The Grand Central Depot for Cheap and Popular Prints

 

This is what Currier and Ives called itself. The name says it all! If you go to antique stores, browse eBay etc. etc. you have probably seen these cheaply produced but colorful lithographs before. They vary in subject matter from landscapes to pretty ladies to kittens. But the subject of today’s post is not those subjects but Mourning prints.

During the Victorian years  (1837-1901) there were many popular types of mourning art for a person’s walls. One type was hair wreaths or hair art. These would have been  pricey unless in the case of the hair wreath, you did it yourself. Another type of mourning art was embroidered mourning pictures. Think of these as a huge investment and to own one you needed to have money to “burn” so to speak. What did the average person in the mid-19th century do for “mourning art”? Currier and Ives had the solution. They were selling every other genre of cheap artwork and then added mourning art to their repertoire. These were printed so that you filled in the name and dates of your loved one or loved ones. Many you find today are framed in the “Currier and Ives” style frames. This is a simple frame that has a thin layer of veneer on it.

I have several in my house and LOVE them! They adorn my living room walls for all to see. After staring at these for a while, I decided to reproduce one for Lydia Ann.

There were many to choose from so I just picked the first one I saw and went from there. I figure I can make more at a later date if I want to(which of course I will!). After I had the images printed to the correct “scale” for Lydia Ann and other 16″ to 18″ antique dolls; I contacted a company to custom make the frames for me.

After waiting for a little bit for those to arrive and assembling the pieces; voila! We have doll wall artwork!

The finished project:

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Then after I took the first photo I couldn’t stop myself from playing dollhouse:

 

Here   is the link to buy your doll her very own copy of this limited edition product!

If you want to see more period style artwork for dolls comment on this post or contact me through my shop on Etsy with your suggestions!

Two Year Blog-a-versary!

birthday-cake-2-year-oldTwo years ago to this day I did my very first blog post on Lydia Ann the Traveling doll. I didn’t have any followers and had no idea what I really wanted to write about. I think I have figured out a flow to my posts now after two years, finally!

So thank you to all my followers and lurking readers who aren’t following the blog (I know you are out there).  I hope to write more and be around for many more years! Now join me for some cake and mixed drinks!

 

Is it Summer yet?

 

 

I have been in a funk lately. When that happens I know the only thing that will  pull me out of it is DOLLS! DOLL THINGS! DOLL DRESSMAKING! While a friend was in town the other week we stopped by Needle and Thread in Gettysburg. If you haven’t been, you have to make a trip! Its like shopping in New York City without the pricey plane ticket and hotel costs. I picked up a semi sheer striped cotton fabric. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it but I knew I had to make a doll dress with it. So to Pinterest I went! The only requirements for my search was summery, sheer/semi sheer, stripes and pagoda sleeves. I personally love pagoda sleeves on summer and warm weather clothing for this time period due tot he fact you can go without underserves. It helps keep you cool in the heat.

The Victorian’s were not stupid.

After a few sessions on Pinterest going back and forth on designs; I settled on two original dresses to take inspiration from. One of them I used more so than the other but they are both very similar to each other. Both of these dresses met my criteria as well.
Here is the first one:


Here is the second one:

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My doll sized copy of this dress went together pretty quick and easy(which is good because some days I have no patience for long and drawn out projects). The dresses I picked are simple in design and really let the fabric do the talking. The only trimming on this dress is  the ruffled self fabric trim on the pagoda sleeves. That trim is similar to one of my inspiration dresses. I used my pinking machine to trim the edges and add visual interest.

Here is my doll sized copy:

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What I enjoy about putting these outfits together is finishing them off with accessories. For this ensemble I added a miniature engraved belt with burgundy silk “belting” (aka silk satin ribbon) and a complementing day cap. I used so many elements from multiple fashion illustrations and originals its hard to really pinpoint a few examples of what I copied.

