Thursday, February 1, 2018

Finished Dolls

Here are two finished dolls I have spent quite alot of time on. I made a large  Ella Smith ( Alabama Baby Doll )  and a Izannah Walker Style Cloth doll.  Both of these dolls have cloth heads and bodies. The alabama doll has a cloth head with a pressed mold face made from my antique doll's face and the Izannah doll has a pressed cloth head also made in a mold. The very early black Alabama dolls are hard to find and buy,  also super expensive, so I have made some here and there, this is the largest one I have made so far. Due to paint issues and not having much time to work on the dolls, I don't have many dolls to show today, but I have made atleast three other Izannah dolls that have to sit up for atleast a month for drying and then clothes making, so hopefully in a month or so, I will have some more dolls. Going into the spring and summer, I thought I would try my hand at making a Philadelphia doll, as I now have one to make a mold of, and I would like to make some little black dolls,made in the way of the Izannahs, but just little simple black babies. Another project to do is to make molds of my large Izannah dolls that are about 29 inches tall. I had molds, but I re worked them and now have to make new molds. I am looking forward to seeing other dolls people are making and continuing enjoying my doll making days.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Old Worn Dolls

During Christmas I bought two dolls, actually, I bought the Philadelphia doll more recently . The Black Beecher Type Doll is one of my favorite dolls as is the Philadelphia  doll. Normally I couldn't afford them, but these dolls were reduced enough that I went ahead and got them for possible reproduction later on. The Beecher is alot more complicated in her head construction. I don't know how they made the head, but I know a method I could make the head and then work on the padding in the face. The body is not complicated and I did see the doll is stuffed with a type of grass, which is tightly rolled and packed into the legs. I know this because this doll I bought had a leg that was almost  torn in two, not from play, but with age and weak spot in the fabric I guess. I carefully pressed the leg back together and cut a piece of muslin, glued the fabric and then wrapped it around the bad leg. The wig cap is really neat being a piece of cloth with loose weaving that you can sew on the wool hair, weaving the wool in and out of the wig cap and then stitching it onto the head. I haven't looked at it yet to see what kind of hair you would need, but it is weaved, not a skin.  The Philadelphia doll  would be made like the Izannah dolls by making a plaster mold of the head, then making a cloth pressed head, sewn together and mounted onto the body. The body has three skins. I know this because the doll had a hole in her back and I had to repair this and could see the three layers of cloth, and that the doll is stuffed with saw dust. The inner layer of cloth is like a muslin and then it has a second layer of stretch type cloth,  as the third layer has.  I don't know what to use to make the body yet, but will have to research this, but it is a knit fabric.  The arms and legs are fairly simple. I have to say the Philadelphia doll is wonderful in its size and compact design. The large head and smaller body are so cute and I just love this doll. My dolls are both very worn, but it doesn't affect their charm or take away from how wonderful they both are. The Black Beecher doll's dress and and shoes were dry rotted and shredding, so a replacement will be needed. The Philadelphia doll has a dress, but I don't think it is her original dress, however the shoes on this doll are still in fair shape. Here are a few pictures. I hope you enjoy seeing these old beauties. I had to shine the flash light on the beecher to make her show up.

