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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Doll Artist Interview: Patty LaValley from Patti's Dolls


I'm thrilled to have Patti LaValley of Patti's Dolls as my first interview on the blog and my first doll artist interview.  I found Patti when doing a web search for people to invite to the blog.  So glad I stumbled across her!!  Thanks so much, Patti, for doing this interview.  I want to make sure you take some time to check out Patti's various places in cyberspace.  You will truly enjoy her sites.  They are as lovely to look at as her doll creations.  CLICK HERE for Patti's website.  She also has a blog which you can view HERE.  She teaches doll-making classes.  Information about her classes can be found HERE.  And she has a lovely Etsy shop which you can view HERE.

Mermaid Pincushion- Violet 



N2O4Dolls: Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Patti LaValley and I live in the country near the tiny picturesque town of Rainier, Oregon. I'm a self-taught cloth doll artist, using my skills in drawing and painting to create my character art pieces. I have been involved in many types of arts and crafts throughout the years.

N2O4Dolls: Obviously creating dolls is your passion and your immense talent is quite evident.  Tell us about how you got started creating dolls, how long you’ve been doing it, and where you find inspiration.

I discovered cloth doll making about 30 years ago after I inherited some vintage patterns from my dear friend Grandma Morgan, a 103 year old doll maker. Grandma Morgan has since passed away but I will be forever grateful for her legacy to me, a collection of old patterns. My passion for dollmaking developed through a love of textures and colors within a piece of fabric. I like the diversity that dollmaking allows, too. To me, the ultimate form of expression is accomplished when all my skills can be incorporated into one art form. I love to make all types of dolls, fantasy, painted folk dolls, lovely ladies, and ethnic dolls. I often rely on nature for found objects to be incorporated into my dolls. Many of my dolls are one-of-a-kind pieces that have been shown in galleries in the Northwest. When I bring a smile to someone's heart and face through my dolls I feel I have accomplished everything!

N2O4Dolls: Do you have a creative space dedicated to your craft?  Do you have any favorite doll artists who have inspired you, or even artists who work with other media?

I love meeting other dollmakers at shows and gatherings, where I have made many new friends. I teach cloth doll workshops for doll clubs and events, and at my home where I have a wonderful studio that overlooks Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier in Washington. (CLICK HERE to see photos of Patti's studio.) Students are welcome to stay at my home for workshops. I also teach online classes and have a line of about 30 patterns. I have had dolls published in several magazines, Doll crafter, The Doll, Dolls United, The Cloth Doll, and Soft Dolls & Animals and Art Doll Quarterly as well as Susana Oroyan’s book, Dolls of The Art Deco Era.

I also love to enter dollmaking challenges, and this year my piece Oceanna won second place in the very competitive Hoffman Challenge. You can see her here.

My work has been inspired by so many, but to mention a few who have inspired me in my journey would be Judi Ward, whose online classes helped me take my skills to the next level. The late Susana Oroyan whose books and friendship have been a source of great inspiration.

N2O4Dolls: Do you collect dolls? If so, what type of dolls do you collect? Tell us about your

I only collect cloth dolls, and even that is limited as I live in a small house, and in a very rural area with gravel roads. Most of my dolls are draped with plastic, and are kept in my studio. If somebody comes to visit, then the plastic is removed so the dolls can be admired. I often do trades with other cloth doll artists to add to my
collection. Lack of space limits the growth of my collecting.

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.

My first doll was a cloth doll made for me by my grandmother. She was a rag doll type, with embroidered face. I still have her, although she no longer has her dress. I must make her a new dress, it's on the list!

The next doll I had in memory was a Raggedy Ann. I got her for Christmas when I was 3, and my sister, who was four, received Raggedy Andy. She was quite jealous that she did not receive Ann from Santa, so talked me into cutting her open to get her candy heart out. (Of course, she DID NOT cut open her doll!) I was devastated when I pulled the stuffing from her chest and there was no candy heart! My grandmother lovingly re-stuffed and stitched her back up for me.

N2O4Dolls: How has creating dolls inspired your creativity in other areas?

