Happy Pumpkin Moonshine Day! If you are a Tasha Tudor fan, you will know what that means. Pumpkin Moonshine was Tasha's first book. It's a darling book about the adventures of little Sylvie Ann who was Tasha's husband's niece. Those of us who love Tasha have a soft spot in our hearts for this book and we often refer to Halloween as Pumpkin Moonshine Day.
Now, on with the story of THE TALE OF TWO DOLLIES!
I have to go back to LaVonne's visit. I always ask her what she REALLY wants to do when she comes to see me. I like to plan activities and often an out of town trip. On her very first visit to Oregon, I took her to the Goodwill bins AKA Goodwill by the pound. It's like a thrift store outlet. They dump the items that didn't sell at their regular thrift store in these large tables, or bins, and the customers just dig through all the junk. You pay for the merchandise by the pound. I think it is $1.69 per pound now, unless you buy over 25 lbs and then it drops down to $1.39 per pound. You must separate books and glass which are priced differently. LaVonne always wants to go to the bins so that was our very first stop when I picked her up. We now have a new bins in East county which is closer to our home. It is smaller but we did really well on our excursion. We have so much fun digging and the hours, yes hours, just slip away.
A master digger at work! We always manage to entertain ourselves and come home with a cart full of goodies. Some items are for resale, others are to keep.
As we were sorting through things, we found a little doll dressed in a red gingham dress. She was made in China, but had a cute face. I mentioned to LaVonne that I wondered why no one had made a Sylvie Ann doll. She liked the doll and put it in her cart. As we worked our way through the other carts of fun, we found another doll, exactly the same. So LaVonne said we had to get it, it was meant to be.We needed to transform them into Sylvie Anns. I was excited and have to admit, I didn't think LaVonne would really want to spend time working on such a project.
The two dolls were pretty cute and in good condition. They had to join the others at the Pumpkin Moonshine tea party that afternoon. Here they are with our Annabelle dolls and our Hitty dolls.
The next morning, LaVonne was all excited to start our project. I thought maybe she would change her mind but I was wrong. So my plans went out the window and we started our stay at home adventure. It was a total team effort and I having LaVonne help and encourage me was really great for my confidence. She just jumps into a project...I tend to worry and overthink too much. She is good for me!
She began by taking off their red dresses that had been glued on. Luckily, they had little bloomers that were perfect as were the painted shoes. They had smudged faces and their hair needed some work. LaVonne took care of that!
We set off for the fabric store, hoping to find just the right fabric for her bonnet and dress. Would you believe we could not find a small dotted fabric? We were lucky to find a tiny blue checked piece. We had to settle on a solid blue to go with the checks and some small lace that would be needed for her apron. We only had the pages on the book to copy.
LaVonne was great at helping with the pattern. We didn't really have a pattern...I have lots of doll patterns but we had to piece this together. We decided to make a mock up and it actually took about 3 tries to get the dress right! This doll is only 8 inches tall. I have been struggled making small doll clothes but LaVonne proved to be the perfect person to help figure it out. I did the machine sewing and she did the fitting. Later, she took over the hand sewing and that really helped too.
The beginnings of the blue dress! I was beginning to fit and it was beginning to look real! It took us most of the day to get this much done. Remember, we had to make two of everything.
The next morning, I was up early and down in my sewing cottage to get going. The bonnet was the next challenge. We found a pattern in my doll books, but there were no directions. LaVonne had to redo it so it would fit properly.We had watched a YouTube tutorial and that was really helpful. I ended up doing most of the bonnet by hand.
We were happy with the results. Next it was on the the white apron, but I didn't get any pictures of us working on it. LaVonne pretty much figured out how to put it together.
LaVonne is a master needle felter. Her creations are darling and she often teaches classes. In the story, there is a large pumpkin that rolls away from Sylvie Ann. We couldn't find one the right size at the craft store, so my friend just decided to make them. I had the supplies and she just whipped them up! It was getting late in the day and we needed to stop for dinner. I was happy that we had at least one outfit done and casually said my goal was to have her doll done and I could finish mine later. Oh no! LaVonne would have nothing to do with that. So after dinner, I made the second bonnet and we had two finished dolls before bedtime. We did it! It was so exciting and they turned out so darling, we could hardly stand it!!!!
The next morning, we had to take them outside for a photo shoot. They looked even better outside!
We didn't have time to make the cornstalk, so the other day, I decided to give it a try before the season was over. I took a styrofoam cone from the dollar store and covered it with needle felting wool. They I cut some pieces off of my real cornstalks and hot glued them onto the cone with a few tassels and some of the wool popping out of the top of the stalk. I tied it together with some rough twine and I think it turned out pretty cute.
I had so much fun with my friend and she taught me that we don't always have to have every minute planned when she come to visit me. I loved the challenge and the end results! It was so wonderful to be with her and have the time to just create something fantastic. I will cherish this little miss forever. She will always remind me of LaVonne, Tasha and autumn.
Edit note: LaVonne reminded me that our dollies cost us a total of 42 ⍧! That's amazing, don't you think?