Part of my collection of souvenir Scottish dolls. They are the closing eyes type of doll. Probably mostly from the 60's and 70's. I remember them in their little cellophane tubes. Although they are all similar, there are no two exactly the same, like snowflakes!
This week at school, our story is Little Red Riding Hood, hence today's choice. I have had this lovely doll for quite a long time. She was made by Vanessa Valencia of 'A Fanciful Twist' and is another of my favourites. (But don't tell the others!)
Another doll with a function today. A pen who will stand on your desk to cheer you up, though she actually stays near to the other dolls, preferring their company to mine! She is a Pylones product. I love going into their shop to see the latest whimsical things their designers have come up with!
Some more Tavistock pictures too. It rained all weekend, but it was that soft, misty sort of rain that I really like, and it made the town look even more beautiful I think.
The Frog Prince was cosy in his knitting and sewing shop.
Another wooden doll, this time in the form of a 1920's waitress, all ready to brush the cake crumbs from your table. I have only seen one of these-this one, and was happy to find her on eBay.
We went to Devon this weekend, to stay in an amazing hotel which is a Tudor manor house. On Saturday we visited Tavistock, which is a very pretty town. As well as a great market, it also has a lovely old hotel called The Bedford. As it is Christmas, there were two huge wooden toy soldiers guarding the door.
This is one of my most precious dolls. She belonged to Andy's Mum Jean, and used to sit on the whatnot which we now have. She is quite frail in the knee area, and one of her lower legs falls off if I am not careful. She is a peg wooden doll and is probably 19th century. These type of dolls originated in the Netherlands and Germany. Children would be given them unclothed, and then make their clothes from scraps of fabric. Perhaps this little doll needs a dress!
This little boy is a modern doll and lives in one of my dolls houses. He is a Djeco doll and his Mum and Dad are called Gaspard and Romy, but I am not sure what his name is. He has quite a traditional bedroom with old fashioned toys and no technology as yet. Most importantly, he has a big cuddly teddy bear.
This doll is one of mine, made a long time ago when I had just finished a doll making course using paper clay and gesso on the fabric to make it paintable. She is based on one of the strange fairies in one of my favourite paintings, "The Fairy Feller's Master Stroke", by Richard Dadd.
I did, and still do, find making 3D faces very difficult! Especially lips!
I got this book for my birthday by Kim Thittichai. I have read most of it. It is full of inspiration and advice on how to create texture and layers with fabric. There are two techniques in there that I had not come across before. The first is the most exciting for me-using Bondaweb adhesive interfacing) to transfer painted designs to fabric. I have used gesso and acrylic on fabrics, fabric paints and also printable fabric, but this way is so much easier and really fun to experiment with. I want to use it in doll making, but so far have just been playing around with it, making little tree ornaments. The other technique is making faux chenille, which I shall write about when I have had more of a play.
Not only can you transfer your picture to fabric, but you can use the Bondaweb to add foil. I have quite a lot of heat transferable foils as I bought a TODO hot foiling machine a few years ago. They work pretty well for this. My mini iron has come back out of its box too, as I can be much more precise with that when foiling. These are the finished results so far. I am stitching them together using running stitch and some of the many embroidery threads and cottons I have, and leaving the edge raw as I like that effect.
Some designs based on my collection of china dogs.
This is my Christmas tree almost finished. I used a graining tool to make the trunk pieces, which are wrapped around kitchen towels. The pom poms were going to hang from the discs but I quite like them just scattered on the layers. Also that will be much easier.
The main pleasure is obviously the cats. I love all of my little furry clients, and mainly they reciprocate this, with a few cross little exceptions! There are no pictures of them to share though, as I want to respect the privacy of their owners.
Some places I visit have great views. I have been visiting a flat in Greenwich with two sweet cats for the last two weeks. They are well travelled rescued cats who have fallen on their paws, (they're cats!) and now live in a lovely place with two people who love them. I have been round early in the morning and in the evening too.
When I was choosing photos tonight, I noticed the gradation of colours in this building. It makes a good abstract image.
Last night was the Blackheath fireworks, and the roads all around the heath are closed for the evening. Apparently 80,000 people attend now. This leaves only the bottom road open to get to Greenwich, and it took me 50 minutes to get there last night. (I can do the journey in seven minutes at 5.30 in the morning!) I was there for my half hour, and was about to leave, when the fireworks started, and both cats looked very worried. So I stayed with them until they were over. It put off the inevitable journey back home, which I think I managed in about 30 minutes, due to knowing all the back routes but no thanks to drivers who do not understand fairness and queuing and who are extremely aggressive in their efforts to push in.
I was lucky to see a display on the other side of the river, far enough away to make no noise.
This is on the non-river side. I love all the little windows against the dark, like dolls houses.
Early this morning there were a few Cormorants and lots of gulls. Look at his feet!
A Stinkhorn, complete with flies. I couldn't smell it but I didn't get that close. The latin name is, unsurprisingly, Phallus Impudicus-which translates as 'Shamelessly Phallic.' It was named in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus. Apparently, some Victorians, such as Charles Darwin's granddaughter Etty, would cudgel the fungi at dawn, to prevent impressionable young ladies being shocked at the sight of such a phallic object. Poor Stinkhorns!
I thought that this was a puffball, but having read all about Stinkhorns, I think this is the egg of one. Appropriately for Halloweeen, they are called Witch's Eggs! The mushroom bursts up through it overnight, and is soon covered with flies, who walk in the sticky green 'gleba' at the top, and spread the spores via their feet.
The sunflowers are as beautiful when they are over as they were when they were blooming. In fact I think I like them more as they dry out and curl up. I have saved a few of them and am leaving the rest up for the birds and squirrels. The other morning there was a group of five blue tits flitting around them.
This is the only one I have brought indoors so far. It stands in front of a mystery portrait from the boot fair-bought for £1.
I spent about three hours yesterday clearing this side of the garden. I am going to plant the fuchsias from the pots at the back of this border. The large shrub at the back is a forsythia. It had produced lots of long stems which had reached the ground and begun to root under the shed, the fence and the house at the back. I hacked a lot of it off but it is still warm so it should be OK I think.
There are still a couple of sunflowers in flower. In amongst the tangle of dead stems.
The clematis has produced one more flower. I think I should put this in the ground too.
Below is the beginning of a project using lots of free cardboard from school. A new smart board was installed in one of the classrooms last week and the boxes are massive. I had to cut it in half to fit in my car. Last time I got hold of one of these, we made a large house in the nursery, which the kids spent a few happy weeks drawing all over and hiding in. Can you guess what I am going to make? I shall reveal more next week.