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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Yard Sale Musings and Guest Blogging Myself!

Recycle, Renew, Rejoice, is the motto of my favorite thirft/consignment store. Read and enjoy.

Remember, for school this year, if it fits, wear it, hand it down, trade it! Think accessories to update outfits, and great sales. Dillard had 60% off, and 40% off that! Save money, but save some cash for yourself.

Have a budget; stick to it. I know it's hard, really I do! :)

In some cases for lit and other courses, I've been able myself to read e-books, use library books, or go to second hand stores; will try to post my guide, soon.

Buy snacks in bulk from Stables, TPC wholesalers, Aldi, Sams, Costco, Price Club, whatever. Think of making your own trail mix and using baggies or recylcables from the dollar stores.

Check out sales and discounts; even the Salvation Army has new things, if vintage isn't your thing.

Yard Sale Musings; Memoir of a Good Sale and Doll Castle News
Hot, steamy summer is officially here. My glasses fog up repeatedly, and I have to pull my hair back. Everyday is a bad hair day, and it is just too, too hot! But, everything is relative. I have great memories of running around in the heat; of yard sales where I took off wearing my all cotton shirt, white, of course, and vinage jeans, usually with the faded flower print worked into the denim, hunting for treasures. I liked to wear my hair down then, and a lolng necklace of tourquoise beads doubled twiced around my neck. I found some good sales in the close heat and stifling air, one where the man of the house appreicated my love of old toys, and actually invited me in to look at Sonja Henie and Bucherer dolls, the last I had never seen. I only had the photo in my metal doll book from the Yokohama doll museum. He had a tiny mannikin, used to model foundation garments as an ad sign in drug stores, and lots of little bisque figures, most in boxes. At another sale, I bought African dolls and carvings, and a vintage radio case. The man there had brought the wooden carvings from Africa when he was there during World War II.

I had stumbled on estate sales with antique dolls and ancient scrapbooks, boxes of doll furniture, one legendary sale had dolls, pottery, and artifacts from all over the world. I came back with a Diana of Ephesus, a Lenci mascotte from Rome, several Greek pots with Ibises and horned beasts, jewelry, a block of antique tea with a pagoda done in bas relief on it, dozens of miniatures and crepe paper ornaments from Mexico, you name it. Even my mom was impressed. I felt a lot like Lucy St. Elmo from the Mary Moody mysteries.

Summer of 92 was stifling, but we used to take off for the Great River flea market, and eat at Lonesome Dove,now defunct, full of taxidermy and great buffet food. I met my friend Zondra there, who was a real gypsy, and a GWTW freak. She had the whole collection of dolls from Alexander and Royal, as well as sketches I didn't buy that were done for the TV sequel, Scarlett. Could have kicked myself for that, and would have liked the sketch of the late Dorothy Tutin, who made her portrayal of Anne Boleyn so famous.

Then there were our family trips, to Europe, Mexico, Canada, all over the US, always searching out flea markets and dolls. There was the "monasteraki" in Athens, and the black, silk screened Greek doll. We saw some bisque heads there, and wished we had bought them, and there were vendors on every corner selling soft plastic dolls and celluloid babies and toys made in Greece, and book shops with doll shaped books and litho paper dolls from Denmark and elsewhere. There was the Madrid flea market and the pilgrims of Santiago dolls, and the San Jose flea market, and Monterey Flea market, and the old Indiana Antiques. We loved Gilroy and Casa de Fruta in its early days; not only did they have aplets and cotlets, but they had old stock Europian dolls for Hungary and elsehwere, all original, for less than one dollar, and some were quite large. We found masks and Mexican miniatures in San Juan Bautista, and our favorite restaurant had two cases of foreign dolls gracing their walls. In Canada, we found antique stores with great jewelry, and commerically made bisque dolls, and Inuit dolls and sculpture. I used to love Stratford, Ontario, and just missed going to a big Doll Show, but I made it up in Royal Doultn and Canadian dolls. At a good will, I bought an Argeninian baby doll.

We loved Wisconsin Dells, and when I was thirteen, bought my first metal head from a lady whose whole house was a doll store, and my first Ginny from a farm with grey geese running around the yard. There was a great store there that had a window full of bisque dolls and costume dolls, and a drug store where I bought a Skookum doll and a baby in a papoose cradle marked "occupied Japan."

I loved the thrill of the hunt with my Mom, and we were forces to be recogned with in New Orleans and Williamsburg, VA. The Lady Anne Doll factory was a dream come true, and Mary Todd Lincoln was a special treasure, as were the Ozark flea markets and stops we made during another trip.

