About Blog Title...

As a child, it was one of my greatest delights to visit my grandparents in the spring when the whip-poor-wills began to call. Grandma and Grandpa lived in a remote valley of the Ozark Mountains where there were trees a plenty, and, seemingly, a whip-poor-will, or two, in each one.
My grandmother insisted that a whip-poor-will's call was not "whip-poor-will," but instead, "chip-butter-white-oak." I would listen really hard trying to hear it exactly as she said it was, but all I could hear was "whip-poor-will, whip-poor-will,..." But, I never let on to her.
I remember my grandpa watching and listening, with an amused look on his face, to one of these listening sessions. Shortly after that he began to call me, just for fun, "Chip Butter." It is a name I am proud to wear for I still love to hear that long, lonesome call on a warm summer's eve. And, sometimes, when I listen really, really hard, it seems I can hear quite clearly, "chip-butter-white-oak, chip-butter-white-oak..."

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Dressed in Rags...

There were three of them, really just rags torn from an old linen shirt, and just perfect for experimentation in the dye pot.  Having just finished reading India Flint's Eco Color and Second Skin I was eager to try her magic on cloth.  The black walnuts were beginning to fall, so I took the oldest slow cooker (never to be returned, and thereafter referred to as the dye pot) to the garage and mixed up a brew in which went the three linen rags which had been covered with leaves, then rolled and tied into a tight bundle.  The dress and big bow Willow is wearing today is made from those rags.  How I wish this dress was in my size, and Willow had a feather under her nose so we would both be tickled...

Willow is number 24 in my alphabet series of cloth and clay dolls.  (No, I didn't skip X.  Ximraan, a Father Christmas doll was moved ahead of W.)  The more involved I get with these dolls, the longer it takes, especially to make the clothing. She is proud to have a complete set of unders, pantaloons, camisole, and petticoat.  The dress Willow is wearing is all hand-stitched.  I wonder how many times I squinted up my eyes to thread a needle...think I need to invest in a needle threader and a better thimble.   

Willow is about 14 inches tall, a slender doll with long legs that can hang over the edge of a chair if need be.  I went back to my old style of threading laces through her boots.  I made her arms a bit longer, so they fold nicely in her lap.    I have fallen for the big bow look, so, ragged edges and all, she got her very own.  (I see that I need to snip a few stray threads here and there.)  Willow actually sits very well, having her very own flat seat stitched into her bottom side.  I emptied my scrap bag for this doll, using them for stuffing.  With some experimentation, I found I could create a nest of fiberfill, then pack inside the nest with cloth scraps.  She has a nice firm feel, and is a bit heavier too.  All in all, I am quite pleased with both the doll and the dress.  And, as always, I extend my sincere thanks to Dixie Redmond, for if it were not for her, there would be no Willow, or the others before or the others yet to come. 


  1. She is beautiful and the natural shades to her outfit are most befitting.
    We're glad Dixie had such an impact on you just so we can share your wonderful talent...
    Susan x

  2. Willow is a beautiful doll. I do love the dress and the big bow in her hair. Your experimenting in grunging with dyes has paid off. I love her clothes and shoes too. she has a very sweet expression and does sit there very sweet and prim. Wonderful doll making and I love all the dolls you have made. I noticed on your blog you have my favorite doll the handsome explorer sitting in a canoe. He is sweet and the canoe is so pretty too. Great job as usual.

  3. I was wrong, my explorer is standing next to the little person sitting in the canoe. He is holding his rifle and has a gun powder horn around his neck. He, to me is exceptional and totally good looking little fellow. He is my favorite so far.

  4. She is a lovely doll. The clothing you made for Willow is stunning. The process of wrapping the cloth with leaves and using black walnuts the fabric in that old slow cooker sounds quite interesting. I would love to try it sometime. Your dolls always look amazing and her name is so befitting.

  5. She's very pretty, Mary, and you do make the prettiest clothes! That's a beautiful shade of brown; I also wouldn't mind having a dress from that fabric. Twenty four dolls is a great accomplishment!

  6. Great doll and so good you are using the natural dye ing it goes so well with the style of dolls you make.

  7. I have to say Thank You for sharing all your dolls with us. I love them all. It amazes me how you make the dolls themselves and then dress them; and sewing the clothes by hand. Very impressive. I hope you will continue with making more dolls; after you have completed the Alphabet. ;0)

  8. I love your dolls...they are worth the wait!

  9. This is so lovely and beuatiful!!!!!


  10. She's lovely. The fabric dyeing sounds very interesting and certainly turned out beautifully. The dress is gorgeous and I commend you for hand sewing. There is something special about slowing the process down with just a needle and thread. I have never used a needle threader, but what
    a great idea! I could sure use one, just think of the time it would save, plus it would certainly be easier on my old eyes. Send me your address via e-mail. I want to send you one of my little wax cabins for your hand sewing. Waxing strengthens the thread, plus your thread doesn't tangle so much!

  11. Oh my, what fun to stop over here to discover that you've been *bit* by the India Flint dyeing bug as well ... am with ya there
    but you probably know that already ;>]]
    Lucky you are to have those walnuts close at hand, such a color-giving resource!

  12. She is absolutely wonderful. I love your attention to detail and the work you did to create this little beauty.

  13. You are so talented! She is beautiful. The black walnuts did a great job!

  14. Hello,
    I hope your having fun with your grand daughter. Yesterday it was 80 degrees here, it was so nice!
    Funny you should ask about the linen. As I used the last of it on Lucy, I wondered where I got it. I am fairly sure it was a small table cover of Irish linen I got at a flea market ages ago. The only place I know of that sells that type of soft thin linen is Farmhouse Fabrics. I think it's call handkerchief weight, I have looked at it several times and thought about buying some. However, it's very pricey! I just haven't gotten the nerve up to buy any. If you get some, let me know what you think of it. I always have my eyes open for old things, but that type of thing has gotten so high even at flea markets. I do love linen.
    I am painting my chalkware...............I'm not a painter! I should have thought about that before I mentioned it on the blog. Oh well, I just may not show a finished piece. I should have just painted the bunnies a deep chocolate brown. That's very pretty and they look real. No............I'm trying to paint them like the bunnies in the yard!! The mold does make beautiful chocolates, but Plaster of Paris is far cheaper than chocolate these days!
    Our son did some work on my lap top. He reinstalled the original recovery discs. Oddly, I have lost all my e-mail addresses. Could you please send me an e-mail so I can add it to my list!