Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Dolly Suite

When Alan took up my suggestion for this week’s Sepia Saturday theme I was both surprised and delighted. Surprised, because I didn’t think he’d take me seriously, and delighted because I have so many pictures which fit the theme. These pictures of my mother and her family and not of very good quality, but you can see that Rosie had a special place in Mum’s heart.


Mum tells me the doll was German, and checking in my copy of The Ultimate Doll Book, I see that dolls from German makers were very popular from the 1890’s to 1930’s. This picture would have been about 1925, and the book has a picture of a doll by one of the lesser known makers, from that very year, which is quite similar. With a height of 70 cms (28 ins) the size looks about right too. However, Mum tells me her doll was not bisque but celluloid, another popular material until the 1950s. Rosie was much loved, and you can see why; shaped and sized like a real baby, with expressive hands and pretty face. Her clothes would all have been made by the family, my Grandmother and possibly Great-grandmother, both talented craftswomen. At some point Mum was deemed too old for Rosie and she was given to a neighbour’s children, along with mum’s treasured doll’s pram. Imagine her heartbreak on finding both Rosie and the pram abused by the pair, to the point of destruction. She has often recalled this story over the years, so I am sure it was an upsetting incident. Even more galling, when the family, much later, realised that Rosie would have been worth a tidy sum had she stayed with her original owners, who knew how to care for her.

Back in September I used my favourite picture of a girl with a doll when I posted about little Miss Mary Carter, In Her Sunday Best, where I ended the post with a picture of me, aged two, clutching my dolly and being as cute as I possibly could. Less familiar will be the picture of me aged ten, with Topsy, my much loved black dolly (yes she was; there’s no other way to describe her), who later would spend many happy hours with my daughter, and now awaits love and kisses from my grandaughter (and possibly her brother). So, if one picture of me being angelic isn’t enough, here’s another, in a local park, with a different doll.


And, striking a similar pose, my daughter, checking that her new dolly has both eyes!

If you visited my other blog, 'Picking Up The Threads’ last week, it will not have escaped your attention that, like my mother and grandmother before me, I like to make things, especially dolls and soft toys. Because I get nostalgic for the old days (hence my participation in Sepia Saturday), I have recently re-created for my grandchildren, toys, originally made for my children, as I did last week in A Makeover For Blue Bunny. If you pop over there and click on If You Knew Susie Like My New Susie, and the links on that page, you can see another dolly being re-incarnated. One Sepia Saturday follower did just that and now she’s going to make the same doll!



Here’s another one I made for my daughter, again, now passed on to my grandaughter. This one is a ‘Cinderella Upside-down doll’. My daughter is holding the doll in her ragged state, but when she is tipped over, and the skirt brought down over the raggedy Cinders, the beautiful Cinderella is revealed, dressed in all her finery. However, Cinderella appears to have fallen asleep, worn out no doubt by the exertions of the ball and the attentions of the handsome prince.

















And here is my daughter in her squaw costume cradling her papoose and, on a chilly day, taking two of her favourites out for a breath of fresh air. The papoose was a Sasha doll, made in England by Trendon, and now highy collectable. She was called Little Flower (though my daughter called hers Rosie) and can be seen at the bottom of this collectors’ page, where I just frightened myself when I looked through it and saw how much my own collection of six, and all their clothes and accessories, are worth. If we fall on hard times I know what to do. Little Flower, is of course black, and you can see how much my daughter loved her, in this photo below, where Rosie and my daughter are both wearing that other icon of the seventies a Clothkits dress. The second photo is of my grandaughter with her own first black dolly.

My twin grandchildren have dolls and other toys here to play with when they visit, and another ‘vintage’ item is then pressed into service. My daughter had a Tiny Tears doll, for which I renovated an old pram, painting it white and making a new canopy and bedding with Laura Ashley fabric. Here is the original Tiny Tears with her pram and bedding.


And here is the quilt, thirty years later, still proving useful, whilst my grandson also takes a turn with the baby chair, and learns some  valuable life lessons......


....such as how to cope with twins!


Perhaps a little soothing lullaby would help. This is Berceuse from The Dolly Suite by Gabriel Fauré, and it was the theme tune for ‘Listen With Mother' a 1950s radio programme on the BBC, which I would listen to every day, no doubt whilst cuddling upto one of my own favourite dollies.



It all started with this photo prompt from Sepia Saturday, so if any of the above seemed familiar why not join us.


