Category Archives: My Doll Collection

Mother’s Day Cinderella

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My family always asks me what I would like for Mother’s Day and I usually come up with about 10 things I need or would like to have.  This year was no different.  But this year I asked for a doll.  That’s right, you heard me correctly.  I asked for a doll. 

Now, this is all my daughter’s fault, because she’s the one who introduced me to them in the first place.  On one of her trips home from college we went shopping and we were just about ready to leave the mall when we saw a huge display of dolls in the Disney Store.  She’d been shopping with some girlfriends and had seen these dolls before and wanted to take another look. I never say no when it comes to looking at dolls, so I went enthusiastically along. 

Inside the store they had these Disney Princess dolls that looked like little children.  They’re called  the Animator’s Series.  Anyway, there were so many choices and they were all so cute, we had a hard time deciding which one we liked the best.  We ended up getting Belle for my daughter’s 21st birthday. 

“Belle”

Well, after that I really wanted one of those dolls too, only it took me forever to decide which one I wanted.  I finally chose Cinderella, although Pochahontas and Rapunzel were my other two favorites.    Here’s my Cinderella doll. 

“Cinderella”

Here’s some advice for you too.  Unless you have a lot of will power, do not go into the Disney Store!  You won’t be able to decide which doll to buy, then you’ll spend way more  money than you should, then your husband will be extremely mad at you and you won’t enjoy your new doll.  Better to stay away!  Or not…………………..

Ellen makes an appearance on my blog!

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Oh, you thought I was talking about the other Ellen, Ellen Degeneres.   Sorry if I misled you.  Well, this Ellen isn’t quite as famous, but she is very special.  And, I think, very beautiful. 

Ellen is part of  the Barefoot Children series created by doll artist Annette Himstedt in the 1980’s.

 I believe that Ellen was one of three dolls in the first series.  I fell in love with this doll the first time I saw her, and even though she was very expensive, I knew I had to have her.  My husband actually made the last payment on her for me as a surprise Christmas present.  He knew how much I wanted her. 

Anyway, Mattel Corportation produced these dolls and they are very fine quality.  All of Ms. Himstedt’s dolls are amazing.  Ellen just happens to be my personal favorite.  Sometime, when you get a chance, look up Annette Himstedt on the internet and see some of her other creations.  I’m sure you’ll be glad you did. 

Pogo Joins The Blog!

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Okay, this doll is really cool, and even though he is part of my collection, he doesn’t really belong to me.  He belongs to my big sister.  He lives at my house with the rest of my doll collection though.  My sister is very generous to let me keep him for her.  He is a very special little guy, as you can see.  He was always a favorite of both of us. I believe my sister named him Pogo after a character in the Sunday comics. 

Pogo

Pogo is not wearing his original clothing.  The clothing you see here is some that my mother had for us when we were babies.  I’m not sure if one or all of us five siblings got to wear this outfit, but I think it’s sweet that Mom kept it and passed it on to me for this little guy.  The only new thing Pogo’s wearing are his little booties, and even those are about 25 years old.

 This doll was made by the Ideal Toy Company in 1960 and is about 25″ long.  The only other dolls I’ve seen like this were in photographs, and they were outfitted in dresses.  I’ve never seen one dressed as a boy before.  I’m sure that was my sisters doing.  At any rate, the original clothing has disappeared, but the little blanket and the baby seat are original.  The seat’s straps were made out of plastic and have desintigrated over the past 50 odd years.  I still had the buckle, so I remade one of the straps out of some twill tape.   I think you’ll agree that Pogo is very fine example of a baby doll.  I’m proud to have him with the rest of my collection.  Today I cleaned him thoroughly and gave him a new cloth diaper!  He’s a happy guy! Mommy & Baby(me with Pogo)

Betsy McCall

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Betsy McCall dolls were big back in the 60’s when I was a child.  I absolutely adored them and all the little outfits you could get for them.  This was before the Barbie doll, and to my mind, a much superior product. 

My sister and I each had one, mine was a brunette, and hers a blonde.  I eventually ended up with both of them because she was several years older and not really into dolls that much anymore.  I had a little, round, pink, hatbox-type carrying case, the two dolls, and many, many outfits, complete with shoes and accesories.  

One of my fondest memories is going to Lipman Wolfe, a department store that was near our house, going to their toy department, and choosing a new outfit for my doll.  This was something that only happened on special occasions, which made it all that more special. 

Unfortunately, once I had grown up and moved out of my parents house my Betsy dolls were given away, along with a lot of other childhood castoffs.  I probably didn’t care about them much at the time, but a few years later I became interested again and started going to doll shows, only to find dolls exactly like the ones I had owned, but at 6 times the price!  Oh, snap!  If only I had hung on to my dolls!

Anyway, I purchased a blonde doll at one of the doll shows that I attended back in the mid-1980’s.  I payed $65. for her, and she didn’t even have an original outfit or anything.  It took me a long time to even find shoes for her.  I wanted a brunette too, but I couldn’t find one that was in my price range, so I eventually gave up. 

