It hardly seems another year has come and gone. Its been a very dry and chilly winter solstice, but for a mouse, the dry leaves remain a joy to scurry through. With so much behind us, and so very much ahead, I remain inspired and never tire from one project to the next. Certainly November was a month of very hard work, and sometimes into the night, but Miss E. Mouse is pleased with what came out of it. The December 1911 issue of The Ladie's Home Journal is truly the most outstanding and lovely of the five Daisy issues offered. There were so many pages of gorgeous illustrations of items a girl could make for Christmas, and pages of cut-out paper toys for dolls. One of them was A Christmas Tree For the Dolls, and of this, I made a peg wooden affair in the exact size from the issue.
There were two pages that enchanted me as well, and these were Christmas gifts made in Cretonne, a cabbage rose design. I chose to make the Sewing Chair, The Colonial Work Bag, and the doilly boxes from these pages. But, one of the most enchanting, was the Snow Baby Cake from the "dainties" page. Before I'd even begun making this cake, I had to find tiny snow babies and was very lucky to find a miniature doll shoppe that carried them, made by a lady in England.
The Snow Baby Cake was quite an undertaking as it was made of air drying clay and took a week and a half to completely "bake". The frosting was made from modeling gel, and I made the tiny mistletoe, myself, from scrapbooking leaves and milk glass beads from Prague.
The Colonial Work Bag was yet another intricate challenge. Nada Christensen made the tiny porcelain head on a shoulder plate and even attached it with elastic stringing so the head would turn. The tiny arms are about 1/2" long or smaller! And, just what is a Colonial Work Bag? Nowhere could I find a true definition, so Miss E. Mouse claims it to be a Dolly Work Bag. Much study of the illustration brought me to design the bag "dress" as a drawstring bag opening up under the apron. If you asked me how I did all this, I could barely tell you today as I just fiddled with it all until it came together. Her hair is tiny bits of curled mohair under a silk bonnet. One photo I never took a good one of, details that there is a covered "button" at the bottom of the bag. Girls could use the bag to decorate their dressers or door knobs, too.
The Sewing Chair is a novelty that I think has transcended time. If you look in fabric stores, I believe Mary Englebreit made similar notions. This little chair's base is wood, of course, and I covered in it Cretonne. It even has "stuffing" to feel like a real chair and could be used as Dolly's pin cushion. The chair seat lifts on Shaker style pegging. I included two tiny threaded spools, a needle, and a tiny pair of working scissors.
Two Dolly Varden costumes were made for Daisy. I kept one for my own doll. The one you see in the photo was the first one The Ruffle Queen made. So very many more ruffles than the Pumpkin Costume. This was an original Daisy pattern from the Christmas page of patterns for her. And, who is Dolly Varden? I never found out. So much for Google. I'd like to think she was a lady from the stories and illustrations of Kate Greenaway. The dress pattern and hat is certainly reminiscent of that era. This dress was made from a beautiful new Japanese cloth call Yuwa. Its a delicate cotton with a lovely drape printed from vintage inspired patterns. Pink velveteen bands the hat and makes up the cumberbund and drawstring bag. I even added a little silk embroidery to the hat band. I really love the way the Dolly Varden outfit came out. It was for "a Christmas party" for Daisy.
Finally, I just finished this little apron from Daisy's School Page of patterns. Its the perfect little touch to keep her Christmas finery neat and tidy while she bakes cookies. This pattern was particularly difficult for me since the apron is completely lined. Even the pockets are lined, and 1/2" covered buttons are used on the side tabs, and to close the back. As I teach myself how to sew and put these patterns together, I'm gaining as much useful knowledge as any of the accessories and toys have given me in the past. I've added a new dimension to my work!
One of the nicest gifts I got this year was from a dear friend who sent me a set of tiny Hallmark ornaments of mini sewing mice! The acknowledgment was loving and encouraging.
I promise this will not be my last blog of the year. I have so much to share about where my work is headed in 2012. Daisy's 100th birthday year has been fabulous. She has really stolen my heart, and yet the horizon is bright for someone new and equally wonderful.
Wishing you all a holiday filled with warmth, joy, and definitely a little cheese!
Miss E. Mouse