Thursday, October 8, 2020

The Beautiful Artwork of Hally Levesque's "The Spirit Woods" Exhibition


In the spring I saw a Facebook post from Hally Levesque about an exhibit she was having at a local Canadian art gallery where she would be exhibiting and selling some of her beautiful  "The Spirit Woods" art pieces. 

Lady of the Woods Tryptich by Hally Levesque

I was thrilled as Hally is an exceptional artist who creates art dolls, mixed media art, paper art, collage art and more.  Not only is she an exceptional art doll artist, but she is also an art teacher, storyteller, photographer and a bit of a history buff. 

Her online class video's are easy to follow and beautifully taught as well as being sprinkled with all sort of historical tidbits or stories, which I just love.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

A Visit To Orchard House Close To Twenty Five Years Ago

Searching for old book illustrations that are in the public domain and finding the Project Gutenberg free Little Women eBook and illustrations reminded me of one of my granddaughter's visits so many years ago.  

You'll have to bear with me. Don't ever ask a senior citizen what year something was or remember specific details so many years but, I think, it was the summer of 1995, 1996 or 1997.  
When my granddaughter was coming for a visit for a week in the summer her mother and I talked about things she might be interested in and things we could do.  Her mother said she had been taking American History during the school year and we thought it might be fun for her to actually see some of these places. So, given we weren't that far away we thought some of the historical places in Lexington & Concord might be fun for her.

Being an amateur history buff and lover of the Victorian Era (for the dresses, of course) I couldn't help but love that idea.  Anything regarding the Victorian era and history was always interesting to me.  Hopefully, it would be for my granddaughter as well.

Photo courtesy of

In thinking about where to go we thought it would be fun to tour around Lexington & Concord, visit Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House, the Minuteman Statue, Old North Bridge, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and have lunch at the Concord Inn (which has been reported to be "haunted.")  

So, that's what we did.  

If I remember correctly we started with touring Louisa Mae Alcott's "Orchard House" on Lexington Road first.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Little Women By Louisa May Alcott Free eBook

Two of the first books I got from my grandmother back in 1966 when I was a young lady were Little Women and Little Men by Louisa May Alcott.  

I loved the books and especially loved Jo because she was so fiercely independent.  I also admired Louisa May Alcott as she was an abolitionist, feminist and involved in the women's suffrage movement.  

In so many ways she reminded me of my great aunt Flossie, who was born in 1882 and is shown in the picture above.  She was fiercely independent,  graduated from Tufts University in Medford, Ma in 1904, never married, and worked for the Massachusetts State Department of Corporations & Taxes as a tax assessor.  

She, too, was a feminist and suffragette.  Like my grandmother, Flossie was very intelligent but was quiet and reserved.  She had a very strong constitution and was never afraid to let her views and opinions be known.

As you know, during the past few months I've been looking for illustrations in some of the free e-books that are in the public domain on the Project Gutenberg website.  

So, you can imagine my surprise when I saw the Little Women free E-Book (cover shown above) on the Project Gutenberg website from 1880 that had more than 200 illustrations by Frank T. Merrill and a picture of the Home of the Little Women by Edmund H. Garrett. Even though they were all black and white I was still thrilled.

The books my grandmother had given me had 4 color illustrations for Little Women and 5 color illustrations for Little Men, which is certainly not a lot of illustrations. Plus, they currently aren't in the public domain.

As I started looking through the pages, looking at the beautiful black and white illustrations, and reading some of the chapters again I felt inspired and thought they'd make for some adorable mixed media, collage, decoupage  or paper-craft creations. 

Just like Louisa May Alcott "I want to do something splendid...." however, unlike Louisa my creations would involve crafts not writing books.

"I want to do something splendid....
Something heroic or wonderful.
That won't be forgotten after I'm dead....
I think I shall write books.

