Monday, 26 November 2012

New Dolls, Anxiety, & Dolls Heads

I've got a few new dolls to share while I sit here stiff and aching after yesterdays Birmingham Doll and Teddy show. It was a busy day, and we had some fun, but it was a Long journey so me and hubby took leave from the day jobs today to recover a bit.
I've been so busy lately it's so nice to take a step back and enjoy just being here with Cris and the cats. A nice family cwtchy day cuddled under my blanket :)

Anxiety is an evil thing, and as I've mentioned before here it's something I suffer with and try my hardest to keep under control. Not many people know that it can cause unlimited pain, mental stress and depression, as well as making it almost impossible to function, talk to other people or even leave your home. After a recent unwanted burst of this I did all the obvious things like saw my doctor and talked to my lovely understanding boss, rested myself and worked to come out the other side of it in some sort of functioning state. And I also tried something new - Bach Flower Remedies.

I've used, and liked, the Rescue Remedy they make that many people know of. And when I went to pick up a new bottle I found they also do more specific pre-prepared remedies. I know a lady that swares by Bach Remedies and has always being very helpful with information and advice, so I thought I'd give them a go. I'm glad I did as at the moment I seem to have relaxed and come around again to normal life a little quicker than I normally would. Looks like trying something new is a good idea sometimes :)

I often use my own feelings as inspiration, and this doll is part of what I feel sometimes. She’s dirty and tattered, huddled on her mattress in a dark corner, struggling to keep warm and look after herself. Just waiting to see the daylight and understand her own mind again. If you look at her face she looks calm and contented, Just another normal face in the crowd. But it’s what you can’t see that is what matters, and Anxiety needs help and understanding. Some of us are lucky enough to have the support we need, but there are those out there that need help they can’t get.

Anxiety only wears her dirty thin tattered shift and two ripped stained petticoats with a pair of thick wool long mittens to try and stave off the cold. She will sit of lay on her own stuffed mattress.

I love this doll. She has a special place in my heart. She is for sale, and I'll be sad to see her go, but I want to share her meaning and gentle comfort with others and I hope someone will find her and love her like I do.

Another new dolly just made is my Ashiepattle, or Cinderella, doll. Cinderella is one of the most well know of all the fairytales, but my favorite is the original Grimm brothers Ashiepattle.
The story has been used and changed many times, in books, films, toys and all fantasy. But I always go back to the original, creepy version, were the stepsisters actually start cutting off toes and things to get the shoe to fit, and their mother telling them to do it!!!

This Cinderella wears long drawers and layered petticoats under her full knee length skirts. Unfortunately, the hard work she’s been forced to do have left her dirty and tattered, her skirts torn and stained. Her silk blouse has three quarter sleeves and is pulled in tight across her middle by a matching corset, and she has an apron with two rags in the pocket and a broom made of grasses and a twig from my peach tree.

As you probably already realise I'm pretty much facinated by the darker side of life in times past. And I often try and understand why women did what they did and made choices that I could never see myself making as I could never be in the same position. One group of women that I struggle to understand are the courtesans and prostitutes. Logically I understand why they made the decision to live that life, but another part of me can't find the personal conection to that choice because of the modern life I lead. They were strong women that did things to regain control of thier own life, and I have to be honsest that part of me is impressed with them. I also know that many of them must of endured levels of hardship and degradation that we'll never understand. And my heart and soul weep for them.

Madame Lucile is a women that most decent folk won’t talk of. She’s a Courtesan. A high class, very expensive, prostitute that sells herself to the richest men of her choice. Always choosing the best looking and most likely to spoil her with gifts and expensive treats, she’s so successful that she gets to do as she likes. It’s a real shame she hasn’t thought ahead to when her looks fade away and she can no longer rely on rich patrons. But she never did have a head for figures.

