Sunday, 23 June 2013

A challenging interlude

After all the excitement of the opening of Small Worlds last Saturday I have been enjoying the lack of pressure in the past few days.   It's been a joy to sit in Small Worlds knowing that there is nothing I actually need to do apart from interacting with anyone who drops by.

So I have had a chance to turn my mind to the House of Bears Challenge for June.   I don't really do challenges but I do love the House of Bears and I enjoyed putting together the last one I entered so when I saw it was more literary quotes I thought I would have a go.

Now Bears, I have to confess that when I read the challenge some time back, I managed to get fixed in my head the idea that the quotes were from Pride and Prejudice (I know, I know, what on earth was I thinking?)   Since you kindly offered the option of picking a different quote from the book if the ones you suggested didn't quite chime, I had the happy thought of downloading the book to my Kindle to take it with me to Small Worlds.   Fortunately I took another look at the challenge details before I did.....

I quailed when I saw it was Jane Eyre.....Why quailed I hear you ask?   Well I thought I always hated that book.   

But Bears, dear Bears, I have to thank you so much for choosing it because I have so far enjoyed every page of it.   I read it when I was about 12, clearly far too young to appreciate it, and I haven't been near it since (60 years!)   I was amazed to find how witty it is and how beautifully written.   I think the other thing that has put me off in the past is the terribly sad and scary 1944 film version which has a very young Elizabeth Taylor dying tragically in the first reel.  I just watched the clip and find to my disgust that the scene that has stuck in my memory since 1952, of the two girls marching round the courtyard in the pouring rain - the episode which results in the death of Elizabeth - doesn't even appear in the book!

Anyway, back to the challenge which was to create something inspired by a quote from the book.   In the end I picked one of your quotes:

" I had to cross before the looking-glass; my fascinated glance involuntarily explored the depth it revealed"

Why this quote? Well simply because I had recently acquired a rather nice hand mirror (from that Czech cheapy store that Butterfly gets all her boxes and where we got the museum clock) that I wanted to use in some scene or other.   It's a little too large for a dolls house room but I thought it might work well with a dressing table that has been around for years, also out of scale for a dolls house.

I clearly then needed some sort of doll to peer into the mirrors and went on a hunt for some very sweet little dolls we have which look rather like miniature Sashas.   I was fairly sure they had stayed behind in England, along with our collection of full-size Sashas, but Butterfly assured me they were somewhere in Small Worlds.   

So I climbed to the very top of our long ladder
and tried to dig, whilst precariously balanced there, in the fruit crates that are holding the dolls in national costume.   This is not a good thing to do solo and when I found, near the top of one of the crates, a painted wooden jointed Dutch Doll I decided to give up the search for the mini-Sashas.   Anyway I liked the Dutch Doll better....

So now to combine the three elements and take a successful photo which reflected (oops, sorry) the quote 
" I had to cross before the looking-glass; my fascinated glance involuntarily explored the depth it revealed".

I have to tell you that is easier said than done.   I really wanted both to be able to see the doll's face  in the hand mirror and for that image to be reflected in the dressing table mirror.   

Ha ha.  Talk about a mind of her own. Every time I managed to get the angle right, Doll would drop her arm, or the mirror, or fall over.   I tried both ways round, posing her with her back to the dressing table, and then facing it.   I tried her sitting (and wasted time making a cushion for a twelfth scale sidetable for her to use as a stool, only to discover that of course her skirts completely covered it up).   I tried her standing.   

None of the photos really did what I wanted.   And do you know how tricky it is to photograph a reflection in a mirror without getting either yourself or the camera in the picture?  Very tricky.....


In the end I managed to get something more or less approaching what I was after so, for what it's worth, Bears, here is my offering for your June Challenge.  

And although, as I said before,  I don't really do challenges - in fact am not even aware of most of them - because Our Creative Corner has a strong family connection to me, I do keep an eye on it and when I realised this Through the Looking Glass set-up has many of the recipe elements for their current challenge I thought I might as well join in there too.   Though I suspect it will be hurled out again - because it's not really a creation, it's a choreographing....

From list A it contains all three ingredients, lace, fabric and ribbon, from List B it has wood, metal and clay (air-hardening clay is what both the tissue holder and the soap are made from) and from List C it has wood stain and paint......

As for the painted doll - despite her recalcitrance, I grew to quite like her and have not returned her to the fruit crate.   I have no idea when, where, or even why she originally joined our household but she is really rather nice.   She may appear again in reports from Small Worlds.

Thank you for reading thus far and I hope to see you again soon.