Louisa May Alcott 

“I like good strong words that mean something…”–Louisa May Alcott

"They all drew to the fire, mother in the big chair, with Beth at her feet"

I thought you might get inspired by the books and illustrations too, so I decided to post a link to the eBook here and post the black and white illustrations with excerpts of the text in my Linda's Blog for you all to enjoy as well.

Per Project Gutenberg - This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at

"Go then, my little Book, and show to all
That entertain and bid thee welcome shall,
What thou dost keep close shut up in thy breast;
And wish what thou dost show them may be blest
To them for good, may make them choose to be
Pilgrims better, by far, than thee or me.
Tell them of Mercy; she is one
Who early hath her pilgrimage begun.
Yea, let young damsels learn of her to prize
The world which is to come, and so be wise;
For little tripping maids may follow God
Along the ways which saintly feet have trod."

Adapted from John Bunyan.

There are 204 black and white illustrations in the Little Women eBook which I posted to my Linda's Blog here.

I have so many ideas in mind for ways to utilize the black and white illustrations and hope you do too.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Raggedy Andy Stories Written & Illustrated by Johnny Gruelle in 1920 Free E-Book

You all know how much I love dolls of all kinds and how much I love history.  So, I'm sure you weren't surprised when I posted a link to the "Raggedy Ann Stories" free e-book yesterday.

Well, like my dolls, I generally design and create boys and girls dolls like brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, etc.

So, it should come as no surprise that I would post a  link to the  'Raggedy Andy Stories" free e-book written & illustrated by Johnny Gruelle as well.

Raggedy Ann Stories by Johnny Gruelle free e-book -
Raggedy Andy Stories by Johnny Gruelle free e-book -

I found Raggedy Andy's Stories illustrations by Johnny Gruelle to be as charming as the Raggedy Ann illustrations were.  

In 1920 Johnny Gruelle filed for a patent for a cloth Raggedy Andy doll, as shown in the illustration above.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Raggedy Ann Stories Written & Illustrated by Johnny Gruelle in 1918 Free E-Book

When I look at primitive doll faces I can't help but melt as they are so darn cute.  I was first introduced to primitive dolls with something I saw many years ago during a shopping trip to Sturbridge with my mother.  In one of the crafts stores we liked to visit I was looking at a box filled with patterns and just started laughing my head off. Of course, my mother asked, "what's so funny?" So, I showed her the pattern I was looking at and she burst out laughing, too. It was for a primitive cloth doll which was so ugly it was actually beautiful. So there we were - two grown women standing in the middle of a store laughing our heads off.

As I scanned through the box I found other patterns for primitive dolls that were just as ugly and just as beautiful. So, of course, I bought a few and could hardly wait to get them home so I could make them.   And, make them I did.

The popularity of primitive dolls - especially "raggedies" (which are versions of raggedy ann dolls) continued to grow and grow.  Primitive decor seemed to take over with all sorts of primitive decorations that could be made for one's home -  dolls, raggedies, make-do's, shelf sitters, holiday and seasonal primitive decorations, primitive animals, primitive graphics, primitive woodcraft's, curtains, rugs, furniture and so on and on.

Around this same time primitive decor was all the rage and gaining in popularity online which created a ton of primitive websites, blogs, and groups. It seemed there were primitives everywhere and no shortage of freebies for creating all sorts of primitive dolls and crafts for home decor, but especially "raggedies."

So, given how much I love dolls, history and old books I decided to see if there were copies of some of the old dolls books out there and found a lot of different dolls books out there on Project Gutenbergwhich displays books that are in the public domain.  Surprisingly there were two for "Raggedy Ann and Andy", which were as follows: 1) "Raggedy Ann Stories" written in 1918 e-book and 2)  "Raggedy Andy Stories"written in 1920 e-book.

