Author Archives: Cindy Rice

About Cindy Rice

My wonderful husband, my beautiful daughter, and I live in northeastern Illinois with our sweet chihuahua boy. For as long as I can remember I have loved dolls and making things. I got my first Barbie when I was only three years old! My mom sewed for my Barbie dolls and taught me how to use her sewing machine when I was only seven. I cannot believe she let me near that needle, but she did. Not having enough money for my clothes habit in high school and college led me to start sewing all of my own clothes. There were so many fabric stores around back then and fabric was so inexpensive. I would wait for the 99 cent pattern sale and go crazy. Sewing for myself continued well into my 30’s. (I even made my wedding gown and bridesmaid dresses.) Shortly after I got married I left my full time graphic design position and started designing cross stitch patterns. I called my company “The Lilac Studio” and sold my botanical patterns at trade shows, through distributors which sold to retail shops, and mail order. My most popular pattern, “A Bouquet of Pansies” sold 5000 copies and won a J&P Coats Golden Needle Award! I was also featured in various cross stitch magazines and designed special projects for the magazines. When my daughter was born I didn’t have the time needed to cross stitch and design patterns all day long so I let my pattern design business slip away. And then I started discovering dolls again and I now had an excuse to start buying them. The only problem was that they were for my daughter and not for me. I soon discovered all of the adult collectors out there and decided I would be one of them. I started small at first, collecting Mattel Kelly dolls. Soon I collected over 100 Kelly dolls! After Kelly, I discovered Helen Kish’s Riley and Tonner’s Ann Estelle. I have since learned to knit doll sweaters and love an excuse to knit so most of my doll outfits include a sweater and/or hat. I love creating miniature outfits for dolls and enjoy sharing them with others. Currently I create doll ensembles for the Kish Chrysalis series (I love Bethany), Dianna Effner's Little Darlings, and Wilde Imagination's teeny tiny Amelia. I am adding a Bo Bergemann Designer Dream Doll to my collection soon and so look forward to costuming her!

Sophie is My “Lavender Lovely”

Hello to you! I hope you are having a very nice weekend. It’s nice and hot here in northern Illinois–very summery feeling.

This month is flying by, and I don’t have much dolly-related making to show for it. Granted I have been taking a lot of time to enjoy spring and all the beautiful flowers. And, we have had a birthday and a college graduation to celebrate this month. May has been busy. There hasn’t been much time to settle down and create in my studio.

Last month I started a new ensemble for Sophie and it is now complete. Sophie is a Mary Engelbreit doll by Robert Tonner. She is the best friend to Ann Estelle. Do you remember those adorable paper dolls Mary added to her Home Companion magazine? These dolls are those paper dolls come to life. The dolls were first sold in the early 2000s and were very popular among doll collectors. At one time I had Gracie and Georgia too. Sophie is my only remaining M. E. doll. By the way, she shares the same body as the newer Patsy doll by Robert Tonner.

Sophie’s cropped cardigan is knit with lace weight merino that I hand dyed to a pink violet. I used six different shades of violet and pink for the roses. I mixed them up in different combinations, tiny rose jewels. I used Patsy’s cardigan pattern to knit this sweater for Sophie.

Oh, this fabric! I think it’s one of my favorites. It’s a Kaufman lawn, Sevenberry Petite Garden is a line of small scale florals from Japan. I originally purchased it from fabric.com. They don’t have this exact print anymore, but they have some other lovely prints to choose from.

I crocheted Sophie’s summer hat using three strands: #10 cotton, #10 bamboo, and #20 cotton. To decorate the hat I used lace that matches the dress and muted turquoise velvet ribbon. I hand tacked both separately and pulled snugly on the trims so that they hugged the hat neatly. I LOVE mother-of-pearl and happily used one of my mother-of-pearl buttons for this hat!

I think Sophie is thrilled with her new ensemble. She’s been waiting patiently for one of her own that she can keep.

I published a new YouTube video showing bits of this ensemble in progress.

Wishing you all a great ‘last week in May’ ! 🤗💜

“Pink Roses in My Garden” for Gina

Hello to you! I hope you’ve had a beautiful week. It’s been pretty nice here in northern Illinois. Spring is well underway.

Last Friday I paid a visit to the Chicago Botanic Gardens. Springtime is so lovely at the gardens. Last year it was closed during the spring due to the pandemic. This year I, and many others, had the opportunity to see the daffodils, tulips, violas, buttercups, rhododendrons, and flowering trees of all kinds in bloom. I walked around the Landscape Garden to check on the status of my favorite–Convallaria majalis or lily of the valley. The plants were still mostly leaves with some little buds starting to emerge.

This past week I finished an ensemble for my Little Darling, Gina. Gina is enjoying her own floral wonders dressed in pink roses and a ‘light as air’ mohair embroidered cardigan.

If you’d like to see Gina’s ensemble in progress and also some scenes from my springtime visit to the Botanic Gardens you can watch my new YouTube video.

Wishing you a gorgeous weekend! What are you up to this weekend? I will be doing some sewing and creating. My Ann Estelle Sophie is next. Sending hugs! 🤗

“Happiest Springtime Blossoms”

Hi there! How are you? I hope you are doing great. All good at my end despite the rainy day today… and yesterday. However, up until Thursday it was a beautiful week weather wise.

With the rainy weather came motivation to get into my studio and get some embroidery done so that I could finish this ensemble for Lucy.

The cardigan for this ensemble had been languishing in my stash. It has a small imperfection; I pulled one of the mohair strands and it made a horizontal pull on the sweater. You might be able to see it on the right front near the bottom. It is fine for us here; with my memory I’m sure I’ll forget it’s even there.

Because the cardigan was already made I was able to get this ensemble put together without too much effort this week. Lucy loves it!

Lucy does hope you like her new look. She says it surely puts her in the springtime spirit even on these rainy days.

If you’d like to see this ensemble in progress I have included it in my latest YouTube video.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend! 💜🤗 Thank you for stopping by for a visit!