Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Daisy!











On March 15th, we celebrated Daisy's 100th Anniversary. In keeping my priorities straight, I launched into making some wonderful things for collectors of the doll to help in celebrating her birthday in style. I'd had a bit of set back with the Lettie Lane Doll House in that my table saw needed a new blade, and once had, I needed to install it properly and "calibrate" it to perform smoothly and with a straight cut. All of this mechanics work put me in a mood to do something a bit more fun, so I began making party hats and cornucopia favors for the doll.
I'd attended a doll show in a nearby town and found that Harrison Cady, one of my favorite illustrators from long ago, was a featured illustrator and story teller in the Ladies' Home Journal back when Lettie Lane's paper dolls were being made and Daisy, herself, was introduced. I'd found a page of his work, which were cut-out stand-ups that a child could play with to further enjoy the story on the adjacent page. Of course I had to miniaturize them on wood and make Daisy some for her party table. I'd also found another antique wooden puzzle with four complete puzzles, and miniaturized one for Daisy to play with.

A miniature version of an antique linen Alice in Wonderland book was added to the series, along with a die-cut coloring book and a set of real, tiny colored pencils in a reproduction wooden slide top box. I'd offered the coloring book and pencils with the eyelet paper doll party hat, but for some reason this did not go over well, so it will go to convention with me this summer.

Two other items I made for Daisy were a miniature version of herself from a Nada Christensen Petit Bleu, and a miniaturized copy of the Ladies' Home Journal where Daisy debuted. The magazine was one of the most difficult things I've done and I swore off doing another, although I'd made three of them. Then I acquired, luckily, three other issues with Daisy's dress pattern pages by Sheila Young, so I guess I'm going to have to miniaturize them, too. I'm only missing the December issue, and hope to find it this year. The next issue was the bridal issue of April 15th. My intent is to get one "hot of the press" the first week of April.

In the Daisy debut issue of March 15, 1911, there was also an ad on page 44 stating a contest for girls to sew their best and send the outfits in for judging. The prize was Lettie Lane's Sewing Box and $100. I'd been scrolling for antique sewing baskets and boxes and found this adorable woven purse basket with tiny baskets inside holding scissors, a tomato-strawberry and a thimble. Naturally I HAD to miniaturize this! It was one of the cutest things I've made so far for Daisy, and a miniature antique reproduction tape measure followed. It was quite an achievement getting the tape to pull out and wind back up nicely, and at this point, I'm not giving that secret away.
I'd so much fun making the sewing basket, that I made one more sewing accessory to satisfy my creativity. This one was Daisy's Duck Sewing Caddy. I was tickled when someone saw it and said, "I know how you did it, and it is worth every penny". Well she does not know how I did it, but she can certainly guess at how it was done. This one took my three tries to get right and the duck, whose beak holds the scissors, caused me more grief than it was worth. Yet in the end this duck caddy will remain a favorite. I'd made one more tape measure and topped the crank with a tiny wooden duck bead that I'd made. When you pull the tape measure out, and rewind it, the duck spins! This was a happy accident, but it has given me ideas for mechanical toys.

Another process in the sewing accessories was in making the tiny tomato-strawberries. The one in the basket is made from vintage red velveteen, and the other in the duck caddy from cotton. If put to the task, I'm sure I'd try making one in pieces to have a smoother finish, but for these collections, I feel they came out very sweet. There really is no limit to the length I'll go to to create some of these things, but sometimes I wonder just how many hours should be spent on a single item? Well, I can answer that. If I'm intrigued, there is no limit!

One of the things that has troubled me about this blog site, is that I've never been able to figure out how to move photos about on the page. Because of this, I'm afraid they are often just a jumble, but I do hope you'll enjoy them.

Right now I'm working on yet another miniature Cracker Barrel Trunk for a miniature Bleuette and its giving me the fits. I swore I'd never make another, but here I am doing something special for a customer. And, while I'm tearing my mousy fur out over this, when the wood arrives, I'll make a slightly larger one for the Petit Bleu, which is 4" in height (the same size doll as Daisy's mini self). The mini-porcelain Bleuettes are about 2 1/2" tall.

And, why is this mouse working so hard these days? Because she's trying to get herself to the UFDC doll convention in Anaheim this summer. Its rather funny, but most of my customers do not really understand that I have to invest to create, and often have to purchase an item so I can miniaturize in perfect scale. A little goes in, a little goes out. But, its certainly hard to save for events like the convention.

And, what of the Lettie Lane Doll House? Well, the roof sits on my table and I will continue to work on it just as soon as I get a bit caught up.
Tomorrow is St.Patrick's Day and I wish you all a lucky day filled with pots of gold and rainbows. Back to my hole in the wall.

Love,
Miss E. Mouse