Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!
I'm pleased because this year I took quite a few dolly photos, and I blogged here many times too! Yay! It's lovely to pose and play with a doll collection.
I have so many dolls and sadly some of them have been quite neglected.
Above are two of my American Girl dolls; the one on the left is from Hawaii, when I was there in 2014 and there was a boutique in the main mall in Waikiki, which was only open for 6 months! I happened to be there and spotted it, so I splurged and bought this doll whose # I've since forgotten. But I call her my Hawaii doll and she is still nameless, poor thing.
The doll on the right is one of my favourites; Grace, the GOTY for 2015. She is a beautiful doll with pretty eyes and freckles. I took this photo last year.

This photo is from 2013. These are vintage Chatty Cathy dolls made by Mattel, the same company which now produces the AG dolls. (which I find amusing)
It's fun to incorporate your doll collection into the decorating in your home!
I hope all of you have a peaceful and happy New Year in 2017!

By Loretta Houben

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Chatty Cathy and Barbie.

I took these photos in January 2015.
I have thousands of photos which I'm trying to organize into their correct folders. That may take a while! This is one of my Chatty Cathy dolls; a hard face, blue decal eyed, brunette pigtail doll. Above she is holding my first "Barbie" doll, which is the only kind my Mom would buy for me. I got her on my 5th birthday, and my sister Leona got the same doll, but with white hair. They were purchased at Woolworth's in Vancouver BC. The doll is wearing her original dress with original shoes. Mysteriously I never named my dolls. The dress Chatty is holding was one I got in 1966 for a Christmas gift. The "Teen Fashion" case was 99 cents and it came with my doll.

I've blogged before about my Francie (a 9th birthday gift) and my Stacy (an 8th birthday gift from my aunt Frieda). I still have their original swim suits.

Robert has two of his original toys; a teddy bear and this Kubkar which he made in 1970 when he was in cub Scouts.
It's fun to keep your childhood toys!

By Loretta Houben

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

My Christmas dolls; 1960-1965

I was 6 months old my first Christmas.
My parents bought me a doll as big as I am!
I still have her. She was made by a Canadian doll company which I believe was in Toronto, Ontario; Dee & Cee. They were the ones chosen to make the Chatty Cathy dolls a few years later. Aren't I cute?

My handsome Dad, Jack Williams, and myself.
He always loved Christmas, and enjoyed all my dolls.

A collage from 1961 - 1963.
I didn't appreciate my tricycle until later.
In 1962 I got a soft bodied baby doll and a cute pink cradle.
In 1963 I got a lovely tin kitchen set with pots and pans, dishes, and a pretend turkey.
It was made in West Germany and I loved that set!

One of my favourite dolls was my blonde haired Chatty Cathy doll, made by Dee & Cee in Canada, and by Mattel in the USA. I got her in 1964. The Canadian dolls are marvelously made with glassine eyes and peach limbs which don't fade. My sister Leona got a brunette baby Chatty doll.
We also got a tin house with plastic furniture. 
In 2014 my doll turned 50.

I don't ever remember naming any of my dolls.
Recently I began calling her Catherine.
She still has her original dress and shoes.

In 1965 we had a new baby sister (born in July).
Leona and I got blue doll buggies and diaper bags for our dolls.
We played often with those buggies.
Christmas was always a very happy time in our home!

By Loretta Houben

Monday, December 26, 2016

A white Christmas and an even whiter Boxing Day!

Proof we had a white Christmas!

Mary Ellen got a stocking with a mermaid doll and a little pony.

And she got a TV with a record player!
Today was Boxing Day here in Canada.
It snowed ALL DAY, over 12 hours.
We got 8" of fresh snow on top of our 8" out there.

By Loretta Houben

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Wishing you a merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!
Have a blessed weekend.
From Loretta

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Grace's Christmas adventures.

Mini Grace is my most played with (meaning photographed) mini doll in 2016. I believe I also took more photos of them than the 18" size AG dolls. I also sewed more for them.
Here is mini Grace visiting the nativity scene in my living room.
I purchased the figurines in 1978. They are made in Japan.

I think the poor darlings need warmer clothes.
It snowed here in Vancouver BC on Dec 5 and the snow is still on the ground because it snowed 3 more times after that. We don't usually have a white Christmas.

Another photo of mini Grace by the manger.
Merry Christmas!
By Loretta Houben

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Mary Ellen's new Christmas dress.

Yesterday I decorated the kitchen Christmas tree.
Yes, I have a small one on top of my vintage sewing machine cabinet.
It brightens up the corner behind the table.
For 5 years we had a small white tree in the living room, and when we threw it away last year, I loved the ornaments so much I had to buy a small white tree.

Mary Ellen has a new Christmas dress, which I purchased 20% off last month.
Many collectors have this identical dress but I love it so I had to have it.
It's darling. I would have preferred satin to cotton, though.
I think Mary Ellen is adorable.

