Sunday, December 26, 2010

Z is for Zither

The presents unwrapped, the eggnog is done, and the yule log still burns merrily. Ah, what lovely Christmas has past. And, now on December the 26th, it is time to get busy again and think about all the pretty things I'd like to make in the coming year. But, first, it was time to finish the little zither today, and finish it I did. Displayed by my own Marie Terese, the little zither, if you recall, was made for the same doll who is being turned into Annabelle from Tasha Tudor's darling poetic story of a French Fashion doll who has everything she needs A to Z. I would like to imagine Annabelle spending many a comforting winter day playing lovely tunes on this wee zither.

When I look back on the process of creating this instrument, I have to admit that it was quite the challenge to miniaturize such an elaborate and complicated instrument. For one thing, there were all the angles and curves to consider, but also all the many strings a real zither has. Thirty to forty-five I've read, but just today when I had to admit (which was difficult) that I'd not enough room for thirty, I read that there is a zither which only has 25 strings. The most important thing to remember about miniatures is that they are most often an illusion of the real thing. With 1:12 scale, drawers may not open, water is not in flower vases, and stairs may lead to a ceiling in a doll house. However, I try my very best to make my creations as real as possible.

Presenting: the zither! I had to work up the nerve today to drill the holes for the tuning pegs, but the thing that took the most patience in finishing the piece, was the stringing. The musical strings are actually wound around the pegs as a real instrument would be, and the frets on the side bar are there, however hand painted in gold leaf. Only 3 3/4" in length, Annabelle will now have the finest zither in town.

And, what is in store for 2011? It is time to begin a focus on the 18" Daisy doll's toys and accessories. Wooden circus pull toys in the Schoenhut style, and a larger carousel (like the Becassine one) with circus animals just for starters!

Should I not post before the new year, Wishing you all a very magical New Year, propersous in every way imaginable.


Miss E. Mouse

Friday, December 10, 2010

"Unto you a child is born!"

The rain comes down and skies remain gray. The leaves slowly, very slowly begin their final descent to the earth. Winter where I live is soggy and soft. The rich soil soaks up the rain and when a storm comes, the creeks fill and rush from pond to pond keeping the geese happy and winter bulbs full of promise.

Since the weather keeps me indoors, I just finished this lovely little creche for Bleuette. It is made from mahogany, oak bark and moss. The inspiration was a creche that the company Fontanini made some years ago. The little porcelain nativity figurines came all the way from France. My favorites are the little animals - the lamb, the camel, the donkey and cow. So tiny, so sweet!

And, what did Miss E. Mouse get for Christmas? Well, a new home! Not so much a home, but a little retreat for when I need to mouse away to rest and read. Thank you for popping in to take a look at my new etrennes, and thank you for enjoying my work. If you have a moment, I'd enjoy hearing from you in the comments section. I hope you're enjoying the holiday season, and for this little mouse, a few Christmas television shows are on my agenda.

Miss E. Mouse