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Monday, September 14, 2015

Little Black Chair and The Oregonian Plate of 1907

I have to say that I love this wee black chair. I found it at a local Chocolatier called Enchante from Milwaukie, Oregon. The antique doll leaning against the pretty plate does look as though she would be able to sit in it, but she truly does prefer leaning on the lovely, old plate, which, by the way, is a repaired one of many pieces.

The plate is a calendar advertisement, 1907, for the local newspaper, The Oregonian. Gregory was a journalist in several newspapers first in Michigan, and then in Vermont, and was hired by The Oregonian when we first moved to Oregon, my childhood place, but he never started work for them, because he got a better offer in the high tech business world as a writer of their communications needs. I am very proud of all of his writing.

Naturally I grabbed this wonderful newspaper plate while at an estate sale! It reflects my true love, Gregory the writer/journalist as well as my true home, beautiful Portland, Oregon.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Dunham's Cocoanut Dollhouse

I was fortunate while out antiquing yesterday to spot and procure this treasure!

Where? In Sublimity, Oregon, not far from our beautiful state capitol city of Salem. Why? A beautiful antiques show at the Union Hill Grange in some of the most beautiful scenery that planet earth has to offer.

 Molly Mo's is the name of the show, and a fabulous and enchanting show it was; not too small and especially not too big. Just right with a group of very clever vendors.

Here is the story that came with my treasured dollhouse:



"Originally used as a packing crate for Dunham's shredded cocoanut packages, these dollhouses were an advertising premium.

No one is really sure how the houses were distributed after the cocoanut was sold, and they are hard to find today.  Considering their original purpose, most remaining examples are in rough shape now, with water staining, torn and missing paper, and a prominent crack down the back, caused by the joining of the two planks used to fashion the crate's bottom. Even so, the house, with its fantastically detailed wallpapers, is a treasure, providing a peek into late Victorian domestic life."


The furniture that came with the dollhouse was provided on a sheet and was cut out and created by the owner. I gleaned this picture off of Google. In printing it out, it became a little blurry. I would love to have someone print it out for me to actually make my own, but if not, I will just figure it out to the best of my a ability.  And I certainly respect that one would never copy it to try to pass it off as old. 

The furniture is extremely rare.

I was approached by a good sleuth, owner of the blog Flimsies and Fripperies, who shared some wonderful information on these rare doll houses. Do visit her and read what all she found! I am excited to report that in Salem, Oregon there was a grocery store ad claiming to have two of the doll houses. Well, the lady who sold me the dollhouse, said she got it at an estate sale in Lebanon, OR, which is a small, old town very near Salem. The people were hoarders and had mass stuff. So, I'm pretty sure my Dunham's Cocoanut Dollhouse, was one of those two! Thank you for the information, Kathy!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Victorian ~ Edwardian at an Estate Sale this Past Weekend ~

The following are only a few of the wonders I bought at a fabulous estate sale this past weekend. The sale was conducted by the estate company All My Favorite Things, and was in an old home just a few blocks from my house here in historic Oregon City, Oregon.

Of late, I have greedily fallen head-over-heels in love with late Victorian and the Edwardian era in decor, and so I had a heydey on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Of course, I have really always loved those eras, but having been raised by a mother who is thoroughly ensconced in the earlier days of America, my heart also claimed that period. If it is a doll, or if it is art, I love it all.


The 1920's Doll is one of my new finds. She sits next to a lovely porcelain doll that I bought many years ago at Stars & Splendid in Portland. That one was in a big bag all in parts. I enjoyed putting her back together. She is my Rebecca. I have yet to name the new dolly.

A Boy Doll!

The newbie in this picture is the doll in the brown velvet jacket on the right.

Sitting to the right of Prudence, by Barbara Mabry of Loving Olde (Etsy) is a small porcelain doll that I acquired this past weekend.

My new baby here is the bisque girl in blue between some of my beloved rag dolls. One on right with penciled in face is by Pam Haber of Ghost Island Primitives and the one beneath her is by Betty Baker of Square Nails. The one on the left, I do not know. I acquired that one at a shop in Ohio.

A little bisque flapper girl!

This sweet lamp ~

A darling doll pewter teaset to emulate the then popular silver plate designs. I love silver plate even more so than silver itself. It is so fancily adorned.

