Saturday, June 2, 2018

Primitive Izannah Doll

Today I am showing my new Primitive Izannah Doll that I made. This mold was made about two years ago, but for some reason it didn't turn out right, but I tried again and I didn't have any problems and the head was in good proportion. It is funny that it takes a long time sometimes to think of and make a special project. I was making this doll and I thought to myself, why not make a limited edition doll. I was able to buy a piece of antique fabric which was over 7 yards long to make the identical dresses for each doll. I figure I can make at least 10 to 12 dolls with that much to work with, so my doll would be limited to 10 or 12. If I make the patterns to fit this doll, which I call my model, it won't be as hard to make so many. I hope to make the special bare feet on these dolls, as well as the stitching around the top of the head and around the neck where the head would be sewn on. We will see how this turns out. Along with the primitive doll, I have been making a few other dolls too. Margeurite, who I named after the wife of the Scarlet Pimpernel, a good show I like, is very pretty and a large doll. She has ringlets on the sides of her head and around her neck. I must pick something super pretty for her to wear. Another doll I am making is Sylvester, a boy who I named after Sylvester Stallone, I like him too. I think Sylvester would like to have a black calico suit with a fine white shirt and bow tie. We will see about that too. All in all I have 6 large dolls to make, plus my limited edition ( 10 to 12 ) plus 4 tiny Iz dolls to finish, and this is not counting the sheet rock sanding and painting the kitchen that I have to do as well. I better eat alot of  turnip greens tonight for supper to strengthen me up, HaHa  I hope every one is well and busy with their special projects a

nd most importantly enjoying them.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018


Here is Bloomette. This large pressed cloth head doll is finally finished. She caused me quite alot of trouble along the way, but we have come to terms with one another. I always try to find a piece of cloth that really suits each doll. This cranberry antique calico fabric has been laid aside for probably a year or more,  as I have been busy spending what little money I have on buying as much antique fabric as I can, and now it has been made into a fine dress for Bloomette. It took all that I had to make the outfit. I did make her a lace slip as well as a cotton one to fill out her skirt. These type slips are not what a doll of that era would wear, but, I like the frills, so she got it anyway. The bonnet was almost changed to a simple more appropriate one, but I spent forever making it and just couldn't change it, even if it is a little over the top ( fancy wise ). Besides finishing this doll I have been trying to dye fabric again. I always look out for the ( poison ) green overdyed calico fabric. It is super hard to find and super expensive too. Usually you can get little pieces, but not enough to make a large outfit, so I have been trying to dye a very old farm dress that was a faded green into a over dyed poison green color. The over dyed green calico got to be that special color by first dyeing the fabric a indigo blue, and then over dyeing it with a special yellow, I can't spell that color right now, but it is a color I think you would have to buy special. Eventually I will get the colors and try this. My attempts have been a big failure as the color I got is ugly and not worthy of a dress, even though it is an antique dress. I will attempt to dye it one more time a brighter green and use it to make tiny doll dresses. I have also learned another valuable lesson on buying antique clothes. When you see an old dress or piece of fabric try to see if it has lots of age stains, because you will not be able to get them out of the fabric. To my dismay, I learned this the hard way and have wasted money and time. You can get out a few stains, and even not get out a few stains, which would be acceptable, but if the fabric is very bad, then don't invest in it, better to pay more money and get a good piece that you can use all of it. Aren't you glad I share all my mistakes, so you don't have to go through my trouble. Happy Doll making to all.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Looking at the past work

This blog post is mainly to share how I now have two of my old dolls I made many years ago. About two months ago,  a fellow doll club member and friend died suddenly. She was so friendly, generous and kind. She loved dolls and had a huge number of them of all kinds. She left instructions that on her death each member of the doll club could have a few of her dolls. This past week the members went to her house and we selected a few dolls each that we liked and I took the two dolls she had that I made, along with a few other of her dolls. The larger doll with the somber face and hardly any color was a doll I sold to my friend at the doll show in Meridian, Ms. 5 years ago, and the second small doll I made for the same lady a year later. I had forgotten exactly what they looked like, so it was a surprise to me to look back and see what I had made. I never expected anything like this

to happen, but I know that life takes sharp turns suddenly and we can never be prepared for the good or the bad. I appreciated my friends thoughtfulness and generous nature, but feel so sad she is gone. Seeing the dolls now that I made pretty early, just learning how to make them, and being a beginner at sewing, I feel pretty good about them. I always tried to make everything good, neat, and painted the best I was able.  I used to say that when I finished a painting for sell, it might not be a good painting, but it was painted good. It is the same now with the dolls. I also see that I have lost some of the freshness and primitiveness that I used to have. That might be because I have learned how to make a better dress and possibly have learned how to make the heads shapes better, but what ever the reason,  I see some of what I love about the cloth dolls is missing in the newer ones. Each of us evolves in what ever we do. I have changed in style many times and probably will roll around again to the more primitive in painting and doll making. I hope you enjoy a look back at the older dolls and seeing the new ones too. Marion underwent a face lift recently and was rewarded with a new beautiful dress of antique blue calico. I want to put her picture here too, so that she can show off her new dress.

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.