Antique Doll Furniture · Doll for Sale · Other Types of Doll Making · Painted Cloth Doll Making · Where to Shop

Sophie and Mae Are Back Home From Their Visit to Prims Magazine & Are Now SOLD

Sophie and Mae have the same bodies as my Izannah Walker dolls, so all the girls can share clothes.
Sophie and Mae have the same size bodies as my 18 – 1/2 inch Izannah Walker dolls, so all the girls can share clothes.

Thank you so much for coming by to see Sophie and Mae.  Both of them are now sold.

Sophie and Mae, the two portrait face New England rag dolls that were in my article in the Winter 2014 issue of Prims are back home, in all their Sunday finery, just in time for Easter!  Sophie and Mae are two of the five flat face head variations that I made for my Izannah Walker doll making students.  Class members can use the five different heads with their Izannah class patterns.  The bonus patterns are available to class members through the class discussion site free of charge.  Follow this link to read more about my Prims article.

Now that the girls are back from California, they are ready to find new homes.  I’ve just listed them for sale on my website.  If you are interested in buying either of them you can go through the secure automatic checkout at http://www.asweetremembrance.com or you may call me 860-355-5709 or email me paula@asweetremembrance.com.  Shipping is free to any US address and lay-away is available with terms to fit your budget.

Sophie

www.izannahwalker.com

Sophie shows off her magazine debut.
SOLD Sophie shows off her magazine debut.

www.izannahwalker.com

www.izannahwalker.com

SOLD Sophie is dressed in a pink and black print dress made from antique late 19th century fabric, a petticoat with lavish pink crochet trim and a cap made from antique crocheted cotton lace.  Her face, head and shoulders are painted with artist’s oils.

www.izannahwalker.com

www.izannahwalker.com

www.izannahwalker.com

www.izannahwalker.com

Mae

Mae and her photo spread.
SOLD Mae and her photo spread.

SOLD Mae’s face, head and shoulders are painted with artist’s oils.  She is wearing a silk plaid dress with cartridge pleated skirt and velvet ribbon trim, a white scalloped petticoat, black hand knit socks and handmade brown leather shoes with purple silk laces.

www.izannahwalker.com

www.izannahwalker.com

www.izannahwalker.com

Sophie, Mae and I Wish You a Happy Easter!

"This would be a good hiding place for the chocolate eggs!"
“This would be a good hiding place for the chocolate eggs!”
"I wonder where Sophie hid those eggs???"
“I wonder where Sophie hid those eggs???”

www.izannahwalker.com

*** The girl’s dresser is also for sale, click here to read all of it’s particulars.

 

Other Types of Doll Making · Stray Comments

At Long Last, an 18th Century Doll for My 18th Century Home

1790 english wooden www.izannahwalker.comI have long dreamed of finding a late 18th century doll to live here with us in our 224 year old home.  Last year, more or less by accident, I happened across a c.1790 English Wooden doll for sale on Mary Ann Spinelli’s website.  I had an immediate crush on her!  She was just what I was looking for, a plain everyday English wooden that could have been found  in a New England farmhouse such as ours.  Mary Ann is gracious enough to offer lay-away, so I have been paying her off over the intervening months since I first saw her photo.*  Today I finally got to meet her in person!

anticapation...
anticipation…
I can't wait!
I can’t wait!
Tah-Dah!
Tah-Dah!
Blue glass eyes!
Blue glass eyes!
Her clothing was replaced in the mid-19th century.  She is currently wearing a dress that is made very much like those I make for my Izannahs.  The dress is made from a thin, gauzy cotton with a Prussian blue print.  It fastens with a glass button and brass hook.
Sophronia’s  clothing was replaced in the mid-19th century. She is currently wearing a dress that is made very much like those I make for my Izannahs. The dress is made from a thin, gauzy cotton with a Prussian blue print. It fastens with a glass button and brass hook.
Underneath!
Underneath it all!
Amazingly after more than two centuries, she still has all of her fingers!
Amazingly after more than two centuries,  Sophronia still has all of her fingers!

When my life calms down a bit, after I host a meeting of my doll club in May and return from selling at the UFDC convention in July, I’m really looking forward to pulling out my tiny stash of 18th century fabrics and sewing a new wardrobe for my English wooden doll.  I’ve decided to name her Sophronia after Sophronia Guild Ferris the first woman known to live in our house. (You can read more about the original Sophronia and the history of our house here.)