I love this style of painted frame from the early 20th. century. I forgot the name of this style of painting even though I actually once learned how to do it, and then managed to sell the book, or perhaps I donated it. Sorry about that. The mystery!

Another small porcelain doll wearing a very pretty black dress.

A wonderful boxed puzzle 5x8 ~

My large China doll that came broken. The picture below shows the beginning of my repairing her. Of course, she is now all better and dressed in beautiful whites down in the dining room. I love her blue shoes! I just used Paper Clay for the repaired shoulder.

The bust was in three pieces, so here they are glued together. I glued it onto the doll's body, and then sculpted in the Paper Clay as seen above.

Below, the doll on the left, in white silk, came with that repair to her shoulder. I love mended items. This makes her more wonderful for me.

The one next to her is yet another one I bought years ago. She required some repair work too. I did name her, but since then have forgotten it. I used to put notes on dolls as I named them.  When I say I repair my dolls, that does not mean I am professionally trained for doll repair. I just make-do to the best of my abilities. My doll making consists of only that, making my own. I do not actually repair old dolls for others. I just make my dolls and that's that.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Eastlake Piano Bench / Stool~ Pale Pink

Pale pink is my very favorite color when it comes to thirstily drinking it in. Combine it with an Eastlake, ornate and slightly chippy and worn piece of furniture, and I am in my heaven.

Yesterday Gregory and I went shopping at Monticello Antique Marketplace in Portland where I spotted this gorgeous little piano bench. In a hypnotic trance I picked it up and took it to the holding place for me to buy. Had this piece been in any other color, I might not have been convinced. I am showing primarily the color here. The rest of the picture isn't even all that sharp, but the color is perfect.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Our Balcony on Our 1888 Italianate House

We love our 1888 Italianate house. It appears to be a little grand, and yet minuscule as far as grand styled houses go. Our house is actually small with only 2,000 square feet. It is a cottage, but because of the Italianate design, it is tall. We have 11 foot ceilings in the downstairs and 10 foot ceilings in the upstairs. It is notable in historic Oregon City, Oregon, as The Judge Cross House. It is on a busy street, for a small town, yet we never experience traffic noise inside, due to our amazing indoor storm windows that are virtually unseen by the naked eye. At night, outside, it is quiet. 

Here on my balcony I am finally beginning to build a little garden. I have a few flowers begun and today I had to transplant my beautiful Madame Cecille Brüner rose vine to where you barely see it there between the two windows. She was becoming too unwieldy in the front yard and could have grabbed at anyone walking up our steps. I hope she makes it here. If she does not, I will buy another.... But today was a tough one for me to dig and dig and pull and tug. In the foreground there is a stand holding lovely hanging flowers. I am getting there!

Putting the rose vine on an arbor was not an option for this yard. For years I have had to keep the vine trimmed, yet it still grew rapidly and had to be tied back. Our old house was moved to this site in the 1920's. It took dynamite to get a spot for the house, as this is a basalt mountain. When Oregon City was getting its first high school back in the '20's, they chose the land where our house was and so it was moved then.

Italianate houses have those quoins you see there on the corners of the house. The word quoin is pronounced coin.

The door you see in the evening light is access to the balcony, and this happens to be my art room. This is actually one of the three bedrooms upstairs, but has not been anyone's bedroom in perhaps 50 years. Previous owners also used it for a sewing room and a television viewing room. It is our television viewing room as well as my art room, which I thoroughly enjoy. Our living room and downstairs is too pretty to ruin with a TV!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Mehitabel Hodges ~ 18th. Century Wooden Doll

In the late 1990's I spotted a magazine in an antiques shop with this doll on the cover and my heart was captured. The article was by the late John Darcy Noble about Mehitabel Hodges known as the "Salem Doll".

In the words of Mr. Noble:

"Her story is perhaps a saga, which reads like a detective yarn from the shattering of her reputation and her shameful retirement to the appearance of her champions on both sides of the Atlantic. Let us look first at her story as it appeared in print in the 1940's. A Captain Gamaliel Hodges of Salem, Massachusetts, set sail for China in 1715. In France he bought a doll for his daughter, Mehitabel, elaborately dressed in the fashion of the day. It was said that Captain Hodges did not return to Salem until 1724.