Madame Lucile wears her frivolous underwear, all in silk. Her drawers are gathered at the knee and lace trimmed. Her soft chemise is shorter than usual and tucked in to her drawers so she can get that tight silhouette she prefers. Her blue silk corset is trimmed with lace, and her dressing gown trimmed with lace and ribbon. To add to her perfect hourglass figure she also has a set of frills tied around her waist to give fullness to her hips and rear.

At the Birmingham fair I did find myself a little treat in the form of two battered, chipped, broken and repaired, dirty, unwanted, and un-loved old dolls heads.

As soon as I saw these pretty old babies I just had to have them, and the lady selling them wanted so little for them I just couldn't say no. She had so many beautifully preserved dressed whole dolls that these two stood out to me straight away. And for the cost of a bottle of decent wine I came home with two new treasures.

They are really beautiful to me. I know that not everyone would thing so, but I guess I'm strange like that. Even the little squint of this ones pretty blue eyes where they have been fixed in the past a little badly just makes me smile, and I knew I had to save them. I'm going to make them both a simple stand each so that I can display them on my mantle. And I might even make each a soft lace ruff with a satin bow :)

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Jane Eyre, Beatrix Potter & Cinderella

Firstly I have to say I'm really sorry for the state of these photo's. It's rained all week and been really dark. Also I've had some type of nasty sicky bug and just haven't had the energy to take more now that the sun has finally shown herself this weekend.

As I've been stuck on my sofa under a blanket cuddling my cat cutie Meanna I've got quite a lot of sewing done. It's saved me from going nuts with nothing but crap day time tv for company. Here you can see my Jane Eyre in her corded petticoat, and behind her is the start of her blue ruffled petticoat.
I find it easier to set ruffles on the rug so I can pin things down and pull at the threads.

After her ruffled petticoat I made Jane one of Silk Cotton and trimmed the edge with lace. And I made her a cute little chemise corset cover made up of embroidery anglaise trimmed with blue ribbons.

She's come along so fast that I can hardly understand how I got it all done. But sewing silk has been so nice, and I taught myself how to sew perfect handsewn french seams too. I call that a productive week, even though I was slow and vauge headed.

Now Jane is sitting on my table in her silk gown trimmed with fine lace. Her dark red hair just dried and she's ready for her bonnet and veil. I've got some really pretty paper flowers for her hat and as soon as I'm done typing I'm going to start refining the shape of her bonnet to get it just right.
I made her gown skirts with two layers of silk, the over-layer being a deep haboiti silk ruffle trimmed at the top and bottom with more lace. Her bodice is gathered at the top with a tight fitted section across her torso. Her sleeves are long and fitted with large puff tops, and she has little lace mittens peeking out from the ends of her sleeves, which sit quite long over the hands as they would have been during the 1820's when the book was set.
I've had to be quite carful with Jane in her ivory silk. I'd hate to get her dirty now I've worked so hard on her, but with two cats in the house I've been worried about a stray dirty paw print (from Darcy of course!!!). To try and keep her perfect I've been making sure I've only worked on Jane when the kitties are either out or sleeping as when Darcy starts going nuts he doesn't care what's in his way - He's coming through whether you like it or not!
This blue eyed little cutie is going to be another Cinderella doll I've been making when I can't work on Jane. Alongside working on my Beatrix Potter doll of course. I don't normally work like this and it's been a bit strange. I'm looking forward to just having one project on the go instead of three or four. And I'm still working on my Elizabethan doll Beth whenever I get a chance. But I got to say it's all gone alright so far. While one thing is drying or I'm waiting for a bit of fabric to be delivered I've had something else to do to keep me busy. It's always at this time of year that I really have a need to sew and create, and I can never decide if it's the cold outside or the aproaching Christmas holidays that make me so focused. But it's good to get things done with the big Birmingham Doll and Teddy Fair coming up at the end of the month.
Beatrix is waiting for her bunny to come sit on her lap, and he's currently drying between layers of paint to build up his copper brown fur coat. I'm really happy with how her deer stalker came out, and she's looking really cute sitting on my bookshelf as she waits for her things to be finished.
I still have to work out how to make her some tiny paint brushed...