Sunday, 1 May 2016

Goodbye - at least for now.

Well, I have finlly decided to give up on blogging for a while.

The MS is giving me so many problems that every email and post here, on FaceBook or other blogs is taking me an age. My right hand is very weak and I have no sensation in my fingers, meaning that I miss keys, don't put enough pressure on them or hit two at once, so much editing needs to be done - sometimes over and over.

Added to that, I am not able to walk unaided at the moment so photographs, which need to be done mostly outdoors and are never to a great standard, are now much more difficult to take. What energy and movement I have just now needs to be used for essential stuff and, much as I enjoy it, doll play has to take more of a backseat.

In all probability, I will be back to bother you all eventually. The form of MS I have is recurring-remitting and I have always bounced back in the past. Though each 'crisis' tends to leave me very slightly more disabled on a permanent level, I do usually recover to some extent. If that happens, I shall happily return. In the meantime though, the smaller dolls, so much easier to carrier around, will be following me to hospital appointments etc. and the Sashas and other larger dolls will be at home, largely unphotographed but still loved. I WILL be following your blogs and your doings on FB etc. Oh no, you don't get rid of me too easily!

Thank you for all your support and lovely comments.
   Jenni xx

Monday, 28 March 2016

A Zauberwelt Girl In Search Of Spring.

Well, not only is it Eastertide, but the clocks were moved forward an hour on Sunday. We are now, officially working on British Sumer Time but....... 6.30 this morning, this is the scene that met the dog and me as we set off on our early walk. Grey skies and a sprinkling of snow can be so beautiful. After eight hours of torrential rain though, it merely covers thick mud and everything feels gloomy and it's wet underfoot. not my idea of a winter wonderland.  However, the dog is not easily deterred, so we set off down Lon Castell.

We heard a small voice call, 'Hello!' and looked up. On the  bank at the side of the lane stood a lonely little figure.
'I think I'm lost!' she told us.

'I've been walking and walking. It is so cold in the north and I thought I'd travel south, to a warmer spot. Snow and ice are lovely for a few weeks but when winter is much longer than spring, summer and autumn combined, it can be too much, so I thought I'd walk towards spring. But it seems cold and damp everywhere in that direction too.'

She gave a little sob.

'And I can't find Bryn Derw, the place I thought I might be able to live.' she continued.

'I slept between these two trees last night, planning to set off back north this morning.' she explained.  'Perhaps it is better to live in a freezing place but have a home than to live in a cold damp place without shelter.'

''When I woke up though, the rain and snow had swollen the stream and now I can't get back over.'

'What do you think I should do?'

I told her she should carry on to Bryn Derw as it was very close.
'But how do I get there? she asked.

 ' Spring really begins in April here, you can't rely on the weather in March, even if it IS Easter. So, come and live with us at Bryn Derw. Just follow the dog!' I told her.


This lovely Gotz girl is 'Matroshka,'one of the Zauberwelt series, a forerunner of The Happy Kids and was designed by Sissel Skille.Unfortunately, Gotz keep reusing the name Happy Kids for different series of their dolls which is confusing and they do not keep records of older runs of dolls, but the Zauberwalt girls are now about 10 years old.

'Matroshka' was a wonderful surprise gift from Maxine at My Doll Best Friend, who knows that this sculpt is my all-time favourite.
A HUGE THANK YOU to Maxine for such a fabulous gift xxx.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

A busy time, so just a few more lads.

                                Haroun, belonged to a friend who can no longer care for him.
                                                    Right is Yves, by Shelly Baxter.


                                        Gruffydd (pronounce as the English Griffith)

                                           Brishan, the gypsy boy,  by Kelly Wenarsky.

         Jeffrey is one of twin Pyjama Boys, but his brother Matthew seems to be in
                                                     hiding! I can't find him.

Sorry that this post is brief. The unreal realms of non-doll life have interfered in blogging about, sewing for and - perhaps more fortunately - looking at dolls as potential purchases!

