Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Our Victorian Faceless Poll Results

I've posted a couple of articles on my Linda's Blog during the last year concerning the poll I am running on my Linda Walsh Originals website.

The poll concerns my Victorian "Lady" series of faceless dolls. The question is "Should our Victorian Dolls remain faceless?" For awhile we were running in favor of faceless. Them we were running in favor of faces. Then we were running in favor of faceless. Now, we've swung around and are running in favor of faces by a margin of 2 to 1.

Out of 86 votes, 26 or 30% feel the dolls should remain faceless. That means 60 or 70% feel that they should have faces. Of the 86 votes 2 votes were from males and 84 were from females.

For those of you that love our "faceless" Victorians I have good news. We will continue to carry "faceless" dolls and I will continue to design "faceless" Victorians. Personally, I love the "faceless" Victorians and love to design them.

But, for those of you who like Victorians with "faces" I also have good news. I'm currently in the process of putting together the new Victorian dolls I've designed with "faces." In fact, we have some new primitive, colonial, country, and raggedy designs all with faces. Something for you to look forward to. Who knows, maybe I'll change my mind and decide that I like "faces" better. Nah!!!!! That will never happen!

Thanks to everyone for taking our poll.


Monday, April 23, 2007

Blogs as Heirlooms and Family Fun!


I've been giving a lot of thought lately to setting up another blog. Now I know what you're thinking. You've got to be thinking, "Another Blog for The Blogging Queen? You've got to be kidding? How many blogs do you need?"

Well, this really isn't a blog for me and my small business. It's more of a family heirloom blog. You see, I want to honor my Dad for his WWII service, and give the rest of the family (especially his grandchildren) a glimpse into his life while he was in the armed services. So, of course, I immediately thought the best way to do that was with a blog.

My Dad joined the Navy in April of 1943 and served until December 1946. He was as a Pharmacist's Mate assigned to the Marines. He fought in the Pacific area and was at the battle of Iwo Jima.

I have all of my Dad's papers from WWII, some of his war correspondence, and most of his pictures from boot camp forward. The wonderful thing about his pictures is that he wrote the names of his fellow servicemen on the back of the pictures. He was a "pack-rat" and saved everything. I guess I must take after him in that regard. I, too, save EVERYTHING!

So, I thought that as a tribute to my DAD I would set-up a WWII blog for him. That way his grandchildren and their grandchildren can see who their Grandfather was and what he did for his country.

Also, by including the names of his fellow servicemen and women maybe someone else will be able to see a picture of their father or grandfather in WWII. Plus, with the ability to crop and enlarge the old photo's we'll all finally be able to see what everyone really looked like back then.

In thinking about this new blog I started to think about what a wonderful heirloom a blog could actually be. In fact, it could be quite a genealogical tool as well.

You see I am also a genealogy buff and have saved all of the old family pictures including all the old tin ones that they took during the 1800's. I said I was a "Pack Rat" didn't I? In any event, I have even scanned some of these into the computer. Believe it or not, but they scan beautifully and the detail on the enlargements is astonishing.

I actually scanned a tin civil war image of one of my great, great grandfather's into the computer and then cropped and enlarged it. What was astonishing about it was that I thought I was looking into the eyes of my Mother. They are exactly the same as her great grandfathers. But, we never could see that before because the tin images were too small and too fuzzy. It was amazing.

So, I also thought that when I had time (now that's a laugh!!!) I would love to set-up a family history blog to house all of these wonderful old pictures and to let all of my relatives see what their ancestors looked like. Let them all get to know some of their ancestors. And, what better way to do this then through a blog. That way it is online and always accessible to them no matter where they are located. An heirloom blog.

But, heirloom blogs don't just have to be about ancestors. The nice thing about blogs is that they are so easy to do and so flexible. They can be set-up as family blogs for all your current family members to add their pictures and stories to. Set-up as a way for families to stay connected no matter where they are in the world. A family fun blog that everyone can participate in!

And, just think about how wonderful it would be for future generations to see what their parents or grandparents said or added to the blog back when. What a great way for grandchildren to get to know their grandparents.

Blogs as heirlooms and as family fun! How great is that? Now if I could just find the time.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Has Anyone Noticed!

