Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!

God Bless Us, Everyone

Where ever you are, whatever your creed, and however you celebrate this Holiday Season, I wish you peace and joy.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Meme

I saw this evening on another blog I follow a fabulous idea: The Christmas Meme. So I thought, since I have been busy with other things besides posting here, this would be a good way to swing back into it!
1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
BOTH! Have you never put egg nog in your hot chocolate? Or your coffee? Better yet, egg nog and Amaretto. Even better, hot chocolate, egg nog and Amaretto.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or place them under the tree?
In my world, Santa NEVER wraps. How are you supposed to tell what he left if his gifts blend in with everyone else's? Nooo. The good stuff is displayed out in the open...and the 'useful' gifts from Mom and Dad are wrapped, i.e. pajamas, underwear, socks, clothes.
3. Lights on the tree: colored or white?
The more lights, the better. White, colored, who cares? The important thing is, there are lights.
4. Mistletoe?
We never did mistletoe. My parents had six girls, one boy. Did we want to have to kiss HIM? Heck no. I was not burdened by the potentially embarrasing idea of mistletoe until working as a docent in a historic house museum. They hang it there, and this one new docent who was beyond creepy AND wife shopping tried to talk me into standing under it. I'd like to think I let him down gently, but he did slam the 150 year old front door on his way out.
5. When to begin decorating?
My dad had a fabulous tradition that my mom let die the moment he did. I know that doesn't sound nice, but hey, what mother of 7 children wants to have to wait until Christmas Eve to drag the kids out to the tree farm (remember those?) to pick out the Charley Brown-iest snaggletoothed arbor, drag it home, set it up, string the lights, let the kids pile on approximately 3 packages of tinsel within a square foot radius, AND bake cookies to hang on the tree as well. Not to mention, the driving around the neighborhood looking at the exterior lights the rest of the world had the forethought to hang BEFORE Christmas Eve...for our viewing pleasure. Not to mention the labor waiting for the parentals after they managed to get us all in bed for the night.
My tradition? Decorate as soon as ethically possible, which means the day after Thanksgiving. I find it easier to just leave the decorations up all year. Less work. I haven't made it an entire year, but once I did decide at tax time perhaps I should take them down.
6. Favorite Christmas Dish?
My family makes Mexican food. While we are not Hispanic, we're smart enough to know it's the best food on the planet. It just doesn't get any better. And my sister makes this terrific casserole (formerly coined 'Chicken Tijuana') only twice a year: Christmas and Easter. When we noticed that it was deemed acceptable to prepare this culinary masterpiece solely on religious holidays, we named it appropriately: at Christmas it's called "Chicken Christ is Kickin". On Easter, it's "Chicken Christ is Risen." Hope that doesn't offend anyone. We say it with love.
7. Favorite Holiday Memory?
Oddly it was the year I figured out there wasn't a Santa. My youngest siblings (twins) were about a year and a half old. So there was a wide range of kids from age 8 to toddlers. More kids, more fun! And toddler people are party pleasers anytime of year. Plus, it's the first one I really remember clearly, being 8. My dad and Gramps made us a giant dollhouse that had four huge rooms, it stacked in all these cool ways. They made it big enough for 6 girls and one slightly effeminate boy to crowd in front of at once. Some of the furniture was 'real', meaning plastic, and some my mom made from household items. The house had the grooviest wallpaper...sooo very late 1960's. Somehow, my sister Kathy and I scored two groovy go-go dresses that matched the wallpaper pretty darned closely. But then again, most home and fashion textiles of that era were affected by Timothy Leary in some form or another.
8. When did you find out the truth about Santa?
Again, I was 8 years old. I'd found, whilst accidentally on purpose snooping for evidence that would prove my friends theories correct on the reality of parent as Santa...several boxes of Barbie Bedroom Suite furniture under my parents bed. Really Mom, you WANTED me to figure it out, didn't you? Out of their 7, my parents had 3 of the nosiest kids on the planet. You don't plant Mattel Barbie boxes under your bed in November unless you want your kids to finally give YOU credit for the glory Santa's been getting for nearly a decade.
