Shirley Bligh - A Pattern Shared

If you've thought of finishing a pin cushion doll, Shirley Bligh of Australia has generously shared her own design for the pin cushion skirt with all of us.  You can size it down or up depending on what you need for the half doll you're finishing.  It's so nice as the top of the skirt has been designed to better take the bulk away from the tiny waists.  Click on this link( to download two pages which give you the pattern and easy instructions.

The following photo is Shirley's creation that she made some time ago using her skirt pattern.  This pin cushion doll is one of the prettiest I've seen. Her blog is
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This photo is of a new half doll that I finished using Shirley's pattern.  This matronly lady was made by the Mundial Company of Belgium.  She is so different I couldn't resist her.  A butterfly is sitting on her arm.
In the photos below, I thought I'd show you an antique half doll and a reproduction of the same doll.  Here is the antique that reminded me of the movie "Thoroughly Modern Millie" with her cloche hat.  This one hasn't had her hair bobbed yet!  Flappers and other 1920s gals are pretty common in the half doll realm.
So many of the gifted doll artists I've been buying from are in Australia.  I'm starting to think there must be something in the water there!!  This little beauty was made by Carole V. Lyons.  She has reproduced the antique with her own spin with added decals and tiny handmade flowers.   I actually prefer her over the antique because she is so delicate looking.  Tidbit:  Reproductions are about 20% smaller than the antique as the porcelain shrinks during firing. 

Since I'm talking about 1920's style half dolls, here are a couple more of my favorites.  The first is an antique.  She has a lusterware blouse which is a metallic glaze that appears iridescent.  So pretty.  Don't you love the ermine stand-up collar and the color combination the painter used?
This stunning lady is new and, again, a product of the Mundial Company in Belgium.

McKenna Ryan Art Quilts

It's been an off year for me and that applies to my crazy quilting as well.  I don't intend to give it up totally but have been putting some of my time elsewhere.  Last year I started a Christmas "art quilt" designed by McKenna Ryan which I purchased in kit form from Batiks Plus (  This quilt is called "Heaven and Nature Sing."  I finished it recently and will be giving it to my daughter on Thanksgiving as a Christmas gift.  I love McKenna's designs so it's been a pleasure doing this.
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I've started another of her kits "In Full Bloom" so will show you each section of the progress on it as I go along this time.  These kits are easy in some ways but are very time consuming and you do have to pay very close attention on how you add the pieces.  Her charts are nicely done and she's put a lot of time in making the patterns and instructions user friendly.  Since I'm not a very good machine quilter, I've learned how to add the pieces in layers and stitch a scant 1/16" from the edges of each piece as I go.  I'll take it to a long arm quilter to finish it for me.


Exploring New Ways to Display Half Dolls

As you can probably guess from my most recent posts, I have become enamored with half dolls.  My collection is growing and I'm anxious to come up with alternative ways to display them.  The pin cushion skirts take up so much space and finding flat surface space will soon become a problem.  Besides, a line up of pin cushion dolls loses something overall and you fail to notice the beautiful faces.

This is my first effort at making a half doll wall hanging.  It was hard to get a great photo as it is so monochromatic.  This doll is an antique so no glue was used on her and she is held secure by being wedged into layered cardboard and Timtex.  Now that I've done one this way, I think I'll try foam board the next time.  I know you've probably seen mysteries on TV that show a hollowed out book to hide a gun or another item.  This is basically what I did to handle the fact that the half doll is not flat on the back.  This wall hanging took several days to make so can't be classified anywhere near "easy."

Half Doll Hanging (sm)

Starting with this post I will share some photos of half dolls that are in my collection.  Maybe they'll be made whole at a future date, but there's not enough hours to finish them all.  I look for nicely painted faces, reasonable prices, and overall appeal.

This first photo is of an antique German half doll.  Arms away are more difficult to make as more molds are required, but this feature makes the half doll more desirable to collectors.  German half dolls are more desirable than those made in Japan.  Quality shows!

Half Doll 1
The following photo is of a reproduction "wahini" made by the Mundial Company in Belgium.  Their dolls are beautiful but, because they are so nicely done, people who sell them almost always try to pass them off as antique by not committing themselves to saying outright that they are new.  I bought several because I know I'll never have the funds for the antique versions and researching before I bought was simple to do online.

Half Doll 2

Thank you for visiting.  I'd like to hear what you think so please comment and let me know you've been here.  I'll be back!!