Monday, August 21, 2017

Aug 21: solar eclipse!

Today we had a partial solar eclipse.
The last one I lived through was way back in 1979!
I even recorded it in my journal, and I said the next one would be in 2017. That date surely looked weird back then!

Today was a sunny day, so I sat outside for the eclipse, with my Hawaiian AG doll bought in Dec 2014 when we visited Honolulu and there was a pop up AG store. Of course, I never knew that there would be a new Hawaiian doll released this year.
I didn't have special glasses so I simply observed that everything seemed murky instead of bright. We only had an 87% totality, so nothing extraordinary occurred. Oh well...the next one is in 2042 I believe.

By Loretta Houben

Saturday, August 19, 2017

A package has arrived!

Look! A package has arrived!
We hardly ever get packages!

AG had a marvelous online sale recently.
They probably have a lot of them, but in this house we have limited funds. So when this package arrived, Tenney and Mary Ellen were thrilled. The plaid dress is so cute with diamond buttons and a brown belt, and cute boots. The white dress was for Lea, a GOTY doll for 2015. It's very pretty, with a bead hairband and gold sandals.

Then there was even a lovely new dress for poor neglected Josephina, with ribbons and darling shoes.

And two cute AG shirts with Vancouver on them, for the low price of $4.00 each! Of course this is US funds but I couldn't resist this, and it really cheered us all up, during this dark week in history. (August 14-18/17)
I won't speak of world events on this doll blog, but things are quite bleak out there. Whenever this happens, and it's been very regular lately, I turn more and more to doll play.

By Loretta Houben

Friday, August 4, 2017

Summertime fun!

Long ago when I began to collect Chatty Cathy vintage dolls, I enjoyed setting up scenes for them. Here is a back yard scene using a child's pool filled with a few inches of water, and some cute props.

Tiny Chatty baby is deciding which fruit to try.
The umbrella and towel came from the Build a Bear shop at Metrotown. These are all vintage dolls.

I bought the pool at a $ store. They don't seem to be made anymore, as I can no longer find them. The doll on the left is a JC Penny reproduction doll from 1998. The doll on the right is vintage, wearing a vintage swim suit from old stock doll wear on eBay.

Here two of the Chatty dolls take a break in the shade and read a CC newsletter I purchased on eBay. The little trike is a reproduction.

By Loretta Houben

Thursday, July 27, 2017

My Effanbee doll named Peggy Sue! (Mom's childhood doll)

This is one of my very special dolls!
I've loved her all my life. My Mom got her as a gift from her parents when she was 12, Christmas 1945. She'd spotted her in the JC Penny store in McMinnville, Oregon and begged her Mom for it. Her Mom told her she was way too old for a doll, but her Dad said, oh, let her have it!

Her parents were Adolph and Helen (Gusa) Brutke.
They lived in Amity, OR and would shop once a week in McMinnville. The store is still standing at 203 NE 3rd Street, but it's now owned by Boersma's, a lovely fabric and quilting store. The toy section was in the basement, right at the bottom of the stairs. That's where the display with the Effanbee Sweetie Pie doll was set up, and my Mom was entranced.

 My Mom named her Peggy Sue. Here she is in her original dress and hat and socks. The little suitcase is filled with her hand made clothes. Her Mom and her sister lovingly made them for her, and they are exquisite. 

 I'm so glad my Mom has let me enjoy her dear Peggy Sue all these years. She is a real treasure.

By Loretta Houben

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tea Time Tuesday!

Tea time Tuesday!
I'm doing this on Facebook, so I'll also add my photos here. I've had many Chatty Cathy teatimes in my home. I think I've covered all the types of teas one could have, and it's been a lot of fun!
Up above is my childhood Chatty Cathy doll on the right in the large blue gingham tea dress. I bought the dress on eBay, and since this was photographed I've adjusted the hemline!
Way back in 2004 I had been collecting Chatty dolls for 2 years, and met a friend in a Yahoo group.
She lived close by and would often come over for tea.
We had a lot of fun.
That's her doll on the left. This was an Easter/spring themed tea, and I had made home baked sugar cookies.

My 2nd tea time was held in the living room at the coffee table. I made ham and cheese roll ups, with a fresh mango/blueberry salad, and purchased dessert.
I always serve a black tea such as Red Rose or Tetley. I don't care for any other tea! I used my Dimity Rose tea set by Royal Albert.

Close up of the goodies.

My 3rd tea time was at Christmas.
I used my Poinsettia pattern tea set by Royal Albert. Leona gave me the teapot at Christmas 1981. I've always treasured it.
This tea was late in the afternoon and I served Christmas desserts. I had the JC Penny Christmas Chatty Cathy doll. She's really cute and says Christmas things. I made the little Chatty Cathy bags. Stay tuned for more tea time Tuesdays!

By Loretta Houben

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Kit's new dress!

I'm so excited to show off Kit's new dress!
It's a 1930's pattern design from Farmcookies on Etsy, by Kathy. She had kindly sent me a free pattern last year, after I announced on my FB page that I just couldn't seem to get back to sewing for dolls.
Wasn't that sweet of her? I cut the pattern out right away, but lost my nerve.

This was due to the fact I had recently purchased a new Pfaff machine, and I was rather scared of using it. That's quite silly as I've sewn since 1972.
But there you have it.

I bought the fabric at Walmart, and I used vintage buttons, all different, from my mother-in-law's stash.
I think she would be pleased.
I used new trim from Dollarama, purchased for this dress. I think it turned out adorable!
What do you think?
The pattern was easy to sew. I began sewing on Monday, July 17 when I had a sewing bee here with my sister Leona. I finished it on Thursday, July 20.

By Loretta Houben

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Mini Grace in Ham Hill, Somerset

I never did finish writing about Grace's adventures in Europe. She had a grand time! 
(when I remembered to photograph her)
Here she is with me and Robert and our new friend, John Chant who lives in Stoke sub Hamdon, and who kindly drove us there, and to Ham Hill.

I had read somewhere that the standing stones were very old. Well, they are, but they were erected in 2000 for the Millennium celebration! I was rather upset when I heard that. I still haven't been to Stonehenge or Avebury, so I'd hoped to see an ancient site.

But this place was lovely. The stones are Ham stone; very old and rare. Many of Stoke's buildings are made out of this stone. A new excavation is taking place where some more Ham stone has been found. It's very valuable.

The most exciting thing about Ham Hill is the monument at the top. My ancestor, Alfred George Palmer, has his name inscribed on it! He's my paternal Grandma's first cousin. He died at age 21 on May 31, 1916 in the Battle of Jutland and is buried at sea. It was so thrilling to visit this memorial but it was very windy and shortly afterwards it began to pour.

Here I am beside a standing stone.
I really loved this place.

By Loretta Houben