Thursday, December 31, 2009

Yren in Her Miss Orchid Original!

The top is a very elegant bodysuit which can double as a swim suit, and the skirt ties on obi-style with an ingenious double closure of snap and ribbon tie. Miss Orchid is going to revolutionize couture with her fresh new approach to style and her technical innovations.

Thank you to Emily for reminding me that files can move from computer to computer with a flash drive and that I do actually own one. Sorry the pictures do not do justice to Miss Orchid's incandescent creation, but then, they couldn't possibly! Yren is very pleased.

Do I have the skirt pouffed out properly, Monika? Tell me if it needs to be adjusted...

...And Happy New Year, Too!

Yren and I are wishing for the very happiest of New Years to bring many sunny, funny wonderful things your way.

Miss Yren looks simply smashing tonight in a new couture creation from the house of Miss Orchid, her favorite designer. We took pictures of her modeling it earlier today, while it was still daylight, to show her off to best advantage.

Just wait till you see! I'm afraid we won't be able to post the pics yet tonight because the party will soon start--and also because sister Emily has siphoned off our Internet connection to her lap top so we can't upload a thing. Yren is just a little put out about that, let me tell you.

But here's a hint--her new ensemble looks spectacular with Biscuitbear's red hat!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Yren's Christmas Card to You

Wishing you peace and joy
during the Christmas Season
and every day...

...and may the Enchanted Doll
of your dreams
be dreaming of you.

~Ruth and Yren~

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Presents Part 2: for Yren

In an old copy of Barbie Bazaar magazine (May 2006) I found a Randall Craig pattern that was supposed to fit Model Muse body Barbies. Now I did not know what a Model Muse body Barbie was like, nor did it seem pressing to try to find out, but it looked like a fun pattern to try out. And here was this naked Barbie sitting there.

So I started out sewing it together just as designed, making no alterations or changes, except for using interfacing instead of lining on the bodice. But as I went along, I kept trying the pieces on Yren, and they kept fitting!

And I really liked the idea of this particular dress for Yren--really, it suits her much better than a 60s era Barbie anyway, and Yren needed a new sundress to go strolling on the beach at Christmas. Monika told us that's something people like to do at Christmas in Australia, and that they wear Santa Hats, so we had our minds made up that way.

There you have it. It was completely dark out when I was finally ready to take pictures, and I'm not skilled enough to compensate for it. The originals were the color of rusty cocoa!

But I did my best, and with a little luck I'll have a chance to take the shoot over again, and get some better ones. 

She got to hold her letter from Fern in this picture, but she wants to take more showing some of the other things Mayple, Biscuitbear, Noxy, and Blue Dot sent her. All we need is a sunny day off work, and this is the season to snag one!

Christmas Presents Part 1: for me

Merry Christmas! What a pleasure it is to say it. To the more people, the better. Tune in next week and hear me wish you Happy New Year!

The highlight of my childhood Christmases was a new doll under the tree. That's the only time we got dolls; Christmas dolls were the only kind there were. I can remember four: a 12 inch Tiny Tears, a 21 inch baby doll, a Chatty Cathy, and a Barbie. (Update: Just remembered we got 12" Thumbelinas one year too--the kind that didn't wriggle. That's five dolls.)

Barbie was the last one, because my father believed that if a girl asked for a Barbie, a "grown-up" doll, she must have outgrown dolls altogether. So my Barbie year was the year he told me and my older sister, who had asked for a Tammy doll, that we would no longer get a doll at Christmas ever again. Don't judge him too harshly--he really was a good man. He just didn't understand dolls.

And anyway, you see what comes of telling little girls they'll have no more Christmas dolls. They become collectors; they grow up to spend more money on a doll than their father spent on a car; they have the last laugh.

Now that I think of it, the year I began collecting dolls was the same year my father died, 1984. That was when I discovered Sasha dolls, and wanted one so much, but they were *gasps* $70 at that time! But I was pregnant, and gave myself permission to buy a doll that my baby, who might be a girl, could play with. And I did have a girl, and bought six more Sashas, and she did play with them, very carefully so they are all still nice. Sashas got me used to spending more than $14.95 on a doll.

All this was to tell you that I've bought a new Barbie doll. I know--you want to ask why a person who is lucky enough to own an Enchanted Doll wants a Barbie. Well, I wanted a Christmas doll. And I found one that was just exactly what I wanted at a good price. So I bought her.

