lollidolls

Original patterns, luscious colors and fun tips about all things crafty…and dolly…and pretty!


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Lolli Dolls Tutorial – How To Stuff A Doll (Part Two)


I promised you more information about stuffing in my tutorial “How To Stuff A Doll (Part One),” and here it is! This tutorial is about taking control of the stuffing, rather than letting it take control of you. In other words, make it do what YOU want it to do!

But before I can talk to you about how to stuff, I really need to talk about the tool with which you’ll want to stuff. Here’s where I say, “ALL HAIL THE MIGHTY HEMOSTAT!” Seriously, it’s the best invention EVER. A hemostat is also called a “surgical forcep,” but don’t let that creep you out. It’s really just a handy pair of pliers with handles like scissors and the ability to clamp down on something, which makes it perfect for stuffing. Why? Because you can grip even the smallest amount of the slipperiest stuffing, insert it into your doll and put it EXACTLY where you want it. Brilliant, yes?

So, now that you know all about the Almighty Hemostat, it’s time to actually stuff something. Hopefully you’ve seen my previous tutorial, “How To Turn a Doll Right Side Out.” This tutorial picks up where that one left off, with a sewn and turned doll, like this:

Lolli Dolls Tutorial How to Stuff Part Two_1

 Whether your piece is big or small, you don’t want to fill up areas all at once. Let me repeat that – whether you are stuffing a small arm as for the Happytown Play Sets or a big, round head or body for a doll like Matilda, Poppy or Rosie, the method is the same. The idea is to layer differing amounts of stuffing into each area, and to work section by section. For example, take a look at the turned doll in the photo above. I consider her head to be one section, her neck to be the next section, each of her shoulders to be a separate section, her chest and waist area to be another section, and then finally her hips are the last section. “How To Stuff A Doll – Part One” covers the info about small/medium/large amounts of stuffing. (Check that out if you haven’t already.)

So for this piece I would start with the top of her head, pushing each bundle of stuffing as far in as it will go. First I put some in the center, then to the left, then to the right. Then I put some in the front, then the back. The point here is to try to maintain symmetry as you go. No, it’s not going to look perfect immediately (you’ll see an example of that further down), but as you work on each area, at least attempt to make it even.

Once the head is really firmly stuffed, take a good look at it before you proceed to the next section. Does it look good from the front? From the back? Is one cheek smaller than the other? This is where the hemostat is particularly helpful, because once you have an area that stuffed firmly enough, now you can go in and direct small amounts of stuffing to fill up weak spots or even out an area like a cheek, chin or forehead. Don’t skip this step, because if you stuff the rest of her, are way down by her hips and THEN notice that one side of her face is flatter than the other, it’s really difficult…OK, almost impossible….to get back up to her head to fine-tune those areas. 

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In the photo above, I’ve worked on her head (and perhaps a bit of her neck and shoulders), but one side of her face is flatter than the other side. I might need to take out a bit of the stuffing in the neck so I can add more to the flat side of the face.

In addition to adding small amounts of stuffing here and there, you can also shape it with your fingers. Depending on the type of stuffing you use, this can either have a significant effect or not. But I always combine targeted stuffing and shaping as I go.
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See the difference? Now she looks like she’s supposed to look – she has a nice firm head and rounded cheeks and even shoulders. And even though this piece (which is from one of my Happytown Play Sets) is not really very big (maybe about 3 inches tall at this stage), I still spent a little bit of time on her – enough to make sure she looks good.

And now let’s talk for a minute about one of my pet peeves and what NOT to do:
Lolli Dolls Tutorial How to Stuff Part Two_2

I really, really, REALLY don’t like stuffed dolls or toys that aren’t firm. When they have caved-in sides or obvious weak spots, I know that with just a little bit more stuffing (and some attention to detail) they could be much, much better.

I hope this has been helpful for you. Next up will be a tutorial about which stuffing to use, so keep an eye out for that in the near future!

And you can find all of the patterns for the Happytown Play Sets in my Etsy shop.

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4 Steps To Improve Your Photography On Instagram

Not too long ago, I decided to really dive in to Instagram (@lolli_dolls or you can click HERE), and there is no question that it is a fun, inspiring place that is absolutely jam-packed with inspiration and so, so many AH-MAZING photos (as well as many less-than-amazing photos). So how do you make sure your works-in-progress, that handmade item you just finished or the products you are selling stand out amongst so many others? The most important way is to make sure your photos are solidly in the “WOW!” category and not the dreaded “meh” category.

