Monday, January 29, 2007

Linda's Dolls and Craft Book Review Series - Book#6 Ultimate Doll Book

Readers of my "Linda's Blog" know that I just love dolls of all kinds, shapes, and sizes. I also love history, especially if it's doll history.

Many, many years ago I bought a book on doll history (the cover is shown in the first picture above) that was supposed to be the "ultimate" book on dolls and doll history. Well, it definitely lived up to its hype.

The Ultimate Doll Book was written by Caroline Goodfellow who is a doll curator.

"The Ultimate Doll Book" is a wonderful treasury of more than 400 different dolls of every type and every time period. It covers the history of dolls from a manufacturing perspective over the last 200 years which was something I was fascinated by. Plus, for the doll collector or someone thinking of starting a doll collection there is some helpful advice for doing so.

There are beautiful, beautiful pictures of all of the various dolls photographed by Matthew Ward contained throughout the book. One of my favorite dolls is the "Old Pretender" pictured on Page 2 and Page 13. She was made in c1680 and it is said that she belonged to the court of King James II. Of course, I just love her and all the rest of the early dolls (circa 1680's to 1820's). Now why is that? Hmmm....

The book is arranged in chronological chapters by manufacturing processes and materials used to make the dolls and starts with Wooden Dolls. This chapter covers Early Dolls (1680's to 1820's), Dolls from the New World (1850's to 1930's), Poupards and Simple Dolls (1800's to present), and Peg Woodens (1790's to present).

The next chapter is Composition Dolls and covers Greiner and German Dolls (1840's to 1900's), Developments in Composition (1850's to 1930's), Alexander Doll Company (1926 to present), and Wax-Over Composition Dolls (1830's to 1900's).

Then we learn the history of and manufacturing of Poured Wax Dolls, Early Dolls ( 1750's to 1850's), English Makers (1850's to 1930's), The Pierotti Family (1770's to 1935), Pierotti Portrait Dolls (1900's to 1930's), and Princess Daisy (1890's).

Next is the history of and manufacturing of Porcelain Dolls, Fancy Glazed China Heads (1830's to 1880's), Plain Glazed China Heads (1840's to 1870's), Fancy Untinted Bisque Heads (1860's to 1880's), and Plain Untinted Bisque Heads (1860's to 1880's.

Following this is Bisque Dolls. We learn about Fashionable Lady Dolls (1860's to 1890's), Developments in Body Types (1860's to 1880's), Jumeau Dolls (1842 to 1958), Bru Dolls (1866 to 1950's), Lady With Wooden Body (1870's), Steiner Dolls (1855 to 1908), The S.F.B.J. and Others (1899 to 1950's), German Marks of Distinction (1860's to 1920's), German Character Dolls (1880's to 1900's), German Doll-Makers (1890's to 1930's), Lady Betty Modish (1902 to 1911), Armand Marseille Dolls (1890's to 1930's), My Dream Baby (1920's to 1930's), Bisque Baby Dolls (1900's to 1990's), Lesser-known German Makers (1900's to 1930's), Ethnic and English Dolls (1860's to 1920's), and Mass-produced Bisque Dolls (1900's to 1940's).

Then we learn the history of Rag Dolls and the American Home Industry (1890's to 1930's), Painted and Sewn Dolls (1880's to 1900's), Printed Cloth Dolls (1900's to 1980's), Steiff Dolls (1900's to present), English Manufacturers (1920's to 1950's), European Manufacturers (1920's to 1950's), and Norah Wellings (1919 to 1960).

Then we are on to the history of and manufacturing of Celluloid Dolls including German Manufacturers (1870's to 1960's) and Mass-produced Dolls (1900's to 1980's).

Modern Dolls is covered next including Voque Dolls, Inc. (1940's to 1960's), American Manufacturers (1900's to present), The Changing Faces of Barbie (1959 to present), English Manufacturers (1950's to 1980's), Sindy and Patch (1960's to present), Baby and Toddler Dolls (1940's to present), Royal Doulton and Nisbet (1980 to 1985), Men and Boys (1960's to present), and New Doll Ideas (1960's to present).

This is followed by the history of National dolls, including Japanese Dolls (1900's to 1960's), Chinese Dolls (1900's to 1950's), Russian Dolls (1800's to present), and Patriotic Character Dolls (1890's to 1918).

