Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The New Year and My Favorite ( Rag Dolls )

The New Year is not quite here yet, but I have been busily working away on various dolls. Here are pictures of three black rag dolls. Two full dolls named Sister Trixie and Sister Jinksy. The other doll is one of my favorites, a pin keep doll who has no name, mostly because when I look at her, so many good names would suit her, but, none I can think of capture her character of proudness and patience, waiting to work with you and hold your needles as long as you need. What a great companion at the work table. Along with the dolls, we are undergoing a great transformation on our selves. by going on Nutri System. All the family is on it until each of us has reached their target weight, and in my case, better control of my blood sugar. We just needed to get in better shape so we can do all the things that have to be done this year, and it's a long list. Sisters Trixie and Jinksy are waiting for their dresses,  which have been cut out of beautiful red organdy and full gathered slips of red voile fabric, but, doubt is having it's way with me and I am sitting on the fence trying to decide if that is truly what they need or maybe some quilt patch dresses. I hate it when I waver in mid dress decisions. I have another job to do that I don't want to do, but it must be done, which is to dispose of all my old plaster molds, as I promised myself, I would work on and redo my dolls to a truer depiction of some antiques  and I have re sculped I think a better version of several dolls, but throwing away so much work is hard to do, and maddening, as we  think we see it the way it should look, only to find out, we are off the mark and why couldn't we just see that in the first place. It is a trial and a learning experience to realize how to look at a object and really see it's lines and curves, and depths, and probably ever capture the beauty that drew us to it in the first place. I am sure I will never get there exactly, but I'm gonna give it a shot. I hope everyone is in good health, or working toward it, as we are and making plans for wonderful things in the new year.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Merry Christmas

Recently mama wanted to paint a painting for her great grandson, so we set about to get the job done. One of my favorite subjects and a good picture for a child is Noah's Ark. Lots of animals and a big boat too. He is too young to understand the reason for the painting and what it means, but later in life I think he will appreciate it.
This isn't the right card for the season, but I am using it as my Christmas Card and wishing everyone a wonderful holiday and a safe and happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Re Paint

I have re painted my doll Juliet. As you know she and I were unhappy with her last painting and a few other issues. HaHa  We didn't get the new dress, because, this blue dress was custom made to fit her and the lighter blue wouldn't have been any prettier ( besides that I slaved over making the dress and bonnet for atleast two weeks).  After considering this latest episode of not doing my best on this doll, I now believe I have made up with Juliet and given her a beautiful new face and she seems well pleased. There has been some discussion about cleaning house from time to time and re evaluating  doll making techniques and future projects, as well as discarding dolls or other items that do not seem to be going in a good direction, so I have done this. I took a deep breath and plunged into my work area ( temporary area for now )  and ruthlessly cast aside boxes of tiny dolls that I don't have the time for, some big rag dolls that couldn't be given a good face by me ( right now, maybe never ), some ordinary fabrics, and the most important thing I threw away, is keeping on doing the same things as I first learned to do. This isn't productive, as I know some patterns have degraded into ( the common) and need to be updated into a ( more true ) version of antique doll bodies. I also have taken a new years resolution to try harder to made any reproduction doll closer to the true doll. How can you do this, you ask? Well, it is simple, take more time, look closer, don't give into the temptation to stop ( even though you have a nice doll ) but keep going until you have what you were after in the first place. this takes patience and willingness to suffer for your art. HaHa...HaHa.. Ha. I believe we all do that in some way, but as I get older ( I'm pretty old now, I might not have much good days left to see, paint, or just get out of bed to make some dolls ) but while I can still get around and feel the desire to make things I better batten down the hatches and get going on some new and improved  (old) )dolls. I hope you doll makers are having as good a time as I am. I complain, but it is all so fun,
 and worth  any two weeks of slaving over doll clothes. Merry Christmas to you all. Your Doll Making Friend, Martha

