Monthly Archives: November 2009

Lovely Winter

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Today is one of those gorgeous days that make me glad I live in Fairbanks.  It’s cold – about  -15F – but there’s not a cloud in the sky.  We’ve had enough snow recently to cover each little twig and branch on the bare birch and cottonwoods, and to leave nice piles on the spruce boughs.  The hills around town look like rumpled white velvet.  Pictures don’t do it justice, but I’ll try to post one soon. It’s just sooooo beautiful.  Sigh.  And, it’s great cocoa weather.  Cheapo powdered cocoa mix from the supermarket can be improved upon very easily – use milk instead of water, and add some honey.  YUM.  Don’t forget the ginger snaps!

More Kuspuks, and Doll Hair

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I made this sweet little doll in a kuspuk as a donation to my daughter’s school fund-raiser. I think she came out really well – and my daughter’s teacher was the winning bidder!

Kuspuk Dolly No. 2 and her clothes

With her hood up

Now, I really have to finish up a custom order of dolls. A local lady gives handmade dolls to her 5 nieces every year for Christmas, and this year, I was lucky enough to win her business. The 5 dolls I’ve made are about 18″ tall, with embroidered faces and black velour yarn hair. They will all wear socks or tights, undies, shoes and a kuspuk (a traditional garment worn by some groups of Alaska Natives). I found instructions for human-sized kuspuks, then scaled them down for my dolls’ proportions. All 5 doll bodies are sewn and stuffed, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel on the kuspuks. The undies and footwear won’t take long, but I’ve been pulling my hair out over the dolls‘ hair! When I was a kid, I always disliked doll hair that was only sewn down along a central part, the way rag doll hair usually is. If I untied the doll’s braids or undid her ponytails, I then had a doll with a long mohawk – the sides of her head would be bald. I preferred rag dolls to baby or fashion dolls, but the plastic dolls had rooted hair that could be brushed and styled. And what little girl doesn’t want to styled their dolls’ hair? So, now that I’m making rag dolls, I’ve been trying to solve this problem, without buying doll wigs. So far, I have one doll with the traditional central part and one with a crocheted cap with strands of yarn knotted all over it. (The doll’s scalp showed through the cap, so I covered her head with some black fabric.) And 3 bald dolls.

1 kuspuk, 3 wigs, 5 undies, 10 socks and 10 shoes to go!

By the way, sorry about the crappy photos – natural light is pretty hard to come by in Fairbanks in November!

Handmade Holidays

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Wow! Can you believe it’s already November? For us, here in Fairbanks, it seems really strange. We had a very dry fall – no snow until the last week of October. Usually it starts around the last week of September. I’ve been running around taking advantage of the weather … in other words, procrastinating getting ready for winter! Now I have to do what folks at lower latitudes do every year: prepare for winter and the holidays at the same time! Eek!

And, this year, I decided to have a handmade holiday. Everybody on my list is getting something handmade. You think I’m crazy, don’t you? I mean, I’m a self-professed procrastinator, my studio is a construction zone and I have little kids. Don’t worry, I have a plan! I’ve already finished some presents…and I never said all those handmade items had to be made by my hands. 🙂 I have a not-so-secret source for fabulous handmade stuff – ArtFire.com – and I intend to use it.

I love the unique quality of artisan-produced stuff – and let’s face it, not everyone on my gift list would welcome polymer clay jewelry or a rag doll, no matter how adorable and well-made. Check out some random non-cutesy stuff I found:

From The Beaded Lily: A beautiful and masculine $12 keychain.

From Brilliance Found: The perfect earring for your guy if he wants to look pierced without getting pierced – for $2.50!

From Inkwear99: Shoes and shirt for your tattooed dude. ($60 and $11, respectively)

Why should I turn around an spend the money I earn from craft sales on other peoples’ crafts?

1. Why no? The stuff is beautiful and unique.

2. I can ask question about an item’s components or construction method from the person who made it, instead of a store clerk who may or may not be clueless.

3. I’m helping support folks who are facing the same kinds of challenges I am…maybe that’ll help my karma!

Why ArtFire?

1. Well, initially, I chose ArtFire because Kathi at Dragonglass mentioned that artists could open a shop there FOR FREE. No fees. At all. And I’m cheap. I haven’t opened any other online shops yet (ie – at Esty.com, Ebay, or any of the other possibilities), so I can’t say if ArtFire’s better than any other, but I like it so far.

2. You don’t need to open an account at ArtFire if you just want to shop.

3. You can shop for craft supplies and cool vintage finds there, as well as handmade stuff.

ArtFire.com Updates

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I decided that trying to do our local holiday bazaars this year was just not going to work.  Hubby is taking a welding class on alternate Saturdays . . . which just happen to be the Saturdays I was planning to sell at the bazaars.  (Also, flu season and snow have hit. Bleh.)  So I am trying to stock up my ArtFire shop.  Only two new items posted so far, but I’ll be taking some more photos today.  Come back soon for more updates!Goofy Cat with Vest

For some reason, I can’t get the other new item’s picture into this post. Grrr.  So go visit ArtFire.com!  My shop is Butterscotch_Grove.