Thursday, December 28, 2017

Boxing Day sale!

I usually don't go out on Boxing Day, but the snow had stopped and the roads were clear, so we ventured forth to Market Crossing on Marine Drive.
I believe these stores were built in 2009, and at the time I was very excited as a Michael's craft store was added, and it's the closest one to our home. I used to spend $70 each time I visited but those days are long gone. I now spend around $10 or less! 
I found a darling Christmas fireplace which lights up. It's perfect for the mini dolls and it's so cute! It was marked down to $6.95 from $22 Cdn!

Nanea received a darling mini tea set from Frankfurt Germany! Actually, Robert got it for me and put it in my stocking. I picked it out on that hot May day when we spent 2 nights in Frankfurt on our 35th anniversary trip to Europe. We didn't have much time to shop there, but I found it in a souvenir store near our hotel. 
The little Bible is a New Testament with teeny print. It was a gift from Steve Jensen, Robert's childhood friend he still keeps in touch with. It belonged to his maternal Grandmother. He sent it as a surprise in the mail and I waited until Christmas to open it.
The hand embroidered doily is from Heidelburg. I love these sorts of presents the very best of all!

By Loretta Houben

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Mini Nanea's new Christmas dress!

I love to get Wren*Feathers lovely newsletter each week.
In it Jenny has FREE dolly patterns, and they are darling. She also has an Etsy shop.

I usually procrastinate, save the pattern, and never get around to sewing it, but mini Nanea (who arrived last week) wanted a new dress very badly, so I printed the pattern, found a cute Christmas print, cut it out, and hand sewed it. I even put the snap on the back.
I'm very pleased with myself, and Nanea is quite happy.

By Loretta Houben

Monday, December 18, 2017

A Bleuette Christmas!

These photos were taken in 2010, at the height of my Bleuette reproduction doll craze! They are very addictive. I bought all my dolls online through a Bleuette Yahoo doll group. My first one was Yvette Marie, painted by Connie Zink. She is sitting in the photo above, holding a tiny Chatty Cathy doll. The next Bleuette I got was a gift from Marcie Ewasko. She's wearing the red velveteen dress and is named Zoe.

I sewed quite a few of their dresses. I made the hankie dresses by hand sewing. I collected quite a few props for them!

For a while I had a special blog just for them. But then I returned to my love of the 18" size dolls, and so the Bleuettes are biding their time for now.

 I have so many cute things for them.

 This is a special blue velveteen dress I designed as a swap gift. I think Zoe looks very pretty!

 I can't believe I hadn't yet blogged about the Bluettes on this doll blog. I'll try to add more photos in the days ahead.

By Loretta Houben

Friday, December 15, 2017

Original Chatty Cathy PJs and hand sewn nightie.

In 2004, I discovered the joy of sewing for Chatty Cathy. I bought vintage patterns on eBay, and developed my own style.
Here is a cute nightie and mob cap for Chatty.

This is Chatty wearing a vintage PJ outfit with cap and slippers, made by Mattel in the 1960's. You can find them for a reasonable price on eBay.

The bunk bed set belonged to my sister Leona and I. I think we got it for Christmas in 1969, as the next year my Mom crocheted a bedspread for my bunk bed while she was in hospital after Marie was born. 

In 2004 I made a house for my Chatties on the windowseat in our bedroom. The dresser is a jewelry box, and the little lamp was from Ikea. 

Things have changed in 13 years, so I no longer have this displayed. I took the photos using our 1.5  megapixel camera. It has very low resolution compared to today's cell phone cameras!

Although so much has changed in such a short period of time, my love for dolls will never change. I still set up scenes and take photos, but in 2018 I would like to do it much more often, as my dolls are feeling a bit neglected.

Good night!

By Loretta Houben

Thursday, December 14, 2017

A new Journey Girl piece of furniture!

Today I thought of Heather Cuoio, a doll collecting friend I met online. She often posts in her darling doll blog about all the cool deals she finds for dolls in thrift stores. We don't have great thrift stores here but we sure have great stores for doll items, if you keep your eyes open. Today I thought I'd check out Toys R Us at the mall, as I don't know how much longer it will be in business. I headed to the Journey Girl section, and admired the Australian dolls they have. I checked out the doll props, and I couldn't believe my eyes, as the turntable unit was only $11.98. 

Of course I didn't need it, but only $11.98 Cdn? So I bought it. It was very well packed, and although not perfect (painting flaws) I'm keeping it. It has a mirror on one side, storage spaces, and a chalkboard on the other side. 

It really does turn. It also comes with a side table and a plastic lamp. Cool, eh?

By Loretta Houben

Saturday, December 9, 2017

A new retro Our Generation doll!

Today was a lovely, chilly, crisp day with sunshine and blue skies! After my grocery shopping, I headed downtown to drop a DVD off at the library. Then I checked out The Bay to see the OG doll selection, because at Christmas time they have more items.
I noticed that all toys were 20% off!
So I headed towards the dolls, and I spotted the above doll for only $15.50!!!! I thought it was an error as the other OG dolls were $39.99. 
But I took it to the cashier, and lo and behold it rang through as $12.40 Cdn! 
I was simply astounded. I think she's adorable. Her name is Joy, which is my sister Leona's middle name. I love her red hair, and she could easily double as Anne of Green Gables.
So now I have two Retro dolls. It pays to check things out!

