Monday, 28 December 2015

A Schoenhut Cousin For Dee's Evelyn.

Perhaps I have been a little too reticent to show off my Schoenhut girl, but this is for Dee, her new girl Evelyn (what a lucky find!) and anybody else who cares to view her. She happens to be the doll my husband likes best of all our little residents.

Meet Emmeline Grace.

Like my much loved Zwergnase dolls, the Schoenhuts are not to everybody's taste and 19" tall Gracie is far from perfect. She has had an adventurous life, of which I know nothing and which she is keeping to herself, but the evidence is there to be seen in the damage to her face paint and the fact that one leg has become detatched at her hip.

Her wig  is not the best for her either. It is human hair and streaked with grey. Though she is a very old doll, around 100 years old, she is meant to be a child, so needs a younger look.

However, I am sure none of us will be able to stand so firmly when we reach our century of life!

There was quite a stiff breeze blowing when I took this photo of her and she stood unaided and firm on the wall top, despite her wonky left leg! 

 Famous for their "posability," the American Schoenhut dolls stand head and shoulders higher in their jointing than the dolls imported from France and Germany that my mother mainly played with in the 1920s. They have sprung joints rather than the cruder ball jointing that allowed my (horrible!) brother to later scare me by placing Mum's dolls in death poses, with their limbs splayed at impossible angles! If you put a Schoenhut doll in a position, s/he will stay there.

Making Schoenhut dolls involved expert carving, painting and engineering in their design and construction. There may be some creaking as the position is given to their 13 firm joints, but who would expect a 100 year+ old girl not to have creaking joints?

My mother tells me she had a toddler Schoenhut when she was little. His name was Ikey Bam.....because he made an excellent weapon when her older brothers teased her. I have the utmost difficulty in imagining my dear Uncle Roland teasing her, or anybody else, but I CAN imagine Mum weilding a doll as a weapon. Thank goodness Ikey was a solid, wooden doll!

For over two years, I have been considering whether, and how to get help for Gracie. Sending her back to the US to be repaired would be hugely expensive and I have seen many really bad restoration attempts made on these dolls. I would love to have her leg fixed back properly, a job for a real expert, but should I leave her as she is with regard to her paintwork?

I have looked at Schoenhut dolls on Ruby Lane many times and there seem to be a great many that have begun to be stripped back for repainting, before the would-be restorer has lost courage and sold the poor waifs on. There are also some that have been repainted badly, some even by "professionals,"and who now look far worse now than Gracie, perhaps far worse than before th repainting began.
So, perhaps I will leave her as she is. Nobody would strip back a piece of antique furniture, just because of a few dents. We think of that as the patina of use, so maybe the same could be said for these dolls. I will buy her a new wig as the one she is wearing is non-original anyway and, if anybody knows of a Schoenhut limb repairer, I would investigate that possibility, but I fear losing Gracie and having another character come home, if her face is vastly repainted.

However, my antique'n'vintage-crazy sister-in-law in Vermont is only too thrilled to be on the hunt for a doll that is much more damaged than Gracie and being sold at a very good price, for me to try out my skill - or lack of it- in working on. My daughter is also in London antiques circles and will look out for one there too, they do come up once in a while and are not well-known or particularly popular here. So who knows? Using the right materials seems to me to be key in such work and I am not even aware of what those are but, one day, Gracie? Maybe one day.

And there is also little Ikey Bam to be replaced.............. but kept firmly out of my mother's reach!

Thursday, 17 December 2015

A Meeting.

It is surprisingly warm for mid December.
"Which," thinks the girl as she leans to rest against the gate,"Is just as well as I've lost my shawl. But at least my feet are warm and dry, in spite of my boots being very large for me."

She sighs, thinking that it had been a long time since she has felt really safe but, on the positive side, nothing worse than being a little hungry has happened to her since she ran off.

She looks up, towards the nearby house and notices something that takes her interest.

" A tree," she whispers. "I'm sure that's a Christmas tree! Just like the ones in the story books!"

She looks around and sees that nobody is watching. Slowly, she begins to climb up to the windowsill.

"Oops!" she thinks. "There's a boy decorating the tree and he doesn't look too happy. Perhaps he's seen me? I better run!"

But before she can scramble down from the windowsill......

.......the boy throws the window open and demands,
 "Are you spying on me? What are you doing staring in through our window?"

"Please don't tell on me! Oh, please don't call a grown up!" begs the girl.

