I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Making an Angel


Good evening friends! This has been the oddest week, I think I was in a bit of a fog for some reason. Is it the weather?

One grey day blending into the next, and more to come. Look at the Feb. long-term forecast!

Blog-friend Julierose and I live fairly close as the crow flies, though far far away via NY highways and bridges, but we share similar weather. We are determined to value the warm-ish temps and be grateful for no snow. But still...?

Before I start talking about making dolls and angels, here is your laugh for the weekend. Amazon sent me this via my IG feed, says it is a Top Seller! Whatdaya think, guys, is anyone a fan? [She looks deformed, imho]

Angels: I love[d] making primitive dolls and angels but in recent years had created only a few. My angels are varied, each one of a kind. I always worry that they will not be cared for and cherished, so in the end I stopped making them except by special order, and I just kept a few. 

But this past December a very valued customer emailed me out of the blue, asking if I had any dolls for sale. At first I said no, but then remembered this prim doll who has kept me company on my sewing room shelf, waiting for her final dress to be made. I'm not sure why I had not finished her [and had no intention to sell her], but then I knew---she was destined to be an angel for E.

A principle I learned designing clothes is: Never give the buyer a choice; have an idea/ POV and sell it, you are in charge. But again, I have worked with E for years and enjoy her input so I offered her a selection of vintage and antique baby dresses:

Knowing really that with her love of old white linens and dresses she'd choose the long dramatic 19cth century-1880? baptismal gown. Note the gorgeous handmade lace and many pintucks.

And I somewhat reluctantly shared an antique doll petticoat from my own collection, too. [I owned two, after all.]

While the clothes soaked in mild Quilt Restore and OxiClean, I first had to create the face.  The face, esp the eyes, is the personality and soul of a doll. And angel faces are much harder than doll faces. Dolls can get big, mismatched, sew through button eyes, embroidered/ beaded/ or button mouths. Folky.  Rag hair, toothpick or old rusted nail noses. But angels must be other worldly, delicate and serene. I wanted her to look like she was singing a beautiful olde carole, sending sweet joy to E.

Real shoe button eyes, c. 1900?

Her feet...not shoes, maybe angel don't need shoes? Instead she wears ankle bows of old silk ribbon and rusty bells. The bells were found, a gnarled pipe cleaner twist of bells, on the beach after a storm, years ago.

This angel also wears bells from that find.

Next, I always make knickers for the dolls, using my stash of old hankies, cut freehand, tied with tiny ribbons and accented with little rosebuds. Perhaps never seen but I love how they look.

The back of the doll is signed and dated before her bloomers go on. Now she has a face, a name, a personality!

I added her halo of tarnished tinsel. I tried quite a few haloes first: a rhinestone circle pin, a strange faux jeweled clasp, buttons, other tinsel, tiny pompom string. But no, the angel, now named Estrella, was set on tinsel. I was lucky to find some!

The dress and petticoat, now beautifully white and dried, carefully mended, starched lightly, and ironed were put on. The petticoat fit perfectly. The dress needed gathers, held at the neck by a faceted mirrored button brooch. Another scavenged find, sidewalk larking, saved since the winter of Covid.

A woman on FB said my angels look like pillowcase dolls. Not sure what that was, but sounds very 70s crafty-wafty! I was a bit put out. But then I did have the notion that all input can be useful. If my supply of tiny 19th century dresses runs out, white pillow cases with the fancy crocheted or knitted lace might be a wonderful idea instead. I have quite a few of those pillowcases, as both my Swiss and French-German [Alsace] ancestors made them for their coming to America trousseaux. pillowcase doll

All dressed, wings attached, silk and wool crazy remnant heart in hand. I toyed with having her hold sheet music, I have Silent Night papers, but for ease of storage and also longevity of display time [she could stay out til Valentine's Day?], I went with the heart, my trademark touch.

And here she is: Estrella ! 2022.


Mo had such a treat this week. On the only sunny morning his dogwalker took him on an extra long hike, all the way over to the main/ only road here! The recently installed high back iron fence makes it safer for Mo to indulge one of his fave things, chasing cars. She said he had a blast, silly boy. The marsh I often mention begins across the street, behind the hedge of brambles and bittersweet. A pair of cardinal has nested in that tree for maybe 20 years.

