Saturday, February 27, 2010



"Soaring Spirit" Paper Art Doll

Look what has happened! The paper art dolls are taking on lives of their own. I am just the follower. This happens to me a lot in my art. I have a definite idea in mind as to what I want to create and then, “poof” something (or someone) else emerges stating that this is exactly who they want to be.

I had to laugh at the comment from Susan at Artsparker. She said my silhouette pictures of the paper dolls, look like I captured a fairy. And she was right! They almost look like they are wiggling and wanting to break free. I wonder what it would be like to catch a fairy for real? Or should I say a real fairy.

Silhouette of "Soaring Spirit"

Soaring Spirit

A voice first it seemed to be a
Murmur. Quietly it expressed the thought..
"Take your power now."
As the days passed, it became increasingly
Louder until it became as a roar, vibrating her
Entire being.. "Take your power now.!" She
Began to reexamine her life. So much time
Had passed, and in all that time she had
Remained spiritually deaf and blind. She had
Not heard..She had not seen...and the voice
Continued speaking to her..resonating
Throughout every cell in her body..electrifying
To the inner core of her soul until she had no
choice but to listen.."Take your power now."
It continued. "For you have given your life
To others and in that giving, you have emptied
Yourself. It is only when you are empty that you
Can truly be full and free to live".....

~Cheryl Dolby~

Soaring Spirit story can be found in my book, She Who Whispers.

I sculpted a smililng face for her and used felted paper for her body and hair. The piece that sparked my interest to create her in the first place was the beaded hair barette that I had stashed away in my studio, just waiting for Soaring Spirit to be born.

Close-up of "Soaring Spirit"

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Friday, February 26, 2010



"Morning Song"


My story, “Morning Song” came to mind as I added the finishing touches to this original stoneware clay sculpture. She has a look of longing in her eyes, as though she is remembering times long ago. She is part of a series I call "Daughters of Antiquity."

I used items found in my studio that I had saved, seemingly, just for her. Wherever I travel, I search the back streets for unusual items that I tuck away for just the right application. I adorned Morning Song with a Murano glass piece that I brought back from Venice. It was actually the top of a pen that had broken on the transit back. I found an Indian copper bell that fit her to a T.

While visiting friends in Hollywood, California, I was lucky enough to go to the Hollywood Flea Market. What fun this was. There was everything imaginable for sale there, even models walking around with feathered bras for sale! I found a copper piece a Mexican man was crafting there at the market. It blends perfectly with the colors in the garment, which is an old ethnic looking dress. I have a lot of beadwork hanging from my studio windows and the green and blue strand of beads I found there seemed perfect for her.

Studio window, full of beads

Here is her story.

“ Morning Song”

She woke up this morning feeling different.
She heard the sounds of this morning and
yet the sounds of many other lifetime mornings
were returning. She heard the infinite sound
of distant runic bells, a call to alms, merchants
voices echoing over the river Nile, sheep
bleating on a pastoral hillside, roosters, guns,
flutes, chimes, laughter, weeping..for she had
heard all these mornings and she had heard
all these sounds before. It was as if they were
all becoming one great great
morning..this morning....and she knew that all
the returns of mornings purpose was to teach
her the uniqueness and significance of this
morning...of now.

~Cheryl Dolby~

Close up of Morning Song sculpture, part of "Daughter of Antiguity" series

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Grandmother Tree Paper Art Doll


"Grandmother Tree" Paper Art Doll

Creating paper dolls certainly is addictive. Today I decided to construct a paper doll by using my “Grandmother Tree” theme, which is really a series.

This series started many long years ago and I found through trial and error that it is a customer favorite. For my first “Grandmother Tree,” I sculpted a very large face out of stoneware clay and then mounted it on a large board that I covered with Melaleuca bark. The Melaleuca tree is grown in Florida and is the tree from which we obtain tea tree oil.

