Friday, November 5, 2010

Mojo Dolls Win 2nd Place

The Yo-Yo Mojos came in second place in the Quilter's Home Magazine Readers Challenge. They appeared in the October-November 2010 issue of the magazine. The editors created a pdf file of all 77 entries and you can read about all the mojo dolls entered at:

Grab yourself a cup of coffee, tea, wine or whatever, and see all the creative little dolls. Cheers, Louise

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Meet the Mojo’s

“Yo-Yo Mama” Louise

This obsession all started very innocently while reading the Quilter’s Home magazine at Barnes and Noble on Wednesday, April 28, 2010. I thought the Quilter’s Mojo Dolls were interesting, and thought it might be fun to make one. I jotted down the e-mail address and traced the pattern from the magazine. The next morning, I made a plastic template of the pattern and headed off to our quilt guild service day – making placemats for Meals on Wheels. I had to leave early to go with my mom to have her drain tube removed from her mastectomy operation the prior week – she has breast cancer. That evening, I found a scrap of fabric that I had on my worktable – I only had a small piece – but it would work. I found a coordinating fabric to use for the other side and stitched her up - it sure was fun to make. It is now Friday – and unfortunately one of our local quilt shops is closing its doors – but good for me, since there were a lot of good deals. I spent the day on a mini-shop hop and lunch out with a fellow quilter – and home just in time for my son coming home from school. I started beading the hair and face. I am not a ‘thin’ person – I am a woman of curves, so I added yo-yos to pad out my belly. That evening, I went back to Barnes and Noble with my quilting friends and I showed the ladies my little doll – I was hoping to send it in – if I got it done in time. I made the breast and bottom yo-yo’s while there. It is now May 1st – the deadline – but I took my mom to an arts festival so she could get out of the house after her surgery. I showed her my little doll and she thought it was so cute – I thought of making her one too – but first I had to finish mine. When I got home that afternoon, and after dinner, I beaded the rest of the doll – bracelets, anklets and skirt. I finally finished her about 10pm that night and sent in a photo of my Yo-Yo Mama. In the e-mail, I mentioned that I was thinking of making one for my mom – and got the request to send in an image of that one too. The obsession had begun!

“Gram-Mama” Theresa

My mom’s favorite color is blue and she loves birds. She often sits on her sofa and stitches or knits, while looking out her window at the birds. She has several bird houses on her front porch where birds are building their nests. I only used one yo-yo for her, and a scar where her other breast would have been. I used blue and silver beads for her hair – she just turned 81 on May 21st and has only a hint of silver in her hair. She is always knitting, and when we had cats, they would always get tangled up in her yarn. The base fabric is traditionally pieced patchwork squares, as my mom was a very traditional housewife and mother. I used the cultured white pearl beads on her skirt to remind people to get their mammograms regularly.

“Little Man” Isaac

Our sweet little darling Isaac passed away last November – he was only 13. He was a special boy, who came into the world prematurely and with some medical problems. I combed the local craft and bead stores to find just the right embellishments for him. He loved to collect shiny metal things – I think he was part magpie. His eyes are closed as if sleeping. He was autistic, he played the trumpet, loved the Mets, basketball, the American flag and punch-buggies (WV Bugs). We used to count punch-buggies on all our trips to see how many we could find – the most we ever had was 21 in one day! Our area has the farm team for the NY Mets – we often went to the games – he had a Mets hat that he wore constantly – I even made him a bathrobe with Mets fleece for him, which he slept in regularly. He played a silver trumpet that he was so proud of, he practiced it every day. He wanted to be just like Louis Armstrong. Isaac loved the American flag – every time we made a cake – he wanted it decorated like the flag. For is birthday every year we made cupcakes using paper liners with flags and tooth picks with flags on them. (I now have a drawer full of them, since I got them when ever I could find them.) His last name was Keyes – hence the little keys. My husband is of Irish descent, so there is a little shamrock bead to honor that. The name Isaac means “He Who Laughs” – he was always smiling and full of laughter – he brought a little sunshine to everyone’s day. The trilobite bead reminds me of our hunts for fossils. We had three cats that he loved dearly – Cesium, Nitrogen and Plutonium (a tribute to my chemical engineering background). The Eiffel Tower was one of his favorite things – he carried a miniature tower with him quite frequently – it was his great Uncle Arthur’s, whom he was very close to. On the back of his mojo are buttons and yo-yos from his collection. He made the blue one in the summer of 2008 at a demonstration during the Harford, PA county fair. The little chain for his necklace was also in his treasure box. I made the base fabric using scraps from my various projects underway. It represents the way he colored – he stayed within the lines, but colored with random colors throughout – like a rainbow. I will always look at this little doll and have a smile (and a tear) to remember him.

“Little Dude” Walter and Mini-Me Yo-Yo Mama

When my other son saw what I was up to, he wanted one too. He loves red and black, and plays the tuba and cello. He wanted it to have a zipper and have it wrap around one arm. I think I captured his ideas. I pieced strips of musical fabric together on a foundation for the body of the mojo. I beaded a base clef to represent the scale used for the instruments he plays. I was intrigued by the little mojo figure in the magazine and thought it would make a nice pin. At my son’s request (and persistence) I made an exact replica of my Yo-Yo Mama, a Mini-Me pin.

“Big Guy” Kris

And finally, my husband – the last of the mojos. I had purchased a quarter-yard of some keyboard fabric a while ago, since it reminded me of Kris. I had no idea what I would use it for, but I had to have a bit of it for my stash. Well, it was perfect for his mojo doll. He is an electrical engineer and quite the computer geek (meant with only fondness). He plays the saxophone, along with several other instruments. His hair is a bit thin up top – not that many people can see it – he is 6’6”! He loves star gazing and has even built his own telescope! One of our favorite constellations is the Big Dipper, part of the Ursa Major or Great Bear. After our son Isaac died, his classmates and teachers at the Vestal Middle School had a star named for him – The Silver Trumpet Angel. The star is located just near the hind legs of the Great Bear. I stuck with a mono-chromatic color theme for his mojo since he is much more reserved than I am.

The Names

Well, you probably guessed there are a few musicians in the family and we are familiar with the cello music of Yo-Yo Ma. Walter started with the cello in elementary school, and I have been known as Yo-Yo Mama long before I started making fabric yo-yos. Since I am the only girl in the household – I always refer to my boys and husband as ‘my men’. Isaac was known as my Handsome Little Man, Walter is known as Little Dude now just Dude), and Kris, due to his size is my Big Guy. My mom has always been called Gram-mama.

Well that is our Mojo story. I hope you like them, the dolls will be placed in a prominent fashion in my sewing room to remind me of all the wonderful memories I have and will continue to have of my family. And, I will wear my Mini-Me with pride on my quilt guild name tag.