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.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Merietta and Agatha Wedding day Izannah dolls

Merietta and Agatha are finished. they will have wedding dresses too. I have been searching for fabric to make two distinctive and different bride dresses for them, only to discover that nothing is available on line. the antique wedding dresses are to expensive and to fragile. The modern material is all made of polyester or nylon, or at the least a blend of cotton and something else  Happily, I have been buying along for the last 2 years bits and pieces of vintage lace type fabric, Mostly a type of dotted lace fabric. I found 2 bags with a white and a ivory Hobnail lace netting fabric that I had forgotten about.  PERFECT.  Looking at old pictures of the brides of long ago, the dresses vary quite a bit. I noticed mostly they used fresh flowers for the head veil and their hand held flowers.  Alot of the dresses for the brides were not with full skirts, but more simple straighter dresses which were decorated with lace and appear to have been home made. Another thing I noticed is that almost all the women and girls in the wedding photos also wore white, this is a little confusing , as you are not sure in some of the group photos who is the bride or if there are more than one bride there. In the first picture Agatha is on the left, but that changes in different pictures, She has a heavier fatter face. Merietta was a problem and I almost didn't finish her, but after going back many times, she bloomed out into a pretty girl. Almost everyone has a hard time getting a look they want for their dolls, but if you are patient and keep trying, usually you can get the doll to behave and become what you wanted. Our work on the house is continuing, and we are going down to Florida soon. I am looking forward to a new book I bought, going late in the afternoons to the beach, shopping, hopefully to find some good treasures in Panama City. It doesn't matter if I find anything or not, I just like to ramble and look. My mother is looking forward to staying with her sister there and on the way back we will stop in Pensacola, Fla to stay with my brother and do a few  favorite things there before coming back home. the intense heat is calming down and it is still hot, but not the killing heat we have had. It is my intention to also make each girl and regular day dress, as somebody, might want to change her out of her wedding outfit sometime. that might change. I have considered trying to send these wedding dolls to a magazine to see if they want to put them in, as these dolls all dressed up in wedding clothes is something a little different and not anything like what I have seen. We will see. Happy doll making to everyone.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wedding Day Izannah Bride Doll

Who doesn't love a bride, all dressed up in a beautiful dress? I have always loved seeing them and the doll's in the brides dresses too. Sometime in the past, I can't remember when the notion struck me to make an Izannah bride doll, but now I have made the first one. Well, you might say, Martha, you must love bows and ribbons, and yes I do. All the dresses the french doll makers have made using beautiful fabric, lace,  and ribbons twisted in wonderful bows and decorations have made a great impression on me. My skills in making these things are pretty close to non existent, only my desire to have a fancy dress for my bride drives me to try making the best fancy dress I can, plus the purchase of a very early antique skirt of a real brides dress. The skirt is a sheer lawn fabric with stitched dots. I used the wide hem for the dress hem, as well as the sleeves made out of the hem too. Making the doll spanned about three months from beginning to end ( which included several paint overs ) and the dress and unders took three weeks ( including many do-overs ). I believe the best way to learn to sew and lots of other things is to just start and ( by trial and error ) you will begin to improve and be motivated to try more daring projects. If a professional dress maker was to examine my dress, she would be amazed that I was able to make it or even a good simple dress, due to my lack of schooling on sewing, but it is pretty and I am proud of it. Marion is the first bride, there is a second one, and a third one too, which I will be making the dresses for next. Why did I decide to make three brides? Well, Agatha seemed as though she should have a wedding dress too, and looking over at Merietta, I felt she shouldn't be left out on the fine dress of frilly white. Searching for special fabric for these dresses has been fun, but the antique wedding dresses are two expensive to use for cutters and just good old fabric suitable for a dress that would be appropriate for the time period is really hard to find. It will be fun to start the next dress, as it is of different fabrics and design. I will have to study some old pictures of wedding dresses and jump start my brain to make each doll a pretty original dress and bonnet or hat of some kind. I did notice in some of the pictures I have been looking at that brides tend to have a dress  that they like, rather than what is strictly in style, so while keeping the fabrics to what they should be, style is pretty much up to the imagination. Wish me luck on the next creation.

Friday, June 30, 2017

The Columbian Dolls - another journey in learning

Since I developed an interest in the columbian dolls, I have made 5 of them, only three have made it to completion. If you have never attempted to make one of these dolls, you wouldn't understand the way the head is made by gathering the front section and sewing it to a back piece which is not gathered. A tricky process, because you will see by looking at the two dolls I am showing you, that the head may turn out totally different each time. It depends on how you gather and stuff the head. Everything looks like it is going to be good, and suddenly you see the head is stuffed to fat and short or to thin and tall, or in the case of one of my dolls, with big fat jaws, which to be fair is really cute on her. According to the book I have, later in the Adams sisters doll making, they were making or expected to make up to 1200 dolls a year. They had tested sewing among their friends to see who could sew the best and later the people who could sew the best were hired to help make and dress the dolls for sale. A newspaper article was written when the doll business was flourishing  that said the Adams house was like a paradise to children. It was full of dolls and doll clothes of all sizes. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Emma Adams died suddenly on July 26, 1900 and her father wrote her obituary. Here is one part : With an artist's eye and touch, all combined with a magnetic personality, she was one whom to know enriched ones life. In her heart was always a great love for the little ones and an instinctive appreciation of child nature. I think she began making dolls for the children around her, that led to the doll business. Not much is said about how the business began, so I think it evolved from a hobby into the doll making to help the family. Another little item I will share with you is that I am a great John Wayne fan. I love to watch him in the movies, I bought a collectors magazine about him with great pictures and history. His name is really Marion Morrison, and while he is nicknamed the Duke, this was taken from his childhood dog who was named Duke. This brings me to why I bring him up, I made three Izannah dolls, while not completed, the heads are finished, just waiting for arms and legs on two of them, but one is , to me, beautiful, and I decided to name her Marion, because of John Wayne, because he is one of my favorite stars and I so admire how good he was, how good his character was in the movies, and I like to believe, his character was , in real life. The other two girls are pretty too. Agatha is not really pretty, but she is compelling and makes you search her face more. Making the Columbian dolls is another long adventure into making a great doll. I admire Emma and Marietta Adams, not just for the dolls, but because of their devotion to their parents, who certainly needed help in their old age. I named the third Izannah doll Marietta.