Last Sunday, Sallie came over for a sewing day and we had a tea party in the 90-degree heat with our new crop of small dolls, which we call "Muñequitas." Sallie set up the dolls in the "garden" with a tiny tea set from the Farmer's Market, which matches the tea set made by my sister, Kath at MUDDSLINGER POTS, (aka "Veronica").
After "La Fete dans le Jardin," which was Sallie's delightful French translation of our "tea party," we retired to our sewing table under the breeze of a fan and had ice cold lemonade and cookies while we worked. Sophie's job was to draw two more doll faces to embroider and Sallie's was to draw and embroider the face for her Raggedy Ann, who is to be a buddy to the Raggedy Andy we made last fall. Peering out of Sophie's basket where Sallie had scooped them up, a jumble of Muñequitas watched us and chattered amongst themselves.
As you can see, Las Muñequitas are in various stages of completion. Sophie had some fun this week taking group photos and some solo shots of Mirabel, who is back from her extended visit to Marina Del Rey. Our one boy doll, Eduardo, is looking forward to getting a new suit of clothes and a haircut in the next few days. We will post updated photos of the dolls as they are completed.
Other sewing news: Sophie got a new sewing machine and we are learning how to use it. Also, I finally finished Sophie's summer sundress, which has a black bodice and a vintage, yellow and black, Parisienne-imaged full skirt with pockets. It is the first dress for my new project of making patterns from vintage dresses, which I call "Pale Pink Patterns for a Perfect Fit!"
Well, it's Friday at 6:00 p.m. and I type this from my day job, so it's high time to go home. We've asked Sallie to be our guest blogger this month, so look for her byline soon!
In the meantime, have a great week!
I'm here at the Farmer's Market at a blue-topped table having a hot chocolate with just the tiniest bit of whipped cream, thinking about the rock. By that I mean the 340 ton boulder that now resides at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).
You may have heard about how it cost LACMA ten million or so dollars for the rock, the construction of the site at LACMA and cost to transport it from a Riverside, California rock quarry, all the way to Los Angeles, and how people got up in the middle of the night and lined the streets to track it's progress, kind of like the Olympic torch. And how it arrived at LACMA at 2:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning, with a crowdout to greet it. I wish I had been there, but I did the next best thing: I went to see it.
Like other works of art, it's attracting a lot of people. Many of the rock viewers like to have their picture taken while standing under it with their hands in the air positioned as if they are holding it. I chose the alternate pose - standing next to it, pushing it into place. (The dolls are anxious to see it too, and I foresee a photo shoot in the offing!)
While it's not the Great Pyramids, the Sphinx, or Stonehenge, it is a giant rock and is at the center of a larger work by artist Michael Heizer entitled "Levitated Mass." What makes it an experience is that it is suspended above a little road that was made especially for it that dips down into a valley under it. LACMA also devoted a parking-lot sized lawn, covered in sand, to it. If you go on a Friday night, you can hear a free live jazz band starting at 6:00 p.m. On Saturdays at 5:00, it's live salsa, and on Sundays, classical in the Bing Auditorium.
We went last Saturday night and were drawn to it and to all the people who were also drawn to it. In the near distance, we heard the salsa band and later joined the revelers on the nearby museum lawn, where people were camped out with their kids, their camp chairs, coolers, strollers and picnics. We joined the dancers for the last few songs and then topped off the evening at the nearby Farmer's Market for more free music.
So if you live in L.A. or anywhere nearby, go experience a levitated mass!
See you next week.
About a year ago, I rescued a Raggedy Andy that Sophie brought back from a thrift store
in Costa Rica who was losing his stuffing. I took him apart and made him a new back.
After that, I made a Raggedy Ann to go with him, as you may have seen in past posts.
When she was finished, I brought her to show my friends at my favorite fabric store,
International Silks and Woolens (ISW). One of them, S, fell in love with Annie, so I
decided to make one for her. S suggested brown hair. Well, it took more than a year, but I finally finished Raggedy Angela, our little brunette Raggedy, complete with red and
white polka dot bloomers and blue flower-sprigged dress. Raggedy Angela, like all the
Raggedys, is very friendly and she managed to bring all of the Raggedys together. (The
Raggdeys have a weakness for dogs, so you may see Sophie’s dog, Ruby, in some photos.)
Raggedy Angela especially bonded with blond Annie, so I made them matching bloomers
and aprons. Knowing that Angela was going to be leaving soon, we took lots of pictures
of her with the other Raggedys, including the two Andys. As I was photographing one
day, I noticed that Rafael (Nom de Plume alert!) was wearing a red and white checked
shirt and blue shorts. All that was missing were the red and white striped socks! So I
asked him to pose with his brother Raggedys and he kindly agreed.
