Thursday, May 12, 2016

Bewitching Business

Witchy Business on The Queens Dollhouse

Bewitching Business on The Queens Dollhouse

Behind her is the alchemist's table complete with magic mushroom,
 a fairy's dress, red apples (poisonous? who know), some tarot cards, 
a tiny bottle of magic dust and lots of bubbling jars and bottles. 
 On the shelf is also the tiny white bird of peace, 
a butterfly and a swallow - so her work is blessed, regardless of how it appears to us!   
Behind her are vintage cut-outs of a black crow and
 another girl witch with her black cat.  
Such fun!! I love the tiny orange snail in the foreground.  

Monday, February 1, 2016

A Wedding in Arles

During my trip to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in the South of France
I spent a day in the beautiful and historic town of Arles
where I came across the tradition and history of l'Arlesienne.
I brought back the beautiful watercolour of a traditionally dressed
Arles lady.
During the procession of St Sarah la Kali in Saintes-maries-de-la-Mer
a large group of women dressed in this beautiful traditional clothing
including the traditional hairstyle.

Great was my joy when I found an old miniature
Arles doll in a wedding dress.

Here she is trying on her wedding dress,
a piece of cloth still in the sewing machine,
surrounded by the many cups of tea
which nurtured and sustained her through this
huge undertaking!!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Widow of Noirmoutier

This is one of my vintage French dolls.
My obsession with collecting dolls and telling their stories
started one spring during one of my pilgrimages
to the festival of St Sara la Kali in the South of France.
Near our hotel was a Saturday morning market
and she had a few dolls.  I bought the most beautiful ones.
The following day we visited another small village
and I found another table with  many many dolls
and the lady offered them ALL to me.  Needless
to say I brought them home.

This doll is a widow doll from the island of Noirmoutier, 
just off the coast of France.  The island has whitewashed
 fisherman's houses with blackened wooden 
windows and shingle roofs.  
I tried to capture the feel of the island in her little handmade cottage.

The main form of employment on the island used to be deep sea fishing.
 It is said that there are up to four generations of widows living on this island,
 at any given time.  They are all widows of fishermen lost at sea! 
 The widows of Noirmoutier are recognised by their black clothing.

You will see that this widow carries the keys of La Chaitelaine, the housekeeper. 
 She is a devoted follower of the Blessed Mother and in her right hand she has a tiny chaplet.

She has a beautiful altar made from shells,
 a tiny cupboard with an iron, a 
copper kettle and some books, as well as 
her trusty black coal stove and red enamel pots.

You will also see that she has a widow's 'set' 
consisting of a widow's Bible and rosary.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Seamstress

I made another shadow box of course!  I also love to paint in oils and acrylics and mixed media, but my first love are the shadow boxes.  To me they seem like miniature worlds captured in a frame!

This is the shop of a victorian dressmaker.  She is a paperdoll, put together with pieces and parts of paperdoll clothes, a stamped paperdoll head, plenty of lace and porcelain arms.

The shoes are too adorable.  They are a pair of black Barbie doll shoes that I attached two violet roses onto. And a matching handbag! with a navy blue and white madonna on it.

She is standing in her milliner's shop, this craftswoman and seamstress

surrounded by the tools of her trade :  needles adorned with pearls and crystal beads;  a vintage pair of scissors, a mannequin, a dressmaker's mannequin, a mannequin head, a piece of vintage cloth measuring tape, an old key and more. Oh what a graceful time it was! although it must have been very uncomfortable to sew whilst wearing all those layers of lace and crinoline!

The dressmaker's mannequin in the background I decorated with ribbon roses.

She has a mannequin head in her display window with the latest Victorian hat!  I made the tiny little hat from the plastic end of a tassel and I added lace, tiny roses and a very immodest feather!

The lace curtains of the shop is decorated with many gold roses. The shop is wallpapered with victorian paper, lace, ribbons, vintage newspaper ads, a victorian die cut basket of roses.

Please step in and be measured for that special gown! 

If you believe in them, dreams always come true

I am dreaming of travelling far and wide.  Stitch by stitch, thread by thread, I sew together my heart-felt dream.  I know that I have the key to all my adventures, and I am waiting, ready to embark on this  journey.

I am ready and prepared;  all my worldly treasures packed up; picnic lunch ready and my precious Snuggles.  No-one is left behind, not even my darling parakeet.

I am dreaming of Paris in springtime, with love in bloom.  

She is a vintage doll that I bought because of the beautiful detail of her clothing.  Her hair was almost non-existent and bald on top!  Now she is a grande lady, a seamstress, I guess.  After she looked into the mirror and saw the transformation that I gave her, she realised she can be whoever she wants to be and she can do whatever she sets her mind to!  She is starting off with a trip on a train to France, Paris in particular.  Her favourite perfume is Anna Suis!  She has already whispered to me that she intends buying herself a beautiful motor car and travelling on the roads in style!!

Bon voyage!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Shopping for shoes on the Champs Elysees

Shoes, shoes, shoes, shoes

Bonjour mademoiselle!  Please step into my shop

I lined the box with velvet papers, velvet ribbons, beads, lace, ruffles
paper chandelier, and I created the framed painting of Marie Antoinette in the back.

The beautiful scene of Paris is a magnet that I bought in Montmartre.

I had such incredible fun creating this small shoe shop which now hangs on my wall.
Every time I look at it, I remember the smell, the colour, the sound and the happiness
of visiting Paris and the South of France the past two years!


The Queen's Dollhouse

La Pianiste Aveugle - the blind pianist

This sweet vintage doll I bought at a street market in
Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume right across the
Cathedral of Mary Magdalene.

I received about twenty of these from the market seller
in a plastic shopping bag.

You can see in what a tattered state she is and she has no legs
and the moving eyes have fallen out long ago.
But she is beautiful and so I created a special shadow box for her,
La Pianiste Aveugle, the blind pianist.

The piano is a toy piano, part of a doll set.  I distressed and aged the little piano
and added a magnificent butterfly to its lid, symbolizing the freedom and liberation
that her ability to play the piano, brings the blind woman.

The entire box is covered with vintage sheet music paper.  A reminder
that life is music, and even as we live our small, boxed lives
of ordinariness, we hold the potential of creating the music of our souls.


The Queen's Dollhouse