Shhh. Be a little still…a little quiet. And listen to this story.
"It was a dark and stormy night…" started the woman to weave her story. Abruptly interrupted by two little voices complain about the same start as of late.
"Well, it was dark, and it WAS stormy! Do you want me to change it just because it suits you? Getting completely carried away by propriety are we?" replied the dollmaker, smiting the complaints with one blow.
"But, such rudeness at this hour!. If you are going to keep having fits every time we ask a question, perhaps prudence dictates I tell the story", interjected Little Mori with such self-assertion and satisfaction it was pure joy to witness.
Right then and there, the tiniest little voice cleared her throat. Once, twice, a couple times more. A big set of brown eyes looked at the quarrelling duo, and with flushy red cheeks pleaded for the story to continue, or at least commence.
With renewed friendly vigor, Mori proceeded to tell the story.
"Once upon a time, (yes, yes Winter, I know! You don't have to tell me this is how most stories begin. Be quiet and listen.) As I was saying, once upon a time there lived an old woman in a secluded part of the Black Woods. No man, and hardly any animal, would venture so deep. Darkness almost never left, with the canopy so thick and the floor at least a meter deep in fallen branches and moss. (What now, Winter? Yes. A meter is longer than a yard! But what a question! Don't you go to school or something? Now, be quiet so I can keep telling the story.)".
Such vane interruptions are a common thing for the storyteller. One is trying to pour magic into the spoken word, and heathens dare ask questions. But we continue.
"The old woman loved living here, alone in the darkness. She felt neither lonely nor in any disadvantage whatsoever. She enjoyed the solitude and shortness of her daily walks, clearing bits of the woods around her small cabin. Truth be told, the place was a bit derelict but it was still in standing shape, cozy in the winter and cool in the summer."
(What now? Of course there were seasons in the deep part of the forest. Just because the canopy was thick doesn't mean it never snowed in there or there was no spring. The very idea!. Now be quiet so I can continue telling the story.)
"Nowadays all the hipsters talk about being self-sufficient, back-to-the-land, eating local, sustainability and what not. But the old woman never knew a different way of living. She ate what she grew or harvested from the willingness of the forest which provided with generosity: berries, roots and leaves, tubers and mushrooms, branches and lichens, moss and herbs, bark and even dirt. The old woman lived in perfect harmony with her environment and never needed a thing."
(What do you say? How she managed to make clothes and pots and pans? Well, I dont really know about that! Perhaps she arrived in a caravan long time ago, supplied with bolts of Latvian linen, and skeins of wool. Yes, perhaps she even had a loom and a spindle, knitting needles and whatever else. How about a local blacksmith? But Winter! I told you she lived alone, far away from humanity. No blacksmith to come and knock on the door for tea time. Now be quiet so I can keep telling you the story!).
"The old woman was very busy, waking up before the sun and going to bed shortly after the sun went away. She would sing, and cook, and clean, and forage, and spend her days in merry action (what is this now? what is merry action? blessed activity. Uninterrupted.) She had one little book of poems (yes, yes, her father gave it to her when she was little, before she went to live in the forest) and although she knew every poem by heart, she would read it every night. When she finished the book, she would start back at the beginning".
(What is this now? Of course there were no second-hand book stores. Nope. No amazon either. She lived IN the forest, with no roads and no amenities. Yes, it made for lesser taxes on the property but that has ZERO to do with the story Winter, now please, please be quiet so I can keep telling you this story. I beg of you!).
The dollmaker had a little chuckle. Knitting away yet another doll hood, she thought to herself how much she loved hearing the dolls talk to each other and even their little bickering. At times much, but today quite bearable.
"Well, one delightful morning she woke up. Same as usual, stir the embers, light the fire, put the kettle on. Get out of your night clothes and into your dress. You know the drill. (yes Winter, of course she went to bed in night clothes. EVERYBODY has to go to bed in night clothes. It's the law. What? you don't think it's the law? Well, it has been the law wherever I've lived so I just assume it was written down somewhere important, like the Constitution. What's a constitution? I mean! What do THEY teach at school these days?).
"After she had her first cup of reishi tea (AND dont you start again with your questions. Reishi tea is no invention, and highly medicinal if you must know. What? You weren't going to ask any questions? Alright then. I'll carry on.)."
"As I was saying before the reishi interruption, after she had her morning tea…(no, of course she didn't do her yoga! She didn't even know about yoga! Ah yes…she did exercise, that's why she could live alone in the forest. Top shape you know? But she didn't do any bloody yoga, she just walked…and kept busy…normal stuff).
Another contained chuckle from the dollmaker. She could tell the story was going astray, and Mori was getting a bit flustered by now. Bloody yoga.
"After the early chores, and the night clothes away, and the tea and all the other stuff that I now won't tell you because you are quite an un-sufferable child, she went outside to the garden. Grabbing her basket, always by the door, she could feel the wet earth beneath her boots and the nice light starting to peek in between the trees".
(What? How could she grow a thing in such a deep part of the forest? What kind of edible plant grows in full shade? Hydroponics?? WHAT-EVER are you talking about?!).