Finally, the day came for Raggedy Angela to go to S at ISW, where she was warmly
received. Sophie and Malekai went with me to deliver her and we took some pictures
outside. Angela fit perfectly into my pink and orange Lancombe gift-with-purchase tote
and looked almost real! While I miss her, [Sasha, she is a DOLL!], I know she is happy
in her new home and it is fun to think of all the adventures she must be having there.
As we head into fall, there are lots of dolls in the making with plans for more, including some small dolls and Peter and Polly Patches, who are to be my version of the Raggedys! Also, Sallie plans to come over in a few weeks to make a Raggedy Ann as a pal for the Andy she made last fall and to start a twin for Andre Ethier. (Sallie just looooves Andre!)
Summer has sped by. Soon Sophie and Malekai will be heading back to Costa Rica,
hopefully with lots of dolls in tow, and Sallie will be back in school. I’ve been making a point of setting up some outings at the Hollywood Bowl and taking advantage of free
concerts at the Los Angeles County Art Museum and the Farmer’s Market.( If you live in
L.A. and haven’t done either of those things yet this summer, it’s not too late. If nothing else, go see the giant rock!)
Have a great week! And go hear some art!
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!
Well, I'm back at my yellow-topped table at the Farmer's Market on a Thursday afternoon, trying to figure out why is it that I will happily spend hours without food or drink, (or even a bathroom break!) to pin, cut, sew and rip out stitches on a scrap of material, wire and poly stuffing, which, at the end, is only this inanimate thing called a "doll."
I was talking to Erika about this recently and we agreed that the doll, during its creation, becomes a little bit alive. The best example for me is my doll Delphine. I made her right before Christmas 2010, and as soon as she was finished, I noticed that she looked like Eva (nom de doll alert!), my younger sister, who passed away in March 2008. Delphine definitely looked like Eva. And Eva had chosen Delphine as one several names she had used during a period of her life….
As enchanted as I was by Delphine, I had finished her in a hurry because I wanted her to be done. Now, I didn't like it that her arms were too long and lumpy and her body was too big for her head. Also, I had made her a red dress for the holidays, but preferred the black skirt and pink petticoat that I put on her originally. And I was anxious to try the new hairstyle I had just invented called "highlighted bundling." So I refashioned Delphine by cutting down her body, reshaping her head to be more square,
replacing the blond braids with highlighted, blond bundles, and made new arms and legs from black and white striped cotton with black silk boots. Then, I put her in a powder blue silk dress. But Delphine still didn't seem comfortable.
During this time, I was devising a technique for doll hair which I call "looped bundles." (I think I must have been half-looped when I came up with the idea!) I decided to try this style on Delphine in "dirty blond," made from a taupe tee-shirt. This shorter style and more muted color seemed to suit her. I refreshed her makeup and gave her a new sparkle. But then I realized that the black and white stripes weren't right any more. I have some material with pastel polka dots from which I have already cut out the arms and legs and will make these for her, leaving the black and white stripes for a future doll with a more stripey bent.
At some point, I realized, as if in a dream, that my remaking of this doll imitated Eva's remaking of her physical self in her life. For a time, she had a rounder figure. As she matured, she got slimmer. She also had darker hair when she was young, which she wore very long. As an adult, she became a beautiful blond with a shorter, curlier style. She loved vintage clothes and jewelry and always looked so delicate, feminine and beautiful in an old-fashioned way. Oh, it's hard to describe my lovely sister! And of course, a doll is not a person. Yet, when I look at Delpine, I think of Eva, with her sparkling eyes and her gentle smile…
Dolls are just inanimate objects. And yet, they become animated as I work on them. Even sitting on the shelf, long after they are finished, each one has his or her own special look and personality. And to me, they come alive in my imagination. Like a dream.
Have a great week!
Introducing Mitzi and Donette. Sophie helped with Mitzi, who is a cousin to Mimosa, and has brown eyes, red hair with gold highlights and red and white striped arms and legs with black boots, a la a sophisticated Raggedy Ann. She has a navy blue and white polka dot dress, tied in back with navy blue satin ribbons and a stiff, white petticoat, cut from the gigantic wedding petticoat from Goodwill. It was really hard to cut into that petticoat, because you never know when you might need one, especially one with a label that says "One Size Fits Most."
