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,




Drawing Down the Moon (The Workshop)

She’s finished! You can learn to make her. I will be teaching a three-day workshop next April 29-31, 2011 at Artistic Figures in Cloth in Columbus, Ohio. For more information, please visit:

High Priestess

Here’s The class description:

The High Priestess is a beautiful, young female dancing figure. She is posed on one leg with the other knee raised high. One arm is over her head and the head is bent backward. She wears only a diaphanous silk chiffon gown. Her hair hangs freely down her arched back. High Priestess Drawing Down the Moon is a 19 inch fabric sculpture. This three-day intense class is designed for the advanced skilled doll maker. However intermediate doll makers would qualify if you have very good hand sewing skills. As you can imagine creating a doll of with such natural beauty takes time and skill. This is a class you will never forget, and you will acquire skills of concentrated precision. You will need to do your homework before coming to class. The homework is basic but it must be done in order not to be an interruption to the other students in the class.

Home work will start with Gloria mailing you the pattern, sewing instructions, fabric and dream-seamer tool. She will send this to each student 4 to 6 weeks prior to class. The entire doll skin and head must be stitched prior to class.

Day One:  In class you will wrap a wire armature; insert it into the sewn torso and stuff firmly and smoothly around the armature. The torso will be closed and needle modeled to form the musculature of a young female dancer. Legs will be trimmed, treated, turned, armature inserted and stuffed.

Day Two:  Gloria will instruct you how to stuff the sewn skull and affix the cotton-spandex overlay. The nose, eye-sockets, dimensional eyes, jaw and open mouth will be modeled and stitched. Ears will be stuffed, needle modeled, stitched and affixed to the head Students are encouraged to pre-stitch two or more heads.

Day Three:  The head will be pinned and stitched to the torso. Hands will be constructed of wire woven and wrapped with floral tape and inserted into sewn turned gloves. Arms will  be armatured and stuffed, assembled and attached to the torso. Legs will be pinned in place using a master drawing as a pattern for accuracy and balance. Time permitting, costuming and wigging as well as coloring face and hands and painting boots will be discussed and demonstrated.

This class is all about learning new techniques, not completing a doll. Complete instructions will be handed out in class which will help to complete the figure at home.  Some advanced students and those who work after class may just finish the piece in three days.

Here’s what else is going on! Continue reading

I’m 12 Times Faster Now (Designing a Doll — Part 3)

My first Naked Guy took 2 years to design. Drawing Down the Moon is basically done in 2 months.  The chest (read boobs) and the feet are both different. They took the most time. She is still a work in progress. I haven’t yet needle modeled the toes on the bent leg and the head and arms are pinned in place.  The head has to have the overlay placed on the face and the features stitched.

After the entire figure has been colored and wig made and stitched in place I will make her sheer dress. I can’t stitch the arms in place until she is dressed then I can needle-model the lifted arm to create the underarm area.  I am quite pleased with her.

I will be teaching this doll at Artistic Figures in Cloth in Columbus Ohio Next April.  Cyndi will have the website up at the beginning of September.  My friend Susie McMahon will teach a new class there as well. So start to put aside the loose change so you can join us there.

Day with Dolls

August 7th is this year’s Day with Dolls in Mount Vernon, NY. I have been asked to do the same demo (Needle Model a Pretty Face) that I did last year on Long Island. With any luck, my new DVD of Needle Model a Pretty Face will be ready by then. It includes everything you need to needle model eyes (with expression), nose, and both closed and open mouth. It also includes coloring the finished face. It will be on two DVDs because it will run between three and four hours to cover everything. This is for watching on your TV as well as your computer, and it is broken into many chapters so that you can go directly to the section you want. The price will be very reasonable.

If you want to come to Day with Dolls, it is $20. Check out the registration form at Doors will open at 9am for a light breakfast, registration starts at 9:30, and demos start at 10am. For more information, call 914-667-7100.


11 Bodies Found in Dumpster (Designing a Doll – Part 2)

Bodies in a Dumpster

Bodies in a Dumpster

Three weeks ago I began working on the torso for the High Priestess (Drawing Down the Moon). I sculpted the pieces, marked the seaming, and began to drape, make slopers, cut, stitch and stuff. Number 12 finally works!

This is not too bad, since it took over a year to get a final pattern for Prince Charming who became David’s Nude… I ended up with about five dolls that were almost good enough, and one that I was happy with. I also had a giant plastic trash bag filled with body parts that didn’t work! I used that bag of body parts to give a program to my UFDC doll club in NYC. I called it “Designing a Cloth Doll, The Creative Process… At least I got some use out of them.

Body 12

Body 12

As you know, muslin stretches. To get the stuffed muslin form to be the same shape and size as the clay one is a challenge. I can’t tell you how many rejects went into the “bone yard” because I have problems with inside, outside, left, right upside and down side…

Now I start the legs and feet. Hopefully that won’t take another three weeks.


Drawing Down the Moon (Designing a Doll)

Moon Dancer Side

Drawing Down the Moon

I have had many requests over the years for a pattern for The High Priestess. I made that doll about 15 or so years ago. I want to remake her with the new techniques I have learned since that time. I don’t think I can go backwards, even to use the pattern. I have every pattern I have ever designed — gotta clean out these files someday…  She is 16-inches high, made in ultra Suede fabric with a wefted mohair wig. She is draped with silk chiffon. It took many hours to roll that hem.

High Priestess Aux Camera

High Priestess 3D Model - Aux Camera

High Priestess Main Camera

High Priestess 3D Model - Main Camera

Jim used Poser 7 to make a 3D model of the High Priestess based on the Victoria 4 character by DAZ to set up the pose and get my profile drawings printed out so that I had actual size drawings from every side (including from the top, which is bizarre to try to work with but the measurements were nice to have).

Continue reading