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March 2010


Anyone in FairyLand knows you don't fool around with Candelaria, whose story you can read here.

Here is how I made her ...

In the after-Christmas sales at J. C. Penney's I found three figures that represented the three ghosts in a Disney version of Dickens' A Christmas Carol. One, the Ghost of Christmas Past, was like a bobble head. The head and face resembled a glass Christmas bulb, perhaps meant to be lighted by a battery; I am not sure. Anyway, I was intrigued, and since it was a fraction of the original cost I figured if it didn't work out, not much was lost.

Since she was just a head on a wire spring, the first thing I did was to use clay to smooth over her face and give her a neck and shoulders. I used a heat gun to firm up the clay. When it was completely cool, I painted her features, giving her the complexion of a redhead.

Her robe had been very heavily painted but I thought perhaps I could manipulate it with glue and/or FabriTac. Well, no; the paint made it like extremely heavy canvas and I couldn't do a darn thing with it. I actually broke both her arms trying to get realistic poses. Also, she had no actual body; just her robe and the heavy coiled wire and a heavy plaster base that it poked into. In addition to the extra length to cover all that, I needed something to soften the hard look of her robe, but traditional laces or trims were totally unsuitable.

I finally found a piece of cotton lace that had been in my mother's sewing stash, which I had always thought was much too heavy for mini use, but it worked with the heavy fabric, both to cover the bottom and to feminize her a bit.

The next thing I tackled was her hair. Among the odds and ends that my friend Michelle had given me were some strange little wigs on stands that were nothing but springy coils of some kind of synthetic. One of them was a bright orange-y red, perfect for my purposes. I pulled the coil apart and snipped it into many, many little pieces. I coated the bulb shape with glue and began adding the curls until the bulb was covered and I was satisfied

I was so intent on doing this makeover that I completely forgot to take any pictures of the process!

The basket I purchased many years ago at the old Cuahtemoc Market in downtown Juarez in the good ol' days when that was a wonderful place to visit. The candles are cut-down birthday candles.

Her staff/cane is a cut-down fireplace match. Originally, I left it long, but didn't like the look and decided it would have been too hard for her to use it that way.

All I needed was the candlestick for her to stand on, of which I have many. I tried one after the other, but wasn't satisfied with any of them.

And then I came across one of two Cheap Thrills purchases from a few years ago at the Dollar Tree.

One was saved to hold a quarter scale setting, but the second worked perfectly because of the dark red and gold look.

I had just completed her when Alice Zinn and Lorraine Heller came through on their way back from CIMTA in Las Vegas and they saw her on her candlestand on the sofa table. They both liked Candelaria, but I told them I just wasn't satisfied with her, although I wasn't sure why.

After they left for Florida, I moved her to the desk to the left of my computer in front of a piece of black velvet that I often use as a backdrop. But she just would not come to life in my pictures.

One day I happened to walk in just as the late-afternoon sun came shining through the window and and I thought, O wow! That's what I want! I grabbed the camera so I could capture it. Unfortunately, the backdrop wasn't in the right place and fussing with it took up too much time.

I was only able to get one full length shot before the ray of light was gone. I loved the glow, but couldn't duplicate it with the lamp or any other lighting, and somehow never seemed to get in there at the right time. And then I forgot about her until this past week when I thought, well, maybe she doesn't belong in a story after all; maybe she is just a doll. So, I took her in the living room and stood her on a table under our front window until I cleared a spot for her in the etagere.

I am writing this on Sunday, so it must have been Friday morning when I walked from the computer room into the living room, and there she was, her head lit up in a fiery glow, this time with the sun's rays coming through the partly open mini blinds in the front window which faces east. I grabbed the camera and began snapping, and the rest, as they say, is history.

As soon as I uploaded the pictures, she came alive for me, and so did her story.

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