claudia’s oz-love rolls on. we are planning year three of oz-themed halloween costumes, and she and béla both have been learning to use a tarot deck with the wonderful tarot of oz.
while i will not give away the kids’ costume ideas for 2013 at this early date, i was glad that claude did NOT choose to be one of her very favorite characters — scraps, the patchwork girl of oz. scraps is a lot like claudia. she’s loud, boisterous, does not like to follow rules, has an impulse control problem, and thinks certain virtues are overrated.
i was not gonna make that costume. but i could, i realized, make that doll. for claudia’s birthday.
this is the year we found out about winkie-con. i have no doubt claude could hold her own there. this year, winkie-con is specifically celebrating the centennial of the patchwork girl of oz … and they had put out a call for folks to share their own versions of “scraps”. how astounded i was to read this amazing blog post by an oz enthusiast who, at age ten, made HIS own patchwork girl of oz! and still has her, of course!
it never crossed my mind to get patchwork-printed fabric. that ten year-old kid was a better planner than me. nope, i bought a whole lotta fabric and pieced the whole freaking thing myself… making a decent-sized section of patchwork and then cutting pattern pieces as i went. fiddly, for sure — and i was aware that i had more patterns, as opposed to solids, than any illustration of the patchwork girl of oz i’d ever seen — but i felt good about my choices (particularly the pink leopard print. i know who i’m sewing for.)
i had started out thinking i would go from baum’s original description:
The Patchwork Girl was taller than he, when she stood upright, and her body was plump and rounded because it had been so neatly stuffed with cotton. Margolotte had first made the girl’s form from the patchwork quilt and then she had dressed it with a patchwork skirt and an apron with pockets in it- using the same gay material throughout. Upon the feet she had sewn a pair of red leather shoes with pointed toes. All the fingers and thumbs of the girl’s hands had been carefully formed and stuffed and stitched at the edges, with gold plates at the ends to serve as finger-nails.
The head of the Patchwork Girl was the most curious part of her. While she waited for her husband to finish making his Powder of Life the woman had found ample time to complete the head as her fancy dictated, and she realized that a good servant’s head must be properly constructed. The hair was of brown yarn and hung down on her neck in several neat braids. Her eyes were two silver suspender buttons cut from a pair of the Magician’s old trousers, and they were sewed on with black threads, which formed the pupils of the eyes. Margolotte had puzzled over the ears for some time, for these were important if the servant was to hear distinctly, but finally she had made them out of thin plates of gold and attached them in place by means of stitches through tiny holes bored in the metal.
The woman had cut a slit for the Patchwork Girl’s mouth and sewn two rows of white pearls in it for teeth, using a strip of scarlet plush for a tongue. This mouth Ojo considered very artistic and lifelike, and Margolotte was pleased when the boy praised it. There were aslmost too many patches on the face of the girl for her to be considered strictly beautiful, for one cheek was yellow and the other red, her chin, blue, her forehead purple and the center, where her nose had been formed and padded, a bright yellow.
but the more i thought about what that would look like, i thought… that doesn’t sound like a pretty doll at all. and john r. neill’s illustrations never followed baum’s description to the letter.
(i also love this leigh boweryesque film version of scraps from 1914)
and so, i felt my way through it, with a nice rag doll pattern i bought online, making my fabric as i went. i gave scraps gloved hands, as seems traditional; i turned the gloves inside out and stitched them so they were slightly less regular and slightly smaller than they would have been otherwise.
the shoes where a huge pain.
it was all worth it.
i finished the doll three or four days before claude’s birthday, and thought in my usual dark humor way, “all we have to do is make it a few more days and i can give it to her!”
that evening she fell backwards down an entire staircase while i watched. four full rotations. she was fine.
within a few more hours, i had a full blown case of norovirus and for twelve hours spent no more than fifteen minutes outside of a bathroom. my brain checked out totally. i couldn’t regulate my body temperature. sadly, i remember every minute of it.
so fuck the calendar. i gave claudia her patchwork girl of oz the night BEFORE her birthday, since she had already made a case for an “early” present (citing béla getting an early present in september… which had been an iron man apron, which was NECESSARY to making his avengers cupcakes for school, obviously.)
i left the doll on her bed with a note that read HAPPY BIRTHDAY CLAUDIA. LOVE SCRAPS. and i went to fold some laundry. according to ben, she walked past the doll without noticing, and when she headed back that direction the next time, she almost jumped out of her skin. i heard her yell “SCRAPS IS IN MY BEDROOM!” and so i went to check.
she’s a big kid now. this was, absolutely, the first time i’ve ever made her something where she clearly made the cognitive connection between the thing i made — and my impulse to do it, related to her. it wasn’t just that she liked the thing… she understood what ME making the thing for her meant. this shot here is not a random fleeting expression. she was looking at me and really, really getting it. why people who make, make the things they make for people they love. she GOT it.
then she had the nerve to go consult the oz poster in the hallway to see how accurately i had rendered scraps. luckily, i passed.
she has a few more very nice presents coming to her tomorrow. i am excited about those too. but if she wants to thank me, or ben, or béla, for any of them, i will take the absence of falls down staircases and norovirus as a perfectly good thank you.