Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Alice Illustrated's Hallowe'en in Wonderland

Cooler weather, falling leaves and hooting owls.  Spooky stories, chilling tales, bags of miniature chocolate bars and excited children (and adults!) planning what to wear for the Hallowe'en parties and celebrations.  "These are a few of my favorite things."  So long raindrops on roses.  Fall is here and it truly is my favorite time of year.  While poets may wax on the dying of things, everything comes to life for me.  Gone is the wretched heat of summer.  Its time for holidays and merriment!

Last spring my dear friend, Jean Nordquist, who shares my love of "Alice Everything" and Hallowe'en, sent me a sampling from the new for 2016 line of Graphic 45 scrapbooking papers.  A set of Alice themed papers.  Hallowe'en in Wonderland!  The artist that conceived this idea and enhanced the illustrations so magically in Tenneil style, inspired me instantly to make a real Hallowe'en costume for Alice Illustrated.

I'm generally pretty picky about my Alice illustrators through time, in what I add to Alice Illustrated's growing wardrobe.  Who's to claim that a new illustrator is less desirable than those from the Golden Age?  For me, if it tickles my fancy and inspires me to recreate it, I'm off like a rabbit down the hole.

I knew I'd be making Alice the costume conceived by this artist, and I only wish I could share with you the name of this talented person. Jean sent these pages to me late last spring, and I'd been waiting patiently for fall to arrive to begin it.  She has a marvelous professional scanner and printer, and was able to scan most of the 12" x 12" page for me on the 11" x 17" plate, so that I could share the image with you in this blog post.  The other pages are equally stunning in design, and all the proper characters are redone, dressed up in a Hallowe'en theme.  Graphic 45.  Hallowe'en in Wonderland. Google it and take a look!

For Alice's costume, I used silks I had on hand.  Her dress is a cerulean blue silk, and her apron and hat are black silk.  I was sorely tempted to use her notable Tenneil dress beneath a new apron, but the trimming on the sleeves was white lace.  This would not do.  So I made the edges as a ruffle in the same color to emulate the artist's idea.

Her hat does not seem to have a pointy top like many witch hats, so I rounded the edge and poked it down a little.  The brim base is not the stiff buckram I typically use, but iron on pellon.  It gives it just enough form to keep it from drooping.  A green silk ribbon wrapped and tacked on, in an interesting criss-cross fashion, decorates the crown and gives it a bit of a vine-like appearance.

Her stockings are red and white stripes.  I used an infant's Christmas snuggy as my fabric. 

The broomstick had a couple of go 'rounds.  Not having any straw on hand, I went out to the yard and pulled some yellowed, long dead weeds and tried to wrap them around a simple dowel.  The crumbling mess did not work at all.  Then Sunday rolled around and with it, a coupon for Michael's in the Sunday paper. 

I hopped into the car and drove down to Michael's to have a look around to see what might work for the broomstick.  I settled on raffia for the brush, and an ornamental branch for the stem, though you must purchase them in a bundle.  No problem.  I'll have them on hand for the next broomstick.  Wrapped jewelry cording secures the broom to the stick.

I saved the shoes for last since I'd need to make a fresh pattern for them.  I did have a pattern for elf shoes, and I also looked up Bleuette's jester shoes, but neither were quite what Alice was wearing.  There is more of shoe to this than a pull on, curly-toed slipper or boot.  I'm at a loss for words in how to describe the pieces of this shoe.  But, the piece that goes across the instep is a triangular shape that fits into the two sides near the beginning of the curly toes.  I had to take a few whacks at this pattern before I got it right.  They're fun though, and without these shoes, the outfit would not be complete.

The only piece I regret not presenting is the pumpkin teapot in the right bottom corner of the illustration.  How dearly I'd love to make this, and in needle felt.  If I have time to explore this, this month, I will.  It would be a good "first needle felt" for me, and a wonderful accessory to display her with.

October is going to be spent in the service of others.  I would normally play Hallowe'en all month, but I have two commitments on my plate and due to this, Alice Illustrated's Hallowe'en in Wonderland is my only contribution to this year's festivities.

For the last few weeks I've been reading John Connolly's two chiller thriller volumes of short stories.  Nocturnes and Night Music (Nocturnes Two).  Truly a marvelous author.  This Irish author has been compared to a rather "subtle" Stephen King.  I always put up a few Hallowe'en decorations around the house and my dolls that do have costumes, usually get dressed up for the big night. 

I hope you have a delightful month and find yourself a Trick-or-Treat to sweeten your days.

Miss E. Mouse

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