The last doll history section concerns the history of Unusual Dolls. This includes Multiple Heads and Faces (1860's to 1980's), Peddler Dolls (1820's to 1990's), and A Master Doll-maker (1970's to present). The latter has to be seen as they are just exquisite.

The final sections of the book contain useful information for the doll collecting enthusiast. It also contains a section on caring for your rare and vintage dolls.

Given that I love dolls, love doll history, and especially love the Victorian Period it was a given that I would love this book. To say it's my favorite doll book would not be an exaggeration. I can read it again, again, and again. I just love dolls. Dolls of all kinds. But, that's me. Maybe after reading Ultimate Doll Book that will be you, too.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Linda's Dolls and Craft Book Review Series - Book #5 Sewing & Sculpting Dolls

If you are familiar with me and my Linda Walsh Originals website then you know that I am a cloth doll maker and doll pattern designer. You also know that I love dolls of any kind, shape, or size. It doesn't matter if they are plain, elaborately costumed, ugly (sometimes the uglier the better), made of wood, cloth or clay, or even paper. It doesn't matter if they have faces or are faceless. They can be boys, girls, animals, creatures, ghosts, goblins, witches, angels, etc. It doesn't matter to me. I just love dolls.

Well, several years ago I bought a delightful book on cloth doll making by Eloise Piper. It was for making dolls from cloth, modeling paste, and polymer clay. But, what caught my eye was that it looked like it would be a "fun" book with a "sense of humor" contained within.

The books title is Sewing and Sculpting Dolls: Easy-To-Make Dolls from Fabric, Modeling Paste, and Polymer Clay and the author is Eloise Piper. Eloise is an artist, teacher, and doll maker.

"Sewing & Sculpting" Chapter One starts with information, patterns, and examples for sewing and making the basic rag doll body. Throughout the pages are whimsical doll illustrations to delight you as you read through it. Basic doll design is followed by customizing the basic pattern, then body proportions. And, of course, all the pages have the whimsical doll illustrations.

In Chapter Two you learn about materials and processes. Here you might learn about doll making materials, tea staining, spatter painting, gessoing, painting, crackling, stain buffing, needle sculpting, sculpting with modeling paste, and sculpting with polymer clay. You also learn about additional surface embellishing techniques.

In Chapter Three you get instructions for making plain and fancy dolls using the basic doll body pattern that Eloise provides. You can make plain Amish children, play pals, fancy dolls, creating a wig, and sewing the basic wardrobe.

Chapter Four is for the intermediate doll maker and is titled "Dolls of a New Dimension." It includes intermediate cloth doll projects with sculpted modeling paste faces. It is a wonderful chapter with details and pictorials throughout.

Chapter Five is for the advanced doll maker and has advanced doll projects for cloth bodied dolls with polymer clay heads, feet, and hands. It, too, is a wonderful chapter with pictures of some of Eloise's finished dolls.

All throughout the book you are presented with whimsical drawings and caricatures. Each and every one is delightful and is what makes this book so much fun to read. For the cloth doll making enthusiast there is a lot to learn in Elosie's Sewing and Sculpting Dolls: Easy-To-Make Dolls from Fabric, Modeling Paste, and Polymer Clay book. If you're just starting out making cloth dolls or are an intermediate or advanced doll maker Elosie's "Sewing & Sculpting Dolls" is a great book to have.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Linda's Dolls and Craft Book Review Series - Book #4 Bluebook Dolls & Values


I'll bet that doll collectors who scour flea markets and yard sales for that rare doll find always take something with them. Want to bet? Want to know what that is?

Well, it would be the Blue Book Dolls and Values, 15th Edition book or, now, Jan Foulke's Guide to Dolls: A Definitive Identification & Price Guide book. Why would I bet that they all take their copies whenever they go hunting for dolls? Because if you are a doll collector, especially a collector of rare and vintage dolls, and want to know what a doll is worth you need the "Blue Book."

The "15Th (or 16Th) Blue Book - Dolls & Values" is written by Jan Foulke with photographs by Howard Foulke.

I would dare say that the doll collector's "blue book" is the most trusted price guide to all types of dolls around. The book I have is the 15Th edition and there is now a new 16Th edition.

