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My Doll Collecting Story

Laura With Her Dolls
This first picture is a recent photo I just took this week with all the dolls I was able to save from my childhood. They are all in their original outfits. I decided to take a picture with them in my music studio to depict my life properly. I’m fairly new to the doll collecting world, although I loved dolls as a child. My grandparents bought me several dolls when I was a baby, as well as bringing back several Native American Indian dolls from their trips out west. I grew up in New York, so this was an exotic delight to see these Indian dolls. However, Music became the main passion for most of my life as I started playing piano at age 4. I still loved playing with Dolls as a child, but they then took a back seat in my life until 2015. I have been teaching piano to children for over 35 years, and have a special fondness for all things childlike, as I can relate with the children on many levels. After many years of performing music out at different events and venues, I finally dove in to studying digital music technology. I know your reading this and thinking…ok let’s get to the dolls! LOL Don’t worry……………that’s coming, but I feel I have to preface the story by giving you my background of how I started and why I do what I do now.

It took me over 10 years of technological study, trial and error to record, produce and engineer my own music album, called “Now Is Where You Are.” Within that time, I also learned how to make and film my own music videos, of which I produced several. I finally finished and released my album in 2014 and felt extremely accomplished and satisfied. My album is pictured on the wall behind the piano in this picture.

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One cold January day in 2016, I felt compelled to get out my old childhood dolls from the early 60’s, “Lola and Helga” along with a crochet hook and some yarn to see if I could take on a new project that did not have anything to do with technology. Lo and behold, I found that I was able to make them some new clothes. My grandmother had taught me how to crochet when I was 14, but I only learned how to make granny squares and blankets. It was fun to take on a whole new style of crocheting and I spent most of that winter watching as many tutorials as possible and learning the craft. That prompted me to try and get some more models for my crocheting…so I went out to the local Salvation Army store and found “Lily” (She is marked on back with – AFFANEFF 194). She was the first doll I bought as an adult. I fell in love with her face and wanted to use her dress as a pattern to crochet something similar. Later that year, I got out my sewing machine and tried sewing my first doll dress. I was happy with the way it came out, so made a few more. That’s where it all started and has grown from there. I found so much JOY in doing this, I could not stop. I searched and found a few more vintage style dolls that reminded me of my childhood, brought them home, cleaned them up and crocheted them new clothes.

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Then in January 2017, I was compelled to start recording again, but wanted to keep it simple. Only piano and vocals…no guitars, bass and drums. I composed a simple piano instrumental, took pictures of my dolls all dressed up in January Blue snow suits in front of my fireplace and made my first Doll music video. I had so much JOY in doing this that I went on to February with Red outfits, then Green to March…and so on. I was going month to month making outfits for new dolls and old dolls, recording songs from the 1910’s, 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s to go along with the themes of the month. The vintage dolls and music seemed to take me back in time to a fascinating era where life was much simpler, especially for children.

Summer of 2017 came, and I found I had even more time to start painting again, so I was painting backdrops and props for my doll videos. At that point my son who went to the Seattle Art Institute and majored in Film, offered to help me with some special effects. I was getting REALLY into this Doll thing…and felt a bit crazy, to be honest, but was having so much fun doing it. I’m almost done with my year long project and have a playlist on my youtube channel now, called “Dolls Through the Year”. I have started learning so much more about dolls and have gained quite an interest in them and their history. So, I have taken 5 of my passions (music, producing video, crocheting/sewing, painting, love for dolls) and joined them into 1 in making the videos. My piano students who love dolls, love my videos and this also seems very rewarding. My doll collection has grown, as I have found dolls and have now been gifted with several dolls from friends and relatives. They have become not only models, but my little actresses and actors for my music videos!