This doll belongs to my friend Rainy Crawford.  The doll was passed down through a New Milford, Connecticut family.  See how she compares with my doll.
This doll belongs to my friend Rainie Crawford. The doll was passed down through a New Milford, Connecticut family. See how she compares with my doll.
Another view of Rainy's doll.
Another view of Rainie’s doll.
Still lovely after all this time <3
Still lovely after all this time ❤

 

* As I have often mentioned, I’m always happy to offer lay-away to my customers because I know just how helpful it can be when you dearly want to buy something that stretches your budget.  Read more… https://izannahwalker.wordpress.com/2011/08/15/the-joys-of-lay-away/

 

Izannah Reproduction Doll Class · Other Types of Doll Making · Painted Cloth Doll Making · See Me in Print

I Have a New Article in the Winter 2014 Issue of Prims Magazine

The Winter 2014 issue of Prims magazine.
The Winter 2014 issue of Prims magazine.

I received my advance copy of Prims Winter 2014 issue right before Christmas.  Today I finally found a few moments to sit down with a small friend and look over my article, while we shared a cup of tea and a slice of the wonderful nut roll that Mary sent me for Christmas.Prims Winter 2014 www.izannahwalker.com

You can read all about my portrait face New England rag dolls when this latest issue of Prims goes on sale January 1st.  The dolls featured in the article are ones that I made for my Izannah Walker doll making class.  They are variations on the class patterns, that allow class members to create additional types of cloth dolls.  All told I made five different variations of my patterns for my students.  Two of the dolls with painted cloth faces appear in the magazine.  The patterns are free for class members and instructions for making the dolls are posted on the class site.

Work in progress.  An early photo of one of the dolls shown in my Prims article.
Work in progress. An early photo of one of the dolls shown in my Prims article.
Another view of a doll from my Prims article.
Another view of a doll from my Prims article.
This is my second doll shown in Prims Winter 2014 issue.
This is my second doll shown in Prims Winter 2014 issue.
Another flat face variation made using my Izannah class patterns.
Another flat face variation made using my Izannah class patterns.
Two more flat face portrait dolls that I made to inspire my students.
Two more flat face portrait dolls that I made to inspire my students.
Mary's sweet yeast dough with a luscious nut filling is a wonderful treat.  Mary's grandmother taught her to bake her family heirloom recipe .
Mary’s sweet yeast dough with a luscious nut filling is an indulgent treat. Mary’s grandmother taught her to bake the heirloom family recipe .
Other Types of Doll Making · Stray Comments

Happy Birthday Mom

My mom and dad on their wedding day.
My mom and dad on their wedding day. My mother was 18-1/2 when this photo was taken.

Today would have been my mother’s 84th birthday.  Happy Birthday Mom!

My mother's Shirley Temple doll is wearing a celluloid pin I bought because it reminds me of my mom.
My mother’s Shirley Temple doll is wearing a celluloid pin I bought because it reminds me of my mom.

I have always loved dolls, and as far as I can tell my mother did too, although I don’t think that she had an abundance of dolls when she was growing up.  As a child of the depression, born just 10 months prior to the stock market crash of 1929, she had a somewhat stark childhood.  I have the Shirley Temple doll that was the last doll she received as a child and the only one she kept.  Later in life my mom began collecting dolls.  She had one large bisque doll, quite a few composition dolls and a whole armful of vintage dolls in international costumes.  She even bought a fair number of hard plastic dolls.

I've owned this doll since I was five.
I’ve owned this doll since I was five.

When I was five, Mom bought me a composition doll at Goodwill for a quarter.  She was my very first vintage doll!  I was only allowed to play with her in the house, because my mother was afraid I would drop her on the concrete driveway or sidewalk and break her.  I still have that doll, who survived my childhood and remained unbroken until my husband stepped on her and cracked one of her legs.  If I was especially good I was permitted to play with Mom’s Shirley Temple!

My mom is the one in the yellow dress.  I'm standing in front of her.  This was the only year in my whole life that I had short hair!
My mom is the one in the yellow dress. I’m standing in front of her. This was the only year in my whole life that I had short hair!

The dolls that I love best are older than my mother’s favorites.  I rather think that she wouldn’t have liked the antique painted cloth dolls that have captured my heart and I’m positive that she didn’t share my passion for early wooden dolls.  But in the best motherly tradition, she was happy to go with me to doll shops and was excited for me when I bought my first true antique dolls.

