Tuesday, January 26, 2016


I've got a thing for pincushion dolls...especially the Marie Antoinette and Madame Pompadour ones.  Can I tell who's who?  Nope.  I just love them all.  I decided last year that friends and family I love needed to share in my wealth of these beauties, instead of them being squirreled away in the cardboard box - after all, I bought them for that very purpose.  AND, for some reason, I kept running into the same doll, over and over...and worse yet, BOUGHT HER, over and over.  SO...starting two Thanksgivings ago, I dug them out of hiding and went to work.
This is how they all started - these are the special ones I've kept for myself.  These are all German made from round about the 1920s.  The Marie on the lower left is the one I had plenty of, as you'll see - she's the one that started it all with that particular doll, so she will stay with me - I like the dark eyebrows.
Each face on this particular doll, although from the same porcelain mold, was slightly different, at the hands of the varied artisans working in the factories.  She stands 4-5/8" tall, while the larger one is just under 5-1/4".
Dolls with their "hands away" from their bodies are a little more coveted among collectors (would I say I'm a collector?  No - I just got caught up in a pretty face, evidently).  This grey-haired beauty has the most detailed hair...thin lines dragged through the paint to add incredible definition.  She's 3-5/8" while the little one stands 2-1/2".
SO...I started here - SMALL POTATOES!  This is a traditional pincushion doll - attached to a traditionally used pincushion base, which I had to make, since she had none.  This is Marie Lorrie, who went to my sister-in-law.  Behind her sits Marie Jackie, who ended up done in the same manner, and with my dear friend here in Vegas, that same Christmas.  Everything on these is completely hand stitched in place, save for the machine stitching on the clothing construction.  I hate glue, silly me!  See the birdcages in the back?  Watch what happened next...
"Why limit myself in size, and to just pincushions", I said!  The larger doll started life as a Munzerlite "lamp doll" from the 20s...they actually had wire cages covered with silk dresses and bare light bulbs underneath.  I'm assuming there were probably lots of boudoir fires in those days.  This doll has her original mohair curls with a tiny silk flower in her hair.  She is constructed from some type of HEAVY plaster (she had a LARGE threaded bolt embedded under her bust for attaching to the lamp), and painted beautifully with a satin finish heavy paint.  Her half-arms are metal, and attached to her torso by wires that feed into a cork in the top of each arm.
This is Marie Barbara - she went to my Mom...she stood around 18" when done.  The silk roses are all handmade - all buttons and rhinestones are antique.  The large rhinestone starburst, an earring from her mother, my grandmother, sewn into the mix.
She was filled with large, heavy, mercury-glass type ornaments in a crackle-bronze color, once she arrived safely at her destination.  The second doll?  I will end the post with her...stay tuned.
This Christmas, I went back to the Maries for another round.  While Marie Jackie sat on a traditional pincushion, Marie Jackie II is atop a birdcage.  Velvet ribbons and silks on this one - more antique buttons and handmade silk roses.
Antique hand-crocheted doily for a bustle, with caged, heavy mercury-style ornaments - I believe she finished right around 15", give or take a curl or two atop her beautiful head.
Vintage, broken jewelry piece among the roses, and one large antique wooden button, below.
And Marie Abbi, the pink girl that now belongs to my son's fiance.
I may have overbought Maries over the years, but was so happy to be able to share these girls with those I love.  Another hand-crocheted antique doily bustle on this one.
I seem to have overbought on antique buttons over the years, also - shhhhh!  Digging in my stash, I was able to come up with a tiny pink celluloid puppy button that was added into the mix.
Which brings us to the last, for the time being - remember, I have all those unfinished ones in the first photos, still.  This is Marie Jaclyn...or "Mother Ginger" as she is referred to by my "Nutcracker" lovin' girl.  I wanted to fill her with small children, but my daughter was happy with the shiny silver ornaments!
She's a tall girl...almost 22" in height.  Silk dress - this was a fun one to try and figure out, if you remember her wire arms from above.  I wrapped her bust first, hand-stitching everything in place, and then attached the poofy (filled with tulle to retain the "poof") sleeves one at a time.  More handmade silk and linen roses...more antique buttons and rhinestones...more heavy glass ornaments...yards of crinkly tulle.
A large cut-steel butterfly buckle on her bustle, along with more antique treasures.
Here's to making some special memories from those treasures you've overbought held onto.  HAPPY BEAUTIFUL TUESDAY, or as Marie would say, "GO EAT SOME CAKE"! 


Createology said...

Tanya Dear you have certainly elevated these wonderful doll busts from mere pincushion creations to such stunning and gorgeous focal treasures. I am swooning over each and every detail you have included in their costumes and cages. Tres Chic Mon Amie!!!

Jackie said...

Oh they are so lovely, I am a proud owner of 2! So special, down to every little detail, each piece is made to each persons likes. I have a little clover button sewn into mine and both are done in my signature colors brown and teal....love them, love them!!!

Mary Ann Potter said...

Oh, my goodness!!! THESE ARE FABULOUS! (I'm sure you noticed that I am shouting here.)

My Garden Diaries said...

When the heck are you going to open a store! I can sell flowers out front if you don't mind! HA! Gosh Tanya…I'm at a loss for words! They are just amazing!!!!! You have this incredible gift where you take yarn and fabric and make them into these 3 dimensional pieces that flow and curve….it is art I tell you! Im inspired tonight!! Oh and I saw Susan T. and the trucks band perform this past weekend and thought of you! Happy Wednesday lady! Nicole xoxo

Quinn said...

WOW! Such a perfect reimagining of these fragile creations. And aren't you lovely to share them :)

Maywyn Studio said...

I've don't recall ever seeing these before lamp or pincushion.
You do beautiful work! Lovely banner.

Laurie said...

Wow, Tanya! These are beautiful! I've never seen them before. Your handiwork is outstanding and I love that you used your grandmother's earring in your mom's.

kathyinozarks said...

Oh wow what a beautiful project you have done, rescuing these pieces-awesome-love that you will be sharing them too they are so lovely

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

Oh my! Amazing doesn't even describe how absolutely beautiful all of these are. So creative and so detailed. Really incredible work!