BLOGS, BLOGS, AND MORE BLOGS!

Have any of you noticed how many blogs there are now for individuals, crafters, small business, corporations, etc.?

Everyday when I'm listening to the news I hear someone say, "Just go to so and so's blog at....." And, I love hearing that!

That tells me that blogs have become more and more commonplace as tools for individuals and families to stay in touch, as tools for small businesses and their customers, as tools for the news media, as selling tools, and as tools for mainstream businesses. Everyone and their brother has a blog and I think it's FABULOUS!

What I also love is how many crafting bloggers there are out there. And, most are around my age - which I also think is FABULOUS!

If you key the word blog into Google you'll get 1,030,000,000 results. That's a LOT OF BLOGS.

There's a reason why blogs have been increasing in popularity exponentially over the past few years and it's because they are FREE, they are easy to use, they are extremely easy to update, and they are highly personal - which most customers LOVE. If you were to apply the reality TV versus regular TV analogy to blogs and websites you'd understand why reality TV and blogs are so popular. They are both highly personal and both involve people interacting with each other.

Plus, they can and do function for some bloggers as very professional websites. You can have your own domain name and you can use a shopping cart. In fact, I'd say that there isn't much you can't do with a blog. There is a way to do just about anything you want to. That makes blogs much more versatile than a website as they are much more flexible. And, they are a LOT easier to change and update.

The Internet is ever changing and to be in business on the Internet you need to be fluid and ever changing. That means utilizing what's popular with users and customers. BLOGS are extremely popular and easily adaptable to any kind of commerce, especially e-commerce and e-products.

I, personally, love shopping with someone who has a personal or small business blog. I love the feeling of getting to know the person I'm buying from. I don't know if you feel the same way, too, but I always feel more comfortable buying from someone who has taken the time to tell me something about their product(s) and their life or business. By doing so they make me feel feel more comfortable doing business with them. And, that's what writing blogs for small businesses does. Hopefully, if the blog reader is comfortable with the blog owner they will buy their product.

If they do that's FABULOUS! Bring on the blogs. The more the merrier!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

More Wonderful FREE Pattern Idea Emails

Several months ago I asked my blog readers and customers to let me know what they'd like to see me design for FREE patterns. I've had a great response to date on this and thought I'd share some more of their emails.

Athlyn writes - You are looking for ideas for free doll patterns and my suggestions would be raggedy anns and angels. Thank-you very much. Athlyn

Mel writes - Hi I am at uni studying home ec teaching and I am making just some basic pajamas—like proto-type kind. So I am wondering f u have like a larget doll size pattern u could email me…..the pj’s need a collar, shorts, shirts, and needs to be button up…. Any ideas? Thanks Linda… Mel

Brenda writes - my idea would be self portrate dolls.. shoot sorryspelling.. brenda butler

Lynda writes - You have a lovely website. I would think a lot of people would love free raggedy ann type dolls, snuggly, soft baby dolls and soft, snuggly teddy bears.

Violet writes - After I received the email below from Violet I received another email that said - Hi Linda, After I suggested the grandparent dolls for your free patterns. I decided to make some grandparent dolls up. lol It just stuck in my mind and I had to do it. hehe (They aren't that great, but considering I didn't have a pattern to follow). Just thought I'd let you know. Hope you have a good week. Violet

Of course I wanted to see pictures of Violet's grandparent dolls. She has a picture of her blog at http://violetscraftythings.blogspot.com/2007/03/grandparent-cloth-dolls.html . I think they're terrific. FABULOUS idea Violet.

Judy writes - Hi. If you do or have any type of time out doll or shy baby they have too many names,I would love that. I'm new at dolls so starting big. lol thanks judyyak

Violet writes - Hi Linda, I had a thought on what free patterns I would like to see you design. Although it is only a suggestion. I have always admired my nan and pop for staying together as long as they have and seeing them still "in love" to this day. Anyway, I would love to see you design Grandma and Grandpa dolls. I just don't see many patterns around that are Grandma and Grandpa, which is quite sad. All the best, Violet.

