Pretend you are a contestant for Miss America… how would you answer this question?

Beauty pageants are very stressful events for the women participating in them, and the worst part of the whole process in picking a new Miss America has to be that last and final question they are asked. You know the question part they wish would go away. I’m sure the contestants pray for an easy question…or at least they hope for a question they know something about….but so often they get the question that throws them for a loop…

If you’d like to click this link, here are the 6 biggest Miss America flub ups in history…according to the author.

Miss America Flub Ups…

As I closed out my post from yesterday, I was telling you about being at my brother’s house this weekend and talking to a group of women in the living room. They were my sister-in-law’s aunts and cousins and grandma’s, etc. When they found out I made and sold doll clothes…I got all the “Looks” and I’m sure you know what I mean… they must have asked me every question in the book and when I answered “as best I could” they just gave me that “smile” that I’m sure you’ve all seen before.

So I thought this might be a fun thing to do… Pretend you are a Miss America contestant and you are at the part where they ask you the BIG question… and let’s pretend for some reason the questions are all about dolls this time…Let’s see how you do…

* Why do you have to buy your doll new clothes?

* How many dolls do you have?

* Where do you put your dolls?

* Why do you collect dolls?

* Aren’t dolls for little girls?

* Are you crazy?

* How do you justify spending so much money on your doll outfits?

* What have you done with your dolls that the average person would think is strange?

These are some of the questions I got on Sunday. You can answer one of the questions or all if you like. I’m not really a doll collector; I just support all of the doll collector’s “habit” by making clothes for their dolls, so I might not have the right answers. I thought maybe you all could help me out a little bit. If you want to just summarize why you like dolls, that’s fine too.

Let’s see what everyone thinks… and tomorrow I’ll have something sewing or dolly related.

See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

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  1. Linda Doyle says:

    Jeanne, this won’t be long, since I have babysitting duties today, but I’ll answer just one of those questions, namely “Aren’t dolls for little girls?” Yes, they are, but there are different ways to “play” or connect with dolls, and little girls do it first, namely love, care and change their clothes. For many, it stops there. Others love to connect with their past when they do grow up, and are able to buy what they didn’t get when small. You have to love the idea of dressing them up making them “look pretty”! If you like to sew, dolls are the perfect way to create outfits to satisfy that creative urge and to recreate clothes from many different times. Dolls can cheer up a room, too!

    I certainly don’t interact with my dolls like I did when a little girl. It’s such a fun hobby to dress them up and create little scenes with their accessories. And I certainly don’t place them above my family, knowing that they are just plastic replicas of people. There is no “pretending” with my dolls, they are what they are—-dolls!

    • HI Linda,
      I am just like you in that I love to create little scenes with my dolls, especially when I take pictures of them. I don’t do it as much as when I used to have the big Scenes and Settings books, but I found myself looking at doll backdrops last night on Ebay.
      I think being around dolls is just plain fun!
      Thanks Linda,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  2. Customers often ask me why I like to sew for dolls. I usually tell them “I like to sew for dolls because:

    1. They don’t complain about my fabric choices or colors.
    2. They don’t get them dirty.
    3. They don’t outgrow them.
    4. It allows me to be as creative as I want.
    5. I can stand them on their heads if I need to, when I am dressing them!!!”

    • HI Beth,
      I like your answers about why you like to sew for dolls. I’ve sort of got my pat answer down for what I do…. When someone asks, I say, “I make and sell doll clothes to doll collectors.” I think that says it all in one short sentence!
      Thanks Beth,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  3. As a small girl, I played with dolls to amuse myself…they taught me a lot about being careful with them so they wouldn’t get dirty or hurt. I watched my mom make them clothes and accessories – and learned from her that you can take a flat piece of fabric and cut/sew it into wonderful things to use in playing with my dolls. I watched my g’ma use a crochet hook, knitting needles, thread/needle/fabric, tatting shuttle, pine needles for weaving, plastic/wire to make flowers – all ‘skills’ that can make useful/beautiful things to enjoy. I watched my mom/g’ma work hard to keep their households running smoothly – but, I also saw them take time for creativity to ‘feed their souls’.
    As an adult – my dolls provide a break from household duties – to allow me to ‘feed my soul’. Dolls allow me a way to enjoy color, textures, needlework skills, and *friends* that I might, otherwise, not have to ’round out’ my life. I may, someday, not have as *many* dolls around me to ‘enjoy’ – but, I will NEVER be without a doll to keep me ‘fed’ and engaged with my creative needs.

