Cuba: streets (part 1)

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It’s time to show more pictures of Cuba. I have so many photos of streets, that I’ll have to post a second group. The streets of Havana were vibrant, very walk-able and clean. The pleasant March weather brought people out onto their stoops and balconies. The Cubans were friendly and engaged with each other. Around every corner was a scene begging to have its picture taken. You didn’t have to watch out for speeding cars and even when I ventured out alone with my conspicuously large camera, I felt safe. Occasionally, you’d have to get out of the way of pedicabs making their way around the side streets. Take a walk with me around the neighborhood.

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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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Mothers

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On this Mother’s Day, I’d like to share some of my artwork that depict mothers. The domestic scene above is an illustration from Mary Had a Little Lamb. And the one below shows the kitchen in my book, In the Heart. 

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This detail from my Self Portrait: A Personal History of Fashion, covers the years when my children were very young and physically attached to me.

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I made this “Old Mother Hubbard” ornament for the Family Trees Exhibit in Concord, MA.

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And finally, here’s The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe, from my book Pocketful of Posies which peels away the sugar coating of motherhood.

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Polly in Cuba

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Polly Doll had a wonderful trip to Cuba. She rode a hood ornament, saw Ernest Hemingway’s pool…

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…made friends with the “kissing lady”…

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…visited a botanical garden…

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…hung out in an Havana doorway…

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…dined at a Paladar (private restaurant)…

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…hiked through a mangrove forest…

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…and enjoyed some Cuban rum.

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Noah’s Ark Poster

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I am pleased to announce the addition of another 18″ x 24″ poster to my Etsy Shop. The poster is new, but the original NOAH’S ARK piece was made 28 years ago!

I remember working on it during a transitional period, when I created animals that were similar in size and style to my pins (see them here), which I sewed to dyed and appliqued background fabric. The animal’s legs are formed with tube beads. I also remember finding the orange upholstery fabric that’s around the border while shopping at a large fabric store in Berkeley, CA. I can recall playing around and re-positioning the animals for a long time until they looked right. It was also during a time when I fell in love with hand embroidering little leaves on bushes and trees. You can see some details of the animals and landscape below.

The NOAH’S ARK Poster is available from my Etsy Shop here.

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Faux flowers Giveaway winners!

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Congratulations to the 3 Giveaway winners; Susan Fiebig, Retro Sandy and Lena Frost! They will each be notified and sent a set of faux flower petals to make skirts and wings for 6 fairies. Thank you to the 100+ contestants who entered!

Many of you wrote such sweet messages about how much you enjoy making these fairies. Some of you also plan to teach your grandchildren how to make them. It warms my heart to hear this. Over the past few years, since I started the blog, I am sometimes so touched by your comments that I get teary. Can it really be that making a simple little doll can make a difference in someones life? Your personal stories and warm messages are very much appreciated, even if I don’t answer every one!

The fairies started as a spontaneous afterthought, when an article about my work was getting ready to go to press for the March 1999 issue of Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion Magazine. I was asked if I had any items or projects that readers could send away for. I quickly put together a Blossom Fairy Kit and figured out a price. After the magazine came out, I was inundated with orders. The only way people could see what the fairy looked like was to search one of the photos of my studio through a magnifying glass! One thing led to another and before I knew it, Wee Folk Studio became a kit business, with new designs added every year. Eventually, there were 10 doll designs and 10 felt purse kits. At this point, the wee folk were ready to be introduced to a wider audience through my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects. The fairies have been good to me, but after about 8 years, I was ready to give up the kits in order to work on the illustrations for Pocketful of Posies full time.

Reading your comments on my posts made me keenly aware of the need for a revised edition of my how-to book, even though I’d convinced myself that one was enough. It took some time for me to get on board, but in less than year from now, Felt Wee Folk: New Adventures will be published. See posts about it here. I’ll be selling the original book in my Etsy Shop until then. I’m not sure if it will disappear or not when the new one comes out, but C&T is planning on offering the non-doll projects on-line.

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