Thursday, July 28, 2016

Halloween Dolls; Think Cool!

The grave's a fine and quiet place, but none do there I think embrace. John Donne

I belong to a Facebook Group titled “For the Love of Fall and Halloween.”  That says it all.  We love, love autumn.  We countdown the days to Halloween, and share our collections of Halloween decorations and autumn leaves.  It is inevitable that the dolls and figurines of the season also frequently appear.  I love the season because of the memories it evokes.  When I started school, it always seemed to get cooler much faster than it does now.  Fall meant apples and new school books, new clothes, new friends, and new classes.  My mother would be sewing my Halloween costume, and we would be planting mums in different colors.

Scarlett, Courtesy Gathered Traditions

Quintessa. Teri Long, Long Gone Dolls

Autumn meant caramel apples and The Spoon River Scenic drive.  It meant leaf collecting, and handmade ink blocks to make our own leaf designs and stencils.  Fall fashion meant new sweaters and boots, plans for Thanksgiving, and cool, crisp nights.


We got out the blow mold ghosts and masks we loved to decorate with, and took out my cutouts for our window.  Some were vintage examples, scarred with ancient scotch tape but still beloved.  Others, equally loved were now faded, collage projects of construction paper, poster paint and old magazines.  My favorite decoration along these lines was a Halloween poster the local 7th graders made for Bell’s Auto.  The grim reaper, hooded and draped with real material, reached out a hand made of chicken bones! The effect was truly eerie!  I wish I’d had Instagram in those days!

Courtesy, R. John Wright


My collection of witch dolls, some from Salem came out, along with my Crypt Keepers.  Even our doll houses had ghosts. One Tootsie Pop ghost wrapped in Kleenex was a gift in grade school from a little friend named Joanie. It still haunts the doll house.  Others are was novelty candles.  Beanie Baby ghosts and other Halloween plush share room with vintage pumpkin lanterns and hard plastic figurines.


On Halloween night, after we decorated with gourds and as many jack o’ lanterns as we could carve; my dad took me and my friends trick-or-treating.


The next day, sugar skulls and assorted skeletons and Calaveras decorated the house for The Day of the Dead, an important holiday to my mom and me; we both taught Spanish.


By the time “The Nightmare before Christmas” came out, I was in Halloween Heaven! I also recommend Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree and the Bradbury narrated animated film of the same title.


At Thanksgiving, my Pilgrims and Native American dolls decorated our table along with turkey statues and chicken candles.  We hardly had room to eat!


In memory of those wonderful days, and of my family that made them so good, I share with you some of the fall dolls and collectibles from my collection.  Turn out the lights, plug in the blow mold décor, switch on the led candles and turn up the air conditioning so you can cuddle up under your favorite blanket as you enjoy this tour of autumn dolls, toys, and collectibles.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Pokémon Go

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: Pokémon Go: Pokémon Go Public Domain Image   Among my many doll and toy artifacts that make up Dr. E’s Doll Museum are several Pokém...

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Finding Erzebet's body; an Excerpt

Finding Erzebet's body;


She is a rag doll, very old, surrounded by other dolls, all buried together.  The rest of the dolls sit around her.  Her eyes are black buttons, her hair is black thread piled on top of her head in a knot, similar to her painting. She is a body turned into a rig doll.  Her dress is faded, but there is still a high collar, or rough.  The skirt is dark with lacings, the sleeves long, once white linen, puffed at the wrist. Her mouth is embroidered. 


She has turned into the doll over the centuries, morphed into cloth stuffed with dried grass.  Her autopsy consists of a a seam cut down the middle to see what kind of grass her stuffing is.  A group of little girls are the MEs.  She and the other dolls were dug out behind the runs of an old doll hospital in Prague.

Courtesy, Sir Flacon, ebay

Monday, July 11, 2016

2.5 ft Roaming Rosie Red Antique Doll Animatronics - Decorations -

One of my dolls in action; I almost didn't get her.  I had to wait to go to the store.  She was nearly the last one.

