Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Paper Doll "Mini" Scene: Sewing with Mercy

The expectant mother-to-be and her cousin, Victoria have been busy making some very cute new baby clothes.

While Victoria has been using her embroidery skills on one sweet little bonnet, Mercy has been adding ruffles and ribbons to a second one.

All of the artwork and downloads in my Paper Doll Collection are copyrighted. I am the copyright holder. Please respect my copyrights by following the red letter Guidelines displayed at the foot of this post. Thank you.

In a sunlit corner of one upstairs room in the new home belonging to Tom and Mercy, a screen (for the blocking of stray drafts) has been positioned over a nice rug. This cosy spot is a temporary one, as the room into which it has been placed is to be redecorated in time for the baby's arrival.

Our cat, lovingly named Miss Beatrix Potter (after the famous author and illustrator of the same name) or "Missy" for short, has taken an interest in all of the to-doings today. No doubt she has tried more than once to play with the skein of yarn which has been laid on the chair.

The treadle style sewing machine has been put to much good use today near one window. Notice the pretty christening gown with its many ruffles and bows. It was customary during the 1800's for babies to be baptized as soon as was thought healthy for both the baby and its mother. Sometimes, a lavish outfit was worn by the new child just for that occasion. We'll see more of this charming gown very soon. Atop it rests a third stylish bonnet, while off to one side rest two pairs of beribboned booties, one pair in blue and one pair in pink. As nobody knows yet whether Tom and Mercy's little bundle of joy is either a girl or a boy, Mercy plans to be prepared for both. There are a few sewing notions alongside the lavender trimmed bonnet. The berry red pincushion holds some of Mercy's sewing pins. A few of her needles are holding her thimble in place, so that these are hidden from view.

Mercy's new outfit is one that she and her very clever grandmother stitched together one week. This is based on a favorite sewing pattern of Mercy's, but this time it was given a discreet new look by being altered to fit her tummy. This sort of maternity wear was really quite common during the 1890's. The sleeves and upper bodice were generally fashionable, while the rest draped rather loosely, fitting as a sort of smock. Her matching purple skirt, likewise, was been altered for an adjustable waistline. Grandmother Lacey is really quite a clever seamstress, so both came out looking pretty as a picture. Both clothing items are also really very comfortable. Don't you think that Mercy looks pretty in them?

Her apron is a handmade gift from her cousin and best friend, Victoria. It is a simple cotton wrapper gathered to a short yoke. This will keep any dust or thread clippings off her nice maternity outfit. For her it is a lovely reminder of her close ties with Victoria. The whole household speaks to her of the love of her family members. Many things were either passed down or otherwise purchased newly in order to help the young couple to make their first home together a pleasant place in which to live.

As for Victoria's outfit, you may recognize its beginnings in the Kitchen Set which I posted fairly recently. This time, instead of a rolling pin, she has her charming embroidery project in one hand. A special gadget called a "sewing chatelaine" is clipped to the waistband of her crisp apron. Notice the little embroidery scissors? And can you spot the splendid needle case? Such gadgets are still a joy for me to handle and use. Though practical, they look almost like special jewelry to me.

Below is a series of 4 Downloads. The Standard did not turn out quite as I had wanted. Of course, this pattern could be altered for use with this project by you. It should fit just enough to hold the little scene upright - that is, as long as card stock or stiff backing is used for the scene and the standard both. Cardboard from a leftover cereal box might do very nicely for this project as well, but you decide. All white background needs to be snipped away from the scene first, of course. From there, your glue stick with some careful positioning should do the trick.

Happy Playtime (or needlework) Creativity!

PPSPlaytime™: Sewing with Mercy
A Mini Scene with Outfits

Download the Scene HERE
Display (with doll)
(lower quality than the downloads)

Download Mercy's Maternity Sewing Outfit HERE

Download Victoria's Sewing Outfit HERE
Display version
(lower quality than the Download)

Download Pattern for Standard HERE
(May require a few small adjustments. You decide)
Display version
(lower quality than the Download)

You are free to:
play with, give or trade
any of the items in this Playtime Set.
You are not free to:
ever sell any of said items
in any form for any reason, even if you alter them.
Thank you
for helping me to
keep free things free!

Friday, January 13, 2017

In the Kitchen with Mercy and Victoria

I had to build this one from the ground up - a real challenge for me! This post includes 1 new room + 1 new outfit for Victoria.

The kitchen is lit by gaslight, not electric lightbulbs, as will be the remainder of Mercy and Tom's first household together as a young married couple. Although there were some places where electric lighting was being used during the 1890's, for many more moderately well off families (mainly middle class) it was considered a high priced luxury.

This project has been on the drawing board now for weeks and weeks. This work has copyrights. Please respect my copyrights by following the red letter Guidelines that are listed at the foot of this post. Guidelines will sometimes vary from post to post, so please read all carefully. Thank you.

