Welcome to Never2Old4 Dolls!! This blog is intended to be a gathering place for doll lovers of all ages. Interested in connecting with other doll lovers? Head to the "Interviews" page to read some great interviews with doll lovers, doll artists, and doll collectors from all around the world. Do dolls inspire you to channel your inner creative goddess? Click on the "Tutorials" page to find how-to instructions for all kinds of things to make for your dolly friends. Want some recommendations for great books featuring dolls? Go to the "Dolls in Literature" page for reviews and links. Want to check out all the great doll-related info and products available online? Head to the "Links and Resources" page. Sit back, relax, grab your favorite little gal (or guy), and get ready to be inspired.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Young At Heart Doll Lover: Connie Lillie

N2O4Dolls:   Tell us a bit about yourself.
Connie:  I am the 11th of twelve children and grew up in the home built by my Grandfather on a farm in Bolivar, Missouri.  My husband Marv and I have been married 69 years. We have been collecting dolls since the early 1970’s. We have found the dolls at antique stores and auctions. Some have been given to me.

N2O4Dolls: What kind of dolls do you love and/or collect?
Connie:  I collect antique china head and Bisque dolls. I have about 140 dolls.
N2O4Dolls:  What got you started on doll collecting?
Connie:  A special Christmas memory of getting that first doll and how very, very excited I was to get that beautiful doll.
N2O4Dolls:   Do you have special place to keep your dolls?
Connie:  I have so many dolls but keep them in China cupboarCods and hallway closets.

N2O4Dolls:   Which is your favorite doll and why?
Connie:  It is an 1880’s large black headed china doll in it’s original clothes that I received from a neighbor lady in her 90’s at the time. It was her special childhood doll.

N2O4Dolls:  Share a special childhood memory involving dolls.
Connie:  My mom got up at 4 AM on Christmas morning to bake sugar cookies. I got up when I heard her in the kitchen and saw a fresh baked platter of cookies on the counter. After breakfast we opened our gifts and I will never forget that year I got my first China head doll. I was 6 years old.
(N2O4Dolls:  LOVE IT!!)

N2O4Dolls:   Tell us about a doll you would love to come live at your house.
Connie:  I wish I could replace a bisque doll I also received as a child that I placed by an open window in my bedroom when growing up. One night it rained and the doll was ruined. I never forgot what happened . I have looked for it but have never found that same doll.
N2O4Dolls:  Has your love of dolls inspired you to be creative?
Connie:  I love to create dresses for my dolls and have made doll clothes for some of them. I decorated a Christmas tree with miniature china dolls at our local museum’s Christmas on the Prairie Open House. I was also asked to display a part of my collection at the museum. Some of my dolls and antique doll furniture were seen at a Victorian Tea event.
N2O4Dolls:  Do you have anything else you'd like to share or say to our readers?
Connie:  Dolls are my passion. I believe that it is important to collect something you enjoy and that has special meaning to you. Everyone can and should collect something.  It is a way for family and friends to remember you.

Monday, December 31, 2012

First dolly listings on Etsy!

Hi, everyone!  I hope you are winding down the year in a special way and looking ahead with anticipation to a new year!  I'll (hopefully) be busy crafting in my studio into the wee hours.  I'm planning to focus more on this blog in the new year and to get going on lining up more interviews along with other posts.  I'm writing here today to let you know that I've just listed my first two doll-related items in my Etsy shop, Walnut Hill Handmade.  I'm hoping to branch out this year and sell clothes for both Blythe and American Girl dolls.  I'd love to have you pop over and check out the shop.

I'd also love to have you visit one of my other blogs, Walnut Hill Handmade.  I'm making an effort to blog more there in the new year too.  It's a place where I'll document and write about my creative process, what I've been crafting, and anything else I'm inspired to write about!!  Hope to see you THERE!!

Here are a few photos to give you a little peek at what's listed in the Etsy shop.

