My Sister Made Me Do It! – Chapter 4: NIADA March 1985

Cancer Report

To everyone who sent me lovely gifts; beautiful examples of their work, thank you so  much. That is adorable and made me smile. And the beautiful cards both the electric cards and the ones I can hold. Thank you so much for thinking of me. Thank you so very much for your lovely samples of your art work, I treasure them all, and especially for your prayers.

I have not paid much attention to the computer and email for the past few weeks and will probably continue to be listless about it. There are only two more treatments and then either it’s over or I take a break  and enjoy AFICC. I can’t wait. What fun to look forward to.

The reason for the inattention is that I have been feeling a bit under the weather for the past several weeks. No off week last week and just had the fourth infusion of round two last Monday. I have been feeling the cumulative effects from the three bags of poison that is fed into my chest every two weeks for five months… Nothing serious. It is not the cancer: this is the chemo sickness.

My numbers are still low but not very and come up a fraction of a point every week and that is very good.  I am scheduled for another PET Scan soon. More news after I see my oncologist the following Monday. I am spending most of my time dozing in my recliner because between the nausea and the feeling of total exhaustion that there is absolutely no energy to do anything. Today I am able to type for a while. Every day gets a little bit easier and then it starts all over again.

I am trying to rid my body of inflammation by cutting out most, eventually all, animal protein and all sugar. These cause inflammation which encourages and feeds cancer cells. I saw the photos of a scan that when the nuclear medicine mixed with the glucose (sugar) the cancer lit up like a Christmas tree and began to grow. Funny that I no longer miss the sugar. I have been cutting down drastically but there were a few slips from time to time – very small ones. I have to get this body in good health so it can be more efficient at healing itself.

So that is my goal: To make this body last another 20 years. I have too much work to do here and I will need the energy to do it and this is how I shall. A Mediterranean diet and enough exercise. It will take a few months to get strong again. I have been out of the gym for almost five years. But our apartment complex has a lovely gym and it is free to tenants along with a lovely pool. As soon as I get off the chemo its back to the gym. Baby steps at first but I tend to get in competition with myself and overdo it. Jim is always telling me to take it easy and slow down a bit.
Gloria (aka Mimi)


  • Chat every Sunday evening at 7 to 8 pm Eastern time (GMT-5). Go to Chat.Quiltropolis.Com choose a user name, select “The Screaming Mimis” from the drop-down list, and click the “Join Chat” button. You don’t have to be a member to join the chat, but we’d love to have you as a member of the group.


My Sister Made Me Do It!

A Memoir of My 30 year Journey to Becoming a Doll Artist

Chapter -4:  NIADA (National Institute of American Doll Artists) March, 1985

NIADA! Finally! I waited for the day it opened for a long month. I think it was March because it was Spring and my coat felt good. I don’t know how many days NIADA ran, probably three. Now it’s longer. I wish I could remember every minute.

I arrived at the hotel across 7th Avenue from Pennsylvania Station at 9am. I was met by Mirren Barrie, President of NIADA (you can see a retrospective of her work at NIADA.Org). There were 50 or 60 people in the large room. Mirren read the agenda for the day and I wish I could remember it all. They usually have programs by various artistes, both NIADA and non-members, who show slides of their work and tell the story of each doll. I loved them all. I met Carole Bowling who spent an hour explaining how she created a perfect portrait of her son at 4 years old. She covered the sculpt with cloth and made a cloth body. My mind exploded! The ideas! I had no idea these kinds of people existed! Doll Artists! I wanted to be a Doll Artist!

I attended every program that morning. On a break that afternoon, I wondered over to the bar to get a bottle of soda water and this interesting looking couple, three sheets to the wind, were discussing dollmaking. I eavesdropped for a while and then joined the conversation. I had just met Lisa Lichtenfels and Bob McKinley. They were calming their nerves while waiting to see if the Standards Committee and the present member artists found their work worthy of membership. It was announced later when we were invited to view the new members work. They both got in.

