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.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Shop Till You Drop!

Tomorrow is the biggest shopping day of the year. The day after Thanksgiving, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season. Plus, Monday is the biggest shopping day of the year for internet sales. Given that,I thought it might be fun to take a look at some of the Victorian rules of etiquette for shopping to see if they could be applied to today.

According to the Logicmgmt.com website Victorian Shopping Etiquette is as follows:

1) In visiting a store for the purpose of examining the goods or making purchases, conduct yourself with courtesy and amiability. That's always a good idea. Not always practical. Especially when there only 5 of the latest toy and 100 parents waiting in line for hours.

2) Never look over goods without any intention of buying them. Are you kidding? That's the only way to tell if there's an imperfection.

3) Speak to the clerks and employees of the store with courtesy and kindness. Do not order them to show you anything. Request them to do so in a polite manner. In leaving their counter, say pleasantly "Good morning" or "Good Day". It's always a good idea to have manners and treat others with respect. However, if the store clerk is not paying attention to their job or is yacking on the phone with a friend you have the right to speak up.

4) Never take a costly piece of goods -- nor any piece -- into a better light without first asking the clerk's permission to do so. This rule has been changed to "IF YOU BREAK IT-IT'S YOURS!"

5) Should you find another person examining a piece of goods, do not take hold of it. Wait until it is laid down, and then make your examination. This rule definitely was written before they started having the mad rush of bridal gowns on sale at "Filene's" or the last minute rush at Christmas by the parents trying to get their child the "IT" toy of the season.

6) To attempt to "beat down" the price of an article is rude. In the best conducted stores the price of the goods is "fixed", and the salesmen are not allowed to change it. If the price does not suit you, you are not obliged to buy, but can go elsewhere. Didn't the Victorians barter? I bet car salesmen would love to have this rule nowadays.

7) Pushing or crowding at a counter, or the indulgence in personal remarks, handling the goods in a careless manner, or so roughly as to injure them, lounging upon the counter, or talking in a loud voice, are marks of bad breeding. What? The Victorians never experienced the mad rush of last minute shoppers. That's part of the fun.

8) Never let the door of a shop slam in the face of any person, nor permit a stranger to hold it open without any acknowledgement of courtesy. That's just plain rude, but I've seen it happen.

9) Never express your opinion about an article another is purchasing, unless asked to do so. If an item is defective and you know it, then I would think someone would appreciate knowing it. However, don't be surprised if you hear "Who asked you?"

10) You should never ask or expect a clerk waiting upon a customer to leave that person and attend to you. Wait patiently for your turn. A universal rule of shopping that some people do ignore. When they do look out. Talk about "road rage." That's nothing compared to "shopping rage!"

11) It is rude to make unfavorable comparisons between the goods you are examining, and those of another store. Doesn't apply to today. Nowadays with stores all matching their competitors lowest price you'd be a fool not to speak up.

12) Have your parcels sent and so avoid the fatigue of carrying them. Ah, there was a time when stores did this for you. Not anymore. Here's where a foldable shopping carts comes in handy.

I think they forgot a rule. Rule #13) Always let you personal shopper do the walking. You've got better things to do. If you don't have a personal shopper then go on to Rule #14) Always do your shopping in your jammies. Let your fingers do the walking over your keyboard and let the internet be your guide. Personally, the latter is the best wait to shop.

If you decide to venture out into the wide, mad rush of holiday shoppers please BE SAFE! Happy shopping to all. And, remember the most important rule of shopping is - SHOP TIL YOU DROP!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Thursday when we sit down for Thanksgiving dinner we will give thanks for all we have, remembrances of our dear and departed loved ones, and prayers of good health for our families and friends. There are so many ways to says thanks and express gratitude for all we have. Below are a few famous Thanksgiving quotes:

Theodore Roosevelt said: "Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds."—1901

John Fitzgerald Kennedy said: "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."

Johannes A. Gaertner said: "To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven."

And for my Father in rememberance of his Father and my Grandfather, John, who came from Estonia, an Estonian proverb: Who does not thank for little will not thank for much.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble! Gobble, Gobble, Gobble!

Boy, time really does fly when you're having fun. It's almost November 24Th, 2005 - Thanksgiving Day. Soon, gobble, gobble, gobble day will be upon us and we'll all be feasting until are stomachs are bulging (at least some of us will). I think we should call it calories, gobble, gobble day! Don't you?

Thanksgiving Day is a huge holiday in the United States. Families and friends get together. We have football games, and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. And, the day after Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season (black Friday) which is, generally, the busiest shopping day of the year. We've been celebrating gobble, gobble, gobble day for a long time. We've been eating and shopping, then eating, eating and eating. And,finally, gaining weight. So, why do we do this?

