Friday, July 31, 2009

Poems for Enchanted Dolls #6 (French and English)

This poem came to me in a podcast called Easy French Poetry. I recommend the series very highly if you want to improve your French comprehension, as the Parisienne narrator always speaks "slowly, clearly and using everyday vocabulary." It is a real pleasure to hear her read and discuss interesting poems. This one is so EDesque--especially if the ED is Fern!

 Elle était Déchaussée

Elle était déchaussée, elle était décoiffée,
Assise, les pieds nus, parmi les joncs penchants;
Moi qui passais par là, je crus voir une fée,
Et je lui dis : Veux-tu t'en venir dans les champs?
Elle me regarda de ce regard suprême
Qui reste à la beauté quand nous en triomphons,
Et je lui dis : Veux-tu, c'est le mois où l'on aime,
Veux-tu nous en aller sous les arbres profonds?
Elle essuya ses pieds à l'herbe de la rive ;
Elle me regarda pour la seconde fois,
Et la belle folâtre alors devint pensive.
Oh ! comme les oiseaux chantaient au fond des bois!
Comme l'eau caressait doucement le rivage!
Je vis venir à moi, dans les grands roseaux verts,
La belle fille heureuse, effarée et sauvage,
Ses cheveux dans ses yeux, et riant au travers.


Her shoes were pulled off, her hair undone,
She was sitting barefoot among the leaning rushes;
As I passed by, I thought I had seen a fairy,
And asked her: would you like to go for a stroll in the fields?
She looked at me with this supreme look
That beauty bares in all her glory,
And I said, "Would you like – since it’s the month of love –
Would you like to go with me under the dense forest?
She wiped her feet on the grass of the bank;
She looked at me a second time,
And the playful beauty then turned pensive.
Oh, how the birds sang in the depths of the woods!
How gently the water caressed its banks!
I saw come to me, through the tall green reeds,
The beautiful girl, happy, frightened and wild,
Her hair in her eyes, and laughing through it.

Poem by Victor Hugo; translation from; photo of Fern by Monika Viktoria.

Guess Beads Update

Well, Hobby Lobby did not have any round beads smaller than 4 mm for my necklaces. So I got online and found just what I wanted at Beadaholique. Black onyx round beads, white serpentine round beads.... and pink rhodonite ones, just for fun! All in 2 mm! Yikes, with pink beads, I might end up designing something original!

The beads of the necklace I already made were 4 mm, so I'm thinking 2 mm ought to look more to scale for Yren. And I'm going to string them on a skinnier, more supple cord too--maybe even sewing thread--so they'll hang better. The cord I used before was making them bow out.

If I get good service from Beadaholique, I'll have another favorite online shop to add to my list! In addition to having what I wanted, they also have a slick ordering interface and they take paypal, so I'm very happy with them so far.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Poems for Enchanted Dolls #5

If you were coming in the Fall,
I'd brush the Summer by
with half a smile and half a spurn
as Housewives do a Fly.

If you were coming in a year,
I'd wind the months in balls
and put them each in separate Drawers
until their time befalls.

If only Centuries delayed,
I'd count them on my hands,
subtracting, till my fingers fell
into Van Diemans land.

If certain when this life were out
that yours and mine should be,
I'd toss it yonder, like a Rind,
and taste Eternity.

But now, all ignorant of the length
of time's uncertain wing,
it goads me, like the Goblin Bee
that will not state its sting.

Poem by Emily Dickinson. B&W detail of color photo by Chad Isley of Gwendolyn.
I've always loved this poem about separation and longing; it's maybe a bit over-stated when applied to waiting for word about one's Enchanted Doll, but it suits a mood and fills a need :-)

Taking a break

My daughter is coming home for five days, I am taking time off work, and we are going to shop, watch movies, bake, read, shop some more, stay up late, and sleep in. I need to think about something besides my email for a while!

A stop at Hobby Lobby is planned too, so maybe they will have smaller round beads for Yren's black and white set of necklaces. Often in the fashion magazines I see an accessory that is meant to look big and out-sized in a fun way, but somehow on a doll it never looks like you meant it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Poems for Enchanted Dolls, #4

From The Princess

Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white;
Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk;
Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font.
The firefly wakens; waken thou with me.

Now droops the milk-white peacock like a ghost,
And like a ghost she glimmers onto me.
Now lies the Earth all Danaë to the stars,
And all thy heart lies open unto me.
Now slides the silent meteor on, and leaves
A shining furrow, as thy thoughts in me.