There was a mixer that evening where the artists, patrons and guests were introduced to each other. I had no idea who anyone was. I did get an invitation to visit a United Federation of Doll Clubs (UFDC) in New York City. I did visit the National Doll and Toy Collectors Club of NYC and was an active member from 1985 until we moved to Florida last July.

The next morning I took my first modeling class from Susanna Oroyan. I sat next to R. John Wright’s wife. She modeled her young daughter’s face. The child was about 6-years old. When I saw his dolls, I knew she modeled the faces for her husband’s dolls. She never publically said so.

At some point, the Standards Committee critiqued “guest artist” dolls for $25. (I had registered far in advance.) I brought my newborn male doll, Adam. He was sexed and bare naked. R. John Wright stood up inside a circle of 5 seated artists – the Standards Committee – and held the doll up. This was a program with an audience. I don’t even remember if there was another to be critiqued. I was mortified that he thought it was “cute” but not anatomically correct. The arms and legs were too long and the genitals too large.

I said: “You haven’t met my newborn grandson.” (He grew up to be 6’ 7” and one of New York’s Finest.) Then he passed it around the committee. Most of the other artists echoed the chairs opinion. Mirren Barrie said I should study with Lisa Lichtenfels because she too did soft sculpture!

I asked Lisa if she gave classes. She said she would think about it.

On Sunday was what everyone wanted to see: the Annual NIADA Show and Sale. Tables were set up around the perimeter of the room. As I walked around the room, I talked with each artist about how they did this and that, and they explained so much. I was amazed at how open and friendly everyone was.

When I got around the room, I was amazed: Carol Nordel had sculpted Camelot in miniature. There must have been dozens and dozens of figures – horses, armored knights, medieval ladies, a castle. I burst into tears.

Little (5’ tall), and quite gently Mirren Barrie reached up to touch my shoulder. She asked (with about 5 “Rs” in the word): “Is this your firrrrrst time dearie?” Then I lost it. She was so cool. She said I was “viewing the best of the best” and she was glad to see how it moved me.

Many, many years later, when Carol Nordel was suffering from dementia, at her last NIADA convention, she “showed” work that had retreated to child-like primitive. I cried yet again.

Continued next week – Chapter 5:  Reno, Nevada


My Sister Made Me Do It! – Chapter 3: How the Cloth Doll Magazine Changed My Life

First, the usual announcements:

  • Chat every Sunday evening at 7 to 8 pm Eastern time (GMT-5). Go to Chat.Quiltropolis.Com choose a user name, select “The Screaming Mimis” from the drop-down list, and click the “Join Chat” button. You don’t have to be a member to join the chat, but we’d love to have you as a member of the group.
  • Nine rounds of chemo down, 3 more to go. I’m wiped out for about a week each time. I have found that the anti-nausea pills have more and worse side effects than the chemo. I’m trying an alternate method for stopping the queasiness.


My Sister Made Me Do It!

A Memoir of My 30 year Journey to Becoming a Doll Artist

Chapter -3:  How the Cloth Doll Magazine Changed My Life

One day in the early 1980s, I was thumbing through a new issue of the first “Crafts Magazine” EVER! I came across an ad for Cloth Doll Magazine. I jumped off the couch and immediately ran to write a check to order a subscription. I was so excited to discover there was a magazine for and by cloth dollmakers. I was overjoyed when my first issue arrived. I sat down and read it from cover to cover, then ordered every back issue available. (There were 5 or 6 by then.)

I devoured them all as soon as they arrived. I wanted to meet the authors of the articles. I was enjoying Judy Waters, elinor peace bailey, Bonnie Boots and publisher Leta Bergman. This magazine put me in touch with other pattern designers, and sellers, and sources for hard-to-find dollmaking supplies.