My mom and I got a kick out of anything unusual; my scandalized dad tried to keep me from entering Marie LeVeau's House of Voodoo in NO, but after I poopoohed his objections of people we know seeing us there, I went in and found my mom gazing at voodoo dolls and skulls and candles with, "that's cute" about to burst forth from her lips. I bought a ju-ju doll, and another VooDoo doll from a store called Hello Dolly. Great place; I'd live there ina heartbeat, hurricanes and all. Wish I could have gone back when St. Elizabeth's was a doll museum.

I did get to see the outside of Kimport Dolls, to visit Vera Kramer's Dolls in Wonderland before she had to move from her building. I saw the famous Marque doll, and many more.

So much has changed, and the hot summers that meant it was time for Old Albuquerque, and Disneyland's French Quarter Antique Shop, and Mott's Miniature Museum in Knott's Berry Farm, are sweet ghosts of my past. The summer of Jaws lingers in my memory because I spent time wandering on the beach at Huntington Beach, and picking up shells for a doll house roof that became an art project the next year. I used miniatures from an antique shop there, and ate scallops at a seafood shack where a six foot shark hung over our heads. Aunt Connie had flown down from San Jose, and we picked her up at LAX where I saw Laurel and Hardy Dolls by Dakin in the gift shop.

I think I actually bought one there.


That was the year we ate tuna salad at the Chicken of the Sea Restaurant in Disneyland, and wandered around San Francisco, and everyone was happy for once.

When I think about these things, or wander the sales, I'm still fifteen, and my family is with me. My pen pals still write to me, and Christmas Cards are still a big deal.

Kudos to Doll Castle magazine, by the way, for staying with it, and for publishing my friend R. Lane Herron's great article about our friend Glenda Rolle and her sand babies. What a wonderful article! Such great dolls, and they, too, remind me of beaches, especially Capitola, home of Suzanne Gibson, Santa Cruz, where I think Dewees Cochran lived? Lane would know.

I'd love to hear from anyone who remembers Kimport, or the mag, Berneice's Bambini, or Madonna Hardy Inlow dolls, or the Mark Farmer Doll doll company, or the old Chelsea Shop in Ghiradelli Square in San Francisco. Those were great times. May you all have a great summer, and find your own doll memories.
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Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Eugene Field Memoir
This is a great two volume set that is free on Amazon's Kindle! I didn't know his father represented Dred Scott, but I've always been a fan of his, both because he was a doll colletor and because I went to Eugene Field Grade School [which had a doll collection on display!].

One assignment we do in humanities class is to choose a favorite toy and write about and discuss it. This is a good way to begin writing about childhood. Answer where the toy came from, was it hand made? Did you make it? Was it a gift? Was it even a toy [one of mine was an African statute dubbed The Little Drummer Boy" Do you still have it? Did you inherit it then pass it on? These are good ways to fill in gaps for childhood stories, and scrapbookers are liable to have photos and other memoarabilia for their albums.
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With Love from Tin Lizzie: A History of Metal Dolls . . . at Publisher
Our book on metal dolls is being formatted and edited for publishing even as we speak. Look for it on Amazon in late fall; we hope by Christmas!
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Of Pockets of Pearls and Doll Trivia
The Museum would like to thank Merna and Robin Throne for all their help with our new Facebook page, Dr. E'Doll Museum, and with our Twitter account. Our followers grow by the minute, and we are very pleased with our new look.

It has been a late spring cleaning at the museum, with a lot of books being sorted and arranged and dolls grouped and organized. Most of our china dolls are now residing on one settee, and these include local artists dolls, vintage and antique china heads and parian, Ruth Gibbs, some very early "dump babies" dug up in the ruins of German doll factories, some original creations, etc. Near them is a small shelf with a small collection of a friend's Nancy Ann and HP storybook dolls. There is a lot of planting of miniature gardens, dusting, packing, unpacking and repacking going on, too.

In part, we are saddened at the upcoming closing of our sister museum, The Rosalie Whyel Museum of Doll Art. We wish them luck, and do hope that they keep collecting privately.

Some short news and trivia; we will be presenting at MMLA this year, both our panel, A Literary Shelter for Misfit Dolls: Exploring Doll Play, and our paper on Dolls in Horror Films, are a go. This is a lot of work, but very exciting. We are indebted to the National Museum of Play for their on line Journal of Play and to our similar sources.

