Wedding Cake figures

My friends, Shona and Amy are tying the knot this Saturday. Their wedding is looking to be more of a do-it-yourself type than the formulaic extravaganzas I’ve been to lately.  Their’s will be much looser, with lots of friends helping out, which reminds me of 30 years ago, when my husband and I got married.  My friend Terry and I volunteered to make their wedding cake. Terry has already baked the cake and she and I will be spending friday working on the decorations. We’ve been planning this cake for months and I’ll try to remember to take pictures as we add the personal touches. I just finished making Shona and Amy dolls to fit a toy boat, which will be on the cake.

To start, I found a wooden toy boat of the right size and type at Bella Luna Toys. I then made two 3 1/2 inch tall pipe cleaner doll forms, the same way as explained in my how-to book, Felt Wee Folk.

This is what the dolls look like undressed. I wrapped some cotton batting around their middle sections and sewed small beads for breasts, which show that these are women, not girls. Just adding stuffing doesn’t look natural and the beads appear more true to life when they are clothed. I started using beads for breasts a few years ago, when I made my self-portrait, because I wanted to show maturing over time. See my piece, Self-Portrait: A Personal History of Fashion here.

Then, I dressed them in clothing that I thought fit their style and personality.

Now that the dolls had heads, they needed a trip to the hairdresser. I put glue on the top and sides of the bead heads and then draped felt over, using pins to keep the felt in place while it dried. I started devising this wig making technique when I made all of those dolls for my Self-Portrait.

After the glue dried, I cut the felt in the back to conform to the round head and glued the felt to the back. Pins hold the felt in place while it dries. I felt like giving the dolls little fashion magazines to read like women in salons, who sit and wait with curlers or foil origami on their heads.

I sewed the seams together and blanket stitched around the felt edges, using flower thread, which is thicker than embroidery floss. DMC discontinued making flower thread, which is too bad, because it’s great stuff. I still have some of this golden wheat color that worked for both Amy and Shona’s hair.

Shona has curls, so I twisted the thread around the needle and pulled it through, like loose french knots. I really felt like a hairdresser then.

Amy’s doll had straight hair.

I made a flag with their names that would fly above the dolls on the boat. Wire along the flag’s edge helps keep its shape.

I painted the boat and sewed the finished dolls to tiny screw eyes on the cabin. Amy loves to fish, so I made her a fishing rod and attached a bead fish.

Shona, who is a bit of a show-off, is ready at the bow, holding on to the flag pole. I’ll let you know how the launching goes.

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24 thoughts on “Wedding Cake figures

  1. since i am new to your blog, i just clicked on your self portrait….unbelieveable…unbelieveable. we share a birthday….so i remember LOTS of those clothes….the poncho for example! what a project. well done you.

  2. This is exactly why I’ve admired your work for so long! Shona and Amy are quite lucky. What a gift! To hear your explanations and see your process is phenomenal. So happy you started blogging. Your self portrait might be one of my favorites of all of your creations so far. So grateful you linked back to it.

  3. These are so personal and special! I am fascinated by the way you made their hair forms of felt and enjoyed a laugh when you said you thought of giving them magazines while their hair dried! You are such fun. What great, memorable keepsakes these will be and, my goodness, what a cake!!!!

  4. Salley,

    You are so kind and generous to share your creative processes with your fans, I have made several of the little dolls from your wee felt folk book but have never quite mastered the hair, now I can give it another attempt.

    You are a treasure.


  5. Thank you so much again…I loved seeing how you fashioned the two different hair styles. I learn so much just from observing your work from afar. You are very dear to share and to offer so many details as you work hard to complete your projects and creations. Thank you for all the documenting that you do, even while you are concentrating on each and every step of your lovingly created masterpieces. It’s a pleasure to be “looking over your shoulder”!

  6. Hi Salley,

    It was great meeting you at Highfields House on Tuesday. I was thrilled to see your art in person. Your work is stunning and thanks for being so generous as to share your creative process. This little couple is so cute..have fun at the wedding!


  7. I was thrilled when I saw your work for the first time on Mayamade’s blog. I immediately went to Amazon an ordered your book. Your art is uplifting to the spirit.

  8. I loved this post Salley. And your dolls and your cake was absolutely fabulous!!!

    And the first pic in this post…with the boat on the felt “wave”…was awesome!!

    Have a beautiful day, xo Susan

  9. Salley these are absolutely precious! I love them! I also love that you incorporated them into a cake, fabulous!


  10. I love you even more now…..As a gay women seeing this makes my heart sing. thank you I feel hugged.

  11. I love how you added more details to the hair and considered each person’s distinctive personalities..Very inspiring! Thank you for sharing!

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