I thought this was wonderful. It eventually steered my path into cloth dollmaking, and since then dollmaking has been very good to me for over 30 years. Oh! The places I’ve been and the wonderful people I’ve met. I wish I had kept a Journal, but my aging memory will have to suffice. Unless I can find the back issues of “Let’s Talk About Dollmaking,” the newsletter to my family and one or two friends that became the original Diary of a Mad Dollmaker as I wrote about each thing as it happened. (Before computers, we made up originals of each page and ran copies on a Xerox machine.)

I kept on making big dolls for toys for children. I did a few local crafts shows a year to sell them. I kept one in my arms at each show. I handed one to any kid who was interested. It usually sold as they didn’t want to give it back. Today, when I look back at those photos, I want to get them all back and bury them all. I guess they were pretty good for the time, and my little experience at toy making.

I was tired of putting together pieces of several patterns to try to make then different, and decided to try to design my own. It took a while, but eventually I created a pair of 18” baby dolls. They were supposed to be new-born babies. I sexed them, one boy and one girl. A year or so before this, I made a large boy doll for a friend’s 4th birthday. Daniel’s mom is Japanese and dad is mixed American. Daniel looked very Japanese. He was a beautiful boy. I made his doll with Asian colored skin and Japanese eyes. When Daniel opened the box he said “WOW. “

I said: “And he looks just like you.”

Daniel immediately pulled down the doll’s pants and said “NO he doesn’t! Can you make him into a boy?”

So I took him home and did just that. Daniel was pleased to have a real boy doll.

So I began to sex the toy dolls to make them more appealing to boys.

Soon after, I got a call from our local police chief, who asked: “Could you make several sets of boys and girls that the local police can use to help abuse victims tell what happened to them?” He asked for open mouths and vaginas and anuses. Well, that took a few tries to work out but over the next year or so, I must have made over 100 of these for the Jersey State Police. They found them very useful for kids who had been abused but would not or could not verbalize what happened to them. I was quite proud of those dolls. I made them for only the cost of materials and shipping. It felt food to help the healing to begin with these dolls. I received many letters from police and social workers who praised them. It really felt wonderful.

In 1985 I read an article in Cloth Doll Magazine by Gail Enid Zimmer about the National Institute of American Doll Artists (NIADA), an organization of doll artists. Who knew?

I came from the business world. When I changed careers and went into telecommunications (antique telephones), I joined the professional groups and read lots of books and files to learn my new trade. Therefore, when I decided I wanted to be a doll artist, I thought I could join a doll makers group and get an education.

I wrote a letter to Ms Zimmer asking how I could join NIADA and asked for contact information.

In a very few days, I received her reply. She wrote: “My dear, one just does not simply join NIADA. One must be invited to pass a rigorous standards procedure that takes two years. NIADA accepts only the crème de la crème of doll artists into their ranks.”

Then she said: “However, the organization is convening next month in New York City at the Pennsylvania Hotel. You can come as a guest artist and can bring your original dolls to be critiqued by the Standards Committee. And she listed the contact information.

I called, got the cost and the dates. Since I had left New York City over 3 years earlier, I called a friend to ask if I could stay at her apartment so I could afford to attend the convention.

Then I mailed the check.

I didn’t even think to call Jim and ask him if I could go back to the City for 5 days. When he got home, he thought it was a wonderful idea.

Continued next week – Chapter 4:  NIADA March, 1985

My Sister Made Me Do It! – Chapter 2: Down the Shore

First, the usual announcements:

  • Chat every Sunday evening at 7 to 8 pm Eastern time (GMT – 5 hours). Go to Chat.Quiltropolis.Com choose a user name, select “The Screaming Mimis” from the drop-down list, and click the “Join Chat” button. You don’t have to be a member to join the chat, but we’d love to have you as a member of the group.


My Sister Made Me Do It!

A Memoir of My 30 year Journey to Becoming a Doll Artist

Chapter -2:  Down the Shore

We lived in a Bed+Bath. My Jim helped my cousin Mary’s Jim build a 2-room extension out of their garage so we could live there. My Jim may be the only Jewish husband who knows how to use tools. He did all the electrical work (to code) and learned how to sheet rock, etc.

