Saturday, September 19, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Alana Bennett!!: OOAK Doll Gown creations by Alana Bennett

Thank God for Alana Bennett!
It was her who first gave me my Franklin Mint Scarlett dressed in the Barbeque dress. Immediately I was smitten by the doll and this paved the way for more Franklin Mint Scarlett purchases.
It was Alana too who made it possible for me to have the white gown inspired by Bette Davis "Jezebel". Wasn't it a journey of back and forth deciding just how much tulle went into that gown.
It was Alana too who created the Charleston Lace Ballgown inspired by the miniseries "Scarlett". She even gave me a beaded purse, gloves and completed it even more with pantalets, hooped skirt and lace shawl.
And recently, Alana went more than just sewing and did embroidery work on a 2-piece bustle gown.
For all these dreams that have come true, Alana, I thank you.

It is hard being far away from the the source of all doll dreams for me.
It is a struggle just yearning to touch the most expensive dolls and gowns in websites here and there.
It can also cause you many a guilty-days just purchasing one and waiting 3 weeks for a doll and gown to arrive.

But Alana Bennett surely made some of those dreams come true for me. Cheesy this may be, but it comes with the deepest and sincerest gratitude from the bottom of my and my Scarlett dolls' hearts.

Happy birthday Alana!!! I wish you all the best in life! And in the same way you make doll dreams come true, I wish that all of yours come true as well. = )

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ashton Drake Inspiration: Tonner Scarlett wears "Love after the Hours"

A Tonner Scarlett repainted now as Vivien Leigh peeps behind her fan.

It is not difficult to fall in love with Ashton Drake's creations for their Gene doll. Gene after all boasts of a fairy-tale-hollywood character, adorned with lavish hairstyles -- and befitting her character, amazing tailoring for her clothes. "Love After the Hours" is one of them.

It is a classic 1957 style dress of black silk (I was wishing they used something softer to capture the swirl). The brochure that comes with this describes the dress to be made with "superb tailoring" and it is true. The dress is cut vertically on the skirt to capture a fullness that accentuates the waist of the doll. The skirt billows just above the ankles to reveal black 50s inspired shoes (designed with "left" and "right" appropriateness for the doll's foot. It fits perfectly on the Tonner doll's feet. An underlayer of crinoline serves to add fullness to the skirt of the doll -- which is actually not needed as the silk is not that soft and holds the skirt well. Charming accessories: a painted fan, silk flowers, earrings, elegant evening gloves and hose. This ensemble is designed by New York fashion artist Tim Kennedy.

For the repaint. I wanted to capture Vivien Leigh's hairstyle in "Waterloo Bridge". The Tonner Scarlett though is blessed with abundant hair which is quite hard to flatten at the top similar to Vivien Leigh's. The swirl at the side of the head was done with hairspray and held by soft rubber bands. Voila! The Vivien Leigh swirl -- or at least in my eyes.

Herein are photos that marry the "dream" behind AD's Gene, and Tonner's "The Power of Play". Enjoy the portraits. I couldn't put in too much -- maybe soon.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Inspiration Repaint by Accident Part 2: Midnight Angel

"A Gothic love story about a governess haunted by a romantic Ghost in a dark english mansion on the Yorkshire moors. When the lovely governess arrives at the gloomy mansion, she is chilled at her uncanny resemblance to a haunting portrait of a former daughter of the mansion who disappeared on the moors one night..." (from the leaflet of Ashton Drake's Midnight Angel)

What you see is a repainted Tonner Scarlett -- not to look like Vivien Leigh, but an imaginary character inspired from classical paintings of women. I think I was thinking of images of Maine and Monet when I thought of doing this portraits. I had been long looking at Ashton Drake's Midnight Angel Ensemble, somehow haunted by its beautiful detail. Thinking this would be perfect for an Edwardian/Victorian outfit for the Tonner Scarlett mold. I was never drawn to strong featured dolls. I personally think that feminine-ness is close to beautiful-ness! And so thought of repainting this close to classical soft features in paintings of women.