    • HI Mary,
      I’ll have to use your excuse… “I need a break from housecleaning…I need to go play/sew for my dolls!” :o) Short and simple and to the point!
      Thank you Mary,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  4. Hi Jeanne,
    I’ll answer as best as I can as well.
    1. Actually a great portion of my doll clothes was inherited from my daughter’s downsizing. I only bought a few outfits I loved that she chose to keep the originals. I love the PC/early AG best and now sewing is what I want to do.
    2. I have five dolls- PC German Samantha, PC West German Felicity, renamed Nellie, renamed Caroline and renamed Marie-Grace. A variety of hair, eye colors and face mold to represent the time periods I like the best (Colonial, Civil War, Victorian/Edwardian and Great Depression)
    3. My dolls sit on top of a bookcase.
    4. I have dolls now because I didn’t have many as a child and I love the combination of sweet dolls, beautiful historical clothing and wonderful accessories that are miniature replicas of real items. Dolls also allow you the creativity to dress them however you wish, do their hair in beautiful styles etc. and they never complain.
    5. Yes, dolls are for little girls, but connecting with your “inner child” keeps you young and creative.
    6.Of course I’m not crazy, are you? 🙂
    7. Dolls will never wear out or outgrow what you buy for them. I love dressing them in a pretty outfit for the month/ season and setting up some of the small accessories to create a pretty scene.
    8. The only thing I’ve done that might be strange is I’ve renamed Caroline and Marie-Grace and created an imaginary backstory for them in my Civil War time frame. Nellie is renamed a well and has a backstory for when she is Samantha’s friend and when she travels to the 1930’s. I loved to imagine what it must have been like to live in different times as a child and created elaborate stories in my head. I love historical movies and books. I think it is because I am an only child and if I was not with friends I had to entertain myself sometimes. My dolls certainly don’t come before any family either. I know they’re not real. They just provide a creative outlet when I have the time.

    • HI Laura,
      You stated it so well… just like I tried to do as I sat in the living room with these ladies. I told them all my doll friends were just as normal as could be and weren’t weird or strange or have any odd habits. They just like dolls… but they could be with their dolls one minute and fixing dinner or playing with their grand kids the next…nothing strange going on there!
      Thanks Laura,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  5. Oh Jeanne, I wanted to add I have a few dolls that are my mom’s that she keeps in a curio cabinet and a couple of display dolls I was given as a child and my special baby doll. My daughter got my one Madame Alexander “Pussycat’ doll Daisy that was display, but now is well loved. I only named the PC/AG ones because those are the only ones I dress and display things with.

    • Hi Laura,
      It’s nice that you have your mom’s dolls and keep them in a cabinet to look at. How sweet that must be to walk by and see them.
      Blessings, Jeanne

  6. Well, I have 10 dolls that I dress up or sew for. I have my dolls displayed in the living room so I can see them and enjoy them. I started collecting Barbies when my daughter was in college, then I discovered Ann Estelle and I lost interest in Barbie because I kept them in their boxes and didn’t dress them or sew for them. Dolls are for little girls, but since I don’t have a little girl anymore I play with them. lol Some times I do think I am crazy for buying doll clothes, but life is short and I enjoy my dolls and the friends I have may via doll groups. I have taken my dolls outside to take photos of them and my neighbors probably think that is strange. lol

    • HI Regina,
      I bet you really enjoy seeing your girls in your living room. I do like being surrounded by my dolls even though they are just in my sewing room. I think they do keep us young at heart.
      I’ve taken a doll or two outside to photograph and as I walking out to the fountain or the gazebo I wondered if anybody was seeing me carrying that doll. Oh well, it’s what I do!
      Thanks Regina,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  7. I have about 20 of my childhood dolls. Some in a display cabinet others stored away. I’ve only been into adult doll playing a couple of years. I started with AG as I had always admired them but couldn’t afford at the time. I sewed a lot for them, but then one day, got tired of them. They are all around waiting until my little grand daughter gets a bit older. Then I discovered the 10ers. Tonner/Engelbreit Ann Estelle and friends. When they were first available years back, I really wanted to order one, but again, no extra funds. So a couple of years ago, I started finding them and have been having fun with them ever since. I love making outfits, gathering props, and photographing scenes of the “kids.” I don’t consider myself a collector exactly as the dolls do not have to be pristine. They are played with. I recently showed a cousin some of my photos, and she said, “I had no idea.” And not in a bad way. Husband, however, does not like them at all! 🙂

