Reaching Out

I have to walk through the dollroom to get to the kitchen.  Several times each day I walk past my collection of dolls and feel a sort of loss of connection.  I swore I would never have shelf-sitters, and what has become a dreadful concept to me is now a reality.  Or is it? 

Perhaps it isn’t quite gone yet.  I haven’t put them away in dark boxes in the closet or put them on the market for a few shillings.  I have mused on it briefly a few frightening times, and something kept telling me to just wait.  Years have gone by and I am still waiting.  Waiting for the dolly question to be asked or the dolly reconnection to happen.  Something…anything.

This morning I wanted to start thinking about what to do.  The first step is to write about it.  Perhaps a daily dose of writing will bring a direction.  I am hoping it will.

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Stagnation

I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth.  Really.

I have been in a dormant state in my dolly world is all.  I have taken on a new creative direction and it has been all consuming.  I am enjoying it so much, I lose track of time.

This doesn’t mean I have stopped loving Rosie or enjoy looking at dolls in any way.  Rosie sits with me everyday, we still communicate and my imagination still moves quietly in my little dolly world.  I am just not actively sewing or playing right now.  I was feeling a lot of guilt about it, but once I quit trying to manipulate my interests because I think I ought to be doing this or that, I relaxed and eased into just doing what truly interests me in the moment.  I know that these fanciful directions serve needs I often neglect.

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I wanted to just re-connect a little bit though, because as I suspected, I feel the urge to return with a fresh mind and outlook on my dolly realm.  In so many ways, I think I really needed a break from it. 

I have not re-opened THE BOX since I placed it up on top of the wardrobe.  I look at it every time I am in bed and I muse about my dolls in there.  Yorik, Evie, Audrey, Hammie, Miette and a few others.  I think about how much they meant to me, how wonderful it has been to know them.  Oddly, my feelings about them have not changed since they went into THE BOX.  I thought I would either completely lose interest or I wouldn’t be able to stand that they were in there.  So far, I only feel amusement that this situation exists.

Chatty Cathy moved up to the wardrobe too, but she is just standing in front of THE BOX.  I look at her every day and muse about my childhood and that long repressed desire for her.  I think about my old Evie and wondering if she is okay.  These are the days I am wondering a lot about how I got here, where I am now and where I might be heading down the road.  I don’t push hard on it though, I want it all to be whatever it will be.  I have been drowning in my own dolly drama for so long I stopped having fun.  This doll, that doll, should have, shouldn’t have…..it’s all over now.  I feel released somehow from my own tyranny.

I was an artist.  I don’t know if one ever stops being something so dear to one’s being.  But I don’t draw anymore.  It’s like when I pick up a pencil, all has already been explored and I am only mentally copying what I know.  It’s that way with my dollies too.  I can play with them and sew a new dress and photograph another story, but I am just copying what I know.  The inspiration has dwindled.  Not the love of it, just the inspiration to look at it with the enthusiasm I once had.  I refuse to feel guilty about it, inspiration cannot revive if I force it.  I just noticed that lately, my eye glances at Rosie more and more and I muse over her.  I recently went on a day tour to the Highland and at the last minute grabbed the tiny china-head and put her in the pocket of my purse.  I surprised myself with that one.

I have a feeling this stagnation all started to brew when I stopped buying new dolls.  I stopped going on long internet searches for the next passion, the next thrill of finding a doll that would be all and end all or at least give me something new to think about for awhile.  lol.  What a difficult thing to stop but I have and now I rarely think of new dolls.  I know the thrill would come galloping back if I so much as glanced at eBay, so I refrain.  So then what?  If I am keeping the flame from burning out of control, then what direction am I taking? 

Musing.

Carry Along

I had forgotten that I had this MSD carrier.  I had been using it to store Yorik’s stuff, but it suddenly seemed a perfect carry bag for Rosey.

I had a pram bumper siding made with down and so used that folded in half inside (fit perfectly).  And so did Rosey!  What was extra wonderful was that while carrying it over my shoulder and the strap across my chest, I did not notice it at all, it felt so comfortable and didn’t bind or tug at me.  Well, of course we had to try it out this morning, as icy cold outside as it was, we went off for a walk in the park.  I was thrilled to have her along and not feel like a dolly-nut as I did when carrying her in the open basket.

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After taking my coat off and coming back into the room, I saw her waiting for me to come and get her.

