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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hunger Games and copyrights

I just went to see the Hunger Games, and it was really interesting. I can see what the "big deal" is in connection with this franchise. I think a lot of doll artists and dollmakers are going to be making Catniss dolls (as well as Gale and Peeta, and all the other interesting characters!) soon.

I even know someone who has been selling Hunger Games-inspired jewelry on Etsy. He's been making a lot of money doing it, too.

I just want to remind everyone that there are copyright laws in effect that may get you into trouble if you try to make several copies of any of these characters, whether based on the descriptions in the books, or based on the images in the movies.

Please don't rely on what other dollmakers tell you in regards to the copyright laws. Read them for yourself. It may be legal to make a single doll, but totally illegal to make copies of your own doll. Read the laws yourself, and find out.

Get the facts. Go to the website of the US Copyright Office and download their free information:

You'll find the Copyright Basics in a downloadable pdf as well as Frequently Asked Questions. And there's plenty of information on recording your own copyrights for dolls you've designed yourself. Intellectual property makes the filmmakers and authors billions of dollars a year, and you'd better believe they are going to protect that property!

I mean, wouldn't you, if it was your bread and butter? Yeah. I thought so. Please be respectful of others' property, and when you create something on your own, you'll understand what I'm talking about. You may not know what it's like to see a cheap imitation of your hard work with someone else's signature. It has happened to me, and I can tell you, it's kind of shocking, and not at all nice.

Remember the Golden Rule, and don't do unto others what you wouldn't want others doing to you. What goes around comes around. (Karma)

OK, just my two cents worth. Get out there and make those fabulous dolls, and "May the odds be ever in your favor."

Saturday, March 17, 2012

smart phone apps for dollmakers

I have been using a smart phone for several months, now. I had to get it for my "pony party" job. (I host parties for kids, with a stable of ponies that are dressed in costumes I designed!) I can take a credit card over the phone, (typing in the numbers) and in person, I can swipe the card with a little 1-inch-square thing that plugs into the top of my phone (in the ear jack). I've been so impressed with it, that I was hoping to use it or something like it for my doll business.

I can see myself at a NIADA conference, taking credit card payments using this... Or doing a street fair, a farmers market, a craft fair, etc.

I got a Paypal debit card (even with my bad credit!) because I use and have used Paypal for all my online buying and selling. It is just wonderful to have a separate business account. It really helps at the end of the year, to know how much I've been spending and making on my own business. So, I was hoping that Paypal would get an app I could use with my smart phone... And now I see they have one on the way! I am so excited about this! I watched the little video they had on their website, and it looks like it will be even more helpful than the one I'm using.

So, here's the info. The app I am currently using is from Square Up. You can download it for free from the iTunes App store. It works with any smart phone, where you can use the screen to sign, etc. It works really well with my iPhone, which I got from AT&T, because I can be on a phone call, put it on speaker, and just tap the Square icon to start typing in the info they are giving me on the phone. Really handy!!! I say get AT&T for two reasons. You can talk and surf at the same time (what I just described) and you can get refurbished iPhones for just a penny! Just go to AT&T and look for phones. Looks like they are not even charging that penny. You can get some for free. Square Up is here. Or you can do a search on your smart phone at the App Store. Paypal has the news about their app on their sign-in page. Click on "Learn More." to watch a video and sign up to be one of the first to get the new app. These are really handy ways to accept credit cards wherever you are! The Square app is free, and so is the card reader. I don't have details on the Paypal app or card reader, but if they want to stay competitive, they'll offer it for free.

Check this out, ladies! And if you have some feedback about either service, or want to recommend another one, please feel free to do so here!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

doll auction

Looks like there's an action of dolls coming up on St Patrick's Day. Clars Auction Gallery.

Lot 718 has 23 pieces. Collection of associated Vogue and Ginny dolls including ''Ginny's Trip Mates'' in original packaging with garment and auto bags with clothes.

09:30 AM PT - Mar 17th, 2012

Also on the block:

Lot 717 Victorian China head low brow doll on a cloth body with bisque forearms and hands, 24'' together with a doll rocker (losses and repairs to left hand).

Lot 717A Collection of associated carolers of various compositions including papier mache and wood.

Lot 719 1 Ginny doll, 11 story book dolls including Bride, Groom with hat, with 8 associated vintage cards, plus a Vogue doll in trunk with clothes.

Lot 720 Vintage wax harlequin with painted bisque limbs, 15''; together with a miniature polychromed harlequin.

Not up my alley, but, it may be of interest to some. I used to go to auctions when I lived in Asheville, NC. It was a lot of fun! You get to rummage around and see what's up for auction. Then, you decide how much you want to spend. It was really helpful for me to say that I wouldn't go over $X because otherwise, you get into a bidding war with someone and you just want to... you know... WIN! So I set an amount, and I never went over.