Monday, 8 February 2016

The Boys Are Back In Town! (Well, On The Farm, Anyway)

Hurrah for Brigitte of the Sasha Morgenthaler Facebook group for allowing this week to be Boys' Week. The boys are very dear to me, not just my Gregors, but all my boys - doll, human and animal. However, this is a special week for the Trendon boys here.

The photos are not likely to be the best, many of them are old as the weather is too bad for photography just now, but here are some of the Gregors of Bryn Derw.




                        Simon, Marcus and Philip

                                 Jack.                (photo by Jackie Kramer)                                                         








Well, that's some a few of the lads!

Please remember that I have been adopting for a decade or more now. Some of my boys are from my daughter's childhood and also, many are true orphans, boys (and girls) who have been handed on to me by my late friend Ellie. She and I made many Sasha and Gregor saving trips to junk shops and jumble sales, back in the early 70s, when they were seen as just old dolls that nobody wanted.

There are also many that shouted to me from Shelly's site and other places, telling me they just had to move here. I am more drawn to offering a home to a Gregor than a Sasha because I know they often languish longer, waiting for someone to take them in.

 Once here, it has to be a very special home on offer for me to allow one to move on. My boys are all very much loved and, despite Edryd's sad little face above, no Gregor was harmed in the making of this post.
Be warned.........there are more.......... My mother says she should never have bought me a copy of Louisa M. Alcott's Jo's Boys, as it gave me too many ideas!

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

A 50 pence piece can go a long way!

Last Friday, I was up and off to Shrewsbury at 5 a.m. for a hospital appointment at 8 o'clock.

There were several good points to this trip, including: 
1)The whole hospital bit was over by 9.30 because the clinics, scan department etc. were not in full swing and all was quiet and QUICK!
2) The transport home had been fixed for my at 2.30 so I had time for a little window shopping.
3) Shrewsbury is a lovely old medieval city with winding roads and small, interesting shops that still outnumber the same-old-same-old department and chain stores.
4) It is a reasonably wealthy area where the charity/thrift shops are still largely filled with such treasures as antique and vintage niknaks, linens, jewellery and books, great for a browse or trip down Memory Lane.

5) In what used to be two Tudor houses there is now the most wonderful fabric shop, carrying a huge range of fabrics and hard to find haberdashery.

In short, Shrewsbury is, by city standards, my idea of HEAVEN and, aside from my beloved home county town of York, the only city I could ever contemplate living in now.

The downside was that I had only taken a little money with me as I hadn't expected to go beyond the hospital grounds, but.....

 ..........close your eyes if you are sensitive. BEWARE! DOLLY NUDITY FOLLOWS!!!..............

 ............look who was lying in a box of bits and bobs, all priced at 50 pence!

S/he is an eleven jointed Hope doll by Robert Raikes. I have two of the dark wood Keisha version of this doll and paid a great deal more than 50p for them.
Though they are not as perfectly balanced as Max, the Schoenhut toddler is, or as some modern bjds are, s/he is not bad, being able to stand unsupported and having very posable arms. If I have a criticism about their design, it is that the legs are a little too thin for the body/head weight and give very slightly at the knees, but not enough for the doll to fall or crumple. However, I think Robert Raikes was aiming for as real proportions as possible to represent a pre-teen child.

Facially, the lips are rather too red for my taste, but that is easily solved.  And the wood was a little dry until s/he took the usual bath that all my unpainted wooden dolls enjoy a couple of times a year.

Here s/he is, leaning on the bath tub! My uncle, who was a cabinet maker, introduced me to this as one of two fine furniture polishes he recommended and I have used it once a year on all our pieces of solid wood furniture ever since, with three or four applications of this in between.....

You might call the Liberon wooden dolly bubble bath and the Lord Shereton's their body lotion!
How ever I think of it, buying them ready-made beats the chore of all that melting of beeswax, adding smelly turpentine and then trying to make the sorry but efficacious mess smell better with a few drops of lavander oil, that horrible job that my Mum lovingly handed to me when I was about 12 years old! The wooden dolls seem to love it, too.

This isn't well posed, but shows that the doll stands if set up to stand with either both fet flat or with one foot flat and the other on tip toe, but only if the flat foot is turned inwards.

