Sunday, 12 October 2014

Now I Can Sew Again

Now I can sew again I've been so busy I've neglected almost everything else. It's so good to have my arm back properly, even though it'll be a good few weeks yet before my elbow id fully healed. And I've been able to get all the ideas building up in my head started. Halloween will be with us before you know it, and the cooler weather is definitely here. We've had huge thunder storms and lots of rain. The sky has been so dramatic and moody, and even though I love the warm weather the change has given me a boost of energy that I think I'm going to need to get this lot done.

This sweet little Venetian Harlequina is waiting for her gold lace trim to arrive from Hong Kong, and delivery from that side of the world can be a bit hit and miss. Sometimes it gets here really quickly, and at others it's so so slow! So far I've sewn her sleeves and bloomers with her layered skirts gathered and flounced into a pannier shape. I still have her bodice to finish and lots and lots of details before I can start on her masquerade mask.

This young woman is Effie Grey. With the new film coming soon (I'm so looking forward to it :)) I thought it was time to make my own version of Effie, the wife of John Ruskin. She was cruelly treated by Ruskin who refused to consummate the marriage, at first using her young age as an excuse even though she knew that the sight of her on the wedding night had somehow disgusted him. This beautiful woman was admired by many, but as she aged he still refused to make her his wife, trying to convince her and those around them that she was mentally ill. At last she managed to divorce him and went on to marry and have lots of children in a new happy home. But I can't imagine what she had to go through to prove herself still a virgin to get her first marriage annulled.

This funny looking little lump is a commission for lovely lady in the states that I can't tell you more about just now as she'll be a gift for her daughter. I hope I'll be able to share some bits and pieces with you as I go along, but I won't be able to show you her finished until after Christmas when she goes to her new home.

These little Peggie's are the last couple of pegs I could find in my wood box. The middle one is a commission for the lovely Claire of her son singing, which is why his mouth is wide open. The other two I made at the same time and will be ready to tell me who they are soon so that I can make them come to life.

And lastly is this quilt piece I'm working on for Lorene of Wednesday Addams sat in a graveyard with her doll. It doesn't look like much yet but once the initial pieces are sewn there will be layers of paint and chalk added to the background, her face and the stones before I add embroidery to finish it all off.

I've even got a few new ideas bubbling away I want to get too, but I have lots of open spaces for any special pieces you may want in time for the holidays. You can contact me here, through my Etsy shop - www.NatashaMorgan.etsy.com or e-mail me at natashasheron@yahoo.com
Have fun whatever you do
xxxxxx

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Prunella The Pumpkin Sprite - Art Doll by Natasha Morgan


As I sit here typing with my one good hand (the wrong one!) I'm wondering why it is I'm so lost without being able to make something. It's very frustration having to sit still with nothing in my hands, but I guess that if I'm good my fractured elbow will heal all the quicker.
I did consider getting poor Cris to type this for me but my lovely husband has already chopped my salad for my lunches all week and helped me set up to take photos and do my ironing. He's so good to me xxx
Anyway, I did manage to add the last details to Prunella so wanted to introduce her too you. Next I'm going to carry on with a dolls crochet shawl / blanket as it's the only thing that I can do right now while keeping my elbow bent and still. Hopefully I'll be able to sew something later in the week as I have tons of ideas :)


Prunella The Pumpkin Sprite Art Doll

Prunella likes to hide among the pumpkins during the cool autumn evenings watching the twilight come down through the branches of the trees while the little bats flit around and look like they are chasing the stars. It’s her reward to have her quiet times sitting on the soft leaves among the pumpkins after working hard to make sure that each and every growing orange ball is healthy and happy under their big floppy leaves. Halloween is coming soon and the smell of pumpkin pie cooling on windowsills is one of Prunella’s favorite things. Once all are full grown and ready for picking she’ll be able to relax for a little while before she has to go back to work again preparing the earth and looking after the seeds ready for them to be planted and grow slowly into all of the new plants for next year,

Prunella has stripped green drawers and a burgundy cotton lawn shift under the layers of her dress. She has a puff ball skirt held out with ruffles and an overskirt made of layered petals trimmed in lace and embroidery, dotted with tiny sparkling beads just like her jacket. Silk leaves and curly fronds add more layers, as well as a warm straw colored crochet shawl. On her head Prunella wears a tall traditional Welsh style hat made of green silk and decorated with lace, ribbon and more leaves and fronds. She looked like she needed a comfortable seat so I made her a nice large pumpkin to sit on decorated in the same way as her dress.


