now browsing by tag
“WAIT! Don’t tell me…”
The little girl stood there gazing up at me with her piercing blue eyes, patiently waiting.
“My Pet!” I crowed. I’m always proud when I can identify a doll that’s not necessarily composition.
“OUR Pet,” said Dot the smart aleck, peering at the back of our new arrivals head. I should never have taught her where to look for markings.
I would soon learn that this little girl was a doll of few words. No matter. Her cheeks gave away how very excited she was at the prospect of being loved again…
Thus begins the description for O.L.D. (Once-Loved Doll) No. 119, Gretchen, our very first “Our Pet” doll. You can see her adoption page HERE.
Just because she’s the “first” doesn’t mean there are a wqhole bunch of other “Our Pet” dolls waiting in the wings. She may very well be the one and only! They were made by the Armand Marseille company usually associated with bisque head dolls. This doll’s head appears to almost be a fired clay that’s been painted, as close as I can tell by looking inside her head.
I had no particular theme for her in mind; I just want to make her as cute as possible. She is such an adorable size at just over 14″, so perfect to hold. If I could keep her, I would. But alas, there’s always another doll clamoring for attention so I must prepare her, love her, and send her on her way. First I started with her few minor repairs.
Granted, the blonde mohair wig I chose for her is a little scraggly. All my wigs are! I have three bins of scraggly wigs, all patiently waiting their turn to be pieced together so they can once more sit atop a future beloved doll’s head and therefore be loved once again themselves! Same with all my fabrics. “Pick ME this time!” “Me!” “ME!” It’s amazing I get anything done with all those voices clamoring around me…
Speaking of voices, “ONE DRESS!” my wee sister cried. But, honestly! We’re straddling winter and spring here, what’s a girl to do? I soothed her by telling her I would use the same pattern for both dresses. Then I added a sweater and two aprons…I cannot be stopped!
It’s no secret I enjoy a sweater with flowers embroidered on it. I know three stitches, and by golly I use them. This sweater was made from the stash of beautiful old wool sweaters that were thrift store finds that Julie had given me awhile ago. I love using sweaters to make sweaters!
The pointy hat and mittens are made from red cotton velvet. The mittens are attached to each other with middy braid. For the hat ties, I braided red cotton string and made pompoms.
I had flashbacks the whole time I was working on the coat. I don’t know how, but I rarely make coats using the same fabric I’ve used before, at least without mixing and matching. The fabric for Gretchen’s coat is the same fabric I used for Holly’s coat when I was rushing and I singed it. Don’t think I didn’t pay close attention this time!
The shoes are based on some originals I’d seen. You know what I need? Good scallop cutting scissors. I didn’t have any, so bless my heart I cut them as evenly as I could. They’re leather and the ties are braided embroidery floss.
I found an already made slip that with some added lace was the perfect length to peek out from both her dresses. Pointy hats, flowered sweaters, and lace peeking out from the bottom of a dress. Does it get any better?
So there you have her, a wee little girl with high rosy cheeks and messy hair, counting the days to her new adventures.
You know who’s not counting the days? Sally Joy! She was adopted by Gwen R. of Medford, Texas. I think this is O.L.D. number five for Gwen. Thank you, Gwen! And your sweet husband too.
And with that, I leave you on this first day of spring! No matter the season, YOU are my favorite.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am the America of doll collecting. “Give me your tired, your poor, your broken limb, your hole in the head….”
I never, ever buy mint. Not because I can’t afford it (although I can’t!), but because I’m just so tickled pink to actually have these old treasures right in my hands that I don’t care WHAT’S wrong with them. You must understand, I lived in a world before ebay! Hard to imagine, but there once was one. The only time I ever saw my future loves, old dolls, was in antique stores. There they sat, behind glass doors, out of reach in more ways than one, faded, frustratingly turned upside-down labels attached to their wrists.
“Ooh! Does that say $25.00?” I would eagerly think to myself, contorting my body into the oddest of positions trying to see that elusive tag. I would contain my excitement as I made my way to the front of the store. Contain it as I followed the helpful store lady back to my find, dutifully stepping back and not lunging as she unlocked the case.
“Here she is,” the lady would kindly say, laying this glorious treasure in my arms.
“Oh, hmm…” I would nonchalantly murmur as I surreptitiously take a look at the tag, only to have my heart sink. $250.00 – NOT $25.00. I would give the doll one last squeeze before gently handing her back to the woman. “I’ll have to think about it. Thank you.” I would say.
If that happened once, it happened a hundred times. To this day I do not care what shape an old girl is in, I’m just honored to hold her and have her for my own, even if it’s just for a little while.
This summer I had to change my tactics a little and sell some of my dolls quickly to get by. My older dolls that are monetarily worth more – except they’re once again dolls I could afford, that were therefore very flawed, that I loved to distraction nevertheless.
I intended to simply sell them quickly, like ripping off a bandage. But when it comes to dolls, sometimes me and fabric are a magnet, and my sewing machine is STEEL. In some cases, I just had to do SOMETHING.
So I sewed for some of them. The ones that I could, that I had time for.
I learned a LOT this summer, like how to string a bisque head, composition body doll. Or how to make a jester hat, or how to easily make a reticule (little drawstring purses like the ones the Flappers are holding. I’m thinking of doing a video on them, they’re super easy – now that I figured out how).
I’ve shown just a few of these girls here, and now there are three that I have left. That for whatever reason didn’t call out to anybody at the “Buy It Now” prices I set. But I’ve already said goodbye to them in my heart, and while I work on the next O.L.D., I’m sending these girls off auction-style. Now I know for certain as do they that no matter what, they’ll be going someplace new very soon. I’ll miss them! But you never know when there will be another knock at my door when another doll arrives…
HERE ARE THE THREE. As you expect, one has a hole in her head, another some broken legs (I made new ones), and another is the one I learned to restring on. It was TRICKY. She’s the closest thing to a Hazel Twigg-style doll I’ve done all summer.
MARVEL was adopted by…dearest JANEY J. Oakland, California! Isn’t it wonderful when O.L.D.’s and old friends collide? Oh sure, I’ve never actually MET Janey, but she feels like an old friend all the same! THANK YOU, JANEY!
And with that, I leave you! Happy cooler weather and popping walnuts, you’re my favorite.