Friday, October 29, 2010

Trick Or Treat

All Hallows Eve

The Time when anyone can be whatever or whomever they wish. Do you remember when all it took was the addition of a simple piece of cloth, a towel perhaps, to transform you into someone else? It became the cape worn by a magician, or the cloak of a superhero, or the gown of a princess..... or anyone you could imagine! Well, if YOU can't remember, I hope you will forgive Tommy for his costume! I can remember when a costume was not always bought in a store, but was more often made from whatever was at hand at home. And when Tommy was young, ALL the clothes were made at home, so I am sure he would have had to invent his costume himself! So with the simple addition of a cloth wrapped around his shoulders he is ready to go "Trick-or Treating"!

And so are Caroline and Beatrice, his younger sisters!

The first house they come to is the Lovely Old Dollhouse.

And Pollyanna has treats ready for them! Tommy says he is a pirate! Caroline is a ghost, and Beatrice is a princess! Pollyanna is wearing a costume as well! She is dressed in the gown that was her Great-great-great grandmothers that she found in the attic. Arthur is taking her to a costume ball after the trick-or-treating is done.

The next house the children visit is way out in the countryside. In fact, these are the only houses near enough for them to visit, other than the Castle. They are not sure about visiting the Castle. Caroline thinks it MUST be haunted. Tommy says it's NOT haunted. He knows because he went there once last Midsummers Eve when his pony followed the Castle horses home. He had to go fetch him back again. He met Belle and Henry and the stable boy, so he knows it's not haunted! Caroline says he's making all that up. Beatrice says she doesn't want to go to the Castle.

But here they are at the Folly and Arthur is happy to have them visit his house!

Arthur is also dressed up for the Costume Ball. He's going as a King!

Tommy notices right away that he looks like King Arthur!

Tommy has read all about King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table!

Maybe next year he will be King Arthur!

He's not afraid to go get treats. But Caroline and Beatrice are a little nervous! It IS getting a little dark now...... and they don't like the skelletons! Tommy says he will get the treats for them!

Arthur has a kindly look and Tommy is NOT afraid! He knows Arthur was a good king!

By the time they get home it is dark out. The moon has risen. Caroline is feeling braver now and dares Tommy to go to the Castle to trick or treat! She is sure he won't go and just wants to make him feel bad. But Tommy is NOT afraid and resolves that he WILL go to the Castle. But he will have to sneak out of the house later. He's determined to show Caroline that he's NOT afraid!

Meanwhile, the Costume Ball is getting under way.

Arthur's friend Ken has rented the old Castle ruins for the party.

What a perfect setting for a Halloween Costume Ball!

The Host himself is greeting the guests at the door........ if you can call that a friendly welcome!

The Hall is beginning to fill with guests...... both known and nameless......

Charles has asked Helen to dance. He thinks she looks just ravishing in that gown.... another one found in the attics that must have belonged to her Great grandmother!

And the Guard, Ian, is introducing himself to Georgiana. He hopes she will dance with him.... it has been a looooong time since he has seen anyone as pretty as she!

"You make me feel so young again, wearing that gown, it is as if you were once again the eighteen year old beauty I first met..." says Charles.

" I'm sure it is just the moonlight playing tricks on you" replies Helen with a smile....

And Arthur has found Pollyanna and swept her onto the dance floor. He is a little overwhelmed by his cloak! Pollyanna teases him "that is what you get for using old curtains to make your costume" she says! But it does make him look so kingly and the color matches her gown so perfectly!

And Pollyanna's sister Sally May is here with her husband Steve! Everybody calls him Chip. Sally May is dressed in a maid's outfit. They found this in the attics too!

Chip is not in a costume. He doesn't do that sort of thing!

But they are such a handsome couple!

Oh, and look here! Henry and Belle have joined the party too! I guess with all the noise they must have decided to come see what was afoot in the Hall!

"Would you care to dance?" he asks......

"That I would" says Belle!

Oh my, look who is arriving now! Even the Celebrities have heard about the party!

I wonder if she thinks she'll find her Prince here tonight?

