Monday, December 7, 2009

Break from the Lady

Quick break from the Lady of Toothpicks (see previous post) to bring word of some toothpick folks who were rather insistent at having their pictures shown.

The Nutcracker. Charming as all princes should be, except when you shove a nut in his mouth. Please refrain.

St. Nicholas. Not to be confused with his rather chubbier counterpart. Will sing old English Christmas Carols when no one is listening.

Ah, the angel! Taking a break from her normal angelic duties to grace your Christmas tree. Has also been spotted with blonde, brown, or black hair.

These are my toothpick doll ornaments of the season! Travel to the Angela Michelle Dolls online shop on Etsy to see more variations and invite one home to your tree.

Merry Christmas to you!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Birth of a Toothpick Doll

I've been having fun lately...

While I was making Emeline, the toothpick doll of the decade from me, I took pictures obsessively. I wanted to show them in a way that wouldn't seem too "family vacation slideshow night," so...I started playing.

This is as far as I've gotten so far, let me know what you think! If you have trouble viewing the "movie," let me know so I can improve the file size or speed.

Oh, and I promise - I'll get the wigging photos up soon! She won't stay bald.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Emeline, Lady de Couer-dents

I write about not getting work done and then disappear for 3 months. Accidental Master of Irony, here.

I have been getting work done, though - a project that began to eat up every spare minute until it grew so big it crowded out all other projects.


Emeline, Lady de Couer-dents (Lady of Toothpicks)

She was a competition piece, 70+ hours of work in one month. I was so sick of satin & feathers & wigs...

No, I did not win the competition, but I am pleased it gave me the deadline to produce this piece. I think she may be my favorite to date.

More pictures (of the finished doll & the process behind her) coming soon!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

This is why...

I never get anything done.

Yes, that's my cat. Oreo.

And yes, that's my lightbox, where I photograph all of my toothpick dolls and other miniatures. If the photos in my shop start sporting traces of cat hair, you'll know why.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Yard + Art = YART Sale!

Been by yet? If not, please don't go until after you're finished reading here. I'll never get you back. More than one unwary browser has been lost for weeks amongst the stash of goodness that exists on Etsy.

Etsy is hosting a 5-day sale called the Yart Sale! (Yard Sale + Art. Just go with it!)

To join in the Yart Adventure, I've set aside all of the Doll Frames, Clips & Pins in a special section (quite cleverly named "Yart Sale"). Click for Yart Sale Section.

Between now & Sunday, June 14, shipping is free (reduced for international folks) on all Doll Frames, Clips, & Pins.

Stop by and browse! The laundry will wait.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fairy CSI - The Conclusion

In case you missed the exciting Part I episode of Fairy CSI, scroll down one post past. In my attempt to make miniature (as in one inch) fairies, I littered my work desk with fairy parts - heads on sticks, legs, random bodies - quite a sight.

Productivity did come from the wreckage, as it (sometimes) does, and I ended up with...

You'd never know of her sordid past. Of course, it would help if I photoshoppped out all the fairy parts behind her - evidence of those that did not make it this far. Practice makes perfect.

Now the only question remains...what do I do with her?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Fairy CSI

I've been experimenting. I like tiny things and I'm addicted to thread, but Penny People just take so darn long! So I wondered if I could make a tiny doll from clay instead of thread.

I like clay. In particular, I like making heads from clay. Pop some eyes in, stick a nose on, pull out a grin, and you've got such a cute little sucker, disembodied as it is. For me, the challenge comes in making bodies for the heads, as I'm told that just a pile of heads is a little disturbing.

So, back to the experimenting...

My work desk now resembles a Fairy Crime Scene Investigation. Tiny body parts everywhere, random heads on sticks - who knew the world of miniature doll-making was thus?

I have one of the original thread Penny People (princess in blue, above, 10 o'clock) watching from the corner. She seems to have thrown her hands up hopelessly. I kept reminding her that as I did make her, I just might know what I'm doing. She was not convinced. Clay and thread are two very different mediums.

