Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Alice Illustrated in Gwynedd M. Hudson - Tea With the March Hare

Finally!  At last!  I feel like I've been away for ages.  Well, in a way, I have.  Early in August, the first week to be exact, I'd flown to Orlando to attend the UFDC summer convention.  Let's be honest...I was sick the entire time, but I had a ball.  It was one of the best conventions that I've been to.  And, one of the reasons was the people; the new friends I made, and the meeting up with the "gold" friends I've not seen in...well, yes, ages. 


Did I buy any dolls?  No.  But, I did come home with souvenir dolls from the ticketed events, and I love them all.  And, what of the Helper Alice and Miss Unity?  Alice has gone home to an "Alice" collector, and Miss Unity now resides at the UFDC headquarters, in Kansas City.


When I got home, it was straight to the doctor's I went, and I spent three weeks recovering.  In the last week, I began to feel well enough to venture into the project that has been in the hopper for quite some time.  I won't say this definitely, but I'm pretty sure that this is the last Alice Illustrated costume I'll do.  I believe this is her fourteenth, but who's counting?

Our little 12" Lawton-make-over Alice is now dressed in the lovely outfit that Gwynedd M. Hudson illustrated her wearing, in 1922. 

Gwynedd M. Hudson studied art at the Brighton School of Art.  She was a figure painter, illustrator, and poster artist.  She exhibited at the Royal Academy around 1912, that we know of.  She is best known for her editions of J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan, and Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which received the lavish gift-book treatment (started with the books of Dulac and Rackham), being issued as a large, elaborate book in both a trade and deluxe edition.  This deluxe edition was featured in the Bookman's Christmas Portfolio for 1922.  Gwynedd's Alice is generally considered one of the finest and has been repeatedly reprinted.  She illustrated, perhaps, half a dozen or so other books, mostly for poetry and religious purposes published for Hodder in delicate Art Nouveau watercolors.  Despite this, more information about Hudson is not easily found. 

While we all immediately recognize Alice in blue, she was dressed by countless illustrators throughout time in what I refer to as the fashion of the era.  This was not the only time Alice would be dressed in white, as Margaret W. Tarrant gave her a white version in 1916, and Bessie Pease Gutmann did one in 1907, among others.  I've always been attracted to Hudson's Alice, and first saw this done on a doll by Robin Woods for her Ultimate Alice set. 

Another reason I was artistically compelled to create this, and at this time of year, was due to the setting she gave to the Tea Party.  Normally done with summer greens, the leaves on her trees are distinctly autumn colors.  I had originally intended to needle felt the White Rabbit with his black fan, embroidered waistcoat and blue silk vest, but I'd just done a White Rabbit for the Korean Alice.  I considered other characters like the Mock Turtle with a soup tureen, but instead chose the crazy March Hare with his pink-iced cherry cake, as the colors would pop the display since the dress was "Sees Candies" white and black.  But, I get ahead of myself, as usual. 

Alice's dress is a micro stripe dimity.  It is textured and finely woven cotton.  The trim is black Petersham grosgrain.  The difference between Petersham and normal grosgrain is the edging.  With the Petersham, you get a ribbed effect, while the other is a straight, smooth edging.

Her pinafore is the Pima Swiss Batiste, all edged in cotton lace with two tiny pockets.

I fussed a bit trying to design this pinafore because there was no clear determination how the back of it looked.  I was told recently by a respected doll costumer that since it is just an illustration, made up in someone's head. that the dress is not real, the pattern not real.  My jaw dropped silently over the phone, and it really made me wonder what she was trying to pull.  After all, every single dress and garment that was ever made, came out of someone's head and a drawing on paper, an illustration!  Yet, this doesn't deter me, and I know better, and always do my homework.  A pinafore is a little apron that goes over a dress for playtime.  It is to keep the dress clean while the child plays, but heaven forbid it, alone, gets dirty.
  
