“Little Mouse-Skin,” the Miniature Hand-Bound Fairy Tale

miniature hand-bound fairy tale book

“Once upon a time, there lived a tiny girl on whom had been placed an enchantment, so that in her sleep each night she became a small white mouse…”

In the process of creating my very special “Little Mouse-Skin” art doll project, I began to imagine a story for my doll, a tiny fairy tale to fit the scale I was working on. Thus the short tale “Little Mouse-Skin: A Fairy Tale of Miniature Proportions” was born.

miniature hand-bound paper book of a fairy tale

“When the girl dreamed, her delicate tail curled around herself, she dreamed of her nose twitching in the morning air, of the brush of soft fur, of the smell of the earth and the warm winter sleep in her underground lair. Because of this enchantment, the girl was known to the other inhabitants of the forest as Little Mouse-Skin…”

miniature hand-bound illustrated fairy tale book

Though my art doll set includes a professionally printed copy of the tale, I also dreamed of creating a little miniature version entirely on my own. The story – one of enchantment and surprising transformations, written in traditional fairy tale language – I felt needed a beautiful and unique binding to match. I began painting and photographing my own watercolor illustrations to go along with the story, and spent a long time figuring out how best to scale, paginate, and print my own little book.

"once upon a time" page in an illustrated miniature fairy tale book

“Though the other creatures of the forest came in pairs, from the blind moles underground to the singing birds of the air, Little Mouse-Skin found that there was no creature who made a pair to herself…”

The finished hand-bound miniature book is approximately 2×4 inches and printed on silky heavy-weight paper, the story accented with my own printed watercolor illustrations. The first edition is hand-bound with moss green wax thread and a pink crystal bead, and features unique end papers, hand torn antiqued pages, and decorated covers.

miniature illustrated fairy tale book with flowers and vines

The first edition is currently available in my Etsy shop. If it sells, my plan is to continue to make the miniature books to order, with each one being a little different and truly one of a kind.

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“Little Mouse-Skin,” a Miniature Art Doll With Her Own Fairy Tale

It all started with a box. It was a box a new cell phone came in, perfectly white, with three tiny sections which I knew would be perfect to hold… something. A tiny doll? A mouse? A little portrait?

It ended with a story.

“Once upon a time, there lived a tiny girl on whom had been placed an enchantment, so that in her sleep each night she became a small white mouse with soft ears and pink paws….”

I’m always trying to find ways to connect my writing and my art dolls, and for the first time, I was able to use them both to create a very special project.

ooak miniature fairy tale art doll and mohair mouse

“Little Mouse-Skin” is an Entire Miniature Art Doll Set, Complete with its Own Original Fairy Tale

I began by sculpting and sewing a tiny art doll and mouse to fit into the little sections of my box. Little Mouse-Skin, the doll, is about 6 1/2 inches tall, sculpted from Paperclay and painted with watercolors, with tiny jointed limbs and little mohair curls. Her outfit, consisting of a soft striped cotton dress, a muslin apron, a watercolor lace cloak, and a special lace crown, is entirely removable, something I’ve never done with a miniature doll before. Her mouse other self is handstitched from white mohair, with tiny pink paws, a leather tail, and little bead eyes and nose.

miniature handmade mohair mouse with lace crown

The little white box which started me on the whole project I painted with watercolors, adding a bed of grass for the mouse to sleep on and a tiny garland of bluebells.

As I worked on this doll and her mouse, I began to imagine a story for her, a tiny fairy tale to fit the scale I was working on, and the miniature tale which would tie the whole set together was born.

ooak fairy tale art doll in miniature with princess crown

“When the girl dreamed, her delicate tail curled around herself, she dreamed of her nose twitching in the morning air, of the brush of soft fur, of the smell of the earth and the warm winter sleep in her underground lair. Because of this enchantment, the girl was known to the other inhabitants of the forest as Little Mouse-Skin…”

“Little Mouse-Skin: A Fairy Tale of Miniature Proportions” is a Tale of Enchantment and Surprising Transformations

printed fairy tale book "ittle mouse skin" by jordan taylor

I had so much fun imagining the life my tiny girl lived in the forest, and in bringing about the surprising transformations which led to her happily ever after. As I worked on my story, I also began painting watercolor illustrations to go along with it.

My art doll set includes the only professionally printed copy of “Little Mouse-Skin,” a small 5×5 book which is decorated with my watercolors, though I’m also offering a smaller hand-bound version of the tale.

My Little Mouse-Skin art doll set, featuring the miniature doll, hand-stitched mouse, tiny outfit, hand-painted box, and printed copy of the story, is currently available in my Etsy shop.

My Mary Poppins Art Doll is Ready to Fly Away

mary poppins ooak art doll with her flying umbrella

This past weekend, I was finally able to put the finishing touches on my new Mary Poppins art doll, and she is now in my Etsy shop waiting to fly away to her new home!

“Jane and Michael could see that the newcomer had shiny black hair – ‘Rather like a wooden Dutch doll,’ whispered Jane. And that she was thin, with large feet and hands, and small, rather peering blue eyes…” – Mary Poppins, P. L. Travers

 

It was very important to me to get Mary Poppins’ face right – the round blue eyes, the upturned nose, the smug smile and the shiny black hair – “Like a Dutch doll.” That’s why I chose to sculpt her head and hands in Paperclay, which I painted in watercolors and sealed, using extra glossy sealant on her hair to give it shine. If you’re interested in the steps I took in sculpting her head, I go into more detail in this blog post.

an ooak mary poppins art doll sculpted by the free folk

Mary Poppins’ body and limbs, which are jointed at the shoulders and hips, are handstitched, and she wears her iconic navy blue coat and skirt, and black straw hat with a paper daisy. She also has striped stockings, a red silk scarf, and red leather Mary Janes, and her white blouse is made from vintage linen and lace which belonged to my grandmother.