Well, we seem to think Thanksgiving was a day of observance for the Pilgrims. A day for them and us to give thanks for all we have and all we enjoy. But, the Pilgrims never held customary Thanksgiving Days in the fall. In fact, the Pilgrims only had one feast in 1621, after their very first harvest and this was NEVER repeated. The pilgrims were deeply religious people. A day of thanksgiving to them was a day for prayers and fasting.

However, when we think of Thanksgiving we think of the one Harvest Feast that the Pilgrims did have with 90 people, including their Indian friends. The Pilgrims had landed December 11, 1620 and lost many of their group during the cold, harsh winter. Their first harvest in the fall was bountiful so they celebrated the harvest with the Indians who had helped them survive. The feast lasted three days.

How did it turn into a national tradition? That didn't happen until 169 years later when George Washington proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving in 1789. As is usually the case, some people wanted it, some (like Thomas Jefferson) did not. So, between 1789 and 1863 Thanksgiving was dependent upon whether the President proclaimed it as a National Day or not.

During the Civil War Sarah Hale, a magazine editor, urged President Abraham Lincoln to reinstate Thanksgiving Day. In 1863 President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a National Day of Thanksgiving. It was still dependent upon the President, however, to proclaim the day as a National Day every year. Every President since Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving Day as the 4Th Thursday in November.

Seventy-six years later in 1939 Franklin Roosevelt, however, proclaimed Thanksgiving to be the 3rd Thursday in November to lengthen the holiday shopping season. He did this in 1940 and 1941, too. Doing so, however, upset many people. So, we have President Roosevelt to thank for linking SHOPPING to Thanksgiving.

It wasn't until 1941 that congress declared Thanksgiving as a National Holiday. However, they changed it back to the 4Th Thursday in November. Why the 4Th? Who knows. Political pandering, probably. Payback for something? Who knows. We're talking about politicians here.

In any event, Thanksgiving has remained the 4Th Thursday in November and is inexplicably linked with shopping, parades, football games, feasting(and gorging, perhaps), Pepto Bismol (definitely after the gorging), and the winter dieting frenzy. After all when you eat, shop, eat, eat, and eat you're going to gain weight.

So, Happy Thanksgiving to all. When you sit down on the 4Th Thursday of November just remember these words "Gobble, gobble, gobble. Oh, how we love to Gobble. Eat, eat, and eat! Oh, what a wonderful treat! Gobble, gobble, gobble. Oh, how we love to eat! Diet, diet, diet! Oh, NO I will NOT try it!"

Happy Thanksgiving! Gobble, Gobble, Gobble!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Snow, Snow! Go Away! Don't Return Another Day!

It's hard to believe that we are already at the time of year when it will be snowing once again. In fact, it has already snowed an inch here and they are predicting snow for Thanksgiving Day. The good news is that it will melt quickly. The bad news is we're just at the start of the season. Oh, joy!

Something has happened to me over the years. Aging has definitely changed my attitude towards snow. When I was a kid I LOVED the snow, mainly because it meant no school. I loved playing in it, making snow angels all over the lawn, building forts at the end of our driveway, making snowmen, throwing snowballs, etc. To me there was always something magical and mystical about snowflakes and snow.

Of course, snow also meant shoveling the driveway, which I hated. It wasn't the act of shoveling that bothered me. It was the fact that I had to help my brother shovel the driveway when his chores were outside and mine were inside the house. This was a long time ago when women had household chores inside the house and the men had household chores outside the house. My brother didn't help me with the laundry, dusting, washing the dishes, etc. Why did I have to help him shovel, rake the leaves, mow the lawn, etc.?

When I questioned this , my Mother would say, "Just help your brother!" I'd reply, "Aw, MA!!!" She'd look at me with one of those Mother looks (you know what I mean) and say, "Linda, just do it!" So, being the dutiful daughter that I was, I did it. However, just because I did it, it didn't mean I liked it or agreed with it.

I'm always getting side tracked, aren't I? In any event, back to the aging! I think that as you get older, and older, and older (like me) you prefer looking at pictures of snow in a magazine, not at snowflakes falling on your lawn, or on your driveway. An accumulation of 189" of snowflakes in a winters season can change ones childhood view of snowflakes being magical and mystical. With age snow becomes much more of a nuisance. It's hard to walk in, hard to drive in, and, most certainly, a pain to shovel. Isn't aging grand? To quote Doug Larson, "The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball."

