Friday, May 11, 2012

Remembering our good mothers

 I've read you cannot really understand a person unless you understand their mother.  I'm assuming they means a good mother; and to that I would agree.  For who among us with a good mother has not felt her loving influence in a thousand different ways throughout the years. 

When you're young she's busy teaching and preparing you with all the things you'll need when you go out into the world.  She takes the time to gently remind you to study, and always offers to lend a helping hand.  She watches every play, recital, choral, or other type performance you're involved in, and is quick to tell you how good you were  even when you know you were not.  Shots get taken, mumps are suffered, knees are bandaged, and a thousand other tasks are taken care of by Mom even before she puts that evening meal on the table.

Sundays have always been mini celebrations.  After church, a big spread would magically appear on the table - after all, you never knew who might drop by and mother wasn't about to turn anyone away.  She adopted this habit from her own mother - because it was always a sure thing that grandmother, a mother of 10, always had someone extra at her table, but no one was ever turned away.  It was little things you're taught along the way that make you gentle and caring today.

As we venture out on our own we're never left feeling alone.  No, we've been armed with self-confidence and determination from a woman who has these same traits.  She always has a moment during her busy day to call us just to say hello; she hurries to the post office just to send a greeting saying she cares.  And when we are together again, special moments are shared. 

She understands all about childbirth so we don't have to go through it clueless.  She's there to help you through labor and later dotes on her grandchild just as she did with you.  She's a chronic historian who has recorded every conceivable important moment you had, and doesn't hesitate to start this process all over for your child.  Yes, she is as determined in her job as grandmother as she is at being a mother.

 Yes, it's wonderful to revel in the joy of having a good mother.  There are writers, painters, and other artists who gain fame and notoriety with their beautiful works.  However, to me, motherhood is the most beautiful of all the arts, and the greatest of all professions.  Who else can exert such an influence long after she is gone by successfully raising good children who succeed and become those writers, painters, and artists of her tomorrow. Therefore, I guess you could say a mother's value is measured, in part, by how we learned her lessons, apply them and go out into the world and achieve. 


No I wasn't perfect, that's for sure.  I made mistakes and did a few things I wouldn't find appropriate to write home about, but hopefully I "recovered" early enough from my sometimes misspent youth to celebrate the beautiful woman I was fortunate enough to have as my mother.  The many things she did for me, the wisdom she shared, and all the times she was there when I needed her are well remembered.  It helps me to know deep down how much she really cared.

I make no judgements here, but only say kindly if you have the opportunity and feel you had such a good mother, be sure to embrace that, visit her, and give her a simple I love you if that is possible.  Or pick up the phone and let her know you think of her, too.  As we go speeding through the realities of every day life sometimes we become so busy we don't do these things; we reason she will know we love her and don't give it much thought.  But on
this one special day that good mother won't tell you this, but she's secretly listening for your footsteps at the door, or the phone to ring.  Give her some time, and if you are a lucky child of a good mother, I hope you will be delighted to find that time will become special to you, too.

And for those of us not fortunate enough to visit our mothers who have left us, maybe we can sit down during her special day and take time to remember the Mother's Days we were able to share.  It is a good time to get out that scrapbook or letters and cards left behind and revel in the experience that goes silently and beautifully with us every day of our lives.  And resolve to remember her legacy, and to continue to be a person who makes it clear to the world that your mother was a success.

Yes, I do wax nostalgically sometimes as this special time comes around, but I think that's only natural.  I know some of our shop owners did as well as they prepared to present their special cards to all the good mothers and good people in general who make up our audience.  We hope you will enjoy our presentation, and will have a beautiful Mother's Day in your own way.

This adorable spring sheath is just in time as a lovely gift for your favorite mom for Mother's Day. It has been designed by Karen Daniel of Xxtra Fashionable  for the 16" diva in your life. The dress is fully lined with a back placket closure with 3 snaps. The matching belt has a tiny silver buckle to close. The natural sinamy wide brimmed hat also has a matching hat band. The hat features 3 red satin ribbon roses, 2 feathers, a white pearl heart to show how much you love her, and a few wraps of red ribbon to top it off. A visit to Karen's shop is a treat!   

For my tribute to my Mom this Mother’s Day, I have an outfit entitled “Knitting Lesson.”  I recently took up knitting, a craft my Mom has been enjoying for many years. To make this cardigan, I took a lesson from my Mom on how to create the cable pattern, which is used on the front sections of the sweater.  The sweater is constructed of a soft, pale pink acrylic yarn.  I have paired the cardigan with a skirt and head band that are constructed from a fabric with an all over tiny floral print in various shades of pink. Be sure to see all the pictures of Denise's Mother's Day tribute at her shop, Deni Doll Designs on CDS' Main Street. 

