Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Hitty's Bedroom

This is the first entry for my blog about my dolls. I finished constructing the roombox for my Hitty's bedroom, and wanted a place to post pictures of it and described it.

The original Hitty was a 6-1/4" peg wooden doll bought from an antique shop by Rachel Field and Dorothy Lathrop in the 1920's. They then collaborated on a story of Hitty's life, beginning from the time when she was first carved up until her sojourn in the antique shop. In the story, which of course is fiction, Hitty has many marvelous adventures and mishaps, sharing the worlds of several little (and not-so-little) girls. The book, Hitty: Her First Hundred Years, was awarded the John Newbery Medal in 1930. The original Hitty now resides in the Sturbridge, MA library, together with some of her actual possessions.

I have three Hitty dolls, named Faith, Hope, and Charity. Hitty Faith is a DRC-Hittykins resin pegged doll, who I think comes the closest to looking like the original Hitty of any doll I've seen. Faith has several dresses copied from the Lathrop illustrations. Hitty Hope is a resin doll by Susan Sirkis. Hope is presently rather naked (as in totally), but eventually she will be dressed as a bride in a dress replicating that made by the Larraby sisters. Finally, Hitty Charity is a still-to-be-put-together Gail Wilson kit. She will be dressed in replicas of the illustration in the Wells/Jeffers rewrite of Hitty. Faith, Hope and Charity all plan to share the space in the Hitty roomboxes. The bedroom is shown below. There will soon be a sitting room as well as a wardrobe room.

Here's Hitty's bedroom. Some of the furnishings were made with Gail Wilson kits (available at gailwilsondesigns.com). I made the roombox out of 1/2" foamcore board. The box is 20" wide, 12" high and 12" deep. The upper walls are covered in a Gail Wilson print fabric, the lower walls in miniature wood bead board, and the floors covered in dollhouse real random-width wood flooring, which I stained Colonial brown. Originally, I planned on building a wood cabinet to hold this and two other foamcore roomboxes for Hitty. However, the roomboxes ended up on open shelving, so I finished the outside with miniature clapboard siding, painted slate gray.

The four-poster bed is a GW kit. I made two pillows, rather than one. The first quilt that I made for it, using the fabrics that came in the kit, was a disaster. So the quilt on the bed was made with fabrics from my stash. Both the original Hitty and the Hitty in Field's book had a four-poster bed. The little whale rug at the foot of the bed is an exact copy of the original Hitty's whale rug (but probably not the same size). I downloaded a photo of the original whale rug, resized and straighten the image, and then printed it out on fabric to use as a template for punch-needling the rug. The colors are the same as those in the photo of the original rug.

The original Hitty had her own little peg-wooden doll. My Hitty's peg-wooden, seen in the previous photo, is another GW kit, together with the little pouting chair in which she sits and the little bed against the wall. When I opened the kit, I was dismayed to find that the little doll was just a blank, which I needed to carve, peg together and paint. I managed that, but thank goodness the head is left as a sphere! The little peg-wooden is just 2" tall. In the book, Hitty went on a sea voyage and one of the sailors made her a little blue trunk in which to put her possessions. I made the little trunk from scratch. It was one of my first endeavors, and took much trial and error. The original Hitty's summer quilt was a cotton made in a variation of the log cabin pattern. The little quilt on the wall in my Hitty's bedroom is a GW kit.

The little sampler on the back wall says "Bless this house". It is a kit from HiJinx (www.hijinx.co.nz), and comes complete with the frame to put together. The original Hitty had a winter quilt made of dark-colored hexagons. I made a grandmother's flower garden quilt out of pastel pinks and lavenders instead. It rests on a quilt rack built from scratch.

The little washstand was built from scratch and has a working drawer. The towel hanging from the towel rod has hemstitching and lace, which is just barely visible in the photo.

The sewing table next to the bed also was scratch-built and has a working drawer. Right now the drawer holds Hitty's jewelry: a pearl necklace and a spare coral bead necklace. The spoolstand on the sewing table, the ladderback chair, and the Shaker sewing box are all from GW kits, as is the sampler on the wall. The batiste curtains are hung on real brass curtain rods that were made for 1:12 dollhouses, but work well here. The window is an actual working window, so that Hitty can occasionally get a breath of fresh air.

Well, that is Hitty's bedroom thus far. I keep rearranging the furniture, and am considering finding things to put on the side walls to the back of the windows. I'm not sure that the room needs more things on the wall, though. I don't want the room to get too cluttered looking. From what they tell me, Hitty Faith, Hope and Charity all value simplicity. They appear to be Transcendentalists, emulating Thoreau.


missvandroo said...

This is just gorgeous! You did a wonderful job. Thanks for sharing!

Ashleigh said...

What a beautiful room! Love all the little details you've put into it. Can't wait to see what other rooms you do.

Becca said...

I so enjoyed seeing your wonderful Hitty home! Please keep us up to date on your Hittys!