Monday, May 31, 2010

Remember those who died for your right to freedom

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thursday--Spa Day

I love when I find a recipe for a skin care product I use frequently, but find very expensive.  One of these things is the Biore pour strips -- very expensive but necessary!  Imagine my excitement when I found this recipe and tried it, only to discover that this works just as good if not better and only costs pennies!  That to me is a miracle in the making.  So, here is the recipe.  Try it, you'll like it!

Homemade Biore Pore Strips

Make your own homemade pore strips, similar to Biore
After a week of wearing makeup,  washing your face, moisturizing your face, and slathering all sorts of things all of it, a homemade pore cleanser can be the perfect remedy for big, clogged pores and lackluster skin.  The homemade pore strip is a quick homemade beauty remedy that is easy to make and will yield wonderful results.
  • 1 Tbsp Knox Unflavored Gelatin
  • 11/2 T Milk
  • Makeup brush (preferably large eye shadow bristle brush)
  • Water
  • Witch Hazel or Toner
  1. Mix milk and gelatin in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 10 seconds.
  2. Using a clean make-up brush, apply thin layer of water and Gelatin mask to problematic areas, staying clear of the eye area. 
  3. Let mask dry for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Gently tear off film once it's hardened.
  5. Rinse off skin areas, making sure to remove any excess film.
  6. Follow by applying a toner or witch hazel

Here is the link to the original article for this recipe. There are many more homemade and Budget Beauty Articles posted there for your enjoyment, too.
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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Window Shopping Wednesday -- Mystele of Little Glimpses Studio

Thanks to Mystele at Little Glimpses

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tuesday Tutorial -- PolyDollys

Here's a really cute tutorial for making these little polymer clay doll pins.  This looks like the perfect craft to learn how to use polymer clay.
* Your choice of several bright colors of Premo! polymer clay- 1 ounce (1/2 block) each color.
* clay blade
* craft or Xacto knife
* pasta machine set to widest setting
* brayer or acrylic rod
* *small "kid shaped" cookie cutter. NOTE: if you do not have a kid shaped cookie cutter, you will need paper, pencil and scissors
* super glue
* your choice of magnet or pin back.
* oven,
* oven-tested metal or glass pan to bake items on NOTE: a ceramic tile works well, too.
* timer
1. To make a striped cane, condition your clay by running two colors through the pasta machine on the thickest setting.
2. Lay one color on top of the other, and trim using the clay blade.
3. The beginning of the loaf should look like this once it is trimmed.
4. Cut the pieces in half and re-stack on top of each other being careful not to put two of the same color together.
5. Keep cutting and re-stacking until you have a cube of clay stripes. If you have a clay roller or brayer, it helps to adhere the clay to itself if you press it down.
6. Choose two more bright colors and cut each into long thin strips.
7. Stack as you did in step 2, trim evenly.
8. Begin the cane by tightly rolling one of the short ends up upon the striped stack.
9. Continue rolling until you have formed a tightly integrated spiral.
10. Create several different sizes and color combinations of stripes and spirals.
11. Slice a thin slice off your choice of one of the striped canes.
12. The slice should not be too thin-it should be approximately 1/8 to 1/16 inch thick
13. If you have a small "kid shaped" cookie cutter, use that to cut a piece of backing clay in your choice of colors.
NOTE: If you do not have a kid shaped cutter, use the provided pattern to cut out the shape from white paper and adhere it to the top of the clay sheet, and use a craft knife to cut around the outside of the pattern.
14. Arrange several thin slices of canes on the kid shape, being sure to wrap them around the edges if needed. Use the craft knife or clay blade to cut canes to fit if necessary.
15. Roll small triangles for hands out of beige or brown clay, and press them to the hand area. Roll a small flat ball of clay for the head and adhere it as well.
16. If you have the cookie cutter, press it to the edge of a cane as shown to create a hat.
17. Press it to the top of the kid's head, and cut a small striped strip for the hat brim, and press it to the edge of the hat.
18. Press two small seed beads in for eyes.
19. Create many different kids using your imagination and have a wonderful time dressing them! Bake in pan for 30 minutes on the center rack of an oven that's been tested and set to bake reliably at 275 degrees Fahrenheit. When cooled, add pin backs or magnets using super glue.
If you do not have cookie cutter: trace image onto white paper, clip with scissors and place on top of clay, cut around image using craft knife. (Note: image is 2 inches tall by 1/3/4 inches wide).