 


Sunday, 7 September 2014

Two Little Zombies

Two more little Halloween dolls ready for new homes this week. You can find them both at my shop - www.NatashaMorgan.etsy.com

Bobby, A Country Zombie Art Doll

Bobby got caught. There he was peacefully working away in the far back field minding his own business and day dreaming of his next trip into town to see the latest moving picture, and a huge angry man covered in blood and with his clothes all ripped up and torn burst out of the hedgerow and bit him!
Well, you can imagine his shock. He jumped away and the big guy fell flat on his face in the mud. Bobby ran and ran as fast as he could but had to stop and hide in the old red barn when he started to feel ill.
His head banged awfully and his belly turned over again and again. He put his head down in the hay to rest as it felt like it was made of stone and his eyes were blurry. Just for a little bit he thought after listening carefully to make sure he wasn’t followed, but now he has no other thought than to find food. To kill and eat and kill again until the terrible nagging hunger inside him is finally satisfied. Poor Bobby. At least something is still in his head to tell him to protect his little sister Mary-Lou. He didn’t eat her, just nibbled on her hand a bit.

Bobby is dressed for work in his worn mustard shirt and dungarees. He’s made a bit of a mess of his clothes now, and if Mamma could see him she’d be very angry. Thankfully he ate her this morning.


 
Mary-Lou, A Country Zombie Art Doll

Mary-Lou was being a good girl and sweeping out the kitchen for her Mamma and all of a sudden her brother Bobby pushed her over into the corner. She banged her head hard and turned sharply to tell him off, but when she did she couldn’t quite make out what was going on. Bobby had pounced on Mamma while she was cleaning the veg for dinner at the kitchen sink and was biting her. There she was in a big heap on the floor with her hands still clutching a carrot and Bobby was chewing on her arm!
Well, you can just imagine her shock! What was he doing? He was normally such a good bay and always did his work as he should. Mary-Lou didn’t know what to do and did the first thing that came into her head.
She took hold of her broom and went and smacked Bobby on the head with it, smack! Bobby growled like an animal and grabbed her by the hand. He bit her sharply and pushed her back, and this time she fell against the table and banged her head so hard she blacked out. When she woke up all she knew was that she was terribly terribly hungry and just had to go and kill something with hot red blood to make the nagging in her belly go away. Oh, and Bobby was chewing her fingers.

Mary-Lou is dressed as she usually does when helping Mamma with the chores. She has on her clean white shift, well it was once clean at least, and her purple flowered skirt and blue bodice. Her apron is a mess now, but every time she reaches down to brush off the dirt she somehow makes it worse.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Autumn Is Coming - Making A Pumpkin Doll

As the nights are starting to get darker and the air is becoming cooler my imagination has gone over to all things Autumn and Halloween :)
There are just so many different characters to make with dark edges and spooky stories that I just can't help myself from making vampires and zombies, ghosts and Asylum dolls. But this year I wanted to make someone a little bit different for me. I wanted to make a Pumpkin doll, and now she's about half way through I'm ready to show you how she's coming along.


So far this little lady doesn't have a name, and I'm not even sure is she'll be a fairy, a witch or a sprite of some kind. She's telling me her story very slowly as we go along. And so far I know that she's a gentle kind little thing that likes to sit in the Pumpkin patch as twilight comes with her favourite books or talking to all the nice animals and spirits that she meets. She has soft baggy green stripped drawers and a dark burgundy shift under her pretty Orange and Yellow dress. Her skirts are shaped round just like her favourite Pumpkins, and she has ruffled petticoats to help keep the shape.


I've made her a smart tailored jacket with overlapping petal shaped tails in the back. She still needs quite a bit of trimming and finishing off before she's done. As well as her Pumpkin seat she'll have lots of leaves and curly vine feelers. And I'm planning a special stalk shaped hat she can wear once her hair is added. Shall I give her wings? Or maybe a broom and cauldron? She won't tell me quite yet but I've lots to do first and she wants me to finish her jacket and Pumpkin first, so I'm off to work :)

Sunday, 17 August 2014

New Dolls

I've been busy busy getting Lugo and Bella finished this week. And have 4 new dolls listed in my shop. Please stop by and meet them at www.NatashaMorgan.etsy.com

Bella – a Vampire Bride Art Doll

Bella likes to sit and watch the old black and white vampire films with her mother every Sunday afternoon, and she’s really not sure why everyone is so afraid of the tall handsome Dracula. She likes him, and thinks he’s very dashing in is smart suit and long cape. Mamma made her big brother Lugo the same outfit for Halloween, and she has a very pretty dress so she can go out Trick or Treating with him. This year she hopes she gets even more candy than ever before.