But, it's not just what I have to do with the snow, it's even annoying with regards to my wonderful dog. Don't get me wrong. He just loves the snow. In fact his middle name is "Snow Doggie!" He just loves to run and jump in it. He could stay out for hours. It's baffling that he just loves the snow, for he HATES the rain with a passion. That is truly mystifying because in both instances he gets wet. What's the difference between being wet with snow and wet with rain?Must be a doggie thing!

In any event, the problem with the snow is that after he's had all his fun he comes back in the house with snowballs all frozen and caught in his fur. The snowballs get all over the floor and the furniture. Ah, man! You have to drag out the "doggie blow-dryer" (of course he has his own blow dryer!) to melt the snowballs and dry his fur (which, of course, he just LOVES!!!) And, all the time all you can think about is "Snow, snow! Go away! Don't return another day!"

So, given that aging has dampered my childhood love of snow, you might wonder how can I possibly love snowmen and snowladies as much as I do? Why would you want to design a doll based on something that, in it's natural state, is so annoying to me? Well, possibly because snowmen and snowladies are dolls (which we all know I love) and as dolls they don't make a mess. They can't melt all over your floor. You don't have to shovel them and throw your back out. They just sit there very lovely, allowing you to enjoy them, and to recall your wonderful childhood memories of mystical snowflakes and magical snowmen, snow angels, and snow castles.

So, like most crafters I just adore making snowmen and snowladies. Why? Because you can do so much with them. They can be Victorian, primitive, modern, grungy, raggedy, shabby chic, etc. They can be made of cloth, Styrofoam, Warm & Natural, felt, wool, terry cloth, cotton, corduroy, wood, clay, terra cotta, etc. Just about anything. They can be happy. They can be sad. They can be partially melting or three levels full. They can be skinny or fat. Large or small. Ornaments or full size dolls. They can be added to wreaths or hung from garland. The possibilities are endless. How could you not love them so?

If you've never made a snowman, you should. They're so enjoyable to make and such a pleasure to display. You can display just one or a whole bunch together, or various clusters all around the house. Just let you imagination be your guide. Display them inside, all around, or upside down. Put then on your door, on your walls, on your shelves. Put them inside, put them outside, put them anywhere. Make them, decorate them, and then relax and enjoy them. For to be sure. In a few short weeks they may be watching you as you bend your knees, lift and throw (there goes my back!) all that snow. SNOW, SNOW! GO AWAY! DON'T RETURN ANOTHER DAY!

Here's a few "snowman" riddles for you:

Q. What is a snowman's favorite lunch?
A. An Iceberger!

Q. What does a snowman take when he's sick?
A. A Chill Pill!

Q. What kind of hat does a snowman wear?
A. An Ice Cap!

Q. What do you call a snow party?
A. A Snow Ball!

And the best snowman riddle:

Q. What happened when the snowlady got angry at the snowman?
A. She gave him the cold shoulder!

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Hey, Mom, Fix My Toy! Woof! Woof!

Don't you just love this picture. I do. It reminds me of the countless times I had to mend my doll and/or their clothes. This picture was part of the Vintage Workshop package of FREE Holiday Art Download made available to subscribers of Country Marketplace magazine in their October 2005 issue.

It also reminds me of what I'm doing today which is fixing an electronic plush doll that my dog has broken. My guy doesn't like plain old plush toys. Nope. Not him. His have to be electronic toys. The kind that say something, move, vibrate, sing, or dance. You know, the kind of toy you might buy for your children to play with.

You see, he thinks he's human. I actually have to go to the toy store to buy electronic toys for him. Usually the clerk will say "Oh, who's having a birthday." I respond "They're for my dog!" They, of course, look at me like I'm crazy.

So, I take the toys home and he bites at them until he bites thru the little wire that is connected to the area on their arm or leg that you press to turn them on. Then he brings them over to me and dumps them in my lap. He looks up at me with his little eyes as if to say "Hey, Mom, fix em! He won't work!" Then I have to cut them open and fix them for him.

He sits patiently next to my sewing chair until I do. Then he's off to the races, barking and biting at the toy until he breaks it again. Oh, well. He loves his electronic toys. Woof! Woof! "Hey, Mom, fix my toy! He won't work!" Kids! Make that dogs!

I Am All That and More!

When I think of a "Lady" either I picture someone like Audrey Hepburns' character in "My Fair Lady" or I picture a Victorian woman like the picture to the left. Someone refined and dignified. Someone who has good manners and who also just happens to be wearing a beautiful Victorian dress. I always seem to get back to the Victorian dresses, don't I? Must be an obsession. Yah think? In my mind, a "Lady" is the ultimate perfect female. But, is she really?