Now folds the lily all her sweetness up,
And slips into the bosom of the lake.
So fold thyself, my dearest, thou, and slip
Into my bosom and be lost in me.

Poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Photograph of Wynnifred (Penelope) by Judy Richardson.

Metallumia Identifies "Helen"!

A million thank-yous to Metallumia for recognizing my "Helen" and figuring out who she is! This is the girl whose unidentified picture I had stumbled on and sent to Marina as a visual reference for my Enchanted Doll.

She is Anna Popplewell, an English actress who played the older sister, Susan, in the Narnia movies, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, and Prince Caspian. Isn't she pretty?

I'm an idiot for never having seen those movies myself; I've loved the books for ages and worn out two sets of them with reading and lending them. We even had McDonald's Happy Meal toys from those movies, so I have no excuse! Well, I am definitely going to see them now, anyway.

It's so marvelous to be able to see more pictures of her, and to know for sure who the woman is that has shared her lovely coloring with my Enchanted Doll. There's no doubt in my mind that Metallumia has found the right person--here she is, with an absolutely incandescent smile, wearing the same clothes as in my other picture of her. Thank you again, Metallumia--what a great surprise!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Guess Beads

In the August issue of Elle magazine, toward the front, I found this picture of some great beads that I immediately thought of making ED size.

So I did. Hobby Lobby cooperated with me by generously charging only half-price for the Swarovski beads.

The black beads should fall right about the ED's sternum, and the white ones should be waist level. Hard to tell on this Barbie, but if they aren't the right length I'll take them apart and make them again.

No, I 'll try to find smaller beads instead. These don't hang as straight as they should anyway, and they are a little chunkier than I wanted. Tyler Wentworth can have them.

As Thoroughly Modern Millie said, "Gee I wish my fronts weren't so full--they sure ruin the line of your beads."

(And for a full minute I doubted the propriety of quoting such a risqué comment on my blog. Then I remembered I routinely post pictures of dolls wearing nothing up top at all, not even beads! So the quote went in.)

Went a little crazy...

Well, Hobby Lobby had Simplicity patterns at 99 cents again, and I went a little crazy...Bought the limit of ten, all as potential Yren clothes.

Now posts like this could end up embarrassing me if I blog about how I'm going to make all these ED costumes and then either never try or never succeed.

But that's the breaks. Thinking, planning, and dreaming are pretty much all I can do right now, so think, plan and dream is what I shall do!

This costume is really appealing to me because it fits into the back story I wrote, back when Yren was to be tan. Some time I will have to write it all out again. Anyway, in it there's a country maiden who becomes friends with Yren (to give me a reason to order another ED, heh heh heh!) And these seem like clothes that the country maiden would look very sweet in. In the meantime, Yren can wear them herself and look sweet too.

These dresses have some very nice details: the wide bell of the sleeve where it is gathered into the cuff, the charming use of plaid wool, the dainty stand-up collar,and the graceful overskirt--and the tam! Is that tam not the sweetest? I think this will be a fun one!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A New Gwen in the World!

Excitement, excitement! Excitement on the Web! Angelificatu's Gwendolyn doll has safely arrived at her home, and joined her sister ED Elena the Beautiful. Here is a picture of the darling still in her box. Can you wonder that I love her? That I pace away the days until she arrives? Isn't she amazing?

A new Gwendolyn is news indeed, because there aren't many known Gwendolyns around. There is Dunyazade on the ED website, who, unclothed, is (I believe) the same doll as in Gwen's nude gallery. So those two have to count as one. And then there is Makhdot who seems to be a customized Gwendolyn, but may not be. That's only, at most, till mine is done, two. But now we have Angelificatu's Gwen and can have some good long looks at this most beautiful girl.

She has been poured in peach slip, so she has a different look than almost all the other EDs. Venetian is the only other known peach doll. It suits her very well! Because she had her appendix out in time (note scar) she grew up to be a very healthy, radiant girl. Angelificatu hasn't had a chance yet to take many pictures, but keep an eye on her Flickr pages for when she does! We simply can't get enough of this doll, and I'm so thrilled to be awaiting her sister Yren.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Knitted Blanket for Yren

One of my favorite books, Sara B. Stein's A Family Dollhouse, gives directions for a knitted blanket that anybody can make. I'm a beginning knitter, with only three plain scarves to my credit, and if I can do it then definitely anybody can.