Here she is. She doesn't have any clothes yet. I started making a dress for her today, but surprise surprise, it turned out to fit Yren! So that's how we went from Christmas Presents Part 1 to Christmas Presents Part 2.

BTW, I was very happy with the business that made this doll available and sold her to me. It's out of Dixon, Missouri. They have an amazing selection!  This photograph of Barbie is from their website.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Poems for Enchanted Dolls #14

On Beauty
From The Prophet

And a poet said, Speak to us of Beauty.
And he answered:
Where shall you seek beauty, and how shall you find her unless she herself be your way and your guide?
And how shall you speak of her except she be the weaver of your speech?

The aggrieved and the injured say, "Beauty is kind and gentle. Like a young mother half-shy of her own glory she walks among us."
And the passionate say, "Nay, beauty is a thing of might and dread. Like the tempest she shakes the earth beneath us and the sky above us."

The tired and the weary say, "Beauty is of soft whisperings. She speaks in our spirit. Her voice yields to our silences like a faint light that quivers in fear of the shadow."
But the restless say, "We have heard her shouting among the mountains, and with her cries came the sound of hoofs, and the beating of wings and the roaring of lions."

At night the watchmen of the city say, "Beauty shall rise with the dawn from the east."
And at noontide the toilers and the wayfarers say, "We have seen her leaning over the earth from the windows of the sunset."

In winter say the snow-bound, "She shall come with the spring leaping upon the hills."
And in the summer heat the reapers say, "We have seen her dancing with the autumn leaves, and we saw a drift of snow in her hair."

All these things have you said of beauty, yet in truth you spoke not of her but of needs unsatisfied, and beauty is not a need but an ecstasy.
It is not a mouth thirsting nor an empty hand stretched forth, but rather a heart enflamed and a soul enchanted.
It is not the image you would see nor the song you would hear, but rather an image you see though you close your eyes and a song you hear though you shut your ears.
It is not the sap within the furrowed bark, nor a wing attached to a claw, but rather a garden for ever in bloom and a flock of angels for ever in flight.

People of Orphalese, beauty is life when life unveils her holy face.
But you are life and you are the veil.
Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
But you are eternity and you are the mirror.

--Kahlil Gibran

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Finally, Yren's New Bikinis

As daylight was dying in the west, we sat by the window of the sewing parlor and photographed Yren. She was pleased on two counts: first, not to be modeling out in the snow, and second, to have had her lips done special for the occasion.

I've done pinky-red on her lips before, but the new tawny-orange color we tried out to go with her red wig was just smashing. It really brought out another side to her we haven't seen before. Now I'm anxious to try photographing it again with natural light, but for now we are both happy enough with these shots to share them here.

So here you can see the pattern tweaking I did with Yren's bikini bottoms. It's just a small thing, but as a bumbling beginner I have to encourage myself with small things. See, in the blue bikini, how the bottom goes absolutely straight across her middle?  I changed that a little so that it curves down a bit in front, to accent her own curves a little more. 

This is a very easy pattern and I thought of putting it here on the blog so that anybody who wanted to could make one. But maybe I'm the only ED person who's this obsessed with making the silly things!

And while I am confessing to sartorial obsessions, I may as well admit here that I'm also exceedingly fond of Biscuitbear's "18th Century Inspired" gown. I've made it twice so far, but have another two all cut out and have selected fabric for two more. Every time I visit Field's Fabrics another piece leaps out at me as being perfect for Yren and perfect for that dress.

Let's see--six 18th Century dresses is two more than the number of bikinis Yren has. (Blue, red, zebra, and also an "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" that I made for her just to go with the old 50s song, but the color doesn't flatter her.)

I think the message here is that I should start thinking about sewing something else for her! The poor child doesn't own a skirt!

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Lolita Look

Yren has two new bikinis, just because ED bikinis are so fun to make, and because my pattern needed a little extra tweaking, and most of all because an Enchanted Doll wearing a bikini can be appreciated almost as much as she can wearing nothing at all, but without shocking strangers who aren't used to them.

One bikini is a charming little pink-on-cherry-red pin dot, and the other, which she wears with her red wig, is a zebra stripe. And I did try to take pictures of them too, but didn't get a single good shot. Took her outside; she was patient, but the light was harsh. Tried again indoors near a window, but the shadows showed up way too much.