I am entering this in the House of Bears June Challenge
and in the Our Creative Corner June Recipe Challenge


  1. Well how clever and inventive you are. We love the way you take the challenge off the page. At least doll (is she going to acquire a name?) acquisced in the end and posed nicely for her shots. We can imagine the frustration of thinking she's standing still only to move for the camera and find she's been naughty and shifted position!

    Thank you so much for joining in with the bears, we love your creation.

    1. Thank you Bears. Maybe she should be called Tottie after the wooden doll in Rumer Godden's book? Which appears to have two titles - either "Tottie, the Story of a Dolls' House" or just "The Doll's House". Note the flying apostrophes....

  2. Um... hello, maths...?! Think you'll find 12 is 60 years ago...

    Other than that, enchanting entry. No idea on the whole creation vs choreography - I'm going to leave that to the boss!

    But thank you for joining us at Our Creative Corner in any case!!
    Alison xx

    1. Well tell the boss that an ejection does not offend :-)

      Sixty???? Eeek. Will amend post haste before someone else spots that.

  3. Love this creation and your posts are always so entertaining

    Best wishes Chrissie xx

  4. Well I think it is wonderful and I officially thank you for sharing this wonderful creation with us at Our Creative Corner this month.

    Creativity is of course very varied (which is why we don't have any restriction on styles) And I think creativity IS choreography...we choose the items to use and the creativity part is how we put them together. You have created a gorgeous scene here

    Lots of love Laura xxx

  5. What a gorgeous make and a lovely scene! A brilliant idea to use the mirror with the cabinet and one of your dolls! Thank you for the beautiful close ups too! And for joining us at OurCreativeCorner of course ;)

    die amelie x

  6. It's perfect Cestina, its brilliant the scene you created and I love it, ah yes the Our Creative Corner the A-TEAM some of the best designers in blog land, what a talented family you are, I see our cheeky Butterfly commented :O),you guys are so funny, it must be a barrel of laughs when you get together. Well challenge or not it is a fabulous make and I enjoyed reading the making of it and it is FABULOUS, thanks for sharing, glad to hear you can relax and visit with your visitors, have a wonderful week..

  7. I love how you interpreted the recipe challenge and created such a wonderful piece. Your photography of the two mirrors is brilliant and I love the story behind your creation too. A wonderful entry. Nice to hear that you have some free time too, now that Small Worlds is open. Thank you for joining in with Our Creative Corner. Anne x

  8. I'm a little disappointed you didn't choose the conflagration - I feel the doll could make a brave stab at Bertha Mason with only a little tinkering. Or was that an invention of Hollywood as well? It's not quite 60 years since I read the book, but it's a very long time.
    I admire your persistence with the photographs - very satisfying result. And she looks exactly like my mental image of Jane.

    1. I think Jane might have dispensed with the apron perhaps?

      You want me to set Small Worlds alight just when we've managed to open it? Have the mice been training as volunteer firepeople? A noble profession (voluntary) here in the Czech Republic.....

      She's called Jana (of course) Eyrová here by the way :-) Written by Charlotte Brontëové.......

    2. And possibly she had a less wooden head, although I'm not sure about that. The mouses can't be firePEOPLE, silly. Firemice. Although PC term is firefighters. A role for the pigs? They could huff and puff...

    3. Now who's being silly? That was the wolf......

    4. Not in that splendid retelling...

    5. Oh gosh I'd forgotten that.....

      Note to anyone interested: "The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig":

  9. Well I'm not arguing with Alison and Laura, and agree entirely that this deserves a place in our challenge. Frankly your creativity and attention to detail are things to marvel at and the results are beautiful. Thank you so much for joining us at Our Creative Corner this time. Hugs, Jenny x

  10. I just loved reading about the trials and tribulations of your photography session! For that alone I would certainly keep you in our challenge but I'm not the boss - she's already verified your entry though - please come back and wow us with some more of your tales. Creativity is very personal and I agree with the comments made by Buttons (Jenny) on that score.
    I have to say that I loved Jane Eyre but I was a couple of years older than you when I read it and I didn't see the film so my images of the book are all my own! So glad you like it now though.
    Thanks so much for joining us at Our Creative Corner for this challenge. Juliax

  11. What a wonderful way to interpret the challenge. I think you did really well to get the reflections in all your photos.

  12. I love Jane Eyre, but when I last read it, when my daughter had to read it for school, rather a large number of years ago now, I did wonder why it was considered a classic - such melodrama! 200 years later it would have been considered a "bonkbuster", as the genre was called in the 1990s.

    We are now home, and wishing we weren't (at least, I am), although it is good to hear English spoken again! Thank you again for your hospitality of ten days ago, and I have corrected the spelling on my blog, but it was difficult to comment on my phone so I didn't!