Saturday, December 18, 2010

Barbie Patterns to Adapt for EDs

Sometimes patterns drafted for Barbies can be adapted quite well to fit Enchanted Dolls, and if you want to explore that possibility you'll want to meet the most amazing designer of Barbie-size clothes there ever has been or will be, Joan Chiara Cigler.

For years she published her designs in needlecraft magazines as well as sold them separately in her huge catalogs and in "Pattern of the Month" series. She's done ethnic regalia for many countries, period costumes, costumes taken from books, movies, celebrity weddings... You'll find gowns a la Madame Pompadour, Marie Antoinette, Guinevere, Scarlet O'Hara, Eliza DooLittle, Joan of Arc, Juliet, all four of the Little Women, Moll Flanders... You can dress ballerinas, nurses, stewardesses, brides--I could just go on and on, because there are hundreds of them and the level of detail on them is amazing.

I have many of Joan's patterns that I ordered directly from her, and many others I was lucky enough to find in old needlework magazines. And now that her new catalogs are available, there's a bunch more I need---Holly Golightly's black dress from "Breakfast at Tiffany's", Princess Grace's wedding gown... 

Want to have a sneak peek of some of Joan's designs? You can find a few illustrations here and here, but these are barely scratching the surface.

Here's the text of Joan's email to her customers from July 2010--just in case I've piqued your interest and you'd like to give her patterns a try, either for Enchanted Dolls or your other favorites:

Hello to all my doll seamstresses friends.....
Just a quick note to let you know that the
doll costume pattern catalogs A and B 
are finally finished and ready to go. 
Over 850 designer original patterns (and articles)
by Joan Chiara Cigler
All patterns by Joan Chiara Cigler are copyrighted. 
Patterns and articles are NOT for copy or resale in any form.
Wonderful World Of Dolls is a copyrighted Trademark.
Patterns to fit Barbie and many sizes of Modern Fashion dolls...including Gene, Tiny Kitty, Tyler Wentworth, Kitty Collier, etc.
Period Portrait Bridal Series...First Ladies of the White House...Americana Series
21 Years of Nation-Of-The-Month Club ethnic costumes
Period and contemporary fashions
Patterns to fit Antique, Reproduction, artist dolls, child, adult, baby, toddler, 
French Fashions, male,
Pincushion, and doll kit Bodies.
Patterns for vintage and repro dolls such as American Girl, Bleuette, Shirley Temple, Ginny, Toni, Wee Patsy, Schoenhut, Riley, Sasha, Margaret O'Brien,
Fisher Price, Ideal, Tonner, Effanbee, Alexander, Mego, Mattel, and so much more. 
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
Set of two pattern catalogs (A and B) can be ordered as follows:
  Check or money order for $10.00, payable to:  Joan Cigler
                                                                       Mail to:  138 Arbordale Lane
                                                                        Painesville Twp., Ohio 44077

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Spinning a Yarn, Yren's Way

This afternoon a package came in the mail from my daughter... It was the most delightful surprise! She just returned from a trip to Ireland, and in this package were all the gifts and souvenirs she bought for us there.

For her brother, there was an envelope of Irish coins for his coin collection, for her Dad there was coffee-flavored fudge and "Guinness" brand golf tees... And for me, a pretty embroidered linen handkerchief, some bookmarks for my collection, and some gorgeous handspun yarn!

I'd been planning to buy my first skein of handspun yarn at the Michigan Fiber Festival last weekend, but I had company during that time and the Festival just wasn't going to work very well as a destination for all of us. We went to the zoo instead, and I didn't mind--the Fiber Festival will happen again next year, and I could wait till then for some handspun.

But thanks to Emily, I don't have to! She bought this lovely lamb's wool at the Castle she was staying at in Markree, where they spin yarn from their own Wensleydale sheep. It was so beautiful, I had to photograph it with my other most beautiful possession, Yren. So even though this blog is not about knitting, I decided to show her with it here anyway.

Noxy has Ribbon-Be-Gone Expertise!

She has dramatically improved this picture of Yren, who is very grateful to her and sends many hugs!

Yren's birthday portraits

I do love taking close-ups of Yren. She always looks soulful to me, plus close-ups are easier to manage than full-length shots, for which some little detail generally goes awry.

As in this case, the ribbon of her shoulder tie is showing! If I were a photoshop wizard, the ribbon could disappear. But alas, I'm not, nor am I likely to do better if I try the pose again. This is why nudes are easier--nothing that's showing was meant not to be showing!

