Friday, November 30, 2012

Stringing Day

We're finishing up our last round of DeeDee Resin Dolls. There are three steps to finishing: Painting the face, stringing the doll and, the best part, dressing / packing. Below are some photos showing the stringing process.

Here I am laying in my bed supervising Bogie as she strings her dolls. Under the shelf you can see the doll parts divided into trays. Bogie examines each doll part before assembly. The white board in front is her stringing board. Tools include: elastic cord which she knots and secures with hot glue, ribbon and a hand made metal tool Bogie uses to pull the cord through the doll parts, and round tip pliers for folding over wire hooks.

Bogie begins with the torso and legs. She positions the cords around her screw pins. Then she strings ribbon through the cord and attaches it to her wire tool. The wire tool and ribbon is threaded through the doll part. Bogie then pulls on the ribbon which forces the cord through the part. The cord is positioned back on it's pin to hold it in place until she's done.

To complete the legs Bogie hooks the knee joint to the cord. Having the cords on their pins makes this step especially easy.

Here is DeeDee helping with the arms and hands. Once all the pieces are in place a wooden peg is temporarily put into the neck cord so it doesn't slip back down into the torso.  The cord is then pulled off it's pins and, Voila!!,  a doll body is born. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Buttefly Island Sketch

Below is Bogie's sketch for Butterfly Island (see previous blogs for earlier sneek peeks.)

Silver Elegance

It's too hot to go outside, so I've been hanging out with Bogie. This weekend she used up the last of our French chair parts and created a black and silver combo we call Silver Elegance. It's too small for me to sit in but I'm sure one of your 16 inch doll beauties would fit nicely. We have a total of 3 chairs. This is now the official end of all the french chair designs. Bogie will be taking a break from furniture for awhile to focus on dolls then she'll be tackling the upcoming chaise-lounge sculpt.

Silver Elegance LE 3: $82.99
Inspiration for the upcoming chaise-lounge

Thats if for the month. Stay cool and enjoy your summer,

Friday, July 20, 2012

Log Cabin Fireplace Mold Making

Things are picking up at Bella! Studio. Being done with the stripe chairs has really added some "umph" to Bogie's step. We are catching up on our orders and Bogie's been back to creating being imaginative.

Between making red chairs Bogie is working on the Fireplace Prototype. Below is her initial soft clay sculpt. This week she is making a thin prototype mold. Once it's done she will pour a few resin samples, grout the stones and add some other details. This resin version will be her final prototype. Once it's all approved Bogie will be make a second, more stable production mold. If she doesn't screw up on the pours she should be able to get about 50-75 pours out of each production mold.

Mold making is very expensive. One way to save money, especially on prototype molds, is to make a brush on mold. This consists of 3-4 thin layers of silicone rubber laid over the original part. Eash layer takes about a day to dry. To build up thickness scraps from retired molds are added. In the final layer Bogie will drape cheese cloth over it. The fibers of the cloth will help hold the thin layers together and prevent tearing.

Below are some progress photos we think you might enjoying seeing.

Happy creating,

Fireplace is sculpted from soft non hardening clay.

Old molds (such as the french chair molds) are cut into
small pieces. Mold material is very expensive. Adding
these old mold scraps to add volume to new molds
helps to reduce the cost.

First layer of mold material is poured over the original
sculpt. Mold scraps are added to help build up the
thickness. We will do two more layers. On the last layer
we will cover with netting or cheese cloth to help
add strength.

Tom Bishop Show & Butterly Island

We went to our first miniature show this weekend: "The Tom Bishop San Francisco Bay Area Miniatures Show." This was a small show but reminded us a lot of our first IDEX show in 2001. The room was filled with amazing miniature artists. The level of talent was so overwhelming there were moments when we felt we were way over our heads. I think some of the other artists must have realized this because several times they came over and gave us encouragement. We also received a lot of fantastic advice on how to get our work to museum quality.

We showed our finished house "Spinner's End"and received a wonderful response. It was amazing how many collectors and artists told us that seeing our house was inspiring them to take their own Glencroft dollhouse kit out of their closet and build it too. We also brought some of our tools and clay and worked on our next project "Butterfly Island." Collectors really like being able to handle the Paperclay and see what they can do with it.

Some of the artists really impressed us. Ranbow Hand & Kathy (  The talk of the show was her steam punk style electric chair execution room. Sounds morbid but it was actually really amazing and creative. Marie Petrik was our table neighbor. She made life like paper flowers floral arrangements. Bee Tree Miniatures also had florals but her's were made from japaneze rice clay ( and Gilbert Mena had miniature paintings that were so realistic  you felt like you were walking through the SF Museum of Art.

We have some more photos and lots of wonderful close-ups of our other cottage "Spinner's End." To see them check out our "Spinner's End" photo album on flikr at:

Below are some photos of "Butterfly Island." Enjoy the progress images and have a great weekend.

First floor roughly sculpted from contractor's foam. It's now partially covered in it's paperclay finish.

Here's a close up of the grape roots winding around the stairs.

Bogie's not completely happy with the butterfly
stone sculpt and is thinking of ripping it out
and redoing it.

Initial sketch of the butterfly Fireplace

Crazy brick.

The concept of this house is that it was built on a
small stone island in Lake Windslow. Some of the house
is carved out of the stone and some of it is built up
with crazy brick and rock

This island is made of granite boulders and shale rock.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Seeing Red - French Chair

Today it's too warm to be outside but just cool enough to hang out with Bogie in her studio (which gets miserably stuffy when it gets over 95 degrees outside.)