I don’t have much time these days to work on doll projects of my own, but one of the things I have wanted to do for several years is to make a pair of reproduction 18th century wooden dolls.  I’m hoping that 2014 is the year I get to make this dream come true.  I plan to name one of the dolls after my mother and make her wig from some of my mom’s hair that she cut off when I was a baby (she got tired of me pulling on her long hair ).  The second doll will be smaller and her wig will be made with my hair that I’ve cut and saved (doll makers don’t throw anything away).  Working on the dolls will be a nice way to spend time remembering my mother and all of the things we liked to do together and a keepsake that reflects our shared passion for dolls and memories of long ago childhoods.  www.izanahwalker.com

Celebrations · Doll Accessories · Doll Clothing · Doll for Sale · Izannah Reproduction Doll Class · Izannah Walker Reproduction Doll · Ordering a Reproduction Izannah Walker Doll · Other Types of Doll Making · SALE · See Me in Print · Shows · Where to Shop

Happy 196th Birthday Izannah! My Celebration SALE Starts Now!!! (this year’s sale is over ~ thank you !)

Today marks the 196th anniversary of Izannah Walker’s birth.  She was born in Bristol, Rhode Island on the 25th day of September in 1817. You may read more details about  Izannah’s life in this post.  I wish I could invite you all over to my house for cake and silly party games, but since I can’t, I’m doing the next best thing and having a SALE to celebrate the occasion and to say thank you for being such wonderful customers, students and friends.  It is such a great pleasure to know other people who love Izannah’s dolls as much as I do!

From 9/25/13 – 9/29/13 all of my reproduction Izannah Walker dolls, additional custom made dresses and accessories for your Izzy, Izannah Walker doll clothes patterns and Izannah Walker Doll Making Classes are 10% off.  This sale applies only to items ordered from September 25th through September 29th, 2013, the discount is not available on prior orders.  As always, all items may be placed on lay-away with terms to fit your budget and shipping is free to any United States address.  I generally just have two sales per year, my Izannah Walker Birthday Sale and my Christmas Sale 🙂  So don’t let this one pass you by.

3 Dolls available 9/25/13 www.izannahwalker.comThree Finished Dolls Available

I have three very special dolls available for this years Birthday Sale.  One of them is created from a brand new mold that I made from my friend Mary’s Izannah Walker doll, Anna.  Thank you Mary!!!  Anna is 17 inches tall, so she is a smaller size than my other dolls and has the look of a younger, chubbier child.  All three of these dolls have very aged appearances, befitting young ladies that were made early in Izannah’s doll making career.  They each come with two elaborate dresses, full of wonderful little details to delight the heart of any dress maker, a chemise, pantalettes, petticoat and necklace.

Isabeau #1 SOLD – Thank you so much for stopping by to look at her!  Please contact me if you would like to order a custom made doll similar to this one.

Isabeau #1 comes with a necklace made from hand strung pale pink bone beads.
SOLD Isabeau #1 comes with a necklace made from hand strung pale pink bone beads.
Her dress made from antique pink and black print fabric is adorned with rows ans rows of black velvet ribbon.
SOLD Her dress, made from antique pink and black print fabric is adorned with rows and rows of black velvet ribbon.
Isabeau #1 wearing her winter white antique wool dress.
SOLD Isabeau #1 wearing her winter white antique wool dress.  I made this dress from an antique unfinished, so never worn, wool baby’s petticoat.
A surprise sentiment hides inside the waist band of her dress.
A surprise sentiment hides inside the waist band of her dress, which fastens with hand carved bone buttons.
Details of the antique trims used on the sleeves of Isabeau's embroidered wool dress.
Details showing the antique trims used on the sleeves of Isabeau’s embroidered wool dress.
three ringlets
three ringlets
Isabeau #1 Wardrobe
SOLD Isabeau #1 Wardrobe

Isabeau #2 – SOLD Thank you!

Isabeau #2 shows off her hand strung real coral beads.
SOLD Isabeau #2 shows off her hand strung real coral beads.
Isabeau #2 is wearing a dress that I made for her from a mid-1800's brown "coral" pattern print fabric.  The dress has full gathered sleeves, two growth tucks in the skirt and a deep 3 inch hem.
SOLD Isabeau #2 is wearing a dress that I made for her from a mid-1800’s brown “coral” pattern print fabric. The dress has full gathered sleeves, two growth tucks in the skirt and a deep 3 inch hem.
Isabeau #2 in her black party frock.  The dress fabric dates to the late 1800's.  Rows of antique black velvet ribbon encircle the sleeves, waist and hem of the dress.
SOLD Isabeau #2 in her black party frock. The dress fabric dates to the late 1800’s. Rows of antique black velvet ribbon encircle the sleeves, waist and hem of the dress.

Isabeau #2 www.izannahwalker.com

2 curls www.izannahwalker.com

Isabeau #2 wardrobe
SOLD Isabeau #2 wardrobe

Anna #2 – NOW SOLD  THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR LOOKING.  Even though this one is sold you may order a custom made Anna style doll, and if you love these dresses I have enough fabric to make another set just like them.