How I built this kitchen scene
It began simply enough as a whim for one more room, this time of the more practical sort. The basis for it was actually of much poorer quality than required. The furnishings may have had styles authentic to the place and time, yet the art depicting them made the final effect almost look grimy.

So where to begin? It actually began with me "rebuilding" the entire room as well as refitting it to the dolls.  It felt a little bit like redecorating a real room. New wall coverings got tried, but nothing made me smile until I'd created some new wallpaper in a fetching stripe. The flooring was redone entirely from "scratch," as we say in the U.S. That was a fun project in and of itself. The stove in the basis picture was definitely authentic in that it had been placed inside the older kitchen hearth. Further research showed me how some households with newer kitchens then had slightly larger ranges in niches and nooks decorated with wall tiling.

I finally found just the right range, and then a tiling image I'd been saving for just such an occasion. A few color changes later and the entire kitchen began to be real enough. I added the pretty floral tiles to match the cheery feeling of the wallpaper. The cabinet on the right hand side of the room is actually a kitchen "dresser." We might call it a "buffet" or a "cabinet and hutch" duo. This kind of furniture often was kept and passed on to the next generation, as it was not installed for permanent purposes and so could be shifted from one home to another. This needed a genuine overhaul, and so I used digital "wood veneer." Perspective, shadows, highlighting, and scale (size of each thing in relation to the rest) were among my biggest challenges. I've kept this one on file still in PSD format (unfused, all layers) as a sort of a memory book of the process the project required. The rest of the picture I will explain in the story for you now.

For Some Basic Instructions and Tips on assembling any one of my Paper Doll Rooms, guests may choose to follow the link HERE.

The Story
Victoria had a  little bit of vacation time leftover before her school days were due to resume, and so she has stayed with Mercy in her new home. The two have been very happily busy adding finishing touches to the charming place. Tom had to travel again for his work, so the two have been having an entirely feminine time of it together.

The two cousins have been preparing their favorite selection of sandwiches, salad, soup and desserts. Victoria is ready to finish some of the tidying up, while Mercy has already taken a moment to change into her lovely, comfy teagown. It is Victoria's turn to change into her own cute teagown next, as soon as they move everything from the kitchen into the parlor. Both young women are very hungry after their day's exertions of decorating and tidying up after themselves.

A cook is to be hired in time for the arrival of Mercy and Tom's new baby, along with a general maid of all work to do the extra cleaning. Maids of all work were some of the hardest working women in England during Victorian times. Some middle class households did employ them to do most of the work. If Tom advances quickly enough in his career, then further staff might have to be acquired and a bigger house purchased. For now, we can admire how family members have given Mercy the lovely new range with its bright tile border along with the necessary furniture for this kitchen.

The kitchen has been equipped to keep the household running smoothly. The stove will heat every bit of hot kitchen water that's to be used by the young family.  Notice the big brass tank located on the wall between the stove and the old fashioned scullery sink. (Please don't ask me how such a set up would have worked, for I've no idea) 

Tom and Mercy have been blessed with their very own hot water plumbing for an upstairs bath, too. Though a rarity for many (particularly among more struggling populations), by the time of the story, a number of moderately well off families had just such a modern convenience. Having to lug a tin tub around would not do for a first time mother - at least, that is the general feeling among the three grandparents-to-be.

Mercy's cat looks quite content to sit atop Tom's mother's step stool, doesn't she? She's admirably sleek and healthy looking, a cute kitty. But don't let her sweet face fool you. No adventuresome mouse would ever dare to step foot inside of her kitchen! 

My favorite little detail in this room is one that might get overlooked. It is the bright and shiny copper pot located on top of the range. Such pretty pots were often used for warming the milk necessary for hot chocolate and cocoa. The two cousins plan on having some warming cups of cocoa just before bedtime.

By the middle of March we should see a little bundle of joy with them in this loving home. More rooms will hopefully be ready to be revealed between now and then, as well as some new clothing for the papa-to-be.

Happy Playtime Creativity!

PPSPlaytime™: A New Kitchen for Mercy

(lower quality than the downloads)

Download Upper Left HERE
Download Upper Right HERE
Download Lower Right HERE
Download Lower Left HERE

Display of Before and After
(I really did try to fit a window into my final room. 
It just wouldn't fit well enough to scale with the dolls and their furniture.)

PPSPlaytime™: Victoria's New Kitchen Outfit

Download HERE
Display version 
(lower quality than the download)

You are free to:
play with or give or trade
either the room or the outfit
for my doll collection in this set.
You are not free to:
ever sell it for any reason
to alter it and then 
publish it as your own creation.
Please continue to help me to
keep free things free!
Thank you

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