Riley, by Helen Kish ~ My Littlest Valentine ever…

Just a quick “statistic” to share. I’m not sure exactly why, but yesterday I almost broke a record for the number of views on the post where I featured Addy’s dress. If you missed it, you can see it HERE. I had 277 hits on it and missed beating my most viewed post by just 2 hits. I guess everyone liked her dress….thanks! :o)

I used to have a sweet little 7 1/2″ Riley doll who was made by Helen Kish. I loved her! We had a great relationship and it was fun to make new dresses for her. Lots of people didn’t like to sew for her because she was so small, but I never seemed to mind. I worked out a few patterns that fit her well and just modified them to make different styles. I thought I’d show you one of my very favorite outfits for her. It was a Valentine’s Day dress from 2011…or rather a suit and it looked so sweet on her. She truly was my Littlest Valentine ever. I sadly sold her when the sales for her clothing started lagging behind other dolls. I hear Helen is retiring her now… so sad…we’ll miss you Riley.

Sometimes when I look back at things I have made in the past, I almost wish I could have that doll in my possession and “try again.” I love Riley’s set, but I wish I could redo her hat. I needed to make it about 1/4″ smaller in the hat band. Oh well… enjoy…

[If you click on any picture, it will enlarge.]











Did you enjoy seeing my Littlest Valentine?

I just wanted to thank everyone for your thoughts and prayers yesterday as I mentioned I was going out of town for a root canal. The average person would just say, “So what? It’s a root canal.” But I have this awful fear of dentists… from a bad experience when I was about 10 years old. The dentist just kept drilling and even though I was squirming in the chair and he knew it was hurting, he just kept going… I don’t think I ever got over that. So when my dentist here in town told me I had to go see a specialist because the nerves under the crown he was going to replace were all in a mass, I got scared. But my hubby prayed, and I know several of you did, and I felt those prayers. I didn’t feel any actual pain as I told him to load me up with shots. He gave me 3 big ones… My mouth was numb for hours afterwards. But I survived and now I’m just sore. I have to call my dentist tomorrow to get the crown put on that tooth now. But I wanted to thank you all…

See you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

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  1. Marilyn Grotzky says:

    Congratulations on surviving the dentist. My mother said the same thing happened to her as a child during the Depression. She thought her dentist, who did a lot of work on her teeth for a minimum of money, didn’t use anything to deaden the pain. She might have been right, since I’d think a little girl would remember the shots. She always thought of him fondly as an adult because he saved her teeth. Her mother’s teeth were gone by the time she was 35, and my grandmother thought that was a good thing, so they must have really hurt. Congratulations again on getting through a hard day.

    I hope you felt good enough to shop yesterday — if not, find a better day and go somewhere good — maybe to an AG store where you can see how all the current outfits really look.

    More congratulations on Kit’s cute outfit — I think 7 bids on a fairly modern outfit is excellent — it seems to me that the Kit and Molly outfits don’t attract the same number of bids that the Addy and Felicity/Elizabeth ones do, and that 7 is very good.

    By the way, if someone wants a nice Kit, I saw a beautiful early one (I think she’s an early one) that looks barely out of the box in her original outfit, in perfect shape, on Ebay. Don’t forget that you can use PayPal credit, with no interest for 6 months. That’s how I bought Anneke, who appeared at a financially inconvenient moment.

    Jeanne, your Blue Ribbon Valentine auction is one of your prettiest, and I like the story paragraph you wrote to go with it. I have decided that Addy first became a seamstress like her mother, and later became an assistant to Sarah Josepha Hale, of Godey’s Lady’s Book.

    • Thank you Marilyn,
      It’s nice to know I’m not alone in my fear of going to the dentist. I’m not afraid of the shots, it’s just when they get to working in my mouth that gets to me…oh well, it’s over and done so I can enjoy today.
      We did do a little shopping at a few shops… but decided to come home to make some potato soup… it was yummy! I didn’t find anything for my dolls, but found 4 tops and a dress at the Goodwill store. That was pretty fun! George went to Harbor Freight tools and found a few goodies he liked.
      I was happy with Kit’s “activity” at the end of her auction last night too. The winner was very pleased to have won it.
      I always look on Ebay for the dolls and there are some cute Kit’s on there right now. Maybe some of them will get scooped up. She is a cutie to have in your collection.

      Oh Marilyn, I love how you have predicted Addy’s future as a seamstress and how she began to work for Godey’s. Very cute… maybe I’ll have Addy dreaming of that sometime…
      Thanks so much,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  2. Thanks for sharing the little Riley outfit. Adorable. Love Riley and her friends although I’ve never sewn anything for her. Poor little thing. Needs attention from me.
    Glad the dentist is behind you. Such a relief to have it over I’m sure.
    Looks like it’s going to be a beautiful sunny day here today. Can’t wait to see what’s up next to be sewn.