By Loretta Houben

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Dolly play...

This was one of my prettiest window scenes, done in 2006. Lately I just don't seem to have the time or the energy for this, sad to say, but I'm trying to get back into it. The dolly groups, facebook pages, blogs and YouTubes are all inspiring me greatly, and I find when I "play" with the dolls, re-arranging them, dressing them up etc, it relaxes me and makes me feel peaceful instead of hyped because of all the evil news I hear on social media. (not just TV anymore) So I am now looking at my doll collection as a Stress Reliever, and therefore very valuable!

by Loretta Houben

Sunday, November 26, 2017


The girls are looking at Black Friday deals both online, and in traditional paper flyers.
Here in Canada this is a fairly new concept, and seems to be going well with the shoppers!
Even I found a few things online that interested me, including a Black Friday sale of 20% off American Girl! And that happened BEFORE Friday!
The cute little flyers were found at 
American Girl Ideas website. CLICK HERE for the link to your own free printables!

This was the ad I received in my email letting me know about the Black Friday sale.

By Loretta Houben

New Maplelea outfits for my 18" dolls.

Recently I received a Maplelea email advertising a great sale. I adore sales! The cute outfit above included the T-shirt, vest, shorts, tights and adorable shoes, all for $15.60 Canadian! It's called "Urban Jungle". Dondi, which I've named my new doll, just loves it.

I also ordered this cute "Signs of Spring" for $14 Canadian! Maplelea is located in Ontario, and ships anywhere in Canada for a flat fee of $9.00. I got the items within one week so I was very pleased.
This outfit has a sleeveless dress, blue belt, cute purse and really nice shoes. The items fit the AG dolls very well. I just love them.

By Loretta Houben

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Another new doll! Meet Truly Me #54!

While doing some much needed fall cleaning, I came across cash I was saving and had forgotten about! Do you ever do that? I like to keep some cash on hand, especially if it was given to me, and then I can spend it when needed without any guilt. I've been suffering from many bad migraines since October 11th, so I felt like I needed to splurge on something nice. And what nicer than a new doll?

I read online that the Truly Me #54 mold would be retired in December, and I had never bought Ivy Ling, (who also had this face mold) the best friend of Julie, so I thought I'd check out the AG Vancouver Boutique while downtown yesterday, after my chiropractor appointment. (so relief of pain is now associated with a new doll purchase!) I noticed that the doll on the shelf had notched eyes, and the doll in the case did not. That really intrigued me, so I asked to see some more dolls.

The shop assistant kindly brought out more, and I chose the one above. A lot of the dolls hair was quite messy which I thought strange. I always take my time choosing a doll, as they are definitely not cheap! I don't have a Truly Me doll yet, and I really like this one. I love her brown eyes! Apparently this doll and Samantha are the only AG dolls with brown decal eyes. The modern outfit she is wearing is very colourful and cute, although a bit skimpy compared to other dolls and their Meet outfits which I've purchased.

She has a print cotton sleeveless dress with a bit of netting on the hem, pink panties, and a very cute turquoise jacket. She also has white glitter shoes, which to me are very modern. The whole skimpy bright outfit suits 2017 to a T! It matches girl's and women's outfits in the stores!
I took these photos last night, so the lighting is a bit dim, but I was quite pleased with #54, who now needs to be named. 

I was also feeling awful as I'd heard news about a family friend who was murdered on Nov 7. I'm so glad I'm alive, and so glad I have the ability and privilege to buy dolls and enjoy them. I don't take anything for granted anymore. It seems weird in a way to be happy about a doll when someone has died such a grizzly death, but what can I do? It was a gun incident in the USA, and you know what I think of guns. (or maybe you don't, but remember that I'm Canadian and I don't own a gun) So there is the horrid dark side of life, and there is the fun playful side. I think there's a fine balance between the two, and each day that I can enjoy the good things I will do so.

By Loretta Houben

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

SPRING PEARL; my newest doll.

Meet Spring Pearl!

She was only $25 Cdn on eBay!
Originally these dolls sold for $54 US from American Girl, from 2002-2005. The designer is Helen Kish.
I love her dolls, and these are well made and now very affordable.

Spring Pearl's outfit is very pretty, with matching shoes. She is holding a small purse.

She looks quite pensive. She has her hair in a bun, with tiny embellishments, and is wearing earrings.
I bought her from a Canadian seller which was a complete joy.

Here is the back of her lovely little head.
She was #3 in the series. She comes with a book.
I'd love to collect all the dolls.
I hadn't bought anything from eBay in ages, so this was a good experience.

By Loretta Houben

Friday, November 3, 2017

Newberry 18" dolls.

