I finished Rosey’s leggings, and laughed to find Ann-Marie’s were done too and they match!  You can see hers here: Winter Warmth

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I live in a small village and there are few stores here.  There is a Semi-Chem and a haberdashery called Y Pay More.  I was on the hunt for shampoo for me and something to curl Rosey’s hair with.  Strangely, in Semi-Chem, there weren’t any rollers, only electric hot irons.  At Y Pay More I was able to find a package of small hair rollers for £1.49.   They were pretty vintage as is most of the junk valuables in the store.  They had the plastic stick pins and I certainly remember them from my childhood!  I was so happy the only only ones they had were a perfect size for Rosey.  I damp set her hair and it turned out so sweet!  I love it!  Even my husband laughed seeing her in rollers and said she looked so pretty this morning. 

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I have played around with some black and white photo’s  of Rosey whenever I take too many and don’t care if a few can be messed with.  Whenever I see her in black and white, it brings a rush of my childhood back to me.  I wasn’t quite sure why she has this affect on me, and then this morning, as I was feeling this surge of emotion in seeing this photo in particular…… I connected the dot!

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My Chatty Cathy!  OMG!  I did not realize the pull/connection!  On my 5th or 6th birthday, I received a Chatty Cathy.  She had been imported from America and I do believe I was the only Danish girl to have one at the time.  My friends were in awe of her and I was so proud!  I remember coming home from Kindergarten and in the entryway she was standing on the console and my heart leaped in joy.  That is the first remembrance I had about feeling passionate towards a doll.  I loved that doll.  She was a true companion.  I talked to her and spent hours playing in a fantasy world with her.  I do not remember how long I had her, but one day my cousins came to visit, saw how much she meant to me, and being boys they grabbed her throwing her around to keep her out of my reach until she landed on the cement garage floor and shattered.  I remember the pain and hurt I felt.  I felt as shattered as my doll.

The only other doll that meant something to me was a baby doll I received for Christmas after Chatty was killed.   (Wow, I can’t believe I just typed that, I was about to erase it, but I am leaving it.  Freudian slip I suppose.)  Killed.  Yes, that is how it felt to lose her.  It makes me wonder why my parents didn’t get me another one.  I remember my grandfather bringing me a succession of dolls from Germany, but they did not stir me.  In fact, I thought them cold and plastic looking.  (Sorry, Grandfather).

DSC03437 That is me with Susan.  I had that doll for many years and eventually my daughter played with her too.  I have never found another one, I have no idea who made her, I suspect she was Italian.   While she was my everything, she was a baby and did not hold the companionship factor.  She was a huggable, loveable doll and I played at mothering her.  But other than the play talk of being a mother to a baby, there wasn’t the companionship I felt for Chatty Cathy.  There must be a photo of me somewhere with Chatty?  Wish I had one.

Coming back to dolls as an adult, I often thought about replacing her with a vintage Chatty Cathy, but it just didn’t happen.  I bid on a few, but lost.  I saw how popular she is with adult collectors and her price can quickly rise out of my league.  I hesitated because at the time, I was not sure I wanted a mixed material (hard plastic and soft vinyl) doll and being so enamoured of multiple joints, I wasn’t sure I would like to go back to a simple and inflexible doll.  So while I occasionally went back and looked at those available on eBay, something always held me in reserve.  I finally gave up.

My Chatty was a brunette with brown eyes, just like the one in the above photo.  My daughter and granddaughter have dark brown hair and brown eyes.  I suppose somehow all this is imbedded in Rosey?  It doesn’t really matter, but the connection is there, somehow, someway.  Seeing Rosey in a black and white photo made all those memories of a companion of long ago come flooding back.  How utterly strange and remarkable loving a doll can be. 

And while the thought is just within reach, I wonder if the love I have had for my other dolls was based more on their awesomeness, their beauty, their near-unattainableness (price, rarity, etc.).  In some ways, there is a thrill that comes with acquisition of something of value (for whatever reason).  I was clearly seeking dreamy perfection in a doll in those days.

Rosey was a damaged, wigless, urchin that had little value as she
was.  My love (need) for her seems different than with the others.  I remember when I came back from Hawaii, how I went into my doll room and grabbed her first and couldn’t let go.  I had tried two Zwergnases while in Hawaii, even had my beloved Evie sent to me, found a thrill in Yorik….but I came home and swooped up Rosey.  She was the doll I bought while still trucking and kept coming home to work on, but never had much time to let her develop. 