Sandy writes - Hi Linda, My name is Sandy and I have twin granddaughters that are going to turn 2 yrs. Old in May and I would love to make them an old fashioned Monkey doll with the wool socks. Do you have the pattern for this ? If you do I would so appreciate it. Thank You. Sincerely, Sandy

Dolly writes - Hello, I am new to doll making so an easy prim pattern would be great. I've been trying to draw one but can't seem to get the balance between head and body. I'm not great at sewing around curves on the machine either. Also would give me a chance to use stuff I have without investing a lot of money. Any pattern to make this easier for me would be great. Thanks, Dolly - Happy Holidays!!

Pammie writes - Yes design cloth dolls all sizes.

Carrie writes - Hi, there. I just found your site and it is gorgeous! I am looking for a FREE doll pattern. I just got my first sewing machine for Christmas yesterday, at the age of 27. So, I am looking for something easy to try. Thanks! Carrie

Joan writes - Hello Linda, My name is Joan and I crochet and sew. I've never made a doll before. I pretty much make clothes. I want to know how to make a doll and also to quilt. I don't know anyone who can show me. It would be awesome if you offered a free pattern to try. Anything that is pretty basic for us "newbies". If I can do it then I would absolutely pay for a pattern. Thank you. Sincerely, Joan

Vicky writes - Hello Linda.. I was looking at your web site.. really nice.. I would love to be able to make some prim dolls, I prefer something like your Primitive Annie, with a little larger head, a Mammy doll, with wire curls.. Thank you Vicky

Olga writes - Hi Linda
I have been sewing dolls since my little girl, now 33, was little. I would like you to make a doll that grows. Now I have a 2 year old granddaughter and would like to make her a doll that grows with her. Could you do that for me please. Olga from PA

AnnaLee writes - I have a beautiful 18" Kitty Collier that is in a 40's style swimsuit - I'd like something like a full sailor dress for her - she's a platinum blond.

OR....I have a Revlon Doll - the taller and she has no clothes AT ALL...through time they've disappeared. She's from the 50's I got her brand new. Good luck deciding. Anna (Edmond, OK)

Wendy writes - hi , i like your site. i have made a few dolls and am looking for a life size doll pattern for my 2 year old grandson. cant afford the $10 patterns this year. Wendy

The Hammonds write- There seem to be a lot of site with free patterns for antique dolls weather cloth or porcelain. What I would like to find is one that my 7 year old could sew for her fake barbies 10 1/2 to 12 inches tall. Thanks For taking the time to listen :) The Hammonds

Anonymous posted on my Linda's Blog - what about colonial dress patterns for preteens.

Hi Hello, My name is Esttella age 53 and I love making cloth rag dolls, do you have any patterns for the old fashioned cloth doll? I would love to hear from you. Regards Esttella

Jennie writes - Hi my name is Jennie - looking for free patterns. What about a clown pattern for a doll. It could be a jumpsuit with a ruffle or BIG bow that could be converted to a pair of trousers with an all-in-one top with an elasticated ruffle at the neck (for ease of putting on)- with a waist coat. Big gloves (stuffed with cotton wool and the same for shoes (big ones or eatern ones with turned up toes and a bell/felt ball attached. All of which could be made from odd bits of material (I'm sure I'm not the only one with a scrap rag bag of 'useful' bits that they KNOW will come in handy at some point).

Well, all of these are great ideas and give me a lot to think about. I'm in the process of designing new patterns and some FREE patterns. It will be hard to choose from the group of suggestions I've received to date. I may just have to make them all!!! Now, that would be FUN. Hmmmm.....

Please keep those FREE pattern ideas coming.

Thanks to all who wrote to me.


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Oh, My God! NANA!



I had a wonderful surprise yesterday. My 7 year old grandson " Nicky Noodles" surprised me with a visit. I was thrilled to see him and decided I'd show him what I had been working on. I knew he would be surprised and wanted to see his reaction as there is nothing like that of surprise in a child's face.

When he walked into my living room his eyes opened in amazement. He couldn't believe all the new dolls I'd designed and made for my new patterns. His response was "Oh, my God! NANA! Are you crazy?"

I, of course, didn't want my 7 year old grandson to think I was crazy so I replied, "No, of course not. I needed to make some new patterns for my Linda Walsh Originals website."

I thought for sure he would see the logic in that.

