Wednesday, 30 November 2011
I found out today that my last shipping date to the USA, Canada, or Australia is Monday 5th December according to the UK Postal Service. I'm really disappointed that in this day and age Britain can't do any better than this. And it makes this my last chance to offer all of my wonderful customers the chance to get my own little Scarlet free of charge and get her to them before Christmas day arrives.
And have learnt just how kind, supportive, and truly amazing people that you don't know can be. So this is my small way of saying Thank You.
I just wish I was in a position right now to offer you more. Which is why I've decided to give up Scarlet; my patient companion that has always listened to me babel away when I'm trying to decide which direction to go in when I'm stuck or when I'm trying to refine what I'm doing.
Scarlet is a small (approx 20cm) doll that has jointed shoulders, knees, and hips. She's dressed in scraps of fabric and lace, and wears a mix-match of tiny jewellery pieces. But she's very special to me for so many reasons.
She's the very first jointed doll I made. The first that I sculpted in paperclay, and the first doll that I managed to perfect applying marabou feather hair on. She's not one of the first of her kind - She is the very first!
I agonised over how to attach her legs and arms before finally being brave enough to drill the holes in her limbs, hips and torso. Only after practising on little scraps of dowelling did I finally manage to do it. Still, there was quite a bit of trial and error before I was happy, and I unfortunately wasted quite a bit of the strong vintage thread from the wooden spool given to me by my Grandmother. And I still string my dolls in a very similar way.
I'd also used feathers on some of these earlier dolls as they remind me of a tattered little clown with feather hair I owned as a child that I loved dearly. But Scarlet was the first doll that I managed to get the very full, wild, and in this case mixed colour hair, just as I wanted it - even down to the tiny sparkling gems cut from a piece of a broken old bracelet that I used as a hair clip for her.
Scarlet wears a tiny black bodice under a high waisted tartan tutu with a wide lace petticoat, and has white and turquoise stripped knee high socks. She has perfectly stripped black, dark cerise and white hair. And has lots of bracelets, a sterling silver coker necklace, a diamonte hair clip, and a tiny faceted glass bead hanging from her waist.
She's imperfect, small, and has overly pointed feet. But she's my own, my friend, and my first.
Scarlet has helped me come such a long way in making my dolls, and I'll miss her greatly ( I don't mind at all if i get to keep her). But I can't think of a better way to say Thank You.
I wish I could offer more.
I couldn't resist making four of my very smallest dolls as hanging decorations for the Christmas tree this year. And as I wanted them to be suitable to hang from a shelf or against a wall or object after the holidays, and after making my Little Red Riding Hood, what could be better than more Fairytale dolls. So instead of choosing the most popular or well know characters I went with my favourites. As well as having a ribbon to hang them from anywhere you can think of, all these tiny 20cm dolls can sit on any ledge or on top of books and other objects among your treasures. The first can also stand unaided if you puff up her skirts and petticoats.
But I still always loved it :)
My Princess is dressed with layers of petticoats in crisp cotton lawn, with a deep ruffle around the hem of her topmost fancy one; which is why when they are puffed out a bit she can stand unaided. She has a white chemise under a cream stripped bodice. Her high waisted silk dress is a rich paisley of sage green, blue, gold and white with long pointed medieval sleeves. In her arms she carries a silk cushion trimmed with lace and red satin ribbon to hold the tiny offending green felt pea.
This young girls devastating life and hardships ended in the joyful reunion with her much loved grandmother. After her seeing beautiful images in the tiny flames of her matches she saw the one thing that made her happiest of all things. When they found her they thought she had used the spent matches in her lap to warm herself. When we know she had used them to hang onto her last vision long enough to be able to pass over and go to be reunited with her family.
I left her with her shoes on, before she lost the thin too big hand-me-down slippers in the snow. And cut the matches themselves from real ones, painting the ends and tieing them together with vintage thread.
This little doll even smells Christmas-y as part of what I used to stain her apron was powdered cinnamon from my baking cupboard. And for a change I tied up her hair. But if you prefer it down and wild like my other dolls the thread holding it can be snipped, and the feathers blown around to make them full again.
His little life is a sad one again. After starting out with only one leg after being the last to be made from the tin ladle and there not being enough left. Then falling from the window and not being found, being sent through the drains in a paper boat and having to fight off rats, and being stranded in the dirty gutter among the rubbish. He is rescued by a kitchen maid and taken back to the very place he had started from, with his love still there waiting for him, standing on one tiny foot with the other stretched behind her in the doorway of the play castle.
My Steadfast Tin Soldier has dark blue trousers with one leg folded up neatly and tacked in place to account for his missing leg. His uniform is made in the style of a period Victorian soldiers uniform, with a red jacket trimmed with white epaulets and straps for his equipment bags, with a white high collared shirt underneath. He has gold coloured bead buttons, and I gave him a tiny heart shaped blue enamel charm on his breast as a medal. I made his hat from black felt with a strap under his chin and decorated it with more gold beads.
This little man didn't stay with me long once he was finished, and is currently on his way to the lovely Nancy in Canada. I really hope that she likes him when he gets there, and that he looks just as I pictured him on her tree this year.
Over her lace trimmed bloomers and shift she wears a pretty dress that has a blue pattern with sprays of pink and purple flowers, with a tight bodice and puffy sleeves. She has a wide pink satin sash trimmed with white ribbon and her glittery spangle attached in the middle.
