Monday, January 9, 2012

The Manimal is Away

     For a whole week.  As we've only one vehicle working and he drove away in it this morning I'm here in the valley with the animals and my thoughts (which at the moment are grey and gloominous). There's plenty of work to be done, but I don't feel like doing any of it. I could seriously go back to bed and sleep for a week, but there are animals to take care of and a wood stove to keep going. Grumble, grumble, grumble.
    Nevertheless I've set a task for myself and this is as good a day as any to finish up the doll history posts. I certainly don't have to be in a cheery frame of mind to document all the odd little figures that cluttered my childhood.
Pajama bag doll. Note her ribbon clearly stating I Am a Pajama Bag, which certainly explains why her back zip is on her ample skirt instead of her bodice. She is sort of cute if you like that type of thing, which I don't now and didn't as an 8 year old either. I would categorize this one as "one more thing to take care of." Which is true of a lot of things designed to hold other things and also true of a lot of the things given to children.  ( Go clean Your Room!)

Kissy. You squeeze her hands together and her internal mechanisms cause her lips to move slightly accompanied by gutteral boink sound.  I once dated a lad who kissed similarly, and I do mean Once.

Newborn Thumbelina.  At the ripe old age of eleven I actually wanted a doll for Christmas, a Newborn Thumbelina I'd seen at the hardware store a block from our house. She had dark hair, a white lace tunic and bright pink tights. Adorable to my eyes. It was the lace tunic and the pink tights that really won my heart.
 My cousin PJ also found  this doll to be charming and we thought life would be ideal if we each had one. PJ worked on her parents and on Christmas morn found under her tree a regular large sized Thumbelina in a little white dress. Nice, but not what we had in mind.,
Meanwhile across town I had done a good enough job promoting this desire that my parents and my Aunt Dorothy BOTH got me Newborn Thumbelinas, with whitish blonde hair an dressed in bright yellow stretch rompers.  Upon opening the boxes I promptly burst into tears. I didn't want twins, and I didn't want blonde hair or yellow rompers.
This of course revealed me to be an ungrateful child, and I was caused to listen to the sad story of little poor children throughout the world who didn't have any baby dolls at all. My cousin had a similar experience. The thing of note about this story is that it was the last time in my life I bothered being specific about what I wanted for Christmas.   I had arrived at the conclusion that telling grown-ups what you want is a waste of breath.

Winnie the Pooh Spoon Sitters is what these are called on Ebay.They have a wide slot in the crotch that allows them to  sit on the handle of your  spoon while,you eat, and as a bonus their outreaching arms allow them to hang onto the rim of your juice glass. Or milk glass, but a glass of milk is overkill if you already have milk on your cereal. And if you have one of these you are eating cereal, because they came as a premium in cereal boxes. Collect them all.

Mama hand made large Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy dolls for me and my brother when we lived in Mount Vernon, Indiana. She did it just before Christmas, and didn't have time to get their hair put on. Four huge bald rag dolls. I was in 8th grade. Richard was a senior in high school. What  she  was thinking I haven't the faintest idea.

Rat Fink. My brother had a zillion of these. They came from a gumball machine at the little shop across the street from the high school. They were apparently a very cool thing to have, tying in with models of hot rods.,  He gave me the pink ones.

  1. Sassy Dolls or Brat Dolls, I'm not sure of the real name. They came with an assortment of facial expressions and some had a tongue that would pop out when you squeezed their belly.

Trolls and a troll house. Ugly, but fun. Tricky to make clothes for, as their arms don't move. My first troll, which had pale green hair, was the second doll I bought myself.  Money well spent no doubt.

another Sassy Doll on the left I think. For a long time I had a doll like the one on the right. . Actually liked her, she had a cheerful face and was easy to make clothes for because her arms and legs moved.

Eskimo doll, from the souvenir shop at Niagra Falls where we went on vacation. These are really well made dolls, I think by Canada's Regal Dolls.
This is the closest picture I could find to our Santa Dolls (Yes/Richard got one too) Our were larger, about three feet tall I think. they had white rubber gloves and black rubber boots and a sturdy black plastic belt with a red plush peplum attached that made it look like he was wearing trousers and a coat.  I really liked Santa.  He was put away with the Christmas ornaments every year, which may have been part of his charm.  Feel free to joke amongst yourselves about his resemblance to The Manimal.