"Erm.....well I should you know," he replies. "They don't bite you know and Mam or Dada would know what to do with a spy... but.... Well, come in and tell me what you are up to and why grown ups scare you. But behave properly because I can always YELL LOUDLY for help if you don't!"

So the girl scrambles in through the window. On the whole, she feels quite safe round other children and this one is not so very big, so she could always over-power him and escape if she needs to do so.

" My name is Dunja." she tells the boy. " I'm running away. Or rather, I've been running away for a very long time."

" Running away from who......or should that be from whom? Anyway, why are you running away and where are you going to run TO?" asks the boy.
"Oh, and I'm Bertie Button, by the way. The unfortunate, only Button Nose kid in this house." he adds dolefully.

"I'm not going back, she turned out to be a very wicked witch and she said she'd turn me into a gingerbread girl and eat me! Just because I read about Christmas trees and asked if we could have one."

Seeing Bertie's confusion, Dunja continues,
"Witches don't do Christmas and, even though I was born in a witchy family and my Dad sent me to be her apprentice, I have no wish to be an evil witch like HER."

As the girl drew breath before carrying on, Bertie sees tears in her eyes.

"SOOOO," she continues, "If you tell a grown up, they will either send me back to Esmerelda the Vile or send me back to my Dad, who will send me back to her anyway. So, I'll keep running until I find an empty house that I can live in by myself. I'll be like Pippi Longstocking and live happily ever after!"

" Don't think they would, you know. Send you to your Dad or Witch Thingy the Vile, I mean." answers Bertie.
 " They are good to all we children, on the whole. And, you know what? They've rescued quite a few of us from bad situations.
"If I just call for Mam..... Oh, and I've had Harry Potter read to me, you know, and not all witches and wizards are bad, so I think they will know you are a GOOD learner witch girl and they will LIKE you."

"So why, then, did you look so miserable?" the girl demanded. "If I was allowed to decorate a tree like yours and if I lived in a warm house like this, well I'd be very happy, but you looked miserable when I looked in through the window. So, are your parent's mean to you, then? Are you just saying they are nice to trick me?"

"Oh no, they are not mean to me exactly." Bertie say. Then he realises this is a great opportunity to get a hug and leans his head on Dunja's shoulder.

"It's just that I'm the only Button Nose here and I miss my Button Nose cousins at the Village, especially Ollie.... and then I brought loads of lovely sweaters and stuff back from the Village after my visit and Mam wouldn't let me have them all and... and.....Who's Pippi Longsock then?"

"Pippi LongSTOCKING is a girl in a story book, laughs Dunja. " But I'll tell you about another girl in a story first. Her name is Pollyanna and she plays the glad game. So I play it too."

" Huh?" mutters Bertie, looking confused.

"In the glad game, you have to find something to be glad about, no matter how sad you feel." Dunja goes on. "And I'm glad I have my strong boots to keep me dry, even though I have been walking for months and I'm glad I met you and I'm glad I saw your Christmas tree and I'm...."

"So, I could be glad that I was allowed to have these foxy slippers then?" interupts Bertie.
"And glad I went for a great holiday at the Village, and happy that I had all that hot chocolate Auntie Dee made? Ooh and I can be glad that I got to have Ollie to be my friend instead of just a farway cousin."

" That's it! You are good at this game." Dunja says, giving him not just a hug, but a kiss on the top of his head.
" I think we might be distantly related too, you know, my last name is Zwergnase which means dwarf nose, or little person's nose in...."

"German!" Bertie adds, triumphantly. "So we are both a bit German!"

Bertie is always ready for a hug, a kiss or a snuggle and this girl seems to enjoy them too.

" Know what else I'm glad about?" he asks. " I'm glad you are going to be my special big sister who can do beginner, witchy-but-good magic and read me the stories about Pollyhandle and Pippi Longshoes."

" Mam!" he yells. " Here's another one come to live with us. She needs to be rescued. MAM, COME AND HELP ME LOOK AFTER MY NEW BIG SISTER!!!!!!!"

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Another Dose of Zwergnase Juniors.

Close your eyes if you find my much-loved Zwergs are not to your taste!
I am very aware that they are far more like real children than many dolls. They do not smile all the time and their expressions change with the slightest tilt of the head. Some, like many a pre-teen or teenager, NEVER smile. But it is their very variety, the fact that some are not pretty in a conventional dolly sense, their moods and changeable expressions that make them like the real children in my classes that I still miss so much.