Rather than post nothing at all (for another week!), and blithely ignoring any connections bikinis might have with my next topic, I shall now talk about how Yren was accidentally introduced to my book discussion group.

My book discussion group is called "Classics Revisited" because we read all classic titles. Our title for November was Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita. When I started reading the novel, I very soon needed a bookmark--but did I go upstairs and choose one from my extensive collection of bookmarks? No I did not, I did what I usually do--grab anything flat and handy. In this instance, I grabbed a picture of Yren that was lying around--this picture of her--and used it for my bookmark.

The night of our book discussion, I was seated at the table next to the other discussion leader. I absently put the picture down beside me with my other papers...but Yren in her red pajamas caught his eye. He didn't know anything about dolls, but he immediately ceased upon her image here as being a Lolita type, and he said I must have chosen it subconsciously to suit the title. And then he passed the picture around the whole table so everyone could see her! Oh yes he did!

People just never know what to make of a fellow grown-up who likes dolls, do they? I felt sure this group didn't. But since some comment had to be offered, I told them about the artist, and her real Lolita doll, and what she sold for and where. And then a little about Lolita's fashion influence, for good measure. And so the whole doll/fashion idea became part of the book discussion; one participant said she thought Lolita as she exists in the book seems to be rather different from the popular idea of what a "Lolita" is like. Maybe the popular idea is closer to the way Humbert Humbert defined nymphets. I thought of reading the book a second time to clarify that for myself a bit, but truthfully, I didn't want to spend any more time in Humbert's company for awhile.

A critic once asserted that unless you know something about butterflies, it's impossible to understand the novel Lolita. I thought he meant Latin names and such lepidopteric stuff. But now I'm pretty sure it was the process of collecting butterflies that he intended.

One last thing: It's interesting that butterflies are associated with Enchanted Dolls too; not only because of their beauty and fragility and magical quality, but also--maybe--because they bring out the obsession and passion of the collector who wants to possess them all--one of each kind! I know what that's like.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Congratulations, Annina!

Yren sends her best congratulations to Annina, who won the book giveaway on my daughter's blog at!

You will love the Mysterious Benedict Society, Annina! Great choice! I can't wait until the third MBS book arrives at the library so I can read that one too.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The smell of burning leaves...

Yren was feeling a bit unwell this morning and spent most of her day indoors. But later, when our country neighbors came out to work in their yards before dinner, she wanted to come out too, to rest in the warm afternoon sunshine and breathe in the crisp, magical scent of burning leaves.

No, she wasn't sick exactly... To tell the truth, she stayed up past 3 a.m. last night to finish reading Wuthering Heights and so this morning she woke up with a headache. She's always been rather a night-owl, but she still needs plenty of sleep and this time she just overdid it.

And to tell even more truth, she had been lounging about in her flannel robe, not her little Poiret gown and skimpy shawl. But when she heard that I was going to take photographs for her blog, then that un-glamourous bathrobe very quickly disappeared.

So here she is, to wish you happy fall days--or spring days, if that's where you are--and to recommend Wuthering Heights as a very absorbing read.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Poems for Enchanted Dolls #13


In the town of Odessa
There is a garden
And Dvonya is there...
Dvonya, whom I love
Though I have never been
in Odessa.

I love her black hair, and eyes
As green as a salad
That you gather in the
Woods in August
Between the roots of alder,
Her skin, with an odor of  wildflowers.

We understand each other perfectly.
We are cousins twice removed.
In the garden we drink tea,
As evening falls and the lights begin to twinkle.

But this is only a dream.
I am not there with my thin hands
And citified speech,
And the old woman is not there
Peering between the curtains.

We are only phantoms, bits of ash,
Like yesterday's newspaper
Or the smoke of chimneys.
All that passed long ago
On a summer night in Odessa.

Poem by Louis Simpson. Photograph of Emerald from the Enchanted Doll website.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Books, the Universe and Everything

If you love to read, or bake, or both, you might enjoy a visit to my daughter Emily's blog, "Books, the Universe, and Everything."  She has a new blog-home on Wordpress and a new domain,

And she's celebrating her new home with a Book Giveaway...Check it out! All you have to do to be eligible is become a Facebook fan of her blog, or else Tweet or post about it--you'll see the details in her first post.

Which books can you win? Well, she has a list of some of her favorites, and you can take your choice among them. If I win, I'm choosing Billy Collins's "The Trouble With Poetry."