Here's the link to the original post
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Friday, May 21, 2010

I'm having a block and can't seem to get going again!

I have been procrastinating, or just plain avoiding, working on my art work.  I don't know what the problem is except that my life has become so chaotic and unstable and I never seem to have any time to do what I want instead of what others want.  I need therapy it seems.

Anyway, here are pictures of the latest work I have done on my prayer dolls.  Most of them simply need to be antiqued and varnished to be finished, and others still need some serious work.  Oh well.  At least I have something to work toward!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursday--Spa Day - PackshotCreator - Epsom saltImage by Creative Tools via Flickr
I have always had an interest in "alternative" methods of providing good health.  Epsom Salt has been a staple in my home for most of my life.  I was surprised that everyone did not know about the benefits to be had just by using this wonderful substance.  So, I found this article at ArticleSnatch that gives you many uses for this humble salt.  I highly recommend the use of Epsom salt in the bath before bedtime for a calming and relaxing soak that will ensure a superb sleep.  You do not wake in the morning with the usual stiffness, either.

I hope you enjoy this article and try some of these uses for your own good health.  Enjoy!  If you happen to visit the site mentioned below for the source, you will find that the lowly Epsom Salt is also very useful in your garden or for your lawn.  Try that out and see if you don't have the greenest lawn on the block!


The Many Uses Of Epsom Salts - By: Dee Braun
I remember as a kid when my Great Aunt Grace would put some Epsom Salts in a dish pan, add really warm water and soak her feet because they hurt.

So, to me, that's what Epsom Salts was all about - a remedy for painful joints in old folks. Little did I know!

Times have changed - or have they?

All the talk about 'Natural Remedies' and 'getting back to basics' always floors me because my great aunt and my grandmothers were all doing this stuff when I was a little girl. So did my mom...and so have I. So, for me, there's been no 'getting back to' anything.

However, I'm not too old to learn and since learning is one thing I LOVE to do, I decided to learn more about Epsom Salts after reading a snippet on detoxification. Here's what I've found.

Studies show these benefits from the major components of Epsom Salt may:


* Ease stress and improves sleep and Concentration

* Help muscles and nerves function properly

* Regulate activity of 325%2B enzymes

* Help prevent artery hardening and blood clots

* Make Insulin more effective

* Reduce inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps

* Improve oxygen use


* Flush Toxins

* Improve absorption of nutrients

* Help form joint Proteins, brain tissue and mucin Proteins

* Help prevent or ease Migraine Headaches

The Many Uses of Epsom Salts...

1) Wash your face before going to bed

According to recent studies in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, deposits of nicotine and carbon monoxide (from secondhand smoke and pollution) can wreck havoc on the skin..

To cleanse your face - Mix a half-teaspoon of Epsom Salt with your regular cleansing cream. Just massage into skin and rinse with cold water.

2) Troubleshoot with the right homemade mask

Apply this mask in the shower, to your damp face, to lock in the moisture. For normal to oily skin, mix 1 tablespoon of cognac, 1 egg, 1/4 cup of nonfat dry milk, the juice of 1 Lemon, and a half-teaspoon of Epsom Salt. For normal to dry skin mix 1/4 cup of grated Carrot, 1 1/2 teaspoons of mayonnaise and a half-teaspoon of Epsom Salt.

3) Smoother Softer Skin

Pour two cups into a bath of warm water. Lean back and relax. As you soak, the natural action of Epsom Salt helps soften the rough, dry patches of your skin. You can also rub Epsom salts all over the body, while wet, then rinse and towel off. Rubbing Epsom salts directly on the body exfoliates skin and leaves it smooth and silky. They make a great gift to give someone when you put them in a nice glass jar with lid and tie on a pretty ribbon. You can add scent to them by sprinkling them with essential oil. Or mix Epsom salts with baby oil and keep by the sink if you wash your hands a lot.

