States or Canada download the files in 5 minutes or less. We haven’t heard of any problems with downloading time.

When you order Mimi’s Earth Angels by download, you will receive a return email with download links as soon as we can send it out. Please be sure that your email address listed with PayPal is correct.

Please be patient. It’s just Mimi and Jim and we have to process each order by hand.

Download Files Anywhere in the World $25
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To order a CD instead of a download, please visit http://Mimidolls.Com

Tuesday, December 17, 2013 Posted by | Instructions, Mimi's Earth Angels | , | Leave a comment

Earth Angels is Back! — The Story Behind the Story

Mimi’s Earth Angels is finally back! It has taken almost a year to rework Earth Angels into a new and better book.

Earth Angels was originally written in 1986 – before we had computers that can do a whole book at a time. The original pictures were taken with a film camera and individually “screened” in the darkroom to make halftones that are used for offset printing. There was no easy way to get the original pictures into the computer. We had to scan the printed pictures from a copy of the book and then re-optimize them, one-by-one, for the computer.

The original text was created on the computer, printed out, and then pasted around the pictures to make the book. The original text was not available. We had to scan the text and use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to recreate it. OCR has an accuracy of 99%. That means that one of every 100 characters was wrong. That’s why we had to do major proof reading. (A thank you to the five proof readers is on page 13.)

The original patterns were made to be printed on 22″ by 38″ paper for easy printing. We had to redo all the pattern sheets to fit on 8½” by 11″ paper.

But those were the small problems. The big problem was the 1990 update. When you are dealing with a paper book, you can put notes here and there to tell the reader to read the pages in different order. That doesn’t work on a computer. Because the 1990 update introduced a separate head, the entire sequence had to be changed. Do the head first, so you can try again if you don’t like it. Then do the body. The original Earth Angels had an attached head and was stuffed from an opening in the crotch. The revised Earth Angels had a separate head and was stuffed through the neck. The new Earth Angel was much easier to make, but we had to shuffle the whole book (and write new instructions).

The other big problem was that the original Earth Angels was meant to be read in portrait mode (short edge at the top, binding on the left) but modern screen sizes on computers work much better in landscape mode (short edge on the sides, binding at the top). We changed every page and every picture to make the book work in landscape mode.

We think the result is amazing! We had a great book when we started, now we have an amazing book! Here’s the description:

Princess Kalayla

Princess Kalayla
24″ cloth doll
Displayed by invitation at the Louvre, Paris.

Rusty

Mimi’s Earth Angels is the double-knit fashion doll statement for all cloth dollmakers.

  • Beginers — Over 1000 step-by-step photos in a storyboard format. Each picture is side-by-side with the instructions for the step. No skipped steps.
  • Intermediates — You are learning techniques, that apply to all your dollmaking.
  • Advanced cloth dollmakers — Explanation of how to change different features when you design your own variations or your own dolls.
  • Costumers — a wonderful doll to design and sew clothes for. Includes a section on how to design characters.”
  • Includes patterns for both 24-inch and 17-inch fashion dolls and basic contemporary clothing.
  • Includes instructions for fitting clothes to your particular doll (which may be a much different size than my doll).

Over 1000 step-by-step pictures guide you through every facet of making Mimi’s Earth Angels. Beautiful, full-figured 17″ and 24″ fashion dolls with basic contemporary clothing including: underwear, swimwear, sarong, tank top, designer jeans, slacks, shorts, man-tailored shirt with variations, sandals, boots, crocheted jacket and vest.

  • Full-sized, cut-out patterns.
  • You are licensed to sell dolls made from this pattern.
  • Mimi’s Earth Angels includes 168-page instruction book, certificate, hang tag, easy new head and foot patterns, and 17″ and 24″ pattern sheets.
Contents

  • Introduction to the 3rd Edition – 2013
  • Introduction to the 2nd Edition – 1990

What’s New

  • The New Pattern Pieces
  • Assembling Pattern Pieces

About the Designer

Contents – Subject Finder

Mimi’s Page

  • Thank You

Some Comments on Perfection

  • What to Expect

Tools, Tips and Techniques

  • Making and Using Mimi’s Stuffing Tool
  • Preserving Your Patterns
  • Finding the Right Side of Double Knit Stretch Fabric
  • How to Tie a Square knot
  • Choosing & Using Electric Glue Guns

Mimi’s Hints for Dollmakers

  • Marking Patterns
  • Gutting the Fabric
  • Sewing the Dollskin
  • Stuffing Techniques
  • Sculpting Techniques
  • Sealing Techniques
  • Joints
  • Hair
  • Eyes
  • Dolls for Children
  • Miscellaneous
  • Signing your work
  • Photographing Your Work
  • Cleaning Your Doll

License to Reproduce Dolls For Sale by Artisan

Special Notes (1990 Update)

