In each of our lives there is always one special moment, one special toy, or one special book that stands out as having shaped our dreams...or a least made a very memorable impression. Such was the case with The Wonderful Fashion Doll, by Laura Bannon, for children born after 1953, the year the book was published. I wouldn't know about it this treasure until just a year ago, when one of my favorite doll artists, Wendy Lawton, recalled this book to her on-line group, trying to remember its name. After learning about the story, I had to find a copy. I could not believe the difficulty I experienced finding this book, and when I did, it was expensive. Very. I bought it, read it, reread it and enjoyed it for a year. Then I sold it. Sadly, yes, but I needed the cash. But, not before copying out a couple dozen pages! My intent after reading it was to recreate this story, bring it to life in a real doll, naturally in miniature. It was one of those things in the mouse hopper, and it wasn't until I actually parted with the book that I longed to build on this dream.
The story is the tale of a little girl named Debby who moves to her family's farmhouse in the country. Her great-grandmother had left letters about hiding this wonderful fashion doll to keep her safe from theives, and no one ever knew what happened to it, although it was a guess that it may be hidden somewhere in the old farmhouse. Debby's mission then was to try and find the doll...and does.
When I first thought of doing this, I was going to make a miniature Gay Event, the fashion doll, and all her clothing and treasures in the antique trunk. Then it occurred to me how cute it might be to make Debby and her doll. The story is just as much about Debby as it is about the discovey of the wonderful fashion doll. I knew I had the perfect little porcelain doll for Gay Event, a tiny 2 3/4" lady doll, but what was I to do about Debby? After much consideration, I decided I would use Mary Lee of Mary Lee's Tribute, a 9" Wendy Lawton doll, as my Debby. Now, once I've made my mind up, there's generally no turning back. Mary Lee is sweet, but with a different wig, (which I have found and need to purchase), and an outfit made like the one Debby wears when she finds the doll, she'd be perfect. This does however mean that I give up Mary Lee, but if this comes out the way I hope it to, it will indeed be WONDERFUL!
This tiny lady doll's head is even threaded so it can turn. From all the pages I've copied from the book I've a detailed description of all that was in the trunk, and even illustrations of most of the items. I just think this is just super!
Lastly, Marcella's dress has been made and she will be on her way home from the dressmaker shortly. These projects of mine are once again becoming quite elaborate in conception, detailed to the hilt and truly labors of love. How could I call them etrennes if they were not?