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Chapter 12 The Awakening. It’s about the different states of Life for these composition dolls once they leave the factory. For me, the saddest doll of all is the one who is Mint in Box. Yes, they are pretty to look at with their perfect paint and clothes, and yes they are by far the rarest of these old dolls, and therefore monetarily worth the most, but to me they are sad.
Because they have never been loved.
Which is why I like to take the “loved” dolls, the ones that are less desirable by collector standards, and make them desirable again with a second chance at love.
Here’s a Patsy that I cleaned and redressed and did a little touching up to:
She is now in someone else’s home, and wherever she is, I bet she’s being loved once again.
My next projects:
They are dirty and cracked. The first doll has had her arm torn and someone tried to reattach it long ago. Her wig’s missing. Both their original outfits are long gone, in fact they don’t have a stitch of clothing to call their own!
I’m going to change that for them. They’ve already been cleaned. I washed the braided girl’s human hair wig, and found another vintage human hair wig for the other. It had a slight green tinge to it, so I dyed it with coffee. Even now, it pinned to a foam ball on a stick and drying on the radiator in my sewing room. Another thing I like about winter! Warm radiators! More about them in the future.
In the meantime, there’s someone I’d like you to meet. Some of Lost Dolls are older than their composition counterparts.
Meet Beatrice. Before:
You might think her body is funny, but it’s actually a very lovely thing. The style of bodies that dolls had back then in 1860 or so when she was made. No need for hoops or corsets!
You can find her ebay listing HERE.
You might think she’s a bit expensive, but it works out to about $1 an hour. I swear, there was some kind of communication difficulty in understanding what she meant when she told me what kind of clothes she wanted. She is originally from Germany and still had a very heavy accent. Here is what we came up with:
There are more photos on her listing, including her somewhat unusual dress.
I had a lot of help with this girl! When I told my Mom I was having trouble seeing because at one point I thought Beatrice was telling me she wanted bead work on her cloak. So my wonderful mother sent me a bright light to hang around my neck, and better glasses!
It turned out that Beatrice just wanted beads for buttons, however! I used the two contraptions my mother had sent for another tiny fix: her necklace chain was broken. It’s a very fine chain, and there’s no WAY I could have repaired it with my eyes the way they were before. Here’s the necklace as well as her underclothing I made from an old pillow case:
And speaking of the chain: a gift from my dear friend Jennifer Trenary. She was at an estate sale and saw a box of old and broken jewelry and thought of me. So thoughtful! This wonderful chain and several other great treasures were in that little container, and different pieces contained therein will be making appearances on my dolls, because I always send them out with a little bit of jewelry as a token of my love for them as they make their way back into the world.
It may take Beatrice a little while to find just the right person, but I hope she does. Because every loved doll deserves a second chance.
Tomorrow! Nina strikes INFINITY.
I’ve been blessed. I’ve been blessed! So far.
And as a leap of faith, I’ve told Sweet Sophie that she no longer needs to watch over me, that it’s time for her find a new home. As a refresher, Sophie happened to arrive just as my bat extravaganza was going full force. Due to her kind nature she decided that I was the one who needed her most so she vowed to stay with me until I was one season Free of Bats.
But I am tired of being afraid! Therefore I’ve been urging Sophie to go. She is still reluctant. Remember her friend? The one who was hiding with her under the blanket? She stayed by Sophie and my’s side this whole time as well. Now she is leading the way for Sophie: she is going to leave the bat’s lair – er, the Hideaway – first.
Meet Sally Silver. While she is much smaller than Sophie and not quite as showy, she is every bit as sweet. If Poor Edith from Downton Abbey had been a poor American child of the depression era, an American middle child, never quite out of the shadow of her older and younger siblings, Sally Silver would have been her doll.
You can see that Sally was never an expensive doll. Her tin eyes don’t have eyelashes, and she’s been crudely carved at her limb and body seams and her teeth are only painted on. But like many of her simple sisters, her composition has held up better than some of the best!
The back of her mohair wig has been worn away, probably from the countless nights she spent laying beside her little human at night, sharing secrets and whispering into the dark, her sweet dimples never leaving her face even as she soothed fears and broken hearts.
But little girls don’t stay little girls forever. The human little girls, at least! Little composition dolls do. It’s the way of the world. Somehow over the years Sally was forgotten; she was Lost. It speaks volumes for her that on the brink of finding a new home, of being loved by a little girl again, she opted to stay by Sophie and therefore my side. She’s become comfortable here. It speaks volumes more that she’s now ready to take that first big step back into the world.
So here she comes! Sally Silver is emerging from the shadows! Her clothing, complete with a satin-lined coat and hat (to protect her remaining mohair curls) and red dress with matching leather shoes were made for her by me and have been carefully preserved. She is donning them again!