The Club Grace box included a romper for Grace in large scale blue gingham, made by Ruby Red Galleria, which was a copy of Rachel's own outfit. I learned that when she wore it on video, she also wore red "slippers" and fancied up a modern take on Dorothy. The gift box came with a story card of Dolly being in the play, The Wizard of Oz, and how Grace encouraged her to perform. Diana Vining gave us paper toys in the form of a Grace paper doll wearing the outfit, a paper puppet of Dolly in her Dorothy outfit, and cut-out and assemble basket with Toto (too).
Sunday, April 11, 2021
Friday, March 19, 2021
I'm getting excited. I'm sure my "excited" doesn't look like a lot of people's "excited", but I can feel this energy deep inside that rumbles around like popcorn in an electric popper. I live a very quite life, which works for me, since I used to work in the high tech industry and let me tell you, it was intense. Technology was literally changing by the day, and all manner of getting that new product to the shelves took a level of energy and commitment that wore down every cell in your body. That was a long time ago, but I recognize that feeling in times like this, and its unsettling. I'm most content to be the horse grazing in the pasture. Secure, and with an easy routine. But, that's not how things work for me. A little excitement doesn't hurt, but I have to reign it in. For me its a nervous energy. Anticipation. The unknown.
First of all, I picked up a really good book that I'm trying to save just for that hour before sleep. Or two hours if I can't put it down. But, mostly, this excitement comes from getting ready to launch the new art doll project that I've been accumulating
And, who is Remmie Lou? She's Rachel Hoffman's precious little English Bulldog that Diana Vining includes in her illustrations as a happy canine mascot for the VDC. I adore English Bulldogs. I always have. But, a cuddle bun with short legs doesn't fit the hiking and cross-country skiing lifestyle my husband and I live. So no bulldog. At least not a real one, because now I have a tiny one needle felted just to display with the girls, and dress up as necessary.
I wouldn't say a lot has been going on since my last journaling, but enough to keep up with the holiday for St. Patrick's Day, and preparations for the upcoming VDC, March 26 - 28th.
Just around this time, the second Club Grace outfit arrived, and the entire box was themed for St. Patrick's Day. These boxes resemble a millieu of float tossings from Mardi Gras. All manner of fun and colorful confetti, chocolate gold coins, large plastic jewels, delightful stickers for our scrapbooks, lovely bits of ephemera, and of course, the new outfit. The now logo'd boxes are a do-it-yourself birthday party. And, I LOVE it. More than just getting a new outfit made by Ruby Red Galleria for Grace, the Club Grace boxes are something to anticipate and look forward to. I'm so grateful for them.
This box would come with a random selection of either a wig for Grace, or one of two styles of boots. I did a big "whoop!" when I opened mine and it contained the brown and black boots I longed for. Bit of Irish luck? Just all fun stuff. So when I set to needle felting Remmie Lou, I knew that I'd have to make her a shamrock headpiece.
Diana had illustrated Grace in her Club Grace March dress, wearing a shamrock hairband, so I made one for her as well. It was constructed of green glittery scrapbooking cardstock, with the edges and back colored in with a matching green alcohol marker. I had a strand of black and white twisted cord that I'd saved from someone's pretty packaging of a purchase, and used that to wrap the hairband with. Remmie Lou's collar was made similarly, but with silk satin green ribbon to tie around her neck.
Thursday, March 4, 2021
As an avid reader, some years ago I picked up a copy of Irish folklore and enjoyed reading the tales that involved much more than leprechauns, pots of gold at the end of rainbows, and fairies. I've loved Irish music for many years, in the form of artists like Mary McLaughlin, Connie, Dover, and the phenomenal band Clannad. We tend not to think much about Ireland until March rolls around with St. Patrick's Day popping up around mid month. I haven't spot of Irish blood in me, but I love this grand island and its treasures.
St. Patrick's Day commemorates St. Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. It celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general. Celebrations involve public parades and festivals, the wearing of green attire, shamrocks. During this time more effort is made to use the Irish language, especially in Ireland, where the week of St. Patrick's Day is Irish Language Week. Gaelic is a derogatory term, although many people still do not know this. Irish is the language and the customs.
In her fictional writing, she also teaches us things about her country, such as the provenance of sir names. For instance, the O in a name like O'Shea means "of", so you'd be of the O'Shea family. Mc or Mac preceding the name means "son of". For names like Sullivan, which would have dropped the O', these are referred to as soup names, meaning they took the soup. During the famine of the mid-1800's, soup kitchens were set up by the British, and in order to feed yourself, you had to drop the O from your name, making you less Irish.
Last year Diana Vining painted this lively image of Grace and Dolly dressed for celebrating St. Patrick's Day, and naturally, I set my sights on creating it for my dolls. Would I have dressed Grace without a Dolly Dingle? Certainly. But, with the advent of my new Dolly Dingle, sewing this set for the two of them made it all the more fun.
This was one of those costumes you'd look at and think, "Oh, no sweat. I can do that!". hmph It wasn't as easy as I'd hoped. For one thing, finding a proper green plaid for the skirts was difficult, and I ended up making them out of a woven cotton. Should I have been able to find a matching wool, the skirts would have been too thick for the small dolls. The other question when considering fabric, was for their tops/sweaters/blouses, whatever you'd like to call them.
Grace's top was interesting, at best, to design. I am not a professional pattern maker. No matter how the outcome may appear, I've paid dearly for it. My approach is seldom make a pattern, sew it up. Its more a matter of tailoring and trimming and fitting as I go along. And, I never do something more than once, so I'm always learning and struggling along. With this top, the neckline puzzled me, and I considered a zipper up the front, yet I didn't see a zipper pull, so I didn't create it that way.
Pleating this plaid to try and get the most green from it was daunting, too. It may come as a surprise, but sewing is not fun for me. Its work. Its a challenge. I simply like what I can do with a sewing machine. Its the results I'm after, and trust me, if I could buy what I'm sewing, I wouldn't hesitate. I only make things I can't purchase ready made.
With Dolly's bow, I made this out of green Shantung silk and added another sparkly shamrock. The shamrocks were earrings, too. I simply clipped the posts short, then fastened the backs after sticking them through. Each girl has a black leather belt with a proper gold buckle.
I was lucky to find a piece of 1/8" vintage green rick rack for Dolly's white cotton collar that matched, perfectly, the green in the skirt fabric.
The jewelry was fun to procure. Love Etsy. You can find anything there. Grace's earrings are "human" earrings, and the shamrock pins, brooches, each of them wear, are flat backed charms I glued tiny magnets to. Another tiny magnet beneath the blouse holds it in place. I learned this trick from Integrity. They make brooches for Poppy Parker this way.
I added little cotton grosgrain black bows to the heels of the shoes to complete the look.
The fun for me in any project is the chance of discovery. Learning something new, and discovering news ways of doing things. Mini a-ha moments.
However you plan to celebrate the coming of spring, the culture, folklore and beauty of Ireland, don't forget that your dolls enjoy this, too. Adding a few mini St. Patrick's Day postcards to your display, a ceramic leprechaun (I do have one somewhere!), and sprays of sparkly green shamrocks can lift your spirits as well as your dolls'. For me, I'm doing it this year with Jean Grainger's book, and seeing two of my favorite girls dressed up in Diana's precious designs.
I hope you'll enjoy the photos below, of Ireland and a special postcard I found last night. The two illustrations came from a children's book on Irish folklore and mythology. And, as its always fun to make new friends along the tour, my American Girl, Blaire, is hiking the green hills and taking in the sights of Ireland enjoying her shamrock shaped shortbread cookies.