Unfortunately, I do not automatically win just for being her mother. And giving life to her. And raising her and and sewing ruffles on her anklets, and baking endless batches of cookies with her, and making SEVEN identical American Girl outfits for her friends' dolls every time she had a slumber party...No, I do not automatically win.

However, at Christmas time, I do get books from her, though automatically is not quite the right word. More like "reliably."  She gives me the books I think I want to read and the books she things I ought to read. Never known her to be wrong about a single one.

So it's okay with me if you win one of her books instead of me. Pick anything on her list--you can't go wrong. If you can't make up your mind, I'd say go with "A Girl Named Zippy." I've never met anyone who didn't love Zippy.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

New Baby in the Family!

...Welcoming a new baby girl to the family...

♥Addison Ruth♥

6 pounds, 11 ounces
Born today
to my much-loved nephew and niece, Mark and Melissa.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Yren's Bikini: Protesting the End of Summer

It is a damp, drizzly November in my soul, and out the window too. Rather than grow grim about the mouth, I am protesting Winter's onset by making a totally frivolous and impractical bikini for Yren. Here she is on her favorite beach blanket.

In fairness to her, I should follow it up with flannel pajamas, as I have promised her I would do. Stylish flannel pajamas--she gets cold at night, but she won't wear anything grandmotherish, you know. And you can always tell when she doesn't like something you've put on her: she freezes. Then when you change her into something she likes, she looks all warm and friendly again.

Which brings me to my point about the bikini: you don't see her protesting that little article. Cold as it was, she didn't freeze. Oh, she just wants it all, this one!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Five Favorite Portraits of Yren

Yesterday I went through all the pictures on my hard drive and chose some favorite portraits of Yren I haven't posted before.

This is the only picture we'll ever see of Yren in that wig. A size four, it is too small for her--despite clipping the edges--and kept popping off her head. I wedged her crown down around it just to keep it in place long enough to take this picture. I think she looks nice in lighter wig colors; this one is Monique's "Paris" in chestnut brown.

I'm sending the wig to Monika in hopes that Fern's head might be just enough smaller to be able to wear it.

This is another shot from her "dark gown" session. I like how the angle of her head shows the exotic cast to her eyes...You don't see that so much in her full-face views.

In pictures like this, it's easy to imagine her as the daughter of an English sea-captain and a beautiful island girl.

Unlike most of my photo shoots, every shot in this one looked good! Yren was very pleased with me for working hard and improving.

This was from the last set of pictures we did of her unclothed--after that she said she wanted me to get busy making her some photo-worthy apparel, sooner rather than later.

We went outside to the backyard for the natural light. The background of dark pines just makes her skin look so glowing, and her eyes so blue.

Taken Yren's first day. I didn't like this one at first, not just because of the stray hairs in the way. It just wasn't how I thought she should look. But now I like how Yren's pixie-ish side shows.
As I get to know Yren better, I'm not expecting her to conform to my expectations of her as I used to; I'm letting her be herself. And this is part of who she is.

And finally, here is another one of Benjamin's pictures. I just like the way he posed her leaning to the side like that. Hmm, so far I've let only two other people handle Yren, and they both pose her better than I do! Oh well, I'll just call Ben in as a consultant on her photo shoots, I guess. I'll have to bribe him with MacDonald's fries though--talent doesn't come cheap!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Benjamin's Photo Shoot

After Yren was finished with her Alice in Wonderland poses, my son Benjamin took over the shoot and did his own concepts, props, poses and photography. Here's Yren putting on her make-up and reading a book. He also did the "Pennies from Heaven" song post below.

I'm not sure why Yren is so favored, when he won't even walk down the Barbie aisle with me at the store! But since my daughter isn't near by to appreciate Yren with me, I'm glad my son is willing to do it once in awhile. I think he was proud that I trusted him to handle her, and indeed he was very careful with her.

Usually Ben is more interested in Yren's animals. You can see a little of Noxy's Mouserat in Ben's picures--he just loves Mouserat and the little dog Noxy sent to Yren! I asked him if he wanted her to wear different clothes or wig, but he didn't care about that.

Yren as Alice in Wonderland

Here is the picture I'm putting on the forum as Yren's contribution to the October Photo Project, the theme of which was "Costume Party" for October. (Her hair is not carrot orange, as it appears here--it's soft honey blonde. But we're taking pictures late at night. We'll try again tomorrow.)