My Jim got a short-term contract in Washington, D.C., and commuted on the weekends. I kept house and cooked for Mary who worked very long hours and had three daughters, one tween and two teens. Chrisi (had disappeared from New York and gone back to live with her mother.

We did not own a car in the city. It cost as much to park as for a small apartment. Jim rented a car and drove to D.C. every Monday morning and back every Friday evening.

I became a housekeeper for 6 months, and Mary and her Jim and me and my Jim are still good friends. After 6 months, we found a rental in a condo development. We were “cliff dwellers” from New York, and were comfortable in a 2-bedroom, 1-bath apartment, the size of my studio apartment before I met Jim.

A few weeks after moving into the apartment, Jim found work locally and we each got a used car. I found a couple of private art teachers for more painting – mostly florals, landscapes, and seascapes. I was still interested in surface design on fabric. But I was still painting on canvas boards and lots of drawing pads – and not much fabric. I had no space to work.

I have cousins in Atlanta, as well as my sister and her family. Bobbie had often come to the City to visit me, but I had not been to Atlanta for a long time. I flew down to visit my family.

Bobbie drove us out to my cousin’s house in Stone Mountain, GA. I knew Diane was a doll collector. She had dozens of large baby dolls. Bobbie loved a big cloth doll that Diane had bought at the gift shop called “The Cabbage Patch” at a tiny antique maternity in Stone Mountain. Diane began to make the bodies for these dolls in spare time (she was a banker),

Seems a fella named Xavier Roberts had started a cottage industry with ladies in the area making the dolls, and he had purchased an old, but small, maternity hospital once called the “Lying-In Hospital” and now the nursery became the show room. Each doll had to be adopted with official paperwork and certificates. This was the beginning of the “Cabbage Patch Dolls.” They still had cloth heads. Within two years, they were showing up in Point Pleasant and everywhere else with plastic heads and cloth bodies.

As we were driving away from Diane’s house, Bobbie asked how I liked Diane’s dolls.

I said: “They’re fine. A few are quite beautiful and may be valuable, but I was not really impressed. I hated the Cabbage Patch dolls ugly faces and can’t believe she paid $50 for a 25-inch cloth doll with an ugly face.”

So Bobbie asked if I wanted to visit a craft store. I got excited! There wasn’t even a craft store in New York City except the top floor of Pearl Paint – a decrepit building on Canal Street with a construction elevator with one wall up to the 5th floor craft department.

She took a giddy me to a very large craft store which a few years later was part of a chain of shops bought by Michael’s. I was in heaven.

Bobbie asked me if I would make her a doll. I was surprised. I let her know that I knew nothing about dollmaking, less about shoe-making, wigging, and all the stuff required to make a doll. She insisted: “You can do anything. You have been sewing most of your life!” She marched me over to a table showing a couple of sample large dolls of cloth and some pattern books called Foster Kids designed by Esther Lee Foster packaged with a yard of double-knit polyester fabric called “Southern Comfort.”

Of course, the bourbon folks got upset and made them change the name. Since it was made by Windsor Mills, it became Windsor Comfort. Windsor also made Ponte (a heavier) double-knit fabric. Both knit fabrics were made for undergarments for “Plain People” aka Pennsylvania Dutch, Amish, etc. There was a limited choice of color.

Anyway, Bobbie started it all by insisting I make her a boy doll with red hair and freckles. I had to! She phoned several times a week until I started one to shut her up!

Well, he was not beautiful. I kept making several more – boys and girls – not sexed, just dressed genderly! Bobbie got the third one. I kept the first one and dated him and hid him in the closet for years. I learned a lot. Not to pull stitches too tight was very important.

Jim came home from work one day and the dolls were all over the place. I was having so much fun! He asked: “What are you going to do with these?”

I said: “I haven’t a clue – maybe give them to family members for Christmas.” This was mid-November 1983.

He asked: “Have you any idea how much money you are spending at Cloth World? – and mail order from Foster?”

