Ever since becoming a doll artist over five years ago, I have dreamed of owning a particular type of Victorian cradle. And, if the cradle had a canopy........all the better would be my dream!
Here is an image similar to the one dancing through my head.
After searching for almost two years, one evening on Ebay, I found the answer to my dream. It was a splendid Victorian cradle and looked to be in perfect condition for its age. It was made around 1880 to 1890, and had all the spendor of the ornate turned wooden pieces. To my delight, the cradle had its original post at the end with the carved stork to hold a canopy......(which is perfect because the name of my dolly nursery business is Storkland Special Deliveries.)
Since the cradle, which is rather large, was in Michigan and I am in Texas, I felt I should contact the owner and see about the shipping arrangements before I clicked the "Buy It Now" button. After some communication, it was determined that the cradle could be shipped in three boxes. One, the largest, had to be shipped via Fed Ex and the other two via the USP system.
I breathed a sigh of relief.....and clicked the Buy It Now button before anyone else could reach for it. .......Whew.....now it was mine!
Traveling for a huge cradle was not as easy as expected. There were a few bumps in the road, but it finally arrived to my happiness. I regret to tell you that I lost the photos the day it arrived and I opened the cartons. My previous laptop crashed and I lost some of my photos.....but here are the ones that I do have as I worked on the cradle bringing to vision my dream for it.
I chose a pale pink silk to make the bedding and pillow for the cradle. It is so soft and dreamy looking.
And, yes, I sometimes use my dining table for large items that need to be spread out while pinning. (in the background you can see my Mom's cut glass eggnog bowl that she gave me) I love the way the light streams from the windows and the reflections that dart across the room from the cut edges)
The lace that I used to border the coverlet is not antique, but it looks as if it could be. It is ecru and edged in the palest shade of pink.....very delicate.
Here is the finished coverlet inside the cradle. The fitted sheet is made of ecru satin. I had a real baby mattress custom made to fit the dimensions of the cradle since a "real" baby will someday be placed in the cradle.
In this photo you can see the lace panels that I made and attached to the wooden pole at the head of the cradle. Since I had no canopy, I was still searching for one that I could reinvent (is that a word?)
One day while out looking in a thrift shop I spied an old wire frame from a lamp shade.......light bulbs went on in my head and the vision was complete......I would cover the wire frame with satin from the sheets and lace from the panels. If you look closely inside the cradle, you can see the wire frame I am working on to form the canopy.
Now you can see the completed canopy and "Hattie" sleeping away in the cradle. I create awake babies most of the time, but I could not bear to think of an "awake" baby in the cradle with no attention all through the day and night, so you can laugh at me, but I made a sleeping baby as I felt I would relax more, and she does seem to be very comfortable in her dreamland.
In this photo you can see the matching pillow that I made to match the coverlet. It is bordered by the same delicate lace.
"Hattie" is named for a special auntie who never had children and doted on me as if I were her own. I wanted to keep her memory alive so I gave that old timey name to this doll, as she is always on display and gets a lot of exposure. In the bookcase beside the cradle is a photo of the real Hattie at age 17 in a beautiful white dress circa 1910.
Hattie is wearing a vintage dress that I found in an antique shop that dates to around the time the cradle was being used by real babies. She has an 1889 baby rattle to keep her company. It is dated on the rattle and has the baby's name engraved on the side. The raised lettering says, "Silver Bells and Cockle Shells".
The little sterling baby rattle is small......about 5 inches long.
Here is the completed cradle..........all dressed in the vision of my dreams........and looking as if fairies encircle it ..............hoping for great grandbabies for Phyllis. (someday but not now) Let's wait until the boys are of proper age.
Thanks for visiting and for reading about my cradle. Please, come back as you are always welcome here.