Monday, 30 December 2013

New Dolls For The New Year

My Friend Sarah's Christmas Tree Topper

It's been a lovely Christmas here in the Morgan home. And I hope that you have all had a wonderful magical Holidays with your loved ones too. We've had lots of prezzies, lots of wine, and way too much food :) And now the New Year is just around the corner with new things to do and new ideas to try.

Sarah's collection of 12 month peg dolls decorating her Christmas Tree

I've not been up to much, but have got myself in order by totally reorganising my supply cupboard at long last. It's made me feel so much better to have everything organised and ready for new things. Everything looks spic and span and labelled with what's in each box so now I can find anything I need (in theory anyway), and the doors finally close, which is a very good thing :)

My custom doll order for the lovely Ashley is on hold while I wait for fabric to arrive from the US, along with my Red Harrington as I try and figure out how to make her hat and shawl and wait for things for her too. I really need to be more organised and get all my ordering in at the start of the project so I'm not having to wait so long. But they both look so pretty sitting in a corner of my table watching me as I do other things. I can't wait to work on Ashley's doll again and see how her gown will look when it's done.

I've also started on a doll just for myself. One that I've been collecting fabrics and trims for over the last year, so it's wonderful to see her finally in some underwear.

My Queen Victoria is dressed so far in silk cotton drawers trimmed with lace, a shift of the softest cotton, and a petticoat of unusual Embroidery Anglaise. Her corset is made of stripped blue cotton with white lace and you can see that I've added longer under-sleeves under her shift that will help support her elbow joints once she's dressed and won't be seen when she's done.

Even though my Elizabeth I is still waiting for a few more details until she's done I just couldn't resist starting Victoria as well. Working with another artist on Elizabeth has been wonderful and I can't wait until she's done. But it was just the right time to start on my next special very detailed project. I like to have something I can work on in sections through the year. And this doll will be a great challenge for me. I've not decided on the very final outfit for her yet but want to dress her as we have all seen her in later life, with all the fuss and pomp of her official state photographs. Little round crown and all :)

I've also been trying new things and have been practising my painting again. It's been so nice to get out paper, pencil and paint to draw and colour some characters that have been swimming around my brain that just won't suit a 3d doll. They aren't ready to see just yet, but I'm getting there :) I'll be mixing patterns, paper, fabric, paint, pastel and pencils to get the look I want. And I hope I can get back the skill I once had before and improve on it.

I'm not sure just yet what we'll be doing here for New Year, and I still have a few gifts to deliver to friends when they visit next week. I can't wait to see them all :)
Hope you all have a wonderful time, and a Happy New Year xxxxxx

Monday, 9 December 2013

Why A Big Winter Sale?

Why am I having a Big Winter Sale?
Yes, one reason is that I want to be kind to my customers. And yes, I do want to clear some of my stock and make some money so I can make more dolls and all my new ideas. But these aren’t the only reasons, and not the whole reason by themselves.

I have wonderful customers and friends that show me a great deal of support all year round though this blog, Twitter, Facebook, Etsy and E-mail. Many of them I’ll never get to meet in person, and most of them are in countries far away from me. But I cherish each and every one of the kind, supportive, and encouraging messages and comments I receive.
I know I have an odd style and many people find my dolls to be creepy (it’s the eyes!), but each kindness I’m lucky to receive helps my odd mind accept that what I do is right for me and that there are others out there that can see what I see in each blank stare and each soft expression. Some might not understand that I make my dolls with a lot of love and that every one has a piece of me inside them, from the littlest to the biggest. But I know that some of you do understand. And I greatly appreciate it.

One of the most important things to me is that the people that my dolls go to are nice people. Friendly and kind, understanding and imaginative. They may see things in my dolls that they see in themselves, and that’s something that we share as I’m in there too. Being such a small business it’s not very often that I’m able to offer anything to you all. But changes are coming even though they are only small ones. And they mean that I can at the moment offer reductions on my work.

Yes, like everyone I want to make money. But no, I am not doing this in any way to say that my work is not worth the original price I placed on them. Each of my dolls is very dear to me, and some more than others at different times depending on what I’m feeling. Each is handmade with no moulds used, painted and strung using techniques I’ve worked on for years, and dressed with meticulous care and detail. Every seam and hem hand stitched and finished, every ruffle, trim and final detail added by me. And if you’d like proof I can send you a photo of my ruined finger tips lol J

Every creation, no matter who made it or the skill involved, deserves it’s place in the world and the respect of the people that see it. And I truly believe that every work has its merits. I’ve run my little doll making passion selling them so that I can create more. The more I make the more ideas I have and I only have so much room in my little house to be able to store and display my dolls.