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Oh, she just grabs my heart when I see her like this!  I see my little granddaughter in this face and pose.  Sometimes Rosey looks like my childhood doll, sometimes she looks like my daughter or granddaughter, sometimes she is simply wonderful Rosey.  I don’t think I have ever had a doll that had such an emotional impact on me.  She is not the first doll I ever loved, she seems to be every doll I ever loved.

I Have An Idea

This photo gave me the idea….

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Rosey and Meredith Bear looked like they were having a wonderful conversation.  As I continued to enjoy the photo, I noticed in the background there was the doll shelves reflecting in the mirror.

All these dolly conversations going on.  I had thought that Thistleshire would be the storyland (inside the flat and occasionally outside) but the amount of work and the set up with multiple characters is just not what I want to get involved with.  But there on the shelf…..conversations are going on and I wonder if maybe, just maybe without moving anyone, a few whispers could be recorded. 

Since that mirror is close enough for Rosey to peer into, I wonder if maybe she could share the fun she perceives happening through the looking glass with her bear.  It might be a fun challenge for me to have something form from a very limited range, where it is not the shelved dolls posing, but what they are talking about when no one is looking. 

I will experiment with the idea.  If I like it, and it is fun to do, I will post it.

Wool Leggings

It’s getting cold!  Time to make a pair of wool leggings for Rosey.  I will make a matching sweater or sweater dress (haven’t decided yet).  I wore woollen leggings when I was a child, under my dresses to keep legs warm in winter.  I remember they were scratchy.  lol.

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I don’t have a pattern, I just started knitting and keep a piece of paper near to mark the casting on number, the adding or subtracting points and the number I end up with for the leg.  I am making two halves that will be joined in the centre front and then across the inseam.  I measure against Rosey as I go.  These will be pull on, leaving the foot free, just like the ones I wore.  I love the deep colour, but as I was knitting, I thought once again that I should be more careful with coordinating her wardrobe.  I just made her a soft pastel turquoise coat, these would not go under that coat at all!  Maybe I can find some wool yarn in a light pastel colour and make leggings, a scarf and mittens to go with the coat.

My days are spent 100% with Rosey and I still find myself feeling at odds with the rest of the dolls.  I walk past them several times a day and since they are close to my bed, I often lay there and look at them.  What to do?  My imagination hears the conversations that could make for some funny little stories, but they come and go and I lose interest quickly.  Each one had their moment in the sun, when loved and adored.  Now they sit there reminding me that things change over time and circumstances.  Husband likes to call me fickle in dolly love, but I wonder just how much of it is more about addiction to new dolls than it is in being fickle.  The lure of a new doll, the lusting after it, the thrill of the acquisition, I admit is so entrancing.  The possibility of a new character sparks my imagination like nothing else.  Rosey could be having her moment in the sun right now.  I wonder what it is that changes?

I noticed that with all of our reducing of things owned since selling the house in 2009, the more I get use to having less.  Some of my biggest collection of stuff was in kitchen ware.  I once had a dinnerware pattern complete to serve 14 people with all the matching pieces.  Now I have two plates to serve all our meals on.  All of our clothes fit on one shelf in the wardrobe.  The only furniture we own is two desks, a kitchen table and two beds, two bookcases.  No TV, no stereo, no entertainment except two laptops.  Lots of artwork, but little else.  We don’t even own a towel, we use the items that came with a furnished flat.  Husband says we lived for 3 years in a space no bigger than a closet, what do we really need to be happy?  Each other! (and a doll, I remind him, lol).

We reduced all our stuff when we sold the house.  Reduced it again (22 boxes!) to move to Europe.  I thought I would feel lost without my stuff, but I like it.  I now feel compelled to let go of even more.   Things are settling down and all the upheaval of a major move is over with.   So much has changed within my dolly realm, my interests have shifted and my desires are no longer tangled up in who will come on the truck with me on the next run!  These days, all I want to do is work little one at a time projects for Rosey, much like the Bleuette magazines had a new pattern to share and create for a beloved dolly.  I am not going to be rash, but I have a feeling that I am getting ready to reduce slowly over time even further until I feel I am in the right place with my stuff and where I want to go down the road with it.

Finally in Scotland

We are finally settled in our new flat in Scotland.  Wow, what a journey that has been.  I won’t write about it here, if you are interested, the on-going saga, it is all here with lots of photo’s.  http://thepotatowife.wordpress.com/

But for this blog, I will show my UK dolly experiences.