As I was leaning her against the tree, the idea occurred to me of making some stiffish paper cylinders to slip over her legs (under her long dress). They would prevent her knees from buckling while she poses standing up on occasions when I don't want to use her stand.

We'll see if that idea works as well as another one I had about keeping Yren's wig from slipping: Handitak reusable adhesive, also known as poster putty. A little thin band of it along the back of her hand keeps the wig in place. It's doubly useful for her red wig, as I like that one worn a little further forward than it naturally wants to sit.  

Windy Day
In the Sheltering Forest

Late Summer

Yren passed her birthday shut up in her box--isn't that a crime! But there were little children in the house and she needed protection more than admiration, so there she stayed. Now I'm trying to make it up to her. I haven't found just the right birthday gift for her yet, but she expects it to grow in grandeur the longer she waits for it, so she is waiting very patiently indeed.

Today we celebrated being together on a sunny morning by taking some pictures outside.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I Dream of Renny with the Light Brown Hair

...floating like a vapor on the summer air. I hear her melodies like days gone by, sighing 'round my heart like the fond hopes that die..."

Well, she doesn't exactly have light brown hair, it's actually light red, but I do like that song.

I have been thinking a great deal lately about Yren's red wig. For a long time now I have preferred her dark one, first because my original idea was for her to be dark-haired and second because I liked the hairline of the dark one better. The way her red one fits, it gives her a much higher forehead and I think she looks prettier with a little bit lower one.

But for this set of pictures, I tilted the wig a little forward and I do think she looks very pretty in it. My sister says you can tell that her face was painted especially for that color of wig. There might just be a way I can anchor the wig so it will fit more forward all the time.

Will have to study a bit to find good lip colors for her. The one she's wearing in this picture is on the violet side. I've seen fashion pictures of redheads with violetish lip color and like it very much, but when I try it on Yren I'm not so sure. I try brownish/gold on her here. Requires more thought and experimentation...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Home From Vacation!

We're safely home and Yren is safely home, and another golden summer is passing by... Soon we will celebrate Yren's one-year birthday. Or maybe we should say her one year anniversary of coming home to me, since it is rather odd to think of her as a one-year-old!

We had a fantastic time while we were away. Since this is Yren's blog, I don't want to fill it up with too many non-ED posts, but here is one scene, anyway, from our visit to the Bronx Zoo. Soon I'll be putting more pictures on my other blog if you want to see them.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Summer Vacation

We're off on Summer Vacation 2010, headed to the place so great they named it twice. That's right--we're going to Paw Paw.

No, just kidding, we're going to to New York, NY to visit my daughter. We have serious shopping to do at the Strand and maybe the fabric stores in the fashion district and definitely Kinokuniya. As for the boys--well, they are going to visit the new Lego store at Rockefeller Plaza and play with remote control boats at Central Park and I don't know what all.

Yren is not accompanying the expedition--she has gone to visit some friends of mine who are giving her their guest room. We brought her most comfortable chair along, plus her knitting, so she can sit placidly and watch the birds at the feeders outside her window. I could tell she felt perfectly at ease with these friends and content to bide with them awhile--she must have felt they admired her sufficiently.

Now I must go and finish packing!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Picture for Amal

...and for anyone else who was wondering what happened to us! Thank you for asking. ♥

Yep, I'm okay...dealing with other matters for a time, but fortunately none of them threatening.  Yren cares nothing at all any of it; she advises me to get back on board her admiration train or risk incurring the expense of repairing her little foot when she breaks it against my behind.

To thank you for your kind thoughts, here is the only present I can send instantly to you: a new picture of Yren. I haven't had any new photo shoots of her, but I do have a picture from the day we met Monika Viktoria in Chicago. (That was a lovely day which will have its own post.) So here is Monika trying her silver shoes on her. I don't have her permission yet to show the whole picture, but if she says it's okay I will post it too. No pressure, though, Monika! We know that you are modest, though beautiful.

One thing I've been managing to do lately is learning to knit. Ever since Silkthread sent me her glorious silk shawl for Yren, and then more recently when Annina knitted scrumptious neckwear for her, I've wanted to knit for her too. But it seemed like a good idea to learn to knit people-size things before trying them at 1/5 scale. I've made scarves, mittens, bags, and baby hats, and am currently embarked upon a sock.

