Sunday, February 23, 2014

alabama Baby Dolls

Here are a few pictures of my alabama baby dolls that I am making. I have painted one coat of oil paint on today. They will have to set up for a week or so, and then be sanded and the repaint begins. Since these are my first ones, I'll have to play it by ear on their distressing. I probably will distress them next after they dry,  and then stain and then repaint. I don't know how many times they will need to be worked on. I won't have any trouble with the white doll, as distressing and painting them is much easier, but the black one might pose some problems. Black dolls are hard to adjust, as far as color goes. I will have to go by a photograph, hopefully I can get a bigger one that shows me good details. These dolls are made by making a mold of my antique alabama baby. There are nicer dolls out there with a little better shaped head, so in the future, I might have to free sculpt another one I like better, but for now I will finish these. I did make some bad mistakes in making these, the necks on my dolls are to long, and the bodies are to fat. One of the dolls face is looking up instead of straight ahead, but all these things, I can fix on the next set of dolls. I'm just glad I managed to get this

far with them. I do think they will be pretty dolls, especially when dressed up.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

the Power of Painting and My alabama baby in Progress.

 I showed on my last Post, a picture of Sissy and Pinky side by side. I have been considering them and today, I have gone back to the paint table to see what could be done to Sissy to soften her up, as she was looking a little  ( meanish ). haha,  Pinky was o:k, but needed a tweek out as well. I will post yesterdays pictures of them and todays so you can see, ( THE POWER OF PAINT ) I put this in real big letters, because painting has power, to change everyday objects into something beautiful. To amaze us when we see something someone has painted that is so beautiful that it stops us in our tracks. Just a touch of paint put in the right place turns something nice into something timeless. This is why I stress that learning to paint is maybe the most important thing you can to do in making your dolls. There is a argument among painters as to what is more important. perspective (  angles - form ) or is it  ( color ). I always thought if something is pretty enough, and  the form is not quite correct, a person would probably love it anyway, but if it correctly drawn, but has no color and is not pretty to look at, then it is wasted. Anyway, here are the comparison pictures, which are changed by simply changing how it is painted. Another thing I wanted to show is the beginnings of my Alabama baby dolls. I am showing only one, but I have made two. This is the doll ready to gesso ( or seal with acrylic paint before the actual oil painting begins ). She is based on my antique doll. I think she can fly with those ears, at least she looks like she can right now, but here again,

 we will see what the power of paint can do to turn this lifeless cloth object into a treasured doll.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Pinky and Sissy Dainty Little dolls

Here are two  about 17 to 18 inch dolls I am making. These smaller daintier dolls will have bare feet that are made separate from the leg and then sewed together. I have made some like this in the past, I think that a one piece leg and foot is stronger, but apparently Izannah made legs this way, so I will too. Paula Walton based her pattern on her antique dolls, so I am following her patterns this time around. They will also have the daintier hands with a slightly different finger pattern, that gives them longer fingers. These smaller dolls are fun to do and a delightful size standing on a table or sitting down. You see a big difference in these two dolls. Pinky has had a mold made of her, so that she can be reproduced, but Sissy has not, and will not be reproduced again. Pinky has a older look, where as Sissy is not a new doll, but does not have the wear and tear and as much age, she is more pristine and fresh. It is hard to choose sometimes, between the older or newer looking dolls, but the ageing and painting process is similar, but different. the newer looking doll has had more base coats of oil paint before a mild distressing, but little Pinky has had little base painting, before distressing and then heavier paint added on in key places on her face and shoulders. Both dolls will be dressed in aged cotton fabric, no bonnets this time, and hopefully , some shoes and socks. these feet are really tiny, so I will have my work cut out for me. In the past I never made shoes for the barefoot dolls, and especially in this size, but it would be nice to have them. I will put Sissy's pictures up here first, then Pinky's.  I wanted to add that later on this year, I am going to try to get a video camera, and hopefully be able to demonstrate some of these painting techniques.  I can tell you how I painted these dolls, but showing you would be a better learning tool and much easier to understand and follow. I don't get to travel and go places much any more, so I will try to demonstrate a few things I learned for any one who is interested. I have learned a lot from other people's tutorials, so I will try to share as well.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Hespariah and Sofronia - Dolly Demands.