I recently decided that spending my time and money displaying my work at fairs and shows in my area was not getting me anywhere, as I unfortunately live in a quiet part of the country and don’t drive myself so always have to rely on my long suffering doll widow husband. So the easiest fix to this is not to do any anymore. Simple as that.

The problem with this of course is that the high numbers of dolls I kept available throughout the year for me to take to these fairs and shows is now sitting forlornly on my shelves looking at me and asking why they never get to go anywhere. And I’ve no room left to get the ideas that are bursting my brain made no matter how much I secretly try and spread all over the house. And Yes, husband does notice and tells me off :S

So really what I’m trying to say is Yes, please do go and grab yourself a bargain. I’m not trying to clear out anything dodgy or rip anyone off. I genuinely want and need to see my dolls leave their nest and me behind as it’s time to let go of them to make room for new ones to come. I’ll even consider offers too if you’re not too cheeky, and am happy to reserve or arrange a layaway payment scheme.

Plans are afoot and very special projects are in the works. Secrets at the moment that I must keep, but I promise to share soon. And new projects coming that will test my skills to their limits and hopefully teach me some new things in the process. I’m tired of trying to please everyone as it can never be done no matter how hard I try, and in my odd little way I have tried. So from now on I’m planning dolls that are even more meaningful to me and hopefully to others. Dolls that share stories and have messages to take with them into the world. And Dolls that I will be working to promote worldwide to my worldwide audience. xxxxxx

Monday, 25 November 2013

It was a real surprise to me to find that I’d never made a Dorothy Gale doll before. I love the bright magical Technicolor dream film with the beautiful Judy Garland. It’s such a special film with so much joy and heart. I’ve watched it loads of times and never get tired of it. Such wonderful characters and beautiful backdrops. Scenery and costumes made with such care and attention to detail, I love everything about it.
The way it must have surprised its first viewers when it changed from Kansas in its drab black and white to Oz with all its vivid colors. It’s hard to imagine how wonderful that must have been then, as even now it’s so beautiful to see. No wonder it’s become such an icon. I can think of only a few other films that can compare to it, but only a very very few that bring with it the same imagination and feeling.

My Dorothy wears layers and layers of petticoats under her neat blue gingham dress, all trimmed with lace and ribbon. It’s a pinafore style dress with a white cotton shift beneath it so that she has a frill gathered neckline. In her arms she carries her Toto in her little basket, and on her feet are the prized ruby slippers.
To keep her company on her journey she has brought along her paper dolls that I made from scraps of fabric, paper and odd buttons, using a pattern I drew up myself and attached together with paper fasteners so that their limbs move. The Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, and Wicked Witch of the West are there ready to help her tell her story J
Next I really need to get my bum in gear and get working on my Red Harrington, take more pics of my Woman in White so I can list her, also sew the rest of the bunting for a friends new baby room, finish off dolls for Christmas gifts, start a small bridesmaid, and work on Beth and Cerrid, as well as lots of other things.
Think I'm going to be a very busy girl :S lol :)

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Ms Harrington & Miss Gale - Work In Progress

At the moment I have 3 dolls I'm working on slowly to make sure they are just right. Ms Red Harrington (Left), Miss Dorothy Gale, and my own elaborate version of Elizabeth I.

While I wait patiently for the next pieces of beautiful wire work to come from Linda in Florida my Beth looks down at me from her safe perch on my bookshelf. So as I can't keep my hands off the needles and thread I have another long term project going on with Red here.

So far she looks pretty well dressed, but I want to recreate all of the details that are included on the fabulous original costume as worn by the ever lovely Helena Bonham-Carter (who's looking rather glam in the new Christmas Marks & Spencer add:). On top of her layers of underwear I've made her gown from a red silk with a black paisley pattern woven into it. It's very light, but looks much heavier, and was perfect to create the layers of ruffles at the hem.
Her cuffs have a wide lace ruffle on the underdress or shift, with a wide purple silk frill trimming the gown sleeve with a charcoal grey fringe. I searched for a trimming so tiny but of course when I want things like that they just can't be found. So I used a silk thread and hand knotted the fringe, and used the same thread to plat a tiny rope like trim to finish off the edge. I added the same purple ruffle around her collar and added more of the plat trim to finish that too. She still needs a tiny black lace trimming added to her gown, a shawl, reticule, hat and maybe a parasol before she's finally done.
There is another doll that I can't believe I've never made. I love the Wizard of Oz with the magical Judy Garland. It's such a wonderful film, especially when you remember it was one of the very first films in colour. Just imagine what it must have been like to sit in the cinema and watch the ordinary black and white big screen transform into bright full colour as Dorothy find herself in Oz. I'm just trying to figure out why it's taken me so long to make my own Dorothy gale.
I'm still working to trim Dorothy's blue gingham dress with white lace and ribbon. And she'll need a few more things before she's finished too. like Toto her little dog and a basket over her arm that I'll line with a  flowery fabric. Next I'm planning to make her her own set of paper dolls of her friends the Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion and Tin Man with their own little accessories. And she make even get a book made for her to store them in. I'm not too sure yet, but I'm really enjoying making her :)
Take care xxx


