Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Betsy Takes Tea...or Goes Clogging!



Betsy and Nosy take tea.
 
My most recent project started out as a fun little quick job, but as usual I had to turn it into more! Don't tell my daughter, but since she loved my Betsy for All Seasons so much I decided to get her some of the sturdier modern Tonner Tiny Betsys for her birthday. I originally purchased this one brand-new in the box, but without her clothes. She was originally Little Lady at Tea and wore a cute blue and white striped dress with a big sash and a crinoline. I got her ready to dress to reduce the cost and started planning clothes to make for her. However, I was recently able to acquire both the Tonner Betsy Snow White and the Ann Estelle Parasol Party (the Chinese doll) for a reasonable cost, so I decided to give her those instead. My daughter, who is Chinese, used to prefer blond dolls, ignoring the Chinese or Asian dolls I went to great lengths to find for her. Recently, though, she has begun to prefer brunette and Asian dolls, so I think she'll like those two better. She also has always loved Snow White (she was Snow White every Halloween for three years until she switched to Ariel) so I know she'll be thrilled with that doll.
 
I already had gathered up my dupioni silk scraps from a flower girl dress I once made my daughter. I must say, I love these tiny dolls because I can make such over-the-top fashions using the finest fabrics. I cut down a vintage Ginny pattern to fit tiny Betsy. So that the dress had that stand-out 50s skirt I attached a HUGE tulle crinoline. I guess because I have lived most of my life here in North Carolina Betsy doesn't look just dressed up to me: I think she looks like a clogger! I used to have several friends who were great cloggers and a big event each year was to go and watch them compete at the State Fair. They always wore dresses with layers and layers of crinoline just like this. I still wish I could clog, mostly just for the dresses!
Betsy's silk dress
 
Clogging, for those of you who don't know, is sort of a combination of tap dance, Irish Riverdance-type dance, and square dance. I think it was brought to North Carolina by Scottish and Irish immigrants, and as far as I can tell, it is unique to this region. I haven't ever heard of it elsewhere. But, then, I am certainly not an expert. I just know I never heard of it until we moved here.
 
The dress reminds me of a clogging costume.
 
This dress has so much hand work and detail it took me probably 6 hours start to finish. That is a LONG time for one of these tiny little things! Then I still had Nosy to sew, so I am into the project about 8 hours, a full day's work.
 
Nosy, Betsy's dachshund
 
I didn't originally plan to include a Nosy, but the idea of a dog wearing a fancy collar and taking tea was just too much cuteness to resist! I decided I had to make one!
 
Nosy wears a collar of Czech glass beads.
 
 
 The "tea cake" is another of those tiny novelty erasers. I wish I could find a tea cup, but I wasn't able to procure one. So, maybe you can pretend Betsy is trying to give up tea and join the Latterday Saints!
 
I can just see Betsy and Nosy displayed in a little doll kitchen in a diorama, or at a little wicker table and chairs set like one I once had for my dolls. This would be a fun doll and dog to play with as well! Another great thing about these tiny Betsys is that they can fit so well into Barbie-size doll houses.
 
Anyway, I'm glad I had fun because I have a crazy day ahead. Today is piano day and speech therapy day on top of all our usual homework, laundry, dinner, etc. I am not feeling great, either. About a week and a half ago I was stung by a wasp and now all of a sudden today I have a hot, stinging, itching big welt around the sting and I don't feel well. This worries me, because a few years ago I was on a business trip in Florida and got some kind of bite on my foot. It started itching like mad and stinging just like this, but because I wasn't at home I just put hydrocortisone cream on it and took  Benedryl and tried to power through it. Within two days my leg had turned black up to my calf and my blood pressure skyrocketed. It turned out I had a system-wide allergic reaction and an infection and I had to be on two antibiotics and a steroid for over 2 weeks! I can't even remember the rest of that conference! So, I am hoping very much not to have my leg turn black again! I just think I am not engineered to withstand the insects and plants of the South!
Sweet Betsy McCall
 


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