Thursday, March 19, 2009


One of the bi products of creating YO-YO Flower Pincushions is a lot of fabric scraps! If they are bigger than an inch I absolutely cannot bring myself to throw them out. I used to toss them in a basket for future rummaging but found the time it took to locate the exact piece I was looking for to be exorbitant. I decided to be a bit more organized this time around by using a kitchen tray to collect my mini scraps into a color wheel of sorts. As it turns out, I love this system . In working from the tray, however, I began to associate it more so with a painting palette. Just like those long ago days of college painting classes I began to hold the tray in one hand, while with the other, dabs of color would be picked up and applied to my canvas. I have to say the cheery red gingham "canvas" of my ironing board is much less intimidating than those big blank gesso covered ones that used to stare me down! As one thing always does seem to lead to another around here, these painterly reflections reminded me of something awaiting my attention. . . . .

. . . . . a very unusual "canvas" and in the third dimension no less. I cannot tell you how scared I was to actually perform this next step in the doll kit. That first brush stroke was really hard to do but within a few moments I was enjoying the results. So much so, in fact, that I went a little "paint happy" in areas I was not supposed to. The directions show the Basic Doll is to have only her upper torso painted and the Doll's Doll only half her legs. I on the other hand painted it all...oops! I also think my button placement on the shoes is incorrect but that's what makes her mine! And now that she's mine it's definitely time to name her. . . . . so let me take a moment here to introduce you to Nellie and her wee doll Sally Anne.

Having recently received a sweet rosebud mouth Nellie was quite anxious to put it to use. It was from this source, in fact, that I heard tell of Lily Red and a possible painting project in the works. I headed over to make inquiries but found Wayside Cottage deserted for the day. Paint swatches and sketches were scattered about and her pencil roll left unfurled. Perhaps the sunshine outside her window was just to tempting. . . . .

. . . . . and Lily Red was out greeting some early spring shoots!

My jaunt over to the cottage was not in vain, however, for my brief peek inside was enough to inspire a bit of planning for my own humble abode. Does anyone remember the fabric I ordered form the T-Party? It arrived way back in January and ever since then I've been collecting bits and bobs to coordinate with it. Putting it all together in a pile helps me to visualize the next steps. I've got some big plans to make a very small room something special. To be honest, anything will be a vast improvement over the space's current condition and I'm not saying anything more than that until it's all done! Oftentimes, when I talk too much about a work in progress the end result suffers terribly. I like the excitement of not knowing exactly how things will evolve and in most cases it's very different than I initially envisioned. When I share my early plans with someone, I tend to confine myself to the boundaries of those descriptions. And so, as you might imagine, I've got numerous project plans going on at any given moment. Some are acted on immediately, others take years, and most will never see the light of day.

Here are the beginnings of one such "secret" project with origins stretching back way over a year ago. Can you guess what it is? Of course, by now the wooden pieces are highly recognizable as the main components of those clothespin dolls that are all the rage. When I discovered a lone packet of these pins and beads I was desperate for a wooden doll of some sort. Not feeling confident enough to carve my own I saw these as a great alternative! My only disappointment was in the fact that the legs could not bend. The "secret" project to amend that situation is still under wraps but in the mean time I found an alternative use for the upper body. The donut shaped mutant next to them is a key element and also was a real booger. You don't even want to know how many failed attempts I made trying to perfect a method for creating what is really nothing more than a stuffed "O" . . . . at least I did them all in muslin first! Thank goodness for all those YO-YO Flowers because that is when real inspiration struck. Believe it or not, what you see here was actually a great revelation and only a few steps away from success.

Once again painting was involved only this time with real paints and palette.

Referencing scribbled doll ideas in an old sketchbook made painting the faces really quick and easy. . . of course that's not counting the hours of doodle time put in over the years!

And so in the end, what began as my desire for a little wooden doll has materialized into this. . . the creation of a "Pick-a-Lily" Pincushion. She will soon be joined by others in my shop where each will be thoughtfully named and the picking may be done.


  1. Natalie jo, she is adorable. I made some of these for my daughters stockings at Christmastide and I did the hair style the same as you have--we named her Lucy. I love the idea of her sitting in the pin cushion:-)

  2. What a wonderful idea Natalie-Jo, I love her, but what a lot of work and very fiddly work by the look of it. You have a great eye for detail so beware numerous imitators (though they won't have the same creative gift as you that's for sure!) I'm wondering what paint you used for Pick-a-Lily's hair and features. I use acrylics most of the time so I'm presuming you probably do the same, they are very versatile. I shall look forward to your next creative impulse!!

  3. Oh Natalie Jo - I am so pleased to have stopped by tonight!
    These little dolls are fantastic!
    You are a true artist!
    I loved the stories leading up to the creation of Pick-a-Lily.
    You can see her come alive in your mind with the intriguing little hints and the glorious doodles and sketches.
    Your painting is perfect - how talented you are!
    I must visit your shop often as I will want one of these precious creations and I know I will be waiting in a long line to get one.

  4. Oh your pincushion doll is perfect! I love it even more than the traditional clothespin dolls (and I love those a lot!)

    I do love your stories about Nellie and Lily, I wish I were so creative!

  5. So happy to hear from you all! Many thanks for all the lovely compliments...I must admit I'm having a grand time making these little dolls. And yes flutterbypatch, I do use acrylics. I love the easy clean up and don't miss the smell of oils one little bit! Your also correct about the "fiddly" aspect to the work...but I honestly love it, almost as much as I now love the word fiddly. I shall have to add it to my vocabulary!

  6. Oh Natalie Jo! What a wonderful style you have! I just adore everything you do. Your writing style is so wonderful, it just carries me away! ~Bekah