I have also been reviewing doll history, lately, and did not know that Charles Lindburgh was the best friend of the legendary Sam Pryor, former VP of Pan Am and noted doll collector. Pryor's collection is featured in several publications including the Dec. 1959 National Geographic, "The World in Dolls." Lindburgh, too, collected dolls, automatons and mechanical figures. Who knew? And, we have a porcelain Lindburgh doll, and a vintage Amelia Earhart.

Also, we hope to visit the home and doll collection of Eugene Field. I went to Eugene Field Grade School, as did my own son. Our principal had her own doll collection on display there, as was fitting. I did not know, however, that Fields' father, Roswell Field, was a lawyer, as is Dr. E by training, and that he represented Dred Scott. I've visited the courthouse before, and taught the case. We even have a house in my area where Scott stayed, but what a small world. Dolls are truly everywhere!

More triva: Chase Stockinet dolls, first made in 1893, were used as late as 1994 to teach hospital personnel. I had a student in one of my doll classes who used one, and she was called Mary Ann Chase [same first name as the student!]. I remember first grade books on nurses that showed drawings of them, too, in the mid sixties.

Also, the ball and socket joint for doll bodies was introduced in 1870. How interesting that these dolls are super popular today. Everything old isnew again. For more triva, see Betty O' Bennett's Collectible Dolls Facts and Trivia, vol.1 Hipp-Daniel, 1994.

Don't forget, the Bibiliography is on Amazon!! A Bibliography of Doll and Toy Sources, by Ellen Tsagaris.
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Monday, July 18, 2011
Pearls of Wisdom
Here is a wonderful link!

The Virtual Face-Lift™ - Website Creator & Live Tutorial
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Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Temples where Dolls are Cremated and "Die"
from the Japan Times; this is an interesting part of doll culture, but I couldn't bear to watch!

WEEK 3
CEREMONIES TO SAY 'THANKS AND GOODBYE'
Last rites for the memories as beloved dolls pass away
By SETSUKO KAMIYA
Staff writer
An opulent pair of Hime daruma prince and princess dolls from Ehime Prefecture in Shikoku has graced the living room of Tamiko Okamoto's home in Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, since 1964. A wedding gift from a close friend, the dolls, side by side in a glass case, had been part of the family for all those years.




Departing dolls on display (top) before a monument to them at the Kiyomizu Kannondo Temple in Tokyo's Ueno Park, where some are cremated (above) at the finale of the annual event on Sept. 25. Dolls around the Shinto altar (below) at a similar "Doll-Thanking Ceremony" held on Sept. 18 at the Midori Kaikan funeral hall in Tokyo's Setagaya Ward. SETSUKO KAMIYA PHOTOS



But when her husband died six years ago, Okamoto thought it was also time to bid farewell to those witnesses to their life together. As well, 40 years had tattered their kimonos, and the colors were fading.

"It's been on my mind, but I couldn't just throw them away, because that would bring divine punishment," said Okamoto, now 69 years old. "I'd wanted to have them prayed for, but I didn't know where to take them."

Earlier this year, Okamoto was excited to learn about the Kiyomizu Kannondo Temple in Tokyo's northern Taito Ward. At that temple in Ueno Park, she found out that a ceremony called ningyo kuyo is held annually to pray for dolls and thank them for giving their owners many fond memories. It is also a way for owners to release dolls from their hands and lives.

On Sept. 25, Okamoto was one of many dozens who took their dolls to the temple to be prayed for and then discarded. They included traditional ones such as Hina ningyo doll sets representing emperor and empress, attendants, court musicians and guards, which are traditionally given on the March 3 annual Hinamatsuri (Doll Festival), when families with daughters display them as a way of expressing hope for their future happiness. As well, that day at the temple, numerous soft-toy animals or animation characters were among the many "offerings" made.

At 2 p.m., five monks started reciting sutras in front of a monument on which several dolls were displayed. The monks then moved over to a small hearth, where some token representatives of the dolls were burned to ashes. Okamoto and the other assembled owners all put their hands together in prayer as if they were attending a funeral.

Afterward, Okamoto was trembling. "I didn't think it would be such a proper ceremony," she said. "My dolls gave us a nice time and I am so touched."

A week before Okamoto bid goodbye to her beloved dolls, Noriko Yamada, 60, shared a similar experience in Tokyo's Setagaya Ward, where she lives. At the local funeral hall, called Midori Kaikan, another ceremony for departing dolls, called ningyo kanshasai, was performed.