She has really full gathered skirts and petticoat to make her look like a ballerina. And they stand out around her in a soft folds. Near one hand she has a small metal heart attached to her skirts so she can't loose it. I imagined it as a gift to her from the Steadfast Tin Soldier before he left on his adventures.
I'm not sure what it is that I'll be making next. I have one project to finish as a Christmas gift, and then I'd really like to work on something a little larger again. Maybe I'll get to work on my Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett.
Saturday, 19 November 2011
Everything was leading me to do something different and new. Something of pure fantasy and imagination, letting me do what I wanted to do in a way that happened spontaneously rather than the way I usually plan everything out. So I looked in the one place that always provides tons of inspiration and looked through my book shelves.
Me being me I still couldn't decide.
I love fantasy and fairytale, but don't really ever turn to it when looking into what dolls I'd like to make. For some reason I turn to real women when I decide to make a new doll, and love to share the little known lives of the women from the past to give them a voice, even though it's only a tiny one for a little while. So when I spotted the three ancient fairytale books standing on the bedside table in my guest bedroom I knew straight away who my next doll would be - Who could be better than Little Red Riding Hood!
As soon as I'd made the decision I had a bright shining idea burning in my mind of just how I wanted my Little Red to look. I knew she had to have a pure white dress with a red sash, and a red satin cloak. I knew that I wanted her to be a young lady rather than a little girl, so started by making her a pair of lace trimmed bloomers, a corset and lots of white cotton lawn petticoats so that she'd have a really full calf length skirt. And an chemisette or blouse under her bodice in tight gathers with a lace collar.
I love the way my Little Red turned out. It was such a joy to do something so different I'm planning to make four tiny dolls as hanging decorations of some of my other favorite fairytale characters that can be hung on a Christmas tree, against a wall or from a shelf. There will soon be The little Match Girl, the Princess and the Pea, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and his Dancer all finished and ready :)
Sunday, 13 November 2011
Every character she writes has been so carefully thought out that even the hardly mentioned have a life that jumps from the page and sticks in your mind. And even though there doesn't seem to be much meaning in her books for our modern lives I always take something away from them with me that lasts much longer than it takes to read them. And I always go back to read them again and again.
The awkward family relationships and courtships, the mistakes made and waiting needed, and the power held by a few over their friends and relations tell a deeper story of life during those times than the romantic tale that sits on the surface. And the very different way in which women then lived thier lives can really be seen in her novels.
As gentle as she is she still had strong opinions of what she should and would wear, and gave me a few problems along the way.
No matter how many times I think about it or look into it it just somehow goes right against the grain not to give a doll a pair of knickers or bloomers. I know very well that people are going to look up her skirts because I do it myself. And I've no idea why we do it even though I've tried to work it out many times. But there it is. Jane Bennett has no pants on!
The Miss Bennett of the fabulous BBC TV series of Pride & Prejudice (with the lovely Colin Firth) always wore this kind of neckline instead of the square neckline favored by Lizzie. So when I think of her I always she her this way. Her gown has narrow sleeves and a narrow satin sash, and the hem is trimmed with lace applique.
Jane should have had a cream crush treated silk pelisse coat. And I made two attempts at making one for her. The first went very wrong and had to be redone from scratch. But I was very pleased with the second as I'd managed to sew in an extra detailed puff at the shoulder and a shaped hem in three points. She's not wearing this lovely coat as she just refused to look tidy in it. And instead looked boxy and restricted like I'd made her a silk straight jacket instead.
The second problem she gave me was today when I started taking photos. I'd forgotten that in her pale dress with her pale blonde hair that she would almost disappear into my cream backdrop. And I missed the brightest part of the day to try and make sure that the photos wouldn't just show her round eyes.
I really enjoyed making another Regency doll as I love the style and simplicity of the clothes. Once I've finally plucked up courage I'll get started again on Darcy and Elizabeth, but for now I'm working next on a true fantasy - My take on Little Red Riding Hood :)
Sunday, 6 November 2011
It was a beautiful day, and as you can see the Bride and Groom looked fantastic!
The ceremony took place in a rustic converted barn, and after dark the guests send paper lanterns floating into the firework laden sky. The sun shone all day long, and the music and company was fab. It was a really lovely wedding.
I was amazed to see that my little figures looked fantastic. They suited the Burtonesque wonky tipsy purple and black cake as if they had been made together. And I was relieved that after only seeing a few photos of The Dress I hadn't done too bad a job of making it's tiny doll copy.
It was so nice that they got a lot of admiration throughout the day. And I can't wait to see the photos the professional photographs took of them, rather than the few snaps I managed to take on my phone.
I have to add as well that I love the little bugs made of icing that were positioned flying around the cake. It's a really nice touch, and really made the whole thing fun.
Saturday, 5 November 2011
Just wanted to share my first look at my little bride and groom cake toppers on the wedding cake. They looked fab. Ans the wedding was fantastic. How often do you get to go to a wedding where the happy couple, bride in her fab glam purple dress, get up on stage and perform with thier metal band :-)
Lanterns were sent floating into the air. The roller derby team where looking fab in vintage style with sick tattoos. And I got to wear my blue faux fur. That's me you can see in the mirror behind the cake :-)