First Snow Where We Live in Scotland

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Having our first snow was really exciting for me, even though my husband cursed.

So exciting, we all decided that the moment husband left for work at 5:30 am, we all got dressed and went out to play in the snow…in the dark.  I had a feeling it would all be gone in no time, and so we decided to take advantage of the moment. 

Here is the story:

In the second photo…my husband is walking down the path to catch the bus and train to work.  I  am pretty sure he was still cursing!  There are I think 4 or 5 parts to this little story, which wasn’t planned at all, but I will have it lead into the subject I had planned on, which will have to wait until next week.  I was surprised to get any photo’s at all.

Here it is when the sun came up, which lasted all of a couple of minutes, then the rain came and the snow is already gone.  I am so glad we ventured out in the dark, even though it felt sort of scary.

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Rosey’s lime & cocoa dress is coming along, normally I make each panel separate, but I am yearning to try different ways just to amuse myself.  So far, I plan on crocheting a lacy collar in cocoa and making long sleeves but not sure yet as to the stripes.  I thought maybe I would do the opposite stripes in the sleeves and make matching leggings to the sleeves.

Lots of planning going on for a joint effort, co-authored doll story blog which I will post a link to once it is up and running and ready to be announced.  It will be a while yet, but the planning part is the most fun anyways.  I will be tying some of Rosey’s blog to that one and I will talk about the production and designs ‘’backstage’’ here.


Just What is a Companion Doll Anyways?

Perhaps some of my ambivalence with my other dolls is the result of my companionship with my Schoenhut.  A most unexpected development.  This relationship feels different.  It sprung not out of my “desire” for a perfect companion doll, but from a need that was much more basic.  It was much more child-like and in a simple and uncomplicated depth.   I am in love with the most imperfect doll I have ever had!

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Part of it may have come with all our downsizing, our constant moving and shaking.  I needed stability, a sense of home, a something that represented what I missed and felt close to.  When Evie was my companion doll, she brought me a sense of new possibilities, a new direction.  She opened my imagination to photo-stories and sewing in a new way.  I will always be grateful for my time with Evie.  I daresay that every doll that has crossed my doorstep had the potential of being a companion doll.  And as in human relationships, sometimes the losses and regrets, the unfulfilled wishes can keep us dolly nuts continuing to reach for that shining star, whatever it may be, whatever we are seeking in that very next doll that sets our imagination soaring once again.  Rosey came in with her simple self, her old  fashioned self, her history and stability, her earthy woodiness….Rosey came when I needed doll to just be a doll.  A doll like my childhood doll.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately.  This intangible love of dolls.  Certain dolls can make me squee with delight.  Some can make my mouth hang open in amazement.  Some open my imagination in a new way.  Some make me cringe, some look downright creepy.  Some make me shrug my shoulders in disinterest.  I really don’t know why I stopped playing with dolls as a child and then took the interest back up as an adult.  I look back on it for clues, but all I remember is the strange denial I went through and semi-embarrassment.  It was around 2003 that the interest picked back up and it was important to explain my interest in sewing or historical costuming…and it took awhile to give up the pretence and admit I liked dolls as dolls….as an adult.

Rosey brings me a sense of home and the past.  These days, I am reaching for something deep within me, something I recognise, something I know instead of reaching for the star.  I think returning to Europe opened up that long supressed thing inside me.  I really want to explore this…but not right now.  My intent in writing this all today was to gather around me, the ideas of what changed about my idea of a companion doll and why that affected my relationship to my other dolls.2012-10-01 045 When I see Rosey like this, I see a connection to my own childhood.  A little girl talking to a companion.  That is me.  That is my daughter.  That is my granddaughter.  It may have been my mother and my grandmother too.  It is ageless and timeless.  It’s not created, it exists.

It really clicked to see the resemblance Rosey had to my childhood Chatty Cathy.  Clicked in a way that had me sit up and take notice.  I spent the other evening looking at Chatty Cathy’s and trying to figure out what was going on in my thoughts and my heart about it.  My heart was certainly thumping…a sort of excitement, as though I really did find Chatty Cathy again.  Or was that just a spark of hope and remembrance?