Monday, December 25, 2017

New Izannah's, an alabama baby doll. and an Old Fashion Rag Doll

First of all.  let me wish everyone a wonderful safe New Year, full of happiness and hopefully,  lots of doll making.  Enjoying Christmas day at home, doing some cooking and working on my dolls, it was a good day. Any time I can just work on my dolls, without having to stop for other type work is a good day to me. What I am showing you is a few new dolls, plus my antique Izannah Walker doll named Harmonia. Harmonia is a patient doll, because not only did her previous owner fail to make her a good dress, I have not made her one either. She has on a old chemise hand me down from another doll. I do plan to fix her up with a good dress and hat. Along with Harmonia, is Gladiola and Bethsayda. I haven't put Harmonia to full use yet. I am only looking at her body and certain parts to make better parts for my dolls. ( more correct proportions )  I would have to draft a new pattern to get her form right ( the hour glass shape ) attaching the legs different from I have in the past, and also her hair. This antique doll has  shorter legs than a lot of the antique dolls I have seen., also one foot is not the same size as the other one. I had already stopped trying to get everything perfect, because some small imperfections only add to the dolls charm in my opinion. ( also eliminates a lot of do-overs ). I have also decided to go ahead and re-do the tiny dolls waist on the blue calico dresses I had made them. I made the waist band to wide, causing the dress to be to long and not look right on the dolls, so after much careful deliberation and much putting off deciding to do the correction, I have started to fix the problem. I really should have written to Santa to bring me a stupid mistake preventer, and a new brain. Sadly, I couldn't remember to do this. Well, another project I have been working on is the very big, fat, black Alabama Baby Doll, I have made for a friend. At a scant 25 inches tall, this chunky girl is really very sweet. I deviated from the true body and put on a second skin, which the antiques don't have. I have to go back and tweek her out and paint on her eyebrows which are very distinctive and flaring. I just thought you might like to see her now. She is getting a black calico dress. My last item of interest here is the old fashioned painted head rag doll. I have lots of trouble with these, as they don't have the old antique look to me that seems so simple to make, but I do the best I can, and hopefully one of these days, I will stumble on a face that looks like I envision every time I try to make one of these dolls. I re painted my little Izannah dolls too. They didn't sell on ebay, so I guess they weren't decked out right. Enjoy the holidays and happy doll making to all.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Izannah Walker Style ( Small ) dolls

Two little 10 inch dolls finished today. I started these dolls atleast two years ago and laid them aside for months, picked them up and worked on them for awhile and put them aside many times. It is hard to say why some of the things we make just take a long time, no interest, busy, not working out, can't solve a particular problem on them, just any number of reasons to not finish something in a timely manner, but today, the little dolls are all dressed up and ready to look sweet for someone to enjoy. The last few years have been hard for making dolls, because of other work, but the desire to make them is as strong as ever, in fact,  I have been thinking of making the tiny 5 to 6 inch dolls again, or atleast two or three of them. I had a recent setback on my new large Izannah dolls, which was the paint on the feet ( black oil on top of black acrylic paint ). this was really weird because I painted the feet in the regular way, except I did put on a coat of acrylic black over the gesso . ( nothing wrong there, and when that dried I painted the feet with black oil paint, there should have been no problem, but the paint would not dry. After a month, paint still rubbing off, I knew I was in trouble. Dreading the idea of starting over, because the feet are lots of labor to make, I put the feet under the warm water and began rubbing off the black paint. Oil does not react to water by just rubbing off. It should never just come off, so I am at a loss to know what happened. I got all the black off the feet down  to the cloth and a few remnants of gesso and sanded. I will re gesso, and skip the acrylic and paint my old faithful Ivory black oil paint again. Sometimes it is better to just stick to what you know and to the paints you know are reliable. Mama bought some oil paint at the hobby lobby and that could have been my problem. Well, I have to go back to my big Alabama doll and see if I can get her done. Christmas is fast approaching and I hope everyone is enjoying the good days, good weather, and looking forward to the holiday.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Izannah Brides and doll talk

I have held off on putting finished pictures of my three brides on this post, because I sent pictures of  them to a magazine, hoping they will show them, but after reading that putting the pictures on your personal blog is permissible, I have decided to show them now. These dolls were a huge task, and they are standing together now under a cover with sachets to make them smell good, until such time as I get a note from the magazine to send the dolls or they say no, and then I will be free to let the dolls go. While the brides stand silent soaking up the perfumed sachets, I have not been idle. I have made three more Izannah dolls, the normal size between 17 to 20 or so inches tall. They will be put together very soon, I have had to wait along time on the oil to dry, the black in the boots is for some reason, just taking forever to dry, but I have to be patient, as to do other wise will just cause more problems. Another project I am finishing is the little 9 inch Izannah dolls, 2 of them, which have been in the making for way to long, making them dresses that are  a mixture of antique blue calico fabric. A friend of mine, awhile back wanted a very big Alabama doll, actually this was close to two years ago, but now I have gotten to the point of soon finishing this doll too. If you have never made a Alabama baby doll, you wouldn't know how much trouble it is to make one, which requires new patterns, new face mold, lots of tweeking, and that is if you have a doll to go by, but the doll is getting done, so I am glad to be nearing the end of this project. My house renovations are still going along pretty well and is much of the reason my doll making is so slow, but I am creeping along and am able to make a few things. I will post the new dolls soon. Hoping everyone will have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy their family and more doll making.