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For the day cap I used scraps of silk Point D Esprit netting trimmed with cotton lace in blond and black topped with light mint green silk ribbon. I had actually made this cap just randomly the other week, but while I was doing the photo shoot for the dress for this post I needed to add headwear. I love making small accessories for dolls! Its very relaxing for me.

I have many friend’s who own dolls (or is it the other way around?) but these dolls are not as well dressed as they want to be.   If you find a dress from a fashion plate or a museum that you want made for your doll; I can do that! Did you miss this post? You can see my favorite doll sized version of an original ensemble in that post! Most of the time when I want to make a dress for my dolls that’s how I start. Looking at originals in museums, private collections or fashion plates. I can also make matching dresses to what you might own in your wardrobe!  If you have a doll that wants a new dress, cap or bonnet just message me via Repro Dolls.

See you next time!

Happy Birthday Lydia Ann!

On this date 7 years ago, Lydia Ann made her debut to the world on Facebook! I believe I had her in my possession for a few days before that but she had to at least be dressed in undergarments before she could be presented to the world.

I personally can not believe and her and I have been having adventures for 7 years now! She has been with me through a few men in my life and MANY ups and downs. Two marriages to be exact! What can I say? I know what I want and I will have it no matter what!

Lydia Ann was what rekindled my love affair with dolls. I have always had this love but she woke it up for me again. After her I started buying antique dolls as well. Now  I make reproduction dolls to sell and none  of that would have happened if I had not bought Lydia Ann! Seriously I wrote a huge long winded post on it if you care to read it here.

She started out as a way to unwind after work years ago. Sewing for her and coming up with new and fun accessories was something that helped me through that time. I mostly still have everything she started with though some things have been replaced.

But without further ado, behold the birthday girl:

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She doesn’t look a day over 4 years old! 😉  Now for those who care to gift Lydia Ann with birthday offerings she loves things like silk fabrics, french fashion accessories and wine. She prefers sweet wines. 😉

*If you have a birthday offering message me for the address. 🙂

Maybe one of these years I will do a proper birthday party for her. But for now she is enjoying her online party!

A Reproduction Jewel Casket for Lydia Ann, Inspiration images.

After two years of acquiring jewelry for Lydia Ann I have decided that she needs a place to keep it all in. Basically this happened after I went looking for one of her pieces and it fell out on my floor from between some random objects.

Oops.

A jewel casket is needed.

So here are my inspiration images:

Monogram:

8619853_master The monogram on her casket wont be as fancy but it will be done in gold!

Quilted silk lining:

quilted silkWhy stop with luxury only on the outside? The feet on this one are a fancier version of the casket I am making.

This next casket just inspired me with the gold and what I presume is tortoise shell or faux tortoise shell.

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The shape:

shapeThis is a much fancier version of what I am making BUT we know the average lady did not own this box. Lydia Ann is more of an average “lady” but don’t tell her I said that…..

 

Stay tuned for the finished product!

UFDC Public Day 2017 Part Two

Before I show off the day that we spent at Disney World, I wanted to show off my favorite of the exhibitsat the UFDC Convetion. I liked all of them but this was my hands down favorite.

Meet Miss Ethel Newcome!

She is a wax doll that was sold at a Sanitary Fair in 1864 during the Civil war. I have a soft spot for Sanitary fair dolls. They have the best wardrobes but what really strikes me is the effort that was put into them. It was all to benefit the soldiers welfare during the war. This money was spent on hospital supplies, food etc.

Ethel does not have as large of a wardrobe as Rose Percy or the Sanitary fair doll I saw last UFDC public day. What she does have is beautiful!

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My favorite pieces were the riding habit and the fur set in original boxes!

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But we cant forget about accessories! Every girl and doll needs something for every occasion!

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Stay tuned for the next installment of trip photos!

 

 

 

UFDC Public Day 2017 Part one

This year the UFDC Convention was held in Orlando,fl! Which was a great twist of fate as one of my favorite places to vacation is Orlando and Disney. So my partner in crime and I decided to hit both! I will save the Disney world photos and exhibit photos for another post though.