First in my "Grandmother Tree" series

Close-up of "Grandmother Tree"

Now, I create all types of Grandmother Trees in various sizes. The “trees” come with a story that I have written for them.

“Grandmother Tree”

The trees are alive! She wandered
into the garden early one morning
and she heard them speak to one another..
It was a language spoken on another another vibrational time
frame. They spoke of healing with power
and energy and of the relationship between
energy and matter.

She was drawn to an ancient Chinese
Elm and as she leaned her body next to the
base, somehow she felt immersed
in the tree and felt herself slip into the
tree..was one with the
tree and knew that she was the tree.....

~Cheryl Dolby~

Sillouette of "Grandmother Tree"

This particular doll is a bit busy, but then again, all the "Grandmother Trees" seem to be. I used distressed felt for the body, horsehair, reindeer fern and coir, which is coconut bark, and I sculpted the face out of paperclay. I guess you can tell that I’m still experimenting to find exactly the direction I want to go with my dolls. I have to say that I’m enjoying every minute that I have to work on them!

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Monday, February 22, 2010



Philosophy Angel- Madame Butterfly

Many little girls like paper dolls. In my case that would be an understatement. I absolutely loved them. I had literally hundreds of them in all shapes and sizes. My friend, Karen and I played with them from dusk till dawn.

There was a magazine out in those days called “Children’s Playmate Magazine.” The centerfold each month contained the sweetest little paper doll imaginable. When the beginning of the month approached, Karen and I would make several trips a week to the drug store that carried ‘Playmate’ in hopes we would find our treasure. We were never disappointed with our little centerfold of the month.

I loved paper dolls so much that my parents had to humor me when we went on family vacations. My dolls always had to come along. I’d lug them into our old Chevy by the box-ful. I’d play with them all the way to our destination and all the time we were gone. My parents couldn’t figure out how I could be content for so many hours just talking to those dolls.

Close-up of Madame Butterfly

Now that I’m an adult, I sculpt, draw, paint, quilt etc. women’s faces and figures. Finally, after all these years, paper dolls, which are now called paper art dolls, are in vogue and it is natural for me to want to try my hand at making them.

I’ve been influenced by two different paper doll artists but I’m making sure that I create my own style, which is still in a state of evolution. Laura of Creative Whispers has very creative dolls as does Linda of Eclectic Visions of an Altered Journey.

The way that I constructed my first doll, which I am featuring here, was to use a free template from The Enchanted Gallery. It really is a very basic Goddess shape that I have drawn before but it was nice to have a ready template. I made the body with wax resist crayon and acrylic, I attached a ready made set of butterfly (or angel if you will) wings and sculpted an original face from paper clay. I added silk yarn for hair and attached one of my favorite sayings to the front. "What would you do if you knew you could not fail?" I will be adding my own philosophies to each of these dolls. I’m happy with the first one, but I am expecting far more from myself in the near future.

My friend and neighbor, Judy Light Ayyildiz, wrote a very special book of poems entitled Mud River. In the collection is her poem of “Paper Dolls.” I love what she wrote in her poignant message and could not agree more.

Paper Dolls

Hid in the August attic heat, Jeannie, we waltzed them on dusty boards-our stiffelbacked beauties with their modelperfect mates,
romancing in a world of gowns and furs,
glamour bought so cheap, cut so even,
fitting our imagination to a
T. Jeannie,you were mostly mouth
and smiling in those days, while the furtive
wasp fashioned its paper nest
snug on the ceiling of our place.
We believed she would never sting
as long as we allowed her room. Jeanne,
we dressed them up, but never took them out
and down the steps into the swarming streets.

