A sweet friend suggested that I enter the county fair this year. In my long adult life I have only entered items in a fair once. I made sugar cookies and fruit bars and buttermilk biscuits. It was back in the day, but I still remember that I spent at least $100 for the ingredients and supplies. My little heart was so embarrassed when I didn’t even place on anything, in a town with less than 100 people. But my friend showed me the booklet and she told me how fun it was and showed me entries from last year. As soon as she showed me her humongous spinach can that she made with paper mache’, I knew I was in.
After highlighting all of the categories I wanted to enter, I would have about 20 entries. Now that it is only 7 days away, I have only completed one entry. My dreams of my art scattered all around, were quickly dashed as I gave my everything to make a Charlottes Web themed art doll.
How I made them:
FERN: Using my basic doll pattern, I made her with a bleached muslin, then painted her face with various acrylics. Her outer dress is made with a vintage pink and white crepe apron. My guess is that it’s from the 60’s. I hated to cut it up, but I wanted a vintage feel to the entire display and this worked perfectly. I scalloped the edges by tearing and cutting the fabric ‘petals’. Little roses were sewn on to finish the look. The can can layer is made with canvas and then stained with a cinnamon and coffee mix. The muslin skirt beneath is made with a thanksgiving runner. It even has some of the good writing on the opposite side. A rough ruffle and trim were also added. Floral bloomers were made with an 80’s fabric and are lined with lace. Pink stripes were painted on her legs to appear like stockings. I used pink in various subtle ways throughout the piece to accent Wilbur the pig. Her hair is made with a super soft yarn and then adorned with a crown made of faux flowers, and finished off with a few bird feathers from the yard. I very much wanted it to look like she was at the fair, adorned in her best going out dress. I coffee stained the dress in various small places to match the doll. I wanted to throw Fern in the garbage about two dozen times. Thanks to my husband, she never actually went into the bin, and I love her now.
Ribbon: Ferns hand is snapped on to a ribbon that I made with crepe paper, ribbon, cardboard, glitter and glue. On the medal, I sublimated the words from the book: IN TOKEN OF APPRECIATION OF THE PART PLAYED BY THIS PIG
WILBUR THE PIG: I made Wilbur using this pattern from Etsy. In all my days, I have never seen a more detailed pattern than this one. I made him with some fabric I’ve been hoarding for years. I have decided that it’s time for me to use my favorite fabrics and supplies now. No more saving up for the perfect time. NOW IS THE PERFECT TIME. Wilbur was shaded with a burnt umber acrylic and then ‘washed’ down with a white wash to mimick the milk bath that he got in the book. I listened to an audio version of Charlottes Web while I created it. I wanted everything to be as true to the book as possible. The crate that Wilbur is in was once a dollar tree storage box in my craft room. I chipped tiny places off the sides and roughed the box up, and then I stained it with a burnt umber. The owl label on the side was actually a real label that I had on one of my larger vintage crates. After making the crate, I smushed Wilbur proudly inside and his large bottom busted the crate. I was so sad that he broke it and was heartbroken that I wouldn’t be able to use it. My child suggested to keep the crate and just make it seem like he was fed so well that he broke it. I stole some hay from 3 little donkeys and put it in Wilbur’s crate. (Because we only have happy little accidents.). The banner that Wilbur is holding is from the Cathy Holden Flea Market collection. (I’ve used pieces of this pri ton everything, it is so beautiful and fun). I ‘gilded’ the banner with a line of gold across the bottom, to add a little depth and texture.
CHARLOTTE THE SPIDER: Most of Charlotte is made with paper mache. Her eyes are beads and her hairy body was made by cutting a piece of faux fur into tiny pieces and gluing it on in layers with mod podge. I crafted her face while it was wet, so that she would have a permamamt sweet smile.
EGG SACK; I lightly felted a beautiful wool into what appears to be an egg sack. Pulling the wool apart gives it the appearance of an egg sack.
SPIDERWEB: The spiderweb took me longer than any of the other pieces. First, I dipped the shimmery yarn in mod podge. On a big piece of wax paper, I made a web and let it dry overnight. The ‘Humble’ part was then shaped over the web by sewing a thin black wire through the web. I stitched it all together by hand and shaped it over the crate so that it looked like Charlotte had placed it over the corner that held her babies.
The base is a lazy Susan. I covered a doll stand with burlap and then placed batting down and a blue gingham and lace on top. The crates and stand were screwed into the lazy Susan.
I put many hours into this display with the hope that it will bring smiles to everyone who sees it. I hope that it brings back memories of the movie and of county fairs , and a time when things were simple and good.