As I looked at the Chatty’s online, I tried to imagine having one.  It’s certainly not impossible to bring one home.  In fact I kept telling myself I could bring one home at the click of a button.  That’s all it would take.  Yet, that same hesitancy I have always felt when close to considering it, and that is “you can never go back to what it was by bringing home an imitation”.  So I looked at Rosey.  The resemblance is there and in other ways it is not.  Rosey has a upturned nose, teeth showing, dark hair and brown eyes.  But she is not Chatty Cathy as I see her, but as I remember her inside.  I think that is what the difference is between what Evie was for me and what Rosey is for me.  Evie was the utmost in my ideal of a doll and I wanted her as my companion because it was like finding a gemstone in the sand.  I wanted to know every facet of her.

Rosey is not what I see, but what I feel when I see her. When I think of all the dolls I have brought home and then rehomed because of this or that flaw or feature I did not like, it turns out that as many imperfections as Rosey has, it does not matter.  Rosey brings me the remembrance of my love of my childhood doll companion, but she is also her own self.  I tried calling her Cathy to try it on and it was laughable.  “Do you see a pull string in my neck?”  I smiled.  Rosey has the charm of Chatty and the spirit of Evie.  Perhaps Rosey is a little bit of every doll I have ever loved or wanted.  And embracing all that, a Schoenhut who was carved and pressed and put together in 1918 or thereabouts.   She is herself before anything else.

2012-10-01 013 I don’t want to make this into a dramatic undying love homage, lol.  I just have been wrapped up in the changes, the nuances and feel to my dolly world as I settle down and relax and realize that nothing is the same as it was.  My relationships and intentions with the dolls I have so loved, have shifted.  Perhaps they will shift again.   This is what keeps the imagination thriving I guess!

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And this little one has life in every wood splinter.

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.

Audrey Bathed

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Audrey was given a bath and had her hair washed and conditioned.  I noticed, just like I did with Evie, that the Testors coating had yellowed, which I could not see until it was removed and she was washed with soap and water.  Audrey’s skin is now more latte coloured than golden tan.  I also noticed that some of her faceup had worn off, so I will be reluctantly redoing that too.  I could not get a good photo of it, but in taking tons of extreme close ups, I decided that although I cannot do the fine eyeliner style, I can pretty much give her most everything else in colouring.  it helped for me to see the close ups.  She won’t have the dark eyes she has now, but I think I can keep a similar look.

2012-08-01 056Here you can see the chipped lip colour.  The cheek wear  is the most noticeable, but I could not get it to show in the photo.  It’s like she has a ring around her mouth from cheek to cheek.

I went through most of the two remaining unpacked boxes, looking for her clothing and objects, I did not find Rosebud yet.  I pulled out the trunk I received from Alex, but she was not packed in there either.  I just cannot picture in my head exactly where I packed her.  I couldn’t tear everything up today because we were expecting the flat to be inspected.  I am sure I will eventually find her, but I am a bit worried.  In the meantime, I am going to set up the trunk as Audrey’s room.  I am Audrey-fied right now and can think of nothing else.  I hope this happens with all my dolls, but for now I can only do one at a time.

Anyways, I have been playing with Audrey and holding her heavy body in my hand and being delighted with her like I haven’t been in a long time.  I took a few photo’s of the flat today, nothing is finalized yet, we are still working on it.  We did get the go ahead for an additional 2 year lease, so I felt a lot of relief with that.

2012-08-01 028That brown table and sofa will be taken away (came with the furnished flat) and I will put my work table there so I can sew.  I have no idea where I will put my dolls though.

2012-08-01 042 Our entry way between the bedroom and lounge.  That table is my working table and will be moved to the bedroom.  That’s all  my husband’s stuff. 

2012-08-01 044The lounge (living room).  We have the dining table in the window bay. We opted for a double desk over sofa’s and a TV.  We watch films on our computer’s anyways and so don’t have a TV.