Mitzi was to have been the first of the Tomboy Dolls, but I couldn't resist giving her high-heeled, black boots instead of the more athletic look that the Tomboys will have. Mitzi also has a black back of the head, instead of orange, so you can see her scalp when she does cartwheels or hangs upside down from a tree. (You see, she's a tomboy anyway, as are all the dolls.) This is an example of one of those "flaws" that Erika mentioned, which all our handmade dolls have.
Last night, I finished Donette, who is Tonette's twin. I accidentally cut the legs shorter than intended and had to redo them. But now she is perfectly proportioned and all that is left is to finish the dress and make her petticoat.
People often ask how long it takes to make a doll. I have a hard time answering because, as you know if you've been following this blog, I make a doll in stages and sometimes work on several at once. So, while it may take seven or twelve hours for one doll, they actually are made over a period of days, weeks, months, or, as in the case of Donette, years!
Another reason it's so hard to determine the time is the decision-making process. Which face do I use, or shall I create a new one? Then, I pin the pattern on the fabric and cut out the head in one color and the back to match the hair color (unless I change my mind, as in the case of Mitzi).
Next, I transfer the drawing of the face to the fabric, then embroider the face, which takes about an hour. I love doing this because it looks like a painting. Donette's face was embroidered several years ago and took less time than usual because her features are more childlike. As she is a duplicate of Tonette, I wanted a different hairstyle for her and finally settled on the curly hair you see here. This style took several years of trial and error, but I love it! You'll be seeing it on more dolls soon, including Delphine, who is due for another "do." For now, here are some pictures of the latest dolls, and a couple of me, "blogging" at the Farmer's Market.
We would love to hear your thoughts on doll making, embroidery, things that you make, and art in general, so please send comments. Sophie and I hope to add a longer "Comment" page soon.
In the meantime, have a great week!
On Wednesday, we had a tea party with all the dolls, the L.A. contingent and Las Tiradas, whom Sophie brought with her from Costa Rica. We invited our friend and fellow doll-maker, Erika, to come and bring some of her dolls. After a round of mimosas, we assembled the dolls in the backyard. Among the usual suspects on the red settee, Delphine, Delfina, shy Andre, Carmelita, and Mariel, etc., are some of Erika's dolls, including the mysterious Jazzette, who lounges across the top of the group in her mardi gras mask.
The dolls had tea from Vera's handmade tea set while we snapped photos of dolls and roses. Afterwards, while the dolls rested inside, we had cookies and coffee. The plan had been to do some sewing, but between the mimosas, the photo shoot and the heat, we decided to have a think tank instead, discussing dolls we want to make and plans for the next meeting. We finished by inviting Erika to be our first guest contributor to the dollsbysasha doll blog, which you can read below.
More soon. Have a great week!
TEA TIME WITH SOPHIE AND SASHA
I have been honored to write about my invitation to Sophie and Sasha’s house for tea. I was so excited to be invited and it was such a gorgeous day, and such a lovely time. Then, I was even more honored to write on Sophie and Sasha’s blog. Sophie was correct in saying yesterday, that Sasha, Sophie and I, (Evette) have been working and creating since 2007! Our precious little dolls, or little girls and boys, are almost like our children. When we give a doll as a gift, we make sure all the details are in place, then we make sure the petticoats and crinolines are perfect because after all this is our work, and we want our work to show.
We notice as we are finishing our dolls, that each one has their own personality. They may have a tilted head, or sometimes the legs don’t go completely straight. This is a “flaw” to some eyes, but in our eyes it is part of who he/she becomes. No one is perfect and each one of our little creations is hand-made and individual as you and me.
Now, I need to talk about the tea party. Thank you so much for the invitation. Upon my arrival all of Sasha’s dolls had been strategically placed with a small teacups and saucers on the dolls laps, and the dolls sat on their beautiful red, wicker chaise lounge. The dolls were outside in the garden, under the cypress trees. By the way, I need to give a “Shout-out” to the maker of the adorable, floral tea sets, “Muddslinger Pots” on Etsy.
When I arrived with my very first doll, Momoko, she observed all the details. My second doll, Lisette has orange hair, and Coquette has blond hair. I cannot forget to mention, Jazzette, (She likes attention, and she is sprawled on top of all of the dolls.) Momoko was not at all too pleased with Jazzette’s attention getting, because Momoko thought we are all created equally! With equal parts muslin, recycled materials, and equal parts love. Oh well, Momoko does get a little jealous because she was my first one, and sometimes Jazzette feels a little left out because she was my middle doll.
All the bigger dolls tenderly held some of the smaller, but equally important dolls in their laps, and they wrapped their arms around them. Everyone needs the protection of arms wrapped around them sometimes, or the feeling of having arms wrapped around you.
