Monday, September 13, 2010

How Would You Like to Swing On A Star?

How long has it been since I've written? Well, let us consider the time I took from the end of June until now. I guess even a mouse needs to take a vacation once in awhile! And, now my paws are working steadily again and my mind is creating faster than I can work. But, that's the fun in what I do. One idea inspires another. And, finally, Bebe Balancoire is finished. I had to put her aside because I just wasn't confident how to proceed to her completion. Much of it had to do with the presentation of her treasures.

When I looked at the original, it appeared her accessories and clothing were tied into the papers of the sides. When I lined the trunk, the paper was glued down, so how was I to do this? What I ended up doing was making cards exactly like the interior and sewing the items on. This way you could display the piece intact with the cards fitting perfectly, or you could remove the cards to carefully examine the items, or you could even snip the treasures off the cards to play with them and arrange them as you'd see fit. Were I to purchase this, I would keep the cards intact, but one must remember that all I make is made to work and be played with.

One of the last items I made and thoroughly enjoyed doing was the little lamb. As a friend of mine told me, he has a Big Character for such a wee thing. I'd intended to carve him of wood, but I kept jabbing my paw with the X-acto blade and gave up. I finally decided on Fimo, and liteally carved him out of Fimo then painted his tiny features. It took three tries as he fell over in the oven once and got burned on his side, so by the third sculpt I'd made him perfect. I kept the last sculpt from falling over by inserting a 1/4" squared piece of inch long basswood between his legs. This was not the first time I'd scuplted and baked Fimo in a miniature character, but those tiny legs needed the best support. I couldn't help but take a close up of him as, to me, he is the cutest thing about this presentation box.

Lastly, and not true to the original etrenne, I made Bebe Balancoire a gilded stand so she could be posed in a variety of ways. Today she is now up on my website and for sale to a special owner. I'm quite proud of the way this presentation box came out, and its given me the opportunity to experience how to build such an unusual drop-sided trunk.

And, what is next? Well, its fall, and time to think about Halloween and eventually the holidays. Right now I'm making two more peg wooden paper dolls. Both are of the Halloween theme and one is Betty Bonnet, the other Polly Pratt. Both are Sheila Young's artwork from the 1920's, and you may recall that Sheila Young was the turn of the century paper doll artist of Lettie Lane for The Ladies' Home Journal.

Bleuette has been wonderful to create for and I intend to continue making etrennes for her in the future (the new peg wooden paper dolls are for her), but I'm branching off, once again, into the world of the French Fashion dolls. When I consider what I've done for Bleuette, these exact items could well have been made for the French Fashion dolls, however the time frame would have been thirty to sixty years earlier. I find this exciting and inspiring, and look forward to delving into this further. The first thing on my list is to make a chaufferette. This was a wooden box that held hot stones or coals and would sit at the feet of a young lady riding in a carriage. It was a foot heater!

Many of the accessories that were made for the French Fashion dolls came in the form of paper dolls! You'd cut these little accessories out and assemble them by folding and gluing, and many of them came with poorly written directions. So did the patterns used for sewing clothing, so why would this be a surprise? Instruction was much by word of mouth and children were taught the basics early on. I ran across a chaufferette in paper form and could never figure out how to fold it correctly to make the paper one. This frustration gave me notice to make one myself, out of wood, and metal grating, which in the long run would be ten times easier than trying to figure out how to fold one. I will take you along on this creative process next.

In the meantime, please enjoy the completion of Bebe Balancoire and please do drop into my website to see all fourteen detailed photographs of the presentation.

The season is changing. Summer is sweeping past us with the browning of grass and leaf, the winds are beginning to blow cool. Fall is in the air. I have a birthday coming up on the 18th and have made myself a promise to make this the best year yet! May yours be, too, beginning today.

Miss E. Mouse


  1. Oh my gosh Miss E. Mouse, this is breathtaking! When I first saw this set I had no idea that you had carved the sweet little lamb....he turned out darling and wonderful in this miniature him!!! As far as the construction of this set I am still truly amazed that you figured out how to make this by just looking at a picture of one and then making it even smaller...WOW!
    Love, Lori
    p.s. I love my sweet miniature "The Doctor" puzzle I bought from you. Thank you so much!

  2. This looks wonderful, it is such great fun making all those little things. Thankyou for showing us