Antiques Week in New Hampshire

•August 16, 2016 • 5 Comments
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Lovely large c. 1840’s papier-mache doll that I brought home from New Hampshire. She has a child’s pocket tied around her waist and came with a late 18th century child’s chair with it’s original splint seat.

Last week I got to do something that I’ve been wanting to do for over 20 years!  We drove up to New Hampshire for Antiques Week and a visit to Strawbery Banke museum. I’m sure you aren’t surprised that I came back a few things for the dolls, including two new friends.🙂

 

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A Very Special Doll for Sharon

•August 14, 2016 • 12 Comments

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Meet Sharon’s doll!  She is an 18-1/2 inch reproduction of my antique Izannah Walker doll, Isabeau, with a gently aged paint surface.  Sharon requested an extensive custom wardrobe for her doll.

For her doll’s first dress, Sharon chose a long sleeved, high neck dress that is a copy of one of the antique doll dresses in my personal collection.  Sharon’s fabric choice is a antique off white and black print cotton.

For  chores and gardening she has an embroidered pinafore apron with a pocket, to carry around her clothes pins and flower seeds.❤

For hot summer days, Sharon selected a short sleeved white dress made of antique cotton fabric, trimmed with tucks and lace insertion and a black and white sunbonnet.

Sharon’s doll has bare feet, stockings fashioned from antique stockings, and hand-made red leather shoes, with tiny scallops and red silk laces.

When autumn winds bring crisp, cool nights this young miss will stay warm, wrapped up in an embroidered wool paletot.

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At the end of a long busy day sweet dreams await in this reproduction of an antique doll’s nightgown, sewn from antique white cotton and trimmed with mid- 19th century glass buttons and lace.

*** you may enlarge any of the smaller photos by simply clicking on the image.

 

A Tale of Two Restorations Part 2 Emmaline

•July 13, 2016 • 8 Comments
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Here is a photograph of sweet Emmaline when she arrived on my door step. I instantly fell in love with her beautiful eyes!

and now my tale continues… Today it is time for Emmaline’s story.  It’s a rollicking adventure of coincidence, fate, and love!

In June, 2014 one of my doll club members told me that a friend of hers who lived in Wilton, CT was putting all of her dolls up for sale at the Withington August auction.  She then showed me a photo of a doll that her friend called a “Nantucket Doll”.  Imagine my surprise when the “Nantucket Doll” was actually an Izannah Walker doll!  The doll was dressed in a pink and white calico morning dress and had been repainted, but was clearly an Izannah Walker doll.  It just so happened that another Izannah Walker doll was up for sale in the same Withington auction.  I didn’t go to the auction, but several of the members of my doll club did.  When our club met in September, the one other Izannah collector in the club brought the doll she bought at Withington’s to show me.  No it wasn’t the “Nantucket Doll”, it was the second doll, a tiny 16 inch Izannah Walker.

www.izannahwalker.com

16 inch Izannah Walker doll purchased at Withington’s Auction August, 2016

 

Sometime later I happened upon the “Nantucket Doll” on eBay.  The winner of the Withington auction had listed her for sale.  Fast forward to the Autumn of 2015.  A very good customer, and dear online penpal, contacted me.  She had purchased an Izannah Walker doll.  Would I take a look at photos of her and see if it was possible to do some restoration work on the doll?  Low and behold, there was the “Nantucket Doll” again, now stripped of much of her repaint by a restoration professional (at the behest of the eBay seller). The little Nantucket Doll had been named Emmaline by her new mom, Anita.  Anita had a wish list of restoration areas that she would like for Emmaline.  Were they possible?  Would the restoration be a good idea? She had conscientiously had the doll evaluated by fine art appraisers before writing to me. Together we worked out a minimalist plan for Emmaline that would help her look more like the truly beautiful doll she once was, but still show her age.

So after traveling far and wide during the intervening year, Emmaline once again returned to Connecticut.  This time her destination was my studio, a mere 31 miles from Wilton where she had made her home for many years!