I once got a whole box of goodies for $4.00. Inside were antique linens which I washed, bleached, and darned. I think I ended up selling them to an antiques dealer for about $75.00. Ah, those were the good old days!

And when I say bleach, I mean boiled on the stove in a solution of Sodium Perborate. It's a powder, and you have to dissolve it in water, and then add the white cotton or linen and let it come to a boil on the stove. Stir it occasionally and lift it out to see if the rust stains are gone. It may take some time, and you don't want to scorch it, so check and stir regularly.

You can find Sodium Perborate at really good pharmacies. I think it's sold for eye washes or something like that. It is really great for restoring old linen and cotton that has yellowed or has brown "rust" stains. It is an antique doll collector's best friend.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Social Media for Doll People

Wow, you ladies rock! I put up a blog, and a few days later, it has 250 views! I ask for reviews of my book and get five five-star reviews! And at the same time, I make the first sale of my book on Amazon! This is definitely the way to go for us dollmakers. We work all alone at home for hours, days and weeks, and sometimes don't see another person for ages. So for us, going online to connect is a necessary (dare I say?) evil. I've connected with people who can't leave their homes for one reason or another. Only by reading websites, blogs, facebook, etc. do they get to have any social interaction at all. Well, I have to say, this is a little bit of heaven for me to get such a nice response after just dipping my toes in the water. I have had to work on other things for the past few days. But starting tomorrow I'll be building my website, putting up links (please send me links to websites for dollmakers, doll artists, etc!) and hopefully I'll have something nice to show in response to all your responses! In the meantime, be well, and happy dollmaking! Noni

Saturday, March 3, 2012

It's very frustrating working on my book and video listings on Amazon.

I do a search for Cloth Dollmaking (which is the exact title of my book) and it doesn't show up on the list at all (frustrated!)

So I go in and add the phrase "cloth dollmaking" to the keywords, description, and "more info" to bring it up in the Amazon search engine.

It is now at number 5... (Huh! Why is it not number one?)

But because someone else is listing the old version in 3-ring binder (and calling that a Hardback Book!!!) and they don't show a photo of it, the cover photo doesn't show up in the listing... Why should this concern me? Because my book, the spiral bound paperback version is grouped with the hardback, and for some reason, theirs is first, so whatever is first determines whether there's a photo or not...(aaargh!)

So I upload my own photo to their listing. It is the cover that was used on the 3-ring binder, which is slightly different than the one I'm using now (just the typeface is different).

So... even though it's not showing up (STILL!) I think it's just a matter of time for Amazon to process it, and it will eventually show up. (fingers crossed!)

But I can't imagine why it is so low on the search... The only thing I can think of now is that it hasn't been reviewed. So I'm asking you all... If you've bought my book, or read it, would you do me a favor and go to and review it for me?

I think this link will get you there: Cloth Dollmaking

Thanks so much in advance! I'll let you know if it made a difference!

(Aren't blogs fun?)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My websites

I'm in the middle of trying to redesign my old site:
Thinking of ways to improve it.
(Please be patient. It is not yet active.)
I think that instead of the Workshop, I'll just blog my articles here.
Maybe I'll link to my pinterest page for photos of my dolls.
You will also be able to see my likes on that page:
My dollmaking books and videos are for sale on my Etsy shop:
Some of my other items (not for sale) are here:
And you can always friend me on facebook, see my videos on YouTube or read about me on IMDB.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Getting Started

Let's start at the very beginning...

Some people like to start with a sketch, so they can see what they are working toward. This is a very good idea, especially if you have trouble visualizing. Then you can see what your doll will need. Do you have to alter the pattern to make the doll strike a pose? Do you need to make a prop, or find a pattern for a certain style of dress?

I have to admit that I generally do not like to draw a sketch first. Why? Because it often feels as though I am finished when I get a good sketch. Then I am no longer motivated to make the doll. I feel like I've already done the character, with all the details, and I can stop now, with this beautiful little drawing.

I need to feel motivated, and I enjoy the challenge of working directly in the cloth. I will make an arm over and over and over again to get it to come off the shoulder at the exact right angle that I want. I had piles of discarded limbs from several different dolls to prove it! I would keep them around for years, hoping to reuse them at some point. But it was rarely the case.

When I did "Decisions, Decisions" I remade her arms several times. It was important that they look graceful and natural. And when your arms are raised, they are supported by muscles that come up from the front and back of the torso. You can simply move the arm pattern (the way a Barbi doll's arm moves in its socket) but it doesn't give you the realistic affect I was looking for.

Compare the photos of an earlier doll (Rita) with my later work, and you'll see the difference I'm talking about. (Oops! My links are broken because I'm moving my website. Please stay tuned. I'll repost the missing photos...)