The outfit is just the cape over the doll. The skirt was a creation of Alana Bennett (notice the nice embroidery at the bottom which Alana did -- a good value if you have her do a gown for you; she does do more). The inside gown has "leg-o-mutton sleeves" and is made of a wonderful pale rose cotton, lace collar and detachable cummerband. Notice also the beautiful detail that Ashton Drake did at the bottom: a "looping" applique. Underneath this, you will find a full netted crinoline.
The navy blue wall coat is faithful to capes done during the period as it is made of wool; edged with gold piping along its hem. There are bows at the back is fully lined. The top of the coat sort of flies so I had to clip it at the back (thanks to Nikki for that suggestion). The pale rose dress underneath (I am surprised) fits the doll well; you just have to tug a bit-- although I would think she would be uncomfortable with it -- who wasn't during the Victorian/Edwardian corset era. Notice the bonnet of gold brocade, black chenille and black cord. I adore the little rose brooch! The outfit also comes with pearl earrings which the doll is not wearing. The dress is designed by Nicole Burke, winner of the 1997 Young Designers of America Student Competition. You have to hand it to Mel Odom for giving that opportunity to a lot of young talent. Over-all I think that Gene's clothings are classic and each one worth getting -- whatever fits your collection.

I hope you enjoy the portraits! Thanks to Joe Blitman of for this outfit. Coming up next: Vivien Leigh does Ashton Drake.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Inspiration Repaint by Accident: Tonner Scarlett in Gene's Love's Ghost

I was told by a member of the Scarlett Vinyl Yahoo Group that this dress is a re-creation of the movie by Gene Tierney -- "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir".

This is not Scarlett, nor is it Vivien Leigh. Having seen the cover "Great Women Masters of Art" by Jordi Vigue, I thought it appropriate to do a portrait doll following the softer features of women found in classical paintings. specifically the painting of "Lady Elizabeth Foster by Angelica Kaufman. This is purely coincidental (or better yet, by "accident"). I had purchased Ashton Drake's Gene Marshall outfit called "Love's Ghost". It was a bargain in; I was not aware however, that the Gene doll has perhaps the smallest waist for a 15" inch doll. It wouldn't fit the Franklin Mint Scarlett -- what more, a Tonner Tyler body.

But first things first.

It is by accident that I tried undoing the bun of a spare Tonner Scarlett "Receiving Guests with Melanie". It was a doll special to me as it was donated by good friend Eric Caron for me to practice on. I realized having undone the bun that the hair there had been cut shorter than those at the sides. You can just imagine the pain of realizing that. Also since I never liked the top hairstyle of simulated curls, I pulled it, unravelling long twisted bangs that didn't look so bad -- if only the hair at the back wasn't cut short and if I didn't test my curiosity and pulled it out. Silly me. But such is my curiosity with things. Life is short, why not just redo the doll with a whole new look. And since I love the Victorian era, might as well do something from that period.

Hair has been tied into a side pony -- only lower. This hides the shortened back well.

It is by accident that I also caught sight of Ms. Vigue's book with the cover of Lady Foster.

And since I had Gene's "Love's Ghost" which resembled the painting, might as well. The top of "Love's Ghost" is the only part of the dress used here; it is tightly held by a sash (Franklin Mint's Christmas with Ashley Sash). The skirt is from Alana Bennet's other creation, the hat is Gene's, tulle is by me.

So here she is. Pardon the photograph. I must learn how to fix the settings in my digicam. I must have touched something there that lessened the pixels.

I ordered at least 4 Gene dresses (this including). They might just go unused considering they don't fit the Tonner doll -- any suggestions?

"Great Women Masters of Art" by Jordi Vigue (image from Amazon)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

One novel that I will always uphold as one of the most un-droppable reads is Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca. Released in 1938 (nearly the period that Gone with the Wind was released), and enchanting readers all over. The title of the story points to a wealthy man's wife who mysteriously dies in a boat accident. But the lead of the story is girl described as plain and lacking in confidence. She is an assistant to a wealthy dowager, and while vacationing in the Riviera, her whole world changes. What seems to be whirlwind courtship brings her be the next wife of Maximilian de Winter. The reader is somehow made to believe that it would be a marriage that changes the course of her life. But upon reaching the Manderlay, mansion of her wealthy husband, she only realizes that she will live forever under the shadow of the beautiful, charming and alluring deceased wife -- Rebecca.