~ Judy Light Ayyildiz ~

Silhouette of Paper Art Doll- Madame Butterfly

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Friday, February 19, 2010




Yours truly, left, and Trish

I love snow. It transforms the grounds of my home, Woodloft, into a sparkling, white-draped vision of winter that seems to refresh the trees and renew the sloping land. Most winters here in Roanoke, the little bit of snow we get blesses us with some brief fleeting beauty and a day or two when we can fail to carry on with “business as usual” and almost no one cares. This winter, however, we have been a little too “blessed.” In December, we were buried under 22 inches of snow in a single storm, and cold temperatures kept the snow around for weeks. As the new year began, it looked like more snow was on the way. So, my friend, Trish, and I decided to take a respite from the cold and snow by traveling to a spot just south of Cancun, Mexico.

Snowed in again

Whenever I take trips out of the country like the Sunflower Journeys I made with my grandchildren to Italy, Mexico, Greece and France, I almost always return with an odd anecdote or two about something that happened along the way. This journey was no exception. And while the stories from my other trips are often humorous or just odd, the one that stands out on this trip was a little creepy.

If I were the superstitious sort, I probably would have canceled the trip when things began to go wrong leading up to our departure. Another large snowstorm hit the Roanoke area shortly before our flight to Mexico, so I had to leave Woodloft and stay with my daughter Kirsten and her family for two days before the flight: snow often makes my hillside driveway and the street leading to it impassable for days after a storm. At the time, this didn’t seem like a bad omen, but just more motivation to get out of town. But then, on the day of our departure, things started going wrong. First, even though the Roanoke airport remained open despite the snow, out flight was canceled due to equipment problems. When we finally got underway, we had to change flights four times and travel north to Philadelphia before finally heading south to Mexico.

Late that evening, we arrived at the Cancun airport. What should have been our first day on the beach had been spent almost exclusively in cramped airliners. We wearily looked for the driver our booking agent had told us would be waiting to take us to our hotel. We were supposed to be able to identify him because he would be holding a sign with the hotel’s name on it. But, since we arrived many hours later than expected, we were not surprised when he was nowhere to be seen. When we asked a seemingly nice, well-dressed fellow nearby where we might find our driver, he told us there was a "bad accident" on the road leading from our hotel and that no one could get through to the airport. He asked the name of our hotel and, shaking his head, he said, “Your hotel cannot send any drivers out, but they have your room waiting for you. If you would like, I can get you a safe driver who will take you to your hotel.” We paid him the equivalent of $80.00 U. S. and got a receipt he said we could use to get reimbursed by the hotel. As we learned later, we had just been bamboozled by one of the “Airport Taxi Pirates.” They do all they can to take passengers away from the free resort hotel shuttles. After all the traveling I’ve done, I still can’t believe I fell for this: fatigue, I suppose.

Bogus receipt

Nevertheless, we arrived safely at our hotel and were thrilled to find a beautiful, all-inclusive resort with everything imaginable at our disposal; food, drink, entertainment, and a room more luxurious than any I have ever had with two large glass doors opening to the ocean.

Thatched beach tables

The next morning, it was time for the vacation to begin in earnest. We swam in the “infinity pool.” Viewed from one end, the pool’s opposite end seems to merge with the ocean and the sky in a way that makes you feel as though you could swim from the pool directly into either without missing a stroke. It was glorious.

Infinity pool

We were having a lovely time when I looked toward the pool bar and saw a fellow who looked very much like my son, Cameron. I mentioned this to Trish and she agreed. Later, apparently feeling that expansive, outgoing mood that possesses so many of us when we’re on vacation, Trish passed the fellow (we’ll call him “Frank”) on her way to the bar and casually mentioned that he looked like my son. When he saw me taking a picture of him so I could later show my family “Cameron’s twin,” Frank started laughing and mugging for the camera. He had obviously had a lot to drink. His antics became more and more extreme and rude until he actually “mooned” the guests at the pool. Trish and I were astonished at his behavior and even more astonished at what followed. Frank walked up behind Trish as she was lounging by the pool and … well, let’s just say that what he did next would have been appropriate if he had been a dog greeting another dog, but it certainly wasn’t appropriate for an even marginally civilized human being. Everyone who saw Frank’s actions was dumfounded, including Trish, who was left utterly speechless. We were so upset that we left the pool area and returned to our room leaving Frank and his entourage of friends behind (no pun intended).