And I know there are not enough gentlemen to go around tonight......

But I do wonder what Josephine SEES in HIM?

They make a most unlikely couple!

Could he be the "shadow" of the man she is looking for?

Ah, and Francesca seems to have her eye on our headless Host.....

But what have we here? Tommy? Is that really you?

The stable doors close at dusk......

The only way in is through the Great Hall Doors....

Up all those steps.....

Guard Ian meets him at the entrance......

"I'm here to see Henry and Belle" says Tommy.

"You will have to follow me" says Guard Ian.

And he leads Tommy into the Hall.

Tommy has read his Fairy Tales.

He knows he must look neither to the right nor to the left, but march bravely forward until he reaches his goal.

The Hall is shrouded in dark with monlight coming through the high window.

For just a moment, Tommy thinks he might have seen King Arthur out of the corner of his eye.... but he is determined not to look aside!

He follows Guard Ian down the dark stairs.......

Through another hall........

Tommy looks neither to the right nor the left.......

And into the kitchen......

Where at last he sees Henry and Belle!

"TRICK or TREAT!" he cries with great relief!

But then he turns and sees the figure in the corner by the fire........

They have not met before....

"Ahhhh......... Come here, my son..." she says

It is Old Meg. She has lived in the Castle for longer than anyone knows!

Everyone calls her "Bonne Maman" or "Grandmother" although no-one knows who's Grandmother she might be! There are some who think she is one of the "Ancient Ones", ageless as Time itself. She has the "Sight" but she is blind to the world around her. She rarely speaks, and never leaves the Castle. It is whispered that as long as there IS a Castle, she will be there....

"Ahhhhh.... Thomas, Eddy's son! You will go far!"

"You will SEE the LIGHT!" she said, nodding her head!

Tommy wasn't too concerned with what she said.... after all, he was still thinking about treats!

Belle offered him an apple......

And sent him home to bed!

Guard Ian gave him a ride home on one of the Castle steeds.........

He can't WAIT to tell Caroline all about his adventure....!

And because it WAS getting late, some of the other guests have gone home......

Although some of them are still dancing away the night......

Charles just can't get over how young and lovely Helen looks tonight......

What kind of spell has she cast on him...?

And the Castle Hall is still flooded with moonlight....

Oh dear, Cinderella...... are you sure THIS is your Prince?

I am afraid he is just the Pumpkin King..... and it is past midnight.......

Run, Cinderella, RUN!

Oh, too late again.....! This will NEVER Do!

But maybe it is Felicity who should wait for the last dance.....?

Has everyone else gone home....?

Wellll.......maybe not EVERYBODY......!

Who would YOU like to be?

And Where will YOU go?

The Time when Anyone can be Anyone they wish to be......!

All Hallows Eve

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Something About Doors We go in and out of doors countless times in a day, mostly without giving them the slightest thought. Yet doors hold a place of profound meaning in our lives. They are the magical openings to worlds we want to explore; they are the barrier and protection against the unknown; they are the holder of intimacy and secrets; they are the place of vulnerability in our defenses; they are the agents of welcome to the world beyond. They are the very moment of transition. We speak of standing on the threshold of some momentous occurrence. We have all experienced it; when one moment our lives are a familiar landscape of the expected, and then something happens and it is as if we have crossed into a world we never saw before. It happens when we fall in love, or when a beloved becomes ill or dies. The world is not the same on both sides of the doorway. So it can be no wonder that we honor this importance by giving our doorways the most beautiful of decorations and design.
I have included a photo from that book I have mentioned so often, that shows the beautiful details of local Vermont architecture from the late 18th and early 19th century. This is the type of doorway that my Lovely Old Dollhouse's doorway is modeled on. Because houses were all hand built back then, no two doorways were exactly the same, but you can see the similarity in shape and position of windows. The door itself is solid with no windows, made of panels inset in a double cross frame. I have copied this style of door for the dollhouse.

Even in ancient times, the doorway was given prominence by surrounding it with the most elaborate decorations. Here below is an example of the carved Romanesque style doorway that I used as the model for my Castle Dollhouse doorways. The arch was rounded, not pointed as in the later Gothic period, and the archway itself was often deeper and "heavier" than the supporting pillars would appear to want.