If you are into dolls and collecting old, vintage, or even new dolls the "Blue Book" will help you identify and learn about your dolls or dolls you are thinking of buying. It can help you appraise the dolls you already have in your collection as well as help you to determine whether or not a doll you are considering buying is fairly priced.

It also has useful information for the doll collecting enthusiast as to investing in dolls, marks to look for, quality, condition, body, clothing, total originality, age, size, availability, popularity, desirability, uniqueness, and visual appearance. It also has tips for selling a doll.

The "Blue Book" is organized into two alphabetical sections: Antique & Vintage Dolls, and Modern & Collectible Dolls. In each section the dolls are listed alphabetically by doll maker, by material, and sometimes by trade name.

The values shown in the "Blue Book" are retail prices for clean dolls in excellent overall condition. For the doll collecting enthusiast this book is an indispensable tool especially if you're walking around that flea market or scouring yard sales for that "rare" doll find.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Linda's Dolls and Craft Book Review Series - Book#3 - New Complete Guide To Sewing

I was very fortunate to learn how to sew from my mother and my mother's best friend when I was 9 years old. They showed me how to use the sewing machine, explained how to read a pattern, showed me how to cut out the pieces, and explained what the various sewing terms meant, etc. I learned the basics from them - the rest I learned through trial and error. And, I have been sewing now for 0ver 50 years.

At times I wished I had a comprehensive sewing book that would explain everything there is to know about sewing with detailed illustrations and pictorials. Well, in 1976 my mother bought one that I just loved.

So, I decided to review "The New Complete Guide to Sewing: Step-by-Step Techniques for Making Clothes and Home Accessories Updated Edition with All-New Projects and Simplicity Patterns (Reader's Digest)"from Reader's Digest.

In 1976 Reader's Digest published their first "Complete Guide To Sewing" and it became the standard reference book for beginners and sewers. It had everything but the kitchen sink in it. And, best of all it had detailed step-by-step instructions to explain everything, including the kitchen sink. I was thrilled when my mother bought her copy and I borrowed it multiple numbers of times over the years.

Well, I decided several years ago that it was time for me to have my own copy so I bought the Reader's Digest "New Complete Guide to Sewing - Step-by-Step Techniques for Making Clothes and Home Accessories."

If you want to learn how to sew then you don't need any other book but this one. It has so many detailed directions, so many illustrations, so many pictorials, so many work saving tips, and practical advice that it's hard to comprehend it all in one sitting. Plus, it also has 20 fun projects for you to try. It is a virtual smorgasbord of a sewing encyclopedia.

There are eleven chapters, which cover: Sewing Equipment and Fabrics, Cutting, Stitches and Seams, Neckline Finishes and Collars, Waistlines and Belts, Sleeves and Sleeve Finishes, Pockets, Fastenings, Tailoring, and Patchwork and Quilting.

The projects include an evening blouse, dress pants, pleated skirt, christening dress, curtains, summer dress, tailored jacket, short blouse, sheer curtains, Bermuda shorts, skirt, girl's skirt, boy's short, safari jacket, pillow cover, beach towel, lace blouse, bench cushion cover, patchwork vest, and baby blanket.

I've only had my copy for a few years but the pages show evidence of a lot of use. Even an old dog can learn new tricks and I find that every time I pick this book up to look at something that I learn something new or re-learn something I obviously had forgotten.

There's a lot to digest in this book. But, if you want one book to teach you how to sew this is the book you should have. Best of all it's a book that can be used by beginners and expert seamstresses alike.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Linda's Dolls and Craft Book Review Series - Book#2 - Tasha Tudor's Heirloom Crafts


I doubt there is anyone who is involved with primitive or heirloom crafts, makes primitive or heirloom crafts, or loves primitive decor who does not know who Tasha Tudor is. I certainly know who she is and just love all the children's books illustrated by her, and books written about her and her life in New Hampshire and Vermont.

So, I thought I'd tell you about one of the books about her that I just love.

The book's title is Tasha Tudor's Heirloom Crafts and the Author is Tovah Martin. Photographs are by Richard W. Brown. The book comes in hardcover with the first picture that is shown above as its' cover and in softcover with the second picture shown above as its' cover.