Plus, I'd have had to be an idiot to believe that Santa made all that stuff you can get in any store up in his workshop. An even bigger idiot to believe that his elves made doll furniture from egg cartons and empty soup cans covered in fabric you recognize from the Easter dress your mom made. I guess having 7 kids wears out one's ability for stealth in the Christmas department.
9. Snow: Love it or Hate it?
I love it, as long as I don't have to be in it.
10. Can you ice skate?
Heaven's no.
11. Favorite Gift?
My favorite gift was one I never 'really' got. My dad was a straight laced Catholic who would allow us to wear a go-go dress (as long as our knees didn't show) but would NEVER permit us to wear the fashion necessity commonly referred to as the 'go-go boot'. He was the meanest Dad ever. Nor were we allowed to chew gum under any circumstances. That's another story. When I was 11, there were three shoebox sized boxes under the tree for me, Kathy and Debbie. In my father's handwriting on each box: "Open Last." Which of course we did. Three pairs of black go-go boots. Heaven. He'd relented and was only the coolest Dad EVER. One problem...mine were waaayyyyy too small. My parents were too busy with 7 kids to ever get around to exchanging my boots, so I never got to wear them...and soon after my Dad was killed in a plane crash. My favorite childhood present were those boots that never fit. was the look on my Dad's face when I opened them. That's the best gift I got as a kid.
12. Most important thing about Christmas?
Family. The bigger, the better. The noisier, the best.
13. Favorite Tradition?
My Dad (that old stick in the mud) HATED it when people ripped open their presents all at once. We were never allowed to do this. We all sat in a circle, and the smallest children who had most recently learned to read were given the task of passing out the gifts to all. We all took turns, one gift at a time, around the circle opening and sharing with everyone what was received. And nary a thankyou was forgotten. I loved was exciting and maddening at the same time. My Dad was a smart guy, who loved the idea of anticipation and appreciation of receiving a gift. I'd never do it any other way.
14. Giving or Receiving?
When I was a kid, of course it was receiving. But once I had kids, it never occured to me to ask for anything. Because I already had it. I much prefer giving, it's an adrenaline rush.
15. Favorite Christmas Song?
That's a tough one. I've got three: "O Holy Night", "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and "Silent Night." Specifically by Manheim Steamroller (Silent Night...not the others).
16. Saddest Christmas Song?
Again, a tough one to pin down. ' Mary Did You Know' brings a tear to my eye. But what will send me over the edge and one that I don't like to hear on the radio on the way to work as I will arrive in tears with everyone thinking my husband must be beating me instead of believing that it really was a Christmas "Silent Night" by aforementioned Manheim Steamroller. Those violins actually tear at my heartstrings, and at the end, where the wind is whooshing and you can hear the bells jingle on Santa's sleigh brings back all my childhood Christmas memories to a weird little video playing in my head.
It's pretty much my everything as far as Christmas songs go. I see the nativity set my mom made in ceramics class. The weird cone shaped Wisemen on the mantle with the silky angel hair we were forbidden to touch because it could cut our fingers. The sounds of dishes being washed down in the kitchen while we lay in bed waiting for our parents to hurry up and get to bed so Santa could come. The creaky steps we gingerly avoided treading on as we snuck downstairs to see our presents under the tree, and the excitement with which we quickly raced back up to report to the others (who were too much of a weenie to risk getting caught out of bed) what treasures lay below. Of getting dressed up in new dresses our Mom made and new patent leather maryjane shoes for church. Of seeing the Baby Jesus at the altar and wishing we could pick him up and hold him. And of coming home, sitting around in a circle and opening our presents...and of the two people who made that all possible.
17. Candy Canes: Yuck or Yum?
Now, I'm a person who believes a Christmas tree should be laden with candy canes. I will never eat them, but they ARE useful for stirring hot chocolate...specifically hot chocolate that's been laced with Amaretto, Irish Cream....and egg nog.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Where have I been?

