Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Visual Eye Candy Ends Our Year!

I woke up this morning all excited!  First of all, my decorating is done! Whew!! The cooking is underway, some packages wrapped... 

Oh, but most of all the reason I'm here!!! I was excited to get to announce the winner of Anna's contest........drum roll please...the winner is........
 Nilsa Donelan!!   Hooray!  

Nobody got all of our questions right but that was okay - remember our contest instructions only said "To enter, answer the questions down below as best you can" -- it never said your answers had to be correct!!  But for those who wondered about the answers:

Answers:  #1  Our first shop opened was Sweet Creations of Main Street.  Connie Casteel is officially our first subscriber, and the first one to be ready to open.  She also keeps a great inventory for a lot of dolls - well worth a peek in if you haven't yet!

#2  The last shop owner to open on CDS was Frances Weir.  She worked very hard to be open in time for our Holiday Happening, and specializes in couture clothing for 1/6 scale; primarily Barbie and Fashion Royalty.

#3  The members of our FTK list helped name Couture Court and Designer Drive.  A list of names was presented, and they voted on it.  If you'd like to be part of naming our next street, be sure to sign on to our Yahoo Group!

Now if the winner will please email me I should be done with my work for this year.  Yes, I'm officially off through January 1.  But have no worries about CDS - I do monitor my emails daily, so feel free to contact me if you have something that demands immediate attention.

Now on with the fun stuff!  Recently I took a "stroll" through CDS as I'm often known to do, because I wanted to do a few more interviews with our shop owners.  I am having a lot of fun really getting to "know" them through this process, and I hope you are, too! 

My wandering took me to Couture Court where I caught up with Deanna Torigian.  I wanted all of you to meet her because I wanted people to know CDS is interested in catering to the fashion needs of all kinds of fashion dolls.  Remember, Cissy, Miss Revlon, and other vintage (and reproductions of these dolls) NEED new clothes, too!!

Deanna Torigian  
Blogmeister:   Who are you? In other words - tell us a little bit about the real person behind your business name?

Deanna: I am a hairstylist by trade. I owned my own Salon for over 20 years. When I sold my Salon four years ago I didn't know what to do with my time. My aunt sent me some dolls that she had saved over the years. She remembered that I loved dolls as a child and decided to pass them to me. I wasn't sure what to do with them.

Some of them were in bad shape. Bad hair is something I can't ignore. I began restoring the dolls she sent.  I had to learn about them. I decided to make copies of their original clothes. It was more challenging than I expected and I was hooked!  

Blogmeister: How and when did you discover your love for creating fashion art in the doll world?
Deanna: I loved  dolls as a child, especially Barbie.   My first Barbie was brunette TNT with real eyelashes.  

I became a  hairstylist. Art, fashion, and   making women beautiful have naturally been my life.

Blogmeister: Did you begin creating for yourself and then create fashion art for sale?

Deanna: Once I started sewing I didn't want to stop. So I didn't and I sold what I made.

Blogmeister:   Was anything or anyone a significant influence on your work initially?

Deanna:  My aunt was originally the seamstress in our family. She made my dolls and I clothes when I was young.  I was blessed to get her old pattern collection. The very patterns she used to make the things that she gave to me.    

Sadly, she passed away last February. She is thought of almost every day as I use her patterns. I have made clothes from these patterns for my nieces as well. Passing on and creating a tradition. 

Blogmeister: Today where do you find inspiration for your projects? 

Deanna: My Aunt started this "ball rolling". I get inspiration everywhere, what I see in the stores, what I see on fashionable people, fabrics, patterns (old and new) and the dolls themselves. I have so many ideas and not enough time to try them all. I completely love creating doll designs, I want to learn all I can. The designs I produce are pure pleasure for me.

Unfortunately, after that answer Deanna had to roll on herself - what a hectic schedule all of us have during the holiday season!!

Next I thought I would backtrack to Main Street.  I had heard that perhaps John Prewitt and his lovely wife Cindy were passing out eggnog and gingerbread cookies this afternoon - hum, what a great "excuse" to meet them....and see their Holiday Happening fireplace in person!!

As a lot of you know, John makes incredible furniture for your doll's dioramas - well just wait and see.  Let's go in and talk to John now.......

John Prewitt

Blogmeister: Who are you? In other words - tell us a little bit about the real person behind your business name?

John: The real me? Well, designing doll furniture is a part time job for me. I have a full time career in IT, as a technology architect. I am a husband and father with a fabulous wife, and two wonderful children. I also have four of the most awesome grandchildren in the world. All of this makes for a challenging balancing act but it also makes life fun! My goal is to keep it all in perspective and do my best to keep family first.

Blogmeister: How and when did you discover your love for creating fashion art in the doll world?

John: It started when my wife and I attended our first doll convention. It was the 2nd IFDC held in Irving, Texas. We met some of the nicest and most talented people I had ever seen. The creativity we saw was off the charts. I have always enjoyed creating things with my hands. And working in IT does not allow for that type of creative outlet. We went back to IFDC the next year and I decided I wanted to try creating something. I tried my hand at face repainting, and at sewing outfits but those options were not quite right for me. Designing furniture in a smaller scale and creating diorama accessories turned out to be the perfect fit.

Blogmeister: Did you begin creating for yourself then transition to creating fashion art offered for sale?
John: I actually started making doll furniture and diorama accessories for my wife.  She was having a hard time finding items she liked so she asked me to give it a shot.  I started out with a fairly simple design and built from there. Pretty soon the people in our doll club were asking me to design things for them, and then we decided to see if there was a market for my creations. The response has been excellent, and I think our customers are extremely satisfied with the items they have chosen.

Blogmeister: Was anything or anyone a significant influence on your work initially?

John: The biggest influence on my work has definitely been my wife.  She was my original muse, and she has a really good eye for style and color.  She is my best advisor and critic.   Before I started trying to make furniture to sell I did some online research to see what other doll furniture designers were doing. From that research came two goals: find my own niche and make items that looked as realistic and in scale as possible. 

 Blogmeister: Today where do you find inspiration for your projects?


John: For furniture most of my inspiration comes from designs I see for people. I occasionally try to duplicate a design I see, but most often I end up adapting it to something similar but different. Looking for diorama accessory ideas is a skill I think we can all develop over time. When we go shopping I now find myself looking at everything in the store to see how it might work in 1/6 scale. So items such as placemats become flooring or napkin rings become lamp shades. The possibilities are endless!

Blogmeister: For people who would like to create their own fashion art, would you have any words of inspiration or advice?

John: I think everyone has a spark of creativity and with so many avenues that allow expression of that creativity there is certain to be something you will enjoy doing. I believe that doing something you really enjoy is extremely important because it will help you stick with it until you achieve your goals.

  Blogmeister: Lastly, what's up for you right now?

John: I am starting to make some 16" furniture. I have converted a few of my 1/6 scale designs and now I am looking to do some new designs that may only be available in 16".  Who knows, creating for even bigger dolls might be something to look into as well.

Wow, what incredible news - but, unfortunately, this was the last I was to get!  It was now closing time, and John and Cindy were ready to go home.  Where does the time fly when you're visiting nice people!?!

I hope you have enjoyed the Happenings of CDS this year, and that you've taken advantage of meeting our wonderful merchants.  We have really appreciated your support in 2011 and look forward to serving your further in 2012!!

 I (and CDS) would also like to wish you a most prosperous New Year --  a year of joy, laughter, love, peace, success ...and, of course, wonderful couture fashion!  See you next year, dahlings!

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