I said meekly: “Not a clue.” (I knew I was in trouble.)

He marched down to the local firehouse and got me a table at the upcoming craft show the day after Thanksgiving. Since the indoor space in the firehouse was sold out, he also bought me a set of long warm ski underwear to keep me warm as I sold dolls outdoors in 25 degree (F) weather. By this time, I was combining Esther Lee’s head with a baby doll pattern by Tiny Tots. Still not making original dolls, but they were nice 25” and 28” baby dolls and toddlers. Jim priced them at $65 and took orders to customize them by sex, hair and eye color, and clothing style.

We got over 50 orders that cold day. Now we had a problem! We had to deliver before Christmas Eve! We took 50% on order and the rest on delivery to pay for supplies. I sewed and stuffed and finished the dolls. My daughter Cathie, a stay at home mom, made the clothing to my patterns. We purchased baby shoes wholesale. Jim used his drill press to make a yarn winder to wrap yarn around a wood frame. The frame fit under the sewing machine needle to sew wefts of yarn for hair.

All of the dolls were delivered before 10pm Christmas Eve. All the 15 or so samples went to the family for Christmas. I learned to love being a dollmaker.

Continued next week – Chapter 3: My First Original Pattern

My Sister Made Me Do It! – A Memoir of My 30 year Journey to Becoming a Doll Artist – Chapter 1

First, the usual announcements:

  • Chat every Sunday evening at 7 to 8 pm Eastern time (GMT-5). Go to Chat.Quiltropolis.Net choose a user name, select “The Screaming Mimis” from the drop-down list, and click the “Join Chat” button.
  • We have a new tutorial on Making a Bowler (Felt) Hat by Jorge Fernandez, Santiago, Chile at Mimidolls.Com. You can read it on-line, or download a copy.

Now the big deal!

I was in at the beginning of the whole doll art movement. So many of them (the artists) are gone, and the history is in danger of being lost.

So here’s my story. I will post a new chapter each week until it’s finished. When it’s all done,  it will be available as an e-book with all the chapters.


My Sister Made Me Do It!

A Memoir of My 30 year Journey to Becoming a Doll Artist


to James Mitchell Winer, Partner for 40 years – husband for 35 of them, who also funded this journey, and, of course, to my beloved sister, Roberta Ann Jackson Taylor aka Bobbie. I miss you every day sis.

Introduction:  Fort Myers, Florida, February, 2013.

Today is the ninth chemotherapy session of twelve. This stuff is cumulative and a bit more side effects than in the first six.  I won’t get much done this week, only a couple of hours a day before I’m exhausted. Next week with no chemo will be good.

This afternoon, I asked Jim to post a wonderful photo of the day in 1985 that elinor peace bailey and I met for the first time. As I told him the story behind the photograph, this book was born. That story is coming soon – in  book time, but I need to start at the beginning.

Chapter -1:  New York City

My journey began on a Summer week-day in the cafeteria of a 50-some story skyscraper on Wall Street. The building was the World Headquarters for one of the “Big Banks” (now a little part of some other Big Bank). Work was a 15-minute subway ride from our 16th floor apartment on East 87th Street off Third Avenue.

A summer day in 1979. I was taking my tray to the conveyor belt on the way out of the cafeteria when I felt a huge chest pain and had difficulty breathing. I fell to the floor. Next thing I knew, several paramedics and EMT folks were asking questions like they thought it was a heart episode. They got me into the emergency room at Mount Sinai Hospital.

After deciding there was no heart event, and no lung embolism, they called for a gastrointerologist. I got the whole bit – upper and lower GI tract. They found a hiatal hernia. My esophagus was in trouble. Too much stress.

Jim was so relieved he asked me: “If you didn’t have to go to business every day, what would you do?”

In a New York Minute, I answered “All of my life I wanted to be an artist, but I got pregnant as a teen-ager and spent the next 20 years raising kids – 2 girls and a boy.” (After a teen-aged wedding before I embarrassed my family. Not many options in 1949. It lasted 12 years.)

