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This is Arda Choak, in charge of all the cruciferous vegetables in FairyLand.

I enjoy remaking and redoing dolls and figures, so a couple of years ago when a local decorators' warehouse had a large number of flying fairies in dollhouse scale among their Christmas decorations, I was thrilled, but they were quite expensive.

However, after the holidays when they were reduced to 50% and eventually 70% off, I bought several.  They had gobs of very bouffant curly hair, were dressed in glittery garb and their arms and legs were way too long, but I loved their faces and bodies. I thought maybe I could do a better job of making a fairy costume than their originals, and also felt that they might become characters in some of my stories.

The first thing I did was to strip off all the clothes and wings, keeping them as parts for some of my creations in future. They were attached with very tough to remove hot glue. I wound up getting my needle-nose pliers to pull and tug to get the bits loose, and what a job! I did not remove the over-long arms and legs, but figured I could cut them down as needed and pose them more realistically when they were eventually redressed. 

I cut off all that hair on some of them, too, snipping right up to the head, leaving them with a short curly bob which may work in some cases for a modern doll, but for the majority I laboriously peeled off the entire wigs.  So, most of the once-fairies have been lying in a drawer, half-done, since then.

After my Great Chicago Experience in April 2010 I wasn't motivated to do anything mini for quite a while, and one day to get out of my creative slump I decided to challenge myself to dress one of these dolls with whatever I came across first when I opened my flower box, which is a large bin of mostly small flowers, ivies and such that I use in my mini landscaping and full-size flower arranging.

Who knew what was lying on top would be a bunch of what looked like artichokes?  Oh well; a challenge is a challenge, even if it is my own.

Obviously a woman dressed in those colors needs a green complexion....

Here I have repainted her eyes and given her a green wash and am preparing to redo her arms. See how long they are? Those scaly looking things on the right arm are remnants of that pesky hot glue which I had to scrape off laboriously with a craft knife with a new blade.

But isn't that a great body? Although it is curved to the left, because she was flying, I decided to work with it that way this time. But for the next doll I am going to experiment with using my heat gun to straighten her lower torso. As is, she is difficult to pose well and I certainly don't want all of them to be in the same leaning-to-the-left posture.

At this point, I haven't decided on posing her, so am waiting to see if the legs will be too long.


Here I have shortened her arms and have decided to cover the foam and thread wrappings with some green-tinted cheesecloth from my stash. However, that actually wasn't necessary because none of it showed anyway, but it did give a much neater interior finish.

In order to dress her I took apart three of the large blooms, as I recall, dividing the petals into piles by size. I began by giving her petal pantaloons, since I wasn't sure yet how her legs would be arranged. As it turned out, the pantaloons didn't show - but they might have, and I was prepared. lol

I dressed her from bottom to top, layering the petals one by one, beginning with a petal glued tightly around the wrappings on each leg, then adding on. In order to make them conform to the curve of her arm or leg, I cut a slit in the end, and in some cases cut the petal square across. Unfortunately, I did not get more pictures as I dressed her.

For the back bodice I coated her back with glue and smoothed one petal on, trimming as necessary to fit on either side.

Seemed a shame to cover up that perky little bosom, but I decided she was too sedate in personality to be very exposed, so I layered two petals criss-cross to form her front bodice, once again trimming at the waistline. For the arms I covered the upper part tightly with a petal, then glued the additional petals so they would flare out a bit.

The "belt" is made from snips of a wildly strange purplish yarn that I found in my stash. I decided she did not need any further embellishment; she is a simple person, not the frou-frou type.

(At this point, the camera shows her green complexion needs a bit of smoothing.)

Her silk hair is part of a swatch that the late Beth Lane gave me years ago when I was working on my Green Man. I think she said it was supposed to have been either black or brown, but turned green instead. Anyway, that bad dye job was a lucky accident for me, as it was right for my purposes here, even though it was very difficult to work with because it was so tangled and messy.

As I contemplated her I realized she needed something besides just the hair to balance that petaled skirt, so I mused about what I could use that would look naturalistic enough and thought, petals, hmmm, what do I have that looks like petals? Then I remembered my stash of pinecones in our Christmas decorations and was thrilled to find some in just the right scale, so to speak, and colors!

Normally I would have put the hat on first, then added the hair where it would show, but I didn't realize until after the fact that she would need that hat. I used a pair of heavy wire cutters and cussed a lot as I snipped away, messing up several pinecones and scratching my fingers and the backs of my hands before I was able to find the right size and cut away the right number of petals so that her cap would fit smoothly down on her head.

So, there she was, Arda Choak, responsible for the care and distribution of all the cruciferous vegetables in FairyLand!

But she seemed to need something else to make those hands look natural.

So, I added the basket of cruciferous vegetables!

You can read more about Arda Choak and her job of responsibility in FairyLand here.


NOTE: I was thrilled after Christmas in 2009 to find some more fairies in what appears to be half-inch scale.  Haven't done anything with any of the small dolls yet, but I am working on half inch settings so eventually one of them will tell me she is Somebody!

I wish I knew of a source for the dolls, but unfortunately there are no maker marks on any of them and they were all gone shortly after I purchased them.  One of these days when I go back to that place I will ask the owner about them.

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