The first thing I did after Emmaline arrived was to ohh and ahh over her, introduce her to all of my resident Izannah Walker dolls, and then thoroughly document her condition.

Emmaline was remarkably intact for a doll of her age.  Her only real issues were on her face.  Her body was sound, with a bit of reinforcement stitching on the toes of her painted boots and fairly well matched over painting on one arm.  Even her pale pink linen second skin was still in good shape!

The biggest challenge I faced with Emmaline, was getting all of the many skin toned paint colors on her face to blend into one another. During her lifetime her face was at least partially painted several times.  Much of the overpaint on her face had been removed. What was left was a combination of her original paint that had faded and at least two other colors of flesh-tone paint. Fortunately the original paint on her shoulders, chest and back was intact, with areas of slightly yellowed varnish.  The original non-faded paint on Emmaline’s shoulders told me what color her face should be, which was very important.  When I started painting Emmaline’s face, I was very careful not to paint over any of her original paint.  I did very sheer layers of paint over my reconstructed areas and the stubborn remaining overpainting.  Because her original paint was chalky looking due to sun fading and cleaning I fed it several times with a very small amount of cold pressed linseed oil. The linseed oil helped bring the old paint back to life and also made it blend better with my new in painting. As my last painting step I wore away a smidgen of my newly applied lip paint.  I wanted to make sure that nothing I did stood out or looked new.

Once I finished painting I moved on to dressmaking.  Emmaline came with many layers of underclothing, so all I needed to do was make her extra dresses to augment her wardrobe. Sewing for Emmaline was a joy!  It was a lot of fun to dress her up in her new clothes and see her in more fitted dresses.

After her new clothing was complete Emmaline was thrilled to be heading back home! Who wouldn’t be with such a loving and caring mom?  Clearly Emmaline was fated to find such a perfect new home. Anita was so thoughtful when it came to deciding what was right for Emmaline. There could not be a better care taker for this early example of Izannah Walker’s work.  Anita was also amazingly generous to me!  She kindly allowed me to tell you about Emmaline, share photographs of her and is letting me make reproductions of her, so that other people who love Izannah Walker’s dolls can add an example of this lovely early girl to their doll families and keep Izannah’s legacy alive.❤ Thank you Anita!!!

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Emmaline after restoration. She still looks like an adventuresome doll who loves to play, but now her years sit more lightly upon her shoulders.❤

 

Good-bye Emmaline, we miss you little “Nantucket Doll”…

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My Izannahs loved having Emmaline come stay with us! They have all declared each other to be best friends for life!!!

And they all lived happily ever after!

THE END

(*** Move  your cursor over the photos to read the captions, click on photos to enlarge.)

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A Tale of Two Restorations: Part 1 Lily

•July 8, 2016 • 12 Comments
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This is Lily when she first arrived at my studio. Note the missing paint on her facial features, the poorly made flat replacement arms, the glued on stockinette covering her original shoulders and the sewn on stockings and leather shoes.

Today I thought I’d share with you the story of Lily and Emmaline, and the journey we shared.  Lily and Emmaline are two very wonderful original antique Izannah Walker dolls that came to me for restoration.  The following is the tale of how they returned to their true selves and regained a glimmer of their youth.

Part 1 Lily’s Story

(Move your cursor over the photographs to read the captions.  Click on the photographs you wish to enlarge)

One day, out of the blue, my dear friend Susie called to tell me that she had purchased an antique Izannah Walker doll.  The doll was in such bad shape that no one else at the doll show she attended was interested in buying her, even though some people did realize that she was one of Izannah’s dolls.  Chief among several issues was the very heavy repaint on the doll’s head and shoulders.  Thinking that she certainly couldn’t make the doll look worse than she already did, Susie gathered her courage and began removing layers of paint.  Finally working her way down to the remains of Lily’s original layer of face paint.  What emerged was a charming, classic pre-patent Izannah Walker doll.  In due course Susie and Lily journeyed to Connecticut and it was agreed that Lily would stay to visit my family of Izannahs while I endeavored to bring back some of her former glory.

