Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sentimental About Dolls

In my recent old age, I started feeling sentimental about dolls I had as a child and so began a collection of  vintage Barbie dolls from the sixties. One of my favorite TV shows - Mad Men - may have had something to do with this, all of that '60s nostalgia you know. (Mad Men, where ARE you?? It's been way too long.)

These are not mine - Mattel created a line of Mad Men Barbies . . . .

You can laugh if you like but I was definitely a Barbie girl in 1960 and the doll played a huge role in my childhood. Antique dolls did not.

This beauty came to me last year when I was in the hospital and served as an excellent perk-me-up at the time. For some reason I was able to obtain her at a ridiculous price. Timing, I guess. Or maybe her hair - her hair was totally disheveled but I was able to get it back to looking good with a little elbow grease and conditioning shampoo. I will sometimes browse eBay or flea markets for a few collectible outfits to add to her wardrobe.

In my occasional, neverending quest for the affordable, collectible Barbie from 1960 - 1965, I found a new doll store. This may surprise some of you  but I don't really collect "antique" dolls despite my love of antique quilts and 19th century reproduction fabric. I do love some reproduction antique dolls though, like the ones featured on this site. But they don't tug at my heartstrings or bring back a flood of memories the way Barbie does.

How cool is she?? 

This store  in Chicago is a doll collector's dream, where you can find almost any doll that was ever made. Mostly popular 20th century dolls, not real antique dolls from the 19th century. It's such a fun place to browse through. Not only can you admire the excellent craftsmanship of some of the newer dolls, but you can easily recapture your childhood too. My own childhood was FILLED with dolls. Who knows where they all went? I shudder to think . . . . At Gigi's I found dolls I had forgotten I once had.

I grew up watching old Shirley Temple movies instead of cartoons on Saturday mornings and of course had the doll made by Ideal in 1959, as well as a Chatty Cathy doll when it came out. I was able to hang onto that one -  I think Chatty must have been hiding under the bed the day my mom sent the rest to the "doll farm."

Not everyone delights in dolls, however, and I understand that only too well. My son was afraid of dolls when he was a child. Not good if you have a sister. I think it had to do with one of the creepy after-school TV shows he saw a few times where a doll came alive and killed a kid or something. He insisted on watching because all the other kids at school watched it and read those Goosebumps books and they called him a baby if he didn't too. Of course, we banned the show and books after he started having trouble sleeping at night and we finally figured it out. I think he was relieved.

A memorable moment in my son's Cub Scout career came after he won the Pinewood Derby and we had to leave the meeting early because the after-program featured a ventriloquist and his dummy doll, LOL. He freaked. Granted, he was only six or seven so I didn't blame him - those dolls are creepy to me, too.  He's 23 now and has pretty much overcome his fears, I think  (I hope. We don't actually ever talk about it but I'm sure he wouldn't mind my sharing it here with all of you . . . ).

The cure occurred one summer when he was 12 and his uncle took him camping in northern Minnesota. My sister-in-law grew up there and her family still lived in the area. After camping a few days in the wilderness, the "boys" decided they needed a shower and a night in a nice warm bed. They drove into town where one of the relatives was nice enough to put them up for the night. Only problem was, this very nice grandmotherly lady was a doll collector and she put my son in her guest bedroom that housed her huge collection of dolls. Dolls everywhere. He faced his fears that night. Thank goodness, no dolls came alive.

He has since gone on to be doll-phobic-free. They haven't ever gone camping there again, though. And I think it was probably a good thing he wasn't with me when I visited this shop. I kept chuckling to myself as I browsed, thinking that, while it might be a dream come true for many women my age (Ooooh, look at this one!), this was a place that could easily be chock full of nightmares for someone else.

P. S.: More about my adventures with Barbie here. And, if you're ever cleaning out your basements, I'd be more than happy to take all of those old Barbie outfits from the early sixties off your hands LOL . . .

Saturday, November 26, 2011

My Kind of Black Friday

Going out shopping on Black Friday does not appeal to me. I have never gotten up at 2 or 3 a.m. to head over to the mall for early Christmas deals. Don't know what's wrong with me! As much as I love bargains . . . I just can't stand the crowds. Since we typically have Thanksgiving dinner at our house, I'm usually pooped the day after from cooking and cleaning and entertaining and almost always choose to stay home or mosey around my town a bit rather than brave the long lines at a mall.

This year I was invited to attend a unique craft show on Friday at a friend's home. Karen and her husband Bill make primitive wood crafts as well as various quilted and wool items. Karen sews up a storm to prepare for the show every year. Oh, I was in heaven - they had such wonderful things!

Every inch of Karen's adorable home (built in 1927) was decorated with craft items for sale.

Right up my alley - tons of black painted primitive things for the home. Karen's husband is the one who made the doll beds you may remember from awhile back.