Bella’s mamma spent a long time making her an outfit for Halloween and Bella is very proud of it. She has long white drawers and a shift trimmed with black lace. Lots and lots of black petticoats with lots more lace that makes her feel like she’s walking through clouds. And a pretty dark red dress that sticks out all around her with lacing up the front and back of the bodice and lots of frills and ruffles on her skirt.

 
Lugo – a Bela Lugosi Tribute Art Doll

Lugo was named after his Mamma’s favorite actor, and he loves Halloween.
This year mamma has made him a costume so that he can look just like her favorite Vampire in the black and white films she likes to watch on Sunday afternoons, and Lugo is very pleased with his outfit. He can’t wait for Halloween to come and is getting in lots of practice pretending to be menacing and mysterious. He has his favorite book under his arm and is off to try and scare the other kids in his street.
Lugo’s Mamma has made him a very smart Halloween costume, and he loves it.
Over his starched white shirt with its funny pointy collar and white silk bow tie he wears a silk waistcoat that has a pocket watch chain and pearly buttons. He has a Count’s medallion on a red ribbon just like in Mamma’s favorite films, and a jacket with tails in the back that flap against his legs when he walks. He really likes his swishy big long cape that he can swing about and that streams out behind him in the wind. Mamma even slicked back hi hair with some smelly stuff from Papa’s shelf in the bathroom.
Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire Art Doll

Lady Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire is an unusual character that many histories portray as a selfish grabbing type of woman. Amanda Foreman’s biography shows us all of the aspects of Georgiana’s character and lets us see the woman behind her popularity as a fashion icon. In some ways shy, confused and used by those that should love her she had many trials throughout her life to fight against. A domineering mother and indifferent cold husband led her to search out ways in which she could succeed in her own right. And she became an icon of fashion and a powerful political figure.

I love the biography The Duchess by Amanda Foreman all about Georgiana, and equally loved the 2008 film starring Kira Knightley. The costumes designed by Michael O’Connor are so beautiful I couldn’t resist making a version of one of them for my own Georgiana. In any period drama the costumes are very important and Mr O’Connor very deservedly won an Academy Award for his work on the film.

Lady Georgiana has silk cotton drawers and a soft silk chemise gathered with a low neckline. I know in Britain at the time drawers were very rare, in fact they would have been considered odd and even a bit slutty. But Georgiana had great friends at the French court, including Marie Antoinette herself, and there they were considered the height of new fashion. (Also we all look up dolls skirts so I thought I’d give her some modesty).
She has a long petticoat embroidered in soft grey silk, and a stripped cotton skirt with a ruffle along the hem. Her bodice is stripped silk, as well as her cropped jacket. And both have been embroidered and tiny glass beads added as buttons. She has a silk shawl draped around her arms and on her head wears a tall black hat with a curled brim and huge blue silk ribbon and bow.
 
 


Bun Bunny, the Soft Squishy Patchwork Podgy Doll

Bun Bunny is a happy sunny Podgy looking to bring smiles and laughter to all her friends.
She has long flopsy ears that have soft fleecy white undersides that are lovely to stroke and play with. And she likes nothing better than a sunny spot where she can see outside to the garden.

I'm off now to make some Zombies, so have fun and take care xxx

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Getting Ready For Halloween

Ok, yes. I know it's early, but I just can't hold off any longer. I just had to start making some of me Halloween ideas, and it's given me the boost I needed to get back to creating. I was stuck, as we all get, and felt there was something missing. I get terribly impatient if I cant work on making something. My head gets full up with ideas all fighting to be first, and not even sketching them out or writing them down will help to clear my mind. I put aside Guinevere for a little while and took up my next doll. Poor Guinevere needs a lot of embroidery to make her gown look just right, but my mad old brain just wouldn't settle and concentrate, so on I move until my imagination regains it's focus.