Friday, September 22, 2017


We went to Panama City beach for a vacation in august. While there I bought a few items of interest. Usually we have never gone to the beach in season, but prefer to go when its cooler because we don't swim in the ocean, but mama went to her sisters, thus, we stayed near her in Panama City.  If you love the night life, this is the place for you, if not, choose a quieter spot. The music goes all night long, the roller coaster goes all night long, along with every other ride and music and restaurant place there. We did go to the beach twice after 5 o'clock. We did go swimming in shallow water, and it was nice, and we took our two dogs too. The seafood was very good there, better than here at home, and so many people there as well. I can say I enjoyed the trip. My little spending spree is shown here. I got a grey bear made of lambskin. Beautiful curls, but the lady who made it had glued a pair of batenburg wings on his back. I should have looked better, but I came home and ripped the wings off as well as a few other glued on ornaments she put on. Such a shame to glue on things like this bear. Always better to stitch ( not glue ) on your cloth items. I got a brown mohair bear ( have to see how to clean it ) The pair of small raggety anns were sweet and are Gearge Averill according to their tag. they have dresses, but I stripped everything to be cleaned. They are vintage and different in the faces. I don't like yarn on dolls, but these called to me anyway. A great find is the indigo depression era farm dress. It was in a small estate store. Beautiful color and fabric is strong. I almost fell out when I saw it, as I never find things like this here in Meridian. As a birthday gift to myself, I bought the child size dresser. Mama had a dresser just like it  ( only big people size ) it has the white design on the mirror just like the big ones and is in excellent shape. It was so cute, I just had to get it. It did come with a chest of drawers and a bed and stool, but they are plain, so I didn't photograph them. The dresser is 31 inches tall to the top of the mirror. Where will I put it ( Don't even know ) as house is full and more to put in there. HaHa   The brown primitive bear is cute too. I have made some of these, but they had him set so he doesn't move his legs or arms and put cheese cloth bandages on him to make him more shabby or sad ( not sure which ), I thought he would inspire me to make some different type bears later on. I think the rag doll family is the last of the pictures. I paid to much for these for sure, but they were a family and had great clothes ( again removed to be washed ) and they appealed to me, even though they are only about 20 years old. The body, head shape and the hands are very simple and the hands and feet are not what I would make, so that is part of their charm for me, something different than I would do. We made a super big decision on this trip. ( No More trips in Hot weather ).  Enjoy looking at the pictures and may be these things here will call to you to make something like them or inspire a  totall

y new creation.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Agatha Izannah Walker Wedding Day Bride

Agatha's wedding dress is finished, and it's a miracle too. When I got started I had a full head of hair, but now, not so much. HaHa  I felt like pulling all my hair out making this outfit. The fabric is a soft vintage cotton Hob nail lace netting, so beautiful, but it had to have a backing on everything. I used a white thin cotton organdy and it actually was pretty easy to sew, but the netting will stretch and it is super fragile ( not weak or rotten weak, but just delicate, as it is a very fine netting. I really don't even see how they make fabric like this. As is the usual case, you start out with a set plan on how the dress will look, but, as with lots of things, your plan begins to take on a life of its own and you don't end up with exactly what you envisioned. Lots of different types of a bride veil appealed to me, but I also thought, this dress could double for something else, even a very fancy everyday dress to a collector, so I stuck with the bonnet. Wedding Veils now are made of nylon or polyester,  and unless you are a millionaire, or live in England where I think they still make cotton tulle lace or a similar lace, you will have to pay 40.00 a yard for the fine 100% cotton tulle lace netting. I debated about getting a yard of it, but, after these brides, when would I use the netting again, maybe never, and the Izannah dolls are probably better off with the bonnets because they tie onto the head, there is not any hair to pin a real veil onto. Brides during Izannah Walker's time period did wear lots of lace long veils though. There is alot of fun to be had making a dress with the decorations you want, twisting ribbons or cloth and stuffing the bows and sashes. Now that I have two brides finished, Merietta is waiting for her turn. She is young looking and will have more of a solid fabric dress and traditional type bonnet. I have been gone to Panama City for a few days and I was bad, as I bought lots of dolls, some fabric, chalk paint, books, two bears, and today, I went down to the flea market and bought a childs dresser set. It is about 30 inches tall to the top of the round mirror, and includes the bed and chest and stool. I just couldn't ( not get it ) even knowing there is no room to spare in the house, but I had to get it any way. I will post some of the things we did and some of the things I bought next. Thanks for visiting.