Friday, December 21, 2012


I'm happy to announce that my doll family has recently grown by one.  I've added an American Girl doll to the mix.  She arrived about a week ago, but I'm only just now finding time to share about her.   I have to say that I'm completely impressed with the quality of this doll.  She is truly lovely and I can't find anything not to love about her.  Her hair is absolutely gorgeous.  I'm looking forward to styling it.  It will be a treat for me since I only have sons.  An extra bonus that she won't scream when I comb out the snarls.

For those of you with lots of American Girl (AG) knowledge, she is a My American Girl, #55.  I wanted to choose a doll that would most likely resemble what my daughter might look like if I had a daughter.  So I chose a doll with hazel eyes and brown hair just like me.  I don't have freckles, however.  If I'd been able to choose a doll with wavy brown hair, hazel eyes, and NO freckles, I probably would have.  But I really liked her and had seen good reviews and beautiful photos of her on other blogs.  I'm so glad I chose her.  I've named her Ellyn.  That's a combination of my middle name and maiden name, at least the way I've chosen to spell it.  As of now, she doesn't have a middle name.  I am SUPER excited to sew for her.  I've already made her a pair of jeans using a Liberty Jane pattern.  I'm going to start selling exclusive outfits for 18-inch dolls in the new year in my Etsy shop.  Ellyn will be my model.  She'll probably be sad that I'm selling all the beautiful clothes she's modelling, but I'll let her keep some for herself too.  Here are some photos I took of her right after I opened her box.  I will take more photos of her soon.

Here she is in her box right before I opened it.  

Close-up to show she's a #55.

Somewhat poor quality photo, but I was snapping this super-quick before one of my piano students arrived for a lesson.  This is how she looked right out of the box.  She still had her hair net on at this point.

Even with the distracting background and less than ideal lighting, you can see how gorgeous she is.  LOVE HER!! 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I'm still here........with new goodies for Talia

I am so sorry I've neglected this blog for almost a month!!  I have a sewing business on the side and have been so busy getting custom orders done for Christmas.  Things are finally settling down a bit and I wanted to pop in here and show you two AWESOME items that came in the mail for me today!  With some of the money from my own Etsy shop sales, I decided to buy Talia (my Blythe doll) a few items for Christmas.  I'm so, so happy with her new items and so glad to support other fine ladies making lovely handmade items.  It was also really fun to tell my oldest son (who loves geography) that we got a package from Great Britain and from Sweden on the same day.  THAT has never happened before!!  

Without further ado..........I present Talia in her new winter duds.

From the Etsy shop, Cannonbelle, in the UK, I ordered Talia a little green sweater.  Green is my favorite color and I fell in love with this sweater as soon as I saw it.  It fits perfectly and is completely adorable. 

NOTE:  I'm still getting used to how to best photograph Talia.  I realized after just adding this to the post that I should have slipped her stand under the sweater so it wouldn't show in the photo.  Oh well!!  She still looks sweet in her new sweater.

From GenePDollShop in Sweden, I ordered this fabulous Christmas hat. I loved the white eyelash yarn trim and the Christmasy buttons.  SO SWEET!! 

Since we just got our first snow of the year last night, I decided to take Talia outside to photograph her in the snow.  Although I'm still practicing how to get good doll photos, I thought these turned out pretty good!   The jeans Talia is wearing in these photos were made by me.  I'm hoping to have some Blythe clothing for sale in my own Etsy shop in the new year.  I'm completely revamping the shop website and blog right now.  I'll be sure to share more about the shop when it's ready to launch in its new format.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Doll Blogger Interview: Beast's Belle from Never Grow Up: A Mom's Guide to Dolls and More

Today's interview is with doll blogger, Beast's Belle from the popular blog, Never Grow Up:  A Mom's Guide to Dolls and More.  I "discovered" her when searching online for reviews of the Journey Girls dolls.  I'm thrilled to have her participate in my interview series.  I know you'll love reading her answers to the questions.  She has taken the time to thoroughly think through each question, giving great examples of how dolls have been and continue to be an important part of her life.  After you've read the interview, be sure to pop over to her blog (CLICK HERE) to check it out.  She has a great deal of information and I love looking at all the great photos of her dolls.