Knitting is a perfect complementary companion hobby for Enchanted Doll lovers. Aside from the sheer pleasure of knitting for them and posing them in the things you make, knitting offers a deeply satisfying shopping component. You may never get to point at a row of Enchanted Dolls and say "I'll take all of them," but in a knitting store the yarn world is your oyster. Here are glorious, soft, beautifully textured threads in color ways that knock your eye out and fibers that caress your skin....Guess what--you can take as many skeins as you can carry right to the counter and the shopkeeper will let you buy them all! You can take them home with you that very day, no waiting. You can put them all on the shelf and just gaze dreamily at them, or cast some on your needles and make something to adorn yourself.  We all need such experiences, especially when something else greatly desired is unavailable.

Yren does not care to hear me talk like this, not one little bit. She prefers to remain at the center of my shopping world, the secret common purpose behind all my charge slips. I shall have to come up with an idea to appease her soon or else paint a permanent frown on her forehead. She was born to be indulged, after all! I'd better get a move on--her foot is starting to look twitchy.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Under The Lilacs

To be a heroine from a Louisa May Alcott book, Yren would have to be dressed very differently than this. But like Louisa and her ladylike characters, we love lilacs in the spring and we've been waiting impatiently for our free time to coincide with some pleasant weather so that we could enjoy them and take pictures.

So here is my darling under the lilacs, where who would not like to be this sunny day? If you're so inclined, you can read Louisa's book Under the Lilacs free on Project Gutenberg, preferably with an iPad so that you can read it properly under real, actual lilacs. And if you have none of your own, you are welcome to join us under ours. The scent is heavenly!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Renny's Famous Feet

Hey look--Marina's work just got another cover!

Not really. It's just me playing with Photofunia again. But it sure makes a convincing Esquire cover, though.

Yren at Times Square

Springtime in Our Town: Sunny and beautiful all week long, then rain rain rain all weekend! Yren and I have not been able to go out for photosessions among the buttercups, poppies, and lilacs. We actually tried the lilacs after lunch, but they were still dripping and bowed down with rain.

So instead we followed our forum friends to Photofunia (thank you, Eiko!) and played with the pictures we do have to visit Times Square and anywhere else our imaginations can take us. If only there was a Photofunia pic with lilacs!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Reading Gallico's "Enchanted Doll" story, Part 2 (No Spoilers)

Fear not, Gallico's story of the Enchanted Doll is a very nice little tale and I won't spoil it for anybody who wants to read it through themselves--no spoilers. But for those who despair of ever getting their hands on the book it's published in, I shall share some of the yummy parts...

The setting is New York City, in the early part of the last century. There are many poor people--everyone in the story is poor. The narrator/hero is Samuel Amony, M.D., a doctor (so romantic!) who is not at all wealthy because his practice is among the poor. He charges $1 per visit, but for people who are really ill and cannot afford to pay, he charges nothing. His office is near Third Avenue and Fifteenth Street and so are the other locations the story carries him to.

[If you are a lover of  New York, as I am, and want to know, as I did, just what part of it Third and Fifteenth is, then this information is for us: it's kind of in-between areas, but is closest to Union Square. Here is a picture of Union Square in 1936. The statue is of the Marquis de LaFayette, who has been gazing at the neighborhood since 1876.]

This doctor sees a remarkable doll in, of all places, a dusty stationery, cigar, and toy shop. Idly looking over the few toys in the shop window, "all a-jumble with boxes of withered cigars, cartons of cigarettes, bottles of ink, pens, pencils, gritty stationery, and garish cardboard cut-out advertisements for soft drinks," for something he could send to his young niece, he sees, in the shadows, a rag doll "with the strangest, tenderest, most alluring and winsome expression on her face."
I could not wholly make her out, due to the shadows and the film through which I was looking, but I was aware that a tremendous impression had been made upon me, that somehow a contact had been established between her and myself, almost as though she had called to me...

...Nevertheless he took her from the window and placed her in my hands and here it was that I received my second shock, for she had the most amazing and wonderful quality. No more than a foot long, she was as supple and live to the touch as though there were flesh and bones beneath the clothes instead of rag stuffing.

It was indeed, as Abe had said, hand-made, and its creator had endowed it with such lifelike features and grace that it gave one the curious feeling of an alter presence. Yet there was even more than that to her. Could a doll be said to have sex appeal in the length and proportions of her legs, the shape of her head, the swirl of her skirt over her hips? Was it possible for an emotion to have been sewn into the seams marking the contours of the tiny figure? For though I am young, I have seen too much, both in peace and war, to be either sentimental or subject to hallucination. Yet to hold this doll was to feel a contact with something warm, mysterious, feminine, and wonderful. I felt that if I did not put her down I would become moved by her in some unbearable fashion.

Dr. Amony pays $14 for her, far more than he can afford, because he can't leave her lying there on the counter "for she was a creation, and something, some part of the human soul, and gone into the making of her."