My idea all along was for Yren to be dressed as Barbie, in some iconic costume that people might recognize. But then the month ran out, and all I had accomplished was making this new wig for her.

So I put this Barbie pinafore on her. It's from the "Orange Blossom" outfit often seen on Midge as bridesmaid at Barbie's wedding. For Yren's underdress, we used this little blue number that was a test of for Tammy pattern... And suddenly, Yren had become Alice in Wonderland--just as if I had planned it!

Poems for Enchanted Dolls #12

Pennies from Heaven

Every time it rains, it rains
Pennies from heaven.
Don't you know each cloud contains
Pennies from heaven.
You'll find your fortune falling
All over town--
Be sure that your umbrella is upside down!
Trade them for a package of
Sunshine and flowers.
If you want the things you love,
You must have showers.
So when you hear it thunder
Don't run under a tree.
There'll be pennies from heaven for you and me!

Song lyrics to "Pennies from Heaven" by Louis Prima; Enchanted Doll
Yren posed and photographed by Benjamin Wilson.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Memories of Yren's arrival day

I never posted all of Yren's arrival day pictures anywhere, I just looked at them on my computer whenever I wanted to relive the experience. But after being without my computer and all my hundreds of pictures of Yren for so long, I've decided to post a few here where I can always get at them. They look like everyone else's box-opening pictures, but they're special to me because Yren is inside.

So here you have it... The big day: Thursday, August 20, 2009, about 5:30 pm.

The packing peanuts

And the Enchanted Doll box

And here is Yren as she looked in that moment, endearingly bald and vulnerable, strapped in so tight.

Here is the first picture I ever took of her after she had her strappings taken off and was out of her box.

The earrings are the ones Marina gave her.

You can see that I don't have her wig adjusted just right, and the light was terrible, and I'm an Idiot Photographer. But a first picture is a first picture, and this was my Yren's.

I call this her "Lorraine" picture because she just looks like that ought to be her name.

And then, of course, I had to try on her red wig. It fits her a little differently than the brown one, shows more of her pretty forehead.

At the time, I was desperately unhappy with my efforts. Photographing Enchanted Dolls was just not the point and snap I thought it would be! But now I don't think they're so bad. What made the difference? This: I finally figured out that I could CROP them! Cropping is MAGIC!

I think she looks like a Renaissance princess here--she should be clothed in velvets and gold. She hasn't asked for them though--not yet. So far she's mainly interested in Wheels & Doll Baby, Forever 21, and Polyvore.

So that was my pretty girl the day she came into my life. Long may she reign!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Yren's slopers so far

A few people asked me what slopers are. Also called "blocks," they are basic patterns that fit the body closely; once you fit them perfectly to the model, you can alter them to make whatever style garment you want. I'm just a beginner at it, learning the sloper method because it is fun and because Yren wants a lot of clothes. No use drafting paper-towel one-offs every time I make something for her, as I used to do for dolls.

If you are interested in trying it, or at least reading more about it, have a look at this neat website. Unlike other, more recent books on the topic, this one actually explains things. And while you're there, be sure to look at Vintage Sewing Info's home page too: you'll see they have reproduction texts of lots of other great stuff--books on millinery, glove-making, even home dry cleaning, as well as basic sewing.

So now Yren has a few bodice slopers, each with the darts in different places, to get us started on her wardrobe. The back bodice sloper was the first one I did, and I drafted that one according to her measurements. I started doing the front one that way too, but then ended up just using the ol' paper towel method to get the first sloper--it's so much easier. Then I made the rest of the front slopers from that.

We did her first skirt blocks today too... I didn't notice that the back and front were drafted separately, and I ended up sewing too fronts together! Turned out kind of boxy! Then, LOL, I read the fine print. Oops--told you I was a beginner!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Yren in fall

Only last night in a note to Monika I was despairing of ever taking pictures of Yren that show her as I see her. And I'm sure Yren was despairing of it too--it's an affront to her singular beauty to have such an incompetent as I attempting to record it.

But today we ventured out into rain-soaked nature to set up a shoot so that at long last anyone who was wondering what Yren looks like with brown eyes and eye-liner might be satisfied. And here she is, giving you the kind of look she beguiles me with every day.

When we came back in, her hands were so cold, I couldn't ask her to go back out for a second session right away. So we begged a little computer time from my husband, who is eager to shoot aliens, and Yren is warming up again while I blog.