    • Thank you Joy,
      I’m glad you like Riley’s Valentine outfit. I remember thinking she was so adorable in pinks. You should try making something for her…it’s not too hard. She’d love you for it.
      It’s sort of cloudy here, but not cold, so I can do that! I’m thinking it’s either going to be Ten Ping or one of my Little Darlings…we’ll see…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  3. Riley looks so sweet. She reminds me a little of the “Storybook dolls” my mom had and sadly lost as a child. My daughter found a vintage storybook doll at the antique store. She is a party doll and dressed in patriotic clothes, new in her box for fifty cents!!
    I know just what you mean about the dentist. I had a horrible experience with the dentist who removed one of my wisdom teeth when I was about eleven. The oral surgeon didn’t give me enough anesthetic and then sutured my gum and cheek. My dad is a periodontist and had to re-suture afterwards. He didn’t remove wisdom teeth at the time, but learned to later. I now drive over three hours to a family friend general dentist because I trust him and he knows my phobia. I’ve known him since I was seven when my dad and he were in dental school together.
    Since you sew for the dolls I can see why you would feel the need to sell if their clothing isn’t a lucrative item anymore. I think of the AG’s you’re best ones are Kirsten, Felicity, Addy and the dolls you use to model other Civil War dresses. I still wonder why AG archived Felicity and Kirsten as clothing for them seem to be very much wanted. I hope Addy doesn’t retire when Melody comes on board although there are rumors she might. She’s the last true PC doll to me even though Josefina was released right before Pleasant sold her company she feels transitional to me.

    • HI Laura,
      Thanks for the compliments on Riley’s dress set. We found my mom one of the Storybook dolls too but she wasn’t dressed nearly as nice as your doll sounds. How fun that must have been to give that doll to your mom.
      It seems like there are horror stories about dentists everywhere. Your experience sounds ghastly! When you find a good one, it’s worth the drive to ANYWHERE.
      Yes, when the thrill of the dolls wane, I have to move on to the ones that are most popular. I’m sort of in a dilemma right now about my Ellowyne dolls. I love the way they look and they can be posed in so many neat ways, but I never get around to sewing for them so I was considering selling them. I just hate to though… :o(
      You are right when you said Kirsten, Felicity and Addy are my top three AG dolls….and wonderfully for me, those are the 3 time periods that I love to sew for the most. So it works out well.
      I’ve heard that about Addy too… that she might retire. That would be really sad to me.
      Thanks Laura,
      Blessings, Jeanne

      • Marilyn Grotzky says:

        For dolls you probably won’t sew for again, have you considered making one last outfit for them and then keeping them as dressed dolls? When and if you are ready to sell, you can, but it might be nice to have some real samples of your work on hand so people can see what you can do. It would be nice to have a glass fronted cabinet for them.

  4. Jeanne,

    I too am glad you survived the dental work. It seems to me that there’s nothing more harrowing in “everyday life” than a trip to the dentist.

    Added congratulations on Kit’s outfit. It was just scrumptious on that pretty doll you rescued and rejuvenated. I’m so glad there were many bids. That’s encouraging for you as the seller/creator.

    Addy’s ensemble is stunning. The choice of fabrics, workmanship and design make this an especially prominent dress for an AG doll. All of your work is so well done, but there does seem to be something special about this particular choice of items you put together for Addy. I enjoy viewing it each time.

    Take care.

    • Thanks Becky,
      Kit’s standing naked on the dolly shelf now, just like the rest of my dolls and she has lost just a tiny bit of that smile she had on her face a few days ago… She’ll get used to it.
      Thank you for your very sweet compliments on Addy’s dress set. I really like this one too. Every once in a while all the elements of a dress just come together and the whole thing just works perfectly. I think that’s what happened with this one…once I got everything all straightened out! :o)
      Thanks so much Becky,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  5. Hi Jeanne,
    Glad everything went smoothly, now for the crown. Does you dentist make the crown while you wait or do you have to get impressions made and go back?
    I’ll have to go on over and check out your listing. It sounds like you wrote a cute story for Addy.
    I got so nostalgic about Riley that I made her a Christmas dress last season. She really is a nice size to make knitted/embroidered dresses for. Maybe she’ll get another… I love this style of dress that Riley is wearing in your post; I remember it on your other dolls too. It’s very smart (as they’d say in the ‘olden’ days), or chic. And, I LOVE pink!