Cloth dollmaking is such a diversified art form, and it is an art form. I am continually learning new techniques, re-inventing old ones, and creating some of my own. There is always something new to learn, and my journey has taken many paths, which include learning skills with paper mache, polymer clay, leather working,
felting, free-motion embroidery and wood working, just to mention a few.

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

If I could offer one piece of advice to new dollmakers, it would be nurture your muse, and that inner child within, you will eventually create your own point of view in your art. And most of all, don't forget to play!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sharing the linky love........

Although the blog is still really young, I want to try to link with all the other great blogs and resources online that cater to doll lovers.  I have created a page called "Links and Resources" where I plan to list things like links to doll clothes patterns online, Etsy shops with doll-related items, and blogs and websites about dolls.  Please head over and check out what I've collected so far.  I would really appreciate any feedback and comments.  Please email me or comment if you know of a resource I haven't included.  I'll be happy to add it to the growing list.

Also.......I have interview questions sent out to SEVERAL people.  I'm hoping to be able to do my first interview post VERY SOON! 

And........I've been spending quite a bit of time trolling the web for more people to connect with and have discovered a few doll lines that are new to me that I really like.  So the list of "Laura's Dolly Wishes" continues to grow.  Be sure to check it out.  If you have any suggestions for things I might want to add, let me know! 

I'm looking for a few good people...........actually a lot!!

I really want to grow this website into a place where people can come to reminisce, to learn, to share, and to get to know others who love dolls.  I'm hoping to feature several interviews each week.  ANYONE (and I mean absolutely anyone) is welcome to contact me to be interviewed.  I will certainly seek out certain people in the online community to interview, but I also want to feature "regular" people who are not in the online community but who would love to have their doll stories shared with others.  The only prerequisite is a love of dolls and/or great memories about dolls.  You don't need to be an artist or collector to be featured.  So.........I'm asking for your help.  Please contact me (see link on the sidebar) if you or anyone you know would be interested in participating in an interview.  It's very simple.  I will contact you via email and send a list of question for you to respond to.  I'll ask you to include a photo of yourself and/or some dolls you love. Then, I'll include your answers in a post for everyone to see!  Can't wait to hear from you soon!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dolls in Literature: Hitty: Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field

This is another book I loved as a child.  It describes the life of a little wooden doll over the course of one hundred years.  The doll changes owners several times and travels the globe.  This is one that I would enjoy reading again as an adult.  Not only is it great to have a doll as the main character, this book contains a lot of historical information that is really interesting.  Definitely a must read for all doll lovers.

I did a bit more online searching and found a site dedicated to Hitty Preble.  The Great Cranberry Island Historical Society in Maine has created a wonderful website with LOTS of information about this book.  CLICK HERE to check it out.  You can even purchase your own flat Hitty doll that has slept overnight in the Preble house.  (The Prebles were the first family Hitty lived with in the story.)  HERE is a link for you to explore.  Good stuff!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Meet two of my friends

I received this little sibling pair as a gift when I was a child.  If my memory is correct, my paternal grandma and my Aunt Ruth made these for me.  As you will see from the close-up photos below, these two were very well loved as evidenced by their stained faces.  I remember bringing these friends with me everywhere I went, including outside.  Now they sit in my craft studio and serve as my inspiration for creating dolls of my own.  You can check out some of my creations in my Etsy shop, Walnut Hill Handmade.  I will treasure these two forever.  I love that they are handmade.  I love all the details from their hand-embroidered faces to their clothing and their yarn hair.  I wish I could remember what I named them as a child, but I really have no memory of it whatsoever.  Do you have some special, much loved dollies from your childhood?  If so, I'd love to see photos and hear your story.  Contact me at the link on the sidebar and send me your story and photos.  You might just find yourself featured right here on the blog!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

