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.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

A troublesome little doll

A person can spend a lot of time making a certain doll seeing that from the unpainted head, the doll looks to be a good one, however, paint the doll and then you might see a different picture, this happens to me a lot, causing the dolls to be a lot longer in being finished or being redone into a entirely different doll. Most people don't comment or lament to much on their failures or troubles, but I think its good to share that every doll you make doesn't jump right off the work table onto the paint table onto the dress making table and be a fabulous beauty. I did make a pretty doll and have finished ( for the most part) , except to tweek her curls out a little more. I posted this doll on facebook. She is beautiful to me. I might have given up on getting the famous Izannah curls just exactly right and settle for pretty ones, but, getting the curls right is important if it can be done. I think people have  ( blocks ) about things. things that for some reason are really hard for them to do. these curls shouldn't cause this much trouble, but as I said, there are things that a person can't seem to do, even though it should not be that hard. My post today is really about another doll I made. the doll is sweet, but not what you would think of as an Izannah Walker doll. Sweetness doesn't save her. Before I redo one, I try to figure out what can be done with the least amount of trouble, but most of the time, there is no easy solution. Considering it has already taken my husband about a week and a half to make the head, which was a good formed head, then making the body and stuffing it, then starting the painting process, which takes several weeks, and then to discover it isn't working out, so what to do?  Can you change from a girl to a boy? Will that work? If no, then let really dry and sand and make a few changes to the head, restockinet and then start the painting over again. All this can be done if the changes will not add to much weight to the head. A light weight head in the cloth doll is super important to me. Choices are re do the work, or trash the doll and start over. I hate to waste time and effort and supplies, but ultimately, the finished doll is the most important thing. Oh, the problems doll makers face ( if they are me ) HaHa. Hope your doll making goes easier and you have great sucess ( most of the time ) as I am sure even the most dedicated and famous people had troubles along the way when making their creations.  Here is a picture of my little troublemaker.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Adam Names The animals

For the last several years, since my sister's son and wife had a baby boy, I have been elected to do a painting for the baby. This year they had another boy, so the painting you see here is for this one. I painted a Noah's Ark, and a Train with all their family names on it and now this one, which I have enjoyed doing more than the others. I like angels and figured there were probably some present when Adam was doing his job of naming the animals, so I included them in a big way. Keeping it simple is pretty much the rule now in everything from house work to doll making to painting and everything else we have to do. Sometimes it is hard to not get carried away, but remembering I have only so much strength, and my eyes will focus for just so long at a time, I try to stay focused and keep my imagination from going to far off the beaten path. About two weeks ago, I started thinking about making copies of these paintings  again. In years past, I did make big prints, sending some paintings to a company out in California that made professional grade prints on canvas. I still have them all. Like most people I had plans to sell the works on ebay, but work, and other considerations ,mostly work ( a full time job ) made me let all that fall by the way side. I was a waitress

for 15 years, and a  happy 15 years it was too. The work was hard, but we had fun lots of the time, as I worked in a big buffet,  and it enabled me to help my family. Now those days and work  are over, so I turn back to painting and making dolls and I will make a few prints along the way, and even make some pictures of the dolls for a big scrap book. I hope you enjoy seeing the painting too.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

A visit with an antique Ella smith Doll and other things.

Hi. Today I am putting up pictures of my antique Ella Smith Doll or  Alabama Baby Doll, which is so amazing.  This doll is 27 inches tall and such a beauty. I just could not pass her by, she has loads of charm and her hair painting is, to me.  a wonder and a inspiration for hair painting on my other dolls. I have seen lots of pictures of alabama babies and I have another antique one, but the hair painting and the face isn't anything alike. This girl is enormous. So big she is actually hard to carry, and her legs are super fat. I forgot to take a picture of her original dress, but I will do that next time, as I have to make some absolutely necessary repairs, as her arms are about to fall off. Her dress is pretty, but super fragile and I hope to repair it. I have also finished two of the three painted head rag dolls for two of my friends. It took me  a long time to make these dolls, partly because I was doing two and I wanted to take extra time and try not to make mistakes. On the subjects of making mistakes, I have to say, no matter how careful you are and paying attention, mistakes will occur. On these two, if I made a mistake and was able to fix it, I went back and did things over, that is why  I was long in making them. Another reason, I took a long time as I was trying to age the Indigo homespun fabric. Let me tell you what I have found out about trying to age fabric, atleast the blues. REMEMBER THIS PEOPLE. If you want old looking fabric, buy it old,  as blues don't like to be subjected to lemon juice, tiny amounts of bleach water, washing repeately or being strung out in the sun for days on end. Should I go on as to what to try, such as I have heard people running over their fabric with the car or scrubbing it on a rocky bank, or actually putting holes in it. HaHa  I learned blue fabrics will most always go purple, not a lighter blue, if you try to lighten them. Back to the dolls. I love these two girls and learned much from working on them. I was lucky to be given an antique doll quilt to dismantle to make the bonnets. I think these are my best ones so far. Such a joy to work with the old fabrics. Next, long ago I made two rabbits on stands. My mama made a dress for one to give to my sister. I think she did good.  Lastly, I made a decision to buy shoes for the time being instead of making them, as I need to take a shoe making class. It is worth the expense to to this, and forget about ever trying to make socks. I, at this point in my doll making, refuse to even try to make a pair of socks. HaHa Well, my time is over. Good Bye.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Making Painted Flat Head Rag Dolls

