Wedding dolls: Max and Beth

 

max-bethblogWMMy friend Terry’s son Max got married a few weeks ago. Over the years, Terry and I have worked together on so many fun projects, including these: wedding cake, baby quilt and community quilt. So, Terry and I conspired to make a special surprise for the wedding couple.

I couldn’t wait to make little Max and Beth dolls for the wedding cake. Max and Beth met when they both worked as engineers at the Jet Propulsion Lab in California. Since they helped design parts for NASA’s Mars Rover, it became their obvious prop. Terry found a set of Lego directions for making “Curiosity” and enlisted the help of Max’s cousin to put it together.

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Beth’s dress was one of those strapless jobs. Way before the wedding, Terry sent me a photo of the gown, so I could replicate it in miniature. The biggest challenge was to make a smooth transition between the doll’s felt torso and floss wrapped arms. Usually sleeves or shoulder straps provide a break that hide any raw ends. You can see a couple of stitches on the top, where I fastened the top in place. I don’t know how real life women can wear this style, without the help of magic! In this close-up, her felt chest looks a bit fuzzy, hairy even. But that’s wool felt for you! Fortunately, it’s not so noticeable on the 4″ doll size.

I’m glad that Max insisted on wearing a blue blazer and khakis, which gave the wedding a relaxed Cape Cod feel. They both looked spiffy!

Before we go any further, I want to mention that my upcoming how-to book, Felt Wee Folk: New Adventures ( March 2015) will have many examples of wedding cake toppers for you to make. You can see other wedding dolls I’ve made here.

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maxbethdolls2Terry was originally going to make a Mars cake for the rehearsal dinner, but decided to simplify things by constructing a non-edible “Mars” stand from an inverted bowl covered with fondant. It was tricky to get the color right and she ended up using beet powder, cinnamon and cocoa. Terry rolled out the colored fondant and made impressions with a celestial patterned sheet of plastic and a rolling-pin, both with raised texture. She then spread the dough over the inverted stainless steel bowl. At the dinner, Max and Beth were totally surprised to see their likenesses lounging on the rover. The pair of dolls also made an appearance atop the wedding cake the next day.

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mars2Both the rehearsal dinner and wedding were lovely events. Congratulations, Max and Beth!

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new book cover

feltweefolknewcoverWarning: this a shameless teaser! I’m so excited about this new book cover that I couldn’t wait to share it with you. The book is still in production and the technical editor and I have been going over the text and photos, making sure that the information and instructions will be as easy to follow as possible. Ann Haley at C&T Publishing has been remarkable in her ability to find errors and point out details that might need clarification. Now the latest edited version is off to the book designer and in September I’ll have another chance to check it through, before it’s sent off to the printer.

I’m so pleased that this crowd scene was chosen for the cover. I submitted a bunch of different images populated by figures that represent the doll projects in the book and this is the most animated. Rob took the shot from a high angle, with each waving doll’s head pointed upward, toward the camera.To see how the scene was photographed, go here. My goal was to give a hint of the fun inside by showing a wide range of wee folk, including, but not limited to fairies.

Autographed copies of Felt Wee Folk – New Adventures: 120 Enchanting Dolls will be in my Etsy Shop after the official publication date of March 1, 2015 (sorry, no pre-orders). If you wait and order from my shop next March, I’ll autograph it and include a special goody. I haven’t decided what kind of item yet, but it could be a new poster of a scene from the book. If you want to pre-order a copy, Amazon has it on their site already. The original book, Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects (including fairy skirts and wings) is available from my Etsy Shop.

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Editing Felt Wee Folk manuscript

Ryan and Lael wedding dolls

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Ryan and Lael will be getting married next month in Woods Hole, so I made them a pair of dolls as a wedding present. They met here as children, when they were Woods Hole summer kids.  And this wedding will join two families that have been coming every summer for generations.  I’ve always been a bit jealous of the summer people, who seem to appreciate their time in Woods Hole more than we year-rounders. For them, it’s special and magical, like summer camp, where you play and socialize, without the regular responsibilities associated with your “winter” home.

It was clear that a conventional white gown and tuxedo would not represent this couple’s theatrical leanings and spirit of adventure. Since the bride and groom have more than a passing interest in medieval history, I dressed them in period attire. Their costumes were so much fun to research and figure out how to make.

As with the Glen and Susan dolls, these figures use some techniques, such as wig-making, that will be included in the new edition of Felt Wee Folk. Felt Wee Folk: New Adventures will be coming out in the spring of 2015.

