Spring is in the air! My whiskers are twitching as I take in the scent of narcissus and my eyes twinkle at the sight of the bright yellow daffodils popping their little sun bonnets on. Here in California, spring always comes early, although some winters we get another wave of cold and all the buds on our trees freeze. And, yet, there is nothing compared to seeing the bright sun and the early garden of spring.
Having just finished three sets of the Lettie Lane peg wooden paper dolls, I'm very pleased with their outcome and could sit around here playing with them all day. But, they are going to new homes and I must get my little tail going on some new projects. As you can see, my paw is still in a cast, but I scurry around more easily these days.
My next project in the works, is a miniature of a precious Etrenne I've been wanting to do for some time now. It is the Bebe Balancoire, or doll swing in a lovely presentation box. The original was described as "Bebe Balancoire" in the 1893 Etrennes catalog of Printemps department store. The Bebe Balancoire features a beautifully paper covered trunk with doors that fold down back and front displaying a standing swing set upon which the doll sits. In the doors are richly displayed toys, dresses and accessories for the doll. My goodness! What child would not swoon for such a toy?
Besides playing dolls, as a child I loved to swing. I would swing for hours and hours in our backyard on a set my father crudely constructed, but to me, it was like flying among the bird song and budding trees.
The little Bebe was described with a porcelain head, and wood jointed arms and legs that were painted. This is exactly what I'm recreating in a lovely reproduction mignonette 2 3/4" tall. The trunk, being covered and constructed currently, is 3 1/2" tall and 2 1/2" wide. I'm so delighted to have started this project with its fine challenge in designing the presentation trunk with the swing in the middle. A time to dream...
How would you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think its the pleasantest thing,
every a child can do!
Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside--
Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown--
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!
- Robert Louis Stevenson
Miss E. Mouse