Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Hollyhock Ladies (Now with Instructions)

Photo Link
I don't know how many of you grew up making Hollyhock Ladies, but we certainly did. My sister and my cousins and I used to plunder my grandmother's hollyhocks to make hollyhock ladies. We'd play with them like dolls, and have Hollyhock Weddings with various bridal color schemes. My grandmother was pretty calm about the whole thing, although she thought one day of this was enough each year, and it probably was.

I've been thinking that I should make a couple and post them just for fun, and I mentioned it to a friend yesterday morning, and she was all excited about them too. So Judy, this is for you!

I still think they're quite charming. I put them on a bird table to take the photos, and below you can see them moving along in serene elegance to the Hollyhock Ball.

Amy made me realize that I didn't give instructions for making these. It's very simple, you just take a toothpick and put it through the center (or near it) of an open flower. Push it through far enough that you can attach the "head", a bud showing some color. How much color it's showing affects the look of your lady. Generally, matching flower and bud colors seem to look best. The angle of the bud gives your lady her personality. You may have to break off some of the toothpick at the bottom to make her stand up straight. That's it. Simple enough for a child to do.

After I took the pictures, I gave them to my little neighbor Harley. She's just the age for them, and I was a little sad to hear that neither she nor her mother had ever heard of hollyhock ladies. Well, now they know.

Here's the main hollyhock bed. The colors are just great this year, and they self-sow all over. I generally let them grow where they come up because they're just so beautiful. In another spot, I have a few that are deeper purple to almost black-purple. Obviously they would make more sophisticated ladies.

The color combinations just make me happy to look at them. The photo link under the first picture will take you to all of these.

On a sewing note, my cashmere fabric came today! I am excited, and somewhat intimidated, but it's absolutely as gorgeous as I'd hoped, and maybe even better. A beautiful, subtle color combination and a wonderful feel.

I've been working on the Marfy 1234 jacket and am ready to go on a button hunt. I need fairly large buttons, as they are the focal point of the jacket and without them, it looks rather sad. I have some lovely vintage green-aqua buttons that would be great, but I need 2 sizes and I only have one. They give me a real idea of what to look for though.


Summerset said...

I've never heard of hollyhock ladies, either. My grandmother had hollyhocks all over her gardens and yard when she lived in Omaha. I have one hollyhock right now and I think it will bloom this year - I bought it because it reminded me of my grandmother.

Valerie said...

I tried hollyhocks a few years ago now that we are living in one place (my mother had them in one of her gardens when I was a child), but they didn't self-seed. I think they fulfilled their biennial destiny, and then disappeared.

It may have been that the seeds of my plants (trademarked/patented/whatever black hollyhocks) were infertile? Given your success, I'll have to try again.

Thanks for the story of the hollyhock ladies. That's reason enough to try hollyhocks again for my granddaughter.

Anonymous said...

Lovely! We used to float our hollyhock ladies in my grandmother's big, shallow bowl.

Nancy K said...

I haven't seen hollyhocks in years, and I've never heard of hollyhock ladies. Cute.

Amy said...

So, how do you make the hollyhock ladies?

Anonymous said...

Your hollyhocks are beautiful. I see them planted against walls or the walls of houses, I have never seen them free standing like yours. They won't grow in my yard.


Amy said...

Thank you so much for the instructions. I just thought that they were so pretty and had to know how they were made.

Anonymous said...

Oh Thank You!! My granma used to talk about making dolls out of hollyhocks, but never got the time to show me how. Now I can make these for my daughters!