Tag Archives: frida doll

Frida Fail


Ok, so I know that the real Frida Kahlo did have a bit of a shadow, perhaps a bit of mustache, however, on my little Frida, it looks more like an ingrown hair problem.  As I predicted, the muslin I used was too thin for this project, and you can see the backside stitching pretty clearly through the front of the fabric.  I really think that had I doubled the fabric, used a canvas rather than a muslin, or perhaps used some cotton batting, this wouldn’t have happened.

So, as you can see, her hair is lying next to her, and I’ve let her sit overnight, to mull over whether she deserves hair, or whether she will be operated on, to remove her stuffing as a donation to the next Frida.

This poor little Frida probably has a small window of reprieve because of current weather conditions.  No operations will take place in this humidity.  My craftroom is so hot that I nearly sat in my underwear last night finishing her up.  Which leads me to my Third Lesson Learned with this doll, it’s only fun . . . when it’s fun.  I was really miserable sweating over my sewing machine last night.  I wasn’t rushing or anything to get her done, but I was suffering.  And, there’s no suffering in doll making.  The heat should break this weekend, so by then I’ll probably have a new plan.

Which may not involve clay – since it’s probably baking in it’s packaging in the oven that is my craftroom.

And, in other news, Brave Girls University did open it’s doors yesterday, and it’s packed packed packed with classrooms.  Of course, being it’s first day of launch, there are things that look a little wonky, broken links, and 404 misdirect pages where there should be classrooms, but these are all kinks that I have no doubt that will be worked out.  I was particularly impressed that, following the site crashing within minutes of opening, they had another, bigger server, waiting in the wings ready to go fifteen minutes later.   There is some content that hasn’t been uploaded yet, but there’s plenty to get you started.  Of course, with my limited craft budget, I started assessing the value immediately – and this is personal value – to me – my personal assessment of whether or not I want to spend $25/month on this particular subscription service.

My initial thoughts – the “university” is organized into four categories of classes (with some overlapping) – Melody Ross classes (the Dean of the University), Soul Work, Art and DIY.  I have little to no interest in Melody Ross’s classes, and very little interest in most of the Soul Work, which is why I was never interested in the original Brave Girls Club, that lacked the Art Class/DIY category independent of the “soul” work.    I do not believe in online therapy from untrained, unlicensed practitioners.  No judgment here – you like these kinds of classes, great! It’s just not something I’m interested in.  And, who knows, maybe I’ll try to have more of an open mind about it, and stick my toes in something to see what’s going on, but I don’t think so – there’s too much in the Art and DIY categories to keep me busy.

So, are the Art and DIY classes enough to justify my $25?  I think so.  But, I think I need to approach these videos like real classes as opposed to binge watching a la Netflix.  I easily could binge-watch my way through all of the content in a month.  But, what’s the point of that?

Well, you say, you did just that during your month at CraftDaily, right?  Yes, correct – but those classes sucked.  There, I said it.  They were dated, poorly filmed, lacked accompanying PDFs and patterns, and much could be found for free in affiliate sites.

I think there is a real quality to the content at BGU.   For instance, the class I was pulled into first was Katie Kendrick’s Layered Impressions (which by the way, is not in the Art Category, but  in the Soul Work group, so I guess I’m dipping my toes).

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Katie’s class was originally a four week workshop, that I think cost $100.  While I owned Katie’s book, Layered Impressions, and I’m a big fan of her work, that was over my general bright line price test for taking an online class.  Now, you can buy the DVD of the class for $100 through her website, or you can pay $25/month on Brave Girls and work through it there.  The difference between the original live class, and this class, I’m guessing since I didn’t take the original, is that there is no method of sharing on Brave Girls – no class forums, no private Facebook groups, no online photo gallery of student work, no teacher interaction other than access to teacher’s email for questions.  Without this compenent – the interaction with teachers and other classmates – it makes it hard to work through the material like a class.  Pacing is harder, doing the work without imput is not as fun, and making friends with other online art junkies is not happening.  So, can I commit to doing the work in a solitary fashion?  Watch the videos, do the exercises, and not move on until I’ve gotten the point of the lesson?

Well, I did try last night.  I watched the intro video, and the first exercise (using your nondominant hand to loosely create faces on telephone book pages – who has a telephone book????? – and then coloring in the face), and stopped.  Did not go on to the next lesson, did not charge ahead.  I didn’t do the exercise, because I was mid-Frida, but I’m going to try to do it before I move on.

And, if I stick to the plan, and treat class like class, and not like a movie, I should be good, and the content on the site should work for my $25/month.   Even if I just watch the Katie Kendrick class for the month of September, I’ll still be saving $75 off the cost of the original class.   But, I can see the non-interactive nature of the platform making it hard treat the site as “university” rather than a video repository.  Without this sharing component, I feel like I’m missing something on the site – did I miss a tab that I should have clicked on?  I’ve always gotten so much out of seeing other people’s work, and it’s such a big part of the learning experience.  There is a Facebook page – but it’s a business page, not a sharing group kind of page.  But we’ll see.

