Dolly Memories

I have always loved dolls and all their tiny costumes and accessories. I grew up on the side of a mountain and made dolls out of acorns and hollyhock flowers, but of course, none of them survived. One day I found a really neat bottle and it made me think of a doll, so I took my rubber jack ball, cut out an opening and stuck it on the bottle. Then I used my brother’s model paints to paint my bottle doll. Somehow it survived over the years and my mother gave it back to me a couple years ago, so I keep it in my doll cabinet.

bottledollMy grandmother would take me with her when she went to help out or visit her older friends. I was a quiet child and they would let me hold their large old bisque Kewpies, and German dolls from their childhood. Then my Grandmother showed me her Simon Halbig baby and promised him to me when I grew up. He is still my favorite doll.

One year I traded my new Christmas doll for a friend's old Patsyette, and I still love the Effanbee dolls. Then Grandpa bought me my first Ginny doll and Grandma began to teach me to sew. We spent many wonderful hours making doll clothes. By the time I was 13 years old, I was making all my own clothes and had begun to sew for other people.

Then I grew up and didn’t have time for dolls as I had two live dolls to love and take care of. My sister-in-law introduced me to ceramics and that was a lot of fun, but my real joy came when I saw greenware for a china doll. I didn’t have any books or doll help in making her, but I remembered the old dolls that I had seen at my Grandmother’s friend’s homes.

Rumpelstiltskin - Rolf Ericson Award

Rumpelstiltskin - Rolf Ericson Award

This doll opened a whole new world for me. It led to finding out about Seeley’s and I began to get my friends together and we invited doll artists to come teach us how to make reproduction dolls. I made many dolls and began to teach porcelain doll making. I went on to enter my little Heubach Sisters into a Seeley’s competition and won their Millie award, then I created an original doll, Rumpelstiltskin and won their Rolf Ericson Award.

Heubach Sisters - Millie Award

Heubach Sisters - Millie Award

All these journeys have brought me to where I am today with my love of collecting and making dolls, and their costumes and accessories.

If you have a favorite doll memory, please share it here.

5 Responses

  1. Kathy
    HI Rubiemae! Beyond leaving a comment, I am wondering how to "contact" you? My doll memories are not rich with historic tradition as the story you just shared. It really made my heart smile. However, your sharing triggered my memory of perhaps my ninth birthday when one of my gifts was a life size doll - about my size! - Chatty Kathy. Here I am a many, many years later a TS student with user name: Katchat -- hmmm...I'm thinking it is related somehow to that childhood doll l.o.l. Awesome work ... truly! Yea, and hip hip hooray for you. I am very impressed with your effort and williingness to JUMP IN. You are an inspiration :) The spacing of the text is odd at times, did you notice? I adored the snapshop of your first homemade bottle dolly - what a treasure. What are your thoughts about how folks will find their way to your blog? I am a newbie and curious about every single thing. Best of Luck to You! Kat
  2. I love your bottle doll! What wonderfully creative child you were to see that doll inside the bottle and give it life! And how wise your Mother was to keep it all those years.
  3. Jeannie
    OMG... Your little 'bottle' dolly is phenomenol! And the fact your mother kept it for you all these years is wonderful.... I just loved the story about making her... a fabulous little piece of folk art. I love making snowmen and also do mosaic. Last year someone gave me a small white bottle shaped similar to the one you used... but smaller. I thought it had the look of a snowman... sort of... and plopped a styrofoam ball on it and turned it into a bossy little snowmoman... cute cute cute (if I do say so myself!). You are a fabulous seamstress... your little white dresses are just gorgeous!
    • Thankyou! :) My little white dresses are all French Handsewn using antique fabric and laces. They took me 40 hours each to make.
  4. Sharon Albin
    Wow Rubie! I love your blog site and it is so much fun to "talk" to you via the computer. Do you, by any chance make wigs? I have two little dolls, 4" tall that desperately need hair, and have no idea where to get such small wigs. I also have one 4" boy doll with the same problem. xo sharon

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