June 18, 2011

Quilting, Sewing

Do you remember playing with paper dolls when you were a little girl?  I do.  It was one of my favorite pastimes. I’d sit for hours and hours with new books of paper dolls which my  Nana would get for me when we went into Stroudsburg.  My favorite was Betsy McCall. 

Speaking of Betsy…does McCall’s magazine still put the paper dolls in the magazine?   I’m not sure there’s much in the way of paper dolls available for little girls in todays electronic age.  Something tells me the new age genre doesn’t translate well to this venue…and how on earth do you do paper dolls on the WII or DS and get any satisfaction out of it???  I read a post on facebook recently that somebody wrote.  Something to the effect that today’s kids have PSP, cell phones, computers etc and when he was a boy he had a ball, comic books, coloring books and crayons.  

As I was perusing the quilt shops for some new and exciting kits to want to make (the multi closet stash that I have is not capturing my interest…or motivating me to sew), I noticed whole reams of fabrics with paper dolls, kits for quilts using them, soft books, carrying sacks for them etc.  It made me think of how I would love to have little girls to make these for.

I have to wonder.  Would today’s little girls play with them and love them as I did or find them too boring to bother with?  If I made them would I be able to part with them….or would I want to hang onto them and play with them myself?  (I’m thinking the latter is pretty accurate.)  I DO have a little great niece and the daughter of my godson I could sew these things for.   But it would plain make me crazy if I went to the trouble and their very modern mommies felt they were too old fashioned and eschewed them on behalf of their kiddies.  I don’t know that they would, mind you, I just know my limitations.    And those limitations are the fodder for a whole other post about what a field day the analysts might have with my simple little brain so we should probably let that topic lie out there unattended for now.  I don’t guess I need to let the world know all of my foibles…just saying.  

Could it be that I am simply longing for a simpler time prior to cardiac arrests, therapy, critical care and craziness?  Or could it be I’m just slipping into that old age thing where they say kid’s parents become their kids and I’m just becoming a kid.  Or could it be both and I’m hoping to escape from the craziness of the former?  Or is it just that I want to buy something to soothe my frazzled self and can’t afford mink (though the cost of fabric is certainly starting to rival extravagances like jewels and furs).  Who knows. But I’m sure craving me some fabric paper dolls to play with!



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3 Comments on “Nostalgia”

  1. Linda McKay Says:

    Paper dolls! I too played with them for hours, again mostly the ones from McCalls magazine. A few years ago one of the ‘girls’ I worked with (she was in her mid twenties and had a 2 year old daughter) was talking about what her little girl liked to play with. I mentioned paper dolls, and she was very interested. I went only and googled paper dolls, and many many came up, including scanned pages of the McCalls ones. So I downloaded many of them, printed on heavy cardstock and then laminated the dolls, and she loved them. I think they just aren’t easily available anymore, and unless kids get introduced to any of the things we enjoyed, they don’t know they exist.

    I have discovered many lovely paperdoll embroidery designs, stitch them out on felt and then cut them out. Coat the clothing with tacky glue, and they work just like the ones we remember, they are just a lot more durable. There is an embroidery group called “Smiles for Children” that donates hundreds of sets to children every year, especially after a natural disaster where they’ve lost everything. The dolls dont’ take up much room, can live in a freezer bag if necessary, but give the kids something to hold on to that belongs to them. They have always been very well received and I have purchased many sets over the past couple of years. My goal is to get to a point where I have sets made ahead, so when there is a call for them I have them ready to send.

    I too miss so much of what we had when we were growing up, the innocence of living in a small town where you didn’t lock your doors or your car, where as a child you were safe to walk to school, or to the swimming pool or the park by yourself. Where you could stay outside until it got dark and play with your friends. We were oblivious to anything but being a kid, and today I think children have to process so much more and don’t have that same freedom of just being a kid like we did.

    So yes, I think you are looking back on easier times, more relaxed days, and at the same time, that child inside you is reemerging, I think we appreciate life so much more now that we have settled into middle age, that we want to recapture those happy times. and with grandchildren we are able to do that with abandon I think, I understand now why my dad loved to spoil my boys, and how they loved it too. It was fun being a kid, especially when we were growing up, all those experiences made us who we are today, and I for one do miss that part of my life, but I’m also very grateful that I had it.



    • rsmallen Says:

      Linda, thanks for reading, for your thoughtful response and for the embroidery tip! How I long for simpler times…Robin


  2. Beckie Says:

    I loved paperdolls! My aunt would save the Betsy page from McCall’s magazine. When cleaning out Mother’s garage recently, my sister & I came across paperdolls that we had that included Brides and Barbie paperdolls.
    Hang in there and enjoy the memories.


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