Merry Christmas!

By Loretta Houben

Monday, December 19, 2016

My miniature house built in 2001

I finally felt well enough to play with my miniature house yesterday. I dusted it and re-set the scenes and turned on the little lamps. The photos were taken with my iPhone so they're not of the best quality. I made the house in 2001, and crocheted the little table cloth and curtains and the tiny doily underneath the piece of cake. The food was bought in Achen Germany in 2007, and the tea set was from Steveston BC. The tiny Chatty Cathy is an ornament from Hallmark. She has a tiny little string in the back and she really talks!

Here's a closeup of the living room scene with Grandma and Chatty Cathy. I don't remember where I bought Grandma but she's just the right size for tiny Chatty!

The kitchen, next to the living room, is my favourite room! I bought the stove, table and sink from a miniature shop in Steveston BC years ago. We used to have the most exquisite shops here, but now they are long gone, and the things which I loved are no more, but instead all electronics and technical shops which I dislike. Many of the tiny items I bought as a teenager when we traveled to Oregon each summer. I was so happy to put them all in this house which I made from a $15.00 kit in 2001. Aren't the 2 Chatty dolls cute?

Another view of the kitchen. I printed all the wallpaper on my computer. I crocheted the kitchen curtains too, using a miniature pattern book for doll houses.

Here is the bathroom; all bath items from Steveston BC. There's even a toothbrush and toothpaste! I made the tiny towels from a washcloth.

The bedroom, above the kitchen. I didn't add stairs to this house as it would have taken up too much room. The furniture came from Steveston BC, and the other items were collected one at a time. The lovely handmade picture over the bed was given to me as a birthday gift from my Mom 30 years ago. It's such fun to collect miniatures! I made the bedspread and the doll is handmade out of some sort of clay; she was purchased at a wonderful miniature show in Vancouver BC years ago.

And here's the whole miniature house. I enjoyed putting it together all those many years ago. Keeping it dust free is a bit tricky.

By Loretta Houben

Saturday, November 26, 2016

A new Hearts for Hearts doll!

Another new doll arrived yesterday!
Some months are like that; very exciting.
I had ordered her from Amazon in October.
She took a while to arrive, but she was only $39.99 US.
Her name is Consuelo, and she is from Mexico.

One dollar of each purchase goes to World Vision.
MPA Sales has re-launched the sale of these dolls.
Here is their website link: Hearts for Hearts Dolls

I believe the dolls are the same size as the American Girl Wellie wishers dolls.
Those are $75 Cdn.
I really like the Hearts for Hearts dolls and hope to collect more of them.

By Loretta Houben

The cutest mini cleaning supplies!

At "A Buck or Two" dollar store recently my beady eye spotted the cutest cleaning set which I knew would be perfect for the mini dolls.
It was only $3.50 and there were two sets hanging on the shelf.
When you see something you like in Vancouver you don't hesitate!
I just knew Emily would be pleased to get a vacuum cleaner her size, plus all the cute accessories. The set came with 6 pieces; a basket, a mop and bucket, a spray bottle, a dust catcher (but no broom) and the vacuum cleaner, plus a cute plastic doll.

The 2nd set I found (and there was only one) had a washing machine, ironing board and mini iron, hanger, soap, detergent bottle, and rug beater. Isn't it cute? It also had a plastic doll. I think this is an excellent price! I haven't seen anything so cute in ages.
It pays to browse the $ stores at least once a week.
Mini Lori is all set to attack the laundry.

This is the laundry set, "Clean Fun" by Dolly Daydreams. LOL!
Made in China of course, but some of the tiny items have Cyrillic letters on them!

Here is the vacuum cleaning set.

By Loretta Houben

Baking cookies!

Quite a few years ago, I used to shop at a really nice antique show in New Westminster BC. Over the past few years, it's mostly "junk" and vintage items; hardly any antiques at all, sad to say. I bought this cute little vintage stove quite a while back. I'd say it was from the 1960's. It came with a matching sink. The brand sticker says "Daiwa Toys, Super Deluxe", made in Japan.
I was cleaning out a closet and found it, and realized it was the perfect size for the mini dolls! 

So mini Emily tried her hand at some Christmas baking.
The tray on the right is from Hallmark 2016 and is the tiny "Season's Treatings" ornament; they issue one each year. I bought this in July in Penticton on our holiday. It's the cutest thing!
I made a little foam board tray covered in tin foil.
I used a variety of mini erasers from the same $ store as the mini Christmas tree. It's called "A Buck or Two". It's a really nice store, stocked with all manner of goodies.

Which cookies to YOU prefer? I think my favourite are the mini snowman cookies. The mini Santa cookies remind me of Pillsbury cookies from the grocery store.

By Loretta Houben

Mini Christmas tree for the mini AG Dolls.