Royal Doll Company's Joy Doll, mine had a much prettier brides dress than this. A fancy bride dress on a doll that has the figure of a toddler. Boggles the mind. Perhaps she's having an arranged marriage?

Susie Sad Eyes, the first doll I bought for myself. Got her at the drugstore  between our house and school, in the '60's, with my saved up milk money.  Mama thought she was terrible looking, but I really liked her. Still do, which is why I now have seven of them living in a bookcase upstairs. About 98% of the dolls of my childhood I really didn't care about and have no desire to have back again, but this one I still like.   I wonder why....?  She's not well made, her clothes aren't fashionable or skillfully designed, she doesn't have a wardrobe you can buy or a jolly lot of friends or furniture or a car. No career uniforms, nor accessories. What you see is what you get, just this little plain doll by herself.  Still, she's my favorite.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Thankful Thursday

1-I'm thankful  people aren't feeling compelled to give me dolls anymore. I like the ones I have, but there are a lot fewer of them than I had as a kid, they're chosen by me, and there aren't more of them than I have space for.  Also since these current dolls weren't a gift and no one in the family really cares whether I have dolls at all or not I am free to get rid of  any or all of them any time I choose. I like that. I am inclined to downsize periodically. It is fun logging every doll I was given as a kid, but those dolls were all passed on to others ages ago and I don't want any of them back. Happily no one is mistaking the nostaligic dolly blogs for a wish list.

2-I'm thankful for those green kitchen scrubby pads. They make the world better, particularly in the kitchen. Daddy told me in the old days people scrubbed with "some soap and some sand and a cob in each hand." I imagine that works, but it sure sounds messy, and with drains I think the sand would be a problem.

3-I'm thankful we keep plenty of flour and yeast on hand so I can make fresh bread without having to arrange a trip to town. The worse the economy gets and the more food prices rise the more I appreciate wholesome bread that doesn't cost us $4 a loaf.

4-I'm thankful my good mama taught me to make hard candy. Fun, tasty, and no high fructose corn syrup. Plus there's the entertainment of accidentally breathing in essence of hot cinnamon oil, which will clear your sinuses in a way that is not so much like a neti pot as like a fire hose. Whew!

5-I'm thankful  to be finished with the jeans embroidery project. I love to make things and love stitchery, but hand stitching on denim is dreadfully hard on the fingers. I wonder, how long does it take for fingertips to grow back?

6-I'm thankful  for double stick tape. When I learned to make paper beads I was quite little, my brother was a Cub Scout and Mama was one of the Den Mothers. The whole den made paper bead necklaces for Mother's Day. There was paste involved, and brighty colored paint, both things that were beyond my coordination levels and I found this very frustrating. There was the cutting of long tapered strips from magazine pages, and my scissors skills were nothing to write home about either. Although the Cubs managed to get their necklaces done (messily) for me it was an epic fail.
   Half a century on I decided to make paper bead garlands to deck our festive minimalist holiday branch. I used Hannukah wrapping paper (thank you Youngest Child) for the blue-gold-silver color scheme. I cut the strips with a rotary cutter which took no time at all. I rolled the beads on a knitting needle and instead of a pot of paste I used about a half inch of narrow double stick tape at the tip. I skipped the shellacking step as these don't need to last forever and the paper already has a glazed surface. Then I strung the beads with white pearly shirt buttons between them to add a bit of shimmer in candlelight. No more epic fail! Photographed out on the deck because indoors everything seemed to disappear against our dimly lit cluttery background.

Seat cover I made from woven plastic feed bags

Fits the seat nicely, looks satisfyingly make-do-and-mend-ish. 

7-I'm thankful  the tractor seat cover I made for The Manimal fits ok and looks all fancy-schmancy on his John Deere.  In designed it to keep rainwater from pooling in the bucket seat. I got it finished just in time to pop it over the seat before the rains started. Perfect timing, no?
    When the rain abated we scurried outside to check out my invention. Alas-when we lifted the cover the bucket seat had a good pint of rainwater in it. The plastic bag material although sturdy is apparently not waterproof. Back to the drawing board.


8-I'm thankful Oldest Child made a whole lot of Yo-Yos and gave them to me because she was tired of looking at them. I don't have the patience to make yo-yos, but I may be able to persuade myself to string them together into a yo-yo creature. Probably not a bunny, maybe a kitty.  I had a yo-yo clown when I was little, and I really don't like clowns, so an animal is the way to go I think.