Well, once again I've been a delinguent blogger. Every once in a while that happens. I get sick, somebody else gets sick, one of my kids does some unimaginably foolish thing, etc......ugh!
At any rate, I have been doing some dollmaking, it's just taken me longer to get anything done lately. Really liking the Izannah Walker dollies, they're somewhat addictive! My wonderful sister notified me that her friends at Stampington Co (Art Doll Quarterly) are premiering a new magazine on Primitives, and she suggested I make a submission.
So, with three weeks before their submission deadline, I started my two dollies. Not sure that they will actually be considered anything near to 'primitive', but hey, I gave it a shot.
So this morning I boxed up my two dollies and drove them up to Laguna Niguel, where I bid my just last night finished dollies farewell for the next few months.
Yep, I'm still doing "A" names for my girls. I tried a bit more crackle on these two girls, hoping it would deem them more 'primitive'. Not sure if it worked. But I like her just the same. Anna's got coral beads, the kind little children typically wore for good luck in the early Victorian era.

Anna's dressed in a Civil War reproduction cotton, fabric I've had laying around in my drawers for the last 5 years. Tried to make a quilt from this, never finished. Glad I saved the remnants, just the right amount for a little dollie.


Like Anna, Amelia is wearing Civil War reproduction cotton and antique lace at the neckline. Both girls are wearing the typical gathered bodice, Amelia's got puffed sleeves instead of the 'angel' or trumpet sleeves that Anna's got.

When I get the girls back, I'll most likely put them up for adoption on Ebay. Not sure when that will be, but I'll make an announcement when that happens.

For now, it's time to make Christmas gifts, so no more dollmaking for a month or so. My little Sophie and Milla will be getting a new historical dress, with a matching one for their respective baby dolls. Well, Milla has a baby doll. Sophie prefers to dress her stuffed cats.
When I get these dresses done, I'll post photos. Gotta love adopted granddaughters...adorable, loving, and they give me an excuse to keep sewing for little girls.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Ada Lee, another Izannah inspired doll

Here is my newest Izannah Walker inspired doll, Ada Lee. Ada Lee is named after my great grandmother, and actually rather resembles her. That's how she got her name.

Ada Lee and her sister Annabelle

The reason I began to attempt making this style of historical doll was the fabulous Dixie Redmond, of North Dixie Designs (blogspot). I'd always wanted to do this type doll, but didn't feel I could accomplish it until I found her blog "The Izannah Chronicles" (for everything Izannah!) and subsequently, "The Izannah Walker Doll Group". This is a fabulous group of people who all cherish these old dolls, and many have been making their own special versions.

Dixie provides her readers with a free pattern template to get started on your own Izannah style doll, and tons of support and terrific advice! They are just fabulous over there, and if you love historical dolls, please visit these sites. It's such a treat to look over the wonderful dolls all these members are creating. I did eventually tweak the pattern a bit here and there, but it's that little free pattern template that got me started on this journey and I have Dixie to thank!

I did Ada Lee a little differently than my first two, with more crackle finish for a more aged appearance. Her clothing is all handsewn. Her underpinnings are vintage fabrics with vintage crocheted lace. Her dress is Civil War reproduction cotton. She's made of paperclay over cloth, and is one of a kind. She's about 16 inches tall.

Ada Lee in her unmentionables
Ada Lee is available for purchase on ebay (seller username: robinseggbleu) for anyone interested in giving her a home! She likes being with her 'sister' Annabelle, but they will be separated in a day or so and she too will want to set out for parts unknown on a new adventure...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Introducing Annabelle, and Her Ghostly Legend

Halloween is favorite time of year, and so I wanted to share with you my newest one of a kind art doll and her story:
There is a legend of a little girl named Annabelle, who lived 150 years ago in a dusty pueblo, sparsely populated with adobe shacks and false front wooden buildings. There were few trees, the town situated in a chapparal by the sea. Looking to the east, there was nothing but barren brown hills. Looking to the west, the ocean.
At the far end of the little pueblo, past the plaza where the townspeople gathered for bullfights, cockfights, dogfights, hangings, and fiestas stood a lonely brick mansion. The occupants, a large family with many children, were accustomed to the children of the town playing in their spacious yard, cooled by the shade of the pepper trees planted by the lady of the house.
One of the frequent playmates of the resident children was a little girl named Annabelle. Poor little Annabelle suffered a tragic day, whilst playing in the large yard of the mansion, she was running down the hill...probably engaged in a game of tag, or perhaps chasing the family dog Dolly. Not watching where she was heading, Annabelle ran into a low-slung clothesline, sagging perhaps from the weight of children hanging and swinging upon it during playtime.

