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.


The following post will be déjà vu for Monika, to whom I just wrote the exact same thing in an email! But I wanted to blog about it too. :-)

We speak often of getting to know our Enchanted Dolls... That means more than just learning to move their articulations properly and keep their wigs smooth. They have a way of letting us know important facts about themselves, and yesterday Yren succeeded in doing exactly that.

What she told me is that she is not a "morning" person! She'd rather sleep in--and then stay up late at night! Before I leave for work in the morning, I always go in and check on her to make sure she is comfortable for the day and to admire her a bit. But for some reason, she never seems quite herself at this early hour: the shadows under her eyes look heavier, as if she's just exhausted, and she seems to want to do nothing so much as to lie back down.

But I didn't get truly get her revelation until last night. Since I get up early, I'm tired at night and ready to go to bed early, but I like to have Yren by me on the nightstand for awhile before I go to sleep. And the little imp deliberately kept me awake! There she sat, giving me her prettiest and most beguiling looks, so that I could not resist smoothing her hair, and turning her face a little to the right, so that she looked straight at me, and thinking how darling she is--over and over. I was so tired and wanted to sleep, but I couldn't take my eyes off her.

If you want the whole picture, you have to imagine her sitting there in my Kleenex box, of all places! (And to help you out with that, here's a picture.)It's a secure place for her--she'd feel too precariously perched on the nightstand in one of her chairs, and she can't sit on the pillow beside me because my son is fond of dashing in to see me and he arrives with bounding leaps to the bed when he does. But the Kleenex box, half-full, fits her like an armchair with a very soft seat. And I've discovered that she likes playing this kind of game with human-size objects: to use a Kleenex box as her armchair, and a round basket for her papasan chair, she thinks is a very funny commentary on us great galumphing humans.

Oh yes, she can be an imp, despite that innocent expression! But the getting to know her is fun and full of surprises. Yren a night owl? I thought she looked more like the "pre-dawn-stroll-in-the-garden type" --who knew?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Romantic ideas about gowns

Often I see in the fabric stores--and in my own fabric stash!--beautiful floral prints that would make lovely gowns, but the scale of the print seems too large for a petite thing like an Enchanted Doll.

But then again, there are some large-scale prints making up some very effective gowns in Tyler Wentworth's wardrobe, and she's not much taller than an ED....Then yesterday at Hobby Lobby, I spotted this Barbie calendar with its sketch of a lovely, romantic gown of large-print floral, a floral that just happens to resemble a length of fabric I already own, just waiting to be cut up and used for something marvelous.

So now a part of my brain keeps working, even while engaged with other matters like back-to-school shopping, on how to make this pretty little number for Yren. I think she wants it, don't you? (And she maybe wants an up-do wig, too. Possibly gloves. And as for that sweet little lavender petticoat, ohhh yes.)

For example, the bodice: I wouldn't really want it to button up the front. But I could fake a placket by sewing a tuck vertically on the wrong side of a little rectangle of cloth, then ironing the tuck sideways to form a fold along the front...Then, see, I could position the bodice pattern piece on the rectangle so that the placket falls just where it should, and the little buttons can go down it, and maybe even embroider some little teensy fake buttonholes with one strand of floss.

And as for the skirt, that would be easy peasy. I don't like to use a rectangle for bouffant skirts like this--it puts too much bulk at the waistline. Much better to use gores or a circle skirt.

The foregoing may be all the progress I ever make on this gown. Have been tired today, even though here in the US it's Labor Day and many of us, including me, did not have to work. But I will wander up to my fabric stash and see if I can lay hands on that lilac print fabric, just in case the mood hits me...

And in the meantime, it couldn't possibly hurt to pick up a copy of this Barbie calendar, right? For inspiration?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Photo Shoot: "Poiret" negligee

Hee hee, we made time for another photo shoot today. This time we could go outside and get the wonderful natural light that makes Yren look so rosy and sweet.

So what's up with the gown? Where's the peacock-blue underdress? Change of plans! The peacock-blue fabric came home with me and got cut up, but I couldn't figure out how to turn it into an underdress. What I should have done was make the underdress first, so the overdress could be fitted over it. But making things up as you go along kind of precludes advance planning like that.

