Friday, April 30, 2010

Couture Court Opens TODAY!!

....and we name our Winner!

Today, Friday, April 30, is a great day for Couture Doll Shops - we open Couture Court, and our name is courtesy of all of you who took the time to visit us at CDS and cast your vote. And, it's also a great day for Janice (Jan) Fitzsimmons, winner of our beautiful, brunette Ellowyne, Too doll. Congratulations to you, Jan, and big thanks to all who participated!!

Today we'll roll out the Red Carpet for the second street in our online Dolly Mall - can it just be about a month ago we revealed Main Street? And will there be a whole town in our future?? Well, if not it won't be from a lack of trying!! Couture Doll Shops has a group of some of the most dedicated and hard working artists I've ever had the privilege of being associated with, and I feel so happy being in such marvelous company!!

The presentation below feature some of these artists who had the time to not only tweak or build a website, but who also had the time to make a beautiful featured item. Our items run the gambit from lovely fashions to accessories to neat items for making dioramas. From coffins to patterns to jewelry - it's all here in our latest presentation I've put together through the generosity of an online service called Slide. The process used in this slide is called morphing, and I used it because I thought it was symbolic that each picture morphs into the next. It reminded me of the teamwork of this wonderful crew who take time from their busy day to pass on tips and suggestions when we have a new topic in our Merchants group. But don't think we are all business all the time in our group - we do work hard, but we always manage to remember we're playing dolls - so we do have fun!

The music chosen is by Seal. Well, dahlings, we emulate Heidi's television show in our competitions, so why not "borrow" her husband for one song. He's belting out a beautiful blues song called A Change is Gonna Come. It may not seem appropriate at first listen, but if you take the time to really hear the words, perhaps you'll look at it the way i do. Like the song, we started small and we've been running ever since - running to make Couture Doll Shops a really special place for doll lovers of all kinds; and we'll continue running as long as we continue to be appreciated by our clients.

But an overall change in the way doll businesses have been available on the internet has been a long time coming, coming up with an affordable alternative to the high listing fees and final value fees that we have suffered through other venues. They've made it hard to make a living, and at times we've been afraid that dollie commerce may die off or be less available. So we're happy to be a part of CDS - and we're definitely looking beyond the sky - we're looking forward to the day when we'll have all your dolly needs available under one roof !!

If that sounds haughty or self centered we don't mean to be - because we're really not! Most of us have become your friends by participating on Yahoo groups or Doll Boards where we all talk about our favorite dolls. Many of the artists here have also graced your coffee tables, tucked inside the doll magazines you frequent. You see, Couture Doll Shops is merely a collaboration of like minded doll artists who choose to sell their wares online together; doll artists who are all proud to fly the CDS banner and to work towards a better way to run their doll shops.

As we travel from Spring to the dog days of Summer, we'll be concentrating on getting the word out to even more doll collectors about our online mall, and we'll also be working really hard to get our shops fully stocked. We'll still add a few select shops for Couture Court, but we will wait to surprise you with another lovely street of shop owners in the Fall. We need to be ready for everyone's dollie needs for the holidays for sure!

What will you be doing? Hopefully shoppers will be checking in occasionally to see what or who is new, and making their friends aware we exist - it's fun to share neat things with a friend. And, what of you shop owners?? Is your year all planned out? If not, maybe you might want to make some plans with us?? Remember our goal is for all who desire to have or grow their doll business to succeed; and we'd really love it if you'd choose to succeed with us!!

Okay, enough talk; it's time to enjoy the show! And then you'll want to run along, my pretties, and check out Couture Court. Our friendly shop owners are standing by to fulfill your purchases and answer all your questions.

And, what a fun weekend to shop and celebrate for all the wonderful Mothers out there!!! Happy Mother's Day to all of you! Hey, today might just be the right day to "accidentally" leave your computers open to a page on Couture Doll Shops that features an item you'd really like to receive on your special day!!! Do more than dream about it, dahling - give your significant other a nudge!!

Okay, we're all set - on with the show!! Please note: Our video that was previously on the blog can now be found HERE - take note there is music in the video!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


....AND you'll have a chance to win an 
Ellowyne Too!

She'll be the one with rooted brunette hair and blue eyes. Her outfit includes a designer two piece set, striped stockings, and lace-up shoes. And, a new designer saddle stand is also included!  

All you need to do is go over to CDS' Main Street  and click on the CDS Forum.  There you will find the topic Name Phase 2.  Just follow the directions to sign in.  Then simply post your name, your email, and your choice of one of these street names:

Couture Court, Fashionista Way, Muse Boulevard, Imagination Road or Rue de la Paix.