You may have heard the awful news that Sears Canada is closing all of its stores. The closest one to us is in Burnaby BC. It was opened in 1954, and my family has shopped there ever since my parents married in 1955. I remember going there each Saturday at 9:30 am, after a big pancake breakfast. 

As a young married couple in 1982, we bought all our furniture there, including our wooden bedroom set made in Canada which we still have. I'm heartbroken.
Sears produced the Newberry 18" doll for a few years.
I'm not sure what has become of this brand now. Apparently they stopped selling them in Fall 2016, but I took these photos at a great 60% off sale on January 21, 2017.
If I'd known Sears was disappearing I would have bought more of them. I did buy two.

I'm glad I took these photos anyhow. I really like the Newberry dolls. I believe I have 3 of them.

Here is a LINK to information I found out about the Newberry dolls today.

This is the doll I bought in January.
She came in a soccer outfit.

I dressed her in a pretty outfit instead. I love her brown eyes. I'll have to give more attention to my Newberry girls, and give them names. 
It's a very sad day when stores that have been here for over 60 years disappear.

By Loretta Houben

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


Halloween 2017 dawned clear and fairly warm for these parts. I gave most of my decorations away this year as I've absolutely run out of room. So the long lived hay bale is now history. But of course I still have the dolls! This year I didn't dress up Chatty Cathy. I only used the American Girl dolls. Nanea is the newest to join in the fun!

Here she is wearing a cute dress bought on eBay.
Grace is wearing a black T-shirt I made, and a dress from Dollarama; it's a child's dress pinned in the back. It was only $4.00 Cdn and I'm sure I could squeeze 2 from it but ran out of time of course. I love the fabric.

Here is my Hawaiian AG doll wearing the 150th Canada outfit from Maplelea, and Yolanda (an OG doll) wearing an outfit from Build a Bear.

And here is Miss Pippa in her Halloween finery!
She was astonished to see 103 trick or treaters come to the door! Some of them came up close to look at my display. The ceramic Jack o Lantern belonged to my Mom and was made in Japan. It still works!

I carved a pumpkin on Halloween afternoon using a free internet pattern of an owl. It turned out quite cute, and it only took 40 minutes total to carve out the innards and carve the design. It's a thing I really enjoy doing!
Robert dressed up for his job, so he wore the mask at night and didn't really scare anyone.

By Loretta Houben

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Miss Pippa's Halloween outfit

Miss Pippa has acquired yet another outfit, crocheted by myself. I've re-discovered the joy and relaxation of fine crochet! This little ensemble has a headband, dress, and orange shoes.

Last week while shopping at Winner's store I discovered a darling set of 8 chairs with 8 skeletons on sale for $2.50 Cdn. I just knew Miss Pippa would love one for her front porch when she has one some day.
She fit in it just fine.

By Loretta Houben

Monday, October 9, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!
Yes, it's that time of year here in Canada.
I love it at this time of the season. It's just perfect!
The weather is great, the flowers are still blooming, the pumpkins are at their peak, and it isn't anywhere near Christmas. 
The only thing lately is that Halloween has appeared to take over in the stores, but that's a money making grab so I try to ignore it. I'm not very fond of gory Halloween decorations. 
My two vintage Chatty Cathy dolls are showing off a sign I made a few years ago, and one of them is wearing a pilgrim dress and hat I made, and sold. I would like to make another to keep, but of course, I haven't yet got around to it!
Today I'm thankful my parents are coming for turkey dinner, and I'm thankful to live in a free country, in Canada, where we can still practice what we believe, and are still free to attend church.

Have a wonderful day!
By Loretta Houben

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Free cowgirl crochet pattern for 18" dolls.

From another blog I follow, Karen Mom of 3, I discovered a link to a FREE crochet pattern for 18" dolls.
Just click on the link above. I love free!

I thought I'd share it on my blog too.
I'd love to try it one day, but don't hold your breath.
I'm still busy crocheting for Miss Pippa.

By Loretta Houben

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Meet Miss Pippa Piggy!

Meet Miss Pippa Piggy!
She is a 7.5" doll by Madame Alexander.
I never knew these dolls existed until recently.
Some of the Chatty Cathy doll collectors joined a new group on Facebook; The Piggy Parlour, and I was invited to join too. I was dubious at first, but lo and behold, the adorable photos of the member's dolls intrigued me, and before I knew it one had arrived at my home.

I raided the doll cabinet and found undies and a dress I'd made for another doll, and shoes from Ginny. The next day I dug out a crochet needle and thread and in one day I created a dress and hat for Pippa. I think it turned out really cute. I also made a little pearl necklace.

This is what she looked like before her metamorphosis.
This photo is from online. The house is cute, but she is houseless. She's the "stick" piggy. There are 3 in the collection.

Here's the whole collection. Apparently the doll company is now sold out of little piggies. 

I would like to create a swimsuit like this for Pippa.

This is Catherine J's collection. These are the large piggies but there's such a frenzy for them now that one sold recently on eBay for nearly $300 US!

This is Karen C's photo. She loves to thrift shop and she finds the most darling items!
So this is my latest doll adventure.
Always something new!

By Loretta Houben