Maud Humphrey

Maud Humphrey

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Gertrude Rollinson Cloth Doll

I love a great variety of dolls--new, old, bisque, composition, vinyl--but antique, cloth dolls just make my heart sing!  So when I saw this little sweetie at the last doll show, just lying on a table in nothing but his (her?) birthday suit, I couldn't resist taking a closer look:

At first glance, I thought it was a Martha Chase doll, so I didn't study it too closely.  I already have a Chase.

The kind seller noticed me looking and casually mentioned that it was a "Rollinson".  I had heard of Rollinson dolls before, but never seen one in person.  Since it looked so much like a Chase, I asked him how he could tell the difference?

Apparently, Rollinson dolls have a center seam running up the back of the head, while Chase dolls have a circular one running up and around the crown.  Rollinson dolls were also stamped with the name on their torso, but as is the case of my doll, it has probably been worn off.  When I saw the price tag of only $50, I couldn't resist.  I have seen these dolls go for hundreds of dollars in the past!

It is said that Gertrude Rollinson first started making flat-faced cloth dolls in the early 1900's to give away to crippled children at Christmas.  Unhappy with the affect, though, Mrs. Rollinson experimented with sculpting techniques and came up with a doll very similar to Martha Chase dolls.  You have to wonder, did Mrs. Rollinson have a Chase doll as a child and this is what influenced her dollmaking?  Martha Chase started making dolls in the late 1800's, and Mrs. Rollinson created her molded face doll in 1916.  Her dolls became very popular in a short amount of time, and she was unable to keep up with the demand.  Realizing she needed help, she commercialized her dolls and The Utley Co. of Holyoke, MA began to produce them.

Here is my Rollinson, holding my Chase.

It is believed that Rollinson dolls were produced for a very short period of time, possibly only two years.  Maybe this is the reason you rarely see one.

You may have noticed that this doll only has one arm!  Somewhere along the way, he(she--I haven't decided yet!) became an amputee.  But just look at the individual fingers on the remaining arm! I'm so impressed.  My hope is to replicate an identical arm for the other side, but I'm a little daunted by creating those individual fingers.  We'll see.

These two look so sweet together, don't you think?

Thirty-five styles of Rollinson dolls were produced by the Utley Co.  A 1916 ad states that they were lifelike, flexible, washable, and non-breakable.  Mrs. Rollinson stated that it took twenty coats of paint to finish her dolls, sun-drying between each coat.  Whew!  The dolls are stuffed with kapok.  I've always wondered what this was, so I looked up the definition:  "a fine, fibrous cottonlike substance that grows around the seeds of the ceiba tree, used as stuffing for cushions, soft toys, etc."  Now you know!   Some dolls were wigged, while others, like mine, came with painted hair.   They came as either boys or girls, and were dressed accordingly.

At this same doll show, I also found a sweet, tattered, old baby dress made from cotton dimity and edged with lace.  I am thinking of cutting it down to fit this doll.  That's if I decide to call it a "her".

Most of the dress is in okay condition, but there are pieces shredded and missing from the sleeves.  It will be bit of a challenge to restore them.

Here you can see the very similar ears on the two dolls.

Close-up of the can see why Rollinson dolls are easily mistaken for Chase dolls.  Both dolls have shoulder plates, painted limbs, and are identically jointed.

I love my new (old!) cloth baby.  To think that this might have been handmade by Gertrude herself just thrills me to no end.  Is that weird?  I think that this is part of the appeal for me with cloth dolls--the fact that each one is handmade.  Who played with this sweetie and held it close?  What has he/she seen in the past 100 years of it's existence?  Of course, we'll never know for sure.  But I can love this little sweetie while it's in my possession, and maybe even make things a little better for him or her with a new arm and some clothes!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Another Sasha

Meet Pippa!

She followed me home from a doll show this past weekend.

Isn't she just lovely with her strawberry blond hair and simple cotton dress?

I love how nicely these dolls can pose and stand on their own...even on uneven ground which desperately needs to be mowed.

Her hair is such a pretty color.

Pippa was happy to discover that she would have a little brother to take care of at her new home.

I have decided to call him Luca.

Aren't they darling together?

Before finding Luca, I never thought I'd want any Sasha dolls in my collection.  And now I have two!  Such is the life of a doll collector!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

New American Girl Dolls--WELLIE WISHERS!

Have you heard?  American Girl is debuting a new line of dolls called "Wellie Wishers" next week!

They appear to be around 16" tall, with what appears to be an all-vinyl body.  Judging by the video clip which American Girl has released on their website, they seem to be aimed at a younger market of girls than their 18" big sisters.  Here's a link to the video:

I think they are adorable!  They are called "Wellie Wishers" because of the galoshes they wear, which are also called "Wellies" over in Great Britain. 

While it looks like they may all have the same face mold, I'm glad to see that there is at least some diversity with skin color and ethnicity.

There's not a whole lot of information about these dolls yet (I guess we'll have to wait until next week for their actual release!) but it is rumored that their names are Ashlyn, Camille, Emerson, Kendall, and Willa.  There will also be accessories available, including a tea set (you catch a glimpse of this in the video clip), a bunny with a hutch, a theatrical stage, and a house!  Amazon has three book titles listed to be released in September..."The Riddle of the Robin", "Ashlyn's Unsurprise Party", and "The Muddily Puddily Show".  All of these were written by Valerie Tripp, the same author who wrote the Samantha, Molly, and Felicity books, among others.

