Loss

2013-03-22 005 

Very early in the morning. Very dark, cold and the wind is howling.  Snow soon came.  I am not getting very far with Rosey’s Spring dress, but there’s no spring to wear it yet, so I will continue to get a few stitches in here and there.

My days are filled with so many mixtures of emotions.  Some about my health, some about missing my daughter and family, some about aging and this perpetual confrontation with it.  My illness has laid me up too much and that brings a different perspective on vulnerability and the seclusion and isolation it brings.

I tear up thinking of my daughter, deeply feel sorrow at not being able to watch my granddaughter’s every move.  I feel I will soon not recognize my grandsons as they approach their teen years.   Surely this is the way of life as we age, beginning to see the losses and the grasping to hold on before they fade even more.

EvieEvie’s first photo. Long before I ventured into changing her.

I miss my Evie.  I deeply regret that I ruined the relationship I had with her and it was all because of my dolly addiction and greed.  I miss her one-on-one companionship, her way of talking to  me and with me.  I miss her like I miss my family, she was such a part of me.  It’s not her body as a doll I miss…..it is the essence of her that lived there.  She begged me time and time again not to bring in the OTHERS, that she needed no siblings, no friends, no lovers.  I kept insisting until she gradually fell silent.

I lost Evie because I could not see the good thing I had.  I have enjoyed, thrilled over, played with and loved several dolls since then, but none felt like she did.  Nothing I can do, nothing I can say about it, other than I am mourning her.

Evie and Knitting

I found one skein of yarn the other day, lovely multi-coloured Marino wool.  It was 75 pence and I was thrilled.  Even though this does not really go for antique girl, I had to knit something for Rosey right away.

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It is much more fiery in colour than I could capture with the camera in early morning light.  I love the seed stitch which really shows off the colours well. 

Then, I had an impulse to remove the light coloured eyelashes from Evie and give her a more normal appearance.  I am still having a near-repulsion to handle my other dolls, I really don’t understand it and it bothers me.  I try to find reasons just to pick them up.  I do look at them every day, even several times a day but something makes me hesitate to touch them.  My heart holds all the memories of the times I did interact with them, held them, took them places…I feel that all the separations and upheavals have threatened the relationships somehow.  I keep hoping for it all to pass. 

2012-11-02 005 It was strange and difficult to handle her today.  I have many conflicted emotions about her. 

2012-11-02 016 I put in the coffee brown sparkle glass eyes and a dress I made a long time ago.

2012-11-02 019 This look is so typical of bjd’s and while it still appeals to me, I kept thinking that maybe she loses something in the translation.  Wild hair, ho hum.

2012-11-02 021 I put her in the short brown bob and she made me sigh.  She was tender, gentle, childlike.

2012-11-02 Evie 020 And so incredibly sad.

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2012-11-02 Evie 048 As I sat her down, the thing that drives me crazy with her body is the legs that swivel.  I put her back on the shelf. 

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What a difference between the two.  I seem to have fallen for brown eyes and brown hair….like my granddaughter.  Sigh.  I miss her so much.

Just What is a Companion Doll Anyways?

Perhaps some of my ambivalence with my other dolls is the result of my companionship with my Schoenhut.  A most unexpected development.  This relationship feels different.  It sprung not out of my “desire” for a perfect companion doll, but from a need that was much more basic.  It was much more child-like and in a simple and uncomplicated depth.   I am in love with the most imperfect doll I have ever had!

