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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Old Doll is Dressed

I used old linens with lovely crocheted edgings for the sleeves and trim on this dress. I buy them just for this purpose at yard/rummage sales. Often they have small tears or stains, but I can work around those. These dolls were very inexpensive and always sold without clothing; girls or their mothers were supposed to dress them, like I did this one. Now this doll is ready to go back to her home, and I will eventually dress the one that is mine, and give her a new lower leg.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Across the State, In Spokane

I have spent the past week at The DKG Society International Convention in Spokane, WA. The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International is a professional organization for women educators, not a sorority. This was my first International Convention, and it was very interesting; this was a year to rewrite our constitution, and so that process was interesting, if a little involved and time-consuming. The Society has 17 member countries, and so is becoming more global every year, plus it is also becoming more involved with technology and its use for Society business, etc. It's good that our constitution can be amended, and now and then, rewritten, to reflect changing times; only 9 years until its One Hundredth Birthday! Our Founders would probably be both surprised by how much our world has changed in the last 81 years, but also pleased at how their Society continues to fulfill their original purposes.
Eastern WA, where Spokane is located, is a very different climate than where I live in Western WA. However, Spokane has been very considerate to us Westsiders (as well as to everyone else), and the weather has been nice while we're here: warm but not unbearably warm. Their heat here is also DRY, which makes it much more enjoyable than some more humid places. We have all tried to be considerate to Spokane, too: recycling, picking up after ourselves, and stimulating the local economy to the max! Thank you for hosting us, Spokane.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hitty's Legs are Half Done

I worked on Hitty's legs in the comfort of my folding chair, under some nice evergreen trees in the complex of doctors' offices near Capital Med. Center this morning. DH had a medical appointment, and that particular doctor's office has room for five chairs in the waiting room. It's claustrophobic in there; or rather, I'M claustrophobic in there!
Anyway, I had a very pleasant time working on Hitty's leg for an hour, out in the pleasant morning air. If you have a folding canvas chair in your car, it's like an Instant Mini Vacation to set it up wherever you happen to be and work on whatever project you want to.
The leg on the left is in its original state, how it arrived as part of a Hitty Blank Kit. The one on the right is the finished one (in case you couldn't tell!!!); now the trick is to make the second leg the same size as the first. I already carved another leg (not shown) that I could see didn't have enough wood to make it the same size as leg #1. Perhaps that's why they put an extra leg in my kit. I saved that one for another Hitty. I'm CERTAINLY not going to throw it out--I worked hard on it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sketchbook Project

I didn't have quite the right name of the site sponsoring the sketchbook project: It is Art House Coop.com and here is site's address, in case you want more details:

Back of my Sketchbook

Here's the back of the book; the label with the UPC code has to be visible on the back; somehow, that's important--I think so they can track your book. I think I'll be able to log on and see where it is at any point in time.
Since we don't get the books back, I'll probably make copies of my sketches. I hope I don't leave this project until the last minute, as I am infamous for doing!!!!

The Art Coop Sketchbook Project: My Book

The sketchbook came as a plain black book and the recipient was told it was fine if they wanted to make his/her book more durable by covering it. Since my chosen theme is "I'm a Scavenger," I decided to cover mine with worn denim.
This is the front; I want to show the back, too, but right now I'm not being allowed to add the other picture, so I guess I'll have to do another post to show that.
The sketchbook project is comprised of books purchased and completed by people willing to pay $20 for the privilege. The books are due in December, I think, and then during the next year, they travel around the US, and people get to look at them. So far, all my work is on the OUTSIDE of this book, but I'll have to get busy soon, and illustrate my scavenging ways.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

My First Carved Hitty's Face is Finished

I made her eyes better with my fine Micron Pigma pens. (What would I DO without them!!!! ) My first attempt at carving a Hitty doll is almost done--I just have to do her limbs now. She isn't as perfect as I would like, but I know with the proper tools (this one was carved with a jack knife), and practice, my subsequent Hittys will be better. That said, this Hitty is my first doll carving attempt, and she will always be special to me, because she is number one. I will name her Hitty Anna, and I'll go down the alphabet from here, just like hurricanes and those "alphabet mystery books" do. Will I get to Z?! We shall see!! Stay tuned.

I love the HittyGirls yahoo group that I joined recently. They all love their Hittys and they are not all girls--the members, I mean. They can answer just about any Hitty question you have. And the dolls are not all girls, either. Of course, they aren't called Hitty something like the girl dolls are. I will close here, before I sound even crazier than I already do. I was just imagining someone coming onto my blog by accident and thinking, this lady is seriously WACKO!!! LOL

Hitty's Face is Painted, sort of................