25 comments:

  1. Now I see why you prompted Alan to pick dolls as a theme. It will be very dificult for anyone to match your post. Brilliant.

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  2. My favorite is the picture of your mother hugging her Rosie doll. Rosie looks like a real handful for a little girl.

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  3. I agree with Bob, an excellent post. I enjoyed reading it.

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  4. That's so sad that they made your mother give away her doll like that and even worse she had to watch it be abused. so many dolls through the years!

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  5. Little Nell, this was a treat of a post. You have an abundance of doll photos, all precious! How sad that your mother's Rosie was given away. Such a beloved doll should stay with its owner, I think.

    My "Susie" pattern arrived last week. I have to sew up some new clothes for a cloth doll I made for a grand-niece a few years ago before I begin stitching "Susie." I'm eager to get going on the pattern. I may be back with questions about hair. Thanks again for pointing me to the source for the pattern. I appreciate it.

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  6. I love Rosie. She's stunning.

    I had a Rosie, but she was bought in the 1950s. We were best friends. That's what happens when your'e an only child who moves a lot. Sadly she is long gone. A sore subject with me.

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  7. Fabulous post, Little Nell. Should have been a magazine article!

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  8. I enjoyed this post very much. Thanks for suggesting the theme.

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  9. Wonderful post. My mum has a doll that looks very much like Rosie, she picked it up in a charity shop before i was born and it currently sits in her house wearing my christening gown. Scarlett x

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  10. Nell, what a spectacular post! I love it all, and enjoyed learning about all the different dolls that you gals have had in your family over the year. I would have loved a doll like your Mom had. My Mom had one named Betsy that we enjoyed, and then my auntie (who was younger than Mom and claimed Betsy for herself on Christmas Day) took her back once again. At the bottom of today's post, you'll meet Sherry, my lifelong girl. Thanks for choosing this theme!

    Kathy M.

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  11. I used to cuddle my children while they listened with Mother! LOL

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  12. Love the story about your mother's doll. I like how you started with her, then went down through the years next with you, your daughter and grandchildren. Nice flow and nice pictures!

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  13. Yes I am liking this theme more and more as I visit around. I remember having a doll when I was six as tall as myself. A neighbor gave it to me because we did not have much since our father had left us. I don't remember her name so I guess I did not get to attached to her. Great post.
    QMM

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  14. I like that a doll was called "Rosie". I had a special doll when I was 9 years, somehow it got its leg broken at the knee. My brother, who was a year older, whittled a piece of wood and glued in into the knee joint and made a pair of brown leather pants and presto my doll was whole again. Amazing what memories these sepiasaturdays bring out in us. Thanks for sharing.

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  15. I enjoyed the journey of this post with the dolls; how tragic for your Mum's doll to be given away and then to watch her not be loved, oh sad....but all the photos and comments were fun. I am glad you suggested dolls. You are lucky to have grand daughters to make such things for....and oh yes, the collectibility of dolls...

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  16. wonderful journey through your family's doll history! I know what it's like to have one's dolls given away by a well-meaning mother. Sigh.

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  17. What a wonderful collection of photos to illustrate the love of dolls that pervades your family. "Rosie" was a big doll, wasn't she? The beatific smile on your mum's face is just priceless!

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  18. Loved your parade of dolls pictures! Having read this delightful post, I am thrilled that you suggested it.

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  19. I was never too interested in dolls when I was a child, but the Berceuse does bring me back - not only to "Listen with Mother" but also to my sister's efforts on the piano.

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  20. Looking At Your Photos I Am Struck How The Dolls Were The Opposite of Ventriloquists !They Made The Children Smile :)

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  21. Wow, I had no idea that there were connoisseurs of such doll details. A great post!

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  22. I always take you seriously Nell: and quite clearly I was right to do so. Not only did it bring another wonderful post from yourself, but also a bumper crop of submissions.

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  23. A delightful post,
    and I especially liked the idea of the upside down Cinderella.
    :)~
    HUGZ

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  24. A wonderful journey through time, the dolls change but the kids remain cute. What a lovely frilly dress your mother is wearing. I'd forgotten I used to have an upside doll until your photo triggered a memory.

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  25. You have such a treasure trove of vintage family photos, I always enjoy these posts. I only had one favoured doll, she was called Emma and my gran knitted her dresses, although I did manage to make her some bootees (with much help from Granny). My younger sister had Emma's twin sister - imaginatively named Jesus.

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