The New Boys

 I wanted to share with you all two recent doll purchases I've made.  And by recent, I mean within the past two decades.   Since I live in an all-boy household, I haven't had much opportunity to buy dolls.  HOWEVER, as I've recently really started to get into Blythe dolls I am spending a fair amount of free time online looking at Blythe-related things.  My youngest son noticed this one day and asked what I was looking at.  I told him I was looking at some dolls that I might want to buy.  He wanted to see, so I showed him.  He does NOT like Blythe AT ALL!!  And he made that very clear.  However, he surprised me by saying that he likes Lalaloopsy dolls.  (He's seen commercials for them on TV.)  So I got on the Lalaloopsy website and we looked at a bunch.  He really liked the pirate doll, Patch Treasurechest, and asked me to buy it for him.  SO I DID!!  I had to order it online from Wal-Mart.  We were both so excited when it arrived.  It really is a cute little guy.  The story behind the Lalaloopsy dolls is that they are made from the clothing of "real people" and they come to life when their last stitch is stitched.  Kinda cute.  Their "birth-date" is stamped onto their underpants on their tushies.  They all have a birthday that relates to a special holiday.  For example, Patch was born on September 19 which is "Talk Like a Pirate" day.   And Forest Evergreen (our other Loopsy) was born on September 26 which is "Lumberjack" day.  Each Lalaloopsy doll comes with a pet.  You can see that Patch has a pet parrot. 

I'm pretty impressed with the quality and detail on the Loopsy's clothing.  I love that Patch has a thermal long sleeve shirt under his Jolly Roger polo.  I also love that he's wearing corduroy shorts.  Great attention to detail.

After we'd had Patch for a few weeks, we were at Toys'R'Us and saw Forest Evergreen.  It is VERY rare to find a boy Loopsy in a store, at least where we live.  They had all the Loopsys on sale, so we snatched him up because my little boy really wanted a friend for Patch and he only wanted boy dolls.  Forest is just as adorable as Patch.  I love his buffalo check shirt with a fleece collar along with his denim overalls with leather suspenders.  His little beaver pet is so cute too!!  I really like the Lalaloopsy line of dolls.  They are super cute and so unique compared to other dolls you can find in the stores.

Since I'm a teacher by trade, I would really love to get Bea Spells a Lot someday.  Her birthday is October 16th, Dictionary day.   Do you have a Lalaloopsy doll?   If so, which one?  I'd love to hear from other Loopsy collectors.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dolls in Literature: Katy Comes Next by Laura Bannon

I LOVED this book as a child.  Unfortunately, it is out of print and quite pricey on Amazon.  I would love to own a copy of it, but if I have to save money to buy this book or a Blythe doll, I know where my money's going.  Anyway.........in this story, Ruth's parents own a doll shop which always keeps them too busy to repair Ruth's doll, Katy.   When asking for new eyes or a new wig for her doll, Ruth is told, "Katy comes next."  Unfortunately, "next" never seems to happen.  Then one morning, Ruth wakes up to find that her parents have closed the doll shop for the day.  Instead, they have declared it "Katy Comes Next" day.   On this special day, Ruth's parents spend the whole day fixing Katy and getting her a new wardrobe.  Can I just say how much I loved this book as a little girl?  I checked it out from the library MANY, MANY times.  Do any of you remember reading this as a child?  If so, did you love it as much as I did?  The one weird thing I remember, though, is that Katy looked completely different after they were done with her.  She got a new wig, new eyes, etc., and was truly a different doll at the end.  I remember that bothering me on some level.  Still, my overriding memory after reading it decades ago is of complete enchantment.  I think Ruth even got to pick out a really cool doll trunk for Katy and fill it with lots of beautiful new clothes, shoes and accessories.  How fun!!

Blog Launch!!

Hello, fellow doll lovers and friends.  I am super excited to start a new adventure here on this blog.  I'm hoping to make this place where you'll want to spend lots of time.  My goal for the blog is to help doll lovers of all ages and from all over the world connect with one another through their mutual love of dolls.  I've searched the internet for hours looking for a doll blog that has a little something for everyone.  I've found lots of great doll-related blogs which inspired me to create this space.  I'm planning to post a lot of interviews with doll lovers, collectors and artists from around the globe. I'm also hoping to have tutorials for all kinds of doll-related crafting.  Perhaps there will also be product reviews and giveaways. We'll have to wait and see what kind of excitement is generated by this little spot on the web.  Check back soon.........I'll be putting up a bunch of posts about my childhood dolls and memories.  And VERY soon I'm hoping to have some interview posts ready for the blog.  I'm super excited about those as well.  See you SOON!!!!