I'm not done with the face. She has that "deer in the headlights" look that I need to deal with. I "bit the bullet" and ordered a Starting Out carving kit from Little Shavers, that will have a Kevlar glove that fits my (small) hand, and tools that will also fit my hand.
This Hitty was carved with a jack knife, probably not the most precise carving, tool, but it was all I had. I used my Dremel a bit for sanding, but whoa!!! You have to be careful with that thing or it will just take a Hitty's nose right off, if you're not careful.
Am I satisfied with this Hitty? No, I'm not. But she will always be my number one carved Hitty, and will serve as a testimony to where I began. Hopefully, we'll all be able to see my progress as I carve future Hittys. But first, this one needs arms and legs.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My Self Carved Hitty, In Prog

This is a Hitty doll I am carving. I had a little "help" in that I bought a kit for her--a "blank" that was roughed out the proper size, proportion, etc. with a saw, leaving the detailed work to me. For my next one, perhaps I can do it all myself, as I have a little craft saw, and now that I have this one to use for comparison, I think I could get the size right. I also have an ash tree in the front yard that I can use for wood.

Hitty comes from Rachel Field's Newberry Award winning book, Hitty, Her First Hundred Years, published in the 1920s. Rachel saw a small wooden doll (6.5" tall) in an antique store, and loved her, but could not afford to purchase her. After awhile, she could no longer resist the pull of this doll and, with the help of her mother, bought the doll. Rachel then wrote her rather exciting book from the doll's point of view. The original Hitty can be seen in a museum in one of the New England states (USA).

I first became acquainted with Hitty from an article in a doll magazine I was reading at a local library. The Hitty in the article belonged to a man in San Francisco, who took his Hitty with him all over the world. There were pictures of Hitty in front of the Eiffel Tower, on London Bridge, at Giza with the pyramids, etc. The man's female friends provided his Hitty with many pretty outfits to wear in the various pictures.

I bought my own Hitty from the Robert Raikes Co, which has since gone out of business, the last I heard. Hopefully, the business will resurrect itself, as the Hitty dolls they made were lovely. I love mine and will post her picture in a separate post. I've also made some painted cloth Hitty dolls, although they turned out a little larger than the real Hitty. Alas, my Hitty only has one dress and for a LONG while she didn't even have that.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Interesting Information about a Special Penny Wood Doll

Katrina, a member of TreadleOn, an online group to which I also belong, offers this interesting information about one of these "penny wood" dolls:
One of those (penny wood dolls) came across the plains from St. Louis to Sacramento in 1846 with Patty Reed, who was a member of the Donner Party. When the party got into trouble and had to abandon most of their belongings, the little wooden doll was the only thing Patty could take because it was small enough to fit into her pocket. (Many were about 4" tall, although Bonnie's two are 11.5".)
The book Patty Reed's Doll is the story of that journey, being trapped in the Sierra that winter, and the hardships the survivors encountered all written from the doll's point of view. When Patty later died, she donated the doll to Sutter's Fort, because that was the destination they were heading for. "Dolly" is on display at Sutter's Fort, and every spring, thousands of fourth graders descend upon it to see the doll as part of their California History curriculum. While this particular doll is important because of its unique history, these dolls were very common during the middle part of the 19th century.
Thanks, Katrina, for sharing this information.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Changed my Mind--The Dress Came Next

I may not give this doll a petticoat as the pantaloons are rather bulky. I am making a pattern as I go so that the other "disabled" doll will get clothing, too. Figuring out the cut of the clothes is the hardest part of making doll clothes, if you don't have a ready-made pattern. Stay tuned: she gets the other sleeve tomorrow.

Bonnie's Doll has Pantaloons

Petticoat comes next. Stay tuned.

Lovely Proposition from my Friend Bonnie

"I have a proposition for you," my friend Bonnie said, as she pulled a mysterious tissue-wrapped bundle from a bag. Unwrapping it, she showed me two old primitive wooden dolls, a kind I had never seen before.
She proceeded to present her "proposition:" "I know you can make doll clothes," she said, "so if you dress this one, I'll give you this one!" She pointed to the one missing the lower leg, the one she called "disabled." I was thrilled! I would be happy to make some handsewn clothes for her doll, so that I could earn the other for my own.
I am pretty sure I can make a nice outfit for Bonnie's doll and I'm also pretty sure I can fashion a new leg for my new doll, too.
Bonnie told me that the friend that gave her these dolls told her they were made for coal miners children, and that they had come from Virginia. She also guessed that they were pretty old.
I wanted to learn more about these dolls, so the first thing I did was post a picture of them on the Vintage Cloth Doll Making site. Several people responded that they were called "Penny Woods," inexpensive dolls that were sold in the 1800s in England, in Penny Shops, similar to our "dimestores," of the 1940s-60s. Most were small, about 4 1/2" tall, but Bonnie's are 11 1/2" tall.
One of the Vintage Cloth Dollmakers suggested I Google Penny Wood Doll as she had; she said there was a lot of information about them available online. I did and she was correct; I learned a lot about these dolls and saw some that were very similar to these two. WERE they made for coal miners children? I really don't know, but it's possible that these dolls were stocked at "company stores," for miners to purchase for their children. At the time these dolls were inexpensive; now, not so much!
At any rate, I am newly smitten by these dolls, as I have often been smitten before. See more of these dolls at: