The second accessory is the muff itself, which I made from minky fabric. There is no fur, real or imitation, that looks in scale on a 12" doll. I tried and I tried, but it doesn't work. Then I found minky, which looks somewhat like beaver fur on Annabelle. My difficulty was that I couldn't find minky in a golden brown. I hunt for a couple of years, and finally decided that Annabelle gave her muff a dye job, and it is now dark brown.
The third accessory is Annabelle's head gear, which is a type of winter bonnet worn in the 18th and 19th centuries, called a calash. Human-size calashes were designed fit over the elaborate hairstyles that ladies wore and then to fold up for storage. Annabelle-size calashes fit over her hair, but do not fold up.
The umbrella needed to be recovered to become a parasol. I removed the original cover, rescuing all 8 of the little end caps that held the cover onto the frame. I then sewed 8 pie-shapes of cotton batiste into a circle for the cover. It took several attempts to get the right size and proportion of pie shapes. It doesn't work to just cut out a circle of cloth and poke a hole in the middle, because the grain of the fabric needs to run around the outside of the cover, or else when stretched, four segments will be on the bias and will pull funny. The edge of the cover was trimmed with gathered white val lace. I also made a very tiny little white strap with a buckle for holding the parasol closed.
The illustration for "Q for her quilt" only shows Annabelle's head, covered by a nightcap. I don't have a doll bed that fit and didn't want to buy one, as I'd have no place to store it. So I decided to have Annabelle sit with her quilt on a little bench. As more of Annabelle would show in this scenario than just her head, she would need a nightgown. I made her a simple one from white batiste. I did, however, make teeny tiny handworked buttonholes for all 7 of the buttons down the front. In the illustration, there are a pair of slippers peeping from under the bed. Only the back of the slippers show, so I was free to design the fronts. I made the slippers out of white flannel, with hard soles. I embroidered little rose buds, patterned after the roses in one of Tasha Tudor's borders, on the slippers.
The dancing dress itself presented several challenges. Throughout the Annabelle project, I'd put challenges for which I didn't yet have a solution in the back of my head, to cogitate on. One of the challenges of this dress was how to do the trim. I ended up by ruching YLI silk ribbon around the neckline and sleeve cuff. Then I went back over the ruching and stitched strands of lavender embroidery floss down the middle, to simulate ribbon through beading. The same treatment was used at the top of the ruffle, with wider silk ribbon. The dress itself was made with Farmhouse Fabric's Swiss muslin, which made a frothy delight of a dancing dress.
In the "U for her umbrella" illustration, Annabelle is wearing a coat very similar to the one she wore in "M for her muff," except that the trim on that coat was a golden brown (or just gold), while in "U for her umbrella," the trim is black. Buggers! In the "U for her umbrella" illustration, the coat is also worn over something that has a green and blue plaid skirt. I decided to let the coat trim remain gold (seeing as it was already gold). There was nothing that Annabelle had that came close to being a blue and green plaid, so I made her a Black Watch plaid skirt, which she wore with the guimpe from the "D for her dresses" lavender striped outfit.
The basket itself is an achievement for me, as I have never before done any basket weaving. I googled the topic and found an article on making miniature baskets (the 1:12 scale size). I learned that first I needed a mold over which to weave the basket. I scoured my house for something with the shape that I wanted and finally found a cologne bottle that was basically an orb with a slightly flat bottom. First I made a mold of the bottom half of that bottle, using Amazing Mold Putty. It is a type of epoxy that sets in 20 minutes to become a bright yellow rubbery mold. I then filled the mold with air-dry clay (the only type of clay that I had on hand at the time) and waited for it to dry. I finally stuck it in the toaster oven at a low temperature to help hasten the drying time. Once it was solid enough to use, I could begin the basket weaving. The spokes of my basket were made of hat wire; the weaving was done with waxed linen thread. If you click on the picture to enlarge it, you'll see that the basket has a waxy appearance. The weaving pattern was the simplest possible, but I did put a braid of the linen thread around the top edge, as well as attaching handles. I was very pleased with how the basket turned out.
With "Z for her zither," we come to the end of the alphabet. The pink gingham dress makes its first official appearance since "A is for Annabelle," so it was both the first dress and the last dress in the book. The zither is my master creation. The light colored wood is basswood, which was used for the top and back of the zither. The darker brown wood is real mahogany, which isn't prohibitively expensive when buying sheets of it for miniature work. The fretboard is a piece of basswood colored black with a Sharpie. It worked! The wood is black like ebony, and up close the grain of the wood can still be seen. The frets are silver-colored wire. I carved little channels across the fretboard in which to glue the frets. The pegs that hold the strings are the tops of toothpicks from Cracker Barrel and the strings themselves are simply white sewing thread. Here is a close-up photo of the zither:
This was a wonderful project to undertake. It needed creativity, ingenuity, patience and perseverance. One of the photos that I took of Annabelle while I was making her is dated 2008, so the project took 7 years to complete. Of course I did a lot of other things during that 7 years. For one thing, my house has a lot more dolls in it now than it did 7 years ago. I am glad that I started the Annabelle project and I am glad that I finished it. All of Annabelle's things fit neatly into her trunk. She spends her days on the table next to the couch, where she and I can chat in the evenings. I enjoy looking at her, as she has a sweet countenance. And so . . .
The project is done,
And this is the end.