Modest success at photography is inspiring me to go back up to the Sewing Parlor and finish Yren's front bodice sloper, and then see what fabrics I might have that suit her, and then maybe try on some more blushers and lip colors. On n'est pas belle par hasard!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hooray! Computer's home!

Our computer arrived home safe and surprisingly sound yesterday afternoon. We had two brief scares: one when the monitor wouldn't interface, and the other when my iTunes folder wouldn't open. But both issues have been resolved and all is well.

Now I just have to wait in line to use the thing: my husband wants to keep his Peggle chops up, and my son has more Webkinz to adopt, not to mention aliens to battle.

Yren has no new clothes to have her picture taken in, and she's feeling a little peevish about being photographed nude. She says that was fine when she'd just arrived and didn't own a stitch, but now that she's been with me two full months, she thinks I ought to be producing clothes for her at a snappier rate.

Well, I am *trying.* But I've only just started drafting slopers for her. (Only her back one is done so far; it looks very elegant even in muslin! Because she has a very elegant back, that's why.) So it's going to take a while longer to create the other blocks and then turn them into something. Not sure if I'll make the Forum's October "Costume Party" Photo Project or not--I do have an idea for it this time.

I'd better at least get her portrait while she still has brown eyes because she's impatient to have blue ones again. She likes her lipstick, blush, and eye-liner though. She's not quite so much of a nature girl as I expected her to be, back when I was only dreaming of her. More of an Uptown girl, is our Yren.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Still No Computer!

Waah! We couldn't go to Chicago and pick up our home computer, newly repaired and upgraded, because first my husband caught a bad cold and then I did. We might have been well enough to make the drive but we didn't want to bring our germs into my nephew's house and risk infecting all of them, especially the baby.

So we're planning to make the trip this coming weekend, and I have to go through another week with boring posts and --sorry Terri!--no new pictures of Yren.

I've mostly spent the down time working on a quilt for said nephew & family. (It's coming out really neat: it's made with squares of bright fabrics they brought back from Hawaii with them, set with oceanic blues and greens.)

But I have been working on dressing poor shivering little Yren too. She's not used to Michigan! Yesterday morning when I woke her up her whole little body was c-c-c-cold! So she definitely needs a flannel nightgown, and some thermal long underwear too. But was I working on something practical like that? No I was not. I was making a sleeveless summer dress out of a very sweet Liberty of London cotton print. Wishful thinking, I guess.

Note for Terri: no, Yren has no shoes. :-( I had asked Marina about buying some stilettoes, but no response. So my plan is to make some shoe lasts for her, and then make some shoes, but haven't done it yet--I'm intimidated by the mold-making process.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Why so sad, Yren?

Last night when I looked in on Yren to say good-night to her, she looked sad to me. Now why was that? Makes me wonder if there was a disturbance in the ED force. Maybe she just heard the news about her cousin Selena's hand being hurt.

It's possible she was distressed that I was not able to immediately start sewing her new dress out of the glorious new fabric I found for her, but she's generally not pouty like that. (A good thing too, because I won't get to that new dress for at least a week. )

So why so sad? Maybe she'll tell me, now that I've noticed. Maybe the date was an anniversary of something sad...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Barbie Photographers

I have been so anxious to tell you this story about my cousin Karen. She was at the family gathering too, and I introduced her to Yren. I spent awhile explaining EDs to her and going over the website because she'd never heard of them before.

Her first reaction was, "She looks dead!" And I have to admit, Yren is rather pale. Her body doesn't have much blushing on it, but that's another story. Anyway, Karen got over it pretty quickly, in her fascination with the articulation and the general unusualness of an Enchanted Doll. She had her camera with her and wanted to take some pictures of Yren, but the light wasn't very good inside so we went out to the garden, where the sun was going down but there was still enough light for some good shots.

Now here's the thing you need to know about my cousin Karen: she and I had the same Barbie dolls (1967 Twist-n-Turn Barbies with bendable legs and long brown hair) and we played with them constantly whenever our families were together. Our very favorite thing to do was to take off all their clothes and pose them outside, in the woods or by the river with their feet in the water. We didn't own cameras so we pretended to take pictures of them. This was ummm, okay, a lot* of years ago and I had pretty much forgotten all about it.

But there we were, out in the garden, me holding up Yren so Karen could get a good angle on her with her camera. She snapped the picture--and looked up at me and said, "Oh my god! We're doing it again!"

