Musing

I wonder sometimes about my addictions.  How deep or serious they might be, or whether in this world of information overload they are addictions at all, but perhaps it is more about being ever on the cusp of overdoing things in sheer greediness.  And of course trying to figure out just what is the truth behind the need?

At this particular moment in our married lives, we are saving for our retirement home.  Nothing fancy, but rather small and paid for in full, no mortgage to worry over.  We have enough saved for the house now, but nothing more than that, meaning we could not retire completely, pensions are still a few years out of reach.  The goal was to retire early, even if only by a few years, and so that is the real need right now, saving every extra penny we can.  The more pennies, the sooner we retire.  This affects us both in the needs department, from simple to complex wants.  Husband wants to travel more, so he plots trips that cost money.  I want dolls, fabrics, yarns, toys, so I plot how to get the cheapest version possible.  Neither of us are being realistic and most of the time abandon our desires to being practical and saving…..heaving big petulant sighs while doing it.

Once in awhile I get wickedly caught up in a pursuit where I try and convince myself of all the reasons I should buy and have it.  Most are fairly legit, like having wanted it in the past, or the price is so low it would be foolish not to indulge, or that it rarely comes to the country I live in.  Addictions are all about justifying a “want”, perceived as a “need” and the lengths we are willing to go to get it.  The thrill is in the anticipation and the moment of possession.  I can feel this way about a bottle of good scotch or a doll.  I never feel this way about frying pans or orange juice.  It is what it is.

Is it an addiction when I plot a way to hide the purchase from my husband or plan a tearful apology that I didn’t know what came over me, but my need for the bottle or the doll was too much for me to resist?  I have yet to feel a need to hide the purchase of a frying pan or beg for a bottle of orange juice…just this one time, I promise.  This is a musing post….probably more amusing than musing, but there you have it. It’s the lead in to my pending confession.

I sat in utter horrific panic all of yesterday morning knowing I had bid on a doll that I should not have without talking it over with husband first.  Why didn’t I just tell him of my interest and ask if he minded?  Was it the recent lectures on the ever tight budget?  Was it the guilt in knowing I put all my dolls in a box to be with Rosey alone, and here I clicked on an auction button like a fickle lover enticed by something new?  Was I under the spell of dolly addiction once again?  As my mind rushed over all possible conclusions of winning the auction (not a popular doll being in my favour, and dang, the price was so cheap! Oh, and I have not bought a doll in a whole YEAR!!!!) I thought about the payment.  Ouch.  Cheap by my knowledge of the current price ranges expected for the doll, but expensive when compared to the need.  Did I need this doll?  Am I willing to sell someone I already have to replace them with this one?  I am willing to keep shuffling owned dolls to appease the desire for new?  Every time I bring in a new doll, the whole dynamic shifts, whether it affects the relationships I already have with the dolls, or in the pursuit of a different doll direction.  Addiction glosses over the drawbacks, the known problems, the financial distress.

More importantly, is my doll and expensive scotch addictions going to delay or even prevent me from having my own home someday?  And why not start dealing with the habit?  I lost the auction by £1.  Yep, I could have gotten caught up in the bidding war.  But I felt such a rush of relief that I sat back in my chair feeling the most enormous sense of guilt.  My husband across from me (at our double desks) unaware of my near treachery of spending the grocery money on a doll and Rosey, who is looking at me with the most fantastic eyes she has ever had and I come down to earth again and muse…..what is this all about?

It was as though Rosey took up where Evie left off…giving me that look and saying, “If you need another doll, take one out of the box, or better yet…PLAY WITH ME!”.  Annoyingly logical.  Blatantly obvious. 

Touch Ups

My eyesight is definitely not what it use to be (actually nothing is, lol) and I knew that there would be touch ups as I watched Rosey, but more always comes in the looking at photo’s.

The changes are subtle.  I decided the pupil was too large, so I added a bit of blue into the brown to touch up the iris, colours used were raw sienna, burnt sienna, yannine blue (cobalt) and a dab of white to high light after applying a smaller pupil.

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You can see a bit of the blue.  The work light is too strong for the photo, bleaching her skin and muting the colours, but I need to see the close-ups at all angles and lights to see how this will work for future photo’s.  Photo’s and real life, always look different from each other and my concern is that Rosey has been looking much better to my sorrowful eyes than she has in photo’s.  Now the photo side has improved quite a bit.  I will feel more confidence in close ups and in all kinds of lighting.