So, I designed one from the 20's with a smock bodice instead of the straps we normally see.  Two tiny buttons close it in the back.  Large butterfly sleeve caps top float above the short puffed sleeves of her dress.  It was really something trying to pull this all inside out through the shoulders.  It is a lined bodice. 
 
She completes her look with a coral bead necklace, short socks, and the cross strap shoes she wears are the same ones I made for the blue and white striped dress by Agnes Richardson in 1923.  Same time frame.  I got lucky.  The coral necklace would be her only bright spot until I began needle felting her tea party mate and cake. 

In the meantime, I scoured Ebay for the pressed blue glass tea cups, and a miniature cake plate.

I began with the cake, thinking it would be easy, but I'd completely forgotten how to needle felt.  It happens.  Its not like riding a bike, I'm afraid.  After a failed attempt at squashing wool and poking the heck out of it, I decided to go back to a youtube of rabbit making, and a tutorial on print that I used for the Korean White Rabbit.  Neither was all that helpful, but they did encourage me.  After all, the March Hare that Hudson drew was anthropomorphic, and had crazy Bug's Bunny eyes.  I was doing a caricature, and this was different. 

As I studied the illustration of the Tea Party under the autumn leaves, I searched through the book I'd recently purchased (a fine copy of the original done by Pook Press), to look for what he wore under that table.  I found an illustration of the March Hare and Hatter stuffing themselves into a teapot, that you won't typically find in a Google search, as its in black and white.  I don't know if the original was enhanced with orange, but let's pretend it was.  What I discovered were a pair of man's legs in striped pants with rabbit feet sticking out.

I decided then that I would do the stripes in royal blue to provide a pleasing palette, and they just happened to match the blue of the glass tea cups. 

I was not confident, at any given time, that I'd be able to "pull off" doing the March Hare.  I really did have to reteach myself how to needle felt again, and it was a good lesson to not let this skill drift away.     
 
I began with his head figuring that this is the main feature of the March Hare.  This also helps gives you an idea, as you go along, how large the body should be.  He is made on thin wire armature, which allows for him to be posed,  however, once you get a good amount of wool felted to build his form, the amount of bending does decline.

I think one of the things I learned with him was how to build clothing on a body for a needle felted character.  To begin, you have to flat felt the wool to begin making pieces of the outfit that can be felted together.  I started with the vest since it went under the jacket, then began with the pants.  Now that I knew they were striped, and I'd selected a color, they went together fairly quickly.  The stripes were something I'd done before when I made the Cheshire Cat.  Still, this was a pair of pants, and I thought, as I went along applying the stripes, about how they would look if you cut out pattern pieces from striped fabric, so they would look natural.

The jacket took some thought as well, and I found that if you do the sleeves first, the jacket front and back can be felted on smoothly at the shoulders.  I felted his head wrap and black bow tie as well...even the buttons.  His whiskers are fishing line.  Why?  Well, it was available at the CVS, and it shows up better than nylon sewing thread.  There's a light green tint to fishing line, but it doesn't detract from the look of whiskers...at least on the March Hare.  The wheat strands, or grasses, are just that.  You can pick up these dried grasses in the floral area of a Michael's.  I colored them with those marvelous alcohol markers and gave them a good chance to dry overnight since they were going under a white head wrap. 

And, just what is a March Hare?  Its a popular British phrase based on a belief about the hare's behaviour at the beginning of the long breeding season.   Early in the season, unreceptive females often use their forelegs to repel overenthusiastic males. It used to be incorrectly believed that these bouts were between males fighting for breeding supremacy.  Could this be why he wears a head wrap?  Like he's been in battle?  Tossling in the grasses and getting wounded?  Anything is possible.

It has occurred to me that I could "do Alice", and nothing but, for the rest of my creative days!  I even have a new one planned that I wish to start right away.  But, Alice Illustrated's Gwynedd M. Hudson will be her last outfit for the time being.  And, I'm even thinking about making myself a yellow cake with cherries in it, pink cherry frosting, topped with cherries!  Doesn't it look yummy?