So, let's take a good look at what constitutes a "Lady." According to the American Heritage Dictionary a "Lady" is a woman having the refined habits, gentle manners, and sense of responsibility often associated with breeding, culture, and high station; the feminine equivalent of a gentleman.

Hmmm! That definition is too narrow minded and socially conscious. Not exactly the definition I had in mind. So, maybe we should take a look at the qualities of a "Lady" in her home and on the street as defined by the dictionary, Victorianstation.com and others:

1) A Lady should be quiet in her manners. Okay, easy enough. But, not to the point of being invisible.

2) A Lady should speak in a gentle tone of voice. Even when scolding your children? Hmmm! Or someone who is picking on someone else. Hmmm!

3) A Lady should be careful to wound no ones feelings. This is not always possible.

4) A Lady should give generously and freely from the treasures of her pure mind to her friends. Generously and freely, yes. Purely! I don't know about that.

5) A Lady should scorn no one openly. Sometimes this is exactly what is required.

6) A Lady should should feel gentle pity for the unfortunate, the inferior and the ignorant. A "Lady" should do everything she can to help others in need, but NOT to judge anyone as inferior or ignorant. That would be placing herself above others and smacks of a "caste" system.

7) A Lady should carry herself with an innocence and single heartiness which disarms ill nature, and wins respect and love from all. Couldn't agree more.

8) A true Lady walks the street, wrapped in a mantle of proper reserve, so impenetrable that insult and coarse familiarity shrink from her. Some would confuse this with being a snob and looking down one's nose at others.

9) A true Lady carries with her a congenial atmosphere which attracts all, and puts all at their ease. I think everyone should act this way, not just a "Lady."

10) A Lady walks quietly through the streets, seeing and hearing nothing that she ought not to. Not a good idea to walk through the city streets with blindfolds on. You need to be aware of everything that is going on around you. Also, who determines what a "Lady" should or should not see? Doesn't she have a mind of her own?

11) A Lady walks through the streets recognizing acquaintances with a courteous bow, and friends with words of greeting. Manners are always a good thing.

12) A Lady is always unobtrusive, never talks loudly, or laughs boisterously, or does anything to attract the attention of the passers-by. Don't draw attention to yourself. Come on? Is she never supposed to have a good laugh?

13) A Lady walks along in her own quiet, lady-like way, and by her preoccupation is secure from any annoyance. What do you want her to do scurry along the street like a mouse? Don't be noticed and definitely don't mingle with the "common" folk. They might annoy you.

14) A true lady in the street, as in the parlor is modest, discreet, kind and obliging. This rule was definitely made up by a "man" or should I say "Gentleman."

15) A Lady never speaks or acts in anger. Sometimes this can't be helped. Generally, it's not a good idea to speak or act when angry whether you're a male or a female.

16) A Lady learns to govern herself and to be gentle and patient. Self control, self discipline, and patience are good qualities.

17) A true Lady always remembers that, valuable as the gift of speech is, silence is often more valuable. A truly intelligent person knows this, not just a "Lady."

18) A true Lady does not neglect the little things as they can affect the comfort of others. We should always think of others first.

19) A true Lady learns to deny herself and prefers others. Not sure I agree.

Well, now we know what a true "Lady" is. Not exactly my idea of the ultimate female. I think the definition and qualities of a "Lady" if she is to be the ultimate female needs to be redefined to fit the modern woman of today.

I think a true "Lady" should be defined as someone who is confident in herself and her capabilities. Someone who has goals and aspirations and isn't afraid to pursue them. Someone who isn't afraid to speak her mind and reprimand someone when that is what is required. Someone who can lead and command respect. Someone who is loyal to her family and friends. Someone who inspires others to always strive for the best in themselves in in others. Someone who has the courage of her convictions. Someone who can use her authority when it is required. Someone who can caress and comfort anyone who is in distress. Someone who can laugh with children and lose herself in their imagination once in awhile. Someone who isn't afraid to get her hands "dirty." Someone with skills who is willing to try anything, at least once. Someone who loves and respects others and wants nothing but the best for them. Someone who tries to see the good in others. Someone who will try her best to help others succeed. Someone who will accept others with all their faults and love them just the same. Someone who always tries to put her best foot forward, but isn't afraid to fail. Someone who can see the beauty in life. Someone who doesn't judge others by their pocketbook or social standing. Someone who can stand tall and be dignified at the same time. Someone who allows herself to be "human." Someone who doesn't define herself by her gender and doesn't allow others to do so either. A "Lady" is someone who is proud to say "I am all that and more." Bring the Victorian dress on!!"

images http://www.ccdsvictoriantubeheaven.com/