Fairy CSI: To be continued...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Clip a Doll

I'm always trying to come up with excuses to have dolls around (like you need one). I have:

- put dolls on photo frames

- displayed them in hoity-toity glass domes (not recommended if the doll already has an overblown ego - this really sends them into diva mode)

- turned them into earrings (a much smaller 1" version of them - not quite sure anyone would want a 3" doll earring, although I could be wrong. Maybe.)

- hung them as Christmas ornaments (clarification: attached a hanger to the back of the doll. I do not hang dolls.)

Now, toothpick dolls find themselves in two new places to help them better see the world:

As a pin...

And attached to a clothespin (with a magnet on the back)...

The world is always interesting when seen from a miniature doll's perspective. Now that toothpick dolls are even more portable, we'll have to see what new stories they come back with. Sure beats carrying them around in your jeans pocket. I did this when young and stupid and soon learned what a wretched sight a toothpick doll with a broken neck makes.
Want to see more pins & clips?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Toothpick Bodies Galore

An awful thing happened last week. I ran out of bodies. Toothpick bodies, that is, for toothpick dolls. I like to have a fairly good stash on hand. So I cranked up the body-making factory & went to work. Two evenings of work later, I am once again amply supplied.
It's ok, folks - crisis averted.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Queen usurped by a Treasury

The Queen and I aren't speaking to each other.

We were doing so well for a while there, and I thought I might finish her without incident. Naive, foolish notion. I should have known it woudn't be quite that easy working with her.

Now, she wants this diamond pattern on her sleeves. I thought it would be easy enough, so I drew it into the original design. Then I started working on it. Blasted, fiddly, confounded thing. That diamond pattern has given me more grief...

I have figured out how to do it, but it's going to be very tedious & tiny. So, rather than working on it, the Queen and I have simply stopped speaking to each other.

There are two ways to resolve this. Either she consents to a simpler design, or I relent. Hmm... Considering the likelihood of the first option...I'd better get back to work.

On another note, I'm currently featured in a treasury on, curated by MoodyandSanguine. Check it out - lots of cool items there! My personal favorite is the Snow White locket.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

From Princess to Queen

I'm so excited. After a long day at work, I get to come home & spend the evening working on an incredibly difficult 3-inch tall doll that has proven to be one of the most stressful projects I've ever designed. I think I need help.

The Queen of Hearts has been waiting, with surprising patience, as I set her aside to work on the Princesses and Pirates for the toothpick doll kits I'll be selling this summer. She has no head, and so far the lower half of her arms is nothing more than a half-inch cut of toothpick.

Time for that to change. I need a break, and she needs a diamond pattern on her sleeves. Now, how I'm going to do that...well, maybe I'll figure it out by the end of the evening.

Happy doll-making!

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Toothpick Princesses Arrive, Fashionably Late

Finally! You should feel quite special. The Toothpick Princesses have finally consented to allow their picture to be taken. We have, in order of appearance, Madeline Lily, Isabella Rose, & Alyssa Violet.

These dainty ladies are part of a kit I'm developing, which will be available in June. The kit will include instructions & materials to make the three characters above, provided you're willing to put up with these picky princesses on your crafting table! I've promised my kit testers that I would give them a teaser of the dolls they're going to be testing in April. I'm working on a Pirate kit (see previous posting).

Want to know more about these kits, & when they'll be available for purchase? Sign up for the free Angela Michelle Dolls newsletter by going to

Now, if I may, allow me to introduce the Princesses in a more befitting manner:

Isabella Rose will be your guide to making these dolls. All of the instructions will be given in her point of view, and she will ask that you kindly pay special attention when constructing her hat. And when you arrange her hair, be sure to give it the proper length. If it worked for Rapunzel...

Years ago, Madeline Lily read in Princess Perfection that princes who run afoul of the local swamp witch frequently end up as frogs. Enter Ferdinand, the friendly green frog. He may not be a prince, but he sure can write sonnets!