* I guess there is no reason to be coy about how many, since you can subtract 1967 from 2009 if you want to know. But let me tell you: those bendable legs were a sensation.

Yren Meets My Sisters

With my home computer down, I haven't had much of a chance to talk about Yren's introduction to my extended family last month. But I have a while now. There are three reactions I want to talk about: we'll see how far I get tonight.

Yren made the trip north inside her box, tucked up cozily in Noxy's comforter for security, and the box in my arms the whole way.

First I showed her to my oldest sister, Mary. Jean was near-by too, but she had her apron on and was stirring and fixing up dinner. And she isn't quite so interested in dolls as Mary and I are; Mary and I were all dolls and ballet while Jean was more BB guns and horses. But she does take an interest in EDs for my sake.

Mary said that Yren is very beautiful, and that made me sigh with happiness. I could never be 100% content with a doll that Mary did not think was beautiful, if the doll was supposed to be beautiful. It's not just a Little Sister thing: Mary really does have wonderfully good taste. [Want to know who Mary's favorite ED is? Okay!]

I'm embarrassed to admit it, but Mary is better at posing Yren than I am. Much better. You know that picture of Yren lying on her yellow comforter? Well, that was just a poor imitation of what Mary did with that pose. Yren looked like she really was resting, all natural and relaxed, while in the version I did she looks all tense, like a strange noise just woke her up in the middle of the night.

And Mary said something else that made me very happy. She said that Yren has a pleased expression, that she looks happy to be with you and to be held in your hands. That is both true and important to me. When I open Yren's box to greet her in the morning, she never looks like she's thinking "OMG, how'd I end up with HER! Please, somebody, ship me back to Vancouver!" A few Enchanted Dolls I can think of would not enjoy living with me, I think--they are too high-powered for me. But Yren is just right.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Poems for Enchanted Dolls #11

Sisters of Mercy

Oh the sisters of mercy, they are not departed or gone.
They were waiting for me when I thought that I just can't go on.
And they brought me their comfort and later they brought me this song.
Oh I hope you run into them, you who've been travelling so long.

Yes you who must leave everything that you cannot control.
It begins with your family and soon it comes around to your soul.
I've been where you're hanging, I think I can see how you're pinned:
When you're not feeling holy, your loneliness says that you've sinned.

They lay down beside me, I made my confession to them.
They touched both my eyes and I touched the dew on their hem.
If your life is a leaf that the seasons tear off and condemn,
they will bind you with love that is graceful and green as a stem.

When I left they were sleeping, I hope you run into them soon.
Don't turn on the lights, you can read their address by the moon.
And it won't make me jealous if I hear that they sweetened your night:
We weren't lovers like that and besides it would still be all right.

Lyrics by Leonard Cohen. Original photographs of Fern and Yren by Chad Isley,
beautifully combined by Monika Viktoria to commemorate their close friendship in Canada
before departing for their homes in the United States and Australia.

You My Brown-Eyed Girl

This morning I painted Yren's eyes brown.

Just for fun, with watercolor, so it's not permanent. Is she pretty with brown eyes? Oh yes! And whilst I and my tiny paintbrush were doing business in the vicinity, we gave her some dark brown eyeliner on her lower lids. Makes quite a difference--a more dramatic look for her normally angelic little self.

Yren has white highlights in her eyes; one towards the top of her iris and one towards the bottom, under the pupil. I painted around the top one, so it still shows. I painted over the bottom one, waited for the paint to dry, and then painted it back in, much smaller, on the theory that brown eyes don't reflect the light so much as blue eyes do. And I gave her rosier lips, too.

Unfortunately I can't take pictures of her yet; my husband has the camera at work with him today, uploading the pictures there since our home computer is not home yet. But Yren's make-over will last awhile, and I'll be able to take some pictures of her soon.

I love how versatile she is, always ready to change moods and looks. And I love her expression; as much as I enjoy the haughty, high-fashion look, I really just love gazing at this doll who always looks happy to be gazing back at me.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Yren is Smokin'!

Here's the dress I made for Yren to wear for her picture in the ED Forum's September Photo Project. For some reason I can't upload it to the forum at all, though I've tried both from Flickr and from Vox.
Anyway, the theme for this month is "Smoke." I looked for fabric to inspire me, and found this crinkly, shiny, stretchy, sexy, smoky stuff. At first the dress was going to be full-length, but then I realized: any outfit is going to be more smokin' if Yren's legs show. We don't have any shoes yet, but we definitely need some smokin' shoes too.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Over the weekend, Yren told me two new things about herself.