Cute little ornaments for the tree.

Here are a few things I came home with -

I've been looking for a wooden tray like this for a long time to keep on my sewing table. . .

My kitchen has quite a few black accents so the shelf and drawer thingy will be perfect in there.

Oops! Don't want to forget the cute framed sampler. Always have room for that, especially since I have been lax about making my own cross-stitched samplers. But that may be about to change soon since I recently became inspired to do a little more stitching by a new book I bought. I'm hoping to get a start on something from the book and maybe I'll have something to show soon. All in all, not a bad "Black" Friday for me, huh?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What Are You Thankful For?

You know that the Sentimental Quilter LOVES Thanksgiving. It's a great opportunity to show my sentimental side and reflect on all of the things I have to be grateful for this year. In many ways it hasn't been a great year for me and I could very easily focus on those things that have disrupted life and made it a little more difficult. Yet, once I sat down to write this, I was able to remind myself of all of the abundance surrounding me. Here's what I'm grateful for today (and so much more, of course):

A good night's sleep . . .

Waking up on a cold morning and feeling warmed not only by the blankets and quilt but by a little black puppy licking my toes and then remembering that my daughter was finally home and asleep in the next room . . .

That we will be celebrating Thanksgiving with extended family again this year and that my brother-in-law is cooking the turkey (!) and bringing it over. All I have to make is sides!

That my husband still has a job in this uncertain time of high unemployment and that my son was able to find one . . .

That I get to make quilts for a living (or try to anyway) . . .

That I have good friends and a loving family who support me and love me . . . even when I'm cranky and needy . . .

Two amazing children . . .

A sweet husband  . . .

Sisters . . .

A sense of humor . . .

More fabric than I will ever need . . .

A really good cup of coffee  . . .

Lots of  good books to read . . .

The fact that you can buy just one song from an album on iTunes instead of the whole thing (I love that . . . )

Health and the body's ability to heal . . .

Feeling pretty good . . .

Lemon Lift tea . . .

Being able to say "Oh well" and find ways to stay above all of the stuff that can sometimes get you down . . .

Quilters from long ago and their marvelous quilts . . .

A good parking spot at the grocery 2 days in a row . . .

I could go on and on and on. What about YOU? Anything you're grateful for today?? Take a minute to share it with me - you won't believe how good it feels to write it down.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Shopping in Wisconsin

It's so much fun to visit a new quilt shop. Yesterday, my friend Shirley introduced me to a wonderful new one I had been anxious to see. Ye Olde Schoolhouse  quilt shop is in historic Cedarburg, Wisconsin, just a little north of Milwaukee. The shop  is  now on my list of favorite shops. 

Earlier this year my husband and I stopped in Cedarburg on the way home from visiting my son at school. We had a great time strolling around the quaint town, checking out the antique shops and restaurants, but I was disappointed to find that this shop was closed on the day we were there. Darn! I thought maybe I'd just park myself outside and wait until they opened but that would have meant sitting outside on the front stoop in the cold for a day or two so I went home and made a mental note to visit again. When I returned yesterday, I was not disappointed. See for yourself -

Ye Olde Schoolhouse was a featured shop last year in the Fall/Winter 2010 Quilt Sampler magazine.

Lots of great books as well as so many patterns for adorable little quilts!

Ye Olde Schoolroom

These schoolroom chairs are just too cute!

Laurel and Jeanie, the owner, were so sweet - and friendly and helpful too. Be sure to stop by if you're ever in  Wisconsin. You won't be disappointed either.

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Oh, I almost forgot - here's a link to a great new App for your iPhone, smartphone or iPad - find a quilt shop. Perfect for when you're travelling around and need to pull over for a quick fabric fix. Have a good weekend!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Quilt Show

Every year the Chicago Botanic Garden near me hosts The Fine Art of Fiber, a quilt show put on through the cooperation of  Illinois Quilters, Inc., North Suburban NeedleArts Guild, and the Weavers Guild of the North Shore.  I attended the show yesterday and although most of the quilts in the exhibit were not exactly traditional quilts that are my favorite kind, all were stunning and creative. I thought you might enjoy a peek  -

It was a beautiful, clear day - the Botanic Garden itself is a work of art in the fall.

I did not know that Bonsai trees also changed color in the fall.

An art gallery setting

No room for all of the quilts so here are some of my favorites:

Bubbles by Mary Meyers

Spring Garden by Jeanette E. Gerber

Rising Sun 1837 by Palmer Blakely

Bed turning -  don't know who made this one but don't you love it??

Salsa with Lime by Joan Bratton 

Artsy Applique by Sabrina Cassidy

Abigail's Gowns by Martha Ross-Mockaitis

Adorable pincushions from the boutique!


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