After finishing all the Stripe French Chairs Bogie discovered she had more parts left over than she expected. To celebrate, Bogie played for a few hours and used a red "happy" fabric she's always wanted to use. The chair is painted in a darker ivory and has a bit more gold accent that the stripe chairs. If you are interested in giving this chair a home be sure to e-mail us.

Keepin' it short today,

RED FRENCH CHAIR - $75 plus shipping.
If you are interested in this chair contact us at
Update 7/3/12: SOLD

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sneak Peek at Spinner's End

I had a kitty thrill yesterday. A deer got into our backyard. I would have chased it away but it was bigger than me. So, instead, I just quietly watched as it ate all of Bogie's flowers. (hee, hee, meow.) Alas, Bogie didn't think it was as funny as I did.

But that's not the big news. Many collectors have written me (Ok, they've written Bogie) and have been dismayed at how their display space for their larger dolls seems to be disappearing (meaning, there's no more room for their large dolls.) It's a natural course for higher end doll artists to shrink their doll lines down to the 12 inch play scale. But Bogie wants to stay away from mass manufacturing and stick to the more OOAK, limited edition and artistic side of the craft. After finishing her doll chair orders, Bogie took a week off to "play". She was able to finalize her plans for expanding Clea's world -- or, I should say shrinking it down to dollhouse scale (1:12).

Many of you already know that Windslow Valley, England is the fictional world of Clea's boyfriend James Windslow. In our ongoing Clea Bella story line, Clea is going to leave her beloved Pasadena, CA to accept a full time position as the Windslow Valley Arts Director. Besides Dance and Theatre, Clea will be exploring some of the more story book charm and history of this secluded little valley in Britain's Lake District. We will still be producing 16" dolls and 1:4 scale RWVs, but we are excited about expanding Clea's world into miniature... beginning with "Spinners End."

 "Spinner's End."  Special call out to Mary Desert for suggesting the theme of spinning yarn. We now have a wonderful story and some fun dolls and details centered around the spinning yarn theme. This picture is still in progress. We still have some details, such as the address sign, to finish.

This is Bogie's first dollhouse and the first stop on the "Windslow Valley Visitor's Tour." It was a Greenleaf Glencroft dollhouse kit Bogie received for Christmas.  She "bashed" it (changed it) quite a bit and completely covered it in Creative Paperclay. It will be the jumping off point for RWV scenes, dolls and accessories. Bogie only gets to work on the house on the weekends after work, so it is taking some time to complete. But with the DeeDee Doll deliveries almost done, it won't be long before Bogie gets to finish this and update the doll line and the website.

If you are interested in seeing "Spinners End" in person, visit Bogie at the upcoming Tom Bishop San Francisco Bay Area Miniatures Show, Embassy Suits SF Airport, South San Francisco, Friday Preview July 13th 6:30-9:30pm ($12) / Saturday show July 14th 10am - 4pm. ($6). Tickets at the door. For more info go to:

In the meantime, enjoy the sneak peek. Stay cool these warm June days. And please, my furry friends, don't let the deer get into your flower gardens! The humans get way too upset.


The Glencroft Dollhouse as it comes as a kit.
Can you see how we changed the roof line
and gable peaks.

Left side of Spinner's End
Right side.

Water plays a huge part in Windslow Valley. Lakes, creeks, rivers and waterfalls are abundant so naturally our little house needs a little pond in front of it.

Yarn detail over door before it was painted.
Close up of Chimney.
An upcoming mini for both 1:4 and 1:12 scale as well as a sneak peek at Clea as Sarah Spinner.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Mini Gazebo Section - Behind the scenes

There's been lots of construction going on at the Bougas Camp. Deck repairs. Terrain leveling. Lap pool installation. Tree cutting and removal (lots of wood for this winter.) Landscaping and general clean up. In short, lots of new piles of lumber and stacks of tools for my kitty paws to explore. Between the doll company and the construction, Bogie has a lot do in her "day job."

But on the weekends, yes, after work, Bogie has been putting her creative juices into smaller construction projects. She used to produce most of her Room with a View (RWV) items in photoshop. Recently she discovered it's easier to create her scenes in miniature, photograph them and then take them into photoshop. I'm lovin' the mini stuff. Lots of little bits to bat about the studio. (Oh, it so fun knocking off just the piece Bogie needs when she's not looking.)

Here's a little mini Gazebo section Bogie produced last year and finally found the time to photograph. I was peeking at her computer yesterday. It looks like she has several "views" that are going to be perfect for the backdrop.

As usual, enjoy.


A mini Gazebo section made from bass wood. Bogie will photograph it from different
angles then compose the sections in photoshop.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Welcome to our new home for the Bella Studio and Clea Bella Fan Club. There's lots going on in this little studio. Doll making. Furniture making. Dollhouse creation... and actual human size construction.  Best of all, there's always some very needed, small part just waiting for me to bat around and hide from Bogie.

This has been a strange year so far. Many computer crashes. A hot tub moved off a deck and put in front of Bogie's studio door. A big hole dug in the backyard to make room for a lap pool and now deer breaking into our yard and eating our flowers. Thank goodness Bogie's been safe in her studio (when she could get past the hot tub) finishing old projects and finally catching up on her computer tasks... such as starting this blog.

This month Bogie was able to update the website and add five new Four Season Magnetic Window Panels.  ( ) to go with our collapsable diorama Room With a View. These are scaled for 12" to 16" scaled dolls.

Lake Tahoe

San Francisco Day

San Francisco Night

Seattle Day

Seattle Night.

That's if for now. Everyone have a great week.