(Yes, of course she grew her own food! How else do you expect her to live such a long time alone in the woods? Of course she didn't just grow potatoes and forced asparagus Winter, of course. Would you like it if for the rest of your life you ate only but two things? yes, yes…and reishi tea would make it three. But I HAVE told you she foraged a vast array of edible food from the forest and why do you have to be so contrary anyways? Not contrary, just curious? Well…well…curiosity killed the cat, did you know that?).
The dollmaker interjected feeling the flustered storyteller lose her patience. Deigning to appear a bit more calm than her voice revealed, Mori said she wasn't flustered or bothered by the many questions Winter kept asking. She recounted that this predicament was endured since antiquity by all bards and storytellers, and that she would bear her cross with dignity.
Winter retaliated saying she was no cross, and she wasn't even cross, even though certain people were talking about her like she wasn't even there, and that part of being a human, and a human child, was to ask questions, and that she couldn't help to see many holes in the story and by pointing them out she was only doing Mori a service, by strengthening her craft.
Mori, redder than red, explained that THIS wasn't even her story, that she was just recalling from memory (and with such a good one at that!) a story the dollmaker had told her, and that it certainly wasn't her fault IF the story had a hole or two or several, because it wasn't hers. A story she would have told, from scratch of course, would have no holes. Whatsoever.
Now wait a minute here, you two. If the pickings are poor, sometimes, when I tell you a story, is because time is of the essence and you know that other dolls must be made, and hems sewn, and hoods knit.
Be good wooly girls and let's all calm down, and go into the kitchen, that I smell something good is calling our names. Perhaps it's late, and perhaps we all need to reconvene at the dinner table. How's that?. Pies, and milk, and honey and toast. Let's shuffle our way there and we'll continue hearing "not-Mori's-story" tomorrow.
I have had a lot of fun listening to Mori re-tell stories to Winter, and to almost with certainty, guess the questions the latter will ask her. They are like the parts of a clock these two. Or a pendulum. Or Ying and Yang. Inseparable, but sometimes they suffer each other. With dignity yes.
I am "pleased as punch" (whatever that means) to bring you these two dolls, in the hopes that they find a loving home out there. Both girls are about 19" tall (a bit taller but not quite 20" they said), and they are made in my Petite Fig pattern, which has older-child body proportions. Both dolls are made with cotton interlock and stuffed quite firmly with pure wool, seams sewn twice all around. Their faces have been sculpted with needle-felting techniques, eyes embroidered, cheeks blushed with red beeswax. Mori (the blonde) has Teeswater locks, hand-dyed by me, and wefted by me as well. They can be styled gently but not brushed. Winter (the platinum blonde) has alpaca locks in their natural colour, and have been wefted by me. They can also be finger styled and not brushed.
They both come wearing everything you see in the photos, but you can find a more strict description under the photo of each doll. Carry on.
Mori (patience of a saint) is wearing a long dress made of wool/angora/cashmere repurposed knit, with flounce at bottom and long sleeves with elbow patches. A sewn bib, mother of pearl button and peter pan collar add plenty of design detail to keep her happy She has cotton gauze undergarments in the shape of a full petticoat or slip, with vintage cotton trim at front and old-fashioned bloomers.
She wears a matching set of boots and vest in irish tweed. Both pieces are lined, and the boots have leather ties. The vest has wisps of embroidery and a brass locket.
Mori comes with two hand knit pieces: her fabulous cheapeau and her muff. Both knitted with wool yarns.
Winter (the very observant child with the tiny voice) wears the softest ever pure cashmere dress. This stuff is like clouds. Her dress is long with gathered skirt, long sleeves, leather tag and mother-of-pearl button. She also wears cotton gauze undergarments, a sleeve-less slip with vintage trim and matching old-school bloomers.
Winter has a pair of tall walking boots and a matching vest made in irish tweed. The boots have leather ties and velour soles, and the vest has embroidery details and a brass locket.
Her two hand-knit items were made with wool chunky yarns. A whimsical elfish hat with gigantic tassel, and a cozy muff to keep her hands nice and toasty.
If you would like to bring one (or both) of these girls into your home, please enter your details in the form below. Please only enter if you are personally interested in bringing them home, and not on behalf of someone else. The price for each doll and their clothing is $1350 USD plus postage ($30 US/Canada, $65 International). The form will be up until tomorrow Wednesday December 6th at 9 PM EST, at which time we will take it down and pick names at random for each girl. A Paypal invoice will be sent and payment is due at that time. A care file is sent via email once shipment is made.
- - - THANK YOU ALL. Both Mori and Winter have drawn their lucky numbers and we've notified their new homes. They were so excited to read all the notes to them, and kept asking each other for clues. They are both incredibly lucky in the sense that they will be going to homes where they will be loved and cherished. Dolls couldn't ask for anything else. As for me, I am DEEPLY touched of all the love and kindness you bestowed on my little beauties, how much they spoke to your hearts and how so many of you wanted to bring each one home. Thank you for supporting me, and for opening the doors of your home to the work of my hands. I feel so blessed and grateful!.
Thank you so much for coming here, for looking at them, for your loving comments and enthusiasm regarding my dolls. If you are entering for one (or both) we thank you from the bottom our dolly-making heart!.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to brush up on my storytelling and I must go and tell them a GOOD bed time story or I will never hear the end of it.