Love,
Miss E. Mouse
 








Friday, July 7, 2017

Mary Lennox Tells Cousin Colin of India

Summer is a time of day dreaming.  The quiet of the early morning hours, a gentle breeze whispering the heat of rising sun, long afternoons sipping something iced while reading a good book...these and the steady lapping of waves on the lakeshore, are the things of summer.  What are your day dreams of when a canopy of green is your parasol?


When I'm designing and sewing a new ensemble for doll, my mind wanders hither and yon.  Surely there is a good deal of mental energy on the task at hand.  How am I going to get the perfect fit, how many inches long should this be, just what the heck is going on with this collar?!  But, I also play dolls while I'm busy with my needles and thread.  Sewing is how I play with my dolls and creating stories behind them and their costuming is one of the ways I bring the costuming to life.  These are never just another dress for just another doll. 

Mary Lennox has become one of my favorite dolls, and dolls to sew for.  Again, I'll admit that not every single one of the Peck Aubry outfits is to my liking, but a collection, and a complete collection is just that.  So while I'm putting off making the two or three that I least like, this one felt it needed making before I labor over an intricate smocking stitch for the next one (just another thing I'll have to learn).

Finding this fabric was like a breath of fresh air.  This lovely woven and light, airy cotton is a plaid or Madras of midnight navy and white. The dress surely could have been made from silk, but finding this exact plaid was going to be difficult, if not impossible.  Remember, there is always size of the plaid to consider.  Just another reason why I love sewing for the 16" dolls.  There are more options.  The outfit's feature of focus, is, once again, a collar, but now coupled with ivory Swiss embroidered details.

Yes, it is summer, but thoughts of learning and school days are always synonymous with plaids.  As my mind wandered, I was trying to come up a purpose for this dress in Mary's wardrobe.  When we watch a movie or read a book of The Secret Garden, the story appears to take place within a year.  But, Mary's life, to me, was long and full and she would grow up to be a well educated young woman and a philanthropist.  As well as a tender of gardens extraordinaire! 

This Madras pattern, and the light woven quality of the fabric made me think if India.   Authentic Madras comes from Chennai (Madras, India).  Both sides of the cloth must bear the same pattern; it must be hand-woven, and this is evidenced by the small flaws, or slubs, in the fabric.  How could or would a dress like this fit into Mary's story?  At first I thought, Well, she and cousin, Colin, could travel to India.  Then I remembered scenes from the Kate Maberly movie where she refers to him as a Raja.  And also when she tells him the story of the god that swallowed the universe.  In my further story of the hours she spent with Colin, while he was still bedridden, she tells him of the country she grew up in, what it was like to live there, of the people, of the lush and fragrant landscape, of the elephants and the tigers.  For this presentation, she shares a map of the British Raj in India.  Raj means "rule", thus Raja, "ruler".

Certainly, I do love to write, but this blog also gives the reader a glimpse at what inspires me and how I create from that inspiration, and above all, day dream.

As typical, when I start out bringing an illustration to life, I often downplay the difficulties I might encounter.  I initially see "a dress with long sleeves, a collar and a red belted sash".  No biggie.  Hah!  Well, first of all, we're dealing with plaids and I love working with them in the attempt to match up the pattern.  I was doing a pretty good job until the very end when I was alerted that the two back sides of the bodice did not match up.  I swear that I'd cut them properly, but it could be that when sewing this micro and soutached collar on the neckline, the matching became uneven.  I guess it really doesn't matter since, 1) there's a Bertha collar covering it up, and 2) she has long hair, and 3) does it really matter?, and am I being Type A?  The dress is closed in the back with pretty, little navy buttons and thread loops.  Perhaps I'll be forgiven since the details are still nicely done.