Annabelle's trachea was crushed. The man of the house happened to be home at the time, shodding his horses in the adjacent corral, and saw the incident. He raced to Annabelle, brought her into the kitchen, laid her upon the table crying for his wife to attend her while he sought a doctor. Little Annabelle Washburn died upon that kitchen table. She is thought to have been about 12 years old.

It is said that over the course of the next 150 years, that the spirit of little Annabelle Washburn has never left the happy home of her dear playmates. She has been seen in a white dress, scampering about the yard, and skipping through the deserted halls of the old brick mansion.

'Tis said, that the warm, cozy kitchen where she passed from this world...and beyond the veil to the other...that strange, in-between place where time stands her favorite room in the house. Her most witnessed activity is that of moving the utensils hanging on the kitchen wall.

And her little footsteps scampering down the hallway. She seems to be happy there, and has no intention of leaving her ghostly playground.

But history must prevail, and while Annabelle Washburn did exist, and is buried in the same cemetery as the members of the family which built the legendary brick mansion...there's a few holes in her story.

The cemetery where she is buried did not exist at the time of her reported death. There were no families by the name of Washburn in the pueblo at the time the mansion's owner had small children. There is no record of her accident in the newspapers of the time, and a child's death in the house of a prominent citizen would have been big news.

Her gravestone indicates she was one month old when she died, hardly old enough to be running into anything. And her death took place nearly 50 years after the timeline of her story. So, here we must turn our back on the ghost of Annabelle, and send her away. For she is not real. She is truly a 'legend'. A make-believe story. A ghost story.

But do not leave this tale disappointed...for the brick mansion does indeed exist, and possesses unearthly spirits permanently contained within it's walls. There IS the wraith of a small girl child scampering about, chasing after a little dog...her identity finally solved.

She's a three year old girl, the great-granddaughter of the builder of the house. She found ant poison in the cupboard and ingested it. She died a horrifyingly painful and tragic death, and her mother, still living at the time her ancestral home was designated a historical museum, asked the curator not to discuss the family tragedies with the paying public.

Word got out that there was a little ghost inhabiting the museum, and to keep her word to the family, the curator simply made up a new identity for the child...and is presumed to have found this identity while walking about the graves of the home's owners...the grave of little Annabelle Washburn. What a pretty name to assign a child in the spiritual witness protection program! And who, pray tell... who would ever find this little lost grave in an old cemetery in the worst part of town, and question the story that could not be proven?

Little did the curator know, I was yet to be born. And find the grave I did, (accidentally) while... ironically, searching for the graves of the family who built the house the little girl supposedly haunts. She is their neighbor, and she is up the hill a bit....but that's where the truth about Annabelle ends.

Halloween is coming...and Annabelle is trapped in the netherworld of my cluttered workspace. She's pretty ticked off, and has a habit of hiding my scissors. Please do consider giving little Annabelle a real home of her own to haunt....quite frankly I have had it with her antics so I am listing her on ebay tomorrow! (username: robinseggbleu)

Annabelle is made of paperclay with a cloth body, in the style inspired by Izannah Walker's dolls, who, incidentally, Annabelle might actually have played with had she lived longer than one month. She's about 16 and a half inches tall. (Her clothes are made of vintage linens, and no historically significant textile was destroyed in order to dress her.)

I will provide more information about the brick mansion in a future post!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dimensions In Dollmaking @ San Diego Quilt Show

Well, showtime is here for IOLCC's Dimension In Dollmaking Exhibition at the annual San Diego Quilt Show, held at the San Diego Convention Center. I haven't been around to any of the quilting booths yet, but saw some delicious quilts on the way to OUR booth. The Quilt Show runs through Saturday, September 19th. If you live in the Southern California area, it's worth stopping by to take a peek...something for everyone! Quilts, notions, machines, luscious fabrics, trims, books, patterns, jewelry, garments, even shoes!