Materials and Sources

Tools for Earth Angel & Dollmaking

Considerations for Beginners

Ethnic Variations

Getting Things in Order

Cutting Layout

Making Earth Angel

The Head

  • Tracing the Face Features
  • Eye Options
  • Shaping the Eyes
  • Iron-on Eyes (Optional)
  • Sew-on Eyes (Optional)
  • Embroidered Eyes (Optional)
  • Painting the Eyes (Optional)
  • Marking or Painting the Eyebrows (Optional)
  • Marking or Painting the Eyelashes (Optional)
  • Sewing the Head
  • Stuffing the Head
  • Sculpting the Eyes (Optional)
  • Sculpting the Nose (Optional)
    • Sculpting the Bridge of the Nose (Original Method)
    • Sculpting the Base of the Nose (Original Method)
    • Sculpting the Middle Nose (Original Method)
  • Sculpting the Lips (Optional)
  • Making the Ears (Optional)
    • Attaching the Ears

The Arms

  • Sewing the Arm and Hand
  • Interfacing the Palms (Optional)
  • Stitch the Arm and Hand
  • Turning the Fingers
  • Finishing the Hand
  • Wiring the Fingers (Alternate Option)
  • Making Knuckles & Forming Thumbs (Optional)
  • Stuffing the Forearms
  • Adding the Wrist Bone (Optional)
  • Stuffing the Upper Arm & Adding Arm Joint
  • Closing the Arm – Ladder Stitching
  • Sculpting the Elbow (Optional)
  • Sculpting the Wrist (Optional)

Assembling Torso

  • Assembling Torso Front
  • Assembling Torso
  • Preparing Torso Sides
  • Assembling Legs and Feet
  • Attaching Legs to Body

Stuffing & Sculpting the Doll

  • Foot Plate (Optional)
  • Stuffing the Foot
  • Sculpting Toes (Optional)
  • Adding Ankle Bones & Sculpting Ankle (Optional)
  • Stuffing the Legs
  • Sculpting the Knee (Optional)
  • Stuffing Lower Torso and Waist
  • Sculpting the Bottom (Optional)
  • Sculpting Buttocks Dimples (Optional)
Attaching the Arms

  • Stuffing the Upper Torso
  • Stuffing the Bust
  • Making the Neck Support (Optional)
  • Sculpting the Bust

Attaching the Head

Finishing Touches

  • Adding Eye Shadow (Optional)
  • Adding Lip Color (Optional)
  • Finishing Face Color (Optional)
  • Sculpting the Belly Button (Optional)
  • Sculpting the Nipples (Optional)

Hair, Character and Costume

  • And Finally

Selecting the Hair Style

Making Doll Hair (Optional)

  • Wefting the Yarn for Hair
  • Preparing Gluing Tools
  • Marking Hair Lines
  • Starting the Hair
  • Putting Hair on the Front of Head
  • Putting Hair on the Back of Head
  • Fluffing Short Hair
  • Trimming Short Hair
  • Fluffing Long Hair
  • Trimming Long Hair

Finishing Your Doll (Optional)

  • Toenails (Optional)
  • Fingernails (Optional)
  • Blush (Optional)
  • Finished Doll

Building a Character

  • Let the Doll Come Alive
  • Planning a Character
  • Naming Your Character
  • Biography Builds Character
  • Posing and Expression
  • Costume and Image
  • Earthbound Angel
  • Diana de Los Angeles
  • Betty Mae Bearcat
  • Rusty Rhinestone
  • Princess Askara
  • Costume and Accessory Notes

Altering Clothing Patterns to Fit

Underwear / Swimwear

  • Cutting
  • Panty / Bikini Bottom
  • Bra / Bikini Top
  • Beach Towel and Accessories

Askara’s Sarong

  • Cutting
  • Sarong Body
  • Sarong Tie

Tank Top

  • Cutting
  • Tank Top

Designer Jeans / Slacks / Shorts

  • Cutting
  • Legs
  • Pockets
  • Assembling
  • Waistband

Man-Tailored Shirt with Variations

  • Cutting
  • Making the Shirt Body
  • Adding the Tie Collar
  • Adding the Business Collar
  • Adding and Finishing Short Sleeves
  • Adding and Finishing Long Sleeves
  • Finishing the Hem

Sandals

  • Cutting
  • Assembling the Sandals

Rusty’s Boots

  • Heels and Soles
  • Protecting the Doll – Glue Barrier
  • Making Fabric Substrate
  • Plasticizing the Fabric
  • Filling and Painting
  • Removing the Boots
  • Finishing the Boots

Crocheted Jacket / Vest

  • Jacket / Vest Body
  • Ribbing
  • Body
  • Shape Neck
  • Back
  • Collar
  • Sleeves (Jacket Only)
  • Cuff
  • Sleeve
  • Sleeve Cap
  • Assemble Vest
  • Install Zipper
  • Add Sleeves
  • How to Loop Stitch

Mimi’s Earth Angels
On Sale Until 12/31/13 – $25.00 (Reg $30.00)

Download Electronic PDF files

The electronic files are approximately 105 MB. Most high-speed Internet connections in the United States or Canada download the files in 5 minutes or less. We haven’t heard of any problems with downloading time.