As a young child, my mother said we could probably afford some lessons, but not the art supplies. She was right. Dad was a sailor in the Navy. Not an officer, but an enlisted swabie. He did work up to a Master Welder MCB4 in the SeaBees and served 2 tours in Vietnam as a Great Grandfather. But there was no money for many extras. I was the eldest of three – myself (Gloria Mae), Bobbie Ann, and Alan Arnold aka “Buck” as he named himself at 3.

Jim responded to my answer with another question: “What do you want to study?”

I said: “Art. I want to draw like I used to, learn to paint, and study surface design techniques.”

Jim then gave me my dream. He said: “So give notice and enroll in school. This is New York City. You can study anything here.”

I had recently been diagnosed as dyslexic and did not want to go through the math courses (numbers moved around) and did not care about a certificate or a degree. I just wanted the education.

So I took classes at the School of Visual Arts on 23rd Street for several semesters. All the teachers were working artists. I took drawing and oil painting classes several days a week. Then I took courses in Life Drawing and Design at the National Academy of Art and Design for a couple of years.

I remember one life session at the Art Students League. Most of the students were female and many were middle-aged. The nude model was new at his job and nervous. Every time I looked up from my drawing, a certain part of his anatomy had moved again – and the poor boy’s face was blush red. Poor kid.

I also took classes at the New School of New York City and studied batik making with Indian teachers, Shibori with Japanese teachers, and Silk Painting with a French teacher. At this time, Silk Painting was just getting started and all silk paint was imported from Paris and brushes from China. Neither was available here. I spent 2 more years taking classes 5 days a week at several locations. When you are not matriculating, you pay a lot less for the course and there is no obligation to do the homework as it is not graded. I did most of the homework because I wanted the practice.

About this time, in 1981, Jim lost his job. Contractors are the first to go when a recession hits. It takes two very large paychecks to live in New York and pay for private school for my granddaughter (Chrisi, 13-years old). We were doing it on one check and rapidly diminishing savings. It was time to leave our beloved City. So we went “Down the Shore” to family in Point Pleasant, New Jersey.

Continued next week – Chapter 2: Down the Shore

Christmas Until 1/31/2013 — Mimi’s Cancer Journal

Mimi’s Christmas Sale is Extended until 1/31/2013.

25% off all patterns and DVDs.

25% off Studio Sale and Mimi’s Stash items.

Mimi’s Cancer Journal – Part 1 – Letters to Friends – October 21, 2012

This is reprinted from Mimidolls.Com. We are moving the Cancer Journal to the Diary of a Mad Dollmaker. This is the beginning of the story. We will continue it later this week to bring you up-to-date. Mimi has just had a CT scan for a three-month checkup and we will get the results Monday, Jan 21, 2013.

There are several letters below, each with a bit of different information. Use what you think is appropriate.
Dearest Carol,

I was asked to send a letter about my health issues for the Guild newsletter as it may help others to get checked out sooner. I just wrote it and have no energy left to spend another hour typing – and my right “bone-on-bone” shoulder is aching to beat the band – So I will forward it to you.

Much love,

G’d Day Katrina,

I am scheduled to have the port implanted on Monday. I have an appointment with the oncologist on Wednesday. I also want to talk to a nutritionist, specialist in cancer. Since this has affected my liver I think I should forgo animal protein and of course sugars. The radiologist that took the PET films told me the nuclear material was combined with sugar before it was put into my IV because the sugar goes directly to inflammation and cancer… That tells me I should avoid sugar as well. I have a bunch of stuff I had already put into the car on Wednesday as I fully intended to drive down to you after that doctor visit. I can’t wait to read the comments received on your work, I am so proud of you for passing Standards!

Below is the note I wrote to Carol for the newsletter. Thanks for the suggestion.
See ya’ Saturday.