I have really been loving smaller dolls lately--they take up less room!  And since the Hearts 4 Hearts dolls are no longer being produced (some of my favorites of the smaller dolls), I think these "Wellie Wishers" might be a nice alternative.  Now the big question left is, how much will they cost?  I can only imagine that since it is American Girl, the price will not be cheap.  I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Busy Sewing and New Ebay Listings

This past week I sewed twelve doll dresses.  Twelve.  Granted, they were a simple, sleeveless style, but still.  I have been finding quite a few 18" Madame Alexander dolls each time I head out thrifting, and more often than not, they don't have any clothing.  I can't put them on Ebay naked--well, I guess I could, but no, just no.  I put so much time and effort into cleaning them up and fixing their hair, they just have to have a pretty, new dress to complete the look!  So here's the pile of dresses I've completed so far:
You may have noticed I said "so far".  Yeah.  That's because I've brought home a few more dolls since making these dresses, and now I have to make more!  But at least not twelve.  Twelve was a big number, even for simple dresses.

Here is a group shot of some of the dolls that I have listed this week on Ebay:
I'm only listing seven of the twelve dolls that are ready because I didn't want to flood the market with too many of the same item.  You may notice that there are eight dolls in the photo--the second one in from the right in the back row is an "Elsa" doll, and she already had her original outfit, so I didn't need to sew her anything.  Phew.

Here are each of the dolls a little closer up:
2010 Madame Alexander with strawberry blonde hair and blue eyes.  Her hair is so thick and pretty.

2012 Madame Alexander--Blonde wavy hair and blue eyes

2013 Madame Alexander--Auburn hair and Brown Eyes 
She is one of my favorites.

2010 Madame Alexander--Brunette with Brown Eyes
She has adorable braids and wears probably my favorite dress of all the ones I made.

2012 Madame Alexander--Brunette with Blue Eyes

2009 Madame Alexander--Blonde Hair & Blue Eyes

2011 Madame Alexander--Pale Blonde Wavy Hair & Blue Eyes
Love this one--my favorite face mold of the MA dolls

2014 Madame Alexander ELSA doll from Frozen
This was my first time coming across a "Princess" doll by this doll company.  I know they made others, but this is the only one I've ever seen in person.  Beautiful face mold, and extra dark drawn-on lashes to accentuate her eyes.

I also have two of the 17" Disney singing Princess dolls listed. The first one is Tiana, from "The Princess and the Frog":
She was naked and horribly messy when I found her.  She got a complete spa treatment to get her hair back in shape, and then I made a replica dress to match her original one.
I'm really proud of this dress! I think it turned out so nice.  She sings "Almost There" from the movie.

And here is Cinderella:
Luckily, she had her original dress, but her hair had come loose from it's bun.  I wound it back up as good as possible and secured it with a rubber band.  She sings "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes".

And last but not least, sweet little Rapunzel, a 16" Disney Animator doll:
Rapunzel is my favorite of the animator collection.  Her face is just adorable and her hair is so long and silky.  She wears her original dress.

I suppose tomorrow I will pick out some fabric in order to sew three more dresses.  But first I will need to clean my sewing room.  I am a messy seamstress.  Seriously.  I don't know how it happens, but somehow in the midst of creating, everything ends up on the floor!  I'm actually a very neat and tidy person everywhere else, so it always amazes me how my sewing room gets so out of control.  I guess that's just how I operate.  But I actually like cleaning and organizing, so I'm looking forward to getting everything under control again tomorrow!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Another Tonner Effanbee Patsy!

Ever since bringing home my first Effanbee Patsy by Tonner, I have been searching for another.  They are just so darn cute!  When I saw this one on Ebay, I watched her for one week, and then forgot to bid on her!  Luckily, no one had bid, and the seller relisted her.  Then I had to wait another week until the auction ended.  But I finally won her!

Her name is "Jill", as in Jack & Jill, as she's one of a 1000 limited edition.

She was part of this set.  Isn't "Jack" just as adorable?  I have never seen him for sale anywhere, so I expect that he is quite rare and hard to find.

Jill has the most adorable clothing.  It is all beautiful quality and feels so well made.  The dress has a heavily embroidered, attached apron and lace trimmed collars.  The skirt is lined with a lace trimmed petticoat, and she also has lace-edged pantalets.  Underneath her pantalets she wears sage green tights, and her ivory, patent leather, mary-jane shoes close with a real buckle and strap.

She also wears a flower-trimmed straw hat:

I love her hair!
It is parted down the center and pulled into two pigtails on each side of her head.  Each pigtail is then divided into six, little, looped braids and trimmed with a ribbon.  So cute.

What a precious hairstyle.

Her dress closes in back with snaps.

Remember "Party Pink Patsy" from my previous post?  Here she is, welcoming Jill to the family!

They both have brown eyes.  I think I shall have to find one more Patsy with blue eyes in order to round out this collection.  Sounds logical, right?

I wish I would have know about these dolls when they first came out back in 2003.  I probably would have bought more!

I highly recommend these little cuties by Tonner.  Everything about them is high quality, and they have such a nice "feel" in your hands.