And a movie starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins.
Here is what Wikipedia had to say about 84 Charing Cross Road:
84 Charing Cross Road is a 1970 book by Helene Hanff, later made into a stage play, television play and film, about the twenty-year correspondence between her and Frank Doel, chief buyer of Marks & Co, antiquarian booksellers located at the eponymous address in London, England.
Hanff, in search of obscure classics and British literature titles she had been unable to find in New York City, noticed an ad in the Saturday Review of Literature and first contacted the shop in 1949, and it fell to Doel to fulfill her requests. In time, a long-distance friendship evolved, not only between the two, but between Hanff and other staff members as well, with an exchange of Christmas packages, birthday gifts, and food parcels to compensate for post-World War II food shortages in England. Their letters included discussions about topics as diverse as the sermons of John Donne, how to make Yorkshire Pudding, the Brooklyn Dodgers, and the coronation of Elizabeth II.
Hanff postponed visiting her English friends until too late; Doel died in December 1968 from peritonitis from a burst appendix, and the bookshop eventually closed. Hanff did finally visit Charing Cross Road and the empty but still standing shop in the summer of 1971, a trip recorded in her 1973 book The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street. A circular brass plaque on the building that now stands on the shop's former site acknowledges the story.
So I made my way to the site, stood in front of the plaque and made dolls. I had a whack of doll heads to baste together, so I did it at 84 Charing Cross Road. It didn't faze the passing Londoners one bit, but we may have scared off some tourists.
From here we made our way through Trafalgar Square and cut through Horse Guards Parade. It was outside Winston Churchill's War Rooms where we spotted a celebrity. Hint: He is American and stars in a hit hour long comedy show. He is a "big" celebrity. Any guesses?
Thanks to Helen for this original idea for a bout of Extreme Doll Making. I've got several more Extreme Doll Making locations to reveal, but in the meantime, does anyone else have any suggestions? Leave a comment and suggest a location or activity for me to do while making dolls and I'll link to your blog in the post.
While there are a plethora of lampshade makeover tutorials, I decided to focus this week's Freebie Friday round-up of lamp tutorials on really innovative lamp creations. Check out some of these amazing tutorials. As always, just click the link to read the tutorial.
Of course, if you are like me, primarily a cloth doll maker, you may want to make a doll that is a lamp. One pattern that I personally have and love, both for its simplicity and its ingenious design is Julie McCullogh's Firefly Lamp Doll. The pattern isn't free but you can see it here: Magic Threads Patterns - MT - Firefly Lights - PATTERN ONLY.
You can certainly tell it is wedding season here in Britain. Every weekend, wedding guests can be seen walking around London in their wedding finest - summery dresses, teetering heels and fascinators abound. After the Royal wedding, even North Americans seem to have caught the British fascination with fascinators, so I thought I'd share a few tutorials to help you make a fascinator yourself.
Interestingly, most of the fascinator tutorials I found were designed by Americans and so were slightly more conservative than the styles we see and wear here in Britain, but this DIY fascinator tutorial from the Guardian has a slightly more British feel to it. Slightly quirky. If you want to see just how quirky hats and fascinators can get, check out this slideshow from Lady's Day at Ascot. Millinery madness, my friends.
Threadbanger shares a video tutorial below to make a feathered headpiece:
So if you have an event coming up where you can rock the fascinator look, why not make it yourself?
I've started to play a little game. I like to work on my cloth dolls in public places. An activity which is particularly fun in London. Londoners do notice that weird things are going on around them, but they try desperately to pretend that they don't. I once saw a man wearing only a t-shirt and white Y-front underwear with thick black lines painted onto his calves walk boldly down a London street and everyone made like he was just another commuter on his way to work. "Nothing strange here", said everyone's body language.
Once when I was taking a course with Patti Culea at Rainbow Silks in Great Missenden I ended up stuffing my doll on the train journey from London to Great Missenden. One man kept peering over his newspaper to try and make out what I was doing. Eventually, I took one of the doll's little hands and waved at him. He dived behind his paper, never to be seen from again. I love messing with the uninitiated.
So I was trying to think of an unlikely place to make cloth dolls. Somewhere that is the antithesis of making cloth dolls.
I ended up making a cloth doll at an England rugby game at Twickenham Stadium. Hard men and soft dolls - yup, nothing more opposite than that.
For the record, England lost. But my cloth doll is done. Score on that one.
Anyone fancy a bit of extreme doll making?
Here's what we'll do, you suggest a weird place for me to make cloth dolls and so long as it isn't illegal, indecent or going to threaten my safety or that of others, I'm up for it. So don't ask me to make cloth dolls while tightrope walking outside the front door of Number 10 Downing Street while naked, cause I'm not doing it.
But if there is somewhere in London you've always wanted to go, leave me a comment and I'll go there and take a picture of me making a doll. Or maybe you just want to see if I'll stuff a doll head in the middle of the produce section of a supermarket.
I have been looking at the store bought pillows on my sofa (I know, I know, I need to rectify that) and have been thinking that they need an update. I have been in love with Betz White's tutorial to make these cosy pillows from repurposed jumpers (sweaters in North America), but they seem a bit too warm and toasty for summer, so I went on a hunt for summery pillow tutorials and look what I found.
If you want more summer sewing ideas, check out Sew Sunny Homestyle . Tone Finnanger brings her usual flare for simplicity and style to this collection of projects that include a lovely footstool pillow, throw cushions, softies, dolls, hand bags and home accessories. There are seaside, garden and lavender inspired projects. This book is one of the more jam-packed of Tone Finnanger's books and is worth having on your book shelf even if all you do is drool all over it:
Please feel free to link to my blog and tutorials, but please only include one picture from the project and include the name of my blog in your post. You are welcome to make any of the projects that I share for your personal use. Please do not reproduce my content or tutorials, in any language, without my explicit permission even if your intention is not to profit from it. Thank you