Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dollusions of Grandeur

Dollusions of Grandeur,  An Amazing Journey back into Victorian Times.

September 10th, 2011,  I went with a friend Tish to the Pee Dee Doll Club 25th anniversary Doll and Toy  Show and Sale at the Ramada Inn in Florence SC. 

The show featured more then 20 dealers from across the Southeast with all types of dolls from vintage Barbies, Barbies, Antique Dolls, Collectible Dolls, toys, doll furniture and doll clothes. It was the first doll show I ever attended and I was amazed and fascinated by what I saw. I did buy one small doll and I will show you her later.

Now Tish had come with me in the morning to Columbia to the Creative Cloth Doll Artists Group I belong to because she has a china head doll that she needs to have repaired and hoped to get some information from the women at the group. However when we walked into the Doll and Toy Show and Sale, Tish found what she called the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  
This is Tish with Betty Hudson. Betty Hudson is a Doll Dealer and Doll Restorer who is going to make a canvass body for Tish's China Head Doll. You can contact Betty at 6205 Manse Drive, Louisville, Kentucky, 40258  telephone number 502-468-4384.
This is Tish's China Doll Head
Tish taught me a lot about China Dolls since I knew absolutely nothing about China Dolls. This is what Tish's China Head looks like. Heads and Hairdo's are what identify China Dolls.
The doll reminded me of Mary Todd Lincoln and guess what, there is actually a China Doll named after her or really her hair do. Famous people's hairdo's were copied on doll heads.

China head dolls were made by various companies from 1840 to 1940. The vast majority were made in Germany and the doll heads were found on a wood, cloth or kid body. Some had partial limbs made of china as well. Their hair was either a molded hair or a hair wig over a solid bald dome. These Dolls are generally described and identified by their hairstyles since many of the china doll heads are unmarked or may or may not have a mold number. Depending on your dolls hair style, you can approximately judge the era they belonged to.
This is a great site that shows pictures of the different hairdos and eras:

Tish suffers from the same affliction that I have. I no longer shop for anything unless it has to do with Quilting, Fabric, Dolls, Beads and strange exotic collectibles.
My children have grown to doubt my present choices.
She bought a pair of authentic leather child shoes for her doll.
If you want to know how much they cost, you will have to ask her, however I will say that these shoes did not merit the distinctive packaging of a used grocery bag.

Tish has me in mind for a particular project

She wants me to make the leather hands for her doll. The canvass body not only comes headless, but hand less as well. You can see that the hands are made of leather and are stitched on the outside unlike the dolls hands of cloth dolls today. We have already decided to use kid glove leather maybe even finding vintage gloves. ( I would like to know the difference between vintage and used clothing.) (Angelia Jolie was shown on the Red Carpet wearing a Vintage Gown - Did it come from Goodwill or Bergoff Bygones?)
Anyway back to the hands, How hard can this be? I have made tiny little hands for the cloth dolls, but I know I  have been mistaken before, all I have to do is remember the choices I have mistakenly made in men in my life.
This doll is wearing a fox fur collar stole casually slung over her shoulder. I can just imagine my Omas wearing such a fashion statement. I found fox furs hidden away in the back shelf of a closet and would play with them when I was little. I actually saw one for sale on ebay for $20.00 recently.

This doll really caught my eye. Tish told me she is known as a Peddler Doll. Peddler Dolls or "Notion Nannies" were popularly displaced under glass domes in British and American households during the Victorian Era. (My Revlon Bridal doll is displayed in a sideways fish aquarium - It was cheap.) Traditionally dressed in a red cloak and holding a basket overflowing with miniature wares, the peddler doll commemorates the disappearing social custom of itinerant trader's traveling the countryside, the basket containing a tiny world of 18th and early 19th century material culture.  As personifications of a village character type similar to the tinkers, they tell a story both sociological and folkloric, In her time the peddler woman was seen as a welcome figure providing a necessary service supporting herself and aiding others through her work. The red cloak has much symbolism attached to it; from fertility to sexuality.  They were placed on the mantelpiece for good luck and fortune. She invokes the connections to Little Red Riding Hood, the seemingly endless magic carpet bag of Mary Poppins and Eliza, the little flower girl in My Fair Lady.
This information came from the following site, a very difficult one to open:
Notion Nanny, Tinker, Tailor, Merchant, Maker

This is Allison Smith's intrepretation of a Notion Nanny from the above website.