First, she told me that her middle name is Alexandra. Yren Alexandra. It wouldn't have occurred to me, maybe, but she says it's hers and I like it. Maybe she will tell me more about it sometime; maybe "Alexandra" is a family name.

Next, she told me that she has been professionally trained in singing. Another surprise! And she's a soprano! Now see, I'd have made her an alto, so you know I'm not just making this stuff up.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Photoshoot: Presents from Noxy

Noxy made the most beautiful silk comforter set for Yren, and a wonderful antique book, and a very charming little mouse-rat complete with miniature house, and the cleverest "balloon" animal! And for good measure she sent along a very happy little dog that my son has now bonded with! Noxy is a wonder at polyclay--and at sewing too! Yren loves her gifts. She didn't have a soft place to sleep, but now she does.

I'm glad that my pictures of Yren are turning out better these days, because she and I have other photoshoots we are very anxious to do! Monika Viktoria sent Yren a "Welcome Home" box of amazing presents that you have not seen yet, plus we have Biscuitbear's straw hat and Blue Dot's pretty apron to photograph too.

So stay tuned! And watch for Mr. Balloon Animal--he didn't make it into this post, but he's going to be paying regular visits, as he is our official mascot now.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Note to the World

Hi everyone!

Just to let you know, my home computer gave us the DBSOD (Dreaded Blue Screen of Death) last Friday, and as a result I will be without home Internet access for about three weeks. My valient nephew has taken our tower home with him to try to rescue the contents of the hard drive (which was never backed up even though Certain Of Us in the Family told our Husband that it should be.)

I plan to write a few posts longhand, as well as take pictures, and then post them from work on my lunch hour or after quittin' time. But my ability to see and respond to comments, or to visit Yren's neighbors and comment there, will be severely hampered.

This morning my feet kept carrying me over to the monitor for a relaxing game of Burger Shop 2, but alas! No waffles on the conveyor belt for a while! Waaah!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Poems for Enchanted Dolls #10

The Lass With the Delicate Air

Young Molly who lived at the foot of the hill,
Whose fame every virgin with envy doth kill,
Of beauty is blessed with so ample a share
Men call her the Lass with the Delicate Air.
With the delicate air, men call her the Lass with the Delicate Air.

By a murmuring brook in a green mossy glade,
A chaplet composing, the fair one was laid.
Surprised and transported, I could not forebear
With rapture to gaze on her delicate air.
On her delicate air, with rapture to gaze on her delicate air.

A thousand times o'er I've repeated my suit,
And still the tormentor affects to be mute.
So tell me, ye swains who have conquered the fair,
How to win the dear lass with the delicate air.
With the delicate air, how to win the fair lass with the delicate air.

Composed by Michael Arne, 1762. Sung by Julie Andrews, 1957.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Yren's Traveling Dress

We have to go away again this weekend but this time Yren is making the trip with us! She is going to meet my two sisters, who have been very interested in her all these very long months, and some of my nieces too.

When I opened her box this morning, she greeted me with the unexpected comment, "Je n'ai rien à me mettre!"

Hmmmm... That is a phrase from my college French 100 class--is she telling me that she is French? Belge? Or maybe that she lived on a French-speaking island? She is a sea captain's daughter, after all, so she could very well have come by those pretty rolled r's naturally. I await further revelations from her.

Oh well--whatever else she is telling me, she is definitely saying that she doesn't have anything to wear for the weekend. So I made her a quickie little sun dress, as we are having a very balmy fall here after our cold summer. I think it's funny that lavender is turning out to be a good color for her to wear, while it's one of my least favorites (though I love lilacs.) And pink, my favorite color, does not look particularly good on her unless it's a greyed or brownish one. I guess this is proof I'm not forcing my tastes on her, but letting hers emerge as best I can.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Photo Shoot: Yren in the Garden

Yren lives in a hundred-year-old farmhouse and has a kitchen garden to play in, so here she is atop my son's prized pumpkin, and in the shade of the mulberry tree. Now that the pumpkin pic has been up awhile, I'm not liking it so well: too straight on, too stiff. Maybe I'll have a chance to shoot her there again before that pumpkin becomes a Halloween decoration and a pie.

And maybe she'll have clothes then too! In the meantime, thanks to my friend Terri of Reikidolls for the cute underpants.