Early the next morning, we headed to the resort’s business office to book some tours. As we walked past a flight of stairs, down came Frank. He looked completely surprised and embarrassed upon seeing us. Needless to say, we were caught off guard, too, and mumbled a weak “hola.” Frank just averted his face and walked away, apparently embarrassed by the preceding day’s events, but offering no apology. We were surprised that he seemed embarrassed: his behavior the day before was so rude that we doubted he was capable of embarrassment.

We decided we’d like to avoid running into Frank again. Since the resort had many pool areas and about 12 restaurants, it seemed this would be easy to do. So, when we decided to head for the pool a little later, we picked one at the opposite end of the resort from the one we had visited the preceding day. We had hardly settled in at the new pool when we saw Frank walking by with his friends. In less than an hour we had run into him twice despite trying to avoid him at this huge resort. When he saw us, he seemed surprised again and said loudly to his friends, “They are everywhere I go?” I just smiled and said, ”Yes, Trish is your nemesis.” Frank hurried away.

Gift shop

Over the next few days, we seemed to run into Frank everywhere we went despite the size of the resort. It was as if we were following him or he was following us. But we were always at the place we ran into him before he arrived, and he always walked away when he saw us with a look on his face that was equal parts embarrassment and disbelief.

Finally, after many more coincidental encounters, we found ourselves seated next to Frank at one of the resort’s restaurants. He finally told Trish he was terribly sorry for his behavior. He explained that his friends were police officers(!), and that a fellow officer who was supposed to be traveling with them on the trip had been shot many times and left a paraplegic shortly before the trip. On that first day, he said, they were upset and had been drinking too much. Assuming his story to be true, we felt a little sorry for him (and much more so for his friend, the paralyzed officer). But it had taken him so long to apologize, I never could decide whether the apology was authentic or was just a desperate attempt on his part to break whatever evil spell was causing our presence to haunt him relentlessly.

Remote area of the resort

Sunday morning we saw Frank once again on a remote beach. He just walked away, probably thinking we would be haunting him for the rest of his vacation. We left silently, not telling him we were going home. I can just see him spending the rest of his vacation looking around corners for us, the two witches who looked him in the eye and said “behave” without saying a word.

I suppose I’ve made it sound like the “Frank episode” haunted us the entire trip, but it really didn’t. It was just the odd experience woven through our time there as though some unseen force had linked us with this man for some reason that was not apparent. I suppose someone in Frank’s position should learn a lesson from this – the obvious one being, “Always be on your best behavior; you never know how or when it may come back to haunt you.” (On the other hand, there is also, “Don’t depend on man’s best friend to be your guide to social skills,” or even the vaguely biblical, “Thou shalt not nuzzle thy neighbor’s tushie – at least, not without permission.”) More interesting, however, is the fact that life so often presents us with these coincidences that seem as though they might mean something, but the meaning is impossible to find.

Despite Frank and the Airport Taxi Pirates, Trish and I had a wonderful time and I definitely would go back to the Mayan Riviera. We found out that most employees at the resorts there earn only about $5.00 a day, yet they are always smiling and always treat you as though you are a guest in their home. Before we left, I saw a message someone had etched in the sand on the last beach we visited. It said, “Life is good, Today.” I couldn’t agree more.

Mexican pool bar waiter

When we returned from Cancun, Roanoke had been hit by yet another large snowstorm. As I look out my window at the hillsides around Woodloft, there is still a beautiful, sparkling blanket of snow on the ground. I love snow. And, I love Woodloft. But, you know, even though the trip to Cancun was a little odd, right now it would be nice to be back on one of those sunny beaches.

(A note of thanks to Jack Vincent for editing this post and bringing it to life!)

Colorful souvenirs

Flowers everywhere

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010





As she was standing at the edge of the ocean she
could hear the waves chanting
their familiar song.