The first experience was on Portobello Road in Earls Court, London.  This is an antique market that is filled with shops and stalls.  There was one lady in particular I wanted to meet, she has all antique dolls and when we found her, I was in seventh heaven, as I got to personally handle the most exquisite dolls on earth.  Bru’s, Juneau’s, a darling automaton, and many more.  I about fainted from the delight of it.  None were under £4000 and so there was no hope I would ever have one.  Two I handled were all originals, at £6000 each.  Sigh.  She is here:

http://heatherbond.co.uk/items-for-sale/

Reluctantly we moved on and I of course had my eye peeked for a doll, but none were found.  I saw a few tinies, all over priced and not in good enough condition.  One ultra tiny china head caught my eye and the seller let me have her for £4. 

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2012-04-28 015 She is dug up girl, but I liked her features and she had so much personality for such a tiny head.  Someday I will carve a body for her.  I marvelled thinking about who once played with her and how she ended up buried.  The seller was overly eager to tell me the name of the dump site and that it was closed in 1892, which led me to think it was all talk and really of no consequence.  She was not an investment by any means and china heads were as common as pennies.  Still, I love her face and someday I will make her live again.

The next experience was at Harrods in London.  I was dismally annoyed that the huge toy department had NOTHING exquisite as they do in most of their departments.  Where were all the fine dolls from all over the world?  I was so annoyed I swore I would never set foot in Harrods again.  Even Dayton’s in Minneapolis had a doll section back in the 1980’s that had dolls I had to save all year for to buy my daughter for Christmas.  Anyway, the only doll I did see and was very taken by was a boy Kids n Kats.

2012-04-28 005 He was delicate in face features, I loved the posability (they had one in a glass case and I asked to handle it, so I got a chance to test all the joints).  These dolls are much smaller and more petite than American Girl and the face on the boy was so delicate and fine.  I really wanted him, but at Harrod’s prices, I could not.  We are not in the doll buying mode, husband gently reminded me.  Sigh.  I really wanted him.  I did not care as much for the girls for some reason.

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So I left, feeling sorry for myself.  No more dolls?  I guess we made the decision to move here and that means being very thrifty until we know what the end result will be. 

While we were in Weston Super Mare, we had finished dinner in a pub and walking back to the car.  We walked passed a game shop that had both new and used character toys.  I found Indiana Jones, by only seeing his feet on a bottom shelf.  I had to have him.  He is much larger than a GI Joe, fully dressed, but missing his rope, hat and pistol.  I don’t know what else came with him.

2012-04-29 068 he talks, says three things, one of which is ‘’SNAKES, WHY DOES IT ALWAYS HAVE TO BE SNAKES?’’

I though at first he may be almost the same size as Yorik, but he is smaller.

2012-04-29 070 Not that it matters.  I found myself enjoying Indiana Jones, he poses quite well, had double joints in his knees and enough personality in his face to amuse me.  I am thinking of making him a leather hat when I get my supplies.

The last experience came with staying at a wonderful inn, in Carlton.  Here, I was inspired to take Yorik out back and just photograph him.

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I didn’t have anything in mind, other than to just spend some one on one time with him.  He needed to get out anyways, he has spent too much time tucked in a travel bag anyways.

2012-04-30 049 I then took a couple of the dolls I have right now, each giving me a unique thing that only they can give. 

2012-04-30 060In the bedroom window sill of the Inn.

2012-04-30 057 What a goofy face.  Love it.

Once we moved into the flat, I put the boys on top of my wardrobe until I have time to play.  The vinyl china head girl I have by my bed.  I have been looking at her as I fall asleep at night.

2012-05-03 016  In a few days, after the craziness of all the things we are trying to get done settles down, I will start playing again.  I want to name the lady doll and I think Indiana Jones may have either a new nickname or perhaps another name so I am not obligated to a certain personality.  But who knows where that will go….I think he is just glad to get out from under all the aliens and the Star Wars fleet.

Word is that our boxes (all my dollies and sewing machine and TOYS) will arrive in Glasgow on June 30th and be de
livered about 2 weeks after that.  I am practically frothing at the mouth to get my hands on my sewing machine.  Over a year now since I have sewn on it….I am having withdrawals!  Oh, and there was a shop that had hundreds of antique sewing machines….I was really delirious with happiness seeing them all.  Husband had to drag me away.