There is a small, white placket at the center of the bodice that has five little mother of pearl shank buttons going down it.  The idea of making the back it into a matching point was entirely up to me since the illustration hides this design.  I think one of things I enjoyed most about this dress was the complement of the ivory collar and underskirt.  A hint of cuff can be seen in the illustration, and I developed this into a cuff design.  The lace that edges the Bertha was also used for the cuff, and the cuff was "extended" by cutting up another piece of ivory Swiss embroidered lace that was 4" wide.  Its perfectly okay to piece things together if the outcome is pleasing to the eye.  And, again, it was my interpretation since the illustration shows Mary with her hands behind her back.  So, yes, I do "make things up". 

Another example of this was the back of the Bertha.  I don't think it would have been too difficult to imagine what this might look like, but my version was very difficult to do.   I'm not grumping, but it did take me three whacks at it to create one.  After two attempts with a muslin, I ordered, and had to wait for, a Swiss Ivory batiste from emmarob company.  I use their batistes exclusively.  The turning inside out and top-stitching requires a very fine fabric. 

One of the confounding things about the design of this collar was that the square inset borders are laid atop the gathered and fitted, triangle pointed flounce. (How else would one describe it?)  I worried over this collar for three days, and finally had to call it done.  (It is not a Mary Frances collar, although there was a dress pattern that offered a similar design.  Its one of those "memories" of having done something like this before that sat with me.)  The dress is finished off with a red silk sash, tied with a bow at the back.  I created red thread loops at the sides of the dress to run the sash through.  This helps narrow, or scrunch the sash for the look.  I like the dress.  And with all the research I did on British rule in India, which I've chosen not to share because it isn't Hollywood romance, this will always be the dress Mary wears when she tells Colin of India.  Now I wish to see a rerun of the series, Indian Summers, or pop the 1994 version of The Jungle Book (with Jason Scott-Lee) in the DVD player.  By the way, Lena Hedley was Mowgli's love interest in that version.  Lena Hedly - Cersei in Game of Thrones!  Imagine!

Back to summer and day dreaming.  How very tempted I am to make something new for Alice Illustrated.

Love,
Miss E. Mouse 

India during the British Raj

Just about the time frame Mary would have been born.

An antique map of British India


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Miss Unity - The Emblem of the UFDC

The emblem, or symbol, of the UFDC (United Federation of Doll Clubs) has been an instantly recognizable one for over sixty years.  The image is a stylized version of a wooden doll from the 1830's in a blue gown with two rows of black ribbon at the hem, and a two or three-tiered (depending on how you read the image) white ruffled lace collar at the neckline.  And, the elaborate hair styling is a wonder to behold.


As the UFDC (founded in 1937 by Mary Lewis) was growing into a larger organization, a contest was held in 1955 to create a "distinctive and exclusive emblem".  Ten members, representing ten clubs within the UFDC, entered submissions in the competition.  The winning illustration was entered by Mrs. Charles A. (Ruth C.) Williams of Chagrin Falls, Ohio.  Ruth was known in the doll world as simply, "Darcy".  Darcy was also known as "The Wooden Doll Lady", both a carver and collector of wooden dolls. 

Darcy's inspiration for the emblem was an illustration by Charles Philipon (1830), of a toy seller.  In the seller's hand was a polichinelle doll, and to her right (left in the illustration) was a doll in a full and fancy gown with an equally elaborate hat decorated with plumes.  I would imagine that the gown itself, along with the toy seller's hair styling, were the key sources Darcy used to illustrate the emblem.  She added two wooden hobby horses, one held in each hand.  When the emblem was receiving its final touches, the hobby horses were removed, leaving just the doll. 

A full details on the history of UFDC's emblem can be read in a copy of Doll News, Summer 2015.  It was just my luck that someone listed the pages from this issue on Ebay, along with a copy of the history of its founder, Mary Lewis, from a Spring 2013 Doll News issue.  These came in handy for my own research and inspiration, but was also confusing when I began to design one more doll for the Helper Room at the UFDC convention this summer (August 1 - 5).