4) Add Body to Your Hair

Combine 3 tablespoons of deep conditioner with 3 tablespoons of Epsom Salt. Microwave the mixture for 20 seconds. Work the warm mixture through your hair from scalp to ends and leave on for 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water. Promotes body and life in your hair and restores curl to permed hair.

5) Remove Hairspray and Gel Buildup

Combine a gallon of distilled water, a cup of Lemon juice (fresh or bottled), and 1 cup of Epsom Salt. Cap the mixture and let it sit for 24 hours. The next day, pour the mixture into your dry hair and let it sit for 20 minutes. Then shampoo as normal.

5) Soak tired, aching feet (this one sounds familiar!)

Soak aching, tired feet in a pan of water with half a cup of Epsom salts and not only will your feet feel better, but they'll smell better too. Epsom salts work to neutralize odor and soften skin. Soak feet until they feel better then rinse and dry well. A full bath should contain 2 cups of Epsom salts for relief of tired feet, back muscles, legs or just as a way to have softer skin.

6) Combat oily hair

The salts do wonders for the hair, absorbing oil from problem hair by adding 8 tablespoons of Epsom salts to a half a cup of shampoo that's formulated for oily hair. Put a tablespoon of the shampoo mixture on dry hair and work it in and around the scalp area, rinsing it out with cold water. To rinse it well, and further treat oily hair, pour a cup of apple cider vinegar over the hair, leave on for 5 minutes, and then rinse with cool water.

7) Soak out splinters

Did you know, for instance, that soaking a splinter in Epsom salts can release the splinter and help the area to heal?

8) Make a poultice pack for strains or sprains

If you have any strained muscles or sprains, you can take 1/2 to 1 cup of Epsom salts and make a "pack" with it to place on the affected area, wrap with hot towel and allow it to rest for 20 minutes. TIP: This can be a lot less messy and more relaxing if done in the bath.

9) Helps prevent hardening of arteries and blood clots

Epsom Salt is also believed to help prevent Heart Disease and strokes by lowering blood pressure, protecting the elasticity of arteries, preventing blood clots and reducing the risk of sudden Heart Attack deaths.

10) Makes Insulin more effective

This salt also increases the effectiveness of Insulin, helping to lower the risk or severity of Diabetes.

11) Essential to plant health

Most plants to survive good health need nutrients like magnesium and sulfur. Magnesium Sulfate Crystals when added to the soil, provides vital nutrients to help prevent loss of green color (magnesium is an essential element in the chlorophyll molecule), yellowing leaves. Epsom Salt makes the primary nutrients in most plant foods (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) more effective.

12) Get rid of raccoons

Are the masked night marauders poking around your trash can, creating a mess and raising a din? A few tablespoons of Epsom salt spread around your garbage cans will deter the raccoons, who don't like the taste of the stuff. Don't forget to reapply after it rains.

13) Deter slugs

Are you tired of visiting your yard at night only to find the place crawling with slimy slugs? Sprinkle Epsom salt where they glide and say good-bye to the slugs.

14) Fertilize tomatoes and other plants

Want those Big Boys to be big? Add Epsom salt as a foolproof fertilizer. Every week, for every foot of height of your tomato plant, add one tablespoon. Your tomatoes will be the envy of the neighbor-hood. Epsom salt is also a good fertilizer for houseplants, roses and other flowers, and trees.

15) Make your grass greener

How green is your valley? Not green enough, you say? Epsom salt, which adds needed magnesium and iron to your soil, may be the answer. Add 2 tablespoons to 1 gallon (3.7 liters) of water. Spread on your lawn and then water it with plain water to make sure it soaks into the grass.

16) Clean bathroom tiles

Is the tile in your bathroom getting that grungy look? Time to bring in the Epsom salt. Mix it in equal parts with liquid dish detergent, then dab it onto the offending area and start scrubbing. The Epsom salt works with the detergent to scrub and dissolve the grime.

17) Regenerate a car battery

Is your car battery starting to sound as if it won't turn over? Worried that you'll be stuck the next time you try to start your car? Give your battery a little more life with this potion. Dissolve about an ounce of Epsom salt in warm water and add it to each battery cell.

