An Adventure for Phoebe and for me

Being a doll-maker has its magical moments.  Often it starts with an uncertain request for a type of Phoebe doll that does not exist—a toddler, a Fancy Nancy, a boy doll, —and with this request I am both excited and nervous. I think and plot and sew and design and redesign and in the end I am often so excited with having tried and completed a new challenge.

I love these new challenges.  Part of doll-making, or being a maker of anything is pushing your boundaries.

A few weeks ago, I received adifferent new challenge….from a children’s book author.  She envisioned Phoebe as the main character in her book and was hoping I could share that vision.

The book is also on Amazon

The book is also on Amazon

The book is The Adventures of Piratess Tilly.

The author, Elizabeth Lorayne sent me a copy of her book.

First, it is gorgeous, illustrated in beautiful watercolors (by Karen Watson) and written in haiku, it is an ode to Mother Nature as much as it is an adventure.

Tilly is a budding naturalist who sails to the Galapagos to document flora and fauna. While she is there she becomes ensnared in a crime against nature and in the end becomes a rescuer and hero.

I loved making Tilly and flipping through the pages of the book to make sure my details matched hers—the patch work jeans, her hair, the map, the slippers, her patch.

The real test will be if Tilly’s creator loves her.

Tilly is on her way to Elizabeth and her new home (by the sea), but I captured a few photos of Tilly before she left.

For me the adventure of Tilly has been magical.

Tilly the Piratess
Tilly the Piratess
Tllly the Piratess and her slipper
Tilly's stuff
Tilly's stuff

One year and one big change

Today I've been blogging a year. I've been so busy sewing, it snuck up on me.

It has been a wonderful year, the launch of the blog, the launch of my business, meeting so many amazing people, learning so so much, and most of all, doing what I love.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for being a part of this.

For those of you who have followed me from the beginning, there have been many small tweaks. That is the beauty of being a small business, you can learn and tweak as you go. I've honed my blog direction, continued to change and expand my line of dolls and doll clothing. I've improved my sewing and design skills. 

But there is one area, where I have struggled daily.

 Egg and her current camera, taken by a friend with a Nikon 5D

 Egg and her current camera, taken by a friend with a Nikon 5D

For twelve months, the photography has been a challenge.

I've changed lenses, backgrounds, lighting techniques, improved my Photoshop game. And still photographs were hit or miss for me. More miss than hit. 

Photography is the currency of a craft. It is the glue of a blog, what drives sales on Etsy and what can make or break your ability to tell a story.

It took my thirteen year old, AKA Egg, taking a photography course at the Museum of Fine Arts this summer for the issue of what is a good camera to be explored.

Egg is an amazing photographer. After her course, she decided she wanted to save up for a better camera. She researched, went to stores, talked to the pros, read reviews and became fixated on the Nikon 5300. My connection to the 5300 was to supply Egg with paid chores to help her save up.

That all changed last week when I brought my camera into Hunt Photo to be cleaned. I started playing with Egg's dream camera. I realized what a good camera can do. I'm only a few months behind Egg.

The 5300 is amazing. It captures how I see. 

Next week, Hunt is having a Trade Show. Between now and then we will be figuring out just exactly how we will do this. But we're doing this.

Next year just became a bit clearer.

unedited, straight from the 5300 to my chip to my blog

unedited, straight from the 5300 to my chip to my blog

unedited, straight from the 5300 to my chip to my blog

unedited, straight from the 5300 to my chip to my blog

unedited, straight from the 5300 to my chip to my blog

unedited, straight from the 5300 to my chip to my blog

A bit about the name of my company

Who are Phoebe and Egg? Where did this name come from?

The short answer is Phoebe is the big sister and Egg is the baby sister.  

The longer answer is they began years ago with a drawing, sketched on a whim on a date. When I was dating my husband, I drew our future children--Phoebe, Ging and Egg. Fortunately, the presumption of the sketch did not scare him because we went on to have Phoebe and Ging and adopt our sweet Egg from China. Phoebe, Ging and Egg became an incredible reality, in that exact order, but with different names.

Over the last few months I have had a few boy doll requests. The name is still just Phoebe and Egg, but Ging is definitely part of the collection.

The original Phoebe, Ging and Egg from long ago.

The original Phoebe, Ging and Egg from long ago.

Here are Phoebe, Ging and Egg (not their real names and not in order) in a slightly more recent shot:

Five Decades of Beloved Doll Dresses

This also could be called my life as seen through doll dresses. There is one for practically each decade and stage of my life. Maybe I'm sharing too much and I will definitely date myself. 

vintage doll dress

Dress Number 1: Sewn for my childhood Sasha doll. The ultra-hip fabric was left-over from the ultra hip halter top I sewed to bring to sleep away camp. Both my doll and I were the coolest. I was especially cool for bringing a doll to camp.

Marcie Street Doll Company

Dress Number 2: Made for the same doll. I am a teenager now and should be done with dolls. But I'm not.

Sasha doll dress

Dress Number 3: I have gone to college, done the yuppy thing and worked in graphic design in the city, married, moved out of the city, and had two of my three kids. Sewn for the same Sasha doll that was now my oldest daughter's doll.

Ellowyne Dress

Dress Number 4: I now have three children, the youngest a daughter. Took a day off from work to sew a wardrobe for her Ellowyne doll (an Uber-Barbie) and this was one of the dresses. The doll and the wardrobe were well-loved but very un-PC.

Also at this point I can easily buy fabrics on the internet. A good and a bad thing.

Toddler Egg Dress1PM.jpg

Last Dress: Made two weeks ago for one of the toddler Phoebe dolls. I am now definitely older, maybe wiser and my two daughters no longer play with dolls. But I do have a doll-making company, which so far is almost as fun.

Looking forward to seeing some of your dresses!

Click through the link below to the Beloved handmade Doll Dress Contest.