2012-08-01 033 Looking towards the kitchen from the bay window.  Now you can see the entry room and the bedroom in the distance.  On the left a display unit will be set up with more art objects.  Maybe in a week or two.  In the bedroom, once the sofa’s and table go, we will add two dressers under the window.

2012-08-01 040our long long bathroom.

So that’s it for now.  We will be here until November 1 2014.  At that time we will make the decision whether to go to Denmark or stay 2 more years.   I feel I now have LOTS of dolly play ahead.  Starting NOW!!!!!

Arrival Day

I did not know when the household goods would arrive until yesterday.  They said they would arrive on the morning of the 24th and early!  I got a text that they were on their way and I was so excited I could hardly stand it!

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I expected a moving truck, but only a van came.  When I saw it was only one man, I got nervous.  But that’s our boxes in the van!  Those boxes left Colorado, went to LA, then to Singapore, then I suppose through the Suez Canal and on up to Scotland.  The boxes went west, we went east and now we are all re-united.  lol.  They sure have been a lot of places before coming here.  Amazing!  My little seafarers!

2012-07-24 Boxes Arrived! 004 He started stacking them in the hallway and I asked him why.  He said he coodna brrrrring em up no stairrrs.  I was informed that door to door meant DOWNSTAIRS doors.  I asked him if he expected me to take 22 heavy large boxes up the stairs, he said yes.  I signed the papers and thought OMG.  I can’t get all these upstairs and husband is at work all day!

2012-07-24 Boxes Arrived! 003 I managed these and nearly passed out.  I was seeing stars.  After sitting down and getting my heart rate back to normal, I decided to get them at least to the first landing and husband could finish it up.  At least I could leave my door open and watch over them, I wouldn’t be able to if they were all down in the hall and risk getting stolen.  It took me a long time.  I just didn’t have the strength anymore.  I tried walking them up each step.  Gads.  A hundred breaks, a hundred deep breaths until my asthma kicked in, my knees turned to jelly.  My face went brilliant red and I had to cool it down with a cold wet cloth. 

2012-07-24 Boxes Arrived! 005 This is from my door.  I am leaving my flat door open to listen for any disturbances of the boxes.  I feel like I am vulnerable to monsters and burglars and what ever comes up stairwells.  Ew.

I found boxes 1-3 and brought them up.  I made a cup of tea and sat down again to get my breath and take this whole experience in.    I then opened box number one and it wasn’t the dolls!  I stood back and thought something was wrong.  I distinctly remember packing the first 3 boxes with dolls and their stuff and numbering them so I would know.   But 2 and 3 didn’t have them either! 

In a panic, crossed my fingers that one of the boxes I did bring up would have the dolls.  I opened them, one by one and nope.  The last one in the flat had some of them:

2012-07-24 Boxes Arrived! 007I found Jollyann first

2012-07-24 Boxes Arrived! 008 I just held her so tight.  OMG I kept saying.  I told my husband last night that I will NEVER be separated from them again, when we move they are riding in our backpacks.  He laughed, but I told him I was dead serious.  Since 2009,  I have been separated from all but one or two at a time and this is the end of that era. 

2012-07-24 Boxes Arrived! 009 I then found Kamiko and Olivia.  I know I dressed Olivia before packing, why she was nude made me feel like I was losing my mind.  What the heck is going on?  Did customs unpack our boxes and repack them? It was surreal.

2012-07-24 Boxes Arrived! 010I found Jeanette.  Lots more hugging.  She is still new to me, I haven’t had much time to get to know her yet.  I still amazes me how petite and tiny Sasha’s are.  My mind wants to make them the size of AM’s.

2012-07-24 Boxes Arrived! 012I then found Allina and Mikko who have changed their names:

2012-07-24 Boxes Arrived! 011I think I was in heaven hugging these two.  I like their new names, it suits them.

2012-07-24 Boxes Arrived! 013Audrey and Hammie.  OMG so cute. I adore them, so glad I did not sell them.