And while the style is similar, my "carving" on the Castle Dollhouse doorways is far from as detailed as the one shown above. I have not yet painted any of the exterior of the Castle, so you will have to pretend you are seeing "stone" walls and carvings. From ancient times, the most basic purpose and function of doors was defensive. So the solid wooden doors of the Castle had to be able to withstand the enemy assaults. The doors were built from several layers of oak planks all bolted together with great iron straps and hinges. I have not yet added all the details of iron work to this door.

Would you like to come in and see some of the other doors and doorways in the Castle?
Come on in!
This is the Guard Room. I know it is a little dark in here... I don't have enough torches to light it well, but if you squint you can probably make out the doorway surrounding the Great Hall entrance.
And watch out for the lion guarding the door, don't let him bite your ankles!

You can see it better with the doors shut! And you can see the "iron" strap hinges I have made from sculpey. They are a bit crude, as they were the first ones I made. But if one thinks of the Castle and the process of it's construction over the centuries, this doorway would have been the older, original exterior doorway before this second tower was added.

But we will open the doors again to enter the Great Hall.

And once we are in the Great Hall, if you will turn around and look back the way we came, you will see the ornamentation of that doorway from the inside of the Hall. I have tried to make each doorway a little different while still following the same basic style.

And then continuing to the far end of the Great Hall, we have a trio of doorways each with a different purpose, and thus a different treatment. The smaller door on the left goes up the stairs to the Lady's Solar, so it needs no door to close the opening. The larger central doorway leads to the Chapel, so it is ornamented similarly to the entrance doorway on the opposite side of the Hall. And the small door on the right leads downstairs to the kitchens and dungeons. There is a wooden door to close, although I am not sure why it is needed. I think I just love to add the little doors on their real little hinges!

Come on into the Chapel for a moment! If you look back at the doorway, you can sort of see some of the decoration surrounding this door. But I will be sure to show you more of that another time.

I want to show you the doors downstairs in the kitchen.
Okay, I know you've seen them before, and I know the lighting is pretty bad. But this door also has some sculpey "iron" strap hinges. Soon I will attach all the door handle hardware too. But for now you will have to use your imagination! This is the cellar, and just the kitchen, so no fancy treatment was given to the door frames.

Would you like to see the dungeons?
They're just through this door! Are you sure?
You're not afraid of the dungeons?

Crrreeeeeaaaaakkk....... (door opening!)

When WAS the last time anyone went in here......?

NOT very recent by the looks of it!

Shut that door fast!
Whew! One door too many!
You may remember me mentioning, waaaay back in the beginning of re-building the Lovely Old Dollhouse, how much I wanted to add doors, real working doors, to all the doorways in the house. I had made doors for the downstairs rooms in my teen years, but the upstairs bedrooms still had no doors to open and close. Well, I finally got them made and attached!

They are plain paneled doors much like the ones downstairs. This is the view from the hallway. So much is "said" with a closed door. Hush. Don't disturb me. I am apart. I wish to be alone.

But, with a knock, perhaps we can enter?

The world revealed within is so different from that without.......
Warm, enticing, full of promise.....

Do come in!

But close that door! THIS world is full of dreams and secrets!

But we will not stay there forever.
There are more thresholds to cross, or at least to peer into.

The mystery of the room within..... is it always so much richer before entering?

Perhaps we will pass it by and come back another time.

Although we all know we cannot ever come this way again....

not precisely.... for we and it will have changed.

How many doors do we pass and not enter every day?

There is just SOMETHING about doors!

But Pollyanna is not too concerned. She is young (and in love!) and she has THINGS to do!

She is preparing TREATS for Halloween for when the children come knocking!

And she helped Arthur decorate the porch of the Folly!
(You didn't really think he did that on his own, did you?)

And she gathered some Indian corn to decorate the front door of the Lovely Old Dollhouse....

And she carved a jack-o-lantern for the front step!

Now she's ready for whatever comes her way!