The rest of the story concerns the mystery of who this dollmaker is, and what her life is like, and why she makes them. Gallico said he wasn't entirely happy with the ending of the story--but I am! :-)

Reading Gallico's "Enchanted Doll" story, Part 1

I'm finally going to do it! I'm ready to read "Enchanted Doll" and consider whatever Gallico has for me in this story.

The selection is preceded by the author's comments, which are very interesting to ED fans. First let's look at what Gallico says what was the inspiration for this story, the little kernal of experience that he could not forget and so needed to write about:

Somewhere in New York, in some shop I saw a painted doll and fell in love with her. I can't remember where or when, or why I was in the shop and in the doll department, but this was a little creature created by a specialist who had hand-painted the face. The expression, as I recall now, was extraordinarily sweet and lifelike, and the little figure touched my heart. If one wanted to really hark back to what the head-shrinkers [psychoanalysts] were saying and doing in those days, one could suggest that this funny little momentary love affair grew out of the fact that I had always wished to have a daughter and instead produced sons.
In other words, Gallico began just as we all do--by falling in love with a doll-person! Then Gallico goes on to discuss the vicissitudes of publishing short stories, even by well-known authors, and then mentions this fascinating little item of primordial ED trivia:

Mr. Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., was making a series of two-reel half-hour television shorts in England for an American sponsor, and asked my London agent to see my wares. With a wide collection of stories to choose from, he selected and bought "The Enchanted Doll" and filmed it.

Ah ha! Oh ho! Another yummy morsel to track down! And in connection with a famous movie star, woo woo! The Internet Movie Database shows it under the "Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Presents" heading here. (It was also known as the "Rheingold Theatre." YouTube has the opening to a few episodes, but not this one.)

It would be exceptionally nice if the American Film Institute listed "The Enchanted Doll" in its catalog; however, it doesn't seem to, that I can poke up. Nor does it appear in the Internet Archive.  But because of IMDB we can find out a few things: the original episode aired July 20,1955, and the role of the invalid dollmaker was Josephine Griffin. (Her character's name was changed from Essie Nolan to Mary Nolan for the film.)

Now we have to wonder, did Gallico like and approve of this film? He does not leave us in the dark. He says, that while all the other films made from his stories were "catastrophes," he liked Fairbanks' adaptation of "Enchanted Doll" very much.

It was the first time that I had ever had the spirit of the story, its emotional content as well as the physical appearances of my characters, faithfully translated to the screen. I can't remember now the name of the actress he employed for the part of the unhappy girl, but I do know that she was tender, wistful, and endearing and brought my character most beautifully to life. The part of the young doctor was most excellently played by Mr. Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., himself.

So that's all I have to note from the preamble to the story, except to note, as Robert Frost did, "how way leads to way," that the British children's author Enid Blyton wrote a book called "The Enchanted Doll." It's not so easy to find her works in the United States, but maybe they're still getatable in Britain. No real connection to EDs, of course, but still might be interesting as part of the history of the name itself.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Early Dreams of Enchanted Dolls

My father often said there was nothing in the world so boring as listening to somebody talk about their dreams. So if you feel the same--and so do I, very often--you'll want to skip this post!

Long before I ever heard of Enchanted Dolls, I had a dream that expressed my deep wish for a certain kind of doll... Next morning I wrote it down so that I would never forget it, and it has remained special to me all this time. I'm reproducing it here so as not to lose it again--it took me a long time to discover where I'd written it down! It really should be edited for wordiness and excessive length, but then on the other hand, I don't want to lose any of the detail or alter what was recorded immediately after the experience.

A few days later, I had another doll dream, and that is here too.
June 3, 2003

....Now for the dream: Ray and I were at a shopping complex; I was looking around in a beautiful craft and collectibles kind of store while Ray was arranging some kind of financial investment in another place close by. I saw an appealing doll, displayed in a stand on a shelf. She was a lady-doll, about 14 inches long, made of wood, with straight dark hair, shoulder length. She had a pretty face with a pleasing smile and eyes that looked right at me. She had a tall, slender figure and a small waist. She was wearing a long, deep red, prairie-style dress with long sleeves.

I picked her up to see her better; her cost was $18—-not inexpensive, but not more than I could easily afford, either. I had a $20 bill. I held her gently by the waist. There was something special about her: she could move and change expressions, smile, laugh, hold out her arms, gesture—all on her own. The salesperson told me that the doll would bond with me; she would bond to her owner and no one else.