This is a perfect suit for the perfect day for this "Iconic Mom."  She's elegant in this smart suit made in a silver pink suiting fabric that is fully lined. The jacket is closed in the front with snaps closures and pink tiny clear buttons. The straight skirt is cut on the grain, and closes like the jacket. Her felt purse is enchanced with beads, and a necklace and earrings complete this ensemble.  The entire set by Rozy Bazile can be seen in her shop, Atelier de Rosy. 

  Mother's Day is also celebrated by Mother Nature in her own way, with her adoring little creatures by her side. In celebration of all our Mothers, Gayle Chavez created this OOAK  for the SD size doll.  It includes lace, embroidery and a lined bustier, Taffeta crinkle skirt with attached tulle slip is looking sharp.  Sleeves are removable, and what Mother would not enjoy a pair of lace trimmed bloomers? Oohlalaz wishes A Happy Mother's Day to all you lovelies.

Wouldn't  your Mother just  love receiving this dupioni silk coverlet with beaded trim along with a large pillow and neck roll.  Bed and accessories are not included.   This set is custom made to fit your bed, and  more pillows can be made to your specifications.  Happy Mothers Day from  Anna Castanes, Somethings Old, Somethings New

Lierre, a MSD size ball jointed doll (BJD) by JakzJewelz, is modeling a pale yellow eyelet dress with an attached ruffled petticoat designed and made by Connie Casteel specifically to grace her Mother's Day Card.  Completing the ensemble are stockings, bloomers and a delightful bonnet.  This ensemble will fit other MSD dolls with a body size similar to the Volks MSD body. You'll want to visit Sweet Creations to check out all the fashions available there - there's usually a nice inventory.

New at Facets!  Wigs in a tiny size 3 for the tiny sweetheart Amelia Thimble.  Currently we have 10 styles of synthetic mohair custom manufacturer, and each one comes in from 3 to 5 different colors.  They are economical and look so sweet that you'll want to treat your Mom (or yourself) with several for this sweet little doll.  Be fickle - collect blonde, brunette and a  red head - your Amelia will thank you for it.  Visit Marcia's great shop, chock full of special doll items, today.

Hot off the presses is the Regency pattern for several dolls including Ellowyne, Tyler, Evangeline resin and
 vinyl, and for the 58cm Bjd SD dolls. Here's what Ellowyne thought about it when I caught up with her recently.  Ellowyne said, "I feel like I'm channeling the influence of the 1800’s in my new, delicate regency gown made from the latest  Designs by Jude pattern.  This is really a unique new offering from Tamara Casey, complete with a low squared neckline, gathered bodice and small puffed sleeves. This dress has a soft overlay and separate skirt, and I love it.  I'll bet your special Ellowyne or other darling doll would, too.  Evangeline automatically comes to mind - she loves wispy wonders like this one.  Walk, don't run, to Designs by Jude!" 

Gene looks great in this two piece hand-knit outfit. Both pieces are made with pearl cotton. The halter top chevrons to the center with alternating cables and ribs, and the skirt has a diamond knit pattern.  The halter is a new, original design from Two Cats Designs' owner,  Carl Wichman and a little bird whispered to me that he plans on having the pattern available soon.   This fresh design will fit Gene, Ellowyne, and Tyler sizec dolls. The hip, saavy Mom would look great going out in this summery outfit!  

Mother’s Day should include some time for Mom to enjoy a little R&R. What better way than for Mom to watch some TV while relaxing on this modern chaise? This delightful furniture piece is covered in red dupioni silk, and has an attached head pillow. Measuring approximately 12” long, 9” tall, and 4.5” wide it is the perfect fit for your 1:6 scale fashion doll.  This chaise and the other fine furniture at JC Dream Designs are all designed and manufactured by John Prewitt.  You'll want to  stop by and see a full set of pictures of this chaise as well as his art prints and other items ideal for decorating your dioramas.

Okay, my lovelies, we hope you've  enjoyed our cards, and you'll enjoy a special Mother's Day.  We'll have no more presentations on our blog now till mid-June but, of course, all the shops of CDS will be open just as they are year-round.  

We are going to convention, working on our inventory, sprucing up our shops, welcoming new members, and preparing a HUGE presentation you won't want to miss.  Let's just say you'll be under our spell when we cast out our next group of fashions for your viewing (and buying) pleasure. 

You'll want to mark your calendars, join our first to know group, become a follower of this blog, or do anything necessary to remember to join us then - our next Happening is a must see!!   And don't forget to check out your fave shops this weekend.  I 've heard a rumor there are more new fashions available at CDS that you haven't seen here!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Red, White, and a little Blue over You!