“Come to me, I am geater than you, I am wiser than
you..I am the one.”

She resisted once again. How long could she
continue to resist…How much longer before she
embraced her larger self,
her destiny,
her soul…
..the sea….

~ Cheryl Dolby ~

Decorating cigar boxes became a passion of mine a few years ago. There is an unbelievable story relating to my finding a huge stash of them at one of my art show adventures. If you’d like to read about it or would like to see some of the boxes I created from that stash, please click here.

As I have said in previous posts, I wrote a book titled She Who Whispers, which includes about 44 of the stories I give my finished pieces. I almost always sculpt women since I just can’t seem to come up with a good male face, and I write all women's stories (we have a lot to tell). I use the story of Oceana quite frequently since this is exactly how I feel about the ocean and I am drawn there once a year to get my “fix.” Customers have asked me to expound on Oceana’s story so I finally gave a possible scenerio concerning her life and included it in my book, Layers. You can click here to go to my etsy site where you can read more about my book.

Before I ever started using the very difficult, labor-intensive art form of fresco, I developed "fres-goe's." This is the name I have given to these special pieces of art. Below is the story and explanation that I attach to all of my "fres-go" pieces.

(Click to enlarge)

I created this particular "fres-go" on a a plain white tile. It fit nicely on the top of the cigar box. I added iridized glass tiles to the right side and large ball feet. I added the Oceana story to the inside top of the box and placed a heavy brocaded type material to the base.

Interior view of Oceana box

I painted it with a layer of Modge Podge and then applied a crackle texture to it. I experimented with using a layer of paint, then Elmer’s glue and while that glue was still wet, I gave it another layer of paint. This gave the piece a look of barn peeling. While this may be a good application for some projects, this was not the look I wanted. By using a tan crackle solution and then applying another light shade of green acrylic, I finally got the result I was striving for. The box now appears more sea foam and sand and has the feel of the ocean.

Painting the cigar box

I think she came out pretty nifty. Oh, and by the way, feel free to download a copy of my poem to use any way you’d like, just give me credit ok?

Unsatisfactory barn like texture

The desired crackle effect

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Monday, February 15, 2010







Jules is an environmentalist with a passion for embroidery, crafts, and all things creative. She lives in the United Kingdom. Her blogs are



( .

Jules has won my Sacred Wordkeeper Bookmark! Because all bookmarks should have a book to live in, I am including a copy of my book, "Woman Within the Web." Hope she likes it.

The magical carpet ride that Lisa Swifka , A Whimsical Bohemian, organized for bloggers around the world has finally come to an end. Who would have guessed one contest could be so much fun? How exciting it is to know that there were 1,088 bloggers involved in over 40 countries.


I want to thank everyone who took the time to make comments about my post and giveaway. I enjoyed visiting many new blogs and found several that I will be following.

Lisa provided a Random Number Generator that I used to choose the winner.

Valentine’s Day has taken on a new meaning to me. Can’t wait for next year.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010





My parents, Jane and Jim Galloway

It was 1942 and World War II was in full swing. My father, who was a romantic and an artist, sent letters from Europe to the entire family. My parents were married on Valentine’s Day so the letters he sent to her were very special.

Love letter written to my mother from my father

The love letters are beautiful. My father‘s handwriting was of a scrolled calligraphy- artistic and elegant. He drew and painted all the pictures on them, even though he had little to work with as far as materials go. He had trouble finding anything but a few colored pencils. If you would like to see more of the letters, please click here. He not only sent these letters to my mother, but to the entire family. The letter to his father is especially poignant.

Letter written from my father to his father

Through the years, my father brought my mother chocolate candy each Valentine’s Day. I am dedicating this post to their love and also to my love of chocolate. So…here is my favorite recipe for Chocolate Truffles. It has been in my family for many years and Valentine’s Day would not be the same without them. Hope you enjoy!

(Click to enlarge recipe)

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