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2012-03-20 007 I knew she had potential.  I kept trying.  While all the different looks were ok, I felt something wasn’t quite right.   Nothing really came to me until the last transformation:

2012-09-29 005 I am just floored at the resemblance to my old Chatty.  As she moved away from the typical Schoenhut look, she looked more and more like the love of my life….dolly-wise!  lol.


Wool Leggings

It’s getting cold!  Time to make a pair of wool leggings for Rosey.  I will make a matching sweater or sweater dress (haven’t decided yet).  I wore woollen leggings when I was a child, under my dresses to keep legs warm in winter.  I remember they were scratchy.  lol.

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I don’t have a pattern, I just started knitting and keep a piece of paper near to mark the casting on number, the adding or subtracting points and the number I end up with for the leg.  I am making two halves that will be joined in the centre front and then across the inseam.  I measure against Rosey as I go.  These will be pull on, leaving the foot free, just like the ones I wore.  I love the deep colour, but as I was knitting, I thought once again that I should be more careful with coordinating her wardrobe.  I just made her a soft pastel turquoise coat, these would not go under that coat at all!  Maybe I can find some wool yarn in a light pastel colour and make leggings, a scarf and mittens to go with the coat.

My days are spent 100% with Rosey and I still find myself feeling at odds with the rest of the dolls.  I walk past them several times a day and since they are close to my bed, I often lay there and look at them.  What to do?  My imagination hears the conversations that could make for some funny little stories, but they come and go and I lose interest quickly.  Each one had their moment in the sun, when loved and adored.  Now they sit there reminding me that things change over time and circumstances.  Husband likes to call me fickle in dolly love, but I wonder just how much of it is more about addiction to new dolls than it is in being fickle.  The lure of a new doll, the lusting after it, the thrill of the acquisition, I admit is so entrancing.  The possibility of a new character sparks my imagination like nothing else.  Rosey could be having her moment in the sun right now.  I wonder what it is that changes?

I noticed that with all of our reducing of things owned since selling the house in 2009, the more I get use to having less.  Some of my biggest collection of stuff was in kitchen ware.  I once had a dinnerware pattern complete to serve 14 people with all the matching pieces.  Now I have two plates to serve all our meals on.  All of our clothes fit on one shelf in the wardrobe.  The only furniture we own is two desks, a kitchen table and two beds, two bookcases.  No TV, no stereo, no entertainment except two laptops.  Lots of artwork, but little else.  We don’t even own a towel, we use the items that came with a furnished flat.  Husband says we lived for 3 years in a space no bigger than a closet, what do we really need to be happy?  Each other! (and a doll, I remind him, lol).

We reduced all our stuff when we sold the house.  Reduced it again (22 boxes!) to move to Europe.  I thought I would feel lost without my stuff, but I like it.  I now feel compelled to let go of even more.   Things are settling down and all the upheaval of a major move is over with.   So much has changed within my dolly realm, my interests have shifted and my desires are no longer tangled up in who will come on the truck with me on the next run!  These days, all I want to do is work little one at a time projects for Rosey, much like the Bleuette magazines had a new pattern to share and create for a beloved dolly.  I am not going to be rash, but I have a feeling that I am getting ready to reduce slowly over time even further until I feel I am in the right place with my stuff and where I want to go down the road with it.

A Room for Rosey

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Rosey had the sniffles, so I made her a handkerchief.  It’s fabulous I got a doll dress, a doll apron and two doll handkerchiefs out of one of my own.

2012-09-23 009 This is the hat I made to go with the dress.  The next time she wears the dress, I will take a photo of the combination.

2012-09-24 006 I was sweeping the floor today and was wishing not to have Rosey’s bed on the floor.  I got the idea to put my drawing board on top of the thing I have doll stuff in and it made the top just large enough to hold her bed.  So Rosey now has a room of her own!

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I think it’s perfect, as I can take photo’s and attend to her at a higher level than the floor.  I haven’t painted the bed yet, I am thinking of leaving it worn and maybe just adding flowers, or maybe I should look into vintage decals.  I am so tickled with this little room, she has the warmest spot in the flat, right near the radiator! 