The bottomline – based on my initial thoughts and less than 24 hrs of tooling around the site – is that this site is a huge accomplishment for it’s founders.  I can’t imagine how hard it was to convince 80+ teachers to contribute their stand-alone content to this site.  I have no idea what their business plan is, and how everyone is getting compensated, but as far as the trickle down to the subscriber – it’s an awesome value, $25 a month is a steal if you’re treating the class like class and not like bingewatching the Walking Dead.  The only thing, as I mentioned, that I’m slightly disappointed about, is the lack of the ability to interact with other students taking the same class.

So, we’ll see how it goes.  And, I can definitely work on the Katie Kendrick exercise in an air conditioned corner of my house – no need to bake my faces in the craftroom.

Now, to rustle up a phone book!

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Sewer Down!

So, here’s my little experiment from the other day.  As you can see, her head is just gigantic.

Here’s a close-up of the paint/stitching:

I posted on Instagram that I was going to put her away to hibernate, and someone  mentioned she did look tired.  She does look weary – as if she’s saying, geez oh man you forgot to give me a neck, and it’s going to be exhausting trying to hold my head up.

So, before I again make a forever doomed to be exhausted little person/creature, I decided maybe next time, I should have a pattern or a sketch or perhaps at the very least, a plan.  And, I thought before I wing it, and reinvent the wheel, maybe I’d make some other folks’ patterns.

I’ve had Jenny Doh’s We Make Dolls on my nightstand for the past week.  I’ve been studying the pictures, and getting ideas, but I wasn’t really reading the instructions, or thinking about construction.  The book is an anthology of doll designers, their stories, and their patterns.  Reading their stories, and their passions for the craft makes me feel better about “wasting” time making toys.  Now, hopefully, their patterns will get me on the right path to making dolls that are more my own.

So, I started with my latest craft crush, Danita.  As I mentioned Danita has a rather expensive online dollmaking class, A Doll Story, that I have managed to resist signing up for.  And, let me just say, “expensive” is relative.  $149 is expensive to me – but as far as classes goes, obviously if you took the class in person, it would probably be double, and there are 48 lectures and 5 hours of content – it’s a lot of stuff.  And for someone who has such a signature style like Danita, that’s a lot for her to put out there and share.  So, again – I’m not judging – I’m just saying I know I’m going to buy yarn today for a sweater for my 6’4″ husband, and I would rather put my craft budget there, than an online class.  Just me.
And that’s not to say that if I have a month when I’m still in doll making land (because as I explained a few posts ago – my crafting ebbs and flows through different mediums), and I have the $, and a glass of wine, and some sadness from the day that I think a big ticket purchase will do the trick to cure, I won’t go for it. But right now, I’ll stick to the book.

Oh, as an aside, I did mention that I was particularly enamored with Danita’s cloth and clay dolls.  So, I did a ton of googling, and Pinteresting, and deep dives into the internet to find a similar looking doll – at least the form.  The clay head, cloth body, jointed limbs – and I found this CD/Book – looks like the same construction, different face.  But, that’s all good because I’d never be able to carve a face that looks like Danita’s anyway.  So, that’s on it’s way, and I’ll learn the secret of attaching the paperclay head to the cloth body (which is different from Gritty Jane’s paperclay and cloth doll – in that, the doll’s head is part of the fabric body, and you cover the cloth with the paperclay).

But, back to the book I have, not the book that’s on it’s way.  Danita has three dolls in We Make Dolls – a Frida Doll, a mermaid and a wood nymph.  I decided to have a go at Frida.  I free motioned stitched the face,  much like I did with amazon doll above, but with amazon doll, I doubled the fabric.  I should have done that again – my muslin is really thin, and I think the stitching would have been easier had it been stablized with the thicker fabric, and I think the stuffing is going to show through this fabric.  Lesson 1 learned.

Once done with the face, I went on to the body, and for the big big Lesson 2.

Free motion fail guys – as I was trying to sew the collar onto the body fabric, my fabric kind of got jammed in the bobbin – I just couldn’t get the fabric to move, even though I have a free motion slippery plate thing I put on my machine – it was just stuck, and as I was tugging it, and my finger got a bit too close to the needle – well, not a bit to close – it was under the needle – ouch!  I didn’t take a full stitch through my finger, but I got a nice poke/jab/stab.  But, I put a bandaid on, and continued on.

What’s the lesson here – definitely to stabilize the fabric, and the area that needs to be stitched cannot be right on the edge – I should have cut a much bigger seam allowance to so that I could have guided the fabric better without getting so close (under) the needle.  Or, I should have used a Pellon interfacing that was bigger than the body to stiffen the whole thing up.

So, I’ve learned my lesson, and I’m ready to finish her up – drat that work thing – I’m going to have to wait the entire day!

Hopefully, when I get home tonight, and attempt to sew her limbs, I won’t repeat lesson 2. I’m going to cross my bandaged fingers!

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