Tuesday, February 25, 2014
If you love the earth’s people, You love their dolls . . . Beaded eyes and thread-sewn rag limbs, Warm and loving . . . Friendship, sharing and lots of fun . . . Many to keep, but a special one To share, and then we’re done. Dolls are not just for children. We hold them in our hearts always From the early days of the Pilgrims We held them in our hearts and arms. With home cut hairdos, Resewn eyes and limbs, They don’t hold it against us, But still respond to hugs and kisses! Soldier dolls are dolls’ for boys and generals, Mechanical, stackable, and retractable. Toy bombs and guns that always “misses,” So the next time the soldier dolls can gain be attackable. When you collect one cherished doll of any type, You honor those who made them, acquired them, loved them.
Monday, February 17, 2014
Oh, to be Spring! We are being inundated with more snow mixed with freezing rain. It was an amuseument park ride from hell this morning just driving from point A to B, with all sorts of wonderful hills and ice-covered bridges. Thank goodness Starbucks was there! I have a mixed bag today; started as the expert guide for about.com at the Doll Collecting site. Take a look, and share ideas, especially for handmade dolls and folk dolls. Doll making is all about recycling; just read about the dolls Ma made in The Little House books. Crafts, in general, are wonderful ways to recycle and use scraps, especially in assemblage and reclaimed art. On the health front, I have beeen drinking RAAW juices this week, and I notice a definite improvement with sinusitis symptoms, which I call Sylvia Plath's disease, since she sufferred terribly from it, too. Also, it helps with the gag reflex brought on by asthma, as does coffee. So far, I have tried Cranberry Ginger, Strawberry Purple Carrot, and Very Berry Wheatgrass. I am not a spokesperson for this product; I also drink many other juices, some homemade, some concentrate, Naked, some Aldi or Save a Lot brands, nectars, etc. I still love Hi-C Cherry when I can get it, too. But, this juice is 100%, and the fusion is similar to V-8, but more organic with no persevatives. The juice in Cranberry Ginger is made from 1 1/2 c. cranberries and 1 c. ginger root. At our local health food store, Greatest Grains, the juices are .30 less than at our local supermarket. They run about 2.50-3.29 for a 12 fl. oz bottle. There is zero fat and 1% sodium, and 110 calories. I picked up some free brochures and newsletters at Greatest Grains as well, including one for Dermale products for skincare, and a first issue for Women Sense: healthy women create a healthier world. Articles in this new paper include articles about low thyroid, a study that shows women aged 25-65 are the most stressed [really?} and studies about the risk of too much sitting. Common sense, and obvious, but they get your attention about things we know but take for granted and ignore. Also, an article in "Memory Pause" and weight loss tips, and finding peace for a good night's sleep. More original 49 tips will also be posted. So far, some of my articles on About.com include "Lincoln Dolls," "Estate Dolls," "Sherman Smith Doll Maker and Whittler," "A Doll Collector's Calendar," "Hinges and Hearts: Metal Dolls," "Automata" and "A Tribute to Shirley Temple." We had a reading on our metal doll project and exhibit which went very well yesterday with members of loca writing groups joining me. Be well, deal with the climate changes, and know spring is coming. My little seeds are sprouting, some in Kleenex filled plastic cups in my office :)
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Percy's World of Toys: 3615. Big Brainy Baby Abe Lincoln: Lincoln warned the South in his Inaugural Address: "In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentou...
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
We mourn today the loss of Shirley Temple, one of our all-time favorite actresses and dolls. I had the pleasure of meeting her in San Jose at a book signing for her autobiography, “Child Star”, at the historic Prune Yard Shopping Center in Campbell, California. It was Veterans Day 1988, and I waited two hours in the chilly autumn air, something I have not done since for anyone. She complimented me on my sweater, a Jennifer Moore brand from Macy’s, with a little Inuit girl in the center. I still have it. The place was packed, and she was truly the local girl who had done well. At the time, her own doll collection was on display ad the Stanford Children’s Hospital. It had been there since about 1970. I was little, but my mother brought the article about the launch party for the dolls’ exhibit to me. It was in Photoplay. I have photos of myself standing before the doll cases which I hope to post very soon. The dolls were there as late as 1991, and I visited them several times when I lived in The Bay Area. My favorite was the 5’ Geisha Ningyo, sent to her by the Children of Japan in a coffin! In her book, Ms. Temple said the dolls were an unwanted collection her studio encouraged because her rival Jane Withers was an avid collector. Later, however, Ms. Temple, who had her own playhouse and collected glass animals as a child, took the dolls home with her. I do remember reading irreverent remarks she made about asking the blue Shirley Temple mugs and pitchers and putting them through the dishwasher so her image would wash off and she would have a nice collection of blue glass! My mother and aunt loved Shirley Temple, as did I. I recently wrote about “The Little Princess” for a paper I gave at The Midwest Modern Language Association. My first mug was gift from a family friend when I was 8. My first old Shirley doll arrived when I was 9, though it took us a while to realize just who she was! Today, there are about 25 Shirley Temple dolls at The Museum, dating from the ‘30s to the contemporary Danbury Mint dolls. We have at least two sets of vintage and reproduction paper dolls, several articles, books, biographies, her auto biography, glassware, figurines, DVDs, and other licensed products. We applaud her diplomatic services and many accomplishments. At her signing, she was talking about the possibility of another diplomatic mission under the elder President Bush’s administration. She was an inspiration in many ways, and will live on a st the beautiful little “Curly Top” so many have come to love. May she sail away in peace on The Good Ship Lollipop.