According to in 1915 Johnny Gruelle filed for a patent for a cloth Raggedy Ann doll, as shown in the illustration above -

As far as Raggedy Ann is concerned, one of the legends surrounding her creation is that a little girl was rummaging around her Grandmother's attic and finds a battered old doll with only one button eye. She brings the doll down to her grandmother who sews on a missing button eye.  While reminiscing about playing with Raggedy Ann as a young girl she decides to give it to her granddaughter and in doing so introduces her granddaughter to the world of Raggedy Ann.  And so Raggedy Ann was born.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Victorian Books Collage Sheets For Crafts Free E-Book

As you know from my previous posts in thinking about some of the crafts projects I wanted to do this summer and fall I thought about all the Victorian images I had created and thought it would be nice to offer two free e-books with printable collage sheets that could be used for scrapbook, mixed media, collage, decoupage and other paper crafts.

There were a LOT of images to choose from so I decided to start with the Victorian book related images and separated these into two categories for two e-books: 1) Harper's Young People Books Illustrations and Sayings For Crafts Free E-Book, and 2) Victorian Books Collage Sheets For Scrapbook Free E-Book.  

In the first e-book the images are the actual Harper's Young People Books illustrations with the backgrounds removed.  In the second e-book the images are several on my Victorian books toile designs in the blue, burgundy, brown, and black/white colorized versions.

My previous post contained links to the first e-book.  My second e-book contains contains eleven individual 8 1/2" by 11" Victorian toile book collage sheets.

My New Victorian Books Toile Designs We Love Books Category

There is no doubt that I love dolls, the Victorian Era, history, and books.

So, it should come as no surprise that I would spend hours on end removing backgrounds from some of the Harper's Young People Illustrations Book from 1889 to see if I could create stickers and scrap-booking paper to use for some of my mixed media projects.  I have a few book related mixed media projects in mind and thought the graphics would be perfect for this use.

As you might recall from a previous Linda's Blog post some of the mixed media projects I created this past summer were mixed media items that required quite a bit of old book papers for collage purposes.  So much so I ran out of the book pages.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Harper's Young People Books Illustrations and Sayings For Crafts Free E-Book

Some of the mixed media projects I created this past summer required quite a bit of old book papers for collage purposes.  So much so I ran out of the book pages.  Truth be told it wasn't the projects themselves that used up the paper it was the number of projects I was creating..... lol

Mixed media, collage and decoupage crafts use a LOT of paper containing pictures, illustrations, graphics, words, ephemera, etc.  and I am always on the lookout for papers of this nature.  In thinking about some of the crafts projects I wanted to do this summer and fall I decided that some of the Harper's Young People Illustrations from the old book I had would be perfect.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Sir John Tenniel and Arthur Rackham Illustrations From Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll Free E-Books

Like many of you I can remember my grandmother and mother reading "Alice In Wonderland" to me and reading it myself when I learned how.  I always loved the story and the illustrations.  My favorite characters were the white rabbit, the mad hatter, the caterpillar, the footman frog, the mock turtle and the queen.  I always had visions of making my own versions of dolls for these characters but haven't done so yet.  They are, however, on my bucket list.

Recently I created a new "We Love Books" category with 12 book related designs.  One of my recent designs was inspired by one of the characters in "Alice In Wonderland" - the white rabbit.  I don't know if it's the red hearts on this design that makes me think of this book, but it does.

So, given how much I love history and old books I decided to see if there was a copy of some of the old "Alice in Wonderland" books out there on Project Gutenberg which displays books that are in the public domain.  To my delight there were several.

I found Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll with illustrations by Arthur Rackham.  After finding that ebook I them looked at The Tenniel Illustrations for Carroll's Alice in Wonderland by John Tenniel ebook and decided to post them as well as they are all so wonderful and inspiring.

Monday, February 10, 2020

For the Love of Reading - Victorian Girls and Their Books Illustrations

If you've been a reader of my Linda's Blog for awhile you know that I've had a long term love affair with dolls, doll patterns, the Victorian era, floral design, genealogy, research, history and books. As far as I'm concerned you can never have enough dolls and you can never have enough books.