    • HI Joy,
      It’s fun when you “find” the dolls that you love and are familiar enough with them to really enjoy them. For you it’s the 10″ dolls. They ARE a fun size and periodically I check to see if a new Trixie Tonner has been listed. She’s such a cutie.
      I’m sorry your hubby doesn’t share your love of dolls with you… maybe some day he’ll come around!
      Blessings, Jeanne

  8. Good Morning Jeanne,
    I have many many dolls and I have always loved dolls since I was little. My best friend does too but she now collects purses. My sisters, nieces and my best friend collected dolls and we got together to see our new dolls plus we created amusing events around our dolls. It was also the thrill of the search for the right doll or a rare doll.

    I store my dolls in a doll cabinet my husband built for me years ago (in the late 70’s) and I have 2 wonderful closets to arrange them in.

    I like beautiful clothes and because I can’t wear the doll clothes myself (especially Jeanne’s clothes) I buy them for the next best thing…dolls of my choosing.
    When my children were little, I seldom splurged on dolls or doll clothes and I collected dolls differently then (more sparingly) but as I got older, and as long as I loved taking care of my family, doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, running errands, volunteering, helping to save greyhounds, supporting animal groups, reading books, loving history, summer boating and sharing what I have with those less fortunate; I’m okay buying dolls and doll clothes for myself. I have a budget in there somewhere. My kids are grown up and I can run with doll collecting now, however even I have my limits. No, I don’t think I’m crazy.

    Little girls who like dolls admire big girls with dolls. My niece, who is now in her 30’s, always wanted to play with us and our dolls. She eventually got her own dolls as she grew older.
    We didn’t play with dolls like children, we ADMIRED and DISCUSSED and made creative things for our dolls and cackled over desserts with crazy stories about our dolls.

    Even though a doll collector would understand, maybe what someone who isn’t interested in dolls would think was strange is: naming the dolls and having a short story about that doll.

    But in the world of collecting something one loves, who counting? Who cares? Just like I don’t care that a girl I know collects elephants, one who collects pigs and one who collects not just purses but wallets and billfolds and these collections are everywhere in their houses!

    Now to read what everyone else wrote! Fun fun!!

    • Thanks Paula,
      How wonderful that you have 2 big closets to keep your things in. That way you can close it all up when those “non-dolly lovers” come around.
      I don’t let my dolls or my love of sewing get in the way of my family either. I think that might be what the ladies were thinking… that we played with our dolls instead of interacting with our families.. I should have said that.
      You are so right…no one thinks a thing about someone who collects salt shakers, toy sewing machines or hankies… so dolls shouldn’t be any different. It’s just that dolls need new outfits from time to time to be “in fashion” and “with the times!”
      Thanks Paula,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  9. Years ago I collected MA vintage dolls and decided rather than buy clothes for them, I would make or knit the clothing rather than buy this. I went to a doll show, saw the Mary Hoyer doll book and that book took me on a five year adventure of collecting the h,p. dolls and anything related to MH. I did knit moat of the outfits and crochet as well as many of the patterns. I still don’t buy the clothes for the doll I collect as I figure I can save the $ and make it myself. Not always successful as I have physical challenges. I recently spent a lot on buying the manufactures clothes for a doll. Tiny and well made. More than I could do. As a child playing dolls I made up story’s as I made clothes and thought of this when I once made clothes to sell at a show. I needed to make a story to keep on going or sewing. Once, I had the collection down to ten but I have slipped down the slope and more keep arriving.

    • HI Jan,
      When you collect dolls, I’m sure it’s hard to know when to stop. Fortunately, I just sew for the dolls, but I still have to have the dolls so everyone can see what the dresses look like on my doll so they’ll know what it will look like on “their” doll.
      I laughed when you said you have slipped down the slope again and more keep arriving. That made me smile…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  10. What a coincidence! A friend just shared a post on Facebook titled a “grandmother with dementia given a baby doll.” If you enter what’s in quotes in Search, it will appear. It was wonderful and, I’ll admit, brought a tear to my eye. She was really interactive and smiling when holding the doll. Amazing!

