A Question of Izannah Dolls

Just as I was finishing the last of the UFDC commissions, and was looking forward to working on Jan-dolls, I got another Izannah order.  And I said yes.  Again.  This puts me in an odd position...and while it'll sound dumb to fuss about it, I really do feel the need to make a change.  I really want to spend my time making original dolls! 

Yes, I spent many hours and much effort learning the Izannah dolls, and getting my sculpts to where I was happy with them.  Looking back over the last several years I realized just how many I've made!  From first to last there is an interesting progression, and I love seeing them all lined up.  Here is a good cross section of the ones made since I began in the summer of 2011.
My first three, taking Dixie's class.
My own pattern designs in 2012.  (The one on the right is one of the first three above.)

Study, study, study.  Sculpt, sculpt, and re-sculpt.

2013 Izzies...give us limbs, please!
She was hard to let go of...still my favorite of all the ones I've made.

For the last six months or more, the limitations required to make these dolls correct for their period have me longing for work to be play again!  Color, shape, texture...so many other factors to create with!  I said as much to the hubs one evening, and he looked at me like I was stupid.  I thought the look meant, "Why spend so much time and energy getting Izannahs the way you wanted, only to complain when you get commissions?"

But then he said, "Seriously?  That's a pretty easy fix.  You still like to make them, once in a while, right?"  Right.  "So raise your price enough to make it worth the hours you put into them, and let it stand at that."

Now I've always known he was the business brains behind our cooperative venture, always has been.  But my inner scairdy cat shot off little flares of caution--oh no!  What if no one buys another Izzy--ever?  So I had to look far into the future and see what I'd be happiest doing.  And I came up with this: if making these Izannahs keeps me from working on original Jan-dolls, then I need to give it up, or at least take Phil's advice and the inherent risk.  If I never make another Izannah, I would be sad (and might have to make one for me, once in a while), but if I stop having time to work on my own dolls, I will have to stop making dolls--period.  And that ain't happenin'.  

I have learned so much from these babies with their sweet homely faces and odd little bodies.  And much of what they've given will be part of new ideas for Jan-dolls.  Maybe only doll-makers who have been badly bitten by the Izzy bug will understand the vague worry of disloyalty.  At any rate, once I told the scairdy cat to shut up, I realized that this was a concept I must put into practice, as of right now.

So this commission I'm working on might be the last.  It might only be the last of the frequent orders, and I only make one a year or so from here out.  Either way, I'm glad she's turning out as the customer wanted.  I believe I've gotten her almost-smile just right, along with her little bare feet.

Pictures of finished dolls soon, but for now, here's an in-progress photo.  Hope your week is going as you would wish.

Yard and Garden Progress...

This morning I dug the cannas.  This sounds like a simple thing, but when you consider how thickly the cannas have grown in the last year and a half, you'll know it's not so simple.  Some of those poor babies had started trying to grow up under the deck.  How could I know they'd do so well here?  Hmph.

So we'll sell them (?) at the upcoming City-wide garage sale that Windcrest holds twice a year...at a dollar a bag, maybe some of my neighbors can take home a ton of these babies and we'll have red cannas all over town!  The hubs is not so happy--he loves the cannas all thick the way they are, but he knows they'll get that way again.  With any luck, I won't have to repeat this process for a couple of years.  (As to the extra wheelbarrow: one is new, the other is broken and on its way out...but, useful for now.)

In the front yard, we have a large section that is destined for desert landscaping.  By that I mean we'll lay down weedblock fabric, rock, and desert plants like yucca, cacti, century plants and sotol, etc.  Having gotten a little ahead of myself, I killed the grass across this section--last APRIL!!! So my poor neighbors have had to look at this dead corner all year.

Maybe we'll even get it rocked in by Christmas.  Who knows?  In the meantime, I bring extra dirt from other beds (and the canna dig) to give the topography a little interest.  We'll spread it out and add some different sized boulders here and there among the gravel and cacti.

It's funny how divided people are when it comes to an "interesting" yard like ours.  Of course, the ones who love it are very vocal with their approval, and those who get twitchy just looking at it...well, they're kind enough to refrain from comment.  

Looking out toward the stop sign corner...

The view from my front door.  Tennis courts across the street, and iris dreaming of Spring...in their newly revised beds.

I repainted the porch chairs--feeling the need for color lately.  So the matching Adirondacks where Schultz and I hang in the morning during Last Cup are now a cross between turquoise and sky, and the curb-side throwaway is now traffic cone orange, with odd bits of tracery or dots when I get a notion to put paint on something.  It happens.

See the baby crepe myrtle with her fall colors?  Her name is Zoe, and she will grow to 20 ft!  Someday.
Having moved so many times, I've never had a yard for more than a few years in a row...three full growing seasons is our record so far.  I wonder what this cobbled together garden will look like when we've had ten years in this place?  I look forward to seeing trees we planted actually get tall enough to give us shade.

Of course, then I'll have to find a new bed for the irises...

Hope your week is going well.
a.k.a. "that garden lady" as per the kids who walk past my house on their way to school...

Doll show post mortem...

In a word, it went well.  Not as well as the UFDC convention, but that was a one-off anyway, so now I'm jaded.  Haha! 

The actual attendance--on terms of customers and venders both--was amazingly low, and Dorothy sent out poling letters to the vendors to ask for feedback.  Turns out that most vendors did well enough, despite the low attendance, to vote Keep the Schertz Show, but Change the Dates.  This was the third show in September, so we can assume that timing was the issue.  The site itself (Schertz Civic Center) is one of my favorites--well appointed, spacious, great parking, and easy load/unload access for vendors.  So, now the date is back to August, and we'll see what happens next year. 

One of my students from the first art doll class brought her finished doll--I was so pleased to see her!  This sweet dolly was inspired by the old chinas, and Joann found an antique dress that just fit her perfectly.  Hard to believe the girl had never made a doll in her life, isn't it?

Joann's doll is there against the "class dolls" I brought in attempt to fill tables.  Since this summer's UFDC convention went so well, I didn't have quite the set-up of dolls I had planned for, and one whole table would have gone empty.  So I brought along some "works in progress" and a small display for the hands-on doll class.  I figured I like to see how an artist makes his or her art, so maybe customers would too.  Some folks were blind as ever--amazing how many people can be LOOKING at a sign, and not see it.  But there were a few collectors interested in the class, and I'll have to add a weekend class once in a while for week-day workers.

The Lace Lady was there, up from Corpus Christi.  Her actual name is Judy.  Of course, her Bill was there too--he's good support and stoically helps her haul and set up, sitting with her through at least half the day.  She's probably the one vendor I always purchase from at doll shows, because her selection of antique textiles is so great, and she saves me "odd bits" in a bag for a lot price.  Just enough of this bit or that to hem a petticoat or chemise.  This time I actually bought some antique slips and a skirt for the fabric, and she's promised to bring me the Swiss batiste she has, come February.  Hard stuff to come by.  She's also fun to visit with, and we like to yabber about stitching--she's a talented quilter--and creative ideas.

So the show went well, not a huge profit, but lots of fun, sold some dolls, and learned more about what works and what doesn't.  I'm getting good enough at setting up that my time is down--from the nine hours it used to take me to right around four--which includes a little fiddling around with details.

Currently I am working on another Molly Doll, a large Izannah, and a small Izannah for commissions, and enjoying the cooler fall temperatures (high yesterday was only 82 degrees!).  The little Izannah and Molly below have homes--one is on her way to Georgia, and the other will join her new mom in Florida.

Hope all is well with you!