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Public day is the only day they allow non members to shop in the vendor hall and view the displays. Even just viewing the vendor hall is a treat! This year I saw so many 18th century dolls and many were in great shape. These dolls are usually not seen outside of museums or private collections.

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The was a mix of older antique dolls to “modern” 20th century dolls. All of them were great to see.

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Instead of trying to describe everything we saw, I will just post the images and the link to see more photos that were taken on the trip.

Follow this link to see many more photos: https://www.facebook.com/pg/reprodolls/photos/?tab=album&album_id=333997397048639

https://www.facebook.com/pg/lydiaanntravelingdoll/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1602252953159900

Enjoy!

Stanhope Stobe’ Seminar

In June of this year, I traveled down to Atlanta,GA to attend a workshop by Sue Mitchell on how to recreate the beautiful Stanhope Stobe’. Before I go into the details of the workshop and show you what I created, let me give you a little bit of the history of this technique.

In 1852 the first micro-photo was created and soon after it became what is known as a Stanhope. These teeny tiny photos grace souvenirs from all over the world in the form of miniature binoculars, crosses, walking sticks, jewelry etc. Religious themes seem to have been popular. In 1867 Antoine Edmond Rochard patented the use of these Stanhopes in a doll’s chest plate. Most of these dolls were produced between the years of 1867 and 1875. It is likely that these dolls were never meant to be put onto bodies due to the awkward nature of trying to view the image. It is my opinion that these were basically very expensive dresser decoration for ladies of high society.

Rochard himself did not produce the dolls, he just had the idea and patented it. He could have had firms such as Barrois or Jameau produce his creation. The only markings these dolls have on them is: Ed Rochard Depose Brevete S.D.g.d..

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Most of us will never see an original of these dolls due tot he scarcity and the fact most reside in museum’s away from prying eyes.  Some examples have as few as two jewels and some have as many 41!

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Now for the seminar, we used reproduction Stanhope’s made by Stanhope Microworks based out of Mechanicsburg, PA.

The first step was to design out how you wanted your chest plate to look. Did you want to use more gold or more jewels? Rhinestones or cabochons? There were quite a few choices. We received one Stanhope to use for this seminar. I choose to make a necklace out of rhinestones rimmed in gold. The gold we used was real gold.

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In between firings of each layer of the gold on the chest plate we worked on the head of the Stobe’.

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We also made the wig for this doll. This was only my second wig but I feel like I improved tenfold since my first one a year and a half ago! Everyone did a similar style, simple yet elegant. We didn’t want the hairstyle to take away from the Stanhope itself.

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Here is everyone’s finished doll’s! I was the only one who did not mount there chest and head on a body. I wanted to evoke the original use of these works of art.

 

and Mine all mounted on her beautiful silk covered box:

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If you want to see more images of this seminar check out the following link:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/reprodolls/photos/?tab=album&album_id=314479362333776

Reproduction Striped Wool Wrapper for Lydia Ann!

During the 1850’s and 1860’s wild prints had been in fashion for wrappers or dressing gowns. Most prints would not be suitable for a dress worn after you had done your hair and gotten ready for the day. They were reserved for the morning and breakfast time. If you think about it in modern terms, think of your bathrobe. Most people’s bathrobe is a crazy color or pattern. You wouldn’t want to wear that to the grocery store or entertaining would you? Now I know not every then or now had a crazy print or color bathrobe or wrapper. But being that we are focusing on Victorian’s, we are going to focus on the crazy and out there!

For the longest time, I have been admiring so many original 1860’s wrappers. Stripe’s, silk’s and  wool’s, oh my! Now when people today reproduce wrappers from this time we tend to use cotton fabrics due to the fact that the only wrapper type prints we have access to are made out of cotton now. The quilting companies love to reproduce the prints of antique clothing in cottons for quilter use today. So most of us use those and treat them as awe would a wool fabric. If the garment you are making is people sized unfortunately it does not provide warmth but if you are making a doll garment; this is not a problem.