Anna#2 wears a tiny golden thimble on a chain around her neck.
SOLD Anna#2 wears a tiny golden thimble on a chain around her neck.
Anna #2 is shown here wearing her dress made from a very early c. 1830-1840 cotton gauze paisley print.  The green, red, brown and ivory fabric is perfect for late fall and the upcoming Christmas season.  The sleeves and skirt of the dress have graduated growth tucks.
SOLD Anna #2 is shown here wearing her dress made from a very early c. 1830-1840 cotton gauze paisley print. The green, red, brown and ivory fabric is perfect for late fall and the upcoming Christmas season. The sleeves and skirt of the dress have graduated growth tucks.
Anna's black dress is made from another very early cotton print fabric.  The neckline of the dress is trimmed with antique ivory cotton ribbon, plus a row of antique silk velvet ribbon.  Her chemise is trimmed in tiny waved braid (aka rick rack in modern terms).
SOLD Anna’s black dress is made from another very early cotton print fabric. The neckline of the dress is trimmed with antique ivory cotton ribbon, plus a row of antique silk velvet ribbon. Her chemise is trimmed in tiny waved braid (aka rick rack in modern terms).

Anna #2 www.izannahwalker.com

Anna #2 wispy locks www.izannahwalker.com

Anna #2 Wardrobe
SOLD Anna #2 Wardrobe
Isabeau #2 & Anna #2 show off a little Black Magic for All Hallows Eve.  Black dresses are one of my favorites year around because they are a neutral accent in any room and the dark color will draw your eye to the doll and make her painted features "pop" and glow.
Isabeau #2 & SOLD Anna #2 show off a little Black Magic for All Hallows Eve. Black dresses are one of my favorites year around because they are a neutral accent in any room and the dark color will draw your eye to the doll and make her painted features “pop” and glow.

Are you wondering where Anna #1 is?  In the very near future she is going to be living with Mary, her older sister Anna and all of her Walker cousins in Vermont.  Members of my Izannah Walker Doll Making Class may read about my adventures in making Anna #1 in a continuing series of posts on the class member site.

To see photos of the original Miss Anna, follow these links:

Photos to Share of Mary’s Antique Izannah Walker Doll

A Visit with Anna

I am a much better doll maker than I am a photographer.  All of the girls look so much nicer in person.  If you would like to see more photos of any of the dolls before placing an order, just ask.  To purchase any of these dolls please visit my website ASweetRemembrance.com or alternately you may email paula@asweetremembrance.com or call 860-355-5709.

Time worn, well loved dolls are the ones that kindle the fiercest love in my heart, but I know that some of you dearly love newer, more pristine dolls.  Don’t despair, I would be happy to make you the Izannah Walker doll that inhabits your dreams and has captured a place in your heart.  Call or email me to place a custom order, 860-355-5709 ( 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time) or paula@asweetremembrance.com.  I do have a bit of a waiting list for custom work, so the sooner you order the better.

Click here for a quick guide about my three different styles of dolls.

Custom Made Dresses and Accessories For Your Doll

Email (paula@asweetremembrance.com) or call me (860-355-5709) about prices and available fabrics for custom made doll clothing and accessories.    Simple dresses made from antique fabric start at $200 apiece.  More elaborate dresses with a greater number of tucks, fuller skirts, rows of ribbon or lace trim, embroidery or more costly antique fabrics run from $250 -$275 and may go upwards.  Handmade leather shoes are $75.  Any custom order is 10% off during the sale.  Scroll up to see the new style of dress that I made for Anna #2.  The fully lined dress has a slim cut bodice and sleeves, with a cartridge pleated skirt and velvet ribbon trim.  The cost of an identical dress is $295, if the dress must be fully lined, or $275 for one with a lined bodice.

Patterns and Classes

If you would like to order a pattern for a full set of clothes to fit one of my 18- 1/2 inch Izannah Walker dolls click on this link.

I don’t have a pattern available yet for smaller size clothing to fit Anna.

To read more about my Izannah Walker Doll Making Class by Mail follow this link to my website, where you may also order the class.  The class comes with unlimited support, plus a class member only discussion site that features extra bonus material and patterns, including five different flat faced heads that work with the rest of your Izannah class patterns so that you can create a variety of different cloth dolls as friends for your Izzys!  Sophie and Mae, two of my dolls that I made using the flat faced patterns will be featured in the Spring 2014 issue of Prims magazine.