    I finally bought the Molly AG doll when it was being retired as it was my birth year also. My children and grandchildren were all boys until Riya was born six years ago. I bought clothes for her as it was more reasonable than making them and she’d outgrow them. But when she got her first AG doll last year, I started buying clothes for them, but after finding Jeanne Marie’s Blog, I found myself inspired and started making them. Quite a creative outlet to start sewing again after a hiatus of about 40 years and being retired now. I bought a Caroline doll for the contrast in hair color (what an excuse!) I also have quite a collection of fabric now, and I’m going to the Road to California Quilt Show on Friday, so my resolve to not buy more will be seriously tested. I’d have to live forever to use it all, but I do think there are much worse things I could get into than dolls. I do it because it’s fun!

    • Hi Susette,
      I loved that article. Thanks so much for posting it. I had to laugh about you “what an excuse’ reason to have Molly and Caroline. I had Felicity and now have Caroline because of a member’s picture on AGPT showing a PC 1991 Felicity which is the same year of mine next to a Caroline. The hair/eye contrast was striking and I had to have a Classic Caroline. She sits next to Felicity on the bookcase when not in a scene display I am absolutely in love with decal eyes and hers are so unique.

    • HI Susette,
      What sweet comments you have made here. I checked out what you recommended and it was so adorable. That grandma was totally in love with her new doll.
      See… having dolls can teach you new skills… sewing, crocheting, knitting, tatting, embroidery…all kinds of things that have to do with dolls. I’m glad to have inspired you Susette. I do it just because its’ fun TOO!
      Thanks so much,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  11. I started to collect dolls at a young age. My grandmother came over from England to visit us in 1950. I was ten years old at the time. I had a pair of large Baby Dolls that I played with and my mother would make doll clothes for them. My grandmother loved dolls and she was quite a seamstress. She brought me several dolls and that started me in collecting. She brought a penny wooden that had been in her family for many years. I never played with it though. I don’t buy doll clothes as a rule. I have bought a Jean outfit for a Kish doll. I have several patterns that I use to make things. I can’t say how many dolls I have now. Three years ago I had over 500. We sold our New Hampshire house and I had to sell a lot of my dolls that I had left there mostly the foreign ones and my daughters from the 60″s .
    I collect Helen Kish 17, Madame Alexander 101 one is a baby doll from 1938 ,4 older Ginny’s, My old Toni (last Christmas Doll 1948.) 2 Mary Hoyers Play dolls from the 90’s A bylow baby, 2 Lenci’s, several China Heads. Celuloid bride and groom, 5 bridesmaids and the Minister. I have two large vinyl that look like real toddlers Boots Tyner. Kathe Kruse twins, repo George Bravot,
    I have two large cases one in each bedroom. I use my guest bedroom as a sewing/dollroom and bedroom. I have made outfits for the holidays for my Hoyers, Kish, and Toni. I wish that I had the eye for colors and styles that you have.

    • HI Sylvia,
      Wow.. you win the prize for having had the most dolls t one time… unless someone can beat Syliva!!!! How neat it must be to see all of the ones you kept in your cases. It’s nice that you have a room devoted to your dolls and your sewing for them. It’s not how well you can sew, Sylvia, it’s how much you love your dolls and how you want to bless them with something new that matters.
      Thanks so much,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  12. Marilyn Grotzky says:

    I once went to a doll collectors’ meeting. The hostess collected bride dolls — lots and lots and lots of them. One was the Wendy Lawton glove marriage doll, Anneke Van Lijn. Dutch settlers in Indonesia sometimes sent to the Netherlands for a bride, who accepted a single beautifully made and embroidered glove as a symbol of engagement. The doll has a black and gold dress, a red and green one, a blue gray raw silk wedding dress, and a nightgown and robe. The dresses and robe have trains. She has a wooden trunk for the voyage, a wooden glove box holding her embroidered glove, and three dress stands for display of her costumes. Her time period is about 1630. I didn’t covet the doll — I didn’t want hers, but I did want one of my own.
    A couple of years later my friend Nikki found one on Ebay. I looked it up and wrote back, “Do you want to go half-half?” While I was doing that, she was writing to me all the reasons she should not buy it. Instantly the answer came back: “Yes!” We agreed that Nikki would give Anneke house room and display space unless I found some at some future time.
    I don’t know — wanting to own a doll that I’d seldom see may qualify me for being a little bit crazy, but I’m very happy owning this lovely and unusual doll, whether I see her or not. Nikki is now taking bobbin lace classes in anticipation of being able to sew for her.
    In the meantime I enjoy my American Girls and their too extensive wardrobes. They’ve been a welcome distraction through a lot of difficult times.