We actually witnessed a doll operation. This doll was valued at over $1500.00. Notice how solicitous the mother is over the impending procedure to her baby.

Susan Boyle or
Suzanne Hamric another Doll Dealer 

This baby is a "Reborn Baby" My granddaughters want one of these and have asked me to make them each a baby. It is a little bit daunting to undertake such a task.

Finally with all the dolls available this is the one I bought from Dot Smith. It is a Mickey Mouse Club Musketeer Doll.  Back in my day. Walt Disney evolved a formula to attract and hold the attention of little and teenage girls. It was Annette Funicello and Tommy. Today its Selema Gomez and Miley Cyrus. So you know what worked before probably works today.
A site devoted to the original Mickey Mouse Club.
Roll call of the mouseketeers.
Mickey Mouse Club March song
Annette was my favorite

Did you watch the original Mickey Mouse Club?


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fabulous Fractures - Swamp Fox Work Day September 2011

This September workday at Swamp Fox Quilters we were treated to a wonderful lesson and demonstration by Rita Studdard. Rita demonstrated how to do those marvelous fractures for us in a way that made it very simple to follow.
This is the book that Rita Studdard used:

This was the Fractured Flowered
Quilted piece that first caught our attention at the Swamp Fox Quilter's Show this summer.
We got back the quilts at the beginning of September and that's when Rita demonstrated how to do this amazing technique.
We have one copy in the Swamp Fox Library for checkout or you can order a copy for yourself. I got mine at

Choosing the right fabric for the quilt is important. You need large repeats but the background needs to have some print or action in it as well. If the background is too plain, then you will have large areas of blank colored areas in your quilt. You started out with 4 exact repeats by laying the fabrics directly on top of each other.
The technique consists of finding multiple repeats on fabric and then cutting them into 1 1/2 inch strips. Once the strips are cut and labeled, they are then merged by sewing the strips together. Rita suggested that you print out all your labels on the computer as an easy of way of labeling the pieces,
 knowing you have the right order and not losing any strips. She also suggested that when you choose your fabric to make sure your background is interesting as the main focus of the print so you won't have major areas of blank background on your fractured piece.

Rita is repositioning the strips as she merges two different  pieces. You have to sew the pieces together using 1/8" seams. Rita said it was aggravating trying to get the tiny seams open with an iron.
Her suggestion to solve this problem was to use a mini iron which worked great.

You can see where each of the strips has a letter and number on it to keep them in the correct order when they are merged together. Rita suggested that you use a design board which would allow you to move the fabric strips easily around. You could pin the strips to the board so the strips wouldn't lose track of where they were supposed to be.
We were all fascinated by Rita's Lesson.

After Rita Studdard's lesson, the group moved on to other venues.
Francis and I worked on Face Painting her doll. We are looking at samples of my dolls and some of books I brought.

Francis eventually painted her doll's eyes orange, they were incredibly beautiful.
Blowing drying the face to make the paint dry faster.
Can you imagine if Michelangelo had a blow dryer,
No telling what more he could have accomplished.

This is Francis's beautiful doll finished. I love her hair and she actually has orange eyes.
Cloth doll artists are using a draftsman technique of dividing up the human face to paint their doll faces based on proportions first invented by Albrecht Durer an incredible artist, Engraver, Painter, Art Theorist, Printer in Wood and Copper and very famous for his religious themes in his art. One of his most famous engravings is his Praying Hands.

This Judy and Leah cutting out batting for a Citizen Sam Quilt.
This is one of several Charity Projects that the guild members so generously devote their time and efforts to.

This has been an incredible year for everything that has been accomplished in Workday.
Only someone who has undertaken to do a workshop really knows how much work and cost is involved. I have done several workshops for the guild over the past 2 years and am thankful, grateful and supportive of all the other members who have donated their time, energy, materials and money into doing these wonderful workshops we have had this year.
I especially want to thank the guild members who came and taught or contributed to classes or mini lessons for our guild including Rita Studdard, Francis Kelley, Sara Simons, Harrie Sue Cockfield, Karen Kirkland and Donna Chapman. Kudos to Graham Baker who first envisioned Workday as multi-faceted activity based including mini lessons and who supported me in my efforts to bring her vision to fruition.  It has been a great run.