    • Thank you Cindy,
      Yes, my dentist does it where they make impressions and you have to go back to get it fitted and cemented in place. The worst is over so I’m okay now…
      I remember your Riley Christmas dress and she looked ADORABLE in it too!
      Yes, “very smart”… I like that! :o)
      Thanks so much… I need to check out what you’ve been up to…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  6. Hi Jeanne,
    Your story for Addy is neat. I think Marilyn had the perfect ending! Addy looks so pretty in her new dress. The whole complete outfit is perfect. I’m sure ladies are gathering at the starting gate on this one!
    Also, your little Riley girl in her sweet Valentine outfit is just too precious.
    Glad you are doing well considering the root canal. One hurdle passed.
    Have a blessed day!!

    • Hi Paula,
      Thanks for the compliments on Addy’s story line and yes, I too, liked Marilyn’s ending.
      I guess we’ll see how things go….
      I am doing fine. I go next Thursday to get to crown fitted so I’m okay now…
      Thanks so much,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  7. Linda Doyle says:

    Jeanne, I’m so glad that you survived the trip to the specialist without any pain! I didn’t mean to trivialize a root canal, but I have had so many, that they almost seem routine to me! I seem to have inherited bad teeth from both of my parents, and so I am like a dental experiment for my dentist! My father never did have his second teeth formed in his gums, since my grandmother didn’t receive the proper nutrition when she was expecting him. True story!

    How big is Riley? Is she like a storybook doll? I do have storybook dolls, and have always collected them when a little girl, but I don’t recall ever changing their outfits. I do remember the Ginny dolls, and they had lots of clothes. I learned how to sew when sewing for them. All of it was done by hand too, because they were such small outfits, and it didn’t take much time to sew something up, plus my mother would not allow me to use her sewing machine. To this day, I don’t like sewing little bitsy things like that!
    That outfit though, is just the sweetest little one I could imagine for a modern doll! I think so many modern outfits are just too plain and look like most anyone could make them. Now, the Civil War and colonial dresses look like–and do–take way more time and talent to get them right. That’s why you do so well with those outfits.

    I just absolutely love that Blue Valentine outfit for Addy! It is making me think more and more about getting Addy, but what would I ever do with her? I have no room!

    • HI Linda,
      I hope you didn’t think I was singling you out when I said what I did about root canals. Seriously, to most people they say, with a groan, “Oh, I have to get a root canal,” but my fear was a bit over the top. The dentist must have heard from my regular dentist that I’m a bit fearful of work done in my mouth, and when this dentist yesterday was giving me the shots in my mouth, his dental assistant was patting me on the arm the whole time… it sort of made my laugh inside, but I appreciated that tender touch from her. It seems so silly now…
      Riley is 7 1/2″ tall. She is smaller than Ten Ping by quite a bit. Once you get a good pattern to go by, the sewing is pretty easy. The sleeves can be a bit tedious and the collar can be very tiny to sew on, but it’s not too bad.
      Oh, I think you should get an Addy… you’ll find a place for her. Who do you use for a Civil War doll now, or do you not have that time period represented in your group?
      You wouldn’t be sorry…. sorry to be such an enabler… but that’s my job!!! :o)
      Thanks Linda,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  8. Hi Jeanne!
    Riley looks so cute in her lovely pink outfit! I agree with Cindy, it looks very smart on her. I have one Helen Kish doll-Ballerina Lynne from 1996. Graceful…

    So sorry about the dentist experience when you were young. It’s unfortunate how the pain stays with us! The more okay experiences we have after the better. Gradually it is not so frightening! Good luck with the crown!

    • Thank you Jano,
      Well, if I still had Riley, I’d tell her 2 ladies think she looked “smart” in that pink dress set. I’m sure she’d smile. I’ll have to look up your doll and see what she looks like. I can’t think off hand who she is…
      Maybe someday I’ll get over my dentist phobia…. thanks for your kind thoughts…
      Blessings, Jeanne

  9. Glad you agreed to go to a specialist, Jeanne, it’s so important to get every little bit of nerve out before they put in the filling and put on the crown. It take only a bit of leftover nerve to cause a big abcess later on. I’ve never had one, but know a person who had, then had to go back and get it re-done….no fun.
    I love your little Riley in her Valentine dress. At one time I sewed a lot for Riley and also Kish’s Bitty Bethany. Then when I tired of sewing for them I sold all three of my Rileys and my Bethany. I don’t miss Bethany, but wish I had a Riley back. Guess when I want to buy a new doll to sew for I feel I have to sell some of what I have. I have kept my 3 Ann Estelles and my Patsy (have a new jointed body for her but have always been aftraid to try to put it on), Sold a 12″ Poppy Parker” (in Toykyo?) that I also wish I had back, just feel like sewing something fitted and stylish. I really have very few dolls, no one would call me a collector! lol I borrowed an American Girl once and made some clothes but I wasn’t in love with her body and wanted her to have plastic on her front for open-necked blouses and such. I just couldn’t get used to the fabric there. Strange….I love the way your AG’s look when you dress them, especially your old Addy….she was my favorite. I know the new Addy should look the same, but, to me, she just doesn’t. Does she to you? Perhaps it’s like the two Camylles I had, both painted by Geri, bloth the same mold, same wig, but just subtle differences.
    Your new Addy looks absolutely stunning in her new dress, perfect colors for her and a perfect style. What do you call the little hair piece on the back of her head? Its the prefect touch!.
    Thanks for the tip on double layered skirts, it never occurred to me that the under-ruffle didn’t have to be attached to the dress.