I added a bit more depth to her eye lashes, thinning the less-than-fine strokes by scraping off paint with the tip of an ultra fine carving blade.   Too thin and they get lost against her wood mottle, too much and she looks like a painted horse.  Rosey can’t do too subtle, it gets lost.  More colour (vermillion) to the cheeks.  Rosey can’t be Rosey without excessively rosy cheeks, lol.

026  I love this photo.  It’s moments like this that make me wonder why I disliked painted eyes.  I have been keeping her wig back so it won’t bother the drying paint, but I am really liking the high bangs on her, bringing an emphasis t her eyes and a more childish look.  When I glue it down, I think I will do this.

For the first time since I have had her, colour photographs do look much better.  I have been hiding her in the sepia tints, which now don’t improve her as they did before.

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In fact, the sepia on the right lost her subtle rosy cheeks and her paler lips are lost. So I also darkened the lips.

After taking a bazillion photo’s, staring at her, I think I achieved a look that is far better than I expected and have deepened the antique look, resembling some of the dark eyed antique beauties that I have seen and admired.  She will never have the porcelain perfection in colouring but for a wooden doll with real wood mottling and dark spots, she has come a long way from her badly painted and paint damaged origins:

Jollyann Before Re-do  Flickr - Photo Sharing! - Maxthon Browser 3.4.2.3000_2012-08-16_16-57-52048

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As an aside, I use to think that so many of the badly painted Schoenhuts were from home remedies when they got a bit banged up in play over the decades.  But I now have seen so many similar faceups, that I now believe they were indeed as sold.  In painting Rosey, although I can’t say I spent more than a handful of hours on it, I can see why when having to produce a huge lot of them in a factory, perhaps the unskilled faceups were more due to speed painting than trying to achieve a certain look.  Plus, the gesso underneath the paint and the paint dunking did take away a lot of the facial definitions.

Anyways, I am happy.  I think she is positively beaming.  Now just comes the wait, this paint will take awhile to dry and there is glossy yet to do.

Nails!!!!

I stared at Rosey as she was drying, and ideas came to me.

I thought about how to make her hands more than just stubs. I had a tool that if I pressed it into the wood should leave a indent to suggest a nail bed.

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 It worked!

With a few dabs of paint to enhance it, Rosey finally has hands just a bit more like hands.

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Here are the cleaned up leg joints and then I ventured to darken the blush and the eyebrows.

The blush I knew would be easy, but I was nervous about the eye brows.  Too easy to over do them.  I wanted them like the antique heavy brows, but not like a thick black blob of paint.

086  They came out better than I expected and I became really excited!  Wow! 

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I am falling in love with her all over again!

Rosey’s Spa Day

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Just had to show this, she looked so cute.  Thank you to Lorraine for the lovely school dress!

My brushes finally arrived so….today I redid her face.  I finally invested in a few decent brushes and finally had some very nice oil paints and this time, it not so much of a “make do” with what one has kind of project.

My main concern was that the crumbly look around her eyes did not lend itself to close ups.  I don’t mind a wonky paint job as much as the flaky thing that was going on.  

005  Not too bad at this distance,

006  But this is why I didn’t take close ups.  there were simply too many layers of paint and varnish which settled in the crevices.

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010 So here we go….

015  I removed her wig, loosened the paint with remover.  After working with resin faceups, I have to say how much easier it is to keep a portion of something already done which was fabulous.  I wanted to keep the teeth, but somehow see if I could soften the harsh lower lip.  Other things I wanted to do were to try feathered brows, and repair a few wood issues, lighten us the blackness of the nostrils and tone down a few too light areas.

016 Using a Qtip and remover, I softened the paint on the lower lip and was able to scrape it away easily.

017  Same with the eyes, softening, scraping gently, pulling up the gunk in the deep crevice around the eyes.

019 Husband dear took this photo.  He was hoping Rosey was under aesthetic.  lol.

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I sanded off her brows, her cheek blush, used a toothbrush to brush away the excesses.  A bit of wood shaving here and there.  Mostly to even up and smooth the wood under the eye.  A trick I learned after sanding is to use soft paper to smooth-polish the wood before painting.