PLUS...our dolls! Our booth is always a big attention getter, and we love attention. We've got over 70 wonderful dolls displayed this year. Artists contribute from all over the nation, and some from overseas.

Our theme for this years show is "Make Me Laugh". I know a while back I produced a somewhat snippy post about the theme, how I expected there to be 60 clowns there. To my pleasant surprise, the typical, garden variety circus clown was elusive this year. Although a clown in the style of Cirque de Soleil would have been pretty cool. Gotta love the French. We had a jester, and a Punch & Judy, and a mournful little hobo. All fabulous.

I really enjoyed so many original interpretations on the theme. These artists went all out this year and it was eye candy! I've posted most of them here so you can see the variety of dolls and the wonderful talent of the artists.

You can see my Project Runway Losing Hatbox Dress challenge doll above. She's supposed to be Kathy Selden jumping out of the Monumental Pictures Cake at the beginning of Singing In The Rain...but unfortunately, she looks like she stepped out of an Esther Williams pool set and found a nice cake skirt to wear. I just don't do 'whimsical' very well.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My Very First Izannah Walker Doll

I joined the Izannah Walker Dolls Group and decided that I finally would challenge myself to attempt to create my own version of the classic Izannah Walker Doll.
I finished her on 09-09-09. Thought that was kind of neat.
I took a poll on names for her and was offered some very good examples, and almost named her Annabelle. But last night, my little dolly told me that her name is Araminta. I named her after a member of one of my favorite historical San Diego pioneer families. Araminta was one of 10 children and she died as a toddler circa 1832. She's buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. Her family owned much of the land which became New York's Central Park. She is dressed in antique mourning fabric. With a string of coral beads for good luck in her next life.
My dollies can never just be dollies. They insist on being somebody.
Araminta is made of paperclay and cloth, and handpainted to look a little aged.

She's about 15 inches tall, the smallest size of doll made by Izannah Walker. Her clothing is all antique fabrics. No antique garment of historical importance or significance was mutilated in the creation of Araminta's clothing. She is wearing the classic child's dress with gathered bodice, bell sleeves, tiny self-fabric piping at the neckline and waistband. Her dress has tiny black hook-and-eye closure. Her false hem is made from antique brown polished cotton.

Araminta's underpinnings are made from one very stained and hole ridden antique petticoat. She's got it all: chemise, drawers and petticoat.

She's wearing the striped stockings so popular amongst the girls back then; no plain jane white stockings for this gal. Her little boots are the early square-toed type made on a straight last. Meaning, no actual 'left' and 'right' shoe. Sort of Balmoral style lace ups. I added paperclay to her feet to create her boots.
Most folks in the Doll Making World know who Izannah Walker is. For those who don't, Izannah was a single woman who made a career of dollmaking in the mid-nineteenth century. She received a patent for a special set of metal dies/dyes (sp?) to form an indestructible 'soft' doll. She was a woman ahead of her time, and wished she'd been born a man to enjoy all the priveledges that came with the luck of being born a Victorian male.
Her dolls are very primitive and unique...they have their own soul. They are my favorite of all historical dolls. No two are alike. Izannah put her three sisters to work painting the faces of these dolls so they are all just a little different. Like sisters themselves.
I'd post some photos of original Izannah dolls here, but most, if not all of the images I found on the web are copyrighted...I don't want to get into trouble for posting them. But you can look her up and discover her yourself, if you are not familiar...but will probably fall in love with them!

I have listed Araminta on ebay today, so please stop by and check her out! If you are interested in giving her a home, stop username is: robinseggbleu.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Finally finished off those IOLCC Dolls!

"Anita Goode-Laffe"

This years Imitation Of Life Construction Company's "Dimensions In Dollmaking" show at the San Diego Convention Center (courtesy of the FABULOUS San Diego Quilt Show) gave a theme challenge of "Make Me Laugh". I have said it before, and repeat my prior disclaimer....I don't do 'funny'. I don't do 'whimsical'. Heck, I pretty much don't even do 'color'. I was totally disenchanted with this years theme. So when I lack interest in something, I basically don't even bother with it. I become lazy and don't hand in my best work. Lifelong flaw.