It was obvious to me that the emblem was of a wooden doll with carved wood hair, but I also noted in the article that dolls like Ginny had been used to symbolize Miss Unity.  Madame Alexander had done the same - with wigged hair, but with not such a fancy style.  Tonner made a small resin one that was 6 1/2" tall - and a tinier resin doll, 2" tall.  Miss Unity had also been designed in a white dress with black lace trim, and one with blue ribbon trim!  And, Peggy Jo Rosamond created an extraordinary paper doll of Miss Unity with a rose colored gown and one in golds and greens.

I suppose all along I knew that when I'd decided to create one, I would be faithful to today's emblem, using the blue gown, but I also wanted to select just the right doll to make her from.  With such a variety of images of her out there, I wanted to do something different, unique.  After I'd finished the nautical dress for Mary Lennox, I was in a "blue" mood anyway).  I'd ordered some beautiful blue silk from India that still has not arrived, and time was at a minimum.  Finding a reasonably priced lady doll to work with was even trickier.  But, I had this 16" wood body Lawton stashed away, and thought I'd see what I could do with her.  Could I make her into a lady doll?  Could I create this hair style from existing wigs?  The answer was, Yes.  At least I'd try.
I contacted the chairman of the Helper Room and asked if she'd be interested in a late submission, and also asked when I'd have to have her done by.  Jill was very receptive to the idea and told me to take my time.  This was good news, and also a relief, time wise  I had my doubts that I would be able to pull off making the wig.  As it is, her wig is one, and pieces from three others.   I also had to begin thinking about an alternative to the silk from India.  But, first thing's first.  If I couldn't make the wig, she would never be Miss Unity.

The wig is one that held pig tails of sausage curls.  I began by pulling each curl away from the others and wrapping them in both clockwise and counter clockwise twists around the band that held the pig tails, then hand stitched these rolls into place.  This wig is completely hand stitched.  I did not trust glue to this effort, and wanted it to look as "natural" as possible.  Earlier, I had purchased one of Tonner's 6 1/2" resin dolls to work from.  I measured the width and height of his hair sculpt and calculated how the dimensions should be according to the doll's head I was using. (See Tonner's little resin to the left.) 

A couple of days were spent trying to figure out how to make the hair piece that is the most recognizable piece to this doll's image.  Let's think about this for a minute.  If hair is parted down the middle to create side rolls, it is also parted down the back.  Where does the hair come from that is on top?  It had to be a hair piece.  So I made one. 

This hair piece consists of three twisted rolls, one on top the other at the base, then a profusion of rolls nestled into the crown.  I tried using a wig cap as the base from which to work, but found that a piece of buckram, dyed dark brown, would work better as it was stiff and could support all that I had to sew to it.  I saved the soft wig capping to sew to the bottom of this piece to provide a base to sew the top curls into.  So its sort of like a little hat of hair that eventually got sewn onto the wig with the side rolls.  I think I put just as much effort into making this wig as designing and creating the clothing.  More, maybe.

After finishing the wig, I did something easy to get the doll dressed.  I made her stockings.  Then I made her slippers.  These little black leather slippers have the same criss-cross strapping as Gay Event's did.  Has anyone made the connection that I took to making this doll since she was from the same year as Gay Event?  1830.  I'm drawn to the styling of the costuming from this era. 
Next I made her pantaloons.  I used a fine Swiss batiste to create them, and edged them in a Swiss embroidered lace with a simple design.  They have a small waistband and are closed in back with a small white button and thread loop.  I don't expect this "cabinet doll" will ever be undressed, but I wanted to make sure that if someone looked, the finishings were all finely done.  I don't know about you, but one of the first things I do when I pick up a new doll, is lift her dress up to see what's beneath.  Why do we do this?  Good question. 

Last week, fed up with India, I bought some very lovely and expensive sateen with which to make her gown.  Upon receiving it, I knew this would have been the best choice after all, since the drape and color were glorious.  I chose a batiste Swiss embroidered lace that would lend itself to three ruffled layers for the collar.  Two just didn't seem quite enough. 