You don't have to count or measure or guess at anything. You don't even have to purl! According to Stein, this was how soldiers' blankets were knitted, and even children can do it.
Cast on one stitch. Knit every row; increase one stitch at the beginning of each row. When one side of the triangle is long enough to suit you, then you start decreasing one stitch at the beginning of each row until you are back down to one. Then bind it off by pulling the yarn end through it.

I'm using this method to increase: Knit in the front loop of the first stitch (but don't remove it from the left needle); knit in the back loop of it, then remove both new stitches from the needle at the same time. This way of increasing makes a nice edge for the blanket.
And that's it! Weave in the two ends, and you have a nice blanket for your doll. Here's a picture of how this looks on my needles. I think variegated yarns are helpful for beginners; since each of the stitches is a slightly different color, it's easier to see what you're doing. Like all my other projects, this one keeps me busy while awaiting my Yren.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Doll Friends in Australia

Loving Mayple's artwork as I do, I was thrilled beyond telling when she sent me this drawing of my own Enchanted Doll as an Island Girl.

My own Yren, in grass skirt and lei, relaxing against bright floral pillows, with flowers at her feet and flowers in her hair! Mayple draws with such ease and assurance: you have the sense of Yren's body against the pillows, and of how puffy and soft they are, and how delicate the flowers...

And down at the bottom of the page, you see Mayple herself, with her Fern, the most beautiful doll in the hemisphere. This letter has historic-ED importance, too: while writing it, Mayple first realized that she wanted to name her girl Fern instead of Orchid.

Of course I loved this treasure immediately--but there's more!

The letter came inside a package, and also in the package were....wait for it....Pillow Covers just like the ones in the sketch! And the same sweet little flower pot, just like in the sketch too! So the real Yren will be surrounded by pretty things, just as she is in her portrait. And there were more treasures too, including some Australian chocolate (mmmmmmm!)

I won't have such an exciting package again until Yren herself arrives home, O Hasten the Day! Since Mayple's production date was immediately after mine, we like to think of our girls side by side on Marina's work table, conversing inaudibly as we know dolls do.

What? You don't know how dolls talk? Well then, you need to read Rumer Godden's Miss Happiness and Miss Flower. Many things about dolls will become clear to you then. Including, possibly, how people who love them, even from opposite sides of the world, end up friends because of them.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Poems for Enchanted Dolls #3

A solemn, fearsome disease is the "Waiting for Your Enchanted Doll to be Done" Fever, and I have an acute case. Can't look at a book, can't stand to work; all I can do is ponder pairings of wistful poems with pictures of other people's dolls. I chose this Yeats poem because when his narrator says "a fire is in his head" I know exactly how he feels.

The Song of Wandering Aengus

I went out to the hazel wood,
because a fire was in my head,
and cut and peeled a hazel wand,
and hooked a berry to a thread;
and when white moths were on the wing,
and moth-like stars were flickering out
I dropped the berry in a stream
and caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire aflame,
but something rustled on the floor,
and someone called me by my name:
it had become a glimmering girl
with apple blossom in her hair
who called me by my name and ran
and faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone
and kiss her lips and take her hands;
and walk among long dappled grass
and pluck till time and times are done
the silver apples of the moon,
the golden apples of the sun.

Poem by William Butler Yeats;
photograph of Nati's Alma by Chad Isley

Monday, July 20, 2009

Poems for Enchanted Dolls #2

To an Isle in the Water

Shy one, shy one,
Shy one of my heart,
She moves in the firelight
Pensively apart.

She carries in the dishes,
And lays them in a row.
To an isle in the water
With her I would go.

She carries in the candles,
And lights the curtained room,
Shy in the doorway
And shy in the gloom;

And shy as a rabbit,
Helpful and shy.
To an isle in the water
With her I would fly.

Poem by William Butler Yeats
Photograph of Banshee by Chad Isley

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Window Shopping

I love to think about and plan clothes for my ED. Last spring I was picking up lunch downtown when I saw some dresses in a shop window that just cried out to be made for Yren. After lunch I hurried back with the office camera and took pictures of them (can you see my reflection?) I was thinking the soutache braid trim on this one could be mimicked by chain stich embroidery on the bodice.

