Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Still Love Dolls

When I was a little girl I loved my dolls. For my birthday or Christmas I always wanted a new doll. I loved them all and named each and every one of them. All the names ended with 'y'. I was still playing with my Barbie and Midge doll as I entered my teen years. I could entertain myself for hours.......... My dad retired from the Navy when I was 14 and my mom refused to let me take all my old toys with me. I agonized for weeks before giving my beloved dolls to a friend's little sister along with all the paraphernalia I had gathered throughout my childhood for all the dolls. I guess I truly kissed my childhood goodbye, because I got married when I was 15---but that is another trauma. I always wanted to have children.... at one time I thought 24 might be enough. I had all the names picked out for those future children....... all ending in 'y'! But I grew up and I am more than happy with the three I have. I took great pleasure in buying dolls for my girls when they were young, but they never had the love for theirs that I had for mine. After all my kids moved out I turned one bedroom into my "doll room" and began collecting dolls. These weren't the kind you played with, but displayed. When we moved here, to our tiny accommodations, I once again had to part with my dolls. This time I was able to give them to someone I love very much, my granddaughter, Layla. She was only four at the time and I didn't delude myself that these dolls would remain in the pristine condition they were when I parted with them. I knew that she was enough like me that she would absolutely have to undress and redress them and comb their hair. Somehow, it didn't bother me at all to give them to her.

After the major part of the remodel was done in our store and I had managed to carve out a sewing room for myself right off the office area I started a new love affair with dolls. I started with rag dolls and made them by the dozen. At first I stuck to the pattern image, then I started playing with the faces and made different expressions. I stitched some faces, appliqued some and painted some. Suddenly I had about 90 dolls, all made with scraps of fabric I already had on hand. So, I stuck a couple of eye hooks in the ceiling in the store and strung some clothesline and hung up my dolls with clothespins. The dolls started selling! Of course, I had already made all my granddaughters a set and I made one for my youngest grandson named Simon. I made matching shirts and pajamas for Gavin and Simon. The purpose of Simon was for Gavin to play 'Simon Says' (Simon says to use the toilet, Simon says pick up your toys, etc). Back to the dolls, though, I was surprised that they would sell in a campground store--not exactly the venue you would market them in. Thus Kathy's Klothesline was born. Being adventuresome I branched out and made some more advanced dolls. Clarissa Marie (pictured) was my very first attempt. I sold her not long ago for $35. I'm not ashamed to say that I didn't want to part with her, but a young girl of about 10 begged her grandmother and she bought it. Along with all the rag dolls I made lots of doll clothes. Those didn't sell as well as the dolls, though. Some folks wanted to know if they were dog outfits. So I created a whole new 'division' of Kathy's Klothesline; Doggone Cute Stuff. So far it consists of dog leash and harness sets, but as spring approaches I have been thinking of some little dresses......and maybe kerchiefs for the male species. I also made quite a few handbags with appliqued dogs and cats, oh and horses. This winter, when I wasn't so horribly sick , I managed to make some teapot cozies that I am taking to a teashop today to offer on consignment. But I digress. I would have to say, if I love anything more than dolls , it would be fabric. That being said, I still wish I had been able to keep my childhood dolls.


scarlethue said...

Those are really cute! I need a hobby like that, something to do with my hands. My grandmother taught me to cross-stitch when I was little, so maybe I should take that up again. So cool that you turned it into a business too.

Lover of Life said...

I loved my dolls, too. When my daughter was young my girlfriend and I (who had a daughter the same age) went on an American Girl binge. My husband said everyone knew the dolls and clothes were really for me. They are safely stored for that future granddaughter. I wish I was as creative as you are with the rag dolls. They are adorable.