N2O4Dolls:  Tell us a bit about yourself.  

Beast's Belle:  I'm a stay-at-home mom to three girls (ages 8, 6, and 4) and I've been happily married to my high school sweetheart for 10 1/2 years.  I enjoy dolls, Disney movies (especially "Beauty and the Beast" and "Tangled"), writing, drawing, singing, and acting.  Most importantly, I'm a follower of Christ and strive to please Him in all that I do.  

N2O4Dolls:  Obviously dolls and Disney are your passion.  Tell us about how you got started collecting dolls, how long you’ve been doing it, and what prompted you to start your blog, Never Grow Up?

Beast's Belle:  Well, I kind of have two different doll collections going.  Aside from a few dolls I had growing up, my Disney doll collecting started back when I was in my second year of college.  It was a really small local Bible college, and that year there were only 5 girls living in the dorms.  I lived locally but visited the dorms all the time and got really close to the girls there.  Since we were all Disney fans, we assigned a Disney Princess to each girl who best represented her character or interests.  I was Belle. :)  That was the year that I realized "Beauty and the Beast" remained my favorite Disney movie, and that's when I started collecting "Beauty and the Beast" dolls and other items in earnest.  My "Tangled" collection started shortly after the movie was released. 

As far as my 18" dolls, I started getting interested in them again about 3 years ago when I read this online review of the Gotz Little Sisters dolls:  http://debonairdesignsblogspot.blogspot.com/p/18-gotz-dolls-american-girl-doll.html

I really wanted to find a Gotz Little Sisters Tess doll for myself, which I eventually did.  That rekindled my interest in American Girl and other 18" dolls...and the rest is history. ;)

I got the idea to start blogging after a meeting with my writing coach.  She had been coaching me through a series of books I was working on (coincidentally, I'm still working on the books!).  In one of our meetings, she happened to mention that authors nowadays are expected to have a blog about their book once it's published.  I thought it might be a good idea to try out this blogging stuff before it was important. ;)  By this time, I was in full doll mode, so I decided to start a blog about dolls.  And from that simple concept and completely noncommittal beginning, Never Grow Up was formed. :)

Jane Austen and Unicorns was a blog I started shortly after Never Grow Up because I loved the idea of my dolls having their own blog.  And Belle's Bulletins was originally a side storyline on JA&U, but it grew much more than I expected until it became its own blog.  I've really had fun developing all of the characters for my secondary blogs. I especially love writing for Maggie.  There's nothing more fun than writing a sarcastic, opinionated post. ;)


N2O4Dolls:  What type of dolls do you collect?  Tell us about your collection: where you keep it, how  you acquire new dolls, etc.
Beast's Belle:  I guess I partially answered this in the last question. ;)  I collect 18" play dolls, including Gotz, American Girl, BFC Ink, and Alexander Girlz.  I also have a 21" Karito Kids doll and two 14" Hearts 4 Hearts Girls dolls. In addition to my bigger dolls, I collect 12" Disney Fashion dolls from "Beauty and the Beast" and "Tangled".  I do have a few exceptions in my Disney collection:  four 17" Singing dolls, a Disney Animator's Collection Belle that is around 16", and an 18" Disney Princess and Me Rapunzel doll.

Aside from that, I have a couple of Moxie Teenz and LIV dolls, some Barbies, a few Lady Lovely Locks dolls, and other random toys and dolls from my childhood. ;)

I try to display as much of my collection as I can.  I figure that the whole point of having dolls is to be able to have them out and enjoy them. :)  I have Disney dolls in my curio, on top of my curio, and on one of my shelves.  My 18" dolls are all set up in room displays (aside from my two Pre-Mattel historical dolls).  I love setting them all up and making them look just right.  My daughters love coming into Mommy's room because there's so much to see! ;)


At this point, I'm pretty much maxed out on space, so I'm trying to avoid actively adding to my collection.  I do a lot of thrifting and reselling to fund my collection.  The nice thing about this is that I get to photograph and enjoy lots of dolls and toys and then pass them on to someone who has the space for them. :}  

When I do acquire new dolls, though, it's usually through a secondary market, such as eBay, Craigslist, or thrift stores.  Of my current 18" doll collection, only one was purchased brand new (Hayden, my My AG #55).  The rest were purchased secondhand.  Emma, my #41, was a doll I won through The Doll Wardrobe Blog's giveaway. :D  She was my first modern American Girl doll.