Monday, February 10, 2014
An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory: To my Readers; An announcement and About.com Doll ...: To all my dear friends and readers, please note that I am the new doll collecting guide for About.com; this does not mean I am abandoning y...
Thursday, February 6, 2014
An Apologia for Countess Erzebet Bathory: The Mechanical Doll of Polybius and Erzebet: Legend has it that Erzebet had a special iron maiden, more like a doll than a mummy case, with arms that reached out and hugged its victim i...
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Sherman Smith On September 22, 1907, an amazing woodcarver and doll artist named Sherman Smith was born. For many years, his work was unknown to mainstream doll collectors. Now, there is an thriving interest on eBay in his creations. A recent book has been published, and collectors are specializing in his wooden dolls, and wooden dolls with bisque heads, some antiques, and some artists reproductions by Phyllis Park and Jean Johnson. My first encounter with a Smith doll took place in 1975 when we visited the now defunct Dollie Dear Clinic, one of our local doll hospitals. [The demise of the doll hospital will be another topic]. The owner sold a few dolls and parts now and then, but while she was a lovely lady with a first-rate collection [Bru, Jumeau, complete Schoenhut families, rare china, wax, and Parian, all mint!], she was a terrible doll snob. As a teenager, she had hopes for me, but she sneered at the small lowbrow that needed parts I had brought. She sold me the Smith doll, about 8 inches, with a porcelain “Marie Antoinette” head for about 12.00. My mom shelled it out, even though she thought the price was high. A similar doll was selling on eBay this wee for 225.00. I have seen it as high as 350.00. Mr. Smith was from Utah, and began making dolls and carving after a heart attack in 1955. Allegedly, he was on bed rest for three years. His first projects were heart shaped pins and interlocking chains, good exercises for a man who had been a whittler since age 8. Soon, he was winning prices, and inspired to carve a doll pastern featured in a craft magazine. A meticulous craftsman, Smith spent a year perfecting his doll making skills. His first dolls were up to 24 inches high; these are rare and can command over $1000.00 on eBay. He soon decided to care dolls between ½ inch and 7 inches. Smith dolls were never dressed, and early dolls were not signed. Later Examples made in the 60s were signed. Sherm, as he liked to be called, carved Hitty, Miss Unity, Mary Poppins and other characters. He did tuck comb dolls, and tiny brooches with wooden dolls on them. The brooches were numbered, and he began making the bodies with bisque heads. Some had the artists’ initials, some not. These bisque headed dolls resemble early china heads with wooden bodies featured in John Noble’s books. He carved souvenir dolls for the UFDC in 1963 called Miss Angelita, and Patty Reed’s Doll for the Sacramento Doll Club. This doll represented the doll belonging to one of the hapless children of The Donner Party. The book is called Patty Read’s doll originally Caxton Printers, and now Tomato Enterprises, 1984. Miss Angelita sold for 179.00 in eBay in 2012. There is a Sherman Smith Doll Club, and I have a Raggedy Ann they made, with their logo of a wooden doll and his name embroidered into the doll’s body. Smith died in 1977, just two years after I bought my first Smith doll. Shortly after, a 5 inch, unsigned Penny Wooden joined my Marie Antoinette. Two four inch bisque headed twins joined them last year. Prices have spiked on eBay; I see ranges from 95.00 for small dolls with bisque heads, to 400.00 for characters with bsique3 heads like Lincoln. The larger dolls, about 12 inches, are rare, and far more expensive. Now, there are books, newsletters and articles about his work. An Internet search will provide many good sources to learn about this talented doll maker.