He just looked at me with a look that implied - Yeah! But, did you have to make this MANY! He gave me the same look that I'd seen a thousand times before on his Grandfather.

So, I gave him a look back that implied - Yeah! So I have a FEW new doll designs. What's it to ya? You're just like your Grandfather.

What I'm not telling you is that there are literally hundreds of new dolls and they are all over my living room. There's no place to sit - let alone stand. My grandson did a 360 degree turn and immediately said, "Where's Baby Nicky?"

I, of course, knew what he was talking about. He wanted to see the doll I'd designed and named after him. So, I showed him the "Baby Nicky" doll in my dining room that actually has on an outfit that my grandson wore at 3 months. After checking his doll out he said, "Where's the Baby Nicky pattern?"

Well, that was upstairs. So, up we went to look at it.

Mind you, now, this is not the first time he has asked about his "Baby Nicky" doll. Every time he visits he wants to see it and every time I talk to him on the phone he asks about it.

For those reasons alone the doll and pattern are even more precious to me. I know the "Baby Nicky" doll and pattern are special to my 7 year old Grandson.

In fact, I suspect even his older brother likes the fact that I have a doll and pattern named after him, too. He'd never admit it though.

After viewing the pattern he wanted to see all the pictures of himself that were in the various articles I'd written on my Linda's Blog. So, of course, we had to look at all of them. It never ceases to amaze me how many times he wants to see the same things over and over again. Each and every time it's like he's looking at it for the first time. Each and every time he has a look of amazement and delight on his face. It's just so beautiful to see and so precious. It makes the memory even more precious.

So, of course that got me to thinking about the "Story Behind My Baby Nicky" doll article and my "Create Keepsake Dolls From Your Kids and Grandkids Baby Clothes" articles that I had written for my "Linda's Blog."

I thought you might enjoy reading them again. If you'd like to read them again please just CLICK on their titles below:


"The Story Behind My "Baby Nicky" Doll Pattern "

"Create Keepsake Dolls From Your Kids and Grandkids Baby Clothes"


My "Baby Nicky" doll has a special place in my heart as do all the dolls I've made from my grandchildrens' clothing over the years. Each and every time I look at one of the dolls I can recall the outfit and the memory. Creating keepsakes is just such a wonderful way to preserve one's memories. Memories tend to fade over time but a visual image brings them right back.

I hope you would agree and hope you enjoy reading the articles again.

After viewing pictures of himself my Grandson said, "NANA, I'm hungry. What do you have to eat?"

So, off we went to the kitchen....


Sunday, April 01, 2007

Miss America - What's Your Talent?


When I was growing up in the 1950's the attitudes towards women were different than they are today. This was during the middle of the "baby boom" era when wives were still expected to be "barefoot and pregnant - baking cookies in the kitchen!" It was a time when society still held rigid ideas of what an ideal women should and shouldn't be - a time when the ideal women was defined as "Miss America!" Someone who had a beautiful figure, beautiful face, wonderful attitude, just the right amount of knowledge, and, of course, talent.

I like many other young women of my day faithfully watched the "Miss America" pageant on TV with my Mother. I would sit and dream of being "Miss America" until it got to the talent competition. Then, I would freeze. I'd think to myself, "I can handle everything except the talent competition! What would I do for talent?"

You see, I couldn't sing, or dance, or play an instrument. I could sew up a storm and sew rings around anyone I knew, but that wasn't considered talent. What would I do? Come out on stage with my sewing machine and give everyone sewing lessons? Or, show everyone all the clothes that I'd made? The audience would fall asleep.

I could sew, I could craft like crazy, and I could design floral arrangements with the best of them, but that wasn't considered a talent. Well, if it wasn't talent I'd think to myself - I didn't know what was. There wasn't anything I couldn't make if I put my mind to it. Why was sewing and crafting not considered a talent? Just because it wasn't entertaining did that mean it wasn't talent?

The talent portion of the contest accounted for 1/3 of the contestant's overall score. In the talent portion of the competition contestants perform on stage before the judges and audience with the most common talents being singing, dancing, or playing a musical instrument. There have been other talents demonstrated like juggling, cheer leading, gymnastics, ventriloquism, drawing or painting. But, have you ever seen "crafting" or "sewing" as a talent?