Another thing I love to do is go through the sewing catalogs for Vogue, Butterick, Simplicity and McCalls, and when they're on sale for 99 cents then all the patterns I like come home with me. It's easier for me to create the ED-size pattern pieces if I have the full-size ones handy to refer to.

This Hilary Duff pattern has me thinking that Yren would look very cute in leggings and a mini-dress. It doesn't include a pattern for leggings, but I just happen to have several in my stash already.

And then of course, there's the fashion magazines! So far Elle is my favorite for mining ED clothes ideas. I have a notebook stuffed with them!

As you can probably guess, I don't design clothes, I just translate them from human size to doll size. But in the process, usually some changes occur, and after making something once, then I get ideas about how I could make it differently the second time.

So far one single theme has not emerged for Yren's wardrobe. It's going to be a mixture, I think, of modern pieces like the mini-dress, historical costumes, and ethnic regalia. But once Yren comes home to me, we might find ourselves drawn to a particular style for her.

Friday, July 17, 2009

From Marina's Milwaukee Show

Here's a picture I'm betting no one else has. It is an uncropped close-up of the bottom half of Dunyazade's dress.

Did I mean to take a picture of the bottom half of Dunyazade's dress? No I did not. I meant to take a picture of the top half of her dress including her face, but the flash didn't go off so I was just turning the camera around to see what was the matter with it. Then the flash went off. Paradoxically, this picture is not blurry like most of the others, this picture is actually one of my better pictures.

And now I am extremely glad to have this close-up of Dunyazade's dress because it is so helpful in observing and understanding one of Marina's brilliant small-scale sewing techniques: she does not use seam allowances! She has a way of sealing raw edges so that turnings are not needed. Seam allowances and facings are some of the most difficult, effect-ruining sewing elements a doll costumer has to deal with--and she has waved a magic wand and made them vanish!

As a doll costumer I am indebted to her, and when Yren arrives I mean to try this out.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Enchanted Doll ATCs

Thinking about Silkthread's shawl reminds me of the gift I made for her in the forum swap, a set of Enchanted Doll artists' trading cards. ATCs can't be sold, only traded or given away, and that's part of what makes them so fun to make.

First I asked Chad if it was okay to use his photos for them, and he gave his permission. The back sides all had credits to Chad and Marina, the name of the Enchanted Doll, and the marking 1 of 1.

I won't show them all, but here's a favorite--Sapphire and the Green Tree. Enchanted Dolls have such a presence, in addition to their beauty, that the images Chad creates for them can easily become the basis of yet another art form.

How many degrees of separation is this ATC from the person who inspired the doll? Let's see:

1. A person whose visage and presence inspires Marina.

2. The photograph of this person she uses as a visual reference, or possibly the sketches she makes of her, unless she sculpts directly from life.

3. The sculpt she makes of a doll resembling this person. For this purpose, I think we can count the sculpt, the mold, and the finished doll as one step.

4. The photograph Chad makes of the finished doll.

5. My cropped and cut-out detail of Chad's photograph; the finished ATC could maybe be considered a separate step but we'll call it the same.

6. If I used the ATC as part of a collage, or a page of an altered book, or even just a decoration in Yren's scrapbook... Or if you liked Sapphire beside the tree and drew a little sketch of her this way... Then any of these could be the sixth iteration of this image. Oh, heavens, let's go for seven iterations, the perfect number:

7. A doll maker might see your little sketch of my ATC of Chad's photograph of Marina's doll of a beautiful girl, and be inspired to design a doll of it.

Whoa ho! Now that I've just figured out how to make Blogger do something other than float my pics to the top, I will post one more: The Rescue of Gwendolyn. It's just simple, but I like the way it implies four scales of human beings: the tiny knight, rescuing middle-size Gwendolyn, captive in the hands of a giant, while the giant is captive in your hand as you hold the card. Gwennie doesn't seem too afraid of this giant, though.

Yren's Box of Shawls

Yren has four pretty flowered boxes: one for her hats, one for her stockings, one for wigs, and this one for her shawls. (I tucked her tiara and teapot in with the shawls, just for some shiny contrast.)

The boxes originally came with Anna Griffin rubber stamps in them---several sets I bought just to get the box! I didn't know about Enchanted Dolls then, but I did know those boxes would be perfect for something.

