Saturday, December 19, 2009

When Christmas brought a new dolly

When I was a child our family did not have a lot of money; usually by the end of the month dinner consisted of a bowl of noodles and powdered milk to drink. We never really felt we were poor even though a store bought dress or new car were always out of the question. Every year as Christmas came along, my three sisters and I would pour over the Sears and Roebucks Christmas catalog dreaming of Santa and his bag full of toys. My parents gave each of us a limit of three gifts we could ask for every year, one of which was unquestionably a new dolly.
                             Below: Tiny Tears (in blue) an American Character 
                             Co. doll produced starting in 
                             1950 with molded or rooted hair, a doll that "cried 
                             real tears" either a rubber body or 
                             later  all vinyl doll, highly collectible with a value 
                             today of $65 - $225.
                           Betsy Wetsy shown with layette, produced 1954-
                             1962  by Ideal came in 13 1/2", 14", 16" and 20", 
                             featured either molded or rooted  curly wool hair. 
                            Starting price was around $8.00 and the value 
                            today runs from $300 - $625. 
For our mother it was her talent and ability with sewing that provided beautiful wardrobes for each new doll under the tree. She remembered growing up during the Depression when there never were any new dolls for her. When she was 12 years old her young uncles went together to buy her the one and only doll of her childhood. So it was important to our mother that no matter what, her four daughters would find new dolls under the Christmas tree every year. She must have stayed up late night after night secretly sewing complete wardrobes for each of her daughters new dolls. Of course the dolls were delivered by Santa Claus so mom never did get her due praise for all her hard work. We simply believed that Mrs. Claus and the   elves sewed all those tiny precious layettes for baby dolls or evening gowns for those we called "high heel dolls".

                                These pretty little dolls were actually "Little Miss 
                                Revlon" dolls created by the      
                                Revlon Company to get little baby boomer girls 
                                acquainted with the Revlon brand  
                                name early. "Miss Revlon" in 15", 18", 20" and 
                                22" sizes, and "Little Miss Revlon" 
                                in the 10 1/2" size was Ideal's first grown up 
                                woman doll, sometimes called a 
                                teenage doll, and created some controversy, 
                                produced from 1956 -1959 (eclipsed by 
                                Barbie the following year) she had a new 'magic 
                                touch' vinyl body, rooted saran  
                                hair and a swivel waist. She was the best selling 
                                doll in 1956.

In the fall we sisters were often asked to donate one of our dolls to the needy children. My grandmother  would take them and with her senior friends rehabilitate the dolls and other toys for needy children at Christmas. So we never really accumulated a lot of dolls since so many of our old dolls went to the poor.
The 1950s-60s saw many new doll lines come into existence. We were the baby boomers and there were millions of us - millions of little girls arms outstretched ready to hug a new dolly.

                           Ginny doll, Shirley Temple doll and Bride doll. 
                 Ginny doll, a favorite of little girls from the late 1940s 
                  through the 1950s is still made today. 
                  She was produced by the Vogue Doll Co. originally, an 
                  8 " doll with a hard plastic body and 
                  head. She originally sold for $1.98 and was unique in 
                  that she had separate outfits available, 
                  selling from $1.00 - $2.98.
                 Shirley Temple dolls had a series that ran from 1958-
                 1963 by Ideal. The doll was available in 12", 15", 17", and 
                 19" sizes, with rooted hair and a molded vinyl body. 
                 Originally she sold for $9- $15
                 but today those dolls are valued between $175 - $550. 

                The Bride Doll - there were many bride dolls produced in 
               the 1950s, most were just called 
               bride doll.  I'm sure many  baby boomer little girls 
               dreamed of finding a bride doll under the Christmas tree.   
   When I was grown and on my own away from home, nothing brought back those Christmas memories as much as the scent of a new doll, vinyl was new back in the 50s - so yes there were times when I would wander into a toy store in the 1970s just to inhale the new doll scent. Unfortunately, dolls today all seem to look alike and lack imagination. But you can still find many examples of our old childhood playmates still available to bring home - if you know where to look! Maybe in Santa's bag!          

Top, Patty Playpal, produced 1959 -1961 
by Ideal  and reissued in the 1980s. She stood 35" tall,         
the size of a 3 year old child and had a vinyl blow molded  body and rooted saran hair. She originally sold for $29 which must have come very dear for my mother to purchase for me.Today the doll is valued from $350-$500.  
Center, this unusual doll was one of the first
dolls I remember receiving for Christmas. 
This is a photo  found on the internet but she is exactly 
 as I remember  her when I was 5 years old. I later discovered she  was called 'Magic Lips" by Ideal and was produced  only from 1955-1956. She was 23" tall,  
 with a vinyl head and limbs and an oil cloth body, and rooted saran hair. She had a mouth that opened and closed when you pushed on her back and she said  "mama."  
 She originally sold for $14.98 and today is valued at $200.           
  BottomLotus Blossom doll (Dollikin) by Uneeda was an unusual doll produced from 1957-1962. An 18" doll with a hard vinyl body, limbs and head, she was fully jointed, had a twist waist,  jointed elbows, wrists, knees and ankles. One doll of my older sister's that I truly coveted at one time!                                               
 Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays! And I hope you find what you are looking for under your tree! Peace, Maureen


Monday, December 14, 2009

Just 10 more days!

The Winner is Amy!

Congrats Amy! You were selected with help from Hurray for Amy winning the tile mosaic butterfly box I donated to Stacey Merrill's blog giveaway at Artsnark's Artifacts! It is in the mail as I write this.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

My Free Giveaway on Artsnark's Artifacts Blog

I am the featured artist this week on Stacey Merrill's blog Artsnark's Artifacts at  Stacey is a fellow Melange Team Etsy teammate and a great friend. She has enough energy and spirit for the whole team!  I have donated a special tile box of mine as the freebie in this week's drawing. To enter you just need to visit Artsnark's blog and leave a comment under my feature. Later this weekend she will be featuring my art studio in her series showing where women artists work. I want to thank Stacey for both of these opportunities and commend her on her presentation! Visit the free giveaway of my artwork post here :

Here is the tile box I am offering free - including postage - on Artsnark's Artifacts blog giveaway until Thursday. This is a wooden box 6" square, 2 3/4" deep - outside under the beaded fringe is paper mosaic with tiny glass tile along the base, beaded fringe hangs from green satin ribbon. Inside is mosaic in 1" glass tiles on all four sides with a  4" square porcelain tile featuring a butterfly painted with Pebeo porcelain glazes - there are also 6 Swarovski crystals highlighting the hand painted butterfly. The top edge is lined with tiny glass tiles. Between the butterfly tile and the inner edge of the box there are aquamarine chips set in polymer medium.
So if you want to enter the giveaway get on over to Stacey's blog and post a comment!

The tour of my studio space is up now on Stacey's blog at
Take a look!
Related Posts with Thumbnails