Good morning Carol,

You have permission to use this as an article for the newsletter as I am requesting that lots of on-going positive energy be sent my way to aid in my cancer treatment. My work here is not yet done. Cassi needs me for at least eight more years to get her healthy and through college.

My husband and I are raising our great granddaughter, Cassandra Rose, who is 15 years old. She has been diagnosed with PTSD as well as social anxiety and depression. She is in therapy but must attend school via on-line classes for the foreseeable future. We have legal custody of her.

I am a new Guild member but have been part of the fiber arts community forever. I have been making figurative sculpture and teaching my techniques in the U.S. Canada and Australia for almost thirty years.
I have had cancer twice before. Breast cancer in 1974 (38 years ago). I had a mastectomy but no further treatment as the cancer was but 4mm in size.

In 2007 my sister had a small-cell carcinoma in her lung. The time from her diagnosis to her death was only 18 days. While I was standing with her family around her bed waiting for her soul to leave her pain wracked body I heard a loud, masculine, authoritative voice shout at me. It said: “GET A SCAN NOW!” No one else in the room heard it. Since my sister and I had grown up with two smoking parents and I worked in smoky cocktail lounges to put myself through school many years ago I thought it was good advice.

My doctor refused to write a script for a lung scan with no symptoms. I repeated this story to him and I got the script. To shorten a long story; after many other tests the left upper lobe was removed and it was discovered that the cancer was a 1-A. The doctors said it was extremely rare to find a lung cancer that early and that small. No further treatment was necessary

I had a colonoscopy and an endoscope last November (2011) while still living in New Jersey. There was a small polyp that was removed. I have a history of GI problems and this was the first polyp ever found. At the end of August (2012) I experienced an episode of rectal bleeding the sent me to Lee Memorial ER. Even though there was no more bleeding after I arrived at the hospital, I was admitted for a couple of days for observation. The Doctor thought it was diverticulitis. It was treated with diet and after 6 weeks had another colonoscopy and endoscope.

I was told immediately there was a large mass in the colon. I was referred to a surgeon who told me it was a cancer, a large one, more than 7cm. To have grown so large in less than a year was shocking. He scheduled surgery to remove it and ordered a CT scan with contrast.

The surgeon told me two days ago that the cancer was a stage four that had already metastasized to the liver and it lit up like a Christmas tree on the scan photos. He cancelled the original surgical order to remove the tumor as it would not cure me to do so.

I will have a port installed on Monday and will see the oncologist to set up a schedule for chemotherapy. I am considering checking out Cancer Centers of Florida today and perhaps will ask for a referral as I do want the very best up to the minute treatment available. The stakes are high.

I am very proud to be a member of SWFCG and plan to attend as many meetings as possible and to contribute whatever I can by way of volunteering as my health allows. I will be at Saturday’s Meeting. I am looking forward to my Standards review in January. That assumes I will be able to make five new pieces in time for review.

Many thanks for your time reading this “tome”
See you on Saturday. Katrina is picking me up and I am bringing lasagna.

Gloria (aka Mimi)

Reminder – dollmaking chat Sunday at 7-8 pm Eastern Time (GMT-5). choose a name, select the Screaming Mimis room and join the chat.

Stretch’s Clothing Patterns – Auction Format – Christmas Sale Ending Soon – More Mermaids

The second part of the An Elf Named Stretch was published in the March 2011 issue of Soft Dolls & Animals magazine.

An Elf Named Stretch

This article includes his clothing with shirt, vest, pants, hat, and boots. Since the patterns in the magazine are printed on both sides of the paper, we have put the original clothing patterns up on the web site  so you can download them for printing on one side of the paper. You can print them on regular paper or on card stock (if your printer will take card stock) to get instant templates without having to trace patterns or paste paper printouts onto file folders. Both the Stretch body patterns and clothing patterns are in the same file that you can download by clicking Mimi’s Complete Stretch the Elf Pattern Sheet.

We expected the article on how to needle model his chest would appear before the clothing. It may appear in a future issue. If it doesn’t, we’ll publish it on the web site.

