Tricia and Annie Laurie are working on a summer project for their Firefly genealogy badges and they went to visit Dame Cecilia to talk to her about genealogy - Dame Cecilia and I share a common passion for ancestors!!! And it's good to see the young 'uns interested too!!
First they looked at antique family photos, maps and fan-shaped "tree" charts. And then Dame Cecilia told them about DNA analysis and what interesting breakthroughs it can lead to.
.... and then Dame Cecilia booted up her Apple laptop to show them a couple of her family trees in Ancestry.com.
The girls were really impressed at how much Dame Cecilia knows about her interesting ancestors and how well she has everything organized!! They are inspired to go home and work hard on their own families!!
Speaking of history, while working on these photos, it amazed me to realize that it has been eleven years since the first Firefly Girls of the World event! How time flies, whether you're having fun or not, eh? Here's a golden oldie photo of the first marshmallow roast.
Meanwhile, there has been an addition to Joe Pye Towers - a beautiful, two-story solarium (on wheels, no less!) This was a wonderful gift from my niece - many thanks, Donna!! Here you can see Dame Cecilia working on her laptop while relaxing on the upper level and Azalea taking care of watering the plants on the lower level. Cecilia and Azalea are too tall to live in Joe Pye Towers, so this is a great way to include them in on the day-to-day fun! R.
I don't know about you, but I am REALLY looking forward to the end of the Year of the Chicken!!! It has been a pretty bad year for me and I'm hoping that the Year of the Dog will be much better?? And I'm hoping that part of being "better" will mean that I can start to enjoy my doll gang again and start to post again here!!
I have a friend who says that the Year of the Chicken always "sucks". But maybe it depends on what year you yourself were born in, because I know I've heard good news during the year from many friends (such things as cute new grandchildren, moves to new homes, new hobbies acquired with enthusiasm .....)? Whatever the case, I myself am waving a vigorous farewell to the Chicken!!!!!! R.
Last week I was going through some of the many files languishing on my computer and I stumbled upon a video I made for the 2014 Modern Doll Collectors Convention. The presentation featured all of Robert Tonner's 10" child dolls made of vinyl and hard plastic. Robert even attended the event and was gracious enough to answer questions about the dolls.
Many of my dolls were on display as examples of each group but the video demonstrated just how many adorable little dolls Tonner Dolls produced. While the video only includes the dolls released through 2014, I hope you will still enjoy it.
As a collector I love to seek out details and tiny bits of information about the dolls I love. Today I want to share one of those bits with you.
While Ann Estelle was my first Tonner doll and the one I fell in love with, she wasn’t Robert’s first vinyl ten-inch child doll. That honor belongs to Linda McCall. She was based on the two-year-old character in the Betsy McCall paper dolls introduced in April 1952. Please note that Betsy was identified as being only 5 or 6 years old while in our minds our dolls can be any age we wish.
Robert created his version of Betsy McCall in 1996 and Linda was added to Betsy’s world in 1998.
In her first appearance, Linda McCall, '"An American in Paris" was shown at the UFDC's 49th National Convention "A French Tapestry" held in New Orleans, Louisiana, August 11, 1998 in a limited edition of 325. She was paired at this event with her older cousin Betsy wearing coordinated navy outfits.
Her straight leg body was used for Ann Estelle who was introduced in 1999. You can even find a tiny “LM” on the inside upper part of both legs indicating that the same molds were used for both dolls. In late 2006 the bodies were forever changed to hard plastic to make the new bendy knees possible.
Ann Estelle and her friends in the Mary Engelbreit Collection (Sophie, Georgia, Gracie, Michael and Lilah) ended as part of the regular line in 2009 after an impressive ten-year run. Along the way, Robert created other collections using the ten-inch child body including Petite Filles, Small World, Half-Pint, Dr. Seuss and the extremely successful Patsy.
However, it was Ann Estelle who made the last bow for our ten-inch sweeties at Robert’s 25th Anniversary convention at a special event with Mary Engelbreit held on June 4, 2016 in Columbus Ohio. She was titled “A Bit Younger” and had the very latest body with articulated wrists, elbows and knees. She had a limited edition of only 200, but sometimes you can find her on eBay.
So that is the very brief story of the first and last of the incredibly cute Tonner ten-inch vinyl child dolls during their 18 year run.
Here's a golden oldie from 2010. This bunny head was made by Custom House to fit on their Petite Ai bodies.
I apologize that there are problems with a somewhat random selection of the website images not enlarging when you left click on them the way that they should. I'm working (although that isn't quite the correct verb!) with Weebly to correct the problem, hoping that I don't have to go back and re-load all the non-functioning images! In fact, I don't have the originals of some of the ones that are "broken" so there would be no "fixing" them. Sigh.
I didn't realize that the "search" box had disappeared from the blog ...... should be back, functional now! Isn't it funny how web "things" wander away, leaving their tails behind them??!! R.
Some of you were curious about the source for Ann Estelle's books last year. I have good news!! Laura's Little Loot is back up and running! You can find her on Facebook.
https://www.facebook.com/lauraslittleloot.miniatures (If link doesn't work, try searching for Laura Fencil.) One of you was interested in "Miss Happiness and Miss Flower" - you might ask Laura if she still has the scans that I sent her that she used for my book. R.
I've been consumed with knitting a sweater ..... a very small sweater ..... that is taking sooooo much time!!!! I'm using a pattern developed for the Effner 13" Little Darlings - I had hopes that their torsos would not be that much different than the 10" bodies and that I could squeak on through without modifying the pattern. Nope.
That theory fell by the wayside once I put in the shoulder seams - the body of the sweater was too long for the 10"ers. So I started over with a different yarn, making the length from the base of the cross-over collar to the shoulder seam shorter (since I didn't want to break into the obvious double diamond pattern in the center front). Hopefully this will still allow for the very attractive collar... Starting over has also allowed me to abandon the out-of-control mistakes I made in the four areas of cables!!!
So far I've managed to keep all four cables under control and parallel to each other!! I made a couple of mistakes in the double diamonds, but not as badly as I did on the first try. The BIG news is that I have actually successfully corrected several mistakes as I've gone along!!! Why this is big news is because previous to this I've been abysmal at taking out stitches and getting them back on the needles again, so correcting mistakes was almost impossible for me!!! I've even been backing out of sequences within a cable cross-over!!! Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks!!!!!! R.
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