Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Little Detectives....

  Well that was 2013! I hope that those who celebrated Christmas had a truly magical knees up - I know I did.

  During the run up to the festivities I treated myself to watching all 6 of The Thin Man movies (well who wouldn't!) I simply adore Myrna Loy and William Powell, and although they made a total of 13 movies together it was their wit, charm and sophistication as martini drinking husband and wife team Nick and Nora Charles - along with their smart little terrier Asta - that had audiences captivated. They were the perfect couple, their marriage was fun and romantic, they were super stylish and appeared so in love.....I was asked recently who I'd invite to the perfect dinner party - why Nick and Nora of course!.....I still want to be Myrna Loy when I grow up.
Myrna Loy and William Powell as Nick and Nora in The Thin Man 1934

"If you can manage the bread, I'll whip you up some scrambled eggs".....After the Thin Man 1936
Publicity shot for The Thin Man Goes Home 1944
  I also dipped into Myrna Loy's autobiography 'Being and Becoming' which I've had on my book shelf since I was about 18 (I'm quite a fan) It will come as no surprise then that Myrna and William's affection and friendship for one another lasted from the moment they met on 'Manhattan Melodrama' in 1934 until William Powell's death in 1984.  Myrna Loy said of their screen partnership ..'From our very first scene together a curious thing passed between us, a feeling of rhythm, an instinct for how one could bring out the best in the other...a kind of rapport. It wasn't conscious. If you heard us talking in a room, you'd hear the same thing.'

My Christmas reading, plus an old Picturegoer magazine featuring Myrna Loy as Nora with Asta. 

 ... It was the sharp and beautiful Nora Charles that was really the inspirational starting point behind my latest three dolls...... And lets be fair Nick couldn't have captured those murderous crooks without Nora!

  I am calling these elegant ladies 'The Little Detectives' and although they are not yet quite finished I thought I'd take some snaps of working progress alongside the stylish photos of  Nick and Nora.

Working progress of three detective dolls inspired by Nora Charles. Top right picture is my little boy creating his own outfit for one lucky lady. 

  This next outfit is quite possibly my favourite of Nora's outfits and worn in the first of the comedy detective delights The Thin Man 1934. I was so inspired by her matching hat, skirt and neck tie that I created a similar 1930's ensemble for the first cheeky creation.

'The Thin Man' 1934

Oh that beautiful Myrna nose!

Three little sleuths in the making!

                                                             HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Merry Christmas......

  'Tis the season to be jolly Fa la la la la la la la la!!!!

  I'm going to take a short blog break over the Christmas period but can't wait to show you what is inspiring my new dolls, paper dolls and illustrations in January. I have made up some doll bodies, added wire to their bendable legs and framed their pretty faces with merino wool hair. They are smart 1930's/40's ladies with an air of Nora Charles about them. I also have sketches galore and several new illustrations needing a lick of paint.

  For now though may I wish all my followers a wonderful Christmas and best wishes for the New Year. x
My tree is up with a little help from Alpine Peg

Christmas flapper tree toppers!
Myrna Loy (aka Nora Charles)


Friday, 6 December 2013

Flapper Tree Fairy.....


  With the excitement of Christmas just around the corner my working hours this week have been slightly in favour of Christmas shopping and yuletide plans. It's amazing how we all moan about early advertisement then suddenly before you know it it's here - and you're less organised than you thought! Also spent a lot of time this week packaging up Pip dolls and goodies then toing and froing to the post office - almost every other day!  Its so lovely to have had lots of sales these past few weeks, I was thrilled to reach my 300 sales mark in my Etsy shop. Thankyou guys!
 ...Anyway! Here's another Christmas tree topper to add yet more sparkle to you festive d├ęcor. This one has a definite flapper feel with her sparkling bejewelled head scarf, kiss curls and feathered fan. I'm stitching up a second one as we speak and hope to get them both in the shop by next week. Unfortunately this means that if you are overseas it won't get you in time for Christmas. I'm so sorry this is the case. There's just never enough hours in the day to get as much done as I would like.