Time For A Party

Happy Birthday Izannah www.izannahwalker.comAfter trying on all their new clothes and posing for their photo shoot, the girls and I spent some time in the kitchen baking Izannah a birthday cake.  We all agreed that it was the perfect treat to celebrate the birthday of our very favorite doll maker!

The recipe for the cake came from The Best of Shaker Cooking by Amy Bess Miller and Persis Fuller.  I chose this recipe because it is one that would have been in use during Izannah’s lifetime and is filled with apples, the perfect seasonal fruit for an autumn birthday.  I picked apples to use from our oldest apple tree.  It is a very firm, late season cooking apple that I have never been able to positively identify.  We grow our apples organically, so they are not picture perfect, but I’m sure apples just like these would have been a familiar site to Izannah.

IMG_5135Apple Cake

from Shirley Shaker Village

IMG_4929

1/3 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1-1/3 cups flourIMG_4939

1/4 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 cup milk

1 tsp. vanillaIMG_4949

3 apples, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup currants or raisins

powdered sugar

ground cinnamon

Cream butter and gradually add 1/2 of the sugar, beating well.  Beat egg with remaining sugar, add to first mixture.  Sift in flour, salt and baking powder alternately with the m ilk.  Flavor with vanilla.  Add apples and currants or raisins.  Beat well to mix and turn into a well-buttered 9 inch cake tin, square or round.IMG_4956

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon, and bake in a moderate oven (350 degrees) for 30 minutes.  Makes 1 cake.

Shaker Apple Cake www.Izannahwalker.com

Make a wish! www.izannahwalker.com

"Happy Birthday to you!" www.izannahwalker.com

Antique Izannah Walker Dolls · Other Types of Doll Making · Stray Comments

Thank You Jenny Lind Doll Club Members

I’d like to say thank you to all of the wonderful members of the Jenny Lind Doll Club who made me feel so very welcome yesterday at their meeting!  I have been thinking for some time of joining the UFDC and I was finally pushed into action by all the glowing accounts of doll club meetings and conventions that I have been hearing from some of the members of my Izannah Walker class 🙂

I went to the UFDC website and contacted Margaret Vitale, who is the Regional Director in my area, and among other things helps interested people find a local club.  Margaret was great.  She  put me in touch with the Jenny Lind club, one of the oldest clubs in the UFDC.  Shelly, the Jenny Lind member in charge of membership has been wonderful and I can’t thank her enough.  She has been very attentive, welcoming and even arranged for me to car pool to my first meeting!

I greatly enjoyed the afternoon spent in the home of Jenny Lind president Pixie, and her interesting program on Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls, plus the delicious lunch she served.  I could not have asked for a better beginning in the UFDC!

🙂 As a footnote somehow I wound up agreeing to host the May meeting at my house!!!  It should be fun, as Pixie is planning to speak about Izannahs!

Doll Accessories · Doll Clothing · Other Types of Doll Making · Where to Shop

A Very Busy Week

Artist Rainie Crawford shares an adorable antique bear from her collection.
Artist Rainie Crawford shares an adorable antique bear from her collection.
Painting by noted artest Rainie Crawford.
Paintings by noted artist Rainie Crawford.
You may remember seeing Rainie's dolls and bears in these and many more magazines.
You may remember seeing Rainie’s dolls and bears in these and many more magazines.
Rainie will be selling these dolls, as well as many more of her prototypes cloth dolls and nears in the upcoming months. Please contact me if you are interested in purchasing one for your collection.
Rainie will be selling these dolls, as well as many more of her prototype cloth dolls and bears in the upcoming months. Please contact me if you are interested in purchasing one for your collection.
More of Rainie Crawford's original prototypes cloth dolls and bears, soon to be offered for sale.
More of Rainie Crawford’s original prototype cloth dolls and bears, soon to be offered for sale.

I had a whirlwind week last week.  So much so that I’m still not caught up and only getting around to posting this now 🙂  Last Monday I had the chance to visit with Rainie Crawford,  she is a wonderful artist and doll maker, who designed an entire line of cloth doll and teddy bear patterns.  You may remember seeing her ads for mail order patterns in many women’s magazines over the years.  My friend Joy and I spent an entire day with Rainie.  She gave us a tour of all of her collections and we had a lovely time talking about doll and bear making, among many other topics.  The day just flew past.  I took lots of photos of Rainie’s collections and dolls which I will be sharing in a later post.  Rainie is going to be selling her prototype dolls.  They are all of the models used in her magazine ads.  She has not worked out all of the details just yet, but if you would be interested in adding an original Rainie Crawford prototype cloth doll to your collection, you may contact me at paula@asweetremembrance.com and I will gladly put you in touch with Rainie.

