Monday, March 17, 2014

Cissy Celebrates Saint Patrick's Day

Lovely Cissy is all dressed to attend up Saint Patrick's Day services. Cissy's auburn curls, green eyes, and creamy porcelain complexion clearly show she's an Irish lass, so it's appropriate I finished her today. Besides working on Cissy, I've been cooking all day... actually, all week. This year I decided to cure my own brisket to make nitrate-free corned beef, so I started brining the brisket about a week ago using this recipe I found on Pinterest:

I left the pink salt, or sodium nitrate, out. Although this Web site says the nitrate contributes to the distinctive flavor, that's not true. The spices provide the flavor. The sodium nitrate just colors the meat its distinctive pink. It used to help preserve the meat, but we don't need that in this age of refrigeration. As nitrates are now widely believed to cause cancer, I decided we could do without! I also added 4 whole star anise to the spice mix for a hint of licorice flavor.

I started boiling the beef for New England Boiled Dinner around 2:30 this afternoon and finished the meal around 6:30. The beef was falling apart! I noticed the flavor was not only fabulous, but the home-cured brisket is much less fatty than the store-bought kind and cooked down far less, so it's much more economical as well as healthier.

It's just a miserable day today. It's been sleeting since this morning (naturally, since our long-awaited rhubarb just came up) and now we are having freezing rain. The forecast calls for "freezing fog" tonight, the first time I've ever heard of that, so I guess it will be a good night to work on dolls for my store!

This Cissy doll came in a large doll lot I purchased last year. Although she was dirty and nude, she's the nicest Cissy I've ever had! Her Titian hair is still largely in its original set, with hair pins intact. Although her hair really needed a wash I didn't want to take it out of its set, so I just dabbed a mixture of water and fabric softener over the set part to clean it. The back had fallen out of its pins, so I set that part on perm rods and used the thermal set method using hot water, which I described in my last post. I will say, the dust over the doll's hair has dulled its red sheen. The hair in back where I was able to thoroughly wash it shows its color more.

Still, Cissy's lovely locks are truly set off by her navy dress. I chose to dress her in outfit #2141 from 1957. This set came on the blond Cissy I have now dressed in the aqua 2021 theater set. I switched the outfits because I thought this one suited my redhead Cissy better.

The dress has a spot on the skirt.

The original panties needed lots of repair.

This dress isn't in the greatest shape. Someone ironed it on too high a heat so it's all shiny and the bodice has a faded spot right in front. There's also a light spot on the skirt. Cissy's original satin panties were full of holes, which I repaired, and they suffered the same fate as the dress, being ironed until stiff and shiny. Luckily, a ruffled organdy caplet came with the dress and helps hide the flaws in the bodice and the dress hides the panties. The caplet had one small tear on  the side, which I repaired.

The caplet needed a repair.

Originally, Cissy #2141 also wore white fingerless gloves, a chatelaine jeweled watch pinned at the waist, a rhinestone bracelet, pearl drop earrings, and a white hat trimmed with white flowers, as well as undergarments and shoes. None of those were present, so I made and gathered  my own.

I made hose and garters and added a vintage necklace and new shoes.

A while back I purchased a lot of items described as "unmarked Cissy things". Some of these are definitely Madame Alexander and others are not. The lot contained this pearl drop pendant strung on a navy ribbon. It's a perfect match to the dress, so I added it to the ensemble. I don't know if it's Madame Alexander or not. Then I gave Cissy a Madame Alexander rhinestone ring originally worn by a Jacqueline face doll. I added modern replacement shoes.

A handmade chatelaine watch.

Searching my jewelry-making supplies I was happy to find a watch face similar to Cissy's original. This is a watch charm, not a real working watch. I made a chatelaine watch by attaching the charm to a pin back with a handmade chain. Then I glued vintage rhinestones over the pin back to finish it. I'm very pleased with the result; it looks a lot like Cissy's original watch!

Then I decorated an unused vintage straw hat with vintage-look flowers and tulle for Cissy. The tulle is enhanced with Swarovski crystals. I made a navy satin bag with a plastic crystal flower to match the hat. This has a silver-tone chain strap to match Cissy's watch.

After this I made a tiered white lace slip with tulle underlay, nylon stockings, lace garters trimmed with ribbons and glass beads and navy sequins, and white lace fingerless gloves. I'm really happy with all these except the slip. I didn't use a pattern because I've made a thousand of these Can-Can slips, it seems, but on its own the slip looks amateurish and weird. For some reason, this one just didn't turn out. However, the slip makes the dress skirt stand out beautifully and looks lovely if you let the lace peek out under the skirt, so I am including it. You aren't likely to display Cissy in her slip, anyway!

This early Cissy doesn't have pierced ears and her hair covers them anyway, so she doesn't need earrings. Her hair is glued down over the back of her head where her Alexander mark would be, but she's obviously an authentic Cissy. Cissy's face paint is gorgeous, and with the exception of refreshed cheek blush, all original.

Cissy did need a few eyelashes replaced on both eyes. She had a tiny split on the inside of one knee. I was able to fix this so it's almost invisible, thanks to the Dremel tool my husband gave me! She had another tiny split starting inside one hip socket. I repaired that with epoxy and didn't even paint it because you can only see it if you pull the leg out of the socket. Cissy's original bands are all nice and tight so I left them intact. Cissy had one tiny chip in the paint on her back which I painted over and she has two circle in the paint on one shoulder where it looks like a bubble formed in the factory paint and then popped. Cissy didn't even need blush one her hands! She's clearly a well-cared-for doll!

The repair to the knee is almost invisible!

The hip joints have typical paint scraping.

If only all Cissy restorations could be this quick and easy! I really enjoy designing and making the costumes and accessories, and this time I could really focus on that instead of repairing the doll herself. Then again, I do enjoy bringing disheveled dolls back to life, as I will with my third Cissy. Keep watching this blog and my store for Cissy number three:

Paint bubbles made circles; a factory flaw.


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