9-I'm Thankful Silly Dog is not a puppy anymore. When she was a puppy she used to chew up everything all the time. Now that she's older she only chews up some things sometimes. This is quite an improvement. It would be wonderful if she would only chew up things we want to get rid of, but I don't really see that happening. 

10-I'm thankful Pandemonium is, despite his name, a skillful sleeper. It is companionable and endearing the way he follows after me and finds himself a nap spot wherever I'm working.
That's ten.  Off to work on baby afghans.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Doll Mania 3 or Bored, Bored, Bored.

          The downside of the whimsical decision to document every doll my sweet mama ever gave me is that there were such a darn lot of them.  Some of them have been cute, some less cute and others downright ghastly.  I was five when I got my first fashion doll, the original ponytail Barbie. She was my first, but by far not my last.

Ken, Barbie's fuzzy haired flat-footed boyfriend. Not an athlete. Definite scholastic pallor. My kind of guy.

Alan, Ken's best friend

Midge, Barbie's best friend and naturally Alan's boyfriend.

Skipper, Barbie's sister. I never heard of her until I was given her and her friend for a birthday.

Ricky, Skipper and Scooter's friend and possibly Alan's kid brother, they look alot alike to me.


I probably got interested in sewing primarily because of fashion dolls. My cousin PJ would come down to play when we visited Mamaw and Papaw's house. She would bring her dolls, I would bring mine, and Mamaw would park us on the screened front porch with needles and thread and her scrap bag. It was a good way to keep us occupied

Skooter, Skipper's friend.

Mama was of the Collect The Whole Set mindset, so she bought all the Barbie family as soon as they came out, well in advance of my birthday, to be sure she didn't miss out on any. 

Here's a cool idea. Lets buy our kids a ton of stuff they didn't even ask for, then grumble at them for not keeping it all tidily put away.

But I digress. Where was I? Ah yes, fashion dolls.  When I was a schoolkid Mama ordered a set of clothes for Barbie and Ken from the Sears Catalog, or possibly Spiegles.  It was to be a trousseau for their wedding and honeymoon.  When she went downtown to pick it up there had been a backorder and the wedding trousseau was no longer available. Instead she brought home a set of theater costumes. She also got me some clothes from Barbie and Ken's world travel.....Holland, and Mexico.   This I believe may be a blessing in disguise.   Here are a few parts of those costumes.  As you can imagine, (or as you know from living with me most of your life) this extensive set of exotic clothing did far more for my imagination and my fashion sense than a mundane little set of honeymoon clothes would ever have done.

Guenivere's velvet gown, which Ken used to wear to cook breakfast.It wouldn't fasten in the back due to his broad shoulders, but he never seemed to mind.

Cinderella's eeryday dress. look like anyone you know?

Ken's Arabian Nights jacket which went with gold lame pants and pointy toed slippers. He was Shaherizades Genii.

the skirt of Barbie's arabian nights sari. The choli was pink satin, and there was a dupatta that matched the skirt.

Ken's King Arthut gear.

the whole cinderella set, and you just know Barbie wore ken's stuff all the time, especially the balloon pants.

better view of the Guinevere.

The holland outfit, with my favorite skirt ever. That big full skirt made her waist look tiny, haha!

Aside from Barbie and friends I also had a Tammy and a Mary Poppins.  I have no idea whether Tammy was named for the Tammy movies or not, but Mary Poppins definitely was a movie tie in.

These are Topper's Dawn and friends, there were a whole lot of them and I inherited some from a cousin a couple of years older.  They were very fashionable, bu the 70's Dawn dolls had cooler clothes than Barbie, and at 6 inches tall it only took half as much fabric to dress them.

Penny Brite appeared in my life by my request. I actually saw her on the tv commercial, thought she was cute, and wanted one. I think this is the first doll in my life I actually requested. Whoever claims she has bendable posable legs and arms needs to find themselves a dictionary. I still think she's cute, but I always hated the clothes they made for her. The Barbie Theater experience spoiled me for mundane clothes. Oddly enough it didn't occur to me to make clothes for her. She's the same size as /Susie Sad Eyes, and easy to dress, a straight childlike figure.

More later, I wish I could say that's almost all of them, but I wouldn't want to lie.