Sunday, 3 November 2013

The Lady Of Shalott - Work In Progress

It seems like such a long time since I started this doll that it seems strange now that she's almost done.
I wanted to make The Lady of Shalott as I'm very fond of the John Waterhouse painting and was very lucky to find this little wooden boat at a flea market. It was exactly the right size so I started to make her the very same day. the only problem being is that when you look very closely at the painting you can see the tremendous amount of detail needed to make things just right.
In the front of the boat you can see a three arm candelabra with only one of the candles lit (not sure how to do that yet :S). And just from the side view if you look very close is a crucifix laying in the prow. I'm just waiting on a lantern to hang from the front of the boat and a few other bits and bobs and my Lady will be all finished.
I decided to give my lady the darker red hair preferred by the Pre-Raphaelite artists rather than the lighter auburn she has in the painting. It was a hard decision to make, but the blond and orange mix of feathers to maker the right colour were very bright and harsh next to the rich colours inside the boat. It's just not a colour I can get in marabou, so I went with the richer red, somewhere in between Jane Morris and Lizzie Siddal. As you can see I trilled her Ivory silk medieval style gown with gold lace and built up layers of beads to create the necklace that you can only just see in the portrait.
In the bottom of the boat is a pale peach pink throw trimmed with a  richly embroidered hem of small scene portraits, gold, blue and red. I found this wonderful trim on Etsy that's just the right style to suit the composition and decided to use this instead of trying to recreate the original in embroidery on such a small scale. There are also a pair of decorated pillow for her to recline on.
She's almost done. So close that it seems odd that she's not actually ready. But I know she needs just those final pieces to be finished, and she'll be worth the wait :)

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Catching Up & Getting Ready

I've no idea how, but I've managed to get myself sort of caught up on myself. Maybe I'm dreaming I'm doing better, but at least its making me feel confident I can get it all done now (I hope).

My Bride and Groom are all done and just waiting on a flower delivery before they go off to their new home as I ordered Gerbera for they as they had on their special day. I've really enjoyed making them and I really hope that they are liked by the lovely couple.

I finished off my Morgan La Fay Peg doll order for Emily, and my first Christmas Elf for Emma. making J the elf has really got me ready to make my Christmas tree peggies this year so that I can get them ready for my shop in time to get them sent out to my lovely customers. And I've started on a tiny Little Matchgirl, a Tin Soldier and his Dancer, Tiny Tim, Scrooge, Marley, and the three Christmas ghosts from A Christmas Carol.

My friends dolls are all in hand, and Nelferch now has her golden comb and other accessories. We have such a dark storm blowing at the moment that I can't take pictures of her to show you all. But hopefully next weekend will be better. Till then I'll be working on Christmas Peg dolls and maybe my Lady of Shalott as her bits and pieces arrive. I still have lots to do which will keep me busy while the rain falls.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

So Much To Do...

So much to do and so little time...
I've got myself behind on lots of things, started lots of things, and have lots of things in the works. At least I'm busy and happy when I'm making dolls :)
A Beautiful Bride and her Handsome Groom.
These two dolls are a special commission for Clive and are both just about ready for their hair to be added. I ordered beautiful silk for the Bride's wedding dress and she has lace added around the bodice and all around the hem.

These are the last three little peggies for Sarah's tree - November, August and October. November still needs her tiny fireworks to add to her bag, I need to attach Augusts bucket and spade so shes ready for the beach, and October being a zombie needs to be scruffed up and covered in blood and gore from her last meal.
These two are gifts for my best friend for Christmas :)
I so love giving Christmas gifts xxx
The lady in the stripy dress is to be a Cheshire Cat for Becky,and the lady in Red is December for Sarah.
This poor little love has been waiting for an age for her dress and dressings for her boat. My Lady of Shalott has been put to one side for too long and I really want to see her finished when I can get to her. I have most of what I need now so hopefully once my orders are done I can get back to work on her.
Lucrizia Borgia is waiting, but I'm not sure for what :S
She seems to be missing something and I'm still thinking on how to finish her off. Her dress is all finished but she needs something more. As soon as I figure out what that something is She'll be done :).
The ever patient Nelferch, my Lady of The Lake.
I waited an age for her golden comb to arrive only to find it was much too big, and am now waiting on a replacement to arrive. I have a vintage copy of The Welsh Fairytale Book to go with her, so once her final accessories are done she'll be ready too.
Finally, but not last is my Red Harrington.
I adore Helena Bonham Carter, and seeing her in the wonderful red dress in The Lone Ranger I just couldn't resist making her. Problem is I can't find a picture that shows her sleeves and my memory has failed me. Until I can watch the film again (hopefully I'll get it as a Christmas gift :) I won't be able to finish her off. Maybe I'll finally find the picture I need...
As well as all this I have fun to come working on a Christmas Elf, a Morgan Le Fay, and a Nutcracker Peg doll. As well as my ever ongoing work on my Elizabeth I with my good friend Linda, and some Christmas things to add to my shop. that lot should keep me busy until this time next year :)