The doll, we were told, was treasured by subsequent generations of Hodges girls, who named it Mehitabel after its first owner. All this information is from family oral history, which seems to have been written down for the first time in the 1890's, when the doll was exhibited for charity."

And so the story goes.  To finish reading it, please find the book Selected Writings of John Darcy Noble. Favorite Articles From Dolls Magazine: 1982-1995

But from my heart it is key that this doll was the first glass-eyed wooden I ever laid eyes on and it was she who inspired me to sculpt my doll Tess. Of course, my sculpting is primitive and immature to say the least; nonetheless, Tess was born and became one of my signature creations. I made a plaster mold of my first one and from there pour liquid maché into the mold to make more of the same doll. I never knew how I would ever make a wooden doll. 

I finally learned how woodens were made and I left it at that, for my passion was never that strong to reproduce an exact replica.  The artist in me is happy to do my own interpretation.

I still love Mehitabel Hodges. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

My Dolls at The Thomas Jefferson Foundation Shop

When I was approached by Monticello's buyer to place some of my dolls there for sale, my heart filled with joy and pride. Monticello is a magical place. Here are some of my Bella dolls and my Emma dolls that have traveled off to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation in beautiful Charlottesville, Virginia to be sold at the shop. You will want to put into the search space the word Doll, and dolls for sale there will suddenly appear. My Emma dolls will show up right away. They do not yet offer online the Bella dolls, (at their behest, each with human hair). No names of artists are mentioned. But they do say they are from Oregon, which is where I live and make my dolls.

I will no longer be making Emma's or Bella's for sale from my studio, for a while. If one wishes to own one of these models, please go to Monticello's shop.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Polly Ann, A 1795 Stump Doll Reproduction ~ SOLD

Polly Ann is a stump doll like one from 1795 that was owned by the Wylie family of Connecticut. I believe that doll now resides in Rhode Island.

My Polly Ann was created for a client and is therefore SOLD. She is dressed entirely in antique silks and laces. I have altered aspects of the original design in using embroidery for her face, rather than ink, and in adding legs to her whereas the original has no legs.

Stump dolls are not named as such due to coming from a tree, but because they are stumpy in bodily design.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Little Gabby

Little Gabby is a dear, small doll that I enjoyed making. She is sold, but she wants to be seen here. Her beautiful robin's egg blue, AKA turquoise, velvet skirt is made from very old, wonderfully vintage velvet. I enjoyed making her funny little flat limbs with stitched fingers. Gabby has human hair, which I love.

Paige, A Sweet Cloth Doll

My Paige sold right away, but I wanted to share her here, because I had such pleasure creating her. I love her wee poem on her little, white Valentine heart, and I love her human hair.

I frequent estate sales whenever nice old things are shown in the photos on estate finder. A couple years ago I found at one of the sales a book of poems all doll related.

Here is Paige's little poem that I deliberately wrote onto the heart in an almost horror vacui style, which I love, for it wastes no space and that is how many olden days people utilized all of their precious paper.

Doll was lost
Outdoors at night;
She saw the moon,
Enormous bright,
A dewdrop fell
Upon her nose.
A beetle ran
Across her toes.

Miriam G. Potter
Golden book of Little Verses

Definition of horror vacuo:

horror vacui |ˈvakyəˌwī|noun [ in sing. ]fear or dislike of leaving empty spaces, esp. in an artistic composition.ORIGIN mid 19th cent.modern Latin, literally horror of a vacuum.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Loving Olde ~ Queen Anne Dolls on Etsy

Loving Olde is the name of the Etsy store of a friend of mine wherein she hand-sculpts darling dolls in papier mache and then clothes them entirely in beautiful vintage whites. Most of her fabrics come from France. Barb Mabry is her name and she hand-stitches every little detail.

Please visit to see what sweet little beauties Barb has listed now:

                                                             Loving Olde

Here is a doll, Prudence, that I recently bought from Barb. I absolutely love this little work of art.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Emma Reborn an Angel

Remember Emma from a while back? Well, she is now for sale on my Dolls and Fancywork Shoppe, as an angel. If  interested, please go see her along with all of my new offerings as of today!

Thank you!