Entries accepted Tuesday, April 20 through Tuesday, April 27. All entries will be put into a pool and one winner will be drawn.

The winner will be announced on both the CDS website and this blog during the Grand Opening of our newly named street on Friday, April 30, 2010.   Good luck!

Couture Doll Shops' Members and Management not eligible. NO Purchase Necessary to enter.

Take a moment while on Main Street to look around if you have time -  several of our merchants have promotions running during this contest!  You really don't want to miss out on any of the fun!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Featured Artist - Claudia Green

Claudia Green is a newcomer to the artistic venue of sewing and painting fashion dolls.  She was introduced to it by her sister, Peggy Quade.  Peggy had been sewing for dolls for several years, and telling Claudia about her experience.  Try as Peggy would to encourage Claudia, she just had no interest in sewing for dolls at that time.  In fact, she hadn't even seen some of the fashion dolls in personPeggy mentioned.

In fact, Claudia didn’t even have Barbie dolls when she was a little girl, and she hated Home Economics in high school.  Her Mother did teach her the basics of sewing, though, and she had sewed for her two children when they were young.  And she did come from a large family (7 brothers and sisters) who are all artistic in one way or another - even her Dad taught photography and her Mom was a closet fashion artist. She did at least have a love of art, and  always had some kind of arts & crafts project going on at any given time…painting, cross-stitching, clay, etc. 

Finally, when Peggy brought a few Tonner Tyler-type dolls to one of their family gatherings and told Claudia the prices artists were getting for repainting the doll's faces, that's when she finally became interested!   And, when Peggy bought her a head off eBay and sent it to her along with some paint and brushes, she had to try it.    Although Claudia admits her first attempts were really awful, she kept at it.  After all, the nice thing about repainting is, if you make a mistake or don’t like it, you can just erase it and start over!

Practice, practice, practice was Claudia's mantra!  She also got a DVD set by Laurie Leigh and those techniques helped her tremendously.  She felt once she got the basics down, she was more comfortable in her work, and she actually began to know her own style. Together she and Peggy became a team - Claudia repainting and Peggy creating the fashions, taking the pictures and putting them on eBay.  What a thrill she felt making that first sale!  They continued this way for awhile with Claudia even "graduating" to repainting other dolls such as Ellowyne.

It was when Claudia's passion for repainting exceeded more than Peggy could sew clothes for, that she decided to buy a simple MHD pattern.  She figured she could make a simple dress to go with her repaint for that overall look for the dolls she had been creating with her sister.  Once she got past the lining procedure in the MHD patterns, she worked on photographing her dolls, and writing descriptions.   Claudia was then confident enough with what she produced to start featuring her own dolls on eBay!   Slowly she went from total dressed doll, to making clothes to sell separately, and it has been that way ever since!  Being a good sister, though,  Claudia does do a few faceups for the Unoa girls and Kish Chrysalis dolls her sister has gone on to create fashions for.

As Claudia looks back she realizes although she began this artistic venture to produce an income that would keep the venture going, she has also found a very enjoyable hobby for herself! She always  credits her sister with everything she's done getting her started - from that initial introduction, to her praise and encouragement along the way, to the tremendous amount of promotion to get Claudia's repaints in the public eye.  She also wanted to mention her really close but anonymous friend who gives her unending support; Magalie Dawson's MHD patterns that have been a big influence in her ability to create nicely finished fashions, and. Kerri of Liquid Sunshine for inspiring her both initially and today on her Ellowyne repaints.

Today's work is influenced by the large stash of fabric and patterns she's accumulated.  Both seem to tell her what will go together as she browses them for an upcoming season or event.  When new patterns come out, she can usually associate fabric in her stash that would be perfect to use for it, too.  Also an Evangeline Ghastly a friend sent her to sew for has been Claudia's most recent inspiration..  It sings to her love of  Victorian, gothic, and vixen - style.  This friend also encouraged her to make jewelry with all the outfits she makes for her, so that has opened a completely new medium for her to work in!  It doesn't sound like Claudia intends to stop growing and creating - she's surely hooked on these fashion dolls now!!