Alyssa Violet has a head on her shoulders - one she hopes is the fairest in the land. To assure her of her status on the Prettiest Princess list, Alyssa obtained a Magic Mirror. Although in addition to giving Alyssa her current ranking (right now, she's number 4), this Mirror also alerts her to any local sales, and provides the quickest route, among other things.

Keep on eye out for more stories & introductions for both the Princesses & Pirates!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Attack of the Toothpick Pirates!

They've landed! Captain James Kelly, center. His first (& only) mate, Lucky Pete. Stowaway, Calico Anne.

These swashbuckling adventurers are part of a kit I'm developing, which will be available in June. The kit will include instructions & materials to make the three characters above, provided you're brave enough to allow these rogues onto your crafting table! I've promised my kit testers that I would give them a teaser of the dolls they're going to be testing in April. I'm working on a Princess kit as well, but the royal ladies are still fixing their hair and were mortified at the thought of getting their pictures taken yet. Hopefully we'll see them next week!

Want to know more about these kits, & when they'll be available for purchase? Sign up for the free Angela Michelle Dolls newsletter by going to

Without further ado, a quick introduction to our band of Pirates:

Captain James Kelly is in command, or tries to be. I hope you like the looks of him, because he will be your narrator as you craft these toothpick pirates. The instructions will be from his perspective, pirate slang and all. I did convince him to be family friendly, I promise! From his sword to his jaunty tri-corner hat, he'll teach you everything you need to know (with side comments!).

First Mate Lucky Pete & his pet parrot, Percy, work their hardest to keep the Captain's ship afloat, minus a few leaks here & there. Percy is always ready to point out which spots Lucky Pete has missed. Even with his eye-patch & peg leg, this pirate is a faithful hand at the mast!

Calico Anne has had such trouble living out her dream to sail the open seas. No one wants a girl on their ship, so Anne snuck on to Captain Kelly's ship - after all, she only had to sneak past two people! She was soon discovered, but the fact that she brings along a treasure map helps make her company a little more bearable. Of course, it would be nice if she weren't such a clutz - she's slipped and dropped that map over the side of the ship more times than anyone cares to count!

That's all for now!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mini Calories Don't Count!

Etsy Team MIDS (Miniatures in Dollhouse Scale) Feature:
Miniature Artist Blue Kitty Miniatures

It's Spring! Time for flowers, afternoon rain showers, green grass, and...the swimsuit diet. Was that a groan I heard? If you have a weakness for your corner Cake Shop & walking there every morning doesn't help the calorie disaster that occurs upon arrival, allow me to offer an alternative...

Introducing the exceptional (& calorie free!) fare of Etsy artist Blue Kitty Miniatures.
(Click on any of the pictures below to go directly to the item listing)

Wish your wedding cake looked like this? So does your blushing dollhouse bride. This cake, from the bottom roses to the top pearls, measures about 2 inches (50 mm) tall. I'll give you a moment to pick your jaw up off the floor...

Recovered? It will only last a moment. If neither you nor your dollhouse residents are celebrating a special occasion anytime soon, let me propose to you that there is always an occasion for cookies! Particularly when they come from this adorable miniature Black & White Tuxedo Cat Cookie Jar. Best part? The cookies are included! Click on the kitty picture above to see the "Awww!"-inducing teeny cookies that come with this Cookie Jar.

Bet you never knew that you desperately wanted a miniature herbal book with a goggle-eyed plant creature peeking out, huh? You do now. One of my all-time favorites - I've been fighting the temptation to buy a dollhouse just so I could house this little guy. Resolve...failing...

Do you need a moment to pick up your jaw again? Pretty soon, your dollhouse family is going to forget they're in a dollhouse, when even the flowers that get knocked over look this real!

Do you remember getting cakes like this when you were a kid? No? Then make up for it by providing them for your dollhouse children! Their permanent smiles will thank you.