This little 20's starlet wears original 1920's rhinestone and beaded headpiece, vintage green chiffon bodice - to which I have stitched more rhinestones. The bottom half of her costume is 1930s gold lame fabric and her fan is made up of vintage feathers from an old 40's hat to which I have added star sequins. Her legs have been painted white with acrylic paint then given a coat of matte varnish. 

Sweet little wand and tinsel pipe cleaner wings - reminiscent of those cute kitsch tree angels of the 50's and 60's 


  Don't forget you still have time to purchase some Pip Christmas cards if you're in the UK. I'm planning on making Friday the 13th my last day for posting, but will make exceptions here and there should you make a purchase after this date.

  Hope everyone has a lovely weekend and is starting to feel positively festive! x

Monday, 2 December 2013

Circus Paper Dolls in my Shop

  Just to let you know there are 6 sets of Showgirl Milly paper dolls now up for grabs in my Shop

  Here is a snap of my original sketchy idea for Milly and her cute little circus wardrobe - I did this in bed one night at about 1.00am, unable to sleep because I was thinking about clown costumes and sequinned tutus!


I have backed Milly on some thicker card and stuck a wooden craft stick to her back. I have then added additional stars, pom poms and feathers to her costume.


Friday, 29 November 2013

Showgirl Milly, Paper Doll.....

  Now that I'm starting to get the hang of the whole paper doll making lark, there's going to be no stopping me! In the New Year you can expect all manor of adventures and further adventures into the world of Pip paper dolls.
  So here is my second paper poppet character, Showgirl Milly. I called her Milly because she reminded me of Milly Molly Mandy - a sweet little girl I remember from my childhood. Do you remember those lovely sweet stories - all blackberry jam, village fetes and tea cosies?
  I had a very busy start to the week finishing off my Festive fairies and Nancy Beaton tree topper. I will admit I wasn't expecting quite the amount of lovely feedback, emails and reserve requests - thankyou so much! And just to let you know I have stitched up two more little tree topper bodies which I intend to finish next week. I will announce listings for them when I've finished.
  I vowed I would take two days off this week and catch up on my life, friends and Christmas shopping..... I managed half a day before I got ants in my pants and had to return to Pip corner. Hence more paper dolls!

I'm advising we do snip the little gap between arm and waist out on this one (unlike Peg) since we need to bend the little tabs around her waist.

Playing around and testing the fits for each outfit.
I will add a little feather to each set this time to glue onto her cap and I will add (as before) a tiny tab of blue tack and wooden craft stick (for extra strength) .....I may even throw in a few sequins to decorate her costumes.

  I will do you a much better photoshoot of Milly the Showgirl next week (these are very rough cut outs) as well as listing the sets in my shop. I will also add a few more Alpine Peggy paper doll sets for those who missed out.
  Everywhere is starting to get positively Festive don't you think?....I want some snow!
  Have a fabulous weekend! x

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Nancy Beaton Tree Topper and other Festive Fairies......

 Several weeks ago when I was looking forward to embarking on festive fairies, a very pretty idea was given to me via Twitter. Why don't I make a Nancy Beaton style tree topper?
 Nancy Beaton is the sister of the famous photographer Cecil Beaton and in 1929 he snapped Nancy as a shooting star, draped in cellophane - a material he often used for his subjects or backdrops.

  With this heavenly idea in mind I used a recent purchase of beautiful, original 1920's chiffon, embellished with sparkling rhinestones and created an evening gown I hope any tree topper fairy would be proud of.  Nancy has little tinsel pipe cleaner wings (like last years fairies) stars in her golden hair and a beautiful star wand. Here are some working progress photos and the finished item.

The little net skirt underneath puffs out the dress ever so slightly. I didn't want a big, big tutu style dress as I wouldn't fit with the era.

She's like a cross between Nancy Beaton, Daisy Buchanan and Glinda from The Wizard of Oz!