Several years ago I saw some new Betsy McCall dolls in a store, and I just about went crazy!  I wanted one so badly, but they were pretty expensive.  So one year, for my birthday, I conviced my husband to let me buy one.  There was a cute little doll store out in Beaverton, Oregon that I found on the internet.  Sadly, it no longer exists.  But, my kids and I went for a ride and got me my brunette Betsy McCall doll!

She came with a little camisole, socks and shoes.  That was it!  The clothes were $25. or more per outfit!  So, this is what I did.  I got a pattern from JoAnn fabrics, and then I bought two different colors of fabric, and I made my two dolls matching outfits!  I really enjoyed doing it and I think they look fantastic!  See what you think.  

Betsy and Betsy

  I think I will always prefer the Betsy of the 60’s, but I have to admit, they’re both pretty cute.   Here’s a close-up of their sweet faces.  Eat your heart out Barbie!

 
Two sweet Betsys

 

 
 

Button Dolls

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My version of the Button Doll

When my daughter was in middle school our Girl Scout troop went to The End Of The Oregon Trail Museum.  We spent the night camping on the grounds, and we got to tour the museum.  It was a lot of fun.  The only thing that really bothered me was the freight trains that ran through the town ALL-NIGHT-LONG.  It seemed as though I had set my tent up right on top of the train tracks.  Anyway, I digress.

When we were in the museum they showed us the wagons that the pioneers used and talked about the kinds and amounts of things they had to take with them as they traveled across our country.  One of the things that I was particularly interested in was a handmade doll, called a button doll. 

Now this doll was not really very attractive, but you could tell that it was made with things that a mother might have on hand and it was also practical.  The doll’s head and body were made from flour sacks or other rough cloth.  The doll’s clothing was made also from flour sacks or from old clothing that may have been discarded.  But the doll’s arms and legs were made up of strings of buttons!  The buttons were salvaged any time a piece of clothing was discarded or sent to the rag bin, and they were used to replace lost buttons, or when a new piece of clothing was made and required buttons.  At this point the mother would just borrow back the doll and remove however many buttons she needed, then she would re-string the doll’s arm or leg and return the doll to her child.  Isn’t that a wonderful idea?

Needless to say I was enthralled by the idea.  I bought a modern doll from the museum’s gift shop (see photo below),  

Raggedy Ann Button Doll from the Museum Store

but then I decided to try to make my own.  So my daughter and I bought a bunch of buttons and stuff from JoAnn’s and got busy.  We made a lot of dolls and sold them at a local toy store, and St. Agatha’s Holiday Bazaar.  We also gave many away as gifts.  We also taught a class on how to make them at Sellwood Middle School.  I think you can see why we liked them so much.

Attention: Raggedy Ann Lovers!

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Raggedy Ann in red

This is my Raggedy Ann.  I’ve had her forever.  I don’t even remember when I got her, but I must’ve been pretty little.  I carried her around with me a lot.  My older brother once built a fort out in our backyard.  It was so cool! I loved going inside to play by myself.  Nobody could see me or bother me!  Once, I went inside and laid  down with my Raggedy Ann doll.  It was summer time, so it was warm and very peaceful.  I fell asleep for a while, and when I woke I got up and went outside leaving my Raggedy Ann doll inside!  Well, it took weeks for me to remember where I’d left her and by the time I found her she had suffered some damage.  She smelled of mildew and had a few spots on her, plus she had a streak in her hair where several strands of yarn were shades lighter than her original color! 

Some time during the early 1980’s I thought I’d make my Raggedy Ann a new dress to replace the one that got spoiled in my brother’s fort.  This is a no-no to avid doll collectors.  You never get rid of the original clothing!  It makes the doll much less valuable on the market.  But at the time I didn’t know that, so I took her original dress apart and used it as a pattern to make the dress she is wearing now.  I believe her original dress was a blue patterned fabric.  As you can see she is now wearing a dress with my favorite colors in it.  Much better, don’t you think? 

Ann spends most of her time in my cedar chest.  She gets to come out once in a while to be admired by other doll enthusiasts.  But the cedar keeps her safe and preserved, so she can go on being great forever!

Baby Doll with Crocheted Clothes

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 This is a baby doll that my mother purchased and then made the clothes for.  I don’t really know how old I was at the time, maybe three or four years old.  She made a boy doll for my little brother too.  I don’t have that doll to show you, but it was every bit as intricate as the one you see here.  Mom was an artist with a crochet hook, and an accomplished seamstress as well.  You can see the care and detail she put into every piece of clothing.  The amazing thing is that she didn’t use patterns.  These are all created out of her mind.  Can you believe it? 

Mom made dolls for other members of the family too, and they have all been loved and cherished for many, many years.  They will be handed down through our family as heirlooms, for no amount of money could purchase these gems.

In addition to doll  my mother crocheted just about everything under the sun, including curtains, table cloths, doilies, bedspreads, afghans, sweaters, etc.  She made each thing with a level of skill and perfection that’s hard to imagine.  Sadly, she is no longer with us.  But she has left each and every one of us with a legacy of her artistic genius.   Thanks Mom!