Want to see more of Blue Kitty's work? How about a golfing novelty cake? A ladybug cookie jar? A Toadstool House Novelty Cake? Step right over...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Toothpick Dolls from Yesteryear

If you're looking for the Advanced Toothpick Doll Tutorial advertised in the Angela Michelle Dolls Newsletter, click here. If you don't receive the Angela Michelle Dolls Newsletter & feel hopelessly out of the loop, click here.

This week I'm showing off some of my very first dolls (from about 15 years ago), done in the first fledgling years of my career as a teenage doll-maker.

Today I would like you to meet...

A few of the typical dolls I used to do (typical other than martians & Star Wars, I mean).

A stylin' curlytop with an oh-so-chic butt skirt. About the same time I picked up on toothpick dolls, someone gave me a little container of various felt shapes - circles, hearts, ovals, flowers, etc. This, along with some lace scraps, became my accessories of choice when fashion designing for the toothpick community (a highly overlooked demographic group, by the way).

This Lady in Blue models a green felt flower folded in half for her purse, & a black felt oval draped over her head in something that hopefully resembles a hat. The decoration on the hat is a piece cut out from a strip of lace. The innovation of a 13-year-old - something I wish I had back, at times!

When fashion supercedes function, you know you've hit high design. This look features a huge pink felt heart draped across the arm & accented with bits of lace. Not sure she can move that arm, but toothpick dolls have never really clamored for ease of movement, luckily. Her hair is set in a style that was supposed to make it look like her bangs were draping down over one eye, but instead kind of makes her look like she forever has her head turned to the side. Looking at...?

Ah, one of my first attempts at a full skirt & other drape-y things. I was quite proud of this Princess-Lady when I made her so many years ago. She had looong hair (down to her feet) and a little crown-tiara thing going on. Unfortunately, she met the fate that a few dolls met during those beginning years - she had her neck broken while I was carrying her around in my jeans pocket at school. I did learn...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Toothpick Galaxy Far, Far Away...

If you're looking for the Advanced Toothpick Doll Tutorial advertised in the Angela Michelle Dolls Newsletter, click here. If you don't receive the Angela Michelle Dolls Newsletter & feel hopelessly out of the loop, click here.

This week I'm showing off some of my very first dolls (from about 15 years ago), done in the first fledgling years of my career as a teenage doll-maker.

Today I give you my homage to a galaxy far, far away...
OK, let's have some fun. Can you guess who these characters are? I could tell you the name of the movie(s), but I'm really hoping I don't have to. I know these were made years ago before I was really any good at toothpick doll-making, but come on! Help out my ego & tell me you can recognize these dolls. It's a good cause, really...
#1. We have the obligatory mentor, both older & wiser than our hot-headed hero. And also with an apparently crummy movie contract, as he only lasted for the first half of the first one of six movies.
#2. Aforementioned hot-headed hero. What do you get when you mix a restless whippersnapper who just happens to be a natural talent and a nefarious villain with a shocking secret about said whippersnapper's true origins? A franchise.
#3. Damsel in Distress. Just don't tell her that.

#4. Unlikely Good Guy. If you can buy a good guy who makes a living smuggling & has an unnatural fear of carbon-based preservation methods, that is.

There was also a half-finished Chewy running around, but I opted not to photograph him, as he's just not as intimidating without a head. And he will probably never get one at this point...

Next show & tell on Friday!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Toothpick Martians

If you're looking for the Advanced Toothpick Doll Tutorial advertised in the Angela Michelle Dolls Newsletter, click here. If you don't receive the Angela Michelle Dolls Newsletter & feel hopelessly out of the loop, click here.

This week I'm showing off some of my very first dolls (from about 15 years ago), done in the first fledgling years of my career as a teenage doll-maker.

Today I would like you to meet...

Mr. & Mrs. Martian, respectively.

I think Mrs. Martian, who declined to give her first name as it is unintelligible in our tongue, was the very first doll I made to debut the skirt technique. She's quite a happening lady, with her cat's eye glasses (fashion takes awhile to reach her stretch of the galaxy), and her cute little bob.