Even if you are not a photographer with months or years of experience taking photos, you can have a feed that is not only beautiful, but also more clearly conveys your story and attracts followers who want to see more of your work. Here are just a few things to keep in mind.

1. NEVER POST A BLURRY PHOTO

Always make sure your photos are sharp by getting good, clear focus. On the iPhone, tap the screen on the spot where you want it to be the sharpest and wait just a second for the lens to capture the focus. (This will also set your exposure for the most important part of the photo, so it’s a good idea to get in the habit of tapping that screen before you take the photo.) In addition, when you click the button to actually take the photo, hold your hand steady for a second or two so you don’t move the phone as the photo is being taken.

2. DE-CLUTTER THAT LITTLE SQUARE

Remember, Instagram is for mobile devices, so people are scrolling through quickly or are looking at lots of little thumbnails as they decide what to “like” or click on. Make sure that what you put into your “little square” truly needs to be there. I’m not saying you should only put 1-3 items in your photo, but analyze the elements as you are composing your image to decide if it’s a confusing mess or is visually interesting and eye-catching.

3. LIGHT, LIGHT, LIGHT

Perhaps you’ve already heard that light is important to good photographs. And this, of course, is true. Muddy, dark photos? Don’t do it. To avoid the muddiness, choose natural light whenever possible by placing your items near a window with indirect light (you don’t want bright sunbeams hitting your object). Or, you can open a door and place your objects on the floor, or go outside and place your objects in the shade but right next to where the sunlight is shining. But even if you don’t have natural light, you can still achieve nice photos with indoor lighting. All of the examples I’m showing you today utilize fluorescent work lights/desk lamps.

4. MYSTERY BONUS TECHNIQUE

Look at all of the following photos and read the explanations, and then a bit further down you’ll find more about this subtle but really important technique.

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Here are some examples that illustrate what I talked about above (both things to do and things NOT to do). All of these were taken with my iPhone. (My feed is a mix of photos taken with my big camera and lenses and edited in Photoshop and photos taken with my iPhone. Because hey, sometimes you just want to get a quick photo and get it onto IG fast, you know?)

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This obviously breaks the “blurry photo” rule. I didn’t wait long enough for the lens to snap into focus before I clicked the button.

 

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This is an example of a “What I’m Working On” photo. And even though it is now in focus, there are obviously problems, because my lovely girl is lost here! I really just plopped her down amongst all of the stuff that was on my desk, with no lights on (even though there was a window with the blinds closed in the upper left). This photo is cluttered and dark. If I was scrolling by or searching through Instagram, there is nothing here that would make me investigate further.

 

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Now I’ve turned on my work lights so it’s no longer dark, but it’s still cluttered. The viewer’s eyes travel over the photo looking for something that stands out, but it’s all just jumbled together. If I was really going to compose a “What I’m Working On” photo, this is how I would arrange it:

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There are still multiple items in the frame, but they all relate to the story I’m trying to tell, either by their purpose or their color scheme. But even though this one is much better than the above examples, it could still be better, because while this one is nice and bright with lots of light, the DIRECTION of the light could be better, as shown here:

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You might not immediately notice a difference in the two photos, but if you quickly look back forth between the two, you’ll start to see that the second photo appears more 3-dimensional. Which brings me to the above-mentioned Mystery Bonus Technique:

4. LIGHT IS IMPORTANT, BUT DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE SHADOWS

There are two basic kinds of light – FLAT light and DIMENSIONAL light. Flat light is not necessarily always undesirable, but in most cases dimensional light is what you want. Why? Because flat lighting makes things look, well, flat. Items appear one-dimensional, with no visual depth. Dimensional light is light that falls across your objects at an angle, which gives you shadows, which in turn give the objects depth. And a photo with depth is more interesting and will capture your viewer’s attention more easily than a photo that is visually flat.

In order to create dimensional light, place your objects so that the light is coming in from the side, as opposed to directly above it. To illustrate this, here are some pullbacks from the two photos above:
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Here you can see that my work lights are shining straight down. In order to get that dimensional light I want, all I had to do was move everything over just a bit, like this:

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See how there are now shadows on the right side of the doll? Simple, but so effective.