While I've found a couple of my Disney dolls in thrift stores, most of them are purchased new from the Disney Store online.


N2O4Dolls:  Please share a few childhood memories that include dolls.  This could include dolls you owned, dolls you wanted, dolls in books, favorite gift that was a doll, etc.

Beast's Belle:  I've loved dolls for as long as I can remember, so several memories come to mind right away. :)

For my 11th birthday, my grandparents got me the Mattel Classic Belle and Beast dolls, along with the "Beauty and the Beast" piano book.  I remember that the gifts were wrapped in "Beauty and the Beast" paper.   I still have those dolls in my collection. :)

That same year for Christmas, my mom gave me a porcelain baby doll that she had made in a local class she was taking.  She was the same size as a real baby and had a beautiful pink satin dress with lace trimming, also handmade by my mom.  She was stuffed with beans or beads in her bottom and feet, so when you held her, she rested in your arms just the way a real baby would.  I named her April and played with her constantly.  She remained my favorite doll for many years.

At some point during my childhood, I happened across a couple of the "Lonely Doll" books by Dare Wright.  I remember being fascinated by the books.  The author used black and white photographs of her doll, Edith, and several stuffed bears for the illustrations.  The way she photographed them was so vivid and lifelike, you felt like the story had actually happened.  I've remembered those books all these years, and Dare Wright's doll photography still inspires me when I take pictures of my own dolls.

Another memory I have is one that I've shared on the blog before.  In the early 90s, the Pleasant Company (who made American Girl dolls at the time) had a promotion where they sent display dolls to school libraries for a month.  The idea was to get girls interested in the dolls and their books.  At the time, there were 4 dolls:  Kirsten, Samantha, Molly, and Felicity.  My mom worked in our school library, so I always had extra time to sit and stare at the beautiful dolls on display.  They were all beautiful, but I fell in love with Felicity.  I loved her pretty red hair, her outfit, and the fact that she was a horse lover like I was at the time. :)  I always hoped that Felicity could come home with me.  Unfortunately, my parents weren't able to afford such an extravagant gift, so I never got my Felicity as a child.  That made it all the more special when I found her secondhand as an adult, thought. :)  Whenever I look at my Felicity doll, I remember that time as a little girl, watching that doll and wistfully dreaming. :)

N2O4Dolls:  How has collecting dolls and writing your blog inspired your creativity in other areas?

Beast's Belle:  One unexpected area that I can think of right off the bat is my photography.  I've never considered myself much of a photographer, but I really admired other online doll collector's photos (and Dare Wright's photos from her books, as I mentioned earlier).  I knew that the best blogs had pictures, so I wanted to have them on my blog too.  I started playing around with my camera and discovered that I had a knack for it!  I got even more interested in my photos when we got a new camera, a digital Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS.  I don't know that I'll ever be the type to handle a really fancy camera, but I love the simplicity and beautiful pictures of my Canon camera. :)

I don't know that I ever would have gotten into photography as much if it hadn't been for my blogs. :) 


N2O4Dolls:  Tell us about your experience in the online doll community.  What have been some of the highlights?

Beast's Belle:  I have really enjoyed getting to know the online doll community.  I've met all sorts of doll collectors and doll fans that I never would have met otherwise.  It's always great to "meet" others with similar interests.  It's almost like meeting the family members you never knew you had. ;)  

In addition to the joy of getting to know other people who share this same fascination, it's been great to learn from the vast amount of knowledge that exists in the online doll community.   One of my favorite online doll communities has been the AGPlaythings forum.  I've learned so much that I never would have known about American Girl dolls and their compatible brands.  