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Part of it may have come with all our downsizing, our constant moving and shaking.  I needed stability, a sense of home, a something that represented what I missed and felt close to.  When Evie was my companion doll, she brought me a sense of new possibilities, a new direction.  She opened my imagination to photo-stories and sewing in a new way.  I will always be grateful for my time with Evie.  I daresay that every doll that has crossed my doorstep had the potential of being a companion doll.  And as in human relationships, sometimes the losses and regrets, the unfulfilled wishes can keep us dolly nuts continuing to reach for that shining star, whatever it may be, whatever we are seeking in that very next doll that sets our imagination soaring once again.  Rosey came in with her simple self, her old  fashioned self, her history and stability, her earthy woodiness….Rosey came when I needed doll to just be a doll.  A doll like my childhood doll.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately.  This intangible love of dolls.  Certain dolls can make me squee with delight.  Some can make my mouth hang open in amazement.  Some open my imagination in a new way.  Some make me cringe, some look downright creepy.  Some make me shrug my shoulders in disinterest.  I really don’t know why I stopped playing with dolls as a child and then took the interest back up as an adult.  I look back on it for clues, but all I remember is the strange denial I went through and semi-embarrassment.  It was around 2003 that the interest picked back up and it was important to explain my interest in sewing or historical costuming…and it took awhile to give up the pretence and admit I liked dolls as dolls….as an adult.

Rosey brings me a sense of home and the past.  These days, I am reaching for something deep within me, something I recognise, something I know instead of reaching for the star.  I think returning to Europe opened up that long supressed thing inside me.  I really want to explore this…but not right now.  My intent in writing this all today was to gather around me, the ideas of what changed about my idea of a companion doll and why that affected my relationship to my other dolls.2012-10-01 045 When I see Rosey like this, I see a connection to my own childhood.  A little girl talking to a companion.  That is me.  That is my daughter.  That is my granddaughter.  It may have been my mother and my grandmother too.  It is ageless and timeless.  It’s not created, it exists.

It really clicked to see the resemblance Rosey had to my childhood Chatty Cathy.  Clicked in a way that had me sit up and take notice.  I spent the other evening looking at Chatty Cathy’s and trying to figure out what was going on in my thoughts and my heart about it.  My heart was certainly thumping…a sort of excitement, as though I really did find Chatty Cathy again.  Or was that just a spark of hope and remembrance?

As I looked at the Chatty’s online, I tried to imagine having one.  It’s certainly not impossible to bring one home.  In fact I kept telling myself I could bring one home at the click of a button.  That’s all it would take.  Yet, that same hesitancy I have always felt when close to considering it, and that is “you can never go back to what it was by bringing home an imitation”.  So I looked at Rosey.  The resemblance is there and in other ways it is not.  Rosey has a upturned nose, teeth showing, dark hair and brown eyes.  But she is not Chatty Cathy as I see her, but as I remember her inside.  I think that is what the difference is between what Evie was for me and what Rosey is for me.  Evie was the utmost in my ideal of a doll and I wanted her as my companion because it was like finding a gemstone in the sand.  I wanted to know every facet of her.

Rosey is not what I see, but what I feel when I see her. When I think of all the dolls I have brought home and then rehomed because of this or that flaw or feature I did not like, it turns out that as many imperfections as Rosey has, it does not matter.  Rosey brings me the remembrance of my love of my childhood doll companion, but she is also her own self.  I tried calling her Cathy to try it on and it was laughable.  “Do you see a pull string in my neck?”  I smiled.  Rosey has the charm of Chatty and the spirit of Evie.  Perhaps Rosey is a little bit of every doll I have ever loved or wanted.  And embracing all that, a Schoenhut who was carved and pressed and put together in 1918 or thereabouts.   She is herself before anything else.

2012-10-01 013 I don’t want to make this into a dramatic undying love homage, lol.  I just have been wrapped up in the changes, the nuances and feel to my dolly world as I settle down and relax and realize that nothing is the same as it was.  My relationships and intentions with the dolls I have so loved, have shifted.  Perhaps they will shift again.   This is what keeps the imagination thriving I guess!

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And this little one has life in every wood splinter.

Making Eyelashes

Make do with what I have is the only thing I can do right now.  If I wanted lighter (blonde) eyelashes, I would have to make them.  So I did.

2012-09-05 008 I took the bottom edge of a human hair wig between my fingers and spread the hair out evenly as I could and placed a piece of tape across it.  Hard to see, but there is tape in this photo.