For all of these photos I used indoor lighting. I have some more examples to show you that were taken in natural light, but I’ll save those for a later post. But here are a few last suggestions for getting great photos:

-Even with good composition and a lot of thought given to what you include in your photo, you’ll still probably want to edit each one for a boost in color, brightness and perhaps clarity. There are lots and lots of photo editing apps available. I really like PicTapGo, because it includes both basic editing techniques (brightness, contrast, highlights, shadows, etc) as well as some fun filters and effects. But the best part is you can adjust the strength of each effect, which is a huge advantage to me.

-The lights used here tend to shoot somewhat cool (meaning the photos can look a bit too blue). Some lights give a very warm tone to photos. Look critically at your photos as you edit them to decide what looks best. You generally don’t want super-blue photos or really, really yellow photos. PicTapGo has both a “Warm It Up” effect and a “Cool It Down” effect.

As you browse Instagram, start looking critically at the photos you see and take note of what I’ve talked about. I think you’ll start to see why the photos that follow these suggestions are the ones that draw your attention.

I hope this has been helpful. Happy Instagramming!


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New Dolls Now Available!

I am so happy to announce that I have some finished dolls for sale in my Etsy shop. I have been thinking about, dreaming about, designing and working on these for a while now, and they are everything I wanted them to be. Introducing the Lolli Girls!

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The all have lovely, hand-painted faces, super-colorful and fun hair (buns are all the rage, of course!), delightfully mixed fabrics for their arms and legs and removable skirts. Their cotton velvet bodies are so soft, which makes them perfect for snuggling.

There is a very limited availability for these, so make sure you don’t miss out!

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Guess what? I’m a guest curator!

I’m so excited to announce that I have been asked to be a guest curator for Crafty Wool Felt on Etsy. Claudia has put together a lovely selection of felt sheets to match my PDF patterns for the combined Seed Annuals. She has a wonderful selection of 100% wool felt in GORGEOUS colors. You will want at least one of every color! 

Thank you, Claudia, for asking me to collaborate with you!

Crafty Wool Felt Guest Curator

Perry and CurrieBLOG

Lolli Dolls PDF pattern Seed Annuals


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Lolli Dolls Tutorial – How To Turn A Doll Right Side Out

“Turn doll right side out.”

As I was writing out the steps for all of the Happytown Play Sets, it occurred to me that while those instructions sound simple, it’s always nice to get a few tips to help make even the simplest step easier, which will help ensure that your doll turns out great. So here is a quick tutorial to help you the next time you need to turn a doll or toy right side out.

Lolli Dolls Tutorial How to Turn A Doll 1

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Be sure to check out the Happytown Play Sets and all of my patterns in the Lolli Dolls Etsy store:

Lolli Dolls on Etsy

 

 

 

 

 


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Lolli Dolls Tutorial – How To Stuff A Doll (Part One)

I don’t like to stuff. It’s my least favorite part of the whole process.

I know – crazy, right? For a doll-maker to dislike stuffing?! But even though I don’t love it, I know that stuffing properly is really, really important to how nice a doll looks when it’s finished – you can’t rush it, you can’t cut corners and you can’t just quit because your hands get tired. Knowing just a few techniques and being mindful while you stuff makes all the difference in the world.

Stuffing is one of those things that sounds simple…just cram it in there until it’s full, right? Uh, no. So while it’s not Rocket Science, there are a few things to keep in mind. And while the steps in this part of the tutorial might look obvious, sometimes it really helps to see a visual example of just exactly how to do it.

So I’m happy to bring you Part One of “How to Stuff.” Which, obviously, means that there will be a Part Two, so stay tuned for that.

Lolli Dolls Tutorial How to Stuff Part One_1a

Lolli Dolls Tutorial How to Stuff Part One_2a

Lolli Dolls Tutorial How to Stuff Part One_3a

 I hope that was helpful, even though it seems obvious. Because you don’t want to be stuffing with the “big blob” when you should be stuffing with the small amount. Thanks for following along with me!

Be sure to check out the patterns for my Happytown Play Sets (and all my other patterns) in my Etsy shop.