My Mary Poppins Art Doll Carries Her Own Doll-Sized Parrot-Headed Umbrella and Carpet Bag

handmade doll sized mary poppins umbrella with a sculpted parrot head handle

I had more fun making Mary’s umbrella than I did during almost any other part of her creation! I built the umbrella around a plastic and fabric umbrella intended for American Girl dolls. The iconic parrot-headed handle and top spike are sculpted in Paperclay over the original plastic, and the entire umbrella has been painted and sealed in shades of black, silver, and brown so that it looks more realistic. Mary also carries a handstitched carpet bag, which I built around a toggle closure intended for a coin purse. The metal closure is etched with daisies, and when I found it online I knew it would be perfect!

Mary Poppins Was One of My Favorite Dolls to Photograph

mary poppins with her umbrella, an ooak art doll

From the beginning, I’d had in mind that I wanted to photograph my Mary Poppins art doll as if she was flying through the sky with her umbrella. I was actually able to set the scene very easily using a blue ombre sheet, and “clouds” made of extra polyester doll stuffing. I can’t believe they turned out so well!

Don’t forget to visit Mary Poppins in my Etsy shop!

My Etsy Shop has Reopened!

I’m still getting settled into my new home (sometimes the unpacking and the boxed furniture that needs to be put together feels as if it will never end!), but my Etsy shop is now up online and my finished items are available to purchase. During my time away, Etsy rolled out a new shop format which I’m still tinkering with. Take a look and tell me what you think (and if you’re a fellow Etsy seller, let me know what you think of the changes)!

I have yet to unpack my art supplies or set up my workspace, so it may be a little while before I’m able to continue my progress on Blush and Rose. I’m so close to being finished with them, though, and I can’t wait to show you the final product when I’m able!

The Free Folk is Going on a Road Trip!

At the end of March, my husband and I will be leaving New York to move cross-country to the Pacific Northwest. During this time, The Free Folk will be on a break, returning in mid-late April. My Etsy shop will be temporarily closed starting today, and I’ll need to take a month off of posting.

While I will attempt to reply to Etsy conversations and Facebook messages during this time, please be aware that I will be spending a week or more on the road and may not always have access to an internet connection.

When I return, I’ll share some photos of our trip, along with a very special project which I’ve been working on and is almost complete!

See you soon!

Magical Miniatures now in my Etsy Shop!

I’ve been playing with these little one inch scale fantasy miniatures for quite some time now, and have finally decided to list some of them in my shop! I can just imagine them as part of a wizard’s library or a witch’s secret cottage.

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Included in the set I’m selling are a magical mirror made from a hand mirror and a vintage unicorn brooch, a little gazing ball made from a clear glass marble and a gold button, two little weathered paper envelopes, one filled with glitter “fairy dust,” two glass vials, one containing “dreams” (white feathers) and the other “desire” (sparkling red thread), a tiny wishbone on red thread, and two miniature parchment maps painted with watercolors and gilt.

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glass vials
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tiny envelopes
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“A Map of the Outer Continents”
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“Greater Fairyland”

I had so much fun using my watercolors and pens to create the tiny paper objects and little tags and labels, and I’m really excited to finally share some of these! If you’re interested in taking them home, they are available in my Etsy shop here.

DIY Christmas Craft: Make your Own Mason Jar Snow Globes

It’s really easy to make your own mason jar snow globes, just like those in my Etsy shop.  I’ve seen these featured everywhere from Southern Living to the aisles of Target, but there’s no need to splurge for these when you can easily make your own! These mason jar snow globes are a fun Christmas craft and can be made fairly quickly in a large batch, and make great decorations and gifts.

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Supplies:

  • Old tablecloth, newspaper, etc. to cover your workspace
  • Mason jars of various sizes
  • Snow-Tex (available at most crafts stores)
  • Silver glitter craft paint (with a clear base)
  • Water jar and stiff paint brushes
  • Miniature Christmas trees of various sizes
  • Bag of fake snow (fine, powdery snow works better than larger plastic flakes)

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Make your Snow Globes

First, cover your workspace. This could get messy!

Remove the tops of your mason jars and separate the lids and the rims. Use a stiff paintbrush to glob Snow-Tex around the outside of the metal rim from each of your lids, so that they are completely covered. Set these aside.

Use your paintbrush to cover the base of your miniature trees with Snow-Tex as well, and dab a little Snow-Tex into the trees so that they appear to be filled with snow. Don’t overdo this – a little is better than too much.

Next, take your mason jar lids, and liberally glob Snow-Tex onto the inside of each one (the side which will be facing the inside of the jar), leaving a clear ring around the edge which will sit against the rim of the jar. Press the bases of your miniature trees down into the Snow-Tex, arranging them in groups or singly, however you like. Just be careful not to allow any of the tree bases to enter the clear ring of the lid.

Allow the Snow-Tex to dry for a couple of days before moving forward. When the Snow-Tex is dry, it will harden and secure the trees to the lids.

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Once your Snow-Tex is dry, use your glitter paint and paintbrush to add glitter over your Snow-Tex on the lids, lid rims, and trees. Again, err on the side of caution with this step, as it’s better to use only a little than to overdo it.

Next, pour about 1/2 inch of your fake snow into the bottom of each of your mason jars. Top each jar with a lid, turning your trees upside down and guiding them into the jars. Secure each lid with a rim.

Turn your jars over, and watch the snow settle over your winter forest scene!

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Looking for more fun DIY tutorials? Try the tutorial section of my blog.