Thursday, 10 December 2015

Nora Charles Candy Cane Dress...

 .. is everyone dusting off their cocktail dresses and dancing shoes in anticipation of forthcoming sparkling parties and boozy soirées?

  Here's one of this years Nora dolls wearing the much coveted, floaty, striped cocktail dress from the movie 'The Thin Man' 1934

  When I embarked on creating this particular Nora I searched the internet for a floaty striped red and white fabric - alas I was unsuccessful and therefore decided to create my own design using fabric paint. I love the effect. The fabric was then washed to ensure there was no run. She wears a rhinestone bracelet and earrings, has little red shoes (very festive) and never goes anywhere without Asta...or her husband Nick - who's not on the scene as he's just 'putting away a little liquor'

  Hope you like her? I have sold this little lady now but I will be creating lots of lovely starlets in the New Year - I can't wait!

  Things have been a little slow off the mark lately due to the disruption of moving house and trying to organise a working space, but I am getting there slowly but surely. If you've commissioned a doll from me, I've not forgotten you I'm just a tiny bit behind but will catch up as soon as I can.

  Merry Christmas to one and all If I'm not able to swing by the blog between now and the main event

  Pip xx

'Asta, what to do? I'm all out of cocktail!'


Friday, 4 September 2015

Carmen Miranda....

Carmen Miranda is made with new and vintage materials

  So for the last few weeks I have had plenty of sunshine in my studio in the form of pint sized (for in real life she was just 5ft tall) Portuguese Brazilian samba singer, dancer and actress Carmen Miranda. I've watched and listened to so much YouTube footage I can still hear her singing in my head now - and believe me I've been working in total silence today.

  What an absolute tutti frutti, sequined heaven of a commission this has been. I'm almost sorry to say goodbye - although I know she's going to be fully appreciated in her new home.


Carmen Miranda. I love the black and white photo bottom left.

  The amazing bombshell Ms Miranda herself.... (1919 - 1955) Very sad that she died so young. If you don't know much about Carmen Miranda it's very interesting to do a bit of research. Was she really as happy a lady as she always appeared or was she just the victim of Hollywood stereotyping?

  These lovely Summery creations (Carmen, Esther Williams, bright and breezy mermaids) are almost likely to be taken over by more Autumnal creations in the coming months. I'm already itching to create perhaps one or two mini Morticia Addams dolls and will definitely be soon thinking about this years Nora Charles festive creations. I do have rather a lot of commissions to be getting on with so can't set my sights too high at the moment as I'll have little or no time to fit them in..(But I always do)
  I hope if you're in the UK you're looking forward to soon getting cosy with the distant smell of bonfires, red wine and homemade soups and stews to accompany the forthcoming chilly dark evenings.

  Pip x

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Percy Paper Doll Sets......

  This little bohemian Miss has a rather enviable wardrobe, a slot together base and several Summery accessories to play around with.

  She's now available to purchase in my Etsy Shop (printed on Epson matte archival paper) You can either use a thick lollipop stick (included with the doll) to strength her stance or - as I have done - back her on some thick card. Pop her on your desk or display her in a frame.

  I put two slots with a scalpel knife at either side of her waist to enable me to slip the tabs through. This idea keeps the outfits better in place rather than cutting out the whole waist to arm section. However it can be done which ever way you prefer.

A page of rambles to accompany the set

I created the little shell as just a decorative design on the print out, however I popped it on her head with the tiniest bit of blu tack and  it has become one of my favourite avant garde looks in the collection!

A most enviable holiday wardrobe. 

  Pip x

Friday, 24 July 2015

Percy Paper Dolls....

  Sketching and doodling my holiday wardrobe got me thinking about paper dolls.....

  So to compliment our 1930's beach heroine, I'm currently working on designing a Percy paper doll set entitled 'Percy's Beach Fashion Parade' They are such tricky things to create (having made several sets in the past) but I just can't help but think these 'Percy' paper dolls might be awfully popular? So far she has two swim suits, a swim cap a beach beret and a flower for her hair. Currently sketching beach capes, wide legged pants, big hats (Percy just wouldn't be Percy without 'that' hat) a few stripy beach vests and a stylish, oh so chic, Summer dress - all 30's style of course.

Sketching my holiday wardrobe (some of it dream items) got me thinking about paper dolls

Paper dolls can be so fiddly to make, my trick is I draw the character then photocopy her a few times and trace the body shape to ensure her clothes are going to fit.

Here is her first outfit with little swim cap (on top of her mustard bathing costume)

  Hopefully should have these little desk friends up in my shop in the next few weeks.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Little Seafarers......

  These three adventurers have dominated my sketch books over the last few months and have resulted in some very pretty mermaid dolls, two Persephones and one very handsome fisherman. It's highly likely I will produce more illustrations featuring this fabulous trio but as the Summer hols have just kicked it I might be struggling to get anything together before the Autumn. I have therefore made some mini watercolour greeting card sets for those of you who'd like to enjoy these cute characters while the sun still shines.

  Just popped them into my Etsy Shop

These cards have that lovely homemade quality which I love. Our seaside trio images have been printed onto beautiful watercolour printer paper and mounted onto heavyweight folded blue card. They're more than a greeting card, they are little gifts to give or keep for yourself. Would look lovely in a pretty vintage frame.


Message in a Bottle


He Loves me Not


Love Letter

  A little note on Persephone (or Percy for short)

  ....Towards the end of the Summer when the sea becomes a little rougher and the evenings a little darker, Persephone likes to spend time in her beach hut retreat working on her Gothic novel. She enjoys a glass of strong liquor and can often be seen puffing away on a dainty pipe.