So here's my 'lazy'. I did finish a doll long before begun and abandoned in my drawers. There's nothing funny about her. She represents a real person, who though in possession of a fabulous sense of humor, suffered through much heartache and tragedy. This tragedy is behind why she is believed to have never really left her old home. I'll go into more detail about who she really is closer to Halloween.

At any rate, this woman's countenance did not portray the happy moments in her life. She became a dour, pinched (albeit extraordinarily well dressed) version of her younger self. And who can blame her? Her husband became abusive, her toddler died in her arms, her daughter committed suicide, her son became a town drunk who hung out in the red light district, her other daughter died young leaving two children to raise, her granddaughter was killed at the age of 8, her wee 3 year old great granddaughter found poison (at grandma's house). I could go on, but it's too depressing.

So, if anyone needs a laugh or a happy moment, it's obviously this poor woman. So she decided to attend this doll show with her own challenge to the other dolls: 'make me laugh...PLEASE', she says to them. I gave her a tacky case anyone doesn't understand why she's attending the show. I presume anyone reading her name will get it. And if they don't, I suppose I am too tired of getting ready for this show to really care?

"Anita" is made of cloth over wire armature, with head, arms and legs made of Creative Paperclay. This is a papier-mache type air drying clay. I LOVE this stuff. Her clothing is all handmade, much of it antique fabric and trims from items too fargone to salvage in their original condition. I never cut up historically significant or displayable garments or fabrics. If it's already falling apart or dismantled, I go for the gold. Her hat is made from antique fabric and trims as well as her parasol. Not having parasol skills, this one doesn't open. Her 'floor' is actually taken from the entry hall of her old home. Ashlar block pattern in faux marble. She represents the time period of 1885-1890.

"The Belle Of Amherst"
(Better known as Emily Dickinson)
Yes, here's another gal who was a real person who could have used a few more laughs in her life. Not the happiest persona. So that's how she got here too. Plus, she 'told' me that is who she wanted to be and there's just no getting around that. Lucky her, she gets to keep her real identity. That poor Anita is a local San Diegan and would be embarrassed to be seen out trying to have a good time when in mourning. Just another reason to keep her anonymous at this time.

So, Emily is also made of Paperclay. Her clothing is all handsewn. Mostly from modern fabrics. Her dress is reproduction cotton from about 1840. Antique lace at collar and cuffs. Changeable silk taffeta bonnet with antique lace. She's wearing 'coral' beads because she could use some good karma. Really what she needs is to get out more often. I had to literally drag her kicking and screaming out of my house to get her to attend this show.

I failed to get a full length shot of her, but that doesn't matter because I am a pretty lousy photographer and all my photos make my girls look like they are short legged when in fact they are not. She's holding a book, that represents her poetry. Really, I stole it from poor Alice Liddell and painted out the Alice In Wonderland title. Hadn't gotten 'round to 'recovering' the book for her at the time I took these pictures. I didn't feel like making another book. See....LAZY.

I am not showing any photos of my third entry, which I did SORT of attempt to accomodate the theme of the show. I made Kathy Seldon (Singing in the Rain) jumping out of the Monumental Pictures cake at the beginning of the film. It's the most 'whimsical' thing I have attempted and failed miserably in production. She just looks like she's standing there wearing a cake dress. So, she got into the show by default because they were running short on entries. She's a mercy entry. Who looks like she's got the losing Hatbox Challenge dress from Project Runway.
If you live in the San Diego or Southern California area and love textiles, quilts, modern and antique, artistry and dolls....PLEASE come to the Annual San Diego Quilt Show at the San Diego Convention Center! It runs September 16th-19th. It's a fabulous show, has something for neary everyone. Heck, I might even go.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Little Milla and her 'regency' birthday dress

Precious Milla's First Birthday Party

I tried to make her a Regency style ensemble that would be practical for todays modern woman. She needs to be able to get around that skirt and climb and be able to fall off the sofa with grace and dignity. She just learned to walk this week. She still hasn't crawled.