Where to start???  One of the challenges I faced with Lily was the glued on, painted piece of stockinette that someone had applied over her entire shoulder area. Obviously there was some reason that they felt the need to do that, but why? I decided to see if I could remove the glue saturated fabric.  Starting in an unobtrusive spot under the edge of her second skin I gently began chipping away very small bits of stockinette/glue/paint.  This was an excruciatingly slow process.  The ill considered repair disappeared a fraction of an inch at a time, to reveal Lily’s original shoulders.  There was a small torn area up near her neck, which I repaired with a little piece of antique fabric.

I used some of the same antique quilt block foundation fabric to make Lily a new pair of arms in the proper size, from a pattern drafted from one of my own antique Izannah Walker dolls and re-scaled to fit Lily’s petite size. After making Lily’s new arms I gave them an appropriate amount of wear and multiple coats of paint that I hand mixed to match her remaining original paint.

Next came the thrill of doing a small amount of judicious in-painting on Lily’s face and shoulders.  Brushing on many whisper thin coats of hand mixed color, always making sure not to get any paint down into the cracks in her paint surface.  Susie is very found of Isabeau, one of my antique Izannah Walker dolls, and we found that when we compared Isabeau and Lily that Lily looks like a smaller version of Isabeau.  Both having been made originally from very similar head molds.  Since all of the paint on Lily’s features was long gone, I took Isabeau to the studio, where she sat with me and modeled as I repainted Lily’s eyes and lips.

The next decision that Susie had to make was whether or not to leave the sewn on stockings and shoes from an earlier repair.  I could tell that Lily’s ankles had once again separated along the seam line, and while the socks were keeping her feet from falling off, they were dangling loose under the red stockinette.  After much consideration it was decided that I should remove the red “socks” and little leather shoes.  When I did I was very pleased to find that Lily had painted shoes!  Not painted boots, but low top shoes.!!!  The original paint did not go above the ankle seam.  This is a fairly rare detail and it made my whole day when I uncovered it. :)  I was able to repair Lily’s feet with a few stitches to keep her worn “shoes” in place over their horsehair stuffing.  I used small strips of the antique quilt block foundation to make bands to stabilize her ankle seams.

After getting sweet Miss Lily back to her true self, I turned my attention to her clothing.  She came with a hand sewn red cotton dress trimmed with black velvet ribbon.  The dress is not as old as the doll and while it was made with love, it was not made by an expert seamstress.  The dress also had a great deal of sun fading on the front.  Normally I would not be concerned with the fading, because that is just one of those things that happens to fabric…  However, the dress was quite short and Susie wanted the hem let out if possible.  I tried to find a piece of old black velvet ribbon with similar wear so that I could add it as a second row of trim along the crease of the original hemline (once the hem was let out).  I looked for quite a long time without success.  I wound up letting the hem down, then removing all of the ribbon trim so that I could wash the dress.  Normally I use cold water to wash antique fabrics, but in this instance I used warm, hoping that the red dye would run and even out the  color.  It did run, but the fading was still very evident, as was the fact that I let the hem down.  So I wound up re-dying the dress to it’s original turkey red color.  This evened out the color enough so that it is now acceptable.  Then I sewed the black ribbon back in it’s previous positions, because even after dying the lines where the ribbon was were quite visible.  I also moved the hooks and eyes at the waist to make it smaller.  The dress fits Lily much better now.  since Lily did not come with undergarments, I made her a set from antique fabric and antique waved braid (rick-rack).  As I’ve mentioned Lily’s mom is very fond of my Isabeau, so I recreated Isabeau’s chemise, then made a petticoat and pantalettes to match.

I thoroughly enjoyed having Lily stay here during her transformation.  My doll family is going to be crushed when she leaves, as they have all become fast friends.  I’m sure they will be pen pals for life.