Our Christmas sale is ending on February 15, 2011.

We will be discontinuing the Mimi’s Child Interactive Video pattern. If you are a pattern collector, and you want this one, now is the time.

We need your help!

We have hundreds of out-of-print cloth doll and animal patterns by other designers and dozens of out-of-print books. I’m so busy designing my own work at this point that I will never get to any of them. We would like to auction them off to other dollmakers and pattern or book collectors.

The problem is EBAY is not a good place for this kind of thing. We are looking for a better auction site or we could do a silent auction on out own web site. We don’t know what to do. If you have any suggestions, please let us know. Here are a few examples of what we have:



Fantasy Fashions 1981: Pattern for ADULT human for Renaissance Maiden. Includes instructions for adult, girl’s large, and girl’s medium and small variations. Includes guide for M’Lady’s Bonnet, Wizard’s Hat, Jester’s Hood, Renaissance Cap, Cindy’s Bonnet, Flat Cap, Renaissance Cap, Mob Cap, Bag Hats. Also includes 2 hand written pages by the designer on how to alter some parts of pattern to create another style.

Victorianna Petite by Elizabeth Biship, 1990: 20-inch cloth doll with ball gown, high-heeled boots, lacy undies, Gibson girl hairdo. Flexible, posable limbs with another strapless ball gown that has bouffant skirt and petticoat. Miniature satin ribbon rose trim. Color cover picture. Muslin body is embellished to look as if she is wearing Victorian underwear. She looks great just in her unmentionables seated on shelf in bathroom or bedroom. Other clothing patterns available.



Marionettes Onstage by Leonard Suib & Muriel Broadman 1975: Divided into three major parts. 1) The New Marionette – words, drawings and photos show how to make and manipulate a new type of figure that has cardboard as its base — lightweight and perfectly balanced. You don’t need a workshop or complicated equipment. 2) Becoming a Puppeteer – presents a full discussion of playscripts,  performing, stages, scenery, props, music, sound effects, marionette magic, multi-media, putting on the show, and safety. 3) Puppet Theater Management – useful suggestions on how to save time and money, business procedures, professional ethics and affiliations, etc.

Mold Making with Martha Armstrong-Hand 1992: The famous NIADA artist tells you in 32 pages how to make plaster molds for porcelain dolls.

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If you can think of any way we can get these patterns and books from us to you, let us know. We don’t really have time to run a silent auction on the web or to mess with EBAY where everybody complains a lot. If you know of a better way, or want to volunteer to help us, let us know as soon as possible. Thanks.

More Mermaids

Wall Doll - Small Tail

Straight Arms with Fins

Wall Doll - "J" tail not included in pattern but easy to figure out

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Another Free Pattern, A Litter of Elves, 32 Years

Jim and I celebrated our 32nd anniversary on March 16th.  No cake. I have discovered the best recipe in the world for chocolate chip cookies. I make up a batch but only bake six every other day for three days.  They are thick, crisp and chewy. They are  wonderful and they are  large so one per person is enough.  I have to hide the other three for the second night to keep me from getting into them.  Well, it’s better than baking up a three-dozen regular sized cookies  that will only last one day around this crowd.

A Litter of Elves

I finally had to make that fancy jacket that I messed up last week.  The last Elf is Goldie. The jacket is a Renaissance style men’s jacket but my little girl Elf loves it.  It is fully lined with a pale yellow silk.  The jacket is a bit fiddly to make this small but would be lovely and easier to make if the size was doubled. It would fit a 15 or 16 inch doll. I am not planning to include this vest it in the pattern for the Elves because it would require dozens of photos and text to describe making it. But for those of you who are adventurous, click here to download the pattern. I adopted it from a wonderful book called Patterns for Theatrical Costuming, subtitled Garments, Trims and Accessories from Ancient Egypt to 1915 by Katherine Strand Holkeboer. It is published by Costume and Fashion Press, New York. It is available from and other online booksellers.

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