Now, where was Evie????  I found Miette

2012-07-24 Boxes Arrived! 017 She looked a bit dishevelled but fine.  Evie was not in the any of the boxes I opened.  I went back out into the hallway and dragged up another box.  I kinda got mad, because I realized that I was not going to be able to wait until husband came home to find Evie, so it meant mostly likely I would have to kill myself getting the rest of the boxes upstairs.

I grabbed one and brought it up.  No Evie.  Then another….and there she was!!!!!

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My Evie.  Sigh.

2012-07-24 Boxes Arrived! 020 I am still missing Charlotte and Rosebud, but I am okay with waiting on their find.  I am overwhelmed with where the heck we will put everything, so for right now, I am just going to spend the day playing with my dolly-loves.

Finally in Scotland

We are finally settled in our new flat in Scotland.  Wow, what a journey that has been.  I won’t write about it here, if you are interested, the on-going saga, it is all here with lots of photo’s.

But for this blog, I will show my UK dolly experiences.

The first experience was on Portobello Road in Earls Court, London.  This is an antique market that is filled with shops and stalls.  There was one lady in particular I wanted to meet, she has all antique dolls and when we found her, I was in seventh heaven, as I got to personally handle the most exquisite dolls on earth.  Bru’s, Juneau’s, a darling automaton, and many more.  I about fainted from the delight of it.  None were under £4000 and so there was no hope I would ever have one.  Two I handled were all originals, at £6000 each.  Sigh.  She is here:

Reluctantly we moved on and I of course had my eye peeked for a doll, but none were found.  I saw a few tinies, all over priced and not in good enough condition.  One ultra tiny china head caught my eye and the seller let me have her for £4. 

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2012-04-28 015 She is dug up girl, but I liked her features and she had so much personality for such a tiny head.  Someday I will carve a body for her.  I marvelled thinking about who once played with her and how she ended up buried.  The seller was overly eager to tell me the name of the dump site and that it was closed in 1892, which led me to think it was all talk and really of no consequence.  She was not an investment by any means and china heads were as common as pennies.  Still, I love her face and someday I will make her live again.

The next experience was at Harrods in London.  I was dismally annoyed that the huge toy department had NOTHING exquisite as they do in most of their departments.  Where were all the fine dolls from all over the world?  I was so annoyed I swore I would never set foot in Harrods again.  Even Dayton’s in Minneapolis had a doll section back in the 1980’s that had dolls I had to save all year for to buy my daughter for Christmas.  Anyway, the only doll I did see and was very taken by was a boy Kids n Kats.

2012-04-28 005 He was delicate in face features, I loved the posability (they had one in a glass case and I asked to handle it, so I got a chance to test all the joints).  These dolls are much smaller and more petite than American Girl and the face on the boy was so delicate and fine.  I really wanted him, but at Harrod’s prices, I could not.  We are not in the doll buying mode, husband gently reminded me.  Sigh.  I really wanted him.  I did not care as much for the girls for some reason.

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So I left, feeling sorry for myself.  No more dolls?  I guess we made the decision to move here and that means being very thrifty until we know what the end result will be. 

While we were in Weston Super Mare, we had finished dinner in a pub and walking back to the car.  We walked passed a game shop that had both new and used character toys.  I found Indiana Jones, by only seeing his feet on a bottom shelf.  I had to have him.  He is much larger than a GI Joe, fully dressed, but missing his rope, hat and pistol.  I don’t know what else came with him.

2012-04-29 068 he talks, says three things, one of which is ‘’SNAKES, WHY DOES IT ALWAYS HAVE TO BE SNAKES?’’

I though at first he may be almost the same size as Yorik, but he is smaller.

2012-04-29 070 Not that it matters.  I found myself enjoying Indiana Jones, he poses quite well, had double joints in his knees and enough personality in his face to amuse me.  I am thinking of making him a leather hat when I get my supplies.

The last experience came with staying at a wonderful inn, in Carlton.  Here, I was inspired to take Yorik out back and just photograph him.

