Thursday, September 29, 2011

I Went to Paris!

When I was about 14 years old the Mona Lisa was loaned to the United States.  It was exhibited in Washington, D.C.  My grandmother, Fairie, took me on a bus trip to see the famous painting.  We ate at a restaurant that had many oil paintings on the walls.  I never forgot that trip.

It became my life's dream to visit the Mona Lisa at her home, the Louvre, in Paris.  In 2011, fifty years later, I accomplished that dream.  With my dear friend, Diane Lolli, I got to see the Mona Lisa at home in the most beautiful city in the world.  I will never be the same.  Love always changes you.

The pictures shown here are the church at Montmartre and Versailles.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dolls with Nothing to Wear

I bought these two dolls at an auction years ago with the clear objective of making them wonderful outfits.  Poor things, it hasn't happened yet.  Finally a friend took mercy on the brunette and made her a dress and hat.  She now has joined my little family of German dolls.  Serendipitously I have bought a mama and some children that just look right together.  Only one of them has an original costume that has survived and that costume is just being held together by dirt.  Generally I am in favor of gently washing doll clothing, but I know that outfit wouldn't survive. 
I have the habit of sketching out all my own outfits that I will take on road trips, especially conventions and shows, so that I will pack everything that I need.  I have done this for decades.  Sometimes I find an old sketch and realize I still have an outfit or two that should have gone out the door ages ago.  Those outfits aren't quite as old as these dolls but they are getting there.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I'm Teporarily Paper Dolled Out

I'm temporarily paper dolled out.   I guess I need to clean up the house and do the laundry.  How sad.  Recently I saw a cut set of the Dogpatch paper dolls.  Mammy and Pappy Yokum, Lil' Abner and Daisy Mae.  They were my favorites when I was a kid.  I guess I had others but those are the ones I remember playing with.  Here's a pic of some of my paper dolls.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Life's a Beach

I'm back from spending four lovely days at the shore.  Why does our time away from home go so fast?  My  pal Catherine and I had a great time reading, relaxing, eating and shopping.  That's right -I don't swim.  I love being near the water.  I just don't want to be in the water.  That's why we always book a shore front room, so we can sit on the porch and look at the ocean. 

I recently saw a show that traced the indigenous people of the Americas using DNA.  Once people thought all the "native Americans" came across a land bridge (now gone) from Asia to Alaska.  We now know some of them sailed across the ocean from Africa.  It is hard to imagine setting off on a journey when you don't know where you are going or if you will ever return.

Come to think of it, life is a little like that.  You don't know where you are going, how long the journey will be, or where you will land.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Using Antique Lace

   If you do doll costuming chances are people give you lace and trim.  Then, of course, there are your own “finds” in the vintage lace department.  The question is what do you do with your treasures.
   I am not a fan of reusing truly old fabrics.  Everything has a life span.  Fabric starts to break down after a while and the older the fabric is the more likely it is to be fragile.
This means that the creation you have spent so many hours on will have a limited life span.
   Antique lace however, if in reasonably good condition, can be carefully mounted onto fresh fabric and become part of a new creation.  Although there is no way of saying how long it will last, a costume made this way should give years of pleasure if it is displayed carefully and cleaned infrequently.  Obviously this means the doll should be stored in a glass front case out of direct sunlight.
   To determine the best costume for each doll research the age of the doll then look for pictures of similar dolls in their original costumes.  Fashion plates are also a good source of  inspiration.  If you do not own any  original magazines from the period look in the library for fashion history books with reproductions of antique fashion plates (illustrations).
   Don’t overlook old paper dolls as a source for period styles and colors.  It’s impossible to look at Sheila Young’s Betty Bonnet or Lettie Lane paper dolls and not wish for some of the beautiful clothes.  How wonderful it would be to create a doll wardrobe based on just one of these  paper dolls.
   Here is one of my original paper dolls from "Letters from Miss Mary".

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I'm Melting!

It is so hot and humid here that I feel like the wicked witch when Dorothy threw water on her....I'm melting.  In a strategy move I put a window air conditioner in my workroom only thinking I would get more done.  That may be true.  Today I think I will work on a helper for my doll club's October show.  I have a naked Wendy that I plan to dress as a witch.  She has a trunk that I will add one or two more outfits to.  Here's a picture of a doll house witch that I made ages ago.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I'm Still Working on Paper Doll Stuff

I am still slaving away on my merchandise for the paper doll party.  I'd love to say I just sell stuff but you know I've got to buy stuff too.  I am especially partial to old cut sets that I mount and keep chronologically in albums.  I love to page through them and see the changes in clothing and compare the different artists.  What a shame that so many artists' names are lost to us.  It would be nice to know more about them.

It is a little cooler here today so I am not locked in my work room with the air conditioner.  As a matter of fact i have been dogging back to work!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Do Dolls Dress for the Heat

It is just melting-ly hot and humid here.  Every now and then I look at my doll shelves and see someone (of course they are someones!)  dressed in their winter gear.  I feel a little guilty.  Should I dress everyone for summer?  Here's a picture of two dolls owned by my friend, Linda, dressed for summer.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

More Luggage.

Midnight in Paris.

I really have just been at home and at work mostly but I did go to see Midnight in Paris.  I just loved it.  I think if you got the literary and art references you enjoyed the film.  The photography was lush and the theme seemed to be "live in the now".  I'd see it again.  I'm planning to go to Paris soon so it was extra exciting for me.  Here are some dolls who are packing their bags.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Paper Doll Convention Prep

I am excited about going to the paper doll convention.  I decided to take one of my past paper dolls for Doll Diary and make it into a book.  I chose one that features Paris fashions from the 1920s.  I also made some cute little trinket boxes with paper dolls decoupaged on them and I've done a few original framed pieces.  I have some paper doll fabric and have plans to make some aprons from it.  Since aprons don't have to be sized I thought that would be a good use.  I really like wearing an apron myself.  It's so retro.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

How I Landed in the Doll World

As a kid my favorite dolls were Ginny and Jill.  I loved Ginny best until Jill came along with her high heels, diamond earrings, and bra.  She had everything that I wanted!  My last doll was Dollikins.  I wasn fascinated by her multiple joints.  I begged nonstop to get her.

As an adult I developed Fibromyalgia.  I quickly realized that I needed a hobby more interesting than my pain.  I remembered my doll friends and thought that I would just buy a few dolls, maybe just one Ginny and one Jill.  Fellow collector, I can hear you laughing.

Of course once the bug bites you cannot stop.  I bought more and more dolls.  I joined a doll club.  I went to a convention and met people who were making dolls.  As a trained artist and a lover of fashion history I wanted to do that , too.  The first dolls I made were paper dolls, but I wnet on to design and make over 2,000 original dolls, mostly porcelain, but a also a few wax and polymer dolls.  Besides doll making I helped to finance my "habit" by doing paper dolls, patterns, and articles for magazines like Doll Reader, Doll World, Doll Life, Doll News, Barbie Bazaar, and Haute Doll.