And one cold day, to ward off the damp chill, I made biscuits, then later classic meatloaf, with brussel sprouts, and boiled tiny red potatoes. The potatoes were exceptionally good---steamy hot, slightly squashed, w salt/ black pepper, butter and parsley, dab of sour cream. Very retro menu, but once in a while, so delicious. Lovely leftovers all week too.

have a good week! January is almost gone, imagine that.



gone to the beach...

photos from friends:

We have a snowy owl visiting. I saw him just now. I was too excited to take pics, these are from friends who are also seeing him. We think he roosts in this overgrown cabana park. What a thrill. He is HUGE. Mo must stay indoors and not be dinner.

Scribble journal:


  1. Lovely lovely angel doll and it was so fun to hear of your decisions for using things and giving the doll a personality as you created her. I used to make dolls and doll clothes. Reading of your process was a bit nostalgic and made me want to engage in doll making again. . . maybe just for myself. Enjoy your snowy February~

  2. i don't know where to start...;))) Estrella is so beautiful--what a special angel...she has such a heavenly personality. [Loving those adorable bloomers!!] You are such a talented doll maker...
    Snowy Owl is just fabulous--I've never been able to spy an owl in the wild... some neighbors tell me that they are all over the place here, but I've never been lucky enough to see one--I live in hope...
    Your Jan. Journal page is so great with the rosehips...and I copied your "Winter" quote into my journal--such an uplifting one so necessary in this gray season...thank you for that.
    Hugs from under my Winter quilt..Julierose

  3. Estrella in her beautiful new vintage garb looks a bit surprised that she's about to be sent off to live with strangers, I hope she will have sisters to help her sing her new songs. I do love the crazy quilt heart she is carrying. Your retro meal sounds delightful, I made mac and cheese for our supper today. We do love our comfort food. What a treat to see the snowy owl, I've never seen one in the wild.

  4. Interesting how you make these angel dolls and how lovely to see the baby gowns repurposed. I always wanted to buy Christening gowns when I saw them at auction back in the 80s but never did. The work in them was always exquisite and sewn with love. Never heard of pillowdolls before, but what a nice idea.

    Wow to that gorgeous Snowy Owl. I daren't let our wee kittens out yet - they are growing fat but would still be Buzzard bait (or for the bigger Kites we have here). I've been hearing a male Tawny Owl in the day here - and often at night, as they like the trees round our

    Here in the UK a biscuit is flat! Those look more like what I would call a scone, but I bet they were yummy.

    1. Hi! Your biscuits are US cookies, of course. Our biscuits are much lighter than scones, not sure of UK equivalent---rolls? Buns? Nice and they reheat well, use up that fig jam.
      Oh yes must protect the baby kitties. We were even warned the owl could attack small dogs, tho I see they only weight 5 pounds or less, Mo outweighs it by a LOT. Snowies are the only diurnal owl, I see. I remember others calling at night when I was a child and we had woods.
      The gowns you saw years ago must have ben so special. I love how they were saved, reused, treasured.


  5. Posting for Mel
    Comment for "Making An Angel"

    Hi! I enjoyed seeing the angel come together, and I LOVE that you made her bloomers from a handkerchief! So cute!

    The February forecast is a little scary - but if day temps are in the 40s the snow won't stick around, right? Where did you find a forecast for a whole month ahead? I'd like to see what ours might show.

    Those shorts from Amazon...!!! I can't imagine WANTING my butt to stick out like that, but it takes all kinds I guess. Maybe if your guy was a butt fan? LOL!

    I always love seeing your art, and the journal pages are interesting. Cool rose hips!

    The snowy owl is so pretty, but also scary when you have a pet. You got some good pictures! I had one fly right in front of my car once when I was like 16-17, driving home from my part time job at night. The thing nearly brushed my windshield and it was HUGE! Scared the crap out of me!

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Your angel is beautiful. I really enjoyed your process as she was created.

  7. Oh, Lizzy, Estrella is gorgeous! Her face is delightful with her wide eyes and caroling mouth. You took a lot of care with her clothes and they're beautiful. And I love how you repurposed parts of her and her wardrobe and used finds from the beach. Delightful bloomers. A doll to cherish, for sure. I hope E. loves her!
    How exciting to see the snowy owl. Any owls are a rare sight around here. Years ago we did see a small one sitting on the gutter around the porch. It was just after dusk so what we really saw was a silhouette of him. That was the only time.
    I hope your weather holds. As for me, I'm still wishing for snow! (We had 5 or 6 inches on Sunday but it is gone now.)
    Nancy at ndmessier @ gmail. (Blogger tells me I have to make a choice about cookies and because I didn't, I can only comment as Anonymous. Sorry.)


Hi! I'm allowing comments from everyone, even anonymous for awhile, to see what happens. With comments moderation. Hopefully the awful porn spammer has gone elsewhere. Or you can always email me! I love to hear from everyone.