Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day

Memorial day is a great way to remember our patriotic heroes who sacrificed their lives to help us breathe the air of freedom.This day is observed with families and friends visiting cemeteries and memorials to pay homage to their loved ones. Memorial day was first celebrated on May 30, 1868. It was observed by placing flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers during the first national celebration. Gen. James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which around 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers who were buried there.
In 1915, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” Moina Michael replied with her own poem.
We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
She then came up with an idea of wearing red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need.
Memorial Day Facts:
* Memorial Day is a day of remembrance of those who have died serving our country.
* On Memorial Day, the flag should be at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff.
* Red Poppies are recognized as the Memorial Day flower.
* “Taps” is often played at ceremonies on Memorial Day.
* Memorial Day was first called “Decoration Day” because of the practice of decorating soldier’s graves with flowers.
* New York was the 1st state to officially recognize Memorial Day.
* Flowers and flags are the two most popular items people use to remember soldiers.
* Memorial Day was declared a federal holiday in 1971.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Fashions of the 1920's

When you think of the 20's your mind immediately goes to the Flapper. But the Flapper style did not actual begin until 1926. The fashionable Flapper had short smooth sleek hair, a shapeless shift type dress and a flat chest.
After the first world war the styles for women became considerable more "mannish". Female dress became loser and less fitted. The bustline was suppressed by special designed Brassieres. One knows as the Symington Side Lacer. It laced on the sides so that it could be tightened for a flattening effect. The Miracle Reducing Rubber Brassiere gave the "desirable flat lines" sought after by young women in the 20s. It was paired with the Miracle Reducing Rubber Reducer, which molded the lines of the figure while reducing it. The garment was "scientifically designed without bones or lacings."
It is a common misconception that Hems were short throughout the 20's. Actually hem began to creep up to show a bit of the ankle in 1913. In 1918 hems were just below mid calf. Also around 1918 even thought length remained the same, at the calf, the waist actually dropped. Gradually the skirt lengths on dresses gave the illusion of being first long and then shorter with dipping, scalloped and handkerchief hemlines in floating fabrics. It was only in 1925 that skirts rose 14 to 16 inches from the ground making the shorter hemline we associate with the era.
During this era was the first time there was a sense of nudity in stockings and arms were bare.
Fashion also became more accessible at this time. The lines were simplified thus making it easier for the home sewer to create her own styles.
You cannot mention the 20's without talking about Coco Chanel (pictured below in 1920). From her first millinery shop, opened in 1912, to the 1920s, Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel rose to become one of the premier fashion designers in Paris, France. Replacing the corset with comfort and casual elegance, her fashion themes included simple suits and dresses, woman's trousers, costume jewelry, perfume and textiles. Soon Coco Chanel was expanding to couture, working in jersey, a first in the French fashion world. By the 1920s, her fashion house had expanded considerably, and her chemise set a fashion trend with its "little boy" look. Her relaxed fashions, short skirts, and casual look were in sharp contrast to the corset of previous decades. Chanel herself dressed in mannish clothes, and adapted these more comfortable fashions which other women also found liberating.
Coco Chanel introduced her signature cardigan jacket in 1925 and signature "little black dress" in 1926. Most of her fashions had a staying power, and didn't change much from year to year -- or even generation to generation.
The Cloche Hat is a fitted, bell-shaped hat that was popular during the 1920s. If you were a cloche hat you told everyone you had short hair. It was only possible to get this style of hat to fit well if you have very short flat hair. It was essential that it cover the forehead. Foreheads were unfashionable at the time. This stykle of hat was very popular and continued to be worn and evolve into the 30's.
Michelle Doll Artist's Workshop

Pattern #2003 by Kathi Mendenhall La Petite Bell Patterns

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hot Trend for the Young Doll Lover

Have you ever wondered whats it like to be Barbie? Well with the Barbie Video Girl Doll with Camcorder you can view life like Barbie.
Ok I know most of us are past wanting to "be" Barbie. But this is pretty cool from a kids point of view. I totally want it for Natalie. But she is to young .. This is the good thing about having a little girl. All the doll things I want I can say they are for her. HA HA!

The doll features a video camera built directly into Barbie’s necklace with a LCD video screen on her back, so you can record and view everything that Barbie’s seen and experienced. Let her ride on the handlebars of your bike and playback video directly on the LCD screen hidden under Barbie’s shirt on her back. Or you can plug a USB cable into Barbie herself and view your video masterpiece on the big screen like a TV or computer. The batteries are in her legs! Record videos up to 30 minutes long and even edit videos (add music and sound effects) on The Barbie Video Girl Doll will cost around $50 and will be available in July 2010. Seriously!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What is a Washi Doll?