So, I got frustrated and angry and gave up wanting to be Miss America. I resigned myself to being "talent-less!" As the years passed my creative juices continued to flow and I got better and better at sewing, crafting, and designing. At one point in my life everything I wore I had made. Then I got bored with making clothes for myself. I decided that I much preferred sewing smaller items like dolls as they took less time.

But, I never stopped thinking about "Miss America" and being "talent-less!" As the years passed I started to think that the ideal woman as defined by "Miss America" during the 1950's was so very wrong. The ideal was too confining and the talent criteria too restrictive. The talent parameters didn't encompass many of the other creative abilities of women and certainly didn't factor in all the different types of crafts that we have today.

So, I decided that women of all walks and ages are so gifted and talented in so many ways that it would be hard to define an "ideal" woman let alone set the criteria for "talent." I might be considered "talent-less" as far as the Miss America standards were concerned, but I was far from that as far as "crafters" standards were concerned.

By the standards defined in the 1950's Martha Stewart would be considered "talent-less!" I dare say most crafters would consider Martha Stewart to be the ultimate crafter with enormous "talent!"

I have changed a lot from the child who grew up with the 1950's ideals of a woman. If someone were to ask me today if I have talent I would not hesitate and would have a definitive and affirmative answer. I would only need to say three words that would define my talent.

Do I have talent? I absolutely have talent. "I'm a crafter!"


Copyright © 2007 - All Rights Reserved - Written By Linda Walsh of Linda Walsh Originals. Linda is a doll maker and doll pattern designer.

Nana - I NEVER Joke About CASH!


$$$$$

The statements that come out of the mouths of my Grandchildren always amaze me. Especially those that come out of the mouth of my Grandson " Nicky Noodles." But, sometimes you just have to keep yourself from bursting out laughing.

My Grandson and I were talking on the phone a few weeks ago about Easter and his First Communion. I, of course, asked him what he wanted for those two events and he immediately said "CASH!" "CASH!" I replied, "You're joking, right?" and he said, "Yes, Nana - I want CASH!"

I, of course started to laugh and replied, "You really are joking, right?" To which he said, "Nana, I NEVER joke about "CASH!" This out of the mouth of a seven year old.

My immediate reaction was "you're just like your Grandfather!" In fact, he's probably a chip off the old block. Maybe even a miniature version of his Grandfather! Heaven help all of us! (Just joking, dear!)

In any event, I decided that we would give him what he wanted for both of these events. However, I decided that I wanted to given him a "stash of cash" for his First Communion so I sent his Grandfather to the bank to get a bundle of 100 one dollar bills. I wanted the envelope with his First Communion card in it to be THICK. Just to see what his reaction was. I was going for the the "visual" effect that he would always remember.

After his First Communion was over I told him that we had a present for him and handed him a THICK envelope. He looked at the envelope and then looked at me with "HUGE" eyes and said, "Nana, is that all C-A-S-H in there?" I replied, " Well, you'll just have to open it up and see." So he ran over to a chair to sit down and open his envelope.

Well, I thought his eyes couldn't get any bigger, but they did. He couldn't contain his excitement when he say this HUGE "STASH OF CASH" and immediately ran over to his Father and said, "Dad, I'm RICH. I'm a millionaire!"

I, of course, padded myself on the back as the "visual" had the desired effect that I had wanted. My Grandson was thrilled with his Grandparents and had to show everyone what he'd gotten.

I was happy my Grandson was thrilled and hoped it would be an event he would never forget.

Perhaps, he might do the same in the future with one of his Grandchildren. I hope he does. But, then again, there's that statement, "Nana - I NEVER joke about "CASH!" Hmmmmmm..... Perhaps not.

The Little Girl Dresses!

Do you ever get that feeling that things were meant to be? When things are more than just a coincidence? I did, today. And, it had to do with "little girl dresses." Several discussions and designs converged today for me.

What am I talking about? Well, it has to do with some new patterns that I am designing, a discussion I had with my daughter-in-law, and my Grandmother's birthday, which was in June, shopping with my nieces, and my granddaughters turning 21 this year.