Here is Amelia.

She is a rarity. Amelia was designed and usually made with a carrot red wig but, presumably, the company ran out of the wigs and, having been asked for another one, they made her up as a blond, but still with her curls. It seems the person ordering her wanted to have the red haired look and didn't want her as a blond. So, lucky me! I was able to buy her.

Here she is in all her original outfit, except her hat, to show her wig a little better. This is the hardest hair to brush through on any of my dolls, but it is easy to style in different ways once it is brushed. Amelia is from the 2007 run of Juniors.

Lenka is from the 2014 collection, so has rooted hair. Sadly, like many of these rooted dolls, her hairline is poor and I am thinking of cutting her a fringe in to hide the roots on her forehead.

She has a very, very variable expression and, at first glance, I was not drawn to her because her stock photo makes her look extremely grumpy. I sometimes wonder if Zwergnase set out not to sell the Junior dolls at all, as their photos are often poorly posed (as if I have any right to say so, with my meagre ability in photography!) or the faces can even be almost completely hidden.

In the photo above, you can just about make out her light, gingery freckles but the light in this shot makes her 'skin' look paler than it is. (Told you, I'm a hopeless photographer!)

I think she was losing patience with my efforts here. Can't you hear her saying, 'Oh, come ON, Mam! It's booooooring standing here!!'

......and now it seems that Amelia is not too happy that Lenka has borrowed her hat for their joint photo, so maybe I should let them go and play  for a while. Divas or otherwise, there is only so much time a child wants to spend standing still for photographs to be taken.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

A short (OK, longish) interlude.......

By now, you all know how DREADFUL I am at staying on bloggy task! But in the interest of the sanity of my dear friend Dee (- not to mention that of her long-suffering, tolerant and dolly-bemused husband who probably hasn't a clue what Dee is on about when she mentions ' Jenni's Zwergnase dolls,' in the same way that I feel at a total loss when my DH mentions those wonderful, greasy bits that go to make the inside of one tractor different from one another-)  I am going off track here.

Well, it isn't ALL because Dee wants to see my not-quite-but-almost-as-large-a-family-as-that-of-my-Sasha-family of Zwergnase Junior dolls. It also has to do with lost clothing. Georgianna, adopted triplet of Violette and Hazel has her own Ruth's Dolls kilt set but it is not to hand and she refuses to wear anything else. As I said she would appear next in the Sasha doll photos, I need to stray for a while.

So, without further ado, here are some of my Zwergs. Now remember, these are the Marmite of the doll world, you either love them, or hate them. So avert your eyes if you hate Marmite  --- no, I mean, avert your eyes if you find Zwergnase Junior dolls distasteful. But please, no mean comments, they look tough but they are quite sensitive little souls! There is a little cousin of theirs in Spain who has not appeared too frequently since some slightly mean comments were made!

This is Tina. She has strawberry blond, rooted hair and has chosen to wear a Kidz'n'Cats outfit, topped off with a Hattie hat. I love the slightly puzzled expression on this sculpt.

At 20" tall, these dolls are much bigger than Sashas and a good 2" taller than the Kidz dolls, so the outfit is not perfect for her, but I dislike seeing little girls in the kind of outfit she came in. Just personal taste, of course, but belly tops and pedal pushers are not my favourite look. So here is Tina again, in a Sharon Humphries special rara set.

These are not the best of photos, even by my limitted standard, as it was too bright to show the dolls' true colouring and too windy to keep them stading upright and their hair in place. I like these girls to have a fringe if they have rooted hair as the roots show a lot otherwise, but hers seems very long and in her eyes. The teacher in me worries about her seeing her school work properly, though I can't decide whether I should trim it, would it alter her personalitly too much?

Next is Dhana. She arrived with braids and is an early, wigged doll. When I untied the braids, which were untidy after over 10 years stored at Zwergnase, I discovered her wig is made of rich coloured real hair, so I left it loose, to settle a little.

Oddly, she looks grumpy here, as she normally seems to have a gentle, rosebud mouth. She is wearing most of her original outfit as she has only been here a few days. Once her hair is conditioned properly, I think I'll rebraid it for her.

This is Zwergnase's stock photo. I think she lookes surprised here The slightest difference in the tilt of the head of these dolls makes a huge difference to their 'moods.'

Next in the row of three is Trisha.