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Heart to Heart Talk

Martha, why didn't any body want me? I don't know Juliet, it was my fault. Let me try to explain it to you. You are as sweet as any doll I have ever made and much prettier than lots of them, but I didn't think out your paint like I should have. What's wrong with my paint? Well, apparently I miss judged how I painted and aged you.  I am brand new, why would you have to age me? Well, because you are the type of doll that would have looked older now, as you are made to look like a antique. Why do I have to look like a antique and what is that any way? Well, antiques are things that were made a long time ago and time,  and wear and tear cause them to fade, or turn dark, or crack, or peal, but people love their dolls and want to keep them as long as they can. If that is true, then why didn't any body like me all aged, cracked and dark colored? Well, HaHa, sorry,  this is a delicate discussion and explanation that isn't funny, I'm sorry, but the truth is that I didn't do a good job finishing your painting. I still don't see why I have to look old Martha, I am very pretty and I don't appreciate you trying to make me all cracked up right off the bat, I think I should be able to be beautiful, atleast until time and ( what did you call it ) wear and tear make me all cracked up and dark colored, plus I might stink too, did you think of that? Yes Juliet, I have tried to think of all the possiblities concerning your welfare and happiness in the doll world. What are you going to do about it now Martha, I want some new things like another fine dress and maybe one of those straw bonnets that you bought instructions to make, and don't even think of putting one crack on me. If you are sorry for making me sort of ugly and causing people to not see the real me underneath all your black grunge and scrapes and ( I am pretty sure you rushed trying to get me on ebay, although, I can't imagine why, as you have all the candy, movies, and tons of your precious old fabric that any body could need, I will forgive you. I will, I really will, make it up to you Juliet. You know I love you.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Dolls in progress

Here are pictures of two boy Izannah Walker style cloth dolls that I have been working on for awhile.  As you see they are not finished and the hair in particular is just a base coat to see how they would look with this hair style. I saw a picture of  a antique boy Izannah doll that had a widow's peak, and it was just so cute that I decided to give my dolls the same hair style. I like it and of course when I get the hair really painted and aged it would look much more natural. Naming the dolls has two purposes, one to identify them to people, and another to satisfy me to have them named atleast while I have them. Ollie is named after a boy in a movie who was extra sweet, and Jeeb is named after a character in a movie that I liked who was favored by Michael the Ark angel because he was a rare person with a pure heart. The dolls will naturally change with each stage they go through, but they are far enough along to see basically what they will look like. It does surprise me that in the end as I think I am finished painting, I might make one small change in the eyes, the mouth ( usually the mouth ) and the whole character of the doll changes. I need a boy doll for a nice lady, so I have made two in the hopes she will like one of them and I can finish it out for her. There is a picture here also of a old painted head rag doll that I have been working on, trying to get a old look, or any face that is appealing, but a old looking doll would be better. I really think the painted head rag dolls give me the most trouble, because the flat faced dolls are hard to make a good face that draws you to her ( most are to simple, or to over done, or if it is a black doll, super hard to get a face at all with no protruding features to help out. Ollie would not look directly at the camera, but he appeals to me the most, and Jeeb is sweeter and more even and perfect. Who knows in the end how they will look, but I am hopeful, they will be good.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Finishing Touches and Little Extra Touches