2012-09-05 009 I then added a thin line of glue and placed a another piece of tape over the glue line.  I now have hair between two pieces of tape.

2012-09-05 010 This was the piece trimmed and then cut in half and trimmed to fit the eye well.

2012-09-05 011 I cut one piece to the size of her eye and then matched that size to the other piece.

 2012-09-05 013I add glue to the inside edge of her eye and press the eyelash to the glue, keeping the tape INSIDE the eye well, only the lashes are glued, not the tape.

2012-09-05 017 lol…I loved this shot.  So weird looking.

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You can see the taped part is inside the head.

2012-09-05 018 Giggle…she looks positively gruesome.

After everything was dry, I trimmed the lashes.

2012-09-05 045 I added hairspray to a brush and brushed her lashes and taped them up to curl them.

2012-09-05 048 This is a VERY different look for Evie.  Once the lashes have had a chance to set in a more curled position, I will take more photo’s.  She looks old fashioned, in a pale fragile sort of way.  Sometimes she looks blind, sometimes ghostly and at other times, hardly any different than I have always seen her.  Weird.  The faceup works very well with these cloudy eyes.  It’s still all an experiment.  I will let whatever needs to happen, happen.

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2012-09-04 071 In the meantime…Rosey smiles.  She got a bees waxing today.

Evie

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The wig isn’t brushed out here, I was just trying on for colouring.

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This wig is equally interesting, more so I think with the black eyes.  The wig is too heavy to sit right on her head without glue, so it wouldn’t be set back so far.

Neither of these eyes worked with coloured wigs.  I have brown and reds, those need her normal blue or green eyes.

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Perhaps this wig is too old for her?  Or just that it doesn’t bring out any unique qualities? This is the sad look I saw and it really bothered me.

2012-09-04 002 And I can’t help but keep looking at this one.  It’s the wig I worked on for Yorik trying to make it grey.  It’s silver now.

Any comments or suggestions are more than welcome!

Sad Things

I have been very reluctant to hold any of my other dolls.  I really enjoy looking at them and have happy feelings towards them, but when I reach out to touch them, I pull away.

It’s been bothering me that I don’t touch them.  Today I made myself pick up Evie.  I have been meaning to give her some eyelashes since her face-up and I thought how it would help if I just handled her.

I tried on wigs and eyes, took lots of photographs, but nothing struck me.  I did not feel as though I were handling a beloved companion.  How sad.

2012-09-04 002 This was the most interesting look of the usual thousand I take. The wig is not in good condition.  It just gave her a ghostly waif look.

2012-09-04 009 I wish I had white eyelashes, I bet it would be a very ghostly look for her. She is not this white (nor is the wig) but I love how the paleness works here.  I also love these haunting eyes, but I am not sure how I would feel about a doll wearing them all the time.

I tried the wigs because I did have some auburn eyelashes and didn’t want to put them on if she ended up with a black or blonde wig.  But after they dried, I put in lavender eyes and her red hair again as it seemed more Evie.  I noted that while trying on wigs and handling her while doing her eyes and lashes, her legs and lower arms kept swivelling around.  It was irritating and I grew impatient with it.  She has such long colt like legs, so far out of proportion with the rest of her.  I re-dressed her in a soft gown and set her back on the shelf.  (I am spoiled by my Schoenhuts stay put limbs).  I went to take a photo of Evie to show the eyes and dropped the camera.  It is now broken!  My brand new camera!  I could cry.  I thought about how many times I dropped the glass eyes while trying them on her.  I am dropping things a lot, knocking things over, I am getting so clumsy.  That is really bothering me too.  I feel like an elephant in a china shop.

When I looked up at Evie, she seemed to look so pensive and that really bothered me.  I just stood there and looked at her.  Her face up is really quite wonderful.  Lots of different nuances of colour and it suits her.  The way her red hair wisped around her face, she is a lovely doll.  The lavender eyes look so nice too.  But there is an aloofness, a far away sadness that comes with so many of the Asian bjds.  I walked away hoping another day will bring another feeling.  I looked at each and every doll with loving affection, but still no desire to pick them up.