She is one of only 13, made specifically for Trisha Pant, of KR Bears and Dolls. She had the doll made to represent herself and another run of 12 blond ones to represent her sister, Karen.

She also chose a lovely rara skirt set by Sharon to wear. Once again, the strong sun and wind combination has given a rumpled, faded look to the photos.

Number four is Tosca. 'Born' in 2004, she is a wigged doll and has the same sculpt as Tina.

Oh, how I love my little Tosca! She has so much personality. At the moment, I have very few photos of her. I did, however, catch her up the little apple tree after bedtime last night. She was waiting to see the lunar eclipse.

 She is a cross between myself as a child and Pippi Longstocking in that she pays little attention to the norms of life. She is currently wearing pyjamas by Maru & Friends and, apart from her feet, seems to have almost the same measurements as Maru.
Pyjamas? Well, they are just trousers and a top, aren't they?
And climbing trees is so much easier in bare feet.
Go to bed? TONIGHT? Don't you know that this lunar eclipse is an important event that won't happen again for years and years until I'm grown up and too old to enjoy it, just like you are, Mam?
She finally went indoors, grumbing all the while. When we got up to watch it, though, her bed was empty and there she was, waiting patiently in the garden....

......watching the sky.
And, when the eclipse was over, there she stayed until just after dawn,

when she could be sure the giant dog who lay nearby would not run the risk of being scared of the dark.

Well, that's the first four of my mwphmphwmh.
Who? Me? Mumbling? Speak up, did you say?
I said that is the first four of my sixteen Zwerg Junior kids. Fourteen 20" and two smaller ones.
Yes, yes, I know, I'm greedy. Yes it was six and ten more, sixteen in total...
....No, I didn't lie on Facebook - I really did think I only had 12 bigger kids when I said that but, like Sashas, the Zwergs invite their pals to move in and..........

The other fourteen Zwergs are lining up for their photo shoots, so more to come soon.

Friday, 18 September 2015


Perhaps I am being a little unfair here. One of my 'twins' has been with me for a while but the second one is straight from Sasha Doll UK. Other Sashas have been here for as long as 35 years, so there are others who should have been shown here first!

I am so thrilled with them, though, that I felt the need to show them off straight away.

As you can probably guess, Shelly Baxter has repainted them for me. The flat, uniform brown of the Trendon Sweater Girls'eyes has never really appealed to me, but the doll on the left belonged to my good friend Ellie and was the only one she ever bought new so I wanted to keep her. When I saw her sister on Shelly's site, I decided to buy her and ask Shelly to turn them into twins.

At first glance, they look to have the same eye colour. But actually......

................Violette's are a blue/grey and..........

............. Hazel's are green.

These girls represent my grandmother, Violette Emma and her twin sister, Hazel Amelia.  They were born in 1888 when, of course, all girls had long hair, but they and their adoptive sister Georgianna were admitted to a fever hospital and, scarlet fever being frequently fatal in 1897, they were kept there for months. Their hair was cut short as long hair was believed to sap a patient's strength and slow, or prevent recovery. When they came out, they hoped to be allowed to keep their short locks, but were made to allow their hair to grow again, in order to be lady-like.

Hazel came to me with her hair as it was rooted, except that it was very dusty. All that was required was to have it washed and gently styled again. Being previously owned only by an adult, she had never had a trim or had her hair over brushed and her stringing was in good order. She stands well and is easier to pose and photograph than her sister. Her face is slightly wider than Violette's too. 

Violette has clearly had a hair trim. She looks more like a Gregor than a Sweater Girl at the moment, whilst there is no mistaking Hazel's typical Sweater Girl hair style. Violette's hair is also slightly frizzy over her left ear and is a little harsh to the touch, presumably she's had a child owner at some time. It is no problem though as washing and conditioning will improve that and they are, after all, fraternal, and not identical twins. Added to that, I love to know these dolls have belonged to and been played with by, a child - it is, after all, what they were designed and made for.

When I saw the two Ruth's Dolls kilt outfits for sale on Shelly's site, I snapped them up for the twins. They are, of course, far more my generation's clothing than that of my grandmother, but all my dolls are seasoned time travellers and I have always loved these sets. I may change the shoes to the traditional brown or black bar shoes, though.

I love the twins and, since Georgianna was raised as though she was their triplet, she will have to be shown here next time!

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Because some people asked!