But that's okay, I liked making it up as I went along. So when the peacock blue fabric didn't work, I set it aside to be made into something else and in my stash I found a pale yellow lingerie knit that worked nicely because it doesn't ravel and could be set in as a simple lining.

If you notice, she's wearing her Guess beads. Yep, those are the 2mm beads I ordered when the 4mm looked too chunky. The white ones aren't as white-white as I wanted, but for this dress they work better anyway. As for the peacock fan, I actually bought four of those feathers to sew or glue together as a fan, but haven't yet.

Isn't she beautiful? I love her so much.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Photo Shoot: Vintage Clothes

Well Yren and I didn't do a serious thing all day, we just fooled around and had fun.

The shopping trip was a success: f0und a nice drape-y fabric in the color we wanted for the Poiret underdress, and some slightly-heavier interfacing for the wig caps, and some black stretch knit exactly the right weight for leotards and tights. And another Hillary Duff dress pattern that we may ponder awhile later on.

Mostly what we felt like doing was trying on clothes. Barbie clothes fit her surprisingly well, considering how long waisted she is. Our favorite was the "After Five" dress from 1964. (I'm hoping I can find a replacement button online somewhere; 1/8" ones aren't easy to come by.)

And then, even more surprisingly, we fit her in a set of tagged Vogue summer pajamas, originally designed for Ginny's 10 1/2 inch older sister Jan!

Clearly, picture-taking was in order, and here they are. We also scored a mink stole for her, but I forgot to photograph that. Something to save for the next photo shoot!

And yes, you are right again--that is red "lipstick" she's wearing. Thought we'd give her a little Hedy Lamar look for the occasion. This time we used a touch of watercolor paint--and it came off nice as you please with a square of damp cotton. Easy peasy!

Making a wig cap for Yren

Here's Yren being fitted for a new wig cap. Of course the idea is to create an actual wig on this wig cap. We're thinking we want one similar to her long brown one, but shorter--maybe shoulder length. After this stage was finished, I mixed some acrylic paint and painted the cap to match the honey-brown mohair Yren and I have chosen for it.

But last night I discovered something interesting: the wig cap as-is, when worn underneath her other wigs, keeps them nice and snug and they don't slide around. So it seems wise to just leave this wig cap the way it is and make another one for the wig.

Made this way, the wig cap does fit well, but it's maybe a bit too limp to support a wig. I made it from light-weight Pellon interfacing, thinking the acrylic paint would stiffen it up, but it didn't. Heavier weight Pellon is a possibility, but it would probably be harder to fit and sew.

So what I thought of trying instead is a coating of flexible glue on it. For that, I'll have to protect Yren's head with a layer of plastic wrap, secured around her neck, then put the wig cap over that and apply the glue to it. After it dries, it should retain the right shape... However I'm not looking forward to this process because I don't want to cover up Yren's face for so long!

So we're going to procrastinate and go shopping first--have to find that peacock-green silk charmeuse for her Poiret underdress! And maybe while we're at the fabric store, we'll find a medium weight Pellon that will not need extra stiffening and we can avoid that unpleasant process.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Yren's Poiret Overdress

This gown might not end up looking over-much like a Poiret, but for the time being it's convenient to call it one.

The concept started with a length of lace whose scalloped edge fit perfectly over Yren's bust for a strapless bodice--just had to tuck a dart into the sides, plus a tiny one in the center front. Then I attached some point d'esprit to it for the skirt. Easy peasy. (Well actually "easy peasy" doesn't cover the difficulty of reversing the skirt pleats I accidentally set in backward, but it wasn't the pleats' fault I set them in that way.)

The idea is to complete the gown with an under-dress of some silky, drapey, gorgeously-colored stuff, with maybe something like a bandeau bodice and a full length skirt. The black lace will tone down the color enough so I can go really bright--I'm thinking a peacock blue-green... Hey, this designing gig is fun!

Thank you to Aneemal and Chad for the help with taking better pictures of Yren. I was astounded at how much better the natural light works!

Since it worked so well, here are a couple other pictures of Yren taken at the same time.