Busy, busy days… While I spent the weekend making dolls to unveil next Saturday night, September 26th at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, the dolls cleaned their doll house from top to bottom. Goodness! Parties are so much work!!!
All the little Izzys were exhausted, so today they took the day off to rest, while I continued to paint and sew. I hope they will be ready to get back to work tomorrow! We still have so many party preparations to make before we can celebrate Izannah Walker’s 203rd birthday on Friday, September 25th, 2020 beginning at 8:00 a.m. Eastern time. We hope you will be able to come to the party ❤
While Tilly Lamb is busy in the parlor making dolls, the rest of the sisters are working as hard as can be getting ready for the big Birthday Party here on September 25th!
Monday – Washing.
Tuesday – Ironing.
Wednesday – Mending.
Thursday – Marketing.
Friday – Baking.
Saturday – Cleaning.
Sunday – Day of Rest.
Today is Baking Day!
Friday’s chore is Baking
You may have noticed that my Izannahs spend a fair amount of time in the kitchen. Over the years you have seen them baking a variety of wonderful baked goods.What have they been baking? Birthday Pudding, Apple Pie, Raspberry Tart, Apple Cake, Rhubarb Pie, Gingerbread, Apple Butter Cake, both savory sundried tomato scones and sweet dried currant scones, Rose Geranium Pound Cake, Lavender Honey Cake, and so much more…
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.
Do you remember the tale of Izzybelle and the Runaway Tomatoes? Ismay read it to all of her sisters on Izannah Walker’s birthday last September, as the dolls waited for the cake to bake. If you would like to read it again click here.
Today I spent several hours out in the garden with the tiny offspring of the Runaway Tomato. I have to admit that I am very tenderhearted when it comes to taking care of the plants in my garden. I usually cannot bear to weed out tiny volunteers that pop up in the wrong place, which makes me a very bad gardener and is how we wound up the the Runaway Tomatoes trying to take over the world last year… In my defense, last year I had a terrible “case of the woodchucks”! The woodchuck family that moved into my barn was attempting to battle the Runaway Tomatoes for world domination! Despite all my best efforts they managed to get into all of the gardens and eat everything in sight, especially the tomatoes! So when the tiny yellow Runaway Tomtoes popped up in unexpected places, I left them alone, in hope that the woodchuck hoards would be befuddled and over look them. Surprisingly enough that actually worked, though it was terribly unruly and chaotic, and I wound up with more tiny yellow tomatoes than I knew what to do with!
This year I have had different gardening woes… my greenhouse was leaking so badly that I couldn’t start my seeds as early as I should have. Not knowing if I would be able to fix the leaks sufficiently enough to plant, I delayed and didn’t even order seeds. The good news is that I actually DID fix all of the leaks, the bad news is that it took me quite a while to figure out how to do that. So here is where the Runaway Tomatoes come back into the story. All of those many, many volunteer tomato plants last year reseeded themselves, and now there are soooo many tiny tomatoes coming up between the bricks in my garden paths! I spent several hours today gently teasing the little seedlings out of the ground and planting them in flats. Currently they are tucked into the greenhouse for the night, all safe and sound. In the end Izzybelle and her Runaway Tomato saved my garden tomato crop two years in a row, and the moral of this story is that Doll Collecting can make everything in your life better!!! (though sometimes in strange and unusual ways ❤ )
I’m very pleased to let you all know that I have been juried into the Early American Life Craftsman Directory for the 41st time. It is always a real honor to be included in this prestigious group of the finest craftspersons in the United States. About a month ago I was asked to send a doll in for the directory issue photo shoot. So I am looking forward to seeing the August 2020 issue!
Early American Life is publishing on schedule even through these current challenging times. This is their statement about the August issue: “To insure the safety and health of our staff and that of North Augusta’s Living History Park in light of the coronavirus pandemic, we have put our visit to the Park on hold. Circumstances may prevent us from photographing the finest work of the artists selected for the 2020 Directory of Traditional American Crafts at the park. This change does not affect the appearance of the Directory in the August 2020 issue of Early American Life nor our featuring the Park in that issue. We are working on a creative solution that will help prevent the spread of the virus.”
In the mean time while we all wait for EAL’s August issue, here is a glimpse of what goes into making my reproduction Izannah Walker dolls. ❤
Do you know about the Virtual Doll Conventions that Rachel Hoffman has created on facebook? If not you have been missing something wonderful. Some of you may remember that I have participated in previous VDCs. What you may not have heard about is that Rachel has put together a wonderful free convention that begins next week, as her way of giving something to everyone in the doll world, at a time when we all need to have a break from worry, stress and bad news. ❤
So all of the little cloth girls and I would like to invite you to join the convention, it’s FREE all you have to do is register. Then come for a virtual visit to my front parlor, where we will sit together and I will tell you a tale about Izannah Walker and her dolls. We’ll also talk a bit about mid-19th century clothing and undoubtedly a few other things as well, just as we would if you came to call in person. ❤
The March wind roars
Like a lion in the sky,
And makes us shiver
As he passes by.
When winds are soft,
And the days are warm and clear,
Just like a gentle lamb,
Then spring is here.
The first day of March and the boys have taken over the parlor… March is blowing in on cold winds, which has kept the twins indoors. So they have spent the day making a secret stronghold out of two chairs and a quilt, constructing a kite to fly just as soon as the winds turn warm, and working on a puzzle. Meanwhile the cats are staying warm and toasty near the wood stove… It’s been a cozy, dreamy beginning to the new month. ❤
* click on any photo to enlarge
SOLD Both boys are available for sale, seperately or together, for $1250.00 apiece. The twins are dressed in chemises, short sleeved dresses, with split skirts and black braid trim, over matching pantaloons. Their painted boots are the same dark green as the original doll their mold was taken from. They are being sold on a first come basis. The price of the dolls includes free shipping to any United States address. International shipping is exact postage plus a $10 handling fee to help offset the additional time required for customs forms. Checks, credit cards, Paypal accepted. I’m also happy to offer a six month lay-away plan. Email email@example.com to purchase or with questions❤
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.