It's time for Christmas decorating!
I began with the mini dolls as I am sick with a cold/cough thing.
I don't have our own tree up yet, as my energy level is very low.
I bought the tiny tree for $3.50 at the local $ store at Metrotown.
It has quite a few unique dolly sized items.
The decorations were already on it, so Grace and Emily are adding a string of mini lights I made years ago for my miniature house.

Last weekend I discovered the tiny little Lego American Girl dolls at Superstore of all places. They are $5.99 Cdn and they are just Too Cute.

Emily thinks they are the perfect size for her to play with.
Their knees bend! They stick onto a Lego block. This one has a cute little cowboy hat. They are quite soft to the touch. What will they dream up next?
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

By Loretta Houben

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A 20% off sale at American Girl boutique!

Yesterday, Monday November 21st, 2016 was a very exciting day!
I'd gotten up on time and was reading my emails with my hot cup of tea.
I was astonished to read one from Indigo store downtown; it said there was a rare one day sale on American Girl items (except for the Wellie Wishers dolls) for 20% off the whole store! 

I hurriedly got ready and headed downtown by Skytrain then bus to the corner of Broadway and Granville. What I find amusing is that previously to this store being built, there was an Aristocrat Restaurant where my Grandpa, John Williams, was once the janitor. Every time I come here I think of him.
Anyhow, I hurried up the elevator with my handy cart, and quickly picked out Melody. She is the new 1964 historical doll, and I wasn't sure if I'd get her or not, but for only $111 instead of $139 I figured I should! I had paid $154 for Addy back in the Spring, due to the fluctuating Canadian dollar, so I thought this was a terrific price. I have all the other historical dolls, and I now have 16 AG dolls!

Here she is on my table!
I completely forgot to take a picture of myself with her in the store.
There were quite a few people there, and it was busy and the store is quite small, so I didn't linger. I really like Melody's style, and her cute dress. It's rather skimpy compared to some of the gorgeous 1700's and 1800's outfits on previous historical dolls! But that was the 1960's! Melody's hair has a very strange texture. I need to brush it to make it curl more. It was in a hair net.

I bought her Christmas outfit; it came with long tights, black shoes, and a cream hair ribbon. It reminds me so much of a pink lace dress I had but with short sleeves, in the 60's. It feels really weird to have a doll from the era in which I was a young girl.
It was a fun day for sure!
The sun was shining and there was a pretty blue sky.
That's become a rare sight here in Vancouver. It rained for 28 days in October, and guess what it's doing in November?
But I can have fun playing with dolls!
By Loretta Houben

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Grace and her Halloween cards.

Mini Grace is making Halloween cards.
I bought a package of really cute paper embellishments at the $ store and on the back of the package was a photo showing what the package contained.
They were really small and I thought Hey! These would work for the mini AG dolls.

Here is a closeup of the cards. 
I cut them out with my Stampin' Up tiny scissors.

Here is Grace with her friend dressed in a witch outfit, bought at Winner's for only $1.50. It's supposed to go on a wine bottle, but it fits the mini Lori dolls really well. The yellow pot was found at a thrift store for $1.50. It's hand made and the tiny pumpkins are just so cute!
It's amazing what you can find if you look!
Hope you all had a happy Halloween!
By Loretta Houben

Friday, October 21, 2016

Halloween Collage.

I've been a member of Picmonkey, a photo program, for a few years now. I pay around $32 US per year to use the Royal program which has more features. I absolutely love it! It's simple and easy to use, but there are many features I haven't tried yet, so there is a lot of content in the program for professionals to enjoy too.

Today, October 21, I received an email from Picmonkey announcing new templates. So I immediately tried it out, and created the above. It was really fun to do and I did it in around 10 minutes.
I used a photo from 2014. For quite a few years I've decorated our windows with dolls, using Chatty Cathy and American Girl, with many props.
I won't be doing it this year, as the candy is so expensive, and all the neighbourhood children are long gone. Car loads of children drive in from all over, but they don't live here, so why should I hand out candy to them? I'm a complete stranger! Plus my hubby will be at his Taekwondo class so it's too creepy to do it on my own. A lot of the "children" are tall teens, bigger than I am! Halloween isn't what it used to be.

By Loretta Houben

Thursday, October 20, 2016

A few 18" dolly items....

If you keep your dolly eyes open, it's really quite amazing what you can find while on vacation, or in the local dollar stores.
I bought the above hand made jar in a pottery in Medicine Hat Alberta while driving through the prairies this past summer in August. It was more expensive than the $ store of course, but I wanted a souvenir. 

I have two Dollar Tree stores fairly close to me now.
I spotted this darling jar candle, similar to ones that my hubby used to buy me when he was on business trips. It's made in the USA and was only $1.25!

I spotted these darling plastic containers (full of push pins) at my local Walmart store! I immediately knew they'd be great for cookies or candy. Now I have to try my hand at making a few out of polymer clay!

By Loretta Houben