I've never made a doll in the traditional image of Dracula, but who doesn't love a good Bela Lugosi film on a wet Sunday afternoon. The idea that won the fight was little Lugo: named after his mother's favourite actor of course. He's getting ready for Halloween himself, and his Mamma has made him his very own Dracula outfit. He still needs a medallion to hang from his red ribbon just like a real count wears. And Mamma is looking for a chain to make him a watch chain for his waistcoat pockets. She slicked his hair back with some smelly stuff from Dad's shelf in the bathroom, and Lugo is particularly pleased with his big sweeping cloak. Next his Mamma is starting on his little sister Bella's Halloween outfit. She's going to be Dracula's Bride :)


I've been busy sanding, painting and varnishing a whole new set of dolls as I ran out of my smallest size and was getting low on my medium size. Later today I'll be able to start stringing them together  so that their ready for me to dress.
Can you see the two little Zombies laying next to the others?
What characters do you see in these faces?


It's a wet Sunday here as we get the remains of Hurricane Bertha hitting Britain, and outside is dark and moody. We're cuddled up on the sofa watching rubbish TV and enjoying our lazy afternoon - Cris with his computer work on his laptop and with me finishing this before I get back to my dolls. I hope wherever you are your safe and warm and having a lovely day too. xxx

Monday, 4 August 2014

Getting Somewhere - Doll Making Stumbles

I've been in a slump and trying hard to work my way out of it. And finally I realised that I need to concentrate on what I want to make, not on what needs to be done.
So what if I have dolls staring up at me half finished. I'll get to them in the end and they'll be better off waiting so I can give them everything they need rather than forcing myself to work out my ideas and making them a chore to do rather than a pleasure. Better to let my daft brain work things out in it's own time and get back to having some dolly fun :)

Some of you may remember my Storyteller in her wonderful marbled silk. Well, she's still here and looking rather splendid perched on top of my pile of cases watching over me while I work. I don't work in one particular place in the house, but rather have a large Welsh Dresser as my store cupboard in the dining room and various bits stashed away throughout the house. My beautiful wooden sewing box sits on an old vintage school type stool in our living room, and I sew or paint, sculpt and wig, anywhere I feel like at the time. Most of the time this is with Cris during the evenings while he watches TV and I talk through bits he wants to listen too (Oops!). So my Storyteller looks on at us both waiting for me to finally decide on what she needs to finish her off ready for the world.

Guinevere has suffered my slowness after we had such a hard time during our holiday from the day jobs. Cris and I had planned to do lots of lovely things, from finding stock for his Vintage shop (www.CuriousCris.etsy.com) where he sells his finds from our treasure hunts, to getting a lovely big batch of new dolls sculpted, sanded, painted and ready to dress. We had day trips planned and evenings out. But our holiday was one of those filled with illness and bad backs, trips to the vets and days spent worrying.

My darling little Meanna had to leave us, and I'm glad she wasn't ill long. My poor girl couldn't fight off the virus she caught and I miss her everyday. She was 16 years old and had been with me since I was 21 as she was a birthday gift from my mother. I still walk into the room and expect to here her chirrup and purr at me from her chair. All the work I'd planned to do on Guinevere took a back seat and I just didn't have the concentration to work on her. So she's going to join my Storyteller for a little while. I need something new to fill up my attention for the time being. Something to take my mind elsewhere.

I had also planned to get a number of Podgy dolls finished and ready to launch as a new line in three different sizes with extra little bugs and animals as well. I did get three finished and listed in my shop - www.NatashaMorgan.etsy.com - and have since finished a larger bunny version called Hop who needs to be listed too so he can find a new home. I have the Duchess Georgiana to take photos of and list too as I finished her just before I injured my back. And I'm planning to get them both ready and listed next weekend so I can introduce you.

This weekend I was as busy as I could be sanding the last of the sculpts I had waiting and painting layers and layers of skin tone and detailing the faces of my new batch of paperclay jointed dolls. It was good to be busy, and they all now need stockings and shoes before I can varnish them. Of course when I looked I found I had run out of white acrylic! So I made sure I got that ordered before coming to type here. I mean, their little feet will get cold without their stockings, won't they.

During summer my mind always seems to wander to Halloween and all the creepy ghoul's and monsters I could make as one of my dolls. I've always loved the old horror characters and have planned out a few zombies and vampires to make over the next few weeks. This first will be a little boy called Lugo, who's mother named him after her favourite horror actor. You can catch a sneaky peek of him in my WIP photos posted to my Facebook page if you don't want to wait until next post to see him :)
Take care all.
xxx