Silkthread got me started on making shawls. She knitted the beautiful pale pink one (out of silk thread), there on the left, for our Forum Swap last January, and I was her lucky swap partner. Shawls are very rewarding to make: you can lavish all the time on them you want, they have a luxurious air, they are bound to fit, and they keep you occupied during the Wait.

The red one in the upper right corner of the box was my first one; not the best one, but I keep it as a souvenir because it's the one I worked on while we were in Milwaukee for Marina's show last April. I was working on it at the hotel that afternoon, and I was so distracted with excitement about meeting Marina that I totally messed up the stitch count and had to rip about
a third of it out.

Three are made from the same crochet pattern; they were my introduction to finer threads. Started out with size 10 thread (the white one); shrunk down to size 20 thread (green); and then down to size 30 thread (pink.) I do have a pale blue one started in size 50 thread, but I must not be enjoying it because I keep finding other things to work on.

Silkthread also inspired me to learn to knit, too, and I've knitted a few people-sized scarves, but I haven't got the hanged of knitted lace yet, or produced anything so fine as her shawl. Here's a closer look at it, along with the card she sent. It was the first gift Yren ever received.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A new beaded bag for Yren

Making things for Yren keeps me occupied during the wait for her arrival. It took me all weekend to make this little bag for Yren, mostly because I didn't have a pattern, but just made it up as it went along, and because black thread is very hard to crochet with.

First I crocheted the three tiers of beaded rows just to see a sample of a people-size shawl pattern--didn't even count the beads, just strung them on the thread until I got tired of stringing. Ah, I love it when things go right--there were just enough beads to finish a third row! This little motif seemed like it could be a bag for Yren, so I just kept adding more half-double crochet rows until it was the right size.

It was made with #20 Lizbeth thread and a size 10 hook. The edging for the strap is very easy and in that size works well for ED scale. I had a little scrap of it left over, so I sewed it across the front.

Chain 3. Row 1: In third chain from hook: single crochet, chain 2, single crochet. Chain two and turn. Row 2: In chain 2 space: single crochet, chain 2, single crochet. Chain two and turn. Repeat row two until edging is desired length.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Poems for Enchanted Dolls, #1

For Anne Gregory

'Never shall a young man,
thrown into despair
by those great honey-coloured
ramparts at your ear,
love you for yourself alone
and not your yellow hair.'

'But I can get a hair-dye
and set such colour there,
brown, or black, or carrot,
that young men in despair
may love me for myself alone
and not my yellow hair.'

'I heard an old religious man
but yesternight declare
that he had found a text to prove
that only God, my dear,
could love you for yourself alone
and not your yellow hair.'

Poem by William Butler Yeats;
photograph of Brigantia by Chad Isley

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Is this the face that launched a thousand ships?

A short time before your ED production date, Marina emails you to ask for your final details--the colors and customizations you would like for your doll. When that message came to me, I sent one back describing the rosy-cheeked, fair-skinned, and blue-eyed girl I was wishing for. And I knew Marina could make a lovely doll just from that description, but still I wished for a photograph to show her what I had in mind.

Rather doubting my chance for success, I started poking up searches in Google Images... and before many thumbnails had flashed by, this Helen appeared, illuminating the screen. I don't know who she is, and it doesn't matter--hers is the picture I sent to Marina as an inspiration for the fair, rosy, radiantly pretty girl I envisioned.

Notice especially her nicely-shaped eyebrows... you might be seeing them again before too long.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Top Ten List of Things I'm Going to Do When Yren Arrives

Pardon this lapse into shameless self-indulgence. But I just can't resist.

10. Take a week off work to spend with her!

9. Have a party so that my lo-oo-oong-suffering, encouraging, and enthusiastic friends at work can see her. And have yummy things to eat while admiring her.

8. Fit her into the dresses I've made for her so that she won't have to greet people nude at her own party--at least not right away.

7. Design a dress for her like the ones my mother used to draw... My sisters and I loved to beg Mom to draw pictures of pretty ladies for us, and every time, she'd draw a gorgeous brunette in a strapless gown with tier upon tier of ruffles. And she'd pose them in a Rita Hayworth kind of stance, hands behind their heads, arms framing their faces...

6. Draft some patterns for her so I can share them...Leggings, tights, a nightgown, a pretty sundress...

5. Take pictures of her wearing the apron Blue Dot sent her, and the shawl that Silkthread sent her, and the hat Biscuitbear sent her, and lounging on the pillows Mayple sent her--individually and all together.