I am currently working on a deep dark olive brown knitted leggings and sweater set.  I have never knitted pants before, so this is my first try at that.  I was thinking of the different things I would like to make for Rosey, things like were made for Bleuettes, hats and purses and other fun accessories.  I thought a pyjama case, a winter muff and mittens would be next.  Anything I make for her will have to come from what I have already.  That, I think, will be a fun challenge!

Agnotta the House Servant

2012-09-23 0022012-09-23 0032012-09-23 0042012-09-23 006 Agnotta received a thin black corduroy gown and a handkerchief apron last night, including a maid’s cap.  She is quietly smiling, relieved to be out of the tattered faded dress she arrived in.  She is especially pleased with a bright red ribbon to tie her apron and the large red roses assure her that being a maid doesn’t necessarily mean dowdiness.

Who is This?

A nearly forgotten purchase came in the mail today, one that was a late night bid and went to bed to find the next day I won her.  I rarely win bids anymore because I can’t put the money into it.  It wasn’t a dream doll I was lusting after, so I promptly forgot about her and then she arrived!

This little one is 7 inches, listed as having a china head, arms, legs and wooden body.  She was only £5 and so I bid.  The seller only had one photo of her and it wasn’t very clear.  When she arrived, I thought what fun it will be to see if she is an antique or a reproduction of some sort.  She was merely wrapped in bubble wrap and put in an envelope.  Seems they don’t use boxes on fragile items here.  Out of the wrapper:

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My first impression…she looks dead! So pale, mottled and the black lips didn’t help.

Her hair is coarse and stiff.  She has some staining and dirt on her face.  Her gown is completely hand sewn.  The gown is silk and has holes and disintegration.  There is discolouration on the gown that is yellowish-olive, much like the stain on her face.  It was a lovely lilac colour at one time.  I believe the dress was made in the 1920’s.  Undressed, I was very surprised to find out she has a bust and waist!  My guess is she was made between 1890 and 1920.  She may have had previous clothing.  There weren’t any undergarments.

2012-09-22 011 Her arms and legs are painted wood, not china.  Large spoon hands and tiny booted (with heels) feet.  One foot has been mended.  Whenever I see a mend on an old doll, it makes me think someone cared enough about the doll not to throw it out.  These type of dolls were not meant to be fine or lovely, just cheap playthings.  Her china head is not even glazed, and is strangely painted, such as the lips and nose holes are black, not red or coral.  The eyebrows are brown, so it would seem odd not to have the nose and lips another colour.  Her arms are limited in motion, the upper arm can only move forward or backward, the lower arms move only in towards the body.  She is well painted on the body, not just dipped.  Her head is immobile and probably glued into the body. There is always a possibility this is a replacement head, but I have no indication it is, it seems to be the same wear/dirtiness of the limbs.    The body is better quality than the head.  Wood peg joinings, no nails or wire.

I gently washed her hair with conditioner and gave her body a bees waxing.  I used a cotton swab to clean her face, but very little of the discolouration came away, she seems to be stained with an olive coloured something and I am hesitant to try and get it out.

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Her hair may have been in pigtails at one time, but with a woman’s body, I decided to roll the hair and sew it up.  It was too stiff to let hang.  My best guess is that it is horsehair.

Sigh.  Not sure why I bought her.  I am still unsure of my dolly direction these days.  I am definitely more interested in antique dolls than ever before.  I am fascinated by the history and life they may have once had.  I am excited to be able to make her some clothes and revitalise her, but what then?  I guess just wait and see.

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Certainly not a beauty.  She looks pretty rough.  I may dress her in a peasant costume, or a maids.

Rosey Gets a Bob Cut

2012-09-20 0022012-09-20 0042012-09-20 0052012-09-20 006Rosey got a haircut!  I had debated over and over about it, just not sure I wanted to cut the beautiful and healthy hair, but I am now glad I did.  What a perky look for her and so much easier for her to manage.

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I didn’t have any rollers, so had to use bobby pins.  It could be curled better, but for now, we are both happy with the results.  She sort of looks like a Bleuette and that makes me smile.  This was a bear’s blouse which I cut down the arms and sides (and reduced the neckline) to fit Rosey and one of adult Evie’s dresses.  It doesn’t close at the waist, but I think I can manage to create a panel insert to correct it.  I like the challenge of “make-do” with what one already has.