So, of course, I would be drawn to illustrations of Victorian girls and their books from the Harper's Young People Illustrations Book of 1889, like the illustration shown above.  It appeared in the May 18, 1889 weekly of the Harper's Young People Illustrations Book from 1889 on Page 420.

It was drawn by Rosina Emmet Sherwood and appeared in a story "The A.O.I.B.R" by Elizabeth Eggleston Seelye.  According to her Wikipedia page: "Her story "“The A.O.I.B.R." appeared in Harper's Bazaar in 1889 with an illustration of a child reading. The Rockwell Centre for American Visual Studies cites this as a surprisingly early illustration of a girl reading. The subject of girls reading in the illustration by Rosina Emmet Sherwood is thought rare (like the ones in Louisa Allcott's Little Women)."

The caption reads: "She retired to the society of books." This brings back wonderful memories for me as so many times when I was growing up you could find me like this.

My house is filled with books of all kinds. My love affair with books and reading began very early on. My Mother was an avid reader, my Father was an avid reader, my Grandmother and Great-Aunt were avid readers, and so it was passed down to my siblings and I.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

The Book and Crafts Review Corner Free Graphics and Illustrations

I love books and love different types of books, like: books about dolls and doll making, books about crafts and craft making, romance books, books about history, encyclopedia's, books about the Victorian era, old and antique books, and so much more.

I love to read, perusing books, shopping in bookstores and spending hours on end in libraries.

I also love old graphics that are in the public domain, book related graphics, and book related e-printables and how-to's.

I hope you enjoy my "Book and Crafts Review Blog Freebies." Just click on the "Book and Crafts Review Freebies" you like below:

Bookstore Shopping With Mom - What Can be Better Than That

I Just Love To Go Bookstore Shopping!  For me there is nothing more relaxing than going bookstore shopping at my local bookstores.  It was especially enjoyable when I would share this experience with my Mom.  She loved to bookstore shop, too.

Not only was the time spent with my Mom thoroughly enjoyable, but we both loved books. We could spend hours upon hours just walking up and down the aisles looking at the best sellers, the discount books, the magazine section, etc. My mother always went to the "cooking" section first while I always went to the "dolls and crafts" section.

Now I wonder why that is? Couldn't be because I love "dolls and crafts?" Nah!

Why am I telling you this? Because I was fortunate enough while my Mom was still alive  to go bookstore shopping with her many, many times and for that I am so grateful. They were always delightful trips and usually I came home with some new best sellers from some of my favorite "romance" authors.

The last few trips I came home with a few "doll and craft" books to add to my collection.  If you believe I just bought a "few" craft books you don't know me very well.  My Mom used to look at my shopping cart and say, "Really, Linda!" LOL LOL

I've Reviewed Quite A Few Craft Books Over The Years

I'm a "grown-up girl" who has never outgrown her love of dolls and crafting. I just love dolls and crafts and I just love books about dolls and crafts. So, it is only natural that I would love collecting books about dolls and crafts, doll making and craft making, doll histories and craft history, various types of dolls and crafts,  and collecting dolls and crafts.

Whether it's Americana crafts, holiday crafts, seasonal crafts, computerized crafts, paper crafts, doll making, embellishing, fabric crafts, bead-work, applique, fragrance crafts, making gift baskets, jewelry, mixed media, needlepoint, knitting, origami, pottery, quilting, sewing, painting glass, making toys, wedding crafts, woodcraft's, or wool felt I love them all.

I especially love craft encyclopedias and the history of various crafts.

Years ago I started reviewing some of the doll and craft books I bought while bookstore shopping with my Mom.  They were glorious days back then for my Mom and I and I miss shopping with her.

While I've created and reviewed a tremendous amount of craft kits I did manage to review many doll and craft books.