This note is to Martha from me and Sofronia. I am the really beautiful one on the right. My sister doll is very nice too, but only just pleasing. We are just being made, in our early beginnings really, so it might be good to get a few things out in the open, and establish some ground rules before going to far. Most of the time, us dolls don't get much say in what happens to us, we just have to sit or stand around and wait for Martha's pleasure, and watch as she broods over what to do, what kind of arms and legs we need, how worthy are we to get a dress out of her ( holy ) antique material, not to mention, if we get any shoes and socks or not. I know this letter sounds very critical of Martha, who ( bless her poor old soul ) does try her best, but we don't want to see the usual deciding on what will happen to us, and then, she just starts that old brain up and decides to make a big change right in the middle of things. We also want her to pay attention when making us ( you know ), put our heads on straight, how hard can that be, get the feet the same size, maybe double check a few things before zooming past the basics, maybe ask that Mr. Bobby sometimes if everything is looking good and correct. We want good dresses, and not the usual ones she makes, new ones in a new style, and we also want to have it made out of her precious old fabric that sits in the place of honor over there on the special shelf. I think Martha can make a pair of leather shoes for us, it might tax her brain to the limit, but I don't think it's over the top to make this request. We don't have to have bonnets, in fact, we rather like the idea of  having our hair styles be seen. One of us is being made as a gift for Martha's sister, who she loves dearly, so I know when Martha reads this letter from us, she will do her best and try to behave and comply with all our wishes. We feel better now that things are all sorted out and we will be blooming out just as we hoped. Thanks

 Martha ( in advance ) for your work and loving us, and understanding our dolly needs.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Making Izannah Dolls and trying to get those Darn Curls

I'm posting a little new 17 to 18" doll I am working on. I have made two of these, they are not the same, one has a little longer head shape, and will be more primitive. The head on this doll is short. The forehead is short. I usually don't slip up and do that, but  (  Oh No )  Goofed up a little, anyway, no problem, as she is pretty and can carry it off I think. I have had several folks let me know that they would like to have a smaller doll. Room is scarce with most people and so smaller is better. I embarked on a mission to make some smaller dolls, which right now include 2 of the about 18" dolls and 3 of the 11 1/2 inch dolls. Today I put the 2nd coat of oil paint on this doll. I was trying to make a little more pristine doll, without so much distressing. I believe she will turn out that way, with a heavier paint job. Debbie Barlow, a fellow doll maker put on a picture of a antique Izannah from a museum up,

 and I was leaning in that direction with the eye placement and shape, and the mouth. I failed to capture the doll, but did get some of the same eye shape and the mouth is good to me. The reason I put her up here is about the curls. Curls for me and most everybody, from what I have seen, is hard to do. I ask myself if I made pretty curls, is that enough, because on the antique dolls, not all of their curls are pretty, I think because the people painting the dolls back then were not all great painters and couldn't make the curls either. The answer is ( if you are making a doll that is not a reproduction, I mean trying to copy the doll exactly ) I think making pretty curls is acceptable, even if they are not like Izannah made them, but I think I am finally finding a way to make them more like her family did back a long time ago. the side curls on this doll are more accurate to me ( thinner, but more simple and more like hers.) The back curls on this doll are not like Izannah made hers, but I like them, so I will leave these alone. When you paint your curls, you have to paint wet on wet. Paint your skin, where ever the neck and forehead hair and curls will go. Mix your dark hair paint. Mix a small amount of skin color, a touch of brown and a touch of burnt umber, just enough to be darker than the skin and put this paint where you want the curls. Now you can get a liner brush for the side curls and ever so lightly pull your dark paint into the other color. Very gently and not to many strokes. The neck curls are pulled with a bristle brush directly onto the skin. Out of Room again, HaHa. The End.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Considering Mona Lisa

  I don't know how long ago it was I started making this doll named  Mona Lisa, but she has certainly gone through many changes and become a world traveler too. I guess I had her about a year before finally finishing her and putting up up for sale on ebay. To me, she was beautiful then, and had a pretty blue reproduction civil war fabric dress and bonnet,  fine underclothes too. The very sweet lady who bought her, happened to look at my blog after she bought Mona Lisa and saw another doll that she would rather have, so I agreed to exchange her, as I wanted the lady to be happy with the dolls she got from me, and so she is, very happy and satisfied with her two dolls she bought from me. Well, after Mona Lisa got home, from England where she had traveled to, I began to think about her. There was nothing wrong with her in any way. She left her clothes in England and so came back to me at a starting point. When someone sends a doll back to you ( for what ever reason ) I thought maybe I could make some improvements, and so took her apart, I discarded her legs and arms, re-made her body suit, because I also gave her a face-lift, not really changing her features, but adding some distressing and some ageing. I felt I could at this point make a better pair of hands and I decided to also re-make her booted feet, in a broader foot, stitching the ankles and the soles. Beautiful then, and now, ( to me ) she is almost ready to go back out into the world again. I made her a fine white dress, which is still not quite finished, a chemise slip and pantyloons and of course she has painted boots. the fabric for her outfit is vintage small circle dotted swiss, which I love, but I began to think again ( maybe a antique dress would be just the thing). Earlier last year, I splurged and bought two pieces of yardage of antique Calico fabric.  ( Super Super Expensive ), but super super pretty. The red is just glorious, a deeper red I don't think can be found. The cloth is so saturated with deep red color it is just wonderful. The lady at Antique Textiles said I wouldn't be disappointed and she was right. Even my husband was amazed at how pretty this cloth is. the blue is beautiful too. So, I am considering the antique dress for her. I love this doll and letting her go will be harder for me this time, but I wanted to give her something special. Here she is with the colors to help make the decision, which one of them do you like the best?