    • Wow! Wish I could see photos. And thank you for the great lesson.

      • Marilyn Grotzky says:

        Google Wendy Lawton glove marriage and check under images. Several versions of the poster will appear.
        When I was in high school I read a book called “The Scent of Cloves” about a glove marriage — it’s fiction and very dramatic, but I suppose it stayed with me and when I saw this glove marriage doll 50 years later, I loved it.

        • You had actually typed Wendy “Lawson” and I looked for it but was unsuccessful. I came back to your comments and realized it was a Typo… I changed it to “Lawton” for you… now everyone can find it…

    • HI Marilyn,
      Well, after your description of the doll and all that went with her, I HAD to look her up and see who this beauty was that stole your heart. She is a cutie. How far does Nikki live from you? Do you EVER get to see the doll? You’ll have to let me know when she gets a new dress made for her, and I’ll show it.
      Thanks for sharing that VERY interesting story.
      Blessings, Jeanne

  13. Charlotte Trayer says:

    Okay, Jeanne, here we go:

    * Why do you have to buy your doll new clothes? Usually I make clothes, but sometimes I do buy them. They need new clothes for some of the same reasons we do–to suit various occasions and seasons!

    * How many dolls do you have? I truly don’t know, but I’d guess I’m well into triple digits by now. I have everything from a 5″ Hitty (from Robert Raikes) to a 23″ My Twinn, and have sewn for quite a few of my dolls. One of my true LOVES in the doll world is the Cabbage Patch ORIGINAL Kids–the ones with cloth heads, hand-painted eyes and needle-sculpted features. I have at least 20 of those.

    * Where do you put your dolls? Everywhere! Unfortunately, quite a few are in boxes in the basement–which, thankfully, stays relatively warm and quite dry.

    * Why do you collect dolls? Because I love them. For a while I collected because I thought I needed “one of each kind”….now I simply buy the ones I truly love.

    * Aren’t dolls for little girls? Aren’t we all little girls at heart?!

    * Are you crazy? No. Are you, for Not having dolls?

    * How do you justify spending so much money on your doll outfits? I don’t have to justify it–my house is paid for, we live quite simply in other ways, we don’t drink, smoke or gamble; this is my indulgence.

    * What have you done with your dolls that the average person would think is strange? Taken them shopping. I made a porcelain baby doll years ago (he even had his own car seat!), and I took him, wrapped in blankets, to a baby store to find booties or something for him. As I walked up to the entrance, a gentleman coming out held the door open and smiled at me, carrying my “baby”!

    Another time, some of my friends and I brought our American Girl dolls with us into the local Pacific Fabrics store, to see what our girls might like. (Molly had been fabric shopping with me before, and “helped” pick out fabrics for her new clothes!) We had such a good time–Mary Rose had Kirsten, Kathi had Kaya (I think), and I had Molly. A week or so later, I was talking to the manager of a different Pacific Fabrics store, and mentioned going into the Northgate store with my friends. “YOU’RE the one!!” she said. “I should have known it was you!” It seems she (Val) had been talking to the manager of the Northgate store, and that manager said to Val, “The strangest thing happened the other day. Three grown women came into my store, carrying their dolls, and they were walking around with them and talking to them like they were real children!!” Val said she told her she (the other lady) should have complimented us on how well-behaved our girls were! LOL


  14. Cindy Parkhill says:

    *What have you done with your dolls that the average person would think is strange?

    I was going to be attending a Lee Middleton Doll Convention and meeting Reva Schick for the first time. Attendees were encouraged to bring pictures of their dolls. I decided to take my pictures with my Reva Schick baby dolls at the Park. I arranged my 5 different baby dolls riding on the merry-go-round, sliding down the slide, riding in a wagon and sitting on a blanket feeding the ducks. An elderly gentleman came over to tell me he had never seen such well behaved quintuples and that they didn’t even seem afraid of the ducks. As he got much closer he realized they weren’t real children. I’m sure a lot of people in the Park that day, thought I was a bit strange!

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