Each doll was dressed in his or her best frock or pants, and they all smiled for the camera. Sophie took amazing pictures, which you will see on this blog. Sophie took side views, she stood far away, and did some close ups, we moved the chairs; dolls took a sip of tea, because after-all it is exhausting being a model! Then we moved the little lovelies into the living room. They all thanked us for getting out of the sun. By this time, it looked as if they had all had some margaritas!
The tea was smashing and lovely! And Sasha and Sophie’s friend Nelson came over and he even had a little sip of tea to share with the lovelies.
Everyone had a wonderful time. Momoko was willing to forgive Jazzette with her antics, and all of Sasha’s dolls were so sweet and generous with their time and offering of tea. Thank you for my first blog, and thank you Sasha and Sophie for the lovely afternoon. The dolls were surrounded by resplendent roses in full bloom, who could ask for more?
“All About Evette” Etsy
The other day, I was back at my favorite blog spot, at a yellow-topped table at the Farmer's Market with a cup of hot chocolate topped with the tiniest bit of whipped cream, thinking about my trip to Costa Rica. After landing in San Jose, a friendly taxi driver talked me out of a red taxi ("They have a monopoly-they discourage competition!”) and brought me to the Aranjuez, an unassuming little hotel in the heart of San Jose, where Sophie and Malekai met me.
After checking into my large, sunny room, we ventured out into the downtown traffic in search of some dinner. We found it at La Glorioso (this is the wrong name, but the food and drink tasted "glorioso" to me, especially the Cuba Libras!). Then we walked up and down the city streets, taking care to stay out of the way of careening cars, buses and the ubiquitous red taxis that sped by with little concern for stop signs.
Eventually, we reached a shopping area reminiscent of the Santa Monica Promenade, where we took pictures of large, ceramic birds mounted on "balls" that seemed to be part of some ad campaign, but which we liked for the colors and scenes of birds and Costa Rican wildlife they portrayed.
I loved the murals in San Jose that seemed to surprise you around every corner and the pink elementary school that looked like a palace. But the most surprising discovery was the little hotel, Cinco Hormigas Rojas, or Five Red Ants, which I mentioned last time. Here is a picture of Sophia and Malekai trying to find the entrance, a la Alice down the rabbit hole.
The next day, we took a bus up into the hills to the town of Heredia for the Britt Coffee tour. The first stop was a kind of sculpture garden with six large metal heads of fairy tale characters. Next to each was a tablet with a cautionary tale for children that made Grimm's fairy tales look like Sesame Street. But I loved the faces. My favorite was La Llorana, pictured here. (I sense a doll from this one!) After the tour, we took the bus from San Jose down out of the mountains and east through the jungle to Limon on the Caribbean coast, where we made a right turn. A woman told me that after several days of heavy rain, there had been flooding and indeed, the ocean was wild and alarmingly close to the highway as we made our way through several small towns to Puerto Viejo and the Lizard King. I had a great room there and found a new friend, the Raggedy Ann Sophie rescued from a thrift store in Limon, whom I named Margarita. She turned out to be quite photogenic, as you can see here.
During my week in Costa Rica, I had some delicious meals with fresh fruit right off the
trees, drank lots of Cuba Libras, heard some great stories and saw (and heard) monkeys thick in the trees at the National Park in Cahuita, where we took a side trip one day and hiked on a sandy trail with the ocean to our left and jungle to our right.
On my last day in Puerto Viejo, Sophie and I jumped in the ocean and then had a photo shoot with Las Tiradas, who at one point, piled on the ATV and tried to take off into town with Suki at the helm!
The next day, I flew out of San Jose thinking about "green,” murals and "street art," some new dolls I want to make, and with a pang for this beautiful, strange country that has stayed with me long after I got back to L.A.
Until next time.
Have a great week!
You may have noticed a lapse in blog postings recently, due to my trip to Costa Rica. It was truly a life-changing experience. When you go to Costa Rica, you fly into the capital, San Jose, which reminded me a little of L.A. I took a walking tour of the city and was amazed at the emphasis on art, both in the number of galleries as well as in the
street art and murals on every spare wall. Even the public school was beautiful, a large pink stucco building with lots of detail. But the most interesting sight was Cinco Hormigas Rojas, a little vine-covered cottage that reminded me of Alice's rabbit hole again. Check the link at http://www.cincohormigasrojas.com/tours_comments.html to see more.
Here is Anabel (aka "Blond Annie":) in Costa Rica, visiting her cousins Tonette, Suki, Carmelita, Delfina, and Margarita, the latest addition to Las Tiradas, as Liz calls the dolls.