Receiving a psychic birthday greeting from her sister Sophie's chicken.

And here she is in her birthday crown, not sure about all these people standing around serenading her. She's holding her baby who she rarely lets go of. Milla got a new, slightly bigger baby shortly after this shot, who surprisingly didn't displace the dirty little old baby. Now Millie walks around with a baby in each arm. She doesn't like to let them go, so 'eating it' has become a problem when has no arm to catch herself.
One thing I've noticed about little Millie, is that she prefers to be in the kitchen getting into things, whilst clutching a baby in her arm. She's obsessed with the stove. Is barefoot most of the time. She'll make some old fashioned man very happy one day.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Where on earth have I been?

Gosh, I haven't done anything here other than spend my morning coffee moments browsing other people's fabulous blogs! I feel rather badly about my apparent laziness. It's actually been a rather busy summer, filled with birthday parties (and homemade dresses) for little girls, family and college reunions as well as trying to get my act together for the Dimensions In Dollmaking show in September.

They don't have enough dolls for the show, so I opened my big mouth and promised them one more doll on top of the promised two I haven't finished yet. They are due this coming Sunday and not a one of them can I call finished.

They are coming along, and I work best under pressure and a last minute deadline. God forbid I actually get something done a week ahead of time so I can relax and enjoy my accomplishment. Nope, I have to finish them and stuff them into a box at the last second and drive them up to Carlsbad and not see them again until they are on display. Which is always a nice surprise, to see them with all the other wonderful dolls. Also a surprise is the fact that they always seem to be missing at least one finger apiece the next time I see them. Not a good surprise, that's for sure.

So out of three entries for this year, the Debbie Reynolds "Kathy" from Singing In The Rain, Anita Goode-Laffe and Emily Dickinson, I wonder which one will suffer the fate of Ada in "The Piano" and have her finger lobbed off. Probably not Emily, for I have taken pains with her to use for the first time a wire skeletal hand armature support. But the other two can pretty much forget about coming through this event unscathed. Poor dears. At least Anita will have a Goode reason for a sour face.

I'm not at a place where I feel comfortable shooting photos of them, probably not till I get ready to pack them up. When I do, this coming weekend, I'll post pictures of the girls. I'll most likely post some photos in the next couple of days of my little Milla's first birthday dress.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mom and Dad

Happy Birthday, Mom and Dad
Mom and Dad (with me)

One of our Grandmother's famous 'unbirthday' parties.
One a year is easier than dozens!

Mom, are much loved and so very, very missed. We had a great big, fabulous Birthday Party for you this weekend...I know you were there in spirit. Dad, all your siblings were there, their children and grandchildren too! Amazing to see how everyone's changed and grown. We all have such a good time together! Stacy's cake was a work of art! It truly was a fabulous reunion.

Nothing like a game of "Apples To Apples" to break the ice and get to know long lost cousins! Great to hang out with all of the Arizona crew, being such a far flung family. Hadn't seen some of them since childhood. Great to see Uncle Bob's face watching all his kids together for the first time in so long. The party next year will be even bigger, with karaoke machine, a dance floor and who knows what else. We can't wait, and wish you both had really, really been there.

In Loving Memory:

August 3, 1934-June 18, 1973

August 3, 1937-November 16, 1992
(Our 'Raye Raye')

Mom, if I knew how to upload a song here for you, it would be Andy William's "Try To Remember".

(It's the thought that counts)
Love you Mom and Dad.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Gosh, what a busy time I am having this summer. I haven't been terribly productive in blogland. Being so darned busy, I have had little to no time to work on my IOLCC Dimensions in Dollmaking entries. Mentioned here in an earlier blog some ideas I had, and until this last week, didn't actually start doing anything towards those goals. Then again, that's SO me.

I do have two in the works, and they really have very little to do with this years theme: Make Em Laugh...or Make Me Laugh. Not sure which and does it really matter? As long as somebody's laughing.

I don't have photos yet, but they will be up hopefully this next week. When the girls are decent enough to be photographed.