18) Get rid of blackheads

Here's a surefire way to dislodge blackheads: Mix 1 teaspoon Epsom salt and 3 drops iodine in 1/2 cup boiling water. When the mixture cools enough to stick your finger in it, apply it to the blackhead with a cotton ball. Repeat this three or four times, reheating the solution if necessary. Gently remove the blackhead and then dab the area with an alcohol-based astringent.

19) Frost your windows for Christmas

If you are dreaming of a white Christmas, but the weather won't cooperate, at least you can make your windows look frosty. Mix Epsom salt with stale beer until the salt stops dissolving. Apply the mixture to your windows with a sponge -- for a realistic look, sweep the sponge in an arc at the bottom corners. When the mixture dries, the windows will look frosted.

20) Relieves Constipation

Numerous studies have revealed that Epsom Salt can also be used to treat Constipation. The salt acts like a Laxative. It increases the water in the intestines and can bring about temporary relief from Constipation. However, it is strictly warned that Epsom Salts should not be used to relieve Constipation without the consultation of a physician as it may prove to be harmful in some cases. For occasional Constipation or irregularity, adults can mix 2 to 4 teaspoons into water until dissolved and drink. Kids 6 to 12 take half of that. This can be used twice a day by taking the first treatment, waiting 4 hours and taking the second dosage if necessary.


I remember as a kid when my Great Aunt Grace would put some Epsom Salts in a dish pan, add really warm water and soak her feet because they hurt. So, to me, that's what Epsom Salts was all about - a remedy for painful joints in old folks. Little did I know! So, I decided to learn more.

Dee Braun, a single mom of 6 kids, is a Certified Aromatherapist, Certified Dr. of Reflexology and a natural health practitioner. Click now to visit Mom's Blog at - a blog just for moms (and dads!) which offers more information on green living, children's health, child natural remedies and parenting advice and insight.
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Window Shopping Wednesday -- LoopyBoopy

Today I will showcase another of my favortie doll makers here on the net.  I hope you love her work as much as I do.  Her dolls have such character and New Orleans Style!  So, here are some pictures of her dolls and here is a link to visit her site and to visit her Etsy store.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesday Tutorial -- More on paper beads

I found a wonderful article on e-how about making Mexican paper beads.  Below I have posted the instructions for making these beads that you will find on the site:

  1. Step 1
    Tear the old newspapers into long, thin stripes. Using scissors cut the strips of newspaper into small pieces over a large bowl.

  2. Step 2
    Fill a large pot with 4 inches of water (or the amount you feel is needed to cover the paper completely). Bring the water to a hard boil. Once the water is boiling remove the pot from the heated area.

  3. Step 3
    Empty the pieces of newspaper into the boiling water. Stir with a long-handled cooking utensil to help the paper dissolve. Allow the pieces of paper to dissolve for at lest one hour or more before continuing to the next step.

  4. Step 4
    Drain the water from the pot. Use your hands to mash out as much water from the paper as possible.

  5. Step 5
    Remove the paper from the pot, squeezing as much water out as possible. Place the paper into a large bowl. Mix glue into the paper; it's best to use your hands for this task. Add enough glue to the paper so that it will hold together when formed into ball shape.

  6. Step 6
    Knead the glue and the paper with your hands until thoroughly mixed. Add glue as needed till the paper can be formed into round balls and hold their shape.

  7. Step 7
    Roll the mixture between your palms to form round-shaped beads. Squeeze out as much moisture as possible as you roll.

  8. Step 8
    Allow the beads to dry for a few days. Roll each bead every few hours until they are completely dry.

  9. Step 9
    Create a hole in each bead using a drill. Choose a drill bit that is slightly larger than the stringing material that you will use to string the beads.

  10. Step 10
    Sand the rough areas that were left by the drill. Sand any rough areas on the surface of the bead.

  11. Step 11
    Paint the beads with colors commonly found in Mexican jewelry such as turquoise, adobe, brown, black, red or ivory. Use different brushes and colors to create your own unique effects. Set the beads aside to dry for 24 hours.

  12. Step 12
    Coat the beads with a clear varnish. Add repeated coats until you have the desired effect. Let each coat of varnish dry for at least 24 hours.

