Friday, December 27, 2013

Last finish of the year...

This was probably the oldest UFO ever to be dug out and finished. This doll quilt was begun well over twenty years ago while I still had children playing with these dolls. Over the years it had been set aside and almost forgotten until Leia began playing with the dolls each visit.

I was reminded of my own childhood, playing with my mother's doll, Lily, each and every visit to my grandmother's house. Lily had a lovely wooden cradle and her own bedding where she could wait comfortably between visits.

With a twin brother, and another brother four years younger, I spent my hours with my dolls. They were my playmates and best friends. I sewed clothing for them and took them everywhere. My sisters were so much younger and though they may have played with dolls, certainly never to the degree that I did. We had adventures!

When I was no longer playing with my Lily, my grandmother had a visit from someone looking for antiques to buy, and talked my grandmother into selling her Lily and the bed. My mother was very upset when she found out. She had three dolls (I was named for her doll, Carol, as my middle name but never allowed to even touch that doll). Somewhere, she found a reproduction doll similar to Lily.

I was recruited to make a dress for the new Lily.

Here she sits on the new quilt. I have removed the dress and petticoats now because I see they are badly in need of a wash.

After my mother died, my father brought the three dolls to a family reunion for us three girls to pick one. My sisters got first choice and the Lily stand-in was all that was left. I have never seen or held the other two and I don't know which sister has Carol. Of course my sisters don't know either because they were not as obsessed as I was with dolls. They only know they got a real antique and I got the stand-in.

The two dolls Leia plays with, I made many years ago when my own girls were small. The head is made of paper mache. Once, one of the children bit the nose off of the girl doll, and I had to re-build her face.

When the dolls were made, their bodies were sewed of deerskin. About seven or eight years ago, the leather began to fall apart so I bought some cotton to replace the leather.

The arms and legs are carved out of wood. That wood came from old wooden sliding doors from our house as they were being repaired. The size of the pieces limited the size of the doll's feet.

I note that the ceramic feet on Lily are also small in size so I rather guess someone not knowing their history might think they are vintage too.

When I was growing up, if you wanted something, you figured out how to make it. I began sewing clothing for my dolls at age four, as they came with only what they were wearing when purchased, and needed changes for other occasions. These dolls also have many changes.

Now Annabelle and Bert will finally have their own bed cover when Leia comes to play.

I noticed they were changed into night clothing and then back into different clothing while Leia was last here.

I'm sure Bert was glad to get out of his tuxedo into something more relaxing to face the new year.

As for the "quilt", I do not recall where the fabric came from. It is just a print that was quilted along the lines in the design. The batting was very primitive, bought before the days that quilting became popular in Japan.

As the new year nears, everyone is in preparation mode. Spring cleaning cannot wait until spring. One must go into the new year with great preparation. I saw my neighbor out scrubbing his window screens today. My windows could use a bit of attention too ... but maybe I had better begin on a quilted gift for the Women's Conference speaker ... just a month away ... and unlike the doll quilt, there is a deadline.


  1. What a lovely story about your dolls ,thank you for sharing.

  2. personally I think you got the best of the deal .. dolls should be played with and loved ,their clothes changed and their ears wispered into xx

  3. Hi, Julie. I just love grandmother stories and your doll story is precious. Lovely quilt block for december too. May the New Year bring you many stitching adventures!
    best, nadia

  4. cute dolls and nice quilt for them. thanks for sharing the story

  5. I know how you feel, things I loved as a child went to the wrong people and I got the junk I didn't want, lol. I never liked dolls, was into the lone ranger and things like that;) I have made cloth dolls and clothes and would like to do some again.


  6. Julie, a lovely story of childhood and dolls, You are so talented, and wee Leia might play with the dolls and use the quilt now, but in years to come, will treasure your handwork so very much.. Have you ever written a story? I can see one right there about Bert and Annabelle. Happy New Year Greetings, Jean.

  7. Such a bittersweet story that has a beautiful ending with your granddaughter now playing with the dolls that you made for your children. The quilt fabric with the traditional indigo fabric is very lovely and should keep Annabelle and Bert warm for many years. Akemashite Omedeto Gozaimasu!-Monica

  8. Oh what a lovely story. Such wonderful memories - even though you got the stand-in - at least you got one that was like your original that you loved so much. I had an aunt that had no daughters but she had her doll from her childhood and I was allowed to play with it carefully on the big steps in front of her porch, on our way moving to Alaska when I was 6.

    We have two dolls similar to your second photo - both are from Don's great-aunts. People have offered to buy them - saying - but don't you know what they are worth? And I always say, yes I know - millions, even zillions of dollars - because they are from family and not for sale at any price.

    I have grandsons and no one to come over and play dolls - so two of my friends and I have made a club and we get together to sew and knit and play with our dolls - one of the friends has two grandsons and the other friend has two granddaughters - so we often make thing for her granddaughters' dolls that they will receive when they are four. We do have a lot of fun.

    I too learned to sew by making doll clothes - I still have the first pair of pajamas I ever sewed for my doll - my mother discarded me doll long long ago - but I secretly saved the pajamas and wept over the loss of my precious doll.

  9. I enjoyed this post! Thanks for sharing!

  10. What a wonderful story, thank you for sharing

  11. That is a lovely story and so special for your family to know. Love the idea of finishing a 20 year old UFO.

  12. I loved reading this story - I didn't play with dolls much as a child so I don't have the memories you do but I do remember playing "house" with my cousin. My husband was always Roy Rogers and hers was Gene Autry. :) blessings, marlene

  13. Thanks for sharing such sweet memories. The loving care you have given them shows. Have a Happy New Year!

  14. I have my mothers doll that she got when she was 5 years old. I also got the chair the doll sat in. I played with that doll at my grandmothers house for many years. The head is china, and it's cracked alot. Mom had the doll repaired several years ago, then gave her to me soon afterwards. It is now sitting on my oldest treadle in my guest room. Enjoy your special memories, too.

  15. What a lovely story about your dolls. Very bittersweet about losing the dolls that had meaning to you. I love that you hand made the dolls for your children and that they are now beloved by your granddaughter. I'm thinking they will be all the more precious because you made them.