I am almost ashamed to admit, that all I did was pull two abandoned projects lying dormant in my drawers to finish up so I could enter SOMETHING. I'd promised two, and I have to deliver.

The show is most severely lacking in entries this year. So if I bail it will be noticed, and these ladies are so nice I can't leave them shorthanded.

So if you have a doll that you want to enter, please, please do so!!! Just google IOLCC or Imitation of Life Construction Company. It's here in San Diego and their Dimensions In Dollmaking Show will be held September 16th at the San Diego Convention Center. Home of Comicon!!! They are taking entries up to September. From anywhere in the world. Get's lots of coverage in the magazines.

At any rate, the first doll I decided to finally complete is a historical figure who really had a lot of tragedy in her life. A nice lady with a sense of humor despite all the awful things that happened to her family. She's wearing mourning clothes, is depicted in middle age during the time her daughter committed suicide.

You probably think it's disrespectful to enter this poor lady in a show with humor as the theme. But really, this woman could use a laugh. She deserves it. I am temporarily renaming her for the show. Then she'll go back to being herself, and on another post closer to Halloween, I'll let you in on who she really, really is.

But for now, she's Anita Goode-Laffe. 'Cause she really could use one. Yeah, I know it's corny. But it's all I could pull out of my hat at the last minute.

The other entry is from Singing In The Rain. She's a representation of Kathy Selden jumping out of the Monumental Pictures Cake. Why? Because I don't think I can make a decent yellow slicker for her to wear. Was showing my little Sophie the youtube video of 'Make Em Laugh' with Donald O'Connor when she spied on the side column a tiny photo of a girl in pink jumping out of a cake. She HAD to see it and constantly requests it. Triggered an idea in the dusty attic I jokingly call my brain.

Don't think anyone will 'get it'....but then no one at this show ever does 'get' what I do! I'll post photos next week of their progress.

For now, headed from sunny, breezy San Diego for a fun filled family reunion in Tucson, where I hear tell it's not really THAT's a DRY heat you know.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Lazy Daze of Summer

I haven't done too much sewing or dollmaking, and I'd better get to that...
but I thought I'd show a few photos of Sophie in a couple of her little dresses I made her.
Here she is, wearing the same dress I made for her when she was a year and a half old. I have shown her in this on previous posts, when she first got it, and when she was two. It's a Civil War reproduction made from Civil War repro cotton. Amazingly, it still fits her and will probably fit her when she's four as well. I'll have to let out that tuck at the bottom by then. Got lucky and she was suddenly in the mood to wear her 'long ago' dresses and let me take photos.
Trying on her 'glass' slippers.
Sophie's third birthday request was a Cinderella dress. This came as a surprise, as she's no interest whatsoever in Disney princesses, Barbie dolls, etc. While she loves books, she's more Fern Arable than Belle. You'll see. Anyhoos, I remember how disappointing it is to NOT get what you ask for on your birthday...yet I could not bear to spend my time on a Disney production either. Since Sophie's never actually seen the Cinderella movie, I took great liberties. I made her another 19th century period dress...but in a lovely blue watermark print I have had laying in a drawer for 5 years (lots of things lie dormant in my drawers, and I mean that in every sense of the word). I decided to make a 'sparkly' overskirt that was removable so that she could have more versatility.

Here's Sophie tending her flock. She must have really been going for the Cinderella theme this year, because she also asked for baby chicks for her birthday. She received three chicks, oh so cute but my, how they've changed. They seem to be turning into chickens. Pooping, pooping, poopy chickens. We visit the poop coop daily. No eggs yet, but they will be fabulous colors when they start coming! No plain jane white eggs for this gal. And don't you just love a gal who's willing to wear her glass slippers in a poopy chicken coop? So down to earth.

Sophie and Blanche (she prefers the French pronunciation) . Here you can get a glimpse of her sparkly overskirt.

I didn't have any of those fancy new-fangled coverable buttons, so I used metal washers. Handmade the button holes. Unfortunately, this type of detail goes largely unnoticed in the three year old brain. That's why the good Lord helped us to invent cameras.