Mr. Martian, as I remember, has always been quite proud of his bowtie, which was made of several small balls of thread and assembled in something that, at the time I made him, seemed like a bowtie shape. His grin is, you could say, stuck to his face eternally.

The couple features three fingers & toes per appendage, and a somewhat unruly set of eyes that spring out from the top of their forehead. I really shouldn't tell you this, but Mrs. Martian's pink glasses are for show only. She once saw an episode of Mary Tyler Moore, and there was no going back...

When I remember my early dolls, this couple always stands out. I made several sets, but this is the only couple I kept, apparently. For some reason, I thought they made quite appropriate gifts, although I can't recall for what occasion...

Monday, March 16, 2009

My First Doll: Pathetic, Sweet Thing

Want to see the first toothpick doll I ever made (15 long years ago...)? Pictures at the end of this post.

Well, if you subscribe to the Angela Michelle Dolls Newsletter, you probably came looking for the Advanced Toothpick Doll Tutorial. You'll get it, don't worry! There's a link to all the spilled secrets below. I recently taught a tutorial in the Custom Dolls, Houses, & Miniatures forums. We covered the basics, and then delved into how to make a skirt (that will make a doll stand on her own), and how to start adding intricate accents with split-thread detailing.

To access the tutorial:

1 - Head to Click on "Forums" in the top right corner.

2 - If you're not already a member of this forum, scroll down to "CDHM Announcements". Click on the last topic in that section, "CDHM Forum - Registration Benefits". It will show you how to join (it's free, by the way).

3 - Join the forum! It's free, and you'll be able to see my toothpick doll tutorial, as well as a host of other tutorials, tips, & tons of information relating to dolls & miniatures. There are some fabulous artisans there!

4 - Once you've joined, scroll down to the "Tutorials" board & click on "Past Tutorials". Go to "Click here for Past Classes", scroll to the bottom of that list & you'll see "Learn to Make a Toothpick Doll". There you go! Oh, and before you leave there, check out some of those other tutorials - they're so much fun! Bonus if you have free time that's begging to be filled in a creative way.

All of the information in that tutorial will eventually make its way into this blog, but I'm holding off for a couple months, as CDHM is often able to publish its tutorials in publications, & a magazine will decline if the information is freely available on the internet already. Thus, the schedule switch. But you can still access that entire tutorial today if you wish.

So, what to do with the next week? Thought you might like seeing how I started in the Toothpick World...

This was my first doll, made from a flyer my mom picked up in a craft store. That was circa 1994, & I was about 13 years old. We were stationed on an air base in Italy, & toothpicks & thread were some of the few craft supplies I had access to.

The rest of this week I'll pull out some photos of other oooold dolls, including Mr. & Mrs. Martian, & my homage to Star Wars.

Fun, fun :)

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Queen of Hearts, in Toothpick

Remember the Queen of Hearts doll I've been working on? Well, I'm still working, and so far, she's still cooperating. She hasn't raised too many objections about how her costume is turning out, although it probably helps that I haven't given her a head yet...

I just love parts like this, that look so wild. It looks so hideous right now, & I'm the only one who knows just what I'm doing. Feeds my mad scientist alter ego. Bwa Ha Ha! (The laughter sounds much better when it's not in print...)

See? There was a reason for the chaotic pink strings. They all fed into her poofy pink overskirt, which the Queen was undecided on for a long time. Not even the Toothpick Peasant doll looks too convinced, yet. It wasn't until I added a satin waistband & satin ruffles all along the hem that the Queen agreed it was acceptable. This was a good thing, as if a doll doesn't like what she's wearing, it usually means I have to start over completely. Toothpick dolls are stubborn, fair warning.

Starting to resemble her design a touch more. I love the little black bolero jacket. I have to tell you, this lady has turned out to be the most difficult doll I've ever done, hands down! It's practically an engineering project, trying to figure out which layer I should do next, & how to keep the shape of the silhouette right... So much fun, so many meltdowns.

