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 ❤
As I am sure you all know by now, I dress the reproduction Izannah Walker dolls I make in antique fabrics. Usually that means that I am using fabric that I glean from antique garments and quilts that are no longer able to be restored. On rare occasions I am lucky enough to find antique doll underwear for a few of the dolls… So I am sure you will understand how thrilled I am that I have come across an enormous quantity of antique doll petticoats and pantalettes, plus some other partial woman’s and children’s pieces that I will be able to fashion into chemises! It may take me longer to alter these garments to fit my dolls, than if I made them from scratch, but I love the idea of cleaning, repairing and altering them so that they can continue on in the wardrobes of my dolls ❤
Here is a first peek at some of the wonderful things I now have in stock for all of my future Izannahs! Though I do imagine that the little cloth girls who live with me will undoubtedly attempt to talk me out of a few things for themselves…
Wishing you a very Happy St. Patrick’s Day from the A Sweet Remembrance studios!
As I sat down this afternoon to answer some inquiries from kind correspondents who are asking about my dolls, it occured to me that perhaps others of you may have similar questions about buying one of my reproductions of Izannah Walker’s beloved pressed cloth dolls.
This is my open reply to all who may be interested…
I would be very happy to place you on my “new dolls” email mailing list if you will send your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org. When you are on the list you will receive an email whenever I post a doll for sale.
At the moment I have more custom orders than I can juggle, so I’m not taking any custom orders until I clear away some of my backlog, which is going to take me quite some time.
However, I do continue to make other non-custom reproduction Izannah Walker dolls and post them for open sales. I think the very best way to buy a doll is when you see one that calls to you and tugs on your heart strings, so I do think it is very important to have finished dolls for sale that people can see and fall in love with.
I’ll add you to the email mailing list right away. Don’t be at all surprised if you do not get an email notice immediately. The dolls each take an extremely long time to make, just as they always did when Izannah was making them… I work more or less constantly on them, but it still feels as if each doll takes “forever”. I should probably also mention that once I post a doll or dolls for sale they usually sell very, very quickly. Thank you so much for your interest in my work. It is greatly appreciated.
post script ~ I do have a “Wish List, that helps me decide which dolls to make for open sales… If you have a particular doll or other item that you would purchase if it were available, please leave a comment to add it to the wish list https://asweetremembrance.com/category/wish-list/ . I’ll take “wishes” into consideration when choosing which categories to open up first, when designing new items, and when making dolls for “open shopping” when I post newly made dolls for sale here on my Izannah Walker Journal.
I haven’t sent out a newsletter in quite some time… the one overwhelming thing I most want to say is that I hope you, your families and loved ones are safe and healthy. This has been such a very sad and difficult year for our world.
I debated with myself about whether or not to write my annual Autumn Newsletter, but in the midst of such very unsettled and stressful times I find that I need a few happy, fanciful things to think about. Tiny bright spots that make life feel a bit more normal and remind me of better days. So I decided to go ahead and write, hoping that you might feel the same and be interested in a bit of studio news and upcoming events.
The dolls and I are busy making plans to celebrate Izannah Walker’s 203rd birthday on September 25th. I started writing my Izannah Walker Journal ~ Paula Walton’s Doll-Making Notes blog in January, 2009. The little Izzy’s and I have been celebrating the anniversary of Izannah Walker’s birth on my blog for ten years! Since my first birthday post on September 25th, 2010!
I’m getting a rather late start on preparations this year. I have to admit that since March I have been feeling much too antsy to make dolls… I have needed to do more physical, less detailed work. To be up and moving all the time rather than sitting… I have been throwing myself into taking care of my little remnant of an 18th century farm. My life is going through a lot of changes at the moment and one of the things I am exploring is the feasibility of farming on a very small scale, so I have been growing a few experimental crops and trying out new plants. I’m not at all sure that farming is in my future, but it has made for an interesting, busy, exhausting spring and summer. I have also been concentrating on taking care of my family and making things for them. I have made masks, masks, and more masks. Not nearly as many as some people I know, who have been donating them on a large scale, but I have still made a fair number ~ about 75 so far, with more requested and on my to do list. My concentration on family has included making toys with my granddaughter and sewing clothes for her first year of school.
Now, just finally, I am feeling as if I can return to making dolls, creating spun cotton fancies, and all the other art and handwork that I love. Apparently I am not alone in this, as I have recently been seeing comments and posts from other artists and craftspeople remarking that they too have not been able to work on their art and creations for months…
I am very, very honored to once again have been selected by Early American Life as one of their top traditional craftsmen in 2020. This marks the 41st time I have been juried into their prestigious Directory of Traditional Craftpersons. One of my dolls was featured in their August 2020 issue.
Both the Spun Cotton Ornament Class and Izannah Walker Doll Making Class member help sites have moved to private facebook groups. If you are a member of either class and would like an invitation to the group please email me. You must be a member of facebook to use the private facebook group.
In Closing Thank you all for your interest in my work for all these years. I have enjoyed getting to talk or correspond with so many of you! Knowing you has enriched my life. I hope that I have been able to add just a bit of fun, whimsy and knowledge to yours!
I’d like to leave you with this recipe for Birth-day Pudding. It is the recipe that the dolls and I baked for our first Izannah Walker Birthday Party in 2010, and what we will be making again to celebrate this year. It is very easy and quite delicious! You don’t even have to be a doll lover to enjoy it ~ lol!
Butter a deep dish, and lay in slices of bread and butter, wet with milk, and upon these sliced tart apples, sweetened and spiced. Then lay on another layer of bread and butter and apples, and continue thus till the dish is filled. Let the top layer be bread and butter, and dip it in milk, turning the buttered side down. Any other kind of fruit will answer as well. Put a plate on the top, and bake two hours, then take it off and bake another hour.
This receipt (aka recipe) is from Miss Beecher’s Domestic Receipt-Book by Catherine E. Beecher. Catherine Esther Beecher was born in 1800 in East Hampton, Long Island. She founded the Hartford Female Seminary in 1823 as well as other schools for young women in Ohio, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. She wrote A Treatise on Domestic Economy (1841) and Miss Beecher’s Domestic Receipt-Book (1846).
After buttering my dishes I dusted them with sugar, before layering in the bread and butter.
I cut the crusts off my bread, as the pudding was for a special occasion, but you certainly don’t have to. I saved the crusts as a treat for the wild birds in my yard. You may also save them to make stuffings, bread crumbs, or croutons.
I chose cinnamon, mace and nutmeg as my spices.
I baked my doll sized pudding in a custard cup, which would also be nice if you want to bake yours in individual portions.
I preheated my oven to 350 degrees and baked my puddings for 15 minutes, then I reduced the oven temperature to 250 degrees and continued baking for the remaining 2 hours and 45 minutes. I removed my doll size pudding from the oven after 30 minutes of total baking time. Your baking time is going to depend a lot on the size of your dishes and the thickness of your pudding, so check your oven fairly frequently. It’s also a good idea to put a cookie sheet under your dish, because my pudding bubbled over as it was baking.