Sunday, 6 October 2013

Beading, Bodices, Anna Karenina and Gravestones

I've not been up to doing much doll making as I woke up last Wednesday with a trapped nerve in my shoulder and couldn't hold a needle to sew very well :S Instead I've been planning out some Christmas peg dolls that can sit in the Christmas tree, and have some elves, Santa, and even a Grinch planned out. I LOVE Christmas and can't wait to get all my prezzies for friends and loved ones wrapped up pretty under my tree :) 
I've started some beading on my young widow's gown (and as you can see she now has hair), trimming each ruffle edge with a row of tiny jet beads to catch the light and make her glisten. She really is a wild young woman, ignoring all the rules and wearing highly decorated clothing when she's supposed to be grief stricken. She's certainly trying to catch someones eye.
I've added bows, lace and more beading, along with a jet necklace to her bodice and sleeves and I'm happy so far with how she's come out. I think she needs another fancier necklace though before she's done. And maybe a locket with a curl of hair...
The gravestone to go with my young widow is sitting drying on my table until I'm able to carve in the wording that I want and get it painted and decorated. I layered together foam core until I got a base that was right for it, then laid over with newspaper to give the clay something to stick too. I created the opening at the top to hold a small bar and bell that will have a cord leading down into the grave in a very simple model of a grave bell.
At the start of the week I started a custom peg doll for a lovely woman in the US of Anna Karenina, and this weekend I managed to get her finished. She's dressed in a copper brown silk trimmed with cream lace and a large bow behind to enhance the shape of her dress. She looks really cute, and she only needs a hat to see her all finished and ready for her trip across the water.
After waiting for ages for my little gold comb and scissors necklace to come from Asia it finally came, but as you can see it's totally the wrong size for a doll :S I thought that the comb was the size of the scissors, and then the scissors smaller again so that I could use them on a different project. But I could comb my own hair with this and can't really imagine why anyone would want to wear it. I've had to order something different again for my Nelferch doll so am back to waiting. If you need a large gold comb for a project of your own please let me know and I'll get you some proper pics :)


Monday, 30 September 2013

The Young Widow - Work In Progress

So most of this post is in pictures as I wanted to show you as best I can how many layers go into my dolls when I dress them. She's still not finished and I have more to add, but my Young Widow is starting to look like herself.
This doll is one of my largest dolls, one of my very detailed dolls, and when she's done she'll have a gravestone with her with a grave bell. A grave bell was used by those worried that they would be buried alive so that they could ring for help. But was the Husband the one that was worried, or is the Widow the one that wants to make sure he's gone?

Meet my Young Widow - She looks quite innocent at the moment, but I'm not too sure...
Here you can see her in her shift and drawers.
It doesn't seem quite right to me that she's decided to wear frilly lacy be-ribboned drawers. Who does she think will see them? Or who does she hope?
Now in her corset and petticoats she's looking a little more respectable.
Many of the older women are very jealous of her tiny waist.
She has been following the rules. Well those she can't get away with not following :S
She's ditched her crinoline for old-fashioned layers, so she wears 4 petticoats.
The first of plain white cotton, then one of rough stiff calico with a wide ruffle at the hem to add the bulk to her skirts, next one plain in fine cream cotton, then another in the same fabric trimmed with fine lace.
After all the white bright layers my Widow now has on her underskirt and the start of her bodice and sleeves.
Her underskirt has layers of ruffles sewn onto a dark red cotton as she knows how to use fine fabrics well to minimise wastage. The red won't show once her dress is finished.
This ladies bodice is very plain at the moment, but will have a silky layer and lace added to make it more fashionable. Her sleeves are fitted with puff shoulders trimmed with silky ruffles at the wrist and under the puff.
Next on the list for this lady is her split ruffled over-skirt and all of the detailing that she needs. Then I'll be on to hair and accessories, including her husbands gravestone and bell.
Hope your having fun :)