For people who would like to create their own fashion art, Claudia advises you to just keep practicing!  She was amazed at how quickly she got better, both at repainting and at sewing - and so so can you if you don't give up!  If you get frustrated, take a break and come back later.  Usually, if it’s repainting, Claudia can tell instantly what’s wrong and, if it’s sewing, she takes the time to think things through and figure out what needs to be done differently.  You, too, will learn so much along the way that will help you later.  She still can’t believe that she is now revising patterns to suit her style, when just a few years ago she didn't even want to sew.  Claudia's shop, CGreen Designs, is located on Main Street of Couture Doll Shops.  Visit it often as she is always busy, and you won't want to miss any of her wonderful creations.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Featured Artist - Lori Lyon

Along with our events and announcements, we are going to be spotlighting our Featured Artists. We are beginning with our Couture Doll Shop’s store fronts on Main Street, but will do the same for store fronts on the new streets as they become available. Right now we are taking applications for what we are calling Phase 2 because we simply haven’t named that street yet. More information on that soon; but for now we will begin with our first Featured Artist!


Lori Lyon

Madeleine Rose Couture
Main Street

Lori isn’t really new to a spotlight. Her backgrounds in both dolls and fashion have prepared her well. She began designing and sewing for her Barbie dolls at age 7, and well improved on her art with an AA in Fashion Design from the Institute of Design and Merchanding in Los Angeles. Her work has been featured in Hautedoll magazine and the online magazine, High Maintenance.

As early as 2004 it was obvious that Lori Lyon was definitely someone going places in the doll world – just check out some of her earlier works!!

Her designs have also been seen in these popular magazines - Dolls, FDQ and High Style. And many of us were either introduced or reintroduced to her when she decided to join in the competition at our sister site,

Couture Doll Design Challenge. Lori did quite well there winning several challenges - she was definitely a contender! Eventually this led her to her new home with us at Couture Doll Shops! Here are a few of her current offerings. As you can see they are still beautiful and ever-improving, just what they have to be in order to be successful in any type of fashion-oriented industry!

So what else could an article about Lori Lyon possibly serve up you might say!?! Well, what we hope to do is give you a little peek inside the real person behind the store front we call Madeleine Rose Couture. Behind every store front on CDS there is not only a shop, there is also a person who developed that shop – and that’s what our spotlights will speak to – so let’s go!

A self described sidetracked home executive, Lori Lyon is an artist who came to doll couture through an interesting route. Her marriage and subsequent birth
of her daughter, Maddie Rose, resulted in her decision to be a stay at home Mom. For relaxation she turned back to her early days of Barbie collecting, and soon she discovered she wanted more – more even than her previous vintage delights; she now mulled over the idea of adding some of the new Silkstones to her collection. With her passion and very little extra cash, she didn’t think she’d be able to add much until her husband turned her on to our “industry” from his activities on eBay. He showed her how other fashionistas were adding to their dolly $$ or whatever through this online auction venue. Needless to say, she was immediately hooked. After all, if others could do it, why couldn’t she?

Lori offered her patterned outfits for Barbie on eBay, but from networking there, she began to see a whole new breed of artists joining the world of clothing Barbie-sized dolls! And, although pioneers like Matisse led the way in influencing Lori, she felt the market for the smaller fashion dolls becoming more and more saturated. Perhaps, she thought, it was time to look at fashions created for other dolls, but which one would it be?

The only big doll she had was Gene, and this doll seemed to have enough of her own wardrobe. So, Lori began searching out items made specifically for Robert Tonner’s Tyler because she felt this would be the next “IT” doll to design for! In researching Tyler, Lori also found artists who made incredible fashions for big dolls; specifically the designs of artists like Superdoll, Red Silk Thread, and Janis Kiker. Lori concluded that making fashions for Tyler would be a better size for her to design on, and she instinctively knew she wanted to be on these artist’s level, and was not afraid of the hard work necessary to get there.

Today Lori has achieved her aspirations, and designs for a variety of dolls besides Tyler. Drawing her inspiration from runways, current designers (Dior, LaCroix, McQueen, and others), Japanese culture, anime and Manga, vintage movies, fashion, and fabric – actually a combo of fabrics and textures – Lori continues to present her incredible visions on her website named for her daughter. Your journey will take you into a shop of incredible beauty where your can expect to find stunning One of a Kinds and Limited Editions as well as her MRC hosiery and Rose Room exclusives.

What you won’t find are any commissions open or new collections…..right now…she’s been rather busy developing new designs! But a fabulous treat Lori has had time to work on has been her blog. This has been such an interesting place to travel. Lori's latest offering is a "how to" on the beautiful gown she produced for the recent CDS fashion show! When you have a moment be sure and check out both Lori's storefront and her blog titled The Roses Couture.

And, for those aspiring to create your own doll fashion art, Lori had these comments: "Do what you love. Don't expect to become a success overnight, it takes a long time and a lot of work to make it. Be flexible, be able to take constructive criticism, find your niche and go for it!" Well, Lori definitely always goes for it -- and so can you! Be inspired today to start your own sewing project; it really is FUN!!