Another woman near by was waiting eagerly for me to put the doll down so that she could buy her, but I walked quickly away from her with the doll still in my hands, determined to buy her myself. I began to feel guilty for being rude to the woman, so I looked for her to offer to let her look at the doll, though not hold her or buy her. But I didn't recognize the woman among the others in the store.

As I walked around and waited for Ray, the doll bonded with me, and I realized she was precious to me. Every few minutes she would communicate with me, through her face and arms, that she knew what I was thinking and feeling. Then the doll revealed that she could, for a short time, turn into a kitten, which I could hold and pet. When Ray found me, I explained to him that I wanted to buy this doll, and that it would sometimes turn into a kitten, but he refused to let me have a cat in the house, since he is allergic to them and we don't want another pet anyway.

But that was a problem: the doll had already bonded with me and couldn't be sold to anyone else—I couldn't refuse to buy her now, and I still wanted her very much. So I explained the problem to the sales lady; she said not to worry, that the transformation must always begin with the doll, and that she could change into some other animal that wouldn't bother Ray—a snail or a goldfish or something else. So I told Ray, very firmly, that I intended to buy the doll and that she need not turn into a kitten and bother him. Then, I told him that if he would not let me buy the doll, I would open a new checking account in my name only, have my paycheck deposited to it, not give him access to it, and mess up the financial arrangements he was making. I knew while saying it that I wouldn't have to follow through on the threat, that I would buy the doll and bring her home.

When I woke up, I enjoyed telling Ray the dream and asked him if he knew what the moral of the story was. He said, "Yes—don't look at dolls!" I said, "No, the moral is, 'Let me have my way!'"

June 17, 2003

Oddly enough, I had another live doll dream last night. Just a brief one, which seemed to refer to the last one. I was holding and looking at a pretty little doll, blonde and smiling, and noticing how she reacted to me. I had said something that was good news to her, that made her laugh and smile, and I thought, "Well, dolls must be alive, because she couldn't laugh and smile like this unless she were alive." What was happening in the dream? I was making her happy, and she was reacting to me, and so making plain that something in doubt was actually true. As in the other dream, the doll had a pretty smile and expression and was looking straight at me--seeing, not unseeing.

This time it was not a question of purchasing or possessing the doll; she was already mine.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gallico's " Enchanted Doll" Short Story

So this is the way it happened:

We have a new iPad at work, just sitting out on the table, and the boss asks us each to play with it and get used to it a little bit so that we can use it for "roving reference." (That's when the reference librarian walks around the library asking people if they need help, rather than sitting behind the big desk waiting for people to come to her.)

And when I picked it up to play with it (and it really is fun--and cute) what else would an obsessed ED fan search on google but "Enchanted Doll"?  So that's how I came to see a few sentences on Marina's blog that I had never seen before. I would have sworn I'd read every column inch of it many times over, but no--I had never before seen this part:
When I needed to come up with brand name to give my dolls an identity, I decided to name them after Paul Gallico’s fictional, short story called “Enchanted Doll”, where a young woman creates dolls with so much love that they enchant people at first sight with their compelling, delicate, life-like beauty.
And this is my goal also.
Well, that was a surprise, because I've read Gallico for years--it must have been Junior High when I read Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris for the first time. But this short story, and the collection it is from, I had never heard of before. I'm so curious how Marina discovered it.

One of the nice things about working in a library is that when you hear about a book you want to read, you can march yourself downstairs and see if it's on the shelf. In this instance, it was! (I skipped the part where I got a little help from the catalog identifying which short story collection it was in.) 

And now that I have it I'm kind of afraid to read it... There is just something so powerful about the concept of those enchanting dolls. I know from reading other Gallico books that he writes well about magic (one of his titles is The Man Who Was Magic)  so I should trust him to do justice to them.
The whole prospect goes back even further into childhood when I read the "Land of Live Dolls" books and other stories about dolls who became real. Though less subtle than fiction for adults, they were still about forming a personal, intimate connection to a very special doll.

But I shall read it--I'm far too curious not to!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Yren's New Stilettos...

...arrived a few days ago and she has been agitating to show them off  a bit! They take some time to put on, the first time. But they are worth the effort! We just love them.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Having TOO much fun on Picnik

Stop me, somebody! I may never eat or sleep again. I'm Picniking.

Hee hee, I did about five different apps to this one. First I turned it into a pencil sketch. Then I used "Neon," making the neon lights white on a black background, to give the lines that rounded shape. Then I used "Invert" and then whited out the edges with "Matte." Then I museum framed it to give it a little better balance in space.

