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JUNE 2007

I have loved Mother Goose ever since I was a small child. I finally created her as a result of a contest on the MSATMiniDolls List sponsored by list owner, Dana Burton of Dolls of Romance. If we signed up for the contest, she sent us a packet of materials to use for dressing a doll and we were to go for it.

These were the rules for "The Luck of the Draw":

1.  Receive packet - and take *BEFORE* photo of contents
2.  Create your doll using as much as possible from packet
3.  You are allowed 3 additional *pieces* (whether this is laces/trims/accessories/hair etc)
4.  Take *AFTER* photo and wait to send it in to the Doll List Memorial Day weekend for web work and contest on the website.

Here's what I found in my packet. (Everything has a goldish tinge because my husband had changed the light to one of those money-saving weird bulbs! I have since changed it back. lol)

Two of these pleated medallions, a length of vintage lace, and clear glass no hole beads ....

blue straw, silk and satin ribbon, polyester lace, white buttons ....

blue and white check, purple floral print and rather heavy blue denim ...

And the makings for a box of chocolates. Well, What popped in my mind as I surveyed the packet was, "Blue is not my favorite color; neither is purple." lol. Then, "How can I get the right draping with that heavy blue denim? It looks like the denim totebags my sister made for me years ago."

Aha! Bags; that's what I can do; a series of bags, with somebody either collecting them, or selling them. That way I don't have to worry about the disparate nature of all those things! I can use that denim for an apron and some totebags, and use some of the trims for more bags ... So that's how The Bag Lady came about.

Well, not quite ....

I spent from March on collecting pictures of all kinds of tote bags and handbags, and made several. I decided my doll's name was Beatrice and she would be selling her handcrafted bags; found a wicker table for her wares to be on and around, and a matching chair for her. I created a Beatrice's Bag Bazaar sign, and had the doll finished by the first of April.

But I didn't like her. I know that the doll often tells us who she wants to be; I was reminded here that the fabrics also tell us who they are NOT. My doll in her caftan had an incongruous look - her face somehow didn't match her clothing, and everything looked too stiff, especially the denim apron, so I ripped everything off and put that doll aside. I made another doll with a different face and started dressing her, and she was too pretty for the concept and the fabrics I had. Pffftttt! So, aside she went, too. Beatrice the Bag Lady is not yet born although she sure has plenty of bags to sell when she does come to life. lol

Then, about a week before the deadline I looked desperately at what remained of those three fabric pieces again and thought, If these don't work for a modern woman, who would they work for? Not somebody fancy; somebody more countryish - and then I finally realized who was waiting for me in the wings, so to speak (and I'm still not sure how). It was Mother Goose, whom you may have met already in one of my stories, The Fairy Treetop Nursery.

So, I started searching my stash for the right face and found a kit for a witch. She was closer to Mother Goose than the prettier faces, I decided, but she sure didn't LOOK ... well, motherly.

So, I began working on her - toned down those eyebrows, softenened her complexion, got rid of the garish lipstick, and repainted her eyes so that she was looking off to the side, but I didn't know at what, as yet. I also visualized her as either walking along with a goose behind her; or sitting in a chair; perhaps feeding a goose.

Then I had to take time out for a doctor's appointment and afterward stopped in at a great gift shop called Collectibles just to look around (I always reward myself in some way after a doctor's appointment. lol) In conversation with a man named Mike, whom I have known for many years and who has provided me with some very neat display cases and domes, I mentioned that I was working on a 5 1/2 inch miniature doll. "I think she's Mother Goose," I mused.

He thought for a moment and then said, "I think we have a goose ...." and went off to check.

And that's how, at the eleventh hour, I found Goosey, and instantly I saw Mother Goose in her dress and shawl ...

... and knew exactly why she was looking off to the side. Quite a devoted look, wouldn't you agree?

The first part of her costume that I made was her hat. Mother Goose had to have a pointy hat that wouldn't fly off when she was out riding, so the straw and the blue silk ribbon were entirely appropriate. I added the purple flowers for a bit of contrast and to tie in the purple floral print of her dress.

Her hair, the perfect blue-hair little old lady look, was made from snippets from a dangly cat toy!

Plastic wrap was used to closely wrap the goose while I was working with dressing and posing the doll, and wasn't removed until everything was completely dry. Didn't want to take a chance on messing up Goosey!

At first Mother Goose had on flat heeled shoes; but they looked too bland, not what I wanted at all. Then poking through my stash I spotted a pair of Santa boots that I always thought were too small for a real Santa. Aha! So off came the old legs; but then her pantaloons didn't look right above her boots. She needed stockings! The Barbie stuff, I thought; and sure enough, I made them from a tiny t-shirt from Barbie's littlest cousin (or somebody in Barbie's extensive family). And those striped stockings are just right for a bit more contrast and color and add the note of whimsy I wanted.