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I didn’t have anything in mind, other than to just spend some one on one time with him.  He needed to get out anyways, he has spent too much time tucked in a travel bag anyways.

2012-04-30 049 I then took a couple of the dolls I have right now, each giving me a unique thing that only they can give. 

2012-04-30 060In the bedroom window sill of the Inn.

2012-04-30 057 What a goofy face.  Love it.

Once we moved into the flat, I put the boys on top of my wardrobe until I have time to play.  The vinyl china head girl I have by my bed.  I have been looking at her as I fall asleep at night.

2012-05-03 016  In a few days, after the craziness of all the things we are trying to get done settles down, I will start playing again.  I want to name the lady doll and I think Indiana Jones may have either a new nickname or perhaps another name so I am not obligated to a certain personality.  But who knows where that will go….I think he is just glad to get out from under all the aliens and the Star Wars fleet.

Word is that our boxes (all my dollies and sewing machine and TOYS) will arrive in Glasgow on June 30th and be de
livered about 2 weeks after that.  I am practically frothing at the mouth to get my hands on my sewing machine.  Over a year now since I have sewn on it….I am having withdrawals!  Oh, and there was a shop that had hundreds of antique sewing machines….I was really delirious with happiness seeing them all.  Husband had to drag me away.

A New Girl

I have been suffering the worst dolly withdrawal.  Just knowing everyone is in a box and sitting in California waiting to board a ship has been undoing me.  No kidding.  I’m embarrassed to admit it.

I searched high and low for a interim dolly.  Sure, I have Yorik, but he’s not a girl.  I need cuteness right now.  Gads, how I regret not taking another girl, I really do.  I am even MORE embarrassed to admit just how many hours late into the night I search for a little companion within a price range I might get away with.  There’s money in PayPal, will husband notice that I don’t transfer as much over to the bank account as I first mentioned was available?  Will I have to confess my addiction? lol. 

So in every spare moment, I hunted, furtively.  I scoured eBay, but no one was calling my name.  I carefully watched mailing times, but I knew there was no promise of being mailed within the given time frame.  I even went through every doll on Denver Doll, because they mail so quickly.  All I wanted was a little girl for a girly connection.  I also could not spend much, as husband would have a fit.  I thought about a Patsy, Patsyette, vintage compo, Kish, gads, I was all over the place.  I kept telling myself, I just wanted a little girl to play with.  She didn’t need to be fancy, elite or anything more than personable.

I found this little one who so captured me, even though I do not care much for bisque, nor mixed bodies.  The photo’s were not very good, quite blurry in fact, but there was something about her.  Something I could not let go of.  She looks huge, but the dear is only 12 inches high.  I can’t manage to get her before I leave, but I am having her sent to my Scottish address and hopefully I will have her to play with before the others find their way 70 or so days later.

ADORABLE VTG BISQUE SHOULDER HEAD W VICTORIAN HAT JEWELS SHOES ETC  eBay - Maxt_2012-04-19_08-52-11 I do not know who she is.  She has a sort of Julie Good Kruger and Hartmann look.  But I could not find anything on her.  What’s puzzling is her tiny size.

ADORABLE VTG BISQUE SHOULDER HEAD W VICTORIAN HAT JEWELS SHOES ETC  eBay - Maxt_2012-04-19_08-52-58I have a thing for well shaped legs and feet.  I love her pinched eyes and Alice in Wonderland hair.  The seller said her foot is marked CC6211 Annie, but I know nothing about who she is.

ADORABLE VTG BISQUE SHOULDER HEAD W VICTORIAN HAT JEWELS SHOES ETC  eBay - Maxt_2012-04-19_08-53-44 The eyes remind me of a Hartmann doll, the intense blue.  The nose is wonderfully oddly shaped, so realistic.  But the small eyes are like Kruger.  Oh well, it doesn’t really matter, there is something about her I really like and I think she will be good company until the others arrive. 

Gads, I feel guilty, I wasn’t suppose to keep as many dolls as I did, and now I am sneaking another one in.  I am truly addicted to dolls.