Annina's knits have a Picnik

I'm continually amazed at what the Picnik photoediting site will let you do. I uploaded my favorite picture of Yren from the last post because I was loving the textures of Annina's knits with the smooth porcelain and wanted to play with them. The effect below came from using the Pencil Sketch tool, then increasing the strength and reducing the fade, then applying a matte vignette finish to it. I think it looks like an old photograph from a very romantic book.

Presents from Annina!

At last Yren and I have been able to take some pictures of her with the beautiful knitted gifts we just received from Annina in Sweden. We both agree that one of the most marvelous things about Enchanted Dolls (Yren modestly admits it) is that they bring people from all over the world together in friendship. Yren has had gifts and mementos from Ireland, France, Australia, England, and Sweden, as well as from Illinois, Massachusetts, Washington, and Florida here in the United States. And we love to send gifts to other people too.

We had to stay inside for pictures today because even though it is sunny out, it's very cold. Here she is with a very clever knitted collar-style scarf in her favorite color. To close it, Annina used a special Rainbow Moonstone bead that came from a necklace. 

The stitches in this lovely scarf are so tiny, I just can't imagine how she managed to knit them with human-size fingers! Maybe Iðunn is really the one who knits them in secret. If the word got out, then everyone would want Marina to make them a knitting ED too.

After we were done taking pictures I left Yren on the work table while I went to tidy up after us... She says she finds knitting very soothing and fun to do already--even though the hardest parts of this knitting set have already been done by Annina. (Or by Iðunn, if our theory is correct!) Yren often sees me knitting--or struggling to knit, as I'm just a beginner--and I think she feels fairly certain she can do a better job of it than I. Well, I'll give her all the thread she wants! But she'll have to get vastly better at it than I am to come close to the lovely things that came to her from Sweden!

Thank you, Annina!

Monday, April 5, 2010

She Wanted Hoops

I made Yren a pair of red earrings to wear with her red gown and flaxen wig and red lipstick. Then she said she wanted hoops too. Hoops! I don't know how to make hoop earrings. But Yren has a strategy for getting her own way: she invites me to imagine what she'd look like with whatever it is she wants. And once I had pictured her in hoop earrings, I had to try them.

I'm going to keep making little tiny pairs of earrings and whatever else seems do-able in order to practice the basic wire techniques. Then I'm going back to the bead shop for an intermediate class, and the basic stringing class too. Yren does not protest--she thinks it's a fine idea. The more I learn, the more things she can picture herself wearing!

I like this pink fluffy stuff she's wrapped in. Emily and I went to Hobby Lobby today and there was a hunk of this in the remnant section. I thought it could be a winter coat or a stole for her, so it didn't matter that it's only about 6 inches wide. But now that we've seen how nice it is, Yren would like some bedding made of it... Maybe one of the other fabric stores in town has more. I hope so!

PS: When these photographs get blown up to large size I sure can see my mistakes excellently well. Sigh. Two new tools needed: round-nose pliers with smaller tips, and a magnifying visor with stronger lenses. 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A "Hitchcock Blonde"

So we were reading an InStyle magazine this morning and we came across an article called "What's Your Perfect Color?"  In the section on red, there was this transfixing bit: "'Striking shades, such as true red, really frame women with this coloring, like Gwyneth Paltrow,' says designer Michael Kors, who dubs these cool types with flaxen hair, light eyes, and porcelain skin 'Hitchcock blondes.' Kors adds, 'Muted tones wash them out.'

And of course, this was illustrated with a really stunning photo of Gwyneth in a red dress... Well! On seeing that, Yren did not care to lose any time transforming herself into a Hitchcock blonde! She reminded me that has light eyes, and a flaxen wig that was a present from Aneemal, and a siren red dress from Miss Orchid...."And as for porcelain skin--I ask you! Skin doesn't get any more porcelain than mine!" So we dressed her up and put on lipstick the same color as Gwyneth is wearing. It's rather cold for posing this morning  but Miss Yren did not complain--just another sacrifice for beauty.

We dedicate this photo shoot to Monika Viktoria, who especially likes Yren's blonde hair and who permitted Miss Orchid to create this dress, thus making Yren's Hitchcock Blonde look possible.

PS. And did we check out the rest of the article to see which other perfect colors Yren can wear? We did indeed. Periwinkle was one; also, if she is wearing her dark wig, violet; or her red wig, olive, emerald, or forest green. Knowing that, we're probably going to be exploring these ideas quite soon! And noticing what else Gwyneth Paltrow wears. ;-)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Rainy Renny

Poor Renny, it's raining and what she wants more than anything is to go for a walk in it. But she can't; she can't get wet at all, and it makes her sad. So she sits here by the door, or sometimes in the window seat, and gazes out past her reflection at the lovely sad rain and dreams of how it would feel....

