__The Christmas boxes arrived in Costa Rica, so I can now tell you about Popeye and Carmelita. I stumbled on Popeye in an Out of the Closet, my favorite thrift store, last November, and thought he'd be perfect for Malekai, who collects action figures. Popeye has a burly body and grizzled face with a cigarette hanging from his lower lip. He was battered and his clothes stained, but OTC was taking 50% off bric-a-brac that day, so I claimed him for my resident sailor and soon- to-be friend of Carmelita. (He's a wire doll, but more about that in a future blog.)
__When I got him home, there was work to do, as his white sailor hat and pants needed to be cut
off, the stains "Shouted" ™ out and everything washed, dried and sewn back on. (The "Shout"
worked just as Evette had said it would. Shout out to Evette, pun intended!) The shirt was
beyond repair and wouldn't come off, so I covered the sleeves with some striped jersey left over from Paulette's* arms and legs, and he was done, except for sewing the pants and hat back on and reattaching the black leather pouch that hangs from his belt, which I imagine contains chewing tobacco. (And maybe a can of spinach?) Popeye the Sailor Man was ready for his trip to Costa Rica. But where was Olive Oyle?
__I 'd been planning to send Mirabel as Sophie's Christmas doll this year and thought she'd be the perfect companion for Popeye (Mirabel, not Sophie!), but then I remembered that she'd gone home with Sallie for the weekend, so I decided to make another one. While each doll is different, I usually make a drawing of the face so I can make more than one of the same doll. In this case, I hadn't done that, so I had to copy from pictures. Luckily, what resulted was Mirabel's twin, Carmelita. Like Mirabel, Carmelita has brown eyes, ruby lips and black braids pinned on top of her head in an off-hand, attractive way. She has black tights, silk, ivory arms, and, like all of the dolls, a red heart. (Except for Andre Ethier, whose heart is Dodger Blue!) Instead of Mirabel's sequined skirt, Carmelita has a simple sundress in brown cotton with pink polka dots and maroon ribbon ties which criss-cross in the front, like Mirabel's peasant blouse. Finally, she wears a lacy shrug and a red rhinestone necklace, like Mirabel's. When she was finished, I was surprised to see how she towered over Popeye, but his brawniness balanced out her height, and by the time they were shipped off to Costa Rica, they were the best of friends. They arrived last week at the Lizard King Resort, where they were warmly received and feel very much at home.
_This weekend I plan to organize my sewing room, which is bursting with dollar evening gowns that have been piling up since I started making dolls a few years ago. Last week, while shopping at the Good Will with Evette, I found a giant, white petticoat that I thought I'd use instead of the purple one, which is now gone. ** But after trying it on, I decided it has way too much potential to cut up. And after seeing the Tina Bausch documentary yesterday with Raphael (a Wim Wenders film, which everyone should see, even if you're not a dance aficionado), I've decided to keep the evening gowns too, and who knows, maybe even wear them! (After all, why should my dolls have ALL the fun?) Which brings me to next week's topic: Dancers, doll dresses and gowns for grownups! Oh - and making wire dolls. (With help from Sophie and Malekai, I hope!)
See you next week!
_It's a new year and I'm excited about the dolls I want to make. First, I need to finish the dolls started over a year ago whose heads are sitting in tissue paper-stuffed jars in my sewing room, all with temporary hair pinned on. First on the runway is Donette, Tonette's twin. (coming soon to the Doll Gallery). Tonette and Donette are slightly smaller and thinner than he other dolls and Donette will have highlighted, bundled hair, instead of Tonette's more quaint braids.
_Next will be Mitsuko. I made a doll named Mitsuko last year, but gave her away without
telling the owner her name, so I am reusing the name Mitsuko, or Mitzi for short. Mitzi
will be Mimosa's twin, and may be the first of the Tomboy dolls, of which the concept is
still forming in my mind. The Tomboys will be 31" tall, like most of the other dolls, but
will have flat shoes instead of the signature high-heeled boots and will wear jeans or
khakis instead of dresses, so they can jump and play more easily. They'll also have
shorter hair so they can run like the wind. (I'm now thinking I will make separate boots
and dresses for them so they can indulge their feminine side whenever they feel like it, as some tomboys like to do.)
Which brings me to the question: What is a tomboy? When I was a child the 1950's and
60's, a tomboy was a girl who liked to play outdoors, and, if she was lucky, play with the boys. If not, she would do all the things boys did: run, play baseball, climb trees, play cowboys and Indians (and not just as an Indian princess who gets captured and tied to a tree). At the same time, a tomboy didn't necessarily give up her femininity, although it was okay if, like some girls, she didn't care about nail polish or dolls.
I have an older and a younger brother. (The younger one was my charge from as early as
I can remember, so he brought out the mother in me.) But my big brother was two years
older and one grade ahead in school, so we were buddies when it came to playing indoors
in those early years. We'd play FBI and space travelers, making spaceships out of paper
bags, and we'd run and slide down the long wooden hallway in our stocking feet.
As we got a little older, I would often tag along with him for outdoor games with the
neighborhood kids. But my inclusion ended at the front doors of his various friends, as
well it should have.
When left on my own, I'd to ride my powder blue, J.C, Higgins 26" bicycle, (my "horse")
around the neighborhood in search of adventure. At other times, I'd gather my dolls and
stuffed animals, of which I had many, and have a tea party with the tin tea set my mother
had me wrap as a Christmas gift for one of my cousins one year, then put under the tree
for me. What a wonderful surprise!
I hope girls are still tomboys and feel free to put down their dolls, run outside and climb trees. Of course, not all girls play with dolls, and some boys do. I just want to celebrate the freedom of all children, girls and boys alike, to play with dolls, or not, and to play hard and have fun, both in and out of doors!
On that note, I know the Tomboy dolls are going to be lots of fun to make and even more
fun to play with. So I'm off to the Good Will for a rust-colored tee shirt. I need it tonight so I can cut the strips for Mitzi's hair while watching football. The Lions are playing the Saints in New Orleans, so it should be a good game.
See you next week!