Just to give you a little biography on Tasha Tudor she is a world renown illustrator. She was 92 when she passed away in 2008 and her first book "Pumpkin Moonshine" was published in 1938.

I became aware of her as a child due to the beautiful children's books she illustrated including The Secret Garden, Mother Goose, and The Little Princess. Tasha raised her family in New Hampshire and then moved to Vermont 36 years ago into a home built by her son Seth using hand tools.

Previous to that she lived in New Hampshire in a 17-room brick farm house that was filled with antiques. One room of her house (which I would have loved to see) housed her antique doll collection.

Tasha is an expert at cooking, canning, candle dipping, soap making, weaving, knitting, spinning, basketry, gardening, quilting, lace making, sewing, pottery, dried florals, and doll making.

Tasha Tudor's Heirloom Crafts book is filled with beautiful pictures of Tasha and her life in Vermont. We get to read about and see pictures of the interior of her beautiful primitive house, her antique loom, her dolls, her puppets, basketry, woodworking and pottery. We also get to read about and see pictures of her gardens and her dried florals. There are chapters on dyeing wool, spinning flax, dairying, soap making, candle making, canning, cider making, and open hearth cooking. And, my favorite chapter is the one on "The World in Miniature" which includes her marionettes, toys, dolls, and her dollhouse.

If you love primitive or heirloom crafting and want to learn about primitive life in Vermont and heirloom crafting from an astonishing woman than you need look no further than Tasha Tudor's books.

Books about her and her life in New Hampshire and Vermont are a MUST READ for the primitive and heirloom crafting enthusiast. Her family currently handles her business and the Tasha Tudor website at

I hope you enjoy browsing through Tasha Tudor's Heirloom Crafts, reading the wonderful chapters, and viewing the beautiful pictures as much as I did.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Linda's Dolls and Craft Book Review Series - Book#1 - Creative Cloth Doll Making

I'm just so excited that I could barely get my new "The Book Review Corner" blog finished when I just had to tell you about the most wonderful doll making book that my husband gave me for Christmas.

This is the first book that I will be reviewing for my "Linda's Dolls and Craft Book Review Series" and it is Book#1.

The books title is Creative Cloth Doll Making: New Approaches for Using Fibers, Beads, Dyes, and Other Exciting Techniques and the Author is Patti Medaris Culea. If you are into dolls and doll making then I'm sure you have heard of Patti Medaris Culea and her wonderful cloth dolls. They are just unbelievable.

In the book Patti explains the basics of doll making and provides everything you need to know to make 5 of her dolls. She shows you how to measure, draw, create, and paint a face. She also explains how to lay out patterns, turn tiny fingers, and stuff the cloth dolls. Each doll is contained within a specific chapter as an example for that particular technique she is discussing. And, within each chapter are pictures of other doll makers cloth doll creations that are examples of that chapter's technique.

Her first chapter contains all the information needed to make a basic painted cloth doll. Chapter two elaborates more on the more intricate details of painting and finishing your basic painted cloth doll. Chapter three's doll shows you how to work with Tyvek, liners and machine embroidery. Chapter four contains and advance doll and showcases beading techniques. Chapter five contains "The Collage Doll" and highlights working with fabric, beading and photo transfers. And, finally, "The Gallery" at the back of the book showcases some elaborately decorated and exquisite cloth dolls from various cloth doll makers.

If you love to make cloth dolls and want to learn from the best then Patti Medaris Culea's Creative Cloth Doll Making: New Approaches for Using Fibers, Beads, Dyes, and Other Exciting Techniques book is a MUST READ.

I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did. If you should buy the book and make a doll please send us a picture. We'd love to show everyone your doll. Happy doll making. I'm off to start mine.

Grandma, Will You Read Me A Story?

Don't you just love this quote from Dr. Seuss:

The more that you read,
the more things you will know.
The more that you learn,
the more places you'll go.
~ Dr. Seuss ~

A verse so simple yet so very true.

Children learn to read from their parents or as Emilie Buchwald said in 1994, "Children are made readers on the laps of their parents."

So, it is vitally important for parents to read to their children from infancy. The more children read, the better they become at reading. And, the more young children are read to, the greater their interest in reading. Reading out loud to children helps them with their verbal skills, enhances their development and teaches them how to express themselves verbally.