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Glen and Susan tie the knot

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Glen and Susan surprised everyone when they got married in a small private ceremony last December. They are a special couple, who are happy to have found each other at this stage in their lives. Now, they are planning to celebrate their union with their friends and family at their home in June.  I thought that they could use a pair of portrait dolls for the occasion, perhaps as cake toppers. I delivered the dolls a few days ago and you should have seen the look on their faces!

How do you like their eye glasses? It’s the first time I’ve tried making them and now I want to experiment with more ways of bending wire. And how about this photograph? I am so lucky to have my husband Rob document my work at a moment’s notice. We set them up outside in the periwinkle patch and took their photograph at different times of day, with natural lighting. I really like the way this one came out–it shows the dolls in a scene, but you can see the details, too. These dolls use some new techniques, like wig making (not the eyeglasses-they were made after the manuscript was handed in) and clothing, which will be included in my new book, Felt Wee Folk: New Adventures (Spring 2015). Until then, the original edition, Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects is still available from my Etsy Shop here.

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Profile in Cape Cod Magazine

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I am happy to show pictures from a story about my work that has just come out in the March issue of Cape Cod Magazine. Last week, a woman showed me her copy, after I gave a lecture down Cape to the Bayberry Quilters. She had the magazine because there’s an article about her roller derby club in the same issue, which I think is pretty cool. A couple of women from my Zumba class this morning mentioned seeing the article, so I tried again and found some copies at the drug store. The photographer, Dan Cutrona took the photos in my studio last fall when I was working on doll projects and setting up scenes for the revision of Felt Wee Folk. I think he did a good job of capturing the essence of my artwork and work place.

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Wee Folk photo shoot

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We woke up this morning to a hazy, cloudy day, which made me very happy. You see, I’ve been constructing a scene with dolls for my new book, the 2nd edition of Felt Wee Folk (2015 pub. date) and we were hoping to do a photo shoot outside with natural light. The conditions were perfect! The sun was just behind the clouds, shining a defused light that created soft shadows on the dolls’ little faces. We also used a reflector (that large white disk) to shine more light to the subject. It’s my job to hold the reflector at the right angle, but Rob held it while I took this picture. When I showed him this photo, he said, “Oh my, I look like a certified nerd.” I said, “Yeah, that’s my guy!”.

I had to resist the temptation to post closeups of the dolls, but it’s too early to show projects from the book, which isn’t scheduled to come out until 2015. It is not in my nature to hide what I’m up to, but I have to protect my ideas, until the time is right. I know that whatever goes out in cyberspace will be shared, often without regard for the source of origin. So, I’m giving a little peak, quite literally into the camera’s view screen. Hint: Mary Had a Little Lamb.

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Fairy Houses of Beebe Woods exhibit

You may wonder, “Where is this Beebe Woods that keeps popping up in titles on my blog”? It’s a gem of a property (pronounced Bee-bee) in the center of my home town of Falmouth, Massachusetts, right on the edge of Historic Highfield Hall, which was built in 1878 for the Beebe family, who were prominent summer people. My Birds of Beebe Woods piece was made for last year’s exhibit celebrating the forest. Also, Highfield is hosting the Pocketful of Posies traveling exhibit Sept. 4 – Oct. 31, 2013.

This summer, the grounds and gardens of Highfield will be magically transformed into a “fairy” neighborhood, with small-scale habitats hidden throughout the property. Highfield has given me the exciting opportunity to curate The Fairy Houses of Beebe Woods exhibit, which promises to be a popular event during the height of the season.

I got the idea from the Florence Griswold Museum in Lyme, CT, which has hosted several Fairy house events. See my posts about last fall’s exhibit here and here.

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I’ve invited 2 dozen local artists to participate in the event and they’ve spent the last few months picking building spots, gathering natural construction materials and thinking about what to make and how to make it. Everyone will bring their own vision and sensibility to their structure, creating a wildly varied display full of architectural whimsy. The outdoor exhibit will be open June 20th – July 21, 2013.

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This past winter, I made and photographed 2 models that could be used for advance publicity purposes. Since I didn’t use a glue suitable for outdoors, these won’t be in the exhibit, but I will have another house to show. I’m in the process of constructing a more weather resistant cottage that will be perched in a magnificent copper beech tree. I hope that many of you will have a chance to visit the exhibit this summer and for those of you who live far away, I’ll post pictures.

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