Easter Day update: I added this picture too, just because her reflection shows in it...

Sweet Things from Monika Viktoria

You remember when Monika liked Yren in her blonde wig so much that she painted her portrait?  Well, as you might expect, Yren just had to have the original of that painting. I understood completely, and secretly felt the same way, but I wouldn't confess it to Yren. Better that she should think I'm indulging her once again.

So we went to Monika's lovely etsy store and bought it. Yesterday it arrived, all beautifully wrapped in silver paper and tied with ribbon, and like Yren herself it is even more beautiful in person....But there were more treats in store for us! Turns out, Monika had promised herself that whoever should be her first etsy customer would receive extra lovelies from her to celebrate and she was just waiting to see who that would be. And it was us! Yren and me!

That's how we came to be the proud owners of that wonderful side poof skirt and that sweet button made with one of her early, very special, drawings.

With Spring in the world and new clothes and a pretty portrait Yren is feeling on top of the world! And the toppest top of the world seems to be this little hill covered with violets in our back yard, so that's where we went to take pictures. It's a little overcast today, so we had a slightly easier time than yesterday in the evening sun, but I think even more overcast would have been good...Silvery clouds smooth all the harsh lights away... But she did love being out in the sunshine... I caught her just relaxing, too. Benny found the violets and she wanted to just lie there for awhile. But she can't stay there long, for it looks like rain soon....

Friday, April 2, 2010

Yren's new "Side Poof" Skirt

It's almost 8 o'clock here in the Midwest on this early spring evening. The sun is deep, long shadows are falling. Yren is climbing down off her stand in eagerness to show you that the forsythia bush started blooming just today, and that she has a way cool new skirt from Monika Viktoria.

What, a package from Monika Viktoria? Yes! And tomorrow you shall see and hear all. For the moment, Yren is enjoying the warm colors of the sunset and the balmy breeze and the fact that she looks like a little miniature Monika, who told us that she wears skirts like this to her work at the jewelry store. We think it is ingenious and therefore suspect that Miss Orchid may have had a hand in it. Till tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Another Sneak Peek

Just for fun, when I posted that glorious picture of all the silver ED shoes, I invited people to guess which ones were Yren's. Back then I said the answer would be revealed only when they arrived--but I can't wait anymore, I'm too excited! Because Marina has used Yren's shoes in a pic again!

Okay, NOW guess which ones are Yren's!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Yren's Yrings--and a new wig too!

I got to work on only one more pair of earrings, since we headed north for the weekend and are only just returned. So here they are, and lots of fun to do they were. The bottoms are coiled wire with a 4 mm crystal above it. Haven't been able to find any 3 mm ones at any shops; fortunately they're not hard to find online.

Yes, that is still another crocheted cloche hat. I wanted to see how the variegated thread made up.

I'm excited about learning to make bead and wire jewelry, especially wire wrapping, because it's so fun to do. Fortunately my local shop offers lots more classes.
Our wigs from "Facets by Marcia" arrived Friday. She has very fast service! The Alexis one works pretty well for Yren, though probably if it came in size 4 1/2 that would fit her better than 4/5. At the same time we ordered a "Faith" wig, and that isn't going to work at all. Too bad, because the color is really nice.

Medium-dark hair looks best on Yren because her brows and lashes aren't black, as they would have to be, I think, in order to look really good with black hair. If you look carefully at Yren's long dark wig (the one she usually wears) you'll see that Marina blended in some lighter, reddish hair in the front near her face. I think that was so ingenious--it looks so good that way.

Friday, March 26, 2010

I didn't know you could do that!

Watch Noxy--you can learn way cool things from her.

I wanted to show everyone the neat wallpaper she made for me, and stupidly thought I'd have to take a picture of the whole computer... But then I was just over at Noxy's place checking out her new post, and there were these great pics of her wallpaper--obviously not photos.

*gaping jaws* It never occured to me to just take a *screen shot* of it! Never a "duh" moment with me around!

So I am doubly indebted to Noxy for this image, both the original and the reproduction! When I'm on my other work computer, I'll post the other one. Cute cute cute.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Learning to make cool earrings!

Tonight I went over to a class at our amazing local bead shop where a very encouraging and patient young woman named Jenna taught me the basics of making wire jewelry. She showed me how to make eye pins, and twisted eye pins, and coiled pins, and hook ear-wires, and how to put the beads on them and attach them together... Now have I told you enough for you to guess why I wanted to learn all these things?