Here are the images that inspired the copy I made for Lydia Ann:

First I found this one. Look at those sleeves! I may decide to go back and add those to the reproduction at a later date but so far I have been on the fence. This wrapper is most likely a wool or less likely cotton.

green striped wool wrapper

This wrapper I know for a fact is wool. Besides the owner’s confirmation of this; there is trim applied. When you find trim besides self fabric trim on a garment it makes it unwashable. If a garment is cotton, it is generally washable, so why add trim and make it impractical. Adding trim to a wool or silk garment during this period is dirt common and follows the fashions of the day. The trim could be velvet, silk or less likely wool tape and fabric covered buttons. The buttons should be the same as the trim.

striped wool wrapper with cape

THIS wrapper was the one that made me take the next step to finish the wrapper for Lydia Ann. It has it all in my book! We have striped wool, fabric covered buttons and a cape with cord ties and tassels! If you know, you know I am a sucker for anything with a tassel on it. I also love the color blue. So this wrapper was a win win for me. If I ever find fabric like this, I will have this wrapper in my size.

So know that you have seen the eye candy I was oogling while dreaming up this project, I should show you my copy.

 

Now I haven’t finished it yet. I still want to make the perfect cape for the wrapper. I just need to draft the pattern for that and I haven’t had the time. Maybe I will next week on my UFDC trip? Maybe not. Doll world is so crazy you never know!

The fabric came from Needle and Thread (Gettysburg,PA) and is 100% cotton but I treated it as I would a wool fabric. Its a reproduction 1860’s print. If you are ever in Gettysburg,PA and love fabric……stop by Needle and Thread.

Well that is all for today. Next blog post will be on the fancy petticoats that were worn underneath these beautiful wrappers!

Why do you charge so much???

For a long time now, I have been meaning to write this post. At a show or online will get asked how much an items is. I will also get (not every time but often enough) this response “That’s too rich for my blood!” or “I couldn’t spend that much!” or something to that effect.Now that being said, most people understand my pricing and are perfectly wonderful. I figured explaining how long one set of legs takes to make would help the few that go into sticker shock.

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Lets get started!

I will be explaining the process to make one set of legs. It doesn’t matter the size actually. It is all the same.

Step one: Pour and mold the legs. This takes up about 40 minutes. That includes pouring the porcelain slip into the mold. waiting for a few minutes, then pouring the remainder out. Then letting it set up and un-molding when its ready. This set is so dependent on weather outside and temperature inside. If the air is too humid, forget about doing any of this.

Step Two: After you un-mold the pieces, do a quick seam cleaning. After they are dry, pop them into the kiln for two hours.

Step Three: This is the stage most of the cleaning of the pieces happen. Its called wet cleaning. It takes about 15 minutes for this step. It can take longer depending on the size of the piece. But for the legs of this post, 15 minutes and we are done.

Step Four: Second time into the kiln. This is the bisque fire. They turn into porcelain in this firing basically. The parts will stay in the kiln for 4 hours at this point. But I normally leave the parts in there overnight to cool after its done.

Step Five: If the legs are getting glazed, add an extra 30 minutes to apply the coats of glaze. If not a quick and final cleaning/sanding is done to the legs. This takes about 15 minutes or so.

Step Six:If legs were glazed then they go back into the kiln for 3 more hours. If not the next step is painting.

Step Seven: It normally takes me 4 paint firings to paint legs and each firing takes about 2 hours.
The final count: 16 hours (give or take an hour) to make one set of legs. Let me repeat that ………ONE SET OF LEGS TAKES ABOUT 16 hours!!!!!

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Normally I fire and paint multiple pieces at once but each pieces still takes the a large portion of time and energy to make.
Thanks for listening to my ramblings everyone!

Please remember to check out my shop as well:https://www.etsy.com/shop/ReproDolls?ref=l2-shopheader-name