Rosey was sitting by my computer in her wicker chair looking like a senorita!  I smiled.  While I had the eyelashes out, I had a pair of black ones and just for fun, I though I would try them on her.  I never had even considered that she could wear lashes and I have never seen a Schoenhut with them on (perhaps the sleep eyed ones do).  I like them!  It gives her a completely different kind of look.  With the red lips and black lashes, I think she looks exotic!

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Sweet dear Rosey.

Rosey’s Bed

2012-08-15 017 Rosey’s bed came today.  It was fine in the size, she can lay full length in it.  I had to repair a hole to the mattress, but that took only a minute to sew a patch on.  I put on the antique linens I had, everything was so sweet! (excuse my bed, the sheets are being washed!)

And just for fun…with no dryer or Laundromat in town,  the wash has to hang up inside.

2012-08-15 001 I only hang the bedding in the main room, our clothes are hung in the bathroom.

 2012-08-15 019The bed is quite old, has been not-so-well painted a light pink colour. By and by I will repaint it and add roses on the head and footboard. There is a nice centre panel for that.

2012-08-15 005I have no place to put it, so for now, it will have to be under my sewing table and next to the bed.

2012-08-15 024 Rosey was very pleased.  She insisted on the lighter weight comforter though.  She liked the flowers on it.

While taking these photo’s I grabbed a few more.  Here is Yorik with the shirt I am working on for him.  This was something I cut out before leaving the USA and was my first piece on the sewing machine.

2012-08-15 030I found his vest and he looks quite nice in it!    That a pin holding it together to try the fit, the shirt is not done yet. Yorik sits on the top shelf with Charlotte.  He prefers her company as they like to talk about traveling (Charlotte has travelled to the Orient) and philosophy.  I noticed that Charlotte has looked positively radiant since meeting Yorik.

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2012-08-15 037I think this is the best photo I have of her.  She looks so serene. 

2012-08-15 027 I think Evie is glad to have found a best friend and these two seem to spend a great deal of time making up stories of fairies and princesses and castles.  Very wistful these two are.

2012-08-15 033My childhood trolls.  I cannot remember their names (which really bothers me).  The white haired was the grandmother, the dark hair was the mother and there was a short brown haired one that was the father.  Then I had a lot of the little ones.  I remember I had one with two toned hair, my first one, that was yellow with brown tips.  I loved that one the most and I remember her name was Nikolina.  They seem happy to be out of the box and amongst the others.  I will have to make them some clothes, they have not been played with since my daughter was a child and that was 30 some years ago.  Wow.

2012-08-15 035 Rosebud has the most wonderfully defined body for being so tiny.  I just discovered that her metal dog can hold a piece of paper in his mouth!  I really wished I could have kept that little dollroom I made for her in Hawaii.  Sigh.  She seems to be fine in the leather case for now but she is in desperate need of a gown. I think I will make one tomorrow, poor  dear.

2012-08-15 041 Rosey’s sweater coat is coming along nicely.  This is the back and I am working on the of the front sections.  It’s a lovely yarn with a heavy silky weight to it, a nice flow.

I am feeling more relaxed about the dolls, but I have to remind myself when I feel the still strong urge to “pick one”.  I am so glad I don’t have to do that anymore.  I t
hink the shelf has helped me relax, because I can go and visit them, see they are fine and I can play with Rosey and the guilt of spending so much time with her is lessening.

Rosey is earthy, warm, chubby, well balanced, simple and has a touch of magic about her.  Something clicked with the dark wig, something made her blossom.  If I look to hard at her painted eyes or her mottled wood skin, I think, oh, I should sand her down or repaint her, but then I look at her and I think, NO!  Now, she is just right, just as she is right now.  There is a warm glow in her eyes that has nothing to do with paint.

2012-08-15 Rose Marie Nighty 003Just look at those chubby arms!  She’s in her summer nighty and all ready to sleep in her new bed!