  Well....the holidays are practically here. I have been working on a couple of Izannah dolls for the last 6 months and finally I have them done for Christmas. These were made as Christmas dolls so I have made it in good time. Along with the Izannah dolls I have been making various rag dolls and two boy Izannah dolls. The boys are in the early painting stages and show promise, but as usual I see problems staring back at me that I couldn't see when they were all white. Ugly things show up at the most inconvenient time, they couldn't let me see them when I could easily have fixed everything, no, they wait until I am happily painting away and suddenly,  ( there they are ) one eye bigger than the other, one cheek bigger than the other, the usual defects, etc...... These are common problems for me and everyone else who creates, so I settle down, maybe get some chocolate milk, and summon my patience and determination to set things to right and begin again. The little boy Izannah's will be saved and go on to completion. I hope all are looking forward to thanksgiving and Christmas. I have felt more like it this year. We recently had my little grandnieces for the weekend. We went to several flea markets, the fish camp, the steak house, the mall and had a great time. The two girls, 10 and 16 are alot of fun and boy ( they know everything ) You learn alot from them in a short time. HaHa  I have been generous with myself lately and have splurged on some big abstract paintings for the house, very excited to see them put up and things looking new and good. Its funny, I don't know what has prompted the changes in me, but suddenly ( it seems ) I am leaning more to minimal surroundings and a much more modern look ( not space age ) but clean and simple, rather than old and antique for so many years. My love for the old dolls has not changed at all and never can. I think the Tonner dolls are very pretty, but my old dolls will always be my favorite and making the old style dolls is a daily joy to me. Here is Juliet in her beautiful blue calico dress. This fabric is old and so deep deep blue. Here is Bo again with her restyled bonnet, and Bulova, who recently got a beautiful watch all her own. Happy doll making and a early Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Fall Country Festival

The Simmons Wright Store in Kewanee, Mississippi had a Fall Country Festival. The Wind just about blew every one away. It was a dismal affair. I felt bad as many of the promised vendors backed out on the store owners at the last minute, but probably just as well, as there was no turn out to see any of the handmade items that were there. The people that did come were so sweet and brought their hand made things. We were next to the Baked goods table. She of course sold lots of her items.  The store is on the national register of historic places and is in bad shape. Part of the festival was hopefully to  get donations to restore the cotton gin that is in back of the old store. I went and enjoyed talking to the other people. I put a few of the dolls I had made in the store. There were several ladies who suggested I should go to a particular craft fair, but we don't travel much. I was able to do this because it was only 20 miles from home. The Meridian Star newspaper came around and talked to us all, which I didn't mind the talking, but when it comes to taking pictures of me, I try to get out of, making the pictures of the dolls is always good though. I hope to be able to go to some doll shows later on, as there I will see what appeals to me. My husband made a video of the inside of the store and outside during the festival and we will try to put it on here. The family that owns the store and gin, inherited it and needless to say, to keep it up and restore the buildings would be a monumental undertaking, but the place has so much character. It is very run down and I know they don't have the people or the strength to keep the place clean and the artist willing to send their crafts to be sold, as usually only the occasional traveler will buy something, in my case a doll, but the locals, not so much. They have a little lunch business and seem to concentrate on that. I wish them well and hope the store and gin can be restored because it is unique and there aren't many gins left, especially a working one, like the one in Jackson, Mississippi at the Agricultural museum.

Thursday, October 8, 2015


Have you ever bought something, which is considered to be, and kinda really is, scarce or hard to come by these days, that you really wanted, but were afraid to use it,   well..... I have and here is one example, a good size piece of antique madder brown calico fabric which I gathered up my courage and started making a dress for Bo, a new Izannah Walker doll I made. This doll was going to be a boy, but, along the way, sweet girlish features showed up and so I have Bo . Bo is the name of a little girl in a movie, ( Signs )

that was so sweet and cute, I had to name a doll after her, well.... back to the pricey, delicate, so pretty antique material that to me is worth the money. The fabric inself, just by itself, might not be considered to be pretty, but once you make it into a dress, you see its beauty. What you don't see ( or maybe you do ) HaHa is the two weeks I spent  machine sewing, hand sewing, contemplating, staring, trying to get my brain to think up a good way to make the dress special by use of decorative touches, putting on said touches, then removing said touches, putting on lace, then realizing I did not have enough of the same lace to put on the sleeves and on the collar and brooding about what to do about that. Surly other people don't suffer as much as me, simply because they have a brain that can know what they want, and the sure mind to just sew the dress without mistakes, or second guessing the whole thing. This doll is big, about 20 or so inches tall with a pressed cloth head and oil painted features. If you notice ( I'm pretty sure every one will notice ) Bo is blessed with great big feet. Don't exactly know how that happened, but she is dainty in every other way. My last two gifts to Bo are the shoes she has on, which I slaved over and put a handy band and snap closure on for convenience and the pocket waist she has. The pocket waist is my first one ever, and although I studied Sherri Farley's tutorial on making the pocket waist, it took me several readings and several double looks to figure the thing out ( mostly heming the opening in the pocket.) My thanks to Sherri not only for the pocket instructions, but for many others she has given to us all. I hope you will enjoy the pictures.