Literally meaning "doll appreciation festival," the basic idea underlying the event was similar to that of the temple in Ueno Park. But the major difference was that the ceremony was according to Shinto practices rather than Buddhist ones.

Yamada took along a dozen dolls, including both some traditional ones and soft-toy animals that belonged to her now 35-year-old daughter.

"It's been hard to think about getting rid of them, because they remind me of the time my daughter spent with them," Yamada said, sentimentally. "And, you know, you can't throw away things with eyes, noses and mouths."

At the same time, Yamada said, she was looking for the right opportunity to dispose of them because the dolls were taking up too much space in her apartment. "I'm very glad that they are well taken care of like this," Yamada said as she surveyed the 5,000 dolls around the altar.

Soon, a priest began to perform a ritual to drive out the dolls' spirits and purify them. The ceremony was very solemn. Everyone was very quiet, as if it was a funeral -- but this time there was no burning of the dolls.


Dolls and soft toys (above) at Kiyomizu Kannondo Temple in Tokyo's Ueno Park, where Buddhist monks (below) receive them for the ceremony, along with a 3,000 yen donation per item.



Both Okamoto and Yamada believed it just wasn't right to simply toss their dolls into a rubbish bin, not least because of the memories that they embody. Each felt that doing so would in some way bring a curse down on them. In fact, many Japanese share their views -- as the huge number of dolls brought to the two farewell events so clearly demonstrated.

Where does such thinking come from?

Generally speaking, observers agree that it is neither a Buddhist nor a Shinto teaching to thank and pray for the dolls. Religious institutions simply reacted to this uniquely Japanese outlook by creating ceremonies to meet a need.

Historically, for instance, Kiyomizu Kannondo has long been a temple where couples would go and pray to be blessed with a child. When a child did come along, it was then customary for them to take a doll to the temple as the child's substitute to prevent anything bad befalling it. As time went by, some people simply started bringing dolls they wanted to get rid of, and the temple began accepting them daily and eventually started the annual ritual 49 years ago.

As for the Shinto ceremony at Midori Kaikan, the event there was actually part of a promotion campaign for the renewal of the funeral hall, owned by Setagaya Ward and run by JA Tokyo Central Ceremony Center. But it was also their effort to meet a local need, said Ceremony Center President Hiroaki Tanno, because "many residents are suffering over how to do away with their dolls."

As a result, to meet people's spiritual and practical needs regarding their dolls, similar events are held in temples and shrines across Japan, with owners normally paying "offerings" of around 3,000 yen per doll to for the service.

In fact, one of the nation's major "doll farewells" takes place today at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward. There, from 9 a.m., people will start bringing in their dolls, and a huge number are expected to surround the main shrine before the day is out.

All very touching, for sure, but why do so many Japanese feel the need to pray for the dolls before abandoning them -- to say such "Thanks and Goodbye," as signs at Meiji Shrine proclaim?

According to Sumie Kobayashi, who heads the reference room of doll manufacturer Yoshitoku Co., the key actually lies in the annual Hinamatsuri Doll Festival. The dolls for this occasion, traditionally representing the wedding of the Imperial couple, are displayed on a platform. They are admired and handled with care and respect.

Kobayashi explained that festivals such as this are rooted in ancient purification rites performed as the seasons change, and that long ago the dolls were votive symbols in human form. In fact, she pointed out, the word for "doll" (ningyo) actually means "human form" when it is written in kanji characters.


Visitors admire the dolls at last year's "Doll Farewell" at Tokyo's Meiji Shrine (below). PHOTO COURTESY OF NIHON NINGYO KYOKAI

But in addition to respect for them being rooted in ritual and symbolism, Kobayashi said the dolls also "fulfill an educational purpose -- teaching us to be nice to them because they are vulnerable."

Kobayashi is a member of a group supporting today's festival at Meiji Shrine, and she has helped to display the dolls there many times. The number of dolls has been rising every year since the event started in 1989, she said, and this year is expected to top last year's record of more than 38,000.

After the ceremony is over and the dolls are purified, Kobayashi explained, most will be discarded as industrial waste. However, some with historical value will be kept to be displayed every year at the shrine after receiving the consent of the owners.

"Whenever I'm helping with this event, I'm really stunned to realize how much Japanese people have feelings for their dolls," she said. "It's really a unique and mysterious custom [to pray for them]."

The Japan Times: Sunday, Oct. 15, 2006
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