Americana style can be explained simply as a study of or a collection of items related to the history, geography, folklore and cultural heritage of the United States.  However, all of the shop keepers of Couture Doll are not from the USA; in fact we're international.  Therefore, in order to solicit the most participation in an Americana challenge our manager had to make this topic appealing to the majority.

The common denominator of most of the shop owners is that they deal in fashion.  Specifically they sew, knit, design, and develop patterns so they and others can make clothing for their own special dolls and for resale.  So this is how the Americana Happening developed.

First of all, the culture of the people of America includes the clothing they wear, so our affinity for making clothing fit in.  Next, many of us are influenced by certain fashion designers.  It seemed natural, therefore, to ask the CDS designers to take their inspiration from an American designer to make a similar, but not a copy of a garment that inspired them. To make this outfit they would need to study their designer's work, and to try to capture the "essence" of what makes their fave's designs popular. In this way the CDS designers would breathe life into an outfit they created WITHOUT totally relying on their mentor's work. 

What most of us were surprised to find out is that there are many designers who have not only "adopted" America as their homeland but have also embraced it as their country of origin for their design work.  It was, therefore, decided that our focus for an influence was to be on American fashion designers who were so classified - whether they were born here or not.

These were the names of some designers they could consider: Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang, Oscar de la Renta, Calvin Klein, Kate Spade, Ralph Lauren, Anna Sui, Donna Karan, Todd Oldham, Bill Blass, Tommy Hilfiger, Betsy Johnson, and one of our own fashion dollers, Jason Wu, who, of course is a fashion designer, too.  That's not to say these are the only designers who could be used.  If a CDS designer chose to pick another American designer, they would merely need to show their artist's intent to be an American designer, and then that designer could be accepted, too.  All designers had to submit a picture of their chosen designer’s work to show how they were influenced to do their Americana design.

But that was not to be all; as in many of our Happenings there was a twist:  Each entry had to be in Red White or Blue or a combo of 2 or 3 of the colors; and they must also be Summer items.  And if that weren't enough, each CDS designer had to name a specific item of clothing they would do at the onset; choosing from items ranging from a bathing suit to the show stopper with other interesting topics in between.  It was hoped by offering up an array of specific articles of clothing, with an obvious common thread of color, the audience would be clear that these designers had put together a collection without the benefit of seeing what the other designers were working on until the final curtain came up.  Finally, the complete Americana Happening was outlined!!

After this Happening was revealed completely a lot of the designers liked it, and felt Couture Doll, our unique international dolly mall, had a topic at least some would choose to work with.  This is no different than our other Happenings, of course; we never have had a topic that suits each and every shop owner.  As word reached the CDS designers about this unique Happening, those that were interested read the requirements, signed up, and began to assemble their equipment and material for another one of our set of requirements that would help inspire them to push the limits of their art abilities.  Yes, being a CDS merchant is a busy life, but it's also challenging and one that is fun.  Come along with me and I'll introduce you to the artists and the fashions that were finally accomplished and make up our Summer 2012 Americana collection.  The pictures are small on our blog post, it's true, but each shop's link is included so you can go over and look at their bigger, clearer pictures.

Hostess gown by Kevin Kilmer

His design is titled "Long May She Wave" and it is made in two parts.   The bodice and half peplum are one separate piece from the Red sequined pants.  The bodice is made from a silver micro sequined material with a blue satin half peplum.  It's a versatile, modern take on a cocktail hostess gown, sure to be at home at a chic party or some Hollywood red carpet events. His inspiration came from Claire McCardell, a designer from the 40s who was inspirational in making this type gown popular. Be sure to visit his shop, CLICKDESIGNSbyKEVIN

 Bathing suit by Larraine Elcock

Liv is celebrating an Americana tradition and will be ready for fireworks on the 4th of July in her patriotic red, white, and blue swimsuit and cover up.  The swimsuit is made of cotton, and the cover up is silk rayon.  Larraine, who is one of our international shop owners who hails from Canada, found inspiration for this outfit came from Jason Wu's Summer 2012 Collection.  Visit FringeElements to see more.

 Casual pant suit by Karen Kolkman

Another Canadian designer, Karen's took inspiration from Kate Spade -- well known for her handbags, raincoats, cool outfit names, and accessories, because she finds Spade's designs to be bold, clean and crisp.  It's titled "It's in the bag" and includes white stretch plastic skinny pants inspired by Kate's Broome street jeans collection. This outfit is appropriate for most 16" fashion dolls.  Side seams are top stitched like jeans, and pants have working front pockets with elastic waist for a perfect hip hugging fit.  The navy knit sleeveless jersey style top with sheer lace bottom is perfect for a warm summer day. It is also accessorized with a designer shoulder bag with stainless color buckles. A white plastic short raincoat with knit collar and cuffs tops it all off.  A bold silk print scarf completes the summer look whether it's white hot heat or a light summer rain.  Find both casual and formal wear at Kolkman Kreations.