Some of my favorite purchases from the Country Living Fair in Rhinebeck, NY.  I bought 4 yards of grey polka dot Moda fabric and a whole bag full of vintage grey rick rack, piping and bias tape.  I've really been attracted to grey lately when sewing clothes for myself.
Some of my favorite purchases from the Country Living Fair in Rhinebeck, NY. I bought 4 yards of grey polka dot Moda fabric and a whole bag full of vintage grey rick rack, piping and bias tape. I’ve really been attracted to grey lately when sewing clothes for myself.

On Friday, a group of friends and I braved the rain to go to the Country Living Fair in Rhinebeck, NY.  We had a fun, but very wet, day and came back home with a head full of ideas and bag full of treasures.  I have been wanting to go to a Country Living Fair for several years, but hadn’t been willing to drive to Ohio to attend.

A view of the Harwinton antique show last weekend.  Notice the puddles :)
A view of the Harwinton antique show last weekend. Notice the puddles 🙂
The fair grounds in Harwinton, CT.  Home of the twice a yearly Antique and Design Weekend.
The fair grounds in Harwinton, CT. Home of the twice a yearly Antique and Design Weekend.

The rain finally cleared enough on Saturday for me to go to an antique show in Harwinton, CT, which is held at the local fair grounds.  That meant I was traipsing around poultry and livestock buildings two days in a row 🙂  I’ve been going to the Harwinton show, which was previously held at the polo grounds in Farmington,CT, for twenty years.  Unfortunately the show is much smaller than it was in it’s heyday.  The show has been plagued with bad weather for quite a few years, which may have kept some dealers away.  Even though there was less to see, I did enjoy looking at the offerings presented by some great long time antique dealers, and managed to unearth a few wonderful bits of doll clothing and accessories.

Sunday at the Elephant's Trunk Flea Market.
Sunday at the Elephant’s Trunk Flea Market.
Wear comfy shoes if you go to the Elephant's Trunk because there are acres of things to see.
Wear comfy shoes if you go to the Elephant’s Trunk because there are acres of things to see every Sunday.

On Sunday morning it was back to the Elephant’s Trunk Flea Market for my weekly antique fabric hunt.  I shop all summer long, searching for enough antique fabrics to tide me over through the lean shopping months of winter.  At times I feel like a busy squirrel, frantically burying seeds in every possible nook and cranny.   Needless to say, my studio is now piled high with stacks of tattered quilts, bits of lace, well worn linens and the surviving remnants of once beautiful antique garments.  All of them waiting for me to gently take them apart, wash and air them, then fold them safely away and store them on the shelves in my studio, where they will wait until I bring them back to life as part of my dollmaking.

I promise to share photos of some of my best finds in upcoming posts.  Until then I wish you all luck with your own summer treasure hunts!

I hit the lace mother load last Sunday at the flea market!
I hit the lace mother load last Sunday at the flea market!
Little bits of this and that, all waiting for me to clean, repair and remake...
Little bits of this and that, all waiting for me to clean, repair and remake…
Well worn antique wool shawls, destined to become doll clothing for a special doll.
Well worn antique wool shawls, destined to become doll clothing for a special doll.
I was thrilled to find part of a very early tied quilt.  This practically pristine 18th century chintz is going into my Queen Anne doll making supply stash.
I was thrilled to find part of a very early tied quilt. This practically pristine 18th century chintz is going into my Queen Anne doll making supply stash.
Another very early antique chintz fabric.
Another very early antique chintz fabric.
Two tattered and worn antique quilts that are stacked up in my studio waiting for me to take them apart and turn them into little Izannah dresses...
Two tattered and worn antique quilts that are stacked up in my studio waiting for me to take them apart and turn them into little Izannah dresses…
Alabama Baby Reproduction Doll Class · Other Types of Doll Making · Painted Cloth Doll Making · SALE · Where to Shop

Last Two Days for SALE on Alabama Baby Class

Don’t forget!  Today and tomorrow are the last two days that you can take advantage of the SALE on my Alabama Indestructible Baby Class.

Not on my mailing list???  Here is a recap of the sale information:

Are you looking for a fun, interesting project to work on during some of these long, lazy summer days?  If so, consider making a reproduction of one of Ella Smith’s Alabama Indestructible Babies.  They are sweet, charming dolls that really capture the feel of the early 1900’s.  My Alabama Indestructible Baby Reproduction Doll Class by Mail will be on sale for $49.00 through the end of July (regularly $65.00).