I sense that you are absolutely right: Yren wants more earrings! For now she is resigned to them being a mere beginner's effort, but she will make me practice and practice and never quite give up on me so long as I'm producing little bits of wonderment to decorate her ears.

The first pair is already done! Didn't even wait to have dinner first, just got busy with the wire and the tools Jenna recommended and we were off to the races! Now they are in her ears, and though they aren't perfect, and the bead I used is a little too big, still Yren manages to look ravishing in them.

Picture tomorrow when the sun is out again!

Okay--picture now in spite of the light being bad. I see one of the bottom loops needs adjustment.  Hee hee, I know how to do it! I have new tools! I have spools of shiny wire! I have beads beads beads, mostly unsuitable! I don't want to do my homework for class tomorrow, I want to make more earrings!

But I'll be sensible and do my homework, so long as Yren promises to stay pretty, which she does.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Crochet Pattern for Yren's Little Dahlia Hat

Annina wrote that she liked Yren's red crocheted hat, so I'm making some like it to send to her beautiful Enchanted Doll, Iðunn. I call them "Dahlia Hats" because when you look at them from the top, the loops  seem to spiral out from the center like dahlia quilts. (You thought I was going to say "like dahlias", didn't you? But I know quilt patterns better than flowers.)

So anyway, here are the directions in case anyone else wants to make some. These instructions are for size 20 thread and a size 11 hook. My favorite thread is Lizbeth because it comes in pretty colors and varigations, it handles beautifully, and it comes on small spools so you don't have to buy more than you need. I find mine at Hobby Lobby.

1. Chain 7 and join to form a ring.
2. Chain 1, 12 sc in ring, join.
3. *Chain 5, sc*  in each sc around (13 "petals")
4. *Chain 5, sc* in first chain-5 loop and in each loop around; no need to join, but put a marker in so you can see where the round ends.
5. Continue working chain-5, sc in each loop around until you have worked 8 rounds, counting the petals from #3.
6. For the hat band, 4 sc in each loop around; join. Chain 1 and turn.
7. Sc in each sc around; try on doll to see if you want a third row on the band; otherwise, finish off and weave in thread ends.

These are meant to come out a little smaller than Yren's, since her head seems to be larger than other ED's. Hers were made with DMC Cebelia thread, which is thicker; I make 12 petals at step 3; crochet seven rounds instead of eight, and put three rows of single crochet for the band. But once I publish this post, I'm going to make her one with the LizBeth thread and make it come out a little bigger around.

Update: I like Monika Viktoria's idea of sewing tiny flowers to the brim! That would look very sweet. I had thought of making a little fabric flower with a yo-yo and a tiny button center to put on one side of the hat. Threading beads on the crochet thread or sewing them on separately is a pretty look too. (Y'all know what I mean by a yoyo? I'm not sure that's an international concept! Anyway, here's an example.)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Moment of Peace and Solace

...for Enchanted Doll forum members... For reasons that don't need explanation...

The October winds lament around
the castle of Dromore.
Yet peace is in her lofty halls,
My loving treasure store.
Though autumn leaves may droop and die,
a bud of spring are you.
Sing hush-a-bye low, lah loo, lo lan
Sing hush-a-bye low, lah loo.

Bring no ill-wind to hinder us,
my helpless babe and me,
dread spirits of the black water,
Clan Eoan's wild banshee.
And Holy Mary, pitying us,
in Heaven for grace doth sue.
Sing hush-a-bye low, lah loo, lo lan,
Sing hush-a-bye low, lah loo.

Take time to thrive, my rose of hope,
in the garden of Dromore.
Take heed, young eaglet, till thy wings
are feathered fit to soar.
A little rest and then the world
is full of much to do.
Sing hush-a-bye low, lah loo, lo lan,
Sing hush-a-bye low, lah loo.

by Sir Harold Boulton  
Sung by the Flying Column 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cool spring afternoon

Yren doesn't complain about weather much  and she doesn't get chilled easily on these cool spring days. So today, together, we went outside to check round the garden plot a bit, and make sure the deer have not trimmed down the bushes overmuch with their teeth. Forsythias and then lilacs are only about six weeks away!

I should have put a shawl on her, but here she is anyway in her walking skirt. The top she is wearing is a muslin-trial I worked on; she also has a little white tee to go with, but we haven't finished any of her "official" tops that were suggested by her friends earlier in this blog. I think the color is a little too close to her skin to photograph easily.