Overall, it's been a wonderful experience getting to know my fellow online doll collectors.  I've loved every minute! :D

N2O4Dolls:  Anything else you’d like to share with us?

Beast's Belle:   Well first, I'd like to thank you for having me here. :)  I'd also like to encourage anyone reading this that you truly are "never too old for dolls".  If you enjoy dolls, then don't let others take that joy away.

We live in a world where little girls are being forced to grow up way too fast.  My 8 year old has already had her classmates tease her about her dolls at school.  I find that heartbreaking.  I'd much rather have my 3rd grader enjoy dolls than be into boys and high heels, like some of her classmates. :{

Adults aren't off the hook either.  I still have people who give me strange looks when I set up a doll for a photo shoot out in my front yard.  ;)  I could let that bother me (and sometimes, I have to admit, I'm a little embarrassed), but I don't have to.  I've learned so many things and made so many new friends through this hobby.  Dolls inspire creativity, teach us about history, and more.  And besides, they're just plain fun!  So here's to all of us who can't seem to put our toys and dolls away! ;)  

N2O4Dolls:  Thanks so much for the interview.  I loved reading all your answers and love your blog as well.  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

SQUUUEEEEEAAAALLLL!!! The Story of Laura and Blythe: Part 2

I told you this story would be continued, didn't I?  Well, exactly one week ago I took THE PLUNGE and ordered myself a Blythe doll!!  Online ordering is a dangerous thing because it's so easy to just click and purchase.  However, I have waited at least three years before allowing myself that "click", so I guess I do have self control after all.  I had some money from Etsy sales saved up and decided to treat myself. 

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I was able to track my Blythe doll as she made her way across the Pacific from Hong Kong to California, then on east until she reached me here in Iowa on Thursday.  I bet you think I immediately ripped the box open when it arrived, right?  Well, that's not quite what happened.  Since this is a day I've looked forward to for a while, I'm going to document the details of how this all went down.

First of all, we have just had new siding put on our house and garage.  Everything has been in disarray outside with all the construction gear and what not.  Also, I've been busy like crazy getting things ready for a Holiday Boutique that I participated in on Thursday.  Most of my extra minutes on Thursday went into last minute details for the boutique.  I knew from looking online that she would probably arrive on Thursday, but also knew I'd be SOOOO busy.  Anyway, I was rushing to get my oldest son to his piano lesson around 2 p.m. and quickly walked out to get the mail.  As I walked back to the house with the mail, I looked through it to see if there was anything interesting besides bills and catalogs.  That is when I noticed one of those slips from the mail carrier telling that they've left you a package.  It was a nice day and usually they just leave it right by our door.  However, the slip said it was in the garage.  I quickly checked and, sure enough, there was a neatly wrapped brown package in the garage.  I knew from the Hong Kong postmark that it was HER!  BUT...........I had to get to a piano lesson.  So I put the box in the house and headed on my merry way.

AFTER the piano lesson, I had just a few minutes to load everything for the boutique, change clothes, then drop the boys off at my mom's house and head to the boutique venue to set up.  NO TIME to open the box.  Truthfully, I would have had time, but I knew I wanted to savor the moment.  So I was determined to wait until later.

I had told my youngest son about the Blythe doll coming and he knew she was here.  He REALLY wanted me to open the box, but I told him "later."

After the boutique I went to my sons' Cub Scout pack meeting and picked them up.  When we got home, my youngest asked me again when I would open the "Blythe".  I told him "later."  As I put him to bed he REALLY wanted me to go get the box and open it with him.  I told him I really wanted to do it by myself and that I'd show him in the morning.  I really knew from the moment the box came that I wanted to wait for a special quiet time to open it all by myself.