Basically I worked on the doll's body in two parts - the upper torso and the legs. I didn't cut away the excess pipe cleaners until I was satisfied with the position of both legs; then I glued them to the torso. I had visualized her side-saddle, but that didn't look right at all; she would've slid right off as soon as Goosey took to the air!

Although I used Tacky and Super Glue to glue the doll parts together and Tacky for hems and seams, I used Fabri-Tac to get all the draped effects. It does take some getting used to because it strings out everywhere and less is always more with it, but what I like about it is that any excess can just be pulled off or rolled away like rubber cement, and it doesn't stain or seep through (for me, anyway). The result is that the fabrics still feel natural and soft to the touch, but the folds stay where you want them.

I first tried pouring some into a container and dipping from that, but found it more practical to use a needle tool to dip directly into the bottle.

I sort of rolled it around the way you twirl honey quickly to keep control of it. Then I pushed small globs of it up under the fabric and then pushed the material into the pleats and folds I wanted. I kept a piece of styrofoam to poke my needle tool into to clean it, and small dampened paper towel squares handy to wipe off the rest that remained on the tool.

The beige lace suggests her petticoat; it was a natural fabric and glued beautifully. I didn't even gather it; just ran a line of Fabri-Tac along the edge of her skirt and used a needle tool to push it into place to make ruffles.

The white polyester lace which makes her cuffs and collar - just the opposite; a real bear to work with. I had to gather it tightly with needle and thread, and discovered that the Fabri-Tac was also the best thing to hold it in place; the polyester just fought against regular or Tacky glue.

And, of course, Goosey needed a bonnet, too, so I cut away the trim on the pleated medallion and used the ribbon and bunka from the chocolates kit to make her hat trims. The yellow flower centers were painted beads.

Frankly, I don't know the story behind the little goose in her totebag. Maybe he's an early hatcher and needs some extra attention or something - a preemie goosie, so to speak. Hopefully Mother Goose will tell me later ....

The denim for her totebag was just as difficult as I thought it would be to work with. I cut notches in the curved top, folded, pressed, glued the seams, folded, ironed and manipulated some more to get it to look less boardlike. The first one I glued over her arm, but it didn't work. I removed it and cut away the top and poked the individual straps up under her shawl until I was satisfied with the look, then glued them in place. Still looks like it is on her shoulder, but has a more realistic hang. The bag serves as a nice counterbalance to the leaning Mother Goose, too, I think.

The only things I didn't use from the packet were the holeless beads, the buttons and the rest of the kit for making the chocolate boxes.

"I'm ready to go whenever you are, Goosey dear!"

........................................

Until now, I have not really considered myself a dollmaker, but everything I have learned, especially as a member of the MSATMiniDoll List, came together for me with this beloved figure from my childhood. The Luck of the Draw was a great challenge, and I came up with something that I don't believe I would have done, otherwise.

As a result of this experience (and my Fairy Sitters, Adalberta the Apple Seller and Fluenza), I am finally feeling I can add something to the Dolls section on this site (in the process of doing this now). I am also rearranging - one more time - my work area so that I have something resembling a dollmaking station, with everything gathered close by that I might use to bring to life more of the characters who inhabit my stories and my imagination.

My sincere thanks to Dana Burton for having the contest and sending the packet, and to the members of the doll list for their votes. Oh, and by the way, Mother Goose won First Place in the contest, too.

I love Mother Goose; she makes me smile every time I walk by where she sits on my sofa table, waiting for Goosey to take her flying.

NOTE:

In April 2008 I received a wonderful surprise, a magnificent Mother Goose book and a note from Dorothie in New Zealand, simply because she liked my Mother Goose and my website

She wrote:

Hi, Wanna,

This book is for your Mother Goose so she can read to children.
Made with pleasure by Dorothie.

Dorothie's book is beautifully made, with pictures and text, totally readable.

It now sits beside Mother Goose in the etagere, where she now resides.

Although the pictures don't show up well here, the book is lovely in actuality.

Thank you so much, Dorothie! This is a real treasure.

ADDITIONAL NOTE:

Many, many people have wanted one of these geese. All I have been able to determine is that they were available (at least in 2007) from Midwestern Importers and were part of their Spring collection. However, Midwestern is wholesale and you have to buy large quantities. I do not know if anyone ever located any. I called the local Collectibles stores and there were three others of that size available; all were gone within a few days.

 

 

 

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