Saturday, September 26, 2015


Bulova is a name I picked out for this rag doll, thinking it was a name for the Goddess of Time, but, not so, it is just the name of the well known watch maker who made a certain ladies watch that was named, Bulova, the Goddess of Time.  I considered other names for this doll, but Bulova stuck in my brain so that is who she is. I have often said rag dolls are not simple, and that is so true. This particular doll has stumped me through out the process of making her. She started out white, not good, then black, still not good, then black with protruding eyes and nose. She had no hair, then painted hair, then dyed lambskin hair. She had stump arms and legs, then no arms and legs, then I relented and made better hands for her and stitched feet, then decided to reduce her feet calling for a total dismantle to remove her legs and fix the feet to be able to wear a pair of shoes. ( her feet were to big for the shoes ) then put everything back together and give her the shoes. This dress which is now hers, was at first made to fit another doll, thus, the tightness, although it does fit pretty good, it is a fine linen cloth dress with red designs that I thought was so pretty, which  went through a tea staining, then deciding it was to dark, I took out most of the tea stains and made a matching bonnet only to discover Bulova cannot wear the bonnet because of her bear shaped head.  ( what a shame ) . She did get pantaloons originally made for an Izannah doll and a pretty cream voile slip with cotton lace that I did make especially for her. After all is said and done, after all my indecision and miscalculation Bulova has been completed. I think sometimes rag dolls may be the hardest dolls to make because of their individual needs. They are not like Izannahs  or other dolls that have a specific body or hands or feet or painted hair, but are wide open to be created what ever way a person wants them,  there is no set mold. I do love the rag dolls, but I think I will try my best to get my vision clearer in my mind before I start the next one. Easier on me and the doll.

Friday, September 18, 2015


Recently we went on a vacation to Gulf Shores, Alabama and enjoyed a week on the beach, plus shopping. The food was great and great not to have to fix it myself. My mother also enjoyed a nice beach vacation with my sister and her children down in Pensacola, Fla. Flea Markets and antique stores are on the strip in Foley, Alabama and we went to several. I did find a nice brown velvet Buster Brown type hat to fit my big Jumeau and a couple of small picture frames with bubble glass to use for tiny paintings in the future. We have been going to the Gulf Coast for many years and it seems the traffic has become so much worse than I remember. I know in Pensacola where my brother lives the traffic is really bad and don't even mention going into Memphis where my sister lives. You have to pick your times to go and come out of there to miss so much of the horrible traffic. I enjoyed being on the beach in my chair with the wind blowing and watching the ocean. We saw lots of birds and fish out in the water. We even saw a small 4 foot shark swim right up to the beach where we were sitting and it was scary because we had just been walking in the water about a foot deep the day before. Believe me, I am for sure cured of ever getting in the ocean again. Doll making has almost come to a complete halt, but hopefully I can get going again and completely finish a few dolls I have made that lack clothes or shoes. I did take two new sculpts with me and managed to work on them twice. I see lots of folks are making pumpkin dolls,  and witches which are cute. Here are a very few pictures of us at the beach. I do hope to have some dolls to show before to long. Don't laugh at my horrible picture, ( I look like a Troll ),  I just can't figure how I got so bad looking, but there it is ( what can you do ), it's a good thing people love you no matter how old and ugly you get, HaHa,  Oh, My sweeties in the pictures are our two dogs Tootie and Fruity, who we desperately love. Oh, the other sweetie is my husband Bobby who I also love completely. The birds aren't sweeties, but they were standing around, so I took their picture too. they are very pretty. Goodbye