When you order Mimi’s Earth Angels by download, you will receive a return email with download links as soon as we can send it out. Please be sure that your email address listed with PayPal is correct.

Please be patient. It’s just Mimi and Jim and we have to process each order by hand.

Download Files Anywhere in the World $25
Please Use this Button (opens a new tab):

To order a CD instead of a download, please visit http://Mimidolls.Com

Monday, December 2, 2013 Posted by | Mimi's Earth Angels | | 4 Comments

Mimi is Okay!

Mimi has No Evidence of Disease (NED) which is what they call remission now-a-days. She still has the peripheral neuropathy problems from the chemotherapy, but can drive again and is working, but slowly. I’ll try to get a more complete report out in the next few days.

We got a lot of good input from the proofreaders for Earth Angels. Each person found a different type of stuff, and everybody found some things that no one else did. I have another day or two to put the corrections in, and then I should have a status report on Earth Angels also. (The patterns are all bitmaps, and they print too slowly – I’m working on that.)

Happy Dolling,
Jim

Thursday, November 7, 2013 Posted by | Cancer, Mimi's Earth Angels | , | 14 Comments

General Update: Screaming Mimis, Work-in-Progress, Cancer Report, Next Project, Earth Angels, Help Wanted

Hi Everybody.

I have a bunch of stuff today and the first item is related to the Screaming Mimis, I originally posted this to the Screaming Mimi’s, but the new Yahoo interface is poorly designed. It took me a long time to figure out how to post. I’m posting here, in case you didn’t get it there.

 Thank you Sandra for doing a thorough job of finding us alternatives. You’re doing exactly the right thing by looking for the simplest, easy-to-use, format. I had a great deal of trouble just figuring out how to post, now that Yahoo is still messed up. We both really appreciate your work! Without you it wouldn’t have happened.

Mimi is working on refurbishing some of her class-sample dolls. She has some good gallery opportunities through the Southwest Florida Fine Craft Guild. Her next series will be elves and fairies. She needs a doll that is simple and fast to make because the chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) won’t let her hands work for long periods of time at the same thing. The elves are simpler to sew, simpler to stuff, simpler to pose, and simpler to dress. The trick is to make them sophisticated while simple.

Mimi has had 6-weeks of intensive therapy for her hands and feet, and is doing almost everything again, including driving, but in smaller doses. Over the next  three or four weeks, we should have the results back from the scans, and know what’s happened to the cancer.

I have completely rewritten Mimi’s Earth Angels. This was our second book. Earth Angels is for a 24″ fashion doll. The patterns include both 17″ and 24″ dolls and 160, 8-1/2 by 11″ pages of storyboard, picture-by-picture, photos. There are slightly over 1,000 photos. The costumes include bikini/underwear, tank top, man-tailored shirt with variations, shorts/slacks/jeans, shoes, and a crocheted jacket. The instructions show you how to adjust costume patterns to fit your dolls.

It should be ready to go out near the beginning of November. It is too big to fit on a CD, so we have put it on a DVD-ROM (which most computers can read – it is NOT for TV viewing).

We need some help. We need 2 more proof-readers. Since a lot of the text was read in from a printed copy of the book, our 99% accurate optical character reader program has one character wrong every 100 characters. It’s a big book. If you like proof-reading, and are good at it, you may be able to help us. Here’s what’s involved:

You do NOT have to make a doll.

1. Download the draft copy of the patterns and book. It is 1.2 Gigabytes long. It takes an hour to download here on Comcast cable. It took 6 hours in Berkley, CA on an independent Internet service provider. It may also seriously eat into your data-cap as it will take as much data as a two hour movie.

2. Read it over and make notes on anything you find wrong. put the notes in an email to me so I can make corrections. I need to know by page and location, exactly where the problem is, and what is wrong. We’re using email because markup and return files takes too much time and data.

3. Please get it done in the next week so we can get it out in early November. I’ll be working on the packaging and web page while you are reading.

The time or data cost for downloading may be a problem. The need to read rapidly may be a problem.

You’ll get a copy of the published Storyboard Workshop DVD-ROM.

The final price is expected to be about $25 for the download with shipping added for DVD-ROM. I expect there to be some kind of price break for Christmas for both  Mimi’s Earth Angels, and also on a single DVD-ROM containing all three of the knit-fabric storyboard books, Mimi’s Adam and Eva, Mimi’s Earth Angels, and Mimi’s Universal Toddler.

Anyway, if you’re interested in helping by proof-reading, please drop me an email at: Jim (at) JimWiner (dot) Com. I’m sorry, I have to limit this to 2 proof-readers.

Happy Dolling,

Jim

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 Posted by | Diary, Mimi's Earth Angels, Screaming Mimis | , , | 6 Comments

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