Here are some pictures of three Flat Head ( Pancake Head ) painted rag dolls. These are fat, big girls made by a pattern I made up about two years ago. As I said, I put the first coat of paint on these tonight, so they will evolve  a lot before they are finished. They will be sanded, repainted, have some changes made to their features, be grunged, distressed, baked in the oven, Get a finished hair style ( which I will comment on further down ). Doesn't all this sound like lots of fun. HaHa, actually it is. Seeing what these dolls will start out as, and then become,  is very satisfying to me. I never cease to be amazed at what people can make out of a few pieces of cloth, and paint. Along with the flat head dolls, I have made two more Columbian dolls, which have not been painted yet. These will be fun to do, as I know they will not look the same as the one I just made, or like each other. About a week ago I bought a book, The Story Of The Columbian Dolls, how the Adams Sisters saved the Family Farm. There are a lot of interesting things about how the dolls are made and lots of history about the Adams family too.  When I post the new Columbians, I will speak more on this book. It did make me to want to make the 29 inch Columbian doll, which I didn't before. Emma Adams died at 42 years old, and I can only imagine the sorrow her family felt. She was apparently a very sweet, and inventive person, much loved by everybody, and certainly from the dolls she made you can see her generous, calm, sweet spirit. Her fathers eulogy to her was heartbreaking in its description of her character and the love people had for her. Another great thing I have to tell about is the purchase of a very special 27 inch Ella Smith ( Alabama Baby Doll ), which has already taught me a new lesson on hair painting, and I don't even have the doll yet. I noticed when looking at this dolls hair, something new I had never noticed before. After years of studying old cloth dolls, I finally saw how many of the cloth doll heads were painted. I cannot imagine why I have not seen this until now, it just goes to show you, that people don't really see what they are looking at sometimes. We miss what is right be

fore our eyes.  I cannot explain what I mean, but I will use this same hair painting style on these three dolls you see here. I am also happy to have the old rare big example of this doll, as I think she is a very fine example of Ella Smith's work. Lastly, I have been experimenting with dying cloth again. This time on homespun fabric to try to make it look old. There will come a time, you won't be able to get old fabric, or it will simply cost to much, but I still like to try to see what is possible to get nice fabric that has a old worn look that I and I think others love. GoodBye

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Columbian Doll

I have made a Columbian doll. After thinking about doing it for a long time, I struck out and made this one you will see pictures of.  She is 19 inches tall and made by the pattern from the Wenham Museum. It is Connie Tognoli's pattern, which is supposed to be a actual duplicate of the antique doll. I believe the pattern is actual due to pictures I have seen and the unique design of the body and feet. As I have said in the past, the 29 inch doll pattern did not work out for me, but I know that is my fault, not anything wrong with the pattern, which also can be bought at the Wenham Museum. This doll is really a great doll. ( the real Columbian doll). she is compact ( in the 19 inch size )  has beautiful feet and a long body and shorter legs. The head shape works really well, except in this, my first doll,  my girl's face got up tilted a little. The Columbian doll has super distinct features, and I did use a picture of an antique doll to paint by.  I was going to wait until I had her dressed, but, deciding to post another doll, I put her on here. The body is very pleasing, and the long waist will be easier to make her blue Calico dress. Over the last year I have invested in several large pieces of antique blue Calico, and have been using it to make several dresses, including the one for the tiny 9 3/4 inch doll I am showing you today. The little Izannah doll has two more sisters, waiting on arms and clothes. As I needed to use up every possible scrap of the antique blue fabric, I began to inter mix the fabrics, All blue, but different designs to take advantage of the costly fabric. Once these three are done, it will be a long, long time before I make any more of these small dolls, as they have worn my patience to a nub, over my not being able to make tiny hands  very well, and the clothes are harder to make too. the tiny doll, I call them pocket dolls ( they are a tad big  for a true pocket doll ) , but they are great to just hold and look at, just right in weight and size to play with, a childs toy for sure. I know for sure, I will make more of the Columbian dolls, as they are a delight in every respect. I can see why they are so wanted. Hope all are doing well and looking forward to spring and more doll and toy work coming along. Good Bye.