In addition to trusting me with Lily, Susie has been extremely generous.  She told me that she wanted me to make reproductions of Lily and she has allowed me to share this story of Lily’s restoration!  Thank You Susie!!!

And now we come to the end of this chapter in Lily’s continuing story.  Her restoration is finished and she will be going back home.  All of the pieces of her previous repairs will be going with her, as they are mementos of her long, interesting life.

 

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Lily after I finished her restoration. What a beautiful Izannah Walker doll!

Please come back to visit Izannah Walker Journal next week to read Part Two: Emmaline’s Story.

2016 Early American Life Directory of Traditional American Craftsditional Crafts

•June 11, 2016 • Leave a Comment

The August issue of Early American  Life with the 2016 Directory of Traditional American Crafts is here!  I’ve really been looking forward to seeing the photo of Hannah at Locust Grove, so it was fun to finally get to see it and of course quite a thrill to be juried into the Directory for the 34th time!IMG_3757Hannah was so excited to see the photograph of her namesake in the August issue of Early American Life.

Where To See My Dolls and Other Creations

•May 31, 2016 • 6 Comments
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Eliza Jane finally has a name and a dress.🙂 She is the latest addition to my family of antique Izannah Walker dolls and is named after my great-grandmother, Eliza Jane Tarvin Stogner. Her dress and petticoat are antiques that I purchased last summer and fit as if they were made for her. Once I find time to make a mold, Eliza Jane will bring the number of Izannah Walker dolls that I can reproduce for you up to twelve!

Recently my friend, Edyth, suggested that I create a comprehensive list of online sites where people can see my dolls and other handmade works.  I do have a lot of different blogs, websites,etc. so a handy reference list is a great idea.  Thank you Edyth!!!

MY MAIN WEBSITE WITH ONLINE SHOPPING CART

www.asweetremembrance.com – Paula Walton’s A Sweet Remembrance

MY BLOGS

www.izannahwalker.com – My Izannah Walker Journal and occasionally a few other dolls too.

www.spuncottonornaments.com – My Spun Cotton Ornament Journal

www.paulawalton.com – My 18th Century Home Journal all about everyday living in an 18th century house.

CLASS MEMBER SITES FOR STUDENTS IN MY “CLASSES BY MAIL”- these are invitation only for students.

www.izannahwalker.ning.com

www.spuncottonornaments.ning.com

www.alabamababy.ning.com

PINTEREST

45 Boards and 30.9 k Pins!

FACEBOOK

www.facebook.com/ASweetRemembrance/  All things A Sweet Remembrance, photos and tid-bits you won’t find on my blogs and website, plus a handy notification of blog posts too.

Some of you have also sent me personal friend requests on facebook, which is great.  I do have a personal facebook account too, which is not what you want if you just want to  read about my dolls :)  My personal facebook page is full of family, friends, and cats.  So if you DON’T want to see hundreds of baby photos my personal page is not the one for you.🙂

 

  • You may click on any photo to enlarge it.

Hannah’s Summer Dress

•May 30, 2016 • 2 Comments

You may remember Hannah, who when we left her last, was starting out on her journey to this year’s Early American Life Directory photo shoot.IMG_4874

I’m happy to say that Hannah has safely returned from her adventures.  She has had a glorious time during the past week or so, sorting through all of the fabrics and trims that I brought home from Brimfield.  She finally settled on this early grey, tan and muted red, sheer paisley cotton print for her second dress, with extravagant antique silk velvet shoulder bows.  IMG_4844

Now that her wardrobe is complete, Hannah will be leaving once again.  This time to her new home, where she will join her sister Isane.❤

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  • If you scroll down you will be able to see the fabric for Hannah’s dress when it was still gracing the back of an extremely worn crazy quilt, and the big pile of antique ribbons that Hannah sorted through to find the perfect ones for her new dress.  Just look for the post about my Brimfield treasure hunt.
 
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