Another thing I wanted to do was make her toes more toesie shaped.  So with a few knick cuts, I was able to take away the block look and make the toes so sweet!

023  Before.

026 Before sanding.

024  Look at those sweet things!

018 Another clean up, cutting away these bits of rough wood.  When I first stripped Rosey, I was on home-time from the truck and had precious little time to finish her properly.  I could have sanded her better and cleaned up these original rough spots, but just didn’t have the time.  Now I do.

028 Sanding time.  I smoothed out a few places, but really wished I had my old Dremel.  I would have reshaped a few uneven places, but was not able to.

I used oil paints.  What a wonderful way to paint a wooden doll.  One can blend and wipe away until it is right.  I added a rose blush above her eyes to create warmth, blended the eye whites to antique them, and was able to correct a few flaws.

030 Here is the almost finish look.  She will probably need some touch ups, I am sure I will darken the blush, but this being oil paint, it will need time to dry and set.  My aim was to keep her looking as antique as I could, although not particularly Schoenhut style.  To make the eyes as antique looking as I could, it meant darkening the crevices until it seemed like there were glass eyes in sockets.  Rosey is a dolly face style, so I wanted to keep that integrity.  Once I have watched her face for awhile, made any adjustments, I will then seal her face which will take some (but not all) of the uneven mottled look away.

032  I am now trying all kinds of photo angles, another way I study how she will look, I “see” it better in photographs.

044 I plopped her wig on, it is not glued down yet. 

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I am looking at how the lighting hits, the eye placements, the brows, which look much lighter than I thought they would.  Remember that her eyeballs are shaped differently and creating the iris and pupil is a challenge.  One eye is larger than the other and more almond shaped. 

Close up are now possible, the eye is not flaky! 

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057  She did not lose her Rosey look (thank goodness).  Bangs are not close to her eyes because they still need to dry.

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066  Another thing I fixed, was using the oil paint to disguise some of the light areas from carving.  Around her nose and mouth were such areas, and the oil blended well into the wood. I tried to get a hint of eye lashes, and surprisingly my fine brush was not all that fine.   Again oil paint was fabulous for being able to scrape away anything I didn’t like.  So the thick lines were thinned out, as well as the eyebrows by scraping away excess paint. 

So far, I am very pleased, and I can already see that I want to darken the brows, give her rosier cheeks.  Her eyes will be glossed and her skin will be a bit more even when I seal her up.

SEWING!!!!!

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The saga of finding the best sewing place has been on-going and actually prevented me from sewing.  An excuse, yes.  But a true story.  lol.

This table I found at the charity shop for £5 last summer and it is so fabulous.  The moment I saw it, I knew I wanted it for a sewing table.  Solid hard wood with a laminated top in excellent condition.  In a small flat, perfect that it folds down to nothing.  However, every place that I placed it, was in a spot where opening it up meant it could not permit walking around it.  Then one day I placed it next to my bed, but well…Rosey ended up getting it for floor space in her room.  Cute….but then it was too much work to dismantle to sew.  Lastly, I placed it under the window in our bedroom so that I could sew there, but today that proved a very stupid idea.  Not only did the cold come around the window drapes, but opening them for the light made it sufferably cold to sit by.  Also, it meant I would have to take it down before husband went to bed, otherwise, he’d have to do some crawling from the end of the bed.  Not happening.

I dragged the poor table to the front lounge with every intent to put it back in the bedroom by the end of the day.  The only reason is that it is dark wood, we have white furniture and a couple of natural light wood pieces in the room.  But oh, how it worked so well.  I was able to sit in my desk chair, wheel between the table and my desk, I had plenty of light (my sewing machine does not have a light) and I got to sit right next to the radiator!  HAPPINESS!  When husband came home and I told him of my situation, he was fine with it staying in the front lounge as long as I promise to put it back in the bedroom if the Queen comes to visit.

So happily, I sewed.  Fabric stash is dismal.  When I think of the tons of fabrics I use to have….sigh.  But I am thankful  to have ANY so enough of that.

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Threading the bobbin bullet.  I am so tickled that this machine was made in the UK, ended up in America (I bought it from a seller in Texas) it was shipped to Colorado and now back in the UK.  Savvy traveller!

So I am back to hand cranking away…loving every moment of it too!