SO............at about 10:45ish p.m. I finally went down to my craft studio where I'd stashed the box.  I took along some nail scissors to cut the tape and got busy.  As you may well know, it takes a LONG time to get toys out of their boxes and Blythe was no exception.  I took several photos to document this process.  They did not turn out great since it was at night with flash photography and no natural light.  But it is what it is.  The photo below shows the return address on the box.  My oldest son who loves geography thought it was cool that we got something from overseas.  (I did too.)

The package was very neatly wrapped in brown kraft paper and taped very securely.  After removing the brown paper, there was a brown cardboard box inside.  The photo below shows what was printed on this box.

After slitting the tape on the cardboard box, I could see the pink end of the Blythe box.  I slid it out and below you can see my first glimpse of my new Nicky Lad Blythe doll.

The next two photos show the back of the box.  All the Blythe boxes are different and I love the retro colorful graphics on this box in particular.  I also love all the Japanese (or maybe it's Chinese?) writing on the back of the box.  The second photo shows this close up.

After photographing the box, I opened it and slid out the insert.  As expected, everything was securely taped inside.  There was only one of those annoying wire tie things though, which was nice.  I took my time in removing all the accessories in their taped bags.  I didn't want to damage the yellow cardboard insert.  After I carefully removed all the accessories, I finally retrieved Blythe herself from the box.

One of my first observations of her right off the bat was that her legs were more rubbery feeling than I expected.  Her torso, arms and head are a hard plastic, but her legs are more rubbery.  They're still rigid, but have a different feel than the rest of her.  I also noticed (and loved) how silky her hair is.  I really love her hairstyle.  She is SO cute.  Of course one of the first things I did was pull her string to change her eye colors.  You have to pull kind of hard and her lids close, then there's a distinct "click" sound and her new eye color is revealed.  My favorite is her green eyes which are in all the photos below.  I really apologize for the crappy photos.  I can't wait to try to photograph her in natural light tomorrow.  In the photo below she is propped on my treadmill which is in the craft studio. (Blythes all come with a stand which is really nice since they can't stand on their own.)  She's wearing a dress I made a few weeks ago before I even had ordered her.  I was really happy that it fits perfectly.  I think it's very sweet on her.   I just need to sew some snaps on the back.  Another observation I made when taking these photos is that her head is slightly tilted down (and I couldn't figure out how to tilt it up anymore) which meant that I had to lie on the floor to get photos of her.  Otherwise, I don't think her face would have shown in the photos.

This next photo is her "meet" outfit.  It's pretty cute, although you can't tell in the photo.  ACK!  Flash photography.  It's a polo shirt with little white denim shorts.  She also has these bulky gray socks (which I don't care for and which are hard as heck to  put on) and bright pink high-top sneakers.  I love the sneakers.  Probably won't use the socks much for her though.

She also has a pair of hot pink glasses and a yellow "raincoat" with pink trim.  I will try to get a better photo of her tomorrow in natural light.  

After playing with her a bit, I set her on the table behind my sewing machine and did some other things in my studio.  It made me VERY happy to look over and see her there.  I am SO glad I am finally a Blythe owner.  I definitely don't want to stop at just one!  Now I know why they're so addictive.  I LOVE HER!!!

Oh..........I'd decided to call her...........Talia.  Many years ago when I taught in a Montessori school in Iowa City, I had a student named Talia and I've loved that name ever since.  I never had a little girl of my own to name Talia.  I was thinking of naming her Talia but wanted to "meet"  her to see if it suited her and I think it does. 

Well, I guess that's all.  For now.  I'd better go to bed as it's 1:00 AM.  I may just pop down to the studio first to say 'night to little Talia.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Doll Lover Interview: Phyllis F. (my cousin!)