Her billowing sleeves with wrist bands were a delight to create.  The two rows of black silk ribbon were a little more difficult to do.  When I add rows of ribbon or soutache, it takes a lot of measuring and marking on the cloth to stitch them equidistant to each other.  There is a relatively simple design to this dress, but I think you can make it into "more" if you desire.  The back is closed with a hook and thread loop at the neckline and waist, and two little black glass beads with thread loops at the back.  A black double sided silk ribbon is the tie around her waist.   

The last thing I did to Miss Unity, was change her eyes from brown to blue.  I'd originally thought her eyes would be brown considering the color of her wig.  But, after reading about her and studying the dolls and paper dolls done of her, I knew that she'd never be Miss Unity unless she had blue eyes.  I hope Jill will be pleased with her as an addition to the Helper Room.

I have started work on another dress for Mary Lennox and with Miss Unity completed, I'll pick up where I left off.  June flew by.  I did a little traveling at the end of May into June, and it seems that one day quickly blended into the other after that.  Last week, we suffered a horrid heat wave bringing daytime temperatures into the triple digits.  I do plan on having a more relaxed month in July, then its off to convention on August the first.  I hope you're enjoying your summer and getting out to enjoy the sunshine, doing the simplest and happiest of things.  Even reading a book under a shade tree is "summer" to me!

Love,
Miss E. Mouse

 


Tonner's 2" Resin

Peggy Jo Rosamond's Miss Unity Paper Doll

Miss Unity Dolls at the UFDC Headquarters


Saturday, May 27, 2017

Victorian Sailor Stripes for Mary Lennox

 "Oh! the things which happened in that garden!  If you have never had a garden, you cannot understand, and if you have had a garden, you will know that it would take a whole book to describe all that came to pass there.  At first it seemed that green things would never cease pushing their way through the earth, in the grass, in the beds, even in the crevices of the wall.  Then the green things began to show buds, and the buds began to unfurl and show colour, every shade of blue, every shade of purple, every tint and hue of crimson."


"The seeds Dickon and Mary had planted grew as if fairies had tended them.  Satiny poppies of all tints danced in the breeze by the score, gaily defying flowers which had lived in the garden for years, and which it might be confessed seemed rather to wonder how such new people had got there.  And the roses - the roses!  Rising out of the grass, tangled round the sundial, wreathing the tree-trunks, and hanging from their branches, climbing up the walls and spreading over them with long garlands falling in cascades - they came alive day by day, hour by hour."  (The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett)

It was on a day such as this, described by Hodgson Burnett, that Mary chose to wear a bright and jaunty dress of blue and white stripes in a fashionable Victorian sailor style.  I love this dress.  When I first saw the illustration in the Peck Aubrey paper doll book, I knew I'd make it for her as a summer frock.  Even Ben Weatherstaff's eyes brightened up upon seeing Mary enter the garden with an empty basket, ready to pick some flowers for Medlock's vases.

This dress was given us opposite the one I just finished with the elaborate lace collar.  It was not planned that I do things page by page, but it could push me to creating ones I'm not certain of.  So far, the dresses in cloth have paid tribute to the illustrations, and I will continue to attempt to finish the wardrobe thusly.

When I first bought the striped fabric for this dress, I'd chosen a navy and white stripe.  ???  Even my mind plays tricks with my eyes.  No, it was royal blue and white stripes.  So I went back online to Ebay and started searching.  I found this particular stripe from a fabric seller in the U.K., and once again, it was fitting.  If I ever get back across the pond, fabric shopping in England will be at the top of my list. 

Mary's dress would prove to be another puzzle as I began to design the pattern.  I  had rather hoped that the red debut silk dress would provide me a basic, but the sailor collar and the front bodice crossing one "lapel" over the other took me back to square one.  This was made in two full pieces, each consisting of the front and back bodice with sleeve, fully lined, then stitched together at the middle front waist to be added to the skirt. 