Other people have also stated this so eloquently:

Books, to the reading child, are so much more than books -- they
are dreams and knowledge, they are a future, and a past.(1940)
~ Esther Meynell ~

There is no substitute for books in the life of a child. (1952)
~ Mary Ellen Chase ~

It is not enough to simply teach children to read;
we have to give them something worth reading.
Something that will stretch their imaginations-
something that will help them make sense of their own
lives and encourage them to reach out toward people
whose lives are quite different from their own.
~ Katherine Paterson ~

If you've been a reader of my Linda's Blog you know that I've had a long term love affair with dolls, doll patterns, the Victorian era, floral design, and genealogy.

You also know that I love research and history.

What you don't know until now is that I have always LOVED books and reading, too. As far as I'm concerned you can never have enough dolls and you can never have enough books.

My house is filled with them. Books of all kinds. My love affair with books began very early on. My Mother is 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.

I can remember sitting in my Grandmother's rocking chair (which I still have) and having her read me a story. Sometimes we would sit there while she was watching her soap opera's (this was when black/white TV's first came out) and then she would read me my story. I never minded just sitting there with her. I always knew there would be a story. And, I always felt safe in her arms.

Now, when I read I think about sitting with my Grandmother or listening to my Mom and Dad talk about their love of reading and it brings back warm and pleasant feelings for me.

Reading is such an escape. You can literally get lost in a book. The book for a brief moment becomes your life and you can imagine that you're experiencing it. There is nothing more powerful then your imagination. Even the most spectacular movie with all its wonderful special effects and cinematography cannot compare to what you own imagination can create. There are no limits, no boundaries to your imagination when you are reading. Reading can take you anywhere. If you know how to read you can do anything because there isn't anything you can't do if you put your mind to it.

I am a firm believer in books and reading as a way of teaching children. And it must be taught at a very young age, on the laps of our parents, as the graphic above nicely conveys. As Mccosh quoted, "The book to read is not the one which thinks for you, but the one which makes you think."
In fact, my Grandchildren can attest to the fact that every Christmas or Birthday they know what at least some of their presents will be from their Grandmother: books.

To me, that is one of the best presents I could give them. By giving them books all the time, I hope somehow I'm conveying a love of reading to them. Reinforcing the value of reading time and time again. Making them think. Hopefully, by developing good reading skills they learn how to think for themselves.

For I firmly believe in the following quote:

To read is to empower
To empower is to write
To write is to influence
To Influence is to change
To change is to live.
~ Jane Evershed ~
More than a Tea Party

In fact, I was watching a show on one of the cable channels about the greatest invention mankind has ever seen. They counted down through hundreds of inventions until they got to #1. Do you know what it was? The greatest invention mankind has ever seen was the invention of the printing press. Why, because it opened the whole world up to everyone and mankind was never the same again.

So, grab a book. Take it to a quiet place and get lost in your own imagination.

And the next time your Grandchildren come to visit spend the weekend reading to them, not watching T.V. or playing video games. Just reading from books.

Your Grandchildren may surprise you and love it. And, you will open up a magical world to them from which they will never return.

I did it!
Come and look
At what I've done!
I read a book!
When someone wrote it
Long ago
For me to read,
How did he know
That this was the book
I'd take from the shelf
And lie on the floor
And read by myself?
I really read it!
Just like that!
Word by word,
From first to last!
I'm sleeping with
This book in bed,
This first FIRST book
I've ever read!
~ David L. Harrison ~
(from Somebody Catch My Homework)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Book Review Corner Blog!

You might be wondering what I'm going to do with "The Book Review Corner " blog?

Well, all sorts of things. I'll be reviewing my favorite books, of course, and might even throw in a few surprises for our readers. I might even show you pictures of some of the creations I've made from some of these books.

For the most part I will be reviewing books on dolls, doll making, crafts, craft making, florals, and all of the various sewing and crafting book subjects out there. It's a huge umbrella, but I have a lot of books and I just LOVE TO READ. Plus, I did mention I have a few surprises so my book review subjects won't always fall under our huge umbrella. I plan on having fun doing this and hope you will too.

Please come and see my NEW "The Book Review Corner" blog. Bring a cup of tea so you can stay awhile.