Shown below are the books I have reviewed so far:

Saturday, February 8, 2020

My New We Love Books Category #12

Last, but not least, we have my favorite "We Love Books" design.

If you're wondering why this is it's because I'm a member of the "Baby Boom" generation and have lived in jeans my whole life. I must have had a blue jeans color in mind when creating this design.  Not only do I love the color but I love all the book related words and hope you do too.

The design shown on the towels above would be perfect for any male or female or baby boomer senior citizen. Wouldn't you agree?

Shown below is the design for my We Love Books Category #12.

My Very Blue We Love Books Category #11

I absolutely love the color blue.  Dark blue, light blue, teal, royal blue, navy blue, etc. it doesn't matter.  I love the color and, as a result, tend to incorporate this color into all my designs.

So, I decided to create some clothing products for one of the very blue designs in my new "We Love Books" custom products gallery.

If I was younger I would have loved to wear the leggings and tank top in the picture above.  How adorable would it be to show up at the gym wearing that.  I'll just have to be satisfied with buying the socks and sneakers.

My New We Love Books Category #10

As you all know I love creating designs for everyday, every holiday and every season.  Well, when thinking about my new "We Love Books" designs I decided to create a design for the summer months that was patriotic - a bright red, white, and blue.  I hope you like it.

Shown below is the design for my We Love Books Category #10.

Friday, February 7, 2020

My New We Love Books Category #9

I don't know why but when I look at one of my new "We Love Books" designs it reminds me of the white rabbit from "Alice in Wonderland."  It has to be the open white book with the big red heart.  It's a book with a heart versus a playing card but, nonetheless, that's what I think of.  What do you think?

There are currently twelve different categories of my new "We Love Books"  custom products gallery.

Shown below is the design for my  We Love Books Category #9.

My New We Love Books Category #8

When you look at all my doll designs you might have noticed I generally design for both boys and girls.  Every girl doll generally has a "brother."   Some are "husbands and wives." Males and females.

The reason for that is because my older brother is only 10 months older than I am and I was never aware of a time when it wasn't the two of us.  On my birthday I got presents, but so did he.  On his birthday he got presents, but so did I.  As a result there was always something for "boys" and something for "girls."

As a result, I tend to think that way when designing things and this was true when I decided to create new designs for my "We Love Books" custom products gallery.

There are currently twelve different categories of my new "We Love Books"  custom products gallery.  Some are geared to girls and some are geared to boys.

My New We Love Books Category #7

One of the favorite things I liked about school as a child was my books.  I loved bringing them home, flipping through the pages, and, believe it or not - doing my homework.  I  especially loved the history books.  I could never get enough of them.

Some of my teachers I loved and some I didn't.  One of my favorite teachers was one I had in the 3rd grade.  She was young, just beautiful, inspiring and dedicated to teaching us.   She was also engaged to be married so, of course, all the girls in my class loved asking her about that.

One day she announced to the class that we were all invited to the church part of her wedding.  Not the reception - just the ceremony.  Well, I was beyond excited about that as I had never been to a wedding before.  I could hardly wait to see how beautiful her dress would be.  I, of course, had visions of one Cinderella would wear.

Through the years I maintained a great respect for teachers and think my love of my school books was an inspiration for my new "We Love Books" custom products gallery designs.

Shown above are two of my new designs: a large tote bag and coffee mug.  I would have loved to bring all my school books home in that tote bag and would have loved giving my 3rd grade teacher the mug as a teacher's gift.  Wonder if she would have liked it.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

My New We Love Books Category #6

I just love bright and cheery decorations for my home and hope you do too.  If you do then I hope you love the new custom products I designed for my "We Love Books" gallery.

There are currently twelve different categories of my new "We Love Books"  custom products gallery.

One of the designs that I created for my new gallery is a favorite of mine because it is so cheery and bright.  Shown below is my We Love Books Category #6 design.  I hope you find it as cheery and bright as I do.