Working on the arms. Confession: I hate doing arms. There are two of them. You spend hours on one arm, getting it just right, and then you have to turn around and do another one, and it has to match the first perfectly. Bleuagh! (I believe that about sums it up)

I've put her aside for a couple weeks now, procrastinating on those arms, but I'm finding I can't stay away for long...

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Perfectly Landscaped Dollhouse

Etsy Team MIDS (Miniatures in Dollhouse Scale) Feature:
Miniature Artist Golden Unicorn Minis

Is your dollhouse lacking curb appeal? Do your 1/12 scale dolls stay in their chambers & avoid lounging on the terrace, even on the best of days?

Let me recommend you to Golden Unicorn Minis, THE Dollhouse Landscaper whose name is in every fashionable doll's mini-rolodex.

Don't worry! You can still catch up with the styles of the dollhouse elite. Check out some of the pieces that could spruce up your dollhouse's tired exterior:
(Click on any of the pictures below to go directly to the item listing)

Start with the front door. Place one planter on either side of the entrance & have instant grandness (grandeur?). Whatever the word, you'll have it!

Climbing roses. How much more romantic can you get? Put some of these winding their way up the dollhouse facade, & I can practically guarantee a miniature Clark Gable will come strolling round the corner.

Does the lady of your dollhouse have a green thumb? Even if she doesn't, just put this out by the back garden, and all of her neighbors will be convinced she really does know the difference between a rose & a tulip!

I know you're going for prettiest castle on the block, but can your really hope to compete with the Tudors without a lion's head wall planter?

As the centerpiece of a garden or the focal point of the grand foyer, this wonderfully intricate statue & bowl of flowers completes your mini layout.

Well, I hope you (& your dollhouse!) have profited from this little lesson in mini curb appeal. To continue your look through the catalog of mini landscaping, be sure to visit Golden Unicorn Minis on Etsy.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Chocolate Day!

That is what Valentine's is all about, right? You mean I have it wrong?!

Enjoy these very Valentine-y finds from the talented artists on

Ok, first things first. Need a card? Running out of time? Behold the solution. This card is emailed to you for you to print out immediately. Forget the store! You've got Valentine's Day covered.

By moderninkstudio

I'm all for jewelry, but make it handmade! Ethereal & charming, this is the perfect ring.

By jessicavanneste

Don't ask me why a little knitted heart with eyes gets me, but this is just adorable. Instant smile. You'll be remembered for this one.

By Zantie

Want a fun fact? This cake is 2 inches tall. Don't believe me? Go ahead, buy it! You'll see. Valentine's Day comes even to dollhouses.

By BlueKittyMiniatures

The name of this temptation? Orange Twist Oreo Truffle. Click on the picture & see if you can read the description without drooling. I dare you.

By sugarsmitten

Hope you enjoyed the show! By the way, you now have no excuses to meet Valentine's Day unprepared - sorry! Oh, and if you don't have someone special to buy for, I'm sure yourself wouldn't mind getting one of these from you.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Out of the Project Tube...

I work in miniature. What would be a pile of scraps for one person could become an entire project for me. So I always have tiny pieces of STUFF left over that I don't want to throw away, because my next mini masterpiece might call for it! My solution? Pill containers. Grand, I know.

I use tiny containers, like the kind you can buy that have 7 small stackable containers for you to keep a week's worth of pills in. These become my great & wondrous Project Tubes. Seriously, one tube of containers could hold everything I need for an entire project.

So, what's in my latest Project Tube? A bouquet of a dozen red roses! Seems perfectly normal to me...

I make these roses as accents for my toothpick dolls, & decided to let them have the spotlight all to themselves for once. Each rose is handmade, formed on the tip of a toothpick. The bouquets have three different sizes of rose - a bud, a normal size, & a fully opened rose.

I have to admit, the hardest part about these bouquets is wrapping them in that iridescent film! Fiddly stuff. But the end result so charms me that I put up with it. Having chocolate within reach helps, too.
These rose bouquets are available in my Etsy shop.
Happy Valentine's Day!