Beneath the dress is where I began.  Mary wears a sleeveless waist of cotton with a high collar trimmed in the same blue soutache I used for her red wool coat's trim.  It is closed in the back with four little buttons with loops, and a hook at the collar.  As I began the design of the dress, I had to pay careful attention to what I was given to work with.  Normally one would choose white soutache trim for the cuffs and sailor collar edging, but these were thick stripes.  Stripes the same width as those of the dress.  So tried something.  I pieced the solid blue to the blue striped fabric about 2mm into the color edge that would display, and in doing so, created a fabric I could work from.  

While doing this, I took a photo of a collar pattern (good ol' paper towels - still using them!) to illustrate how this was done.  As you can see, when I would go to cut out the solid blue of the bottom layer, I would sew 2mm into the blue stripe, just enough to give a blue edge below the white stripe.  This is not a no-brainer exercise.  I would have to do this with the cuffs as well as the border on the bottom, exacting the stitch where it should be. 

I learned something with the cuffs, maybe relearned?, that I'd either forgotten or hadn't done before.  If you notice that the cuffs stand out when turned up, creating this look took a little puzzling.  Basically, if you sew the edges of the cuff to the sleeve edges, leaving a pucker in the middle, when you turn the cuff up, it will stand out to the side free of the sleeve.  The pattern for the cuff is longer on the top, smaller on the bottom and angled down.

The skirt of the dress is lined, too, to avoid unslightly hem stitching.  The dress buttons up in the back with loops and a hook at the edge of the collar closest to the neck.  Why don't I make buttonholes?  Again, I don't trust my machine to do them well, and to have a machine stitched buttonhole not come out nicely on a well made dress - well, its a disaster because you've ruined the dress.  I feel that hand sewn buttonhole can be done when needed, but they do take time.  And, Mary's hair covers the closures in the back, so...   Moving on...

Mary's tam was made from the same fabric as the solid border of her skirt.  I call it my Pie and Donut hat because those are what the pattern pieces look like.  The band was embellished with three brass star studs.  These were kind of fun to work with.  I did order them from a seller in China.  I hope I find another use for them because I have 47 pieces left!  Once the prongs are pushed into the fabric of the hat band, I put a piece of cloth over the star, then used my trusty pliers to bend the prongs in.  This saves the metal star from any damage or scratches.

Mary's tie is that lovely cotton silk.  It is attached to the front of the dress through an embroidered thread loop sewn beneath where the collar crosses over.  Her belt is the same fabric as the sleeveless waist she wears beneath the dress and was embellished with two shiny brass buttons. A hook and loop closes it. 

Finally it was time to make the flowers for her basket.  I found this lovely little basket on Ebay.  I  have doll sized baskets, but I needed one with a long handle that reached across the round basket.  There are a lot of "Easter" and "picnic" baskets out there, but ones like this can be difficult to find.  I was lucky. 

The flowers are all wool felt, similar to the ones I made to decorate Alice Illustrated's Peck Aubrey hat.  I worked them with my mini glue gun and it was a mess.  At least it was in particular for the flowers with individual petals.  I have tried sewing these to the center and they do not come out as nicely as a flower would using the hot glue gun.  I set a layer of green wool sheet in the bottom of the basket then glued the flowers into the basket, seating them on the wool beneath.  This is for the case that I wish to reuse the basket at some point, although I seriously doubt that will happen.  Its Mary's flower basket.  But, should someone years from now wish to remove the flowers, there won't be a glop of hard, dried glue at the bottom of the basket.

Mary Lennox will continue to be a bright spot on my doll shelf, and now in bright royal blue and white stripes.  On Monday, I'm traveling up to Vancouver, B.C. to visit with my needle felting friend, Lesley.  From what I can tell, Vancouver has gardens to rival Mary's!  A little holiday is in order. 

Love,
Miss E. Mouse