 Tea dress with hat by Pat Stoughton

"Take Tea with Liberty" is the title of Pat's outfit.  Magdalena is wearing a deep navy blue and white pima cotton shirtwaist dress that is fully lined.  The deep-red satin belt sports a bit of daring with a red and white flower at the waist.  There are tiny red-and-white polka-dot bows at the heel of the red pumps.  The hat is a simple one made from a deep-red pima cotton fabric.  Shirtwaist dresses have been around for more than 40 years.  However, Pat finds Ralph Lauren is the designer who has the closest modern day designs for tea dresses; she feels his designs are simple, yet elegant.  Visit Petite Moonbeams.

  Bridesmaid by Mary Watson

Always a Bridesmaid and never a Bride?  Who cares when you are wearing this gorgeous bridesmaid dress inspired by the “White by Vera Wang” Collection.   Mary Watson of Green ThreadDesign Studio created this dress from a beautiful red silk crepe de chine.  It has a raw edged bias cut belt that ties into a large bow in back.  The front of the belt is accented with large, raw edged, bias cut roses.  A wonderful look for a summer wedding! 

 The Bride by Elisa Cetera
A summer bride would be glorious in this Vera Wang inspired silk organza, beaded gown with blue silk ribbon sash, by Elisa Cetera.  This gown is fully-lined and hand beaded with tiny iridescent glass beads.  It will come complete with floral hair arrangement and bouquet of white roses with blue forget-me-nots.  This gown, as well as many other fabulous creations can be found at PetraElise.

 Business pant suit by Rosy Bazile

Rosy choose a Bill Blass Fashion for her business suit.  It's called "Belle au Travail" and will come direct to you from Paris, France; Rosy is one of our international shop owners.  She chose to use a patchwork cotton for the fully lined jacket, a poplin for the top which is fully lined too, and a linen for the pants.  L'Atelier de Rosy is always ready to greet you at Atelier de Rosy.

 Business suit by Terry Barner

Terry Barner of Off The Wall by Terrkat, created this Americana inspired business suit from dupioni silk in red, white, and blue.  It is fully lined in white fabric, and features pleated side panels and cuffed sleeve.  She is clearly a born leader in this design inspired by Donna Karan's Fall 2012 line, and we are always lucky when Terry can join in one of our challenges - especially since he is now so busy in his new position as a designer for Horsman Ltd.! 

 Date night by Gayle Chavez

"Evening Sail" is perfect for a date night out on the ocean.  What could be better than cruising in prim and proper attire, at first donning the jacket. then later ready to dance the night away?  Leaving her jacket behind will also show off the sexy halter style design.  Fabric used is a delicate pinstriped stretch denim that has been lined in white and adorned with a white crochet appliqué.  It is beaded just at the bust line, and was inspired by the wonderful designs of Oscar de la Renta.  Taking the time to visit Gayle of Oohlalaz always reveals some treasures.

 A Night at the Opera by Peggy Burney

Peggy's sheath evening dress is made of red silk dupioni lined in white china silk .  It features both a thigh-high slit in front and a zipper closure in back.  It is embellished with hand applied white silk flowers enhanced with royal glitter.  The inspiration was the very feminine gowns designed by Austin Scarlett.  Peggy Burney's Creative Couture is the place for all this designer has to offer.

The Show Stopper by Elizabeth Fenton

Oscar de la Renta was the inspiration for this beautifully designed gown.  Elizabeth chose his design sense to emulate because they are not only classic and so gorgeous, but because the fabrics are so exquisitely embellished.  The particular design that inspired this gown was a beautiful floral embellished suit from his Spring 2011 RTW collection.   Our Show Stopper is a mermaid style, strapless gown, and shrug ensemble. The gown is cut from off-white embroidered silk organza over egg shell taffeta. The organza overlay is embellished with blue ribbon embroidery, tiny sequins and glass beads. The navy blue shrug (not shown) is cut from silk taffeta with ruffles at the sleeve and neckline.  To see this complete ensemble you need only visit Nasha's Doll Boutique.

And that concludes our fashion show.   Everyone at Couture Doll hopes you enjoyed it, and that you will visit our dolly mall  any time you need to add something to your doll's wardrobe.   And be sure to return next Friday when we will be featuring our Mother's Day Cards!