    • HI Jevne,
      The dentist I went to yesterday was very nice and I felt very at ease with him…and the 3 shots he loaded me up with… he said my nerves in the tooth were abnormally long… I saw them on the x-ray and they curled all around at the bottom of the tooth… I’m weird!

      I only a few different Riley’s… Snow White Riley, Nurse Riley, and Skateboard Riley… but only kept the Skateboard one…she’s the one in the dress. I just loved how her face was painted. I had 2 Bitty Bethany’s and sold both of them. I wasn’t thrilled with their bellies and how their legs were sort of bow-legged.

      I guess I hadn’t paid too much attention to the old vs. my new Addy. My new one has American Girl stamped on the back of her neck, but she just has such pretty coloring, that I don’t mind she’s not Pleasant Company. My old Addy sort of looked up and this doll looks straight out and I like that better. I guess I should put a picture of each doll beside the other and compare. I hadn’t noticed that much difference… but I’ll check it out…

      I have no idea if there is a name for what I made… I just made a half circle of lace, sort of like a fan, used some tulle fused to the backside to hold it a little bit stiff, stitched on the bow and then the pearls. There might be a name, but I just called it her hair accessory…

      Actually, what I meant to say about the dress under ruffles wasn’t that it didn’t get attached to the dress. Let me try again: Make the bodice of the dress…then gather up the first shorter ruffle… Stitch it on just like you would if it was the right length. Then take and gather up the second ruffle… next cut a strip of fabric about 2-3 inches wide and long enough to go around the dolls hips with some extra gathers… maybe 14 or so inches long. Attach the gathered second ruffle to the band… then you stitch the band to the dress waist laying that “waistband” piece on top of the gathers from the first ruffle. Stitch along the same place as where you stitched the first ruffle on. I hope that makes sense…Maybe I’ll have to show how I do it….
      Thanks Jevne,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  10. Kathie Welsh says:

    Riley has always been one of my favorites..and I have one signed by Helen. What a treasure. I’m just amazed by the detail on that little outfit. She looks so happy in the pink and hot pink!
    Hope the new crown fits well and makes you glad you had it done!
    Take care!

    • HI Kathie,
      How neat that you have a Riley signed by Helen. I have Helen’s book signed by her, but that’s not anything compared to a doll. One of my customers gave me the book for my birthday!
      Thanks for your sweet comments about Riley’s dress. I appreciate them very much.
      I really didn’t have much choice… my tooth HAD to be fixed… the worst is over now, so I’m okay today!
      Thanks Kathie,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  11. I thought Ten Ping was like 6″ tall. Smaller than Riley? She looks so teeny.

    • Hi Paula,
      No, Ten Ping is 8″ tall… Riley is pretty little… I’ll see if I can’t find a picture of them together…


      Thanks, Jeanne

  12. Your Riley is just lovely and “smart” is really the right word. All the details are great. I especially like that her arms are not jointed so she can wear sleeveless dresses very well and her neck joint doesn’t show. A beautiful and complete outfit, another triumph.
    The lovely Paulinette that Marilyn so kindly gave me has the same body structure and I especially like the neck joint that allows her head to turn so she can look up and down and sideways like Ten Ping. Some year I’ll get up the courage to change the wig on her to red so she looks like the one on the cover of “Fashions for Small Dolls” by Rosemarie Ionker.

    Hi, Jevne. I’d love to see pictures of the two Addy dolls together for comparison. I found a Pleasant Company one on eBay that I really like. It is made of a completely different composite than the newer dolls and feels soft and gives a bit to the touch. My Pleasant Company Felicity is made of the same material as the Addy. My Mattel Molly is of a harder plastic. I love reading information about the different dolls, and you and Laura are so knowledgeable and experienced. I did figure out not to try to comb Addy’s hair and just separate it and braid it and it looks very nice, almost like Jeanne’s.

    I went for what I thought was a cleaning at the dentist today and found I’d made an appointment for after Christmas to have a crown replaced. Glad I didn’t have to think about it before I got to the office. They do have much better meds today in the shots but it’s still “the dentist.”

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