  This little tree topper is dainty and eye catching I wish she could stay with me forever!

Worthy of any Christmas tree I hope

  I adore making dolls and have pages of ideas for the New Year so if you're after a Pip doll I would love you to have one. They do get snapped up rather quickly I'm afraid but they'll be plenty more so don't be too disappointed.

  It's getting a little chilly in these parts, stay toasty! I hope to you show you more paper doll ideas by the end of the week plus I'll list a few more Alpine peg paper poppets in the shop.


Monday, 18 November 2013

Paper Dolls.....

  I've lost track of the times my lovely readers have requested the possibility of paper dolls. I'm so excited because I too have wanted to work on a paper doll project for like 2 whole years! The idea arose again a few weeks ago when I got to thinking about all the lovely little outfits Peggy might have back at her cosy lodge in the Alps.
  I started off doing a few mock ups on standard paper (fairly thin) just to see what she would look like and if her clothes would fit. When I was happy I traced on to thicker khadi paper (which I love working on) and painted.

Peg in her smalls!

  The best part of making a paper doll is creating her outfits. I sketched day dresses, evening dresses, a lounge suit and a pair of cute pyjamas....In the end, however, I decided to limit Peg to three outfits - at least for my first paper doll set...

  - Her traditional red jumper and brown ski pants
  - Skater dress and hat
  - Prussian blue coat, purse and hat

  Hope you like them...

I have also added little pom poms for added cuteness
After printing Peg out on sturdy heavyweight paper I have glued a craft stick to her other side for extra strength. I have cut little slits in her hats with a sharp stanley knife (it can be achieved with little scissors but much easier and neater with a knife)
   Ta da!!

I found it easier not to cut out the little space between her arm and her waist


   I had great fun looking and researching the history of the Paper Doll and also feasting my eyes on some of the beautiful vintage movie star paper poppets from Hollywood's heyday - Esther Williams, Rita Hayworth - I urge you to go look them up. However my absolute favourite internet find has to be comic strip heroine Tillie the Toiler! If I owned a vintage paper doll set such as Tillie (my next treasure to look out for) I would possibly just pop it in a little frame - oh the possibilities are endless!

  I will be printing limited sets of my Alpine Peggy paper dolls so keep your eyes peeled. In each set I will include an instructions sheet, little pom poms, a craft stick and a small square of blue tack - just incase you want to tack down the little tabs! I will list them towards the end of the week.

  I'm going to do more paper dolls in the New Year so expect circus showgirls and Busby Berkeley sweethearts! x

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Christmas Cards....

  Hooray! Alpine Peg 2013 Christmas card sets. Now available in my Etsy Shop!
Snowy Silence

  Talking of our cute little heroine Alpine Peggy, I have two illustrations almost complete to add the collection of frosty adventures....

  Introducing Trent (what a catch) Skier, skater, dare devil and tabogganer extraordinaire! With his movie star looks and debonair fashionable swagger, I feel sure our Peg will fall head over heels! 


Monday, 4 November 2013

More from Peggy...

  Having just finished these Peggy dolls I'm starting to feel a warm glow...... the Festive Season is on the horizon!!

Each Peggy has a braided snowy hairstyle, scarlet felt jumper with embroidery thread embellishment, brown felt pants and acrylic painted gloves and boots.

  I just couldn't decide which hair style to go with so I did two different styles for the dolls - I quite like Peggy's indecisive nature...

Peg tames her unruly mop with stylish braids... Gouache on handmade khadi paper

I will stitch a ribbon on Peggy's back so you can hang her from your wall, or even from you Christmas tree!

  In the run up to Christmas I will be working on all things 'Peggy' but I'll also post interludes of other things I'm working on too. I often find it hard to concentrate on just one thing and since my mind is quite often a jumble who knows what will happen next!

 I've also been sketching ideas for a handsome, dashing hero to join our Peg - will introduce you to him later in the week....... and I'll admit I'm very fond of him already....Stay tuned! x