This afternoon James, Emma Blue, Isabeau and Sarah Alice gathered in the parlor to make Valentine’s for all of their friends ❤
The rest of the little cloth girls were down in the kitchen, with the door firmly shut, though occasional giggles could be heard, along with the delicious smells of sugar and chocolate…
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The dolls and I wish you all a very Happy Valentine’s Day ❤
Twixmas! Isn’t that a grand word? I read it the other day and thought that it was an incredibly apt way to describe these days in between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
The dolls and I had been planning a particularly special post for Christmas, but unfortunately we woke on December 24th to incredibly low temperatures and ice! The ice was actually on the inside of the studio windows!!! It was that cold! So regretfully our lovely Christmas greeting has been postponed until next Christmas…. Instead we are wishing you a happy, joyous, peaceful, wonderful Twixmas and sharing images of the infant pincushions that I made for my article in the December 2022 issue of Early American Life! https://www.ealonline.com/subscriptions/single_issue.php?id=2212
STUDIO HAPPENINGS ~ I realize that new releases of my reproduction Izannah Walker dolls have been few and far between lately. I have somehow fallen back into an unexpected spate of writing commitments. I used to write magazine articles rather frequently, but haven’t written any for a few years until recently. I’m currently in the midst of writing a fascinating two part article about a very special doll that I think you will love! The other exciting thing here in my studios is that I am part way through a rather challenging doll restoration. With all of these interesting projects happening at once, there hasn’t been much time left over to make dolls, but that will certainly change in the coming months, and I will get back to creating some very special reproduction Izzys. ❤
I hope you enjoy looking through these images of my reproduction infant pincushion designs ❤ If you would like to try making some for yourself, directions and patterns are included in my Early American Life article Welcome Little Stranger.
May is always a favorite month here in the farmyard! All of the flowers and fruit trees are waking up from their long winter naps, the birds are busily building nests, the greenhouse is filled with hundreds of tiny seedlings, and the little cloth girls are venturing out of the doll’s house to help with spring chores.
In addition to all of the normal cheerful activity here at Thyme Forgotten Farm, this May also brings some wonderful news!
I am extremely honored to announce that I have been juried into the Early American Life Directory of Traditional American Crafts for the 43rd time! ❤ The Directory issue will be out later this summer, and I will post more details then.
Another magazine related announcement that I know you will all be very interested in is the May issue of Antique Doll Collector will feature a wonderful article, Waiting for Izannah – One Doll’s Journey written by Laurie W. McGill.
In case this latest article makes you hungry to read more Antique Doll Collector articles about Izannah’s dolls and those of other female cloth dollmakers, here is a list of the ones that have previously appeared in Antique Doll Collector magazine, including the two articles I wrote for ADC. ❤
The last bit of very exciting Izannah Walker news that I have to share is an excellently researched blog post written by Kathy Duncan! She has unearthed some very interesting bits of Izannah Walker history that I found fascinating and that I am sure my fellow Izannahaphiles will absolutely want to read. Here is the link to Kathy Duncan’s blog Flimsies and Frippery. ❤ ❤ ❤
As some of you may remember, all the little Izannahs and I love May Day and generally try to do something special to celebrate. Yesterday was no exception. The dolls and I decided to enjoy a beautiful day and spend time working outside in the gardens. Sweet little Izzybelle is undoubtedly the most enthusiastic garden helper of all, but to be honest she has had her share of unfortunate garden “occurances”. You might recall the tale of Izzybelle and the Runaway Tomatoes
I’m sad to report that yesterday was unfortunately not one of Izzybelle’s better days in the garden. Let us just say that she is no longer allowed near the sprayer & the vinegar, and leave it at that. In the midst of all the chaos… erm excitement, the other dolls and I quite forgot to photograph our “celebration”.
Once everyone was all clean, tidy and safely back in the very tall house we settled down with our scrapbook and looked back at some of our previous May Days. Afterwards all the little cloth girls drank comforting cups of warm milk and went to bed early, as it had been quite an eventful day!
If you would also like to sit and remember May Days with us click on the links below and imagine that you are turning the pages of our scrap book with us ❤
Today, once again, holiday preparations have been underway in the doll’s house. I can hear all of the sweet Izannah sisters chattering gaily, rushing around their house preparing everything just so on this 5th day of December. The dolls are clearly just as excited about this Christmas as they were about each of their very first ones, now more than a century and a half ago… This afternoon they cleaned and tidied their kitchen, adding boxwood sprigs to the mantle over the hearth. As dusk began to fall, they lit two candles on their Advent wreath, which they made using clippings from the garden and a great deal of madder dyed ribbon. Afterwards they carefully lined up their shoes by the fireplace so that Saint Nicholas could fill them with treats when he comes to call in the middle of the night…
Meanwhile, as the dolls have been keeping themselves well occupied, I have been steadily working away. Yesterday I painted deeper shades of color on the six new little doll sisters that I am slowly bringing to life. The poor dears are now in their “ugly duckling” phase, where I fear only a mother could love them. So gawky and awkward looking, with their inner beauty hidden away by translucent coats of streaky, uneven looking paint! It is a time for courage, and faith that everything will be alright in the end.
After all six were painted, I very quietly tip-toed out the door (so that I wouldn’t wake the napping little cloth girls) and walked through the farmyard to the sewing studio. I spent all the rest of Saturday sewing arm, after arm, after arm!
Today I was back to painting, and am happy to say that all of the new dolls are looking somewhat better with the addition of another coat of paint! They still need many more very then coats of their “flesh” tones before I will be able to start painting their features and hair, but such care is well worth the time involved.
I dared not step away from the doll’s house today, as I knew the sisters would be lighting candles! I hope to be able to trim and turn all of the many arms this evening, and perhaps I will even be able to stay awake long enough to begin stuffing and stitching a few fingers! Though I should try not to stay up too late, as the dolls will no doubt be up exceedingly early in the morning to see what Saint Nicholas has left them!
The little cloth girls were very busy today. In a flurry of Christmas spirit they went up to the attic of their very tall house, unpacked all of their Christmas decorations, and carried them down to the parlor! A great deal of extremely animated conversation was shouted back and forth throughout the doll’s house. Christmas is definitely on it’s way!
… and where was the dollmaker you ask, while all of this frenzied activity was taking place in the doll’s house? I was very quietly and contentedly working away in a corner of the studio, creating new dolls especially for the holidays! Making dolls for Christmas always brings it’s own special kind of magic. There is an element of the time tested tradition of creating handmade presents for loved ones, the hope of making someone’s Christmas dreams come true, and the fun of getting to be a part of “Santa’s Workshop”.
I hope you will be able to come back and visit here at my Izannah Walker Journal this month, to follow along with all of our Christmas preparations, celebrations, and joys! Wishing you all a beautiful, love filled December ❤
The dolls and I have been busily snipping paper to make a few special love tokens for Valentine’s Day! Most were inspired by hand drawn 19th century paper dolls. I’ve always found little pencil or ink drawn antique paper dolls to be quite endearing ❤ Tiny cut out drawings, made to amuse a child, treasured and saved… precious bits of ephemera.