  Mermaids, a fisherman and two Percy dolls....

All my dolls are unique and handmade using new and vintage fabrics. I draw my templates free hand  for each doll and use my machine just for their limbs

  Pip x

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Pip Dolly Demand, Seaside Adventures and Ms Bow....

  As my work has become more popular I obviously get a lot more emails and enquires with regards to commissions, collaborations and custom requests. However, even as a rather devoted workaholic I do struggle to keep up these days and do anticipate delays in my commissioned doll requests. I hope very much that people understand and can be patient - it's all in hand. I tend to have a rather relaxed approach to my work and also like to follow my heart by working on my own projects, for example my Bunny and Una series, Call of the Sea and Jean and Myrna illustrations and dolls, to name a few. This, therefore is why I take on only two commissions per month alongside my personal dream projects. Don't be mistaken I adore my commissions and like to work on lots of different things at once, but cannot work on customs alone. I'm afraid my books are now full until the end of the year. I have also decided to announce more listings - with date and time - in my shop rather than make too many reserves. This way lots are people are given the same chance to purchase. I'm hoping that clears up a few queries for people?

  I'm so happily enjoying my latest makings and designs.....

  Clara Bow commission and characters wrapped up in the latest moody seaside adventure... 

                                                                          Pip x

Saturday, 6 June 2015

1930's Gals in Gowns......

  When I was given some luxurious, 100% silk velvet by a very generous acquaintance (who hand dyed each sample in the most divine shades) I knew instantly I'd be using each beautiful piece for 1930's Pip gowns. I own a few very glamorous 1930's evening gowns and this velvet is very reminiscent of a full length black one I own with bell sleeves and draped neck line.

 This velvet is of the highest quality. Here are just 4 of the colour samples I was given. If only I could make one in my size....

Constance Bennett's little sequin cap and Myrna Loy's delicate lacy veil

Working progress and sketch

Francis, Constance and Mae

  A snap from the work table this week..

  Pip x

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Going Back to the Sea....

...And once again I am longing to return to the stormy seas. I want to spend my Summer with a broken - hearted mermaid, a bohemian miss in wide legged beach pants, and a handsome yet moody, intense fisherman/sailor.

  I want my forthcoming beach adventurers to be slightly on the more darker side than my previous trio (Call of the Sea 2013) I want them a little wilder perhaps. I want rougher seas, longings, desolate and isolated lighthouses and forlorn, melancholy mermaids.

 When creating my characters I usually collect together lots of visuals which I keep in folders in my computer. I make lots of drawings in my sketch books which include the roughest of sketches as well as more detailed illustrations, ideas, quotes, notes, scenarios and colour combinations...

Red and white stripes and raffia beach slippers

  Here is a selection of just a few photos collected as inspiration for our top billing beach pyjama clad miss. Her name is still undecided, but I'm rather in favour of Persephone as I like the idea of her handsome fisherman friend calling her Percy.

Clockwise from top Left: Nusch Éluard a French performer, model and surrealist artist, Nusch Éluard on holiday with Dali, Gala and her husband Paul, 1930's beautiful typical beach ensemble, model and muse Renee Perle, handsome man and woman in Summer beach ouftits, a 1930's Leyland Bathing Cap

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Busby Berkeley Girls....

  The illustrated creation of Bunny and Una seems to have ventured forth to create two more perfectly coiffed members of the chorus....

  Marlene and Gloria...

Hair is made from  golden muga silk top roving, which is quite difficult to get hold of but its very luxurious. It's quite fine and difficult to work with but I think you'll agree it's super pretty.

  They really are quite the spellbinding little team. Bunny and Una will always however remain my leading ladies in the 'Once a Showgirl' illustrated series.

Just a photo of my latest Bunny and Una illustration. I am creating all the paintings in gouache

Marlene, Gloria and Bunny

Gloria and Una 'Go knock em dead honey...'


Una trying on collars. I settled in the end for a vintage lace one

  Pip x

Friday, 20 February 2015

The Dressing Room.....

...Una and Bunny prepare for the days shoot with Busby Berkeley.

The Dressing Room....Gouache

  My collection of illustrations for this series is slowly but surely growing. Una and Bunny have become my dear friends over the last few weeks and I've still got several more pretty scenarios I'd like to paint. Hope you're enjoying them.

   Pip x

Tuesday, 10 February 2015



  ...Born on Easter Sunday, Bernice was very aptly nicknamed 'Bunny' by her mother - who thought it rather sweet.  Bunny's family were all vaudeville players so this ensured she had her dancing shoes on from a very early age. She struck it lucky when she got an audition with the one and only Busby Berkeley and started to feel like a proper showgirl in his daring and elaborate musical sequences. Whilst waiting to wow the genius himself, she met the lovely Una and they've been inseparable friends ever since.... sharing not only stockings, hats and makeup, but each others highs and lows in the unpredictable world of showbusiness.

  Bunny likes a regular gin sour, a good party and plenty of beauty sleep (a tough 'like' when you also favour cocktails and an all night soiree)

  The look of my character Bunny is very much inspired by real life Busby Berkeley chorine Mildred Dixon. There isn't too much about her on the internet but she appeared as a chorus girl in lots of 30's musicals. She was easy to spot because of her cute Brooksie bob!

Mildred Dixon and blonde chorine. I love this photo as it could so be Bunny and Una.

She's so easy to spot in each of these clips.

  Pip x