Bad Hair Day!

Bad Hair Day!

I’m sure if you look at my Lily’s Vardo inspiration Page on pinterest you’ll understand.

It started very innocuously with a little flash of an idea for a circus themed Granny Square story and then one pin led to another and before I knew what was happening I was obsessed with the idea of making a 12th scale Gypsy Vardo. After the random cobblings together that gradually evolved into Granny Square’s caravan, when I saw these model gypsy wagons  on Gerry’s Vardos I decided that buying a model would be much easier than trying to make one from scratch (I still believe that, btw) and I thought a bit of paint and I’d have something looking like one of these majestic works of art in no time…(I’m not copying the pictures here, btw, because I don’t have time to get permission from all their owners).

So I waited and researched and planned and I dreamed of my beautiful caravan. And I thought I’d make a cloth doll called Lily to live in it. And perhaps she’d have a husband called Jack and a little girl called Belle. And then it arrived and I painted it all over with undercoat and ordered some coloured paint from Amazon, which still hasn’t arrived.

And then I saw a Heidi Ott doll with long brown hair and I knew she was Lily. I was very put off by the price, although I’ve since discovered that collecting Miniatures seems to be a shockingly expensive business and these are a lot cheaper than comparable dolls elsewhere, but I was still so enthused by the dream of the amazing Vardo I was going to make I decided bite the bullet. Unfortunately she seems to be out of stock everywhere so, after seeing a selection of wigs on ebay, I decided to buy the unwigged version and a separate wig. I thought I could, perhaps buy a few wigs the same colour over time so she could change styles…

Unfortunately the wig was photographed from the back on ebay and when it arrived it looked like this…
The photo did not look like this on ebay!

This is exactly how I picture Bess, the landlord’s black eyed daughter from The Highwayman poem by Alfred Noyes. Or else she reminds me of the bar ladies in those Westerns where someone always comes and shoots the place down…

Wondering if something could be done by putting it on upsidedown…
This was as good as it ever got :(

Meanwhile, the Vardo is going from bad to worse! I had enquired about the size of the caravan and found it was “aprox 12″ long without the shafts attached and 21″ long with. 12″ tall and 7/1/2 ” wide” and I had thought that was small but manageable. That, however, is the external size. The internal floorspace is 4″ x 9″ so I’m really struggling with how to fit any furniture in it because pre-made furniture is all too big. Don’t get me wrong, this is a beautiful model and, as you can see here, other people clearly succeed in decorating them beautifully. It’s just that I’ve put five coats of plastikote (an acrylic fake-enamel that I understood was meant to work on plastic) on the wheels and they still aren’t covered, I’ve painted the inside red (a classic and stunning effect in all those pinterest photos) and it looks really grim and I’ve found that I don’t have a nearly steady enough hand or the slightest skill at painting intricate decorations onto a 3D shapes that I’m trying to hold in the other hand! I’m clearly not a born miniaturist and I’m even beginning to dread the clothes and soft furnishings that I’d thought would be the easy and fun bit…

So, here we are with Lily as bald as a coot and me feeling like bagging it all up and sending it to a charity shop.

But then I see those glorious pictures again and I think there must be a way to turn this around…

Have you tried anything new and exciting lately? Or anything you wish you’d never started?

Janine @ Rainbow Hare

Edited to add: Lily now has a new wig and I have my fingers crossed…(27th November)

I’m linking this post to:

Celtic Thistle Stitches

9 thoughts on “Bad Hair Day!

  1. Sandra :)

    I know how my hands would work (would NOT work, that is) on an item that small – I couldn't even attempt it – I think if you can work out the “bugs” you can have quite a gorgeous item … with a lot of work! OMG Lily's hair, though – she DOES look like a barmaid (or harlot, lol) in that first pic where she has tresses – I guess it looks worse in person (??) because it seems to look quite luscious in the picture!


  2. Celtic Thistle

    Sounds like you have given yourself a real challenge there Janine! I have seen clamps advertised in craft magazines that might help with the not enough hands problem. I am sure that you will end up with a beautiful caravan in the end, it just might take a bit longer to get there than you originally thought.


  3. liniecat

    Get some Miniatures books out from the library, some feature making items youll require.
    For example you can make a great log burner from shaped actimel containers. Some other kinds of liquid yoghurts are even better shaped, once painted in blackboard paint, they will soon look the part.
    For wigging dolls, Heidi ott esp, again look for miniature doll making books, most often mohair fleece is used and you can wet it to make ringlets and curls quite easily.
    Heidi ott dolls are mostly what they acll twelfth scale ie 1″ + 1 foot. Your doll will be scaled to fit a 12″ caravan – youll prob find all the info online if you cant get to the library : )
    have fun lol


  4. Soma Acharya

    Oh no!! I am so sorry, Janine! I don't have any suggestions regarding the project itself. However, I do suggest that you put it away for now and revisit it later when you are not so frustrated. I love the idea of Lily's Vardo and I would really love to see more :)



  5. Kim

    oops I meant to say….Am I the only one that giggled over your delightful post? Oh I do feel your 'torment' over this saga but my wicked sense of humour got the better of me. Of all people I am certain you will come up with some brilliant ideas to make your Lily's Vardo a reality. It sounds delightful! As for the hair….dreadlocks…beehive…afro…corn rows…..the list is limitless!! ;) I must say I love your Lily's Vardo inspiration page on Pinterest! I want a life-size gypsy caravan!!


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