 

Alabama Baby Reproduction Doll Class · Other Types of Doll Making · Painted Cloth Doll Making · Reference Materials

Ella Smith and her Alabama Indestructable Babies

As you might suspect, I have never met an antique painted cloth doll that I didn’t love.  This is especially true for Ella Gauntt Smith’s Alabama Indestructible Babies.  They are lovely toys, just the right size and weight to cuddle in a young girl’s arms.

Ella Smith was an art teacher who created her Alabama Babies to be sturdy, unbreakable play things in an age of fragile and easily broken dolls.  She was an interesting and enterprising woman, with a fascinating biography.

Early in 2007 I was asked by Doll Crafter and Costuming magazine to write a three part article about Alabama Babies, that included full instructions and patterns for making a reproduction doll.  The series appeared in the March, April and May 2007 issues of the magazine.

The following is an excerpt from the March article.  I’m running it here especially for Martha, one of my Izannah class members, who is also keenly interested in Alabama Babies and for anyone else who loves them as I do.

Making An Alabama Indestructible Doll

by Paula Walton

 Level of Difficulty: High

 Alabama Indestructible Dolls were made by Ella Smith and a small group of women employees in Roanoke, Alabama from 1905 until 1932.  In 1904, Mrs. Smith traveled to St. Louis, Missouri to show her dolls at the St. Louis Exposition.  Her dolls won a first place classification at the Exposition, and the following year on March 31, 1905, she filed an application for her first doll patent.  Her patent number 800,333 was granted on September 26, 1905.  Mrs. Smith went on to obtain a number of additional patents for improvements and changes to the design of her dolls.

This is the first in a series of three articles that will give you patterns and instructions for making a 22-inch tall Alabama Indestructible doll in the style of Ella Smith’s earliest dolls.  The following is Miss Ella’s (as she was commonly known) description of her dolls as printed in one of her catalogs in her own words: 

“My dolls are all made of the best white goods – no dyes used, as they rot the goods and cause the dolls to wear out sooner.  They are all carefully Hand-made.  Hand-painted with pure oil paints and can be washed like children.  There is no glue or paste used in them.  They are stuffed with cotton and sewed with the best thread.  No cheap stuff used in the make- up of these dolls.  They do not break from being dropped or thrown about.  They have been tested by five years’ use.  When they are worn and need new hands or feet or painting again, they may be sent back here to the shop and made to look like a new doll for a small sum.  Our dolls may be provided with glass eyes, but we prefer the painted eyes – they look like life, and then there is no possible chance of a child to pick the fabric from around the eyes.  If we were to use glass eyes we would have to cut the fabric from over the eyes and that would leave a new edge, and when the dolls faces were washed the edges would become rough and ugly around the eyes: and the glass eyes are only a shell and so very easily broken.  These dolls are just what the people want if they are looking for something good and substantial, and every child is so glad to get one of these dolls.  They look so much like a baby when dressed in long or short clothes, and when the dear little girl drops one of these dolls she don’t have to cry her little heart out because dolly has a broken head.  She can just pick her up and go on happy and gay, because these dolls do not break from being dropped.  Any one of these dolls may be provided with a wig, but most all people like the painted heads – they look so neat – and the wigs become tangled after a while; but they may be taken off and the heads painted the same as the others.  These dolls are painted to represent all races of people.  We mean to try to please all people as near as we can.  We want our dolls to give perfect satisfaction.”

This is the doll that my reproduction doll and pattern is based on.

VISIT MT WEBSITE WWW.ASWEETREMEMBRANCE.COM TO PURCHASE MY ALABAMA BABY REPRODUCTION DOLL MAKING CLASS BY MAIL.

Right profile of small, less detailed "newer" Alabama Baby.
Back view of small Alabama Baby.
Left profile. Notice the seam line on the side of the head.

Up until now I haven’t sold individual patterns for my Alabama Babies.  To start with, just after the articles were published, I didn’t want to infringe or compete with the Doll Crafter and Costuming articles, even though the magazine only had limited rights to the articles and patterns and I retained the copy rights.  Later I hesitated to make the patterns available because the dolls and the pattern pieces are large enough that they require printing on oversize paper, which makes producing the patterns more difficult and expensive. 

However I began to rethink selling copies of this pattern after I advised Martha to look for back issues containing the articles.  I’ve done a little checking around and it doesn’t look like it is easy to find these issues.  In the intervening years Doll Crafter and Costuming  has ceased publication.  A quick look on eBay showed other Doll Crafter and Costuming issues (but not March, April or May 2007) for sale from $9.99 each.  Another issue is that the patterns included in the April 2007 and May 2007 issues of  Doll Crafter and Costuming were printed at 50%.