My Grandmother was born in 1896 and would have been 110 years old. Unfortunately, she passed away in 1975. While she is not here with us now she has left an indelible impression on me, my life, and my creativity. She has also left me with some wonderful memories. One of those has to do with "little girl dresses."

I must have been 4 or 5 and can remember standing in my room and looking up at the rack in my closet that held the "little girl dresses" that my Grandmother and Mother had bought for me.

They were frilly, flouncy, lacy, filled with tulle underskirt dresses and I just loved them. I could stand and look for hours at my dresses.

I, of course, wasn't allowed to touch them - I'd get them dirty. They were for our best occasions which I was hoping would be that day or the next day just so I could wear the dresses. Inevitably, a holiday or special occasion would occur and I would get to wear one of my dresses.

These were the type of dresses that you would twirl in and they would flounce out. I would just twirl and twirl and twirl in them. Around and around I'd go.

In our family room we had some steps right next to a sofa. When I was wearing one of these dresses I would love to stand on the steps and them jump down into the sofa. As I did my dress would fly up in the air like a parachute and then come landing down on me.

Of course, everyone could see my frilly underwear, leotards, slip, etc. when I did this - but, only for the briefest of moments. My Grandmother would "tsk, tsk" and would give me one of those looks of "that's not a lady like thing to do!" I'd just look back at her and smile. I just had to be me. And, then I'd look over at my Mother and she'd be smiling. She knew I just had to be me, too.

Why am I telling you this? Well, I was talking to my daughter-in-law on her way to work as she was stuck in traffic. She was telling me about her Grandmother who stored everything including all of her "little girl dresses" and all of her dance recital outfits. I told her I would love to see them and that she should never throw them away. I'd just love to takes a picture of all of them in a circle laid out in their glory.

I mentioned to her that one of the best shopping trips I had was a "birthday" shopping trip with my niece when she was about 5 or 6. She was so much fun to shop with. You never knew what she was going to do or what was going to come out of her mouth.

We, literally, spent hours in the dressing room while she tried on every frilly "little girl dress" they had, every outfit, hey - everything in the department in her size. She'd try it on then prance in front of the mirror, go outside to look at herself in the three mirrors, and on and on and on it went.

We filled two racks of clothes in the dressing room that day. When we were leaving we looked at the racks of clothes she had tried on and just laughed and laughed. I think we bought one outfit out of what had to be hundreds that she tried on.

During the conversation with my daughter-in-law I mentioned that my twin granddaughters and her niece's would be 21 this year. Where have the years flown?

I fondly recalled how I used to buy them frilly, fancy "little girl dresses." In fact,some of my favorite pictures are of them in their "little girl dresses" or in their dance recital outfits.

We, also, went on "birthday" shopping or "just visiting" shopping trips. They too, tried on many, many "little girl dresses" and other outfits and we always had a wonderful time. We called them our "shop til you drop" girls shopping excursions.

So what does all this have to do with worlds converging?

Well, right now I just happen to be designing and sewing "little girl dress" ornaments. I just happen to be talking about "little girl dresses" with my daughter-in-law. I just happen to be recalling fond memories of my Grandmother and my "little girl dresses." I just happen to be talking about shopping excursions with my niece and "hundreds" of "little girl dresses." And, I just happen to be picturing my twin granddaughters in their "little girl dresses."

Five generations of "little girl dresses." Of course, my Grandmother had THE BEST "little girl dress" as you can see from the black and white picture above.

So, I thought I would share some of my fond memories with you and share some of the pictures.

I don't think it's coincidental that I love Victorian dresses, that I loved staring at my own "little girl dresses", that I loved buying "little girl dresses" for my niece's and twin granddaughters, and that right now I'm designing and sewing some "little girl dress" ornaments. Nope, not coincidental at all.

My Grandmother has certainly left an indelible impression on me, my life, and my creativity. I hope I have done that with my own granddaughters and nieces.

As for my daughter-in-law, well, she is just going to have to get all those "little girl dresses" and dance recital outfits from her Grandmother. I need a picture for my Linda's blog.

Yup! I definitely need a picture of them in a circle laid out in their glory. "Little girl dresses" all laid out in a marvelous circle. Oh, Karen...............I need a picture of your "little girl dresses!" Oh, Karen...........