4. Commune with her about what she wants to wear.

3. Commune with her about who she wants to be.

2. Just gaze at her...

and the Number One thing I'm going to do once Yren arrives:

Take a picture of her still in the box!

Monday, July 6, 2009

"J'aime mon choix"

Marina says on her blog today (comment 4) that her porcelain slip shipment finally arrived. It sounds like only the white slip came in, but it got me thinking about how I would feel right now if the tan slip had come in too. Would I regret going ahead with white slip for my doll instead of waiting, as others are doing, for my first-choice color to arrive?

As I wrote before, I really had my heart set on tan skin for my doll. I had her backstory all written; I'd collected belongings and made clothes especially for my island girl. This is Chad's picture of Nitocris, the only doll known to have been cast in tan slip. She is very beautiful, and certainly worth waiting for.

But I am glad I made the decision I did. I'm glad because the vision of my fair-skinned, rosy, blue-eyed girl has taken root in my imagination and now she is Yren. If it is possible for me to buy a second doll in the future, then she will be tan. In the meantime, I hope other slip colors do come in soon, and that fans request tan and ebony and peach dolls and post lots of pictures of them! They are sure to be amazingly lovely.

Update 7/11/2009: Hmmm, apparently some other colors of slip came in too, not just white. I heard Annika's ebony Lucius is to be poured this weekend. That is wonderful! If I could get another spot in the line, I'd order a tan Gwen for sure!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Pet for Yren

To celebrate Yren's birthday July 1, I went shopping and brought home a half-grown Siamese kitten to be her pet. Her name is "Mitzi" after Mitzi Gaynor, an actress who came close to having legs as proportionally long and elegant in real life as an ED's artfully sculpted ones.

This morning I couldn't find the kitten anywhere...Here's where she turned up: She had got into Yren's box of stockings, messed them all up playing with them, and then snuggled in for a nap.

Seems appropriate for a porcelain doll to have a bone china cat, yes? She has a pet turtle too, but as he is very small, he won't be introduced until Yren is here to hold him in her hands.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Marina's Show in Milwaukee

Last April, Marina opened her first-ever solo show at the Park Terrace Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Some of her fans from the ED Forum were there the first night to meet her, hear her Artist's Talk, and see her dolls in person.

Here is a picture taken at the show by my friend Ms Noxy. It's of Dunyazade, a costumed doll made from a Gwendolyn mold. I've messed around with the colors and turned the sunshine blue, but you can see Noxy's original and all her other great photographs from the show here.

Meeting Marina was everything wonderful: she is beautiful, funny, endearing, articulate, warm, and generous. She wanted to meet each one of us individually and make sure all our questions were answered; then she went up to the gallery with us again to talk about her dolls informally.

Now that I've met Marina in person and got to know her a little bit, owning a work of art from her hands is even more meaningful to me. I would have loved Yren anyway, just as she is (or I should say, as she will be!). But now I can see, reflected in her beauty, the beautiful person who created her, and I love her even more.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The day I've been waiting for...

Today is "Production Day" for my Enchanted Doll! It's the day that her artist/creator officially begins work on her. From start to finish she will take two weeks or so--and then, I hope, a speedy delivery of the precious package, home to me.

Marina Bychkova is the artist of
Enchanted Dolls. They are 13 1/2 inches tall with full-porcelain, articulated bodies. I discovered them in 2008 when I fell in love with Biscuitbear's Chandrakala. At that time, Marina was preparing for several important shows and wasn't taking any orders for new dolls; for months, all I could do was gaze at their pictures and hope one of the coveted spots would someday come to me. At last, in February of this year, I got the longed-for email, and I've been counting down the days ever since.

For months, the biggest question in my life has been, What should my doll look like? Which sculpt, which skin tone, what hair color, what customizations? All her dolls are exquisitely beautiful; it's very difficult to choose among them, let alone propose new versions. I had my heart set on a tanned beauty to be my Island Girl, but sadly, tan slip has been unavailable... and I didn't want to delay my doll until it was. The one thing I knew for certain was what I would name her: Yren.

A few weeks ago, Marina helped me with deciding the customizations, and now I am extremely anxious to see my girl. Until she arrives, I can't know exactly what she looks like. But here is a doll made from the same sculpt, the Gwendolyn mold. The photograph was taken by Chad Isley.