So I have updated and revised my original instructions to include an option for making bare feet, as well as the iconic painted shoes that Alabama Babies are so well know for.  I’ve added more than twice as many color how-to photos to the step by step guide and had full size pattern pieces printed (so you won’t have to go to the trouble and expense of making enlargements).

Full support and unlimited questions and answers are included with this 30 page tutorial, as they are with all of my patterns and classes.  Making a reproduction Alabama Baby is easier than making a reproduction Izannah Walker doll, but it is still a complex and challenging undertaking, so it’s nice to know that you will have some help along the way if you need it:)  I have also started a class member only Ning site, with bonus materials, extra photos and the opportunity for you to interact and “converse” with other class members.

Read More About Alabama Babies

 The Alabama Baby Indestructible Doll 1899-1932 by Bonnie Gamble Ballinger

Freeman’s Dolls For Collectors – Encyclopedia American Dolls by Ruth S. Freeman

American Rag Dolls – Straight From The Heart by Estelle Patino

A Celebration of American Dolls From The Collections Of The Strong Museum by Dorothy A. McGonagle

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hand & heart shall never part...

A short Alabama Baby love story:  As a romantic footnote to this posting I have to add that my husband, Brian, gave me my first Alabama Baby as a Christmas gift.  I was so utterly captivated by that original doll that he searched for others, which he  presented to me on subsequent Christmases and birthdays, interspersing them with several Martha Chase dolls.  Just another reason why Alabama Babies are dear to my heart 🙂

Antique Doll Furniture · Doll Accessories · Other Types of Doll Making · Shows · Where to Shop

Fabulous Finds

I have been finding the most wonderful things recently on my shopping forays to the flea market and various other locales.  My latest trip on Sunday to the Elephant’s Trunk and the Jenny Lind Doll Club’s  annual Doll Show were no exception.  Since I just returned last week from a whirlwind shopping trip to Bella Vista, Arkansas with 11 other women, you would think I would be all shopped out 🙂  Apparently not so!

Strands of pink colored bone beads will make charming doll size necklaces. I also have them in natural bone and indigo blue.

I was very excited to find strands of bone  beads at the flea market.   They are going to make wonderful Izannah necklaces and are available in more colors than the coral beads I have been using.  The bone beads are also just as historically accurate as the coral.  So now you will have your choice of both types of beads.

Antique white fabric and lace spilling out of a mid-19th century hide covered trunk. The wooden trunk, lined with period newspaper, is just the right size to hold an Izannah Walker doll and her wardrobe.

I’ve been frantically stocking up on all of the appropriate antique fabrics I can find.  It’s going to be a long winter with many fewer shopping opportunities.  I’m trying to make sure that I have enough fabric on hand to dress the dolls I will be making from now through early spring.  The only drawback is that it’s making me feel a bit like a squirrel putting away nuts for winter 🙂

Early 19th century German wooden doll, with intricately carved ball joints and turn of the 20th century indigo clothing. The doll stands next to a 19th century domed wooden trunk in original blue paint and a 19th century turned walnut spool holder /pincushion. Lying at her feet is an antique crochet sample booklet, made of brown polished cotton with pinked edges.

My shopping list, when I headed out to the doll show, consisted of one item – hand knitted doll socks.  Upon arrival at the show I very virtuously purchased numerous pairs of lacy knit stockings (they are the one and only item of apparel that I do not hand make for my reproduction Izannahs).  But then I got a bit sidetracked!  I happened upon a fantastic German wooden doll, dressed in indigo prints.

A closer look at my newly acquired antique wooden doll.

Her clothing is old, though not as old as the doll herself.  I’m estimating that her current ensemble dates to 1890-1910.  Her pantalettes and chemise are probably original to the doll, which was made in the first part of the 19th century.  Soon the wooden doll was carefully wrapped in tissue and residing in my shopping bag.  To make sure that she didn’t feel lonely, I added a pair of tiny bisque pincushion dolls, a 1920’s Japanese bisque doll, a vintage spun cotton ornament, two tiny wooden Noah’s Ark dogs, and a pair of vintage evergreens to keep her company.

These tiny bisque pincushion dolls, clad in pink silk, are barely 2 inches tall.
Another fun flea market purchase is this doll size polychrome folk art cupboard. There is a drawer in the bottom, big enough to hold an entire child size tea set.
The girls were quite pleased when I brought home this Izannah size mid-19th century doll chair, with a rush seat. They were getting tired of having to share one chair 🙂 The chair is sitting on top of a c.1750 Rhode Island blanket chest in original red paint, covered with a late 19th century hooked rug.