Now, no promises, because I am very disorganised and life has a habit of pushing what I need to do ahead of what I'd like to do, but I am going to attempt to give each of my Sashas and their brothers a moment in the limelight. It may take a very long time as there are rather a lot of them, but I will do my best.
They will not appear in any specific order as I am not especially interested in year of production, stringing colour etc. and have a very poor memory for the order in which they arrived here. As dear Ted Menten once said, my favourite is the one I happen to have in my hands at any given time, so I can't start with my favourites. Nor could I begin with my least favourites because I don't think a Sasha was ever made that I don't love. ( NO, DEE, not even a saucer eyed girl!)

So, because he jumped up and down and yelled about not having been out of the house this summer (Well, it has rained almost constantly. This IS Wales.) here is James, who might be my least common boy - a blue eyed Gregor dark. 

He is fond of climbing, encourages flies and insects as a means of keeping his sisters at bay- as you can see from the current pet fly on his jeans - and is prone to a touch of bed-head, hence the John Deere cap. He would love to be neat, but his hair doesn't always oblige him so he often wears a hat.

The lower resolution of the only camera that didn't require battery charging, gives him a slightly hazy, thoughtful look and makes it look as though his lips are completely worn away but, in fact, it is just that the paint was applied very thinly. His eyes are slightly darker than they appear here.

James came from SashaDollUK, as most of my Sashas have done. I think he has been with me for about 6 years. He has the later brown leg stringing and white arm stringing. 

There is something very gentle abour James.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Three for World Doll Day Tag.

This is the first post in ages. I have really lost the dolly plot recently and being tagged by Sharon Humphries ( ) is probably the nudge I need to start up again.

She asked me to
  show my three favourite dolls purchased in the last year,
  show three dolls on my wish list for the coming year
  and to tag five people to do the same.

The last of these requests is impossible as everybody I could have tagged has already been involved. The other two requests are difficult because I love so many dolls and would like them all! I'm not greedy by nature unless we are talking about dolls.......!

So..... Dolls purchased in the last year....

First is Gerda, an Early Gotz Sasha doll, bought in December last year, who has become a true favourite. Oddly, I never thought I wanted one, but she just seemed to call to me and I couldn't resist her. She has much better hair than most early Gotz girls and such a gentle face.

 Secondly, we have Tina, a Zwergnase Junior doll, sold to me by Sharon's friend, Anita. I love her changeable expression - sometimes anxious, sometimes puzzled, sometimes studying something intently that only she can see.

Third is Matilda-Jane. She is a Girl For All Time Matilda doll that came dressed in beautiful Tudor clothes, but is wearing more suitable clothing for life on our smallholding just now. It has proved difficult to take photos indoors. This is a poor photo and doesn't do her justice, but I have tried and tried to take a good one

   Here's a closer shot - wish the wind would drop so I could get better photos of her. She has an interesting face and I like her precisely because she does not have a doll-pretty look, but it is difficult to capture her at her best. She seems to have more staring eyes here than in reality.

I've had a wonderful dolly year. My family have been so kind to me and I have had the chance to buy three more lovely Sashas from friends (thank you Sharon, Dee and Ronny!) and another five Sashas have moved in here on top of that.

My aim here has been to show a range of the 16" to 20" dolls because, in truth, my favourite doll tends to be the one I am playing with at that particular time and I couldn't say which are my permanent favourites, except perhaps for Gerda. Each of my many dolls has his or her special features or personality and I love them all.

Now who is on my wish list? Another difficult question!

Should I have a wish list? I do have rather more dolls than most doll people, but there's always room for three more so, top of my list of If-I-Won-The-Lottery-I-Never-Buy-A-Ticket-For collection are:

1: A Fairyland Little Fee.This photo came from an open photo collection on Google. No credit was given for it, so I am hoping the owner of the original won't mind. Her brown eyes and dark hair are particularly attractive to me.

 2: A Unisex Early Gotz Sasha doll and, again, I beg pardon from this doll's owner, who ever that might be, for using this. As s/he is a vintage doll, I have no idea where to find another photo to show the type I'd like, other than on open collections on Google.

3: Another boy doll, but not a Sasha Gregor or a Kidz'n'Cats ( I have enough!). There are obviously fewer to choose from than there are of girl dolls, so this is where I throw the floor open to anybody who has suggestions They would be most welcome! BJD? Vintage hard plastic or composition? Vinyl? Ideas would be appreciated!