N2O4Dolls:  Today I am very happy and excited to post this interview with my cousin, Phyllis.  I thought of asking her for an interview right away when I started the blog because I know how much she loves dolls.  I loved reading about her insight into the very special and important role dolls played in her childhood.  I also love it that dolls continue to be a source of comfort and joy for her as an adult.  I know you will enjoy reading her thoughts below.
Phyllis:  A few years ago, I made a scrapbook showcasing photos of some of the dolls I've owned over the years.  It was titled "They're Not Just Toys; They are My Friends."  The phrase best describes how I feel about my dolls.
When Laura asked me to be a guest on her blog,  I immediately said yes, thinking how easy it would be to do.  I read through the questions she had sent me, and then went off to make dinner.  The next day I was still thinking and continued to ponder my answers for a couple more weeks -- so many memories and emotions surfaced.
In the 60's I grew up on an Iowa farm as an only child whose Mother didn't enjoy guests (young or adult) very often.  Since I couldn't reciprocate invitations, I rarely was invited to my classmates' homes.  Back then, many days my dolls and cats were my only playmates (and cats really don't care to play dress up for long.)  I had several baby dolls, a few child dolls and, of course, a Barbie and Ken.  Looking back, my preteen dolls were my favorites.  My Skipper with her long auburn hair and my Penny Brite dolls were with me most of the time and I have vivid memories of those two.  
I had a great playhouse my mother had made up for me in a small building near the house. I created other "playhouses" in the barns and hayloft.  The ones near the rafters of the hayloft were the best, until Daddy had to feed those bales to the cattle.  I learned to build them in the far back corners. First hay in, last hay out.  Daddy would always leave a narrow path between the hay bales for me to get to my "house".  In the loft my dolls had their own hay bale homes with doll blanket beds and whatever clothing I brought out that day.  What fun I'd have from mid-summer and into the late fall.
I was blessed to have a grandmother who believed every doll should have a wardrobe.  She made each doll extra clothes whether it was a little crocheted blue dress for my troll doll (N2O4Dolls:  As a little girl I loved sneaking into Phyllis' room when she was away at college and looking at the troll doll by her bed!!)  or an elegant wedding dress for my Barbie.  All those outfits made playing with my dolls so much fun.  I still have many of the 60's patterns she used to make those clothes and many of those Barbie clothes were passed on to my daughters and someday my granddaughters.  Grandma taught me how to make simple clothes for my dolls on her treadle sewing machine and later how to make myself clothes.  What a blessing my Grandma was!  Maybe she understood that I needed friends. (N2O4Dolls:  We had a great Grandma.  She made the dolls that I shared in THIS POST and many other things for me as well.)
When our first daughter was old enough, we gave her a "My Friend - Mandy" doll; and I got a "My Friend - Jenny."  Following Grandma's example I made many outfits for our dolls.  My daughter and I spent many hours playing dolls and having tea with them often in the shade of the maple tree in the back yard.  When our youngest daughter was old enough, she got a Mandy doll, too, and joined our fun.  (N2O4Dolls:  I had a My Friend Mandy doll too.  I'm hoping to share more about her in an upcoming post.)
Since that time, I've expanded my doll collecting with other pre-teen dolls.  I have a 16" Kelly doll, an American Girl Elizabeth and several others.  I don't collect multiples of one type of doll, just ones I think would be a good friend.   One doll I got recently is a little doll with such a sad face that I knew she needed a friend.
(L to R) Childhood doll named Luanne, Kelly, Penny Brite, Elizabeth, sad faced doll, and Jenny.
What doll would I still like to have?  One Christmas long ago, I asked for a Thumbelina doll.  Instead I got twin babies with red hair.  I played with them a lot, but they weren't Thumbelina.  A few years ago while both our daughters were in college (translate, no extra funds), I saw a collector's version of the same 60's Thumbelina in a catalog.  I held on to that catalog for a long time. Maybe, some day.
My someday Thumbelina
What surprised me about thinking and then writing for this blog entry was the realization of how lonely I must have been as a child to have such strong feelings about so many of my dolls.  I don't think I realized it then, which was a blessing.
My dolls truly are my friends.
N2O4Dolls:  Thanks so much, Phyllis, for your insight and honesty about your life-long relationship with dolls.  And thanks for being such a great cousin and friend!