I have loved dolls, history, and the Victorian Era since I was little and can credit my grandmother for that. As a young girl she gave me a Godey’s Fashion print for August 1870 from my great, great Aunt Flossie. I was captivated by the dresses and became hooked. I just love to research everything and anything about the Victorian Era. I also love to design Victorian dolls. I hope you enjoy my Victorian Dolls, Victorian Traditions,The Victorian Era, and Me blog.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Cutest Victorian Graphics

Don't you just love these four animated Victorian Graphics. They came from Victoriana.com (Graphics by Victoriana.com, The Victorian Era Online). They are all part of the Victoriana.com collection of animated .gifs assembled from the original 19Th century illustrations.

I had to share them all with you because I think they are all just so precious.

What is a Doll Really?

In thinking about the anniversary of Raggedy Ann and about dolls in general I had to wonder "What is a Doll, Really?"

According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, a doll is defined as: a model of a human (often a baby), a humanoid (like Bert and Ernie), an animal or a fictional character (like a Troll or a Smurf), usually made of cloth or plastic. Sometimes, intended as keepsakes or collections for older children and adults, it could be made in wood, porcelain, bisque, celluloid or wax. Some dolls are intended as toys for children, usually girls, to play with. Others are for decoration or have some cultural significance, possibly for use in some ceremony or ritual, or as a physical representation of a deity. Archaeological evidence places dolls as foremost candidate for oldest known toy, having been found in Egyptian tombs which date to as early as 2000 BC.

While I think all of that may be the physical representation of what a doll is, the definition is sorely lacking and misses the point entirely. Dolls are much, much more to those of us who loved them as little girls and who still love them as grown-up girls.

They are and were our first BEST friend. They are and were the keeper of all our hopes, dreams, and secrets. We would tell them things we would not tell anyone else. They shared our joys and our sorrows. They were cherished items that if destroyed would break our hearts. We learned and practiced our social skills from our tea parties.

They were our first forums for they listened to our fears, gave us advice, and offered silent counsel. They helped us to think for ourselves, and provided us with a sounding board to bounce our ideas off of. They were what we held if we cried ourselves to sleep at night. They were the first to hear about our sorrows and dry our tears. They offered us counsel, albeit not always wise counsel. If we were angry and mad they bore the full brunt of it, sometimes losing limbs in the process.

No matter what we did to them they ALWAYS stood by us. They ALWAYS remained faithful, loving, and hopeful. They were our first and biggest fan club. Always rooting us on from their perch on our bed, shelf, floor, or where ever they lay. They were usually the first thing we saw in the morning and the last thing we saw at night. For us, at the time, our dollie was everything.

So, while the description in the encyclopedia is correct as to what a doll really is, they are much, much more to us. For all of us that loved them as little girls and continue to love them as grown-up girls, our dolls are priceless and cannot be defined.

Friday, September 16, 2005

My Mom, A Classic Beauty At Any Age

Everyone in our family and everyone who knows me knows that I poke fun of my mother all the time. How can I resist the urge? I can't. She's a classic beauty. Plus, I'm her eldest daughter, the one she is toughest on. And, unfortunately, I'm just like her (yikes! heaven help me! - see what I mean), minus the classic beauty part.

Anyway, I can't help it because my mother is just so easy to kid around with and is so good natured about it. She puts up with a lot of grief, kidding, and loving aggravation from her five adult (and I use this word loosely) children all the time. She even has to put up with it from her sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, and even her grandchildren. We tell her, after all, you created us! We didn't ask to be born. She just smiles and says "Yes, Dears!"

A little while ago I was shopping with my mother and found a pillow that was embroidered with these words: "Mirror, mirror on the wall - I am my Mother after all!" When my mother and I saw this we both burst out laughing. Much to my horror, it was true.

My mother was born in 1930 and grew up during the depression. She lived with her brother, parents, grandfather, and great Aunt in what was common at the times, one great big extended family all under one roof. At times there were other people living with them as well. She watched her brother go off to war in WWII, went to college, was a beauty queen, and married a WWII war veteran, my Dad. If any of you have seen the movie "Mona Lisa Smile" then you know what I mean when I say she was a "dutiful housewife." However, she raised her two daughters to be proud of who we were, to think for ourselves, to always treat others like we wished to be treated, and to give everything our best shot. For my mother there was never anything we couldn't do. She was the Julia Roberts character in "Mona Lisa Smile" before Julia was.

So, what is the point of this story? My point is this. My mother is a classic beauty at any age. Beautiful inside and beautiful outside. What better example do I have for my "Gray is Beautiful, Too!" dolls than my mother. She has aged beautifully and has never done anything artificial to herself. There is nothing fake or phony about her. She is proud of who she is, proud of how she looks, proud of her age, and proud of her life. And, it shows. She is the epitome of DROP DEAD GORGEOUS!

So, Mom, I give you a lot of grief, you know that. However, you are and always have been my BEST FRIEND. You are and always will be my BIGGEST fan, my own personal cheering section. You are my role model, my mother, and I love you for it.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Gray is Beautiful, Too!

In responding to a post in one of my favorite forums regarding hair I got to thinking about hair and aging. Why is our society so focused on youth and being thin as a rail? Why is aging so terrifying to everyone? I don't know. We all age.

When I was young (and that was a long time ago - hey, be nice now) I was thin as a rail. In fact, I was so thin one of my friends used to tell me that if I turned sideways you wouldn't be able to see me or I'd blow over. My mother was always fretting over how thin I was. I don't know why. She was as thin as a rail when she was younger (and that WAS a long, long time ago.) However, she used to love to tell me that "Don't worry darling, it will catch up with you." I'd reply " No way!" She'd just laugh. I'm sure she was thinking (okay miss know-it-all). Well, that was then, and now is now. Unfortunately, my mother was right. Boy do I hate admitting that!

So, the sad reality is that as you age Mother Nature has her own private way of saying "I gotcha!" Is it any surprise that she is named "MOTHER" nature?

According to my doctor we gain an average of 10 pounds per decade. Okay, I can live with that. When I heard that I decided that I should design some "pleasantly plump dolls." After all, they say that pets start to look like their owners. I figure dolls probably do as well. Alas, my "Pleasantly Plump Doll Pattern Series" was born.

I'm always getting sidetracked. Aren't I? In any event, back to the graying. I thought "Gray is beautiful, too! Isn't it?" Be careful now, everyone gets older. If you're not nice there will be a stampede of aging, graying, not rail thin, seniors on your doorstep tomorrow. Anyways, I got to thinking, shouldn't we honor those of us from the baby boom generation (of which I am a member) who are aging so beautifully. After all, we have our own magazine "More" (which I love). Why shouldn't the dolls we grown-up girls still love look like us? We should be PROUD of our age, PROUD of the way we look, PROUD to be GRAY. Shouldn't we?

Yes we should. So, I decided that I should design a new series of dolls called my "Gray is Beautiful Series" to honor all of us beautiful women. So stay tuned to my Linda's BLOG all of you old, graying, baby boomer generation women. The GRAYS will be here by this winter and they will be DROP DEAD GORGEOUS. After all, they have to take after their owners. Don't they?