When I was searching around on line a came across Washi Dolls on google and ask myself the same question. What is a Washi Doll?
Washi is the light, strong traditional Japanese paper made by hand from the inner-bark fibers of three plants. The name washi literally means "Japanese paper". Today most paper in Japan is made in large automated mills, but a few hundred families in rural villages continue to make washi in the traditional way.
Samples of Washi Paper:
'Ningyo' means 'human figure' in Japanese. There are many types of Japanese traditional dolls which are made out of natural materials like paper, clay, grass, wood, fabric and etc. The most popular type of Japanese traditional dolls are made out of a type of paper called 'washi' or 'Japanese paper'. Washi papers come in different patterns, colors and sizes and are used for the making of 'washi-ningyo' or washi doll. I have read that some of these papers are actually stronger than fabric. I am very intrigued as can see their application in miniature dolls.
This beautiful doll was made by Misako Plant. You can see more of her work here:
Misako Plant Fine Art If you would like to try a Washi Doll I found some kits and how-to DVD's available at
Michelle Mahler Doll Artist's Workshop

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Doll Dressed by Queen Victoria's Eldest Daughter to Sell at Bonhams

A wax doll dressed by Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter, the Empress Frederick of Germany (christened Princess Victoria, the Princess Royal), is to be sold at Bonhams, Knightsbridge on Wednesday 26th May. It will be a part of the Fine Dolls and Teddy Bears sale.
The Empress dressed the doll in 1868. She donated the doll to a bazaar in London to raise funds for impoverished Germans in the city circa 1868. It was bought by the financier Baron von Schroder. The doll wears a beautiful long white cotton and lace dress with a pink satin underskirt, layers of underclothing and a ribboned bonnet.
There will also be one of the first wooden dolls ever made (circa 1680) offered for auction. The doll is dressed in the habit of the Carmelite convent at Bethune. The few known 17th century dolls dressed in habits are thought to have belonged to the children of Catholic families, who were sent abroad to be educated. They would send their doll back to England dressed according to the order they had joined, and to signify that they were safe. The estimates are between £10,000 – 15,000.
Further highlights include Bru Bebe (estimate £6,000 – 9,000), circa 1875; a papier-mache German doll, which comes with a note stating that the doll was bought at Birmingham Fair ‘by SL Bartham for her sister AE Bartham’; a Sleeping Beauty musical automaton (estimate £10,000 – 15,000), dated circa 1880, which winds up to feature a ‘breathing’ Beauty, and a Prince playing a lute; and a remarkable Noah’s Ark (estimate £3,000 – 5,000), built in Germany in the 1870s, which comes with a complete set of animals, from lions to grasshoppers.
Is anyone ready to bid?


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Make a Silk Lily Bouquet

Make a Silk Lily Bouquet
By Kathi R. Mendenhall
La Petite Belle Patterns 2010

I created this lily for the first time in 1996. The tutorial was published in Dolls in Miniature, The Magazine. There were only diagrams at the time. The bouquet was a combination of roses and lilies. This tutorial with pictures is lilies only. I hope you enjoy the re-write. A bouquet can be a very simple project, but remember simple and easy are not necessarily quick. The making of the lilies may take you a little time. I have completed three lilies and five leaves to make the bouquet pictured.
Collect Your Supplies
4 mm white silk ribbon
4mm green silk ribbon
Yellow or ecru silk thread
Green size 30 florists wire
White size 30 florists wire
Black marker Cut the pieces (Makes 3 Lilies)
Cut 5 one inch pieces of green wire
Cut 18 one inch pieces of white wire
Cut 18 one inch pieces of white ribbon
Cut 5 one inch pieces of green ribbon
Cut 18 one-half inch pieces of silk thread
Make the Petals and Leaves
Glue a white wire 1/2” into the 1-inch piece of ribbon.
Fold ribbon over and close edges.
Dot the end of the silk thread with black marker.
Glue one tip to lower edge of petal.
Glue the green stem to the middle of the green ribbon.

Trim the Corners of the Petals
Clip each corner of the petals approximately 45°at both ends of the petals.
Complete one flower.
You have 6 petals and two leaves or less, it is up to you.

Make up the flowers
Place 6 petals together all with the threads facing in.
Dot some glue along the stems and wrap with silk ribbon.
Shape the petals by rolling out the tips and leaving the remaining petal in a cone shape.
A finished flower is left.
A complete bouquet
Complete three flowers as you did this one. Complete 5 leaves. Join all the flowers and the leaves together with a little glue holding the stems together.
Wrap the stems together with more white silk ribbon.
Trim the bottom stems even as seen below left.
Shape the leaves and flowers to suit.
Pose with your doll or in your shop.
Beautiful bouquets can be made by adding silk roses, or painting the lilies with watercolor pens. To add streaming buds, use only three petals and turn only the tips out for the buds.