    I think this sounds like fun, but to see how beautiful these beads turn out you need to visit another blog, A Storybook Life.   Here are a couple of the wonderful photos you can find there, but the best part is all the comments where you can get more information about how to make these beads.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Herbal Shampoo Recipe

Here is a wonderful recipe for making your own shampoo that is less expensive, simple, and better for your hair.  Check this out and then visit the site, Learning Herbs, for even more information on ways to incorporate herbs into your daily life to improve your health and your wallet.

Here's the recipe:

by Rosalee de la Foret
Caring for your hair, inside and out.
One of my favorite aspects of being an herbalist is to incorporate herbs into every facet of my life. Besides using herbs for our health we can use herbs to clean our kitchens, to cook nutritious foods, and to decorate our homes.
This article looks at another aspect of incorporating herbs into our lives – washing our hair.
Walking down the personal hygiene aisle of a grocery store you can easily get overwhelmed at the amazing amount of choices. You can also easily get overwhelmed at the amazingly high prices!
Besides being pricy, conventional shampoos contain many harmful chemicals.
One example is parabens. These chemicals are a common ingredient in hair care products and have been linked to cancer. Surprisingly, shampoos claiming to be more “natural” can also contain harmful ingredients.
In today’s recipe we’ll make affordable organic shampoo with herbs!
But first a word about healthy hair.
Our hair (like our skin and nails) is a reflection of what is going on inside our bodies. Healthy hair comes from within. A diet rich in nutrients will do more for keeping your hair healthy than any fancy shampoo.
Many of us wash our hair daily but this can actually dry out and further damage hair. I have gone through periods of my life when I never washed my hair. Instead I rinsed it vigorously with water while bathing. You might think that I had oily unhealthy looking hair, but I frequently got compliments on my curly locks.
Now that I live in a drier climate I’ve found that I need to wash my hair, but no more than a couple of times a week. If you currently wash your hair daily and would like to experience the benefits of fewer washings I recommend slowly cutting back to every other day, then every two days, etc. You might find your hair to be oily during these transition periods, but once your hair regains its natural balance you’ll notice this less and less.
Another thing to take note of is that the squeaky clean feeling we are used to experiencing with conventional shampoos is actually signaling that we are stripping the hair of its natural and beneficial oils.
The following recipe works well for people with more oily hair. Please see below for variations for different hair types.
To make this shampoo recipe you’ll need:
  • 8 oz distilled water
  • 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary                                   
  • 2 teaspoons of dried rose petals                                   
  • 3 ounces liquid castile soap
  • 3 Tablespoon aloe vera gel
  • ¼  teaspoon of jojoba oil
  • 30 drops of pure rosemary essential oil
You can get ALL the ingredients right here.
( members, remember to log in to HerbMentor to get your 10% off.)

Place the rosemary and rose petals into a jar.

Fill the jar with boiling water and immediately place a lid over the jar.
Let this mixture steep for a minimum of 30 minutes. Sometimes I just let the mixture stand until cool.

Strain the herbs. Let the remaining liquid cool to room temperature.

Place the liquid into a shampoo bottle. (You can buy a new shampoo-like bottle or simply store it in an old shampoo bottle that has been washed out.)

Add the castile soap to the container

Then add the jojoba oil and essential oil.

And finally add the aloe vera gel.

Shake well and voila! You have your own handmade herbal shampoo. You’ll want to shake this mixture each time before you use it.
This shampoo should last for several weeks. If it will take you longer than that to use the whole content you may consider keeping a portion of it in the fridge to prolong the shelf life.
If you don’t have distilled water (you can buy it at any grocery store), you can use regular water – but this may lead to a shorter shelf life. The distilled water ensures that you aren’t adding any bacteria to the mix.
(Feel free to mix and match herbs.  This recipe uses about 3 teaspoons of dried herbal material.)
If you have blond or lightly colored hair you might use chamomile and calendula in your herbal mix.
For a dark blend you can mix nettle, sage, and black walnut hulls.
For dry hair try violet leaf and marshmallow root and possibly add more oil to your recipe.
To strengthen your hair, simmer horsetail, oatstraw, and nettle for twenty minutes. Strain and cool. Use this as your herbal base.
Besides rosemary essential oil you might also enjoy chamomile, lavender, and sage essential oils. If you have an itchy scalp and/or dandruff you might try adding tea tree oil to the mix.
Besides jojoba oil you can try almond oil, sesame oil, or even olive oil. Note that olive oil will leave more of a greasy feeling than jojoba or sesame oil. If you have really dry hair you can add a bit more oil to your recipe. If you have really oily hair stick to the jojoba oil and possibly add less to your recipe.
Once again, you can get ALL the ingredients right here (opens in new window).
Enjoy your herbal shampoo!
- Rosalee

