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.
Antique Izannah Walker Dolls · Doll Clothing · Other Types of Doll Making · Reference Materials


Last month, while in Kirkland, WA for a family wedding, I had the chance to visit the Rosalie Whyel Museum in neighboring Bellevue.  Sadly the museum will be closing in a few months on March 1st, 2012.

If you can get to the museum before it closes, do so!  The collection is wonderful.  The highlights for  me are the two Izannah Walker dolls, a lovely pre-patent doll dressed in red wool challis, with a trunkful of belongings and a tiny 13 inch patented doll with the molded shoulder-plate.  The wooden dolls are also amazing, especially one 24 inch George II era English wooden from 1750-1760 with a large original wardrobe of superbly sewn garments.

Brian was quite a good sport about the length of time I spent in the gallery that houses both the Izannahs and woodens.  About the time that I was performing a host of contortionist movements, in an effort to see the seams and hems of the clothing on the Izannahs and George II wooden, he laid down on a bench in the gallery for a brief nap.  No, I’m not kidding 🙂 – it was a very slow day and we were the only visitors.  Since he was occupied, if not terribly comfortable, I felt free to sketch and make notes to my hearts content.

The day following our museum tour we headed over to Rosie’s Too , which is  a second, off site,  collectible doll shop owned by the museum.  I found a cute, tiny black bisque baby doll and an antique chemise just the right size for one of my Izannahs.

If you can’t visit in person, the museum sells  a book entitled The Heart of the Tree, which chronicles their 2002 exhibit of the same name.  It’s a lovely book and I didn’t mind paying the $49.95 cover price, but I do wish that it included the fantastic 24 inch 1750-1760 doll that I mentioned above.  I had to make do with buying several postcards of her and her wardrobe.  They also sell a small paperback souvenir book about the museum called Rosalie Whyel Museum of Doll Art Opening Our Doors to You for $11 or $12, which has a nice photo of their pre-patent Izannah.  I did not buy their larger book THE ROSE UNFOLDS”
RARITIES OF THE ROSALIE WHYEL MUSEUM OF DOLL ART Volume One.  It wasn’t so much the $79.95 price tag as it was the size and weight of the book.  I just couldn’t face dragging it around Washington, then on to California and finally back to Connecticut 🙂  I may have to break down and purchase it a some point, because it does have large lovely photographs of both of their Izannah Walker dolls.

You can also find photos of both the Rosalie Whyle Izannahs in the article “Izannah Walker – Godmother to Cloth Doll Makers” by Susan Hedrick, Soft Dolls & Animals, Summer 1998 and a photo of just their pre-patent Izannah in “Early American Stockinette Dolls: Part 1- Izannah Walker and Martha Chase Dolls” by Judy Beswick, The Cloth Doll, Fall 1998.

If you would like to read more about the museum there is a nice article on page 14 of the July 2011 issue of Antique Doll Collector.