It’s the Holiday Season and I’m at the kitchen table having a cup of coffee and a Snickers bar. As usual, time keeps flying, and again, a year and six months have passed since my last post. Since then, Liz and I made three dolls for Miracle Mile Toys, a wonderful store that just moved to its new location at 5464 Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles. The dolls are styled after Raggedy Ann, but with original faces and other touches. I call them Olive, Opal and Oralia, in the tradition of each doll having a name starting with “O,” after my little grandson, now four. “O” carried the dolls into the toy store last Friday in their wooden box and delivered them to Christine. They now sit on shelves throughout the store, playing with the other toys at night, after the store closes.
The dolls have hand-embroidered faces, eyes looking to the right or left, and red felt hearts. They wear bloomers under their dresses so they can do cartwheels, climb trees, ride bikes and do anything else they choose. They’re tomboys, after all, and can easily change from a dress into jeans and a tee-shirt. They have red and white striped leggings, black boots and wear their long hair in pigtails or braids, so they can run faster and climb higher. The dresses are made from a small floral print fabric from International Silks and Woolens. Finally, the dresses have pockets to hold small treasures found while playing outside, or for coins for the gumball machine.
My love of rag dolls began years ago when my three year old daughter got a Raggedy Ann for Christmas. Then, in 2011, she brought back a Raggedy Andy found in a thrift store in Costa Rica. He was losing his stuffing and had to be taken apart and rebuilt. After that, I made a series of Raggedy Ann’s with different colored hair, and helped my niece, Sally, make an Andy. Raggedys are fun to play with because of their bendable arms and legs and soft, cuddly bodies. I made hair made from tee-shirts strips, stretched and sewn on in separate bundles, so it can move and fly around in funny ways when the doll does flips and cartwheels, as rag dolls love to do.
Since my last blog post, Raphael and I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and saw some wonderful impressionist paintings, not to mention the Met itself! And this past fall, here at LACMA, we saw two great exhibits: Chagall and Carlos Almaraz. Go, if you can.
Have a great Holiday! More in 2018!
It’s the first day of summer and I’m here at the Farmer’s Market at a blue-topped table, having a cup of hot chocolate with the tiniest bit of whipped cream. As usual, time keeps flying by and I can’t believe it’s been six months since my last post. Since then, Liz and I made two boy dolls in a series called “Peter Patches,” or “Oatie 1, 2 and 3.”
The original Oatie was made for my little grandson, “O,” who is now in Costa Rica. “Oatie” was featured in my Christmas blog post in 2013. The newer dolls were made for two little nephews in New York and Massachusetts. Oatie 2 is the sandy haired one and Oatie 3 the dark haired one, shown here.
Girls have always been given dolls. I had quite a collection and loved playing with them when I wasn’t riding my bike, roller-skating, climbing trees and playing baseball. But it’s still considered controversial for boys to play with dolls, not to mention owning one. However, that may be changing. I don’t think we should try to make little boys into little girls, or vice versa, but I also think it’s healthy to give both girls and boys a variety of toys, including dolls, and let them decide what to play with.
Another project which has yet to make it out of my brain is a dancing doll video, where the dolls in their ball gowns and their partners in tuxes “dance” to a Strauss Waltz. I’m not sure how to do it, but will keep you posted as it progresses.
Other projects in the works are sundresses and skirts from a pattern I made by copying a vintage blue and white polka dot dress that Liz and I found at garage sale a few years ago. I also use it for making vintage full skirts. Last weekend, using this pattern, I created the “Sashay” skirt, which has a wide waistband, slash pockets and ties in the back.
I love the fabric with giant red tulips on a black background, surrounded by bright green stems. The great thing is it fits perfectly because you can adjust the waist by tightening or loosening the sash; hence “Sashay.” (You also feel like sashaying when you wear it!) I think this skirt can be made to fit any body type and be flattering and I’m looking forward to making lots of them.
Next week, Raphael and I are off to Costa Rica. I hope to have lots to report next month.
In the meantime, have a great week. And go see some art!