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Window Shopping Wednesday -- Wall Dancers

Here's a look at a wonderful polymer clay artist that I truly admire.  Her work is funky, funny, unique, and particularly beautiful.  Just looking at her work makes me smile and feel good.  I have been reading her blog for quite some time and for a short while I thought she had quit blogging.  She is dealing with a health issue and so I worried about her status.  Imagine my pleasure to see that she is back and she is better than ever.

So, with no further ado, I give you Wall Dancers for your visual pleasure.

Great, huh?  Don't forget to visit her blog and maybe drop by her Etsy store to see even more beautiful items!
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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tuesday Tutorial -- Felt Dolls

Tuesdays' posting will be some type of craft tutorial that I find as I surf the net.  You'd be surprised at the number and the quality of the tutorials available for crafters on the internet.  As a newbie doll maker, I am always interested in new ways to make dolls, so for this posting we will learn how to make felt dolls.

This is a posting from  I hope you make several of these dolls.  I know I will be trying them out!

Matryoshka Doll Tutorial

After all the fun I had making my matryoshka style dolls a couple of weeks ago I thought it would be mean not to spread the fun a little. So I am going to do my first ever tutorial and try to share with you how to make one!

I have tried to be nice and clear, use lots of pictures and not to over-explain things (as I have a tendency to do) but do let me know if anything can be improved. When I was first starting out with mosaics and sewing and crochet I was desperate for free simple tutorials that made sense so constructive criticism will be most welcome and I promise not to sulk ;)

Right, lets get started…

Snipsnaphappy’s matryoshka doll tutorial

You will need:
  • 1 A4 size (about 21x30cm) piece of felt in the colour of the main body of your doll
  • 1 A4 size piece of felt in the colour of the hood of your doll
  • Some small scrap bits of black or brown felt for the hair (or red, yellow, green or whatever colour you like!)
  • Fabric for the face – I use a lovely light canvas hemp fabric (which I buy from Hemp Fabric UK) but some plain cream cotton or linen would do just as well
  • Paint for the face (I use acrylic)
  • Ribbons, trims, buttons and bits for decoration
  • Stuffing (not the sage and onion kind)
  • Embroidery threads for the visible hand-sewing
  • Plain thread for hand or machine sewing your finished pieces together
  • Scissors
  • Fabric glue if you intend on gluing your embellishments.

First you need to cut all your pieces. I have done a PDF for you with the shapes you need.  As I can't work out for the life of me if it is possible to somehow upload this to Blogger I have popped it on Scribd.  Click here to go get it.  This pattern is hand-drawn and a little rough round the edges but it should help you get the job done :)  Do let me know if you have any problems retrieving this.

For the front hood, fold your felt in half then pin the pattern piece with the dotted line along the fold…[...]
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Monday, May 10, 2010

My Prayer Dolls are almost done

Here's the bunch so far, just a few things to do to complete them.

The one with the hat still needs the box part.  Her's shrunk when I baked it!

I cannot wait to give these away to my friends.  When I made each one, I concentrated on the attribute I wished to send to them.  Now all I have to do is add the word, so it will be doubly potent.

Friday, May 7, 2010

More on my prayer dolls

I have been working on my prayer dolls and they really are looking pretty.  I stayed up until after 1AM the other night painting on them and I have to say I had a ball.  The next morning, I took pictures to show my progress.

Here they are:

I still lack painting their hair and adding collage items so I can cover them entirely with a sealer.  I think they are really cute and I plan to make many more.

 For my friend, Rebecca

 For my sister

 For my friend, Kenita

 For my friend, Elizabeth

and hopefully, this one will be for me!
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