Her antagonists range from the lingering mementos of the dead wife to one strong member of the household who believes Rebecca is irreplaceable. Mrs. Danvers -- the mansion's keeper and head of household may as well be the living haunt of Manderlay. Schemes, and subtle verbal assaults are made by her to make this new wife feel her lack vis-a-vis the dead wife. There is even a point where Mrs. Danvers encourages the new wife to end her sorrow -- go ahead, jump out the window, it's going to be easy, it will be fast. A turning point is where the young wife is made to wear a gown to celebrate the reawakening of Manderlay, encouraged by Mrs. Danvers -- only to realize that this would be one of the biggest mistakes she'll ever make as the new wife of Max de Winter.

Rebecca was made into a film. Lawrence Olivier was to play Max de Winter; and it was produced by David Selznick. It isn't surprising that the young Vivien Leigh -- fresh from her success as Scarlett -- would audition for the part. I have attached a link to that rare screentest here. Copy paste to your internet browser.

Unfortunately, Ms. Leigh, despite her ability to bring Scarlett to life, was not the choice. She was deemed "beautiful" (a contrast to the lead's plain description) and fresh from GWTW, she had not the time to prepare for the role. But she so wanted to play next to her beau, Lawrence. Selznick was said to have explained it to her via mail: that the choice of the lead is just as crucial a manner similar to the choice Scarlett. And it was meticulousness that made Scarlett a success. In effect trying to make her understand and justify the choice not being her. Why if the new wife looked like Vivien, I think the dead Rebecca would have to be even more beautiful.

Perplexing though is the choice which Selznick had for the role: Joan Fontaine -- sister of Olivia de Havilland (a rival of sisters which I think is strange too). For Joan was not really plain (my opinon). Well judge for yourself. Watch the film. The novel is slow with its descriptive narrative, it picks up towards the middle. Not a Grisham novel in pace, but something you'd like to read, curled up on a cold day beside a window. It has to be read slowly. I think the novel was much better than the book -- as is the case most of the time.


Well, let's just say I wish Tonner would do gowns from Hollywood films or heroines from novels: Jane Eyre, Rebecca, Little Women, Sabrina. It would be fun to see those characters interpreted in doll form. Heathcliff and Cathy, Mr. Rochester and Jane Eyre, etc. etc. It would be a good effort to revive interest in the classics.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tribute to Eric Caron's Amazing GWTW miniatures

Among the dearest friends I've found online who has shared his passion for GWTW and crafts is Eric Caron. Sorry Eric! Pardonne moi. I am taking the liberty so share with the rest of the world what you have shared with me. Herewith are fabulous, and amazing miniatures that Eric did when he was still in his younger years (note Eric, "younger years", which means I still consider you young). It is amazing how that at a young age his eye for proportion, symmetry, and scale are at a level that can be considered "expert". Yes Eric, you are an expert at it. Instinct in talent is a rare thing too. A look at these miniatures and you can see, aside from the symmetry, the tone and mood that captures Gone with the Wind. They capture the color of the dress as well as the shrubbery and greenery of Tara.

Take note of Scarlett's ruffled dress and the Tarleton Twins behind. The gown seems to even ruffle with the wind. Notice too, peeping from Tara's window, Scarlett's Mammy: "...why didn't you invite those gempmum for supper?"
Take note too of the green Twelve Oaks gown which captures the color and splashes of detail the dress had.
Amazing too is the simulation of Scarlett's hair and shape of ace.

All are my faves, but my best favorite (if there is ever such a line) is the Tara porch with Scarlett's shadow.
Aside from GWTW, Eric also creates miniatures from his favorite TV show, Little House on the Prarie (mine too!)
I wish you all the best in this endeavour Eric. And I wish that time would be gentle and lend us its hands to dabble into what we love even more than we expect. Similarly to Margaret Mitchell's line, I can only parallel your talent to Tara -- it's the only thing that lasts. Do take care of it my friend, Eric.

"Land is the only thing that matters. It's the only thing that lasts" - Gerald O' Hara (from GWTW by Margaret Mitchell