2.5 ft Roaming Rosie Red Antique Doll Animatronics - Decorations -

A Paper on Vampires I will be Presenting Soon

In difficult and dangerous times, people often turn to monster tales for comfort, especially stories of immortal supernatural monsters and madmen, like vampires. Yet, while mad, monstrous, and immortal, literary vampires including Dracula, Carmilla, Lestat, The Blood Countess, still have human emotions and very human agendas. The creatures’ mystery and unattainability make them even more attractive. Vampire heroes are the “bad boys” of fiction, often waiting to find the one thing many have not found in their long lives, eternal love. Vampire women are femme fatales, “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.” (Krentz) Vampires are also the ultimate scribes and historians. Because they live nearly forever, they are eyewitnesses to history who record it as no one else.  This paper explores how vampire culture intersects with contemporary culture portrayed in novels by Rice, Stoker, Le Fanu, and others, so that humans appear monstrous and monsters appear human. 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Cumbered with Serving, Best with Woes, Learn of the Lady from her Letters

In times of great stress, we take comfort in small things, hence my fascination with the little book, "In Small Things Forgotten." which I used in my dissertation, and mentioned in my book on Barbara Pym, "The Subversion of Romance in the Novels of Barbara Pym."  I mention Pym her in a post on Erzebet because, but for the reputation a Victorian Catholic clergy assigned to her, Erzebet would be one of Pym's excellent women, widowed, still responsible, caring for others, yet unlike most of Pym's women, fantastically wealthy.

"Who should blame us if we only want the trivial things?'  Barbara Pym, quoted in the film, "Miss Pym's Day Out" starring Patricia Routledge.

I have been involved with caregiving, and solving other's issues for some time now, more intensely the last two years, and completely immersed the last 5 months.  Things that give me respite are often not possible; it is another full time job.  One cold Feb. day, after hours and hours at the hospital waiting or battling with incompetents, I hang a small, plastic red heart on one of my trees.   It becomes my focus point over the next month or of doctor's visits, a botched attempt at rehab at Fiendish Manor, battles with insurance companies, a fraud situation perpetrated by Fiendish Manor, lawyers, caregiver agencies, and so much more aggravation.

An hour on the couch with my little cats, watching Netflix, or immersed in a Patricia Cornwell, Elizabeth George, or James Patterson, these keep me alive.  These and correspondences with women who read my old columns on, but became my fast friends.  They lead by example, as each faces a family trauma, or serious personal illness, and yet, they keep on.

My mother, now gone herself, stressed to me often that if something were to happen to one of us, to her, to me, to Dad, the two left would have to keep going.  I'm trying.

One thing that has happened to me is that I continuously compare myself to Erzebet, to the Erzebet portrayed in her letters as compiled and published by Kimberly Craft.

As I've written before, the letters are all about Erzebet's attempts to manage her 27 or so estates in times of war and illness, alone as a widow, constantly worrying about her granaries and funds.  How would she care and feed for all those in her charge?  I found nothing happy or even light-hearted in her in her letters.

Now, here I am.  Involved in the care and responsibility of 5 houses, shopping for others, arranging their medical care, calling for their medicines, trying to live their responsibilities for them. Not feeling well myself, not at all well, not sleeping, yet rising early to make this or that appointment for someone else. Worrying about those charged with the care of my family, dodging attempts from members elsewhere in my family overseas to take advantage of Dad and of Me, worrying about my own family, my husband, our son.

I'm an only child, and in this age of technology and social media, I feel so alone.  How must Erzebet have felt, a young widow, with her parents dead, living in dangerous times, a religious outcast according to some?  Wealthy single women, or even gentlewomen of modern means, have never been treated favorably.  I had one modest house before I married, and I had neighbors who constantly resented me for it.

Pym, and I, have read and commented on Coventry Patmore's "The Angel of the House." I, and Erzebet, have had the burdens that kept The Angel grounded, but we are both very far from receiving the praise and admiration she got from her doting, if not smothering husband.

Norah Loft has written about single women in the 16th century and 17th century who tried to run and own estates, and J.S. Mill has addressed the laws that kept women from owning property, and see also The Married Women's Property Acts, and Mary Wollstonecraft, "A Vindication of the Rights of Women."

Ah, Erzebet, Ah, women kind.

Public Domain Image of a Letter by Erzebet

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Scary Doll Gallery

Here are images of some scary dolls, brought to you tongue in cheek.  I hope you enjoy them, and feel free to share with us  your own scary doll stories.

Clown by Grace Dorbeck. author.

China doll with teeth from Colemans, Vol. I; formerly Laura Tresko Collection.

Skull. author.

Dia de Muertos Calaveras. author

Blow Mold Ghost; author

Goth Doll Sisters. author.

Witch made of Fimo. author

Deadly Nightshade the Paper Doll, Herb's Daughters by Ellen Tsagaris

By A. Thorndyke

Courtesy, Aberntathy's. Voodoo Doll Mascot

Goose at Halloween

"Lucy" and other Skulls . author

Halloween Ceramics, Lefton and Jackson's Pottery. author.

Doll Graveyard, author

Roaming Antique Doll, author