Generally, this little doll reminds me in shape of the Hornby Flower Fairy dolls my children had when they were little. Perhaps it is only the lack of hair but it seems more like the elf belonging to my son than the girl fairies my daughter collected. So, before I once again waste money on unuseable wigs - girl, or boy? I would like your input, please.

Looking at this photo again, my husband says he is a boy, and has named him Peter because he says the doll looks like Peter Pan in this pose. Do you agree?

All in all, I think I had a lucky find here. I'm a lover of all things wooden and feel wood lends itself well to doll making. My wonderful, adopted  Grandpa Davy, who was actually my uncle's shepherd, used to carve little animals for me to play with and, when asked why he always made animals or people, not cars or some other little items, would say that a living thing is always waiting to be born out of what had once been part of a living tree, that an old life leaves a desire for a new life to come from it as it dies. He claimed he didn't actually make the animals, but that he just helped them to escape from the dying wood.

This is far from my only wooden doll but, at less than the price of a small chocolate bar, was definitely the cheapest I have ever found.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Max Arrives.

I am not to be trusted.

It is a plain and simple fact, put me near to a computer and I am unable to stop myself from looking at doll sites and somehow, with (virtually) no help from me, my itchy index finger sometimes hits buttons that tell a certain doll that s/he can move to Bryn Derw. 

Now, back in December, I had enlisted the help of a sister-in-law in Vermont (one of several) in the search for Schoenhut dolls that might make chosing a second purchase, a sibling for Emmeline Grace, a possibility. Being impulsive these days, though, I just found it too hard to wait.

Somehow, I have mislaid the photographs of my latest little soul as she appeared for sale on Ruby Lane, but here is one of  her as I tried to convince myself, or get Dee of The Sasha Village to convince me, that she really was a girl. Wearing the dress and petticoat she had been sewn into years ago and holding a little doll might, I mused, might convince me that she was a little girl. So I asked her to pose for her first photo in her new home.

Perhaps, I reasoned, she's just a little grumpy after her long, solo journey. She looked a little down in the mouth, so perhaps being the centre of attention during a photo shoot might cheer her up? Perhaps those chubby cheeks would produce a dimple or two and the sad little mouth might lift a little at the corners?


'Don't like dollies.Want a teddy bear.'  she said in a gruff voice.

'OK, I'll find you one, while we discuss your name and then perhaps we can find you a white cardigan to go over that pretty, green dress so......'  I began.

'Don't like dresses, want take it off. Petticoat too!' she said.

'Well, I'm sure we could make you another dress soon if you dislike that one, but I don't think I have one right now and I wouldn't like to show you to my friends without any clothes on. Besides, it is very cold today.' I replied.

'Little boys got to wear dress here like my last house?' she asked.

'No, no. Your new brothers wear either dungarees or jeans most of the...' I started to say.

'So, I goin' take dress off too! Because I boy, not girl. Like girls and like boys but I not like pretend to BE  girl!' came the firm reply. ' I be boy 'gain, please? PLEASE?'

And, as the penny finally dropped, I rushed to find something, anything, a little more boyish for my new Schoenhut son to wear.

'Max go outside now?'  he asked, after struggling to pull on a pair of mittens.

'Oh, so your name is Max, is it?' I asked.

'Long time ago I be Max, then I be Millie, but now I be Max again? I play out in my boy clothes now?' he asked, his voice full of hope.

'Come on then Max! Out we go! But please could I take one more photo of you out there? The light isn't too good indoors.'  I said.

' Now I Max 'gain! I BOY 'gain!' said a cheerful little voice as Max happily plumped himself down in the melting snow, showing his willingness to have another photo taken.

Max is 16" tall and wears the same size clothing as the larger Sasha dolls. He is very slightly wider in the shoulders and hips than they are, due to his excellent 13 point jointing, but most items will fit him. 

Despite being over 100 years old, he is easier to balance than any modern, 13 joint doll that I have ever handled.
These spring-jointed Schoenhut dolls are a wonder of German-American engineering from the early 20th century and Max, with his close to perfectly preserved facial paint, was a very lucky find for me. He just needs a new wig now, as the original is falling quite badly.