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!
I'm here at the Farmer's Market at a yellow-topped table, surrounded by Christmas shoppers, having a hot chocolate with just the tiniest bit of whipped cream. Last Sunday, Sallie came over to work on Raggedy Ann and today, she's coming back so we can finish the dress and start on some Christmas gifts. Sallie wrestled with Annie as she sewed on the bundles of hair. It took a couple of hours and afterwards, we walked to my favorite fabric store, International Silks and Woolens, to choose material and ribbon for Annie's dress.
After a long break, which included a spaghetti dinner, we started the dress. Sallie cut out the skirt and then machine-basted two long rows for the gathering. I cut out the top and the sleeves, we "gathered" them and I attached one sleeve before she left. Today, we'll start by attaching the other sleeve.
In the meantime, back in Puerto Viejo, Sophie is working on a group of munequitas and one larger doll with a coffee sack for a body that has a very Picasso-ish look. I can't wait to see the finished products!
Today, while Sallie works on Annie's dress, I plan to make skirts and blouses for the small dolls. Then, we may go back to ISW for some green, sparkly material to make Christmas pillows and mermaid tails!
I hope you are able to take some time to explore your creative side this holiday season. It's more fun than shopping and costs a lot less!
In the meantime, Happy Holidays and have a great week!
What is it about polka dots? I love them. Recently, I started thinking about where the words came from and my mind leapt to "Google." But wait - if I "Googled" it, I would get an instant answer and then, there goes the wonder. Remember wondering? All children do it, and I certainly did. I wonder why the sky is blue? I wonder what makes a cloud? I wonder what will happen if I rip the tag off my mattress? (I wonder if the "o's" in the middle of "Google" are polka dots?)
So, without Google or a dictionary, this is what I came up with: The polka is a lively dance and the music for it has a definite lilt. I imagine the music as written has lots of those dots over the notes to indicate a hold. I'm not a musician, so I'm guessing here, but that is where I think the polka dot may have come from.
So after wondering about it for a few weeks, I decided, rather than googling, to look it up.
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary says the following: "polka: n. [Czech, fr. Polka a Polish woman, fem. of Polak Pole] (1843) 1: a lively couple dance of Bohemian origin in duple time with a basic pattern of hop-step close-step 2: a lively originally Bohemian dance tune in 3/4 time - polka vi; polka dot m/n. (1857) a dot in a pattern of regularly distributed dots in textile design. .polka dotted: adj. duple: adj [L duplus double - more at DOUBLE] 1: having two elements 2 a: marked by two or a multiple of two beats per measure of music <~~time> b: of rhythm: consisting of a meter based on disyllabic feet." So there you have it. I still haven't googled it, but my son did, and it had even more information.
In the meantime, now that I'm focusing on polka dots, I'm starting to see them everywhere: dresses at the Good Will, a vintage dress I bought last year, a woman crossing the street in a black dress with baseball-sized white polka dots, a little girl with a red sundress with diminishing white polka dots, a bigger girl in a turquoise Minnie Mouse skirt with golf ball sized white dots, wrapping paper at the new paper store that opened across from the Farmer's Market.
And as you may have noticed, many of the dolls I make sport polka dotted arms and legs or
dresses, with more in the works. I sometimes put polka dots and stripes together, as with
Mitsuko. Luckily, my favorite fabric store, International Silks and Woolens, has a great selection of vintage cottons, many with polka dots, so I have lots of choices.
Here is the blue and white vintage silk polka dot dress Sophie and I found at a yard sale on the corner of Oakwood and Crescent Heights in L.A. last year. And here is the red and white polka dot dress from Good Will that I couldn't resist. It's too big, has shoulder pads, a white collar and wide self-belt which reminds me of Lucy Ricardo. This is destined for a Sophie/Sasha remake.
Well, 4th of July has come and gone. Saw some fabulous fireworks last night, full of red white and blue polka dots lighting up the sky, as well as gold fountains that dripped golden coins. Hope your 4th was a great one too!
Next time, I will talk about Raggedy Angela, the newest Raggedy, who is a gift for my friend at the fabric store.
Have a wonderful week. And if you live in L.A., go see the giant boulder!